Monday Trip to Noosa Headlands National Park

We’ve visited Noosa before, and we loved it the first time. This time, however, we branched out a bit and hiked at the park before camping out on the beach with towels and books. The waves were crazy big this past Monday. They were so big that the  lifeguards were no longer sitting in their little house overlooking the beach; instead, they had parked their 4 wheel drive on the beach and were watching people the whole time. Dan swam (got nailed by wave after wave) for about an hour and a half, while I was only in for about 30 minutes. At one point I was knocked down by a wave and I was only about 2 metres in from shore. Another time while attempting to swim in with one of the waves, I was sent somersaulting into the shore. This last attempt left me with sand everywhere….and I do mean everywhere.  4 hours later, I would reach up to scratch my scalp and come back with fingernails full of sand. The shower when we got home felt amazing, but it also meant that I had to sweep and vacuum up lots of sand from the hallway and lounge. Still Noosa is probably one of my favourite locations on the coast. Can’t wait to take you there when you visit, right?



Stupid American

Stupid American

The other day while I was walking through the refrigerated section at the grocery, I saw this container of orange and mango juice on sale for 99 cents. I thought, “Yum, juice. What a deal!” So I grabbed a container.

Later I decided that a glass of orange and mango juice would be perfect with my lunch, so I poured some into a juice glass over ice. I did note that it was pretty thick, but I figured it must be the pulp. That afternoon I experienced heartburn like I had never experienced before, and I thought, “Hmmm, must have been the juice. I’ll have to cut it with water or add more ice next time.”

A couple days later, I decided to have some juice with lunch again, and this time I actually read the container. That’s when I saw it was concentrate. Oh, for Pete’s sake! You probably saw it right away in the photo, but I hadn’t. I thought, “Since when is concentrated juice in the refrigerated section and not in the freezer section?” Uh, since I’m in Australia and not the US. I talked to my Aussie friend and told her what I had done, and she laughed and laughed. And then when I told her about frozen concentrate, she looked at me like I was crazy. She was probably thinking, “Oh, these Americans are just so ignorant.” And she’d be right.


-ing in Australia

Currently I am:

Drinking hot coffee on a cool morning, which is especially nice since yesterday was quite warm here.

Savouring the last of the Mini Moo’s Half & Half that some lovely ladies sent me last week. I still can’t believe that I can’t get half and half here.

Downloading a bunch of papers to grade today and tomorrow.

Baking a lovely strawberry tart for tonight’s Friday night dinner.

Missing all my friends and family back home, but enjoying all the new people I get to meet here.

Planning to take a quick walk to Salvos and Woolies this morning before I do my office hours later today.

Reading a book by Kate Morton, The Secret Keeper. I’ve read all of her other books, but for some reason I missed this one. I’m enjoying it.

Listening to the CBC’s As It Happens podcast every night when I go to bed. And you thought the US was messed up? Take a look at what is happening in Canada right now.

Loving my new vacuum. Seriously. This thing sucks. And it was really cheap.

Writing some cards to put in the mail today.

Trying to memorise my mobile number. For some reason, the number just won’t stick in my head.

Wishing the days and weeks didn’t go so fast. How did it get to be the end of October already?


Dose of Reality


Here’s a bit of reality for you by way of some numbers. No glamorous photos at all.

  • Number of televisions I have seen sitting on the grass on my block since I arrived here: 5
  • Number of grocery carts/trollies I have seen hidden among the bushes behind the building just down the street: 4
  • Number of times a loud vehicle drives too fast down my street per day: 7
  • Number of dollars I spent on a good bottle of gin last week: 45
  • Number of seagulls clustered around someone’s tent/towel at the beach yesterday after the person decided it would be fun to feed them: 23
  • Number of bush fires raging in New South Wales right now: too many to count and pictures


Teaching from the future

the future tweet

Back in August, I had to force myself to start prepping for my fall term classes. It was hard. It’s always hard. I always wait until the week before to begin. That hasn’t changed. This time, however, it was a bit more tricky. Since I am currently 15 hours ahead of my students (and that will change come daylight savings in the US – there isn’t daylight savings in Queensland), I am always counting backwards to figure out when things would actually be due.  And I plan my office hours that way, too. I hold online office hours during the evening for them but during the morning of the next day for me.

I’m amused by what I’ve noticed about holding only online office hours: they haven’t changed one bit from when I was also holding face-to-face office hours.

Here’s a side by side comparison:office hours side by side

Office hours have always puzzled me. I understand why they are necessary, but they have always looked like this. Who are they really serving? Not the group they are intended for, I think.

Oh well. If you see me on FB chat or GChat, know that I’m doing my office hours and feel free to chat me up. Not getting to go to a real office away from my house gets me a little weird. I miss not being able to physically talk to people, and I’d love to chat with you.


Monday Trip to Peregian Beach and some naked people

I don’t think I’ve ever celebrated my birthday at the beach. Well, maybe when I was little we may have gone down to Lake Superior to throw rocks at Brighton Beach, but I know that I have never spent my birthday sitting on hot sand, swimming in clear blue waters, and lazily turning pages of a book while listening to the sound of the waves.

Until this year.

I was so happy our regular Monday trip coincided with my birthday because it meant a day off from working on school stuff and a day off from thinking, in general. As per my usual Monday routine, I woke up early, did my online office hours (which no one ever comes to except for former students and friends – some things never change), packed a bag for the beach, and was in the car by 10:15am. We headed north on the M1 to try out a different beach near Noosa. Last week we did Coolum, which is further south of Noosa; Peregian is just north of Coolum. In fact, you can see Point Perry jutting out over the sea from the beach at Peregian.

I really like the drive from our house to the Noosa area. Granted, it’s typical highway driving, but I really like reading the signs of places and roads. Here’s a map for you:

Some of my favourite names are

  • Burpengary
  • Caboolture
  • Sippy Downs
  • Bli Bli Road

And I love the Yandina-Coolum Road. As you can see on the map, it curves alongside the Maroochy River, crosses a couple creeks, and comes out at Coolum. It takes us past sugar cane fields, little forests, and pastures. I really like that drive.

The funniest part of this entire trip was the first sight we saw on the beach: naked people. Well, only two naked people and I honestly couldn’t be sure if they were entirely naked or just topless. Either way, it was amusing. Especially since they were camped out directly below the lifeguard. This, of course, led me to Google “nude beaches Queensland”.

Go ahead and check it out. I’ll wait…………

<dance break>

Yeah, so you and I both figured out that it isn’t legal to sunbathe in the nude in Queensland, but there are some places where it is more acceptable. The beach we were on wasn’t one of those places. One article I read about nude beaches stated that people in Queensland weren’t keen on allowing it because there was the fear that deviants would start going to the beaches. Oh, please. Don’t even get me started.

The wind may have been a little strong at the beach, but the water was refreshing (read: a bit cold), the sun was hot, and the sushi we had for lunch at a little place just up from the beach was perfect. All in all, it was both a perfect birthday and a perfect Monday trip.


Alternate View

The photos I post here make me feel a bit guilty.

Yes, I now live in a place that is heralded as paradise. Yes, there are palm trees in my yard. Yes, the ocean is within 15-20 minutes of my house. Yes, the views from hills/mountains/tall buildings are impressive. And the people are nice and the food is good and the world is big and amazing.

But it’s not everything I see.

Like most people, I tend to provide you with a filtered reality (sometimes literally). I show you the good pictures, the pretty pictures, the wow pictures.

Lately I’ve been thinking that I should start taking pictures of the reality. Like I need a second Instagram account or a photo album on Facebook or just a new tag here on the blog for those pictures that show the alternate view of life here in Brisbane.

This is what you would see if I took those pictures.

Picture #1: The loooong line at the Post on a day when I had groceries in the car and the temperature was about 33 degrees and all I needed to do was buy more international stamps.

Picture #2: The broken beer bottles on the footpath as I walked from the house to the grocery.

Picture #3: The guy at the library today who was not wearing shoes (many people do not wear shoes here) and was hassling the librarian.

Picture #4: The mother/father screaming at her/his screaming child at the mall every time I go to the mall

Picture #5: The lawn in front of the vacant house on the corner of our street in desperate need of a mow

Picture #6: Graffiti (on walls, on fences, benches)

Picture #7: The blue haired girl at the Apple store in Chermside who told me, with complete certainty, that my iPhone would not work in Australia and, therefore, she could not replace it in order to fix the sleep button. (It works here, by the way, and it’s still under warranty, so I may have to make an appointment and try to deal with them again – ugh)

Picture #8: The fathers/mothers swearing/yelling at their children as they walk them down our street on the way home from school

Picture #9: The dead roach found on the steps upstairs the day after the bug guy came and sprayed

If I start posting those pictures, too, it might be a downer. You’ve been warned.