SOLSC Day Thirty One – Things to do


Another month of slicing has come to an end. It’s been lovely getting to know a whole new group of bloggers (my Feedly list of slicers has tripled and now I have a whole bunch of excellent blogs to read), and it’s been great motivation to write more frequently here. I tend to forget that writing about daily life can be interesting, introspective, and important. Slicing again this year has been a great reminder.

Now that slicing is over, I should tackle my to-do list:

  1. Update cv so I can start applying for jobs here – getting that permanent visa made this possible
  2. Make birthday cards and Easter cards
  3. Send snail mail to friends back home just to let them know I haven’t forgotten about them
  4. Finish/start the puzzle – for some reason, I decided to start working on a 2000 piece puzzle that I picked up at Salvos. Buying a puzzle from a thrift store does not guarantee that every piece will be present. So far I’ve gotten all of the edge pieces done. Only 1950 pieces to go!IMG_4131
  5. Proof and send out my “reading drafts” survey for my quality faculty plan. Interested in filling it out? Check it out here and share your responses.
  6. Do laundry! The sun is shining today and should also be out tomorrow, so I should be able to get all my laundry done this week.
  7. Write out my lesson plan for my homeschool English class
  8. Clean my office
  9. Return some books to the library and pick up one I have on reserve
  10. Go to the gym (aka The James)
  11. Finish up sending all my tax stuff to my accountant back in the States – at least I have until June to file!
  12. Have a nice day!
    Thanks, Jack.

    Thanks, Jack.



SOLSC Day Thirty – Bloom


After days of rain followed by sun and humidity, our new hibiscus bloomed. The orange and yellow and red are deep and luscious. The best gift you can give someone, aside from time, is definitely a plant. I’m okay with plants – meaning I usually don’t kill them. Plants in pots are especially good because they require no weeding, and I can move them into the sun if necessary.

I’ve had this plant for just over a week and the results are already in: this plant is perfect.

Hibiscus in bloom

Hibiscus in bloom


SOLSC Day Twenty Nine – Getting Used To Things


Since moving to a subtropical climate, I’ve begun to get used to things.

  • giant fruit bats fighting in the palm trees at night over something to eat – come on, guys, there’s plenty there for everyone!
  • sunny days that all of a sudden reveal one rain cloud that douses my neighbourhood for 2 minutes and disappears
  • geckos hiding in my bedroom or kitchen or lounge or patio that begin clucking just to let you know that they are there
  • the sacrificial cockroach left on the laundry room floor every morning

Yes, nearly every morning I walk downstairs and discover a sacrificial cockroach.

I imagine that in the night the giant cockroaches that live outside and get in the house make a decision. They sit around and decide who is going to be the one who will ingest the poison and then lie down to die in front of the washer. They’re smart. They’re going one at a time. I imagine that they take turns saying good bye to the sacrificial cockroach, hugs are given and tears are shed. And then they go on with their night, scrounging for food and trying to avoid getting eaten by the geckos and skinks. And the next night, another one will take his turn. It’s like they are doing it just to prove that the exterminator fee is worth it (it totally is, by the way). Unfortunately, it also means that I am greeted by a belly up new friend every morning whose legs sometimes still twitch a little bit as I try to sweep him over the threshold and onto the patio.


SOLSC Day Twenty Eight – 8+ Months of Paperwork


The stress began as soon as we decided to make the big move to Australia in April. We had to sell everything, organise shipping important items, book tickets, quit jobs, tell friends and family, and make decisions about any number of seemingly small things. Perhaps the most stressful part of the process was the paperwork. That began immediately.

First we had to apply for a temporary work visa just to get in the country. That involved filling in a 12-14 page document filled with legalese, scanning in official documents, getting things like our birth certificates and marriage license notarised, and sending our passports to the Australian Consulate in DC with the hopes that they would be returned. I remember the day I sent all that off because when I got home and started thinking about it, I had realised that I had forgotten to sign the spot on the form authorising a charge to my credit card to pay for the visa. My heart sunk. I was convinced that we would be denied just on that little thing. Imagine my surprise when we were notified that everything had been approved. After we had received that notification, I could proceed to buy tickets, organise the overseas shipping, and contact the auction guy.

When we arrived in Australia at the end of June, it wasn’t long before I started the next round of paperwork to apply for permanent residency. I completed the initial application – done online, only another 12 pages of information most of which involved stating that I have no criminal past nor do I know how to make explosives. Seemed easy. I submitted that at the end of July, well before the deadline.

Then I received notification that I could proceed with the rest of the application. There were lists of things to complete with links to pdfs that I would need to download and, in some cases, fill out twice (once for myself and once for Dan). We had to list every job we had ever had. Ever. With addresses and job duties. We had to mention every address we had lived at in the past 10 years and every country we had traveled to with dates. This meant deciphering passport stamps and looking through pictures saved on my computer to see when exactly we had been in Canada, Ukraine, Scotland, and Israel. This meant listing references for people we know here, listing all of our siblings with their birth dates and locations, listing every place we had gone to school in our lifetimes. These were the days when I was happy to be in my 30s rather than in my 50s. We visited a notary at the shops one day to have a whole stack of papers certified, which I would then have to scan at home and upload to the Visa site.

This was stressful.

I knew that if we didn’t fill this out correctly and completely, we could be sent back to the US, so I would worry. I would have vivid dreams about being rejected, immigration agents showing up at my door to haul me to the airport and send me back.

And then this arrived by email today.



And of course I get home from the gym yesterday and Dan hands me this piece of paper and calmly says, “Hey, you should read this.”

I scan it, flip the pages, and see the word indefinite.

“Does this mean what I think it means????” I ask.

“Yep. We’re permanent.”

Cue me jumping around, high fives, and a plan to hand it to our Friday night dinner companions casually and ask their thoughts on what they think it means.

This calls for a celebration!


SOLSC Day Twenty Seven – Pâte à Choux


If I wasn’t a teacher, I could easily be a cook or baker.

Pâte à Choux

the start of Pâte à Choux

This morning I started a pâte à choux for tonight’s dessert – a cream puff cake with a creamy topping and fresh strawberries. I’ve made this dessert before, and I think it was the favourite of my Friday night dinner companions. I typically don’t repeat desserts, but strawberries were on sale yesterday.

I grabbed 70 grams of butter from the fridge, poured 2/3 cup of water into the pan, and added 2 tablespoons of sugar. As the butter melted and incorporated with the water and sugar, I slowly stirred until it created a rich, golden swirl. This bit of brightness was exactly what I needed after a couple days of solid rain and darkness.

Once it came to a boil, I added 2/3 cup flour and stirred quickly until it pulled away from the sides of the pan. Eggs were next.

I took it off the heat and added 3 eggs, one at a time, and mixed them in until the resulting dough was shiny and smooth. I love how the eggs make the dough glisten and slide in the pan. Once it was all mixed and smooth, I poured the dough into a springform pan and set it to bake for 20 minutes.

Whenever I bake, I seem to forget that I’ve been baking and I’m always surprised when the timer starts beeping away in the kitchen. The pastry puffed up nicely, I poked some holes in it, and put it back in the oven for another minute. The result was a golden pastry, light and airy.

Now if I can only wait a couple hours while it cools before adding the cream cheese/heavy cream mixture and strawberries.

I should really make two of these whenever I make them, so that I could at least enjoy an afternoon treat before having to share it with friends after dinner.


SOLSC Day Twenty Six – Trying to Call

sliceoflifeiconI’ve been trying to call my brother all week because I want to chat with him about the possibility of him visiting me sometime this year, but getting a hold of him has been difficult. Not only do I have to deal with the time difference (he’s 14 hours behind me) but I also have to deal with his ridiculous work schedule. My brother is a chef in NYC and works the most insane hours. He’s at work by 7:30am most days and doesn’t get done until 9-10pm. Therefore, I can call after 9pm his time, which is 11am my time. But really, who wants to talk on the phone after you’ve worked that long?

This morning, I got some work done and then began calling. But I still haven’t reached him.

After trying 5 times, I realised that I was beginning to feel like a stalker.

Pick up phone, enter in Brisbane phone number.

Wait for the “Welcome to Aussie Phone Cards! Please enter your code.”

Enter in a 14 digit code that I probably have memorised at this point.

Wait for the “Your balance is $11.08. You have 9 hours of talk time remaining.”

Enter in the international code, country code, area code, phone number, and pound sign.

Wait for the connection.

Listen for the ring.

Hear “Hi, I can’t reach my phone right now” message.

Leave a “Hey, it’s just me. I’ll try calling back in some minutes” message.


What I wouldn’t give to hop on a plane today and make the long trek to NYC to spend a week with my brother like I did last spring.


SOLSC Day Twenty Five – Stumped



I feel like I didn’t do anything today. Okay. I did so some things. I went to the gym and watched two episodes of Veronica Mars while I worked out, I got some groceries, I graded some things, I made a list of what I need to do this week. When it’s dark and rainy, it’s hard to be motivated for anything.

So what to write about? I have an hour before I have to go teach, so this is the only time I can do it. <eat some liquorice, take a drink of cold coffee> So as I sat here trying to come up with a blog post topic, I did what most would do: I googled “blog post idea.” The result was a link to a blog post generator. Okay. Let’s see what it tells me.


Um, okay. Definitely not going to work. Let’s try another one.


The future of a tv show that was on when I was a child? Well, it had no future. That doesn’t give me much.


I just want to state for the record that I have nothing against Sean Penn.


Yes, The Cranberries really gets me so irate……um, no.


Those pitas and their pockets and their doughy goodness….I just can’t deal with them!

Where do ideas come from? The inspiration? The plan?

A slice is a small piece of the whole, a tidbit, a snapshot. I will not find the answer by googling for a topic. I has to be about me, and it can be about the frustration of coming up with that idea and deciding what is good enough (for me) to put out here for you to see.

Today I think I’ve forgotten to zero in on something small, to place the focus of my writing on that one feeling or that one moment. Note to self: tomorrow see the small.