Monday, November 30, 2009

I quit

Today I quit one of my three jobs.  Well, I sort of quit, since I passed the job on to DD Erica and will have to work now and again for her depending on her school/her job #1's schedule...so I guess my tally is about 2.25 jobs!  It will be such a relief to be able to actually stay at work once I leave my house for Job #2 and hopefully the 80 projects I am behind in completing at Dr. P's will get a better chance of getting finished.

Today the new receptionist started work and because I was sick and didn't work on Wednesday last week when I would have been getting together an orientation packet, I was scrambling and stumbling to get the information to her in a somewhat cohesive manner---Ha ha ha hee hee---hooo!  Luckily she is a low key girl and not easily ruffled by chaos, having worked in an Urgent Care for the past year or so.  Sigh.  I am a good teacher but wish I had been better prepared.  Oh well!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Australia Travelogue, Part III

Okay, so to catch up, I left Friday night 11/13, arrived Sunday noon in Cairns, and on Monday 11/16 Sue took me to see the sights in Port Douglas (Australia Travelogue Part II) and then we headed to Cairns to go to a quilt shop and do some other shopping errands Susie needed to do.  Our first stop was Button Tree Quilts, a small shop in a strip mall.  It was odd to see so many bolts of fabrics that were familiar and I was a bit distracted by the American Primitive quilts on the walls--in tropical paradise they seemed a bit out of place!  But, to each quilter their own.  We had a look around and then I found what I was really after: some Australian fabrics.

I bought a metre of the yardage on the left and gathered these fat quarters that sort of went with each other.  I had no idea in mind yet, just wanted some fabrics for remembrance of my trip.   We chatted with the owner for a few minutes, who said her shop was for sale and she planned to retire after that.  She told us of another quilt shop in town, and Susie asked if I wanted to go there, as it was not far.  Did I!

Kay's Fabrics was also a Janome dealer's and was stuffed to the gills with bolts and bolts, kits, machines, and everything else fabric and sewing related you could think of.  The shop manager (or owner, not sure) said she had been having large embroidery workshops and that was why the shop was in such disarray.  Susie has a Janome and while she and I were shopping, she called her son Tim and asked him to bring up her machine when he came from Brisbane as she wanted to sew again, starting with some little clothes for her granddaughter.  There was great variety but we just took a quick look and I found some more Australian fabrics. 

I could happily have spent hours in that store but we had plans to do the Skyrail so had to get going.  First we did some mall shopping which was a lot of fun, both of us not getting to shop with women friends that often!  It was interesting to see how similar some of the clothing was to home, it seems that we are starting to look alike all over the world, especially the tweens, teens, and young adults--skinny jeans, tanks, shirts with sayings, tiny tops and shorts, and of course swimwear...Spring and Christmas was a different mix than I am used to as well!  We finished up with a quick and delicious sandwich and salad lunch and then went off  to the Skyrail.  Unfortunately, we were too late, as they stop taking passengers after 2 pm due to the length of time it takes for the entire trip.  Oh well, there's always another day!  We headed home up the beautiful coast road with the convertible's top down and Michael Buble on the Ipod/stereo. 

A little sewing

By the day after Thanksgiving I felt well enough to sit up for a few hours at my machine and knock out these swap blocks, which I have to get in the mail tomorrow or Tuesday!  I belong to an online Yahoo group for quilting called Quiltbuddies.  Each year we do a block swap for our anniversary.  This year it was my suggestion that we do houses and, as Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville used to be in this group many years ago before I joined, it seemed appropriate to suggest her pattern Happy Scrappy Houses.   The swap numbers shrank as time went on and I only had to make 11.  I've been using Bonnie's scrap users system for organizing my scraps so a lot of these pieces came straight out of my 2" strip bin.  Here are my Happy Scrappy Houses:



A favorite:


...and another favorite.


My suggestion was that whatever house swappers made, we leave the sashing and setting to the individual.  So these can be wonky like Bonnie's, straight set, surrounding a medallion town square, or in a row by row.  It was really fun to put these together and I made all 11 in an afternoon and evening.  I may make a bunch more as they are kind of addictive! 

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I am a grandma

But not to a human baby, not yet!  I'd like to be a mother in law first, thank you very much.  Elaine and Chris got a puppy, a Boston terrier.  He's pretty cute (who can resist a puppy?).  Ignore the weird thing his eye is doing in his sleep.

His parents are big L.A. Dodger fans so his name is Scully, after the beloved announcer Vin Scully, of what--40 years?  Chris wanted to name him Doc, so his official name is Dr. Scully Longfellow. 



He went to Thanksgiving dinner with Elaine and was reportedly very well behaved despite the many new people and my nephew Matt showing up with three live ducklings!  So, now I am a Grandma, with a grand-dog.  Hmm.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Australia Travelogue, Part II

Another hot and sunny day in paradise!  I checked out Mr. Frog's global positioning in the papyrus on the pond.  He was a big one!



Susie took me on a tour of Port Douglas where I got pics from the highest point.  This is the famous "Four Mile Beach" below.  Note the safe swimming area cordoned off on the lower left of the photo--"stingers" are populous during November to about March so it is necessary to either wear full length stinger suits or swim in protected areas only.



And a distance shot of the glorious day!
 

Then we strolled with Susie's dog Jonesy in Anzac Park--site of many weddings, with about a 300 degree view of water at the point, and a beautiful little white church. 



This large banyan tree gave deep shade on a hot day!


These blue-headed Lorikeets were eating a fallen mango.




Susie did not know the name of this gorgeous tree but I thought it might be a Coral Tree.  Any other guesses?











This charter was heading out to the reef from the marina, passing the wharf with an old sugar cane storage building, now used for events.  I loved the reflections on the water.






On to the Port Douglas Marina, lots of beautiful boats to see

What a huge sailboat this was!  The mast was about 40 feet tall.


Sue and Jon's beautiful 58 ft power yacht from the back.  Total luxury on three levels, including gorgeous wood fittings, two big bedrooms, a double bunk room, a washer and dryer, two bathrooms, and huge kitchen/lounge area.  On top was the "bridge", all the bells and whistles, high tech navigation and fish finder,etc.  I couldn't wait for our scheduled trip Wednesday and wished mightily for good weather.



Look at all the folks heading out to the Great Barrier Reef.  This huge trimaran took huge lots of people out every day.  It had an unusual finish to its hull--all galvanized metal.


Next up: a trip to Cairns and two quilting shops.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sick! (and grateful)

This travelogue is being interrupted by a nasty virus that is making me feel like I am underwater as I cannot hear and moving around makes me feel woozy.  As a bonus--I sound like a man when I do try to talk.  It kept me from work today and will keep me from Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow at my parents' house.  My dad especially loathes having sick people spread their germs to him by coming over in that condition, so he said they will fix me a plate to take home!  Plus I'm sure my brother, his wife and their six children do not need another illness to run through their family, nor do the elderly parents of my SIL who are visiting from Romania and coming with my BIL and SIL.  Maybe sitting at my sewing machine will be possible tomorrow, don't know yet...I'll be back soon, though.  Thanks for the comments made on my "story thus far"!

May you all have a pleasant Thanksgiving, wherever in the world you are, and note your blessings not just tomorrow, but every day.  Blogging has been a blessing and I am grateful for each and every interaction with my friendly and supportive readers, and those who share their lives with their own blogs.  It has been a real bright spot in my busy life this past year to connect with others in blogland. Thanks to you all!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Australia Trip 2009

[*Edited to add start of trip was 11/13/09My trip to OZ began in Santa Barbara with a quick flight to LAX; rather than fight Friday night traffic, Grant opted to pay up and save himself a four hour round trip.  I got off the little plane after only 25 minutes and gathered my luggage to head to the connecting flight--which I thought was at the International Terminal.  It wasn't.  After 10 minutes of wandering around I asked an airport worker who directed me to the next terminal.  Luckily all terminals are within easy walking distance at LAX.  After a wait in line, I stepped up to the counter and presented my passport.  After beginning the check in and returning my passport, the clerk asked me if I had a visa.  "A what?", I asked.  She told me I needed a visa to get into Australia, which I did not know.  "No, no one told me I needed one", I said, turning red and getting scared.  "That's okay, I can sell you one for $25", the clerk told me.  At my relieved agreement, she began what seemed like 30 screens of entries but kept getting an error at the end.  After about 15 minutes and three tries she said, "That's it.  I'm done.  I'm done."  I told her, "I'm sorry you're done--because I really want to go to Australia.  I made a quilt.  I'm going to a wedding.  I really want to go to Australia."  She and the other clerks laughed and she stepped aside to let the fast fingers of Brian click away and get me my visa. 

There was a long line through security but finally I was settled at the gate for a long wait for the Virgin Australia plane--along with about 200+ others!  Not having travelled internationally before, I had no idea what to expect, but surely got the unexpected when everyone boarded and immediately "plugged in" to the onboard entertainment systems.  It seems no one converses on planes anymore.  I never spoke more than a couple words to my seat mates the entire night.  It was a lonely way to fly as I did not wish to watch a movie and couldn't read my book without the light bothering my seat mates.  I didn't get much sleep but dozed on and off.  After about 3-4 hours of sitting I wished I'd paid to upgrade from Economy as my rear end got numb and I was constantly changing position.  It was cold flying at 36,000 feet and quite bumpy with turbulence--rather like sitting on a bus. About 13.5 hours later we landed at Brisbane Airport and we all poured through the empty-at-6:30 a.m. Customs department.  I then collected my luggage and after a false start, got to the transfer desk to Virgin Blue for a pass for the train to the domestic terminal 2 km away. While waiting, I saw this:



I have no idea what sort of bird it was, but it called and hopped about on the electric cable for the transfer train.  The train station was so close to the domestic terminal I could have walked to it in the time I waited for the train, but apparently there was no sidewalk.



The wait at the domestic terminal was long but at least I was able to move around and browse in the shops with my newly exchanged Australian dollars.  They had taken away my scissors in Brisbane and I wanted to get some nail clippers or something but was afraid they would take those away too, so my embroidery languished in my carry-on.  The flight was two hours plus but again I dozed and tried to ignore my aching rear end.  At least I had no problems with my ears staying clogged up, which had been my greatest worry! 

Susie greeted me at Cairns and it was so good to see her smiling face and hear her happy greeting.  After collecting my bag we set off for her car, where I immediately went to the passenger side---in America that is!  She redirected me to the other side of her sleek VW convertible and off we went to Cairns for a little shopping and lunch.  I called Grant while we lunched and let him know I had made it safe and sound.  Soon we were driving along the coast road to Port Douglas (about an hour's drive on a windy narrow road).  We stopped at the lookout so I could take pics:


I believe this is Ellis Beach.  The little island off the point in the distance is known as Double Island, according to my map.


Above you can see why this area is known as being "between the rainforest and the reef".  What a glorious drive we had, with views like this at every turn. We talked nonstop, catching up with each other after 9 years since our last meeting. 

Susie did a quick turn through the little town of Port Douglas and then we went down the nearly hidden drive to their beautiful home.   I met her wonderful mate, Jon, and was shown around the house and then to my lovely guest room by the pool.  After a shower and short nap, I felt much better.  We lounged by the pool and heard the Kookaburra and Lorikeets as they flittered about the palms.  At dusk the huge fruit bats with wingspans as big as a crow's left their tree roosts and headed to the rainforest to feast on mangoes.  Sue's son Matt came home and we had a fantastic dinner of stir fry with prawns and pea pods over rice while watching the final two compete on "Australian Idol", and getting to know each other, which was fun.  On the way to my room later that night I spied this Australian animal:

This is a white-lipped green tree frog and there were 6-7 that lived in the pond right next to the back veranda.  They were quiet during the day unless it rained, when they croaked very loud and it sounded like knocking.  I was glad I was forewarned of the sound when it woke me hours later!  And that concludes this travelog entry...more tomorrow!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Home from OZ



More about these stars later---just got home from OZ this afternoon about 4pm and am now feeling very very tired.  16 hours in airplanes is a long time but I'm safe and sound and have loads to share....but not tonight! 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Leaving on a Jet Plane

The big day has finally arrived and in a few hours I'll be starting the first of three flights to get me where I'm going--PARADISE

I plan to take lots of pics and will post as soon as I can.  My birthday is tomorrow but I am skipping it while I fly into the future and land in OZ on Sunday morning.  Not a bad trade....

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Nearly there

Countdown to Australia is getting very low now, single digits.  Lists have been made, but only partially checked off. Sometimes having a deadline freezes me up!  I'm looking forward to having no timetable on my vacation and just "being in the moment" without a list running through my head of all the things that need doing.  It will be a wonderful break from my regular programming.

My DD Erica will be my Administrative Assistant facsimile at Job#3 when I am in Australia and I've been training her the last few days.  It isn't a hard job but the doctor is a bit particular about some things--however he is always happy to answer questions and give more info or instruction, which is great.  He's also getting used to the idea that I may be quitting before long.  Three jobs is a lot and I want to pare down to just two again!  I'll increase my hours at Job #2 so won't lose any income--it will just be a lot easier to get things accomplished without having to rush away to somewhere else. 

Someday I would like to have the job title of "RETIRED".  Social Security may be wiped out by the time I get there so I may have to work until I'm 70.  As long as my brain keeps working, I may be able to handle it--well maybe one job at a time anyway!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fear of clogging

No, I'm not talking about the dance, I'm talking about the inner ear.

I've been 98% deaf in my left ear since I was under age 5. Sometime in my toddlerhood I had a serious viral infection and suffered nerve damage. Luckily it was after I learned to talk and I never had to "adapt" to losing my hearing: I can't remember ever being able to hear out of that ear. Tinnitus is also something I can't remember being without; surprisingly, I have it in both ears.

Since I was I kid, however, having my ears clog up is my most troubling problem. There have been times when I fell asleep in the car as we drove up and down steep grades while coming back from my grandparents' house and it took days of swallowing, yawning, chewing gum, etc, to get my ears to open up again. The Valsalva maneuver is my friend because my ears will clog up if I go down a freeway off ramp! Sometimes even eating ice cream can make my ears clog up. It is really ridiculous. I may have the world's smallest Eustachian tubes.


My looming long plane ride has me worried that my ears will clog up for an extended period and I fear that thought will keep me from sleeping on the plane. I'm probably worrying for nothing but that's not stopping me from worrying!


As a bit of irony, my main job for the past 20 years is all based on HEARING. I am a medical transcriptionist and for 13 years also used to conduct lengthy intake histories for injured workers being seen by an orthopedic surgeon. How's that for a coincidence?