Come fly with me

As I mentioned, my family bought me a chopper ride over Brisbane for my birthday! And of course, Hubs got to go with me. It was little scary, but SO much fun! We flew with a flying school that also does joy rides, based in Caboolture. (This was the company.) This was the chopper we flew in:

It was described as a M*A*S*H chopper so of course I had the theme song in my head the whole trip! We were strapped in nice and tight:

with Hubs in the middle, and the Pilot and I on either side. It was certainly nice and cozy! The take off was a little scary, but once we were off the ground it was just so exciting! 
It was a fairly hazy day so we couldn’t see the city very clearly from that far away, but it came in to view not long after. 
Beautiful Brisbane City

I was trying to get my bearings and I spotted lots of things like Stafford Rd, Brookside shopping centre, the street where Lsl is living, Victoria Park Gold Course, my schools and Mum and Dad’s house!!!

To the bottom right, all those red brick buildings in a U-shape, is my primary school (Kelvin Grove Primary) (bottom) and high school (above that) (KG High) and to the right of my high school is the start of my uni (QUT Kelvin Grove). Basically right in the middle of the photo is a street that runs up and down with red blocks on it (traffic calmers) and right near the second red block from the top, is my family home! Where I grew up and cherish so many memories. *sigh* Okay. Moving on. In the top right hand corner is Ballymore Rugby stadium, and at the top in the middle, those fields are where I used to play hockey for Commercial Hockey club, AND that small field with a stadium to the left of that, is where I played a couple of my soccer games! I didn’t get out much! 🙂 And don’t you just love the heart-shape! 
Here we are back on solid ground. What a ride!
 Thanks to everyone who contributed! It was so much fun and an experience to remember! Happy Birthday to meeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Kondalilla falls

On the Monday after my birthday party, Hubs and I felt like doing something active for the day, so our family friend Lou suggested Kondalilla Falls. And the best thing was, Lou was free on the Monday as well so we invited him along to be our guide. Lou knows the area like the back of his hand, so we didn’t have to worry about such things as getting lost or eaten by giant eels 🙂

It was a hot day but the walk was mainly through rainforest so we kept quite cool. We started at Barroon Pocket Dam, and left the car there. The plan was for Lou’s wife Di to pick us up at the other end, just near the falls, and bring us back to the car on their way home. Lou had told us it was about 8km so off we went!

What a view!
After about 2 hours of walking, it was time for smoko and a swim
We then walked another hour or so and found somewhere to stop for lunch. Lou tried a bit of fishing but there were no bites that day. The track was all downhill for the first bit, then pretty flat for a while, and then we started walking back up again. Lou had promised us a swim at Kondalilla falls, and after a day of walking, it was exactly what was needed to cool off.

And boy was the water chilly! While we were swimming Lou said something along the lines of “You wouldn’t BELIEVE how big the eels can get in here.” Hmmm… I chose not to think about it…
Just before we headed back up to meet Di
It was exactly what we needed – a day out in the “wilderness”, with good company and lovely views. As we headed to the car, I turned around to see a sign that said:
Baroon Pocket Dam – 11.2km walk
No wonder I was so exhausted!! Thanks so much for a great day Lou!


As many of you witnessed, and as some of you heard, I turned 30 in January. I hope I don’t sound like I’m in denial, but I’m really not too fussed about turning 30, because, as they say, you’re only as old as the man you feel, and since Hubs just had his 21st birthday last year, I’m still a spring chicken! Ha ha…. Actually, if truth be told, my ageing stopped around 26, as it was such a great year for me. I know physically, I’m feeling older each year, and hopefully I’m becoming more mature (boring!) and sensible (if only!) but really I’m feeling pretty damn good!

Anyway, back to the party! The usual suspects were there, and I had an amazing time! My bro brought along some of his home brew on tap which was SO awesome, and as usual, my Dad manned the BBQ while Mum coordinated the activity in the kitchen. It was most certainly one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had, and perhaps one of the last I’ll be having at Mum and Dad’s place which makes me a bit sad. I’ve had almost all of my birthdays there, with parties ranging from sleepovers with a few gal-pals, to 12-hour-long bonanzas. I’ve had themes such as a “nerd party”, one-day-cricket party, a 70s Hippy party, and a Mexican Fiesta (oh boy).

This year’s theme was “Wear something you bought on holiday” which gave me the opportunity to frock up in my silk transformer dress that I bought in New York. It’s the first time I’d worn it as a dress instead of a skirt (more than meets the eye!) and it looked HOT! Oh, and it WAS hot. Summer in Brisbane – gotta love it!

Enough of my rambling. I can hear what your saying. “SHOW ME THE PHOTOS!!!”

Mum and I. Cheers!
Dad and I (and his…. ahem…. apron 🙂 (and my rockin’ dress!)
Kturtle and I, and the Keggerator! Look at those beers! Yum…
And the brewer himself, sampling one of his taste sensations!
My map of the world cake that Mum and I made. (Yes, it’ totally awesome.) There are 30 candles on there (duh) and each candle represents a place where I’ve been. I had a couple left over so I also added some places where Hubs had been, as well as 2 places I’ve only stopped-over in. Hey! They totally count!
And of course, with Hubs always being the one taking the photos, I don’t have any of the two of us together 🙁 Oh well. There are obviously plenty more, but you get the general idea. Thank you EVERYONE who was able to come along. It was really special to spend the afternoon shooting the breeze. I really loved seeing you all and look forward to more celebrations to come!
One of my presents was a helicopter ride over Brisbane, but that will be a separate post. Oh! And I’m not done blogging about South Africa either! More tales to come…

Take the long way home

Myself, Hubs and Nate will be starting our road trip back to Brisbane tomorrow night and we’re excited!! This is where we’ll be for the next few days:

View Larger Map

Once we hit Brisbane, we’ll be pretty busy leading up to Christmas, and then of course we’ll be heading to South Africa and doing something like this:

View Larger Map

So as you can see, we have a LOT of fun to get through the next few weeks! Then it’s my 30th birthday! YAY!!! And then we’ll be attending Hubs’ brother’s wedding (double YAY!) and then flying back to Melbs for our last 5 months here before we head to Wangaratta (or to the locals, Wang!) which is here:

View Larger Map

Looking forward to seeing so many of you soon! And some of you not soon enough!
(You can drag and zoom in and out on the maps! Go nuts!)

New stuff on my blog

I’ve been having a little bit of fun with all the new gizmos and gadgets available on blogger (I accidentally typed blooger! Tee hee!) .com. I am particularly LOVING the new search tool (see left sidebar at the bottom) so I can check and make sure I haven’t already blogged about stuff before I start a new post. (Bad memory). Turns out the search window in the Navbar is fairly useless. Oh well. I do love my new look blog!

Plus, you can see what I’m up to with my TO DO list! Riveting, I know!

I do realise that many of my readers use Google Reader to read blogs (as I often do) but feel free to come over here and visit from time to time to check it all out. Who knows? You might want to know what I’m up to this Friday night in Brisbane!


(I’m still in America, but here’s another post I prepared earlier…)

About 10 years ago (what?… gosh that’s a long time…) Dad and I used to walk the hills of Red Hill and Kelvin Grove. I was on a health kick at the time, and I needed the extra push (sometimes literally) to get up those hills, and Dad was happy to help out – a little TOO happy sometimes! The worst of the worst was Broadhurst St, so we used to get that out of the way at the start, so the other hills didn’t seem as awful. It might not look too bad in the photo, but DAMN that hill was steep! When you were at the top, if you took about 10 steps back and looked down, you would pretty much just see a drop! The thing that made it a real killer though, was that it was SO long. Vale St is steeper, but it’s shorter as well, so the pain isn’t a lingering one! I just remember trudging up those hills, willing my mind elsewhere so it was more bearable.

I really can’t complain though, as Dad also used to (and does still I’m sure!) take a backpack loaded up with bits and bobs to simulate him being in New Zealand, tramping up and down the hills.

And now Dad is proud to have Mum along on his walks! Yeah Mum! We used to go around 6pm which was an absolute killer, as we could smell all the home-cooked meals, waiting to be eaten! But I guess it did get us home quicker!

Thanks Dad! No, really. Thanks a LOT! 🙂

Happy Birthday Billy-Bob!

Last Tuesday I was sitting at my desk at work and I had the sudden urge to book a flight back to Brisbane for the weekend. Hubs said it was a-okay (anything to keep me from crying!!) and so operation “suprise Godson Billy-Bob and Billy-Bob’s Mum for Billy-Bob’s 2nd Birthday on Saturday” sprung into action.

Now I’m actually a vault when it comes to keeping other people’s secrets, but when it comes to my own secrets, I’ll keep quiet for about 5 minutes before I hear myself saying “now I’m not telling many people, but….” or “don’t tell anyone, but….” and so I spent a stressful few days trying to keep it from B-B’s Mum. But it worked! I surpised the crap out of them! It was very exciting:

Me and B-B’s Mum (we’ve known each other since we were 2 years old)

With B-B

And B-B’s Dad. Make a wish!

We had a lovely day at the park on the river, after which I went to my Nanny and Grandpa’s place for lunch, and because they knew I was coming, there was of course pierogi! Yummy!

Saturday night I had some time with my bitches (I’ve been missing you guys!!) and Sunday we had a 4 hour brunch at Mum and Dad’s with my cousins and a few other family members and friends. My parents don’t do things by halves though. As usual there was SO much food!

I got to catch up with more of my bitches in the afternoon (no, seriously! I miss you guys!!) on the way to the airport, and all in all I had a very relaxing weekend. Thanks to everyone who came to see me! And sorry to those I didn’t tell! It just ends up being too full-on if I try to see everyone all the time! You know I love you!

Cooking with Nanny

I’ve written about my Nanny and Grandpa previously, and they have had such an amazing life that I could do a hundred posts about them. Today I would like to tell you about Cooking With Nanny. Nanny has been cooking for a very long time. She learnt to cook a lot of dishes when she was growing up in Ukraine, then some more when she was in Germany during the war, and she has continued to learn since being in Australia.

Of course she has a few staple dishes that we LOVE, and today I’m going to tell you about Cooking Pierogi with Nanny. When we were up for Christmas, Hubs and I stayed at Nanny and Grandpa’s place just before Christmas and I wanted to get some photos of us cooking together. Hubs did one better than that, and did some videoing without me knowing! It was such a lovely surprise when I got to watch them later!

First of all, you mix up the ingredients for the dough in an old saucepan that Nanny and Grandpa bought in Germany, around 60 years ago. Nanny doesn’t really measure things. It’s more like “2 big spoons flour, a few egg, some milk.”

And then you knead it like so: (listen to the audio! Classic Nanny!)

Nanny has the most amazing hands – they have been through so much, and I’m sure would have many stories to tell.

After kneading the dough (then letting Nanny knead it properly) you need to do some rolling. I’m pretty good at this part:

Next you cut the dough (it’s actually more like pasta) with Nanny’s aqua cup. It makes the perfect circle size for the pierogi. (Funny audio again):

And finally, the making of the pierogi. You put a heaped spoon of mince (hand-minced, prepared by Nanny the night before!) Again, listen to the audio. Priceless!

This is what they look like “raw”:

Then you boil some water and cook them in boiling water for 12 minutes:

Then put a wad of butter in the fry pan and go to town! This is the step that just makes them soooooooooo goooooooooood!

Oh! And for extra fatty goodness, don’t forget to fry up some bacon (til it’s super-crispy!) to put on top! Ta daaaaaah!

I really want to try making them myself down here in Melbourne. That really should be a New Year’s resolution!! Watch this space!

Mt Tibrogargan

I do believe this is my 100th post! Hooray!

I thought I would celebrate this milestone with a post about another achievement I made whilst holidaying in Brisbane. My 2007/2008 New Year’s resolution was to try a few new things. So I dreaded Hubs’ hair, started sewing again, did some study, and climbed Mt Tibrogargan! (The Gorilla-looking mountain on the way to the Sunny Coast.) I wasn’t sure what to expect to be honest. I thought we were going for a bushwalk/hike, but it felt like more of a climb/scamper!

My sister-in-law used to climb it “for fun” every couple of weeks, and Hubs had climbed it a few times before too. It was insane! They were very supportive though, and managed to get me all the way to the top!

Here are some “happy” (aka exhausted, nerve-racking, insane) photos we took along the way.

At the start, when I was thinking “this isn’t so bad!”

The next part where Lsl PROMISED she wouldn’t take any photos of my butt! Yeah, right. I was starting to wonder what the hell I was doing up there at this stage.

Hub’s thoughts: “I love you”
Wifey’s thoughts” “How the hell am I going to get down from here?????” (click on image for up-close facial expressions!)

We made it!! The view was amazing! Half way up, I really didn’t think I was going to make it. But I was SO proud of myself, sitting up there on top of the world!

After much slipping and sliding (and torn pants) we were back down the bottom, looking up at the beast we had just conquered.

If I had known what I was getting myself in to, I probably would have chickened out, but ignorance is bliss! Thanks for the great experience Hubs and Lsl! Oh, and I NEVER want to do it again! Ha!

It’s so hot today

I’ve had this Peter Coombe song in my head since we arrived in Brisbane on Saturday. After the weather in Melbourne (tops of 25 degrees, mostly 22 degrees though) these 30-35 degree days (plus 88% humidity) are killing me! Hubs is loving it though, so at least that’s something!

It’s been a crazy start to our 3 week holiday in Brisbane, but so lovely to see everyone. I’m still fighting my sinus/chest infection so decided to take it easy today which has been bliss! Off to the shops with Nanny and Grandpa tomorrow (which consists of me trying on clothes, not finding anything I like, then Nanny stomping her foot down saying “I no leave til you buy something!”) so that should be fun! No doubt a trip to ALDI will also be on the cards.

I spent a lovely afternoon with my Godson Billy-Bob & Billy-Bob’s Mum yesterday which was de-lightful! Looking forward to spending quality time with friends and family over the next few weeks, so if that’s you, we’ll see you soon!!!