Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Some pictures

I'm going to post some pictures of us because I can.

Here's one of Matt and me at the opening of the Greeson's furniture store in July 06.

This is Melissa her 1st year in Longhorn Band. Oct 2005 - National Championship year!

Here's Ruth and Tim at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower center taken in May 05.

Sharon and Ruth putting on a spread at Melissa's graduation party - May 05.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Email from Melissa

Since Melissa hasn't been so good about blogging I'll post her interesting emails here. Just got this one:


This is actually the first time I've gotten on the internet since I've been here! And now it's the last day!
I've had a lot of fun. They split us up into groups of 10 so we got to know each other better and we'd do stuff with our group. The first day we just got a tour of the college and the university and we walked around Lygon street. The second day we went to this zoo (another one, ugh) and saw platypus and tasmanian devil and all the other good ones. Yesterday we stayed at the beach for about 7 hours and we went SURFING!! it was sooo fun! I actually stood up about 4 or 5 times and we were out there for about an hour and a half. I was proud of myself! AND i re-applied sunscreen about a billion times so I'm not very burned, just like patches where I missed. Today we're just taking it easy, we went to the immigration museum and we have lunch at 1230. Then we get about 5 hours of free time until our formal farewell dinner, so I'm gonna move some of my stuff into my apartment.

Well that's about having a great time and I'm not dead! sorry it's been about 4 days since you've heard from me! love you,


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggeddy jog

Friday midnight - Oh man does it feel good to be home again! I got some sleep here and there but am pretty tired. Kindof wound up a little bit tho so I think I'll do some unpacking before I go to bed. Then tomorrow got the whole reading mail and paying bills thing to do - and of course I have to catch up on my tv shows I missed - almost filled up the dvr!

This'll be my last post until the next trip, unless I decide to add some more pictures or just get bored.

Travelin Home

Fri - 10:30am - well, melissa's all squared away & I'm at the airport almost on my way home. I'll be back in LA before I leave here & will be home yesterday (or something along those lines).

We got her housing squared away, got the money orders she needs to pay rent with, found out exactly where she needs to go today for her 4-day "welcome" program & figured out how to get there with all her stuff. She will be chking out of the hotel herself @ 10 & taking a taxi to the school. Bye sweetie! Love you!

Fri 11:30am (but 20? hours or so later) - back in the USA, ta da, back in the USA (singing mode off).

This is a long-ass trip! Stopped in Auckland for 2 hours, now in LA for 4 hours. Going thru Dallas so that's another long wait. Should've done direct but the travel agent got the cheapest flights. Lesson: always schedule flights yourself.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Happy Valentine's Day from the future everyone.

In Melbourne

Wed 6PM - well, we got here yesterday and it's much cooler than Cairns, temperature-wise, so Melissa is much happier - she was hoping she wouldn't be living in Cairns-like weather. We made it up to the university today and saw where she will be living (the red & white building in the first picture) and some of the cool looking old buildings. Her room is right across the street from the university and only a couple of blocks from the civil engineering building.

Tomorrow we're going to go get a money order (they won't take a US check) for her 1st months rent and security deposit and try to get her moved in so she won't have to lug all her stuff around. She's going to a welcome program from the 15th - 19th and will be staying in a dorm but this way she can go ahead and get all her stuff to her room. We bought sheets and towels and a pillow and blanket - and an extra bag to carry everything in. She'll have a shared kitchen and bathroom but her own bedroom. Haven't seen the room yet.

I'm ready to come home - I miss all you guys (and my tv and dvr and 24-hour internet access). This will probably be my last post unless I get access at the airport. Oh yeah, Melbourne is pretty neat. OK, bye bye.

Here's the pictures I promised

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Still raining in Cairns

9:30PM Friday
OK, so Cairns is pretty neat but not exactly what I expected. It's on a bay and you'd expect there to be a pretty beach, but the beach is ugly and unusable. At low tide it's just a muddy mess, and there's crocodiles (so they say - we didn't see any) and some kind of deadly jellyfish so you can't go into the water. There IS a beach you can use, but it's like the beach at Schlitterbahn - fake - actually a big swimming pool with a fake sand beach, right next to the real beach. Strange. And, as I said before, it's really hot and humid. Tomorrow we're going out on a boat to the reef so we should actually be able to get into the water.

Sun noon - Kuranda
Yesterday we took a boat ride out to a small island & bird sanctuary on the Great Barrier reef & snorkeled & did a semi-submersible boat ride. It was beautiful.

Today we took a scenic train thru the rainforest this am & are taking a sky-cable car back. Saw more kangaroos & melissa got to hold a koala! So cute.

Monday noon - posting from pda so no pictures - will try to add some later. Still raining here - we're ready to leave & get on to melbourne.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sydney to Cairns

Thurs 8pm
There's only one tv channel in Sydney with an actual tv show on & it's in german. There are about 5 Fox Sports channels, showing cricket, soccer, australian football, rugby, darts, pool, poker (texas holdem of course), basketball. The other channels are weird reality shows, news or children's shows. The cricket & aust football are on all day long. Channel surfing is not a good sport here.

Fri 7:30pm cairns
It's really hot & humd here!!!! Like florida or houston humid!! We're eating italian & they have free internet. Whoops, food's here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

About Comments

I changed the settings so you no longer have to register to comment (didn't know you could do this). So if you haven't commented before, now you can. Thanks to Tim and Larry for letting me know you're enjoying reading this - I'm enjoying doing it and it's more fun than keeping a journal but serves the same purpose. We really are having a good time.

Australia Time

Tues 8pm Sydney time
Ugh. I'm getting tired of going to the airport every few days. Train, bus or car travel lets you sightsee & stuff & is part of the vacation but flying is just a waste of a day. Oh well, we're here but are just staying in the hotel tonight - got an early day tomorrow - bus tour to a wildlife area.

Internet @ the hotel is expensive so I can hopefully find a free signal somewhere tomorrow.

Wed 11am - on a tour bus to Blue Mtns & wildlife preserve - nice weather.

Pretty mountain views & we rode the "steepest train in the southern hemisphere" down to a rain forest. Then we went to a wildlife preserve & got to see a lot of animals & koalas real close up & walk around with them & pet kangaroos. It was really neat. We took a river ferry back to town instead of the bus & saw the big bridge & opera house. We're kinda tuckered out & melissa's leg hurts (she bruised it pretty badly on the jet boat) so I'm going out for takeout later and also look for free internet. Can't post pictures with this pda so will have to wait until later.

Thurs 2:30 pm
Today we slept late then took a city bus tour. It was nice until it started raining and we had to move down from the top. We got off to go to the Hard Rock Cafe, but it closed down a couple of months ago. So we came back to the room & are waiting for the rain to stop and then will head off to do some city walking. Tomorrow off to Cairns - early day again.

Monday, February 4, 2008

More Adventures

Mon 7P
This morning we went abseiling (rapelling) and it was great! It was only Melissa and me and the guide, so we got to go several times each. I got to go 3 times and the guide said I could go one more time, but I couldn't climb up there again. It was a long climb to the base of the cliff and a short but steep climb from the base to the top. It wasn't scary at all going over the edge. I loved it.

This afternoon we took a Lord of the Rings jeep tour up to where they did a lot of the filming for LOTR. We saw Fangorn forest, where Isengard would be if it was real (the backdrop for it anyway), the Misty mountains and other places. There was also a large crew there filming scenes from the new Wolverine movie. Hugh Jackman is in town but we haven't seen him. He took the jetboat ride yesterday tho, just a few hours before us.

Tomorrow we're off to Sydney

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Another day, another 3 or 4 hundred dollars

Sun 1 pm
This am we went jet-boating. The jet-boat was great! It made me miss the jet ski. It was a lot like that only faster & dryer. It was in a narrow canyon & the driver tried to scare us.

Those betting on me doing the bungy jump just lost their bet - sorry. I wasn't confident that I would be able to go thru with it, once push came to shove (so to speak) so, not wanting to waste my money, I decided to go as a spectator.

Melissa is going to do it tho - she chose the highest one - 134 meters into a canyon - 8.5 secs fall time. Brave girl.

GOOD CHOICE!!! There's no way they'd have gotten me off that ledge. It was a lot of fun watching tho & melissa thought it was great - she didn't even scream much. I'm trying to upload a short movie of her jumping off - hopefully it finishes uploading before we run out of computer battery juice.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Fri Feb 1 10pm
We're in Queenstown. I still haven't seen the southern skies @ night. It stays light until 9:30 - keeps confusing me that it's summer here. Queenstown is a lot like Breckenridge but smaller. It's much cooler here.

This hotel is very nice & it's a short walk to town. We do an all-day bus/boat tour tomorrow to fjord country (leave @ 6:45am)

We turned our cell phones on in Auckland to see if we could use them for alarm clocks & to my surprise, they had the right time & date & had a signal, tho it said roaming. I wouldn't dare try to dial, but yesterday got a text msg from verizon that said "urgent, dial *86". Now I'm afraid we got charged for just having them on. I'm scared to dial *86 tho - will it cost an arm & a leg? Maybe I should just leave my phone off - it's such a good alarm clock tho.

Sat, 3pm
We're on the bus on our way back from Milford Sound, a beautiful fjord on the West coast. It's clear and sunny and warm today. It was a long trip here but was worth it - waterfalls & mountains & stuff. We get to sleep in tomorrow, hooray! Melissa is listening to Lord of the Rings on her ipod - this is very familiar scenery here. Tomorrow is jet-boat & maybe bungee. Do I have the nerve to really do this? Stay tuned.

They have deer farms here & export venison & make things out of possum fur - weird, right?