Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Everything happens for a reason

I am a true believer in this and try to tell myself this whenever something bad happens, even when I wonder Why? Why? Why?
My foot is one example, and I have yet to understand why that did happen, who knows, maybe I never will?!
As for why I kept on messing up on booking our flights to Sydney, well, I know why that was happening. And I blame the US consulate here in Melbourne. The bastards refused Rob a transit Visa for Rob to spend ONE night in Los Angeles (a total of 14 hours between flights) en route to Calgary. One of their excuses, because he is a traveler here in Australia, and he has no set address or family ties here. If he was in the UK, he probably would have got it. When he came out of the US Consulate office and he told me, I felt sick and in complete shock. I never once had any doubt that he would have been denied. I couldn't believe that they refused him entry and we are both are very angry at the United States. It upsets me because so many other people, even bad people, manage to get into the US without difficulties. I'm thinking I should have just put him on a boat and sent him north-east bound, he would have landed somewhere along North America, right?
The worst, he had to pay for the Visa via Australia Post before even going to the interview, a whole whopping $168, which is of course, non refundable. Not including the $14 fee for booking the interview on line, the $12 for the Express post envelope we had to buy (which would have been used to mail us the visa if he got it in the first place, but no worries, the envelope WILL be used at some point), the $21 in train tickets to get to the consulate, as well as Rob had to take the day off work. Honestly, between taxes, rising prices in everything, and governments taking money for meaningless things (like visa's that don't get issued), I wonder how countries are still in debt????

I feel very guilty because I didn't look into this first before booking his flights, especially considering it was his parents money that paid for the flight, but I honestly had no inclination that he wouldn't get into the US. And of course, we where flying VAustralia who only flies to LA, even all their affiliates fly via Los Angeles, no direct flights to Canada. Damn bastards. So, I basically just took $1118 AUS and watched it being flushed down the toilet. I am going to look into getting a voucher from VAustralia (AKA, Virgin airlines), but am not feeling great about it, it was a V Promo seat, with little flexibility. But I will try, and if not, I won't be canceling it and giving the airline the benefit of pocketing the money and selling the seat to someone else. Plus, I can then have more leg room as we were booked seating next to each other :)

We were told by a VAustralia representative (when we called asking about flights) that if we where in LA for less then 12 hours, he wouldn't require a US Visa, but he encouraged us to check with immigration first. That brought our spririts up for a bit, until they came crashing down, again. I tried looking on the US and Australia US consulate websites for info on whether he would require a visa, but seriously, that was a complete waste of time as they tell you nothing. Oh, but there is a number you can call and speak to someone about Visa enquires, at a fee of course. We decided this was the best option, even though we didn't want to give them MORE moeny, but we wanted to make sure we did the right thing. At a cost of $12, for about a 2 minute talk with a representative, we where told that yes, he would require a visa no matter what. Not what we wanted to hear. I called my travel agent in Darwin regarding flights to Canada and I asked her about the US Visa thing, and she did say it would be a good idea to have one in case flights got cancelled or delayed and we would have to spend the night in LA. We decided it was not worth the risk of dealing with immigration officers in LA (now that they not only know he was denied a visa, but they also have his fingerprints, which everyone gets done before his interview at the consulate), or even the chance that VAustralia would deny boarding in Sydney because he didn't have a Visa. So we searched for a direct flight to Vancouver.

As for the domestic flights I was trying to book from Melbourne to Sydney, the money was put back in my account and the bookings where cancelled. Next, I found flights for just myself to Sydney and back, flying Qantas with one, and Jetstar with the other and we pretty much return to Melbourne at the same time.
I was able to find a decently priced flight flying from Melbourne, to Sydney, then Sydney to Vancouver with Air Canada for Rob. I will have to change his flight from LA to Calgar,y to Van to Calgary. He will now be able to stay in Vancouver for a week to see family there and then he will fly to Calgary in time for the family reunion.
A huge bummer for the both of us, and now we have to fly alone which sucks even more, but not much we can do about that.
So why this has happened??????? Not sure, and may never find out????

Stupid, F#$%ing, American, Wankers........ ok, not everyone, but seriously.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What's up

Well, not much! Since my birthday Rob and I have had a pretty un-eventful week. Not only are we trying to save money, but the weather had been pretty crap which makes it difficult to do anything.
I've been going to the gym two-three times a week. I'm feeling great and am slowly getting better and better at walking without a limp :) It's a nice little walk to the gym as well so I can take my time, and it gets me off the damn computer.....that I oh so love :)
I have been trying to get everything organized for our trip home. It is less then three weeks till we leave and Rob needs to get a US transit visa for our overnight stay in LA, as well as I am still trying to organize flights to Sydney.
When I first tried to book the flight to Sydney, I thought I booked it on my credit card on line, but after about a week of not getting any e-mails, and a quick check in my bank account, it didn't go through. So I tried again, this time and tried the direct debit to save me the $14 credit card fee they were charging. It all went through, or so I thought. I didn't get a confirmation number, and to be honest, I didn't even realize I didn't get one. I realized a few days later that I didn't confirm it with a text from the bank. Stupid, I know. So I tried again, this time making sure I confirmed with a text. The next day when I checked my ticket on the Jetstar website, it still said I owed them money. I rechecked my bank, and realized that I forgot to add my confirmation number when booking. So my $354 is in banking cyberspace!!! I called Jetstar and they said I'd have to wait a few days for it to either make its way to Jetstar, or to be put back in my account. My account says it's been confirmed though, so I may have to make a phone call tomorrow to Jetstar to get it sorted out. How annoying, and it's all my fault!!!

And as for Rob's visa, that is another annoying thing! The US is being very difficult in issuing a transit visa. Because Rob is from the UK, he needs to get a visa before he can get into the country. It's only a transit visa, you wouldn't think it'd be a problem. Well, it is. On Tuesday he has to to go to the US consulate here in Melbourne for an interview.....for a damn transit visa!! Oh, yeah, and pay $168! Such crap. Anyways.

On a brighter note, Rob and I went and saw Shrek Forever After in 3D over the weekend, and what a great movie! I think 3D is a bit over-rated, but Shrek in 3D, was pretty good, despite the 2 birthday parties at the theater, and the movie being delayed for 30 minutes waiting for everyone to be settled. One birthday had about 20 kids - a good dose of birth control for a year I think!!!!

And so, the countdown is on now till we leave, 20 days, and counting :)))))))))))))))))))))

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Birthday to ME!!!!

Well what a great day my birthday was!

It was the first birthday that I have had where I actually kinda dreaded it, only because I feel like I am getting old now. Not that I am old, but approaching 30 is, well, a bit scary. However, I had a fantastic day, and am just going to have to deal with this whole 'aging' process! (I guess the fact that I have no grey hair is a good sign, right?!)

I woke up and called home right away to talk with my folks on skype. It was a great wake up call and I was told mom had already transfered $100 to my account in which I could spend in any which way I wanted! Rob also then proceeded to tell me that he had booked a 4 1/2 star hotel in the city for us that night!! I was so overwhelmed with emotion, of course I had to shed a few tears!

We packed out bags, grabbed a taxi to the train station and made our way to the city. Our hotel was pretty close so I didn't have to walk far, and it was a pretty nice one at that! A studio style type room, equipped with a stove, oven, fridge and even microwave! None of which were used, apart from the kettle the next day!

I decided to spend my mom and dad's money (heehee) on a nice dinner for Rob and I. Since watching the Australian Masterchef and loving food, and even trying new food, I've wanted to go to a nice restaurant for ages. The hotel was only 2 blocks from the Yarra river, where there are many nice restaurants to choose from. We walked around, checked out some menu's, including Gordon Ramsey's Maze, but settled on something in the middle. Of course we stopped along the way for a drink here and there, eventually ending up at a restaurant called "The Meat and Wine Co". Couldn't go wrong with that, Rob loves his steak and I love my wine. It was a 45 minute wait for a table, where we waited in the bar, starting off with a bottle of wine. I should mention that prior to this we had opened a bottle of wine at the room, as well as I had had 3 glasses of wine along the way. By the time we were seated, we had finished the bottle and only had what was left in the glass. The menu looked very appetizing and we started off with calamari. To my own surprise I ordered steak for a main, as well as did Rob, ordered medium rare, and it was cooked to perfection!

After finishing another bottle of wine, we decided it was maybe time to leave! We just happened to walk past the casino, and decided why not, it was my birthday, right?! We found a roulette table and I put my $100 on the table. I wasn't doing so bad, then my number 8 hit twice! Fantastic! I pocketed the second winning, as it was in cash, and played the rest of my chips. I did ok, then started loosing, and gambled the rest away. Rob, on the other hand, did very well. His number was 17, and after it hit once, he put another chip on it, and it hit again! He ended up walking away $125 richer! Can't complain as he paid for most of the night, apart from dinner of course.

The next day we woke up to cloud, fog, and drizzle. Not exactly what I wanted for spending the day in the city, but what can you do. We jumped on the free city tram, and after three stops we were ordered off as it had faulty brakes. Awesome, what a start to the day!! We got off, and decided it was a good place to get some food. I found the fry shop had ordered a poutine :)))) Haven't had one in ages!! We got back on the tram and headed towards the Melbourne museum to check out the Titanic exhibition. We also got off this tram as it had to detour due to a rally! We decided maybe it was best if we just walked the rest of the way. Once we arrived at the exhibition, we discovered that they only let so many people in during the hour, and we would have had to wait nearly 3 hours to get in. So that was out of the question. The Imax was right next door, but the next showing of Shrek 3 wasn't for 2 hours. We walked back into the city, and headed towards Bourke Street mall. On the way we passed a place called Chill On, an Ice lounge. It was a bit pricey to enter, but we decided when else would we be able to drink in a large freezer :))) We had to bundle up in gloves, jackets and boots for me, it was -10 inside, and I forgot what -10 feels like! We had our drinks served in ice glasses, and surprisingly, it didn't stick to our lips!! We polished off our drinks, and after only 20 minutes (out of a max of 30 minutes allotted) we decided that was enough, it was time to leave! (I have no photos as we couldn't take pictures inside, but the link to website is: www.chillon.com.au)

We made our way to the mall and walked around a bit, but it was just like any other mall. In fact, we actually got lost in Myer's for about 30 minutes, seriously, there was no exit!!

We were back in Melton just before 4, and I was so relived as my foot was aching! That was the most walking I had done, and I was feeling it!

It was a fantastic birthday weekend, I seriously couldn't have asked for more! Bring on the year!

The room, can u see the wine already opened :)
Looking down into the city
Having fun!
One of the swanky bars we went to
My steak dinner, and wine of course!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Back to the gym!

Yesterday I decided I would check out how much it would cost for casual drop in rates at the gym. I am going stir crazy at the house, and just want to do something active. I can walk, slowly, and the bike and rower at the gym would be perfect. I found a gym about a 20 minute walk from the house, at I could get a 10 day pass for $99. I bit pricey, but the only other memberships they offered was a 3 month. The other local gym, also a close walk, was $15 per visit. No thanks.
So today I got up, relatively early as well, had a nice healthy breakfast, and made my way to the gym. The gym let me go check out the gym and go for a 'free' work out. I started on the bike, not much resistance as my whole body is kinda limp right now! 20 minutes later and I could feel the burn in my quads already. I spent lots of time stretching as well as upper and a few lower leg weights. I went on the rower for 5 minutes in between as well, just to keep my heart rate up.
The only other thing that they didn't have, and I was disappointed, was they didn't have a balancing board. I wanted to use one to slowly start putting weight on the outside of my right foot, and it would have been perfect. Oh well, I improvised and just used the edge of one of the machines.
I left the gym feeling great, and the walk home was a great way to cool down and keep my foot and calf stretched. As long as I don't push it, I'm hoping it will help speed up the recovery of my foot, so I can get back on my feet! I have a feeling it might be a bit rough getting out of bed tomorrow and Sunday, well, I might need to be pulled out of bed, but I know it will be a good sort-a pain!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

camping photos

Rob playing Frisbee
The "port-o-loo"
Carol and Ian's caravan, with out tent in the background
Do I even need a caption??

Monday, June 14, 2010

I survived!

Yes, we went camping, and it was cold, but I came back alive and with all my fingers and toes!
Once Rob came back from work on Friday, we packed up the car and headed out. The campsite is less then an hour from Melton, and we arrived just before dark. Our tent was set up for us, and it was massive!! It actually had a divider so there could be 2 rooms. We also borrowed a mattress that was raised off the ground so we weren't absorbing the cold off the ground. We also had two blankets over our sleeping bags to keep us nice and cozy. We set this up, and in no time we each had a drink in hand sitting around the campfire. Actually, I was cold and didn't get my travel mug, so was being stubborn and didn't have a drink right away. But I eventually caved in.

The first night Rob got very drunk, he pulled out the Jack Daniels and that was it. We all huddled around the camp fire, had barbecue for supper, and chatted away. In total there were 9 of us; Carol, Ian and Kristy, their friends Sue and Geoff, and their other friends Tracy with her son Kane. That night was pretty cold, and I got a hot water bottle from Sue, so I had a nice warm sleeping bag when I got in. But of course my face and nose froze that night, but luckily I think I had enough to drink that I was able to sleep alright!
Saturday was a day of not much. We went for a walk up to the summit of Mount Franklin, I did pretty good with my foot, just walking back down was a bit sore. On our way down it also started to rain a little bit, but it only lasted for about 5-10 minutes. And when we arrived back in camp, there where 2 tarps up and Rob and I set up our canopy so there where many places to hid if it poured. Luckily, this never happened, and the sun even decided to come out for short random visits. We found our frisbee in the back seat of the car and started throwing that around when it stopped raining. It was fun and I actually became quite good at throwing it, even straight! I bailed after about 2 hours of playing, but the boys kept playing for about another hour. That night for super was stew on the camp oven. So, so good!
Sunday we went into the Dayelsford markets, about 10 minutes away. A very hippie town, with lots of hippie things to buy. I just stuck with buying food and warm drinks. We went for a drive, stopped at Hepburn Springs and went for a walk. I only hurt my foot twice, but not bad, just stepped the wrong way, which sent pains in my foot. But nothing that didn't last too long. No pain, no gain, right?? We drove up to Castlemaine, 30km's away, just to do something. On the way back I decided to drive, and Rob let me :)) It was the first time I had driven since breaking my foot, and it felt great!! A little scary, but I loved it! I could drive everywhere. We stopped at a winery on the way back, a small boutique winery, and very nice wine. He showed us around his cellar, which was made into the rocks on the hill, very effective at keeping a constant temperature. We left with two bottles, and had the nice shiraz with roast beef that night. Which was also cooked in the camp oven, and was one of the tenderest roasts I have had in ages! Of course there was also potatoes, pumpkin and peas and corn, with fresh bread from the market that morning. I hadn't eaten so much food in such a long time. I actually didn't even drink that much that night because I was SO full!! It was an early night for Rob and I, and almost felt ill from all the food when I went to bed. But of course felt better the next day.
We had breakfast Monday morning after procrastinating around the fire, it was that dreaded time to start packing up. It was interesting trying to take down a tent that we didn't set up, but we did it. And before we knew it, everything was taken down and packed away. It was sad to see it down as I do enjoy camping and didn't want to go back to the city, and the TV that I knew would be on 24/7.

All in all, not a bad weekend. I ate tons, which is bad I know, but what is camping for?? I had fun - despite the cold nights, and of course it was nice to get away from the city. Bring on camping this summer when I go home - and lets hope for nicer weather.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Camping anyone?

So this weekend is the Queen's birthday, which warrants a long weekend :) Thank-you Queen!
Since we have been here in Melton, the Nisbet's have planned to go camping for the weekend. I find it a bit strange to camp at this time of the year, it is officially winter, and it is Victoria's first snow weekend where the 'hills' open for the start of the ski season. Just last night on the news, about 200 km's from here there was a massive snow storm, and yes, there was quite a bit of snow! Anyways, back to camping. Where we are going, there shouldn't be any snow falling, but it is winter in full force, and I have seen the sun for a whole 10 minutes today. No rain, yet, but it is supposed to rain on and off all weekend, with highs of 13. Not my ideal weather for camping, especially coming from Darwin where I am still having a hard time adjusting to the cold weather. The evening gets very cold and there is no insulation in these houses so you might as well be outside. The heater here at the house isn't that strong and it takes forever to warm up the house!
Today Ian, Carol and Kristy left to go camping, Rob has to work tomorrow so we will head out once he gets done work. The front door was left open as they where getting the caravan ready today, and I was freezing my ass off in bed, (we are in the house now as they had to get the caravan ready) and I was under a down filled duvet!
Earlier in the week Rob and I headed out to get some warmer clothes, as we know the weather is NOT going to get any warmer! I wasn't too keen on spending too much money, but I did want to get some gloves and warm ugg boots (not real ones, the fakies) . We stopped at a few places, I got ugg boots for $15, and gloves, then we stopped at the good ole' K'Mart. I didn't plan on getting a 'jacket', but K had nice warm winter jackets for $30! How could I resist?!! Even if it only lasted the few months that I was here, it would be worth it. And they had them in pink, so I picked one up. Of course poor Rob had very little to choose from, and his was twice as much.
I am also walking crutch free :) I still have a swollen foot, and can't fully put all my weight on my foot, but I am able to hobble around. In fact, just the other day Rob and I took Winnie out for a walk. What a great feeling! I am walking just fine on even surfaces, but my foot still isn't that strong to handle un-even surfaces. Which will make camping also interesting. I will be bringing my crutches with me, as well as a head lamp to use at night so I can see where I am stepping. Hopefully this will be enough, and I'm sure with all the alcohol, I won't feel much pain :)))) Just kidding mom!
So hopefully I have enough warm clothes to keep me cosy, if not enough alcohol to get me by and if not, it might be a very grumpy filled weekend :) Just ask my mom!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

When it rains it pours!!

How true is this for me now.

Just when my foot is starting to get better, something else comes up. As for my foot I am down to one crutch all the time, and I am getting faster and faster at walking. It is still very swollen and stiff, but I am doing exercises all the time, and with time, I'll be back to normal.

But last night, I got a set back. I've come down with a bladder infection. I can not believe it, I've never had one and have no idea how I've got this one. I was in so much pain last night, that I almost went to the clinic, but things settled and I decided to see how I felt in the morning. Definitely not any better, so off to the doctors I went. I don't think I have ever been to the doctors this many times in such a short time; not that I can remember anyways. And of course it happens to be Sunday, so the visit cost me $65 instead of $55. I had to wait nearly 2 hours for this visit, but managed to 'get 2 birds with one stone' as I needed to see the doctor to hand in a written request for my medical records for my insurance company. Unbelievable!!!! I also managed to save a bit of money as the doctor had some extra cephelaxin from a patient that reacted to them, so I didn't have to pay for a prescription. There was only one missing and I still have enough for a 5 day course, which should be plenty. Anyways, enough about that, lets just hope it gets better before spreading to my kidneys.

On a brighter note, yesterday Rob and I went to Australia's Good Food and Wine Show. We ordered tickets on line and got into one of the celebrity theaters to see Tobie Puttock and Matt Skinner cook. I wanted to see George Calombaris and Gary Megihan who are off the popular MasterChef here in Australia, but of course it was sold out. We where able to take the train in and only had to walk a short distance to the exhibition center. There were tons of displays, lots of food tastings and even more wine tastings!! We actually had to go back and forth between the food and wine samples as we easily could have got very drunk from all the wine samples, actually, we where feeling no pain by noon!!

Lots of the tastings didn't have sample glasses, but instead we had to buy a wine glass, and of course we got the ones with the holders, see picture below. I didn't mind having to buy the glass, saves the environment! We tried some nice wines from many regions in Australia, some we hadn't been to, others we had. As well as some New Zealand wines. As for food, there was amazing flavored honey, tasty sausages, veggie chips, organic juices and so much more. I did end up getting a very small reaction to something. I'm guessing it might have been a slight contamination with something, not sure though. But after some water and a rest, I was feeling better. I wasn't feeling the greatest in the afternoon though, had an upset stomach. It didn't help that I was slightly hungover from the night before and was drinking wine all morning :) But things where better once I got a chance to see Gary and George in the book signing. I considered buying a recipe book, but it was $44, and knowing I wouldn't be using it right away, it would have been more a hassle carrying around, plus we where too late to get in for the book signing. Tobie and Matt where very funny in their cooking class, even Rob seemed to enjoy it! They cooked a very simple spaghetti/olive oil/herbs/garlic dish, as well as a pork belly smothered in olive oil/herbs, rolled up as a roast and baked - looked very yummy! and for dessert, chiros. Can't go wrong with chiros!!!

By the time this class was over, both Rob and I were exhausted, and my foot was starting to hurt, so we headed back into Melton. Of course it was raining out so we got soaked, gotta love winter in Melbourne.

Now I just have to get rid of this infection and make sure my foot keeps getting better, and I'll be set for camping this upcoming long weekend :)

Good Food and Wine Show
Gary and George!!
Our wine glass holders, which came in very handy!
Mmmm, it was Good Food!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


I have added a couple photos of what my foot looks like as of now. Still really swollen, which is understandable, but the bruise on the bottom of my foot is strange!

Things are still getting better, I can sort of walk without a crutch, but I don't really 'walk'. I more or less just walk on my heal. I am putting my foot in warm-to-hot water a few times a day to increase circulation, as well, stretching my toes as much as I can, all day long!

I was going to go to the gym - not to worry, no running or walking on the treadmill for me, but I was going to attempt the rower or the bike, just to get some cardio back in my life, as well as do some weights, but it just didn't happen today. Rob was looking for jobs and Hayley got a surprise call for a job, so she was off for an interview. Maybe tomorrow I will get Rob to drop me off, I was very excited about it today, and very disappointed when we didn't end up going.

My goal is to have given away the crutches by the time we go camping during the Victorian long weekend, in 2 weeks. I need to have a goal, and I think its a reasonable one! Bring on the hikes and marathons...... k, well maybe not a marathon, but a good run would be great!!

Still just a bit swollen!
The swelling at the top of my foot makes it a bit painful to bend while walking
And the bruise, interesteing