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Flashback Friday: Pot plant

29 Nov

A comment my mom made on one of my blog posts the other day made me remember something funny that happened on my very first trip to Australia almost 13 years ago.

My exchange sister Lauren and I were going to her boyfriend (at the time) Michael’s house with Aaron.  We were probably wagging (skipping) school to play video games since we were naughty like that, but it also could have been after school.  Either way, Michael didn’t have his key.

“It’s ok, we keep a spare one under the pot plant,” Michael said.

“You have a POT PLANT???!!!!” I exclaimed, surprised.  “Isn’t there a cop living right next door?”

“Um…yeah, he doesn’t care about our pot plant.”  Michael told me, as the others looked at me strangely.

“That’s illegal where I come from.  You can’t have pot plants in the U.S.” I told them.

“What?! Why?  What’s wrong with pot plants? Pretty much everyone has them here.”

My eyes must have been as wide as saucers.  Why would everyone have pot plants?  I couldn’t wrap my head around it.

As I stood there, rather dumfounded, Michael lifted up a pot that contained a pretty flower.

“Oh, you mean POTTED plant.”

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Flashback Friday – horses

9 Aug

“You could get a horse and keep it at my house,” The Jess told me as she daydreamed about where she eventually wanted to buy a house.

The funny thing is, I’m not really interested in getting a horse.

I started riding as soon as I could sit up.  My mom would put me in front of her and hold me on while she rode her horse. I continued to ride until I moved over here when I was 18.  I was an active member of a horse 4-H club for 15 years, and I competed in horse shows from when I was about 1 (if lead-line and stick horses count as competing!!), until I was 17.  Along with Taekwondo, It was my thing.

Some days when school was out for the summer, I’d put my morgan/welsh pony called Snowman in the arena so I could go out multiple times per day when I got bored and hop on him for a quick ride, no saddle, no bridle, not even a halter.  I would just swing myself up, and control him with weight shifts, tongue clicks and voice commands, and he would go wherever I told him, at whatever speed I wanted him to.

Me and Snowman with some ribbons we won at a horse show

Me and Snowman with some ribbons we won at a horse show

I would give him carrots, kiss him on the nose, pat his neck and scratch him between his ears.  I knew him and he knew me.  We got along, and we had a bond.

Snowman and me.  Yes, I had permed burgundy hair.

Snowman and me. Yes, I had permed burgundy hair.

I remember when we very first got him.  I was only about 9 years old.  My mom bought (or was given, I can’t remember which) him while I was staying with my cousin in Minnesota for most of the summer.  My flight got in fairly late for a 9 year old (it was my first time flying by myself), but when we got home, my mom took me outside and turned on the arena lights.  I whinged about wanting to go to bed until I saw this obese little pony lying down in the middle of the arena.

I was so excited.  And cranky that mom kept him a secret the whole time I was gone (she didn’t want to spoil my trip).  I loved him straight away.  It took a long time, but we got him in shape and eventually, he lost his excess weight.

We also dressed up as the Village people for costume class.  We did love costume class.

We also dressed up as the Village people for costume class (a different year). We did love costume class.

I loved riding horses.

It’s not so much that I loved riding horses though, it’s that I loved riding my horse (pony, actually if you’re being technical).  I went to training days at the fairgrounds each year, and pretty much every time, the trainers and judges told me that I would do so much better if I wasn’t riding a pony.  They said that if I wanted to win, I should get a horse.

Jumping over a log at the ocean.  Our 4-H club used to take the horses to the beach every summer.

Jumping over a log at the ocean. Our 4-H club used to take the horses to the beach every summer.

But I never did.  Not because I didn’t want to win, I am one of the most competitive people that I know, believe you me, I wanted to win, but I didn’t want to win on any horse, I wanted to win on my pony.  It was me and Snowman or nothing.  I would rather lose with Snowman than win with anyone else.

Riding in the water, bareback.  Snowman loved to splash in the water and I would get soaking wet.

Riding in the water, bareback. Snowman loved to splash in the water and I would get soaking wet.

So no, I don’t want to get a horse, because it wouldn’t be the same; it wouldn’t be Snowman.

ready to ride from camp to the beach

ready to ride from camp to the beach

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The one about my leg – part 2

18 Nov

This is the second part of my leg story. If you haven’t read the first part, click here. Otherwise, I’ll pick up where I left off.

“Your tibia is broken just below your knee,” they told me as they put an x-ray on the light box. “This area here,” he pointed to the x-ray, “is a tumour. It covers 25% of your tibia.” I could see a large area of my bone that was seemingly missing, with a clean break at the thickest part.

I didn’t know what to say. I just kind of stared at them, shock replacing my pain.

“It’s likely not cancer, but there is that chance.” All I heard was cancer. I was terrified. I was only 16 years old. I was booked in to take my drivers licence test that very weekend, only 2 days later. I think my Dad was there, but maybe not. My Mom must have called him went she took me to the hospital. I think I remember him being in that room when they told me I had a tumour.

They put my leg in a brace that had about a zillion straps, booked me in to see the specialist the next day and sent me on my way.

With my leg completely straight in the brace, I had to sit sideways in the car with my leg across the bench seat, taking up the entire back seat.

“What happened to you?” Maria (my friend (not the one who broke my leg) who lived with us) said when I hobbled up the steps. It was about midnight by then. I was too full of shock and adrenaline to sleep, so I told her everything. “Well, at least I bought ice cream.” She got the container of orange sherbert with chocolate chunks out of the freezer. Just what I needed. I ate it straight from the carton. When you’re laying on the couch with a broken leg, bowls just aren’t necessary.

My bed was up high. Kind of like a bunk bed only there was no bottom bed. Instead there was a book shelf and a desk. Needless to say, I wouldn’t be sleeping up there any time soon. I had to sleep on the couch. On my back. And try not to really move because it hurt too much. I still hadn’t taken anything for the pain. I figured I’d already gone 5 hours without anything, and I didn’t die, so what’s a few more? I was very anti-drugs, in any way, shape, or form, including pain killers. Don’t worry, I’m not silly now, I will quite happily pop a Panadol if my head is pounding.

In the morning, I spread myself out in the back of my Dad’s car as he drove me to the specialist half an hour away. More x-rays were taken and a verdict reached.

“It looks like the you were born with this tumour. I’m surprised you haven’t broken your leg before. It’s amazing you’ve gone this long with such a weak spot in your bone.” Yeah, especially since I used to compete in TaeKwonDo tournaments. “I’m about 99% sure the tumour is not cancerous. It’s just fibrous tissue. Now that you’ve broken your leg, it might just fill in on it’s own as the break heals. Otherwise, you’ll have to have surgery later on.”

He plastered me up in a cast that went from the base of my toes all the way to the middle of my thigh. There were no waterproof casts back then, it was an old school, cotton, then white plaster cast. There was a slight bend at the knee, so my leg wasn’t entirely straight, but it wasn’t bent enough to sit on a chair properly either. Riding in the car was quite tricky. Because of the bend, I had to put a pillow or something under my knee and put my whole leg on across the seat. It wouldn’t fit sitting normally.

So even though I had an automatic van, I couldn’t get my drivers licence. Not yet. I’d have to wait. Sigh.

The cast was quite thick, so I couldn’t wear pants either. I had to wear shorts even though it’s quite cold in April. My mom actually had to take me shopping so I could buy an ample supply of shorts that were wide enough to fit over my cast on the way up. I had to pull out of PE class for obvious reasons, and I could no longer ride the bus to school.

I had to stop wearing a bra because the crutches sat under my armpits right where my bras did, rubbing against the bra which rubbed against my skin and made horrible sores. Not that I really needed a bra anyway. I didn’t have any boobs.

Every afternoon after school, I’d come home and fall asleep on the couch, exhausted from all the hobbling around on crutches. My classes were spread all over the school, so getting to them was no easy feat. I was allowed to be late to each and every class.

I couldn’t sleep in my bed, so instead I slept downstairs, in the rec-room, where Maria lived. She had a bed down there, but she preferred the couch, and always slept on the couch anyway. I slept on the bed and she got the couch. We were never really sleeping at the same time though, she worked nights (she was older than me).

Maria would come home in the morning just as I was getting taking the garbage bag off my cast after my shower. I was able to masterfully throw my underpants over my cast leg, pull them up with the toes of my other leg, and then reach them with my hands. I couldn’t bend over too far because that would pull on my bone and put me in terrible pain. I could not, however, manage to land my shorts on my foot. I tried and tried. But it never worked.

When Maria got home from work every day, she’d put my shorts on for me. You know someone is a true friend when they are willing to dress you daily (my parents were already at work, they left at  ridiculous o’clock in the morning, so they were unavailable for pants duty).

As the weeks went by, I went in for x-ray after x-ray, follow up after follow up. The hole didn’t fill in.

I finally got my cast off and found my leg covered in itchy hair, dirty as sin, and the muscle totally atrophied and disgusting looking.

4 months after I broke my leg, in the middle of summer and the school holidays, I got my drivers licence. Finally.

7 months after my leg broke, I went in for surgery. They cleared out the tumour (which, thank goodness, was not cancer. They tested it to make sure), and filled it in with bone that they took from my hip. I had to wear a brace for a long while after that, as it healed and the bone they stuck in there fused with the bone that surrounded it. After surgery was incredibly painful. My hip throbbed. My leg throbbed. My ankle swelled up to unbelievable proportions. I still refused to take pain killers.

When Lauren came to my house as an exchange student, I was still recovering. My brace was a thing of the past, but I still had a bandage on my leg. The incision took a while to heal after some of my internal stitches decided to become external.

Now my leg is fine. there is an area all around the scar on my tibia that doesn’t have much feeling. If anything touches it, it makes me shudder. It feels kind of disgusting. It gets goosebumps when I work out, but when I get goosebumps because I’m cold, that area does not get them. Weird.

The bone from my hip mostly grew back. When I touch the scar, I don’t feel it on the scar, but on my inner thigh. Nerves get all messed up with surgery I suppose. Other than that, there is no affect now. I can run, jump, skip, whatever. I’m all healed. I just have some cool battle scars.

Me with my broken leg and my leg after surgery. My friend’s face is covered because I haven’t asked her if her photo can be on the blog.

But you know what? Breaking bones and the pain post bone graft is NOTHING compared to giving birth. Time to get my tubes tied….

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Flashback Friday: The one about my leg

16 Nov

I’ve made reference to my leg and it’s tumour before, but I haven’t yet told you the full story (I don’t think…I’d better just do a quick search…ok, I haven’t told the story before). So here it goes:

I was 16 years old. It was April 21st. Yes, 2 years later, that would be the very date that Aaron and I started going out. We were having a talent show at 4-H (yes, that same 4-H that Homer Simpson makes fun of in an episode of the Simpson’s). I was going to play a few songs with the triplets. I was the guitarist for the evening. Mind you, I wasn’t very good. I’d only had my guitar for 4 months at that stage.

Hopped up on sugar, I was standing near my friend, who was sitting down, trying to get her to roughhouse with me. I leaned in and pushed her shoulder. She pushed me back. I bent over a little bit and shoulder barged her. We giggled. She pushed me away gently with her foot, barely touching my shin with her shoe. CRACK!

The colour drained from my face instantly. My eyes bulged out of my head as my mouth went from a smile to stunned mullet gasping. I froze right where I was. excruciating pain like I’d never felt before crippled my leg.

“Are you ok?” My friend asked me. “What’s wrong?”

“My leg.” I somehow managed to croak out. Maybe I was over reacting or being a total wuss. I shifted some weight from my right leg back to my left. Oh. My. Gosh. 

No, there was no way I could even stand on it. I somehow got to a chair. Or maybe one was brought to me. I can’t even remember, my mind kind of went foggy with pain. I didn’t know what to do. I mean, I knew my leg was broken. I heard the horrible crack it made as it broke. I felt the horrible pain – was still feeling the horrible pain. But my friend barely touched my leg. How could it be broken? It didn’t make any sense.

“Mom, there’s something wrong with my leg.” I wasn’t crying. I wasn’t a crier. Never have been. Except now if I see something sad about kids. Gets me every time. That’s what motherhood does I suppose.

My Mom studied me for a couple of seconds, attempting to determine if I was truly hurt or just being wussy “Just sit down for a while and see how you go.” She told me. Or something like that. It was a long time ago.

The talent show started. People did stuff. I couldn’t tell you who did what or even how many people performed. I was too busy sitting in my chair trying not to think about the pain, willing my leg to not be broken.

“Your turn!” Someone said. The rest of the band was already ready.

“Um…I can’t walk.” They still thought I was being wussy or making the whole thing up, so they humoured me and carried me to the stage in my chair. Instead of rocking out, I played Louie, Louie like an old lady, sitting in my chair, wincing as I played. I don’t even know how I got through it, but I did. I don’t even think I messed up.

Playing guitar with my undiagnosed broken leg.

A couple hours later, it was all finished. My leg wasn’t any better. If anything, the pain was worse. Trying to put even a tiny bit of weight on it sent searing pain through my body. The throbbing was terrible.

“Alright, I’ll take you to the after hours doctor.” My mom told me. It was in the next town. I held onto two people’s shoulders and hopped my way down to the truck. Or maybe they carried me. I’m not sure. Haze of pain, remember?

We drove 15 minutes to the next town, only to find the after hours doctor was closed. Sigh.

“Can’t it wait until tomorrow?” My Mom asked me.

“No, I need to see someone now.”

“Ok, I guess I’ll have to take you to the ER then.”

We drove 15 minutes back to our town. The hospital was on the other side of the railroad tracks. Oh. My. Gosh. My leg jarred as we drove over the tracks, nearly putting me in tears. Pretty much the only thing I remember about that car ride is going over the railroad tracks. It was bad. 

I took hold of my Mom’s elbow and hopped my way into the E.R. where I was given a wheelchair to sit on. I have no idea how long I was waiting for, but after a while, someone came over to where I was sitting and started asking questions.

“Where does it hurt?” She asked me.

“There.” I pointed to the spot just below my knee.

“And how did it happen?”

“I was roughhousing with my friend, and she pushed me with her foot. But not very hard.”

“On a scale of 1-10, 1 being no pain, 10 being excruciating, how much does it hurt.”

“10.” Actually, I probably tried to be hard core and said something like 7. Or maybe I was just getting used to the pain by then.

“Well, no one really breaks their leg right under their knee, that is the strongest part of your tibia, if it was broken, it would be at the thinnest part. So how about you just go home and try to walk on it, and see how you go in the morning?”

“No. You need to x-ray it. I’m not leaving.” Seriously, I was not leaving until they checked it out. Even if I had to be a little feisty in the process.

She must have seen the determination in my eyes as she took me for an x-ray straight away, then wheeled me into a consultation room.

When she returned, she was not alone. There were a couple of other doctors with her. The look on their faces said it all. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong.

This is getting rather long now, so I guess you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what happend next.

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Flashback Friday: Can tipping

2 Nov

“What do you wanna do?” One of my friends asked, back when we were 16 and thought we were all super awesome.

“I dunno.” I said.

“Let’s drive around.” Someone else said. Ok, fine, I’m sure this wasn’t the exact conversation, but it was 13 years ago (you’re doing the math right now, aren’t you? I’ll save you the trouble, I’m 29), so cut me some slack.

“Ok, off to the Shaggin’ Wagon.” That was my van. It had another name too. A name I gave it, rather than my friends who were being ironic, but I can’t really remember what it was. People liked to call it the shaggin’ wagon due to it’s back 2 bench seats that nicely folded down to make a bed. A bed that didn’t see any shagging. Not when I owned it at least.

My van

Sometimes my friends and I would drive around at night and find those signs with the moveable letters and then change them to say inappropriate things. We’re probably the reason businesses started putting lockable plexiglass covers over the letters.

One of the signs we changed

Sometimes we would go to the 24 hour supermarket dressed like weirdos and walk around trying to get funny looks from people or push each other around the parking lot in shopping carts.

My friends and I (I’m second from the right in the first picture, and the one pushing the shopping trolley in the second) dressed in crazy clothes and makeup for a night of mischief

Once we pushed over a porta-potty, but we felt kind of bad as all the human excrement oozed out onto the ground, so we never did that again.

As we drove around, we noticed all the bins (garbage cans) at the end of everyone’s driveways.

“Let’s hit one.” I’m not sure who came up with the idea, but we were bored, so I went with it.

Putting my foot on the accelerator, I drove straight towards an empty garbage bin (I knew it was empty because the garbage man came earlier that morning. I wasn’t about to scatter litter everywhere. I’m no tosser.) Just as the front bumper of my van hit the bin, I slammed on the breaks.

“HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!” Everyone was laughing hysterically as the bin flew in the air in front of us, landing with a thud 10 feet away.

We definitely needed to try that again.

I drove my van back onto the road and put my foot down as we approached another bin. BANG! It flew in the air as the last one had.

I can’t remember how many bins we hit. 3, maybe 4. Then we came to a dead end. Crap.

I did my best 3 point turn, which was easy in my skinny van that had an amazing turning circle. I cruised down the road, doing the speed limit, which was only about 25mph.

We giggled as I drove, all of us high on the adrenaline of doing something so naughty (and it is very naughty, don’t go bin tipping, it’s not very nice! I was a dumb teenager!).

Suddenly, I stopped laughing. My already pale white face went an impossibly paler shade of white.

“Oh crap.” Someone said. They’d all seen it by then.

I couldn’t go around them. They were blocking the entire road. It’s not like it was a big road, only a 2 lane rural-ish road without even a shoulder. They stood far enough apart to block the road, but not far enough that I could fit the van between them. Wow, I just remembered, we weren’t even driving in my van that day (although we have been can tipping in my van), we were in my friend’s Dad’s truck. My friend’s Dad’s expensive extended cab, fairly new truck.

We were all silent as my friend came to a stop in front of the angry shirtless rednecks who each held a baseball bat with one hand and were tapping the end of the bat on their other hand all cranky like. We were just a group of 16 year old girls, what were these rednecks going to do to us?

White as a ghost, my friend put her foot back down on the accelerator, slowly inching forward, letting the angry mob know that we were getting through whether they moved or not.

BANG! BANG! As we passed through the mob, they pelted the truck with their baseball bats, nearly making us wet ourselves with fright in the process.

Needless to say, we never went can tipping after that.

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Flashback Friday – Stalking silverchair

8 Sep

The year was 1999. I was 16 years old. I got into music when I was about 14 years old. My very fist favourite band was silverchair, and I haven’t ever had another favourite band. It’s always been them. It still is. Even though they have since broken up (sad face).

Silverchair are an Australian band that got discovered when they were like 12. If you’re seen those new Qantas commercials, you’ve heard Daniel Johns, the lead singer. The song is lyric-less, but still features his voice. And he wrote the music too.

Anyway, when I was younger, I, like thousands of other girls, thought I was going to marry Daniel Johns.

I used to drool over Daniel Johns. Before he started wearing eyeliner.

I’ve seen silverchair play approximately 5 times. But in 1999? 3 times. And that’s pretty good considering I lived in the U.S. and they are from Australia.

My friend Lyndsey, who was also rather obsessed with silverchair, and I always has these crazy schemes to get backstage and meet Daniel Johns. Who cares about the rest of the band, we wanted to meet Daniel Johns (yes, I may have a child named Daniel John. I know what you’re thinking, but we did not name him after Daniel Johns. Yes, I know how improbable that sounds, but seriously, it was unintentional. His middle name was always going to be John because it’s Aaron’s middle name, and Daniel was the only first name we agreed on. Plus I had a dream before we got pregnant with him that Hannah had a little brother and his name was Daniel. Convinced now?)

The first time Lyndsey and I saw silverchair was at the insane concert on a mountain in the snow. You could go snowboarding, and then watch some bands play. Insane, right? Lyndsey and I decided that during silverchair’s set, she’d pretend to pass out, then we’d both crowd surf to the front, over the barrier, and then to first aid. Which in our teenage minds, was right next door to silverchair’s dressing room.

Silverchair came on, my other friend and I moshed, screamed, had a blast. I don’t know what happened to Lyndsey. She seemed to disappear into thin air. I guess I was enjoying the music too much to notice when Lyndsey actually did pass out and have to crowd surf, unconscious, to the front and over the barrier. Not that the front was far, we were in the third or so row, slipping and sliding as we jumped up and down to the music on the compacted snow.

The left photo shows the stage in the snow. The right is Daniel Johns from where I was in the crowd. Notice in front of me was only the security guard and official photographers. Booyah.

At the end of the concert a voice came over the loudspeaker telling my friends and me to go to the first aid tent to reunite with Lyndsey.

I got all excited. I was actually being invited by name backstage?!

A security guard showed us where to go. There was a lone tent with a first aid cross on the top, nowhere near the actual back stage/dressing room area. Sigh. At least Lyndsey was ok.

But we were still determined. We don’t give up easily.

4 months later (why they came out twice in one year, I’m not sure, but they did, and I wasn’t about to complain), as I was driving my crappy van down the road, I heard an ad on my favourite radio station, 107.7, The End. Hang on, the radio (amongst many other things) in my van didn’t work. I must have been somewhere else. Silverchair was doing an End Session.  Why is that so awesome? An End Session (at least in those days, don’t know about now) was where a band went to a recording studio to play a very small, intimate concert (that was recorded) in front of about 30 people.

We had to go. But obviously something like that was not easy to get in to.  In fact, it was just plain annoying. You had to call up and be the 7th or whatever they decided caller.

We didn’t like those odds. So we thought outside the box, only as 2 16 year olds could. We found out when the call ins started. We had to get in before then. We had to secure our tickets. We found out where the radio station was located. We brainstormed.

Cookies. The main morning DJ was rather…um…obese. And what to obese men like? Cookies. We spent all day in the sweltering in Lyndsey’s trailer (what, you forgot? I was from a trailer too) heat wave of July heat, slaving over the stove perfecting out sugar cookies and decorating them to look like the morning DJs.

The next morning, I drove us to Seattle at ridiculous o’clock in the morning to deliver our cookies. Ok, so we didn’t actually think the whole getting in thing out much. When we got there, the building was locked. Obviously. It was 5am. We waited, standing around like we were meant to be there.

Someone came by and opened the door. We casually went in after him. YES! We were inside. We checked the sign that told us what was on each floor. 107.7: top floor.

We went to the elevator. Sigh. You had to have a swipe card to push the button and actually go anywhere. Our door friend was not going to our floor.

But hang on, there were stairs. 20 something flights of them. Awesome. We had to take a few breaks along the way, but we made it to the top and found the wonderful door that led to the radio station.

Locked. Bugger.

We pounded on that door for 5 minutes. No one came. Maybe they were ignoring the 2 crazy girls with cookies wearing silverchair t-shirts. Or maybe they didn’t hear us.

We walked all the way back down. And back outside. There was an intercom out there.

I pushed the button and waited. “Hello?” a voice said, more asking than stating.

I told them we spent the whole previous day making cookies for the DJ’s and could we possibly come upstairs and give them out?

“Yeah, ok. I’m sure Andy Savage likes cookies.”

The door opened, and the elevator button worked. We rode it to the top and suddenly we were there. They actually let us into the studio where they were on air, broadcasting the breakfast show.

They spoke to us on air. They were impressed with our cookies and their likeness to the DJs. They enjoyed eating them. But only after we took a bite first to prove they weren’t poisoned.

They were amused. Their bellies were full, this was our chance.

I don’t remember exactly what I said (I was the talker mostly), but I mentioned the End Session, and said we had to go.

“If you can think of some way to earn the tickets by the end of the show, then we’ll talk.” Andy told us.

We stayed in the studio all morning. Scheming. Plotting.

“How about a scavenger hunt?” I said. “We could go around Seattle, collecting 107 different things and if we do it, we win the tickets.”

They were clearly impressed. What can I say, I’m an ideas woman.

They thought about it for a bit.

“Ok, if you girls can collect 107 different pieces of crap from different businesses for free from the start of the show tomorrow until the end of the show, we’ll give you the very first tickets to the End Session.”

We were ecstatic. I knew we could do it. Free stuff? Ha, we were experts at free stuff. We spent every summer at the fair, showing horses and going around to all the different booths collecting free stuff. Not because we wanted it really, but because it was fun. It’s just what we did.

The next morning, we drove back to the radio station at ridiculous o’clock in the morning. It was the summer don’t forget, school wasn’t on, and I wasn’t working that day. I don’t think. Or maybe I called in sick.

One of the DJs drove Lyndsey and me around in my van, stopping all the time so we could jump out and ask business for free crap. The first few gave us very strange looks, but still complied, giving us things like used disgusting wash clothes, and packets of sugar.

My van. Yes, it was awesome. I loved my van.

We checked in regularly with the radio station, broadcasting where we were and what we were doing. People started expecting us and having things ready to give to us as soon as we arrived. It was fantastic.

We had 3 hours, but still, it was tight. Our time was almost up and we were one item short.

The DJ drove through a construction area with lots of cones.

“Just open the door and grab a cone.” He told us.

He drove really slowly, and we stealthily grabbed the cone, bringing our total to 107, and securing our tickets. Not to mention we had a blast doing it.

My End Session pass. Yeah, I still have it.

The station regularly made people do different scavenger hunts for tickets after that.

A couple weeks later, it was End Session day. We got in line early and got to sit (on the floor, there were not chairs or anything) right up front. Just a few short feet from Daniel Johns. We were mesmerised. Here is a link to one of the songs recorded that day:

http://www2.1077theend.com/listen/silverchair-anas-song

Afterwards, we were told that the guys would be coming out to meet us fans, sign stuff, and take photos. Oh. My. Gosh. I nearly wet myself I was so excited. This was it. I was about to meet Daniel Johns.

Except he didn’t come out. Everyone else did. But not him. Not the holy grail of our teenage dreams. Wanker.

Ben Gillies (the drummer) and me after the End Session. Why yes, I am giving him bunny ears. I am cool like that.

That’s ok, they were playing a show that very night just down the street. A normal show. One you buy tickets to go and see. Of course we’d already bought our tickets the day they went on sale.

silverchair’s touring keyboarder (he wasn’t actually part of the band) after the End Session. I wish I could get away with blond hair and burgundy foils now. 

We decided to put the passing out plan to action once again. This wasn’t the snow, so there wouldn’t be a random first aid tent this time. No, the first aid station had to be backstage.

We got near the front as usual. We’d get there even if it meant we had to scratch and bite and kick. It was silverchair after all. We didn’t want to put operation pass out into motion too early. We didn’t want to miss the concert and besides, Daniel Johns wasn’t going to be backstage if he was in the middle of singing.

So we waited. Then near the end, it was a go. Lyndsey “passed out” so convincingly I wasn’t sure if she really had passed out. We surfed over the barrier to the waiting security guards who carried Lyndsey with me following to the first aid station. Which was just off the front of the building. Nowhere near the dressing rooms. Or even the hallway that Daniel Johns would walk down at the end of the show. Sigh.

13 years later, and I still haven’t met Daniel Johns. Sigh.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway on my other blog. You could win a $100 voucher for Magnabilities jewellery. They ship worldwide, thus the competition is open to everyone and $100 can get you a lot of stuff. Enter here.

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A post for my Dad

2 Sep

Today is Father’s Day. Well, it is over here. Not so much in the U.S.A., where my father actually is. But since I haven’t lived over there in nearly 12 years, I celebrate Father’s Day today, and my Dad gets his token “Happy Father’s Day, Dad” email from me on my Father’s Day, rather than his.

Anyway, in honour of Father’s Day, I thought I’d tell you a story about something great that my Dad did for me 11 years ago. Something that, if he hadn’t done, my life would probably be very, very different.

My Dad. I stole this picture from his Facebook photos. He’s obviously a good fisherman, and is pretty famous in fishing circles in the U.S.

It was November 2001. I’d been home from my student exchange in Australia for 4 months, and was a couple of days away from flying back to Australia. I was spending Christmas with my host family, and going to schoolies. For those four months, I’d been working 40-60 hours per week as a school portraits photographer to save enough money to get back to Australia (and have enough to live on while I was there).

My friends took me out for a goodbye dinner. We had a great time chatting and laughing.

When I got home, my Dad was sitting on the couch. I knew something was wrong the minute I saw him.

“The McMurray’s called, they said Canada 3000 went bankrupt. They’re not flying anymore.” The McMurray’s were my host family. I was supposed to fly out from Vancouver on Canada 3000 in 2 days. I guess the airline collapse didn’t make our news in the Seattle area because Cananda 3000 didn’t actually fly there. I always flew out of Vancouver to Sydney because it was cheaper. And it only took a couple more hours to get there than it did to get to Sea-Tac.

My face went white. I nearly fell over. I didn’t have enough money to buy another plane ticket. Especially at such short notice when lots of seats would be booked out and ticket prices higher. I was only 18 years old. I didn’t make that much money even though I had been working my tail off.

“It’s ok, I’ve been on the phone for hours, I got you a ticket on Air Canada, and you fly out the same day you planned to. We just have to pick up your ticket when we get to the airport.” It was still paper tickets back then. Ugh. E-tickets are so much better!

The Air Canada ticket was at least twice the price of the Canada 300o ticket, but my dad didn’t hesitate. He paid for that ticket without second thought, and never asked me for a dime of it back.

What if he hadn’t? I wouldn’t have been able to go back to Australia for a long time (until I saved up a lot more money), and then who knows if I would have missed out on getting back together with Aaron.

So Dad, what you did that day for me set the course of my life. I can’t imagine myself without Aaron, Hannah, and Daniel. Thank you so much for sorting my flights out for me. And also, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don’t have any digital photos from 2001, but this one is Aaron and me on Christmas day 2002. Awwwww….

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I love coupons

31 May

Growing up in the U.S., I loved Sunday mornings. My mom or I would always make something delicious for breakfast. Usually pancakes, waffles, french toast, something like that. Sometimes with bacon. Oh how I love bacon with maple syrup. Aussies, you don’t know what you’re missing! And the Sunday paper was delivered to out paper box, attached to the post of our mailbox across the street.

The Sunday paper was by far the best paper. There was an entire section of comics/cartoons, whatever you want to call them. We called them “the funnies.” My favorite part though, were the ads.

loved going through brochure after brochure of shiny supermarket, department store, etc. adverts. Over in the U.S., they aren’t just advertising which products are on special, they actually have coupons in them with little dashed lines for you to cut around. I didn’t care if the particular product wasn’t something that I liked myself. It was the hunt that thrilled me. Any coupon I found that any member of my family might possibly like, I would cut out and give to my mom or stick to the fridge.

I still do that when I visit. I still find it extremely entertaining. I still get all fuzzy and excited when I find a really good coupon.

I like it when the ads come in the mail over here too. Except our ads don’t have coupons. They just let us know what’s on special. There is a “No junk mail” sticker stuck to the row of mailboxes at the front of our apartment building. It’s been there since before we moved in.  Needless to say, I no longer get my precious ads in the mailbox. Sigh (and sorry, but I don’t think the ads are “junk!”) Lucky for me Grandma saves hers for me to peruse. If there are a lot of good specials at one supermarket, I’ll go to that one. Sometimes I’ll go to more than one supermarket just to get a bargain. Fine, and because we live in a 2 bedroom apartment and I will go insane if I don’t get out every day. Sometimes twice a day.

But I still like coupons. Even online ones.

If you live in Australia, here is a website that offers free coupons: http://www.couponcodes.com.au/

Or you can get online discounts.

*This was a sponsored post. I have received money in exchange for writing this post. Gotta earn money somehow….

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Best. Wedding Speech. Ever.

22 Apr

Aaron and I don’t celebrate Valentines day. Instead, we celebrate Aaron and Sheri Day. The anniversary of the day we first started going out, 11 years ago yesterday.  Last year, I wrote about how we started going out.

So this year, I’m going to leave you with Michael’s (the best man) speech from our wedding. We didn’t even know if Michael was going to make a speech. I mean I know that’s what’s generally done, but we’d never spoken to him about it.

And boy did he pull it off:

Ok, well there was supposed to be a video here of the awesome speech, but I CAN’T FIND OUR WEDDING VIDEO ANYWHERE! Or any of our videos prior to 2008. Crap. That really, really sucks.

I guess I’ll just have to leave you with the two photos we took before going out to dinner last night. Sigh. I really wanted to show you the video.

Ok, so it's hard to get a photo without at least one child photo-bombing.

I'm not actually taller than Aaron (and neither of us are taller than anyone). He must be slouching.

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Flashback Friday: Legend of the leg lamp. I mean fish.

6 Jan

I haven’t done Flashback Friday in a while.  What can I say, I have an infant and a toddler, so going to the bathroom without anyone with me is hard, let alone keeping up my blog.

This weeks post is by Lois, from My Cruise Stories, AKA, my mom.  I was supposed to put it up for Christmas, but I didn’t have the time…. P.S. A while back, I wrote a post featuring the very same fish.

The Perfect Christmas Tree Ornament

I found the perfect Christmas tree ornament for Sheri this year.  OK, it’s not a leg lamp, but close.  In case anyone wonders why a leg lamp would make a great ornament, I’ll have to go back in history a bit to the point where this story begins.

 

It all started one dark foggy morning driving across the trestle on my way to work.  The trestle is a raised road passing over a couple miles of floodlands and sloughs (slow moving waterways).  Everything seemed fine until I spotted a dark car with no lights stopped dead in the road ahead.  Just ahead, in the dark and the fog by the time I saw this car I could not stop in time to avoid hitting it.  Luckily this road has two lanes.  However the car in the other lane prevented me from moving straight over.

 

I hit the brakes and hoped the other car would hurry up and get by.  At the last minute I dived over to the other lane. I just about made it, but the front corner of my pick-up truck barely clipped the mirror hanging out of the side of the car.  Not hard enough to break it off or anything, but it did leave a little dent in my truck.

 

After driving past the dark dead car, I saw some cops stopped in front of it.  Not right in front of it where their lights would have showed through the fog, but close enough to know it was why they were there.  Knowing the law frowns upon those who leave the scene of an accident, I pulled back over to the other lane after I got around them and stopped.

 

Busy apprehending car thieves, the cops pretty much just said go away, we don’t care when I tried to tell them I had hit the mirror on that car.  Perhaps they realized they should have parked behind it where people would see their lights and not hit the car and didn’t want to get in trouble for their negligence.  Or else they were just busy and didn’t want to be bothered.  Either way, I went on.

 

About this time my husband proudly came home from the taxidermist with a giant salmon ready to mount on the wall.  I thought it should go downstairs in his office where nobody else would have to look at it.  He thought it should go in the living room where everyone could see it.  We pretty much agreed he wouldn’t say anything about the dent in the truck if I wouldn’t say anything about the fish on the living room wall, which he hung opposite the front window.

Sheri hated the fish.  In spite of the fact that her dad always insisted people couldn’t see it from the road, when she had a substitute school bus driver and tried to explain where to stop, the driver piped up with “Oh, the house with the fish.”

 

Over the years, we took in a few strays.  Never official foster kids, just people who needed a place to stay for awhile.  Relatives or kids from the 4-H club.  One of the 4-H kids was Maria, whom I mentioned briefly in one of myblogs.

 

Around Christmastime, Maria started comparing the fish to the leg lamp in the move A Christmas Story.  Problem was, none of us had ever seen it.  I don’t think we had actually ever even heard of it.  One day Maria rented the movie and the kids and I watched it with her, anxiously waiting for a leg lamp to appear and laughing hilariously while comparing it to the fish when it did.

Maria moved on, but it became a family tradition to watch A Christmas Story every year.  One year Sheri’s dad even watched it with us.  When the father on the movie put his new leg lamp in the window, her dad looked at the rest of us quite seriously and said, ”Don’t even compare that to my fish.”

 

At which we all burst out laughing, having compared that leg lamp to his fish for years.

 

While out shopping for Christmas gifts this year, I looked at some Christmas tree ornaments.  There, dangling from a peg in between Sponge Bob and the Grinch, hung a row of little boys in glasses wearing pink bunny suits.  Ralphie, the main character of A Christmas Story in the much-hated fluffy pink bunny suit his aunt made him for Christmas. One of those had Sheri’s name written all over it.

If you don’t know what a leg lamp is, or find yourself wondering what this blog is about, just watch A Christmas Story. Everything will come to light.

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