Tuesday, April 13, 2010

forgot you haven't seen any pics so hopefully here are a few

hi there nicole,

i think most people are feeding my ever so brief updates on facebook but because you aren't on there you can have your own special message. have been so busy doing lots of nothing... you know how it goes. we left stockholm yesterday on what was meant to be a 6 hour train trip to Åre. about 10 minutes in the train stopped and there was a signal problem, then there was something wrong with the engine and we had to get a new one somewhere along the line. consequently we were about 2 1/2 hours longer on the train, not good, but the kids were all pretty well behaved thankfully. we had a unusual experience of a small boy coming up to aidan and literally putting his face in aidan's. as it turns out he heard aidan speaking english and came to see who it was. aidan enjoyed having someone, other than us, to speak to as he has been getting a bit miserable lately not having anyone his own age to speak to. so aidan and carl are now best buddies and seeing that carl has a DS with star wars on it he's incredibly popular. we had our first day of skiing today. i pretty much can't see because i've only ever done it twice and it was so long ago i don't think it even counts. ben however was fairly confident in his abilities and was talking himself up big time.  hee, hee, he was the only one to have a big stack today.... then again i never ventured of the kiddy run. maybe tomorrow. my face hurts from the sun burn. forgot about that. aidan did reasonably well but hasn't quite got the hang of the snow plough yet but once he doesn't  i don't think we'll see him for dust. have to go get dinner ready for the kids so will sign out for now.  good luck with the house, it sounds more like a palace with 5 bedrooms.
give ethan a big hug from us.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

another day in paradise 

hello anyone, mummy??¿

i must be having a good time because i can hardly feel my feet. actually that isn´t true, i have muchos pain in my feet from the constant banging on the floor. loving my classes though and learning lots of really great things. once i´ve got over the confusion of the tricky steps i´m even finding my duende from time to time and getting my grove on. yeah me. however, and it´s a big however, i´d have nothing at the end of all this if it weren´t for anne´s video camera. with one class we learn a new thing everyday and all of it is so amazing that i´d hate to lose any of it, which naturally my brain is having problems even remembering what i did 10 minutes after the class. typical.
went to a show last night in a little cave down by the river. cheap as chips at 4 euro. singer was really great, and only a young boy too which is not so usual. guitar player was very good but funny to look at because he was a very big man but had a particularly large balding head which made it appear even bigger. dancer was absolute shyte. she had super loud palmas and her dancing was horrid because she did everything so hard into the floor it had no musicallity to it. blah. i however had 1 gin and tonic but because it´s in spain it´s more like a double or triple because they don´t measure it with a pour like they do at home, they just pour it in until it looks about right, which is normally about half a glass. naturally i was tipsy.... and suffered terribly for it today during my classes. it does however improve my ability to speak spanish as it turns out, or at least my ability to give it a go. no idea if i said anything properly or even in spainish for that matter....
put a picture on facebook today of the view from the terrace here at school. so terrible...
anyway tummy is rumbling so i will be off to walk home up the hill.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Life is soooo good 

hi to anyone who is looking. i haven´t got anyones email addresses with me so i´m afraid i can´t write unless you write to me first.  karennewell@telstra.com 
so what´s been happening. so much so i´ll start at the beginning.
i´ve impressed myself no end by actually sleeping on the plane for the first time ever. consequently i think í´m getting over the jet lag much quicker.  Got to london, met anne and made our way to Ruth´s (from my mothers group) mum´s place. OMG so palacial i was completely blown away.  She graciously allowed us the run of the place the whole time we were there and was really sweet and went and bought us some food supplies to have. We loved the "Tipsy jam with champagne" for breaky on toast, honestly that´s what it was called so there´s no mistake on what you´re having and what might happen to you.  we went to the tate and saw an exhibition which wasn´t too bad but mostly spent our time shopping.  so many shoes and so little luggage space, thank god for post.... found the most crazy shoe shop ever. someone tell ingrid and shirley they will love it and you can order online plus they´re thinking of opening a shop in melbourne. rock on. check it out http://www.irregularchoice.com/ anne bought the fushia pink shoes with the big flower on the front.
managed to get to madrid no problems and although cold, and occassionally wet, was great. we did a touch more shopping and have discovered my new favorite shops, paramita and desigual. have bought a few mental crazy things from desigual and wish i had more room in my bag for a coat.... but you can order online..... went to las cabaneros to see a show but anna wasn´t there, only during the week now. was a good show except for the male dancer who danced like a gorialla. will have to demonstrate upon my return but his shoulders were up and his head was pulled down onto his chest then stuck out. blah.
on our way to the airport we had our worst and biggest incident yet. anne had her purse stolen. with the beauty of hindsight i can she how she was played magnificently. it was a couple, man and a woman, and they saw us getting onto an already crowed train with luggage. anne had 3 bags and i only had 1 so instantly she was an easier target because she had more to worry about balancing. they manovered her into a corner just next to the door and pushed her there. i shoved through and found a spot to stand behind them. we were laughing at how the spainish don´t mind getting into your dance space, but really that should have been the warning sign.  the doors opened and off they went. we didn´t realise until we got to the airport and within that 20 - 30 mins they had already made a transaction of $250. impressive. so we´ve spent quite a bit of time trying to cancel cards and get them replaced, arrange new cards etc. thank god they didn´t get both of us or we´d be in muchos troublos.
but in granada now. freezing cold this morning as we walked to school, 7 degrees. then this arvo it was 26. there´s snow on the mountains and sunshine galore.  i have my preferred room in the apartment i want, that´s what you get for being a good customer and having repeat business. have survived my first day of classes and my feet are sore but not too bad. we are doing technique with Javier Martos, a bit of tangos and bulerias, for 1 1/2 hours and then correography with Estefania (who i had classes with last time) and that one is hurting. we´re doing jaleos which i´ve never ever done before. so the brain is hurting as much as the body, but in a good way.
anyhoo, tummy is starting to grumble and i need to walk up a hill to get home on the cobble stones. so think i´ll be off for now.
talk again soon.
besos y brazos

Friday, March 05, 2010

Before i go 

Trying to get organisd for this trip is becoming tiresome with a 4 year old in tow.  I've managed to do a trial pack and carted the bag off to Aidan's gym to weigh it & thankfully it's come in under 15k.  So that means good shopping to be had a some point.  Really wanted to get the Wizard Clear Advantage card that Tan told me about but it won't arrive in time before i go. So perhaps Benny can get one....
Would like to load my spreasheet of where i'm going, just in case, but that is too tricky for right now... so here's a picture of the Perlund's lake in front of their house where we'll be in Stockholm.

and here's a picture of what we have been doing the last few weekends.... this is why i keep taking Aidan to Costco to the big freezer, to get him somewhat familiar with the concept of cold  

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Testing 1, 2 

so does this thing still work or am i too old a dog to make this happen....

Thursday, September 13, 2007

some snaps of Honkers 

this was taken over on the walk of stars, or something like that, over on the kowloon side so we could watch the light show. It was 15 minutes of entertainment but not have as ace as the pictures in the tourism book would have you believe. enjoyed it none the less.

Nice family picture with a couple of Aidan's mates.

actually going to bed now so will do more another time. night night.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

the weather in hong kong is hot!!! 

yipee the weather finally got hot. well actually the first few days were comfortably warm with a slight cool breeze. always the best conditions for HK as is normally humid as hell. we spent the first day sleeping because of the large time difference then doing a spot of shopping and dinner out and about. Aidan is obsessed with eatting meatballs after sweden so all meat now needs to take on a ball like appearance. i can tell this is going to be fun going forward. next day we went to disneyland and although i had been told that it was naff, i thought it was brilliant. of course i've not been to the real thing so i had nothing to compare it to so perhaps once i've seen the LA version i might change my mind. Aidan became obsessed with Donald Duck from of the promo brochure and made himself hysterical the night before screaming for DD. which of course is really weird because he's never seen him, watched him on the tev or anything. the disney marketing dept should be very proud. lucky for us DD was right inside the door when we got there and aidan was a super happy camper getting his picture taken with donald and his woman. weather on this particular day was stinking hot and no cloud cover so my honky skin got a caning. sun lotion foolishly not applied to my external limbs. so did a few rides, had yum cha for lunch (yipee) and got my picture taken with buzz lightyear. also bought a woody & buzz lightyear combo action figures for $40, bargin. Of course they're for me but someone thinks that there his and even foregoed swimming to cry over looking at them in the box. strange child. another hissy fit was displayed as we tried to leave the hotel just before because he wanted to play with them and they weren't available... i'm such a mean mummy. what he doesn't know is that i bought him a new lego digger, 2 thomas the train engines and a piece of thomas track stuff. all really cheap compared to home. would have bought more but there's that whole 20k limit problem. today did last minute shop at tai koo but was limited in time because of obnoxious child having hissy fit. not my child, ben's child. so we had to play tag team which limited valuable shopping time. none the less some new purchases were made. seems the best bargin we got was for Stav. Bought him a Liverpool top for $80 compared to the $120 that Marc paid from the UK. Sorry Marc but if you'd just held out a couple of days... plus if that bloody lillywhites was a half way decent store and maybe if there were more liverpool supporters to warrant the demand for the product..... So at the HK airport now killing time until we board the plane in an hour. Ben has disappeared with child and can't hear them so must be miles away from me. will swap with benny when he comes back and go spend more money.
See you all next week...
PS will upload some snaps next week when i get home so come back to check pictorial evidence of claimed fun times.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

wasn't expecting the pictures to appear up top. so i've relocated the guff i wrote about them from the bottom to here.
here's a couple of snaps but all the ones i took at the wedding were terrible (need a new camera) so will have to wait until i can look at Chris and Sandy's. So the pictures are, Aidan enjoying the copious puddles around the neighbourhood, herring from dinner, Thomas & Sandra cutting one of the 9 wedding cakes (super yummy too, white chocolate icing, chocolate mouse with passionfruit sauce on chocolate cake base.... you got to serve your own piece so naturally i had a BIG bit because it was toward the end of the night and i figured i could always undo the zip), picture of the crazy man in the band singing I'm too sexy for these clothes, which he wasn't but i cacked myself laughing anyway at his dead sexy body).
So here’s the update on what’s been going on in Sweden…. Summary, cold & wet. So pleased we came for a summer wedding and so happy that I cope so well with the cold….. yeah right.

So yes our first night was a delicious meal of lobster, crab & prawns which I could barely eat because I felt so awful. Managed to get a bit of the cold our son had picked up off snotty nosed English kids and just couldn’t hardly touch the dinner. This of course was most annoying as these are some of my favourite things to eat and they were on offer in abundance. Had to lie through my teeth and say I’d had a big lunch so they didn’t kick us out of the house for being infected with germs just prior to their wedding. Aidan of course endeared himself to them no end by coughing and having a runny nose then falling in love with Natalie, their 10 month old little girl, and kept trying to kiss her the whole time. What do you do? Pass on the germs as it turns out…

Sunday we had a family lunch because all of Thomas’ family were down from Göteborg for a christening. So there were 17 of us crammed around the table for spag bog, salad and chocolate cake with raspberries. Yum to the cake. Was really great to get the chance to see everyone before the wedding and have a catch up gas bag and also to see the kids who won’t be coming to the wedding. So we’ve all decided that time will now be told according to the growth of all of our children because none of us look any different from last time Ben & I were here almost 3 years ago now. Hope this timeless aging continues for quite a lot longer.

We are staying just down the road from Stig & Anna-Lisa’s (thomas’ mum & dads) at the Klitterbyn in a little cabin. It’s really good. Has a small living area, kitchen and sleeps 4 people. There is also a nice walk through the woods to S&A’s place if only the narrow path weren’t overgrown with stinging nettles & resemble a bog because of all the rain. Would mean a 4 – 5 minute walk rather than the 10 minutes via the road. So we’ve managed to work out exactly when it’s going to rain the heaviest and chose that time to need to walk around to their place, or get home to go to bed. Just uncanny and everyone keeps telling us how unusual it is to be so cold and have so much rain. Well it’s not like we brought rain with us from Oz.

Benny & Thomas left us on Tuesday to head back to Stockholm for a flying visit because Thomas has left his job as CEO of his company,y after a buy out by an English company, and is now going on Father’s leave for 4 months. The bit his current work don’t know is that he has already lined up another job as the managing director of public works for Stockholm. So he needed to go into his old work to clear out a few things just in case…. And set up the paper work for his resignation. Then they had a boy’s bonding day and evening. Sandra and I were left with the children and I stayed with her at Thomas’ uncle Ander’s home next door to keep her company. Natalie is well and truly unwell by now having got all of Aidan’s germs plus a few extra ones that are making her throw up on her mother. Must say actually that Aidan got pretty ill and his asthma was probably the worst it has ever been with the ventolin doing next to nothing for a couple of hours and we considered trying to high tail it to the nearest hospital in Helsingborg. But thankfully was not required – by us anyway.

So did a lot of nothing, cruised around the country side checking out some sites, having lunch at a posh hotel but left in disgrace after our kids trashed it with their poor eating skills, visiting more family members in the countryside. Good fun even though the weather continued to be cold & wet. All fingers were crossed that things might clear up for the wedding on Saturday. None more than me actually because I had to wear a silk dress that was not all that toasty on a cold day. Don’t care about bride & groom because happiness will keep them warm.

So lets skip ahead to the wedding. Ben’s mum & dad, Chris & Sandy, had arrived and we were now a little bit more crowded in the cabin than before, but still comfortable. I managed to book myself into a local hairdressers at 9am on Saturday morning so I didn’t have fluffy hair for the big day. Also had to walk the 30 minutes into town which wasn’t such a bad thing seeing that I had way too much alcohol the night before and needed to clear my head. Stig kept saying “skol” and I kept obliging him and returning the salutation. We were both a touch tender on the wedding morning. I only had 2 glasses but we all know that’s all it takes.

So thankfully after all the eating and drinking I’ve been doing I did in fact fit into the dress and my chest did resemble a stable table, but at least my hair looked good. Oh yeah, friggin hell. The night before we meet up with everyone that was coming to the wedding to have some pre-wedding drinks and I wore some newish shoes that had until that point been pretty comfy. Only thing was the Klitterhus was so hot that my feet swelled up and I got blisters…. So I bought some of those rubber blister plasters and put them on for the big day…. But because of the rubbery surface they stuck to my fancy shoes and I could hardly get them on. So I’m cramming my feet into the shoes and the plasters start to roll up a bit, therefore providing a nice sticky surface to the shoes… so that now the shoes and plasters have formed a strong bond that means I can now not get them off…. Which of course is a problem for the end of the night when I was suitably plastered (pun intended) and I ripped at them to get them off and changed into my sandles…. Well other people brought comfy shoes with them too…. I waited until a suitable hour… about 12am I think.

I went with Stig to the church because we needed a car with a car seat for Aidan. Bless him if he wasn’t the perfect child and was nice and quiet through the ceremony… I managed to see most of it but had to leave because his shouts of “more singing, more music, more guitar” were making it hard to hear the exchanging of vowels. So I took him outside where he ran all over the graves of the people buried there. I was in heels what could I do? Yes I know I’ll go to hell for it. Oh and he destroyed a fair number of the little bags of rice before I finally could hide them…

So Benny managed not to lose the rings and he handed them over at the right time (ceremony all being in Swedish oddly enough). He looked rather dapper even though he was wearing tails and patent leather shoes…

Reception was at the Kiltterhus and thankfully it was a child free event. Aidan stayed with the mother of one of the guests who was a professional child care worker, nice, and he was entertained by her dog and by collecting all the apples that had fallen off her tree and putting them in a bucket. I was entertained by myself plied with plenty of alcohol thanks to plenty of Skol due to there being 15 speeches…. This apparently is quite the norm for a swedish wedding. Everyone has something to say… however unlike aussie weddings the speeches are actually quite entertaining and funny. The toastmaster, Hasse, had learnt the didgeridoo for the occasion and that was the call for quiet and added the aussie link to the day. Most impressive skills he had too. So here’s our highlights of the night,
Hasse’s didge skills
The interesting speech on how to save time ironing your shirts by having the arms, and back cut out of them. Which was demonstrated by Frederick to Hasse by chopping up his shirt before our very eyes then later in the night having 2 other guest stand up to make their speeches, remove their jackets and also have ¾ of their shirts cut out too.
Lovely picture of Thomas when he was 13 dressed up for communion with a makings of a mullet
Presentation on “Project Sandra” by her friends on how they set her up with Thomas
Yummy food which I forgot to take pictures of because I was too busy eating it and drinking the wine
Completely mental band that played until 2:30am
Hot dogs that were made available from 1am at the reception
Fact that Karen drank more than 1 inch….

Ripper of a time and surprised that people lasted until the official close of the night at 3am. What was more surprising was that everyone had to be back there in the morning at 10am for brunch/breaky and they all pretty much looked as good in the morning as they did the night before. All except me of course who felt like crap cause I drank everything put in front of me and again Stig kept coming over to do skol. I had a great time jumping about to the band having no idea what they were singing because it was in Swedish but sang along anyway with my own version of their language. I don’t think I offended anyone.

Spent the remainder of Sunday arvo detoxing until we had the parents of the newlyweds over for dinner at our little cabin. I couldn’t look at any wine by this stage but have now fully embraced eating again as don’t give a rats if I don’t fit into the dress.

Left on Monday morning for the drive up to Stockholm which went quite well for all concerned and we are now in Stockholm hoping for the rain to stop for at least a couple of hours. Ben and I had to abandon Chris & Sandy today because it was raining too heavily for us to do anything. So we got home completely drenched and have spent the remainder of the day trying to dry out clothes out in the hope that tomorrow it may not rain and we can go to Skansen. Skansen is a mixture of zoo and the Swedish equivalent of sovereign hill. So we need it to not rain so we can check out Viking world and the Scandinavian animals.

Will come back and add some pics of the wedding when I can.

Bye for now and feel free to drop me an email, just don’t know when I will get to it. We leave Stockholm on Friday for London and then head off on Saturday for Honkers. But if you do it’s karennewell@telsra.com

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