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Hugh and I have gone south at Christmas for a number of years, so being somewhere warm over the Christmas holidays isn’t strange. But being somewhere warm in the lead up to Christmas sure is! I have a monthly calendar that I brought with me from Canada and when I flipped it over to December on Friday, I laughed when I saw my first To Do item:

No need to waterproof any winter boots this year! This is what the temps have been like here this week (first photo in the morning and second in the afternoon):

I don’t know if this pattern is typical or not, but the humidity has been at its highest first thing in the morning and at its lowest in the afternoon. So you can imagine how weird it felt yesterday putting the Christmas tree up while wearing shorts and a tank top! A couple tree photos for you:

We haven’t put our tree up much in recent years with going away at Christmas so it was especially fun this year – each ornament has a story so lots of reminiscing! Mom – see if you can find the one from your homemade collection from the upstairs tree in New Hamburg 🙂

Last night we went into Rockhampton for the Christmas Fair along the Riverside. Here is Hugh holding his very large bauble:

“Bauble” is Aussie for round Christmas ornament. And here is a photo of the leafy trees lit up in red and green:

I found the leaves mesmerizing and I was about to ask myself, how come we don’t do this back in Canada, when I realized that we don’t have leaves on trees in December in Canada :).

The tree lighting was scheduled for 7:45pm so we were just wandering around the vendors checking out the sights for a bit. We bumped into new friends Sally and Jordan that we just met at the CQU Allied Health Christmas party on Thursday night (the only photo I have from that event is me doing the limbo and I think to retain some modicum of good taste in this blog, we’ll leave that photo out :)). There were thunderstorms all around Rocky last night (and again right now – I’m saving like crazy as I type this in case we lose internet!) and some drips of rain started around 7:20pm. A few minutes later, we found ourselves standing below where the Christmas tree was and as I happened to glance up, they lit the tree!

Blurry photo because I was caught off guard with the lighting happening 20 minutes early, but I guess they knew people would be clearing out if too much rain rolled in. Glad we lucked out and got to witness the lighting, for some reason I just love seeing the tree when they flick the switch, always warms my heart. Hugh and I then found an outdoor patio to have a drink and snack – best deal yet on drinks, $10 for a wine and a beer. We still think they made a mistake.

As we were getting ready to leave Rocky, our friends Rob and Barb messaged us saying they had several bottles of “super duper” pinot noir. Well, how do you turn down an invite like that, so off to their place we went. And “super duper” was actually the name of the wine! Another great find by our wine expert friend Rob. And so ensued another late night full of laughter :).

Hugh was at the driving range this week and met John, who is the chef at the local breakfast/lunch restaurant Lure Living. We’ve been meaning to go there for ages so we finally went this morning (we were supposed to go early, but after being at Rob and Barb’s until 1am, it became more of a brunch than breakfast date :)). Delicious! And what a view:

They have recently started doing tapas and live music on weekend afternoons where you can bring your own wine, so methinks we will find ourselves back there again!

Speaking of food, Hugh has been continuing to expand his repertoire of fabulous meals with a bunch of Indian dishes. Here he’s making his own naan bread:

When we were driving home from brunch, we noticed a huge event going on in a park by the ocean so we went home to grab our hats and put sunscreen on and went back to check the vendors out – but it was 12:20pm and I guess it ended at noon. No idea what it was, presumably a Christmas fair of some sort, too bad we missed it. Because we were all sunscreened-up, we decided to go for a walk along a beach we hadn’t been to yet, Kemp Beach, out by the marina. VERY steep ramp to get down (definitely no rules here about steepness of ramps or roads!), but absolutely gorgeous:

When we first moved here, Rob took us for a drive all around the area and he mentioned that this beach was the best one for swimming because it gets deeper sooner. We wandered into the water and it was so lovely and warm, we turned around and went home to put our swim suits on! This was another weird thing, leaving the house with a Christmas tree set up while wearing a bathing suit – so strange. It was indeed a fabulous beach for swimming – this was my first time going for a swim since moving here! The water was VERY salty. When I was in Cairns about 8 hours north of here in 2001, I went swimming and scuba diving and I don’t remember the water being as salty as it was here. I did some googling and found this salinity map from the NOAA in the States:

Yeppoon is in the orange zone while Cairns further north is in the yellow zone. But anytime I’ve been in any part of the Atlantic ocean, in the States or Europe, it hasn’t seemed as salty as it was here. Curious.

Another fun thing while we were swimming is that some sort of flying fish were jumping around us! They were really small, just 2-3″, seemed to be white, and could fly 2-3′ – I’ve googled and can’t find anything about them, will have to ask our Aussie friends. We only saw a handful of them jumping out of the water but it did cross our minds – I wonder what eats them… Yes, Lisa, we were swimming in the sharks’ house, so we did think of you when we wondered what might eat small flying fish :).

I’ve been meaning to get a photo of this for you since we got here and finally remembered today. This rock (obviously covered with something to prevent erosion) is on the way to the marina and it always reminds me of of the mountain at Canada’s Wonderland 🙂

On Tuesday, Hugh and I went for a walk along the main beach in Yeppoon. We’ve had nice sunsets this week because we’ve had more clouds than usual with all the rain (so much for the El Nino prediction of a dry summer here!):

There are a lot of these trees along the boardwalk:

It’s called a Screw Pine or Pandanus. We took some other photos of funky trees that are everywhere here but I’m still waiting on Hugh to use his app to identify them for me…

I encountered a spider yesterday on the laundry line. Photos didn’t turn out as he was really small (maybe an inch from head to toe) and when I zoomed in, it was all blurry. He had long legs like a daddy long legs but was light grey and when he got scared, he stretched himself out along the wire with 2 legs going one direction and the other 6 going the other – he looked the way squids do when they swim with all their legs behind them! He really blended in with the laundry line, got really flat. So I left him be and hung the clothes all around him. Didn’t see him when I brought the clothes in, so hopefully he isn’t hiding in some socks or a shirt…

Oh, back to Christmas for a minute. We’ve noticed here that many shops here do the old-school Christmas window decorating with moving parts! I remember as a kid I loved going to look at the Christmas windows at Simpsons in downtown Toronto. This one is in a local mall – they’re all marionettes!


Alright, the frog update. You will recall that Hugh has been in a battle to keep the frogs out of our gutters. On Tuesday while I was at work, Hugh took this photo of our green tree frog while he was hanging out in the back yard contemplating his next climb back up our gutters:

Pretty cute! But damn loud. It was POURING rain on Tuesday and there was quite a river running down our street, so Hugh thought our adventurous tree frog might enjoy a ride in the river. He hasn’t come back yet, so hopefully he’s croaking away in someone else’s gutters. Then later in the week, we had this sighting:

Not good. This is the infamous cane toad. We had been warned it was a matter of time before we had one in our yard, especially with the addition of ponds. As you’ll read in the link, they are a major pest here, another example of something introduced to control one pest that became an even worse pest themselves. Hugh managed to get him in a bucket and drove him to a park near a creek – hopefully he’ll stay there.

A quick work item – it was fun to learn that CQU uses MMIs (multiple mini interviews) for their medical pathway students, so I volunteered to be an interviewer for them for a couple afternoons:

Being from McMaster, the birthplace of MMIs, generated some attention and I’ll be meeting with them to share some tips (this is only their 2nd year doing them). Vanessa – they used Zoom for the interviews!! Couldn’t believe it, major flashbacks to when we used Zoom in 2021. I’ll be letting them know about Kira Talent :).

Last thing for this week. I bought my calculator in grade 9 in 1981. It has survived all the decades since and I brought it with me to Australia. Well, the humidity here has taken its toll on the buttons and I had to say goodbye to my companion of 42 years this week:

It was strangely difficult to throw him into the garbage! Reminded me of that Ikea commercial where they put the old lamp out to the curb (“kerb” here in Australia) and you somehow felt bad for the old lamp being tossed aside. RIP 1981 Texas Instruments calculator 🙁


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