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Quick health update – fabulous news on Tuesday, the pathology reports confirm ZERO CANCER outside of the uterus. The cancer staging was Stage 1A Grade 2, so that means no further treatment is required, just twice a year check-ups for 3 years. WOOHOO! And I continue to have a remarkable recovery – I feel great. Actually made my surgeon laugh because he was asking about my use of painkillers and he was pleased to hear that I never had to take any of the opioids (and I’m down to 2 Tylenol per day). I told him I was therefore going to sell the opioids on the street corners of Yeppoon. He said I could probably make some good money doing that. Of course, I would never do that…

This reminds me of a funny story I forgot to tell you. Completely unrelated to this diagnosis, Hugh and I had arranged a meeting with a lawyer to get our wills and POAs converted to the versions here. That meeting happened to be scheduled the Wed before my surgery. Our lawyer is excellent and we were having a good laugh together as we were going through various elements of the wills and POAs. Then he asked – are there any diagnoses or upcoming surgeries I should be aware of? I responded – yes, I was diagnosed with cancer and am having surgery next week. He burst out laughing, thinking I’m joking :). I said – no, I’m actually serious. Poor guy. His jaw dropped and the next thing he said was – geez, we better get these all ready by Friday then. I’m like – mate, I don’t plan on dying on the operating table! Needless to say, I emailed him the morning after the surgery to tell him that I was indeed still alive and any appointments Hugh booked with him should be forthwith cancelled :).

I enjoyed my first glass of wine in awhile on Tue night to celebrate the good news. And then on Thu afternoon we stopped at The Rocks for a cocktail overlooking the ocean (Barbra, if you’re reading this, this absolutely did not happen at 3:30pm in the afternoon…):

OK, onto the Spring Trifecta. Last week I mentioned how the appearance of snakes is one of the harbingers of spring (which started on Sep 1). Here are some funny Facebook posts depicting another harbinger of spring in Australia:

Yes, Magpies swooping at cyclists is a sure sign of spring! Hugh actually had this happen this week. He decided to bike to the golf course and back and went along the Pineapple Trail for about half the distance:

A Magpie swooped him but didn’t hit him, just got close enough so Hugh could feel the wind from its wings. Nasty birds!! No wonder people put spikes on their bike helmets.

Speaking of nasty birds, we’re getting fed up with the crows. I thought their call was entertaining for awhile, and it still is, but they’re taking over our bird bath. They seem to like dunking whatever food they’ve found into the bird bath before eating it. But sometimes the food they’ve found is a baby bird and it is quite disturbing to watch. Apparently not just for us because other birds seem to be avoiding the bird bath now, who can blame them. We therefore started scaring the crows away anytime they approached the bath. But man, they wait until you’re not looking and sneak back. So we’d make even scarier noises and movements. And then it escalated – yesterday afternoon they dropped an empty salmon can in the bath and I’m quite sure I saw “f**k you” written in beak-scratch on the bottom:

Well, hold my beer – today we totally emptied the bath, muahahaha! Your turn, crows. As my brother-in-law can attest to, I’m a pretty good shot, but let’s hope it doesn’t get that far.

In nicer bird news, I finally captured video of a Magpie-lark aka Peewee. Not at all the same as a Magpie – similar colouring but much smaller and a different song (he looks huge in this video, but they tend to be skittish so I was zooming in from the middle of our bedroom). These are the 2 songs they frequently do back and forth:


They actually sometimes sound like Blue Jays.

And we had a couple Pied Currawongs visit our bird bath for the first time this week (before the crow escalation):

Hadn’t seen them before and haven’t seen them since so I don’t know much about them yet.

Oh yes, the 3rd harbinger of spring. Any guesses??

Christmas decorations for sale in stores!!! Seriously, in September??? At least in Canada we have Labour Day, Thanksgiving, Hallowe’en, and Remembrance Day to slow down all the Christmas craziness. There’s a holiday here on October 2 (King’s birthday, I think), but apparently that’s not a big enough deal to hold up Christmas decoration sales. This was at the entrance to Bunnings early this week:

You’ll note that things aren’t exactly cheap! Still, tempting to get a Christmas kiwi bird or kangaroo… Liz, thought you would like the Christmas dachshund :). Apparently the neighbourhood we live in is known for everyone going to town with Christmas decorations, so I guess I’ll have to step up my game. Humbug.

Hugh continues to expand his cooking repertoire. He made fabulous ravioli with his pasta maker! And, I can’t remember if I told you, but each visit to a hospital has resulted in us learning about delicious new foods. When I was in for blood transfusions at the end of June, we discovered an excellent coffee truck that happens to be owned by one of our pickleball friends. When I was in for the hysteroscopy in July, the food they fed me when I woke up was crackers and Bega Strong & Bitey cheese (really good for an off-the-shelf cheese!). Then when I went to Brisbane for the pre-op stuff, we discovered the best chips they have here. And on our last hospital visit 2 weeks ago, Hugh found a magazine with recipes for Lebanese/Mediterranean meals. So this was dinner earlier this week:

Never in a million years would I have thought Hugh would make me falafels but he did and they were FABULOUS!

In other food news, Hugh has been getting closer to getting a full rise with his sourdough, the trick seeming to be to let it rise on the counter a good 50% longer than he would in Canada:

He also found some Canadian maple syrup:

We’ve been hearing a lot about Galactic Donuts so when Hugh was in Rockhampton earlier this week, he stopped by to pick some up:

We are never ever going there again (damn Leigh and Darren for telling us about them!!). OMG, they were SO GOOD. And on Tuesdays, a day I am often in Rocky, they put a selection of their 30 donut flavours on sale for $2 each. I’m going to have to ask that my work schedule be changed so that I am nowhere near Rockhampton on Tuesdays.

In other fun news, Hugh won this week’s golf comp, receiving the coveted wine glass award!

Also exciting this week was that it rained one night! I think it last rained about 6 weeks ago and just for an hour or two. I remember not long after we arrived here, one of our friends said how exciting it was to have a rainy day and I thought she was nuts. Well, now I get it. When rain is a rarity, it is actually exciting to see it!

Speaking of rain, Hugh continued to work on our rainwater irrigation system this weekend. We have 6 rainwater tanks behind the shed. The previous owners used the rainwater for their drinking water and occasionally to water stuff in the yard. Although it was very good-tasting, we decided not to use it for drinking water just to avoid the headache of cleaning the tanks frequently, testing the water, etc. Instead, we’re using it for the full irrigation system Hugh’s been building upon (there was one here, but it needed fixing and expanding) and once the ponds go in, we’ll use it to top up the ponds too. We therefore decided to double the capture of rainwater from the shed roof. Currently the tanks were just collecting rainwater from one half of the roof, so today Hugh added collection to the other side:

David Wilcox coming to mind for anyone?

In keeping with the beginning of spring, we’ve had a few warmer and more humid days. Until this week, the temperature and humidity levels had been pretty much identical week after week since we arrived on May 5. I turned a couple ceiling fans on yesterday and there was one day where the humidity was notably higher and we were sweating easily (at least I think it was the humidity; having been thrust into instant menopause 2 weeks ago, I am now getting intermittent hot flashes). This is what towel bars tend to look like here:

You really need to keep each half of the towel separated as much as possible to stand a chance of them drying. I have a feeling when summer arrives that I’ll be doing a lot more laundry than I’ve ever done in my life! (April and Ray – you may recognize the picture in our bathroom :))

On Friday we went out for dinner and live music with our friend Rob P (Rob’s wife Lyn was still in Melbourne, looking forward to when she gets back up here in a week). Last night we went to our friend Lachlan’s place for a house-warming party along with our friends Rob Z and Barbra, Geoff and Sharyn, Alanah, Darren and Robyn, Mick and Lyn, Marcus and Olivia, Sharyn 2, and Tracey. When we moved here, we joked that Hugh’s job was to find us friends and boy did he do well – how lucky are we to have such amazing friends so soon!

Three more fun photos to wrap up this week’s episode:

Love the octopus sculpture on the bench, so cute!

Love this logo – makes me think we are governed by kangaroos and emus :). Honestly, I think they’re doing a better job than humans.

And this one has absolutely nothing to do with Australia, but it makes me smile. With living in a bungalow with all tile floors and with retiree Hugh being in charge of cleaning, we bought a robot vacuum. We’ve named him Spot. I just love watching him navigate around chairs, he’s so fun to watch!


OK, tomorrow our bench top (Aussie for counter top) comes out and we’ll be left counter-less, sink-less, and electrical-less in the kitchen for 1-2 weeks. So Hugh is working on creating a temporary outdoor kitchen tonight to keep me fed during this difficult time. But very excited for the kitchen reno to begin!

Have an awesome week, everyone!

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