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One of the common phrases you’ll hear around here is “too easy.” The first time I heard it, I interpreted it too literally, as in, that’s a super easy request, I can handle way more than that. Another common phrase is “no dramas” and again, the first time I heard it, I was thinking there had previously been “drama” surrounding the issue and the person was happy that this time, there were no dramas. But it turns out that both “too easy” and “no dramas” are essentially synonyms for “no worries” or “no problem.” I’m sure there must be a subtle difference in context that I haven’t yet figured out (and therefore I haven’t ventured into using too easy or no dramas in my own communication – don’t want to get it wrong!). But I was thinking this week that having four different ways of saying it’s all good is a terrific reflection of the Aussie personality, so much more laid back than anywhere else I’ve travelled.

One Aussie word that I really love using is “whilst” – why can’t we adopt this in Canada, it is just so fun to say! I can’t really figure out the distinction between while and whilst – I’ve googled and there are lots of theories but nothing I can nail down that correlates well with what I’ve witnessed. It’s fun to say and there’s a low likelihood, I think, of screwing up its use, so I’m just using it. Another Aussie phrase I need to better understand is “rock up.” I’ve heard it used a couple different ways, so I’ll have to report back to you when I figure out exactly how it’s supposed to be used. And my friend Leigh introduced me to more Aussie slang last week – all the different words for referring to currency here: My brain hurts!! Seriously, it’s hard enough learning new vocabulary but when there are multiple terms for the same concept, yikes, we newbies don’t stand a chance! This makes the SLP in me wonder – how do Aussie kids do learning vocab compared to Canadian kids? Any intrepid child language development researchers out there want to take this project on and let me know?

(Note: because I’m learning all these words in Australia, I’m calling them Aussie words, but I suspect many are actually from the UK, another country whose citizens get amazing joy from language!)

OK, onto everyone’s favourite blog feature each week – birds! I have one new one for you and a few updates on old ones. The new one is the Willie Wagtail:


Just a 1 second clip, I’m afraid, he moved so fast and erratically. But with every move, he liked to shake his booty, so darned cute!

While we were watching him on the sidewalk, I glanced across to the trees along the foreshore and noticed new growths on them – I’m assuming they’re going to be some sort of pine cone but they’re HUGE. I took 2 photos so you could get a feel for the size. The first photo shows the full tree, with some humans near the bottom of the picture, and the second one zooms in on the new growths:

I’ve previously posted photos of Little Friarbirds hanging out in the Bottlebrush trees in our backyard. They’ve been enjoying baths in our bird bath lately but they’re really skittish, so it’s been hard to get a photo. Managed to get this picture when this one left the bath and flew to land on a new frond on one of our Foxtail Palms. We’ve had really strong winds here today and I’m amazed he hung on as long as he did:

At some point in a prior post, I included pictures of two Pied Currawongs on the bird bath. I hadn’t seem them before or since. They look a lot like a crow but they have white on their tail feathers and wing tips. I kept waiting for them to make their noise, but they didn’t so that’s why you just saw photos and not a video. Well, at 5:30am on Wed morning, I learned what their song is:


Because I couldn’t see his wing tips or tail feathers, I wasn’t 100% sure if he was a Pied Currawong or not. Big thank you to my friend Barb for introducing me to an app called Merlin – amazing for identifying birds! (Marvin – this would be a great app to mimic for your insect one!) So now I am 100% certain that this was a Pied Currawong. Have heard him a few times since but haven’t seen him, he must be good at hiding.

I’ve previously mentioned the Magpies that are EVERYWHERE here and have a habit of swooping people on bikes during nesting season. One of the juvenile Magpies seems to have taken a liking to us. I’m saying “one” because in my constant anthropomorphising of animals, it’s more fun to think it’s the same one. But I do actually think it’s the same one. When he was little, he would hop along our patio while Hugh and I were having lunch or dinner and gradually make his way from the back yard to the front yard. He showed no fear of us at all, getting surprisingly close to our patio table. On Friday after I finished up work, I decided to go sit on our patio and read my book for awhile. I had just sat down and was about to open my book, when our not-so-little-anymore Magpie friend appeared (still doesn’t have his full adult colours, so still a juvenile). He flew in from the back yard and landed on the cushion opposite the couch I was sitting on. I called for Hugh to see if he could very quietly come out of the house to see if he could get a picture. Turns out he didn’t need to be quiet, this fellow wasn’t afraid of us at all. Here’s one of the photos Hugh took:

Hugh came behind the couch I was on and gave me the camera so I could get a couple more close up shots:

He stayed there for ages (so much for reading my book!). I just kept hoping that he wouldn’t poop. Fortunately he didn’t. Instead he opened his beak a few times but no sound came out. This got me wondering if Magpies only start singing later in life. No, Justine, that was not the issue. All of a sudden it was like watching a cat hack up a hairball – he opened his beak one more time and coughed up a twig, spitting it onto the couch. Really, where are your manners??

By this time, Hugh had the BBQ going getting dinner ready. Our Magpie friend casually hopped from one cushion to another (I guess he likes his feet landing on soft, squishy things instead of concrete), from our patio couches to our patio table and chairs, making his way not-so-nonchalantly toward the BBQ. I don’t think so, my friend – the burgers are for us, you can go back to the vegetable garden and eat the bugs you find there! Today I realized I shouldn’t have sent him back to the vegetable garden because I saw that he and his mom were enjoying eating one of our tomatoes. Oh well, we have a bumper crop, I guess we can donate one to the birds here and there. I did tell our little feathered friend that in return for the free tomatoes and soft cushions for him to land on, he should spread the word to the Magpie community that they should no longer swoop Hugh when he’s riding. We’ll see if that works.

Last bit on birds for today. We have Hugh to blame for these. I’ve previously mentioned the Ibis we have here, aka bin chickens. Hugh happened across a couple funny YouTube videos about the bin chickens. This first one is family friendly: This next one is most definitely NOT family-friendly (you have been warned!): But pretty funny.

Some updates on the progression of the ponds Hugh is building. Backyard:

What looks like a huge ant hill will be the natural bog filter and then Hugh is building a stream from it down into the little pool at the bottom. And here is the front yard pond:

We’ll be putting fish in this one!

Oh, seeing the citrus trees in the background here reminds me of one of my favourite drinks, the G&T. In Canada, we always drank these in highball glasses. But I noticed that my cousin Suz would post photos of them in copas aka balloon glasses. And then we were watching this great Spanish show on Netflix (Wrong Side of the Tracks) and they always used balloon glasses for their G&Ts. Here is the explanation:

“When it comes to glassware, aside from bespoke glasses like the martini for specialist drinks, the highball tends to be the traditional glass of choice, especially for G&Ts. The design provides ample space for ice, tonic, and of course, gin… But there has also been a rise in popularity in the ‘copa’, or balloon glass in recent years – a curvaceous, bowl-shaped glass with a thin stem that’s regularly used in gin bars in Barcelona and beyond. The copa’s spacious, wide bowl enables botanicals and garnishes to work their magic and infuse your drink with aroma and flavour, making it great for particularly floral, fruity or fragrant gins, while its thin stem helps prevent hands from melting the ice too much.” (from:

Well, we were in Hugh’s favourite store here, Robins Kitchen, and there were G&T copas on sale! I am enjoying a G&T in a copa as I write this :).

There is a downside, however – the condensation drips off the bowl when you pick it up and tilt it to drink (whereas in a highball, it drips to the absorbent coaster). Will have to see how this goes as it heats up here. But for now, I feel a little fancy drinking my G&Ts :).

Speaking of heating up, Thursday was the warmest day since we’ve been here. When I returned from Brisbane on Thursday (follow up appt with my surgeon – everything looks great, just need to check in with him in 6 months, woohoo!), it was 35 C at the airport in Rocky. By the time I got back to Yeppoon, it was only 30. But the humidity was 88%. So we had to turn the ceiling fans on for the first time! One behavioural adaptation we’ve had to make in adjusting to the higher humidity levels here is how you stand up from the toilet. You always stick to the seat so you can’t just stand up, otherwise the seat comes with you and then crashes down, scaring the bejeebers out of anyone in earshot. So you have to essentially peel yourself off the seat. I bet that’s not a commonly known fact, probably because most writers have more couth than I :).

I told you last week about our walks along a few beaches. We picked up a couple pieces of coral we found washed up. Hugh rinsed them out and they are so delicate and beautiful, hard to believe they survived the ocean waves so well.

I know it’s Thanksgiving Weekend back in Canada, and I’d like to say that we met Rob and Barb down at the beach for a drink to toast our Canadian roots and celebrate Thanksgiving remotely, but… well, Saturday was the world famous Yeppoon Pinefest Parade! Here “pine” means pineapple, so yes, this was the pineapple parade. It was great – a classic small town parade where the floats are hand decorated and every kid in town gets to take part in the parade in some way. And I swear the entire population of Yeppoon was out to watch. Just warmed my heart! Here was the first of 2 marching bands – they certainly get to play funky music these days!


And here’s an example of a home made float (yes, that’s quite the scary looking mannequin!):

Now here’s the best and worst part. At the end of the parade, 3 utes go by full of pineapples and they hand them out for free:


The locals come prepared with bags to take them home. Wherever Rob and Barb were standing, they got their pineapples. But us? No, for some reason Hugh didn’t want to trample over the 50 children in front of us to go get me a pineapple. Sheesh, where is the commitment to this relationship?!?

Well, the blog is once again longer than I wanted. I still have photos and stories from prior weeks that I haven’t gotten to, but I will work them in at some point. For now, I’d like to wish all my Canadian family and friends a very Happy Thanksgiving! I’ve been loving seeing the photos of the fall colours you’ve been posting on Facebook. So you can practice your Aussie a bit – I would say “Thank you for posting the awesome photos” and you would respond, “Too easy” :).

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