06 March 2011

Do your best "I'mmmmm BAAAAACK" with me now

Hi folks
Definitely time to reconsider and get myself sorted, organised and ready to rock (aka ready to blog again). It has been decidedly too long since I have made any sort of effort to reconnect with people and take some time for reflection.

Well, no more excuses. I will look to organise my time better and set aside some time for quiet reflection. Right now, I am reading a sensational blog from my dear friend Lindsay and I am quite eager to return to it. I was required to sign in to read her blog and so I thought I would have to pull my finger out and get blogging myself. Thanks, Linz! For the inspiration, the motivation and the prompt I required to get started....

Talk to you soon!

Ta-ta for now

02 January 2009

2009..... Oh What A Night

Just as the clock signals the arrival of New Year on the midnight of 31 December people start exchanging New Year Wishes with their dear ones. While personal greetings along with a warm hug is given to people who are with us, SMS, emails and New Year cards are sent to dear one's staying in different cities or countries.

What a nice thing this concept of a New Year. We have a chance to make a new beginning. We have a chance to leave some bad habits. At least we can make a promise.

What a nice thing this concept of a New Year. We can rejoice of the promises we kept. We can forgive the breaches we made. At least we can make another beginning.

Put off the burden on your mind. Revive and refresh your inspirations. Put a song in your heart and smile on your face. "This year I will do something good for me and something good for others." Let us celebrate a Happy New Year.

I would like to share with you some of the best comments/statement I have heard or read at the New Year. (Other than, "I love you." of course....)

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better man. Benjamin Franklin

A happy New Year! Grant that I May bring no tear to any eye When this New Year in time shall end Let it be said I've played the friend, Have lived and loved and labored here, And made of it a happy year. Edgar A. Guest

Every new year people make resolutions to change aspects of themselves they believe are negative. A majority of people revert back to how they were before and feel like failures. This year I challenge you to a new resolution. I challenge you to just be yourself. Aisha Elderwynv

May what you see in the mirror delight you, and what others see in you delight them. May someone love you enough to forgive your faults, be blind to your blemishes, and tell the world about your virtues.

-All the very best, my friends,

Merry Christmas

It's a romantic full moon, when Pedro said, "Hey, mamacita, let's do Weeweechu."

Oh no, not now, let's look at the moon!" said Rosita.

"Oh, c'mon baby, let's you and I do Weeweechu. I love you and it's the perfect time," Pedro begged.

"But I wanna just hold your hand and watch the moon." replied Rosita.

"Please, corazoncito, just once, do Weeweechu with me."

Rosita looked at Pedro and said, "OK, one time, we'll do Weeweechu."

Pedro grabbed his guitar and they both sang....."Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year."

15 December 2008

Danny and Eva's send off


This weekend Danny and Eva set sail for Noumea, New Caledonia; Vili, Vanuatu; Luganville, Vanuatu; Isle of Pines as part of a 10 night South Pacific cruise aboard Rhapsody of the Seas.

We were left on Circular Quay GREEN with envy.

Before we get to the envious itinerary; we had a fantastic day at the pub catching up. Phillip Foote Hotel at the Rocks in Sydney has a great backyard garden and courtyard. Danny had contacted all the school mates and the boys had a rowdy and fond farewell. Living in Queensland means we don't get to catch up with Danny as much as we would like and so we jumped at the opportunity to see him off; taking the drive down to Sydney on Saturday.

Danny's dad, Russell (aka Flash) has been on 26 cruises and is a pro. He said that the Rhapsody of the Seas, the cruise ship Danny and Eva were booked on was the best ship he has been on yet. It did sound good. It has a rock-climbing wall, 8 outdoor pools, 6 whirlpools, indoor/outdoor pool in a solarium with a sliding roof, stunning centrum (an open atrium featuring shopping), themed bars and lounges, beautiful airy dining rooms, youth facilities, Casino Royale, a day spa and fitness centre! Oops, I said I would do the ENVY thing a little later, didn't I?!

Russell and Danny's step mother Judy joined Danny and Eva, Scott and I and a few rogues from Scotty's childhood. Wattsie, Dave, RD, and Ross made it, however sadly we missed Einstein who was working. Ross' wife, Michelle and their 3 year old Kyle was there, making a fantastic afternoon!

We drove down to Sydney from Bathurst on Saturday morning, arriving just in time at the Rocks to meet the gang at the Phillip Foote Hotel. We had a few afternoon refreshments and a BBQ with a few laughs and giggles.

After lunch, we headed over to Circular Quay to check out the ship. Danny and Eva set sail at 6:30pm. We spent an hour and a half on the concourse entertaining ourselves with Kyle. It was great. Danny and Eva have 10 nights in the South Pacific.

First port; Nouméa, the charming capital of New Caledonia, has quite a few things to brag about. It's the third largest island in the South Pacific. It's home to the world's largest lagoon and second largest coral reef. And if that's not enough, it's part French. Ergo, the cuisine must be fabulous. The shopping, well, can you say haute couture? (I can't) [I have even tried practising and well, I don't get the hawk/spitting action right at the beginning. ] And you're never very far from a full-bodied glass of French wine, especially if your name is Danny. And yes, you also get to visit places like Pierre Vernier Walk, Baie des Citrons, and Place des Cocotiers. Which are almost as much fun to say as they are to see.

Second port- Vanuatu. There are 83 idyllic islands that make up the amazing archipelago of Vanuatu. (Archipelago is also one I stumble over, is it "arch" as in Triomphe, or "ark" as in the convenant? And then is it pe-logo as in a log or pe-lago as in lag? I am stumpered) Back to the cruise..... Port Vila, the capital city of the island of Efate, is the heart and soul of them all. Sandwiched between the northen and southern atolls, it's like the city was built for island hopping. With it's beauty and tribal traditions Vanuatu must be one of the most beautiful and happy place on Earth. And well, when a day consists of floating in a hidden lagoon, lounging under a gnarly banyan tree, cooling off in a waterfall shower and snacking on freshly picked fruit, you will be the happiest person on the planet also!

Third port- Lugan ville, Vanuatu. Luganville is the second-largest town on Vanuatu. It is one of over 300 volcanic origin islands in Melanesia. It's population is diverse with over 100 languages, a multitude of dialects and a South Pacific island heritage that spans over 3,000 years of Pacific region immigration. A WWII general insisted that the main street be 4 trucks abreast, means Luganville is unusually wide.

Yeah, I am pretty envious.

Scott now of course wants to go. The moment we got home on Sunday evening he logged into Royal Carribbean.com to get cruise details to plan for a group adventure..... it would be great fun- ahoy, matey!!!

15 October 2008

Thanks be to.... Lowndsy?? Foiled again.

Thanksgiving is an annual one day holiday to give thanks for things one has close to harvest season. Some people thank God for this bounty. Others, offer thanks to those around them for such blessing, still others simply enjoy a public holiday.

While the actual Thanksgiving holiday is on a Monday, Canadians might celebrate (eat their) Thanksgiving (meal) on any day of the three day weekend. Thanksgiving is often celebrated with family, it is also often a time for weekend getaways for couples to observe the autumn leaves, spend one last weekend at the cottage, or participate in various outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, bathing in hot sauce, and hunting.

As an interesting aside- in my ever-vigilant plight to educate people about Newfoundland; The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony, in what is now the province of- You guessed it! Newfoundland and Labrador- to give thanks for surviving the long journey. (As Scott and I can now also attest it is a BLOODY long journey and I can understand why Frobisher was so relieved to have survived it!) The feast was one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in North America, although celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops had been a long-standing tradition throughout Canada.

I note sadly, that Wikipedia had a nifty little side bar on their Thanksgiving (Canada) page which stated:
Significance A celebration of being thankful for what one has and the bounty of the previous year.
Date Second Monday in October.
2008 date October 13
Celebrations Parades, Spending Time with Family, Eating Large Dinners, Religious Practice

As any Canadian family can attest, Thanksgiving is definitely about "Eating Large Dinners"; however it is my hope that the cultural significance is slightly more.....

Living now in Australia, I have carried on the tradition of Thanksgiving (minus the Turkey in recent years in favour of the more assimilated and appropriate Aussie Barbie) and more recent again, living now in Bathurst for some years, Thanksgiving will often coincide with: you have guessed it, Race Week.

A record crowd came in force to the Mountain to see Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes win the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 for the third year in a row.

More than 187,000 fans enjoyed a remarkable race with Whincup and Lowndes becoming the first pair in 24 years to win three years in succession. And the win elevated Whincup to the top of the Championship table with Lowndes now fourth.

They dominated in a day of drama to head off Greg Murphy and Jason Richards (Tasman Motorsport Holden) with James Courtney and David Besnard (Jeld-Wen Ford) third.

In the following video below which I entitle "How not to start a race."... From POLE position, my favourite team of Garth Tander and Mark Skaife experienced clutch problems which they should be thankful they did not get CREAMED from behind!!!

From a stalled start (FROM POLE) to more drama on the track, poor Skaife had little to be thankful for this Thanksgiving:

As you can see, my traditions are now becoming meshed as I assimilate here in Australia. This does not mean, however, that Thanksgiving is not appropriately marked in our family. We were gratefully joined this year by Kerry (ex pat) and Andrew and Greg for a BBQ and an afternoon/evening/night of fantastic company and laughter, to only be reminded again of how lucky we are to have such love/acceptance/kindness/joy in our lives. Of course, we were able to top it all off by some marvelous PUMPKIN PIE!!! yum-yum. (Thanks Kerry for your culinary prowress)

As we capped off what was (to my mind) a tragic and sad Holden day at the Races, filled with much drama, and disappointment; we were also reminded that although we have not received the result we were after- we are in one-heck-of-a-better place than most people are. We have our health, we have happiness, and we have each other.

Foremost in my thoughts (believe it or not, yes, aside from the tragedy which struck Garth and Mark, I could spare a thought for other than Holden events this day) of course was Glenda's sister-in-law Thellie and her family, and Grace's closest friend Jackie; and for Kerry and her very special friend Laura and Laura's family. Which gave me pause to consider how blessed I am and how fortunate my life is.

So although I make light of the fun weekend we had once again this week and the activities and high jinx we get up to; Thanksgiving celebration did not pass without acknowledgement and gratefulness in Bathurst this year.

I will provide information below for those of you NOT familiar with Bathurst 1000 or v8 racing in Australia as it is a culture which I have embraced with gusto and fun. And that is something for which I am thankful also- the capacity to live and enjoy life. And believe it or not, the Bathurst 1000 is one of those things that not just I, but thousands of other Australians celebrate in their life.

The following overview was prepared as publicity prior to the Grand Final of key contenders and some great shots of Bathurst Races in years gone past:

The Bathurst 1000 is a 1000 kilometre touring car race held annually at Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia.

The race traces its lineage back to a production car race held at Phillip Island in 1960, called the Armstrong 500. Since then 51 races have taken place under the combined history of two events at two venues in two states. I t is known among fans and broadcasters as "The Great Race", and is widely regarded as the pinnacle of Australian motorsport.

“What I love about Bathurst is that an otherwise ordinary season can be rescued by a spectacular result on the mountain,” says Tracey Donaldson of the importance of this monumental race.

“So although it’s near the end of the calendar, it’s kind of like a clean slate,” she adds.

The winners of the race receive the Peter Brock Trophy, inaugurated at the 2006 race in honour of Peter Brock who, with nine Bathurst victories, remains the most successful driver in the history of the race. Since 2000, the race has been run exclusively for V8 Supercars and is now a round of the V8 Supercar Championship Series.

The mountain, is calling.

07 October 2008

Camping Labour Day Weekend: Macquarie Woods

Welcome to another edition of Australian Geographic. While Lorne Greene is on holiday, Jen Quill will be your correspondent reporting from Macquarie Woods, in NSW.

Give me sun. Give me gum trees. Give me rosellas and roos. Give me watermelon pips, white bread-sandwiches and silver long toms strung from hand-held fishing lines. Give me balmy summer nights under a canvas canopy. Give me mosquito coils, guy ropes, sleeping bags and the distant sound of someone snoring. (I don't kiss and tell, so you won't hear from me that Ginny Weasley and Scotty snore like chainsaws) Give me all of this and I’ll give you 1001 golden childhood memories pegged out in camping grounds nationwide.

Australia is a country of campers. Throughout the human occupation of our wide brown land we’ve headed to beach-side campsites in droves. However, my heart lies in the bush. I love and advocate tree-change, not sea-change. Camping is essential to the Australian experience. Camping connects you directly to the earth and the sky, the vegetation, the animals, the birds and especially each other. The strength of the wind, the power of nature…it overwhelms you. You understand the scale of things and your own place.

It’s the notion of this ancient way of life connected to nature and the elements – and the links that are forged between people living in such a way – that continues to resonate for modern campers. Europeans may have brought tents to Australia but they did not bring camping. Aboriginal people are great campers. The middens along the coast tell us how they moved from one good spot to another, visiting the same sites year after year. And the camper’s eye notes what well-chosen sites they are: near the beach but out of the wind; near a creek but sheltered behind the dunes.

Well, Scotty and I have taken a leaf out of the Aboriginal book and have ourselves found our favourite places of heaven here on Earth, and they are presenting themselves in the form of Macquarie Woods and the Bridle Track in Central West country New South Wales. (Although I still love the Brindabella's of Canberra, the Ranges of Broken Hill and the forests of Tasmania, but the secret hidey-holes Scott and I have discovered and laid claim to are predominately in the central west of NSW)

As a species we’ve been looking at – and wondering about – the night sky and other aspects of the natural world for a million years or more. Our western stories of the sublime, everlasting perfection of heaven and (from watching volcanoes) the eternal damnation of hell probably arose in this way. Humans are both blessed and blighted with an almost insatiable curiosity and a need to know why things are as they are – it’s what makes us human – and there’s nothing more puzzling than our experience of the night sky.

What better place to see this thing of beauty and awe than when camping in Australia?!

As you have gathered, Scott and I took the kids and went bush this past weekend. We are feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and reconnected. We are including some of our photos from the weekend, and as usual, there are very little of Scott. I make an apology now for this which must seem to some as a deliberate act of neglect on my part, however the simple matter is that Scott loves to take photos and is an amatuer photographer of both growing and prodigious skill. (Exhibit A: the 6,000 photos taken in one month in Newfoundland recently. Exhibit B: 300 photos taken over a day and half this past weekend!)

What I do hope is demonstrated to you is the fun and carefree time we are having exploring our little neck of the woods and sharing that journey together. We are simply getting out there; and no better fun has been had.

Signing off, for Australian Geographic, I'm Jen Quill. Lorne Greene returns with you next week when he looks at the World Heritage Rainforests of NSW.

01 October 2008


Clearly there is something about Springtime and creation of life. Clearly.

Even though it is not spring in Washington DC (or Clinton Maryland as the case may be) nor in Mount Pearl Newfoundland, it is spring here and that is my explanation for the wonderful and exciting creation of life news:

Congratulations to Trevor and Maxine Kearsey whose son Tavian will undertake big brother duties as Maxine and Trevor are expecting a bundle of joy in March 2009. How wonderful!

Congratulations also to another beautiful 'sister' in my life, as Juanita and Rick Spence prepare for their first child who will be arriving in May/June 2009. How bloody fantastic is that?!!!

Clearly there is something about Springtime and creation of life.

The irony that it will be springtime THERE when Maxine and Juanita are due is also not lost on me. Clearly there is something about Springtime and creation of life.

I am so happy for both of you. Congratulations.

You now join my cousin Joanne as she also expects in Spring 2009.

Isn't life grand? Isn't life great?! And well, let's face it, Spring babies make the BEST kids! (Not that I am saying that as a spring baby also makes me, well let's face it, pretty perfect- hahahahahaha)

Congratulations again, to the Kearsey/Barrett family and the Spence/Davison family.

I am sure you will all enjoy parenthood, best wishes for a smooth and safe pregnancy!

****** In other News******

In other happy news, some of you may be aware that I have been accepted as a scholarship holder of the Australian/New Zealand School of Government and will be undertaking an Executive Master's of Public Administration next March for 2 years as the NSW Government initiative to retain their middle and senior level managers in the public sector.

So there you have it, all sorts of wonderful and exciting things happening.

Hoping you are all doing just as well in your little patch, as I am fortunate to be doing in mine.

Love, Jen