Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Okay, I am downright embarrassed that it has taken this long to update! I know my excuse is that we are busy, but it's a good excuse because....it's.....true?

First of all, we had an AMAZING time in Tasmania. It was beautiful and we did so much exploring. Here's a link to photos from our trip!!!


You can also find videos from our trip here (on the right you will see my "uploads", those are the ones that we have uploaded from our camera from the trip)

On a sappy side note, I can't believe we have been together for 5 years. We have done so much together already, and I feel so LUCKY to have married my best friend. Ben is the most loyal, patient, and beautiful person I have ever met. Awwwwwwww. Okay, that's enough.

So anyway, the month of November has been insanely busy. I've had exhibition openings every weekend, and parties, and social stuff going on. Not to mention running around trying to find the time to put together Christmas gifts that are virtually weightless to send home. That is a very difficult task: finding Christmas gifts for family members that don't weigh very much, but are still things that people will like. They're finally done and being posted today! Whooohooooo!!

Here's a list of what's coming up:
  • 24th: Thanksgiving dinner at a fellow American's house (Trish, she is from California)
  • 26th: Julie working in the morning
  • 26th: Birthday picnic for our Irish friend in the park
  • 26th: Birthday party for Trish (she is also having a '90's theme birthday party!!!!! We had both planned this before we even met, weird!)
  • 27th-30th: Sunday, catching the train to Perth for two trainings (I'm scared to do this)
  • 27th-30th: Julie at trainings and meetings until Wednesday night, Ben working/playing soccer/squash/bowls
  • 2nd: Soccer Christmas party (for Ben)
  • 3rd: Julie working in the morning, '90's theme party at night! (We are going as Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, so obviously we will have cardboard cut outs of a shotgun and a guitar. Since there is speculation that Kurt Cobain didn't actually commit suicide and Courtney Love killed him, and they were BOTH rockers that played the guitar, it is unclear of who will be carrying which cut out.) *On a side note, we will need to buy cigarettes for our costumes (don't worry we won't really smoke them), but I am putting it off because
a) I don't know what to ask for, "Umm, yes can I have some Marlboro Cigarettes?" Seriously this is the only brand I know
b) I don't know HOW to ask. These are the possible ways I have come up with:
"Umm, yes, Mother May I have some Marlboro Cigarettes?" OR
"Umm, yes, Mother May I have some cigarettes like Cruella de Vil smokes?" OR
"Yo yo yiggity yo, gimme some smokes, mothaf****" (sorry parents, but I think this may be the most believable way to ask)

  • 8th: Engineers Australia gathering
  • 10th-11th: Julie working a Poetry Performance
  • 15th: Exhibition opening
  • 16th: Our Christmas party
  • 24th: Going up to a friend's in Perth for Christmas Eve/Christmas morning
  • 25th: Christmas! Skyping with parents and hanging out with friends
Things calm down...finally!

Ben and I have booked a trip to Ningaloo Reef at the end of February/beginning of March. This is something we've heard about since we arrived in Australia. Everyone knows about the Great Barrier Reef, but this is an incredibly long reef on the North Western coast. It spans 250+ kms (155+ miles). The difference between the Great Barrier and Ningaloo is that, when you go to the Great Barrier, you have to book a tourist trip to do it. They have to actually put you on a boat to take you to the Reef. At Ningaloo, the Reef is off of the coast in the National Park, so you literally just wade in and snorkel anywhere you like. We have heard soooo many people talk about Ningaloo, and it sounds absolutely incredible. There are over 500 species of tropical fish! Whale sharks, manta rays, sea turtles, the list goes on. I can't wait!!! Whenever we take vacations, we always end up so excited that we go go go every day. This trip will be one solid week of floating in the ocean and snorkeling. I absolutely cannot WAIT!

We have also decided to fly there. It takes a good two days to drive (it's like an 18 hour drive one way), and we are just not that interested in spending more than half of our time driving up and driving back. We are staying in a YHA Hostel (these are accredited and international) in a double-room with a private bathroom (so we will not be sharing with any weirdos, don't worry.) Yayyayayayayayayayyyyy for adventures!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh yeah, Halloween was great too. Our costumes were a hit!

Teenage mutant ninja turtles, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, HEROES IN A HALF SHELL! TURTLE POWER! (We are still finding green paint everywhere.)

Okay, that's enough.

I CAN'T BELIEVE I ALMOST FORGOT! We had sold our really hideous couch and two chairs before we went to Tassie because our friend Graham was going to get a new one before Halloween. Things changed for him, so he had still not sold us his couches, so we were sitting on the floor on a futon mattress. We went out last weekend to a used furniture store and bought two new couches! They don't match, but they are both VERY clean and VERY comfy!! Will take pictures soon and post them. I want to get couch covers for them, but we are having a hard time finding any that will fit. We also bought some bar stools that are SOOOO comfortable. Doesn't this just make you want to come out and visit us?!?

Alright, that's it for now. Oh yeah, our jobs are going very well. :)

1 1/2 years down....

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Not much to say, but lots to show :)

Not much has changed since the last post. Still busy busy with work and the gym and friends and fun things. Ben and I are enjoying our lives as D.I.N.Ks

(Double Income No Kids)

Ben and I bought these lilies at Woolworth's, the grocery store. They are AMAZING. I have never ever seen lilies like this before...they're bigger than my head. You can smell them as soon as you walk in the front door, even though they're all the way in the living room. They were $15! I can't believe how fragrant and gorgeous they are. It was too hard to get a picture of them next to my head, so my hand will have to do!

Last blog I talked about our "cleaning" jar. It's workingggg....(we've scrubbed mold out of the shower and WASHED OUR WINDOWS. Who are we?!?!)

Ben's beer a-brewin'! It should be ready to bottle in a couple days. He bought a new kit and he's going to try using actual hops next time! Such a little scientist. (Our God-sent dryer behind it)

Guess what we're going to be for Halloween....get ready for the AWESOMENESS that is BenandJulie'scostumemakingabilities.

We've been in the process of re-arranging and cleaning and setting up apartment...like 10 months after we moved in. It's fine. Here's a before picture of the corner of our bedroom...yikes..that was supposed to be my makeup/jewellery corner!

After picture of the corner, and a close up!

Close up of a picture I found today of Morgan and me from 2006 ish? She sent it to me last year in a card and I forgot I had it. We look so young and happy :) Miss you Morge!

Picture of the rest of the room. Our loft is SWEET. Will get an "after" picture when it's actually made and looks pretty..who knows when that will be!

This is next to the loft, under the window. It looks nice. That's an aloe plant. Since Mom and Dad T gave us an aloe plant a few years ago, we love them and can't get enough of them. (You basically cannot kill them...phew! We have a humongous one in our bathroom too!)

Corner of our living room that is finally done (almost):

Ben and me in Augusta last year (where the Indian and Southern oceans meet)

Shelf dedicated to our awesome little sisters:

One of my favorite songs (and bands)

The lyrics are part of the reason I love the song so much:


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lotsa picture blog..just like I promised!

Ben and I have made some pretty awesome changes to our everyday life to help make our weekends longer and more enjoyable. We were having a hard time staying on top of the cleaning since we've been working long hours and working out. I've had four exhibition openings this month, one of which was a HUGE project for me, so I've been working nights and weekends sometimes. We find it really hard to stay on top of cleaning (especially dishes!) but laundry too because it's raining almost every day (winter!) and our clothes never get a chance to dry. So:

1)We bought a dryer (and it was well worth it!)
2) We started a cleaning jar. We add money to the jar based on whatever cleaning thing we did--and it's actually working! We can spend the money on whatever, whenever, but it has to be something we both want. Big nasty jobs like cleaning windows are $5 and dishes and 'tidying' are $2. Now we don't spend one whole day on the weekend trying to catch up with the cleaning. It's nice :)

Yesterday Ben had a day full of surprises planned. He took us down to Margaret River where we walked through the shops and got coffee/chai at the Yahava Factory! One of our favorite places. We went down to Hamelin Bay in hopes of seeing the big stingrays, but we came to the conclusion that the water must be too choppy, and it wasn't the right season. We still got some really gorgeous pictures! Then we went to El Gringo's for dinner. It's a Mexican restaurant in Busselton (a town that is about a half hour from Bunbury). It was good! The service was amazing, especially for Australia! The margaritas were kind of weak, but they usually are, we've found. We both got chimichangas that were good, but WEIRD. They were full of a creamy sauce (sour cream?) We'd probably try something else but the food was good and it was fun to go out to a restaurant :)

LCAA has just put in for three or four jobs all in the Margaret River area (about an hour away from us in Bunbury). Hopefully they get at least one! Ben's company just won a bunch of awards at an Australian Institute of Project Managers conference, and at an Engineers Australia awards night. Nancy won Project Manager of the Year (seriously, big deal!), Small Project of the Year (for the Bunbury Airport, which Ben was involved with!!), and Regional Project of the Year (Nannup project, Ben wasn't involved with that one, it was before he got here). So they are doing really well for themselves. They were in the paper too, so if you want the article let me know and I can email it to you :)

I had my first big opening last weekend. It went so well! I'm having a lot of fun with all aspects of this job. I've just firmed up Term 4 of our Studio Two art classes, which was fun because I was able to find artists to teach classes, and kind of go my own way with it. I'm going to a training in November for Marketing in New and Social Media. Iluka Visions, the SouthWest High Schools exhibition was last weekend, and we had over two hundred people at the opening event. The exhibition takes up two of the four galleries. It's kind of a big deal :) I've got a media contact that I regularly liase with, so there are multiple stories, articles, and photos in the paper weekly that I've either written or organized. It's so much fun!

Random picture time.

This is the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries, where I work. It used to be a convent in the 1800s, and is haunted by Sister Mary (but I have yet to see her)

Gorgeous flowers Ben bought me. I love him :)

THIS is IKEA! The big warehouse home store we went to in Perth a few weeks ago!

These are pictures from Hamelin Bay:

These were everywhere on the beach. Some kind of blue jellyfish?

Beautiful sunset over the ocean :)

The coastline is so weird here. That's actually a pretty big mountainous dune on the left that you can climb.

I was trying to show how bright blue the water is, but this picture doesn't do it justice. Think...Caribbean blue!

Hunting for Rays

He caught me :)

Ben is currently brewing his next batch of beer. This is his fourth batch, and they just keep getting better. I have high expectations for this one!

This is the malt concentrate he is using for this batch. It's from New Zealand: Black Rock East India Pale Ale (we both really like IPAs)

Ben is trying a new method that he read in one of his brewing books. He is boiling the wort first, before adding the rest of the water and putting it into the fermenter

Furiously writing notes, such a little scientist

That's all for now! But I think that's plenty of pictures, don't you?

We miss you all at home! 2.5 weeks until we have loads and loads of Tasmania pictures. Every day down is another day closer to being home for good.. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Anniversary plans and boring update with no pics (sorry)

I've been putting off writing an update because we've wanted to post pictures of our newly decorated apartment. Unfortunately, what we thought would take one weekend has taken like...three, and it's still not done.

We.are.so.busy.right.now. It's good though! Very good. Ben is playing soccer and squash, we are back at the gym, and trying to cook at home as much as possible. We feel like such grown ups. (We even make our own sushi regularly!) Ben has been at the City of Bunbury working on a drainage project (he still works for Lowes Churchill but they are low on work, so Nancy has given him to the City for a while). I'm loving life at the Galleries, and I can SEE Ben's office from my office! So we meet for lunch, and we work in the city, and we feel like real grown ups.

So much has happened since the last update. Sorry this one will have no pictures, but the next one will...I promise (maybe).

Here it is, in list format:

+We bought a new mattress
+We set up our guest room
+We went to IKEA which is an AWESOME home store in Perth. Spent 3 hours there!
+We are in the middle of replanting some veggies outside and plants for the inside of the apartment
+Ben changed the oil in the car (good thing, too! Having an oil change here costs about $130, but he did it himself for about $50)
+The weather is warming up!! YAY!!
+I have my first BIG exhibition opening this weekend!! Nervous and excited!
+Ben has a conference for work and awards night in Perth this weekend!
+I am meeting really cool people and artists at work! And it's very busy, but a very good job for me. And I think I'm good at it, too.
+Ben is thinking he might get to stay at the City and do some engineering work for them :)
+And last, but not not least, (DEFINITELY THE MOST EXCITING)......


So Tasmania seems really cool, and we hear a lot of good things about it. See the map below that I made in paint for you :)

Tasmania has a lot of history to it. There are ghost tours that are run at night, and the town of Hobart (mostly where we will be) in an old fishing village. We've heard it's a lot like coastal New England. (They even get snow there!) We will be spending two nights in Hobart at one hotel in the city, doing some exploring and seeing the Salamanca Markets. We rented a car so we can see Mt. Wellington, and drive to the Tasmanian Devil Conservation Centre (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), and to Wineglass Bay, which is up the east coast of Tasmania a bit. We'll be spending one night in Wineglass Bay (I've seen it on TV shows as one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit!) Then we'll come back to Hobart and stay at a different place for a couple of nights. If you are interested, there is some info on the worst massacre in Australian history which happened out at Port Arthur. It was in the early 90's. Basically, a guy just went on a killing spree, at toll booths, cafes, everywhere. There are conspiracy theories behind it. Some people think the government sent this guy to do this so that they would crack down on gun laws here in Australia (which they did--you basically can't own a gun here). Interesting!

Here is the website of a guy that is exhibiting here at the Galleries. We've done some workshops with him, and he's got a huge response to his work. He doesn't have a lot of money, and he creates sculptures and just learns as he goes. His work is awesome: http://www.danielfisherart.com/

I think that's about it for now. Ben has squash tonight and will hopefully kick some butt! He's already doing better this season, and winning some matches!

We're hoping to do New Zealand next year for our anniversary, and Sydney for New Year's at some point. On our way back to the US (for good) we're going to try to do at least a month of backpacking through Europe. We'll have to send some stuff home in a palette this time!

That's about all the updates I've got for you guys. At least there was ONE picture in this blog, sorry it was kinda boring. Still counting the days til we're home :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Adventures with Gnomeo

(Pretend this is narrated by Morgan Freeman) This is the story of a tiny gnome that took one step into some luggage...and a giant step towards freedom. His name........is Gnomeo.

Gnomeo is not messin' around! Here he is, leading us out of the apartment. He wanted to get a move on to Gnomesville before the sun set.

It was a struggle, but we finally got Gnomeo to buckle up. Damn that stubborn gnome species.

Pit stop! Gnomeo needed to stretch his wee legs and...have a wee.

Our beautiful adventure.

In case you didn't see last year's blog about Gnomeville, here is a refresher picture. There are thousands and thousands of gnomes. This is just one small section.

Gnomes are tiny, but brutal. Apparently, this was the Italian Gnomafia section.

Gnomeo is a bit of a loner. He wanted to be by himself to ponder life and other philosophical things. He chose this remote section that was far away from the obnoxious gnomes that resembled the 7 Dwarves a littttttttle too much.

So content, flashin' his USA pride on his backside!

Gnomeo is much happier now that he is where he belongs, in Gnomesville, Western Australia. We haven't gotten a letter from him yet, but everyone knows that gnomes aren't very dependable and they tend to hit the drink a bit too much. We think he's probably met a nice Juliette to spend his time with.

In other news, Ben and I had a very very busy week last week! Between work and squash and seeing friends, we are busy busy. We've both been working 40+ hours, but enjoying our jobs. Ben is hoping that his company gets a new airport project that they've put in for in Albany (that's where we hiked last year). They should find out this week!

Here is a random picture of me. I went to a Vintage Hair and Makeup workshop this weekend, which was amazing and so fun. She covered styles from the 20s-60's. I was chosen to have my hair and makeup done for the '60's model. You can't quite see it in this picture, but I had a rockin' beehive! Only half of my face was done in makeup, but it's the right side of my face. I had a great time, so glad I went!

Hope everyone is happy and healthy at home. Will update again soon with our official anniversary plans! We are still trying to work out what we want to do. We'll have been together for five years this October!

Hope everyone is enjoying summer xo

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sushi Time! (+update)

Ben is helping me write this blog! Yay!!

When we first got back, we had some crazy weather--it made the paper! We were going to try to get a short video of the humongous waves here, but our camera was dead (and Ben was afraid we were going to get carried away, haha). I'm sure if you google it you can find some info. It's calmed down a lot more now, but it has been pretty cold out-- probably about 40 when we wake up, and not much higher than 45 throughout the day.

Here's an update on our work lives since being back (Ben wrote his all by himself :) )

Julie---I LOVE my job. I think this is the first time when I have felt truly excited and happy about a job. I look forward to going. I enjoy the immense responsibilities! I feel like I'm going to be good at it, and that it is an important job, like I'm being challenged AND making a difference. I'm meeting with amazing artists, setting up tours and floor talks, running workshops and programs, making contacts, doing networking, writing media releases, talking to the media, and the list goes on and on an on. I feel like I'm finally in a job where I FULLY belong--in short, I am blessed.

Ben--- For the time being I don't have a lot (anything) going on at my job. Two days after we
landed Nancy and I had our annual external quality audit to maintain our ISO 9001 certification (A big deal, basically international standards to ensure that we put out a quality product). It went about a million times better than Nancy and I expected. Now we are officially certified again for another year, when I hope to pass this duty to some unlucky sop. That is the extent of the excitement for my job for now. We find out if we get another airport project (Albany Airport) on the 16th. For the time being we do have a little work to do for the Bunbury Airport but I am only minimally involved because it started before we got back. Nancy had a meeting with the State Department of Transport and the Shire of Cunderdin this past week, and the SDoT is basically using a bunch of our report for the Cunderdin Airfield in their Aviation Strategy for the State. So, pretty cool there.

Today we filed our Australian taxes (thank GOD we're FINALLY done with taxes!), and did some yard saling (we got a vase, a sweet spikey plant, an ice cube tray [you laugh, but those are hard to come by here], and chopsticks. We walked around some of the shops in downtown, and decided today would be the day we would try to make our own Asian cuisine--specifically sushi :) We've been wanting to try to make it for a while, and just put it off. But today we were in the mood, so prepare yourselves for pictures!

Here are the ingredients for our Asian cuisine:

These are the SWEET chopsticks we bought from a yard sale for $2.50. It's a set of 5, and the
weird shaped things on the right side of the box are little things to set them in so you don't get your tablecloth messy. They're from Singapore.

Ben cutting chicken for the stirfry

Mmmm...black bean chicken stirfry with pad thai noodles

Julie stirring the powdered vinegar into the sushi rice

Sushi ingredients: crabmeat, avacado, cucumber, and tofu

Ready to be rolled!

ACTION ROLL SHOT! (Look how determined Ben is)

Up close action roll shot

Cutting the roll into six pieces

Not bad for our first try. Ben says it's sexy sushi. Inappropriate, Ben! (That's wasabi and soy sauce on the plate to dip it in)


Sitting down to our Asian cuisine feast. We forgot to light the candles, though.

Random yard sale plant