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. 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:

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 :)