Kenna the Enchanted One — and Chaylee the Brain!

“You know what is so cool about me?I am magic in my dreams. I can sprinkle my fingers when I want things to happen and I can say like, “cow” and a cow will appear. I can be a fairy or anything. I can even fly. Sometimes I have trouble flying though. I can’t always fly, but sometimes I can. I am so magical in my dreams.”

That’s rad!

Shout out to the Chay Bay: She officially counts to ten and says her abc’s. As you know she says B instead of V and P instead of F…even when she is saying them. It is very endearing. Love that girl.

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Kenna Quotation

“I love the words “lunch” and “much” because I love the sound of “CH”. It just makes me so happy to say that sound. I like other words too, but just parts of them, like “stupid”. I don’t like that word and I don’t say it to people, but I like parts of it. And I think about other things too that you might not know about mom. Like, I think about if I were other people and they were me. And, what if I were the coolest person in the world. What if I were perfect and the world were perfect. Like, what if I was God and what would that be like. Or what the world is like and what other people are like…just what everything is and who I am and…I just think about those things. I can talk to you more about what I like to think about in the morning. ”

WOAH.

Finding Nemo

 

The boat was called FantaSea 1. A perfect name for the vessel that was about to make my dream come true. However, the dream was nearly extinguished before it was ever realized. The night before our intended departure on FantaSea 1, Chaylee sent projectile vomit down my shirt destroying my only truly supportive brazier and my dream. The poor girl did not intend to vomit on my dream. In fact, she was clearly displeased herself. No one enjoys the stomach flu. No one. I actually like a good solid head cold. And if you really think about it, I bet you do too. Consider: You can lounge around guilt free, a tumor is not a likely cause of the illness, and you get a fair amount of sympathy with minimal suffering. 

I digress.

Mike went ahead and rescheduled our voyage for the next day in hopes that our girl would turn her hat around and rally. And rally she did. At 8:50am we boarded FantaSea 1. The dream twas revived!

I was glad to hear it would be a two hour trip rather than a three hour tour. I stood up on the deck and stared at the big blue spread out before me. You can see why people thought the world was flat. A thin line of indigo separated the sea from the horizon. It seemed as if the water actually came to an end. Knowing it continued past what I could see provided me with just the existential, spiritual fodder I was seeking. God is real.

Kenna, Chay and Mike joined me on the terrace as the boat began to slow. A bright green shimmering band cut through the water like a stream. As we drew closer, the colors became even more brilliant and the contrasting blues even more surreal. The colossal reef carved a giant barrier through the aptly named coral sea and thus we had a arrived at the Great Barrier Reef: home to Nemo, Marlin, and my dream

So as to not interrupt my stream of consciousness, I skipped the part about Mike deciding at the last minute that he would go scuba diving in addition to snorkeling.

Announcer: Anyone interested in scuba diving should head downstairs for a quick tutorial.

That was all the convincing he needed. “I think I’ll do it.” He said non-nonchalantly as he headed downstairs. I was speechless. Bewildered. Not entirely happy. Actually downright miffed. (Miffed is really a terrible word. Say it a few times.)

My arguments against Scuba Diving
a) embolism
b) independent scuba diving may interfere with couples snorkeling
c) embolism
d) brief tutorials are not safe tutorials
e) embolism

Once I realized that his scuba (great word) experience would not interfere with my snorkeling ambitions I released him from my emotional prison. The truth was I was a bit jealous that I didn’t have the balls to do it too.

We docked at Reef World, a huge pontoon situated on the Hardy Reef. Does it bother anyone else that the name of one of the most beautiful places on the face of the earth is Hardy? Who decided this? Shouldn’t it be called, Paradise Reef, or Beautiful Land or Enchanted Coral Garden?

Mike headed to the scuba section.

I took the girls on the fancy submarine ride.

We ate lunch.

Mike arrived from his scuba excursion. He looked happy. He was alive. I was proud.

I still had not touched water.

Mike dropped the girls off at the Clownfish Kids Club and I headed to the dressing room to put on my stinger suit. A fluorescent orange leotard designed to protect snorkellers from jellyfish and conceit. It served its purpose. It made me feel safe and humble. I looked like a giant orange road safety cone. It took me a good 15 minutes to pull the little number on. Two nineteen year old girls slipped on powder blue suits with ease, unzipping the front in an effort to reveal the little cleavage they were able to conjure up…Afterall, it is common knowledge that tropical fish love cleavage. Especially the ones that live on “hardy” reef.

“I think I will go for the Angelina Jolie look” said one of the snorkeling vixens.

I unzipped my special suit and responded. “I’m going with the nursing mother motif.”

They laughed…and laughed. Little did they know tropical fish prefer orange!

Mike came around the corner in his dark blue stinger suit. It really made his eyes pop. Good look for him. We were stopped at the equipment bin by a woman with a camera and a cockney accent. I just wanted to get in the water. She had other plans. She told us about a one-night stand she had with a man from Portugal, her parents home in London, her work as a school photographer, her run-ins with Canadians….
Finally, I just put on my snorkel mask, inserted the breathing apparatus and continued listening until she got the point that it was snorkel time.

The minute I hit the water I was filled with awe and wonder…unfortunately, my mask was filled with water too. It took me at least 20 minutes to situate my goggles in such a way that I would not drown every time I attempted to view the reef. Once I achieved correct goggle positioning I achieved Nirvana!

Clownfish, fox faced rabbit fish, angel fish, grouper, giant clams the size of Kenna, every colour of the spectrum surrounded me. Huge schools of silver fish darted back and forth in perfect unison. I was swimming through a Wild Kingdom. At one point, I looked down at the fields of coral and creatures and sang through my snorkel,

“Praise God from whom all blessings flow…Praise Him all Creatures Here Below!”

After an hour of bliss, we beckoned Kenna to join us. She put on her stinger suit and was transformed into a sort of aqua teletubby. She has never looked more adorable and that is saying something. She didn’t last long in the water due to the ill-fitted breathing apparatus, but she did swim to the reef’s edge and squealed with delight as the friendly fish swam by her side.

After Kenna returned to the pontoon with Dad, I swam out once more determined to find Nemo before our departure. I swam around the reef’s rim peeking in each crevice like a underwater game of hide n’ seek. I nearly gave up my search when I saw a tiny orange fish poking his fin out of an anemone.

I found Nemo.

It was time to go home.

Poll: What is your dream?

Fun Fact: The Great Barrier Reef which is located off the coast of Queensland, Australia, is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world. One down, six to go!

Word of the Day:

  • togs–noun:- bathers or swimming costume in Queensland and Victoria.
  • This sheila looks hot in her flaming orange tog.
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    There and Back Again – A Pasley Tale

    It was stunning. The rolling hills of emerald green spackled with gum trees and other botanical formations unknown to the people of America. Livestock, and foreign birds sang in foreign tongues. Golden light poured over the landscape like a warm blanket. And in the distance, the Tasman Sea, lapped wildly against cliffs unseen.

    T’was my turn to drive but my heart and mind were laid waste by what I had just witnessed. I pulled back onto the winding road and drove…and drove…and drove, occasionally staring into the eyes of my beloved spouse…the one whose hard work and adventurous spirit led us to this distant land…this….

    “Hey honey, look at that truck. What an idiot. He’s in my….lane…..”

    “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” I screamed and swerved frantically into the left lane, the correct lane, without regard for other motorists. I was too stunned by my own failure. How could I do such a thing? I’m no tourist. I am an Australian Resident for crying out loud. I know who Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull are. I drink tea and throw trash in the rubbish bin. I like beetroot on hamburgers and I am no longer confused when people say “Ta” instead of thank you. I have no right to make mistakes of such magnitude.

    But hey, my passenger, Captain America, didn’t exactly steer me in the right direction either.

    Word of the Day: trucky – A driver of trucks. A blokey type.

    Poll: Have you had a run in with a trucky?

    Trivia: Kevin Rudd is the Prime Minister of Australia and Malcom Turnbull is the leader of the opposition party. This position was at one time held by Brenden Nelson.

    The story above is a small snippet of our Great Ocean Road Adventure which included an RV, much driving, staggering scenery, bird sized moths, wild koalas and kangaroos,bush rats, Jedi navigating, late nights, early mornings, coffee with Baileys, excited kids and much fun. We journeyed from Sydney to Melbourne to Port Fairy and back again. I love my family.

    Removing the Blog Block

    I am having some blogging blockage. I seem to only feel inspired when something goes comically wrong, or is light heartedly moving. Why can’t I write about pain and loss? Do I have an aversion to putting tragedy in writing? Maybe I am afraid of making it official.

    It seems as of late that every time I take my place in front of the PC to share an anecdote or a warm memory, my hands go limp. I am not short on joyous and humorous reflections or stories.  In fact, my Dad and Lucy’s trip to the Taronga Zoo on the hottest day of the year was tempting to write about.   I had them sit in the baking sun for a half an hour so they could see a bird show, which was cut short due to animal heat exhaustion.  Or perhaps I could have chronicled our spontaneous journey to the Hunter Valley where the sun ebbed and the wine flowed. It was delicious fun.

    I could write for pages on Kenna’s kindergarten adventure thus far, or about how proud I felt today when she was able to read the note I put in her lunch box this morning.

    I could write about the Jones’ journey down under. I could tell the world about how great it felt to hug one of my oldest friends. How comforting it was to have home come to me.

    But, I need to, for once, write down a feeling that is not light. It isn’t funny. It is almost as if  I can’t bring myself to blog again until I face the wave that is coming for me.  I don’t want to fight the rip,

    My family has been eternally altered. With the passing of my cousin Kyle, the shape of us has changed.  Learning of his death brought a sharp pain.  It was an accident, a surprise.  A survivor and casualty of war. We don’t realize what balance a family has until a weight is lifted from one side of the scale. How important and valuable we each are…

    My Uncle Gordy left the earth  shortly after Kyle’s departure. The man who taught me the importance of using a wooden spoon when making a sauce, the one who lectured me endlessly about the power of poetry and exercising the mind. Then man who loved family with an unsurpassed passion. With his passing, he passed a torch to a new generation of matriarchs and patriarchs. Leslie, Kenny, Nancy, and my Momma, Carolee.

    I feel a strange guilt not throwing in a story about me humiliating myself publicly, but I just knew I couldn’t continue this blogging nonsense until I had said their names.

    I love you Kyle Marshall Farr.

    I love you Gordon Lee Creighton.

     

    Doctors, Dentists and Chiropractors… An International Problem

    Doctors, Dentists and Chiropractors always make you feel like a liar. They don’t mean to. I think they are just trying to help, but somehow, I always end up feeling like a fraud.

    Let’s start with Chiropractors (Aussie translation: Kiros) For some reason, the minute I hit the waiting room I immediately feel much better. This makes it difficult to describe “the problem”. To make things worse they will inevitably ask questions like, “Does it hurt when I do this?” or “Does it feel better when I do that?”

    I feel like I’m being pulled over.

    “Do you know how fast you were going?”

    I should know, but somehow when faced with such questions I become nervous and confused. A wrong answer may lead to a the wrong diagnosis. Usually, the answer is somewhere in between, but I was already on the mend the minute I walked through those jedi doors. This uncertainty might have something to do with the fact that I am skeptical of Chiropractors in general. I will admit, I have been helped in the past by said Kiros and their voodoo magic , but I just wonder…have they ever met anyone who didn’t have a subluxation? Does anyone have a luxation? I’m just wondering, because everyone I know seems to have this condition.

    Now let’s talk doctors: Why must they use the 1-10 pain scale? You know the one I am talking about. What is that? I pushed a baby the size of a watermelon out of an orifice the size of a grape without medication. That was a a big fat 10 yo! This here back pain, is a 2 compared to that action. But compared with how I felt two days ago, it’s a solid 7.  A young woman who has never pushed a human being out of her vagina, might call it a 9. It is a worthless question. Ask me something else. Or better yet, run some tests.

    Unfortunately, although Australia has universal medical care, it is decisively less thorough. No tests. Usually, I diagnose myself.

    “I think I have a sinus infection.”

    “You do appear stuffy. Have some penicilin.”

    To acquire pain medication however, you must say the alphabet backwards while playing the recorder and screaming in agony. I guess they think since codeine can be purchased over the counter I should just shut up and be grateful (which I am most of the time.)

    Dentists might be the worst. They are like a scorned nanny.

    “HAVE YOU BEEN FLOSSING???!!!!!”

    “I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I will try harder. I will use rope next time, I swear!”

    Thank God Jesus was a carpenter and not a dentist.

    Poll 1: What is the worst physical pain you have ever experienced? Do you feel the need to share said pain with your doctor so he can adjust his scale appropriately? Talking about it is the first step toward dealing with this international problem.

    Poll 2: How do you feel about Chiropractors? Do you have a subluxation?

    Words of the day: Straight Away: As soon as possible.

    Quack: Bad Doctor

    I am off to the Quack straight away!

    CONFESSION TIME: *At my Senior Dinner in 1996 there was a hypnotist. He picked me out of the audience of 300 or so to participate in his crooked demonstration. I don’t know why I went along with it in the first place, but I did. He had us believing (pretending) we were freezing cold and affectionate. I felt neither cold nor affectionate, but still I shivered and hugged Dan Barr who sat next to me faking it as well. The Hypnotist or “Hypno”, as the Aussie’s probably would say, said that I would “wake up” and sing the Alma Mater. The irony being I was probably the only one in the class that knew the song since my Grandma Mimi wrote it. So I did it. I sang it. I shouldn’t have, but I didn’t want the Hypno to be made a fool. I couldn’t let him down, and yet, I felt I let my classmates down by pretending I was indeed hypnotized. I suck. Forgive me Class of 96′. I lied to you. I was not hypnotized’ just suckered into being a fraud by a fraud. You didn’t deserve it and I am sorry.

    What’s Cookin?

    I haven’t been sleeping well lately. The strangest things seem to keep me up for hours. Case in point. The other night, I woke up at 3am completely out of sorts. I was crazed; desperate to be interesting. Earlier in the evening, I succumbed to the crazy antics of facebook (sorry myspacers) and all of her minions by writing 25 Random Things about myself. I had been “tagged” by about 25 people, and the pressure was getting to me. So I quickly shot off the requested amount of random facts about myself, shut down the computer and headed to bed. That was my first mistake. Not leaving ample time between public reflection and bedtime. My second mistake was reading so many wonderful random lists right before creating my own. The stage was set for compulsive comparison. My third mistake was spending so little time on something I evidently cared about. Why did I care so much, you ask? Well, because, I want people to think I am awesome. That’s right…I said it. I want everyone I encounter to think me awesome. For at least an hour, I thought of all the random things I should have mentioned.

    ..q

    ..I know sign language

    ..q

    ..I miss living on Star Lake.

    ..q

    ..I like blue best.

    “Not quite interesting enough,” I thought.

    ..q

    ..-I love scary roller coasters unless they dangle me upside down for too long. I require speed and dynamic loops to be satisfied…

    “Ooh that’s good, and so true.”

    ..q

    …I love the way Chaylee moves her shoulders when she dances and the way Kenna talks out of the side of her mouth when she makes a joke lately.

    “Nice: remind everyone what a great mom I am for noticing the little things. “

    ..q

    ..I sang at the Stanley Cup when I was ten.

    “Taking it too far.”

    …this went on for some time…this internal madness…until finally I realized that if I did not act, I would not sleep. I located the laptop and made revisions.

    I pressed Post. I went to bed. It was the temporary sedative I needed, but it did not quell the dull ache of rut-dom. (That’s a new word I made up, in case you are going for your dictionary). After all, life is good. I have the coolest husband in two hemisphere’s, two fancy daughters, and access to beach life. So why do I feel so uninteresting? Is it the yoga pants I wear day in and day out? Perhaps. Or could it be my monotonous domestic responsibilities and respective deficiencies? Is it because I am 30…+1? The answer is, none of the above. Yoga pants rule and domestic responsibility comes with the territory. Sucking at it is a little tough, but nothing I can’t overcome.

    The answer is…I NEED AN AUDIENCE. That’s right. Children 5 and under are wonderful. Mine bring me great cheer, but they, in many ways, are a tough crowd. Witty metaphors go over like pork chops at a Bar mitzvah. Yet, merely utter the words “pee pee” or “poo poo” and get out the pull ups. It would be okay if I liked potty humor, but I am not a fan. The audience I seek will not require me to say “ca ca” to get a laugh.

    Hence, the end of my tale. While watching an episode of “Ready, Steady, Cook”, it occurred to me: this show is filmed in front of a live studio audience….. the people in said audience are cheery and required to laugh and provide positive bio feed back to the contestants. I love to cook…..Ready Steady Cook is seeking contestants. And so instead of whining about my rut, I set out to do something truly interesting. I emailed the show and quipped:

    “I am Ready. I am Steady. Let’s Cook”.

    I called a fellow expat and friend to be my fellow contestant. We auditioned last week. If that is not interesting I don’t know what is.

    I’ll keep you posted.

    Words of the Day

    Troppa: To go crazy or insane….

    Rippa: Great Job….

    I have been going Troppa lately but I think Ready Steady Cook will be a real rippa. ….

    ……

    Trivia

    Ready Steady Cook asks two contestants to cook with Australia’s best and brightest chefs while they go to battle with paring knives drawn. Each contestant brings a bag of their favorite ingredients to cook with. The chefs, with help of a trusty sidekick (that would be me) must make a meal with the provided ingredients in no less then 20 minutes. I hope I won’t go troppa under the pressure.

    http://readysteadycook.ten.com.au/

    ……

    Poll: What is the craziest thing you have done to get out of a rut?

    ……

    Family Fun Facts

    Chaylee is fluent in English. Kenna started Kindergarten, Drama Class once a week, and will be on the Roseville Rookie Soccer team as of next month. –Oh no…it just occurred to me…I am a soccer mom! Get out the scissors.