Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I Do Love Me a Roundabout

We have a few roundabouts in Manhattan, Kansas.  They are easy to maneuver - as long as all the other drivers feel the same way.  Sometimes we have a Nervous Nelly who thinks all bad things are going to happen with the absence of stop signs, but for the most part, i have to say: Roundabouts is what it's all about!  (I should be in marketing?)  Back in our Egyptian days, we even had three and four-lane roundabouts.  That, though, I will have to say, was a bit willy-nilly.  In that I never drove in Cairo, I can't say for sure, but I relied heavily on prayer as my drivers did the work.  I came out at the end of that year, unscathed.

Ok.  So, if you read my last post, you will understand that my station wagon was smacked broadside late this summer.  Just after which, we. that Spouse o' mine and I, left for points south:


They drive on the left side of the road.

I don't.

I am driven on the left side of the road.  I always have been.

(Note: I love to be driven.  I always have loved being driven places.)

So, here we were, arriving in Brisbane just shortly after my unfortunate car accident by which the left side of my car was struck broadside by an idiot.

What happens, when one travels to Australia, where all the roundabouts travel in the opposite direction?  They run clockwise, instead of our American counter-clock-wise.  So, we were travelling clockwise, the oncoming traffic appeared in MY WINDOW, which caused me to SHRIEK for DEAR HEAVENS STOP!!! STOPP!!!!!  AGHHHHHHHH!

And for a brief second, that Spouse o' Mine would slam on the brakes, because he thought - well, he just thought I was dying.  I did, too.  But I thought it longer than he did and with far greater fear than he did.  And my foot was braking on the Aussie passenger side of the car.  I was a total wreck, for nearly three weeks of riding in Australia.  This is a small example of post-traumatic stress.  I was sure, each time a car entered the roundabouts with us, that I WAS GOING TO DIE!  Or, at least, the airbag was going to pop out again and hit me in the noggin.  Again.

Gues what happened when we returned to the United States and our roundabouts?  I was totally frozen.  Which way?  Which way?!!!  WHICH WAY???!!!

Have mercy.

It is October 26th, I think I have it down now.

Pitiful state of circumstances...

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Car Talk. I See a Trend?

Does anyone listen to re-recordings of the radio show called Car Talk?  I learned a lot about auto mechanics from listening to that radio show.  And I have a handy mechanic in that Spouse o' Mine.  He does a lot of auto-magic at our home.  Plus, he can take a car into a repair shop, have the problem assessed, ask knowledgeable questions, and walk out knowing that the repairmen know he knows.

But this is not about Car Talk, or about that Spouse o' Mine.

This post is all about me.

Here is a Volvo Station Wagon that I drove for quite a few years, some 7-10 years ago, until the 4th of July, along I-70 at the Georgetown , Colorado exit, in the mid-afternoon:

The driver who struck the back of my car was under-age and unlicensed, the car was full of under-aged kids, there was a whiskey bottle and "residue" found in the car.  (I asked the police officers, "What do you mean, "residue?"  "Marijuana, Ma'am.")

And here is a Volvo Station Wagon that I drove for three years - until August of this year, when I was struck, broadside, by a young woman.  And let's address the airbag, that blessing of car accidents.  I had only two seconds (and I am being conservative) to react to what I perceived as an accident-to-be.  I saw in my peripheral, a car at my sideBOOM!!!.  But that sideBOOM! was simultaneous to my front airbagBOOM! going off.  (Notice, that my airbagBoom! only rated one exclamation point; that is because, as soon as it was deployed, it was just as quickly deflated!  The smoke filled my car.

I thought the smoke meant my car was on fire.  I put the car in park and hopped out, not even bothering to turn the car off.  Many minutes later, a police officer arrived.  I asked him if my car was still running.  It was. He turned it off, explained that the smoke I smelled was from the airbags, and that I would probably have that stench in my nose for the next few days.  (I did not.)

The idiot who broad-sided me was a twenty-something.  I am pretty sure she was texting.  She claimed to the police officers that it was "the full moon".  She was cited. I am pretty sure she must have been texting.  She was a total  idiot at the scene of the accident.  Don't be that Total Idiot, young women.  (Old women, too: don't go there.  Be total a Smart Wise Thing.)

What do I have to say about these two incidents?  Well, first I have to exclaim (again and again and again), "Thanks be to God!"   Both times, just before impact, I asked my brain, "How bad is this going to be?!!!?"  Seriously: that was the question in my head: How bad is this going to be?   Both times, there seemed to be no serious injuries.  I say seriously: I am not left quadriplegic.  I had some bruising, (no one told me that a breast can bruise green  from a cross-strap!)   And my eyeglasses...BONK from the airbag.  GREAT BIG BONK!  This past collision caused some questionable mental faculties.  I should have been seen by a physician.  But the EMS seemed to think I was fine, and since I was alone with no one to second-guess them, I acquiesced.  Since, then, a nurse friend has told me (upon hearing some of my questionable memory and behavioral activities, that I may well have experienced a concussion.  I think, upon hindsight, that I might have, indeed.)   Oh - and the airbag experience?  The next day I exhibited nose and chin abrasion.  Nothing major.

OK, so a week after my car accident I had a flight to Australia.

Stay tuned...because this car nonsense seems neverending...

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Speaking of Songs...

Kookaburra Sits on the Old Gum Tree...

Yes - so many of us were taught that "exotic" song some many decades ago.  Who knew that I would grow up and have an "inlaw home" where those miniature-yet-LOUD birds harangued our world just before dawn, and just after sunset each day:


Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,
Merry, merry king of the bush is he.
Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, Kookaburra,
Gay your life must be!

I have to say, the kookaburras are CUTE.  They are small.  How can such a sound emit from this little bird?  As I have mentioned, it was raining at the Botanocal Gardens.

And so there were very few people , and lots of birds flitting about.  Here are some of my Kookaburra shots:

Oops.  I think that this is a goanna.  I am not even sure how to spell it.  Clearly, not a cookaburra.

Monday, October 03, 2016


Heaven only knows how I recall these words, this tune.  Sheesh - even last week that Spouse o' Mine was opining that "you have the strangest memory for songs..."  This was after a flight from somewhere to somewhere, and the flight crew announced that our baggage would be found on  Carousel Nine.  So the two of us followed an amazing queue/maze of humanity (it took a COMPLETE HOUR!), and there it was...Carousel Nine, and there I announced...:

"Number Nine..Number Nine...Number Nine..."

I thought it was funny.  Funny to me, but not to him.  Maybe my Beatles memories are fonder than his.  Maybe my jetlag had not kicked in.  Or...maybe it had?  Yeah - I think it had.  I think I was numb. Nine!  Hahahaha!

Anyway, this Rigabamboo song from decades ago got dredged up when we, that Spouse o' Mne and I, toured the Brisbane Botanical Gardens.  In the rain.  But really, it was just fine. I love rain and no public more than I love sun and too many people.

So here, I show the bamboo which we in the U.S.A. will probably never enjoy in its greatness.  This stuff is HUGE in Queensland.

The princess pat, (the princess pat)
Lived in a tree, (lived in a tree)
She sailed across, (she sailed across)
The seven Seas, (the seven seas)
She sailed across, (she sailed across)
The channel two, (the channel two)
And she took with her, (and she took with her)
A rick-a-bamboo, (a rick-a-bamboo)
A rick-a-bamboo, (a rick-a-bamboo)

Now what is that? (now what is that?)
Its something made, (its something made)
By the princess pat, (by the princess pat)
Its red and gold, (its red and gold)
And purple too, (and purple too)
Thats why its called, (thats why its called)
A rick-a-bamboo, (a rick-a-bamboo)
A rick-a-bamboo, (a rick-a-bamboo)

Now Captain Jack, (now captain Jack)
Had a mighty fine crew (had a mighty fine crew)
He sailed across, (he sailed across)
The channel two, (the channel two)
But his ship sank, (but his ship sank)
And yours will too, (and yours will too)
If you dont take, (if you dont take)
A rick-a-bamboo (a rick-a-bamboo)
A rick-a-bamboo, (a rick-a-bamboo)

Now what is that? (now what is that?)
Its something made, (its something made)
By the princess pat, (by the princess pat)
Its red and gold, (its red and gold)
And purple too, (and purple too)
Thats why its called, (thats why its called)
A rick-a-bamboo, (a rick-a-bamboo)
A rick-a-bamboo, (a rick-a-bamboo)


Sunday, October 02, 2016


While in Brisbane, my brother- and sister-in-law took us (that Spouse o' Mine and me) down the coast, parts south of Brisbane.  Specifically, to Byron Bay, and Tweeds Head.  Someone brought up the subject of whales.  I commented, "Oh, I have never seen a whale; I would LOVE to see one."


WHALES!!!  Lots and lots of whales playing!  Breaching! Playing with their babies!

Humpback whales migrate this time of year from northern Australia, down the coast and on to Antarctica.  (Think: it is springtime in Australia.  The whales head south to cooler climes, and birth their babies somewhere along the way.)

Lookie here, folks:

It's interesting that all the whales I photographed seemed to breach to the south (right, in these photos).  I surmise that they were headed south, so they were jumping out of the water south?

I am SUCH an expert on all things marine.

What fun, what fun it was!  I could have spent DAYS whale watching along the beaches.  As it was, I did spend hours and hours.  What fun.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

I Took a Trip

I took a trip this month.  No: last month.  September.  I went to Australia with that Spouse o' Mine.  We went to visit his kith & kin.  He has parents, brothers, inlaws, and nieces and nephews over there.  We were there nearly three weeks.  I am going to write about my trip, but not in any order at all.  My trip did not have any order in it at all, but great fun was had and that is all that counts.

Today, Saturday October 1st: here I am, home again.  Jiggety-jig.  Ugh.  36 hours awake/not completely awake, certainly not fast asleep, in airports, on airplanes, in too many Customs queues filling out too many Customs forms.  In a moment of lucid consciousness this morning I realized that I had not completed filling out my Australian Customs departure form, and had plunked it into the box upon my departure.   I forgot to fill in my passport number and some other blank.      

I wonder if the Aussies will come after me?

I think I will discuss Virgin Australia Airlines.  I booked our flights on that airline because they were cheap.  I think maybe next time I will pay the extra few hundred dollars so that I can get piddly things that I wanted on that 14-hour flight.  Most airlines now provide Wi-Fi service on flights.  (Last year I was emailing folks while flying over Vanuatu at 35,000 ft and 555 mph.)  Our 14-hour flight gave us a meal after take-off, a snack in the middle of nowhere, an ice cream even more in the middle of nowhere, and then a meal two hours before landing.  If one wandered about the cabin (as I do, a LOT), one will discover that they have a bin of apples and pears for the taking, in one of the galleys.  Hello?  No announcement about bins of fruit?  Or better yet...can the flight attendants not stroll down the aisles and offer us fare-payers some fruit?  Do we have to forage the galleys?  And my coffee addiction?  How should I address my need for caffeine?  I wanted/needed coffee maybe four hours, then six hours, and then again nine hours into our flight, and none was to be had. Seriously?!!   I should not hearken back to my old Flight Attendant days with TWA, but I am: on international flights we always had a fresh pot of coffee going in every galley (read: 6 galleys) for anyone who wanted coffee.  And tea!  Or any drink!  OK, let's move on from caloric intake, and I will revisit the entertainment onboard Virgin Australia.  No Wi-Fi, but they had movies and TV and podcasts.  The podcasts were Aussie, and I enjoyed them.  Why was I listening to podcasts?  Because the TV choices were dated.  DATED.  The Mindy Project, (2012).  Big Bang Theory.  Arrested Development.   I watched Monster-in-Law (2005), and parts of Bridget Jones' Diary (2001).

I don't want to boast but I do want to clarify that I am a seasoned traveler, and I am game for lots of fun and adventures, and any ills that might come hand-in-hand.  But here's something that I do not like about Virgin Australia's long-haul planes: the armrests do not come up all the way.  They come up...maybe 60ยบ.  That's not enough if one is trying to lie across a couple or a few seats to get some shuteye.  Let's talk PRETZEL NECK.

Wowza.  This sounds like Negative Nancy wrote this.

Nope.  I am a Positive Polly, but apparently this flight stuff was lying at the top of my consciousness.  As we are taught to do, I shall follow my negative(s) with a positive:

DELTA Airlines ( which we took from Kansas City to and from Los Angeles) was pretty darn good.  Good check-in service, good cockpit crews, great flight attendants (yeah - 'cause I am an authority) and all around pleasant folks and flights.

And so.  This is my first of many installments regarding our Aussie Holiday.

Stay tuned...
~ T.
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