Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Teri heard, "Teri?  What should I do?"
And when she turned around, this is what she saw:

But the truth is, I wasn't asking what to do with that long long long arm.  I was asking what should I do about having to go out in public in that get-up.

This is for You, Ross

A Japanese lesson!!  There's probably lots of useful phrasology in there, I would think.

The Spank Me Cook

This was our cook on the Spank Me.  He did a great job, truly.  And a NICE guy.  Seriously.  In fact, we met him in the dive shop the day before.  He was applying for the job, and they hired him the next morning at 9am.  I just wanted to illustrate, or I guess show you his butt crack:


Which we were subjected to for four straight days.  On top of his head sit 37 red dreadlocks, four of which liked best to sit square on his forehead, no match for the hand sweeping them back once every 30 seconds.  On top of his bottom, the same board shorts.  For four days.  Never a shirt, never a different pair of shorts.

One night, Teri went down to her bunk and noticed a gassy smell.  This wasn't unusual, but it was stronger than normal.  So she mentioned it to the 23-year-old skipper.  He mentioned it to the cook, and that was about it.  We went to bed.  That night, the poop smell was particulaly strong coming out of the toilets, and so I didn't notice any accelerated "natural gas" smell.  At about 6:30am, when Teri was waking up, she heard the sound of repeated matches being struck, but not ignited, and then the Cook cursing.  She considered getting the heck out of there, but was too sleepy.  Another strike, and then nothing.  Then, BAM!!! 

The above picture was taken from my bunk.  So you can see we were sleeping right by the gully.  Gally.  Whatever, the Kitchen on a sailboat.  During the explosion, Cook singed all of his arm hair off, and got burned.  Turns out the gas was leaking all night long (like Teri tried to tell them).

I'm going to count that among my many near-death experiences.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Conversation over Wine Reflecting on Conversation at the Train Station

Teri and Kady: "hahahaha HAAHAHAAAAAhahahaa"

Teri: "Next stop: Cameltoe.  But I'm already there."

Teri and Kady: "hahahaHAAAAAHAAahahahhaahaaaaaaAAAHAAAAAA!!!"""  laugh laugh laugh

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Look What I got to do Today!

Teri and I rented a Smart Car today and pedaled it all the way up to Townsville from Airlie Beach.  Our intent was to go to a place called Magnetic Island, and we were in search of Koalas to hold.  It's not OK in most part of Australia, because of the DANGER of it all.  But Teri loves her some cuddly wuddly animals and so we set off.  On the left side of the road!  Everywhere we went, we had people laughing at us, because the car was so tiny, said "Fun Rentals" on the side, and we were screwing up the way of driving all the time.  But it was fun!

Almost all the way to Townsville we saw a Billboard for an animal sanctuary and we decided on a whim to stop.  We were so glad we did, because we spent hours and hours there, playing with the animals and never did end up going to Magnetic Island.  Teri loved and loved the animals and I kept getting freaked out by them.  I held a snake!  Just like Britney Spears! 

And the cuter stuff came later:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Airlie Beach and the Sea Plane

Suddenly I'm miss money bags and I'm booking things like sea plane rides out to the Great Barrier Reef.  I'm deciding that since Southeast Asia is going to be really really cheap (seriously, I found a 3 star hotel today for $14 per night) I can't keep stressing out about how expensive it is here.  Anyway, we took a cab out to the Whitsunday Airport, which turned out to be a little runway and a lobby with two couches.  Outside were two seaplanes just sitting right in front of the lobby windows.  I started to get nervous about forgetting my Xanex.  The ride was really pretty smooth though and the view!  Wow...

Notice anything about the pilot?

Yep.  Crocs.  That just aint right.

This is called the heart reef.  It's so cool!  It's pretty small and we looped over it a few times so everybody could get a good look:

We did a water landing!  Some people that were with were going snorkeling on the reef and got dropped off at Reef World.  That was so amazing.  One time also we dipped down and skipped across the water for a while, but didn't land on it.  We were in the plane for an hour.  We flew over Hook Island, Whitsunday Island, Hamilton Island (which is where we flew into to get here) and then the reef.  I saw Manta Rays from the plane!  Swimming along, looking like they were flying under the water.  You could easily see them because they looked like big black diamonds.

At one point the pilot was sort of tapping/hitting one of the instruments to get it to work.  That and the crocs made me very nervous.  And then when it was all over, we got our picture with him and his back was very sweaty.


Teri and the Towel

Teri innocently following her beauty regime, unwittingly leaving behind evidence sure to make the housekeeper believe we couldn't find the toilet paper:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Spank Me needs a Hanky

I need to preface this blog entry with a disclaimer:  I am freaked out by things that are dirty.  Maybe you already know this about me.  I like to keep my place really clean.  Not necessarily picked up, but clean.  If I see a dust bunny, I get out the vacuum and do the whole floor.  You get the picture.  (And don't go calling me a hypocrite, yes, I know my bedroom looks like the Wreck of the Hespress and my computer area is complete filth.  That's different.  Why?  I think because I don't put any part of my body on my computer desk.  I don't really need to parenthetically explain my OCD, do I?)

ANYWAY. So Teri and I arrived to the marina and walk all the way out to where the Spank Me is docked.  As we were getting on the boat, our shoes were confiscated.  They'll wreck the boat they say.  And so for the next four days, I walked in and out of a filthy bathroom, and into and out of my bed.  Barefooted.  Both are pictured below. 

Now, what is so special about this bathroom, as you can see, is that the toilet is acutally on the counter.  I don't know what purpose this serves.  Maybe my brilliant niece Hanna, who knows that Stinger Suits can't keep out a sting ray can enlighten me.  So in this photo you can't really see that there is another foot of space below that little counter where the toilet is located.  It's kind of situated like a urinal.  By the end of the first night there was pee all down the front of the toilet and all over the floor.  I'm not sure how, but the entire room was wet with like a sweat on the walls and even the inside of the garbage was wet and everything in it was soaking wet.  When the captain was explaining the rules of the boat, he mentioned that the toilet had tiny little pipes and so you really don't want to put a lot of paper in there, especially after a nice number two.  Do your business, he said and then flush and then wipe and then flush again.  It's true.  The toilet is electric or something.  Cap'n said that to fix a clog is disgusting and he really hates to have to do it and so could everybody just please use less paper than they do at home?**

He also asked the girls to please brush their hair on deck because hair gets everywhere below deck and it's gross around mealtime to find hair in your food.  That turned out to be very true.  So back to the chewing toilet.  It makes a really weird sound as it's grinding up the poop or whatever, and the longer the poop, or the more the paper, the longer it will chew and so everybody knows if you went number one or number two.  I vowed that I was NOT going to use that bathroom for the next four days.  Somehow.  

Teri and I accidentally chose bunks near the toilets.  This proved to be annoying not only because of those late night rude-ys who had to noisily use the bathroom at 1am, but also because there was absolutely NO ventilation below deck and so all we could smell all night was 18 people's poop, ground together into a poop hamburger and stored nicely in a tank not eight feet from our faces.  And guess where all that stew goes?  Yep, into the ocean.  Not treated in any way.  YUCK!!

When it was absolutely necessary for me to use the toilet, I tried to stand on the ground and squat.  But since the toilet was above squatting height, that didn't work and I tried Amy Poehler from Baby Momma's method of standing on the sides of it and then squatting way down, and that didn't work and the only other solution was to sit on it like I would on my own clean toilet seat at home.  ICK! 

On the morning of day three, nature called and there was no stopping it and I had to use the toilet and flush it twice if you know what I'm sayin'.  I waited until no one was below deck and non-chalantly went into the bathroom.  Very quickly I was finished so there was a chance that nobody would know what I had been up to if they were listening.  Well then that insanely loud grinding toilet exposed me to all, taking 5 minutes to grind up my last three nights' dinner.  Don't tell a soul this and I'll kill you if you do, but it wasn't going down at first, and I didn't know how the stupid thing worked and it was just grinding and grinding and nothing was happening and so I had to use some toilet paper and kind of push it into the grinder.  GROSS!!  And then I had to wipe and flush again!  I want to throw myself in the garbage and get a new me as I type this.  And who was standing outside when I was finished but Cap'n Matt and cute diving instructor Johnny from Ireland, neither of them yet 25 years old?  (Cue the cougar jokes).  I sauntered out of there like I owned the place and quietly died inside.

Below you'll find a photo of our bunks.  We slept right out in the open, Teri and I and 12 other people, plus 4 crew members.  It was SO hot.  We did try to sleep on deck, but it rained at night and it was really cold up there.  One night I got up at like 1am, and stuck my head into the fresh air for a half an hour.  I looked to my right and there was the Big Dipper, upside down, laying right on the horizon.  That was so cool!  I probably haven't mentioned that the constellations here are completely different than at home.  And sleeping on the ocean you could see everything so clearly, black sky, white stars.  Gorgeous.  This story is about snoring though.  When I woke up at 1am, hot and sweaty and dying, I couldn't fall back asleep and the reason was because about 7 people were SNORING.  LOUDLY.  One huge regret, other than not getting a photo of the dirty floor in front of the toilet, is that I didn't get out my camera and take a video of the noise of the snoring.  Too bad for you, but check out the bunks.  There was no private place to change either.  I had to get in and out of my suit somehow in front of everybody else.

Imagine how dirty my feet were.  In fact, I had a special designated 'feet area' in my bed, that only my feet were allowed to go in.  And so when Teri went below deck to grab my sheet and pillow because she's super nice and sweet, I got mad at her anyway because she had no idea which was the top of the sheet and which was the part I wrapped around my feet all night long.  And so for all I know from that point on my face had poop on it.  From the sheet.  From my feet. 

This photo shows four bunks actually.  There are more to the left of the hallway, and further down.  There is another hallway on the other side of the kitchen.

Look at those puffy sunburned lips!

We had to pretend the dirtiness wasn't happening, and had a blast anyways:

**(Summer Grimes and I were talking about how your writing style really is influenced by who you're reading at the time. Right now I'm reading Flannery Oconnor and she doesn't really bother with quotation marks in diaglogue.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Corrections to my last post

Teri went down 44 feet, not 60.
Stinger suits are for Jellyfish stings, not Sting Rays.
Abbreviation for "Great Barrier Reef" is GBR, not GBF.

The publisher would like to apologize.

Fear, Schmear

Pap Smear.

I just went scuba diving. Literally and seriously. This is one of the biggest fears in my life. Combine claustrophobia, fear of sharks, fear of monsters, fear of the dark, fear of drowning, fear of being alone in water, fear of being seen in a wetsuit...well that's Scuba Diving folks! But, part of my mission statement this year -- my "year off" --was to conquer fears. I wouldn't say I conquered anything, but I stared death in the face and went snorkeling and diving at the very famous Great Barrier Reef! (From here on out, referred to as the GBF) Now, to be fair, I did chicken out on my second dive, and I got too sunburned to really snorkel the GBF, but I'll get to that later.
Teri and I said goodbye to the fabulous Fishers from Sydney after purchasing loads of chocolate and flew to Hamilton Island in about three hours. We both marveled at how the flight seemed only 15 minutes and then realized we both slept through it. Landing at Hamilton Island was just beautiful. Imagine seeing ocean, sky, beach, and island right out your plane window. Now imagine that the runway is about 100 meters long and the pilot has to land you RIGHT NOW! We had planned to take a helicopter from Hamilton Island to Airlie Beach, however we mistook the online price of $55 per person to be literally $55 per person. Upon landing we found out that it actually costs $500 to charter a helicopter for a 15 minute ride, and so we opted to take the ferry for $45pp. We arrived to a wonderfully spacious hotel room complete with shower, air conditioning and view of the mountain. From there we checked into the dive shop for our sailboat/diving excursion to depart the next day. The two teenagers working the counter could not BELIEVE how OLD we were. This was the first of about 16 times we were to be called "cougars" over the course of the weekend. Two women who just happen to be in their 30's in the presence of 20-year-old babies does not a cougar make. For the record.

Check out this sign in a shop window in Airlie Beach:

I digress. We got to the sailboat on schedule, I picked up my Stinger Suit (which later would make sense, since you have to wear it anytime you get in the water to prevent being STUNG by a sting ray.) and we got aboard the Spank Me. The Spank Me is a sailboat, previously used to win all sorts of sailing races and now strictly for the purpose of taking groups out to the reef for diving and snorkeling. We got acquainted by playing a couple of games. The first, we were tied at the wrists, and entwined with a stranger, and told to "get free." That was pretty fun. And I couldn't tell you how the trick worked, but my little twosome didn't figure it out. The German PhD Engineer and his girlfriend did. 
We had 4 Brazilians, the German and his Chinese girlfriend, another German girl, a Canadian girl and a Norwegian girl, each flying solo, Teri and me, and 3 Canadian boys. 14 mishmashed strangers.  At some point during the night, the Norwegian girl noticed something greasy on her leg.  While Johnny the diving instructor went to get something to clean it with (toilet paper), everybody started noticing it everywhere, and when he got back, he said it was Squid Ink!  then later we found the squid.  I assumed this meant a 40 foot beast would be next to the boat, trying to tip it over, but instead it was this itty bitty tiny thing on the deck, dead.  It jumped OVER the boat, but didn't quite make it.  Funny, huh?
The next game was "Eat My Cardboard", where a cornflakes box was placed in the center and we were told to pick it up with our teeth, without our knees or hands touching the ground. Once you got it, you ripped a piece of cardboard off, making it harder and harder as you went. If you didn't get it, or your hands or knees touched the ground, somebody was elected to SPANK you with a snorkeling fin. Teri and I actually made it to the finals, along with one of the Canadian boys. My strategy was to let them fight it out, touch the ground and then calmly pick it up once they eliminated eachother. But Teri knocked out the Canadian and picked it up quite easily, won the game, and spanked me so hard I was back to 1984.
The next morning we woke up with the sun at around 6:30am, had breakfast and parked the sailboat somewhere out in the ocean and took the Tender (dinghy) to Whitsunday island. We hiked for a while through the bush and ended up on the other side, where a white sand beach spread itself as far as the eye could see. The beach sand was actually Silica, and NASA had taken 10 tons of it in order to make the most pure glass possible for it's satellites. We were told to rub it into our skin for an exfoliant, and to polish gold or silver jewelry with it, but NOT to take it off the beach, for fear of a $10,000 fine.
This story is getting long. Sorry. It was a four day weekend.

We got to go swimming there, and saw huge Sting rays. I didn't wear my Stinger Suit and so I got the heck out of there. They were so curious though, and it was kind of fun to see something like that so close up. You're supposed to shuffle your feet around them, because they can recognize the movement, and then they're less likely to sting you. After that we hiked back and headed in the sailboat out to a little bay, where we got to snorkel. I went, but only because everybody was in the water, and Teri promised to stay close. After an hour out there, I felt confident enough to try my hand at Scuba, with the promise that if ever I felt uncomfortable, I could stop. So we went to the beach, I was fitted with a regulator, a vest, a tank...told what to do if I lost my regulator, the signs to make if I wanted to go up, if I felt like something was wrong. And then we set out! I couldn't believe I was SCUBA DIVING! In Australia, land of the Great White Shark! I had a death grip on the poor instructor's hand, and didn't let go, but I got through it. I cut my foot on the coral reef, and panicked, and my regulator came out of my mouth, but I remembered what to do and everything turned out A-OK.
When I took off my stinger suit I realized that my shins were burned bad. I had put sunblock on them, but didn't reapply quickly enough, and then fell asleep on deck. I was happy that I had at least soaked my burn in the water for so long.

That night we sailed to the GBF, which took about 2 1/2 hours. We slept there and in the AM I was told that I would be in the first group of divers. I started to get that shaky fear shake while I tugged on my Stinger Suit and felt pretty freaked out about it. When I first dove, I was near a beach, the water was relatively shallow and here we were, in the middle of the OCEAN, on the Great. Barrier. Reef. I got into the Tender, still shaking and tried to calm myself down. Now I realized I was going to have to drop backwards into the water. With a tank on. Like you see in the movies. This got me more panicky. And then, my vest was too big. I couldn't get it tight and then suddenly it was time to drop into the water. Which I did. I can't believe I did it but I did it. Then, while in the rough, wavy water, I had to get my mask cleaned out. Spit in there, rub it around, swallow ten gallons of salt water. I wasn't quite on top of the water.  Finally my instructor mercifully inflated my vest a little bit and that made it better. We were ready to drop. And we did. I breathed through my regulator, and as we dropped I realized there was no reef in sight. Just miles and miles of ocean, and no bottom. I started breathing more rapidly and that started a panic which was added to my already panicky state and suddenly I'm hyperventilating through my regulator. I gave the instructor the sign for "something's wrong" and then the "let's go to the surface" sign and so we did and I just told him I wasn't feeling it. I had to go back to the boat. So he said are you sure, and relax and I couldn't. I was terrified! Then he called the Tender over and dropped out of sight. Now I was alone in the water, and the man in the Tender said, "now take off your weight belt, remove your vest, etc" and I'm like, AAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!! I'm alone in the water fool! Pull me in! But had to be brave and just hurry up already. I got my weight belt off and my vest and then finally I was safe in the boat. We drove back to the sailboat and as we did I saw all four of the others surface. We went back and it turned out the Tender dropped us off in the wrong place and they weren't supposed to be so far out and Teri said they dropped to 60 feet under the water and still no bottom in sight. I was kind of glad I didn't have to drop that far. But by the time we got over to them, I was feeling totally calm and I still regret that I didn't just ask for a second chance at that point.

Anyway, so here I am, in the Tender, with no hat, and I have gotten water all over my sunblock and we drove around for about 45 minutes. (On the upside, I did get to drive the boat.) But, you guessed it, SUNBURN. All over my face, ears, neck. Eyelids puffy, lips swollen, etc. Which pretty much ruined my chances of any more fun on the boat. I was MIZ! (Miserable, for all of you who haven't met Charli Taylor.)
And so, I didn't snorkel the GBF, didn't dive the GBF either. BUT, I did go on a dive, I did drop out of a dinghy into shark-infested waters, and so I consider it a success.

In another post I will describe the unsanitary conditions of the Spank Me, but I'll leave that for now.

This is proof that I can't travel anywhere without something very embarrassing happening to my face:

Sunset, from the sailboat:

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spank Me

...but not too hard, cuz I got a mad sunburn whilst sailing on the former racer with the same name as this post.  Of course everybody else is now enjoying their golden tan, and I look like I got Collagen injections to my lips.  OUCH!  It hurts to laugh, or turn my head.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


One night when Teri and I were having dinner at Alan and Judy's place, I was pretty sure Teri was farting repeatedly throughout.  I felt really bad for her, because I know she wasn't feeling well and so I kept pretending it wasn't happening.  But she never really even got an embarrassed look on her face and so I got confused.  Later on that night, I asked her,

"Did you fart like 6 times during dinner?"

"NO!  Why do you ask?"

And then I explained about the farting noises I heard all night long from her end of the table. We deliberated and decided it must have been her chair.  But here's what she had for lunch that day.  I'll let you decide.

Exciting News from Ramona Day

Hey you! by Ramona Day

Here is a break from my trip to share my band's first recording!

Written by Nancy Morris
Produced by Ben Grimes
me on bass and vocals
Nancy on guitar
Beata on drums


And, we have our very own super fan!  Davey Dorsett sent this photo to our facebook page...that's our t-shirt he's wearing. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Kady at the Sydney Opera House

Yesterday we had a day of sight-seeing, which ended up to be a day of seeing the Sydney Opera House because we dawdled and took our time.  But it was very fun.  Enjoy a self-indulgent, maybe narcissistic photo special of me at the Opera House.  I kind of thought that maybe I should get a good shot so it could go on my future business card.  Ended up with a lot of nostril shots, but deleted most of those.

Ok, I lied, I didn't delete all the nostril shots.  Here are a couple for you:

Not sure if you can see them, but in the fourth photo down I'm wearing my new pearl earrings that my new Australian friend bought for me!  Thanks, Liz!!

Conversation at the Train Station

Teri: "We're going to Camel Toe??!!"

Kady: "No. Campbelltown."

Monday, February 15, 2010

I found this to be slightly hysterical

You know how sometimes you want to take a picture of a person because they're unique but you can't ask them because you're embarrassed and so instead you end up taking a picture into the air and hoping that the unique person is in the photo?  "Heh heh, just me, taking a picture of that door. *nervous laughter* "

That happened to me today with this dude who looks like maybe he was a monk?  I was so intrigued by him.  I am ignorant, so I'm probably wrong about the poor guy, but here I couldn't stop staring or taking pictures in the air around him.  He noticed me too and I'm sure my motives were obvious and exposed.  Anyways~ later on, we were pretty close to each other in the cable car going up a mountain, and since he's about my height I got a look right into his ear.

He shaves his head really close, but forgot about his TWO INCH LONG EAR-HAIR.  Ha!  Jokes on you dude.  So I took another picture into the air, and if you click on it, it will enlarge and you can maybe see the hair.

You know what

Se kak in her han (Afrikkans)
Huite handen (Swedish)
Ella kaka in su mano (Spanish)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Visit to a very Special School

Teri and I were able to visit a Special Needs School while in Samoa and it was quite a treat.  They have kids separated by their year, and years one and two are together, and also years three and four and so on.  Kids who are deaf, have Autism, Down's Syndrome, and any number of physical or development disability go to school here.  I learned enough Ausland sign language to tell the kids that I flew here from the United States and that I was leaving Wednesday.

If you want to spell out your name in sign language for the rest of your life that's fine, but what you really want is for a deaf person to give you a "sign name".  Only a deaf person can give it to you, and then instead of everybody spelling it all out, you get this little sign and it's just for you.  Tonga gave me my sign name.  It's the letter K, which is basically like a peace sign with your thumb in the middle.  Then you take the 'K' and move it across your forehead, in the sweep of my bangs.  Cute, huh?  I felt so honored.  I like the sign too and that makes me feel spesh!

So here are some pics of the kids and their teachers.  They were excited to meet us and I wish I had more time.  I would have loved to spend the day there.

The little boy laying on the floor is called Frances, and he has Cerebral Palsy.  His aide showed me his spelling test and he's quite smart.  He wasn't feeling well that day so he got to lay down.  Look how he smiled when I asked if I could take his picture!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

When I'm under the gun, everybody suffers

I am trying to make this blog interesting folks, but with internet access at an all-time low, I have really been trying to type fast and may be missing some major punch lines.  Later I think of something hysterical I could have said...

Like, I could have written "I am writing to you from the future...don't bother with that lipstick."

Oh well.  Today I bought a un-underwire bra, or an underwireless bra.  It's something I have been dreaming about since wringing out my clothes that first day in Samoa.  So today we went shopping in Sydney and I was having trouble finding any bra with no underwire.  I thought for a minute that "they don't have them here".  And then finally I found one.  Just one option.  At the check out line, shining like a beacon of light.  Two immediate drawbacks.  Pink in color, and displayed in a Hustler box, with a total hoochie on the front with huge huge huge you-know-whats.  But I really thought that the actual product was something I totally needed.  And so I opened the box, verified it's contents were small enough for me and bought it.  Afterwards I threw away the nasty garter that came with the bra.  For your information, I'm wearing it right now and it's perfect for this climate.  Unfortunately it says Hustler on it.  I'm hoping that with just one or two days of sweat that will rub off.  And soon it will be that familiar light brown color for bras and the pink will be gone too.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


People sort of live right out in the open in Samoa.  Their homes are open air. They call them Fale's.  Pronounced Fah-Lay.  Anyway, so you take your shoes off at the door.  And it's extremely rude to speak to somebody if you are standing and they are sitting and so you need to go inside the house and then sit, cross legged on the floor.  Then you can begin speaking.  And DON'T point your bare feet at anybody.  If you're a Westerner, they relax this rule for you a little bit and you can stretch out your legs, but you need to cover your feet with a mat or a scarf or something.

Sometimes there is a big house, or a main house, with the Fale out in the front yard.  Then they have another house for the kitchen and another for the bathroom.
These are some pics of a beautiful Fale we visited. Here there were chairs to sit in, and so the rules about sitting on the floor don't exist.  But still don't talk 'down' to somebody sitting in a chair.  Sit first.

Helen's dad chopped us a sugar cane and we ate it!

Then, coconut juice!

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