April 2012

We find ourselves with quite a bit of free time these days. My weekdays are spent job-hunting, buying us more and more stuff (finally got a vacuum!) and generally exploring. Oh and cooking. I’ve been cooking a lot AND doing the dishes, a gravy train which I’ve warned Stan might end once I find gainful employment.

So a lot of weekends we become tourists. Last weekend we visited the South Australian Museum, which had lots of cool Aboriginal artifacts and some interesting taxidermy. This weekend, we decided to take a 20-minute drive to Hahndorf, an historic German town in the Adelaide Hills.

The fall colors are out, and the streets are lined with touristy shops and restaurants. We had a German lunch of several kinds of wursts (my vegetarianism has definitely transitioned into flexitarianism down here).

Hahndorf is also home to St. Michael’s Lutheran church, which is Australia’s oldest Lutheran church with an actively worshiping congregation.

Next we went to a nearby property called The Cedars. All we previously knew was that it was a gallery of some sort, but when we got there we learned a lot from the guided tour. It turns out The Cedars was the home of Hans Heysen, an iconic German-Australian artist who became famous for his depictions of the Australian bush, particularly gum trees. He also captures light really well.

Droving into the Light, via here

His work reminded Stan of Maynard Dixon, who painted the American west.

We toured the historic Heysen house, where Hans and his wife Sally lived with their eight kids. I love stuff like that. We were by far the youngest people there, proving that we’re retired senior citizens trapped in young bodies. The house was full of his original paintings, which were really cool to see. It was also “chock a block” full of antiques and Persian rugs, which I tried not to drool on. The house’s decor hasn’t been changed since the family lived there. The kids still have family functions in the house and stay over. Pity we couldn’t take indoor photography, because there were some killer window seats, sunrooms, and wood-inlay furniture pieces. You’ll just have to go there!

A funny anecdote was that the Heysens had Anna Pavlova, the famous ballerina, over for dinner once. She loved a still life that Hans had painted for Sally, and pestered him and pestered him all throughout dinner to let her buy it. At one point she even got out her checkbook, but Hans refused because he had painted it for his wife (um, cuuuuute!). He finally convinced her to put down a deposit for a commissioned piece, which she reluctantly did. He then painted her a still life that was very similar to the one she’d wanted so badly and sent it to her, but it was almost immediately returned with a note saying that if she couldn’t have the one she wanted, she didn’t want one at all. Can you say Prima Donna!

This is his studio, which cost 400 pounds to build back in the 19-teens.

The other side featured a huge etched glass window imported from France. His studio was also full of Persian rugs, which he freely painted over. There was not a single drop of paint on any of the rugs; he was a very tidy man. But they were well worn, and you can see the holes where his easels wore through.

Sculpture work abounds on the sprawling property as well. (The property is about 130 acres- he bought out his neighbors to preserve his beloved redgums.) This is made from railroad nails.

The Heysen Sculpture Biennial was also going on, and we got to watch the artists work.

Lastly, we got to see the Model A Ford and caravan that Hans Heysen used to take to the wilderness to paint.

Looks cozy!

Here he is painting in the Flinders Ranges. I love how he’s in his suit and hat. What a gentleman.

Image via here

Thanks for indulging my touristy posts. I have a project coming up, and it involves sandpaper, wood patch, and paint, so stay tuned!

photo by me


photo by Stan


photo by Stan


photo by Stan


photo by Stan

photo by me

WW rule breaking here: Isn’t this guy the cutest? He’s waiting for his owner to get his hair cut. (You can even see some hair on the floor in the background.)

photo by Stan, hipsterfication by me

I’m actually a pretty big fan of “small space living”. Especially if I have an outdoor area (preferably a big yard, but a small patio will do for now). I’m also a fan of open floorplans and creating different “zones” in one big room. It feels cozy but not isolated.

In our “lounge room” as it’s known down here, we have to fit in an entryway, a living room, and a little dining nook. Below is my first stab at a layout.

It looks like there’s a lot of wasted space near the top, but I assure you the room is not that big. Plus, with a door and a short hallway, I think it would be bad feng shui to put any furniture there and impede the flow of the doorways.

Of course so far, the only things we have are a couch, a coffee table and two side tables, and two neat dining chairs I picked up yesterday. Now that we have the basics for eating (couch + coffee table = a just dandy impromptu dining room) and a place to drop our keys and mail (one of the side tables) I can relax a little more on finding things like comfy living room chairs, an actual dining table, a bookshelf, and a real console table for key-dropping. Oh and stuff for the walls.

So until the Gumtree gods smile down on me with a cute small table, this is where we’ll eat dinner:

And as always, if anyone has any genius ideas for the layout, I’m listening! Anyone else been drooling over the Small Cool entires? (Especially Yellow Brick Home’s!?)

I told Stan I can die happy now, because I have seen both a koala and a kangaroo (or a wallaby?). Last weekend we went to Belair National Park just outside of Adelaide. The weather was gorgeous, and it was hardly even crowded (except at the picnic sites and cricket ovals).

Here I am on a walkway:

And if you think THAT’s cute, wait till you see this guy:

I MEAN COME ON!! I was squealing (mostly silently, because I didn’t want to wake him).¬† We were actually pretty far away; all of these were taken with the zoom lens. Those little guys like to sleep waaaay up high.

Don’t worry, we didn’t make noise or be obnoxious hoping to elicit a response, we just let him snooze. However, we totally lucked out and caught this one in motion!

Since koalas spend most of the day sleeping and lazing about, I was pretty stoked to see one move. Then he noticed us.

He totally looks like he’s slightly annoyed and saying, “What.”

One more:


I like to think that our marriage is free from binding traditional stereotypes that could hinder our progress. Case in point:

Yeah, I’m the truck driver in our relationship. I’m okay with that.

But you may notice that my smile in the above photo is more of a forced smirk. I was not having fun that day. I was having so much not fun, that later when politely asked how moving went, I couldn’t even lie. I think I just made a face and shook my head and commented on the weather.

It all started when I had to walk 6.2 kilometers across the city to get to the rental place. It’s supposed to be fall here right now, but it’s more of a swampy¬† sunshiney summer feeling. Walking almost four miles across town with my sunscreen melting off into my shirt collar wasn’t a good way to start things off. Then, when I got to the place, I couldn’t see the entrance. It was surrounded by a big iron fence, and finally I had to make an idiot of myself (AGAIN) and call the guy and say, “I’m standing outside and there’s no way in, mate!” It took two phone calls.

When I finally got in the “ute”, I felt like someone was pranking me. It is sooo weird to find yourself in a situation that is weirdly familiar, yet totally different from what you’re used to. Everything was there- the gear shifter, the blinker, the rear-view mirror… but I was like “Whoahhh… this is not correct.” People who say opposite driving is not that different must have superpowers. It was different.

I turned on the GPS and after a silent prayer I was off! I’d arranged to go and buy a bed and a washing machine that night, off of Gumtree. The GPS, which was still on pedestrian mode, was useless. After turning on the windshield wipers instead of the blinker about six times (trust me, you feel like a total idiot with your wipers on in an intersection, on a blistering hot sunny day) I pulled over and called Stan, sobbing. (By the way, the utilities people were supposed to come and we had to be home at all times between the hours of 7am and midnight. I know ridiculous. So that’s why he wasn’t with me.) He told me it was okay, that I didn’t need to go get all that stuff tonight, we’d just extend the rental, and to just come home. He’s such a gem. But being the cheapo that I am, and also being a flighty human whose emotions are capable of turning on a dime, told him that I just needed to bawl to him a little and then I would be fine. And it’s true- I was fine. So the bed and a washing machine/dryer combo purchases were a success. Go me.

Here is our bed.

And here is our washer/dryer combo.

It’s interesting. It doesn’t vent like a regular dryer and it takes like 3 hours to dry clothes. I’m sure we’ll be using the clothesline on our patio most of the time, but it’s nice to have this ol’ pig for when it’s raining.

The next day, we were scheduled to go look at a couch that we’d also found on Gumtree. I’d been told that it had “some marks but not too noticeable! :-)” but it looked pretty good from the pictures. You guys, it’s gross. The “marks! :-)” turned out to be where someone had apparently lain down every day for six months after a long hard indoor workout with no ventilation. But we’d driven so far, and we only had the ute for a little while, so we felt pressured to just get it. Ugh. I regret it, but not enough to rent another ute and try to get rid of it and get a new one. I bought a slipcover and it’s not a nice one like I had before (they’re not paying me to say that). So if anyone has any suggestions on how to make a dumpy slipcovered couch look a little nicer, I’m all ears.

The last big thing we needed was a fridge. Everyone I’d called the night before was flaking on me, so I started calling on any and all fridges on Gumtree. We found one, picked it up, and drove home. Then we drove the ute back and walked home. Then we collapsed or something- I can’t really remember.

Sigh… I’m just so glad the big stuff has all been moved. I feel like we’ve just been bleeding money, even though we got everything used and I feel like for pretty good deals. Here’s the tally:

$280: Solid wood bed including mattress (sorry if you’re sicked out by other people’s beds)

$350: LG washer/dryer combo

$100: Gross couch

$190: Fridge

Plus a bunch of stuff from Target and Ikea.

And there was another exciting development this weekend, which will make it a lot easier to get the rest of the things we need/want, like a dining table and chairs, coffee table, chairs, etc!

Here’s a sneak peak:

Representin’ with our UofU sticker! And Science, of course.