Tuesday, July 28, 2009

When tooting brings people together

Disclaimer: If you are at all uncomfortable, annoyed or offended by talk of farts, toots, or "cutting the cheese", please discontinue reading now.

Today is Lowell and my 2nd Anniversary. The other day I was thinking about my favourite things about marriage, and you know what landed at the top of the list? Farting. Well, not just farting per se, but perhaps what it represents (I am about to get very deep here- about as deep as one can get using a fart analogy).

To me, farting represents complete openness, honesty, and transparency with each other. And not to mention extreme tolerance (and also a little fun). If we’re willing to share gross & potentially noisy and/or putrid air from our rears, then what WON’T we share? What could be worse than that? WHAT HAVE WE TO HIDE?!?!!

I remember the first time I blew it (tee hee) in front of Lowell. We were just young bucks then. It was the same year that this picture was taken...

After we had been dating for about a year, we were driving home from Wisconsin (where Lowell did his internship for new media). The Calgary Flames were in the Stanley Cup playoffs, so we stopped at sports pubs along the way in order to catch the games. (Side note: I can only assume that American sports pubs are VERY DIFFERENT from Canadian sports pubs during play-off time. There were 5 big screen TVS and NONE of them had the game on. The waitress had to ASK her manager what the Stanley Cup playoffs were (*GASP*) and whether they could put it on one of the TVs. Oh for shame). Anyhoo…

With very little energy left in my body, I slumped in the wooden seat to watch the game. In my uninhibited state, I accidentally let out an audible ‘squeeeeeaaaaak’. Lowell appeared surprised, looked at me with questioning eyes, and inquired softly, “Did you just toot?”

Only crickets could be heard for about 5 full seconds as the wheels were turning in my head and I was debating whether to lie and say it was the chair. I ended up admitting that the sound escaped from my derriere rather than the chair, and Lowell responded with, “aw, that was cute.”

Probably not a great move as he tooootally reinforced the behaviour and I've never looked back. It's been 5 years since that fateful incident, and we've unabashedly shared many toots since then. And I plan on sharing many many more in the years to come...

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Well, Lowell is a farmer, and I'm a farmer's wife... temporarily at least.

Initially our plan was to bum around Lethbridge for 6 weeks before my work and Lowell's practicum begin in September, but our financial situation dictated otherwise. Apparently traveling through 3 countries over the course of 4 months with no income does not exactly result in great wealth. WHO KNEW?!

I very nearly reverted to my "cool days" and got myself a paper route before Lowell came up with the brilliant plan to help his parents out on the farm. Lowell's parents need the help and we need the moolah, so the situation is very mutually beneficial. No parasites here!

So far we've been having a blast living on the farm with the fam.

Lowell's been busy in the fields...

In the garden...

And also fooling around a little...

(What??!! Did you think that the jumping shots would stop just because we're back in Canada?!)

I've been enjoying wifey duties such as cooking, cleaning, bringing snacks to the boys...

(My Mom stopped by for a visit on her way to Pioneer Lodge to be camp cook for the week, so me and my mamas delivered the goods to the field.)

... fence painting...

(Don't look toooo closely- only the first coat is done!)

... and paying attention to the wittle aminals.

These kitties are 4-5 weeks old, and there are more kittens to come SOON. The super-pregnant-grumpy-pants cat has been moping around scowling at everybody and everything for the past couple weeks. We expect her to pop any day now!

Aaaannnnd the verdict is... ME LIKEY THE FARM!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

home sweet home

Let's sum up from July 10th on.

We flew from Auckland to Alberta via Los Angeles. We had a 28 hour layover in LA as our final flight was booked through airmiles and if we missed it, we'd be POOCHED. We had originally hoped to connect with some friends, but all 3 of them were unavailable. HOWEVER, as coinkindink would have it, Lowell's SISTER Julie Anne was in LA with her lovely friend Meghan. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES?!

They picked us up from the airport in their little PT Luiser rental, we hung out at the beach, slept at the hotel, then headed back to the airport in time for their morning flight.

Here we are on the beach...

I'm proudly donning my Michael Jackson dress. More on that another day...

I sooo inconspicuously snapped this shot of Julie Anne & Meghan for the SOLE REASON of catching the dude in the background with his pants down. Literally...

Let me zoom in on that for you.

Yes, I do believe his pants situation was INTENTIONAL. And quite disturbing.

We also visited Muscle Beach.

Ripped celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger have been known to work out here. Lowell is flexing his pipes off to the right there. We were briefly worried that he was about to get the crap kicked out of him, but his big guns probably scared the buff dudes off.

Fast forward.

We arrived in Calgary at 8pm on July 11th. Julie Anne picked us up from the airport (again- she arrived in Calgary a few hours before us, so she continued to be our chauffeur) and drove us to Lowell's parents' farm where most of the family was gathered. YEAY FOR FAMILY!

On Sunday, we went to church where MY MOM SURPRISED US!

I consider myself an observant person by nature, but I was apparently the only one who didn't notice that my Mom was THERE and huddled beside the mailboxes with a recipe book casually covering her face.

Grandpa D (Lowell's blind Grandpa) was sitting on a chair against the wall, and I was chatting with him (with my back to the rest of the church). He mentioned how great it was that my Mom was there, and I delicately corrected him, "No Grandpa, she's not coming until tomorrow when she'll pick us up to take us back to Lethbridge!" As we continued to discuss how great my Mom was and how much I was looking forward to seeing her, Lowell tapped me on the shoulder and told me to look beside me. Lo and behold, there was MOM in all her shining glory. We shared a tearful hug, then glanced to the side where everyone was watching-- probably relieved that I FINALLY saw the surprise.

After church, Lowell's parents had a welcome home party for us at the farm. There was a great turn out, and it was so good to catch up with family and other community folk.

Lowell and Grandma T catching up.

Marti had recently created her own giant Dutch Blitz set, so we put it to good use.

Our team either won or almost won (because Lance may or may not have cheated)...

In the evening, we had a BBQ with just the immediate T clan (plus my Mom!) It was soooo great getting to know our 4 little nieces again. When we left for NZ, only Carmen (the eldest) was really talking, but now the 3 older ones are all little chatterboxes. And Emily- who we last saw when she was 3 days old or so- now has control of her head! And also her facial expressions...

On Monday the 13th, we drove with Mom back to Lethbridge where Lowell and I set up our new home like mad, and even got to catch up with some friends!

After one week in Lethbridge, we headed back to the farm where we are staying for the summer. Yes, you read that right. Lowell is a farmer. I'm a farmer's wife. More on that later...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Farewell Australia

Well, we're home now (WOOO HOOOOO!!), but let me backtrack a bit...

If you like coffee and chocolate, you'd LOOOOOOOVE this place.

On our second last day in Oz, we visited COFFEE WORKS!! Around Cairns is the biggest coffee producing area in Australia.

For $19 each, we had all day access to the world's biggest coffee museum, and unlimited sampling of 21 flavours of coffee, 4 rare teas, 3 liqueurs, & 12 types of chocolate, as well as a $5 voucher for the gift shop. A pregnant woman's dream (well, the chocolate anyway...).

Did someone say UNLIMITED?!

Bring it on.

We took a short break from our sampling to wander through the museum. They had some seriously old school things there. Can you imagine having one of these bad boys grace your counter?

The museum had some low beams, and we were warned to "mind our heads".

We also walked through the garden and sampled a fresh coffee bean.

Before long, we returned to the sampling area and hopped ourselves up on sugar and caffeine.

(I wonder how many other people actually sucked on the rim like I did...)

Let's just say that my bowels were NOT happy with me. Grossness was coursing through my veins as I put 3 of the 4 WORST THINGS POSSIBLE in my poor tummy: sugar, caffeine & dairy.

It was still worth it though.

After making ourselves sick at Coffee Works, we went to the rain forest and saw some pretty falls after a short hike (to try to make ourselves feel human again).

We didn't last very long because our brains were fuzzy and our bowels were in turmoil- thank you Coffee Works- but they were pretty for the short time that we saw them.

On our last day in Oz, we returned Lucy and made use of the legs/feet God gave us. While on foot, I finally remembered to snap a picture of the Australian pedestrian signs. They're amusing to me.

We had a strong urge to go bowling, so we walked 10km to a bowling alley. We paid for two games, but the Canadian worker was so happy to see fellow Canadians that he let us play two extra games for free. After our hardcore bowling expedition, we walked 10kms to the airport.

We were elated when we finally saw the airport lights in the distance as our feet were THROBBING.

(No, apparently we do NOT have energy sense. Fueled by only an ice cream cone, we walked 25kms in jandals.)

After 25kms (total) of walking IN OUR FLIP FLOPS (or thongs for you Aussies out there), we finally arrived at the Cairns airport where we slept on the floor beside the luggage conveyor belt.

It was a very cold/uncomfortable sleep, and it was a tad awkward when a flight arrived at 1am and people gathered 'round us to collect their bags, but hey... it was free!

In the morning, we woke up at 4am to begin our exciting journey home...

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Scuba Diving the Great Barrier Reef!


And we wanted decent pictures to show for it.

Since our underwater disposable camera in Thailand was CRAP, we decided to rent the real deal. A couple from Spain came to dive the reef a few years ago and was appalled that there was no company to rent underwater digital cameras from so they sold all they had, moved to Cairns, and started their new business 'Cairns Digital'. Smart move!

Even though the camera was way better, it's still HARD to take pictures under water. These are the barriers we faced:
1) It's difficult to see through the waterproof casing;
2) you either accidentally plummet to the reef floor or float above water while paying attention to the camera;
3) you lose the group while trying to get a good shot.

All of these things happened to us... but we still got some fun shots.

After an early check-in, our boat left the dock at 8:30am.

While we're certified divers and qualified to dive on our own, we chose to dive with a guide so we could enjoy the reef without getting lost. Our group was the second group to go at each reef we stopped at, so we did some snorkeling in the meantime.

At 11:30am, we went down for our first dive... at Saxon Reef.

We spotted a few nemos (among other things such as sea cucumbers, giant clams, string rays, a wide assortment of fish, and much much more)...

Now for a little science lesson for you all. Want to know what would've REALLY happened if 'Finding Nemo' was realistic? Okay, I'll tell you (warning: not suitable for young children). When Nemo's Mom and the eggs were killed by the barracuda, Marlin (Nemo's Father) would have become female and would have gotten funky with Nemo (in order to replenish the eggs). I think Pixar just wanted to keep this story G rated!

Our knowledgable guide, Melissa, taught us all of these things. And as coinkidink would have it, Lowell grew up with half of Melissa's extended family in Canada... SMALL WORLD OR WHAT?!

The second reef we dove in was called Hastings Reef.

Apparently, every time the boat stops here, a fish named Wally hangs around like a loyal puppy dog. Wally, as you can tell from the following picture, is the Angelina Jolie of fish.


And just for your knowledge, Wally used to be female.

We were sad that we didn't spot any sharks, but at least we saw PLENTY of other cool things.

Diving the Great Barrier Reef was the last thing on the list of things we set out to do when heading down under. I guess that means it's time to go home!