The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Friday, July 31, 2009
High school nightmare
Someone directed me to a site where I could upload a photo and see what my high school year book photo may have looked like through the decades. After I stopped laughing and coughing up my lungs, I decided to save the results and share them with you:

1952, not too silly...

1960. I swear I actually owned a pair of glasses like these when I was a kid. They were horrid blue cats' eye things, ten years out of fashion. I preferred to be blind.

1962. The year of Jackie Kennedy and pillbox hats and hair styles that look like pillbox hats. I actually like this one.

1966. The Flip. I look like Mary Tyler Moore's worst stalker fan.

1976. Gloria Steinem's twin sister. I also owned a pair of glasses like this. I swear. I did. The horror of it all is that I picked these out myself.

1984. The year of George Orwell's apocalypse. After seeing this photo, you can understand why.

1992. I think this hairdo was part of a girl gang initiation. I can admit here that I, too, permed my hair. I had BIG hair. I was hip back then.

2000. I look like this now. Honestly. I'm ten years out of fashion. What's even more amazing is that I like the way I may have looked in 1952 and 1962. Now you know why I'm stuck there.

You, too, can share in the high school nightmare (be ye a guy or a gal, arrr!) Just go to and have fun!


posted by Melanie O. at 8:43 PM - 4 comments
Monday, July 27, 2009
Window shopping
Yesterday, Dan and I went window shopping... and door shopping, floor shopping, and patio shopping. Friends of ours from out of town came by to look through a model home, which they are having built next year, and invited us to tour it with them.

The house is gorgeous: large open living area, outside entertainment area, formal rooms, four bedrooms and office. I couldn't help but feel a bit envious, as Dan and I purchased our house during the housing bubble and if it's worth what we paid for it, I will be surprised. We don't expect to buy another house any time soon.

There is a marked difference between Dan and me when we walk through model houses. I look at the bathrooms and kitchen - how are they laid out? What conveniences do they have? How easy are they to clean? And I look at the colour schemes. Do I like the colours? Can I apply the colour scheme to my own house? And the overall floor plan: are the bedrooms separate from the living area? Do visitors have to walk past a bedroom to get to the entertainment area? Is the lighting adequate? Are there enough power outlets?

When Dan walks through a model house, he looks at the way things are constructed. We have a large pergola attached to the back of our house that we want to convert to a room. We don't have a lounge room large enough to entertain more than a couple people comfortably and the last quote we received for just connecting the roofline was enough to make us give up on ever having that entertainment area. We gagged on the sticker price and didn't discuss it again for months.

After touring the model houses and seeing how the outside entertainment areas were built, Dan got new a new idea. He'd push the pergola roof closer to the house, so that the house eves overlap the pergola roof, move the guttering to the outside of the pergola, and put flashing up to assist with water flow, which can be done for a minimal expense. The hard part will be putting in a new floor with ventilation - but we can do this in stages. Our new lounge room is now within reasonable reach, although it won't be done any time soon.

I always wondered what the point of going through model homes was for someone who wasn't in the market to buy - but it turned out to be a worthwhile trip.

I love being able to dream! Dan does, too.


posted by Melanie O. at 9:37 AM - 0 comments
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Stress kills
In the past couple of weeks, my world has decided to break down:

Our hot water heater died. We called a repairman who announced that the thermo-coupler was hanging on by a thread, and that the model of heater we have is so old that he couldn't get a replacement part. We have to start saving up for a new water heater. He couldn't tell us how long the repair would last, but that it was, at best, a temporary fix.

Then, a few days later, in the middle of editing an important document, my phone line went dead. With the phone line, went my Internet connection. I couldn't get any work done, I couldn't get into our network to retrieve any documents - and I couldn't call anyone to let them know I couldn't finish up the documents, because I didn't have their phone number programmed into my phone - which wasn't working anyway.

I grabbed my mobile phone and called the phone company. They said my phone would be fixed within three working days. It was a Friday. That meant that it could be the following Tuesday before it was fixed. I was beside myself.

That weekend, we went to the mall, and for the first time in my life, I used an Internet kiosk to send out an urgent SOS to my colleagues. Now I know why I've never used an Internet kiosk except in dire emergencies. The key caps had been moved around by a bored kiosk user, and I had to pound the space bar with my fist in order to get it to work.

Yesterday, the email system at work went down. Things are just imploding around me. This always happens when I'm stressed about something.

Dan and I got our flight plans worked out, and when I went to hunt down my passport, I discovered that I would not be allowed back into the country unless I paid $260 for a special travel visa. I have to take time off work to get a sticker put in my passport by Immigration.

I sometimes wonder: What's next?

Never mind. I really don't want to know. They say that "stress kills." I agree, but it doesn't kill people, it kills electronic equipment!


posted by Melanie O. at 4:21 PM - 6 comments
Monday, July 13, 2009
Christmas in July
It's nice to know that I'm not the only person from north of the equator to miss Christmas in the winter. I've been in Australia now for nearly eight years, and still am not used to having Christmas in the summer. It feels more like the Fourth of July here, with families having picnic lunches and heading to the beach to soak up the summer sun on Christmas Day.

So, of course, when I found out about Yulefest in the Blue Mountains, I was ready to put on my jingle bells and go! The major hotels and guest houses in the high peaks of the Blue Mountains put on the traditional roast dinner and usually have some kind of live entertainment. This was our fourth Yulefest, and we've yet to be disappointed. No muss - no fuss - leave the entertaining to other people, just relax and enjoy!

We spent our days hiking and doing a bit of shopping, and our nights enjoying hot meals and cabaret style shows. The views in the mountains are spectacular, and it's just the nicest feeling in the world to come out of the cold and sit in front of a roaring fireplace with a glass of mulled wine. No phone. No Internet. No housework. Bliss.

After our three course meal, we listened to the sounds of Dr. Don's Double Dose - a trio that played old New Orleans style blues and boogie-woogie. There were definite influences of Fats Domino, Dr John, and Jelly Roll Morton. We could have listened for hours. There's nothing like live music!

And there's nothing like Yulefest.

You can preview some of Dr Don's Double Dose here:

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posted by Melanie O. at 12:18 PM - 3 comments
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Don't know why there's no sun up in the sky
Stormy weather.... (rather suits my mood at present.)

posted by Melanie O. at 10:46 PM - 0 comments
Vacation planning hell
I've got to take annual leave at work. Not that I want to - I have to, as I've accumulated too much holiday time for my employer to feel comfortable. I can take a month off and still have four weeks of leave left over.

It's never a good time for me to go on leave. There's always a project that I'm overseeing. I manage two employees and oversee their work. And when I get back, there's more work for me to urgently address, than there was before I left.

Don't get me wrong - I love time to myself and I love time off. It's just that there's always a price to pay for spending time away from work.

And then there are the logistical nightmares. My family is spread across the United States. No one is able to come to a designated centralized area to meet up in - not even after we've flown half way around the planet. Instead, Dan and I will have to drive completely across the country at great expense and up and down the coast to see everyone. I told someone where we'd be staying, and could they drive two hours to spend the day with us. That apparently is too far, and could we consider driving an extra two hours instead?

Dan has to take out a loan in order to travel with me this year. We've been looking forwards to a nice holiday for two years. And now I'm dreading it.

By the time I get back to work, after the first week, I'll be in need of another vacation, which I won't dare to take. It'll take my boss telling me that I have to take a holiday to get me to take one again. And, like a masochist, I will go through this same scenario again.

Somewhere, the god of travel is laughing at me.
posted by Melanie O. at 6:06 PM - 6 comments

About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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