Travel Page by Planet Ranger
Free Travel Web Page at
Home search About Advice

Travel Page


Hi, and welcome to Simonica's page!
We're a husband and wife team from Australia and the US respectively. Currently we are living in central New York, where we both work at Cornell University. Keep up with our daily lives here and feel free to drop us a message!
Simon and Monica

Diary Entries

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

Ok, so I won't be using this page anymore.
Monica will be using our new website from now on and I will remove this site next week.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

Monica and I have a new webpage. It's not completely finished, so I will keep this one until the other one is all ready, but you can check it out already. its at:

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

We are in the process of creating a new Weblog. We want to make something more personalised, with more photos, movies and updates. Hopefully we will have it up and running within a week and we will send the link when we are done!

Thursday, 08 March 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

Got my new computer yesterday. I have a mac now and as Monica has one also, she has mac'd out the house by networking everything on an apple hub. Monica loves playing around with gadgets, so our printer and external hard-drive are all connected wirelessly now on our own network.

this weekend maria and florindo are coming up. we don't have any plans, but i am looking forward to a few bottles of red with florindo. its snowing now, but by the weekend is meant to be 11C, the warmest we've had in a long time.

Sunday, 04 March 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

Sorr, I haven't written for over a week.

I have been really, really busy the past week. The first half of the week I was having all sorts of computer issues. Trying to recover my data etc and getting used to working on a new machine. In the end I had to fork out the cash myself for a new computer, which I should be getting later this week (a Mac), so once again, will have to transfer all my data.

The second half of the week I was really busy with work. Rose wants a draft of a paper I am writing on Monday. We plan to submit in the next few weeks, so am very busy finishing that off. We are also working on another paper which she wants to submit by the end of the week, so I was working on that also and getting my images in order for that paper.

This weekend I have been writing the whole time, so it has been very boring. Monica has been doing a lot of housework and planning the garden for Spring. She really gets into it and has drawn up very detailed diagrams of how the garden will look and has all the plants ready to order.

Weather has been quite a bit warmer. Above freezing anyway. Snow is all starting to melt, although it has snowed a bit today.

Friday, 23 February 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

It's been quite a boring week, just work as usual. It was quite warm early in the week (up to 2C!), but has cooled down again and we had a few inches of snow overnight, enough to cause havoc on the roads and we had a lady get stuck just in front of our house this morning.

Don't have anything planned for this weekend, other than that we both have to be in the lab tomorrow. My computer also died, bit of a shit, but fortunately I was able to recover the hard drive. Have to buy a new computer now, but hopefully the University can spot me the cash. We'll see. About to go for lunch now, going to the Cornell dining hall with Ryan and Marshall. Never been before, but it's supposed to be the best dining hall of all US colleges.

Monday, 19 February 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

We didn't do much this weekend. Daniela and Juan were going to come up, but in the end we called them and told them not to, due to the weather. Monica got stuck in the driveway on Friday morning. She slid off and went about 10feet off the driveway down a shallow embankment and had to get towed out.

Friday night we went to the Statler for drinks, but had an early night. Saturday we were running errands all morning, lab, dump, shopping etc. When we got home we found our driveway had been freshly ploughed, so Monica made some cookies and I took them over to the neighbours who were responsible for it.

Yesterday I was a little bored, Monica went shopping and I stayed home and made pulled pork. I think I did a good job, it turned out very tasty!

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

We've decided to not go down to NYC this weekend due to the weather. Roads are white and with all the snow they'll soon melt and then re-freeze into black ice. Not good for driving long distances. The snow has all stopped now, but everything is covered in white. We're very lucky that we have a carport, but a lot of people don't. Saw a car this morning on my way to work that was buried up to the windows in snow.

Instead of NYC we'll spend the weekend around Ithaca. I have a few things to do in the lab, but other than that there is the annual chilli cook-off in the Commons. We'll go sample some of the chilli and then go out to Horseheads to do some shopping. I need a new hat and snow pants. Have to finish off my visa forms also.

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

Valentine's Day will be remembered for a big storm!

Due to the impending storm, we celebrated Valentine's on the 13th. I came home early and made sushi for Monica. We had a bottle of wine, some amazing cakes from the local pattiserie and I gave Monica some flowers (Calla Lillies as they were the flowers in Monica's wedding bouquet). The snow started later that night and we had a foot and a half over night. We spent the following morning shovelling the drive and watching cars trying to go up the street. Most of them ended up reversing back down it.

This afternoon we are expecting another foot and a half, so Monica and I are spending the day at home and enjoying the snow outside. It's very heavy at the moment and accumulating at up to 3 inches per hour. All schools have been closed for the day, so there are kids sleding and making snowmen outside. The snow is so deep that I saw a deer walking in the backyard, it's legs sunk in so deep, that it was dragging its belly on the snow as it walked.

I have put up a few pictures I took this morning under the heading of "Valentines Day." There's also a new function on the photo pages that you can click on individual photos to open them in a larger screen.

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

We're expecting a big storm tonight and tomorrow. There have been lots of snow storms up north of us over the past week, with up to 10 feet of snow. We won't get that much with this storm, but it's meant to be quite severe. Today is really cold, dread having to go outside.

This weekend we're going down to NYC. We'll stay with Monica's parents on Friday night and with Steph on Sat night. We'll probably stay down Sun night as well, as Monday is Presidents Day, so Monica has the day off. Don't really have much planned for our time down there, other than Monica's dental appointment and a likely visit to Ikea......

Saturday, 10 February 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

I've put up some new photos under "Random" and "Basement Remodel #2."

Not much to report from this week, just been work as usual and in the evenings we have been working on my residency forms and playing Zelda.

Thursday, 01 February 2007

Location: Ithaca, NY, USA

Hello, Monica here. The past couple of days have been busy ones for us. We finally got the basement finished! Hopefully Simon will post some pics soon. We had Dawn and Ryan around last night in celebration of Dawn's birthday. Ryan had another Wii controller so we had a blast playing against one another in tennis, boxing and some racing games. Simon has also started a terrarium complete with waterfall in our dismantled salt-water fish tank. It looks really neat in the basement we accidentally have this jungle theme going on. It was really nice to finally get to enjoy all of our hard work.

This weekend is the Super Bowl, which is a very big sporting event here. We are going to have some people over to watch the game. I don't like football very much but it should be fun to watch the game.

Oh yeah, Simon will move that tree whether he likes it or not!

Monday, 29 January 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

Friday night we had a bunch of people over for games night. It was hard to pull people away from the Wii once they got started, so most people were playing that while a group of us played Puerto Rico.

Saturday and Sunday was more basement work. We are pretty much done now. Got the top and bottom trim in and all the touch up paint, so started decorating. The room looks very jungle-esque, so instead of putting fish in the tank, we are making it into a tropical terrarium. We'll start off with plants, but I'd like to get a few frogs in there sometime.

A few weeks back Monica asked me to get rid of the Christmas tree. She wanted me to put it in the woods, but instead I dumped it just in front of the woods, so it is clearly visible from the kitchen window. She was a little pissed off, but I told her the deer would eat it (really I had no idea, but thought it was a good excuse). She told me there was no way deer would eat the Christmas tree, but I refused to move it. Every second day she tells me to move it, but I keep refusing. Anyway, on Friday afternoon I looked outside and there were four deer eating the tree. I took a photo of it and will put it up sometime. Monica is not happy about it, as there is now no way I will move it.

Has been super cold here, down to -25C at times. Snowed quite a bit at the end of last week also. They don't plough or salt our road, so it gets really slippery. I slid straight past our driveway the other day, so had to do a lap and come back around. It's fun to throw, but I hate driving in it.

Monday, 22 January 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

Friday night, Ryan and I went to the hockey game. Cornell was playing Yale and it should have been a pretty easy game, but Cornell really sucked. They gave away an own goal with a minute to play and in the end it was a 2-2 draw. They were never really expected to be great this season, as they lost a few players to the NHL, but they started really well. The past month though, they have sucked and have lost to teams that they really should have beaten.

On Saturday Monica and I were very busy cleaning the house. We had the lab around for dinner/drinks, so we had a lot of cooking and cleaning to get down. It was a good night, but a few of us drank a little too much and I felt a bit seedy on Sunday. Had to get up early though, as I had heard that Best Buy had a shipment of Wii's. I got in line in the freezing cold, but managed to get one. They only had 24 and I was number 21. We still haven't got around to playing it though, we set up th projector and lights in the basement, but will wait until it is totally finished before we set up any other equipment.

Hopefully it will be a fairly quiet week. I have a lot of writing to do, so will just be doing that, along with a bit of basement work. Just have to paint and put up the trim and we'll be done.

Oh yeah, and happy 2 year anniversary of being in the US to me!

Thursday, 18 January 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

This Saturday marks my 2 year anniversary of being in the US! To celebrate, Monica and I are having a gathering of my lab at our house on Saturday evening. The house is quite a mess at the moment, so we have a lot of cleaning to do beforehand.

Work on the basement has stalled a bit, we have been measuring up for trim and went out and bought that the other night, but we have to paint it all before it can go in.

My two year visa expired at he end of last year, but I was able to extend it an additional year. We have now just started the process of getting me a Green Card, so we are filling out lots of forms and I also have an interview coming up. Hopefully it will be pretty straightforward, getting a green card through marriage doesn't seem to be toomuch of a process.

Monday, 15 January 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

I've put up a bunch of new photos. "Ithaca Winter" has some photos of the ice on our trees this morning. I'll put up some more photos of snow (we're expecting some over the next few days) soon.

Monica and I also finished the flooring this evening, so I have put up new photos of the basement. They start in "Basement Remodel #1" and continue into "Basement Remodel #2."

Monday, 15 January 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

Starting to get very cold here now, it's been a warm winter up until now, around 15C on some days and I've even pulled out the shorts on a few occasions. The past few days though have been rainy, and cold enough so that the rain freezes and there is a lot of ice around. All the trees are iced over with water stalagtites hanging from them. The extra weight in the trees has caused alot of branches to fall down. We lost two large branches on our huge Norwegian Spruce out the back and on the way to work this morning, there were a few detours due to trees on the road.

The weekend was pretty much the usual for us. On Friday night we went to the Nines for dinner with Ryan and then down to the Chapter House. On Saturday and Sunday I had a bit of work to do in the lab, but most of the time was spent working at home. We put in a new cat door in the door leading to the basement, put a new door/frame into the basement room we are finishing, laid the floor underlay and started on the floorboards. I even cooked a lamb roast for dinner last night! I've been eyeing off the lamb in the supermarket for the past few months, but it's always so expensive (all imported from Oz), but finally it was on sale last night (Aus$20 for 5lbs, usually it's about Aus$40).

Monday, 08 January 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

On Friday night we had a departmental gathering. We all went ice-skating over at Lynah Rink, followed by pizza and movies. I sucked at skating, but not as much as what most people thought I would. I managed to stay on my feet the whole time but was pretty slow and due to a piss-poor technique, ended up with very sore feet and legs. Monica on the other hand is pretty decent, but she did take lessons for 4 years......

On Saturday and Sunday, we painted the basement ceiling. It was pretty tough going and dirty work. Due to the ceiling being rafters, there are loads of noks and crannies to get into and so it takes a lot of paint. We put close to 5 gallons (18L) of primer on, followed by a similar volume of paint. The paint sprayer did a pretty decent job, but the spray ends up in places other than where you are spraying, namely your eyes! The room is starting to take shape now, we should be able to finish off the walls and window trim this week and then start on the floor the following week.

Other than painting, I watched parts of the playoff games. I was hoping for a Giants win, but Manning sucks too much. This week I'll be cheering for the Saints. Aside from Football, we also packed away the Christmas lights and took down the tree. Unfortunately no Wii yet, hopefully this weekend.....

Tuesday, 02 January 2007

Location: Ithaca, USA

New Year's was very quiet for monica and I. Everyone goes home for the holidays, so there is not a lot to do. We both worked quite a bit over the weekend and spent the rest of it shopping (still trying to find a wii) and playing Zoo Tycoon, Monica's favourite game!

There's also been a bunch of bowl games on TV, so I watched my fair share of those. This week it's back to work as usual. The final details of the kitchen are being finished today and tomorrow we have a guy coming to take a look at the fireplace in the basement. Once it has been given the ok, we'll start work down there.

Wednesday, 27 December 2006

Location: Ithaca, USA

Wow, the past week has been really busy!

The kitchen was finally finished last friday, but took quite an effort to finish it off. In the morning they weren't sure if they'd be able to get it all done by Christmas and over the course of the day about 12 guys were here working. It looks awesome and feels like having a completely new house. I've put up the final pictures of it, so you can all see for yourself.

Friday night and all day Saturday Monica and I were cleaning up and setting up the kitchen. It was quite an effort as we had to scrub the floors throughout the house, as they were covered in plaster dust. I also dismantled the saltwater tank, as it leaked on the Thursday night and lost about 10-15 gallons. It was quite a mess and most of the basement drained through a cable hole in the floor, straight into the basement. We were lucky it was only 10 or so gallons and not the full 55. Anyway, I've canned the saltwater tank and we'll set it up as a freshwater in the basement when we get that finished. It will be much easier to look after, less maintenance and less costly.

On Saturday evening, Florindo, Maria and Daniela came up for the Christmas weekend. We decorated the tree Saturday night and the rest of the weekend was spent eating and drinking. Florindo and I got through a few bottles of red, while the girls cooked up a storm of turkey, cheesecake and homemade bread and pasta.

As of tuesday Monica and I have been back at work. I've just been working half days and have spent the remainder of my time working in the basement and sleeping!

Sunday, 24 December 2006

Location: Ithaca, USA

Merry Christmas!
Have up some final photos of the kitchen. I'll write more on what we did for Christmas later.

Monday, 18 December 2006

Location: USA

Put up a new photo of the kitchen

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Location: Ithaca, USA

We didn't do a lot this weekend. I had to work all day Saturday and Monica was at home while the floor was being tiled. Saturday night we watched a few movies. Sunday we did some shopping and Florindo came over on his way back from Canada. We had lunch at Joe's and in the afternoon Monica went shopping and I stayed home to do some cleaning.

Tomorrow the countertops go in. I have put up a new photo of the kitchen.

Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Location: Ithaca, USA

Congratulations to Monica who just had three papers published!

They are all in Volume 19 of Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions (MPMI), strating from page 1167.

Tuesday, 12 December 2006

Location: Ithaca, USA

I have put up some new photos of the kitchen. The countertops go in next Monday, so it should all be done by the end of next week.

Previous Diary Entries

Choose a date from the menu below to view older diary entries in a new window.

Photos - Click Below

Leave a Message


Email (optional):


Travelling Soon?

Get Your own Planet Ranger Travel Page. Click Here

Recent Messages

From Andrew
You smell
Response: wanker
From Tim
Your in snow Simon and I'm here in 42 degrees sweating my bloody arse off, be good to meet half way hay. In the process of writing an e-mail, should be through in the next couple of days, bloody good to hear from ya mate!
Response: great to hear from ya tim! i've heard that its really hot there, but would rather have a beer at 42C than -10C!!!
From Puck
Nice with some snow. I like how you are wearing your jeans while shoveling snow. It reminds me of many cold wet snowy days of my childhood.
Response: Yeah, I need to get some new snow pants, Monica and I were just talking about that this morning. I also need some new gloves, I have two pin-sized holes in two fingers. It's amazing how such small holes make the gloves totally useless.
From robb
Simon, as I sit here England are 9 wickets down, warne bowling at the no. 11 Monty Panesar. Aussies are 1 wicket away from regaining the ashes, and well and truely on the way to a 5-0 whitewash of the poms!!! Warne will go to Melbourne for the 4th test needing either 1 or 2 wickets for 700 career scalps!!
The Ashes are coming home!!!
Response: I've been staying up late every night to read the commentary on cricinfo. Unfortunately with the test being in Perth, it only starts at 10pm for me. The next two games will start at a much earlier time, so that will be good for my sleep!
From Puck
Today is Lucia, a swedish holiday where girls dress up in white gowns and go around singing with candles in their hair. The guys mainly stand around watching the beuties, eating gingerbread and drinking glögg (spiced up sweet whine).
Karin and Saga are doing great. Saga can smile now and she has gained alot of weight. She keeps on insisting upon having long physical and vocal training sessions at night, disturbing our sleep. But despite this, we are very happy.
Have a great Lucia!
Response: Hey Linus,
Happy Lucia! Have a great Christmas with Karin's family. We will be staying here in Ithaca and Monica's family are coming up. Unfortunately we both have to work between Christmas and New Year, so we won't get much of a break.
From salma
What the....???? I meant enjoying in know the cute girl you just married, rewarding work, beautiful wedding, fun in America....but I can send you some tim timas if you want :o)
Response: sorry salma! but if you want to send tim tams i won't stop you.....
From Linus & Karin
We have a daughter! Her name is Saga. She has thick dark hair and is just gorgeous. We are now at home and the three of us are healthy and happy.
Good times....
Response: Congratulations! We are so excited for you both. We can't wait to see some pictures!
From Salma Khan
A big CONGRATULATIONS to you both, photos looked great and Simon you look like you're really enjoying life :o). Hope to see the two of you in Australia soon xxx
Response: bit rude salma......
camera made me put on ten pounds. it may have been because of all the tim-tams andrew brought over
From Lora Fullagar
Any particular beach? Bondi/Glenelg/Whitehaven/Grange?
Response: grange would be nice. whatever monica wants really, i have no say in it anymore.....
From Lora Fullagar
Congrats Simon and Monica, your photos are fab!!!You both looked fantastic! Did you have a Baby Ruth wedding cake? Does this mean you can live in the states forever and ever?
Response: i hope not,
i wanna move home sometime! we'll be here for perhaps another three years and then live on the beach!
From Ryan
when are you coming back to work slack ass??? j/k
Response: thursday
From kakan (cookie)
sitting here thinking about you guys and hope everything goes well on your wedding today, although I am sure it will. Miss not being there with you and wish you all the luck for your future together. Lots of love Karin
Response: thanks karin, it went great! linus did a great job, didn't forget the rings and looked pretty good up there!
From Puck
Only two days of freedom left for the both of you......

See you tomorrow.
Response: hey linus! thanks for being the best man
From Anna Jones
Hey you two love birds just wanting to wish you all the very the best for your wedding! So wish we could be there to share it with you, but hey Pol will be there as our representative! Can't wait to see some pics and to hear how it all went and of course the dress!!! By the way your house looks fantastic - got a lot of potential. XxAnna & Matt
Response: Thanks Anna!
Really looking forward to seeing the family and of course Pol! We've been sooo busy lately with work, the house and the wedding, so it will be nice to have some time away and finally have the wedding upon us. The house does have some great potential, we're currently having the kitchen remodeled and a pull pulled down to open it out into the living room. The roof just got done and then we have to start on the yard work and landscaping, but I think we'll leave that till next year! Pictures will be available two days after the wedding online (our photographer is on top of things!), so will send you the link when I get it.
From Craig
You and Monica are now officially one entity.
Response: i can't think of a funny reply again. damn.
From Puck
Nice house, I like the backyard and all vegetation that surrounds the place. Congrats, mate, this is huge, I wish I had a house! And yes, I did see the T-Shirt that you were wearing. It brought a tear to my eye....
Response: yes, i still have that t-shirt and wear it often. hey, well what's going on with you is much huger than me having a house. have you got names in mind? Have you thought much about the name Simon?
From salma khan
you better not call your baby ruth then :o)
Response: hopefully i won't hve to think about baby names for awhile yet salma :)
From Polly
Hey Simo

Sorry for the late wishes, but hope you had a great bday! Got your invite in the mail last night....sorry but I'm going to have to decline...he he, only joking.....will be seeing you in a few months!! yay
Response: thanks pol!
we close on the house next friday, finally! That means you'll definetely have a place to stay when you get here.
From Salma Khan
Bugs are very dangerous and frightening. What beer do you drink now? Do you miss Coopers? Can you get it over there? What are baby ruths? I'm guessing there not made out of babies
Response: hey salma. we do have a liquor store here that sells coopers. it's really expensive, about double what you'd pay at home. it also tastes a little different and has a picture of a kangaroo on it! i tend to drink anything. c'mon salma, thought you'd know that! baby ruths are in fact babies that have been boiled down and coated with chocolate. apparently they only use babies with the name ruth.
From Lora
Hi Simon!!!
Long time no speaky!! Congrats on your pending marriage! I saw all your pics you make a super cute couple, all the best to you and your Mrs.
People are always talking up the baby ruth's....are they really that good? I am not doing much...saving tt move to the UK in a year and a im all work and saving (sickening isn't it)
Sammy Mac and i are still a hot item and we live together now, so it appears i am getting old and stuff now.....
When are you coming back for your next visit?
Response: Hey Lora! Great to hear from you! Yes, I am becoming an old man, working, getting married, doing housework.....
And you, you've been going strong with Sam now for some time, the men of the world must be very dissappointed about that! Probably won't be home until towards the end of next year, but will hopefully stay for a month or so, so will have plenty of time to catch up with friends and all. If you're ever over this way, make sure to give me a holla. You and Salma have to meet monica, you'd both like her, she has a bit of spunk like you guys! xx Simon
From Karin & Linus
Happy birthday, Siiiiimon!
From claire
simo!! happy birthday old man. always remember what comes before part b....

Response: thanks claire! i had trouble getting up this morning, feeling older. i will be partying tonight, but not "going big" as monica did last week.
From James Smith
Hi Simon,

Glad to hear that you're having a ball. Congrats on the upcoming wedding. What a suprise that was, when Marain told me. I guess you'll be staying in America for a while then!

Brooke and I are now married and have just had our second child - April Brooklyn.

Hope your PhD is going well. Would be great to hear from you.


Response: hey james,
good to hear from you!
all is going well, monica has a great job here and my work is going quite well (depends on which day you ask me!). only a couple more months to our wedding, and we are also in the process of buying a house, so it's all systems go here! no kids though and none on the herizon for a while i think! hope all is well with you and send my regards to brooke!
From Anna Jones
Hi guys,
Congrats on your engagement! Sorry it has come so late. Caught up with Andrew & Vicky a couple of weekends ago and heard all your news. We can't make it to your wedding, but look forward to seeing you both later in the year at the Weckert bash! Love to you both! ...Anna & Matt
Response: Thanks Anna!
Hope that you and Matt are both well. It's all very busy here, lots of wedding plans in addition to trying to buy a house is all getting quite stressful!
Nothing as exciting as you, working full time at Telstra, applying for teaching positions for next year, and saving some money to travel again or maybe be responsible and get a house like yourself. Still buying lots of shoes, have a new man..... no marriage, kids, or homes together :o), When are you guys coming to Aust again? Are you eating a lot of Krispy Kreme donuts?
Response: i eat a lot of crap! i love ribs, dunkin donuts, wings, baby ruth's, mmmmmmm baby ruth's. i am playing tennis though, so trying to work it off! you'd like monica, she likes to shop and gets scared of bugs just like you! probably won't come back this year now that we have a house, but definetely next year. if you're ever over though, let me know!