Friday, October 31, 2008

Australian Holiday Anarchy

Sure, sure it is October, and coming on Xmas Season, yet here we have Easter!

On the one hand I've never seen a single shred of Halloween existing here; they don't even grown Orange Pumpkins, just weird bumpy, icky, green, speckled ones. On the other hand this was the only candy that was individually wrapped, and for $15 bucks you would be (if there were any trick-or-treaters coming around oh, say after 9 p.m. when it is dark) handing out candy the size of individual Starburst. Now, the kids here even being deprived as they are of Halloween, would know somewhere in their gut they were being ripped off.
Oh, yes and Christmas Music over the intercom in October? Sure! Tacky Christmas themed junk everywhere? Absolutely!

There are rules to the whole Holiday Season. Social rules that I feel (we) all know. Such as playing Christmas music is allowed the day after Thanksgiving, but forbidden before Thanksgiving. If you don't believe me, go to the Mall.
Christmas displays are not allowed until at least after the Halloween display comes down.
But what happens if there is NO Halloween, NOR Thanksgiving?
That's what happens.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Life in the Suburbs

Our neighbor came over, practically in tears, going on about the problems he'd had with his plumbing while we were gone. How much money he had spent on the problem(I assume sewage coming up the mains). He had a 'builder' with him, and they had concluded that the Gum tree in our yard was the problem. I was deemed 'American' while I asked if a plumber had used the scope with a camera to look in the pipes. This suggestion was met with the usual, 'I suppose IN AMERICA' they do such things...
I could have put up a fight except that the tree is not very healthy, nor very pretty. I talked to my resident expert, Sue- who built her house next door before the neighborhood existed. She said the original owner of this house, trimmed the Gum incorrectly and it had been a wretched thing ever since.
Indeed the tree was rotten in the core.
Zok has promised me an advanced tree, because last year he took one down that I liked and then he bought me a twig! The Australian belief in most Gum/Eucalypts is that they grow too fast, so they sell you a twig. That one we planted eight months ago and and it is about 3 inches high.
I want a lilac tree. I am sure I will get a Eucalyptus.
The tree did block the view of the Bay and keep the morning light out of our eating area, so I suppose that is the biggest bonus of losing the tree.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Croquet is OK

Croquet Season has opened. I don't like to compete, it is safe to say that I hate to compete. I can barely contain myself around sport talk. You know the kind, the discussion after each turn, the commentary about the other team and what they should have done. Zok & Sanchez however, LOVE to compete.
Here they are playing in a Hi-Low competition which involves teams of players that have a certain degree of difference between their standings. Zok (and of course Sanchez) and his partner Bob won, even though Zok did not play his best, of course considering he has not played nor practiced in about eight months he did great and as always better than I could have.
They played at the club in Sandy Bay which is closer to Hobart town than we are. My friend Andy came and sat with me, so I actually watched the whole game instead of half watching, half listening to a book or podcast.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The 'other' beach and Secret Cove

Zok (and his moustache Sanchez) had a Croquet Match, so I had him drop me at Kingston Beach or as I like to call it, 'the other beach'. I wanted to take the trail back to our neighborhood and check out the Secret Cove (I've never seen anyone there before)-where I plan to have a picnic when the weather is warmer and the tides lower.
Other than that I have been watching Roger Corman renditions of Edgar Allen Poe to try and remind myself that although Springtime here, that elsewhere Halloween is coming. I love Vincent Price's changing hair and long cloaks almost as much as I like it when the models of the houses go up in flames.
Plus of course the ever brilliant walling up of the lovers, while alive, by the jealous husband. A perfectly normal reaction; thump, thump, the tell-tale heart.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And the comedy continues

Apparently noticing a dude's moustache changes is like noticing when a girl parts her hair differently.
I was in trouble for not noticing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I can't stop laughing and apparently this is only the beginning.

Friday, October 17, 2008

42 degrees South

I am so happy to be home that I've been bouncing off the walls, waking up early enough to make Zok fairly irritated the rest of the day...
Today is a bit windy, cloudy, and under sixty-degree F, so I am giving Zok a break. I didn't wake up until 9 a.m. and didn't get him up until 10:30 a.m., unlike day one and two where I made him get up before 8 a.m. I spent most of today unpacking and trying to transfer information from my old computer to this new computer.
The garden is of course, a mess. I fear for my Gardenia plant, and my new 'China Pinks' are all but dead. I have heard that there was little rain this Winter, but with a lot of frost. One corner that I dug out in May has plants that made it through, but the other corner looks awful, the new plants as well as the man fern are dry and shriveled. On the upside, there are a lot of small apricots coming on, and the nectarine tree looks okay even though we weren't here to spray for 'curly leaf'. Here, I will only be showing high lights not low lights. Zok and I are going to the Saturday market to look for locally grown plants and also to the flower show for some replacements. Our neighbor Sue has put together a display at the show which I am excited to see. I am taken aback at how pretty the scenery is where we live. Also how mellow, currently the only sounds I can hear is some flock of birds being harassed by two Kestrels overhead. (I did try to go into the water already but it is still too cold.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I miss going to a polling place to cast my ballot. When I lived in California I aspired to run a polling place of my own, because usually they were run out of someone's garage. Sometimes there would be a prize for voting, a lively sticker that told everyone you had already gone to your polling station, or better a cookie! These early experiences inspired me, voting day was an event that one dressed up for. I had this 1970s looking plastic belt that had round discs that said 'vote' on them. I loved taking time from work to go vote. My right to vote! (Australians are fined if they don't vote, which creates a whole different feeling although there are cookies, although they are for sale not given treats).
Postal voting is not nearly as exciting. Voting from abroad even less.
I always stress out about getting the bits correct, where to sign, keeping the security envelope clean, and of course getting the ballot in on time.
There is also a feeling of futility about voting from abroad, as if the election is called WAY before the my ballot gets there, even though I know mine will arrive before the official voting day.
Perhaps it has something to do with the lack of interaction. I vote on a day that no one else is voting. I have no one to talk to about the issues on my ballot. I don't queue up and have my name ticked off, I don't get to walk into some enclosed area and have that feeling of being so adult. No, instead I have the equivalent of a correspondence course quiz, that I may somehow flunk because I signed in the incorrect space. The feeling was compounded by my local post office lady. The lady I like least who treats me as if I speak a foreign language because of my accent.
I had my ballot in hand, and I stated (clearly) 'Hello, I need to post this to America.'
She whips the large envelope from my hand shaking her head, sort of weighing it by feel and tutting over the size and shape as SHE STARTS TO FOLD THE ENVELOPE IN HALF!
Folding the ballot in half definitely on the 'no' list. Honestly, inside my head I am shouting 'Excuse me, hellooo! World economy at stake here! Helloo! We are talking Sarah Palin!' as I try to calming retrieve my ballot and not sound like a crazed person as I shout 'Don't fold that!'.
She lowers her arms and says 'Well it'll cost you.' Price of sending in my ballot?
$5.45 Australian.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Customs steals Serafina's Flight

So many hours to get home. We have one more flight left, but we've stayed over in Melbourne so at least today I feel human again. I always feel so nasty (as in 'not fresh') by the third and last flight to get to Australia. The feeling of pervasive stink gets compounded by the fact that the planes don't seem to actually get cleaned anymore. Spruced perhaps is a better word. The planes are now turned over so quickly, a sort of twenty minute change over to check the seat pockets and I assume change that wee bit of paper covering at the head rest. When I opened the 'personal entertainment' system on the last flight (since by Australian rules we were flying from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. and therefore I should stay up for the flight), the screen was so dirty. There was some sort of sticky splash pattern, and grit all around the edges. This usually leads to my not really wanting any part of my head or body to touch any part of the chair or head rest.
Actually I shouldn't complain because Zok and I were upgraded to Business on the second flight (12 hours) and into Economy Plus on the third flight (10 hours).
I was still pretty punchy by the time we were going through customs. The customs agent took most of my snacks, the Stenbok (a traditional Swedish, straw, Christmas goat) and Serafina's broom!!!!!!! I was devastated, I have been looking for that particular kitchen witch for years. I suppose making a new broom won't be impossible, but really taking a bit of her sort of messed with an integral component of the thing...
But they almost took her 'full stop' as the Aussies say. So I should be happy...I suppose now she is an immigrant, she'll have to have a broom made of Eucalyptus wood.
Here she is before she was so rudely mutilated.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Always the Witch Hair

Am I ever actually happy with my hair? I feel as if I can remember a few times, that salon in E. LA, certain hair dressers in Seattle, but more I remember the disasters, that time I just said 'KEEP BLEACHING' and my hair was so mushy it wouldn't even hold color, and it was short, short, short.
After usually two years of long hair, I start to hate it, no one seems to be able to layer long hair properly so it becomes prone to snarls and witch like. Finally in disgust, I'll just go to a salon where I am on the day of highest irritation, a Holiday Inn in Bangkok, the airport in Japan, or to the first salon in Sweden that will take me...
If you can believe it, what you are viewing is an improvement, because with a flat iron, it looks like a wig ala any low budget sci-fi film.
I am trying to disguise the fact that my bangs do indeed go from temple to temple.
Of course it will dry fast, and it is healthy and sort of kicky...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Volcanos, Flamenco, Calatrava and Queso Boccadillos

This bit that seems religious is the center point of the ceiling which is designed to open to accomate certain performance accoustics.

I am sick and sad about the fact that I can't do anything more than type while lying in bed. Zok has penned me in, I am surrounded by paperwork, and items to be boxed and shipped to Australia.
Rufus played at this theater in Tenerife, created by Calatrava, the hall was gorgeous and rather intimidating for Zok who rarely does sound these days and here he felt as if he were running sound for the Sydney Opera House. The Flamenco bar was small, the performance was engrossing. I don't have a photo of the dancer I thought was the best because I was just too involved in watching her every move. She was a bit older, and off stage I wouldn't have thought she was a dancer. On stage she was so controlled, so fluid, and just plain sexy. I felt as if I was being shown the heart of Spain and knowing that I was an outsider lucky enough to be allowed to glimse the chambers flowing.

If the V.P. debate had been graded, Palin would be happy to know she was down there in the slightly lower side of the bell curve.

Where to begin? Let me tell you that I stayed up with Rufus to watch the debate at 3:30 a.m. in Malaga, Spain. We had more people for our PJ T.V. watching party but in the end we were the only two standing (or you know reclining).
I am really glad that I did, honestly I have been mostly ignoring or at least not searching out information on the election. As far as I am concerned there is only one way to vote so why torture myself with the details?
Days have passed and I have talked out most of my feelings about the debate, but I find that the what has stayed with me, is this impression that Sarah Palin is very like Dolores Umbridge. The sweet persona, the constant smiling, the tone of self-righteous condescension. The way she can smile, and look directly into the camera and state that she is for equal rights (unless you are gay, then all she really said is she would be 'tolerant' which sounded as if the subtext was 'I will wait a year or so before mandating the round up and sending off to camps for all "deviants").
The way she talked about 'the greater good'.
Constantly referring to this unrepresented middle America, but whose America is her America? Certainly not mine. If Palin is Umbridge then I get to be Hermione.
Like Hermione, I feel a real sense of foreboding about a women like Palin coming to power. She is not just under qualified, she is scary.