Thursday, December 31, 2009

Summertime rolls

The days are starting to blur in the haze of heat and bbq smoke.
Our Christmas visitors returned to the mainland (they were able to get out of their ties and pick the locks, and therefore actually got onto their flight, as I mentioned one if not both have superpowers and I was unable to keep them from returning to their 'real' lives), but we now have two new guests who have come from the snowy winter of Wales.

We will bring in the New Year at Cradle Mountain, in the same cabin where Monte, Roberto, Zok and I were last year.

I am appreciating Tasmania all the more through the eyes of my guests.
Enjoying our lack of water restrictions, and as always the beautiful beaches and parks we have so close.

I am missing my skates by they will be waiting for me in Geelong, which is only a couple weeks, a few short trips, and one country away.

Zok is in his element, the yard, the BBQ, King of his domain and basking in the well deserved praise of guests feed up to bursting.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"ability to be good more than to look good"

Yesterday the ladies (me + one) decided to take a walk, the goal of the walk was a neighborhood house where I bought some canna lilies last year, plants which have flourished nicely.
The house was without any plants for sale, and so as the day was nice and Zok feeds up people as if he is the witch in Hanzel & Gretel, we decided to just keep walking.
Our next goal was a beach, a beach I like to refer to as 'the secret cove' as I have only seen wallabies but never people there.
When we arrived the cove was lousy with people, a diving class I think, so as we continued on the line of jokes involved 'not so secret cove anymore'.
For some reason (I blame my walking partner) we decided to see if we could take the coast all the way back.
I am not talking beach to beach, I am talking coast line, mostly comprised of huge square boulders, that are apparently bits of cliff face, fallen to the shore.
The scenery was very pretty.
At one point, we came to a gap, a gap that would have to be jumped, my walking partner who is definitely on the brave and mighty side as well as athletic, gracefully stepped across the gap.
I thought to follow straight away, until I glanced down.
What followed was this griping feeling of fear of the like I have don't recall ever feeling before. All I could picture in my mind was pulling back my leg as I leaped, some uncontrolled action brought on by fear, and my head bashing on each side of the gap as I plummeted to the sea below.
I had complete faith my walking companion would save me, she was once a competitive swimmer (among other such super powers), but there would be the inconvenience of the hospital trip, and perhaps missing dinner, (Zok was making an excellent pasta dish).
I did finally make it across, but I am still astonished at this scaredy-cat angle of my nature, I had not known existed.
But as I said, I did jump across and when we could no longer follow the shore (please note my partner trying to scale the rock ledge to see if we indeed could keep moving forward), we instead scrambled up a cliff edge to private property, through three! yards and into the neighborhood.
I felt very Aussie.
I think as 2010 (so nice looking in print) comes on, I will hold that leap in my minds eye, and see what other unforeseen obstacles I can overcome.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The day after the day after Christmas

Truthfully summer in Tasmania is a very subtle sensation-
when I wake up I am not cold, I can wander around the house and yard with my feet uncovered. I do not have to light a fire.
I can not leave the house without a sweater or shawl. If I think that the day is warm and I can sit on the porch, reading and letting the sun work its way though the sunblock, I may well be let down by a sudden cold wind, or a cloud formation covering the sun.
I have a house guest who also likes to read, and we have been chased from the yard to the porch and back into the house again by these continuing changes of weather.
I recall Californian summers to be three solid months of blue skies and high temperatures, I remember Washington summers to be a least a month in length, Tasmania is too crafty to be so easily defined.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

"Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on, but it doesn't snow here it says pretty green"

Ahhh yes the hangover that is known as the day after Christmas, or in Australia simply 'boxing day'. Which is something to do with the work force, or maybe the forty-hour week, but I have never gotten a satisfactory answer from anyone about what the public holiday really means...

We have company which is a beautiful thing, the sun has been shining, nice, thoughtful presents, and too much tasty food.

Today on this vague holiday we are going out exploring away from the city.

Merry Merry and Happy Happy to all.

Monday, December 21, 2009

"But what do you eat?"

Here are cheese enchiladas, with a black bean taco, vegetarian refried beans, and Mexican rice. Usually I like a nice tostada (corn tortilla, with beans, avocado, lettuce, tomato, with the optional sour cream and cheese on top)

In California, I can ever get pub food that isn't french fries or chips, here is soft, yet crunchy thick bread, with manchego cheese, drizzled with honey, and served with a local craft beer, brewed in Pasadena. Heavenly.

A potato knish is meant to be eaten with gravy, and gravy is only rarely vegetarian, luckily a knish just doesn't need gravy to be very tasty.

I can't begin to express how great the Din Tai Fung eatery is-vegetarian dumplings, flash fried, garlic riddled green beans, a spicy noodle dish that I could have eaten all by myself if my bonds of marriage and friendship hadn't tethered me to politeness.

I spent most of my life on the west coast of America, and because of this geographical location, I thought myself to be quite normal in my eating habits.
As I started to spend time beyond the haven of California, Oregon, and Washington I found that most people found my eating habits baffling.

"You don't eat meat?"
"Any meat?"
"Fish though, right? you must eat fish?"

I've been in Australia close to five years now, and people always forget that I don't eat meat, or fish.
People constantly ask me "What do you eat"?
The idea of living this way is incomprehensible to most people. Sweden is more accepting, but not much more accommodating. For the most part, I am not bothered, but I definitely get excited to go out for meals while on the west coast of America. While we were there recently, I wanted to eat so many things that I confused myself. As we can get most types of Asian foods here in Australia, I confined myself mostly to Jewish, Mexican, and types of Asian that aren't commonly served with a vegetarian options, such as the dumplings you see. I also love good ol'Californian food: large salads with fruit as well as vegetables, vegetarian bar options, huge avocado and cheese sandwiches on fresh baked bread.

Even Zok who is completely accepting of my abnormality will scan menus nervously convinced I'll be unable to eat, which is silly as I can basically eat anywhere, even if this means eating the 'sides' most people get with their steaks.
In California though as the Australians say- I am spoiled for choice.
In California there are grocery stores larger than our largest here in Tasmania that have nothing but vegetarian, and vegan, foods. Vegan junk food even.

I have posted some eating highlights.
Monte & Roberto were very sweet about my food whims and even at least humored my threat to get an egg-nog flavored shake from a drive-thru fast food joint.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"I'm going to make a lot of money, Then I'm going to quit this crazy scene"

Yesterday, I went to the beach, after the heat brought on a mood of languor that could only be defeated by cool water.
In typical Tasmanian fashion, as we walked to the beach, I could feel the cold wind coming in signaling a weather change.
The temperature dropped from 30 c to 22 in a very short time, and the rain has been pouring down since the early morning hours.
This is how we lead up to Christmas.

Thinking of Christmas-
I will, I believe, for the rest of my days feel as if the Fourth of July is coming on, even as I gaze absently at my aluminum Christmas tree.
We lack the sights and sounds and especially the smells that would evoke Christmas for me.

Hobart is still a bit like a secret society to me-when I find a place, or an event, the reason I do is often by chance.
This year, a wonderful new person I met told me about this event, which she and her partner were apart of.
I had crazy craft envy, especially for a small text printer, that worked by hand.
Although you may not live in Hobart you can find their wares by the magic of the interweb here:

If that long, messy link does not work go to
An addictive site for handmade gift items, and search in sellers for 'pipemma'

Friday, December 11, 2009

"...I think you have me confused for a better man..."

Here are the plants grown together and joined by weeds.

Sure this looks like the photo above but actually this is about five hours of weeding and pruning away from that photo.

Here is what the area looks when it has been cut back, in the dry of summer.
Here you see the same corner before I went away.

The yard is trying to kill me.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"and the painting you stole from Picasso your loveliness goes on and on"

This my friends is a 'Iced Coffee'
Have you ever experienced explaining something to a person (or in my case, several people until I could no longer even attempt too any longer)-
where that person seems to either, not to care, or the person does not have a reference thus rendering them somehow unable to get a picture of what you are attempting to describe?

If this seems incredible to you, if you want to start pointing out that an aspect of being of the human species is our ability to imagine an object, to create a scenario in our minds that has only been given to us in description, then you can come stand right here with me.
Okay, perhaps I am at fault, perhaps I lack in the ability to accurately use language in a descriptive manner.

For some reason when I first moved to Australia my inability to get an iced coffee came to represent home-sickness.
I am basically over this feeling, and of course I can make iced-coffee at home, and I can even put that tasty concoction into a cup with a bendy straw, and then take it on the road.

Surely I have wasted too much of your time already to go into 'why' iced-coffee isn't a normal (neither is iced-tea by the way, not even in the same lame fast food joints that blight ever location one will ever go too)
beverage, but suffice to say I enjoyed every iced-coffee and iced-tea I had while abroad.

I love that most coffee shops have basically simple syrup, on hand so that the iced-coffee/tea is ready to drink right away, instead of the intense stirring, or shaking, one had to do before say, the time of mobile phones.
I love being on a long drive and getting to drive through for an ice-tea that is pre-sweetened and the cost of a penny per ounce.

I made sun tea yesterday for Zok and I to drink while we battled the overgrown wilderness that is surrounding our house.
Surely, we will find the yard in the next week or so.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Lava smoke blackening out the stars

Zok and I spent the day going from beach spot to beach spot, the best of the lot being a large thermal pool in front of the ocean heated by thermal energy coming from the active volcano.
We haven't been in a thermal pool since our last trip to Iceland and I wanted to stay in for hours.

After dark we drove to see the lava flowing, only to be disappointed by high winds blowing into the viewing site so the park was closed.
I looked up to the sky for the big dipper (which due to poor viewing nights I actually haven't gotten to see) and most of the horizon was blacked out by a huge black cloud formation. Eerie but beautiful.

Today rain is pouring down, but we are going to forge ahead to the park to see the active Volcano.

Friday, December 4, 2009

"he broke my heart but I love him just the same"

There is a great classic rock station here on the big island and this is something that always sways my opinion of a place.
We are staying at a very sweet B&B, Zok and I don't really agree on what comprises a good accommodation.
This place is my pick, Zok got to decide on all the others, well except for the wonderful hospitality of my friends.
The B&B is called:

We are in a small free standing hexagon one room structure with a kitchen area and toilet. There is an outdoor shower with a Japanese deep hot tub, called an "o'furo".

I love it.

Zok loves that there is a wireless signal and that he can fit in the tub.

This is soon to be the end of Zok's first Hawaiin experience.
I do believe Zok now with hindsight, realizes he should have listened to my opinions about how to plan our trip. If we were to come back we would skip Honolulu, take earlier flights to get more time from each travel day, and go to visit just the Tobin/Augerot clan with a side trip to Maui.

We are now going in search of active lava flow.

The day after tomorrow I will only have access to a signal by chance or luck.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Aloha-oe, ikeona ona noho ikanipo"

Since I saw Krisha last, she has acquired, well created actually, a small person name Duke, we have all been hanging out.
Zok of course is favored over myself but that is normal.
Kauai is beautiful, and although the season is winter, the temperature is warmer than at home, and the water is warmer as well.

Next Zok and I go to the 'big island' so that Zok can experience the Volcano, national park.

The time has gone by quickly, hopefully the white glare of my skin is less.
I got to try out my new skates at the Kauai Derby Divas practice,
A huge thank you to them for having me.
I enjoyed skating outside in the warm air, under moonlight.
Well, I enjoyed all except for the mosquito bites I got.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

More about Zok

Could the difference be the far apart school systems we attended?
Could the difference be our family environments?
I don't know what the difference actually is-but I do know that going to the U.S.S. Arizona memorial in Pearl Harbor was all Zok.

The wait is so long to go out to the memorial which is about a seventy-five minute commitment, that there is a suggested side trip onto a retired submarine. The holding area for people waiting to go onto the U.S.S. Arizona was very frito and hotdog eating friendly.
Zok loved going on the now retired submarine 'Bowfin'. He was surprised that I knew all about the way an audio tour works. (I have used them at places more suited to my tastes such as an Abbey in Yorkshire).
The submarine was interesting, but all I could think was 'people did not know what they were signing up for' and 'how did they test out whether or not people were afraid of small spaces? or stinky spaces? or spaces with NO natural light?'.
The memorial is well, amazing- that the ship was left to lay were it was sunk, many of the crew trapped in the hull, a huge white, fixed structure over the top, with the names of the people who died in the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

I learned more about the events that occurred in Pearl Harbor during the fifteen minute film that we watched before boarding the boat to travel out to the memorial then I knew before.
The learning part was interesting, the crush of people were scary, the memorial was sobering, yet the shallow part of me felt the trip was partly 'pay-back' for making Zok stay at Disneyland so long.