Thursday, December 30, 2010

Summer Trumps Christmas or ill-advised tales of eggnog

The light holds longer and longer each day.
Just like my first year in Seattle.
The summertime refuses to hold.
Just like my first year in Seattle.
I can only think to myself that there is an aspect of human nature to find the familiar in the foreign.
I said that I no longer wanted a mobile phone. Then Zok went out and bought me a new one. There are new features like 'H.D' for the photos...Great 'H.D.' because hey that's flattering...
I thought the eggnog was a lot of trouble, but that might be because I was making the batch for one. Also the 'peaked egg whites' sort of made me feel squirmy and I didn't add much of them in...
I booked a trip to visit a friend that I haven't seen in a very, long time.
She will be in Sydney for over a week, I am going for five days, and this will be me just hanging about on her off hours- but the break will be a serious treat for me.
Soon after I leave for the U.S. followed by our leaving together for Stockholm.
This is the vibe of Australia as Christmas Day passes, the weather gets warmer, there are a lot of roadside stands selling cheap flowers and cheaper fruit, the New Year is fast approaching, and there is a combined feeling of spring cleaning, summer vacation, and a clean slate all at the same time.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas Santa-san

Sushi, sake, fresh wasabi, none of these items should evoke an image of Christmas-time. My husband however is not really into Christmas being both Macedonian and raised here in the land of domestic beer drinking, santa hat wearing, BBQ-ing, summer time Christmas.
He is however, interested in cooking.

On my pro-list of reasons why I try and live here on the island is the fact that people have small farms. There are interesting items grown here, like saffron, and fresh wasabi.
I've only had fresh wasabi in Japan and Hawaii.
But as a christmas season treat, I ordered Zok a 'home indulgence' package of fresh wasabi from the local farm here on the island.

We also dug into the stores of our secret stash for a nice bottle of sake, from here-
The label has the same photo of their property on it.

The wasabi plant is indigenous to Japan. The entire plant can be eaten.
In nature the plant grows in elevated streams. Here the plants are grown hydroponically. We have an aspiration to try and grow some by putting in a sort of rock fountain in a shady corner of the yard.
We also have 'sashimi' grade fish, that can be purchased fresh from the fish punts in town.

I really, really appreciate being able to eat fresh food, from a place I could drive up to and view if I had the mind to do so.

Friday, December 17, 2010

"...I'm gonna pop, pop, pop, Santa Claus with my water pistol..."

I thought that perhaps my description of the houses near my newly frequented wild area did not really do them justice.
I do wonder why the houses upset me so.
They could be bulldozed to the ground, and the land would rebound.
Yet somehow I feel personally affronted, or worse as Zok would say I am taking their existence personally, as some sign that I just don't fit in.

I want to climb up to the tree lookout that is pictured here, but I think I'll wait until I have Zok with me to decide if it will hold my weight...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Yule Egg Nogg

There isn't any 'egg nog' that I can find in Australia.
(What I truly miss is the Silk soy version of Egg Nog).
There is 'Brandy Custard' which I think...well I have seen it poured on fruit mince pies (which are actually quite tasty). I think the version they sell in the chain market stores is probably like any supermarket version- over processed and a bit scary. Sometimes I think I want to make egg nog. I suppose this is a symptom of my insanity brought on by the lack of Christmas here.
Of course my small corner is decorated- but between the demands of the garden, the long day light hours, and my bare feet next to the open door, I have a feeling of...well of being a crazy person who decorates for Christmas in the middle of June.
Thankfully my math ability is lacking because the egg nog recipe in my cocktail book (printed in 1935) is this:
1 dozen eggs
1 pinch baking soda
6 oz. imported rum
2 pounds of sugar
1 quart of milk
1 quart of sweet cream
2 quarts of Rye or Bourbon Whiskey
Mix yolks and whites separately then pour together and add all ingredients.
Set in refrigerator over night.
Serve with grated nutmeg.

I thought I'd be safer out of the kitchen, so I went to the Sunday market for coffee, and since I was already outside, I decided to try to find a new wild area I haven't been to yet.
I am not very good with maps, so I usually only find places when I have so much time on my hands that I am too bored not to keep looking.
I actually found the street mentioned- easily enough but then I walked for about forty minutes to find the actually area.
The houses in the area were shocking, large pieces of land, with massive houses, accented with stone columns, and stone lions and of course the ever present trampoline. Not a single house looked as if there was any thought to placement, or environment. It was depressing.
I walked the shoreline, and up to the main road with no luck. I had almost given up when I saw a pathway, the type here that is a short cut through a neighborhood, only this neighborhood didn't have any stores, to short cut too, so I assumed the wild area must be in deeper.
I wasn't disappointed when I did find the area. It was overgrown which I have come to respect because less disturbance by the council seems to equal more animals and less people. Of course snakes are harder to spot on an over grown trail, but I saw an echdina and a bandicoot after sitting still for only five minutes. Also there were about three Kookaburra and somehow I believe their cries are protective because if I was a Kingfisher food source, I'd surely hide until they flew away.

My wander was cut short by Derby- I wasn't going to go to practice due to some disappointment of the previous week, skaters flaking out on meetings, and promises to do certain responsibilities. I had sworn to myself not to put myself out for no actual reason or result.
However the two skaters I am working with to get the Ref squad going had the same idea. Our counter part from the other league shouldn't be responsible for our sessions and my fellow CCR skater just wasn't going- so it seemed that I had too. I tried calling some new committee members to see if the session was at least planned out, but no one was around, and the two I did reach also were not attending.
So I rushed back, sent a last minute email to Refs to let them know there probably wouldn't be enough skaters attending for them to be able to train (which was good as only 5 skaters showed up). There wasn't a session planned, or anyone that seemed to care about that. So I butted in and started some drills-but that is how I felt, as if I was just butting in.
I think I felt this more when I realized the small group was going out afterwards but not no one had invited me. Which actually, honestly, makes me laugh a bit.
I suppose there is a new years resolution in there somewhere...
Tonight is the last night of training before the xmas break. Perhaps I can sort out how to better place my energies.

Friday, December 10, 2010

" down in this rainswept town...seasalt tears swimming round as the rain comes down..."

I have been feeling a bit- off- not even Christmas was working its magic.
I have a new audio book- I save them for dark times or for wandering.
So I started my new book and decided to go and see if I could find the Platypus up in Peter Murrel reserve.
I never found the pond, I got lost, just like the last time except in a whole new area.
The area is 135 hectares. I don't know how to visualize how large that is- but I know that I am usually in there for three of four hours.
I found button grass so I think I was at button grass creek as described here:

I have been told that button grass does not grow in our area or I would have planted it in the front yard. I will now begin plotting...some clipping aka plant liberation.
I saw this guy- as well-
Actually I heard him, and had to sit around for ages to spot him in all the foliage and he didn't really come into the open, but I had my binoculars.
Zok thinks I make these sightings up, but that is only because he won't stay still long enough to see any animals.
I was of course watching a bird so long that the bandicoot probably thought I had gone away.

I felt much, much better after a nice long wander.

Apparently all the windy, rainy, changeable weather is good for the garden, even if it is really, really bad for my tan.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"...overcast days never turned me on...but something about the clouds and her mix..."

The grey mornings continue to repeat.
My cold continues to hang around.
The garden continues to grow.
The laundry pile continues to remain the same size.
Slowly, I continue-
making plans
dreaming up aspiration

Monday, November 29, 2010

"...but not me baby, I have you to save me..."

Hobart's second Roller Derby bout was as successful as the first. There wasn't a drop off in attendance which is the norm- so perhaps this time Tasmania always being an exception will be to advantage.

I treated both Saff and Zok to lunch the next day, as Saff was our guest, and Zok I fear was worn out by the general antics and fuss Roller Skating Derby girls tend to create. We ran into other Derby people while at lunch and for me Hobart was feeling friendly and homey.

After seeing off Miss Hellfire and Saff at the airport- quite late I have to add, only the grace and smallness of Hobart's airport allowed them onto the plane so late, Zok and I decided to see how the ABC Gardening show ( vegetable plots were going.

To my glee, there was a steam powered carousel. The oldest of its kind in the world!
I rode a horse name 'Hermione' but you'll just have to believe me because the photos did not come out.
Zok and I had a funny conversation, because as we were strolling through the gardens- I mentioned that we were the only young adults there.
Then Zok replied he'd have never got to a Botanical Garden if I hadn't made him go the first time.
Then I realized that I had always gone to them on my own, and I felt quite happy that I knew I introduced Zok to botanical gardens and second hand shopping.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

"3 blind mice, roll the dice, did you ever see such a thing in your life?"

Perhaps I am feeling deep inside the promise of spring, here gazing at my lilac tree in bloom. Although yesterday I was in Melbourne were all around was blasting heat that felt as if it emanated from concrete not sun.
Still I can not bring myself to write about most of of our trip because I have don't want to sully spring with negativity.

The priests worn robes, I think they were silk, they looked comfortable.
The sandalwood incense was really strong.
I couldn't really muster the energy to get anyone to explain to me why at six months presents were given. The impression I got was that people buy other people items in representation. So a neighbor of about the same age and stature of Mara, might buy a gift from her to a grandchild.
Actually I might be completely wrong, but witness that there were presents, wrapped and all.

We did some visiting this time. This seemed to cheer Zok a bit or at least being around other people reminded us that we do live in a world outside of Lalor. Neither of us need to profit from loss.

Zok's friend PM is involved in a really cool pub called the Gasometer, on Smith and Alexander Parade.
They had my favorite N.Z. beer on tap- Montieths and a vegan/vegetarian menu. Open fire places, high booths, coat hooks and nice looking varnished wood.
The best part was the additional room which had a huge, high tin shed roof that retracts!
This will be the beer garden.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"and you will believe in love...and all that its supposed to be..."

The area where my house is located is very pretty. I would also say that I nest into my houses, like a small rodent, snug with all the important elements close at hand so that I do not have any reason to leave.

So if you are a guest, you might be so comfortable that you do not not realize that you came to visit and never saw any of the island.

This is why I try my best to make sure that our house guests get to see something, even if it is a small sliver.

Riff Raff Saff was on the island for a non-Derby reason (strange yes, but true).
But, of course, the pull of the Derby cult is strong, so she ran all of Sunday night practice, and then Reffed with us at Monday night practice.
I skated instead of reffing on Sunday and I had a really good time.
Too good actually.

Zok and I took Saff to see Russel Falls and take a long walk, and have lunch out of doors. A fairly small payment for her giving up her weekend for the advancement of Tasmanian Derby but there you have it.

Post Script:
I was not trying to dive off the Falls I only wanted a different angle for my photo...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

"I don't wanna know anything that makes me sad..."

I believe if you asked just about anyone around these parts that they would have to agree that overall Hobart Town is having a gloomy, rainy, spring.
I'm not throwing around accusations, I am just trying to report the facts.
I will concede that winter may have seemed brighter only because the hours of daylight were less-two hours of sun for a nice walk, then darkness for movies.
This is a nice uncomplicated relationship. Spring however has been very promising from about 7 a.m. until 9 a.m. then some drastic weather change, a fierce cold sea breeze followed by a day with cloying cloud cover that makes the air thick and muggy. Yet the light drags on until late into the evening, so one feels they should be doing something.

I promised myself I would only write about positive aspects of Hobart Town.
So let me tell you about the Sunday Farmers Market in town. Last year this market was a bit of a let down to my expectations but this year has improved.
I met a nice puppy named Rusty (a local AU red heeler) who belonged to a stall that was selling honey.
I bought coffee from a small independent roaster.
I ran into two (!) people I knew and like.
I saw one of our Derby Refs (in training, zebra foal) who has a stall selling both vegetables and vegetable seedlings. He is a favorite of Zok's.

Zok bought more tomatoes and some 'sugar babies' a small variety of watermelon.
We also got some flour from Oatlands, where some people have re-opened an old mill and are using traditional methods to make oats and flour.
I love a bit of Luddite backlash. Especially after being horrified by watching the documentary "Food Inc.".

We have also learned about a small Italian deli/store/cheese/coffee bar.
So I guess I really did not know it all...
This is why I should stay open to possibilities, and leave the perimeter of my neighborhood occasionally.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"It's been ten years or more since I set eyes on you..."

I love cake for breakfast.
I especially love Birthday cake for breakfast.
Zok is pretty well proud of himself...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

" much to plunder...I think I'll sleep instead..."

I won't bore you all with photographic proof that the Christmas items went up in stores on October first.
I won't tell you about how I plot and plan to eek out some small bit of Halloween for myself and then remember that night doesn't descend on our days until about 9 p.m. this time of year.
I will just leave you with this:
Dollars (US or freakin AU at todays exchange rate)
(as if all orange colored pumpkins were created equal for sobbing out loud)

Yes, those are DEEP FRIED, SUGARY, beignets...please send help, or an exercise tape...

Dearest Warratah, and Lilac bushes, I did underestimate you, and I apologize.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

"...I'm about to throw some tomatoes on the griddle to fry...kick off your shoes and sit awhile..."

We had house guests- followed by a house guest, who will be followed by house guests. Zok has been in constant motion, in the kitchen, cooking meals.
His nephew is here, working a contracted job as a 'sparky', which is Australian for 'certified electrician'. He is on night shift, from 6 p.m. until 3 a.m., and Zok likes to make sure he isn't starving on his way out the door, and in case he has failed this task, two to three food options are packed up in travel containers for the hours he is away.

All the while the weeds are still winning their battle to overcome my patience to get rid of them.
The first Convict City Roller bout is drawing nearer.
The garden plants bloom and die and bloom again.
Zok learned to make bread.
I planted a pin-cushion Hakea.