Monday, May 31, 2010

"...we'll all be safe from Satan, when the thunder rolls..."

Zok and I are home for just three days, this is too short but for me I can at least remember who I am. I am happy with myself and my life.  I had trouble remembering a world outside of the Orthodox rites, or how to be calm while the brothers were cussing and screaming in a manner that made me promise myself that I myself will give up cussing.
I tried to block out the worst aspects of what I was dealing with, and I kept reminding myself that Zok should be my focus, not my own troubles.  Just as I reminded myself that Mara asked for all these observances and they were important to her.
But there is no room for personal wants within this Macedonian community, there is only room to be told what one can and can not do.  Just as women have duties while men have other duties.  There was no revolution for this community, no equal rights amendment, no dawning of the individual.  
Zok and I are the people who left.  There are people who leave and people who if they think to leave, never actually make the move to do so.
I think I did okay keeping my peace, and holding to silence.  But there is a lot of sleep depravation in the first nine days, people are always next to you, and the ritual hellos and goodbyes just keep coming with no end in sight.  The endless trips to the grave. The cooking, cleaning, eating. The many viewings of the body.   
I had trouble being quiet on the last day.
We were not home for twelve hours before more drama came via the phone, so we left all phones behind to sit for a couple of hours on the beach and remember who we are.
Zok goes to work where I hope he will feel better from the distance between him and the continuing ugly behavior.
I will go back to stand in proxy and hopefully not tell anyone what I really think, which shouldn't be too hard as they have no interest in who I really am.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"...will I take my rest, among the blessed..."

I have been in some other world, steeped in traditions that few can agree on any longer.
 I have lit many candles and been kissed by hundreds of faces, some familiar and some strange.

I have made hundreds of coffees cooked in a gezva, and washed up after them all.  I have eaten breakfast graveside, and made and given food to the dead. 
I have been moved by the chanting of monks and priests.
I have been moved by the endless tears rolling down the faces of so many.
I have been observing, I have been following rules that are meaningless to me and practicing the art of holding my peace.
I have been soaked by rain, and made uncomfortably warm by the sun.
I am fueled by rakia and the knowledge that there is another world outside of this one.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I am learning about funeral rites of the Macedonian Orthodox religion.
I am out of my depth.
I am silently watching, and trying to act appropriately, or at least not embarrass myself.
I am under-packed.
I am unprepared.
There are many items to be bought, there are many steps that must follow certain rules.  There is mostly silence except for ritual words and weeping.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Dear God, hope you got the letter, and I pray you can make it better down here..."

"...and I don't mean a big reduction in the price of beer."

"Dear God, sorry to disturb you but I think I should be heard loud and clear...we all need a big reduction in the amount of tears"

"Dear God, don't know if you've noticed but your names on a lot of quotes in this book, us crazy humans wrote it..."

 Do you ever get a song stuck in your head so tight that no other song can knock it out?  Not even listening to your Led Zepplin, on vinyl, through headphones?

Monday, May 17, 2010

"He'll build a little home Just meant for two From which I'd never roam Who would, would you?"

All plans are in flux.
All I see seems to have the same tint.
Morning for me is the middle of last night for him.
He has all the light on his side.
Some mornings are even without junk mail-going onto facebook looking for a voice, even one imagined as one reads out the text-
a sad state of affairs, and by sad I mean tragic.
I found an extra day, which means little when in flux, still 48 hours should force a decision, none of which are anything more than a type of bittersweet, mixed emotions, and mixed intentions.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"Get out of my way or I'm gonna shove"

So here it is early, May, autumn for me, and spring for my friends in the Northern Hemisphere.  When I came back from Queensland, where I watched (and got to help) Betty Bamalam conduct a three day coaching sort of boot camp-I can home with new drills and the desire to try and coach.  My 'go-go' style doesn't mesh well with the Tasmanian way.
Long story short, last Sunday's session is what I thought I'd be running by early February, only now we are here, in May.
This is sort of compounded by the fact that I leave for America next week.  I thought by mid-March the league would have been running pre-scrimmage drills and short scrimmages, focused on the fourteen plus skaters who signed up for the big Southern Slam event in Adelaide.
I pictured enough spread of knowledge-where a couple of skaters who were either other coaches, or who got focused on strategy would be able to just take over, and work on just team strategy for the Southern Slam.
I suppose I have learned (at least am trying to learn) that I can't put my expectations on other people.
A couple of skaters are going to go over to Geelong as I have done, to skate in their practices, so perhaps this will have the same impact on them that it had on me.
Also I believe that after Adelaide, the league will have a more homogeneous view of where we are all going.

 I am going to go on my trip feeling hopeful, and indeed proud, the league now has a permanent slot in a space that is big enough to skate aggressively (if we can get it together on the slippery surface) and to scrimmage.  The league bought a no trip track that I've had my eye on since 2009.  These are ingredients that I believed we had to have to move forward and I had a part in making them come together.
I find it hard to give up my own skating time to coach, but for now I think this is my only option to try and build something or remain alone on the black top (schoolyard skating).  With some luck and good will on the part of others, I will get to do some skating with 'freshie' classes in America.  I only skate well enough to sign a waiver and be in a beginner class as the standard in America is much, much, higher than here.  Leagues in America skate 3 times a week, and compete most of the year.  They pay in the area of $100 a month and have access to enough derby to just live roller derby.  Skaters are on a training schedule like any other sport, so skating is full time.
I fear this will inspire me to come back, in the dead of winter, with the same 'go-go!' that will once again be my undoing...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

"I like my music low and heavy"

Zok and I went to Andrew Harpers art opening.
I liked the way Andrew used the space, the flickering light, and the music, the shadows cast that made me think of stop motion animation and gave me the sense that the art was marching and moving.
 I liked the intimacy of Andrew's hand made art which also brought to mind 1980s technology which in retrospect feels so comforting and containable.  I really miss arcades and especially the game Tempest.
  I liked seeing some of the women I skate with in a different setting which flattered them.

I have been assessing and reassessing my life, I am poised to make some decisions.
I have realized that I feel like a visitor here in Tasmania although I have been here for five years.  I think that I traveled all together for about two of those years, but I do spend months at a time living here.
I can only seem to grasp ten year sections of time, and I am always surprised when I find another ten stretched out in front of me.
It was nice to be invited out, even though the yard is my not-so-secret favorite place.
Today, for instance we had a bird of prey over the front yard circling, we had our residents the spotted turtle doves, new holland honey eaters, and wattles, plus dropping by to use the bird bath were a very large flock of silver eye, yellow throated honeyeaters, black-headed honeyeaters, strong billed honeyeater, and a few flame robins.  Zok and I were quite engaged by them for a good half hour.

Friday, May 7, 2010

"Piece of my heart"

I have caused some trouble with the new pie book I bought Zok for Easter.  Before this book, he had been making his pies on trial and error.
This book (titled: Homestyle Pies and Tarts), which looks so pretty with its glossy photos, is badly written with vague instructions.  The reason I bought it was so Zok could try his hand at pies that he was unfamiliar with,  like this strawberry mascarpone.  This pie was very tasty, although I could almost see the calories, but I am always swayed by a boozy fruit, and these strawberries were marinated in vintage scotch whiskey and spices.
The lemon meringue was good fun, however, we went with the book instructions even though we talked over how we thought the baking instructions couldn't be correct, and the pie didn't set.
The small leftovers we had, became small tart sized pies, and those were nice, except that Zok only liked the top of the pie, and I thought that the meringue was too much, and I only ate the lemon base.
Even with the mishap, I have to state that on the scale of the good and bad of the last few days, Pie is definitely on the good end.
I love how Zok actually uses all his pie dishes, he favors one over the others for a week or so, but never settles.
Zok leaves in less than a week, and I leave in less than two.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

"rain falls hard on a humdrum town"

I feel the Autumn here,  my ornamental grape leaf vines are growing nicely and turning colors that scream Vermont, even if I know in my heart the homage is very, very slight.
We pruned the fruit trees, and fed the soil, and started a battle against the wrong sort of insects.
We slept in, and ate only food items that incorporated the sad offering that was this years lemon harvest.
Lemon Tarts
Lemon Yogurt
Lemon Drops
Vegetables with a lemon zest

Today is one of the last early morning skating sessions as the group got a permanent p.m. slot.
It is too early and too cold for skating but that is where I am going.  I am fortified with recent memories, and if anyone messes with me, I'll give them a lemon to suck on.