Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Wonderful teachers ready to teach me, I must work on my mind"

Today is Wednesday and so the long weekend that started late Friday night, has come to an end.
For the first time, all three leagues that are in Tasmania were under one roof, as organized by Convict City. There were three skaters from Australia's first and largest league V.R.D.L.
I felt for the first time the actual sacrifice I am making by trying to become a Referee. I write 'trying' because the job is hard and complicated enough that months will pass before I know if I can actually be a decent Referee. The sacrifice I speak of, is that while the skaters learned new tactics, new drills, and new skills, I was on the side line learning about how to call penalties, avoid bias, and work the procedures. While everyone else was physically exhausted (which I think feels rewarding) I was simply mentally exhausted. While the group of skaters were bonding, I was apart.
My mantra is 'This is not about my personal derby goals, this is about my goal for derby as a whole'. Because I have to remember that I do not want to skate without refs, and more importantly I don't want to scrimmage without refs, and there are only the two of us trying to learn.
Still, I found the process hard, and unrewarding.
The skaters that gave their time to come over and share their skills were great.
Yesterday Zok and I took two of the skaters for a 'day out'. The weather has snapped back to cold, and the rain was strong, but our choice for a day out was good. We were under cover, with an open fire and a BBQ, in a pretty spot, able to drink wine, talk and watch the rain fall.
They braved the thermal pools, while I played Scrabble Apple.
Zok was very nice about being a Derby Widow for so many days.
Of course he has Croquet tournaments on both Thursday and Friday.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chain of Lagoons


Zok and I took a road trip. We drove up the midlands highway and then cut over to the East Coast, to look at some land for sale, in an area called 'Chain of Lagoons', on 'Elephants Pass'.

I have to say that I can readily picture Zok and I living out in the middle of very little. We would be further from the beach, but driving ten minutes through nothing is not exactly a taxing drive.
Each time we drive an hour or so away from Hobart, the only 'town' that can be called a town except for Launceston, I think to myself...why not live out here, with the critters and the incredibly visible night sky?
Whatever happens, we had a nice day, talking and dreaming up schemes.

We stopped at a state park where Zok showed his prowess at skipping stones.
He seriously kept hitting the opposite bank, nine to ten hops.
I was quite impressed.
We also saw the 'spikey' bridge which I have been curious about for awhile, as I have seen the bridge on postcards but never before in real life.
Plus, as we are now living in spring, there were tiny lambs and baby cows all along the highway.
We have the skaters from Victoria, from VRDL this weekend and I am really looking forward to the weekend.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Spring, Sprang, Sprung" For Bam.

Tasmania, as a location, as an environment, is temperamental.
I believe one should not be a misery about this fact, because the weather each day here, is just something one needs to work around.
So instead of finishing my final project for my now hated Public Relations class, I went walking. Well walking was a means to the goal of looking at visiting spring birds, and also trying to identify the many birds of prey that are around.
Alas, I always conclude that the birds of prey I see are 'Swamp Harriers' except for that one time I saw a Peregrine Falcon dive, which is hard to mistake and only a trademark of the Peregrine.
Perhaps it was the 'fine' weather, or perhaps it was a touch of spring fever, but two hours into following a bird of prey through the bush land (see photo 3) I had to admit I was 'in the middle'. In the middle means if I turned the correct way, I might get home in two more hours, if I turned the wrong way I might end up two hours farther away from my home.
In the end I did end up at the wrong end, but (YEAH!) I have a friend with a car. So Zok came and picked me up from the far end of the bushland from where I started.
I saw a new bird! A honey throated whistler. This bird was unmarked in my book where I keep track of my sightings.
As I kept trying to find my bearings, I noticed how many plants were in bloom.
Autralian natives are mostly delicate, their flowers intricate and small.
As I have noted before, almost every plant blooms.
I didn't see all the birds I heard, but I still feel happy that they are there.
I saw Kookaburra, Cockatoo, the forty-spotted pardalote, ravens, possibly a Swamp Harrier and of course my new bird the honey throated whistler.
All in all a good effort, of course that was a good three hours given over to doing little and then needing a rest!
However, the equinox is coming, and the days are getting longer, the light is getting stronger and one shouldn't rush too quickly into a new season.
Better to savor and reflect.

For Monte

The garden centers have sales going on.
Buying plants in Tasmania is a bit tricky. There is no pattern that I can find as to when and why certain plants are available and I am often told that 'we haven't had that plant in years you should ask for a clipping if you see that plant in a garden'.
I have yet to knock on a strangers door to beg for plant clippings...
I do however keep an eye out for honor boxes which often have plants for sale. Prolific gardeners divide up their plants in spring and autumn and sell them in pots, I feel these have the advantage of being 'tried and true' for my immediate climate. As opposed to some plant coming from the North (read Tropic) area of Australia sitting in the local nursery.

I cut back a vine to put in a 'joey' paw, this is of course a dwarf kangaroo paw plant. So I hope that the plant will grow up to but not exceed the space under the vine. I swore off buying any new paws because of my ill fated three from last year that the council so rudely pulled out and crushed while doing some sort of 'more important then your garden' work near the place I badly choose to place my new plants.
But this one had such a nice color and the plant was on sale.

Zok and I are braving areas of the garden that refuse to yield healthy plants, but we have the hope that each time we will do better.
We do dig up the area and mix in nutrients and new soil.
Now that Zok has his two new and one improved vegetable bed, we are going to try and grow Bosenberries and Currants, in the spot where we had Peppers and Tomatoes last year. The Olive Tree is there and is growing steadily if slowly.

So far in the ground Zok has planted: Garlic, Spring Onion, Red Onion, Carrots, Spinach, Sweet Corn, Rhubarb, Oregano, Rosemary, Mint, Mixed Basil, and Parsley.
Next will be Tomatoes and Chillies.

The other berries that were planted in autumn-Blueberry, Blackberry, and Gooseberry are all budding and getting taller.

Monday, September 20, 2010

"Big ol'jetairliner carry me back home"

Zok let me have pie for dinner.
Pie and ice-cream.
After practice.

Things I have learned about Zok recently,
He likes 'The Steve Miller' band. He didn't ask to hear Steve Miller but when I bought a $9 compact disc and put that disc into the player in the Jeep, he reacted positively. This is rare, as he basically ignores most music, which is noteworthy because I play music, constantly.

The first pie was another Mascarpone(soft Italian cream cheese) pie, this one has blueberries mixed in, a sort of graham cracker crust, strawberries on top and drizzled with Drambuie.

Last night's dinner was apple and blackberry, the last of the last jar that I put away last February.

Monday, September 13, 2010

"Sacramento Valley,...and the way the fallen camellias turned the sidewalks brown and slick during the Christmas rains."

At most time the seasonal changes and trees of past places do not come to mind. Occasionally, the present seasonal changes, and blossoming trees bring them all back, flooding my memory and shaping the landscape of those memories.
I have had friends that were as attached to these same events, I can remember night raids on lilac trees. Streets that were a destination because of the Magnolia trees that grew for a least the span of two miles.
I have a feeling of anxiety when certain trees burst into flower, because trees are not that smart, and there is always, always stormy weather still lingering that will rip all the blossoms from their boughs.
Eucalyptus are different, I have a hard time describing them-the light has a wondrous effect on them. I can walk past them without noticing them, and then one day the light is striking the bark in a way that illuminates the tree into so many colors.

We have been in the garden, many, many hours can be passed there, hours that become days and days that bring us to the start of a new week.
The garden is hopeful, with new color and possibility.
Of course as is the fate of the Australian gardener, there are the constant disappointments, one tulip where a dozen were planted.

I pulled Zok outside to stand downwind of the Magnolia's blooms.
The scent of the blooms do not transfer that well into the house, but better to cut a few for the house, then to let them all be blown away.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"What's this then some new fashion? Sopping wet trousers?" "Nah-there Levis, ya gotta shrink'em on ya"

I can get a little obsessive, fixed with an idea of a time and place, stuck to a single melody that brings me momentary bliss.
This winter has been dominated by 'The Who', especially both discs of Quadrophenia. All songs with bits of 'I am the Sea' and 'Reign on me'-as with most movie soundtracks, there are character refrains that are weaved throughout other songs, to bring the viewer or in my case listener back to a central theme or character. I find Jimmy from Quadrophenia a poignant character, and the opening and closing shots of the movie the perfect set up for a story arc. One movie, and one band might seem pretty thin material to fuel months of obsession, but my thoughts are twisty and intersect in a pattern recognizable maybe only to a few.
Quadrophenia has Sting playing a character, which leads to listening to his band 'The Police'. The closing shot of Quadrophenia obviously leads one to watching 'Harold & Maude' which parallels on another level, that movie also has a soundtrack by one band or artist, Cat Stevens.
I've also embraced a theme of open water, shores, oceans which has dominated my reading for my travel writing class.
There is a restlessness to the idea of open water, the ideal of just leaving, to settle alone with one thoughts and true solitude provided by miles and miles of ocean, a last vestige that is free from fast food chains, and concrete.
I think of this type of restlessness rooted in becoming aware of ones individuality, of becoming a teenager, of realizing that leaving is an option.
In homage to my teen years and to Jimmy, I am going through the proper rituals with my 501 Levis. I haven't had a new pair in eleven (!) years.
My last pair of real, proper, shrink to fit Levis (not an item easily found outside of the U.S., and not as easily found in the U.S. as they were in 1983)-well the last pair, I can get them on...but I have to be at my lowest weight to actually wear them.
Zok as a non-Levi wearing Australian-wog, did not comment, preferring to shake his head in silence at my sitting in hot water in our tub for over twenty minutes, before the first washing of my jeans.