Monday, December 30, 2013

"...I'm going to live on a mountain...way down under in Australia..."

I can not put into words how much I love the East Coast of Tasmania.
Zok and I talk about moving out that way.
The land prices are not exactly inexpensive, and I had a moment of clarity when the woman we rented from near Bicheno, mentioned that she hadn't been to see a movie in a cinema for five years.  As the closest one was about a three hour drive.
But of course, the quiet and the glorious night sky is very tempting.
 Sadly, the iPhone is not exactly able to capture Jupiter rising over the ocean.
 But here are some photos from the daylight hours.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

" are not the only choo-choo train to be left out in the rain...the day after Santa came..."

Call it an evil plan or just call it Christmas, my engage Zok via baking into a Christmas activity was a success.
 If you want the recipes, tips or details look
I couldn't decide if I wanted to make another batch of gingerbread right away or never again.  The process was a mess, and our first try was a bit wonky around the edges of each gingerbread piece.  But we both had a lot of ideas for the next time around.

This house is for our neighbor, and actually I think the will always have to be gifts as I am positive I ate about five tons of gingerbread mistakes, cut off, and oven test cookies.

This was a template, a hard plastic template from IKEA, but it really is more barn than cottage so next time we are going to just draw the pieces ourselves.
(with some help from Martha of course).

I hear even Seattle has snow and although it is chilly enough today for a sweater, it is not chilly enough to keep the garden from growing wild, which is a sure sign that it is coming on to Summer not Winter.




Monday, December 16, 2013

"Christmas just aint Christmas without the one you love..."

Zok is home!

A week went by at the speed of one day from the previous week.
The weather seems to be turning solidly towards Summer.

The tree is up and sparkling in the sun.
Latino baby jesus is on the mantel.
Sunshine and festive Cocktails!
(Cocktails are listed on the 'Dinner with Zok' blog)

Yoga classes are available straight through the holidays (thank you bamino jesus) so I have had classes while Zok competes in yet more Croquet matches.
Our IKEA order arrived and we are rearranging the front room.  Tasmanian doesn't have an IKEA, but you can order now from the mainland, and pick up your order from a warehouse.

I had another day weeding in the reserve.
I basically tackled blackberry bushes, they are very easy to identify.
I have to say that my new gloves were worth every cent I overpaid for them.
Sadly I have to say my love for blackberries started to wan within the first hour of battling them.

I have included another building from town.
I have to turn on this corner each day I go to Yoga classes.


Monday, December 9, 2013

"...Your life is so lonely like a child without a toy. -Then a miracle-a boy..."

I survived through more pouring rain and navigating the bus system from my home to town.  I have been feeling my age through the current prices of things.  $4 to ride bus one way?  $2.55 to post a Christmas card?
My first taxable income in 1983 was $2.45 an hour, student wage.  I still have pay slips.  This fact makes me feel as if I have truly lived through the start of a new century.  

I went into a couple of churches between bus stops.  I think it is strange that in a foreign city I will almost always go into a church, but I forget to at home.
Although in Seattle I did make a point of it, but in Seattle there were author readings and symphony performances that you could attend.  I have never seen anything listed in Hobart to go too. 

I tried to put up our Christmas decorations while Zok was on tour, but I only managed the mantle piece and putting up wreath of bells on our front door.
As usual, the weather at this time of year is very unstable, pouring rain one day, cloudy and 70 degrees the next.  It truly turns to summer after Christmas or even the New Year.  But, the sun rises around 5 a.m. and sets about 9 p.m. which leaves little room for Christmas lights and decorations.
I always feel as if I am putting up lights in the middle of summertime like some lonely, lost person who has no one to tell her that it is not Christmas yet.
Plus of course the garden is going crazy with all the rain- so where I should be is out in the garden which again is not in my mind, associated with Christmas.


Sunday, December 1, 2013

"...I think I could like you...if you let me drive your car..."

I had a trip planned- especially so that I could write a blog post about it.
Surely, that is a bit lonesome-that my incentive would be about putting a brave face to the world?  But I was interested, an open day at a historic building I am curious to see inside.  But alas I was thwarted in more ways than one.
But no one would know that was what I was doing, unless I mentioned it- and I only am because my plans were dashed.
Apparently our car does not need a new fuel filter- but it definitely needs something done to the fuel system.  What is left? A fuel regulator and a fuel pump.
Isn't that interesting?
So my great plans that dealt with Christmas, making sure there was food in the house, and the rearranging of the house have all been stalled by the Jeep's third trip to the mechanic (who I trust and adore by the way-sometimes machines break and it is hard to chase down what is wrong).
I could have rallied- I could have brought up holiday decorations, I could have walked to the grocery store, today, the first solidly warm day in about a months time.
But I didn't.
I ate cheap flavored ice (think otter-pop if you are an American), and salads from the garden (seriously that is an apt example of my eating habits: condensed as much as they can be condensed- sugar-raw vegetables-more sugar-(think wine or beer)-tofu-).
I also read an entire book, a Zombie book if you want to know- recommended by a friend of a friend.  I thought about eighty-pages in, that the main character better die or the book had no redeeming qualities.  She did die, but unfortunately not until the very end.
Here is the rub- Why is the premise that society completely collapses under the Apocalypse?  Why do all the smart and educated people die off first?
Honestly?   Wouldn't there be a mix just as there is now?  I was very perplexed by the authors choice of language- bad grammar mixed with sort of random, archaic words.
Also, are there Zombie (of the modern times not you know Haitian/Voodoo Zombie mythology) stories outside of America and perhaps England (28 days that is English isn't it)?
Because it is always about 1980s vinyl, junk food and how people miss picnics.
Seriously? Picnics?? Because I can't remember getting anyone to a picnic (with the exception of a few Easters) unless it was a boy that I was still "dating".
Also what is the real turnover of products-in places like Wal-Mart because why is it 15 years on after some collapse and yet all that stuff is still left?
So here you have it, a record of December 1st, when I worked on my tan, ate trash and read trash.  I just thought there should be a document that couldn't be glossed over.

Friday, November 29, 2013

"I'm gonna pop, pop Santa Claus with my water pistol gun, and then I'll take his bags of toys and run, and bring to all the kids who don't have none "

This post is a bit of a rant.  But with every rant there are also good moments.  The day I had my failed shopping excursion, was a day of almost being warm and sunny.  Also I found some excellent records for cheap, cheap, cheap.

I am pretty enthusiastic about Christmas-time. This is especially as the world has always been against me.
Does this sound whiny?  Let me lay out some facts.
Okay, well, most of these facts are too sad and shouldn't be shared publicly.  I have rarely had any friends that cared about Christmas-time like I do.  Even when I was free to do Christmas up without any restrictions, I think 1992 was the first Christmas that I didn't work.  Being the youngest, unmarried, employee not returning home meant all holiday shifts were mine.  My Swedish friends probably can't conceive working Christmas Eve or Christmas day, but L.A. is a city filled with lonely stragglers at Christmastime needing a place to be.

But then, all the times that anyone did something nice for me at Christmas does really stand out in my memory.  If I am feeling the Christmas spirit, then I would say that getting to spend ANY Christmases in Sweden have been a delight.  Not to mention Iceland.  I could let those balance out the Christmases spent in Summer, here in the Southern Hemisphere.  

There is also the obstacle of knowledge.  Sometimes I long for Christmas unfettered by global news and intelligence.  I have always looked at the masses of over packaged, unsustainable trappings of Christmas and thought "LANDFILL!".  Because really, where else will it all end up?
But there have always been ways around that.  Yet, still sometimes trying to be responsible can feel very lonely. 

While my car was being serviced, I braved town to do some shopping.
I didn't need much.  But really I found very little and certainly no Christmas spirit (what can you expect from a country without Thanks-giving and in the midst of a lousy, grey, wet Spring?).
I of course need craft supplies, I went to 'the' shop for sewing-all I needed was some linen.  There was a line of maybe seventeen people (looking as cheery as you would imagine, but geez there wasn't even any xmas music on!) and three people serving behind the counter.  After a bit of a search I found linen, without any polyester involved- they had 'pink' and not a very nice shade let me tell you.
I thought maybe there would be some (so popular!) up at the counter that hadn't had time to make its way back, so I waited (about twenty-minutes in line) to ask.  The exchange went a bit like this- "Hi, How are you?  I'm looking to buy some white or off white linen or both, and there is none on the floor- would there happen to be some back here?" Shop assistant "Hanna? Hanna! Could you take over I need to go and catch a bus."
Me- repeating my request.
Hanna "Linen is quite popular."
Me- "Great! So you have some?"
Hanna- "If there isn't any - No."
Me- "But it's um popular, so you'll get it back in?"
Hanna- walks away...returns
Me- "Oh, great, It's on order so do you know when it will arrive?"
Hanna- "It'sunorderable" 
Me- "I'm sorry did you say that the linen is on order?"
Hanna- "No, I don't know why we can not order it."
Me-"Would you happen to know where else I could buy that?"
Hanna- shrugging "A quilting store?"
Me- "Right, white linen, very important to the art of quilt making- Thanks!"

Most of my experiences go something like that, I also tried to buy a T.V. bench at a second-hand shop, I left my number as the women "thought" it had been sold but not paid for.  The next day I went back by the shop as I was nearby but the shop was not opened even though it was 11 a.m.  So I pushed a note through the door, but I have not heard from the shop.  I always feel as if I am begging someone to please take my money.
My other large failure was trying to buy Australian themed Christmas cards.  I mean, after all I am in Australia.  After the second person (in more of a craft or boutique type shop) told me rather cuttingly I should try "a tourist shop"- I realized I was woefully un-cool and out of style somehow.  
These are usually the endeavors that keep me inside and turning to places like Etsy.
Most years I make my cards like my embroidered cards from last year-

But here, alone, in the rain I can't quite rally.
So let me list (It is after all Thanksgiving elsewhere) some of my favorite Christmas moments.

 Iceland- the best Christmas myths ever, with a witch included.
Sweden in the winter, snow and lights in every window, real Christmas trees in every square, and many building put up a communal one in the yard (Just like the whos of who-ville!)
Any Swedish Christmas quite frankly, because although everyone spends Christmas with their families, they always make time for their friends.
There was a Christmas in L.A. where I was alone, and lonely and a friend left me a real Christmas tree, as I was sad I couldn't afford one.
All the Christmases where someone called me, hearts ripped by family strife, and we spent Christmas on the run.
The year a friend and I painted terracotta pots, and gave plants to every lonely bar fly we could find.
Any time friends have come to stay with me at Christmas time.
Christmases where someone's family took me in- genuinely and warmly.
All my xmas'es with Zok even though he really, at heart is a wee bit like the Grinch- but then you have to go back to his being responsible for Iceland and Sweden.
Also he pretends not to notice when in a fit, I put up the tree while he is in the garden on a sunny day- so I 'accidentally' make a blender full of chi-chis (this comes from Christmas in Hawaii) and 'accidentally' get sloshed and wind up teary eyed and watching 'A Charlie Brown Christmas.'  Also if you have EVER spent Christmas all alone- you feel pretty grateful for company.

This post is for my friend Monte who does not have a Grinchy bone in his whole body.

Friday, November 22, 2013

"...And as soon as that packet was out on the sea, `Twas devilish hard treatment of every degree..."

Sadly, Hobart is not big on public transportation. So, although
I like to think of myself as a person who is always a tourist in her hometown, I miss a lot of the quieter aspects of Hobart's charms.

  Hobart was settled before much of the mainland.  Therefore "First" is often attached to a place.
Walking from my mechanics shop to my yoga class (about a twenty minute walk). I realized how much of interesting architecture I usually just breeze by.
There was the "first" Jewish Synagogue consecrated in 1845. (How I love proper words).
A 'historic engineering marker' the world's oldest McNaught Beam Engine.
The fire brigade (which I do always admire).
The Mission to Seamen Hobart Station (1915-1956)
and of course The Drunken Admiral which is next door to the Yoga Studio I go too.  There is a plaque talking about the buildings 'colourful history' my favorite involves the time period Hobart was doing its best to lure 'widows and other females of good character' with high wages and prospects of marriage.
This was during the time the island was prospering, convicts finished with their time were transitioning into the citizens that built a society that would stay on the island.
Really, every few buildings there was a really interesting one.  
 When I stepped back and looked at the whole area, yes I could just focus on the ugly, smelly fast food chips place, or the car lot.
But would I? If I was a tourist, looking to be pleased?  
Perhaps, I can credit Yoga but I was definitely feeling that one's mood can be directed in a positive way.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

"...what do I do with only a photograph to tell my troubles too?..."

Zok has left for his China/Russia/Japan tour, which is in reality not very long at all.  He will only be gone less than a month but somehow, this time it appears, or looms with greater intensity than it should.

Spring continues to only show itself in brief sunny moments.  Intense, hot Australian sun that is hard to remember when the storm follows.

This time of year there are always these sea snails around.  I really love snails.  Zok and I definitely differ on how and where to relocate garden slugs and snails.  (The operative word in that sentence is "re-locate").
As you can see there is greenery on the beach rocks that I think of as 'sea lettuce' because the snails and the greenery come at the same time of year.
Zok was really concerned about the birds eating all his berries before he returns so this was his last project.
 With all this netting around these vegetables and berries, it is good I have been practicing Yoga again, because weeding and feeding will be a good balancing act.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Friends of Peter Murrell Reserve or Getting to the root of the problem

 Above you see the dreaded 'Gorse'  Well, this is one of my piles of them...

I spent a couple of very enjoyable hours weeding 'gorse' from an area in The Peter Murrell Reserve.  We (the group of volunteers) got to legitimately go 'off trail' which was exciting for me, because I always want to forge into new areas, but I don't want to cause any trouble.  That sounds a bit funny, but it is rather serious, the damage that can be done by the uniformed yet well intentioned.

I am happy to give time to this group to discover secrets of the reserve.
This was only my first time, but I heard that a few people did know where some Tawny Frogmouths had relocated and they are one of my favorite birds.

I will have to dress better next time, I forget how personally I take weeding- which means I will jump a creek and crawl in to the underbrush.  I forgot my hat so my hair was being pulled from all angles, I am sure I looked a mess by the end.

With my new knowledge I had no problem walking home from where we were.  I was already pretty grubby so I just enjoyed a nice walk in the rain.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

'Thursday's Child'

I think of myself as adaptable or at least flexible.
I like to find things interesting, more than I like to complain.
People often ask me about how I deal with living in different places, not just geographically different but different-different, as in not the same.
But I seem to be as happy in either place because really one's perspective brings happiness more than a place itself.

Currently I am really excited about volunteering (which means weeding actually) at the reserve near my house.  I have been working hard to actually fix this place in my mind.  For years I have just wandered aimlessly, sometimes getting lost-Zok doesn't understand this but when I can't see the mountains then I don't know which way is the ocean and that is the direction of home.  I have no sense of direction, but between the camera phone documenting my progress, the maps on the internet to refer too and my app that works as a compass and a gps walking map I am doing really well!

Now, I am also using the timer on my phone, I have always used the reserve to waste time but I want to start using the space for actual exercise-so I have been routing trails for running and bike riding.

I am hoping to learn more of the reserves secrets (where are the tawny frogmouths currently nesting?  has anyone seen the striped bandicoots lately??)
from my volunteer work. The park has something like 277 hectare and perhaps you remember my wandering into the horse zone??  Updates soon!

Meanwhile, my birthday was surprisingly friendly and full of presents!
I got a beautiful hand made bag from my friend Theodore, my neighbors gave me a (heartbreakingly) interesting book on movies that never got made.  My favorite so far is a treatment Nick Cave wrote for 'Gladiator Two' at the request of Russel Crowe, that was turned down because it was so anti-war.
I got a lovely bit of pottery, fresh flowers (!!), candles, cards-I feel really thankful (and a bit awkward I am not actually used to getting gifts anymore).
 The best gift of all is I got phone calls (Skype of course) from two friends that I haven't heard from in years.  That was so delightful, and timely.

Today is warm! I am making a new batch of rhubarb syrup as all mine got used up during Cup Day at the Croquet Club where I bartended while Zok played some tournament games.
It was pretty sweet, pink colored cocktails on the Croquet lawn while wearing a large sun hat fits into my ideal of croquet playing.

Here is a link to the reserve map if you are interested.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

A place on the Internet to keep our recipes.

Zok and I have an endless loop conversation called 'What's for dinner?'
We have trouble remembering what we like or want.
So I have started a blog to keep our recipes in one place.
Also this way I can be more engaged when Zok is cooking, because sometimes I am not.  Please feel free to give feedback, because I am not well versed in writing instructions for others to use.
If you are interested look here:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"...One minute she was asleep, the next she was completely awake and dumped into despair."

I clicked through my entire 'reading list'- aka the other blogs from people I have met or known, only two of the seventeen are active.
They have migrated back to life, in real time, or migrated with the stream that adopts the newer avenues of a more instant, faster changing flow such as tumblr, and twitter.

I think my blog is now as I always thought of it, less a letter to my friends and more a journal of events.  One left in the spare room, unlocked.  My digital means of looking backwards.

I went to MONA with Zok and our house guest Liz.  The latest exhibit went up while I was away.  MONA is large, and on the interactive side.  Most of the space is underground, which I find makes the saturation of sensory input more intense.  I like going through with people the first time, so I know where to concentrate my energies the next time I am alone.

I really liked this exhibit, it worked in tandem with another permanent space I love- the sound tunnel, part of the dialog from this visual display was also in the tunnel.  We are seated under the hull of a ship, and the screens used for the projections indeed look like eye balls.
If you are interested here is the blurb from the exhibit. 

Type in '' to view my tours this one is called 'nowhere less now' from October

Also, one of the women I met from Derby has an exhibit.
I loved it.

This one is called 'rats nest' from the same tour 

Monday, October 14, 2013

"...being in fact much better fitted for a walker than a reader, was extremely pleased to close his large book, and go."

Of course walking on a bit further away from Hobart still brings me happiness as the plots have not yet been turned from acreage and a normal sized house to the dividing of land for development.  I am not saying it is all that way, there is quite a large house down near the cove up for sale and it is both huge and expensive.

"...Adieu to disappointment and spleen. What are men to rocks and mountains?..."

Our neighborhood is being developed in an alarming way.  Where one house stood now stand six apartments.  A small cul-de-sac has many large houses, none too varied, crowded up against each other.

I find it a bit dispiriting.