Sunday, July 15, 2018

From winter to summer in under 48 hours

We are leaving in less than a week.  The weather has been really cold, in a way that makes any gardening task seem like that task could ...you know...just wait until Spring returns.  I have switched in this late hour to helping with the garage conversion- coating the wood panels with oil.  The goal is that the two small rooms will be completed and items can then be stored there so that the large office space can be finished- hopefully in a week in late November when he has a week between tours.  There was a recent switch to the workspace / garage / garden tool / where the automobiles are parked area that seemed to me a distraction from more the more important areas, but now, I think I was wrong.  That area being more put together makes the project seem close to being finished.  I am having trouble with the main house due to residual feelings from the robbery.  Last time we left there was still scaffolding up from repairs to the house as a result of the robbery- the house was really clean as we had had to empty to house out to have the floors repaired.  This year I seem to be leaving the cleaning to the last day- giving me a constricted time frame.  
I know this attitude of 'That doesn't matter I am leaving soon' isn't a clear feeling, the feeling is made up of all the good byes I have ever avoided, all the times I have made a break for the state line, every bitter "You will miss me when I am gone" feeling of disregard.  This is the drama I can't seem to shake.  The entanglement of emotional build up.  But I am not alone, I am part of a 'We are in this together'.  
I always feel worry when I leave my book collection, but I have library cards, and credit cards- there are bookshops and libraries all over.  Every idle fear has an answer these days.  I have picked a book for the flights.  I have ordered a new pack of crosswords.  I have snacks to squirrel away in defense of plane food.  I have armed myself with a new outfit in case of public appearances.
I have left my friends voicemails, a digital trail of my plans.
I have grandiose notions of spontaneity - perhaps I will just spend October traveling as far as I can by train.  Perhaps I will turn up on your doorstep with a rental, a map, and enough snacks to take us both across the state line.
 



Sunday, July 1, 2018

Dark Mofo- Week 3






One of the most interesting parts of living in a town that becomes overblown with tourism is how your everyday gets peppered with people that seem out of place.  Then, day by day, there are other changes, often to do with out of town money moving in.  People that are a bit more styled.  Local dives that become crowded.  Places to eat that seem twice the price of everywhere else.  High end cars on the road.  The lack of parking.

I am probably repeating myself, as I would in a normal, hand written journal.
I love the new changes to the museum, the added permanent pieces of art, the new wing of the museum itself.  The plans for HOMO the hotel- which aspires to be the highest standard of green-sustainability in building while looking cool at the same time.  
I love that the catalyst for all the change is a single person, even though of course, there is a huge team that enacts the vision.  He is spotted at the events- talked about in grocery line queues.

I love that I get to look into buildings that I have stood outside of and wished I could break into.  I have never been here when there has been an open city day.  All the architecture, and the stories behind them are interesting to me.

We stayed on the island for more months together than we have done since we got our own place in Sweden five- six years ago.  I have now lived in Tasmania longer than I have lived in any other place.  I am not sure if I can truly say that because of how often we are away, but then again...I was also away on tour often during my time in Seattle...Los Angeles might qualify as the place I spent the most consecutive amount of days.
 Tasmania feels much larger than it did nine years ago, when all I had was Roller Derby practice and drama.  But part of that might have been how little I fit in to that group.  Had I fit in, I might not have been so willing to switch to Sweden and I believe I am a better person for my experiences there.



 

 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Dark MOFO, Week 2



One of my choices (motivation in part by time of day and price)- was what I thought was an art installation by Laurie Anderson- inside a building I have never been too, and had missed being in town for the chance during an 'open city' event.
I was wrong both about which building the installation was in and about what I thought the installation was.  We went to 'Chalk Room' at Domain House.
Domain House, I read was were the original Hobart University was housed, and that the University regained ownership in 2011, and had since refurbished the building.  This was not how the building looked to me- I thought this was another one of the many unused buildings that MONA seems to get access too.
The art installation was a virtual reality installation.  This was my first time trying V.R. and I thought it was a lot of fun.  There was a flying section, - of which there was a sort of night cityscape- for me the sensation was a bit like being inside a movie from the modern first person point of view that a lot of Sci-fi films use.  I loved the experience so much I convinced more people to go with us the second time.

In the same building was 'Lou Reed Drones'- which apparently was Lou Reed's guitars and amps set up to feedback, in a continual droning manner.
I thought this was sweet, even though Laurie has lost him- physically, there art can be co-existing in the same space.  
I also thought that the location was just off the through way far enough that we got easy parking, yet could walk down to Dark Park.
Dark Park was really crowded both times we went- which was of course both really good, and a bit of a hassle.


 

Blogging out of order - S. comes for Dark MOFO Week 1



My friend S. adjusted her festival plans to include me after we realized I would actually be home this year during June. We drove down to Port Arthur for the first Dark MOFO event 'Quartet for the end of time' performed in one of the penitentiary buildings.  We slept over nearby the tessellated plates to see if we could luck into a 'social media' worthy photography opportunities at sunrise and sunset.
We didn't have much luck with that, and I proved to myself that my body still is resistant to that side of morning. I was ruined for any plans in the evening that didn't consist of being near my couch.  My guest was moving into town for late night adventures, so our rest rest worked out okay for her.
Thankfully she had only added this on to her plans that had been booked months ago, so she had better opportunities to come.  Hobart is definitely so popular that booking months ahead is now the norm.  When I found out I'd be here in July I tried to find accommodation near Cradle Mountain so I could see the park covered in snow, but everything is booked out.  

I did pull the Jeep over to photograph the road sign posted here- Something I have wanted to do for years now.

The Quartet piece was quite jazzy- which was unexpected but the performance was only an hour- and the setting was interesting.  
I realized that I don't know as much about tides as I thought, and low tide in the 'Remarkable Cave' was still too high to access the caves- 
 

 Sunset

 Winter moon outshining the winter sun during its rise


 Our underwhelming sunrise

"I am slowing down as the years go by"

...and then next week comes the start of July. 

The three week visit of my most frequent visitor has come to an end.  We have our departure date for Sweden as well.  For the first time we are going on a one-way ticket because we really do not know what will happen.  I felt like a bit of a jinx during the festival as our attempts at capturing photos in the prime social media times of Sunrise and Sunset, low tide, or catching a natural phenomena did not go well when we were together.  She did better after she relocated into town.  

The festival continues to grow larger.  My favourite part remains the fact that they use buildings that are not in full time use- or sometimes not in use at all anymore.  I am always curious to see into buildings and learn about the history of the place I am living.  A habit perhaps formed of not being from a place and having lived in so many different places.  
Seattle has been in my thoughts often, because I notice changes here, that to me are the same type of indicators I saw when Seattle was "suddenly" discovered by more and more people in the the early to mid-1990s- 
I hadn't lived in Seattle long enough to feel I could rail against the growth like the locals and I still sort of feel the same way here- for although Tasmania does comprise basically all that I know as Australia...I am still a new comer.

Now, I am beginning our last month before we leave for an undetermined amount of time, I seem always to use our comings and goings as markers of what I have not achieved.  An attitude I am working to adjust- my analytic - judgemental self is boring me.  So far, I am not feeling the impact of my trying to make changes.  


 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

..."the thorn, the veil, the face of grace, the brazen image, the thief of sleep..."

I realized that this blog had not crossed my mind, since the last time I had a visitor. So another month has passed and now I have a friend arriving tomorrow- MONA has extended the dates of Dark MOFO, their winter festival, and we have extended our time to include most of winter here.  Well, a good solid month of winter.  I have bee enjoying the shorter days, with the sun setting at 4:40, the construction hours have lessened and I can miss most if not all of the noise.  Of course, the construction is the lure that is keeping us here into winter.
Everyone is sleeping more, as if our bodies are making up for our 26 months without winter.  
I have a strange bit of superstitious thinking, that perhaps illustrates that I take random events a bit personally.  I had written up a post here, and then the server crashed, and the post was actual lost, even though there should be the auto save.  I was going to take this as a sign to not bother to re-write.  However, my whole intention was just to put up a stop-gap to remind myself that my life does continue even when I don't feel there is anything worthy of a diary entry.  Mostly this is because of our new phone plans that allow us to call long distance for no additional charges which means I have been if not actually speaking to friends, at least leaving them messages.  Originally I started this blog because at the time there was no easy way to keep up with friends unless I did a mass email, which could cost a bit of money if we were traveling, or even on some of the plans that we have had.  
But I do not think anyone keeps up with these posts, but I have become a bit dependent of using them as a visual calendar.  
I have been trying to use winter and the quiet to work on myself.  I was a bit dependent on self-help books when I was young.  For years I haven't felt a need for them, but as 50s are here- I feel a need to check in with myself.
There is so much in my life I am grateful for- but I also do not want to become complacent to the point of ...well I guess to a point of ingratitude. 
Tomorrow my friend and I are staying over down in Port Arthur, going to see a quartet play 'Quartet for the end of time' or as my favourite snob would say 'Quatour pour la fin du temps' as the composer is french Olivier Messiaen, the piece that he composed while a prisoner of war during WWII.  Hence, perhaps the on the nose location of Port Arthur a former convict prison. 
We have aspirations that involve low tide, a sea cave, and a sunrise.
With success I will post photographic evidence.



 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

"...and then the rain came hammering down..."



This May is one of our first together in Tasmania.  There was a severe storm, about four inches of rain in under 24 hours.  The lightning and thunder seemed to be just over our house, a sensation felt by every neighbour I spoke too.  Reinforced by the action of the strike coinciding with our power going out.  Over ten thousand people were without power for a day or so.  All the historic flood areas like the old 'Wapping' area of the central business district were flooded high enough to move parked cars.  I think people forget that a 'rivulet' runs through the center of town, mostly the streets have been built over the waterways.

Parts from the fish farms were washed onto the beach, newly patched roads churned up leaving heaped piles of debris in the middle of the roads.  Our home is up a slope- and luckily even the basement/garage did not take in any water.  So work continues on the garage conversion. The storm was late Thursday night, and by today, Sunday everything was calm enough that the Friends of Peter Murrell monthly weeding workbee went ahead as planned.

Saff returned a few weeks ago, just for a quick trip- before her long stay in June for the winter festival.  We went to the newly built, and opened areas of MONA that were too crowded during summer to be able to visit properly.

There is a sphere in the center of the newest restaurant, two people can go in at one time, for fifteen minutes with an additional cost of $25.  This is another piece by Turrell.  After you see the light show, you are taken to a room that is completely dark for a bit of post-sensory - to sensory-deprivation.
Between the two exhibits is a new room that is spectacular...the second room they have had that reminded me of the inside of Barbarella's space ship. 
 
We also went into the lovely new room called Spectrum Chamber, by Charles Ross.  I don't think the museum has been especially empty in the last few years. This visit was as empty as it seems to ever get, and that just means that there is parking in the overflow lot, and you can get a seat on a shared table.  I find that I can barely recall going there once a week, and being alone with only the artwork.  Between Summer, Christmas holidays in Summer, followed by their festival, - then a lot is closed between the two festivals.   The winter festival is almost the entire month of June now.


 I avoided this room trip before last because the line to walk in was so long.
 The oil room from above.

The oil is to the very edge- the attendant blows on the surface to show how precise and exacting the level is.  The photo makes the corridor in look a bit larger than it feels when you are there. 


 


 

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Word of the day : Discombobulate


I have fallen short of keeping a good record of the garage conversion.  From the very first time we looked at this house, he had the idea of converting the the space under the house.  When there are stairs of some sort (this is one of the details not fully formed yet) put into the house I will start to think of this space as a basement.  Basements are not common in Australian houses.  I still can't remember why I didn't take this conversion idea seriously...I think perhaps there were other changes we wanted to make.  We spent a lot of time altering the garden, and I found out that He was fond of taking down a tree.  This tree cutting seemed alarming to me until I found that there are many quick growing gum trees that are native.  People commonly replace trees of a certain type.

My point really, is that neither of us knew how much time, effort, and work would go into this conversion.  He has been having a good time with most of the work.  Our lives have changed in the last few years, in ways that gave him both the time and inclination to devote to the project. He finally started, and I had forgotten all about the idea. So our viewing points were from different places, also I have only been included in small bits of the process. I am not creating something, I am more left to deal with noise, dust, and workmen.  Areas that I have used are not fully accessible, neither is my bike- anything down in the garage is coated and re-coated with sawdust, or concrete dust.
But recently, putting windows into the area that will be an office has made the project seem more worthy of completion...or perhaps the windows show the possibilities that a low room can offer.  However, finding the windows was time consuming.  We drove three hours North to the show room.  Waited months for them to be completed, and then had enough problems with the installation that the workmen had to come three times, followed by a specialist from Queensland coming down to fix the last of the problems.  

He had the rest of the house windows replaced (Tasmania gets pretty cold, but more than that, the island has always been years behind in materials such as windows that are double-pane, insulation, or heating that isn't just a wood fired heater) which has "opened up the view", and we have interior blinds which in such a dusty climate is great- but really I can see why one might want to go on vacation and come back when everything is done.

This time last year, we were still dealing with the repairs from the burglary - and we had to leave instead of settle in and enjoy the pretty, refinished floors, or quiet, upgraded security doors.  Upon returning, the conversion work was started quickly. I have a tendency to view 'today' as permanent...I am not great and thinking that what is happening right now, will not be happening -forever.
I hope I look back on this blog post and find I barely remember all the fuss. 




 


 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Australia "Big Australia" projections of population rise


The weather has turned to high winds, low clouds, some rain, and grey-grey-with a little more grey.  This is not completely true, yesterday dawned this way-but by late afternoon, the day was bright, and I was fortunately in the Botanical Gardens enjoying the turn of weather.  This morning however, is a repeat of yesterday, the air in my room was nippy- the morning seemed quiet, and so I hit snooze on my alarm.  Then messages started coming in from Stockholm- our friends gathered around Zok - I was being remembered and missed and missing everyone in turn.  This happens...the feeling of fragmentation within my emotions created by living in and leaving so many places.  And always the strangeness that I don't have any close peers here in Tasmania...people are now friendly to me...we have lovely neighbours...sometimes I run into a person I know - well enough to stop and chat. 
But- I don't have any relationships that compare in closeness to friends elsewhere.  
Meanwhile while I am left alone...I tend to pay to much attention to the news cycle, and to find ways to feel guilty and find ways to connect everything back to myself.  When I moved here fourteen years ago...the population was under 21 million, the population clock is now at almost 25 million.
I am obviously, one of those that caused the increase and my partner was also born elsewhere.  While on my recent volunteering trip- most of the group was discussing this issue.  The issue was under discussion because of a news program called '4 Corners' which I have just finished watching.  I was concerned with the amount of fear I heard within peoples opinions.  I was let down in myself that I couldn't combat the fear well enough to have any impact.
Even when I first moved here...I did realize that we had settled in a state that felt like a retirement state, and as pointed out in the report 1 in 5 Tasmanians are over the age of 65. I feel confused that the conversation seems to only be happening now, and I am confused that Hobart and Launceston do not embrace the challenge of growth through innovation- public transportation, staggering work times so the roads are able to handle more, creating green spaces and walkable cities.  
At times like these I miss the environment of University where I felt I had so much access to educated opinions.  My logic is often flawed...and opinions can become entrenched when they are not challenged.
Less than two weeks until my better half returns - this is not too much time to spend on the ledge.
 

 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Politics are plain depressing





The election came and went...and not much changed...the Green Party lost some ground...the Labor Party seemed to pick up that ground which was not enough ground to make a difference...which puts me back to the idea of 'splitting the vote'- there always seem to be factions within the 'progressive' side and nothing but entrenched cement on the other side.  Because of the way the Hare-Clark system- we don't know who has gotten the last seat in our electorate, the candidate I was helping is up for that seat.

I did have a nice reprise when friends came to visit and we went to MONA.  Every place in Tasmania feels more crowded- the tourists numbers seem to be climbing by 10% each year steadily and that doesn't include cruise ships.
Our home which seemed so quiet has a steady stream of cars that go by.  I can remember sitting on my porch in Seattle, with Jada, watching the cars constantly going by at our 4-way stop-and that did not phase me at all.  Neither did the size of my lot, I knew plenty of rich folk who had land size so large that traffic wouldn't be an issue- now I think about a bush block with a tiny pre-fab house that needs no work...but perhaps this is all circumstantial.  I am not good at recognizing that-I tend to feel the 'immediate' is the 'always'.

My 'Honey, would you please' list is almost complete, the sanding and refinishing of some window frames and doors were not as satisfying as I thought they would be.  Neither was the painting downstairs.  But now that I have cleaned up I at least feel that calm of...sort of the fear of tearing something apart and relief of putting it back together- and finding that it wasn't ruined in the attempt. 

 
Next week I am going to be on Maria Island volunteering. From what I can tell looking at photos my first time on the island was Jan. of 2014, which seems incorrect, I feel like I have been going longer but- probably not.  I do think this is my twelfth trip which is a lot, in four years. There is a lot of construction going on, as there is a new ferry service, bringing many more visitors to the island.  So although I will be getting away...I am little fearful there will be construction noise on the island as well!  I am going to do the hard hike if I have the time - the Bishop and Clerk hike.  There is a weeding location that is nearby so if we are 30 minutes along the correct route this is what I will do.  By camping- I will be away from the group already so I won't feel too anti-social heading out alone.  The island makes me wish I could navigate a boat...which is what many locals do- they just pop round the island by boat.  As if this is the most normal thing in the world to do.

No matter what, the nights should be quiet and dark.
I am looking forward to that.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Compulsary Voting, Having more than 2 political parties (sort of) and other quandries


 
 
 
Today I got an email from Landcare Tasmania which organizes volunteer groups around Tasmania.  The email contained their position on their (lack of) funding, what they need, what has been and not been promised from the political parties.
The email included a plea for people to vote, and some links to help people attain the information needed to vote.  This is the first of its kind that I have received.  Apparently there is a sort of unspoken etiquette towards not talking about politics, and specifically not trying to 'sway' people.  This, however, seems to stymie the education of people on the issues.  
While chatting with the limited number of people that I did (say around 50 odd), I was surprised by how few looked into how their representatives voted.  
There was also the straight up hostility towards the party they did not favor, coupled with a mistrust for politicians in general unless they personally knew the candidate (this being a place with a low population was actually almost common). 
Today on a.m. radio there were comments towards people voting for the 'candidates' they preferred not the 'party', which speaks to how I want to vote, and my trying to figure out if by doing this between two parties (neither are in the majority) am I splitting the vote?
If you click the link above you can see that I am perhaps not the only person unable to just do the math of our system. 
 
I have been here for over a decade but only now do I feel like I have a grasp on the politics.  The state has changed - a lot of changes together with new people moving to state, more people using social media and the internet, more people with 'better than dial up' connections.
There are almost too many 'move to Tasmania' webpages, apps, FB campaigns- it has been about five years that Tasmania seems to have seeped into the wider world, and about three years since I have stopped promoting the area myself.  
When I think of my first five years here...so bewildered that searching on the internet did not find me information, that all government information seemed to be links to large pdf files...that may or my not contain the answer I was looking for. At least my partner is paying a bit more attention to politics perhaps because we are entering our fifth decade as humans, maybe because he is thinking of us being in this home more than our other home.
 
I get too many pleas for donations from the second largest party...and truly anyone can see that the party in power at the moment (Liberal) has more money, as expressed in advertisements.  But I can't quite see how this improves anything...to plaster the city with ads.  I could only see my way to donating my time.  I have heard people express how irritated they are to get calls from the wrong voting electorate...I was not 'phone banked' but I have gotten multiple emails that seem as if the campaigns are not coordinated - but this makes sense when there seems to be a sort of 'throw as many items at the target as possible' strategy all around.
I have also heard that without the Hare-Clark system people are faced with large numbers of choices for the fives spots- so ridiculously large that the numbering of them gets so complicated it puts people off voting.
 
I have also continued to have conversations about how strange the ideas of 'voting on a weekday' - or the idea of voting being a 'privilege'  -
I am saddened by the idea that the people, the electorate can not make a difference.  I think voting on a weekend is a bit of an insult- I am used to voting being an event- with small rewards, like a break from the work day, and stickers.

 
 

 

Monday, February 5, 2018

...just a Yank...trying to be a Mate...


I have been alone, I have been among strangers- volunteering time to go door-to-door in neighbourhoods near where I live with a candidate that is standing for office in the next election.  
In part I chose to do this because I am learning about the political system and in part because so many people have lived here their whole lives that I feel I will gain insight by listening to them.
Also, the state elections here use a method called 'Tasmania's Hare-Clark Electoral System' which is apparently different from other states (which I of course, do not know about firsthand). 
We list candidates in order of preference.  I have had differing explanations of this, but finally I have found an explanation on the Internet here:

I thought I might be too fearful, but my curiosity seems to get the better of me.  I thought I would be a bit offended when people couldn't be bothered, or are irritated that someone is disturbing them...but mostly that has been okay.
I realize that really, I am the type of person that isn't always very gracious when I am interrupted and I now, vow to do better.
Self-servingly I like to have a legitimate reason to walk up peoples drives, especially to houses I have always walked by and thought 'Gee that looks like a really happy home.'

I am a bit deflated that 'compulsory' voting seems to partially make people feel like they are forced to do something unpleasant like go to the dentist.  There is no fanfare, no stickers that say smugly "I voted!".  People seem un-engaged by the process or worse, completely believe that the whole system is a waste of time.
I want to shout "Sure things are pretty good now, but they could turn badly if you do not pay attention!"
I fear, that I am looking for positive affirmation in these conversations for what I already believe, even though truly, I am trying to listen and learn.


While I had the house to myself for a week I did some repairs that took more time than I thought they would, I was waylaid by a really hot day-
I watched some sappy movies, I did my best to catch friends by phone long distance.
I have this feeling of being behind but I couldn't articulate why.
This tangle of politics will be taking up my month.
 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

...2018...Forgive yourself for being blind to those who would break your heart...

Hej, Hello, 2018

I never thought I'd get to see you in person, and I surely did not for all my sci-fi book reading anticipate technology or its applications.  Thanks for bringing us 'Black Mirror', I needed a good adult version of 'The Twilight Zone' to keep me wary.

Summer continues and I am happy in the sun, in the yard or on the beach.  I am adjusting to the growth that is happening all around us...and growth feels inevitable, and at least here, a bit slower than in Stockholm.
I am continuing to educate myself on local (and national) politics.
I listen to AM news radio in the morning on my vintage tube radio.
 I try not to scream out loud when party members (aka politicians) say CONSTANTLY "Well the opposition won't make this or that better-" there is this constant rhetoric of "It's not me! It's them!" like children.

I am also trying to get over what I dislike about Twitter, because here, I do find that it is useful for quick updates- 'Why is the Southern Outlet (one of the two ways into town from our home) backed up?' or There is smoke! Is that a legal burn off or is there a fire that might spread?  or better still - the list of which sellers will be at our local farmers market.

One of us gets to stay home and one of us is going on tour.
Both of us will catch up on books and movies/TV that the other doesn't like.

Hopefully between the two of us the conversion of the garage will be finished and I will have that to post about.