Monday, March 30, 2009

"...today is flat beneath the weight of the next day..."




t
The days go quickly. The days drag.
I feel confused by the weather, Saturday morning I was cold, but by 4 p.m., the temperature was above seventy degrees, when I left Roller Derby practice at 8 p.m. the night was clear and warm. But a day later and the day is chilly and the temperature doesn't reach sixty degrees. I will be lighting a fire when darkness comes.
I have the hugest bruise I have ever had, the bruise covers my entire knee-I was favoring the other leg because I think I pulled something in that thigh. I hope three days off between roller derby practices will be enough for me to recover in between.
I have been trying to get out each day to increase my fitness level-although today walking was not easy. I feel a bit like Snow White though, with the amount of wild life that I have seen just in my neighborhood. The Platypus was on the surface of the pond, diving over and over with ducks swimming around it. I saw a Wallaby on the trail, which is strange for early afternoon. I was woken by Kookaburra, two pairs of them across the road. I hope the sound on the video comes up well because really I feel as if no one outside of Australia really gets what I am talking about. While Monte and I had our Book Club date (via Skype), Rosellas were taking a dip in the bird bath. I went walking around Tinderbox the other day, onto a path I had not been on before. The properties are very close to our neighborhood, but the plots of land are all much larger, and most people have horses. I like how the horses drink out of old bath tubs.
I am envious of the neighborhood, except that they are just a bit far from the beach.
video

Friday, March 27, 2009

"I didn't know I would miss you half as much as I do"





A grey morning, chilly on the edges, whitecaps disappearing over and over like semaphore signals on the ocean.
My table top is a mess of half finished ideas and books their pages marked by thoughts written on scraps of paper I can never find when I want them.
Zok is away so I have too much time instead of not enough.
Toast with jam is my new consolation-coffee imported from abroad-feels greedy, like drinking alone.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

say my name say my name



I wonder why my own name facinates me. I remember learning how to spell my name, and being irritated that there were so many letters. I am certain that the other kids all had short names consisting of better letter than mine; Sage, Cheryl, Salina and the boys; Ed, Josh, Rick, how unfair is that?
Later on I found my name in the dictionary, and the entry said "girl". Just that; "girl". I remember thinking, 'Could I be more boring?'. Of course this is before I had actually met anyone actually from Ireland where the timbre of my name takes on a whole different aspect, a suddenly lovely and shiny aspect, even if the locals think my name is a bit of a joke, at least it sounds pretty, not so much like the word 'clean'.
When I was a bit older my friends all seemed to have these exotic, fabulous names filled with purpose and meaning, Thea, Amra, Marina, Kipling, Dionne, how could I compare? Yet, somehow I always harbored some love, after all it was my name, definitely I loved it enough to be jealous the few times I came across other girls named Colleen, mostly I would console myself with the fact that my initials match and therefore my first and last names together were a better match than say 'Colleen Mcgonall'. I am possessive enough even now that an exasperated sigh comes out each time an Australian adds letters to my name to make it the common U.K. spelling. I was possessive enough not to change my name upon marrying.
Well, my neighbor gave me a lovely gift today, the box (pictured above) with my name on it-well my first name, I am wondering if the printing is a persons full name-Sue (my neighbor) thinks the box is very old, and I am enamored with the idea of this other persons life, and how our name might have been as much to her as it does to me.
Sue is going on a trip to Uluru and the red center (as I think of it) and doing long walks and a bit of camping, with a group. While she is away I am going to feed the cat. I am not a cat person, and all cats sense this about me, but I will feed them, and even pet them if they don't claw me. Smudge hasn't much feeling for me though, but perhaps she suffers from a bit of survivors guilt (please see key tag for explanation!).

"if I don't die or worse...I'm gonna need a nap..."






I feel Autumn coming, cool, grey mornings and changeable weather. The Poplar trees are changing as our the few scattered European trees that I see in town. I am always surprised by them, accustom as I have become to the Eucalyptus which seem to hold their changes to a private schedule not predictable by people or seasons.
I have been busy since Zok left, I always feel the need to have a full day to tell him about by telephone when he calls. While Monte & Roberto were still here I saw the poster for Roller Derby, and although I was intrested I didn't call. But then I met a couple of the girls who are behind putting together a league so... I went to a 'fresh meat' night, of roller derby for newer girls. I really think I am too old, or too broken but I wanted to meet some ladies, and although I do feel some aches and pains I plan on going back Saturday night. I tried to do the Alum Track today at a quick pace, and my legs were resisting me.
Zok's not back until Easter so I will give Roller Derby a chance, twice a week until then, and see how my poor old bones take the beating.
Although, there is a stop we practiced where you slide as if you are sliding into a baseball base, and I love it! I never did anything so drastic as a kid, and with the knee pads and all, I want to skate really fast! But I am using all rental gear which is a bit shoddy and rank smelling, yet still...Fun!


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Op Shops





I am looking for books on letter pressing, or perhaps a nice 'history of' showing techniques and machines. I also wouldn't mind a book on linoleum cuts or making rugs from rags. Plus Easter is coming and I need to get things for Zok's basket, so with this in mind I have been going out of my way to do the circuit of known 'Op Shops'. I scored a good gift for the basket at 'St. Vinnies' (that is Aussi for a St. Vincents De Paul and how I miss the one in White City/Seattle) on Elizabeth St near the movie theater. At the back of the Margate Train (see photos) there are two decent second hand stores, although they mostly deal in furniture. A bit further down in Margate (the town) is the Cat Op shop where I found Shrinkwords (see Monte's blog for tales of the shrinkword escapades), and yet again this store did not disappoint. Although my hope, always is to find 'anagrams', I believe in keeping my shopping karma up by not passing up certain items so that the store will not withold treasure from me at a later date.
I got the above game for $5 which I thought was pretty steep but then I thought of all those poor cats who if not for intervention might end up in the bush, feral, and killing the wildlife. Plus who doesn't need to to learn more about mining?

acka dacka rulz or the kids are alright





Although I took Zok to the airport at 9 a.m. yesterday and it is now 5 p.m. the next day, he has only just landed in London on his way to Stockholm. That routing is hateful, 3 stops and 3 long lay overs. My day, by comparison, was more pleasant, I drove about five miles or so to the town of Snug so that I could hike down to the falls. I don't walk as much when Zok is home, and I wanted to start out with a walk I haven't done in awhile. Also there are a few second hand stores on the way to Snug that I like to check out for new items. I am always looking for craft books, and of course we need books on home preserving which is our new obsession. There was a couple just leaving when I got to the walk, and one woman and her dog just arriving. I saw two snakes straight away, and when I saw the other walker I wanted to yell 'Beware! Snakes!' but I decided to be more Australian about it so as we passed each other going opposite ways I said 'Fair few snakes about' which I think translates to 'Hey, watch out there are snakes on the trail' but as we all know my Australian is not very good. I think I have a block against a lot of Australian slang, every time I am listening to the radio and the DJ says 'Hold on, we got some acka dacka comin' your way' I think 'WTF?' before remembering acka dacka is Australian for AC/DC. I am pretty sure the kids (geez it is just really forty-ish of me to assume the graffiti is done by people younger than twenty or so?) that marked up this seating area don't forget what 'acka dacka' means. I always wonder what it would have been like to grow up in a place so unpopulated, and this example of (seemingly) a night out made me sort of sad. Obligingly a snake slithered by which reminded me to move on and I stopped dwelling on the hypothetical plight of unknown teenagers. I like the walk to Snug Falls, even though it is a bit out of the way. I would have taken Monte & Roberto here but I was too enamored with Fossil Cove to trade the one for the other. We saw a nice seal at Fossil Cove which all would agree is nicer than snakes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

her civilized behavior




When I first moved to Hobart the 'State Theatre' only had one screen, and was often run by one person, if you showed up late (as in during previews) the only staff person would be up in the projector room. The movies tend to be what in America would be called arthouse. They also sold alcohol. I was instantly in love. Although in my heart my absolute favorite movie houses are long gone, or a long way off, such as that outdoor cinema in Croatia (blog entry from August), or the cinema that was once on Pike Street in Seattle.
Those two were extraordinary because both were run by men who seemed to be running the movies for themselves, and were not fussed if you showed up to watch with them. The one in Croatia was running feature films, but the on on Pike showed some really rare old films, and more than once I was the only person there to watch.
The State Theatre has been updated, so that now there are three screens. The front is a cafe and there always seems to be around three people on staff. The screens a bit smaller, but no smaller than what I find here at the local cineplex even in Melbourne. The true wonder is how civilized the actual movie going experience is. There are a few local (silent) ads, no long, and loud advertising or horrid top forty music. The audience is quiet, do not use their cell phones, and most wait for the credits to roll before leaving. Best of all, they serve real coffee, and alcohol, which people are allowed to take into the screening room, like certified adults.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Real Thing





Zok didn't really celebrate Christmas as a kid, his household was a bit more on the 'communal' present (for all four brothers) side of things, a bit more church and a bit less wrapping paper. Therefore I have encouraged him to recover his missed opportunities, so we tend to shoot off rockets and fly model airplanes on Christmas day. Well apparently, that wasn't good enough for some people. Not that I am complaining, because soon we will be able to fly to the red center of Australia which I have yet to see. Soon, we will be able to fly our house guests to even more remote spots in Tasmania.
Here he is, very, very pleased with himself.
Friday the 13th, what better day for Zok to make his first solo flight?


video video

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Heart Whales


There are a lot of things in this world that I don't understand.
Hunting whales is one of those things, I am sure that I don't know very much about the politics but what I've read is that the 'Steve Irwin' (formerly the Sea Shepard) works to defend whales that are being hunted in the Southern Oceans illegally. Here is a link to their website; http://www.seashepherd.org/
I was excited to see the ship in person. I also love that the ship has a pirate logo and flag, and that neither are a joke.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Crooked Stitches






My friends are talented, they have creative ideas that actually get realized. When I was surrounded by them, I could glean a little here and there, and add these tidbits into my life making everything more colorful and fun. My life is different now, although I do feel a bit of the Jane Austin sometimes, a slowness, an appreciation for home crafts that were necessary in the early twentieth century. As I pick out yet another crooked seam, I do wonder why I didn't beg for lessons from the people I knew because if I had I wouldn't be forty and in a beginning sewing class. I suppose I spent most of my time working, and I am not great at asking for things. I still reap some benefits in the form of encouraging emails and presents that arrive by mail, presents that mean more to me than I could ever express without falling into the rhetoric of a Hallmark sentiment. This is actually my second time in this class, I didn't finish the course last time due to a family emergency on Zok's side.
So, I showed up prepared, I had my supplies in hand and I arrived early to set up because the teacher's time is divided. Also there is a lot of chatting, which I think for many, is a reason why they attend. I have had friends describe to me the concept of a 'stitch and bitch' and I do get this feeling of tradition seeping in, a feeling of other groups that have come before all gathered over their work and talking about the small matters of their lives. I do enjoy that aspect but I am also determined to finish a simple project, using a pattern, from start to finish. Last time I got sidetracked by a cute, modern sewing project book with instructions I think, meant for someone who already has the fundamentals of sewing down pat.
My other project I thought could be a bag for our scrabble tiles, but as I was imagining what that bag would be like, I remembered that my friend Jenn had sent me something this year that would be perfect (the small envelope style bag pictured above). She has by this lovely, organized, life and home, a home with each object perfectly picked (a bit like Monte & Roberto as well)-she has two children and still I would say about half the clutter that Zok and I have. Beyond all that, she makes lovely sewn and crafted items all the time.
I still aspire ultimately to alter clothes, my friend Mark used to do that for me, he can take apart a dress and put it back together with one arm. I have a memory of my flitting by his place of work, sweeping through, and being handed a pile of perfect clothing, never once curious how the magic happened. Now if money was no object I would buy all his time for a week and have him help me alter the heap of clothing that has amassed at the bottom of my closet.
But there is no use mentally chewing over missed opportunity, I will make my own way. The class I take is in a nice older building, and after class I was walking around the neighborhood and thinking that I haven't done much justice to the actually city of Hobart as I am so focused on the area I can reach by bicycle. The buildings that can be found in Hobart are mostly historic. My class in on Church St. and there is a large building that was a church at one time on the corner. A nearby park which was once a graveyard, although they moved the graveyard a few gravestones remain but with the addition of a playground. Here the sign says that the church was called St. Andrews in the 1800s, but later became the Scots Church, one of the head stones is a memorial to Scottish miners. If I had lived in Hobart when I was younger I would have wanted to live on a block such as Church St. There is a rectory, and a whole street of pretty buildings. So along with my sewing goals I can explore more of the town within walking distance of my classes.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Their fair share


Who wouldn't want to share with this guy?


I know you might think these are nectarines you've already seen but NO!, these are ones that Zok got from high up the tree.



There isn't a lot going on here, both the weather (cloudy, bit of rain, bit of wind, not quite 65) and Zok's work load has contributed to my still trying to perserve as many nectarines as possible. While Zok is in the office; I can listen to records and cook up the nectarines. Today, I infused the syrup with lavender from the garden, I am loving the one I made with basil syrup ( eaten lately over our local, vanilla, ice-cream), but I have used up most of our garden basil, and I did need to trim back the lavender. I also used our sad, tiny strawberries to make jam.
Now that the (much taller than I) Zok is home, I finally got my hands on the really large, nectarines that were at the top of the tree just beyond my reach-well beyond meaning further up than my standing on the step of the ladder that warns one not to stand on that step.
There were some really good ones, but mostly the birds had gotten to them. I continue to line up the pecked ones along the border near the bird bath, and a few of the smarter birds (yellow-throated honey eater, rosella) have taken advantage of this arrangement, but most continue to taunt me by landing in the tree and casually eating one or two bites and then hopping over to the next nectarine, as if they only care to eat the reddiest bit of each one.
I am all for the birds having their faire share, and honestly today I took about a dozen to a neighbor I barely know because I can't stand to see them go to waste. Myself, I can't seem to eat less than three a day. There are still so many on the counter top in the kitchen that I can smell them from my bed as I am falling asleep.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Like Betty & Veronica



The rain continues, although again the temperature is in the 60s, we slept in since Zok couldn't go to his flying lesson and of course he is tired from just coming off of tour.
Zok and I drove out to the jar store, a small store in an industrial area of Moonah. The store is really corny, with dusty fake plants, faded samples, and a general air of lassitude. We bought more canning supplies and I finally got my book on home preserving from the library (I was third in the queue and had to wait about a month to get my turn). The book and a small amount of web page perusing has taken the joy from me. My head is now confounded with the perils of potential toxicity. We are only dabbling, by this I mean we are making jams, compotes, and other fruit based items all sealed using boiling water on the stove top. Fruits have high acid naturally which are less apt to spoil, and to spoil with any level of toxicity. But, honestly, the measures listed to getting rid of a spoiled jar of food includes bleach, rubber gloves, going to a land fill, on and on. That reality is very far from the dance party I have been having in my kitchen while I simmer huge pans of tasty nectarines.
Oh, and on the subject of nectarines I can not believe that nectarines are a 'fuzzless peach', I am so in love with nectarines and so not into peaches (which Zok is currently making into jam). I even read that nectarine trees tend to be grafted because a nectarine seed can grow into a peach tree. What? I feel the same sense of disbelief I had when I learned that Betty and Veronica were drawn completely the same except for hair color.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Disaster on my mind




Yesterday as I was having my morning coffee (the whole french press, I catch myself forgetting to share when others are around like my husband) the wind is whipping all around the house and the birds are not about their normal activities so I decided to check our local paper for the weather. The report for my area was as follows:

Tuesday: Southeast, Huon, Channel and Lower Derwent Valley: Fine until patchy rain extends from the west from late morning. Mild to locally warm and mostly cloudy. Fresh to strong and gusty northerly winds before an evening westerly change. A Very High Fire Danger.

The house is cooler inside than the temperature outside and although the sky looks as if the day should be cold it is almost 68 degrees and getting warmer as the storm gets closer. The fire warnings come with the storm because of lightning strikes and then the wind to carry any fire started from the lightning. I always find it disconcerting how disaster can strike next door yet leave your house untouched. I remember the guilt over my relief as an earthquake passed and there I was unscathed only to find that a friend sustained enough damage to ruin their home.
Tasmania has not had any huge fires this summer or should I write our lack of summer. But Victoria is on high alert again, I received an text message alerting me, I suppose because we are all in the same area code, I was comforted to see a new warning system already in place. This is silly because I live in a suburb not in the bush. Still I am happy Zok is due home tonight, and I am charging up all devices, setting out the candles and scrabble board in anticipation of a power loss. We lose power a few times a year, usually in winter when Zok is abroad.
Without a scrabble partner I go to the beach to star gaze while the neighborhood lights are out. We may not lose power but it is my habit to have everything in order for when Zok comes home.
I think disaster is on my mind because I have been (trying) to read 'Shock Doctrine' by Naomi Klein. I hope there is some documentary made soon (as seems to be common these days) because the book is dense and I won't make it through in the time given to me for a library loan.
I went to walk the trail at Tinderbox, I was feeling really tired, so I was initially relieved that the trail has been shortened. Today, the weather is an after storm day crisp and bright, very windy which I think is energizing and now the reality of the shortened trail makes me pause, there is a lot of development in our area. I am ready to move further in the countryside. All I need is my lottery numbers to come up.