Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday blues

Just feeling a bit down today. And yesterday. I think it comes from being sick for a week- combined with hurting my back Wednesday and pretty much losing touch with my true love. I have plenty to do- but I can't get enthused about it. Sundays are always hard. For my first 18 years I spent nearly every Sunday with my grandparents and assorted aunts, uncles, and cousins having dinner on the farm. Being alone, let alone eating alone, feels particularly lonely on a Sunday.

I think this is compounded by what I must assume is the closing of "The Emperor's Court" aka "OUR" Chinese Restaurant. (They haven't been open at anytime during the last week! Tell me it is just a holiday!) Where am I going to find another place where the mongolian beef is different everytime? Let alone within walking distance. I haven't told Kevin. He's been having enough challening news.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pumpkin Pie: the first attempt

I pulled out Dixie's recipe on Monday and made a recipe of two crusts.

Here it is:

1 cup Crisco
1/4 cup butter

3 cup flour

1 T vinegar
1 t salt
5 T water
1 egg

As far as I can tell, we don't have Crisco in Australia. I did find a vegetable shortening in the dairy department. It had some fluffy name- like "Crispo"- and a recipe for making the Down Under version of Rice Crispy Treats. I should have read the signs. They were ALL over.

1. The only recipe for this stuff involved melting it on the stove.
2. The alternative uses for the produce involved wall building.
3. I could barely break it up to work it into the flour after it had set out on the counter (bench) overnight.

This morning I pulled the dough out of the frig to roll it into a crust. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. There will be no rolling. This is a dangerous, very hard, throwing object...and not a Frisbee. Thunk.

I suppose I might have let it sit out overnight to warm back up and then MAYBE it would roll....but do I really want to be eating a fat that is THIS hard? I think it must be some sort of "supertrans fat".

So, I poured my pumpkin batter into the pie pan without a crust. We'll see. I told the clinic I'd bring pie in. I'm not sure that I'll take this, however.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Movies, movies, movies

Kevin left yesterday for the US. That makes me, I guess, bachelorette number 2. He slyly left me here with not only Zelda but this cold virus. We're too busy partying at home with the Kleenex to get into any real trouble...despite Zelda's persistent efforts.

So, Kevin, while on an international flight, and I, while not doing the major house scrub I had envisioned, are knocking back movies. He called upon arrival with his update: "As It Is In Heaven", "I'm Not There", and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"...the latter he hadn't finished. And, for me: "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly", "American Gangster", and "Into the Wild".

I think we each missed seeing the film with the other. All these movies we probably would have liked better if we'd seen them scrunched together on the love seat with Zelda in between us. It isn't just the love seat or just Zelda. I had both of those. I missed Kevin.

The films I saw were fine movies that I had been wanting to see. Interestingly, they were all based on true stories. Hmmmm. I felt disappointed that I did not make an emotional connection with "The Diving Bell...". He was certainly a remarkable man with much more internal strength than I think I would possess. I think I should have felt more. Kevin suggested that it might be hard to elicit much emotion when your acting is localized to eye blinks (and rolls and a few tears). I think it didn't help me that I didn't really like the man I met in the flashbacks. "American Gangster"- I told Kevin I really prefer a film where we are either focused on the story of the cop or the story of the gangster. Mixed loyalties. Though, Frank Lucas was a very, very bad character- he did possess some charm. And, Richie Roberts was a honest cop but a fatally flawed human being. It was Tony Soprano vs Vic Mackey. As Kevin and I discussed, Vic will always win. He's smart and focused like a bulldog. Tony - I say he survives because he is lucky. (Of course, Vic would NOT have turned in the $1,000,000 he found in the back of a car.) Finally, "Into the Wild"- I don't know. Too nice a kid? Or, just because it goes out with a whimper rather than a bang? Anyway, it paled in comparison with "Grizzly Man".

Lest you think I have nothing earth shattering to recommend- I'll step back and plug 2 movies. They're listed over there on the right. I just didn't actually tell you how cool they were.

"Eastern Promises". Now, HERE'S a gangster story. The Russian mob in London. Drugs, sex, violence and all churned around in about 90 min. That, for me, really lifts a movie. Make it fit into 90 min and keep me on the edge of my seat. Don't let me think, I'll pause this now so I can find some more tissues to blow my nose. Keep me transfixed and dripping.

And, vying for film of the year with "As it is in Heaven"- "Lars and the Real Girl". I think you need to be told the premise. Emotionally challenged young man orders life sized sex doll and introduces her as his girl friend. From there, you'll form all sorts of crazy, kinky ideas. They will almost all be wrong- but that will actually delight you. It isn't rolling-on-the-floor funny. It is sweet. The best of all possible worlds must be a real girl in heaven.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Our first Australian wedding

Kevin and I attended our first "real" Australian wedding last night. Yep. Terry and Sheree- of the new dress for Terry and Sheree's wedding fame. Like the best of weddings, theirs was unique and personal. It didn't really occur to us that a wedding at the Pine River Golf Course would be ON the golf course- just behind the tee for the 7th hole. The men waited by the red putting carpet (I think I'm making that up, by the way) while the bridal party arrived by golf cart. We were only disappointed by two things: the lack of any promised fist fights (though we did leave about 9:30 PM) and winding up the wedding ceremony with "The Wedding March" rather than "Gonna Fly Now: The Theme from Rocky".

And, we did our part to make the evening memorable. Dancing our hearts out to "Love Shack"...but not Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Abba, The BeeGees.... Oh, and my shoes didn't fall off.

Ancient Chinese Secrets

When Pepsi started marketing its products in China,the English slogan "Pepsi brings you back to life" was translated quite literally, "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave."

I learned this first from Laurie Anderson. Kevin suggested it might not be true (!) so this evening I googled it. The following is from the "Snopes" Urban Legends website.

Status: Undetermined.

That was helpful.

Tonight, however, I'm more interested in the miraculous ability that the owner of our local Chinese restaurant proposes for Coke. She told Kevin that as soon as you feel any cold or flu symptom, you should heat up a can of Coke. Boil it with lemon and ginger.

I'm no Coke fan and it doesn't taste better hot with lemon and ginger. It is very sweet but, also, rather soothing on a sore throat. I've had it twice over 2 days. I'm not instantly well. Maybe tomorrow.

Maybe I need Pepsi.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The inevitable

Recently, Kevin and I had THE TALK- the one that accompanies any long, long, long term relationship. I initiated it.

No, not the Zombie apocalypse talk. We've got that sorted- though I'm still hesitant about letting Zelda fend for herself. She's doomed.

Rather, it was the "do you know any identifying features? that would ensure you could identify my body?" You know. In case the ultimate end ISN'T Zombie mediated.

He's got a birthmark and a scar on his big toe. He knows I've got an incision scar on my back.

Hope it isn't too badly burned.

They could always try to put an earring in both my ears and fail on the left. Or, look for the scratch scars from "Bob the cat" on the inside of my right forearm.

I'm leaving this record here for him. He may need it.

Oh, and the music has nothing to do with this post. Kevin thought I should tell you.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lost Friends- also Sex and Violence

Whatever relationships you have attracted in your life at this moment are precisely the ones you need in your life at this moment. There is a hidden meaning behind all events, and this hidden meaning is serving your own evolution. - Deepak Chopra

This morning I'm thinking of my friend Renee. (Not my sister Renee.) I haven't seen or heard from her for years - since she moved from Cleveland to retire in Florida. I've written a few times. She hasn't responded. On occasion I hear from her partner in a mass mailing saying they are doing "X".

This morning Renee is on my mind for two reasons. Last night I dreamed of her. I didn't actually get to talk with her. I spoke with Jeannie. She said that Renee hadn't been doing well. Today, I also received a silly photo of a Peep Peep-show. (Note, it would have been labeled "super cool" if I had been the one to make the photograph.) Renee is a big peep fan. She eats them. Weird.

Anyway, I'm hoping she is fine and happy and eating lots of peeps for Easter. I hope her black kitties and her dog Oreo are healthy and keeping well away from the gators. I know she has lots of new friends who will all love her. She won't be needing me- but I am and will be missing her.

PS. The best peep factoid I know (well have heard)- you can create peep sword fights (live action!) by sticking a toothpick (the epees!) into two peeps (I think stale ones work best) and then put them facing off together in the microwave. Add heat. We are a violent, weird people!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

It will be one of those rambling catch-up posts. You are warned.

Sometimes it feels like not much is happening- but then time passes and I realize that bit by bit a mountain of small stuff has collected. Most of it is on my desk. What follows almost invariably is I look forward to putting my ideas to (sort-of) paper and then something crappy or stressful or just tiring comes up. So it is tonight. I have the time. Kevin is busy gaming. It is only 7:30. But, I've got to make my 4th trip this Sunday into the clinic to care for two cats who are going downhill. Ugh. My heart is heavy and I can't find those great thoughts I thought yesterday- well Thursday. I need to try to learn to dissociate my ego from the outcomes of my patients. Ugh.

Here goes.

First: what has happened to all the spiders? Somehow, within the last few weeks they (the really, really big ones who had our backyard "wrapped up") have disappeared. There are remnants of big-ass spider webs- but they are looking tattered. Ah, the season is changing.

Second: Got to wear my new, it-fits! dress on Thursday evening. Remembering with oh-so-much pleasure the phrase the clerk had used as she folded this dress into the Macy's shopping bag- "you can throw this in your suitcase and it will come out looking great"- I threw that dress in my big red bag and took it with me on my day of errands only to whip it out and on in the women's room of the Lyric Theatre! Yes, Thursday was the night for "Phantom of the Opera". I was to meet the rest of the clinic in the bar of the theatre at 6:45. So, I crawled across downtown at 5 PM, parked in the museum lot, and found a very tasty dinner of sauteed vegetables with chickpeas and feta cheese. Then, I rushed to the ladies.

Really, it was more like 6:50. Scooting along in my new, over sized-but aren't they always? shoes I scanned the bar. Back and forth. Back and forth. I stopped people and asked them if there might be a second bar somewhere. I looked there. I panicked and went to the ticket booth to see if my ticket had been left for me there. No. And, at least initially, no record of Rob buying tickets for that night...til they found they were purchased through another vendor. That guy also didn't know anything. I looked outside. It was after 7! I was going to miss the show!

Although they left the clinic at 5, they didn't get home and then to the theatre until about 7:15. And, the show didn't begin until 7:30.

Still, we missed the beginning. We were actually in the wrong bar and so we missed the "Audience Call" light flicker. We were too busy chatting and drinking champagne. Or tea- depends on who you're talking about. So, we stood watching the big screen until the point where they'd allow the tardy to enter the theater. My thoughts. "My feet! How long will I have to stand?" and "What are they SAYING?"

The Phantom- once seated and enough vocal volume provided- was great fun! The costumes- particularly during the masquerade- were fabulous! The music was great! I was so rooting for the phantom to get the girl- but, as you probably guessed, once again, he did not. Kevin points out that he was a psychopathic killer- but still...even though his mask made him look a little like Batman's "The Joker", he got my sympathy. What does this say about my taste in men...? Choose the guy with the best song.

Third- The process of application for permanent residency chugs ever onward. Last week I had my physical exam. I fretted in the waiting room about whether I had fully completed the paperwork and whether an error on my part would result in being banished at the most inopportune moment- like when I was on the table getting scrubbed for open-heart surgery. I took my seat in front of the doctor and blurted out "I have a heart murmur. I didn't know where to list that". He told me that was his job.

I know you want to know. I passed my x-ray. I guess that must have been an end-on vessel in the radiologists opinion.

I didn't, however, pass my physical. Yes, I could stand with my eyes closed. I had no problem touching my toes. No inappropriate abdominal masses. No hernia. Adequate reflexes.

But, I had a murmur.

All my life.

Now, they need an echocardiogram.

Kevin says not to worry. He has an alternate plan.

He'll "dump my sorry ass".

Something like that.

There's more- but I've got a cat to feed. And, so, I leave you with this video.

comment- not by me- but it is almost funnier than Will Ferrell.
I hate it! It completely mocks Michael Crawford and All others who could sing the song, Music of The Night. Also, the Phantom's real name is Erik.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Knowing you're in the right place

Sometimes things happen and you know you are in the place you are supposed to be. That's the way it was when Kevin and I got back together. We kept encountering messages from the universe affirming that we belonged together. Now. (Well, then.) The radio played songs of renewed love. The theater showed movies of time travel.

Today was similar...but a bit more subtle. Today as I drove from the city home I heard "Drop the Pilot". Never have I heard Joan Armatrading on the radio. Wow! And, then, while I was walking about Chermside shopping centre (and not doing half the things on my list because I had come only half prepared) I heard "Anchored Down in Anchorage". Ditto my previous comment for Michelle Shocked- but maybe times 10.

I can't figure out how anything I was doing was so special- but maybe it is like the Bradbury tale (Sound of Thunder) where the dinosaur hunting time traveler steps on a butterfly and changes "history"- (Hitler wins WWII.) Maybe I'll never know how what I was doing today was shaping my future...but it must surely have been monumental.

Whatever relationships you have attracted in your life at this moment are precisely the ones you need in your life at this moment. There is a hidden meaning behind all events, and this hidden meaning is serving your own evolution. - Deepak Chopra

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Filling in Forms

Kevin is in a major push to complete our applications for permanent residency. (We've got a deadline. Kevin's Australian "use by" date comes up on July 16 of this year. I'm WAYYYY past good. Those Aussies- they love young white immigrants.) So, we have fun evenings of form filling. The medical one is a challenge. You need to list every hospital stay, every surgery, every disease, sickness or condition requiring medication. With dates. The police form asks repeatedly if you've been, you know, bad. And, when. This also includes traffic offences. Great. Like I can recall the date when I fell into the speed trap in Laura. I know I was in grad school and home for the summer. That narrows it down to two years.... or six months. Kevin didn't feel like I needed to list my two parking tickets (Cleveland Heights and Chapel Hill)- but I figure Australia WANTS people with some criminal color about them. This WAS a penal colony. I'm just trying to help out.

We also had to be finger printed. That was fun. It is a bit of a mental twist to extend your finger while at the same time keeping it loose and controllable by the stamper. The best part was reading the instructions posted on the wall. #2 Inspect the hands for deformities including amputations.

Today, then, I was late to two immigration appointments. That would be 100%. Fortunately, this did not prevent me from either having my blood drawn or my chest x-rayed. I'm wondering if I should be concerned about the small radio-opaque spot in my caudal left lung field. (The radiographer showed it to me and asked it is was an end on vessel or a granuloma. Damn. I forgot what I put there.) I'm afraid I may never know what the radiologist thinks since we'll get the report sealed and we are instructed to not open it. Wonder if I could get a copy of the report for myself... I wonder what the ethics of the situation are.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

We've still got God's ear and his crayons

This photo dispays this year's catechism class. The one that is praying for Kevin and I and Zelda. They are very careful to never forget Zelda.

I got to visit them when I was home. That's why they're all waving small koalas and looking buzzed on Australian chocolates. It was a riot. First came the questions. They virtually all began "Have you ever treated a _____" and ended with me saying "No". No- not a tiger, not an alligator, not a koala, and only a cow when I was a student. They were MOST impressed to learn that we have a gecko that lives in our bedroom. We reviewed who the Queen was (Elizabeth- who's the queen of Australia and of England) and what color Zelda is (she's black). I had brought home a half dozen Australian candy bars and we sliced each into 8 pieces and had a taste test. It was pretty much unanimous- Boost is the favorite.

Today we recieved a package of letters from the kids and photos they'd drawn. Lots of koalas. Lots of Queen Elizabeth. Lots of Australian flags. And, lots of pictures of their personal houses.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

As it is in Heaven

As time passes by it becomes more and more difficult to sit myself down at my computer and take stock of the last 3 weeks and my trip to the US. On occasion I feel compelled. Those are the occasions when I'm not at home. On other occasions I feel overwhelmed. On this occasion, however, I feel lost. So, I'm thinking it is time to make a brief effort and then put it all behind me and be open to living now. Here.

My flight to the US was absolutely perfect. I had three seats to myself which had I been able to sleep would have been great for sort-of-stretching out. I find it near impossible to sleep when I board a flight at noon- even knowing that at my destination folks are settling into prime time and starting to doze off during commercials. Qantas was offering several great films to select between- but I kept remembering that "Kevin and I were going to watch that together one day"- and so I watched two low ranked films. Yes, two films I would never have jumped at the opportunity to see and one absolutely fabulous- best ever- weeping tears of joy and beauty film. That would be, "As It Is In Heaven". I got home and sent my sister right out to Blockbuster to find it so I could share it during our "Christmas" weekend with my family- but it was/is not available. It hasn't been released on DVD in the US yet. "As It Is In Heaven". Keep repeating that. You don't want to forget.

"Christmas" was fun- December isn't required for that. Roast beef. Family. Music. Presents. My mother had purchased a new Christmas tree from the dollar store. $1.00 tree at 90% off. We put it over our presents.

I made an afternoon trek down to Fairfield Commons Mall and, get this, bought a dress that fits. I'm now officially ready for both "Phantom of the Opera" (March 13) and "The Wedding of Terry and Sheree" (March 22). It is very cool...and completely thanks to my dear mother who not only chauffeured me around but helped me to pick out these togs.

She also drove me to Columbus for the Midwest Veterinary Convention, to Piqua to H&R Block, to the airport...

The convention: it was absolutely wonderful to see my old boss. Otherwise, I felt vaguely unsatisfied. Maybe it was the jet lag. Maybe I was expecting too much. Maybe I should have known that "Extractions made Simple" would be predicated on having fancy dental equipment that we lack. I did buy the clinic some new adjustable muzzles and Zelda a couple of new toys. (Zelda is having fun- but I'm still waiting for my first, uhm, irritable dog...or cat.)

Somehow, I feel like I managed to cram a real winter into my dozen days in Ohio. Warm days. Frigid days. Snow days. Ice days. Even a warm and snowy day- where I could and did take a long walk through Versailles. But the best was always having clear roads when I absolutely needed to be somewhere. Thank you. It was just what I wanted. (And, here I must stop to thank Ella for the warm, warm, warm coat that I'm still wearing. I must admit that I'm not made for a white or even an off white coat- but it isn't too disreputable and it is very, very warm. I think I said that.)

The flight back to Australia was as negative as the flight home had been positive. Instead of 3 seats to myself, I had one seat crammed in with two young Australian men. Instead of a magical, transformative movie experience, I watched three films that I seemed physically incapable of remembering the titles to. Instead of a great dinner and breakfast, I had the worst fish I've ever encountered followed by brick of eggs for "breakie". And, then they lost my luggage.

It never left LA.

I've never officially recorded my poor track record with "wheeled suitcases". I've had three. On my first one a wheel went flat. Yes. I had solid plastic wheels on this suitcase- just like you do. An edge of one wheel sheered off. Flat. Flat wheels don't roll. On my second suitcase one of the prop-up legs was knocked sideways. So, instead of pointing down to the ground where it might help the damn thing stand up, it points west. This means, if you stop wheeling the case, and walk away from it- it falls over. So, when I went home this trip my mom gave me her "wheeled suitcase"- the one she bought for last year's trip to Australia. I can forgive it getting lost. But, I'm having trouble accepting the fact that it "came home" minus one wheel and the corresponding leg. Ughhhh. If I thought that spending more for a suitcase would REALLY make it last more than 3 or 4 or 6 intercontinental flights, I'd make the investment. I'm just not convinced. But wheels. They are SUCH a great invention.

Saturday, March 01, 2008


March 1st. The first day of autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. The days feel decidedly cooler. And, especially at night, there is a seriously cool breeze. The spiders in the back yard have fattened up to the point of bursting.

And, yet, it will never feel like autumn should. There's no World Series. There's no Halloween. There's no first day of school. And, a bright blue sky is nothing extraordinary. But, mostly, there's no riot of color.

And, so I'm borrowing a leaf. From Cleveland.