Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Missing another cool event

Normally, I'm missing my favorite musical performers. This week, however, I'm missing my opportunity to (once again) make history!

First, let us step back. I am thankful that Kevin informed me that this was the Buddha's birthday celebration weekend at South Bank.

Buddha Birth Day Festival 2008
2 – 4 May 2008
South Bank Parklands

Come along and bring the family to the 12th annual Buddha Birth Day Festival at South Bank. There’s heaps to see and do with 300 performers, two performance stages, children’s amusement area, lots of delicious vegetarian food stalls, an art exhibition and various workshops.

I inserted that quote as a bit of a thrill for non-Australian readers. "Heaps". For my Australian readers- in the US you'd only hear the adjective "heaps" on some black and white film made in the 40s or 50's and then it would be by some corny, teenage or slightly younger boy. Heap is more commonly a verb. "They continued to heap on the abuse."

But, I'm getting off topic.

Each morning at 7:45 they are having free Tai Chi classes. Great. Except I'm WORKING. Still- I have Friday off...and on Friday they are hoping to have the largest Tai Chi class in the Southern Hemisphere!!!! Oh boy! Oh boy!

But, alas. My long awaited echocardiogram is scheduled for that morning at 8 AM!

I will have to be satisfied with my efforts as a freshman at OSU in helping to set a world record for largest game of musical chairs.

I think I am going to live

You have, no doubt, been wondering what fascinating tidbits you've been missing from Australia while I've been recapping our Northern Hemisphere exploits. And, while there has been work and gaming and a national holiday (Anzac Day- Friday 25 April)- there has been, at least for me, much, much, much mucous. Also, coughing, muscles aches, and fever. Already on Monday of last week- just fresh off our trip- I was saying to Kevin that I felt like I might be coming down with something. Like any good virus, however, it waited until my day off to set in with any fervor. That would have been Thurs. And, said Anzac Day on Friday. Then, a work day, Saturday. You get the picture. I only worked about 2 hours on Monday. But, then by Monday evening I could start to feel the cloud lifting. Tuesday I felt weak but almost human- though I didn't exactly sound like one.

Today is Wednesday. I still can't sleep through the night without taking breaks from sleep for some good non-productive coughing. A paroxysm! There! I said it! But, I do believe I am going to pull through. I am a bit worried, however, that I have lost my sense of taste.

Does that ever happen? Can it just go? Poof??

I'm guessing my sense of smell isn't very good yet, either. Perhaps they're traveling together. I haven't yet checked the mailbox for postcards.

Please come back.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

And this should have been the first


At the Brisbane airport. My bag- the new red one- the one that lost one wheel on its fist trip with me to Australia- weighed in at 14.7 kg.
"Is that all?" asked the Qantas man behind the counter.

I am traveling light.

On the flight I was tired but found it hard to let go of the movies to nap. I watched:
"Margot at the Wedding"- probably a smart story with fascinating characters and dialog. I was tired, however, and wanted everyone to SPEAK SLOWLY and LOUDLY. Maybe, I am becoming foreign.
"Gone Baby, Gone" - I thought drama/action might fit my mind better. An OK story that needed 20 min removed. Why, I wonder, make the detective's partner his girlfriend? I guess only so he has to lose her when he makes his choice. Otherwise, she has no role in the story.
"Extended Play". "A hilarious Greek film". I didn't laugh. The concept was interesting, however, and in a shorter drama, I might have really liked it. Initially, I thought the end was wrong. The protagonist should be a new man - ala Jimmy Stewart in "A Wonderful Life"- but now I've changed my mind. It is more real.
Finally, the only film I really enjoyed and actually laughed out loud at- though I didn't finish it- again - "Ten Things I Hate About You". Qantas is having a Heath Ledger love fest and while I'd probably have preferred seeing "The Patriot"- THAT film was over 2 hours long! I fast forwarded through the beginning but still the movie service ended before I did.

Luggage pickup at LAX was a breeze. There are fewer red bags than browny ones. Many fewer with green name tags and only 1 with 1 wheel. Too easy.

Reason 47 I don't like to fly United.
In LAX to enter the "sterile zone" you have to queue OUTSIDE on the walkway across the airport drive! Probably 20 min! Fortunately, the day was warm.

Reason 134 I don't like to fly United.
There are no hotcakes at the McDonald's in the United Terminal...let alone tea or hot water!

Reason #1 I don't like to fly United.

In a week or so, I'm going to sort these blog entries so the dates make some sense. Yes. That is the plan.

Friday, April 25, 2008


We're on a museum high. Yesterday's visit to the Guggenheim was better than I could have imagined. And so, off to spend Wednesday afternoon in the Museum of Modern Art.

Entrance fee. $20. But, get this, there is NO prohibition against taking photographs. If only I had a working camera!

Because the strategy had worked so well for us the day before, we started on the sixth floor. We had less than 4 hours to do the MoMA. How painful.

Anyway, the first image we saw was across from the first floor elevators. Grayson Perry's "Map of an Englishman". We thought we had to get a copy of that for Steve in Brisbane. Alas, that is not possible.

On the sixth floor was a fabulous exhibit about science, technology and design: Design and the Elastic Mind. We spent quite a bit of time- looking, reading, saying "wow". I can't begin to recall EVERYTHING. I'm not sure I'll even remember the best bits- but here are a few. "Victimless Leather"- a tiny, leather coat growing inside a vial. A simulated garden - silhouettes of grasses and flowers projected onto your wall. They wave gently in response to measurements of the actual breeze outside. They grow relative to the water and light that is measured outside. They supposedly reproduce and send seedlings to start growing "on" other walls- though Kevin and I believe you'd need a second projector to see them there. Multiple, interesting solar panels and solar lights. A devise that measures the rate of tail wagging of your dog and translates that into language. (Zelda doubts that humans would ever program into this device the exquisite level of sarcasm that many dogs (non-labs) possess.) A light wall that "reads" the shadows that are cast and creates an appropriate sound accompanyment. The exhibit was very, very cool- spend a while looking at their web site. It is all there!

We, in no way, had enough time to really appreciate the volume of art that remained - lets see, that would be 5 and 1/2 floors! It was like flipping through a great art catalog. Run! Run! Run! There goes "Starry Night". Quick! Over there! "Christina's World". An ocean of water lilies. Picasso. Picasso. Picasso. Kevin was sorry that Dali's "The Peristence of Memory" was off exhibit. We were both suprised how much we enjoyed Jasper John's "Flag"- up close and personal. A special to-do for museum members meant that the photography gallery was closed. Sigh. But, as it turned out, I didn't have extra time. I want to go back.

Finishing up NYC

Wednesday our first stop was a discount camera store where I learned that nothing costs what the box says and that I cannot get a small camera with a view finder. At least, not there. Not if I want a bit of an optical zoom. Since I hadn't done any homework, not expecting to be doing an emergency camera purchase, I just went ahead with this new Nikon. I'm expecting you will all appreciate the tremendous increase in quality of the photographs.

Then we grabbed some lunch and checked out "The Museum of Sex". Here I go again. I am obviously not from your planet. I was expecting there might be a bit broader subject matter than just sex in humans. Where are the birds? the bees? the sex changing fish? My favorite bit was the video clips of instructing transsexual men how to stand, walk, and get into a car like a woman. I keep intending to check myself. Kevin's pretty good at it.

After we took a very long walk up a crowded and noisy street (Broadway) to see the Museum of Comic Art only to learn that it was closed for the week. Sigh. Walked all the way back and caught the train to New Jersey to see Dave, Annabelle and Kimmi. Thank you for the great dinner, breakfast, and putting us up overnight.

We didn't have long to spend in NY on Friday morning. So, we just strolled through Central Park. It was really quite warm. Just a beautiful day. Then, the subway back to Brooklyn where we packed. Said "so long" to Lance then boarded our car for JFK International. I think I've already told you what a pleasure that place was.

On Broadway

Kevin and I were very psyched to be seeing "Spamalot"- even if, as it turns out, everyone will be seeing it and more easily. It will be playing in both Brisbane and Dayton, Ohio. Ah. Still, we wouldn't have missed spending the week in NY.

We thought we'd see if we could get into a restaurant we found a flyer for in the tourist bureau the day before. Mars 2112. Wow. Eat dinner on Mars. I was convinced that you'd need reservations days if not weeks in advance- but still we hurried over there. After all, it was not yet 6 pm. Perhaps we could slip in before the rush.

There was like no one in the place. We walked up to the maitre d' and he didn't even asked if we had a reservation. We were informed that our flight would take off in 5 minutes. Please stand on the line. Flash a Spock like hand gesture. NaNu. NaNu. (Yes, every TV image IS true!)

About 5 minutes later our ship was ready. We boarded. It was a bit of a bumpy road to Mars. I held on tightly the whole way.

Mars was very red. And the restaurant was very cavernous. It was sort of like living inside Uluru. I'm not sure why there are no windows in Martian restaurants. There was a TV playing the whole time with Martian weather and news. Two Martians tootled about getting their photos taken with diners or just sitting in strange locations watching us. They never came by to see us, however. Kevin and I soon realized that we were just about the only table without children.

Hmmm. I guess I do not quite have down the hip New York mentality. I thought this place would be jumping. Instead, I seem to think like a seven year old.

The food, however, was quick and good. And, the hand dryers in the restrooms were intergalactic!

To "Spamalot". Kevin was a bit let down. He has seen "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" something like 33 hundred times. So, he knows all the lines and he knows what the actor who says them should sound like. And, they don't sound like Clay Aikin. Or, any other American actor, for that matter. (As for me, I'm pleased when I have the opportunity to understand what is being said. A Broadway show isn't the place where I want to be nudging Kevin and asking "What did he say?" "What was funny?") So, for Kevin, it was "pleasant enough". I had a better time. And, I didn't fall asleep. This was a very, very, very good thing.

NOTE- the photo above of the two Martians was borrowed from the Mars 2112 web site. I couldn't take it. No camera. Thank you to Mars 2112. NaNu NaNu

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tuesday with Susette and Cai Guo-Qiang

Kevin and I (and Susette) finally made it to the Guggenheim. Interestingly, it was almost exactly 4 years ago that we first decided to visit- but arrived too late. (We were in town for Lance and Karina's wedding and their anniversary is on Thursday.)

I guess it really doesn't matter that my camera was broken or that no one is permitted to photograph inside the Guggenheim. Both create the same reality. I have no images of my own to share with you the exceptionally cool works of Cai Guo-Qiang. Quick look here before the exhibit is gone and you no longer can!! Cai works in sculpture, painting/drawing, and explosions. Yes. In fact, many of his drawings were done with gunpowder. Wow!

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. The first exhibit that confronts you- whether you decide to start at the top and work down (like we did) or the bottom and work up- is a series of identical white sedans floating up from the floor and pierced with numerous rays of light. (I've only just now learned that they represent a car bomb. Wow. Cai must have been a bit of a scary kid to raise. You've always got to watch the matches!) It is funny. There is nothing violent about it- just beautiful.

Starting from the top then are Cai's gunpowder drawings and video tapes playing of him making these drawing and making his performances of explosions. I must admit I was less excited about seeing him make a black rainbow out of smoke over Edinburgh than I was to watch him set up the gunpowder and fire crackers to make his portrait of (some guy who I couldn't hope to remember.) Unless you've looked at the Guggenheim site, you probably couldn't guess at the beauty and complexity that can be created by explosives. Kevin and I had exactly the same thought. Where can we get some really big paper and gunpowder? Oh, and a hoard of assistants to stamp out the excess flames once the explosions are complete. I'm guessing Fitzgibbon isn't zoned for "art".

Intellectually, however, I was taken by his massive explosive exhibitions he titled "For Extraterrestrials". These were meant to be viewed from space. Cool huh? Just wait! He has a plan for a similar set of booming art "For Mankind"- to be set off on the moon for us to view. He hasn't gotten there yet, however. (I'm wondering if it is possible to set off normal explosives on the moon. Don't they require oxygen?)

Winding down the next big exhibition is a series of sculptures of rent or tax collectors in China. Scary people intimidating old men, women, children, etc. These were originally created in China by Mao celebrating the new society of communism. (I hope I'm getting this correct.) But, in Cai's exhibit, the sculptures were in various states of "not finished". Some were only the metal armatures. Some had only a portion of the clay attached. Those that were finished had never been fired, so as the clay dries it cracks and pieces fall off. I'm guessing its a commentary on Cai's feelings about the message that these pieces originally were designed to convey.

You can tell I was never an art student, can't you? Sigh.

This is followed by sculptures of dozens of wolves that run for hundreds of feet up the spiral of the Guggenheim. As they travel further they begin to ascend- but their journey is abruptly ended by a clear glass plate. Dogs smack the glass and tumble to a heap on the floor. Then, come the hundred tigers- all pierced with arrows. (Note- the wolves and tigers are "life sized and created from sheep skin". They look very real- except the tigers have dog teeth (now that I'm thinking back on it- I think it was all the same mold) and (I'm sure) they have dog penises and scrotums. This is what happens when you take a veterinarian to an exhibit.)

Other large sculptures- a huge, suspended boat which is similarly "arrowed". A real wrecked ship that has been reassembled on a beach of broken ceramic plates and ceramic religious icons (gods or goddesses- I don't remember. I think they were Buddhist.) He has created a "trip" through time looking at his works in one annex. This is navigated inside a bark canoe that floats down a meandering, suspended stream. Really. You can walk around to see the same displays- but if you are patient enough you can wait in line to ride in the little one person boat. Not surprisingly, most of those I saw riding were under 4 and 1/2 feet tall.

After the museum we walked through Central Park and admired the spring blooms. Tulips, daffodils, flowering trees and bushes. It was a glorious day. Susette had to leave then, however. She and Marea had agility class. So, Kevin and I ducked into F. A. O. Schwartz- and then headed to Broadway.

Monday. Bloody Early Monday.

We had a plane to catch. Departing Columbus at 6:35 for La Guardia. Arrive 90 min before.

There isn't much traffic.

I think we both slept through most of the flight.

We caught a taxi and traveled out to Brooklyn to Lance and Karina's (and Max's and Karina's mom's) flat. There, we dropped our bags. We didn't have too much time to fill in the city, so we collected information at the tourist bureau and then just wandered. Our Monday night date was with Carolyn, John, and Dakota in Upper Montclair, New Jersey.

Carolyn picked us up and took us to Dakota's softball game. Unfortunately, Dakota had received a concussion the day before while playing field hockey- a fact that did not make her soft ball coach very happy. So, we didn't get to see her play. We did get to meet the team "mascot", Ed, and his special friend, Flip. Carolyn introduced us as coming from Australia and Ed informed us that that was the home of Dory from "Finding Nemo". And, he had Dory with him. This man has a thing for high school women's sports and animals with fins.


It was so good to visit with Carolyn and John, again. The last time I saw them Dakota was still in a stroller. I don't know where the time has gone.

You're probably surprised that a visit of this magnitude would have a minimal photographic record. That is because it was while I was in NJ that I determined that my digital camera was very, very ill. It has been possessed by some sort of battery vampire. A new pair of Duracell AA batteries will take a few photos- but if you close the camera and hope to take some more later- you will be met with two very, very dead batteries.

Ann is not pleased.

Ohio Log- Cleveland

Finally, I made it back to Cleveland. I was able to spend Friday with my friend Nan and Saturday with Christine. I only wish it could have been longer.

And, maybe that the weather had been a little more sunny and dry.

I got to see Nan's new house for the first time. It is a dome. Very cool. She's only minutes now from the Cuyahoga National Park- which if you haven't had the chance to enjoy- now's the time. We didn't actually go out hiking. We talked about it but let the rain keep us inside. She did take me to where the great blue heron's nest. There were a couple of dozen nests in a handful of trees with large, graceful, loping birds flying in with sticks and twigs. And, me without my camera!

I had a new dish (for me) at The Lemon Grass. Some sort of seafood fried rice. Maybe it had basil. Maybe that was the other dish I contemplated. Anyway, it was very, very good.

Saturday while Nan and Christine were working at their respective veterinary clinics, I visited Wild Oats, Barnes and Nobles, The Noble Road Library, and our old house. They've hung crappy white blinds in the front windows at our place- so I can't peek in. Humph. I did creep a bit down the driveway to check out whether my garden was still in existence in the back. Yes. In some form. Whoever is living there now, I imagine the residents are renting it, doesn't believe in cleaning up a garden in the fall. The front bed was a fright. I wish I could see it in the summer. I'm sure by now the fires of hell have matured and it is stunning.

Christine and I had a great time. Despite the on again/ off again rain and the cold grey day we went to the Cleveland Botanical Garden. They were having a big Japanese Garden theme. Nan had been talking about going. I wonder what she'll think. I was disappointed. The majority of the Japanese garden exhibit is made up of photographs that are hanging about 6 to 8 inches above my eye level.

Still, we enjoyed walking through the various outside gardens which were pretty uniformly brown still- and the two indoor gardens- particularly the rainforest with all the orchids and butterflies.

For Christine and I there was only one way to end our day. Pacific East. Need I say more?

Ohio Log- The Gathering of Friends or We Do Not Totally Suck at Tichu

My mother traded me off on Wed morning in Urbana. We had to get there early because Kevin and I had our big Tichu tournament at 1 PM. (Readers are advised to see last year's entry to appreciate the momentous occasion that Tichu would be for us.) We had a new plan for this year. One we'd already trialed at "The Gathering of Friendless" a couple of weeks earlier. Let the other team get WAY AHEAD- like 600 points- then score repeated Tichu- One-Two's and wrest victory from the other stunned team.

It was a good plan- but we just couldn't make it work. We kept getting points. Our first game we had outrageously good cards. We scored Tichu's, One-Two's. We threw bombs. In the final hand we needed less than 20 points to win. Kevin somehow refrained from calling Tichu despite having 2 bombs. In the end the result was lop sided (1035 to 160). We bore no resemblance to the team who wowed last year's Contract Tichu Tournament with a position that was so far behind as to be mind-boggling.

We advanced.


We still could not enact our plan. We managed to get behind. We just never manged to catch up- let alone pass the leaders. We lost: 605- 1095.

Over the rest of that day and the next I don't think I ever came close to winning anything. I DID get to eat at Chipotle's. And, the local Vietnamese restaurant. And, see Gail and Ken and Ken and Peter and Steve and Georgia and Renee and Sam (but sadly not Barb or Sharon or Erin).

Ohio Log- Day Tuesday

Tuesday my mom and I drove most of the way to Cincinnati to the new IKEA store. She had never been to one. I'm an old pro at buying Billy bookcases on two continents. We did IKEA our way with two stops at the cafeteria and one at the snack bar. Oh, and soup and pie on the way home.

When it was all said and done, my mother came home with a new table for Big Bird's cage to rest upon and a new bedspread. I managed to remember that I still needed to travel intercontinentally- so only bought 2 packages of cards.

A big hug for Auntie as we returned through Dayton.

Ohio Log- Day 2

Really, it is STILL day 2. I just took a nap and Kevin drove to Columbus.

Part 2 of Day 2.

Two! Two! Two! One! Two! Two! Two!

I imagine that cheating at Pit is common. It couldn't be JUST our family. Though, honestly, there is very little of mismatched trading going on. (Todd swears he was just passing on what was passed to him.) There is, however, a goodly amount of pre-bell trading. All silent. All above the table. And, no one has ever cornered the market before the dealer rings the bell.

I really enjoyed our Pit and Pizza Party. I wish Kevin could have stayed. Maybe he could have lost more horribly than I did.


I love my family- but they often seem to have technical problems with my camera. Kevin has a camera shake issue. I don't think he recognizes how AWFULLY slowly my camera works. Sure- you've finished pushing the button- but the camera hasn't begun to open/close the shutter. My mother. She has a problem with cutting off heads. I'll post the entire complement of photographs. She started with only losing Todd- but then when he scrunched down to be with his vertically challenged cousins, we ALL lost our heads!

Ohio Log- Day 1.

Well, it is actually day 2. But, if you arrive about 8 PM following a 26 hour trip and then drive 2 hours where you eat vegetable soup, pumpkin pie, and hug your mom- that doesn’t seem to count. Hmmmm. I guess it does count. What could be better in a day than homemade soup, pumpkin pie, and a hug?


Ohio Log – Day2.

Kevin had picked me up from the airport and driven me home to Versailles. This is now Saturday and we have an important engagement with Cynthia at H & R Block. We need to give her something like $300 to tell the US government that if they want any of our money they need to hit up the big boys in Australia. Here’s their number.

Our appointment is for 10 AM – which is, interestingly enough, the EXACT SAME TIME that auditions begin for “Deal or No Deal” at the Piqua Mall. H & R Block is in the little strip mall just off the parking lot for the Mall. We are met by police directing an unending stream of vehicles turning into the mall drive. Thanks to Kevin’s super mutant powers, however, we immediately find something like the last parking place in the lot associated with the strip mall. Yay.

Our appointment was fine. Easy. Sign the papers that had already been completed and then the credit card invoice. Kevin was eager to return to Columbus where he’s gaming for the next 10 days at the “Gathering of Friends”- but he’s willing to go with me into the mall to see the throngs who are there for the big audition.

Why was I surprised that many appear unwashed and skeevy? I guess I thought if you wanted to get chosen you’d dress up and look like TV-fodder. Silly me. So. Lots of people- many of whom were practicing screaming and clapping.

We picked up an application form. The questions were interesting- and I’d quote them all if I hadn’t given the form to my neighbor, Dixie of the pie crust and catechism fame. She has ALWAYS wanted to be on TV. So, I’ll struggle a bit here and maybe Kevin will help me later.

Your most embarrassing moment.

This is a bit of a challenge- I’m good at embarrassing myself.

When I was in the fourth grade, it was a big thing to pass “cooties”. These are like nerdy germs, I guess. I think you had to be there. Anyway, in the lunch line from the front of the line came a big run of K****’s cooties. I turned around and pass them. To C. K****, herself. Arghhhh.

When I was in the sixth grade I was wearing this one piece, red, white, and blue, zippered all the way down the front koolot outfit. I was at my locker and thinking I was taking off my jacket I unzipped my clothes all the way from top to bottom.

Then there was the time I lost my half slip while walking across the parking lot on my way to work at Kohl’s Department store.

Or, the time I called the crematorium instead of the blood lab for Zelda.

Or, the incident with all the blood. I can't even go there!

Your most unusual job.

Definitely, collecting radioactive horse piss. It wasn’t that we needed the urine- we just didn’t want to contaminate the environment of our scintigraphy unit. Somebody had to do it- and I was willing to work for minimum wage. (I was told I was a very good radiology technician’s assistant. My internal response- I should THINK so. I have a PhD.) The worst day of work was when I got covered in said urine and the scrub goddesses at the laundry at the vet school REFUSED to give me clean scrubs to change into. Well, initially. I wasn’t taking “no” for an answer. I was “hot”!

Though, I’ve also been a sexual surrogate for doves, detassled corn (but who hasn’t? At least if you grew up when I did in Versailles), and collected data on dragonfly behavior in the field.

See, I’m pretty good. I think I could have made it on paper. I just don’t have the effusive and excitable nature they’d want to see on TV.

Dixie does.

And, I’d never seen the show before. I’d heard a description of it- but I couldn’t believe that anyone would want to watch such a nothing concept.

Once again, I am so wrong.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

We're baaaackkk

Just got up from a powerful nap. Our trip back to Australia was 27.5 hrs from door to door. While I was very sorry to have our whirlwind tour of friends and family end, I was also relieved to have my life sssllloooowwww down. Finally, I can limit my guilt to only being too far away from home instead of being in the US with only a few short hours to spend with any one person... and, really, no hours with other equally important people. And, I can get back to a regular schedule with 8 hours of sleep in my own bed and maybe even some exercise each morning.

Before I get any further, it is important that I announce publicly what a pleasure it was flying United out of JFK! I was totally shocked. We were met at the door by United's version of the Walmart greeter- who found an attendant to help us at the self check kiosk. (Not that we had lost so many brain cells we can't do self check-in anymore- it was just that we had bought our tickets separately and needed to work things out so we could sit together on the flight.) Attendant One took over and type, type, type we had 2 boarding passes and then Attendant Two checked out our passports and tagged our bags and suggested we cross the hall to the Qantas desk to get our seat assignment for the LA leg NOW! JFK was bright and clean. The security screening went quickly with hardly a line and no pat-downs or body cavity searches. Wow. Thumbs up to Wolfgang Puck's four cheese pizza.

Our flight was as easy as any with only one difficulty. Kevin's earphone jack didn't work on the NY to LA flight. Fortunately, I had decided to re-read "Slaughterhouse Five" so he just plugged into my arm. VwaaLaa. I didn't mind missing the movie. I had drama in real life happening in the seats in front of us. Three total strangers (Bono age 40, Our Lady age 39, and Mr Heartbreak age 24)animatedly exchanging life stories and sorting out opinions on love, sex, dating, marriage, eating meat, exercise and masturbation. They were so fascinating they pulled in the young man who was seated in the row ahead of them, too. Eventually I finished reading Vonnegut and the movie ended and Kevin let me have the head phones back. I watched an episode of House- which isn't something I've watched more than once or twice before. I had to laugh- the plane started it's descent and cut off the entertainment service JUST AS House was announcing the solution to his patient's condition. I might have figured it out from the conversation he was having with his boss (I assume) just before he ordered whatever that necessary test was if the pilot wasn't announcing our impending arrival and the necessity to turn off all electrical devices including the video - which was still playing soundlessly. Arghhh.

LAX is always dismal. But that was only a small dip in the pleasure meter. I did have an empty seat beside me to sprawl if not lie into. Kevin was able to watch four COMPLETE films (Help!, The Savages, Cassandra's Dream, and The Man from Snowy River.) The meals were fine and I slept for several hours- just not contiguously.

I only watched 2 complete films- The Savages and Cassandra's Dream- both were OK, but only just. I also caught up on my prior in flight early terminations and watched the ends of both Sleuth and 10 Things I Hate About You. Yay.

Then, happy ending- we landed safely, flew through customs where, despite listing food on both of our landing tickets and telling 3 custom officials we were carrying Reese Peanut Butter Cups, we were chastised to declare our food next time. WE DID this time!!!!!!!!, and picked up Ms. Z. She obviously had had a good time- looking now like a very fluffy tootsie roll. We brought home her kong, her bed, her bag of food- but not her waist. Still, I'm so proud every time I see her in a run with another dog who is not missing body parts. Good girl, Zelda. Good girl.

Groceries, unpacking, laundry, napping. Tomorrow we are both back to work. I hope in the next days to update the blog with a sketch of our travels in America. Now, I should start supper so we can get back to sleep.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Back in the USA

I made the return trip in 28 hours- door to door. I took the time while waiting through my delay in Chicago (just an hour- lucky me!) to jot down my next blog entry. Of course, I did not bring these insights with me to the library. Next time. And, they will be typed in here- most likely.

Meanwhile, I've been having a great time. Finishing up our taxes. Figuring out how to get an absentee ballot for Nov. Re-instating my disability insurance through AFLAC. Not auditioning for "Deal or No Deal". Losing Pit. Eating pumpkin pie.

Today, I hope to do what every good Versailles girl wants most- get out of town. We want to COME BACK- but once we're here a few days it is time to hit the road. I've got my new Discover card activated and shined up and I'm ready to pass some plastic.

So, right now I'm in a bit of a rush. Just poking my head in to say "Hi".

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Since Kevin has been gone, I've been watching TV. I kind of gave up on movies after my binge when I was sick. I was disheartened to find that I hadn't enjoyed any of those movies tremendously, and I attributed it in part to missing Kevin. (You know that, already.) So, TV.

Zelda insists on couch time. I only do it for the dog.

And, being the good partner that I am, I've tried to watch TV that Kevin wouldn't be too interested in. That's how I've watched all the new episodes of "Dirt". I can't believe I did that. It isn't any better this year. I'm also caught up with this season of "Scrubs". More forgettable TV. Then, silly me. I stumbled on "Oz".

I forgot that Kevin hadn't seen the first season (though he's watched some of the later seasons.) I think I should be forgiven. Plus, I was moved to watch it given my own experience behind bars. (I have the distinct pleasure of ALWAYS being able to say about any current job: "It beats prison".)

Not that I was a prisoner. Remember, I had to pull out moldy parking tickets to get enough deviant-cred to apply for permanent residency in Australia. I taught undergraduate psychology courses in both the Ohio Reformatory for Women and London (Ohio) Correctional Facility. Yes....including "Theories of Personal Development and Adult Growth". The men at London were particularly intrigued. That was back in my cow-t-shirt and black-mini-skirt-flat-top-hair day. They asked "Are all women like you now?".


Anyway, watching "Oz" I've been considering what group I'd gravitate towards. Not the skinheads. Probably not the Italians. The Muslims? Don't think that would work. Being really crazy seems like an OK option- until - wait- I better not go on with that thought. I'd never feel good about a riot.

I'm thinking I'd better try to not become a resident.