Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

Our Boxing Day Rebellion!

From photo a day
Thanks to Christmas being on a Friday and Boxing Day, therefore, on Saturday, I got an extra Monday holiday. So, to celebrate we scheduled a whole weekend of Boxing Day Celebration.
From photo a day

We've tried to do it right - eating spaghetti, playing (Chinese) Ghost Stories (one win, one loss - though I suspect we only won because I convinced Kevin we should step down to the "Novice" level), and watching four (count them FOUR) Ang Lee films.

"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"

"Eat, Drink, Man, Woman"

"The Ice Storm"

"The Wedding Banquet"

And, that would be 16 thumbs up....

Jolie Bon's Bounce

From Singles 2009

He lifted his chin and rubbed the whiskers on his throat, the cast in his green eyes as ancient and devoid of moral light as those in a prehistoric, scale-covered creature breaking from the egg.

Meet Legion. Another fine, very disturbing Burke bad guy.

Another Burke novel where the lines of reality and the divine blur. Legion seems to be a demon with unexpected strength and supreme malice, an odor from hell and a second voice. Marvin Stokes is a traveling Bible salesman who pulls his suitcase of scripture tied to a roller skate yet is suffused with an air of predation. And, then there's Sal Angelo, a homeless, drug fogged Vietnam vet who claims to have been responsible for transporting a seriously injured soldier Dave out of the field and harms way.

The second tier of bad and good guys are more mundane: Tee Bobby Hulin - guitar player extraordinaire who's accused of raping and murdering a high school girl, his manager Jimmy Dean Styles, his lawyer, Perry LaSalle (of THE LaSalles), the prosecutor, Barbara Shannahan - who Clete falls for, a former "button man", Joe Zeroski, who's daughter has been brutally murdered, Joe's niece and various, ahem, associates... Someday I need to re-read one of these books immediately while I know all the characters.

And, of course, there's Dave and Clete. And, its a great Clete book.

He ran his big hand across the firmness of her back, the taper of her muscles along her hips.

"You're stand-up," he said.

"Not really," she said.

"You feel great, Barbara. Wow, do you feel great," he said, rubbing his cheek against her hair, petting her back, closing his eyes as he breathed in the fragrance and heat on her neck.

"So do you. But, Clete..." she said uncomfortably.

"What is it?" he asked, looking with alarm at her face.

"You're standing on my foot."

True to Form

From Singles 2009

More wisdom from Katie Nash - via Elizabeth Berg.

I think of how once I was standing in a church on Christmas Eve. There was a spicy scent of pine in the air, candles glowed, and there was baby Jesus in a creche on the alter. There was a sermon about love and joy, about redemption. And then everyone began to sing "O Holy Night". Next to me was a woman who could not carry a tune. At first I was so annoyed, listening to her. I wondered, Why does she sing so loud when she doesn't even know how? Then I looked at her and she was so pure, staring straight ahead, her face lit from within. Something moved into my heart at that moment that I did not really understand, but I understand it now: It is never about how good your voice is; it is only about feeling the urge to sing, and then having the courage to do it with the voice you are given. It is about what people try to share with each other, even if so many of us are so off-key when we do it. It is about saying we are somewhere, when what we mean is we are as close as we are able to get.

The thing about seasons is that when you're in one, you can't believe the others will ever come back. It feels to me like summer has its feet planted far apart and its hands on its hips: I am here.

Movers will come soon, Mrs Randolph told me, to take their things away. Then the house will be empty, and then new people will be there. A little time will pass and then it will seem like the new people have always been there. The way time and situations shift is a mystery of life. The way you can't count on anything staying, that's a sadness. Only yesterday, I saw white hairs in Bones' muzzle. I lay beside him, petting him, feeling so bad that he is getting old. For his part, he just wagged his tail and enjoyed the petting, which is what I mean about animals. They don't pace around, worrying. All they do is say, fine.

One thing I know. Anything we have, we are only borrowing. Anything. Anytime.

"Purple Cane Road" and "Mary Mary"

This is the one I'd been waiting for. It is the place I fell in love with James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux. I fell in love listening to Will Patton bringing life to Burke's words. The voice of Dave Robicheaux.

Unfortunately, this book is NOT available in Brisbane Australia's library system. By that I mean, it isn't available in print. So, despite my explicitly stated goal to read all of Robicheaux in order, I listened to "Purple Cane Road". And, I learned something. I learned the importance of the reader. (That is to say, it was not read by Will Patton.)

Now, since it has taken me 3 days after Christmas to get to the "twelfth day", it will come as no surprise that I actually "read" this book weeks ago. And, as a consequence my comments are very broad and lacking specifics. I'm not sure if my memory painted a story that the reality could not match or if the tale was tarnished by the wrong voice, but I was not blown away. Gosh, I hate to say that.

Similarly, while listening to Patterson's "Mary, Mary" was entertaining, it would not have launched me on a Patterson binge. Again, the narrator was all wrong for Alex Cross. This was exquisitely illustrated to me by his mispronunciation of the name Sojourner (as in Sojourner Truth.) No educated American, particularly an African American with a PhD would stumble over Sojourner. (Obviously, I was not entranced to have this error loom so large.)

If I had my act together

you would have received a Christmas card. And, it would have been very cool... looking something like this:

As it is, you will have to accept our (cyber) tardy well wishes for a joyful holiday and extra special new year!

With love in any season....

Ann, Kevin, and Zelda

Congratulations, Dr. Andrew!

From photo a day

Yes, yes. I'm very late. Very late. Well done!

(I hope the photos I took with your camera turned out well.)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas!

You'll have to hum your own carol. These are the images from Christmas 2009 - spent entirely here in Brisbane! Items to note:

Scene from mall was pulled because Kevin tells me it was boring. However, it was taken at 1:30 AM on the big "all night shopping" night at Chermside.

Santaland. Myers in the city (Queen Street Mall.) What is this fetish for going through a mouth into a magic land??? (See also Luna Park, Melbourne.)

Kevin with his favorite Christmas gift - thanks to Margie. Dark chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cups!

No photo of Zelda with her favorite gift - though she got to chew on it for almost 45 minutes before it hit the great dumpster, minus one squeaker, lots of yellow fuzz, and a significant piece of rubber.

Christmas lights from the Catholic Church on Maundrell Terrace. Please note- the bushmen wise men and Santa kneeling near the manger (with a gift, of course)!

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas!

On the Tenth Day of Christmas!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Warning to all

From APT 6 Goma

A sausage sizzle, even if it is at the Gallery of Modern Art, is a BYOM* event. Be prepared.

*Bring Your Own Mustard

Salute to Mo-vember!

From APT 6 Goma

From APT 6 Goma


From APT 6 Goma
That would be the Asian Pacific Triennial #6 and we were very impressed. We went early so we could see the Premier of Queensland, Anna Bligh, just to say we had. It was the opening of the exhibition and you wouldn't have thought it would take much thought to figure out that it was going to be a "big deal" to a large number of people. We expected a crowd. We just (or I just) didn't think they'd be all dressed up! I did wear my new shorts and socks - but I must say I was far from cool. In fact, if there was a coolness continuum, Kevin and I were resting comfortably on the left end.
From APT 6 Goma

The other principle reason we chose to attend the opening was that there were to be two outdoor exhibitions - a "fruit market" of paper fruit. (You could by the printed paper sheets and cut out/fold/make your own. A banana for 80c! Cheaper than what I pay for bananas in the flesh!)
From APT 6 Goma

The second, awe inspiring, not to be missed exhibit were the bubble machines! I could not stop smiling.

A quick slideshow of art from the exhibition. We recommend it to everyone!

Life imitates Art

From APT 6 Goma

From APT 6 Goma
What's going on here? Any Aussies know??? (These are ants. Later that evening - 12 hours or so, they were still in a huddle but on the ceiling beside the light fixture. By morning they were gone and not seen again.)

Saturday, December 05, 2009


I'm thinking ahead to my 2010 resolution and contemplating something like "looking in a mirror before I go out". This comes from the juxtaposition of two things. Being entirely impressed with the effort that some women put into dressing and seeing myself in the photos Kevin mother took while here in Brisbane (photo withheld - public service).

I'll never be able to achieve the level of pizzazz I witnessed today - how Anna Bligh matched her outfit to the colo(u)r (no doubt) of the APT signs at the GOMA - including her shoes (not pictured - just trust me...)
From APT 6 Goma

or the woman sitting in front of me on the train who's bra matched her dress! >
From APT 6 Goma

But, I'm hoping to be more easily distinguished from "bag lady" or "recently released mental patient" or as Kevin labels it "little old lady".

Looking up!

Finally a clear night. At 2:37 AM Kevin and I made our way out into the street, some of us clad in our pjs, and watched the International Space Station zip across the sky. I'm pretty sure I saw them waving.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday - Tangalooma Resort

From tangalooma
Unfortunately, the last whale watch in Moreton Bay was October 31 and Linda arrived November 3rd. (Keep this in mind if you are planning your visit!) As an alternative Kevin and his mom decided we'd go to Tangalooma Resort on Moreton Island. I was very excited about this. On Tangalooma you get to feed the dolphins!

Like everything so far, and I hope this doesn't discourage you, we needed to be up early to catch the 7 AM ferry across the bay to Moreton Island. I'm not sure if there were dolphins or whales to see while we crossed the bay. I fell asleep. We arrived just in time for the pelican feeding off the pier.
From tangalooma

We stopped by the resort "fish pool" to "watch" the fish feeding. (I saw plenty of prawns and fish and squid being cut into pieces and tossed in the water but not so much eating or even fish. Ah, the trials of being under-tall.) However, it was at this experience where we learned something that would prove to be quite useful. Starfish have a tendency to wash up on shore. If they aren't the delicate legged "brittle stars", it is appropriate "to Frisbee" them back out into the water.

There are many activities at the resort - snorkeling, kayaking, jet skis, tobogganing down the dunes. We chose to go fish feeding out by the sunken ship reef. That, and feed the dolphins - but that is done at sundown. We aren't there yet. (See? Plenty of new fun activities you can make us try! Including archery. But we won't talk about that. Kevin might cry.)
From tangalooma

From tangalooma

After lunch we played in the water though not all of us were willing to get our hair wet. (Names withheld.)
From tangalooma
Then, Kevin and I walked up the beach toward the dunes and the wrecked ships. This is when we experienced the in rushing of starfish onto the beach. Fling! Fling! Fling! We suspect there is currently under construction a starfish shrine in our honor.
From tangalooma

From tangalooma

Finally, as the sun dropped the dolphins started coming in. After getting our instructions we formed 5 lines and waited our turn. I expected I'd be knee deep in water, but I found that it was impossible to roll up my shorts high enough to avoid wet pants. I had a wet seat - but it was worth it! We were each given a small (dead) fish and instructed to hold it by the tail like an ice cream cone, shove it head first under the water, and LET GO when the dolphin grabbed it. Ah! A guide accompanied every guest and recited the instructions again. Then, reached into his bag and handed out more fish for us to feed. Photos were taken. Photos that I would probably have paid $45 for - except that immediately upon completion of the feeding we were hustled back onto the ferry and setting out for home.

After this

I went back to work: Wednesday and Thursday.

Sydney Day 3 - The North Shore

From Linda's visit to Australia
Once upon a time Kevin lived in Sydney. He lived north of the city in a little, quiet suburb called Balgowlah. It was him, a small underground mall (though Kevin says it wasn't really underground) with an "indian-esque" totem out front, a bowling alley, and a very, very, very nice harbour walk to Manly. Since Linda had not been to visit Kevin during this point of his history, she had to go see the old home now. Now, when the bowling alley has been demolished and the mall and totem replaced by a very upscale shopping center/condo/apartment complex. The walk, however, remains just as beautiful and pleasant.
From Linda's visit to Australia

We ended our Sydney visit with lunch in Manly and then caught the ferry back to the city.
From Linda's visit to Australia

From Bill Bryson's "In A Sunburned Country":
Before you the spangly water is crowded with the harbour's stout and old-fashioned ferries, looking for all the world as if they have been plucked from the pages of a 1940s children's book with a title like Thomas the Tugboat...

P.S. Everyone is encouraged to read Bill Bryson's wonderful book about Australia. We love the book, Bill, and referred to it often as we made our own trek around the country in 2002.

Syndey Day 2 - Opera House and more

From Linda's visit to Australia

Monday. We had a lunch date with our friend Pat and so needed to create a schedule. Opera House and Royal Botanic Garden before lunch. Sydney Tower and ?? after.

It has been a couple years now since we last went on the tour of the Opera House and they've shaken things up a bit. Now, you can have your photo taken in front of the Opera House and the delivery van that is parked in front of the Opera House while waiting for the tour to begin. At the end of the tour you can pick-up that photo and take it home with you - for $45. An AMAZING price, I think. Even for Australia. (I thought that all morning until I learned you can get a photo of yourself/your party posed in front of a placard at the Sydney Tower for the same $45 price. Now the Opera House/delivery truck photo seems like a bargain.) The tour itself has changed in good ways. Now, they give everyone head phones so you can hear the guide very easily. And, the history of the design and construction of the building has been recorded. Three short video segments projected onto various walls. I couldn't understand how the sails of the Opera House were "lifted" out of a hemisphere until I watched the demonstration. (Not that I could describe it here nor re-create it - probably even if my life depended on it. Probably.) Anyway, I thought the videos were a very nice addition. Finally, I learned that Utzon's inspiration for the breathtaking (pun intended) stair to the opera house was from the temples of the Aztecs.

Kevin and I love the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, the Gardens. I take the same photos every visit. It always feels like a great new find.

After viewing Sydney from the top of the Sydney Tower, it was time for a rest. Kevin and I went looking for the bus tickets we'd need the next day while Linda read in the room. We stumbled upon an excellent pizza deal and brought dinner back to the room. Later, making use of the bargain tickets we'd purchased at the tower, Kevin and I then explored the aquarium at Darling Harbour. I only seem to go there at night. I recommend it. Wandering through the rooms and glass tunnels inside the large tanks while everything is still and dark is magical.

South to Sydney! Day 1

From Linda's visit to Australia

As aghast as Kevin and Linda had been about our Friday Bruce highway plan, an even earlier wake up and departure was required for our flight to Sydney. The weekend weather was still grey and a bit rainy - even in NSW. We took a taxi from the airport to our hostel at Darling Harbour: The Woolbrokers. Very nice. (I had stayed there before with Carroll, Karen and Cruz.) And, very convenient to seeing things in the city - which is what we commenced to do.

We saw the "usual":

Queen Victoria Building

From Linda's visit to Australia

From Linda's visit to Australia

Darling Harbour
From Linda's visit to Australia

Hyde Park
From Linda's visit to Australia

St. Mary's Cathedral
From Linda's visit to Australia

We discovered something new and very cool. An underground moving sidewalk - a very fast moving underground moving sidewalk - filled with interesting murals and going to the parking garage for the Domain. Not that we had a car nor any desire to see the car park. None the less, totally worth checking out.
From Linda's visit to Australia

From Linda's visit to Australia

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Linda's Visit - Traveling North!

From Linda's visit to Australia
Our first group outing was a big one. We pushed HARD to see The Glass House Mountains, Australia Zoo, and the Mary Cairncross Rainforest Reserve. Pushing hard involves setting out before 8 AM while it is drizzling and going, going, going.

Initially I was concerned about the rain, but it ended up being an ideal day. Only enough rain to prompt us to buy ponchos. Then, the sun came out...but it stayed comfortable. Fabulous.

First stop - after a bit of being lost...The Glass House Mountains! While I've enjoyed seeing them before, I think they've never looked better than they did that morning shrouded in the mist. Doesn't it feel cool? Cool as in both comfortable and mysterious...
From Linda's visit to Australia
From Linda's visit to Australia
From Linda's visit to Australia

On the way down from the lookout, a kangaroo hopped out in front of our car. This is always cool - just like when you see deer at home - as long as there is no collision with the car! I'd like to say the photo is supposed to look like this to capture the feeling of movement, but you know better.
From Linda's visit to Australia

Next stop - Australia zoo. No photo of Kevin and I in our fashionable Australia Zoo ponchos, but in the photo of the American Alligators you can see the rain. And, a very brave water dragon.
From Linda's visit to Australia
From Linda's visit to Australia
From Linda's visit to Australia
From Linda's visit to Australia
From Linda's visit to Australia

Finally, back to the rainforest. Kevin and I are very impressed by this little place. We've decided everyone must go. It was an overcast day, as I've said. Not the intense sunshine we had last visit and so too dark for good photography (with my equipment.) No snakes this time. I don't think Linda was disappointed. We did find pademelons, however. Yay.

Linda's visit - Introduction

From Linda's visit to Australia
Gee, when I look at the sidebar it is obvious that October was a very, very busy month. And, so too, the first part of November. I'm finally getting something of a breather. I'm blessed with NO SICK ANIMALS in the hospital today and so our trip to Mount Cotton to see the B-52's will only be challenged by sun burn, heat stroke, dehydration, mousquito bites, and just plain sore bottoms from waiting for 6 or 7 hours for the show to begin. Yay!

But, that wasn't supposed to be the point of the post. (See title.) Two of these last weeks were spent with Kevin's mother. It was her first visit to our home and to Australia. This required travel time and touring. Yay! We love showing guests around. Unlike Flat Stanley, Linda was able to take her own photographs, so I only have about 200 new ones. Don't worry. They won't all appear here.

Kevin took his mother around to see things in the city - Fortitude Valley (China Town), City Hall (Clock Tower), Queen Street Mall, Mt Cootha lookout... Those days I worked. (He is the one with the "generous" vacation package. Mine was pretty much already consumed by two trips home in the last 12 months.) The point of this is there are absolutely no photographs.

I did take off the two weekends and the Monday and Tuesday of her visit. Therefore, I got to also enjoy the Glass House Mountains, Australia Zoo, Mary Cairncross Reserve, Sydney(!!), and the Tangalooma Resort on Moreton Island(!!!). What follows is a brief review.

Follows, that is in separate posts.


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This is from Wordle. Very cool. Kind of says it all... though at this time you have to click on the link to see it!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tomorrow! At last!

Coming to Brisbane - well almost - and we'll be there! Sweating. Tomorrow!

The wait is over!

Flat Stanley is back in Ohio!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Oh no!

From Flat Stanley
Flat Stanley is MIA. He hasn't arrived yet though he departed almost 3 weeks ago! I suspect the 3 extra friends we sent along were not just going along for the ride but had an agenda of their own and have hijacked the shipment!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Flat Stanley - The Rest of the Story

From Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley was sent to us from a second grader in Massilon, Ohio. He came with instructions (but no dietary restrictions). We were to take him around where we lived, take some photos or collect some postcards. We were to collect a few. We kept Stanley for about 2 weeks. Well, ok, three weeks. But during the last week he stayed in his envelope and we spent our time getting his story put together and the photos printed and the box prepared. A few photos came out to be almost 80 with about two dozen postcards. We aren't sure if the teacher will love us or hate us.

While we had a great time, it wasn't all fun and games for him. Stanley had to brave the local spiders - who were much, much larger than he expected
From Flat Stanley

And, he had to help out with the shopping
From Flat Stanley
and with chores around the house.
From Flat Stanley

But, through it all Stanley kept a smile on his face and his sense of fun and adventure.
From Flat Stanley
From Flat Stanley

He was, in all, a very good guest. And, we're missing him.

Now, don't you want to schedule YOUR Australian Adventure??