Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dixie City Jam

From Singles 2009

Dixie City Jam

1 Nazi Submarine - sink it in 1942 and let it marinate at the mouth of the Mississippi River (a)
3 cups Dave Robicheaux
Heaping teaspoon of Clete Purcel (b)
Add three "meatballs": two Italian (Bobo and Max Calucci(c)) and one cancer riddled Irish ex-boxer (Tommy Lonighans (d))
Season liberally with Tennessee Evangelical radio preacher: Reverend Flat(e), NOPD Detective Lucinda Bergeron and her son, Zoot.
Mix in 1 large Jewish chemist, Hippo Bimstein, 1 sexy nun, and a handful of skinhead/Neo-Nazis (If you can find Will Buchalter, you'll get an especially spicy Jam!)

Simmer in the city of New Orleans (f) while an unidentified vigilante removes hearts from black drug dealers. Serve with plenty of alcohol and a bit of zydeco!

Or were they still sailing beneath the waves, their skins pickled in salt, their uniforms nests for moray eels, their plan to turn the earth into a place of concertina wire and guard towers still on track, as certain in prospect as the phosphorescent and boiling wake of a torpedo streaking toward a distant ship silhouetted against an autumnal moon?

"You keep that animal away from me. He's a fucking menace. They ought to put his brain in a jar out at the medical school."

Max and Bobo Calucci: In popular literature their kind are portrayed as twentieth-century Chaucerian buffoons, venial and humorous con men whose greatest moral offense is their mismatched wardrobe, or charismatic representatives of wealthy New York crime families whose palatial compounds are always alive with wedding receptions and garden parties. The familial code of the last group is sawed out of medieval romance, their dalliance with evil of Faustian and tragic proportions.

Maybe they are indeed these things. But the ones I have known, with one or two exceptions, all possessed a single common characteristic that is unforgettable. Their eyes are dead. No, that's not quite correct. There's a light there, like a wet lucifer match flaring behind black glass, but no matter how hard you try to interpret the thought working behind it, you cannot be sure if the person is thinking about taking your life or having his car washed.

"The Tommy Lonighan I remember drowned a guy with a fire hose, Clete."
"So who's perfect?..."

I left him there, a good man out of sync with the world, the era, even the vocabulary of his countrymen. But I doubted if anyone would ever be able to accuse the Reverend Oswald Flat of mediocrity. His kind ended on crosses, forever the excoriated enemies of the obsequious. To him my words of caution bordered on insult and my most reasoned argument had the viability of a moth attempting to mold and shape a flame.

Morning was always the best time to walk in the Quarter. The streets were still deep in shadow, and the water from the previous night's rain leaked from the wood shutters down the pastel sides of the buildings, and you could smell coffee and fresh-baked bread in the small grocery stores and the dank, cool odor of wild spearmint and old brick in the passageways. Every scrolled-iron balcony along the street seemed overgrown with a tangle of potted roses, bougainvillea, azaleas, and flaming hibiscus, and the moment could be so perfect that you felt you had stepped inside an Utrillo painting.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Climbing Mt. Kosciuszko

Monday. Australia Day.

Everyone was packing up to leave early. My flight back to Brisbane wasn't until 5 PM. We had originally thought we'd do some touristy things in Canberra, but then Kevin recognized that we were within spitting distance of Mt. Kosciuszko - the highest point in Australia. We'd been there once before in 2002 when we were driving around the continent. But, it had been late afternoon by the time we arrived and we knew we couldn't make it to the top and back before they turned off the ski lifts that would bring us the rest of the way off the mountain. Somehow, that day I had convinced Kevin to let the dream go.

Obviously, we had to do it this time. We just had to do the 7 km return hike in 4 hours.

I suppose every relationship includes one person who is more cautious than the other. That would be me. I wasn't sure that we could walk 14 km (about 8 1/2 miles) up and down a mountain in 4 hours. I didn't want to miss my flight.

Kevin suggested a deal. I walk fast. I take no photos on the way up.

And, I added, we turn around in 2 hours.

He wouldn't take the add on condition. And, he said I could take photos.

As it turned out, we reached the summit, where a group was flying kites and flags to honor the holiday, BEFORE the 2 hour turn around deadline. And, that included stopping so I could use the highest toilet in Australia!

And, now for the slideshow.

Riding up on the ski lift was really fun- even without swinging or bouncing. Kevin pointed out that if they REALLY want people to ride up quietly, they should make the No Swinging or Bouncing sign look like Swinging and Bouncing are not so much fun. Like, maybe, the swinging/bouncing stick man might fall out of the lift chair? Just an idea.

As we reached the top on our lift ride there was a big gust of wind and my hat blew off. Fortunately, the people behind us witnessed the flying hat and its landing and were able to let us know it was recoverable. THANK YOU.

The walkway was pretty fabulous. Wide enough for us to walk side by side. That doesn't happen on your average Australian footpath (sidewalk).

Flies. I thank god they were happy on my hat and left my face alone.

On The Beach 2009

Friday my alarm went off at 3 AM.


I have been getting up earlier, like 5 AM, so I can get something done at home. By the time I'm home from work, I'm too tired to enjoy doing something - anything - except mindlessly stroke the dog while zoning out watching Season 3 of "Battlestar Galactica". (I used to only have energy for Season 2 of "Battlestar". Is this an improvement, I wonder?) And, one day I got up at 4 AM. But, never have I chosen 3 AM.

Anyway, I needed to get up EXTRA EARLY so I could make my flight at 5:30 AM. (Translation: flight at 5:30 AM; must be checked in by 4:30, maybe 4:45; must get to airport by taxi who may or may not arrive on schedule - give self 40 min. That's minimally a 4 AM departure. Add shower. Add breakfast. Add verify packing is complete.)

I flew to Canberra where Kevin picked me up and drove me south about 2.5 hours to a little chalet outside Jindabyne where OTB gaming commenced about a week earlier. Jindabyne. I knew ALL about Jindabyne. I saw the movie!

From photo a day

But, maybe you didn't. Little NSW town in the Snowy Mountains. Big man made lake. Old town underneath water. Dead black woman in the river.

The last part, I think that's optional.

Friday in (well, outside of) Jindabyne on Mt. Crackenback, I took a nap.

Then, performed an uninspired job as Brendon's partner in my favorite game, "Time's Up!".


Saturday we drove back to Canberra to partake in a taste of the 2009 Australian Games Expo/CanCon.

Sunday - Gaming - for real - at the chalet including Tichu and - Battlestar Galactica. (I just can't get away from this! I got to be Gaius and Kevin was Adama. I was President. He was Admiral. And, we were both Cylons. We beat the humans. I think they starved to death.)

From photo a day

Too little, too late

I'm not sure why I persist with this notion that if Kevin were not at home I would live a clean and tidy life, my blog would be updated daily, I would eat 5 servings of fresh vegetables every day, and be an exercising fool. It never happens that way. Never. Instead, I miss Kevin and I gorge on "Battlestar Galactica". The dog doesn't even get walked. I am pathetic.

As you may have guessed Kevin has been gone for the past 2 weeks. (I recognize you've guessed this from the first paragraph and NOT from the 14 new clever blog entries you've just read. I possess a modicum of self-awareness or at least an awareness of my surroundings and, um, the past.) He's been in NSW playing games "On the Beach". This year it was in Jindabyne, so I guess the beach is literally man made with real houses under the waves. He's home now - hence the new entry and the freshly cut grass and the pizza waiting to be baked. The other good news - the car came home with him. The Red Dragon with co-pilot Michael Jackson made the trip - which must have been about 12 + 4 + 2.5 hours long without incident!

I DID get out of the house to have fun once while he was gone. I went to the Cultural Centre - by way of the WRONG train connection - and took in the new exhibits at the Art Museum. Oh, and I bought some groceries and a new tea pot. Below: a glimpse of my weekend as Bachelorette #1. I love the last shot. I don't know the story behind who dropped this on the footpath crossing the Brisbane River - but I'm guessing they had a bit more of a wild time than I did.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread

From Singles 2009

Clearly, this Thomas E. Dewey -- and a man named John W. Bricker, who was governor of the state of Ohio for crying out loud-- really couldn't stand President Roosevelt. But only Nazis and the dirty little Japs were supposed to hate President Roosevelt. If you were an American and hated President Roosevelt, what did that make you?

(Old? Tired? Defeated? How come, if President Roosevelt was all those things, our side was winning the war? Well, you had to make allowances. After all, the people who said such things were Republicans, and everyone knew Republicans were sort of thick in the head.)

"The Greatest Thing..." follows nine-year-old Morris Bird III as he walks across the East side of Cleveland to visit his friend, Stanley Chaloupka, who moved away before the beginning of the school year. He's accompanied by his baby sister - who he is good enough to pull in his wagon most of the time. (It is a school day and she's threatening to call attention to their truancy if he doesn't do things her way, at least occasionally.) The year is 1944 and natural gas stores are about to erupt.

Thank you for the gift of this book. It was a pleasant read while waiting in LA for my flight to Brisbane. (I am woefully behind on this blogging enterprise.) Morris is a great kid, but I must confess that I was fascinated to learn about such a huge disaster that took place close to my last "home" in the not so distant past. (I can't believe that I had not heard anything about this event. Ever. In Darwin there would be a big museum - and there would be a giant stuffed croc there, too.) Of course, since then I've spent way too much time locating where Morris lived and Stanley and looking at photos of the devastation that was created by the explosion.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Woke up this morning

This song was singing insistently through my head each time I woke up this morning. (That would be both times.) I am not sure why. Maybe I'm homesick. Maybe I need more musical theater in my life. Perhaps it is my subconscious's salute to the inauguration.

Or maybe it is the rhythm.... cha cha cha cha cha cha - mer i ca...very much the same cadence of the scratching going on on the other side of the bed. Maybe this is all Zelda's support of her homeland.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Suggestion for all photographers in Japan

Today, as I do too often, I stopped at the Sushi Train for a bite. It used to be I justified these visits by focusing on the fact that the green tea was FREE. Yep. I might be buying $8 of sushi, but I was SAVING at least $3.20 on tea. Now, they've started charging for the tea: $1. It is still the biggest bargain at Chermside, but free is much more compelling.

Anyway, today on their video screen they were projecting some sort of program about a festival in Japan which involved a lot of drumming by both men and women in shorts. (I don't have any idea what the festival is/was. The soundtrack of the program was turned off in favor of some incessant techno-pop muzak... and even if it hadn't been, it would have most likely been in Japanese. I would have enjoyed hearing the drumming, however.) It didn't take long for me to recognize a fact that every photographer in Japan should learn. Japanese people are not flattered by wide angle lenses.

I'm not sure that any people are. Not me, I'm sure. Maybe those tall Africans who speak the clicking language.

And, now for a bit of Japanese drumming. Kodo. I feel pretty cool because I saw them perform at the American Dance Festival in Durham WAY back when I was a student - the first or second or third time.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Work tales

This week I worked six days. That's because my boss is off whipping the Blue Mountains into shape. It has been exhausting and highlighted by some notable people and events.

Initially, it looked like we were going to have a very slow week. As of Tuesday afternoon (my last 2 doctor day), we had only 1 appointment Wed morning, a couple in the afternoon, a few on Thursday, and nothing Friday afternoon. Wednesday morning did end up with only two appointments, but then things picked up and we pretty much filled every slot.

One of those appointments Wednesday morning was filled Wednesday morning by a phone call. "I can get you in at 9:30." So, in comes a man with his young dog to get both a vaccine and heartworm injection...and in the course of explaining to me why he hasn't been walking the dog lately tells me he's going to kill himself. Oh, and I'm the only person he's told.

What do you do with this? We didn't cover this in vet school.

While my fabulous nurses were bathing the dog (which, by the way for some reason is pronounced bath - ing in Australia...perhaps they lack the verb "bathe"), I called the suicide hotline. I was surprised by how long a person has to wait to get to talk to a person on the suicide hotline. First, you have to listen to a little blurb about the call being recorded and then wait on hold. You don't want to decide to call after you've already swallowed the pills...

I explained to the woman on the other end that my client has just told me he was planning to kill himself and that I am the only one he's told. Perhaps she could tell me about a social agency that might stop by to talk with this man?

"Call the police."

Oh, great. That sounds subtle.

The police tell me they will come out to the clinic to talk with him. They'd take him to the hospital if he didn't seem to be in his right mind. Mental images of yelling, cursing, fists flying. There was absolutely no way it wouldn't be obvious that I was responsible and WHAT WERE WE GOING TO DO WITH HIS DOG?

Fortunately, the police didn't arrive until after he'd left. I told them he'd probably have gone right home since he has his dog.

Now, I'm cautious. Careful that no one leaves the clinic in the evening by herself. I'm waiting for him to show up with an assult rifle to take us out before turning it on himself. The nurses tell me I sound like an American.

Later in the week I had another less dramatic interaction.

Skink (not her real name) was in for her annual visit. Again, I vaccinated her and gave her a proheart injection. I prescribed her a worming table. "That's it. Everything's up to date."

"Everything's up to date in Kansas City," her owner replies.

"It isn't everyday someone comes in quoting Rogers and Hammerstein."

"That's something my dad said. He brought it home from the war. It was an Australian saying." Something about the interaction between the Aussies and the Yanks.

Mentally. "WHAT? AN AUSTRALIAN SAYING?." Out loud. "That's a line from a song from Rogers' and Hammerstein's 'Oklahoma.' 'Everything's up to date in Kansas City. They've gone about as fer as they could go. They've gone and built a sky scraper seven stories high...'"

After he left I ran to Google. "Everything's up to date in Kansas City Australia," I searched. Funny. Can't find any information that supports the idea that this phrase has any relationship with Oz. I found only six hits. I looked at every single one. (By the way, I just repeated it and got 10 pages, so who knows what I actually did!) My favorite was an Australian forum where the writer posted the question/comment that while there were 50 states in the US he could only come up with about 8 songs that had the title of a state or US city in them! He thought that was "so odd". The next few posts added a song or two. Finally, about post 5 was a list of several hundred. I almost fell out of my chair laughing. It went on and on and on and on.

Anyway, one of those songs was, of course, "Cleveland Rocks" which inspired me to go into a bit of a Drew Carey orgy. A bright spot in my week!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Year in Review

I know I said I had written the last of my Christmas posts. What can I say? I think I fibbed. A little. I hadn't yet posted my Christmas card/letter - though miraculously, it did get written prior to The Day.

Now, if you live in Australia, this (above) is what your card (would have looked like). I ran into a bit of a problem. I actually got the card ready to print before I left on the 5th and was feeling a little foolish about mailing them out so early. "What?" you ask. "I didn't get a card." Well, Virginia. Really no one on my Australia list got a card. Kevin's computer died and all hopes of printing were ended. I'm still thinking I might go ahead. You folks in Australia have probably never received a holiday greeting on Ground Hogs Day, before. Time to welcome you into the fold. (Plus, I bought the stamps in November!) (WHOA! How funny. That blank space is EXACTLY what your card looked like, isn't it? Kevin's computer just quit again!)

If you live in the US, you should have received one of the above cards. If you didn't, I apologize. Consider this post your card. And, you get all four photos!

If you live anywhere else, I am sorry to say I never really considered your card. If you live somewhere that Christmas is warm, you might prefer the snowy scene. Or, maybe you like the idea of an Australian scene, since it is coming from a "sort of" Australian.

Regardless of your residence, I wish each and every one joy and peace in the new year.

Happy Holidays,

I am having the best Christmas season! I was lucky enough to get 3 weeks off so I could “go home” for the holidays! I am so thankful! As it turns out, I’ve been pretty much Versailles-bound between the icy weather and having no car. Today is the first day (20th) since I arrived (5th) that I have been allowed to take the car. Two weeks. That is the amount of time my mother has determined is required to pass to flush out that crazy Australian driving out of my system. (It didn’t help me that I kept grabbing on to the dashboard and crying out “You’re driving on the wrong side of the road!!!”)

We were granted permanent residency status in June. That means our stay in Au is no longer tied to Kevin’s employer and we have passed a big hurdle on the way to citizenship (dual citizenship.) This made Kevin very happy.

Highlights of the year 2008. (I need to remind you of the year. Not because you are old but because I am not known for sending out timely cards.)
--Travel: I finally made it to Darwin! Darwin, as a city, sells itself by its history of destruction: bombed in WWII ala Pearl Harbor then flattened in the 1970’s by Cyclone Tracy. That, and it is full of things that will kill you: crocodiles, box jelly fish, blue ringed octopi. We spent a day on a tour seeing nature: birds and crocodiles in the swampy Fogg Dam wetlands, termite mounds, waterfalls, croc-free and croc-full water holes at Litchfield Park and taking The Jumping Crocodile Cruise! Sure, it was cheesy.
--GOMA. We ended our Christmas season last year with a Boxing Day visit to the Andy Warhol exhibit - our Warholiday - and returned several times throughout the year. The current collection is fabulous with a giant woman in a giant bed, a cardboard box rainbow (but without color- so maybe it is just an arch), a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful Michael Jackson salute and white fake fur forest (very Christmas-y).
--The US election. We really enjoyed the election. Living in Au, we were able to control how saturated our life was with political campaigning. Big salute to Sarah Palin and Tina Fey who kept us laughing week after week. And, for a change, Zelda supported our choice for president. Sarah made a play for the Z-vote by letting her hair down in a shameless attempt to look more cocker, but Zelda stuck by her man - black with big ears.
--GAMING. Of course. A lot. Kevin scored another 15 minutes of fame by having his image incorporated as a card in Brisbanite Peter Hawes' new game: “Heads of State” (or, as we like to call it, “The Bishop Game”.) Kevin's card- let's see if you can guess - that's right, is the bishop and he's featured prominently on the game box lid.
--Zombie News. We spent a good amount of time planning our approach to an upcoming zombie apocalypse. Kevin insists Zelda has to make it on her own. I don't think that will play well. In addition, Kevin scored a guest appearance as a zombie in the comic book “The Walking Dead” (Issue 53). And, he rounded out the year by doing an interview with a reporter from Ohio Univ. regarding his film “Night of the Living Bread.” We were amused to find remakes of “NotLB” on YouTube.
--Miraculously, after months – literally months!- of dodgy auto reliability, faulty or at least incomplete repair/analysis, and totally inadequate dog grooming, our car, The Red Dragon, is back in business! We are totally psyched, and thankful that we were forced to move to this new house that is minutes from the train station.

MOVIES: My entire motivation to write this letter is to recommend two fabulous films. Whatever you need to do to see these films, I say, “Do it.”
“As It Is In Heaven” (Swedish). Famous conductor retires to tiny village where he was a boy and becomes the director of the church choir. “Lars and the Real Girl” Lonely, socially backward man starts dating blow-up doll. Remember, Ann says, "Do it."
Also worthy:
--Crime stories: “Eastern Promises” - Russian mob in London. “Chopper” - biography of Australian criminal/artist/philosopher Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read.
--Horror: not one of my usual best film categories but these sing - though only with subtitles. “The Orphanage” a French ghost story. “Let the Right One In” a Swedish vampire tale.
--Visit with an Old Friend: “The X Files: I Want to Believe”. (Kevin was less thrilled, so for him I'll add “Sex and the City”. We have different friends.)
--Sweet stories about friends and love: “Eagle vs. Shark” (New Zealand) “Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day”.
--Guilty pleasure/feel good fun: “Mama Mia” - there I go again!
--Kevin adds: “The Dark Knight” - We had a superhero heavy year, and I'll agree this was the best of the lot. “No Country for Old Men”. We watched this between last year's letter and January 1st, 2008- so it didn't make my list of 2008 films. Kevin is less constrained by arbitrary rules.

BOOKS: My project this year has been to read in order all of James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux detective novels. I've read 6 of 18. By far the best: Black Cherry Blues, Morning for Flamingos, & In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead. (Movie of the last to come out in 2009.) Yes, I recognize I've listed half of the books I've read. So shoot me. I started this project for a reason. I love Burke.

TV: Kevin and I sampled a variety of not so hot shows (“Life on Mars”), so-so series (“The Tick” live action NOT the awful cartoon) and great TV (“The Office”) I'm embarrassed to say some of our favorites are a year out of date! “Dexter” Season 2. “The Shield” Season 6. “The Wire”- WOW. We caught up with Season 4 (which has my favorite version of their theme, “Down in the Hole”) and then watched Season 5. And, then, I went back and watched Season 1. (I was a late convert.) We also made time for old favorites by re-exploring the brilliance of “Arrested Development” and the show that shaped us, “SOAP”.

Finally, our major, #1, best ever, flag-waving, horn-blowing accomplishment: We found a good pizza in Brisbane. Now, there is absolutely no valid excuse not to visit!

And, now an extra for web card recipients. While looking over the movies I'd watched last year, I remembered that while the movie "Dan in Real Life" was pretty predictable, it did have a great "talent show". Dan (Steve Carroll) is accompanying his brother who is singing a song to the woman they are both in love with...though only Dan and the woman know this. I thought it was moving. I've always liked the song, but wondered why I should let Milo open the door. Who is this Milo?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

This one's for my Dad

From Singles 2009

Dad, I'm sorry you weren't able to make it down to visit us in Australia. I know you would have enjoyed the way the Aussies do golf down here. The black topped greens (greens???) out west. The flashing, honking, dancing girl target bus at our local driving range. And, I know you would have loved to meet Terry and talk with him about golfing - and golf with him. You would have enjoyed the fresh fish in Broome and the Opera House in Sydney. I can even see you climbing the Harbour Bridge. You would have gone whale watching with us, but mostly because you were a good sport. I'd have taken you to see "The Cricket" and some "Football". You'd have probably figured out all the differences in the various rugbies. We'd probably have had to work out TV reception for you here. I'd have done that for you. And, you'd love Tichu. I'd buy you your own deck and you could introduce it to all the guys at The Eagles. Undoubtedly, Versailles would soon be on the map of "Top Tichu" sites. Really, we've got a lot of good games. You'd be a fan of Mystery Rummy, too. And, Dominion. Maybe, Agricola. You left too soon.

Happy Birthday, Dad. I miss you.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

All things hellish

For Christmas I bought a new pair of very cute pajamas. (Now, admit it. That is not even close to the first sentence you imagined you'd read with a title like "All things hellish".) I bought them and told Kevin they were a gift from him. Anyway, I love them. 100% cotton. Shorts with a button up, short sleeved top. Cute. Very Cute. So cute that I am quick to change into them after work. I figure anyone stopping by (and who would?) might imagine I am wearing a highly coordinated short set.

Anyway, this morning I woke to find the shirt entirely unbuttoned. That can only mean one thing.

Particularly if you take into account that it was last night that we were once again visited by the legion of baby (demon) spiders. (Kevin already wrote that report, though he woefully understated the size of the number that swarmed, literally, swarmed around the window in his study. He says he thinks people will be impressed with us sucking 50 to their doom. "But," I say, "we easily collected more than 50 with one sweep once we discovered where their little party was."

Since Sunday morning things have calmed down. No giant hole direct to hell has opened in our lounge. The number of baby spiders is dwindling, again. And, Kevin is concerned that my blog here may be mis-interpreted. He's argued that I likely unbuttoned my shirt myself in my sleep. He may be right. It is obvious that Kevin can hardly turn over in the bed without waking me. (Though I told him I knew HE hadn't done it.) I am very sensitive to heat and light while sleeping. The buttons, however, were not melted by any burning Beelzebub fingers. There was no lingering odor of brimstone. And, I've had no sudden impulses to consume raw meat. Maybe everything will be alright.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

From Christmas/Brisbane

Kevin and I welcomed in 2009 with a couple of games: Voltage and Scrabble Express. (Actually, I'm pretty sure it wasn't Scrabble Express, but it was pretty much S-E.) Kevin was disappointed that I was his only gaming buddy for New Year's Eve. He was feeling confused - even my cousin Elaine and my friend Susette had gaming lined up for the holiday! Kevin's woe was compounded considering that
1. I have a pretty steady bedtime of 9 PM and
2. I clobbered him at both games. What can I say? I'm a master at Voltage and I was skilled enough to roll the letters to create the veterinarily victorious word "GROWLERS". Bingo! Seven letters! Triple word score!

In general, I've got some big happy thoughts for 2009. I'm going to (eventually) find the camera of my dreams. I'm going to (Feb) see the baby turtles make their way to the ocean. Great things are afoot!

And, I've even been thinking about resolutions. I thought I'd start a photo-a-day project. Then, this morning, I listened to a story on NPR about six folks who've taken a photo a day at 7:15 PM each day. Isn't that cool? But, I think I need to start out more simply ("NNV: In My Eye").

I haven't quite figured out what my resolution is with regard to exercise. I've been thinking I need to add more movement to my life - like something that might make my heart pump harder - but, especially in January in Brisbane, that is likely to also involve sweating... and I don't like to sweat. To sweat. To be sweaty. To be near someone sweaty. To think sweaty thoughts. The additional complication: Zelda. She says she is keen to increase her exercise, too. But, I've seen her plan - walk a lit- wait... sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff sniff... OK, now we'll walk ...hold on, what was that? Here we go- right after I eat the tissue I found. (I did take Zelda to a dog obedience class for a while when we lived in Fayetteville. Week 3, when walking on lead was introduced, she developed a cervical disk problem and we had to drop out. And, ever since, she's got a great argument for why she should be in charge of our joint walks.) At the clinic we've discussed getting a group membership at the gym that's two doors down. They have a pool. Wet sweating.

Finally, 2009 may just be the year I figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

Physics experiment

Probably ya'll knew about this - how hot chocolate creates a unique tympanic condition inside a mug? and how the timber of this tone changes as the spoon cools? You did, right?

My mother only just showed me this in December.

I am so far from being cool.

The last post of Christmas 2009

A collection of Christmas lights from downtown in both my homes. I don't suppose you'll have much trouble differentiating Versailles from Brisbane.

Things to note:

You can easily see the chicken that is stenciled on the street in Versailles. That's not the only chicken stencil. They are all over. Versailles is, as you may recall, the poultry and egg hub of the midwest and home of Poultry Days in June. Each June the chicken stencils get topped up. I'm amazed at how well they've held up this year.

While I think the angels in Brisbane are beautiful, the ones that don't carry banners have the look of young girls waiting to use the restroom. What to do with angel hands? Must be a problem for sculptors. And, is it a sin to photograph up an angel's skirt?

The reindeer are pretty. Too bad they need a barrier to keep them from flying off.

The final lights came from the Christmas evening sky. No help needed.

Christmas with Kevin

From Christmas/Brisbane

I flew back to Brisbane on the 26th. That's not completely accurate. I left the US on the 26th and arrived on the 28th. I lost the 27th, which is our wedding anniversary. So, I figure Kevin has now been married a year longer than I have. At least he's had more anniversaries. (While Kevin acknowledges this as an interesting observation, he tells me "It is going to get pretty old." I think he expects I'll be retelling this story for the rest of our lives. As if.)

The flight was on time. There were extra seats on the plane to Australia so the middle seat was empty next to me. This is all good.

Kevin and Zelda and I enjoyed our little family Christmas. Kevin "teched me out" with a speaker for my computer and my own back-up drive, already backed up. I brought Kevin a metric ton of Reece's peanut butter as well as what EVERY holiday season needs, a light up, screaming Godzilla ornament. (There were shirts, too, and a super-fabulous gift which accidentally got left behind. Really.) Zelda got a new nylabone. She'd lost hers at the Pine's Resort and has been suffering since. And, her own Christmas stocking (from Dixie).

Then, it was back to work for me. Kevin and Zelda are still celebrating through this week. Lucky dogs.

Christmas Day in Ohio!

From Ohio Christmas

Merry Christmas to All!