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?


Friendless said...

Where's the good pizza?

NNV said...

Our treat Thursday? with Mystery Rummy? and a bad dog?

NNV said...

The Gourmet Pizza

Carlo's Naples Pizza. I think you were responsible for the introduction. Yes?