Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Have you seen this fish???

From Singles 2011

Yes, I know. You've seen him here on the blog. But, recently. Like, has he moved into a tank near you? Is he hanging from his big sucker lips onto a window? or bowl? or ??

Last week I finally got around to getting him some help with keeping the aquarium glass SPOTLESS as it was obviously a job for two and his buddy, you'll remember, was either murdered or committed suicide a few weeks back. I swear he was in the tank the day before, but I've not spotted him since! I've swished around the plants and "fluffed" the gravel and haven't even seen a corpse or spare fin. Criminy! Did he decide he'd cling to the floating plastic bag and I didn't notice and tossed it and him into the trash??? Am I the prime suspect again in this rash of "fishy tales".

Oh. That hurt.

(By the way - Day 29 - Three wishes. I can't distinguish between hope and wish. All is great and I hope it continues. Three times.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 28- Something that stresses you out


Time stresses me.

I'm stressed when I'm behind schedule, when I'm running late for an appointment or running "just on time" for one. I'm stressed about missing time with loved ones. Wasting time. Running out of time.

And, clutter.

But, I tolerate the latter better.

Oh, and zombies. My guess is in times of zombie apocalypse, the first two won't bother me as much.

Yes, but there's also missing a meal. That might even supersede the zombie issue.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 27- Pets

From Singles 2011

Growing up we had lots of pets: turtles, fish, cats, dogs, parakeets, hamsters, gerbils, and even a cricket for several months until I accidentally killed it taking it to a "Pet Parade". Then, I graduated from high school and entered a long pet free zone. Eight years. It helped that while a grad students I got to study animal behavior and had a whole colony of ring doves to care for. Plus, I spent time watching rats and lemurs and dragonflies and my roommates had cats. Once I left school and entered my adult life - living in apartments - I had apartment pets: fish, birds (Beaker, Big Bird, Modern Physics, Hope, No-Ears, Watts and Ohms) and gerbils (my favorite being Bob - he was OBESE, but a very loving daddy.) I didn't get my first "all my own" dog until I went BACK to school. Vet School.

I think it is safe to assume that if you've read anything from my blog previously or you just know me, you'll know Zelda. She's our now 14 year old (gasp) cocker spaniel and the queen of our home. But, before there was Zelda, there was Victor.

Victor le bon chien - like Zelda I adopted him as a "grown up" dog. Victor, unlike Zelda, was very grown up. I don't think he knew how to play. He certainly didn't chew anything that was not food. But, he was very, very, very good at cuddling. I spent a lot of time studying with him sleeping on my lap or on my chest. He was obsessed with me. Our love was intense.

Like Zelda, I was Victor's (at least) third home. He'd been found on the street prior to landing in the clink in Columbus, Ohio where he was adopted by a grad student in theater. He named Vic. He and Victor had a "routine" - weekly bath and daily change in bandanna. He didn't have Victor long, however, before he moved apartments and was no longer able to keep a dog. I don't know how people get themselves into these situations. But, lucky for me!

Like Zelda, I have many photos of Victor. He was a cooperative boy. Here, alas, I have only two. You've seen the other recently (First Love). Here's (above) our Christmas card from 1998. (He didn't have white spots - that's dust.)

Victor died in February of 1999. He had DCM with AV heart block. (Don't worry about those particulars - I'm just showing off how cool I am to know vet jargon.) His "resting" heart rate was 36. In February he rested too well. I was at work. I believe he died in his sleep- his heart was just too slow. I was heartbroken. He was my heart and soul for only 3 years - though he probably lived to be 15 or so.
From christmas in brisbane

Zelda came from Carolina Cocker Rescue around Easter of the same year. She was two and filled with LIFE! She's still my "very bad girl" though she doesn't jump as high, any more. She had been called Ebony - but I knew she needed the name of a quintessential party girl.

I had no intention of getting another black cocker. They are so hard to photograph - but the other cocker available at that time, a parti colored boy, ran away from home the night before I drove to Charlotte to meet him. Zelda, however, was waiting for me. She'd been trialed in a house with 2 cats previously - and no one got any sleep that night: the chase was ON! and furious! No other comment was made. She was just "brought home". I had taken some dog treats with me. She was(is) initially a bit timid, but food goes a LONG way to breaking down barriers.

So, two black cockers. I don't think they are hard to tell apart even in photos. Certainly, in person Victor was a bigger dog. Victor had the classic cocker "wiggle butt". Victor had some residual facial paralysis. Zelda has those long, low set ears. Victor looked doleful. Zelda has perfected "disdain". Zelda is a Republican.

I hope that somebody reading this is inspired by my beautiful friends and is moved to select their next best friend from the ranks of the orphaned, abandoned, adult rescue dog population. There's a lot of love out there - and it's already housebroken!

From Singles 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 26- Picture of your family

The challenge with this post is that my family is changing. I can't have a photo of the family I hold in my heart, because I've lost so many of its members. Additionally, sometimes people just can't/don't make it to a party or holiday gathering.

Given these limitations, here are the photos.

The first one comes from our wedding in 2003.
From Singles 2011

The second is from Christmas about 1985. There are cousins missing and Renee - still, it is one of my favorite group shots.
From Singles 2011

Day 25- Put your iPod on shuffle, first 10 songs

OK. Another cheat.

I'm using my i-tunes AND eliminating all the Stevie Wonder tunes. Nothing against Mr. Wonder - but Kevin has loaded the ENTIRE Stevie Wonder discography onto my i-tunes and ...

I don't know how to start randomly - so the first song played is the first in my music list:

1. Al Jarreau "Moonlighting (Theme)"
- 4 Stevie Wonder songs
2. Laurie Anderson "White Lily"
3. Kate Rusby "The Sleepless Sailor"
- Stevie Wonder "Always"
4. Mouth Music "Mile Marbh'aisg Air A'Ghaol"
5. Laurie Anderson "The Statue of Liberty"
6. Scott Walker "30 Century Man" from "The Life Aquatic with Steve
- Stevie Wonder
7. George Benson "Nature Boy"
- Stevie Wonder
8. Collin Hay "Children on Parade"
- Stevie Wonder - four more songs
9. Solomon Burke "Presents for Christmas"
- Stevie Wonder - five more songs
10. Elbow "Weather to Fly"

So, that would be 16 Stevie Wonder tunes. That's probably a fair reflection of just how much he is over-represented here. I just wasn't up to that much Wonder this morning.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 24-Something you've learned

Without even trying, I seem to have learned my times 12 table - all the way to 12 x 12.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 23- Favorite vacation

From Singles 2011

Let's see. It must have been about 1992. October. I was working at the College of Wooster. It was fall break. My parents, sister, and I had made a plan to spend the holiday on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

My mom and dad picked me up from Wooster and then we tooled down I71 to Columbus - stopping at The Leaf for a piece of pie - to pick up Renee. We were all giddy with excitement. We planned a 2 day drive down with our first stop in Virginia.

This is where my parents, while unpacking the car, recognized that they had bags from Renee and I - and my mother's breathing machine/drug/emergency bag - but no suitcase of clothing for themselves. We all found this to be hilarious. Their suitcase was still waiting on the bed in Versailles. They were hundreds of miles away, preparing to "holiday" in dirty socks and underwear.

Does it sound amusing? Maybe you had to be there.

The next day involved a stop at a local shopping center to pick up undergarments and outer garments. No big deal. Just clothes - we are on VACATION.

We stayed in Kitty Hawk - (That's the birthplace of aviation for you Australians - where Orville and Wilbur Wright, both good ole boys from Dayton, Ohio - flew their first manned flight.) It is an area of sandy dunes. It is are area of windy, sandy dunes. See photo above. I love this photo! Look how happy everyone is.

From Singles 2011
Despite the coats and hats you'll see, on the beach the water was still warm and the days sunny. Renee and I played a game of racing the waves into shore. You had to touch the incoming wave and then run! trying to keep ahead. My mother sat further up on shore with a video camera. At one point she noted that the wave coming in was going to be much larger than the others had been and she tried to get our attention. To warn us.

She needed to warn herself. We were fine. The wave, however, washed in, up and past her, carrying away the video camera bag and sending her sprawling onto her back.

This is all on film, mind you. Great "you were there moment" of water rushing to land and then the picture flips suddenly up to the sky. With screaming.

I had so much fun. It was the last holiday I took with my family as a whole. After, I traveled a bit with my mom and dad - but Renee, old married lady, never again left her husband to come along. I cherish the memory of playing again. Simple. Joyful. Play.

And, the red beans and rice at the local Caribbean restaurant!

Day 22- What's in your makeup bag

From Singles 2011

As strange as it will seem to people who know me - this is the day entry that made me want to do this project.

I have no makeup bag. I have my dad's old shaving bag that has 2 boxes of very, very old contact lenses and saline solution.

I have a really pretty make up bag that I received for Christmas from my friend Carolyn a couple years ago. Just can't figure out what to put IN it. I have it set aside to take to the hospital with us. That's assuming I put something in it first. Maybe my ipod. Maybe some candies.

For years when I did sort of have a make up bag (I think it was still that shaving bag above) I had something it it... Blue Foundation. We bought it to make Zombie photos.

See above.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 20- Nicknames

My nicknames have all come from my family. I suppose that is probably common. I'm not sure. I always thought a nickname was pretty cool and hoped someone at school would give me one. Though, I guess, I'd only want a nice one.

My mother on occasion called me "Practice model". When she was not so happy with me, "Problem child". She must have a thing for double name nicknames and the letter "P".

My Grandmother was the only one to call me "Annie". And, that's the way I want to keep it. Please.

My father either called me "Anushka" or "Katrina". Except, of course, when he was confused about which daughter I was, then I might me "An-ay".

Day 21- Picture of yourself

From Photo of me

On Sunday. With a little help from photoshop.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 19- Something you miss

I miss having seasons; four distinct seasons each characterized by its own beauty. I miss the way they illustrate the passage of time - marching ever onward, always a sense of exhilaration for what lies ahead. Here, where the days go from a bit longer to way shorter and the temperature sways between god-awful hot to pleasant to coolish and the exact identity of what flower is blooming cycles, time whizzes past without a reminder to stop and take note, without anticipation, without joy.

Day 18- Something you regret

From Singles 2011

–verb (used with object)
1. to feel sorrow or remorse for (an act, fault, disappointment, etc.): He no sooner spoke than he regretted it.
2. to think of with a sense of loss: to regret one's vanished youth.

Another topic that I got hung up on. I wrote a first draft outlining my regrets about relationships that should have ended much, much, much sooner and those that I should have stuck with, jobs I should have hung onto and jobs I should have quit before anyone got hurt, missing opportunities because I was too anxious about exposing myself or change. Add on to this, the regret that I've not come to terms with these regrets nor have I developed any greater capacity to ask for what I need. But, then, yesterday while I was doing my BIG SPRING CLEANING (despite it being the start of autumn here in the Southern Hemisphere), I realized the biggest regret I have. I regret that my father will never meet our son.

You can see in the photo above how enthralled and patient he was with little children. While everyone else (who've been cut out of the photo) is just standing about, he's bent over closely so he can see the miracle that little Martha has in her hands. He would have loved to have a little boy. They would have had such fun together. He could have taught Zupe so much - particularly, how to love a child.

Day 17- Something you're looking forward to

From Singles 2011

Going home.

I haven't been home since July when we picked up Zuperfliegen and I am ready for a refill. I don't really care what the season - spring, summer, fall. There's no chance I'll make it for winter this year, however. I can imagine all sorts of wonderful things I might do: May is my birthday, June is Poultry days, July is full of fresh vegetables, August is fair season, September and October with autumn leaves and beautiful blue skies and crisp, clear, cool evenings - and Halloween! November has Thanksgiving and December, Christmas. I can't miss. I am so ready.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 16 - Dream house

From Singles 2011
Let us start with the obvious. There are no spiders in my dream house. No snakes in the attic, either, or roaches in the toaster. I'd rather not have geckos pooing on my walls. Is this too much to ask?

Kevin and I make regular trips to check out local "Open Houses" and discuss what we like and what we don't. We agree: We like Central Air Conditioning. We like garages that have doors that lead into the house. We like screens on windows. We like bedrooms where there's room between the bed and the wall on three sides! We like two story houses. We don't like the idea that a tiny little house that includes spiders, geckos, bedrooms where you can't fit a chest of drawers, and only the occasional room air conditioner costs $400,000. Really. And, there's no guarantee there isn't a carpet python in the attic.

So, I must start with my dream house is located in a far away land.

Size - for the two of us, 1400 sq feet was spacious. We might need a little more - but ideal is certainly no McMansion. Four bedrooms or three and a study. A kitchen with lots of light and enough counter space so I could cook without first washing any dishes that had piled up...not that things like that happen. (I meant the dishes, not the cooking...though...) We need a comfortable game room with easy access to a toilet and good sound insulation from the place I might be sleeping. I want a porch with a swing. And, I've already mentioned the sincere pumpkin patch and Christmas tree field. I've seen blueprints of houses built around a central courtyard - that's pretty cool, too.

I don't care much whether the floors are carpeted or hardwood - particularly since in a dream house there is a dream housekeeper who will keep the floors vacuumed and mopped and the furniture and baseboards dusted. They might let me paint walls - or at least help for an hour or so. And, I'm allowed to put nails in the walls and hang art.

I did mention the central air conditioning, didn't I? We'll need a furnace, as well, since I'm living in a four season climate. (Don't worry, Kevin. The staff can shovel snow and the garage is attached so our car won't need to be de-iced each morning.)

The master bedroom is large enough to have a chair with good lighting and a little table to hold my book and cup of tea as well as having both a closet AND a chest of drawers or two.

There's a deep tub for soaking and a shower with one head low for me and one high for Kevin.

The house is far enough removed from neighbors that the curtains never need to be closed unless someone feels that makes the space cozy.

At one point I wanted a dark room. I'm not sure any more. I don't think I'd use it often enough. I will still want the greenhouse, however.

You, of course, are welcome to come to visit or stay for a while - particularly if you like to cook. We can stroll through the gardens, sip iced tea on the porch, or cocoa by the fire. You'll just have to prepared to share your bed with Zelda.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 15- Verse

Here's a poem my Grandmother used to recite. She enjoyed poetry and read or recited a number of children's poems to her grandchildren. Obviously, since this one ALMOST has my name, it was a favorite of mine. She was such of fan of James Whitcomb Riley - I remember visiting his home in Indiana.


by: James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916)


To all the little children: -- The happy ones; and sad ones;
The sober and the silent ones; the boisterous and glad ones;
The good ones -- Yes, the good ones, too; and all the lovely bad ones.

LITTLE Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you

Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you

Day 14- A picture you love

Really? One picture. I've got one for each season - plus two of my favorite photographs.

The first painting of the goldfish (Matisse)- this poster has been hanging in my home (well, in the my US homes) since graduate school. I love the color - and the fish never die.

For summer - an O'Keefe sunflower. Sunflowers always make me happy.

For fall (Van Gogh) - what color!

For winter (Monet) - I sent this as a Christmas card one year. It captures and beauty and the isolation of winter. It is wonderful!

Photo 1 - This reminds me how much fun I have with my family. Probably taken about 1983 - I had to borrow the black coat and sunglasses. I'm not as cool as my mom or Renee.

Photo 2 - Kevin as a sophomore at OSU. He has his honest and unguarded smile. These fresh moments have been so difficult to capture for me.

Day 13-Goals

I'm not a very good goal setter. I recognize the value in setting goals but I'm filled with trepidation whenever I set pen to paper with the word "GOALS" scribbled atop the sheet. Seems it works that way with electronic pages, as well. So, I've been thinking - kinda like you might imagine a person peeking through fingertips at a bloody scene on the movie screen - and I have some glimpses. And, then there's my concern that if I forget a goal, I've missed my opportunity and will never be allowed to achieve it. Feel free to pull on your amateur psychologist hat and...whatever amateur psychologists do. Walk in the rain?

1. Raise a healthy, happy and well-adjusted son. Not sure how that is done. Good food, plenty of sleep, exposure to lots of ideas, art, and love.

2. Reduce suffering and maximize wellness. Treat all, whether two or four legged, with compassion.

3. Move. Someday I want my own sincere pumpkin patch and a small plot of Christmas trees. You know, the essentials.

4. Create something meaningful or beautiful - preferably on a regular basis. Given my basic insecurity I'd hope someone else might find it worthy, too.

5. Return to my daily practice of qi gong.

6. Eat more vegetables.

7. Express gratitude. Recognize all the gifts I'm given every day.

OK - I'm now 5 days behind. Best to most this and move on.

Day 12-What you believe

I believe what my cousin Todd taught me while water skiing - "If you are going to fall, fall funny...(throw yourself into an endeavor without worry about what you might look like or what others might say) so we can laugh at you." (Bringing joy and laughter is important. Know how to laugh at yourself.)

I believe what I once read on a bumper sticker. "Life's too short to dance with ugly people." Don't get hung up on or tied to judgemental, belittling, hurtful people. (This has nothing to do with physical appearance, or really, even, dancing....though I do believe in dancing.)

I believe in a liberal education. I believe in libraries. I believe in reading, writing, arts, mathematics and SCIENCE. Blind me, baby.

I believe in generosity with respect to material "wealth", patience, acceptance, and affection. I believe in love. I believe in friendship.

I believe in learning from mistakes. The best stories come from error and pain.

I believe in three good meals a day - everyday. I believe in fresh fruits and vegetables. I believe in going to bed and rising early. Then, do something useful. Create love or beauty or further understanding. I am not a believer in between meal snacks....

I believe every dog should be loved and made part of a family. Dogs should not be left to suffer alone. Everyone needs a cuddle. Cats, they're different - they vary too much to make a blanket statement. Ultimately, I wish safe and secure lives for all creatures.

I believe I am imperfect and that I have no time to worry about imperfection. I believe those that know me best will find it easy to find times when my behavior has fallen short of my beliefs. I believe tomorrow will be a new day.

*The photo - that was taken during the aforementioned water skiing lesson. I never was successful at standing on my skis. I hope I managed to fall funny enough.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 11-Favorite TV shows

Kevin and I are pretty fond of TV - though we also think we are very particular about what we watch. This list is going to be largely current or recent programs with only a couple older programs.

"Star Trek." Now, this may not be most people's idea of great television and it is likely if I were to watch it now I'd find it most cheesy, but when I was a kid I LOVED "Star Trek". I not only watched every episode but I collected and read all the "books". For the record, I've never watched anything but the original series.

"SOAP". Re watched this series a year or two ago. Not as magical as my memory, but significant enough to make the list.

"The Bob Newhart Show". Kevin and I have watched a few episodes of both this and "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". In 2011, "Bob" wins hands down.

"Seinfeld" and Seinfeld on steroids, "Curb Your Enthusiasm". It's a tough road to walk making a show about unlikeable characters who are fun enough to be sort-of likable.

"Saturday Night Live" - the early, early, early years- Gilda Radner, Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Jane Curtin, Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi... After that, I got to be too old to stay up that late.

"The X Files". I love Fox and Scully - what great monsters!

"The Shield", "The Sopranos", and "Breaking Bad" - excellent on the edge of your seat stories featuring interesting leading men. Antiheroes all the way.

"Arrested Development" - most likely THE best comedy series ever created. We gained so much more appreciation for the show by watching it in its 3 season entirety two years ago.

"The Wire" - best drama - not a weak season.

"The Office" (excepting this last season), "Community", "Modern Family". We build our week around modern comedy.

Maybe, "Frisky Dingo". It was a lot of absurdist fun.

What have I forgotten?....

Day 10-Something you're afraid of

This is WAY too easy....


Do you know there is actually a statistic on the NUMBER of spiders that the average person swallows in their sleep each year?

While staying up one night watching SLN, I spied a large wolf spider scurrying across the living room floor. I grabbed the nearest weapon - a baby gate - and hurled it at the spider - knowing that if I'd use it as a club the spider would simply have jumped onto the top, run up, and gone FOR MY NECK.

I have all but given up gardening since moving to Australia in order to avoid spiders.


And, I have bad dreams about zombies, too.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Day 9-A picture of your friends

I need to have a HUGE party and invite my disparate friends from across time and nations so I have ONE photograph to put in this slot. As I don't really have the time for this (I'm already a day behind) I will settle with a slide show. By no means should this slide show suggest to anyone that these are all my friends. This isn't even all my Christmas card list... but they are the photos I have access to. It seems that as I've gotten older my tendency to take photographs of my friends has diminished - so while I have to choose among, albeit out of focus, photos of my high school chums, I have only a photograph of Tim from grad school, and virtually no photographs from any of my work mates (in the US) and absolutely none from vet school. Even if I have photographs, they may not have been scanned and transported to Australia. So, bottom line, if I don't have a photo of YOU, please send me one. I can fix this!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Day 8-A place you've traveled to

From Singles 2011

Obviously, this one has been difficult. I feel like I've been very fortunate to do a significant amount of traveling. Based on the expectations I formed growing up in Versailles, I feel sort of like every day I'm still traveling. (If my point of reference was a little less humble, I'd probably recognize that my travel has not been all that great.) In addition, I've written a lot in this blog about traveling - traveling within Australia (Sydney, Blue Mountains, the Sunshine Coast, Darwin, Melbourne, the Red Center), traveling around the South Island of New Zealand, and some traveling in the US (Ohio, NY, Arizona). My criteria for this entry, therefore, became
1. someplace I'd not described earlier in this blog and
2. someplace I'd have a few photos to jazz up my description.

Now, in 2002 just before Kevin moved "home" to Ohio to be with me, I flew down to Australia and we spend 2 months driving clockwise around the country. We managed to visit every state and territory - though I didn't actually conclude the loop. I had to fly back. Kevin, on the other hand, spent another several weeks finishing the task. This might have qualified - since I've not written about Tasmania or Western Australia, the Nullarbor, the pinnacles, Monkey Mia.... BUT, I have no photographs - here. They are all on photo Cd's in storage in Ohio.

I did have a few photos from Savannah, Georgia which is one of my favorite places to visit. And, somewhere I have a few from a road trip I took between Fayetteville and Wilmington, NC on a beautiful, foggy fall day. Ultimately, I've selected a hike we took in 2005 in Glacier National Park (Montana) to Iceberg Lake. We were in the park for Kevin's family reunion. July. I was recently unemployed - recent enough to have absolutely NO INKLING that in only 3 months Kevin would be moving to Brisbane so that one of us was working.

I have my journal from that summer here with me. (It is not because I've traveled with ALL MY personal records - its just that my journal entries occur WAY LESS often than my blog entries. Sometimes - not uncommonly - months go by without a notice. So, this was the journal still "in play" when I moved in March.) This is all to say that I am able to give you a bit more information than what you'd expect if I were relying on my memory.
From Singles 2011

This was the second hike of the day. I wanted to see the icebergs in Iceberg Lake. We started the 4.8 mile hike at 4 PM. Given the painful experience of the previous day's hike (huge elevation change) which resulted in a very slow pace AND rushing through the encroaching darkness on our hike at Cradle Mountain Tasmania (it is very dark in the wilderness and there is really not much effort make to create a smooth walking surface), I made the executive decision that we would "turn around" at 6 PM, iceberg or no iceberg. (For those of you who are Queenslanders, it ISN'T dark yet at 6 PM. It wouldn't be dark for another 2 hours. I know. Maybe you should sit down while that sinks in.)
From Singles 2011

It was a fabulous day for hiking- perfect blue jeans and t-shirt weather. The wild flowers were blooming and the streams ran full.
From Singles 2011

We met several groups of people hiking out from Iceberg Lake - most walking with walking sticks to which were attached jingle bells. People do this in order to warn off (frighten off) bears. My explanation, and the only one that feels reasonable, is that Santa tried to enslave bears (prior to reindeer) to pull his sleigh. Bears retain this ancestral memory and avoid the jingle, jingle, jingle. As we had no bells, we opted for an occasional carol.
From Singles 2011

We did make it to THE Iceberg Lake. No real icebergs just some ice rimming the lake and ice/snow on the surrounding peaks. Very pretty. While there we heard a great rumbling roar - AVALANCHE! Though the event occurred outside our view, the force was sufficient to create waves in the lake.
From Singles 2011

Recently, we learned that the next reunion will once again be in Montana at Glacier. Unfortunately, we won't be able to attend. But, we're ready - maybe in a few more years. I've got a list of "to do" hikes in my journal!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Day 7-Favorite movies

You know, the thing about movies, the one you remember best is the last one you saw. I can list a few "oldies", but it must be said I haven't seen them for a while and my tastes may have changed.

"Brazil" (1985) - this was my compatibility test movie in the 80s. If you didn't like "Brazil", we were not going to be dating. (Of course the funny thing about this is that it never really got applied to anyone. I was never flush with invitations.) Recently re watched and it is still marvelous. And, the best news, Kevin thinks so, too. Whew.

"After Hours" (1985) - Watching "Brazil" reminded me of another film from about the same time I adored. I read the memorable quotes on IMDB and am still amused. Ergo, I think it will still stand.

"Junebug" (2005) - Great character piece with magical performances.

"Ba wang bie ji (Farewell My Concubine)" (1993)
"Il Postino (The Postman) (1994)" - both great though unconventional love stories.

"Amélie (Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain)" (2001)
"Ju Dou" (1990) - two of the most visually stunning films I can remember. What color! (And "Ju Dou" gets these high marks from seeing a flawed DVD that skipped and stuttered on TV. Would love to see it again. Call me.)

"Hero" (2004)
"As It Is in Heaven (Så som i himmelen)" (2004) - beautiful stories, beautiful music, beautifully shot.

"Little Miss Sunshine" (2006)
"Napoleon Dynamite" (2004)
"Lars and the Real Girl" (2007)- I laughed. I cried. I laughed until I cried.

"Spellbound" (2002)
"Hoop Dreams" (1994) - both moving documentaries. Ah, life.
"Best in Show" (2000) - smile.

This list may be amended as my memory improves....

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Day 6-A picture of something that makes you happy

From Singles 2009

"My bags are packed, I'm ready to go..."

There are so many photos I could have chosen. You'd guess most of them - family, friends, Zelda. Maybe you'd guess a shining disco ball, a shelf full of books, watermelon, banana cream pie, mashed potatoes, fresh ripe tomatoes - maybe with gravy... But, I chose the jet. Whether it is bringing me a loved one or taking me home, I'm happy. I still enjoy the process of flying - with a few exceptions (namely the horrible seats on the flight from Brisbane to Darwin). And, despite the outrageous length of the flight, I enjoy flying internationally - movies on demand, cloth napkins with my in flight meals, but mostly, I end up being someplace pretty wonderful.

I'm running late with this. No big surprise. Will catch up...

Day 5-Your favorite recipes

From Christmas 2010

Grandmother’s Banana Pudding

¾ cup brown sugar
3 Tbs cornstarch (corn flour for Australians)
2 cups milk
2 eggs- beaten

1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbs butter
3 or 4 bananas
½ cup chopped peanuts

Combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture boils. THEN, cook 2 minutes more (still stirring).

Stir a small amount of pudding into the beaten eggs. (I added spoonful by spoonful until it was about ½ egg and ½ pudding.) Pour this into the hot pudding.

Cook for several more minutes. (Four minutes is suggested by my mother.)

Remove from heat, add vanilla and butter.

Layer pudding, sliced bananas, and peanuts – Make 2 or 3 layers.

Hoping one recipe will suffice. Typing in a recipe is pretty boring work - and there's nothing to eat after. You'll note, there are NO Vanilla Wafers in this recipe. There never were - and there never will be. You can keep your soggy cookies.

Anyone feeling cheated and desirous of a recipe for Kidney Bean Salad or Strawberry Pie or recently Ann's Mean Lentel Soup is welcome to contact me directly.

ETA - I really was not thinking out of the box on this one - or my favorite recipes would have been more like --

Pick tomato off vine - wash off dirt - eat while still warm.
Cut peach into quarters then peal off that fuzzy skin. Eat.
Slice section out of watermelon or Indiana cantalope - eat fruit. Cold is best for watermelon while warm for cantalope (or musk melon).
Pick strawberry or BLACK raspberry from vine - eat.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Day 4-Your parents

From Singles 2011

That's my mom and dad. It isn't much of a photograph. They didn't have any photos taken during their wedding. (I guess they were waiting for me and I was 8 years late. Sorry folks.) Instead, my Uncle Carroll took 8mm home movies of the wedding reception. This still, then, I took from the projection of the movie. I used it for the invitation to their 50th wedding anniversary a few years ago.

I've often thought that my parents were much cooler people than I was/am. (Note - I'm struggling with verb tense here - and hoping that any and all English teachers are too busy protesting the potential loss of their pensions to make note of all my mistakes.) They are much more social than I am - able to talk with people they meet and make new friends. I attribute this quality to their both being "middle children". They're adaptable - forgetting to take the suitcase they packed for vacation didn't create any distress - just lots of laughter. They were playful and amusing and happy to help. They were affectionate with each other and with their daughters - though not "touchy feely" with other people.

From Singles 2011

The quality that I most envy, however, is they were both able to tell a joke. At least once a week while I was growing up one of them would come home from work with a joke to tell at dinner. The jokes were meant for each other. I just got lucky to be there, too. (Me, I can't tell a joke. I can't remember the punch line even a couple hours after hearing it. And, if I remember the punch line, I couldn't begin to set the the story.) The photo above is a joke being passed between them while walking down the aisle at my sister's wedding. I'd tell you more about it, but I can't remember.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Day 3-Your first love

From Singles 2011

First loves are special. They become the yardstick by which we measure next loves. And, the loves after that. I am constructed so that first loves linger. I still wear a shirt I bought for a trip to NYC in 1979. I still revisit my childhood security blanket. I'm ready to name our son after my first dog love. First loves change me forever. Maybe that is true for everyone. I have only been me.

My childhood crushes were atypical: No boy bands. No pop stars. (Those are really the same, aren't they?) Yogi Bear. Captain Kirk. (I offer no explanations. You'll remember, I'm not that kind of psychologist.)

I loved my parents. I told them I didn't want to grow up. I wanted to stay with them. (I'm sure that frightened them. See above.)

My first almost grown-up love was Fritz the Wondercar. Fritz was a Ford Fiesta. Four speed. Lightweight and zippy. I borrowed it from my parents in High School. I taught countless friends to drive a stick.
From Singles 2011
In college a couple friends and I drove it to Florida for spring break.

When I graduated from college my parents gave me the car.
From Singles 2011
I took it with me to Durham. White car. Black plastic interior. No air conditioning. Lots of brake problems. Still, we traveled back and forth between Ohio and North Carolina many times. Springs and Falls the back would be filled with my fold up furniture and clothes and books and art for my walls. (Back then I could hang things on the walls of my rented homes.)

I started to write a fable about Fritz the Wondercar. I never got further than the opening line... "Once upon a time, where east met west and north met south there lived a car."

Eventually, Fritz died of old age. He rusted through the floor, so like the Flintstones you could see my feet on the road. I carried him around as long as I could until my landlord told me I had to dispose of him. Scrap metal.

While I've had several very useful, utilitarian, reliable, even attractive cars since, I've never named another. I've never given one my heart.

This essay could have featured several other "first loves". What's the most important thing about any discussion of my loves is this: I'm very, very, very lucky to have had a first love come back to my life.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Day 2- Meaning behind your blog name

Lets start with the easy bit. This is a blog. I am writing from "Down Under". As a phrase it is reminiscent of the classic Men at Work song- "Land Down Under".

Now, with that success under your belt: go ahead and write the capital letters NNV on a sheet of paper. Now, imagine that you are looking at it from the opposite side of the world. (Turn it over.) It should look like ANN (but without the little cross piece on the A.) Was that so hard?

This is about as clever as I've ever been.

Day 1-Introduce, recent picture, 15 interesting facts

From Singles 2011

My god. This starts out to be very demanding. Wouldn't 15 facts serve as introduction enough? And, the photo. Seems that interests a lot of people these days. I've asked Kevin to take one, but that is still in the planning stage - So, here's one from Boxing Day when we went to the GOMA.

1. In the second grade, maybe third, I wrote an "essay" about what I wanted to be when I grew up. For some reason I included what I'd do and what my best friend, Barb, would do. I can't remember who would do what, but one of us was a scientist and the other a veterinarian. Now, several years later, I can report to you I've been both. ("Yes, I was that kind of psychologist." I never get to say that - only the inverse.) I have not succeeded in matching my first "when I grow up" ambition - I have never been a Flying Red Horse.

2. My first job was detasseling corn for DeKalb. That means I walked through rows of corn plants removing the "feathery bit" (the male part) on the top of each stalk. I'm not sure whether I was good or bad - I really only know that I was slow. I'd come out of my row to be greeted by the rest of the crew sitting and resting and the "chief" saying "OK, everybody back in the field."

3. My favorite food as a kid was dried beef. Haven't eaten it in decades. Though I still regularly eat grapefruit and olives. (I was not a candy kid.)

4. Every long term relationship I've been involved with has endured periods of being a "long distance" relationship - even my marriage. Hence, I am a pretty good stamp licker.

5. For my last year of vet school, I refused to look at my quarterly grade cards. I was a bit confused when classmates were congratulating me at graduation. "Hey, we're ALL graduating." If I'd gone to our "End of School" party, I would have known I was the valedictorian.

6. My sister thought it was fun to hide my bra in the freezer and put plastic spiders in my bed.

7. I have very prominent veins. They seem to impress people.

8. I cannot castrate a dove. Probably that is true for most of humanity - but how many of you have tried? Repeatedly? (I can't ovariectomize a dove, either. But, I can surgically sex doves.)

9. I can draw blood from the wing vein of a dove ALL BY MYSELF.

10. I was an extra zombie in "Day of the Dead". So was Kevin. Only Kevin actually appears in the film, however. That's OK. I got a hat.

11. When people ask me how I like my job, I can honestly say, "It is better than prison." I wasn't a convict - I just worked in both men's and women's correctional facilities in Ohio.

12. When asked by an equine resident in vet school what I would be thinking if I looked into a horses mouth, preparing to "float" its teeth, and saw whatever it was she was showing our group, I responded with "Something has gone very, very very wrong with my life." I still feel that way. I try to say "no" to anything that can easily maim or kill me.

13. I spent a summer collecting radioactive horse pee. Enough said.

14. And, two years working with radioactive dove testicles; well, actually, just radioactive dove testosterone.

15. I learned today that my belly button is gone. I can lose anything!