Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cooktown - On the Way North

Tomorrow we board the Sunlander and a day and a half later after 1800 kilometres of train travel we arrive in Australia's tropical rain forest.

Cairns is also a popular portal to the Great Barrier Reef, but we've been there, done that - years ago. Amazing environment - everybody ought to, at one time of his/her life, experience a swim in a reef. Snorkelling is good enough, SCUBA is better!

However, we will remain on the landed side of this fabulous environment heading into the jungle that is the eastern peninsula of Northern Australia.

It's been raining!

As if it ever really stops up there these days. So four wheel driving on the highways - dirt tracks sliding through stream beds - lots of sand - lots of crocs - lots of snakes - an emu or seven - an adventure!

I will report upon our return - flying home next week!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Your Palm Tree

Yesterday while the soil was still moist from the morning rain I spent a few hours weeding in the front garden. Felt good to have my fingers in the Aussie soil, so full of organic busy critturs making their own living - always a surprise to dig up a witchity grub, for instance.

As I stood up to stretch my back, I noticed a middle aged polyester fellow heading towards me across the grassy median.

'Hi, my name's Alan. I live in that upstairs condo across the street. How ya goin?'

'Fine, thanks. I'm Annie.'

'Doin' some gardening? I've been watching. You're doing lots of repairs around the place.'

'Oh, that! Just cleaned up so the painters could reach the neighbours house. It's only a quarter of an inch on his side of the fence, down there.' Pointing to the west fence of our front garden, I indicated the scaffolding on which painters stood.

'Did some trimmin, didja?'

'Quite a bit.'

'Are you planning on taking down that palm tree?' He pointed to the fifteen metre palm on the northwest corner of the garden.'

'No, why?'

'Well, if you were to decide to take it down, I'd be willing to pay for the removal. We removed the street palms in front of our condo. They blocked my view of the city.'

'Does my tree block your view?'

'Ruins the view and kind of makes your house look strange, too. So tall, these palms, hardly do any good for the look of your property.'

'I rather like them, myself. Gives balance and groundedness to the garden.'

'Well, I paid to have that scruffy gum tree next door taken down a year or so ago. I'd be very happy to pay to have that palm removed as well.'

'The gum with the Butcher Bird's nest? You had it removed? How did you manage that?'

'I just approached the owner - you know it's a rental? I asked and they indicated that no one would care. I paid to have it removed.'

'I rather liked that tree.'

'Nuisance.'

'I'll think on it. Do you have a card? I'll give you a call when I've made up my mind.'

'Sure.' He slipped a snazzy black card out of his wallet, handed it to me, and said, 'Bye. You be sure to let me know. If you took all four palms out the property would look a lot better, ya know.'

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mother Nature - Father Sky

So, who believes that we humans are the ones who wreak havoc on the planet?

Who actually believes that we make a difference?

Wake up,humanity!

The planet takes care of itself - one way or another, the beautiful blue globe whirling through space tends to its own needs.

Get used to it! Others certainly have.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Wizard of Earth Sea - My fav children's stories

"'Beverly Cleary, writer of books for children, said, "Children want to do what the grownups do. Children should learn that reading is a pleasure, not just something that teachers make you do in school."'

As a teacher retired after 40 years in the classroom, I agree entirely with Cleary. Youngsters sop up the culture surrounding them - the reason that universal public education is such an important part of any successful democracy. Where else can a culture present to children what is acceptable and what is worth dreaming into reality?

My favourite writer of children's literature is Ursula LeGuinn. Her Earth Sea series is complex, fantastic, realistic, lively, and engaging.

Le Guinn grew up in a household near the western edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California in which Ishi, the last remaining member of his tribe, lived after he escaped from the mountains shortly after the turn of the last century.

Her father, an anthropologist, fed cultural prerogatives to the family at the dinner table. LeGuinn's stories do the same for children.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Last Station: Worth a look

Christopher Plumber as Tolstoy? Helen Mirrenn as the Countess? It works; both are superb. I am certain that had the part been given to a Russian, it would have worked even better. However, I am entirely unsure if I could have handled 'even better'.

My tears flowed throughout the movie - with empathy for the aging marriage and with concern for the new alliance between the young supporting cast.

I'm never sure when British films are available in the USA vs Australia. American films usually open down under about a month after the open in the northern hemisphere. However, British productions frequently open at the same time here as they do up north.

It is a universal tale well told. I recommend.

btw: Anthony Quinn originally bought the rights to the novel with the author Jay Parini writing the screenplay.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dueling Jack Hammers - no banjos, these monstrosities

As may of you know, I live in one of the loveliest sections of a large Australian capital city - Brisbane. Our hundred + year old Queensland Colonial sits almost atop the ridge line of a quiet fig tree lined hilly corner only two kilometres from city center. In the USA that usually means dilapidated housing, unkept sidewalks minus lawns.

Not here in the down under. Here we walk a block to our small residential shopping area along narrow sidewalks flanked by grassy lawns and lovely southern hemisphere bromeliad blossoms.

Life could not be more comfortable - the night lights of the city central skyline peek through massive branches of Morton Bay Figs, fruit bats nibble on tiny figs outlined in the moonlight, kookaburra klans chatter and chortle just before dawn, and the blatant Butcher Bird sings his harrowing paean to the sunrise to finish the job.

Noisy Minors take their morning dive in the back garden pool and deep blue eyed, green feathered fig birds flit in and out of the hanging limbs that surround our garden. Multicoloured lorikeets bathe in the rain gutter above my office windows at noon.

Life could not be more sonorous nor more enthusiastic!

And then –

Renovations on neighbouring properties. Ours is a corner house with two street frontage.

Three houses to the left a renovation has created the ugliest white shed imaginable. The house takes up all but one metre on each side of the lot on which it is located. Called a renovation because one small room was kept in tact and perched atop a large warehouse looking structure. If the appearance of this huge shed were not enough, the noise required to construct it would be!

And across the street to the right, a two story apartment building made mostly of asbestos was torn down while we were visiting in America. Upon our return a new behemoth rose on the property. Like its neighbour to the left, this four story modern steel and glass structure ( a private abode) barely sits inside the property boundaries. All of which is acceptable to the local rules and so irreproachable.

However, it is the jack hammers of which I have come to write. Dueling jackhammers - one to the left of us, two to the right of us; one shaping a new lap pool behind the shed; two tearing down a twenty metre by twenty metre 'feature wall' whose concrete settled incorrectly in a recent rain storm -

My lovely fig tree wilderness has turned into an industrial building site - my earphones mask a small amount of the jack hammers, but only slightly. Neighbours!

When the new householders move in, they owe the entire neighbourhood a block party of behemouth proportions to make up for the clattering shrieking of jack hammers, nail guns, electric saws, and construction crews sitting on curbs eating their macdonalds brekkies while sharing tales of the 'night before' under bedroom windows at six in the morning.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Universal Unconscious - death

Welcome to my unconscious - May it meet your own this morning in a celebration of autumn/spring depending on which hemisphere you call home.

Spent yesterday listening to a 77 year old tell me why he thought it appropriate that he be allowed to suicide rather than face the unrelenting parade of symptoms leading eventually to his death.

Solution? We talked of goals! At least temporarily, he seemed willing to work toward those before taking the end of his life into his own hands.

I do have a problem with family members having the power to formulate how one ought to end one's life rather than allowing an individual the power to make that decision himself - especially when himself is 77.

Why must any of us over 70 have to consider the effect of our demise on those who are our children. Seems we have lived long enough, sacrificed to our families enough that we ought to be able to make our own decision about when and how we orchestrate our consciousness leaving this body.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Whew! Holiday week end finally draws to close

Finally, chocolate no longer haunts this house!

We've gobbled it all!

Time to get on with getting on.

Real life calls. Time to spiff up the side garden and grocery shop for celery and mangoes. No more chocolate! Promise, no more chocolate.

Just one more item:

I hear my dear friend in Upland is preparing to retire - so what kind of transportation did she provide herself? And where else does she intend to travel since she now has new wheels and maybe even time to head in any direction with no time constraints? Wondering minds want to know..

Saturday, April 03, 2010

For my friend - POD

One Way to Help


This blogpost helps raise money for the children's miracle network. We're donating virtual Easter baskets in the hopes of raising money to support a donation from Hershey's.

If you choose to to do this and follow the rules Hershey's set up, they have to donate $10.00 per blog. I'm all for getting Hershey's donating as much cash as possible. YUM!

My fav chocolate if Lindts.. not waxy Hersheys



HERSHEY’S BETTER BASKET BLOG HOP RULES:

•Copy and paste these rules to your blog post.

•Create a blog post giving a virtual Easter Basket to another blogger – you can give as many Virtual Baskets as you want.

•Link back to person who gave you an Easter Basket (Happy Easter, MB).

•Let each person you are giving a Virtual Easter Basket know you have given them a Basket.

•Leave your link at BetterBasket.info/BlogHop comment section. You can also find the official rules of this betterbasket blog hop, and more information about Better Basket with Hershey’s there.

•This started as a meme of Hershey donating $10 per each blog participating to the Better Basket Blog Hop to Children’s Miracle Network up to $5,000 – but after so many bloggers participating, Hershey decided to donate a total of $7,000 honoring the kindness of blogger community. Let's see if we can get them to donate even more money to help those kids.


So because I'm cheap (cheep cheep), I'm giving Easter baskets to these bloggers:
I don't want any of you annoyed with me -- remember it's for the money and you can do it tomorrow and still get credit. It lasts until April 4th. Remember the children!!!! waaaaahhhh


Cut at paste this entire post if you want. Just add new bloggers names at the end. And don't add me again or I'm coming to spend Easter with you.




The Baglady


Shelley @ My Journey to Fit


Roxie @ Gravel & Rust


Cheryl @ Lake Mary Musings


Sherry @ Nite Swimming


Kim @ SavingMyLife


Susan @ Susan's Journey to Keep Fit.

Margaret @ margaretsoltan.com/?cat=3

Friday, April 02, 2010

TAAAAAAA Daaaaaaaaaa!!

Epiphany:

I just discovered the title to my next manuscript:
- - - - Creative Non Fiction - - - -


**************THE CHRISTINA DIARIES********

..EDIT****
The Christie Diaries
****


****by Paulette Peters - Madison Avenue****

look for it in your local bookstores next April!

Good Friday

Why ever does the Christian church label this day Good Friday?

Perhaps, it's just a masochistic joke promoting the tenet that pain is good, that suffering is to be desired.

I can't buy into that view of life these days.

On the other hand, I am delighted to rise this morning to sunshine in my east facing windows, no construction workers in the neighbours back garden; quiet reigns; just me and the birds.

Was up early this morning: 3:30 a.m...oh well..did a sudoku and went back to bed, but was entertained most of the time I was wandering around the dark house by a pack of kookaburras...delightful early morning chorus.

In Ozland, this week-end is an un-official national holiday - every thing is closed today and Sunday. Families are off to their last week-end trip to the beach. Good on em, I say. We are enjoying the end of summer, the last few days of daylight before 6 a.m. The equinox is past; the solstice is not far in the future.

And I am in love! with my world, with my sweet husband, with my friends, and the world in general. Hope the day dawns tomorrow with the same mood for each of you!