Tuesday, August 31, 2010

WE IS HOME

Computer connection is good. I type these words on my trusty mac laptop whilst sitting on my sweet bear couch in my very own lounge room situated right here in Flaxton.

This be our home; not his home, not my cabin, but our own little cottage rescued from the rakkoon klan.

Rod Stewart melodies fill the room from Pandora; we've just discovered that we can access Mad Men on line, Foyle's War episodes accompanied us on dvds from Oz, Weather Underground alerts us to the most immediate changes in our outside ambiance; our neighbours needs have been met. We sprayed the wasp nest located very near our front door last night while the busy critturs were slowing down due to cool night temps. Neighbour Annie needs no longer be concerned about wasp stings to her young children.

The once water inundated basement has a new drain connected to the city sewer system, a new circuit breaker board is waiting to be installed; the furnace works! And hooray, G-man turned it on this morning when he saw me wringing my hands - rings make my fingers cold when temps drop.

Neighbours coming for stuffed zucchini dinner on Tuesday night; last night we enjoyed prairie raised chicken and new potatoes fresh from the black Dacotah soil out at the Nygaard farm; time to reciprocate and once again enjoy the humour and comraderie of small town nordamerica.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

FLAXTON

Prairie Home - sunshine and a lovely sky blue peacefulness resonates throughout the house.

All kinds of issues upon our arrival will be solved in due time. The G-man has the skills to tackle almost any problem created by too much rain or too much wind.

We had been told that the basement had had 8 inches of water flow in from the ground water table but it looks more like 24 altogether wetted the goodies stored downstairs - including a bunch of canned goods that we had put below the frost level so they didn't freeze.

Tools, lots of power tools were inundated; the water heater's innards were destroyed, but somehow the Aussie bloke has made it all right. We will have to buy more tools tomorrow to replace those soaked, but tonight he is in the midst of taking a HOT shower before we head out for WallEye at the local dinner house six miles down the road.

It's been a long journey this time with opportunities to spend time with some loved entities. From the desert mountains of southern California to the massive forests of northern Arizona's San Francisco Peaks and finally arriving to the warm welcome of Bismarck where we supped on some superb northern prairie food - yummy beets, tantalyzing beef, and yummy walleye..along with some great California wines..couldn't be better..

So, stories to come about the wasps' nest in the nearby lilac bushes, one hundred wild cats in town, a new car wash, and the raccoons are back!

be well...we are happy to be home..

Sunday, August 22, 2010

We're HERE!

Leavin on the next plane; don't know when I'll be back agaiin!



Well, actually, we've arrived on the last plane..and we do know when we intend to head back south - sometime in May 2011. I was angsting about whether the G-man would make it through immigration - no worries -



This day we retreat occasionally into jetlag heaven - otherwise known as naptime - before we head further east to Arizona where we will visit with my middle child and thenhead north to the prairie.



Great sadness as we departed New Zealand...I watched out the window as we cleared the island and I realized it was all blue pacific for another 11 hours - A good tail wind made the trip only 10 and a half hours during which Jonesses and An Education played on my individual tv screen - both commentary on the real world that offers a pause for thought.



Arriving over the North American continent at Los Angeles, I once again took a long look out the window as we circled and landed from the east. Dozens of baseball diamonds - only in America. I knew we were in LA when the cement rivers with merely a trickle mid-stream followed the ribbons of freeway from mountainous horizon to mountainous horizon.



Home; we are in our northern home.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Message to the Great Circle

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go!

Not really — the bags are packed, but I'm never really ready.

Was jotting an email to an Aussie friend yesterday when I realized that the ones I love in the 'down under' fill a space in my psyche that cannot be filled by anyone but those who live here. Even though I am about to travel to the ' up over' better known as the northern prairie and anticipate reunion with some of the most important folks in my life, it is paramount to understand that the two groups of people do not occupy the same space in my inner realm.

Kind of like being the Queen of Hearts - yep, I aspire to such generalized metaphorical nonsense.

In my court there are many alliances, all of which are essential to the healthy functioning of my royal psyche. None can be eliminated. All are essential.

I do realize just how narcissistic this whole description is, but that changes the truth of it not a whit.

My Australian connections supply me with a sense of being competent, quietly (yeah, right, whoever describes a traveling American as quiet) able to drive on the left hand side of the road, to accept that I am an individual unlike most who inhabit this territory. They accept my foibles and gift me with their model of decorum. They seldom act out, make waves, or congratulate anyone on the basic niceties expressed within their hearing. Compliments are not the order of the day; here behaviour speaks much louder than words.

They protect me from my most abrasive American foibles and laugh with delight when I slip into the old patterns of just being 'way too out there.' They tolerate my problem solving techniques — just ask the man! "Excuse me, Sir, (oops - a non word in Oz) but why is it that you are barefoot in the middle of the central business district?"

No Ozite would ever ask. Most Americans would be driven by curiosity to check out the real reason for such a bizzare lack of protection for the feet.

I will miss these polite but straight shooting ( no guns generally in Oz) friends who have made life here possible for me.

On the other hand, I am about to land on my own feet in nordamerika where folks say what they mean more often than they act out their intentions. I must be careful with this generalization. My friends in Nordacotah have been more generous than any outlander has a right to expect. They have given freely of their time, gasoline, knowledge, scones, and sunflowers than anyone else on the planet.

And then, there is my Los Angeles connection who is willing not only to drive in the middle of a summer afternoon all the way to LAX to pick us up, but also to drive us across the California and Arizona desert to Flagstaff. The generosity of spirit astounds me. The welcome spirit of America reminds me of how powerful it is to be a land of plenty. If one has enough, it is acceptable to share that enough with those one loves and often with strangers as well.

Those I love in America are most apt to tell me about my foibles rather to than to simply endure them, but those foibles are of a very different sort than the ones I might commit in the southern hemisphere.

In America, I tend to step on the toes of folks in power, sometimes of folks who are powerless. Both deeds are unacceptable. To spend too much time talking of self is common, but nonetheless unacceptable. Americans will remind me. For this, I am grateful.

I'm blessed to have two worlds in which to live and love. They are different to be sure, but both provide a background and support system that gives me reason to celebrate.

About to cross the divide — Message to the Great Circle 'Crossing over, please bless our passage.'

Friday, August 13, 2010

Packing

Isn't packing a bother? Especially packing for a ten month sojourn....three seasons, northern and southern hemisphere?

I do hate being cold but even more dislike glowing in the midst of summer humidity...what to take to avoid both and keep within the baggage weight limits of modern air travel —

I've emptied closets, packed away all the stuff that is staying here; filled the bags with moth repellent, and tucked them safely into closets where they will guard their contents for the duration.

But, still lying on the bed in the guest room are the items I may and those that I may not include in my travel bag - which has wheels, but at the same time is going to have to accommodate the weight of at least one nail gun so that Aussie can fit new windows into the upstairs bedroom and fashion a new set of stairs to the second floor. I suppose there will be other essential equipment that will need to find a corner in my luggage as well..

A couple pair of shorts - its warm in Nordamerika in August, a tank top or three, a long sleeved shirt to ward off the sunshine, my trekking hat and poles, a sturdy pair of shoes and my sandals to show off my new toenail polish. One pair of long pants for evening, a skirt and matching top in case dress up is required, propolis toothpaste and calendula cream - Oh I know, they produce the same stuff in the northern hemisphere :)

It's all sitting there just waiting for me to fold it again, to tuck the scanty panties into the corners, the warm winter socks into the other corners and the summer nighties on top with the cashmere sweater and silk long sleeved blouse that go everywhere with me.

I just recharged my American mobile ( ah er cell) phone and my camera. They'll fit into my computer bag which fortunately every airline allows me to carry transpacifically.

Decisions, decision, decisions !

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Moroni in Brisbane

It's EKKA day here in Queensland and our regular Merlo coffee shop is closed.

Who would've thunk it?

So, instead we drove across the city to Kangaroo Point and had a cuppa at the cliffs coffee house across the river from downtown. Lovely view, harrowing breezes from off the river. The coffee house offers blankets to keep warm! Loved it..soft and snuggly while I enjoyed my coffee

And to make matters more interesting, we had a discussion of the Mormon Temple that is located across the road from the coffee shop - also looking out over the River to lovely downtown Brissie and the Botanical Gardens that frame the view in greenery.

Atop the temple is Moroni - the gilded angel who is supposed to have been dressed all in white when he appeared to Joseph Smith back in 1823.

Guarding the faithful, the stalwart angel graces the top of the temple nonetheless. And it occurred to me that most Aussies have no idea who he is or why he's up there in the blistering heat of summer and the bone chilling westerlies of winter.

Just thought I'd let you know.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

A High School Valedictorian Speaks Out

Valedictorian Speaks Out Against Schooling in Graduation Speech

Click on the title of this post to find the full content of Erica Goldson's Valedictory Speech. She's right on!

Whose to blame? Not important.

Who can change the environment, rules, and expectations? You and me!

Take heart, there are kids and parents out there who want more than rote, who prefer children to be thoughtful and creative, curious and wrong sometimes, who think the process is more important than the outcome - scores on national and state tests.

It's been eight years since I spent time in a classroom as a high school English teacher. The situation hasn't much changed in that time although there have always been advocates of 'thinking', of individualized creativity, people who work quietly in the background to create spaces inside of which teens can investigate and learn rather than 'follow directions'.

I celebrate Erica's speaking out. I don't much appreciate Mencken, but I do applaud his observation. Hopefully with the school year about to begin once more, teachers around the USA will take a look at what a Valedictorian has to say.

And hopefully, Australia and her present Prime Minister will take note and discontinue the waste of funds being expended on 'national testing'. URGH>>>>>

Friday, August 06, 2010

Two Weeks to Touchdown in America

It's Friday in Oz — two weeks to American touchdown!

Well, actually, it's two weeks and a day, but we lose a day when we travel east, so in fact, it's two weeks.

Gonna be hard to leave the winter sunshine, the excellent election television humour - Aussie's never take much seriously! and the good companionship of the southern hemisphere.

But somehow we'll manage. After all, we have the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff late summer, a quick jaunt through an August Phoenix, and an Indian Summer in North Dakota. What more could we ask?

With a little luck, the companionships we've established here might fly north for a visit. We do hope so.

In the meantime, I'll be snuggling into my warm winter covers tonight and waking in the morning to cold floors and kookaburra chatter — experiences we won't have for the year we are in the north.

And on 20 August, we board Air New Zealand for the trip of the year!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Kevin - The Ex Prime Minister of Australia

It's not often I have something positive to write about a politico, but an extra-ordinary interview took place last night on ABC radio here in Australia.

Click on the title of this entry to go to the ABC page where you can listen to the interview.

Some background for you outlanders. Three months ago, the current Prime Minister was replaced by a new Labor Prime Minister. In other words, Kevin Rudd, was tossed in a midnight dumpster.

The new Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, called an election a month later, an election campaign in the middle of which we find ourselves at the moment.

Now to add to the drama, Kevin Rudd, who is contesting his seat to represent his electorate here in Brisbane, this week, went in for emergency gall bladder surgery.

He is now out of hospital and the interview to which I refer is his first upon recovery.

This is a man with principles, a man with integrity, a man with a purpose, a leader who believes firmly in all he has accomplished for the people of Australia.

If I had a vote, I'd cast it in his direction.