Sunday, July 31, 2011

One more Ex pat commentary

As those of you who read regularly may know we have been back in Oz for almost two weeks. Yep, time flies.

Today has been my 'reply to emails from friends' morning. After the G-man took off on his bicycle for his' first time this year' cycle along the Brisbane River, I slowly extracted myself from a warm and cozy nest and wandered towards the 'loo'. Much to my surprise, I noticed the window to the shower room was steamy. That was either a fast ride or I did roll over and go back to sleep longer than I thought I did.

Tapping on the window, I asked 'Did you ride?'

'Yep, but the gear shift changer on my bike is sticking. Took me forever to shift from one gear to the other. I'll fix it this afternoon. I did come up the hill in high gear though.'

'Proud of you for that,' I smiled. The Howard Street hill from the school to our house, about 300 yards (metres), is mildly put - steep.

Later with my first cup of tea, a ginger concoction - I've given up on coffee for the moment as I'm trying to correct my digestive imbalance before my doctor's appt. next week - I checked my emails.

Three American friends sent greetings as they wondered if I was pleased to be back in winter again. All three know about the very long winter we endured in Nordacotah this past season - First snow in mid November - last blizzard on 1 May.

If only I could convey the difference between a North American prairie winter and an estuarian mid east coast Australian winter. It's too simple to say that we live in a subtropical paradise.

Better to explain that July is rife with softest blue skies interspersed with puffy whites, that the 5 a.m. temperature may hover around 40F (9 C) degrees, but that by noon, the house, opened up by it's mistress, will be a comfy 70 F (20C). Perfection. No mosquitos, the cockies have not yet returned to fly in the open windows, the Kookaburra and Butcher Birds still waken us at dawn, the lauralkeets come in rainbow colours but in smaller numbers because there is no fruit on which to munch.

After our oatmeal and yogurt brekkie which as soon as I clean up the back veranda will be enjoyed in the fig tree wilderness of our back garden, (a year's weather has left it's mark on walls and windows. Soon, very soon, those marks will be history.) — we put on a light jacket and walk down to the corner deli for milk and stop in for an Australian flat white. Oh, I know, I have waxed eloquently - at least I intended the description to be eloquent - about that first morning cuppa - but there it is - perfect start to our morning.

A chance to sit and chat as well as serve as audience to young Aussies chasing the bus as it pulls into our local stop on the way into city centre, to mom's with babies in strollers trying to keep up with their blue and yellow uniformed kiddies on their way to second, third, and forth grade classrooms.

There are also the retirees walking the dog or dogs, and delivery vans bringing flowers, bread, and various other goodies to the local restaurants and deli.

We live only a block from all this bustle in which we can engage or if it suits us, we can enjoy a quiet cuppa at home as the sun warms the timbers of our century old house and finally shines into the inner realms of the place we call home.

It is good to be back. We are blessed to have such a respite to which we can return.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday and the 14th amendment

So many topics to discuss and always I choose the mundane..urgh!

We could discuss the 14th amendment to the US Constitution, but you may have had a surfeit of that convo. Still, do you know what it says? I'm astonished and so damned pleased; of course, only because Americans have a democrat as President. If it were a tool available to republicans, I'd surely feel differently.

Here's what it says - Amendment 14 Section 4

The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. etc etc etc.

The section in RED is surrounded by commas. All you excellent grammarians know what that means — that red part can be pulled out and the entire sentence makes sense without it. No argument on the part of those who understand the rules of written English.

Of course, no one expects that the Supreme Court is full of grammarians. Far from it.

I'm actually looking forward to the President's solution to a recalcitrant Tea Party who salivates at the thought of taking Medicare away from those of us over 65.

A delicious question keeps my mind busy these days. What will Obama's solution to this impasse create for average Americans?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Not Quite Our Prairie Home

What a difference a hemisphere makes.

Our three homes are as different as one could possibly imagine. Still, all three have a similar ambiance, a sense of comfortable relaxation.

Oz house has no central heating - nor does Sierra cabin; the Flaxton abode is surely the warmest of the three. Our window pane less southern hemisphere home is large enough so that sometimes we actually lose one another.
I'm in the front bedroom.

' Ok. Be right there I'm on the bottom back veranda.' :)

We can hear one another, just can't quite find each other.

In Flaxton, we always know where the other is..garage, upstairs, downstairs, or out playing in the snow.

At the mountain cabin, no telling where the other might be. Hiking to a peak, through a canyon, fishing in the creek, or just lolling lazily in one of the bedrooms.

No matter, we seem to be comfy in all three..and feel more than a little fortunate to have them all!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tour de France

What a lovely week end to be in Australia!

Cadel Evans is about to become the first Aussie to win the Tour de France! Makes my heart sing to witness the pride in achievement displayed by Aussies when their countryman rises to the occasion and wins such an international prize.

The continent from down under has risen to the top once again. Well deserved victory.

Makes my heart sing.

p.s. Click on the title to today's entry to go to the Guardian Tour de France story

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ant Farm

My huge screened Mac G5 Double Processor has been left all all alone for the past eleven months on my desk in the sun room office of our Brisbane home.

Graham's eldest has been a fine guardian of this mammoth machine. At least once a week she has come in to keep it company for a few moments, checking to be sure that it is operating properly, that the latest Brisbane electrical storm hasn't burned the operating system to a crisp.

As I sat down to stroke the ego of this behemoth upon my return last Tuesday, praising it ceaselessly for continuing to function without my 'motherly' attention for so very long, a lone ant crept across my screen. One ant - no problem. I continued to check my email and jot a note off to my Aussie friends to let them know the Amerikan had returned.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear? (Yeah, I know I used that phrase not so long ago) Another ant, and another, and another until dozens, hundreds criss crossed my screen, some wandering and some carrying little white eggs.

A ant farm had lodged successfully in the 540 millimetre ( almost two foot) by 440 millimetre (a foot and a half) screen encasement sitting before me.

Fortunately, I am married to Mr. Fix It. He pondered for a few moments, brought his IKEA tools, hex wrenches, from downstairs, removed the back from the screen, sprayed the denizen as I scooped them up, and proceeded to evict them from their home of the past year.

Then, wouldn't you know! Then, the whole computer refused to boot up. Squirrelly mouthed, we cursed and frothed at the whole Apple world. Rescued from ants, lonely once more, the huge machine refused to cooperate.

Four days later, Mr Fix It triumphed again. Here I sit with the Fig Tree Wilderness before me, laurelkeets happily mincing on the rain gutter just above and beyond my window, ants departed from my computer, jotting you this record of our most recent problem solving events.

Happy I am to be typing on the G5. Thrilled I am to be able to communicate with my cyber world on my favourite system. Happy days to you all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Songsters Greeted the Dawn

Same ole, same ole; nonetheless, it was joyful to be awakened by the southern hemisphere denizen! Kookaburra klan chattering at brekkie and Butcher Bird chortling us up and out of bed a bit earlier made it a fine morning to be home again.

Mid winter temperatures are pleasant hovering around 68-70 F with a slight breeze sliding down the front hall through the open door. The Aussie laughs at my pink head dress - a tight fitting cap that fits down over my ears keeping me warm. Must admit I've added a light fleece and socks to my winter wardrobe. Nothing at all like our North Dakota winter wear, but enough.

At 8 this morning we enjoyed a walk down to Rosalie Village for oats, freshly baked bread, and yogurt. Then, in my sunny office enjoyed our second cuppa of the morning.

Much to be done here in the 'colonial' - closets and cupboards to be washed out before hanging clothes up. After all, it's been eleven months since the hangers have been covered with my colorful wardrobe.

And to our surprise, we had to clean out my computer screen - it had become a rather delightful ant farm complete with little white eggs.! Quite unexpected. Soon we will try and reassemble the whole screen with the intention of making sure it works minus the minyons crawling through my words and pictures as I try to type a blog entry. This note comes to you via my travelling laptop.

Be well..hope it cools off for those of you in Nordacotah and also for the California folks.

love..

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

We'uns Are Home

Southern hemisphere sunny (but breezy) winter afternoon finds the Aussie and his wife enjoying the century + year old colonial on the hill in Paddington once again.

The journey was lackluster punctuated with some delightful visits from old friends and loving children and grandchildren. The fifteen hours of flying time were comfy for the most part - who can complain of hard yolks when the hollandaise was perfect. Air New Zealand wins the 'best little airline on the planet' award one more time.

Em has turned the house into a comfy Aussie realm, neat and orderly and inviting!

The fig tree wilderness is as green and full as ever, the skies more blue than I remember, the southern hemisphere world once more is a safe haven from which to monitor the progress of the rest of the world.

We are so pleased to be home once again!!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Just a bit excited

Greetings, greetings —

Location - Holiday Inn LAX

Time - 10 am Sunday 17 July 2011

Atmosphere - pleasant. Tummy full from a full service breakfast buffet after a good night's rest - oatmeal for me with just a tiny bit of scrambled eggs to keep me til we reach Air New Zealand Business Class lounge at the airport.

Expectations: A good nights sleep en-route to Auckland where we have a lay over before heading home to Brisbane.

Dearest Linda drove us from Whitney Portal (picture at top of blog page) to LA. We are blessed to have such friendships in our lives.

It was difficult to make the transition through the dry Mohave desert after a white winter and very wet springtime in Nordacotah which has become the state of 10,000 lakes just like it's eastern neighbor.

Ten days in the Sierra were glorious, cool, green, quiet with a smattering of child laughter when the Madeleine, Jack, Ethan, and Dale came to fish and tease the wildlife.

Twas difficult to leave the mountains behind, but looking forward to a warm Aussie winter in the colonial on the hill. Catch you all in a few days...after lag from the jet dissipates

Sunday, July 03, 2011

* * * * * * * Bags are Packed! * * * * * * *

And we're ready to go!

Can't remember a time when I've been so ready to climb in the ute and head for the mountains.

That's only because of incipient Alzheimers. There have been lots of time when the cabin offered refuge from way too much life in the city.

But this time, the issue is heat and grass in the country. Temperatures hovered around 100 on Wednesday. The clouds disappeared over the eastern horizon, after which the western horizon, that usually acquits itself admirably by producing more of the white fluffy stuff, failed to take notice.

Packing was a tad unique this trip. Stuff to go to the cabin, stuff to go to Australia, stuff to stay here packed into mothproof containers, and stuff to take into nightly accommodations. Some say I am a woman of boxes and I do plead guilty, but arranging this set was onerous.

Still, it's done! All that's left is to carry bags out to the truck so the Aussie can load and then empty the refrigerator/freezer and take excess out to the farm where the denizen will feast when we are 'on the road again'.

So, for a couple of days, I will miss checking up on you all to see who has stopped in and who has not.

BTW, you can do that yourself if you scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click on real time view of the lovely counter who keeps track of where and how folks chose to stop in to read some of these words.

You may be surprised at the entries from Croatia, Thailand, and Sweden. Everybody reads English these days — the shame is that we Americans read so few other languages ourselves, but you've heard me pontificate on the subject before.