Sunday, November 14, 2010


I'm over here, guys...


Monday, December 28, 2009

Post Christmas Post

I shortened my sights a bit. Didn’t find a Buddha under the Christmas tree-ish dried floral arrangement thing in our room, and decided I’d be happy if all I got for Christmas was not a case of head lice. (So far so good. I think.) But I still may buy one for myself before we leave.

Looks like our return flights are going to be even more inconvenient with all the additional security measures. We came over with five carry-ons, but I’m guessing it’ll be easier just to check the whole lot on the way back. I wouldn’t want to be responsible for creating an international incident when airport security discovers Elle’s Crayola Explosion Glow Board in our hand-luggage. I’ll keep my laptop with me of course, and if I end up with a hefty but fragile wooden icon, I’ll keep that with me as well, although I’m not sure if that additional attention will be a good or bad thing. I’m pretty sure Aussie law enforcement would shrug off charges of politically incorrect racial profiling (ya gotta start somewhere, mate), so will I slide through as an obvious non-Muslim or receive extra scrutiny for my potential decoy? And if I get on the plane without any challenges, will I then just incense any onboard fundamentalists?

Generally I am not afraid to fly. There has been only one really bad landing in my lifetime of travel (wind shear slamming us down with a nice little sideways slide down a rainy runway in New Orleans) and I have reconciled myself to the fact that if I survive a mid-Pacific crash, no help will arrive until long after I’ve been devoured by sharks. I’m okay with that. But now I have kids to worry about. And crazies. And I don’t like the fact that Jorge changed his departure and is leaving earlier, because when we reach Los Angeles we split up: Grice flies with me to Miami, and Sarabelle and Elle, who were meant to be accompanied by their father, fly on a different airline back to Fort Lauderdale. Now I’ll be sticking the two of them on a plane by themselves and hoping they’ll be in Miami with their dad to greet me and Grice after the cross-country leg of our trip. Can I request they be seated next to the secret (wink wink) air marshall?

I like to test the TSA employees, see if they’re on their toes or not, by traveling with little surprises. Among other things, I’ve taken a box cutter disguised as a key on a keyring several times without notice and flew over here this time with a long, sharp bamboo stick holding my hair up in a knot. Bought a second hair clip at the same shop that sells the Buddhas after I misplaced the first, then relocated the original so now I have two. Sarabelle looks good with her hair up. I would probably not be the passenger to jump up and subdue a would-be terrorist, but I’d be happy to be able to pass the braver passengers a little something to help out.

Oh, yeah, and if I have to go to the bathroom, just try and stop me.

Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.

-- Benjamin Franklin

Sunday, December 20, 2009

All I want for Christmas is...

My big Buddha

...a giant carved mango-wood, $5,000 (AU) Buddha head. I’m easy to buy for, really. I’ve had my eye on him for years, from way back when the exchange rate was in our favor. The photo does not do him justice.

Being more practical (and way low on funds), and realizing, ironically, the Buddha’s teaching that desire brings suffering, I will content myself with a photo.

And maybe one of these lesser priced Buddhas.

Affordable smaller Buddhas

Or, more realistically, Sarabelle’s water jug Easter Island heads.

Water jug Easter Island head

Learn to let go. That is the key to happiness.

-- Siddhartha Gautama

Friday, December 18, 2009


We planned to attend the town Christmas party and later the official opening of the new party deck at the tavern Saturday, following our friends’ band around from gig to gig, but due to a little misunderstanding regarding our Aussie joint bank account, namely that Sarabelle was happily spending money she thought was hers on frivolous items, like purses, when in reality it was money I was saving for future necessities, like food, we found ourselves flat broke. Reading the notices for the events in this week’s paper, though, we happily discovered that the town Christmas party is offering a free sausage sizzle, bottles of water, and lollies (breakfast!) and the tavern is offering free finger foods (lunch!) As long as we’ve got fuel we’ll be good for another day.

Maybe we’ll crash a few Christmas office parties next.

Living on Earth may be expensive, but it includes an annual free trip around the Sun.

-- Unknown

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We're Back

The flight, the 14-hour one, was not too terribly uncomfortable and we had our own little TVs to watch. I got to enjoy Bruno, though I had to keep leaning over checking to be sure the kids could not see my monitor, and am even more in love with Sacha Baron Cohen; Julie and Julia (didn’t have to worry about the kids getting a peek at this one, and I also love Meryl more than ever); The Boys are Back, a sweet little Australian movie which caused a big fat tear drop to fall out of my eye (I was tired, okay?); and about the first hour of Funny People, which I hope to finish on the return trip.

The holiday apartment Jorge rented is pretty comfortable and has a nice pool and cafe for snacks but terrible WiFi service. At different times during the day the signal appears in different rooms, the kitchen table in the morning, the coffee table after noon, and never yet at the supposedly strongest spot down by the pool. We chase around with the laptop and argue over whose turn it is to get on when the little bars finally appear (seems like Grice wins more often than most), or give up and go downtown to the local internet/smoothie shop. It wouldn’t be so annoying if we weren’t paying extra for the service.

Even though we’ve been traveling in an area of a roughly 20 mile circumference encompassing three distinct areas (rural, mill town and resort town), in the short time we’ve been here we’ve seen dozens of friends and acquaintances at planned get-togethers or bumping into them while sitting at cafes, filling up at the gas station, or buying groceries, and everyone has time for a little chat. It’s what I love and missed most about this small-town laid-back place.

I hope that posterity will judge me kindly, not only as to the things which I have explained, but also to those which I have intentionally omitted so as to leave to others the pleasure of discovery.

-- Rene Descartes

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

From our house to yours...

...Merry Christmas Beetles!

"Bah," said Scrooge. "Humbug!"

-- Charles Dickens

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


We are here, we are here!

Made it back relatively unscathed. An early morning flight plus twenty straight hours of on-demand movies and food, and arriving at your destination on the evening of the same calendar day you left equals no jet lag. The dogs made it into Fort Lauderdale two days after us and after visting Gabby (my mother-in-law, who is doing exceptionally well) we headed over to our house on the west coast. Still waiting for the miscellaneous furnishings and the Landcruiser to arrive, but if it all happens to fall off the ship and never gets here, really, I'm okay with that. Doing my best, which is admittedly not much more than hibernating, to get through Christmas.

We're all missing our friends down under. Facebook and Skype help.

Jorge, the girls, and I buzzed out to the island Sunday with the dogs and some friends who dropped by. It was a delightful couple of hours and I'm looking forward to spending many more days out there once the holiday obligations are over and done with.

In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer.

-- Albert Camus