Monday, April 18, 2016

foaming at the mouth

before the crowds

It's amazing how many emotions the same day can hold. This morning started with the joy of drinking good coffee (from here) while starting a new book and eating my favorite meal of the day. Fast forward an hour later, and I experienced murderous rage, contempt, and helplessness as some a-hole yelled at me after our dogs got into a scuffle. Good times. Yes, my dog was a jerk and did his unfortunate snarl, tumble, snarl louder routine during which the other dog yelped. It wasn't enjoyable to witness, but it was over in about 10 seconds, and I yelled my face off while zapping his e-collar to stop the encounter. Red came over to me while the guy marched forward with what I assume he intended to be an intimidating chest thrust and said, "that's the second time your dog has done that to my dog. you need to get control of your dog." To which I apologized and asked if his dog was okay in an attempt to diffuse the anger and address the important issue of whether there were any actual consequences from the interaction. He yelled some more stuff about control to which I gave the same response: sorry, is your dog OKAY? Rather than check his dog, the man proceeded to walk away while announcing that he was going to gut my dog if he tried to start anything again. I said, "That's not necessary" because I couldn't help myself, and it was nicer than telling him to go fuck himself. He whirled around and chest-thrusted towards me saying I don't know what because I stopped listening. I said, "look I know you're afraid,* but I just want to make sure your dog is okay." He finally stooped to inspect his dog which was thankfully unharmed. Then he stood up and said "I'm serious, I will gut your dog if that happens again" as he walked away for good.


I said a nice quiet "fuck you" as he walked away. I wish I had said something with a little more zing, but it probably would not have improved the situation. Best not to poke the lion.

Fast forward 8 hours and I'm walking home from the train with birds chirping, crabapple blossoms over my head, and weather warm enough for shorts (that I did not have on because I came from work).

And now for something a little shorter:

the last book I read**
made me want to run away
to where, I don't know

*I'm so glad the guy didn't react to that word because people don't generally liked to be told they're afraid even though that's most likely the emotion driving this guy's rage. Jackass probably didn't hear me right.

**The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry - go read it now please. be prepared to cry and reflect.

picture: woman running with her dog along the Southbank Promenade by the Yarra River, Melbourne AUS, March 2016, film, Leica M6 (unintentionally blurry, but I kind of like it) 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

sonny days


Tis the season for quarterly reports at work, which is why this post will not be a continuation of our trip. It will instead be a brief whining interlude about being too tired to write. So brief that I am done right after this short version of laughing until I cried at my own terrible joke.

sometimes you just need
a good pun to get the tears
streaming down your cheeks

picture: Sonny, the whippet, warming up our clean towels at our friends' home in Melbourne, AUS, March 2016, film, Leica M6

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

planes for yonks

moreton bay figs

We spent the first 4 days of our trip in Melbourne, once we finally arrived. Our original nonstop flight from LAX to Melbourne was cancelled, so we got stuck on flights from LAX to Sydney then to Melbourne. But I'm getting ahead of myself because the plane to get to LAX was delayed by six hours (sensing a theme?). This had me freaking out about our LAX connection and getting stuck in LAX for an ungodly amount of time waiting for the next Qantas flight. Thankfully, we found out that the plane from JFK was the same plane all the way to Sydney. Once I had that information, I was able to lean in to the delay (literally, because I couldn't sit for very long at a time without my tailbone protesting). We actually found out about our flight from JFK before we left the house. Being the neurotic that I am, I couldn't handle sitting around for that long, especially because I had visions of the flight getting moved to a less delayed time, which would have been disastrous had we been sitting at home "relaxing." So we left only about 45 minutes later than we had originally planned. Yes, Charrow deserves a medal for putting up with my lunacy.

Clearly my soothsayer skills need some work because our flight was most definitely NOT moved up, and we spent far too long sitting around the international terminal at JFK. So long, in fact, that I forgot we were still in New York because of all the foreign languages being spoken. On the bright side, we bought our body weight in the healthiest airport food we could find because we got $20 vouchers (each!) from the airline for the delay. The first of a long line of failures in our ability to maintain a small footprint during our T-Rex sized air travel footprint. So much plastic. And that brings me to the end of my ability to think straight for the day. Installment 2 of 347 tomorrow. Here's the short version with Australian lingo picked up from our friends (or should I say mates?):

we waited for yonks*
nearly driving ourselves spare**
where are the hoppies***?

*yonks = ages
** drive X spare = drive X crazy (X being your pronoun of choice)
*** hoppies = kangaroos (an obvious one)

picture: Moreton Bay Fig trees at Princes Park, Melbourne, AUS, March 2016, film, Leica M6 (they look remarkably like magnolia trees in person) 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

here we go again

We returned from New Zealand exactly three weeks ago today. Strange how it feels like so much longer, but when I look at the pictures (oh so many pictures), it feels like I could walk outside and hop into our Rustbucket to do it all over again. Except we don't own that Rustbucket, which is what Charrow aptly named the fifteen year old van we drove all over the south island of New Zealand. Anyway, I've had some trouble getting back here. At first it was the exhaustion of hiking somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 miles over the course of twelve days (the hiking didn't really start until we hit Tasmania) and the 24 hour trip home. Then I felt exhausted by work. Then I got better and better at being an internet zombie and simply giving in to the comfort of not showing up. Major advantages of not writing: more free time and less anxiety about flopping. But I've noticed that what I do with that free time verges on practicing for a zombie contest. Facebook, instagram, Facebook, email, Facebook, repeat. Searching for who knows what and getting very little return on the investment. I also noticed that the relief of not posting comes with a nagging sense of letting myself down. So here I am. Ready to flop and flail and feel like a dweeb in the name of creating art instead of molding away with my face glued to my phone. Prepare yourself for pictures, travel stories of varying degrees of interest and a neverending stream of bad haikus.

we suffered delays
welcomed hardships and scaled cliffs
fueled by sandwiches

picture: kid playing with the fountain wall at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, AUS, March 2016, film, Leica M6

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

into the hills we go

kamikaze playground

Last minute preparations got the better of me yesterday. Going crazy before the day of departure means we aren't rushed, which is great, but I'm totally spent from not sleeping very well for the last week while also going nonstop. So I will leave you with my final haiku for awhile.

cats lounging in sun
bags piled high by the front door
ready for a nap

picture: a different view of the playground plane in Copenhagen, Denmark, September 2010, film, Canon Tlb 

Sunday, February 28, 2016


Success! We have managed to trim corners and implement the ridiculous strategy of wearing extra layers to the airport, thus paring our pack weights to 1-1.5 pounds below the requirement. I left a buffer in case the luggage scale I bought isn't accurate. We are also stuffing underwear in our coat pockets, which sounds ridiculous, but I don't care. I'm not above such trickery if it keeps me from having to stand around a baggage carousel stressing out about what time the rental car place closes. I have a picture of the final gear, but I'm saving it for a packing post, which will happen we return unless by some miracle I am more prepared than I think Tuesday morning (fat chance). It's likely to bore the pants off most of you, but fellow packing crazies might find it useful. If all of my efforts are for naught and we get foiled in some other way (full overhead bins, a cranky airline agent who disagrees with my interpretation of top/bottom of the bag, etc.), I'm sure you will hear about it! For now, I leave you with this:

when you travel, there
should be no wrong or right way,
only this or that

picture: wet, moss-covered boulder near the top of Pico de Papagaio, Ilha Grande, Brazil, September 2012, digital 

Saturday, February 27, 2016


Well the final tornado has begun. We spent this afternoon packing our bags, editing, then repacking, and repeat. At one point, we layed down on the living floor to see if 1 sleeping bag would unzip enough to cover both of us (answer: yes), and that silly dog wormed his way in between us the second we had the bag over our bodies. End result: two adults crammed together with a giant dog butt sticking out of the top of the bag. We're still not down to the ideal combination of necessary gear that keeps us within the carry-on weight limit (15 pounds) and the annoyingly small dimensions (22"x14"x9"). Yes, we are attempting to go to the other side of the world for 3 weeks with one 32L backpack apiece and our "personal item" - aka a tote bag of food to avoid eating airline and airport "food" and my camera bag. I think we can do it! But we might not look or smell very pretty in the process. Hobocamp here we come. In the meantime, here's today's other exercise:

we might fail as snails
but we're getting pretty close
who needs extra socks?

picture: giant snail on the porch of our Airbnb house in Ilha Grande, Brazil, September 2012, digital