Drowning the Dream

Have you ever harbored a dream? Not just had one, but kept it, hung on to it, stashed it away in the depths of your heart to be dusted off whenever the time for it was finally right?

As long as  I can remember (and my sister says it’s been at least 30 years), I’ve wanted to go to Australia. Not just GO, but EXPERIENCE. BE there. Perhaps not forever, but certainly fully, completely, for a while. At the same time, I cultivated the unfortunate attitude of rolling with the punches, because, self-help books and Internet memes tell us, things “will work out”. And they do, of course, but what the gurus don’t tell you is that you have absolutely no say in the how or when.

According to the Chinese zodiac, this is the Year of the Monkey. It’s an anything-goes kind of energy that can bring change when you least expect it. After the year we had in 2015, change was/is sorely needed, and as I strolled down a busy street in Fremantle last spring, the salty ocean air wafting up my nostrils, it felt for the first time in a very long time as if change might really come. Change for the better. It seemed positive.

That Schäfchen, our elderly guinea pig, died almost immediately after my return seemed to contradict that trend at first, but then I thought, now it’ll just be the two of us. Surely we can make things happen in our favor with one cat and two bunnies. DH’s dream is to return to Germany, to be with friends and write his bestseller that’s been on his desk for some time. I figured I might toodle off and follow my dream for a little while, killing two birds with one stone: I’d BE in Australia and make money, because after all, I am in one of those professions everyone claims to be looking for.

After initial reluctance to even consider this, DH and I sat down to look more closely at what would need to be done. Since we’ve just recently added two kittens to our family, he would have been more comfortable had I been able to take the rabbits with me, but alas, unless you’re coming from New Zealand, Australia won’t allow rodents (which makes perfect sense, since ours are desexed, indoor rabbits but hey, let’s not quibble). Anyway, he’d be stuck with cats and bunnies, but still asked me to investigate further.

I did. And what I found was Reality giving me a toothy grin and a big, fat Fuck You! In order to not screw up my visa application, it would be best to hire a migration agent. One returned a quote of $200 to make sure my paperwork was in order. That doesn’t seem so bad, does it? Then I must fork over $500 to the reviewing body in question so they can use my application stack to hold their desks down for three months, after which time they may approve me and may award me enough points to propel me to the next step in the visa process.

I’ve now spent $700 merely to get to apply for a visa! No clue how much that costs, as from here on, things get a bit murky. In any case, should Immigration and Border Control grant me a visa, I’ll have to get the obligatory health check, which back in the day I moved to the US was around $150 (for the US, 20+ years ago, if I remember correctly).

By now I’m out roughly a thousand dollars, after which I’ll have to find a job. The application process alone would eat up any and all savings I currently have, which is not an option for an unemployed person. In short, I can’t afford it.

Anita Goa writes on her blog that the Pisces moon brings release. I guess that means it’s time to use this dream to feed the fishes.

Now go back to the opening lines of this post. If you answered yes to my questions, you’ll know exactly how I’m feeling right now.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Friday, the 20th of September. To some, an inconspicuous end to a work week. To us, the expected salvation from a week’s worth of dirty laundry, until…

the lovely people from Sears delivered our washer and dryer this morning. While hooking everything up, it turns out the plumbing in the house ain’t quite what it’s supposed to be: parts are corroded, falling out of the wall, making a general mess, and now we’re cut off from our smelly well water until the plumber gets here. Lovely. Apparently, water softener needs to be applied to said smelly well water regularly to avoid exactly this problem. So, that’s kind of bad. But also good. At least the washer and dryer are here. And the plumber will be here shortly. So… yay with reservations.

Also currently here: the nice man from Lowe’s who’s measuring our floors. We’re replacing all carpeting with laminate (photos of the carpet next time). While you think about that, here are some pics of the current wallpaper (but not ALL the wallpaper, I don’t want you to go blind prematurely!):

the hallway and bar area

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my room and future guestroom

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the man cave

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And this is where the image uploader gives up the ghost, so more on what’s going on in the backyard in another post…

The truly ugly bit came as a nasty surprise when DH opened our mailed packages. If you ever worried about movers destroying your stuff, stop right now and take a good, hard look at the post office instead (we suspect the APO). One of our three boxes is missing entirely. I wouldn’t mind so much if it didn’t contain expensive special care food for the guinea pigs. One box was repacked by someone after having been left in water – not only was every single towel contained therein drenched, we also inherited items from someone else’s package. I hope that kid’s not looking for his basketball, t-shirt or zit cream. The third package wasn’t only damaged, it was basically destroyed. I’ve never seen Tupperware look like that before. Thanks, you apes. In fact, actual apes would have done a better job!

On with the Motley

Or so says Jeremy Brett, sadly departed. I’ll tell you this, my dear readers from days long past, because you come stumbling in here during those occasional drunken wanderings, looking for who knows what and wondering, perhaps, if my not writing means not doing.

Hardly. Blogging is like Facebooking, only without the comments. Which you would know, were we connected on Facebook. But that’s not necessary. The past is the past. I never came looking for you, believe me. I don’t miss any of you. The amazing thing is, not only have I done, I’ve been done to! Life’s had some surprises in store for me, and though apparently only those lessons learned the hard way are of any real value, I’m glad that what happened happened. I am better for it.

So, if you still want to know, you can always go back to Flickr, the miniverse (literally. Inside-inside joke). Or try to find me on Facebook. Stranger shit has occurred.

Vyv Does Oz: Driftwood

Yesterday, I ran out of steam. It’s not like I’m exhausting myself with activity, no, no. I’ve gotten used to the caterwauling birds in the morning, although it’s still slightly bizarre that I can hear them but not see them. Invisible banshees in the trees. I’ve enjoyed getting out and about, conversing with people (at least that stereotype about Australians holds true in Perth, they’re a friendly bunch), learning new things I didn’t know before, and occasionally making an idiot of myself, which is required by anyone travelling abroad and attempting to bridge breaches. I was on a roll.

Yesterday, I slid right off like butter off a hot bun. Instead of doing the touristy bit, I did the surly lonesome warrior bit and hid myself in plain sight: first on my home beach in Swanbourne, then Cottesloe (where I wandered from a dune to a bench to a rock to a bench, and it’s not the biggest beach in the world), then – after an inexplicable fit of energy- in Freo. And there I stayed, until the arrival of my dinner companion released me from stasis.

Perhaps I’m just tired. Perhaps it takes too long for the sun to come out (check back in a couple of hours, right now, there’s not much to be seen). Perhaps I’m getting too old to do this on my own. And perhaps, if I scratch the pretty patina off my achy bad poet heart, it’s something else entirely. This funky feeling didn’t start here, but it’s managed to cling on through various timezones and plenty of fresh air, like a cheap tattoo. I did my best to avoid shlepping too many pre-conceived ideas to this place, but perhaps I was hoping for a cure for the blues. There might be something wrong with me, after all.

Or, perhaps, I’m just not eating enough. Well, I’ll be damned if I let this bullshit tarpit keep sucking me down! This too shall pass. If you would kindly refrain from making snippy comments in the meantime (not that that is going to be challenging, seeing how many comments are left here normally). You’ll just have to suffer through more beach therapy and associated pictures.
Swanbourne Beach

Meet the New Band

First, there were Bad English. And Bad Religion. Now, I and Mr Aberfeldy proudly present Bad Poets’ Society. Introducing Miss W.G. Macallan from Speyside and occasionally guest starring Nicolaus Lenau on keyboards, here is their first hit, Late Night Blues:

Drowning my heart’s sorrow/ in Scottish liquid gold/oddly fitting the heather-hued bruise/”uisge beatha”/what new beautiful life will it give to my pain?

The band are happy to send you an autographed t-shirt. Don’t be surprised if it arrives appearing all black; they were too depressed to have their faces printed on it, and the autographs are done in black Sharpie, which was the only thing available..

Happy New Year, Baby

I gotta tell ya, it felt good not to write much at all during the holidays. DAMNED good! I was so busy trying to conjure up that magical Christmas feeling that I barely made it out of the kitchen. Well, no, that’s a lie. Fact is, I just didn’t feel up to the task of digital entertaining. And fact is also, for some reason, the magical feeling didn’t quite get there.

The Germans (at least those of us living in a Catholic state) had one last holiday on the 6th, Three Kings. Now it’s off with the tinsel, dump those trees, rip off the ribbons and stomp down whatever miserable bits of snow have been left by this ridiculous January weather. Today it’s raining and a balmy 40 degrees outside. Hello, darling drab routine, we’re back!

And so off we spin into this two-dimensional new year which has all its possibilities yet to unfold, all its highs and lows well hidden in its gray cloak. January is traditionally my month of gloom, between the festivities of the old year and the carneval of the new, which comes late this year, anyway. I’ve picked up my cross-stitching in an effort to defy my left-handedness when it comes to needlework. The snowman motif I picked shows a successful three rows of tiny black crosses so far. At this speed, I should finish before I retire. I think that’s good news. 😉

I’m back on the Wii and feeling pretty darn good about it, too. With two new programs added, this promises endless variety and lots of hard work. Of course, there’s that birthday anxiously awaiting my arrival in March, and I want to make it proud of me when we meet up, so I’m stepping and lifting and lunging my way to never before attained foxiness. I can only hope my guests won’t pass out at the sight of my splendor.

I’m now tenderly nursing a new obsession: because ALL my favorite tv shows went on holiday hiatus and we now have VPN, I’m finally watching “Bones“. It took me about a quarter of the first season to really get into it, because I’ve read a number of Kathy Reich’s books and find it rather irritating that she basically uses the same main character for the show, only with altered circumstances. I mean, Dr. Brennan isn’t even the same person as in the book (I think)! But ok, artists are odd people, and why not lump authors into the same category. Now, I love the show, and how could I not. It’s really just CSI with a different spin and more locations I’ve actually been to. *ggg*

And, of course, the lovely, talented Jeremy Renner celebrated his 40th birthday on the 7th, so to him a very happy belated birthday, and to the rest of you: welcome to wondrous 2011!