So, I was making a random slideshow of November pictures, mostly because I was bored, but even more mostly because I love the song, Walkabout by Atlas Sound w/Noah Lennox and wanted to share it. It's so awesome! and besides, it's called Walkabout, which is the term for the Aboriginal tradition of tracing their ancestors' songlines, a rite of passage in the wilderness, which I think is pretty freakin' cool. I started thinking about the morning Skype conversation I had with my sister about the possibility of her own sort of walkabout, which I think is pretty freakin' cool. And I realized as I was looking at these snapshots of my life in November, of what I had seen and done, of some of the people and things whose paths I had crossed, that I'm in the midst of my own sort of walkabout. I do a lot of walking about these days, drifting through this big, beautiful city, over the bridge, through the gardens, now back home through the alleyways, all the while soaking up my surroundings, wandering keen-eyed and small, watching the world, feeling a part of it all.

"Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe." -Anatole France

When I wander, I don't feel lost at all, even when I realize I have no idea where I am. Somehow, my meanderings are leading me home. I think man tries so hard to make a place in this world, a concrete, tangible, safe place to shield ourselves from the unknown, and why wouldn't we? This universe is so big and mysterious and we are these tiny little ants. We want to be able to say with confidence and specificity, this is my place and my purpose, to nail down our existence: this is who I am, this is what I do, this is where I live, so as to make sense of it all. But the truth is you are as much of a mystery as this universe, small as you are, no matter who or what you say you are. To wander about someplace unknown, to wonder about something unknown then, is to admit your own smallness and to say to the universe, I want to discover you. And in discovering something beyond yourself, you end up realizing something within yourself, which I think is pretty freakin' cool. I'm not sure if any of that makes any sense, but, anyway, what I really want to say is, I'm thankful that I'm so small and clueless. I'm thankful that, if I'm lucky, there is still much wandering and wondering left for me to do.

Looking, Walking, Being
by Denise Levertov

"The world is not something to look at,
it is something to be in." -Mark Rudman

I look and look.
Looking's a way of being: one becomes,
sometimes, a pair of eyes walking.
Walking wherever looking takes one.

The eyes
dig and burrow into the world.
They touch
fanfare, howl, madrigal, clamor.
World and the past of it,
not only
visible present, solid and shadow
that looks at one looking.

And language? Rhythms
of echo and interruption?
a way of breathing.

breathing to sustain
walking and looking,
through the world,
in it.


Stamp it on your heart

I hope you're having the kind of day
which causes you to think
this is true:

-quote by Allen Ginsberg

I hope that even if
you aren't having that kind of day
you still believe
it is true.

Thanksgiving 2009

"Find the good and praise it."
-Alex Haley

Mine and Jason's first Thanksgiving as a married couple was, well, unconventional. No family, no turkey or tofurky, no dogs begging for scraps under the table, no table, no crisp fall weather, half a world away from home in a country that (naturally) does not celebrate Thanksgiving. And yet, it was a day full of blessings. The sun was shining and we were together and happy. And the food! Oh, the food. We went a little carb crazy. Jason and I cooked up some of our favorite foods: mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese, corn, "sausage" dressing, and carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting to share with our friend, Dave. The seating arrangements? Two camping chairs and an exercise ball out on the deck. Jason's face in the big picture above pretty much sums it up. We were deliriously full of gratitude and fatitude. After Dave left to roll himself home, Jason and I attempted to watch Home Alone, but a food -induced coma ensued... I made it to my favorite line: "Look what you did, you little jerk." and I was out, my belly and heart perfectly plump. I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving, too!

Quote by Miranda July


Three Random Videos to Make You Smile

These are all wildly popular videos, especially the first and the third, so you may have already seen them. Jason and I just discovered them recently and thought they were worth sharing on the off chance you haven't already seen them. Just like each of you, they're all AWESOME in their own way. Hope they brighten your day!

I couldn't embed this one, so you'll have to follow the link:


Confessions of a Pogonophile & The Birth of Beard Man or Why Someone Needs to Give Me a Freakin' Job!

You know it's time to get a life (maybe a job? perhaps a friend?) when the idea of charting the growth of your husband's beard sounds like something really fun to do.

It all started back in September when I was debating whether or not to cut my hair. It was getting pretty nappy and I was thinking of going much shorter. I asked Jason his opinion and got the usual response:

"I don't know. Do whatever you want. I think you look beautiful no matter what you do with your hair."
"Yeah, but what do you really think?"
"It really doesn't matter what I think."
"Uhhh, yeah it does. I'm asking you aren't I?"
After several more minutes of pressing and pleading on my part for a freakin' opinion, I finally got it:
"Okay, if you really want to know, I think you look better with long hair."
Wrong answer. He was supposed to say he thought I should cut it short since that's the decision I was leaning towards. I just needed a little encouragement. Why couldn't he see that? It was so obvious!
I sigh a long sigh. "What is it with guys and long hair? Could you be any more shallow?"
Jason, sensing my annoyance, tries to recover with, "No, I just think long hair suits your personality better."
The truth is I can't say a thing because the way many men feel about women with long luxurious locks is the way I feel about men with big beautiful beards. I mean, can you possibly imagine anything sexier than a beautiful bearded mountain man chopping firewood in a flannel shirt? Well, can you? I know I can't. So, somehow, out of our own shallowness and need to control each other, we came upon an agreement, a sacred pact: For one year, I solemnly swear not to cut my stringy strands and Jason promises friendship to the fruits of his facial follicles. So while I begin my journey towards this:

Do you think my hair will get this long in a year?

Jason strives to become this:
Isn't he cute?
(I can't remember where I found this picture. Sorry Beard Man creator.)

Would you like to know some interesting facts about beards brought to you by Wikipedia? Okay!
  • From the dashing Donegal (think Abe Lincoln) to the gorgeous Garibaldi (think Giuseppe) there are many different types and styles of beard. My personal favorite? The neck beard, as sported by the sexy Thoreau below:
  • Facial hair growth is stimulated by dihydrotestosterone, which ironically, also promotes balding.
  • Pogonophobia is the fear of beards.
  • The ancient Greeks, who commonly curled their beards with tongs, saw beards as a sign of virility.
  • In ancient India, a long beard was a sign of wisdom. The punishment for adultery? Public beard chopping.
Want to see a photographic presentation of Jason's transformation into Beard Man? Okay!

But still a far cry from RED BEARD:

This guy would scare the begeezus out of a pogonophobic.
I think he couldn't be any sexier.
(Unless he had an axe and a flannel shirt.)

For all you other beardos out there who just can't get enough of manly hairy faces:

A poem I love.

Hymn by A. R. Ammons

I know if I find you I will have to leave the earth

and go on out

over the sea marshes and the brant in bays

and over the hills of tall hickory

and over the crater lakes and canyons

and on up through the spheres of diminishing air

past the blackset noctilucent clouds

where one wants to stop and look

way past all the light diffusions and bombardments

up farther than the loss of sight

into the unseasonal undifferentiated empty stark

And I know if I find you I will have to stay with the earth

inspecting with thin tools and ground eyes

trusting the microvilli sporangia and simplest


and praying for a nerve cell

with all the soul of my chemical reactions

and going right on down where the eye sees only traces

You are everywhere partial and entire

You are on the inside of everything and on the outside

I walk down the path down the hill where the sweetgum

has begun to ooze spring sap at the cut

and I see how the bark cracks and winds like no other bark

chasmal to my ant-soul running up and down

and if I find you I must go out deep into your

far resolutions

and if I find you I must stay here with the separate leaves


Happy Anniversary Mom & Pops!

Today is my parent's 32nd anniversary.
At least, it is in Australia.
And I hope I'm right about the 32. ??
Hey, Mom & Dad,
Remember that year I felt certain that you had been married 25 years, and then you said,
in your I'm trying to be patient, but you're an idiot voice,
"Tracy. How old are you?"
"Duhh, 26," I replied, annoyed you had to ask.
A couple of minutes go by...
(keep in mind, readers, I'm not a bastard child, nor is my older sister)
(True story.)

Jason and I looked on the internet to see what the gift for Anniversary #32 is: Conveyance.
"Oh, that's nice, you convey something to the other, as in you communicate something, like about how much meaning and beauty your partner has given to your life. That's so swee..."
"It means a car," my thought is interrupted by Jason's insistence on living in the real world. "Or a boat, or a motorcycle...some form of transportation."
"Oh," I said. "Seriously?"

Yeah, I don't know if that was just some kind of yuppy site that was I was looking at or if that's the real deal. I mean, for number 100 they said a 10K diamond is in order. At first I was like, WHAT? 10K DIAMOND? ABSURD! Look, I'm not a fan of diamonds. I'm just not that in to sparkly things, especially sparkly things that are far too often ill-gotten. I don't know much about diamonds, but I know enough to know that 10K's no pebble. But then I actually thought about the practical implications, the reality of two people being married for 100 years. Has that even ever happened? If so, if such a thing doesn't warrant a 10K diamond, than what does? Even if it does cost a little blood, sweat and tears... nay! even better that it cost a little blood sweat and tears. It is actually an incredibly appropriate gift if you think about it. So, maybe a car is an appropriate gift for 32 years of marriage? I considered it. I decided it is in fact. The more I thought about the years of commitment, love, friendship and trust my parents have given each other, the more I thought, "Screw conveying gratitude and emotion! Dadgummit. They deserve a car." I knew that most likely neither of my parents would be giving the other a car. So that's when I took matters in to my own hands, marched myself down to Crown Casino and won them this:

(my parents' NEW CAR!)

Crown is a fancy place. Don't believe me? Just look at these fancy-shmancy lights:

(fancy schmancy lights)

And it should be, I mean, gambling is a classy thing. Am I wrong? Well, if anybody knows her way around a fanciful establishment, it's me. For some strange reason, it makes some people uncomfortable. Not me! Give me frou frou and watch me flourish like crime in Bogota, Columbia. I'm not comfortable at dinner unless I have at least three different kinds of forks in front of me. (And that's for a casual dinner.) All that is to say that I was right in my element. I quickly and easily sweet talked my way into a high stakes poker game in the VIP room, where I proceeded to win my parents a sweet-ass convertible for their anniversary and make grown men cry. No big deal. Everybody up there suspects I'm some sort of Rain Man. Anyway, I'm having it shipped to you, Mom & Dad. You'll just need to have the steering wheel and what-not switched over and then she'll be good to go!

Noooo. Almost none of that was true.
BUT! I did make you this pretty flower collage:



I am not one of those super determined people. You know the ones I'm talking about, who are always setting goals and reaching them. If they say they're going to do something, you know it's going to get done. Let me just reiterate: I am not one of those people. Really, I'm not even one of those slightly determined people. I can hear my Dad now, "Uhhh, tell us something we don't know." Well, Dad, for your information, this portion of the post is for the two people who follow my blog who do not already know me. Okay? Now, where was I? Oh yes, I'm an all-star loafer, through and through. In the spirit of sharing things about myself, I'm going to let you in on my motto, my life's philosophy, straight from the goodinyou gospel...It also just so happens to be the greatest song ever written, and it goes like this:

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream.

Every once in a while though, in this dream, along the stream, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I do something crazy. I come down with a case of determination. Determiwhat? I know. I told you it was crazy. Here I am rowing along merrily, dee, dee, dee, life is but a dream... And then I have to go and set a goal and ruin EVERYTHING...

As you may have read in a previous post, Jason and I challenged ourselves to go vegan for the month of November in honor of it being World Vegan Month and citing environmental reasons, blah, blah, blah. I really was determined to do it. Well, let me tell you, we failed. We failed miserably. The reason?

CHEESE. Meat? Forget about it. Milk in its fresher form? Ehh, I can take it or leave it. Eggs? They're pretty creepy anyway. But Cheese?! I would say going without it was hard, but that would be the biggest understatement of all time. It was excruciating. Life is but a dream? Try a nightmare. I think it had been maybe five days before we broke down. We could have simply nibbled a little cheese cracker to fight off the shakes or munched a meager morsel of mozzarella to stop the cold sweat. But that would have been far too sensible. Instead, we ordered an extra large, extra cheese pizza. Failure never tasted so good. And while it felt soooo right to have the cheese grease running down our faces, we said to ourselves, (after we had finished every last piece mind you) no, we can do better. Determined, we picked ourselves up by our cheese-caked bootstraps, and tried again. Six long, rice and nut-filled, god forsaken days later, on the morning of November 12th, I woke up, and I knew what I had to do. I thought, you know, I may not have it all figured out, and by it, I mean anything, but wait a minute, gosh darnit, I do know this thing, this one beautiful thing. As I sat up, the thought sprinted to my vocal chords, and before I could even get a grip on what was happening, I found myself shouting at the very top of my lungs:
If I knew how to get up there, I swear I would have shouted it from the rooftop. How's that for determination?
Jason didn't need much persuading. It was my stupid idea in the first place. And besides, he goes along with what I say most of the time because I let him get frisky with me in the boat sometimes. So, we proceeded to make and devour an entire pot full of homemade mac n cheese. Failure? Yes. But it was creamy, delicious failure. I'm sorry environment, I really do love you, which is why I recycle, which is why I'm a vegetarian, which is why I will never, not ever drive a Hummer. But, when it comes to cheese, if eating it is wrong, I don't want to be right.

So there you have it. What was I thinking setting an unattainable goal like that? What can I say, I lost sight of who I am and almost overexerted myself in the process. Pheww. It was a close one, but in the end I learned something valuable about myself: I cannot live without cheese. And now I feel more determination than ever, to eat as much of it as I possibly can. I think I feel about cheese the way Pooh must feel about honey. And so, in honor of Pooh, who, by the way is my all-time favorite character (see, you're learning all kinds of things about me) I wrote a silly little haikuish song to express my love for cheese:

Like milk from a tit,
Time changes all things.
Behold the power of cheese.

(Except, I don't think Pooh would say tit, not in front of the kids.)

God forbid I should ever develop a lactose intolerance. Amen. Now go eat some CHEESE!

Our default:

Or, if you want to be really naughty, try this recipe:
that got all the npr listening health freaks' panties in a wad. Read some of the comments--they're hilarious. My personal favorite? "This recipe is child abuse!" Clearly, this person needs to eat more cheese, get a boat, and chill out on the stream for awhile.


all which isn't singing is mere talking: in praise of ee cummings, silliness, and spring!

when more than was lost has been found has been found
and having is giving and giving is living-
but keeping is darkness and winter and cringing
-it's spring(all our night becomes day)o,it's spring!
all the pretty birds dive to the heart of the sky
all the little fish climb through the mind of the sea
(all the mountains are dancing;are dancing)

(from when faces called flowers float out of the ground by ee cummings)

i love ee cummings almost as much as i love spring. and i love spring almost as much as i love silliness. so when they all come together, i get this warmth! a tiny ticklish feeling in my heart and a smile that spreads on my face like vegemite on toast. eww. better make it peanut butter. that's much better. i read once that he wrote his first poem when he was three and that it goes like this: "Oh little birdie oh oh oh, With your toe toe toe."

and anyway my point is that everybody knows that spring is a time for silliness. ee cummings knew it. the flowers know it. the birds, too. i've seen some birds doing some pretty silly things lately, like the one in the gardens just the other day who sat real still for a long long time, only moving to cock his head slightly as he stared at the red red roses above. and then i swear, he did a little jig! and disappeared into the sky. i know it isn't Spring where you are, but it can be spring in your heart whenever you want it to be, right? and besides, since when do you need an excuse to act silly? whoever reads this, please do something silly.

since the thing perhaps is to eat flowers
and not to be afraid.

(from the ee cummings poem, voices to voices, lip to lip)


Camping at Cape Paterson

Our first Australian camping experience did not disappoint. We went to Cape Paterson Beach, 138 kilometers southeast of Melbourne. The sun shone brightly in a cloudless sky. The water temperature was quite cold, so, with the exception of a few jumps in off the rocks, we mostly waded, explored, and soaked up some serious rays. Mom, you will be happy to know that we did a very good job of keeping sunscreen on. Therefore, I am only mildly sunburned. And Jason, of course, is just tan. We saw some really cool looking rocks, shells, and seaweed. We didn't see any sharks, just one dead jelly fish, a rat, some fish, and lots of crazy looking and sounding birds. At night back at the tent, by the light of my headlamp, we took turns reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami to each other, which by the way, is a tremendously compelling novel so far. Though we're only about a third of the way into it, we both would like to go ahead and highly recommend it.

We had a swell time. Check out the slideshow with music by The Swell Season. The song is Feeling the Pull from their new album, Strict Joy


A Quite Possibly Silly Question and The Human Domino Effect

I do not believe in a distant God who exists outside, out of reach, looking down at all of His creation. I think when one, even God, creates something, it remains forever a part of Him. I like to think of EVERYTHING as existing within God. Which, for me, reconciles the question of why God allows bad things to happen in this world. Those things are happening to God, not just to us. When a child is in pain, does not the pain happen to the Mother and Father as well? Maybe God allows us to effect His own evolution. After all, does not Love involve trust? Or is God the one thing which stays the same in a universe which is always changing? I know this is not an easy question and it's probably silly to even ask such questions, but I really want to know, what do you think? Sometimes, I like to think of humans as being a small part of the "body" of God. Maybe I am a single cell and you are a thought in His consciousness. If this is true, then everything we do and think and are is of consequence. If this is true, then certainly we are all connected, one part of an amazing, unfathomable whole. Just think of all the chain reactions... I want my life to be the stimulus that triggers a reaction that results in a smile on the face of God.

One day, through the window, I watched the reflection of our neighbor on her deck as she folded the laundry she had hung out to dry. After she finished folding the last crisp white linen sheet, I watched her watch the passersby below. Though I kept my eyes on her, I tried to imagine what she was seeing. A lonely man in a suit, briefcase in hand, steadily walks to work, while his mind is muddled with a million meandering thoughts. Suddenly in front of him, like a cool breeze, passes a beautiful woman in a red polka dot dress, like something from the 1960's. She's the kind of woman who strolls with confidence and obliviously turns heads while thoughts of the chocolate cake she will later bake and eat smother her head like the cream cheese frosting she will top it with. Her eyes meet sad Mr. Suit's as they pass, she slides him a slow and genuine smile, the way a card dealer slides a winning card across the table, and in that moment his mind is clear, except for the small spark of inspiration lighting up the clarity. Feeling refreshed in the way that a beautiful woman smiling sincerely at a lonely man can make him feel refreshed, he is at once attentive to his surroundings. He notices the old lady who everyday sets up her cheap plastic keyboard and butchers classic pieces of music as passersby pass by. Today, for the first time, he stops and listens. As she plays the worst version of Debussy's Claire de Lune he has ever heard, he smiles, drops a dollar into her cup, and continues his walk to work. Beside my neighbor's reflection is another reflection, that of a television screen inside her apartment. On it is a faint, but distinguishable image of a human domino effect, the people falling into each other, one by one. My neighbor smiles and turns to walk inside. I smile, too.

(from the Upanishads)


Keep it Classy, Australia

Yesterday was the Melbourne Cup. For those of you who don't know about it (I for one had never heard of it before coming here) it's a horse race. In fact, it's the richest and most prestigious two mile handicap in the world. It's billed as "the race that stops a nation." It's a big deal around here. It's even a public holiday in Melbourne. It would seem, after a few months now of careful observation, that there are a lot of Melbournites who will jump at any opportunity to drink excessive amounts of alcohol, gamble and yell. Actually, most of the time they don't seem to worry about coming up with an excuse. They just do it anyway. Well, with all this hype about the Cup, we were curious to see what all the fuss was about. We didn't have the money to actually attend the race, so we decided instead (because it was free) to attend what was advertised as "Melbourne's most glamorous riverside garden party" at the Crown Casino with our friends, Dave and Allison. Well, what can I say, it was in Melbourne and it was riverside, and if by glamour they meant white spandex mini dresses, and if by garden they meant astro turf, then I guess it was Melbourne's most glamorous riverside garden party. There was a square of astro turf on which sat a tent in which were crammed heaps of drunken Aussies in skanky clothes. On one side, there was a bar and a long line of mostly men waiting to place their bets. On the other side of the tent was another bar (of course) and another long line of mostly women waiting to get free make-up from Loreal. And let me just tell you that the last thing Australian women need is more make-up. Trust me, they've got plenty already. Totally lame. There weren't even any cool hats. The highlight of our day, besides the couple minutes of the actual race which were a little exciting, was trying to guess which of the boobs pressed against us were fake and which were real. We realize that's tacky, but sometimes tacky times call for tacky measures. Apparently, we missed the Real party. Check out these pictures I saw on Australian yahoo this morning of the aftermath:

That's right, folks, this is where we live.

Speaking of keeping it classy, the other major news story on Australian Yahoo this morning was: Britney lands in Australia. Yep, Britney Spears is here for her first Australian tour. We can hardly wait til she hits up Melbourne. For a mere $250-$15oo we can go to her show!! So, if you were wondering what to get us for Christmas, wonder no more!! I'm sure she'll do well here. We think Australia and Britney Spears go together like peas and carrots. They both like to keep it classy.


Shared Joy

Images, Words, Music.
These three things bring me great joy.

And I believe, "The joy that isn't shared dies young." -Anne Sexton

Music: The First Days of Spring by Noah & the Whale

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