Sometimes, you have such a good joke in mind that you have to spell it all out yourself.

But sometimes you just have to trust that the person you’re riffing with will get there. And sometimes that trust is rewarded.

Me & my friend John, tweeting about Maine’s notorious Boon Island.

Boon Island

Let me explain. No, let me sum up.

Our round-the-world trip came to a stop just shy of the one-year mark. Last December, JM and I delayed our Hawaii-New Zealand-Australia return trip by taking on another house sitting gig in NY. In March we extended our US stay to the point of buying a house and me getting a job. So here we are in Houston, settling into the routine, deciding what’s next. I promise to let you know more, this time before another year passes.

The ‘Ploob on the Prom

Welcome to Maine, The Way Life Should Be!

The Bitwrathploob arrived from Bulgaria late this summer for an extended stay with The Fella and me. For the first few weeks, we stayed pretty close to the hearth, the ‘Ploob gracing our living room from a position of prominence on his shelf. We’re homebodies, but eventually I realized I had to start taking ole ‘Ploobie out and showing him the sights. After all, the little guy is a world traveler; he doesn’t want to sit around our living room watching “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”*

We kicked it off on Labor Day when friend AC suggested a picnic on Portland’s Western Promenade, and promised to bring along A) her fantastic peach sangria with basil, B) her partner JE, and C) her Italian greyhounds, Turk and Pal. (Turk and Pal, who are delightful companions even for a dog-skittish type like me, evinced great interest in every passing dog, squirrel, hippie, child, bicycle, skateboard, bocce ball, and shirtless fellow, but — happily — no interest at all in a buck-toothed rope-armed troll-haired pantsless wood bear. Phew.)

For a modest outing, it offered plenty of excitement. In addition to the delicious food and drink, the Ploob witnessed a drum circle, a dreadlocked dog the size of a horse, the furtive intercourse of strangers in the underbrush, and all manner of inappropriate shirtlessness. Thanks for coming to stay with us, Bitwrathploob. I hope we can make your visit a happy one!

*Yeah, but he’s going to. And he’ll like it.

fellow passenger

Almost twenty years ago, I sat in a half-full subway car on the O’Hare line, big sunglasses over my eyes, staring out the window and ruminating on some terrible news. I didn’t even know I was crying until the man sitting across the aisle from me gently, quietly, discreetly said, “I’m worried about you, miss.”

I smiled a little, shook my head, and told him I was fine. He nodded gravely. At my stop, we nodded and smiled again, both a little ruefully.

I wasn’t fine, but he couldn’t help me. No one could help me, because life sometimes brings sorrow and that’s just how it is.

Except that fellow passenger did help, just by reminding me that even strangers sometimes care about each other, and that the sorrow is outweighed by the caring. We are all traveling this road — at different paces and to different destinations, but we’re all on the same road, more or less.

I’ve never forgotten him. Thank you, fellow passenger.

More trips, old and new

Well, I’m not waking up at 5:00 any more like a week ago, but since then I am pulled out of sweet slumber at around 1:30 every night. There is no way I’m getting up to write at 1:30, I’m too lazy. This will hopefully be resolved by next week when we take the back roads down to Adelaide. When traveling JM and I usually hit the hay not long after dark (which is coming earlier and earlier) and wake up before sunrise and the swarms of flies.
Speaking of flies, our trip with the Getaway group was great and best of all our interview ended up on the cutting room floor. Possible reason: JM mentioning the word “butt”. We went to the regular Thursday night barbecue at Jol’s to watch the segment and also say goodbye to the usual crowd since we may not be back this way for a few months or longer. I had such a fun time on that shoot and am grateful to the cameraman Chris who taught me how to use my polarising filter! Here’s the Getaway segment about the Never Never Track and Jol’s site Direct 4WD where you can book the trip if you’re down this way (JM’s done all his 4WD training with Jol as well). Also here are my photos of the Never Never excursion.

We got away

On the way back to camp
We had a wonderful opportunity to follow a tv crew and 4×4 magazine while shooting a story in the red centre. Of course I want to tell you all about it and how fabulous they all were, but we’re rushing like mad to get ready for our next trip which is 12 days and includes several of the couples from the previous trip. More photos to follow in about two weeks and hopefully I can keep all this great stuff in my head!
JM’s dad is visiting us and about to embark on his first outback excursion. Wish us well!

I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places

I just realized I may not have internet tomorrow. Looooong story short, our house sitting gig is up and we haven’t found anything new. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, JM and I are about to embark on a year-long journey around Australia wherever the wind may take us. Along the way we plan on doing some volunteer work in indigenous communities, map some areas, take photos, write a bit, and who knows what else. I hope to send updates whenever we hit an internet cafe, but until then… don’t let the net bugs bite.

Little Devils

Baby Devils
We’re back in Melbourne after a short trip to Tasmania. It was absolutely wonderful despite the ever-changing weather. We had to dig out the fleeces from the bottoms of the packs, but it was heaven when I think of what’s to come. That’s right, we’re headed back to Alice Springs in a few week’s time but not before a short hop over to New Zealand — I’m really getting to see it all this time!
As usual, just click the photo above to be taken to the flickr page with more pics.

Turn around, bright eyes

Let’s see, I haven’t written anything about vacation and I’ve barely looked through my photos. I vow to create a gallery, it’s just slow going. When we got home almost two weeks ago, we were greeted at the Swiss airport by my in-laws and the European Heat Wave ’05. That’s over now as witnessed by my taking a hot bath yesterday at 3, then getting into bed to warm up due to several 50 degree days of rain. In fact the rain followed me back from the US. Well, it followed me to the US, then Canada, and now it’s found me again and making up for lost time.
I’m slowly remembering how to speak German. When we first got to the US, I had to keep reminding myself I could speak English with total strangers (they probably preferred and only understood it) and adjusted within the week. Now when I want to say something in German, the words are slow coming or not coming at all — I had the urge to kick my 80-something-year-old neighbor for making fun of me last Sunday. Heat makes me grouchy, but for this I have no excuse.

Theme: Fribourg

Oops, that was supposed to be Theme: Friendship for Illustration Friday but what with this flu-like bug I am posting some boring photos instead:
Okay, the first is actually the Starbucks in Bern. Someone left her Swiss-French newspaper behind and I attempted to read an article about Wim Wenders saying goodbye to the American dream in his new movie. That’s all I understood.
This is a shot of Fribourg from our snowy walk.
Here’s to next week and a new pair of shoes…