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Archive for the ‘things we did’ Category

Hello, how are you? Since I last posted I achieved one of my things on my list – see Niagara Falls. It was not all that difficult to achieve, not like climbing a mountain or anything, and actually was the second best thing about my day, which was surprising and also shows you can’t plan what will happen and it is sometimes not what you expect that makes you happy. Our bus to Niagara Falls was one of those waspy yellow and black ones, like on the Magic School Bus. It rained and rained and we got very wet and saw the water falling, surrounded by casinos and Ferris Wheels and high hotels.

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Here it is…over the edge and down, down, down. The best part. Quite mesmerizing – with very low barriers to increase the enchantment and the risk of the mass of water plunging over.

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But you know what? We walked around the base of the-mount during that big storm in the North Island in New Zealand. Waves were crashing and spraying up on us, huge thunderous dangerous waves, and the wind was so strong it made it hard to walk and that really was more exciting than standing with the throngs of people at the falls. It was really cool and I was happy and didn’t say that to anyone, but for true, I just couldn’t get that feeling of wonder, or amazement at the scale of nature which I think is what you’re supposed to get. Part of me thinks this is a bit of authentic experience snobbery and a repulsion at over-commercialisation which is also kind of snobby – like tourists who don’t like tourists, and part of me thinks I probably needed to get in down behind the waterfall or something, or into a barrel or a zorb, or maybe do a niagara bungy – heh.

Driving home I saw a fox in the woods. He or she was orange with quite long legs and a surprise and the best.

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In the woods

Warm summer June has got me mixed up and most of the time I have no idea what month it is. My default is August. I have that August feeling, which I think is sort of negligible, rather than the summer end of year and start of new, or the June bunked down for winter and still enjoying wearing my winter clothes that were in hibernation for summer. I did know it was June when I had my first northern hemisphere birthday though, swimming and walking in the woods.

I saw a snake. It was obsidian black with a white strip running vertically down its back. It was sunning itself on the road and slithered into the grass when I stepped near. It was quite beautiful and fluid the way it seemed to course through the air to get away from my feet. There were a lot of chipmunks, large mouse size and so quick, though I managed to photo these two who looked like they were playing hide and seek but pounced on each other a few seconds later and tumbled around, battling.

Mark got an eight- legged tick on the back of his calf muscle. It kind of put a damper on our swim as the people who helped us burn it off (wrong thing to do evidently, burning a tick off can cause it to vomit into your body and that is bad…), were like “you have three days to get to a doctor to prevent Lyme disease”. We’d read a few signs before going into the woods, about how you had to watch out for ticks because of Lyme disease so we were a bit freaked by that, plus it looked so horrible with its head buried in his leg and clinging on like a sucker fish. The Park Ranger who came by said to watch out for a bulls-eye rash, and yes ma’am-ed me in curious military style. Anyway it turned out the tick had to be on for at least twelve hours for Lyme disease, plus it was a dog tick, not a deer tick which is more likely to carry Lyme and is as small as a grain of sand and burrows into your groin or armpit. Um, how freaking gross.

Long-live New Zealand’s greeblie free bush.

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A while ago the US government was nice enough to rebate Mark’s tax instead of spending it on Blessing God’s America, Not Leaving Children Behind, or Fighting Terror which led to us deciding to spend it on a few days being tourists and singing copa co! copacabana.  Unfortunately we miscalculated the security at Boston airport and managed to arrive at the boarding lounge five minutes after our plane took off for the south of the US, which put us six hours behind in our trip to swim in the Gulf of Mexico.

We made up lost time swimming extra amounts, and bird, lizard, fish, and really tanned people watching. We did the stingray shuffle, swam, and sat and drank home made pineapple and tequila cocktails in cabanas which meant I had copacabana stuck in my head the whole time; Music and passion were always the fashion…

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Pelicans!

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Ibis!

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Mansions & Giant Trespassing Heron

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Sand and water

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At the copa co! copacobana…

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Late last night, while we were playing a bit of quiet cricket in the courtyard of our apartment, Mark saw a skunk.  It was skulking around a car and had vanished under it and out into the night by the time mark had beckoned me over with hand signals and whispers.  I thought I maybe saw it, but then, I also thought I saw a bear so obviously I didn’t.  I am reading a book about bears at the moment and am up to the chapter on sloth bears of India; they attack a person every few weeks and prefer women for a number of reasons, most of which I don’t believe.  Mark does a good impression of the way the skunk skulked and I am very pleased that he spotted a unique specimen of North American wildlife.  They only smell if they are run over, or are attacked and then spray.  When they spray they aim for the eyes and can hit with exact precision, up to fifteen feet away.

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Near Fresh Pond, the Cambridge water reservoir, is a stand of sugar maples.  Two of these trees have pipes and taps coming out of the trunks and drip clear sap into a metal bucket.  The bucket is covered with a roof but you can see inside through a gap.  The gap was big enough for me to stick my finger through but a sign said DO NOT TOUCH.  Even though I so badly wanted to taste that sap I didn’t.  Even though I really, really wanted to.   I thought I could smell it.  I think it would taste like honey suckle.  I’ve heard that eighty percent of maple syrup comes from Canada so hopefully I’ll get to taste some sap up there.  Or I could go back and stick my finger under that tap.  But I won’t.

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It is spring.  We’ve been visiting Christina’s Ice-cream shop.  There are forty homemade flavours, including prune and caramel, fig, rose, pumpkin, fresh mint, grape, cardamom and burnt sugar.

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The Decemberists were wonderful, and I loved them even before the whale came out in the encore, and before the drummer threw his sticks into the audience, and before the disco started up downstairs and the band made everyone sing “Hang the DJ”.  My Brightest Diamond also played and I thought that they were also very good, and a worthy opening act for dancing practice.  I will watch out for an economical copy of bring me my workhorse.

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I just arrived back from a partee. The masquerade actually. We masqueraded as birds, a pukeko and a kiwi. A magician made me a pink origami crane and drew dots on it with a marker so I would know where to hold it to make it flap, incidentally I was sort of his assistant to an audience of four, which meant I could cross that off my list of vocational aspirations. I have decided to start a list and I will attempt to achieve all of the things on the list throughout my life, that way I don’t have to decide what to do with my career life at all I’ll just aim to sample the majority of the list. Some might have to be hobbies. I have been getting a bit stressed thinking about what I am going to be and reneging on my plans to just see what happens.

There were copious trays of Louise cake, and pizza breads and grapes. As the night wore on, it got increasingly wedding like, just without the bride and groom. The DJ and the buffet, the dancing. I think I have said before that in M’s class there are about two American’s, the rest are from a million other places so it is a good way to test out your geography skills. I got stumped on where Belarus was, and it is only one hundred kilometers form my favourite and first northern hemisphere place I ever visited, Lithuania. I am officially smarter than I was before I went.

We heard some good things about Toronto which I like; I will have to remember to send out a formal invitation to everyone I’ve ever met to say they should come and stay with us. We sat with Quebec’inas and Ontario-ians who were pretty pretty nice; I have a few summer plans for Boston and it’s surrounds, but I’m about ready to see some new lands, new places. Oh jeepers. The upstairs neighbours are partying and playing Portishead. That reminds me of a Northland flat party in my second year of university, was it the Utopian dress-up party? That song played. They played like a prayer, followed by billy jean at the soiree and both seemed to be universal language for everyone has to be dancing. I didn’t dance, but I did have a mental montage of dance scenes to those songs from my life. It is funny how music can make you remember things, like the smell of the house you lived in when you’d play that song, and how you felt too.

Like early Tori Amos reminds me of my first flat and the smell of candles. I wish I hadn’t thrown away that blue flower skirt I had then. It was a small house made to fit seven by an ingenious landlord and some ply board, and that we made fit nine. It reminds me of sharing a room with one of the great life friends I have been lucky to make, as in two double beds in a giant room like we were sisters, and singing Cyndi lauper songs before going to sleep. Of parties with candles and dancing and funny dinners. I can’t believe all of us cooked for each other.

My next flat made it to my top three, I was there for a year, a nice, sometimes strange year. Breaks Co’op, Eryka Badu, and Outkast remind me of that house. The backyard was full of four leaved clovers. There was a beautiful big shocking pink rhododendron outside my window and a dripping drain that sounded intentional on a warm day with the doors open. We dug the back yard into a garden that hardly grew anything at all, maybe didn’t grow a thing even. There was a winding hallway with floorboards that would roll a marble pretty fast to the front door and a big box of clothes under the house where I picked up my favourite ever cardigan. Sometimes you’d get electric shocks from the sink, and mushrooms grew in the bathroom. I loved it. It smelt funny. I had a tiny tropical fish in a huge big tank that didn’t seem to mind the cold, and friends and people I knew in every second house down the street. Then there was a the house with the Russian lady and the frantic escape despite the sea views, and the big old house near where my great great grandmother lived when she first arrived from Ireland.

I was driven from my favourite flat by a hoard of cockroaches. It was on a hill above the valley and got some sun, and had a cat that was such a friendly one, and some new very nice friends. I loved that house, the long grass, the bush all around, and the thousand steps to get up to the sun there. Damp and cold but with a bath with a window that opened out onto all that forest. I don’t know why I liked it so much, it was really quite run down, but I did. I can’t really remember it in winter, only in summer. I’d live there again if I got the chance. Given some heating and carpet replacing. And some paint.

Gillian Welch, Neko Case, and Patti Griffin, remind me of my last flat where I lived for almost two years, and made it to my top three too, despite our landlord, and helped along by my best ever garden and Bridie and Lauren. I had Daphne, and tomatoes, and it felt like you were in a ship at sea when it got windy. I wonder what will remind me of this house, there are a few candidates. I know I already said, but we got tickets to see the Decemberists. I love that song “perfect crime” and I know it will be one of those concerts, like when the Roots played I got you, or Gillian Welch started out with I am an Orphan, and maybe … well really, not when Jenny Lewis played anything because she took five million hours to come on stage and that really got me a bit grudged because she was a bit too star. Even though she wore a sequin mini dress. Maybe it has been long enough. I should get over that, it was actually quite good.

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Class

Had a visit to a class last night. I was set to say je ne pas englais if I got asked a question, which would have been real cool, seen as je ne pas francais and most of the class probably did. Anyway didn’t get asked so that was fine. People were busting their guts to say something. The lecturer looked very dapper, as though he was going to a wedding, maybe getting married himself. I couldn’t help thinking of my pols lecturer and his cute pastel yellow sweaters with the little wee alligator in the corner. But dapper lecturer is famous and did look good, not that alligator sweater one wasn’t famous and didn’t look good (maybe). Kids in the class were very smart and confident, some might say precocious, some might say shining lights in intellectual galaxy. That’s all. Interesting experience, will keep going.

I am in love with whoever keeps uploading the new series of Gilmore Girls. Am also pleased to have found a whole website devoted to NGO jobs in Canada, and lots of them look interesting. I am thinking maybe a housing agency might be a good place to start. Tonight I’m going to start on a mask for the Masquerade party in the weekend. We are supposed to wear some kind of costume from our nation but I only have one top from Supre; I have quite a few from Glassons that could work though. I am thinking of going as a sheep, I’ll let you know.

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New York was a pretty amazing place, I loved it, and we had the best time. So much going on, and so big, we only really had time to do the touristy stuff, though we got to wander down the whole island. I think it would be an exciting to place to live for a little while, to go out to all the shows, and exhibitions, to have money to spend in the boutique restaurants and shops, and friends to get tickets with and meet in Soho. You’d definitely need money though. There were some amazing shops, and I got some ideas of things I’d like to make, especially these little displays in small glass bottles, sealed up with wax. Hard to describe but real pretty. I saw three Chagall paintings including this one. I was excited wandering through, wondering when I’d come across it. I love this painting as well;

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We ate our breakfast each morning in this diner where the woman serving had the greatest hairstyle. Her fringe was gelled and combed flat against her forehead and the rest of her hair was plaited and wound around her head. She was really nice and the food was good too. Bush did his state of the union speech while we were there, and the New York Times printed this poem; The ferry terminal across to Staten Island displayed all these orange signs stating the national level of alert to ‘terror’, though they didn’t mean anything to me, I mean I didn’t feel anything seeing them, maybe sort of perplexed about what that meant. I haven’t met or over-heard one person who supports Bush. I guess it is the area we live in. The people we talked to in New York were real nice, helpful, I guess I didn’t expect that because I had heard how people are impatient and got attitude.  Yeah, we had a lot of fun.

It was nice to come back to my own bed though, with our nice cosy sheets and quilt, there is nothing nicer than that. I’ve been to the library this afternoon, it was sort of warm so I ventured outside and picked up a book of knitting patterns, a comic book, and a Palestinian Fairy Tale. I lost a mitten on the bus, one of my favourite ones from Lithuania. I’m going to try to knit another pair, which will no doubt be insanely hard, but won’t it be great if I can? When I leave Boston I’ll be able to say that I learnt to knit folk mittens (amongst other things) and I think that will be a good achievement. I have a lot of time to think and be alone here, which is both good and bad. I think about New Zealand often, but I’m always trying to figure out whether I’m making the most of living here, about what I should do next; so this week I am going to try to relax more and enjoy not having mountains of work to do, do some work reading and writing, knit my mittens, read my books, and take each day as it comes.

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