Lazuli Green Island Mama

Lazuli Green Island Mama

Monday, December 3, 2012

Quite a big day

Sun number one, you know... the sailor, the fisher, the boat skipper, well I've told you about him many times before. He is one cool kid. He has strength and stamina that defies his slight frame and innocent looks. This kid has known me for 9 years (maybe much much longer) and he knows that his mother will not purchase electronic goods for him, for several years to come. Nor will she allow Santa to bring such items for Christmas, or his father or any other relative to provide them (they possibly wouldn't dare). 

Two years ago, Noah's 8 year old cousin received an iPod touch. Other friends already had DS's and also received iPods. Last Christmas, a younger friend arrived on Christmas day with his new iPod touch. So, on the 25th December 2011, Noah quietly resolved to save up his pocket money and buy his own iPod. He already had around $100 so he was well on his way. I hoped it would take a year or 2 so that he would be close to 10 years old before he had enough money for this great purchase.

Last month, the 9 year old's eyes danced and sparkled, while his body wriggled with glee, as he counted $228... indeed enough for an iPod touch.

We could have gone to our local shops, to a Kmart or Office Works, or some other rather unexciting chain and Noah probably could have nabbed a bargain and 'saved' himself some money. But we wanted this longed-for day to be authentic and pure and BIG. The Zimbabwean was quite sure that Noah's first Apple product should come with an 'Apple Experience'. So off we all trotted to the big smoke, to find THE Apple Store on George St, in the centre of Sydney... the journey had several phases: we took our boat to our communal mainland wharf. We then drove for half an hour to the nearest train station, took a train into the city (another half an hour), and then walked those little boys with the big blue eyes through the beauty of the Queen Victoria Building. Some were bouncing in their sneakers more than others (some days are tougher than others for the little 6 year old brother who gets dragged along for these momentous family days).

Finally we made it. All that glass! All that steel finish! The Zimbabwean's eyes were shining as much as his son's. We looked at products for much longer than we needed to (it was difficult to keep the father focused) but eventually the time came for me to unload Noah's cash, direct from his personal piggy bank, onto the counter and have the friendly sales guy graciously accept it and count out $117.85 in coins (the rest in notes) in the middle of that big city store. His name may have been Daniel. Let's say it was. Daniel was cool, calm and collected. He didn't roll his eyes or hesitate. He was completely cool about counting out all those coins. Other Apple store punters were clearly delighted at the scene: two little kids' faces waiting eagerly for the formalities to be over. Just give me the damn iPod already, is what Noah was secretly screaming to himself.

All in good time, my little one. 

Eventually the protective sleeve came off and now Noah is the SO proud owner of an iPod touch (on weekends. I am, afterall, still his mother, and he is still 9. I know. I'm a big fat spoil sport). So far he has spent about $14 on games and app's, and is getting great pleasure out of the ability to take photos and videos. He waits patiently while the Zimbo tries to figure out the best way to share our music libraries (who would have thought that could be so complicated? It seems we have a G5, an iMac, a laptop, 2 iPhones, and iPod shuffle and a family iPod to contend with. And we don't want Noah's iPOd to have access to any credit cards or our complete music library. The whole project is approximately 15 million light years beyond my technological capability.)

I'm so proud of Noah's resolve. He earned his minimal weekend allowance of electronic device time. May it bring him great joys and other benefits which may be beyond my comprehension.

NB. As previously stated, no member of this family is employed or sponsored in any way by Apple. We are just quite big fans and some rabbit on about their gifts to the world more than others. Believe it or not, I do not do the most rabbiting on about that particular topic.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

In the thick of it

I know I've been neglecting you. If I knew who you were, and why you read my blog, I might apologise to you. But as I'm a bit hazy on ultimate blog purpose and intention, for now I will simply acknowledge your potential sigh of boredom. 

I'm in the middle of exams, and we all know how seriously mature-age students take their exams... don't we?

For one subject this semester I've needed to submit posts to a weekly reflection blog (what a novel idea). Need I say that this has possibly been my favourite subject? I'm annoyingly enthusiastic about just about all subjects I choose to study so it's hard to pick a fave.

I'll give you something to read, just in case you're grappling. It was written by me, even if not written for you, specifically. Here's how my final blog post went: 

For the benefit of revision and getting my mind to think anthropologically (while the neighbourhood children are playing very loudly outside my window) I'd like to ponder some of my favourite words or topics from this unit.
My first favourite is a quote from Dr Paul Mason, guest lecturer in week 7: "Embodiment involves the ontogenetic confluence of intersubjectively experienced dynamic construal irremediably determined in time and space by socially embedded, historically insituated, culturally orchestrated, environmentally situated, embodied brains." 
While I believe the discourse used in this quote, the convoluted and alienating language, is completed unnecessary, it gave me great satisfaction to come to the point of understanding this definition of Embodiment after an hour and a half of intense concentration. "Embodiment is when culture becomes anatomy." Dr Mason's 2nd quote... So much easier to understand, after he has gone to great lengths to impart knowledge of the first one. I now feel such a rich appreciation for the word Embodiment.
My second favourite word is Enculturation... the process of embedding an individual within a culture, of steeping the individual in the language, knowledge, arts, economics, values, taboos, fetishes, music, way of moving, methods of cooking, materials of living - in order to imbue the individual with their cultural flavour. I read somewhere that enculturation happens only in an individual's culture of origin, that only a babe born into a culture may be enculturated. I disagree. I don't see why enculturation must occur only once, within one culture. Of course an individual may continue to evolve and experience life in a variety of environments and socio-cultural contexts, thereby learning new ways of being, of thinking, of moving... new perspectives. I love the word enculturation, and all that it conjures. It speaks to me of education and enriched living. It implies that every experience gives us something, teaches us something, and is therefore valuable in who we become.
"The common goal of anthropology is to advance knowledge of who we are, how we came to be that way, and where we may go in the future." (Dr Aaron Denham)
It is this goal that has brought me back to uni at the ripe old age of 37. To advance my knowledge of who we are, how we came to be that way, and how I might be able to change directions in health in the future.

Thank you lecturers and tutor. You have all inspired me.

May you too, dear blog reader, also be inspired in all that you are experiencing.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Anthropology of family life

This week's anthropology lecture topic - Anth, sex and gender - has come at a fortuitous time, the same week that my 9 and 6 year olds have asked me for the first time: "Mama, what is 'sexing' anyway?". That was an interesting discussion while we bathed our family dog!
What I found particularly interesting in this lecture, was the story of Bonobos as compared to Chimpanzees. What a fascinating example of how sex and gender are influenced by societal conditions. The Bonobos, living in areas where gorillas are scarce and food is plentiful, have ample time on their hands for socializing. This results in strong bonds and alliances being formed, especially amongst female Bonobos, allowing the females a sense of solidarity. They are able to keep the males in check and are, therefore, not dominated by the males. These conditions allow for a peaceful, loving, affectionate society. It's like they are all on holiday in some African resort.
Chimpanzees, on the other hand, are working their butts off just trying to survive... especially the females. They have to look after their energetic offspring, scrounge for food, which the males and the gorillas have usually already polished off, and then still fend for their sexual rights, being abused by aggressive, dominant males on a daily basis. I can tell you which species I'd rather belong to!
So, back to bathing the family dog... by the time I've answered the kids' questions, bathed them too, fed all living beings in the household, tucked them into bed, returned to the piles of washing and then remembered that I haven't yet completed the reading or the blog post for this week... there isn't much time left in the day for pondering sex and sexuality. Which takes me back to reminiscing about week 4 and polygamy. Perhaps if I had at least 3 sister wives to share the workload, I would be more inclined to think like a Bonobo.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Would you employ me?

Unless you haven't been listening, you are probably well aware that this year has been a big one for getting back out there. With my Choochie starting school, it was time for me to awaken my adult brain and re-establish life for myself, outside of mothering.

Continuing education: check
Attending herby derb seminars: check
Finding gainful employment: erm, no cigar.

Whilst I am loving my current volunteer role at the Cancer Council (oh, haven't told you about that one? I will... later), it is not 'gainful employment'. It doesn't help pay the mortgage. In fact it doesn't even cover the student bus fare in to the city (see the word 'volunteer'). For the first time ever, when someone asks me for spare change at Kings Cross station I don't feel guilty if I say No. I'm unemployed too, dude! I'm forking out cash to get here and borrowing fancy clothes so I can try to get work by working for nothin'!

Perhaps I'm approaching job hunting from the wrong angle. I don't know. I'm feeling too old to bullshit about what I can and can't or am willing to do. 

One of my recent job applications was to a local, rather flashy looking Tea Shoppe. Now, you know that I know tea. Oh yeah, baby. Me and tea, we go waaaay back. So here's how my letter went...

Dear Tea Shoppe,
Recently I was soaking in the smells of your shop in [an unnamed mall], NSW and thought to myself: Really, this is the place for me.
More than a Tea Shoppe, I love tea. Life is to be lived, in all of its raw and honest glory, and living is truly enhanced by tea.
Tea is medicine – medicine of both body and soul. The following aspects of tea consumption are especially important to me:
·     the active constituents of the herbal tea
·     the act of drinking tea, especially warm/hot (rather than iced)
·     the honouring of thyself in the ceremony that is tea preparation
·     the communal gift of tea, shared.
My two favourite, well-known proponents of tea are Michael Leunig and Richard Glover. Michael Leunig, cartoonist, created the 1998 stamp series for Australia Post, entitled “The Teapot of Truth” series. You may be familiar with Leunig’s character, who gets about with a teapot on his head. Richard Glover, 702 ABC Sydney radio host, writer and author, often publicly discusses the bane of the teabag and gives due respect to the pot of loose-leaf tea.
I am very experienced in dealing with the public. Previously this experience has come through working in the field of alternative and natural medicine, amongst many other pursuits. You will notice on my curriculum vitae that I have a varied employment history, in several areas. What these roles have all had in common is the imperative contact with people. I love to be part of a team and don’t particularly enjoy working alone.
Enthusiastic communication is one of my strong points, as is my solid work-ethic and reliability. My glowing references are available on request.
Please consider my application for any suitable positions that may arise in one of your stores. I am seeking part-time employment and I would cherish the opportunity to work for you. 

Thank you for your time.

Kind regards,
Lea  (rhymes with tea)
Naturopath, Medical Herbalist, tea-drinker


What do you think? Did you like it? 

They didn't respond. They are not really called the Tea Shoppe. I'm just loathe to give them any positive  mumbles on my free-to-air rambling space when they didn't respond. Not that Apple have ever been grateful for the attention I've given them. I'm not that fond of them at the moment either, but that's another story. I'm not going to be able to keep including "enthusiastic, cheerful disposition" on my job applications if I do nothing but grumble on free-to-air (I suppose).

Claimer: this blogger receives no payment or compensation of any kind for any favorable, or otherwise, content on this here blog. Apart from the odd cup o' tea and slice of cake at a friend's house if I write something that brightens their day.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Don't think I forgot the second one

I wish I had a photo of the moment I'll attempt to describe.

A background picture: the boykaloiks had been very naughty. They were in BIG trouble and had been sent to bed. All was bleak and glum in the house. We were mortified at what they had done. One week later, it really wasn't that bad and I'm over it but still... we're painting a picture so to be true to that day... we were mortified. We thought we may have to disown them or, at the very least, send them to boarding school - expel them from the Island.

And then the little one lost his first tooth. He'd knocked it on his favourite 18 year old's shoulder whilst wrestling, the evening before. He'd then proceeded to wiggle it and wriggle it instead of dwelling solemnly on what he'd done (!!) and... before he knew it, there it was in his little fingers! 

The tooth fairy had to put the overdue essay and her mortified bleakness aside, find her wings and sprinkle fairy dust around his sleepy head. She found a note at the back of her wardrobe, which had been written 3 years ago, when the oldest had lost his first tooth. This note detailed just what the tooth fairy would do with this precious first tooth, how special it (and he) was and that for this tooth he would receive one angel coin. From now on, she said, he would receive one angel coin for every 4 teeth (those angel coins are pretty special). She placed the note and the angel coin where he would find them in the morning, amidst sprinkles of sparkly fairy dust.

It's no small thing that his tooth came out on that particular day. She could have cried with exhaustion and frustration and disappointment. Instead she cried at the reminder that life with them is a privilege, that they are both still small boys, and these times are precious... even when school holidays don't quite go to plan.

PS. I have heard that you can find angel coins here: at A Toy Garden. Just sayin'.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lost... in space

Well that essay took much longer to write than expected. Not longer than it should have, just longer than I had allowed.

It is safe to say that the Spring school holidays have been semi-disastrous... for me. I say "semi" to acknowledge that I am faced with the insanity of first world problems. The term "disaster" is relative. My mental state has been messy. I've had uni work looming over me, with the uni semester recess only slightly overlapping with school holidays. So most of the time, as I've been trying to read academic journals on human geography and natural (real) disasters, I've had kids fighting/playing at my feet, making mess, requiring food, requiring taxi services etc etc etc. There's one buzzing right behind me right now. We've had friends come to stay, rugby presentations to attend, sailing days, and on and on and on and ridiculously on and on. All very full lovely living. All of which keeps me from focusing on academic work, which is becoming increasingly important to ME! For ME! 

Oh I know. Don't worry, I've been told. A family member, who shall remain nameless, pointed out to me that my sole purpose in life is to mother. Let's just call him "He of the older generation".

"Bad luck girl, you had 'em, you look after 'em." 

But I still do, I said. 

"It's not enough", he said. 

But I focused solely on them - in the home - for nearly 9 years, I said. 

"Well it wasn't long enough!" he exclaimed. And on, and on, and on.

Well, sisters and brothers. Fuck it. If this is selfish, then selfish I am. I want it! I need it! I'm going to have it! And my children will learn from it. Who knows what they will learn? That's for them to figure out as they process the world for the rest of their eternity. What do you think they will learn from me staying solely focused on them for the next ten years? Well... we're not going to find out.

Finally, after many days of headache and vomity sensations and incredible tetchiness and tension, my essay was submitted, 3 days late. It felt quite liberating really.... letting go like that and accepting my circumstances. During this school holiday period my mind has run like a mouse on a wheel. I'm not willing to let go of any of it... of my studies or of my family. In one week I'll be adding a day of work, with a 3-4 hour commute, into the mix as well. And that too shall be ok. Because it's only one day. And it will be a day of something different, something with new people, new purpose with old knowledge and re-fired up passion. A day of something different.

So, with the illumination of all that rambling... here are two stories of happy family moments. Perhaps the only happy family moments to have occurred in the last two weeks but still... they happened.

The first was my Noah-Noo's 9th birthday party. Nine! I'll save my nostalgic Oh my God, nine? Where did all those years go moment for another day. This year we opted for a party with all the boys and 3 girls from Noah's class, and all of their families, at our favourite family picnic place... a clearing surrounded by water and bush, about 10 minutes upstream from us. It feels wild and free and special. The perfect place for a celebration of 9 years of life.

I love Whole Family birthday parties. They highlight the rich community that we have around us as all of our children grow together - indeed, as we all grow (if we're lucky). Rather than being a chore, just another event to ferry our children to, the Whole Family birthday party can be a beautiful day for everyone.

Soon to come... a visit from a fairy.

Monday, September 24, 2012

please hold...

Soon to come: images from the latest birthday party.

In the meantime,  I'll leave you with this, while an essay will be written.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Spring has sprung

Spring commences for us, every year, with our school Spring Festival. Each class proudly displays their year's work for all to enjoy, before we gather on the meadow, with the sound of kookaburras, cockatoos and crows above us, for singing, dancing and music performances. Colourful, celebratory, open and warm... I love these Spring days. Even more than the picnic and festival, those classrooms really make my heart sing. 


Class 1

Class 5

Class 6 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

You big meanie

Sun number one, with the glued-up head, took step 2 in his life as a sailor last weekend. Step 1 was taken last summer, when he had a couple of sailing lessons in an opti (a little boat that a child can quite easily sail by themselves). He appeared to be loving it, and quite a natural at ticking and tacking (you'll notice holes in my sailing lingo. Just warning you). So the Zimbo and I were very pleased when we were asked if Noah would like to crew for a nearby 12 yo friend in his Manly Junior this season. 

Now we know our sun (and yes I do know that I'm spelling that incorrectly... is it annoying?) so we chose not to tell him, until the final second, that he would be sailing on this occasion. There was uncharacteristic clinging. There were gradual steps moving backwards, away from the boat. There was spluttering, and tears, and much grumpiness and anxiety. But we forced him into it and were then consoled by friends that we really were doing Noah a favour. My favourite convincing moment was likening sailing lessons to Sunday school. "We could be sending you to Sunday school, but we're not. We're forcing you to go to sunday sailing school." [with friends, in the most beautiful location, followed by treats and family time and a little kayak around our island!!!] Our Japanese friends send their children to Japanese school on Saturday mornings. We will be sending our island children to sailing school.

And so, the Zimbo and I are resolute. The child will learn to sail, just as he had to learn to swim. When he had sometimes cried and performed at swimming lessons many years ago, we didn't let him off the hook. We were clear that swimming lessons were mandatory, not voluntary. Now, living where we do, we really believe that if we allowed him to proceed to adulthood without sailing as a lifeskill, we would be negligent parents.

So, hopefully, if you don't live near water, you will believe me that life is not all plain sailing, so to speak, just because one lives on a lovely island, surrounded by beautiful national park and shimmering waters. Children are still children, with whatever lessons they bring with them. 

We're quietly confident that Noah will be loving sailing - and all that goes with it! ... hanging out with older boys, the sun on his face and wind in his sails, access to the sailing club canteen, going away with friends etc etc. - by the end of this, his first, season. Surely he'll thank us for it, in twenty years time (along with my singing on Mama road trips).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"something glorious is about to happen"

Supervise 3rd class house building project
make dinner
revise anthropology lecture notes
anthropology mid semester quiz
job applications
do school run - multiple times
set up kindergarten spring festival
prepare picnic
attend said festival
attend 3rd class festival, class display and picnic
meet friend for dinner
write 2000 word essay on Hurricane Katrina and Cyclone Yasi
attend rugby presentation
prepare birthday celebrations
bake brownies
Celebrate the geburtstags kind!

Does that look like your 'to do' list for the next 3 days? If you are a parent, it probably does. In fact, yours might be worse. Please ignore that list if it will stress you out. I wish I could.

I'm feeling overwhelmed. I'm starting to twitch. I need a drink but I only drink tea, water and chlorophyll... but they're not cutting it. What else is there to do but... find Bloc Party on the iPod, turn it up and DANCE, dance for your life girlfriend! The kids have found the disco ball, turned the lights low, the music up even louder, and put on their "cool boy" party clothes.

"This modern love... breaks me!"

But I'm not broken. I'm dancing. Dancing and flying. Flying by the seat of my pants!

Now, where did I leave my cape?

Monday, September 10, 2012

In the name of the father

Last weekend we woke to sunshine over Pittwater, a gentle breeze and the excitement that comes with any family celebration. It was Father's Day... the day Dada gets to sleep in (a little bit) before we wake him up with jumps, wrestles in bed and a cup of tea. The day we have banana pancakes for breakfast before doing something luxurious. This year, our something luxurious was taking a picnic, flask of tea and a rugby ball to The Basin for a relaxing day in the sun.

(I don't know how to turn this one around)

  There is a reason Choochie had the water to himself. It is only the start of Spring... the water is still freezing!

  Choochie trying to contract into himself to warm up!

wallaby with joey

We had such a lovely day. The Zimbo was suitably celebrated with family boating, bbqing and touch footy. I had quite a lovely day myself with a cup of tea and some crocheting in gentle Spring sunshine. 

May all fathers be loved and supported in striving to be their best, for the benefit of our children and world at large. Happy Father's day!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

what on earth are you on about?

You know what I should be doing, don't you... I should be submitting this week's blog post for Anthropology, on magic, witchcraft and ritual. But instead, I'm perusing ebay for boats - just for fun, looking for my ultimate "ladies boat" (for the day when I become a "lady"). Then I went browsing around for a campervan... vehicle of my dreams. Quite out of reach for now so I lowered my sights to a new tent. Ahhhh yes. I could do with a new tent. One big enough for all 4 of us. When we've camped since having little nippers, we've taken 2 small (3 wo-man) tents. I feel the need for a family tent. Of course all of this is just rambling procrastination because what I should be doing is submitting that anthropology blog post.

You know what I discovered this week? (By the way, who are you!? WHO am I talking to? No wonder the Zimbabwean thinks I'm going mad.) Well, I discovered the voice memo capability on my phone. I love it! Not only does it look like a microphone, I can talk into it, leaving myself all kinds of useful memos whilst looking like I'm having a legitimate telephone conversation with someone, thereby appearing sane! I'm sure this will come in handy for all manner of messages (to myself). Sun number one had already discovered this feature, on the 19th April 2012. Tonight I got to hear a delightful memo recording all sorts of interesting warbles of his voice. And farting noises. Ha ha.

So, I was at uni yesterday - oh my, what an inspiring place to be - walking across the spacious campus in Springtime sunshine, when I thought of Nancy, the list writer. Nancy, if you are listening, I hope you are sitting front and centre, feeling engaged and passionate and thoroughly participating, like a good mature-age student should! Second semester is progressing beautifully in my world. I'm appreciating my lecturers and my subject choices and I've lost the first semester nerves/urge to vomit. I'm mature age and I'm OK! 

Lately I've been forming clear enough questions regarding my current study path to actually request an academic advisor for, well, advice. So off I trit-trotted to the Arts faculty to seek out the sucker who would bear the brunt of this week's barrage of questions. The only 'advisor' who appeared to be in his office and available was none other than the head of anthropology at my chosen university. In I went. I refrained from (very obviously) looking at the books on the shelves. The desk was a mess, in an academic kind of way. The office was large, large enough for a desk placed 1/3 of the way across the room, between two windows, as well as a round table big enough for a family of 6. That's where we sat, at the round table. I tried not to make myself appear too comfortable. You could say that's a fault of mine... the ability to make myself too comfortable in someone else's office/house/kitchen/space.

The walls were pale blue, the furnishings were daggy. Oh it was quite a lovely office (in need of a feminine touch). I asked my questions. I didn't really receive answers, but I found my answers, if you know what I mean. It was like having a conversation with myself really. Or with Mr Bean. Although this man was much more attractive than Mr Bean. 

I descended the seven flights of stairs with (just a touch more) clarity and a bounce in my boot, feeling pleased with myself for being brave enough to speak with such a high-ranking intellectual. Although, you know, on deeper reflection, for a more grounded reality perhaps the head of anthropology should find a ground floor office. I think it's hard to feel grounded when you are indeed, so far from the ground.

Afore-mentioned sun number one is away on his first school camp. Yesterday, apparently, on day one of camp, his head somehow collided with some kind of metal post, resulting in much blood and a trip to a medical centre to have his head clued back together. Really... are all boys as reckless as mine?

Monday, August 27, 2012

A distracting campus

The man behind me is wearing a scent that was worn by the men (boys) in my life twenty years ago. So, were they ahead of their time, or has this man failed to mature? Either way, it is distracting me from my Human Geography text book.

Opposite me sits a slim, trim man in a pale grey suit. He's wearing pink, stripey socks, a shiny silver tie with small pastel flowers. He looks considered, intent, serious, ready for business. He wears a wedding band. His companion wears smart casual cream trousers. Not beige, cream. A white shirt, black suit jacket (too big for him), white sneakers. Bru, white sneakers? With a black suit jacket? Whatever blows your hair back.

This week's university phrase (now that I have 18 year old acquaintances) is: "Hey, don't judge me".

People are sooooo distracting!

Friday, August 24, 2012

on feet

Today I've seen thongs on feet. That's a flip flop, jandel or sandel. Not a g-string. Move on.

Bare feet! It's too cold for bare feet people! Put your boots back on! Don't have boots? Save up... buy some!

Now I do relish a bare foot. Especially mine. I like my own feet a lot. Not too large, not too small, connect me to the earth, support my upright stance. But why, O why, would anyone unnecessarily shorten boot season?

One of the faults of summer is that it is often too warm to don boots.

A bride's foot, enhanced by beautiful foot beads, the day the bride married the Zimbabwean.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ha! caught you on film afterall

So it turns out that I do have a couple of happy snaps from Venice Beach, California.

There were three areas around LA that I did really like. They were the wide, quiet streets of Pasadena (where I also found an excellent pair of Dan Post cowgirl boots. Alas, I didn't bring them home), the tightly packed but full of life canals of Naples, Long Beach; and the quirky-off the beaten track feel of Topanga.

We could imagine ourselves living in any of these three places for a stint. In Topanga I saw hints of free-living, which we enjoy so much where we are. Naples appealed to me because it is 3 islands in the city... my boys could still sail and kayak and be near water and we'd have more chance of getting around on bike or foot. Pasadena just felt calm and lovely, and lay at the foot of some pretty amazing mountains.

But, for now, it's not to be. And I can't say I'm disappointed. Upon my return, the winds through the spotted gums whispered my name.