The May Post

Okay, yeah, only a month since the last post. I guess that's ten weeks of prattle that the Library of Congress (what's the Dewey Decimal numbering for "Mundanities"?) misses out on.

What the world does need to know is that I've been hand-feeding the local grey butcherbirds.

They used to come up for the odd bit of left-out "mince" (that's "hamburger meat" or "ground beef" to us Americans), but then last week I lured one inside for Rug SnacksTM while I was baking bread. (I made the Peter Reinhart ciabatta recipe with the overnight poolish. Delicious bread, but tightest crumb since Wonder bread.)

Reinhart Ciabatta Poolish

Baked under some rather slack avian supervision:

Reinhart Ciabatta Poolish Supervisor

The tea towels were a gift to Mike from a co-worker. I don't usually permit red to enter my decor sensibility (even when the sensibility is set at "none / neutral"), but I was excited to finally figure out a use for tea towels (says she who shakes her wet hands like a fresh-from-the-lake dog and who has strong opinions about not using cloth to clean countertops), so here I am, growing as a person. First come the red tea towels, and next thing you know it will be Jesus in my heart or clicking "Like" on Facebook statuses that begin with "Click Like If..."

I thought the birdie (as he and she and their children and neighbours are all called) was a one-off... then over the rainy weekend we decided to open the door and sweeten the deal...

Birdie Inside

I must deflect the wrath of the Internet and state the following:

  1. I know we can't feed these birds too often or they'll become dependent, develop misplaced trust in humans, not die as early and often as needed to keep the local ecobalance going, and break my heart whenever we do buy a house and I have to leave them behind.
  2. I understand that human burger meat doesn't contain adequate nutrients for grey butcherbirds.
  3. I just want to add that this is why it's a snack. True, Mike served an entree-sized meal here (that's "entree" in my American sense of "main dish," not the Aussie sense of "appetizer/entry course before the main dish"), but that was because we were bewitched. The spell has lessened and snack portions are more sensible now. Don't call Jamie Oliver.
  4. I nominate "Bewitched by Butcherbirds" as a new Gloom fate.
  5. I'm shamelessly ripping off a household* joke (*shared credit because it occured to both of us simultaneously in the car - which may or may not be romantic) from last week where I went through a very dangerous phase for three days of thinking I could adopt two button quail and hide them in our no-pets apartment. "Intrigued by Quail" was nominated as a new addition to Gloom at that time, even though it isn't alliterate, but see, now I've made up for that with the above.
  6. I'm still intrigued by quail, but I think I'll continue to hold out for the dawning of a mastermind plan that lets me hide a bunny from the rent inspector.
  7. Internet, I need pets. Let me feed these birds a few morsels now and again and just quietly be a terrible person that you can judge without bothering to let me know that you're judging. I know you're judging. Always.

Mike was the first to feed one of the birds by hand, but they're quick studies, these feathery killers, and today (or yesterday because, you know, sleep? huh?) I hand-fed one FOUR times. FOUR.

Or I fed two twice or four once or some other combination, I'm not too sure. In the end there were two on the balcony rails and it was like The Parent Trap, with me trying to sort out who had already been fed and who needed to fly back to Boston per the custodial agreement.

The beautiful autumnal weather (rain, rain, rain, and my raggedy brown "jumper" - which I now accept to be a nicer term than "sweatshirt" - keeping me warm as I putter around the place while Mike toils to keep the local half-tamed cats in omelettes using whichever part of the egg I have left over after the latest kitchen misstep - like lemon ice cream with candied aji limon peppers that was stuck in the freezer to form ice crystals after the ice cream maker died mid-churn) has been good for the local wildlife interaction.

Just last weekend we were visited throughout the morning by a swarm of black cockatoos who came to get drunk off the cape-something berries in the trees.

The Reason for His Visit

Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos Come to Visit

Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos Come to Visit

Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos Come to Visit

I'd never seen them in the city before. White cockatoos, yes, they're at every intersection downtown, standing around on the grass like spills of tourists, but the red-tailed black cockatoo had previously only been a sight seen on Sunday drives out of town.

With the cooler, blustery weather, we've renewed our passes to the local wildlife park. When it rains, we have it to ourselves. Why are people so afraid of a little wet? I'll never understand. Perhaps I have "naked face privilege" and "uncoiffed head privilege" and "sensible shoes privilege." (I recently tried to make a post of all the "(adjective) privilege" I enjoy, since that phrasing is so hot right now, but it deteriorated into something thoughtful, so delete, delete, delete.)

All of the birds and creatures (My first woylie! Where's he been hiding?) were feeling frisky, as is evident in this rough video I shot while visiting the park's kangaroos (all the more rough because this is the version I chopped down, sans preview, from my phone so it would be small enough to email):

On that afternoon we also saw a wild kookaburra, a bird I often hear at night (chortling like a jungle monkey) but never see flying around. I'd share that video but, eh, lazy. Also, it wouldn't sing.

What else? Other than many lovely afternoon drives and local fairs and other stories that I leave to Flickr to tell?

Mice & Mystics has been set up on the table for two days, ready to play any time now... as soon as one of us has read the rule book a few more times. Played Takenoko several times in a row - looks childish but is good zen fun. Played 20 Questions with Mike after I hid his Cadbury Turkish Delight.

"Fun" is probably not the right word for that last one. Phrases like "You told me to not let you be a piggy" and "Technically I answered that question correctly" are not filed under "Will Play Again," no.

I have a driver's license now. Did I mention that in the last post? Yes, an American can get a driver's license in Western Australia without ever sitting behind the wheel of a right-hand-drive car, even if (ahem) their U.S. license is expired. Odd, but I guess that's why President Obama called Australia "our greatest ally." 

I practiced driving a bit recently. Hrm. I don't know if it's so much the right-hand drive or the left-hand road as it is the big nose on our new mid-size four-door sedan. After ten-plus years with the ickle Ford Focus, whenever I've had to drive a larger rental I've been unhappy. It could be the sloped hoods of cars that mess with my "where is the edge of the car?" perception?

Maybe driving is something I used to do.

(Mike: "You can take me to work then have the car for the day." Me: "To do what?" Mike: "Go shopping?" Me: "Go to the beauty parlor?" Mike: "Just drive around?" Me: "Break in my white gloves and handbag?" Mike: "Look at things?" Me: "Pick up hitchhikers that can only be seen in the rearview mirror?")

With my resident status sorted out, I can now apply for my teaching license. This isn't as simple as the driver's license (which I now recall that I did already talk about), but it seems to be straightforward all the same. Pay a buttload of money, hope that what was effectively a minor in secondary education qualifies as enough education-education (my years spent teaching won't be considered), and fill out a pile of paperwork for national police clearances and pre-evaluation then regular evaluation of my credentials. Oh, and then once I get a job, teach for 80 days in order to upgrade my license from "non-practising" to "practising." (Because it wouldn't be government if you couldn't practice on a non-practising license.)

Am I planning to return to teaching?

Uh... I'm planning to return to cruising and mild retail therapy. I'm planning to return to debt-free living. Moving an entire household overseas then buying a car with neither of us working for awhile then only one of us working for the past year meant cracking into the nest eggs.

I haven't figured out how to create a realistic job for myself as a genetic genealogist on the far end of Australia, and I haven't spontaneously developed any other talents during my recovery from American public education. So... I'm just going to pop open a metaphorical window where I can, but also kind of hope that a crosswind comes along to blow open a door that I didn't notice before.

(I realize that, in this painful analogy, I should at least walk around the house and make sure all the doors are unlocked, but... eh... I suppose I should also buy a lottery ticket if I'm going to keep hoping that I win?)

I would make a great Duolingo Evangelizer. I'm on the iPad version of the app three, four times a day. I've made peace with the fact that I can't pronounce languages or understand them at even turtle speed, but I'm content to just be able to brush up my reading and writing in French. It still feels scholarly and classical, like the way one can get away with quoting and translating Latin without having to recognize it when spoken. (In the elbow-patched reality where my mind wanders.)

Of course I'm also doing Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Italian, but only the baby stuff so I can earn easy "lingots" (now that the French lessons are getting past areas where I can summon high school verb conjugation tables and test out).

Duolingo is great for those periods when I must lie down to rest my back, which is otherwise much better... and my mind is better for not staring at Bubble Witch Saga while I wait to be able to return to DNA sleuthing or cleaning or luring birds with my desperate affections.

Or continuing to be really excited about the rain.

Aha. There's The End.

27 May 2014 |