I know. I have been remiss and inconsistent in blogging. However, my excuses are excellent (if not valid), and they offer me peace in the sometimes long periods between my posts.
I have been particularly busy living my life, doing what I have chosen to do, and so I am left (this is NOT a complaint) with less time to muse about normal boomer issues, in my normal boomer manner.
Excellent Excuse, Number One—The Book: It’s been taking up my spare time, much to my delight. I will soon be approving the final cover and interior layout designs, which will save me from critically reviewing my work incessantly. An occupational, or a personality, hazard. Additionally (writers will understand), once I’ve addressed initial grammatical and phraseological (it appears this is not a word – although it should be) issues, more nuanced considerations pop off the page and into my brain as necessary items to ponder. The process has the potential to be an endless one, so a person, like me, needs to pick a time to move forward putting aside the illusive concept of ever reaching perfection. This can be mind-numbing in its procrastinating power. The book will come out (debutant sounding, yes?) in the early Spring of 2015. You have my word to keep you fully apprised of that timing.
book cover: click to open
Excellent Excuse, Number Two—Australia: I freely admit that there is little like the draw of my children to pull me from my routines and comfort zones. Therefore my daughter’s year of residence in Australia should make my visit to see her, and this beautiful country, no surprise. The trip can be brutal. Twenty-two hours (six from JFK to LA, sixteen from LA to Melbourne). Day is literally night. But then…I was standing face to face with my daughter. It is a moment forever etched into the exceptional moments category of my memory bank. Of course, the fact that it’s summer in Australia with balmy ocean breezes and 75 degree temperatures doesn’t hurt. Nor did learning the ins and outs of Melbourne (pronounced Mel-bin), seeing Novak Djokovic beat Stan Wawrinka at the Australian Open men’s semi finals, visiting the Yarrow Valley wine country (wine tasting included), and traveling to the town where the Australian version of the gold rush took place in the 1850s. We traveled to the wine and gold rush towns with the tour company: Localing. Their intention is to make you feel at home, abroad. And their warm manner does just that. Nicole spent every day with us, and a few of them included her boyfriend, Ben, and best friend, Dara. We saw koalas and kangaroos and lizards the size of my forearm. We walked the intricate network of streets, sampled local fare, and visited the Parliament Building of Victoria. On our last night in Melbourne, Nicole and Ben joined us for dinner. My goodbye hug with my daughter had onlookers wondering if we’d ever release our soulful embrace.
Next stop—Sydney. Very different, very lovely. A bigger city feel (compare NYC to Boston). Somehow all the cities in Australia remain safe, regardless of the time of day or the time of year (leaving some of us to wonder where our cities went wrong). We met cousins of a friend in the States who invited us to their home, just north of Sydney, for dinner, and to the Opera House to see a violin concerto of Mendelssohn’s compositions. Unbelievable experiences. We cruised on the ferries from the circular quay, saw Darling Harbor, wandered the ocean path from Bondi to Bronte, walked the bridge. We wandered through Hyde Park, Macquarie street, and saw about 200 Ugg stores, sometimes only feet apart. I had a bite of a Kangaroo burger!
Then, The Great Barrier Reef. If you want to see extraordinary natural beauty, you must see the Whitsunday Islands. These white silt-sand beaches feel like clouds beneath your toes, soft as pillows, and outline the Coral Sea. The color of the water is a blue-green that can only be described as enchanting. Australia is like being transported to another existence; another continent, another life-style, another pace. You have crossed the International date line. You are below the equator.
I saw two sunrises (going to Australia and returning home). It’s been decades since I remember being awake to greet the sun.
Also, serendipitously, in LA, I ran into Mark Sanchez and took the photo op.
Beautiful and dangerous, Australia will delight your senses—they have more deadly spiders, snakes and even jellyfish than anywhere!—but also have a genuinely friendly and proud people who know a great deal about their history, and take deep satisfaction in the trials and sensory manifestations of their country.
The more I travel, the more I find opportunities to connect to cultures other than my own—the more I learn, grow and feel complete.
Life is good.