PictureChristmas Lime tree
Let's start off this with:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It's been quite a while since I last wrote an entry here. It's not that nothing was happening but maybe too much was happening. 
  Guess what!? We moved to Borneo! :)
  We start the year in a new town, new climate, new world - all this comes with a new lease on life. 

Change is good.

Resolutions for a Successful Year, no...  LIFE

   I think a "New Year's" resolution can be made any day of the year with the same power. And it is good to set goals no matter what month and day and no matter whether they are for the year, the next 3 months, or the next day or even hour... But New Years is definitely a good time for reflection on your last year's successes and failures in all the realms of your intricate life: financial, business/work, personal, health, love, friendship, family, and the worldly realm (for lack of better term). What did you learn, what did you achieve, what are you proud of, what could you have done better, and how will you continue and improve your situations. SO much to think about and so exciting to get the goals and actions written on paper! Let go of the not so good moments, the hurt and wounds collected over the year - take the lessons - then let them go, forgive yourself and others, and then step up to the plate refreshed and ready for the future. 
       Version 37.2 -  Pardon the computer analogy but it works... 
   New year, new you. Same you - but the better, updated version *. Sure, there will be bugs occasionally but updates will be released. 

* NOTE: This only works if you take the time to do the upgrade - reflect, deeply and thoroughly on the good and the less than good, what worked and what didn't - and take the time to do the restart - outline your goals, the how, what and why change and improvement is necessary. The new version will be very exciting. 
 Check in often to see if any updates are being released throughout the year - take the time to stop and do the restart. These little fixes will be worth it and make next years update a little less painful! 

“May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire 
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For, 
May your arms Never Tire.” 
― D. Simone
“No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
    A lot has happened since my last post... We have been busy tromping around the area (and Nik overseas), fishing, kayaking, and working... Of course we know who has the real job around here but I have been staying busy between finishing a contract, writing a paper, learning Forex trading (how's that for random), and general self-improvement... Soon we start Bahasa Malay lessons! Very excited!

    In late January I was invited to go to Cole's Bay with some women from the Queensland Underwater hockey team (an ex-co-worker of Nik's has a family cabin there...). It was a welcome diversion while Nik was away on a business trip. What a wonderful group of awesome women! We went hiking, fishing, eating, played Bananagrams and generally just had a great relaxing time! We were in Freycinet NP, known world-wide for its Wineglass Bay - voted one of the worlds top 10 beaches by someone...


Coles Bay


    I hope Nik and I get to go back there before it comes time to leave this island! The beaches and ocean views are amazing and the sunsets sublime. It would be an incredible place to step out of the tent and have a cuppa together.

    And now we have this great kayak - a two-seater set up for catching fish!


There she is!

If we had been keeping a tally of fish caught so far the whole left side would be covered in tick marks! ;)

A fish story? maybe... maybe not!

So far we have taken the boat for a spin here in the harbor off of our neighborhood pier, out to Bruny Island for a camping trip, and to Dodges Ferry.

We caught a total of 15 fish in an hour or two in the harbor. We found the honey-hole of baby flathead, and had our first look and subsequent taste of Australian Salmon... Don't get too excited - they aren't really salmon - not pink inside but a nice white fish sort of like a mackerel but lighter and less oily!

Bruny Island


Bruny Island for the weekend was great! We covered nearly the entire island... We camped at Adventure Bay which is in the middle. The first day we went south to explore and have a fish at Jetty Beach. (That's where the fishy photos above are taken.) Definitely a place to go back to for a few days!

Reel 'em in and pass 'em back to Niko for processing!
A mighty Wrasse! Fish seem bigger when you are working out of a kayak with very light gear!
PictureWhile I ate oysters and the fish got away with my bait, they didn't get away from this guy!

The next day we fished around in the north. There was a lot of boat action out on the water but we found a quiet bay and tried our luck... which wasn't good till we landed for an oyster snack and started fishing with bait!.... Then the game was on!

Dodges Ferry

The best fishing spot we have found so far is... I am not gonna tell you where it is! Ignore the title of this section!! :)
    When we went kayak fishing out of Dodges Ferry we learned a few things...
    First, if people are surfing, no matter how small the waves, find somewhere else to put the kayak in!
    Second, if flathead aren't biting the bait within 30 seconds, fish somewhere else.
    Third, if they are biting, then stay there.
    Fourth, if you catch legal size flathead... 5 is probably the minimum amount you'll need to keep in order to cook up a good dinner for two! (Good thing the limit is 30!)

Kayak on the beach near the best fishing spot... full of flathead!
Now that's a flathead! ... Tasmania style....
I won't bore you with the other stuff though I will say I am pretty excited about FOREX trading... and becoming rich without a job and traveling the world and continuing on this adventure!
“May your adventures bring you closer together, even as they take you far away from home.”
Trenton Lee Stewart

Queensland is beautiful.
I have only been to a few places in this giant Australian state and everything I have seen of it is very diverse but all beautiful...
For New Years we headed south to Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast to Visit Nik's brother - a new part of Queensland for me.

The first stop after the airport (well, after pies for lunch) was the giant pineapple.... Yup, The Giant Pineapple!

Coolum Beach
This part of the coast is very beautiful and very different from the north. The water is clear and warm (no jellyfish or crocs!) and the sand is squeaky!
Because the reef is really far off shore there are waves to surf but unfortunately no reef to dive. It was pretty windy everyday while we were there, but I did get out once to try to catch some waves! (it was a bit to messy and the waves were a bit too big so I didn't do very well... I did enjoy being out there though!)
Beach at Noosa NP
We had a really nice visit in Coolum with Uggie and Amy and the rest of their visitors! We visited Noosa National park, climbed Mt. Coolum, went to a waterfall up the range, had NYE on the beach dressed as pirates, went fishing, and ate lots of yummy food!
My favorite was Noosa NP... There was a nice little wave for surfing (I will go there next time!) and there was some fishing to be had! Nik speared a nice flathead and Uggie shot something too...

Sunshine Coast was a great place to start the new year! But I was also happy to head home to Hobart to get a start on 2013...

Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!
- William Arthur Ward
Yeah, Boxing Day gets a mention all its own! :)
This was my second holiday season in Cairns celebrating with Nik's family. I am not sure I will ever get used to a hot Christmas Day but it sure is nice to have sunshiny weather on Boxing Day and New Years! As usual going to Cairns involved lots of family, visiting friends, eating, and checking the internet waiting for good reef weather... We had a delicious Christmas Eve brunch and Christmas Day breakfast and dinner. Then there was Boxing Day... It is no wonder Christmas is the favorite holiday for this family!

Overall there was lots of cricket watching (and some playing!), lots of eating good food, and lots of sleeping over the holiday break.. In the hot weather naps are really key. We spent a few days on the range at Nik's parent's house - very relaxing and beautiful... I always find some sort of wildlife to chase. This time it was butterflies and kookaburras.... By the way, I was voted most improved cricket player of Boxing Day. I was really bad last year... Guess all the cricket watching is paying off! Cricket is fun!

As for the weather, Nik and I were able to sneak out one day for a flick with some friends at a protected little beach called Pretty Beach. We walked along the rocky and mangrovey shore and within 5 minutes Nik had a fish! He saw it (and 2 others) before he even had his line in the water. We had to be stealthy and quiet for a chance to catch these fish but once one took the hook it was all crashing and thrashing! Nik was in the water doing some fancy maneuvering to keep the fish from breaking the line in the tangle of mangrove roots... Quite the sight for me! My first glimpse of the infamous Baramundi! Unfortunately we didn't have a camera so this drawing will have to do...


I didn't catch anything except a rock in my shin caused by a flip-flop blowout, but overall a good day! Nik as usual was the big fisher that day with the baramundi and a spectacular baby cod... :)

Huon River somewhere near Dover

The morning after Thanksgiving can be hard... but it was a gorgeous day so we rallied! We were not off to an early start by any means but we decided we must go to the southern-most point of Australia and what better day than today! (Not today today, but last Saturday today...)

  We packed up some turkey-day leftovers and jumped in the Falcon. We were headed for South Cape Bay - the southern most point of land in Australia.
The Falcon
Oysters in the Huon River (escapees from one of the many oyster farms no doubt!)

  So this Thanksgiving (and everyday) I am thankful for many things. But one thing in particular on this day is that we both love spontaneous adventures. We have already had many of these spur of the moment adventures  together and there are many more to come.
  I am also happy to know that we both love collecting/harvesting/fishing for food...
  especially seafood...
  and especially oysters...raw ones...

   So when we discovered oysters along the Huon River, there was only one thing to do.

   They were a little "fresh" because we were a long way from the ocean here but they were tasty, there were heaps of them, and they were free!
  After a brief snack, we were off again through beautiful farm land and forests. The landscape is serene and beautiful. There are giant eucalyptus groves with spiky long underbrush, lush tree-fern forests, wide river views with boats, salmon pens, and oyster farms, rolling green hills spotted with sheep, cows, kangaroos, and broken down muscle-car trucks... It is impossible to get bored looking at the passing scenery as it changes every 10 minutes. In all of these microcosms there are flowers. Bottle-brush shaped flowers (big ones, little ones, on trees, and on bushes - yellow, red, white, pink, purple...), rhododendrons - giant ones! bigger than a house!, proteas, and of course roses! (The flowers of Tasmania deserve their own post....).
Destination Cockle Creek, Southwest National Park 148 km from Hobart.
From here we set out on a 3-4 hour RT hike to South Cape Bay... I will let the photos speak for themselves...
I will tell you, it smelled of penguins and leopard seals - no, we didn't see any...but they aren't too far away!

The most adorable creature...

Are you wondering about the most adorable creature?
I saved the best for last. :) On the way to Cockle Creek we spotted this guy along the side of the road...
Short-Beaked Echidna, Tachyglossus aculeatus
Echidnas are monotremes (mammals that lay eggs). There are only three species of monotreme in the world - the platypus (next on the list) and two species of echidna, one of which is restricted to the highlands of New Guinea. Echidnas are currently ranked number 1 as the most adorable creature.
"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”
W.T. Purkiser
   Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday... It's a nice idea to give "thanks" - to appreciate your family, friends, what you have and don't have, where you are, and life in general.

   Also I love pie - pumpkin pie, apple pie, and pecan pie. So - we had Thanksgiving in Hobart!

   We invited some friends over, a family of 3, set up a dining table in the - you guessed it - the dining room, and ate turkey, potatoes, and beans (the staples of a Thanksgiving dinner). Followed by apple pie, pumpkin pie, and our guests brought an amazing pecan pie and American brownies! (Neither pumpkin pie or pecan pie are "normal" desserts here... and American brownies speak for themselves...)
   Celebrating Thanksgiving was sort of a curiosity for the Aussies involved, none of whom had ever celebrated this American holiday before. So I read up on its origins before dinner (in between making pies and mashed potatoes)....

   In school we learned it was when the Pilgrims and Indians feasted together to celebrate a good harvest (and being friends and all - but we know how that turned out...). Thanks to Wikipedia I learned a little more about the origins...  "Days of Thanks Giving" and the opposite, "Days of Fasting" have roots in English tradition dating to the Reformation. "They" (the reformers) decided to get rid of some extra religious holidays around that time and replaced them with either a day of thanks or a day of fasting depending on the mood of the day being celebrated, as I understand it... These "days of thanks" could spring up whenever something good happened. Like a big Indian harvest dinner being shared with the Pilgrims!

   Anyway, what a good idea to make Thanksgiving a permanent holiday! I think we should seriously think about instating a couple extra "days of thanks" throughout the year...

   As for the Australian view, they thought it was sort of like an American Christmas with no presents and were completely intrigued by the concept of Turducken.... The pies were all enjoyed and everyone over-ate in true American fashion...:)
Apple pie...
Pumpkin pie... from real pumpkin (no such thing as canned here!)
Our house in Hobart.

Making pies!
Our amazing little convection oven. Love it!
Some other good quotes about Thanksgiving...

“I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.”
Jon Stewart

“Here in Britain, of course, it's Thank Fuck We Got Those Weird Jesus Bastards On The Boat Day”
Warren Ellis

And the answer is a lot! Too much to really go into all in one place... Too exciting, crazy hectic, heart-wrenching, exhilarating, and too life changing...
Here is the short list:
1. Quit my job.
2. Moved out of my house of the last 8 years.
3. Said goodbye to friends neighbors and family.
4. Planned and packed for moving to the other side of the world to be with the man of my dreams...
5. Showed Nik (the man) around Maine in between packing....
6. Packed Maliko, my best friend, for his move to a new family
7. Then Nik and I left the country together...

All that in 3 weeks time....

8.  Spent 2 weeks in Lombok, Indonesia with Nik working.
9.  Nik said goodbye to family and friends over the next week in Cairns, Australia.
10. Then we moved to Hobart, Tasmania...

That's what happened to September and October... and half of November.

All of this has been packed with all sorts of feelings and emotions. Pictures and words will appear from these missing months I am sure... but the next post will be about the now. :)

Many posts will contain some sort of quote about something (of the sort that would be in that daily Zen calendar...).
Here is a good one for life changes... Thanks M.T.!

“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”
Mother Teresa

About the author.... "Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview."

What exactly is this section for...?

I got bogged down by too many questions...
Who am I?   Where am I?
What do I want out of life? etc, etc, etc...

All the questions I came up with have answers...  which is good. But I am still at a loss for what to put in the about the author section.
I figure if you are here you likely know me. :)

I will put something a little deeper and more meaningful here and leave the about the author section for later...

Life, love, happiness, adventure and experience. That's what I am after...

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”  
~ Dalai Lama XIV

Well, why not... I like to write and tell stories, I like to take photos and there are some adventures and new experiences coming up! I don't like to go on and on on facebook and group emails are not my style either... Even if I am the only one to read this blog, I think I will give it a try. Maybe my mom and my sister will check it out every now and then... :)