Changing Pace

Dear internet,

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An Aussie Magpie (They about as big as a fryer chicken and not to be messed with)

It has come to my attention that my dream of being able to write at a pace that would keep up with amount of data I am taking in is both overwhelming and impossible.

My brain works on stories and tries to tie things together.  I tend to sit on a story for a long time.  Remember when I told you I once spent two years working on a chuck box and most of that was planning?  Well, I caught myself trying to write stories in my head with out actually writing anything.  This way of thinking has turned my thoughts into a jumbled mess.

In the past 60 days of traveling I have not written nearly enough.  I need to be getting more out of my head.  Thus, I have decided to change the way my blog works for me.

This blog is for the folks interested in following our journey through my eyes and folks wanting to know what it may be like to travel the world with wife and kids.  I have discovered it needs to be for me first and foremost because my memory is crap.

I have notebooks of what I see, hear, and experience on our travels.  These notes are not pretty.  They don’t say more than a few words about a topic or subject.  I wouldn’t want anyone to try to decipher what I had jotted down in the back of a bouncing car.  Future blog posts will contain some of these ramblings.

Please think of this as more of a journal from now on or until I change my mind again.  The information I’m trying to hold on to is too great.  If I don’t log it, it will escape me.

This is still my photos and all that.  I’m just looking to increase the posted information.  I may, from time to time, surprise you with longer stories with more depth.

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The Australian Magpie is known for “swooping” during the spring breeding season.  so mush so that the cyclist wear helmets with zip ties sticking out all over.  This technique makes you look like a porcupine head.

I first thought the young cyclist had forgotten to remove the decorations from her helmet since a recent parade.  Not so.  Apparently, the Magpies will swoop so mush so that there are signs up in parks warning folks that this is a thing and that the damage can be pretty horrible.  Loss of eye and or cuts on head and ears happen quite frequently.  In other words they are total ***holes.

But wait, there’s more.  The Magpies have friends called Butcher Birds.  Smaller and slightly different in coloring.  Both are black and white but the Butcher has a full white apron.  Butchers also like to swoop.  (Well there’s another sentence that I didn’t know I would write.)

We lucked out and didn’t have any issues and survived the spring.  Back home I think this would be called a “hunting season” but the Magpie is a protected bird in Australia.  In that case there should be free helmet or umbrella (they work to protect you as well)  stands all around.

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Happenstance

The magnetic calendar on the fridge is still showing April.  It’s September now and I’m with my family at a housesitting gig on the Gold Coast of Australia. 

We are caring for three cats that couldn’t be more different from each other.  One is nervous, one is yelling at us to do what we are there to do, and the third is in hiding until nighttime. 

Marley is the nervous as hell.  So much so that he rubs the fur and flesh off the top of his head and paw due to a reflex he has when scared, nervous, threatened, ect…

Patrick is hard of hearing due to old age (16).  He yells for what he needs and you can never be fully ready for that meow.  Waking to it the first morning groggy and jet lagged I couldn’t figure out what was going on. An unfamiliar house, Aussie Magpies songs and the beast downstairs.   

Gracie is jet black and was spotted the first night but then hid deep in the closet for three days.   I met her on the stairs sometime in the night.  She looked like a rug and I almost stepped on her as I made my way down to Patrick who was yelling at me for something.  

A day later she warmed up to me after the boys went to sleep.  skittish at first but after a few smells of my hand she was zig-zagging through my legs and using those big yellow eyes to get more petting.   Gracie is only seen three times a day, late a night looking like a man-hole cover,  early in the morning for food, and as a shadow in the late evening moving from room to room. 


Ok, back to what I was going to tell you about.  On the calendar I notice an ad for a meat shop called Arundel Meats “30 years of service”.  That sounds interesting, I’ll look it up. 

The search reveals the shop is an 8 minute walk from here.  I make note of it and put it in the hopper.  Going to need a bit of meat for the family meals and maybe I can offer to assist at the same time.  It’s worth an ask. 

I will the car to make the left turn, from the left lane, to the left lane again as I turn into the lot.  All this while steering from the wrong side of the car.  Driving on the left is a game all played in your head. 

A quick stop to check out Arundel Meats and we will be back on the route to home.  My wife and two boys stay in the car, tired from all the first day management work of getting sorted in a new country. 

The shop is small with a long display case full of goodies.  I decide on carrot and onion rissoles and two chicken breasts (filets).  As Evan, the owner of this shop for 18 years (info on the their website), sets me up quickly I ask if I can stop in and assist or observe his operation over the next three weeks.  He looks at me a bit confused and I say I’m American, from the states, or if he prefers, I’m Canadian.  I’m a Chef. 

Back out to the car I hop in and my wife asks me “Well, did you get a job?”. I say no, that they were full up and wouldn’t have the hours for me.  I then tell her that I was asked to come back tomorrow to assist and or observe.  She response with surprise and the boys ask If I got a job.

I explain that it is not for money but I might be given something for helping out.  I can’t help but think what a huge lesson is being taught to them.  That being present and asking for something sometimes pays off huge.  And if it doesn’t, then you are back where you were but at least you asked.

img_6538img_6537In the days that follow I staged for a few hours at Arundel Meats with Evan.  He fabricates about 6 lamb and 2 beef bodies a week.  Now there is something you wouldn’t really want to say to loudly in the states, “bodies” as in, “I will be in the coolers cutting up a few bodies for the case.”. 

He generously tells me to breakdown a lamb.  He assumes that I am familiar with the bandsaw but I tell him I’m not and would prefer a hand saw if he has one.  Also, I need to keep my digits attached. 

We show each other a few things.  I set up a tray of lamb rib chops and a five-rib rack all Frenched and pretty for the display case.   He shows me how he break down a beef body in the cooler and then hangs the meat to age.  

Now here is the kickers. Later that week I’m picking up some lamb stew meat.  I told him I would cook up Lamb Navarin for him if he supplied the lamb.  “No worries.” he says.

During the exchange of lamb he says he saw me walking up Greenacre Drive and asks where I’m staying.  I tell him I’m in 111 and he gives me a look of disbelieve and confusion and says “No, no I’m in 111. Where are you?”.   I’m in 111 #9. He smiles and says he is in #6 and clarifies that we are talking about the same fenced in area with the duplexes. Sure thing, We are living across the street from each other.

He invites the family for a Barbie and we have an incredible night.  Singing, Conversation and the whole lot.  Lots of meat too.  Funny how that works out.  There was a salad or two as well.