Cockatoo Island, Sydney

An little island in the middle of the harbor with warehouses and warehouses full of modern art installations. Occasion? The Biennale of Sydney. I went with the lovely Nicole. Here is just a taste.

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Read in July 2012

1. Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins
This felt like the middle book of a trilogy. I was a bit exasperated by such a significant part of the first book repeating itself, even if technically it was different this time around.

2. Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins
I'm one of the ones who really liked this. It just works for me that everyone ends up totally messed up and traumatized. It works for me the way our sense of Katniss's power diminishes as the story pans out from her over the course of the trilogy. It's dark and it's not full of exciting climactic battle scenes the way I expected. Toootally works for me.

3. Making All Things New: An Invitation to the Spiritual Life, by Henri Nouwen
I really want to like his writings, because I like Nouwen excerpts so much, but his style just hasn't worked for me. Too vague, too oblique.

4. The Whale Rider, by Witi Ihimaera
The movie is not very much like this book, but in ways others than plot — and I like the movie a lot better. Hmm.

5. Cracked Up to Be, by Courtney Summers
A fast but involving YA novel. Emotionally weighty. I thought the construction of the main character's psyche was artful.

6. Your Native Land, Your Life, by Adrienne Rich
This felt pertinent to my life. It's more thematically unified than her volumes of poetry usually are — family history, reflections on her past and on what she wants her life to amount to. A whence/whither collection.

7. The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde
Lovely and jolly and witty and sarcastic, of course. A good bedtime read when you need to chase away mind-frights. I hope you've seen the film adaptation with Colin Firth.

Breakfast with Belle, Sydney

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Hello, Indian Ocean

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I'm staying at my friend Shannon's house here on the Western Australian coast for the next while. (She wanted babysitting and some help around the house, and I wanted a way to be in Australia for an extended period without draining my savings, so we've made a nice trade.)

My ticket home from Sydney is booked for early December, but I'm pondering the possibility of rebooking it for later in 2013 and getting a different visa that permits work so I can go back to Sydney and stay for up to a year. I've got plenty of time to mull that over, though.

I've got plenty of time, period. I need to make a daily routine for myself and figure out what I want to accomplish with all the hours I have...

And of course I've got lots to share with you from the past two weeks of travel.

yours,
Holly.

Week in photos (238-244)

238/365
238/365. First day in Melbourne, walking and singing to ward off a feeling of dislocation.

239/365
239/365. At dinner in St. Kilda with Cheray. The waiter left these.

240/365
240/365. Welsh things are kind of exciting to me, so this was zang cool.

241/365
241/365. Different church. St. Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne.

242/365
242/365. Leaving for Western Australia after a harrowing day.

243/365
243/365. Walking with Em.

244/365
244/365. At the beach that is near my new address, these are common.

And the only pain

Here the soft hills touch the ocean
like one eternity touching another
and the cows grazing on them
ignore us, like angels.
Even the scent of ripe melon in the cellar
is a prophecy of peace.

The darkness doesn't war against the light,
it carries us forward
to another light, and the only pain
is the pain of not staying.

– Yehuda Amichai
from "North of San Francisco"

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Week in photos (232-237)

232/365
232/365. Harbour.

233/365
233/365. Eating Turkish bread.

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234/365. Rooftop.

235/365
235/365. Belle Spell / Julian, Stop Gesticulating

236/365
236/365. Something about this field I loved.

237/365
237/365.

Week in photos (225-231)

225/365
225/365. This moment.

226/365
226/365. Night fog.

227/365
227/365. Sister and boyf.

228/365
228/365. Rooftops are quite dirty but dancing must happen.

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229/365. Miss E's tea.

230/365
230/365. On top of a hill in LA.

231/365
231/365. Sunrise in Fiji during my layover.

Jellies, continued / Telling the whole story

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I finally got the second roll of film from the Monterey Bay Aquarium developed (selections from first roll here).

I was feeling greedy for some pictures of the jellyfish, because they're just such trippy sweet-looking animals and photograph nicely in the bare, professionally lit tanks. But of course, that's what everyone else was thinking; it wasn't a crowded exhibit, but people were certainly blocking the view, particularly the ones with their cameras and phones.

Then it occurred to me to consider the scene from an anthropological/documentarian perspective, according to which the story needs a lot more thickness, is a little more meta, and would be worse off if I recorded the presence of jellyfish without a mention of the people taking pictures of the jellyfish.

So I took these pictures instead.

(Do you begin to see the connections between me loving documentary photography, having a degree in anthropology, and being a mindfulness devotee?!)

Week in photos (220-224)

220/365
220/365. Couscous salad. I am going to give you the recipe, because it's great and really easy.

221/365
221/365. Beach Sui.

222/365
222/365. Haircut and Sunshine Holly.

223/365
223/365. You can't really justify wax seals as necessary, but that's fine; they don't need justifying.

224/365
224/365. This is my external brain at present (things to remember not to forget before I leave).

(I have not been terribly good about the "every day" part of this project since resuming...I think my mind is too full of Australia logistics right now. I'll get there!)

Gratitudes + things that are making me happy

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• days when my hair behaves

• fangirling over the TV show Dance Academy with Odessa

• good secondhand clothing finds when I have trade credit

• managing to get up when the sun is still more in the east than overhead

• excellent Antipodeans to look forward to hanging out with

• in particular the ones who have also volunteered to host and guide me around places — lovely people are lovely

• getting out of the house when I need to

• stellar customer service

• my little sister

• the perfect pairing of unsweetened black tea with frosted cake

Read in August 2012

1.When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair: 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

2. Gunn's Golden Rules: Life's Little Lessons for Making It Work, by Tim Gunn with Ada Calhoun

3. Miracle Fair: Selected Poems, by WisÅ‚awa Szymborska, trans. Joanna Trzeciak

4. Living with the Enemy, by Donna Ferrato

5. Palace of Stone, by Shannon Hale

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