Tuesday, November 23, 2010

And then in Bali it was about the people

So then in early Oct I went on a long planned, week long trip to Ubud in Bali.  Some friends had been there for the better part of a year, volunteering in an organisation dedicated to preserving traditional textile crafts across the eastern Indonesian islands.   I was to be their 26th guest, and their last.  As well, I had put my name down as a volunteer at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival .  I was looking forward to returning to Indonesia having spent a month cycling on the island of Sulawesi in early 2009.  And I wasn't disappointed.

Soon after arriving I discovered I had been invited to a royal wedding - by virtue of the fact I was staying at a hotel owned by the royal family.  I invited my friends to join me, and had a lovely day and night.  There was Balinese dancing and gamelan playing and wayang kulit.  The palace, a collage of outdoor rooms and balconies, was decorated with fruit and flowers, and garudas and statues and offerings.  The prince had Australia in his face, having spent much of his childhood in Sydney with his family.  His new wife was an actress from Jakarta who had converted from Islam to Hindu the day before the wedding.  There were lots of family and friends and staff and others from the community present, and it was a great privilege to be introduced to Bali in that way.

The year of the lotus continued

After spring arrived, and as I continued to unpack boxes and slowly settle into the new home, my year of the lotus continued.

In late September I volunteered at a Japanese candle festival.  There were a number of us trying to combat the wind in the late afternoon to light a sea of candles.  It was frustrating and not very sucessful.  Then as dusk arrived the wind dropped, and the candles were lit easily.  And the plastic cups filled with tea light candles became a magical river of light.  Families gathered around the candles and gazed in, relaxed.  It was a lovely evening.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A taxi hailed in the suburbs

Friday lunchtime.  Dropped my car home as the windscreen was being replaced - due to a chip and a crack from a few days before.  Wandered down to the bus stop, hoping a bus would come by.  Waited five or ten minutes and then began to get a bit anxious about getting back to work as I didn't want to take too long a lunch break.

As I walked up the street to try another bus stop, I saw a taxi and signalled to the driver.  He waivered for a minute, then stopped for me, and said 'I'm going to Woden, you can come if you are going to Woden'.  My reply - ''that's great, that's where I'm going'.

The driver explained that he had just been to the mosque - it being a  Friday. He was wearing his clothes for prayer, and was meeting his wife in Woden to change and to start his shift.  He said, I find, when I pray that god puts thing in your way.   I was pleased to get back to work in good time.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The arrival of the spring goddess

Today the sun shone as I rode around our lake, dodging people and dogs and strollers and pedal bikes.  People were out in their numbers.  Spring is not far away.

And so I emerge from my hybernation from this blog.  A lot has happened.

Soon after I last blogged I bid for and bought a house.  Then followed some early packing, so that the painters could get into the old house, and a week away to let them do their thing.  The painters were followed in by gardeners, carpet layers, and decorators.

In late June my old house went on the market and soon after was sold.  Across those weeks more packing, and in early July a truck to move me to the new house.  Sales on the old and new went through.  A new mortgage was established.

And here I am now, reasonably settled into the new house (and loving its location), but still slowly unpacking the secondary layer of boxes.  For quite a while I was able to find most of what I needed but I have begun to reach the 'where ares my screwdrivers?  my grandfather's fish photos?  my blue socks?' phase.

I haven't moved for more than 15 years and have little call to travel across town as one of the reasons I moved was to be closer to work.  I did go back last week to visit my doctor though - because it is nearly impossible here in Canberra to get in as a new patient in any other doctors surgery.  It was a little weird, both as a reminder that I have in fact moved (this isn't just a short stay away from home) and that I don't really miss the old place.

I am still learning about the new place though, and the new suburb.  Today, after a slow start and a bike ride, I unpacked the final boxes in the kitchen, and repacked a few boxes to take to the opp shop.  Then I found the sunny spot in the garden, made myself a cup of tea, and read a few pages of my book.  I am glad I made the move.

And to continue the Asian theme that steeps unpredictably through this blog, soon after I put the deposit down on the house in early May, I went on a short holiday to Hong Kong.  We packed a lot into four days, including bike riding in the New Territories, the festival of Tin Hau (Goddess of the Sea),

a day trip to Macau,

a Tears for Fears concert, a little shopping, and a ride on a junk.

This is one of my favourite photos - the main hall in a walled village - with photos ancestors and revered elders, and additional decoration for the festival of the Sea Goddess.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Space and rhythm

I am on holidays.  Three weeks, and several adventures planned, with enough space left for the unplanned too.

This break started with a weekend trip to Wollongong (to see son), then a day and night in Sydney (for a Taiko drumming workshop).

The drumming was great fun.  In two hours we learned the basis of a rhythm that is played continuously at Japanese festivals over several hours, sometimes days.  Arms are held straight, sometimes high above the head before beating into the drum.  Very theatrical.  Once the rhythm starts its important to keep the space between your arms and your body, which is helped by the way you stand.  Always the need for space to support form.

After two days back in Canberra, I headed off again - this time to country Victoria for a five day cycling trip.  There were over fourty people from Canberra there, it being organised through the local cycling club. We stayed in country pubs, and had lovely breakfasts and dinners thrown in.  Overall we did about 270km from Myrtleford to Bright and back, to Beechworth (up a steep hill), then on to Rutherglen for two nights.  The only rain was on our rest day in Rutherglen, when we cycled short distances between wineries, after a ride across the river (and the border) for morning tea in Corowa, NSW.

On the way back I stopped in at Albury and had lunch with my son's grandmother and aunt.  To celebrate the grandmother's 80th birthday I had bought a bonsai plant.  While on the ride I had left in the care of the very kind staff at the Myrtleford visitors centre.

It was a lovely adventure buying the bonsai.  I found a guy who sells them in my suburb, and visited his nursery.  He showed me the big plants ($6000 or more) and they were beautiful.  With the deciduous trees losing their leaves, and pomegranates bearing bright but miniature fruit - it was a delightful place.  And luckily there was a nice cyprus for sale at a very reasonable price.

I was reminded of the bonsai garden when we arrived in Bright, which is on the road to the Victorian ski fields, and which had just celebrated its Autumn festival - the main feature being the beautiful trees turning to shades of red and gold and silver, with their leaves floating onto the ground below them.

The people on the ride were lovely, some friends I know quite well, and others who quickly became new friends.  And on the last day of the ride, after we had all showered and changed out of our cycling gear, a rainbow appeared in the sky.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lotus flowers and lanterns

Well it seems like just yesterday, but it is nearly a month since I last posted.

And it has been a time of more lotuses, new year lanterns and drumming. In late Feb, on a cycling weekend in Wollongong, we visited the Nan Tien budhist temple.  They were celebrating the Chinese New Year, with lanterns and color, Chinese dragons and drumming.

Echoing my trip to the botanic gardens in January, the pond at the temple was also filled with lotus flowers.

This weekend I was at the National Folk Festival, which is held every Easter here in Canberra.  A lively music and camping scene emerges magically on the local show grounds.  As I usually do, I volunteered in the instrument lockup, which is a good way to see another side to the festival.

And when I wasn't helping out there I was free to enjoy the different shows.  Sometimes new acts are found by studying the program, but often they are discovered moving about the venue, while looking for something to eat, or waiting to meet up with a friend.  Most of the time time my feet are tapping.

Once again I saw lots of good acts, fiddle and bass and singing along with plenty of silliness.  Another feature of the festival is the many workshops - dance and singing and playing.  After seeing Taikoz play at the opening concert I did their drumming workshop yesterday, then stumbled across their evening concert as well.  When I looked up their website last night I just loved their motto - 'to beat with every muscle, bone and sinew in our bodies, with an open and joyous spirit'.

It is the joy in each of the performances at the folk festival that keeps me going back year after year, and which inspires me to keep practicing some music at home.  Slowly, learning to read the notes from the page, and then practicing again and again until the tunes come alive.  There is much to uplift the soul in striving for perfection and synergy and then settling into each moment before it passes - perfect or less so.

And once the show ground has resurfaced, and I find myself in my office humming fiddle tunes, for a few days at least I feel just a little more grounded, and connected to the rhythms that run through time.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A lazy Canberra weekend

It has been a while, seems I've been busy, so just a short post on a long weekend, to say I'm here, and enjoying a restful time.  zzzzzzz

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sang Pemimpi

Last night I saw a wonderful Indonesian film at the opening of a South East Asian film festival at the ARC theatre.  (phew! what a mouthful!).

The film Sang Pemimpi, is the second part of a trilogy based on the very popular books about growing up on an island off Sumatra, by the Indonesian writer Andrea Hirata.  While the books were set in the 70s and 80s there was much that reminded me of the Indonesian villages I saw in Sulawesi last year - the markets (pasar), the school (sekolah) and the mosque (masjid).

It was a delightful story about boys in high school and their dream to go to Paris to study.  Despite some distractions, the two main characters Ikal and Arai did eventually make it there.  The film's title translates as The Dreamer, and refers to Arai who was always encouraging his friends to dream and then working hard to deliver their dreams to them.  This was in the face of losing all of his family when only still a child.  Did I say it was a lovely film? one I think that reflects the humility and optimism of many Indonesians today.

The director Riri Riza, and the producer, Mira Lesmana, attended the screening, and took questions from the audience.  I was taken by a comment from Riri, that when they had screened the film in Europe, a common response was that the film was very nostalgic, and I had to agree.  It captured something of simpler times, when the small things people did had huge effect,.

In the opening scenes when we see Ikal's father riding a squeaky bike on a lonely road.  Later in the film we learn that this scene was repeated each year, when the father travelled from his village to the school to collect the school reports, handed out in order of achievement.  Ikal called him the no 1 father, who did this year after year, only to stop, congratulate his son briefly, then head back off on his bike.  It was even more poignant the year that Ikal's grades dropped, and he only did that once.

Aku senang sekali yang aku melihat bioskop ini.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A day in the sun

Yesterday the sky was sunny and blue.   It was good day to get things done.  In the morning I:

  • read the Saturday papers
  • went for a run
  • started the washing
  • looked at two houses for sale to see if they were for me (not yet)
  • did the grocery shopping
then in the afternoon, I:

  • finished the washing
  • caught up with a friend, first at her spiritual centre, and then for ride around the lake
  • did some drumming (or tried) at a Mother Nature festival
  • forgot to take my camera so couldn't photograph the pagan ceremony that opened the festival
  • stumbled home to sleep
It was a fun ride around the lake, with people out everywhere enjoying the aforementioned beautiful day.  Many like us were cycling or walking on the bike paths.  Hundreds went to the National Gallery to see the French Masterpieces exhibition - meaning our usual parking spot was a traffic jam.  Then we passed a wedding in one of the parks, a rowing regatta on the lake, and folk streaming into government house to sit on the lawns and enjoy the local symphony orchestra.  Whatever the weather the lake ride is always enjoyable, but yesterday it was lovely, and great to see Canberrans out celebrating the last days of summer.

The Mother Nature festival was something else.  I was there because I do drumming classes and our teacher is sometimes asked to put together a group to perform, and when he does he sends the invitation out far and wide.  I discovered last year when I said yes to one of these that it can be a lot of fun.  I'm not a serious drummer though, and had only been able to make it to one of two rehearsals, so was a bit rusty even on the rhythms we had practiced.  The core group really did a fabulous job though, and the sounds of the dun duns and jembes really caught the attention of the crowds.

Then we sat and watched the opening ceremony for the festival, which involved five maidens in flowing gowns, carrying sprigs of leaves, and a smoke filled bowl, and annointing the crowd with water.  Fifty or so people formed a circle around them, and the girls led a yoga like breathing session, ending with arm raising and a group hum.

This was (at least) my second spiritual event for the day (or third if you count drumming), as I had also been 'given light' by my friend at the centre.  This involves sitting and lying on the floor while my friend performs reiki like moves on my body.  I don't have any strong belief here, but I don't mind the opportunity to relax and to catch up with my friend, hopefully respectful of the good that is in her practices.

It was a day full of the kinds of experiences I enjoy - to observe the things that engage people, and to see how it gives their lives meaning.  I like to let my soul be in different places, to see what will seep under my skin, and hope that some will resound to others.  I will have to do more drumming practice though, if I have any intention of doing more public drumming!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Edges straight and true

The truth is that most edges are not straight.  Borders marked on maps wind and weave alongside rivers, around mountains, and along the shores of oceans.  Just like the sea ebbs and flows, so the borders change and drift over time.  Sometimes they are lines on maps that bear no similarity to the cultural flows and drifts that set down roots in centuries long past.

Last night, in the early evening, and after a productive day doing household things, I decided that dinner would best be served from a stall at Canberra's Multicultural Festival.  And seemingly thousands of other Canberrans had the same thought - as they crowded into what was a cross between street market and folk festival.  I moved through the crowds trying to decide if I wanted Vietnamese, or Thai, or Indonesian or Sudanese.  Part Octoberfest, part folk festival, it was a lovely way to sample cultures from around the world.  And it was delightful to see people in national dress, singing and dancing, on the stages, and in impromptu groups near each country's stall.  There was joy and pride among each of the groups getting to show something about the place they've come from, rather than what must be their everyday life adapting to the world they are in.

As a poignant prequel to this blend of Arabian night and South Pacific hangi, I met a lovely girl from Krygistan yesterday morning in the carpark of my local gym.  Also a local pool, she had been there taking her daughter to swimming lessons.  Driving forward from the carpark next to me, she had accidently driven over a concrete bolster.  We called the gym, who called security, who were very helpful and removed said bolster from under the car.  While I waited with her I learnt that she had only migrated to Australia 4 years ago.  It was interesting to talk to her and quite clear that for her the borders between the two worlds were merging well.

In the conversation she mentioned Mark Twain, and it made me think about the hooks that grab us when we learn new languages or visit a country.   In travel, sometimes, you can only catch a glimpse of what a country is really like, and when you are learning a language what you learn about the country is often guided by the interest of the teacher or text book author.  There are many cliches that we learn about, and see when we travel.  Sometimes we learn through the lense of past decades, because the materials or the people come from those times.  But if we really want to know a culture all we can do sometimes is butt up against it through these portholes until the vision widens.

And it is the blending of old and new, the memories of expats and the challenges of the day, and the truth that sits behind the songs and dances that helps us live within these worlds.  Before I left the festival, and as day became night, I watched a calypso band sing Kingston Town (a Western radio hit in the 60s) with the Carribean singer and drummer backed up by a grey haired muso who looked like he learnt the song in a garage band, way back then.  It wasn't pure, but like the kids in saris playing with their mobile phones, very true.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Here it is, the first day of the second month of a year that is now no longer new.  I went back to to work in the first week of January, and it has been a good month, but the time is coming to firm up some plans for the year, and maybe some plans for a replenishing break - perhaps a few weeks over the end of Feb and early Mar.  Or one in Sep and Oct.  Or both.

My weekend was busy and fun.  Fri night saw a lovely impromptu dinner at a friend's house.  Then we saw Fred Smith and the Spooky Men's Chorale at the Canberra Playhouse, a theatre designed along the lines of Shakespeare's globe.  Buying our tickets on the day for this popular local performer (and accompanying and very funny men's choir) meant we sat up in the high stalls on the side.  There were just five of us in our box.  It was cosy, and quite fabulous to look down on the full theatre, and wave at friends, and watch the audience participate in the show - standing up and swaying on command when Fred asked.

Sat night joined friends for a picnic in the botanic gardens for jazz in the Eucalypt lawns.  It was a lovely atmosphere, quite cool (for a change) and lots of groups of friends, and families, and work mates.

The year ahead offers more shows at the theatre as a group of us subscribe.  Also films at the local university's film group, and I'm sure some folk music from time to time.  And there is a program of books for book group to fit in around the other books in the pile.  In other ways too the year is beginning to settle into its usual patterns.  Yoga classes start again tomorrow night, and I am looking forward to it after a month's break.   And I have opened the pages of the new music book - to hopefully let my fingers and my mind stretch into the new tunes I hope to learn.

With all of these rhythms taking hold, I think though, that I still need that longer break, to rest, refresh, reorganise some things in my life, and perhaps indulge in travel or other new adventures.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Soaking in its people

Today is Australia Day - as the name suggests a day to celebrate our national identity, and a public holiday as well!   On the radio the lives of ordinary Australians are being told - how they came here, how they adapted, what Australia is to them.   As the countries of the world grow closer and closer, the story of Australia is becoming a global one, and for me anyway, one where there is so much to learn and enjoy about other cultures.

Last year on Australia Day I was in the last week of a month long cycling tour of Sulawesi in Indonesia.  The Australians in the group sang Advance Australia Fair (our anthem) before we headed out for what was to be the hardest 14km of our 1200km trip - uphill and around bends, and uphill again, the sun beating down on us in the way that it does when you are inland away from the ocean and major waterways.

At the end of this ride, still early in the morning we arrived at a national park, and spent the day and night at thermal pools, underneath a canopy of lush green bushland.  There were several pools with water of varying temperatures, and as we sat and lay on the edge of the pool we were cooled by gentle rain falling through the trees.

Eventually as the day progressed, the pool and surrounding grounds filled with Indonesian family groups of all ages, middle aged couples with children and uncles and aunties, and groups of young Indonesian, out on picnics to celebrate what is one of their public holidays - Tahun Baru Imlek or Chinese New Year.  Needless to say we made many new friends who were very interested in what we were doing, and keen to practice their English and take photos, as Indonesians do.

That night after dinner we met with the workers from the national park who asked what could be done to make the park better - much of that conversation being about the need to find ways to remove the rubbish in the park.  Much had been piled up prominently along the 500m walk to where many of our group were sleeping in fairly basic huts.  The lucky among us enjoyed a night in the wooden cabins on stilts, among the trees, and near the stream that fed the pools.

It was an idylic day, and a nice mixing of different cultures.  Indonesia itself a country that has developed its identity through the many different cultures that have colonised and traded with it over time - the chinese, portugese and dutch influences layered over ancient hindu and islamic traditions.

The night before our Australia Day ride was also a cultural experience - we stayed in traditional Buginese long houses at Batu-Batu.  The houses were owned by an academic from Java, who had set them up as a living museum, and we slept in and among the four poster beds, did yoga around the chinese ceramics jars, and sat on the wooden floors to eat our dinner.  Needless to say we did this as respectfully as we could but not before the need for some bargaining with the doctor's second wife.

I don't have photos of the thermal pools, but here are some in and around the Buginese houses.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Reflections on the lotus 2

Lotus plants grow best when sown in shallow muddy waters.  Their roots spread under the water and then the plants rise up, metres above the surface, leaves and flowers and pods.  Because these all appear on the plant at the same time, the lotus represents the past, the present and the future.  Rich, beauty that fills the space more than might be thought possible, while preparing its seed pods for the plants of tomorrow.

Like the muddy pond beneath the flowers, the romantic poet Keats believed that man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without reaching after fact and reason*.  He was saying that acceptance of the unknown is needed before beauty can emerge tall and strong. It is this belief that led him to write poems of great beauty and passion.  And it is a way of looking at the future, at how to make beauty from the spaces around us.  To encourage richness and completeness from where it doesn't yet exist and to allow the space for it to be.

Long ago, before Vishnu and Laksmi were tiffing in the kitchens of Javanese puppet makers, the god Shiva emerged from the Absolute, the highest way of being, golden and pure, space.  Or so it is represented in some delightful paintings from Rajastan, currently on exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW (Gardens and Cosmos).

So, when times are quiet, remember the spaces are needed for new growth to emerge.  When things are murky, remember that the muddy waters are needed to enrich the roots.  And if you are a lotus, your inclination, without knowing, will always be to reach up, towards the sun and to regenerate for tomorrow.

*As described in a letter to his brother dated 21 Dec 1817, he called this theory 'negative capability'

Monday, January 11, 2010

Reflections on the lotus 1

The lotus flower, symbol of purity, fertility and growth.

Apparently in Indian mythology Laksmi grew from a lotus flower that sprang from the head of Vishnu.

Both were good guys, or so said the puppet maker in Jogjakarta who sold me two beautifully painted Wayang Kulit representing these two characters last year.   He explained that Vishnu represented protection, cleverness and true love, and that his partner Laksmi was a good mama, beautiful and wise.

Then he explained that he had these two puppets in his kitchen, and that his wife moves Laksmi's hands around to show how she is feeling.

It was raining, and I had been brought to the puppet makers workshop on the back of a motor bike, so he carefully wrapped the puppets in layers of paper, cardboard and plastic to protect them.

Kulit means skin and these puppets are carved from animal skins.  Then they are delicately painted on both sides in beautiful colours.  Their arms and legs are hinged to move.  When the puppets are used in a play the story is told through their shadows.

The puppets are used in set plays most commonly the Ramayana and the Mahabarata.  The complete plays go over several nights (or overnight) and involve many puppets each representing different characters.  They are accompanied by a traditional gamelan orchestra.  In Jogjakarta you can see the Ramayana every night, and my puppet maker who also plays in the orchestra threw in a free ticket.

In this story I let the puppet maker move my hands and legs in the role of compliant and innocent tourist.  And yet I was overawed by the reverence this man had for what he produces in his work, the tradition it continues and the way it beats music in his life today.

 I am still working out how to display these beautiful puppets in my home so they can also cast shadows.

Hot, hot, hot

January, Canberra, and no surprises it is hot, hot, hot.  Stagnating, stifling, dry heat hot (38 degrees for about three or four days).  We got in a bike ride on Sat morning with the aid of plenty of water, and the promise of coffee.  Then shopping took over, as an excuse to be inside in air conditioning.

Had a lovely picnic Saturday night at an outdoor cinema at our National film and sound archive.  Friends got there early and saved great seats at the front - lovely deckchairs, with cushions!  We saw an Australian film from the 80s, Malcolm, in which a slightly apsberger afflicted guy rents out his spare room to a bank robber and his girlfriend.

Malcolm loves trams, and mechanical gadgets, including a car that splits in half and a motorised letterbox.  The three of them flee to Portugal after staging a successful robbery using mobile ashtrays, complete with cameras, microphones and stun guns.  Great getaway scenes and overall very funny.

Since Sat it has continued to be hot, and there has been more shopping, and work, pleasantly air conditioned.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Seen in the city

View from YHA Darling Harbour

Lotus flowers in bloom in the Botanic Gardens

An island campsite (for next time - maybe)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dear blog - here I am, taking a break in Sydney - three nights at the YHA at the Rocks, and the chance to catch up with friends and do a bit of shopping and touring.  Today the art gallery and botanic gardens, the first to meet up with a cousin, and the second a friend that I did a cycling tour with 12 months ago. 

Saw a fabulous installation at the art gallery, they have built faux rooms around the brass statues outside the building.  Famous men on their horses are now placed within a bedroom and a living room.  In the bedroom the bed sits under the horse, rider still atop.  In the lounge room built higher into the status, a horses head sits on the coffee table, and a brave warrior's head inside the wall unit.  Fabulous.  Also saw some Indian art from a Raj's palace in Rajastan.

Then met up in the gardens with N who is a keen artist and writer.  So no surprise we talked a lot about writing and creativity. 

Finished off the night seeing Nowhere Man at the Dendy at Circular Quay - about a 10 min walk from the YHA.  Missing the keyboard, and the funny piano pieces I've been teaching myself.  Its great to be in the big smoke for a few nights though.

Friday, January 1, 2010

And welcome to 2010. This year began for me with a morning swim with friends at the pool, then I welcomed my father as a guest for lunch in the garden, and went with a friend to see Bright Star followed by a Thai dinner. Now some rest.

And can't you tell I'm a new blogger. First banner picture a bit too big - I will have to learn how to trim these. I like it though - it was taken at the end of a big ride (cycling that is) through the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley to Newcastle. It is colourful, and reminds me of a fun day at the end of nearly two weeks of riding and camping with over 1000 people.

As well as thoroughly enjoying cycling and cycle touring, I also love music. Over the last year I have been working towards a goal to better understand how music works. This started with the purchase of a music theory book. It wasn't long before I learnt that I also needed an instrument to test out the theory, so I bought a keyboard. And I have been working my way through a series of tunes in a Preliminary primer. I love it. I am slowly learning music as if it were another language, and love how the tunes emerge from the page after much tentative striking of the keys. I love how the notes on the keyboard are so clearly laid out and how that makes the patterns in the music clearer. I hope I will slowly improve.

Here on this blog you might read more about my cycle trips, and my adventures with music, and the other adventures that shape my life In many ways each of the things we do, and each step towards a goal or interest is an approximation towards perfection - and as long as there is some movement closer, it is fun taking those steps. I hope you will enjoy hearing about my steps, and the views along the way, too.