One week home…

… and my body is sorta back in this time zone. Although, after a sleepless night last night, I’m less sure.

Unpacking, laundry and putting away has happened. The pile of mail is down to just a few items that need attention. Samples for two upcoming bookmaking classes have been created. Family contacted. Hot tub turned higher and enjoyed.

And…… the tire cozy that was finished before I left in April is now installed on the back of my car! Didn’t want to put it on earlier as I really wanted my love to use the car while I was gone. He has this thing about cozies…

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The flight gods…

…are with me. I scored an aisle seat of a threesome with no other seat mates! I’m thinking that the flight snafu has worked out positively.

Late Saturday I went online to check for my seat assignment for the Virgin International flight out of Brisbane to LAX. Turned put the initial flight was moved up an hour early (good thing i checked!) and my direct flight from LA to Indy was now a choice of two flights to Atlanta with a late flight to Indy from there.totally unexpected! All my eleven flights up to this point have been spot on with nary a whisper of a problem. This looked like it would make up for all the rest.

No one was at help desks late Saturday night, so I went in for the Sunday flight hoping I could make something positive happen. It is bad enough to have a long wait between flights after the 12 hour one, but to have to deal with an extra flight plus waits was more than I wanted to handle.

The helpful women at the Virgin service desk were able to find me a direct flight to Cinti plus get me the aisle seat. Not sure how I lucked out with the empty row, tho! I wound up with four pillows, four blankets, three waters and long flight packs and seats that I could almost comfortably stretch out on. What would have been absolutely heavenly is actually getting some sleep! Oh well, I did see the Mr. Peabody movie along with two Australian flicks: the Rabbit Fence and Tracks (about an Australian lass who trekked across the Aussie desert with three adult camels, one baby camel, a trusty dog and a National Geo photographer in tow). Both movies based on real life – and pretty incredible.

Customs and Immigration went smoothly and then… The boarding pass for the newest flight to CVG wouldn’t print. An hour later, Nancy at the Delta service desk finally found me in the system, realized the problem was in how Virgin Air classified me, and got me a new boarding pass for the CVG flight. Waiting a bit longer, but in the long run, this gets me in to CVG the earliest.

Now I am fighting to stay awake in the gate lounge area so I don’t miss the flight.

Morning clouds over the ocean off the coast of California looked like cobbler in the dawn light. Lovely. Looking forward to seeing the sunset over Ohio.

[p.s. Sunset happened later than my flight. Dozed the whole way. Safely home. Initial unpacking and sorting of mail. My own bed felt great!]

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Homeward bound

Three months and it is time to go home. The time really went fast, was fun and exciting, saw lots of new places, met lots of new people, reconnected with lots of earlier-made friends, enjoyed many different degrees of winter in Australia. Back to hot and muggy tomorrow – can’t wait!!!

I promise to report on Wrapt In Rocky, the fiber conference held in Rockhampton, once I am back on home soil. Lots to report and pics to show. A class act!

But, I need to deal with an unexpected change of flights and extra legs of the journey, so please excuse the silence for a bit as I stumble through airports and time zones

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Lovely Brisbane …

… has welcomed me again, for just a few short days this time. After a last look at Uluru and Kata Tjuta, Janet and I spent the better part of Thursday making our way from Uluru thru Sydney to Brisbane. Extra baggage was a bit interesting, but otherwise very safe and nondescript travel.

Repacking is the order of the day here! I had previously posted a box to Janet that ultimately goes home with me. And I am determined to take all I need for the Wrapt in Rocky conference in my smaller suitcase. Sooooo … everything came out of all the bags, backpack, carry-on to be reshuffled and restuffed. Quite suprised to pull out a silk scarf that travelled with me to New Zealand within its plastic sleeve that was still very wet from all the moisture there. And this was after being in desert air in Alice Springs and Uluru!

Taking time today to visit GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) on the Southbank of city centre Brisbane to see the opening of a new exhibit. Should be good!

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Two glasses …

… of champagne with a few canapes (one of cucumber slice and crocodile meat, another of kangaroo meat), two glasses of white wine with dinner (too many wonderful edibles to describe) and two glasses of port with dessert (which went down so smoothly it was like drinking water) and we ended our day under the stars!

The day started with seeing the moon and morning star (Venus) very bright in the sky as the sun was rising. Had another lovely breakfast (this is by far the best breakfast that comes with a room!) and headed out to Uluru. After circling the stone, we walked to the base of the rock by the Mutitjulu Waterhole. Loads of good informational signs all around explaining what is being seen as well as the cultural significance.

Janet and I then split up, she to go ahead with the car and walk back on the track and me to walk the Lungkata track to meet up with her. We then walked the Mala track to Kantju Gorge together. Observed sacred men’s and women’s spaces, sacred water spots and initiation areas. All against the big red monolith.

There were several spots where I could actually put my hands on part of Uluru – a lovely connection to the earth and creation.

Lunch, a short nap and some internet time and then we were bussed off to see the sunset on both Uluru and Kata Tjuta. A very talented didgeriedoo player added to the sunset ambiance (as did the champagne). Three native dancers/musician/singer welcomed us to the dining area just down the hill from the sunset viewing. Our tables were immaculately set in the red dirt so that as dusk faded and it got really dark, the stars were fantastically arrayed above us. An entertaining storytelling astronomer pointed out the Southern Cross as well as other important heavenly bodies and we finished the evening before it got too cold.

Shared our table with a newlywed couple from Melbourne – who were glad to be in the Red Centre as Melbourne is currently experiencing a terrible winter storm. A lovely mother and daughter team from Sydney rounded out our table companions. About 40 tourists, a chef and some waitstaff – that was our group for the Sounds of Silence dinner under the stars. Perfect ending to a perfect day.

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Can’t get more than one pic uploaded today, sorry!

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Spending …

… most of our time in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and loving every second of it.

Uluru/Ayers Rock is definitely a presence. So fat, tho, we’ve explored more of the Olgas/Kata Tjuta. (Pics below.) Did a short hike into a gorge area Monday afternoon, just to get our feet wet, figuratively. No water to actually get wet in, but the results of summer rains are very evident in all the flowering desert plants. One, called the upsidedown plant, has a lovely dark red flower at the base of the plant rather than at the top. And the desert oak that Penny mentioned in comments yesterday is pretty abundant. Nothing like the oaks I am used to – needles and pods similar to pines.

After a leisurely and lovely breakfast Tuesday, we spent some time at the Cultural Center in the park – fascinating, sad and hopeful history of the land and its people. Back to Kata Tjuta and the Valley of the Winds walk. Definitely windy in areas between the big rocks, other spaces were still and potentially deadly hot in summer. We scaled rock strewn mountain sides, scrambled over boulders and generally hiked hard with lots of ups and downs to see the constantly changing beauty of the interior of Kata Tjuta. Ate lunch at the second viewpoint which was at the top of the gap in perhaps the windiest, coldest spot on the trail. And met fellow hikers from literally all over the world. A gal from Scandinavia was knitting socks at one stop.

One of the stories we heard (from a fake park ranger – good fun!) was that the rounded peaks of Kata Tjuta were seven sisters who wandered the earth. Hopefully will get the full/real story today.

Also today we plan to spend time with Uluru. This morning dawned clear and lovely (see pic of moon and morning star/planet) so we expect another lovely and warm day. Off to enjoy it!

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Alas, having trouble uploading pics! Sorry!

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Time …

… at Alice Springs was a blur of activities, people and sights.

After an hour delayed flight from Melbourne, i connected with Janet dB and Phil H. Janet and I did the whole walking tour of the Alice Springs Desert Park – some very interesting displays of birds, nocturnals, plants/flowers and kangaroos.

Phil co-emceed the Eco-Couture Fashion Show Thursday evening that showcased 6 regional artists with their current recycled/reworked clothing. Some very cool work seen in a very cool setting (temps and ambience) as the event was held in the current airplane museum – the actual plane hangar from which they had to push out three small planes while the runway wound under the wings of an old DC3.

Friday dawned cool and sunny and we jumped into Beanie Festival activity early by attending the sponsors’ coffee inside the beanie competition exhibit space. Some wild creations! (See pics below.) And a quick look thru Beanie Central proved to be overwhelming with amount (7,000), color and variety of styles, shapes and sizes.

Janet and I then made our way to downtown Alice Springs, strolled through the mall and hiked to the Pink Botanical Gardens where we had a lovely lunch.

A quick trip back to the Art Centre and I was teaching a random basketry class outsied under the trees. A great group of ladies and they all created wonderful work. We hung around for the official opening of the Festival. Had a deluxe meal (grilled sausage, potato salad and saurkraut all piled into a huge hot dog bun) from one of the outdoor booths.

Saturday was full-on with bookmaking, mudcloth and rust dyeing classes during the day. Phil and I took in the view of Alice just at dusk on top of Anzac Hill, viewing the Macdonald Mountain range that curls around Alice.

Sunday was another busy day with repeats of rust dyeing and bookmaking with the addition of a soft book class. Turns out I have a groupie! One gal came to the Festival just to take classes with me and wound up in three of them. Too funny! Love it, Anne!

A predawn pick-up by a tour bus on Monday heading to Uluru, southwest of Alice Springs. The desert is lush right now due to summer rains and a big storm earlier in the fall. The first large rock formation seen was Mt. Connor which is larger and older than Uluru.

More adventures to come in Uluru!

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