Thursday, October 30, 2008

White Fang

As if the vile smell emanating from Suscipe were not enough, I warn people not to pick her up as her fits are sadly more frequent. One soft-hearted man ignored me and took her on his lap, she immediately convulsed and I turned to see him standing with Suscipe dangling by her teeth from his hand and spraying the front of his trousers with rather a lot of urine. I took the back of her neck which always calms her a little, and held her flailing, lethal back legs til she quieted (I'm getting better at this), then washed him down and bandaged him up. One tooth had gone clear through the side of his finger.

He took pains to tell me the next day that he was on antibiotics and his doctor said it could be serious. Wussy. She has bitten me to the bone.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Back to Earth

After all the effort and concentration of the past week I grounded myself by scraping out the joints of the three doorways onto the deck and caulking them. While I was there I took down a strange metal pole which dangled down from the apex of the roof, caulked the third outdoor light and generally tweeked and tidied, primed the new wood. Very relaxing.

I had a real crisis, prompted by the finger of fog which lay precisely over the section of road we had been envisaging as the jewel in the crown as far as the helicopter shoot went. Everything else worked though the grapes gave me some heart-stopping moments, but I was crushed that the wild panorama of the cliffs and the Pacific and the hairpin bends was just not there. It felt like spite - still does. If there is a personal god, he loathes me.

I was behind the camera again yesterday in the winery and captured some shots that were so good I got a frisson right down my spine of pure, deep excitement. We were wound up and drained at the same time, we wisely treated ourselves to a slap-up lunch and came home to good music, political reports and a deep bath. I am trying to memorise metti una sera a cena and it is challenging, the perfect relaxer - reminds me of those jigsaws which are all sky. We leave for Sydney on election day, darling Eileen will be visiting before then so our time is full this week, and then my lovely family and friends in Oz.
I really really really want some R&R.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Indian Summer

Yesterday we drove in tandem to the East Bay to drop off a car for Derek the helicopter operator, then across the Bay Bridge to have dinner with Felix and Will. The sun was just setting and the whole bay was glowing, each ridge of mountains paler and softer than the one before, and it shone clear through the city buildings. When we got to the Mission we parked where we could and walked to Felix's place, past little bodegas, garages with men playing cards, teenagers patiently throwing a ball for little children, a girl doing her homework on an outside table of a makeshift little cafe, and everywhere delicious cooking smells, low conversation and laughter. It was like the Platonic ideal of inner-city living, with an occasional whiff of sewage to keep us grounded.

Felix had made spicy basil Thai chicken and we had a delicious meal by candlelight, and left quite early since today will be full. The magic of the evening flowed right through the open jeep; people on the streets, the air warm and soft until we reached the Golden Gate and the fresh salt of the open ocean. Down the long hill past Sausalito bay laurel and pine, in the flats of Strawberry rosemary and lavender, sharp eucalyptus coming over the hill to Corte Madera then the sea smell stronger as we came into San Rafael, the air cooler along the point until we came to our own familiar seaweed and low tide.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


We seem to be madly busy and I am frankly overwhelmed, though a lot of the crucial stuff is hurry up and wait. My main mission is to find enough right size black grapes (like, 200lbs) for the weekend. I leave messages. I wait. Soon I will pester.

We had a delightful but long day in Santa Cruz yesterday, bouncing around an impossible manicured golf course in one of those buggies, filming for the National Kidney Foundation. Stefan was hit by a golf ball, hard enough for the skin to come away from his arm and bleed. The perpetrator was a nephrologist! I am so sorry, I was practicing, he said. Practice more, I said. Good thing I keep butterfly sutures in my handbag.

To keep my mind contented in the small hours I have been working out a way to make outside cushions reversible, safe that it will be after all this mayhem. I have also been musing on my concept of god as a child, when my prayers were constructed like contracts as if I though god would wriggle out of anything if he could. A marked lack of trust and heart-centeredness on my part.

Insomnia has been an issue lately you might gather. Not a bad one, I lie contentedly listening to the birds and smelling the sea, watching the dawn come.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Too Hard Basket

I would really really like to know if there is a reason some days flow like silk and others have sand in the gears all the way. Not to say that the sand days are unproductive, but it is the strain on the wetware which makes this wetware sulky, bridling and seething like John McCain. I can see it would be - relieving - to have a martyr-wife to shout at (and I am not going to shout at Stefan, he has done some beautiful work this morning).

Instead I made moussaka and took Ibuproven and chocolate, and laid all the maddening runners out side by side for autopsy. What I would like is a massage.

Maybe I am just reacting against the foolishness of driving to Sacramento and back yesterday, east in the morning and west in the afternoon so the sun shone sideways into my eyes both ways. No sunglasses. The shoot went well, I have seen the footage, but now my eyes are throbbing and running and I am dreaming of a darkened room. What I should do is take a leaf from my daughter's book and develop laser focus and cunning to get the very best grapes for Sunday next.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Felix and Will came over to watch the debate and have dinner but the power went out just after it finished, when we were sitting down to eat. So we ate and talked by candlelight, and it was lovely.

Not so lovely was having no power for 7 hours - I heard it snap on at 3am, so I got up and turned off all the forgotten lights then back to bed in blissful knowledge that we were not shooting today.

Instead, I finally made the potato print and worked up all the grape platforms, pleased with the result but now am trying to track down the maximum poundage of black grapes for $100. Yup, round about 100 lbs of grapes - more if I can get them wholesale.

Another cousin - Peter - has surfaced for Stefan! This one has an alpaca farm in Gippsland, and a daughter called Tricia.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Spring Hill Sunrise

The moon set, the sun rose, and the earth was ploughed for the first time ever.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


We have been standing on the deck with binoculars, telescope and cameras, watching fire cresting Angel Island. I went downstairs to tell Dee since she runs Angel Island, woke her from a sound sleep but then she is not going to be at work tomorrow, the island is closed.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Happy Busy Day

Beautiful dawn, good walk, then I cut down and painted the four ply platforms we need to fit into the wine bins so we can cheat on grapes for the helicopter shot. This last task had begun to weigh on my mind since it isn't something I have done before, so I was getting anxious to transform limitless potentiality into concretion (who says a Theology degree is a waste of time?) The arty bit is yet to come, but so far so good.

I was also trying to tie down the expert witness toxicologist for a time to film him, wondering all the while why these things tend to be so difficult. Getting his number from their lawyer was like pulling teeth, and now I have phoned and emailed into the ether without response, so far. Since we are off to Monterey for fertiliser tomorrow, and on another job when we get back, then have all the preparation for the helicopter sequence before we leave for Australia, I want to get it tied down.

Needless to say I love it all. I LOVE being so busy.

For light relief (ha ha) I carefully took down the French door trim beside the barbeque, drilled through the wall behind and wired up a light so we can see our chops in the dark, at last. I still need to lavish silicone seal around the light, the trim and anywhere else I can think of, but that can be later. I am pleased.

Off to give Scout a little walk. Suscipe is sulking in the sun since I washed her hindquarters, much needed.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


I have appeared in Ikea Hacker for the first time! Jules showed my 'knife slot in Bekvam trolley' hack, with fetching photo.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Transports of Delight

I have had two today: picking over the stems at the winery, and this afternoon, picking over my selection at

Work was rather an ordeal, everything seemed to go wrong, from discovering that one aerial had gone missing (scavenged some wire from a truck driver and bodged one) to losing the refound wide angle lens AGAIN. Found again again, but since we had to take the Jeep for the four-wheel drive everything was in a muddle, not laid out in the greater space of the truck. If suffering ensures good footage then today we earned our keep.

Back to the transports though, and the fabrics Norma chose for her table runners prompted me to browse for myself. I was rigorous, only bought stuff for the dining chairs (my own), the microfibre for Norma's border which we forgot in our excitement yesterday and some um, linen I couldn't resist.

Must clean all the gear again, since fine dust got everywhere, and we were liberally scattered with grape juice once more, and it mixed into a kind of porridge.

Off to buy wire and conduit for my first attempt at wiring, outdoor lights on the waterside deck.