Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
September 2019
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A beachside farewell

A couple of days before what would have been Lisa’s 45th birthday* some of her family and friends gathered down at Carlton Beach for an informal farewell.

We chatted and had soup around a couple of fire drums in the late afternoon, glad that the weather was being kind to us at this time of year.

Around sunset, Lisa’s children and I braved the chilly water and scattered Lisa’s ashes along with some flowers. (The purple and lilac beanies were knitted by Lisa’s mother, in honour of Lisa’s favourite colour purple and her love of her father’s lilac tree.)

We then lit some sparklers as the last sunset colours faded to dusk.

We knew some of the things that Lisa had wanted at her funeral (she’d been quite specific about the music, wanting John Farnham’s You’re the Voice among other things), but she hadn’t told us very much apart from that, and so we can only hope that between the formal funeral and today’s informal gathering we did most of the things she would have liked.

*Lisa liked even numbers, so 44 is a better age for her. She joked about being 42 and 12 twelfths when she turned 43, and continued with the twelfths through the following months until, to her relief, she turned 44.

Moods of the Mountain #112

An early morning moon-set over a snow-covered mountain.

Going to the football

Lisa was an avid supporter of the Hawthorn Football Club, a Victorian-based AFL team which occasionally plays matches in Tasmania. We had the opportunity to go and see a game in Launceston today, with Lisa’s nephew joining us for the occasion. Josh and Imogen already had their own supporters’ gear, while I borrowed one of Lisa’s scarves. It wasn’t the highest standard game I’ve ever seen, but, fortunately, Hawthorn won.


12 of 12, July 2019

The second full day of our short holiday break began with a dramatic sunrise over distant Low Head, and then involved a bit of an exploration of the northern end of the Tamar River.

We visited Seahorse World, where we saw and got to hold seahorses (and we also saw the rare Spotted Handfish).

We then drove around to George Town and out to Low Head, where the blustery conditions made it very unpleasant outside, although they made for some spectacular waves.

When we got back to the holiday house it was to discover that the power was out (some power lines had been blown down). Fortunately we found some candles and there was enough charge held in everyone’s electronic devices to keep us amused/occupied until the power came back on.

We finished the evening with some games, which allowed us to have a bit of different fun together as well. The kids seemed to have a good time, and I know I did, so I’m really glad we were able to have this time away.

A holiday break

As you can imagine, the last few weeks have been challenging, as Lisa’s children and I have been navigating the changes and emotions that have been consequences of Lisa’s passing. The school holidays gave us an opportunity to have a bit of a break from all of that, with a friend offering us the use of a holiday house in the north of the state.

On our first full day we headed west and visited Gunns Plains Cave, where we had the tour to ourselves and the guide took a nice photo of the three of us.

We then continued south, and visited a couple of spectacular waterfalls. The first, Preston Falls, drops dramatically over a cliff, with a viewing platform providing a great perspective.

We also visited Silver Falls, where recent rains meant that the flow was very dramatic, although the light was a little on the dark side.

We then headed further west to Burnie, where we visited Guide Falls. The flow was thunderous and although I’m sure I’ve visited the falls before I don’t remember them being this exciting.

Imogen has a good eye for photography, and it was she who spotted this nice gap under a rock.

It was a good day together, and we finished it up by attending a theatre production in Burnie since a friend of ours and his son were doing the sound and lighting … and then we had the long dark drive back to Greens Beach.

Moods of the Mountain #111

A series of cold mornings have been characterised by the presence of the Derwent River’s (in)famous “Bridgewater Jerry”, a low fog-bank that flows down the valley.

Creative Prompt #4 – Burn it all

This week’s Lee Sargent “creative prompt” is “Burn It All”. I struggled to come up with a good idea for this, and I didn’t have the time to experiment with some of the artistic thoughts that passed through my mind which I knew would be challenging to implement. Instead, I ended up cheating a bit: this is a photo I took near Mt Kosciuszko in 2011 after bushfires had raged through the area. It has now had some post-processing (although it was pretty monochrome to begin with).

Fire, though devastating, can create some surprising beauty.

(Note: I’m afraid I haven’t really followed Lee’s prompt to the letter. To be accurate, this should be titled “Burnt Not Quite All Of It” … but this is nowhere near as poetic or dramatic a title as Lee’s prompt.)

[Production notes: Photo taken with a Canon350D, 28-105mm lens, and then processed by chucking it through a filter in Luminar and twiddling some sliders in a completely unsystematic way until it looked like I’d done something creative!]

Moods of the Mountain #110

A beautiful winter sunset, stretching across the northern flanks of the Wellington Range.

Creative Prompt #3 – Found under the trapdoor

The third of Lee Sargent’s weekly “creative prompts” was “Found Under the Trapdoor”. This time I decided I wanted to try get Illustrator to actually do artwork rather than graphic design. In the past I’ve used it to produce technical graphics for work, since it is a vector-based design tool, but I’ve never had the time to get to know how to do more freehand work. Well, I didn’t really have time this week, either, and so I still have very little idea what I’m doing with it. To be fair, I’m not totally unhappy with the end result, and I think I managed to progress through the changes in viewing angle reasonably successfully.

Well, what else would you have under a trapdoor?

[Production notes: initial pencil sketch, scanned into Illustrator CC which I can’t drive, and inked using a Wacom tablet which I also can’t drive, with the whole situation exacerbated by the fact that I failed kindergarten colouring-in.]

Moods of the Mountain #109

Early morning moon-set on a winter’s day (well, relatively early, given that it is very close to winter solstice!).