My mind and heart is in Australia

It is early in the morning on Sunday.

Last night, I spoke to Keller. In this economy, it is tough being a young postdoctoral researcher even when your novel idea has been accepted by BioScience, an Oxford Journal, with a high impact factor.

A photo of our grandson Fletcher, who lives down under, helped me worry a little less:

El Tigre

El Tigre

RGK

The fun of flying

I have previously written about what a pain in the butt it is to travel by air. Flying back from Hong Kong, the poor woman I observed going through customs in Chicago only to be pulled out of the line because the TSA beagle sniffed out a banana in her purse is a good example. After a snarky lecture about bringing fruit into the US of A (incidentally United Airlines offered everyone a banana on the flight to the States), and the seizure of the offending banana, the beagle and her handler, resplendent in her military outfit, strolled away with her sidearm at her hip stoney-faced but triumphant.

Guess what, that sort of nonsense is not limited to Amerika. Our son, Keller, recently visited his sister in New Mexico. She bought Keller’s little boy, Fletcher, a cowboy outfit with a toy gun and a holster. Keller dutifully packed the outfit in his checked bag, and flew off to Australia. Arriving in Sydney yesterday on his Australian passport, he was pulled out of line and questioned extensively as to why he had gun in his baggage. When he calmly explained that it was a toy as clearly shown on the x-ray machine by the orange stopper in the barrel, he offered to open his bag and show the screener.  Oh, no. This called for questioning and a search by the Australian Federal Police.

toy gunAfter the search was over, and the offending toy seized, Keller was informed never to do that again. While he was not fined or arrested, and was treated pleasantly, he was firmly informed that a record of his offense (having a toy gun in his baggage) would be made. If he ever did that again the Aussies would come down hard. When pressed to explain where it says that you can’t bring your Australian kid a toy pistol from the US, no explanation was forthcoming. Just don’t do that again, he was told.

So, Keller is apparently on a “no fly” list, sorta. He can keep himself off the list so long as he does not shop at Toys R Us. At least he was not accosted by a Beagle with an attitude.

RGK

 

 

Sleep comes late when it is fall down under

Second infusion of the third cycle today. Given steroids by mouth for 14 days and oral infusion of more steroids today. Supposed to serve as an antidote for allergic reactions to one of the chemo drugs.  Cancer also doesn’t like these steroids. Moreover, they are also prescribed to keep your weight up.  Downside:  it is hard to sleep, and tonight at a little past 3:00 AM I am blogging.  And that reminded me . . .

It is fall in Australia. We received photos of our Australian crew today. I don’t know why but I worry incessantly about our kids and their kids. I guess that is what parents and grandparents are supposed do. Anyway, and, right now, late at night, I feel so far away from them. I ought to go to bed, but I won’t sleep.

A "selfie" of Fletcher, Stacey and Keller

A “selfie” of Fletcher, Stacey and Keller

 

A boy and his dad

A boy and his dad

 

Beechworth in

Park in the Australian Alps near Beechworth

RGK

 

 

 

Far away

Keller, Petra, Milan and Fletcher

Keller, Petra, Milan and Fletcher

Karel took his (very good) high school soccer team in China to a couple of tournaments, and that gave Lisa, Petra and Milan a chance to fly to Australia to see Keller, Stacey and Fletcher. It takes nine hours to fly from Hong Kong to Sydney and then another hour or so by air to Albury. Albury is on the southern border of New South Wales and Victoria, three hours or so north of Melbourne by car.

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The families visited an Australian farm near Albury and by the looks of things had great fun.

The "Beastie Boys." Fletcher (Keller and Stacey) and Milan (Lisa and Karel).

The “Beastie Boys.” Fletcher (Keller and Stacey) and Milan (Lisa and Karel).

They seem so far away.

RGK

 

Billfish and boys

programBoyo (R. Keller Kopf, PhD) is in Taiwan speaking about Billfish. He doesn’t get paid much in his gig as a post-doctoral research fellow at Charles Sturt University in Australia, but he does get to travel to neat places.

Among other things, he will give a talk in Taipei on “Latitudinal Life-History Gradients in a Highly Migratory Species.”  I am sure it’ll be great, but I am also positive that you can’t dance to it.

After that, Keller and his family will fly to Hong Kong and then enter the mainland to visit with Lisa and her family. Fletcher–Keller and Stacey’s yellow-haired boy–and Milan–Lisa and Karel’s “baby Buddha”–will have a great time together pestering Petra, Milan’s older sister, by pulling the heads off her Princess dolls. (I taught them how to do that!) They will race around expending never-ending energy. Just thinking about those two makes me tired.

Some things are more important than others.

RGK

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