Friday, September 22, 2017

The BMW

Adrian and I have purchased a nearly-vintage BMW convertible, as a second car in Australia. I now have an Australian driver license, and I have driven the beamer three times! I can do it! I never thought I would drive in any other country than America, but I did. The roundabouts make my head spin a bit, so I'm taking to driving slowly in Australia.


We purchased this car in wintertime, so we have hardly had a chance to experience the open road with the roof down. As you can see from my photos, we bundled up to take a few road trips, anyway. 


From the passenger side, I took pictures as we drove by the canola fields in Victoria. The canola fields in Australia are as beautiful to me as the American cotton fields in the Mississippi Delta. Each crop has its beauty and perfect season. The yellow of the flowering canola field is spectacular in the sunlight and lifts my spirits, anytime I see it. 



With Adrian driving, it was luxurious fun for both of us…...until I was taking pictures of the constable on the other side of the car. (Adrian has committed to taking the road more slowly, as you can imagine.)



Anyway, I'm feeling blessed, and my backyard bird pictures look a lot better with my BMW in the background!









The Birds in My Backyard

I've just spent the last few months in Daylesford, Victoria, Australia, feeding and photographing the beautiful birds in my backyard. I should just let the pictures speak for themselves. Here are only a few of the thousands and thousands of photos I have taken with my iPhone 5.








Monday, August 21, 2017

My Dear Dad, Roger Linkous

R.I.P. Roger Linkous
In June 2017 I made an emergency trip back to Memphis, Tennessee, to be with my family, as my Dad was in the hospital and not expected to live.

Not long after I arrived in Memphis, my father died at Baptist Hospital, surrounded by dear friends and beloved family members. While I was heartbroken by our loss, I was amazed at the beauty of that moment, as well as his beautiful funeral and burial service.

I spent two weeks in Memphis, surrounded by family and the many, many, visitors who came to his house, remembering Dad for his wonderful impact on friends, family, church, and country. He will never be forgotten!

Roger and Louise Linkous
Married 62 years
Roger LInkous
My American Father's Military Funeral Service Was Beautiful!
photo by Shalee Shields

He was beautiful, inside and out.

Roger Linkous
Roger Linkous

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Adrian Got His Ten-Year Green Card!

We did not have any trouble at the border, entering the U.S.A. in March 2017. Although Adrian and I worried about the fact that he only had a letter from immigration rather than a new green card, he had no trouble crossing the border. We are both very grateful for that!

While we were in Mississippi, we enjoyed our American life -- attending music events, eating delicious food, visiting with our American family and friends, and sharing our American life with my Australian step-son, Lee.

I think it is best to describe the fun with photos. Here's a recap of our springtime in America.


We had good visits with our friends.

We enjoyed tasty tamales and supporting local business. 

We got an education about fishing in the Mississippi River.

We played music during the Juke Joint Festival!

We revisited our wedding site!

We took a vacation to New Orleans.

We made a little noise on the corner of Third & Issaquena.

We took selfies along the way.

We took selfies along the way.

We kept brainstorming about what to do with
the second floor of The Holy Moly.

We shared Clarksdale's yumminess with Lee.

Of course, we visited Waffle House!

We had a little fun in Memphis, Tennessee!

We enjoyed spending time with Alex & Kevin!

I thank God and the U.S.A. that we were able to do these things!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

International Travel -- Keeping My Fingers Crossed!

My husband, Adrian Kosky, and I have been commuting between the U.S.A. and Australia since 2012, and we are preparing to travel from Australia to America again this week.

I know it is a privilege and a blessing to have the ability (legally and physically) to travel like we do. We have worked hard at following all the rules and regulations of our home countries, in wanting to maintain relationships and businesses that span two continents. We pay taxes in both countries -- with two different fiscal year calendars to deal with -- and we manage most of our business, tax, and residency requirements on our own, seeking help from professionals (i.e. accountants, attorneys, and realtors) when necessary. (Managing things ourselves, without hiring others to do certain detail work, saves money and helps us afford the lifestyle we have.)

A couple of years ago, Adrian filled-out and submitted the forms to the American government to achieve his "green card," or permanent resident, status. We did not then and do not now have specialised help regarding immigration laws. 

The American immigration procedures have been difficult for my husband and stressful for both of us, but we have followed all the instructions given to us by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"). In September 2014, Adrian received his two-year green card approving his permanent residency. As I understand it, he is awaiting the next level of immigration status to be approved, that being a ten-year green card. I also understand that there is some delay in his actually receiving that new card, because the USCIS is about a year behind in their process/approval. 

There is a website for green card applicants to check the status of their applications online. Unfortunately, the information provided on the website regarding Adrian's status, doesn't give me too much comfort, as Adrian and I prepare to enter the United States together on our upcoming trip back to Clarksdale, Mississippi. It just states that he has a green card. Although it has been more than two years, he hasn't received his renewed green card. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and praying that all goes well at the United States border, as we go through customs. 

In the past couple of weeks, we have heard stories about Australians being denied entry into the U.S.A., even though they have had a good history traveling to and from America for over ten years. One of those stories relates to a friend of ours who has helped Clarksdale tremendously for over a decade. The VISA waiver program that allowed our friend to travel to America, has not been approved for an upcoming trip to Clarksdale. I don't understand all the legal details about immigration, but I think goodwill should be encouraged, supported, embraced, and promoted on a worldwide level. Stories of people with good intentions (combined with histories of good works) being denied entry to America are disheartening for me as an American citizen.  

I wish all people could easily travel all over the world, if that's what they wish.

I wish any country would want my husband and myself to travel to visit it; I wish that we could do that and that we would be welcomed with friendship, wherever we go. Likewise, whether we are in Australia or America, I wish we could host people from all over the world, sharing friendship, music, art, food, fun, and laughter. (Okay, maybe we could share work with people from all over the world, wherever we are, too….if we have to.)

To keep myself from being too worried about what might go wrong during our international travel this week, I'm sharing some photos and videos below. These memories make me smile and help me want to keep moving forward, living life with my hubby, the way we do, in two countries and on two continents.

When Adrian received his green card in the mail, I got excited and accidentally filmed sideways!


In 2014, Adrian sang a little song in celebration of his permanent residency in the U.S.A.



I have hope and faith that everything will go well on our trip to the United States this week. (I don't think there is any reason that Adrian should be denied entry at the border.) The decision is up to the actual border patrol personnel to judge whether Adrian is approved to enter the U.S.A., even though he has been issued a green card and is a permanent resident. So, I'm hoping the immigration agents will see him as I do: all cute, cuddly, and full of gentle goodness, working hard to peacefully enjoy life with his American wife.


Our "Plan B" if the worst happens and Adrian is not allowed to enter the U.S.: We will go right back to Daylesford, Victoria, Australia, and do our best to continue enjoying life together.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Taking Road Trips and Making Music -- A Few of My Favourite Things!!

I have just returned from a wonderful weekend away in Portland, Victoria, with my husband. We took a little road trip to visit friends and family, and we took a few instruments to play along the way. It was great fun! We just got back, and I'm ready to go out on the road again, any day now, as I'm always looking to share more musical moments. Until then, I'll do some laundry and a bit of blogging about where I've been.

Whenever I am out, I like to check-in to my location using the Swarm/Foursquare app on my iPhone. I was able to do quite a bit of that, while Adrian was doing the real driving and Miss Jelly Bean was in her backseat-driver position. Whilst on this four-day road trip, I recorded over 30 check-ins on Swarm! Checking-in on Swarm is just a silly little pastime that I use to entertain myself and to create conversation with friends online and in the real world. If I check-in enough times in a location, I can become a "mayor" of that location. Woohoooo!

I've never before been interested in politics or much competition, but Swarm is a game that has gotten my attention -- I like being the mayor (of several cities)! (Please note the crown on my head in my profile pictures in the Swarm screen shot I'm sharing here.)


By playing the game of Swarm, [in my mind] I am helping communities get attention, using the internet to verify activity and life wherever I am; and, sometimes, I even become a winner via multiple mayorships or by earning virtual coins just by being myself -- a virtual busy body.

There is a practical reason for me to play the Swarm game, though. I have a little problem remembering where I have been and what I have done, without recording these things in some sort of journal. So, my check-ins create my journal and help me remember things -- like this lovely old bakery in Dunkeld, Victoria.

The Old Bakery Wild Plum Cafe in Dunkeld, Victoria

The Old Bakery Wild Plum Cafe, Dunkeld, Victoria

I have my bakery photos now, and my check-in is recorded on Swarm…..so, I'm happy to know that I can find this place again, the next time I go out on the road to Portland.

Portland! It is such a beautiful city. I'm enjoying my reflection of this road trip.

What was my first impression of Portland on this trip? I was impressed by Portland's friendliness and generosity! Good on ya, Portland! FREE food and drink! Yes!! Happy Australia Day to me!!!



Of course, the beautiful City of Portland has a lot to be proud of and, besides getting photos of free food, there are plenty of picturesque scenes for tourists like me to collect for our Facebook photo albums (see the beautiful sea below)…...but…..friendly people handing out free sausages and cold beverages to anyone who desires it -- that's one of the most attractive things in the world, I reckon.

The Bridgewater Blow Holes -- Near Portland
My friend's backyard -- a gorgeous Portland seascape.
Portland waterfront -- early evening
Whilst visiting Portland, I enjoyed a couple of side trips: to Bridgewater Bay and to Port Fairy. I'll save those Portland side-trip pics for a separate post on this blog.

Before I close this blog entry, I'll share my pics of the lovely lunch spot in Linton that Adrian and I found on our way back to Daylesford -- Wares, Plants 'n' Things Cafe. It was a pleasure to find this spot in a small country town to enjoy lunch outside with Miss Jelly Bean. Our pup was treated as special as we were, with her water delivered to our picnic table.  Jelly got a special doggie-biscuit hand-out  -- real-world-poodle-luxury on a road trip -- and the toasted sandwiches were delicious and delivered to Adrian and me by the owner, beautiful! I imagine we'll be back!



Driving from Daylesford to Portland and back makes for a lovely little road trip. Very enjoyable (as far as the scenery, people, and food go), it is, indeed. I'm looking forward to my next road trip to Portland, Victoria, Australia!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Six Months Here, After Six Months There

Adrian and I have just returned to Daylesford, Victoria, Australia, after a six-month stay in the U.S.A. We will be in Australia until late March 2017. At that time we will return to The Holy Moly in Clarksdale, Mississippi, before the Juke Joint Festival.


While we're in Australia, we'll be running the business of Tasma House and Gardens, as we have for the past six years. 

It's good to be back with Miss Jelly Bean!


Monday, June 6, 2016

Family Life Goes On

I recently returned from a trip to Kentucky and Ohio. I enjoyed a Memorial Day weekend trip with my parents and my husband. My sister and her husband also made the trip, and it was lovely to spend time with my family, away from the day-to-day worries of revitalisation work here at The Holy Moly in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

The last time I made the Kentucky trip was by myself in 2008, before my move to Australia. So, it was a pleasure to have my parents and my husband with me this time.

I have missed my Kentucky family. A lot has changed. I miss the family members who have died since I last visited, but it was good to see the new ones and reunite with others!

It must have been around 2005 or 2006 when I went to visit my Aunt in Ohio. I'm not sure how long it has been, but it was good to be in her home again. Simple family life, sometimes it is hard to manage, but it is one of the best things in this world, and I always thank God for it.

My family's Memorial Day weekend traditions take us back to cemeteries in Kentucky, where we reminisce, cry, and laugh.

I often feel sad that I don't know much about my heritage, but I am thankful to have this Kentucky-connection with my roots -- knowing where my parents got married, where my grandparents and great-grandparents are buried, and where my cousins are being raised today -- what a blessing that is!


It was a pleasure to meet the newest member of my family, little Bentley! He looks just like my Uncle Harold Hale, and he's a treasure -- such a pleasure to be around. I am thrilled that I got to meet Bentley and his big brother, Briley! I now have a couple more reasons to be thankful for this lifestyle that allows me to come and go back and forth from Australia to America.






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