Friday 15 December 2017

First of the Month Fiction - January

This will remain open until February, when I return online. Hope you all have a wonderful break and happy holiday season.

For newbies, write a story in 100 words exactly, or one less than 30 words in the comments, then link your blog.

Mine is 100 words:

It wasn’t quite the birth experience she’d imagined. She hadn’t be able to get into her first choice. It all seemed a little unsanitary but they’d thankfully survived. She smiled lovingly at her husband, who had been incredibly supportive, even though she told him the babe wasn’t his child. Not once did he falter in his devotion.

Around her, everything seemed aglow and the brilliant lightness she felt permeated around her. The baby smiled. Suddenly three strange men from afar appeared bearing gifts. How had they known, she wondered? 
Apparently her small miracle birth shone glory on the whole world.

Happy Christmas everyone.

Linking with #TwinklyTuesday

Monday 11 December 2017

Enjoy the moment for what it is.

Christmas can be a difficult time for people. It can remind you of what once was but is now lost. Memory is a very deceiving mechanism. We look back fondly on events and people, who at the time, may have actually been troubling.
I was chuffed to see this on Instagram

I said once to someone "Don't let the dust from the past fool you to think it's glitter".  I think our memories glimmer with an enticing sheen, only because there's no way for hard facts to correct it. Our memory is like a Facebook feed - it's photographic highlights of the good bits, or the funny bits - even the terrible events seem to lose some of their danger, from our safe position ensconced in the present.

As I've quoted before "Time and memory are true artists; they remould reality nearer to the heart's desire."(John Dewey) 

The only lesson we can learn from this, is to not let comparison spoil the moment. Enjoy the present, untainted by the past or hopes for the future. Now is all we have, and we should try to focus on what is special each day as it happens. No matter how small, how insignificant or how imperfect it may be. These moments are exactly how the best memories are made, even when we don't realise it at the time.

Linking an old post with #Lifethisweek as I don't think we can ever go back and recapture memories. There are places I'd like to visit again and things I'd like to do again but I think I've changed too much to ever recapture a memory.

Sunday 10 December 2017

Sydney by Sea

We were lucky enough to hit the water yesterday with 20 or so of our friends for a final preChristmas catch up.

The sun was out and Sydney harbour put on a sparkler for us to swim and dine (and play banangrams) while bobbing around in the water.

There is a peaceful tranquility that comes when you are hostage on location, so have nothing to do except relax and enjoy your universe.

As the sun set, I realised how much I would miss summer in Sydney, when our beautiful city puts on her finery for all to see. It is a city I will never tire of.

Many of the guests who came yesterday are friends of  30 plus years, and they have shaped my little world in so many ways. Their friendships are truly the gifts that matter most in this life.

May you too love life over this holiday season.

Linking with #LovinLife Linky #WednesdayAroundtheWorld #OurWorldTuesday #ThruMyLens #TravelTuesday  #TheRealWordlessWednesdayand #HighlightsofHappiness

Sydney by land - North Head

My friend organised for us to see an art exhibition but got the address wrong so we ended up strolling around North Head instead. This city is truly stunning and you can immerse yourself in it's beauty without spending anything except time.

The Memorial Walk has pavers dedicated to the fallen and historical events of the Wars that Australia has fought in.

Then you can veer off onto a dirt track to join up with the Fairfax lookout.

There are historical ruins still intact on the walk.

Just peaceful serenity, as far as the eye can see - and in whale season you occasionally get a surprise show, as the giant mammals frolic in the harbour.

It was such a splendid afternoon, I wondered why we didn't visit more often.

Do you make the most of where you live?

Linking with #BlueMondays

Friday 8 December 2017

Today I will....

I appear to have lost the original image

Today I will do a little bit of house keeping first: I'm shutting the blog for 6 weeks, back Feb, on Friday with a First of the Month Fiction. I'll be in Finland for a bit and the only SM I'll use is Insta, as a semi detox.

Today I will look back on the year that was:
Back in January, one of my photos made the final cut of the Dix Mots competition (which is open again now for those interested).

February saw some pretty spectacular days on the harbour.

March saw my first experience of Womad, and hopefully not my last!  Coasttrek and dance classes to try and get this old bod in shape....

April saw us in London for the Marathon and exploring Malta, Amsterdam and the glorious Belgium.

May and June lit up with Vivid, one of my favourite times of the year. We also finally expanded the family to include this gorgeous gal.

July was the start of my festival of High Teas. I've decided this is a lovely way to spend time with friends and intend to keep it going next year.

August was a dash to Brisbane for a fleeting visit with an old and very dear friend, and Thor (well, the Marvel Universe). Such luxuries are what make life so pleasurable.

September was busy, the highlight being a trip to Singapore for the F1 and the sensational Children's Biennale. I also attended this EXCELLENT talk on teens and procrastination (the video linked in the post is well worth a watch).

October had lots of fabulousness - champagne lunches, shows, bingo and lots of fun with friends, but the highlight was obviously the short 5 nights stint in Phang Nga Bay.

November has seen much frivolity but the highlight has to be the Yes vote getting up with the Australian public. It restored my faith in humanity a little, as I do like to think that in this country, we believe in what is fair. I also fulfilled a dream three years in the making, getting my donation of supplies to the Landmine Relief Centre in Siem Reap.

December brings Christmas, holidays and reflection. I want to say, looking back, this year has seen a lot of change for the good for me personally. I've been carrying some pretty difficult loads and for the last four years, have been at times overwhelmed with my situation, just struggling to keep afloat. However, this year is the first year for a long time where I've been able to enjoy life and look outward again - helping others and providing the support that was provided to me by others in my time of need. I know how fluid it is, and the inevitable will still happen, but for now I'm enjoying this feeling while I can, and not worrying about what is heading my way.

My story was published again in the Grieve anthology, and I nervously await the outcome of Museum of Words. I love the story I wrote for them, and I sincerely hope they do too.

Today I will wish you all a Merry Christmas and safe and happy holiday season. May you all be greeted with a joyful 2018. Come New Year, I'll be raising a glass to you, kind readers.

Keep fighting the good fight, both for you personally and on behalf of others.

Linking with #RubyTuesdayToo and #BlueMonday for the splashes of red and blue in this old post, and it makes me happy!

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Random Photos

As I'm cleaning out my phone, I came across these photos that I like but really have no idea what to do with, so am sharing them here for the photo themed link ups.

While this isn't a perfect shot, I like the reflected fireball

I love the perfect sphere of this flower. Whenever I go to delete the photo, I can't quite commit to the act of finality and losing it forever.

Found this set up in the shower one day - it still makes me smile

I love the glowing light in this one, and the man walking into some mystical void.

I think it's just the symmetry of this one that appeals.

This one is my child's light reflected in the window. I adore the floating ghostly head in the black.

Do you have photos you just can't bring yourself to delete?

Linking with #Awwmondays because the love affair with Superman and Wonderwoman makes me smile!

A visit to Santa #ChristmasLinkUp

It seems very early to be wrapping up the Christmas posts but I just realised I would be shutting the blog next Friday so there'd be no use in hosting the link up next week. First of the Month Fiction will go live next Friday and stay open for the next six weeks, until my return in February. There will be plenty of Christmas pics on my Insta over the next few weeks though.

We ventured into the city for our annual pilgrimage to see Santa and the Nativity. Only one child accompanied me, which was sad in itself as I am reminded soon enough it will be a solo visit to view the David Jones windows for me. Life moves on, bringing both the good and the bad (or sad).
My daughter was devastated that Myer had changed their 'ride on' train (but after a decade, I guess they thought it was time). We however, LOVED the Nerf gun shooting range - I know, nothing says Christmas like racking up points shooting at targets.

These felt gift bags at David Jones are gorgeous!

She wrote and posted a letter to Santa and then we headed over to David Jones for the free balloon. Last but not least, were the gorgeous Gingerbread Man's escapade, both in film and animated window. It was lovely to see my daughter's face light up in wonder and joy at the magical excitement. She definitely dreamed of sugar plums in her bed that night. Which reminds me, I must dig out the Christmas Story books.... 

Do you have Christmas traditions? Do you feel sad as the kids outgrow them? Will you continue to do them when the children give up on them?

Linking with #MummyMondays

Taking a chance - loving life

This photo cracks me up. Social media experience.

I missed getting tickets to J.Cole way back in March when they went on sale (or whenever it was) and have been watching the scalpers ask for exorbitant amounts for them ever since (around $800, then dropping to $600). Come Saturday, I found some on ebay for $199 so purchased it. I was wary it was a high risk but the feedback was all positive so I took the punt.
I paid on Sunday and the ticket was emailed straight away.
On Monday night I fronted up to the venue, and was nervous when I got to the turnstile. I was waved through the metal detector (apparently too old to carry a knife or gun - remember I'm 107). My heart skipped a beat as my ticket was scanned but it pinged and I was in! 

I hadn't bothered getting the 18+ wrist band as I wasn't going to drink but was stopped as I approached the bar.
"Can I see your wrist band?"
I started to laugh and then, when I saw he was serious "I don't have one. I'm just getting water anyway"
"Then you'll have to go to the soft bar inside the venue."
I was about to say "Are you for real? It's a safe bet I'm older than your mother!" but then as a mother I thought 'Good for you for your responsible RSA and not letting an old lady push you about' so I left and got my water inside.
This terrible photo is as close as I got.
I have waited to see J.Cole since 2014, when I discovered his music, I kid you not, just 4 days after he played a gig down the road from my house! So I was grinning like a loon as I strolled around the grounds, taking in the crowd.

When I go to a concert by myself, I usually sit through the supports and then sidle my way through the crowd for the main act. The supports finished and I ducked off to the bathroom then hit the floor. The lights were still on and I could see young people doing alarmed double takes at my out of place wrinkly face and unhip attire. At my age you'll never blend in so I don't even bother - I dress for comfort in the crowd. To borrow from J.Cole himself :
"Lights please, lights please. Turn of the lights.
For now everything just seems so right,
And how you make the darkness seem so bright
I'm feeling everything's gonna be alright".

I texted my husband that if they didn't turn the lights off soon I'd be shamed back to the stands. He responded perfectly, and I thought to myself 'Yeah, I'm too old to care what they think!'

Fortunately the lights went out and all was good. I had a fab night and have been on a high ever since. There is something so invigorating about the shared experience of live music (and thanks to the young ladies who merrily danced with me. To quote one of them "That's the real shit right there!"*).

The thing is, as you age, you don't stop liking what you like doing. It just gets harder to fit in or harder to be able to do it. The nice thing to remember with people, is in the dark, we're all the same. 

(*I didn't know how to respond to this and said something lame like "Yep, sure is" and totally killed the vibe so if you can tell me what the correct response to "That's the real shit right there!" is, I'd appreciate it).

 Linking with #MLSTL

When was the last time you took a punt on something? Did it work out?

Monday 4 December 2017

A nativity story...

We went to see the Christmas Windows and stopped that the Nativity in front of the cathedral. 
Daughter: Where's God?
Me: He's not there. Just Jesus.
Daughter: I thought he was Jesus's dad?
Me: He is, but so was Joseph. He's there.
Daughter: So Jesus had two dads?
Me: Yes, sort of. 
Daughter: So just like in Daddy's Home 2....

Given we have just been through the Marriage Equality fiasco, and given my daughter came home the other day excited that lesbian friends of ours might get married now (I had to point out that as they're lived together for 20 years, they may not feel the need to get married, but it was important that they have the right to do so, if they wished), I was surprised that she still took the two dads as the divorced situation not the gay couple situation.

Yes, think of the children; they're not as stupid as we think.

Perhaps in our fearful persecution of others to 'protect our freedoms', we need to do the Christian thing of actually thinking of others. 

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

I listen to these so called 'Christians' spouting their hate and wonder how they justify sitting in judgement of others when the Bible is so clearly telling them that is a sin? 

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. John 15:12 

If we are in lead up to the celebration of the birth of Christ, perhaps we need to think a little closely about our own actions. Imagine if Joseph had bailed on Mary as she was pregnant with someone else's child? Imagine if the Inn Keeper had sent them on their way because they weren't officially married? The whole birth of Christ story required us to park our judgement (as dictated in the Bible, ironically) and celebrate the people involved 2000 years ago. Why can't Christians do the same with the LBGTQI community today?

As a postscript, after I wrote this, Father Rod put up this article, and it is well worth a read. Shame on us. The church leaders campaign against marriage equality harms those who are already hurt.

Linking with #IBOT

Thursday 30 November 2017

“There's a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they're absolutely free. Don't miss so many of them.” ― Jo Walton

The one thing I love about the phone is that we ALWAYS have a camera with us these days. Pausing to really take in the sunset is my daily past time, and the beauty I've seen just walking down the street or looking out the window is an uplifting start to the evening, regardless of what is happening.

The clouds added a crazy layer the other night, with the moon already up (that dot) and pink light reflecting off the clouds.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” 
― Rabindranath TagoreStray Birds

 Do you stop to take in the sunset?

Linking with  #Allseasons #SkyWatch