Wednesday 29 March 2017

First of the Month Fiction - April

That time again, and this time, I'm shutting the blog for the whole month of April, so have fabulous holidays, stay safe in the cyclone and enjoy all the Easter festivities.
Be nice, be kind and make this broken world a better place.

I wrote a little story, for a competition called In Print. It's a little funny and bleak at the same time.

The link will stay open for the whole month, and I'll look at the stories when I get back, so please don't think I'm ignoring your efforts.

Add a story in the comments, either in 100 words exactly or one less than 30 words. Then link your blog.

My story (no offense to anyone from small towns, I'm sure a lot has changed, just as the exodus to London is no longer the rite of passage for Aussie teens) I was just toying with an idea, and you know me, somebody has to be the bad guy:

She had left town and said her goodbyes. She was leaving nothing to chance. She'd got the train to the city and stayed overnight in a cheap hostel, to be ready for the airport the next day. Her time had come. No more hiding herself behind small town values. No more listening to the ignorant views and homophobic rants but saying nothing. She was on her way to freedom, where nobody knew her. She handed the attendant her boarding pass and smiled. The woman gave her a wink and grinned as she returned the paper. She wondered if everyone could already tell? In London, she could be proud of who she was. Out and proud and happy.

Have a wonderful April. I'll be off all SM except possibly Insta, hopefully I'll have some pretty pictures for you all, so swing by if you miss me (hahaha!)

Monday 27 March 2017

Dancing is like dreaming with your feet! ~Constanze

You'll remember I got a Groupon to a dance studio - and so off I trotted to the contempory and hiphop classes. I discovered I was a good 25 years older than everyone (so that's great for your self esteem) and that everyone else could actually dance (because I went to classes that suited me time wise, not beginner classes).
The alarm bell went during the first warm up when everyone started doing the splits. As you do.
However, not one to worry about such things as competency, I just did my best. It was a lot of fun and mildly hilarious. 
The teachers were lovely and never once made me feel I should leave in shame. 
I did go to a beginner class once, and I have to say, while I was better at it, I sort of preferred the more advanced classes as the actual dances were more fun.
The only bit I did get nervous about, was at the end of the class, everyone would set up there cameras on little tripods to film themselves, which means there's a good chance I'm in the background doing my weird, edited to my ability moves....I'm waiting for the meme to appear any day now....
I really liked it, and the warm ups were enough exercise on their own, especially in the 90 minute classes. However, in a month, I only managed to get to 5 classes, so I think I'll move onto the next experiment...perhaps Bollywood dancing?

What did I learn? When you're old, you just don't care. I'd look at what I was meant to be doing in stretches etc and think 'oh, I'll just do this instead'. If I mucked up a move, I'd just laugh and go to the next bit I knew. I didn't feel too embarrassed or self conscious (just old, which is a bit depressing but a fact of life, so what are you going to do?) Isn't it a shame that when you're young, you're such a mess of self confidence. Imagine how happy your teen years would be if you had that blessing of old age?
My memory struggles with remembering the steps...but dancing is probably a good recall training exercise.

And so, moving on, I'm back on the 'trying new things groove', so stay tuned for more Torschlusspanik adventures. 

Torshlusspanik List:

1. Shooting (check)
2. Fencing (check)
3. Play croquet at Croquet Club
4. Laser skeet
5. Off road buggy driving
6. Play Assassins Creed
7. Jetpacking (check)
8. The Color Run (check)
9. Invent something
10. Cooking Masterclass (check)
11. Master a Masterclass (check)
12. Perform a rap song (check)
13. Trampoline adventure (check)
14. BMX Riding (check)
15. Do a cart wheel (check)
16. Ride an Electric Bike (check)
17. Astonish Myself
18. Write a book.
19. Participate in a distance event (check)
20. Climb Sydney Tower (check)
21. Dance in a dance class (check)

Linking with #KCACOLS (for those than need the Torschlusspanik list explained, see here.)

Thursday 23 March 2017

Last 3 months

The last three months have flown so fast. I look at the diary, a mess of scribbles, trying to work out what I'm going to discuss with you. We've had picnics at the beach, a weekend away with friends, been to concerts and shows galore.

I've been on outings with the kids to zoos, mini golfing and exhibitions. (Linking this old shot with #SaturdayCritters)

I've explored areas of Sydney I've never been to before (and Port Kembla & outskirts of Sydney)

I've had two indulgence trips to Melbourne for the day and Adelaide overnight, for an exhibition and concert respectively.

We've had two days out on boats, and some ferry trips to beaches.

The kids have been busy with all the school related stuff, plus jobs and learning to drive...ahhh, It never ends.

Yet if you ask me what I've been up to, I'd reply 'Nothing'. It's only looking at the photos for this post that I realise how much fun I've had. I've had a good three months but nondescript in the grand scheme of things, though minute by minute is generally enjoyable and that, my dear friends, has to be enough.

I'll leave you with this quote, that has me thinking, maybe I need to work out how to squash even more fun in!

“Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.” 
― Jean de La BruyèreLes Caractères

How would you sum up the last three months?

Have you been #LovingLife?
Linking with #StayClassyMama

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Coastrek - walk a mile in my shoes

Opera House in the rain
Under the bridge, out of the rain

The other day we walked 30km in rainy, windy conditions to raise money for the Fred Hollows Foundation. The aim of Coastrek was to raise over $2.8 million, and they were well on the way to do it at last count.

Neilson park

We were a lot slower than other walks I've done, but even the 35kms I did was in clear conditions, so I'm guessing that was part of the problem.

I won't say I was loving life, but it was better than I expected, given my anticipation of the conditions.

Coastrek is heading to Melbourne in May and Sunshine Coast in July. It's not too late to get a team together, but if you're doing the 60kms, you need 12 weeks to train. If you want to see some spectacular scenery and help a good cause with friends, this is the way to do it.

If you want to donate to the Fred Hollows Foundation, click here.

Linking with #Allseasons because it's just more rainy day photos....

Stormy Bondi

Monday 20 March 2017

The Coopers Fiasco

Before I start, full disclosure, I'm not gay nor a single parent. However I do know many of both groups.

I feel very sorry for Coopers. They've been thrown into a fiasco, not of their own making.
I feel sorry for the Bible Society, who were trying to make a well intentioned video, saying we can discuss the issue without being aggressive, and they were saying we needed to discuss marriage equality. However, they may have been better using the example of being a Liberal or Labor voter or something else that's a matter of choice not rights, instead of asking an oppressed group of people to 'keep it light'. If you are not afforded the same rights as others, it's very hard not to be emotionally engaged in the fight for basic equality.

The Bible says lots of things we choose to ignore. My personal favourite is that anyone who works on a Sunday should be put to death. The Bible is quite clear about that, however we realise it's not relevant or appropriate. I think we can use the same dismissive logic with the bible's definition of marriage. Even a priest works on Sunday, and no one seems to mind anymore. All the people not getting married in a church should be exempt from the bible's definition of marriage anyway. Just as those not getting married in a Mosque shouldn't be bound by the Koran's definition of marriage.

The 'think of the children' argument is offensive beyond words to me. I know plenty of women whose partner went MIA and are raising great kids. I know a few men whose wives died and have wonderful girls becoming outstanding women. I know couples who work and travel all the time and the nanny basically raises the kids. Their happy children. Then there are the abusers you read about, often in a man/woman couple, being tried for terrible things they did to their children. So I think if you want to 'think of the children' perhaps you need to think about what it must be like to say to a child "Your parents, these loving people that raise you, are not considered equal to the rest of the country,". How damaging is that?

I think this clip best sums up our responsibility to marriage equality (though the clip itself is discussing something else) - The LBGTQI community needs to make room for Christians to be able to worship (and they do), and Christians need to see that the LBGTQI community are people with a need for equal rights. This clip is a sportscaster talking about the transgender wrestler who was not allowed to compete in the boys league, where he actually preferred to compete, but the association made him compete with the girls. When he won, a furor in the media broke out, as he had an unfair advantage. The whole clip is worth watching but for the time poor, the gist is this: " I'm not always comfortable when a man tells me he's gay. I don't understand his world. But I do understand he's a part of mine."

We don't have to understand it. We don't even have to approve. We don't have to personally go to the weddings. We do need to understand these are people, and afford them the same rights we enjoy. If the gay woman up the street marries her partner, my marriage is still intact. My marriage is unaltered. Her union is confirmed before all others, which must make her happy, as it did me when I got married many moons ago. How does it impact me? No way I can see, unless I have to buy her a present or take a day off to attend the party. Both of which I can choose not to do, if I don't want to support union.

Coopers, if you wish to give money to a charity that provides bibles to the military, I see no harm in that. I don't think you should have to apologise for that. I give to many charities too. I have no issue making space for Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and the other religions to worship, as long as they make space for those that don't share the same beliefs. 

Perhaps the real lesson is that we need to make sure we are not oppressing another group in our form of worship?

PS please watch the clip. I can't tell you how much I now LOVE this guy. Simple decency seems so logical.

Further note: I will delete any abusive comments aimed at me, other comments, Coopers, the Bible Society, the LBGTQI community and certain politicians who have been outspoken on the issue. You are welcome to disagree but we are better than name callers.

Postscript: I want to share this from the Anglican Church in Gosford - not only did Father Rod raise over $10k for the Leukemia Foundation yesterday, but he also spoke out on the proposed changes to 18C. Today he shared this on Facebook. It is well worth a read. Thank you Father Rod. You are an exemplary Christian. In the TRUE sense of the word.

Friday 17 March 2017


I tend to think in 2 seasons only - Summer and Winter. Other than brief attention the the cherry blossom in Spring, I do sometimes seek out the changing leaves in Autumn. The best place to do this is in the Southern Highlands, Canberra or Blue Mountains. I know it happens everywhere but to get the trees in all their glory, with mountain views over colourful valleys, as a creature of habit, that's where we head.

Alas the Bundanoon YHA is no more and our weekend booked for May has been cancelled...If I could shave down the size of the group, I'd love to head to the glorious Rift in Bowral. The treelined roads would be simply stunning as the leaves turn red.

A day trip to Bilpin and Mt Tomah may have to suffice or even a round trip to Leura. I will have to discover a new place that will fit our group of 30.

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” as described by Camus. Do you seek out the changing leaves? Where do you go for those firey bursts of red and orange?

Linking with #Blogtober for the Camus quote (prompt 13)

Tuesday 14 March 2017

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” ― Confucius, The Book of Rites

I headed to WOMADelaide 2017 very last minute. I went solo with the purpose of not missing Parov Stelar, and they did not disappoint. However, even with the intermittent heavy rain, the festival itself was still a blast and I danced, shopped, ate, drank and explored without a minute to spare!

I'm already planning a family or friend trip next year, with more than just an evening to enjoy it.

The highlights for me, were Hot 8 Brass Band, especially once the rain abated and I could dance with the crowd.

The Philip Glass Ensemble doing the live soundtrack to the projection of Koyaanisqatsi was mesmerizing.

I was deeply moved by the installation of Cie Carabosse, with the Exodus of Forgotten People.

Delightfully warmed by "Les Installations de Feu" Detmold.

Linking with #RubyTuesdayToo

When they came on to do the sound check, the crowd jumped up to dance, so I knew Parov Stelar was going to be fabulous, but I got tingles with the opening of The Lonely Trumpet, and danced solidly for the 90 minutes.

I did not stop smiling the whole time I was there, and all the walk home. For my fleeting visit to Adelaide, I was absolutely loving life.

Linking with #BlueMonday

“Music has infinite power to reach the gap between the heart and the soul to create infinite and ineffable joy.” 
― Debasish Mridha

Linking also with #TimelessThursday

Monday 13 March 2017

“If you aren't outraged, then you just aren't paying attention” ― Lisa Borden

From what I can tell, International Women's Day was celebrated in Australia by outrage and anger over some traffic lights, and followed up with ire directed to some school boys at a boys school who made a video on why feminism is important.

The following day, a trans woman was dragged FROM HER HOUSE in Brazil and murdered, simply for existing. This didn't seem to cause the same mass outrage as 10 traffic lights having pictures of women on it. Apparently we're down with violence against women but not images of women.

The world is quick to jump on issues, but do you think sometimes we direct our attention to the wrong issues? Isn't it good if teachers at a boys school set a project to make sure the boys understand the issues women deal with every day? Apparently not.

Girls are sold into slavery and the sex trade every day. Women are murdered by their partners and random strangers every day. Gender parity is apparently not going to happen until 2133. That is not in our lifetime, nor in our daughter's lifetime.

Perhaps that is where we need to direct our outrage?

Next time you see an 'issue' contemplate whether we make the world a better place with our anger, whether we actually could do something to make a difference, instead of just type some words in the comments box.

Maybe the first step is redirecting our focus and energy.

As always, it starts with you and it starts today.

Linking with #OpenSlather

Thursday 9 March 2017

Memory - a writing challenge

Giving the writing challenge a go on the prompt MEMORY

Memory is so fragile. It changes ever so slightly with every recall. That's how two people at the same event give different descriptions.

She had remembered their first date so clearly. The candles, the cranky waiter, how they had giggled every time he walked away from them. Simon had been so nervous. She smiled nostalgically, marvelling how fate had brought them together.

Simon was amazed he hadn't seen the signs from the start. The restaurant she picked had been awful. Even the waiter was rude.  The food was disgusting and she didn't seem to care. How had he not seen they had nothing in common? It was time to tell her about Julie, but perhaps their anniversary wasn't the right time for it. He'd wait a few weeks. Maybe next month, once he'd found a place to live...

(I only wrote for 5 minutes but next time I'll try to do the 10)
See others over at J.F Gibson or give it a go yourself.

Linking with #Blogtober21 on the prompt DATE

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Humdrum Housekeeping. The Where am I? news.

Some of the stunning scenery on our rainy practice walk
I did decide to spend the bucks and go to Womad for Parov Stelar so I will be missing on Monday for my usual link ups, but back Tuesday as normal. I will be missing again on Friday when I tackle Coastrek - only 30kms (I am not built for the 60kms) and raising money for the Fred Hollows Foundation.

I will be back as normal for the rest of the month and then First of the Month Fiction will sit open for the full Month of April but I'll be travelling so back in May as usual.

 Instagram may be the place to see the pretty pics if you miss me.

Tuesday 7 March 2017

“I can't control the wind but I can adjust the sail.” ― Ricky Skaggs

I got a Groupon (not sponsored, I'm just a tightarse) and booked the family to go for a twilight sail for our wedding anniversary. (Please note, you need to book well in advance as it was very hard to get a time for the 5 of us, and Monday night was the only one that would work in the whole 3 month period of the coupon with Sailaway).

For those of you not in Sydney, it's been dismal rain all week. My husband was sure the trip would be cancelled but the sun came out at the 11th hour, and we set off. The wind was very strong (about 25 knots) so we only did a tiny stint under sail.

We headed out from Lavender Bay at 4.30, and were lucky enough to see the resident seal on the Opera House steps. My youngest delightedly squealed when he waved a flipper at us....

 I've said it many times, but if you live in Sydney, you really must make the effort to see the harbour on a boat - ferry, water taxi, whatever you can afford. However the peacefulness under sail is superb.

Feasting on a sushi dinner, we bobbed in the water in a quite cove as the sun came out for a brief interlude.

We then cruised around the harbour as the sun set. The kids had a turn at steering, as did my husband. I was content to take photos and drink beer. I'm quite useless on boats, and more than happy to be so.

All in all, a magnificent evening and well worth the money.

We all slept well with the motion of the boat rocking us to sleep in our beds.

How can you not love this beautiful city?

Linking this old post because the seal makes me go #AwwMondays