Friday 31 August 2018

Taking Stock - September

As you know, I'm not the biggest fan of these posts, as I don't really know what you, dear readers, get out of it. However, as I'm about to shut the blog down for a few weeks, I thought I would post for #Lifethisweek. Photos are not related to anything, but do you really want to look at photos of ScoMo and Dutton?

Drinking :  Way too much - or at least too often. Those alcohol free nights are killing me.
Reading : Just finished the Portrait of Molly Dean for book club, and finishing Americanah. Listening to Lost Connections (Hari) while I do the housework.
Next read : Heartburn by Nora Ephron and finish Run like Crazy, Run like Hell (the comic by Tardi)
Wanting : To get our tax done. It's hanging over me like a constant stress. I just need a day to get all the documents together.
Looking : At what to do with my three precious days in Singapore and where to stay for next year's trip to Japan
Enjoying : Seeing movies after a cinema 'drought'.
Liking : Catching up with friends. That seems to have been at a minimum and then all of a sudden, it's a couple of times a week.

Wondering : How goals impact our unhappiness - do we choose the wrong goals or do we accept what society says? (Not personal, came up in the Hari book. It's got me thinking...)
Loving : That the HSC timetable played nice and the music exam date just announced allows me to get last minute tix to the Singapore Grand Prix. Yip Yip - go Kimi!!! Also loving generous husband who said go any way even though it's costing me more than when I book it all way back in January.
Pondering : What is going on in Australian politics?
Buying : A last minute Father's Day present because my guaranteed delivery before Father's Day was apparently only an aim, not an actually guarantee.
Watching : Better call Saul. And looking forward to new season of Ozarks - but we're really struggling in the TV department so any suggestions are welcome!
Hoping : One of my idols appears to have done the wrong thing. Hoping it's just an oversight in paperwork and not a breakdown. Watching from afar, the potential fall from grace of a good man.
Cringing : What is going on in Australian politics!!
Listening: Just discovered Max Frost - loving Adderall and White Lies. (Apologies if offensive to people with genuine ADHD or ADD. It's just so upbeat and uplifting tune-wise)

What are you up to? Any TV recommendations?

Linking with #IBOT  #PhotoTunes  #TheRandom#PointShoot

Wednesday 29 August 2018

Cocktail Tuesday

On Tuesday we snuck out to catch up with friends we'd not seen for well over a year and to try out the cocktails of some London celebrity mixologist at Charlie Parkers.
The food was delicious and the company even better.

With ease of conversation, quickly we covered what we had been up to and updates on all the kids, and were soon covering the state of affairs in the world and arts, with laughs a plenty. With some people the frequency of contact is irrelevant.

Sometimes spending time with friends is all you need to love life.

What are you loving this week?

This is taken through a mirror, at a mirror behind the bar for #WeekendReflection.
Not brilliant but was good in idea.

Monday 27 August 2018

Once you're in it, it's okay

Deb Cook responded to my post last week 'Oh, isn't that interesting that the stuff you expect to be stressful isn't (the HSC trials) and relaxing dinners out can be?!' and she got me thinking. A lot of our stressful situations, we create. Had you asked me even a month ago, would my child and I have fun lunches on the way to an HSC trial exam, I would never have expected the answer to be yes.

Having seen a few friends get teary at their child's graduation and feel feelings of loss at the end of their role as a school parent, awaiting the pending empty nest and all that it means, I was expecting a wave of sadness and loss as my eldest left school. I was completely unprepared for the feelings of pride and excitement when I received the email to my own child's graduation ceremony - I understand this is my first graduation and their last, so maybe I'll be in the same boat later down the line. However, for now, I'm excited at her new adventures, and at the person she's becoming.

In a surprising turn of events, I don't even care now about the HSC. As she madly fills out application forms, I figure she'll get into something, one way or another, so does the ATAR even matter? Perhaps it is us, the adults in the education system and the parents of those doing year 12 that need to change the stress levels for our children. Given 40-50% of year 11 and 12 students suffer clinical emotional distress, maybe our focus needs to put it in a more realistic frame. My child is still sitting the same exams, but the stress free trials experience seems to have altered the 'importance' of the exams. They're just exams. Same as all the other ones you've done before in 12 years of schooling.

I am very much the person expecting the worst, in order to be prepared, but perhaps I'd be better parking that energy and just waiting to see how it plays out? When my father was dying, I came across the audio book This is How by Augusten Burroughs. While driving to and from the hospital each day, I learnt how to let someone die and how to cope with being diagnosed with a terminal illness. His book talks of the anticipatory stress being far worse than the actual terrible thing happening. The truth of the matter is "Once you're in it, it's okay" The outcome was the same awful loss it was always going to be, but the book helped me make it less painful for both me and Dad. I really made the most of the time we had, even though he was stuck in a hospital for months. I made it matter and we shared some really special moments in those last crappy months.

If this was true for the painful loss of a parent, how can it not be true for such a simple thing as exams? Or something as positive as a child growing into an adult and stretching their wings into the wide world?

As daunting as you feel it will be, as big an obstacle as it appears, always remember, no matter what you are facing, once you're in it, it's okay.

Linking with #BookNook

(This is How is excellent - it covers among other things, how to be thin, how to be fat, how to be confident, how to fail, how to get a job, how to feel less regret and so many other things. I am eternally grateful for discovering this book in my library by accident when I did. It made me get through three incredibly difficult months without regrets, and cope with a loss I thought I'd never be able to bear.I can not recommend this book enough.)

Sunday 26 August 2018

Urban Landscapes - Share my Snaps!

I think you know you truly love a city when you see it's beauty in it's imperfections. Sydney has a lot of that gritty endearment at the moment, as every road and building seems to be scaffolded off as a building zone.

"To the people who love you, you are beautiful already. This is not because they’re blind to your shortcomings but because they so clearly see your soul. Your shortcomings then dim by comparison. The people who care about you are willing to let you be imperfect and beautiful, too. (20)”
― Victoria MoranLit From Within: Tending Your Soul For Lifelong Beauty

You may not have beautiful scenery but there is always beauty to be found.

Sometimes just the hue of the sky is enough to dazzle you.

May there always be something, no matter how small, to enchant you.

Linking with #SkyWatch 

(and you can follow my Insta here)

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Hit and Miss

It's been a great deal of hit and miss this week.

I enjoyed Bob Dylan, the Lime & Tonic blind degustation at the Park Hyatt was fabulous and I went to a great lecture at Macquarie Uni. Our Friday night dinner party cancelled so we're off to the movies instead, and I'd been lamenting that we had no time to see the new Spike Lee...

The misses: a terrible vegetarian dinner where the waiters wrestled the wine bottles off us to pour for us (yet were too slow to pre-empt and fill the empty glasses) and made me pay on the night even though I'd prepaid, and then made me ask twice for the refund once I could prove I had prepaid back in June, like I'd insisted...the usual hoop jumping to get money back from a doctor, discovering I'd been charged $1650 for a subscription that was meant to be $100 (got money back, just the time and hassle of doing so) and having a nasty person resurface in my orbit. I had to dig deep to be the bigger person, but it's left me out of sorts and uncomfortable.

The surprising big hit was the HSC Trials. Rather than being a basket of stress, my eldest and I managed to have a few pre-exam lunches together, where we shared easy laughs. Fingers crossed the results are good and the HSC is the same.

Sometimes happiness is found in unexpected places.

What have you been loving this week? Have you been surprised at what you were loving this week?

Linking with #MummyMondays and #TheRandom

Monday 20 August 2018


Sydney is a jumbled mess at the moment with scaffolding everywhere but if you push past it all, you land in the quiet oasis of the Park Hyatt.

The dining room offers great views, stunning views and this week's #WeekendReflections.

Sometimes the view, cloudy or not, is enough to make you smile.

Linking with  #OurWorldTuesday

Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do. -Edgar Degas

My Wednesday Club is going strong, we've sung at pub choir, danced at NLNL, dressed up tor the Romeo & Juliet party, seen trolls at the Scandi film festival and strolled around Vivid. This month, someone has picked something that will push me out of my comfort zone. Take an art class, where we learn to paint a picture. For someone who had lots of fine motor skill issues as a child and can barely write my name legibly, the idea of painting a picture in public causes me a little discomfort. I can happily dance uncoordinatedly, merrily sing out of tune to an audience, and be at ease with my lack of culinary skills so I am surprised and a little perplexed that this project makes my heart quicken in anticipation. I guess it's something I was very self conscious about as a child, and it still bothers me, yet it so rarely comes up that I know longer think about it. However, this is the precise point of the Wednesday Club, to push us old people out of our comfort zone to find new fun activities. (We've returned to pub choir and NLNL a few times since the first outing).

It's been a long time since I mentioned my torschlusspanik list. (For newcomers, Torschlusspanik is the German word for 'the fear that time is running out. It's the panic you get when you realise you haven’t done very much in your life, and if you don’t act soon the ‘gate closes’.' ). However this is precisely what the list is for. And so another item is added and we shall see if Mr Degas was right:

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)
22. Trust a stranger
23. Get a truck for the Landmine Museum and Relief Centre in Siem Reap
24. Paint a picture

Can you draw or paint? Would you like to try?

Linking with #OpenSlather #StayClassyMama #KCACOLS , #ThisMainLine

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Life is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope - a slight change, and all patterns alter. Sharon Salzberg

We went to the Powerhouse in the holidays (Please don't move it NSW Government. No amount of money is worth killing off culture), and there was a cube and mirrors set up to make this kaleidoscope.

You turned the wheel and the cube spun, reflecting off the mirrors and dazzling the eyes.

It was an example of beauty in simple science.

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.- Jean Housten 

Here's to new possibilities for us all.

Linking with #PictorialTuesday #RealWordlessWednesday  #MySundayPhoto #WeekendReflection   #WordlessWednesday #ThruMyLens #TheRandom and #MySundayBest

Tuesday 14 August 2018

“Call me Ishmael.” Moby Dick at the Seymour Centre

Things have been chaotic and incredibly busy this week - I spoilt myself and snuck off to Moby Dick at the Seymour Centre. I'd seen this play about 30 years ago, at the Marion Street theatre and loved it, as the actors made the boat, the whale and the all the characters, in a nonstop fluid motion, like the rolling ocean.  

This production is quite different, with a look at obsession, madness and a modern day thought for the animals we kill. Two of the actors, Wendy Mocke and Vaishnavi Suryaprakash, mesmerized me every time they 'stifled' the rocking of the boat. I found my eyes kept seeking them out and from my chair would catch their motion, slowly swaying with them.

What I didn't remember was all the wonderful lines in the book. While the title of this post is the most famous quote, it is actually the least relevant to life. Over the next few weeks you will find the wisdom of Melville peppering my posts.

I am loving that I can occasionally take a day for myself, I am loving that there are good, relatively cheap productions around and I am, of course loving the hunt for the great white whale.

May we all enjoy the chase in this life, not dependent on the success.

“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I'll go to it laughing.” 
― Herman MelvilleMoby-Dick 

What are you loving this week?

Linking with #Lovinglifelinky.

PS You have until the 25th August to see Moby Dick at the Seymour Centre. Sport for Jove Theatre Co. is an unfunded independant theatre company. That means use it or lose it, for these interesting performances.

Monday 13 August 2018

You really need a Plan B

Now is the time that a lot of kids drop out of Uni. Often their parents need to preface this with a long story of how they are deferring while they decide what they do. Usually this actually means they know what they want to do but their parents aren't so comfortable with their choice. "They need a Plan B" meaning a university degree and a different career to the one that they've dropped out of university to pursue. 

But do they?

Can't we have a plan A and if that fails, find another plan A? Do we need to sabotage our plan A with a back up plan that inevitable takes over our path?

Why is it so hard for our parents to say, of the chosen course that has been dropped "They didn't like it. It actually wasn't for them". If you're 18, you have no idea what a career involves. If you can decide one semester in, that it's not really what you thought it would be, it's probably a GOOD sign. You know yourself, you know what interests you and you know this isn't it. 

If you already had a new plan, you're ahead of the game.

Maybe our generation of parents needs to realised the landscape has changed. Our ideas of 'safe' and 'conventional' are obsolete and even unhelpful.

Don't steal their dreams by forcing your ideals onto them. Their Plan A is their path until it isn't.
We could all learn to prioritise our plan A. It's never too late, no matter how lost we got in our 'back up' career.

Thursday 9 August 2018

Magic of Mistakes


This is a different kind of reflection - the lights reflected on the lens to create this effect. It's a mistake, but it's a beautiful, magical image nonetheless.
Maybe that's how we need to look at life. Things don't go always go to plan, but there's often still a silver lining buried in that cloud. It just takes us a little time to see it properly.

Don't dwell on mistakes, and certainly don't be overwhelmed by them. Eventually, you see them for what they are, and usually, in time, they turn out to be smaller than you think. You may even find you were actually reaching for the stars but couldn't quite see it at the time (see what I did there?)

Linking with #OpenSlather

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Furnace and the Fundamentals

What I'm loving this week is having fun! Due to our proximity to the Enmore, I was able to buy a ticket on the day and head up for a dance. A friend whose Pink concert was cancelled decided that rather than sulk at home, she'd come too.

While I thought I'd stay for an hour of exercise then bail, they were so infectious with their high energy and song choices, that we stayed until the end, and dripping with sweat and big grins plastered on our faces, we giggled all the way home.

If you are no good at discipline to exercise, go dancing. You just can't stop!
If you get a chance to see Furnace and the Fundamentals, go! They're like Hot Dub Time Machine but better music and live.

If you aren't quite loving life this week, blast up the stereo (that makes me sound my full 107 years) and dance. Absolutely lifts my mood and energy.

I'm loving being walking distance to a concert venue, flexibility and the restorative power of music.

What are you loving this week? Linking with #TheFun #PhotoTunes #WWOAT and #RubyTuesdayToo (for the shot with the red light streak and the red costume)

Can you guess what song this was?

Monday 6 August 2018

Did you ever think your life would come to this?

A friend asked me this over drinks over the weekend. I paused at the question but thought 'I think it's probably better than I thought'. However, had she asked me two years ago, it would have been a very different answer. In fact, a few years ago I tearily posed the very same question to someone else. My day to day was very demanding and I had little time for myself to even exercise for twenty minutes. There were a lot of people needing my time and very little enjoyment in what I did. While I'm still extremely busy, a lot of the pressures have lessened.

When you get to a certain age, there's a lot of hard and crappy obligations - dying and infirm parents, difficult teenage problems, health problems, money problems. Life in general and day to day existence is not a lot of fun.

However, when you wade through the swamp of misery and exhaustion, there is still light on the other side. It's just very hard to see at times.

Last night my Facebook, in it's creepy listening stalk-y way, threw up this article on the midlife dip and the happiness curve. There is a gap in our expectations (perhaps because our expectations were ill conceived in the first place). However, satisfaction in life can and will reappear when you least expect it. Don't bottle up your dissatisfaction, don't feel you need to put on a positive show, because it's all normal. Most importantly, don't discount friends who feel this way. If they seem to have everything going for them, it doesn't mean they can't be struggling.

For me, having had quite a few extraordinarily difficult years, being asked the question made me realise how far I'd come, and more importantly, how much everything had changed. Some good changes, some sad changes however for me, as the traveller in my life, I was faring much better through the rough seas.

That was quite a comfort for me. I'd not been aware of the change, and yet suddenly here I am.

As my friend concluded, we just have to make sure we make the most of the next 20 years!

Linking with #ParentPower as someone shared an article with me that said Happiness = Reality - Expectations on my post this week about finding your passion. The article lay it as an issue with the 24-40 year olds, but with the people I've been meeting at the round of 50th's I've been attending, I think it seems to lie more as a signature of their age...Anyway, I've been thinking about the midlife dip and the happiness curve, and it made me think of this post.

Saturday 4 August 2018

Pieces of me

1 Day.
733 Kilometres.
2 old friends.
Cocktails, bands, art, rooftops, restaurants and a speakeasy.
A life time of moments separated by time and distance.
Happy and relaxed.
All wrapped up in this reflection.

Linking with #WeekendReflections. Reminiscing as I just cancelled my trip to Brisbane for a concert due to COVID :(

Wednesday 1 August 2018

Countries I have visited...

Even the carparks are cool in Finland!

I've traveled a fair bit, and I've loved pretty much everywhere I've been, however a few standouts for me were:

1. Cambodia. We only went to Siem Reap however not only did we decide it was the coolest city in Asia, but I had a life changing experience. The Landmine Museum and story of Aki Ra had a profound affect on how I viewed my place, and my ability to change things in this world. All the businesses in the city seem to have a community charity built into them - be it restaurant or store, even the circus and concerts helped others. It made me see how businesses should run. I loved everything about it.

2. Finland. We went chasing the Northern Lights in Rovaniemi. While that was not the hugest success, I loved the experience. It was probably our last full family holiday so it meant a lot to me, all these moments with all my children playing together. Everyone loved it. We bonded and laughed as all the activities seemed to please all ages. There was a trippy feeling being in that much snow constantly. All the experiences were new to us all - sleeping in an igloo, riding Husky led sleighs, and so many more wonderful activities.

3. France. I've had so many great times in Paris. I can never understand people that don't like it. The people have always been amazingly nice, and the beauty is beyond compare. The French countryside is gorgeous and the monuments and history are well looked after. Been far too long since I was there but the rest of the world is calling and there is only so much time and money to spend.

4. Hawaii. I know it's not a country but they are different to the rest of the States. Spend some time there and you can't help but be a little changed. The Hawaiian people seem to be community minded and caring towards those in need. Their friendliness and relaxed attitude is contagious. Big Island in particular has amazing beauty and an abundance of wild life. We saw whales, spinner dolphins (spinning over our raft!), turtles galore and even a monk seal just landed on the beach! You didn't need to set out to see them, they'd just turn up!  The night snorkel with the Manta Rays is one of the most AMAZING experiences I've ever had.  The volcano is fascinating - and spare a thought to the damage being done to the locals as a result.

5. Singapore. I have a soft spot for Singapore. I've been going since I was a kid of seven, and I've seen a LOT of changes every visit. I've had so much fun, especially at Grand Prix time - they know how to put on a race! There's art galore, fun festivals, oddities and funky hidden markets. It has something for everyone. You can eat well on any budget, and if you don't adore it, you just aren't doing it properly.

There are many more great countries I've visited but these are the ones that really made an impact on me. There's not a single place I wouldn't return to, but alas it all comes at a cost in both time and money, both of which I don't have enough of and alas the scales tip heavily in favour of countries I have not yet visited...

Where have you been and what were your favourites?

Linking this old post with #TravelTuesday