Wednesday 28 August 2019

Taking Stock - August

Last blog post until mid September. Will be offline completely as I'm not sure what web works and doesn't in China.
So going early for the Taking Stock post.

Cooking : Marley Spoon vegetarian meals. They had $35 off, so for a bargain I re-signed. As usual, the vegetarian isn't around to eat any of it, so I become vegetarian for the week...which is why I cancelled it in the first place....


Sipping : Negronis and other cocktails....
Reading : Trying to read A gentleman in Moscow, and guide books on Norway while I sort out the trip.
Listening :Sigala  - dancing in the mornings is energising my day.

Buying: A father's day present for the man who has everything. Tough work!
Watching: 8 Days on SBS. I just loved it! Best thing I've watched in ages - still thinking about it. And The Boys on Amazon Prime, I think. A little like Watchmen, but corporate flunky superheroes and a lot of toxic masculinity - it's deeper than it appears, covering that casual dismissiveness and belittling that women have to shrug off on a regular basis. 
Hoping: Jon Ronson writes another book soon. Just about finished Men who Stare at Goats, and now have no Ronson books left to read!!! Also hoping they'll do a second season of 8 Days, because I'm not ready to let that go....
Trying: To exercise each day.
Wondering: How am I getting worse tickets on presale than if I wait 15 mins and buy more tickets later? Why is my Insiders membership getting me seats up the back instead of up the front like it used to? 
Sorting: All the stuff we no longer need - so much stuff!

Getting: A little nervous about the culture shock of the trip to China. Not being able to read signs or speak the language will add to the adventure. My attempts at learning Mandarin have failed miserably.
Saving: The environment, or trying to damage it less. Though I realise I need to do a lot to undo the pending air travel next week....
Opening: Bills. 
Feeling: Lots of emotions about leaving the kids for so long. There is a lot going on for us at the moment so it's not great timing. Excited about having a break though, as it's a very rare occurance for me. Very excited about the marvels of history I'm about to see though.
Obsessing: Over Finland, still. An Australian, Jinja Assassin (Alex Roberts) came in second at the World Air Guitar Championships on the weekend...gotta love those Finns and their world view! (and they also just pipped our new Green Square Library to take out the title of Best Library in the World).
Wishing: You all a very happy few weeks! 
Not relevant to anything. Just like the picture.

Linking with #RubyTuesdayToo for the rainbow red and the red Chinese flag and tint of red in the Negroni....

Saturday 24 August 2019

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

 While walking home from the cinema, I noticed the sun reflecting on the very corner of a building - with the lines of the building and the lines of the fence, I thought it made a interesting composition. Then I noticed the gum tree reflected in the glass.

It's worth taking the time to walk, as on even familliar routes there is always something new to catch your eye. A tiny bee, busying itself on a flower becomes a thing of interest and beauty if you pay enough attention to the detail.
This mural was perfectly reflected in the window as I walked past, as if a giant was living in the house.

There is a peace to be found in the small pleasures around us. Focus on the little things and the pressures of the big things fall away into the background of a centre of calm. 

"Little things seem nothing, but they give peace, like those meadow flowers which individually seem odorless but all together perfume the air". Georges Bernanos

Linking with #PictorialTuesday #WordlessWednesday #TheRandom #WeekendReflection #WanderingCamera  #RubyTuesdayToo #WWOT #Nanahood and #Mysundaybest

Going on holidays - Share my snaps!

I'm shutting up the blog later in the week as I prepare for my trip - a big milestone birthday celebration (gift?) with a friend to see the Great Wall of China. I'm very excited about it. Lamenting we won't have time to go to the Yue Minjin gallery, but there are grander, more ancient treasures to visit in our blink and you'll miss it visit. It will be the longest I've been away from the kids, ever and that makes me uneasy, but I'm sure once I'm there it will be fine, and I'm leaving them in the very capable hands of their dad.

The weekend involved some kids fun, making pasta and then dinner out at Lumi Dining with friends. As we waited for the uber home, the Darling Harbour fireworks started so I ran to the shore to see them. Can you believe after all these years, this was the first time I saw them? On my return, I will plan a Saturday night excursion to watch them in full, from a better vantage point.

What did you get up to this weekend?

Linking with #WednesdayAroundtheWorld #WordlessWednesday #Lifethisweek #OurWorldTuesday  #WWOAT #SayCheese and #ThruMyLens

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Sharing joy from the Magic House

My kids are growing up and we have so much 'stuff'. I used to drop it at the women's shelter but now they won't take it, so I leave it on the fence for people to take as they come by. And they do. I get a kick everytime something disappears.

The other day a guy just introduced himself to me and said he’s been wanting to meet whoever lived here to thank me. He often took things for his two daughters and they call it the Magic House. He said it had encouraged him not to just throw things away. He then took an expensive book on fossils (for adults) for his 5 year old who wanted to be a scientist. I told him to tell her that the magic house lady says we need more scientists and that’s a very good choice. He said that will encourage her...It was a lovely exchange that carried me through the day.

I love the idea that other children get to enjoy the toys, books and clothes that gave us so many fond memories. I love it even more when they come back and let me know what they've taken over the years.
I love that it encourages others to do the same. 

I'd really love it if I got to see a little Flash come past or visit....

What are you loving this week?

Linking with #AwwMondays because it does make me go Awww. Yesterday I walked out and kids were excitedly picking over 'Street Treasure' and it really lifted my mood.

Saturday 17 August 2019

Sun and Moon

Moon high in daylight

 It has been an uneventful week (or eventful but not anything interesting worth writing about) but as always, the sun and moon are constant, and bring with them stability in the simpliest of pleasures.

very low moon at sunset

Sometimes that has to be enough. There's a quote I can't find attributed to anyone (other than unknown) which I found lovely:
"Everyone wants to be sun that lights up your life. But I’d rather be the moon that shines on you during your darkest hours when you forget the warmth of the sunlight."

Linking with #GaleriaHimmelsblich

Tea, Coffee or what?

In my case the "What" is Gin but as I don't want to sound like an alcoholic, I'll stick to the coffee.
While I am a big herbal tea drinker (I am rarely seen without my T2 tea thermos in hand when out and about), I can not survive without 2 double shot espressos to start the day. With a love of travel, this can prove problematic.
That is, until my genius friend gave me this!

I will admit I was dubious, but this little device has now been a life saver in many countries around the globe where there hasn't been a coffee machine. My headache has been averted...and look at the crema! 
So for coffee lovers on the move, I can't recommend it highly enough!
(Not a paid ad, but an ad all the same as I love it so much! She got it from some online guy in Penrith, but that's all I can help you with.)

Linking with #Lifethisweek.

Thursday 15 August 2019

"Anyone may have diamonds: an heirloom is an ornament of quite a different kind." Elizabeth Aston

We had the youngest's party in a park on the weekend, and I dug out the party cups that I purchased from Ikea 18 odd years ago for our eldest's first birthday. These cups have appeared at many extended family events, at parties in parks all over the city and through the birthday parties of the three children. In the last decade and more, I've not purchased plastic or paper cups for events.

I explained this to one of the mum's who had commented on having so many Ikea cups. She replied "Oh, they're heirlooms! We better make sure they all come home."

When you think about it, they sort of are. They've witnessed a lot of celebrations as my children and their friends and cousins grew up. They are not special or precious in themselves, they're practical, but I now view them in a different light after the comment. Now they make me smile, while I'd never even thought about them before.

Isn't it funny how an offhand comment can change your view of something?

As Faulkner said "Our most treasured family heirloom are our sweet family memories. The past is never dead, it is not even past."

Linking with #BlueMonday and #RubyTuesdayToo

Saturday 10 August 2019

Learning things are not always as they seem

Credit Wikimedia Creative Commons
We are going to Norway, and as I plan our trip, I've been using Lonely Planet and their map which is similar to this one (but this one isn't under copyright).  We are going to the insert. I thought it was just across the way from Tromso (even though the map clearly states it is north), as I am evidently spacially deficient. 

Infact, it is a long way google maps explains below...(and I am clearly an idiot).

I have discovered my understanding of how BIG Norway is, was wrong. Having been to Finland and Denmark, I thought it was sort of the same sort of distances, yet every place I plan to visit if much further away than I realised.

With many things in the life, I'm discovering what I thought I knew was wrong. Going to the gaming expo changed my view on video games and the people that play them; going to music festivals changed my view on the kind of people that take drugs and the importance of pill testing; going to a talk on mental health where one of the speakers was intersex made me realise I knew literally nothing at all about their struggles in this society. I had been completely oblivious to this community throughout my whole life.

I am old. I should know a lot more about a lot more things than I do. The good thing is I keep learning, often in unexpected ways.

Perhaps this is the problem with our current society? We hold on to what we believe to be true and see the world incorrectly? Perhaps we all need to be open to continuing our education?

"Our brain is mapping the world. Often that map is distorted, but it's a map with constant immediate sensory input." E. O. Wilson

What have you learnt lately that took you by surprise?

Linking with #OpenSlather  #MLSTL #TwinklyTuesday #GlobalBlogging and #StayClassyMama

Sunday 4 August 2019

The toilet edition...

I was at a bar the other night to see a band, and on the back of the toilet door was this:

I showed my husband who said 'Yes, there's that whole ask for Angela thing'. I pointed out that only worked in bars that had actually put up a sign to say they did that, and it was really just a viral thing about one or two bars in America. Most bartenders here would let you know she didn't work there...

The sign made me love my city a little bit more. That people did look out for each other.

And I obviously wasn't the only one, because on a different door, there was a reply, which echoed my emotional response to the sign, so I wasn't alone in how the gesture made me feel:

At the Belvoir, I noticed they'd added a new sign in between the two toilet doors:

I thought, that would make some people feel safe if there's a problem, just as the Lazybones sign had made me feel safer. Even if you don't need to use it, it's nice to know people have your back and you're welcome and safe. So I could see why the sign mattered, even if it didn't matter to me.

While the government seems to be very anti a number of populations, it's nice to be in communities that aren't. As the saying goes 'The true measure of any Society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.'

I very much enjoyed Life of Galileo, with it's extremely appropriate timing this week and more so, I enjoyed being amongst the arts people, with all their inclusivity & concern for others...A line from the play is very fitting for our times “Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes”. It was nice to be reminded there are still some out there.

Linking with #KCACOLS, #StayClassyMama and #Lifethisweek

Saturday 3 August 2019

“Yes, as everyone knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.” ― Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

We went for our annual whale watching trip - it was a little disappointing compared to previous years, but alas with nature, there is only so much you can orchestrate.

We did get three breaches, all of which I missed because of scanning the wrong horizon - but I did catch the slashdowns in a Tantalus style punishment...

The weather was nice and the conditions not too bad, and we did see a couple of whales so I can't complain.

There is a certain contentedness that being on the harbour brings, regardless of the purpose and outcome.

I never tire of Sydney from the water.

Have you been whale watching this year?

Linking this old post with #NaturesNotes because I'm really hoping we make the whale season this year!!