Thursday 27 February 2020

Sydney's Mardi Gras

For the last three weeks, Sydney has been awash with rainbows. Whether you participate or not, it has made the weekly shopping excursions a little more uplifting and the city feels a little kinder and more inclusive.

As I said earlier in an insta-post, if you are dealing with big emotions or fears, you only need to take one step at a time, in your own time but ALWAYS take PRIDE in yourself.

In the 21st century, it seems odd (and frankly depressing) to me that this is still a thing that even needs discussion any more than being left handed. However, not wanting to straight-splain being gay, I'll keep my mouth shut, and remind you there are allies everywhere and wish you all a Happy Mardi Gras!

Linking with #WordlessWednesday #MCOW #MySundayBest #WWOAT #Thrumylens #GlobalBlogging

PS I know I'm technically cheating with the Elton John Laneway at The Grounds but it still works so....
PPS I know I've shared it before, but if you're wondering how to react to someone coming out to you, the end of this song nails it perfectly.

Wednesday 26 February 2020

Taking Stock - March

The first two months of the year have flown by. I still sort of feel 'just back'. 
Cooking: Lots of vegetable meals. I started getting an organic fruit and veg box delivered (in an effort to reduce carbon emissions in my grocery shopping and boost local economies - not sure really how much difference it makes but it is making me eat a lot of vegetables I never normally buy and the fruit is AMAZING).

Sipping: Koskenkorva Lemon Lime Yarrow, and flooding my mind with memories of the trip to Norway, where we drank Helsinki duty free in the room because the $AUD was traumatisingly low against the Krone.

Reading: The Aunt's Story by Patrick White for bookclub. Not loving it but not hating it either. Also making my way through The Half Brother by Lars Saabye Christensen. 

Looking: For fun. Always.

Listening: The Galantis Album Church, Nice Guy by courtship and a number of tunes by Klangkarussell

Not sure about the NSFW aspect - nothing rude but lots of close ups of legs and curves. But a reflection of a total mum moment, my issue with this clip is they drop a water balloon off a tall building. Which could kill someone if it hit them so don't do that, people. Ever! Sometimes I hate how my brain works.

Wishing: We had a federal ICAC and they stopped wasting our tax dollars.

Enjoying: A string of concerts in the lead up to Bluesfest and a run of theatre dates.

Eating: A bit too much.

Liking: Blue skies again and the summer that we didn't have over December/Jan and all the rain we've been getting. Nice to see some green.

Loving: That the bushfires are over. It was really upsetting me. Now to rebuild and hopefully these dunderheads will learn that underfunding the Fire Service (and not covering their work related cancers in Workers Comp) is unacceptable.

Watching: Homeland. Wishing we had the new season of Curb and Better call Saul too...but having to wait.

Hoping: This virus gets under control soon. 

Noticing: That tiny and picture perfect Tallin was among the top 7 most intelligent communities in the world. Proving no idea is too big to implement and no city too small to become something great. Australia has fallen so far behind the rest of the world. It's a real tragedy. 

Feeling: Pretty happy. Busy and having lots of fun. That's all you can ask for in life.

Tuesday 25 February 2020

Some days you just feel your age....

I was writing a card to my niece's baby, a little six month old, and I signed off, "Your" and then it dawned on me, the words that followed were "Great Aunt." It hit me hard. How did I get THAT old? A great aunt? I finished with a PS. "Let us never speak these words again!"  It really threw me. Frankly I blame literature for the bad rap Great Aunts get. It you are writing a novel, especially a children's book, make the Great Aunt youthful and vibrant please, so as not to pass this word association on to future generations...

Later in the week, I went to a concert and the female singer was very cool and hopping and dancing energetically with wild abandon. I realised a few songs in that she had a moonboot on, and it was later confirmed she did indeed have a broken foot. So apparently young yet injured people still look cool and dance better than I do.

On the flip side, I went to a party and spent most of the night on the dance floor with the 60 somethings that got the dancing started. The oldest people there were also the most enthusiastic. They liked the current music as much as the old music and it gave me hope that there are plenty of us out there. Those still engaged in life and the pursuit of fun.

While I may be old in appearance and by definition, I'm still young enough to revel in the fun of life. For the young people out there, always be kind. We don't like to be reminded of how old we actually are. We know, but it's just so easy to forget.

“Never dismiss old people having fun; you will be one of them eventually if you're lucky.”
― Carmine Savastano

Sunday 23 February 2020

"There is only one better thing than music - live music". Jacek Andrzej Bukowski

I was talking to friends of my husband who had started, in their late 50's, to go to live music regularly. Not the big stadium concerts but the small gigs in the dive bars. As someone who had taken up the same almost as therapy when my father was dying, I asked him if he'd gone a lot in his youth and got back to it, or if it was a new pleasure. While he had done the big name gigs when young, this was a new breed of concert going. 

Like me.

Also like me, he agreed that no matter what your mood was when you went in (he's dealing with a terminal illness), you always came out feeling happy.  I explained my theory about the energy. There is an exchange of energy between you and the performer, of course, but you also feed off the energy of the crowd. In a good audience, you get swept away on the joyful emotion. Add to that some endorphins from dancing and you come out a changed person.

Whether I'm completely sober or had a few drinks, I still leave with an injection of euphoria that lasts well into the next day, if the band is good. Last night was Parov Stelar and they were excellent! Even with a singer with a broken foot in a moonboot, both the band and the crowd was jumping and dancing and high on the experience. (They still have dates in Melbourne and Adelaide - and Noumea - so if you can get there, do! You'll love it).

Making us with old knees work hard....

“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel." Hunter S. Thompson

Linking with #ThruMyLens. Linking this old post because it was written just before all the live music got taken away - in fact the band returned to Europe and went straight into lockdown. How weird the world shifted. 

Thursday 20 February 2020

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” ― Maya Angelou

I saw this picture on Instagram last week of a magnificent pink manta ray. It's the only one of its kind in the world. I asked my husband why it was like that and he shrugged, 'It's some kind of genetic defect'.  Like we learn in the story of the Ugly Duckling, what initially seems like a handicap can in fact be our beauty and strength.

As I said recently, in my old age, I'm fairly unshockable. I’m discovering there is no unusual, just people that haven't found their tribes yet. Unlike the pink manta, you probably aren't the only person in the world going through what you are experiencing.

Sometimes your difference is what makes you special. Like Dorothy in the Oz, you just have to find your people. They may not be the same as you, but they love you all the same. Regardless of difference. Just like the pink manta ray and its remora.

Short and sweet with #Lifethisweek on the theme of Unusual. 

“That proves you are unusual," returned the Scarecrow; "and I am convinced that the only people worthy of consideration in this world are the unusual ones. For the common folks are like the leaves of a tree, and live and die unnoticed.”

― L. Frank Baum, The Land of Oz


Tuesday 18 February 2020

Peri-empty nesting

I have quite a few women friends becoming dissatisfied in their work. It's not something they've usually had an issue with. There does however seem to be a pattern amongst these women. While I think the bushfires has actually given us all a low grade depression (and add to that the governments appalling inaction on climate change so we know it will only get worse for us so there's also a feeling of futility and despair), and the fact no one could exercise properly or enjoy being outdoors for the last four months, which has a very damaging side effect to our mental wellbeing, I do believe there is more to it. 

All these women have one child finished school and the other one heading into the senior years. The children are becoming more independent and our role as mother is becoming less relevant. Once one child finishes the HSC, you realise it's not the big fanfare that we're led to believe. It is literally as Michael Carr-Gregg says in his book, Surviving the HSC, merely the third 'transition into work or study'. That first year post HSC makes you realise your role as mother is ending, at least in that level of involvement.

Just as perimenopause heralds the occurrence of menopause with a few minor symptoms, this is the beginning of the realisation that soon your life will just revolve around you. After the years of juggling family life and children's needs, that can be daunting as it requires you to know what your needs and desires are to feel fulfilled. 

Basically, there are suddenly a lot less things to distract you from your work, so you need work to be a lot more engaging and interesting than it was before. The need for satisfaction from work becomes greater than it's ever been. That's a big ask as it hasn't changed necessarily, you have.
We suddenly discover we are at an age where life is more about us than it has been for at least the last 18-20 years.  We need something invigorating in our lives. We need our lives to be meaningful again. And for a lot of us, that's causing dissatisfaction in work, because that's the thing that's still taking up most of our time and where our focus and self-esteem is.

I don't have the solution yet, but I do believe understanding what's causing the issue is a good start. Only you can decide if there really is a problem with your job, and if changing work will be a solution or will you just carry that dissatisfaction with you to a new workplace? For some people, making time for hobbies will solve it. For some people they need to discover what they actually enjoy doing. For others, a new career will be the solution. Something they've always dreamed of or something that will help others or an impactful work.

My only advice is that it appears to be a common problem. It is worth investigating what is specifically the cause before you take action. A little introspection can never hurt.

Are you feeling this or noticing it in your circle of friends? What do you think? Does Peri-emptynesting  exist?

Sunday 16 February 2020

Up close and far away

I was lucky enough to spend a lot of nights around the Harbour this week - dinner with overseas visitors and two plays at the Opera House. So I was able to soak in its magnificence from up close and far away.
I love that this building fills me with much joy. It gives me a buzz of excitement, even after all these years, no matter how many times I see it. 

What about you? Do you have buildings you love where you live?

Tuesday 11 February 2020

Life is infinitely more complicated than we were led to believe...

I've been chasing down a friend that's gone MIA. Unreturned phone calls, unanswered texts and invitations. It's not that unusual for her, but I wanted her to know we hadn't given up. I bumped in to her in the street by chance and she told me why she'd bunkered down. I offered to help and then parted with "I'll just keep making the offers and when you're ready we'll get together".

I'm becoming a little unshockable, as the range of issues people (and myself) have to face is huge. I almost always know someone going through a similar thing. I have come to the conclusion that life is infinitely more complicated than we were led to believe. But why? Why were we told a story along the lines of: You get married, have children, live happily ever after? Did our parents really live in a simpler time or did people hide their secrets in shame? 

I think we are in a far better place that people can talk openly about their problems. A problem shared is a problem halved and all that. I also think it's very good to know you aren't the only person going through something.

So, if you are swimming in rough seas, ignore the fear of judgement (especially your own) and swim towards the life guards.  While they may not be able to dive in and save you, they will most definitely throw you something to cling to until somebody can help.

Linking with #AnythingGoes because talking about problems reduces loneliness and increases well being, and that is self care.

My Random Musings

Sunday 9 February 2020

Rainy Weekend

While the roads flood and roofs leak, and the SES and fireservice are in overdrive around Sydney, it's worth remembering that all this much needed rain is causing more damage than good where it counts. Most of the State's dams remain under 10% and Sydney's main dam is currently only up to 44%. Alarmingly.
So water restrictions still apply and don't start the celebrations yet. We've a long, long way to go before we're out of danger.

There was still time to get out and end the New Year Celebrations with a few drinks with friends. So for me, the weekend wasn't a total waste. It did seem strange however to cosy up indoors for a whole weekend after so long....

What did you do this weekend?

Linking with #SayCheese #PictorialTuesday #MySundayBest #WWOT #WWOAT #WordlessWednesday #RubyTuesdayToo #Random #ThruMyLens

May you live in interesting times

While in Oslo, we stumbled across this familiar face. The fearless girl. At first she seemed to be standing in the middle of the sidewalk, staring at nothing. Not facing off with the ferocious bull like in New York.

The plaque nearby added little to explain.

However, with a little more investigation, we discovered she was staring down something much bigger than a charging bull or even sexism. She was staring down the government, because she faces the Norwegian parliament, Stortinget.

We are seeing a rise in child activists around the world, teenagers doing what the adults should be doing. We ought to be ashamed.

The Norwegian Government, when it made it's wealth in oil, created a Sovereign Fund to look after it's people. It invests a mere 4% of it in the country each year. The Norwegian Government is also investing in preparing and adaptation for climate change, with the future safety of the people in mind. It is something we would do well to learn from.

Our government seems a little more focused on the well being of the MPs and less on the people of the nation. More alarmingly, there is damaging legislative and environmental changes heading our way which will alter and damage our way of life, quite possibly forever.

Perhaps we need to learn from this fearless Norwegian girl? Perhaps we need to take a stand against corruption or at least demand full transparency, even if we voted for their tax reform or some other policy? The tax paying people of Australia deserve better. We deserve our tax dollars to make Australia a better place to live, not just for the few in power, but for the many. Better schools, better hospitals, proper infrastructure, a well funded Medicare and so on.

With the state of the country and the economy both in rapid decline, it's now up to us to try to repair the damage. We need to put this government on notice that we won't turn a blind eye anymore. The apathetic Australian needs to state what is acceptable. People treat you the way you let them, we need to stop letting them treat us like fools.

You are still a loyal Liberal or National voter if you demand a Federal ICAC, for this is not aimed solely at the LNP. The rot won't stop with the next election. It won't stop with a change of power. It won't stop, unless we make it stop. Our politicians on both sides of the fence have shown us that they need someone to keep them in check. We are stupid if we think otherwise, as repeated behaviour only emboldens them all. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, as they say. There needs to be a non political body to keep watch with the tax payers interests at heart.

There is an old curse, usually referred to as a Chinese curse, though it's apparently not Chinese.

May you live in interesting times.

We are living it and perhaps we need to live a little more fearlessly. We need to let them know they are being watched and we expect more. Our future depends on it.

Linking with #Lifethisweek #OurWorldTuesday #WednesdayAroundtheWorld #MCOW #TravelTuesday

Saturday 1 February 2020

Svalbard - Share my Snaps!

Not quite ready to come back, but couldn't miss Denyse's prompt of #ShareMySnaps. So the first window into our Norwegian adventure is a glimpse of Svalbard, 1000 kms from the North Pole, and where we were attacked by a polar bear, the story making the tv news on the mainland and local print news (and online, obvs) but more on that to come....

Entrance to Mary-Ann's Polar Rigg

This tiny outpost is fascinating, and already affected by climate change, resulting in buildings having to be moved and rebuilt with different materials, some of the wild flowers have already begun to adapt (altering physically) and of course, the government spending billions to secure the World Seed Vault after it began to leak due to the now much wetter weather.

Strange glow in the Polar Night

This was our last glimpse of sunlight for a few days as we entered 24 hour darkness of the Polar Night.

The beautiful Simon, one of the many brave dogs that took on the Polar Bear while we were on the sled adventure.

For those that missed it, we ended up in the far, far north due to my poor map reading abilities as detailed here, but it did end up being the highlight of the trip and an unforgettable experience for so many reasons.

The Polar Bear story is now here.

Linking with #TimelessThursdays as I'd love to go back during light hours and see the walruses (and maybe only see the polar bears from a safe distance!)
Taken after breakfast on the way back to the room