Thursday 30 April 2020

Taking Stock - April

I imagine this will be short as I feel I've really stagnated.

Drinking : Cocktails. Trying to make the weekends interesting and different to the weekdays. 

Reading: Still The Half Brother by Saabye Christensen and listened to Jasper Jones and just started Mrs Dalloway.

Wanting: This to be over. I've hit the wall.

Laughing: As lockdown began I decided to run a Eurovision contest. This has provided much hilarity for 30 of us. Highlight of my week...

Playing: Ping pong - finally! Took a month to turn up!

Wasting: Time. Getting so little done. Really directionless.

Liking: After dinner boardgames. Hope I can keep that going after the restrictions ease.

Loving:  The DJs in Europe live streaming in the mornings our time so I have a daybreaker session every second day. Really lifts my mood at the start of the day. (UK Peeps, you have HotDub at Home - a time travelling dance party from the 50's to now streaming live at 9pm. You don't want to miss it! Another daybreaker for us!)

Hoping: This gets sorted and we get to revell in the wonderful world again. 

Following: Lots of musicians who have been pretty generous with what they share.

The red is the LED shuttlecock in motion

Noticing: An unhealthy trend of people not letting you express negative emotions. Definitely don't dwell there but you can express them to process them and then they go. Pretending  everything is great and you're grateful won't really help you adjust your emotional balance. (That said, if you are struggling with negative feelings, get help. Now is not the time to battle with difficult feelings unnecessarily. If you are feeling down more often than not, take action and get help. Don't let the negative focus take over). 

Enjoying: Night badminton. It's a predinner highlight.

Looking: Out the window, A lot.

Don't forget #SundayCovers goes live tomorrow.

Linking with  #LovingLifeLinky #MCoW  #PictorialTuesday

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

Wednesday 29 April 2020

Music & Memories

This cover isn't new but it still makes me smile and lifts my mood - now with the added bonus of reminding me of my fabulous trip to Womad! Very keen to try and do that next year! I've missed out on too many things these last months, got to make up for lost time!

This song makes me miss being in a crowd, it makes me miss all the benefits of living in the city. I don't think I've stayed home so much since I was a child. I am having fun but it just seems such a waste of life.

And of course the original is this classic song!

All we can do is all we can do. So for now, I'm planning all the wonderful things I will do to make up for lost time (in my head) and play music. Lots of happy music that fills me with joy.

Add your post with a cover that you love. (I will delete non-related posts).

Linking with #FotoTunes #SayCheese and #MondayMusicMovesMe

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Keep your focus!

As the app is taken up, I have noticed an alarming shift in conversation and behaviour. "We need everyone to download the app to stay safe" or "The sooner we all have the app, the sooner we get back to normal". As restrictions ease (and the dubious decision to go back to schools is implemented - discussion for another post), I've noticed a lack of  social distancing in the streets.

The app doesn't work that way. You still get infected, you still go to ICU or not as you would have before the app. It just means you get pulled out of circulation and quarantined earlier (hopefully). However, as Singapore had the app for a month and is now in a 2 month lockdown (longer than ours has been), it is evidently not fool proof.

All the app does is assist manual tracing. The human team need to interpret the data. That's it. You are no safer than you were before the app, until the virus is eradicated completely. The app does help achieve that goal.

Download the app but (1) as restrictions ease, keep a manual diary of who you were with and where you were (as the app won't pick up everyone). (2) Keep social distancing properly (that is literally the only thing that keeps you safe). (3) Continue to wash your hands and sanitise like a mad thing whenever you go out or as soon as you enter the home.

The app actually requires you to take extra care because it appears a lot of people are now taking less.

If our numbers are correct (I am still dubious given global data), then we have been really lucky. Let's not have to lock down again in a month because we were stupid. Jacinda Adhern gave a great speech where she said Covid19 was like a bushfire, and while the blaze was out, there were still embers around that could flare up at any time. Remember you are walking through the embers and you need to be vigilant.

On the positive, I am hoping the mass testing in Victoria gives us adequate data to see if it's safe to open schools (and what the real rate of COVID19 is with the asymptomatic people -and if , for us, the reports of 25%-over50% are correct).

Stay safe. Keep social distancing.

Linking with #B&WWeekend

Monday 27 April 2020

Fattening the Curve

This is possibly the worst dietary advice, and I'm not a doctor, so don't listen to me if you have any health issues. However, in my unqualified random-nobody-on-the-internet opinion, now is not the time to be on the 5/2 diet. Or any diet. If you cut out eating, what are you even doing on those 2 days? Keeping your mood up is a full time job, and for some of us, eating is part of it.

Sure, sub the corn chips for celery with guac or roast some broccoli with garlic instead of potatoes (which by the way my non broccoli eating kid is LOVING!). Maybe try not to have cake or dessert every day. But don't make it an effort and don't be hard on yourself when it comes to food.

Jameela Jamil gave some good advice on Instagram, we don't need to come out of this thin or beautiful, we just need to come out of it alive (and preferably with our mental health in good form).

Exercise for mental health and general fitness. Don't worry about your body shape. For now, you're after endorphins more than anything.

Over 400 years ago, that literary giant that wrote Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes also said “all sorrows are less with bread”, and like his major work, that too stands the test of time. 

We can bore each other to death with diet posts when we get our lives back.

And to paraphrase Jameela again, "Jiggle in peace".

Linking with #UnlimitedLinkParty

Also anyone after Mother's Day gift ideas to make that ISO Mothers Day a little special, see here.

Saturday 25 April 2020

I saw a polar bear....

It had been quite an eventful dog sled excursion out to the ice cave in the glacier in the far north island in Norway. We had been lucky enough to see the sky light up the valley with the northern lights, giving a break to the blackness of the polar night.
My youngest daughter and I were in the lead sled, thankfully driven by the guide.
Suddenly we slowed to a stop. The guide was muttering 'Oh no, oh no, oh no!'
His spotlight swung towards the dogs.
There before us, in the circle of light, pawing at the dogs, was a polar bear.
You could tell she was young but still the size of a cow.
The guide rushed forwards, putting his backpack with the rifle in it at my feet, and ran up to the bear, screaming and waving his arms.
The dogs were at this point jumping and lunging at the bear, who was swatting at them with his paw and snarling.
The guide rushed back and grabbed the brake rope.
The bear moved to the dogs directly in front of us, less than a metre away from my daughter and I, now trapped in the sled as my husband's sled had crashed into us and his dogs were entangled with us on either side of the sled.
The guide ran back to the bear and screamed, less than an arm's length from the bear, then swung the rope and hit it on the nose.
The bear moved away.

Somehow my husband's sled moved off and our guide raced back and we hurried that last 300 metres to safety.
We ran into the change shed and waited.
The two young children started crying 'from the cold'.
Everyone else kept laughing, a strange nervous reaction.

Eventually we were led up to debrief over brandy.
The governor's helicopter arrived to chase off the bear, a common occurrence in Svalbard.
Everyone rushed outside, including my young daughter. I stayed inside cuddling a husky pup as I'd really seen enough for one day. The thought of seeing the bear, even at such a safe distance scared me.

Here is the strange thing. How it happened in my mind as it was happening.

After the fact someone asked if we had stopped because of the bear or if we were stopped and the bear came over. I didn't know. I had to ask the others. In my head, we were stopped and suddenly the bear was there but I couldn't work out why we had stopped. (I realise now the guide had seen the bear and stopped so the other sleds could get past safely, except when the sled behind us crashed into us, no one else could get past).
When I first saw it, I thought 'That's a big dog patting the other dogs, I wonder where it came from?' and I wasn't scared at all. Then after quite a while, I realised it was a polar bear. Apparently my husband on his sled behind us said to my eldest 'Look, a polar bear!'. My brain heard those words and retranslated the image in my head. (In the debrief, this was explained that your mind flicks through what it knows and gives you the most likely thing, and for me, that would be a big white dog, not a polar bear, even though there is no dog that size).
The Blue light in the Polar Night. When it isn't just black.
I had read enough to know the protocol - when you see a polar bear, you load the gun, then fire a flare in the air to scare it, then fire the gun in the air to scare it and only if absolutely necessary, shoot the bear. So when the guide put the backpack with the gun in it at my feet, I looked at it and thought "What are you doing? Aren't you meant to load that?....Am I meant to load that? ' more curious and confused than panicked. (I am not brave, it's just what your brain does).
I also thought to myself quite calmly "People don't die like this in real life". It was a feeling of disbelief that I was going to die like this. Incredulity more than fear.
When the guide rushed back to get the rope, I quietly asked "What should we do?" and he said "Stay inside" and I thought, irritated "There is no inside! We're effectively sitting on the ground". I had asked what we should do in case I was meant to be loading the gun or running away. (You don't run away because it kicks in the bear's hunting instinct).

When the bear moved closer to the dogs next to us, I remember wondering what I was meant to do when it got to us.

My daughter then whispered "I'm scared" and I replied quietly but in a sing song tone "It's okay, we're just going to sit very quietly and be very still." At this point the dogs behind me crashed into us and I realised we couldn't actually move away anyway and I thought "I'm going to have to stand up and throw (my daughter) away (in the other direction) and jump into the bear". Even then it was sort of sad annoyance rather than terror. I was extremely irritated when I thought "It's really going to hurt." somehow shutting out the idea I'd be dead soon, once the bear attacked.

When we all raced back and parked the sleds, I told my daughter to run with the others to the building and I yelled for my middle child who was the last to turn up with the second guide. I probably shrieked hysterically actually.  I almost burst into tears thinking he'd been attacked.  That was the moment that sheer terror kicked in. However, his sled sped in to a stop in front of me and I was flooded with relief.
In true Mum form, I made sure I scrambled behind him to the change room. Not bravery, just reflex. At that point I was really scared. Strangely when I was safer than I'd previously been.

Someone asked me how long the whole incident took. It seemed like a really long time while it happened but in reality, the most it could have been was a couple of minutes.

One very strange thing, as we drove there on the morning of the sled excursion, the van was playing Metallica and I thought to myself "I really hope if we die that this isn't the last song I ever hear". I then laughed at myself for being such a nut. Perhaps a premonition? Who knows?

I think the very beautiful brave dogs and the actions of the incredibly calm and courageous guide Marcel saved our lives. My husband asked him if he’d done that before and he said he’d never seen a bear close up before, only off in the distance. The other guide had only ever seen tracks.

We were left with the most amazing memories and now in hindsight, I really wish I had a photo of it to share!! I tell people we were attacked by a polar bear, because in my head, that's what happened however the proper term is that we had a polar bear encounter.

I can also honestly say, I never need to be that close to a polar bear ever again!

It was reported on the news in Norway and as we left the next morning, we missed being interviewed, much to my daughter's disappointment when she found out the other little girl 'became famous'.

 Linking with #OurWorldTuesday

I find it interesting they said no aggression as it was snarling at the dogs, or at least I definitely saw it baring it's teeth.

Other reports:

Page 23 of The State of the Polar Bear Report 2020

Thursday 23 April 2020

B&W Challenge.

On Facebook there's a 10 day black and white challenge and I've really enjoyed playing around with visuals. If you haven't been tagged, why not start it yourself and give yourself a lovely distraction from Boredom19.

When I was first tagged, I was lying on the beanbag on the deck reading my book (distracted from reading my book might be a more appropriate description).

So I took this photo of the deck table and bench from where I was lying. I really like it - the light shades and the brick and wood textures.

What are you seeing a litte differently through your lens?

Lining with  #PictorialTuesday #WordlessWednesday #SayCheese #WWOT #WWOAT #ThruMyLens #B&WWeekend and #MySundayBest

Mother's Day ideas for those who can't see their Mother.

Mother's Day is usually a big lunch for my Mother (and my husband celebrates with his Mother for lunch with all the extended family). However, this year is cancelled.

Both our Mothers are high risk (and my daughter works in a fast food chain so I feel we are high risk carriers) so we can't see them.

I've been looking for gift ideas to make up for the lack of visits and celebration. Feel free to add other ideas in the comments.

I love this idea, but unfortunately they both live out of the delivery area. The Tea Cosy in The Rocks is delivering high teas. See here for details.

The fabulous people at Two Good Co. have two Mother's Day hampers, that include the new essential, hand sanitiser (made in conjunction with Young Henry's, so you're keeping those guys employed too) as well as luxury items. Part of the proceeds go to their commitment to the South Coast Bush fire  affected shelters. Note also they're doing takeaway (and these meals provide meals to domestic violence shelters as usual, and employ vulnerable women to make the celebrity chef meals. I think this month was designed by Kylie Kwong).

Gift a meal. Pick their favourite restaurant and get an order delivered. Keep those guys in business.
Get some cocktails delivered from their local restaurant, fine diner or bar.
Long Chim (and note the meal packs)
Kid Kyoto
Mr Wong
Six Penny
These restaurants are all doing takeaway (though some require pick up, so you might need to deliver yourself or make arrangements to keep your Mum at home!)

Kakadu Plum has a Mother's Day hamper that gives back to the Indigenous Bush Food Project.

Gift theatre tickets. Redline Theatre has a great live reading coming up and the proceeds will support the theatre community in both  NSW and Chicago.

A number of fabulous markets are now online. See Finders Keepers, The Rocks Markets and Kirribilli Markets to support small local stall holders.

If your Mum is Marie Kondo-ing through the lockdown, give her a clothes recycling pickup with Manrags. For $25 you can fill a box to 10 kilos of shoes and  clean clothes (not underwear) for recycling or if damaged, the materials are recycled. Or look at their great range of socks for women!

I'm still working out what to give to the mothers in my life to make them feel special on this Mother's day that is bound to feel like a disappointment.

What are you doing?

Linking with #LovingLifeLinky because even though I can't celebrate properly, I refuse to let it be a fail!

Wednesday 22 April 2020

I like the way you work it...

Sydney Town Hall but very Gatsby party...
Probably one of the most covered songs in the world, and while I'm not normally a fan as people like to slow it down for some reason, this electroswing version is fun. So grab your beads and feather fans or boas and get your 20's on...

The orginal is here.

Get your Gatsby on....

Previous posts are here.

Add you posts on musical covers here for #SundayCovers.

Linking with #BlueMonday
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

I also want to plug Hot Dub Time Machine - a dance party through time (usually starting in the 50's and moving on up until today), they've been doing #HotDubAtHome and it's really made a difference to my Saturday nights. So check out the deets here. Either join the fun of the live stream or check out past shows.

Saturday 18 April 2020

“Any kind of dancing is better than no dancing at all.” Lynda Barr

I have spoken before about the benefits of dancing. I think now is a time to regularly dance to uplift your soul. There are however more scientific studies on the benefits of dancing for both physical and mental health. Dancing together, even if streamed apart, has the same mental health benefit as a hug. This article Why dancing is the best thing you can do for your body is worth a read.

Currently, when I do my youtube workouts, if they include an exercise that won't be good for my back, I just dance through it, rather than fast forward. I don't listen to the workout - I mute it and have my dance playlist running so am quite elated while doing the workout each morning.

Every second Saturday from 6-8, Hot Dub Time Machine is streaming live. Grab a cocktail, put on some party lights and pretend you're with the 40, 000 other people streaming it for #HotDubAtHome. Catch past shows here.

Play all the #FurnaceatHome clips together for a good 20 mins of dancing. There are 4 so far...but this one is my fav, because of Dolly.

I'm very excited because Duke Dumont is streaming live this afternoon, so I'll be dancing again from 4pm. Sign up to Bands in Town, track all your favs. A lot of people are doing concerts almost weekly - and all different types of Musicians. Jon Cleary is doing a tour (so basically the start time is 8pm in different timezones around the States). 

Grab some new grooves with #SundayCovers.

There are also free dance lessons you can join in, so pick your type of dance and get googling. Who knows, you may find a new hobby for you by the end of this.

If you're feeling a little low, the quickest way to lift your mood is to get moving in joyous exercise. 

Do you have tips to get your groove on?

“The job of feets is walking, but their hobby is dancing.”
Amit Kalantri

This week's #SundayCovers will also get you dancing! Or click here to add your own post about music covers.

My Random Musings

Making the best of it. (warning, not the most uplifting post)

WARNING: This post is a bit of a downer, so if you aren't in a frame of mind for it, don't bother reading it (I understand). Jump here for a recipe for happiness (and a virtual hug!)

I am in pretty good shape during this ISO but I am occasionally hit with pangs of great sadness or depression (not clinical, just down in the dumps). It tends to be at the thought of what I'm missing out on, and will I have to wait a long time to do those things I love again. I am old, and I'm running out of time, so a year off takes away from what time I have active left before my body physically won't allow it.

I was dancing away to Hot Dub Time Machine last night, and while I was having fun (and had decorated the lounge with fairy lights), I was struck with thought that I would never complain about people telling me I was old at a Festival again. I would gladly be out in a crowd and insulted by well meaning young people who thought they were being kind, than dancing by myself in a lounge room. I will carry the appreciation of not being isolated for a long time, I think.
Stuck in a queue? At least you aren't stuck at home.
Meal taking too long to arrive? At least you aren't eating at home.
To hard to see the stage? At least there is a stage and someone on it.
And so the list will go on.

However, now all we can do is all we can do.

Linking with #MLSTL

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Wednesday 15 April 2020

I heard....

I heard an angel singing...Well, not quite. I heard a bird. With the lack of planes to drown them out, I was drawn to investigate loud chirping. A rosella was singing perched on the palm.

Were the birds always there and I couldn't hear them over the plane noise or have they come back now the planes are all but gone?

Are you hearing new things in the quiet Covid times?

"Just when I thought my soul was lost, I heard the angels singing.
My dungeon was shook and my chains dropped off ,I heard the angels singing"
See the bird on the palm?

"In that great getting up morning I heard my angels - Hallelujah!"

May you be hearing angels in whatever form they take for you.

Linking with #WildBirdWednesday

Rescue me...

Someone left these records out to be rescued in the CovidCleanOut

This cover's been on high rotation for my morning exercise, and quite possibly my theme song for the lockdown, dedicated to all the smart scientists and doctors out there..."Can't you see that I'm lonely? Rescue me!"

Fontella Bass released the original that I know, though I believe Aretha did a version too. Here's the cover that I'm loving at the moment.

Have you discovered a theme song for the lockdown?

Kind offers of rescue in the Great Toilet Paper Shortage

Throwback to last week's post if you missed it, and the study on the healing power of music. 9 minutes is all you need to feel better!

Every Sunday, link a post featuring a cover of a song for #SundayCovers. (I will delete posts linked not on the topic of musical covers).

Linking with #TheRandom #FotoTunes
My Random Musings

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Friday 10 April 2020

Everything old is new again.

I talked about the healing power of music here and here, so it was little surprise to me that this UK study found music takes 13 minutes to release sadness or 9 minutes to make you happy. In this lock down life I'm exercising online but with my own dance track in the background, and it starts my day in the best possible way. It shakes off any low mood and makes me feel great.

So I recommend, and again this is just for mood maintenance not depression (always see your doctor if low moods hang around for more than a day or two, now is not the time to 'soldier on'), blasting your favourite tunes as you cook or do the housework, or during exercise or anything more than 9 minutes...

To get you in the mood, I am going to play a game with you all called #SundayCovers. I love the song The Sun is Shining Down by JJ Grey and Mofro. It is however, a little down for me at the moment. I was delighted when my Spotify alerted me to the fact that Lost Frequencies had done a cover (mix?) of it. Much more dancable and yet still the same pretty song.

Every Sunday, you can add a post to the link of a cover of a song you like (and a link somewhere in your post to the original so those of us with time and inclination can compare). Let's find 9 mins of new music for those happy soundtracks.

Please only link posts about covers of songs. I will delete other posts linked. Cheers

Linking with #TheRandom and #WordlessWednesday
My Random Musings

Thursday 9 April 2020

Bluesfest - a lament

We were meant to be at Bluesfest this weekend, and while there's personal disappointment, a bigger loss was made with the death of John Prine with COVID19 complications. It just sort of hit a little closer to home the mess that we're in. And I hope that's as close to home as it gets, given I know a number of doctors on the Covid Teams around the city, as well as teachers who are my age, so at high risk too.

On Bluesfest, I miss being in a crowd. I miss the energy you get from shared live music. I miss the sheer joy of it all. I miss being in that festival bubble.

There is a spotify playlist of the artists that were coming for the 2020 event and this clip from last year really made me smile.

I guess all we can do is start planning for the next one, and go to those events we can, as soon as we can.

Think of those that we have lost forever with this disease, and work hard to keep that number as low as possible.

Stay home and stay safe.

I'll leave it to John Prine for the last words.

Linking with #PictorialTuesday #WordlessWednesday #FotoTunes  and #WWOT

Wednesday 8 April 2020

Tromso - Share My Snaps!

Given that I don't have a lot of snaps to share that are of interest at the moment, I'm sharing some of the pictures from our trip to Norway that we were lucky enough to complete without incident (other than with a polar bear).

Open flames light the streets

Most of Tromsø, including the city centre, is located on the island of Tromsøya, 350 kilometres (217 mi) north of the Arctic Circle in the newly established county Troms og Finnmark (1st Jan 2020).

There is a cable car lookout which has stunning views across the city. If you walk back, you get a lovely view of the picturesque houses and their hygge window displays.

 Tromso has a mix of very old buildings and wonderful modern ones. It's a beautiful and easily accessible city, though very slippery with hard ice in the streets!

It is a base for the Northern Lights, when in season, though we didn't see them. It is also a good spot to see Orcas, however you now need to travel a few hours (by boat or car) to find them, due to climate change and the herring moving north. The Arctic Fjords are a stunning back drop if you make the excursion by boat.
Look closely and see an Orca.

We were there for the International Film Festival, which alas was sold out when we attempted to attend, but there were screenings in the street as well, and a tipi to warm up in.

Known as the tiniest bar in the Universe
Even in the cold weather, the tiny bar was very popular. 

  Are you thinking of faraway places and wide open spaces?

Linking on the theme of COLD with 
Pieni Lintu - MakroTex challenge