Tuesday 30 June 2020

“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.” ― Lewis Carroll

 As you know, I'm not one for hanging around the house, so was delighted to finally foray in to the city with friends...We dressed in theme, and without consulting each other, there was Alice, the Queen and the Cheshire Cat amongst us.

We had tickets to the Alice and settled in with a drink at the Wonderland Bar before an evening of tea and games (or should that be cocktails and punishments?).

I did get a special cat grin mask to wear over my mask but the spacing was adequate so I felt it unnecessary (brave new world).

 It's silly fun and a lot of laughs.

The Doormouse even joined us for a bit, but no tale of treacle wells. He must have been asleep...

I'm not going to elaborate more, for as it is said in Wonderland: “No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.” Though it is the case that things did most definitely get “Curiouser and curiouser!” If you're after a little escape from dreary reality, you should buy tickets here.

For me it was just what the doctor ordered; a great antidote to the stress of the world at the moment. The perfect way to end the weekend with merriment and good friends on a Sunday night. And in the wisdom of Lewis Carroll  “But, said Alice, if the world has absolutely no sense, who's stopping us from inventing one?” 

What have you been loving out of lockdown?Linking with #WednesdayAroundtheWorld

Sunday afternoon dog walk in B&W

There's a lot of talk of the works of Hopper showing the social distancing and home isolation of the Spanish Flu era, and just as it was then, it is what it is. Perhaps one day we won't really even notice it until it's pointed out to us?

One of the few joys that was left to us with cinemas, concerts, bars and restaurants off the agenda was sensational dog walks, which made our pups very happy.

Sometimes, with the lens of appreciation, the simplest pleasures grow in beauty.

Wishing you glimmers of light that explode in your day, bringing smiles when you reflect on those moments, as insignificant as they may have seemed at the time.

Linking with #ThruMyLens

Partying in the new world

During lockdown we'd had a Eurovision contest, which lasted over 12 weeks, with four countries competing against each other twice a week...when the numbers rose to twenty, we had a celebration to wrap up the competition.

We have lots of parties, and 80 people is the norm and we have that down to an art. However, this was different. 20 people but a lot more work and strangely more expensive. Gone are the platters and pizza delivered, just in case.

Gone is the shared hand towels.

I emailed the 'house keeping' a few days before the party,  there was sanitiser all over the place, and all food was in covered individual containers...compostable of course!

No hugs, but still lots of fun...it was good to feel that things were sort of edging back to normal, and feeling a bit more social...

"Good parties create a temporary youthfulness" Mason Cooley once said. I certainly felt invigorated preparing for it, and quite joyous the next day. It had been the longest we'd gone without a party, as the last one we'd had was the early Xmas party in mid November (to beat the rush).

Yet another thing I hadn't realised I missed until I did it again...

Have you started claiming back your old 'normal' in new ways, post COVID?

Linking with
Musings Of A Tired Mummy

Friday 26 June 2020

Clouds on water

Sometimes a winter's stroll with clouds and water is all you need.
May the simplest things bring you joy this weekend.

Linking with #WWOT and #WordlessWednesday

Thursday 25 June 2020

Best time of Day

I get up at 6 am to write - so the best time of day for me is 6am-7am. It's time just for me.
I'm also very reluctant to give up that time. I'm often asked to go for coastal walks with friends in the mornings but it would mean I cut short my writing time, so I don't. It's like I've carved out a small secret block of time that's mine, and only mine.

In fact, I'm writing this in my sacred time of day right now....

It does also explain all the sunrise shots I take, as I wake and then go straight to the window to see what the day will bring.

Those moments, straight after waking, are filled with endless potential. The day could bring anything. Those minutes are bursting with limitless promise,

Come 7 am, the children need waking and breakfast, lunches and washing need to be done, showers and exercise take place. The magic is gone and practical reality has taken it's place.

Until the next morning....

What's your favourite time of day?

Linking with #HeidiHeavenlyGaze

Wednesday 24 June 2020

“You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.” ― Andy Warhol

I had this week put aside to catch up on work, and with little planned in the diary, it looks dull (until our party this weekend - with a whole 20 guests!) but it's been filled with a lot of delights.

We went to dinner at a great restaurant in Petersham, Noi, which friends had picked and it was a really fun night and the food and service is fantastic. Sydney people, definitely check it out.

I had two spontaneous catch ups with friends (so am still behind in my work but hope to fix that this morning).

My course on women in history has lead to some really interesting thoughts on race (and how they were treated and how it made their fight for agency different) and I've been listening to the Ariel Gore book on how the data for happiness is gendered. While I'm not sure I agree with her (though it is definitely through a lens of privilege), her arguments are really interesting, and the questions she asked really got me thinking. And thinking energises me. More than exercise. But I have been exercising a lot this week, and walking a lot more too, so feeling pretty full of beans.

Over the last few weeks, I've had a lot of fun exploring the latest creation from the Les Enfants Terribles, an immersive theatre group. I had seen their spectacular Alice's Adventures Underground in the tunnels under Waterloo station, so I signed up with glee when I saw they were starting an online adventure for lockdown. Yesterday I got the email that level two would launch tomorrow (I'm guessing maybe Saturday here?). Have you Entered the Prism?

I discovered not one, but two new singers. Sister Rosetta Tharpe - the woman who inspired the likes of Bob Dylan and is actually seen as the inventor of Rock'n'Roll. A friend posted this article and I tracked her down on Spotify...there's a galaxy of what we don't know just waiting to be discovered.

The other came out of a discussion while watching Godfather of Harlem. My husband thought Leon Bridges was doing the vocals for Teddy Greene but in Rise, it's Samm Henshaw. This is him with Brasstracks but check out his full list on Spotify.

Thinking I was having a dull week, it's been pretty great and I'm enthused with my world and brimming with joy. And that, I think is loving life!

“Stay in awe of life. The little things are the big things. Awareness is a fundamental shift in personal identity and experiencing your world with joy.”
― Richie Norton

Linking with 

Tuesday 23 June 2020

“Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.” ― Marcel Proust

I'm really interested in memory and the way it works. The recollecting and retelling of the memory actually alters the memory - we smooth out the bits we want to and focus on others until it is more a story than a true detail of events.

I recently learnt of the Collective Imaginary in a course, and they gave the example of how if you ask people to visualise the Civil Rights movement, they will see images of the march on Washington, hoses and protests, Martin Luther King and so on. But ask them to see the Suffragette movement and they draw a blank, even though HALF the population won the right to vote, it spanned decades and it was photographed so there are images. It was big but slips by with little context in our visual memory. Some images are fed to us as iconic and some are not. In the course I did on Gender and Intersectionality on Edx with the University of Iceland, they said 'History is written by the victorious and the powerful; in most cases, men. Women, people of other genders, the weak, the vulnerable, the uneducated*, those without access to the corridors of power -these people are rarely included in the ways in which history is recorded, disseminated, or remembered' and I think that is probably what was in play here. Our historical memory (of events we weren't present at) are curated for us in a narrative that someone shaped as 'important history'.

I wrote of my own surprise at the difference in Collective Imaginary here and here, long before I knew what it was. This week I had another real life example of the fluidity of memory and how we can alter things without realising it. We are watching the Godfather of Harlem at the moment and I keep commenting how the actor playing Malcolm X looks EXACTLY like him. It's uncanny. Last night I decided to google the actor to see what else he'd been in. I discovered he also played Malcolm X in Selma and the penny dropped. I wasn't remembering what the real Malcolm X looked like, I was remembering the last time I saw Malcolm X depicted! I was actually remembering this actor as Malcolm X five years ago...

For the record, he does look a lot like the real Malcolm X too, but not as identical as I thought!

And so it goes with all memories, we shape our narrative, whether we want to or not.

“Memory is a few lines snipped from a larger story that we are privileged to tuck away between the pages of our minds.”
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

Have you caught your memory playing tricks on you?

*Note uneducated doesn't mean stupid but if you can't write your story down, it's very hard to get it preserved.

Linking with
3 Little Buttons

Thursday 18 June 2020

Inner City Colour

I came across this old post of random photos and thought I'd share some more as I'm feeling a little unmotivated for blogging at the moment. Not sure why. Stopped to write a few stories and don't seem to get my head focused to get back into it.

I love the midwinter light in this one.

Love the reflected tree.

Not my feet but made me smile
Linking with #Skywatch

Book suggestions - what's a good book for book club?

I need to pick a book for book club but am drawing a blank. I'm reading the Portrait of Dorian Gray and thoroughly enjoying that. Just finished David Breashears High Exposure and loved that.Loved This is going to hurt. Enjoyed When Time Stopped by Ariana Neumann.

The last few books we did were Phosphorescence, Mrs. Dalloway, American Dirt and The Authenticity Project.

What's a good book club book?

Linking with #Booknificent

My Random Musings

The weight of things...

Slowly as we come out of lockdown and embrace our life again, it seems for a lot of people, that involves talk of diets or needing to lose weight.

If you have spent three months housebound and your head is full of weight loss upon release, I'd hazard a guess you aren't living enough.

Sure, cut out the desserts, slow down on the comfort food - maybe cut back on the alcohol and up the exercise, but don't taint your day but filling you head with the negative and frankly the infinitely boring. Try to eat healthily but don't make food, diets or weight loss your focus. Don't fill your head or worse, conversation with it. It only makes it bigger than it needs to be.

As I said when recounting the following tale, I didn't get to this age to bore everyone by talking about my weight, even myself in my own head.

The other day I put on my beloved but twelve year old Miro leggings. I thought 'I'm probably a bit too fat now for these to look good' but then decided to wear them anyway because I had places to be. Some noise is just too tedious and annoying to pay much attention to.

As I headed on my way, a complete stranger stopped me and asked me where I got the tights, because I looked 'fabulous'. And there you go. Who would I listen to? The voice in my head that's spent a life time chipping away unhelpfully or a complete stranger who went out of their way to let me know how good I looked?

It put a spring in my step and I thought, the Augusten Burroughs How to be fat chapter in his wonderful book This is How had obviously sunk in. For those that remember my Epiphany, I feel I've come a long way since then, weirdly without even realising it.

This COVID shutdown has been hard, there's been a lot of stress for everyone  - both emotionally and societal. If you have come out of this happy and with enthusiasm, don't drop the ball now over your weight. If you want to lose weight, lose weight but don't put yourself down about it.

I will lose my excess weight but it's not my focus. It can be a by product of getting my life back and really savouring opportunities and experience. We had everything stripped back for over three months. It's been a lesson in appreciating all the great things on offer and not to let events slip by. We lost a lot of time. What we should have gained is motivation and drive to experience more.

“Everything is irrelevant but this: to embrace life. To feel it. To savour it. To love it.”
― Marty Rubin

I know this isn't a fashionable idea, and as I said to my friend (who prompted the post) 'I'm very uninspiring when it comes to weight loss' but I've lost 2 kilos just by cutting out nightly desserts in the house and potatoes with dinner. Hoping switching to apples when snacking will finish the job. The cocktails are staying! I will need to do a bit more than that to get back to my old shape but as a by-product is fine by me. 

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

Saturday 13 June 2020

Little by little

As I wrote here, I was struggling to come out of lockdown. The overly cautious person didn't really feel like the real me.
However, this weekend we finally had a weekend that felt like a real weekend!

We went out to dinner on Friday night, just for pizza but ate in the restuarant - a first in over three months! On Saturday friends invited us to go whale watching on their boat and it was FABULOUS! I got as much of a kick being on the water and seeing out beautiful city as I did seeing the whales up close! I did unfortunately forget my real camera so the shots were not that good, but always better to see with the real eye anyway....

Sunday was lunch at friends....a fullish diary for a change. And a lot of time out of the house....I'm still watching the numbers each day but I'm getting there.

Feeling a little more like me.

I was ditching #SundayCovers link up as it never took off but then I heard this song. Original here. So I might keep posting them as I find them but the link up alas is no more....

Linking with #DND

Thursday 4 June 2020

Long weekend housekeeping

This shot makes me think I'm on holiday somewhere else
I think I might take this week a little slower on the blog. We have a long weekend here and I've a story to write in the next week (and so far no ideas for it).

So have a wonderful week and if you are after ideas for things to do, here's a few:

A Virtual treasure hunt. It's free but a donation is requested to help pay their staff during lockdown.  You use google maps and websites - and get a feel for places even if you've never been there...This is UK based but travels across the pond.

Tom Hiddleston is in Coriolanus for those in need of a theatre fix - also free.

In Sydney, get out and about if you aren't having a weekend away. Share the spending to places that will have been hurting. Lunch at the Shed or Cottage Point Kiosk could make a nice day trip. Or check out the ferries to Patonga or Ettalong. Or drive to Bilpin or on the Grand Pacific Drive.

I'll be on Insta until I return. Have a good weekend - remember double demerits apply so does Social Distancing. Stay safe and let's get this thing down to zero!!!

Shank You Very Much

Tuesday 2 June 2020

Big Life Decisions

There is a wonderful scene in Dispatches from Elsewhere where the character, Simone, goes back to her former college professor for help with something. He tells her he was hoping she was coming to re-enroll. Simone responds that she feels she's not in a position to make big life decisions. He points out that it's not a big life decision, it's just a decision for now and she's allowed to change her mind. He himself had started in Marine Biology before deciding he was passionate about art. "We make a decision and then if we need to, we make another decision".

With kids at school, they fall into a path or hobby (or parental pressure) and it grows, and they're pushed along, forgetting that at any point they can decide to follow another interest. They need to pick subjects to carry them through the last years of school, with limited experience in any of them. They need to pick University courses or jobs with a long career in mind, more or less when they're fifteen years old.

But it's not really how life works, so why do we set them up with this expectation placed upon them?

At a talk at one of the Universities, they asked everyone over 35 to put their hand up if they were still doing the thing they started when they left school. Not a single hand went up, including lecturer's. The conversations framed around the HSC are completely unrealistic.

I think we'd take a lot of pressure off school leavers if we made them understand this. The next step after the HSC means very little, in the grand scheme of thing.  Perhaps better advice for these kids, pressured into deciding their future at 18 is, as the art  professor says "Find something that makes you feel good, try it out. You're allowed to be wrong".

It doesn't matter if you don't know what you want to do next, just do whatever is in front of you, but do it with purpose and dedication, and to the best of your abilities.

We have mistakenly somehow turned the HSC into some sort of achievement in itself, and done a disservice to the students in the process. Rather than preparing for a new beginning, the focus is too sharp on marking the end of school. The students feel enormous (and unnecessary) pressure for the HSC exams, but as we see with the University drop out rates, they also aren't prepared for the expectations of what lies beyond the school gate.  We have failed them in their final year of school and their readiness for their choices afterwards.

There is a new push in schools to make pupils see that year 12 is actually a transitional preparation year, preparing the pupil for work or study after the completion of their school years. We need to remember the HSC is merely the starting point of adulthood, not a destination in itself and in no way should it be viewed with the importance of a 'Big Life Decision'.

Linking with #MLSTL as a reminder that in life there are really very few Big Life Decisions.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

Musings Of A Tired Mummy