Thursday 24 September 2020

Taking a break

 I'll be taking a break from the blog for 2 weeks to fully focus on the kids in the school holidays. I will be trying to limit my time on Social Media and the internet in general (except for my daily inspection of the COVID numbers - please stay low!!)

I do this regularly not just for the kids, but for me. I can spend undistracted time with them. I can focus on other things. I can detox a little from social media, which I enjoy but I let it get away from me at times.

It will be a little of Social September - Disconnect to reconnect. I will be filling the void with more worthwhile pursuits. Namely writing. I was longlisted for Furious Fiction this month, and that story will be polished up for another competition (note the next Furious Fiction is the 2nd of Oct and it's free to enter). I really need to finish my Commonwealth Writers story which has been sitting neglected for a month. I also want to try my hand at a story for 8-11 year olds. Still no ideas yet...

I think that will be healthy for me to do. An electronic/screen diet. A little less mental distraction.

Stay safe, enjoy the break and see you mid October. 

If you miss me, I'll be on Insta, because I'm not a saint....

Linking with Denyse for Life this week.

On the writing, I received my contributor copy of Grieve. Spectacularly beautiful cover this year. I also want to shout out to Russ Talbot whose tiny three line poem Shadow just nails it perfectly. 

Thursday 17 September 2020

Grateful for this.

I am struggling a bit, as you might have noticed in my posts. Nothing is wrong personally, but the underlying worry and the ongoing concern is getting me down probably more than it should. I had a kiddo home studying for an exam so I went to get him sushi for lunch from our local restaurant, only to discover it had closed for good. It limped along through lockdown with takeaways but apparently couldn't survive in this half life we're in. It devastated me. They were just a couple. That was their livelihood. Possibly their house. Gone. 

Now is really a time of 'use it or lose it'! If you can go safely, use the small businesses if you can. Support local. Because the lockdown wasn't the worst of it for people. This is.

I worry greatly about how this will affect the young people. The young people who have no jobs to go to, the young people who can't afford to go to University (thanks ScoMo), the young people who see this as a bleak future for themselves. While it is a blimp for us, it is a large proportion of their life.

So, I've been allowing myself a Mental Health Day each week, clocking off the Biennale of Sydney with a friend. Catching up at a gallery and then having lunch, seeing comedians at Giant Dwarf  on a Thursday, I've even booked a fabulous private dining with a group (under 10) at the Grounds. I am working on relatively safe outings with friends.

I'm trying to support those I can, while I can. I'm reaching out to friends faraway. 

I'm exercising religiously and trying to eat better. 

I'm trying not to give myself a hard time about my COVID pounds (but I really hate my new shape and I want my old one - less than perfect but still way better than this!) 

I guess what I am grateful for is that none of my friends or family here have caught this terrible virus (friends overseas have, so I know first hand how awful it is). I'm grateful that NSW didn't really get the influx of cases like other countries. I'm grateful that I am in a state of mind where I can notice the dip in my mood and manage it. I'm grateful for my daughter's boyfriend, more or less living with us since we went into lockdown, being such a ray of joy in the house, for everyone, not just her. I'm grateful for my husband managing to navigate these turbulent economic waters, and keep both employees on. I'm grateful I've things to look forward to, including a weekend away and a second one to be booked. I'm grateful for joy and pleasure in my life.

What are you grateful for? 

Linking with #Dreamteam  

Navigating Baby

These Photos are from the Biennale of Sydney at the Art Gallery of NSW. It ends on the 27th September. Free entry. Make a day of it and have lunch in the sunny courtyard.

Wednesday 16 September 2020

"Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation." Henri Cartier-Bresson

The Wednesday Club is meeting for Life Drawing at CamelArt, chosen only because other people wanted to try life drawing and there is a musician there (and drinks) for me. I am not a sketcher. I have barely legible hand writing. I think I will probably be able to prove Picasso wrong when he said "In drawing, nothing is better than the first attempt."

However the whole point of the Wednesday Club is to try new things, and so this week I will be trying my hand, and pushing my comfort zone to attempt to sketch in public  (and if I'm honest, staring at a nude person will be out of my comfort zone too, regardless of gender).

I will try to remember that drawing is a meditation and art is sharing a vision. I have tonnes of spare paper and if worst comes to worst, I can shut my eyes and listen to the music.

It's been almost over a year since I added something to the Torschlusspanik List, and I note I've checked off quite a few but never written up the experience. So maybe that's what I can do if the sketching is really too mirth producing and I'm shamed by my fellow artists....

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
25. Go Rollerskating (check)
26. Do Chinese Square Dancing
27. Do some life drawing

"Drawing is not what one sees but what one can make others see"  Edgar Degas 

Do you sketch? Do you find it therapeutic? Have you tried anything new lately?

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

My Random Musings

Tuesday 15 September 2020

"The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but the wide world's joy." Henry Ward Beecher

 Perhaps not scientifically correct, but on this glorious day, it certainly feels that way. Realising I only had until this Sunday to see the David Jones Spring Flower Show, I tore off into town.

Gorgeous as always, but this time, there is a free session in a Bioptron light treatment, used in Europe to combat SAD or to find your inner glow as the assistant said to me. For one who can't sit still, I thought it ended very quickly and was surprised when she said it had indeed been 5 minutes. When it first started, I was thinking I would have to wave her over to shut it off, as I'd really only last a minute. I'm not sure if I have any lasting benefits but I did really enjoy the experience.

Reading the notes on the gratitude tree, it became clear that a lot of people shared the flower shows of the past, or just visits to David Jones with their now deceased mothers. As sad as it was to read, it was also lovely to think of those rituals once bonding and enjoyed buy mother and daughter, and that the daughter could bring her mother close by revisiting alone. Rituals are important, not for the formality but for the connection. It has got me thinking about my own kids, and what bonds I want to create like that, linked not just with me, but with a place so they have tangible keys to the memories.
One of the nice touches this year is the take home daffodil seeds, so hopefully in a while I'll have my own flower show...we shall see.

If you time your visit right, you can grab lunch in the Food Hall or take home dinner!

You can also tour online for those unable to make it, otherwise it ends this Sunday, Sept 20.

In their own words, David Jones writes "This season, there is magic to be found in the ordinary. You need only let the light in."

Linking with #FloralFriday  #WWOT #WordlessWednesday #AllSeasons #AwwMondays and #NaturesNotes  

I wore a mask throughout but the spacing was fine and plenty of sanitiser everywhere. There are markings on the footpath for the outdoor window displays too.

Saturday 12 September 2020

“One’s friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human.”– George Santayana

 As I'm still trying to keep the kids off public transport, I drove a child to an appointment in the city. While waiting around, I strolled around the Calyx and felt elated. Returning for pick up, I noticed the signs for Botanic House, which I'd been meaning to visit for a long time, and that the World Press Photography exhibition was on at the State Library. I texted a friend straight away and asked if she wanted to go to the exhibition and then have lunch and straight away she messaged back a date.

It felt so good to have a plan. I've been only making tentative plans and then buying the tickets the day before or day of because I needed to check Covid numbers in the area.

We strolled around the exhibition in masks - while not too crowded, there were about 12 others there, which seems like a lot all of a sudden! It's fantastic and well worth a visit. Best of all, it's free. (Because of copyright, I'm never sure if I'm allowed to share photos so you'll just have to see for yourself!).

We popped into the Calyx on the way to lunch because it truly is a joyous sight.

The restaurant was surprisingly full, though the tables were well spaced and the waiters in masks. If you can, ask for a window table because they are open and thus airy.
The food is delicious. It's a $59 feast, and I thought you chose an entree and main but you actually get three entrees, three mains and a dessert plate to share. (Be mindful of serving the food - I allocated my spoon as server so there was no contamination - the things we need to think of!)

It felt so good to catch up and be 'normal'. It felt so good to have a plan booked in and something to look forward to. It felt slightly more like it used to.

It was great to finally catch up with my friend I hadn't seen since February. We had planned a different outing but the numbers were climbing so we cancelled last minute.
It felt good to feel good.

“Happiness is a collection of joyful experiences shared with soul friends. Get together and have some fun!”

― Amy Leigh Mercree (But keep a safe distance and don't go out if the slightest bit sick!)

Linking with Blogtober2020 on Girls just want to have fun.

What are you loving this week?

Friday 11 September 2020

Remembering the Sydney 2000 Olympics

 "You should consider getting out of town" we were told, but we didn't.

"You should take annual leave as the traffic will be so bad it will take hours to get to work" except no one was driving to Chatswood where my office was, so the traffic was fine.

We had all expected the Games to be a disaster and cause unprecedented chaos - The Games with John Clarke, Bryan Dawe and Gina Riley was mandatory viewing in the lead up to the event, and did seem to uncannily be art predicting life...

"It will be impossible to get tickets" so we applied for more than we could afford assuming we would only get one, if we were lucky. We got three - the night of the 100 metres (and surprising highlight of the night, the pole vault with the fabulous Tatiana Grigorieva). Due to some rumoured corruption being amended, we also ended up right up the front. We were amazed at how close we were - 8 rows from the action.

We also went to the soccer - both the semi, where the whole stadium cheered for the Spanish team, because they were playing America. Then the final,where the Spaniards were perplexed they'd lost all support as the whole stadium went berserk for the Cameroon team (Australia loves an underdog). After a two all draw it came down to a nail biting penalty shoot out which Cameroon won.

We had friends in the ticket allocation lament they'd only got beach volley ball, we had all laughed, not knowing that soon that would be the hottest ticket in town! The whole city became mad for beach volley ball. It was all you would hear on the radio, or want to watch on the tv. 

I was working through out and would hurry clients up in meetings with "The 200 hundred is on in 6 minutes - let's wrap this up and watch it on the big screen in Martin Place". I made a lot of quick and easy sales as a result of everyone's elated holiday mood.

There was much discussion about some woman meeting a Prince at the Slip Inn. And why was a Prince at the Slip Inn in the first place?

I was heavily pregnant (and 22 kilos heavier than normal), and after waddling around for hours and inching in the queue to transport home, a volunteer pulled me out of line and showed me the queue-less disabled exit. So next time we saved ourselves an hour in line and walked straight out! 

I loved the Sydney Olympics. There was a huge let down when they ended and the city returned to normal. For a brief window in time, it touched everything in life. You had parties to watch the opening and closing ceremonies. You had people over to watch events or you headed out to a screen to share the excitement with strangers. You always had something to talk about with people. Sydney was drawn together and a much friendlier place.

What do you remember about the Sydney Olympics?

Linking with #TimelessThursdays #FriendshipFriday and #TrafficJamWeekend

The fallout of RUOK? Day

I was getting wary of R U OK? day after a comment by the Blackdog Institute in their Suicide Prevention video (along the lines of ask open questions not simply 'Are you okay?' as it can be easily dismissed by a yes. They pointed out you need to pin the person down to expand their answer, more that you've noticed they seem unhappy about something and could they tell you more?) and last week a person on Twitter asked "Who do you think asking R U OK? is for" and the answer, from people with mental health struggles was a resounding 'for the asker to feel good about themselves'. Also whatever you do, don't post photos of the RUOK cupcakes because they REALLY hate that! There were a lot of comments on the futility of the cupcakes. As Thursday came and went, I did notice in my FB feed, a number of people posted "So are you OK?" or put up the poster of the organisation and I thought 'No one would ever reach out, seeing that'. It's talking about it but not really reaching out to anyone. 

However, I do still believe it's better than nothing and it is trying to do a good thing. The good thing is making us a little more responsible for those around us. So I sent off seven cheery little messages, not using those exact words but asking how they were and I'd noticed they weren't on SM or we hadn't seen each other in a while etc. I hope it didn't seem like an RUOK prompted note, but it was definitely checking in and asking those questions. Two of my OS friends responded that they had just lost their parents in the last two weeks and downloaded the devastation that was causing for them. Another's husband is in the midst of serious health woes and that the stress is overwhelming. Given the replies, I think it was appreciated and for one friend, maybe a relief because it's hard to express some feelings to people out loud and in your close circle. Sometimes there's safety in someone 'out of the loop'.

So my conclusion, while it's far from perfect (and I don't have a better solution), and while it definitely should not be used to pat yourself on the back nor should you put the onus on the troubled person to reach out to you, it is better than nothing, and can be worthwhile. I do think it is more helpful if you reach out to them personally.

Now the responsibility is on me to keep checking in with these people, and to set up a day a month to regularly reach out to others (as I'm notoriously slack in this regard). It can't be a once a year thing. 

Maybe it's just a matter of catching people at the right time...and to do that, you need to be paying a little more attention.

I've dropped the ball with friends while dealing with my own 'stuff' but I'm realising I need to rectify that. It is something I'm intending to work on.

Linking with #FriendshipFriday  #PictorialTuesday #TheRandom

Wednesday 9 September 2020

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” ― Mark Twain

I was lucky enough to have a girls weekend last weekend. It's my first break from the family all year (like everyone else in the world) and it was so great to have time to do nothing.

We went to a friend's beach house at Culburra and just took walks on the beach, read, talked and relaxed.

I managed to write my second story for the NYC story contest, which fell due that weekend too. It's always a great feeling racing against the clock.

It felt so good to be removed from my normal head space, and the change of location and dynamic really made all the difference.

Just love the golden light

I made a detour on the way home and had lunch with two more friends that I hadn't seen in a year in Bowral. It was lovely to catch up, as I'm pretty useless on keeping in touch.

So thankful to friends and to natures beauty and the sun shining at the right time.

“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.”
― Jim Morrison  

What are you thankful for?

Linking with #WildbirdWednesday 

Thursday 3 September 2020

Taking Stock - August

This half life is dragging on and really messing with my head. I have to access the numbers each day, only buy tickets the day before once I deem it 'safe', limit invites and destinations. If I was in those closed states that were pretty much life as usual, I'd not be wanting to risk infection either. (And the country will need their taxes more than ever so it's beyond me why you would try to hamper that).

However, putting together this list, there was quite a lot of fun in August, for which I'm truly grateful!
For Ruby Tuesday and Blue Monday

Making : A pottery planter in a Wednesday Club Wine & Clay at Clay Sydney.

Laughing: At the comedians at Giant Dwarf on a Thursday night.

Cooking : Nothing of interest and what feels like far too much....I'm so over cooking!

Drinking : Too many cocktails - keeping those COVID pounds in place. Not quite prepared to give them up. Part of my husband's father's day present is two bottles of the fabulous Mr Consistant Margarita Mix, so that's not likely to stop any time soon. (Drs, out there, it's only one drink a night with one or two alcohol free nights a week but the sugar in those drinks is like a daily dessert!)

Reading: Loving Color Me Flo on the fabulous Flo Kennedy (she's only briefly in Mrs. America but far more important than that). Just started Burial Rites for book club, otherwise it's been a month of duds.

Wanting: My old life back.

Looking: At art. After feeling so reinvigorated by the excursion to Cockatoo Island for the Biennale, I've been on a rampage to see all of Nirin. Just got Art Space and Art Gallery to go. Best idea I've had in a long time....

Playing: Karma. We got a new game post lockdown as we'd exhausted interest in our collection. (Was on sale at Dymocks in the city). Will be playing Mah Jong tonight - we had to cancel the last get together as I was still waiting on COVID results. 

Listening: Still on my Timmy Trumpet kick starting my day. Pump my self up with any of his songs in the shower and I'm pretty much set myself a good head space.

Wasting: Time - my focus is hopeless and I get so easily distracted.

Wishing: Things went back to pre COVID.

Enjoying: Being in the city or near the harbour.

Liking:Ted Lasso. Hate this weekly stream business though.

Loving: Had a weekend away with some girlfriends at Culburra and long walks on the beach really took all my stress away. 

Wearing: Summer clothes as of yesterday!!!

Feeling: Very proud that I got a story published in the Grieve anthology again and my Rom Com for the NYC story competition came third in my group. I've submitted my Spy story for round two and am hoping it's enough to get me through to round three....fingers crossed everyone.

Needing: to finish and submit three half written stories for three other competitions (and Furious fiction this weekend).

Missing: Concerts. So much, And dancing in a crowd. Paid for a live stream of a Max Frost gig that he put on in an empty theatre. The live chat that went on between all of us from all over the world was a really lovely unifying thing.

Feeling: Pretty good but not quite right. Not quite me.

What about you? Have you taken stock lately?

Linking with #Allseasons purely for the photos
Smiling about: My Insta looking more like it used to.