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Thursday, 22 July 2021

“She chose the rose colored glasses not because she was na├»ve, but because she knew the power of positive focus.” ― Christina Sutra

 


No denying I'm working hard on polishing off the rose-coloured glasses this lockdown. However, there is beauty out my window some days, and fun and laughter to be had, so I guess that is something to be thankful for.

Make the most of your weekend, especially if you're lucky enough not to be in lockdown.


Linking with #HappyTuesday #WednesdayAroundTheWorld #WonderfulWednesday #ThruMyLens #NaturesNotes

Welcome to the #Allseasons link up.
1. All Seasons is open from Sunday through Wednesday 5pm, Sydney Time. 
2. Please link one  'seasonal' post a week. 
3. Make sure you link back to this  #AllSeasons post.
4. Please comment on the post before yours. Don't dump and run.


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

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Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Nowhere to go


I saw this while dropping off some forms to the real estate agent. It sums up the Sydney lockdown vibe.

We have all hit lockdown fatigue. There was a good webinar out of Sydney Uni on it (focusing on young people and children), and the transcript will be up soon. It's worth checking out. I am apparently young too, because I recognised me in there a few times.

I am now mourning even that half life I was complaining about.

So get your vax, stay home and let's get back to the crappy old socially distanced, restricted numbers normal we had before.

If possible, buy takeaways (delivered) from your locals to keep them afloat.


My theme song for now. 


Linking with #WordlessWednesday #KeithsRamblings #PicturePerfectlinky #WWOT #WWOAT #TheRandom  #SundayBest

(PS I'm ok, I've discovered Claptone who is elevating my spirits but that's for another post....)

Monday, 19 July 2021

Writing and Resilience

It's a tough one. There is inevitably a lot of rejection with writing. But just aw writing is a muscle that needs to be exercised to strengthen, you also need to work on how you deal with rejection. You have to get so used to rejection that you form a callus. Take heed, work out what you're doing wrong, improve but don't give up. 

I have a couple of friends who wrote books and at one point or other both decided their books weren't any good. One is deciding to give up sending it out, just because it's been rejected a few times.  I am trying to push him along, make him realise that one or two rejections is nothing. Stephen King's Carrie was rejected 33 times, and he threw it in the bin. His wife dug it out and insisted he persisted and we know how the story ends.

I enter a lot of short story competitions. That is the easiest way to learn to be unfazed by rejection. You don't have to put in a year's labour, and you get relatively quick feedback. A few pats on the back make a huge difference, but when rejected, you learn and grow.

In Age against the machine, a podcast I mentioned last week,  Marcia Hines talks about what causes Imposter Syndrome. "Somewhere along the way someone told you you'te not worthy, and you believed it". She concludes, 'You should never believe it'. 

I learnt from Art Spiegelman in Maus, 'Why not me?' Look at the logical statistical outcomes and then set out to do everything necessary to make it happen.

I am in two book clubs and read a broad range of books. Not all of them are good. Not even the best sellers. So don't think you have to be good to get published. You need a hook, you need a market, you need appeal. Listen to feedback and criticism and work with it. Get it out there, in front of as many eyes as possible. 

See it more as a challenge or a game than the rejection of your baby, and you.

And write a few quick shorts to get your confidence back before returning to the big labour of love.

How do you deal with inevitable rejection as a writer?


Linking with #InspireMeMonday  #FriendshipFriday


loopyloulaura

Friday, 16 July 2021

Age against the machine


 Melissa Doyle has made a podcast for Audible called Age Against the Machine on the many issues women face or feel as they age, and how to embrace ageing positively. It's worth a listen, though for me I was probably more ahead in my comfort level to gain much from it (all those times of being told how old I am at Festivals has weirdly boosted my confidence to just throw myself into things without worrying what people think, evidently). However I found it interesting all the same, so recommend it.

It gets different perspectives on ageing from around the world, on appearance, power, confidence and relevance. Our normal is not necessarily normal. Or maybe there are some warnings of where we don't want to follow.

The big takeaway for me came from a woman called Joan Nestle, an activist and author, among other things. She says "If history comes knocking at your door....Open it." As this country seems to be widening the inequity and inflicting so much suffering on the population, perhaps as we age we need to start carry the load for others. We need to demand change, not just for our own interests, but for what is ethically wrong. She finishes with "Don't be afraid to stand alone....Don't be burdened by the yoke of respectability and all that means...If you see there is a real need to step into an unsafe place, to make yourself marginalised because of a larger issue, do it...Knowing even if it was just once, you stood up and said "I can't accept this..." Perhaps the real thing we need to embrace as we age, is our responsibility to make this country, and the world, a better place for the generations to come. We have failed at that, however maybe this will be where we benefit most in purpose and drive once our children have left home and we settle into retirement?

As an aside, I have a very successful friend in a high powered job who is taking a dramatic pay cut to work for a non profit. Another friend has moved from a prestige workplace to do the same. It manifests in different ways but the drive to do something with meaning, over something that makes money, brings purpose and fulfilment in later life. 

I think of that meme 'Never pick a fight with a woman over 40. They're full of rage and sick of everyone's shit.' There is a nugget of truth in that, so perhaps we need to harness that rage to change the paradigm (a fancy word for other people's shit)?

This is not a podcast specifically on menopause but it does frame the headspace in a more positive lens for embracing it.

As always, it starts with you, it starts today.


Linking with #WeekendCoffeeShare because if we were having coffee I'd be recommending this podcast to you....

My Random Musings


loopyloulaura

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Kangaroos

 



We missed our annual trip to the Hunter Valley for Snowtime for the second year in a row. I am sad my youngest will have  probably outgrown it by the time next year rolls round.

As facebook does, it reminded me with a flood of photos of what we were missing from years gone past. One of my rituals in the Hunter is to get up early and take photos of the kangaroos at sunrise. 

Sharing these pictures, because like the roos, I seem to be a creature of habit and the fact that these photos appeared over a span of two years on the same day, it appears I follow a very strict routine.

I really loved this ripped male, though was completely intimidated and zoomed in with the lens, rather than approached.



Welcome to the #Allseasons link up.
1. All Seasons is open from Sunday through Wednesday 5pm, Sydney Time. 
2. Please link one  'seasonal' post a week. 
3. Make sure you link back to this  #AllSeasons post.
4. Please comment on the post before yours. Don't dump and run.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Monday, 12 July 2021

Lockdown in pictures



 I found my camera reel changed during lockdown last time, and it's already happening with this lockdown. 








Did you find your surrounds change rapidly when thrown into lockdown?






Stay safe, everyone.  If possible, support local. Mask on, chin up!

Linking with   #PicturePerfectLinky   #WordlessWednesday   #WWOAT #WWOT #TheRandom  #RubyTuesdayToo & #BlueMonday (first pic - finally 2 themes in 1 shot) #SundayBest and #WeekendReflection for the bear and the Closed for lockdown self portrait.




Thursday, 8 July 2021

Panda

 

Late 2019, I was lucky enough to get to China. In Beijing, we stopped at the Panda House, more because I felt we 'should' while we were there, I thought we'd tear in and out and move onto something more interesting. What I failed to realise was how delightful these animals are. 

Playful and agile when not eating, we watched mesmerised, having to be hustled along by our guide who knew how many more Pandas there were to see. The black rings are that, rings, that circle their body and they prefer solitude unless mating. 




The Chengdu Panda Reserve has a panda cam for anyone keen to watch them in action from afar.





This guy was on the streets of the bar and restaurant precinct in town.




1. All Seasons is open from Sunday through Wednesday 5pm, Sydney Time. 

2. Please link one  'seasonal' post a week. 
3. Make sure you link back to this  #AllSeasons post.
4. Please comment on the post before yours. Don't dump and run. It's just rude.
 

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Click here to enter

Doorway

 

This is just the side entrance into a hotel in Xian, China but the light reflected acts like a filter on the image.

A reminder that sometimes what we see is enhanced by the beauty we see in it.

Short and sweet for #WeekendReflection #WWOT #WordlessWednesday #Random #WonderfulWednesday

Be warmed by the fire within


I've been in s low mood this lockdown but when I sat down to write my Furious Fiction story on the weekend, that rapidly changed.

The story I wrote was silly and playful. It amused me while I tapped it out, and after I submitted it, I spent the rest of the day in a joyful mood.

The spark it ignited in my brain warmed me for the rest of the day.

It is not a winning story, I knowingly submitted it anyway but it fulfilled it's purpose. It gave me the buzz I needed. 

In writing, that is winning. 



 Linking with #WeekendCoffeeShare #Inspirememonday #SundayBest and #WritersDen

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Extension Blues - self care


Even though I knew it was coming (and it had only been two weeks), the extension of lockdown hit my mood hard. I am finding this lockdown so much harder than the last, and it's only just beginning. Chatting to a doctor friend,  she said all her friends were the same, and their teens were all really lethargic and waking up late morning...

So the announcement of another week, online school and extended dullness (with pending tighter restrictions when we are 'released') just threw me down in the dumps.

I had tickets to Hot Dub, Tim Minchin and Miss Peony, all  rescheduled from 2020 and now all postponed further (some of them are now on their fourth date!). I can no longer go to Minchin as it clashes with another event. I had a party, champagne club and a night out dancing at Soda factory all nixed. Plus the school holiday adventures in Bowral and the Hunter. My youngest, having missed Snowtime in the Hunter Valley Gardens two years running will probably have outgrown it by next year. So I am feeling the clock ticking on these stagnated years. Missed opportunities that will never come back. The sand is passing through the hour glass but we are not doing anything with it, just watching it go by as a spectator, not a participant in life.

However, I understand this thinking is not helpful to anyone, least of all the kids, and as I steer the emotional ship so to speak, I could not dwell in the negative. So after sitting in my sorrow for a bit, I got to work in lifting my mood.

I ordered way too much Din Tai Fung to be delivered next week as a treat. (They have a special that you get $20 off orders of $100 or $50 off $200 for frozen items). I discovered the ping pong table at Everleigh and we will head there today with paddles and balls for something to do. There are no people around so all good.


Our dart board arrived and I set it up outside so we could play in the fresh air. I played with two of the kids individually, so we had some one on one time in the sun. That has been harder to manage this time for some reason, so it really felt like I'd achieved something, and that made me feel good.

I did some dance cardio routines - and blood & oxygen pumping  hard through the heart will lift your mood, add to that the hilarity of not being co-ordinated enough to keep up with the 'double time', and it made me laugh as well.

I purchased access to Tomorrowland - the festival online for another year, so next week I'll have a lot of happy, upbeat music to listen to as I go about my day. (Timmy Trumpet's set was so hectic last year and I played it about four times in it's entirety. Even just watching the opening minute of the clip below brings a grin to my face, the endorphins are Pavlovianly entrenched now.

 


I organised to host bookclub online, so I see some friends.

I read my book in the bath for an hour.

These things are small but effective. While realistically, the extended lockdown isn't a big deal, it's important not to let those sinking feelings take hold.

How are you all coping?

What are your tips for shaking off the blues?

Linking with #Lifethisweek and #WeekendCoffeeShare



loopyloulaura

Saturday, 3 July 2021

The Red Balloon

 As a kid, my Mother took me to see this movie, and we had the book (a story set to stills from the movie) so when I saw this in the street on my dog walk, I felt it was a charming throwback to my childhood.

I was overcome with a wave of joy.

I could see no signs as to why it was there, and I was deeply disappointed that it didn't magically follow me as we went past (I did keep hopefully turning back to check, but that's another story).

Sometimes happiness is simply a memory triggered.

May you all find moments of happiness today.

Linking with #CreativeMondays and #WednesdayWisdom

The M word

I'm just being silly. No hushed voices here. Menopause needs to be talked about, loudly, frequently and often. In mixed company. Otherwise more girls who grow up to be an old lady who apparently knows NOTHING about what's normal for the biologically female body. I fortunately joined a facebook group and am learning a lot. There is so much that is normal that people just don't talk about. Or didn't.

I think when we teach our daughters about periods, we should be teaching them also about menopause, because it is all the same thing. Currently we teach puberty akin to people that focus on the wedding day and not the marriage. Puberty and menopause are the same journey, just at different ends of the voyage. I am finding it ridiculous that as an educated adult how much information I didn't know.

Emotionally I'm okay with it all. No negative feelings but the physical stuff is alarming until you understand what it is.

However, it's not all bad news and that's the bit we really need to talk about!

I just finished listening to on Audible, The Menopause Manifesto by Dr Jennifer Gunter. It's a great book and 13 hours of detailed medical information covering symptoms, medicine, herbal remedies, diet, sleep, stigma, emotions and a gazillion other things. She also includes history and how the patriarchy has affected how women feel about menopause, and the importance of grandmothers on the world. Even though a lot of it didn't apply to me (yet), I found it really interesting and engaging.

However, there are two important points that no one ever talks about and I feel everyone should know - men and women. My two takeaways*. after 13 hours of detailed information are this: Women going through menopause should get more oral sex as that solves a lot of problems (note get, not give) and they should also masturbate more in general as that might help a lot of wellbeing and physical issues too (not necessarily related to sex).

There you go, Doctor's orders!

*I might owe Dr Gunter an apology, that after all her in depth information and well researched historical analysis, I have focused on two throwaway lines in the book. If you feel that isn't the sort of information you need to know, don't dismiss the book. It has something for everyone and is in no way frivolous or dismissive in arguments or ideas. It has great advice on how to frame the experience in a different lens too.


PS. If you haven't seen this film, it's great. I went with my friend and her mum, and her mum was the first person to tell me that you could have hot flushes for TEN years! You can go through Menopause for a full decade! By the way, I am aware I use Menopause incorrectly - another side effect of my lack of education on this matter. My understanding now is if you are experiencing symptoms, then you are in Peri-Menopause. If you are finished, you are in Menopause (you have reached menopause?). Though feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.



Linking with #FortheloveofBlog<
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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Thursday, 1 July 2021

Fog

 

The fog in Sydney has been insane. After 9 am and the fog horns are still blasting. It's not adding to the thrill of lockdown, I can tell you that! Nor is it helping my excitement at our new solar panels, as I'm waiting until they start producing energy to turn on the washing machine and dishwasher...it's a little late in the morning at the moment.






I know I said I'd take 3 weeks off but as my holiday cancelled, I'll continue as normal and take a break at a later date.

Stay safe everyone. 

Linking with #ThruMyLens #NaturesNotes



1. All Seasons is open from Sunday through Wednesday 5pm, Sydney Time. 
2. Please link one  'seasonal' post a week. 
3. Make sure you link back to this  #AllSeasons post.
4. Please comment on the post before yours. Don't dump and run. It's just rude.
 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Taking Stock - June

I didn't get to go on holidays and my focus to write has gone AWOL so here I am still blogging...

Cooking: Lunch - in an effort to get everyone to eat together and where possible, outside on the deck. Little things to try and lift the mood and get teens out of their room.

Sipping: Negroni's and conveniently purchased just in time for lockdown, Mr Consistent El Peachy cocktails.

Finishing: Cheever's Bullet Park for book club which I guess won't happen.





Loving: That the sticker guy got straight onto updating the stickers for lockdown.

Remembering: This too shall pass.

Wanting: To throw a party. Apparently my reflex reaction to lockdown is to start party planning once restrictions ease.

Listening: To happy songs. (Not this is NSFW only for a butt revealing bikini - nothing rude but fyi) 


Wishing: This lockdown ends on time...
:
Finishing: The tax. All the business EOFY. Can't say I'm having an #EpicTaxParty but maybe it's something I should. (Full 47 minute version here)

 


Buying: A dart board for some more indoor fun to lure the teens to be active while it's raining.

VIewing: Huge in France, which I find hilarious and just finished Feel Good which was very interesting and more complex than anticipated. Just finished the second season of Lupin and counting down the days until War of the Worlds is back.



Hoping: Australia gets this virus under control again without any deaths.

Staying: Home 

Walking: The dog but otherwise not so much due to weather and too many potentially germy people on the Bay Run

Noticing: I can't write. I have a couple of story ideas but no drive to sit and write them.


Bookmarking: https://covid19nearme.com.au/state/nsw This site allows you to dismiss hotspots once you've seen them (or anything from 2 days ago - en masse - so you can keep checking the latest hotspots before you go out, without feeling like you're doomscrolling for ages.

Feeling: Really down about this lockdown for some reason. I made the kids dumplings for lunch so we'd all eat together outdoors, for the mental health aspect and the vibe was really low. I think I'll have a lot more work to do to keep everyone engaged and happy this time round...



Reading: Just about to start Careful he might hear you for bookclub and sneaking in 5 Seconds (the comic series - nothing exceptional but cute idea). Just finished Smoke which wasn't great but entertaining enough. The Banksy-style cover lured me in.

Hearing: Gladys. It's like we all pause at 11....

Posting: Had a birthday present for a friend and a DVD for Mum that I forgot to take last visit, so posted them both as it's a good time to get  'pick me up's' on your doorstep. I had to get some forms off to someone so I waited until I had to go. I've purchased a book of stamps and will send postcards to friends while locked down.

Thinking: How bananas is the weather?



Shocked: To discover what Norman Swan looks like. After listening to him for over a year on the fabulous CoronaCast, a friend with a crush on him put up a photo of him on the tele and it's all wrong. I had him looking like Arsene Wenger in my head (sort of). Isn't it weird how we project images unknowingly until we discover they're incorrect.

Trying: Not to be so negative about the lockdown which really isn't a big deal. Just psychologically it is.



As always, Insta here for pretty pics and lockdown vibes....

What have you been up to? (Wondering: Why the fonts are being so weird on this post??)

Linking with #KCACOLS & #FortheloveofBlog (below is how the code appears. Any clues?)