Sunday 29 January 2023

Lunar New Year

 The last two weeks have been packed with celebrations with friends - dumplings and fortune cookies, amidst red lanterns and lion dances.

In an exciting turn of events, the crockery is back at Din Tai Fung at The Star (something that was lost in the Covid lockdowns). One more step towards the 'before' times. 

Lotus has the most darling (and delicious) crab and prawn dumplings for a New Year special. 

The night we went, they also had a Lion dance and I learnt that you are meant to give red packets to the Lion and pat it's head for prosperity and luck....we were underprepared...

It is a joyous time of year.

Wishing you happiness and prosperity in the year ahead. Or at least more good times than bad. And good health. Especially good health.

Thursday 26 January 2023

Simple pleasures


While in Bali, we had to change our plans and ended up in Jimbaran for longer than intended. There was a lot of reading my book on the daybed while the others slept in or relaxed indoors, escaping the heat.

As humans do, my routine became quicky fixed and I'd collect the fallen frangipani and put them in a dish of water next to me, so the smell infused the air. 

Morning tea of rambutans and spiced cashews or lychees became my mid morning treat.

Simple pleasures but somehow the luxury I miss most now I'm getting back into the swing of things.

While there were lots of gardens and green plants, this seems to be the only flower on the tree I saw (or at least took a photo of). I find that quite strange.

Linking with #TravelTuesday #PictorialPotpourri #WWOT #TheRandom #HappyTuesday (because it really made me happy) #WordlessWednesday #YourMoment #GardenAffairFloralFriday Foto.

Take time to find out what your dreams are

I saw this on a wall in Melbourne, and it reminded me of a conversation with a friend who was feeling particularly lost after her marriage ended and most of her kids were now adults. She said 'The thing is, I don't know what I like' and later elaborated 'I don't have any hobbies'.  The Tabitha Carvan book I mention here also talks about this. Women in particular push aside their interests, especially once kids come into the picture. They put everyone else in the family first. Trying to meet everyone's needs leaves little time for their own.

And then you arrive at a point with extra time and you suddenly realise you don't know what your burning passions ever were.

So start to nuture them. Or experiment with something new. Find what brings you joy, or sparks your brain. Do that thing you've put off as silly or unrealistic. 

If there's one thing we learnt from Grandma Moses, it's never too late. After arthritis made embroidery difficult, she started to paint at the age of 76. With her success, her reputation grew. By her late 80's she was being honoured as Woman of the Year and Mademoiselle magazine even listed her as 'Young Woman of the Year' at 88! Age is not a barrier, only lack of interest. So find out what you love and follow those passions.

She sums up life in her autobiography, My Life's History, that she published at 92  "I look back on my life like a good day's work, it was done and I feel satisfied with it. I was happy and contented, I knew nothing better and made the best out of what life offered. And life is what we make it, always has been, always will be."

Linking with #MuralMondays

Wednesday 25 January 2023

Hare or Cat?


We are at that time of year when the streets turn red - not in anger but joyous festivity.

This Lunar New Year we have the choice (in basic terms) of celebrating the Year of the Rabbit (Chinese predominately) or Year of the Cat (Vietnamese predominately). I am sticking with Sir David Hare and Dame Judi Dench and going with the Year of the Cat (this is a joke harking back to 1983...because I'm old and fuind myself hilarious even if no one else does).

Whatever you call it, I hope you ate well, hope you get rich (thanks Ronny Chieng) and may good fortune come your way.

As an aside, I've reluctantly upped my alcohol free nights (which is dull and boring and I don't need to hear about anyone's Dry July/Feb fast/Wagoning or anything else - it's edious enough doing it, let alonetalking about it). However, I feel my fortune macaroon was taunting me which is probably an indication of my year to come....

Incidently you can see Sir David Hare live at this event in March, everyone should go and give me a report because I can't go.

"Fashion as we knew it is over; people wear now exactly what they feel like wearing." – Mary Quant

 I will be honest, I'm not a big fashion person. I just like what I like. I only went to the McQueen Exhibition because my other plans got cancelled. However, I did enjoy it, but maybe not for the 'right' reasons.

I loved the curation (or the way it was set out, more than what was actully chosen for display). I loved the knowledgeable people talking to their friends - it was a real insight into people's passion.

There's something alluring about that. I don't have to like the thing you love, but I love the way it energises you. I can sort of see the beauty through your eyes (and that can be anything - trucks. woodwork, statistics) and I might even envy that passion for something.

"I think there is beauty in everything. What 'normal' people perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it."—Alexander McQueen

I liked this room because no matter where you stood, you needed the reflection to see the full picture. Just like life.

Linking with #FriendshipFriday #WeekendCoffeeShare  #WordlessWednesday #WWOT(Imaginings) #TheRandom 

Monday 23 January 2023

Share Four Somethings - January

I feel like I've been away from the blog since forever. I will admit it's been a struggle to even come back at keep those expectations low!

Am very happy, however to have a Share Four Somethings to come back to, so thank you for taking over the mantle as new host.

Something I’m Loving My Christmas present was a quick overnight visit to Melbourne to see the fabulous Grace Petrie as I was in Bali for her Sydney gig (a five minute walk from my house!). To be honest, I really needed the break from looking after everyone. It was wonderful to not have to fill my headspace with other people's wants and needs. I made the most of every moment! One of the things I saw was Time:Rone in the disused part of Flinders Street Station. It is exquisite. If you are in Melbourne, book tickets. It was sold out for the whole of Jan (but I'd booked my ticket in December so I was part of the problem!). It's open until April and you can buy tickets here. You will need at least an hour so if you are in Melbourne for work, go to one of the slots after you clock off. It made me quite emotional, and was so hauntingly beautiful it moved me to tears. Honestly, I can't describe it to do it justice. It's delightful, clever and extraordinary.

Something I’m Reading
I just finished Uncultured by Daniella Mestyanek Young. It's an autobiography of a woman who grew up in the Children of God cult, and then joins the army. It's similar in some ways to Educated by Westover but this one is more graphic in the abuse and judgement, and then goes on to show the impact on the person, and how a lot of the abuses are replicated in the army. In some ways I found the military part more eye openning than the cult part, because you assume one would be like that but not the other. I found it very interesting, so would recommend if you liked Educated. But the gloves are off and it's not an easy read at times. 

Something I’m Learning I've just been told about these Shark Deterrents - I'm learning about how they work, as I don't quite understand how they give an electromagnetic field if they don't operate with a battery. Surfer friends had them, and I was considering them for my scuba diving husband. I'm still reading the research, and yet to purchase, this is more an fyi than an ad.

Something I’m Eating  My favourite restuarant in Bali* is Cuca. The chef, Kevin Cherkas, has worked in El Bulli, Azark and Daniel, the Michelin three star restaurants. The food, while magnificent, is fun. The degustation menu is amazing but also a joyous and relaxed experience. Due to our cancelled boat voyage, we ended up with more time in the villa walking distance from the restaurant, so we not only went for the planned degustation dinner but returned for lunch twice to order all the items we hadn't eaten on the menu. It did not disappoint. I can not recommend this enough. Even the youngest loved it - she opted for the kids 'build your burger' without the meat - even she wanted to return. No matter where you stay in Bali, you want to make the trip to Jimbaran for it. There's no view but it's in a garden oasis and the food is the best thing you'll eat on the island! Make sure you order an oyster on top of the degustation because the pearls are amazing - a sort of lemon and vinegar burst. 

There's even a kids games area if you are there for lunch...I was taken with the Pachinko board (My teen wasn't interested in the play area but this big kid was! Ha!) It's degustation and sophisticated but relaxed and enjoyable at the same time. And if nothing else, go for the best lobster rolls (sorry Supernormal) you've ever had.

Book to avoid disappointment, though we did just walk in for lunch, so you could always try your luck.

Lastly, I'll leave you with a cheery song from Grace Petrie. She'll be back in Australia for the Blue Mountain Folk Festival - and I'll be keeping my eyes out for any other gigs and she's so wonderful live! Don't miss her! 

Linking with #MuralMondays 

Sunday 15 January 2023

Summer Holidays

It took me a long time to get back to blogging this time. I'm still not quite in the swing of things. I guess that's the sign of a good holiday!

Hope you have been well and enjoying the weather and break, if you had one.

Linking with #WWOAT  #RubyTuesdayToo & #BlueMonday #ThruMyLens #HeidisHeavenlyGaze  #Skywatch and #GardenAffair (delete if the sunset isn't 'nature')