Ditching the car

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I was walking home from my local shops this morning, the winter sun shining, groceries and a birthday present swinging by my side, and I thought about how much I enjoy not having to jump in the car to run all my errands anymore. When the kids were younger and at school, taking the car was a necessity. The days’ activities ran to a tight schedule and it seemed that the extra twenty minutes it would take me to walk to and from the shops was time that I could not spare.

When my girl got her licence last year, there were some rumblings from the younger people in the house that we may need to add another car to our two-car household. That would have been a COMPLETE waste of their money. We’re fortunate where we live that we have two train stations within fifteen minutes walk, and a tram stop five minutes walk away. The kids get the train to and from uni and to their part time jobs, so WHY  would we need another car? I was determined not to give them any ammunition in their car-seeking mission so I decided I would put on my walking shoes or break out the myki whenever any potential conflicting car driving demands could arise.

I remember reading some time ago that our ex-PM, Tony Abbott, wrote in his book Battlelines that we should always invest in roads rather than public transport because people would always prefer to travel in cars because “The humblest person is king in his own car.” Apparently that is because we can choose whichever radio station we want to listen to in our own car. Think earbuds may have blown that argument out of the water, Tony! I can pop those in on my walk, or on the tram or train, and feel quite queenly! On the tram or the train I can read a book which gives me even greater mastery, or mistress-y, of my domain! And I like not having to battle the traffic. Perhaps I am the master of my own car, but this gives me no power to find a path through traffic congestion!

I enjoy not having to always isolate myself in my car. I like getting in and out amongst the people! I like walking along the street, looking at people’s gardens, noticing any changes in my surrounds. There’s a sense of connectedness to the community that comes from walking to do my shopping, or from travelling to and from my activities on the tram or the train. I think about how we’re all heading to our different destinations and going about our daily lives.

I like my car. I wouldn’t give it up. But I like that I can now think ‘Do I need to take the car?’ For that time I’m out walking or sitting reading, watching, listening on the train, life slows down just that little bit.

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Taking Stock: June ’18

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Trip, trip, stumble. Stumble, trip, trip. And hello! *brushes self off* That is how I feel I have arrived at the halfway point of the year! My weeks have been very flexible in 2018 but that’s because they have lacked ROUTINE. My man has been working from home for a little bit, the boy and girl are in and out with their differing contact hours at uni, and I have been waking up in the mornings not quite sure what day of the week it is! Yoga on Thursday mornings seems to be my only anchor in the week. So how about a stocktake to see where we’re at!

Eating: crunchy peanut butter on bread

Drinking: green tea

Cooking: chilli con carne for dinner

Making: lots of soft foods. The boy and girl both had all their wisdom teeth taken out a fortnight ago so there has been a lot of soup and pasta on the menu. Good planning to have it done in winter, right? Perfect weather for soft food.

Watching: Killing EveNanette. Wow! Nanette was exceptional. one of the most effecting performances I have seen. Watch it. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll become more empathetic, you’ll gain an insight into prejudice.

Reading: A Scandal in Bohemia about the unsolved murder in Melbourne in 1930 of Mollie Dean. Feels very current given recent events in Melbourne.

Listening: to Sofia Stefanovic on The Moth.

Waiting: to hear when my friend has had her baby! Not long now!

Wanting: my man to come back from his run so happy hour can begin!

Hearing: his key in the door. Woohoo!!

Buying: books! My local bookshop had 30% off today so why would I not take up that offer? I bought The Ruin and my man bought a couple on the state of the world at the moment which we’ll share.

Hoping: we can get out for a walk tomorrow morning. Too rainy today.

Noticing: how uplifting it is when we have positive interactions with strangers rather than when people get all uptight with each other. Smile and be polite, people! You’ll feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Thinking: driving in a car park should be part of licence testing. Keep to a lane please. And don’t cut corners!

Enjoying: watching little kids learning. The other day one of my babysitting charges and I went for a long neighbourhood walk. She picked flowers, we chatted about the different names of the plants, talked about what a ‘worry’ is! She showed me how she is learning to read and we sounded out some words together. And then at my post-yoga coffee, I had fun story time reading to my new little cafe buddy! ‘I want Carolyn to read this one,’ he said to his mum. Chuffed!

Liking: the MoMA exhibition at the NGV. Love the art and the history behind the works. Such a treat to see some fibre art included!

Disliking: people complaining about supermarkets no longer using  plastic bags. Keep your bags in your car, people, or stuff a nice rollable one in your bag for unexpected purchases. It’s not an inconvenience!

Knowing: our dog will never stop barking at possums!

How’s the first half of your 2018 been? Do you need to do a stock take too? Head over to Pip’s for some other things to think about.

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In praise of equanimity

 

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Here’s a thing that happened the other day. I had a bit of a bingle in the car. Well, my man’s car. Which is a much more expensive type than my car. Eep! I was turning left at an intersection I have been through HUNDREDS of times, when all of a sudden, THWACK!! ‘What the f*** was that?’ may have been my exclamation. I guess it was my fault – I assume I mustn’t have given way – but I honestly have no idea where she came from.  Anyhoo, we pulled over to do the whole name, contact, insurance details thingy, and I braced myself for a bit of a tirade. How wrong I was!

’I’m so sorry! I don’t know how I didn’t see you,’ I offered up as soon as I was out of the car, hoping to placate her anger.

’Don’t worry! It’s fine. It was an accident.’

Wow! That was it! She was so chill. And she was right. Of course it was an accident. I wouldn’t have intentionally pulled in fromt of her. I must have had a lapse in concentration. Or perhaps she was speeding. Or she turned on a red light. I don’t know. I didn’t see her until it was too late. But in this age of quick to anger reactions, her response was so refreshing. And appreciated. And a fantastic example to her young son who she had with her.

I texted her later in the day with the insurance claim details and apologised once again.

‘It’s ok. It was an accident.’

Wouldn’t it be fab if everyone responded with such kindness and understanding to tense situations?

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Soupy soup

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Well, it’s blowing a bit of a gale here! I’m looking out my back windows and watching the autumn leaves cascading to the ground, and zipping through the air, so strong is the wind. The rain has stopped for the moment but I don’t think it will be long before the plants will be receiving another soaking. It would be WRONG to have anything other than soup for dinner, wouldn’t it? Is there anything more hygge than sitting in front of the telly on a cold, wintry Friday night, feet in uggs, sipping soup in mugs?(ooh, that’s a nice rhyme!) Pumpkin soup is the soup of choice here when everyone in the family is home. This is the one I’ve made for tonight. I left out the turmeric and put some fresh ginger in instead. I always feel virtuous including pulses in my soups. I think it makes them more of a meal, and there’s something very nourishing about them. But every meal needs balance, right? So…I’ve also made the ol’ trusty Bill Granger brownie. I tell you, this is such a super easy, fail safe brownie recipe – apart from that one time when I was baking it at 7.30 in the morning in the rush to have it ready for a school morning tea and used two eggs instead of four. That was a sorry sunken mess! But when I have my sanguine mummy hat on, it ALWAYS ends up crusty on the outside, fudgy in the middle. I used white choc bits today instead of the dark chocolate. I like the butterscotch-y flavour the white chocolate adds to the gooey chocolate centre. And I sprinkled in a pinch of salt instead of the vanilla.

Keep warm, fellow Melburnians! And happy weekend to everyone!

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Taking Stock: April ‘18

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Hey gang! Do you see those two small magnolia little gems? And the statice in the front? I PLANTED THEM! Yep, I did. With a little bit of help from my dad because he has a shovel. I actually found out the day after we planted them that I have a shovel too but because I garden so infrequently, I had actually forgotten I had one! Anyhoo, since the rediscovery of my shovel I have planted three more little gems and a camellia – for some winter colour. I don’t know what’s come over me but all of a sudden I feel the enthusiasm for giving the house a good sprucing up. The STUFF in the roof is being sorted, donated and pitched, the outside light my man has always disliked is being replaced, and I’m wandering around inspecting flyscreens and cupboards and *nodding* ‘hmm, that needs to be repaired.’ Maybe it’s a reverse nesting thing that happens when the big ‘M’ hits! Aah, hormones! You do keep us entertained! So, in amongst all this reorganising and beautifying of my environment, I felt it appropriate to do a bit of a stocktake of life.

Eating: homemade creamy chicken soup. LOVE!

Making: lots of cups of tea for everyone in the house. Gosh it’s taken a bit to get my head around having the family around during the week this year! My man is working from home LOTS more, the boy is doing his thesis so not many uni hours, and the girl is in and out – but I’m trying to embrace it because I know moving out days may be on the horizon.

Cooking: chicken with basil and tomatoes for dinner

Drinking: peppermint tea

Reading: Call My By Your Name for book club. I haven’t seen the movie. Have you? What did you think? And I’m flicking through Frankie and Look What We Made

Hearing: the dishwasher sloshing, the pool filter whirring

Watching: quite a lot of Harry Styles clips because my girl keeps shoving them before my eyes! Which is fine! He seems talented, and nice, and plays a good tune. She went to the Melbourne concert and touched his suit! I asked her how it felt – ‘expensive!’

Seeing: a beautiful, blue autumn sky

Noticing: the stillness of the day outside

Disliking: the mess the corellas have been making of our streets. They have been carpeted with the pecked over remains of the pods from the plane trees. And the pods themselves! Out on my morning walks, I’ve had to be careful walking under the trees as the birds are sitting up there, pecking away, sending the pods raining onto the footpath.

Cringing: at the very thought that Trump could be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize over the whole Korea thing. I was reading in the paper this morning about how his unorthodox approach may have brought the two Koreas together and persuaded the North to demilitarise – although we do have to wait to see if this actually happens.

Wondering: whether to watch season 2 of  The Handmaid’s Tale. I loved the first season and the book but now that it is going beyond the novel’s end, I’m not sure if I risk spoiling my memories by watching season 2. I did read somewhere that Margaret Atwood gave it the thumb’s up, so maybe? Have you watched it?

Pondering: ageing! Maybe it’s because of the ‘M’ thing. Maybe it’s because lots of my friends are hitting the big 5-0, and some the big 6-0. It’s weird. My body still feels the same, and I don’t think I LOOK much different, but apparently the insides are telling a different picture. One of my friends is in the process of having her cataracts attended to. Isn’t that something that happens to old people? I look at pictures of my mum when she was my age – I’d made her a grandmother by then (we were both child brides 😉) and she looked much more mature (though not old) than I THINK I look. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe people in the street are looking at me and thinking ‘oh, yep, she’s nearing the seniors club.’

Thinking: I need to sort out my trolley full of wool

Opening: my front door a lot so that I can keep putting things on the nature strip for the hard rubbish collection

Looking: at lots of pictures of the royal family. And I don’t care what anyone thinks! Okay, William and Harry have never had to contend with living in poverty, but they had some crappy family stuff to deal with at a young age and it seems to me they’ve turned out to be pretty well-balanced people. And so I’m happy to see them making their own happy families. There’s nothing wrong for feeling happy that other people are happy, is there?

Wishing: the council would do weekly green bin collections in autumn. I have SO MANY BAGS of leaves that I’ve raked up and cannot fit into my bin. Don’t get me wrong. I love autumn, and I love my colourful fallen leaves but they can get slippery underfoot so I need to have a way to be able to get rid of them regularly.

Liking: that my man is feeling better. Bit of a tummy bug over the weekend so good to have that out of the system.

Feeling: chuffed to have sold a few of my weavings! One has even made it’s way over to New York! Love thinking that some of my work is in one of my favourite cities!

How’s your April been, chicks? Has the spring/autumn cleaning bug hit you too?

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Nice things for your Sunday

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It’s a grey and drizzly day in Melbourne – and I am LOVING it! It’s been warm for quite a while so it’s lovely to have some freshness in the air and some rain falling from the sky. I was planting in my garden during the week – yep, that’s right, this non-green thumb was in the garden! – and the ground was SO DRY. My new little plants that I’ve taken to talking to will be loving this weather. I’m sounding like my dad, wandering around the house saying ‘It’s good for the garden’!

If it’s an ‘inside day’ for you too, you might want to check out these clever people for some Sunday sighs and inspiration. Or you might just want to check them out anyway!

  • Look at these AMAZING embroideries! You can also read an interview with the clever Cayce here
  • I love these paintbrush portraits by Alexandra Dillon
  • Terrarium cupcakes? Yes please!
  • This is a clever way to recycle old dolls, Although maybe be careful with the placement if you’re the type to go for wanders in your house in the wee hours!

Enjoy your Sunday, gang!

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Easter chillin’

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What are you doing this Easter? Are you heading out of town? Are you in your pjs watching Netflix? Are you drinking tea and eating your body weight in hot cross buns and chocolate eggs? I’ll probably do a little bit of all of that.

There’s something very quiet and calming about the Easter break for me. Is it the same for you? I’m not a particularly religious person but I do like to treat Good Friday as a quiet day – a day to potter at home, read, craft, spend time with the fam. Today my boy and I had a chat for a couple of hours. So lovely! Don’t get that opportunity often when they’re grown ups!

For us, unlike Christmas, there’s no fancy meals to prepare, no rush to clean the house for visitors, no preparing to take off on holidays. Easter is a nice few days to mooch around and inhale a big breath before heading forth into the coming cooler months.

Enjoy your Easter, chums, whatever your plans are!

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