Plugged + Unplugged

Do you love your devices? Are you a needy child, hanging on to them for security and company? Or have you cut the apron strings, knowing they’re there when you need them but you can live independently in between time? Does the internet ensnare you in its web-iness or do you manage to find a space big enough to allow you to escape its clutches?

Here is the way things are with me and devices.

imageThey ensure dinner is ready at an appropriate time.

imageThey enable me to make quirky purchases.

imageThey teach me how to create.

imageThey have given me friendships.

imageThey broaden my mind and entertain me.

imageParadoxically, they get me away from technology and out into the world. How else can I gather experiences to write about?

So where does that place me? I feel like I am in a balanced relationship with technology; that we are always there for each other but we know how to create space to explore other worlds. I go for walks technology free. I draw, craft, read the printed word, meet friends for coffee and practise yoga. But I love the connectedness and immediacy that technology gives me.  I love that I can dash off a quick note of concern to a friend, that I can find a delicious recipe for dinner, that I can give my kids greater independence because their whereabouts is only a text away (if they answer me! Grrrr!). I remain on guard that I am not frittering away my time on funny cat videos, that I am not just mindlessly refreshing my Facebook or Instagram feeds, filling in time when I could be experiencing something more meaningful. Do I sometimes hanker for a life before devices and the internet? Sometimes. When we are away on holidays, I still want to be plugged in. That makes me feel a little uneasy. Am I falling victim to FOMO? Maybe I should be able to remove myself from social media. But there is often inspiring stuff to read and the lazy days of holidays are ripe for filling with interesting and entertaining reads.

Despite my natural inclination to be a Luddite, I have embraced technology wholeheartedly. From behind the safety of a keyboard, it has allowed my sometimes less-than-confident self to reach out to people and experiences. It has broadened my mind, inspired my  creativity and enabled me to connect with kindred spirits. My life is the richer for this.

These musings are part of a group project initiated by Pip Lincolne in response to this post from Erin. To see what others are thinking about technology, check out the comments on Pip’s blog.

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One + Four = Life: and breathe…

Phew! Made it to Sunday! My brain has been a bit distracted this week. ‘Twas my girl’s performance exam on Friday and we were all a bit tense in the lead up. So much work, so much rehearsing and it all comes down to how you go in that five minutes on one day. Anyhoo, all went fine, the pressure valve released and I finally regained enough mojo to actually find four photo worthy moments in the week. Was looking for a while like it might be four photos of me rocking in the foetal position!

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We headed to Wheel & Barrow seeking some last minute props and the girl spied a waffle iron. Always a fan of ‘fun food’, she asked if we could buy it and thus have yummy afternoon teas. In the interests of maintaining a smooth exam week, said waffle iron was purchased and I made waffles the next day for an after school snack. I used this recipe and they worked out pretty well! Crispy on the outside, fluffy in the middle! Well done, Mumma!image

Having finished my granny square blanket, I needed a new project. With the weather warming up and Christmas approaching (eek!), I decided to opt for a teddy bear. I’m using this pattern. It’s pretty quick to put together. It will either head to kogo for its Christmas Angel project or Softies for Mirabel, the brainchild of the fabulous Pip Lincolne. Perhaps I’ll make a couple to share the love? Do you like donating things at Christmas? Are you are maker of pressies or a buyer?image

I finished reading Leap a couple of weeks ago. I wrote a review of it here. You might like to have a squiz and see if this sounds like a book you may be interested reading. Have you read anything good lately?

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I am not a fan of gardening but come this time of year, when the sun starts to shine and reading outdoors becomes enticing, the prospect of sitting in a weedy, overgrown garden compels me to don the gardening gloves and have a bit of a tidy up. And I’ve been feeling a bit shamed by my Mum saying to me recently ‘Dad and I would like to come and help you in the garden’. I really think as a 45 year old woman I should be taking responsibility for this myself! They’re away at the moment, so they’ll receive a nice surprise when they get home! Do you still feel shamed into things by your parents?

Hope your week has been a relaxed one. Do you get tense when your kids have exams? Should I just learn to take a chill pill? If you’d like to see what others have been up to this week, pop over to Isabel’s blog.

Have you read…? Leap by Myfanwy Jones

It has not been a conscious decision, but I’ve found that I’ve been reading quite a lot of Australian works this year. This is my most recent.image

Leap by Myfanwy Jones is a novel that explores the effects of grief and how we heal after the devastating, unexpected loss of a loved one. For Joe, the loss is that of his girlfriend, whom he loved with all the intensity we would expect from someone beginning to navigate the world of romantic relationships. For Elise, the loss is that of her daughter, a loss which creates an aching longing in her heart and shakes the stability of her marriage. Joe and Elise each find different avenues through which to channel their grief: for Joe, it is parkour; for Elise, it is spending an hour a week at the zoo, observing and sketching the tigers. For both of them, it seems that these pastimes force them to contemplate their own mortality. A poorly executed leap by Joe and he could die, whilst Elise contemplates being mauled by the tigers and joining her daughter in death.

Jones has drawn her characters deftly.  Their grief is recognisable and understandable but they are not suffering cliched expressions of grief. They are searching for ways to redeem themselves for the parts they feel they have played in the death of the their loved ones and are trying to find a new purpose in their lives. Her writing is simple yet evocative and perceptive. The texts Elise receives from her husband during their separation are ‘like a measured does of medicine for their marital disease’ and, one of my favourites, ‘…the leafless plane trees like great wooden hands, petitioning the clouds, bearing witness to Indrah’s distress.’ What a wonderful image!

Leap is a satisfying read.  It deals with death and grief but not in a maudlin way. It offers the reader a sense of hope and redemption. Melbourne readers will love its setting around the inner northern and bayside suburbs. I think it is  a novel worthy of being put on the ‘to read’ list.

 

One + Four = Life: colourful days

Hello all! How are we going? Here I am again, joining along with the lovely Isabel, sharing four snapshots of some of the prettier parts of my week.
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I finished crocheting this blanket for donating to kogo. If you’re a regular reader, you may remember me writing about kogo here. I think a colourful granny blanket is a good way to use up some of my wool stash and to help a little person stay warm. I’m really happy with the way the colour combination came together and I am quite fond of the bright aqua trim.

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Do you read Flow? I used to only be able to find it at Magnation in the city but, much to my excitement, my newsagent has started to stock a tiny number of copies. Every time I pop in, I keep my eyes keenly peeled to see if the newest edition has hit the shelves, ready to snap it up before another customer’s hands land upon it. I enjoy its mix of articles on creative types, mindfulness, relationships and social issues. I bought this copy last week but didn’t have a chance to sit down and have my first really good squiz at it until this week.  A perfect companion to coffee after my morning walk! There are so many lovely magazines nowadays, aren’t there? Are you a magazine reader? Do you have a favourite?
imageI visited the Melinda Harper exhibition Colour Sensation at Heide during the week. I wrote all about it here if you’d like to catch up on my outing!

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Triple chocolate cookies!  Really you can’t go wrong with these, can you? They are always gobbled up pretty quickly in our house. My man is doing a ‘no processed sugar’ challenge at work at the moment so hopefully that means they will last a little longer than usual! I adapted the recipe from a cookbook my girl brought home from the library when she was in primary school.  For those of you who like to bake, you may want to try it. It can be whipped up very quickly. If it’s 3pm and you have nothing for kiddie afternoon tea, these cookies will be out and waiting for them when they walk in the door. And your house will smell all lovely and warm and chocolate-y!

Triple Chocolate Cookies

100g butter, melted

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons cocoa

1/2 cup plain flour

1/2 cup self-raising flour

1/3 cup each of dark choc chips and white choc chips

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Whisk together butter, brown sugar and egg. Add flours, cocoa and all the choc chips. Stir it all together. Squish tablespoonish amounts together and pop onto trays lined with baking paper. Bake in oven for 12 minutes, swapping trays at the halfway mark. Leave on the trays for five minutes to cool a little before putting them on a cake race to cool completely. Makes 16 to 18 depending upon how big you make your tablespoons!

Have you had a colourful week? Or has it been a bit grey? Maybe it has been monochrome?

Hello Heide!

imageimageimageimageimageimageimageimageOkay. I am not going to pretend that I am overly knowledgeable in the art area. I had never heard of Melinda Harper until I saw this exhibition at Heide advertised in The Age a couple of months ago. I was drawn in by the colour, shape and line in her work. But just because you haven’t heard of an artist doesn’t mean you can’t view an exhibition, does it? It’s a chance to learn a little something!

During the week, I spied a window of opportunity between dropping off my boy not too far from the gallery and before my afternoon commitments beckoned. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Heide, you can read about it here. I super enjoyed wandering amongst the vibrant works of the exhibition which encompassed paintings, collage, embroidery and playfully decorated found objects. There were also a couple of things I really loved in the accompanying curatorial information. Harper said that she didn’t pay attention to colour theory when creating her works, but just to what seemed harmonious to her eye, and any ‘mistakes’ she worked around. She also noted her work process – ‘The slowness is an important part of the process, it allows me a lot of time to look.’ I think these are lovely messages about creating with your instincts rather than being constrained by rules, about accepting imperfections, and mindfulness.

I also had a wander around the beautiful gardens. How could you not on such a glorious day? Sculptures are scattered throughout the grounds, some boldly on show, others nestled amongst the gallery’s architecture or its many trees. The kitchen garden was blooming colourfully and buzzing with bees. There were friends sitting on the grass chatting and sipping drinks, and a picnicking school group. I was amused to see the kids all decked out in their hi-vis vests! I overhead a gallery staff member saying they need to wear them on excursions. Bit of a change since my boy and girl were at primary school. Super cautious times!

If you are a Melbourne person and this exhibition looks up your alley, you have until October 25 to pop out and see it. Or maybe you’d just like to sit in the garden? Or perhaps you could take the kids and play ‘spot the sculpture’!

One + Four = Life: out and about

Hello lovelies! How has your week been? Mine has been GOOD! I have been out and about having all sorts of adventures  – well, adventures by my very domestic, at home in the suburbs standards! And looking at these photos, I have been seeing lots of blue skies!

imageOn Tuesday, I jumped on the train and headed up to Ballarat to catch up with Emily from squiggle and swirl and to see the Archibald Prize touring exhibition. It was a lovely day. I wrote all about it here.

imageMy reading pace has picked up a little over this past year. I can’t really keep buying book after book, lovely as that is, so I decided that I should rejoin our local library. Libraries are great, aren’t they? All those books and community info? I have many happy library memories from my younger years (not the ones spent in the law library at uni or Supreme Court library at work!) and from when the boy and girl were little. I think those memories are probably worthy of their own post. I am loving our reasonably recently renovated library. It has a cafe attached. Of course! I borrowed a novel, memoir and watercolour book. I’m probably being a bit ambitious in thinking I can get through all of them in three weeks so I may need to reborrow them. I think I might pop there again next week just to have a coffee and a read. I’m sure I can squeeze it in between other out and about tasks.

imageWhen my girl started school, a friend and I decided we’d set aside two Fridays a term to go to the movies and have a bite to eat afterwards. We’ve seen some excellent films in that time – Million Dollar BabyBurn After ReadingThe King’s Speech,  Grand Budapest Hotel. I wouldn’t quite put The Intern in the same category as those films – no plot twists, no subtlety in its message – but it was pleasant enough. I’d put it in the category of a Woman’s Day magazine and a block of Cadbury chocolate – short lived disposable pleasure!

image Continue reading

Taking stock: October

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Wow! It’s getting scarily close to the end of the year, isn’t it? I’ve even heard Christmas music being piped through our local supermarket! Please no! Not just yet! So before we get to that hectic period, let’s take stock.

Making: time to do a drawing every day

Cooking: chicken parmagiana

Drinking: peppermint tea

Reading: Leap by Myfanwy Jones

Wanting: assessments to be over for my boy and my girl

Looking: at beautiful clear blue skies

Paying: for new house keys. Have absolutely no idea where mine have gone!

Watching: The Bachelorette

Smelling: Nutella toastie

Liking: lunching out with my boy – 19 and still happy to be out with his mum!

Hearing: birdsong

Listening: to this podcast on Life Matters about mindfulness

Wearing: pink and purple

Bookmarking: books from the library

Wondering: what time the boy will be home from uni

Giggling at: Richie on The Bachelorette. Helium voice and running around with kiddies. So cute!

Loving: my ‘new’ west German vase from Etsy

How are things going for you in October? Are you taking a sharp intake of breath before the silly season begins? Or are you feeling pretty cruisy?