Taking Stock: June ’18

2A02D337-5D1E-4ACB-89AD-F98BD354BB26

C26CFB57-60A0-426D-AD5D-3FDAB258D42D

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.

image

Taking Stock: March ‘18

C601DE3D-5C08-4DE2-9D8C-932D1DD505BA.jpeg

Gang! How are you? Long time no blogging! I don’t know what I’ve been doing with myself to have so much time pass and apparently nothing to blog about. Maybe if I take stock, à la Pip Lincolne, I’ll work out what’s been going on.

Eating: tuna pasta

Cooking: stewed plums. Autumn means plums, yes?

Drinking: wine, tea

Making: the weaving in the photo. It was my first commission! Woohoo! Gave one of my weavings to a friend’s daughter, her grandmother saw it and thought she’d like one too! Delivery is happening tomorrow so I hope she likes it 😬

Watching: Homeland, my footy team on the telly. I always feel like the year is really underway once the football season starts

Reading: Forest Dark. I borrowed it from the library and when I went to renew it they said it was on reserve and renewing was a ‘no can do’. Second time that has happened to me! So I had to go and buy book so I could finish it!

Hearing: thunder. It’s going to be a pretty stormy night judging by the radar

Waiting: for my boy to come home from work

Wondering: what to cook for dinner tomorrow. So many meals to think of…

Planning: to go the bookshop this week, maybe buy some magazines, have some quiet reading time, visit Opendrawer

Pondering: my next weaving design

Buying: wool from Wool and the Gang. My man gave me a voucher for Christmas and they have a sale on at the moment so more bang for my buck!

Marvelling: at how social media can create new friendships. Discovered one of my fave weavers who I follow on Insta goes to the same yoga school I go to, her son goes to the same school my boy went to, and we have a mutual friend! We’ve had a chat and will have a catch up! Lovely!

Liking: that daylight savings will end soon. The mornings are becoming very dark!

Loving: the autumn colour

Knowing: the next couple of months will be spent raking up leaves. I look at the trees in my front garden and think, ‘ay, ay, ay, so many leaves, so little space in the bin!’

Wishing: the council would start the street leaf collection earlier. I don’t think they start until mid-April and by that time so many leaves are already carpeting the footpaths

Celebrating: my mum and dad’s 50th wedding anniversary. Such a long time, yes? Dad used liquid paper in his card to Mum to signify some of the rough patches and things they would rather have erased! Funny man! But they have stuck together through all the icky bits. Pretty admirable.

Remembering: to buy Easter eggs for the egg hunt – because even when you’re 21 and 19 the egg hunt is still an essential part of Easter! The Easter Bunny received a scolding when the egg hunt was neglected a couple of years ago. Oops!

Hmm…still don’t quite know why I haven’t turned my mind to chatting to you, lovely blog buddies! Has anything interesting, happy, exciting been happening in your world?

image

 

What I did in 2017

 

So this is a thing I like to do. Rather than coming up with resolutions for the new year and wondering what lies ahead, I like to reflect upon the year that was – to think about what I enjoyed, achieved, and maybe even what was a bit challenging. And whilst we are already one week into the year, and 2017 is starting to feel like a bit of a distant memory, I think I can recall just enough to make up twenty noteworthy happenings. Here we go!

  1. Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge in very heavy snow. The rest of the family LOVED the snow but I must confess, no matter how rugged up I am, I do not handle cold well and I may have shed a little tear whilst they emitted exclamations of joy!
  2. Enjoyed not being a school mum anymore. It was fun – for the most part – at the time but I’m not unhappy to see the back of concerts, sports days and parent teacher interviews.
  3. Cheered when my girl got her driver’s licence. No more driving supervision. Woohoo!
  4. Worried when my girl got her driver’s licence.
  5. Worried when my man suddenly didn’t have a job. Gulp!
  6. Sighed with relief when the employment gods shone upon him after not too many months of job hunting. What an exhausting, rollercoaster ride that is!
  7. Enjoyed our first child free holiday in Tassie. We have had nights away from them in the last twenty one years but not an actual holiday.
  8. Joined a book club and met friendly new people. Thanks Isabel!
  9. Played chauffeur to my man when he broke his foot. moon boots are a bit cumbersome!
  10. Opened an etsy shop!
  11. Celebrated my girl’s 18th, my boy’s 21st and our 25th wedding anniversary. What a year of milestones!
  12. Held a new baby for the the first time in years! When I came home my girl said ‘your clothes smell different’. Yep, new baby smell! Heavenly!
  13. Volunteered at the Melbourne Writers Festival.
  14. Walked more steps than I ever have before because apparently my bones are a bit on the soft side. Gah! Ageing!
  15. Learned I can kill weeds with boiling water. Best discovery ever! I like a tidy garden but I DO NOT like gardening. And pulling weeds out of the cracks in paving? much hrrumphing under my breath!
  16. Probably wasted too much time scrolling through social media. That is a new year’s resolution if I have to have one!
  17. Reached my reading goal on Goodreads.
  18. Binge watched TV shows – The Crown, The Americans, The Handmaid’s Tale, Before We Die. This is what happens when my man is free to watch TV at night rather than working.
  19. Bought a long coveted lamp from Retro Print Revival.
  20. Watched the passing in parliament of the same-sex marriage legislation and shed a tear of happiness – and relief.

So 2017, I now bid you adieu. There were some ups, some downs, but you were mostly kind to me and for that I say ‘thank you’.

image

Ten good things about this weekend

AC471A8D-D1B3-4C97-AEFB-2188DCE7A818.jpeg

This is the second in an occasional series (that means I wrote another post like this back in March!) about what’s been nice about this weekend. I’m sure there have been other pleasant weekends in between but this one has been choc full of good stuff!

  1. Meeting new people at my friend Isabel’s book club.
  2. Eating dumplings with the same new book club buddies.
  3. Movie date with another friend. We saw Murder on the Orient Express. It was entertaining, the costumes were lovely and I liked that Michelle Pfeiffer’s face had lots of movement to it. And she still looked gorgeous.
  4. Not getting hit by a car as my friend and I jumped off the tram. Phew! That would have put a dampener on the weekend!
  5. Buying this book for next month’s book club. I think it looks super interesting.
  6. Coffee in the gardens with my man.
  7. Warming sunshine with a gentle cooling breeze.
  8. Catching up with a friend for her birthday, drinking wine and munching through a burrito bowl.
  9. Watching the second season of Happy Valley.
  10. An early finish at work for my girl which saved us from a late night pick up.

And now it’s time to settle down now in front of Postcards. It’s our traditional finish to the weekend. Yep, it’s all pretty much advertorial but it’s nice to find out about local places to visit. And there’s always the anticipation of whether Bec will do the one or two handed wave with her ‘bye, bye for now’! How’s your weekend been? Have you had some chill time? Has it been a social one? Or has some solo time allowed you to recharge for the week?

image

 

Have you read…? Some autumn reading

IMG_0367

How has your reading been going the last few months? I’ve been a little slow. Not sure why. That just happens sometimes, doesn’t it? I did feel a little red-faced after doing a book swap with one of my friends and she returned all those I had lent her before I had even had a chance to start reading hers! Happily, I am now halfway through one of them!  So what was I reading in the meantime?  Here’s a selection.

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout This is a little gem of a book, and I’m looking forward to re-reading it after it has done the rounds of some reading buddies! The book is set in New York and tells the story of Lucy Barton, a writer, who is in hospital recovering from complications after an appendectomy. By her side is her mother, whom Lucy hasn’t seen for a number of years, but in her time of ill health, it is this maternal that voice she needs to hear. Through their bedside exchanges we learn of Lucy’s dirt poor upbringing in Amgash, Illinois.  A bookish child, she felt isolated from her family on an intellectual level, and there are hints that there was abuse perpetrated in the family home at the hands of her father, a WWII veteran who suffered from PTSD. We learn of how she came to physically distance herself from her family as she moved away to college, and then her early experiences in New York, meeting her husband and becoming a mother to her daughters. As the story progresses, we understand that the hospital stay is not present day but in the past, and an older Lucy is reflecting upon this event in her life. For me, this story showed how families are bound together even where there is distance and strain in that relationship; it was about what lies unspoken yet defines our lives; it illuminated how our lives are made up of many episodes, many little stories, but, in the end, we have only one overarching story. Having recently read Hillbilly Elegy and listened to S-Town, I felt that this sat as a companion piece, albeit fictional, to the two stories of JD Vance and John B McLemore who both grew up in disadvantaged rural communities but possessed an intellect that separated them from their peers. Lucy’s story, and those who featured in her life, are explored further in Elizabeth Strout’s new work, Anything is Possible. It’s on my list of ‘to-reads’!

The Sellout by Paul Beatty This won the Man Booker Prize in 2016 and I was keen to read it.  The premise of the novel as set out on the blurb is how one black man, nicknamed Bonbon, attempts to save his town, Dickens, from being wiped off the map by reintroducing segregation. As a consequence, he lands before the Supreme Court for breaching the Constitution. The idea for resegregation came about by accident. Bonbon’s friend, Hominy Jenkins, was a long time ago child actor in the television show Little Rascals, where he was the sop made fun of through racist humour.  Hominy hankers for the days of segregation where he knew his place in the world and urges Bonbon to take him on as his slave. Bonbon humours Hominy, and as a birthday present makes him a sign to be erected on buses requiring blacks to give up seats for whites. As social behaviour amongst black residents improves, Bonbon has the idea of introducing segregation to other institutions in town. Alongside this storyline, we learn of Bonbon’s upbringing by his single father, who used Bonbon as the guinea pig in psychological experiments; his reignited relationship with his teen sweetheart, Marpessa; and how he relates to his father’s old friendship group, The Dum Dum Donut Intellectuals, and their regular meetings to discuss issues of race. So what did I think? There is some cracking writing in this satirical novel. Having visited there a few years ago, I loved his description of how Washington D.C. “with its wide streets, confounding roundabouts, marble statues, Doric columns and, domes, is supposed to feel like ancient Rome (that is, if the streets of ancient Rome were lined with black homeless people, bomb-sniffing dogs, tour buses and cherry blossoms).” And who cannot raise an ironic laugh at the idea of the black school kids participating in “Whitey Week”, a week showcasing the contribution of the Caucasian race the “the world of leisure”; where at a car wash the kids could choose three levels of white washing: Regular Whiteness, Deluxe Whiteness and Super Deluxe Whiteness with their attendant benefits of benefit of the doubt, higher life expectancy, decent seats at concerts, warnings instead of arrests? But there were times, for me, that the novel became too dense and beyond my comprehension: the sentences curled around themselves, and pop, gang culture and Spanish language references went over my head. And the whole resegregation bit? It took a long time to get there. Whereas the blurb had me thinking this is what the book was going to be about, it was really only a part of the story, and I wasn’t that much interested in the other bits. In the end, I found it a bit of a slog. Maybe it is better suited to the US audience?

Between A Wolf and A Dog by Georgia Blain So after a fair share of reading US fiction and non-fiction, I thought it was time to turn my reader’s eyes back to home, and bought the late Georgia Blain’s novel with a birthday gift voucher. Sigh. What a beautifully written novel, and , of course, made all the more poignant because of the way Blain’s life imitated the life of the character, Hilary, who suffers brain cancer. It is impossible, for me, to read the sentence “It is as though her life has been in fast motion until now, racing forward, a great crush of people, places, moments, anger, joy, love, despair all coming to a sudden stop, colliding into each other at the gate, while she slips though, walking onwards, alone in a quiet land” without my heart being pulled into my throat; that the author, herself, would know this experience all too soon. The novel takes place over the course of around forty eight hours and follows the lives of Hilary, her adult daughters, April and Ester, Ester’s ex-husband, Lawrence, and their young twin daughters, Catherine and Lara. The relationship between April and Ester has broken down, and Ester and Lawrence are barely on speaking terms. A sense of betrayal hangs heavy over the characters, and though the use of flashbacks we understand why. There is a sense of life drifting, which contrasts with Hilary’s clarity about where her life is headed. The novel does not end neatly tied with a bow but there is a strong sense that love, despite its being challenged, binds the characters together. An excellent read.

Tell me, have you read any of these? What did you think?

image

 

Ten good things about this weekend

IMG_0338.JPG

What a BEAUTIFUL autumn weekend we have had in Melbourne! Low 30 degree days but a cool night for comfy sleeping. Thank you, weather gods! Lots of my weekends over the past four years have been centred around school activities and the stress surrounding the assessments the kiddies were facing in the coming week. Now we’ve hit uni life it’s not quite so intense on a week-to-week basis. Phew, phew, phew! And I was thinking this afternoon, that this has probably been one of the nicest weekends I have had in quite a long time. Here’s my ten reasons why.

  1. Perfect weather
  2. Having my man at home and fully awake. He’s been away or jet-lagged for quite a few weekends this year.
  3. Sitting in Canterbury Gardens with my man on Saturday afternoon beneath a shady oak – and watching two lovebirds getting hitched!
  4. A swim in our pool. I think it’s about two years since I’ve jumped in the pool (not literally – I only ever tentatively slip in). Stuck my toe in today after cleaning up the dog poo and thought it felt delightfully warm so popped the togs on and floated and splashed around.
  5. Morning walks and coffees with my man.
  6. Homemade burgers for tea with the family.
  7. Babysitting two perfectly behaved littlies on Saturday night.
  8. Flipping through the latest Frankie and Peppermint.
  9. A fresh couple of coats of green polish on my toenails (had to make sure that didn’t sound like I had some weird mouldy infection!)
  10. Booking our summer holiday – and thinking about destinations for some long weekend breaks.

Now I am off to unpack the dishwasher (yep, there are still chores to squeeze in between the nice bits) before squeezing in an episode or two of The Good Wife before bed. Yep, seriously behind on that one. Praise be to Netflix! I hope you have been able to find ten sunshiny moments in your weekend.

image

Taking Stock: November ’16

IMG_0227.JPG

Gah! Nearly the end of November so JUST squeezing this in in time! I had hoped that I might have popped out a couple of posts this month but, alas, ’twas not to be! Life is full of surprises that divert us from our plans. I did think this week would be a quiet one with my girl away with friends for the week celebrating the end of school, and my boy at work. But yesterday afternoon the texts started coming in that she wasn’t feeling well – some sort of tummy bug – so we’ve been on a rescue and retrieve mission today! And the boy came down with a fever last night so can’t go in to work. Meanwhile, the man is working from home because he’s put his back out! So there is much fun and games at our place! Aside from all of that shemozzle, here’s where life’s at in these last few hours of November.

Making: this little guy in orange wool for Softies for Mirabel

Eating: eggs and spinach with buttery toast

Drinking: water with slices of lemon. Making the plain exotic!

Cooking: bland stuff for the ill one – fish, potatoes, stewed apples. Delicious!

Buying: Hydralyte!

Watching: Shetland. My man is working himself into a lather over the bleak weather on display. My girl feels letdown at the lack of ponies and dogs shown!

Reading: Frankie and Flow. Just finished This House of Grief but events of the last couple of days have prevented me getting on to something new, book-wise. I feel I need something light and breezy. Any suggestions?

Hearing: my girl tapping away on her keyboard, my man on a work call

Looking: at the pictures on my wall that have decided to hang at a jaunty angle

Wishing: for a tinsy bit of solitude

Needing: to get to my facial appointment tomorrow for above mentioned bit of solitude!

Wondering: when I’ll get my Christmas shopping done. That was what I was meant to be doing today…

Pondering: what to buy for the fam for Christmas. They are very unhelpful in providing any suggestions!

Bookmarking: recipes for Christmas Day. I like the look of this and this. My mum and I share the load. She does the meat and I do the salads.

Wanting: to finish watching Gilmore Girls so I can finally read all the critiques. I’ve got through ‘Winter’ but that’s all so far 🙁

Hoping: everyone returns to health tout suite. Let’s end this year on a high!

How’s your November been? Smooth sailing or hiccups?

image