So what’s been happening?

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Howdy! How are we all? I feel like I’ve been away from the blog  world for a little bit. I’m not quite sure why. My girl is back at school, my boy has been away on holidays so I must have had HEAPS of time by my lonesome to compose a post. I guess I’ve just been puddling around catching up on some of the people and places I haven’t caught up with for a few months or checking out new things to do. So here, for the record, are some of the things which have kept me from tapping away at the keyboard.

Spotlight: I went to see this with my movie buddy and it was excellent. Have you heard of it? It’s about the investigative journalism team at The Boston Globe who uncovered the extent of sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic Church in Boston. Not exactly cheery but the focus was not so much on covering the abuse but rather how the team went about its investigation. Compelling performances by a great ensemble cast, including Mark Ruffalo and Stanley Tucci. Such genuine actors. Love them!

Andy Warhol and Ai Wei Wei: Emily made the train trip from Ballarat to ‘the big smoke’ and we went to see this excellent exhibition at the NGV. It was HUGE and I think we were a little overcome by it all! We were both marvelling at the sheer volume of work that Ai Wei Wei has produced.

TV: we’ve been watching the third season of The Bridge which has been excellent, as always. A bit retro watching just one episode weekly because we are so used to binge watching whole seasons at a time! We’ve also been catching up on season two of The Americans. Yep, we are a bit behind! Kept forgetting it was on pay TV after it disappeared from free-to-air.

Podcasts:  SerialChat 10 Looks 3this chat  between Wil Anderson and Julia Zemiro, and Iz and Ez discussing booky, watchy things

Crocheting: I made another one of these giraffes for the daughter of a friend of my mum who is awaiting a tiny arrival and I’ve started on these maybelle squares (well, I’ll turn them into squares!) in the ongoing endeavour to work through my wool stash! I’m going to join them up to make a blanket, I think. Can you guess what inspired my colour choice?!

Books: I enjoyed reading Hope Farm, which my lovely girl gave me for Christmas. It’s been nominated for the Stella Prize, and deservedly so.  Isabel lent me Still Writing by Dani Shapiro, a gem of a book on writing, creativity and life. Current read? All the Light We Cannot See

Friends: coffees with lovely friends. It’s really important to nurture our relationships, isn’t it? I try to make sure I don’t leave it too long between friend catch ups because in all the busy-ness of people’s lives (yep, I hate saying that – let’s remember we don’t have to fill every second of every day for our lives to be valid), relationships can easily slide. And that’s a great pity.

Stuff: you know, the ordinary things. Domestic goddess duties, new school year adjustments, the admin of life. Not very exciting, but we all have to do it, don’t we?

How about you? Have you been out and about doing nice things? Or have you been enjoying some quiet, reflective time?

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We’ve all been on a summer holiday…

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Hello! Happy New Year! I hope your Christmas was harmonious, delicious and generous of spirit and that the days following were enjoyed lazing in warmth or bundled up against the cold with lots of yummy leftovers and relaxing activities. We spent a week down at the beach. Nice! My man and I worked out that we have spent all bar two summer breaks down at Apollo Bay since 2001. That’s loyalty – or lack of adventurous spirit! But I love a no-brainer holiday – no need to wonder about where to shop, where to eat, how to fill the days. You just settle into an easy holiday routine. Here’s how we chilled.

  • morning walks on the beach with my man and afternoon ones with my girl
  • reading The Secret Chord and the latest edition of Uppercase looking out over the golf course and the bay
  • catching up on seasons 4 and 5 of Homeland
  • watching Nightcrawler
  • crocheting and sketching
  • drinking coffee at Bay Leaf
  • eating ice cream from Dooley’s (the lemon curd was DELICIOUS)
  • shopping at Hawkeye Homewares (yep, that’s my man transacting!)
  • listening to Serial

But you know what? I think we have reached the end of an era. I don’t think we’ll be back there for a family holiday again *sniffle*. As a couple, yes, we’ll be back but as a family? Probably not. This is our last year of being ruled by school holidays. We no longer need to take our summer holiday in January. And we can’t compel our adult offspring to come away with us ( my boy opted for a music festival with friends this year), can we? So, to Apollo Bay, I say ‘thank you!’ You have witnessed us grow up as a family, from the days when the kiddies were happy to go boogie boarding, build sandcastles and collect shells to the days when they just wanted to chill out in front of movies; from afternoons of Scrabble and Mastermind to playing on PSP and having BBC’s Pride and Prejudice on a seemingly continuous loop; from walks to rockpools and waterfalls as a family to walks with just my man and the kids by themselves. There were trips to the cinema, rides at the carnival (and the probably trademark infringing stuffed toy won by a big brother for his sister), and the strangely entertaining game of throwing stuffed toys down the stairwell! Aah, kids! What scenarios are they making up in their minds?  But every year there has been a family meal at the pub on our first night away, dinner at La Bimba, ice creams after tea and a lazy look through the newsagent. As we exchanged texts with our boy, he asked ‘how’s Apollo Bay?’ It is a treasure chest of family memories.

Do you have a regular holiday spot? Did you have one growing up?

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I’m making a list…

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Are you making lots of lists at the moment? I’m compiling a few. There’s the present list, of course, but there’s also the Christmas card list, the food list, the drinks list, the crockery and cutlery list, the Christmas Day running sheet. They’re very functional lists, aren’t they? I want to make a fun list! So in that spirit, here’s a little list of things I’d like to do over the Christmas/holiday season.

Hmm, I wonder how many of these I’ll actually get to do? I know I’ll also want to have some lazy days at home chilling in the back garden and watching the tennis on the telly.  It would be nice to have weekend away with my man too. Aah, the joy of having kids who no longer need babysitters and who can drive themselves wherever they need to be! Have you thought about LAC (life after Christmas) yet? What is on your list of enjoyable things to do?

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One + Four = Life: happy things

Hello lovelies. How are we all going? I was a bit flat last Sunday. My planned ‘expected and unexpected’ post took on its own unexpected gravity with the events that unfolded in Paris, and my learning of some distressing ‘life has just been turned upside down’ news for a local family. Anyway, I’ve had a couple of days to digest all of that and now I’d like to share some of the nice things from last week.

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Finished my knitting! These two little guys are now with kogo for distribution as part of its Christmas Angel project. This year the goodies are being given to children of women living in women’s refuges. I hope they bring a smile to the faces of two little people.

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Last Tuesday night one of my friends texted me ‘I have two tickets to Stephen Fry for tomorrow night that I can’t use. Would you like them?’ YES, YES, YES PLEASE! I met my man in the city after he’d finished work and we had a quick bite to eat at Teatro overlooking the Yarra before heading up to Hamer Hall. Well, Stephen Fry was excellent. He spoke about his childhood and multiple expulsions from school, serving time in prison, his love for Oscar Wilde and his collaborations with his Cambridge friends. I find it quite remarkable that someone can speak on stage for just under two hours, no notes, no interval and keep an audience completely entertained.

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Friday was movie day. My buddy and I headed off to see The Dressmaker. It was pretty good. It reminded me a bit of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert with its fantastic, glamorous costumes set against the dry and dusty Australian outback, and its collection of quirky characters. Judy Davis was excellent. She had some great lines and her use of voice and facial expression was spot on. Our only quibble was that we thought Liam Hemsworth looked too young to play a contemporary of Kate Winslet’s character. Seemed a bit ridiculous to hear him uttering the line ‘Tilly Dunnage. I haven’t seen her since she was a girl!’ Anyway, Kate was very fortunate to have him cast as her love interest!

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I was out and about on Saturday when I spied this newly opened vintage shop on the main road near home. Did a quick loop around, grabbed a park and popped inside. Had a lovely time looking at the collection of Enid Blyton books, vintage cameras, fuzzy felt and some rather groovy strap on roller skates just like the ones I received from Santa when I was 8 or 9! I may have walked out with a lovely plate and bowl…

So there we have it! The nice things that happened. I hope you have nice things happen to you this week too. Maybe you will see a movie? Or perhaps there’ll be a new shop discovery for you?

If you want to see what others have been up to, head over to Isabel’s blog.

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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!

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One + Four = Life: Birthdays and Spring Days

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Hello! How are things with you? You might remember that last week started off cheery for me then went downhill.  At the start of this week we were still in a dip but we’ve pedalled hard and made it back up the hill now! Yay!

My boy had a birthday during the week. Number 19. How can he be that big?! It was a pretty simple affair. His choice of birthday dinner at home (spaghetti and meatballs!) and a chocolate mud cake.  I always like to bake a cake for birthdays rather than buying one. Just feel it shows my maternal love a bit more. Must say it’s a bit easier now the kids are older and I don’t have to do the novelty cakes anymore!  The Women’s Weekly kid’s birthday cake book has been well used in our house! Are you a birthday cake baker too?

I was pretty proud of myself that I managed time for TWO blog posts this week. Because we’d been a bit down in the dumps, I thought a Taking Stock post was in order just to get things in perspective and to make me think of the good bits that were happening. And then I managed to finish reading The Opposite of Loneliness so I wrote a book review post.  Very happy with myself!

As the week drew to a close, the sun started to shine. I snapped these buds on the ornamental pear in our front garden.  I love the pretty blossoms on this tree.  And I love how they are bathing in the sunlight in this photo. Aren’t they beautiful?

On Saturday afternoon, I took myself off to see Iris. When I sat down in the cinema, sitting next to me was a girl I went to secondary school with! I think the last time I was her was at our one year reunion. We both recognised each other immediately so that was heartening on the ageing front! I super enjoyed Iris (my old schoolmate did too!). I found myself smiling almost all the way through. My smile only dropped when witnessing the increasing fraility of Iris’s husband, Carl, and Iris’s realisation that their time together in this life is coming to an end. You could see the sadness and worry in her eyes. Such a devoted couple. I loved Iris’s spirit and her wit, especially her comments on plastic surgery, not being dead, and not being pretty!

Four highlights from my week set amongst the the usual weekly happenings. What were the happy things about your week?