Thursday, 31 December 2015

Zoo fun

Yesterday I had a zoo visit planned. I can see Taronga Zoo from my place, well where the ferry lands and the greenness of that space. The small girl was to come along, that didn't happen and luckily so with all the throngs of people there. Families, lovely to watch so many of them out and about enjoying their children in such surroundings. I also wanted to take my time so I could enjoy pausing for photographs, very boring for small children. I bought a years pass, suspect we may spend time there together very soon.

Because I had a car I drove and after a few human mishaps I can kind of blame on the satnav, well not really, I arrived in one piece to a full car park. No worries, there's always one more so in I went. It was warm inside, many of the animals sleeping in the shade, in the trees and generally staying away from this stream of daily watchers. The giraffes were majestic and gracious as giraffes are and I managed a couple of shots. The koalas were sleeping in the trees, the gorillas were in their house and the kangaroo was getting very grumpy at all the attention when he just wanted to sleep as well.

I was a little concerned about the seal who was doing laps of his very small pool, the size of some of the enclosures surprised me. Always the flip side with zoos alongside their conservation work and introducing children to animals they may never see in the wild. I do love photographing animals and some of my favourites have been from zoos, like the Antwerp hippo, the New York owl and the Al Ain savannah giraffes and zebras.

This evening there's the sail to a vantage point in the harbour from which to enjoy those amazing fireworks in the company of the best of people on Australia One. Getting very excited now.  So here are a couple of pics from the day out. Hopefully there will be fireworks ones tomorrow.

The zoo view, outstanding spot

Sleepy koala

Peek a boo 

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Expectations

So my unspoken goal was to write here each day of my break, unspoken so there would be no expectations. A lovely friend sent me this Shakespeare quote from his amazing sojourn climbing in Spain with his son:


Expectations, societies social and cultural mores that we live by. Family expectations and expectations of family. Letting it roll and enjoying it all as it comes. Not expecting happiness to come from anywhere other than within and being able to share this with others, without expectation.

I've had some discussions lately where unrealistic expectations have set the tone for conflict. In these cases personal conflict, internal and external. Conflict that has enabled me to make decisions for my own story. If one looks at what's happening in our world today, the expectations of one group of people often override the rights of another group. Conflict on that larger stage, creating a story that continues to reverberate through each generation. Power games, politics.

I began to write this post in my head this morning while buzzing around getting ready for the day, the words were there and I didn't sit and write them exactly. So here's my approximate reflections.

From childhood we are told a story of how this life is and how to succeed within it. Setting expectations of how to survive. This story is told by those who went before. This story often didn't take into account how things have changed over time, especially if the story is told and retold inter-generationally. The war and depression stories about working hard for a living rather than for a life. The stories about sin and guilt and judgement. The stories that set life limits.

Today's young people have been raised in different times and I watch in wonder at the confidence and competence of those younger ones I enjoy. My kids and my lovely friends and colleagues who don't limit themselves. You see, they have back up from their parents. The parents of the 70s and 80s, the rebellious teens of earlier times. Who left home early and made their own way, releasing the burden on their post war parents. There was little or no back up then, expectations that if you were female you got married and had children (in that order of course, failed that one) and if you were a man you worked hard to provide for that family.

There are kids who don't have that important support. Following their dreams is more difficult. The newly established and very visible gap between those haves and have not, or have not yet. As a child, I was unaware of these subtleties until I experienced them. Today, it's everywhere. The joys and pitfalls of the media, social and otherwise. Kids are aware of the gaps earlier and with multigenerational unemployment and dysfunction, the stories for some of our young people set very strong limits. Stay and live like your family, be part of this community, or go and be a different person outside of this community.

Some time ago I completed a Master of Education and my thesis focussed on the concept of cultural capital and its stability over time. I had the privilege of interviewing women who were studying while also managing families and working. Within the system they were called second chance learners, where as in reality, this was their first chance. It was humbling hearing their stories, how one had her father violently oppose her study despite the fact that she was in her 40s and married with a family; how a few were pregnant as teenagers and set no expectation for achievement. These were the very best of people, high achievers who were set limits and rose above them over time.

2016 is here in a few day and I must say I have great hope for this year. 2013 was a year of upheaval; 2014 a holding pattern while I regrouped; 2015 abounding with gifts of family and place; 2016 bursting with promise. The limits set by others and their expectations busted in a most wonderful ways. 

Palm Beach

I went for a drive yesterday, heading north to Barrenjoey Head and Palm Beach to enjoy walk 4 in my book. Up to the lighthouse, then a wander and quite possibly a swim. It was completely stunning, a gorgeous day to commune with my surrounds. And so much like my favourite place in New Zealand, the ocean beach on one side, the harbour on the other and a hill to watch over them.

After my wander I wended my way down, planning to stop at a few of the other beaches on the way. I missed a couple in the traffic, watching when I should have been looking, and ended up in Narrabeen. After a quick visit to the Woollies for lunch stuff, I found a beach spot and relaxed there for a while. The sun was hot, the wind cold so this hot house flower decided against a swim. Narrabeen is beautiful, a proper beach community with an amazing lagoon/lake to enjoy as well.

I liberated some shells for my collection, so many the bowl is overflowing, all with stories.



Travel trophies


Palm Beach from Barrenjoey Head track



Sunday, 27 December 2015

Wollongong

I had a small outing today, a drive down the coast to Wollongong. The drive through the Royal National Park was gorgeous, the smell of bush and glimpses of the wild coast. There's plenty of places to wander and best of all, some great mountain bike tracks. I had planned a coastal walk, the blustery southerlies that so decimated the Sydney to Hobart fleet meant it was too unpleasant.

My plan for this short break is to have a staycation, a term I first heard in the Caymans, in Sydney. That is, I'm staying at home and taking some time to explore my surroundings. Since malls and shopping don't interest me, I took to the wilds today. Tomorrow it may just be my most favourite of places to take pics, the zoo.

I played with the sea today. It was beautifully wild, crashing onto the rocks and sending spray over those not quite taking notice. It was cold. Here are some shots, more may follow when I've checked them all out properly.

Spray

Wild seas

Bubbles

Tranquility - Hapuku

Saturday, 26 December 2015

December treats

December is quickly rolling past, what a month I've had! Sydney never fails to surprise me. Some people said that it wasn't a friendly place, some that living where I live wasn't as safe as it might be, others that it was expensive. Well, while it is a little expensive, there are plenty of things to do that cost nothing or so very little that the cost is very much worth it. And then there's all the choices of things to do. As for the people, my neighbourhood is really friendly, my neighbours helpful and the others I've met very inclusive of this traveling kiwi. And it is safe, very safe when people know you and you say hello with a smile as you pass.

I'm never one to say no to an adventure or an opportunity. I'm not exactly what people might call risk adverse. And oh don't my best adventures start with taking that risk. With saying yes when others may have hesitated. Take my recent rock climbing expedition, well that sounds a bit more than it was because it was indoors rather than in those amazing Blue Mountain rocks. That's for another day.

I've always wanted to try rock climbing, always thought I was not strong enough in my upper body or that I was a bit on the older side of having a go. Seems I was wrong on both counts. I met a friend who's an experienced climber at the wall, strapped on a harness, had some belaying lessons and off I went. Literally up the wall! Seems that leg strength is the key and I have that. It was so much fun, and something I would like to try outdoors. Overhangs were beyond me this first go, maybe next time.

I've been out on the water a bit too. Heading out on Australia One still thrills me, the majestic lady usually causes a stir with others who understand her history. Last sail we got to watch Wild Oats in action and a couple of other Sydney to Hobart hopefuls. Plus the extreme sailing series with the crazy cats clocking up some serious speed on a short course plus the smaller cats and moths (I think they are more like dragonflies) honking down the harbour. It was exciting at times, dodgem boats.

And today, today's very special treat. A wander down to Rushcutters Bay to see the Sydney to Hobart boats off on their way. There was an air of excitement from the watchers, exclamations as people saw boats they'd heard of. Then there was the cry of a small boy, joined by a smaller boy and his mum.

"Dad, dad, dad!" the little boy frantically waving to a boat in the not too far distance pulling out from its mooring. When the second one joined in and mum, there was a lovely moment as they all saw each other. Dad responding with a big wave, matching the on shore waves and shouts of joy. They kept waving until he was out of sight, mum, sons and a little one looking a bit confused by the emotion.

Then it was a wander home to watch the start from my magical balcony. Such a view, out came the long lens and photos were taken. I quite often miss my tripod here, maybe I was a bit quick to sell it when I left NZ. 108 boats altogether jostling for the line in three waves. Amazing, exciting, especially as I could also watch the close ups on TV. Getting all perspectives. It was fantastic to see the start from up here and I was wishing I hadn't had to off load my granddads precious binoculars on my last trip to play Santa. The zoom lens worked okay.

Best of all was being here for Christmas with the Sydney lovely ones, a second Christmas after the first with the small boy and his mum and dad in Christchurch. Taking over the gifts and enjoying the special way of unwrapping that 18 month olds have. That paper is so much fun! She loved the gifts, taking all the attention in her stride. Then there was the amazing hospitality of the Sydney family related by marriage. A sumptuous lunch with the best plum pudding and brandy butter. Lovely, gracious hospitable and friendly Sydney folks. Mary was a treat, a fellow traveler with similar views and experiences of the world. We have a coffee catch up planned soon.

So, all is very well in my world. I have a borrowed car for this short break and plan to do some Sydney towning around, exploring places I've always wanted to. Like the coastal walks and northern beaches. This has turned into a longer piece than planned, it's nice to be having a break from work writing and the head space to write here. There are work changes for next year, a new team and new role and I'm looking forward to that.

The early morning five cruise ships arrived at once

Chaos! The start of the 2015 Sydney to Hobart from my place

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Devastation

Feeling the world as deeply as I do, I am devastated about the carnage those disaffected, misguided and violent men who make up ISIS have wreaked upon us all in recent days. The murder and havoc in Baghdad, Beirut and Paris in particular. I've been active on social media this morning and wish to share my thoughts wider than my circle of friends, and their friends. So here I am, sharing some of my beliefs, thoughts and refections.

Reflections about peace, tolerance, harmony, good people overcoming those who would do damage. Forgiveness and a view of people as people, individuals with families who love each other, parents who want the very best for their children. No matter their culture, race, religion, no matter where they live in our world. The extinction of 'other'.

'Other', the 'them' and 'us' mentality, feeds the people who are ISIS. The more we are 'we' and learn about and celebrate our similarities and differences, the greater chance we have of defeating violence and terrorism. Tolerance will take away the recruits. Tolerance and an understanding of each other should mean that young men are not so able to be disaffected because they are understood and honoured for who they are. Not just young Muslim men, young men everywhere.

I think of the many peaceful people in the world as 'us'. The people who conduct mass shootings in the USA in the name of Christianity; people who kill in the name of Islam; those who supply the arms that enable both to happen, governments who profit from war. They are 'them'. I wonder if people forget in these times that the peaceful 'us' is very much the majority.

I read somewhere that there are around 31,000 people fighting as ISIS. Given there are over 1.6 billion Muslims in our world, it would be a stretch to say these people represent the majority. Indeed, how could 0.0019% of the world's total Muslim population represent all Muslims? Certainly not the lovely, peaceful families I know personally. Families with aspirations for their children that are far removed from losing them in this devastatingly violent way.

Then there seems to be the belief that Muslims are required to apologise for the havoc this minority cause, the belief that all Muslims are responsible, even those who are fleeing to escape the indiscriminate violence in their own countries. Leaving all they know, their homes and economic bases to find peace with their children. Where are the apologies from other world religions when a non-Muslim kills in the name of their religion, the apologies from governments who make war on civilians and the arms dealers who profit from all of this?

What if all the arms in the world were destroyed or there was no profit in war? Wouldn't that be a world we could all enjoy.

The media play a role in perpetuating the drama and hate, especially these days with such instant coverage and the sensationalising that happens. The media being controlled as they are to show part of a story. To feed the cult of the other. There has been terrorism from a variety of causes, including religions, internationally and within nations, for generations. The crusades were religious terrorism, the persecution of Jewish people, the PKK, the Basque unrest. Too many to mention here.

I do hope those wanting their homelands free of oppression, being able to rule themselves and live in peace, may have their causes are highlighted when they fight against ISIS. I do worry that other news is being pushed from the public's consciousness, such as the atrocities and terrorism perpetrated by Israel on the Palestinians. What a world we live in, when will it settle?

This evening I feel sad, watching the stories on the news, only from Paris. Lest we forget Baghdad and Beirut where families are also suffering. Families who want just what families want all over the world, a better life for their children. Lets work on that. All of 'we'.

Somewhere over the rainbow.....

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Blue Mountains

My recent trip to the Blue Mountains provided me with lots of places to play with waterfalls. It's such a beautiful place, expansive views all with the blue haze that gave these hills their name. The eucalyptus oil burning off the trees in the sun. 

I really enjoyed getting out walking, although it was teeming with people on most of the trails. I found the big shots a bit difficult with the mix of haze, light and shadows so have added some water shots here. I have a great series of the two women enjoying that waterfall, wish I knew who they were so I could share them. 

I couldn't believe how close the Blue Mountains are to Sydney yet how different. Once again AirBnb came to the party with the best apartment, so close to everything yet so peaceful. I had another moment of being glad to be from Aotearoa. There was a wonderful band playing at the Station Bar in Katoomba. A lovely bunch of guys with a variety of instruments and that NZ funk sound I so enjoy. They chatted with us during their breaks, seems they love do Fat Freddies and others. 

The pizza was the best I've had in a very long while as well. I was starving after a day out exploring and ready to enjoy some music and dancing. 



The sun playing havoc with the Wentworth Falls

Cooling off

In the cool of the trail

Sunday, 8 November 2015

It's November? How did that happen!

For the first time ever, I've missed a month. That's right, no entries for October. The reasons are many, probably the main one the demands of writing for a job and not just for pleasure. A bit like someone who loves to cook becoming a chef with the demands of the public. My demands have been deadlines and a variety of topics I've needed to research in this new place. Somehow after being on a computer all day creatively writing and preparing presentations means I'm not as keen to do the same at home.

I've also been out and about. A lot. So busy doing I don't get as much time to write about it. Sailing has been interesting, a whole day Sunday commitment. I tried out for a racing team, a serious one, and decided I didn't want to commit to the time it would take, plus there was yelling and I'm a bit over that. It was a hectic sail and yelling was needed once or twice.

Sailing in regattas on Australia One and working with the 12 Metre club to do some promotional work and fund raising is more up my ally. Enjoyable sailing, meeting lots of different people out enjoying the water. There may be twilight sailing too, a great Friday night activity. There's just so much to do in this big ciy of small villages.

My lease runs out soon, I've been here six months already, and need to decide where I want to be. Really love this location so will stay if I can. I managed a long weekend in the Blue Mountains and took some great pics I'll share here soon. This weekend I'm in Brisbane getting some much needed whanau (family) time with two small ones. Amazing how much they change and grow in a few months.

The youngest is awake now, couch time is over and playtime about to being. All is well in my world.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

It's a small world after all

I've had a few moments of small worlds lately. I have a follower here who's name didn't register as it might have. Then I got the loveliest email from Les. Touching base after way too many years, too many to mention really. Les and his lovely wife Annette lived at the beach on the Coromandel that was my soul place. The most beautiful beach in the world, even after all my travels it's tough to beat.

Les drove us unruly teenagers to school on a little mini bus through scorching heat when we all would rather have been at the beach; through storms that closed the roads during storm season; through those days when the road was metal and rutted, not like the highway it is today. He knew all of us well, I babysat their kids in that lovely A-frame wooden house on the corner.

There are stories of those long journeys to school and back, journeys that were the first hour plus of my days back then. It was a long way to school, it was a culture shock heading from the small school to high school in the small town an hour plus away.  I did lots of reading on those buses, scenery only holds interest so long with the daily commute when you're high school age.

There was the time that one of the younger girls bit into her egg and there were guests there. I'm shuddering just thinking about it. It's a story I tell when people are eating boiled eggs. There were times when we couldn't get to school because of the slips on the road ahead, barely getting home through the slippery rain. There were the times the surf was up, the beach too tempting. The smell and taste of the little red guavas on the the side of the road.

It's funny, I'm not one to go back there. I tend to live more in the now enjoying each day as it comes and saying yes to opportunities and adventures. It wasn't the easiest of times for so many reasons and tonight's email from Les took me back some years. In a good way. His words brought to mind this from Jim Carrey. Les and Annette are following their dreams, exploring their beautiful country in their retirement.


















And here's one of my beautiful place taken by Judy Drok Photography. There are plenty more on her website.


Monday, 17 August 2015

The weekend

A picture is worth a thousand words, well there was supposed to be photos but the iPad didn't want to help me do it. Oh well, may add them later. What an eventful weekend. Thursday was the Marriage of Figaro at the Opera House, the Sydney Opera House; Friday evening excitement with a Meetup; Saturday brunch at the market; Saturday night '80s party, dancing all night; and then there was Sunday.

The Sydney 12 meter club has restored Australia One, the original Bond Americas Cup challenger, and Sam and I got to sail on her on Sunday. It was fantastic, out down the harbour and out through the harbour heads. Fast once the wind picked up. A weekend to bottle,  might need a quiet one next weekend although there is a sail on offer then too.
And finally, the photo

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Reflections

I've been in a reflective mood lately, counting my blessings and appreciating the space I find myself in. The space in all it's dimensions. Take today, well it started last evening after yoga. Samantha and I have bought a table at the Gangsters Ball next month and preparations have begun. Like getting a costume to wear. We Internet shopped last week and they arrived yesterday. The giggles started as we checked them out at work, we are beginning to get a little bit of a reputation there for enjoying ourselves fully.

Try ons followed dinner, hilariously the costumes all fitted. Skimpy and not covering enough but fitted us both. There will be no photos of that experience, suffice to say there was riotous laughter as the corset ribbons were tightened, the tulle arranged, shoes added. We both loved the sailor outfit most of all, we need a second one. My sparkly heeled, high high heeled, blue satin shoes worked perfectly. The pics shared today caused more work hilarity. Apparently we are the funny ones, good thing is we now have some colleagues keen to come to the ball too.

It's been a while since I've been where there is a ball season and I'm slightly regretting giving away my gold dress and some of those shoes. The gold one would fit again now, yoga and all this walking and healthy eating has me looking okay. Maybe I just need a new wardrobe, I know Sam will help. More about today, it was Abi's birthday last Friday and mine on the Monday so a team lunch was in order.

Macchiato Wood Fired Pizza Co has become a bit of a go to for me. Perfect Italian food, amazing desserts, banoffi pie mmmmm, and best of all, very best of all the perfect coffee. Dopio, double espresso. Perfect. And that's high praise from me. I have struggled a little getting the best coffee here. The weekend found me brunching at South End Cafe after a Friday out celebrating my birthday with cocktails and the very best Spanish tapas at Tapavino followed by some divine raisony sherry. Yes three lasses out drinking sherry on a chilly evening enjoying the best company.

So this has become a 'what I've been up to' that I've had very little spare time to write here, to write emails, to keep up with my social media. I'm very conscious that I owe emails, need to get some stuff done like sign pieces of paper that will end an era. Other pieces that will enable new beginnings. In a way this is procrastinating, thinking time.

Here are some of the promised reflections. Friends, I have found the best of friends here. The 'make new friends' of the poem. Through Meetups, at work, in my neighbourhood. Pleasant people, friendly in a way others told me Sydney might not be. Old friends, the ones I'll keep. The ones who write to me, make me laugh, don't mind if it's been a while between calls, comment on my comments and generally make me warm inside. The gold that sit nicely with the silver. Complimentary. Special.

Economies of scale. Well this reflection deserves it's own entry so I won't dwell too much now. Suffice to say that where there are many people, there are many amenities. Like my new yoga studio two minutes walk down the road. The place where I've been enjoying getting back into my most preferred activity. I think of Cayman Kim when I'm there, Monday yoga was our weekly get together. And my Al Ain yoga crew. Economies of scale that mean the city I live in has the very best public transport system too and so much to do. Like the going to the opera Marriage of Figaro on Thursday evening and hearing Louis de Bernieres speak next week.

Reflecting this evening as I wandered back from yoga on how I feel I've landed in the right place at the very right time doing the right thing. I've been published a few times in this new job and have another article brewing, due tomorrow. My work social media posts are popular too it seems. So all is well and truly well in my world. My lovely warm little home is still perfect and I enjoyed reading in the sun on Sunday. Noah and I talked on Sunday too. He had the funniest response when I showed him my view, it was almost snowing where he was.

"Wow grandma, where's that? Is it your place? Can I swim there? Can I come and visit?" He was very excited at the prospect of a visit, I am too. Photos will follow then.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

In Cayman it was sunsets

In Sydney it's sunrises. I'm not sure if that's about the closing of old chapters and the beginning of new ones or if it just is because it is. The sun has always been my happy place, a home flooded with the rising of the sun ideal for me. Sydney has been very good to me so far, there's plenty to do like wandering along the coastal walkway from Bondi to Coogee. A lovely outing on an otherwise stay at home wet day. 

I sheltered at Bronte, coffee warming me while I waited for a break in the weather. The waves pounding the sand and crashing up against the rocks, spray filtering the air. Sea air, sharp with salt. I can see the attraction of living at these eastern beaches and may look there when my lease expires. For now the closeness to work and town win. That lovely morning when I can wander a variety of ways. Going out and being able to get home easily late at night. I do catch the train, I do wander through Kings Cross at night much to the horror of some locals I know. It's okay, really. I've wandered much worse places and been just fine.

Today Samantha and I ventured north to a new cafe her friend has opened, Maslow's. Her son is the most amazing chef, his food a work of art and the best coffee. This evening there's a Meet-up at Darling Harbour, it's a school night but a bit of dancing will be good for me. Meet-ups have been such a bonus, landing not really knowing anyone here and now having friends to hang out with on weekends. Like Celia. 

There's so much to write about! New things keep popping into my head as I write, disjointed and random adventures and discoveries. Like the recent breakfast at the Kings Cross market with my lovely Sydney family. Corn fritters, coffee, sun and the best company. Something I repeated this Saturday with quite different company. People watching, chatting, chilling on the sun. 

Next weekend I'm off to Brisbane on my first official outing in my new job. Attending a conference on Saturday and enjoying my Brisbane family on Sunday and Monday. Bonus. My new job is a writing job, preparing presentations, social media and web posts and writing articles for professional and other publications. Time to research built in. Presenting at conference and other fora expected from time to time. Does this sound like my perfect job, well yes it does. 

So best I get ready to salsa. Here are a few pics from my wanders. 
Wild water, he was wise to run

Sunrise sparkling on the water

Bondi

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Risks

Taking a risk, is this a trait? In the eye of the beholder? Subjective. Dependent on our view of what risk really is for us. Is taking a risk born out of courage or foolishness? Out of knowledge or ignorance? Why are some so comfortable with risk, often not recognising the risk and only seeing the possibilities.

I took a risk recently, apparently. Others perceived it as a risk, I perceived it as a choice. The choice between two risks. Staying where I was or moving. Staying and always wondering. Going and always knowing. There's no risk in that for me, just choice. I came for a six month contract, a new job in a new country with a new organisation. I made a choice, less of a risk than taking a non contract position because there's an easy out. Not having to make the decision to leave if it doesn't work.

From my first day this choice has been the best choice. Time to get to know my gorgeous granddaughter. Time with family. A new home with an outstanding view and plenty of morning sun, a more forgiving climate and plenty to do in this big city. And best of all, my six month contract has turned into a more permanent role. One that was waiting for me to arrive. One that combines all my interests and passions, is flexible, working with an awesome team on a worthwhile project. Perfect. 

I don't take risks, I say yes to opportunities. I have GFA and that works out just fine for me.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

The small stuff

The stuff that can drive you crazy, and is rather amusing. Like the ghost bus, the phantom bus as one of my fellow commuters dubbed it, the 311. Yes, talking at the bus stop is allowed when said bus does not turn up. It's been happening a bit lately. When it's there on the app then quietly greys out. No warning, just gone. Guess it's not coming then. While we waited one evneing, this lovely lady who works in the navy and I, the bus inspectors swarmed the stop.

No good, I shared with one of them. The ghost bus has gone off the radar again so you might need to choose another. Did I mention it was a chilly wet evening, not one to walk in my light coat, so we talked a bit about the weather. As the time drew out, the inspectors gave in and asked about the ghost bus. We regaled them with stories of our experiences. Much giggling from the very serious bus inspectors as we shared those 'being left there with no hope' stories.

It's funny, I've been a bit naughty at times when traveling and ridden the bus/train/tram without paying. Most of the time it hasn't been intentional like that time in Milan with Sandy or Rome with Di when the rules eluded me. I have been warned of inspectors throwing old ladies off the bus/tram/train. Since I've been in Sydney I've experienced them twice, both times riding legally. Once on the ferry and this time.

The next bus, not the ghost bus, came along and on we all hopped. It was hilarious, like party time on the bus. Strangers talking with each other as the inspectors checked the cards and tickets. The elderly gentleman sitting next to me shaking his head and saying he'd never seen such a thing in all his years of riding the bus. Our new friends waved good bye, promising to see if they can find that most ghostly of buses.

My stuff arrives on Saturday morning. I can't wait to lay down my precious carpets and hang my art and photographs. To make my little apartment more like home. The small stuff happened with the delivery of said goods. It seems that delivery is an issue. Not that I haven't paid for door to door, just that door to door means door to ground floor. So after a bit of grumpiness, I just had to suck it up, put on my big girl pants and get over it.

Sometime Saturday, at an extra cost for Saturday delivery grrr, I will be dragging boxes to the lift and getting them up to the 7th floor. All by myself. I'm hoping those delivering will take pity on me and help. We shall see. So life in the big city goes on, the weekend is close. One where I have a couple of social engagements. A BBQ with whanau on Saturday evening, a good catch up with those last seen a while ago, and drinks at mine on Sunday afternoon. I may even manage a few on Friday evening although I suspect it will be a quiet one. It's been a full on week.


Sunday, 14 June 2015

Sunday

It's Sunday evening and I'm procrastinating. I've managed to successfully fill in some time chatting on the phone and catching up on emails. The job I set aside for this evening is still not done, I'm very good at procrastinating. Mulling things over until I'm ready to put pen to paper. then it just falls on the page. So rather than procrastinating, which is what my processing can feel like, I'm reflecting on what I might say to impress those who need to be impressed.

And this is a good spot to chill and reflect. Reflect on what a great couple of weeks it's been in my world. There's been a bit on. Work, socialising, family, getting my home together, time out to wander and chill. I can't believe how settled I feel here in Sydney. How much I'm enjoying being close to the small girl and her mum and dad. We got time together on Saturday, a sleep then a wander to the Kings Cross market just down the road. The charming child making the ladies smile back.

Then today her first birthday party. A day with family and friends all gathered together to celebrate the guest of honour who took it all in her stride. Well as long as mum or dad were in sight and there was cake to eat. First birthdays are so much more about adults, the small girl managed to make it her day. Opening the presents was a treat. She had that sorted pretty quickly, and waving for the camera.

My apartment continues to delight me, the sun streaming and that view. So much going on on the water, an every changing vista with the sun rising, the ferry and boat traffic and the sparkling night lights. The ones I can see now. The area I live in is a delight, so much to see and do just outside my door yet quiet enough to enjoy a stress free weekend.

The Saturday Kings Cross market, I wandered down and bought my weeks fruit and vege. Organic mostly and when my eggs run out they will come from the farmer that has them too. The gozleme was delicious and the coffee too as I sat on a bench and people watched. Children chasing the birds while dad ate his burger; a couple reading on a rug; children enjoying the play ground; groups of people wandering and buying; the smell of those bacon and egg buns; the cakes so tempting; people watching people watching people.

I've taken a few pics from my deck and I uploaded them this evening, along those from mothers day, my Brisbane trip and some from New Zealand. Here's a few of the view.

My first morning

Brooding sunrise

Saturday traffic

Saturday, 6 June 2015

The couch

Has been very handy this week. The bed took a few nights to assemble, the couch doubles as a bed so it was my go to place. Falling down exhausted after a day at work, a walk home and building what needed to be built. No internet has meant more time, I've missed my contact and am working on getting this final thing organised. This evening Frankie and I are getting some time together while mum and dad are at the movies. A well deserved break for them and fun for me with the Internet bonus.

I've been telling some entertaining stories at work this week, each day a new tale of the bed saga and what else I've managed to build. There are times when it would be useful to have another in the house. Today Debbie once again helped with the lifting, after coffee and lemon tart. You see that bed should have had fine print. I got the big box that is the base made. I went to attach the headboard. Nope, not happening. 10.30 came and went, I gave up.

At 3am I ought I'd solved it. Nope. The cold morning light helped, there was one way to put the headboard on and I had it the other way. Pliers were on the list to remove the dowels. Mission accomplished that evening and the base went together too. Including the hydrolic lifters on either side. You see the bed I bought was this one, clever little storage bed. Very interesting to build, stage 52 suddenly had two people. Two people.

It seems, and I know this from experience, that lifting the slat base onto the hydrolic lifts and fixing them there takes two people. It does, really. I had a go on my own, it ended badly. When I dropped the dreaded Allen key. Yoga moves, while balancing that bed base on my back, well it had to end badly. I had visions of being missed in the morning and them finding me trapped in the bed. Discretion won, another day or two to wait and I have a bed. Can't wait to rollin there tonight.

Today's effort, after a wee lie down, was the four drawer dresser. I'm getting good at this stuff now. Good at knowing when I've taken a wrong turn and need to put the drill onto undo. There's just the wardrobe to go now and that has pics of two people everywhere I suspect. Not that I've found the book yet. Nick has been coopted. Lucky it's a long weekend here. I've got rest and wandering planned.

So life isn't the big city isn't too bad at all. Work is rewarding, the view from my balcony, and every window in my new place, makes getting up a joy and there's all I need in close proximity to my new place. There are pics and I will get one here soon. Hopefully I will have Internet soon, can't wait to be properly connected again. 

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Moving!

Yes once again. This time to my new place overlooking the Sydney Harbour. New place with new furniture and old treasures. When they arrive. My shipping is on the way and I'm not that sure how everything is going to fit. The essentials are there, I move in tomorrow. The couch will be my bed until I can put the one from Ikea together.

Ikea, two hours of wandering and I had what I needed to furnish my apartment. The boxes were delivered late this morning, I have managed to make the bedside cabinet, a cool red chair the same as the ones I had in Al Ain, the couch (only possible with Debbie's help), the set of two coffee tables and that's about it. Still to go...... Well quite a bit really.

The kitchen is now clean, my new dinner set and small things all washed and away in the cupboards. I couldn't believe how little I paid for my haul, picked and delivered as well. The delivery men were a treat. Of Arabic descent, I made them laugh with my greetings and thank yous. They made short work of the delivery task, the chaos of boxes that meant work for me.

House sitting at Nick and Liberty's this weekend has been a bonus. Winston the cat has appreciated the company, well as much as cats do. Being able to zip around in their car has been fantastic. I've managed to find my way around, with the help of that very calm voice from my phone. I even got to drive over that big bridge, hard to resist clapping my hands with delight while I was driving.

Tonight I'm making the most of the Internet. I haven't arranged any for my apartment yet, tomorrow's job. It's so easy arranging things here, so much easier than in my other moves. I'm looking forward to having some free weekends to wander with my camera. To explore this lovely city. Photos will follow, for now I've got a bed to make. Literally. 

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Sydney

A new month a new city, a much bigger city. I can't believe I've not written here for so long. Well, I can believe it really given how busy I've been. Moving house is a little stressful, add moving countries to that and its a bit fraught.

I decided to sell up after pricing storage. It worked out okay with lots of negotiation and my furniture going to good homes. Trademe was an experience. Beverley is storing the few boxes of precious stuff I had left, some went south via the post. I still ended up with a little bit much baggage, only in one suitcase. There were two and the excess went into my trusty blue backpack making it impossibly heavy.

Plan A was to train, with one change, to near where I was staying. Luckily plan B kicked in as soon as I had begun the plan A journey. My ticket was refunded, my lovely Airbnb host was there to pick me up. I was so thankful. What a lovely person Debbie is, well travelled with lots of stories. Often ones that parallel mine. Like our Nepal stories. Both distressed about the damage to that most beautiful of countries with the most hospitable people. Heart breaking.

So here I am in Sydney. My first night I slept that exhausted sleep one has after such big days sorting, packing, cleaning. My first day was spent enjoying a small girl who was not impressed by the teeth that were coming through. She was hot and bothered, we had lots of cuddles and I hope that helped. Nick showed me around a bit, this is the loveliest suburb with the harbour all around and the most amazing views over the water to the city. Especially at night with the sparkling lights.

Today I wandered a bit, finding the nearest supermarket and the reserve where I could wander by the sea. It rained, tomorrow might be better so I can get some pics to share. Monday is work, a new job in this new place with new people. Lots to learn. I get to ferry across the water each day, sailing should follow soon.

Monday, 6 April 2015

On the road again

Things that happen quickly, effortlessly, lightly, by dropping a stone into a pond, seem to be the right things. I dropped a stone in a pond a month or so ago and at the end of April I'm on the move again, this time to Sydney Australia. I was ready for a change, a challenge, a new place that wasn't so cold in the winter or at least had a shorter winter and hotter summer. It's a bit exciting really.

The big pull is to be nearer to family, to those 3 lovely granddaughters and their mums and dads. So here I am in amongst the chaos of sorting. Taking a quick break. I realise I've been very quiet here, there hasn't been a lot to write about recently. Well except my recent trip to Brisbane where I gave a tummy bug, not sure where I got that from, to a whole lot of friends and family. I hope they are still talking to me, it wasn't highlight for me either.

I have a house lot of furniture to sell this time, facing the dilemma of store, ship or sell. The cost is about the same, the convenience of having it all ready for my new place might just outweigh the hassle of selling. Then there's all the small stuff I will ship anyway. I'm moving with 2 suitcases, not sure it will all fit. Oh well, I don't really need that much and I'm sure I can donate what's not needed to worthy causes.

This Easter weekend I've been out on the water a couple of times, one was really windy and challenging the other a more gentle romp. In Cayman I would probably have been on a boat heading around the island for the annual race, it was a bit chillier here. Best I get back to the sorting and throwing. Here's a pic from my recent trip to Brickbay Winery.

Seems appropriate

Thursday, 5 March 2015

March

Oh my, March is slipping by. Autumn is coming although summer is still warm enough for now. The leaves are beginning to fall; Noah is now 5, a happy birthday weekend was had with shopping for pressies top on the list. The cricket set a hit, bowling lefty because the right is still not right.

It's been a different kind of month or so with my ribs taking their time to heal, sailing being a shore activity and the ostiopath being a bit of a hero. Poking into the sore places and making them better. I laugh to my colleagues that I'm off to pay a man to hurt me. He does, it helps. So much so that I'm off racing tomorrow, for better or for worse. Better is the plan. Red wine after and lovely food and company will make it worthwhile.

Dancing and yoga is also on next weeks plan. Diana and I were enjoying Ceroc, time to get back there. If I have time. I'm heading south for work, then north to Auckland the next day. It should be fun, back working with front line people. Then I'm off to Aria's birthday and christening in Brisbane, I can't wait. I had a horrible thought this evening that I haven't booked my leave. Top on the list for tomorrow.

This evening over a lovely smoked salmon salad and a nice red, Sue and I chatted about family histories. So interesting as we get that bit older. Reminiscing about standing on the ramparts of Stirling Castle and finding my turangawaewae, my place to stand. My history. Stirring. About family histories of Burma, India, New Zealand. Interesting stories.

This weekend, if Saturday is indeed a wet one as forecast, I plan to begin writing my book. I have bits written on scraps of paper. Time to collate and get ready to line up with just the right pics. I've been reading about the travel gene, one I have and have maybe passed on to the boy with the map on the wall and the globe he asked for at Christmas time. We talk about where I've been, he might enjoy this book. Written just for him.

From my place to stand

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

400

So, 400 plus views today. Can't help but wonder who is viewing and where you are from. Please let me know. Please let me know what you find so interesting in my humble blog I write for me and mine. Not that interesting really.
My happy place

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Growling time

I get so mad reading the news, scrolling through social media, hearing and seeing reports of killing and retaliation and hearing excuses to kill more. To impose fear on people by only providing the information that suits the purpose of those who want this fear to continue, want retaliation, want to be able to also kill with impunity. There that's my small rant for today.

Seriously, would people who kill in the name of religion continue to do so without publicity, without the platform media provide for them? Without being able to incite terror in others? Well, it would be foolish to believe that completely given the unpublicised atrocities in places like Sudan and Yemen. Place without oil or many westerners, not quite of as much interest.

So how can we make a difference? Is it by turning off our tellies, discarding the newspapers, not searching the web seeking to read/see/hear about these atrocities? Not feeding the media frenzy that has become war these days. Not believing the lines of fear governments feed us to make sure they can act with impunity with the general public sighing with relief.

I don't pretend to know, my outrage is still present. I worry for the world my grandchildren will inherit. How do we claw back our peace. Let's start now. 

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Authenticity

I've been reading a bit about authenticity lately, it seems to crop up in places I'm exploring. Today it cropped up in Donna's blog. Her very first entry into this blogging world. I loved that she wrote about a teacher impacting on her life. On her authenticity. On realising her talent. Teaching is my business and has been for some time now. Teaching does make an impact, either way.

Donna is a teacher. An artist and writer. Multi talented. That comes with the teaching territory. As well as dedication, perseverance, resilience, relationships, communication. Dispositions that come with the territory and touch the lives of our children and grandchildren. Noah has just started school, taking it all in his stride as he does. Being secure in who he is and confident of his place in the world.

I spent the weekend with Sue up at Sandspit, a place with the very best of Aotearoa on offer. We've know each other for many years, had many adventures and these were discussed over the finest of wine. Our trip to Jordan, out to her middle desert home, around the UAE and Oman. Sue is the most authentic of people, so very comfortable in her own skin. Excellent company with common sense opinions. We talked much about our current spaces not being as good as they could be. Not being places that value and acknowledge authenticity.

Ideas on making improvements ebbing and flowing as we wandered the beaches, the markets and around the Brick Bay Vineyard. What a treat that was. The sculpture park an unexpected delight, so exceeding expectation. The groves of kauri and the man made offerings placed carefully for maximum impact. That's a whole entry on it's own so for now here are a couple of my favourites.

The Choice - Paul Dibble

Dingy - Jeff Thomson

On peaceful lily pond

Monday, 26 January 2015

A weekend to bottle

There are some weekends that need to last much, much longer. That could be Groundhog Day and I would be very happy. This weekend was one of those, well I could have skipped the cracked ribs incident, apart from that it was perfect. Sun, swimming, sailing, food, wine, conversations with excellent company. A variety of company.

I get a hard time for my chatting, where I pick up a conversation with another from the slightest contact. How else would I have met the lovely young couple with their vintage film cameras enjoying the boat sheds, pleased to find one open and seeking permission to photograph the ropes on the door. The Irish man who was basking in the sun seeking information about things that might maim him in the boat harbour. We talked of his home in the north and his New Zealand adventure with his friends. The English man who wanted a sail and came to crew on Friday evening.

New friends and older ones like Julie who happened to walk past and Mark a sometimes crew member, like on Friday evening. Interesting, well travelled people whose stories expand my world. Our Friday night sail, we won. On handicap and that's still a win. Mark set the spinnaker and helped me fly it, while Pete kept it all under control. We hummed along keeping close to the pack. Drinks and food followed, tall stories and true. The skipper didn't quite make it home, sleeping with the ropes.

Saturday was more social time, lots of basking in the sun and sleeping off Friday night. Sunday was a quick ride down to sail again in the light breeze. My bike is coming in really handy these days as I negotiate the people wandering along the waterfront in the sun. I got to helm on account of the ribs, Pete was sympathetic. What fun, it's the first time I've really helmed out on the harbour. Anchoring was not my strong point, procrastinating before making the plunge into the chilly water I was better at.

So I've had my first swim in this much colder water. A refreshing much needed plunge and then some sunbathing on deck before dinner. It really was a weekend to bottle, one to repeat many times before the end of this, the warmest of New Zealand summers.

Proof

In my element

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Blowing with the wind

It was a bit blowy yesterday, I thought discretion would reign and the rum race would be called off. Down to the sheds I wandered feeling grumpy and groany. Grumpy after a less than satisfying week at work, very bored with the whole work thing and realising why for the first time, that dawning of  an epiphany, that 'ah ha' moment. More on that later as I unpack the so what of it all.

I didn't count on there being two Petes at the shed, all gung-ho and ready to go. They of course managed to convince me, wasn't that hard really grumpy as I was I needed water time. The lovely Aaron, a young sailing friend from Cayman, said it wouldn't take me long to get a crew space if I went to the Port Nic club. True. He also said that 25 gusting 35 wouldn't be so daunting after a while. For non sailors, that's knots and what's commonly known as blowing a hooley.

Boat breaking winds. For the sturdy Davidson 28 that is Tortimony it's child's play. Out we went, I was still unconvinced. We reefed the main and off we flew, what fun it was! The boat hummed along taking the gusts in its stride. This mainsail trimmer had work to do. Plenty of it as we careened down the harbour. Three up all that was need for the work, an extra for ballast would have been good.

What a gift sailing has been, thanks Jo and the crew in the Caymans. It's most certainly different here although the social aspects are the same, without those pesky mozzies. Last evening Pete excelled himself. BBQ out in the still gusting wind cooking some yummy fish. We won the rum, dark and stormies were the drink of the evening. So good.

Stories were shared. Pete 2 had some amazing ones. Seems he's been places no one much goes diving and the like, like Antarctica! He even made this hot house flower want to go there too. Just for a short time to take photos, well rugged up if course. He is quite a photographer. Check out his blog, he does such interesting work for NIWA. He knows a bit about weather.

So the day turned into the wee small hours with rum and adventures shared looking out over the gorgeous harbour I've come to love. My mood much improved, thankfully. Today there's not much planned, maybe some helping with the boat bits and then an evening out practicing the dance moves Diana and I learnt at Ceroc. Have I said I've started going to Ceroc, dance lessons and lots of fun practice with more experienced others. Just the right way to learn and so much fun as well.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

A guest entry


I've had so much feedback from this mornings post, all supportive, some so eloquently written. So much so that I've asked for permission to post this comment from a person who understands the conditions of this world so well. I just wish others got like he does. So here are the words of my most eloquent friend, enjoy:

Ideologically, I'm deeply rooted in the humanism that believes in the inherent goodness of individuals, in our innate desire to love and be loved, to do good by others, to live peacefully and well within family and community, to enjoy beauty, to strive for happiness, to treasure our children, and to make sacrifices to achieve these ends. I think all human societies share very similar aspirations.

But governments across the world have created a political system where resources are concentrated overwhelmingly in an ever smaller group of predominantly "western" nations, and ever smaller oligarchies within them. The suffering of others does not drive policy making. The United Nations is a byword for bureaucracy and the intransigence of various power blocs. So despite having the means, medicine and countless other resources, we collectively do so very, very little to alleviate poverty, disease, starvation, degradation and subsistence living which afflicts billions of people. UNICEF calculates that 22,000 children a day die directly because of poverty. 

We are casually callous, immune to suffering on a scale so immense it's easier to ignore than to address.  How pathetic are we when, every few years, a motley collection of rock stars come together to release a single aimed at getting us to "Feed the World".  We have resources enough to provide clean water and to create sustainable agriculture across the planet, but just lack the collective will because there's no short-term profit in it. But we'll open factories and processing plants in the third world to exploit cheap and child labour, creating misery abroad and unemployment at home. 

This wilful blindness to global suffering is mirrored in how  we tolerate more localised deprivation. How can the world's richest nation accept having no welfare system worth the name, plus huge inequalities in its health and education provision?  

At my most deeply cynical I can believe that the "War on Terror" is a US/UK invention to channel an uneasy populace's antagonism toward a perceived external threat, creating  fear which makes acceptable the government giving itself emergency powers. George Orwell could hardly have created better euphemisms than the "Department of Homeland Security" or the"Patriot Act". Bush senior coined the term "War on Terror" within hours of 9/11 - it's a brilliantly elastic phrase that can apply to activities in Bali, Beirut, Birmingham or Brisbane - as it doesn't name an enemy beyond anything that scares us. Such as weapons of mass destruction that didn’t exist, Saddam’s supposed collusion in 9/11, and so on. 

The War on Terror has created the very thing it purports to oppose: imagine the terror of those held and tortured without trial in international detention centres and at Guantonomo; the terror of civilians in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Libya, the Gaza Strip and other places bombed to oblivion.

Yet somehow the War on Terror excludes what happens in the Ukraine, in China,  in Zimbabwe, in Indonesia, the Philippines, Nigeria, Gaza, various Gulf States, and a host of other places. Leaving aside the dynamics of what is actually happening in Syria, Jordan and Egypt.
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But 12 dead cartoonists/satirists in France and we can get a couple of million on the streets. Including a bevy of world leaders. Three dead in a Sydney coffee shop fills the national cathedral and is portrayed as a profound national tragedy, a loss of innocence. But that innocence was lost the moment our soldiers’ boots first tramped across middle eastern sand.

Any deliberate death is tragic and irrevocable for the bereaved but, weighed in the scale, our collective grief is but a feather compared to the oppressive burden many peoples carry daily. We wave our feathers around to show our unbreakability of spirit; but then go home to live in comfort and security denied to most of the world.

Problems out there in our world

There's a huge problem out there in our world, people going about their daily business are being killed. And not just in France. All this outpouring for the people killed in Paris has left me feeling uncomfortable. There are many questions in my mind about this and I've been largely silent in the places where I usually engage, trying to make some sense of it all.

I read a comment made when a prominent leader of an Islamic country condemned  this heinous act. And don't get me wrong, I am as horrified as everyone else that gunmen entered a building and killed people as they did. My heart goes out to their families, I can't image how they must be feeling. I recognised my disconnect when I read that comment.

The reader asked where the condemnation was from this leader for the thousands killed in Palestine. Where the Islamic leaders were while Gaza was destroyed. And Syria. Another commentator asked where the condemnation was for the atrocities by Boko Haram. There are many examples of people being killed by extremist groups or individuals in the name of their religion. Examples not treated with this same outpouring.

Why not? There is research that shows people are not able to cope with mass destruction, that the sheer number of people involved in some of the worlds atrocities is so overwhelming as to be unimaginable. Take an incident where a face, a name, a personality can be shared and honoured then people can relate and feel the outrage they must at these types of acts. Maybe people have had enough, the straw that broke the camels back as it were.

Then there's that emotive word terrorist. So what is a terrorist? Are the only terrorists in the world Islamic? Surely one would have to be naive to believe that. Or listen to the mainstream western media with their emphasis on terror, terrorism and Muslims. Synonymous? Not unless the only people who can feel terror are non Muslims.

What about the terror of having your country invaded, your men and boys imprisoned in some far off detention centre for life with no trial. What about the terror of a bulldozer destroying your home as you stand by helpless with soldiers' guns aimed at your family, your children. What about running from bombs as they rain down on your homes, sheltering your small baby with your body. What about the terror of the 92 young people killed in Norway or the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram or the many school shootings in America. There is no monopoly on terror or terrorists. They have no one true religion, race, culture.

There does seem to be a concerted effort by western media, in particular channels like Fox in the US, to hype up situations with talk of terror and terrorists and Islam. Interchangeably. Birmingham is even an Islamic stronghold where non Muslims don't venture. Now those who know may well laugh at the ridiculousness of that, and Fox has since apologised, but those who don't know may well believe this to be true. Say it often enough and loud enough and with enough authority to a wide enough audience then it becomes the truth. There are many examples of this in our recent history.

Much of my discomfort comes from the condemnation of a group of innocent people who practice a peaceful religion, family people, people who contribute greatly to our world and do not deserve to be condemned. Who should not feel like they have to apologise for the destruction perpetrated by a minority group of fundamentalists. Does this happen to people of any other religion?

My thoughts are also with the family and friends of the young men killed in this tragic set of events, those who killed in the name of their religion. Their families must be grieving for their children too. 

Friday, 9 January 2015

I owe I owe

It's back to work I go. Not willingly. It's been a lovely break, one I wasn't ready to end. A few days in and work doesn't appeal. I need to stop that stuff, soon. Not just yet. I was ready to arrive home, to relax and be in my own space. I brought home a suntan, fading a bit after some days inside.

There was such a treat waiting for me at home. An awesome photo book from Sasi and Kieran, photos from the wedding. So many gorgeous photos it brought tears. A wonderfully thoughtful book that will bring pleasure for years to come. I still want a canvas of that full family photo so will need to arrange that.

I'm having a night in tonight, on my own after Sue, Neil and their gorgeous almost 5 year old grand daughter whose name I can't spell and who really enjoyed my magic couch bed, flew north. We had a lovely evening, pizza, wine and great company with some friends of theirs over. TV is on the agenda, with a nice white, then a sleep in tomorrow. There's the promise of a sail and a night out socialising tomorrow. I'm back.


Sunday, 4 January 2015

Resolutions and resilience

I have a small secret I don't often share. So don't tell anyone. I subscribe to Jonathan Cainer and enjoy my personal and general horoscopes whenever I like. These can be the bright spots when I'm not feeling bright, the guides when my compass is not working so well. The gems that spark thoughts and feelings to explore. I know others scoff at this, probably why I don't admit it often.

So last year was a kind of hibernation, a rest time, a time to rekindle and enjoy those family relationships that have been so fleeting and unsatisfying while I've been away. This year, well I'm not sure what it will bring yet, although there's an air of promise. An air of optimism and change.

Change takes resilience and I know I have that in spades. The ability to pack up and pick up in a new place, a new country, with a sense of excitement and only that small niggle of 'oh dear what have I done?'. That sitting on a new bed in a new place, temporary accommodation usually, and having a moment of panic. That panic when you don't know another person in a place, you don't know the country, the culture, the expectations, the new job you start on Sunday or Monday.

That even happened when I came back to New Zealand, to home, after some time away. To a new place where I had never lived, new people, new neighbourhood, new job. Family so tantalisingly close.  Contact with friends really helped, meeting new ones through the Meetup groups did too.

So now to the resolutions. There are the usual ones that I know will not last too long, except for re starting yoga. That will last. Then there are the questions one must ask oneself. Those key ones when it comes to resolutions. I didn't come to these myself, although they were hovering, and the words of Mr Cainer rang true again this morning.

"If you could have what you want, what would you ask for? Why would you ask for it? What key factor would over ride all others? What would become the most burning priority of all? Ask for that"

I'm reflecting on the answers. The obvious ones come to mind, the big picture ones. The deeply meaningful and personal ones may take time to evolve. 

Friday, 2 January 2015

Summertime

And the living is easy. Holidays, sunshine, gardening in the warm, suntan. Much needed on these white legs. I'm not a gardener, it doesn't come naturally although I do like the results. Lawns are mown, brown grass topped for summer. The wood stacked inside for winter.

So while it's been a relaxing time all in all, I did pack my bikinis just in case I got to lounge at the beach. That hasn't happened. The water is still way too cold for a swim. Home time means no real photo ops so heres a couple from the garden. Happy new year to all my readers and friends out there.

Riot of colour

In Flanders fields......

A busy bee