Monday, June 19, 2017

Paris in July ... an addiction

Here's the thing... recently I haven't been very engaged in the blogging space, and I feel that blogging connections are harder and harder to maintain and develop in the days of rapidly changing social media behaviours.... however, I know I have a small collection of lovely and loyal blogging friends, and I value those connections.

For the past 10 years, I have been hosting or co hosting the annual blogging event known as "Paris in July "... its something that I secretly love and cherish in my blogging life.. but motivation to promise to lead it again is challenged by the other priorities in my life, my realisation that I don't have many active followers anymore, and my partners of the past are not in this space anymore... so I have been actively trying not to do this post.... trying not to put this out there... trying not to say it.... but I cant hold back.... I am an addict.

I truly am.....

I am going to do my own version of Paris in July this year.. you may join me, or just follow... I am going to commit to posting during July on my French connections... books I read, movies I watch, movies I love, Food I adore, and what ever else I can find that brings Paris into my wintery Aussie life. I would love your company, but its not expected... so I will try & get the mr linky thing back working, or we will just use comments to link to each others posts.

So here's to Paris in July....

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Son of a spy?

For the Australian audience, there's no need to introduce Mark Colvin. But do other readers know this man? his voice? his story?

A few years after joining the ABC in 1974, journalist Mark Colvin visited his father in Washington DC. Mark thought his father John was a senior diplomat in the British embassy.
His father took him aside, swore him to secrecy and informed his son that since the 1940s he’d been a spy working for MI6  (reference

 Light and Shadow begins with a tour de force of chapters, vivid in detail and beautifully paced, about Colvin’s first posting to London in 1980 and the dash to Tehran to cover the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Colvin hits the ground running, taking readers into the mayhem. (reference)

Mark Colvin joined the ABC as a cadet in 1974. He was the first presenter of The World Today and worked for Four Corners for five years. After five years as London correspondent for the ABC, interrupted by six months in hospital with a life threatening disease, he returned to Australia as presenter of PM in 1997, a job he has continued to do despite three years on dialysis and a successful kidney transplant. - See more at:

I've just started this book, but Im loving it. I think mostly because Mark was such a big part of my growing up and learning about the events of the world through his reporting.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Farewell my friend

Yesterday we said farewell to our friend and beloved companion. 
Jindii Mirrii

We rescued her and loved her 
She rescued us and loved us
We know she is now in peace
But will be missed 

When we picked her up at the shelter, she was timid and shy. She came home as a companion for our aging Pepper. She was named by an Aboriginal friend of ours. Jindii Mirrii meaning sister dog. She truly was a sister for Pepper. She came out of her shell, and developed her own style .. while remaining slightly quirky... was an ever present companion. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Time for reading

It's been ages since I've done a book review, and look at this.... too many to remember... but I'll give you a very quick snapshot of where I'm up to. 

Victoria the Queen.. this is a big book. I haven't finished it by any means, but I am enjoying it. I'm at a new place in my reading life, and its actually ok to not finish something from start to end in one sitting and its ok to just read a little bit at a time.. this book is progressive so I'm just at the point when Victoria has been crowned and has a strong crush on her prime minister.. what happens next? I dont know yet... 

Perfect reading for when I was 2 weeks post op and pretty shallow in my thinking and concentration .. I actually devoured this light and easy story... a story of love, change, friendship and creativity. 

Also in my post op period, the improbability of love was a little more than an easy read, but also engaging. Its the story of a painting, sort of a who dunn it storyline. The painting even gets his own chapters.. its a novel full of characters, which can take some time to get to know,  but evetually i got into it. Love or not, i think the painting won.

  Something a little more meaningful, Pachinko is the story of a Korean family through the generations. Starting from humble beginings pre 1900 in a rural village, through the daughters eventual migration to Japan through the war years. Her new family and their struggles in a post war Japan, with no option of returning to Korea, they make a good name for themselves. Grandsons end up studying in  the US, returning to their famly base in Japan. A fascinating perspective on Japan... 

This is a collection on essays, and again something I'm just reading a bit of at a time. Its from  15 different writers who explore what it means to be black, asian and minority ethnic in Britain (but probably many other western nations) in todays climate. 

Ah, Lilly Brett.... I've loved all her books. Australian author, daughter of Haulocaust survivors, now living in New York... this is a collection of snippits from her life there. Funny and fast. Im mixing this up with the other more heavy reads I have on the go at the moment. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy places

Bush tracks - and listening to the wildlife...
Happy Places are special places that can transport you to your inner happy place. I have been very mindful of how blessed I am to have some wonderful happy places, and many quite close to where I live. As life gets busy, and routine becomes the normal, I am working at setting time in my life for happy places. Here I share some images from my happy places - and I notice, there are all out doors... this is who I am. I rarely find contentment from being indoors. 

I love being surprised by nature...

This is from a very famous and busy lookout in the Blue Mountains... regardless of the many busloads of people here, I do still love this view.

This is very close to my home, and I love to go and listen to the waves crashing along the shore

Often, it's the colours and reflections and tesxtures of a place that will provide me great joy....

            These pelicans also live quite close to me... and they are such majestic creatures that being in their presence just brings me joy

Sunset..... doesn't really matter where it is.....

Friday, March 31, 2017

The end of Time Out

My 'Time Out' is running out. I am incredibly lucky to work in a country that has good workplace relations regulations, and I work for an employer that has very good provisions for sick leave. So I have had the privilege (and I know that it is a privilege) to have had 6 weeks off work to concentrate on my physical recovery from a large surgery. What have I done with that time?
To mark the end, we visited the Blue Mountains and stayed in this gorgeous cottage 
Focusing on the physical, I have been doing my physio program (at home) 2 x day, walking every day aiming to increase my distance, time and pace each week, on the exercise bike 3-4  x week, and I've been going to the pool 4-5 x week for strengthening work and doing some laps. Returning to work will mean I will need to work hard to fit in the required training around my working and travelling hours.

When I haven't been doing my physical training, I have had to rest and recover.

Meditation and Colouring in

I've posted some of my colouring in here already. This has been a new discovery for me. Johanna Basford's colouring in book has been one of the first things I look at each morning. In the quiet hours of the morning, when others are sleeping, I've picked up my pencils and used this as a focused meditation.

Watching & Listening

So when reading wasn't working for me, I was able to watch & listen.... Podcasts, TV, Movies and Videos. Some of my highlights in this category included
  • Chat10Looks3 (podcast)- with Leigh and Annabel, two Australian political journalists who take time out of their working world to chat about the books they read, things they cook and the podcasts they listen to. 
  • Conversations with Richard Fidler (podcast) - Richard draws you deeper into the life story of someone you may, or may not, have heard about - someone who has seen and done amazing things. The episodes are daily, but if you go online you can listen to any of interest to you.. some I liked
    • Decca Aitkenhead and the unexpected love she found, and lost
    •  Mark Cross: Normalising mental health care
    • Sarah Brooker: The luck car accident which changed her life
    • A storytelling night from the world's greatest scientific minds
    • exploring the science of gut feelings.
    • American Political Analyst, Thomas Frank:A lively conversation about how the Democrats have got it so wrong
  • Missing Richard Simmons (podcast 6 episodes) - This was recommended by Leigh and Annabel (above), and I really enjoyed it.. 
 On February 15, 2014, fitness guru Richard Simmons disappeared. He stopped teaching his regular exercise class at Slimmons, cut off his closest friends, and removed himself from the public eye after decades as one of the most accessible celebrities in the world. Nobody has heard from him - and no one knows why he left. Filmmaker Dan Taberski was a Slimmons regular and a friend of Richard’s. Missing Richard Simmons is Dan’s search for Richard - and the deeper he digs, the stranger it gets.

  •  The Good Wife - (TV Series) - This is probably old news to most, but I finally got around to starting this series. 
  • House of Cards - (TV Series) - Also old news, but my partner and I started to watch this together. 
  • The Girl King (DVD Movie) -  THE GIRL KING paints a portrait of the brilliant, extravagant Kristina of Sweden, queen from age six, who fights the conservative forces that are against her ideas to modernize Sweden and who have no tolerance for her awakening sexuality.
  • Bridget Jones's Baby (DVD Movie) - probably no need to mention what this is about... But it was fun.
  •  Hysteria (DVD Movie) - My sister sent this to me to watch and recommended Ii watched it with my visiting mother..... it was very funny..... Set at the end of 1880, the film depicts the invention of the vibrator.
  • Brokeback Mountain (DVD Movie) 
  •  Hidden Figures (Cinema)

Also, I have done some reading, (and I'll post my reviews in the next few days)... I've done some gardening (more on that soon too), and I've been truly spoilt with some wonderful friends taking me out, driving me to appointments, and just being with me. Thank you my lovelies.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Changing seasons

A few of the summer franginani are hanging on...

Summer herbs (basil) are thinking its time to flower and seed

And broccoli are coming into fruit with the changing night temperatures. 

Its March, and in the Southern Hemisphere, were moving into autumn. I love all our seasons, but Spring and Autumn are my favourites... they mark a change, a period of preparation. As a project manager, and a big picture thinker, these periods of preparation are important for me in both my professional life and personal. 

Its just three and a half weeks since my hip replacement surgery and, now well and truly over the hardest part, I'm feeling like my last few weeks of leave from work, and rehab period, are about preparing me for the next season... one were I can enjoy walking and riding and gardening again.. pain free, drug free. All the indications are good, but still diligence is required to ensure I comply with best practice in healing and rebuilding strength. 

While at home, I've been watching and reflecting on my garden, and its potential. This changing of the season means thinking about food, nourishment and preparing the garden for winter. I'm coaching my partner in order to get the winter veggies planted (as I can't bend over yet). We're motivated to get more food out the garden this year. Last year was really hampered by my physical capabilities. 

On our list of winter plantings are rhubarb, beans, spinach, kale, beetroot, leaks, and maybe even try out luck at potatoes this year.

So, what season are you in? And what does it mean for you? I'd love to hear your thoughts..