Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Summer Reading Plans

Yeh! It now feels like summer is really here. I've finished the first of four years in my Masters, and the Frangipani is blooming... thats a true sign of summer.. 

So, with no study on my mind, I have found my summertime reading (very ambitious for me)... along with these hard copies, Ive also got some on my Kindle, including 

I'm still committed to the Japanese Literature Challenge, and have already posted on my intentions for that here. I plan to read those books as well.... maybe a little ambitious... 

Ambitious or not, I'm certainly looking forward to the summer. I also have set myself the goal of getting to the beach or lake each week. I live 2km from the sea and 4 km from the lake, but year after year, I am embarrassed to say how little I get to the water. This summer I cant ride my bike or do long walks as I would like to, so swimming & kyaking will be my new thing. Im looking forward to those mini adventures. 

And of course, there's my gardening hopes. I'll post more on the garden soon. Recently I've found it a source of joy & strength to me, a place of solace and rejuvenation, and my gift. 

Comming soon...  book review of "the book of tea" by Okakura Kakuz┼Ź (February 14, 1862 – September 2, 1913) for the Japanese Literature Challenge. 
Newcastles working harbour

Monday, November 21, 2016

Time to prepare for exams

Last weekend I gave myself a brain break and went for a walk along my beach and went kyaking on my lake.  Had a lovely time..

Now its time to study..

I'll be back refreshed (and relieved) in a few weeks...

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Use edges & value the marginal

This is the image on my calendar this month, and I just love it.. its inspirational, encouraging and beautiful.

This month, I noticed Christmas was around the corner, that the first year of the Masters degree I'm doing will be over soon, and my garden is working well, but needs a seasonal adjustment as Summer is looming in. I also noticed I'm a bit tired, and I'm looking forward to my break at Christmas.

The message on the Month is "Use the edges and value the margins", and it speaks of potential & transformational use of space. The image is from Tokyo, showing how to fit a garden into the inner city Japanese front yard. It also depicts a gift station, where one can leave gifts for the neighborhood.

This image captures many valuable and meaningful elements for me; there's a bike for commuting, trees for shape, shade and fruit, a little temple, paths and all in close proximity to the residence.

Earlier today I was listening to a podcast (chat10looks3) and Leigh and Annabel were talking about the rewards of gardening vs cooking. I smiled to myself, as theres no question for me which one wins, but Leigh was reflecting on the slow rewards of garden vs cooking, and the high failure rate in gardening. Yet still, many more women will say gardening brings them more joy than cooking.

As I've been reflecting on just how close Christmas is, and how much I need time out, and I've noticed that I've been using the edges and valuing the margins - of my time. I've been popping out to the garden in the evenings (longer days now) after work, and I've been using gardening as my study breaks, and using train time (on my long commute days) to be visit gardens I admire through Instagram and online... using every non thinking, non studying minute to research gardening and find inspiration.

How are you going in the lead up to the end of the year? Need to use your edges better?

I think I'm going to see if I can set up a gift table in my front yard for a week or two in January with some produce and plants... I'd like to do that. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Ravel's Bolero and other classics

Tonight we're going to a classical music dinner party, invited to bring our favourite piece of classical music. This is my partners..... Should be a great night.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Seasons of Stories

With thanks to Dolce Bellezza who recommended this opportunity, I'm enjoying short stories again...

Short stories are delivered to my inbox during the week. If I cant finish one, I get a catch up link too.. check it out here.

Have fun reading with us...

Monday, October 17, 2016

Yesterday I treated myself to a lazy morning, coffee and breakfast out, reading, podcasting and blogging.... no uni study  in sight. So today's thoughts have come together because....
I read
  • Karen's post on favourite podcasts
  • A chapter of the book "walking towards ourselves: Indian Women tell their stories
  • Other exciting blogs with many good book reviews
I listened to
  • Lee Sales and Annabel Crab, chat10looks3
  • Elizabeth Gilbert's, Big Magic, interviews with Amy Purdy, and Penelope (episode 206)
So, here's what has come of all that thinking. I am a creative being, and I love to create. One of my favorite things to create is food from the garden, and I like to cook,  and at different times of my life I've played music, crocheted, made mosaics, re purposed furniture, made paper & candles. All of these things have been part of me expressing myself. I recently heard some thing powerful. It was  from a writer, who's mission in life was to speak the truth. She said at the root of her work was a very strong desire and motivation to be seen. This resonated with me. The reason to create things is in some part motivated by contributing to the world around me, and being seen. 

I think we are all creative but some of us struggle to let it out.  We all have some thing to contribute and some purpose to be seen, noticed for.

In reading the stories from Indian women, I loved the story "square peg in a round hole". The author spoke about her choice not to live as was expected of her in India. She's a single woman who smokes, drinks, parties, writes, and appears to have sorted out who she wants to be in a  place where there are rules about who you can be. She's confident in her self, despite the threats of violence, rejection and condemnation. They way she lives her life is true to herself, but it cant be easy. It must be hard most days.

The interview with Penelope and Amy on Big Magic captured my attention because Penelope, a dancer by profession and at heart, has the desire to create a dance for herself to celebrate her 60th birthday. Its a beautiful ambition. But she she struggles with capturing her life moments and experiences. To help her work through the Elizabeth, the interviewer,  connects her to Amy who has a powerful dancing story too. Amy lost both her legs due to a virus, yet went on to compete in snowboarding and on dancing with the stars. Through Amy's story, Penelope was encouraged to think not only of the hard things in life as markers of her story, but of the fun and lighter side.

I'm loving the way podcasts can encourage and inspire me. Lee and Anabel have this lovely chat about all things read, listened to, watched & baked.. as I listen to them I am reminded of the lighter side of life. They laugh at themselves and others in a respectful way. I envy that.. but then again, on reflection, I see elements of that in my life.

Do the hard things in life define you or your story, or can you see how the lighter things in life are part of your story? Can you laugh at yourself? How do you manage to create a life that's genuine and honouring of your true being? Could you benefit from hearing other peoples stories?

It's timely for me to think about how I define myself and how I feel about my last year. I am hoping to introduce a new storyline - one that doesn't focus so much on the hard and annoying (and the pain) - to one that see's the light and soft as valuable moments of definition and meaning. 

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Buying Hope

Celebrating hope.... 

I had great hopes this morning of visiting our local artisans markets. I like the atmosphere, the sense of being part of a community, and I love looking at the beautiful creations of our local artists. I had hopes this morning to start the Christmas shopping, and to find that perfect item to add to my new office. My hopes were dashed when I arrived at the park to find no markets... a quick look at my Instagram and I discovered the markets were postponed due to weather...   changed plans - now sitting in cafe. 

And reflecting on a great little poscast I listened to while I was on my trainer earlier. Buying Hope... it was about the things we buy with hope of transformative change. It started by talking about how book sales were on the decline, and the whole world on books was experiencing massive change. However, apparently we are still buying cookbooks! Why? The presenter posses the theory that we buy cookbooks out of hope. One day I'll bake the best cake, surprise my family with an amazing life changing meal, concur that best curry ... its all hope. 

 We all do this, we buy things that we hope will change our lives or the lives of others around us. The podcast went on... cookbooks, stationary, exercise machines, diet books, fishing gear, gardening tools or books, craft supplies, magazines, .... the list is endless... I laughed at the callers who collected de-cluttering books or muffin trays in the hope that one day......

But I have had my own hopes dash just this morning. I was hoping to start my Christmas shopping early this year... I was hoping to have a transformative change just by buying things at the markets this morning... I was hoping to transform my office into the most professional.....

What are the things you buy that are attached to hope? 

One of my things - Teapots! One of the things of my past was the hope that the right teapot would offer me a sense of identity as a woman, a host, an artist, refined and warm, patient, constant, elegant and beautiful. I collected many teapots.... all having a different characteristics ... what did I learn from this period of my life? I'm more complex than one teapot... I am many.