Happy Anniversary

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I received a notification yesterday from WordPress that advised me that I have been writing this blog for 11 years. Although I sometimes wonder what to write about I intend to keep going for the foreseeable future. Thank you for reading along.

Meanwhile, the day went on with regular jobs. I did 4 loads of washing, ironed and folded everything, stripped and remade the bed, swept all of the floors and made another batch of spreadable butter. When I cooked the rice for dinner I did extra and have 2 more batches in the freezer.

Tomorrow is another day…………………..

That Was 2021

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In preparation for writing this post I did some reading. Not just any reading but reading 10 years worth of my New Year blog posts. The last posts in December and first ones in January each year.

The overwhelming theme is that despite some challenging times, I, along with many others, approach a new year with a degree of optimism. The turning from 2021 to 2022 is no different.

2021 for me was undoubtedly defined by the illness and subsequent death of my mother in the first half of the year. This was played out against a background of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

However, there was much for which I am grateful. A loving and supportive family, good health, a safe and secure environment, valued friends and a meaningful life.

I wish you a safe, fulfilling and peaceful 2022.

This Week

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Today is 28th December and we are in that strange final week of the year – the week between Christmas and New Year. It can seem like no-man’s land and even has some rather creative names, including Twixtmas, Witching Week and Chrimbo Limbo.

Depending on your personal preferences and circumstances, the lead-up to Christmas may have been lived at a frenetic pace. Even those of us who have made a conscious decision to aim for a more low-key Christmas may find that most of our activity in the past month has been geared towards those few days centred on Christmas Day.

Therefore, it is hardly surprising that post-Christmas can be a bit of an anti-climax. When you combine this with the fact that many people have some sort of holiday break and another celebration a few days away it is no wonder that we are are feeling a bit topsy-turvy.

Additionally, the New Year is the moment when we tend to choose to rule a line under the past year and really look forward to the year ahead with gusto.

So, this Chrimbo Limbo (my personal favourite) what are you doing?

I am choosing to use the time to reflect, re-arrange, plan and prepare for the year ahead. I do not know what 2022 will bring but I do know that I want to use my time wisely and live my best life without dwelling on the past or wishing my life away.

Countdown to Christmas

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I have noticed that it is 8 days since my last blog post and of course, it is only 4 more sleeps until Christmas.

The focus of the occasion certainly changes as families grow and change. This year will be somewhat poignant for me as it will be the first since my mother died earlier this year. We are all holding our breath and hoping that everything will go according to plan and our Melbourne-based daughter will be able to join us. She is due to arrive on Thursday. Meanwhile, our grandchildren are growing up (12 and 14) and will be spending the day with their father.

Our celebrations will be fairly modest and spread over 3 days to include various members of our family.

I put up the Christmas tree on Sunday and our small dog was mildly interested. So far she has not been tempted to attack the tree.

Of course, the regular shopping, cooking and housework continues unabated.

2021 has been a trying year in many respects. Whatever your circumstances, I wish you and your family a safe and peaceful festive season.

Pandemic Picnic

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Today we had a picnic. The occasion was meeting up with several of my Year 8 cohort from high school. 2021 marks 50 years since we began high school. 10 of us shared fun, laughter and crazy memories.

This event started me thinking that picnics seem to have become our default method of socialising. Even though our area has been mostly spared from Covid 19 cases, more and more of us appear to be enjoying the great outdoors for social occasions.

One of my cousins contacted me yesterday and suggested a get together with several of my extended family – a possible picnic! Most definitely count me in.

A picnic naturally means food. Do you have any favourite picnic fare? Picnics come in as many guises as participants. It is not all stereotypical rattan picnic hampers with red and white checked cloths.

Your set-up can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. In fact, one of the guests today brought a wedge of cheese, a baguette, knife and wooden chopping board in a backpack. This was happily shared with others in the group.

I would love to hear your thoughts on picnics and other socialising. Has the pandemic changed your outlook?

Homegrown & Reused

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Today some of my family went to the memorial gardens where our mother’s ashes were to be placed.

These are the native flowers which I took from my garden.

The arrangement is not quite up to the standard of commercial floristry but I was pretty pleased with my effort. Especially since flower-arranging is definitely not my forte.

The wrapping was some that I had squirrelled away from previously received flowers and I even managed to find a piece of matching ribbon.

Rest in peace Mum and Dad. We love you and miss you both always.

Welcome to 2021

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I know that I am a few days late but this is my first post for the New Year.

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I posted a similar image at the beginning of 2016 at which time I wrote:

I was searching for a photo that really portrayed my feelings for the end of one year and beginning of the next.  I did not want images of alcohol or fireworks. As 2015 is washed away by the incoming tide it is time to write a fresh new date in the sand and move on.

I cannot remember a year that was so universally wished to end as the most recently completed one.

Well, 2020 is now over and in some respects 2021 may not be a great deal different in terms of what is dealt up to us, particularly as COVID19 is definitely still part of our lives and seems likely to be for some time yet.

However, we can decide on how we respond to outside factors which we cannot necessarily control.

For me, it is going to be more of the same. I will continue to simplify my life and focus on what is truly important to me and my family while doing whatever I can to care for our planet and all life on earth.

May you find peace and authenticity in 2021.

Close to Home

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All things are relative.  Today we went to Brisbane which is about 80km from where we live but compared to London, New York or even Melbourne, it is close to home.

We had a business appointment to attend this morning and decided that we would make a day of it and go out to lunch for a slightly delayed birthday celebration for GMan.

Although we both worked in the city for quite a number of years, we were not terribly familiar with restaurant options.  We had mostly packed our lunches and when we did eat out it was usually with work colleagues in a noisy pub environment or fast and furious cafe.  Neither of these were the setting we were looking for.

I turned to the ever-helpful Google and found Greenglass, a French bistro and wine bar.  One review I found described it as “a cross between elegant wine bars of old and a spacious NYC loft apartment”.  The simple black door at street-level belied the airy, minimalist decor and quality food which we encountered after ascending the narrow staircase.  We enjoyed our meal and the outlook of trees despite being in the centre of the CBD.  If I had any criticism, it would be the level of noise due to the polished timber floors and lack of any soft furnishings.

There is a reason I mentioned London, New York and Melbourne in the opening paragraph.  We have visited all of these cities and the weather we encountered as we departed from Greenglass was far more reminiscent of one of them than sub-tropical Brisbane and its usual ‘perfect’ winter weather.  The predicted rain had arrived during our lunch and this was the dismal scene that greeted us despite it only being 2pm.

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Since I have barely been to any shops in the past 5 months (apart from groceries and home renovations) I took the opportunity to pick up a couple of things that I needed.

With about 30 minutes to spare before the next train was due, we headed to Sugar’n’Spice Cafe which is quite close to Central Station.  This is the view that greeted us as we entered the small, old-world premises.

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Coffee and gluten -free carrot cake consumed while perched snugly at the high counter overlooking an increasingly wet afternoon.

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Today was a complete departure from our home renovation activities of yesterday and we both enjoyed the opportunity to be out and about while still managing to maintain effective social distancing.

 

Rainy Day Activity

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It has been a cool, showery day so outdoor activities were not really possible so I returned to my photo project.  I started this about 2 months ago and you can read the details here.  After the initial burst, I have continued to make progress by doing a bit almost every evening.

Yesterday, I located the albums which had all been scanned.  They were carefully stored in the bottom of a wardrobe in the guest room.  It was an incidental find as I was not specifically looking for them.

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Today I have cross-checked that all the photos have been scanned and filed in correctly dated folders.

It seems like an enormous waste but the hard copies of the photos and albums will eventually all be discarded.  However, I need to retrieve all of the dates and details to include in the description of the digital copies before I consider doing that.

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The albums cannot be reused as there are details written in them.  Therefore, I will be removing the plastic photo sleeves which can be recycled as ‘soft plastic’ and then the lightweight cardboard pages will be able to be recycled separately.

As you can imagine, it has been something of a nostalgia trip as I sort through over 40 years of photographs documenting various aspects of our lives but predominately celebrations and holidays.  It is a stark reminder of how valuable photographs were when images were recorded on film then sent away to be developed and the anxious wait for their return.  We thought twice about taking dozens of images which were relatively expensive to develop.  Our attitude to photos has certainly changed with the advent of digital cameras and cameras built into mobile phones.