I had occasion to drive the Great Ocean Road along the Victorian coastline. I’ve done it many times, generally as the driver – I’m not so good on windy roads. The road is a challenge and requires all your focus and attention. I’ve normally tried to execute the arrival plan in the shortest time possible.
But sometimes road are not merely to get you from “A” to “B”, they can be enjoyed. There are many stopping spots on the Great Ocean Road, above is just one of them. It was a glorious winter’s day with only a slight breeze. The stop was only for 10 minutes but the vista enriched your eyes and the sun was warm on your face. Taking a deep breath, it was good to be alive, being able to appreciate the time and locale. It’s definitely worth it. So next time you’re on the road, pull over and experience the moment.
We all have tough days, but there is a mateship borne of Australia. We care about each other. We care about all the people in our lives. Sometimes “life” gets a bit too frantic, but there are always people who care. Friends, family or our special someone: people just need a simple question to know that someone cares for them or about them. It is good to be on the receiving end of the question, but it’s also good to do the asking, and just listen to the response. That’s all it takes. “R U OK?”
I’m okay! and I’m heartened to know that there is an organisation out there that cares about all of us. They care enough to create awareness and momentum, to provide tips and tools, and resources if needed. This simple question has begun to change lives for the better. Today is R U OK? Day. Make sure you share the good feeling and ask someone today if they are okay, then try it again tomorrow and the next day … You’ll be surprised at how rich your own life becomes.
We all have our Mr Snuffaluffagus. Remember Big Bird from Sesame St, who had a friend that nobody even saw. It was a wonderful sojourn into my childhood days remembering Sesame Street and the frustration of Big Bird. My Mr Snuffaluffagus was also real, but uncannily elusive. Ever vigilant with the phone camera, I eventually won out. I had seen a massive cat on my deck and only ever managed to scare him(?) off with my dash for the camera. I had remarked to many that this cat was huge having no idea of the breed. I started to feel the story was sounding implausible with every telling, compared to my norm of light weight 3kg pussy cats.
Then one day sitting on the couch watching television, having just answered a call, Mr Snuffaluffagus dared to walk by. I caught a snap and since the gig was up, he(?) hung around for a portrait shot as well. Mystery solved, Mr Snuffaluffagus does exist and I have photographic proof. I’m sure he’s asking if anyone wants to come out and play!
My university days are not over yet and I do enjoy the diversity of ages, peoples and minds. Listening to a group of writing friends, one declared the birth of a new word. The English language is a glorious beast with words for all occasions, double (sometimes triple) meanings and innuendo. Some words are self-evident; others take a bit of understanding to get the hang of. The beauty of a shared language is that you can use building blocks to convey your meaning or message. This new word is required in the advent of opening a packet of bickies in front of the TV and mistakenly devouring the contents without noticing. Other similar examples could involve big bags of chips or pizza, while in deep discussion on a vital topic. We’ve all done it and now there is a word to encapsulate it. A word to explain the foibles of mere mortals when eating and distracted by matters of great import. We can now claim to have fallen prey to a snackcident. Very aptly penned and appropriate. So I humbly cast into service (on behalf of a colleague) this newly birthed word of the English language.
Snackcident (noun): to be used to justify when the last Tim Tam has disappeared, or the last piece of chocolate has been devoured. You have fallen prey to a snackcident!
Our furry feline friends do bring joy and a softness to our hearts. They can be mad-cap and throw a crazy-appleton: bolting from one place to another for no apparent reason. Common sense and logic play no part in this mayhem. They can be indifferent and ignore all your advances regardless of treats or cuddles (what did you do?). They can play like kittens with the curiosity that a forgotten shopping bag can bring, or the dangling end of a belt that sees all your clothes pulled off their hangers, landing in an unceremonious pile at the bottom of your wardrobe. But they can also be affectionate and loyal. They sneak onto your lap while you’re watching TV, or rub against your legs when you’re in the kitchen (because your sole purpose at the bench is food preparation for them – or so they think). They absorb and reflect you mood, but mostly they simply hangout, happy just to be with you.
One of the more decadent things to do is to crawl back into bed after you wake up in the morning. The space is still warm from your slumber and you can snuggle into the comfort of your doona. It’s your choice whether you snooze or read a book or watch the TV. The pleasure of this simple exercise bestows the knowledge that you don’t have to be anywhere or do anything. Your time is your own.
I have been known to declare a ‘jarmy’ day where the traditional observance is to remain in your pajamas all day, thus ensuring you don’t actually go anywhere. The day is spent in simple pursuits of napping, reading or binge watching Netflix. It’s a slow down from the pace of everyday life; reconnecting with yourself, allowing yourself time in this hectic age. Friends think I’m a bit outrageous indulging as I do. Admittedly, I choose to indulge more frequently than most for my own sanity. So it does feels even better to be vindicated. There is an actual National Pajama Day on 21st July. Let’s mark our calendars and take the time afforded us to appreciate the simple things. Happy Pajama Day to all!
Last weekend was Round 16 of the AFL which saw Carlton v Melbourne, the Blues versus the Demons. This is a traditional family rivalry where most in my family are either one side or the other.
It was a game that delivered. The Blues were ahead at the first break, but the Dees came back to within a point at half time. The tug of war continued through the rest of the match with the Blues having 22 scoring shots at full time versus the Dees with 20. Yet the Demons had the accuracy and won 90 pts to 82 pts in the dying moments of the game. Neither side gave up. It was exciting, edge of your seat viewing.
The Carlton coach described the team as giving ‘their heart and soul’ and that the ‘developing side will be forged through adversity’. Carlton has been at sea for several years until Brendon Bolton took over the reins as coach. Their determination has raised hope for the future. The intensity and fervour from coach and players was infectious to die-hard Blues fans and supporters. The game was thrilling and full of emotion. It was good for the soul. So pick a team to follow, it doesn’t have to be an AFL team. Enjoy the roller coaster and the passion of competition. It lets you know you’re alive!
Canberra in Winter is a daily eclectic mix of temperatures. When we landed the pilot said “Welcome to Canberra, where the local time is 8.35am, and it is currently -6oC outside.” Knowing Canberra as I do, I had brought with me a coat, scarf and gloves, but I was questioning whether a beanie would have also been warranted. The trade-off is that during Winter in Canberra the skies are generally clear and the midday hours are spectacular and warm, requiring the need to peel off layers that are required at the start of the day.
Exiting the airport, the bracing chill was numbing my cheeks, making me rethink the beanie option to a balaclava. Wouldn’t that make a scene – Canberra visitors in ski masks. The visitors would be rather conspicuous whilst the locals that are used to the weather simply dress in suits. It feels good to snuggle within warm clothing, with a bracing nip on your cheeks for contrast. Go outside and feel the weather, rather than just observe it from inside your home, office or car. Feel alive.
Ever thought that a project was too big to tackle? I tripped over a way to make it more attainable – at the local cafe of all places. In the past I’ve knitted jumpers and wraps, but they were big projects. Therefore, I’ve generally stuck to knitting baby cloths which are smaller and generally can be completed within the enthusiasm window of the first inspiration. Then there are all those left-over balls or partial balls of wool, what do you do with them?
Reunion Cafe are tackling this in a different way, a community way. They are asking fellow patrons to knit squares. It’s doable in a short time span, it puts the left-overs to good use and builds a sense of community. Donated squares are welcome, but they are also offering hot chocolate/coffee periods to come together to knit. The squares will be sewn into winter blankets and given to the homeless. This is a brilliant initiative and is to be supported by the crafty amongst us like me that like small feasible projects and to contribute to a better world – even in just a small way. Dig out those left-overs, and give it a crack.
It’s those little things that take us back to our childhood. Reading a dinner menu, I came across a pork dish, with an accompanying apple-based sauce. I just had to have it. The dish was like nothing I’d had before, a bit fancy and full of flavours, cooking techniques and jargon: a pork chop, a balsamic jus, an apple reduction, crispy bacon bits, confit mushrooms, garlic mash potato, deep fried carrot string and a sprinkling of micro-herbs on top. But to me, this was a simple dish – think 1940’s Humphrey Bogart – it was a plate of “porkshops and appleshauce”.
This pronunciation was made famous by Peter Brady of the Brady Bunch staple TV show. My sister and I used to say “porkshops and appleshauce” over and over again to each other in the 1970’s (a long time ago). Yes, confession – we watched the Brady Bunch. So this fancy innocuous dish transported me back several decades to two kids impersonating Peter Brady impersonating Bogart until the laughter takes over and we can’t speak anymore . Here is a snippet of Peter Brady immortalizing the phrase for all time.