What Summer break? A distant memory for those back at the salt mines, if you even took one. February has snuck up on us and it’s not slowing down, we are over half-way through February! So to break up the crazy work hours I felt the need to indulge. You work harder and more efficiently if there’s a reward looming. So write yourself a list and treat yourself to regain momentum.
What did I do? I went to ‘Flicks with the Chicks’ and was spoilt rotten. Champagne on arrival, pre-ordered food, a gift bag of surprises and lots of girl talk! It was like being in an alternate reality, taking a pause from my current existence to renew and refresh.
I can thoroughly recommend taking some time out to just be… No demands, no expectations, no deadlines. Just enjoy the moment washing over you. Be present in your own life. It’s well worth it.
Take a closer look. I mean a really good, eye-opening look at these Christmas treats. There’s milk chocolate as a traditional option and for something new there is now a dark chocolate version. For those that believe dark chocolate is healthier, more pure or simply better, these hit the spot for a dabble of indulgence.
But when you take the time to really look – focus on how they are spelt. I always thought they were Malteasers. A serve of malty-ness and a portion of teaser, hence they were Malteasers. They are not a recent invention; they have been around for a goodly period of time, yet it is only now that I notice the spelling of Maltesers. There is no additional “a”; they’re unlikely to be from Malta, nor are they a fluffy white dog … so why Maltesers for a name?
Why did I notice it now, you ask? Maybe it’s a benefit of a dark chocolate version, we’ll never know exactly. Take a new look at the normal in your life and see what is really there, rather than taking the meaning of something for granted. It might just surprise you what is right in front of you.
“A sprinkling of boondoggles”
Sprinkling takes on the mantel of ice-cream and sprinkles from my childhood. Sprinkles always trump hundreds’n’thousands. Sprinkles are the extruded mini logs of pure sugar, compared to the intractable hard circular mini-balls of hundreds’n’thousands. Sprinkles are fabulous any day and twice on Sundays! The conviction of youth remains. Fairy bread is always better with sprinkles, though some staunch connoisseurs would argue.
And Boondoggles – set aside the real meaning and it belongs within the realm of Bottersnikes and Gumbles. It dreams up cute but gross troll like animals shaking their fists that must be purple. What other colour would a boondoggle be?
I attended an industry forum this week where the Shadow Minister for Agriculture was sniping at the current government and the insane policy of moving a whole government agency to the middle of nowhere with the fortuitous outcome of spending $24M in the Minister for Agriculture’s own electorate for the relocation. It was this dry and cynical context that “a sprinkling of boondoggles” was used. It caught my imagination and transported me away from the political arena to a much more fanciful world. The imagination is a wonderful thing when let lose. So be watchful for the next boondoggle, it can save you from the fate of a negative droning monotone, and take you to a much better place.
We travel through life and there is so much to see and do that we miss some of the detail in front of us. Even when we are overwhelmed with beautiful scenery, there is always more to see if we pause and look closer. I was taking in the spectacular vistas of the Wonderland in the Grampians, but looking closer to the trail I found this little guy. A rather relaxed and friendly bearded dragon, who was just hanging out in the sun.
So keep an eye out and don’t miss the tree for the forest in front of you as sometimes the smaller details can also impress and add to your experience.
With international visitors in town, you need to make a few exceptions now and then. This is especially true when the Chicago Cubs are playing the Cleveland Indians in the World Series (That’s baseball for the uninitiated). The time difference meant that the games were played around lunchtime in Australia, so streaming Foxsport was essential over sandwiches and coffee.
The winning title goes to the team who wins the best of seven games. Each game is nine innings long. After six games it was a three-all draw, so the last game was to be the decider. After nine innings in the seventh and deciding game, the score was six runs each side. So the game continued into a tenth innings. Then there was a rain delay and the diamond was covered for protection. Most people at this point couldn’t take the increased and increasing tension, desperate for an outcome to the match.
The rain stopped, the Cubs got two more runs in the top of the 10th and merely had to withstand a final innings from the Indians. Excitement (one word for it) was high, people were holding their breath (almost). Could they do it? Could they get over the line after 108 years of wilderness since their last win? One out, two out, and then it was all over and the pitch was flooded with blue jerseys. Chicago Cubs win the World Series 4 games to 3, with 8 runs to 7 in the final game. It could not have been any closer and was a true battle of gladiators. Watching the game with natives of the United States was a great way to indulge with lots of commentary, exasperation and fun.
Final piece of advice – Apparently when the “Cubbies” win, you are meant to #FlyTheW. No idea why, but here it is.
We can stare at clouds and see all sorts of shapes, but what about something more steadfast? The imagination is a wonderful thing, which we don’t use enough. We should employ it at every opportunity to see more than is before us, to experience more, to savor more. We need to pause, appreciate and absorb. These flights of fantasy help create lasting memories using a mnemonic; they add a difference that will help mark a moment. So many things fly by without acknowledgement and become the background noise of life. We need to revel in the good bits and hold on to them.
Surprisingly, I snapped this driving [I did stop the car] on the Western Highway between showers near the Grampians. Do you see it?
Let’s look again. See if you can outline the sleeping giant. Having a different filter can enable you to see other possibilities. The Grampians will forever be the home of giants who snooze during the day and get up to all sorts of shenanigans at night. A bit of fun!
Mud, mud, glorious mud. How long has it been since you felt the squish and squelch of mud stuck to your gumboots? Remember being a kid and being drawn to mud, to getting dirty and having to dive right in? The gritty, sticky, slippery sensation? But above all the fun of it.
With all the rain in the last few weeks and the rain yet to come, there are going to be a lot of opportunities to don your gumboots and go exploring and feel like a kid again. Go for a stomp down the local park or creek. Feel the earth cling to your gumboots and those times when you get stuck too deep that you have to step out of your gumboot and retrieve it by hand. Or when your socks fall down and bunch at your toes. Listen to the sound of suction as you pull your feet out of the mud. Mud is not just about the dirt, it’s about experiencing it with your other senses, so enjoy the rain to come and your gumboots, even if you only just jump in puddles. There’s fun to be had in this weather.
On the weekend I was walking in a local park. It was sunny and it was cold, but I was doing a good deed and walking puppy dogs for the shelter. Each year Spring seems to sneak up on us. Yes, we have passed the shortest day of Winter and are coming out the other side, but Spring, surely not yet.
Lots and lots of potential blossoms on the wattles, and swelling buds on the roses and fruit trees can be seen, but I found this tree in the lee of the shelter, facing East, receiving soft conditions with morning sun and no Westerly or Southerly wind. It had been tricked into thinking the weather was milder and had burst forth only in protected patches in all its yellow glory. It was a welcoming portent to the milder Spring to come alleviating the mundane dreary of a rather cold and frigid Winter.
So seek out those enthusiastic early adopters of the milder weather as good can come from trickery, even if it is a smile at the beauty of nature. Keep your eyes peeled for fruit tree blossoms and let me know when you see them erupt almost instantaneously in a riot of colour.
It’s not that often that I come across a word that I don’t recognise, even in context, nor even seen before. These surprises are a joy that spark the curiosity. It reminds us that there is still so much more out there. It even looks like a typo. Isohyet
“The boundary between one species and another species essentially follows that of the 100mm winter rainfall isohyet.”
The “iso-” prefix means equal, as in isometric, but the rest of the word is a complete mystery. I had to look it up. Isohyet means lines on a map connecting points having the same amount of rainfall in a given period. There is always an apt word for every situation.
Following this logic, I have been on a quest looking for a word. I’ve asked many and nobody could provide an answer, until I asked my niece. What did she do? She engaged Professor Google in the crusade.
There are grandfathers and grandmothers which are collectively known as grandparents -a unisex collective term. There are brothers and sisters collectively known as siblings. I am fortunate to have several nephews and nieces, so therefore I have many … what is that word? A collective noun for nephews and nieces? It does exist, and that word is niblings. It is real, and once you know it, it is easy to find in the dictionary. As they say out of the mouths of babes – except she’s all grown up now. So keep your eyes open for all those new things out there and enjoy the surprise.
In a disturbing week of intolerance in Orlando, I found this enlightened graffiti in Footscray. It covered a large brick wall with the towering image of Malcolm Fraser, the 22nd Prime Minister of Australia. The artwork is dated 2015 and was probably emblazoned in remembrance of his life, as he died at age 84 last year. The artwork is amazingly detailed and true to life. It made me pause and appreciate the inherent talent of the artist, which allowed me time to read the inscription.
“Australia is a proudly multicultural nation made stronger by the dedication & contribution of people who come here whether as refugees or migrants.” Malcolm Fraser, AC, CH.
We are not only a multicultural nation, we are one of acceptance of all peoples, of all possible combinations and degrees. We expand our thinking beyond cultural diversity to all paradigms. It was good to be reminded that strength comes from diversity. As they say “variety is the spice of life” – such a cliche – but we need to experience the richness of diversity. So find someone or something different to appreciate and enrich your own life.