I felt the opera

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One of the brilliant reasons to visit with the opera is the orchestra. The feel of the music coming from the actual instruments themselves. The melody of the individual sounds blended together by the chief wrangler, the conductor. The music is one of the greatest dimensions of the opera, but there are many other attractions. The voices, the emotion, the drama/love/tragedy, the majesty of the performance, the story unfolding on stage. All of which sweeps you up into another world.

I saw Cavalleria Rusticana, a short opera, followed by Pagliacci, another short opera, that Opera Australia had turned into a modern interpretation set in rural Italy. Opera is no longer a soloist caterwauling about tragedy, but a feast for the senses, with action, emotion and performance. Both operas involved love triangles or quadrangles and were blended into one story line, before and after the interval to keep the audience guessing.

Try something new and see how it differs from your expectation.

I tasted Autumn

Well, the seasons have moved on and the sun in migrating to the northern hemisphere, as can be seen by the increasing wedge of sunshine coming in through the kitchen window. In summer the sun is overhead and the sunshine doesn’t come directly into the north facing window, keeping the kitchen cooler than expected. But in winter with the sun’s more northerly aspect, the sun shines in and fabulous snoozes on the strategically placed couch are to be had with the sun warming your back on a winter’s afternoon.

The other way that I can tell the seasons have moved on is the plethora of passion fruit that my vine is throwing at me. It had been decorated like a Christmas tree with large round green balls, but you have to wait until they turn colour before picking them. So all summer I watched, and I watched. But the time is now! Here is the modest haul from this week. So now come the choices: smoothies, mixed with natural yogurt, dressing to a fruit salad, or O-natural. Not to mention the cooked options of cheesecake, passion fruit slice… the list goes on. See what fruits are in season at the market and indulge in what the season has to offer. It is after all the time of harvest.

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I touched new beginnings

Some old faces and some new. The invigorating stimulus of a classroom of like-minded writers. The challenge before us is refreshing and our teacher seems to have an original approach. The pursuit of knowledge is a worthy task. Other opportunities for more knowledge abound. Things of interest can be presented in all manner of people-watching, hands-on experiences or free lecture series.

I found myself at the Sir Jerry Price lecture on Science and Technology to Secure the Future for Water and Energy. Big ambition, Big targets. We need the Big thinkers of science to collaborate and answer these sorts of questions. It was held at the Australian Synchrotron by CSIRO, who have a wealth of extraordinary minds to absorb and address these outstanding problems of our time. The short version of this lecture was the nexus of increased energy needs, increased water needs and the over all carbon impact as we look to the future. Three different approaches were presented that were not mutually exclusive. The brilliance of these approaches was the big vision broken down to manageable pieces, even when some of those pieces don’t exist yet in science. This creates targets of focus to solve the problems of the future. I came out of the lecture hopeful.

When you look at a challenge in its entirety, it can seem insurmountable and overwhelming, but dissecting the challenge into digestible morsels can make the solution a reality. Scientific discovery and collaboration can achieve the impossible. So get out there and get yourself some knowledge.

I saw some fun

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.

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I am Rooster

Happy Chinese New Year! Always a fun time with fireworks, lots of yummy food and the dancing dragons. Everyone is upbeat, smiling and catching up with family. Yum Cha is especially good at this time of year because of the bustle and pace of the restaurants. So if you get a chance book in for a session and absorb the spirit of the celebration along with the food.

This year is the year of the Rooster. The Chinese zodiac comes around every 12 years. I’m a Rooster so this is my year! As an Earth Rooster I am lovely, generous and trustworthy. Always the positive reinforcement so look up what animal you are and see your good qualities. When your animal year comes around, it apparently brings bad luck. One in twelve is not so bad, but it can be avoided for those superstitious types. Red is the universal panacea to the Chinese. It brings good luck, it protects your house and it even has Feng Sui applications. It is even more potent when given by an elder relative – you know who you are, so I’ll be expecting something Red in order to survive this year 🙂

I smelled the money

The start of the new year, well almost, and I still found myself saying I must do my tax. Newsflash: saying something doesn’t actually get it done. I even said this too! So I finally set aside some time, with access to all my documents, a plethora of post-it notes and a selection of highlighters for good measure. Guess what, it got done  👍

There is merit to the saying “Actions speak louder than words.” So to all those out there who keep saying, out loud or in your head it doesn’t matter, that there are things to be done – I say,  Just do it! Make sure to say it to others as well. Procrastination can be an insidious bed-fellow which we all need to be vigilant against.

It feels good to be done. It saves a lot of mental head space and you can get on with your life. It makes space on your to-do list for other fun things. So create a plan to get it done and then delve into more fun stuff.

I smelled faraway places

sliders-on-tyresLeaving work later than normal, I thought to crash the Yarra Food Street Festival at Burnley as a quick and easy dinner. The array of food trucks was encouraging, but the quick part of dinner wasn’t so easy. The temptations of African flavours, Nepalese dumplings, fresh seafood, deli burgers and exotic curries was a very hard decision to make. Strolling a lap of the trucks to find the best option provided some mouth-watering sites and smells. The perusal resulted in a refreshing cider at the bar for some people watching and contemplation of their meal choices on a warm summer evening. It was a pity to have to finally choose, but this option above from Sliders on Tyres was delicious. A Boston chicken mini burger and a beef mini burger with unusual and tasty condiments in a mini brioche bun were offset with some amazing thick cut chips. It was so good that I polished off every morsel on the plate – yum!

I think I’ll have to plan a few more visits as the festival continues until the end of February with a constant parade of rotating food trucks. I might go to Nepal for my next dinner. So if you get the chance, travel to a new destination for dinner and see what serendipity brings.

I made it to the end

The title is a little longer than normal, but the journey was longer than normal too. Today, I received my certificate and academic transcript for the recent bout of study undertaken. This had morphed through three different courses and two separate institutions, but I got there in the end. As they say, anything worth doing …

And what a ride with lots of good new information and concepts including a few lateral thinking challenges. My thinking is normally very linear and logical for a scientist and stretching my boundaries to the creative was a worthy goal. It enabled me to see and understand another rarely seen side of me, as well as meet like-minded individuals with which to share the journey.

As per usual, I would encourage anyone to see if they can’t discover another side of themselves and mine the rich environment for creating a greater-than-the-original version of oneself in which to pursue this mortal life. Diversity and expanding boundaries brings a richness with which to enjoy it all. So what are we going to do now? What is the next adventure?

I read yummy

wp_20161230_002-2Take 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.

I felt puppy love

The unbridled enthusiasm of a puppy is contagious. The joy of seeing new people and new things is projected to everyone present. The waggly tail that starts at the hips for a full body twister reinforces the welcome.

I got to cuddle Roy this week; he’s a 14-week old black Labrador puppy. He still has his puppy rolly polly skin and feet too big to do anything but flop around while dancing on the spot in greeting. A wet and licky tongue, expressive ears at the sound of something new and such a high pitched yelping of hello, all add to the experience.

Puppies are great fun and just to remind everyone of my position on fuzz-therapy: animals of any kind are good for the soul, pat a pooch or cuddle a cat, connect with another living species. These simple gestures bestow great comfort and warm the heart. It’s good to feel the unconditional love that comes from a kindred spirit.