Sep 23, 2016

Friday Drinks.

Good times.  I'm working through this weekend.  It's my last one for the year which I'm pretty happy about.  On the other hand, I can pretty much guarantee that this will mean nothing blog worthy will be going on for the duration.  So before I disappear off into the sunset for a bit, here's a recap of the last bits of excitement (such that it was) I'm going to be seeing for 72 hours or so.

We got our new council bins on Thursday.  I thought it would be a great idea to multitask and bring them round to the back of the house while I was sipping my apres gym coffee.  Yes.  In my activewear.  Eye roll.

It was noisy business and I was feeling a bit self conscious about interrupting the peace of the morning before the builders down the road even had the chance.  (Un)Fortunately, I wasn't the only person out and about making a ruckus because the distinctive sound of a shopping trolley that's supposed to lock it's wheels once it's removed from its shopping centre (but hasn't) soon stuttered out its harmony to my bin wheels.  My neighbour was wheeling a Dan's trolley down the street while he walked his dog on his way to get a coffee.  I think we're the special street of the 'hood.  The eccentric aunt who yoga retreats in Byron (aka Far North Bondi) and shops from the hard core organic and whole foods aisles of About Life when she is in town (as opposed to doing it light with a coffee and a ready made lunch from the cafe).

My care package from T2 arrived.

Perfectly and excessively gift wrapped as always in layers of monogrammed black tissue paper and the trademark black on black T2 gift box.  120 peppermint tea bags?  You betcha.  I started off with one soothing mug before dinner and it's escalated from there.  Relaxing with benefits to digestion, metabolism, weight loss and immunity plus T2's version tasting so good?  I've even started substituting it for my afternoon cup of tea as well.

T2 had a gift with purchase promotion when I placed my order and it a special edition tin of their new loose leaf tea, Packs A Peach.  It's a black tea with chunks of dried fruit in it and smells like summer in its tin.  Can't wait to try it iced this summer.

In other beverage news, I've made an early start on the Christmas champagne stockpiling.  I refuse to buy the fruit mince pies and fruit cakes that have started to appear on our supermarket shelves for Christmas that's still 93 days away but I will fill my trolley with some of Dan Murphy's heavily discounted champagne.  Veuve is currently going for $110 per pair of bottles.

Sorry, did I really just write that Christmas is 93 days away?  That's a double digit number.  Already!?!?!  When did this happen?

Does anything unique happen on your street?  Are you responsible for it?

Have you started stockpiling food and drink for Christmas yet?

Have a good weekend.

Sep 22, 2016

The Weeknight Book Club: 'The Hypnotist's Love Story' by Liane Moriarty.

Hurrah!  I've finally finished a new novel.  It's certainly been a while.

'The Hypnotist's Love Story' (link to the Kirkus review) is a Liane Moriarty novel from 2012.  I'm a big fan of Liane's thoughtful and humorous writing.  Her novels are often weave a handful of characters' lives together into plots that have this addictive mix of the issues of middle class Australian suburbia spiked with a bit of the unexpected.  I love reading her word sketches of Sydney and I love the way she gives her characters such vivid internal dialogues and imaginations.

'The Hypnotist's Love Story' is the story of Ellen the thirty something hypnotist of the title.  The novel begins with Ellen embarking on a new relationship with Patrick, an attractive widow with a young son.  It's been a rocky road in the partner department for Ellen but she's cautiously hopeful about things with Patrick.  They have an awkward date during which Patrick disappears to the bathroom for a bit only to return to their table with News.  Not that he wants to end things but rather that he has an ex girlfriend named Saskia who's been stalking him for years.  In fact her turning up to the restaurant was why he was away from the table for so long.

Ellen is intrigued by this shock announcement and sees it as a challenge.  After all, as a successful hypnotist, shouldn't she be able to change mindsets (her's, Patricks or perhaps even Saskia's?)  in order to alter beliefs and behaviour?

The novel alternates between Ellen and Saskia narratives.  We begin to understand the reasons why Saskia feels the way she does about Patrick and his family.  She was there for him after his wife died and helped him raise Jack in the early years.  When the relationship ended, so did much of the direction and purpose of Saskia's life.  Her coping mechanisms revolved around how she could still be a part of Patrick and Jack's lives.

Meanwhile, Ellen is struggling to adjust to all the change in her life.  She's suddenly found herself part of a ready made family of Patrick and Jack as well as being pregnant with Patrick's baby.  Ellen's independent mother who raised her alone after becoming pregnant on purpose to an engaged man suddenly reconnects with this man after he divorces.  Through all of this, Ellen has her work as a hypnotist with all its challenges and interesting clients.

Ellen and Saskia meet and a kind of triangular 'relationship' is established among them with Saskia's intensified stalking of Patrick and now Ellen having a devastating outcome.

'The Hypnotist's Love Story' is an easy read that grew on me after the first few chapters.  I wanted to know more about Saskia's past with Patrick and also how things would end for her now that Ellen was on the scene.  I didn't find Patrick particularly fascinating or even remotely 'I'd put up with your stalker to still have you in my world' worthy so the whole love triangle with Ellen and Saskia component of the relationship wasn't a big deal for me.  I did find Ellen's life as hypnotist fascinating reading and this was big part of the compulsive page turning for me.

Sadly, I haven't had nearly as much joy with 'The Last Anniversary', one of Liane's earlier novels.  It's moving incredibly slowly.  It's taken me months to even get to the 37% read mark my Kindle tells me I've reached.  If you've read it, should I persist?

Sep 21, 2016

Wednesday's Miscellanea.

It's the middle of another week.  Already.  I hope it's treating you well so far and if not, may things be on the improve from now on.

Miscellanea  from the week so far.  Everyday things but also, now that I look at it, a surprisingly high proportion of current affairs type things as well.

Remembering: that it was oh so sunny yesterday....

As I sat on a warm deckchair at the pool after my swim.

Admiring: those fancy new five dollar notes firsthand.

They're not just beautiful to look at with their hologrammed ribbon of images through the bill, they're also designed to be easier to use for those with visual impairment.  Connor McLeod is the fifteen year old who made this happen.  He was twelve when he began his campaign.  I've got a good thirty years on him and am not even close to doing anything to improve our world for people who experience it differently through their impairments and differences.  I don't even know where to start.

Using: a book of butterflies as stamps.

Drinking: real tea at work.  Finally. Both caffeinated and herbal.

Wearing: shorter hair and a favourite scarf tied differently.

I went to the hairdresser yesterday and lost a few inches, zillions of greys plus at least a kilo of hair.  I am loving wearing my hair down.

Doing the dishes with: this gloriously scented special edition Morning Fresh. It's got a white tea fragrance and a touch of magenta colourwise.  Anything to add some joy to the dishes.  I'm not entirely convinced about the 'Fast Dry Tecnology' claim though.  But maybe I'm washing my dishes wrong.

Listening to: Dolly and the Pentatonix's acoustic version of Jolene.  Make that listening, re-listening and downloading from iTunes.

Could it be even more perfect than Dolly's original solo version?  Even more haunting and evocative?  The song was first released in 1973 and was already timeless.  This reworking featuring new harmonies will ensure the song will never disappear into obscurity.

Collaborations like this between different generations of musicians fascinate and inspire me.  It's wonderful seeing music being a universal language that brings generations together.  Each learning a bit from the other, the older and the newer combining to make something even better.

Reflecting on: Magda Szubanski and Jimmy Barnes' team effort on QandA Monday night.

To be Australian is to have a little place in your heart for both Szubanski and Barnes.  Their contributions to our cultural identity, their open disclosure of difficult times in their lives (for Magda it related to her sexuality and for Barnes his decades of drug and alcohol abuse and its impact on those who loved him) and now, their unified stance in opposing the non-binding plebiscite bill on same-sex marriage that our Prime Minister is putting before Parliament.

I will confess my ignorance of the implications of the plebiscite right now.  It sounds like a good thing marriage equality on face value except that its result is non binding and would only guide future discussion in Parliament rather than changing existing laws.  There is the potential for the community debate leading up to any ballot being fuelled by bigotry and hatred.  Which would do little for the cause of marriage equality.

It's going to cost us as a society to the tune of $160 million dollars that could go to fund programs to help Australians in difficulty through illness, disability or domestic violence.  It is also money that could go towards other services and facilities that would benefit the general community.

Realizing: that life is not perfect for anyone.  I'm in my forties and I've seen a fair bit of life's ups and downs.  But I still need to be reminded about we are all only human.  Undoubtedly, some of us are more beautiful, talented, wealthier, intelligent, altruistic, patient and stronger than some others of us.  But we all face the same challenges in life.  Marriages end.  But life needs to and will go on and children need to be loved and raised.
It's the lucky majority of us, though, with our non spectacular and obviously imperfect lives that get to deal with our problems in private.

Did you watch or listen to QandA Monday night?  What are your thoughts?

Sep 19, 2016

Art in the Everyday #2.

'Still life' type scenes from the last few days....

Title:  'Waiting'
Additional notes:  on hold while my call was in the queue for our work's IT help desk one Friday morning.

Title: 'Green'
Additional notes:  the lawn survived winter and grew just enough over the last week for me to give it a bit of a trim with my trusty old school lawn mower...

Title: 'One of Life's Mysteries'
Additional notes: I'm still not really sure how this pretty beaded pony tail holder came to be at the bottom of my handbag.  Perhaps one of the girls at preschool dropped it in by mistake while I was gathering Preschooler SSG's things during pick up on Friday.

Title: 'Fruit and Knife'
Additional notes: I've taken to carrying a paring knife and some fruit along with us on our Saturday morning jaunts down at The Junction.  A freshly cut platter of fruit complements a lunch of chicken schnitzel and thick cut chips rather well.  Especially if a side salad just isn't going to happen on your preschooler's watch.

Title: 'Callebaut Chips and Potato Masher'
Additional notes: pulled out all the stops for the weekend's baking project.  I bought this bag of Callebaut dark chocolate chips from Costco a few months back.  I know, they're still largely uneaten after all this time!  The willpower.  Used them in a batch of banana choc chip muffins.  The potato masher?  I used it on the bananas.  Works a treat.

I adapted Donna Hay's recipe from her 'Modern Classics' books ie used wholemeal flour instead of white, added a teaspoon of vanilla extract and some mixed spice.  Her use of baking powder, sour cream and vegetable oil in the base recipe delivers a muffin that peaks beautifully and keeps well due to its moisture content.  And it's so easy too!

Title: 'The Floorboards That Feed'
Additional notes: the pantry and fridge could be bare at our place but you'd never willingly starve despite this.  Despite the number of times I've swept, mopped and wiped the floor; it still yields a bounty of food at any given moment.

Sep 18, 2016

Lovin' Life 18/9/2016: This Time Last Year.

According to Timehop, this is what I was doing on this day one year ago...

Packing up my beloved souvenir fridge magnet collection in preparation for The Move.  The Big Move.  Across the city with a toddler.

Somehow I'd managed to survive a month of home opens, sold a house and managed to pack most of our stuff into well labelled cartons.

I'd even gotten an Esky for a temporary fridge at the new place.

The reasons these memories relate to the 'Lovin' Life' theme are numerous.  It was one of those mind over matter life events.  It had to be done, it had to be done then and I was the one who had to get it done.  And I did it.

After the weeks of organised chaos, life after the move slowly fell into place.  We got a real fridge, familiar bits and pieces got unearthed from packing cartons and assumed their new positions around the house.

There were new places to explore

a new body of water and bobbing boats at which I could look out on and be calmed by

new parks to run to

new local cafes to call 'mine'.

When we first moved, I missed our old home terribly.

It was a place of many happy memories and places,


and routines.

I will always carry those happy memories in my heart.  Along with the new ones I'm making in this place that is just right for my life as it is now.

Do you get sentimental about moving house?


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