Jun 30, 2020

Life, Lately.

Life, lately....

Pausing at the window sill of a cafe down the road from work as I wait for my takeaway coffee.

Standing in the lift on my way to another something that's 'a little bit different... '.  There's never a dull moment at work.  The days are filled with unique personalities, the unpredictable and questions that don't always have answers (or rather the answers that we would like).

It's hands on (my winter hands on show for the world to see, above) and it's full on.  It's science but it's also an art.  It's an endlessly rewarding. endlessly fascinating world that I'm privileged to be a part of.  It's a world that happily co-exists with the other worlds of my life.

A run through the university campus next to work at the end of a weekend on.  These campus runs often put me in a reflective mood.  Hallowed academic institutions tend to have that effect on most of us, I think.

Our first visit from bicycle repair van.  The van is a thing of wonder.  It houses a complete workshop behind the driver's seat and all repairs take place within the van.  It wasn't just the likes of myself that were curious.  Passers-by stopped to chat, toddlers requested to be allowed to climb inside for a closer look.

Our current evening project is this 3D marble run puzzle.  The torches in the photo are for me.  I need extra bright light these days to read the finely printed instruction manual and the piece numbers on the puzzle.

Sometimes, the only thing that will clear a person's mind is to arrange themselves in a basic yoga inversion, close their eyes and breathe for a while.  It gets awfully cold being that still so thick socks are a must at the moment.

Haribo Bears as art, thanks to Master SSG.

Individual Mi Goreng packets as art, thanks to myself.  The Rona related hoarding has returned to Sydney.  In addition to toilet paper, 5 packs of Mi Goreng are also in short supply.  

I love this second-floor space at my hairdresser's.  It's airy, drenched in natural light and pleasantly still.  His talented hands have seen life restored to my hair.  I wonder how much blonder I can go?

Be well.

Jun 29, 2020

Life This Week 29/6/2020: The Best Time of the Day.

In these unusual times, there is no one time of the day that's 'the best' for me.

Each day seems to bring dramatic change.  Sometimes it's welcome but mostly (or so it seems), change has directed us to places of fear, uncertainty, sadness, cruelty and disappointment.  

In the olden days, mornings were my thing.  I am still a morning person but these days, I don't wait for tomorrow morning to come so that I may appreciate it - I pause and try to find the best of right now.

A moment in between things at work to just pause, look up at that sky, breathe and feel the space around me on the top level of an inner-city car park.  The open airiness of level 9 mostly makes up for the flights of stairs I need to attack to get in to work.  Standing, looking and being still.  I think I even waved my arms around a bit while I was there.  I went down those stairs ready for act 2 of the working day.

Being just on time at the supermarket to score a rotisserie chicken fresh off the chicken spinner...  Despite the pressures of their jobs, everyone at my local Woolies always finds a smile and kind word when I have a query for them.

Friday afternoon was a bit ... quiet ... at work so I tempted fate and went for a head-clearing walk around the block.  I found parts of the university I never knew existed and I found new to me outdoor areas and sculptures around the back of the hospital too.

Home time is second only to mornings in my list of favourite times of the day.  It's always satisfying emptying overflowing pockets before getting changed and hitting the road and stairs for home.

It's just plain heartwarming stopping at school on the way home.  There's so much to discuss, so many songs on the radio to harmonize to.  It's less rushed than the morning's journey.  We might be tired and weary waiting at the lights for that final right turn but we're going home.  We are going home.

Jun 25, 2020

Lovin' Life 25/6/2020: Sundays at the Park.

A sky like that looks like this and soft afternoon sun that seems to give you life as it touches your skin make all the trials of winter worth enduring.

One of the highlights of my week right now is our weekend walk to the park at the end of the road, accompanied by said sky and sunshine.

We might meet friends, we might skirt around soccer practice or we might run and ride in parallel to other like-minded souls.

After a day cooped up inside doing chores or feeling mildly claustrophobic at the shops, park time lifts the spirits and gives life.

Is there a park like this in your life?

Jun 22, 2020

Life This Week 22/6/2020: Share Your Snaps.

Learning to crochet has been a humbling journey.

An entire Saturday afternoon's work was reduced to this unpacked ball of yarn.  Turns out I'd been doing both single and double crochets completely wrong.  I'm happy to report, though, that I've finally gotten both stitches down pat and I'm well on the way to having a new throw for the sofa sometime soon.

Relief was the word that crossed my mind as  I looked upward in my back garden.  The worst of the raking and sweeping for this winter is behind me.  I can definitely manage cleaning up after these last few stragglers.

I'm pretty sure the inverted glass and jam jar mark where I tossed my basil seeds.  I'm hoping the glassware will hothouse my seeds and make them grow.

Descaling the kettle is one cleaning up job in the kitchen I'll never get tired of.  It's practically effortless.

Ditto getting the laundry to dry indoors. I finally got myself a proper indoor airer / dryer to do the job.  It's proving to be much more efficient than draping things on the furniture in the spare room, closing the door and then hoping for the best.

A bowl of strawberries after lunch.  As much of a lift to the eyes as they are to the tastebuds.

Of course Aldi was a key destination on my first visit to the shops beyond our local supermarket.  I thought I'd missed the hustle, bustle, bells and whistles of the Westfield but it all left me feeling twitchy and desperate to return to the bowels of the car park to get myself home.  Everything seems to take that much longer to find than it would if I were at home with a mug of tea and my laptop....  At least I got a substantial supply of my favourite chocolate.  It will tide me over until I'm brave enough to next return to the shops on the weekend.

It's a photo of nothing special, really.  The clouds reflected off the surface of a puddle of rain on the top floor of the work car park.  But there's something about the play of light, texture and aspect that makes me feel very centred and in the moment when I look at it.  It's a function of my city girl core, isn't it? To be able to find calm in a car park.

How's your week been?

Good, I hope.

Jun 18, 2020

Lovin' Life 18/6/2020: Five Things.

Five things I've loved about life this week - in more than five photos....

There has been an awful lot of drenching, day's plans changing rain of late here in Sydney but doesn't it make a pretty, marbled pattern of oil on footpaths?

I'm pretty sure I've got the planting times back to front but these basil seeds were on sale at the supermarket and they worked out cheaper than a bunch of basil.  Cross your fingers for me.

Monday Evening Me always has kind words to say to Sunday Afternoon Me when she's meal prepped dinner.  It seems to be lasagna season at the moment and Sunday Afternoon Me did us proud with this semi-healthy version.

It features a meat sauce made with two jars of this Marinara sauce from Lieber's.  Being American, it tastes sweeter than other brands I've tried but it's also got a wonderful richness in flavour and texture.

How good is it when you buy a packet of fresh lasagna sheets and there are just enough sheets in the package to fit your baking dish.  Storing leftover fresh lasagna sheets is a challenge I never rise to.

The healthier / lighter components of my lasagna - a layer of spinach and a cheese sauce layer that's actually mostly roasted pumpkin.  Recipe based on Bake Play Smile's.

Way over on the other side of the kitchen, just by the kettle, a mind (mine) was being blown.  The internet was correct, boiling water does put the spring back into stretched coiled hair ties.

With our weekends of late being less scheduled than normal, we've been taking ourselves to our local park up the road in the afternoons.

As of last weekend, we now ride or run cautiously behind the bike rider to the park and back.  What a difference four years makes....

Jun 15, 2020

Life This Week 15/6/2020: The Week That Was.

It's been a week of little moments.

We attempted and conquered our first 500 piece jigsaw together.  After all that time thinking I wasn't a jigsaw kind of person.  Taking advantage of the momentum, there's another puzzle coming our way via Amazon this week.

These four got together for a natter and some scooter racing.

Before we all went on a mini bushwalk together.

I really am so very fortunate to have the friends that I do.  The memories we share, the experiences they coax me into sharing.

You know when life gets a bit nuts and the only thing that will fix your sleep deficit is a slap-up cream tea?  For breakfast.  It worked.

Retro has been the theme in the humble SSG Manor 2.0 kitchen.  Apricot Chicken is the ultimate oldie that's very much a goodie.

You know how I've been bumbling along at home on my knitting looms?  I got to wear one of my scarves to work this week.  A loud and proud lover of carbs, the stitch was. of course, the brioche.

In school mum news, it was make some prisms at home week.  Did you ever learn this trick when you were at school?  Scoring the fold lines on your shape net with one arm of your scissors and the edge of a ruler gives you a sharp fold every time.  

I can't help with how to make glued flaps stay stuck down, though.  This mum went hard and taped them all down.

Meanwhile at the coalface.  Winter has Arrived.  This week, all those steps taken and flights of stairs climbed have been fuelled by sugared tea (I never drink my tea with sugar at home but needs must) and Tim Tams.  I have my kind resident to thank for the Tim Tams.

These are our car park stairs.  I'm actually quite attached to them.  I bound down them on arriving to work each morning - keen to get a start on things and full of energy and purpose.  It's often quite different in the afternoons.  In a good way. The working day is done and so am I.  The upward climb, though tiring, helps me switch from work to home and mum mode.  

And there we have it.  The week that was.


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