A bit of this and that...with added frangipani.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

FYLP - Getting With the Times with RÜFÜS

The boys have discovered that they don't have to listen to the music that Mum and Dad listen to. They can choose whatever they want. They now each have a way of listening to the radio in their rooms, and they often hijack control of Spotify and commandeer the radio when we get into the car. This is not always pleasurable to my ears, (have you ever heard Boots and Cats or What Does the Fox Say?), but most of the time, I get right into their song choices.

I really don't mind this shift in the way things are, because it means I have an excuse to become acquainted with new music once again. I seem to have been caught in a time warp while the kids were young, listening to The Wiggles, and even when it was my own choice, I only seemed to listen to music I already knew. No longer, though. I am loving listening to the Top 40 charts, although I'm disheartened at the fact that the charts are dominated by Justin Bieber, and I'm quite mortified when I find myself singing along to his latest. What's next, One Direction?

Anyway, the other day, Spotify recommended some new music to me from RÜFÜS 
I was immediately taken with the haunting vocals and felt like it would be music that I would listen to while sitting with my girlfriends sipping caprioskas in a lounge bar in Sydney, back in the day when we did such things. This is fitting considering this group is from Sydney. I hope that the embedded player will play the song Tell Me as it's my current favourite, but if it doesn't play for you, have a listen to Like An Animal and you'll get an idea of why I like them so much.

Here's Like an Animal:

Go on, tell me how much you liked this group! Do you make a point to listen to new music or are you happy with the familiar favourites?

Sunday, November 29, 2015

It's been a while...

It's been a wee while since I wrote words here. 

I've just been out for a 6 km walk. I saw a muted pink sunrise, but didn't fetch my camera for a snapshot. Too many man-made things in the way to spoil the view. It seems every space of land is being filled with tiny houses with tiny yards on tiny streets. Cram them in tight and wrap your fists tight around your cash.

This is Day 23 of morning walks. It's the best time of the year, when the sun makes an appearance at 5:15 am - time to get in a walk before Will heads off to work. Sometimes I have company, although my 10 yo tells me my conversation is boring. He should be thankful he hasn't read my blog. I can waffle on about the smallest of things. But he knows that it's up to him whether he joins me for my walk. Take it or leave it. I can walk faster without him, but if he chooses to walk by my side, he's getting the benefit of starting off his day the right way: with pink sunrises and the cooler morning air. I think he recognises that too so he puts up with my blethering on about topics that don't interest him. 

We're in the home stretch of this race of a school year. In 2016, Mr10 will be in his penultimate year at primary and Mr12 will be crossing the threshold of his high school for the first time as a high school student. Why is it that the pre-school years seemed to take 15 years to pass, but the minute they hit school, it seemed as though blinking would cause me to miss it?

Last weekend, we celebrated Mr10's birthday by hanging upside down 20 metres above the rainforest floor. I think this was much better than playing pass the parcel and stressing about whether 20 kids, we barely know, are having a good time. Mr10 agrees. He said our trip to Cape Tribulation to go ziplining was the best weekend of his life. 

I liked the fact that there was no mobile coverage, I chose not to activate wi-fi and there was no computer, Xbox or TV. We got up at 5:30 am and explored the local rainforest walks as a family. We played pool, swam in the pool, played ping pong and I did play a video game at the pub where we lunched one day. The boys were impressed with my Ms Pacman skills. So they should be. I invested every quarter I could get my hands on throughout my pre-teens to be able to get past the second screen.

The last couple of weeks have been ones that I'd be happy to have behind me. There are not enough hours in the day to do what needs to be done. Will's car gave up the ghost on Friday the 13th. We knew it was due to happen. The driver's side window was stuck in closed position. The passenger side window was stuck in open position. Two of the four doors were unable to be opened, and Will had to disconnect the battery to switch off the engine. The mechanic always had a shocked look on his face every time we took it in for a service. He never expected it to run as long as it did. 

We found a replacement car - a 2012 Ford Falcon - but have been to-ing and fro-ing with the bank for weeks. The loan was approved ages ago, but their communication processes leave a lot to be desired. Meanwhile, as Will's car has been undriveable, I've been driving him to and from his work, and also doing the usual school run and taking my brother-in-law to his doctor's appointments for his broken hand (ceiling fans are deadly). It's funny how my own work doesn't get done when I am spending the extra hours being chauffeur. We're due to pick up the new car early next week, so that will be a relief.

When the boys are off school in a couple of weeks, the plan is that I will have two reluctant companions on my walks of a morning, and in the afternoon, we will ride our bikes to a local swimming hole to cool off. This is my compensation for the fact that I still have to work while they are home and their screen time will be too embarrassing to write about here. Having said that, I may teach them how to cook this summer. You can see that I have an ulterior motive with that one - I don't enjoy cooking. Maybe I can teach them the fine art of cleaning the toilet and shower stall, because I don't enjoy doing that either.

Well, that's all that's news for now. We're off to lunch with friends this afternoon and I'm looking forward to a few hours of forgetting about my neglected to-do list. The restaurant is at the beach. The beach is a cure for any bad mood. 

Cow Bay Beach
This photo was taken at Cow Bay on our way home from Cape Tribulation

I will be sure to walk on the beach after lunch and maybe my next post will be more sunshine and lollipops. I may also post some of the photos taken of our ziplining - they're actually quite cool.

Friday, September 4, 2015

In Bloom

More shots from our morning walks. Flowers.

Pink blossoms - these have already fallen off the tree.
It was only a small window of opportunity to behold their beauty.

Banana Flower - looks like a lady's hat

The Cane Fields in Bloom

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Birds make me smile.

Finally got around to uploading the contents of my camera memory card. I realise that I've been snapping photos a lot more lately. The boys and I have taken to walking most weekday mornings, and when I remember, I sling my camera over my shoulder on the way out the door.

I love taking photos of birds. Birds make me smile, and things that make me smile are always welcome.


Friar Bird



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Trading Family Chaos for Delightful Distractions

We're moving house in September. The one thing that I'm looking forward to most is that in the new place, I'm determined that I'll have a room dedicated as my office. I spend the majority of my day at my desk, and my current set-up depresses me.

It's in the darkest part of the house, and because it is in the living area off the kitchen, it means I have a big sign on my forehead that says "Please disturb me, I live to serve you." My desk has become a dumping ground for school notes and all those things that nobody knows what to do with. There's an inch-thick layer of dust on everything, because I hate pulling everything out to get in the nooks and crannies of that space - and because let's face it, I am not a white glove kind of person in the housecleaning department.

A few months ago, I bought a smaller desk and set it up in front of the window in the master bedroom. It was intended as a place to go when I needed to work without interruption. I didn't use it as much as I thought I would, because my monitor and keyboard etc, were still in the other room. It was more conducive to work to stay where I was in the high-traffic area.

Yesterday, in anticipation of a manic month of client work, I bit the bullet and moved almost all of the peripheral equipment into the master bedroom. Now I can play soft music on my computer speakers, I have a proper keyboard and mouse and my huge monitor is a welcome relief to my eyes.

So as I sat there at my new desk, wondering why I didn't make this change ages ago, I ignored my children banging on the door ("Mu-um, he looked at me the wrong way!!") and sat down to some focussed work. 

From my new vantage point, I could see into our back yard. A flash of blue caught my attention. Thinking it was perhaps a Forest Kingfisher, or something equally exciting, I ran outside with my camera and snapped this little Rainbow Bee Eater. It's the first time I've seen them in our backyard, so I was chuffed at the capture, but I realise now that despite my efforts to reduce distractions, I've just traded one distraction for another. At least the birds are pretty to look at, and far less stress-inducing than the family's chaos in the other room.

Rainbow Bee Eater
If you work from home, do you have a dedicated office space? Do you suffer from being distracted by your surroundings?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Saturday Games Night - Take 2

On a Saturday night we try to do a family games night. We're kind of hit and miss with it, depending on whether we can muster up the energy after a day of soccer parenting.

We were fully prepared to play a few games with the kids on Saturday night, but a mishap involving some drops of water on the kitchen floor and an 11 yo running in the house when he shouldn't have been, resulted in a grand accident. Mr11 slipped on the water and landed on his head. With the possibility of a concussion necessitating an 8-hour wait in the emergency room, we were relieved not to find any symptoms of it. He ended up with a goose egg and a very sore head, and we, as his parents, instantly aged 10 years. 

Games Night was a non-starter on Saturday, so we took up the ping pong paddle on Sunday afternoon instead. Not really, somebody lost the only ping pong ball we had, but we did play:
  • Wally (our kid-friendly name for the popular back-packers' card game, S***head), 
  • dice (aka Farkle), 
  • Angry Birds Board Game, 
  • Agitation, 
  • basketball, 
  • tennis, 
  • a bazillion games of Connect Four (because Mr11 found that he could beat me so he was stuck on "Repeat")
  • and we finished off with a drawing competition (which I won, because I couldn't bring myself to throw the comp for the sake of my children - luckily Will had no such competitive streak so he lost in grand style, so the boys were second and third)

Anyway, loads of fun was had by all, including our nephew, who was dropped 'round to visit his big cousins.

I was saying to Will this morning that I slept well last night. Looking back on the list of activities from yesterday, I can see why. I think I was just plain worn out. 

Do you do Games Night with your loved ones? What's your favourite game to play?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Photo - Aboriginal Dancers

Aboriginal Dancers waiting to perform at NAIDOC closing ceremony - Tjapukai
Yesterday, we attended the Open Day at Tjapukai. I'd never been before, and despite the throngs of people, we all enjoyed learning about bush medicine, Aboriginal weaponry and mastery of the didgeridoo. One of the highlights of the day was watching the Aboriginal Dancers. I took a number of shots, but forgot to adjust for low-lighting when we were in the dance theatre, so the best photo was one of the ones taken out in the open. This is one of my favourite photos of all that I have ever taken.

What do you think? Isn't she beautiful with the make-up around her eyes and the feathers in her hair?
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