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Category Archives: Musing

Christmas Down Under

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YoungB helped with the decorating this year. I loved how he was able to leansout and casually pop the star in its position 🙂

We had a thoroughly enjoyable, if exhausting, Christmas Day: coffee and panettone for a late, leisurely breakfast; opening presents; a long Christmas lunch to which everyone contributed varying amounts of effort; and then – well, I just collapsed in a heap and YoungB took himself off to the beach! Dr B and Eldest Aunt watched TV. In the evening, we sang, then sat around and took turns to read aloud the first few stories from Italo Calvino’s Marcovaldo. All in all, a lovely way to spend time.

However and whatever you celebrate, I hope you’ve been able to spend time meaningful time with loved ones.

 
 

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if that’s what it takes

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Coffee will keep you going!

In the large office where I work, folk occasionally decide they just can’t be bothered coming to work. While I genuinely appreciate the necessity for mental health days, which is how I’d describe that sort of leave, and I would like to have that luxury, I doubt if such an attitude is in my DNA. More importantly, it’s the sort of behaviour that would swiftly relegate us to the poorhouse.

So there’s one distinct downside to the present day gig economy: while being told at every turn to look after our mental health, increasing numbers of us are in precarious employment, which means that many of us frequently turn up to work when perhaps we shouldn’t. And sometimes, it simply means that too few of us carry far too much workload because, well, the work still has to meet deadlines. Yeah, right.

You will, I am sure, appreciate why I described a recent whole-of-staff wellbeing day as a deeply cynical exercise. The best wellbeing gesture might be to give everyone the day off on full pay, or to make all those contract positions permanent: you know, to treat your staff as if you really valued them and wanted to look after them. It won’t happen, I know. And people voted for this government!

In any case, I turned over the calendar this morning. It’s now December; officially silly season. Our family is already so overwhelmed by conflicting engagements that we’ve decided we may have to send Dr B to represent us at one cultural event, because YoungB and I will be at other – separate – events. Having a lifestyle takes a lot of effort. Right?!

As to getting in the spirit more broadly, well… Is there a tree? Yeah, nah. Advent calendar? Yeah, nah, and that’s been the case since the new, larger TV was installed, because it’s so low that there’s now nowhere to hang the calendar. Door wreath? Uuh, that would also be a no.

Will those things happen? Some of them might. It’s a pity the Advent calendar no longer works, because that was something easy and instantly festive. I will drag out the door wreath and tree, and slowly prepare some festive bits and pieces. Eldest Aunt is the one most likely to grizzle about their absence, and she will once again join us for Christmas. You can see why that calls for more effort than I might usually make: whinging adults are enough to sour anyone’s seasonal cheer!

But there’s always coffee to keep things in perspective. Photo is a macchiato – just one of several, I admit – downed during a long catch-up with cousins in town yesterday. We had a thoroughly enjoyable few hours, reminiscing and forward-planning at about the same rate as food and coffees went down.

May your days be filled with similarly good beverages 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2019 in Musing

 

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smoky obscurity

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Hills obscured by smoke from bushfires

There are no fires too close to the city, but yesterday there was lots of smoke. Morning commutes to the CBD were hazy enough to require extra caution and it was still hazy – as you can see – when I took this view from the window around 10.30.

 
 

nah, too close

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Well, um, yeah. Does that count?!

As anticipated, the tree looks fairly dull by daylight. The decorations on the Town Hall are less than stellar. People keep telling me that Christmas is single-digit-weeks away.

Today was what I would describe as a nice summer day. Several of my colleagues described it as too hot. You can’t please everyone. Tomorrow, a large part of our state is facing catastrophic fire conditions. Whatever I think of the temperature, I’m still too much a country kid to be complacent about bushfire danger.

So, if you happen to be in one of the affected areas, may you be well prepared and not have to put your evacuation plans into action.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2019 in Musing

 

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not only at night

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This year’s tree, lighting up the chilly November night.

I toyed with the idea of partying in town, but decided it was far too cold! The tree was lit without my being there. And I can check it out for myself at lunchtime on Monday, although I don’t suppose it will be lit then; or, if it is, that I’ll be able to admire its beauty in quite the same way.

For now, it’s off to more domestica. May your day be full of light and colour, too 🙂

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2019 in Musing

 

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enabling or providential

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Sing me a rainbow! I hope you can read the colours, in case you want to order some, too 🙂

My mother was a great enabler. I well recall the day she came to me and mentioned, oh so casually, something along the lines of, “I’ve just been to the local second-hand shop and there’s a set of hardback Dickens novels there for $10.” She didn’t suggest I should buy them. But, as a uni literature student, it was pretty much a given that I would do so. And I did! I have them still, and they don’t look at all out of place with the variety of other books in my library shelves including a good selection of other Dickens titles.

How could I forget the time she encouraged me to buy a piano, accompanying duet stool and assorted sheet music, at auction? We had a piano at home, but I was about to head out into the world on a permanent basis and would need my own so, you know, it was not a silly suggestion and the instrument was in fair condition. We decided on my upper bidding limit, which was obviously dictated by my then financial resources. My limit turned out to be higher than that of my chief rival bidder, because the piano came home with me. Once tuned, it moved with me to various suburban locales and enabled me to put in a lot of hard work over many years before I sold it to a fellow student and bought a more serious instrument. Every now and then, I dust off some of the sheet music that formed part of that original auction item.

When it comes to yarn, however, I must say that Bendigo Woollen Mills (BWM) do it every time! I receive one of their new shade cards and oh, the colours! Or, oh, the softness. Often, it’s oh, the colour and the softness. I’ve been looking around for cotton to crochet little blankets for a couple of new cousins. I generally trawl my LYS in the hope of finding something appropriate because I like to shop locally. The dilemma then is that, if I do find anything, although I’m keeping my spending local and can start straightaway, I’m generally buying overseas product. BWM takes a little more time, but it’s local enough to be a better environmental option at least with regard to its travel-related carbon footprint.

Luckily, time is on my side for these blankets, as they’re not required until next year. I will use up some stash yarn, but wanted a splash of brightness and my stash is largely on the sombre side. I haven’t seen anything in the LYS that could hope to rival the colours in the latest shade card from BWM. The two new colours are particularly appealing. So, you know, I might have to bend the plastic and crochet a few extra blankets while I’m at it, just in case there are to be any other new cousins.

May all your enablers have such providentially helpful timing 😀

 

 

 

 

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everything is just rolling along

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The irises are blooming again

Somehow we reached Hump Day and then I had compulsory training that occupied most of the next two days. Now it’s the weekend again and it’s a long one. We have a holiday on Monday, celebrating what my Dad always referred to as Eight Hours Day. We seem to have forgotten that and its importance, but there wouldn’t be many people who won’t appreciate the extra day of leisure. I’ll certainly be relishing the opportunity to rest.

YoungB is still suffering mightily from hay fever and Dr B is just about coping. Fnigres corsesd, I’m presently OK because I follow sterling advice from an old friend: keep taking the tablets!

In other news, our clocks go forward tonight, always a slightly jarring time of year.

May your clocks always be precisely where you want them 🙂

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2019 in Musing

 

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