Saturday, January 31, 2015

When does Summer end?



Does summer end when you return to your 'routines'? or does it end when it's too cold to walk bare foot in the garden? Does summer end when you no longer have lovely long evenings of daylight and dusk? or does it end when you stop drinking white wine and start with the red?

When does summer end for you?

Me - it's not over just because I went back to work this week. It's just that I have to fit all my summer lov'in into the few hours I get to be outdoors. I love being barefoot and bra free.

This weekend, after catching up on the holiday washing and packing things away, I'm enjoying my garden;
  • Harvesting - Luffa, baby eggplants, beans, bananas, spinach, rhubarb, cherry tomatoes, & basil galore!
  • Planting - comfrey, parsley, beans, snow peas, sugar peas, leeks, and beetroot seedlings
  • Cooking - Luffa & tomato ratatouille with quinoa, and cheesy balls with fresh garden herbs, pesto and banana & cinamon icecream
  • Pruning - Bougainvilleas, jasmine, and the hedges
I am reflecting also on my key words, after I read this great post about focus and challenges.  Bec often inspires me with her reflections, and here she brought to my attention a book I might chase down. Brendon Burchard's The Charge. Bec noted this about the book, which is what I'm thinking about this weekend....
Brendon goes on to talk about the distinction between goals (focused on the destination or the desire to tick something off a to-do list) and challenges (which stimulate drive and engagement in the process, and stretches you to grow), and how extrinsic motivators rarely result in any lasting sense of achievement.
 Today I'm being challenged by the difference between ticking things off the list, facing the challenges and dealing with the fears that stop me from achieving things, and what motivates me.... I can set myself lots of things to do kind of goals, but I will usually leave the tuff stuff off the list. I know what those things are - calling a friend in need when I'd prefer to hang out with the butterflies in my garden..... or doing my tax work - but I delay those things..... the challenge for me is to face the fear - overcome that challenge. I will be a better person for it. And I don't have to have 100 ticks on my list of 100 things to do.

So today... I will reflect more on my keys words and what my challenges are.

Meanwhile - I'd like to report that I have read 3 more Japanese authors this past month, and will be doing my Japanese Literature Challenge post soon.

Photos: from Cowra NSW 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tour Down Under Updates

 The weather's beautiful, the city is alive with the joy of cycling. 

This years Tour down Under s started with a fund raising event for Bowel Cancer. 
The Undies Run. 
My partner's mum died of Bowel Cancer, so some of the family did the 1.7km fun run for Mum. 
(we are not pictured here - these are total strangers! as if I'd post a photo of me in my undies....)

 One of the most exciting things for me this year is the introduction of the pro cycling 
Women's Tour 
Its a world recognised pro cycling event for women
unlike the men's 6 days of cycling, the women's tour is just 4 days, with both circuits and road stages

 It's such an exciting sport to watch from the fence 
I love to watch their tactics and their form
their focus is just intense
 and some of the women's outfits (kits) are just lovely.

Today was stage 2 of the men's race
I rode with some friends up to the finish line in Stirling
it was a 75km ride for me up one of Adelaide's most reknown hills
'the corkscrew'
(the road is aptly named!)

Once I got to the top, I enjoyed watching the sprint leg at Mylor,
then relocating to watch the final two laps of the the men's race.

Currently we have an Aussie in the lead....
And Cadel is in the top 10!

This is a holiday with a definite sporting flavour.

Friday, January 16, 2015

It's almost here!

Its Tour Down Under time - that's a cycling 6 day cycling race - it's part of the international cycling circuit, and it's the first race in the years program. There's alot of hype about this years race - as Adelaide has gained international credibility for running a world class event, and it's Cadel's last year in Pro Racing - our very own Tour de France winner (2011).

Now, this blog is usually a passive, peaceful place to visit - as I ponder life, simplicity, mindfulness - but alas, for this one week - I'm about to get lost in the frivolities of sport.

I am also on holidays this week, and will be traveling to Adelaide to participate in Race events and spectator activities.One of these events is a major cycling event I've been training for over the past 4 months. I'll be doing the 151km journey that follows the race route on Friday 23rd Jan.I'm also doing the fundraiser for Bowel Cancer called 'the Undies Run' - a short run in my Undies for charity.  (probably wont post photos).

However, it's also my hope, that while I'm out of my usual routine, I will get time to be restful, simple and mindful.

It is also my intention to finalise my reading for the Japanese literature Challenge No 8! This is due to finish at the end of the month - and I've got a couple books left unfinished on my Kindle. It's time to conquer those!

Watch this space - I hope to report on my reading, pondering and touring activities here soon.

Friday, January 2, 2015

6 important words for 2015


Simplicity, Mindfulness, Application, Learning, Local and Social - these are words I would like to be conscious of this year. If you look at the acronym, it's only SMALLStuff..... but I'm sure it can be BIG too!

I don't profess to understand the full meaning of these at this stage, but here's my current definition for these words in my life.
  • Simplicity - For me simplicity is not actually the opposite of complexity (cos its probably quite complex in itself), but it's about making ethical and moral choices to keep daily life simple or free from ties to unethical over use. I don't believe  it demands a vow of poverty or a life of rural homesteading, but that it is an ethic of self-conscious material moderation. As one author states, 'Mastering the fine art of simple living involves discovering the difference between personal trappings and personal traps. In this sense, simplicity is ultimately a state of mind, a well-ordered inner harmony among the material, sensual, and ideal, rather than a particular standard of living'. I this it's about sufficiency - and knowing what is my sufficiency threshold.
  • Mindfulness -  This is about a state of awareness, and for me I want to be aware of the choices I make, the way I relate to the world around me, and the way I can impact the world around me. Being mindful is about being conscious of the present, past and the future. One author talks about mindfulness as having a heightened state of concern and due diligence in decision making and also it can mean having a clear state of awareness of the subtler processes of ones own mind - about being self reflective. One definition I would like to investigate is that mindfulness is a state of awareness consisting of unhurried, non judgemental attention to one thing at a time. 
  • Application - this reminds me that I have to action some of these great ideals - appplication means applying my pinciples, applying my learning, and evidence the actions - its an accountability issue for me - or to quote a multinational "Just do it!"...
  • Learning - Important for me is the commitment to keep learning on these issues and others. Not being enrolled in formal training (at the moment), I need to make the personal commitment to pursue my learning opportunities.
  • Local - living local, buying local, supporting local - this is for me about building community, participating in community and caring for the local community.
  • Social - this word is here to remind me that simplicity and mindfulness are not about being isolated. I personally need to be reminded to make time for my social life, and to work on finding connectedness with like minded people. It is way too easy for me to bury myself in my solitary spaces. Building my social networks is something that I want to be actively committed to.
 This post was inspired by a recent post by Cityhippyfarmgirl who asked what what our hopes, plans and words are for 2015. Her word is connected, but I couldn't stick to one. How about you? what are your words for 2015?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Sunset, Dawrin NT - on my September break

Prayer of St Francis 'Canticle of the Sun'

Be praised, my Lord, through all Your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and You give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of You, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens You have made them bright, precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which You give Your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom You brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.
Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of You; through those who endure sickness and trial.
Happy those who endure in peace, for by You, Most High, they will be crowned.


I recently read this prayer over at Simplicity Collective and was moved by the wonder and praise for the most fundamental and everydayness of our lives. I want this to be my prayer for this christmas day.

In this year where I have tried to focus on simplicity, I have learnt much, and yet much more to learn. I have travelled some this year, although not overseas, and some of the highlights of my travels have been the wonders of the creation of God.

I share with you these memories as my Christmas Gift. If you can find it in your heart - be thankful.

Products from my Garden

Happy Lettuce

Newcastle Harbour at sunset

Hawkesburry River

Wollongong Harbour

St Kilda Beach

St Kilda Community Garden

Melbourne Botatic Gardens

Melbourne Botanic Gardens - visitors to my rest

Christmas at Melbourne Botanic Gardens

Sunrise at Litchfield National Park, NT

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

in the here and now

 Motivated by a lovely blogger who reminded me about sitting in the present, instead of sitting on the sofa and surfing the net for random inspiration, I went for a walk last night. I looked around me and found beautiful living things, and places. I absorbed that moment, rested in it, and wondered further.



I wish you all a beautiful week, and a chance to rest in the moment..... where ever you are.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Summer is on it's way for sure!

It's time to enjoy pesto made from home grown basil, local cheeses and a lovely wine sitting on the back veranda after work - while we wait..... and wait..... and wait for the sun to set - I love these long evenings.....

It's been a while since I last posted really so I thought I'd do a quick catch up here.

Firstly, I'm pretty excited about my garden at the moment. I've been working at getting it revamped after a long winter (or more to the point, a long season when I didn't get time to work on it). While I'm really happy with how it's looking, I am also pretty excited about what's to come. Bec, at Think Big, Live Simple, is going to be helping me with a few trouble spots in my garden. Check out what she's up to, she's inspirational, passionate and pretty clever! I'll share with you all how that goes as we start to roll out some of Becs ideas into my garden.
Think Big Lives Simply
 Secondly, as summer is approaching, I have set my sights on a big goal - I want to do a big community bike ride when I go to Adelaide for the Tour Down Under in January. I did it last year (when it was 170km) but I struggled. This years it's only 150km, but I don't want to feel like I did last year. So I'm training. At the moment I'm trying to ride 150 km each week (that's 3-4 rides each week). But as we get closer I need to increase those distances and hopefully get up to riding 300 kms in the weeks leading up to it. This means I'll be out on the road a bit in the next 10 weeks.

Thirdly, I've been reading. I've got three books open at the moment. Doris Lessings "Golden Notebook", Kawabata's "The sound of the Mountain" (for Japanese Lit Challenge), and Annais Ninns "Mirages". I've recently finished "the Moonlight Palace" by Liz Rozenberg. The three books I've got on the go are pretty intense, but there's some great value reading in there. I suspect I'll be reading these all summer?

School Reunion news: I had a great time!