Sunday, October 20, 2019

Reflections - National Dyslexia Month (Australia)

Many of you know I love my garden. A place of contentment, and a place for me to reflect. 
I spend alot of time in the outdoors, and a lot of time at work.... 

Especially in spring, now, I enjoy the new life, new flowers, and new animal life in the garden. 
Here, my newly established passionfruit is showing me it's intentions... 


This was a recent harvest which then converted to a variety of meals during the week. 
I get a great sense of satisfaction knowing that I grow my own food. 


This month is national Dyslexia Awareness Month. I didn't know there was such a month until recently when I read blog post. I was moved by the authors story to reflect on my own story. I have Dyslexia, which wasn't really diagnosed until I was in my 3rd year of Uni, and sitting in a child psychology lecture and recognised many of the symptoms in myself. I did go for a formal diagnosis, which resulted in this -  "it's clear you have learning difficulties, but you've clearly found lots of skills and tools to manage well at Uni, so keep doing what you're doing".

So I kept doing what I was doing... almost 25 year laters I have multiple degrees and multiple master degrees and an executive career. It seems like I developed strengths that helped me in my career, despite the difficulties I have reading and recalling facts & figures.

as an example of how dyslexia impacts on my life - in my business, we spend alot of time on teleconferences these days - this involves dialing into (often) 12 digit phone numbers, followed by a 6 digit ID code, then (often) a 8-12 PIN no.... By the time Ii actually get dialled in, my heart is racing with nerves, and my anxiety takes minutes to settle. This pattern is repeated when logging into banking sites.... numbers are so important in daily life. 

Recently I was talking with a friend about how hard I find reading for pleasure, and how I'm trying to set aside time to practice reading for pleasure. I read on a kindle, and I set reading goals by percentage - ie, dont stop until you've read another 10%.. but it's hard work to do that. I'm easily distracted, I'm not engaged, and I feel like I'm running a marathon.. My girlfriend said - just stop it. If it's not pleasure, dont do it.

She's right! it's not enjoyable. Except for a few genres and authors I've found I can engage with, I just dont have fun reading.

[warning - this is disturbing] I have another friend who says she doesn't get why people blog book reviews. SHe's a prolific reader, and says what she thinks and feels about the books she read are her experiences. However - I do like book reviews. They help me learn about the world, without having the run the marathon of actually reading the book.

Thank god for Podcasts! I love podcasts. I love listening to information. . Any recommendations for new podcasts are always welcomed in my life!

For Dyslexia Awareness Month, I ask you to reflect on reading in your life.  Enjoy it if it's your thing, or move on if it's not! Podcasts are the new world of books...

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Fires & Surprises

 A couple of weeks ago we had a bushfire in the neighbourhood. This is what I could see from my back deck. We knew it was the bush growing in our swamp area. It was about 2km from our house.

On the night, the house was filled with smoke, but it wasn't too scary, I felt safe and confident it would be unlikely to come this way. Still, as a child I lived in a bushfire zone, so my auto pilot went into motion. I packed a light o'night bag, I grabbed our 'important papers' file, and the photo album we haven't scanned yet from grandmas. I made sure I had the hard drive packed, and other necessary items.

Through the evening, my friends called a few times to check if we wanted to go and stay at their place. A lovely gesture. At one stage someone had called me to check on us, and they commented "Australlia's so dry, even our swamps burn!".  Sadly, we know the fire was light by youths.


So now, a few weeks on, I'm discovering things I didn't know. The fire engulfed my favourite cycling path. I've been riding this path, almost weekly for more that 10 years. It's usually a lush green forest, filled with frogs, bird life and snakes.

 What surprised me most in the new naked landscape, is the landscape that has always been behind the greenery... I had no idea at all that the swamp came this close to the path! and I had no ideas there were sand dunes in the mist...

 an old railway line used by the mines, there are also remnants of mining equipment and infrastructure. While horrified what fire can do, and why these fires occured... I'm enjoying the new discoveries.

and watching the new green life appear....

So long live my bike path, and come forth new green growth - I look forward to seeing what the new forest will become!

And thank you to the firefighters who faught this blaze for three days. Your dedication and skills ensure no house or life was lost.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Lilac Girls - Book Review

Last month I hosted Paris in July, and I was also swamped with work and other important commitments, so I didn't get the chance to do any of my own posts for Paris in July. So this month I will get a few done, starting with this review.

I took the recommendation to read this from  a list of books for reading during Paris in July published by Mel U at the Reading Life, I'm glad I did, although it's not an easy book to read. A couple of reasons why it wasnt a easy book for me to read.

Firstly, the book tells the story of three different women, which means each chapter is told by each women in turns. I find that style of narration difficult to get engaged with. It took me more than half way through before I was interested enough to finish.

Secondly, the book is based on real life events occuring in Poland, Germany and New York in 1939 when Hitler was invading France & Poland. Thats not an easy subject to read about. Life in Ravenbruck, a women's re-education camp, the only one in Germany.

Thirdly, is was a story about a young female german doctor, who in a time of war, takes a job in the women's re-education camp believing she was doing the right thing for her country. However, she ends up being forced to do unimaginable things. Things that will haunt her for the rest of her days.

But despite being difficult to read, it was in the end, a story of resilience, women's strength and community. Through out, I was distracted by the New York Socialite, Caroline, storyline. But in the end, she was the angel of grace. What was even more inspirational, was that Caroline was one of the real women. After the war, she lead a beautiful movement to help the women who were harmed during the war. 

Thanks Mel U for the recommendation.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Paris in July 2018 - final wrap up - thank you

When July comes to an end theres a sense of disappointment in the air, a sense of loss, as Paris in July,  the blogging event, comes to a close. Yet, as it is well known in this community........ Paris is always a good idea! The event, with its Mr Linkys, with the buttons, the challenge to honour all things Parisian or French, may end, but we can still read, eat, drink, watch, enjoy & review these things... and i hope we will.

This year we had a collection of different buttons to help us mark our posts, as a reflection of the different members of our community this year. Its the diversity of the participants that I love about blogging events. We come from all walks of life & yet in blogging, in July,  we come together to share our appreciation for the old, current & emerging culture of Paris.

Thankyou all, for sharing your holiday memories, your experiences, the books you read, the movies you watched,  the french food & festivities you celebrated, the recipes, the history, the polotics.... childrens stories, book titles, book covers, things you collect, exhibitions you went to, and parks you spent Time in.  All of these posts, all of your contributions, they are Paris in July!  We did it together .

Merci! A la prochaine!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Paris in July - Week 5

Paris is always a good idea! Haven't we been having fun? I'm wrapping up week 4 and putting up week 5 because I know there's more to come... you've got more to share haven't you? For me, I'm 40% through the only book I was likely to read, I haven't had a chance to cook something, and I had another guest to interview, but time is running out... I'm sure my extra posts will pop up in the next couple of weeks...

This past week has been a week of fun, but also a week of learning...

Fun stuff for me - Mae found Paris inspired Art in Detroit, Jeanies B&W images of Paris, Kwarkito's personal stories of being in Paris, Deb Nance's favourite settings in Paris for books, junkboattravels walk through paris and restaurants and cafes, Mae's review of French style and Carola Bartz' memories of la vie douce a paris - images of pastries and icecreams... Erin @CrackerCrumbLife also posted about books read including the cat who walked across France!

Things to learn - Mae read a book mostly about death and loss, and Mel U read many books, one about G Steins Cook, the Lover by Dumas, short stories translated from Yiddish, and also shared with us some good info about Natalie Clifford Barney. In Fact Mel U proposed Natalie should host our Post Paris in July Party!. Lisbeth posted about Paris Salons of an era past. And there were books set in wartime eras.

I hope I didn't miss visiting anyone's post this week but there were many - thank you for sharing all of these insights into different elements of Paris.

This week, share your posts here. I'll do one further wrap up next weekend. And, here's to Paris and the Champs Elysees for the final of the Tour de France!

Friday, July 26, 2019

We're heading into Paris this weekend! (Tour de France)

This has been this most read book in our house this month. Its the most loved magazine in many Australian TdF homes, because it has everything you ever want to know about the tour.
Articles with a strong focus on the teams all Aussies love...
And all the other teams. 

The magazine guide comes with a wall map of each stage outlined. We might be the only household that actually hangs it up, but we refer to this most nights. We liked to check if we've been there before, and where each stage is heading. Its also a conversation starter with guests... 

What can I say.... 
The editors know their audience!

 And when the race is quiet (rarely), theres many other articles of interest..
And rider profiles...
And here is Caleb... so far, hes won two stages this year. 

Who would like a copy of this? Im happy to send a copy to 2 Paris in July participants. If you're interested, comment below, naming either your favourite team or rider. 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Paris in July - Week 4

Button Created by Mel U @ The Reading Life
Wow, Week 3 was a whirlwind of visiting Paris in July. I cant believe we're about to enter Week 4 - but the good news is, we will have a week 5 (even though only have a week)....

I am sorry I have been very busy this week, and didn't get a chance to visit many of your blogs until today, but today I've had a ball. I have been overwhelmed with the variety of posts this week, but I've also become a bit jealous. Some of you have amazing and beautiful photo's capturing your memories of Paris and France. My holiday snaps never turn out that great. Carola Bartz posted some gorgeous images of a fountain in Tricolour for her post on La Fete Nationale and also another post title 'Sur La Table' with enticing images of cafes and Bistro's of France. Kwarkito posted some gorgeous images also - in particular a B&W of the Seine - Reminded me of my parents photos from the early 70s. Jeanie's images of the old and new in Paris were also a strong reminder of the iconic images in Paris.

Reading through all the posts today awakened in me a desire to visit Paris sooner than I was planning. Jackie at Junkboattravels posted on the Atelier des lumieres, an interactive art musee which I certainly hope is still around if I get back to France soon. 

In the book reviews space, Mel U posted on some really interesting short stories, including Cheri by Colette and a song about reading Colette in Summer (so Paris in July!)... Deb @ Readerbuzz did another fun post, which I'm sure all of us can relate to, where she reveals she's a sucker for any book with a typically french image on the cover!.

So many great posts this week - you probably didn't even notice that I didn't get one done myself! I hope to post one or two this week.. But now it's time to launch Week 4.