Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in review

2012 has been an adventurous year for me, but sadly I did not have such a great blogging year. Today i wanted to take some time to review the year that was 2012, and to consider 2013 (particularly my blogging goals). So the image of the hammock reminds me of one of my 2012 adventures - a visit to Cocos Keeling Islands, but it also depicts the mood of one who reflects and rests with reflection. I hope you can rest with me today too.

2012 was an interesting year for me professionally, and this has an impact on where my energies were spent in my personal life. I lost 7 team members due to a restructure, leaving me alone and acting in senior positions most of the year - a challenge I enjoyed, but it took some energy to manage.

However, early in 2012 I set myself some physical challenges, cycling and running, so many of my spare hours have been spent training, or getting to events.Some of my highlights included
  • 2012 Tour down Under Bupa Challenge - Road cycling 138km
  • Loop the Lake - Road cycling 90km
  • Wollombi Wild Ride - Mountain Biking 50km
  • Fernleigh 15 - running 15km
  • Grape Adventure - tri event - kayaking (2km), mountain biking (10km), running (3km) x2
  • Crowne Plaza ride - Road cycling 60km
  • SES navigation comp - 25km bush walking event
Yes, one could say it's a midlife crisis, but it's been a fun crisis.

Reading & book reviews: Needless to say, this year my reading time has suffered dramatically. I spent way too much time this year trying to read one book, Monica McInnnerney's 'Lola's Secret'. Monica grew up in the same region as me, and this book was set in our town. I really wanted to read it because she reflects so many of the characters I recall from my childhood. But, unfortunately I wasn't in the space to get into the story line. After much struggling, I put the book down. 

I picked up Muakami's 1Q84 when I went on holidays in September and read the first two parts in the two weeks of holidays, but on my return, reading was again a challenge, and I still have not yet finished 1Q84. I then decided to join Bellezza in her November read of 'Norweigan Wood' - but again, I haven't read any more than 1/2 of it. I also started Joinson's 'A Lady Cyclists Guide to Kashgar', but... not finished yet. 

So in review of reading 2012 - I don't think I finished one book.

So what about blogging and me? I love co-hosting Paris in July with Karen at Bookbath - it has to be one of the highlights of my year. I also enjoy being part of the Japanese Literature Challenge, and I have dreams of joining other challenges too. Paris in July is an online community experience which I love to be part of. Community is critical for me, it's part of my essential ingredients to life, and being part of community can be difficult in this day and age. But Paris in July reminds me that where ever we are in the world, what ever we do, believe or practice, we can share something like our love of Paris, and be part of that community. I love to think that if all the Paris in July participants were in a similar place we'd have a wonderful festival and enjoy each others company over a Parisian meal to die for!

So blogging for me is about connecting with others (funny that I don't do facebook then), but blogging allows you to connect with like minded friends (without all the invasion of privacy that facebook offers). And I like being part of the blogging communities who
  • review books
  • post recipes
  • blog about gardening
  • discuss social justice issues
As 2012 closes and 2013 begins, I was wondering what blogging would be like for me. I found this post and wanted to share my goals with you. 10 things first time bloggers should do:
  1. Choose the name of your blog carefully - Thyme-for-tea is perfect for me - combining gardening, tea, rest & reflection into the name of a place where I do just that.
  2. Comment and email others - this is where I've let my blogging friends down in 2012, and i hope to be much better at this in 2013. any hints?
  3. Don't write anything you cant say to someone - I am quite particular in who knows about my blog and what I post - especially photos. I will continue to be particular.
  4. Write for yourself - this is always my goal - to share with others while I challenge myself to learn from life.
  5. Edit, edit, edit - for one thing, this is important for me because I have dyslexia and my spelling can be very bad, but editing is about making sure you say what you want, in as few words as possible. I try.
  6. Know who you are blogging for - me! but then I do know the bloggers I visit and if they visit me, I hope they find something they like too.
  7. Be true to yourself - always important - not always achievable
  8. Read - this goal is about reading other  blogs, other site, commentaries, and current affairs. This adds so much value to the blog. I will endeavour to do this more in 2013. 
  9. Find a blogging mentor - mine are currently Karen at Bookbath, Meridith at Bellezza and Jeanie at Marmalade Gypsy.. This week I'm particular attracted to the website 'Healthy Chef'. 
  10. Keep it simple - each post and the site should be kept simple - unlike this one!
I think I will try and use my blogspot a little differently in 2013 - not yet sure how, but currently considering a weekly rotation of my favourite topics - gardening, thinking, reading and social justice. I hope you'll join me on the journey.

Here's to blogging in 2013!! May we connect again, and may the blogging journey be rich with challenges, fun and friendship.
Here's to 2013 - enjoy the challenges!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas Friends!

 Christmas morning is one of my favourite times in all the year for so many reasons. It's when we celebrate Christs birth, and for me that means time to reflect on my relationship with Christ and his purposes. It's also a time when my garden is singing. While the photo above is not one of mine, it is exactly an image I get when I look out my bedroom window on Christmas morning. I love to hear the parrots sing, and to take in the vibrant array of colours and aroma of flowering gums.

I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a wonderful Christmas season, may you and your families be safe, healthy and happy. Where support is needed for any reason, my you be surrounded by your loved ones, the angels in your life, and know that we are community where ever we are.

My partner and I celebrated Christmas lunch with our community - some close friends. Both of our families are some distance away, and Christmas is one of those times friends and community are pretty special We celebrated with prawns, BBQ chicken, and a range of delicious salads, including a greek salad, Poh's Green Papaya and peach salad, a fennel and red onion salad, and a tomato and avocado salad. All of this was enjoyed with a sparkling burgundy and a St Hugo Shiraz, and followed by gluten free Christmas Pudding and custard. Yum.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Tea Party

Gluten Free Chocolate Brownies

Yesterday I hosted a friendly tea party to help my partner celebrate a significant life occasion. I'm sorry now I didn't think to take some photo's - here are some off the web from recipes I cooked. When my partner lost his job in July he decided to return to school and finish a diploma he started 8 yrs ago - and now it's finished!  

It's the silly season, and after trying to find a common date for a few friends to have dinner with us, we finally decided on afternoon tea - it was great idea. We had a beautiful afternoon, and enjoyed some yummy things together. By chance, most things on offer were gluten free, and delicious!

 Our Menu included                     

All of this was enjoyed with freshly brewed coffee, tea and a lovely glass of chilled moscato or a sparkling burgundy.

Coconut Almond Cake
 So what do kids do when the adults are sitting about? My friends, twin 12 yr olds, found the camera and wandered around my garden taken photo's I may never take - but beautiful none the less!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Melbourne - Comme Paris!

Lygon St
 It has been so long since I blogged I have almost forgotten how to load a photo! I'm so sorry for my absence, and I do hope to be catching up with all my friends soon.

I wanted to share with you my most recent french experience. Last weekend I went to Melbourne with a girlfriend to the Paris to Provence Festival. It was a festival dedicated to all things French, and laid out in the style of the the weekend markets you'll find in any French village. We were taken away from our cares and woes with les cafes, patisseries, du vin et du fromages! There were stalls dedicated to linen from Provence, books for children, learners and french speakers, and jams, preserves and many other wonderful french delights.

But visiting Melbourne wasn't just about going to see Gabriel Gate cook for us, or to stroll in beautiful gardens with other lovers of all things french - visiting Melbourne is about shopping, catching the theatre and walking in it's Paris like streets and parks. So here's some photos from my weekend. Hope you enjoy it too
Window at Brunetti's, Carlton

Brunetti's - Famous for their Cakes and Coffee
Brunetti's Fruit Tart
Melbourne - cosmopolitan and modern

Melbournes Central Station - an Iconic Landmark

The historic aspects of Melbourne that bring it a French Charm

Melbournes Southbank - could be in any modern european city

Southbank - could be a scene of the Siene!

when the old blends in with the new

nothing better that a morning on the Yarra!

The Yarra River

So French!

Paris to Provence Markets - Soap Displays

Gabriel Gate making for us a fruit salad with raspberry coulis!