Sunday, 30 March 2014

Blogging is tough.

When I first decided to start writing and sharing a blog my goal was to have a voice in the, at some times vast, wilderness of ageing women.  That undefined area where shop assistants don't exactly rush to help anymore and waiters don't seat you in a restaurant as quickly.  In this wilderness you become just a little bit imperceptible to the eye of the retail landscape.  Maybe its the 'more than casual' clothes one starts to wear or the hours - which are free from traffic - you tend to keep that gives people the hint.  Whatever it is .. they know. 

At the time I published my first blog I was nearly 6 months into my 3rd attempt at retirement.   I wasn't - yet - completely used to having my day times free.   The sight of people off to work in their work gear as I walked Molly in the morning would make me nostalgic for the sense of purpose that the morning 'rush, rush' provides.  The blog provided an outlet then for my thoughts.

Then the plans for the boat trip got underway which was, altogether, a new kind of challenge.  Followed on by the trip itself which, as anyone knows who's stuck with the blog over the past year, was a fantastic experience providing event after event of memorable things to write about!  Every day presented something new meaning this blog was - to me at least - good fun to read.

Now we're back and settling in to "normal" life I'm not finding blogging easy.  I'll admit it.  That's the reason I haven't blogged in 2 weeks.  When I sit down to write I don't feel that I've got much to say apart from walking the dog or spending a couple of days on the boat or looking for a job.  Is that enough to blog about?  Not sure.

The other reason I don't write is I am so aghast at the antics of the current government that I can hardly stand it!  It gives me a pain in my gut to hear/read the news daily.  I know people don't want to hear another person give their 2 cents worth on the politics of today which makes me all too aware that I should just shut TF up.  Most of the time I do/try to do.

So to everyone who may still check out the blog every now and then - I'm sorry.  I plan to do better.

I have been busy actually!  Our yacht club asked us (it will be me actually because Georgio doesn't tend to do public speaking) if we would talk about the Louisiades Rally at the April First Friday cruisers dinner.  I've been busy putting that presentation together which happens next Friday night.  And it looks like I'll have some work during April helping organise and stage a convention for a previous colleague which should be good fun.

And .. I've been enjoying the back yard with its autumn trees starting to bloom and the usual native animals coming to visit regularly.  Last time I phoned Jae in Atlanta I mentioned the Tibochina trees which were starting to bloom all over Sydney.  They're beautiful trees with dark green leaves and brilliant purple flowers.  Here's a couple of photos of the tree in the backyard ....

And just one more photo... this is me and Molly spooning while on the boat a week ago.  Good times and more to come.

Monday, 17 March 2014

I was a part of 'March in March' Yesterday!

This was the view from the middle of the march - my position.
People as far as you can see ahead and behind!

Yesterday I attended the Sydney 'March in March' demonstration against the Abbott government.  I braved the pouring rain, thunder and lightning to be there because I feel strongly that the current Abbott LNP government is irrevocably damaging Australia. 

The issues I feel strongly about and wanted to represent through my participation are:-
  • Protecting the environment - Including a price on carbon, protection of the Great Barrier Reef and supporting climate knowledge and funding.
  • Education - The Gonski reforms - which Abbott and the LNP pledged to support in full before the election and then dropped or watered down substantially - are essential if we are to have equality in our education system.
  • Human Rights - The right to a fair and liveable wage, equal pay and opportunity for women, protection of medicare, marriage equality, advancement programs for indigenous Australian people and the rights of those seeking asylum from oppression are vitally important.
To see a full list - with supporting documentation - of the Abbott/LNP wrecking ball through programs working in favour of or for the issues above (and others) please click on this link Tracking Abbott's wreckage.

The crowd represented a microcosm of our society ... faces from all walks of life were present as well as booths & pamphlet distributors representing specific organisations/beliefs/issues.  I even saw a Marxist booth on the outskirts of the initial gathering!  They must feel like they're really marginalised in this day and time when there are so many conflicting thoughts and ideologies.  

The "Marches" were held across Australia over Saturday and Sunday with tens of thousands of people coming out in both regional and metropolitan areas to show their displeasure with the policies of the current government.  Melbourne was the biggest yesterday with an estimated crowd of over 30,000.  Sydney is reported to have had over 12,000 marching.  I'm sure it would have been bigger if not for the black clouds and rain during the event's first hours. 

To me the big WOW factor in the whole success of the weekend was the fact that these events started as a grass roots idea from a group of people on Facebook who were fed up with seeing one injustice and broken promise after the other and having nothing happen.  No one - in the press, on TV, on radio, even within the political opposition party - were calling the government on all the lies and broken promises!  They decided to organise a nationwide weekend of protest open to everyone without alignment to any political party or organisation.

I believe - hope - the marches were successful ... at least in raising awareness of the community's unease at the current direction of the government.  But you wouldn't know if they were or were not from the press coverage.  Only one of the news stations covered the event sof Sunday on the 6pm news - the ABC.  The coverage in the Newspapers - in print and online - was meagre to say the least.  You had to search sites to get even one photo or mention available.

As the issues continue to grow I believe/I hope there will begin to be a louder and louder voice from the community demanding to be heard.  I hope.


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

One of my favourite places

'Southern Belle' as seen from the campground at Coasters Retreat - also known as The Basin - in Pittwater.

We're back.  Arrived home yesterday after a lovely few days on the boat with just the 3 of us in the beautiful Broken Bay National Park/Wilderness Area including Pittwater.  For more information Click Here.

I've talked about this area a lot in this blog because it's always been one of my favourite places - ever - in the world.  And now, even since the big trip up the eastern Australian coast and out through the Coral Sea and the Louisiade Islands, this beautiful part of Sydney still inspires a sense of awe and grandeur whenever I spend time living amongst its beauty.

I love the peacefulness of the place ... the majesty of its size and the rugged and seemingly impenetrable wild terrain on its shores.  I love the waterways that bend around corners to reveal hidden bays with untouched beaches halfway uncovered by the tide or opening out to a broad inviting seaway with other boats sailing or fishing or underway to another destination.  I'm fascinated by the fish and bird life that appears, surprises you and then moves rapidly away as if they never existed ... like the stingrays and fish at low tide or the birds of prey with their shrill calling as they circle above looking for their supper.

Well .. you get the picture.  This is a place where you can have adventure, quiet times, social fun or just soothe your soul.  We did all of the usual while away there - eat, drink, read, go ashore and throw the Frisbee for Molly as well as just sit on the back of the boat and stare up at the stars.  Lovely!  So here are a few pictures I took while there. 


Wish you were here too!

Broken Bay - Yeomans Bay from the beach (sand and mud flat) about to be revealed at low tide.

George, Molly and Frisbee on the bit of beach exposed. 
Molly would do this until she dropped dead I think.

Wet, happy dog on the way back to the boat.
Broken Bay - Looking down towards the little township of Cottage Point. 
Nice little restaurant and good coffee and muffin stop in the morning.

Deep in the Broken Bay park - looking towards the inlet of Jerusalem Bay. 

Pittwater, the Basin campgrounds - Wallaby and the walking track signposts. 
Pittwater looking back at the entrance from the ocean (off to the right out of the photo)
 and Lion Island - named because it looks like a lion laying down.
This view is on the way to our permanent mooring in Pittwater!  We are so blessed!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Being Flexible and Mindful

We’ve been on the boat for a few days now.  Instead of staying in our usual places around Pittwater or around the top of Broken Bay we travelled way down into the national park out of internet and phone range and, for a while, in blissful solitude.  Then the weekend came & brought the boaters out in force to every little bay and inlet.  So we’ve started our trip back up to our mooring and home but still taking our time.

I really like things – anything – to be as good as possible whenever possible.  I wouldn’t consider myself a ‘control freak’ although friends and husband George may contradict that from time to time.
So as we were standing on the beach at Clareville with the dingy inflated and just about to load in the groceries for the week away I shouted a 4 letter word beginning with F rather loudly.

“What?” George said startled by my outburst.

 “We didn’t get the clothes bag sitting on the bed!  That’s got all our clothes, my books, our glasses, toiletries, my camera and things for blogging!  Everything is in it.  We have to go back home.”  I shouted while peppering my words with even more expletives beginning with S & GD & F and then the same all over again. 

I was really pissed at myself for forgetting this all important bag.  In fact I was almost at the point of trying to blame George.  You know how it goes.  You can’t believe you were that stupid so it must have been someone else’s fault.  But I didn’t go there.  After all he has his own chores.  My responsibility revolves around food and personal effects.

George looked at me knowing that I truly did not want to go away without my “stuff” but also knowing that the drive home is 45 minutes to an hour there plus the same back and the trip back would put me right bang in the middle of 5:00 traffic.  In somewhat uncharacteristically calming tones he laid the options out for me and, when done in an unemotional sensible way, I knew going home would not be the best choice.

“But what will we do?  Everything is in the bag.”  Moving from the “Oh Shit” mode to pitiful.

“I told you not to take so much off the boat when we got back!  We’ve got some clothes still on board and spare glasses and I’m sure there are plenty of books.  You’ll just have to make the best with what you have”, George told me staying in super sensible mode.

And that’s what I’ve done…. And the reason why there are no photos with this blog.  I’ve been so flexible I’ve amazed myself.  I found a couple of t-shirts left.  I even found 1 pair of underwear, a spare toothbrush, some gym leggings, shampoo and a jar of moisturizer all left on board.   And all this week I’ve enjoyed every minute.

As I approached retirement I promised myself I would relax much more and practise being flexible and mindful … Take it easy and live in the NOW.

When I left work at the end of June 2012 it was a busy time.  I travelled to Atlanta to spend time with Jae and friends there and then came back to our many tasks getting ourselves, the house and the boat ready for our trip last year.  All that activity was followed by the absolute WOW factor of the trip north and the Louisiades so, all in all, it’s only recently that I’ve been faced with down time.  I’ve found flexibility and mindfulness don’t come automatically.  It’s something you have to work at.  Letting go of wanting everything to be your own idea of “perfect” is hard but once you do the world doesn’t fall apart.