Friday, October 4, 2019

Around here ...

Celebrating the Little Girl's 18th birthday with lunch at The Epicurian. Shared plate of calamari to start, gnochhi with wagyu ragu and Eton mess ... yum!.

Listening to the rain on our roof. After some gorgeous warm spring weather this week, the rain has come which is good for the seeds planted out in my veggie garden.

Eating the last of my framer's market rhubarb. I can't even begin to describe what a pleasure eating it was. If you have a bunch of rhubarb try this recipe. You will not be disappointed. Just make sure that you leave it in the oven long enough to get very soft which, for me, was longer than the recips said. We also had Matt Preston's Indian Aloo Gobi try bake while Hubby was away because he hates cauliflower and we decided that we may need to ignore Hubby's aversion to cauliflower because this dish was seriously good.

Exegeting my text for my thesis. I've nearly finished my initial work on the Greek, hopefully I'll be done this afternoon, then I'll need ot hit the library in a more systematic fashion.

Waiting to pick up The Boy who gets home from youth group camp this afternoon. They've been away since Tuesday, I'm sure he'd prefer to stay on camp indefinately.

Planning a big day of shopping tomorrow. The Little Girl has finished her practice exams and has time to find a dress for the valedictory dinner, plus we may look for a necklace ... her 18th birthday present.

Reading The Hero of Ages the final book in the Mistborn trilogy.

Watching Travelers, Blindspot and we just finished watching season 3 of Lethal Weapon. Also the room reveals for The Block.

Listening to Freakonomics Radio and The Next Right Thing.

Wondering whether it's too late to join in October CY365. Maybe I'll just do a 3-4 each week.

and some links ...

1. We've reached peak Wellness. Most of it is nonsense. Looking after the basics is where it's at.

2. Gardening Could be the Hobby that Helps you Live to be 100. Well since I'm currently planting out the veggie garden after it lied fallow over the winter ... come back in 50 years and we'll see.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

February Books in 25 Words

I only got two books finished this month. I've got a little bogged down in Middlemarch and The Habit of Being which I should finish in the next week or so.


The Glass Universe by Dava Sobel

Women employed as cheap computing and recording labour for male astronomers end up leaving a significant legacy in the early photographic exploration of the universe.


The Legacy by Gemma Malley.

Peter and Anna’s hidden life is interrupted when a deadly virus sweeps the country. Identities are finally revealed as the trilogy comes to its conclusion.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

January's Books in 25 Words Each

Last year I read about 40 books but it feels like sometimes I forget what I’ve read as soon as I move onto the next book so this year I’m trying a few different things to get more out of my reading. One thing I will be trying is to write 25 words about every book I read. Here's January's books:


The post-Christian church faces a number of challenges. It needs to rediscover the latent "Apostolic genius" that powered the growth of the early church.

A series of essays and case studies exploring discipleship, church and mission in the context of Messy Church. My focus: working the text, further discipleship.

Draft No. 4 by John McPhee

Lessons and anecdotes from a long career in non-fiction writing. Lesson learned: The importance of the lead. If the structure eludes, write the lead first.

An in depth look at a variety of spiritual disciplines from contemplative to communal - the means to ready ourselves to receive the gifts of God as he chooses.

This creative non-fiction weaves Funders' investigative reporting experience in a post-wall Germany with the stories of her interviewees- victims and perpetrators of the Stasi tyranny.


The gradual revelation of the horror of their dehumanisation plays second fiddle to their mundanely familiar humanity and frustrating acceptance of "completion."

Indoctrinated since childhood to consider herself surplus, the arrival of Peter at the Hall challenges everything Anna believed. Together they will find a new way forward.

Continues the story of Peter and Anna who join the Underground to fight the authorities and put an end to the inhumane use of surpluses. 

Friday, February 1, 2019

To blog or not to blog ...

Each year in January I like to take some time to consider the coming year. With holidays I have some time up my sleeve to think about things. On my list this year I wrote "what to do with the blog." I feel like it's been limping along the last couple of years as I've prevaricated over what this space should look like. Why Blog? Should I even keep blogging? While considering the question, I have also been cleaning out my bookmarked posts from feedly and came across a post by Heidi at 101 Cookbooks about maintaining a Long-term blog. She writes:

" Here's how I approach this site, and have for a long time. I think of it as my practice. ... Contributing something new each week helps me develop in areas that I find important creatively - cooking, writing, taking photographs - and the only way I'm able to grow is through experience, experimentation, and regular practice."

The majority of my words over the past few years have gone towards my assessments for uni, and lists and notes in my diary. To be honest, a lot of the time I previously spent on photography, scrapbooking and writing has been sucked into time-wasting internet, facebook, juicy comment threads. I want to reduce that and replace it with activities that are meaningful to me. As I considered Heidi’s thoughts on her blogging I realised that this space offers something unique in my life:

  1. A place to practice writing for a non-scholarly audience.
  2. A place where I practice the discipline of shaping the unruly thought in my head into a coherent form that is hopefully understandable to others. Learning to connect the dots between related ideas and practice the discipline of appropriate word selection and structure.
  3. A place to work through what I think, as I often find that it only as I write about something that I work out what I really think.
  4. A place to practice story-telling as an important aspect of how we understand ourselves and the world.
  5. A resource to draw on in conversation, writing and speaking.
  6. The impetus to notice, the everyday, the conversations and what I’m reading, and to think more deeply about these things.
I’ve decided to keep this space and be more diligent in my practice as the benefits above will only come when I make use of it.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Some links ...

It's Australia Day today. This morning I went running with Hubby and The Little girl at The Tan with our running group, followed by a yummy brunch. They were preparing for the RACV Australia Day festival at the domain so we got to see the vintage cars all lined up along Birdwood Ave. We realised afterwards that we should have popped over to Government House which was open by the time we were finished. Maybe next year. Here's some links for the long weekend:

1. Australia Day is becoming increasingly controversial. Australians Together offers some perspective on the issues.

2. An easy way to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions and save yourself some money? Waste less food. 23 Simple Ways to Reduce Foodwaste.

3. I'm not terrible with my technology use, I charge my devices downstairs overnight but I do find myself getting sucked into the rabbit warren. It's something I'd like to improve this year, read this article interviewing Cal Newport on Digital Minimalism

"Digital minimalism is a clear philosophy: you figure out what's valuable to you. For each of these things you say, "What's the best way I need to use technology to support that value?" And then you happily miss out on everything else. It's about additively building up a digital life from scratch to be very specifically, intentionally designed to make your life much better."

4. 25 simple Resolutions you can Make to improve your city in 2019.

5. I listened to Anne talk to Jim Mustich, author of 1000 books you should read before you die. Great conversation about books.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

To instruct myself ...

Exploring the rockpools

Do you ever find yourself, like me, at the end of a week, where the moments are blurred together into a familiar,  mind-numbing routine of ticking tasks from a never-ending to do list?

And have you noticed that the things that clamour most insistently for our attention, are the worst things, the life-draining things?

An antidote— to practice the discipline of recognising the good, the true, the beautiful. In the words of Mary Oliver, who died last week, “to instruct myself over and over in joy.”

“Mindful” by Mary Oliver

I see or hear
that more or less
kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for —
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world —
to instruct myself
over and over
in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant —
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help
but grow wise
with such teachings
as these —
the untrimmable light
of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

Saturday, January 5, 2019

50 Things that Made my 2018

Inpired by Austin Kleon. A list of the big things, the trivial things and the in between things that shaped my 2018.

1. We begin the year with summer holidays, 3 weeks of beach holiday with my family.
2. Deciding to embrace some new experiences. The first one being a BIG BASH cricket game at the Geelong stadium.
3. Then White Night Melbourne.
4. Our trip to France with The Little Girl. This was her year 11 trip. There was some trepidation on booking as she was going through her difficult phase but she got over that in the year and was back to her friendly, happy, younger self by the time our trip came round.
5. France produced a number of highlights the first being our Food tour in Nice, which stretched from the promised 4hrs to 6+. Good food, drinks and great guide and group made for a wonderful start to our France holiday.
6. Spectacular mountain (above Saorge) and coastal (Calanques near Cassis) hikes.

Hike above Saorge


7. Cheering Geoff in the Paris marathon.
8. Dinner at the Eiffel tower.
10. Introductory Hebrew and Greek. Memorising Hebrew vocabulary certainly tested the old brain cells.
11. Running 1517km, 148 hr.
12. All that running meant I explored more of Melbournes excellent network of trails.

Yarra River

13. Sub 50 min 10km. I finished Gold Coast 10K in 49:03,
14. Lots of running also translated into lots of socialising with our running club mates.
15. First half-marathon at Melbourne. Geoff completed his second marathon and THe Little Girl her first 10K.
16. Holiday in Noosa.
17. Noosa NP walk.
18. Gelato at Nitrogenie.
19. My second subject this year Mission in the Australian Context which was really relevant to our work with SHBCC faith community.
20. We also enjoyed seeing some of our dreams for our house come to fruition this year including Big Group BBQ's.
21. and hosting an international guest.
22. We were also heavily involved in our new Messy Church.
23. and a post-Alpha group.
24. Parkrun. The Little Girl and I did our first in 2017 but we became more involved as the year progressed now that there is a run closer to us. I also volunteered three times.
25. The Big GIrl turned 19, The LIttle Girl 17 and The Boy 15.
26. The Big Girl completed her first year of Science/Arts double degree at Monash.
27. The Little Girl very successfully completed Maths Methods 3/4, so one subject down for her VCE.
28. Working through a community exegesis for our SHBCC faith community for my uni subject.
29. Renting a house after Christmas at Ocean Grove for the first time.
30. My sister's wedding and the dress shopping, fittings, hen's party that goes along with that.
31. Awakening Australia with Ethan. His choice for his birthday weekend.
32. Skipping out on both the kids speech nights to go out for my birthday dinner.
33. Hubby started taking the odd weekdays off which meant fairly regular weekday lunch dates,
36. Ditching the squishy heavy running shoes for a rotation of very light shoes.
37. On our regular meal rotations for running night: Crockpot Thai Chicken Curry, Chicken Fajita Soup, Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli with Jamie Oliver pasta sauce. We get home at about 8pm and need something quick smart.
38. Coles opening down the road. Discovered their fresh flatbread, plus easy access to Stone baked Pane di Casa.
39. We had our new finance manger start before Christmas.
40. Switching to XERO in June took a fair bit of my time.
41. Rediscovering Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies.
42. Reading 39 books.
43. Finally completing Raymond Feist's Riftwar Saga.
44. Starting to reread Katharine Kerr's Deverry Cycle.
45. Australia Re-imagined and The Hiding Place. Stayed with me after I'd finished reading.
46. The Boy had two broken fingers plus a Saturday night trip to emergency to check another hurt finger before his 7:30am departure to wilderness camp the next morning, luckily that time the finger was not broken.
47. Watching The Handmaiden's Tale series 2, Outlander Series 2, The Crown, Brooklyn 99, Lucifer.
48. Finishing a photobook for our 2017 Anniversary trip to Vietnam.
49. Uploading photos to our online albums back to 2011.
50. Family boardgames came back into our lives in December and we added a new one to the collection for Christmas - Space Base.