#712 Family Fun on Jan 26th

Today is a day that divides many people from the land down under.

January 26th – Australia Day. A national holiday to celebrate our achievements as Australians, to recognise how far we’ve come, and to reflect on our culture.

The local park down by the beach ran a huge Australia Day event, and naturally, we all headed on down.

It was a very pro-Australia Day experience. Flags abounded, Union Jacks on clothing, and green and gold was the norm. Massive theme park rides were spaced on the perimeter of the park, food trucks on one end, and a stage for live music on the other.

These people came here to celebrate Australia day – or as was in our case, to take advantage of the free entertainment.

But there is a movement, a wave of people that has been increasing exponentially, that believes we should not celebrate Australia Day on January 26th.

And I agree.

BUT that does NOT mean I am not proud to be an Australian.

January 26th is not the day the First Fleet landed in this country, as many people are led to believe. In fact it is believed to have occurred in 1788, somewhere between Jan 18-20, and the 26th is the day the Union Jack was raised in Sydney Cove, to declare British Sovereignty.

Australia Day was celebrated in Sydney on January 26th in those early days, before other states took on the holiday too, but they did this on different days, like Tasmania’s ‘Regatta Day,’ or South Australia’s ‘Proclamation Day.’ This was the case for 200 years, and only in 1935 did it become nationally recognised and celebrated, even then only being declared as a holiday in 1994.

In that way, Australia Day as we know it today, is fairly new.

The day January 26th, is known as ‘Invasion Day’ or ‘Survival Day’ to these Anti-Aus Day Jan 26-ers. Because it signalled the end of 50,000 years of Indigenous occupation on this land, which then led to brutal colonisation. Massacres of the Aboriginal people took place, land was taken, and children removed from their parents. The stolen generation was born, and many Indigenous descendants grew up not knowing where they came from.

The pain, suffering and loss the Indigenous community experienced is more than profound. And that doesn’t include the repercussions echoing out to this current day. To think of what they have had to endure, not just over years, but decades and centuries, with oppression and hate and discrimination, when all they were doing were living on their land… a sorry will just not do.

But it was done. In 2008 the Australian Prime Minister formally apologised to the Aboriginal community – for the successive laws and policies of previous governments that inflicted severe pain and grief onto their families and communities.

January 26th, the day the Union Jack was raised in Sydney in 1788, is then a representation of all that preceded, and all that was lost to the Indigenous community when the First Fleet arrived. The slavery, the violence, the oppression. It is a day of mourning for many. Rightly so.

My ancestors were NOT from that First Fleet. In fact, in 1788, my ancestors were probably farming cattle in a remote and poverty-stricken land somewhere in the Balkan region of Europe. My parents came to Australia in 1970, for a better life. It is the story of so many European immigrants, and continues to be so to this day. They came from nothing, from having to work so hard just to be able to obtain, I don’t know, a bike… over the span of a YEAR… and the opportunity to come to a “land of plenty,” where stories of filling up a trolley with fruit and vegetables with only $2, and realising after their first pay check working in the factory, that they could achieve so much more here in months, than they could achieve over there in years… that is the history I grew up with.

I grew up hearing, how Australia saved my parents. In doing so, they saved my sister and I. I grew up hearing of the comparisons between my parents’ beloved native country, and the ‘lucky country.’ They have such respect for where they came from, and when you ask them their nationality – they are Australian. Proudly so.

I have seen more of my family come from overseas. They didn’t come here to brutalise and oppress any minority or otherwise group, just as my parents didn’t. No, they came here for a better life, for a chance at something greater, even to escape WAR. They came here because they heard things were good, and they wanted to see things for themselves.

They have all stayed. We ALL have.

The Australia I have lived with, and which has been represented to me, is a good one, a noble one. I know things are not perfect, and there is always something the government must do better. But here, there is democracy. Freedom of speech. There is strong multiculturalism. People are kind. People are friendly. People love to connect.

However, bad things were done, many, many years ago, and despite the fact that we can’t go back, we can try to make things work as a unified community.

A country, united as one.

Both black and white, coming together.

But it has to be a conscious and integrated effort from both parties. There are white people I know that complain of the country we live in, or talk about how shit Australia is, or how that ‘other’ country is soooo much better.

Well move then. Go on, piss off (as a true blue Aussie would say). Don’t hang around here gaining benefits and working and earning Australian coin, when you know of so much better.

You are ungrateful. We don’t want you.

Likewise I have heard some other pretty horrible things today. I have heard of Indigenous people at Invasion Day rallies, saying “F*&k Australia, hope it burns to the ground.”

This makes me terribly sad. Sad for the mourning this person would have experienced to want the country they live in, the country we ALL live in, to burn to pieces.

Like I said, both parties need to want to move forward, peacefully. Slandering will not make things better. And it unfortunately won’t change the past.

Whether like me, my ancestors were not part of that First Fleet, or like other Australians, perhaps they were… the power to want to change the future is out there. People want to make amends for the past, whether they are white or black… but a person living in Melbourne today, should not be blamed for what their Father did in February 1st 1985 for example… just as today’s First Fleet descendants that want to change for the better, should not be blamed for what their ancestors were part of from 1788 onwards.

The idea is out there, that Australia Day needs to be moved to another date, or it is abolished all together and another day that celebrates both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities coming together, is created.

I believe this is the only way forward. I think respect needs to be shown to the original people of this land, and January 26th and Australia Day, are synonymous no more.

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Soooo…..

I went to the park today. I was happy to be amidst our community of proud Australians – Australians that love the country they live in, the people in it, and the culture that lives on.

Was I celebrating Australia Day? Hmm, not quite. I was celebrating the life I live…

But that I do every day. Because I am grateful for the place that I reside in the world.

I am grateful for MY history. I am grateful for the choices my parents made. And I am grateful that change is coming to respect the life and culture of those who inhabited this land 200 years before any white people were on it.

I had my own family fun day, and I enjoyed the fact of some extra time together, with them.

I hope wherever you were in the world, your day of January 26 was great too…

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#709 The spider and the moth

Gratitude can often be found, in the strangest of places…

I have a non-visual story to tell, one that was the briefest of moments, and one that made me gasp in disbelief. But first, let me show you my day in photos.

Some days I stay home and do the washing. Other days are FULL.

This such day, was FULL. And visual.

We did lots of things, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have done them all. The first included a visit to the Circus that is currently in town:

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The first and last time I had been I was 8 or 9, so my visits between have been non-existent. Baby girl has never been, so combined, my desire to see it when the ol’ Silvers sign popped up in town, was deep.

However despite all this and the magic and jazz and what-not, baby girl spent the first half of the show begging me for popcorn after seeing others eating it, and then after the interval as she ate said-popcorn, she then proceeded to ask me repeatedly to go home.

Sigh. That’s my girl for you. Sitting for a couple of hours for Frozen on Ice was difficult for her, and that’s one of her favourite movies.

But the best part of the morning? When I took a handful of her popcorn, and she calmly and firmly said to me “no Mama, no more, that’s enough.”

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Oh how I LOLed and LOLed.

Second up after lunch was a café and park visit. These I love as they are merely a short walk across the road and down a street to a local strip of shops that sit near a park. I feel so local, so integrated in the community when we head over like that. First we stop for a caffeine injection

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And then we head over to the playground to get her play off some steam

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It was hotter than expected though, so we didn’t stay too long.

The evening gave us an opportunity to cool down and unwind, as we got super close to nature. Boneo Maze and Mini Golf are doing a special month-long Summer event that ends in about a week, called Lantasia, which showcases lit-up lanterns and light installations along their park grounds and tree walks, as night falls.

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This was also interesting and inventive, chilled and relaxing too, and would have been more so if baby girl didn’t have to go to the toilet twice while in the middle of one such long walk, and since there is only one lot of toilets in the café, it meant we had to go ALL the way back down the walk to get there. But there was a Vintage Carousel too, so that kind of made us forget the annoying-ness of the former.

 

All of today’s events were super exciting and fun and made for a very tired and spent baby girl by day’s end, leaving me grateful for a multitude of reasons… but one thing stood out to me today, and it was the most unexpected thing, that I am still in awe of the memory in my head.

In between the park and the Lantasia lantern walk, baby girl and I were chilling at home, doing this and that, and I went to head outside and hang some washing. (I even do it on FULL days, you see).

I got to the door, and could see there was a moth sitting on the security door which was outside of the glass sliding door I was about to open. I scrunched my nose in disgust, as saying that I have a strong unpleasant aversion to that gross insect is an understatement, but I also wondered why the hell it was there then, since it was about 5:30 and there was still hours left ’til sunset – they were more a dusk/night insect.

As I opened the sliding door, the sudden movement made it fly away, and I was satisfied until I saw with dismay another moth fluttering crazily nearby the wall of the house, near a window.

What, another one? What was this? I watched it carefully as I stepped out, careful in case it flew towards me, or worse still for the long-term, in case it flew inside the house. It hovered, fluttering gently though erratically as moths do, and I kept my eyes trained on it, holding my washing with me, as I slid the door closed behind me, this moth flying in the bottom corner of the window frame… until suddenly there was a movement of black. And a spider suddenly crawled out of an indistinct hole in the corner of the outside window frame.

I watched as it grabbed hold of the moth – it all happened so quickly I can’t actually believe what my eyes saw – and then the fluttering came to a slow halt. There was a fellow scurrying of black legs, and the spider disappeared with its catch, back into its invisible-to-the-human-eye, hole.

WHAT?!

Had I been 5 seconds later, I would have missed the whole thing. And instead, here I was, watching two insects I care very little for, suddenly become a David Attenborough documentary before my very eyes!

Had either insect been in our house, I would have ‘gotten rid of them’ without concern. Both cause me alarm, more so moths, because with their erratic flying they can cross a room in seconds, and I don’t like that. Spiders are somewhat easier to contain.

But when I saw that spider today, not only catch its prey, but in doing so, rid the exterior door of moths?

I was impressed.

I said to Hubbie later on, as I retold the story, “when you next spray bug killer around the house, avoid that window frame.”

My buddy lives there.

My buddy the spider.

He looks after the moths for me. 🙂

And so concludes the story of the spider and the moth.

 

#707 Going back in time to Shakespearean days

To write a play that endures time, is one thing.

To write a collection of plays that endures time, is a whole other thing.

To write a collection of plays and sonnets that withstands time and change and all manner of things, is unheard of.

Oh wait, it’s not. William Shakespeare has done it.

Let me reiterate: to write a collection of plays and sonnets that are still celebrated, re-told, adapted and cherished, 402 years after your death, is something to aspire to.

402 years people. Can you even begin to imagine the breadth of this genius?

Doth you protest such excellency?

Ok, so I am no Shakespeare, since he would have written that line soooo much better.

In case you are not aware, William Shakespeare is a literary genius that has transcended time and age and geography and language, with his collection of plays and sonnets, that tell stories of tragedy, drama, comedy, and of course love.

I was immediately enthralled by the news late last year, that a pop-up globe theatre showcasing a selection of Shakespeare’s plays, would be ‘popping up’ as it were, alongside the Sidney Myer music bowl in Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens for a several-month run.

I had been hanging to go there since, but alas time and distance and life were not on my side. It was an effort, a struggle, and a lot of pushing on my part, but finally I got my God damn Shakespeare play day today.

I headed into the city alongside Hubbie and baby girl, and as they ventured off for lunch and park wanderings, I walked the winding path around the Botanic Gardens, until I saw an exciting sight sitting atop the hill just ahead of me.

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The play I watched today was Much Ado About Nothing. I wanted to see this one particularly, because it was re-done in recent years by famed Buffy-Angel-Marvel Universe creator/director Joss Whedon, and despite recent revelations about his ill choices in other areas of his personal life, I still have to give incredible thanks to the guy that brought Angel into my world. Creatively speaking, it is one of the best shows EVER. And if he chose two Buffy/Angel characters to star in a modern-day adaptation of a Shakespeare play, then that play must be pretty damn good.

I haven’t actually watched Whedon’s re-take… but I have read the original play in all of its hysterical glory. And crazily enough, I had even forgotten I had read it, since it was so long ago… I just went into it today, knowing I really really wanted to watch Whedon’s take on it after seeing the theatre guys today. And as I stood there, listening to the characters quick wits, hilarious remarks, and the beginnings of a very twisty-turvy tale, a part of me said “this is familiar… does Shakespeare like presenting such strong-willed females?”

I soon realised, in a similar Shakespearean humour, that I was a fool (as he would say), and I had already read the tale. Duh, Benedict.

A tale of love prevailed over 2 and a half hours, with themes of jealousy, scandal, trickery, but most dominant comedy, keeping us all thoroughly entertained and gasping for air in wonder and laughter.

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But let’s place this all in context shall we? The history of the globe is that the theatre was planned as a one-off project in Auckland, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death in 2016. Following from two massive seasons, with hundreds of thousands of people flocking to the shows, another pop-up globe was planned for our fair city of Melbourne, and is running up until February 3.

The globe itself is a reconstruction of the second Globe, the theatre that Shakespeare and the company he worked with built in 1614 following a fire that burnt the first Globe a year earlier. Although based on rough proportions of the original, it is slightly smaller than the 1614 Globe, which would have sat 3000 spectators compared to today’s reconstruction.

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Annnnddddd back to today’s play. With the pop-up globe having done its run first in New Zealand, there were native themes dabbled in throughout Much Ado, such as ceremonial mourning and nuptial dances and songs, New Zealand actors, and an amazing Maori routine at the end of the performance that had me, and the rest of the audience, in absolute awe. Such passion and love and dedication was so apparent in the Globe today, however I am sure it was not only reserved for my eyes on this January Sunday.

I had tears of laughter during comedic moments, tears of sadness in truly mournful ones, and tears of pure elevation and extreme gratitude, at the end when watching the performers do their final act and perform for the people in the Globe. They bowed for the audience 3 times, and I could swear the room was going to explode from sheer love at the happy drama that had unfolded over the past couple of hours.

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It was the best thing I had done in a long time, and I was soooo happy I had managed to get over there for the Melbourne season. The first Melbourne season hopefully, as I am keen to watch more of his plays in a replica of the original Globe as many times as I can, as it just added so much to the feel and vibe of the story.

I was a ‘Groundling’ today, a true commoner as would have been the case in 1614, and stood close to the stage seeing everything unfold in utmost clarity. Having said that, the space of the Globe is small, and all seats within provide wonderful vantage points.

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A sole Groundling ticket is approximately $28 including online processing fees, with seated areas going up substantially, however I ended up paying double quite accidentally, since there was an error as I ordered the tickets online, and I ended up with two.

But to have paid $56, for what I saw today? Priceless.

I went home with a little souvenir… a Shakespeare Pop Up Globe tote bag. And you just know what my reading material will be as I walk about town with it…

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Only the best.

 

 

#692 Summer catch-up with Best Man and Fam

Time between catch-ups is often too long and drawn out, usually with those you love and get along with the most. I don’t know why that is, I mean, we should not see the people that annoy us in life (I do that too) but for some reason it is just as impossible to get together with those that feed your soul.

And when your kids get along, DOUBLE THE POINTS.

What to do then on such a catch-up? Why, let’s try everything.

Fish and Chips at the local park – then let the kids run wild.

A quick walk down to the beach, which turns into some splashing in the bay.

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Why not some ice cream? The kids aren’t high enough on Summer/beach vibes, and hey let’s tire them out, while simultaneously feeding them sugar, because… January?

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But hey, that was intentional for a reason! They sat on the couch later and totally chill-axed because of it, while us adults rocked on.

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A fabulous night, all in all, for ALL. 🙂

#690 Coffee/Park/Beach break

Long story short… I was pissed off.

Short story long… following the splashback tiles going on in our kitchen just before Christmas, I still hadn’t had a chance to apply the grout sealer/protector, to keep them cleaner and protected against any guaranteed future splashes, squirts and splatters that would occur while cooking.

It had been bugging me, as not only was the tile grouting not sealed, but the oven was still moved forward because of this, and we were only allowed to use the front stove points. Also, certain corner and nearby cupboards were made harder to access, and all in all I just wanted to seal the tiles and move the oven back so everything was nicer and easier to use.

But when I sprayed the sealer on, and then as ‘per the bottle instructions,’ went to wipe the excess off the tiles an hour later… it came off, kind of. Remaining on the tiles were these annoyingly faint spray marks, ALL over the tiles as they had dried. I soon learnt they did not come off easily, AT ALL.

So after several hours, of first using paper towel with water, then paper towel with vinegar, and then a soft scouring non-scratching sponge with vinegar, I got MOST of it off.

Stuff that. I honestly couldn’t care anymore. I had probably removed most of the grout protector with my cleaning too, but I HONESTLY DIDN’T CARE ANYMORE.

I sat down at 3pm on the couch with a huff. I could hear baby girl in the nearby room playing with her toys so I sat breathing for 5 minutes. Still getting over being seriously pissed off. Then I got out our shoes, with baby girl asking me “Mama, where you take me?”

“I don’t know honey, let’s just go somewhere.”

Somewhere, led us to the Main Street with holiday-makers galore. I had to wonder if Hubbie and I were such sore thumbs when we used to weekend it over here…

And first, was the caffeine/sweet-tooth break.

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Ahhh, my sweet. As I stirred my coffee salaciously, I started to unwind.

Next, a short walk down the block to the big park by the bay. Baby girl swung for what felt like forever, and I let her. She too had been stuck inside as I had gone ape-shit on the kitchen tiles.

But I needed that BIT more ‘ahh’ time. I convinced her into a walk up to the water views at the end of the street… and then as we approached the ice cream van parked along the street, she convinced me into an ice cream.

What the hell. It was Summer, January, I had had an annoying few hours of the day, and although we weren’t on holiday just yet, I sure as hell was feeling those holiday vibes rubbing off on me from everyone else.

We wandered over to the lookout, sitting on a nearby bench, with the clifftop drop just metres away from our feet.

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Baby girl slurped her quickly melting ice cream, I helped her, we clutched on our hats as they both almost flew off our heads, and then I turned my attention to the vast expanse of water in front of us, breathing in the negative ions of the water, which if we’re being honest and literal, is actually POSITIVE.

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The wind nearly swept me away, but where I didn’t go, my problems and worries and all my annoying moments of the day, went. And then back to the park, for some more swinging fun…

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#689 Walk to Work while the World sleeps

One of the best things about working during the normal January school holidays is that EVERYTHING is quieter.

The streets are quieter. Little traffic, you just fly on through to your destination.

Work is breezy. All the hard shit is done and you’re there trying to work out what Shakespeare performance you’re going to watch at the Pop-Up theatre with all your mad google searches.

And generally, there are less people.

I get to work about 7, which doesn’t sound too abnormal, but if I told you I get up at 5am, that sounds abnormal. Nonetheless, there are still people around any other time of year, rain, hail or shine, as I make the 7-10 minute walk over to work from where I park (depending on how cold it is).

But today… NO ONE.

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It was magic. Any other time, the thought of getting up early for a quiet walk sounds too hard as sleep and bed are my best friends, and yet when I am out on my walk in peace and solitude, I LOVE IT.

I observed the moored boats and soft rippling of the water around them, the fresh air that was devoid of any breeze, and the fact that I was the only one walking at that very moment.

It filled my soul.

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The photos do not do it proper justice, but I found clarity and beauty in the scenery around me, and gazed upon the water as the rest of the world, slept…

#687 Starting afresh, day 1

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Photo by Bryce Barker on Unsplash

I remember hearing from somebody when I was a teenager that the first 5 minutes after the clock striking midnight on New Years Eve were vital – they represented the state of the following year.

So if the first 5 minutes of Jan 1 were happy, so too would your New Year be happy.

If they were crappy – so too would your New Year be crappy.

And so on.

This was later updated by someone else, to say that the first hour after midnight was important, as it represented the upcoming year… and then somebody else said it was none of the above, rather the first day that meant anything at all.

Basically you had 24 hours to pull your shit together and make it the best representation of what you wanted the upcoming year to be.

Really…. I do think it is kind of BS. I used to be more highly superstitious and hold these things closely to my heart, freaking out if I had anything but ‘happy happy joy joy’ thoughts when the clock struck twelve on New Years, but I now realise that your year, will ALWAYS be what you make of it. And you can always start again, whenever you like. You don’t have to wait a whole year for it.

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Having said all that, I was STILL pleased that during the New Years Eve party yesterday and on day 1 of the New Year, today, it was spent with some of my most favourite people – my family.

They were there last night, and then because we clearly didn’t get enough of them then, Hubbie, baby girl and I headed over to my sister’s place again today for some more familial love, comprising of leftovers, after-party discussion, some ‘light’ drinks, and chill time.

And then quite surprisingly, my parents just walked in! Just like that! They had decided to join the party too, and suddenly all was well in the world.

Half of us headed into the pool, and the addition of water fun, play and relaxation, just added to the calm yet loving nature of the day.

It was a great start to the year.

And although there were also components of today that were crappy, or annoying – I dismissed them from mind and care.

Just as I will try to do for anything that doesn’t serve a purpose of happiness, growth, and fulfilment in my life this year.

Happy 2018 folks.

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Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash