#857 Running late to the skies

My alarm goes off at 5am. I sleepily turn it off, in an effort to not wake up Hubbie any more than I need to, because he, unlike me, can sleep in.

I tell myself I will get up. I will get up. Just a few more minutes. It is sooo cold. I’m warm now, but when I get up, the icy air will hit me hard. Just a few more minutes…

I look at the clock. It is now 5:27am.

“F^&k!” I whisper, throwing the covers off me.

If it was just the 15 or so minutes later I’ll be, that’s fine, I think. I will at worst be at work 5 minutes late. No biggie.

But then, something happens.

THE MONASH FREEWAY happens.

There are two incidents, both near the start and end of my Monash journey, so that I end up anticipating a good 30 minute late start to work.

It’ll be ok, and I won’t get in trouble… I just hate it.

Even so, when I park my car before the 10 minute walk over to the building, I spot something. I have to take out my phone, and SNAP!

IMAG1432

Being late was worth it, for that sky.

Soon, it is the end of the day. I jump into my car eagerly. I want to go to a nearby shop on our side of town that closes at 5:30pm. If I get home by 4:30, we have about an hour.

But then, something happens… again.

Yep, you guessed it… the freaking Monash freeway.

Multiple incidents and who knows what else forecast my trip as taking an extra half an hour to get home, so I take an alternative route, that gives me all manner of stress and hell, but I manage to make it home, a bit later than thought, but still, we all run out to the shop.

We come back home after 5:30. I am tired. I have been out of the house ALL day. I am cold. I am hungry. I just want a moment to myself. Baby girl won’t stop talking to me, Hubbie is in a good mood and just can’t stop repeating himself, and all I really need is to sit down and have a few minutes of peace.

But then, I see this:

IMAG1434

And I SNAP!

And once again, being late is worth it, for that sky 🙂

 

#831 Friday night friend fun

You don’t need cocktails.

You don’t need food.

You don’t need a happening hotspot.

Nor do you need lights, crowds, people and ambience to fill the scene.

All you need are your friends…

And now I’m going to eat my words (along with tonight’s not-so-mild curry) and say that I had ALL of these tonight!

But seriously, I might as well have been eating fish and chips from a dodgy booth somewhere for all I cared. Sure the surroundings were cool, and I love heading out to different and new places… but when you are in certain company, and you realise that where you are doesn’t really matter, just THEY do…

That’s a good sign. 🙂

 

 

#829 Follow the yellow brick road…

There’s nothing better than sharing a special evening with the people you love the most.

Tonight was something magical.

I don’t go to musicals all that often, and the last one I went to was to The Lion King a few years ago.

I guess when you go, you go to something big and great and monumental, right?

IMAG1062

But with musicals, they are ALL like that. Night after night, with sometimes day performances too, these amazing professionals get up in front of a full theatre, and they perform – singing, dancing, creating – a fantasy and imaginative world in front of our very eyes.

And each time they do it, it is done with such enthusiasm, energy and gusto, that you would be forgiven in thinking it was the first time they were doing it, for YOU.

Well tonight, we got to witness just that. We headed on over to the Regent theatre, both sister, nephew and I, and along with witnessing some amazing performers acting out a classic movie on stage, we walked around the city streets, grabbed some fine dinner, and in doing so created some wonderful memories to cherish together forever.

That mojito in the middle there that we had during dinner was the BOMB. It was the BEST MOJITO EVER, that I have EVER tried. There was a special sugary syrup which masked any alcohol that was in the drink…. dangerous.

The Wizard of Oz was superb. Very true to the original movie with a few little differences here and there, just to keep it modern and fresh and inventive. And the contribution of the special effects ramped up the production and key components of the story in a whole other way, positively so.

I didn’t realise how much I loved the following song…

“The house began to pitch, the kitchen took a slitch

It landed on the Wicked Witch in the middle of a ditch,

Which was not a healthy situation, for the Wicked Witch!”

… until it was in front of me, LIVE! Oh, how that catchy tune I had heard so many times in my childhood, grew on me as the performance by Dorothy, the munchkins and Glinda the good witch was performed.

There are too many amazing parts to mention, so really, you should just go and watch it yourself if it is playing in a city near you.

IMAG1057

And then as Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tinman and Lion got to the Emerald City to meet the Wizard of Oz, with the sheets of green background, green dancers, green sequins, green lights, and green set just emanating out to the audience, all I could think of was –

IMAG1047

Mint…

IMAG1047

Lime…

IMAG1047

The mojito. That bloody brilliant mojito had gone to my head. Damn.

I was a sook as is typical and teared up at the end, even though I know the ending and have seen it before… but not like this. A sign of a great show. Or just a super softie, you decide. But the Universal message and underlying thread of the story is something that is so true, so real to all of us – there is no place like home.

Sure we often think the grass is greener on the other side. We look at the world through rose-coloured glasses, with our Instagram filters on when observing outside things, but looking through the microscope when dissecting the little annoyances of our own lives.

When something upsetting happens, it is a reminder that the support and comfort of home, is all you really need.

At the end of the show Glinda is telling Dorothy how to get home. She tells her to tap her shoes three times and say

Glinda: “There is no place –

Dorothy: ” – like home.”

Dorothy finishes the statement for her. It is not a question either. She knew it in her heart all along. ♥

And at the end of the night, after the pivotal after-the-show discussion, catch-up, and coffee, I headed home too…

Because as we all know, there is no other place like it ♥♥♥

IMAG1037

 

#775 Making it ‘Work’ on Good Friday

So many things NOT working today.

Like I am sick. Sore. Fleeting moments of tiredness and weakness overwhelm me.

Baby girl is sick. Still. Her voice is still hoarse, she needs constant nose wiping, from me ONLY (as apparently this makes it better) and is not drinking much fluids.

Hubbie is still run down.

My pre-Easter baking didn’t get off to a good start. The self-raising flour I needed, well suddenly it wasn’t appropriate to use… don’t ask me why… so Hubbie had to go to several servos to find some.

Then in doing my cake pops, I didn’t do the round cake balls big enough… and so once they were covered in melted chocolate, they started to S-L-O-W-L-Y fall down the lollipop stick, ‘til they sunk to a stop at the polystyrene board floor.

To make matters worse, I had to leave my family at 6pm… to drive in to work.

WORK. I have not worked a Good Friday, EVER. And now due to circumstances out of my control, I am. Until way past midnight. Apparently, no days are holy anymore.

You can be sure there has been a whole lot of whining today.

At some point though, I remembered something. I remembered the greater purpose of today, and the purpose was largely, the annual Melbourne Good Friday appeal.

Every Good Friday now, for years and years and years, the good people of Melbourne (and Australia, and I hope even, the World) have been donating selflessly to a children’s hospital that has done wonderful things, and continues to, to help sick, and I mean, really sick kids, needing care, love, services and support.

Here I was whining about the day and upset I was leaving my family for work… and meanwhile, there were loads of kids spending their Easter weekend at the Royal Children’s Hospital, away from their families, away from their homes.

It just wasn’t fair. It ISN’T fair. The words ‘really sick,’ and ‘child,’ should not exist in the same breath.

And so I urge you now to do what I am going to do this very moment: donate to a very worthy cause.

http://goodfridayappeal.com.au/

There is always far, far worse in the world… but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to do something about it.

Give that they may grow.

And so suddenly, I was happy, that my family and I were all in the same house today, and that I was there, to wipe baby girl’s nose…

 

 

 

 

#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.

IMAG8374

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…

IMAG8400

 

#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.

IMAG8211

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.

IMAG8187

IMAG8190

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.

IMAG8191

 

 

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.

IMAG8199

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.

IMAG8192

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…

IMAG8247

Only the best.

 

 

#705 Cooling down at LEGOLAND

On day 2 of what to do when you are stuck in 35+ degree heat with no air con at home…

I actually wouldn’t have even thought to go to LEGOLAND today, if it weren’t for the extreme heat. So maybe I will be grateful for it…

Nah.

l’ll dedicate this one to the weird and wonderful things we saw at the ‘mini brick mansion’ instead.

I mean, it’s not like we had never planned on going to LEGOLAND… baby girl sure loves her Lego, and can’t wait ’til she turns 5 so she can accumulate even more Lego (I have to impose a pretend age ban, or else we’d be swimming in these pointy shaped blocks in our house).

The only LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in Australia is situated in Chadstone shopping centre, Melbourne. It’s a bit of a hefty entry price per single admission, of $32.50 a pop (sheesh!) but you do get access to a whole heap of free things. My thoughts are that with an annual pass costing you $75.00 a person, if you are bound to go at least twice a year, you’ve paid off your ticket, with the annual pass coming with freebies like special event invites and 10% off the Lego store too.

The website also advises that you can book and even schedule a time in advance to visit, so as to avoid the disappointment of possibly waiting if you do just ‘rock up’ like baby girl and I did today, hoping to just walk on in… having said that, we easily walked in, and still found it packed to the rafters inside with adults and kids, and it is school holidays too! Perhaps it gets even busier on weekends? Something to consider.

Upon entry we walked into a room where we were told to stand on a red dot and pose for a camera. I didn’t like this, only because I knew I would later be easily persuaded to buy the photos of myself and baby girl for a hefty price… which I did, for a hefty price! $45 to be exact!

But they were pretty cool, and showcased both of us in various Lego scenes, and to be honest we looked good, and if we didn’t I wouldn’t have bothered. Onwards.

The next room was the Lego ‘tour,’ which was really just a circular room with screens all around, with little cartoon people talking to us about how Legos are made, and all kind of fun statistics and info for kids… maybe older kids, but it was nothing to keep baby girl interested for very long.

The next door took us to a ride where we had to save the Lego princess, and we hopped on a car that took us around the dark in twisting corners, and where little Lego-shaped characters popped out, and then we pointed our play guns at screens and shot the bad guys. Of course, we saved the princess in the end 🙂 A cool ride, for both young and old, but if your littlie is scared of the dark, maybe it might be a little freaky with all the fake spiders and all.

The next room was MY personal favourite of the centre, the LEGOLAND of Melbourne city! Stay tuned for photos at the end of this post.

The final room was a huge mish-mash of everything:

  • There were various zones of Lego play where kids could get into the Lego-making themselves
  • Kids could also make Lego cars and then test them on awesome car tracks against other kids’ cars!
  • They could view human sized Lego
  • You could get involved in a Lego workshop
  • You could even create your own Lego to take home (today it was a starship from Star Wars)
  • There was the 3D Lego movie that ran every 30 minutes or so
  • Then there was the Merlin ride where you pedalled your way up and around into the sky (that was great fun!)
  • And last but not least there was the playground area, but note to all: kids aren’t allowed without socks!

And all of this with a café in the middle of the room and toilets nearby. All the activities were for free, the only things you had to pay for that were extra, were those cheeky photos they took of you at the beginning (of course you would pay for them), and food and drink from the café, plus anything from the Lego store of course, which was the place you exited from as you left the centre.

AMAZINGLY, we didn’t buy anything from the store, but that was purely because there was no Frozen or Little Mermaid or Disney themed Lego that was 4+ that baby girl didn’t have.

I would seriously consider getting an annual pass, but perhaps when baby girl is a bit older. Although we did most activities and went on both rides, she wasn’t interested in the movie, and the workshop might be a ‘next time’ task too.

But it was a great day all in all, and baby girl and I spend a good couple of hours in there, taking it all in (and me trying to get my money’s worth!)

Oh and it was cool. Hip-wise and temperature-wise. BONUS points.

Now for those awesome Lego Melbourne city pics…

IMAG8111

(Luna Park)

IMAG8110

(Baby girl – and Anna – checking out half of the MCG during cricket)

IMAG8114

(Racing the horses at Flemington Racecourse)

(Melbourne Exhibition Building and Shrine of Remembrance)

IMAG8118

(The stunning Arts Centre)

(Live music, and Hot Air Balloons!)

IMAG8120

(They even got the suburb I work in… why I never! Docklands)

And my favourite, most favourite of all…

IMAG8113

IMAG8112

Melbourne’s beautiful beaches. Yep, we sure do ♥♥♥

And all was made that much sweeter and cooler, by the addition of some much-needed cold relief following such a huge day out…

IMAG8135

Hope your day was filled with as much fun and ice cream as ours was.