I love the latest issue of Meanjin. Lots about Canberra. I intend buying the hard copy to keep (and hold) and move and eventually dust around I guess. [Lots of conversation recently about reading - in paper and online, but that's for another post].
I liked this article – This connected life# - because it kind of describes my distracted, connected, darting self. I am annoyed that I’m not reading half as much as I used to…these days it’s a struggle to get through my bookgroup book and that’s one book a month. I used to easily read a couple of books a week. Easy. Now I go to bed to read and find myself checking, checking email, checking Instagram, checking Twitter, checking my feeds, there is just so much to check, and read, and skim, and not read….And podcasts have sort of taken over also, as they are a great alternative when I feel a little too tired to read, but again…the reading suffers!
And we are a bit like that at home just now. We all tap away at our various devices in the evening (be they iPad, phones, TV, laptops, Playstation). And sometimes we are all tapping away in different rooms!! Not connecting with each other. Connecting to others. All in our own worlds. This situation has been exacerbated in the last few weeks. Carl has been working long hours with a 50th anniversary of the Phytotron, Jack has had two weeks uni holidays then a week of exams, Isabel has been finishing up assessment, and is now on holidays, and I am just distracted around the edges and being slightly disillusioned with work. Isabel has been complaining that she never sees Jack, we haven’t had a meal all together for weeks as Jack’s exams this last week have all been at night. What’s going on??
So….here I am on the laptop, Sunday afternoon….it’s getting cool after a wonderful autumn day. And I’m trying to connect and be a bit more mindful about this all…how? Outside on the deck, both dogs at my feet. Carl is polishing shoes (cowboy boots, three pairs of Docs and my black boots), the chiminea is alight and giving warmth. The parrots are shredding the seeds on the Chinese elm.
Yesterday I made an almond, raspberry chocolate cake. I made a pot of tea and got everyone out of their separate rooms. We had a piece of cake and a cup of tea. Together! Stuff like that is important.
# I realise that you won’t see all of this article unless you get the print or read online through your uni access (and we don’t even have this issue online yet through Informit)!!
Bit rushed this post…but the fire beckons!
Filed under: Canberra, Family, Kate | 2 Comments
Tags: state of mind
Getting anxious not blogging – that’s weird isn’t it?
Have had a few unhappy weeks at work – just not sure where I am going and the future and whether I should even stay in librarianship? But then reality sets in and I realise that whatever I want to do – I have to think about it a bit more carefully and plan a bit. Being 51 is also a factor. I haven’t been for a job interview in quite a number of years – eight? And years working in the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) as an employment person - I have some idea what I am talking about.
Not at all sure if I want to stay in academic libraries, have always said I don’t want to work in a public service library, so not sure what else there is.
It’s funny when you are not happy that your mind goes everywhere…I had a lovely time down at Broulee on the weekend and fantasised as I came home on the bus that Carl got a redundancy and we moved down the coast and I continued working 3-4 days a week in Canberra, rented a room with friends and got to coach on down to the coast for a long weekend every weekend….
I love the place at work at – the university, just not where my job and the part of the organisation is going….but I can’t say a whole lot more, even in a personal blog as I got outed about a comment I made last year – comment here….. (see I am doing it again).
So, in the meantime I am enjoying….
- the garden, want to plant that garlic and get some winter veg in
- taking photos
- embarking on something crafty (really me?) for the birth of a baby in May…
- planning twelve weeks overseas next year
- cooking! I love cooking!
- music, podcasts, reading
- mini breaks
- getting my cholesterol down from 6. Not life threatening, more annoying
…sort of the usual, but with more mindfulness and appreciation of all the beauty in my life. For there is beauty. I know that. I don’t want to live in the future, I don’t want to dwell on the past. I need to be more mindful in the present.
Filed under: Kate | 8 Comments
Tags: mindfulness, state of mind
The change of seasons is one of the wonderful things about living in Canberra. Four quite distinct seasons. I’m not a huge fan of summer, but even in the heat there are good things – summer fruit, swimming, living more outdoors, camping, eating outside….
But autumn blows me away each year. And yes, inevitably I fall into a small heap about now…for autumn is my time of grief, the loss of my sister 17 years ago in April, and then the loss of my brother in May 2 years ago. Loss doesn’t quite sum it up does it? One word. Four letters.
My sister Alison hasn’t been around for a long time now….it’s almost getting to that tricky stage of imagining what she would now be like. Right now. 17 years on. Older but the same. The same but different. Still horribly missed. Time heals…
Different with Jem. We had this special thing that I just don’t/didn’t get with either of my sisters. The talking things over and through. Sharing some of the same frustrations. Sharing the joy. Sharing those last few months of life so intensely. That’s the frustration. The loss.
Interesting article on the five stages of grief – BBC Future/Are there really five stages of grief
And we are all different, yet the same in ways, different times, different circumstances.
I think I swing most often between a real yearning (I miss those conversations, those phone calls!) and anger. Really pissed off that I am now thrown into the role of eldest sibling. Yearning is more pleasant and warming in a way.
And I have no funeral plans…really! But I do want music and light and sunshine when I do go….and I want the music to include Patti Smith singing ‘After the gold rush’. I love Neil Young singing this, but I especially love Patti’s version…
“The last song on the record, I performed live with my son, Jackson, and my
daughter, Jesse,” says Smith. “I wanted the album to end like dawn breaking, and
I thought of the type of song that I wanted to write. But then I was in a café
and I happened to hear Neil Young’s ‘After the Gold Rush,’ and I thought,
‘Neil’s already written it.’”
So much to say. I have so many draft posts. I feel a flood coming.
Filed under: Family, Kate, Music | 3 Comments
Tags: grief, state of mind
I can’t quite believe that I have completed a photo a day for the entire 366 days of 2012. The last couple of weeks I was extremely mindful about taking a photo as I was so very close to finishing the entire year…and for whatever reasons, it is nice to have done the whole year. I can honestly say that each photo was taken on the day that is described – although there were a couple of times when I couldn’t post onto Flickr on the day in question.
It’s great to see all the photos as thumbnails together – and it recaps the year nicely.
So it possibly wasn’t the most exciting of years – no overseas travel to go on about – but work trips interstate to Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide; quite a few weekends away to Sydney, Depot Beach, Narooma, Bowral, Huskisson (quite a few times) and Broulee - all keep me sane! I saw and heard the wonderful Jeffrey Eugenides and Jack White and danced the night away to Canberra punk rock bands from 30 odd years ago. And some theatre trips and movies and bookgroups, and some lovely parties and lots of work in between where I presented at a library conference in Sydney and then again at the National Library. And food…some delicious food consumed and made.
And Carl and Jack and Isabel, and the dogs- especially Memphis, and the chooks and just being alive.
Don’t want to sound corny but I will…still I think very much in recovery from the trauma of 2011. And menopause, yes menopause. I like to blame Jeremy for pretty much not having a period since he died…shock and the right body time anyway I guess. So I think I have got though menopause pretty much OK for there were other matters such as grief to work through. Incredibly tired at times and the getting hot effect (in bed I have my feet, legs and bottom pretty much always on top of the doona), but it’s another change, stage, time in life… And in 2012 I was sick, not just a cold, but a flu like lurgy that kept me in bed for a week. And don’t get me started on my changing body shape…a thickish middle section (even if Isabel says lovely things such as “you’re one curvy lady mum…”). I am loving body balance and pump at the gym. I think I first started yoga in year 9, so over 35 years? Exercise and the daily walks on Mt Ainslie are really vital. And walks on the beach even better!
… (yay for ellipsis)…they say so much…
This year I want to stretch myself a little, or a lot.
Stretch my body and stretch my mind…
(Ok so possibly now the ellipsis are just getting annoying).
So huzzah for 366 and 2012, but onwards.
Filed under: 366 daily image, Kate | 3 Comments
Tags: images, state of mind
Love this – From the Atlantic, ‘What kind of book reader are you – a diagnostics guide’. There is the one list – you have to read it all, and then an update – because of course there are stacks of different readers…..again- read it all….
Well as usual – I confess to being a mix
I’m a bit of a ‘book buster’ – well a well-worn book is clearly a great book, a favourite (although my mum keeps her books in pristine condition, so I hardly ever borrow from her). I especially love the books that come back from two week’s camping at the beach – they are chock full of sun and sand!
I am also a bit of a ‘delayed onset reader #1′ – I seem to buy a bunch of books – usually based on reviews, blog posts, other reading – and then not get around to reading them…well not yet. Piles on the bookshelf. Piles next to my bed. I have a pretty large wish list on Book Depository – and buy a few every so often. I also have fave authors – and want copies of all of their books, to keep! – like Tim Winton, Rohinton Mistry, Annie Proulx to name a few.
I am a bit of a ‘multi tasker’ or a ‘promiscuous reader’ as I am guilty of dipping in and out of books – but I don’t think that’s a bad thing anyway? And it’s not that I confuse characters or plots – I just forget stuff!!
I am definite a ‘sleepy bedtime’ reader. There are hundreds of times when I have fallen asleep reading…just hundreds! And Carl generally witnesses my shame…I used to read all night (a very long time ago)
And finally – I like the idea of a ‘it’s complicated‘ reader – a bit of everything really…”You are a combination of many of these things and yet completely different, too. Each book means a new type of reader exists in your soul; you refuse to be defined or categorized. You are a freeform, wild, woolly entity. You do whatever you want. You’re probably a pisces. You’re definitely a reader”.
But you know I’m not a Pisces!
Filed under: Reading | 2 Comments
Tags: lists, reading
I went to a one hour videoconference at work last week on ‘Resilience in change’ run by a clinical psychologist .
If change is so normal, why is it so hard?
- unexpected outcomes
- challenges values, ideals, expectations, skills
- fear of the unknown
- fear of leaving what you know, the habit
- fear of being out of control
- emotionally challenging
- momentum of the existing
but it’s a part of life.
reactions to change (think of an iceberg – most of it is hidden) – depends on
- past experience
- coping mechanisms
- thinking style
cycle……. shock > denial > resistance > exploration > committment
- cope with stress
- adapt positively
- bounce back from a negative experience
- is not a personality trait
- it can be learned (a way of thinking)
characteristics of a resilient person
- accept situations
- see all sides
- positive/moving forward
- handle relationships well
Prayer of serenity…
Think of a situation
- what can you not change
- what can you change?
optimists learn to change how they think (Martin Seligman)
when difficult things happen – how we chose to see them determines
- how we feel
- how resilient we are
- unhelpful self talk
A non resilient person sees a negative event as
this is the opposite to resilience
resilient thinking, bad events are
- temporary – there is always hope for change in the future
- specific – just because one thing goes wrong
- not personal/not entirely your fault – usually many factors
think of a challenge
- question is not – do I think that this is true
- question is – is focussing on this the helping me to cope? pragmatic,give it perspective
social systems: when a system is under stress – it is harder to hold onto to what you want to be and you get sucked in into the system of anxiety….
In times of change and uncertainly, how can you choose not to contribute to the anxiety that is bouncing around. What would it take?
- conscious, pausing and thinking
- being informed
- not contributing to gossip
When stuff happens, psychologically – gut reaction, and need the frontal lobe stuff to catch up, sooooo
- name the emotion
- humour as relief
- pull back and observe thought processes
- view change as an opportunity
change = stress management, a demand on you
- alcohol – but remember it’s a depressant
- 10 deep slow breathes, mindful, concentrate…Working on that resilience, ‘cos it can always do with a little work
Filed under: Kate | 1 Comment
Tags: change, resilience, state of mind
Well I have heard it call the white poison, sugar that is.
Was a book group this week. We were talking about Mitch Albom’s new book – ‘The time keeper’. I am not a huge fan…I read ‘The five people you must meet in heaven’ and didn’t enjoy it. And I didn’t like this new one either – he is a little too simplistic, obvious and, as Rosy from bookgroup said ‘preachy’. But even a bad book has its moments. Ele (another bookgroup gal) talked about the notion of ‘being mindful’, and this book does do that – makes you stop and think about time, the passage of time and why are we also so time poor.
And that got me thinking about where I am trying to go at the moment with food and eating. I am trying to be more mindful…really watching my intake of sugar, and of alcohol.
So since Monday (it’s now Sunday afternoon) – I have had three lots of sugar…
- some sugar in some sticky chicken wings I made on Tuesday – you cannot make sticky chicken wings without some type of sugar or honey
- six shell chocolates – these I did savour – a small box of chocs that Carl gave me last weekend…
- a tahini ball – that had honey, dried fruit in it – made by a friend and again, really savoured!!
And alcohol, well
- two gin and tonics on Friday evening
- a gin and tonic and half a bottle of fizzy Pinot Noir on Saturday evening
all ingested with much mindfulness….
My next sugar hit may well be a small slice of orange creme brulee tart from Silo. This may be my mindful indulgence later this evening or tomorrow. For you see Jack’s girlfriend, the lovely Christina – works at Silo on Saturdays and often brings the most delicious bags of treats!
Not at ALL sure where this will go…but it’s kinda fun at the moment.
Filed under: Food, Reading | 2 Comments
Tags: state of mind