Last Weekend Coffee Share 2019

Welcome to the Last Weekend Coffee Share for 2019!

My apologies for taking an unscheduled blogging break over the last couple of months. It hasn’t been intentional, and I haven’t fallen off the perch. Rather, I’ve been deeply immersed in a research project which could well turn into a few books, articles and goodness knows what. I’ve also been having serious breathing difficulties from the bush fire smoke. However, that’s cleared up lately. Well, at least it has for me. So much of NSW on fire and it’s absolutely devastating.

As you may recall, I’ve been working on writing up some historically based family stories and while I’d been trying to work through them chronologically, I ended up taking a serious detour and researching a few family members who served in WWI in the Australian Army. Their service records were rather scant and so I’ve filled the gaps by reading letters sent back from the front by other soldiers and I slowly started getting the picture…along with being seriously distracted. I periodically try to remind myself that I’m a writer first researcher second. That while research for research sake can be edifying, that my mission is words on the page. With so many material being available online these days, I find it very easy to move dart around and not actually document my findings as I go. Of course, that’s way more methodical, and like tying  lead weights to your wings , which really slows down the flow. Yet, somehow when you’re writing history, you need to do both. Multitasking has never been my thing. Anyway, that sort of explains where I’ve been.

Geoff Amelia Jonathon

This brings to up-to-date. Time to wish you all a belated Merry and blessed Christmas. What did you get up to? Christmas is such a varied time for people and it can magnify that sense of grief and loss along with feelings of self-doubt and criticism.

Santa and Sticks.jpg

Caught Santa red handed leaving sticks for the pups.

We had a wonderful Christmas Day. We attended Church on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day, we opened presents at home. This year we had our first ever fake Christmas tree, which has taken some getting used to but it was better than nothing and the real real was very expensive this year thanks to drought and bush fires. Our kids are now 15 and 13 and so Christmas has matured with them and we enjoyed something of a sleep-in. We drove down to Sydney to my aunt’s place for Christmas lunch, which the kids invariable spend in the pool. I always pack my swimmers just in case but never get in. I’m too busy listening to family stories and talking. Naturally, food is also a priority and this year I took down my Caramel Nut Tart, which really was a sensation. We also had traditional Plum pudding, hard brandy sauce and custard. It wouldn’t be Christmas without it. This year Mum wasn’t feeling well and didn’t make it to the big family Christmas and Dad left early and had clocked off by the time we reached their place. It’s hard to get everyone coordinated.

Since Christmas Day, I’ve gone into some kind of comatose inert state. All that end of year stress has wiped me out and I feel exhausted and the cogs need to start unwinding and returning to normal. Doing my research or curling up with a book is ideal for this time of year. I’m sure some of you must relate to that!

This brings me to the New Year and that dreadful process of setting goals, making plans and hoping that you’ll wake up January 1 as someone else…an entirely new and improved version of you! It’s never happened before and yet I live in hope. The only trouble is that some of my goals, objectives and fantasies clash with each other. I want the house to organized and clean without spending my entire life doing housework. Indeed, my main goal is to get a book published next year. That one has carried over since forever. Indeed, I might actually get somewhere if I do go with keeping the house clean. It does seem to be more achievable and if you saw our place, you’d be shaking your heads…”Are you really sure about that?!!” I think if I got everyone else to move out, I’d probably succeed on both fronts but I’d be absolutely miserable. As they say on Facebook, life is complicated.

We need to be more organized next year. Our son is going into year 11, which is his second last year of school. So, this place needs to transform from Chaos central into a well oiled machine.  I’ve bought myself a diary and calendar. He’s actually reorganized his room after weeks of refusing to tidy it up. So, that’s looking very promising. We still need to get rid of a lot of stuff.

Anyway, that’s enough talk about being organized. We’ve also been enjoying the festive spirit. Last night, we saw Jumanji with friends and had dinner at a local Chinese restaurant we hadn’t been to before. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the movie and was mainly going to hang out with my friends. However, I really got into it and it was probably good for me to give a movie all my attention instead of half watching it while I’m researching or writing on my laptop. Dinner at the Chinese restaurant felt like a trip down memory lane. It’s been close to 20 years since I last had dinner at an authentic Chinese restaurant and by that I mean one with the red covered menus and serves Fried Ice Cream. I was full to exploding and yet I had to share a Fried Ice Cream with Geoff for old time’s sake. It was divine.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve also been going to trivia nights with a friend and we’ve won a couple of meals and drinks. The categories don’t really suit me. I’m great at history (no surprises there!), but am hopeless at sport and music questions and bomb out completely. However, as a team we perform well and have won a few dinner vouchers and Geoff and I went out for dinner there last Saturday night.

Violin & concert violinist music

The other news is that I performed at my end of year violin concert. This year I played Where Is Love from the musical Oliver. We chose this piece because it wasn’t going to over-stretch me and I was really busy at the end of the year and not in good shape to conquer something challenging. The plan was to play it as a duet. However, the day before I received a text from my teacher saying she was in hospital with a kidney stone, but that I “could do it”. Humph! Fortunately, I was playing the melody for all but one line of the piece and so a tweaked that and said my prayers. The violin can be a  very disagreeable instrument prone to terrible squeaks and it doesn’t care that you have an audience. It likes to remind you who’s the boss. With this in mind, I gave my performance a brief intro and said that I usually go for safety in numbers, but that hadn’t worked out this year. I also mentioned that many of us have asked “Where is love?” or “Where is hope?” “Where is good luck?” Some times, you just need to open your eyes, turn a corner or keep your fingers crossed…like I’m doing now.” Phew! At least I had the audience on side. It didn’t really matter how I played now, although it did and I was told I gave my best performance yet. What a relief.

I’m sorry my thoughts are all over the place tonight. It’s been such a long time since I’ve even checked in on my blog and I had a lot of catching up to do.

Anyway, this has been another contribution to the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by  Eclectic Ali. We’d love you to pop round and join us.

Best wishes and Happy New Year!


23 thoughts on “Last Weekend Coffee Share 2019

  1. Prior...

    I enjoyed your check in coffee share and it flowed very well (was not all over the place – but coherently shared your year and recent weeks)
    -Glad the violin solo went well- 🎼
    -Would love authentic Chinese food soon 🍜🍚
    – and best wishes with the book! You described it so well about finding balance with research and getting words out. I think many writers can relate but all the more of an issue when you have the history genre! So best wishes with that!
    I have numerous works in progress (five completed projects and three published) and have struggled finding the time to get to the current one – and so your post reminds me that sometimes we have to sign off from the blog and put other things aside to “finish” – and fingers crossed I reach my goals this week (although I will be okay if not)

  2. trentpmcd

    Sounds like you’ve been busy. Cool that your performance on the violin went well despite the unexpected solo. Writing may be the goal, but I’m sure getting caught up in the research was nice – it is obviously something you are interested in, so why not? Glad your breathing is better – hopefully the fires won’t be quite as awful as they seem to have been for the first part of your summer! Nice catching up 🙂 Don’t stress too much over the new year and see you in 2020 🙂

  3. gaiainaction

    Dear Rowena, lovely to be able to catch up with you and get all your news. Congrats on your performance and on writing your book. I can imagine it takes a lot of research but I think you would be good at that. We have been thinking of all you people in Australia affected by the fires in one way or another and hope your breathing is back to normal.
    I would like to wish you and your lovely family a very good, happy and lovely 2020.
    Sending love from Ireland.

  4. tidalscribe

    Congratulations Rowena on the violin solo and the research, it does sound a good project. Your fires are so awful and we’ve had nothing but rain, if only we could send it over. Happy New Year.

  5. Gary A Wilson

    I was so pleased to see a post from you. The fires were bad here, but as near as I can tell from here, yours are worse by far. Stay safe.
    Blessings to your family and hopes for another great year.

  6. Rowena Post author

    Thanks so much, Gary. The fires seem like Armageddon and I know I’m not really conscious of the full horror of what’s transpired. Although we’ve had some troubles with the smoke, the fires haven’t been that close to us. In the past, they’ve been local as well and there’s really been that sense of immediacy. I obviously grateful and relieved that we’ve been spared. Blessings to you and yours for 2020 as well. This is supposedly the year of perfect vision so lets hope our world leaders get the message.
    Best wishes,

  7. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much and it’s great to catch up. The fires are beyond belief and your rain would be most welcome. Happy New Year to you too!
    Best wishes,

  8. Rowena Post author

    Thank you very much< Agnes. It's a battlefield out there and such a terrible loss of bush, wildlife and too many people, especially our fire fighters. I saw a photo of some firefighters sleeping on the scene and it looked like the trenches of WWI. They're such incredibly brave and community-minded people.
    My breathing has been much better lately, which is such a relief.
    Anyway, we wish you and yours a Happy and Blessed New Year.
    Sending love back from Australia and a few too many smoke signals.

  9. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much, Dan. Sorry I’ve been out of touch. I’ve just ended up in a bit of a different zone with ll this research going on but I’m going to start incorporating it into my blog. I’ve thought about starting up a separate blog but I’ve done that before and they peter out.
    It’s now New Year’s Day here and after a big sleep in , it’s a great day for vegging out on my laptop and catching up with blogging.
    Am trying to think about New Year’s resolutions. Our son has given his bedroom a huge overhaul and crates of stuff have been deposited in the lounge room for his garage sale. Naturally, this has only made my clutter problems worse. So, I guess that garage sale might need to be top of the list.
    Best wishes,

  10. Rowena Post author

    Hi Trent. Great to hear from you again. Happy New Year! We went to a party at a friend’s house with a pool last night and had a great time. A friend of ours has a DJ business and she set her gear up and we had great music and some karaoke. I really love singing but haven’t done much karaoke before and absolutely love it. It’s a lot of fun and great to hear some great songs.
    The next four years are going to be important for us with our kids doing their final years of schooling and their assessments and final exams. With the kids before two years apart, they’ll flow from one to the other. That’s why I’m a bit more stressed about the New Year this year. Need to get the house more sorted out and a bit more structure. This is something we need to revisit regularly as the kids get older and leap forward to another stage. With two teens, we’re needing to be on our toes trying to be a few steps ahead instead of lagging behind.
    Anyway, best wishes for the New Year!

  11. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much, Monika. Happy New Year to you and the puppies as well.
    We went out to a party for the first time in over ten year last night and left the dogs inside at home. I don’t know how they fared. Lady usually spends NYE on Geoff’s lap quivering with the fire works. I’ve noticed Zac’s turned to Lady for comfort during storms and has been mighty let down. She’s not a tower of strength in those situations.
    Anyway, we wish you and the dogs and Happy New Year!

  12. Rowena Post author

    Thank you very much for your empathic encouragement on the book and research front.
    It is certainly difficult to find a balance between the intensity of writing and research and keeping in touch with people and the responsibilities of everyday life. There’s also a need for breathing space. That we need to stop for bit and go slow, which for me is perfect for this time of year.
    Well done on getting those books out and all the best with the current one.
    Best wishes,

  13. IreneDesign2011

    Thank you, Rowena. I hope, that you are safe, where you are. From outside Australia looks like one huge fire. Take good care.
    Wish you a beautiful and Happy New Year too.

  14. Dan Antion

    Happy New Year, Rowena. I can see the need for the garage sale, but I shy away from making resolutions. I’m going to take this year as it comes. The research must be interesting. I hope you find a way to share some of it.

  15. Rowena Post author

    Thank you very much, Agnes. I don’t know whether the fires are getting better or worse, or they just start up somewhere else. We are praying for rain and relief. It’s beyond belief.

  16. Rowena Post author

    Thank you so much, Agnes. We’ve had some rain in some places, which has been such a blessing. The drought isn’t just affecting inland areas but even the coast around here near Byron Bay where we’re currently away on holidays. It’s neer as green as Ireland but the paddocks are usually a lush green and they’re not quite brown or desolate but they’re not their usual selves. We go to a wildlife park near here called the Macadamia Castle and they have a pond and it’s dried up and has a kiddies wading pool filled up for the ducks. We’ve been going there for 14 years and this is the first time that’s happened. This combination of drought and fires reminds me a bit of the Irish Famine and the London Blitz. wish I could be doing something to help but beyond prayer, there isn’t much.
    I don’t want to be like those people who turned their backs oon the starving people of Ireland but you also don’t want to be perceived as a rubber-necker either. My friend is a volunteer fire-fighter and they call the media “siren-chasers”. They hear where the fire sirens are heading and track them down.
    Anyway, I’d better keep moving.
    Love & best wishes,

  17. gaiainaction

    Hi dear Rowena, hope you are enjoying a lovely holiday. I read your words with interest, it is always good to get real news rather than media news that can be false and warped. We are all still thinking of Australia, its people and its wildlife. Glad that ye did get some rain there.
    Take care and enjoy a relaxing weekend.

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