Category Archives: Blogging

Soggy Weekend Coffee Share

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

This weekend, I recommend you find yourself a good pair of gumboots and jump in a few puddles. No one knows you around here. So, it doesn’t really matter if you embarrass yourself. Besides, you’ll probably only get a few death stares from the local duck population wanting to evict you from their “pond”. You could say, that they’ve made a “pond conversions” to the  local potholes. Just call them “duckgineers”.

Well, you’re in luck today because you can try my “Christmas Cake”. In typical fashion, I stumbled across an intriguing recipe just before Christmas but the cake needed to rest for two months. So, this Christmas Cake was never going to be ready in time for Christmas and to compound my stupidity, this recipe made enough cake to feed an entire shearing shed. It contained 3kgs of dried fruit alone. It’s called the Aussie Harvest Cake and has grated apple in it and for the dried fruit, I used included figs, dates in addition to the usual sultanas and raisins and made for an interesting, moist and dense cake.

Anyway, I thought you might like to try a slice.

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The local radio station broadcast from my daughter’s school last week.

Speaking of cooking, last Monday local radio hosts, Rabbit & Julie broadcast live from my daughter’s school. The Julie of this  combo is Julie Goodwin, Australia’s first Masterchef. Knowing JULIE was coming to the school, I was up the freeway in a flash armed with my camera and copy of her cookbook. I was so excited and gushed profusely, embarrassingly so, but I met JULIE!! You can read about it here.

 

This year, I’ve backed off from my blog for a bit to follow up on the wealth of experiences we had on our three week trip to Tasmania. This has not only involved getting the photos printed and sorted. It’s also involved capturing my husband’s personal and family history. Although you can join Ancestry, that gets expensive and I have found a free, alternative source of much of my research…the online newspapers. For better of worse, unless your ancestors were very rich or well-known, most of what you pick up is things like court cases, criminal matters or acts of sheer stupidity. So, these research escapades can be rather intriguing, entertaining…or horrific.

I have been doing this research at a rather intense and rapid pace. So, my head has become something like a story calculator or processor adding up all these details and cross-referencing individuals and being rather surprised to find some very strong trends throughout. One of the interesting ones was that quite a few branches of Geoff’s family were involved with horse breeding, racing, trotting, pacing and even journalism. That really surprised me. I’ve also come out of all this research feeling that life is very random, yet not. Or, perhaps it is your fate that’s random. There are those people who die young and others who pass in their nineties.It made me feel like God was playing around with a couple of dice up there in heaven. Yet, there were strong threads as well such as a strong scientific mind, which spread across the board. I still don’t know quite what to make of it all.

flying-saucer

All this ploughing through the old newspapers has certainly dug up a lot of stories involving the family and local area. There was the sighting of a flying saucer at George Town. There was the guy who had 5-10 whiskies and “no lunch” who then drove his truck home but skidded and flipped it on a turn losing his life. At the inquest, when the coroner asked if he was inebriated after drinking all that whisky, a couple of witnesses said: “no”. Anyone who can walk after that much whiskey, must have a cast iron constitution. Shame, it didn’t carry across into his driving capacity. Of course, these days you’d be taking away his keys and giving him a lift.

This coming week, is going to be very full-on.

Our son turns 13 on Wednesday…the beginning of the “Teenage Years”. I’m surprised that there hasn’t been an American sitcom by that name. Or, perhaps there has and I’ve just missed it. I don’t know whether you’d class it as humour or horror  and how you’d rate it but there’s never be a dull moment.

Thursday…Thursday 9th March…is the Selective High Schools Test. This is being held all around NSW for our selective, academic schools. Our daughter, who is currently in a selective primary school class, along with most of her class mates, will be sitting for the test. It’s been hanging over us for more than a year and as much as you’d like to pretend it’s not hovering in the shadows, it’s there.

My reasonings for her to attend the selective high school, are quite complex. Naturally, you want the best for your child and ideally every kid gets the opportunity to feel comfortable, be accepted and not be “the outcast”. This can be a real issue for bright students. Yet, I’ve really noticed how well the kids get on in my daughter’s class and a number of them have told me that they struggled to fit in at their old school but feel comfortable now. That’s really important. After all, even if you enjoy time on your own, that should be a choice. All these kids get on really well together  and it would be really great to see them stay together and also meet up with similar, like-minded people. From this perspective, selective schools aren’t just about being elitist but also allow birds of a feather to flock together.

What I have also noticed, is that many of the kids in my daughter’s class aren’t just academic high achievers, but they’re also high achievers in other fields like chess, dancing, music and sport. This means that when you get these kids together in a class, you create a fertile breeding ground for all sorts of ideas and skills and it’s not necessarily just about academics. That said, moving into high school, academics is going to become more important.

So, I would really appreciate your prayers for my daughter, her friends and our local kids to get into our local selective school. There’s a lot of talk about kids in Sydney opting for our local selective school as it has a lower entry mark. They can catch the train up from Sydney quite easily. Moreover, they’re heavily tutored when many local families can’t afford that. Local kids who are really bright, probably still make it in and I’m not too sure whether the hoards from Sydney are a fabrication but there’s definitely a contingent and they must be taking away local places.

Anyway, that’s me on my soap box for this weekend. Speaking of the weekend, it’s almost over here and Monday’s looming overhead like a bad smell. Wish it would go away!

How has your week been? I’d love to hear from you

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share  now hosted by Nerd in the Brain and you can click here for the linky.

Best wishes,

xx Rowena

 

 

Meet and Greet: 2/4/17

Hi All,
Thought you might like to join me at this blogging party over at Dream Big. I’m about to start visiting some of the other blogs while I escape from the heat outside. It’s another scorcher!!
xx Rowena

Dream Big, Dream Often

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It’s the Meet and Greet weekend everyone!!  Strap on your party shoes and join the fun!  

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

See ya on Monday!!

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Writing…Is “procrastination” really a sin?

As a writer and creative, are you meant to go down the direct route, immediately producing that book in record-breaking time? Or, is so-called “procrastination” part of the creative process…a required element to add to the quality  and longevity of your work?After all, as creative guru John Lennon once said: “Life is lived while busy making other plans”.

These contradictions often go into battle at the back of my head and I’m constantly coming across this tension in other writers as well.

Recently, I was reminded of this tension reading this quote by Moliere:

“The trees that are slow to grow, bear the best fruit.”

– Moliere

However, is this true? Or, is it just a nice saying?

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The Mighty Oak

I consulted the Google oracle to see what its great wisdom revealed and found this research report by Bryan Black, an assistant professor of forestry at Oregon State University, who works out of OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Ore.  His research shows that even within a species, the oldest  trees grow the slowest, even as youngsters.

“Faster growing trees may put all of their energy into growth and burn out before they can achieve really old age,” he said. “Slow-growing trees may invest a lot in producing strong wood and defense mechanisms against insects and disease and never rise above the forest canopy.”

Rapidly growing trees may occupy space more quickly, reach sexual maturity earlier, and are more prone to frequent, catastrophic disturbances, including flood, fire and windstorms, Black said. They also die at a younger age. Meanwhile, the slower growing trees channel their energy into structural support and defense compounds, don’t burn out from reproducing, and slowly-but-surely outpace their mercurial cousins.http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2009/feb/study-finds-oldest-trees-grow-slowest-%E2%80%93-even-youngsters

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So, this research suggests slow and steady ultimately wins the race. Well, that is, if being a long-lived tree is your goal.

While  I feel pressured to get that book out there, I have benefited from taking the extra time. I have grown so much as writer through the hours I am putting into my blog  and have found my voice. Even more importantly, I have been dialoguing and chatting with my readers, while also reading and responding to their work. Through these exchanges, I’ve been unconsciously fine tuning my story. It might be taking me longer to write the book and it might even be taking me away from it, but I know that what I’ll write now will be much more relevant. It has to be. After all, I’ve spent the last 4 years listening as well as writing. Moreover, being able to hear readers before I write the book project, has to be revolutionary.

However, it takes a lot of courage to take your time writing the book. There’s so much pressure to publish just to gain any kind of credibility. You’re not a real writer until you’ve actually published the book…any book!

Yet, isn’t the ultimate credibility writing something worth reading? Writing something which changes your readers lives and minds and inspires them in some way? I’m sure that doesn’t happen overnight just  like quality plants don’t mature overnight either.

Indeed, we’ve all seen backyard domination by the mighty weed. Is that what we want from our modern literature?

So, while I think there is a place for writing, writing, writing and getting that book out ASAP, I’m still a believer in “slow and steady wins the race”. That the tortoise will ultimately take out the hare but the tortoise still needs to make it through to the finish line.

That’s something I need to work a lot harder on.

What are your thoughts?

xx Rowena

 

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And so the race begins…

 

 

Celebration….50,000 Views!

It’s party time. This week, Beyond the Flow finally clocked up 50,000 views. Wow! So, we’re going  Celebrate with a photographic retrospective.

I’m so excited about reaching this milestone…especially when it took around 2 years to finally reach the 10,000 mark. There was quite a lot of soul searching back then, but what they say about persistence and hard work paying off, is all true. Moreover, it’s not worth selling your soul to get numbers over content. My bottom line is connecting with people and hopefully they find something through my journey crawling over deep and dark crevices in the mountain, celebrating at the summit and then fighting my way along through to the next summit. It’s no wonder I love watching clouds and immersing myself in nature. You can’t seize the day without a bit of balance.

Blogging is very much about reciprocation. Communcation. Conversation. So, it hasn’t just been about me, but I hope it’s equally been about you. Not as some cheap marketing or political cliche,  but through sharing each others’ journeys.

The Family

In this way, blogging is very different from writing a book and sticking it out there…especially in the more traditional sense where your book was published by a publisher and reader and writer rarely ever met. That is, beyond fleeting book signings or, at best, author talks.

So, I would like to thank everyone who’s made my blog our meeting place where we’ve poured each other more than a cup of words and made this big planet with all if differences, divides and troubles, shrink and become touchingly intimate.

The Dogs at the Beach.

Sydney

Give Them Cake.

While I wouldn’t say that the blog is a perfect mirror image of our lives, it has captured so many important moments…the highs and lows, the celebrations and disappointments.

That is life with its ups and downs…a never-ending game of Snakes and Ladders…as much as we might not like it at times!

Tea & Coffee

So, the journey continues…asking more questions, some with answers, more without but having that sense of belonging and being part of something beyond myself, where I live and that we can somehow transcend humanity’s shadows.

Love & Blessings to you all!

Rowena

O- Oscar Wilde: A Reply #AtoZchallenge.

Dear Rowena,

Thank you so much for your letter.

As you might expect, I’m no longer the peacock, and have become a changed man. While I was renowned for my intellect and wit, I have been humbled. Even talking to the worms has been an education. It turns out that once we’re underground, all of us are simply “food”no matter who we thought we were.

Naturally, I receive a lot of visitors but no one else has ever brought me Tim Tams before. I’m still licking the chocolate off my fingers and wondering how to salvage a chunk of precious biscuit which accidentally fell in. I’m not quite sure how to retrieve it. Even back in the day, “the world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork.”

Perhaps, I shouldn’t ask but do they still remember me at Cafe de la Paix? Bosie crucified me there on my last visit and the pain was so intense but Robbie stood by me.

Oscar Wilde

Speaking of pain, I’ve been trying to think up some advice. In my younger days, I wrote a series of aphorisms:  “Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young”. It seemed very clever at the time but wasn’t sound advice. Instead I’d like to ask you to read De Profundis. It was a letter I wrote to Bosie while I was in gaol and addresses the nature of suffering and our need to somehow rise above it all and still find joy. I’m not going to bore you with my endless whingeing about losing the lot.

However, I jotted down a few excerpts for you now:

“Suffering is one very long moment. We cannot divide it by seasons. We can only record its moods, and chronicle their return. With us time itself does not progress. It revolves. It seems to circle round one centre of pain.”

“Nature….she will hang the night stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send word the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole.”
Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

“Every single human being should be the fulfilment of a prophecy: for every human being should be the realisation of some ideal, either in the mind of God or in the mind of man.”
Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

“I am completely penniless, and absolutely homeless. Yet there are worse things in the world than that.”
Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

 

“All the spring may be hidden in the single bud, and the low ground nest of the lark may hold the joy that is to herald the feet of many rose-red dawns.”
Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

“A sentimentalist is simply one who wants to have the luxury of an emotion without paying for it. We think we can have our emotions for nothing. We cannot. Even the finest and most self-sacrificing emotions have to be paid for. Strangely enough, that is what makes them fine. The intellectual and emotional life of ordinary people is a very contemptible affair. Just as they borrow their ideas from a sort of circulating library of thought—-the Zeitgeist of an age that has no soul—-and send them back soiled at the end of each week, so they always try to get their emotions on credit, and refuse to pay the bill when it comes in. You should pass out of that conception of life. As soon as you have to pay for an emotion you will know its quality, and be the better for such knowledge. And remember that the sentimentalist is always a cynic at heart. Indeed, sentimentality is merely the bank holiday of cynicism.”
Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

 

“When first I was put into prison some people advised me to try and forget who I was. It was ruinous advice. It is only by realising what I am that I have found comfort of any kind. Now I am advised by others to try on my release to forget that I have ever been in a prison at all. I know that would be equally fatal. It would mean that I would always be haunted by an intolerable sense of disgrace, and that those things that are meant for me as much as for anybody else – the beauty of the sun and moon, the pageant of the seasons, the music of daybreak and the silence of great nights, the rain falling through the leaves, or the dew creeping over the grass and making it silver – would all be tainted for me, and lose their healing power, and their power of communicating joy. To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.”
― Oscar Wilde

Oscar-Wilde-Grave-Top-Tenz

You know, Rowena, you’re the very first person who has ever brought me coffee. I was deeply touched. You were thinking of me and wanting to know my story, even if you couldn’t stay here very long. You wouldn’t believe what I’ve had to endure. They’ve come here in their thousands, puckering up and bragging how they’ve kissed Oscar Wilde. While they might have smeared me with lipstick, they haven’t touched me at all.

You have.

Thank you for your honesty, acknowledging you don’t know me and not pretending that you do.

You wouldn’t believe how many people I have running round inside my head thinking it’s their “right” to explore each and every nook and cranny of my brain. Could you just imagine what it’s like with all those people running around yelling and shouting, flashing their torches up the back of my nose and even taking samples all in the name of “science”. What makes them think they know me better than I knew myself? Why can’t they all get lost and leave me in peace? After all, I never stuck my head in their privates, did I?!!!

As soon as you mentioned seeing my golden angel, I knew you’d come here for a reason.

You see, I don’t believe in coincidence either. You held the match which finally lit the spark. I’m going to charge them all an entry fee. If they want to explore my head and make all sorts of accusations, they’ll have to pay!

So here’s to new beginnings! Now, I’ll finally be getting that new wallpaper!

Thank you!

Yours,

Oscar Wilde

 

Happy Easter: Church, Chocolate, Coffee!

Welcome to another Weekend Coffee Share and we wish you all a very Happy and Blessed Easter!

It’s already Sunday here in Australia. Would you mind please waiting for a minute. I’ve been to Church. Had a coffee but I need to bite into the Cadbury Crunchie Bunny that’s calling my name. Actually, that might be the other way round. After all, if I  was a chocolate Easter rabbit I wouldn’t be calling out to get eaten. Oh no! I’d quietly exit stage left without making a sound.

Yum! That’s soooo good. Nothing like biting a bunny’s ear off, although now that my daughter has live rabbits in her class room,  I’m supposed to be nice to rabbits. This is a crisis of conscience for me. As much as I love those cute fluffy bunnies as individuals, as a species, they’re not my friends. They’ve done catastrophic damage to the Australian landscape and are a pest. They do not belong here.

So what are you doing over Easter?

lady and Easter Egg

What do you mean I’m only after your Easter Egg?

So, far we’ve been hibernating. I was going to try to work in some kind of scientific or technical term for hibernation but while reading through Google, I only confused myself and thought I’d better stick to plain English. Being Australian, hibernation is a foreign concept. That is unless you include falling asleep on the beach, which could be re-classed as suicide these days. People have been hospitalised for sunburn after falling asleep on the beach. In the longer term, Melanoma loves Australians and looking at the way Aussies bake themselves, the feeling is mutual.

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Oops! I almost forgot to mention that we went for an afternoon beach walk yesterday with the dogs. It was so good and I don’t know why I don’t get down there every day like I used to. It was right on sunset and while the sun doesn’t set over the water here, it was still very serene. We also came across three baby bronze whaler sharks lying on  the sand, which had been caught. We kept the dogs out of the water, not that they needed to be told. Lady occasionally goes for a brief swim but Bilbo not only stays out of the water himself. He also barks out to other dogs who are swimming and tries to round them up out of the water…without getting his own paws we…of course!

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The kids at the beach- Easter 2016.

This week, I’ve been preparing for the Blogging A-Z April Challenge. My theme is: Letters to Dead Poets. Like so many participants, April has crept up behind me and grabbed me by the throat when I was busy elsewhere. So, this week I’ve been head down, bum up and hard at it.

So, you could say it’s been an intense week but a rewarding one because a these letters are now becoming a book and I’ll put more abridged versions up for the challenge as these posts need to be a quick read. After all, the challenge is more of a blog fest where fidelity has nothing to do with trying to get around as many blogs as possible hoping some of these relationships will become an ongoing concern.

Are you taking part in the A-Z Challenge? If so, please let me know in the comments and provide a link through to your theme reveal. Here’s a link to mine.

Tomorrow, we’re all heading off to the Sydney Royal Easter Show. I’m really looking forward to it. This is the first time we’ve taken the kids to the Show.

Going to The Show was such a part of my childhood and I went every year without fail when it was out at the Sydney Showground which was out at the Sydney Cricket Ground. There are so many memories out there of the laughing clowns, Kewpie Dolls (which my husband just called crappy dools…Gee! No respect!) Dagwood dogs, Showbag Hall and walking around looking at animals and cattle, dogs, horses and seeing all those Christmas cakes and incredible embroidery. I can’t wait but at the same time, it’s going to be a huge day. It’s tiring for anyone but when you have a small engine, big events are daunting.

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Bilbo is not so sure about the kids’ engineering exploits. “Hey, trying to fight the ocean is futile guys!”

So, how was your week? I hope you’re had a great one!

The Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Part Time Monster and you can click here for the “Linky“.

Love & Easter Blessings!

Rowena

PS Just found a great article: Life Lessons of a Speeding Train.

 

 

Everyone’s clock runs out…eventually.

This post is a great take on the transience of life and the ticking bomb which is our human body. If you are looking for a read that will get you thinking, you’ll enjoy this xx Rowena

Rethinking Life

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Picture from Pixabay

I think we’re a lot like watches…we have delicate parts that need to work together, if we are to run properly.  If one part wears out, we don’t keep proper time.  No matter how well we care for our watches, something always goes wrong.  Parts are replaced and things run smoothly until the next time.  Each second ticks away, adding up to minutes and hours, months and years.  Newer models come along, models with fewer movable parts, but they seem short lived and are replaced more frequently.

Once our watches start losing time, we might be surprised to find they no longer make the parts needed to fix the problem.  And when someone tries to sell us a new watch we frown because we simply want the watch we already have, to keep running.  Somewhere in our minds we wonder why things wear out, instead of just…

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