Thursday, September 8, 2016

Review: A Beautiful Planet - 3D





This week we went to see A Beautiful Planet in 3D at IMAX Melbourne.

To kick off the show it was introduced by a real live Nasa Astronaut! After completing many space missions covering a total of 55 days in space Marsha Ivins, shared with us that the footage we were about to see was not animated, it was all exactly what an astronaut sees in space. At times I had to remind myself of this note as the images look like they could truly be that of someone's imagination.

A Beautiful Planet is only a 45 minute film, but it feels longer as you see so many brilliant images of earth. Cut between scenes are snippets of life for the astronauts living on the space station, how they exercise, sleep, and even grow lettuce. The moments with the astronaut walking OUTSIDE the space station made me hold my breath as I just imagined him falling off and floating off into space, never to be seen again.

It's a great film to see with your friends who might be climate change sceptics. Take them to see it, let them see Earth from far far away where the brown baron lands are extreme, where land has sunk in vast places from people taking underground water for just a few decades.

There is a section where you learn what it would be like on Mars, and with the 3D glasses in full effect, I actually felt a little like I was on a ride at the show. The effects are just extraordinary.


Outside the cinema there is a giant blackboard encouraging people to share the things that they think are beautiful on the planet.


This is very much a documentary, smaller kids might find it a little too documentary like but Miss 7 enjoyed the entire show. If I had any complaints about this film it would be the heavy focus on USA, it's clear that the people making this film are American, while other countries are shown, it is just a tiny glimpse of the top of Australia and not a great deal of Asia. But you do get to see things you could never imagine, like the difference between North and South Korea in perhaps the image that best describes two countries who are physically so close, but in every other way, so far away.

This is certainly a film worth seeing on the big screen and in 3D, no matter how good your TV is at home, it will never give you the feeling you get when watching it on an imax laser screen.

Add it to the list of things to check out these school holidays.







We were guests for the opening night of A Beautiful Planet in Melbourne, photographer Lisa Frieling was there to take photos, including both the images in this post. 






Monday, September 5, 2016

800




I have written 800 posts on this blog.

That's a lot of words and pictures and such a lovely way for me to go back and remember things.

I am actually pretty forgetful. I fill my head with too many books, too many articles, too many conversations and most of all too many ideas of things that can be done. It means I forget little things sometimes, or  they just sit at the back of my mind until I am reminded of them.

There were times I blogged every day for a month, or ten times a month for the year. I used to always have something to write about.

Then things changed. I started working more and my kids got busier attending activities that needed me to be the mum taxi. I started to find myself getting out and about more with my friends and having less and less time.

And pretty soon the blog ideas ran out, or I just stopped thinking about them so much.

This week at different times both the girls have asked me why I am not blogging anymore and asked if I could start again. Miss 10 even offered me suggestions of things I could write about.

My last blog post that I wrote I really enjoyed writing. It was just a week ago, but once I hit publish, I didn't tell anyone. I didn't share it on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or LinkedIn, I just wrote it and that was enough.

Just writing, for yourself, is just enough.

It might be a book review, or a movie review, or a funny joke or a great photo or thoughts in your head, but writing it down, documenting your times, it's fun, it's useful, and makes you think and use your brain, it makes you use your words in the best way you can...and to make them better.

I never regret making time for writing.



Image: Random photo of me drawn by people who know me best.



Thursday, August 18, 2016

Radio Talk: Is the money spent on the Olympics worth it?





Oh I love a bit of talkback radio drama, especially when it's about stuff that's not abusive to anyone else. The Olympics discussion is the perfect kind.

The shockjocks all came out with the great big question of 'Is it worth the money?' instantly you get some people calling up saying, no, we should spend it on something else. But I expect they are the same people who don't like fireworks or art or museums.

Others think it's ok if the money spent is returned with medal winning (gold preferred) performances.

As for me, I love the Olympics. I watched the entire opening ceremony and my girls loved it too, it was the first one they have really seen, I have no idea where we were for London four years ago, but I don't remember watching it. We learnt stuff about Brazil that we wouldn't usually hear, watched the spectacular, and how great was it that they are going to grow an Olympic forest with 11,000 trees to represent each of the athletes.

Then we get to watch all the events. Kids don't always get to see top athletes compete, they don't get to think about what all those swimming lessons at school might actually lead to if they really really wanted it to.

An active life can be a hard sell to some kids and adults, but the Olympics is a reminder of the fun in moving, whatever you do.

There are great athletes who leave the games without medals, but wow, to be able to claim you are 6th in the world, or you made an Olympic final, that's got to be pretty fantastic. At times there are only hundredths of a second between first and 8th. Which is when you can chat about decimal places and timings in a way that isn't so difficult to understand with your kids. These teeny little details all group together to make the Olympics worth watching.

Is the money worth it for the Olympics? I don't know, but I can't think of any other time and place around the world where 207 countries (including the Refugee team) come together for a few weeks peacefully. To share customs, to meet other nations, to compete and shake hands at the end of it. You can count all the medals you like, but none of them will show the benefits of seeing the world work together, however briefly. The Olympics is that place where history is made by good people doing spectacular things, for some that means pushing their body to levels never seen before, but for others it means showing that humans are capable of extreme empathy, support, kindness and peace to whoever needs them. It can be when statements are made about wrongs occurring throughout the world or a light can be made very shinny in the face of evil.

There are also all those topics that can be discussed, like men's rowing outfits, the torso of flag bearers, the swimmer who towed a boat of refugees to Greece for three hours just to be alive, how does the cycling event even work?

Whatever we spend on the Olympics, it's probably not enough.




Sunday, August 7, 2016

Old Eyeballs


Gah, it might not be medical fact, but then again it might be and I just haven't asked Dr Google yet, but according to my research, when you start to age, your eyeballs get weepy. This was the fact for 100% of my sample, (sample size may have been less than 5).

I am already prepared for the bad back, now carrying my red spiky ball with me everywhere I go, and a little rescue remedy can give you the faux courage you might need to get moving some days, and now I have the Fess spray added to my bag to help get me through the day in the life of a middle ager.

My eyes! They get weepy because they are too dry which doesn't even make sense anyway. At first, you can't figure out what's going on, you might think you have eye cancer and your eyes are cactus. But you'll be ok.

Get your eyes checked and they'll say, Oh, you have dry eyes, here, use these drops/sprays/ointments.

The weather will change and your eyes will be better again and you'll forget all about it.

Then you'll take a holiday and your eyes are crappy again, or the wattle blooms and what was once hayfever is now weepy eye fever.

There are solutions for Old Eyeballs disease. Firstly, a hot tropical climate is a fantastic cure. (Just use your eye spray on the plane on the way there). Sadly, if you can't live in such a place you'll just have to make your own - consider closing all the doors and turning the dryer on in the winter, or having a super hot shower and never turning the fan on.

Less extreme is to indulge in great sunglasses all year round, not just in summer, these act like a barrier for your eye balls but can be annoying in work meetings, dark movie cinema's, swimming pools...

It helps to use the car heater less and not have it set to 30 degrees, even when it's 4 degrees outside.

But when all else fails, you'll just accept that eye drops need to be carried in your handbag from now on. Just when you've finally got rid of carrying all those spare nappies and baby things, instead your hand bag starts to fill with old age apparatus. But make it easy for yourself. Get a spray one - believe me, it's much more cool to spritz your face then lay on the floor putting in eye drops while you're on the train!


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

June Twenty Sixteen has now been.

June is my very favourite month of the year.

Even though it is winter and cold and my least favourite weather, in June we get fires and red wine and mid winters eve, which means the days are now getting longer.


Plus, my birthday.


Which is where I will start the June round up.


Getting: Presents that my girls pick for me all by themselves. This year, Lush products are on their favourite things list and Peter Alexander Pjs, so I scored myself some lovely things.



Making: Campfire Food. I went straight to Pinterest for some ideas and found this super basic thing: Ice cream cones -  fill with marshmallow, berries, choc chips, banana - however you like it best, wrap in foil and cook in the fire. YUMMMMMM. It all becomes a gooey melty mess in the cone and you can eat it all perfectly. Just don't put them right on the hot coals - charcoal cones were not a big hit.

Cooking: hot potaotes (it's the fire thing)

Drinking: Hot Apple Cider while at the ice skating at Fed Square

Reading:  First I read Girl Underground, a YA book then I read Britt-Marie was here by Fredrik Backman, he is my current favourite author. Hopefully he is busy writing his next book. 

Looking: at all the snow in the mountains from other people's holidays. I love pictures of the snow, but I have very little desire to go there and throw myself down a mountain or fall off a sky lift (again).

Playing:  Connect 4 - I am the house champion.

Wishing: I didn't feel guilty about working and having to miss my girls perform in a school concert, one they had been practicing for weeks and really wanted to win against the other houses. They did great, including using sign language for the chorus of the song. And they won. Lucky some of the other Mums sent me the video. Mums are good sorts. 

Loving:  The very last bit of this video - Oh, don't be such a wowser! 


Pondering: How we will spend the summer, how we will squeeze in as many family getaways and days as we can.

Considering: Who to vote for. I consider my vote very important, I always think that my vote could be the deciding factor in our whole countries future, so I really need to get it right. And it turns out that's pretty true, because many seats are very very close.

Buying: New boots - such a bargain. I was checking out the shoes in an online kids shoe sale when I saw a pair of all leather boots - lined in leather (my favourite) and they were $295.....but clearly no kids had big feet in adult size so the boots were down to $50. I didn't waste a moment and purchased those babies.

Watching: LOVE CHILD. I am a sucker for any show that is set in the past. Particularly around the 50s and 60s. Particularly if there are great female stories being told. So it's no surprise that LOVE CHILD is my current must watch.

Hoping:  For cures

Cringing: June was election campaign month, there were very few moments I was not cringing. 

Questioning: how when you live in one of the safest political seats in the country your community receives VERY little. If I could tell my local community something, it would be to think about how our area might improve if we were not so predictable. Our local high school has not been updated in 50 years. 50 Years. It's not likely to see much change anytime soon.

Smelling: Lush, so much Lush.

Wearing: Puffy jackets, leggings, boots. 

Knowing: That the last three phone chargers I have bought have been a good price, but none of them actually charge an apple device. Three bargains that do nothing. Should have paid for the pricey one in the first place.

Thinking: We went off to see a financial adviser so for a day or two I was thinking about how we really should be budgeting better. It was a bit embarrassing to realise how much we spend on food each week.  

Disliking: Fear mongering racists. 

Feeling:  In love with the holidays, even though I am working most of them.

Hearing: Rain on my roof.

Needing: Nothing more than I already have


That's all June. It's fantastic to be another year older, to have met more people, done more things, laughed, cried and shared so much with the best of people. 






Friday, June 10, 2016

May I tell you about May?


What went down in May 2016? 


Making:
An effort to go to school functions to be involved and to meet other families. 

Drinking: 
Vodka O - It's my new favourite, and worth drinking when going to school functions to try and be more involved. 

Doing: My Tax! Only 11 months late but I got it in on the very last day. Phew. Can't be more organised than that. 

Reading:





A little life. It is not little. It is taking over my life. Have you read this book? If you haven't I am not going to recommend it to you. Not because the writing isn't marvellous. Not because you won't want to read it. Only because of the deep sadness it can make you feel to know the disgusting and miserable way other humans can treat children. Or, read it, but prepare yourself for some dark moments while you do. 

Wanting:  
A heated swimming pool in my own backyard. With a pool boy. And heated towels around it. 


Looking: 
At the weather and checking how cold it's going to be. 

Playing: Musicaly - it's an app and it's not really for kids, but if you are a switched on parent you can download it, set it all to private and know that it's just your kid playing around pretending to be a singing star. I love apps that encourage kids to create, not consume, and this is a good one. (But don't let your kids just have an account and start sending their creations out into the big wide world).

Deciding: To read less of the comments sections on social media

Wishing: I would stop buying crap on the local buy swap and sell Facebook page

Enjoying: Mother's Day Craft. I love the things that my kids make in school for mother's day. I am not sure I really remember making my Mum much at school. Maybe we did, but she certainly didn't keep it. 



Loving: Immy looking fabulous in her new glasses.

Pondering:  Why I went to the expensive place for Immy's new glasses and not the place where you get two pairs - at a lower price.

Watching: My current favourite trash TV option.... Shark Tank. I love that show. Mainly I just love the ideas that people have, their passion to start a business, how they are highly likely not to going to make a cent but they love what they do so much they are going to keep going anyway. I love how people make up these numbers about how much their business is worth, but then get caught admitting that maybe, actually, kind of, they have not taken a wage and have been working for free for two years. 

Cringing: at my eyebrows

Seeing: Libbi Gore at a fundraising night. She really made me laugh, I even did what I have always refused to do - buy the book when a speaker I go to hear flogs the book three or more times during their presentation. Haven't even opened it yet, but Libbi had a way of making me want that book, not be annoyed that she was trying to sell them. 

Wearing: new stuff from Birdsnest and wishing there was an online store that sold winter things for people who live in cold places. My new 'waterfall' cardigan was certainly never worn in Melbourne at 7 am when it's 3 degrees. But, it's good for layering. Online shops all seem to be based in North Qld and think a long sleeve top is just perfect for the colder months..BRRRRRRR

Noticing: My hamstrings are more ham and less strings every month.

Knowing: Winter is only three months long. 

Thinking: Too much. 

Admiring: The life of my beautiful friend Sianne. A lady who made me laugh, who was courage and humour and determination and love and a friend to everyone. Inclusive and considerate, helpful and attentive, creative and sincere. When I hear this song, I'll always think of you. 




Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Hot Cake Cook Off

Me, trying to work out how to make a bechamel sauce that doesn't get lumps!


As a parent you might not have been told that there are two things you should teach your kids before they leave home.

1. How to make a decent white sauce
2. How to make a decent red sauce.


If your offspring have the ability to do the above it will provide them the skills to make so many dishes. Starting with their own mac and cheese to lasagna to cauliflower and white sauce, tuna casserole, soups and the list goes on. The money a uni student can save with simple dishes that start with a basic sauce is huge and really you can add any old veggies in and cover them with bechamel and you have a meal!

My white sauce is a bit fickle. At times it's extraordinary. At other times, it hits the bin and I have to start again.

I think I know why now. I never used to heat the milk. Who knew??

Smiling sans teeth is hard work.


On Sunday Immy and I went along to an event held by Dairy Australia and before we headed to our kitchen stations for the 'Hot Cake Cook Off' we learnt a few things about cooking with milk and a few basic recipes.  The bechamel sauce recipe was as usual very basic, but it worked perfectly.

The tips were use the same amount of butter/flour/cheese and warm your milk first.

The rest you can make up yourself, but here is a super basic recipe if you need help to get started.

When it came time to have the cook off, Immy was totally in charge.

She collected her ingredients and decided pretty quickly exactly how these were going to look. Once I figured out how to turn the stove top on, the rest really was basic. Your kids can start making you breakfast!



The hot cake recipe we were given had ricotta in them which I think I would have really liked, but in our hot cake cook off challenge, Immy decided that disgusting ingredients like ricotta should be replaced with raspberries and blue berries.

She also wanted chocolate and a caramel sauce, but the timer went off before she made it back to collect her caramel. Ahhh, the pressure in the kitchen.




Her hot cakes actually came up fantastic. Who wouldn't pay $17.50 at a cafe on Sunday morning for such a treat?



Raspberry infused hot cakes with strawberries, blue berries and smashed chocolate. 


Thanks to Dairy Australia and the Legendairy team for inviting us along, and for the scones, and lasagna and smoothies, totally delicious day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

All about April


If I asked you all the things you did and though about last month it’s unlikely you’d remember, so if you can’t recall them now, how will you remember all those little moments of life that make it so great, next year? Write it down, your memory bank will thank you for it in a decade.




Making: Great memories and wonderful friends on weekends away.

Drinking: Wine. Popped into a winery, Mt Avoca Wines to be exact, tasted what I thought I might enjoy the most, told myself I really would enjoy it, and bought it instantly. They also gave us a little tour of the winery, its actually an organically made wine, but certification is just so difficult to get!

Doing: Took Miss 10 to see Matilda at the theatre, it was brilliant. Clever songs, talented kids, a fun storyline and many laughs, highly recommend it.

Reading:  Id like to tell you how I am reading A little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, but really I am just reading the first few pages over and over as I decide if I am ready to launch into this book that has so many people talking. Its a big one and its going to take some time to get through.

Wanting:  a clean car, not that I am really sure I remember what that’s like.

Looking: At the ocean from the beach house we stayed in at Aireys Inlet and wishing we made the trip to the beach more often.

Playing: Headbandz. This is a great game to play after dinner with friends and with kids. We went away for a weekend with friends and played a few rounds, the little kids can get some question ideas from the cards and the adults start getting worked up that they just cant figure it out. Play it, your kids will love you for it. You will laugh, its good for you.

Deciding:  Having a holiday house would be so wonderful, but having friends with holiday houses all over the place is even more wonderful and taking friends to where you like to holiday is pretty good too!



Wishing: There is so much inequity around us. SO MUCH. But there is one that really shits me. The cost of medications. Once, when I had my very own Dad dying of a super rare blood cancer, he needed a drug that cost $7500 per injection, he needed that injection every week.  But, the people in the chair beside him who had a more common blood cancer, they just had to pay $6.50, for the very same drug. My Dad, he was lucky/unlucky to get a double diagnosis within a few days, telling him he had TWO types of blood cancer, the oncologist was so happy, this meant he could get the drug straight away and not have to hope to get on a clinical trial.  Of course, my Dads blood didnt care about all this and had its own plans. But its happening all the time. There are people all over Australia who get hit with the unlucky stick so badly, first they get cancer, then they are told its a really rare cancer (so we probably dont know how to beat it) then they get told sorry, you got the wrong cancer, so you dont get any medicine. Its just awful. So in April, and always, I am wishing for fairness in medication for everyone.


Enjoying: the dancing concerts my kids are making up.

Wondering:  If newspapers will come back in fashion? Or decent magazines? If quality is produced, would consumers buy it?

Loving: Small country towns, their history and their opportunities.

Pondering: When twitter will be finished.

Considering: school uniforms, I love them, but I hate them. I want them, but not every day. They look so sweet, their purpose is so outdated, they make mornings so much easier, they are rarely weather appropriate.

Buying: presents, and nearly getting them to the recipients on time. Nearly.

Watching: the last of Call the Midwife. Possibly the best series of all time, but sadly thats the end of it. I miss my friends at Nonatus House.

Noticing: the colours of Autumn. Not every country gets to experience the natural beauty of a Victorian Autumn.

Knowing: My ten year old can win a cross country race if the bribe is high enough.

Thinking: I love day light saving time, but its over for now and I just have to get through the dark times.

Admiring: People who just say yes and find a way to make everything happen.

Disliking: Clothes needing to be dried inside.

Opening:  very few books.

Feeling: So happy with all the travel and getaways for the month.

Snacking: dark chocolate with orange, I love you.

Questioning:  Have you ever watched Schindlers List? You know how you watch it and you think, why didnt all the Germans act like this, why didnt more good people just do what they could to stop the horrendous from happening? You watch it and you like to think that if you were there, youd be the Oskar Schindler, youd be the good person, youd never just turn your eyes away while people were sent to camps where they were just forgotten about.  The movie ends and youre glad that those days are no longer.
Except they arent really are they? Its just different people in the camps. Camps run by our very own country.


And on that note, we leave April 2016 with the hope that during the coming election campaign there will be many Oskar Schindler type voices and compassion will finally win.
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