Currently Reading

I’ve got a bit of an ambitious pile of books next to my bed at the moment. I’m in one of those situations where you put books on hold at the library, and they all come in at the same time! I’m reading reading reading every chance I get, trying to get through my stack before they are all due back. Above is a small preview of the actual stack… have you read any of these?

So far in 2019 I’ve begun reading:

1/ See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

When I picked this book up I could barely put it down. Then one night after a late night session of reading I had one of the worst nightmares I have had in years – associated with what I had read that night and the characters in the book. I won’t bore you with the details of my dream as we all know other people’s dreams are not that fascinating, needless to say I haven’t picked up the book since! Once I garner some bravery and after I’ve finished the book below, I’ll give it another shot.

2/ The True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

This is a book I’m reading for book group. I would never have chosen to read it and initially thought it might be a bit of a drag. But I am thus far pleasantly surprised. The way Peter Carey has written the book, in the voice of Ned Kelly in a long form letter to his daughter, has me completely captivated. I want to read more about the research Carey did for the book as I have no idea whether he is simply making up his version of the story or putting it together based on factual evidence (excuse me if this is naive of me). Ned’s sentences run together in colourful Australian lingo and it is simply an adjectival delight to read (read the book and you’ll see what I did there). I am smitten with Carey’s depiction of Ned; his voice, the broken sentences and lack of grammar a new language that now floats fluently around my head. I haven’t quite finished yet but I know this renewed telling of the Kelly tale will stay with me for many years. I am dragging myself to the finish line as we all know enough of Ned Kelly to know how the story ends.

This year with some inspiration from a family member doing the same, I’ve bought myself a notebook dedicated to the books I read. A space to record titles and thoughts about each. I’ve been using goodreads for a number of years but never feel inclined to leave a review on the app, I’d rather make notes for personal use. My little notebook has given me the freedom to not worry about whether I’m making intelligent enough observations on a book – and also a way to remember what I have read and what the book was about. I often know I have read a book, but can’t remember the storyline or the characters. I’m hoping this little system will help.

Since beginning the #booksinourhands hashtag I’ve realised how many people love reading in our little comunity, and someone suggested we develop the tag into a more established online book group. So I have created a little insta nook for us book nerds to gather. You can follow along at the freshly created @booksinourhands. Use the hashtag to share what you’re reading and I’ll share selected posts in the account. Please feel free to join in and discuss with us what you’re reading!

What do you think? What are you reading right now? What are your reading goals for 2019? Comment below to let me know.

Immersion in the Present

Time is passing. There is only now and now and now. With young children it can be easy to daydream through the motions: the feeding, the dressing, the herding. I’ve been reading Buddhism for Mothers of Schoolchildren and have been reminded yet again of “and this.” I find myself quoting as I pack the school lunches, as I wipe the daily grit from our old table, as I fold (or not fold) the washing, as I pull a tearful little face to my chest after a fall: And this. And this. And this. There is only ever this. At first I wondered if it only served to remind me of the monotony and take me, unwillingly, away from my airy thoughts, but with practice I have seen it bring me back into the moment, to ground me.

Over Winter I have been immersed in thought, in yoga study, in reading, in thinking. Perhaps this is nothing new (for me) but with the addition of yoga I have felt growth within myself that has surpassed all other things.

As I type, the littlest wanders over with a shell. I hold it to her ear. “Listen,” I say, “can you hear the sea?”

And this.

I sip my coffee.

And this.

Over the weekend we went to Apollo Bay and I attended a whole day workshop with Melbourne writer, Arnold Zable. The parallels between yoga and writing were illuminated as I listened to his words: “To be a writer, you have to be here, you have to be mindful, grounded. You have to witness.” Because if you aren’t there to witness something, to witness it deeply and fully, then to capture that moment in words later is going to leave you unreliable; the moment dulled through the fog of your inattention.

So go out and allow yourself to see. Notice the way the morning light hits the edges of a plant in your window. See the wisp of hair on your child’s forehead and know its habit to swing this way, or that. Feel the crackle of eucalyptus leaves beneath your feet, the solidity of your legs, your body moving through air – feel it as though you are moving through water, or soup. Step outside in the fading light and smell your neighbour’s open fire, smell the chill of the evening, the dampness of the soil.

And lastly, this: Xavier Rudd singing out from my computer speakers: Cherish this moment. Cherish this breath.

the flowers and so on

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Spring has officially arrived in the Southern Hemisphere. Over the past year we have done a little bit of work here and there in our garden and although there is a lot more to be done (and we generally have no idea what we are doing) I was amazed at the variety of flowers that bloomed to announce the beginning of the new season. I love Winter, but the last few weeks always seem to drag a little. Everyone seems to have a sunnier disposition all of a sudden now there is some colour in our days.

It always takes me a while to shake off the darkness of Winter. I thrash through my wardrobe wondering what to wear when the sun comes out and warms the air. I keep putting nourishing yet heavy stews on the meal plan, unsure of what to do with those fresh leafy greens that arrive in my veggie box. (While we adjust our favourite go-to meal is currently a tray of roast vegetables, raw greens, a handful of seeds and a blob of hommus. It has enough possibilities to suit the whole family in one form or another.)

At the start of each season I always spend some time consulting this book. It grounds me in the here and now and no matter what is going on in my life, it always has something to say to me. I love the recipes and find that with a quick refresh of the suggested seasonal pantry items the kitchen is in business again. I’ve had about five minutes to peruse it this season, but I have kept it out on the kitchen table so it is within grabbing distance at opportune moments. I was also given this book for my birthday back in May which I absolutely love and am happy to say Peach has finally allowed me the chance to test out some of the recipes, many of which are perfect for the warmer weather headed our way.

Speaking of warmer weather (or lack of it) for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere who are bundling up and slowly retreating into Autumn, I am very excited to be featured in the Autumn issue of Tend Magazine, talking about creating a sense of place for our children in our homes and local landscapes. Pop over here to check it out.

I think that’s all for now, my head is a little foggy with less sleep than I would generally like, and the end of the school term in sight. I’m looking forward to KB being on long service leave and I can think of little else. FIST PUMP! Ciao.

TendVol3AutumnCover2