Weekend in Dubai – July 2014

Holidays and travel – such a luxury!

Recently I had the opportunity to enjoy a short stop-over in Dubai – a place I had never visited before.  It is a progressive city, built in the desert, yet busy with activity, people and business.  I must say the weather was quite warm (as expected) 45C and I needed to keep in the shade when out and about and to get back to my accommodation (and air conditioner) during the heat of the early afternoon.

I found it easy to get around and every one I spoke to was kind and helpful, especially if I needed information or directions.  Although at times it was difficult to recognise the tourist from the local / expatriate.  On three occasions I was asked for directions.

Our Arabian Adventures tour bus driver mentioned that the local people make up less than 10% of the population.  The majority are expats, living in Dubai where employment is available and there are significant tax advantages (or no tax in some situations).  My taxi driver was from Pakistan (his wife and children still live there and he goes home once a year for his annual holiday – to family), the bus driver was Indian and the tour guide was from Latvia.   So as you can imagine there are many different languages, different styles of dress (modest clothing is recommended) and lots of opportunity to learn something new.

I felt safe and confident to be the tourist and find my own way around the streets and activities.  Transport was easy to access and although I was there during the holy month of Ramadan the evening meals were delightful.  The official language is Arabic, however English is spoken everywhere and when travelling around the city other languages can be heard.

I would have no hesitation to visit again and indeed look forward to seeing more of this interesting and constantly changing and expanding city of the United Arab Emirates.

Posted in photos | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Hobart in May – 2014


Lenna HotelThe weather is cool and the leaves are falling – letting the autumn colour show it’s glory ….!

Hobart in Autumnand on a fresh Friday in historic Hobart city the dark autumn sky is promising rain …!

Posted in photos | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

My time to shine

I am a night owl!

Well, I used to be!

I have always loved to stay up late and read, talk, study, listen to music or watch a movie.  I like to go out for dinner with friends or family and stay out late listening to live music, dancing and enjoying the night life, sipping wine and delighting in the evening atmosphere.  Eventually wandering home at midnight or in the early hours of the morning and climbing into bed content and satisfied with my social life and use of time.

Consequently I am not – as one might say – a morning person.

I recall one New Years Party when I vowed to myself (and anyone who would listen) that I would stay awake until the sun came up and the eggs were being cooked for breakfast – and I did!  I came home at 8am and went straight to bed and sleep.  That was the first and only time I experienced an all night party.

I now understand the hangover from lack of sleep is equal to that from excess alcohol, dancing or too much food.   Sleep deprivation is not good for the soul!

When I was a young mother we had a special Friday night routine.  I would go to bed early and my daughter would have a later than usual bedtime.  This allowed us to both go to bed at the same time.  It was a ritual that was physically and emotionally beneficial for us both.  I would be tired after the week of work and study commitments and ready for a relaxing family time.  My daughter – she was be ready for time with ‘Mumsie’, and a later evening as there would be no school for her the following day.

We would snuggle together in bed and this was the delight of my week – Mother and daughter time with no pressure from the outside world and expectations.  Delightful!

But things have changed in my life in the last few years.  I did not truly understand previously how precious rest is and how important it is to connect with home – more important than any social life outside of home and family.   I now celebrate sleep and delight in sneaking off to bed early.  What pleasure there is in fresh cotton sheets and big pillows, soft lights and the sweet sounds of eventide.  The pleasure of sleep allows me to be more grateful – to wake up in the morning rested and content ready for the morning rituals and routines.

Night, Night!  Sleep well everybody!

Oh bed! O bed! Delicious bed!

That heaven upon earth to the weary head!

Thomas Hood (quote garden)


Posted in good intentions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ letters


BeachThe written word, as much as the spoken word, can bring numerous strong emotions and memories to the fore.  Sitting here today in April, with the weather cooling and the Autumn winds swirling around my house and home, the word ‘BEACH’ reminds me of both summer fun and the freshness of early winter.

I recall a weekend in April, a few years ago.  A group of girlfriends and I spend a weekend at the beach in Bridport, Tasmania staying at a lovely holiday house close to the beach.  Anatalya is beautifully decorated and furnished and ideally situated for a weekend at the beach.  A short two minute walk and we were wandering along the sand picking up shells, admiring the glorious view (including the Old Pier) and chatting about life and love.  It was such fresh and clear weather, the midday sun was warm yet the cooler evenings reminded us that winter was just around the corner.  We were grateful for the wood-fire to warm our toes during the evening conversations.

Then there is Easter in April, at Byron Bay in the sun.  The days were hazy and lazy, and I remember the white beach sand and sun sparkled water hurting my eyes with it sharp brightness.  The evenings were spent with the music and fun loving crowds of Bluesfest.   Bluesfest is an annual event where thousands of people gather together to celebrate and enjoy fabulous music, great food and where generosity of spirit is the theme of the day.  2013 had over 104,200 people attend over the five festival days.  You can buy your tickets now for the 2015 Blues Festival!

From anywhere is Byron Bay just follow the sign and you will be at the Beach.

This post is in response to Daily Post weekly photo challenge ‘share a photo with letters’ from Cherie Lucas Rowland (April, 2014).

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Today’s quote ~ April 20, 2014

“I am not a product of my circumstances.  I am a product of my decisions.”

Stephen Covey

I have previously mentioned how much of an admirer of Stephen Covey’s work I am and today I am sharing some of his words with you.   I believe it is not just the big decision but also the little decisions (throughout the day) that create our destiny and circumstances.   I wonder what little decision you have deliberately made today with your future in mind not just the moment.  Did you plant a tree to enjoy the shade in years to come, did you step away from the computer or study and spend some time baking cakes with family or maybe you took the long road home so you could enjoy some extra special time with a loved one?

Today I choose to be optimistic – to acknowledge my past and to step forward into the future with hope and confidence in my ability.   To accept the faith that others have in my ability to be strong and capable and stand tall.   There have been many people in my life who have helped and encouraged me to be where I am today.

Other people can usually see our faults and self-sabotage behaviours much easier than we can ourselves – sometimes it can be helpful to ask a good friend for just one suggestion on how they think you could improve your life and then take steps to do just that.

To those people who have helped me and given me suggestions in the past, I say ‘thank you’! I wish for you too dear reader, that you also would have someone in your day, someone special to give you a helping hand to step up and stand tall with courage.

Make good decisions my friend and create a life of contentment and well-being.

reference: http://www.verybestquotes.com

Posted in quotes | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What did I achieve last year?

We all start out the New Year with hopes and plans, even if they are not written down.  We may express our heart’s desire to our nearest and dearest – we are all hopeful for something.   I am aware that some people are just grateful to have survived the awful experiences of the previous year or maybe some recent bad health that has plagued their usual air of confidence and exuberance.

I wonder what your hope for 2014 is?

So, first things first.   I want to acknowledge my achievements before I look at any failures or things I could have done differently in the past year.

I set out last year with a plan of ‘less is more‘.   I wanted to reduce clutter and stuff and embrace more joy, love, acceptance and good use of time and space.  My hope was to have more order and contentment in my life, physically and emotionally.  I wanted to be available for new learning opportunities and beautiful experiences.

I thought it would be easier than it was.  Now here I am in 2014 and I look around me for evidence and clarity of the outcomes and achievements of my 2013 personal ‘strategic plan’.

When we are being self critical or minimising our achievements, evidence of good work is not easy to see.  With significant change there is always a transition period.  There is a time of transition from stage one to stage two.  From what was to what will be.  It is a bit like crossing a river or chasm, we need to first step onto the bridge and travel across before we arrive at the other side (or stage two).  During the transition period, self doubt creeps in and we don’t always feel confident or capable in our new way of being. Indeed we sometimes feel quite awkward and fake.   Our awareness and alertness is sharp, we are ready and prepared to notice any lack of progress or moments of relapse.

I choose to focus on the positive …

  • Last year I enrolled in a new ‘short term’ study area and have completed 80% toward that Diploma.  If all goes according to plan I will have achieved and completed this study by mid-year 2014.
  • I have continued in my ‘long term’ studies and have now completed (and passed) eleven units.  I am continuing in this during 2014 and have started study in a new unit this month.   I took some time off this study area during late 2013 to focus more on family, well-being and the ‘short term’ study previously mentioned.
  • I have sorted, organised and cleared areas of my house and home and moved some things on to be put to good use in another area of the community and society. That is, I have donated items to charity or the re-cycling process.
  • I have asked for help with adjusting my finances, superannuation and insurance arrangements and feel more confident that this area is in a much better shape than it was in 2012.
  • I have shared some dreams and plans with a good friend that has allowed me (and also my dear friend) to make progress, realise our steps towards our achievements and be motivated to continue positively with daily actions and weekly tasks.
  • I have made an effort each month to notice the good work I do in my ‘day to day’ job and thank the universe for the opportunity to nurture and support others in their ‘day-to-day’ job or life’s journey.  I also thank the universe and the powers that be for my weekly wage and purpose in my day.
  • I have maintained a healthier sleep routine.  Sleep is my sanity and my dream space, it is where I process the day, preparing and strengthen my physical and mental body to cope with the next day and any new challenge that I may encounter.
  • I have become more aware of the routines and rituals that I have (unknowingly) adopted over time.  Becoming more aware does not mean to me that I have to change right now – it means that I am more aware of the benefits and reasons to change (or to stay the same) and then I make the choice to do so (or not).  I still enjoy my morning coffee, but I now listen to the sounds of the early morning birdsong more than the early morning radio that I used to awaken to.
  • I use my Franklin Covey planner every day to plan my daily actions and tasks as well as prepare for social events, spiritual meditation and emotional nurturing.
  • I have tended my garden, planting, weeding, clipping and watering and have given up on the excuse that I don’t have time, I am not very skilled or any other neighbourhood reality – that when explored fully is just another excuse to not achieve or not create maybe from fear that someone or something will destroy or damage my creativity.  I accept and celebrate that my ‘being and doing’ is more important to my overall well-being and personal success than someone else’s ‘being and doing’.

… and I feel content in my progress and achievement thus far!

Posted in good intentions | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Silence is within!

This week has been a beautiful week for me.

It started with a very social weekend with two days of numerous intimate and lively conversations with dear friends, both well-known and new.  I met with a distant cousin for the first time and we exchanged photos and facts on family history.  It seems that my mother’s mother was her mother’s father’s father’s sister.  Don’t you just love old family photos?  What year do you think this photo was taken?

Tasmanian family history

Tasmanian family history

I visited a ‘spiritual friend’ whose company was delightful and inspirational.  We have similar interests in many things.  She shared with me about her experiences and a home that she lived in some years ago that was (wait for it)  … the home of my dreams, my fantasy home.  I was amazed!  It was like she was telling me about my home in a past or future life and it was quite an emotional moment for me.   Her garden at her home is also delightful and it is easy to see that she and her partner have spend many hours nurturing their garden and home.  It reminded me that planting a garden is for the benefit of the soil and the earth.   Yet so many times I hear people talk as if gardening is something you do to ‘sell’ a house – not because you live in that house and home and love it.

flowers of blue - surviving the generations

flowers of blue – surviving the generations

Then I met up with four (lifelong) friends for a delicious evening of food and companionship. We first met when our children were young, preschool years and we are still friends today.  At that time in the early days, we talked about education and school, maintaining and surviving relationships and how to discipline our children.  Now when we are together, we talk about travel, gardening, our delight in our children’s achievements and our concerns for the environment and politics.  It is very special to feel so safe with someone that you can comfortably express your political view or personal and individual disappointments.

I sat with my Mother Dearest to share the photos and the family stories from our distant cousin.  Mother recalled to me conversations and events of the past and how her mother’s sister would visit their home by horse and carriage.  My mother would rush out to open the gate of the long drive for her Auntie.  Auntie would sit in the carriage for the full visit and my mother (as a young girl) would take out a cup of tea for the visitor and her Mother (my grandmother).  A cup of tea to enjoy while they had their family and social chat.   Such special stories to hear and visualise. (if I close my eyes softly I can see a hazy picture of that long drive and the stately woman dressed in black and a beautiful hat sitting in the carriage, sipping tea from a fine china cup with a pretty saucer).  Mother Dearest told me that Auntie could not leave the horse unattended – so they had their cup of tea outside.

Then, before I dived into Monday I enjoyed a looooooooong conversation with my sister as we planned and contemplated an overseas family holiday.  How much fun would it be to travel together and visit places I have never seen before in this lifetime?  To create memories together and share in that beautiful relationship that is sisterly love.  I have collected some pictures and travel brochures to pin onto my vision board in preparation to conjure up this experience for my future.  Vision boards are such a fun thing and a reminder for me of what I hope and plan for the future.

So much conversation and so much companionable joy in those two days, that I needed to stop and absorb it all.  So that it would stay with me, to motivate and encourage me for the coming week.  And it has.   We all need a little spiritual propping up occasionally.

This week my heart and soul is content.  Silence is within me and I turn off the radio each morning as I instead revel in the quiet that is within my heart.  I am so grateful for the beauty in the trees and flowers that are around me, the garden of the Earth.  I listen to the wind rustling the leaves of the trees.  I am confident in the knowledge that I belong here.   I am content as I become increasing aware that I am connected with love to both the past and to the future – I am indeed a child of the universe.

Ah!  I stop and breathe in that silence!

This post is inspired by Daily Post Writing Challenge (February 17, 2014)

This week, we’re asking you to make “silence” a presence in your post. We promise, it’s not as counter-intuitive as it sounds! (Erica, DPchallenge)

Posted in good intentions, photos | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weekly photo challenge ~ object

Weekly photo challenge ~ object

This object is a jar of possibilities and achievements!  It can be beneficial to keep track of all the great things that happen over a set period (for example the calendar year of 2014).  One way is to write each success or positive experience on a piece of paper and put it in a jar (or tin).  Then at the end of the year, you will have some great insight on the wonderful achievements and joyful moments of your year.  A tool, an object, a thing that can prompt you to remember those beautiful and inspirational moments ..  and celebrate!
This post was inspired by WordPress weekly photo challenge (January 31, 2014).

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

A social life

The phone has not rung for a week (the requests for donations and invitations to participate in social research do not count).

A pile of unopened mail sits on the desk (why open them, I know they are just unpaid bills or work related newsletters).

There are no social appointments in the diary (unless I count the weekly family visits – and can I call them ‘social’, there is a social element to them).   Nothing fun or exciting is booked or planned for the next month!   What I am talking about here, is the face-to-face social life dear reader, as opposed to the community of blogging (see zero to hero).

This is not probably not a social life, my friend – this could be considered an isolated way of living.

But wait, maybe this is a good thing!  Being isolated from other, being reclusive.

If one is looking to reduce clutter and waste in their day and seeking for a simple and more honest life then maybe a quiet month of self reflection and contemplation is what is needed in order to clarify that which is important and real.  It can be easy to prop-up the social calender with events and occasions that are based on other people’s interest, sense of duty or fear of loneliness.  If this is the case and a busy social life is based on activities to avoid honest reflection and integrity and also to avoid criticism from others (of what they think you ‘should‘ be doing), then maybe it is a gift that I have been given this week.  Plus, I have time for blogging and to share these reflective thoughts with you. (she smiles)

A gift of time – to stand tall, to be authentic and to live by my values creating a life I am proud of, not one based on the expectations and belief of others.

daily opportunity for integrity

January – daily opportunity for integrity

May you have time to connect with what is important for your well-being, based on the essence of your spiritual self.

Posted in good intentions | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Book …

“So, I agree to meet her!

In a Pub, in the city.  It is midweek and the after work drinkers are already at the bar enjoying their first drink, families are checking out the menu in preparation for an easy tea together.   It is 6pm.  It looks like a regular and routine occasion for all.

But, this is NOT routine for me and I sit awkwardly with a glass of white wine – away from the ‘happy hour’ crowd – waiting and trying to look comfortable and confident.  I shift in my seat.  I glance around hoping I will recognise her when she enters the room.

There she is.   She smiles as she walks toward me …”

This is my story of a long, uncomfortable and complicated relationship with ‘Cupid’.   Someone told me the truth once (their version) at the beginning but I did not hear, or maybe I was just not listening  –  I knew they did not understand either.

I tell you this story to protect you (although it probably won’t) and to heal myself.  Life is complicated and we all have our lessons to learn.  Life is also full of hope and sprinkled with many humorous and lovely moments.  Read on and I will share some of the amusing and weird stories during my friendship with ‘Cupid’.

Like the story of the young lover who was waiting in the garden shed …. or the passionate moment in public …  and that weird situation at the airport departure gate!

My apologies now if you recognise yourself in this book of love and relationships – let’s not make the same mistakes twice!

Hindsight is a wonderful thing.  Maybe I should have called the book ‘Hindsight‘.

I hope you enjoy reading about my discomfort and my complicated conversations.

~ This post was inspired by BYOB(ookworm) WordPress challenge. ~

Posted in books & authors | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments