I've mentioned before that I'm a member of a show choir called the Sunbury Divas. We are working on some new repertoire that is 30's and 40's inspired - think Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, Judy Garland, Gershwin and Cole Porter. These are songs my grandparents would have listened to in their hey day, and if you are in your 20's, maybe even your great grandparents.
There is something smooth and soothing about them. There's a certain swell and sway to the music. Don't get me wrong, I love modern music (I am a huge Foo Fighters fan) but most modern music has a really fast beat - we are always rushing to say what we have to say. Compared to our fascination with up tempo, these 30's and 40's songs drip it out like melted butter. It's pretty awesome. Here are some of my favourites -
• Summertime by Ella Fitzgerald (written by George Gershwin in 1935)
• Night and Day by Ella Fitzgerald (written by Cole Porter in 1932)
• Get Happy by Judy Garland (written by Harold Arlen & Ted Koehler in 1930)
• You Made Me Love You by Doris Day (written by James Monaco & Joseph McCarthy in 1913)
• Sentimental Journey by Doris Day (written by Les Brown, Ben Homer & Arthur Green in 1944)
and my absolute favourite is......(I swear will you feel instantly relaxed listening to this)
• Dream A little Dream of Me by Ella Fitzgerald (written by Fabian Andre, Wilbur Schwandt & Gus Kahn in 1931)
Anything and everything! I'm not sure if its because of the freezing cold weather in Melbourne or because I've been a bit down lately but for some reason I've been craving comfort food (which is unlike me normally).
Unfortunately, this comfort food craving has involved all the things that have a ZILLION calories - roast pork and the crackling, camembert cheese, and chocolate - pounds of it! Its like I'm trying to sabotage myself. And I don't like it. I don't even want to know how many grams of fat are in a wheel of camembert *sigh*.
Something must be done. I'm pretty sure I said exactly the same thing about an exercise routine a few weeks ago and we all know how far that has gone. Exactly no where! I did read a fantastic post by Daisy over at Daisy, Roo and Two about her weight loss efforts which has inspired me. I think I need Daisy to come over here and kick my ass into gear! Or maybe I should just get off my ass, stop eating camembert cheese and go for a walk.
Back to my coffee habit again. I'm almost ashamed of it - its like a crack addiction. Sometimes I think its the only thing keeping me
sane awake (well, that, and the 2 sugars I have with each coffee) and its costing me about $10 a day, tsk tsk.
I think coffee has become my crutch, and that's not a good thing. Greg from over at Hiking Fiasco (a very hilarious chap who has me in stitches with his posts) was talking recently about his change to drinking tea. When I was pregnant with No. 3 I could not get enough of green tea - I would sometimes have 3 cups in a row! - but once the
8 pound plus watermelon precious child was pushed forth from my loins you couldn't have paid me to drink the stuff. Weird.
All in all, I think green tea is a much healthier alternative. Good for the mind, body and spirit. And it has NO calories unlike my full milk coffee with 2 sugars. I am a little worried about what will happen if I go cold turkey with my coffee addiction. Watch out friends, family and innocent bystanders who cross my path , this might not be pretty!
The ONLY things I have been gadding about in lately are hideous tracksuit pants that I believe I wore during my last pregnancy, three and a half years ago, plus assorted t-shirts that usually double as nightwear.
You know those floppy, comfy clothes that you sloth around in and just PRAY no one sees you. You know they look hideous, you know they will make you look like you have gained 15 kilos and you know you will make justifications to yourself like 'well, Im not getting out of the car when I do the school pick up so it doesn't really matter if I wear these all day'.
And even worse than that, I've been going bra-less. This is a sure sign I am letting myself go. I've breastfed 4 kids....these boobs should not be unfettered in public. I feel like a prime candidate for 'People of Walmart'.
Yep, I'm seeing a pattern here folks. Comfort food, comfort coffee, comfort clothes. Something is not all right in the hen house.
I have started my new book about Billy Sing, the Gallipoli sniper, but I'm not far enough into it to do a review. Apart from that, the only other thing I have read recently is a copy of 'Shop Til You Drop' magazine which I bought on a sudden impulse. I used to buy fashion magazines religiously (click here to read about my compulsion which ultimately almost led to the Rock God's early demise) but its been years since I went out and bought a magazine.
Now, either I have just become too old and crusty to appreciate style anymore, or I have absolutely no idea what is in fashion these days because there were some SHOCKERS in that magazine.
Apparently, a pair of leather shorts, smaller than my underpants, which lace up from the crotch to the navel are 'on trend'. Where these would be worn, and by whom, is beyond me. I can only imagine the wearer would look like an outdoorsy pole dancer.
Other frankly bizarre suggestions included buying your dad a set of cushions shaped like moustaches for Fathers Day (for the bargain price of $70). I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure my dad would not know what to do with a moustache cushion....or any other type of cushion for that matter. In my experience I have found that men, in general, are not cushion people. Give my dad a beach chair with a hole in the armrest for holding a stubby and he's happy until next year.
And don't get me started on "fashion's match of the moment"....tangerine and neon pink eyeshadow. Unless you appeared in a Wham video back in 1985 and are performing some kind of tribute show, tangerine and neon pink eyeshadow should stay on the catwalk.
Meh. Its back to crap. Spring did live here briefly but then it pissed off to Aruba or somewhere much more pleasant than freezing cold Melbourne. Even Spring couldn't stand the weather here! I know I'm always complaining about the weather....I've had a lifetime of lovely Western Australian weather where its warm from September to April and this is a huge readjustment for me. On a plus note, Melbourne has more beautiful flowering trees than any city I've seen and the spring blossoms are just gorgeous.
I want a holiday. I'm in two minds really. I would love another holiday down at Phillip Island with the boys where we spend hours on the beach, walking on the rocks and playing in the sand. Where we creep out at night with our torches and look for wallabies and possums. Where everything is more relaxed, we don't have to rush around from one thing to another and there is no routine. Where you can smell the salt in the air and hear the waves on the shore and its just peaceful and perfect. Ahhhh.
The other holiday I have in mind is just for me. A writing/meditation retreat in Bali. Away from all the distractions, away from everyone I know. Time to write. Time to sit in quiet solitude and reflect on my life and my attitudes and my well being. Next year I will be 40 and I feel a need to take stock of my life and focus on my future for the next 10 years. Sure, I could do this at home. But a tropical holiday in Bali sounds soooooo much better!
Unfortunately, in the last 2 weeks, my house has become inhabited by the Bill Monster. In fact, close to $3,000 in bills has just come walking through my door. There goes the holiday idea.
Writing this post has made me realise that I've got myself into a bit of a rut these past couple of weeks. Its easy to do, especially when you are bouncing from one episode of chaos to another (and there has been PLENTY of those in the last few weeks) and don't have to time to ask yourself why you are doing the things you are doing.
At the moment I feel like everything is a fight. The Rock God and I are not in a good place relationship wise, AGAIN. My 8 year old has been suspended from school for a week for completely outrageous behaviour (and is currently upstairs in his bedroom having a tanty about breaking a piece of lego - international world crisis, people!). And I've already mentioned the Bill Monster who had decided to move in and take over the house.
Everything is a struggle and I feel like I am constantly fighting battles. Battles which I can't win. Or don't have the strategies to win. Or, which aren't actually winnable but involve surrender instead. And I don't do surrender.
On this note, a lovely friend of mine was recently talking about Russ Harris's book "The Happiness Trap" which is about Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). I checked out the website and his theories reminded me of those by the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietszche.
In effect, Nietszche's philosophy on happiness is that life is about survival (just like the stone age hunter/gatherers), navigating a series of problems and challenges, and only scattered with brief moments of happiness. Nietszche said 'Man does not strive after happiness; only the Englishman does that'. In effect, happiness is a 'first world' pursuit. We spend so much of our time TRYING to be happy or buying our way to happiness that we actually make ourselves unhappy because its a futile exercise. We are not here to be happy, we are here to survive. Brief moments of happiness are just a side effect of that, as are strength and resilience built up from episodes of pain and loss.
I tend to identify with Nietszche's philosophy on happiness. Unfortunately, Nietszche ended up stark raving bonkers and was committed to an asylum in his 40's. Interesting.
At the moment I am really enjoying writing. I have been taking part in Ink, Paper, Pen's "Write on Wednesday" challenges and these have been a great help in shaking off the cobwebs and get the pen moving again.
I have also submitted a short story (700 words or under) that I wrote a while ago to the EJ Brady Writing Competition run by the Mallacoota Arts Council. I'm actually pretty chuffed that I have done this. Its definitely a step forward in getting back to work on my book (more on this here).
And I'm really enjoying my blogging and reading other blogs too. So, if you are here now and reading this post - thank you, you've made me very happy (if only briefly hahaha).