I’m a person with stuff

Have you ever just stopped and thought about stuff?

There are days (everyday), where I sit at my desk, swivel from side to side, and marvel at the ‘stuff’ that surrounds me.

I think you can tell a lot about a person, from the stuff they keep.

Here are somethings from my desk:

  • TYPO Journals (Do you ever ask yourself What If? 100 things to do before I kick the bucket)
  • A magnetic board with a Japanese Cat and a quote ‘Not all Who Wander are Lost’
  • Fake Sunflowers from IKEA
  • Pens & Pencils perched in mugs to nice to drink tea from
  • A box of tea still in christmas wrapping paper
  • Ravenclaw lanyard with Platform 9 3/4 Ticket attached
  • Passport

What does my stuff say about me? I don’t know. I like pretty things. I like to travel. I like the idea of the indeterminate road, it has the aroma of opportunity. I like tea, but apparently not enough to take it downstairs and brew a cup – perhaps sign of a hurried life? Nope, that’s not it.

YOU TELL ME in the comments below.

I have been criticised about the chaos. But I love the way it is. I find inspiration and opportunity in unattended mediums. In my heart I am an artist, it just doesn’t execute well in practice. As seen here:

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This is what happens when I am left alone with my Sharpies for too long. I start to doodle. This piece of random happened yesterday. I’ve recently discovered New Yorker Casey Neistat on Youtube, and found myself on his Facebook page, where he was hosting a live session. For the better part of an hour, thousands of users watched him open boxes.

The curiosity behind what he had been sent, was more compelling than Damon Salvatore (TVD Fans will understand).  We watched him pillage through each box throwing the cardboard to the sides. The commentary was hilarious, there are some fans out there guilty for misinterpreting his T-shirt size, the knife & bin bag person just screams ‘stalker alert’ and I’m pretty sure the box of popcorn went straight to his heart, we know the giant Hershey’s bar did. It was a lot of stuff, really random stuff. But, it is Casey’s stuff… and I think it is shouts modern day ‘New Yorker’!

Well, that was my thought on stuff. I’d love to know what you think…

Beijing Shenanigans #4

Today’s adventure started on the subway to Tiantandongmen – home of the Temple of Heaven.

Inside the green-roofed gates and amongst the Phoenix trees we found collections of women dancing in unison, little boys playing Hackensack, aged men with their cards and women with their knitting needles.

Our guide tells us that once upon a time the gardens were for the emporer only and it was only in recent history opened to the public. I wonder what he would think of the fun and frivolity happening amongst the lawns.

The temple of heaven is where the emporer came to pray and make sacrifice to the Gods. He had a little round disc in the centre of a giant circular platform where he stood facing three lanterns in the west… Beyond the ceremonial platforms were burners where the sacrificed would be burnt. It wasn’t hard it imagine what the waft of cooked meat would smell like thanks to the vendor tucked in between the trees. One of his delicacies were chips and ice cream…

Amongst the people, the many many people, were a group of young Asian school boys who greeted my brother and asked him questions in English. Their mother explained to me and our guide that the boys come from the city to the park to practice and engage in conversational English. It was inspiring to watch such young people eager to learn…

Next stop, after an hour bus ride across town, was Beijing Zoo! Our mission to see the panda (da xiong mao) was achieved… Albeit lasting a split second after the crowd push me forward enough to catch a glimpse of Mr.P as he sat up from the corner. We also saw lions, tigers and bears… Oh my, I may burst into song. The funniest scene was watching a mother monkey pull her son by his tail back into the safety of the tree after he curiously leapt to the window to greet all the visitors lining the glass walls.

By mid-afternoon everyone was weary from walking and the humidity wasn’t helping… But we just had one more place to embark before we said Zai Jian and that was the Lama Temple slightly north of the city…

Lama Temple, one of few places in Beijing honouring Tibetan Buddhism. Similarly constructed to other buildings of its era there were a series of halls with Buddhas to pray to; medicine, longevity etc… At the front of most were incense burners. Three incense sticks representing past, future and present burned as they prayed. The highlight and the wowza of the day was the 18-metre tall Buddha hiding in the back hall of the temple. It holds the Guinness world record for tallest Buddha and really is a sight to be seen.

So after forgoing the subway home for a taxi and having a nice long hot bath we ventured back out into the night for dinner. Tonight’s destination hidden within the hutongs was a lovely oriental resteraunt. Tucked I’m the corner I enjoy a glass of red wine as the hostess bang the gong in arrival of our Bejing Peking Duck where we watched the chef carve before our eyes. To say it was yum doesn’t do it justice… It was amazing!

Tomorrow is quieter we are off to Capital Museum and the bargaining in the silk market 🙂

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Beijing Shenanigans #3

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Today as we descended through the hotel lobby we were greeted by our tour guide Sarah and her driver Mr. Zheng who provided us with water and whisked us away in a beautifully air conditioned car.

As the vehicle danced and dodged its way through Beijing traffic I watched as the hutongs and skyscrapers disappeared behind us as open country beckoned on the horizon…

About 70km north east of the city nestled in the mountains is the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China (known to locals as ChangCheng or the long wall). Tall stones of brick shaped to the terrain of the mountains snakes it’s way through the vast greenery. It was interesting to note that the water drainage only flows out onto the Beijing side of the wall so the villagers below can utilise the water. The fortresses themselves were dark and on so heavenly cool especially after a sweltering hike up the endless stairs. We’d got the chair lift to fortress six and made our way west with the idea of reaching 14… I accepted defeat just after fortress 9… I think my dreams of being a Chinese warrior are over! We finished our walling adventure with a toboggan ride down…. All I remember are valleys of green and burning fingers as my hand clasped the overheated plastic brake handle… But the experience itself was amazing!

From the Wall we drove an hour to the north east of the city to the Summer Palace. Where we learn it is the empress dowager who really had the power. As Sarah told us the stories and history it reminded me of one of my favourite lines “the man may be the head of the house but the woman is the neck”…

Lots of dragon statues (representation of power) and Phoenix (symbol of the empress). In part of the Summer Palace the Phoenix statue stands centrally where the dragon is put to the side. Perhaps symbolically representing what I mentioned before.

As we strolled alongside the lake and long corridor of the gardens I imagined this almost porcelain empress with her summer umbrella floating beneath the pavilion. In reality it was over flowing with tourists and visitors keen to take snapshots of lotus leaves and dragon boats. Yes, I was one of them.

Weary we ended our day at our new favourite Beijing resteraunt: The Sunshine Kitchen (tang cheng xiao chu)… Broccoli & Cauliflower Curry was the hit of the night, alongside some scrumptious s&s pork and tantalising dumplings… Even writing now makes me yearn for more… Mmmm…

Next: Beijing Zoo, Temple of Heaven & Lama Temple

Beijing Shenanigans #1

Day One:

Patchwork pavement and hutongs hidden in between busy bustling streets of pedestrians, cars, cyclists and rickshaws.

The rules are: There are no rules!

It’s all open to suggestion and mostly interpretation.

After a long flight from Melbourne this sleepy girl walked into summer and oh my! It hid hard, very hard. Within seconds she had shed the multiple layers of winter wardrobes and was shuffling through an Asian filled city looking for reprieve.

Her first afternoon was spent in a shopping plaza home to an assortment of mechanical dinosaurs and all to familiar retail chains. Except everything was written in hanzi – it was VERY disorientating!

But she found her way and before long she was strolling alongside the hutongs in search of sustenance. She came across a bright red cafe filled with happy smiling Asians so decided to venture forth.

Her biggest challenge: CHOPSTICKS

She’s never caught onto the idea and never been good at it. Tonight was no exception… She did manage to hold them in a rather special way and is sure the chefs behind the shiny silver grills were having a good laugh at her expense. Although despite the grease going EVERYWHERE she did her most dumplings and pork balls where they were meant to be… And it was a yummy introduction to Chinese cuisine!

Now of to neverneverland before Day 2 comes and she finds herself in the Forbidden City…

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There’s just something about Jane…

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

Why I love Pride & Prejudice 200 years later… 

She’s timeless…

If we were to reach back into history and pull the Bennet sisters into the 21st century they familial dynamics would be the same. Imagine, Mr Bennet, owner of a English country home trying to pay the mortgage and manage his wife’s anxiety (nerves). Undoubtedly, Mrs Bennet would be in regular therapy over her daughters. Lizzy and Jane would yes still be living at home (have you seen rental prices lately). Kitty and Lydia would be permanently attached to their iPhones facebooking and twittering with every boy in the county and Mary, would naturally be the over achieving geek. She would probably be a bit like me studying Sociology and Literature at university and be a big fan of Jane Austen.

Her theory on mothers and marriage still apply today… 

Bridget Jones, anyone? We all know this modern day version of Pride & Prejudice and I think it is a good example of what I’m saying. Correct me if I’m wrong but, I am sure that every late-twenty-early-thirty-something-single-woman that has a mother is familiar with the unwanted brainstorming of perhaps-an-arranged-marriage; or ‘you know that guy from that place’ well Mrs said he was single why don’t you both meet up. Not to mention my favourite… ‘we have puppies because you refuse to give us grandchildren’ guilt trip.

But mum, “I’m waiting for Mr Darcy…”

This has become my own personal response to the worn out question ‘why are you still single?’ or ‘when are you settling down’.

When I was a little girl I watched Disney. Disney taught me empowerment and how Prince Charming was going to come along and rescue us from our boring mundane lives. Well, as older and somewhat wiser we know Prince Charming or Mr Darcy doesn’t necessarily exist but what’s wrong with a little dreaming. If we have unrealistic expectations than perhaps allowing us to grow up watching Cinderella and reading about Mr Darcy wasn’t the best plan…. I’m just saying!

For me, marriage is still about forever. It is about happy ever after. Well maybe not ‘happy ever after’ but ‘happy to a reasonable degree ever after’. When I think of marriage, I think of Mr & Mrs Bennett, and Mr Bennett’s remark: ” You mistake me my dear, I have the utmost respect for your nerves. They’ve been my constant companion these twenty years”. That’s what I think marriage should be like.

What can I say like a good love story.

Which is perhaps the main reason I love Pride & Prejudice.

 

 

DP: Expectations

Expectation… a strong sense that something will happen.

When I wake up in the morning. I expect the sun to be shining through my window. I expect there to be a tram about 8am. I expect that the coffee shop will have my favourite bagel. I expect to have work on my desk. I expect to see certain people. I expect…

One day when it was raining and I mean really raining the tram that I expected to turn the corner on to the long narrow Miller Street decided to terminate at the depot. Although my house was 2 stops and a 10 minute walk – it was raining. So I pulled out my sleek black iPhone held it under my bag (to protect from the rain) and tentatively tapped the TramTracker icon… and the white circles rendered it dead. That was not what I expected. I was faced with a common dilemma experienced by West Prestonians – wait or walk. After waiting for an eternity (5 min) I decided to walk. When I finally got to my stoop, drowned rat and all, I went to pull out my house key which I expected to be in it’s little compartment next to my Myki card but alas it wasn’t there. That day was not how I expected to start my weekend.

Expectations shouldn’t be taken for granted. Just because we have a strong sense something will happen doesn’t mean it will. I realise, that it wasn’t necessarily a ‘bad day’, it was deemed bad because it hadn’t met my expectations.

With that in mind, I believe I owe an apology to ‘Rain’. What happened wasn’t her fault, I’ve portrayed her as a strong character in my ‘bad day’ even though that was one thing I had expected… the weatherman had forecast rain the day before.

 

Prompt: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/great-expectations/

If I had a hammer….

If I had a hammer… well… I’d probably break a toe as soon as my clumsy fingers gripped it. Hammers, nails, drills… yeah, not really my cup of tea.

I remember one of my first “woodwork” class projects; we had to create a wooden-puppet-type-thing. The design aspect? Nailed it. I spent hours upon hours working out what it should like and how it should be. But when it came to cutting, sanding and shaping… You guessed it, I was at the back of the line of students eagerly trying to convince my best friend to do it for me. She didn’t. But a cute boy offered to do it for me. I was saved, and he would later become my first boyfriend.

Just like the lion, in the Wizard of Oz, all I craved is Courage.

So if I could learn any trade in the world, it’s this:

Carpentry –  *waits for the people who knows me to stop laughing* –  Seriously, I’d love to be able to wield a chainsaw and create shapes out of the forest (ironically, I’m against deforestation). I’d love to build something with my own two hands. Maybe a little cupboard for all my stuff, okay it might have to be a big cupboard. Or even better, perhaps I could create my own TARDIS.

Oh, If I had a hammer…

Inspired by http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/hammer/