Italy, it’s woven into my heart beat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I needed to go back and to find a piece of my heart. It was still there where I knew it would be, I just needed to go back and find it again. 

Rejoin the jigsaw.

 

Seventeen years it took me to get back to Italy. Seventeen years that had been filled with life, a deliciously full life, but now it was time to go back. This time I would be returning not alone as I had done in previous times, but with a family. My family that was ready to embrace all things Italian.

And weave a little of Italy into their heart beat.

 

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Sticky buns and spices

With three days to go until Cinnamon Bun Day, I thought it might be a good time to refresh the sourdough starter and stock up on some of those all important spices, cinnamon and cardamom. A whole day designated for sweet nordic baked goodies? Yes indeed.

Over the blogging years I’ve done quite a few posts on variations of these delicious little morsels. If you are new to cityhippyfarmgirl.com and are keen to give them a try, or perhaps need a refresher on how to twist or bake them. There are a few posts to choose from.

How to twist your kanelbullar, and my favourite recipe can be found here. 

The Challenge of the Sea

 

I had set myself a goal. Swim through as much of winter as I could. As long as I got further into the year than I did last year, I would be happy. If I managed to get to Spring? Ah yes, that would be a cracker of an achievement indeed.

Each year that I’ve set this goal, I’ve gone just a little bit more, a little further into the depths of winter. Solstice, no problem. July done and dusted, and then August? I danced the joyous awkward dance of someone with freezing numb wet feet.

Now if I could get to August, surely I could get to September swimming in the cool water oceans wilds?

Surely.

With a determined glint in the eye, and so I did. I swam through winter and straight into spring, and now that I’ve done it once, a precedent has been set. The challenge has been marked. This is something that I’m not sure I would have been able to do if I hadn’t been doing my sunrise swimmers project.

Having this connection to these wonderful people I think has helped me find something that I wasn’t even aware I was looking for.

Life Skills

A few years back my small boy had one of the best teachers I’ve ever had the good fortune to come across. Seriously this man was incredible. Along with keeping the kids up to speed with all the normal school curriculum, he used to throw in a few extras like a regular Dance Party, and Life Skills with Mr P. While I’m a huge fan of any dancing in a regular day it’s the Life Skills one that stuck with me. How it worked, was he wanted to teach the kids some of the things that he wished someone had taught him when he was a kid.

Pretty simple right? The kids loved it. They hung on every word he gave them and with the stories that were told, my son placed his young teacher a little further up onto his complete and utter hero pedestal. Was their parent support? You betcha.

Fast forward to now, and lately I’ve been thinking about my own life skills I’m passing on. Some are formed by osmosis, and others I have to make a concerted effort to make sure they are taught. For me making time for this important. It doesn’t always happen at the time I would like, but it’s still important.

While there aren’t set lists, (besides knowing your food, cooking, growing, reading and how to swim of course.) Those small moments in the day can often create huge amounts of opportunity for spontaneous life lessons. Things that come about after a conversation being had, an opportunity that’s jumped out, or perhaps it’s just something that might have been thought of as we are trucking along one day.

Different environments present different learning possibilities and while I would love to be showing my kids how amazing building your own rocket stove is, or the consequences of damming up a small body of moving water, for the moment I have to work with what I have.

There are so many things to be learnt in life, and I know I’m not ever going to even begin to cover them all. How could I when I’m still learning myself?

What’s important for me is cultivating an environment for questions. Eternal curiosity, creating big and little things, reading, making stuff, and always growing something. By doing this, hopefully it all just continues to build from there.

To those teachers whether within a school or life teachers who make learning exciting,  passing on lessons in fun accessible ways, making kids/people just want to know more, are gold. Bloody gold. While I can’t replicate Mr P, I can offer my own version of lessons in life skills, and with that I’m hopeful those steps are something that my kids in turn will be able to build up from.

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What’s on your list for necessary Life Skills? 

How to have a conversation?

How to open a can without a can opener?

What kneading dough until smooth looks like?

Manners?

Knowing what to do when there is nothing to do?

What to do with mushy bananas?

How to take a pallet apart?

Public speaking?

How to sprout things?

How to light a fire without matches?

A Cacophony of Thoughts

Ponders, musings and rather ignited thoughts. That’s the state of things round these parts at the moment. I’ve flitted from one topic to another in an effort to write a post this morning. With thoughts dancing all over the shop, I suspect it’s just easier to run with what I really have in there.

Unordered, and certainly not perfectly word formed. Not this week anyway, today I’m not going to project that into a calming post. Instead a cacophony of words and thoughts in a stream of conscious writing style. I’d love to have your thoughts on any of them that might resonate, (or feel free to add your own- obscurities most welcome, or maybe you’ve had something you’ve been mulling over during the week that really could use an airing.)

WIKIPEDIA: In literary criticismstream of consciousness is a narrative mode or method that attempts to depict the multitudinous thoughts and feelings which pass through the mind.

 

What’s your story? (Not what do you do, because that’s one of the most tiresome question surely.) But what’s your story? If you were free to describe yourself to a stranger in written form, what would you write? How do you define yourself when there are seemingly no parametres? 

What is freedom? How do you speak of freedom? What does it mean to you? For each person depending on their circumstances that answer is going to vary of course. But for you…what does freedom mean for you? Are you free? (I took quite a long time to get a wobbly answer for this one.)

Is challenging yourself a curious human trait, that other animals simply don’t do, because they don’t need to? Why do some people challenge themselves mentally, physically, creatively and others, this will be of no interest what so ever. An easy contentment with what they have surrounding them… Why rock the boat unless you have to?

Creativity and silent gender narratives, how do they impact your life? Can you put a price on your creativity if it’s to be sold? How do you speak of your creativity and all its many facets? Own it, or a little apologetic? Why?

While it truly has been a cacophony of thoughts the last week, it’s been a good thing. I’ve liked the challenge, the why’s, the push, the questioning, the pondering, and it’s certainly caused a rejig of a few things round here.

For that I’m grateful.

 


Stream of conscious writing is also great method for unlocking some of that creative goodness, that on occasion can get a little stuck. No rules. No time frames. Just get in there. 

 

 

 

For the love of a good book

With school school holidays round these parts recently, while I’d like to say I ripped through a couple of books in two short weeks, I, err, didn’t. However I have puttered through a handful of them since the start of the year and am always open to other suggestions, (even if it takes awhile to get to them.)

The last weeks I haven’t even bothered opening a book because The Handmaids Tale happened. Have you watched it? Did you blitz through it in a haze of tightened stomachs, and firmly held breath? Of course you did, that’s how everyone seems to have been watching it. If you haven’t I highly recommend hot footing to your local streaming service and get viewing. I. can. not. recommend. it. enough.

But for now, it’s back to the books.

On the ever-increasing wobbly tower of must have books by the bed side table…

The Summer Book- Tove Janssen

Lombardia

Speaking Out- Tara Moss

Truly Madly Guilty- Liane Moriarty

Humans of New York- Brandon Stanton

First we make the Beast Beautiful- Sarah Wilson

How not to Die- Michael Greger

Womankind Magazine

Earth Garden Magazine

…and of course a few a others

 

Any suggestions? What else should be added to that pile?

What are you reading at the moment?

 

Damn straight your coffee makes a difference

So you plan your coffee drinking, you take your reusable cup everywhere just in case, (and you obviously drink organic fairtrade locally roasted beans.) Now if by chance you do forget to bring that when the caffeine call goes out? Well, you decide to sit down and drink it, or simply do with out.

Which is all rather excellent. But what next? How can we go that step further in reducing the 1 billion coffee cups that Australia goes through each year?

Talking with a friend recently who held a chai market stall, and was offering a discount if you brought your own cup. Not one person did throughout the day. Which is pretty disappointing really. Speaking again with another friend, I was appalled to hear that in recent times she had been charged extra to get her take away coffee, in her own cup.

There’s obviously still a fair amount of misunderstanding and opportunity for education still to take place.

Which is where you, the humble consumer gets to step in. While your individual coffee habit is clean as whistle, there are still multiple opportunities to step and lead the community. The ABC’s War on Waste is still a talking point for many people, so it’s created the perfect vehicle for conversation, and if you didn’t happen to see it, or know of the program at all, well, all problems highlighted on the show are going to be relevant for some time, so jump on in.

But how?

Start by hitting up your local community.

Here in Australia we have a great website called Responsible Cafes. Simply type in your address and it will show all the cafes around you that give a discount on your take away coffee if you bring your own cup.

To me this illustrates a few things. One, you are spending your important dollar on a business that is making a conscious decision in making an effort (albeit a small one.) Two, there’s a dramatic reduction in needless landfill, and three, hey, you get a discount.

If you find there are cafes in your area that aren’t listed, why not start that wonderful conversation at your local.

Ask if it’s possible. Generally cafe owners will respond to customers demands, if enough people ask for bowls of green diana-berry smoothies. Well they are going to fill that demand.

Same goes for those takeaway coffee cups. The way you drink it makes a difference. What it comes in makes a difference, and those conversations that you start?

They make a huge difference.

 

Helpful Links 

Responsible Cafes

War on Waste

Fixing your coffee Habit

 

 

 

Winter solstice

Winter solstice sunrise swim.

An early morning, when you question your sanity briefly, while taking off your two jackets, looped woollen scarf and gloves.

To submerge your exposed white body in water that threatens to take your entire breath away.

Hold tight you got this one.

Exhale and in.

(And of course it was worth it. Every. Single. Time.)

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For the fellow sea lovers out there. Take a peek at this truly beautiful little film. Divine.

 

It’s all pretty exciting really

It’s 5.15am and your alarm goes off.

Outside is dark. Stars still stand defiantly in the night sky as sunrise isn’t for another good hour and a quarter yet. You stumble into your swim suit, add another 6 layers over the top and silently tip toe out of the house, bundled up like a marshmallow woman. It is after all 7C out.

The trick is don’t let the cold sneak in. Don’t let it.

The stars are still there as you arrive. Looking our over the flood lit pool, and watching the wind whip up over the tops of the waves, you question yourself briefly. Although these days, the why no longer comes into it, it’s just something you do.

You wait patiently for the sun to arrive.

Swimming at sunrise at Merewether Ocean Baths throughout the year isn’t something that appeals to the masses (especially during these winter months), and yet to a select group of people this is the secret to a well lived life.

For over a year now I’ve been documenting these sunrise people, a visual story culminating in an exhibition scheduled for early next year. Over the next six months I will be sharing snippets of these ocean lovers, the magic of sunrise and a tiny part of the process in what it takes to create a body of work for exhibiting.

I hope you’ll jump on board for the journey, it’s a really exciting one that I’m tickled pink to be able to share.

In other news, there is a new website of mine if you are keen for a peek, and if you are still keen as a bean in finding out a few more super fascinating facts about me, I was kindly invited over for a lovely chat at Duckfeet on their Duckfeatures series.

Hope your week to come is good one dear people.