everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

Finding Headspace

I have written about this before in various guises, but here is a simple truth about me: I am not always a great Completer-of-Things. Thinker-of-Things, most definitely. Planner-of-Things and even Starter-of-Things, absolutely. And if I ever get around to completing even a fraction of the things that I think or plan or start – or just dream about while I look out the window – look out, World.

However, since I am now 8/10 of the way through my current Headspace meditation trial, I figure that it’s safe to say that this is something I’ll definitely complete. And so I wanted to share it with you here, in case you haven’t heard of Headspace or their ‘gym membership for the mind’, starting with a free trial program of 10 minutes a day for 10 days.

According to their website (and, I’ve got to say, my experience over the past eight days), Headspace is all about ‘meditation made simple’. Not woo woo woo pan pipe music, cascading waterfalls and bird calls, but proven meditation techniques with a scientific foundation. Treat your head right is their tag line, which sounds like an excellent idea to me.

Headspace was started by Andy Puddicombe who, according to a quote on the website from the New York Times, “is doing for meditation what Jamie Oliver has done for food”. Only not charging quite so much (or offering branded tea towels and crockery, at this stage). I’d first seen Andy juggling his way through an interesting (and relatively short) TED talk – you can check it out here if you like – about the importance of mindfulness and, in a nutshell, making time to give our overly busy minds a rest on a regular basis. Another excellent idea.

On another topic, here are two giraffes that my lovely niece Ella and I met at Roar and Snore on Sunday morning.

Speaking of head space, here are two giraffes that my lovely niece Ella and I met at Roar and Snore on Sunday morning.

The Headspace site and app are easy to navigate, pretty to look at and fun to use. With clever animations and images, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that after I complete the initial 10 day challenge, I’m going to subscribe to get access to their other mindfulness and meditation wares. AND I WILL USE THEM. Look out, World!

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The Possum and the Parsley

Yes, it’s the name of book for children that I am currently writing – just need to find out how it ends…

When we last left our story, the possum(s) had breached my clever Parsley Defence System (TM) and helped themselves to many bunches of bright green goodness.

Last night, after consultation with my parents – fellow parsley farmers in the Hills – I decided to mess with the possum’s tiny head and bring the parsley inside for the night. (I was also going to leave a note saying GIVE UP NOW, OR ELSE…, alongside a single possum fur glove, but decided to keep that as an option if tensions escalate.)

Anyways, I had left the base/tray from under the pot (not sure of the technical farming name for this equipment) outside and when I looked out this morning, it appears that the possums had a little tantrum and kicked the base away.

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Now I am worried that this is their way of warning me. As in, PUT OUR PARSLEY BACK OR NEXT TIME, WE’LL THROW THE BASE OVER THE EDGE. Can possums pick locks? Will they learn to like spinach or lettuce instead? I’ll keep you posted…

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Battles with Nature

Please don’t get me wrong – I really do love Nature. Flora and fauna and all that good stuff. However, lately a couple of things have happened that make me question whether Nature really loves me. To be honest, I probably started wondering about that back on the Camino last year, during the festival of insect bites.

This week has seen two main conflicts between Nature and me. The battleground is my own home. And the local fauna has been the winner.

Let’s start with birds. We have a lot of very pretty, colourful and interesting birds around here. Delightful creatures. Except when it’s, say, 3.55am on a Tuesday and a gang of kookaburras are preparing for a talent show with repeated (very loud, very long-lasting) laughing sessions.

NOT SO FUNNY, FELLAS.

Don't be fooled by their cute looks. These guys are merciless torturers of happily sleeping humans.  NB, this image is from Pixabay, so I can't be sure that these two in particular are quite as evil. But I wouldn't be surprised.

Don’t be fooled by their cute looks. These guys are merciless torturers of happily sleeping humans.
NB, this image is from Pixabay, so I can’t be sure that these two in particular are quite as evil. But I wouldn’t be surprised.

Then there’s my small veggie and herb garden (where ‘garden’ means a few small pots on my balcony). I find it pretty exciting to plant things and watch them grow, and this farmer’s crop has been thriving with all of the rain that we’ve been having in Sydney lately. Lettuce, chives, spinach and parsley are on the grow.

I can't pick any lettuce because I don't want to disturb the pretty arrangement of leaves.

I can’t actually pick any lettuce because I don’t want to disturb the pretty arrangement of leaves.

Looking good, spinach.

Looking good, spinach.

Parsley. The scene of the crime.

Parsley. The scene of the crime.

The problem is with the parsley. Apparently, possums love parsley. The naked stalks in this pot seem to suggest that they’ve been helping themselves to quite the feast. It’s hard to see in the picture, but these possums meant business. Clearly not interested in any of the other crops, the bandits snuck in during the night and chomped away.

Problem is, I like parsley too. And I was actually growing it for me, not for the local possums. So I came up with a Macgyver-style solution: a strainer thingy from the kitchen fit perfectly over the pot.

Parsley prison.

Parsley prison.

HAHAHAHAHAHA, POSSUMS. That’s what I thought as I laughed (like a kookaburra) at my cleverness. Until I looked out this morning and saw that the strainer has been moved and more parsley has been stripped away. They’ve also found the other secret parsley stash next to the lettuce.

Back to the drawing board, Macgyver.

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Talk to the Animals

In case you haven’t seen this video, taken at an aquarium in the USA, here’s a Beluga whale trying to get his point across to some kids. I think their mother might be partly responsible for their shrieking – at the very start of the vid, she says “Ooooh, he’s coming for you!”, but I think he’s really just saying “Hey, guys!” and wondering what all the fuss is about.

Also, it’s a bit boring up to 45 seconds, so please stick with it (or fast forward if you’re in a hurry).

Happy Monday!

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Yesterday

Yesterday marked the beginning of Spring here, with a Sydney day that started out buried in a thick fog, and then opened up to be beautifully sunny.

Yesterday, I laughed and sang and chat-chat-chatted with my lovely nieces on our way to school.

Yesterday, I saw a guy texting as he drove: unbelievably using both hands to text, as he held his iPhone above the steering wheel.

Yesterday, I ate a frittata that I made, topped with fresh herbs from my (teeny tiny) veggie garden.

Springtime daffodil selfie. [image from Pixabay]

Springtime daffodil selfie.
[image from Pixabay]

Yesterday, we went to our lovely friend Claire’s Dad’s funeral. On a sunny day, the first of Spring.

There were laughs and tears and music and lots of people with grey hair. And little baby Emily was there, smiling away quietly. I haven’t actually been to many funerals. And I couldn’t look at Claire and her family as we walked past, because I could feel the tears trying to leap out from the well they’d formed in my eye sockets. But it felt good to give her a big hug afterwards. Because sometimes nothing says what you want to say quite like a big hug.

Yesterday, there was some sadness, some silliness, some sameness, some smiles, and some sunshine. And it was only day one of Spring, the best season of them all (if you ask me). Here’s to happy times and sad times and old friends and new beginnings and hugs. Don’t forget the hugs.

And here’s to The Ship Song, which was in my head today. The Opera House project version from a few years ago is here in case you like it too.

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