everydaysparks

Stuff I see, which you might not.

Hello again

So, it’s been a while. I just checked and the last post that I made was on 3 September last year, when I was in Washington DC. I really hope no one was waiting on this blog to give travel tips for an imminent US holiday, or as proof of life, or as inspiration for being. Although if you were, then I’m sorry, and I do hope that you found other sources of support.

Hope you’ve been well. I’m all good, thanks. I am a bit (ok, a lot) of a fair weather friend to this blog, only really making the time to write when I feel like I have a lot of spare time. Which, when you’re in the thick of work and family and life, with all of the things that take up time on evenings and weekends, doesn’t happen that often. Usually when I’m on holidays (see 3 September post from Washington DC here). Or when I’m not working as much, as is the case now.

I’ve just finished up in the rollercoaster-ride of a job that I’d been in for the past couple of years. NB, I wasn’t actually working on a roller coaster, although I do note that the ride at Luna Park in Melbourne does have an attendant standing or sitting in the middle of the carts on each ride, so don’t rule that out as a potential career option.

Image from lunapark.com.au

FYI, the person in the middle of this gaggle is the Attendant standing up on The Great Scenic Railway ride at Luna Park in St Kilda. I don’t know what they ever get called on to do during the ride, but it’s a real job. [image from lunapark.com.au]

I’m also moved and am now technically living between two cities (Sydney and Melbourne), which has been lots of fun. I have been very lucky to have finally moved to Melbourne – a city that I have loved for a very long time, even looking for graduate roles down here back in the 90’s. I’ve spent a bit of time down here with a number of jobs, but when the opportunity came up to move earlier this year, I took it. And then a month or so later, I resigned. That sounds bad, but please don’t think that I tricked my employer into paying for my relocation (they didn’t), or that I found another gig shortly after moving (I didn’t).

It was just a case of bad timing – the work rollercoaster had been on the up and up for what felt like such a long time, and I was in the front cart waving and laughing and screaming and enjoying the whole amazing experience. Best ride EVER. Then the rapid and steep descent started around January and that left me grimacing and holding onto the bars too tight and the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach wouldn’t go away, and so I decided to get off the ride before it put me off amusement parks for life.

silly-serpent-hero1

Not such a silly idea. [image from lunapark.com.au]

Sure, I guess most sensible people wouldn’t get off the rollercoaster until they’d found their next ride – the Silly Serpent (see above) maybe, or the exotic sounding Arabian Merry. Instead, I am going to hang out for a while and see what ride to go on next. I feel as though I’ll know the right one when I see it, and hope that I’m tall enough to get on. In the meantime, I’ll read some books and walk around and do some people-watching while I wait. And hopefully get back to this blog, sharing my particular brand of nonsense with you. Maybe while snacking on the carnival foods that the Luna Park website offers (“Fairy-floss, pop-corn, snow-cones and hot-dogs”). All of the hyphenated goodness.

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Hello again (with chimps)

Hi there. It’s been a while since I last posted. I’m not really sure why that is – time has been filled with stuff and things and to be honest, I haven’t really felt like writing. In the face of happenings in the real world, the silliness of finding and sharing everyday sparks sometimes seems so ridiculous. I mean, people are suffering and getting sick and breaking up and shutting down and doing mean things. Then again, people are also being born, getting healthy, having fun, making things, doing good, starting again, having adventures and laughing. Right?

I also know that whatever is going on, I am still noticing those everyday sparks – whether they’re funny, silly, weird, nice, scary or quirky. And now I feel like getting back into sharing them here. In case we like some of the same sorts of things and I’ve seen stuff that you haven’t. Because we could all use some sparks to make us smile or grimace or snort or make that tsk tsk sound from time to time, I reckon. While we’re dealing with all of those happenings in the real world.

To get back into the swing of things, here are some pics of the baby chimp born at our Taronga Zoo here in Sydney over the weekend. Some classic shots for the family album.

Shiba and her baby boy. [photo by Lisa Ridley]

Shiba and her baby boy.
[photo by Lisa Ridley]

The Fam.  [photo by Lisa Ridley, from the Taronga Zoo Facebook page]

The Fam.
[photo by Lisa Ridley, from the Taronga Zoo Facebook page]

And my favourite.  [image by Lisa Ridley, from the Taronga Zoo Facebook page]

And my favourite.
[image by Lisa Ridley, from the Taronga Zoo Facebook page]

You’re welcome!

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Virtual friends, I need your help!

Greetings and Merry Christmas Eve to you and yours, virtual friends. Apologies that Everyday Sparks has become more like OnceAWeek Sparks in recent weeks – I’ve been without an internet connection and it’s the festive season and, like my running program, my regular blogging has fallen by the wayside. But I’m back now and, like a pesky old uncle at a Christmas lunch, I plan on hanging around. (And maybe stealing some of your turkey, drinking some sherry and regaling you with stories about the good old days.)

But in the meantime, I need your help. Not in the Ugandan-prince-send-money kinda way, or even the Sponsor-me-to-jump-on-a-pogo-stick-around-Australia kinda way, but in the easy Help-a-virtual-mate-via-Facebook kinda way. You see, Expedia (the travel website folk) are running a comp to find new bloggers from Australia and New Zealand to write for their site. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I love to travel and write about the people, places and things that I discover along the way. So, a gig writing for Expedia Australia would be pretty much an ideal job for me!

My photo application

My photo application

To be in the running, I need to collect as many votes as I can by 31 December – which is where you and your Facebook friends come into the picture, I hope. It only takes a minute to vote for me via Facebook – the link is here (or search ‘Expedia Blogger Search’ on Facebook) and I’m in the ‘Lifestyle’ blog category: you can’t miss my bright green EverydaySparks avatar on the second row. And every vote counts, so please spread the word to your Facebook friends too!

Hope you don’t mind this cry for help on Christmas Eve – I’d really appreciate your support!

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Inspiring stuff, Sydney

Hello. I’m back. Nice to be with you again. Thanks to those of you who asked OI, WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOUR BLOG? I appreciated the nudge and it’s really lovely to know that you noticed my absence. In truth, I’ve been home from my travels for a week and a half now, but I hadn’t really been inspired to get back to blogging. Maybe it was the cold that I picked up during my last days in NYC; maybe it was running around catching up with family, friends and work stuff; maybe it was getting through the shows that TiVo had thoughtfully recorded while I was away; maybe it was just a bit of a slump because the holiday is over & December is bearing down with all its festive fury (don’t get me wrong – I love love love the festive season, but there’s always so much going on).

Whatevs, I’m back now. And I owe the inspiration to Sydney. Yesterday was such a perfectly sunny summer’s day and as I wandered around the harbour, I was struck as I sometimes am by this pretty city, so thought I’d take some snaps and share the sunshine with you here.

No, I really do not miss catching a bus to work.

No, I really do not miss catching a bus to work.

Just for the calcium, I swear.

Just for the calcium, I swear.

As far as a view from public transport goes, it's not too bad.

As far as a view from public transport goes, it’s not too bad.

The bus stop. So to speak.

The bus stop. So to speak.

It is a pretty city.

It is a pretty city.

Best seat in town.

Best seat in town.

SydFlowers

And sometimes you even catch Cinderella just hangin' out, eating an apple.

And sometimes you even catch Cinderella just hangin’ out, eating an apple.

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Shakespearean spammer

Like most blogs, EverydaySparks attracts quite a bit of spam. The garbled messages are generally caught by the very clever spam filter and put aside for me to check. And yes, I realise that I just made it sound as though I think there’s a person who acts as the filter, looking through the incoming messages to check what’s good and what’s not. (And I appreciate it, SpamMan, I really do.) Anyways, mostly the messages are just weird, complimenting me on my posts (yes, that’s the first spam tip off!) and recommending a link to a strange product or website. Or computer virus.

But today, there was a message that sounded way too poetic to trash straight away, so I thought I’d share it with you here (minus the virus spreading link). Brought a tear to my eye, it did…

 

Unquestionably consider that which you stated.

Your favorite reason appeared to be at the net the simplest factor to remember of.
I say to you, I certainly get irked while other folks think about issues that they just do not understand about. 

You managed to hit the nail upon the top and outlined out the entire thing without having side effect , other folks could take a signal.

Will likely be back to get more.

Thank you

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Hope

I was recently talking with my lovely friend B about how I think I am suffering from some disorder that means I can’t keep track of time. B’s a med student, so he kindly considered my rambling description of forgetting or confusing birthdays, due dates, holiday departures and other calendar events and timeframes. Then B distracted me by asking about tv shows and, given that I also suffer from a short attention span, that was the end of that consultation.

Now, I’m not sure if it’s ironic or coincidental or just a sign of my advancing calendar-itis, but I’ve just realised that the Hope 2012 blog relay was due to end on Monday. And I haven’t run my leg of the relay yet. Not wanting to let down the lovely Jo, of the fabulous This Sydney Life, who passed the relay baton to me, I’m going to run it today. As a bit of background, the relay was started by blogger Melanie Crutchfield, inspired by all things Olympic. Melanie decided to blog about hope and then pass the baton to some blogging buddies, who would in turn blog on the same theme and then pass the baton along. A pretty cool way to spread words and ideas about hope around the blogging world.

Hope Necklace by Chic & Sweet on etsy

So, with that ridiculous amount of build-up, I now need to write a little something about hope. My first port of call for inspiration is, as always, etsy. Turns out you can buy Hope jewellery, bookmarks, iphone covers, t-shirts, prints, prayer books – etsy is a veritable hotbed of Hope.

And then I looked through the Camera Roll on my phone – lots of different people and places captured over the past year (or so). Lots of Hope there too. Hope for sunny weather, hope for bright futures for amazing little people, hope for safe travels, hope for new directions. So, I’ve picked my top few photos that say something about Hope to me. (This is likely to be sappier than my usual posts, but please be assured that normal EverydaySparks programming will resume shortly.)

Last Thursday I flew across the country to see some of my family, who live in the West. I was very excited to see them and it was such a beautiful day that I couldn’t help snapping a pic as we headed towards our landing in Perth. And then the thought crossed my mind: it’s actually pretty amazing that flying has become so humdrum – we just jump in a giant metal bird and fly up beyond the clouds til we reach our destination. No big deal anymore. Except it is a big deal – and it’s kind of the ultimate in hope – we’re totally reliant on a bunch of random strangers (engineers, pilots, service staff) doing their jobs well so that we travel safely. Up in the sky, past the clouds and the birds.

And here’s the EverydaySparks herb garden. Except I fear that this ‘garden’ needs not just hope, but faith and charity as well. The seeds (coriander, parsley, basil) were planted last month and some strange things have been happening in these pots. But I have hope that what looks like a mess of weeds will soon somehow magically start looking like the herbs that I buy from the shops. I’ll keep you posted…

Then there’s my home town of Sydney – full of hope and promise, especially on a sunny day. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to be here – as I whinge about a late running ferry, or a slow barista, or the traffic. Waa waa waa. And then some days, I catch a view like this one and stop for a minute (ok, probably fifteen seconds) to try and take it in. And I hope that people who are visiting the city are having a great time; and that people who dream of being here will make it; and that we won’t do anything to mess up the beauty of it all. (Ok, and I also hope that the ferry will be on time and my coffee will be made quickly. I’m not Buddha.)

And last, but most definitely not least, a photo of the shoes of some of my most favourite people (with one small shoe missing – the teeniest feet were too little to stand in this pic). I know I’m a biased aunt, but the kids who stand in these shoes are just amazing – funny, smart, thoughtful, quirky, silly and sweet. They are soccer players, netballers, tennis players, fashionistas, dancers, cellists, wrestlers, pianists, drummers, and singers. They have ambitions of being doctors, vets, pet shop owners, acrobats, chefs, face painters, fairies, waitresses and teachers. For me, these peeps are what Hope is all about. (Granted, sometimes, it’s just hoping they’ll be quiet or go to sleep.)

And with that, I collapse at the finish line. That’s my part of the relay run. I hope I wasn’t too late!

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Celebrating 100 sparks

Well, today marks the 100th post on EverydaySparks. I must confess to being pleasantly surprised that I am still going, and still as fond of blogging as I was when I began back in February. I started writing a blog because I wanted to force myself to write – after being to a number of writing classes over the years and secretly dreaming of a life as a freelance writer, I thought it was time to see if I could actually commit to writing on a regular basis. Albeit writing only a few hundred words about something nonsensical that I had discovered on my virtual travels and thought was worth sharing…

I didn’t want to write long, thoughtful and introspective posts about my life – other people do that and I applaud them for their honesty and ability to write about their daily lives. That kind of writing is not what I was interested in, though – probably due to a combo of wanting to maintain my privacy and also not having a particularly dramatic life story! And if I may go a bit herbal for a minute, I have also been trying to move further away from the negativity of news media and politics (and reality tv), which is all doom and gloom and fighting and complaining. With all that in our faces, I just wanted this blog to be a place of silliness and lighthearted fun – a chance to share things that have made me smile (or furrow my brow in confusion) in the hope that other people might appreciate them too.

Originally, those ‘other people’ were people I know in the real world – and I thank them so much for their encouragement and support. I know how lucky I am to have such an awesome cheer squad, full of so many smart, funny, kind, thoughtful and downright cuckoo personalities. And gradually, these ‘other people’ included new friends, who I’m yet to meet in the real world, who dropped in and commented when they liked posts (and when they didn’t like posts!) and made me laugh. From here in Sydney to the USA, the UK and Europe and lots of places in between, I still find it amazing that there is this incredible virtual community of people – we wouldn’t know if we sat next to them on the bus, but we feel like we know them from their blogs. Inspiring artists, clever wordsmiths, amazing cooks, funky designers. Thank you all for making this so much fun.

A confession – I wasn’t sure how long I’d last as a blogger because I tend to get inspired by something and then get bored and move on to some new passion (sometimes before I even actually start the first thing). Like today, when I borrowed my Mum’s sewing machine (because that’s the new thing I want to do) and she casually said, “Oh, as I got it out, I found that bag of wool and needles from when you wanted to learn how to knit”. Mum, that was soooo three years ago, now I’m all about the sewing. Except when I’m all about the card making. Or the bag making. Or the chocolate making. You get the idea. So, I’m surprised and kinda pleased that I still find blogging fun and enjoyable. And other people seem to like EverydaySparks, which is a nice cherry on top of the sundae. (I also went through an ice cream making phase last year.)

Anyways, thanks for indulging this ramble as EverydaySparks hits 100. Special thanks to those of you who have commented and liked my posts, or provided ideas and inspiration, or who write blogs that keep me coming back. My Dad still asks a question that I can’t really answer, “But, HOW DID THEY FIND YOU?” I don’t know, but I’m glad that they did. (For the record, my Dad also still asks “But, WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY DO?” in relation to my career. But that is probably another post for another time.) Thank you to etsy and fab.com for hosting the main sources of inspiration for this blog – there are some incredibly talented people around the world, as well as some incredibly strange people around the world, which keeps EverydaySparks ticking over with new finds.

Here’s to the next 100!

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