Archive | May, 2011

Weathered by the weather

23 May

For the last 7 days I have conducted a social experiment. It was not easy. It led to many ‘awkward silences’. It took great self-control and I nearly crumbled…many times.

My experiment: I refused to talk about the weather for 7 days. ‘That’s easy…’ you might be thinking. Well, I dare you to do the same. Admittedly, being the first bitterly cold week of the year it was not the most optimal time to do my experiment.

Nevertheless, not having ‘the weather’ to turn too, I was forced to ask ‘the stranger in the lift’ and ‘the man in lunch queue’ alternate questions.

Entering the lift in the morning was the hardest. You want to break the silence, but you don’t want to ask anything personal (risk being a creep). Come to think about it, people at work must think I’m quite nice- as I commonly turned to giving compliments about strangers clothes.

Honestly though, by avoiding the weather, I gained insight on things I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. At the photocopier, I learnt how my colleagues 14yr old daughter had announced she was a ‘lesbian’ at family BBQ, I learnt how the guy in the lift’s went on a blind date that was a disaster and I learnt from my coffee-man how he think’s his three year old has a stutter because he is learning Hebrew, English and Spanish all at once.

The weather is something we all have in common. Yes, we might experience it differently – dependent on layers of flub, height (apparently its colder up higher)….also socio-economic status, if you can afford a jumper, the cold lasts for 2 minutes, if you are homeless and live on the street’s you can’t escape it.

Come on, take the challenge – I dare you…


Burning Attachments.

10 May

WARNING: This is a quite heavy post – I guess it’s just a reflection of something that has been on my mind…

My house burnt down when I was 3 years old. My parents lost everything. My mum was 8 months pregnant. My dad had just started his own accounting practice. I’m not telling you this to for your sympathy. Hundreds of people lose their houses in fire-related accidents each year. What is important – is what can be learnt through the experience.

That being said, we were never scolded for breaking, destroying or losing anything when we were younger. After my parents experienced losing all their possessions – objects and material items suddenly became secondary. Don’t get me wrong, they still enjoy collecting eclectic objects when traveling or investing in a piece of furniture – it just means, they are not ‘attached’ to them.

Recently, my mum said to me ‘Nix, nothing is permanent, everything is temporary’. I know it sounds a bit morbid & is quite obvious… – but it was a light bulb moment for me. As a society, I believe we hold on to things – we get attached to; material items, negative emotions, memories from the past – such things we carry with us. But what happens if we let go? What happens if we rid ourselves of all our objects? of our past?  of all our attachments? Do we lose our sense of self?

Nothing is permanent – relationships, jobs, finance. It’s an ebb and flow….but nothing remains fixed. For some reason, my mum’s statement really resonated in me – why worry about something that is not permanent.

For my mum and dad, losing their house and all their objects meant it gave them an opportunity to rebuild. Not only the physical rebuilding of a their dream home, but the emotional rebuilding of their relationship together and the rebuilding of their perspective on life in general.

Spring cleaning, dusting off the cob-webs, turning over a new leaf…which ever way you say it, I believe it inherently means to rid yourself of current attachments. Attachments, that may be stopping you from moving forward and living in the moment.

Just something to think about.

twenty-somethings, being civil in non-civilisation

3 May

Ok, that title is an over-statement.  I just came back from a girly weekend in Banaglaow (a few km’s outside Byron Bay) – enveloped in lush, rolling hills – it did feel like we had escaped civilisation.

We stayed in my friend A’s beautiful house on her 100 acre farm. Seven of us girls, had exchanged the hustle and bussle of city life for the country (No, there was no pillow fighting or hair curling. But ye, there was ‘giggling’ and screaming at ). Claiming that had totally escaped ‘civilisatoin’ is definietley a fabrication of the truth – we had  2 indusutrial sized ovens, an infinity pool that spilled on to the country side a ‘cinema room’ equipped with comfy bean bags….but their air was fresher, there were cows dotting the horizon and no other humans in sight.

One house. Three nights. Seven girls.

Halfway into Day 2 – Realisation hit me.

Things had changed. Rewind the clock a few years prior & I guarantee you, that we  would have ended up getting insanely intoxicated and recruiting ‘surfie’ boys from Byron back to the house.

A definite hightlight was our ‘cook off’. Preparation, began in the morning, we hours mulling over recipe books. Assigning tasks and writing out shopping lists. We then ventured to the growers markets to buy fresh produce and into town to visit the local fish monger. In the evening prior to our big cook-off, we watched the sunset whilst sipping sauvigion blanc and eating quince paste with  brie cheese.

Seven girls. Seven foodies. One Kitchen.

This was the only time things got a little heated. “you are stirring like a baby”….”is that actually how you are going to caramilse pumpkin seeds”….”Is that smoke coming out of the sticky date pudding?” accusations and criticism bounced uncontrollably around the kitchen. Each of us battling it out for a prime real estate of kitchen bench. Secretly, prentending we were on some reality tv show. All of us, with our ‘high buns’ and short-shorts….It could have actually been a hit on tv.

Needless to say – our dinner turned out to chef-hat quality See the photographic evidence.

Over dinner, we began by discussing how to start our own book club and ABC’s Conversation Hour with Richard Fidler. Don’t get me wrong – we consumed copoius amounts of wine…but for some reason, instead of getting ‘plastered’ we just got more jovial and conversation topics got a little more risque…After dessert, food coma hit us sideways & waddled off to watch a movie. It was all so ‘civilised’….

I know what you are thinking….sounds like we are a bunch of grandma’s & should let our hair down and act ‘our age’. But, in all honesty I  enjoyed every single moment of embracing our inner nerds.

I am truly lucky to have friends who share my love & passion for good food,  wine and conversation!

I tell you what -we’ll have the last laugh – when we are the ‘coolest’ grandma’s out there!