So a very dear friend and blog reader gave me a great birthday gift – she named it an Advent calendar and the concept is to do different ‘bucket list experiences’ each month together. We started with my birthday dinner at Momofuku, and then things slowed down! Of course, I have things I want to see and do that didn’t feature on her 12 months of birthday fun Advent calendar, and I got busy in March doing all sorts of fun things.
One thing she’d earmarked us doing was Humming Puppy Yoga – funny name right? It’s a yoga studio that has a resonant frequency going at all times, as well as being constantly at 27 C. Warm, but just right. This weekend, I went along to try it.
I selected the class based on timing – 2.30pm would work well around church (as it was a long Palm Sunday service). The class at that time was called Mellow Yoga which sounded like just what I’d feel like on a Sunday afternoon!
This place is next level on chic, hipster, boutique exercise. It’s like first class style. The waiting area and bathrooms were stunning. I’d settle just to ‘wait’ for someone and never do a class and die happy! They are upstairs from a tea store, so there’s two teas to sip, or coconut water or filtered water. Luxury right?
The studio is the third or top level of the building. The room was wonderfully dark for the session with only muted lighting and a lit candle. The session was an hour long, and it was blissfully relaxed and over before you knew it. My friend S said it was an expensive place for a nap, but cheap for therapy – and it really is a hybrid of the two!!
Of course, it wouldn’t be a complete visit without dropping in on the tea lounge. Again, jaw droppingly gorgeous in style. We had Ginger lattes and some fancy snacks (you know, all goey and power foods but nothing like conventional food!)
I’m not sure if I’ll do expensive yoga again, but I want more of those drinks!!
I know many of my readers, are readers of books too! So I thought I would share my top 5 books. Not my latest reads but the books that years later I still remember and I want to share with others. And none of them are what I’d call classics either! Each of them will probably reveal a little more about me too.
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr
This book was read to my year 6 class by Mrs… oh wow, I don’t remember her name! Mrs Jones! Or was in Year 5 – what a memory I don’t have (I had the same classroom those two years, so perhaps that’s why I’m confused).
This novel was my first introduction to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Since then, I’ve devoured countless books on the holocaust (my book collection features them heavily). The title refers to the characters decision making on packing toys. Until I moved in with the BF (two months ago), I slept with my teddy bear. I promised him (and past BFs) that when I had a permanent bed mate, I would shelve Jessie. To this day, I miss her, and when I’m sick, the BF gets her for me, to cheer me up.
Honeymoon with my brother by Franz Wiesner
This book is the true story of the author being more or less left at the alter. Instead of ‘wasting’ the once in a lifetime trip he’d planned, he signed his brother up, and they started seeing the world. It’s a story of healing, but more than that, what I took away from it was the desire to travel genuinely. To travel and to LISTEN. Not to read Lonely Planet and go where everyone else goes. I don’t travel with a guide book (and sometimes, I regret that!). I ask people in hostels and hotels what they like. I go wherever, and enjoy the journey of walking streets. I go to Jewish Museums (everywhere). That probably goes back to the first book!
Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
Not be confused with Sophie’s Choice, which I also enjoyed, Sophie’s World is a book that introduces a child to philosophy. Every book by Gaarder is a masterpiece in my mind, and develops and introduces new and challenging concepts to me. She has an incredible knack for storytelling.
Emergency by Neil Strauss
I was in NYC in 2011, and browsing Barnes and Noble. I was hoping to find secrets in a Postsecret book, but didn’t 🙁 I wanted to find something to read, as I’d exhausted my supply by this stage in the trip. I find it so difficult to BUY books, because I don’t (by and large) keep books. I wanted something engaging, but enduring. I’m not sure how I resolved to buy Emergency, but it was my first introduction to ‘doomsday preppers’. I do like end of the world movies, so it probably has something to do with that. Nonetheless, it still sits of my bookshelf and I keep thinking ‘I must get some candles, and a canteen of water, you never know what could happen’.
Each peach pear plum
This is the only childhood book I was adamant could not be downsized or rationalised. My mother loves to downsize, and when you move 10 times in 10 years, I’m lucky to have any childhood books still standing! I love that it rhymes, incorporating all the characters you know from other stories – Mother Hubbard and Tom Thum. It’s just such a joy to trip along through the story, and the illustrations always capture my imagination.
How about you? What books changed your life? What book are you always telling people they just *have* to read?
To see the start of this series, click here, and then there’s Jan Update and Feb Update. My weeks are based on Monday through to Sunday. But where a week ends mid week, I do funny things as you’ll see below!
$20k target by 22 Dec – on target with planned contribution of $165 per week.
Last month: $12,130
This month: $12,950 *Despite borrowing from this for my ‘generosity’ target, I’m still on track for my $20k goal :D*
Generosity target of $100 p/w – 100%+ achieved
Last week of Feb: additional $20 (+ 9hrs volunteering)
week 1 – $25 to church +$100 petrol in someone’s car, $50 for beer (which I don’t drink) <- this last one might be a stretch!
week 2 – $70 to church (+1hr volunteering)
week 3 – $20 to church + $10 for sympathy flowers + $465 to a friend in need (this was calculated to get me to a complete $100 in this month and the last)
week 4 – $20 to church + $70 gift
Exceeding my planned per week goal, for the year. Having a set ‘amount’ per week makes me less resentful than I used to be. So whilst it might seem perverse to track my generosity, it IS helping me to feel and BE more generous, and that’s exactly what I wanted!
Cook at home twice a week: I’ve started tracking the spend on my part for meals out – some I’m paid for, others I pay for both/all
Last week of Feb- ?? (Thu)
?? (Fri) Steak and Mash at BF’s (Sat) Mac/tuna/cheese with Roast Vegies (Sun)
week 1 – leftovers (mac&cheese) (Mon),
Thai out$10 (Tue),
Sushi out – thank you dinner $0 & beef curry made(Wed),
Pizza out $50 (Thu)
Mexican out $20 (Fri),
Pub food $0 (Sat), KFC $18 (Sun)
week 2 – leftovers (curry) (Mon),
Dinner at parents (Tue), Beef, bacon and egg pies (Wed), Omlette’s at BF’s (Thu)
Mexican pub food $15 (Fri)
Pizza at BF’s (Sat)
Indian out with parents $0 (Sun)
week 3 –
Tuna pasta bake (with GF substitutions for me!) (Mon)
Dinner out at a South American resturant $45 (Tue) Cheesy garlic pizza (Wed) Chorizo & Leek risotto (Thu)
Brazilian BBQ out (Fri) Homemade pizzas (store bought bases!) (Sat)
Sausages at a friends (Sun)
**both weekend days, I had lunch out – French 3 course for a Hen’s on Sat ($36) and with a friend from out of town on Sun ($20)**
Sugar – I haven’t been ideal for lent. I’ve broken lent for multi course (prepaid) dinners, twice. And nibbled some brownies I made for Easter. And a Caramello Koala passed my lips in a bought of cramps and general frustration with the world. At least each slip up, I was mindful of why I had recommitted to no sugar (Lent) and that’s at least part of the purpose.
Train for polo – 0% on water polo, but encouraging on the exercise front. So let’s say… 40% achieved. Sigh – no, I decided a house guest got me off the hook, even though she ended up having the night out with another friend. So that’s a no for the first week. And now the season is over, maybe I should adjust this goal for gym sessions? Given I want to run a half marathon, as part of my 12 in 2 goals, I should really start being accountable to y’all (and myself) with how I’m going! I did play polo the Sunday of Week 1, then a gym session Mon, Tue and Thu – cardio and weights. From then on, I’ve been training for my half marathon goals, with a run every second day – which I blogged about last Friday
– 2 films a month – 100% achieved
Side effects – great movie, though not the pick me up I was hoping for, seeing it was a lot about depression. That being said, it was cleverly written.
One sure fire way to lighten my life is to see a movie, so on Sunday I wedged in a movie between church and seeing my parents. I saw Goddess which is an Australian musical. Let me say, I HATE musicals, but i LOVED this film. It’s very modern, and hilarious to boot. And Ronan Keating taking off his shirt once or twice wasn’t too shabby either. The story is based around the wife, and her frustration at being at home with 2.5 year old twins, so she starts a web cam to keep in contact with her husband (Ronan Keating) whose in Antarctica. Except he never signs on, but the rest of the world gets in on the action! It was a great feel good movie, and just what the doctor ordered!
– 2 books a month – 50% achieved
I started with The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey, and I have a review should you be interested. Thanks to The Exacting Life, and her comments on the last few books I read, I picked up Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto from the library, and reviewed it here. Actually I picked it to read next as it’s slim, so I knew I could get it finished by month’s end. Review is here I’ve also started on another Japanese book – seems to be an (unintentional) theme – called Grotesque. Reminding me far too much about cliques and exclusion and cruelty in high school!
Somehow this missed Jan, Feb and mid Mar. Opps!
Call/connect with an out of town friend – well a friend from Brisbane was in Sydney, so we had lunch. But I think this is a cheating ‘win’ on this goal – that involved next to no initiative on my part 🙁
– Certification – 400% achieved! OK maybe 200% achieved as I haven’t made them all perfect. I added one further episode, so I have only three outstanding. The last three are pretty tricky, so I might need to meet with my colleagues who are also doing the certification and get some inspiration. Then I need to improve the 13 episodes I’ve already written, getting them to at least 500 words, and ensuring they are as good as they can be.
– Looking for next role Also something I’ve left off on past months. I’m happy to report that at a water polo BBQ fundraiser, I discovered one of the parents works for a company that supplies materials to my company. So I spoke at length to him about opportunities at his company. He’s already sent me the monthly job list, but the only suitable one needed 15 years experience. So this parent has decided I should meet an engineer in his company and speak to him about what I might be interested in there. The ‘talk’ shall happen on 5th April. I’m not 100% sure this company will get me my ‘ultimate’ career, but I’m not accepting a job there just yet, so it’s well worth investigating a little further.
Happy Easter/Passover to everyone! Looking forward to other goals updates out there – can’t believe we’re a quarter of the way through the year!