Boy those Christmas holidays disappeared. Can hardly believe school's started for the year. We had quite a busy January, catching up with family over Christmas and New Years, before taking a road trip to Victoria for a wedding, and then away with friends for the Australia Day weekend.
The trip to Victoria was great fun. The first time we'd driving long distance with the kids and they both coped with it fairly well. Planned breaks (and exercise) at McDonalds helped, as well as the Wiggles (their Meet the Orchestra CD is quite fun) and various audio-books. On the way down we also stopped at Holbrook, The Submarine and Museum there was a big hit. On the way down we spent the first night at Beechworth. Just a lovely town - with an awesome Bakery, and a rich history.
One of the many highlights of the trip was our day in Melbourne. We caught a bus into the city, and stopped at Brunetti's, Reading Kids, before going to the Museum. Sad to say, but I definitely preferred it to any of the Museums in Sydney. The day we arrived in Melbourne we also went to the Collingwood Children's Farm - which I totally recommend. It was just wonderful for the kids.
The other highlight of the trip was a visit to Hutch & Co in Lilydale. We visited the cafe because in an earlier life it was a shop owned by Fiona's family, and I can totally recommend the Tonic Expresso on their menu - a shot of coffee, with Tonic water poured over ice served with Lime. Just wonderful
It was really great to be off treatment - it meant that I had so much more energy for these things. I felt so much more myself. The challenge now is trying to retain some of that energy now I'm back on treatment. I'll have a scan later this month so we can see how things are going. I'm trying not to be too anxious about this, as whatever will be, already is.
How else have I kept myself busy during the past few months.
I've read a little bit more over the past few months, not a lot mind you. I finished Jamila Rizvi's book Not Just Lucky. While it is geared to women, I found there was a lot I could personally take from it, as well as being another helpful book to remember as my daughter grows up. Since then I've started Zoe Daniel's Story Teller. If you don't know, Zoe Daniel is (or perhaps was) ABC's South East Asia Correspondent. The book is as much about the events she covered and her reflections on her working life. I've just started, so more later.
On my list to read next is Samantha Lane's book Roar and Tanya Marlow's Those Who Wait. Roar focuses on stories from the inaugural Women's AFL competition. Those Who Wait is a book about the perspective and purpose we can find through waiting for the fulfillment of our longings.
December is normally filled with Christmas carols and Christmas songs. While I did listen to a few carols, the album on high rotation was U2's Songs of Experience. I've blogged my thoughts on the album here. If its possible I think I like and enjoy the album more now than I did then. I'm still hoping their Experience and Innocence Tour comes here, but I have doubts.
In January, we went and saw the Carole King Musical - Beautiful. I really enjoyed the musical. I was familiar with some of the music but none of the story. The musical told the story beautifully, and was quite fun. One of the highlights of the musical was You've Got a Friend, it was beautifully placed in the musical and gave me the chills. Seriously, if you can go to Melbourne and see it, you won't be disappointed.
After seeing the musical, I was inspired and listened to a bit more of Carole King. Along with the musical CD, Carole King's album Tapestry, was also on heavy rotation. I also did some exploring and listened to a concert she did with James Taylor in the 1970s. (Live at the Troubadour). It has beautiful versions of 'You Can Close Your Eyes' and 'Fire and Rain'. I knew You Can Close Your Eyes because of the duet performed by Brooke Fraser and William Fitzsimmons.
The other highlight was Glen Hansard's new album Between Two Shores. I'd been hearing songs from the album since 'Time Will be the Healer' was released last year. I love Hansard's voice; and the songs sound great. Think they'll grow a more when they're played live, so hopefully we'll see him out here soon.
I didn't expect it but the new album from Andrew Osenga (The Painted Desert) has also been really great to listen to.
During January the other highlight was going to the Brickman Awesome show in Sydney. Brickman Awesome is an exhibition of some pretty amazing models made completely out of Lego bricks. I couple of the ones which really jumped out at me were the Killer Whale, Red Back Spider, Rosewell and the Sydney Opera House.
It's actually been a good month for movies - I had planned to go and see the latest Star Wars film but I never quite got to do that, but I did take the time to watch The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie, I found both to be really fun, a lot of cultural references for the mature viewer. The Lego Batman movie certainly is my favourite Batman movie.
If I can find a way to make it work I hope to see some of the Oscar nominated films. I was delighted to see Lou (a short film released with Cars 3) nominated in the Animated Short Film category. Will let you know how I go next month.