Sunday, November 27, 2016

Ten things

The waiting continues...and I've been working hard at practicing meticulous mindfulness. It's been going pretty well, aside from a couple of weeks where the US election combined with solo parenting to send me into an anxiety tailspin. (The election was one of the things I was waiting for, and to say I was not happy with the outcome would be an understatement on the order of describing Australia as a place with one or two possibly harmful critters.)

But. Life marches on, and I must focus on the things I can do even in the midst of feeling helpless and at the mercy of events over which I have no control. So in that spirit, here's an update of recent-ish happenings.

Going back to early September - a tiny birthday cake for a visiting colleague of DP's who has become a family friend. He made the long trek to Australia for the second year running to guest lecture in DP's program, and I found out that his first full day in town was his 66th birthday. So we surprised him when he came over for dinner.

In late September, we went to the US for our planned family visit; for me it was five cities in just under three weeks. One of the highlights of my trip (and my year) was a long-planned sisters' weekend in New York, with all of us together on our own on a trip for the first time in a very long time. It was a memorable and spectacular trip, in part because of visiting places like The Frick Collection.

Our final city in the US was a 36-hour stopover in Dallas to visit our good friends who live there. We really enjoyed visiting the Dallas Arboretum's Pumpkin Village - a clever and creative use of winter squash, and I couldn't stop giggling most of the time for thinking about this. (Warning: NSFW language!)

Then back to Canberra, swapping autumn color for spring in bloom and harvesting lemons and rosemary from the garden.

Two weeks after we got back from the US, I was off again - this time to Seoul for my organization's annual meeting. It was a productive and positive week overall, but it makes me a little sad that this is pretty much the only picture I managed to take outside of the conference (it's a little mall made up entirely of small shops run by local craftswomen and -men).

Back again for the tail end of October; settling in to nearly three months with no overseas trips scheduled, and starting to see some real signs of spring - encouraging enough that I have revived my cold brew coffee habit, making it in my French press and then storing in a repurposed Chianti bottle. (Classy, no?) My standard ratio for coffee (hot or cold) is 7g of coffee per 100ml of water; cold water for cold brew, and let it brew for at least a couple of hours. Chill in the fridge overnight, then serve over ice with a hefty splash of milk and a dollop of maple syrup to sweeten.

The end of October also means Halloween, and a sweet treat to celebrate it. This year I made ghost cakes for Miss B - basically a chocolate cupcake, topped with a gloopy pile of vanilla buttercream frosting and suitably decorated.

Moving into November and real spring weather - a good opportunity to host our first outdoor Sunday lunch of the season and invite a few friends over to share it with us.

And speaking of a few friends: this weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving in Australia, with a buffet turkey dinner for 60+ friends, colleagues, students and their families. An epic undertaking achieved with a lot of lists and a lot of help, and one to make me remember to be grateful for all the things I have.

Which today include the luxury of having to do not much of anything except eat pie, bask in the afterglow of yesterday, and figure out what the heck to do with all these leftovers.

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