Theses are my thoughts and ramblings as I forge my way through this thing they call life.
These are my thoughts and ramblings as I forge my way through this thing they call Life.|
I blog with these groups:
"Blogging Circle of Friends " [E]
30 Day Blogging Challenge
We're hoping on The Ghan for one of the world's great train journeys. Travel through the heart of Australia in luxury while enjoying the all-inclusive food and beverages, well-appointed cabins and the Off Train Excursions that allow you to get a feel for the places the train travels through.
30 day prompt, check out these links and discuss. You must discuss a minimum of 3 of the links.
we'll be dining in https://journeybeyondrail.com.au/guest-information/food-beverage/queen-adelaide-...
A map is always good: https://www.mapsofworld.com/australia/cities/
I love being in a train watching the scenery fly by. The Ghan Train allowed us to travel and wind away along the track between Adelaide, Alice Springs and Darwin.
Seeing the grand expanse of Australia going by was amazing. It looked quite desolate, but I think that it is rather deceiving. The Desert Park in Alice Springs was highly enlightening and I learned a great deal about the desert's wildlife, plant life and the diversity that is there.
There was much to learn. So many stories to hear. We were able to:
"learn how Aboriginal people find food or medicines in the desert and how to identify some of the important plants and animals they use
discover clever adaptations of plants and animals which allow them to live in a dry environment
see endangered desert mammals and learn what is being done to save them
stroll along a dry river bed and find out why the river red gums which line it are so important to animals
learn how to identify desert birds and how they fit into the web-of-life
catch a glimpse of the Centre’s history back through four and a half billion years."
It was an amazing experience. I loved trying my hand at a new language and I am sure they are still laughing about my ineptitude, but it was great fun.
Just hearing the history of the Pink Roadhouse had me laughing. But it was worth the stop just for the the famous OODNABURGER!!!
Witnessing the sunrise and sunset over the red rocks of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was breath taking.
I can't believe we got to visit one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, Uluru. Not only is it a spectacular natural formation, but it is a deeply spiritual place. We could feel a powerful presence the moment we set eyes on it.
At 348 metres high, Uluru is one of the world’s largest monoliths, towering over the surrounding landscape and some 550 million years old. It is made of sandstone, Uluru is often referred to as the heart of the ‘Red Centre’ and is one of Australia’s most recognisable landmarks. Seeing the colours change before my eyes, and getting to hear the stories of time was a priceless experience.
The unhurried capital of Darwin was a fabulous surprise with its balmy nights, colourful characters and outdoor adventures. The Aboriginal culture was strong here. There was an array of languages spoken in the streets and vibrant Aboriginal art in many of the city's galleries and museums. The city's proximity to Asia means you'll also find strong Asian influences, especially in the energetic food scene and night markets.
Blogging Circle of Friends
Day 2818: August 4, 2020
Day 4 we catch a Ghan train in Adelaide. Have you ever ridden a train? What was it like? If you haven't ridden a train what do you think it would be like?
I love trains. When I was nine the Ontario Northlander was put in and it stopped in each town on the line to give school kids a chance to check it out. I still have my memorial coin to mark the experience. It was not until two years later that I got to take the night train from our hometown of New Liskeard to Toronto, This one gave us a cabin to sleep in. When we got to Toronto we took another train to Guelph when my mother and I moved to southern Ontario.
In the summer of 1980, when I graduated from grade 8, I got to take the train to Timmins on the Ontario Northlander to see my paternal grandmother. I took the train back to Toronto from New Liskeard after visiting my maternal set of grandparents. My mother met me at Union Station in Toronto.
When I was a kid, I loved to explore the train tracks behind our house. There were iron ore pellets on the tracks. I was forever catching hell for putting them in my pockets and my mother would find them in the laundry.
30 Day Blogging Challenge
I bet you were worried that you would never feel warm again. Take advantage and do your laundry and whatever because we're going to be roughing it on a train next. We're all staying at Hilton Sydney.
There are a lot of great things to do and see in Sydney but you have one day so pick from the links what appeals to you and discuss what you discovered. Make us envious. Let your imagination get carried away.
After days of nothing but snow and ice, seals, penguins and whales, I am all to happy to be surrounded by buildings and feel some heat on my skin. Even winter in Australia is lovely. Still we only have one day, so I need to make it count. I decided on a historical bent and took a walking tour through the Rocks. This is after I freshened up and warmed up - that included hand washing out a few items, then heading down to the pool and hot tub before taking a shower.
The Rocks is the first site of European settlement in Australia, and is rich in history; it was particularly important first as a convict site and then as a working-class part of town. It’s also home to Cadman’s Cottage, the oldest residential house in Sydney. The Rocks is also well-known for its markets, cobblestoned laneways, and the stunning views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There are also several excellent art galleries in this area, and great dining options.
The walking tour started at 9:30 in the morning. It covered 2 kilometres at a leisurely pace, focusing on the neighborhood located under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We got to wander around the area’s cobbled stone streets, alleyways, and courtyards. We stopped at Cadman's Cottage, which was built in 1816; Campbell's Cove; and the Garrison Church, which is known as the Church of Holy Trinity. We also got to see the shoreline of Sydney Cove, as well as fabulous views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Plenty of great opportunities to take photos.
A tour to view:
Sydney Cove: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdXbjZsiQmE
After the tour, I found a place to grab some lunch. The 7 Rocks Deli pulled me in for one of its tantalizing sandwiches and fries. Then I ambled over to Aslan Coffee Roasters to try their brew and send a few packages of beans solely from the Indonesian Archipelago home for some future indulgence.
Afterwards I headed for Hyde Park, a to walk and feel the sun on my face. A change of pace.
Open space and green. The city fading into the background. Having walked around The Rocks areas of town all morning it was nice to relax and find a spot to sit and meditate.
I continued on to a lovely used bookshop with a cafe and wine bar over on Glebe Point Road. With another new bookshop right beside it, I found myself in a little corner of heaven as I settled in to search for at least one book treasure to take home. If I bought more than one, I'd have to send it home in the package I was set to mail that contained my Antarctic gear - I was not dragging that such around all over the world.
Blogging Circle of Friends
Day 2817: August 3, 2020
BCoF Let this quote inspire your entry:
Sydney in general is eclectic. You can be on that brilliant blue ocean walk in the morning and then within 20 minutes you can be in a completely vast suburban sprawl or an Italian or Asian suburb, and it's that mix of people, it's that melting pot of people that give it its vital personality. Baz Luhrmann
With this quote as my guide, I took in as much of Sydney as I was able. The Rocks area, Hyde park and its green space in the heart of the city center, then on to Glebe Point Road where the university students started to flow. I thoroughly loved watching the people - the tourists in the Rocks area to the city dwellers and students further away from the cove. Definitely a melting pot of people.
By the time I dragged myself back to the hotel I had had a day immersed in the flavours of the city. When a group of my fellow adventures were off for a night on the town, I did a quick change and caught up with them at the bar before we headed out for a late bite to eat and some local brews.
30 Day Blogging Challenge
Zodiac Cruising - 30 day prompt
Go where your cruise ship can’t — hop aboard a small, sturdy inflatable boat and buzz between the icebergs and around the mountains. This is your chance to get an up-close look at some of the more cautious wildlife in the ocean, on land, and in the skies. It’s common for leopard seals, penguins, and other curious animals to pop up alongside to say hello. You’ll never feel so small in your life as you gaze up at the massive glaciers and icebergs from sea level. To call it a humbling experience would be an understatement.
Good to know: This activity is a big favorite of photographers. Zodiac cruising allows for more intimate viewing as well as an entirely different perspective.
Antarctica is the site of some of the world’s most cutting-edge research. There are dozens of scientific research centers here, and one of the most interesting things to do in Antarctica is to take a tour of one of these fascinating facilities. The Vernadsky Research Base on Galindez Island opens its doors to visitors all while studying everything from meteorology, ecology, biology, glaciology, seismology and physics. It was at this research station that the hole in the ozone layer was first discovered.
Another cool and unexpected aspect of this research center is the Vernadsky Station Lounge, one of the southernmost bars in the world. Try the vodka, which has been distilled on site. Bottoms up! We're going to help examine green snow and check out the satellite studies of the visual evidence of climate change.
Good to know: The post office at the Vernadsky Station is one of the few places in all of Antarctica from where you can send a mail. Mailing a postcard will cost you around USD 2 while a letter (including stamps) is about USD 6*.
We're still sleeping in our sleeping bags.
I'm not sure if my body is screaming at me from cold stiffness or from the Kayak workout yesterday, but I need to keep moving to stretch and get the blood flowing. Although my 'snow grave' was quite comfortable it took me a long time to settle in to sleep. I couldn't get over the stars.... or how loud some of our group snores!
Today we're touring around in a Zodiac - one of those inflatable boats that zip between the icebergs and mountains. You get a very impressive view. One that leaves me feeling humbled around all this natural expanse of wonder.
Visiting the research station at Vernadsky was also interesting. A lot of various kinds of research goes on - studying everything from meteorology, ecology, biology, glaciology, seismology and physics.
I made sure to send off several postcards and a letter. I'm curious how long it will take them to make their way home. I may have to buy some stamps and restart my stamp collection. Having a stamp from each of my travels would be a great way to collect something.
After a day of exploring and taking the most amazing photographs, I am up for trying some of that bathtub Vodka.
Blogging Circle of Friends
Prompt: Let this quote inspire your entry:
“I had a dream when I was 22 that someday i would go to the region of ice and snow and go on and on till I came to one of the poles of the earth”― Ernest Shackleton
Have you ever dreamed about seeing one of the poles? Where's your ideal dream place? This entry needs to be minimum of 100 words if you're participating in the challenge..
I have a feeling I would be dreaming of wood fires, sparks flashing up into the starry night sky. But to dream of coming to a place of snow and ice that would go on and on,.. that would be nightmarish if there was no way back to the heat of the tropics.
I have never shared the dream of going to either pole, though it would be an interesting experience. I believe the Northern Pole is more ice block, than land. And is the pole marked? Is it really a red and white marker? I highly doubt it. A little research found this from Wikipedia:
"The Geographic South Pole is marked by a stake in the ice alongside a small sign; these are repositioned each year in a ceremony on New Year's Day to compensate for the movement of the ice. The sign records the respective dates that Roald Amundsen and Robert F. Scott reached the Pole, followed by a short quotation from each man, and gives the elevation as "9,301 FT.". A new marker stake is designed and fabricated each year by staff at the site.
Ceremonial South Pole
The Ceremonial South Pole is an area set aside for photo opportunities at the South Pole Station. It is located some meters from the Geographic South Pole, and consists of a metallic sphere on a short barber pole, surrounded by the flags of the original Antarctic Treaty signatory states."
So there is a barber pole... ceremonially, of course.
I believe I read somewhere that Shackleton's wife even had him buried in Antarctica because he had never felt comfortable in England. Antarctica was in his blood. Now that is a serious dream. Mine would land me in Paris... though I hear the weather there is hot and heavy at this time of year.
30 Day Blogging Challenge
30 day Activities :Kayaking with the whales and watching penguins and sampling local cuisine.
30 day Camping in Antarctica isn’t an activity for everyone — cozying up on the frozen ground in sub-zero temperatures isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. However, if you’re willing to sacrifice the luxuries of a comfy bed surrounded by four walls, you’re in for one of the coolest sleepovers you’ll ever have. While every boat tour company’s “campground” varies, one option could be Hovgaard Island on the west-facing side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Some outfitters provide tents while others opt for a more au natural experience of only a waterproof, cold weather sleeping bag (bivy sack) and thermal mat. Sleeping under the infinite number of Antarctica’s twinkling stars is a surreal experience and knowing there’s nothing between you and all of Antarctica’s frozen glory is truly a magical feeling. I've chosen the au natural for us.
Men need to increase their caloric intake to 4500 and women to 3900 to handle the temperatures. I'm assured we won't gain weight.
Oh, Lyn your never cease to amaze me. Antarctica. Such a lovely place to escape to virtually, when the humidity is on the rise here (Southern Ontario, Canada).
So it looks like our Island, Havgaard Island, is almost straight down from the South American tip. Looking at the map as a satellite shot makes me shiver. Just look at these views...
Makes me feel small with majestic views like that. So does looking at the starry sky and watching the light display dance fire across the immense sky. There is no light pollution to block it out. Impressive.
I hope everyone has packed warmly. Lots of socks and warm gloves. Thermal underwear. Looks like we'll be sleeping in 'snow graves' to keep us out of the wind. We are also going in the winter from what I can gather, good thing this is a virtual trip or we'd be there until Summer (October - February) We get about 5 hours of Nautical twilight. https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/@6697173
But here in this virtual world, where life is twisted to our own making, I can appreciate the place and the time. A chance to kayak would be fabulous... I would not want to be out on the water in the Nautical Twilight - my imagination would conjure too many deep sea beasts for my liking. Though I am sure my thoughts and dreams could be written out for future stories.
I wonder who my adventure friends this trip will be? I look forward to sharing a meal of bannock and Pemmincan with them. I'd try the Hoosh as well. And chocolate, yes please!!! No soft melted chocolate in Antarctica. I picked up a good stash of Reid's chocolates on Wednesday. I'd be willing to share. I like the idea of eating more and burning the extra calories just being here.
Blogging Circle of Friends - Day 2815
Are you familiar with any of these authors or books? or discuss one of these quotes:
“Antarctica. You know, that giant continent at the bottom of the earth that’s ruled by penguins and seals.”
― C.B. Cook, Twinepathy
“I want to visit the snow in Antarctica before global warming turns it into a tropical paradise.”
― Steven Magee
Well, if anyone knows me at all, it's how I love to carry books around on an adventure. (In real time, I bought 11 books at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on the second day of a bus tour of Scotland and had to lug them around the next 14 days!).
One of the things I enjoy about this adventure is the chance to research and check out various places around the world. I find I often get lost down the rabbit hole of websites and information. I have to keep reminding myself I have a blog to write. I started this blog at 4 am... it is now almost 7 pm! (I did do other things besides the research, but I have probably spend a good 4 hours, at least checking things out).
Most of these books talk about the harshness of the land and its climate. They talk about early explorers and the challenges they faced. I hope we don't get ourselves trapped in the ice.
When I look at the quotes and the idea of a 'tropical paradise'... I worry a little bit about how badly we treat our planet. But for right now I just want to enjoy the place and make sure that I leave the place as I found it, so that I don't contribute to its demise.
Apparently it is very dry here, so you need to hydrate and wear sunscreen because the ozone it the thinnest at the poles. No chance of seeing Santa or getting eaten by polar bears, we get to enjoy the penguins and seals and make sure the whales don't tip us out of our Kayaks as we glide over the water as black as night. The peace and silence here is amazing. The sounds that do carry are unhindered by anything but walls of ice. Even as we paddle, we seem to let the world slip away and let ourselves be part of something bigger.
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT July 30th
Congratulations on making it to the last day of the competition! What was your favorite prompt from the last month? What was the most rewarding aspect of participating in the competition?
For this blog it is hard to remember a favourite blog without being able to look back, but I enjoyed the inventions prompt and in particular, Robert Waltz ’s entry. I have enjoyed Star Trek and thought their gadgets were just a matter of time in development. Some one made a comment about William Shatner having a flip cell phone make the Star Trek Chirp when he starred in Boston Legal. I love it when they link things like that.
As for the rewarding aspects of this competition, I enjoy writing to the prompts, as well as reading what others have to say on the same topic. It always amazes me how varied we can get when it comes to responses. I also like that fact that I have something I have to write each day. It gets my butt in the chair and writing. I have done most of my writing each day, but I often forget to post my entries to my blog and then to the forum. I think I blew it on the second day this month, but just because I messed up does not mean I give up.
I am doing Camp Nanowrimo this month, so most of my writing sessions have started off with doing my blog then moving into more fictional realms. I have two days left to get almost 5,000 words written. I am not worried. My Thursday and Fridays are pretty open and I have been going out to a few newer cafes to give them business and give myself a change of scenery. Getting to them, also requires that I walk, so I get some exercise into my day as well. One place has a great trail by the river nearby… and I can still use the bathrooms in the building afterwards before I drive home.
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT July 29th
Write about an invention or technology that you wish existed that would make your life better.
Okay. How many of us are going to say a vaccine to rid us of Covid-19? Allowing us to return to normal, with the knowledge of what we have learned over our confinement. Knowledge that people and connections are important. Knowledge that we can find creative ways to interact without always using technology. And a new appreciation for going out into the world.
One of my concerns with the confinement and the way our way our world was going beforehand was that people were 'Leaning In' - that means they were working too much and not spending enough time with friends and family. Having done remote teaching and talking to people who have been working from home, I've found people are giving too much time to the work because there in nothing to denote when you are at work and when you are at home. Those in that situation need to learn to step away.
I have a friend whose husband works at Google. It is an international company, which means he works all day on his own projects and then often returns to work after dinner to have meetings with people in Germany or California. So instead of working 9 to 5, he is working that plus an additional 2 or 3 hours after his workday should be done. They don't have children, but I can see why relationships could suffer from this kind of thing. The concept of Leaning In does not feed the individual, it feeds the company.... and when it comes right down to it, you need to think does that company really care about you or your family or are you just a tool it uses to make its profits. I know Company's like Toyota cut their Christmas party budget so that they don't have to support anything more than what they have to. Having read Tena Henley's Leaning Out, she makes an argument for taking back your time and your life so that you fulfill yourself and don't give it all away. Why work yourself into the ground for some big company that doesn't give a damn?
I believe this pandemic was a chance to rethink our values and consider what is important... people are always more important than the Machine.
Still, we need to find a new normal. One that gets the work done and still supports us as humans, not as just another worker in the grind of life.
Hug your kids, reach out virtually, keep a safe distance and one day we can appreciate the energy and dynamic wonderfulness that is human interaction again.
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT July 28th
All month, you’ve been replying to prompts straight from the Challenge War Chest, filled with prompts from previous 30DBC competitors. Today, write three of your own prompts and then reply to one of them in your entry.
I knew this day was coming...
1. Discuss a book that had an impact on your life somehow.
2. What do you currently do to pick yourself out of the doldrums?
3. Are you going on any vacations or adventures this summer?
What do I currently do to pick myself up out of the doldrums? I take mini- adventures. Today, I headed out to Indigo. It was my first time there since the beginning of March. I wandered around for a good long while. It wasn't busy. I wore my mask. I used hand sanitizer and washed my hands well, when I did use the bathroom. I bought three things... I restricted myself to only 3 things. Two of the things were notebooks - one is to keep track of my writing and reading goals; the other is either going to be a bullet journal and / or a place where I can keep track of all the contests I have entered. I also want to keep track of the short stories I have written and also track their edits and submission journey. I enter at least 52 contests a year on Writing.com (part of the I Write in 2020 Challenge - of which I am one week ahead of schedule). I would like to start venturing out further - submitting to magazines and anthologies. I also have hopes of one day completing my novel and getting it published)... but I am getting of track.
After my wonderful adventure at Indigo, I headed over to Cambridge - a 20 to 30 minute drive east of my home base. I had decided yesterday, I wanted to go to spend some time at a new coffee shop - Blackwing Coffee. I only had 45 minutes because many coffee shops are limiting their hours until only 2 or 3 pm. The plan is to go earlier tomorrow or go Thursday when they are open until 4 pm.
I also learned that the building Blackwing Coffee is in is open later and they have bathrooms that are accessible later than the coffee shop's closing hours. I know that sounds weird, but my day trips need to coincide with available washroom facilities or else I need to be home in two hours. That is my limit. If the drive is 30 minutes both ways that does not leave a lot of time to explore.
After the coffee shop closed I walked into downtown Galt (Cambridge is made up of 3 small towns). Galt runs along the Grand River and I climbed down to the water's edge to touch the water - very nice! I checked a few other shops - all of which had early hours, but I did find one more coffee shop that was open until 3 pm so I bought an iced almond chai latte.
The beautiful walk got me back to my car by 3:30 and I was home just before 4 pm.
After 2 days of listening to the heavy machinery at our neighbour's place - they are rebuilding a wall - I got a chance to get away and hear much more peaceful sounds. Well, the weird guy yelling about pigeons on the bridge was a little wierd.... but hey, it was interesting.
Now, I am just relaxing on the front stoop doing a little writing.
It's been a good day. and my step count is a healthy 16,000.
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT July 27th
Write about a time you were caught off guard, surprised, or had the rug pulled out from under you. How did you recover?
I can't think of anything for myself here.... beyond my divorce, but I would not rather write about that. I would love to fictionalize this entry in that many of my novels start off with this kind of thing. The discovery of an unfaithful boyfriend and the fallout that comes from that kind of situation. It is always so much easier to write about something like that in a fictionalized sense. It helps makes sense of my own situation without the glaring reality of what really happened. Because real life is so much more boring than what I can makeup.
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT July 26th
What food would you like to judge in a Cook-Off?
I would love some ribs right now and it is only 5:43 in the morning! I have heard they are still doing some rib-fests this year, but it is like a drive thru.... now I have to Google that. Burlington, Ontario had a drive-thru Ribfest - 3000 cars. Raising $25,000 for charities.
This is another blog I did then forgot to post. Oh well. Here it is.
30 Day Blogging Challenge
PROMPT July 25th
Reflect on your week. What was challenging? What did you do that made you feel successful? What made you smile?
This has been a harder week. Monday was relatively productive, but Tuesday was a blue day. I was great in the morning, but by mid-afternoon I had lost any interest in making the day interesting. I thought about walking downtown, but the idea of going somewhere that may or may not have washrooms held me back. I don't want to walk for half an hour, then have a coffee and have to walk home without being able to wander and explore. Not being able to find a bathroom also makes me a little anxious.
It was also too warm to walk too far.
I considered driving to another little town, but again... the washroom conundrum holds me back.
Deflated, I lumped myself in front of the TV and ate copious amount of junk.
Wednesday was a bit better.
Thursday I worked with my client - first time since before the confinement. The highlight of my week. We couldn't do anything exciting, but we did 'picnic' in my car port and sit at the back patio to colour before taking a walk down to the lake. Thank goodness it stopped raining. I usually take him swimming in the summer, but I am not inclined to take him to a pool. I also don't want to venture to a mall. Outside venues are where it's at for now, anyway. I was tired that night, probably from stressing out about how it was going to go.
Our neighbours are also refixing their retaining wall and the big machinery has been going since early morning the last two days - yesterday it was 7:25 am! I had to go out to find some peace.
We'll see what the weekend holds.