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Spring is here!

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

Like me, do you go through winter singing “are you cold enough?” (to the tune of Dragon’s “Are you old enough?”). If you know it, the chorus will get inside your head and you’ll find yourself singing it now (he, he).

We had a relatively mild winter here in Newcastle, and unfortunately, not much rain for our poor farmers who are currently in drought. I won’t be telling them how to live their lives, just praying that they’re okay and have everything they need. When I have enough, I can share with them too. That’s how the circle of life goes – we share what we can, when we can, and we look out for each other. And as my Mum would say, you can always say a little prayer (as Aretha Franklin would attest). Even if you don’t believe in anything Divine, you can wish your rain to fall on the farms, still the winds that turn them into dust-bowls. Send your own power to them. Send them your love on the white clouds and the new moon and the trains that go past in the night. And a very practical way we can help, is to use less water in our daily lives. Four-minute showers are really not that hard. I just wish our governments would incentivise rain-water collection and grey-water tank installation.

Let's not waste any more water ...

But right now, I’m writing on my back deck, with the spring sunshine warming my uncovered arms and birds tweeting their pretty songs to attract other birds (for what birds do in springtime!).

Glorious sunshine!
I had a quick listen to that Dragon song, but now I’ve gone back to my roots and Carlos Santana is serenading me with his Black Magic Woman. Classic stuff.

There’s something about a good Latin rhythm that can get you moving, even when you have been sedentary for three whole months, sitting in front of the telly and snuggled up in soft blankets, drinking warm cocoa. That funky rhythm gets you wiggling, your hips start swaying, and before you know it, you’re active again! You find yourself out in the world, not just walking or jogging or cycling, but you have that “je ne sais quoi”, as the French would say. It translates to “I don’t know what” but really means “that special something”. And, just a quick reminder, a Latin rhythm is good for seduction. Just saying!

Want to dance??

Carlos has given way to another old classic, Mark Knopfler’s distinctive voice crackling out Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing”. I’m leaving the music picks to YouTube today, and YouTube is doing pretty well! The swing feel has got me moving in a whole other way too! “Saving it up for Friday night ..” This takes me back to my teenage years (yes, I’m that old) and the days when I would play a new record (yes, I’m that old) twenty times before dinner, and then another twenty after. I would need headphones, so my family wouldn’t have to put up with the same songs forty times in one night ..

My teenage years had some great music (Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is on now). Singing and dancing are such great ways to get yourself feeling good. Try it. You feel tired or grumpy? Listen to any one of the songs in today’s link list! Get up off your chair and play air guitar like no-one is watching (or like 20000 fans are, and in awe of you). If you really don’t want to get up and play air guitar, you can always bang out Bohemian Rhapsody on your desk-piano! But you have to sing along!!

Oh, Mamma Mia!

And if you’re into a bit of desk-piano, you can always have it with a little Meatloaf (I’m still wondering what he won’t do for love …). Ah, dinner and a show!

I have a soft spot in my heart for spring. I’m so lucky that I was visiting the Mater Hospital recently, and some guys were removing a couple of 10-year-old camellia trees. I carried them home and planted them. Fingers crossed, they’ll survive. I’ve killed a lot of camellias over the years. Accidentally! So hopefully, I have done everything right. Fingers crossed … Any camellia-specific gardening tips, gratefully accepted.

But right now, I have celery and lettuce co-habiting, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and capsicums, all surviving and being gently coaxed to keep growing, together with alyssum, petunias, daisies and pansies. I love seeing them growing happily and it’s good to get my hands dirty. Even weeding is good for the soul. The bees are joyfully visiting all the buds, and one day soon, they’ll visit big mauve flowers on my three artichoke plants too, together with apples and pears. Soon my strawberries will be red and my blueberries deep, dark purple. Yum!

Strawberries, anyone?

Spring brings so many changes. You go through winter feeling pudgy and hiding the bumps as best you can, and then start trying on all your favourite summer clothes, only to realise they no longer fit. It’s time to lose weight, and nature provides all the necessities .. warmer weather, more sunshine, longer days, different foods, even less desire to fill up on stodgy stews and comfort casseroles. You might even be lucky enough to have friends, colleagues or family to get you out walking in that glorious sunshine. Or, you might invite your neighbour. Where I live, Newcastle, is on the eastern coast of Australia, just north of Sydney. It’s such a lovely place to live! We have the best beaches in Australia (I’m not biased, see for yourself). They are great for swimming and other water sports (because many of our beaches are blessed with Surf Life Saving Clubs), and lovely for walking, either on the long stretches of soft sand or on the Esplanade and Great North Walk.

Looking south, toward Merewether Beach.

Okay, you were wondering what was playing, so it’s Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody”. A little RnB to keep us grooving … Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out” … and Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough”.

So, like I was saying, it’s time to get out, about and radiant!

Time for an all-over body-scrub to get the dead skin cells off, followed by a luxurious massage, and then get out there dancing. Dancing is the best exercise ever. I don’t know if it’s as effective as high intensity workouts, but it’s more fun, and it’s as safe as you make it (think John Travolta dancing to the Bee Gees’ “You Should be Dancing”, yeah).

And you can dance alone, practically anywhere!

If you’re looking to lose weight (admittedly, like myself), here are some tips that might help …

Have a groovy playlist to start your day. A great way is to replace the alarms on your mobile phone with something that gets you moving. I have a different alarm for each day (ha, so I know what day it is!). You can import a song that gets you singing like a rock star and shaking your booty like KC and The Sunshine Band, and use that as your morning alarm. Even if you stay in bed to enjoy the song, you’ll be doing more than rolling over for another ten minutes’ kip.

To remember your healthy eating tips, the Australian Dietary Guidelines will help. If you need to, your GP can set a chronic health management plan that includes a dietitian and other allied health professionals to help you to lose weight safely and healthfully. A quick tip – 5 serves of veggies and 2 serves of fruit, every day. Swap your alcoholic drinks and soft drinks for water or milk, and swap your processed desserts for yoghurt and fruit.

I shop for groceries once a month. It reduces my spending generally, but also my purchase of my vices (cookies, biscuits, desserts, chocolates). I buy the veggies and fruit that are in season, and they last me two weeks. I also get frozen veggies and fruit, and they keep me going until the end of the month. Then there are all the proteins – eggs, bacon, mince, fish, and whatever is priced well. I can often get eye fillet on special, and that becomes scotch fillet and the tournedos (the pointy end) becomes either a stir fry or stroganoff. Yum. I might get a loaf of bread, but I also have a bread-maker for when I run out, and oh, that bread is delicious (and a great way to get me out of bed – the aroma of baking bread is sensational). I get dried natural yoghurt and make that up as needed; yoghurt is so good for you, and a great way to get your calcium through dairy without adding on the calories. I have it with some of the frozen berries I mentioned earlier, sprinkled with a linseed-sesame-hemp-chia mix for dessert. Yum, again! Then there’s the breakfast pot I described in a blog last year. Too easy!

No longer dusty, but needs a good service ...

So, I have no excuses now. My bike is out of the shed and dusted off. Time to pump up the tyres and remember how to use the gears! If you see me out, please don’t be offended if I don’t wave back – I’m still learning to ride!

The mind is a traveller, but the body gets you there ...

Good luck getting out there and having some fun in the sun. Remember to use sunscreen, insect repellent, a hat/helmet and sunnies. I find that a parasol is better than a hat – no hat-hair and good UV protection. Mine is great for keeping me cool too. And the last song for today’s link list is … Mr Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On”. Yeah. Classic stuff … Enjoy!


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