Saturday, January 3, 2015

Goodbye 2014 and welcome 2015: the year of living in the moment!

Ahhh 2014, the year that laid the groundwork for a great 2015!

I am paraphrasing from a friends FB status...thanks Rik...but I like it's intent.

2014 wasn't as horrid as 2013 but it wasn't that much better either, and I could explain why, but really what is the point!?!

It's sooo last year!

So I would rather accentuate the positives from 2014 and look towards 2015.

Life can be amazing, and it will be...

And in 2014 I actually did a lot of amazing, mostly with amazing people, some of which included:
  • Seeing David Sedaris, Amanda Palmer, Yoko Ono exhibit, Beatles tribute show at the Opera house, and Doctor Who Melbourne Symphony Orchestra ALL in January!
  • My stunning Regal Cinema reopened with one chair sponsored by me
  • My amazing friend, Linda Drummond saved an Australian institution with SPC Sunday
  • I hosted a special book tour at work with Anita Heiss and Lisa Heidke
  • I saw Neil Finn play The Civic, and Joanne McCarthy talk about her passion
  • I participated in the Newcastle Writer's Festival reading a story about my adventures in Africa
  • Ate out with friends a lot, trying so many new and wonderful places, like Fernwood High Tea, Casa de Loco, Una Volta, Coal and Cedar, The Hop Factory, Grainstore, Red Baron, Saigon Feast.
  • I saw Leo Sayer, Russell Morris, Richard Clapton, and Joe Camilleri at The Civic
  • I became a member of the Newcastle Art Gallery Society
  • Athena and I attended a Newcastle Folk Society night with the stunning Kavisha Mazello
  • Celebrated Eurovision in style at The Grain Store
  • I had the most magical and enjoyable day at The Sydney Writer's Festival
  • In June I saw Lloyd Cole, Henry Wagons, The Glenn Miller Orchestra and Tim Freedman
  • I got to meet and sell merch for Lloyd Cole
  • I had a mini break in Jan, June, and Aug, and a trip to Melbourne in Nov
  • I saw Dan Sultan and Stonefield
  • I was on Treasure Hunter with my friend R
  • I finally went to my first Underground Epicurean
  • I had the most amazing night out at Red Baron, and The Lass with my fabulous gals
  • I had the most amazing afternoon and night at Red Baron and Grainstore
  • We saw Courtney Love
  • I SAW BOB DYLAN!!!!!!!!!!!
  • I met our latest family member Azura
  • As always I attend the Silent Film Festival
  • We saw Steve Smyth at The Lass
  • Attended the National Youth Writer's Festival
  • Saw Bill Bailey at The Civic
  • Had a fun night with friends at Pinball and Pizza
  • Saw Les Mis, Once, JPG, Stop Making Sense and much much more in Melbourne
  • We listened to Julia Gillard
  • We rallied for the ABC, and said goodbye to Carol Duncan
  • I met William McInnes and marveled at the Sky Whale
  • We danced at the Great Northern for 80s night and Twitter
  • Night swam at Merewether Baths
  • Rang in the NY in style at The Landing
  • Work continued to be great, I have a fabulous team, we do wonderful work, I was challenged by some additional projects which I loved, and felt the love from our community.
  • My love life had it's ups and downs...ok mostly downs...but better than nothing...I suppose :/
  • Family and Friends continued to love and support me and don't think it goes unnoticed. Truly blessed I am for those that love me.
So despite all the crappy, 2014 had a lot within to love.

At the beginning of the year I proclaimed 5 projects and 10 things I was going to do through the year. I guess I was busy doing all the other things to think too much about them!

The 5 Projects were:
Project 42 for life - based on my 42 things project from 2013, I continued these beautifully in 2014.

Project Cathy - 40mins a day on me improving inside and out, this started well, fell over a bit, but picked up. I give myself 65% on this one.

Project declutter and revamp - I'm almost there, finding the right dining table set back my efforts, I will have this finished this year!

Project read - this will be a whole other blog I think, I did ok, I read a lot but didn't complete everything on the list.

Project Sunday - This was spending 30mins each Sunday to look ahead and gently plan my week. I only missed a few and it helped me get more things done and forget less things too. 95% success on this.

10 things:
Sort holiday photos into an album -Nope
Learn a new instrument - bought a uke AND bongos but not quite proficient
Swim at night at Merewether or ocean baths - Yep
Walk to Boolaroo and see a movie and walk home - Nope
Rewrite and expand my European blog - Nope
Take another writing course - Nope
Teach my niece to play the guitar and take my nephew to more galleries -  I did a little of both with both of them
Road trip to Wendy Whiteley's garden - Nope
Mini trip and start planning overseas trip - Yep to Melbourne and Yep Portugal, Barcelona and Paris - unsure when, but it will happen!
Buy a ipod to downsize my cd colln - Nope to ipod but yes to downsizing
And for those paying attention to previous lists, I still haven't finished my green scarf, lol!

So what will 2015 bring for me:

I've decided not to do a list this year. My life is busy and good enough without adding specific lists of things I have to do. I spent forever trying to work out my thoughts for 2015 and realised I just do not need to add anything else to my life in terms of lists and things and such. What I am meant to do I will do.

So in 2015 I will be just living in the moment...which I love the sound of!!

My favourite thing to do, is find somewhere to explore (at home or in other locations), and just walk, take photos, smell the strawberries, look up, daydream, and just be. So 2015 will feature much more of that, and everyone is welcome to join me on my adventures. 

I do exploration and indulgence VERY well!! You will not be disappointed!

I do like to have special occasions to look forward to, so I will ensure that is always the case by having at least one thing a month planned, but otherwise, I'm letting fate and adventure take it's course. (Ok I do hope I meet someone extra special, but I always hope for that, maybe this year is THE year...or not...either way, I will survive!!)

I will continue with a few projects, but that's really just an extension of what I have been doing these past few years. 

My projects will be

Project 42 for life - keeping on with all the things I started when I was 42 and incorporating Project Cathy (internal and external improvements on my self), Project Sunday (planning ahead for the week each Sunday). I will also add a new thing which I started at the beginning of the year and was working well until too many distractions halted it. This is where I turn off all electronics an hour or so before  go to bed and just read.  

Project Declutter - nearly there and will finish this year

Project Read -  I shall blog on this further at some point.

And whilst I look forward to my first exciting event of the year...An evening with my beloved Neil Gaiman at the end of January, I'll end with words from the wise man himself!

Be kind to yourself in the year ahead. 

Remember to forgive yourself, and to forgive others. It's too easy to be outraged these days, so much harder to change things, to reach out, to understand.

Try to make your time matter: minutes and hours and days and weeks can blow away like dead leaves, with nothing to show but time you spent not quite ever doing things, or time you spent waiting to begin.

Meet new people and talk to them. Make new things and show them to people who might enjoy them. 

Hug too much. Smile too much. And, when you can, love.

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Top 10 Movies of the year
1. Boyhood - complete and utter masterpiece, hands down, best film I have seen in forever.
2. Grand Budapest Hotel - Easily the best film by Wes Anderson, great story, ensemble cast, and a visual masterpiece
3. Her - complex, compelling, and utterly beguiling plus Joaquin Phoenix.
4. The Trip to Italy - Funniest film in forever, great scenery and food.
5. Pride - best indie film of the year, poignant and funny with a great soundtrack, and human rights issues covered beautifully.
6. Inside Llewyn Davis - melancholy and lovely, black and white, great music and wonderful acting.
7. Wish I Was Here - funny and dramatic with a lot to think about, loads of heart, and also great music.
8. The Great Beauty - a perfect homage to Fellini, and so much Rome I thought my heart would explode.
9. American Hustle - sassy, great story, fast paced, fab music, excellent acting.
10. Nebraska - a beautiful stillness, stunning cinematography and superb acting.

Hon Mentions: Only Lovers Left, Rock The Casbah, and Under the Skin
Top 10 DVDs of the year
1. Bill Cunningham New York - I fell in love with Bill on the streets of New York and hearing him talk about his art.
2. Frank - quirky indie film, with a very odd story, excellent acting and great music.
3. A Band Called Death - I loved doco so very much about an punk rock band well ahead of their time, so much heart in it.
4. 20 Feet From Stardom - feel good movie of the year, another doco, about the women backup singers. Won the Oscar.
5. Crazy Heart - Loved Jeff Bridges in this great country music film.
6. Saving Mr Banks - took me back to my childhood, Emma Thompson was so very good in this.
7. Genova - reminded me a lot of Don't Look Now, lovely Italian scenes and Colin Firth.
8. Best Offer - creepy, art movie with Geoffrey Rush, but utterly compelling.
9. Senna - sad doco about the F1 superstar, if only it ended differently.
10. Labor Day - great drama with Kate Winslet,
Top 13 Television Shows of the year
1. Mad Men - for it's sheer perfection, stunning dialogue, use of music and history, and that scene between Don and Peggy.
2. Game of Thrones - epic storytelling heightened by complex and interesting characters and for, you know, killing someone truly horrid.
3. The Walking Dead - such desperate actions, heart wrenching deaths, and the way it keeps you on the very edge of your seat, oh and Daryl!!!
4. Fargo - turning a much loved film into a much loved television show and getting it right. Great characters AND Billy Bob!
5. True Detective - spine chilling storyline, existential and complex dialogue and powerhouse acting for both Woody and Matthew. 
6. Redfern Now - our stories in our cities that make you rethink everything you thought you knew.
7. Please Like Me - sheer delight and sweetness whilst tackling some very real and dramatic storylines with perfect humour.
8. VEEP - Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Tony Hale are superb physical comedians in this great political satire.
9. Call The Midwife - such a sweet yet dramatic series set against the backdrop of the 50s, stunning stories and superb cast.
10. Orange is the New Black - Great cast of wonderful women, with vignettes of comedy against a dramatic backdrop.
11. Parks and Recreations - I love the ensemble cast and it's great comedy.
12. Arrested Development - I was so excited to see my favourite show back, but it just wasn't quite as good as S1-3, however the funniest thing I have EVER seen was the scene between Buster and his mother with the cigarettes, and that almost made up for the rest...almost!
13. Girls - as always mixed emotions, but love the writing and the characters, despite their flaws.
Hon Mentions: the shows that finished: Dexter (disappointing), The Newsroom (wanted more), Offspring (close to perfect) no words can express my upset over no more At The Movies.

Downton Abbey: a show I don't mind really amped it up for S4 and I loved every minute of it, here's hoping they keep it up!
Utopia: Working Dog just pump out classic hit after classic hit, and this was no exception.
Soul Mates: best new skit comedy, so very funny for the let's go back in time and stifle (kill) Russell Crowe storyline, let alone everything else (Fizzy Milk anyone!?!)
Rockwiz - you are still my favourite show on television, all these years and still fresh and fabulous.
Top 10 albums of the year

1. I'm not Bossy, I'm the Boss - Sinead O'Connor - stunning return to form, she's never sounded better and a lovely range of songs from pop to ballads.
2. Art Official Age/Plectrum Electrum - Prince - both stunning, both full of funk, sexy and pop. Immediately listenable and showcases the purple one's genius!
3. Blank Project - Neneh Cherry - long awaited new album didn't fail to deliver some hard hitting songs.
4. Morning Phase - Beck - great mix of funk and pop, his best in a long while
5. Gon' Boogaloo - C. W. Stoneking - love his authentic take on 20s blues and this is superb. I must see him live!
6. O Vertigo - Kate Miller-Heidke - love her voice and her lyrics and unique storytelling.
7. There There - Megan Washington - beautiful album of mostly ballads that fully showcase her stunning voice.
8. Exits - Steve Smyth - a mix between Jeff Buckley and Tom Waits with a 20s blues sensibility, this is a superb album
9. Dizzy Heights - Neil Finn - a mix of his usual style of ballads and some amazing avant garde pop, was great to see him live.
10. Acid rain and sugar cane - Wagons - Henry Wagons and his rough yet tongue in cheek rock is showcased perfectly on his latest album.
Hon Mentions to the new u2 (really wasn't that bad!), Passenger, Chrissie Hynde, The Pixies and the superb live album between Paul Kelly and Neil Finn

Top 10 + 1 Concerts of the year

1. Bob Dylan - finally, I got to see my hero and it was perfect, mostly newer songs, but I love everything Bob so I was blessed and happy.
2. Courtenay Love - She kicked arse, and sounded amazing.
3. Amanda Palmer - superb and sheer perfection, funny and dramatic, AFP is everything you imagined and more
4. Dan Sultan (with Stonefield who were amazing) - the consummate rock and roll performer.
5. Wagons - he punched the life out of every song he sang, rock and roll hero, outstanding.
6. Lloyd Cole - just Lloyd and a guitar, every song you hoped to hear AND I got to sell merch for him and meet him. He hugged me and bought me a beer, my teenage self passed out!
7. Beatles Tribute Show (Sgt Peppers and Abbey Road) - unbelievably brilliant!
8. Steve Smyth - a mix of Jeff Buckley and Tom Waits and an outstanding performance
9. Kavisha Mazella - on a cold winter's night Kavisha warmed us with her folk sensibilities and her Italian background
10. Tim Freedman -singing the songs of Nilsson, his accent was awful, but his interpretations of the songs sublime.
11. Bill Bailey - whilst not exactly a concert, he did sing, was genius funny and one of the best things I saw in 2014!
Top 10 Books of the year

1. We are all completely beside ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler - beautifully written, unique story, little twist and a gut wrenching finale.
2. Murder in Mississippi - John Safran -outstanding debut, a fascinating story told with great research, and a little bit of satire.
3. House of grief - Helen Garner - a rough subject made bearable by beautiful, kind and genuine heartfelt writing. Garner is perfection.
4. Gardener of Versailles - Alain Baraton - great story about Alain's life working and living on site as a gardener at Versailles.
5. Only in New York - Lily Brett - mini essays on life in New York, by Australian ex-pat and one of my favourite authors.
6. Questions of Travel - Michelle De Krester - slow paced, philosophical musings on travel, movement, and life.
7. As luck would have it - Derek Jacobi - the autobiography of his amazing life.
8. We need new names - NoViolet Bulawayo - stunning debut novel about tweens in Zimbabwe and one girls 'escape' to the US.
9. Simple Dreams - Linda Ronstadt - great autobiography about her life in music, no gossip, just pure music making and processes which was a delight.
10. After Dark - Haruki Murakami - great story set in Tokyo after midnight, showcasing the way some people drift in and out of other people's lives and what is left behind. Haunting, sassy, and intriguing.
Hon Mentions: Humans of New York the book, Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woolf, Not that kind of girl - Lena Dunham, Dress Memory Lorelei Vashti, and the Gerard Durrell stories.