52 lists – games I love to play

So, you may have noticed that I’ve been blogging up a storm. Now I’m all caught up on Meet Me At Mike’s 52 lists challenge.

This evening we’re talking games. I love a good board game sesh. You? Yeah I thought so. There are loads of games I like but I’ve picked out a few that are particular favourites.

I don’t have a competitive bone in my body until it comes to games. Then a latent competitiveness rushes to the surface and I get a bit el nutso. I play to win and I really only want to play with other people who want to win. I’m not at all a fan of helping people through the game (DONNA!!).

Naturally my favourite games are all the ones I’m good at. i

Kerplunk is a game I only discovered a few weeks ago. I bought it for my nephews for Christmas and when I visited last month they got me playing it.  I was quickly addicted. Much to their annoyance, I wouldn’t let them stop playing until I’d managed to get through a whole round of pulling out plastic sticks without making marbles fall. I really want my own Kerplunk now!

Boggle is a game I played repetitively in primary school and I love it so much I put it on our wedding registry. I never get sick of it.

Pick up sticks is SO MUCH FUN! And I have lots of tricks up my sleeve for this one.

Scattergories is awesome because it’s a list making game where you can get extra points for alliteration. Say no more, right?

Pass the parcel is not just for kids. I’ve played this game at many a bridal shower or adult birthday party. It’s like musical chairs (also awesome) but you get prizes along the way. And don’t you love it when lollies fall out in between gifts? YEAH!

Rock, paper, scissors is the game Husband and I use to make all our decisions. We used it to decide whether to buy our house. We use it to pick holiday destinations. We use it to see who has to get out of bed in the middle of the night and fill up the water glasses. Rock, paper, scissors is where it’s at!

I’m at my parent’s place this weekend, but Ian is at home with his family visiting. The only good thing about being apart for the long weekend is that I had no one to rock, paper, scissor me about licking the spoon when I baked today. All mine!

Taboo is the game I am best at. Seriously guys, I am so good at this game. I never lose. Well, I probably have lost sometimes but only because my partner was crap.

Thumb wars are something that I can physically beat Ian at. I don’t stand a chance with arm wrestles. Those skinny little arms of his have quite the strength behind them. But thumbs? I got it covered.

Commander Keen is the only computer game I’ve ever really liked. Apart from Tetris. But Tetris freaks me out. I play it, then see squares joining in my sleep. Commander Keen is just fun and I loved it as a teenager. I play it now and again as an adult and I scream my head off. E finds it cute. It’s meant to be hard core.

What do you like to play?

 

 

 

 

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52 lists – things I’ve read lately

Embarrassingly, I’ve only read three and a half books so far this year. This is mostly because I’ve discovered the joy of watching TV on my laptop before going to sleep. I’ve also been using long distance commutes to watch movies. What I have read though, has been amazing.

My three books so far this year are:

Books

I wrote about Shantaram here. I started it on January 1st and didn’t finish it till January 31st. It was certainly a hefty novel, at 946 pages long, but I loved every page. I think I probably could have finished it quicker if I’d just read the book and stopped youtubing. As I went along, I kept googling the author and I’d spend night after night reading about him online and watching interviews. Fascinating man!

Then there was The Boat, a collection of short stories by Nam Le. As with most short story collections, there’s always quite a few you love and then quite a few you don’t. Nam has a strong background in writing poetry and that was quite evident in his writing. He has a real way with words. And I really like ethnic literature. It’s important.

Next up was Life of Pi. I loved this book. I love beautiful quotes, as you know, and for me, this novel felt like one big, beautiful, philosophical quote. I loved Yann Martel’s perspective on religion and also on Zoos. I don’t necessarily agree with him, but he puts forward a few interesting arguments and gave me pause for thought. I also like how he calls churches God Houses. Tres cute! I’ve been mentally referring to them in the same way. I think I’ll probably do a whole post on this book at some stage.

I’m now about half way through A Million Little Pieces, a memoir by James Frey. It’s a tough book to read. Hearing about the way drug and alcohol addicts treat their bodies literally makes me feel weak at the knees. I think perhaps I’m reading this book to soon after Shantaram. It’s making me want to step back in time and give James’ liver some love!

But what about you? What have you been reading lately? Any good books? Mags? Cookbooks? Blogs? Websites? Share!

Shantaram – how it changed my perspective

shantaram

Shantaram is a book that sat on my book shelf for a very long time. At 946 pages, it’s certainly not a light literary snack! For a commuter, lugging such a heavy book around is not ideal. However I decided to start reading it while I was on Christmas holidays. It ended up taking me the entire month of January and by the end my hands ached from holding the heavy book!

This book has well and truly secured itself a spot on my list of favourite books of all time.

After reading a lot of reviews online, I can see that there are many people who got quite sick of the author and his tales, in the same way many people (me included) really started to dislike Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love. However with Shantaram, for me, the more I read, the more I loved Greg. I think I’ve now watched every single interview of him on youtube.

I learnt a lot from this book, which I’ll share below, however a quick summary for those who don’t know the back story:

Gregory David Roberts was an Aussie journo in the 80s, whose life fell apart after his wife had an affair and ran away to America. He raised his daughter alone for 18 months before his wife came back and managed to win full custody of their child. She took his 5 year old daughter to America leaving Greg completely alone. On the night she left, a group of friends came over to console him and one person brought along heroin for comfort. Some friend…

Greg became an overnight junkie, numbing all his woes in heroin. After he’d sold everything he owned to pay for his habit he started robbing banks. He used a toy gun, and became known in the 80s as the Australian Building Society Bandit. People actually described him as the Gentlemen bandit because despite stealing money from them, he did so with good manners and many apologies.

Eventually he was caught and sentenced to 20 years in jail. However only 2 years into the sentence he escaped in broad day light from Melbourne’s maximum security prison and he stayed on the run for 10 years. For 8 of those years he lived in Bombay.

While in Bombay, he worked in a slum, acted in Bollywood movies, got sent to prison again and was tortured (this part was actually really hard to read) and he also got involved in the Bombay Mafia which saw him work as a drug runner, counterfeiter and also go to Afghanistan.

So why did I love this book so much? There were two main reasons.

1) Gregory really captures what I imagine to be the soul of Bombay (now, Mumbai). I’ve read a lot of books about or set in India. But none have made me want to go there as much as this.

2)  I realised how judgemental I am.

This book made me think long and hard about how I look at total strangers. I’ve looked up pictures of Gregory and in some of the photos of him from before all these experiences, I see a hard man who I’d never have had anything to do with in real life. He’d be exactly the kind of person I’d cross the street to avoid. He’s the kind of person that I’d have once believed had earned his place in jail.

But. After reading Shantaram I have been confronted by my sterotypical mind set about criminals. Before I got to ‘know him’ there I was, judging and blaming.

Obviously his book is just one side of a long, complicated story. And Greg himself does not wish to be forgiven for the fear and stress he caused others.

But I guess what I took from this book is that I now want to try harder to understand why some people’s lives take such a dark turn. Why is it that people turn to crime? Often it’s because of drugs and alcohol, but what is it that makes people develop those addictions in the first place? And after reading how Greg was treated in both an Australian jail and an Indian jail, I now wonder whether it’s really the right place to treat troubled people. Is there any other place? Any other way? Sure, he broke the law and did some horrible stuff. But he’d also been through some horrible stuff. Maybe all he needed was help? Not punishment. Maybe it could have all been different.

I really think that if someone had helped him break his drug addiction and someone had helped him see his daughter, the rest of his story could have been very different.

I hope that I can now be a more empathetic person.

For me, Shantaram is reflective, intelligent writing. I loved it. I demand a sequel! Don’t be daunted by its size. Read it.

52 lists – things that make me feel cosy

Feeling cosy is da bomb!  What makes you feel cosy? For me, it’s:

Steaming cups of tea

Noodle slurping

Ugg boots with a good lining

Snuggling under a soft blanket

Browsing through a book shop on a rainy day

Wearing a hoodie (my winter uniform!)

Wearing jumpers a size too big so that I can fold the sleeves over my hands

Wrapping my fingers around a mug of coffee

Hearty soups stashed with vegetables

Cheesey jaffles

Reading in a big comfy chair (just need me a pouf!)

Soaking in the bath (add a handful of epsom salts, a handful of table salt and a handful of  baking soda. Then add a couple of drops of essential oil).

Being cared for when you feel poorly.

Steaming cup of coffee

52 lists – things I do every day

So I’m having a lot of fun here. Are you enjoying these lists or are you bored to tears?

This latest list is pretty much a summary of my day. If I could draw, I’d turn this into an infographic!

Things I do every day:

Hit snooze at least twice

Reluctantly wake up

Think about exercising more

Wash my hair, tie it in a top knot

Get dressed

Moisturise – feet, hands and face

Put on foundation

Check social media news feeds

Drink coffee

Drink tap water

Read the news

Read a book

Learn stuff

Write lists

Procrastinate

Think

Work

Roll my eyes

Use every swear word ever invented. Make up a few for good measure

Chat (too much)

Read blogs, read email, read texts

Laugh

Put together a special dish I call dinner

Clean benchtops

Acknowledge that I’m unreasonably obsessed with clean benchtops

Shower

Put on a sarong

Pop pills – of the vitamin variety

Count my blessings

Pray

Text Sheela

Say I love you

Dream

52 lists – favourite things to have for breakfast

It’s the most important meal of the day but also my least favourite meal of the day. I am the most boring breakfast person in the world. I pretty much only eat:

Bircher muesli
This recipe is my current fav. I make it before I go to bed, ready for the next morning.

Avocado on toast with salt and pepper
My Mum always makes this for me when I stay at her house and it’s the only thing I can handle salt being added to.

Fruit
Or fruit salad if I have the time.

Yoghurt
I like plain Greek yoghurt – no sugar!

Eggs
On the weekend I like to have scrambled eggs or hard boiled. No soft, runny yokes for me, oh no thanks.

Smoked salmon
With anything, on anything. Toast, bagels, cream cheese, ricotta cheese, capers – whatever the format, I’m a fan.

Now send me some inspiration please, how do you like to break your fast?

Egg!

52 lists – flowers I like

I feel that I’ve spent a lot of time talking about flowers on my blog. But flowers are so wonderful that I guess that’s not such a bad thing, right?

I love most flowers but I lean towards big flowers with big petals, rather than the dainty variety. Although cute little flowers like snap dragons and pansies, make me think of my Mum. Her garden is filled with mini pretties.

I’ve been learning more about flowers lately because my Mum and my Mumzy-in-law are both totes in the know. So whenever they mention something about a particular variety, I actively fill the info away in my noggin.

My most favourite, favourites are below. I used to have a think for orchids but not so much any more. Flowers 1PicMonkey Collage

Dahlias (my best!)
Ranunculus
Peonies
David Austin Roses
Hydrangea
Jonquils
Sweat pea
Red hot pokers
Lisianthus
Tulips
Chrysantheum
Camellia
Carnation
Poppies (which I think are also called Cosmos?)
Protea
Billy balls
Native Aussie blossoms
Cherry blossoms

52 lists – favourite smells

Don’t you love how you can smell a perfume or a spice and be transported back in time? Smell is a powerful sense that often evokes long forgotten memories

For me…

Getting a whiff of cinnamon reminds me of my Grandmother’s kitchen

The fragrance of guava plants takes me back to the school playground

Freshly baked bread makes me think of my Dad

Frying onions causes an instantaneous hankering for a BBQ

Coffee smells like early mornings

Fabric softener reminds me of borrowing a high school boyfriend’s jumper

Pesto being whipped into submission in the food processor will always make me think of our friend Cindy’s kitchen

Clean linen soothes my tired mind and body

Sunscreen quickly transports me to the beach

Petrichor, for me is synonymous with a very good mood

The smell of Early Grey makes me think of tea sets that tinkle and rattle at every touch

What smells transport you to another time or place?

Ah, tranquility