... when you're constantly on the move, few things remain unchanged.

Tuesday Tunes {Bleed by Cold}

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

celebrate the small things | April 24

Friday, April 24, 2015

What a week it's been!  A truly marvelous one with lots and lots to celebrate!

1) my cosmos flower bloomed!  I'm especially proud of this because it's the first flower I've ever grown from a seed :)

2) my baby white winged dove is learning to fly!  it's amazing, and so fun, to watch.
(for those of you that know, yes, there were two baby doves - but we had a pretty bad storm here last weekend - hail and all - during which both babies fell from the nest... only one survived).

3) Will's aunt Amy came to visit!
Always sooooo much fun!

4) Will's mother came to visit!
I totally loved playing tour guide and drove her (a real first) around to some of my fave places in Austin: County Line on the Lake/ the Oasis and dessert at Chey Zee's. Will was out of town so it was great to have a real girl's day!

5) i've saved the biggest and best 'til last; and for added suspense I'll start by saying that it's taken many months and many denied applications ... but I've finally got a job back in the finance industry (what I was doing before writing... yeah yeah contradictory I know!  I guess I'm blessed to be both right and left brain-abled or maybe I'm not at all, since writing hasn't worked out... anyway), I feel silly for fretting over those other total loser jobs!  This might be the job of my dreams.  It's for a super-chilled company that specializes in business lending and other finanical services to small businesses so I'm stoked not to work with individuals!  But it also stands out because it encourages personal growth, hones individual skill sets and has some of the nicest, happiest employees I've seen anywhere.
Added bonuses include:
- peeps my age
- close to home in a brilliant wooded area that feels more like a country retreat than an office
- catered lunches EVERYDAY
- super laid back dress code
 - 7.5 hr work days

Yep, I reckon I've hit the jackpot.  I hope every one else has had a week as brilliant as mine :)
Right now I'm off to celebrate and make this weekend count since I start work on Monday!

Tuesday Tunes {Ænema by Tool}

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Basically the second my puberty arrived, my taste buds changed dramatically and overnight I went from listening endlessly to The Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls to rock and roll.  I think it's rather fortunate that this occurred in the 90's when rock was borderline mainstream and there was no shortage of purely awesome bands.  Out of my favourites (Deftones, Korn, Placebo, Limp Bizkit, Staind, Godsmack....) few have stayed in my adult playlists.  One of the ones that has - and probably always will at this point - is Tool.

I remember how shocked my devout Baptist mother would be at their album art strewn around my room: exclaiming the symbols were 'witchcraft' and the images were 'blasphemous' or 'devil worshiping.'  I grew up with a lot of fear instilled into me regarding many things, but I was never afraid of Tool's visuals and I used to stare at the album art on Lateralus for ages, thinking it was beautiful. I know I'm super lucky mum never saw any of their video clips though! That would have ensured immediate disposal of all Tool contraband! (  :) love ya mum!) 

While I believe the band intentionally set out to shock people for greater impact, to me Tool never appealed from that stand point.  I always thought that aside from their amazing, genuinely unique sound and time signatures; they were great because of their thought provoking lyrics that challenge societal structures/ government systems and expose the discontent that many people feel with the world - all the things true rock was supposed to be about in the first place.  

Although I eventually outgrew the anger and daddy issues that attracted me to heavy metal rock bands like Korn and Staind, Tool's lyrics became more and more relevant as my journey through life and self discovery continued... it was like: 
yes, I feel numb.  
no, the social clicks, partying and fashion labels aren't filling the void.  
yes, i feel disconnected from my peers and colleagues -
the religious people in my life seem so hypocritical and judgmental.
no one seems to care about what i care about: the environment/ true love/ real relationships,
yes, i feel chewed up and spat out.
no, i don't have any corporate aspirations. no clue what i want for the rest of my life.
yes, that makes me feel mental.
no, i don't know the answer.

but it's ok.  
i'm actually not alone.
because of music like this, i feel more normal than I believed. 

I love almost every Tool song I've ever heard, but I chose to feature Ænema because this song is one of the most direct about the discontentment of the current human condition.  It's raw, it's honest and - in true Tool fashion - the video clip is a confrontational visual aide for the turmoil felt within.  To me, it portrays what happens to our soul when we  disconnect from our higher selves and replace decency, comradery, simplicity, compassion and community // with competition, materialism and jealousy.  Very powerful in conjunction with the the lyrics, included here.  I believe 'learn to swim' is a metaphor for 'wake the ffff up' and I don't want to just pick on LA - to me, the whole world's a mess in need of a wake up call (...though not necessarily mass genocide through natural catastrophe as the song implies).

Ok, I'll include a more mellow song too - one of Tool's most popular/ mainstream in fact: Schism.  This is a beautiful song of hope for mankind 'I know the pieces fit, cause I watched them fall away...'  I love this song - but again, beware of the video, it will stir any emotions the lyrics fail to unsettle.     

PS/ I've since learnt that the controversial album covers in question were the artwork of Alex Grey - a Buddhist practitioner, subtle healing energy expert and what many in the spirit science community would call a guru. His art portrays what we would (do) look like if we were (are) pure energy - a topic that is often brought up in Tool's lyrics. 

PPS/ The symbols upon the cover are in fact wicca... Ooops. Sorry mum. 

the white winged doves

Monday, April 13, 2015

About a month ago, just after the official beginning of spring, Will and I were sitting in our living room playing chess, when we noticed two white winged doves mating in the live oak tree right in front of our balcony!  Yep, we saw the whole shebang - ruffled feathers and all!  We watched as the male dismounted and flew away a short time later, leaving the female alone with her thoughts in the aftermath.  She sat there for a long time, barely moving and I wondered what she was thinking about... whispered echoes of abandonment resounding through my hollow mind.

After that day, we'd see one or both of those doves returning to that exact spot very frequently - from what we could tell, several times an hour.  When I couldn't stand it any longer and curiosity got the better of me, I peered over the balcony railing - hoping to discover any visible trace of significance to the birds; when I noticed they were building a nest!  I'm not sure whether this is typical, or if Will and I simply have two of the most sentimental white winged doves ever heard of, but I was paralyzed in that spot that day as I watched their nest take form in the very spot they consummated their feathery love.  I felt grounded by the weight of this new revelation unfolding before me: love is truly all around.

this was the very first pic I took of the nest, at the beginning of spring and
 just after they'd finished building it.  Look, there was still pollen in the tree!

As the days went by, Will and I watched the doves take turns sitting in their now completed nest.  We saw two perfect little eggs and felt the loving concern of the parents who never once left their side, waiting for one to arrive before the other took flight, fixed the nest after every storm or strong wind and ferociously protected them against intruding birds and squirrels.  Before long, the dogs were as curious as we were - Baxter endlessly watching the glass sliding door and letting one of us know every time the doves stirred.  "Shift changes" became our favourite event to watch: the restless parent upon the nest would make a few of those 'whoo' sounds and the other - obviously never far away - would arrive promptly to take up its shift upon the nest so the first one could fly and feed.  We didn't realize for a while that there were only two shift changes a day - each parent spent roughly 12 hours on the eggs each!

a murky through-the-glass photo of a 'shift change'
(yes, I fumbled and raced like an idiot to capture this. you're welcome). 
Baxter ceaselessly watching the doves <3
that tree beyond the rail is literally where they nested!

The doves became part of our family.  We even named them: Patricia and Walter/ a.k.a Pat & Wally.  I guess we became part of theirs too, because after a while they no longer reacted to our presence out on the balcony and would sleep through my plant waterings, Baxter's bark-greeting everyone that walked by and evening telephone conversations over coffee right beside their tree.

Then last Monday (April 6th) our white winged doves became more active than usual.  Pat, as ever sitting on the nest, was visited by Wally several times an hour, when he would mount her and then fly off again!  I saw the exchange clearly from my spot at the dining table where I sat working.  Again, curiosity got the better of me and I abandoned by draft, moving closer to the glass sliding door so I could see what he was bringing her during each visit.  Food I thought... but I was wrong.  Wally was bringing sticks!  And as Patti sat, he'd climb on top of her and arrange the sticks beneath her - fixing the nest before taking off again for more.  Damaged by the wind, I thought... but again I was proved wrong, when Pat shifted slightly to one side and I saw a piece of broken eggshell fall slowly from the nest!  WE HAVE BABIES I howled into the phone at Will a second later.  And indeed we did.

Over the past week, we've witnessed two perfect little dove babies growing and changing rapidly.  They don't have their white wings just yet, in fact they've barely stopped resembling freaky, featherless aliens, but these babies whom only a mother could love actually have a loving, devoted father who still comes and sits on them his equal share of the time, fixes the nest frequently to allow for the growing twins and regurgitates his food dutifully as well!  Our white winged babies were born from love, in a spot significant to their parents, they were incubated in love and are now completely surrounded by love with an adopted human/ canine family that's sworn to play their part in protecting them from harm.

If I was able to see auras, I'd swear the entire tree glowed in the colour of love... whatever colour that is... green?  I can feel love radiating from and around that spot whenever I'm out there, whether night or day and whether my eyes are opened or closed.

It's hard to explain what I feel when I look out of my glass doors at the little bird family in oak tree.  Seeing firsthand that nature is all around us and exists just the way it's portrayed in National Geographic documentaries spreads a uniquely wonderful, serene feeling through me.  It's clear that humans are so disconnected from nature these days and Will and I are no exception.  Somehow sharing our space with another creature family has made us aware of, and saddened by, our lack of involvement in the world of nature surrounding us.  We've begun to ask the question: is distance from nature is also distance from true, unwavering love?

I once wondered what Patti thought after Wally flew away that first, fateful day.  Was she scared?  Full of regret?  I now know that they had a signed contract before the deed was even done and she felt secure, knowing irrevocably that he'd see his part out.  He'd support her.  Be a good, nurturing father.  He'd come back every day to help her and watch them.  They are a team. It's only humans that have forgotten what true love is.  Only us that can feel afraid or abandoned after the act of making "love".  We think we're superior to any being on the planet, but even birds to it better!  They're better partners, better parents/ no excuses, no cop-outs.  They got together to do something and by god: they DID.  I can tell it's not easy as I watch them day and night.  Regurgitating meals several times an hour/ not eating as much as they'd like due to being stuck in the tree/ balancing for hours on end upon the fragile bones of their precious babies/ being stuck in the same spot no matter the weather...

Patti, in the rain 
Let's be honest, most humans would have tapped out by now.  It saddens me for the state of humanity but also fills me with hope that love (and commitment) is not dead in all the world, when there's such a pure example right outside my balcony.  Their babies continue to grow and change while I continue to stand and stare at the spot where just over a month ago, two white winged doves acted out springtime and built a family from love; hoping that my family will likewise withstand the weather, the hard times and sacrifices.

a treasure hunt on a rainy day

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ahhh Saturday! Everybody's favourite day of the week...  As soon as your eyes open in the morning, you are filled up with the joy of endless possibility that comes from the complete freedom of not having to work.  You are free to do as much - or as little - as you please!

At our place, spring Saturdays usually mean the outdoors: hikes, picnics, visiting new places and having new adventures with the pups.  Then again, waking up this morning painted a different picture: it was cold, gloomy and miserable so our day trip had to be postponed and we needed a new plan. (Can I just add here how useless weather apps in Texas actually are?  I mean we've been promised a thunderstorm all week and instead it's been sunny/ then this weekend was meant to be 'partially cloudy' and it's freezing and raining instead! Grrr! Whatever Texas weather apps,whatever!)
After warming up with some coffee, Will and I decided to head over to Nature's Treasures - Austin's largest gem store - in search of some new crystals.  Recently, we've become quite taken with tourmaline: a gemstone with the incredible ability to literally repel negative energy!  W & I have some all around the apartment, in our cars, bags and even pockets most of the time.

Even if you don't believe in the metaphysical properties or energy transfers of crystals, you've got to admit, it's a beautiful stone!  With it's smooth, shiny jet black surface and vertical grains that form wands of either polygonal or triangular shapes - they're unlike any other crystal W or I have seen.

With a new tourmaline each and a spectacular crystal cluster for the coffee table, we headed home to watch movies with the pups and binge on antipasti for the rest of this rainy day.  Here's hoping tomorrow brings that highly anticipated thunderstorm at last!  (Then again, the weather app says 70% chance, so probably not!)

Tuesday Tunes {Scare Away the Dark by Passenger}

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Today's tune is called Scare Away the Dark and it's by one of my all-time favourite musicians: Passenger.  I'm rather surprised I've not mentioned him in this segment sooner, since his music is prominently featured in most of my playlists.

There are a few things I adore about this talented English lad and his brilliant voice.  One of those things is that his music has deep meaning that is relevant to today's lifestyle.  He doesn't sing constantly about love or heartbreak, nor does he try to be cool or fit in with pop culture.  Instead, he addresses significant issues through his music and Scare Away the Dark is no exception. The lyrics get me thinking, yearning for change and I hope they'll emote the same within you.

Passenger is surely doing his part to shake the current value system that's ingrained in material possessions, corporate careers and fierce competition with neighbours and peers; instead stressing the importance of reverting to simpler times and re-examining these beliefs that are wreaking so much havoc in our lives existences today.  The central theme in his music is: none of the bullshit you think makes you successful will ever make you happy.  And he's right.

Another major thing I adore about him is his humility and genuine generosity.  These traits are so rare among famous people, yet despite being a world-renowned, highly successful and award winning musician, Passenger demonstrates humility by frequently busking (street performing) for free all around the world - simply to share his message!!!  Then - in an act of the purest, most genuine generosity - he announced that ALL THE PROFITS from EVERY physical and digital sale of his newest album will be going directly to UNICEF UK and helping malnourished children in Liberia!  He's truly a man that walks the walk he talks - or sings about.

I'm in love with Passenger (who's real name is Michael Rosenberg but who goes by Passenger because, well - aren't we all passengers on this life train?), in love with his spirit, messages and music.  I hope you enjoy the song and have a great week.

PS// I've pre-ordered his album but even if you don't enjoy his music, it would be great if you could see it within yourself to donate to his wonderful cause. All the details are at his website and the UNICEF website.

Tuesday Tunes {the rediscovery of Trance}

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I suppose it was natural progression that after last week's featured tune and exposure to several electronic shows at SXSW - I've rediscovered my love of Trance.  This couldn't have come at a better time actually, because with the purchase of my Mini - I've found a new sense of freedom in just hopping in, zoning out to the music and letting it put in me in a delightful state of, well... trance.

Everything seems possible and life seems in divine, perfect order when I'm seated behind the wheel and a song like Burn The Sun begins to play.

Or My Heaven:

Or Kingdom of dreams: (somewhere in the middle is my fave part)

Or Goodbye.

Some people meditate in complete silence.  As for me, I need this kind of music to reach those hidden places within.  That is my happy place.

celebrate the small things | Mar 27

Friday, March 27, 2015

This week I'm celebrating:

- my new car!!
She's not technically 'new' - she's a 2009 model Mini Cooper S, but she's new in my life and I adore her!

Isn't she pretty!?

- two new friends and catching up with two old ones
I met two awesome, empowering girls at SXSW // and on Wednesday had an 'old-school' cocktail evening with my old neighbours!

- the enriching experience of SXSW
learnt several things about human nature, threatening situations, shock and myself.

- my vegetables seeds growing like crazy!

- getting organized
Will was gone all week, which enabled me to complete all the washing/ tidy the house/ organize scattered paperwork and rearrange a few stray decorating items that have been doing my head in.  Now I'm sitting here, with a coffee, looking around and feeling a proud sense of accomplishment.

- the weekend
We've got quite a few exciting things planned this weekend: breakfast downtown/ the local markets/ visiting friends/ a nature hike and detailing my new car.

midweek afternoon walks

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Is there anything more heavenly, rejuvenating or relaxing than a walk through nature after a stifling day in the office?  I've been skipping out of work earlier and earlier this week, putting leashes on the puppies and heading down to the neighbourhood pond - where spring is well and truly underway.  I've been enjoying sights like these all week:

My favourite thing, no question, about Texas is spring.  Not only are the wildflowers ridiculously breathtaking - but wild berries grow all around, often in the oddest places!  Nowhere else have I seen raspberries, blueberries and mulberries growing so matter-of-factly and, well, blatantly!  In road islands, sidewalks, forest trails, unsuspecting garden bed and children's playgrounds!  Here is a small sample of what the neighbourhood pond currently looks like:

And the forest trail around the pond:

Tuesday Tunes {King by Years & Years}

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Well hi!  I survived and I'm back from my week working SXSW!  It was a blur consisting mainly of bands, rappers, crowds, exhaustion, Schlotzsky's boxes and broken sleep... But boy, was it fun!  

Aside from making several, awesome, new friends; I discovered a bunch of new music and today I'd like to share one of my fave new discoveries - a British, electronic band called Years and Years.  These guys were incredibly sweet (they waited in my queue one night) and oh! so talented.  

This song is called King but I highly recommend checking out some others if you enjoy it, since I had a hard time choosing just one!

Tuesday Tunes {SXSW}

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

This week I'm listening to SXSW (South by Southwest)'s live radio at 


and getting pumped because I'll be working at different venues all week as part of the festival!  
Starting tonight!  YAY!  Can't wait!

For those of you who don't know, SXSW is one of Austin's largest music festivals (there's a film component too...) where bands and industry professionals spend five full days and nights showcasing new talent.  Will and I were recently discussing the irony of living in Austin - America's music capital - and never having been to so much as a concert, so I decided to rectify that by signing up to work as a cashier at this year's SXSW!  Countless new bands to love, coming up!  I sort of can't wait. Definitely won't be much blogging this week though. 

A day in Belize

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The second shore excursion on our Norwegian Dawn Cruise was a day in Belize!  Will and I chose to take a cruise along the Old Belize River, eat a traditional Belizean lunch and then visit a Mayan ruin site, called Altun-Ha.

Since Belize City doesn't have a port, we had to be tendered over from the cruise ship - which was super exciting for me and set a jubilant tone for the rest of the day.

Once on land, we met our tour guide and waited for the rest of our group to assemble before getting on another boat that took us down to the river.  While waiting, Will and I wasted no time trying something local and bought a coconut to drink.  Yep, an actual coconut with a hole on top and a straw inserted!  Three things I never knew about drinking real coconut water:

  1. coconut water is cold!  it tastes like it's been refrigerated, even when it hasn't
  2. it's more hydrating than plain water
  3. it's delicious! and tastes almost nothing like bottled coconut water!
Moving on!  

Once the entire group had gathered and boarded the boat, we began our journey through the coast into the Old Belize River; the guide pausing sporadically to point out local wildlife or geographical facts.  Major highlight was in the mouth of the river, where we observed a group of manatees (that's dugongs, to my fellow Aussies!) coming up for air!

We sat there, engine idling, for quite some time - just taking it in.  Most of us were already beaming blissfully before we even entered the river, where we witnessed more breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime encounters with local wildlife, such as monkeys swinging off tree branches right along the banks:

(admittedly not the best photos, but if you look closely at the last pic, he's staring right at me!)

We saw many iguanas, but look at this guy, lazily sprawled upon a tree branch:

One rule about anywhere in the Caribbean: don't forget to look up!

There were a few crocodiles to see that day, but here are my best pics:

<---- to the left

Then there were these weird, tiny fruit bats unique to the area:

Many beautiful water birds:

But everyone's highlight was the dolphin that rode along with us for a while, gathering attention and excitement.  Then, when he was absolutely sure that every eye was upon him, he gloriously leaped out of the water as we cheered!  

This river cruise was a.m.a.z.i.n.g.  I can't think of a better way to experience native jungle and water animals, or get so close to them!

We'd traveled many miles up the Old Belize River (whatever an hour and a half with frequent stops equates to), before docking at a quint restaurant right on the bank.  Here we ate a traditional Belizean lunch, consisting of oven-baked chicken drumsticks, a black-beans and rice variation and tea.  The locals were sweet enough to include the American favourites of caramel cheesecake and fudge brownies as dessert selections, but being full from lunch, Will and I chose instead to lounge in the hammocks beneath a fig tree canopy, get lost in the moment and await the bus that took us to Altun-Ha.

Along the bumpy bus ride through a jungle road to the ruins, our guide explained that Altun-Ha wasn't the biggest, the oldest or most impressive Mayan site in Belize, it was a mere baby compared to many others, but when we arrived: it blew our minds!  Dating back to 900 BC, it was the biggest, oldest and most impressive Mayan temple ruin Will or I had ever seen and we were sorry not to have more time there.

One hour with a guided tour really wasn't enough time to take it all in, or climb everything - since, amazingly considering it's age, this is one of the few sites where they allow that!  We barely had time to mount the sacrificial pyramid, take photos and walk the perimeter of the main plaza, before being called back to the bus that took us to Belize City once more. :( Major bummer, but...

As we took the streets on the way back, we had a wonderful opportunity to see Belize City and our guide explained many interesting things about the way of life of the people, the political systems and economy of Belize, before returning to the dock; drinking from one more coconut and being tendered back to the cruise ship.

This lovely man chose the biggest coconut for me <3 

 (this time, the coconut contained the most potent pina colada I've ever had! 
Will and I split it and were both still drunk afterwards!) 

It was a marvelous day we had in Belize.  I felt sorry for the people we spoke to that went zip lining, or chocolate making.  They didn't get to see the wildlife - or make the connection - we did.  We got to leave feeling like we'd taken a real piece of the country with us and we're glad we took this tour.



About unwavering me

Sharing my stories of migrating from Australia to the US | travel adventures | married life | furry kids | new experiences | lessons | and loving life despite always missing home. xo.


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spring in Austin TX

spring in Austin TX

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