Seasons (revisited)

A week ago, it was the shortest day of the year. We have had frosts almost every morning this week. The other morning I forgot to set the heat pump timer, and The Campground Kid and I had to snuggle under a blanket for the first half hour we were up because it was so blimmin’ cold. It is most definitely winter. Our first winter since 2012.

And I love it.

I don’t love trying to convince The Campground Kid to wear enough layers to stay not-freezing. I don’t love it being dark at 5:30pm and at 6:30am.  I probably don’t get outside enough some days. But I love it.

View of snowy mountains from an amazing chilly bush walk.

I love the crisp mornings and the sunny cool afternoons. I love cuddling up in the warm with the rain outside. I love soup and hot drinks and roasting everything. I love scarves and boots and woolly jumpers. I love walking through the cool bush and seeing my breath against the cold air.

I have missed winter.

Nearly three years ago, I wrote about Brunei’s seasons (or lack thereof.)  And I thought that once I was actually confronted with another winter, I would change my tune.  But NOPE. Even here in winter, I love seasons.

Living on a tropical island is so often touted as paradise. But it definitely wasn’t my paradise. My paradise has variety. It has changes that mark the passing of time. It has the cold that helps us to appreciate the warm.  It has a warm hot-tub against a freezing night and a dark sky full of stars. It has cold noses and woolly hats on frosty mornings, followed by a hot cup of coffee and woolly slippers.

(It also has good insulation and a heat pump. The winters of my student-flatting days? I definitely don’t miss those!)

Frosty mornings.

Looking in the mirror

(Today a wonderful Facebook group that I’m a part of hosted a five-minute writing challenge. The theme: the last time you looked in a mirror. I liked what I wrote, so I’m sharing it here, along with a couple of related stories.)

“PULL MY SLEEVES UP MAMA”
“Okay my dear, here you go”
As I pull pink flowery sleeves up to sweet chubby elbows, I catch a glimpse of a face that looks just like my mother’s. I see my messy bun. And I see my eyes rolling.

I realise that she, too, sees my eyes rolling.
She, too, sees through my false patience.
She, too, knows that her Mama feels overwhelmed by her big feelings and loud demands.

So I stop my eyes, mid-roll. I grab a big fluffy towel. “The towelosaurus is coming to get you! Rrrooooarrrr.”

Her giggles echo through the bathroom as I catch her into a big towelosaurus hug.

I’m not perfect, but we’re going to be okay.


Speaking of being imperfect, I’ve been finding the adjustment to our first winter for aaaaages quite difficult. I’m staying inside too much. Spending too much time online. And The Campground Kid is following my lead too much for my liking. She’s like a little mirror, and all too often she shines a light on all the habits that I’d rather keep in the dark.

So when my little homebody asked me to take her on a walk to the digger (we were having some work done on the park), of course I said yes.

She brought her teddy too.

We walked around the park. She climbed the digger. We ran down hills. I took photos.

It was simple and wonderful and exactly why we came home.

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Sometimes her little toddler mirror shines on the things I don’t want to admit. Other times it lights up the things I didn’t know she had noticed.

A few months ago, in an effort to encourage The Campground Kid to talk about her day, we started a little dinnertime routine. We take turns talking about times that we were happy/sad/scared/frustrated/excited. It’s new, so mostly Campground Papa and I take turns and The Campground Kid just gives her stock “What did you do today?” answer of “Played inside and outside!”

But the other day, in the middle of dinner, she turned to Campground Papa, and with a quizzical little face she asked “What made you happy today, Papa?”

And after he answered, she turned to me and said “Nice curry. Thanks, Mama!”

We may not be perfect, but we’re going to be okay.

Keep It Kind Online

I’m lucky in so many ways; too many to name, really. But one of the ways I count myself lucky is that this blog is mostly read by my family and friends. You might think that doesn’t sound entirely lucky. Surely as a blogger, I want fame and fortune and lots of readers? Wellllll, I’ll admit there’s an element of truth to that. But the reason I consider my small audience to be something lucky? Everyone who reads my blog is kind to me. 

People don’t always agree with me. But if they tell me, they do so kindly. And they certainly don’t ever send me horrible abuse.

But many (most?) people who have a wider public platform aren’t so lucky.

In just the last week or so, I’ve seen that currently taking a stance on a controversial issue can earn you relentless bullying, your parents’ religion can earn you accusations of terrorism, and a simple request to a company can earn you comments that “you should be euthanised”. And these are just three of MANY examples this week, and every week.

And I don’t think that’s okay. So when an online acquaintance suggested we start a campaign for online kindness and respect, I jumped at the chance. And so, Keep It Kind Online was born.

Keep It Kind Online is a campaign for more considerate interactions online. We want to bring the humanity back to the internet and share the message that personal attacks and nastiness are not tolerated. We want to encourage people to challenge online attacks when they see them. We don’t want to wait for moderators to step in, we want to moderate ourselves.

So if you know that small acts of kindness can achieve great things. If you believe that debate and disagreement are great, but that personal attacks and abuse are just. not. okay. If you want to do your part to make the internet a better place, join us for the Keep It Kind Online campaign TODAY (Wednesday 7 June).

There are a few ways you can participate:

  1. Take the pledge by sharing in your status or social media updates:  “I pledge to comment with care and to challenge online unkindness when I see it.”
  2. Use our Facebook profile picture frames.
  3. Use the #keepitkindonline hashtag liberally on social media.
  4. Make an effort to make kind comments on blogs and other online platforms.
  5. Make an effort to challenge the unkind comments you see.

And…

6. Share it with your friends!

Wouldn’t it be great if even those with a large online presence could find that everyone who reads their blog is kind to them? Let’s do our best to make it happen.