It is not that exciting! Suburban living.

fullsizeoutput_15c8Just another ordinary day, with the highlight being a walk around the lake.  It is a fine Winter’s day, a coat day because it is cold outside. Days like today just are not that exciting.   As part of the Ultimate blog challenge today I am to share blogs that I am reading.  Well I am tired and want to go to bed so I have only one to share.

Today  I have decided to just let you know about a Suburban online  social network to connect with your neighbours and find out what is happening in your neighbourhood it is called Nabo 

Nabo is an Australian social network where you can sign up and is relatively new but is growing. I love that it is suburban focused.

A great blog post on the site  to check out is How to fall in love with your neighbourhood again.

I love its suburbia feel and how it focuses on suburban living.

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

FRAN DISHON

 

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Five ways to turn traffic time into happy time.

sad critter

Stuck in traffic, crazy that is what it is, crazy out there on the roads. Stop, start, beep, beep, surrounded by angry frowning faces in the cars all around me. I can feel my stress levels rising, and my frustration getting to me. I don’t want to be miserable for this amount of time. Time is too valuable to waste on being miserable.

This is my sucky current reality. The developers have gone crazy and there are housing estates going up everywhere. They are blocking roads and even closing some completely. It completely sucks, road works everywhere, dust everywhere, and potholes everywhere. The roads are a mess and the traffic is horrific and I am afraid I don’t know where all the extra cars are going to go. There are frustrated drivers, pushing in, beeping, and taking risks. I am a little over being beeped at, one even beeped me for stopping at an unmanned school crossing and letting some student cross the road. Seriously!  It should be ok to let children cross the road safely. I think this is the saddest part when people no longer are considerate of other people. The roads around here are crazy, and we are all struggling to get places on time or to get home. Yes, it sucks! It is the Traffic Jam paradise, and don’t bother riding a bike because that is too dangerous because of all the angry frustrated drivers on the road. Oh if you would like to catch public transport, good luck, you will need extra time for that too due to the rail works. Okay, that’s a big rant. At the moment you could describe me as the frustrated grumpy suburban chick.

happy critter

I have to live with it and somehow turn traffic time into happy time. This is why I have come up with five things to do when stuck in traffic.

1. Sing, sing, sing really loudly and bop away as much as you want. It feels good.
2. Listen to audio books, they can be entertaining or informative and it makes the time feel productive.
3. Practice speeches or presentations in the car, you can really work on remembering your content and practicing vocal variety.
4. Practice breathing exercises and try to relax.
5. Daydream,  about all the wonderful things you could be doing if you weren’t stuck in traffic.

 

Sometimes it is just really, really hard to be a Happy Suburban Chick. However, time is too valuable to waste being miserable and stressed. That is why it so important for me to turn traffic time into happy time.
Help! What are your tips for turning traffic time into happy time? Please leave a comment.

FRAN DISHON

( Day 3 of the Ultimate blog challenge, I am taking part of this challenge and will be blogging everyday this month of July)

 

Everything you need is close to home. So explore!

Collages1

Finding a place to journal write the things I need to write about. Finding a place to think about the things I need to think about.  My intuitive lead today was: Everything you need is close to home. Explore. Just take a closer look. Be careful not to dismiss the obvious.

Suburban living can often feel like everything is actually so far away. That I need to get in my car and drive, drive, drive to get to where I want to be.

Today I went across the road to the local shopping center, ventured into a small cafe, sipped on my coffee, and tasted a delightful lemon tart. I got out my little note book and wrote a few notes. Just a little suburban bliss time, in a little cafe that was like a suburban oasis. I often feel it is hard to find these places. However, my intuitive lead is probably right. I need to explore and take a closer look. So much of what I need is at this shopping center, it is where I get my food, it is where I get my hair done, it is where the chemist is, and so much more.

After this I went for an Adventure walk discovering a new park to sit in and enjoy. Walking down suburban streets admiring some of the beautiful gardens. It reminds me if I look closely I can see the beauty in suburban life. It certainly doesn’t need to be dull or boring.

Today, for just part of the day, I got to go out and enjoy some suburban bliss, and part of the day I got to stay home and enjoy some suburban bliss. Sitting in my arm chair with a cup of coffee and journaling, getting out into the garden, listening to podcasts as I did my housework, and even taking some time out to do a home yoga session. Now that I have picked my boys up from school I get to create a meal for us all to enjoy together tonight.

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Mr. Crow here caught my attention, he just looked so important that I had to take his picture.
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Found a place to sit, rest and contemplate.

What Suburban Bliss Can You Discover?

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

FRAN DISHON

Why I Love Suburban Living (And You Should, Too!)

suburban serene
I grew up in the suburbs and loved all that space to play in my own backyard. I love the gardens, cubby house, backyard cricket, the backyard swimming pool were the neighbourhood kids gathered many days. The places to ride my bike, and the freedom to walk around to friends houses. My childhood days seemed full of adventures each day, there always seemed something to do, something to play and someone to play with.  To me my suburban upbringing seemed full of neighbours I knew, and children to play with, it seemed safe and supportive. Maybe that is what has drawn me to living the suburban life.
  • I love that the suburbs are buzzing with community and interests groups to join. I love my Toastmasters group and  I also belong to a ladies group which explores lots of places in the suburbs and some awesome places to eat.
  • I love my space, my big house and open space living, that my boys have a room of their own, that it is quiet and peaceful, and most of the time I don’t hear my neighbours or traffic.
  • I love that their is a smorgasbord of playgrounds and parks to explore, and the streets are full of front yards to admire, and enjoy.
  • I love that I am surrounded by lots of dogs, the suburbs are great for dogs, that get to enjoy the backyard and walks with their owners in the park. My suburban area is a real doggy spot, there are always people out walking their dogs. It can get really busy mornings and evenings with people walking, running and riding bikes.
  • I love that there are a great choice of good schools, libraries, swimming pools, bowling alleys, gyms, and picture theatre. Lots of things to choose from. Convent shopping centers, and lots of places to eat. Maybe I am just lucky but there is not shortage of restaurants and cafes to eat around here. I love the hidden away places like the sculpture gardens and gallery, the homestead cafe, and park with the lake.
  • I love how the shopping centre across the road put a playground and seating in, I am so jealous I wish it was there when my children were younger, and most times it is a buzzing place for parents and children. Not to mention a few cafes to choose from, and a place to sit. At least some effort has been made to make it a social place.
 It doesn’t have to be boring burbs it can be social suburbs. I  really love living in the suburbs, and I just wish suburbanites speak out on how good suburban living can be, and that we work together to make it better and better.
FRAN DISHON

Bushwalking to Bushrangers Bay, Visiting the Vet, Toastmasters and Lazy Sunday, Oh what a week!

 

Bushrangers bay walk

 

 

Tuesday was Melbourne Cup Day, and a great excuse for a family day. We went for a long, long scenic drive down to the picturesque Cape Schanck. This has to be one of my favourite day trip escapes. Cape Schanck is known for its light house, however my favourite thing is to wander along the scenic walk to Bushrangers Bay. This walk through the tea trees along the cliff tops provides the most amazing view of the coast, rocks and sea. Whilst walking along the bush track I was delighted by the variety of bird sounds, they were like a sweat musical bird orchestra. My only fear was it was a beautiful sunny day, with a pleasant breeze, and I walk with a vigilance watching out for snakes. It was a perfect day for snakes to venture out and sun bake on warm bush tracks. Luckily I didn’t see any, although a couple warned us they had just seen one on the left of the track up ahead. I was so relieved that it had decide to slide away back into the bushes. When I made it to the end of the walking track there was a climb down quiet a number of steps. Easy going down, slower and harder going back. I enjoyed a lovely picnic lunch on the beach with my family with my feet massaging the sand whilst I looked out on the most serene view. I can only say I love this place, it is a beautiful haven for people to picnic, explore and play.

 

BS Cape SchanCk_1257

 

 

However the week has not been all play unfortunately Little Miss Popularity had to undergo an anaesthetic at the Vet, to clean her teeth and have a tooth extraction, she is recovering well. It made me seriously think about pet insurance. Pet health care is so expensive these days, and as she is family to me, I want the best for her, well maybe not the best, I mean the best basic pet care for her. I just want her to be comfortable and healthy. The only problem is she is one of those breads that seems to have a list long of problems. So I guess I should be grateful that she doesn’t have a heart murmur, just rotten teeth. She is so beautiful.

 

My final highlight of the week was of course the Toastmasters District 73 Semi  Annual Convention, Reach For Your Star which I attended Saturday. What a wonderful opportunity it was to be inspired and immersed in learning and even laughter. It was also great to meet so many interesting and delightful people. I took lots of notes and came away inspired to want to achieve more on my Toastmasters Journey. I was also proud of myself for my confident driving in an unfamiliar place. (I have a confession, I don’t like driving, I am highly anxious driver, and when I am driving somewhere unfamiliar, it requires my full attention. As for the lady on the GPS, her directions could have been a little more precise, and a lot more pre warning about what lane to be in. However overall she did well because I made to my destination, and home again.)

What was the highlight of your week?

 

Finally today after such a high energy days on Friday and Saturday, it seemed only right that Sunday be a low energy day. So lots of relaxing and reading. A perfect lazy Sunday. At the moment I am reading Gift From The Sea,  by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, what beautiful soulful wisdom this lady has to offer.

Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day- like writing a poem or saying a prayer.”~Ann Morrow Lindbergh 

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

FRAN DISHON

 

Walking Adventure

I love the look of big fluffy grey clouds.

I love the look of big fluffy grey clouds.

It looked like it might rain. It was dark and cloudy. Still a perfect day for a walking adventure. I really appreciate a cloudy winters day, it has its own beauty, and the coolness of it makes it perfect for long walk.

Another lake!

Another lake!

Yes I have been on another walking adventure around my suburb. This time I discovered a new lake, play ground and sporting area. It is amazing that it is just across the road and I had no idea it was there. I live in a new area with new estates and houses popping up everyday. When we brought our house our estate was meant to be the end of the line. The area beyond our estate was green zoned. Shorty after we move, the area was re zoned residential. So all the farms and cows are disappearing. Estate after Estate is going in and filling up with houses. My walking adventures help me to discover the changing face of my local area, sometimes they are delightful and other times a little frightnening.

Dirt tract for local walkers and bike riders.

Dirt tract for local walkers and bike riders.

I found a dirt tract to walk along in went in-between the new estates, it was a big long tract. I had no idea where it might go. My curiosity got the best of me, I had to find out. It was a lovely long walk, often being pushed aside by enthusiastic families on there bike ride. It was annoying in one way, however good to know a number of families still get outdoors and spend time together. Something my own family should take note of and start doing more of.

Walking past suburban houses!

Walking past suburban houses!

Eventually I stepped off the track and into the suburban landscape of houses upon houses. I discovered another lake, more playgrounds and park land.

Another park, another play ground.

Another park, another play ground.

I wish my boys were younger. They used to love going to play grounds. These days in this area there is a multitude of play grounds to choose from. You could make a day of it and take kids for a play ground crawl.

A place to sit and rest.

A place to sit and rest.

It was a long walk, my dog Little Miss Popularity was struggling to keep up, so we stopped and had a rest. At least there are lots of places to walk my dog in this area. I did offer to walk the boys, however they declined. The dog is always keen and excited to go for an adventure walk with me.

Another lake.

Another lake.

Yes another lake. The trend in the area these past few years is too use the storm water from the estates and recycle it creating lakes and waterways. Providing natural environments for residents  to enjoy and wild life to inhabit especially birds and frogs.

Sadly not many people out enjoying these man made nature environments.

I love discovering new areas, new parks, new lakes, and new places to sit, rest and enjoy nature.

I can not wait until my next walking adventure.

Could you have a walking adventure of your own, discover new parks, new shops, community areas, even new streets that are interesting?

Wishing you all a wonderful day!

A Summer Wish

It is Wonderful Wednesday, and time for Wishcasting Wednesday by Jamie Ridler at http://jamieridlerstudios.ca/wishcasting-wednesday-what-is-your-winter-wish-3. Living in the Southern Hemisphere my question is: What is your Summer wish?

Woodside Beach Vicforia

Woodside Beach Victoria.

I love summer time, January is the summer school holidays, and the boys are off for the whole of January, my husband and myself have also got some holidays in January. So lots of family time. Also January is so relaxing it that time of year of sleeping in late, and late summer evenings. That time of picnics, trips to the beach and BBQ’s with family and friends. It that time of year were we spend lots of time outside in the backyard and garden. It that time of year I get to wind down and just chill out. So my wish for summer is for all of the following:

  • Evening walks around the lake or  along the beach.
  • Trips to the beach, crashing through waves, splashing and having fun.
  • Music and picnics in the park, may the rain and wind stay away on these evenings.
  • BBQ’s with friends and family.
  • Finding new interesting places to go to,  like Point Nepean, and Heritage Hill Museum.
  • Wearing summery girly dresses.
  • Remembering to put my sunscreen on so I don’t get sunburnt.
  • Spending time out in the garden making it beautiful
  • Growing juicy yummy tomatoes and eating them
  • Having ice creams and spiders, yummy
  • Spending lazy afternoons reading books or listening to music.
  • Nature walks on a warm evening looking for wildlife, but not snakes, I don’t like snakes.
  • Having time of work to enjoy time with my family.

I really love summer time, and all the wonderful experiences I get to have during this time, it is the most social and relaxing time of the year.

Sunset

Sunset

 

 

Boutique Living

Apparently real estate agents are now selling Boutique Living. What is Boutique mean? Some definitions are small, unique, and luxurious. So it sounds delicious! So I thought I would define Boutique Living for me. For me it is living in a home and living a life that is unique to me. It is living in a home That is luxurious to me, that means the comfy arm-chair, my crochet rugs, pieces of art that brighten my day, fresh sheets, flowers, and pieces of furniture I love. That does not mean my home is full of expensive stuff, because it is not. It is luxurious because it makes me feel good, and it has its own unique beauty. Boutique Living is more than just the material side. It is living your own unique life everyday, a life that is individual, full, alive and that excites you everyday. I love a place to journal, read, spend fun time with my family, and a garden to sit out and enjoy nature in. I love that I live near lakes and have beautiful walks to go on each day. That I can attend Yoga classes at the community YMCA. I love that I am 90% of the time a full-time Mother to my two children Mr Serious and Little Mighty Mouse, and can also work part-time as a Nurse. I love my hobbies of Toastmasters, Yoga and dance classes. I love that we have a fluffy dog Little Miss Popularity to play with and take for long walks. My Boutique Living comes with candles, music and good home cooked food. Playing the music I love, burning the oils I love. Cooking the foods I love. Drinking red wine. socializing with family and friends. Going out and enjoying activities in the community with my family. Curling up on the couch with my hubby, and boys. Reading books, gardening, walking and writing. I don’t think you can sell Boutique Living I think you have to create it. How can you bring more luxury and uniqueness into your life? I think I could socialize at home more often. I could put flowers in my home more often. Setting the dinner table and using  a good dinner set. Even dance with the kids and cook food together. Have more themed nights like our Mexican nights. If you have any ideas please share with me I would be delighted to hear about them.

Reflections on The Great Australian Dream

 

It was obvious how we come to live here amongst the suburban sprawl, it was the Great Australian Dream, to own a home of our own. We wanted a home security, a backyard for the children to play in, parks, and playgrounds to play in, good schools to send them to, and a quite safe street to live in. Firstly we have to drag the kids away from their computers and electronic toys to get them outside, secondly you have to jump through Hola hoops to get your children into a good school, and thirdly can you really tell what a quite safe street looks like. Still we came to live here because it was our idea of suburban bliss. It was a refuge a place of rest, tranquility and play. Also a place of complete chaos at times, after all we do have children and a dog. It is a place of privacy and escape. Even suburban bliss has its price.  I am a little over the long travel times and the need to have a car to get almost anywhere.

Even though much has changed over the years, such as changing gender roles(e.g. working mums), changing work habits, rising mortgage repayments, smaller housing allotments, longer travel times, and social changes( e.g. more single parent families, more couples without children) the suburbs continue to grow. In fact the growth in the suburbs seems unstoppable. Even though the average person buying their first home will buy a home on the outskirts of the city for affordability. The outskirts of the city get further and further away. I have seen this with my own eyes as housing estate after housing estate has been created moving further and further away from the city, and the cows and market gardens get replaced with housing allotments. It is so sad to see the cows move out however people need houses. So many people need houses, houses just keep going up, housing estate after housing estate. Why? The dream to own a home of ones own is still a dream that many Australians strive for. It is like Australians have a love affair with home ownership. It is truly the Great Australian Dream, ownership of ones own home, no wonder we have embraced living in the suburbs, no wonder there is so much suburban sprawl. Affordability and the reality of owning a home makes suburban life a goal worth aspiring for.

So here I am living the Great Australian Dream.

Reflections on Suburban Living.

The suburbs are considered by many as cultural wastelands, the boring burbs, a place of conformity, boredom and loneliness. Yet the suburbs are a popular place to live, and where I am living the suburban sprawl is full throttle and growing exponentially. So I have decided to find my own suburban utopia, to enjoy the experience of suburban life, to immerse myself in local culture and events, and live blissfully in the burbs.

I currently live in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, in a place called Berwick. Berwick is a pretty place. It still retains some of that village look as you drive down the main street. Its main street is alive with restaurants and cafes. The  housing estates are close to parks and gardens.

So why live in suburbia, firstly would be affordability, a larger home and block of land parks and good schools for the kids.  The Australian dream ,a home of ones own. Whilst the promises that are being sold to people are the following:

Real backyard living.

To build a future

Perfect for the family

A children’s paradise

Wonderful place to live

Family friendly at its best.

Resort style living

Whilst these suburbs are full of houses that exude style and functionality. Peaceful private homes. Dream homes, prestigious homes, and elegant homes.

Sounds like utopia, however sadly it is not. What they sell us is the idea of a ‘culture of affluence’, a desire for more, a reason to live beyond one means, and travel longer distances and more travel. In fact with all the time travelling we have less time to spend with family and friends. Then there is the isolation and loneliness that suburban living also entails. Plus the lack of excitement,entertainment, and those communal places to go hang out and mix with other people. Whilst boring architecture and the lack of art that exist in the suburban landscape is a contributing factor to suburbia being described as a cultural wasteland.

The suburbs have been severely criticized over the years such as claims the suburbs are guilty of spreading conformity. The  suburbs make people conformist in lifestyle and architecture. I personally have found that the suburbs lack the creativity and diversity of city/urban life. Plus suburbanites are so dependant on cars, because you need a car to get you almost anywhere. Then there is the idea of affluence, having it all, and ‘ keeping up with the Jones’ that encourages the consumer culture of the suburbs and entraps people into over extending their finances and defines success by what we have not by who we are.

Whilst if living in the city is rich with culture and experience why is it not that way living in the suburbs? If living in the country is getting close to nature and peaceful why  can we not have a little more of that in the suburbs? If living by the beach is relaxing and carefree why can’t it be that way in the suburbs as well? I think it is time we started defining suburban living in a more positive light, and also that we demand more liveable, sociable and enjoyable suburban environments. I also think we need to focus less on affluence and prestigious living and more on community, nature, family, friends and experience.

So in this blog I will be exploring suburban living its good points and areas for improvement. My own personal experience will be to live blissfully in the suburbs embracing community, nature, family, friends and experience.