Sunday, August 21, 2016

Japenese Literature Challenge 10

Dolce Bellezza is hosting the 10th Japanese Literature Challenge, 2016
As regular followers know, this is the one challenge I always do, second to Paris in July of course! I love setting my personal challenges and achieving them - in this challenge - the sky's the limit, but it's up to me to decide how much I can do, and what genres I want to follow. This year, the challenge I set myself is not too onerous, but hopefully achievable in my current life....

I am having some success with reading short stories at the moment, so I've chosen "New Japanese Voices: the best contemporary fiction from Japan" edited by Helen Mitsios. The collection includes works by Haruki Murakami, Masahiko Shimada & Banana Yoshimoto, and the little spiel says 'relfecting the diversity and tensions within one of the worlds most fascinating cultures, and presenting some surprising innovation, this is an indispensable volume for anyone interested in Japan and its writers'. Needless to say, I'm intrigued and ready to go!

Hoping I will get some time to read a novel, I've selected one in a series I have read some of. Malice by Keigo Higashino (reported to be Japan's Stieg Larsson).
My third choice, most likely to be a Christmas break read, is The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa.

I've read others from Yoko and recall enjoying them for her ability to describe the relationships.
Here's a little para about her 
Yoko Ogawa is the author of The Diving Pool, The Housekeeper and the Professor, and Hotel Iris. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, A Public Space, and Zoetrope. Since 1988 she has published more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, and has won every major Japanese literary award. Her novel The Housekeeper and the Professor has been adapted into a film, The Professor’s Beloved Equation. She lives in Ashiya, Japan, with her husband and son. [MacMillan]
Here's my review from the Japanese Literature Challenge 8, when I read works from these two authors.

This Challenge is nice and long - open to January 2017. I look forward also to reading the reviews of my fellow challengers.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

When I'm not who I thought I was...

This little monk is always with me in the garden
I met a women last night who was introduced to me as a 'blogger'. So, needless to say, I also introduced myself as a blogger. The first thing she asked me was 'really, what do you blog about?'.... I was stopped in my tracks. What do I blog about?

My response finally came out... My blog is called Thyme for Tea - that's Thyme, as in the herb, and Tea, as in the comforting warm drink one enjoys at a leisurely pace on the weekends.... and I usually do that in my garden. My blog, is therefore, a place when I ponder the things I think about in my garden....'
it might be the end of winter, but there's a feel of spring in the air

This morning, I have some time for some in depth reflection. And I'm thinking about why I'm feeling upset (and unusually inert) that I'm not who I thought I was..... 

Recently, through work, I participated in a 360 leadership assessment. This is a form of personality assessment that invites contributions from your staff, your peers, your managers and others (360 degrees). You answer the survey questions about yourself, and they answer the same questions about you. Then the results are communicated back to you. In this instance, the focus of the survey was agility, innovation, collaboration, and performance.

On review of the results with my coach, it became blatantly obvious that my 360 assessors (peers, manager, staff and friends) and I, have matching views about me. This means that what I know about myself, the people around me can see this too. This is a wonderful trait to have. I'm pretty proud of that. I'm self aware, and my friends can see how I reflect those things that are important to me. My coach reported that my results were very impressive, and that the assessment has found only a handful of aspects of leadership that I could be working on.

Basically, the 360 leadership assessment has told me that I know who I am in the leadership space, and that my colleagues perceive that about me also. I am who I thought I was......
I never tire of admiring the symetry & hues of Kale
So why am I not who I thought I was? Well, it's about pain. For most of this year I have been experiencing hip pain which has very much dampened my joy of mornings, my cycling aspirations of riding 150kms a week, and training for a 200km in a day ride.... The pain has led me to miss boot camp classes, and to huddle up with a hot wheetbag instead of taking the dog for a walk... It's not as bad is it all seems - I'm probably exaggerating because I miss all of these things in my life. And I have found my new activity, swimming, to be meditative and soothing.

I'm still undergoing tests and consults, but the bottom line is, I'm not who I thought I was  - physically. I thoughts I was still young, I thought I would be climbing mountains and taking on cycling marathons for another 20 years yet..... I thought I could train for the next level of challenge - but I'm not that person.
Nasturtiums share the joy of crisp fresh days

So for now.... Thyme for Tea - my blogging haven - is a reminder for me to keep on finding the joy I can get from drinking warm tea, and the energy I get from growing my own food, the pleasure I get from cooking, and the healing touch of the sun I can find in the garden.

Today, my goal is to repot, weed, plant and harvest, while I take in the health giving energy I can get from my garden.
potted garlic shares the winter sun with me...
varieties of lettuce bring a variety of colours to the scene

And red spinach stems stand out
my bathtub of sweet potatoes
Grapefruit for morning joy!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Paris in July Wrap Up - 2016

Paris in July 2016 has been a wonderful distraction for me, as I've trudged through the second subject of my MBA, started an executive job in the city, and wadded through some health issues. In the midst of all that, I had a holiday to a french speaking country, enjoyed the beach, and enjoyed a daily dose of Paris in July with many other blogging friends. So, it's time to say thank you.

As is my tradition with Paris in July, I like to offer a bit of a wrap up, or summary of events. Unable to devote too much time to this today, I'm offering an abridged version...

It started here, when I decided I could host the event this year, after much consideration. Then week after week I made sure we had a fresh Mr Linky spot for participants to post their links. Check out these links...
A couple of posts I really liked and appreciated were
    Of course, I cant go without mentioning the help  of Deb Nance, from readerbuzz, who supplied this years buttons, and participants used these, or their own as a way of marking their posts.

    To the best of my ability, I believe we have had 24 participants this year, not as big as previous years, but to be expected. Yet, with the help of Paulita, most of us were connected into 'Dreaming of France' as well.
    Paulita welcomes you to join her throughout the year for her weekly meme. Grab a copy of the photo above and link back to An Accidental Blog. Share with the rest of us your passion for France.

    Throughout the event, participants blogged about food, restaurants, trips to France, Museums, Art Galleries, and also books, films and music. There were also a few miscellaneous ones - like pets of Paris.

    While I can't offer a more detailed review, I invite you to use the links in this post to go for a wonder, and see just how we have all enjoyed Paris in July 2016!

    Thank you so much for joining in.