Monday, May 30, 2011

Home is where the heart is


The word can mean different things to different people. What or where is home to you? Is it where your parents live? Is it where you were born, or where you spent most of your childhood? Is it where you've mostly lived as an adult?

I'm a bit unsure. I guess these days for me, home is where my kids are. Before our recent interstate move I'd lived in the same city for most of the previous 30+ years. It's where I grew up, where I have many memories. But I don't think I call it home, it's familiar and comfortable, but not quite home. 

We haven't lived here for long enough yet for it to feel like home, but who knows, in the future it might feel that way. I think part of the reason I don't have that strong feeling of home in any particular place is because my parents moved a bit. There isn't the traditional family home to return to on visits. 

The closest thing I had to the traditional family home was my grandparents' place. They bought their house in Sydney when they were married in the 1930's, and lived there until they no longer could around 2004. The house hadn't changed at all in my memory, although there are photos to show otherwise. It, and my grandparents, were a constant in my life for over 30 years. As kids my brother and I would spend our school holidays there, our grandmother taking us on trips into the city or to the zoo. I think these special memories, and others created there over the years, is what makes Sydney feel like home for me. Even though I haven't lived there since I was 7, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling arriving in the city and I can't help but smile.

One thing I have to do every time I visit Sydney is head for Circular Quay. As soon as I catch a glimpse of the Bridge, the ferries, the Opera House I relax. I call it my spiritual place. Despite hundreds of people rushing about I can sit and watch the world go by, oblivious to the noise, and feel an incredible sense of peace. It's not exactly most people's idea of peace, but it definitely works for me.

Do you have somewhere that is truly home for you? Or a more spiritual place? What does home mean to you?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

An end... and a beginning.

This week saw the death of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. How you refer to his death is a matter of perspective, and I don't want to get into the political aspects of the event. But I think it's safe to say, that depending on that same perspective, how you feel about it will likely differ from the next person's.
I do understand, however, the feelings of New Yorkers, and many other Americans, that it was not only justified, but necessary. NYC, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania needed that closure. They need to know, that despite whatever may come, that chapter is closed and they can continue their healing.

My friend Mark from Thoughts from the Dark Side is a native of NYC. His post The Day That Changed Everything documents what he witnessed on September 11, 2001. Please, read it.

I've heard this story so many times from him now that I could easily retell it myself. But I still can't come close to grasping the feelings that would have surrounded Americans on that day.

I never saw the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in person, but I will never forget the feelings that I had the day I visited Ground Zero last year. It was surreal. You can almost feel the pain and fear that will always be a reminder of the tragedy of that day. And you can't help but shed a tear as you think about the people who lost their lives that day, and the families who were left behind.

These families will never fully recover from the loss of their loved ones in this way. But the death of bin Laden will surely help them continue to move forward.

Monday, May 2, 2011

What's in a name?

As I talked about briefly here, I attended the launch of Kerri Sackville's first book in Sydney last week. It was an amazing night, an opportunity to meet so many wonderful tweeps in real life, to get to know properly people you'd been tweeting with for ages. But most of all, to celebrate Kerri's fabulous book!

Amidst the cries of "Wow! You look just like your avatar", "Great to meet you!", and "Look at those shoes!", the question I was asked most is "Where did Macsnorky come from?". After being asked a few times, and being the lazy person that I am, I decided it would be easier to blog it than to repeat it a dozen times in one night.

I hasten to say, it's not a hilarious story, and probably not even particularly interesting to most. But I have been asked, so I will explain.

When Thing 1 was a newborn he used to make a strange snorting sound, like a cross between clearing your throat and Peppa Pig, when he was working up to a cry. This earned him the nickname Snorky which we still torture him with now.

Back in the days of build-your-own-PC (who'd bother now?), a friend rebuilt a PC for us and named it Snorky. Since then there have been several variations on the Snorky theme for PCs including Snorkzilla, MiniSnork and Snorklet. A while after Snorky was built, I got my first Apple machine (a Mac G4 tower), which the same friend then named MacSnorky (of course).

Like everyone, I've use many different nicknames over the years for forums and blogs, but given  my Apple fascination, and lack of creativity, Macsnorky has stuck. And seems it's here to stay.