Amanda’s Garden

Amanda’s Garden

In 2010, I had the misfortune of falling prey to Meningococcal Meningitis with Septicaemia (read HERE if you want that long story!).  I was exceedingly ill, almost fatally so, and was lucky to survive.  Very lucky.  Most are not that fortunate and many people who do survive are left with life-long health issues, including brain damage, the loss of limbs or digits, vision impairment or total loss of sight, loss of hearing etc.

In 1997, Amanda Young died from this terrible illness, at the age of eighteen.  Her parents, Barry and Lorraine Young, were given roses as gifts of remembrance from Amanda’s classmates and friends.  From these roses, a beautiful garden bloomed and the Youngs decided to open their property each year to the public, to raise funds for research into meningococcal.

Mum and I visited the garden this weekend.  I hadn’t been before but Mum goes every year – she feels that she should (in fact she went twice this weekend, mostly so she could come back and buy more plants!).  I too should go regularly, being one of the lucky ones, so I am going to try and do so from now on.  There is only a small entry fee and then you can look through the gorgeous garden, buy plants, enjoy a Devonshire tea and just spend a few peaceful moments in this lovely setting.

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Every inch of space is lush and blooming, with roses, bulbs, cottage plants and annuals of every size and colour.  The weather on this day wasn’t fabulous – we narrowly missed getting rained on – but it didn’t matter. The place was packed with people but it was such a tranquil setting, you barely heard any noise.

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Mum and I made a beeline for the plants-for-sale section of the garden.  Pots and pots of all different kinds of plants were laid out for us to peruse.  We both bought a few specimens (and Mum had already bought a boxful the day before!) and were very happy with our purchases.  It’s not often you can buy an orchid for $4 and roses for $10 🙂

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Some of the roses on display were just exquisite.  The colours were stunning and such variety!  You could smell their fragrance a mile away – not overpowering, just beautiful.  The “Amanda” Rose is the most gorgeous deep yellow.  So pretty.  I love yellow roses – they’ve always been my favourite.

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The garden also featured dense, pond-like areas with water lillies and irises in many fabulous colours.  I could hear the chorusing of lots of happy little froggies 🙂

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The entire property was like a little oasis.  I loved the more overgrown areas – it was like a proper Secret Garden. Just needed a few fawns or some robins, maybe a frolicking lamb or two 🙂

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I really liked this idea : using old garden solar lights for planting succulents!  How good do these Haworthias look?

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If nothing else, it was nice to spend some quality time with my Mum.  Time we might not have had if I had not been so lucky in 2010.  I think about it every day.  I’m sure Mum does too.  Giving a few dollars to the Amanda Young Foundation is the least we can do.  And if it means we get to add to our growing collection of plants in our own homes, well, that’s just a bonus! Neither of us needs an excuse, really.

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“Amanda’s Garden” is open to the public in October each year.  It is well worth a visit.  Lorraine and Barry have put their heart and soul into the property, turning their grief and loss into something worthwhile.  And while it will not bring their daughter back to them, it may help to prevent any future deaths from this awful illness.  To learn more about the Amanda Young Foundation, the garden and other facts about Meningitis, you can visit their website HERE.

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Op Shopping Wins

Op Shopping Wins

I’ve been a bit naughty with my spending these last couple of weeks.  I hadn’t been shopping much for the last few months, mainly because I was trying to restore some of my savings after having to pay for my surgery. Besides that, I just wasn’t in the mood somehow.  I’d walk into a shop and lose interest in it by the time I’d made it past the first rack of stuff.  Even in op shops, which are normally a haven for me, I was disheartened and bored.

But that has all changed now, whether for the better or not.  My bank balance would probably say “not”.  I went op shopping a few times in the last ten days or so and picked up loads of things.  Like, LOADS.  A ridiculous amount of clothes (when I already have a wardrobe that is groaning under its own weight) and knick knacks.  Let me give you an example of one shopping trip – in one store alone, I bought 6 skirts, three tops, a dress, a pair of shoes and a jumper.  Like I said, ridiculous.

But I kinda let myself off because it is op shopping and so the prices are low and the money goes to charity.  So, really, I am being very selfless and thrifty!  Maybe?

So without further ado, here are a few of the items I bought this month:

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A fabulous turquoise ring.  It’s enormous.  Who would wear this as a ring???  I just wanted it for its beads…it was only $1.00.

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This good-quality, stoneware plant pot.  With a hole in the bottom.  I
hate it when pots have no drainage holes.  It’s so annoying.  It was $1.25, so even if it didn’t have a drainage hole, I would have bought it.  It’s nice and solid and I think the green will go well with something that has some bright flowers, or variegated leaves that add contrast.

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Stacks of magazines (teapot not included – I forgot to remove him before taking the photo) for 75c each.  I love magazines but they are so expensive now.  Why pay $10.00 for one when you can buy them for less than a dollar?

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This pretty grey and white floral top was only $4.50.  It’s a Portmans piece so would have been a lot more expensive than that originally.  Portmans is a shop I don’t even walk in to – I can’t afford their normal prices.  Because I am a tightwad basically.

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Black and white sheer and lace skirt.  This was $5.00 I think.  The sheer layer over the top covers the shorter one underneath.  I liked the lace details and the pattern.

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Another skirt.  Because I need them apparently.  This one is just a basic pencil skirt, but I really like the small-print floral and it is very comfortable to wear, especially on fat days ha ha.

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Um, another skirt.  I am still trying to figure out if it is brown or purple.  In the shop, I thought it was purple, then I got it home and decided it was actually brown.  Now I am just confused.  The lighting in my room is DREADFUL, so it could be bright green and I wouldn’t be able to tell.  It was also $5.00.  I liked the lace detail on the hem of this one also.  It came with this horrible brooch/chain thingy that was made from lace and ribbons.  Hideous.  That came off straightaway.

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Brown leather shoes.  I don’t normally buy or wear leather, but I will make an exception if the item is second hand.  I figure the damage has already been done to the poor animal.  Me buying these shoes isn’t going to make a lick of difference in the long run.  They’re a little big for me but comfortable and soft.  I might end up giving them to my Mum, if my leather-guilt gets too bad.  She has bigger feet than me so they will probably fit her better anyway.

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Got this cute little brooch for $1.00.  I looked the creator up online and the brooches normally retail for $30.00 each so I think I got a bargain.  I don’t even know if I will wear her, but she might go on a bag or something.  I might even re-gift her.  I’m not opposed to re-gifting things, within reason.  Don’t tell anyone…

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I actually got this book from a 2nd-hand bookstore in Margaret River.  I just liked the illustrations.  It was $7.00, which is more than I would normally pay for anything, but I got sucked in by the pretty pictures inside.

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These gorgeous yellow beads (from a huge necklace that was so heavy it could possibly give you scoliosis of the spine) were like a ray of sunshine to my yellow-bead-deprived heart.  I am always looking for this kind of yellow.  Not plastic or glass, I needed ceramic or clay ones.  And here they are!  And so many too!  They’re hand made and so each bead is a little different to the next, which I kinda like.  Although, if I am trying to make earrings from them, I will probably go insane trying to find a pair that matches.  These were $5.75.

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Finally (for this post anyway), this delightful little Stilton cheese pot.  Love the shape and colours and overall design.  I have no idea what I will keep in it.  It will probably just be a display item on my bookshelves.  It was only $3.00.  I can even see me planting a succulent in it, although that would render the lid a bit redundant.  I just liked it.  It’s cute 🙂  So there.

So, just a few of things I bought this month.  I am not quite sure where this spending frenzy is coming from but it is best not to fight it.  That could get messy and lead to whining and possibly the over-consumption of cookies/cake/insert bad food of choice here.  I think I am also sub-consciously putting off starting the process of buying a house.  I have given myself a year to make a decision about it and the months are already dwindling away and I am no closer to even STARTING to think about it.  Sigh.  It’s too grown-up a decision for me to make without hyperventilating and coming out in hives.  Op-shopping is safer and cheaper and downright nicer.

That’s my story and I am sticking to it,.

🙂

This Week

This Week

It’s been a busy week, starting with last Friday night, when I stayed at my Aunt’s house.  My Uncle is very ill in hospital and my family and I are taking it in turns to stay with my Aunt, just so she isn’t alone at night.  She’s perfectly able to take care of herself, but she is worried and stressed and sad – much better if she has company.  It was actually really nice staying with her.  We got to chat and catch up, which is something we hardly ever get to do.  She’s awesome 🙂  As children, we always loved her because she was the one adult who would always listen to us and not think we were silly or whatever.

So I got to hang out with her and her pony (Fibber), her cat (Socks) and collie dog (Heidi).  They’re all lovely and such good companions for her and my Uncle.  Socks was a bit of a wildcat in her younger days, but has mellowed a lot in recent times.

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Heidi is a pretty, gentle girl who just wants to be with you all the time.

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On Saturday I went shopping with my Mum.  We had lunch out and bought some presents for my brother (it’s his birthday this weekend).  We also went op-shopping and I got some nice skirts and tops (which I drew into my art journal).

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On Sunday, I had a lazy day at home, pottering around, doing lots of laundry (as it was sunny and warm outside) and trying to tidy up my wreck of a house.  I finished off some jewellery a friend had ordered – mostly repairs and revamps of stuff I had already made for her (that she will insist on wearing in the ocean and swimming pools so they fall to pieces).

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I must admit I spent some time on the couch, dozing a bit, too.  Sundays were kinda meant for that, right?

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I did go for several walks this week, so at least I can feel less guilty about my exercise routine.  On Thursday, I went to my cousin’s for dinner.  She, my two nieces, and I, went for a nice evening walk and then did a 7-minute home workout (she has an app on her phone that yells at you in a drill sargeant voice).  I am so unfit, but at least I didn’t die or pass out.  My legs and arms hurt though haha.  I had a horrible migraine yesterday and I think it may have been from the tightness in my neck and shoulders (from attempting pushups).  See?  More proof that being healthy is dangerous to your health! 🙂

I got to cuddle my nieces’ guinea pigs, Charlotte and Ella.  They are adorable, and relatives of my own beloved Roderick.  They are very well behaved little piggies – quite happy to sit on a towel on the floor, munching on a food treat while the girls pat them or give them kisses.

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Yesterday, in the afternoon, I went for a walk, to try and clear my head and get rid of the migraine that was threatening to split my skull open.  My library assistant had recently discovered a path through the nearby bushland, so I decided to check it out and go for a stroll.  In hindsight, probably not the best idea, going into the bush on your own – next time I will try and go with a work-mate.  The day was beautiful – cool but sunny and bright and it was so peaceful and calm in amongst the true and other plants.  I thought I might see a snake (as we had one outside work this week) but I didn’t, just heard some rustling, which could have been anything from a lizard to a mouse.  Not a lot of wildflowers in there but a few pretty ones were spotted.  The bright colours stood out against the brown barks and dried leaves, grasses and shrubs.

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The only wildlife I saw was a cheeky Willy wagtail, bobbing about on the path in front of me.

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It was a nice way to spend half and hour.  Didn’t get rid of my headache, but still nice anyway.  The path went for miles and miles so I couldn’t explore it all, but will go back another time.

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When I got back to work, I decided to head home early (with some pushing from my assistant) as my head really was splitting and I just needed to lie down in a dark room somewhere.  As I was leaving, I saw these two pink and grey galahs in the trees outside our car park.  They let me get quite close, to take photos, before flying off into the trees further into the bush.  We are so lucky to be surrounded by so much natural bushland and to experience a few visits from native fauna.

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I went home, took my migraine pills and then slept for 18 hours.  Isn’t that terrible?  I slept and slept and didn’t wake up until mid morning.  Still a bit “foggy” in the head, but better than yesterday.  Hope it will be gone by tomorrow so I can get on with some things.  My Mum and I are staying with my Aunt again tonight and tomorrow we will visit my brother.  Then the whole weekend will be gone and it will be back to work (boo hoo).  I’m seeing a rheumatologist this week for my stupid painful finger and hand.  I hope it is nothing nasty…

Hope you’ve had a happy, healthy week 🙂

100 Things to Do If You’re Sad (a Stolen Idea)

100 Things to Do If You’re Sad (a Stolen Idea)

Warning : big cheat coming up!

I gained a lovely new follower this week, Natalie, from The Girl in the Little Black Dress (Natalie’s Lovely Blog).  It’s always nice to have a new follower.  Let’s face it, I am eternally surprised and grateful if I have ANY followers, but gaining new ones is pretty cool, each time it happens.

Natalie posted her “100 Things to Do If You’re Sad” list earlier this year.  It’s awesome.  I was going to kind of steal her idea and write my own list, but I am a.) lazy and b.) afraid of whatever bloggy karma might strike me down if I do such a thing.  Besides, Natalie’s list is pretty perfect as it is.  It is kind of annoying to me that she is half my age and yet seems twice and sensible and wise.  I meet many people like this.  I should stop being annoyed by that and just embrace the fact I am always going to be an idiot.  Natalie’s list would have been amazing for me when I was a teenager, and probably still works for teenagers and young people today.  So I’m going to leave it alone and just re-blog it here.
Don’t worry, I will tell her I’m doing that.

I’m sure there’s a way of reblogging something without actually cutting and pasting it, but I am old-school (translation : not very computer/internet-savvy) and don’t have time to be bothered with such things (translation : there is cheese somewhere that is calling my name and I should really go and deal with that).  With that in mind, here is Natalie’s list.  Read it in awe and amazement.  Laugh a bit, smile a lot, and take it all in.  It’s a great list.  And who doesn’t love a great list? Thanks Natalie!

(And you should check out the rest of her blog while you’re at it)

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(The bee and flower picture is mine – I managed that much today)

                                   100 Things To Do If You’re Sad

1.) Use up a whole stick of Post-Its. Write names, poetry, phone numbers, dates. Stick them around your room.

2.) Drink orange juice. Eat fruit. Buy some soup. I don’t know. Just eat or drink something that makes you feel better.

3.) Put on too many clothes. Several jackets, your favorite pair of sweats and some fuzzy socks ideally. (Sydney taught me this. It works I swear.)

4.) Take a bath. Sylvia Plath said it best: « There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them » (The Bell Jar ). Get some candles, and put on your December playlist.

5.) Look up pictures of dinosaurs. They are so cool.

6.) Watch a French movie. I suggest Amélie or Joyeux Noël or Les Choristes or Populaire. (Subtitles are a thing if you don’t speak French.)

7.) Know that when I was in 7th grade, I was real into purple eyeshadow, and I also thought saying « groovy » was hip with the kids.

8.) Eat a whole cup of ice.

9.) Google photos of skylines. I prefer the New York City one, but whatever floats your boat. There’s just something about all those little lights dotting sky rises that will remind you of other people’s existence, and that reminder will be calming somehow. (Some of those simmering dots are probably having bad days too.)

10.) Roll down a hill.

11.) Put on a dress that makes you feel important. Go downtown and walk around.

12.) Remember that just as the leaves grow back green after winter, so, too, will you overcome the cold. It’s a metaphor – you can and will start fresh. You, too, will be green.

13.) Read the best thing you ever wrote. Be proud of yourself for writing it.

14.) Listen to this song: The Postal Service – Turn Around.

15.) Wear a grey jacket. Put the hood up.

16.) Study the solar system. Outer space is fascinating. Did you know that Jupiter’s rings are made of dust? You, too, can make beautiful things out of dead cells.

17.) Close your eyes and pretend that every bit of your body is melting into the earth. (This is how I fall asleep every night. It’s so nice.)

18.) I know that some days the reminders of human existence (coughs and whispers and tapping toes) will grate on your ears, but they should also remind you that you are existing too.

19.) Apply way too much lotion.

20.) Sit somewhere with a good view of the freeway. As the cars go by, think about how each car belongs to somebody who might like chocolate and rainy days too. Realize that we all might be more similar than you had originally thought.

21.) Make cinnamon toast (Mix butter and cinnamon and spread on toast. Put toast in toaster. Eat hot.)

22.) Put your favorite sweater into the dryer for 10 minutes and then put it on. Go watch The Office.

23.) Find a marker and draw all over your body. On your thighs on your toes on your wrists. Draw butterflies and stripes and castles. It’s real fun.

24.) Put the Pandora Christmas Station on. I don’t care if it’s July. Deck the halls anyways.

25.) Sharpen all of your pencils.

26.) Make an exercise playlist and go for a run. Let the air seep into your skin.

27.) Have a Harry Potter marathon.

28.) Jump on your bed. Throw pillows at the wall. Let it happen.

29.) Listen to your favorite album from start to finish. I would choose Plans (Death Cab For Cutie), AM (Arctic Monkeys), or Mind Over Matter (Young The Giant). Turn the volume all the way up.

30.) Email your favorite author and tell them how they changed your life. Maybe send them something you wrote.

31.) Google Earth stalk Amsterdam or Istanbul or Vienna.

32.) Put a ribbon in your hair. You can’t be sad if you have a ribbon in your hair.

33.) Look at photos from middle school. Self-five yourself for not looking like that anymore.

34.) Put raspberries on each of your fingers and then eat them all as quickly as possible. (Do you get my reference?)

35.) Print a map of your city or neighborhood or wherever, and circle all the places where you were once happy. The park where you ran barefoot on Saturdays. The convenience store where all the kids used to buy sour candy after school. Your first boyfriend’s house. Can you go back to any of these places?

36.) Decide what color you want to paint your future apartment.

37.) Write with a fountain pen. If you do not have a fountain pen, that is probably why you are sad. Go buy yourself a fountain pen.

38.) Make black out poetry.

39.) Take a picture of the sky and tape it to your ceiling. Take a similar picture every day you feel sad and compare the skies. How many are grey? How many are blue?

40.) Go to a museum you have never been to before. Get close enough to the paintings that you can see the brushstrokes (wonder if the artist ran his fingers over the painting once it dried).

41.) Make a mood board and hang it up on your wall.

42.) Take something you are really passionate about and write about it. Type five pages about why feminism, giraffes, or blankets are important.

43.)  Take Photo Booth photos with your cat. You actually don’t even need to be sad to do this. I take about 10 per week. Example below.

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44.) Shave your legs and wash your sheets. Then get in bed and try to be sad. Try. Yeah. It’s impossible.

45.) Go to http://www.rainymood.com which plays rain and thunder noises and close your eyes.

46.) Look at your horoscope. Believe it when it says things will get better and that you “are the reason butterfly hairpins and parachute pants have made a comeback” (mine actually said this today. I don’t know what it means, but I’m flattered).

47.) Try to eat a lemon plain without sugar if only to remind yourself that nothing, not even your life and some of the people in it, is more sour than a lemon plain without sugar.

48.) Buy a balloon and write what is upsetting you on it. Let it go.

49.) Drink coffee. Or tea. Put in the perfect ratio of milk to sugar.

50.) Put on a whole bunch of makeup. Look at yourself in the mirror. Realize that you look better without it.

51.) Curl your hair even if you have nowhere to go.

52.) Straighten the curls you just spent an hour twirling. Pretend you are smoothing out your problems. (Note: I recommend only doing this once in a while because it is not ideal for your hair – albeit quite satisfying.)

53.) Make a daisy chain. A really long one. Leave it on the ground in the shape of a heart.

54.) Bake cupcakes for your neighbor.

55.) Cry.

56.) Stop crying once you begin to fear for your body’s water percentage.

57.) Take a sheet of colored paper, (I prefer green for this) and cover it with your favorite lyrics. Tape it above your bed.

58.) Type a note to someone who made you sad. Tell them they’re a horrible person for making you sad. Write it with Caps Lock on. Use bad words if you need to. Then read it out loud. To your mirror. To your cat. Just make sure someone knows how dark grey that person made you feel. And then delete it slash them from your life.

59.) Take your favorite fruit and dip it in your favorite kind of jam. I suggest pears in raspberry jam, but you do you.

60.) Make a mixtape/CD for yourself. Not a playlist. An old-school mixtape. Burn it onto a music playing thing, (is there a word for this? who knows?) and then see #84.

61.) Draw something. It doesn’t have to be good. Just distract yourself. Sketch your thumb. Doodle 200 daisies on lined paper. Trace someone else’s hand.

62.) Paint your nails a color you haven’t painted them in a while. While you’re at it, paint your toes that shade too.

63.) Know that by the end of the day, your blood will have traveled 168,000,000 miles and you will have spoken about 48,000 words. Thats 6,720 times around the world and a book.

64.) Close your eyes and pretend you are where you really want to be.

65.) Write a letter in cursive to someone you love.

66.) Do one of those old-school, green facials. Find a recipe online.

67.) Read Paper Towns by John Green. Appreciate this quote: « That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste. »

68.) Make sure that you have been picking your cereals based on taste instead of color. (Figuratively of course. But I guess literally, too, if thats a problem you have?)

69.) Watch this video.

70.) Make lemon water and drink it chilled.

71.) Pet your pet. (Disclaimer: this only works if you have a pet.)

72.) Call somebody you haven’t talked to in a while. Tell them what you miss about them. Remind them of a time they made you feel whole again. Thank them for picking up the phone.

73.) Buy yourself flowers if you don’t have someone to do it for you. Walk around and wonder if people are wondering if you have a significant other.

74.) Think of the last time you were genuinely happy. Figure out why, and see if you can get that feeling back.

75.) Paint a thing and mail it to someone.

76.) Re-read your favorite childhood book.

77.) Cook a big dinner for your parents. If you are like me and cannot cook, make them pasta and call it a day. They will appreciate the gesture.

78.) Watch one or two or six episodes of My So Called Life.

79.) Fill four pages with stream of consciousness writing. Then read them and laugh at how ridiculous the things in your head are.

80.) The poisonous people are slowly dissolving from your memory. They aren’t as important as they were yesterday, and maybe in a year, you won’t think about them at all. Seven months even. You will find new people to mess you up, and they will be blushing and lovely. Stop responding to empty, grey apologies. They aren’t worth your Sunday nights any more.

81.) Get a haircut. Not anything you’ll regret, just something that will make you feel lighter.

82.) Wear loose clothing.

83.) Wear tight clothing.

84.) Put your tape/CD in your car and go for a drive. To your old preschool, to a bookstore, to the beach.

85.) Buy yourself a new pair of sunglasses for when the sun comes back out. Again, I’m not talking about the weather.

86.) Do what I did once. Make a blog and share your random thoughts with the world. Maybe people will read them and care (thank you for reading and caring).

87.) Make your favorite kind of tea and put it in your favorite mug. Sit on your bed and look through old photographs.

88.) Read some Shel Silverstein poems. I know you have Where The Sidewalk Ends somewhere on your bookshelf.

89.) Read old messages. Laugh about how much things have changed. Chances are, it’s all quite funny if you think about it.

90.) Look up what time it is in another country. Think about what the sky looks like there. Are the people eating breakfast? Is it dark enough for kids to go skinny dipping? Is everyone asleep except for people working the night shift in hospitals and heavy-lidded people in love?

91.) Find a jumprope in your garage. I know you have one somewhere. Jump until you feel like you don’t ever want to jump ever again.

92.) Teach yourself how to yo-yo or juggle or something else cool.

93.) Finally figure out how to make those fancy weaved bracelet things. You know what I’m talking about.

94.) Know that in Rennes, France, there is a man who wipes the fog off bus windows for people so they can see outside. Know that if you sat next to him, he would do the same for you.

95.) Watch Tavi Gevinson’s Ted Talk.

96.) Rearrange the furniture in your room. Maybe you need the blue couch against the wall.

97.) Mix frozen raspberries and yogurt in a blender. Homemade frozen yogurt. Bam.

98.) Email me (natalieslovelyblog1@gmail.com). I check my blog email quite a bit (7-8 times a day. It’s a bit compulsive I admit. I might have a problem.) and am always always happy to cheer you up. I might even send you photos of kittens depending on how bad it is.

99.) Hang black-and-white pictures up on your wall.

100.) Just as traffic lights turn from red to green to yellow and twelve-year-olds start putting on mascara when they turn into thirteen-year-olds and we all start caring less and less about birthdays, the world around you is shifting. Things will change, and they will get better.

Brilliant Birdies

Brilliant Birdies

Well, it’s Sunday again already.  Sigh.  Monday morning follows Sunday evening, inevitably, and it is a very sad fact indeed.  I have basically bogged about at home today, doing lots of laundry (as the weather was very hot and sunny), sorting out my wardrobe, finishing off some jewellery for a friend, and faffing about in general.  I did go for a walk as I am currently disgusted with my weight and overall plumpness (when am I not?) so at least I got out for some fresh air and exercise.  I also did some drawing in my art journal which is turning out to be just a doodling journal, but that’s ok.

Here’s a few more pics from my recent trip to the South West.  Bunbury Wildlife Park has some beautiful birds – you can enter the enclosures and walk around with them.  if you’re lucky they will come and eat from your hand.  The majority of them were quite happy for you to be close to them.  They’re so used to people, they’re not at all fussed if you’re there or not.

This first little guy was so cheeky.  Look at his face!  His plumage was so bright and colourful.  I believe (ie I am mostly guessing) he is an Eastern King Parrot.  Very royal indeed 🙂

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Red Tailed Black Cockatoo.  This fellow was very interested in the honky nut he was chewing on.  They have very powerful beaks – you don’t want your finger anywhere near it.  I have handled them before, in my years as a vet nurse, and they actually make very calm, gentle patients.  They are quite beautiful, especially when in flight.  Much of their population has dwindled due to the destruction of their natural habitats.  Very sad.

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These funny-looking birds are Bush Stone Curlews.  I’m pretty sure these ones were alive.  They didn’t move much so I could be wrong.  Their call is likened to a “shrieking woman” (how very gender-specific and un-pc!).  These two were chillin’ in the sunshine.

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This odd-looking chap is a Tawny Frogmouth, so-called because of their large mouth which looks a bit like, um, a frogs.  They are also Tawny in colouration.  Otherwise they would be called something else.  Spotty Frogmouths, Ginger Frogmouths, that sort of thing.  But they’re Tawny, hence the name.  Sorry the photo isn’t very good – he wouldn’t turn around.  Snobby Frogmouth might be more appropriate.  Their main method of defence is to stand stock still and act like a dead piece of wood.  I have known humans like that.  Ahem, moving on!

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A Southern Boobook Owl.  Very cute.  It is the smallest and most common owl in Australia.  I didn’t tell him he was common.  That would have been impolite.

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I believe this is an Eclectus Parrot.  Stunning bird.  Beautiful colouration.  This is a male – the females are bright red (fancy!).  Both have a loud, raucous call but apparently make awesome pets.  But not good neighbours.

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A group of Australian Shelducks.  A pretty common sight in many parts of Australia.  I actually raised a pair of these many years ago (a mother duck decided to leave her babies in our swimming pool) and they are lovely birds.  Very handsome with their bright copper breast and flash of green on the wing.  The females have a white ring around their eyes and base of their bill.  The males are quite a bit larger and just have the pristine white ring around their necks.  Very dapper.

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Emus.  If you look closely, there are actually two birds here.  I created a marvellous optical illusion with my impressive camera skills!  Not really – one emu just ducked his head down when I took the photo.  My Mum attempted to feed one of them, with some grain in her hand.  She nearly lost her hand.  Oh how we did laugh!  Emus are not particularly aggressive or nasty, but it is difficult for them to peck lightly or softly on a human hand.  Let that be a lesson to you. 
Better to just chuck the food and step back.

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I think this is a Musk Lorikeet.  I prefer to call it a “Little Green Parroty-bird I Don’t Know the Name of”.  Bright green feathers with scarlet/orange on cheeks, beak and forehead.  Not very good at putting their makeup on apparently. 

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Pacific Black Ducks.  I think.  I actually came across a family of them the other night when I was out walking.  Nearly trod on the newly-hatched ducklings that were running about all over the sidewalk as the Mother tried to get out through a hole in the fence. They had hatched inside the grounds of the zoo and now Mummy Duck had obviously forgotten that she is actually able to fly over the fence.  The ducklings were zig-zagging all over the place.  I was able to catch them but not the mother, so had to leave them all to it.  I did contact the zoo however, and they said they would look out for them.  I worried though! 

This pair at the Wildlife Park were pretty friendly and happy to come up for some food. 

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After visiting the park, we travelled down to Balingup to the Lavender Farm (see HERE for my previous post).  Lots of birdies there, but my Mum was delighted to see her most favourite of all, the Splendid Fairy-Wren (or Blue Wren).  Ridiculously pretty, the blue on these little birds is AMAZING.  Electric blue.  This particular fellow was flying close to us as he kept catching sight of his own reflection in a nearby window.  In non-breeding season, they are dull in colour, mostly brown with bit of blue on their tail and wings.  Still very pretty though, and always a welcome sight, whatever the season.

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Last, but not least, we have this cheeky chap.  He was very bolshy and brave, practically landing on my foot as he flew down to check us out.  I am trying to decide whether he is a White-Cheeked Honeyeater or a New Holland Honeyeater.  Both have very similar markings and habits.  Let’s just say he is a Honeyeater of some description and leave it at that.  I have lots of these in my garden at home too.  They are cheerful and cheeky little birds that love my Grevillea plants.  Always happy to have birdies in my garden 🙂  Unfortunately they are also a favourite of neighbourhood pussy-cats. 

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Well, that is the end of my shoddy ornithological report.  I love wildlife of any kind.  We are so lucky to have them in our gardens and parks.  We should take better care of them.  And maybe find out what they’re called before we write a blog post about them *looks sheepish again*.

Have a happy, chirpy day everybirdy 🙂

Kings Park 3 (Guess That Plant)

Kings Park 3 (Guess That Plant)

Final post in my series on “Flowers and Plants I Don’t Really Know Anything About”.  Our trip to Kings Park was enjoyable, but I wouldn’t say educational because I forgot to learn anything about the plants themselves and their names.  I was going to take photos and then take a pic of any info next to the plant.  But I did that only once.  And then forgot for all the others.  So I’m just guessing from here on in.  Except for the first picture 🙂

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The Wooly Banksia. It was indeed wooly like a little sheep.  It looked like one of those microphone things news crews are always waving about in outside interviews.

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Kangaroo Paw.  If I got this one wrong, I would be in trouble.  And possibly not Australian.

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This is West Australian Edelweiss.  No, it isn’t – I am making that up.  It’s very dainty and pretty though.  You could sing about it in the Alps, I’m sure.  Wearing a dress made out of curtains – that sort of thing.

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This is the lovely Native Hibiscus.  I know this one.  It is otherwise known as the West Coast Gem.  I didn’t know that.

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This is also a Kangaroo Paw.  An underipe one.  Kidding. It’s a Black Kangaroo Paw –
Macropidia fuliginosa if you want to be posh.

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This is a Morning Iris.  I know this because I searched four million flowers on Google before I found it.  The colour is quite beautiful and is striking against the colours of the bushland.

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Pink (Lipstick) Boronia.  Know this one too.  I am a horticultural genius!  Boronia has a strong smell (not unpleasant) and these lovely bell-shaped flowers.  It is becoming more common to see it amongst flower arrangements at florist shops. 

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Another beautiful blue specimen.  I’m sure it has a lovely name.  If only I knew it!

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Grevillea.  I used to call these “Prawn Plants” when I was a kid.  Many people called them “Those bloody Grevilleas!!!” because they are allergic to them.  Coincidentally, lots of people are also allergic to prawns.  I’m just being silly now.

Well, that was the end of my playful romp through Kings Park.  You should go there yourself one day.  If you live in Perth.  Otherwise it might be a bit far.  But you could probably come to Perth for other stuff as well and make a proper trip of it.  We have a River and a City and roads and all sorts of stuff with silly people like me milling about.  Plus we have lots of sunshine, which is important.  Especially as I am always cold.

The End 🙂