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Blogging Challenge – Day Twelve : Favourite Childhood Book

Howdy folks.  Yes, I am skipping challenges on the Blogging Challenge.  Just pretend you haven’t noticed ok?

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I was a big reader as a child.  From the age of six onwards, I always had my head stuck in a book.  I was the annoying kid in class who always finished the assigned reading way before schedule and had to be given other books to read while everyone else caught up.  Yeah, THAT kid.  I was like it in high school too.  It’s very possible I was the only one who actually READ the books we were assigned.  But I enjoyed them – everything from
Catch-22 to 1984, To Kill a Mockingbird and Animal Farm.  I loved them all.

My Mum always read to us when we were little and I suppose that’s why we always enjoyed books in general.  As a child, I loved stories with animals in them, but didn’t like anything scary or dark.  I remember one book I read gave me nightmares and actually made me physically ill so my Mum had to go to the school and asked for it to be removed from the library.  I don’t remember what it was called, but it was a book of so-called fairy tales, and it had one story in it where a witch rips the faces off pretty young girls so she could disguise herself as them and get up to mischief.  Kinda gross.   A less sensitive kid might not have been bothered by it, but it frightened me and my Mum took action ha ha.

I know I had a book about a dog called Barney, that my Mum used to read to me (until it fell to pieces) but I haven’t been able to find it since.  Another favourite was “The Golden Egg Book” by Margaret Wise Brown.  It too fell to pieces from being read to death.

When I was a bit older, I read voraciously on my own.  Enid Blyton was an early favourite, particularly the “Magic Faraway Tree” and “The Secret Seven” (my Mum won a set of these in an art competition when she was ten years old – I have them now 🙂 ).  I still secretly read Enid Blyton books, when I am needing some comfort or just to take some time out.  There’s a been a bit of a backlash about them in recent years, with regard to them not being very politically correct, but I love them.

Of course, Judy Blume was a HUGE favourite as I entered into that tricky pre-teen period.  My best friend and I loved her books and read all of them.  “Are you there God, it’s me, Margaret,” was probably devoured by more 10-12 year olds in the 80s than just about any other book ever written.

I also loved Ursula K. Le Guin and Paul Gallico, Beverly Cleary and Diana Wynne Jones.  I read all the classics – “Charlotte’s Web”, “Watership Down” (a little bit adult for me but I trudged through it when I was seven, not really understanding all of it I’m sure) and “Little Women”.

I read non-fiction too.  Mostly about animals and magic and art.  I Loved poetry and silly rhymes, and books about mysteries and fascinating facts.

I have a favourite children’s book now though.  It was given to me by a friend when I was in my twenties, and I dearly love it.  I would give it to my own children, if I had any, and have actually given it as a gift to friends and family (both children and adults).  My favourite children’s book is “A Little Bit of Winter” by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell.  It’s just GORGEOUS.  The story of Rabbit and Hedgehog, best friends in the wood.  It’s Winter and Hedgehog has to go and hibernate.  Rabbit is worried that Hedgehog will forget about him during the long, cold months that Hedgehog is asleep.  Hedgehog himself does not know what Winter feels like and so they are both missing out on something.  It’s a story about friendship, mostly, but it is SO ADORABLE and the illustrations are the best.  I love it.  I have to do the voices when I read it, which is quite sad, but it’s just so darn cute.  There are other books in this series, but this one is my favourite.

Do you have a beloved children’s book that is dear to your heart?  There’s so many great ones out there, new and old, modern and classic.  Don’t let the kids have all the fun – try a few titles for yourself.  They’re comforting and calming and make you feel better about the world.  And, if you do have children of your own, get them in to reading early – it’s SO important.  My brother’s children all love to read and it makes my librarian heart proud. I’d be proud of them, whatever they did, but the fact that they love books and often can be found with their little heads buried in one is just icing on the cake.

Happy Reading Everyone x

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(Picture : The Book Depository)

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Blogging Challenge – Day Nine : What’s in My Bag?

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My bag (or, rather, bags – I have too many of them) generally contains more than it should.  I am a hoarder in all areas of my life, why should the contents of my handbag be any different?  I am terrible at clearing it out regularly and it usually has about six months’ worth of receipts in it.  Also, about eight hundred tissues – used or not, who can tell? – and at least three pens, possibly leaking or not working at all.

So, today’s bag-hoard contains :

  1. A Pair of tongs –  This is because I cannot reach those stupid ticket machine thingies in the car parks (when you have to lean out your window).  Whose arms are that long?  Certainly not mine.  I usually end up putting my neck out.  So, I have tongs.  I will take them out of the bag and just leave them in the car today though.  Promise.
  2. Concert ticket – A couple of weeks ago, in the midst of my house-buying anxiety, I went to a concert with my cousin.  I had been looking forward to it for months but was so not in the mood to go that night.  In fact, an hour before hand, I was having a major meltdown and crying so hard I gave myself a massive nose bleed.  Over-dramatic much?  Anyway, the concert was AWESOME!!!  It was called “Totally 80s” and featured lots of one-hit wonders and some more successful musical acts of the 80s.  Wa Wa Nee, Martika, Berlin, Real Life, Men Without Hats and Paul Lekakis.  It was great.  They were all SO GOOD and sounded amazing.  It was a nice distraction for me and, predictably, I have held on to my ticket.  But it is going in the bin today. Really and truly. Pinky swear.
  3. Purse – Well, obviously my purse is gonna be in there.  It contains no money but does have lots of receipts and a tonne of other crap in it.
  4. House-buying documents and whatnot – I am currently carrying all my documents and forms and everything to do with my new house around with me like a pack horse.  I am paranoid something dramatic will happen and I will need the information immediately.  This is unlikely now, with settlement a week away.  But I am not very smart and apparently like to lug stuff around.
  5. Gloves – I feel the cold.  We all know this.  I have a pair of black knitted gloves that have skeleton bones printed on them.  They are children’s gloves.  I have tiny hands.
  6. Bandaids – my dermatillomania is kicking my butt at the moment so I am trying to keep it under control by keeping my fingers covered.  I keep bandaids on hand at all times.  I buy bazillions of them.
  7. Numerous set of keys – I have house keys, car keys, my Mum’s house keys,  friends’ house keys, lots of keys to work etc.  Basically I jangle when I walk.
  8. Phone – The dreaded mobile phone.  I am not one of those people who is constantly on their phone.  I forget to even look at it half the time and mostly use it as a clock.  I HATE talking on my mobile and I never answer it when I am driving.  Don’t text and drive, people!  I actually bought a new iPhone about 6 months ago.  I haven’t switched over to it yet (because I am a chronic procrastinator) and am still using my extremely ancient iPhone that has multiple issues.  Basically, it is dying, poor lamb.
  9. Teabags – Um, yes, I carry teabags around with me.  Mostly green tea and lemon ones.  Just in case I go somewhere – to someone’s house for instance – and they don’t have any tea.  Who would such a person be and why I would be friends with them, I do not know, but it’s just in case.
  10. Lip balm – I have a lippy in every bag I own.  Cruelty-free ones of course.  If they smell nice and taste a bit like fruit/chocolate/cookies, even better.

That’s pretty much it, except for the usual “lady” products and scraps of paper and general junk.  I should probably clean it out.  Today even.  Or tomorrow.  Or in three week’s time when I move.  That seems like a good idea.  Then I will have a new set of keys to put in it!

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Blogging Challenge – Day Eight : 5 Current Goals

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Ah goals…you’re supposed to have those, right?  My ex-husband told me that I didn’t have enough ambition for him and that I just “drift through life”.  Which was a bit shit to be honest.  Sure, I don’t want to climb the corporate ladder or live in a mansion or drive a Ferrari, but I do have ambitions.  Having survived a life-threatening illness, I felt for a long time that just being alive and staying that way was ambition enough for anyone, and if I achieved anything else, all well and good.

But he was probably right in a way (damn him!).  I don’t exactly strive for greatness.  I always just wanted to be a good person, rather than a great one.  Money was never a big motivator for me (although, now I have a mortgage looming, I might change that way of thinking!) and I never really cared if I had a high-powered job or was well known in my industry (or any industry!). I just wanted to do ok and get by and not hurt anyone along the way.  I wanted to be content and happy with my lot.  And have people that love me.  That’s pretty much it.  And, for the most part, I have achieved that.

So, in the spirit of this blogging challenge, here are some current goals I have tucked away.  Some of them are bigger than others.  Some are teeny-tiny.  But, goals they are.  So there. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, doubters!

My Five Current Goals

  1. Reach settlement on my house, move in to it and out of my rental without having a nervous breakdown or killing someone.
  2. Lose some weight.  Again.  Sigh.
  3. Sort my mental issues out.  This year has been hard and I am not ashamed (well, maybe a little ashamed) to admit I have not been coping.  Very dark thoughts have been hovering and I have found myself spiralling quite messily into pits of anxiety-based despair and panic.  No one to blame but myself.  And my brain chemistry.  And I was never very good at chemistry, so I need to sort something else out.  Find ways to be better at life and being human.  I’m sure there’s a manual for it somewhere, right?
  4. Figure out what I want to do and get a new job that reflects that.  ‘Tis hard though…
  5. Learn to be tidy.  I have promised myself I will not be a feral filth wizard in my new house.  Without the threat of rent inspections, it is likely I will fall into very bad habits.  So I am determined not to.  I am going to have a routine, dammit!  I will do the dishes every night and make my bed and put my laundry away and make my house a haven of calm pristine-ness.  And, if that fails, I will just hide all my crap upstairs ha ha.  Why do you think I wanted a two-storey? 🙂

Whatever your goals are, I hope you are achieving them at your own pace and with no pressure from anyone else.  And if YOU want to “drift through life”, I am totally ok with that.  You have my absolute blessing 🙂

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Blogging Challenge – Day Five : Your Proudest Moment

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This is a tricky one.  I have the world’s worst self-esteem so I don’t know that I ever feel proud of myself.  Which I should probably work on, I know.  I like to think my proudest moment is yet to come – that something really great is just around the corner, and that I’m not “done” yet.

Today I am proud of myself for signing mortgage papers.  Proud, and terrified.  I’m proud of myself for taking this giant leap into adulthood (albeit a few decades late) and I am proud that I didn’t back out or delay it for another few years.  I am proud (and somewhat surprised) that I am even in the position to be buying a house.  Me!  Little, timid, non-ambitious Me!  I am buying a house!  It’s kinda crazy and hard to believe, because I really didn’t think it was something I would ever be brave enough to do.

There is lots of fear – will I be able to afford it, long term?  What happens if I lose my job?  What if I have made a terrible mistake?  All those things go through my mind a million times a day.  Which I am sure is normal.  It might be the one time in my life I am having normal thoughts!  But I can’t live in fear forever – I have to put my big girl pants on and be a grown-up and stop hiding behind my worries.

There is still settlement to get through and that will be a long and drawn-out process, if the rest of the experience is anything to go by.  But I have to just trust it will be ok and get sorted eventually.  I will be proud of myself for staying calm, if I can do that, and holding my ground if negotiations go awry.  I hope it is settled on time though, and without further complications, because I am not brave and I am not very good at handling anything outside of my usual realm of daily drama.  I have very little reserves, to be honest.  Something else I should work on.  Add it to the list.

So, today I am allowing a little pride to creep in.  It’s an uneasy pride, but it’s there nevertheless.  Just because I have come a long way and am doing this on my own and making big decisions and securing my future, as best as I can, in my own way.  If I can keep meltdowns and conniption-fests to a minimum, that will really be something to be proud of.  But we still have moving day to get through yet, so let’s not get too optimistic 🙂

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Have a happy day everyone and be proud of yourselves x

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Blogging Challenge – Day Three : Favourite Quote

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My favourite quote has been, for a long time, this one from A. A. Milne (as Christopher Robin, spoken to Winnie the Pooh) :

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”

It just resonates with me.  I guess it’s something I would like someone to say to me.  I actually made this quote into a wedding card for my ex-husband but I never gave it to him.  It didn’t feel right at the time.  Probably should have paid attention to that little feeling at the time, in hindsight!  I almost use this quote as a gauge for how I feel about someone – if they’re worthy of these words, they’re a keeper.

What’s your favourite quote?  Do you have any words you live by or feel particularly strongly about?

Thank you for dropping by x

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Blogging Challenge – Day Two : Twenty Facts About Me

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I was going to skip this step in the blogging challenge, because I had already done several “Random Facts” posts about myself and I was running out of random… But then I thought “Who am I kidding?  I am completely random!” so I shouldn’t really have any issues with finding things about myself to write about.  Maybe.  Or I could be in for a really difficult and dull time.  And you’re along for the ride, poor things.  Nevertheless, here goes :

Twenty Facts About Me

  1. I don’t like stinky cheeses.  Except for Gorgonzola.  It is a different, refined kind of stinky.
  2. I have terrible balance.  I can’t walk in a straight line.  If I ever get pulled over by the police and asked to do that straight-line-walking thing, they will immediately arrest me for being inebriated.
  3. I am a librarian but I don’t want to be.
  4. I don’t get the whole Brad Pitt thing.  I’m sure he’s a very nice man but I don’t know what all the fuss is about.  I’m sure he wouldn’t think I was all that and a bag of chips either.  Which is fair enough.
  5. There are two TV shows I can watch over and over again and never get bored with – Seinfeld and MASH.
  6. I have a ridiculously large collection of scarves.  The only good thing about Winter is scarves.
  7. I can’t make decisions.
  8. People think I am very stoic, calm and sensible.  I am, in reality, the complete opposite.  Overly emotional, ridiculously anxiety-prone and pretty darn good at catastrophising.
  9. I am a sleep-walker.  Not as much these days but, when I was younger, I would wake up in weird places.
  10. I really don’t like mole rats.  They are the one creature I just can’t get behind.  I’m sure they’re great, and I wouldn’t want them to be extinct or anything, but I find them creepy and gross.  They’re like little hairless nightmares.
  11. I have Gilbert’s Syndrome.  This produces elevated levels of unconjugated bilirubin in my bloodstream.  It doesn’t have any serious affects.  It does, however, make me turn yellow if I am particularly stressed or unwell or fasting.  One of my doctors found out by accident that I had it – he was blood testing for all sorts of things and this turned up.
  12. I can’t stand it when people walk without lifting their feet.  That whole dragging your feet thing – ugh!  Pick your feet up, Schleppy!
  13. When I was six, I fell in the playground and sliced my face open on some wood.  I needed stitches and still have the scar.  I remember walking back to class with blood pouring down my face, and sitting in the car on the way to the hospital with my brother cuddling me but not looking at me because he can’t stand blood.
  14. I used to be in an Academic Extension Program in primary school.  They thought I was smart.  I wasn’t.  I did get awarded Dux of the school when I graduated, but I think there was some sort of error. But I’m not giving it back now.
  15. I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was 12.  I learnt to fall off one (repeatedly) shortly after that.
  16. I can’t wear high heels.  Just can’t.  Don’t ask me to.
  17. I’m a little bit allergic to wool.
  18. I’m very allergic to the Kardashians.  They bring me out in hives.
  19. I am always cold.
  20. Tea is my favourite thing to drink.  There is no time that is not appropriate for tea, as far as I am concerned.  It is a salve to all that ails me.  Also, cookies generally accompany tea, and that’s never a bad thing.

So that’s it.  I struggled a bit there…there’s not really many things to tell about me.  I’d like to say I have been sky-diving or that I graduated from some prestigious University or that I am curing cancer but, mostly, I am pretty dull.  But that’s that challenge over and done with now!  Onwards and upwards!

Have a great day everyone 🙂

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Blogging Challege : Day 1 – Blog Name

Originally posted in Swinging With Babies , this blogging challenge (which, in turn, came from livelovesimple.com) is going to help me on the days when my brain is not working very well and I can’t think of anything to write, photograph or blog about.  Which is often, these days, let’s be honest.

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So, today’s topic : My Blog’s Name.  Why did I call this blog The Paper Wallflower?  Well, mostly, because the name “The Speckled Egg” was taken, ha ha.  Truly.  I wanted The Speckled Egg as my blog name.  I’m always using eggs (or, at least, pictures of) in my
card-making, and speckled eggs are very popular as a design element/feature, but the name was taken, by a few different blogs, so I moved on.

I obviously favour paper above all other crafty mediums – I use it for card-making and collaging, drawing, painting, journaling, writing etc, so having “paper” in my blog title seemed a given.  Then, I was going to incorporate my favourite flower – violets – into the name but couldn’t make it work, and I didn’t want to have just my name, Violet Annie, as the main heading.  So, I chose a wallflower.  It seemed fitting – I am horribly socially anxious, the absolute prime example of a wallflower (if anyone is sitting on the outskirts of a dance, not dancing, it is me) and the title seemed to work.

So that’s pretty much it.  Not a very exciting story, but there you are 🙂  I’m happy enough with it, as a blog name.  It will do!  I guess I’m stuck with it now anyway.

I should, at this point, while we’re on the topic of names, confess that my real name is not Violet Annie.  It’s my business-if-I-had-a-business name.  It’s actually my Grandmother’s name and, as violets are my favourite flower, I pinched it for my own devices.  I don’t think it’s a great idea to have your real name out there on the internet for all to see.  Even though, in reality, I’m sure it’s easy enough to find.

My Grandmother was an amazing lady – she lived with us for the last 15 or so years of her life, after she emigrated at 80, until she was 95.  No dementia or any real health issues, she was a character alright.  Loving in her own way and, despite being a tad cantankerous at times, she was very grateful for everything we did for her.  My Mum had quite a tough time with her, some days – she wasn’t always easy to deal with – and we all had to care for and look after her on a daily basis.  She was fairly independent, right up until the end, and didn’t ask for much except company and her blessed smokes (sigh…you can’t tell someone who is 95 years old that smoking is bad for them).

I will always remember her last night on this Earth.  She had taken ill in the day (respiratory problems, not surprisingly) and was in hospital.  Mum and I went to visit her in the evening (she’d only been admitted that morning, and was doing quite well, all things considered) and she was sitting up in bed, eating her dinner (pumpkin soup – her favourite) and complaining about the nurses.  She was calm and not frightened or distressed (a huge blessing for my Mum – she didn’t want to leave her if she was upset) and talked about coming home the next day.

But there was no next day for her.  At around 2am, we received a call from our GP.  Nanna had passed away, very peacefully, in her sleep.  The doctors and nurses were all a bit shocked – they had not expected her to go so quickly, although she was not expected to come out of hospital any time soon.  I really believe her spirit just decided it was time to go.  She was warm, her belly full and we were all safe.

So, I guess this blog is dedicated to my Nan.  I hope she is proud of it and me.  She was a mad crafter – knitting was her thing – and so I think she would have liked seeing all the things I make.  One of my favourite memories of her was when she asked me to help her make my Mum a medal.  It still makes my Mum and I teary, even now.  This little tin-foil-covered cardboard medal, with Nan’s writing on it, saying thank you for everything Mum did for her.  That says LOVE right there.  It couldn’t be more valuable if it was made from solid gold.

Have a good day everyone.