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Now I am Forty-Four

Yesterday was my birthday.  I have reached the grand old age of Forty Four.  Which scares me just a teeny-weeny little bit.  I still don’t know very much and have very little figured out.  I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and I still keep waiting for my Fairy Godmother to grant me three wishes.

Yesterday was tougher than I imagined it would be.  I wanted to spend the day on my own, like I did last year, but then felt really lonely and sad about being on my own.  Quite a few people forgot it even WAS my birthday and that upset me more than I wanted to admit.  I felt fat and old and uninteresting and invisible.

To be fair, it’s quite possible I am hormonal (or menopausal!) and just down in the dumps for no real reason.  Birthday or no birthday.  I think this year crept up on me and I wasn’t ready.  I know forty four isn’t old.  I know this.

 

Things I know, now that I am forty-four years old

Life doesn’t get easier.  You just get more tired, so your tantrums are less dramatic.

Bingo wings grow all by themselves.  They are an unstoppable force.  You will spend the rest of your life in three-quarter sleeves.  Don’t fight it.

Elastic waist bands are key.

Music now is rubbish.  It’s a totally different thing to when your parents used to say it about your music when you were a teenager.  TOTALLY different.

You will begin to lose the ability to understand adverts on television.  Are they trying to sell you a car or haemorrhoid cream? And why are they so darn loud?

You used to laugh at women who plucked their chin hairs at the traffic lights.  Now you give them a thumbs-up signal and yell “Right with ya, sister!” in solidarity.

Cheese is your enemy and your best friend.  Don’t turn your back on it. 

That lump you’re feeling could be malignant.  Or it could just be one of last night’s cornflakes you had for dinner that stuck to you.  You know, the one that fell down your top and you couldn’t be bothered fishing it out because you were watching Will and Grace.

Your underwear gets increasingly more “sensible”.  They become less floral/pretty/polka-dotty and become more beige.

You will find yourself worrying about fibre content before sugar content.

You will suddenly realise that if you start dating again, it will have to be with men in their 40s and 50s.  Which seems kinda icky.  But if you were a man, you’d start dating girls in their 20s and 30s.  The irony is not lost on you. 

Grey hair grows quicker than any other colour of hair.  This is a scientific fact.  You will go to bed one night a brunette, and wake up the next looking like a badger. 

  If you go to work without makeup one day, people will repeatedly ask you if you’re ill.

  The fact that you’re old enough to remember macrame the first time it became popular, makes you feel like crying.

You will approach spicy food the same way you would approach a barrel full of poisonous spiders – with fear and trepidation.

You will be grateful for everything you have but still have many regrets and coulda-shoulda-wouldas.  Which is ok.  You may be forty four, but you’re still human.    

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Wishing you all a happy day (birthday or not).  Thank you for visiting 🙂 x

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Song Lyric for the Day : Old Friends

“…Old friends
Old friends
Sat on their park bench
Like bookends
A newspaper blown through the grass
Falls on the round toes
On the high shoes
Of the old friends

Old friends
Winter companions
The old men
Lost in their overcoats
Waiting for the sunset
The sounds of the city
Sifting through trees
Settle like dust
On the shoulders
Of the old friends

Can you imagine us
Years from today
Sharing a park bench quietly?
How terribly strange
To be seventy

Old friends
Memory brushes the same years
Silently sharing the same fear

Time it was,
And what a time it was
It was . . .
A time of innocence
A time of confidences

Long ago . . . it must be . . .
I have a photograph
Preserve your memories
They’re all that’s left you…”

— Old Friends/Bookends – Simon and Garfunkel

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How to Have a Happy Birthday

Birthdays have always been a bit tricky for me.  For a long time I believed that something bad would always happen on my special day (mostly because, for several years in a row, I had disastrous birthdays where loved ones became gravely ill, pets died, people got in car accidents and general chaos and doom reigned) and so I tended to try to just get it over and done with as quickly as possible.

As I got older and, particularly after surviving a life-threatening illness, I starting believing that having another birthday was actually pretty good.  Bad stuff could still happen, but then it could on any other day, so why worry about it?

Usually, I try and organise a dinner out, or a get-together of some description with friends or family or both.  This year, I just wanted time on my own.  I didn’t want to involve anyone else, which sounds really selfish and unsociable, but I just wanted to spend my day pottering about by myself, doing as I pleased and not having any schedule to follow.  I highly recommend it 🙂  I don’t get lonely and am quite happy with my own company.  I wanted a stress-free, restorative, recharging kind of day.

So, my idea of a good birthday goes something like this…..

1. Dress in a comfortable outfit, in your favourite colours.  
Makeup and hair done for no one else but yourself.

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I don’t feel blue wearing blue!

 

2. Take yourself out for a delicious, hearty breakfast…….

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Field Mushrooms on Sourdough, with Goat’s Cheese and Poached Eggs…

3…..and eat it all up.  Don’t feel guilty at all.

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All gone!

4.  Visit a favourite, gorgeous shop.  Wander around for an hour or so and don’t buy anything.  Feel good that you didn’t spend unnecessarily (even if it is because you’re a bit poor right now and couldn’t afford to even if you wanted to).

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Antidote in Mount Hawthorn
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Hammered and stamped recycled spoons at Antidote – Love them!

 

5. Make yourself a birthday cake and share it with loved ones at dinner time.   It doesn’t matter if the cake is a bit homely looking.  People will be polite and eat it anyway.

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6.  Drink vast quantities of tea, preferably out of pretty china so you feel like a lady.

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Tea for one!

 

7.  Go op-shopping.  Buy shoes for a ridiculously low price (in this case $4.25).

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New shoes! (well, 2nd hand new!)

 

So, for me, a perfect birthday is one in which I spend time doing things I enjoy, with no schedule or plan.  I ended the day with my brother and his family, which was lovely – I even had candles on my cake and everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to me.  Delightful. Maybe spending a day on your own isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it was exactly what I needed and I’m so glad I did it.

So how do you spend your birthday?  Do you like to ignore it, go all out and spoil yourself, or plan a quiet day of solitude and reflection?  Whatever you do, I hope you always feel loved and appreciated on your special day.

Thanks for dropping by x

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How to Measure Christmas

Christmas Day is just around the corner.  I can’t believe how quickly it has come up this year.  I probably say that every year, but this last twelve months has whizzed by, and so much has happened.  It’s been such a strange, disturbing year, with a lot of loss and grief for so many people.  I don’t know about you, but I am praying for a much kinder 2017.

My Mum is currently suffering with a nasty cough/virus and it makes me very anxious.  I can’t bear for her to be ill.  She is always so healthy and I sometimes forget she is a senior now, and small illnesses can be potentially dangerous.  Also, being sick at Christmas sucks!  I know she feels miserable and concerned and also annoyed that she can’t do a lot – she hates neglecting her garden and other chores.  I just worry incessantly, especially as I am not just around the corner but 30 minutes drive away, and I can’t keep a close eye on her.  Luckily, my best friend’s Mum is just around the corner – in fact, she is taking Mum to the doctor’s this morning (I would have done but had no one to cover me at work). Hopefully she will get some antibiotics (even though she hates taking them, she admits she probably needs some this time) and be on the mend soon.  We’re meant to be spending Christmas Eve with my brother and his family, but I don’t know if she will be well enough at this stage 😦

It’s funny how, in the lead up to Christmas, you think about all the things you would like, and hope that Santa obliges.  This year, I just want my Mum to be well, and for us all to have a nice, peaceful, stress-free time together, with no dramas.

This week, I managed to get all my Christmas shopping done in record time.  I have less people to buy for this year, for one reason or another, and it made it much easier.  I made a few gifts too, which meant less spending (always a good thing) and less stress (a very good thing).  I also decided not to do the fancy wrapping I always do, which usually ends up with me stressed out of my brain and wrapping gifts every night until midnight, making sure they all fit a “theme” and all look decorative and pretty.  Not this year.  I used store-bought wrapping paper and did nothing fancier than tying them with string.  I didn’t even use matching tags!  *gasps*  It just made everything so much easier and quicker and reduced my stress by about a million percent.  I am wrapped and done, ahead of time.

Whilst looking for gifts for my Mum, I pretty much followed the list she had given me (an Ian Rankin book, some gardening stuff, a Michael Buble CD, pyjamas) but I always like to get her some other little extras too, so she has some surprises.  I found this set of measuring cups in an op-shop and thought she might like them.  They look vintage (although I suspect they are not) and I liked the little Wintery scene on them, which I thought would also make them ideal for Christmas decorating, if Mum didn’t want to use them as actual measuring cups.  I just thought they were sweet.  And at $5.00 for the three, I wasn’t exactly breaking the bank.

I hope she likes them, and is well enough to enjoy all of her presents.
That’s all I want for Christmas.

Best wishes to you all.  Stay well and take care of each other x

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I can see clearly now…

As of this weekend, I have begun the descent into the whole clichéd librarian-with-glasses scenario.  I got myself some specs.  Not prescription ones, just yet – these are just the cheapo magnifying ones you get at the chemist – as I only really need them for close work (namely, my crafting).  I will see how I go over the next few months and then bite the bullet and get prescription ones as necessary.  I don’t mind having them – I’m not one of those people who think glasses are ugly or make you look bad.  I actually kinda like them on me – they distract from my face 🙂

Hopefully they will make for less squinty drawing and cutting out, less mistakes and better attention to detail.  If anything, I can now see how badly my eyebrows need plucking, and be able to do something about it, instead of just guessing and plucking in the general vicinity, which can be problematic ha ha.

I’d been secretly hoping my vision would remain perfect into my old age, but now I’m in my forties it is clear that this will not be the case.  It’s all (physically) downhill from here, so everyone keeps telling me.  But it’s ok.  My Mum has worn glasses for decades and she still produces the most beautiful, fine work that looks as though it had been created by someone with Superman-strength eyeballs.  Plus now I can rock the proper librarian look some of the time (better get me a bun and some sensible shoes) and look over my glasses disparagingly at people when they have overdues or are noisy.

Hope you are having a lovely day – whether you have four eyes or two 🙂

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Sanding off the rough edges of life…

Sanding off the rough edges of life…

 

 

 

 

It would be nice if life was like a craft project.  You could sand off the rough edges, paint it a different colour, stamp meaningful words on it or scrub it all off and start again.  You could cut bits out and throw them away.  You could add bits of ribbon to fancy it up or leave it plain and simple.  You could shape it into a heart or a flower or a star.  You could drill holes in it and hang it somewhere safe.  You could fill in those holes and make it whole again.  You could weave it with patterns and stitch it with love.  You could glue it together so it never comes apart.
You could colour outside the lines if you wanted to or make things precise, and both would be “right” because it’s ART.  You could wear it with pride or give it to someone else.  You could tea-dye it so it looks older, rather than trying to keep it clean and new. You could hold it tightly in your hands as something precious, or tear it in to a thousand pieces and throw it to the four winds.  You could leave it to future generations or bestow it on the present, knowing its meaning will change as each generation changes.  

It’s been a long day, one that started out quite happily and progressed into an evening of stress and drama.  Not my own stress and drama, but that of a family member, which in some ways is worse.  Hurting for other people is the worse hurt of all.  When your heart breaks for someone else it is terribly painful. I want to fix everything and wave a magic wand and make everybody ok again.  But I can’t.  I am not big enough or brave enough.  I’m not clever enough or rich enough to make problems go away and I do so wish that I was. Even if I know it is not my responsibility to repair other people’s “stuff”.

But I guess, in some ways, life is like a craft project.  It has rough edges that need a bit of smoothing.  It has chipped paint and faded bits that need restoring.  It comes in all shapes and sizes and doesn’t always fit everybody the same way.  Sometimes seams rip and stuffing comes out.  Sometimes you drop a stitch or forget to knit one, purl one and your design turns out a little funny and lopsided.  Sometimes other people don’t understand your ART.  Sometimes, there just isn’t enough black paint to cover it up and there will always be somebody else’s inky fingerprint EXACTLY where you don’t want it.

Today I just want to be able to hold everybody else together at the seams, to stop the stuffing falling out.  But at the end of a long day, just like this one, I wonder who is going to do the same for me, when I fear my own stitches are becoming frayed, and I’ve run out of safety pins.  I must learn to repair what I can and leave the rest up to the Gods, because every creation is a work in progress and who knows when it is finished but the one who created it?

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PS  Apologies for a melancholy post.  It has been a very long evening and I am worn out and definitely frayed around the edges.  Luckily I have more than enough stuffing to worry about losing too much of that and I think my distressed and ragged patina is part of my charm 🙂

Goodnight all – may tomorrow be a better day x



Small Accomplishments (Hey, I’ll take what I can get!)

Small Accomplishments (Hey, I’ll take what I can get!)

Howdy folks!  It’s the start of another week and the year is just flying by.  It seems that each week gets shorter and shorter and in no time at all it will be Christmas again.  I had wanted to achieve so much by the middle of the year, but it is already past that and I am no closer to my goals.  But, with four months until the end of the year, maybe I still have time to accomplish some things.

This weekend just gone I managed to complete one thing that had been on my to-do list since, ahem, February: I got my hair cut.  I am terrible at getting regular trims – I just don’t do it.  I don’t even think about it and when I do, it always seems like there is something better to spend my money on (always the cheapskate).  However, this time, the slowly-spreading tide of grey in my hair made it impossible for me to ignore the chop any longer.  I wanted it to be a bit shorter so it would be easier to dye (and also cheaper – God, I really AM a cheapskate!) and I had liked it last time I got it cut so I made the appointment and made the commitment to go.  I coloured it as soon as I got home – the grey had to go!  What do you think?

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The weather has been lovely over the last few days – still cold inside but beautiful sunny weather outside.  Perfect for getting the dreaded washing done (another tick on my list – there is only so much you can hang on an airer in your lounge room…sheets and towels really need a good sunny day to get dry) and for soaking up some Vitamin D.  I had a delicious lunch out with my best friend and we had a nice catch-up over a cup of tea at my house.  We don’t get to see each other much due to family and work commitments, so it was great to spend some time together.

I managed to get a little bit of crafting done.  I have some orders to get done for my lovely friend K who has always been my biggest supporter, in terms of my jewellery work.  She left a bag of beads at my door a couple of weeks ago, with a list of what she wanted me to make from it, plus some instruction for fixing a couple of things for her that had broken (she will insist on wearing everything in the swimming pool or in the ocean and they don’t hold up well to that sort of activity).  She’s probably reading this right now – hello K! *waves*  She had bought a large turquoise bead to make a necklace for her friend with.  I made this one in a similar style to one I had made for K earlier:

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Next up was an “ethnic”-inspired necklace using a large, yellow Nepalese bead she had bought ages ago.  I paired it with some similar amber beads and a couple of turquoise ones I bought a while back.  Hope she likes it:

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K had also left me some lovely red coral beads, which she wanted made into a bracelet.  That was easy enough (and there’s plenty left over so I will make something else for her too…):

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I did try and make some cards much I am still struggling with that for some reason.  I just can’t get my groove back, with regards to cards.  I’m hoping it’s just the cold weather (I blame everything on that…) and that when Spring comes I will be inspired and able to make some nice cards.  I did complete one, but I don’t like it at all so I’m not going to show you!

Today was a work day so no crafting for me.  We had a fire drill in the afternoon which was actually pretty organised and we all got a pat on the back for doing what we were supposed to do in an emergency.  I am a deputy fire warden – I am not good at being forceful with people but everyone got out when I told them to and no one got cranky at me for sounding the air horn (bloody awful things they are!).  Other than that, an uneventful day (the kind I like!).

I did take time out to go for a walk around town in my lunch break and I just happened to find myself in an op-shop, looking for beads (like I need any more!).  
I couldn’t resist these beautiful acid-green ones:

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…or these pretty little glass ones that look like ice chips :

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…there was also a couple of bracelets for 50c that had some interesting beads on them:

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My main reason for going out was to get up off my butt and get away from my desk.  I am bad at taking breaks – sometimes I just eat lunch at my desk, sometimes I forget lunch altogether or have it at some ridiculous time.  I am trying desperately to lose some weight and I have not been exercising at all lately.  I blame it (again) on the cold weather but really I am just lazy and a bit of a hermit.  I have now filled my fridge and freezer with healthy foods, lots of fruit and veggies so I have no excuse for being a heifer and snacking on “bad” things.  I need to say “no thank you” to the food that is constantly being offered at work.  No to the Monday chai latte from the coffee van.  No to the afternoon cookie break.  No to the sweets and in-between-meals snacking.  Boy, that is a lot of “No’s”!  I used to be a lot bigger than I am now (like, A LOT bigger) and I do not want to go down that path again.  It’s so hard though and I am an emotional eater so food is a bit of a friend / enemy for me.  Anyway, I am going to try hard to be good 90% of the time, with a few treats here and there, and try and walk every day.  This is the plan.  I have no excuse and I have given myself until the end of the year to lose 3-5kg.  You are my witnesses!  Be kind if I fail 🙂

Hope you accomplished lots of what you wanted to get done today.  If not, there’s always tomorrow – that “to-do” list will still be there! 

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