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Book Bargain Bonanza

I had a day off this week.  A glorious, nothing-scheduled, I-can-do-what-I-want day off.  Work has been very stressful, I’ve been having lots of migraines, and life just seemed a bit craptastic in general.  I’m always exhausted and just needed a break.  So, a day off was necessary, for my mental health if nothing else.

I got up early (not too early – it was a day off, after all!) and hit the op-shops.  I wanted to visit some I hadn’t been to before, and expand my “territory”.  I didn’t have much luck in finding anything good to start with, but eventually I hit book heaven at one particular Salvos store.  Lordy, lordy, they had the BEST book selection, AND it was in alphabetical order so you could actually search properly in the section you were interested in.

I am always on the lookout for Alice Hoffman titles.  She’s one of my favourite authors, but I never buy books new (who can afford them???!) so I have to wait until I find them in second hand shops.  Normally, I don’t find any of her books or, just as annoying, only ones I have already read and have in my shelf at home.  But on this day, dear readers, I found FIVE!  Woo!  I’d already read a couple of them, but I did snap up two for myself – White Horses, and The Museum of Extraordinary Things.  So happy!  I’m cross at myself because I left another one behind – Blue Diary – because I thought I had it at home, but then found that I didn’t.  You know you have too many books when you can’t remember what you have!  Hopefully it will still be there if I visit the shop again…but I’m glad to have found these two anyway 🙂

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Craft books are not always easy to come across in op-shops, and really nice ones are like hen’s teeth.  That’s why I was thrilled to find these two – French-Inspired Jewellery and The Adventurous Scrapbooker.  The latter has lots of off-the-page ideas for scrapbooks and similar projects.  I actually don’t like scrapbooking at all – I don’t do it and have never liked the concept of it – but there are always awesome ideas and techniques you can apply to other crafts.  So this book is great for that.  The jewellery book is gorgeous – not just for the pretty projects inside, but for the beautiful background layouts they have used for display.  Vintage papers and ephemera, ribbon and other embellishments make for beautiful pages, that are works of art in their own right.  So glad to have found this one!  Especially for the bargain price of $2.25!

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I love dogs.  I had them all my life, right up until I was in my 30s.  But now, with full-time work and a little house of my own, on my own, a dog just isn’t practical.  Maybe one day…sigh…  In the meantime, there are books like Rachel Hale’s 101 Salvations to keep me happy.  Rachel Hale’s photography is always a delight, and this book of doggy pictures is gorgeous.  I want to start doing some proper drawing and thought I might start with some canine-inspired sketches (might as well begin with a subject I know and love!) so I am hoping to use the photos as guides.  In any case, it is a beautiful book in excellent condition and, again, at only $2.25 – I’m sure the original RRP would have been well over $35.00 – I got another bargain.

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As I just mentioned, I am trying to improve my drawing skills (such as they are) and need all the help I can get.  So, with that in mind, I picked up this next book – You Can Draw in 30 Days. I’m not necessarily convinced I will only take 30 days, but hey, it’s a start.  I desperately want to be able to draw eyes so I am really hoping this book will help me.

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I also picked up a couple of titles for my Mum, who is a  voracious reader and is always running out of her own books to read.  So, all in all, a very successful visit to this particular op-shop.  I didn’t have room in my basket for anything else, which is probably a good thing.  Didn’t stop me from going to a few more op-shops afterwards though! 🙂

Hope you are having a good day – thank you for dropping by x

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Critter-Sittin’

This weekend I took some time out of my box-packing schedule to house-sit for my Aunt and Uncle.  They’ve both been dreadfully unwell the last couple of years and my poor cousin has been run ragged looking after them and making sure they’re ok.  She lives several hundred kilometres away so she is forever travelling to and fro to take them to medical appointments and make sure they’re looked after etc.  Every week she drives over 300km both ways to stay with them.  It’s been a very stressful time for all concerned.

Anyway, my cousin decided it would do everyone some good if she arranged a little weekend getaway, now that my Aunt and Uncle were well enough to travel.  My Aunt, though elderly and not in very good health at all, is a very outgoing lady and not one for sitting around doing nothing.  After a long period of recovery from a very serious illness she is pretty much going stir crazy, just being at home and having to “take it easy” all the time.  So a trip away, just for a couple of days, would be just what the doctor ordered.

My Mum and I happily agreed to house-sit for them.  Although I had SO MUCH packing and organising to do at home, it was actually a nice break from all that and gave me some much needed down time.  My Aunt and Uncle have three lovely furry family members – Heidi, a tricolour Rough Collie, Sox, a black and white moggie, and Fibber, a white pony – and so, of course, they were the main priority.  Heidi is an absolute delight – she is loving and gentle, but also fun and playful (she has the biggest box of toys I have ever seen!) and she is a great companion.  She’s pretty happy to just stay by your side most of the time and doesn’t ask for much, other than a few bouts of tug-o-war or “rub my belly”.

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Sox has always been a bit of a devil child – very wild and bad tempered – but she has mellowed a lot in the last couple of years and is now very placid and will give you a smooch if she’s in the right mood.  She makes me laugh because she actually asks to be put to bed at night.  Come 6pm and she meows and gets you to follow her to her “bedroom” (the laundry) where she has every mod-con available, including a cosy bed inside the linen cupboard.  She gets fed, you close the door, and that’s her done for the night.  In the morning, you let her out but she takes her time actually getting up and isn’t in any hurry to rise and shine.  She has the most amazing, upside-down, heart-shaped markings on her face/muzzle.  So pretty!  I’m glad she’s settled down too, because I don’t like to think of her being ill-mannered with my Aunt and Uncle.  She apparently even had a lap the other night with my Uncle, which was a first!

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Fibber is a gentle little pony with a nice temperament.  She unfortunately has laminitis , which is an inflammation of the soft tissue structures that attach the coffin or pedal bone of the foot to the hoof wall.  Very nasty, painful, and can be fatal.  Proper management is essential.  Fibber’s diet is very strict (over-feeding can often result in laminitis) and she is stabled in deep sawdust to give her a comfortable standing position.  Care of her hooves is obviously very important and she has a regular farrier who makes sure her tootsies are in tip-top condition.  She wears little covers over her hooves that help to protect the damaged parts and she is not lame or suffering at the moment.  She put up with my fumbling efforts at putting her covers on at night and whinnied at me across the paddock when I was bringing her food bucket.  Last night was quite stormy and so she was a bit nervous and jittery, but I managed to get her settled and comfy in her stable with her dinner and a warm coat.

She’s actually going to be moving down to the coast, to stay at my other cousin’s equestrian centre.  I think it will be good for her – she will have more company and my Aunt and Uncle will know she’s being cared for.  Her little stable has already been built – it’s really just waiting for when my Aunt and Uncle can bear to say Goodbye to her.  They themselves might be moving to be nearer to my cousin, so it won’t be Goodbye forever, and at least Fibber isn’t going to live with strangers and have an uncertain future.

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So, a nice, relaxing weekend, albeit with extra responsibilities (which I didn’t mind at all).  I am so looking forward to getting my own cats – I have missed being a “proper” animal person.  Having grown up with so many animals around me, I’ve felt like a bit of a fraud the last few years, not having any pets at all, due to renting and ex-hubby being allergic to cat and dog fur.  Be prepared for many, many posts about cats and all things feline-related in the future!  You have been warned! 🙂

I hope my cousin, Aunt and Uncle had a lovely time away.  They’ve all had a rotten couple of years, health-wise, and I know my cousin is really struggling to keep everything together (why does one sibling always carry all the responsibilities?).  I’m glad I could help out, even just for a short time and I hope it gave them a much needed, well deserved break, and some respite from worrying about their health and life in general.

Have a happy day, everyone.  Take care of your four-footed family and friends 🙂

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House Sitting & House Hunting

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been house-sitting this week for a friend (SR) from work, and looking after her two gorgeous wuppets, Sam and Chloe.  They are delightful but a bit nuts (as you would expect from two young labradors!).  I had forgotten how much work dogs are – I don’t mean that in a bad way – and how guilty I feel when I am not entertaining them ha ha.  I stayed home a lot because I didn’t want them to be alone too much and the weather was awful so I wanted them inside in the warm and dry.  I mean, how can you look at this face and put him outside in the cold and wet weather???…….

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They were really good anyway and just liked to be with me, whatever I was doing.  because it was such miserable weather, I actually stayed indoors a lot and watched TV (which I NEVER do normally) – lots of cooking shows and decorating shows and things that basically made me want to eat a lot and paint stuff ha ha.  Sam and Chloe were happy to nap and hang out in the lounge room, with intermittent play times – lots of ball-throwing and mad chasey games around the backyard – before taking another nap.

There is nothing cuter than a sleeping dog 🙂

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Besides house-sitting, I’ve been madly house-HUNTING.  Which is anxiety-inducing and stressful.  I never thought I would be in the position to buy my own home and so I think I haven’t really prepared myself mentally for it.  Everyone keeps telling me how exciting it is and I’m just thinking how scary it is.  And then I feel guilty because I should be grateful I get to even consider buying a house, when some people don’t know where they’ll be sleeping tonight, let alone for years to come.

But I have to think of my future security and the fact that I will probably not be able to afford rent in the decades to come.  I have to put my big girl pants on and be brave and make the commitment and BUY SOMETHING.  But it’s hard.  Borrowing all that money is hard.  Figuring out what neighbourhood to live in is hard.  Making a decision is hard.  I don’t make decisions, I avoid them.  I can’t even decide what colour socks to wear, let alone where I want to live.

Of course, where I will live is very much dependent upon what I can afford.  Which isn’t much.  I can’t afford to buy in my own neighbourhood here, which SUCKS big time because I love it here.  So I am looking at nearby suburbs and faraway suburbs and suburbs I have never even heard of before.

I nearly put an offer on a townhouse last week.  I was all ready to do it.  And then I panicked.  Majorly.  Anxiety-Attack Central.  It didn’t feel right and it all happened too quickly and the seller wanted to settle by the end of June and I have to get out of my rental lease and it will cost me a fortune to do that and AAGHAHAGHGHHHH!  Basically, I had a bit of a conniption.  So, no offer was made.  I will re-look at the property in a couple of months time.  If it’s still there, I will reconsider.  But I think it will sell as it was a pretty good price and in good condition etc.  I regret it a bit, but am also relieved I didn’t go through with it when I wasn’t feeling 100% sure.  I felt the way I did just before I got married – and we all know how THAT turned out!  Sometimes you have to go with your gut.

So, it’s back to the drawing board.  I have banned myself from looking at places for the next couple of months, until I am nearing the end of my lease here.  Then I will be ready, emotionally and financially.  Or I will just find another excuse to not bite the bullet and buy.  It’s just scary.  I’m not good with scary.  I never trust my own instincts with things so don’t know when I am making a sound judgement.  Adulting is hard!

All I know is that I want to feel safe and happy in my home, have room for a cat or two and be able to get to work without too much hassle or commuting time.  If I can win Lotto in the meantime and afford a nice neighbourhood with maybe a cafe strip and pretty streets, that would be a bonus.  Maybe near the River or Ocean, with some friendly-but-not-nosey neighbours and my own lovely garden…I don’t ask for much 🙂

Life-affecting books (that aren’t The Alchemist)

Life-affecting books (that aren’t The Alchemist)

(NB : I wanted to call this post “Life-Changing Books” initially, but then I thought that was probably over-doing it a little.  So, I have gone for the less grandiose title.)

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There are LOADS of books that people recommend you HAVE TO READ.  “It will change your life!!!” they exclaim, clutching the book and thrusting it at you with a mad glint in their eye.  These type of books always leave me a bit cold.  I have tried to absorb the same life-altering information that is contained in their pages, the way everyone else does.  But I find myself sighing a lot and rolling my eyes or just not GETTING what it is that I am supposed to get.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, is one such book.  I get the theme and the meaning of the book and the whole self-understanding and enlightenment and whatnot.  But it’s just whatnot to me.  Maybe I’m not very enlightened.  And I have to say, many of the people I’ve spoken to who’ve read the book and LOVED it, are probably some of the least enlightened people I know.

Then there’s The Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle) which my GP actually recommended to me to stop me stressing and worrying and being mental.  And don’t get me started on Eat, Pray, Love (Elizabeth Gilbert). I tried, I really did.  But, bloody hell, I just wanted to smack her.  I did watch the movie and actually found myself crying my eyes out, sitting on the floor eating a tub of ice cream, so it must have connected with me somewhere along the line.  But as something I would alter my life with? No. I should probably try reading it again – maybe I am ready now… I don’t dislike Elizabeth Gilbert and I do listen to her podcasts so maybe it’s time to have another crack at her writing.

There are other books which have made an impact on my life.  Books that actually changed the way I did things, or thought about things.  Books that simplified or amplified my life.  They may, or may not, have been best-sellers and they may not be found on any self-help shelf.  But they are books I return to again and again for help or inspiration, guidance or just plain solace from the world.

What Not to Wear by Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine is an example.  I know you’re smirking right now.  You’re thinking “Pfft!  It’s hardly a book one counts as essential reading!” but I think you’d be wrong.  Sure, it’s hardly literary, but it DID help me dress better and for my figure, making it easier for me to find clothes that I look ok in.  I know what suits me now and what will make me look like a sack of potatoes.  I know what to cover and what to flaunt (although, I’m not much of a flaunter – still having trouble avoiding covering EVERYTHING up).  I know that baggy clothes make me look baggy.  I know that A-line skirts are my friend.  I back away from bias-cut dresses as though they were the anti-Christ.  I seek out V-necks and waist-cinching outfits.  I was able to hide and disguise my too-large-for-my-frame boobs because I knew how to dress them (and now, after my reduction surgery, I know what to wear to suit my new size).  It may sound silly, but it made a difference to me and my life.  It took away a teeny bit of anxiety and gave me one less thing to worry about.  Dumb as that may seem, it made life easier.

Simple Abundance : A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach is another book I have returned to time and time again.  I think I just enjoy reading it and pretending that my life could be authentic and beautiful and organised.  It talks about things that make life happier and more fulfilling, daily inspiration for creating your own sanctuary at home and at work.  It let’s you feel ok about still loving cute stickers, fairy tales and pretty notebooks and things that make you feel better, even if they’re considered childish by others.  It reminds you to be grateful, most importantly, and to hold your loved ones with both hands.  It talks about solitude and renewal and the power of a quiet cup of tea.  It may be out-dated in some ways but I still like to flick through its pages from time to time and escape into it. One day, I WILL have beautifully arranged linen closets with little sprigs of lavender and I WILL create a private space with a shrine for meditation that gives me strength and a place to be and just breathe.  Maybe not right now, but someday I will do more than just read about those things.

Another title that really helped me when I was desperate for guidance and help is The Loss of a Pet : a Guide to Coping with the Grieving Process When a Pet Dies by Wallace Sife, Ph.D.  I have spoken about this one before, when I loss my dear little guinea pig, Roderick, a few years ago.  I was so heartbroken and distraught and honestly didn’t know how to get through it.  I had lost other pets before and it is always traumatic, but Roderick was a little beacon of light in my life at a time when I was seriously lost and sad and, without him, the world seemed a much bleaker and lonelier place.  This book helped me to just acknowledge and accept my feelings as being perfectly OK and nothing to be ashamed of.  It let me grieve in a way that other people did not and gave me comfort.  Some psychologists I work with think it’s a terrible book – it has some old fashioned ideas (according to them) and talks about the stages of grief which is apparently an out-dated idea and not one that is currently practiced or supported.  Well, I’m not a psychologist (duh), but I know the book helped me, and I would recommend it to other people if they were grieving.

Still on the subject of our furry friends, Inside of a Dog : What Dogs See, Smell and Know by Alexandra Horowitz is a fascinating read.  Ever want to know what your dog is thinking, why he’s doing THAT and what he really needs to be a happy, healthy member of your pack?  This book is for you.  Written from a scientific-but-loving point of view, the book tells you everything you ever needed to know about the psychology of our canine buddies. Be prepared to change some of your annoying habits though (not everything is your dog’s fault – in fact, pretty much everything is your fault) and keep receipts if you like buying cute, little doggy outfits.  Trust me, you WILL be returning them.  And feel very, very bad about how you’ve made poor Fluffy/Toby/Jethro/Killer feel.

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I have loads of crafty, arty, creativity-oriented books.  Some I keep forever and refer back to, time and time again.  One such title is Card Art : Innovative Card-Making Designs by Stephanie McAtee and Emily Falconbridge.  When this book came out, it was difficult to buy craft titles that were different, that didn’t have the same old “Let’s stamp and emboss to make a card…” ideas that we’d all seen a million times.  Card Art has lots of ideas for using recycled bits and pieces, altered images, every day items and even discarded projects for creating awesome, unique cards.  I was so inspired by it and still am today.  It just encouraged me to think outside the box a little and be ok with imperfections and messiness, two things which, I think we can all agree, are pretty much staples in my life.

Another title on the crafty front is the wonderful Pretty Little Things by Sally Jean Alexander.  Pretty little things indeed, the projects in this book are so delightful and make me want to go out and make something IMMEDIATELY.  Sally Jean is a master of soldering, collage and all things vintage-inspired and beautiful.  She also has a lamp in the shape of a goose who watches over Sally’s studio.  That in itself is enough for me to call her my guru.  I did try my hand at soldering after first reading this book.  It didn’t go well but I am determined to give it another try again someday.  This book will inevitably be my inspiration again.

Yet another art-oriented book is The Complete Guide to Altered Imagery by Karen Michel.  I was excited to see this is my local 2nd-Hand bookstore recently and I picked it up for a bargain $5.00.  I have borrowed it from my library (back in the days when I borrowed books from libraries…until I learnt that I wasn’t responsible enough to bring them back on time and had to ban myself) many, many times and so having my own copy is pretty fab.  Karen leads you through lots of different methods of altering images (hence the title, duh) and using them on cards, collages and more.  I have used this book to inspire me to make some projects of my own and it has been a great help.  It’s another “step out of your comfort zone” kind of book, which I think we all need from time to time to shake us out of our usual safe routines.

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Onto a different topic now, with Dreams : Signs of Things to Come by Quentin Watts.  I think I have discussed before my unfortunate tendency towards having nightmares.  I have them a lot.  Always have done.  It is disturbing and downright terrifying at times, but I have had this problem since I was a child and have learnt to deal with it in my own way.  Something that helped me a great deal was Quentin’s book and radio show.  Being able to figure out what the cryptic messages in my nightmares meant has saved me many an hour in therapy.  It always helps a lot towards breaking through the terror that is experienced when having a really bad dream.  If you can wake up, write it all down and then work through it, it really does make a difference, and often means you don’t end up having the same dream over and over.  I have lots of dream-translating books, and some of them are pretty rubbish.  Any that make dreams out to be prophetic and predictive get the boot from my collection. Dreaming of a man holding an ice cream and wearing a chair on his head does not mean you are going to marry a dairy-goods baron and open a furniture store together.  It just doesn’t.  But it probably means something else is going on in your life that is making you dream silly things.  Or, you could just be craving ice cream.  Or your subconscious mind might be giving you a gentle nudge to remind you that your dining chair is about to break and that YOU REALLY NEED TO GET IT FIXED BEFORE SOMEONE HURTS THEMSELVES.  Probably Aunt Gladys, who is rather large due to her love of ice cream.  Anyway, Dreams is a good book (and so are Quentin’s other titles) and worth a read if you suffer from SDS (Silly Dream Syndrome) like I do.

Another book I have to mention is He’s Just Not That Into You  by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo.  I know, I know, it was all hyped up and made into a movie and just another fad.  But, actually, it’s pretty awesome.  I wish I had read this BEFORE I started dating.  It would have made things so much easier.  Or, at least, would have given me a better understanding of why things happen and why guys act like they do, and how to have some idea of whether they really like you or if they just want to get in your pants.  I think because it is written by a guy, it just makes more sense and seems more candid and truthful.  The follow-up book, It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken, is also really good and actually helped me a lot.  It’s kind of like having a super-supportive friend who will also give you a slap in the face when you’re being an idiot.  I recommend both books.  You should read them whilst consuming vast quantities of ice cream, on the couch, in your pyjamas.  Mandatory.

In a similar vein, Rebuilding : When Your Relationship Ends by Dr Bruce Fisher and Dr Robert Alberti, is an excellent tool for helping you through a break up.  It’s easy to read, makes a lot of sense and I know lots of people who have been helped by this book – it was recommended to me by a friend who had been through a nasty divorce and I, in turn, have recommended it to others.  It’s not rocket science, but sometimes you need someone to actually talk you through the whole break up process and work through the feelings you’re experiencing and all that unpleasant stuff.  And sometimes you can’t afford a therapist ha ha.  So a book is the next best thing.  Possibly even a better thing, because you can cry and be weepy without having a human audience.  And it won’t judge you for wearing pyjamas or eating ice cream which, as we have already discussed, is an important part of the process.

So, there you have it, just a few titles that I would highly recommend you check out.  Maybe they won’t save the world or lead you to enlightenment, but they’re pretty good just the same.  Immediately after posting this, I will remember other titles that I should have included but, as it is late, I will leave it at that and save any additions for another day and another post.  Happy reading 🙂

(PS : I have written about some of my favourite novels before HERE)

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 🙂

Christmas Cards 1 & 2, Cowardly Cats and Some Crazy Dogs

Christmas Cards 1 & 2, Cowardly Cats and Some Crazy Dogs

Hey there…it’s Tuesday!  That’s, like, nearly Wednesday!  Which is almost Friday, right?  Well, maybe not, but today was a better day than I had had in some time and so I am being optimistic and forward-thinking.  Nothing amazing happened – it was just a good day with friends at work (my workmates returning after a short-but-seemingly-long stint away) and some laughs.  I went for a good walk after work and watched the antics of all the neighbourhood dogs in the park which never fails to put a smile on my face.  They are such clowns.  I saw a golden retriever outrunning a greyhound to get to a ball, a beagle becoming suddenly deaf when his owner was calling him back and a tiny terrier trying to take on a much larger dog (always a recipe for disaster!). I also “rescued” a beautiful black cat who was being dive-bombed by a feisty Willy Wagtail.  The cat saw me and bolted towards me meowing pathetically and took refuge in my outstretched arms.  So funny – he’d never seen me before in his life but he knew sanctuary when it walked up to him I guess!

I managed to make a couple of Christmas cards this weekend.  I am so behind on my card-making this year.  I’ve not done any at all in ages.  But usually I get into panic mode and make a few before the situation gets too dire and I have none to sell at my Xmas craft sale.  These two were ok – I like the first one the best as it came together easily and looks co-ordinated.  The second one was less so but it will do.  I did make a 3rd and 4th one but I’m not happy with them so I won’t show you! (so there!).  I bought myself a little guillotine thingy this afternoon so I can cut with a bit more precision.  How have I gotten by all these years without one?  My cards will be less wonky from now on I hope!

Have you started your Christmas preparations?  (If you celebrate Christmas) The count down is on! 🙂

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My Weekend (in Instagram)

My Weekend (in Instagram)

Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day!

Beautiful weather indeed on the weekend – blue skies and sunshine all round.  I got my washing done and dried, and soaked up some of that sunshine myself, here and there, when I wasn’t busily trying to organise my house in to some semblance of neatness.  I had my new couch delivered the weekend before and it was still sitting in the same place it had been dumped on delivery, so it was time to get it positioned properly and set up so I could actually lounge about and be a lady of leisure ha ha.  Forgot how nice it is to have a big couch to stretch out on.  My other new couch is nice enough but so tiny and not conducive to comfy relaxing.  I’ve been sitting on the floor to watch TV.  But now I can relax in style and comfort and I can also have more than one friend over at a time (exciting!).  Anyway, place to put feet up – check!  (and thank you to my friend GT who very kindly put the couch legs on for me – pesky things were very difficult to attach and needed drill-work which I was not game to try, knowing what a klutzoid I am).

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On Saturday I went op-shopping with the ever-so-lovely CW.  We did some intense fossicking for an hour or so at a couple of op-shops and picked up a few bargains.  But we flagged very early on and decided to retire to a nearby coffee shop for lunch.  And there we stayed…no more op-shopping was done that day.  Turns out what we really needed to do was talk and catch up and right the wrongs of the world over cups of tea and possibly some cheesecake…gooey caramel and butterscotch cheesecake to be precise.  It was low in fat because we shared a piece ha ha.  That works, right?  I was glad to have found a few great buys in the op-shops so I didn’t feel disappointed that we cut the day a bit shorter than expected.
And talking with a good friend always trumps everything else.

I managed to pick up this great bulk pack of wooden beads (on about 40-50 necklaces and bracelets) in varying colours and shapes) for only $3.25!  I was pretty happy with that.  I often use wooden beads as fillers and now I am set for a while 🙂

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I also go this cute little beaded top for $3.50.  It looks brand new (it’s knitted but there are no pulls or holes, no missing beads etc) and is such a pretty colour.  Too cool at this time of year to wear it but it will be nice for Summer.

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I found this pretty little dish as well for only $2.00.  I think it’s vintage… I tell myself it is anyway.  I like blue and white so what do I care if it’s old or not?  I just liked the pattern and the condition (which is great – no chips or anything). (Just looked it up on a few sites…seems to be 1960s-era thereabouts…)

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As the weather was so nice, I walked around outside for a bit in the afternoon and took some photos.  My neighbour’s garden is once again ridiculously beautiful.  Look at all those tulips!

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My garden, at least at the front, is looking pretty good too.  This is because we have a gardener in the complex who comes and tidies things up, manages the sprinkler system etc.  If it was up to me, it would be half-dead and terribly untidy.  So, at least the entry to my house looks nice – lovely pink azaleas and some succulents, daisies and other greenery.  The azaleas make a lovely cut flower – I didn’t realise they would be so robust once cut, but they stay happily in a vase for a few days easily.

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Speaking of flowers in vases…someone at work left me a little posy of Geraldton Wax on my desk on Friday.  Very sweet 🙂

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The complex has a resident willy-wagtail who warbles all night long in his constant search for a lady friend.  He is quite brave and you can get very close to him.  He let me take a few photos as he hopped about, showing off his waggly tail
and bug-catching abilities.

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On Sunday morning I went for a lively walk with a friend, SS, from work, and her two fur-babies Sam and Chloe.  It’s been such a long time since I have had a dog to walk.  I miss having my own pooch 😦  But still, borrowing one for an hour or so is nice too and we had an energetic but not too strenuous walk along the river.  A good start to the day.

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Having exercised somewhat I then felt it necessary to bake cookies, as you do.  My oven died in the week so I have not had it for a few days (including the days I needed it to bake for the RSPCA cupcake fundraising day…thank goodness for mothers and their ovens!) so of course, I needed to christen the new element by baking a batch of cookies.  Goes without saying, obviously!  I was hoping the whole oven would be kaput so I might get a brand new one, but, alas, it was just the element that needed replacing.  Anyway, it is good to have it working again.  I don’t fry things so I was a bit lost without it. And now I have a jar full of oatmeal cookies to munch on…

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I did attempt to finally get all my books alphabetised this weekend but gave up half way through.  I’m up to “L”and it will probably stay that way for some time… I got fed up with remembering the alphabet sequence ha ha…(some librarian I am!).  I’ll continue on, bit by bit instead of tackling it all at once.  I am determined to have my home looking nice and “put-together” and stylish by the end of the year.  I want it to look like a grown-up lives there.  Or, at least, a part-time grown-up…

Hope your weekend was sunny and happy 🙂