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Taking Stock : October

I have been meaning to do a “Taking Stock” list for ages.  Pip Lincolne posts them on her lovely blog Meet Me at Mike’s and they always inspire me to do the same.  But I have yet to do it.  So here goes…..

Cooking : Curries – I am trying to make a decent one.  I have a delightful library volunteer (she’s Indian) who brings me equally delightful meals and I am pretty sure she uses some kind of witchcraft on them because they are SO GOOD.

Drinking : Yorkshire Tea.  I always drink tea but am finding I need an extra strong brew these days, so Yorkshire Tea it is.  That, or I dunk two regular teabags in my cup. And then walk away, forget about it, and come back to a cup of tea that is so strong the spoon stands up in it.

Listening to: Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton John Seriously – two of my fave artists combined?  Hello!?  Awesomeness. Have you never been mellow, indeed.

Reading: The Little Paris Bookshop  It’s a lovely story about a floating bookshop in Paris and the owner who “possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers”.

Next read: Haven’t made my mid up yet, because I have SO MANY books to read at home.  But I think I will tackle The Wonder by Emma Donoghue.

Making: Lots of collages.  Which, in turn, means I am making lots of mess.

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Wanting: An electric drill.  It is time I made the commitment to proper DIY projects and got myself some power tools.  It will probably end in disaster, let’s face it.

Looking: For old drawers.  Of the furniture / storage variety.  I don’t mean knickers.  I want to make some groovy storage / shelving thingies from them.  Have a look at some of the ideas HERE

Deciding: On what to do with my life.  This is a recurring theme for me.  But I feel very anxious about it all.  I am thinking about going to a career counsellor.  I can’t work out if they are a load of nonsense or actually quite a good idea.

Wishing: For world peace, obviously.  But also a Lotto win, a flatter stomach, reliable hair and comfortable (yet fabulous) shoes.  Mostly the Lotto win – I really need that.

Enjoying: Strawberries.  We’re in the midst of a bit of strawberry scare at the moment in Australia (some fool has been putting needles in them as some sort of disgruntled-ex-employee protest) but I have been bravely soldiering on and enjoying these luscious little bites of sweetness.  They are so tasty right now.  I could eat a whole punnet in one sitting.

Waiting: For Spring to really kick in.  We’ve had some lovely sunny days, but they’ve been interspersed with very rainy, cold, miserable, ugh kind of days that make me ache and want to hide under a blanket.

Loving: A new discovery, The Rustic Gallery  Full of lovely old and not-so-old STUFF.  Rusty yumminess – everything from furniture to homewares, garden pieces, hardware, tools etc.  Beautifully set out, really well organised and very reasonably priced.  There are treasures around every corner.  You must visit!

Considering: Joining a gym.  It’s a ridiculously scary idea for me.  My physio wants me to start strengthening up and is encouraging me to go to the gym to work on this.  It is freaking me out.  I am not a gym person.  If I could work out in the dark, with no one else around, I would be ok.

Buying: DIY stuff.  Spray paint and house paint and staple guns (!) and all manner of handyman-esque items.  Injury is imminent.

Watching: That should read “binge-watching”.  Because I am overdosing on episodes of Lee Mack’s hilarious sitcom Not Going Out.  I admit to loving him just a little bit.  I have several years of the show to catch up on so it’s nightly viewing for me at the moment.  I’m also watching Jamie Ray Vintage on Youtube.  Her videos make me want to paint and upcycle everything in sight.

Cringing: At my thighs.  Sigh.  I don’t know how they happened.  And also at Donald Trump.  I don’t know how he happened either.

Needing: A hug.  I am not a touchy-feely person and everyone who knows me knows I am not a hugger, so when I say I need a hug, things must be getting tricky.

Smelling: The last remnants of my favourite perfume from Somethin Special.  It’s called Butt Naked.  Which is a horrible name that I am embarrassed to tell people about, but it smells like heaven on a stick.  I must order some more directly.

Wearing: Trousers and jeans.  Ugh, I hate them.  But I have put on weight and none of my skirts fit right now so I have to wear pants.  Many of them with elastic waists.  Which make me cry and want to hide in a cave somewhere.

Worrying: About the future.  A LOT.  Everything seems so unstable and scary, both personally and around the world in general.  I don’t remember there being a time like this, where nothing makes sense and everything seems crazy and upsetting.  The wrong people are in power and it frightens me.  We seem to be evolving backwards.

Knowing: I need a haircut.  Every day I have the same conversation with myself about booking an appointment, but do I do anything about it?  No.  I do not.  I am starting to look like a bedraggled yeti.

Thinking: Way too much.  How do you switch your brain off?  I am attending a Mindfulness workshop next week to see if I can learn to be more “in the moment” and all that stuff.  Most of my health issues are connected to my inability to relax, both physically and mentally so I have to try and do something about it.  Fingers crossed! (and then uncrossed…and relaxed…) 🙂

Sorting: Lots of sorting!  I have just gone through three ENORMOUS boxes of paperwork and shredded/sorted/filed it.  It’s a job I had been meaning to do for YEARS.  Like, why did I have receipts from car repairs I had done 15 years ago?  Why???  I am culling books and clothes and STUFF as well.  Just trying to get in some sort of order.

Getting: Into meditation and mindfulness.  I am trying so hard to calm my mind and stop being so anxious, panicky and sad (usually all at the same time).  I have bought a new little CD player, so I can do some guided meditation at night before bed and I am trying really hard to stay mindful and BREATHE during the day.  It’s not easy.  But at least I am trying.

Coveting: Phil Collins tickets.  I tried to book tickets (the crappiest, cheapest seats I could get) and they had all sold out within minutes.  The next class of tickets was too rich for my blood so I had to bow out.  So sad. *cries*

Disliking: The way people behave on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram.  Who are these people who like to troll and abuse folks they don’t even know?

Feeling: Tired.  Tired.  Tired.  And middle-aged.  That one crept up on me…

Admiring: My dear friend for packing up her unsatisfying life and moving on to bigger and better things in a faraway location where she will know no one and have to fend for herself in an isolated location.  She is so much braver than me.  But I will miss her 😦

Snacking: Way too much.  I recently made these three-ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies and it wasn’t so much snacking as a cram-them-all-in-my-gob-at-once kinda scenario. They. Are. Delicious.

Giggling: At the antics of my temporary lodger, Ella the guinea pig.  She’s my niece’s little piggy and she’s adorable.  I am looking after her while her “people” are away.  She never stops eating.  I believe we are kindred spirits.

 

So, that’s my October.  What are your plans?  Are you looking forward to Spring cleaning, Halloween and the start of Christmas shopping?  Or is October just another month to you – one that flies by like the rest of them?  Whatever you are doing, I hope your month is creative and happy.

Thanks for dropping in x

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Quote for the Day : Dreams are the Seedlings

“…The greatest achievement was at first and for a time a dream. The oak sleeps in the acorn, the bird waits in the egg, and in the highest vision of the soul a waking angel stirs. Dreams are the seedlings of realities…”

— James Allen

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Things I Need to Achieve on My Holiday (It’s a Long List…and a Short Holiday)

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I wrote the following just before I went on leave last month :

…I have some leave coming up very shortly and it feels like it’s been a long time coming.  Well, it has.  I haven’t had a break for over a year.  And I’m a bit tired and over everything so I need to have some time off.  This is difficult because I don’t have anyone to cover me at my job.  It’s a drama getting one day off for illness, let alone a full fortnight of annual leave.  Luckily, an ex co-worker has agreed to come back and babysit the library for me while I am away.  Hooray!

14 days is not a lot of time to achieve a great deal.  But, of course, I have many plans for the time and am hoping that I will succeed in achieving at least half of my goals.  Ok, maybe a quarter.  Five things.  Look, at least one of the things on my list, ok?

Ideally, I would like to lose 10 pounds, become super fit and healthy, decorate my entire house, create a fabulous garden, write a business plan, organise my life and secure my financial future, all in the space of two weeks.  But, unless I also turn into someone else in that time, these things are possibly not really realistic.  So, I am aiming for a few smaller achievements.  Things I should have already achieved, to be honest….

  1. Decluttering : I have so much stuff.  I am always saying that but, this time, I mean it.  I have the hoard of a demented packrat and I need to get rid of stuff before it all caves in and I am swallowed up by it.  This includes my craft room which is two very short steps away from being condemned in the interest of public safety.
  2. Culling my clothes.  I have a lot of clothes but, sadly, do not have the type of body that really looks good in most of the things I own.  I keep things in the deluded hope that I will one day wake up looking like Gigi Hadid or someone equally “slim” and not middle-aged.  I also have clothes that, although they fit me ok, I have owned for more than a decade.  They have become security blankets or something equally sad.  I should probably try something new and donate/giveaway the items I was wearing in the 90s.  I’m not even kidding.
  3. My garden.  It is laughable that I am even calling it that.  It’s basically some sand with a few twigs and LOTS of weeds on it.  When I moved in, it was just sand.  But at least that sand was tidy.  I have, in my usual crappy adulting style, let it fall to wrack and ruin.  I’m sure my neighbours are appalled at this slovenly slacker who has moved in next door to them and brought down property values.  I must tackle the weeds and at least get them sorted so that it looks somewhat tidy out there.  Also, the weeds are getting so high I am frightened I might get lost in there or be attacked by some children-of-the-corn type figures.  Actually, I have never seen Children of the Corn, but I imagine there are fields of tall corn with demonic/murderous children in them.  I don’t want this to happen in my yard.  Although I am rather fond of corn.
  4. Paperwork.  I am THE WORST at filing and organising my paperwork.  I went into a panic last night because I couldn’t remember if my house is insured.  I mean, really!  Of course it is.  But do you think I could find the paperwork?  No, I could not.  So, that is something I need to be better at.  I need to file things and sort things and keep them all in one place so they are easy to access and find.  I need to shred my bank statements from 1992 and get rid of registration papers for cars that I not only no longer own, but that are probably scrap metal by now.
  5. Exercise.  I need to do some.  Not just to lose weight and look better, but because it is good for me and decreases self-loathing and will get me outside in the fresh air and amongst other human beings.  I need to learn to enjoy it.  I need to see it as “me time” rather than as a punishment.  And I need to do it every day.  Or at least five days a week.
  6. Take time to practice stuff.  I need to make scheduled time to sit and practice my drawing and painting skills.  Do the basics.  Spend a couple of hours studying up on how to draw eyes.  Or noses.  Or little pinky toes.  Until I can do it properly.  And learn to write neatly, in different fonts, so I can add that to my art work where appropriate.  My handwriting is the kind that gets ripped out of school books by disgusted teachers.  I know this because a teacher once ripped a page of my handwriting out of my school book in disgust.
  7. Get my finances in order.  I recently had some HUMONGOUS bills come in and they were very unexpected and they sent me into instant meltdown.  I do okay with money – being a tightwad helps with that – but I need to do better and keep track of things and save for unexpected bills etc.  Be a grown up, basically.
  8. Catch up with people I haven’t seen for a while.  Life is so busy and it can be months, or even years, between visits with some of my friends.  Which is not good enough.  Because I am lucky to have these awesome people in my life and I should make an effort to keep in touch with them. 
  9. Get into a better sleep routine.  At the moment, I go to bed far too late, don’t sleep very well, and then wake up horribly late in the morning.  I need to have a regular bedtime and get up when my alarm goes off, rather than making the snooze button my best friend. 
  10. Clean my house.  Seriously, I am a bit feral, as I have told you before.  I get very overwhelmed by it all sometimes and it just seems easier to ignore it.  But I am going to start being tidier and doing some form of cleaning every day, rather than letting it all pile up.  Even doing the dishes every night will be a start, and will encourage me to be tidier in other areas.  Basically, I need to stop being such a lazy arse….

Now, several weeks later, I can predictably say I did not achieve all of these things.  I tried, really I did.  But two weeks is actually not a very long time.  And things get pushed aside for other, more fun, things.  I did clean my house and it is fit for visitors and doesn’t embarrass me now.  I am doing my dishes every night (well, almost) and I put my laundry items away as soon as they’re off the line.  I even did a basket of ironing the other night!  Crazy!  But good-crazy.

I did cull a lot of my wardrobe.  Skirts that were too short or tight – gone!  Pants I can’t button up – gone!  Jumpers that are just plain ugly and make me look like some sort of sack creature – gone, gone, gone!  I also turfed (ie donated to charity) shoes I can’t walk in and belts I can’t wear unless I refrain from breathing.  I filled my car with bags and bags of stuff, including bed linens and blankets, pyjamas and underwear (un-used, let me just say).  It felt good, but I know I could have culled more if I was less of a hoarder.

Sleeping – hmm, well, I have done a bit better on that front.  I have been going to bed a bit earlier some nights and I am definitely getting up better in the morning.  I now put my alarm so far away from my bed that it is practically in another room.  I HAVE to get up and out of bed in order to switch it off.  This works 90% of the time.  Other days, I still hit that snooze button and go back to bed.  But not as often as before.  I have been having horrible nightmares again and so I am not sleeping well but, on the whole, I am doing the best I can to get a good night’s sleep.

Catching up with people – I achieved this one.  I went out for coffee and walkies and had people over to my (newly-cleaned) house.  It felt good to catch up with friends and family – I need to make more of an effort to not let the time slip by in between seeing them all.  And I need to stop being such a damn hermit.  I’ve even agreed to go out with members of the opposite sex.  Not on “dates” as such (Lord knows I am nowhere near ready for THAT) but just coffee catch-ups etc.  So I can get better at being in the company of blokes again and not be so anxious about it.  And just be out there.  Like a normal, healthy, adult human being.  Instead of some kind of spinster/loner/weirdo/hermit hybrid.

My finances are ok and the wolf at the door is having a little rest and looking less savage.  I just need to not provoke him by overspending or being unprepared for things.  Christmas is tricky because I really love to buy gifts for people and it is difficult to rein it in a little.  But I have kept to my lists and not strayed into gifting overload.

Exercise.  Um…..next!  I am a big slug.

Paperwork.  Erm.  Fail.  Actually, I did start culling it and sorting it out a bit but there is still loads of it and I can’t face it right now.  It scares me.  So it is just sitting there in piles, quietly mocking me.

Garden.  We are still dealing with a Children of the Corn scenario.  There could be anything living in there.  Tramps.  Herds of wildebeest.  Lost civilisations.  Who knows?  All I know is that it still looks bad and now the weather is heating up, I am even more inclined to just ignore it and hope it dies off by itself.  I repotted plants and got rid of some that were really not going to make it.  I did do a little bit of weeding but it was a bit pathetic and half-hearted, to be honest.  Lots of sighing and whinging about my aching back.  I’m sure you can picture it.  Let’s move on.

Practicing my drawing and writing skills.  Um, no.  This did not happen.  Another fail.

Decluttering.  I actually did get some stuff out of the house, which is an achievement for Miss Hoardypants.  I had to think “Will I ever use this?  Does it fit in with my life/house/values/décor?  Will I miss the darn thing if I get rid of it?”  And, more often than not, the answer was a resounding “No”.  But it is still hard though.

It’s funny how most people have time off of work and they think about travel and relaxing and maybe seeing some movies or doing lots of shopping.  Me, I use my time for mundane things like folding towels and repotting my plants.  But hey, that’s ok, right? 

Hope you are having a happy, uncluttered day – thank you for stopping by 🙂

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Cultivate Your Dreams

Hello everyone.  (Does anyone else have trouble knowing how to start their blog posts? Sometimes I get completely stumped after “Hello Everyone”.) 

This little mixed-media piece was worked on over the course of several weeks. I had some issues with it and it has been changed quite a few times.  I’m still not quite sure if I like it, but I have to say “enough is enough” eventually, otherwise I waste time on this one piece when I could be starting new ones.

The little “fence” posts at the bottom of the canvas are actually canvas keys  – they’re those wooden bits you get that are supposed to stretch the canvas to make it more taut and prevent future sagging.  But, because I am lazy, I used them here as part of my picture, instead of actually bothering to stretch my canvas 🙂

As for “Cultivating your Dreams”…. Wouldn’t it be nice if it was a simple as popping a couple of dream seedlings into a pot and watching them grow?  Feeding and watering them, gathering any fruit or blooms they produced?  I suppose, in theory, it is that simple, but you have to put in the hard work to prepare the soil and make sure the conditions are right.  If you neglect your dream seedling, it will shrivel up and die.

Wow, that was a bit deep…

I hope your dreams are alive and well, and ready to blossom at any moment.  May they bear lots of fruit and keep you nourished in hard times.

🙂

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Quote for the Day : Risk and Change

“…Proverbial wisdom counsels against risk and change.
But sitting ducks fare worst of all…”

— Mason Cooley

PS I really wanted to use this photo for something… Every year we have a pair of ducks having a pit stop in a very tall tree outside my work.  They don’t nest or stay there – it seems to be a rest point and a chance to survey their environment.  They only stay for a couple of hours and then they’re gone, until the following year.  But it always make me smile to see this enormous tree with two ducks, perched up high and quacking loudly 🙂

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Shelduck, Perth Western Australia
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Earn Your Stripes (Collage)

Wasn’t too sure about this one.  Possibly because I was working on it at midnight and was half asleep.  It’s only a little collage – another 4 x 4 ” box canvas – but had lots of bits and pieces plus the lettering, which went a bit off course and smudged in places (a bit like me at midnight – wonky and smudgy!).  I was watching Wife Swap for some unknown reason and there was a crazy religious lady who kept screaming “She’s not a Christian – aaaghghghghgghg!!!” in a voice that suggested she was, in fact, in dire need of an exorcist herself.  This may have caused me to craft a bit haphazardly.  Who knows?  I was just determined to get it done and worry it about it in the morning.  This is my new plan – just get it done and stop procrastinating!!!

And, if all else fails, stick a flower or a hat or some wings on it!

Hope you are all well and that life is being kind.

🙂

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