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Beach Vibes

I am not very bright.  Sometimes I am downright dumb.  Case in point : only just discovering this beach, only 10 minutes from my work, when I have been at this job for four years.  Four years!  I could have been going to the ocean every week for the past four years!  What a dufus!  Geography, to be fair, has never been my strong suit, and I never drive in the direction of the coast – I am always in a hurry to just get the heck away from work ha ha.  I just want to go home at the end of the day.

So, now my walking schedule has taken on a much more pleasant vibe.  I LOVE the beach – it is my favourite place to be.  I love the sand and the seashells, the water and the sea air.  I don’t care that my hair gets messed up or that I get sand everywhere.  I actually feel content and happy near the ocean.  It is calming and soothing and makes me feel small and safe all at the same time.  Plus, it is so beautiful and much nicer to look at than a sidewalk or a road, when exercising.

A brisk, half-hour walk along the beach is restorative and cleansing and great exercise.  You feel it in your calves and legs and spirit.  And, for some reason, I don’t feel self-conscious at the beach.  This may be because there are more scantily-clad ladies around than I, so I don’t feel that anyone is bothering to look at me, wheezing along the shore in my daggy shorts and t-shirt.

I’d like to say I am exercising every day, but I’d be lying.  Life isn’t simple or straight forward this year and so free time is not always something I have.  But, I am trying to fit in as many walking days as I can.  With a location like this, I have no excuse, and I actually look forward to going.  I collect shells and take photos, watch the people surfing, and just breathe the fresh air.  It’s good for the soul.

I promise to post some crafting things soon – I’ve just been so busy with life and haven’t been able to get stuck into anything creative at all.  But I have got a couple of projects in the works and will post them here soon.

Hope you are having a sunshiney, happy day 🙂

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Crazy people surfing with parachutes!
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Lacey Waves!

 

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Beautiful Ocean and Sunshine

 

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An obviously well-loved part of the beach.  Look at all those footprints!
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Gettin’ darker and moodier…
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Just one lone surfer left…

 

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The tide’s a-comin’!

 

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See.  I do actually walk as well as stop and take photos!
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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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My Week in Pictures

It’s been a hectic week.  I have been madly making cards and other crafty goodies for my upcoming market stall.  I’ve been organising things to sell at a car boot sale this weekend (I have so much junk-that’s-not-really-junk to get rid of).  I’ve been organising quotes for air-conditioning in my rapidly heating up house.  I’ve had several birthday events to attend and catch-ups to arrange before Christmas.  It’s all happening.

I finally updated my phone and now have a much better one that doesn’t take blurry photos and doesn’t keep shutting down for no reason.  My old phone looks and behaves like something from the stone age.  Well, to be fair, it was about eight years old which, in phone terms these days, is practically a millennium.

I can take selfies now without having to guess if I am pointing the phone camera in the right direction.  And then edit the photos on the spot if I am not happy with them (ie don’t like the way I look in them).

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I also managed to fit in a spot of op-shopping.  I haven’t been for aaaaaaaaages, mostly due to lack of funds but also I just haven’t had time.  I broke my shoes this week so I actually did need to go and find a new pair.  Not wanting to spend a fortune, I of course when to the op-shop to check out what they had available.  I scored these lovely buckle-detail wedges.  I cannot walk in wedges, normally.  I fall down, a lot.  I wobble and am very unsteady because my ankle tends to turn in and I am a super klutz.  But these had a nice chunky heel and were very stable and comfortable.  And my perfect size! Better still, they were only $3.00!  I mean!  How could I not get them?  I wish they had been black as they would be more practical for work, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?

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My garden has gained a critter.  This VERY LARGE grasshopper.  Who only has one back leg.  He has been on the same tree for about a week now.  I am not sure if he is resting or waiting for a bus, preparing to die, or just hanging out.  I must admit to being a bit squeamish about crickets and grasshoppers but I wouldn’t hurt one and, as I have no garden to speak of, there is nothing for him to destroy, so he can stay.  I don’t know if he can get around on one back leg – I’m assuming they don’t grow back like a spider’s does.  He is quite magnificent though – he looks like he is wearing armour.  He was kind enough to let me get in his face and take his picture without leaping off and scaring the bejeezus out of me.  But I do fear he is not long for this world, which is a shame.

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I had a lovely afternoon of Lego and tea with my Mum, brother and his brood.  Playing with Lego is an age-old tradition in my family.  I don’t think we will ever tire of it, and I am so glad the littlies enjoy it (because it gives us an excuse to play too).  That’s my castle there in the middle of the table – it’s been demolished by Master Nine, despite my protests.  I used to love hanging out with my big bro’, back in the day, building all sorts of creations.  I’m lucky I even had a big brother who didn’t mind his little sister hanging around playing with his stuff and probably taking all the good bricks.

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I went walking with a friend and found this beautiful cockatoo feather (shortly after having a spectacular fall and landing on my face).  Isn’t it gorgeous?  The Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo is endangered and always having its habitat destroyed by various construction projects and deforestation.  They are lovely creatures and it would be a shame to lose them.  I have treated them when I was a vet nurse and, despite their large size and FEROCIOUSLY STRONG beak, they are quite a gentle bird and very intelligent.  I love this feather and it will have pride of place on my hall table.

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I have not been looking after my plants at all, but they continue to amaze me with their resilience and growth. My “Mother of Thousands” plant is doing so well and is producing so many babies I feel I should open a nursery.  It is doing so well despite my neglect and  inability to remember that plants like water occasionally.

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Even the “dead” leaves from my Kalanchoe Feldtschenkoi I threw into the garden have sprouted bubbies and they are so cute!  They’re like tiny little rose buds at this stage.  I love that they propagate like this.  This is why I never throw any part of a succulent away – it still has life in it even if it looks dead!

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I got glasses.  Proper ones.  Not over-the-counter-chemist ones.  Actual optometrist-prescribed ones.  I am still getting used to them.  I really only need them for fine, intricate work, particularly when crafting and drawing, so I keep forgetting I have them.  They are currently buried under a pile of card-making supplies.

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My cousin in England sent me this STUNNING photo of my Mum.  I have never seen it before.  She looks so beautiful.  She would have been about 18 years old, just engaged and living at home with my grandparents.  Check out those nails!!!  They’re her real nails – not some fake stuck on ones.  And her hair is amazing (although I know now where I get my split-fringe issue from!).  The photo would have been taken by my Grandad who loved to shoot very posed pictures – he would always have a prop and a theme going on, ha ha.  No candid happy snaps for him, oh no!

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Now I just have to concentrate on my market stall on the weekend and then I can relax or, at least, make sense of my house and maybe start decorating for Christmas before Christmas has actually been and gone.

Hope you have a wonderful week and accomplish everything you you have planned (even if your plans include lots of napping, day-dreaming and generally lounging about 🙂 )

Thanks for reading, as always x

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Love and Miracles

Just a short post today… A bit of a stressful weekend just gone, with my elderly Aunt in intensive care at the hospital due to cardiac issues, my friend experiencing relationship dramas, another friend in serious ill-health in another hospital, and life just chucking stuff at everyone left, right and centre.  I just want everybody to be ok 😦

But I did fit in an hour or so of crafting.  I was determined.  Even one card is better than achieving nothing at all.  So I sat and made this one little card, which isn’t fabulous, but it is finished.  And it has a bird, which makes everything better.

I do so want to believe in love and miracles.  Especially at the moment.

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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Picky

I don’t know why I feel the need to share my issues and secrets with you all but, apparently, I do.  It’s probably easier than having to discuss it face-to-face with someone.  Better to look like a dufus in front of hundreds of strangers, than to actually connect and confuse (possibly repulse and alienate) people you know in real life, right?  But I also tell myself that I do it in the interest of public awareness.  I am providing a service.  Or something.  Really, I am just an over-sharer, let’s be honest and not kid ourselves.

So, this week, I discovered the annoying, gross and disgusting habit I have of picking and chewing at my fingers until they bleed has a name.  I have Dermatillomania. Yay!  Or, rather, not yay.  I thought it was just a bad habit, like biting your nails or saying “y’know” a lot in sentences.  But, apparently, it’s a real THING.  An obsessive-compulsive thing.  I just thought I was a weirdo who couldn’t get my shit together.

If I think back, I have always had this problem, even as a kid.  I used to pick my lips ALL THE TIME.  I suppose I am lucky I never really had acne, because face-picking is apparently one of the more common kinds of dermatillomania, where people pick at real or imagined blemishes, imperfections etc.  My face needs all the help it can get, so I am glad I didn’t go in for that kind of self-mutilation.  As it is, I am horribly ashamed of my hands.  My fingers are dreadful – I don’t let anyone see them if I can help it.  I never wear nail polish on my fingernails – I don’t need to draw attention to my sore, red, usually scarred fingers.

I don’t always recognise it at the time, that I pick when I am stressed or anxious, but now that I am becoming aware, I have noticed that I do indeed start the picking and chewing cycle when in stressful situations.  It’s compulsive, so I do it before I even know I’m doing it.  And then I feel bad.  And then I get anxious and guilt-ridden and ugly-feeling.  And then I start picking again.

Funnily enough, when I was sick , at an extremely stressful time in my life, my hands were lovely.  This was partly because I was laid up in hospital for weeks on end, unable to move or do anything, especially where it involved my hands.  I couldn’t hold a spoon, let alone coordinate my fingers to actually pick at anything.  So they became smooth and blemish-free and baby-bum-soft.  They were excruciatingly painful (nerve damage – oh my God, it hurt!) so I wouldn’t have been able to touch them anyway, but very nice to look at.  There had to be a pay-off somewhere.  I’m not even sure if I was suffering with the dermatillomania around that time anyway.  I was probably doing something else just as gross.  I did go through a foot-picking phase.  I know – disgusting!

Things I am doing to combat it include :

  1. Cutting my nails really short – it makes it very difficult to pick when you have no nails.  It still means I can chew, but I am less likely to cause as much damage and also I am less likely to do that in public (for some reason).
  2. Making myself a “fiddle string”.  Using a bunch of ugly beads I will never use for anything else, I have made a little beaded thingy to fiddle with when I am in the car.  When I am stuck in traffic I pick like a crazy person.IMG_3109
  3. Stock up on Bandaids.  If the area is covered, I can’t pick at it.
  4. Addressing my anxiety.  This is tricky and the hardest thing to tackle.  I’m going to try and be more mindful and look for the triggers and just be AWARE of my feelings and what I’m experiencing.  And yes, it’s time I started some therapy again.  I have been putting it off, but I know I need to start the process again.  I have lots of issues that are holding me back from having what could be a really happy life.  So I need to take ownership of that and try and fix things.
  5. Keeping otherwise busy and occupied whilst at home eg crafting, reading, writing.  If my hands are busy doing other things, they can’t be busy picking.

If you suspect you may have this condition, there is an online test you can do (although, I think, if you’re thinking of taking the test, you’ve probably answered your own question). Or you could be sensible and see a medical professional about it.  The internet is not always your friend and can’t really answer your questions, give you a hug or pat you on the back sympathetically. So seek advice from an actual human being if you’re really concerned or need more help to overcome it. And maybe share with others, like I’m doing.  Employ someone to slap your hands every time you start picking or chewing – that could work too. Some sort of assistance dog that attacks you when you’re tempted to self-mutilate 🙂

I don’t mean to be facetious.  If you are suffering with this condition, I am very sorry, and you have my sympathy.  And support from afar.  I wish you happy hands and cute cuticles, and freedom from whatever is causing the issue in the first place.

x

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Walking away the Woes

Been a difficult week this one.  Dealing with a lot of stuff.  Which is like every other week, but some week’s stuff is worse than another week’s stuff, y’know?  It’s heavier and darker and murkier and stronger.  No real reason, it just IS.

I’ve been trying to get my butt out to walk, at least every other day.  It does help.  Not because YAY EXERCISE AND ENDORPHINS! but because it just gives me one less thing to dislike about myself and be dissatisfied about.  I can tick the “get moving” box and scrub out the guilt-ridden one.  I can feel like my blood is pumping and I’ve breathed in a little bit more air.  It forces me to exhale (and, granted, wheeze and pant a little) and just be part of the world.  Instead of hiding, which is what I would rather be doing, in all honesty.

I am so lucky to live near water – it is cleansing and soothing.  It brings an inner peace, if only for a few moments and makes things a bit clearer.

I walk – not because I want to (not yet, not now) but because I know I need to.

I hope you are doing ok this week, wherever you are x

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