Image

Be You – (and try not to hoard)

IMG_3679

For your consideration today, a couple of doodled Little Peeps cards… I’m trying to pack everything up in my house and, unfortunately, that includes all my craft stuff.  So, doodling is about the best I can do right now.  Otherwise, I will do like I’ve done in the past and have stuff EVERYWHERE and try to create things in the midst of boxes, packing tape and general chaos.  Like the year I made a whole bunch of Christmas cards, despite the fact we were moving in a few days time and I was supposed to be tidying up, not making more mess.

As I pack up my stuff and decide on which pieces I should cull before I move (SO hard – you know I can’t get rid of stuff, right?), it occurs to me perhaps now is the time to develop some sort of decorating identity based on what I actually like, and what speaks to my nesting soul.  I am going to try and keep only what really resonates with me and not what I think I SHOULD keep, for whatever bizarre reason.  But this new plan has some fatal flaws.

For instance.  I have an ugly, stained-glass rooster lamp.  My cousin gave it to me when I moved in to this place, my first rental by myself.  It’s ugly, the lamp.  And slightly demonic-looking when lit up.  But I keep it because I love my cousin and she bought it for me because she thought it was quirky and different.  Like me, she said.  How can I get rid of it, knowing she bought it because she was supporting me in my individuality and going completely against her own decorating taste which would, in all honesty, have burnt the rooster lamp as some sort of effigy to the design-deprived?

I have ornaments that sit in boxes because they don’t really appeal to me, but the person who gave them to me does.  Getting rid of them would be like telling the person I no longer have a need for them.

I have teddy bears given to me when I was ill in hospital.  I’m 42 years old and I don’t need teddy bears, don’t particularly even want them, but there they sit, in my lounge room, on their own chair.  Because someone gave them to me.  Out of love and a desire to bring me some comfort when I was at my lowest.  I feel like I should keep them just because of what they represent.  Even if I really don’t have room for them, and the people who gave them to me in the first place would probably tell me get rid of them anyway.

So, this packing up process is going to be a tough one.  But probably an important one.  I need to stop hanging on to things that really don’t matter, and focus on what does.  I should surround myself with things that say “This is Me”.  As opposed to things that say “Someone really nice gave this to me and I like them a lot so I can’t get rid of it, even though it clashes with everything else I own and doesn’t actually fit anywhere and kinda makes me a bit miserable because I could actually put something nicer there that speaks to my soul and makes me feel good”.

IMG_3823

I should probably have a chaperone.  Someone who will shake their head and say “No, you do not need that broken teapot/frayed cushion cover/doll-with-no-legs and [insert friend or family member’s name here] will not mind if you remove it from your home. In fact, they will probably wonder why in the heck you have kept it for seventeen years…”

I WILL do it.  I will.  Maybe.  Bit by bit.  With a few relapses every now and then.
Although, my new place will most likely have an extra bedroom so, y’know,
that means extra storage space.

🙂

IMG_3678

Advertisements
Parties, Memories & a Bit of Crafting…

Parties, Memories & a Bit of Crafting…

Well, this week has been a busy, stressful and tiring one.  I’ve been a little bit unwell – nothing terrible, just bad neck and back pain combined with some nausea and headaches – and have had some time off work which I rarely do.  I think I was just a bit stressed out and it always affects me physically.  I had been helping my cousin get ready for her 40th Birthday and that in itself was a stressful situation (you think I’m a stress-head? Amplify that by about a million and you get my cousin…) with drama after drama, dresses not arriving, worries about catering, finding wait-staff etc etc turning what should have been a nice backyard celebration into a full-on spectacle.  It all ended up perfect of course – the long-awaited dress (bought on Ebay) turned up the day of the party, the food was all gorgeous and there was plenty of it, wait-staff were booked and performed admirably and everyone who attended had a great time and went to great effort with their outfits (it was a “Fire and Ice” theme).  I cannot say I enjoy parties.  I try to, I really do, but I just don’t get them.  I’m just really uncomfortable and nervous and shy (ugh – I hate saying that; it sounds so lame and childish) and I hate the noise (God, I am so old!) and trying to talk to people by yelling and having to be sociable.  So, really, I am just a party-pooper.  I don’t drink so I tend to feel a bit of an outcast around all the other people who are generally drinking, or already drunk.  I’m not saying you have to drink to have a good time – far from it – but sometimes being a non-drinker kinda places you at a disadvantage.  I don’t want to drink and even if I was able to have alcohol, I wouldn’t anyway because I am always the one driving.  Plus, I am a control freak and don’t like anything that alters my ability to have a handle on any situation.  Luckily, my brother and his partner were there, with my darling little niece, my Mum and all my cousins and Aunts and Uncles too.  Plus a couple of people I knew as friends of friends etc.  So I had some people to hang out with.  I still managed to occupy my usual haunts which (at any given party) are a.) the kitchen and b.) a handy dark corner.  I kinda used my Mum as an excuse to stay wherever she was (it would have been rude to just leave her on her own…) and the kitchen always needs an extra hand.  I did also supply a large batch of cake pops (the bloody things took forever to make…) so I had to supervise their display and serving…  At the end of the day, the party was for my cousin and she enjoyed herself immensely with all her friends and family and looked beautiful and was thoroughly spoilt, which is the most important thing.  I think I was just feeling blue because I’m on my own again and don’t have that significant other to fall back on (so to speak).  I felt like the odd one out yet again and it kinda sucks.

During the week, I did find time to make a couple of things (I had one glorious day off work where I sat and crafted all day, trying hard not to feel guilty about not being at work.  I was just so tired and mentally exhausted – I needed a day off to recoup and regroup) so here is a selection I made whilst watching, ahem, Dr Phil…

IMG_5046

Little owls!  I’ve already sold a couple of pairs of these earrings – owls are the “in” thing apparently…

IMG_5047

I really like these green ones…they look almost vintage…sort of…

IMG_5048

Birds’n’berries (that’s what they look like to me – berries!)

IMG_5050

This is a particularly bright and bold necklace but I figure some people are bright and bold (unlike me who is meek and boring ha ha)…

IMG_5051

I call these the “Royal Sugared Almond” earrings…don’t you think they look edible?  Have already sold them…

IMG_5063

Blue cubes…

IMG_5062

Blue and white and swirly…

IMG_5064

More birdies…this time on toadstools…

IMG_5065

Black and sophisticated pearl…

IMG_5049

Glass “gem stones” – love these beads…

I also had to find time to gather up some old photos for my cousin in England who is doing a photo book for my Aunt who has been unwell.  My cuz wanted a few pics of my Mum and us kids when we were all younger.  Some really nice ones of my Mum and I was kinda cute I suppose…

IMG_9760

Look at my Mum – such a hottie hee hee!  She looks like a Charlie’s Angel or something 🙂

IMG_9762

And me…rocking the socks-with-sandals look.  Hey, it was the seventies alright!?  You’ve gotta love the Tinkerbell pinny though!  And oh, the blonde hair!  Sigh…where did it go?

Now it is time to do some laundry, tidy up my house and get prepared for tomorrow.  I’ve got a hospital visit first thing – got to see my renal specialist for my 6 month check up.  Always makes me nervous but I hope everything is ok.  Then it is back to work – hopefully for a less stressful week and not too many dramas (last week was a tad hideous in many ways).

Hope you have all had a lovely weekend and are planning on having a wonderful week! 🙂

Words to Live by…

Words to Live by…

Good morning!  I am a good girl today – I got up nice and early and went for a walk while it was still cool and quiet.  We have had such a mild Christmas/New Year weather period, it doesn’t feel like Summer at all.  This morning was actually chilly when I got started which is so unusual for this time of year.  Normally it is blazing hot until at least March.

I snapped a few pictures as I walked through the neighbourhood and down to the foreshore.  Lots of pretty flowers and birds, no doubt enjoying the unseasonably cool weather.  I normally take my iPod with me and listen to music, but, as it and my phone were both charging, I took my camera instead.  The sky was pretty grey this morning – a chance of rain perhaps? – and the water on the river was still and glass-like.

IMG_8681

 I got into a bit of a meditative frame of mind (in other words, I was still a bit sleepy and just switched my brain off) and just enjoyed the gentle breeze and relative peace and quiet.  I am trying to be a bit more centred this year, calmer and less anxious and stressed.  I find it very hard to just stop thinking about everything.  So I am now trying to think about good things, instead of worrying, especially about things I cannot change.  I focused on the birds and the water and the city skyline and just breathed (or puffed, depending on how you look at it – I’m not very fit).  It made me think about the Desiderata.  Have you ever read it?

IMG_8694

When I was 12, our teacher’s assistant read out the Desiderata to us at our Year 7 graduation night.  I will always remember sitting there and listening to his voice as he read out those magical words.  As a 12-year-old I can’t say I took a lot of it in, but it has always stuck with me, somewhere in the back of my crowded brain, as words to live by.  I have given it to people as gifts and keep a copy with me.  This year I am going to try and live up to it and remember it’s words more often.  It doesn’t preach and it doesn’t claim to have all the answers.  It’s just perfect.

IMG_8699

If you’ve never read it before, please do now.  I think the world would be a nicer place if everyone knew and believed in these words.

Thank you Mr Rosling – you may not remember this little twelve-year-old girl, but she remembers you fondly and with love and gratitude.

x

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

IMG_8697

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

IMG_8689 

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;

IMG_8686
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

IMG_8679

Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.

IMG_8692

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

IMG_8695

Be yourself.

IMG_8687

Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

IMG_8677

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

IMG_8675

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

IMG_8704

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

IMG_8678

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

Have a wonderful day everyone.

Letter to Myself at Fourteen

Letter to Myself at Fourteen

I was reading a magazine in my lunch break at work today and it contained an article about writing a letter to yourself (retrospectively) at important ages or moments in your life.  It had various celebrities and sports stars penning letters to their awkward or ugly-duckling selves.  It would be nice if you could do this – go back in time and offer words of comfort and support or maybe even give your struggling, apathetic self a kick up the backside that would jump-start their enthusiasm for life.  If only!  I can think of various times in my life when I just needed someone to tell me it was all going to be ok, or, at least, that sometimes things wouldn’t be ok but that I would be strong enough to get through it.

Fourteen was a tough year.  I was chubby and unfashionable, couldn’t do a thing with my hair (wasn’t sure I wanted to), had crazy hormones that made me cry at the drop of a hat or lash out at unsuspecting family members (usually my elder brother – the two of us never fought until the year I turned fourteen and he, seventeen), I was self-conscious and klutzy, socially awkward and prone to day dreaming about my favourite pop stars or movie actors.  I hated high school, missed my primary school friends and was tormented by an unrequited love that had been going on for several years.

I look back at photos of myself at that age and cringe.  I am embarrassed that that weird-looking, sour-faced and obviously uncomfortable-in-her-own-skin girl was me. I am no beauty queen now, believe you me, but I have “grown” into myself.  I don’t think you truly become who you’re going to be until you’re at least 30 – I’m 39 now and still have a long way to go – before that you’re just trying on different personas and attitudes for size, seeing what fits and what works for you.  I am still socially awkward and klutzy and still don’t consider myself attractive at all (self-esteem, I’m working on it!) but I’ve made it through life, much more than I ever thought I would. So what would I tell myself, if I could go back in time?

1.  You’re right about Milli Vanilli.

2. One day, the popular girls who laughed at you will be fat, married to some jerk from high school and will display terrible spelling & grammar on Facebook posts.  You will laugh at them.

3. Your best friend will always love you and be there for you.  Through boyfriends, marriages, new jobs and children, she will always think you are awesome – no matter what.

4. You WILL have a boyfriend one day.  He won’t be Johnny Depp (sorry) but he will be the next best thing.

5. Jobs will come and go.  Keep trying to find the one that makes you happy.  That doesn’t necessarily mean the one that pays the most.  Or has the cutest boss.  Or the best uniform.

6. Always try to see the best in people.  99.99999% of people are actually pretty nice.  Try to treat others how you would like to be treated yourself.  Karma is alive and well and will be with you through all your days.

7. Your family are awesome.  Nuts, yes, annoying at times, certainly from another planet but absolutely awesome.

8. Hug your Mum.  Tell her you love her on a daily basis.  She loves you more than anything and is always in your corner.  You can’t disappoint her.

9. Men are not all terrible and untrustworthy.  You can trust many of them and even have them as lifelong friends.

10. Believe in your dreams and dream big.  Don’t let life knock them out of you.  The teacher in primary school who told you you couldn’t fly was an idiot.  Who says that to a 10 year old?

I’d like to go back in time and give myself a hug and maybe a good dose of self-confidence.  Mostly I would just tell me that I’m ok.  That being different is a good thing and that having a big heart means more than anything.  I would also probably hang on to some of those daggy fashions because, boy, I could sell them now and make a fortune!

Give your inner fourteen-year-old a hug today and forgive them for being a bit of a dork.  Because even dorks grow up to be adults one day and maybe, just maybe, that dork has turned out to be a pretty cool person 🙂

 

 

Life is one big journal entry…

Life is one big journal entry…

I have spent the last few days helping my Mum move into her new house.  So exhausting!  It’s not just the physical side of things – shifting boxes, driving back and forth between houses to pick up yet more boxes, unpacking, cleaning the old house ready for the new people to move in – it’s the emotional stress too that is tiring.  My Mum has lived in that house for 33 years.  I myself lived in it for about 29 years.  There are so many memories there – good memories and bad, happy ones and sad ones.  But leaving it was not the emotional wrench I expected.  We were too busy to get caught up in any soppy goodbyes or sentimental last-minute looks at the garden or neighbourhood.  And anyway, the house is just a house – without my Mum in it, it’s no longer a home to us.  She, and the cats have a brand new house – much smaller and with far less garden to look after – and it already feels like it is theirs.  We may well be unpacking boxes for the next three weeks or more though (now I know where my hoarding tendencies come from!)…

I found a couple of things I forgot I had.  This embroidery my Mum made for my room:

This bunny box I painted years ago (and one of the few things I was quite pleased with, considering I made up the design myself – I was into penny rugs at the time and although I never got round to sewing one, I decided to copy the idea and paint a stylised version of one on this little wooden trinket box):

I also found this lovely mosaic an old work colleague of mine made for me:

In packing and moving, we have had to clear out a lot of stuff, much of it mine (hey, it’s traditional to leave half of your belongings at a parent’s house, isn’t it?).  I was a good girl and threw out or donated loads of stuff.  Some of it was very hard to get rid of but I knew I had to do it.  Mum no longer has the room for it all and I should be a grown up and cull a few things.  I don’t need four hundred magazines.  I don’t need to keep every card I have ever been given (seriously) and I probably don’t need to hang on to my old diaries that go way back to when I was 8 years old.  Or, hang on, maybe I do…they are, after all, a record of my life (dull as it may have been) and reading them brings back memories, some happy and some quite tear-inducing but memories worth keeping nevertheless.

Some choice entries include:

“October 27, 1983 – Dear Diary, Everyone fights.  It’s stupid because they have boyfriends.  We’re not old enough for boyfriends…” (Aged 8, before hormones kicked in)

“January 29, 1986 – Dear Diary, I think I will move down the back with the geese.  Everyone fights. I wish I was a good witch so I could magic anything!” (Aged 12 and obviously still believing in the power of a little magic and it’s ability to put an end to conflict.)

“August 27, 1985 – I have a big crush on John B*.  I wish I was prettier, not so fat and not so boyish so he would like me.  I hope he doesn’t have aids etc (Aged 11.  Already developing awesome self-esteem and not quite grasping the whole AIDS thing and how one contracts it).

“August 13, 1984 – Today was ok.  At school, Matt C* did a bog.” (Aged 10.  A bog, I should point out is a charming way of saying someone passed wind.  Obviously a highly interesting occurrence to a ten-year-old!)

“October 16th, 1986 – Yesterday the circles wore bras, even Christy*! Hah hah! Mum said I don’t need one yet which is dead good!” (Aged 12.  “Circles” were the opposite of squares.  I, luckily, did not fit into either category so was accepted by both sides.  Poor Christy* was terminally flat-chested.  She got a boob job a couple of years ago and leads a full, happy life, unaware of my earlier poo-poohing of her unnecessary underwear choices..)

I’d like to say that my journal entries got better as I got older but, sadly, they did not.  I was still prattling on about boys well into my thirties and bemoaning the fact I was ugly/dumb/fat/etc.  These days I struggle to write anything at all, which is probably a good thing, but I really should try and jot down a few important facts and dates so I can remember them in my dotage.

I would die a thousand deaths if anyone read my diaries but I can’t bring myself to throw them away.  But if anyone does find them, hidden carefully under my bed or in my drawer or on top of a cupboard, I will deny all knowledge of them and refuse to admit they are mine.  Or at least say I was under the influence of some mind-altering drug when I wrote them.  And if John B* is still out there, I didn’t really like you, I was just pretending.  It’s what all the cool circles were doing at the time…

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent!

Garden Magic

Garden Magic

My previous post was about my Mum selling her house and what the house meant to us all.  I forgot to mention the garden…she has worked so hard on it this last year, trying to get it looking good so prospective buyers say “Wow!”  and want to pay her a million dollars.  Well, ok, maybe not a million, but the garden LOOKS a million dollars now, to me.  The swimming pool was filled in years ago so Mum didn’t have to worry about it’s maintenance and costs.  She doesn’t swim so it seemed kinda pointless having a pool that required lots of looking after.  So, it was filled in (the bottom was drilled and broken up a bit so as to prevent water from building up in it and causing a swamp!) and Mum then proceeded to make garden beds and paths on it.  It looks great now and I can hardly imagine a swimming pool there at all.

She’s done so much with the house and garden, on a strict budget (she’s only on a pension and gets occasional extra funds from teaching painting) and I think she’ll miss the garden the most as it is now looking so good and took a lot of work to get it there!  But hopefully wherever she settles next, there will be space enough to have another lovely cottage garden (there will probably not be any kangaroos to eat her roses at the next place either!) and she can potter about to her heart’s content.

So here’s to my Mum and her garden – I only wish I had a smidgen of her green-thumb magic…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

House of Memories

House of Memories

My Mum is selling her house.  She’s upping sticks and moving on.  The house is too big for her and as she is on her own and the gardens and paddock are too much for her to deal with.  She wants something newer, something that doesn’t have a million things that need repairing.  She wants to move closer to my brother and I.  She wants to be in a suburb that has reliable public transport.

We all moved into that house 33 years ago.  It’s seen so many changes and upheavals.  When we moved in we only had neighbours on one side.  Now there’s neighbours on every side and no free blocks anywhere on the street.  My best friend lived two doors down.  We would walk to each other’s homes.  We could call out to each other across the paddocks and hear what the other was shouting.  The bitumen on the road outside our house has a smiley face made out of stones we pushed into the soft tar when it was a scorching Summer day one year – probably 25 years ago now.

I had numerous pets in that house –  dogs, cats, chickens, geese, rabbits, mice, guinea pigs, turkeys and ducks.  I found a baby bat once, lots of lizards and more than our fair share os snakes.  We had horses in the paddock and back yard and one time, we housed our Aunt’s donkey as well.  I raised two wild ducklings to adulthood.  I taught a baby swallow to fly. I reared an orphaned magpie and nursed an injured parrot.  We had a kangaroo and found a scorpion.  My best friend and I went tadpoling right outside my house, in the water that ran through the front drain/ditch when the heavy winter rains came.

I wrote countless journals in that house.  I dreamt about the boy I had a crush on.  I covered my walls in posters and taped songs off the radio with my little cassette player.  I got my first period, wore my first bra and did homework there.  It was there when I started high-school and it saw me through college.  We had barbecues and pool parties and Christmas lunches with the family .  We had two pools (first, fibreglass one and then, years later swapped it for a concrete one) and added on a granny flat to accommodate my elderly Grandmother who was emigrating from England.

That house saw sorrow and joy.  It saw me through several job changes.  It witnessed my parent’s disintegrating marriage and my Mother’s subsequent blossoming into a strong single woman. It saw the concrete pool become a garden.  It welcomed my new boyfriend and watched him become my  husband as I moved out to start a new life in a new house.

The house was nearly lost when my Father’s business went down.  A bush fire threatened it one year but passed by without harming its surrounds.  The garage was flooded several times.

But although the house has lots of memories for us all, we are not too sad to say Goodbye to it.  I want my Mum to be happy and safe and to feel secure and content.  I want her to have a house that isn’t falling down around her ears.  I want her to have a house that is decorated the way she wants it.  I want her to have a house that requires little maintenance and a garden that will bring her joy and pride.  I hope there is such a place for her.

Mum’s Garden Spring 2012