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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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RIP John (or, A Lesson in Expectations)

RIP John (or, A Lesson in Expectations)

Last week I had some sad news : a friend of mine, John, had died suddenly over the weekend. I was in shock for a few days. It didn’t seem right or fair or even possible. How could this happen? He simply fell whilst walking to his car in a car park, hit his head and suffered a major bleed in his brain. And that was it. Gone.

A mutual friend of ours phoned to let me know. I couldn’t quite grasp what she was telling me. It couldn’t be true. I sat at my desk at work and cried. I had lost other people before, but they had been elderly (Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, parents of friends etc) and although it had been very sad at the time, it didn’t affect me the way this loss did. The funny thing is, John himself was 76 years old and that would be considered elderly by some people. But I didn’t see him that way. He was part of my group of friends – I didn’t see him as a Grandfatherly figure or as an old guy. I didn’t treat him any differently to my other friends. I talked to him in the same way I did with all my buddies. He’d send me dirty jokes and rude emails. He and his wife travelled a lot to far flung places, right up until this last year, where I am pretty sure they would have been planning their next getaway.  He volunteered, after retirement, within the courts system and supported victims of crime. He was fit and healthy, liked a beer or two and was adventurous and spirited. He was just, well, John.

To have him gone is just weird. I feel the loss of his presence in the world like I haven’t done before with anyone else. He’d be pleased about that. He’d probably tease me about it, actually. Our little group of friends won’t be the same. It will be hard getting through those first few outings, dinners and get togethers. There will definitely be a feeling of something missing, though we’ve all agreed we must continue meeting as a group – he would want that and would disapprove of any moping about.

John’s death has made me look at my own life (isn’t that what these moments are supposed to do?). At his funeral, he was fondly remembered and it wasn’t a solemn affair at all – there was laughter and smiles as his life was celebrated. I watched his wife and although her pain was obvious, she also smiled through the service and laughed with her son when memories of John were shared. I noticed the closeness of her little family – that is always an indication of a life well-lived and a person well-loved – and hoped that that closeness would protect and comfort her in the sad days ahead. I can’t imagine what she is going through and I was glad to see she had support.

While John was 35 years older than me, I never thought of that age difference at all. Whether that’s because I don’t feel my age, or because I didn’t see him as the age he was, it made me think about the expectations and pre-conceived notions we attach to different ages.  I didn’t think of John as “old” because he didn’t do all the things “old” people are “supposed” to do. But then I think of all the things someone of my age is “supposed” to have done, I find I am falling short of expectations also. I don’t have my own home (I rent), I’m not married (recently divorced) and I don’t and won’t have children.  I haven’t figured out what I am going to do when I grow up and I have no idea about things like superannuation (sure, I have it but don’t ask me how much) or mortgages or even tax returns (I do them, but I don’t understand them and can’t quite figure out why I get screwed every year by the tax department, even though I earn less than just about everyone I know).  People often think I am much younger than my actual age and this is probably due to the fact I don’t particularly ACT my age.  But I don’t even know what that means.  John did not consider me a failure because I was doing things a little differently.  In fact, he delighted in my sense of humour (which can be a little bit sarcastic and offbeat) and applauded anything I was doing, if I was doing it with honesty and courage.

Most of the time I am happy with who I am.  I think I’m a good person.  I try to live tolerantly and with empathy for others.  But I don’t always treat myself with the same respect.  I get far more disappointed in myself and frustrated with my own failings, far more than I would with anyone else.  I speak harshly to myself and berate myself for the smallest of mistakes and misjudgements.  But part of this, I suppose, is due to thinking about expectations I am not meeting.  So I need to be kinder.  To myself.  I need to believe that while my path in life may be very different to anyone else’s, it is just as valid and worthy.  So I can’t balance my cheque book – big deal.  I can pay my own bills and keep food on the table and a roof over my head.  Maybe I don’t own that roof, but it’s a start.

Rest in Peace, John.  You were an example to us all of a life well-lived, a life that exceeded and defied expectations.
I, for one, will miss you very much x

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All Things Vintage Car Boot Sale

All Things Vintage Car Boot Sale

A couple of weekends ago, Mum and I attended a vintage market in the hills.   So many treasures and things to look at!  It was very windy and many stalls were in danger of being blown away (literally – it nearly happened a couple of times) which was a bit worrying with all the breakables and china.  A few vintage dresses went flying across the oval, their frantic sellers chasing after them.  Anyway, here are a few pics from the day:

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Loved this hot air balloon.  Wish I had bought it… I have no idea what it was for – it opened up to reveal a section inside which appeared to be for holding eggs!  Not sure about that though…

  IMG_8274Lots of lovely blue and white china…

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Trillions of trios!

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My Mum was eyeing off these old posts.  They were gorgeous but very pricey, so we had to leave them and walk away (sadly, and with a wistful look on our faces)…

 

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All kinds of treasures!

 

My find for the day came early on and I was so thrilled to get it : this gorgeous old doll house (looks Georgian in architectural design but is not actually that old), unfinished and in need of some TLC.  A lick of paint and some gentle distressing and I think this little beauty will be a welcome addition to my home.  I’m going to use it either as storage in my craft room, or as a spice/tea cabinet in the kitchen.  It’s quite large but sits happily on my bench and will save space because of all the things I can fit inside it.  I think I will “wallpaper” the inside “walls” as well to add a bit of colour and interest.  Love it!  It was only $20 – I didn’t even bother haggling!  It’s very well made and has lots of fine detail, with spaces inside for what would have been staircases (the gentleman who was constructing it didn’t finish unfortunately) and the front opens up like a door, giving you access to the “rooms” inside.  I was very happy with my purchase 🙂

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My Georgian Mansion!

I love a good market, car boot sale or swap meet.  So much fun!  And you can pick up such great bargains.

Can’t wait for the next one! 🙂

 

Vintage Finds and Funnies

Vintage Finds and Funnies

My Mum has sold her house (hooray!) and we are madly scrambling to find her another house to move to.  No easy task.  My Mum is not what you’d call fussy, but she really wants to find a place that she can call her own and that is new without being super modern, older-style but not falling to pieces or in need of lots of TLC.  We have been viewing lots of properties but none have been suitable yet.  Or in the right price range (ie cheap) or in the right suburb.  So for now, we are just trying to get her own house sorted out and packed up so that she is ready to go when the time comes to actually lock the door for the final time and wave goodbye.

Helping her clear out a bedroom this weekend I came across some vintage books that had seen better days.  Most of them were falling to pieces so weren’t really worth saving (as much as it pains me to throw books out – they were practically disintegrating) and many of them were encyclopaedia type books where the information in them was incorrect, outdated and in some instances very racist and wrong!  I did however keep a few pages where I could, to use in craft work and card-making.  There was a nice children’s encyclopaedia that had a few colour plates in it :

 

 

The Alphabet pages were charming but also quite funny in places.  For instance:

 

I’m not sure what “spending a penny” means in your country but in England and Australia it is a colloquialism for having a pee!

 

 

Poor Winifred…I’m not quite sure why she’s having to drink out of a drain pipe!

 

 

I don’t think Keith is particularly big or jolly.  He’s not Santa!  He’s a rather effeminate little boy…not that there’s anything wrong with that, I am quick to point out.  Love the bathers!

 

 

I also managed to salvage a few pages of sheet music and lovely, colourful maps.

 

 

 

Hiding in a cupboard was a little gingham pony I had made years ago.  I’d like to say I was only a kid when I made it, hence the rubbish sewing, but it was only a couple of years back so I’ve no excuse.  The dear little thing is a bit deformed – I haven’t got the heart to throw him out 🙂

 

So, Mum and I are unearthing a few treasures and a lot of junk.  It’s amazing the stuff we accumulate (I know where I inherited my hoarding from!).  It’s nice to find old treasures though, and have a good old clear out.  Maybe it will take having to move out to get me to tidy up my place!