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Quote for the Day : Rest

 

“…Rest is not idleness,
and to lie sometimes on the grass
under trees on a summer’s day,
listening to the murmur of the water,
or watching the clouds float across the sky,
is by no means a waste of time…”

— John Lubbock

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Fiddle Faffing

fid·dle-faf·fle

(fĭd′l-făf′l)
n. Nonsense.
To fritter away one’s time; dally.

Nothing sums up what I did on the weekend better than the term “fiddle-faffing”. Whilst it is true that I was quite busy over Easter, catching up with friends and family every day, it does not excuse the amount of time-wasting I also did.  And I hate wasting time.  My whole life at the moment is focused on NOT WASTING TIME, due to the fact I feel I am rapidly running out of it.  My new therapist said to me last week “Oh I hear that a lot!  Everyone is so obsessed with time running out, these days.  We make our own time!”  I didn’t tell her I thought she was a crazy person (it’s best not to insult your therapist the first time they meet you – leave that for a few months in).  Time is always running away from us, from the minute we are born, dammit!  Time seems to be escaping from my needy clutches at a rate of knots and I am panicking slightly (ie a lot).
Needless to say, when I am worrying about wasting time, it does not facilitate creativity to any great degree.  In fact, without question, it hinders it.  Like a big, fat, hindery thing.  It sits in your brain, all squat and lumpy, and squishes all the creativity and artistic inspiration out of you.  It is evil.
This weekend gone I tried to create and get my craft on, but I was thwarted at every turn.  What I mean by that is I just made a lot of crap.  Everything I drew or collaged or attempted to paint/colour/glue turned out to be a horrible pile of blah.  This is partly my own fault – I am in such a mess, and instead of tidying up and giving myself a clean slate to work from, I attempted to just work around the mess and add to it.  Not a good idea. I also ate too much bad food.  I’m not supposed to eat chocolate but, being Easter, I was bombarded with the stuff, and decided to just eat it with abandon.  Which is idiotic and not very good for me.  I was basically in a food coma for four days, unable to form complex sentences or think very clearly at all.  Eating badly DOES affect me physically and mentally, slows me right down and makes me feel icky.  Too many carbs has me feeling like I am moving in slow motion.
So, in the end, I just gave up.  I stopped trying to create anything new, and just worked on some little doodles I had lying around that had never been finished.  I used my watercolour paints (ugh – my technique is terrible) to finish off a birdy and some flowers and some dainty I-guess-they’re-dandelion-thingies.  They’re better than nothing, and will have to do for now.  If nothing else, I can add them to plain card blanks and use them for standby cards for myself.  And I least I didn’t completely waste the whole weekend.  It just feels that way 😦   Next weekend I am attending a print-making class so perhaps I will find new inspiration and learn some new skills that will help me get my creative mojo back.
Hope you had a happy Easter and used your time wisely! 🙂
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Procrastination, I am Your Queen

Procrastination, I am Your Queen

I wasted today.  Which is better than saying “I AM wasted today”, I suppose.  However, it is still bad.  I am too old to be wasting time.  Frittering it away.  Getting distracted (in fact, as an example, I am now thinking about fritters).  Doing nothing when I should be doing something.  Or, doing something but it is a something that is basically nothing in the guise of something, you know?  Come Sunday evening, I am wracked with the guilt of procrastination and time wasted.

I promised myself I would ACHIEVE this weekend.  I would write lists and tick them off.  But all I succeeded in doing was ticking myself off with my inability to actually do anything.  The worst part is, I didn’t sit around much at all.  I am not a sitter.  I am always very busy.  VERY busy.  Doing nothing much at all.

I usually find I become very motivated, around about 4 o’clock in the afternoon on a Sunday, when I suddenly realise that I have to go back to work tomorrow and I have had two days off where I could have, y’know, started that best-selling novel, created a Fortune-500 company, built a house or ended third world debt.  I have high hopes for my weekends, but they often don’t pan out.  Basically, because I myself fizzle out.

Now, I must admit, I am having trouble dealing with anything at the moment.  I am weaning myself off my anti-depressants and I am finding it harder than I thought I would.  Harder than I have let anyone around me know. I thought “Oh, it’s been two and a half years, I can come off them now! Piece of cake!”  but it’s been a little trickier than that.  And there was no cake.  But, there’s been crying.  Lots of crying.  I’ve done that super ugly, blubbering kind of crying.  I’ve yelled at people.  I’ve had nightmares.  I’ve been hyper and chatty one minute and then morose and downright jump-off-a-cliff depressed the next.  But I persevere because I have to do it and I don’t want to be on this medication forever.  And before you ask, yes this is being medically supervised and I am being sensible.  It’s just that I am 41 years old and I need to be able to manage things and not hide behind a little happy pill.  Plus, I need to cry every now and then.  It’s a natural state for me and NOT doing it is weird.  I just needed them to get me over the marriage-breaking-down hump and now I have to come back into the real world again.

Which has left me a little bit blue.  Because the real world is a bit shit, to be honest.  Pardon my language.  People are mean and stuff is hard.  So I get bogged down in the mean and the hard.  I find it difficult to get up in the mornings, not just because I don’t want to go to work, but because I am actually sad.  Mostly because I don’t want to go to work but also because I am floundering a little bit.  I’m going through one of those “Who am I and what am I for?” stages.  Which I probably should have gone through at age 18 or something but I was too busy being terrified of the world to even contemplate that I had some sort of place in it.  In some ways, it is worse going through it now because I have less time to figure things out.

Which brings me back to wasting time.  Some people are happy to waste time and don’t see it as actually WASTING TIME.  People think the weekends are for chilling out and lazing about, watching TV and sitting around.  I don’t.  I always feel like I should be doing something constructive or at least making plans that would lead in that direction.  More lists.  Lists that will have ticks against them.  So that when people ask (on Monday morning) “Hey, what did you get up to on the weekend?”, I can say, smugly, “Oh, I rendered the house, put in reticulation, baked 400 muffins for the local homeless shelter, adopted a litter of kittens, ran a marathon, painted my fence and knitted a tea cosy……” instead of answering “Um…not much.  I did some ironing.”  And let’s face it, even ironing is probably not happening in my house most weeks.  Or months, to be fair.  Do I even HAVE an iron?….

I wanted to create things this weekend.  I wanted to have lots of blog posts ready and waiting to be written.  I wanted to have projects on the go.  I wanted to actually have some crafts on here, which would be nice, considering this is supposed to be a crafty kind of blog.

So, what did I achieve this weekend?  Well, I caught up with my best friend, whom I haven’t seen since JULY (holy crap, that is three months ago!) and we set the world to rights and talked up a storm.  I visited my Aunt.  I visited my cousin and nieces.  I went shopping for new bras (to go with the new boobs).  I bought a pineapple/green apple/broccoli/mint drink which was SO DELICIOUS I bought another one today.  I saw a movie with a friend and felt confused by it.  I felt horribly guilty for saying no to said friend when she asked me to dog-sit for her over Christmas.  I went to see my Mum.  I pruned my garden and all the courtyards around my house, weeded and swept up leaves and junk in my yard.  I dyed my hair so I no longer look like rapidly-ageing hag woman.  I went to a little charity fete in my street and bought some more books.  I tried eye-liner for the first time and decided I quite liked it.

So I did SOME things.  I guess.  And seeing friends and family is certainly not NOTHING.  It’s actually very important. And nice. And soul-reparing.  But now it is evening and I have to make dinner and get stuff ready for work tomorrow. But I wanted to make cards.  That didn’t happen.  I wanted to do some drawing.  That didn’t happen.  I wanted to tidy my craft room.  That certainly didn’t happen and, frankly, I was kidding myself that it would.  I wanted to write in my journal and finish off a collage I have been working on (well, “working on” is an overstatement…). None of those things occurred.

So, I guess I have to try again next weekend.  I will write proper lists and endeavour to stick them (and not lose them).  I will not be distracted by whatever it is that normally distracts me (usually involves tea or facebook or cheese) and I will achieve THINGS.  Or, at least try to.  Because time is running out.  And I do not want to leave just a carbon footprint behind.  I want to have been here for some sort of reason and purpose.  Even if that purpose amounts to nothing more than writing a blog post on schedule, with actual useful stuff in it.

What do you hope to achieve on your weekends?  Are you a procrastinator?  Do you get distracted by things and wander off target, like me?  Do you even have a target?  How do you stay on target (if you do)?  How do you gauge your achievements or do you simply think it’s enough to have gotten dressed every day?

Hope your weekend was exactly as you wanted it to be – busy, lazy, crazy, chilled or fulfilling, whatever makes you feel happy and content and not guilty 🙂

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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Life Hack Advice

Life Hack Advice

Feeling a bit down in the dumparoo today.  Found out some upsetting news last night (news that shouldn’t upset me now that I am all independent and “moving on”and being strong and having respect for myself) but instead of sharing that with you (and boring you to tears, most likely), I will instead share a few pieces of advice from the great website Mark and Angel Hack Life.  If you haven’t visited this great little website, you should take some time and have a look today.  I’m not one for a lot of self-help kinda stuff, but their advice and sensible tips make SENSE.  I find myself going “Oh yeah…”and nodding my head and also feeling a trifle guilty when they say exactly what I am thinking or tell me what I know, deep down, I should be doing already.  It’s good to read it daily or even just sporadically when you need a guiding hand to get through the day and to remind yourself that you are actually pretty damn awesome, even if you don’t feel it right now.

Anyway, have a look and see what I mean.  It’s worth a visit.  In the meantime, here are a few choice snippets from the site, ones that I particularly relate to:

 Never apologize for being sensitive or emotional. There’s no reason to be ashamed for feeling something or acting out on it if it’s real to you. It’s a sign that you have a big heart, and that you aren’t afraid to let others know it. Showing your emotions is a sign of human strength.
The people who judge you for being human, and not being modest, emotionless, and “in line,” are the ones who need to apologize

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A great relationship is about two things: First, appreciating the similarities, and second, respecting the differences. So be cordial, but don’t completely change who you are for someone else simply because it’s what THEY want, or because it’s what THEY think is best for you.  If someone expects you to be someone you’re not, take a step back. It’s wiser to lose relationships over being who you are, than to keep them intact by pretending to be someone else. It’s easier to nurse a little heartache and meet someone new, than it is to piece together your own shattered identity. It’s easier to fill an empty space in your life where somebody else used to be, than it is to fill the empty space within yourself where YOU used to be.

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Stop trying to be everything to everyone. – Doing so is impossible, and trying will only burn you out. But making one person smile CAN change the world. Maybe not the whole world, but their world. So narrow your focus

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Start being more polite to yourself. – If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend? The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others. You must love who you are or no one else will.

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Be strong enough to let go and wise enough to wait for what you deserve. Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you have ever been to stand up taller than you ever were before. Sometimes your eyes need to be washed by your tears so you can see the possibilities in front of you with a clearer vision again. Don’t settle.

Be good to yourselves today 🙂

Keep your friends close…

Keep your friends close…

The old saying of “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” may well ring true for a lot of people, but I prefer to shorten it to “keep your friends close”, or, better yet, just “keep your friends”.  Over the course of the last year, whilst dealing with the whole marriage break-up “thing” (it’s moved down a notch from being a “drama” or “nightmare” to just a plain old “thing”) I have never felt more sure of the friendships I have.  It was one of the things that kept me together when all I felt like doing was falling apart.  And I did feel like falling apart – oh Lord did I ever! I felt like hunting down a Medusa, getting her to look at me so I would turn to stone, and then crumbling into a million dusty pieces.  I felt like there was not enough glue or safety pins in the world to keep me in one piece.  But I didn’t fall apart (well, maybe a little bit – I think that’s allowed and probably healthy) and I didn’t crumble, though there was a fair amount of near-crumbling, lots of ugly tears (the snotty, don’t-look-at-me kind) and a fair bit of self indulgent wallowing.  I mean, you’ve read this blog, you know what I am talking about.  I still have the odd moment of over-dramatic despair and sadness.
And then it goes away.

And you know why it goes away?  Because I am loved and liked and coddled and supported and listened to and cherished and comforted and taken under wings and looked after by special people in my life.  I am so very blessed in that I have so many people around me that care about me.  From my bosses to my Mum, from my school-friends to my work-mates, I am so lucky to have wonderful, nurturing, supportive people around me.  I’ve never felt really alone, even when I was at my lowest point.  There was always that little voice in the back of my head that kept saying “You are loved and you will be alright”.  And that voice has gotten stronger over the years as I realise that I can can make it on my own and I can manage and survive and do what needs to be done by myself, because I am never really by myself.  And I am so grateful for that.  I’m as grateful for the looking-after-me friends as I am the kick-me-up-the-bum friends who tell me to get my act together and stop moping around.  I admit maybe the latter kind of friend is sometimes less welcome that the former, but they all, in their own way, keep me together and make me a better person.

I admit I am not a sociable person.  I could easily be a hermit who only surfaces, blinking and grumpy, into the light every now and then to stock up on groceries and make sure the world is still turning.  I could do that so easily.  But then I would miss out on being part of my friends and families’ lives.  And I would hate that.  Over the last year or two I have been guilty of having my head up my own arse (for want of a better, more polite expression) and have perhaps been a little bit less attentive and supportive of people I care about. Truthfully, because I was hurting so much myself and couldn’t see past my own problems and dramas and couldn’t bear to add another layer of unhappiness.  But as I am coming through the fog of emotional upheaval, it is time to start being there again for everyone else and get back to being a good friend or family member to the people I care about.  In some ways, to be honest, that is a little bit daunting.  I’ve been able to hide away in my own problems, use them as a shield to keep other “stuff” away.  I know people kept things from me, wanting to protect me in my “fragile” state and not wanting to burden me with anything else that I would have to deal with.  But it is time to put on the proverbial big girl’s panties now and hitch my wagon back on life’s little road train (God, where am I getting these sayings from???) and deal with stuff, whether it be my problem or someone else’s.
Because I want to keep my friends close.  And my enemies?  Well, I am lucky enough to say I don’t have many of those, and don’t intend on collecting any more if I can help it. Life’s too short and time too precious.

I spent some time today with my lovely friend CW who has been a tremendous support to me over the last few years – through my illness and work worries and, more recently, the dreaded marital strife.  She is an amazing person, and someone with whom I feel comfortable discussing life and some of the more esoteric subjects like karma, one’s purpose and place in the world and whether or not cake is a suitable food to have for breakfast.  I have cried in front of her (well, let’s face it, I have cried in front of pretty much everyone – that’s just a given) and poured my heart out and told her my fears and worries.  I don’t know if she knows that she is very important to me, even though we don’t see each other very often or if she is aware that she is a calming presence in my life and someone I admire and look up to.  Because I know, with her, I can be me.  I don’t have to pretend to be anyone or anything else.  She understands me, or, at least, doesn’t judge me.  And that is such a blessing.
So to her, I say, with much love and gratitude, Thank you.

Hope you are all sharing your weekend with friends and family or planning to do so soon.  Life is short and time goes by so quickly.  Remember to spend that time with people you love and people who make the world, your world, a better place to be yourself in.

🙂

Cleaning is a “sometimes” activity, right?

Cleaning is a “sometimes” activity, right?

I was supposed to be cleaning my house today.  It has become quite feral due to me being a.) unwell this week, b.) out a lot this week and c.) just plain lazy and too prone to distraction (every week).  I want to be a good little house-wife, I do.  Even if nobody sees the house except for me and the occasional property manager when I am due for rent inspection.  But I fail miserably every week at making any kind of serious attempt at actually making my house spotless and tidy.  I just don’t have that gene.  The tidy gene.  It doesn’t bother me most of the time, but just lately I have felt that I am failing at being a grown-up.  I don’t do my dishes every night.  I don’t fold my laundry when it comes off the line.  I don’t even put it away.  I am slack.  There is no other way to say it.

But it just feels as though there are more important things to be doing.  Like today, for instance.  I was determined to get the place looking spick and span so I would have tomorrow free to craft or do something else that is constructive and meaningful (unlike cleaning, which is not).  I had just put a load of washing into the machine when my friend GK phoned to see if I was up for a catch-up and coffee outing.  I didn’t take much convincing, despite the little voice in the back of my mind yelling “What about the hoovering?! The bathroom needs scrubbing! You haven’t done any dishes in three days!!!”  So out for coffee we went.  When GK surprised me by asking if I wanted to go op-shopping and show her the good places to get a bargain (she NEVER goes op-shopping) I was powerless to say anything other than “Yes!”  So not only did I once more ignore the cleaning that needed to be done, I also ignored the fact that I have just had a large dental bill to pay and that I shouldn’t be recklessly spending my money. Sigh.  Definitely failing at being an adult.  A responsible one anyway.

So off we trotted to a row of op-shops that I frequent, um, frequently.  GK was hunting for some new jeans and I needed a plain black, long-sleeved top.  I also desperately needed some new beads.  Honestly.  Scout’s honour!  Well, I didn’t need them.  Need is a strong word.  Wanted is probably a better term.  So I rummaged around and found a couple of necklaces with some nice glass beads on them for less than $5.00 (plus I found the black long sleeve top I was needing and that was only $3.50!).  GK got two pairs of awesome jeans which made her happy and even luckier still, they were the right length (she’s short like me – everything needs taking up) and I snagged a great pair of black pants for work and another striped top (I have a thing for stripes…).  I really like the necklaces I got…

…these spotty blue glass beads are unusual and pretty…

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…and this purple/grape-coloured necklace has lots of different shaped beads on it in various sizes and shades…

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I have made a few pieces of jewellery this week as I had some orders to get done and I can’t concentrate on anything until I get them done and dusted.  First up, a blue and brown necklace which was requested by a lady at work who had bought a similar piece from me before.  She asked me to replicate it – I didn’t have enough of the same coloured beads so I substituted where I was able to and I think it turned out ok…

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…I also made one in a similar style but using red beads instead of blue…

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…I made this pink and green one for my buddy CW who I am visiting tomorrow.  She’s been having a crummy time of things lately and I wanted to give her a little treat to cheer her up.  She had bought a pair of earrings from me before that had these same colours in them and had mentioned she would like a matching necklace one day.  It’s taken me nearly 6 months to make it for her but finally I got it done…

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…I also made this pretty (well, I think it’s pretty) pastel necklace using some of the wooden beads I bought at the last craft show

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…and this bracelet which I’m not convinced about…it was getting late and I think my colour-matching was a bit off…


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…I’ve also been doodling and working on some card designs.  I draw some funny little birdcages but didn’t get as far as actually making a card with them (yet)…

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Tomorrow, I have promised myself, I will finish tidying up and make my house clean and neat and fit for human habitation, or maybe even real life visitors!  I will leave a little window of time in which I can craft and create or maybe spend a couple of hours organising my craft room.  Or, more realistically, I will spend half an hour hoovering, get distracted by some beads or ribbon, paper or paints and give up on the whole idea of tidying up.  I am nothing if not consistent 🙂

Hope you have a wonderful day (dishes be damned!) x