Monday, 30 November 2015

Frog Mug

My son has been ordering spare parts for a couple of little motorbikes he's doing up. When you live an hour and a half drive from the shops it can be easier just to buy them online and wait for them to arrive. Today at work I received a text from Australia Post announcing that there was a parcel to be collected. Of course, I expected it to be a motorbike part so sent my son a text so he could collect it. A bit later in the day I heard back from him via text message. 

"No carburettor but your cup is here."

I was going to text back again but with my dinosaur phone making texting such a labour, I decided to give him a ring to find out what on earth he was talking about. 

"What cup?" I asked him when he answered the phone. 

"Your Frog Cup, " he said. 

I was none the wiser for this declaration. He obviously thought it was something I knew about and had ordered. I was mystified. I asked if there was a letter or a note with it. Nope. 

"Who is it from?" 

He checked the parcel and  told me it was from a family member, my sister-in-law. 

As it turned out there was also a message written on the box. He had obviously ripped it open thinking it was a bike part. Sometimes I order them for him and they come addressed to me, so it was an easy mistake to make.

I was excited to be heading home after work to meet My Frog Cup! It was indeed a gift from my sister-in-law who had found the Frog Mug (Mug not Cup!) at a car boot sale in Canberra. She realised that Tahune Pottery where the mug originated from wasn't far from where I live so bought it and sent it to me. What a gorgeous surprise! So totally 'out of the blue' and unexpected. 

You can take all the birthday gifts and Christmas gifts, Mother's Day gifts, Easter gifts and other 'predictable in terms of when' gifts and none are so wonderful to receive as one 'out of the blue'. I think what makes it so meaningful when that happens is knowing that someone saw something that reminded them somehow of you and decided in that moment to bless you with that thing. And there was absolutely no 'have to' or 'ought to' involved. They did it 'just because'. 

I have another beautiful tea mug that turned up that way; 'out of the blue'. My son had found it in a second hand shop. It has an intricate pattern in bright colours, a strainer and a lid. Perfect for making my kids' special home-made brand of chai. I was so thrilled when he gave it to me as I'd been looking for one just like it - and he didn't know that! How awesome are those moments of synchronicity!

I feel so blessed and hope that this will inspire you to bless someone you know with a little something sometime when it's not a birthday or Christmas or any particular time. 'Just because' is reason enough.

 Might be something you find second-hand. 
Might be a note saying how much you love them or are thinking of them. 
Might be a card telling them about how their light shines on your life. 
Might be a candle to add a little shine to their life.
Might be a post-card or a photograph.
Might be a flower or a rock. 

A gift ought be given not with the intention that the giftee must keep said thing forever or feel a burden of guilt when letting it go. A gift, in the giving, in the receiving, does the job it was intended to do. It's a tangible expression of love and caring. When it's spontaneous, it's all the more beautiful.

Wishing you love and blessings and contentment in your life.

Kerry x

I think that little frog will make an excellent second handle!


Sunday, 29 November 2015

Playing With My Canon

So the weekend kind of disappeared in a mostly inside kind of way which is a bit sad really. We did tootle up to Kingston to check out mobile phones - the kids and I have a selection of either prehistoric versions or those with cracked faces or those spectacularly embellished with electrical tape to hold them together. Mine is the prehistoric one. We've all been talking and thinking about updating for a while and after much looking, umming and ahhhing and Googling for info on the spot...one was updated. Would have been two but there was only one of the eventual winner in stock. Of course. That's ok. Me and my dinosaur will manage for a bit longer. And Miss Electrical Tape 2015 will manage with hers for a bit longer too! 

We had stopped en route at Sandfly Market. What a charming little country market it was...definitely on the list for a revisit sometime. Alas, when we arrived the three of us realised that none of us has stopped to pick up cash on the way so we had to pool our meagre coin supply to buy two slices of vegan cheesecake (which was, after all, our reason for calling in there in the first place). 

We scurried outside with one slice of chocolate/peanut butter and one of raspberry vanilla. Settled on the grass under the widespread boughs of a beautiful conifer, we sampled our purchases. Yum! Both were delicious but the raspberry one out-ranked the other when we held an informal vote. No more cash to spend so off to the big shops (and the atm). What a shame as there were stalls aplenty burgeoning with all manner of goodies hand-made and recycled. Still, I am on a down-sizing mission so it was kind of good to not be able to buy anything else!

Big shops major purchase of the day for me was a digital camera. Not madly expensive but small and compact and holding promise of better photos. I didn't count on having to scour 117 pages of instruction manual to learn how to use it. Damn. It's got 7 little buttons. I will have to read those instructions eventually or I won't get my money's worth out of those buttons! But I wasn't up for all that reading today so I took it for a walk and a play on the beach just before sundown this evening. Well actually it may have been after sundown but there was enough light for me to see where I was going so that was enough. 

So here are my first efforts at playing with my little Canon. And most importantly, I had fun! No technical language. I don't know what I'm doing but here they are anyway.


Lupins 

Pristine - no rubbish today!

Lightning strike

Swan

Jellyfish

The beach within

Where are the sculptors?

Pacific Gull

Playing with perspective

Beach Rouge

Cheers

Kerry x

Friday, 27 November 2015

Grounded

Life is such a wild and woolly place sometimes that it leaves me feeling all adrift or at least, not quite grounded. Both of the kids are here with me since Jo arrived on Wednesday. It's been so great to listen to the two of them chatting and laughing together. I worked today and they went off to do some bits 'n' pieces at the other end of the valley. When I got home after work - finished a bit early today - there was talk about doing something fun. We discussed the possibility of heading townwards for a movie or perhaps a meal out. A bit of frantic Googling later, and following the realisation that Jo hadn't brought her specs with her so movies weren't a great option, we decided that going to Southport and buying some hot chips to eat on the beach might be just what we needed. 

I noticed that I'd become quite anxious while searching for something 'fun' to do. Well, anxiety does sneak up on me now and then. The good thing is that it will usually leave after a relatively short time, not like the days at uni when it hung about for months on end without relief. All the same, I wonder what that was about. It's not my responsibility to keep my kids happy. Perhaps it's wanting to create lovely memories for us in the times we manage to get together.

Of course, we got to Southport at 5 and they shut the fryers off at 4.30 (who knew?) so chips were off the menu, and the tavern wouldn't start serving until 6. Instead, we headed down to Burying Ground Point for a walk and a clamber on the rocks. What ensued was the most glorious hour and a half of joyful exploration and wonder at what we discovered...something new with every step. 

I felt my anxiety leave me after a while. I lay down on the rocks next to a pool where we had found a black sea slug creature and just let the bliss of the place wash over me. All this is a mere 20 minutes from home and it's almost 2 years since I visited this place. I can't explain how wonderful it was to be there. Having the kids with me just made it so much greater. I feel grounded again and absolutely content. I won't leave it such a long time before I visit again. It seems some time spent outside in a wild and beautiful place connects me to my soul again. And so does having my little family together for an adventure like this. 

So glad we didn't go to the movies or out for dinner. I bought some oven bake chips from the local supermarket on the way home and the kids have just cooked up a vegan pasta storm in the kitchen. We won't starve, that's for sure. 

Welcome to the weekend. 'Ave a good one!

 Kerry x

ps Last visit I wrote about all the rubbish I collected. I'm so pleased to report that there was much less today, although we did collect about half a shopping bag full. It consisted of cans and bottles and tobacco related packets. Interesting. The place gets quite a lot of visitors I'm sure, so well done to all the folks that are taking rubbish away with them! Thank you!
Being a mother is like having your heart walk around outside your body. My heart by two.

Just the spot - a perfect fit!

Nature's steps - reminiscent of an ancient Inca temple.

Listening to the dragon. The ocean was swelling and sucking deep below and the sound from where I was standing sounded like an aircraft. From down where the kids were it was easy to imagine a massive Sea Dragon snoring away in the depths.

Starfish and Limpet

Bull kelp exposed at low tide.

Barnacles

Sea Hare (a little Google exploration helped us to identify the 'sea slug')

Quiet moments of reflection

Reminder of the sailing life when the kids (then 4 and 6) spent many hours poring over wonders on various seashores. 

The kids labelled this 'comic' seaweed. 

Fascination. Who needs tv or video games?!

Sharing the wonder.

A mother's joy - offspring just hanging out together. 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

30DWC - Belated finale

Sorry about the delay...but life seems to have been happening since last we chatted! So here are the last two days of the 30 Day Writing Challenge...albeit on the same day and a week or so overdue!

Day 20: The night of your 21st birthday

Well that was a long time ago and despite my greatest determination to forget a lot of what happened that night I still have some fairly clear memories! Some folks say those days are the best of your life but I wholeheartedly disagree. Hounded by feelings of inadequacy which I covered by over-imbibing with monotonous regularity, I'm afraid I have too many memories of nights I'd rather forget. Nights where I did things I thought I'd never do and then I'd grieve for days afterwards indulging myself in the horror of being a human who didn't know how to do life very well at that stage. Not very well at all. 

Though I wallowed in the awfulness of my teen years and beyond for quite a long time, thinking I was a complete terror and a dreadful person, I found some redemption in reading a book titled High Sobriety; my year without booze. I discovered within the covers of that book that both my adventures and misadventures 'under the influence' were pretty mild compared to the author's and it gave me a measure of relief and some belief in myself again. 

Having given you that wonderful intro without divulging a thing about the esteemed 21st, I'd better at least revisit some details of the auspicious occasion. I seem to remember that Mum and Dad gave me the choice of a stereo system or a party at the local golf club, and I, loving parties at that stage of my life promptly chose the latter. There followed meetings with the ladies from the golf club who were decorating the room and doing the catering. I chose wattle flowers for the table centres. I can't remember what the food was but I bet it was excellent! 

I was very excited about the party and asked a friend who was also a farmer a few years older than me to be my partner for the evening. Of course, I had taken a bit of a shine to him but whilst the shine was not reciprocated, he agreed to pick me up and save me the shame of being single for the night. I know. Now I wouldn't be worried at all but then it was so bad not to have a boyfriend...especially at the ripe old age of 21!

Lots of people had accepted invitations and it was prepped to be a memorable night. I'd never had such a party prepared to celebrate me before. One of my brother's friends came around to our place on the afternoon of the party - my brother and I rented a house together at that time. Of course, we had a drink, or two, or five...and by the time my friend turned up to collect me I was primped and dressed and ready to go but also somewhat tipsy. Of course too, the drinks flowed freely at the golf club and I was soon even more tipsy (not tipsy any longer...drunk!). There were loads of lovely gifts to open and generally much fun to be had dancing and chatting and laughing with everyone. 

Alas, at one point in the evening my 'partner' was dancing with a lady I knew he had a shine for and the dreaded green-eyed monster grabbed hold of my tipsy self and headed me across the dance floor whereupon I (to my greatest shame) executed what I thought to be a funny move and bumped the back of her knees causing her to stumble. Oh dreadful creature that I was back then. How totally awful of me! If you'd told me beforehand that I would do such a thing I would never have believed you. [Even worse, at another party weeks later I did a similar thing to an older lady and her husband slapped me hard on the shoulder, effectively curing me forever of such stupid antics]. 

I remind myself here that there is a tendency not to 'grow up' once one starts to rely on alcohol for confidence in social situations, with often disastrous results. Oh, the shame!!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I somehow survived the night and was dropped home later with a laundry basket full of opened presents and cards none of which I ever managed to mate together. That is, I never knew who gave me which gift. More shame. I'm sure it was a good night overall and that most people really enjoyed themselves. Mum and Dad honoured me more than I deserved by putting that lovely night together for me and I dishonoured them by turning up drunk and then misbehaving despite knowing that this was all about me and a chance to enjoy being the centre of attention. Bit sad really. 

So my friends, now that the story has been told I will say this. Given the time again (and with current wisdom or even just a bit of decorum) I would limit myself to 2 or 3 drinks for the night and drink soft in between or just water. I would not have drinks before a special occasion as I no longer need to 'relax' before heading out for a party. And even though the party was for my 21st birthday, I would realise now that the party was really about the guests and taking care of them. I would make sure I kept gifts and cards together so that I could thank people properly for their kindness. 

I don't drink alcohol any more. I don't need to. I can enjoy myself sober. I don't need to hide behind someone I'm really not deep down. Now I'm happy being me. Whatever that means. And the me I choose to be is a bit more gracious and contented than the sad and misguided younger me. Thanks for the party folks. Sorry I messed up.

Day 30: One thing you're excited for

The future! I don't know what it holds but every day that unfolds is like a beautiful gift filled with precious conversations, moments alone, beauty to fill my senses, hugs and learning to love better. How could I not be excited by the possibilities!! 

Though it can sometimes be painful and embarrassing to look to the past, there are always lessons if you are looking for them, and ways to change and to embrace more fulfilling times ahead.

Make mistakes, learn from them, do better next time.

Love

Kerry x




Tuesday, 17 November 2015

30DWC - I think

Day 27: What you wore today

Clothes and a bit of moisturiser :) 

Day 28: The word/phrase you are constantly using

This one is a bit meatier (seriously, who would write about what they wore today? Perhaps Hugo Weaving's wonderful character in The Dressmaker would have fun with that one, but not me!) and one that I can answer to with some certainty having undertaken assessment one day on Facebook. Yes, good old Facebook and its wonderful statistics. Who would question them?? 

According to Facebook, the phrase I most use is "I think". I was somewhat surprised when I was faced with that truth. But there it is. And I can understand it completely, because I know that I do indeed spend way too much time 'in my head' so I am thinking almost ALL the time. 

"I think, therefore I am." stated Rene Descartes, or in Latin, "Cogito ergo sum." or French, "Je pense, donc je suis." If you'd like to learn more about this philosopher and his ideas click here. I looked, just for fun and may go back to it when I've finished here! It's good to know that other people spend a lot of time in their heads thinking thoughts I therefore don't need to think and can just Google and Youtube to discover. Life is good. 

So yes, I think. A lot. I spend too much time in my head. The down side of it is that I probably overthink and over-analyse a lot of things that would be best not thought about or analysed and that can leave me feeling a bit anxious about things I've no need to feel anxious about. Anyone out there reading me here? I think (oh, there I go again!) it's pretty common. But perhaps not. Let me know. 

Over-thinking stuff can lead to a situation called paralysis by analysis. It can mean not even getting started on something that would be absolute ripper to do just because thinking about it from every possible angle and point of view will usually uncover so many possible obstacles, setbacks, problems and unhappy results that one can't find the courage to begin. Crazy? Debilitating? Limiting? All those things.

Of course, as I'm not a Spring Chicken any more (wink) I've had a fair bit of time to work on this thinking and over-thinking situation and let's face it, if I really went into the nitty-gritty about everything that can go wrong as the result of writing a blog, and especially of taking on a 30 Day Writing Challenge without reading through all the titles and committing to do it on said blog...I would never have started. So here I am, having dived right into it and peering now at the fast approaching finish line. Head above water still at this point and trusting I can make it through to the end and will then be blessed with inspiration to write about subjects and ideas that have not yet crossed my mind and are most certainly not on a list of mine or anyone else's. Sounds good to me. 

Apparently tomorrow I must tell you about my 21st birthday which is a very long time ago and I may have to change some names to protect the innocent! And on Day 30 about something I'm excited for. Can't wait!

Thanks for dropping by.

Cheers

Kerry x

Sunday, 15 November 2015

30DWC - Another Catch Up! Something I miss, weird traits and a message for the exes in my life!

Day 24: Something you miss

The one thing I miss more than any other is having my kids' other parent (Bill) still here to talk with about them when I am worried about them or just to share about their successes and their lives in general. It is such a special bond when you have a child or children together. Sometimes I talk to him about things even though he is 'gone', but it's not the same as laughing and crying and sharing together here on the planet. Sometimes you really don't know what you've got 'til it's gone. I am grateful for the discussions and sharing we did have. I hold on tight to the wisdom he shared by giving me a male (fatherly) point of view. 

Day 25: Four weird traits you have (really??)

1. I don't like riding a bike downhill. I don't like the feeling of free-wheeling or going fast like that. Yep, that's weird. 

2. If I can't sleep sometimes putting the pillow at the other end of the bed and sleeping that way seems to help.
Yep, that's pretty weird.

3. I can tidy the kitchen without washing up, just by stacking and rearranging things. 
Weird because it's just as easy to wash up and be done with it.

4. I sometimes get all excited about telling a joke then realise, once I've started talking, that I can't remember the punch line or the start, or the middle of the joke. Pretty hopeless really. I hope I've stopped doing this one but have felt embarrassed many times in the past, gabbling on and trying to remember what I was going to say. Sometimes it's better not to say anything! It's weird because I really believe I'm going to be able to tell it before I start talking and it just vanishes once I start!

Day 26: Things you'd say to an ex (guess this could refer equally well to ex partners, ex bosses, ex friends - not everyone stays forever)

Thanks for the good times and for the lessons. Always there were good times (or we wouldn't have started a journey together). Always, along the way and when things end, there are lessons. I have had cause to reflect on my own ways and what lessons I can take from any 'failed' relationship. I can't change other people but I can change and grow myself. So thank you for being good teachers - and I look forward to using what I've learned to build a richer, kinder and more sustainable relationships in the future.

Only four days to go and I have aced the 30 Day Writing Challenge. I've cheated a bit with some catch up days but you know, life happens. I'm doing my best.

Cheers

Kerryx


Thursday, 12 November 2015

30DWC - No Facebook Day

I don't know who decreed it, but yesterday was a 'NO FACEBOOK' day. I decided a week ago to embrace that and as it turned out, it was pretty easy as I spent most of the day in bed with a lousy headache. However, I kept an awareness of not looking in on what else was going on in the world and I found it so incredibly restful and refreshing not to be doing that. Not to be sharing memes or writing or doing anything screen related. Although I did get myself up and head out to yoga late in the day and I did watch some television on my return, so it was not an entirely screen-free day, but it was close. 

I sometimes dream of a no internet/no television life. I think I might rather like it. I wonder if I could still do whatever my life's work is, and in some ways I think not. Research is so very internet based these days. Books are good but the internet is so very current. What it has made me think about though, is that I would really like to have my life organised so that I have at least 2 or 3 completely screen-free days a week. I honestly believe my life would be wholly enriched if I committed to that path. Screen time has become such a habit in my life, and I fear perhaps a very expensive one in terms of real-life experience. More on this later. 

The 30DWC calls. I am a bit miffed at the topics for yesterday and today so expect me to be succinct.

Yesterday, Day 22: Your morning routine

Really, it's not anything you'd want to read about. I'd love to say that I have a ritualised morning routine that sets me up for the day. That's something I dream of but haven't yet achieved. I blame myself for not yet having the life I dream of. Morning rituals would be part of that most definitely so that is what I'll tell you about. My dream morning routine.

It would look something like this.

Having gone to bed early the previous night, I would awake with the sun and the birds (i.e. no alarm clock). I would drink my two glasses of salted water (oh, yes, I already do that part) then get up and after a relaxed time attending to ablutions I would make a cup of coffee with cream or of herbal tea and sit outside on the verandah looking at the ocean as the morning light played thereon. After a cuppa taken in between closing my eyes and breathing in the beauty of the morning, I would take a brisk hour's walk along the seafront and home again. Then I would make a delicious breakfast from fresh ingredients, to be eaten with time to chew each mouthful to a homogenous pulp before swallowing. It would only take moments to wash the breakfast dishes and wipe the benches then I would be ready to read and write for the remainder of the morning. Doesn't that sound heavenly? It does to me. 

Currently it's more like wake late because I've gone to bed late. Or wake to the alarm on work days. Drink 2 glasses of water. Days at home - it varies. Work days - shower, dress, breakfast, pack bag and go. Far less attractive in the writing and the doing than my dream mornings! Pehaps I could do one thing at a time and perhaps take just a tiny walk to start the habit. Always something one can do to improve the status quo.

Day 23: A family member you dislike

So...I didn't read the whole list before committing to do this in a public forum...

But I will do my best! 

Forgive me for the generalisations but I am telling the truth. I think there are things that each of my family members has done or said that I have not liked. I think there are attitudes held by different ones that have not sat well with me at times. However, I am able to separate the words or the actions from the person and to still like and love the person that remains after I've done that. 

Families are all a mix of people who are, for the most part, doing their best to get along in life and it's not easy. They are our training ground for life and our mirror. Yes, I've learned that often the things that rile us in our loved ones are in fact showing us a reflection of ourselves that we don't really feel happy with (intolerance, anger, jealousy, that kind of thing). It can be a signal that we have work to do in ourselves.

I can say with absolute certainty that there are things I've said and done that will have hurt, annoyed or upset members of my family over the years. I'm sorry for that but I also accept myself as a human being with flaws and idiosyncrasies (and far too many opinions). I am grateful for the love and acceptance I receive from my family in spite of myself! I do my very best to love and accept each of them just as they are too. 

This I have written in lieu of I'm just not going there!!! Or Are you kidding me? I have to live in this town ;) !!!

On the bright side...there are only 7 more days of this writing challenge to suffer! Looking ahead on the list, there's nothing too dangerous coming up! Phew!

Do give yourself a screen-free day sometime soon. Just to remember what a whole day with yourself is really like. I think you'll enjoy it. I'd love to hear about what you did with your time.

Cheers to you all out there.

Kerry x



Tuesday, 10 November 2015

30DWC - Catch up day - Echidna visitation

Day 20: Put your music player on shuffle and write the first 3 songs that play and what your initial thought is. 

What music player? Shuffle? That's for card games isn't it? 

Day 21: Your zodiac/horoscope and whether you think it fits you

I'm a Leo. Yes!

What I really want to tell you about today: an echidna came to visit!

This little guy was in the garden again today. He visited a couple of days ago and we watched him potter about behind the house muscling under bits of bark and rocks looking for ants to eat. Today I noticed him out the front on top of this big old tree stump. It was a bit far to photograph him from inside...I took the first few of him from inside in case he noticed me heading out and scurried away. 

Luckily I moved slowly enough to get up close and see him slurping up those ants. It was so cool to sit and watch him. I couldn't resist taking a few snaps and the click of the camera alerted him to my presence. He was a bit unsure about that and made himself into a ball for protection. I sat really still and soon he decided to move to somewhere safer and climbed down from the stump. He stayed at the base of the stump for quite a while before feeling safe enough to move off through the cutting grass. 

What a little beauty he was. Is there a camera that doesn't click? I think I might need to get one! 
Hope you enjoy the pics. And doesn't the world feel like a better place when you can get outside and just sit and watch a wonder like this!

Kerry x

PS My clever son just came home from town and turned off the sounds in my camera. Problem solved!










Sunday, 8 November 2015

30DWC - Favourite colour and Five fears

Day 18: Your favourite colour and why

I wish my wardrobe was a sophisticated mix of blue in different hues. Or of greens or orange and tangerine. Alas, I find it impossible to choose a favourite colour in the same way as I find it impossible to find a 'passion' in life. For life. My colours are a mixed palette but probably blue features most strongly. So if I choose blue it is because the sky is blue - and I love every different shade - especially the deep steely blue-black before a storm. Blue is the colour of the sea. Water and sky. Two things I love.


Day 19: Five fears that you have


1. Dogs on the loose. I find them utterly unnerving which is tricky as the local beach is a dogs off-leash beach. I love that the dogs can run free. I know they need that and back when I had dogs I would drive them to the beach for long and fun-filled morning walks with the kids before school and uni/work. They were halcyon days. Idyllic. Perhaps having a dog again might send that fear running. It goes back to my younger days when a collie grabbed the collar of my roll-necked jumper when I bent to put something down on the door step of a house I'd not been to before. I understand now that what I did was really threatening to the dog, bending down over the top of him. I can rationalise it all but still the fear stirs when I see a dog off-lead. It's a nuisance really. Perhaps one I can work on.


2. That perhaps I can't do the things I want to do. That maybe I am not enough or not good enough or not dedicated enough or not something enough. Of course, I know that is all negative self-talk and it's a lot of rubbish because as long as my wants are within the bounds of reason, there is no reason they're not achievable other than by observing my own mind's limiting beliefs. I can definitely work on that one!


3. I will be forever battling with stuff. You know, stuff. Books, magazines, shoe boxes, jewellery, paper stacks, creams and lotions and bedding and clothes and cleaning materials and containers and food and furniture and ...you get the picture. I am minimalist at heart I'm sure. Just the necessaries and perhaps a very few 'just for pleasures'. But somehow I seem to be a magnet for stuff! It is not wanting to waste - perhaps my creative self can always see another use for an item - but often things just sit and wait for me to finally throw them out. To overcome this fear I need to develop a system that allows much less stuff to come my way. Stuff can kind of validate us sometimes. Gifts are lovely and they let us know someone cared enough to put thought into something for us. But even they can amass over the years and become stifling. I know loads of people who live in houses quite stuffed with stuff and they seem perfectly happy with it. But not me. I'm afraid I will drown.


4. Swimming in the ocean. Now that's a bit mad given that I used to live on a cruising yacht, but I just don't feel comfortable in the ocean. I used to get in, swim two strokes away from the boat and back. Just get wet and get out. Or I would swim around the boat but right next to it, up close as that is meant to be some protection from sharks. I don't like the idea of the being in the water with so many biting, stinging, dangerous, eating things. I love that they exist. I wonder at their beauty and magnificence and enjoy them best from the safety of the deck or dry land. I do go in the ocean if the weather is hot enough and the water is not too freezing (as it usually is down here) but I don't go in for long. I have huge respect for friends and others that throw themselves in the deep with apparently reckless abandon and find enjoyment in it. Leaves me gobsmacked and rather envious I must say. Not sure if I can work on this one or even if I really want to. It was nerve wracking enough watching a friend's dog fetching a pine cone from the sea down at the beach last week. Not much hope for me I don't think.


5. Parenting is the other one. Sometimes I fear that I've made a complete shambles of it all. I'm glad my kids are strong and independent in their own different ways. I'm thankful that we all talk and love each other. But I fear that sometimes I've made life very difficult for them. And even though I've been doing this parenting thing for 25 years now, I'm still not sure about what I'm doing or how. I just do what I hope is right and then hope for the best for them. I think this is a fear shared by many parents. There are books about child-raising but nothing prepares you for what it is really about. Day in, day out. It can be wonderful and rewarding and devastating and frustrating and challenging. All on one day. Over and over again. I love my children more than I can say. I carry their pain and suffering in my heart. I wait for days when there is more joy. Someone once wrote that having a child is like having your heart walk around outside your body. That seems about right. This fear is just one I have to live with. Perhaps it even seems necessary. I guess I take that job very seriously. Perhaps I just need to meditate more. 


Tomorrow - music.


Cheers


Kerry x

Friday, 6 November 2015

30DWC - A quote you try to live by

Day 17: A quote you try to live by

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do."  Edward Everett Hale (www.brainyquote.com)


It's natural to be overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done in this world, everyone that could use a hand or a listening ear. It's not hard to be so caught up in the impossibility of it all that it effectively immobilises you so that you don't do anything. It's easy to feel guilty because you think you're not doing enough. To help. It's easy to think that the small things you can do make no difference. It's easy to suffer from paralysis by over-analysis. 

Like the quote says, I am just one single human being. One. 
I can do something. 
I can listen. 
I can give a hug. 
I can write something that might resonate with someone else. 
I can make a cup of tea for someone. 
I can light a candle for someone. 

To me, this quote means I will be strong in the face of overwhelm and just do what I can do. 
I will allow that to be enough. 
I will accept that the small things I can do are enough. 
I will know that there are billions of other 'ones' out there doing their small things to improve life for others in some way too. 
I will trust that I don't have to do it all. 
I will accept that I am one and that whilst I can help and do, I am a 'being' not a 'doing' so I must sometimes just be and be comfortable with the fact that I am not indispensable. Life goes on. Others fill the gap where I have been if I need to take some time for myself. It's okay to take care of myself too. Sometimes the very best thing I can do is to take care of me.

I love this quote because it is simple. I used to have it on the wall in my classroom. Teachers suffer from overwhelm on a regular basis. They can feel responsible for every action and attitude displayed in their classroom or their school and that is reflects on them as people (however utterly ridiculous this concept is). They can try and try to help a student and feel like they are making no progress. It is hard. This quote reminds me to just do what I can do. I can't do more than giving my best. And that is good enough.

I have one other quote I really like by Sir Edmund Hilary who famously said, "It's not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves." I'm on a pretty constant mission to conquer my 'self' in order to redeem my health. It's been a rough road but I know I can do it with a bit of help from my friends and support from my naturopath...but mostly, it's up to me (back to quote one!).

What are your favourite quotes? 
Cheers for now!
Kerry x

Thursday, 5 November 2015

30DWC - Bullet your entire day

Day 16: Bullet your entire day

This is the condensed version - otherwise how hellish boring would it be for you to examine the minutiae of my life!


  • Woke late because I stayed up late last night listening to Byron Katie on Youtube.
  • Washed dishes and left to air dry.
  • Talked with Mark and listened a lot.
  • Made a 'fridge' salad - massive bowl to keep us going all day.
  • Checked the mail.
  • Highlight of the day - visited a lovely friend I've not seen for a while and cuddled her wee five day old baby son - and enjoyed her super-delicious home-made lemon bliss balls. 
  • Home again, home again jiggety-jig.
  • Rang a friend and chatted a while.
  • Bought a ticket online for tonight's lotto (wish me good luck!)
  • Looked up the title for today's writing challenge.
  • Wrote this. 


I have taken a reduced load at work this term to rest and recuperate from life a bit. I can't tell you how grateful I am to have the time and energy to go visiting and to phone and chat. It is such a beautiful gift to have given myself. The other option was to keep driving myself until I dropped in my tracks (not so much physically but mentally and emotionally)...and in the end I considered that not to be an option. I'm grateful for the support I've had from friends, family and work colleagues to be able to take a little time for self-care. Note to self: as fascinating as Byron Katie and her work might be, earlier nights fit better into the self-care picture. Thank you.

Hope you've had a good day too!

Tomorrow a quote I try to live by...

See you then!

Cheers for now...

Kerry x



Wednesday, 4 November 2015

30DWC - Three Pet Peeves

Day 15 - Halfway! Three Pet Peeves

1. The inadequacy of internet provision in rural areas and the high cost of pre-paid internet. Seems to me that in this day and age where so much of life is reliant on good internet speed that governments could provide the infrastructure they promise and not do a half-assed job of it. In the meantime businesses hold less stock because people tend to shop online so much now and rural folk are the ones most affected by these inconveniences. So whilst there are so many advantages to living in the bush or far from the madding crowd, it would be really nice to have things sorted so they were a bit more affordable and a bit more reliable.

2. Litter. Come on people. You know that it makes the environment look ugly and that often the rubbish can cause real issues for wildlife - especially in the oceans and waterways. Pick up after yourselves. Take it home. Dispose of it thoughtfully and properly. Thank you. Please encourage others to do the same.

3. Mobile phones and the way people allow them to interfere with face to face communication. Yes, I've been guilty too. Please talk to the person you are with and attend to the phone call/message later. If they didn't leave a message it's not important. If they really need you they will call again. We are all on constant alert in case the phone ring, beeps or vibrates. Seriously, I think it has come to point where this is no longer enhancing life but is detracting from the pleasure of being where we are and truly in the presence of those we are with. Along with this is the habit of photographing everything that is going on. I was showing a young friend some photos of my two children when they were babies. I took quite a lot I thought. There were very few of the first days though because they were born at home and we were just busy with getting to know them. My young friend laughed and said she had about four and a half thousand pictures of her wee son who is just ten weeks old. Sometimes I wonder if we are actually missing something important because we are so busy taking photos. 

4. Which reminds me of how much I dislike 'selfies' taken in public bathroom mirrors. Please gals, a little dignity. That is all. 

I'm really only supposed to write three but number four jumped into my head at the last minute and I just had to say it!!!

Have a great day. Sun is shining here and I'm heading off soon on a minor adventure to do some grocery shopping and buy a ladder. Perhaps there will be some window washing done in the near future. Now there's a pet peeve...window washing...someone should design self-cleaning windows!

Cheers,

Kerry x

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

30DWC - Your life in 7 years

Day 14: Your life in 7 years

Looks like it's time to dream a little. Of course I can't KNOW what my life will look like in 7 years but I can dream. Sometimes I think my dreams are too small...but then I really like them so they must be right for me.

In 7 years I will have celebrated my 64th birthday. By some wonderful miracle I will be in one of two situations. I will own a campervan - a reasonably comfortable one but not ostentatious - and be enjoying the freedom of following my nose around the country OR I will somehow own a wee cottage by the sea.

If I'm travelling then I'll have work that travels with me. I will not be tied to working every day or in any particular place. I will not need a lot of money; just enough to mean I don't need to worry should I or the vehicle require mechanical maintenance! My days will be filled with meeting interesting people and seeing beautiful places...or just new places. I hope my mind will be filled with things to write about.

My cottage will have a room for me to write in. It will be filled with books and unique or unusual items that have caught my eye or have found their way to me as gifts. My writing room will have a large wooden table so I can spread myself out and surround myself with things that inspire me to dream. There will be a kitchen that is well equipped with good quality basic tools that allow and entice me to prepare tasty, healthy meals for myself and my guests. I will have enough visitors to keep life interesting and enjoyable and enough time alone to regenerate and think without interruptions. And to write. There will be a wood fire and somehow my wood stack will be replenished with ease. Well, perhaps my wood fire will be so economical that it needs very little fuel. That would be ideal. On the other hand, I may choose to live at a slightly warmer latitude so a fire is not necessary.

In my dream I will of course see my grown children quite often and enjoy hearing stories about their lives and about their dreams too. My kids will be 32 and 29 by then so I guess many things will have changed. They will both be well and following a path in life that brings them both joy and the challenges they need to grow. We can all enjoy opportunities to grow for our whole lives if we are open to use them. I will be continuing to learn and grow each day too. Sixty-four is still young!

The health challenges I've had in recent times will be nought but a distant memory and I will have my lifestyle organised to support my health and well-being in the best possible ways. I will know myself even better than I do now and so will be able to make the best choices for myself. 

I will read and hear good news about our planet - about collective humanity taking a shared sigh and letting go of warring and destruction of each other and the Earth. My life will be simple and gentle. I will not have many things more than I have now...perhaps I will have less. That would be my preference. To have less. I would know that my family are well provided for as money will come to my hands with ease and without concern. 

There will be time to spend outside enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, birds and watching visitors to the garden - like the little echidna who pottered about outside collecting ants today. Time, time, time. It will be my most precious resource and I shall know better then how to spend it well. 

My needs will be few and so will be easily met. A simple life for me. Keep it simple. That will be my mantra. For in keeping it simple there is time for a walk or some yoga or a quiet, restorative meditation. A meal with friends. Story telling and laughter. 

I could dream big and imagine myself doing 'big' things in life, but somehow even the thought of that is exhausting. I think I would rather be doing small things well. Perhaps small things are able to touch hearts and people in ways we least expect. That is how I would rather work. Quietly and at a pace not so hectic that my values are lost in the rush. 

My life will be my own. That is not to say it won't be shared. I hope it will, with many. But I will not be charging towards my final hours, however distant they may be, with the sense that someone else is in charge. That society has me so entwined in its web so I can't move at a pace that pleases me. No. The next few years will be spent doing my utmost to ensure that I am free to enjoy each day to the max!

This is writing when tired. Time to rest my weary head so no more editing...

Wonder how close I am to the truth? 

What will you be doing in 7 years?

Cheers

Kerry x

30DWC - Your commute to and from work/school/etc.

Day 13: Your commute to and from work/school/etc.

At least I don't have to remember too far back in time for this one as I went to work today! For me school/work are one and the same. I only have a short distance to commute and I live nearly at the end of the world so there is very little traffic. I usually pass a school bus that is heading to a school further up the valley and give the driver a friendly wave on the way. It's always good to see that bus coming towards me because I know I'll get to work on time!

The end of my road provides a vista of the bay which changes in colour and tone in accordance with the weather. It can be dark and menacing or bright and beautiful...or any shade in between. It can be smooth as glass or filled with rolling, foam-topped waves threatening to redesign that familiar shoreline. Some days it is dressed in rainbows. The islands bid me a brief 'Good morning' as I turn and head along the road that follows the coast. 

As if to challenge the bay and its beauty, I am soon afforded the sight of magnificent Adamson's Peak. The mountain is stunning whether graced with a scarf of wispy cloud or back-lit by a stark blue sky. In winter and sometimes autumn or spring it might be wearing a snowy white beanie. Always it is breathtaking and provides a fantastic backdrop to our town. 

I scoot around a few curves in the road, slow down a little past the park and caravan park and soon find myself turning into the school grounds to park. I usually spend a moment or two to gather my thoughts. I'm often rushing and it's embarrassing to think that colleagues who travel much greater distances get to work ahead of me. I find it hard to leave my quiet little home in the morning. I love best the days when I can move at a leisurely pace and stay or leave as it suits me (weekends and holidays!!). 

Heading home I am lucky enough to have the option of stopping off for a stroll by the sea or a brisk walk. If necessary I can unload the worries and woes of the day to any willing seagull or oyster-catcher, and if I'm lucky I might catch sight of a soaring sea eagle or goshawk. I can gulp in lungfuls of some of the freshest and least interrupted air on the planet. 

Admittedly I don't actually do that as often as I might. Writing about it here though, makes me realise that I am beyond lucky to have this opportunity and it is decidedly remiss of me not to make best advantage of it. Hold me to it people. I promise to take a walk tomorrow and I'll think of you all out there. Mostly I scoot back around those bends with the mountain watching my back 'til I'm back up the hill with the kettle on and peering at the bay from a distance.

All the same, whether I'm coming or going, I am grateful beyond words for what has to be the best commute in the world. I sometimes think about people living in the midst of great cities with fumes and pollution making air hard to breathe. I think of being trapped in traffic jams for miles and feeling the tension of all that frustration and fear of road rage erupting from others strung out to the end of their tethers.  For all the convenience that might afford - cinemas and theatres, restaurants and events, shopping and galleries, libraries and museums - I wouldn't swap places, no way. 

Cheers for now

Kerry x


Sunday, 1 November 2015

30DWC - Two words/phrases that make you laugh

Day 12: Two words or phrases that make you laugh

Really? Gah! I don't know!!

Maybe...

Don't laugh!!!

Contrary creature that I can be...that may just work.

Otherwise it might be two clever words or phrases creating a punchline for a great joke...

Perhaps...

You won!!

Especially if it was that elusive lotto win.

Or...

Happy Birthday!!

Maybe I'm over-thinking this one but I am honestly completely stuck.

Do tell me...two words or phrases that make you laugh...I can't wait to hear.

Cheers for now - hope you've had a very grand weekend!

Kerry x

30DWC - Fruit and relationship

Day 10 (Yesterday) : A fruit you dislike and why

This is yesterday's challenge and one I didn't write about because I came home after work and went straight to bed with another of those lousy headaches. I think headaches are my least favourite fruit. I write this with the confidence that I can choose anything I like to be fruit as I clearly remember the day my boyfriend (who was later to be my husband - it all feels like a past life now) announced that lamb was his favourite fruit. So if that can be so, my declaration for least favourite can also be. I have no need to explain why I dislike headaches do I? No, I thought not. Thank you.

I fall victim to this desperate ploy as I honestly cannot remember trying a fruit I didn't enjoy unless I call upon an unripe pawpaw I ventured to try in my long distant past. But that wasn't the pawpaw's fault. I've heard lots of people say they don't like avocado. I think this might be because they've never eaten a properly ripened, creamy, delicious, fresh avocado. Likewise, until I ate a properly ripened fresh, sweet, delicious pawpaw in New Caledonia back in my sailing days, I thought I didn't like pawpaw. But then I discovered that I do...I LOVE them!! So, that's the fruit thing dealt with. All fruits are delicious if eaten at their optimum ripeness, free of disease or damage. Simple really. They are made that way so that we will spread the seed. Mother nature at her best. And so that we'll eat lots of them to fatten us up ready for the winter months and some form of hibernation (or at least lack, something we nowadays don't understand due to supermarkets and the global economy). 

Day 11 (Today) : Your current relationship; if single, discuss that too

What a shame it didn't say currant or I could just have written about fruit again. Alas no. My current relationship is indeed being at one with myself. It is a happy affair where I can get upset with myself but usually manage to get over it before the sun goes down so that it won't affect my digestion or my sleep. Really though, I've been single for seven out of the past ten years or so. 

I'll be honest and say that a lot of that time hasn't been easy as there is a kind of stigma attached to being single. It's a bit like no one wants you while you're stuck in that rut of thinking that being on your own is not being in relationship. That it is being alone. That it is being lonely. I've walked around the block all teary and thinking about how long I've been alone and dreading what might be years alone or possibly the rest of my lifetime. I've felt miserable and sorry for myself. I've invested in books on relationships and listened to CDs about relationships and thought about my past relationships and what I can learn from them and how I might do things differently. I've thought about what's wrong with me...and through it all I've slowly come to understand something quite simple and quite remarkable and incredibly valuable. 

I like being by myself. I enjoy my own company. I am happy to go to the pictures or out for a meal on my own. I don't mind being on my own. Being 'unattached' doesn't mean I'm unloved or unlovable. I have grown to understand that love comes at me from so many directions that I never need to feel lonely. I have come to understand that much of the sadness I felt was actually due to my life not meeting up with 'expectations'. These expectations are planted in each of us from a young age via social conditioning and media such as storytelling, television, movies, books and comics. And of course, life doesn't always fit those patterns so we can feel somehow 'less' or that we've missed out.

Each one of us has the gift of a life to live. We can choose how we live it. Not always the circumstances, but always the way we respond to those circumstances. I believe now that I can't possibly give my best in a relationship until I can be happy on my own. It's taken me a long time to find this place. I am happy being on my own. That is not to say that I wouldn't be delighted to find a mate who would be happy to share my life and who would be happy to share his life with me. That would be a whole new adventure. I think I might be kind of sad not to have the opportunity to put all the learning I've done into practice. But the thing is, we don't always get to choose the circumstances. And it's important to be able to choose to be happy either way. I really believe that is the gift I've found for myself now. 

Just in case there is anyone out there newly single who is not quite at the being happy with it state yet, or someone who has been single for a long time and still hasn't discovered the things that are properly awesome about it I'm giving you a list to consider:

Benefits of Singlehood

  1. If you're clever enough not to have pets (yes they are lovable and gorgeous but they are also a tie) then you can just up and go where you like and when you like without having to wait for someone else to be organised too. 
  2. And without them being secretly unhappy about accompanying you because they'd rather watch the footy.
  3. And return when you feel like it sometimes via completely unplanned detours. Awesome!
  4. You can leave the dishes all day or all week if you like...or you can wash up everything as you go, dry it and put it away. 
  5. You can sleep on both sides of the bed - at the same time if you wish.
  6. A hot water bottle is a very fine bed companion that doesn't moan if you chuck it out when things get too hot and sweaty.
  7. You can read all night if you're into a good book.
  8. This is a fantastic chance to get to know yourself really well. I'll bet there are things you don't know about yourself yet. Hobbies and interests undiscovered. Go seeking and you will find all sorts of new delights to fill your time with.
  9. Cooking is something you do only if you feel like it - how awesome is that!!
  10. You can get a pet if you want one - and it can be any kind you like - but you will have to take full responsibility.
  11. The bathroom IS ALL YOURS :)
  12. Did I mention the cooking - ONLY if you FEEL like it!
  13. I can give up my happy singlehood any time I get a better offer!
I could go on but you know, it's getting late and I have a good book and a hot water bottle waiting for me. 

What do you love or hate about being single? What do you love or hate about being part of a couple? 

Do share - it's all part of the fun!

Kerry x