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Thursday, 5 December 2019

Gingerbread Traditions #XmasLinky

One of the Christmas Traditions in our house is making the gingerbread house. Yesterday afternoon, because it was too smokey to go to our outdoor sport activity, my youngest made the candy creation. For the first year, it didn't collapse almost instantaneously. She is delighted but secretly, I've discovered  I was disappointed that there wasn't the merriment and squeals as the 'landslide' hit the house, and I was robbed of my joy in selling the idea of the gingerbread shanty. I honestly missed the inevitable hilarious collapse. I guess that means this house is finally all grown up. Or it just means those interlocking walls really work. Gingerbread Technology is evolving, people!

Speaking of Traditions, Wayside Chapel is under halfway in their fund raising to feed the homeless on Christmas Day. Their Donate a Plate aims to provide meals for over a 1000 people. If you can't donate, please share on your socials so word gets out.

I saw a new tradition, Adopt a tree, unfortunately urgently needed. WWF is running a protect and plant trees campaign this Christmas. Note that while we need the trees for the koalas, we also need them in the process to create rain (see how trees and the climate inter-relate). Whether it's too late for the koalas, I don't know but I do know more trees won't hurt in anyway, and might even help us.

Lastly, Saturday 7th is the last day to take your Share the Dignity It's in the Bag donations to Bunnings.

Linking with #OpenSlather

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Wednesday, 4 December 2019


I wrote a story for a competition, where they gave you a genre and an event to write about. Mine was historical fiction and setting a mouse trap. I don't like historical fiction, and other than 27 pages of Wolf Hall, I don't read it either. As you can imagine, I was filled with little expectation about my success.

They returned feedback, detailed and longer than the story itself. It was all so positive, even the negative feed back felt more or less complimentary. I'd been a much harsher judge of the story, so am now thinking I'll follow their advice, polish it up and resubmit elsewhere.

It's also inspired me to put aside some time and write more. With that said, I'll be closing the blog early and not returning until February. December 16th will be my last day, with possibly an end of year/New Year summary post. Then not until February.

I'll still be on Insta (and travelling around Norway at one point so that is hopefully worth a look). Follow here if not already.

Last night I saw Khalid, and he gave a message to the audience 'If you're a creative, keep doing your thing every day. That day that you skip it could be your big break and your life changes but you didn't show up so you missed it. So just keep doing it and never give up.' If you feel defeated, don't give up. Just keep doing your thing because you never know where it could take you. It may not come to anything but you will never know if you don't keep working on it.

(For those that don't know him, he became a global sensation with a song he wrote in High School. At 18 he was doing world tours and at 21, he's filling stadiums and Qudos.)

So this week I am loving feeling inspired and enthusiastic. Driven and keen to get started.

What are you loving?

Linking with #LovingLifeLinky

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Straight lines

Not a lot to say with these, I just liked the lines.

And this quote by Charles Bukowski: The shortest distance between two points is often unbearable.

Friday, 29 November 2019

Self care

I've been reading a few cries for help on Facebook, and I thought as I outlined my ideas for self care in response to one person, I'd share here.Before I get into the nitty gritty, I want to touch on a response the shame sometimes people feel for getting int the mess in the first place, or having to seek help or feelings of failure. Firstly, recognising you have a problem and seeking help to deal with it is something to be proud of. It's difficult and raises uncomfortable feelings but you are pushing on regardless to get to a better place. As my beloved Augusten Burroughs says 'Shame is a negative emotion given to you by others, and just like at airports, we should never carry baggage we haven't packed ourselves'.

Always remember life is complicated. We are sold an idea of how life is meant to be as children but it's really nothing like real life. If you're struggling in the rapids, don't worry about the less than perfect or what other people think, focus on what you need to do to swim to shore and only bother with those people that are throwing you life buoys. Everyone else can pass on by....To quote the wonderful Dario Fo "it's true, we're up to our necks in shit, and that's exactly why we walk with our heads held high!" Head high, people! Always.

Numbness is often a sign of depression - depression isn't sadness, it can be feeling nothing at all. Not feeling. So get checked out with a doctor because life doesn't need to be unnecessarily difficult. If you are struggling, always go straight to your GP to check there isn't an actual medical problem exacerbating the problem.  The trick the brain plays is making you think whatever you feel is real. Just make sure it is. There's no harm in just checking in with your GP. 

However, assuming you are just overwhelmed by life's obligations (and with children with issues, it can be unrelenting and exhausting so don't ever feel the need to dismiss that. It's huge) focus on stealing a few little pick me ups for yourself. Try to find things that don't take much time or cost money. They are the easiest things to reset your mood, as they can be quickly done without taking effort.

Dance to your favourite song (or better yet, belt it out loud in the car - I know it sounds silly but it literally engages something in your head and there's an emotional shift*). Exercise daily if you can - in front of the TV if need be - anything to get some endorphins in action. Where possible, eat well. Junk will bring you down, not raise you up (I can't say I'm an expert on this). Lastly, find something for you. I have been doing these puzzles (some sort of Mensa game for the kids) which I started doing when I was checking the pieces before ebaying but it's really fun and only takes 5 or so minutes, so I'm doing all the puzzle options before I get rid of it. It's the focus on the activity you enjoy that's important, not the meaning of the activity. Once you add a few little things for you and your mood, it's easier to feel you can move to move to bigger things. 

If you are overwhelmed with the grind, and kids are taking their toll don't feel life is passing you by. This is life. It just isn't always fun. But getting through the mud is just as important as making something or doing something. And dragging others through the mud is probably the most important thing a mother can do.

If you can afford it, I suggest getting some super luxury conditioner or shower gel with a really strong smell that you like. Some days in the shower is the only indulgence you'll get and if it can set you up in a good mood, then it's money well spent. (I get that L'Occitaine conditioner when on sale. I just use normal shampoo because it's ridiculously expensive and the conditioner smell is strong and overwhelms the shampoo smell anyway) and then sometimes I just need to smell my hair to get a mood boost...

I also recommend audio books for in the car - if you are driving all over the place in tedious obligation, at least you feel you are achieving something. Alain De Botton says audio books are as good for you as meditation (again it's the focus, shutting down the chaotic thoughts). Plus it gives you something other than your problems to talk about when you see people. 

Focus on one thing at a time. It  is a remarkable skill and very difficult to manage.  However, it's interesting when you achieve it. I did almost accidentally. I swear by it now. (in all those little ways above). You can't second guess the future anyway, so just deal with the immediate problem and let all the other pestering thoughts wait until you are ready to move on to the next step. 

I know all this sounds stupid but it is amazing how tiny things can make all the difference in getting you though the hard stuff.

What are your tips for self care?

Linking with #StayClassyMama #TwinklyTuesday and  #MLSTL because while not age specific, I do know a lot of people my age really sinking in the mire.

*Note for people with anxiety - getting up and physically moving to a different position can reduce anxiety.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Share the love #XmasLinky

Australia is in a mess, economically speaking, and retail in particular has been in a slump for the last few years. The drought and fires have hit regional Australia hard, so this Christmas, why not try to share the love around a little. The #BuyfromtheBush hashtag can be used on Instagram to source shops and retailers in rural Australia for Christmas gifts from clothing, jewellery and homeware to pretty much anything else you can think of.

There is this portal and this article lists a few retailers from around the state specifically. Or if you have a friend in a country town, ask them for suggestions of their local shops.

This shop has a great range and free shipping for outside the area. There will be online Xmas Markets here next Sunday.

If you are shopping for many, be a little conscious of buying local (Australian) and where possible, some from regional retailers.

And last week to get your Share the Dignity - It's in the Bag donation to Bunnings.

Linking with #RubyTuesdayToo for the red stocking and #Nanahood

Add your Christmas Posts below.

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Monday, 25 November 2019

Life lessons from strange observations...

My husband only just worked out U2 where here. He asked why they hadn't advertised. I said I got emails but I didn't really see any big billboards or much other advertising (but I don't really listen to radio so maybe that was the problem). We then discussed the posters and advertising for Elton, and how it was such big news - though having 20 million concerts in the country might be part of it. We decided maybe U2 concerts were targeting the die hard fans, so they didn't need to advertise as much, and because of the movie, Elton was targeting both new and old audiences, so a more visual prompt in the advertising was required.

It got me thinking.

There's an interesting life lesson in all this. At a snapshot in time, Elton was washed up, more or less, musically when U2 were the biggest thing on the planet but fast forward 30 years and a 70 year old is going to break Ed Sheeran’s ticket sales record in this country and can apparently put on 6 months worth of concerts and that’s still not enough to exhaust ticket sales. So, no matter how dark your today is, there might still be an unexpected and amazing tomorrow.....
And in words no one ever thought would be said, way back in the heady 70’s and dark 80’s* - Be like Elton!

Linking with #KCACOLS #StayClassyMama  #DreamTeam and #MLSTL because you might think you've passed your prime, only to discover the best might be yet to come!

*based on the movie, I know no actual facts, other than from my very unreliable memory.

I love this song, featuring Elton John but warning, the video is distressing (gang violence).

Friday, 22 November 2019

How good is the air quality?

You can vaguely see Centrepoint tower when I zoomed in

I know I shouldn't complain because we are a long way from harm, but the air quality is disgusting, and causing chest and breathing issues - and I'm not even asthmatic, so I can't imagine how those poor people are coping.

I am very thankful for last night's rain, but the app still shows half the state ablaze, albeit not as out of control as before.

I hope the PM has finally organised to meet with Greg Mullins & Co, those fire chiefs, and a task force and action plan is being fast tracked to avoid more of the same. Regardless of the cause, action should be taken, if only for immediate investment in Fire and Rescue NSW and the National Parks staff to clear the fire trails.

 Linking with #OurWorldTuesday #WWOT  #TravelTuesday #WednesdayAroundTheWorld #PictorialTuesday  #MCoW #WordlessWednesday #SayCheese  #TheRandom #ThruMyLens #WWOAT  #SundayBest and #WanderingCamera

An old pic for contrast of the usual view