Wednesday 18 December 2019

Peace Out

Have a great Christmas and stay safe on the roads and in the fires over January.

Double demerits for 13 days starting Friday.

See you back in Feb, 2020

Friday 13 December 2019

Pick of my Posts for 2019

As we wrap up for another year, a quick review of my favourite posts.

One of my more popular posts this year, while not one of my best so I suspect it is the subject matter that made it appeal broadly was back in February and about Lying and Children...or in particular, being aware that your beloved darlings will lie to you.

I loved this very short post on not over thinking success. Valuing Simplicity.

At the prompting of #Lifethisweek, I've written a few on Self Care - practical and easy tips both back in February and in November. I also liked this one where I discovered shifting my focus could lift the heaviness of my grief and that something minuscule can change your outlook. I explored how I try to manage my grief at Christmas. I also discussed Financial Stress and Mental Health.

With the #MLSTL ladies, I thought a lot about ageing. One of my best posts on this was dealing with the lack of relevance. The other covered loving an adult child's partner, but having no power when it comes time to say goodbye. I also dusted off the Torshlusspanik List with some Chinese Plaza Dancing.

I have no idea why but my most read post was on my 20th wedding anniversary. While it's not the most profound post, it does have my beautiful wedding dress in it. I still love wearing it. In a close second was a #ShareMySnaps post on Sydney

I liked discussing Contentment in this post, and the discovery that dancing raises your self esteem, regardless of ability. I loved what prompted me to write Sharing Joy from the Magic House.

One of my favourite posts, because I learnt something is There isn't always a cure, but there is often a better. As someone who can get stuck in the mud at times, there was a lot for me to take on board.

As I watch people interact with their adult children, I'm amazed at the length they need to justify them dropping out of Uni or choosing a trade (that is a proper job, people!!). This post covers how wrong our generation are getting it for the young people in our lives.

Probably my personal favourite post of the year was Throw the Shade Away, on both confidence and party etiquette. I think because the experience showed how much I've grown in the last four years.

And that's a wrap.

Have a safe and Happy Christmas (the #XmasLinky is open until the 24th December). Keep out of the fires and smoke, and if you can, donate where you can to help. Drive carefully and have a wonderful New Year.

May 2020 bring some miracles, because Australia really needs some.

Linking with #TheRandom

Thursday 12 December 2019

Christmas Gift Ideas for the hard to buy for #XmasLinky

As I'm going on holidays next week until the Feb, this will be the last #XmasLinky post, but the link will remain open until the 24th December.

While struggling to buy for people, here's a few ideas that give back in the process:

4Ocean These bracelets remove a pound of trash from the oceans and coastlines for every item sold. It's a great idea and cute little unisex wrist bands. It's US so unfortunately, it makes the $20 a lot more than that at the moment for us. I had initially picked one out for each family member plus some diving friends only to discover the conversion was harsh. I will be watching should our dollar ever rise up to the 75 cents mark...

Passport Ocean gives 15% of each months profits to a marine conservation charity. There are other Whale jewellery makers but check the percentage that goes to the charities. Some only donate 1%.

In the #Buyfromthe Bush there is this gorgeous toy shop, Robyn's Nest for Children (in Moree) but one of the things they sell is this beautiful baby doll.

Little Shop in the CBD of Sydney (top of Martin Place) has great handmade baby gifts (among other things) and gives profits to Sydney Hospital.

Socks for Flocks - a great stocking filler at only $6. Your purchase gives to 200 Bales  (buying bales and grain for famers in the midwest, organised out of Mudgee) and they're cute with many designs. I got them at my Chiro  so keep an eye out! 

Socks for Flocks
Another socks and undies initiative is the Manrags recycling initiative. They have great socks (not tried the men's undies yet) and gift boxed ranges too. They will match up odd socks and send to third world countries for wearing, or break down the sock and make new socks.

Rather than buy them something they don't need, get them a supply of prettily wrapped kitchen towel or toilet paper from Who Gives a Crap. At least you know they'll use it.

If you normally give little gifts to a group - bookclub etc, consider spending the money with a charity instead. I received an email from one of our book group on the day of the party "As I am desperately trying to cut back on stuff this year, well this month, I have just donated to my new favourite charity in lieu of small gifts. I have given a cup for each of us" I really loved this idea, and you can direct the money to a charity that suits the group (all women, education, food etc).

Share your ideas in the  comments below, or if a drough affected business, feel free to plug your website in the comments.

This is a Christmas link up, so add your Christmas themed posts below (other posts will be deleted - I forgot to say that last week, so I let a few non themed post slide).

Happy Christmas everyone. Stay safe and see you next year. May 2020 at least bring some rain and put these fires out.

Linking with #OpenSlather

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Wednesday 11 December 2019

2019 - a year in review

I have not a lot going on for #LovingLifeLinky so I thought I'd go early for my year in review, as there's plenty to be grateful for.

I started the year with a bang, celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary in Bora Bora and then a family holiday in Thailand. Then it was gearing up for the big milestone birthday, which I discovered I took ageing in my stride and had a wonderful time. Having watched a number of friends struggle with their big birthday, I didn't know how I'd be when it hit. But I had a fabulous party and loved every minute of it.
Photo by 3 Island Whale Shark Dive

We had a blast at Bluesfest and swam with whalesharks in Exmouth. But sadly neither were holidays with our eldest child. We are reaching that stage of life where the family chips away a little...

I am continuing to give away stuff daily, and was delighted to learn we have been called the Magic House, as a stranger came to introduce themselves to me and thank me, letting me know which things they've taken over the years, and they're now doing the same. A small achievement but it felt SO good!

I toured around Canberra, Hunter Valley and Fitzroy Falls this year, in little mini adventures, as well as daytrips to the Blue Mountains and Wollongong. In the next weeks we have our annual jaunt to see the Hunter Valley Christmas Lights (so check out Insta for that). The biggest trip, however, was my 50th birthday trip with a friend to see the Great Wall of China. And it really is great! China blew my expectations, and it was interesting to see how little you really know about a place.

It has been a year of 50th parties, and I'm relishing the all the festivities - and discovering I've become so much more confident than I used to be. Even when some women ditched me on the dance floor, I was horrified they would behave so badly, instead of taking it on and making it about me, as I would have in those old days when I wrote about my Epiphany. With age can come great things.

My highlight of the year, however, has to be the invitation from the Prime Minister of Finland. It meant so much to me to be a part of something like that. I intend to wrangle another invite next year and go.

Day to day life has been busy and uneventful. But after many rough years, I'm quite happy with that. As I said to a friend, not great is still a luxury. Fine is just fine by me! I am focusing on keeping the fun and frivolity alive, the music and dancing on a regular basis, and finding joy where ever, and when ever I can.

I am very excited to be heading off to Norway, and due to a map reading error, heading into the Polar Night to an island very, very far North. I intend to take an extended break and actually write some stories, as I've really lost my mojo there.

 May 2020 bring us as a nation much change for the better.
Linking with #BlueMondays

Sunday 8 December 2019

Fading traditions

Every year we go to see the David Jones windows, the nativity and the Christmas Decorations around the city while we visit Santa and lock in the wishlist. Once you've told Santa, there's no changing minds! It has been a shrinking excursion. As the older teens have grown out of it (I did one year pay the middle teen to come with us for the sake of the youngest), it is now just two of us.

David Jones Windows

My youngest did still delight in the windows and the tradition (directing from familiar memory what we needed to see and do next), lamented Myer not having the old train that you rode but still loving the rocket elevator. This year, however, she choose only to write a letter to Santa. We posted it so it's still 'locked in' as far as Santa is concerned.

This is an indication of how much she hates her siblings living their own lives.
Watching them grow up is hard when you're left behind.

I know I'm on borrowed time, it is me who loves this excursion more than the kids. I probably only have two years left at best before no one at all wants to come with me.

Smoke haze was not as bad as normal, but still there

In this smokey country with it's flagging economy, it did bring a lot of happiness and needed distraction. And didn't cost a cent other than the train tickets to the city.
 Linking with #PictorialTuesday #SayCheese  #WWOT #WWOAT  #WonderfulWednesday #RubyTuesdayToo #SundayBest and #WanderingCamera
Note this Thursday there's a #BuyFromTheBush pop up in the city.

Saturday 7 December 2019

Taking Stock - December

As the year winds down, and it feels like a really long year as we are blanketed in falling ash and hazy, polluted skies.

Cooking : A turkey. On a whim I ordered one to cook. I have no idea why. But you know, go big or go home.

Drinking : Lots of champagne and lots of cocktails. Making life perfect.
Reading: The 5 second rule. I got Kick Ass for free on Audible and really enjoyed it. Then saw the 5 second rule (which I had never heard of except in the blurb for the free monthly Audible book) was in the $5 sale so I got that. I don't like it much at all. I loved Kick Ass. I'm really confused that this is the global best seller and not the other way around. Also just listened to the 2 Kitty Flanagan books and adored them both. Definitely worth reading if you need a laugh.
Wanting: To get the BAS finished. I will be happy when this quarter is over.
Looking: Tired.
Playing: Mah Jong, but badly.
Wasting: Time on so many things. Need to find some focus.
Sewing: Ha! As if!
Wishing: We had a Federal ICAC and some leadership at both State and Federal levels, and also wishing funding would be directed to the fire crisis. It is appalling. 
Enjoying: Years and Years and On becoming a God in Central Florida.
Waiting: For my Secret Santa to turn up to it's destination. I thought of the perfect gift and I'm so excited about it. I can't wait for her to receive it.

Liking: Ugly Duck Fine Foods. Making the imperfect perfect. Reducing food waste in the process.
Vegan and Gluten free.

Hoping: That Australians will wake up. On Friday an international organisation downgraded our status as an open democracy to 'narrowing'. We are on a rapid slide to the the loss of important freedoms. This needs to be stopped.
Smelling: Smoke. And so sick of it.

Wearing: Uniqlo Marimeko.
Following: Fefe's daily story song. It is my favourite part of the day, every day. 
Opening: My tea and chocolate advent calendars. Loving my daily treats.
Feeling: Old. I put my back out again from wearing heels at a wedding for about 6 hours. 
Loving: Catching up with friends in the lead up to Christmas and the joy of watching multiple weddings on a single day. It is pure joy watching that happiness.

Have you taken stock lately? What's on your list?

Linking with #MCoW #TwinklyTuesday #Lifethisweek #ThruMyLens and #TheRandom

Musings Of A Tired Mummy

UnHappy Christmas

Christmas is not a jolly holiday for everyone. The prospect of being alone when everyone else is talking endlessly about time with family. All the painful emotions of divorce arise again while discussing who has Christmas morning with the kids. There are difficult family dynamics. People you avoid throughout the year and suddenly have to spend a lot of time with, to please other people.  An estranged child noticeably missing from the table.  For many people Christmas is a time for all the family grievances to be aired in passive aggressive and deranged ways. Ho Ho Ho, everyone.

And the one that will get us all in the end, the loss of a parent or loved one. The first Christmas without them we expect to be difficult, only to discover it is painful every Christmas without them. I have noted every December I become angry. Disproportionately angry at sexist remarks or political shenanigans, to the point of rage. Or more realistically, there is an under current of rage building that is waiting for anything to unleash on. Anything but the cause, that my dad died. Grief is a very odd beast.  I am at least aware of it when it begins to brew and once I realise what is coming, I can usually reign it back in, or at least not have a blow up with someone important (over something unimportant).

For me, and grief is different for everyone so there is no right or wrong, I think I have a subconscious stress to the build up of Christmas that dissipates before the actual day. If you are struggling with grief at Christmas, here's what I've learnt. Be aware of your emotions. It may not be sadness that is the driving feeling.
While the loss is painful, celebrate the memories too, the joy and shared moments. It's worth focusing on the feelings you had when you were together - it brings the person back to you. For me it's made those waves of remembrance a nice experience that brings me comfort, rather than the painful feeling of loss.

Remember you carry that person around with you in ways you never imagined. A life well lived leaves a big hole but it lingers quite tangibly with those that loved them, and that presence is still there and guiding you as before.

Time doesn't make loss easier, but how you navigate it can make grief less painful.

May Christmas be full of the joys least expected.

Linking with #MakroTex

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 #Nanahood

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