Tuesday, December 31, 2013

So long 2013, farewell

What a year. From the start to the finish it was big and difficult. There were some golden times and some heartbreakingly hard ones.

Made some new friends, achieved my KPIs at work(haha) and drank lots of lovely wine. Best new thing I did all year? Painting classes.

Most interesting person I met? My lovely friend C.

So glad to have achieved all that I have. Bring on 2014, a year of magic, surprise and love.

Happy New Year everyone. Hope you find a ray of sunshine every day.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Highlights of 2013

What a year. With one day to go I want to recap some of the highlights. Moving house has been good, Miss B finishing Year 7 and Mr C finishing Year 10 haas been good, making new friends has been lovely, work has been good, getting ourselves settled after a few interesting years has been delightful. What to make of it all? What I have learnt is that the best laid plans of women and men are often blown off-course. The more able you are to adapt, the better. I have a lot of love in my life and for that I am forever grateful.

There are connections with people that survive and thrive, whatever the day-to-day and there are always possibilities of welcoming new people into your orbit.

For everyone who has helped make this a year to remember, thank you. I hope I have repaid you in kindness and love and goodness. May we continue to share interesting journeys in 2014 and beyond. xx

Sunday, December 29, 2013

God, cars and country

 From the circuit
There may have been an earthquake in Bathurst this morning. I darkened the doors of All Saints Anglican Cathedral where we heard about Herod demanding the killing of all baby boys in Israel. What a nasty piece of work he was. Of course Jesus managed to escape this fate because an angel spoke to Joseph, who whisked Mary and Jesus off to Egypt. You wouldn't want to be escaping to Egypt at the moment.

One of the delights in visiting Bathurst is the Mount Panorama circuit. It's old hat for us now but the newish car (Maria, aka Kia Maria) had not done a lap, but she has now.

I also went for a drive in the country on the lookout for scenes worthy of painting. It's so nice to go somewhere new. The bush around here reminds me of the bush in north-eastern Victoria. It's all part of the Great Dividing Range so there should be similarities.

I always look at the farmhouses (most big and prosperous looking) and wonder what it's like to live on the land and earn your keep that way. I expect it could be most rewarding, with the odd heartbreak thrown in. It's dry around here.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Road trip to Bathurst

Miss B and I have journeyed to Bathurst. The countryside is so dry. Granted, lots of the paddocks have been stripped of wheat but the brown hills are so distinct. One hot week before Christmas has made a huge amount of difference.

My brother Ken used to drive from Blayney to Bathurst via Newbridge so he could do some trainspotting and I like to drive that way now for two reasons. One is that by that part of the journey I am sick of highway traffic and the other is it is a really pretty drive.

Coming through Perthville is a lovely avenue of trees. In winter it is bare, but in summer (above) it is a tunnel of greenery.

It's nice to be with my dad and step-mother for a Christmas visit. They have been a source of incredible support over the years and continue to be. There is nothing better than family, is there?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Revisiting The Hobbit

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien was published on 21 Septtember 1937. I read it as a high school student and really struggled to "get" it. Middle Earth and Hobbits and weird stuff was not my genre of choice in those days (quite a bit later than when it was published for those who are wondering).

Today, Mr C and I went to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second in the trilogy by Peter Jackson. As a cinema experience it was a very good movie, with action aplenty. Quite a few more deaths than I recall, and Legolas, who I do not recall from the book (he wasn't in it) was there  - because who wouldn't want an excuse to have Orlando Bloom in their movie?

Speaking of OB, what on Middle Earth was Miranda Kerr thinking when she split from him for James Packer? We are speaking No Competition.

If Orlando Bloom was in my world he would not be allowed to escape for any reason. Haha. Lucky for him I have someone a bit closer to home so he's safe.

Funny how I like the smouldering dark looks in younger men. I have Harry Styles from One Direction on my keyring and I have quite a few lovely friends who are about, oh, 20 years younger than me who I have coffee and or dinner with occasionally.

When I look at the latest man to have caught my eye in a different way he has blond hair and blue eyes...something about sticking to type.

Anyway, that's enough information for all you nosey types. I will not be revealing any more than that, apart from saying that Mr C and I are going to do something once a week. Strange that you can live in the same house and not see enough of each other. The movies are Clancy's thing and I am happy to go with him to see them. When he makes his Oscar's acceptance speech he will say he spent his happiest hours in a dark cinema.

Four days to go until we welcome 2014. What a year it has been. I shall begin going through the highlights tomorrow.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Please take a seat

My Uncle Don died 20 years ago. His daughter, my cousin, remembered today that he used to say "turn me into a seat when I'm dead so the old ladies have somewhere to sit".

Don's wife, Marion, used to complain everywhere she went that there were never enough seats. I have been known to voice similar concerns. Sometimes you just want to sit and take in your surrounds, whether it is an art gallery, department store or cemetery.

There should be more seats everywhere, so people can take a minute or 10 and relax. I have more seats and lounges in my house than is necessary, but I like to remember what my Grandmother would say: Never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie.

Anyway, Marion died in 2009. Two of Don and Marion's children died as adults. It's been sad and traumatic but time passes and while they are all missed we have a new place to go visit them as their ashes have been interred in a lovely country cemetery in NSW.

It's surrounded by native forest and the traffic on the Hume Highway creates a constant buzz so Aunty Marion can hear life passing by.

Imagine the surprise my cousin received when she went to place flowers on the grave one day a few months ago and a seat had been built, right on the edge of the family plot.

This cemetery has no other seats, but there is a garden bench right there. Miss B and I went with my cousin today to say hello to our dead relatives. We sat on the seat and were just getting comfortable when we notice a big nest of bull-ants at our feet. Another of Marion's ploys to keep us on our toes and to make sure we don't linger.

"Manifesting from beyond" as our friend who was with us remarked.

Happy Boxing Day everyone.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

 Me, in a Polaroid photo
 The Christmas Bears
Christmas lunch

Merry Christmas everyone. Miss B and I had a lovely time travelling to Mittagong for Christmas lunch with family. We had so much food I could probably not eat for a week and would survive.

Hope everyone got what they wanted or were pleased with the surprises.

You may notice some nice furniture in the photos, such is the taste of my grandmother and aunt. We all have some pieces of it.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Excursion to Fyshwick

The last present on my list was for a young man who is related to me. His mother suggested he may like a calendar featuring pretty girls.

Being the afternoon of Christmas Eve I had a bright idea. The industrial suburb of Fyshwick is five minutes down the road from my place. There are many furniture shops in Fyshwick, there are electrical barns and there are "adult stores". In all my years I have never been inside an adult store. Not that I'm a prude, I just never had the occasion to darken the doors.

Today I went to two. When I asked the nice woman near the door of the first store if they stocked calendars she said I was the 10th person today to ask that, but the cupboard was bare. When I inquired what an 18-year-old young man may like, she suggested a pair of suggestive slippers. Then she helpfully pointed me in the direction of the slippers, diagonally opposite the door.

So I walked past racks of "costumes" and various lubricants and party favours and found the slippers. They were not quite right but then something caught my eye. On the wall near me were vibrators. Many vibrators. In many colours and sizes, some with animals references, some with size references, and all packed with promises.

I expect there are quite a few Canberra ladies who will be receiving such a gift tomorrow, judging by the number of men inspecting the merchandise.

Empty-handed I went to the second store. The lovely man at the counter told me he did not have any calendars but he was sure a bikini babe calendar would suffice. Thanking him I made my way to a newsagent where I found such an item.

The funny thing about the second store were the men going in and out who were trying not to be noticed by anyone else...in full daylight. Yeah right.

I'm going back to the first store after Christmas. I want to buy the wine glass charms.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Creating a garden

At my old place I had half an acre of land.  There were gum trees fruit trees and wattle and chooks and a vegetable garden. Closer to the house was a herb garden and what I like to call my wayward cottage garden with roses, native plants, ivy, and anything that survived the seven-year drought.

In my new home (well, we have been here 49 weeks) I have about 6 square metres of garden, but I've managed to include some of my favourites. Moving in January meant I didn't know there were about 300 bulbs in this tiny space so of course I planted more.

I have sweet peas, lavender, lilies, pansies, roses, rosemary, daisies, herbs, strawberries and more in my little jumble of colour. It serves a second purpose as well, providing inspiration aplenty for my paintings.

One of the highlights of my year has been learning to paint and I have a painting blog, recording my progress. There is still so much I don't know, but it is wonderful to have the guidance of a beautiful, generous teacher in Margaret Hadfield.

I would paint now but for some strange reason I thought it would be a good idea to leave the Christmas shopping until the last few days before the big fella visits. So it's to the mall I go...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Love and light

Hello there, I have an idea. It's been swirling about in my head for a few years. It's the idea of creating a  space for art, music and ideas. One day it will be a real space and it will be near the sea and it will be filled with interesting art and fascinating people. My musician friends will perform, my author friends will read from their latest works and those with something to say will have a platform.

There will be a studio where people can create whatever it is they are creating at the time.

For now, it is a virtual space where I can plot the experience. If I were a contestant on a reality television show I would be plotting my journey. But I'm not a contestant. I'm the prize. You only go through the life-changing experiences I've had in recent years to come out a winner. Not in a material sense but in attitude and confidence and self-awareness. And happiness.

I bumped into my reset person a few weeks ago and when he asked how I was it was beautiful to answer "better than I have been in years and I'm painting very, very seriously". Then I turned and walked away without looking back.

Never look back. Live in the present, dream of the future and plot and work hard and ask the universe for what you truly need because if you deserve it, it will be given to you. I have the most trusted guide in the universe who has worked with me over a number of years to get me to this point.

A friend I met recently has agreed to open this magical place of mine, when the time is right.

Until then, please join me here as I share my daily adventures. Now, I must paint.