a blog friend needs our love and care...

on Friday, April 29, 2011

Hi everyone. Thank you for reading. Some of you will know Julienne who writes the blog Mostly older than Me. Some of you won't. But I wonder if you would send some love her way...
Julienne's husband Brandon...who she always referred to as 'TOP' on the blog, died suddenly and totally unexpectedly last Sunday. There is a tribute to Brandon in this local newspaper article.
Julienne is surrounded by her family at the moment, and she's asked me to tell you that she'll be back as soon as she can. In her own words: 

I will come back to my bloggy friends soon but at the moment my house is full with the kids and whilst it is ringing with tears so, it is ringing with laughter.

As it should. But in the meantime I would be very grateful if you could send Julienne a message of love, care and support...the stuff that bloggers are made of. I know she would find some comfort in your words. This is the link to Julienne's blog or if you'd prefer to comment here I will make sure she gets them.
Thanks everyone. I'm sure Julienne wouldn't mind me saying that you're a top lot :)

my creative space...certificate IV in design

on Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bet you didn't expect to see a post the day after I told you I was cutting back did you!! But...I had to share this evidence of my new found cunning plan being put into place! This is one of those creative foci I was talking about :)) I signed up to do this course through the International School of Colour and Design...oh, just about a year ago now!
One thing got in the way, and then another...as happens. And the ISCD very kindly let me defer. Best not to rush these things...you know how it is, right?
But now that I've got my focus sorted...this is one of the creative things I'll be working on over the next several months...ok, ok, it'll probably take a year or so!
Assignment 1 is almost in the bag...I just have to gather up some images that represent these secondary colour spectrums...that shouldn't be too hard should it? I knew I bought all those magazines for a reason :)
And even the mess looks quite interesting!
Head on over to kootoyoo for a whole colour wheel of creatives :)
...and importantly...thank you so much for all your lovely comments yesterday about my decision to cut back. As usual, you made my day. I love that about you lot :)
all images by a tranquil townhouse

Blogging: knowing when enough's enough

on Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Warning Will Robinson: there are a lot of words in this post. 876. It took me a while to write them and it might take you a while to read. I found the 'writing down' very helpful. Perhaps you might find something in this post for you too...I hope so. I've thrown in some pictures as well...consider this a de facto top ten or so for this week :)
I said that I was going to do some navel gazing over this long combined Easter/Anzac break. And I did. I also told you that I would have a cunning plan by the end of it...a plan to transform my life into some sort of organised miracle. And I tried that too. Much more difficult than the navel gazing bit!
In my 'real life' I'm a consultant. I'm not too bad at it. So I attempted to put my consulting skills to work on me, instead of some poor unsuspecting client. It appears that I'm a difficult customer... as the 22 year old will no doubt confirm!
Heaven forbid that I give away my trade secrets, but suffice to say I asked myself a lot of questions. I probed. I poked. I suggested alternatives. I asked myself why, what was important, what was stopping me, what was supporting me, what was giving pleasure, what should I start doing/stop doing/change, where were the frustrations...were they worth it? On and on I went...for most of the long weekend. I was a pain in my own butt!
One of the things I try to do in my work is help people see through the complexity of the issue they're dealing with to the simplicity on the other side. It's almost always there somewhere. So that's what I tried to do for myself. I got clear...well, pretty clear. And I decided that I have four areas of focus (loved ones and paid work aside). 
Four discretionary areas of focus if you like. I'm not going to give you the details (you'll probably see some of them emerge over time anyway) but I will say that two are creative, one is about health and one is financial. And I'm very comfortable with them. I could have had a heap more but I thought it was important to set some sort of limit...simplicity remember!
What I will share with you is this. Having found my areas of focus, I now have two questions I can use to keep me...well, focused. And they are: 
"is doing this/spending time or money on this/investing your effort in this going to have a positive impact on one or more of those four foci Kez?" 
(ok, I don't actually say foci...who would!!) AND...here's the second question kicker...
"will it enrich your life or someone else's in the process?" 
Except in the case of the financial focus...because if it's enriching someone or something else external to my life, (especially a bank) and it's not enriching me as well...then that's a big no- no!
So you're probably wondering what's all this got to do with blogging and the title of this post? It's this. I've been blogging for a bit over a year now. It's been a fabulous thing to do. It's introduced me to new things, masses of ideas, made me laugh and sometimes cry, shown me that I can do some things, and not others...and most importantly helped me find lovely people who weren't in my life before this experience began.
But it takes up so much time. If I were to add up all the hours I've spent composing blog posts, thinking about posts, rewriting blog posts, reading other people's blog posts, 'cutting and pasting' beautiful pictures to put into blog posts, squirreling away ideas for things to make, projects to attempt....well, let's just say that I could probably point to a few 'lost' weeks, or more. 
So I asked myself those two questions. Does blogging have a positive impact on one or more of my areas of focus and does it enrich my life? The answer was yes...and no.
It really does take up too much time, when time is one of those increasingly precious and rare commodities...especially now that I'm back working full time. It does actually steal time from other things that are important to me...especially now that I have that focus. And sometimes you just have to wise up. So I'm not going to stop, but I am going to cut back.  I'm not entirely sure how...as we all know it can be slightly addictive...but I know I have to. So there'll be fewer posts and possibly, unfortunately, fewer comments on your posts. I will keep commenting I promise, I think that's a really important thing to do, but it's not going to be as frequently as I'd like, and certainly not every day. I'm going to restrict my blogging activity to some set times...not sure what they are yet. So if you don't hear from me as much as you used to...it's not personal. Well, it is...but not in that way. It's about me taking control of 'my personal'. 
So there you go. That's where I'm at. Extra long weekend well spent? I think so :)
first image: chasing satellites; others from weheartit

change is good...so is remembering

on Monday, April 25, 2011

The first of the changes to my study...I moved the desk 90 degrees so it now comes out from the wall instead of being up against it (nothing likes being 'up against it' I'm sure!)... so this is the view when I'm sitting at my desk...
I like being able to look out through the house and into the courtyard...even with the ugly brown lattice...don't worry, it's on the hit list.  If I slouch I can see out to the hills too! And you can see why there's a permanent furrow in the sofa cushion can't you...the vampire slayer's favourite spot. But how I love my chandeliers...
Next thing...painting the study furniture white.  Three bookcases and a desk...not sure I'm up for that at the moment...but do stay tuned...you just never know :)
It's Anzac Day today. If change is good, so is remembering. I wrote about it last year...here if you're interested. And also one of my most embarrassing moments (there have been a few) happened one Anzac Day as well. In Papua New Guinea. I can laugh about it now!

blessings to you and yours at easter...

on Thursday, April 21, 2011

from me and the vampire slayer...
We'll both be doing a bit of this over the next few days I suspect :)
I hope you can get a load of relaxing in as well. We all deserve it don't we. Yes, we do.
Just like I deserved to get these left over easter flowers from a work lunch we had on Wednesday. 
Perks...I don't get many but I like it when I do :)
I'm taking a little break. Take care and I'll catch you on the other side. I'm off to eat a hot cross bun...or two...or who knows how many before the 22 year old wakes up :)

my easter promise...

on Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I have made a promise to myself...
[i know this picture has no relevance except that it has the word 'promise' in it...but I loved it...so I used it]

that over the easter/anzac day break...
I will do a couple of things.
No. 1 - some serious navel gazing. I overwhelm myself with stuff, things I 'have' to do, obligations to others, wanting to try a whole heap of things, saying yes when I should say no, thinking I can fit in more than is reasonable or realistic...you know how it goes don't you? I need a better plan. Scrap that...better plan implies I already have one. I just need a plan full stop!
No. 2 - some serious reading time. I've been neglecting my reading. Which feels like cutting off my right arm. I have a pile of unread magazines I can't jump over. Many still in their plastic wrappers. Seriously. That's just ludicrous. And a stack of books that taunt me every time I look at them. READ ME they yell!
[my pile is much bigger than this but not as pretty]
So, when the break is over I will come back to you with my plan...how I'm going to make my life easier, more productive, less challenging, more fulfilling, less manic, more organised, less ...
And if you believe that you might quite possibly be the easter bunny :)
I'm going to try though. It'll be good to give it a go.
A very happy easter break to everyone...and bless xx
Hope someone gives me some chocolate :)
all images from weheartit: entry nos 7602434, 8833534, 6148216, 8905477, 831211, 4618631

top ten pictures from the week ~ 19 April 2011

on Monday, April 18, 2011

Hi there and hello if you're new to the top ten...where in the heck did that week go?
Despite the few too many times I've grumbled about doing this weekly thing...
not really in a serious way of course...you know that right?
It really is one of my favourite times of the week.
The fact that I've allowed myself not to get stressed if I can't find ten pics...
either because there haven't been ten I've liked enough...
or because I've just run out of time...
means I'm liking it even more :)
And that, my bloggy friends is a damn fine thing! How about that...there were only eight! Liberating :)
Amanda said I should put this one of mine in. She's kind. I'm obedient. So I did. 
Happy holidays if you're lucky enough to be on them. I'm not. Never mind...much work to be done. 
All good. 

a cyclamen from the farmers market...

on Sunday, April 17, 2011

I don't often go to the Farmers Market near my house...goodness knows why...it's a two minute drive away on a Sunday morning.
It's probably precisely because it's a sunday morning that I don't!
I did this week though...as you can see. A pretty $4 cyclamen and $2 pots of coriander and baby spinach.
I bought vegetables and a venison, porcini and hazelnut pate too. Eaten before photographed. Sorry about that. And I'm very partial to an ice bucket plant holder. And garden urns used as ice buckets now that I think about it :)
I'm linking this retrospectively (I do hope that's allowed) to Sarah's link party...good life Wednesday. Because what's better than a $4 cyclamen...except of course, a free one!

razmataz photo challenge - what's your dresser look like?

on Friday, April 15, 2011

Every Friday Chania from Razmataz has a photo challenge. This week's was to photograph your dresser...
which was slightly problematic for me...
as I don't have one. Did you see the frou-frou juju in the mirror...never mind...another look coming up. It still makes me laugh every time I look at it :)
So I thought I'd photograph the closest thing I have, which is a bookcase I rescued from the bottom part of my bedroom when I started doing up the boring beigedom that I inherited from the previous owners. I painted it of course. I painted the mirror too.
Chania wanted us to keep it real...but quite frankly you weren't going to get it in its untidied state...the fake silk flowers might disturb you enough! And I didn't straighten that world history book either. Or take out the unpainted ikea box. Never mind. 
...and as it's now Saturday, clearly you weren't going to get it on time either...the post I mean.
I use the mirror and the top of the bookcase to deposit the jewellery I've taken off...so quite a bit of it lives here permanently. It's handy and just a little bit decorative. On a good day. 
There are always books...and of course you know by now that there's no room in my house that doesn't have a buddha! 
Pop on over to Chania's to have a sticky at other people's dressers. Or better still, take some photos of yours and link up :)

soul food friday ~ travel and your inner kid

on Thursday, April 14, 2011

You know by now, most of you, that I'm on the wrong side of 50...a little more than just and not enough for a lot. It's not so bad. Mostly. After all, I do have two quite nice twenty something offspring to show for it!
So I like to think that I'm at least marginally grown up and possibly a tiny bit sophisticated, based solely on the amount of time I've been on the planet...no choking on your toast from those who know me, ok...
I've been to lots of places...after last month I can now put a tick against all of these, but there have been quite a few others :)
...but you know something...when I travel, I feel like a little kid. In a good way.  Not in an "oh hell, I don't know what I'm doing or where am I going, or why did you bring me here, or are we there yet kind of way..."
No. It's in an "oh crumbs, just get a load of that, can you believe it, isn't that amazing, why didn't I know it would be this good" kind of way...
People talk about seeing things through the eyes of a child. Mostly they mean through the eyes of the child they're with.
Not me...my kids are too old for a start (although I'm sure they're as likely as anyone to slip back into childlike delight)...but when I travel I feel as if I'm much more capable of playfulness...of being awestruck...of finding wonder in everything around me. 
Even if it is wondering why the nice people from homeland security insisted on unpacking and unwrapping every single item in my carefully packed and oh so finely crammed carry on luggage when I left JFK last month! 
Those beautifully beribboned Tiffany boxes...they just weren't the same after that little exercise!
I'm also more inclined to make allowances and be more tolerant, but perhaps that's just the grown up, wiser part of me.
There's a Diane Arbus quote: "my favourite thing is to go where I've never been". I like that, and it doesn't only apply to travel of course.
But what is it about going somewhere new that brings out the inner child...that makes you look and linger with delight at the simplest of things...like a squirrel in Central Park...or spotting one while you're in the bus that's picking up people on the way to the airport...(yes Mary, I took more squirrel photos...nuts, I know)
or a kid kicking a ball...
or steam coming from a subway vent...just in case you missed it the first time...
or a musical that really shouldn't be a surprise to you, but somehow is. But perhaps that was the absolute pleasure that the Italian tourist sitting next to me was feeling...it was completely infectious.
Or just loving the dingy tiles in the subway...I'm sure my mother wouldn't get why I took this photo! You do though, don't you.
It's a great gift travel, isn't it? In all sorts of ways. And a very special privilege. I never lose sight of that.
Are you like me? Do you unleash the inner kid when you get on your bike and head off into the unknown?
images: first two from we heart it, tiffany box from google, all others by me