Sunday, July 23, 2017

Now is the winter of our discontent....

The school holidays are over and the kids are going back at school. My parental guilt level can go back down to the normal level. One day I'll look back at this time and {hopefully} realise that it didn't matter quite how much screen time the resident teen had over the holidays, but right now I do feel guilty about it. Life is a great juggling act and as a one income producing family, I'm struggling {and failing} to keep everything in balance.

A side benefit of the school holidays was that the second week when Annie was at her dads, I was able to work longer hours at work and so I didn't have to work on the weekend. It was great. Also it was TIPPING down with rain on Saturday so we stayed in our pyjamas all day and binge watched Sense 8. I also finished block 6 of the #eppparty and sewed seven of my #icecreamsoda blocks. My mind is feeling way calmer this morning that it did at the end of last week. So good.

I cannot wait for spring. I want to start growing things in my garden, I'm determined to succeed this year. I just want to eat tomatoes and cucumbers and fresh herbs with crusty bread and cheese. I want to make pesto and salsa verde and cook on the bbq. Man I'm so freaking over winter. 

Last week I had lunch with James and yesterday I got to hang out with Chrissy and Jacob. It really is so cool to have been all the way through the parenting process and reaping the benefits out the other side. It's such a relief to see that they have turned out amazing, in spite of all my many short comings. Really I'm amazed about what fantastic human beings they turned out. How does this even happen??

So anyway, even though it's winter and I'm so freaking over it, even though life is hard and sad and difficult on so many fronts. There are good things and today, I'm holding onto those. I'm going to drink lots of hot tea, write a ton of good copy today. We are having hot soup for dinner.
And tomorrow the sun will get up a tiny bit earlier. Spring will come.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Friday thoughts about contentment.

I stopped at the local dairy on the way to work this morning to get milk for the folks in the office who drink milk in their tea (not me). I love this little dairy, just down the road from work. To me it looks exactly like a dairy should. All red, white and blue with lots of signs stuck all about it's little self. The boy inside, always talks about the weather and always tells you to have a good day.

I really like working in Addington. I like being near this little dairy, also my favourite opshop is just down the road and there is some interesting buildings around. I like being near the trains and I like being near lots of places to buy good coffee.

I was thinking as I walked across the road in the freezing cold that I am one of those people who don't like change. I love my house and my family and my job. I love my pets and I love my friends. If i could, I would hardly change a thing. 

I thought, for a person who doesn't really like changing things much, I have changed a whole lot of things in the last few years. It's amazing what you can do, if you just take little steps and keep moving in the right direction.

All of that I thought as I waited for the traffic and crossed the road in the freezing freezing cold. I am grateful for my life and where I am at. Sometimes it is hard, sometimes I am sad, I'm pretty much always poor. But I'm content. And thankful.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Possibly the whingiest post ever...

Winter is hard people, isn't it? I can't be the only one. I should be writing 500 words tonight about "Exercise as Medicine" for a website because I had a couple of hours off work today for a funeral, but I just can't make myself. First of all, I'm not inspired by the concept of "Exercise as Medicine", nope, not inspired at all (don't judge me). Also I'm tired and the day has been long, I think I'll work tomorrow night.

Outside right now winter is hurling itself at the house. It's 2 degrees, but it probably feels like -6. Ugh. I'm already dreading dragging us all out the door in the morning. This winter is pulling out all the stops. I only see daylight on the weekends (i am not exaggerating) and it's really getting to me. I know it is only July but man, spring cannot come soon enough.

There has been a lot of home baking this winter. I want to know, how on earth do people eat if they can't cook? I'm so so grateful that I can. I remember spending many a Saturday afternoon baking as a teen. I wonder (with hindsight) if it drove my mum crazy? I know that I was ridiculously slow because I remember it taking hours to make apple shortcake. I must ask mum sometime, and thank her for letting me because it really helps to feed that bottomless pit which is a 15 year old boy.

Speaking of the boy, gosh parenting teens does not get any easier. I mean he's a good lad and all that, but he's a teenager. Teenagers are noisy, smelly, selfish, loud, untidy and selfish. I have yet to meet a teen who doesn't fit that criteria in some way. Sometimes you just have to have a strong drink or do some angry banging of the pots and pans to vent some of your frustration. And then other times they are just a complete delight to have around, chatty and helpful. It's like parenting roulette though, you literally never know whether you will be told to fuck off or given a hug. Sigh.

So there you have it. Winter is harsh and it makes all the little things that might not bother you normally seem like enormous obstacles. So excuse me while I hug my hot water bottle and listen to the weather beat against my house.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Football is football and talent is talent. But the mindset of your team makes all the difference. (R Griffin III)

I decided last year that Annie needed to learn to play a team sport. Chrissy and James did, and Reuben would of but we kinda missed the boat. But Annie, I was determined. She's the baby of the family, and really there's no competition for her at home, so I wanted her to have the experience. I played Netball and Softball at school when I was a kid and I loved it. I was a horrible player with zero skills, but I was enthusiastic if that counts. So Annie plays Football. Plus Mr W loves football so that's a bonus because at least someone knows what is going on.

Today we dragged ourselves out of bed in the FREEZING cold and went off to football as we do. I don't know why, maybe she was tired; but today was not Annie's day. At one point she got hit by the ball and she lost the plot. She was not what you might call a contributing member of the team for the rest of the game.

On the way home I had a chat with her. You know, one of those mum chats that start off with "I was very disappointed..."

I try hard not to be one of those parents who say I want you to do this because I say so. So I explained how in a team everyone has to work together for a good outcome. Even if we don't feel like it. It's kind of like our family. We all have to pull together or nobody is winning. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person on my team and the opposition are all going strong.

I never imagined myself as a Football parent standing on the sidelines in the freezing cold. It's a whole new world for me. I want her to have fun, but what I really want is for her to learn to keep going when things are hard, to look out for her teammates and to support them on the field. I want her to learn how a team mate will back you up and how there's always someone cheering on the sideline. I feel like it might take a life time of Saturdays to learn these lessons, but I'm hoping they will stand her in good stead.

Or sometimes like today, maybe we just learn that we have good days and bad days and it's ok we can try again next week.

A lot like life right now.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Learning to be in a relationship

I mentioned recently about a certain Mr W.  He's a good man with a kind heart and I feel super lucky that we have found each other. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would have the chance to get to learn to love again, to find someone else to share life with and to dream of a future with.

As far as I know there is no rule book or guidelines for this kind of journey. You just have to talk to each other (a lot) and listen to each other (a lot). I'm sure that there will be ups and downs but if we communicate with each other, we can start creating a life together.

I did not have a list of what I wanted in a guy, but one of the things that is super important to me, is that our values are similar and that my kids like him (particularly the ones who still live at home). Annie talks quite a bit about these extra people in her life that she didn't expect. I tell her that it is more people to love her. I know that Mr W and Annie do love each other which makes my heart happy. Last weekend when I was sick, they went off to Saturday football together.

However all this goes, we are hoping that we can continue to work on doing life together. The rest of your life turns out to be a long time, and it would be super cool to have someone to do it with, someone to dream of a future with and someone to grow old with. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I made a {wonky} thing

I used to make cards with rubber stamps and embossing powder and hot air guns. I taught hundreds of people to make cards. I had loads of gear and dragged it all about the place teaching people. I met loads and loads of people, some of whom I still run into on a regular basis!

Then I got pregnant with Reuben and after he was born I basically never made another card. I can't tell you why. It just happened and I could not make myself do it again. I resigned myself to the fact I was never going to make cards again and a few years later I gave away all of my gear.

I've been making quilts pretty much since I had Reuben. I began sewing once he started sleeping because I was having trouble with my hips and I couldn't walk much but I didn't want to sit around doing nothing while he was asleep. When he was awake he was 100% a full time job, but that's another story.

Sometimes I have wondered if I would get tired of making quilts, but I can honestly say that I haven't. There is always something to learn and I love love love the process of making them.

Recently I've become aware that the way I make quilts is definitely changing. Instead of sewing them all by machine, I have fallen in love with the process of English Paper Piecing. My life is pretty darn busy these days, single parenting, full time work and commuting have eaten up almost all my spare time. I'm really really loving having a super slow project (or five) just ticking a long that I can pick up and put down. I'm working towards finishing a backlog of machine sewn projects that I have promised people, and then next year I plan on mostly slow sewing. It's exciting learning new skills and finding a new love for something which has served my mental health so well for so long.

Having said all that, there is something satisfying about making a project that just comes together quickly. I've been sick with the Plague (a cold) for over a week now.  I've even had two days off work. It's driving me nuts. Being sick is such a downer. Over the weekend I just wanted to sew something and I took this lovely pile of scraps that my sister gave me and made a simple quilt. Then yesterday I stayed home and in the afternoon I basted and quilted it. Usually when I make a quilt I put lots of planning into the making of it, but every now and again I just have to throw something together fast. It felt good you know.

This thing is wonky as can be, but it is bright and snuggly. It looks ok from about 20 metres!! And Bella who commutes with us every day is thrilled to bits to have it as her car quilt on these cold wintery days. For all my love of slow, there's really something to be said for quick gratification.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to be making quilts for some time to come yet!!

Monday, June 5, 2017

But O, how bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes...

I tell the children when they tidy their bedrooms that if you leave a little pile of stuff in the corner, it will become the seed of the next mess!! You know how it is, next thing before you know it the whole room is a mess. For me I have this problem with feeling spiteful. It's one of those things that every time that I think I've nailed it, that little seed grows again. 

It's 25 years today since I married David. Currently he's holidaying in Europe with his new wife. He keeps sending Annie pictures of the wonderful time they are having. (See above)

Gosh it's so hard not to be bitter as I drag the recalcitrant teen out of bed, send him to the shower and harass him off to school. It's hard to be glad for them as I try and balance the budget. It's just hard you know.

I wish I could say that I  no longer feel any resentment towards David, but that would be a lie. I mean most of the time, I'm fine. But then like today, when I realised what the date was, I just felt angry you know. There he is swanning around Europe and I'm doing all the parenting and stuff. 

I really don't want to be that person who is bitter about the past. I don't want to think badly about how things turned out. Because honestly, my life has turned out amazing. I have a fantastic job, my kids are doing great, I have a lovely house, good friends and a man who loves me. I just really want to get rid of that nagging spot of bitterness that lingers in the corner, like the dirty socks linger in my kid's bedrooms. I don't want it to grow and sour my interactions with others. 

I wish there was a magic switch because I'd be switching that stuff off. Right Now! But there isn't. I think there is just a process of letting it go, of healthy self talk and the occasional drinking episode with friends. 

Here's to the moving on! 
Here's to letting go of the past! 
Here's to the future!