What do I want from Life????

It’s time for a change. It’s time for me to stop looking and dreaming about all the things I want to do and to actually start DOING them.

I want to grow more vegies, get my garden organised, plant  fruit trees, have more chooks and change my life in a positive way.  I realised this morning (bit of an epiphany while mowing lawns and pulling weeds)  that it’s up to me to make the changes I want in my life.  While Ashley and the kids are there and help me when I need it, I am the one who needs to change. Not only my mind set but also the physical side of my life as well.

I can dream all I want  and plan lots and lots of projects but unless I physically get out there and start doing them then all they are are dreams.  Dreams that with a puff of wind can float away never to be recaptured. I don’t want that.

So what has bought this about?  Well for a start off this has been brewing in the back of my mind for months.  It certainly isn’t a “flash in the pan” kind of thought. I have been drifting for far too long and it’s time to start living.

This year has been one of tremendous changes and lots and lots of stress.  

James and Elise are enjoying school and university and both doing very well however Nicola has been very ill.   We still don’t know what is wrong with her and while the Doctors are doing all sorts of tests that is no actual  diagnosis as yet.  Her illness is so bad she hasn’t actually been able to even attend school this year.  Her illness of course has meant a very big rearrangement of our priorities  and what is important to us as individuals and as a family.  

Both Ashley and I have an overwhelming desire to be more independent of the big corporations (power, water, supermarkets etc)  and are working towards being a lot more self sufficient in both power, water and what we can grow to eat.  We also want to get our home loan paid off (sooner rather than later) so that if Ashley wants to he would only have to work a few days a week freeing him up to work on the projects he enjoys and that appeals to his creative side.

We want to be able to spend more time together and with our family rather than running around like chickens with our heads cut off working long hours to pay the bills and having nothing to show for it.

I have found myself more and more researching all sorts of ideas on the Internet.  Looking at You tube videos on various methods of gardening and spinning and watching Documentaries.  Then it hit me. All that time on the net was time I wasn’t living. While I was learning  and getting lots of ideas that knowledge was useless unless I started to use it in a very practical way.  And quite frankly I’m sick of the Internet.  I’m fed up with the time it takes from my day – restricting myself wasn’t helping – and it was stopping me from doing what I wanted to do.  Yes it has it’s uses but it needs to be in very limited amounts.

For some time I have been seriously thinking about stopping blogging. I have been posting to this blog for seven years. Not as long as some but a long time for me.  I felt a tremendous amount of guilt every time I thought “enough blogging or I don’t want to do this” but no more.  It’s time to stop.  I honestly don’t have any more blog posts in me and I don’t want to post.  I’m not going to delete my blog – well not yet anyway – but the day will come.  I know some series of posts are unfinished but I just don’t have it in me to continue with them.  Blogging has become a chore and has been that way for some time and when something is a chore it’s not enjoyable and I need to enjoy my life.

I want to say thank you to all those who have read my blog over the years.  To those who have become good friends via this blog. Thank you. We will keep in touch and I will continue to read your blogs but in a much more limited way.

I’m off to live my life.

Good bye

Catherine.

School Started Today

Now not that I’m celebrating but like so many other parents I feel a slight tingle of joy at the thought of being home alone today with only the dogs and cat for company.

Alas that moment of joy ended when I realised Nicola wasn’t going to school as she was still sick – but more about that in a moment.

James was up and dressed and ready in double quick time this morning.

James

He said he wasn’t nervous.  He just wasn’t looking forward to the school work “cause they make you learn stuff” but was looking forward to the different classes and teachers and seeing his friends again.

James - 1st Day Secondary School

He might not have been nervous but his mother was.  Even after all these years the thought of Secondary School and the crap that happened when I was there still makes me weak at the knees but I know my boy will cope. He has grown in confidence ever since he broke his hand. Yes it took a fight to make him realise that he doesn’t have to put up with bullying or other kids picking on him. Don’t get me wrong – James thinks that fighting is wrong and a waste of time – but he has realised he isn’t as helpless as he thought he was.

So after a small bit of bribery to be allowed to take photos – can you tell he’s really not into the whole school photo thing – we were off to school. James will walk home he tells me so I’m going to have to wait for all the news of the day.

Now today of course, Nicola should also be starting school but she is in bed sick.  I took her to the Doctor on Tuesday as she was having pains in her side that had been niggling her for a fortnight.  I thought she had just pulled a muscle but the pain was getting worse so it seemed wise to see the Doctor.  Much to Nicola disgust she had a blood test and she is booked in for an ultra sound this afternoon.  The Doctor isn’t sure and it could be anything from a pulled muscle to appendix and we were told any changes to her go straight up to emergency.  Which of course on Wednesday morning we did as she was running a temperature and really didn’t look well. Another blood test (which Nicola really, really wasn’t happy about) and a long wait we were told that nothing had shown up from the day before’s blood test (they accessed the files) and nothing showed up on this  test.  So today Nicola is resting and we will have the ultra sound and see if that shows up anything.

Just to add a little more to the day’s mix I had an eye appointment this morning as I have found my sight to be deteriorating. Nothing serious but I do need my reading glasses for close work and now I have (when they arrive) glasses for long distance and driving as I  have been struggling for a while.

One Hour Later…………

Update:  Just got back from Nicola’s ultrasound. The clinic mucked up the appointment and told us it was at 5 pm and they had it down for 1.40 pm. Regardless it’s done and we will have the results and have a Doctors visit tomorrow at 4 pm so hopefully then we will know what’s happening.  I’m working on the theory that tomorrow is a whole new month (where did this month go so quickly) and that life will be on the up instead of the ups and downs we have had this month.

 

Freedom!!!

Yesterday James and I went to Bendigo by train. It was James’s first time on a train and he loved it. He kept raving about how comfortable it was.  How first class was so good to provide a fold down table that he could rest his lap top on so he could play games.  How it made it so much easier for me as I didn’t have to drive – well I wasn’t complaining about that – and at $29.00 for the two of us to go one way – that isn’t even as much as fuel and wear and tear on my car would cost me.

Elise picked us up at the station, we did some shopping, enjoyed a coffee then back to Elise’s for lunch. Mundane stuff but made nicer because we were together.  James’s appointment was at the Fracture clinic at 1.45 pm but we had been told to arrive a little earlier as we might get in sooner.  Shall I just say I’m glad we were amongst the earlier appointments as by the time we had been there an hour the line up at Reception was out the door, there were no chairs left and it was a good thing that some of the older people were in Wheel Chairs as at least they had a seat.

James had another xray then saw the Doctor who was lovely. You know you have a good Doctor when he introduces himself, shakes everyone’s hand and asks your names then proceeds to talk to James one on one without patronising him and even managed to share a joke or two with him – mainly about making sure he didn’t hit anyone and if he did make sure he didn’t break anything!!!  The Doctor was very pleased with how James’s hand had healed. The bone had regrown (it’s six weeks since the break happened) and although when James makes a fist, the pinky finger is slightly out of alignment with the rest of his fingers, he wasn’t worried.  As the Doctor said – “James is young and that will resolve itself in time.”  So we were discharged and not required to attend the clinic again and headed back to Elise’s so James could wash his hand (which after six weeks was decidedly revolting) before we took him to McDonald’s for a special treat.

A  bit more shopping where I managed to get the right size jars I wanted for the chutney’s and pickles I had been making as Christmas presents and we checked out the Kangaroo Flat Library where Elise joined up. James and I found plenty of books so even though Elise only wanted to borrow one book – she had to borrow four as we both wanted to have a good look at the books we had found.  Elise was very impressed with the library and in Bendigo all the libraries in that region are liked together so she can borrow from any one of them with just the one library card and can return her books to any one if she can’t get back to where she originally borrowed her books from.

A movie and into bed at a semi reasonable hour as we were all exhausted. This morning we headed home after breakfast at Macca’s cause Elise had forgotten to get Breakfast supplies in – well that was her excuse – and a quick side trip to Spotlight to get some wool for Mum and more sock wool for me. It was marked down to $4 a ball, compared to $11 normally, but I was restrained and only grabbed a couple of balls.  Elise wanted to come home and pick up the few bits and pieces she had left here and she was happy to bring us home and again it was nice not to have to drive.  She has just left to head back to Bendigo and Ralf, who no doubt by now, thinks he has been abandoned.

James is over the moon that he is now free of the cast. He can’t do any contact sports or even ball handling sports for the next six weeks – not that he does those anyway – and then he should be right. He tells me it feels really weird and that his arm is all “light” after having the cast removed. It was only a half cast so goodness knows what a full cast would have felt like….lol.

Life can now settle down. Only another week until both Nicola and James start school.  I picked up and paid for their school books on Tuesday – over a thousand dollars for books and fees – so much for a free education. The uniforms and shoes I had bought earlier which spread the expense a bit at least.

I think we are all going to kick back and relax this last week.  Nothing is planned. Instead we are going to enjoy the fact the broken hand saga is behind us, celebrate the final week of school and chill out and spend time together. With Nicola in Year 11 and James in Year 7 it’s going to be a busy year.

 

A Valuable Lesson

For months, possibly even years, I have a secret (and sometimes not so secret when I’m really frustrated) desire to have some gardening help. Someone to help mow lawns, to prune, weed and mulch and most importantly they would do the gardening  the way I wanted.

Towards the front of the block

Tractor Mowed. Solar Panel in the background – I hand mowed around both sets of panels so Elise wouldn’t risk hitting and breaking them.

Today I did have gardening help in the form of Elise.  It was very good of her to help me -although she really didn’t have much of a choice. We have having an early Christmas Party here this weekend for about 20 friends and we want to have it outside on the lawn. The weather has been amazing -crossing my fingers it will be this weekend – and it seemed too good an opportunity to miss.  So today Elise drove the tractor with the mower deck while I pushed the hand mower around and collected lots more grass clippings which are now residing on several garden beds.

Near the Pool

Between the Pool and the House – always hand mown as I can see it from the Dining Room and the Pergola….. I know…. I’m fussy.

I discovered that I am becoming incredibly fussy with my lawn and in particular the way it’s mown.  It’s not a good thing to be so fussy and I’m probably shocking you all by admitting it but finally, after many years the lawn nearest the house and pool is starting to look like the lawn of my dreams.  Green, lush – in lots of places, semi smooth and relatively weed free.  It probably won’t last (especially with the hot weather still to come) but while it’s there I’m enjoying it.  Now I’m almost hesitant to tell you this but today I made Elise mow a  couple of sections of the lawn – TWICE!!!!!!  In my defence I didn’t think they were mown properly and yes she did give me that “look” but she did mow them again. If I wanted to be really super fussy I would stop typing this, rush out and start up the hand mower and redo those bits of lawn – but I’m restraining myself.  It’s difficult…..I don’t mind admitting that.

Lawn where the party will be held.

The Lawn around the Clothes Line which will be folded up for the party. It’s lovely and shaded during late afternoon and really the best spot in the whole garden for a party.  

Mowing done we moved onto a little pruning. Nothing to strenuous …just “Cut this here Elise”…and she did. The trouble was where Elise cut was six inches away from where I had indicated. Ok so I’m fussy here too but after years of tending my plants I know where I want stuff cut.  To make matters worse I kept thinking of all the times I have had Ashley help me prune and he uses a chain saw. I tell him to cut something and he would – right where I wanted it.  Actually I think it was fear that I might grab the chain saw and have a  go myself.  There is one tool that Ashley will not let me play with and that’s his chain saws.  Probably a very wise idea now I think of it.

Mulch disguises many gardening sins

Milly posing as usual next to the bed we covered with mulch to hide a multitude of sins.  One day that dead bit of lawn behind it will be lush and green too.

After pruning came weeding – as it always does. One path right near the house (photo above) is right next to where the guests will walk out onto the lawn.  I turned around and there was Elise digging out plants (not weeds!) left right and centre. Luckily what’s in there is tough and will regrow given water and time – so in the end I dumped a couple of loads of mulch on that bed and pretended it was deliberate.

So what lesson did I learn?  Tthat quite frankly I am far better off gardening by myself. While the rest of the family regard it as a chore for me it is very precious minutes of pure peace.  I can think of nothing nicer than wandering around, secateurs in hand, snipping off dead heads of roses into a bucket to go into the compost bin.  Mowing lawns is a (somewhat sweaty and physical) delight and the slow pace of hand mowing allows me to observe what needs to be done in the garden.  Even weeding, mammoth chore that is it in a garden of this size, can almost be pleasurable as I clean up a bed, lay down plenty of mulch and dream about what new plants I can put in.  While I certainly did appreciate Elise’s help – and you have to keep in mind she doesn’t really “garden” – I don’t mind admitting that I did say to her that I had discovered I don’t like gardening with her or anyone.  She just smiled and said “that’s ok – I don’t like gardening at all, least of all with you”.

It’s a good thing we agree on something.

It Was One of Those Days aka A Small Rant

I had to do a few jobs down the street after I dropped off Nicola this morning at school.  First was the supermarket.  Safeways/Woolworths.  Now I haven’t like shopping here for quite some time, normally I do the main shop at Aldi and the left overs at Coles,  but today it was just easiest – or so I thought.

Quick whip around the store and noticed that toothpaste was on special.  As part of my stockpiling I grab anything that we use regularly and buy 10 or more of that product. I then don’t buy it again until it is on special – which could be anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.  Today  the toothpaste was less than $2 a tube normally it retails for around $2.50.  Arrived at the checkout and as the young man was serving me I noticed that the toothpaste was showing at the “normal” price and I queried him.  He was about to check for me when another of the staff – a lady I know quite well – asked what the problem was.  I explained the toothpaste was on special.  Then she asked me did the “special” tag have an orange or pink stripe on it?  Of course I couldn’t remember I just knew it was on special.  Ahh she declared – it’s on special if you use your “rewards card”.  HUHHH!!! You mean I only get that item for that price if I have a special card issued by your store so they can track what I spend and on what and offer me promotions of which I am not interested in anyway?  Hmm as it happened I did have a rewards card but haven’t used it in probably 2 years and should get rid of it.  I used the card and sure enough the toothpaste was on special.  As for querying why I had to have the card – the only thing the staff could tell me was that the supermarket wanted all their customers to have them.

Guess what – I WON’T be shopping at Safeways any more.

On to the bank…..where I then stood in line for fifteen minutes along with six other people while one staff member served her customer – who as it happened (and it sometimes does) had a number of queries that needed sorting out.  Another staff member appeared and as luck would have it had a customer who also had a number of queries. All of a sudden staff came out of a small room clutching their coffee cups and scuttling out the back of the bank.  Guess what by then another 10 mins had passed and more people had joined the waiting line.  As luck would have it I was next in line and I was served by the Bank Manger himself!!!!

I couldn’t help myself. In my sweetest voice I asked just why the service in this bank was so poor? Why did we the customers,have to line up for so long and just where was his staff if they weren’t at the counter serving?  He apologised profusely and said they were in a meeting.  I didn’t bother mentioning that a meeting first thing Monday morning was hardly an appropriate time when the bank is generally busy then.  Instead I told him that every time I had to come into the bank I had to wait.  He asked how often I had to wait – the man obviously has a hearing problem!!  Again I said every single time and that quite frankly the service was so bad in this particular banking institution that I was seriously considering closing all our accounts and the mortgage and going somewhere where my business was appreciated.    He looked at me in shock and said “Would you really?”  Again – the man has a hearing problem or maybe I was speaking in something other than English and he didn’t understand me.  I smiled my sweetest smile and said yes – and it wasn’t an idle threat either – Ashley and I have been looking around and weighing up our options.  Again he apologised profusely and said that in a few weeks they would be getting another staff member so that should help. I didn’t both saying that a few weeks was a few days too long and they needed several staff members not just one.

Now the hunt is on for a new banking institution although the idea of stashing money under the mattress or in a milk can, as I have read in several books of late, is appealing.  Just think the longest part of the whole process of gaining access to my money was remembering just where I had stashed it.    ; – )))

On the the Post Office I went.  No card there to say a parcel had arrived but  I knew it had as I had checked the tracking number online before I left home.  Luckily I had written down the tracking number and that it was an “e-parcel” before I left.  Got into the post office,  no huge line up for a change,  and said to the woman behind the counter that a parcel would be there waiting for me and here was the tracking number and handed over what I had written down.  Sure enough the parcel was there. I asked why a card hadn’t been put in my post office box.  “Oh we aren’t doing that any more.  You would have received a voice mail message saying the parcel was there”.  Mmmm no I didn’t.  “The message would have gone to your home phone number.”  Mmmmm no it didn’t.  Ashley was home all morning and I checked with him when I finally got home to see if a message had been left and there wasn’t.  So I had to ask – just why they weren’t using the cards any more.  I was told it was the “new way” of doing things.  Ok fine – so you want a new way of doing things – no problems……….but if you are going to ring someone then for heavens sake – RING THEM!!!! This isn’t the first time it has happened. I had a final notice card in the mail a week or so ago. If I hadn’t collected the parcel then they would have sent the parcel back to where it was posted from.  I did mention then that I hadn’t even received a first notice and if I had I would have picked up the parcel as we were waiting on it.  The woman serving me just shrugged and said she didn’t know what had happened.

Now I’m wondering if I will be even notified if the next parcel I am expecting  is even there.  Trouble is with that one there is no tracking number so I might just have to haunt the Post Office to get my parcel.  If the same mish mash of notification happens again I might just have to smile sweetly at the Post Office Manager and let him know what I think of his “New Ideas.”

Unfortunately there is only one Post Office in town so the option of changing isn’t an option.

 

My Tuesday

There are several ways I can describe today….

Hungry

Bread Dough

Bread dough – now made into rolls with chicken  and salad in them for lunch.

Happy

Elise is feeling better after her cold yesterday and her car started this morning.  For some reason the brand new battery (that was put in only a couple of weeks ago after the old one died) went flat last week.  Luckily a Tradesman came to her rescue and jump stated the car.  The hunt is on for a new reasonably priced car that both Elise and Ashley and I can afford.  Yes it’s a joint effort  ; – )))

Organised

Washing

Washing is done for the day.  It’s cold and cloudy and looks like rain so there’s no point hanging anything outside.

Thirsty

Kettles on Fire

Two kettles on the fire gently boiling. It’s a day for lots of cups of tea and as I made ginger biscuits yesterday it must be time for morning tea.

Relieved

Nicola is on Biology camp in Melbourne and I had several texts this morning to say all is well. She will be home tonight no doubt exhausted and pleased to be sleeping in her own bed.

Proud

James Chainsaw Lesson

Ashley decided, much to James’s delight, that  it was time that James learnt how to use a chain saw safely on Sunday when we went out to get wood.

Now I know there are some that would say that a 12 (nearly 13) year old boy shouldn’t be using power tools let alone a chainsaw but Ashley and I take the view that the sooner the children learn the safer they will be.  We would far rather teach all three kids how to use tools safely when they are young and will listen to each and every safety rule and only be allowed to operate those tools when we are around – than have them turn 18, rush out with a chainsaw thinking that they know everything and cut down a tree or cut up a log and have a tragedy happen.

James did really well and made sure when he wasn’t sure how to cut the log to ask Dad what to do and how to do it.  Nicola and I loaded the wood into the trailer and were hard pressed to keep up with the “boys”  once they got going.

Excited

Finally the extension to the fence is happening. It is going from where the steel fence ended to the far side of the chook pen. It will block the neighbours view of our yard, keep the girls safe and, hopefully, stop Milly barking rude things at the neighbours and their dogs.

Pottering Around

You would think that with Nicola and James returning to school this week that life would settle down and I would be, at the very least, semi organised.  Well this is me and this is reality and organised is a word that isn’t even popping up on my radar at the moment.

I have been busy cleaning the house and have spent several days pottering around my sewing room – resorting “stuff” and rearranging other parts of it. Nothing noteworthy to show a photo of but at last I have a decent sized pin board up on one wall which will, hopefully, help me to keep track of the more important items I use every day such as the list of needles and crochet hooks and their sizes in both metric, US and UK sizing.  With all the pattern hunting I have been doing lately it seems to be a daily task to check what size needles I need not to mention the other list that shows the different sizes of wool and their symbols.

I have managed to get stuck into the pantry and reorganise some of the food I store there.  I have always kept a fairly good stock pile of the basics we use all the time – flour, sugar, toilet paper, pasta etc but I decided that I really needed to work out just how much of each item I needed to store.  With the new taxes that have been introduced, work – while it’s still there it is obvious that people are watching their dollars more so than in the past – and  trying to pay off our mortgage sooner rather than later, it was time for a rethink.  So I have bought some new containers and have been stocking up.

Sorting the Pantry

I really had trouble finding big containers that were also food grade plastic and were a reasonable price. Well actually I had trouble finding big containers that were food grade let alone anything else so I ended up with these plastic tubs.  They are about 5 litres in size and will hold four kilograms of sugar or three kilograms of flour.  They aren’t marked as recyclable or even if they are food grade but they did say on the label that they are useful in the kitchen so they will have to do for the moment. If anyone knows where I can get 5 litre or bigger containers that don’t cost an arm and a leg and are food grade please let me know.  I also put a couple of bay leaves in each tub and several more leaves around the pantry shelves to keep the pantry moths away as I seem to have one or two who have decided that my home is also their  home    : – (

As the sun has been shining – this morning it was really warm – I have also spent time outside spinning.  One of the clean up areas was my fleece pile and believe me there is plenty of it. I kept telling myself it was keeping the cupboards warm but I don’t believe that for an instant and I really want to use up what I have before I purchase any more.

Spinning Alpaca

The Australian Sheep and Wool Show is on this weekend and I’m off to Bendigo to stay with Elise for a few days and to check out all the scrummy fibres and dyes and other goodies at the show.  I have told myself I can’t buy any fleece or roving no matter how tempting it is but I am allowed to buy some more Landscape dyes to dye the fibre I already have.  I figure it’s a nice compromise. I get to come home with some goodies and I get to play with colour and fibre.  Elise has one of her uni friends coming for tea on Friday night so it will be lovely to meet her too as well as spend time with Elise and Ralf.

There has been lots of knitting happening. A major sort through my wool has meant I have been busy hunting for patterns to use up all the wool I have.  It’s been quite a creative journey so far but I am enjoying it.

Ipod/Iphone cosy - sock wool

I whipped up this little Ipod cosy the other day in left over sock wool. It’s super easy.

Sock Wool Ipod/Iphone Cosy.

All you need is some left over sock wool (this cosy took approx 30 metres) a set each of  double pointed needles in 2 mm and 2.75 mm.

With 2 mm needles (yes they feel like toothpicks they are so fine) cast on 42 stitches and join in the round.

Knit 1, Purl 1 for six rounds then change to 2.75 mm needles

Keep knitting in the round until your cosy is the right length – I knitted for five inches measured from the cast on edge.

Turn the cosy inside out and using the Three Needle Bind Off Method (which is super easy) cast off. Darn in any ends and ta da it’s done.

Super cool and best of all cause it’s self patterned sock wool you don’t need to do any fancy patterns as  the wool does it for you. Of course if you fancy working your own pattern just check the number of stitches needed for each pattern repeat will divide evenly into the number you cast on (adding an extra stitch or two shouldn’t make too much of a difference to the overall size – but don’t add any more than just a couple of stitches) and go for it.  Lets face it – if it doesn’t work you haven’t invested hundreds of hours or for that matter hundreds of dollars on yarn – so just pull it out and start again.