Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A new beginning

This morning I took the children to their interview at their new school for next year.  I am looking forward to them going, and the school will be more than happy for me to do some work teaching there when they need a relief teacher, but the children are more excited that I have also volunteered to help out in the tuck shop when I can.        Once I have forwarded their Baptism certificates to the school we get our formal letter of acceptance.  There are lots of things that have been packed away while our house is for sale, and that is one of them!  The children are a little bit unsure about making new friends and fitting in but I am sure that will pass, especially after the first couple of days of the new term next year.  I have promised to take them to the uniform shop after school today so they can try on their new uniforms and we will lay-by them until next year.  They have also been promised new bags (my daughter has had hers for almost five years) and lunch boxes.  

I have been busily reading Chook Wisdom and searching through internet pages for ideas on chicken houses.  I'm tending to lean toward a moveable pen than can be placed in various parts of the paddock where I will have the vegetable garden, but I also like the idea of a fixed house for them, too.  I guess much of the final decision will come down to what the Groom will be prepared to build for me and them!  I'm really good at the vague descriptions bits of my ideas and he's brilliant with putting them into reality.  I do love the Groom very much!  In the 'big clean-up' I have somehow managed to lose my Green Harvest catalogue so next week I might browse online and think about some of the things I want to order for my new garden.  

It is another dreadfully hot day today.  My red dog is asleep on the floor beside me, snoring softly.  Since losing Lily she is quite the spoiled princess.  The Groom doesn't want me to turn her into a sooky dog, but I think she's long past that!  After Lily's disappearance we realised the value of not just having them microchipped and having their Council registration tag attached to their collars, but also an engraved name tag with our telephone numbers on it.  So, yesterday I went to Mister Minit and chose a lovely blue metal disc and had Rosie's name and both of our mobile telephone numbers engraved on it.  The man even engraved some cute little paw prints on it around her name.  How lovely.  It was only after I got home with it that I should have chosen a red tag - Rosie, roses, red... oh well.

I hope everyone is prepared for Christmas and have allowed time to relax.  I picked up the children's Christmas presents off lay-by yesterday and promptly returned four of the items.  I don't think roller blades and scooters are really suitable now for a bush block.  We will get them new bicycles instead, or rather, Father Christmas will.  I am just hoping someone will hurry up and make an acceptable offer on our house so we can move to our new place.  That would be the best Christmas present aside from having Lily come home.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, November 30, 2009

My Little White Flower

Last Monday we lost one of our dogs, as in she has gone missing.  We have looked everywhere for her, letterbox dropped, placed flyers in businesses and on power poles and even placed ads in the paper.  Yet, she still has not come home.  Deep down we believe she is dead, possibly from a dingo or wild dog attack as we have them on the mountain next to us, but it is the not knowing what has happened to her conclusively that hurts the most.  So, for my beloved white Lily, I hope you are chasing fluffy white cats to your heart's content up in doggy heaven.  We love you and will miss you wherever you may be.

We officially put our house on the market on Friday and had around a dozen people come through on the weekend.  So far all of the comments have been positive, but I wish those comments would translate into acceptable offers!  Since losing Lily I cannot bear to see the mountain from our house knowing her body may be up there.  I just want to leave and get away from it.  Our other dog disappeared with her, but came home, and at first she was really scared of any noise and wouldn't leave the house (which is why we believe there was an attack, she also came home with puncture marks in her that could have been from another animal or barbed wire), so she would also love a change of scenery and a new start.  

The weather is certainly odd around the country right now - some places are having massive storms, others extreme heat and others have winter-like weather (well, to me anyway).  Here, in the North Queensland tropics, it's hot for most of the year, but even today was hot enough for me to put the airconditioner on this afternoon.  I cannot wait until next year when we get a pool installed in our new house and I shall probably live in it!  My poor eggplants are struggling to cope with the heat right now, but the passionfruit vine seems to be relishing the heat.  I cannot wait until we get to move into our new house and I can start planning the new vegetable gardens, fruit trees and chicken house. 

a view from the beach

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A home among the gum trees

We have finally found our new home, which, incidentally, was the first property we looked at earlier this year.  Fortunately for us, there was a contract on it (subject to finance) that fell through so we snapped it up straight away.  The best thing was that we got it for the same amount as the other people had agreed to pay - which was a lot less than it was when we first looked at it.  We know the owner of the property and he is happy for us to wait for our house to sell; it goes on the market later this coming week and we will have our first open house this weekend.  It worked in our favour, too, that we have our finance already sorted for another place.  While I am sad to be leaving my beloved house, I'm excited at what the future property will bring to us as a family.  Every time we visit it the children head for the nearest tree and climb.  

There will be work to do on the house to modernise it but it will will be to our taste and for our benefit and enjoyment.  There is nothing we can't live with (or without) for the time being, and it is vacant which is such a bonus for us - no having to find alternate accomodation in the meantime.  There are good paddocks and a small, seasonal creek at the rear of the property which does flood during a bad wet season.  But it comes nowhere near the house and it's fenced off at roughly where the water comes up to.  It is currently 'overgrown' close to the creek and we'll probably leave it like that as we've been told it provides shelter and protection for wallabies.  Snakes are unlikely to come close to the house from there as there is so much open ground for them to cross to risk getting eaten by the predator birds.  Lucky us.  

I am looking forward to establishing vegetable gardens and a small orchard.  I have plans in mind for where the chicken house will go, and hopefully one day I will have some meat sheep and milking or meat goats.  I think it's funny I want chickens as I am afraid of birds!  The nesting boxes will have to be accessible from outside, that's for sure.  But I am sure I will adapt to them over time and who knows, I could love the chickens.  

So for now, our attentions are focussed on making our house an appealing home for another family, while thinking about things we want to change at the next house.  We are looking forward to spending next Christmas there in the pool we plan to put in, and being grateful for everything we have worked so hard for over the years.  We have also organised for some family to come and stay for Christmas 2011 (next year's Christmas had already been arranged to be at the Groom's brother's home).  Maybe I can also convince the Groom to 'name' our house "Tyrrellea"?  One can only hope!

I hope everyone is enjoying the lead up to Christmas - we certainly are and should have a lovely big Christmas present to move into once our home is sold.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I love dogs.  There.  I have said it.  Why on earth did I ever fancy myself as a cat lover when I knew deep down it simply isn't true?  My family always had cats and dogs when I was growing up, but I have discovered (unfortunately after acquiring a cat of my own after having my own children) I'm just not into cats.  So imagine my delight when I was in Melbourne recently and came across this dog statue near Starbucks (on Swanston St, I think?)  I was in heaven.  This is so cute and reminded me of my white Staffy, Lily.  She always tucks her tail in under her legs, she is quite the little lady.  

Today I bought a new door mat for the front door.  A rather ho-hum type of purchase but a symbolic one for me to welcome potential buyers when we come to put the house on the market.  I wonder, will people appreciate the detail we went into when planning and designing our home, or will they not care that all that the handles in the house all match or the tiles are laid on a diagonal on the floor (which costs more to lay than a simple straight pattern)?  Will they appreciate I agonised over the color of the timber blinds in the lounge room because I wanted them to complement the colors and tones of the walls and carpets?  Or will they come in and criticise my taste in furnishings or notice the little dents in the walls where the kids have bumped into the walls with their toys?  

I love my home but I simply want more yard space for my children to run around in.  I want them to whoop and yell and simply be kids, without fear of them disturbing the neighbours.  I want them to create their own adventures outside and climb trees and dig in the dirt.  I want chickens and lots of vegetable gardens and fruit trees.  I want a sense of freedom when I walk outside, where I can't hear the neighbour's television over the distant traffic sounds and hear when the next-door neighbour flushes the toilet.  I want to hear birds, the gentle rush of the leaves in the trees blowing in the wind.  I want my own "Hillbilly Road" as John Williamson sings about.  Warren H. Williams' 'home in the bush'.  I want a simpler life away from suburbia, it's a gentle longing for something I can't quite pinpoint yet.  One day I shall find it.  And I know it will come to me while sitting around a campfire somewhere, staring at the embers trying to figure it all out.  But for now, this is my home and I love it and am slowly getting my head around the idea of sharing it with some other family.  

Monday, November 9, 2009

How embarrassing!

I taught some 12 and 13 year olds "Reproductive Functions" in class today.  I don't know who was more embarrassed - me or them!  I don't do the 'sex talk' thing very well out of the classroom so this was more difficult with 28 young people hanging on my every word or giggling with whatever it is children at that age find funny.  Then came the MYTHS.  "Miss, is it true...", "Miss, my friend has a friend who knew someone who went out with a boy..."  I was probably like that when I was their age I imagine.  But it was funny.

It has been really warm today so for dinner tonight we are having chicken tenderloins and a salad.  Simple and quick.  That means I can make extra for lunches tomorrow.  I like those kinds of lunches!  I'd like to have the time tonight to make some muffins to freeze but I've got so much more to do on the the little things to get the house ready so I think muffins will be given a miss for a while.  

Today I am grateful for another day of work and another day of pay.  I like working as a relief teacher for the variety of subjects and students it offers, and the pay isn't bad either.  I didn't work any days last week so the one and a half days I have so far this week will be very welcome.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Where does it all go???

We are starting to get serious with thinking about selling our house.  We've toyed with the idea on and off for about a year or so now but have now realised we either do or we don't.  The worst part is having to get our house ready for presentation and I think that is what is really holding us back.  That and the whole timing issue of finding a buyer and a seller so we can seamlessly move from one house to another.  We don't want to have to rent and we'd hate to find ourselves getting a bridging loan.

So, we have realised that it is about time to get stuck into the things that need doing around the house.  I confess I am a bit of a 'clutter' person and sometimes don't tend to see stuff that has been lying around.  Or the bits and pieces taking up space on bench tops.  The Groom is of the opinion we should have no flat surfaces in the house and therefore half of my problem will be solved.  Grrr.  Tonight I'm going to make a list of all the little things around the house that need repairs.  The house is only 6 years old and in almost new condition, but the walls have marks on them where things have been bumped or the kids have run their hands along them as they've walked past (why is it that children cannot walk along a wall without physical contact with it?); bits of fence palings that have broken off; edges of doors that need repainting from where they've been sanded if they were sticking during wet weather; fan control knobs that need replacing because they've been pulled off and lost and so on.  It's hard looking at my beloved house, the house that we designed and built ourselves, through a different pair of eyes.  The eyes of a potential buyer.  

I have cleaned the walls and surfaces with Jackie French's "Gloop" recipe which I use for almost everything.  I use it for washing clothes, dishes, floors, bench tops etc.  I add a dash of eucalyptus oil for the clothes and floor mixtures.  Unfortunately, my son's room had that 'bath ring' effect around his bed so I had to use a mix of water and Sugar Soap in a spray bottle and an old towel rag to clean those bits.  I use a vinegar and water mix to clean the windows and the vinegar smell goes rather quickly, luckily our house is almost always open as we have good breezes.  Now I'm soaking the sheer curtains in some "Gloop" with some Bluo and a dash of ammonia because they are really grotty.  It's windy today so it should dry quickly so they can be hung back up before evening.  

I've done so much yet it looks like I've done nothing obvious.  It's the little things that tend to get overlooked when one gets asked, "So, what did you do all day?"  

At least I've got a lovely house to clean and enough equity in the house to allow us to look for another house that is dearer without having to take out too big a mortgage.  I'm thankful for that.  Now, where is the person in the 'bush' who is happy to trade houses with someone in the 'city'?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Today I am grateful for...

I've been quite sad and rather reflective since my grandmother died.  The parcel I wrote about previously was not the one I was expecting.  Instead it was a rather mundane set of replacement number plates.  Oh well.

I am still trying to work out where I fit in this world, funnily enough.  I do not feel I have a close relationship with my mother or my sisters; I have always been seen as the 'odd one out'.  It doesn't really bother me as my values and beliefs are quite different to theirs, and this was really obvious to me after my grandmother's funeral.  What does bother me is the sense of loss in relation to 'connections' and 'belonging'.  Sometimes I feel like I am a bit of a "Nowhere (wo)Man" (John Butler Trio's wonderful song with its title paraphrased by me).  The Groom says that it's okay, we have each other and most importantly we have our own family we have created together.  He is right, of course.

Anyway, today I have been thinking about the things I am grateful for.  I try to do this when I am feeling down or 'sad and sorry' for myself.  So here goes:
  1. A home to live in and to care for
  2. A family to love and who loves me back
  3. Money to buy whatever I need
  4. My red dog who feels comfortable enough to want to lay all over me whenever she can
  5. My white dog who is relatively small enough to still be picked up for a brief hug before I have to put her down again because she is too heavy for me
  6. A nice car that can take me places I need or want to go
  7. The sense of smell so I can enjoy the smell of our dinner wafting through the house as it sits simmering on the stove (it's a stew with leftover vegetables and roast lamb from during the week)
  8. The gift of life for another day!
I sent off my other grandmother's hand made shopping bag and knitted dishcloth/duster last week.  I have also found a lovely doll pattern on AllFreeCrafts for a Sleepy Time Doll.  I am going to make matching dolls for my daughter and a niece.  But rather than fill it with wadding I shall use wheat and lavender flowers so it can be used as a heat pillow.  Both girls are very 'girly' and are looking forward to me getting around to making it!  I am also considering making some pretty bunting for my daughter's window in her bedroom and also a lovely string of fabric hearts.  Considering Christmas is coming up I may even make some Christmas-ey ones!

I love searching for other people's blogs and see what they do and how they live in order to make their lives and the world a better place.  So far I am liking Little Eco Footprints, Frugal Family Fun Blog, and as always, Down to Earth to catch the latest words of wisdom from Rhonda.  In a sense, I consider Rhonda as a kind of mother or grandmother figure for me.  A woman who is dispensing all the sorts of advice my mother ought to have, and the type my grandmothers did but I probably didn't take notice of as I was just a typical  teenager who couldn't be told anything at the time they were trying to teach me things!  

A big hurrah for women around the world who are more than happy to share their knowledge like Rhonda does.  And a big hurrah to you, too, for being who you are!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The greatest gift

There's a parcel waiting for me at the post office.

I think I know what it is, and if it is, then I'm very excited.  I'm hoping it contains the things from my grandmother's house that I asked for - the photos, the Tupperware and other odds and bobs.  I'm eagerly waiting for 2pm to roll around so I can collect it!

I'm feeling a bit better today.  I have put on my blue floral, frilly apron.  I've stocked up on vinegar and I'm ready to clean.  The dust that comes into our house is amazing, it never seems to let up.  I hosed off the dust off the car before I put it into the garage, now I'm going to dust, vacuum and mop the house out the best I can.  I think a lot of the dust in our house comes from the housing development going on around us.  I refuse to close up my house so I choose to bear it.  I seem to be allergic to the dust and smoke around us so try to keep up with the dusting.  

I'm making corn and chive muffins today for school snacks.  For dinner the children and I will be having chicken cooked in a green curry paste with stir fry vegetables and rice.  It's rather hot today so I've chosen to cook something that is light and won't take long to make.  

Well, off to the dusting.  I've got a pile of cotton knitted dusters/wash cloths soaking so once today's jobs are done I can wash the lot and hang them out to dry.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Remembering the best things in life

It is almost two weeks now since my grandmother died.  The pain of losing her is easing, but it won't ever really leave me.

I am forever thankful I attended her funeral.  I heard stories about her I've never heard, and we reminisced over ones we'd heard hundreds of times before.  I wandered through her house, remembering little things that may not mean anything to anyone else but me.  I gently stroked her pillow, ran my hands over the chair she sat on, stared into her wardrobe.  Remembering all that I know and loved about her.  The most important part for me was to be able to keep some of the things she owned or take home some of the things I have sent her over the years that she has treasured and kept.  My aunty will be boxing up other things and posting them to me, things that wouldn't mean anything to anyone, but provide a stronger link between my grandmother and me.  Like her old Tupperware.   Old photographs.  A tea cup.  Silly little things that others may consider unworthy of keeping.  Once my aunt has gone through everything, Salvation Army or the like will be asked to collect everything else.  This upsets the bowerbird in me, but then again, we cannot keep everything.  My grandmother literally kept everything - even all of her old lotto tickets from years gone by, we even found receipts for furniture from the 1950's!

I'm still hurting, but I know that life goes on.  I'm feeling different somehow.  I don't know in what way, but I know there are things in my life I have to change or re-evaluate.  I know my focus is to be more on family and less on 'stuff'.  Life is to short to chase after one thing or another that we think will make us happy or better, even though deep down we know that is not the case.  

While I'm not an overly religious person, I've been drawn to Psalms and Proverbs in the past couple of days.  I've written out a whole heap and will take my time in reading them and working out what they mean to me and why I've been drawn to them.  


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

For the woman I most wanted to be like

My grandmother died this morning.  

I don't know much about anything yet other than what my mother sobbed over the phone in the car on the way to Melbourne.  

I loved my grandmother more than I loved my own mother.  She virtually raised six children as a single mother after my grandfather died, leaving her pregnant with their last child.  

I shall miss her hugs and the way she always smelt of Johnson's baby talcum powder.

Today, I am grateful that I got to visit her a couple of months ago and that my children got to spend a couple of days with the great-grandmother they hardly knew.  

I would give everything I own to have my nana back.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Things I do to save money and the world

I wrote earlier about a Women's Health article on planet-friendly living.  It is from an April 2009 issue and is on pp 92-94.  I read through the article and thought about what I already do and what I could try harder on.  Or start doing.  Ironically, the magazine is printed on glossy paper so I don't know how 'earth-friendly' that is.  It doesn't seem to break down in the worm farm!

So here is my list from the 43 suggestions in the magazine of things I already do:
  1. shop online where possible
  2. I use olive oil in a pump bottle rather than in an aerosol can (I decant it from a 4litre tin into the pump bottle and a smaller pouring bottle to keep in the panty)
  3. I try to reduce the amount of resources I would ordinarily consume - I really only buy the weekend paper as I read the news online or read the library copies.  I also have stopped buying weekly magazines.  I do subscribe to Grass Roots magazine, though.
  4. not using herbicides on the garden.  I do use white oil or pyrethrum spray but only when necessary on my vegetable garden.  I have 'sacrificial' plants that I don't care if they get molested by caterpillars or mealy bugs etc.  I figure if you give them something to 'eat' they'll stay away from the 'good' stuff!
  5. buy recycled paper
  6. buy vintage - I think this is funny because vintage has now come to mean anything from 'last season' amongst certain sections of society.  Unless it's something from my grandmother's or great-grandmother's era, it really can't be vintage!  I do like going op-shopping.
  7. don't buy more than you need.  In saying this, I do stock up on items I regularly use and need when they are on sale.  We in the North are fast approaching cyclone season so we need to be prepared for the inevitable road closures where the highways can remain closed for days or weeks.  No trucks equals no supplies to the shops.
  8. dematerialise.  I think this also relates to reducing resources.  At least I think so.  I also Freecycle as much as possible the things I no longer have a use for.  
  9. make a list of things you are grateful for.
  10. whip up a stir fry rather than a packaged meal.  My children and I love stir fry and I make spaghetti sauce in bulk and freeze it in portions.  It gives us months of meals as we usually have spaghetti once a week.
  11. buy fair trade, organic chocolate.  I do not always do this but do try and make a conscious effort to, especially when I go to the Oxfam shop (and also because the ladies who volunteer there are all so wonderful).
  12. disposable batteries.  One can never have too many when you have a power-hungry camera!
  13. banish individually wrapped stuff like cheese slices, dishwasher bars and coffee sachets.  I do not like processed cheese and so I don't buy it.  The only concession is little cream cheese portions I confess.  I use washing soda and vinegar in the dishwasher and a bar of Sunlight soap for the sink.  I do keep a small supply of coffee and sugar sachets in my bag as some schools I work at don't have communal supplies of tea/coffee/sugar etc.  You don't always know this until you get to a place and I've found some staff-rooms where teachers actually lock their supplies in their desks so nobody else can access it!
  14. I use bi-carb, vinegar, borax etc for cleaning rather than anti-bacterial products.  I do admit to a can of Glen 20 in the toilet because my children can be prone to tummy upsets and I insist on spraying the toilet and surrounds lightly with Glen 20 after every non-liquid trip to the toilet.  
  15. I use plain old water in the loo rather than the pretty blue thingys that cling to the edges.  I use a scrubbing brush and vinegar to clean the bowl.
  16. I don't use air-freshener.  Our house is quite breezy and the doors and windows are always open.  
  17. I use the microwave more than the oven or stove, and I use an electric frying pan or the bbq rather than the stove-top.  
  18. I don't preheat the oven and I turn it off about 10 minutes before I have to take the food out.  
  19. I use Tupperware containers to store food in the fridge instead of using cling wrap. 
  20. the list suggests keeping indoor plants, but my cat will tear it apart if I was to.  Instead, I have a vegetable garden and other plants outside to shade the windows and walls - my green thumb has always shrivelled up when it's in the house.
Oh, that seems pretty dismal, but then again, I skipped some of the hints because I do do them but not all of the time.  I don't always turn appliances off at the wall for the simple fact I can't always get to the power point if it's behind the tv cabinet or the fridge or something.  I do what I can though and that is all that matters to me.

There are other things that I do that aren't on the list.  We use cooking oil to run our cars, I hang washing outside and I probably only use the dryer a couple of times during the year when it's been raining for weeks on end and I must wash the sheets (we have a clothes line in our garage and also have some little foldable clothes horses - in really bad wet seasons our house often resembles a laundry with clothes hanging off door handles and backs of chairs etc), I don't iron unless absolutely necessary and only under sufferance if it's a going-out shirt or dress.  I can't actually remember the last time I used the iron, I think it's the newest looking 12 year old iron in the world!  So, these are just some of the things I do.  I would like to do more though, if not for the environment then for the hip-pocket.  Today I bought three singlets from Big W that were $8 and $10 each, but I justified that by having looked around at op-shops and couldn't find what I wanted (actually the Big W ones were cheaper in some cases), and that they all went with different skirts I have for working.  I'm happy with my purchases and know I will get plenty of use out of them over the years.

Today I am thankful that I have money available to me to spend and that I don't have to forfeit something else in order for me to buy the singlets.  I'm also thankful I have a husband who works hard for that money and didn't complain about me buying those three singlets!  Most of all, I'm grateful I have feet to carry me around places.  I saw a promotion for a show on tv about a man who was born without legs who has not let that get in his way of doing what he wants to do.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A full belly is a happy belly

I have had a dreadful migraine in its early stages threatening to turn into something worse since Thursday night.  I had planned to go the chiropractor on Friday but ended up being called in to work, which one cannot really say no to in these times.  As is normal for me, working fell on a day when I hadn't prepared lunches for the children the night before and hadn't any money in my purse so we all used up the last six slices of bread we had to have vegemite sandwiches.  Aaah, good old vegemite.

I did read the magazine article I spoke about in the last post, I just haven't gotten around to listing the things I do yet.  That's me, I end up getting around to things sooner or later.  This will be a case of 'later' as I'm not ready to spend a lot of time at my monitor.  I think the migraine was triggered by a whole Thursday day and early evening of sewing my Christmas gift shopping bags, and then I sat up during the rest of the night working on a knitted dishcloth.  I turned my head to see something on television and felt and heard a big cracking pain in my neck.  My chiropractor only works part time and I do not like the other person at the practice so I shall make an appointment with him as soon as I can.  Ouch!

We have a wonderful Greek Festival here and that is where the children and I headed early this afternoon for some wonderful music and to fill our bellies with great food - for us it was octopus, lamb yiros, Greek shortbread and our favourite - honey puffs.  After all that food I don't feel the roast chicken I have planned for dinner!

Enjoy your day with delicious food and a cool breeze on your face - here in the tropics it feels like summer already!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The sounds of magpies warbling in the morning

We are blessed to have a little family of magpies that visit us each year.  We love seeing their arrival as for me, it heralds new life, and spring.  We have been in our home for six years now, and they have been coming here for the past four or five.  Which is amazing really, since we are in a housing estate where there are next to no trees for them.  The bushland surrounding us has been bulldozed over the past year or two to make way for more housing.  While I know our living here has ultimately contributed to this destruction (supply vs demand) I do miss the early years when we would have kangaroos, snakes, echidnas, wallabies, cockatoos, honey eaters and the like as part of our surroundings.  I know there are dingoes nearby, but so far they haven't come near our house - that we know of.  We have only seen one kangaroo (well, the Groom has, on our front grass in the early hours of the day when he was heading off to work), and one echidna in our yard since 2007.  We do have birds, which I call 'rain birds', that call out all day every day leading up to the storm season.  I love hearing them, but none more than our little magpie family.  Each year they bring us their latest family member to show off, it's almost like they are part of our family coming up on holiday!  Amazingly, despite their being mostly on our front lawn, they have never once swooped any of us or anyone in our small street that I know of.  Curiously, the day we see them most is on rubbish day - I think they wait for any maggots that fall off the bins!  I love this family of magpies as much as I love the little family of bush-stone curlews that come out and walk around our front yards at night.  

I didn't end up getting the washing pile sorted and folded yesterday.  I decided to do basically nothing.  I like being alone with my thoughts and today was a lovely day to do just that.  Today, though, I really must tackle that mountain.  I have fabric shopping bags that I want to get a start on for gifts for my sisters and mum for Christmas - if I don't start soon I shall never get around to it!  My grandmother called last night and I was telling her about the bags, so she kinda-sorta dropped a hint that she would like another one.  I gave her one that I had made and had with me when I visited her during winter, and I think they must have been a big hit at the retirement village where she lives.  She said she gets lots of comments on it and I think she just likes telling everyone it was made by her grand-daughter.  You see, my nana knits - a lot!  When we were little it was always jumpers, leg warmers, gloves, beanies and the like.  Now, she is happy making knee rugs "for the old dears in the nursing home" (mind you, the lady herself is not far off 90, so I think that is amusing), as well as coat hanger covers.  I covet every single coat hanger cover she sends me.  So while my knitting skills only extend to plain and purl stitch squares and rectangles (ie: dishcloths and scarves) I am more than happy to make bags for her to brag to her friends about.  

I was sorting through old magazines this morning before putting them out for recycling and came across an April edition of Australian Women's Health that was passed on to me.  As I was about to put it in the pile my eyes glanced upon a title on the front cover about a "Smug-Free Guide to Planet-Friendly Living".  I don't remember reading this so I've set it aside to read later.  I am going to note the things on the list that I already do and commit to making a few more that I don't.  I shall list them tomorrow I think.

Remember, kick off your shoes every opportunity you have and just be free.  After all, who on earth can feel the grass or sand or dirt between your toes if they are enslaved in fabric?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Some people are amazing

I witnessed a car accident this morning whilst taking the children to school.  

It wasn't a serious accident and it involved a student from a school where I sometimes work.  I wasn't able to pull over and help her or check on her at the time, but I did return later when I had dropped off the children.  I kept my eyes open for her on the way home and found her waiting for her mother to come and get her.  Her car sustained minor damage and she was physically okay but she was rather shaken up, as one would be in that situation.  

I apologised for not being able to stop and check on her straight away, and told her that I was prepared to be a witness if she needed one.  What amazed me was that she said the driver of the other car basically blamed her for stopping too hard at the lights!  The lights had turned orange before we both got to the intersection and the other car had to brake that hard that their brakes screeched and there was smoke from the tyres, pushing her car forward as he hit her.  I believe the car thought she was going to go through the light so he would too.  I feel really sorry for her that she could have been taken advantage of by the other driver because of her age and perhaps she was made to feel intimidated by the male driver.  On a good note, she is okay but a bit shaken up.  I would like to think that if it was me in that situation someone would check if I was okay.  I mean, the driver of the other vehicle didn't even bother to get out of the car to check on damage or on her.  

Today, I am at home.  It is too early in the new school term for work for me.   I take advantage of this by having quiet 'me' time - no children running through the house, endless repeats of Hannah Montana or Spongebob Squarepants on television, barking dogs chasing the kids around the yard.  It's just me, the quiet and never-ending chores.  I don't mind it today.  I shall fold the mountain of washing that has collected on the couch (after two weeks of school holidays it really builds up), cut up the potatoes for dinner and put them in a bowl of water in the fridge until they are needed, then I think I shall sit on the couch with my dishcloths-in-making and either listen to music or watch some television.  The Boy has his birthday party soon, too, so I might even start putting together the party bags for his guests.  

I saw the funniest job advertisement in the paper today.  It's a sad state of affairs when an employer has to pay for an ad that outlines basic job application etiquette - don't use 'hey' as a salutation; use spell check and basic spelling and grammar; and a concise resume means just that, not an 8 page story of your life!  I love it.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Maiden Post


This is my first post as a Barefoot Bride and I can't wait to see how it all works out.  Let's hope I can show more commitment to this as I did with following the first season of Lost.  I failed miserably at that.

Today I want to write about what I am grateful for.  I am sure lots of people do the same thing, but you know, when you think about it, there is so much negativity in the world it is important to stop and be thankful for what you do have.

Here is my list:
I am grateful for the gift of life - mine and that of those I love
I am grateful for a loving husband who works his butt off so I don't have to
I am grateful for life's basic needs such as food, water and shelter
I am grateful I have basic human rights

I think that covers it in a nutshell.  There are other things I could list, like chocolate and Tim Tams, but that's too simplistic I think.

Today I bought some fabric and more knitting cotton/bamboo.  This Christmas I am making shopping bags and knitted dish cloths for gifts for my family.  I love reading Rhonda-Jean's Down--To--Earth blog and she inspires me in much of what I am doing now.  So, thank you Rhonda for what I shall make.  

By the way, I welcome comments but if it is mean and hurtful I shall disregard and delete it.  I don't really want any negativity in my life if I can help it.  So, as my mum used to say, "if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say it".  If you don't like my blog, then it is as simple as just don't read it.  It works for me.  :)