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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Irate Aerobics and Catching Up

Let's begin with a bit of silliness - just to get things started on the right foot (or the back foot in this case!).

You Are Cayenne Pepper

You are very over the top and a bit overwhelming.

You have a fiery personality, and you can give anyone a good jolt.

You can easily take things up a couple notches, no matter what crowd you're running with.

Well, yes. Quite.

Moving swiftly on.

I thought it's about time I did a quick catch up on things happening chez moi. Well, firstly, my daughter did indeed get her sock monkey in time for her birthday. She has shown him scant attention (preferring her train and her wooden farm for some reason) but we have hopes of coaxing her to love him. Eventually.
Here he is in all his monkey glory:

Cute face, no?

Very skinny arms - not sure what happened there. Perhaps he was overexercising while stored in the cupboard?

Secondly, I have been very slack with my meditation and my writers work. The meditation room is now full of my many, many (many) books - all packed and sadly unread while they await transportation to the new hoosie sometime at the end of next month. The house feels sadly empty without our bulging, overburdened (I know how they feel) bookshelves spreading wanton knowledge all over our living area and tempting us away from the idiot box.
It's true, I had been slack before it got full 'o' books but I haven't felt like dragging my sorry, very tired, arse out of bed at 5am for some reason. I can't think why - unless it's just that I don't get to bed much before the witching hour most nights and my little willow-the-whisp seems to enjoy a nightly waking still. Grump. Still, in the new house I will have no special room for meditation and that means I have to utilise some other area of the house for these needs. And needs they are. I do need to do it. Otherwise I'm just a grumpy old cuss with no hope of reform.

However, to redeem myself slightly (in my own eyes at least), I have been tackling the multi-headed beast that is weight loss in a more constructive fashion of late. I have asked hubble to give me two months off the baby making in order to attempt some semblance of weight loss and to ensure that I don't simply look fat when I'm pregnant. (As opposed to now where I look pregnant and am simply fat - and yes, someone did ask). So - every day for 35 minutes I am to be found sweating crimsonly into the TV as I huff and puff and lug my chubby-ness around on an aerobics step with Jillian Michaels (of Biggest Loser fame) and Susan Powter of 1990's fitness fame. Susan is as mad as a hatter and a platinum blonde dreadlocked and tattoed lesbian, but her workouts do the trick. I just stick to that stuff and leave the rest alone.

Can I say with hand on heart that its completely horrendous. It's so hard and it takes me every ounce of my self-esteem and willpower to make myself do it. And it makes me angry. Am I alone in this? I get mad when I exercise. I am not a natural when it comes to exercise - which is strange when you consider that I spent most of my early childhood and adolescence being a dancer. Still, I promised the hubble. And this is the thing - I can not do it for myself but for him, I'll do anything. I don't want to let him down. I'm not sure what that says about me but its easier to promise something to him than to promise it to myself. Nothing sweet has passed my lips in 12 days (save for a little honey) and I have worked out for 11 of those days. I'm allowed one day off per week. Plus, on top of the hideous aerobics I'm also doing 30-45 minutes of either stretching, pilates or yoga. Mainly the first two as my poorly shoulder makes it difficult to do the yoga - no upper body strength anyway! I think I may be one of those women that swings violently from one thing to another. Ah well. Better to swing than to remain stagnant.

So - here I sit with my liquorice legs (a new and delicious tea from T2 - not a personal comment) and wonder what next. I have oodles of packing to do and only a month to do it in. Geez that's come around quickly. I am looking forward to happily nesting in my own wee hoosie and so soon but there is a Yikes! amount of stuff to do yet. And the bulk of it will be left to me as hubble is in the first month of his new job and cannot take any time off. Deep joy. Ah well, tis but a small price to pay for the wonders of home ownership and, more importantly, own gardenship. I am currently plotting in all senses of the word.

Anyway, I have tarried too long here. It takes up too much of my free time and there is sunshine to be enjoyed and books to be read and tea to be drunk. I shall leave thee now but shall be back hence and when thou least expecteth it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Awards, Accolades and a tiny bit of Trumpet Blowing!

The lovely Griffin from blog Snapper & The Griffin has nominated me for the above award. I'm so delighted - firstly that anyone other than my good friend DocWitch reads my blog and secondly that those people like what they read. It makes a girl feel all warm and fuzzy inside. So thank you, kind Sir Griffin.

Before I get to the nominating of 6 other people and trying to figure out which 6 things I like more than the gazillions of others, I'd like to blow this particularly fine trumpet I happen to have right here. (Pause to wet lips and inflate cheeks).

Of late, several interesting and lovely things have happened to this little witchy-poo and I'd like to share them here. The most important one is that I had my very first article published in Living Now (October issues), a local well-being/new age magazine with a national readership of around 300,000. Not only did they love my article (on Rites of Passage), they made it the central theme of that month's issue AND they published my photo (the very one you can see at the top of my blog) as the front cover of the magazine. Not bad considering I've never submitted any articles for publication before! So - yes, I'm having a little G.L.O.A.T.right about now...


I'm back and much more sensible. It's just that though I love writing and sometimes believe I have a talent for it, I never quite believe it. You know? BUT when someone else wants to put your writing in print, then you have some objective validation. I know I shouldn't need it but I am only human.

Now I've got to nominate (only) six other blogs from the world of bloggery and then list six things I like. I wonder why six? I'm more of a seven type of girl and I do like a good nine.

First skeleton out of the cupboard would have to be:

Dark Side of the Broom - I know I've nominated her before but I absolutely love her blog and read it religiously. She has so much heart and so much art to her writing that I always leave with a big smile and even bigger ideas.

Acoustitch - a crafty mum of two whose kidlet clothing is simply gorgeous. Another opportunity to have craft envy.

One Red Robin - she makes cute cuddly things that I actually covet for my room, never mind my daughters. Plus, she's purdy.

PeaSoup because she's just so spiffing. Love the crafting and the recycling and on top of all that she's nice AND she loves red shoes almost as much as me!

This Vintage Chica because she's soulful, she loves her boys and she does taste tests of apples. I could just give that woman a big hug.

The Crafty Crow because she's just so damn creative. I have a little anklebiter and this woman has a never ending supply of cool and interesting things to do with littlie. Wonderful and colourful to look at.

Can I also just pop in a runner up? Visit BlueBirdBaby because she is my muse. I love this blog but I have nominated her for an award before. Still, you can't mention craft and not mention this wonderful blog. She cooks (gluten free), makes beautiful bespoke items of children's clothing, takes the most amazing photo's and farms.

I know most of these blogs are of the crafty sort but honestly, I have terrible craft envy and these people inspire me and make my day more joyous and colourful, so please go visit them and be inspired.

Things wot I like:
Storms - I love the thunder, the lightning and the rain - particularly at night. So primal and so passionate.
The novels of Dion Fortune.
An open fire and an accoustic guitar - tis the damn gypsy in me.
The smell of Jasmine, the Stargazer Lily (after which my daughter is named) and the blossoms on our Lemon tree - most especially exquisite at night perfuming the warm breeze.
Books, books and more books. One can never, ever have too many. All that knowledge just waiting to be absorbed, it just gives me an excited tickly feeling in my tum.
Belly Casting - getting my plaster soaked hands on the beautiful round belly of a preggie woman whilst creating a lasting piece of art to remind her of this wonderful time in her life is just so rewarding. And messy. And fun.

So, (places trumpet down discreetly) this has been me and I'll be back after this short intermission.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I Can Feel It Coming in the Air Tonight

There is a hint of Jasmine rolling on the warm wind tonight. There is a sensual langour in my limbs and all my windows are flung open to the temperate breeze that caresses my hair and kisses my face like a lover. I am a child of Autumn's nostalgia and Winter's wisfulness but on nights like these, when the heat is still bearable and the breeze is kind, I feel a sacred silence descend upon my soul and quiet me. It begs me to let it in.

I collect the still warm washing in darkness, listening to the sounds of wind through the trees. It sounds like the ocean - her salty heart beating upon the sandy shore, keeping time almost with my own. On nights like this I feel like I am on holiday in my life. Everything has a wonderful yet unfamiliar silhouette. I watch and listen and breathe in the fragranced air, wondering where I am. Truly, this is my life and these are the days of it but am I not just holidaying here, in this place, in this body, in this life? Maybe, when the silence descends it is time to simply be present and be grateful for the joy of living this life, different from every other we may have known, and remember that we never know when our borrowed time will run out. We are all here on loan from the Mystery.

There are birds in the darkness softly talking to one another. Their eyes pierce the darkness that simply fills mine. I do not mind. I like that I am not alone in this sun warmed night garden. I am, for a time, a visitor in their midnight world and I am content to simply listen and allow a pause to shake me from my 'doings'.

It is bliss this simple summer night. I am falling into the arms of my Beloved knowing that we share some simple love that is deeper than time, and longer than that hungered for first kiss. How I ache for such simplicity and such tender caresses as are freely given on soft summer nights like these.

I hold out my hands into the darkness. And surrender.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Birthday Girl - A Retrospective

The newly arrived Lily-Bean - looking ready to uppercut the photographer! That's what 40-hours of labour will do for ya.

It's my beautiful wee girls 2nd Birthday today. Yes, Lily is 2 already!

I cannot believe how quickly the past two years have gone. One moment she was this tiny little newborn and I was a terrified new mother trying not to break her. Suddenly, she's this curious, funny, cheeky little toddler - demanding biccies and chasing the cat around the garden. How did that happen?

I know there are days when I wish for even 5 minutes to call my own, but in reality I cannot imagine now how my life was without her. I would not want to be without her now, she brings so much joy and laughter into my world. And beautiful? This daughter of mine is so completely adorable that I hardly know how to contain myself most days. I find it endlessly amazing that she is mine. Anyway, I decided to take a look back over the last two years and put in some of my favourite pictures of my darling Lily-Bean. Warning, this may end up being a looooong post with lots of piccies because there are so many adorable photos.

But seriously, all together now...'Awwwwwwww'

A very tired New Daddy with tiny morsel of daughter. Day two.

How tiny was she! Just one week old.

Blatant Anne Geddes rip off but soooooo cute.

Adoring New Daddy and tiny offspring. Week 2.

Week three. Love child. So true.

It's so damn tiring being a baby. Yup.

Mamma and Me

Our special little Christmas Pudding.

Happy little Bubba - 3 months old

Kicking back in the bath

Beautiful Beanie in a beautiful beanie - couldn't resist those blue ears.

Cheeky little Cabbage Patch.

Baybee in red...

Angel in the Grass

First Day at the Beach

Lily's First Birthday

Well, that's the shortest version of the first year I could manage. Now for the lead up to her second Birthday. Gird your loins people.

A montage of pictures around feeding time.

Stop! Hammer Time.

Most likely to change my world at the very least.

Oh hi, I buff your floors...

Our intrepid Little Explorer

First I steal your Teddy, then I take over the WORLD! Mwah ha ha haaaa!

Lily wins the World Yodelling Contest hands down (and nekked).

This takes us up to halfway through her first year. Only a few more, I promise.

Indulging her inner artist.

It's cold in these thar hills!

A contemplative moment in an otherwise very busy life.

Well - that's it. Some of the most beautiful photos of my little Beanie. Interesting only to me I'm sure but still. I couldn't let her 2nd Birthday pass without marking it and looking back at all the amazing memories we have created and shared.

I am a mummy and I am truly blessed.

Happy Birthday Lily-Bean - wishing you a wonderful new year of discovery and happiness little one.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

When in Troubled Waters, Choose your Vessel Wisely

I've had an interesting week.

I had a wonderful catch up with good friend DocWitch Op-Shopping and nibbling quality choc, followed by an absolute nightmare of an evening at a 'Sacred' Women's Group.

I was going to do a short version of what happened but I think that I'll risk sounding petty and simply record it in most of its fullness. Partly because I'd like to be honest about what's happening in my life and partly because if anyone who reads this knows this woman, I'd like to offer them a moments pause before they engage her services.

I had met our facilitator, Elly Jolly, a woman of 60+ with years of life coaching experience, only once before, at the recommendation of a friend as part of a women's group Elly was heading up. My second meeting with was scheduled for a dinner at a particular restaurant in Carlton for 6.30pm. I arrived at 6.15pm, asked for her by name, enquired about the reservation she assured us would be in her name and were told there was none. The restaurant actually doesn't do reservations. Tracey, my friend, arrived about 15 minutes later. I had already organised a large table (outside as requested, despite the cold), so we ordered a coffee and waited - continually scanning the horizon for her and the other women we were due to meet.

After about an hour (of wondering where on earth everybody was) I finally spotted her and went over to greet her. What I got for my trouble was a very rude greeting followed by an extremely aggressive attack. It transpired that despite my efforts at locating her at the venue, she had remained unfound and this was apparently an awful insult to her magnificence as leader of the group. Now, I can understand someone being upset if they HAD been kept waiting especially for nearly an hour but she had not been. We had simply not seen each other in a crowded cafe - that was all. As much as we had failed to see her, she had failed to see the two of us and our extremely large table! Even worse was that after we had met up, she said that she had been a regular of that restaurant for over 30 years - that all the staff knew her and yet, they didn't recognise her name or point her out when we asked about her.

Anyway, the upshot of this unfortunate experience was that she behaved like a spoilt, bullying child. She made the entire waiting experience our fault and proceeded to berate us for 'not looking' for her, 'not asking' for her by name and for making her wait. "I wait 10 minutes for clients, then I'm gone!" After this had settled down (and it took a while), she then went on the attack AGAIN - this time berating Tracey for her gracious offer of hosting the event at her house. All Tracey did was ask why Elly chose a restaurant to meet in, when she had offered her house at the last meeting. Well - boy did she ever wish she hadn't asked. Elly made the whole thing Tracey's fault. Elly said she'd called and left messages (she hadn't), that Tracey had said that she would confirm (which Tracey did by email but Elly didn't get as she has been having email problems her end) and then, started going on and on and on, over and over the same things while Tracey tried to explain her end of things. Elly did not give Tracey the courtesy of an opportunity to speak - she was simply intent on being right. I don't know if you have ever had this experience but when you catch someone out in a lie they sometimes start to furnish you with all sorts of extraneous evidence of their honesty. Usually it is little details that sound plausible but are in fact simply more lies. I watched as Elly did this to Tracey. Every time Tracey put up an objection or offered an explanation, Elly went into 'fact retrieval' mode only they weren't facts - they were just random details picked out of thin air that had nothing to do with Tracey or her circumstances. When I finally tried to diffuse the situation, Elly said 'No!' and continued. It was absolutely appalling. The atmosphere by the time the other women arrived was nothing short of hostile and they felt it. Elly continued to be short tempered, aggressive and rude for the rest of the evening.

Somewhere near the end of the evening, one of the other women pointed out that Elly's watch had been one hour fast for the entire evening. When told about this, she simply altered her watch and said nothing. She must have realised right then and there that her watch being wrong meant that she had actually been at the restaurant for 2 hours (arriving at 6.30pm on her watch meant she arrived at 5.30pm in actual time). So her long waiting at the restaurant was her own fault. The fact that we didn't spot each other was simply unfortunate and nobody's fault. She did not do the grown up thing and admit she had made a mistake and apologise to the two of us. She simply said nothing.

I was so upset by her attack (and very adrenalised by the stress) that I couldn't sleep when I got home. I felt angry and abused and extremely let down by the whole process. I wrote down everything I felt about the night and then sent her a very direct email the next morning. I pointed out that we had done nothing to warrant such an aggressive attack and that there was a very big difference between being direct and being aggressive, which she evidently didn't understand. I also told her how appalled I was by her behaviour especially given her responsibility to create and hold sacred space for the group. Her response was to avoid addressing any of my points, avoid taking any responsibility for the evenings events and to continue to avoid saying sorry for her terrible behaviour. Even though she must have known she was in the wrong.

There were several lessons in all of this for me. The first and most obvious one was that I will never again sit and let someone unload their (completely unjustified) anger on me. I will get up and walk away when it becomes apparent that they are not interested in the truth, they only want to be right.

The second is that I will trust my instincts when it comes to choosing people with whom I want to sit in sacred space. This is a very important lesson. When I met Elly, she seemed like a nice lady if slightly blunt. She had a 'this is who I am, take it or leave it' attitude which did make me wonder. Generally, people who have this attitude, have a problem with insecurity and when you have a differing opinion to them, they can often respond in an aggressive and beligerent manner. I was right to wonder - Elly is indeed insecure and beligerent.

The third is to never, ever trust that someone's experience or qualifications make them any kind of expert in their field. Experience and qualifications are a useful indication of someones ability but they absolutely need to be tempered with grace, kindness and compassion for them to be truly effective as teachers. I know that we are all only human and that people have good and bad days. That does not however, give people the right to spray their dissatisfaction and unhappiness onto anyone who happens to be in close range. My husband, who is very adept at getting to the heart of matters, was completely appalled by her behaviour when I explained the situation to him. When he found out how old she was and what she did for a living - he actually laughed and said, 'Who behaves like that? What kind of life coach can she possibly be when she talks to people like that? And at her age!'

Sacred space for women is a tricky thing to hold. I know, I do it for a living. I have also been fortunate enough to sit in sacred circle with some truly amazing teachers. These teachers can be focused and forthright but I have never felt or seen them to be aggressive or ungracious with their groups. There was absolutely nothing sacred about that night. Elly isn't capable of holding that type of space for people and, although she can be insightful, the confrontational way in which she shares these insights makes them almost impossible to access. I don't know about Tracey but I was very clear with Elly that I would not be going back to that group.

One of the other women that was present has suggested that we meet as a group without Elly and I would be more than happy to do that - we shall see what transpires.

I know the above might seem a bit vitriolic. I am still a little angry about the incident. Not just about Elly's behaviour but also about my own inability to stand up and walk away when something feels wrong to me. I don't like to cause a scene and I don't like to cause embarrassment to other people. However, as I said, the lessons contained within that awful experience were useful and I will learn from them. One day I hope to be able to maintain my grace and composure whilst still dealing with people like her. I want to be able to handle this kind of stressful situation without letting it in. Without letting it pull me off centre. A tall order I know.

Anyhoo, I said my piece - got the high handed and immature response I expected and have continued on my merry way. I only post about it here because I think its important to record the trials and the lessons on this rocky road towards enlightenment.

Here's hoping that the next lessons will be somewhat easier.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Op-Shop Bonanza

*Sleep Suits, Cuteness n Rock 'n' Roll

Well, it has been an interesting week. I have experienced a few firsts this week, not the least of which is I am now a proud home and third of a sheep owner! Yes, our (2nd) offer was accepted on a delicious house with a wonderful garden and we have now officially put our feet on the first rung of the property ladder. More to the point - we have our very own wee hoosie. I cannot tell you how happy that makes me. This last move will be our last for a long while (if I have anything to do with it!) and so I have suddenly found a new enthusiasm for packing boxes and planning clearouts and garage sales. It's so lovely to know that we have a home of our own finally. We really didn't think that it would happen this soon. Just three weeks after we decided to start looking, we bought a house. That's pretty bloody quick - especially for two such cautious souls as ourselves but this is a dream house for us and the Beanie, yet here we all are. All fresh faced and optimistically planning our veggie patch. And to be moving in Spring too. Just delicious. There is a gorgeous sun trap of a terrace which will be partially shaded by a couple of lovely trees, so there will be enough sun to enjoy but not to fry. Just what this pale skinned Celt needs. This and lots and lots of plants. Yum. (Deep sigh of contentment).

Now - in the last few days I have had an Op-Shop experience to rival any I have experienced in my life before. I have 'accidentally' stumbled upon two really good op-shops locally that have been the cheapest and the most exciting op-shops in a good long while. I have returned home with armfuls of stuff - literally - all for tuppence happeny or there abouts. I will attempt to document my ill gotten gains below in photograph form.

Terracotta Teddy Bear Lamp for Beanie's room. Can everybody say 'Awww'

Booksies including the very happy find of 'The Hungry Mouse, The Red, Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hungry Bear' which I actually had on order from a bookshop! The open book with the strange images is actually 'The Adventures of Baron Munchausen' for when she's much older.

A kiddy book bonanza including 'The Magic Finger' by Roald Dahl who I love. The 'How to Be Rich' book is all about self-esteem rather than materialism for toddlers!

This is a beautiful book of poetry. I just loved the silver tree emblem on the cover.

An example of the poetry inside this bad boy. Lovely stuff by Milton and Keates amongst others.

Can anyone say 'scary monobrow'? Yikes. Let's hope this isn't some weird side effect of attempting the crafty crafts within!

One of three bedside tables I scooped for a mere $2 each. No. It's not a mistake. I paid $6 in total for three bedside tables. Whoohoo~!

The third of the three bedside tables. (The second one is the same as the first - a lovely matching pair).

Some lovely booksies for mamma (love soup!) and for Beanie when she's a bigger girl.

Cute little Butterick patterns for even cuter little sleep suits. Now if only I could sew.

And this doesn't include the armload of clothes I bought (prices ranged from $0.50 to $2.50 for cardigans), the two fabulous little Teletubbies foam armchairs and poof set ($5) and the booster seat I bought from another shop the day before. I even managed to pick her up a hideously noisy guitar toy for $0.50 that works perfectly. See above for details.

All this and I haven't even gone on my Op-Shop tour with DocWitchy yet. This mindless glee spree is happening on Wednesday 8th as part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival and will feature two Le Fey's cackling wildly over small shiny objects.