Tag Archives: friends

Being human for real

I have a  busy brain.  I am not quite sure why it is so busy at the moment, but it is.  It is busy enough to keep me awake a lot during the night, to have me wanting to write as soon as I wake up so that I can capture all the thoughts I have had during the night, and to have me hopping from one thought to another, one task to another, and forgetting some of the important thoughts and tasks that need to happen.

Used with permission from www.cartoonaday.com

Used with permission from www.cartoonaday.com

Those thoughts that were so well formed, and desperate to be shared in the waking hours have evaporated – a bit like the fog that my part of town was shrouded in yesterday – there thick and damp one minute and gone without trace the next.  One of the remnants lingering is about community and social media.

Tonight is the kick off of my human experience.  (It cracks me up every time I say or write this!)  The 101 local humans are gathering to meet, hear about the planned experiences, and put voices, faces and bodies to the disembodied social media chats that have been occurring.  Except of course that, because this is real life, there won’t be 101 humans because real humans have commitments more important than gathering – family, work, life.  I am guessing that there will be about 90 odd (pun intended) humans at the gathering tonight.  The chat on Facebook this week has been revealing.  101 have been chosen.  About 95 are pretty comfortable that they are not as cool as the other 100, have been chosen in error, and are worried about meeting people out from behind their computer, think that the other 100 are the glitterati from about town, and have no idea what to wear to meet other humans.  (Of course I fall into the 95 – you know me!)

And therein lies the beauty of this experience.  We are exactly what is required.  Humans.  We are humans who live in a great city and enjoy different aspects of it.  Some are great photographers (not me), some are really good at tweeting (also not me), some can have a snappy conversation on facebook that has everyone at ease and feeling included (sometimes me) and others like to write, and share in prose rather than 140 character messages. (Yep – that is me).  We haven’t been chosen for our looks, our body shape, our ability to confidently sit and chat at the best cocktail bars in the world with celebrities, or for our ability to dress well for every occasion.  We have been chosen for our ability to share.  To wonder, whether through pictures, words, limited characters, or more, at the places we go and the experiences we have.  The very fact that so many have been willing to admit that they are nervous, anxious, unsure what to wear, and very uncool is a sign of how good we are at sharing openly and honestly.  These are human traits to be celebrated!

This then lurches rather than segues into societies use of social media.  As some of you would know, I think about this quite often – is it good, is it bad, and how does it improve/affect/damage our lives?  Through the wonders of Freecycle I had a great conversation yesterday with a fellow freecycler.  As such conversations tend to do we covered all manner of topics, during which he confessed that he had recently committed ‘Facebook suicide’ complete with a farewell note, and had enjoyed the results.  Friends were picking up the phone, he wasn’t looking for hollow affirmation from the number of likes he was receiving, and he felt liberated.  This of course had me analysing, reflecting, and wondering about my own use of social media – again!  (Small wonder my brain is busy!)

I know that I do not have a lot of contact with my friends who don’t use Facebook.  I don’t pick up the phone, I don’t write long emails of news, and I don’t send birthday cards anymore.  I know that I am missing out on their lives and they are missing out on mine.  I know that this is sad on one level.  But I also know that they, who aren’t using Facebook, instagram, twitter, etc, are also not reaching out to me, sending long emails, or writing birthday cards.  It is not due to Facebook that we are not connecting – it is due to our lives.  It doesn’t mean that we don’t care, that we don’t hold them in our hearts.  It means that life is busy, complex, crazy, fun and happening right now, where we are.  It doesn’t always have room for more.  It certainly doesn’t (in my case) have room for me to stay in touch with every person I have had a connection with.  And that is okay.  That is why when we do see someone that we have lost touch with there is joy, and wonder and sharing, and laughter and tears.

When I see someone I haven’t seen for ages, but am friends with on Facebook, many stories gets interrupted by one of us saying – oh yes, I saw it on Facebook.  But not every story.  Not all of the parts of our lives are lived out on social media.  Often the painful bits are tucked away to only be shared with the people we see face to face, or speak to on the phone.  Some are held close and safe and not put out in the public arena.  Social media is not replacing our need for close relationships and conversations that involve speaking rather than typing.  But it is helping us to be part of the lives of so many more people than we used to be just 10 years ago.

Yesterday, with my mother’s permission, I posted on Facebook that she and I had spoken and that she was recovering well from her knee replacement surgery on Monday.  By tagging her I was able to let her brother, cousins and aunts in Pennsylvania know that she is doing well, reassure her friends in Western Australia about her progress, fill in the family who live in the same country as her but who might not be aware of her surgery (it is a BIG family), and let my friends who know and love her know that she is fine.  And that, on it’s own, is why I like social media.

Right.  Now that I have emptied two of the busy thoughts from my busy brain I must hit the sewing machine as I have projects underway that need my attention!  I can slip in casually though, that I bought an industrial compound feed sewing machine yesterday.  As you do.  (Insert me doing a gigantic happy dance here – cannot wait for it to arrive early next week!!!!!)

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Oh – and I died my hair blue.  Because I can.  I have a big personal reason behind it, that I will share in a week or so (don’t worry – it is a good reason) but my explanation, shared on Facebook, is also true:

Yesterday I exercised creativity of a different kind and did something to make my children gasp in amazement, and to let my outward appearance be an expression of my inner dreams. This is the new colour of my hair – something my children have begged me to do for years. They are blown away that I actually did it and their excitement brings a huge smile to my face just thinking about it! ( my favourite quote “We were only joking and never thought you would really do it. This so cool!)

As for me? I love my life. Today I plan to create great things – and hopefully get some sewing done!
Have a great day out there and think about how you might give people a little peek into your inner dreams – who knows where it will lead you!

 

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Sunset over the Crossroads tent on Easter Sunday

What an amazing week I have had at Bluesfest! The weather was perfect (no rain), the company was delightful, the music was great, and the whole experience was healing. While I realise that ‘healing’ is not a word that is normally associated with music festivals, in this case it is very apt. I have returned home feeling lighter in my soul, clearer in my mind, and more centred than I have been for a long time. My mother has likened it to a trip to a health spa, and if you ignore the beers and burgers that I drank and ate, she is right!

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Blue skies, feet up in hammock – bliss!

The highlight of the festival was, of course, the music, but being with lovely people, having a good night’s sleep in my trailer tent, and being able to truly relax (the hammock got a work out) were all important. I saw some bands and artists I had never heard of, and others who I have been familiar with for a long time. Some I saw on my own, others with friends. Some nights I was content to go to bed early and listen to the jangling sounds of 6 stages all playing at once, while other nights I stayed to listen to the last notes. A dear friend of mine has attended each of the previous festivals that I have attended, and managed to attend for one day this time, continuing our great tradition – so we had to get a ‘selfie’ to capture it!

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Our Bluesfest ‘selfie’

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Elvis Costello on the final night

My musical highlights? Steve Earle (I saw both his sets), Charlie Musselwhite, Jack Johnson (his connection with the audience was the reason I stayed up to listen to every note), Elvis Costello, Beth Hart (powerful voice and rocking band), Jake Bugg (brilliant musician but too young to have a stage presence yet), Booker T Jones (such a great sound), Aaron Neville (so romantic and swoony)and for both amusement and musical memories, KC and the Sunshine Band (although I did object to his scantily clad raunchy dancers and their antics on feminist grounds). But my stand-out? An artist called ‘Passenger’. I had heard one of his songs on the radio before so went along out of interest. Wow. He had the thousands of people in the tent in the palm of his hand. One man and a guitar, getting the whole tent to sing along with him – including on a song he had written that morning. He covered “Sounds of Silence” and the tent was almost silent, and then at the end played a song he is about to release called “Whisper”, followed by a song called “Holes” and I was in tears! I highly recommend having a listen to his music – just a delightful, authentic voice and talent.

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A very blurry shot of Passenger holding the crowd in the palm of his hand with amazing music and lyrics

I read, crocheted, slept, danced, and relaxed. At some point over the weekend I wrote a note to myself on my iPad that simply says “Be kind to yourself”. I can’t remember what prompted that, but they are definitely words to live by. I had all sorts of wise insights while driving, and relaxing, and remember very few of them, so I am glad that the only one that I wrote down is the best of all the thoughts!

My trip home had some added adventure with a midnight breakdown, two rides in tow trucks, a motel that my road side assistance service organised for me to check into at 3am, and some very helpful auto-electricians who fixed my car and allowed me to get home. Despite all of this potential stress I remained calm, and, apart from being extremely tired, wasn’t adversely affected by it all!

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My car and trailer waiting for the second tow truck ride – one hour from home but so far away!

I have bought my ticket for next year’s festival already. They won’t start to announce the artists until August, but I have looked at the previous lineups for this festival and have never seen one that I wouldn’t be happy to attend. The savings of buying early well and truly outweigh the risk that there will be artists that I don’t want to see! Plus my festival friends will be there again (our group grows a little each year) and I will be encouraging all of you to join me!

And now I am home, the chicks have returned, and we have three more days until they return to school. In between spending time with them I am starting to get the house and the sewing room back into order so that I can get back into creating this week. My head is full of ideas and I am itching to start working on some of them! I also have this overwhelming desire to get more organised…… so stand by for some further de-cluttering, making up of schedules (that may or may not be followed) and some planning (of course) to get that urge under control!

Before I sign off I should add that the chicks had a wonderful Easter break too. Their father and step-mother took them down to Victoria for some time with their grandparents and cousin, then to Melbourne for a couple of days where they got to see some football games (the first big AFL game for the boy), go to the Zoo and the Aquarium, and ride the trams everywhere. They really had some great adventures.

I hope that you have had a wonderful Easter weekend, safe travels, and lovely adventures.

February frame of mind

I have kicked off the new month with a big session of de-cluttering, and catching up with people who are important to me.  Those of you who receive my newsletter you will know that I had set myself the task of de-cluttering my wardrobe after reading some very sensible tips on de-cluttering.  I am proud to say that I did it!  I was ruthless.  Amongst the clothes that I have put in the ‘donate’ pile were two dresses I have had for 15 years, a suit about 16 years old and a skirt I have had for 18 years.  Yes – I am a hoarder.  But no more.  In addition to the old bits and pieces (that I haven’t worn for years and really just carry around as a comfortable habit) I also assessed newer pieces in my wardrobe.  I have two beautiful designer label skirts bought at different times about three years ago.  I can count on one hand the number of times I have worn each.  No matter how beautiful they are, they are obviously not right for me, so they have gone too.

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And “After”

I even sorted out shoes.  The walking boots that I wore around Europe in 1998?  Gone.  My wedding shoes that I didn’t really like and hurt my feet and have just gathered dust ever since?  Gone.  Those beautiful neutral peep toe wedges that start each day feeling great and end with me thinking that my two little toes have been amputated?  Gone.  And finally, the completely impractical, spur of the moment, never ever worn pink satin and diamante stiletto strappy shoes?  Also on their way out the door.  Because if they haven’t been worn in 3 years, they aren’t likely to ever be worn.

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Farewell

 And you know what?  I feel great!  Isn’t it funny how one little bit of tidying up and sorting out can make your head feel lighter?  My plan is to keep going, one room, or one cupboard at a time, and work my way through the house.  Some things will be donated, others will be freecycled, and others will be repurposed, but I will be looking at everything in my house and assessing whether it has a purpose, a place, a need, or a plan.  Shock, horror, I am even eyeing off my overflowing bookshelves – all five of them ……..

My other part of starting the month off well was to spend time with people who are important to me.  Last night I had dinner with some very dear friends (and ate one of the best home-cooked meals I have ever had – seriously 5 star restaurant quality) and reconnected with them after our holiday break, our busy family lives, our respective personal dramas of 2013.  It was just what I needed.  Then today I rang one of my oldest friends and we talked, as we always do, for well over an hour.  We caught up on each other’s news, family, work issues, relationships, tragedies, and dramas, and offered each other insight, advice and support.  If we can’t be in the same room then just having that connection with her voice was the next best thing.  Another very dear long term friend popped in for a cup of tea this afternoon, just to spend time catching up with each other, while another rang for a quick chat this evening.

I am so incredibly lucky that I have so many amazing women (and a few men) in my life who share their lives with me as I share mine with them.  I look at what some of us have dealt with over the years and am amazed at the fact that there are still smiles, jokes, support, love and optimism.  They are all very good at pointing out to me when I am being ridiculous or overreacting or missing the obvious, but they are all the first to offer up their own human frailty for examination too.

The results of this day?  No sewing, but a wonderful sense of peace and joy (and a tidy house!) – which means that tomorrow should see great things in the sewing department!!  All of this was topped off by a text message from my boy that attached a video that he made for me of his Lego characters having a battle, complete with the best line, delivered in a deep serious voice “Now we need to go and get the Mega Weapon.  And icy poles.  We need a Mega Weapon that makes icy poles.”  He makes me laugh!

I hope that your day has been energising, and full of lovely moments.  If it hasn’t then my suggestion is to ring someone you love who you haven’t spoken to in a while, and let the conversation flow.  It works for me!

A new week

My usual Sunday night summary of the week and the sewing that has happened will be quite brief this week. I was laid low with a virus (possibly an influenza virus) and am still not back at full strength. The only sewing I have done is to add new ribbons to the martial arts belts of two of the chicks, and two of their friends! I sat and watched their grading for nearly 5 hours on Saturday and, while being very proud of them, was wrecked by the end of it. (The one bonus for me was being able to add quite a few rows to the rainbow ripple afghan – a photo will need to follow soon.)

The highlights to report are the wonderful friends that I have, who stepped in to help out with getting my kids to school, making sure we had food in the cupboard, taking my kids to the school disco (!!) and generally keeping an eye on us all. I am so blessed to have such wonderful support. The kids also stepped up a bit and helped out with less whinging than normal. One of the downsides to being a single parent is that when you get sick, there is no one else to get the meals, do the laundry, etc. I thought that was the main issue until my eldest chick approached me in tears, worried that I might end up in hospital, and worried about what would happen to them. Oh my. I was able to reassure her that I wasn’t that sick, and that they would all be fine and I would be with them, but it did stop me in my tracks a little.

To reward the kids, and to get out of the house without completely wiping myself out, we went to the movies this afternoon to see “Monster University”. It was just the thing we all needed. The chicks loved it, I laughed, and we agreed that we now need to re-watch “Monsters Inc” (that we have only seen 200 – 300 times) to pick up all the references….. It was a good reminder that we should do these things more often.

After nearly a week of being unwell I am approaching this week as a new week, full of new promise and possibilities. And hopefully lots of sewing! Apart from my own ‘to do’ list (that never, ever, gets shorter) I am also committed to assisting with making costumes for a school theatrical production, so at some point will be provided with the pattern and fabric for 40 odd Greek tunics! Could be interesting!

I hope that you have a great start to this new week and that we can all report great things by the end of it!

The weekend report

Small bits of crafting in between the weekend plans saw a library bag for a friend’s daughter who has just started school, and a handbag for another friend who wanted one for a friend’s birthday.

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Lined in green gingham

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Lined in white and red dots – the brief was red after all!

I enjoyed  both projects and had pangs of wanting to have more time to sew……partly because I was also struck down with a virus that saw me spending several hours sleeping and then resting earlier today, which meant there was a bit of Pinterest surfing going on.  So many ideas to be gained from just looking at one site, so little time!

I can report that the trip to the Royal Canberra Show was a success.  Despite the threat of rain, it didn’t.  The children were remarkable in their good behaviour, and managed their budgets very well.  No one asked to go on the rides, and the animals were the agreed highlight.  They all had one sweet treat each and didn’t ask for anything else – and were respectful to each other and to strangers.  I was so proud of them!  We spent quite a bit of time in the “Harvest Hall” looking at the cooking competition entries, the fruit and vegetable sculpture entries, and the cake decorating entries.  A work colleague had entered the cake decorating and won for her cupcakes (the most amazing baskets of fruit and vegetables and eggs etc) and had second place for her cake (a “Hootabelle” cake).  The children were thrilled to see something made by someone they know (or who I know and therefore has some context for them).  They have all started planning their entries for next year!

We also spent time in the craft exhibition hall (of course) and enjoyed looking at the competition entries there too.  The artist in residence started planning her sewing entries for next year after seeing the children’s section.  We also had a lovely experience when looking at the model airplanes.  There were two retired men at a table, with model planes set out in front of them.  The boy asked if he could buy one and I was explaining that they were for looking at when one of the men said “You can’t buy one, but you can have one for free”.  It turns out that they were part of a deceased estate of a very keen model builder and his wife had asked that they be given to children…..so these men sat there for three days giving them to each child who expressed an interest in the models.  So touching in these days of consumerism.

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Today’s sudden illness was a great reminder of the wonderful support my friends give me.  We were meant to be going to mass for the artist in residence to have her commitment mass for her first communion.  Half an hour before it started I was dressed and ready to go, but knew that I couldn’t do it.  I had a list of friends that I knew I could call to help, and the third call saw success.  She felt very special having a one on one trip to church with a friend of ours, and I got to sleep.  I have reflected all day how lucky I am that I have friends that I can call when things like this happen – life as a single parent would be so hard without that backup.

Unfortunately as I am only just beginning to perk up this evening I had to make the call earlier in the day about whether I could go to the concert tonight.  The fact that I am typing this and not grooving in the aisles to the dulcet tones of Neil and Paul will tell you the decision I made.  Luckily I was taking a friend as a birthday present – and his wife was able to step in and take him instead!  (She is not a fan so she really is taking one for the team!)  So instead I will get an early night after preparing the house for the week, and hope that I wake up tomorrow full of beans and ready to go again.

I hope that your weekend was fruitful in the ways that you needed it to be!