Tag Archives: holiday

A break, a tropical adventure and a catch up

I think that this has been my longest time between posts.  Ironic really that it happened at a time when I was busy due in large part to the very fact that I am a blogger.  But in fact all the social media, events, and trying to move into self-employed mode meant that I was overwhelmed with obligations, short on time, and juggling furiously.  And the blog got dropped (along with folding and sorting clean laundry, baking, grocery shopping and leg shaving).

And while I was off running around like a mad woman with hairy legs and rumpled clothes I realised that the chicks and I all needed a break, not from blogging, but from the busy times, from the cold, from the stress of school, doctor’s appointments, moving between houses, and adjusting to new parameters in life.  So I did something quite spontaneous, a little bit radical, and slightly financially reckless, and booked a trip to Hawaii.

Waikiki Beach!

Waikiki Beach!

 

The view from our balcony each day!

The view from our balcony each day!

One week later the chicks and I were in the sun, with sand between our toes, and with crystal clear waters to swim in on Waikiki beach.  We had a week there and have returned feeling refreshed, recharged and all those other ‘re-‘ words.

Swimming at the Kuhio Park end of Waikiki Beach in the clear water.

Swimming at the Kuhio Park end of Waikiki Beach in the clear water.

It was wonderful!  We swam at the beach and in the pool most days, went snorkelling together at Hanauma Bay (where I was able to surprise my children with the fact that I have a lot of experience snorkelling thanks to growing up in PNG), explored fabric shops and did a bit of clothes shopping.  We had no plan and just went with what we felt like each day.  It was just what we needed.  The TV did not get turned on, we ate fairly simply during the day and found mainly suitable restaurants that served gluten free food for the girls at night, and all unwound.  We returned home with an extra suitcase to accommodate all the fabric, freezer paper and Lego that was bought.  (Yep, we have our crafty and nerdy priorities right!)

Freezer paper supplies purchased!

Freezer paper supplies purchased!

It was hard to have to sit by the pool, sipping a cocktail and watching the children swim.  (do you believe me?)

It was hard to have to sit by the pool, sipping a cocktail and watching the children swim. (do you believe me?)

A poolside cocktail?  Yes thank you!

A poolside cocktail? Yes thank you!

Hanauma Bay, Oahu.  It is a bay formed from an ancient volcano crater with a beautiful reef teaming with tropical fish.

Hanauma Bay, Oahu. It is a bay formed from an ancient volcano crater with a beautiful reef teaming with tropical fish.

The beach at Hanauma Bay, Oahu

The beach at Hanauma Bay, Oahu

So many things happened that made me stop and reflect, and tickled that part of me that is used to writing things down, and I realised that it was time to pick up the blog again.  And to take it back to the things that are important to me – sewing, family, and growing a business to sustain both of those passions!

Playing in the sand on Waikiki beach.

Playing in the sand on Waikiki beach.

Snorkelling fun at Waikiki.

Snorkelling fun at Waikiki.

I have really enjoyed the scheduled events of the Human Brochure experience, but now that the official discovery events are over I am looking forward to continuing my role in the process at my own pace and in my own way.  One of the lovely benefits that has come from the experience is that I am far more aware of what is available to enjoy in my own town, and have a lovely network of new friends to enjoy it with.  I am going to keep my detailed recording of it for the official blog though and keep this blog for me!

If you are a regular reader you will know that I love to write, and write and write.  So you might be worried that I am going to give you a blow by blow of the last three weeks…..but you don’t need to worry.  Highlights of the trip are about as detailed as it will get!

Things that fascinated me in Hawaii:

– the fact that so many shop keepers wanted to know where my husband was.  One lady said ‘oh is he at home working to pay for the trip?’.  I just smiled and said, he is at home working, and left it at that, because the children were there and I didn’t want to start the whole ‘I’m a single mother’ thing.  But I haven’t been asked that in Australia more than twice that I can remember.

– my lack of TV watching worked against me when the TV show Hawaii 5-0 was being filmed in and around our hotel and I had no idea who the famous actors were and who were the staff!

– my kids weren’t interested in watching ‘American TV’ or wanting to try out ‘American candy’ like my siblings and I were when we had our first trip to America 30 years ago.  Then I realised that they already see the shows that interest them, and can buy all the ‘American candy’ in our local store at home.  The glamorous foreignness of the USA has diminished dramatically over the last 30 years with globalisation making such things commonplace.

– reading on-line reviews is just as misleading there as it can be here!  I was trying to work out which were the best fabric stores for me to visit on our trip, as I knew that the kids were not going to be able to cope with more than one or two, so I turned to the internet and found all sorts of reviews on various sites.

Fabric Mart

Fabric Mart

One of the shops, Fabric Mart, had a long series of reviews talking about how rude the staff were, and how bad the shop was, etc, but it still seemed to be one worth visiting.  Another was said to have good staff but too expensive stock.  I discussed this with the chicks in deciding which one to go to, catching a taxi, and decided to try Fabric Mart, and just deal with any rudeness of the staff.

More tropical prints at Fabric Mart

More tropical prints at Fabric Mart

Of course the staff were not at all rude, and were in fact very helpful on many levels.  Which was lovely until my boy said, just as I was finishing my transactions “There is very good service here.  I don’t know why people said that there was bad service here.  These people are very nice and are going a really good job” and a bit more to the effect that the bad reviews were unjustified.  As I tried to shush him the ladies behind the counter laughed and chuckled and I realised that they had the right attitude.  They knew that their store was there to serve a particular part of the market (seriously – if you need any tropical print fabric they are the people to see) and weren’t bothered by the small mindedness of the reviewers.  And I learnt a lesson about sharing such comments with my children!

Tropical prints at Fabric Mart

Tropical prints at Fabric Mart

What now?  I have returned with arm-loads of fabric, lots of ideas, and some vague, half thought out designs for new bags.  I am trying to balance working on my contract work of admin and advertising, being available for the family, and leaving myself time to create.  I have some ideas about how I am going to manage it all, so will share the progress as I go!

My fabric shopping!

My fabric shopping!

In the meantime, it is nice to be back – both at home, and here on the blog. I hope that you have been well!

Away

I am writing this sitting in the shade of my tent, listening to some guitarists in another tent and contemplating whether to go and pick up a fresh bag of ice, or lie in my hammock. Tough choices!

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For the third year in a row I have travelled to Byron Bay to attend Bluesfest. This year I nearly didn’t come. The thought of the drive (about 13 hours before you factor in breaks), travelling on my own and attending a large music festival on my own was starting to overwhelm me. But…. here I am and I am glad I came.

I decided to stagger my trip so I wouldn’t be exhausted before I arrived, but I didn’t plan it at all! Just before I left home late on Tuesday afternoon I decided that I would drive to a spot just north of Sydney called Umina that I had heard good things about. When I rang the campground the receptionist talked me out of camping because of the late hour I would be arriving at – which was an absolute blessing when I arrived during a torrential downpour that was blooding streets and tents. Sleeping in a cabin was the best decision!

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The next night I stopped at Coffs Harbour and stayed at the same campground I stayed at last year, set up my little tent and was asleep before 8!
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A cup of tea the next morning set me up for a great start and I arrived with 20 minutes to spare before meeting my camping neighbours from last year so we could camp together again. The ridiculously luxurious trailer is set up, and our neighbours thus year include a family of guitarists who seem to be attracting other guitarists to them so we are being serenaded.

Why am I giving you a blow by blow account of my trip? Because three days on my own has not been scary nor overwhelming. Last night I attended the festival on my own and had fun. I could wander where I wanted, to my own agenda. I saw great musicians – Steve Earle, Charlie Musselwhite, Dyson, Stringer and Cloher, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I was exhausted by the time it got to Edward Sharpe and had retreated to a chair, thinking that there was no shame in sitting to listen…… and then they started playing and I was propelled from my seat forward to dance, confirming once more that music cures all ills!

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My observations so far this year are quite irreverent – lots of young men with long hair and beards being escorted by girls with flowers in their hair, flowing skirts and bare feet – they look like they are reliving their grand- or great- grandparents youth at Woodstock – but with a lot more cash. There are also a high proportion of grey haired men who look like they have been sitting behind desks their whole lives wandering around in packs looking happy. You can pick the northerners – they are wearing jumpers in the chill of the 18 degree evening (scoffs the southerner who is loving the warmth!)

No post would be complete without a sewing report – I decided it was time to sew for myself so whipped up a Tova tunic using my birthday fabric from last year, and a bag and coing purse for myself (using the jeans I wore here last year!)

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No kids, no agenda, and nothing to worry about. Just what I needed, and the reason I bought my tickets a year ago.

I hope that your Easter weekend is all things good for you.

A world of possibilities!

Although the first day of April is traditionally a day for pranks and tricks, today was actually a day for celebrating some steps in my life, with no pranks in sight!  My bags are on sale through the Shop Handmade here in Canberra from today, and I received my first month’s sales statement from the Shop for my bibs (and can report that there were in fact sales – phew!).

Today also marks the first day of my long service leave, and the end (hopefully for a while) of being on personal leave (which is the modern public service name for good old fashioned sick leave!).  Although there is no real difference in terms of the freedom that I have, I have found that since I made the decision to take time off to look at what my options are for the future it is like a load has lifted off my shoulders.  I feel lighter.  I have been joking with the chicks.  We rode our bikes to and from school today because I wasn’t worrying about what time we would get there, etc.  I am breathing out.

The world of possibilities that this time off work opens up is huge!  I have already come up with a long string of outrageous travel plans that bear no resemblance to my bank balance – just to enjoy the dreaming possibilities!  I am thinking about all the creative opportunities that I have, and starting to map out how to fit them in.  And I am enjoying feeling that there are no rules, and that I can do what I want with this time (within reason and the law of course!)

The first big adventure is one that was planned a year ago, before life got so complex – the 25th Annual Bluesfest at Byron Bay, over the Easter weekend.  For the last few weeks I have been umming and ah-ing about whether I should go, on my own, and whether I would cope, etc.  But a funny thing happened as I wrote a message to a friend offering my ticket for sale to any of her friends….. I realised that the only person putting pressure on myself is me.  I sent a follow up email asking her to ignore the first one – and instead we agreed to catch up over a drink or two in the campground instead!  The line-up for this year has a few acts that I really want to see – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Jack Johnson, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Suzanne Vega, John Butler Trio, plus a few that I will catch because I don’t really know their stuff, and others I will go to see because I have never heard of them!  A good start to a period of freedom!  (And some trips to the beach for a swim in the ocean might figure in that plan too!) It all kicks off in 16 days, so my road trip will start two weeks from now!  Yippee!

Other smaller adventures over the next few months might include some trips to see friends, a lot of sewing, drawing up further and better particulars on some business plans (see – you can’t take the lawyer out of the girl even when she is on holiday!), and seeing what opportunities come along!

I have tackled my sewing room and sorted it out after weeks of chaos – jumbled piles of fabric, interfacing, threads, half finished projects, scraps, etc.  It is back to being a calm oasis of creativity and just what is required!  Sorting and folding fabric is such a beautiful way to spend time – it reminds me of all the beautiful possibilities that lie in those piles!

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Half way through making piles, with the sun streaming in to help.

I also finished the last of my custom ordered bags from the markets two weeks ago.  The young woman who ordered this one deliberated over a wide range of fabric choices before selecting this one for me to order in.  And her deliberations were worth it.  The fabric matched perfectly with the beige duck cloth she had selected and has resulted in a sophisticated, understated, elegant and practical bag for her overseas adventure.  I even managed to get 2 zips in it without crying!

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With the desk clear, my load lighter, and a head full of ideas, tomorrow is looking good for a day of sewing and creating.  Which is a good way to mark the 5 year anniversary of the day that my marriage ended.  This is not a path I chose, and is not the plan I had for my life, or the life of my children.  However I am proud of the new life and the new path that I have been able to build, and of the values that I am teaching my children.  Although they still wish that we lived with their father again, they acknowledge that their life is better than so many others, and that they are very lucky to have three parents who love them.  I continue to be thankful that their step-mother is so incredibly decent and has made an effort from day one to make it easy for me to have a positive relationship with her. (I also continue to be thankful that he waited until the 2nd to leave – imagine having your husband leave on April Fools Day – you would never be really sure if he meant to do it or not!)

Now I am off to brew another cup of tea and to go and admire my neat sewing room and plan my first project for tomorrow!  I hope that your week is going well!