Term One


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A new school year has begun in Australia, and I am excited about what is ahead. I have tweaked and adapted our programme from last year. I was a newbie with home schooling and excitedly booked my daughter into a wide range of things, too much. This year, we are aiming for a decent mix of field trips, workshops and home days. They are equally important. I have seen this little girl grow in confidence, and it has been thrilling to witness. I won’t really demand that she calls me ‘Your Majesty’ during school hours. Being called ‘Mum‘ is just fine.

Australian Gnome Convention


Here I am, gentle reader, on the 26th January. I attended the Australian Gnome Convention in the Blue Mountains. The Rotary Club put on a spectacular festival. There were Gnome books, DVD’s, humans and dogs dressed as Gnomes as well as thousands of real Gnomes on display.

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In a world that is heavy and a life that is hectic, to be surrounded by whimsy was wondrous. I met an extraordinary felt artist, and to my delight, she offered to teach my daughter and I. We listened to poets and a high school band of ukulele players. They played modern songs and even a little Fleetwood Mac! Man, I want to learn how to play my ukulele properly! There is something about this little instrument that urges others to join, which is why we have an upcoming festival in Katoomba, dedicated to the ukulele. We were entranced by young  singers and delighted by Maria Venuti, she of the large personality and um, voice.

I surround myself with performers and artists because without their inclusion, life is beige. There would be blandness, cookie-cutter identities, and no alternate ways of interpreting life. Bah to that! My soul leapt to the beat of my soaring heart when I heard the entertainment. I caught up with my poet friend, Brian Bell. He is an extraordinary talent, whose range knows no bounds. We both had abstract drawings done by his friend, Richard Cutler, an artist of fifty years standing. No matter how much time has passed, Brian and I just pick up where we left off. I met him for the first time when I was in my early twenties and continued encountering him on the poetry circuit. We have some marvellous talks, Brian and I.

After being surrounded by music and performance, clay and Gnomes, felt and wood-turning, I was loathe to return to normality. Who am I kidding! My life has never been normal, and I can’t do normal. My clothes, hair, home, outlook, friends, daughter, birds, and everyday life are quirky and whimsical. I can’t change that and nor would I want to.

I returned with a trail of enchantment following me, like bread crumbs dropped by Hansel and Gretel.

 

 

Versatile Blogger Award


Versatile Blogger

MeMee’s Musings  has gifted me the Versatile Blogger Award! I want to thank you, not only for the nomination, but also for the quality content you write. Please go check out this marvellous blog.

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. It’s common courtesy.
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you cannot figure that out, go to their nomination post and thank them personally.
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly who you deem as versatile and excellent in their writing and nominate/award them with the Versatile Blogger Award. It is good practice to let them know of your nomination on their about page.
  •  Finally, share 7 things about yourself. The person who nominated you probably wants to learn more about you and so do your followers.
I Nominate the Following:
7 Things about Me:
1. I enjoy putting stripes of vibrant purple, blue and turquoise through my hair.
2. I love glitter and don’t consider it the VD of the crafting world.
3. I love David Bowie’s Black Star Album. It has been on high rotation.
4. I am still overwhelmed with messages of every description, but am learning how to deal with it!
5. I love fruit platters and lime and date power logs (with almonds and coconut flakes).
6. I am writing a new book, based on Sydney’s history, and the plight to save some of our landmarks in the 70’s.
7. I rarely sleep, and when I do manage to doze off, I am up again by 2am.

We were Gifted.


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I received a text, informing me that a mutual friend had school resources for me. She is a teacher, and had bought these resources out of her own money. Miraculously, she lives around the corner from our new house, so my daughter and I set off on foot, unaware of how hot it was outside. This angel brought crates of workbooks in from her garage, and as I leafed through them, I realized that all of them were incredibly valuable to our schooling this year. I was held spellbound as she described her work, and the hard graft involved. Teachers such as her don’t leave at 3pm, that’s for sure! Each year, she buys extra resources for the kids in her class. She also spends her own money in making the classroom a conducive environment for learning.

I was astounded when she showed me her art pad, and the drawings she has done for her students to build stories upon. She downplayed her talent, through the evidence was there in vivid colours. She confessed that she has many adult colouring-in books, to simply admire; refusing to add her mark. “You would only add to their beauty,” I insisted, and I meant it. She wrote down a list of excellent online resources after my daughter told her that she wanted to put more educational apps onto the IPad. As if all this weren’t enough, she gifted my daughter a map of the world to colour in, and drove us and our three crates home!

She has had time off these school holidays, to relax and unwind, but there have also been several shopping trips to obtain things for the school; a trip to school to decorate her new classroom, online organizing, meetings and much more. Here’s to dedicated teachers like my friend. My daughter hasn’t stopped raving about our visit, and has already set to playing the IPad games you mentioned and is now colouring in the world. Educators such as yourself give kids the world. You literally did the other day. xxx

 

 

The Blogger Recognition Award!


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Thankyou to the brilliant Rob Goldstein for nominating me for this award. Your blog is astoundingly beautiful and your support of other bloggers is exemplary.

Here are the Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Provide a link to the award creator. I don’t know who it is, or I certainly would!
  3. Nominate other bloggers.
  4. State why you started your blog.
The Nominees:

Alex Raphael

Gentle Kindness

Teachez Well Blog

Dorinda Duclos

Wild Daffodil

Robert Okaji

Underground Energy

The Robyn’s Bird Nest

Chrisb-Jwordsandimages

Ramblings of the Claury

I started my blog to write about art, colour, books, and the myriad events and emotions we endure as human beings. It is quite a ride here on earth!

 

The Future


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Yesterday, I chatted to a friend’s ten-year old son, and was left feeling inspired. We were chatting about books when he informed me that he loves taking photos. “I would love to see some of your pictures,” I smiled and he shyly brought them up on his IPad. They were some of the most beautiful images I have ever seen. He managed to capture the minutiae of a rock pool, as well as a close-up of a bottle brush. I had seen these things scores of times, but never in the manner in which he presented them. My heart ached at the images he showed me. He then talked of his passion for film-making and on my urging, showed me some short films he had made with his little sister. They made me laugh with delight. He was spot-on with his storylines, background scenes and sound effects. What a thrill it is when you are allowed a sneak-peak of a young person’s talent, and where their future may lead! He kindly gave me details of apps he utilizes so I can try my hand at film-making with my daughter.

I emerged from my cave this week the cracks reinforced with gold-and went to a local dam (which supplies Sydney’s water), for a picnic. The children played as I was sequestered away by a gentle breeze, tempering the heat. I observed the water gushing down into the dam, and thought about how we are all ultimately a mere drop. That being said, we are all vitally important to the whole. The world would be forever changed if you hadn’t taken your place within it. That thought blows my mind. On days we feel impotent, it is worth remembering. As I watched the mighty flow of water, I thought of the intricate processes needed to fill a reservoir.

We have school holidays here in Australia, until the end of January, and we are spending the final weeks seeing friends and hopefully getting out on the water. We have had torrential rains and storms, and ferocious heatwaves. Australia is a land of extremes. The time for contemplation has passed and I welcome another season. Time seemed to stand still yesterday, as I talked to this young man. Within him are mighty talents and lofty dreams. I look forward to cheering him on throughout the years ahead.

David Bowie


I think most of us were stunned when news broke of David Bowie’s death. We in Australia heard the breaking news last night. Mr Bowie’s music was the soundtrack to my youth, and his music was taken on every hospital visit. He was unique, and in turn, encouraged us to be. I applauded the way he reinvented himself over and over again. You were always a Starman, Mr Bowie, before we even knew your name.

I love this photo, taken at Newtown Fire Station.

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The artist Karen Hallion, has offered a beautiful free download of David Bowie as the Goblin King in Labyrinth today in tribute.

MvaKzQhIf you would like to download it, click here.

Vale, David Bowie.

Gnomes and Destiny


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When I was nineteen, I started a business, selling my art and poetry, as well as crystals and curiosities at markets and on consignment. I was extremely busy during this ten-year period, particularly when I reflect on all the surgery I had at the same time! I lived in a grungy, funky part of Sydney, and would often walk down the street to hang out at the all-night bookstore and grab some fabulous Indian food. I was into ceramics, and had my Greenware fired in the kiln of a nearby business, before painting them. I only managed to hang onto two of my pieces from this time. Before I left the area, I retrieved them from the shop where they had recently been placed…

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I haven’t paid them much mind in the intervening years, only to gift them a smile as I passed them in my living room. I have pared back my commitments since Christmas, and have made time to clean and reflect, de-clutter and organize my home. I stopped yesterday and studied my little friends, reflecting on a time when I had created and painted, written and pottered. I recalled the nights spent painstakingly painting them; the joy I felt when what I had created was bought. I looked closer, and noted that they hadn’t been cleaned for a while. Getting a wipe, I lovingly set to work. I turned them over, and there on the base was my daughter’s name, a daughter I wouldn’t have for another decade. I don’t know why I had thought to send them off with the following: Painted with love by E.Rose.

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A chill went through me. When I had finally fallen pregnant with IVF, I had another name altogether picked out for this baby, if it was a girl. In my eighth month, I dreamed of her, and she said that her name was E. Rose. (full name obscured to protect privacy). I changed her name accordingly. I had no recollection of ever signing my work with her name years before. How many hundreds of times had I done so? I called to her and told her the story and she was as delighted as I. “You knew me even then! You loved and wanted me before I was here!” I certainly did. Slowing down and having time to notice my little gnomes gave me a great gift. My daughter was intrinsically entwined in my younger years, letting herself be known, even on an unconscious level. When you say “I can’t do this anymore,” and allow yourself to slow, it’s amazing what you notice. Gnomes may even hold a breath-taking, thrilling message, just for you.

Reactive Depression


A few years ago, I called in on a mental health nurse that I knew. I had long admired his work, and his holistic approach to his clients. He even had a gymnasium installed in the rooms, and kept a watchful eye on people’s diets. “Right, that does it. I am not able to cope without medication. My depression is getting worse, despite my best efforts!” I proclaimed. “Can you please prescribe me something?” He did something unexpected in turn. He laughed. “Are you kidding me?! You have had X, Y and Z happen in the past few months, and these events have pummelled you. I would be concerned if you were behaving as though everything was as it should be. You don’t need medicating; it wont help you. You have reactive depression, caused by the events unfolding about you. The feelings you are experiencing are normal and a sign that things need to change. Your depression is normal, as are you. You are coping tremendously well.” It was on this day that I discovered the difference between reactive depression and endogenous depression (no obvious cause). I have had both alternately throughout my life, and there is a marked difference between what responds to medication and what doesn’t (when someone points it out to you)!

I was hoping a pill would make the discomfort disappear. Instead, I was urged to sit with it, journal it, and hear what it had to say. It has been dark, windy and rainy the past week; a perfect time for reflection. Here is a screen shot I took of my constantly humming phone this morning.

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40 text messages and 1,056 emails. Sometimes, there are many more of both, not to mention  Facebook messages. Last year, I endeavoured to answer them all. My schedule was to get up at dawn, answer messages, and write content, for myself and others. By 8am I would organize my daughter for the day and ferry her to workshops. If we were at home, I would work with my daughter for six hours, then get her to classes in the afternoon. In the meantime, there would be more work for me. On top of this, there were social activities. There was the forever buzzing phone too. At Christmas, I stopped going onto Facebook. I found I just couldn’t cope. I felt like Mickey in Fantasia, when he conjures up the buckets, only to have them flood the room. That is very much how I have felt with all the messages. During December, I heard the most horrific stories of abuse and of deep sadness. I carried it on my shoulders, and the weight slipped down and smashed the already broken column of my spine. There was little lightness, and much darkness. My child needed me, and so I had to stop. I am forever grateful to this little girl for what she teaches me. My energy has been replenished by our walks and games. You can be in the same room to those who mean the world to you, and yet still be a world apart when distracted.

As with a few years ago, I don’t need medication for this particular brand of disquiet. I just need to organize a more manageable way of being. To put my contact list into categories, and un-subscribe from everything that chews up precious time. There have been days when I haven’t had time to eat, nor do what is necessary to maintain my health. Trying to be everything for everyone and feeling like I am failing. Putting myself last on the list of priorities. I have had time this week to put together a plan of action for this spine. I am going to undertake the discogram and chemonucleosis that was offered me years ago. I had it once before, and it provided relief for quite some time. If successful, it will do the same and bide me time. This decision feels right, and so now I start saving for it!

I know many of you can identify with the overwhelm. If I hear my phone ringing, I have an anxiety attack. I am slowly making my way out of my cocoon, but never want to go back to the unsustainable, 24/7 demands I made of myself. How terrifying and liberating it is, to finally have time. Returning to the world whole, rather than chipped and hollow, is what I desire.