Saturday, December 31, 2011

6WS - What goes around, comes back around

I love these 6 words and I'm a very strong believer in this. It goes alongside my belief that what we give out is what we will receive in return. Give out happiness and light and it will come back to you. Give out bitterness and anger and that too will come back to you.

That marvellous book of mine that I've been reading (and have now finished) had another one of those amazing 'urban legends' in it - I'm such a sucker for stories and explanations and cliches. I know I only shared a story yesterday, but this is such a good message to take into the New Year that I couldn't resist.

What Goes Around, Comes Back Around

His name was Fleming, and he was a poor Scottish farmer. One day, while trying to eke out a living for his family, he heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog. He dropped his tools and ran to the bog. There, mired to his waist in black mulch, was a terrified boy, screaming and struggling to free himself. Farmer Fleming saved the lad from what could have been a slow and terrifying death.

The next day, a fancy carriage pulled up to the Scotsman's sparse surroundings. An elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Farmer Fleming had saved. "I want to repay you," said the nobleman. "You saved my son's life."

"No, I can't accept payment for what I did," the Scottish farmer replied, waving off the offer. At that moment, the farmer's own son came to the door of the family hovel. "Is that your son?" the nobleman asked. "Yes," the farmer replied proudly.

"I'll make you a deal. Let me take him and give him a good education. If the lad is anything like his father, he'll grow to a man you can be proud of."

And that he did. In time, Farmer Fleming's son graduated from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School in London, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of penicillin.

Years afterward, the nobleman's son was stricken with pneumonia. What saved him? Penicillin.

The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son's name? Sir Winston Churchill.

A lesson for us all of us as we move into 2012 that what we give out will come back to us (eventually) So give out lots in the coming year of what you want to receive back.

Today it's 40 degrees celcius where I am, so tonight a few drinks around the pool at a friends place is how we plan to see in the New Year. Hope you're having a good one where ever you are and whatever you're doing. Stay safe and see you all back in 2012.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Cheers, Fi

Want to play along with Six Word Saturday, it's easy? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Shake it off and step up

I am a wife and a mother firstly, a nanna secondly and a writer thirdly. What is in my heart and what makes me who I am are the loved ones in my life. What I know, learn, read and discover fuels the writer in me.

So I had to share this - it was in my book that I'm currently reading, so of course I then got Google to find the electronic version for me.

A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer's well. The farmer heard the mule 'braying'--or whatever mules do when they fall into wells.

After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving.

Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened...and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.

Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back...a thought struck him.

It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back...HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP! This he did, blow after blow.

"Shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up...shake it off and step up!" he repeated to encourage himself.

No matter how painful the blows, or distressing the situation seemed the old mule fought "panic" and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP!

You're right! It wasn't long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, STEPPED TRIUMPHANTLY OVER THE WALL OF THAT WELL!

What seemed like would bury him, actually blessed him...all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.
 THAT'S LIFE!

If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity...THE ADVERSITIES THAT COME ALONG TO BURY US USUALLY HAVE WITHIN THEM THE POTENTIAL TO BENEFIT AND BLESS US!

How can we all not learn something from that? Here's to everyone shaking it off and stepping up.

Cheers, Fi

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What's in a word?

I follow the blogs of some very enlightened people who have some great ideas. Louise mentioned this website Abbey of the Arts in deciding on her 'word' for the coming year. So of course because I appreciate so much of what Louise recommends I had to go look.

This site has started a tradition based on an age old idea to ask for a word –  this word or phrase would be something on which to ponder for many days, weeks, months, sometimes a whole lifetime.......something to nourish me, challenge me, a word I can wrestle with and grow into. 
 
I read about it when Louise did it last year and then when I read about it again this week on her blog for the coming year, I knew that I had to do it. I had to decide on a word for the year which would define my goals.

It's funny because I wanted to come up with a really 'cool' word, a word that would be special in terms of what I want to achieve in 2012. A word that wasn't too obvious, that was a little bit special. Louise's new word is 'suppleness' - now that's a cool word. 

Sometimes though you can't fight what is meant to be, so I stopped fighting and went with the word that needed to be. Everywhere I've turned in the last few days, I've found this word and then when I read a quote today in the book I'm reading I realised it doesn't matter how obvious the word is, it's the one that's going to define me in 2012.

The quote I read was "Belief is the only thing that stands between you and success"

So my word for 2012 is:



Belief in myself, belief in my success, belief in my family, belief in the universe that everything will be as it is meant to be. Belief that I can make a difference and that I will succeed. Belief is the first and most important step.

So that really assists me with deciding what I want my next tattoo to be, similar to what I already posted but slightly different. Brings to mind my favourite Balinese saying - 'Same, same, but different'. Anyway this symbol below means - belief.


So, do you have a word for the coming year? I'd love to hear what it is and why you've chosen it.

Cheers, Fi

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace. ~ Buddha  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Life should come with multiple choice boxes

Drumroll here please........ because today I sat for my boat license (and passed)

It doesn't matter that I have no idea how to start the boat or that I suck at reversing a trailer with the boat on it, because I have a piece of paper which says I'm licensed to drive a boat.

If only life was a multiple choice test and I could read the book first. That way I would know which were the correct answers and I'd blitz this thing called life. Because one thing I'm very good at doing is reading and absorbing information and then answering the questions.

Lets face it, if life was a multiple choice test then we'd have a 25% chance of getting it right with no effort and if it was like the boat license I sat today then you only have to get 80% to pass. The thing is multiple choice tests are much like life, we may get it right in theory or on paper but it's the practical that we all fail miserably at.

We all have choices to make in life and the reality is that there's no guide book so that we can learn about what our choices could mean for our lives or what may be a mistake. We have to blindly make our choices and then live with the fallout or ramifications or success of what those choices are.

There's no 80% pass mark in life, we either get it right or we don't. It's taking that first initial step and learning from our mistakes which is the key

I mentioned yesterday that I bought a few books (hysterical laughter can be heard coming from my family) Anyway the first book that I'm reading is called 'One Life to Live' by Jack Collis. I'm about 65 pages into it and loving what this book has to say.

Mind you, I was hooked with the quote by Dale Carnegie on the first page "One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of the magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today"

So my question today for all of you - are you searching for that magical rose garden or waiting for the answer book for the multiple choice test to make sure you get the life you want?

Tick a box people, take a chance, smell the roses in your garden right now, don't wait for the perfect life to arrive because you may be waiting a long, long time.

I'm off to smell some roses (ironic really, because roses make me sneeze)

Cheers, Fi

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I'm off to Nirvana...

Today is day 11 of 24 days of holidays. Today I finally feel like I'm starting to relax.

I've spent 11 days reading, writing, blogging and nanna napping. Besides the boring everyday things like cooking, cleaning and washing that is.

I don't think I realised just how much I needed to just chill and have 'me' time. Trying to resist thinking of all the things I should be doing and not feeling guilty that I'm not doing them is hard.

The next 12 months on the project are expected to be extremely busy and stressful, so guilt about not doing much of anything over the break - well guilt be gone.

The best part about today - I went to a book sale, because you can never have too many books. Book sales and I are akin to me visiting nirvana ( a place or state characterised by freedom from or oblivion to pain, worry and the external world) I bought ten books - because obviously they're cheaper the more you buy.

I have way too many books in my house as it is and it's almost a standing joke in my house about me and books. Hubby and my boys tend to steer me around book sales, because I'm a bit of a sad case, I have to buy something. Some women buy shoes, some buy clothes, some buy makeup - me, I buy books. Fiction, non- fiction - it doesn't matter as long as it's interesting.

So what in your world takes you to Nirvana?

Cheers, Fi

Here's the latest pic of the little man who is 6 months old today - how quick time moves. This is probably my favourite photo of him. I'm lucky that his mum is handy with a camera and takes heaps of photos of him.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Remembering what's important...

Christmas can be difficult for many, for some it's a time of love and togetherness and joy. For others it's a reminder of loss, of separation and of sadness.

My Christmas was a mixed bag of emotion, hubby started work at 7am, so we were up early to see him before he went to work.

The boys and I started out our day having breakfast with my son, his fiance and my gorgeous grandson.

Off to lunch at my brother-in-laws, I tried not to be too solemn that both of them had their family's there while my own parents, brother, sister-in-law and nephew were four hours away. Hubby called in for a mere half hour but missed lunch. I remind myself that I need to be thankful that I have family and that I'm not forced to spend the day alone.

We picked up a girlfriend of mine and her daughter on the way home, hubby had already picked up her partner on his way home from work. The two of them spent Christmas Day in different homes because of family divides and lack of family unity. How many family's spent their days apart because of family conflict?

Hubby went out to a broken down car in the McDonalds carpark, he tried to do everything to fix a car that just didn't want to go, because it was Christmas and there were kids in the car. The car was beyond fixing. The cars' owner was far from home and faced the prospect of a tow truck and hefty bill to get the car home.

Hubby questioned why the woman and two children were in the car park when McDonald's was closed. She said they were doing a custody exchange for Christmas Day. With no money to get the car home and the added dilemma of how to get the kids home because they couldn't go in the tow truck, I'm guessing their Christmas Day wasn't too enjoyable after that.

For us, Christmas night was at home with friends and some quiet drinks. More drama eventuated and we had one of my girlfriends on my lounge for the night. How much drama occurs on Christmas Day because family's are divided and stress levels peak?

Today, Boxing Day and I had a relaxing, restful family day. Hubby had the day off and my boys were at home. We did boring, uneventful things - yard work, cleaning and then just being together. We've had our own dramas in recent weeks, so no stress or drama was restful and reassuring. I also spoke to eldest MM and his girl and they both had a good first Christmas together with their darling baby boy.

So for today - all is as well in my world as is possible.

So after a nice Boxing Day I've decided that Christmas needs to be abolished, too much stress and pressure. Seriously, how many people spend days, even weeks preparing for a day which for many can be so stressful and overwhelming if not downright horrible.

Hubby says for Christmas next year he wants to take the boys and just go away and not do the Christmas thing - I'm starting to think there's some wisdom in his thinking, and I don't often see wisdom in some of his thinking.

I have included a montage of my favourite family photos for 2011 at the bottom of my About Me page. I realised there's a slight imbalance, from the very few photos of both hubby and I which I could find and the abundance of photos of my boys and my grandson.

That's just the way I like it. All of my favourite people are in these photos, my family - the ones who make life worth getting out of bed every day for. I don't need Christmas Day to remind me how special each and every one of these people are in my world.

Hope your Christmas Day was a good one wherever you were and whatever you did. Hug your loved ones often everybody. To all of you who drop by here regularly, thank you for sharing a small part of my world in 2011.

Cheers, Fi

Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present, and future. ~ Gail Lumet Buckley

Saturday, December 24, 2011

6WS - Recipe for Christmas All Year Long


Merry Christmas everyone, hope your day is a special one filled with love, joy and hope and spent amongst loved ones.

Cheers, Fi

Want to play along with Six Word Saturday, it's easy? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Words to live by...

I have just finished reading Richard Branson's book "Screw it, Let's do it". Here are his words to live by:
  •   Just do it
  •   Think yes, not no
  •   Challenge yourself
  •   Have goals
  •   Have fun
  •   Make a difference
  •   Stand on your own feet
  •   Be loyal
  •   Live life to the full
I think that just about sums up exactly what I need to focus on for 2012. My rut has got a little bit uncomfortable and confining lately and the only person who can change that is moi.

Cheers, Fi

Thursday, December 22, 2011

On target in 2012


As usual, my wonderful blogging friend had it together before me by coming up with 12 goals for 2012, just as I was reconsidering my 101 in 1001 days. I'm not scrapping my 101 list or getting rid of them, they're still my goals. What I am doing is breaking the list down to more manageable amounts. That way they aren't quite so daunting.

My goal is to be on target for a better me in 2012.

So I've come up with 12 tangible (real or actual - capable of being touched) and 12 intangible (not definite or clear to the mind) goals.

They're all primarily taken from my original 101 in 1001 list - you can check, the list is still there - I've just renamed the tab 'goal setting'. My 'On target in 2012 list' will be on there as well.

Tangible goals

1. Lose 5 kilos – which is at least what I’ve put on since giving up smoking in 2011
2. Start writing my second novel
3. Organise passports for my boys
4. Investigate publishers for my first novel
5. Take my boys overseas
6. Decide on and then get my second tattoo
7. Write one good thing that happens weekly in my blog posts
8. Learn how to create my own webpage and move my blog there
9. Complete 101 random acts of kindness and keep track of them
10. Attempt 5 things that scare me stupid
11. Decide what additional study I want to do and enrol
12. Prepare an updated version of my resume with all my new learned skills

Intangible (but necessary) goals

1. Learn to trust in my instincts more – go with my gut
2. Be happy
3. Trust that things will work out - try not to worry so much
4. Introduce a daily way of relaxing, a time just for me - to let go
5. Do something spontaneous at least once a month
6. Watch the sun rise and set in the same day
7. Don't say anything negative for 1 day
8. Spend a whole day in jammies, with no phones or computers
9. Make regular times for bubble baths with candles
10. Go puddle jumping in the rain
11. Develop a writers mindset and commit to writing regularly
12. Let go of the need to control everything, it’s too tiring

This is not just about New Years Resolutions, but about goals for the entire year which lead to a better me, or at least a happier me. So what are you thinking about achieving in 2012?

Cheers, Fi

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

You'll love this

My mum finds some really cool stuff and often forwards it through to me and of course I share. This share is classic, I'm not sure how it's done and its a bit slow but kids would love this.

It's Christmas holidays so here's something that may keep the kids amused for a very short while.

How to draw a stickman - http://www.drawastickman.com/

The simple things in life

The simple things in life which you couldn't accurately put a cost to and while they're often free, in most cases they're often priceless.

The simple things which provide much needed joy today for me were:
  • Several hours spent in the garden with youngest MM this morning pulling up weeds and making it look nicer. Beautiful weather and physical labour accompanied by a sense of achievement - the simple things.
  • Curled up on the lounge, freshly showered, with a nice big bowl of healthy, crunchy salad watching the old television classics of my childhood - Nightrider and Quantum Leap - the simple things.
  •  A house silent but for the noise of tapping on the laptop keyboard and the washing machine whirring. Everyone is out and the house is quiet, peaceful and calm - the simple things. 
So I need your opinion, I've been thinking about getting another tattoo for a long time and I've come up with three solutions, well two that I'm gelling on at the moment and another one that's not too bad, so I want your thoughts on my choices.

I'm thinking small (quite small) on my foot / ankle, I'm not too sure where yet and obviously it's dependent on what the tattooist suggests. Are you ready for it?

These are the chinese symbols for 'Inspiration 2 Dream' - is that really corny? I would obviously have to have it checked for translation and accuracy but it seems to be what's calling out the loudest to me at the moment. Then there's this next one which means Dream, Believe, Achieve

However this next one was kind of appealing as well. It means double happiness.

Why am I talking about tattoos, well besides the fact that I've been thinking about it for quite a while and it would be somewhat symbolic of turning 40 this year. I also updated my 101 challenges in 1001 days (one of my challenges is to get another tattoo). I realised how I've let the list drop off somewhat, at the same time there were a lot of things that I could cross off.
 
I think that I probably need to rework the list because there's two side to that list, the things that I definitely want to accomplish within the 1001 days and the things that I would 'like' to do and until I put them into proper goal context that's all they will be, is 'wants'. Does that make some sort of crazy sense - it does in my mind at least.
 
Yesterday I accomplished all of my Christmas shopping, bar one or two minor things which I can pick up with food shopping on Friday. Another one of the simple things in life which make you smile.
 
To Jenn, Louise and Marion thank you for your support and kind words this week. Jenn and Louise you both keep me grounded. Marion you're only new to my blog but you still encouraged and left kind words. It's probably what I love best about blogging, the support and friendship and often just the 'cyber hugs' which pick you up and help you to continue on your journey of life.

In some ways you guys are strangers and in other ways from being here, from sharing the ups and downs of this crazy thing called life you probably know me better than half my actual friends and family. Again, thank you.

Cheers, Fi

We cannot change our past. We can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. ~ Charles R. Swindoll 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Catch me if you can...

I could climb to the top of a towering gumtree and let the 
words drift away on the wind. 
or

I could dive beneath the depths of rippling water and the
words would float away on a wave

or

I could fly through the sky and the
words would fall like rain around me.

Some days....

The words are what hurt and the words are what's real. For a writer and a lover of words - the irony is that the pain is within those words.

When is a mother not a mother, the answer is - never! Some days the pressure relents a little and I take a breath and enjoy the calm. On the other days I seek to climb, run and soar to avoid the words. Only then can I ignore what's going on in my world.

Cheers, Fi

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace. ~ Buddha

Monday, December 19, 2011

Onward and Upward

Onward and upward, because there's no use dwelling on what was, what might have been or what can't be. Pointless energy wasted and if I tell myself this often enough then maybe I'll start to believe it.

I had my misery party yesterday and no-one else came, it was just me feeling sorry for myself. Sometimes that's what I need, just to wallow in the mess on my own, process it in my mind and then move onward and upward to better things.

I'm sharing some happy things today - because I need to remind myself of the good things in my life and because  there's lots of additional good things in this world.

Share #1 - this came via email from my mum

After losing his parents, this 3 year old orangutan was so depressed he wouldn't eat and didn't respond to any medical treatments. The veterinarians thought he would surely die from sadness.

The zoo keepers found an old, sick dog in the park adjacent to the zoo where the orangutan lived, and took the dog to the animal treatment centre. The dog arrived at the same time the orangutan was there being treated.

The 2 lost souls met and have been inseparable ever since.
 

The orangutan found a new reason to live, and each always tries his best to be a good companion to his new found friend. They are together 24 hours a day in all their activities.

They live in Northern California where swimming is their favorite past time, although Roscoe (the orangutan) is a little afraid of the water and needs his friend's help to swim.


Share #2 - Why I'm Thankful

I Am Thankful for...
  • The messes to clean after a party because it means friends have surrounded me.
  • The taxes I pay because it means that I'm employed.
  • The clothes that fit a little too snug because it means I have enough to eat.
  • My shadow who watches me work because it means I am out in the sunshine
  • A lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home.
  • All the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.
  • The spot I find at the far end of the parking lot because it means I am capable of walking
  • My huge heating bill because it means I am warm.
  • The lady behind me in church who sings off key, because it means that I can hear.
  • The piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby
  • Weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day because it means I have been productive.
  • The alarm ringing in the early morning hours because it means that I'm awake and alive.

 Share #3 - The Pencil Maker 
 
A pencil maker told the pencil 5 important lessons just before putting it in the box :
  1. everything you do will always leave a mark.
  2. you can always correct the mistakes you make.
  3. what is important is what is inside of you.
  4. in life, you will undergo painful sharpenings which will only make you better.
  5. to be the best pencil, you must allow yourself to be held and guided by the hand that holds you.
The other two shares came from this website called Truthbook - there's some amazing things to read and look at
.
 
Cheers, Fi  
 
A dream is in the mind of the believer, and in the hands of the doer. You are not given a dream without being given the power to make it come true.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Often I'm in need of a hug

Sometimes these things sneak up behind you and take you by surprise and sometimes you've sensed them coming for awhile and they still catch you by surprise. I hate bad surprises.

In my heart I need to write about this because it's has upset my world as I know it. Out of courtesy and respect to those involved I will refrain from names and detailed explanations here on this blog.

It's not for me too broadcast others troubles and surprise, surprise - I don't write anonymously, so some of you may know those in my life who are going through this trying time.

For any couple a decision to live in separate homes is not one too be taken lightly and at this time of the year and with children involved its even more devastating. I love both parts of this couple and I'm torn in half. Is it fair for me to want to scream "What about me, what about how I feel about this?" because that's what I'm thinking (plus a zillion other troubling thoughts)

How truly selfish and pathetic am I?

Despite their assurances that I will still see both of them, I know that things will never be the same. People change, they grow, they move on to new things with new people. Nothing can be the same. Trial separation is what's being discussed, I guess I'm not feeling too optimistic and yet I know I just have to butt out - it's not my life, it's not my business.

I feel like someone has kicked the chair legs out from under me and not first warned me they were going to do it (kick the legs out from the chair that is). I've hit the ground hard and the air has whooshed out of my lungs with a massive gush and I can't catch my breath. News like this has sort of sucked any joy out of my Christmas break.

I guess it will take time for me to adjust to it, time for the news to sink in. The thing is, I don't want to adjust, I don't want the news to sink in. I don't want anything to change because endings suck and none so much as this one!

Hugs, Fi

Saturday, December 17, 2011

6WS - It's beginning to feel like Christmas


The shops are teeming with people, everyone's in a hurry, the traffic is appalling and the carparks are over full. Yeah it's beginning to feel a bit like Christmas.

Started my Christmas break today - woohoo. As I write this post on the 17th day of Summer, it's bucketing down with rain outside and the rain and thunder is so loud that youngest MM has just shut all the doors and windows so that he can hear his movie that he's watching. It's still warm though so not the most pleasant kind of weather.

Hubby has just started work - 5pm start on a Saturday night, a week out from Christmas with rain and crazy weather. As a road service patrol who is on the road for the next 8 hours helping broken down motorists, how fun do you think his night is going to be?

The lights keep dimming and the thunder keeps booming - hopefully the power isn't going to go out. It'll make cooking dinner an interesting concept.

Today is also my baby brother's birthday - Happy Birthday buddy. In three years and 32 days you will feel as old as I do. LOL that's an inside joke, my boss is 16 days older than me so on those days when he's feeling a little bit slower he tells me that 16 days on when I'm the same age then I will feel the same as him.

I've been really lax with writing and catching up on posts this week - you know how it is this time of the year. Crazy days, heaps to do. We had a fantastic project team Christmas lunch yesterday and way too much alcohol, which is very unusual for me who doesn't usually have more than one or two drinks at any one time.

It could have something to do with them buying me one or two triple shot vodkas as well. I told them it tasted a little bit funny, which was probably because I couldn't taste the lemonade. I was still self contained and well behaved though - promise.

I was awake bright and early this morning and even succeeded in dragging hubby to the shops this morning to do some Christmas shopping (anyone who knows my hubby will know this was a monumental feat on my part) I still have more shopping to do but he helped me with the hard decisions and purchases.

I hate shopping for teenage boys. Buying gifts for my mother, sister-in-law and daughter-in-law is a piece of cake but boys ergh! Plus we have too many boys in our family - double ergh! Not that I'd trade them for a second.

Now that I'm on holidays (did I mention that yet?) I'm starting to feel a little bit more Christmas minded and a little bit more relaxed. My three hour nanna nap this afternoon probably helped as well.

Okay so despite waking up bright and bouncy this morning - Christmas shopping, a BIG afternoon yesterday and a migraine left me feeling a little bit ordinary by this afternoon. So I slept, because I could.

Are you dreading Christmas or starting to feel a little bit more 'in the mood' like me.

Hope you have a great weekend, be it relaxing or getting ready for Christmas day.

Cheers, Fi

Want to play along with Six Word Saturday, it's easy? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking on the button. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Get well Kathy Bee

Some people have something within them which enables them to be incredibly generous to almost strangers. I know one such person like this and I know we're lucky to know this trusting, caring and amazing individual.

A number of years ago, my mum and brother went to America - specifically Portland, Oregon to pack up my grandfathers home and move him into a nursing home. It was a hard decision but a necessary one. As his only family members we were too far away to be of any help on a regular basis.

So despite my mother establishing everything to assist his living alone the time eventually came when he had to be somewhere where he was safe. He was suffering from Huntingtons disease and was no longer capable of looking after himself. Mum moved him to an amazing nursing home in Woodburn, Oregon.

It was here that my mum met the PR lady for the facility. PR lady was a fairly limited description of what she actually did - she was the 'everything' lady with an amazing attitude to match. She also kept mum informed on what was happening with my grandfather.

In 2005 when mum went back for a visit, I went too. My dad was too unwell to travel at the time so I got the opportunity to get back over there and see my grandfather and revisit my 'teenage' hangouts of 1987 (my first visit was for 3 months when I was 15)

Mum asked Kathy Bee - the 'everything' lady from the nursing home to suggest somewhere close to the home where we could stay. She in turn suggested the Kathy Bee Hotel to us, that is her own home, staying as her guests. Two almost complete strangers from the other side of the world. As a single person living alone, not too many people could or would be, this trusting.

That two week visit staying at the Kathy Bee Hotel was the start of an amazing international friendship and she has since visited Australia, travelled around Europe with my parents and also through a number of states of the USA on their return trips over there. Sadly, my grandfather passed away the year following our 2005 visit there, but the friendship with Kathy Bee continues.

I got a letter from Kathy Bee recently, her yearly Christmas letter to her friends and family. She's had a bad year and sadly is in a nursing home at the moment following complications from a broken leg she suffered earlier this year. She's hoping to be back in her own home by next week. I wish I had the money and the resources to be there to help her.

I'm at least reassured that she has some very good friends to help look after her. From her newsy Christmas letter, it seems even the postman is helping her out. Kathy Bee I know you'll read this post because I'll be sending you the link. You're my 'proxy' great aunt and your Aussie adopted family love you dearly and wish you a speedy recovery and an awesome Christmas (hopefully at home in your own place)

I'm sure most of you know someone similarly 'awesome' who has done something so amazingly generous? So here's me sending good wishes and happy thoughts to all those who are generous beyond measure.

Cheers, Fi

Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion. ~ Mohandas Gandhi

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sharing a few little gifts with you

As a writer in the making, I like to think that I'm fairly careful about what I post or share to ensure I don't take away from someone elses words or inspiration.

Having said that though, there are also things I like to share with you as a snippet of what awesome things I do sometimes discover with the hope that if it interests you, then you might go take a peek yourself.

In this season of giving where commercialism is sometimes hard to escape and some people lose sight of the real essence of giving, I found this super post here, (it's worth checking out some of the other insightful things on the Jungle of Life site)

SHARE #1

What should you give?

A damn: “Life is a dar­ing adven­ture – or noth­ing at all” ~ Helen Keller
Help: to any­one you can offer it to.
Love: to your­self first… then to as many oth­ers as pos­si­ble – you have an end­less sup­ply!
Respect: because EVERYONE is wor­thy of it.
Hugs: as long as HR does not have a rule against it – ugh!
Freely of your best ideas: the future will be unlocked through col­lab­o­ra­tive cre­ativ­ity.
Advice: when it is asked for… and then… care­fully!
Advice: some­times – only some­times – when it is NOT asked for… and then even MORE care­fully!!
Men­tor­ing: help oth­ers to avoid some of the mis­take you have made.
Gen­er­ously: to a char­ity you are truly pas­sion­ate about.
Time: to peo­ple who will not waste it.
Wis­dom: to those who love you and will lis­ten.
Your­self a break: you are not sup­posed to be per­fect – let that go.
Praise and thanks: to every­one – often!!
100% of your per­sonal effort: life is not a dress rehearsal.
A smile: pass along some warmth and joy to oth­ers.
Under­stand­ing: remem­ber that every­one you meet is fight­ing a mighty bat­tle.

Give, give, give and give some more. Embrace an abun­dance men­tal­ity by under­stand­ing deeply that if you just help enough other peo­ple get what they need – you will get every­thing you need.

What a clever post - I loved it.

SHARE #2

In the spirit of Christmas giving I have a couple of shares tonight, this second one is a Facebook page set up by Karen who's blog is on my regular reading list. Too many things on this page that I could pick a specific one to share with you, but if you're in search of Christmas ideas which are healthy and fun for the family and don't cost a lot, then this page has heaps of different links and ideas. It's new but already has plenty of things worth having a look at - A healthy, homemade holiday
and because good things come in threes, here's the third.

SHARE #3 

I visit Eden at Edenland often and I think I've shared the link to her site before. Never before have I read the words of someone who has been to hell and back through alcohol addiction and who is still able to convey the beauty of the human spirit and inspire so many people in such simple ways.

She's rough and ready, she's brutally honest and at times probably offends some with her straight talking, yet she has a heart as big as Australia and many followers who would defend her to the death.

Today she shared a clip of Michael Buble awesomeness of him with a fan from his audience and then this quote - Mudita in Buddhism is vicarious joy .. "the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people's well-being rather than begrudging it."

Sorry Eden, I'm stealing your word - it's going to be my word for the Christmas season - mudita, how perfectly appropriate. I think we all should experience some mudita this week.

Hope you enjoyed my gifts tonight.

Cheers, Fi

The reader / writer in me felt the need to also share these websites which I've recently dicovered

The Book Depository - for me books are nirvana (and I buy a lot) I found this website recently and was delighted that prices are equal or better than most other 'popular' sites, but for me the biggest bonus - free delivery worldwide.

Scribd - my boss pointed me towards this site and I still have some more exploring to do. It's a Facebook page and the header says this 'Millions of documents and books at your fingertips! Read, print, download, and send them to your mobile devices instantly. Or upload your PDF, Word, and PowerPoint docs to share them with the world's largest community of readers'


A smile is the light in your window that tells others that there is a caring, sharing person inside. ~ Denis Waitley

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Guilty pleasures - bring 'em on

I read a Six Word Saturday post this morning about 'Guilty Pleasures' and it got me thinking about my own guilty pleasures. In fact my whole weekend might be one big guilty pleasure.

Wikipedia says "A guilty pleasure is something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it"

My guilty pleasure is called 'quiet time for mum' - hubby and the boys are off organising a work picnic for hubby's work. They left just after 7am this morning, so at 7.30am I was curled up on the lounge in my pyjamas and zipping around the blogophere reading Six Word Saturday posts - um guilty pleasure, most certainly.

I'm sure all of my readers who are mums and probably have to lock themselves in the toilet just to get some quiet time are hating me right about now. After all, this is my second day in a row of 'me' time. Although I do remember that when my children were younger that even locking myself in the toilet didn't guarantee quiet time because they were usually the other side of the door whining and knocking.

I think this post may have got a little bit off track here, back to the guilty pleasures thought. As a mother what are my guilty pleasures -
1) quiet time to myself with no-one bothering me or wanting me to help them with something.
2) buying a treat to eat and not having to share or buy something to fill 'their' mouths with
3) a hot bubble bath with no-one sticking their head around the door and starting a sentence with 'maarrrrmmm' (you know how they put 5 syllables in the word mum)
4) hubby being able to organise something himself and me being curled up on the lounge reading a book and not having to get up and help
5) a long sleep in and then a relaxed morning pottering around the house doing exactly what I want to do.

Okay so my guilty pleasures are more frequent now that my children are teenagers and somewhat more self sufficient. Don't for a second though, think that I live a life of luxury and slothfulness from reading this post.

To all my dear friends and former co-workers who know me too well - how awesome is it that someone is organising a work picnic and I don't have to be there to organise it - that's a massive guilty pleasure in itself and took some doing to restrain myself from getting involved. I will instead be one of those 'normal' people who just turn up to eat and then leave.

Nah, I'm sure I'll be unable to leave without helping pack up - some things are just ingrained in our psyche.

Well it's now 8.46am, way too early to be up on a Sunday morning but sometimes you get that. I might have a leisurely shower, chuck on a load of washing (I know I said yesterday that it was all done) but somehow dirty clothes reproduce in a house with teenage boys in it. Then I might do um 'nothing'.

Don't hate me too much - we all need it and deserve it occasionally. Hope you find some time to indulge yourself in the crazy lead up to Christmas.

Note: When you speak (or write) too soon, it will come back to bite you on the butt. The phone just rang as I got ready to publish this post- it was hubby with a list of things they forgot to take and would I mind bringing them down. Yeah no problem, should I deliver them in my jammies with no make up and my hair looking like it hasn't been brushed in a week.

The moral of this story - enjoy every single guilty pleasure because a mother's / wife's work is never done.

Cheers, Fi

Guilt is the price we pay willingly for doing what we are going to do anyway ~ Isabelle Holland

Saturday, December 10, 2011

6WS - Today, the calm before the storm



I had one of those blissful kinda days that are few and far between. The calm before the Christmas storm of social activity.

I had 12 hours of sleep last night (yeah I fell asleep on the lounge last night at 6.30) and I was up bright and early and full of energy at 6.30 this morning. I think all of us get a little bit worn out in the lead up to Christmas each year, so I got some much needed sleep last night.

My food shopping was done and packed away by 10am this morning and I toddled off to the hairdresser for several hours of pampering. A trim and a duo of streaks in caramel and honey (hair colour always sounds good enough to eat) then home to a silent house because all the men were out for the day.

Youngest mm was in the city clothes shopping with mates, middle mm slept at a friends house last night and then was at the beach and hubby was working with a mate who's a concreter. So I cleaned my house, did all the washing and then sat and repainted my toenails and read a book. Ordinary, normal things but things that I usually don't have time to do.

What all of this means is that tomorrow is all mine. No plans, no shopping, no cleaning - double bliss. Many things that I could be doing, especially given that I still haven't done any Christmas shopping whatsoever, but I finish up work a week before Christmas so ample time for that. Believe me the shops are sheer madness on a weekend so not where I want to be this weekend.

What about you, is your weekend crazy with the lead up to Christmas? Have you finished your Christmas shopping or are you like me and enjoying those blissful quiet moments that are few and far between.

Here's a really great story that I came across which I thought I'd share

"A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. “I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

Hope whatever you're doing, you're having a great weekend.

Cheers, Fi

Want to play along with Six Word Saturday, it's easy? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking on the button. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dream Weaver

If there's one thing which makes me wild and which makes me climb up on my soapbox with fire in my heart is anyone who steps on another person's dreams.

The blogosphere is a funny place because as much as it's a supportive and fun place to be, there are (as there are in life) nasty and rude people. To not agree with someone is fine, if we all agreed then life would be boring.

There are however ways of voicing your opinion and not stepping all over a person's dreams or causing much angst in the process.

Surely people follow another person's blog for a number of reasons
1) they agree or like what the person has to say
2) they learn new things from reading
3) they've formed a 'blogging' friendship with the other person
4) they live vicariously through the other person

There's probably a million other reasons why people follow a blog. I'm sure there aren't people who follow blogs just so they can jump on that person when they say something they disagree with. Would that make them blogging predators????

I comment on several regularly because I feel that I've forged friendships / affinity with the owners of those blogs. I follow a whole lot more but I often don't comment because they either have lots of comments already and it would seem a bit like butting into a conversation or because I'm a little daunted by the person and would rather get to know them through their writing  for a while longer.

I will comment when something really grabs me though, regardless of whose blog it is - but there are always rules, be polite, be tactful, be honest. Do not be rude, threatening or accusatory. Do or say unto others as you would have them do or say unto you. It's possible to disagree with another person's posts without being horrible about it.

Stepping on anothers person's dreams or shattering them and being nasty in the process - unforgiveable. If you're concerned about the person and worried that they may get 'hurt' by following their dream by all means tactfully raise your concern but don't smash, dash and shatter that dream.

Our dreams are what keep us moving forward each day and give us fresh hope. Our dreams are our own and no-one has the right to belittle them. Don't let anyone take your dreams from you - if you want something bad enough then go out and get it. If the path to your dream is not quite right, then replot and replan and keep going.

...and if you think someone's dream may cause them harm (be it emotional, psychological,  physical or financial harm) - tactfully and carefully give them the facts so that they can replot their path if they decide it's necessary. Never just destroy their dream with harsh words.

To my dear blogging buddy who knows who she is - keep dreaming, keep planning and keep believing. After all, as the header on my blog says "Whatever you can do or dream you can do, then do it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it. Begin it now!"

Cheers, Fi

And because I love the song and this post is called Dream Weaver - here's the clip to the song "Dreamweaver" by Gary Wright - showing my age now aren't I?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What I learnt today...

There are times when another person's bad behaviour brings the realisation that we should never speak without having all of the facts. A senior manager at work today had a monumental hissy fit and succeeded in little more than making himself look like a total twat.

It lowered any respect that I might have had for him and I even felt the need to feel embarassed for him at the inappropriateness of his actions. My two co-workers and I were forced to witness the tirade and could do nothing other than sit numbly looking at our computer screens in shock at his appalling lack of professionalism.

Swearing and abusing one of our senior external consultants and big-noting his own role within the company without first asking some calm questions to get the facts was his initial mistake. His second mistake, if you're going to berate or even verbally attack someone - then at least do them the courtesy of doing it in privacy without witnesses.

I'm sure the fallout from this one is still to come. Kudos to the person being attacked who calmly listened then quietly defended his position and maintained every ounce of professionalism and control. He didn't fight back or lower his standards by swearing and attacking in defense. It was an eyeopener to say the least.

Following that lesson in how 'not to manage people', I then attended a women's networking forum that my company has every few months. There were two guest speakers who presented on the importance of work life balance and the importance of being happy and doing what makes us happy. Reinforcement of so many things that I post about here, but also several additional things which I took away from it.

1) You only have one life, make the most of it.
2) You shouldn't wait until a major life changing event like cancer before deciding what's important in your life.
3) Work / life balance doesn't necessarily need to be an even balance of all of the important components in our lives. At different stages of our lives we will have a focus on different things - it's all about balance but in proportions that work for us.
4) Sleep is very important for our bodies to be able to repair themselves. Our sleep patterns occur in roughly 90 minute blocks and go through 5 stages several times during the night. Hence 6 hours or even 7.5 hours sleep a night would be more ideal than 8 hours, because awakening during one of those stages can leave us feeling like we've been hit by a truck. So now I know why.
5) The mayonaise jar and two cups of coffee story - you may have heard it before and I had, but it still resonated strongly hearing it again.

It was a marvellous day of learning and greater understanding of life and ways of making it better than ever. Furthermore, in the group of roughly 50 people, I was one of only about 5 people who could say they had written down their goals and objectives.

Hope you could take something small from my learnings today.

Cheers, Fi

There is nothing more galling to angry people than the coolness of those on whom they wish to vent their spleen. ~Alexandre Dumas

Monday, December 5, 2011

Counting down...

Minute by minute, day by day I'm counting down till holiday time. Busy weekend, ten hours sleep on Saturday night because I got to sleep in and then six hours last night because we had friends for dinner and then I was up at 5am.

Early mornings and me - ergh! Tomorrow morning I have a conference call at 6.30 am - not sure that my brain will be in gear and my mouth will be functioning, but oh well. Then I have a communications presentation to do at one of our sites at 8.15am which is on my way to work. Tommorrow is going to be a very long day!

I haven't done one scrap of Christmas shopping yet, in fact I haven't even given it much thought, my boys are incredibly hard to buy for. Mind you, I did have a rather superb idea for eldest and his girl but I can't write it here in case they read this, which is a possibility.

I planned to update my challenges list yesterday, but didn't - shame on me. I did at least get the Christmas tree up in all it's rainbow glory and hubby hasn't dared mutter a word. I need to go and buy some new lights for it so it's not quite done. It does put a smile on my face though.

There's some days when you have so many plans of what you need to get done and you don't get halfway trough the list. Focus on the big things and the small things will take care of themselves - not sure if I've got that in the right context but it sounds good.

Do any of you remember me posting here about the 14 year-old teenage boy who got picked up in Bali for drug possession back in October? Well after two months of being locked up he finally got to come home today.

Luckily the six and even fourteen year sentences which were talked of, never came about, but for a long while there it didn't look good. What a tough lesson he got about the rules of another country. At least he's home, safe and sound with his family for Christmas, which is the important thing.

It's all many of us want for Christmas and that's about all my words from this tired brain today.

Cheers, Fi

Saturday, December 3, 2011

6WS - Its a crazy time of year


Nine more working days until I break for Christmas holidays (not that I'm counting down the days or anything silly like that). Okay yes I am. I'm so in need of a break and some 'me' time.

No work for twenty six days - woohoo. As is always the case I will have plans for all the things I want to do and I'll probably only do half of them. Sleeping in, long, lazy days in the summer sunshine. Beach days, friends and family. Yeah that's what Christmas break is all about.

It's not about spending squillions of dollars, eating enough food to feed a small third world country or experiencing untold stress and anxiety. It should be about relaxing, laughing and loving. Louise wrote a fantastic post here about Christmas and family and basically what Christmas means to homeless people. You've got to read it to understand the context and beauty in this post.

Her post helped me to throw off some of the 'bah humbug' mood which I've been feeling. I was feeling a little sad that some of my family won't be with me on Christmas Day, on top of that, hubby is working Christmas day and my boys are grown up enough that Christmas is more about sleeping in because its a day off from work and school than anything else.

I know I should be more grateful that I have a happy and healthy family, food in my belly and a roof over my head - some people aren't so lucky. I read another post tonight, a very deep and scary post by someone who has triumphed over addiction yet still has many demons to battle. Christmas is a crazy time of year and not always a happy time for some.


I went and bought all new Christmas tree decorations today despite my dislike of the commercialism which surrounds Christmas. This wasn't about giving in to the commercialism this was about colour and I thought it might put me more in the mood for Christmas.

Here's the crazy thing and as I write these words it does sound crazy. I've always had traditional Christmas coloured ornaments, greens, reds and golds. Tinsel and decorations also in those colours. Well my teenage boys aren't that excited about Christmas trees and decorations like they used to be, so it's hard to get excited myself.

So today I went and bought rainbow coloured tinsel as well as pink, green, silver and gold balls, and a purple star. Non traditional colours because this is for me because colour puts a smile on my face and makes me happy. Hubby will probably have a fit when he sees it all, but tough.

So colour and some planned relaxation time are my answers for this crazy time of year - what are you doing to stay sane or get in the festive mood.

Found a fantastic blog which has glitter designs like the ones in this post which you can use on your own blogs, websites etc. Click on the caption under the images if you want to go and check it out.


Have a great weekend,

Cheers, Fi

Want to play along with Six Word Saturday, it's easy? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking on the button. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

All grown up...

This time twenty three years ago, I would have been approximately thirteen hours away from becoming a first time mother. It’s my eldest MM’s birthday tomorrow and boy doesn’t time fly.

Twenty three years of hugs and kisses, laughter and tears, good times and bad times. His birth was the beginning of my venture into adulthood and was probably a little earlier than my parents would have liked.

Who am I kidding; having their daughter become a first time mother at the age of 17 would never have been in my parent’s plans.

My father was horrified, my mother more of the same but at least a little more supportive and accepting. My little brother, well in my memories he took my dad’s side and neither he nor my father spoke to me much for the first few months of my pregnancy. It was a long nine months, yet my baby boy entered the world on a stinking hot Adelaide day, the very first day of summer 1988.

Newborn son, along with his daddy and I, all moved into a home unit the day after Christmas that year. It was the beginning of what was to become one big learning curve for all of us. His dad and I lasted for another 3 years together before going our separate ways. At least we remained on good terms and can still share the joy and wonder of our new grandchild.

If motherhood was hard, then single motherhood was exceptionally hard; but we battled through together my boy and I. Toddlers are notoriously difficult, yet teenagers are sent to remind us of what we did to our own parents. Payback’s a bitch and this post here is an indication of just how hard life was for eldest MM and our family through the teenage years.

We’ve come a long way, eldest and I. Good times and bad times. A stepfather and half-brothers have joined the mix, yet there’s no ‘half’ in it, because they’re just brothers through the good and the bad. My boys, they made me who I am today. They gave me the will to fight, to survive and to be somebody. I laugh now that eldest is a daddy himself, because he’s got all of this ahead of him.

My eldest is a better daddy then I could ever have hoped for and he makes me incredibly proud. It makes me realise that the hard times were all worth it. Yes we clashed, we fought, and we disagreed. We still do, although not as much these days. There’s something about the relationship between a mother and her firstborn, I’m always there for him and I know he’ll always be there for me.

For me, there was no greater joy than becoming a mother (okay, except for maybe becoming a nani)

My smiling, happy pants wearing, rebellious, lovable little man is all grown up – and has been for a number of years. Happy Birthday Adam, it’s been one heck of an adventure. Hope you have a fantastic day and I love you.

Cheers, Fi

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Be careful what you wish for...

You'll have to keep up tonight because there's lots of things I want to talk about and none of them go together, so a bit of a mish mash post coming up. No apologies for that either.

I have my 'happier' pants on tonight. I was a bit of a misery guts last time I was here, but hey that's life for you. My day is always off to a good start when the boss takes the entire 33 strong project team out for a breakfast meeting.

Good food, even better service, this was one hotel manager who knew when he was on a winner, we'll go back - often, because of the impeccable service today.

Thank you Jenn for pointing out one of my many failings - yes I haven't updated my 101 in1001 list recently - it's on my list of things to do this weekend hopefully. Just not enough hours in my days.

Jenn from I am not Superwoman and I trade comments quite regularly these days, we seem to have many synchronicities (one of my favourite words) in our lives. The latest ones being she's just gotten a new kitten and named it Bella, my cat is strangely enough - named Bella.

Jenn also asked a question about my tattoo, which was my gift to myself on my 35th birthday and ironically I was going to post about tattoos this week. The reason being, eldest MM got his first tattoo on Sunday night. His son's name and birthdate on his chest. It made me think of mine, which is a sun on my lower back with my sons names spiralling out from it. Chosen because I'm a sunlover and my boys light up my life. Here it is........


Now the other thing that I wanted to finish this post with, is my gift wish list for Christmas - now before I get the comments about Christmas being over commercialised and not being about gift giving, let me point out that hubby and I don't buy each other gifts. This is purely my 'wish' list. Here goes:

Gift 1 - A chocolate labrador puppy, I've wanted another dog for so long. Probably not fair
though with the number of hours I work and hubby says no more pets for now.

Gift 2 - A holiday to Thailand - not that you haven't heard me say this one before

Gift 3 - My dream car, it has to be a bug and has to be yellow. Not too practical with family and grandson and not very high on 'mechanic' hubby's list of reliable and easy to fix cars.

A writers studio in the backyard which looks like this - which I'm sure would guarantee a best seller or two
  
Eternal good health and happiness for all my family and friends
There you go, that's my ultimate 'wish' list for Christmas - so what does your list have on it?

When it all comes down to it, I'll settle for peace, happiness and good times with friends and family for my ultimate Christmas wish.

Cheers, Fi

The love of a family is life's greatest blessing

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I want to be good, really I do

Three weeks till we shut down the project for Christmas break - it just can't come quick enough. I really need a holiday.

My side of the family is in Renmark and hubby is working Christmas day so I'm struggling to raise any enthusiasm for Christmas this year.

My in-laws have never really done Christmas at their place, choosing to either come to our place or to one of their boys. My brother-in-law has invited us for Christmas lunch and I appreciate the invite, but no kids there either.

I used to start preparing for Christmas shopping in July every year, not so any more. Teenagers are so much harder to shop for than toddlers and presents cost ten times as much for them. Half of the excitement of Christmas used to be putting up the tree and wrapping presents. I used to buy lots of smaller presents and fill their stockings full of fun things and good stuff to eat.

We also used to drive around the nights before Christmas looking at Christmas lights and the boys would anticipate Christmas morning for weeks. Now it's a day to sleep in for them and it's lost much of it's anticipation and joy for me.

Sure I have my grandson, but this year he's a little bit young to enjoy the day or the lead up to it. Daughter-in-law has lots of nephews on her side, so while I know we'll see them for Christmas, I'm sure much of their day will be spent with her family. I look forward to next year when he'll know what Christmas is about and he'll be excited. I think little kids are what put the fun and excitement into Christmas.

Oh my goodness, I sound like a tragic old scrooge don't I? I'm sure this is just an indication of how much I need a break and some 'me' time so I can re-discover my anticipation of Christmas.
Middle son needs to get his night driving hours up before he can get his license in January so maybe I'll make him drive me around to look at Christmas lights.

I received notification on Friday from the private school that I enrolled youngest in, that at this stage they have no vacancies for 2012 for his year level, so he's now on a waiting list. So maybe I wasn't doing enough positive thinking on this one?

Last night we went to a 40th birthday party for a friend, a friend who is one of the most down to earth and decent human beings I've ever met. He and his family live a very different life than us. It was very much a case of seeing how the other half lives with a brand new mansion in a ritzy suburb, caterers, waiting staff - the full works.

No envy here, because I appreciate the hard work he's put into achieving this lifestyle. Also as gorgeous as his property is, it's not what I would want for myself or my family. I guess it's more the reality of getting older slapping me in the face and making me realise that we all should be chasing our dreams. I'm not doing enough of that at the moment.

Have I depressed you all now with my miserable post - apologies if I have. I momentarily thought about deleting this post as well, but hey this is me, this is my brain dump for today and better out than in. I need to shake it off and get my happy pants back on. I miss my family a lot and I guess all of us feel it when Christmas is coming and our loved ones are some distance away.

Coming back happier because tomorrow is another day.

Cheers, Fi