Australia · blessings · new

Magical Beginnings.

happy new year 2015
I found this elegant photo on Facebook and love the complete image it portrays ~ the pine for Christmas just past, the subtle streamers for celebrating the New Year, and glasses of champagne, for a toast to the very best wishes for 2015 to friends and family.

 

As I begin to write today, I think it would be safe to say that the entire world has now welcomed in the New Year. I always feel that the promise of new beginnings, carried through on a wave of excitement into a new year, is perhaps the most magical time on the years calendar.

The thought of writing a list of New Year’s Resolutions leaves me rather cold, however. I prefer instead to feel my way to a higher level of wisdom, and for want of a way to describe my feelings, that is the best I can come up with!

The magic of this time of the year in Australia also lies also in long, lazy, hot summer days, taking a break from work, setting the usual routine aside, and relaxing. Since Christmas day, I haven’t cooked a real meal, we have lived instead off the left overs of cold Christmas meat, the occasional bar-be-que, and salads. We have mince pies in the cupboard, rum balls in the freezer, and oh, the chocolate! My indulgence in sweet treats will end shortly, then I will diet. 😉

My husband is at home every day, not doing anything in particular other than relaxing. He’s also reading a lot. I remember many years ago, a time when he simply hated me reading, feeling it took time away from our “together” moments, and I actually stopped reading for a while, just to keep the peace. How times have changed. After thirty-five years of marriage, he finally discovered the joy of reading for himself, perhaps initially with an attitude of “if you can’t beat them, join them”, and recently he confessed that he regretted the time he resented my books, and wished he had discovered the joy of reading sooner. Those few sincere words from my husband were a highlight of 2014 for me. We now enjoy our together time, sitting in the same room, on different comfortable chairs (it’s too hot to share a sofa during summer!) each reading the book of our choice.

Today is a photo-free day, just an opportunity to wish good health, good luck, happiness, blessings and love to all my friends, as 2015 begins.

I have a great feeling about this year….it’s going to be magical. ❤

 

 

birthdays · daughter · rain · reading

It’s my birthday and I’ll be in a mood if I want to.

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I’m a creature of habit. I could blame my star sign for this fact if I really wanted to. They say that those born under the sign of Taurus the Bull are predictable creatures. I can be sometimes, but not always. Many years ago my mother had an astrological chart made up for me, based on my place of birth and actual date and time, the grand conclusion being that my personality is heavily influenced by the sign of Libra the Scales, meaning that I like balance in my life. According to the Wise Astrologer my mum met way back when, I have more of a Libra personality than Taurean, however I remain a self-confessed creature of habit. Is that the Taurean side of me, or the Libra? I often question myself.

So, being the creature of habit that I am, one of the first things I did this morning was to check Facebook. Already I had received a few happy birthday messages, yet pleased as I felt to be thought of, I didn’t feel inclined to reply. Not yet, anyway.

Adam needed to be extracted from his cosy bed (again) and rushed off to school on the last minute (again). His father complained that he refused to get out of bed on time (again). Big brother Ben complained that Adam thumped him in the stomach as he walked by, just as Ben was taking a mouthful of hot coffee. (Don’t you make a habit of thumping Adam every time you are within thumping distance of him, Ben? It’s your brotherly thing that you always do.)

Father continued to ask Adam if he was ready to leave yet, when obviously he wasn’t. Ben continued to drink his coffee. Adam continued to dither.

Adam rarely complains, but makes a habit of doing so, constantly, when his father is about. Father complains, constantly, about anything and everything. Ben hardly ever, if ever, complains.

Do I want to go out for dinner tonight, husband asks. The dishwasher is broken, it would be easier, I am told. Easier for whom, I wonder. There are enough left-overs from last nights dinner for tonight. Besides, left-overs always taste better than they did when first made. And he knows I prefer to stay at home at night, so why think I would want to go out to dinner on my birthday?

Yesterday was a great day. I took photos at Point Danger, standing atop the lookout, gazing across the blue/green ocean, watching keen surfers catching the waves, seeing a boat or two navigate the bar of the Tweed River, which leads out into the ocean. I bought cappuccino at the cafe across the road and read my book, sipping coffee, as I awaited the arrival of my two daughters, mother-in-law and best friend, who were joining me for lunch.

Lunch was fun. The food tasted great (as always) and we chatted constantly. Later, when home, my family arrived for dinner, and the dinner I had prepared yesterday, even though freshly prepared and not at the left-overs stage yet, still tasted delicious. The house was filled with ten people, three dogs, two cats and a bird, all of whom wished to get their two cents worth into the conversation.

Chaos reined supreme; all was well with the world.

So why am I feeling so melancholy today then, I ponder.

Once the complainers, non complainers and those in between had left me all alone in a peaceful house, I ate breakfast, put on a load of washing and read a chapter of the book I had been reading yesterday over coffee, the book which is taking me far too long to read, as I never seem to find any time to read lately.

My plan for today was to go to a very large book shop on the Gold Coast, so large that it is on two levels and has an adjoining coffee shop, yet I’ve wandered around the house from room to room, chore to chore, wearing my denim jeans and white and grey mid-season jumper. It’s a grey kind of day today. There have even been a few spots of rain. That’s okay though, I like the rain.

I read a few more pages of my book, this time whilst sipping Chai Tea. I also read an article on the internet ~ “What age is middle-age?” they ask. “Why does everyone and everything have to be labelled”, I ask? The comments were quite interesting (I didn’t leave one myself, if you’re wondering) and I noticed that a couple of forty-ish year olds regarded themselves as feeling worn out, haggard and having reached middle-age. I’m past the forty-ish stage, and I’m here to tell anyone who cares to listen, age is a state of mind. As your children grow older and begin to leave home, you begin to feel less haggard and worn out. You become younger. Your life becomes your own again. You can put yourself first. You can do the things you want to do, instead of the things you have to do.

Today, even though thus far I am not doing what I had planned on doing, the day feels like a grey kind of day and I’m in a “mood”, I’m okay with all that. I don’t get into “moods” very often. It isn’t even a bad mood that I’m in, just simply a mood. Even though I don’t feel inclined towards conversation, my mood prompted me to write, even if the writing is simply about my mood.

It’s my birthday, so I guess I can be in any mood I wish to be today.

Having pondered my mood, I feel that I am in a reflective state of mind. I’m very comfortable with my company and thoughts today. So long as I don’t consider anyone else (in my real-world life) today, I am at peace.

Who knows what that means! Yet I don’t need to know. I believe that I will enjoy my birthday much more when the collective population of the world can quit labelling people, according to their age. I am not feeling the way I am meant to feel, (according to my age). I do not have a great desire to become a grandmother (which apparently I should, according to my age).  I do not wish to wear my hair cut short and allow it to grey gracefully (which I should, because I am at that age).

Tonight, I will be the odd person, as I wish to eat my left-overs from last night, warmed up, whilst wearing my comfy pyjamas and dressing gown, in front of the TV, watching a DVD that my daughter gave me for my birthday. I will not be getting dolled up to the nines, because I “should” want to, and go out to dinner, because it’s the thing to be done on one’s birthday. And I will wash the dinner dishes, because, heck, I enjoy washing my dishes! Who needs a dishwasher anyway?

While I’m at it, I may even polish my coffee table and clean the kitchen windows. And I will do these things, not because I’m “middle-aged”, but because I like to do these things ~ always have, even when I was in my twenties, and no doubt always will. (I even enjoyed having my birthday dinner at home, back in the middle ages, or whenever it was that I was in my twenties.) Yet silly me denied enjoying these menial tasks, thinking I wasn’t a very “cool” person if I admitted to such wild and crazy things.

Today, May the Second, Two-Thousand-and-Thirteen, is my birthday. I will spend the day doing the things I want to do. I will not wear a label of my age. I will not cut my hair short, nor go grey. I will enjoy eating my home-cooked dinner tonight and I will enjoy washing my dishes. I will turn a deaf ear to anyone who wishes to complain. I may even take a vow of silence for the day. And I will apologise to no one.

I will, however, contemplate the question “why must we live through a number of years on this earth, before gaining enough wisdom to simply be ourselves?”

The rain has become heavier, the grey day continues, and I’m enjoying my moody day.

Australia · blessings · ducks · enchanting · gratitude

In January ~ An absurdly beautiful sight.

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“There was no sign of anybody, no sound of voices or feet. Tubs of arum lilies stood about on the stone floor, and on a table flamed a huge bunch of fierce nasturtiums. Spacious, flowery, silent, with the wide window at the end opening into the garden, and the Judas tree absurdly beautiful in the sunshine, it seemed….too good to be true.” ~ The Enchanted April.

On the last day of January I wanted, no, needed, to remember the joys of this month, as this, the middle month of the most harsh season of the year draws to a close.

I had spent the day alone, at home, with not a soul in sight; no sound of voices or feet. I don’t know why I looked outside when I did. I am so glad I did though, for there, just outside the door of my home, were my two old friends the Australian Wood Ducks, regular visitors to my garden who I haven’t seen since early September.

In that moment, all of the heat, rain, floods and cyclones of January didn’t seem to matter any more. Seeing these two creatures, so absurdly beautiful, having returned to my garden at long last, was truly enchanting. I had almost forgotten how beautiful they are, but only almost.

January is the month the ducks returned; January will remain in my memory as being an enchanting month.

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enchanting · son

A day spent back in time

the mantlepiece

“When was the last time you spent a quiet moment just doing nothing, just sitting and looking at the sea, or watching the wind blowing the tree limbs, or waves rippling on a pond, a flickering candle or children playing in the park?” ~ Ralph Marston.

Monday, 28th January, 2013.

The interesting weather conditions have not let up today, if anything they have worsened. It appears that we are surrounded by a cyclone, high pressure systems, troughs and fronts, if that means anything at all to any of you. It means nothing to me, I just look out the window and see the trees blowing willy-nilly, branches flying off the trees, rain overfilling the bird bath and the birds huddling together in the shelter of our veranda.

"I dropped some!" This young kookaburra came onto the veranda today, out of the wind, and enjoyed a morsel of food.
“I dropped some!” This young kookaburra came onto the veranda today, out of the wind, and enjoyed a morsel of food.

We lost power last night at around 7.30 pm I think. After reading by torch-light for some time I decided to take advantage of the darkness and have an early night.

The power returned at some time overnight, I have no idea when, but it was back this morning. I planned a day of washing, ironing and vacuuming (all the fun stuff!) seeing as the great outdoors was fit for neither man nor beast.

Well, the Gods of the Power Plant had other ideas. By 10.30 am, the power had disappeared yet again.

All day we waited. I filled the washing machine with dirty clothes, all set to press the start button when the power returned.

I waited some more.

All set for a new year at school.
All set for a new year at school.

My son returns to school tomorrow, so we covered his books and put his name on all of his belongings. I’m not sure why I bother putting his name on things, he loses them anyway.

We ate lunch. We made drinks of tea, boiling the water on the gas burners. We hand washed the dishes that had been stacked into the dishwasher. The house remained dark, due to the inclement weather.

My husband went to the supermarket to buy kerosene for the old kerosene lamp. We may be in for another long, dark night.

I read a few pages of a new book I have. Then took a nap.

I never, ever even so much as feel drowsy during the day, but today, I did.

Can you see the dolphin leadlight-look design in this lantern?
Can you see the dolphin leadlight-look design in this lantern?

When I woke up, the night had arrived, still there was no electricity and the candles were alight.

And here is a seahorse.
And here is a seahorse.

Tuesday, 29th January, 2013.

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” ~ Buddha.

As you can see by the date, a new day has dawned and this post didn’t reach the point where I could hit the publish button. Thank you WordPress for auto-saving drafts! I had been saving as I wrote, but this morning I discovered that my writing had been saved mid-word, which I didn’t do manually.

This bumble bee looks far happier in my lantern than it would be outdoors right now.
This bumble bee looks far happier in my lantern than it would be outdoors right now.

Our evening meal was cooked last night by candlelight, using the gas burners of our stove top. As we began eating, the power returned.

My son had cheered, after declaring that he had never in his entire life spent such a boring day; with the return of the electricity to the house he could now watch the cricket on television and charge his mobile phone.

I had mixed emotions. Having paced around the house all day, wondering what to do next in our home which had been converted to pre-power days, it had given me the opportunity to contemplate how people back in those day filled their days, as yes, I too had spent the day feeling bored.

Mr. Frog, all aglow in the candlelight.
Mr. Frog, all aglow in the candlelight.

Life would have been so different, back in the days when life had to be planned around the natural light of day. I know I wouldn’t have been bored at all. I would take the lack of electricity for granted and plan my days accordingly.

As it turned out, when the lights came back on in our house and the candle light was no longer necessary, I felt quite sad. My eyes had become accustomed to the gentle light from the flickering flames. I had also enjoyed the silence in our home, hearing only the sounds of my families voices, the piano being played and the heavy breathing of my sleeping dog.

It had been magical, listening to the sounds of my son playing the most beautiful tune on the piano, one which he had taught himself during the school holidays. I had enjoyed the softness of the candlelight and the kerosene lamp.

I discovered that listening to the piano being played by candlelight is simply enchanting.

The gentle golden aura of the kerosene lamp was a welcome change to harsh, electric lighting.
The gentle golden aura of the kerosene lamp was a welcome change to harsh, electric lighting.

The only real gladness I had felt was in knowing that I could return to the computer, to write again, and to see the photos I had taken throughout the day.

I’m quite sure those people who lived back in the days before power would have rather enjoyed the internet too. 🙂