??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


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Chat over Coffee

If we were to have coffee it would be in a cafe. I love having my coffee made for me ( those swirly pictures in the foam add to the experience) . Being able to choose something delicious ( like a cake, preferably with cream) to go with it is essential too – the whole experience- cemented together with friendship talk.

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My talk of course would start about my kidults, although they are grown up and live away from home we still keep in close contact and I couldn’t imagine life any other way. My son and his fiancé are mulling over wedding plans and their dog ( oh I miss him living here) has had an infected paw needing antibiotics. He is a beautiful natured Cavalier but one of those dogs ( like some people) that injuries and illness just seem to happen often too. Lucky he has good people watching over him closely. My daughter is off to school camp in Monday for three days. As an over anxious parent I always hated school camps and gave my kids strict instructions to stay near the teachers and not get lost wandering. Now she is the teacher – still told her to stay close to the others :)) Her partner is nursing a foot injury that has been recurring for quite a while. I feel for him not being able to pursue his love of running at the moment.

 

I’d tell you about our campsite home. This here will fill in the background talk. The floorboards are down and the painting is done with just a few touch ups go finish. The painting is thanks to my husband taking some of his holidays to finish the job and it does look great. Hopefully today we will start moving at least our bedroom furniture back into the room. I’m over having to get up from virtually down on the ground each morning. In keeping with my declutter theme a lot will not be returning to the rooms. I am taking part in a 30 day declutter challenge which is difficult for hoarders as my husband and I are, but it’s happening so it’s all good.

 

I wouldn’t bother you with telling about work except to say this year I’m being more realistic about my time spent on it at the expense of time doing things I enjoy.
Let’s not have this conversation all one sided. I’ll sip my coffee and devour the cake while I listen about your week. Look forward to reading about it in your comment :)

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Camping

We are camping out…and will be most of the week despite it being a working week. The campsite comes with a large screen tv , FOXTEL ( pay TV ) and luxury leather lounge. The bathroom facilities are just a very short walk and a kitchen is attached to the campsite. The kitchen has all the modern cons , but the dishwasher is loud enough to be heard at the campsite. as a light sleeper I found the unusual noises a little hard on my first night.The ground is hard on the knees when getting out of bed for it is made of porcelain tiles laid diagonally. The mattress is a high quality Support Pillowtop Queen Mattress so we won’t suffer back ache or deflated mattresses as is often the case in camping. Despite all this I got little sleep through this , our first night of probably 6 nights. Where is this campsite you ask and why are we here?
The ‘out ‘ campsite is our family room.

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To the why- we are getting floorboards to replace our carpets, after 16 years. The carpets were cream , such a silly beautiful colour I chose. Throughout those 16 years we have raised two children (9 and 8 years when we moved into this home – the last did have much more kid friendly colours but lacked size), one cat, introduced a bird and an extra kitten, then a puppy. The cream of today though is a little curdled. It was a good time to do it we thought as my son has left home and taken his things with him and my daughter has only left a bedroom suite behind.
Before Thursday we (aka my husband) have to remove all the bedrooms’ and study furniture and pull up the carpets in prep for the floorboards.

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Luckily the forbidden room has floorboards already, as this gives us extra storage other than the garage. Lounges and bedroom suites dismantled fill our garage. My clothes and shoe racks have mostly been draped on lounges in the forbidden room ( some will stay in the wardrobe until the last minute

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Being time a great opportunity to change colour schemes we are painting the rooms because no drop sheets are necessary since the carpets are going.
So, the floorboards go down on Thursday and Friday, then we can move back into our rooms and leave this campsite! Best part, I have lots of things to rummage through to find my declutter items from. I definitely do not intend putting everything back into the rooms – hard as that might be. Anyone walking my shoes in house renovations at the moment or have a story about their experience to share?

 


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Day 2 total = 3

Yesterday I tossed out the coffee pot . I thought finding two things to toss today would be easy. A couple of hours and creative thoughts about the potential of things in my study’s wardrobe ( basically the refuge for every homeless item in our house) I finally moved to my own room’s stash in desperation to find the 2 unlucky things. At the moment our bedroom is draped across the floor of the forbidden room ( read here for a glossary type explanation) as we move everything in anticipation of new floorboards in the bedroom. Finally I found 2 things.

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Objects- 1 thong ( the partner is missing ) , 1 pink lipstick
Acquired – The thongs I bought. They aren’t an expensive brand rather a cheap department store brand, but I liked them because I’m not big on brands rather on what I like. It’s not like I expect ted buying expensive ones would be economical. I like to be able to replace have many pairs. I have no idea where or when the other thong walked off but I always hoped one day it would walk back into my life. This hasn’t however been the case, in the 12 months or so I’ve been missing it. I suspect it just did not make it into a suitcase on some holiday experience. Having said that, I’ve never wished to throw this one out …just in case. I have since purchased several more pairs.
I love pink lipstick. In fact I love pink in most things, but with my skin tone I have yet to find the right shade and it’s not from not looking hard enough. This is yet another in my sad pile of make up mistakes. So…straight to the garbage!
Result – a vacant spot on my shoe rack ( I just know that thong will turn up now haha and one less lipstick in my overcrowded make up box.
Tossed item Tally – 3
Things left to remove – 462


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465 things gone in 30 days!!

declutter (verb)
To simplify or get rid of mess, disorder, complications, etc:
I saw this challenge on a Facebook page, and as a tweet. I am a hoarder. I grew up believing throwing away things in good working order was wasteful. I didn’t however, learn the lesson of tossing one out to make room for another or that sometimes we have things we just do not need or want. I had a go decluttering my home slowly a while back. You can read about that effort here. But, old habits die hard and I still have clutter left- mountains of it…as well as new additions to my collection.
So, hold me accountable, follow my journey as I shift these mountains.

declutter
Day 1
Object – coffee maker

coffee
Acquired – a hand-me-down of an item I didn’t actually want. I love coffee but I particularly enjoy the experience of coffee. The experience is buying it, sipping it, reflecting AND having someone make it for me. I don’t mind driving out for a take away and as I only drink one a day now I don’t want to give up that luxury. Sure it’s dearer than a home brew but I don’t smoke , drink or even buy magazines so it’s a luxury I wish to keep.
Result – a large vacant spot in an otherwise cluttered kitchen cupboard
Tossed item Tally – 1

Things left to remove – 464

( I might have to get busy organising for the big number days)

Are you a hoarder( or do you live with one)? If not, any secrets or tips you can offer me ? PLEASE!!


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Norfolk Island Experience

Our journey was infinitely more comfortable than that of the early convict inhabitants. We flew Air New Zealand and the staff from check in to the end of the flight were friendly and helpful.of course for us we never travel without ‘a story to tell’. Today’s had a few chapters :)

Chapter One Proceeding through Check in and customs
I was feeling a little disappointed as our check in was fast and all too easy. The line wasn’t long, desk staff helped with boarding passes and our bag was within the legal weight ( not always the case – no pun intended).
Customs was a breeze and I had a chatty officer who listened politely as I told her of my travel plans …well she DID ask where I was going , how long and why – she wouldn’t ask if she weren’t truly interested right ;)
Then things turned to our more common ‘Griswald ‘style. We put our carry on bags through screening and of course I’m chosen as the body scan person . So, having had my experience before ‘Your hands aren’t high enough up!” I stuck them up nice and high …this time was ‘too high!” I must commit to travel overseas more often to get this task right :)
Then I was told to step forward after the scan and she patted around my waist . I smirked and said, “It’s all fat”. She smiled…I’m sure she was thinking no one could have that waist naturally .
Then, collecting my bags from the security screen, I notice the contents of Brian’s backpack is being scrutinised. At first when he heard it was something ‘long’ he questioned that it could be his selfie stick…but no!! Turns out he forgot he had scissors and a letter opener ( both which had to be handed over) in his pencil case. While all that excitement happened I stood by watching as if I’d never seen him before, only to be chosen for the ammunition check. I must admit though it’s good they do screen.
Chapter Two – Unlucky to some
Those of you who know me,or read my blog regularly, will know the number 13 causes me distress. Yesterday , as soon as I could, I checked us into our flight for today. Our designated seats were in row 13..and the flight showed to be full with exception of row 12 which were exit rows . These seats cost to change to them. My dilemma was should I choose these seats and pay the $50 and risk changing fate or accept and sit in row 13. I remained strong and sat in my designated seat. On touch down I cheered YOLO ( my catch phrase from the beginning of 2014) proud of myself for having sat in the seat. It was only a slightly over 2 hour flight though. Not sure if I could do it for a long haul

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On arrival on the island we were given our hire car and shown to our apartment. It looked nice. Starving we hit the shops to lock for a late lunch. Being 2:30 we had to hurry as lunch cafés seem to close around 3pm. We also found out the liquor store closes at 5:30 ( but discovered that at 5:45 pm) …haha…we will learn to be better organised. We also must remember on Wednesday afternoons many things close , so the residents can play. Good afternoon for a tour that day :) took a drive around the island to get a feel for things and experienced the rule ‘Cows have right of way’ :)

My apologies for the poorly presented post. Internet is a bit difficult so I wanted to post while I still had access . Photos are small as when I tried larger it slowed down sending until if totally stopped :(

 


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Old, new, different

I’m really enjoying my time being dictated by me now rather than work driven. I’ve had a chance to read and now I’m taking time to write.

This Christmas was a new experience for me. It was the first where both my kidults no longer live in the family home. They have spread their wings and I must admit I’m proud of the responsible, caring adults they have become- not that I expected less :) This year Christmas was organised around sharing their time with their new families too. Traditions were broken but new events filled the spaces.

The changes started Christmas Eve. As my elderly FIL had decide he would do Christmas with friends at his retirement home ( rather than our home), my husband and his brother visited him Christmas Eve. This meant I had the opportunity to hold the tv remote and chose to watch the carols broadcast from interstate ( Melbourne). By the time the carols ended it was too late to watch our traditional DVD of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

We kept our traditional Christmas breakfast going of pancakes and berries then set up the table filled with nibbles, in anticipation of the kidult visits. We were all here for that then my daughter and her partner left to visit his family. After lunch my son and his partner left to do more family visits leaving my husband and his brother watching ( what I’d call uninteresting) DVDs and me curled up in my ‘forbidden room’ reading and playing with my ( well my kids’ but I’m minding them) pets.
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It turned out to be a relaxing day. I love traditions and must admit the thought of changes had bothered me. However I focused less on the preparation and presentation and more on time with the family. It was especially magical having my kids here, watching them both in a new light. I think this day made me really understand what I had been parenting for. I know I will always have that role ( in some minor way) but on this day it truly felt like friends – my best friends all together. I always thought my best Christmases were those watching my kids open sacks brimming with every new toy known to Santa. Maybe it’s a thing about getting older but the best gift I received this Christmas was love.
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                                                                                  My family :))
In the true tradition of Christmas in my home wasn’t really gone. Our tradition is spending time together, it’s just taken me a while to work it out. The other activities are the trimmings on the tree- and I won’t dispute they really add the edge to the tree :)
Christmas night, when the tables were cleared, dishwasher was churning away, the lounges back in place, my husband and I watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. We still recited most of it and laughed before parts happened. The dog snored peacefully at my feet and the cat…well she was off on her own, relishing the peace of the night.

What traditions do you follow at this time of the year? Have they been added to or changed with time? Any you just couldn’t imagine going without?


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Rush the mall and buy the shops out …falalalalalalalala

Christmas stress
I ‘penned’ this after reading this blog post on mybrownpaperpackages.com .

Christmas… I know it’s coming for a whole year so why then am I scrambling to get organised just 3 days out from the event? Truth is I enjoy the rush, I’m the type of person who works best under pressure.

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My last minute dashes are chaotic to others but to me they are stress free. I must admit I love the thrill of arriving early to get parking. I feel a sense of smug. I choose my car space so I can just drive out after my busy purchasing rather than reversing out trying to avoid pedestrians and (by that time ) illegally parked cars making it more than a challenge to leave.

 

 

 

Yesterday my arrival was timed perfectly. I glided around the shopping centre, my only list the names of my family and I hold that safe in my head. This year it’s gifts only for my immediate family. For the rest of the family it will be the getting together (sometime between mid December until mid January). With families spread and the circle widened as children become adults, this is the only way we can accommodate things.

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This event is meant to signify joy but if the faces and antics of many are what we judge I’d say the significance of the event is being overlooked…big time!! People glare angrily as they push past, curse loudly in queues, snatch rudely to select a product and ensure their frown lines get a really great workout.

Me, I smile a lot, wish people a Merry Christmas as I wait in lines and enjoy the opportunity to chat with friends as I bump ( sometimes literally) into them in my travels. Most of them are happy to stop for a chat but to some they are on a mission and sadly being friendly isn’t what this season brings out in them.

Maybe I’m getting old but I believe the best and perfect gift is time…time to enjoy shopping if you want to buy gifts , time to enjoy selecting the food you want to share with your loved ones and most importantly time spent with those loved ones creating and reliving the memories. Christmas seems to be an exercise in irony for many.

Can’t wait until tomorrow (Christmas Eve) to join the lines at the supermarket for food for my family. I’ll be there ‘crack of dawn’. You will recognise me by my huge smile and pleasant conversations :))

So, while I’m the calm , yet last minute organiser , just watch my stress levels on the day. Oh did I tell you I’m a perfectionist in presentation? Will hold that for another post.

 


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Angular

I read the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge topic yesterday. It was only this morning as I took yet another walk down memory lane via my camera photos backed up to my iPad that I saw this photo. It was taken on a walk to Florence Cathedral – Santa Maria del Fiore – or more commonly known as ‘The Duomo’. The structure dominates the area in size and beauty. When up on Piazzale Michelangelo looking over Florence it was the landmark point we used as reference. I particularly like that this photo has a small yet bright circle that breaks the angles ( size isn’t what signifies power) . This shot was taken looking up. On that holiday of a lifetime my head was always turning in every direction. I didn’t want to miss a thing. One more thing ticked off my bucket list ( many more added from that trip) . To quote from the South Pacific musical “you gotta have a dream” .

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By Heart

Daily Prompt- You’re asked to recite a poem (or song lyrics) from memory — what’s the first one that comes to mind? Does it have a special meaning, or is there another reason it has stayed, intact, in your mind?

I learnt this poem in Year 2 at school. I loved poetry even at that young age. I loved the rhyme and music in the words. I remember this poem for a few reasons. It was it was in a book called A Child’s Garden of Verse. I don’t remember if I was given the book because the poem was in it or it just so happened it was.

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I was taught this poem to recital level  by a teacher who was  often very negative, however I rose to her expectations throughout the year she taught me. It’s funny how kids and even adults will often seek the approval of the very ones who put them down. This teacher placed high value on poetry recital and it was up my alley! I achieved here what others couldn’t and it felt good to succeed.

The secret was I was  more than happy to practise this poem on my own time while to the rest of the class I guess it was a chore. The words painted a picture of danger to me – danger that was there when the wind howled- the very danger my parents tried to allay when storms and  very windy nights would frighten me. It added credence to my belief that storms did in fact have an element of danger. I loved bringing the words to life with expression, often done in my head when the lights were turned off for bedtime and always when the weather  turned.

I imagined that man on his horse…  coat tails flapping with the gallop, the sudden halting of the horse on his command to turn and go back. I imagined the nostrils of the horse flaring against the cold and wet that smothered the man and his horse. I felt the sting of mud tossed by the hooves and heard the whinny against the howl of that wind.

To this day I still love this poem. I am also thankful to that teacher. She had little faith but that developed in me a desire to push a little harder to achieve just to show her I could. I still have that push when needed- a gentle competitive streak. She also fostered my developing love of poetry as it was obviously a passion to her and we spent much time learning many.

To this day I still wonder who he is.

 


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Descent…discesa

 

Descent – Weekly Photo Challenge

I’m not a step/stair person. Give me the elevator or escalator any time. On my recent trip to Italy however,  avoiding  steps  meant missing out…so descend I did ( and ascend as well!! ). This particular staircase at the Vatican Museum was one of the more interesting ornate descents.

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This one was at the site of Pompeii at the arena. Awe inspiring history.

brian ph 832 I have never descended ( nor imagined I would ever) so many steps as I did on this trip and each assisted me to see  amazing things.

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