??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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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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No stronger bond

Writing 101: A Room with a View (or Just a View)
Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the backstory. How does this specific location affect you? Is it somewhere you’ve been, luring you with the power of nostalgia, or a place you’re aching to explore for the first time?

Today’s twist: organize your post around the description of a setting.

If I could be transported to any place right now, I’d take that journey to the white house with the gables and the picket fence. This is how my mum used to describe our family home to taxi drivers that would bring my mum, nanna and 2 sisters home from many a shopping trip. There was always much pride about her home. This house was built of wood that my mum told me was log cabin design. My parents built this house before I was born. When the days of aluminium cladding of homes in Sydney began to trend my mother would get very angry at salesman that wanted to cover up that beautiful timber. I know eventually my dad won out and those magnificent gables were clad in aluminium. My dad didn’t like getting up on a very tall ladder to paint the wood. I never said anything to my mum but I didn’t actually see a Iot of difference in the aluminium to the wood. We grew from kids to adults. It was a place for carefree times- a cubby house (big enough to rent out to tenants we laughed about as we got older). Cats came and left families of kittens under the cubby – always a source of fun – until they would be taken away to ‘a party for cats’ never to return. I remember well the afternoon my dad installed a mini Putt Putt style golf course for us using empty plastic flower pots as the holes…and remember Mum’s face displaying much less happiness than ours when she saw her flower beds somewhat disturbed. Then came the swimming pool!! We also had a small hill – like dome in the centre of our block which was fun to ride scooters over. Buried beneath this was my dad’s first car that he refused to part with. Metal occasionally made its way to the surface of the dome. We also had his second car parked in the yard, rusted and draped at times with choko vines. Colour tv came to this house long before it came to others. This brought with it a lot of new ‘friends’ and visits from family as we shared this gem. Dad always loved up to the minute electronic devices. Food was a source of nourishment used for celebration, commiseration and of course family meals around the table. So many happy memories – my strong family bond was cemented at in that home.

And so it was …my family home…now the home of another family. Time moves us, shapes us, gives us depth of character and in our case seeded a family bond that lasts beyond time.


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Thank you Anna Jarvis

Googling Mother’s Day I learned that today is the centenary anniversary of the first official Mother’s Day. I read on the National Geographic story about how Anna Jarvis (its ‘founder’) was inspired to have this occasion to celebrate her mother’s life. For this reason it’s written in the singular form – Mother’s.
“ It wasn’t to celebrate all mothers. It was to celebrate the best mother you’ve ever known—your mother—as a son or a daughter.”

Anna_jarvis Anna Jarvis –Creative Commons
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson officially set aside the second Sunday in May in 1914 for the holiday. And so it was… from that year on.
Unfortunately every so often the calendar is cruel to me. It turns itself so the second Sunday of May, that should be my celebration day as a mother, coincides with my husband’s birthday. Today the planets aligned to cause this phenomenon.
Double celebration you may be thinking – no it’s more like ‘Who draws the short straw on their celebration’. It certainly meant greater juggling when I first became a mum and my mum was alive. Like Christmas, we began a new tradition of ignoring dates. Mother’s Day became ‘A Sunday in May’. As the kids grew it became ‘A Day in May that didn’t coincide with children’s sport or a birthday’– though both birthdays and Mother’s day became insignificant in this period. Now we have added into the equation kids that work shifts.
But we still have birthday cake together, small gifts and most of all time together even if it’s in the evening. It feels like Mother’s day every day to me as I do have great kidults. I am so proud of who they have grown to be and the relationship we have. I think Anna Jarvis would approve of our celebration style.

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The chrysanthemum always reminds me of Mother’s Day. We grew these at home and had large bunches in the house. When I had my kids they used to give me a bunch purchased at a roadside stall from a local grower. Today I have a small pot of them on my dining table. I’m going to give it a go at growing them in my garden.


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Friday Fictioneer – 100 words

I always enjoy having a dabble with this challenge when I can.  The idea is to write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end using 100 words. The prompt is a photo. This week it is from a site http://castelsarrasin.wordpress.com

Even if you don’t wish to participate in Friday Fictioneer there are some great stories contributed for reading on the site.

Hope you enjoy my writing 🙂

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“Farming, base job of civilisation!” Grandma muttered when I told her one day I would work in a city wearing a suit.

“Farmers, salt of the earth,” Papa snapped when I told him I would travel the world learning about exciting places.

“Farming, in our blood,” Father snorted when I told him I would be a journalist sharing the plight of those oppressed.

“Shh … the hay truck is loaded, its first stop is the railway café a two hours’ drive away,” Mumma whispered, waking me far earlier than the cock’s crow.

“Go experience life. Write to me often please.”


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Thankful Thursday

I don’t get around to writing it each week but I do have so many things to be thankful for. Always thankful to link to A Parenting Life.

I’ve chosen two scenarios to share this week.

Firstly I am thankful that my daughter and her friends chose this week to go to Hamilton Island for a holiday. This time last week, the island was in the grip of Cyclone Dylan a category 2 cyclone that crossed land about 50 kms north of the island. Thankful too that no one was injured in the cyclone. Property, though it’s still a heartbreaking loss, can be replaced.

This  image is  from the NASA site. The time stamp is Jan 30 approximately 12 hours before the cyclone crossed land.I have marked Hamilton Island (approx) on the image.Dylan_Jan_30_2014_0350Z

The island is experiencing periods of heavy rainfall at the moment (also predicted for the next few days) but it’s not cyclonic. Must admit I’m watching the low pressures on the weather sites closely though.  There are lots of activities still for them to join and the weather is tropical warm. It’s always fun to get together with friends anyway.

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Storm clouds brewing yesterday afternoon.

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These photo were taken by my daughter’s friend. Rain or no rain still wish I was there ! Thanks  Dani 🙂

 

 

The second thing I’m thankful for is my elderly father in law looks like leaving rehabilitation hospital on the 11th February. About 9 weeks ago he had a major fall down some steps where he lives fracturing /smashing about 8 ribs and having an arterial bleed into his lung from it. Surgery was required and then a reaction to medicine caused an alarm for his life as blood pressure and heart rate dropped dangerously for several hours. But the hospital was able to reverse the effects of the drugs and he began making a pleasing recovery. Several weeks ago he was moved to a rehab hospital as he worked to restore his mobility and strength to enable to him return to his home. For this in itself I’m thankful but I’m also thankful that my husband will be getting some rest too.

Since the accident he has spent 4 week nights and 2 weekend afternoons visiting his dad to help keep his spirits high. For the first 6 or so weeks these visits involved about a 70 minute round drive after work. My husband commutes daily to the city for work – leaving home 6:30 am and arriving back at our local station close to 6:45 pm (approx. 80 min train trip each way). Then he had the drive. I was worried about his health as he was showing signs of fatigue from the routine but I also knew he wouldn’t have it any other way ( as in not  visit his dad regularly). The rehab centre reduced his drive by about 20 minutes so he was also able to spend more time then with his dad.

My husband really is a caring person and values his family highly, for that I’m thankful. I’m thankful that soon we will be back to eating dinner at 7:15pm rather than close to 9pm. I’m also especially thankful to have more time with my husband again soon (looking forward to nagging him just so he knows I care of course !). I’m not thankful to be starving knowing I have about another hour until dinner 🙂


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A Different Kind of Family Album

This blog post was written by my sister. It has touching memories of my childhood and is a a piece of the big puzzle that makes me ‘ME’. Blue Bird Cafe has some great ‘retro stories with a twist’ that I’m sure you would enjoy. http://bluebirdcafe14.wordpress.com/about/


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Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Christmas Day for me was very joyful.

I was the only one up from 6:45 am until about 8:45am. I used this time to get things ready for breakfast and lunch. When everyone was up we sat in the forbidden room to exchange gifts. We all write lists of gifts we would like before Christmas then we all choose from them. I always like to add a few ‘surprises’ not on the lists to the gifts. The animals got gifts too. Sheldon got a Santa sack full of doggy goodies while Blacky got a new Christmas outfit.

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Sheldon thrashing a duck toy

Then we moved to the dining room for our traditional breakfast , pancakes within strawberries and blueberries with lashings of butter and soaked in maple syrup and an assortment of juices. This year we added bacon to the menu and I took time to make an effort on setting the table.

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The kitchen bench was laid out with a variety of cheeses, pastes, cracker biscuits, nuts ( from the Christmas Eve mad dash) and lollies. Our guests were just three – my kid’s girlfriend and boyfriend and my brother in law. My BIL brought us a lot of interesting cheeses. Already full we squashed more food in for lunch.

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The kids went with their gf and bf to visit their families and my husband and brother went to visit their dad in hospital at around 3:30 pm leaving me in a quiet room that had been filled with laughter and talking. The place seemed empty but I enjoyed the solitude , a chance to read then have a little nap until my husband returned home 4 hours later.

We watched four holidays and then our home filled with laughter and talk again as my son and his gf and her parents and siblings popped by. This us the spirit of Christmas to me, lots of talking, laughter and love.

We awoke to Boxing Day. Again I was up hours before everyone and created my traditional ham cheese and tomato toasted sandwich washed down with coffee with cream. I love leftovers! I was reading about why we have Boxing Day and found there was no real reason given consistently . However it’s St Stephen’s Day in Ireland and apparently their tradition is that people dress up in old clothes, wear straw hats and travel from door to door with fake wrens (previously real wrens were killed) and they dance, sing and play music. This tradition is less common than it was a couple of generations ago apparently ( one can only ponder why hahaha).

I’m exhausted from all the preparation and the constant full tummy from eating. It’s time girl me to go to bed and read for a whole ( if my eyes will stay open).

How were your celebrations?


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Thankful Thursday

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This post isn’t designed around Thanksgiving. As an Australian, I don’t do Thanksgiving. Rather, my post was written in response to a blog I found out there in the blogging world, A Parenting life. Rhianna has a Thursday link up about being thankful. I enjoy reading those that link up. I decided to have a go at putting my thoughts into words.

I’m thankful for so much but chose just three things to comment on …this time. I hope to try doing this fortnightly if not weekly. I think it’s important we take time out in our busy lives to reflect on all the great things we have.

 I am thankful for…

1. Having dinner with my husband and kids. Both my kids are grown up so meal times all together are no longer the nightly occurrence they were when they were younger. Tonight all four of us sat around the table for dinner and it was like old times of chatter as stories about the day were related. It’s so important to keep in touch. I love it when they have their partners with them too, all the extra stories… especially me sharing tales of when my kids were little. I am so thankful for my family in general.

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Pie for dessert

 

2. My friends. Times aren’t always good but a chance to vent, and a chance to listen strengthens the bond, makes the bad times bearable and the good times even more cheery.  I have friends who are family, friends of long time, friends of short times, but investing time in all the relationships is such a wonderful addition in my life. The internet has helped friendships by bridging the distance of miles and the time zones of the world.

 

 

3. Holidays are only 16 working days away. Can’t wait to break routines, be lazy , have time to pursue hobbies,  play with my pets , spend time with friends and family….Oh and a holiday to Hamilton Island to celebrate the New Year arriving…and no pet care to organise cause those grown up kids of mine will be at home to care for them , do the bins etc ( the best house minders lol).309214_10151158768079491_602161341_n

 

What are you thankful for? Please share a few of your thoughts in my comment section 🙂