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2017: ending my year intentionally

new year sparkler

I’ve never been one to set New Year’s resolutions – the reality of me is that I’ll last about 2 weeks before life gets in the way and I think to myself “I’ll keep going with that next week…. there’s always next week.”

because life does get in the way and 2017 has been no different

I had intended doing a blow-by-blow summary of my year, but then this post from Daisy on No Sidebar gave me the direction I needed to finish my year with intention.

1. What makes this year unforgettable?

2017 has been a year of loss.

The loss of dear friends… too many of them my age, which reminds you of your mortality and of the need to live every day as if it is your last.

My Boy’s diagnosis with ankylosing spondylitis…  a tough gig for a teenage boy to deal with, losing control to the pain that has become a daily part of life for him.

The Girl leaving home for the second time… letting one of my little birds fly free and marveling at just how comfortable she is with this change.

2. What did you enjoy this year?

The highlight of the year was definitely our trip to Fiji.  It came at a time when we all needed a break – physically, emotionally and mentally.  Ten days of family, good food, swimming, beach and, books.  Exactly what our hearts and souls needed.

3. What/who is the one thing/person you’re grateful for?

Miss L. who has been my sounding board for all things related to my Boy and ankylosing spondylitis.  Whether to cry about his pain or fist pump about a great day, she’s been there for both of us this year.

4. What’s your biggest win this year?

I pitched a job for myself to the Boss, and am loving my new role as the media manager at the school.  It was time for a job sea-change and I’m glad I had the balls to do it.

5. What did you read/watch/listen to that made the most impact this year?

It’s been a year of learning about minimalism for me.  The sites Becoming Minimalist and No Sidebar being the main ones, plus a host of others that I don’t keep track of, and the book “The gentle art of Swedish death cleaning” by Margareta Magnusson.  I’ve begun going through cupboards and crates and getting rid of things that no longer bring me joy.  It’s a process, and it will continue into 2018, and probably 2019 if I’m honest, but it’s a process I have been enjoying and intend to make a part of my everyday life.

6. What did you worry about most and how did it turn out?

The Boy was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis this year.  It’s rocked his world, and ours as a family.  The constant pain and fatigue that he’s been experiencing have had him (and me) in tears – literally.  And as a Mum, not being able to take that pain away has been bloody awful… it’s making me tear up as I write.  When all I can do is rub his back and cry right alongside him… it sucks.

But we’re a determined bunch.  Me – I’ve read medical journal articles until my eyes were blurry.  I understand this disease, from an academic perspective at least.  I know about the drugs used to treat, the alternative medicines that will help and how diet and exercise play an integral part in the spinal health of a person with AS.  We’ve found a brilliant GP who has set us on a path to health, and we’re feeling confident that with her guidance we can achieve some semblance of the life that was for my Boy.

From here it’s about educating him about how to manage this disease because we’re both determined that this disease won’t manage him.

7. What was your biggest regret and why?

Regrets?  I always struggle with the concept of regret.  Life is a lesson and if you’re smart, you learn from the mistakes – therefore no regrets.

8. What’s one thing that changed about yourself?

I learned to care more about me, and less about what others think of me.  I’m definitely a zero-fucks-given sort of gal.  In a polite way, of course!

9. What surprised you the most this year?

That I miss my Girl less than I thought I would.  When she moved to the Northern Territory it was hard.  It’s different this time though.  She’s not too far away, and we text and talk every day, so the only thing I’m missing out on is her cuddles.  Which makes them extra special when I get them, so win-win.

10. If you could go back to last January 1, what suggestions would you give your past self?

You are where you need to be. Just take a deep breath.

So that was 2017.  2018 looms.  There are plans.  It’s exciting and nerve-wracking and who knows what it’s going to bring.

but whatever it does, I’ll be ready

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taking stock #14

black and white beach and surfer photograph

so, life got away from me….

Taking stock is a month late. In between appointments with the Boy and getting the Girl moved into her new place, the truth is that I simply forgot all about it (even though I have a blog post calendar and ‘taking stock’ was clearly marked for last month!).

When I realized, I pushed it back on the calendar, because I really do enjoy these posts.  They’re a chance for me to look forward and back at what has been happening.  A chance to catch my breath, remember to eat the elephant one bite at a time and know that regardless of how much life gets away, I’ve still got a damn good one, and for that I am thankful.

So, a month late.  Here it is – taking stock #14.

Making: raspberry jelly.  Jelly has been my evening sweet treat lately – and yes, it’s the Aeroplane variety
Cooking: cooking….. arrrrgghhhhhh.  I. Am. So. Over. Having. To. Decide. What. Is. For. Dinner!
Drinking: water, water, and more water
Reading: Smith Journal.  I’ve started picking it up for my Boy because he enjoys the articles, and anything that can get a boy reading is worth buying
Wanting: another weekend on the coast with my Girl
Looking: for….
Playing: the iPod in the dock – music ranging from jazz and the 70’s through to gangster rap and electronic dance
Deciding: that enough is enough
Wishing: I lived closer to my nephews…. seeing video of their hijinks is great, but I’d love to be there in person
Enjoying: the quiet
Waiting: for our next appointment with our new functional medicine GP.  It’s so exciting to have found a medical professional who wants to help and heal you, rather than push pills or tell you it’s all in your head
Liking: that we still are having cooler nights
Wondering: if the weather will ever warm up though!
Loving: that my Girl has settled into her new life in her new town
Pondering: what next year will bring
Considering: the options
WatchingThe Vampire Dairies with my Boy.  Just about finished Season 1.  It’s fun sharing these shows with my kids now that they are old enough
Hoping: for a treatment plan that will halt the progress of my Boy’s disease
Marveling: at how the mind of our new GP works – you could see the cogs turning as she talked to us
Needing: a decent night sleep
Smelling: the raspberry jelly I just made!
Wearing: socks over feet rubbed with Happy Feet cream (it’s a mixture I make myself, and it makes my feet happy)
Following: the news
Noticing: how if I plan my top 3 priority tasks for the day, I seem to get a lot more done
Knowing: that there is always tomorrow to do more
Thinking: about how I haven’t dusted for a few weeks now.  Or ironed.  And how it’s bothering me but it’s not
Feeling: tired a lot
Admiring: the strength of women… mums in particular
Sorting: through stuff in cupboards…. still….
Buying: or bought. A new bed for the ‘spare’ room (feels so weird saying that!)
Getting: ready for after school pickup
Bookmarking: Dear Mama.  A photographic appreciation of motherhood.  Well worth a look for all mums.
Disliking: how this time of year gets so busy
Opening: a can of worms
Giggling: I told you last time… I don’t giggle
Snacking: on crystallized ginger
Coveting: the definition of covet is ‘yearn to possess’ and I really don’t covet anything… I have all I really want or need
Wishing: that it was next weekend already… my Girl is home for a few days
Hearing: the wind in the trees through the open back door

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

Do you ever get sick and tired of cooking!?

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hello, kick in the pants: finally I’ve gotten my nose pierced

tasha with her nose pierced

i’ve wanted to get my nose pierced since my teens

It wasn’t an option when I was living at home.  And when I moved out to go to University, it was forgotten about in the excitement of boyfriend, living my own life and study.

Then my dear friend, Nic, visited in the mid-90’s and she’d had her nose pierced in India.  I distinctly remember the day that our pet magpie sat on her shoulder and plucked out her nose piercing, promptly flying to the roof to deposit there. But I was working in a Catholic school, a respectable member of our community and didn’t think it would go down well.

Kids came along and again the idea was forgotten.  Too busy being Mum and wife and business owner.

It wasn’t until early this year that the idea raised itself again.  “You should do it, Mum.”, were words of encouragement from my Daughter.  But I kept putting it off.  Chickening out.  People will talk, I thought.  I’m too old to get it done now.

And then I received this email after my last taking stock post…

Tasha,

Hope you don’t think this is the weirdest e-mail ever. I love following your blog and love reading about your diverse interests and creativity.  In a recent post, “…hello, curve ball,” I read:

Considering: getting my nose pierced – something I’ve always wanted to do, but keep chickening out on

This was like deja vu since I had experienced the same thing!  I wondered if we were long lost twins separated from birth or maybe living in a parallel universe. ! I got my nose pierced last year for my 50th Birthday. I decided to write you and share my story hoping it might help you to decide to go ahead now and do it. Looking back, trust me my only regret is waiting so long!! If you don’t like it or it doesn’t suit, then you can take it out and it’ll heal fine.  However, 1+ years later I still love it and I keep saying I’ll be the only old lady in the nursing home with one, one day, ha! I’ve had the ring, I’ve had different studs, and I like them all, but after finding an artisan made thin, little silver captive bead nose hoop, I put in my will that I want to be buried wearing it! …..

…I had an epiphany that put perspective back into my life. Went into Starbucks for coffee and noticed this nicely dressed, professional looking woman standing in front of me. She had short grey hair in a pixie cut, pearl stud earrings, white silk blouse, black pencil skirt and matching little pointy toe kitten heels. When she turned to get her coffee, I noticed a teeny, tiny little diamond nose stud. I couldn’t help but comment and compliment her how cute she looked with a nose stud. She smiled at me, thanked me for the saying how pretty she looked with it and whispered in my ear that she got it last year at age 61! I shared with her my dream of having it done and she said, “…sweetie…don’t wait, nor overthink it. If you want it done, then do it now so you can start enjoying  it now. Furthermore, she said,  honey…you’re never too old to do something  making yourself more beautiful!”  HELLO!…..

Do what you makes you happy, just for you…if it’s true to you, it’s a natural fit, you own it, you rock it and everyone notices that you’re radiating! LOVE

Bethanie

hello, kick in the pants!

I received Bethanie’s email on Saturday, so first thing Monday morning, I rang the piercing studio and made myself an appointment.  I told Daughter because she’s been my cheerleader all along.  She was bummed she couldn’t come too because she was meant to be working.

Needless to say that when Tuesday morning rolled around, I was NERVOUS.

“What am I doing!!  Am I insane!?”

Probably.  Occasionally it’s a definitely!

But now I was also accountable to Bethanie.  You see, I’d emailed her back and told her that no, it wasn’t the weirdest email ever.  Weird is good, after all.  And thank you for the push I needed.  The inspiration and words of encouragement.

So, I walked into that studio, nerves and all.  And when the girls asked who was getting their nose pierced (I had Daughter with me, because she didn’t have to work after all), I said: “I am.”  I had a bit of giggle inside as they raised their eyebrows and then said: “Go you!”.

It hurt.  I swore.  Daughter held my hand as I had mine done, and then I held hers as she had hers done too.

I’d like to think that I inspired her to have her nose pierced.

just like Bethanie inspired me to have mine done

To be beautiful.  True to me.  Rocking the Conservative Hippie.

Because without that email from her, I’d still be sitting on the fence.

As an aside: only 2 people have noticed.  Don’t know what I was worried about after all!

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

What do you wish you could do, but don’t have the courage to go through with?

P.S. Photo by The Son of a Photographer, a.k.a. my Son.

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taking stock #013

hello, curve ball

Life has thrown yet another series of them at our family.  Nothing we can’t handle, but it’s put us off-kilter a little.
No blanks in this edition of taking stock.  Instead, I’ve left this page open the entire day and come back to this post multiple times.  No pressure to answer. More time to think through what has been influencing my life of late.

So here’s the lucky #013 of taking stock.  It’s a mixed bag!

Making: condensed milk, lemon and gingernut puddings – a little bit of comfort food for the soul (thanks, Simon, for the recipe!)
Cooking: up a plan for a weekend away with the girls
Drinking: kefir water – still on it and still loving it
ReadingThe Plant Paradox by Steven R. Gundry, MD – how ‘healthy’ food  can actually be harming you
Wanting: to do so much more, but pacing myself – life is a journey, not a destination
Looking: up and reading journal articles on Ankylosing Spondylitis
Playing: Imagine Dragons album Evolve on repeat
Deciding: on a Sunday afternoon what is on the dinner menu for the coming week – makes life so much easier
Wishing: that I lived closer to my brothers and sister…
Enjoying: moments in the sunshine
Waiting: for the results from the Boys MRI
Liking: only working 1 day a week now
Wondering: why it took me so long to make the decision to only work 1 day a week
Loving: my new role as the publicity and promotions manager at school
Pondering: ‘be the change’ – and how it is applicable to me at this point in my life
Considering: getting my nose pierced – something I’ve always wanted to do, but keep chickening out on
WatchingBuffy, the Vampire Slayer – still! The kids are still loving it, and still having a blast bagging it out each episode
Hoping: that all goes well for my Beautiful Girl as she prepares to leave the nest again
Marveling: at how warm our day times temperatures have been lately
Needing: to stop and stretch more
Smelling: immune booster oil – still having it burning, because the Boy can’t manage to shake his cough
Wearing: my new Peruvian alpaca wool knitted jumper – soooooo warm
Following: up on blood tests to see if my iron levels have increased
Noticing: how I feel when I do a yoga session – my mind and body loves it
Knowing: that I will be able to help my Boy on his journey with Ankylosing Spondylitis
Thinking: about getting a medicinal tattoo – anyone knows of a reputable tattoo artist who only uses natural inks?
Feeling: pleased with myself at what I have achieved over the last couple of days
Admiring: the colours of a sunset
Sorting: through all sorts of shit in my house – it’s time to go Minimalist
Buying: as little as possible
Getting: all of my affairs in order, so that if I do drop off the planet, it’s all organized for my family (& no, I’m not about to drop off the planet)
Bookmarking: medical journal articles on Ankylosing Spondylitis – trying to read enough to understand, but not overwhelm me
Disliking: unanswered emails….
Opening: mail… bills… why do they all seem to come at once?
Giggling: do I really giggle?  I don’t think I do!
Snacking: on crystallized ginger
Coveting: nothing – it’s the Minimalist in me coming out
Wishing: that the Boy didn’t have to deal with Ankylosing Spondylitis
Hearing: the whir of my computer fan

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

What has been happening in your life?  And more specifically, do you have any experience with Ankylosing Spondylitis?

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taking stock #012

It has been a rough couple of months with health issues on multiple fronts… all of which has taken their toll on me.

While I usually look forward to a taking stock, I’m dreading the thought of thinking about what has happened and what is to come over the next couple of months, so forgive me if there are a lot of blanks this time round….

Making: water kefir to help with my gut health, and loving it!
Cooking: from the Stone soup weekly meal plans.  We’ve only just started, but I’m thinking that it’s going to make organising dinners so much simpler.
Drinking: more of that kefir water.
Reading: nothing.  Not a thing.  Nothing is of interest at the moment.
Wanting: good health for all the family.
Looking:
Playing:
Deciding:
Wishing:
Enjoying:
Waiting: for our holiday… not long to go now.
Liking:
Wondering:
Loving: the way my family has looked after me these last couple of weeks… “We don’t do it because we have to, Mum.  We do it because we love you.”
Pondering: if all this clean living is really working.
Considering: 
Watching: Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.  Have introduced the kids to her and while they laugh and criticise, they still ask when we’re going to watch the next episode!
Hoping:
Marvelling: at the change in season.  The colours are stunning.
Needing: time on a beach.
Smelling: the immune booster essential oils I’m burning in bulk at the moment… trying to rid the house of all things germy.
Wearing: comfortable clothes.
Following:
Noticing:
Knowing:
Thinking:
Feeling: really run down… and over it.
Admiring: the colours of the leaves in Autumn.
Sorting:
Buying:
Getting:
Bookmarking:
Disliking: coughing.
Opening:
Giggling: at the Boy when he predicts what will happen in Buffy.
Snacking:
Coveting:
Wishing:
Hearing: the dog groan with old age whenever she moves.

Not too bad, considering.

Hope to see you all sooner rather than later, because I know that the blog has been very quiet of late.  Apologies there, but I been prioritising and unfortunately for the blog, she’s a fair way down the list.

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