Don’t just smell the flowers – make them

golden

I’ve tried to be more creative this year, professionally and privately.

In the school library, I have tried to make displays that are big and “in your face”, or interactive. Minerva, my erstwhile assistant, and I spent several weeks making large flowers from tissue paper for a “bloom and read” display. It was a big compliment for us when the art department asked for the flowers when we dismantled the display. They will be reused in their arts gala later in the year.

The interesting side bar, or maybe even the most important result, is the change that our flower making brought about in Minerva. In the six years I have worked with Minerva she has always claimed that she has no creativity, no creative abilities or talents. Of course, we all possess “creativity”; what we lack is confidence. Minerva was no different.

The simple act of folding paper flowers, experiencing the joy of creation, and sharing the positive reactions and comments of our community has opened a new mindset for Minerva that was totally unexpected. Now, instead of standing back and watching me create displays she is participating, to the point the she is picking items up off the side of the road to include in our work. She is also taking this mindset into her own life, looking at the world through a different lens.

It really is true that every journey starts with the first step, or in this case, the first tissue flower.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

first, peel your banana

andy-banana

Bananas don’t last long in the extreme Australian summer heat. Five were dying in our fruit bowl this morning. Mr FD manned up and added two to his lunch time salad, but two from five still left three. I decided to make the two ingredient cookies my granddaughters love (2 bananas : 1 cup rolled oats, bake at 200C for 15-20 minutes) . Except somehow I never manage to follow the recipe correctly – this time not quite enough rolled oats in the pantry- and so I topped up with muesli!

Earlier this morning I had noticed all the New Year Resolution posts popping up online. This year’s resolution for me was to be creative and I have given myself a 9 out of 10 for that resolution. Not quite a 10 because sometimes I am too lazy to do anything but sit and mindlessly flick through Facebook or mindlessly resort to old habits! By creative, I don’t just mean “arty”, I also mean trying too look at a world with a design mind – seeking new uses for things, being innovative in my life as well as creative. I am happy with what I achieved overall though.

Looking at the sad bananas in the fruit bowl, I though that maybe 2017 could be the year to work on food waste. We buy so many vegetables and fruits that just wither and rot in our refrigerator. Much of this is due to the fact that I have great plans for the week, but as each day passes and I get tired and the school work piles higher, I resort to pulling in for takeaway at night rather than even think about making a simple meal.  Bad girl!

Looking at it creatively, trying to minimise food waste also means that I am planning our shopping better – maybe even save money in the process. We will certainly eat better meals, and that will impact positively on my health, which we all know needs all the help it can get!

Mr FD  in recent weeks has become quite the hand at the barbecue, so if I  plan meals around that to start with, I can’t see how we can’t prosper. I have a slow cooker to use in colder months. It also continues on my 2016 creativity resolution, which makes me self-pleased. I am feeling superior already.

So, that’s it, folks – my resolution for 2017 is to reduce food waste in our home. Good for me, my family, the community and the planet. What’s not to love?

Just going to tell Mr FD what his first resolution for 2017 is…

 

 

 

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired

red-and-purple

My mother has always been one for a good adage. “Better an old man’s darling, than a young man’s fool” came forth when both my sister and I married men almost a decade older than we were; though neither groom probably considered themselves old. “Go to the doctor and you will get sick” is another one; not so much for the germs you might pick up in the doctor’s waiting room, but for the other ills they find along the way.

I experienced that first hand this week. Investigations for the root cause of blood pressure issues resulted in some incidental findings. Incidental was the doctor’s choice of adjective. I prefer mind numbing, or while not immediately catastrophic, certainly has me contemplating that my goal to live to 102 might be a wee bit optimistic.

Drama Queen that I am, I feel like a ticking time bomb! The doctor mustn’t think so however, as he has sent me off for more tests with instructions not to return to his office for eight weeks! So, I am trying to refrain from lurching through the day, clutching my chest moaning, my heart, my heart! Though it isn’t likely in the short term I have asked Minerva, my erstwhile Library aide, that should I clutch anything between chest and stomach before collapsing to the floor, to be so kind as to not ask the front desk to phone for an ambulance, but to dial triple zero directly. She has solemnly agreed, though I suspect there may be days when my behaviour may influence her to walk very slowly towards the phone to make that call!

Now I am on enough tablets to make me rattle like a child’s shaker toy. I have to take a half tablet of this or that, every day, then every second day, but at the same time take a half of something new, but only on the days I am not taking another tablet. I am sure there are instructions to stand on the west side of the hill, wait for the sun to be at a 30 percent angle to my right foot and to twirl twice before taking a quarter of some pill.

I am feeling old and very mortal. I have taken to wearing purple.

No, really I have. Purple is a colour I have not worn very much since the 1970s, when I was oh so glamourous, but a couple of weeks ago, I purchased a purple tunic. I wear it with black leggings, and every time I do I receive compliments. One gentleman colleague told me I was looking exceptionally lovely in my purple and I giggled like a sixteen-year-old. I didn’t think I was capable of such frippery. Didn’t matter that the colleague is gay, I was all a flutter.

Speaking of colour, the doctor’s office has fire engine red walls. This week’s visit was my second visit, accompanied by Mr FD. Mr FD sat in the office at least 90 minutes this week, reading on his ipad, while I was poked and prodded. Later, I said, that I thought red was a poor choice for a medical office (blood and phobias etc.). Mr FD looked very puzzled and said, “Red? There was a red wall?” More than one, actually.
red-wall

Obviously, the purple is lost on him.

The I don’t need it, I don’t want it, get out of my face revolution

no

Maybe it’s just me but I need to ask: is anyone else not only tired of, truly exhausted by the sheer numbers of people trying to make money from every facet of our lives?

So many so called health gurus, education experts, lifestyle experts… Even people writing books to show us how to show our kids how to use Lego once they are tired of their kit style. Can’t we downsize for ourselves? Can’t we create and innovate for ourselves?

What is happening to us?

Today, I feel like one of those characters in those predictable Hollywood movies where in one day, a man has to face a job loss, wife leaving, kids moving away, car repossessed, locked out of all bank accounts and savings and he just goes mental and rejects society.

Today, I want to go mountain woman and reject capitalistic consumerism and this society that just wants to make money out of every aspect of my daily existence.

I don’t need anyone to tell me how to do anything or everything. I can do it for myself, and I don’t need to make myself poor making another person rich.

clearing skies

country 1

The black mist is gradually leaving me after months of illness and exhaustion. It may have just been a series of winter viruses and work exhaustion, but it has left me depleted. Spring is trying to break through and I sense my mind and body are trying to lift as well.

Sunday morning, I was on the deck, trying to exercise on the bike for a few minutes, the first time for a few weeks, when Augie Dog came to sit in the sun nearby. A number of green lorikeets were feeding in the grevillea trees in our garden. The sound of their chirping and the energy of the community was just such a delightful form of much needed nourishment for me.

Thankful that we were guided to our tree change and we had the wisdom to follow our call to country.

not being able to see the trees for the trees

garden wise

When my blood pressure sank to 90 over 60, I sat on the kitchen floor and waited to black out, but I didn’t and eventually made it to my bed. I have struggled with high blood pressure for years and in recent weeks    I have been prescribed a new medication regime. Obviously, it worked too well!

I am going through one of those health episodes where lots of niggling issues come together to make life less jolly and more uncomfortable. A shoulder issue means if I raise or stretch my arm too much I experience crushing pain; blood pressure out of control. Sigh.

The last few days of the working week witnessed me absent from the workplace and journeying back and forth to my doctor. I am not sure how much rest I am getting, with a three year old in the house, and tree loppers working in the yard to remove a number of trees.

tree loppers

The tree men, are back today, removing a number of ugly palm trees that are too much work with their habit of dropping fronds continually. Palm fronds are too fibrous to mulch and so have to be carted away, more money. Disappointing also, because when we lopped the native trees we were able to keep the wood for our fire and mulch everything else to put back into the garden. I try to salve my decision to remover the trees with the knowledge that we will be planting more suitable native trees, smaller trees, in their wake.  Any garden requires regular maintenance and renewal.

We are also trying to remove issues that will become problems as we age, so that we can stay here as long as possible. We learnt from our parents lives that it is vitally important to plan ahead, and to prepare our home for when we are old, if we want to stay independent as long as possible.  Eventually, we will need to move back to the city, to a unit or townhouse, closer to our children, but not for a long, long time, we hope. Though a number of our adult children are resident with us, so that is a bit of a reverse issue right now!

Lately, I seem to be writing a lot about age and age related issues, but that is the cycle of life and smart people accept it, work with it, and I hope I am wise enough to remember that.

On the other hand, I am going out to select wood cuts from the trees already felled, to create fairy houses for my two precious granddaughters. I am sure, I will not be tempted to play fairies at all..never ever.

Red Shoe Project 2016 or Creativity + Minimalism = 2016

red shoe project 2016

A couple of years  ago I attended a teacher librarian’s conference in Hobart, Tasmania. There was several keynote presenters, several of whom were authors. I noticed a common denominator. Red shoes.

The majority of the female presenters (there were a couple of males represented, fear not, though education and librarianship are heavily dominated by females) wore red shoes. The obvious conclusion for me, was that creative people wore red shoes. Therefore, I wanted to be creative, I needed to wear red shoes.

Eventually, I found the red shoes that suited me. They didn’t turn out to be magic shoes of creativity, but I really didn’t think that I would ever click my heels and go to Oz. Aus maybe, but never Oz (sorry little joke for me, as I am Australian! Okay very, little joke…)

What my red shoes are however, is that creativity is a mind set. A mind set that I need to cultivate and nurture. It ain’t going to happen if I don’t!  When I look down at my shoes I am reminding myself that I can be what I want to be, and that, yes, I can do it!

So,  fast forward to the New Year. My mantra or theme for 2016 is Creativity + Minimalism = 2016. I don’t have any hard or  fast plan as to what form that will take, but my goal is to be pursue creativity in all things – personal  and professional life which naturally includes my interactions and relationships with others. Our home will be crafted into our absolute sanctuary where we can live simply and slowly.

I acknowledge that this will be more than a year long journey.There will be good days and bad days, probably good weeks and bad weeks, if not months!  I can make a solid start in the next few weeks while the school vacation continues, after that the road will have more twists and turns as I return to work, but I will be kind to myself and just try my best.

 

be-sure