Friday, January 30

autistism is no barrier

Just because it feels good to shed tears of joy....




Thursday, January 29

a contrary baby

In the Wildflower's 9-point-something months, I have only become angry-frustrated with her twice. Both times were in my head. That is, I didn't act out or anything. I still felt bad for thinking so negatively.

I have been Present through the horrible breastfeeding situation. I have been Present through the torture of sleep deprivation (3hrs a night average since she was born), and I have been Present through hours of irritability during the day.

I have been Present for her whilst I was recovering from c-section surgery, sleep deprived, unable to breastfeed, and having a rather incompetant husband (at the time). I am a child of the Now.

I have and do carry her in a sling or on my hip. I never leave her alone or unattended. She is up close to watch me cook and clean and knit. Other than naps or an hour or two with DIY Dad on the occassional morning, we are always together. Yep, I am an attachment and a continuum concept parent.

I am also aware of the precious fleeting time of their infancy. How this is my chance to create an everlasting bond. I am aware of the impact my behaviour will have on her psyche, for now and the future. And I am aware that other parents have serious issues to deal with compared to my own.

I am aware that I am her first point of reference for Love, Security, Peace.

All this helps me be there for her. Not wanting for her to be or behave differently. Present and accepting.

But I cry.

Sure, you'll say that, of course, I'm sleep deprived. It sends your body chemistry out of whack. Yes, there's that.

But also, I'm so sad. I'm crying now because I'm just so sad.

My poor baby spends so much time being irritable. Something that I laughed off at first as part of her innate Aries nature. Later, I came to realise that she was tired. Yet she struggles to sleep. So it is a never-ending cycle of sleep, short spurts of a Ray of Sunshine, and then hours of ebbing and flowing though crankiness.

I don't feel a failure. No, I am not that sort of thinker. I am aware that I am 110% there for her. I can't DO more.

But I am bloody down about it. It's really got to me now. I feel that as an AP/CC parent, she should be happier, more content. And I feel sad that tiredness, or whatever else it might be, might be having an affect on her developing personality. Afterall, dealing with the world as a cranky person must have an affect on your perception of the world, right?

I read other blogger's accounts of their new babies. About the joy and lovely moments and how they adore motherhood. Sure, there is occassional lack of sleep or colic, but overall, this is just the stuff you expect as a new parent.

Although I adore my Wildflower - she is My Heart on the Outside - and although her sunshine smile and infectious laughter rings through our home, I have struggled as a new mother. I have struggled having that glowing new mother experience. I spent the first few days of her life unbonded to her. I spent the first few months just feeling like a protector and nothing much more. The last couple of months have been different. There have been so many wonderful moments. I guess I just would like the moments to stretch a little further. You know, where the challenging stuff becomes the moments. And I wish for sleep - for her more than for me.
It has given me an ever greater compassion for parents of children with true challenges, such as autism.

I felt bad for even thinking negatively, because I am a strong believer in the reality of energy. That even thoughts have energy. So no matter what I was going through, I breathed in deeply and kept an inner calm, to then exude calm outwardly. I am aware of my affect on her body, mind, soul and spirit. I act and think accordingly.

Yet, my baby, who has never seen me frown, frowns. My baby, who is only ever held and handled with gentleness and love, hits. So I feel this baby ought to belong to a neglectful or distracted parent, not to me.

I guess we just want to do the best right? And when we do that to the best of our ability and the results are contrary, it's sad. I just want to make it all okay for her.

Unlike for some other parents, she smiles, laughs, and enjoys cuddles. Yes, I am grateful for that connection.

And despite all the things I have no control over, I DO trust that my parenting style is laying down a foundation of something good. And who knows, a combination of crankiness and Love might make her into one heck of a strong woman.

But today, I'm gonna be doing some crying, 'kay?

Tuesday, January 27

January Moodboards

past cycle...


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Aquarius New Moon moodboard


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Please add the direct link to your post rather than to your general blog (click on the title of your post and copy the url from your address bar)
  1. Carin
  2. Sara
  3. Trina
  4. Earthenwitch
  5. Docwitch
  6. Sarah

Monday, January 26

oops, just a note

Today's proper post is below, this is a short note to say....

Sorry, I was totally in last cycle's energy, which was Capricorn. The upcoming energy for the new moon board is Aquarius.

Hold on to your hats, this is a new moon heralding change, possibly even radical change! It's a time to look beyond the usual the conventional, or the safe.
You've played it safe last cycle, or you started testing the foundations.

Now, it's the time of, I DARE myself!

the little water-bearer

Part of my child astrology series.

Infants

Probably most parents like to think of their little baby as unique or special. Well, the Aquarius child actually is. Unless she has many earthy planets in her chart, this little one will have you puzzling almost every day! Either you'll think she's a genius or gifted, or well, that special kind of 'special'.

I think of Aquarians as children of the rainbow. Real and yet intangible. Colourful, free-spirited, bright, yet distant. They are the future mad scientists, inventors, or leaders of revolutionary organisations - if they are allowed to fully express themselves.

If you are a physically affectionate sort, you might feel some disappointment at your water-bearer's cold ways. She has a certain aloofness that might make you worry. But don't ever forget that this little one has the heart and mind of a humanitarian. I like to think of it like this. It is those that can care yet keep some emotional distance that become our nurses, doctors, and all those who must tend to humanity's troubles without being overwhelmed by them.

This little one is therefore a loner, so don't push other babies or adults in her face. She isn't interested. It isn't that she isn't social, in fact, she might come across as just that, only to then distance herself from other children! It's just that she is more interested in other things. Such as discovering how things work, and generally using her brain matter. And as for people, she is interested in what she can learn from them, rather than pure socialisation for it's own sake.

She will require a lot of mental stimulation. Reading and talking to this little one will be satisfying. You have her full attention now! And give her plenty of objects to examine. Her curious nature will not be satisfied with blocks. Always remember to give her some alone time, with the reassurance of you nearby.

The most important thing with an Aquarian babe, is that she is bright and she is unpredictable. Expect the unexpected was never such an apt saying as for this baby. A rebellious streak will set in very early indeed. The less authoritarian your approach, the better the relationship between you.

watery things

So the mold situation might be greatly improved. After Frugal Father's usual clean-up job, he painted over the MANY areas with anti-fungal paint. Fingers and various limbs crossed.

We discovered where the water from under the kitchen units was coming from - a slow leak under the sink. Can't move the sink unit so getting a plumber round. The water was slowly trickling underneath and we had to mop up at least twice a day. Both of us almost slipped a few times. Plumber says he'll be here tomorrow.

Now, the baaaaaad water problem. Seems we have a leak originating from the bathroom. We don't know whether it's from under the bathtub/shower, which has tons of water under there, or from another leaky pipe. But wherever it's coming from it first caused mold, now it's causing serious problems, possibly even structural. yikes.

The floor boards in the little room we use to store our boxes of possessions, and FF's bedroom have come right up. As if water is filling up underneath. The downstairs neighbour says there is water mark on her ceiling. So FF is letting the 'caretakers' (relatives of the owners back in Australia) know. The main floor is made from concrete, and we all know that this can wear with tons of water.

Either they'll ignore it - which is the usual way around here, but this is too serious we think - or they will do something about it. If the latter, we'll have to move out. Yep, boo.

We're lucky to have expat friends already on the look out for us. There may be two possible temporary accommodations available.

And then the rain, hasn't really stopped in days....

We are most definitely elementally out of balance!

Saturday, January 24

next moon moodboard

The next one will be for the 27th.

I have decided to do a two-part thing each cycle.

First, a personal board representing the previous month.

Second, a moodboard representing the new moon energy and thoughts about it for the coming month. The new moon is all about looking forward.

The next new moon will pass through Capricorn.
This will highlight the practical in our lives. What needs to be done today to realise our dreams, hopes, desires, in the future. It is about long term plans, finding security, laying foundations.
If you have already been doing that for some time, the new moon highlights appreciation for the hardwork and a time to rise above structure, bounderies, limitations, and perceived 'safety'. It is about using the base you've created rather than being confined by it.

Meditate on these thoughts as you create your new moon board.

Join me if you like, create one or both, up to you!

Check this post for what it's all about. Everyone's welcome!

Friday, January 23

tidbits

  • In the interest of simplifying and mental decluttering, I minimised my FeedReader from 211 feeds to 129.
    There's only so many hours in the day, and I want to read blogs that, along with those of the daily lives of bloggers like myself, add something to my life rather than just add more reading. Treehugger is a superb site but at 20+ posts every other day....yikes.


  • Knitting is giving me a lot of inner quiet that 'net surfing and reading and even cooking can't do. But it's still fraught with some stress and it's too adrenalin-producing still!

  • The Wildflower and I seem to have a new night rythm. I have started taking her to bed awake, but when I can see she's ready. That's about midnight recently. She has a feed then we lay together. I don't speak but might whisper a lullaby if she seems she's winding up rather than down. The lights are off. First night it took her 1.5hrs to sleep (gawd) but last night it was 10minutes. And, and, AND, she slept a solid 3hrs before waking. Might seem nothing to most, but to me it's pure luxury. Possibly more important is that she isn't so restless in the mornings either. That's what has always made me feel bad for her, that restless sleep.

    I don't know whether this improvement is just her as she's growing up, or also a combination of going to bed like this. I figured that for her sake, she could do with learning that laying down in bed when it's dark is okay to fall asleep. I have always rocked/walked her to sleep because nothing else would settle her down. Learning to fall asleep laying down will hopefully mean that when she wakes during the night she is secure in what laying there means.


  • DIY Dad's father (deda) is doing okay. He's out of hospital today and apparently on medication for 6 months.


  • Work on the house has slowed down because we've run out of local stone. It's going to be awkward finding similar stuff, in our price range. Otherwise, things have been moving foward at a steady pace.


  • Wildflower hit 9 mths and my baby is growing up! :( Still not on solids. Still not crawling. Sharp as a tack though.


  • We got a bunch of books from expat friends, whose kids have outgrown them, for the Wildflower as well as some for mama. Ah, free unexpected books..... bliss


  • DIY Dad keeps talking about an extended travel through Cuba...

  • I've perfected my blueberry muffin recipe.

  • One expat friend has left and although we'll keep in touch through the space of cyber, I'm going to miss our phonecalls.

  • Our purse strings are tighter than ever. The exhange rate 'twixt pound and euro is almost level. We had 30% more when we first moved here.

  • We're all happy and healthy, if tired.

Thursday, January 22

Child Shadow of Impatience (i)

Please read my brief introductory post, otherwise this might all sound too disjointed to be of interest/use.

Good to hear from y'all. Please note that my posts have nothing to do with Estes' book! lol But of course there is the Shadow connection. And YES, if you can, buy,borrow,steal, it. Absolutely brilliant stuff.
Also, the Shadow is used by countless psychoanalysts and others, and it's used in different ways. What the Shadow actually is and how to approach it is interpreted differently. Hence why I refer to my verison as the Child Shadow.



Time goes, you say? Ah, no! alas, time stays, we go.
Henry Austin Dobson

"The time which we have at our disposal every day is elastic; the passions we feel expand it, those that we inspire contract it, and habit fills up what remains."
In Search of Lost Time, Vol II: Within a Budding Grove, Marcel Proust

Creation

The Impatience Shadow is created in a certain environment. Perhaps you had parents who were always rushed or rushing. Or who always hurried you up. Or were impatient themselves, with you or each other or other people. Or sometimes it's just the environment your parents lived in, such as rushed jobs or community obligations, or constant deadlines to meet, to which you were witness.

Another way is to be severely restricted from activities while being aware of it. Such as, a sickly child who misses out on the sibling's activities, or strict parents who exclude the child from their own activities or from those of the neigbourhood kids. It can sometimes even be formed from very slow or apathetic families, where the child sees lots happening 'out there'. One woman I worked with suffered from several childhood illness that had her in and out of hospital until she was about 12.Either way, the child feels they are forever missing out, and then believes that they are losing or have lost time.

Everyone has their own unique situation.

Whatever the circumstances, there is so much rushing that the child learns that rushing is necessary to life. Or, that time is against us, or that it's limited or can be lost. As you can see, this is now a thing of anxiety. Somehow or other, rushing/restriction becomes associated with fear. So that soon, it forms into a Fear.

Our modern societies are so geared into doing things as soon as yesterday, and living by the clock, that I can't imagine most of us not having a streak of impatience within us. And a type of impatience that comes with youth is also normal. However, for it to become a Shadow, it is a Fear that was formed from an environment where impatience/rushing/restriction was the norm.

A small child cannot intellectualise any of this of course. But a child senses it all. They will sense your own fear of 'not making it in time', of, 'wasting precious time', and so on. They see and feel the urgency and fast pace.

Children do not understand our concept of time, and yet we insist on telling them to 'hurry up', or that, 'we'll miss the bus if we don't rush', or that we haven't the time to do X because we need to get Y done. We make these requests, but they don't have a clue what we mean. Yet they will internalise the feeling they get when we say them, or when we do the rushing around to complete tasks, or the fidgeting and tsk-tsking while we wait in a queue. Say and do these things enough times, and the emotions become part of the child's internal world. And such is how Fears are formed.

So a child learns that associations to time (such as rushing) are very important in life. The instinct is, 'I need to cope and to survive'. So the child's subconscious starts to make sense of what it's learning and to form coping and survival strategies.

As they grow up, the child will inevitably find himself in situations where time is 'lost'. They will be unskilled in a task such as tying their shoelaces. They will become anything from disconcerted to very anxious. Afterall, they are wasting precious time.

Additionally, a child that learns to rush, will end up creating further situations for the Fear to grow, because we all know that rushing causes us to falter and make mistakes. So we have to do it again only to lose more time!

As you can see, daily life will present many opportunities for the child to 'waste time'. And each incident will create anxiety, that is the food of the Fear. Every time we are anxious about losing time, we are of course feeding the belief that we can lose time and that this is a very bad thing.

Very soon, time becomes an enemy. The child is a victim to time. And in this way, the beautiful childish ability to be totally present in the Now, is lost. Because all that matters is the future, the future towards which we are trying to rush.



So the first step is Shadow recognition. The second is acceptance. Recognising that we might own this paticular Shadow, and recognising how it was formed. Knowing this helps us see it for what it is. Not some horrible thing to cast off, to hate, or to be ashamed of, but to appreciate that without it we would not have survived emotionally and psychologically.

Accepting the Shadow might seem easy at first, but it can be a long process. If there is any shame or guilt or such, it can take time to learn to love it as a part of us, A part that helped us cope with what life threw at us.


part ii to come....



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Tuesday, January 20

knit happens

Soooo... been knittin'.

Along with knit and purl stitches, I learnt how to do yarn over, knit two together (which until Docwitch commented I hadn't even realised that's what K2tog meant! *chuckle*), and I sort of learnt how to read a pattern. This is all just from videos and a few sites, because that's the insane way right?

Here's what I discovered...

Knit stitch is like a good friend, solid, reliable, easy to get along with. You wouldn't go out on a drinking bender with her, no, you would sip chai or coffee and possibly a good sponge cake. She's there when you need a shoulder to cry on.

Purl is like that relative we all have, who is unpredictable. She's moody you see. Sometimes she's happy to go along with things, other times she's not. She's a little quirky and safe enough and well, she's a relative. Can't choose them right? But you can't deny feeling a little relief when your time together is over.

Now yarn over. Ooh la la. She's your sexy friend. She's the one you go out dancing with and if you're single and want a little action, she'll attract them like the proverbial flies to a honey pot. She's a looker, and she's smooooth. So if you're married, you somehow never get around to introducing her to your husband.

Knit Two Together is a co-worker. You're stuck with her. And she's a bitch. She's stubborn to the core. If you're a diplomat or know how to sweet talk, you can have her yield, a little. But she'll always remind you that her status at the office is above yours. It's no good reminding her that she's not your boss, and that you're not even in her department. She'll wield her title in your face. Just go along with it, or suffer the consequences.

So whilst learning how to read a pattern in the middle of knitting it, I got the chance to feel knitting on an intuitive level. As I had no real idea of the differences between even knit and purl stitches, I discovered their look and feel whilst knitting. I found mistakes long after I had made them, but after a time, I also began to feel , as I was knitting, when it wasn't right. That was a good feeling.

I can now recognise a purl stitch and what the next row should start as by looking at the previous row. I kept forgetting this! The pattern is;

CO an even number of sts.
K 6 rows.

Row 1 (WS): k1, *yo, k2tog, rep from * to last stitch, k1
Row 2: Knit
Row 3: k2, *yo, k2tog, rep from * until 2 st remain, k2
Row 4: Knit

Rep Rows 1 - 4 until desired length.
K 6 rows.
BO.

I still have no idea what WS means.

But the bit that confuses me is that one side has a nice edge to it while the other doesn't. So either it's a naff pattern or I've misunderstood/not understood something. No bets on which it is!

My scarf has a several mistakes and uneven tension, but by the recent section I started to know knitting. You know, in the belly.

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I added some stockinette stitching (ooh, listen to her, stockinette) inbetween just for a change as I thought it was a bit of a boring pattern (typical!) and that was a saver as I was able to unravel back to those sections when I had made a huge mistake.

Getting those stitches back onto your needle is an extreme sport! DIY Dad says he wants to get a swear jar so we can have tons of play money.

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I'm only about 1/3 way through. I was going to keep the scarf, warts and all, as a fun reminder of my first project. However, there are so many mistakes now that I can't imagine ever wearing it, and so it's lost it's knitting appeal. I don't want to knit unless I'm enjoying it.

Do I keep this piece for sentimental reasons? lol It's cheap enough yarn.

I recieved Stitch 'n Bitch yesterday, so am looking forward to learning something properly.

Sunday, January 18

The Child Shadow

"We lose the soulskin by becoming too involved with ego, by being too exacting, perfectionistic, or unnecessarily martyred, or driven by a blind ambition, or by being dissatisfied.... and not saying or doing anything about it, or by pretending we are an unending source for others, or by not doing all we can to help ourselves. Oh, there are as many ways to lose the soulskin as there are women in the world."

Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarisa Pinkola Estes

I feel compelled to talk about Shadows.

There is a part of us that is our Shadow. It is not exactly the Jungian Shadow, but very much like it. This Shadow is what I refer to as our Child Shadow. It is to be loved and handled as gently as we would a child. It is not to be feared or maligned. It is what is behind the behaviours that Estes mentions.

No matter how loving our parents or how happy our childhoods, we all have 'issues', and when we become parents we pass these issues on to our children, or ther psyches create new ones from our own.

But the Child Shadow is not to be got rid off, but rather, it's to be recognised, understood, appreciated, and healed. Each Shadow is created in Fear, so like a frightened child it needs reassurance and love. It was formed as a way to deal with the world, a coping mechanis if you like, so we can learn to appreciate it for that.

As a very empathic person I sense people's Child Shadows. No biggie, just an acute intuition thing. But it does mean that I am there for those that want to heal their own Shadows.

Today, you might read this and it means nothing to you, or you might read this and feel a heart surge. If so, you might find all this of interest. I will write about them as the impulse strikes.

I recognise 8 Shadows.

Arrogance
Greed
Apathy
Martyrdom
Stubborness
Self-Destruction
Self-Loathing
Impatience



I'm going to begin with the Child Shadow of Impatience, as it has stirred something in a few readers.

It is VITAL that the references for them are not mistaken with the everyday words to which they refer. For example, the Shadow of Arrogance has similarities to but is not the same thing as calling someone arrogant. We are dealing with a subconscious thing, a psyche thing, a deeply embedded soul thing, 'kay?

Many people who do this 'work' with me, usually react defensively, that's okay, totally natural. Most get tangled in the word's everyday meaning, and some treat their Shadows as things to be got rid off. For starters, you never can. And everybody reacts to this work with their Shadow's characteristics. I certainly did.

I discovered my Shadows about 10-15 years go. I own the Shadows of Impatience and Arrogance, and a very little Shadow of Greed.

Every single person has one Shadow, just about everyone has at least 3, and many people have more. And if more sounds bad, keep in mind that some psychopaths only have one! *chuckle*

I hope you will join me in these posts, as I like to hear how the Shadows manifest in people's lives, and especially how people are learning to heal them. Please keep in mind that I am not an expert. It's just a thing I do....

Saturday, January 17

mold & stone & prices

Thanks for ideas about the mold. I should have stated that the problem isn't cleaning it, we can do that, it's that it's fiercely stubborn, and like a visiting relative, doesn't know when to leave! lol

I also forgot to mention that it seems a pipe under the bathroom, and running under two bedrooms seems to be leaking, or something. Because there is mold in a few places, paint peeling from the moisture, and now the floorboards are warping!

The place is falling apart! Apparently the previous owners and the neighbour downstairs have mentioned these problems to the owners, but they don't seem to care. The actual owners live in Australia, they visit here during the summer (Winter in Oz), but the people here are distant relatives 'looking after the place'. Meaning, they take the rent money.

The stone on the house is soooo close to the end. Frugal Father negotiated some stone from the left over stuff from the little village church. Then today, he is transporting stone from a small local quarry (literally less than 5mins away) to the land.

The stonemasons picked through it, thanks to the accommodating quarry owner. The good news is that every piece they hand-picked is good quality. This means that we didn't have to pay for poor quality stone that was unusable. The bad news is that from about 20 tonnes, they only found 2 tonnes they liked. We still need another 4! argh.

FF thinks the lazy workers probably didn't bother to look through all the piles. He is up there today with 2-3 expat friends to shift the stone. Hopefully he'll find that the workers have been lazy - it'll be good news for us.

Like everyone else, we're also feeling the economic pinch. The small income we have trickling in was about 20-30% more than we needed to live on. Meaning of course we had money for little luxuries, flying to England to see family, a 'rainy day', you know the way. Now, pound for euro, we are almost equal. There's nothing left over.

Of course, we are FORTUNATE. We have enough to pay the bills and keep a roof over our heads (albeit moldy) and feed ourselves, and still buy a few tiny luxuries. So we are grateful. But it does mean that the house build budgeting is tighter and tighter every day. I'm doing my bit to keep FF from stressing.

'It'll be done when it's done', I say.
'We are fortunate in what we still have', I say.
'So we can't afford X until much later, we can manage without it,' I say.
'You'll find work, focus on the house now', I say.

and on and on....

Sometimes our approach and perspective and thinking is all we have to make all the difference between stress and peace with What Is, right?

what animal are you

Thank you everyone for your kinds thoughts about deda. Still doing well.

I've had a head-rush of topics to post! All coming in between 1-4am. Lots of psyche stuff, Living your Life stuff, Nature stuff..... So I will go for something easy today while my head organises the jumble.

This is one of my favourite personality tests.

I am a bat.

This is a decidedly nonconformist creature, for as an airborne personality, the bat tends to look down at the conventions of the ground animals. And yet, since it is not a true bird and having not mastered the art of smooth controlled flight, it often appears awkward in social situations. (Hence the term -- acting batty). But as compensation for this social ungainliness, many bat personalities sport a built-in radar, which enables them to intuitively read the motivations of others.

Identifying bat personalities is not difficult. Being nocturnal creatures, they come alive at night and can be spotted in underground clubs or dimly lit bars. They prefer the sanctuary of dark clothing and dark corners, and you'll never see a bat sporting a heavy tan. These are intelligent, spiritual, creative individuals who use their full range of senses (other than their poor eyesight) to carefully navigate their way through life.


Spot on, except now the dimly lit bars is just a dimly lit bedroom with restless baby, chuckle.

What are you?

Friday, January 16

deda has a heartattack

DIY Dad just phoned me, his father (back in England) has had a hearattack and has been rushed to hospital. It was just a text message from his brother so he knows nothing else. He was up at the homestead working on the house, but is coming home. We'll try to skype someone to find out more.

His dad is like a surrogate dad to me. Deda means granddad.

We would have been there at this time, had we decided to go to England.

Thursday, January 15

living the dream, pt1

When I was younger, from about early teens to early 30's, I was impatient for life.

My upbringing instilled in me a sense of urgency. That life was fleeting, over-too-soon, and at risk of being wasted. In fact, it wasn't until my 30's that I finally made the connecton between insomnia and the need to be-part-of-it-all-in-case-I-miss-something.

You know how most kids don't want to go to bed, or leave the party, or stop playing a game, because it's just sooooo much fun? Well, it's like that but it's not about the fun of the Now, the way kids experience it. It's cemented in Fear. The fear of missing out, of not doing enough, of wasting my life.

We all have fears formed in childhood, whether we are aware of them or clear of what they are or not (perhaps I'll post about those one day?), and mine, one of mine, was this, the fear of regretting my life, the fear of not having done enough.

I used to believe this was a good way to live. That is, to live without regrets. To live life to the full so that when I looked back in my old age I would look back contented. But it isn't. It isn't a good way to live.

Because the propellant is Fear - I can never do enough, the grass is always greener on the other side, I'm more likely to start something than finish it, stress, burn-out, never satisfied, forever owning a state of anxiety that I should be doing something else. Perhaps worse than anxiety is a state of ennui.

Then one day. I gave up perfectionism. Another Fear. Just like that. I can't remember now the how or why of it. But when I saw it for what it was, I gave it up.

There would have been a time when blogging as I do now, as well as commenting on other blogs, would have been an anxious activity. I would have proofread my posts several times. Checking for grammatical and spelling mistakes, as well as questioning it's appeal or wittiness (that's not to say I don't check for mistakes now, it's just courtesy, but you understand what I mean). I would have done the same with comments, wondering if I said something really cool or interesting, or simply worth the blogger's time.

My moodboards would have taken hours. My blog photos would have taken hours to obtain the right one and to edit beyond perfection. If I shared them at all. I never would have shared my knitting mistakes.

I think one of the saddest things is that in trying to be all of ME, I was actually disconnected from me. Because what I was doing essentially, was living life so that others approved of it. The many choices I made (more in part2) seemed at the time to be for me, but were really about pleasing others, or being acceptable to others, or being admired by others, and on and on.... This is not an easy thing to admit to oneself. Lack of clarity, fear, stubborness, lack of self-awareness, Ego, are all great barriers.

In giving up perfectionism, I cleared a path to a place where being Superwhatever was no longer sensical. I realised that not only couldn't I do it all perfectly, I simply couldn't do it all. And so in this way, I gave up trying to Do everything and trying to Be everything.

What I had perceived as a lack of time was exactly that, a perception. If I only do what feels right (whether it's something joyful or a responsibility I have accepted) I have plenty of time. If I do only what I'm passionate about, I have MORE TIME THAN I NEED.

um.... wow

I had misinterpreted living life to the full.

Completely.

I had thought that every waking moment had to be filled doing something. I had thought that I had to prove my worth with status or a title (just one more course, honest) or a Really Respectable Job, or at least one that paid really darn well. I thought that I had to save the world. I thought that I had to know everything (yeah, good luck with that).

Now, my interpretation is very different.

Living life to the full means that I have passion, joy, or great enjoyment for the things I do choose to do.
It means that I can allow time to slip away, forgotten amongst the wanderings through brambles, and roots, and owl hoots, or with cuddling in bed, or with lullabies, or daydreaming.
It means that I make sure every person that I care about knows it. Truly knows it, no matter how embarrassing it might be to tell.
It means that I take chances if they feel right.
It means that I know when to let go, and do so with peace.
It means that what sort of person I am is more important than what I do.
It means that I recognise that Making a Difference can come in many shapes and sizes - some obnoxiously huge and some like almost imperceptible grains of sand.
It means that I embrace mistakes for their unique opportunity to learn something new, make a connection with someone, for allowing myself to live fearless, or simply because how bloody funny they can be.
It means that Following my Dream can be a very vague thing indeed. That it needn't be explainable to anyone. And that it can change.

It means that I live life rather than trying to make life happen.

mold

We have a serious mold problem,


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Fortunately, it is in the apartment we are renting while the house is built, so there's an end in sight. But we are still here for a few more months at least, and we have a little baby in the house.
Frugal Father cleaned the mold just a week ago. We have two corners in the kitchen like this, plus the hallway, plus the room he sleeps in (the Wildflower is a night waker). Mine and the Wildflower's room is fine.

We ventilate, we keep these rooms warm, without letting our bills soar through the roof. To no avail. Frugal Father says there is no insulation whatsoever on the building. It's literally brick and cement and plaster. No wonder the place is so difficult to heat.

We also have water seeping in from the tiles behind the kitchen base units. We couldn't believe it! Looks like the water drain outside is right up against the building and when it rains hard, which it has over the last few days, it is full and the water pushes through ito out apartment. argh! There was a disgusting mess of mold back there, green and this weird yellow stuff. gross. It had been seeping for ages before it came right under and we were able to notice it.

I was very patient about moving, but now this changes things. Can't make the build hurry up, but I can wish for it can't I?

charge: knitting manslaughter

Exhibit A:

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Exhibit B:

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Plea: guilty


Sentence: 24hrs of solid knit stitch only


Wednesday, January 14

staying put

I think I mentioned a while back that we had planned on going to England this January. We had actually planned on being there for the Orthodox Christmas on Jan 7th. However, the flights were very expensive (3x the amount of during the summer), the new house needs to be closed up at the very least (put in the windows and doors), and DIY Dad desperately needs to earn some coins. All in all, nothing was helping us go.

Seeing family would have been nice, having them see the Wildflower, most of them for the first time, would have been great (they were disappointed). Buying all the bits and bobs that we can't get here would have been really good (not a charity/thrift shop to be seen over here!). And most importantly, we had planned on getting the Wildflower some cranial sacral therapy.

CST is apparently very good for all manner of things. But the Wildflower seems to fit the description of the ideal baby for treatment. Her head is slightly askew, which includes one eye showing smaller than the other. I have no idea whether this occured during my c-section (how she was pulled out), or if it was due to her lying on one side for over 11 weeks.

The eye thing seems to be improving. I mean, it isn't a big deal at all. But the fact that things are this way anatomically means that her brain will be affected, even slightly. It could mean nothing more than sleep disorders (y'all know that saga), or high irritability, that sort of thing. It's one thing these aspects being part of her personality, and another thing altogether when it's happened because of external circumstances. We want, as all parents right?, to give her the best chances for everything.

So that was our real motivation for going back to UK, to get her treatment. There's no guarantee anything obvious would improve, but it's something, it's a chance. It's doing the best we can.

Lynn was extremely kind enough to ask her daughter's therapist for a referral near our home town. Which was very generous of her as we don't know each other at all and I had only visited her blog a couple of times. Don't ya just love the blogging community?

Anyway, we'll have to visit in the Summer, and although it's best to get treatment while they're babies (especially for actual cosmetic changes), it's still beneficial at any age. The Wildlfower will be about 15 months then, so that's fine.

A local stray dog befriended us, followed me home, spent the night sleeping at our front door (took him out a doggie blanket) and then was gone in the morning. DIY Dad had asked if he stuck around could take him up to the homestead when we move up. Of course! However, try as I might to help this dog out (bringing him food scraps and enticing him to follow me home), I noticed the other day that he seems happy as he is.

I've known this dog since he was a puppy. He's always been on the streets and knows no other way. He comes and goes as he pleases. He has enough to eat most days because people leave out their rubbish by the streets in easy access of the local domestic animals. He has other dog friends you see him mess about with, and he has a lot with which to preoccupy himself in a small but busy town.

He recognises me and always runs up for a quick cuddle, often laying on his back for a belly-rub, and taking a treat if I have it. He may not have all the comforts of a home, but Archie seems content.

Sometimes, we have to let life just Be, no matter how much we think we know what's best.

Keep an eye on the top of my blog page for notice on the next moodboard date. I'll also put it in a blog post before the time in case you're in a Reader. The next one is in about 2 weeks. So glad there's interest, this could be really fun.

Tuesday, January 13

moodboards

Okay, there's some interest in this so let me share with you what it's all about.

I'm a person who loves putting bits together, like scrapbooking. However, I just never get around to buying the bits-n-bobs and even with said bits-n-bob in the house, well, I don't know what it is but I just never get around to it. However, I've recently discovered digital scrapbooking and found the perfect medium for me. I love computers and find it easy to sit there and do stuff like that. I haven't started yet, but I'm collecting free samples every once in a while.

Aaaaaaanyway..... moodboards are similar, in that they are digitally created. So nothing to buy! (very eco, no?) But they are also an entirely different thing, and very different in style and intention.

Moodboards

I love using images to express my moods. I especially love to combine words and images. My moodboards are images and words that express: moods, dreams, hopes, preoccupations, events, thoughts, words I just enjoy or poetry.

As you can see, almost anything goes really. My monthly moodboards were an idea to create a moodboard that expressed my experiences with the previous month. Like a snapshot in a way.

I would love to see other bloggers' creations.


So if you want to give it a go....

You can use any digital image software (such as Photoshop).
With such software you have a lot of control and the possibilities are as endless as your imagination and knowledge of the program.
However, for something truly EASY and free, use what I use, Polyvore.
It's easy in how it works, but it also means you don't have to search for images (especially for images that are not copyrighted, which can be very time consuming).
I save my created board with Print Screen and then paste it into a Paint canvas (every Windows pack comes with the Paint program).
Trim it, upload it to Photobucket or Picasa and edit it there (to resize, etc).
However, if all that seems too complicated, I believe that you can save the board in Polyvore and then post a link to it in a blog post (try the previous link, should work). Not the same thing, but it's an option.

That's it really.

Read further if you fancy some more details on moodboards.

Moodboards are used by all sorts of creative and design people. They're used to express visually a basic idea or feeling, or, well, mood. It can later be interpreted into an interior scheme, a piece of clothing, or a video game, for example. But moodboards can also be intensely personal and even a form of spiritual creativity.

You can approach it as purely a craft/art. In this way, you might be most concerned with creating something beautiful or striking. You might be focused on colour harmony, image composition, and final appearance.

You could approach it as something purely emotional or spiritual. Very random with no regard for colour schemes and so forth.

You could combine the two.

You could give it tons of thought and spend a lot of time searching/creating the perfect image, or you could quickly snap up images that grab your attention and see what happens with that.

My idea is focused first on an emotional and/or spiritual exercise. It is a way to purge troubles, heal wounds, express joys, put out there my dreams and hopes, and to see our internal self revealed. Sometimes, all the blogging in the world doesn't come close to capturing your experiences. Unlike (most) blogging, this is a non-linear exercise. So while it can be totally artsy, it should express something of myself and my feelings.

As a form of art or personal exercise, the idea is that the image speaks for itself. We don't explain it. Just as art in a gallery is owned by the viewer, the image can speak differently to different readers. And this can be part of the enjoyment. If you created something melancholoy but it makes another blogger feel joyous, that's interesting!

But don't let any of this make you think that it's really serious. It can be if you want, but it certainly doesn't have to be. It should be fun! My last moodboard included some profound feelings as well as some totally mundane stuff that happened last month.

If a few bloggers join in, I like the idea of occassionally having a theme, just a thought.

Lastly, my 'month' is new moon to new moon. If you joined in, would you prefer doing it at the end/start of the calendar month or moon month?

Monday, January 12

december moodboard

Posting this a little late....



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....would love to make this a monthly feature where others create and post theirs, interested? I'd share with you how - easy creativity.

blueberries, kiwis, and fudging the fudge

Well, I FINALLY found the right flour with which to bake cakes! What an ordeal. But, now I bake scrummy muffins, blueberry being the fave around here, and I think that I'm slightly obsessed. We've eaten more muffins than anyone should eat in a lifetime. Well, okay, in a week anyway. And that includes given many away. It's just you can't buy them over here.

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I used this recipe, and added vanilla essence, which is a must for me. I also used half the amount of blueberries. I found it excessive for a not-so-cheap fruit, and half was plenty.

With the glut of kiwis we had, I made more chutney and also some jam (no pectin). The jam came out lovely. 3 parts kiwis to 1 part sugar was just the right sweetness for us. The recipes I looked at used a 2:1 ratio.

The fudge is another story altogether. Look how gorgeous is seems!

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But alas, somehow I kept splitting the butter, or whatever it's called when you make this dsgusting mess.

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I used different temps and times, took all the tips from youtube, all to no avail. Ah well, I couldn't justify using more ingredients for this. I had thought it would make a nice easy food gift.

knitting for the insane

Forget proper knitting needles. Find two wooden spoons, or a pair of chopsticks, or a couple of wooden meat skewers.

Ignore flexible, thick and thereby easy to use yarn. Find some fine 2ply baubly hemp yarn that is made for expert knitters only.

Do not, under any circumstances, wait for a how-to book. Do not cheat by finding a comprehensive website and starting from A to Z. Following step-by-step instructions comes under the heading of Logic, which is severely frowned upon by the Insane.

Along the same lines, you are permitted to learn the first two stitches, knit and purl. However, it is then expected that you do not learn the next easy stitch, but that you plunge right in and attempt a rib stitch sample, simply because you were blogsurfing and came upon one blogger's post.

You should now be at the stage where you have knitted several rows, several times, and, if you have been Insane enough to do all of the above, created something that is an abomination to the eyes. It should be so bad, that peeople would pay money to see it as a circus show of freak curios.

Well done.

Now, you will not accept that you should be doing anything as rational as Starting From Scratch. What are you, sane!? No, instead, you will carry on and jump right in to a scarf pattern.

By this stage, you might have acquired a pair of regular knitting needles and some yarn. This is acceptable as long as you have spent enough time pulling your hair out with wooden skewers, or similar utensils.

New stitches will be learnt as you make the scarf. It would have been much to straight-forward to learn them beforehand. Yarn over, k2tog, and even how to read a pattern, all done during the process.

Easy patterns are okay, but you must not be seen to go for the easiest. It is expected that you have only one pair of proper needles and thereby limited to which patterns you could follow anyway. This is ideal, as it means that you will end up following something that is seemingly easy, but actually is nothing of the kind to a novice. That is the key to true insanity.

You will begin the pattern with a cocky 'I can do this' (only the truly insane would utter such a thing after the previous botched attempts). You will knit about 12 rows, realise you've made grave mistakes, consider calling it abstract art, admitting it won't even pass for that, and finally end up proclaiming that knitting is the Devil's Own Pastime.

Of course, you will persevere. You are after all a lunatic.

The least offensive:



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(forgot to take a photo of the abominations, or, I thought they would hurt your eyes)

Remember, your goal is to cause every decent knitter to nash their teeth and wail in pain. However, your ultimate goal is to ensure that at no time whatsoever, does knitting become therapeutic, but rather that you continually descend further into the abysses of insanity. An inexplicably uneven tension should help with that.

Sunday, January 11

natural teething remedies

If you have a teething child you know the feelings of sleeplessness, anxiety, and heartache at your little one's pains. Not all children have a horrible time of it, but most will have at least some discomfort.

I wanted to share the two things I used during her first teeth (now out and looking too cute).

Firstly, chamomile tea, organic of course.
Please note that there have been extremely rare allergic reactions to chamomile.

Chamomile is a natural relaxant, also good for fevers. It is very mild so it's great for babies.
Make the tea as normal (do not sweeten), then dilute it down to about 10% for newborns, 20-30% for up to 6 months, then 50-70% for 6-9 months.
Another way for baby to gain chamomile's properties is for a breastfeeding mother to drink the tea, full strength, and then nurse her baby.
I find that chamomile works best on irritable, angry, whining babies. Less so on 'quietly suffering', weepy babies. And on high-strung babies the effect is very mild, if hardly detectable. But worth a try!
Secondly, clove bud essential oil.

Clove bud oil is a natural analgesic, and it's also antiseptic. On it's own, it is too strong for babies' gums so you will need to dilute it in a base oil. Try 4 drops in 1tbs base oil. I used grapeseed oil because it is very penetrating. I would steer clear of possibly allergenic oils such as wheatgerm, and olive oil is too thick. I just used a finger tip to rub it on.

It provides only temporary relief, but it can take the edge off during the worse pain or irritability. This remedy was vital to us because she just wouldn't chew on anything at all. (we all know chewing on wet and/or cold rags or teething toys helps)

There are also homeopathic tablets and gels available, which we did not try.

Other than that, I gave her extra cuddles and we slept even closer in bed, all night in my arms. Don't underestimate the power of your touch and soothing voice. Most of us feel better for a hug, but for babies and infants it's part of their natural needs.

And after all that, here is the best photo I could manage of the new nashers...

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Saturday, January 10

the game of choking

There's a reason we need to talk to our kids, or more importantly listen so that they will talk to us. And ask questions, specific questions, and pose scenarios, so that they will be better equiped for this crazy world.

My parents never knew what we did at school, what games we played, especially not the 'naughty' games where we dared each other to do stupid things. I guess parents just take it for granted that kids couldn't be doing anything too crazy or dangerous.

It looks like children are still choking each other as a game. Yes, choking each other. Some will choke themselves with a rope. They are after the supposedly euphoric feeling of when blood rushes back into the brain. The dangers of the Internet.

As many as 82 children have died during these games. In a Connecticut school, the children didn't even seem to realise they could kill each other.

This game has been known and played for some time, but even as recently as last December a teenager died from it.

It's worth noting the other names given to this 'game', in case as a parent you hear it. Some include;
Airplaning, America Dream Game, Breathing the Zoo, Bum Rushing, California Blackout, California Dreaming, Catching Some Zs, Cloud Nine, Dream/Dreaming Game, Flatliner Game, Funky Chicken, Hoola Hooping, Hyperventilation Game, Indian Headrush, Knockout Game, Passing Out Game, Pass-out Game, Purple Dragon, Neckies, Rising Sun, Rocket Ride, Sandboxing, Sleeper Hold, Sleepers, Space Monkey, The Game, The Mysto World, Tingling Game, Trip to Heaven.

And if you think your child probably hasn't even heard of it, according to some,
75% of children ages 9-16
know how it's 'played'
or have 'played' themselves.
Tons of information over here.

Friday, January 9

self-realisation during mummyhood (or how I found myself in a ball of yarn)

Yesterday, I was quietly doing messy things with yarn knitting, and I suddenly realised that I was there....


.....me.


I hadn't disappeared at all.


It appears that I was simply on vacation in a land of surgery recovery, diaper changes, laundry, sleeplessness, comforting, the coming of teeth, sterilising, worrying over, doctor visits, tidying up after, looking up of information for, attending to, lullabies, blogging about, purchasing for, talking about, unidentified cries, rashes, vague discomforts, checking of breathing, bath times, and being entertainer, for baby.

But there I was, still here. Coming up to the surface again, after just over 8 months.


Huh, how about that....... hi Me.


Tuesday, January 6

the first 'no'

I decided a while ago that I wasn't going to say 'no' to the Wildflower until I found it absolutely necessary. I think this decision became conscious when I read in a Sears book that amongst the cognitive developments of a 6 month-old baby, understanding the word 'no' was one of them.

I just found something about that very sad. That a little baby would have heard 'no' so many times that it recognised it as much as 'daddy' or 'mummy'. Remember, we're talking about a baby who has no true concept of right and wrong.

There are two sides to this issue for me.

Firstly, negativity.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not so out-there or hippy or anarchistic or crunchy or whatever, that I don't believe in any negativity. For starters, negativity is part of our world, and without it there wouldn't be any positivity - yin and yang and all such stuffs. What I mean is that for me, a positive and forward-focusing attitude is more beneficial than the alternative.

If, as an adult, you are simply told that you cannot do or have something, are you satisfied with that? I know that I'm not. And sure, I know, I know, children have less of an understanding and maturity and it's not the same thing. But it's more similar than not. They are people who deserve more respect and more reason than simply 'no'.

As an adult, I would prefer a reason or an alternative. I have always given the same to children, taking into account their maturity and understanding and of course, the situation.

As an example, the Wilflower is 8.5 mths old. I rather she didn't pull my hair out as I changed her diaper. Rather than say 'no', when she manages to grab a handful, I simply take it out from her hands gently and offer her a toy to keep those little busy hands occupied. If she's 3 years old, I'll explain to her that pulling my hair hurts me and I would rather she didn't do it.

When she enthusiastically bangs a wooden spoon on the table and mum is done with that charming noise, I offer her a soft toy.

When she reaches for a cup/pot/whatever that she might break or get burnt or whatever, I move it out of her way. And so on...

Secondly, the inefficacy of the word.

I found from experience (ex-nanny) that children have selective hearing (as do husbands). The word is used so much that children are easily able to tune it out. They do something similar when playing outdoors and you call their name. Whisper 'ice-cream' and see those heads turn and legs bring them in! I had a dog who behaved in a similar way. You would call his name so often and so loudly with no visible reaction from him that you were convinced that the wind was carrying your voice away. Then you would shout 'cat' and he was at your side in a nanosecond sniffing for the feline fiend. The little bugger! But I digress....

If you're a 'no' user, don't you get sick of saying it? And don't you get sick of saying it to no effect?

I have a very practical streak (Taurus ascendant) and while I adore the For No Reasons and the Just Becauses as well as the Whimsies in life, when it comes to things like this, I'm not interested in what doesn't work.

And 'no' rarely works. Or, it works to do all sorts of things in your child's psyche that you cannot detect.

So, I'm approaching the idea behind the word, refusing or stopping something child-led, with caution and with certain stipulations.

  • Whatever word I use, it must be effective. (meaning it must stop the behaviour)

  • It must do so without making my child feel oppressed.

I decided that to achieve the two objectives, the word/s must carry meaning. This way, I am not making one word become redundant and I'm providing my child with information.

So, with things that can hurt her in some way, we say 'ouch!'. We use this word when she bumps herself or whatever, so that she now understands the word is connected to pain.

With things that might burn, we say 'hot!'. We allowed her to feel a radiator that was too hot for her (but not that would hurt her!) and it was enough to startle her and I used the word hot very clearly a number of times. The next time she reached for a cooking pot, I said 'hot!' and she withdrew her hand very quickly.

Now, she is very little and we don't get many opportunities to use the words so I know she will forget them and I know that when she does remember them there will come a time when she will be a true child and think, 'heck, I'm doing it anyway'. And then she'll learn for herself (the best learning ever) and we would have provided her with the information. So that then she can think, 'okay, they did tell me'.

You might have noticed that another aspect to choosing how to say no is also when to say it. I think the word is so easy to use that we can end up saying it for every little thing, which is probably why Sears claims it's recognised at such an early age. Like with the examples above, such as grabbing my hair or reaching for an object, my baby isn't doing anything wrong. And if you think about it, it's actually really senseless. To say 'no' to a baby reaching for something is void of meaning and also completely ridiculous considering a child will always reach for something.

Think about it. Why is she allowed to reach for the spoon but not your cup? Because the cup is hot, or contains a liquid or is breakable? Then wouldn't saying so make more sense to her?

Saying no to some things and yes to others makes sense to us, but to a baby it's so arbitrary. She isn't going to learn anything other than that I am a very unpredictable person to be around!

Choose which situations actually require negation.
Choose a meaningful word.

This seems to provide two wonderfully amazing things
- learning and connection.


Monday, January 5

tree of happiness

If you don't know who writes over at the Dark Side of the Broom, well then, you're just missing a slice of life. This is a woman who fights against all odds (reluctant academia) and sews and bakes and thinks and hopes and gardens, and like the tides, flows with her emotions, come what may. She's lovely, but don't ever call her sweet!

She has spread some happy energy by passing on to me the Tree of Happiness award. So let's spread some more happiness then shall we?




Firstly,
Link to the person who gave you the award.
Post the rules on your blog.
List six things that make you happy.
Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
Let the person who awarded you know when your entry is up.

6 things that cause happiness within me
  • Waking up with the Wildflower playing with my face
  • Receiving a parcel marked 'Amazon'
  • Quiet time to read
  • Knowing a stray animal is looked after (yay Max)
  • Long walks by the bayside, up the mountain, or through the woods
  • When DIY Dad remembers the whole shopping list AND buys me a little extra something (usually chocolate)
You know how I love supporting small blogs, so I'm going to tag small(ish) bloggers I started reading and visiting relatively recently, Sara at Mamacraft, Carin at My Sacred Home, Ladybug-zen at Collecting Leaves..... and Other Little Experiences, Willow81 That's Not My Monkey, Stacey at Mama-Om, and Bohemian Single Mom at Words from a Bohemian Mom, but don't feel obliged.

Friday, January 2

anti-resolutions

I wasn't ever going to bother with blogging about resolutions. Afterall, I've never made any. I've always held a high suspicion for resolves made in a mad dash to a calender timescale. Now, that's not to say if you've made them I'm not cheering you on. But, how many people, including ourselves, do we know that make then break them? That almost seems part of the tradition. Like, if you actually follow them, you're a traitor to the rest of us. *chuckle*

I do suspect that unkept resolutions are the result of quick-fix ideas, rather than getting to the root of the issue.

Anyway, I was pondering not making resolutions and thinking that what has been on my mind lately were things I wasn't going to do. So here's my list;
  1. I won't try to lose weight. If weight is lost by chance, I will wish it well on it's journey and continue focusing on loving myself just as I am.
  2. I won't try to sleep more. If sleep drops in for a visit, I'll thank it and ask that it won't be a stranger.
  3. I won't try to eat healthier. I'll continue to be conscious of my eating and food choices.
  4. I won't try to love people more. I'll continue to let emotions flow freely and allow the natural unfolding and opening of a true heart.
  5. I won't try to do more exercise. I will continue to embrace being outdoors in nature for the love of that connection.
  6. I won't try to be a great mother. I will continue to be present in each and every moment with my baby.
Join me in the anarchy.