Tuesday, March 31

March in Review

Think your reader's may have missed out on some great content this month, or they don't visit often, or you have new readers? Consider a Month in Review post. I know I can't keep up with all the wonderful blogs out there, I would hate to have missed anything significant or interesting in their lives. Just copy & paste the headings below and add your responses.

Feel free to add yourself as I would love to read every reader's reviews. Please link directly to your post NOT your website. Linky closes April 7th. And visit each other!

Here's a tip, set a post up in draft form and add to it throughout the month before you forget by the end of the month!

March in Review , in 1 sentence.

Summary (3 sentence max)
A creative month I feel. Plenty of crochet goings on, the new house build (a mixed bag of going well and going not so well), and full of big baby developments.

Fun
The Wildflower crawling and taking off like a baby rocket.

Challenging
The leaks in the house and the process taking a lot longer than planned due to a dwindling cash flow.

Thoughtful
Letting go, more and more, of expectations in parenting.

An insight/thought
I've held back productive creativity because I am practical.

Website/blog Find
Newly dropping by at 5 Orange Potatoes.

Words (quote/reading/book recommendation/1 sentence review!/anything word-related)
My alphabet starts with this letter called yuzz.
It's the letter I use to spell yuzz-a-ma-tuzz.
You'll be sort of surprised what there is to be found
once you go beyond 'Z' and start poking around!

Dr. Seuss

Note to Self
I must get my eating back on a healthier track.

Favourite Tip/Idea from web
Rockabye rock for babies. Hat tip to the fiesty feline.

Slice of home (A photo of a tiny corner of your home, or objects, that represent something about this month)

The lovely colourful messiness of babyhood, on a tidy day.



Please link directly to your post NOT your website. Linky closes April 7th.



Monday, March 30

our weekend

We made the most of Earth Hour by popping over to a friends' house and pooling our resources. The friend's husband almost went into cardiac arrest when his wife said the telly had to go off. So we left it on and switched off almost everything else.
We sat by the romantic light of TV football and drank wine and talked the world right.

On Sunday, we ventured up to the capital which is about 2.5hrs drive away. I can't say mall shopping is a favourite past-time but we wanted to buy some baby things and here on the coast everything is around 30% more. Yes, it's nuts. I finally got the chance to buy a couple of wooden toys for the Wildflower and even found some books in English! Only a few, but it all counts. I bought 70% chocolate for myself and DIY Dad bought cinema popcorn (which is a really big deal I tell you).

Only in a Balkan mall do you get ghoulash in the food court. Yum.

I let the Wildflower crawl on the floor as she was going to bust a gut if she didn't have some physical fun. You should have seen the looks on the faces of mothers! They are incredibly germ-phobic here. I mean, I did wipe her hands afterwards.

And DIY Dad did some babywearing now that we have a carrier that is so easy to put on for a back-carry (and isn't so hippy lookin').





Although she threw up on the return trip (okay, we get it, no milk whilst in motion), she's a great traveller, and passed her time just like mama, with a book. Don't you just love car rides for catching up on your reading?



Saturday, March 28

feeds & finds

Some stuffs for weekend perusal...

ECO

It's Earth Hour tonight. But please, use beeswax candles otherwise the whole eco point goes right up in smoke!

KIDS

If you can afford these, what a brilliant way to keep children busy at a party!

How do you feel about morning after pills
advertised where children view them?

Did you hear about Dora getting a new look? Well, it looks like all the outrage that girlfriend was going to end up a ho, may have curbed Mattel's original plan for this chick. She seems quite tame in comparison to Bratz dolls. I wonder if the leggings were a PR addition?

They said, "Girls really identify with Dora and we knew that girls would love to have their friend Dora grow up with them, and experience the new things that they were going through themselves."

Erm, what, like plastic surgery, major weight loss, lip injections, and hair highlights by age 10?

I'm considering a plate like this for the Wildflower's future eating escapades.

Social Media

Oh good, drug companies can feel better about pushing online now.

You might feel better knowing about the recent research on online security for young people.

Are your children using mobile phones? Have you heard about sexting and it's consequences?

Women

WAM! 2009 will be exploring how,
"We all belong inside some communities or networks and are new to or feel excluded or alienated from others. The tension that exists between insiders and outsiders to any given movement, identity, industry or ideology can be destructive, but it can also be harnessed toward mutually beneficial change."

Finds:

Scribd is the place where you publish, discover and discuss original writings and documents. Found: Jamie Oliver's Sainsbury's Cookbook.

Whatnottoknit.wordpress.com

Love new learning possibilities that reflect how we learn



Eye candy at lolleyland


Readergirlz.com is a website about books for teen girls.

Did you know...

In 1993 there were a few dozen antibacterial products. Today there are more than 9,000.
In 2005, scientists concluded that antibacterial soap is no better than regular soap at preventing infections.

Thursday, March 26

Thankful Anyway Thursday

It's easy to be thankful for the good stuff, can you be thankful for the not so good?

The house build's hopeful finish date is pushed back 6 months. SIX MONTHS! Without the cash, DIY Dad is doing almost everything now. This makes the process very slow.

It means having to stay here - surrounded by building work that wakes us up before we are ready and we hear throughout the whole day, leaks under the wooden floors that have lifted them to the point we've had to remove the doors to two rooms, the neighbours upstairs arriving from Australia in a couple of months who are total pains in the seating area, a damp apartment that will turn into a hothouse come the summer, a small place with a baby that will start walking soon, no time to sort the garden up there and sow everything I had planned to sow, having to live with most of our things still in boxes now for our 2nd year.....

a path from our land

But I'm thankful for this anyway because we have a roof over our heads, a beautiful house in the making, we get to visit friends a lot easier while we are down here, I have easier access to shops and the seaside, and a small apartment is very easy to clean.

Join in if you want to play.

Wednesday, March 25

panda & plarn

I completed an amigurumi panda, learnt the half-double crochet (love it), learnt to make plastic yarn (plarn), and crocheted up a couple of plarn flowers.



That's a counter on the end of my hook. Highly recommended.



I was going to write all about plarn but Tara @ Organic Sister beat me to it! Great minds and all that...
Anyway, I learnt from this site. It was not easy. But like most things, after a while it's not so bad.



We have a handicrafts festival here soon, where my friend has organised a ban the plastic bag campaign. Time permitting, I hope to whip up a few bits and bobs.


...and am waiting on more yarn to complete my baby blanket.



edit: no pattern for the blanket, but it's a gift so not showing too much here yet.

the little ram

Part of my child astrology series.

Aries is the sign of the ram. Think head-butting and you have a good picture of what this little baby is all about. To say that they are head-strong is an understatement indeed.


Many signs have a streak of stubborness, yet they're all for different reasons. For the ram, it's a fierce determination and firm sense of the Self. As the first sign of the zodiac, independence is their middle name.

They are a fiery ball of energy. She will want to move and move and move some more. She will have moments of stillness, but they are few and far between. Even in sleep she'll tend towards restlessness.

The little ram is all about firsts. She will do things early, want to be first in line, and get there and have things yesterday. If she doesn't actually walk and talk early she will at least be trying to do so.

Something that will make your life easier when she is a baby, is that she knows exactly what she wants. Those cries will be very specific requests. Aries babies are generally not whiners, they will instead yell suddenly or downright scream the place down if you're too slow. They are extremely vocal.

A mixture of action-orientated, definite needs, and the desire to have your constant attention, will make her a 'high needs' baby. The parent of an Aries won't have to wait long to see the first red-faced, clenched fist, protest.

But the pay offs are high. She's affectionate, fun, friendly, and always ready to smile. She is quick-tempered but quick to forgive and forget.

She's intelligent and will learn lightning-quick, but this doesn't mean she'll heed your directives. If there's a baby you don't say no to, it's Aries. It's simply that she loves a challenge. She's also daring and courageous. So even if she hurts herself, she'll go back for more - in her mind, she might just conquer it next time.

Monday, March 23

weekend stuffs and burnt toast

Having my cuppa and slice of toast, burnt, yes. I'm like the worst double toaster ever. You know when you toast it and it's not quite enough so you go for the double? And that's like the most precarious morning activity known to humankind. A mere seconds too long and you're eating charcoal.

Well, I do things like go online and start reading blogs.... so eating my scraped toast as I write...

So the weekend was good. I didn't feel like doing anything specific for the equinox, just took a moment with Nature. Spring arrived here a couple of weeks back so I welcomed her in then.

But we went on a walk with friends which was pleasant. Although, despite the lovely warm weather we've been having, it decided to be dark and it began to rain as we were leaving. I'm still aclimatising (sp?) myself to having a sort of tribe. I'm so accustomed to going it alone. But it's nice.


I hadn't realised how cool it would be so I borrowed a hat. Erm, it was a 2 yr-old's hat. Yes, it fit just right thank you very much. I love not having to maneuver a stroller/pram around.



The place we visited was unusual. It was mentioned that we were going to a national park. Visions of English woodlands entered my head for some bizarre reason. Where we ended up was across the border in Croatia, at a deserted military base turned 'park'.

It all began innocuously enough - bored chick at entrance takes your entry-fee shekels and you park at a designated parking spot.

But a mere minutes into the walk I was like, 'Stephen King film anyone?'





Many abandoned buildings. Odd buildings that obviously had various military purposes. And then in the distance, a group (herd, rabble, mob?) of feral donkeys giving us the evil eye. On our return, they were there to 'greet' us near our cars. Hmmm....



Not another soul to be seen....



Anyway, it was nice to be out in quiet and nature. And with friends who were organised enough to bring hot drinks and cake.

The views back across the bay were stunning as usual.



Friday, March 20

Inspirations#2

I adore whimsical and folkish illustrations, especially children's, as well as dark and offbeat ones. Now that I have a child, I feel that I have an excuse to buy some gorgeous art for her future bedroom walls. Well, prints at least.


1. Annie Wilkinson 2. The Hermitage 3. Melissa Peck
4. Valeria DoCampo 5. Scalia 6. Josee Bisaillon

Illustrations aren't just eye candy, the ones I like best often cause a visceral reaction in me that trigger thoughts and ideas and subtle inspirations.

And a trailer for an animated film... Sita Sings the Blues.
HT to 5 Orange Potatoes




direct link
Although, how small is her waist!?

Happy Spring equinox!

Thursday, March 19

Thankful Anyway Thursday

Yeah, I've seen them all, the gratitude posts for the family, the kids, the roof over the head. Too easy! Be thankful for the crap, I dare ya.

I'm thankful anyway for....

When the Wildflower settling down to sleep head-butts me repeatedly, kicks me in the stomach and chest, digs a knee into my throat, pokes me in the eye, made me cut my lip, pulls my hair, I often wake with feet in my face, and after appearing asleep for a few minutes turns suddenly and slaps me in the face.


I'm thankful for this anyway because it means we share the bed and I get to cuddle her for even more hours of the day. I open my eyes and there she is, I can close them again knowing she is safe and well. She reaches out for me during the night and I feel loved and needed. In the morning she cuddles me and showers me with smiles. I love bedsharing with her, it's very groovy.

Tuesday, March 17

of baby & books

The Wildflower has been crawling up a storm - suddenly what were once perfectly fine floors and slippers are Platforms of Filth, and harmless wires are deathtraps. And of course, babies are neurologically programmed to ignore all bought and handcrafted toys and to instead go for said filth and deathtraps.


Her 4th tooth finally cut through but she has been doing some finger chewing that might indicate more teething will follow soon. Not sure.
It would be nice to have a break from it as it puts her off trying solids. She started to eat back at 9-and-something months, she seemed properly ready, then was put off it completely. Now at 11 months she's still on just milk. No problem, just seems she is now ready to eat and it's a same that teething is interfering with that..

On Sunday we attended a little daycare centre opening (no, of course not for the Wildflower), she was bombarded with noisy toddlers and general party-style noise, was bitten (not maliciously), then we had friends over for dinner, then she ate some solids, she didn't get her evening nap, she played on the floor with other children for the first time, and tipped over and bumped her head. Phew!

That night she woke crying at 2:30am. Nothing unusual there. But she sounded different. I offered her milk and when she wouldn't take it I knew something was wrong. I cuddled her, got out of bed, went into the living room and she cried in my arms. It's always worrying - the not knowing what it is or how serious it is. However, with our recent crying relationship, I was able to appreciate that it was likely stress eleasing from the very big day. I recalled how she hadn't cried very much after the biting and head-bumping incidents. Most likely because she was distracted with people and stuff going on. So I just held her lovingly.

After about 1/2 an hr it subsided and we returned to bed. She was still doing those little quick intakes of breath that children do after a sob. Just as I was slipping into sleep (now 3:40am) she woke up again and had a shorter cry. So after waking up twice between midnight and 2am, the usual routine, I was fully awake from 2:30am until 5:30am. Exhausted obviously, but more than anything I was glad it hadn't been anything serious.

In other news, I've ordered her a new baby carrier for the hot season. The beautiful wrap is just too much when it's hot. Costly, which is why I've been putting it off, but babies need stuff right?

Amigurumi World arrived today. Although the patterns on Lion Brand site are very nice as well as easy, as well as free. I've been considering a panda.

And the Wildflower received an animals touch-and-feel book that she's enjoying.

I want to buy her a couple of wooden toys but the postage costs are so high. I've emailed about 5 stores to get quotes. Nothing but plastic tv-character crap here.

She still loves to stand best of all, despite not having the balance yet and constantly falling on her butt. She enjoys pulling herself, and she thought that a book was worth risking life and limb for....


...that's my girl.

Now, what shall I do with all this Springy energy? Might trot off for a walk after she wakes from her nap.

Monday, March 16

Green Meme #3



Guidelines:

1) Link to Green Meme Bloggers.
2) Link back to whoever tagged you. (no need to wait to be tagged!)
3) Include meme number
4) Include these guidelines in your post
5) Tag 3 other green bloggers.

Green Meme #3

  1. Are you keeping your temperature (heating/cooling) systems on low? If you have radiators are they fitted with thermostats?

    I keep them low but ensuring it's warm enough for the baby. Our current rads have thermostat control.
  2. If yes to the above, what do you to keep warm/cool without resorting to turning up those numbers?

    We wear a couple layers indoors in the Winter. Try to maintain air-flow in the Summer and shut blinds/shutters/etc.
  3. Do you turn your fridge temperature down when it has less items in it?

    Always. Towards the end of the shopping week the fridge begins to empty and I am reminded to turn it down by how super cold are some items.
  4. Do you unplug unused small appliances?

    DIY Dad is good at this. I forget. But we don't have that many. I'm not sure how to remind myself.
  5. Do you switch off rather than leave on standby; TV/computer/dvd player/etc?

    Yes to computer and the dvd player, but the TV gets fully unplugged on occassion.
  6. Do you own (or will you purchase in the future) energy-efficient (star-rated) home appliances?

    Yes and yes. I always seek these out.
  7. Do you have any green goals/hopes for the next few months?

    As it's sowing season up here in the North, I'll be looking for anything organic and eco for gardening. I also keep searching for more affordable eco-yarn.


Tagging Carin and Tara and whoever wants to be tagged and join in!

Saturday, March 14

living the dream, pt3

If you want to follow the saga chronologically, head on over to part1 and part2 first.

Okay, so I was one type of person, innately free-spirited, but always harbouring a childhood induced Fear - that I was worth something only with a title or decent pay-check, that I had to earn love. I broke away enough as I became an adult, but then entered into a marriage that found me right back into my childhood drama - I must prove my worth through career or financial contribution, I must earn love.

And then I started to let go.

So this creates the question, how did I go about it? How did I step back onto the path of living the dream?

Here's the thing. I have a small issue with the word 'passion'.

There are tons of gurus and self-help experts who use this word, as well as joy, and even dream. But I don't necessarily believe we all have a passion, or at least not in the way we interpet that word.

DIY Dad's mum is now retired, but she retired about 4 years after she was supposed to do so. Why? Because she claimed to love her job. She loved getting up really early, even during the winter months, to have her quiet time of tea and biscuits/cookies, before leaving. She loved the people - both her co-workers and the patients in the hospital. She loved feeling useful, loved making the patients feel less alone, loved chatting in her broken English to anyone and everyone, loved feeling a part of a team, loved feeling pride in a job well done. She took overtime almost whenever it was offered, and hardly had more than a handful of days off in over 25 years.

She wasn't a doctor, or a nurse, or an orderly. She was a cleaner, and she made the tea/coffee for the patients.

Was this her passion, her dream job? I doubt it. But likewise, I doubt that she would comprehend the idea of passion in this way. But she was happy, content, and fulfilled.

We have a friend who studied and practiced as a lawyer. He gave it up and became a plumber. He enjoys pipes and watery things and wrenches and fixing problems. People can't believe he gave up law for plumbing. Because of course our society has established which is the preferable career, right? And 'preferable' has nothing to do with personal contentment, but rather status and money.

I don't think he is passionate about plumbing, I just believe he is content.

I feel that the whole wave of Finding Your Passion has caused unnecessary anxiety in many of us. Including me.



When I was feeling disatisfied with my life and not knowing where to turn. When I was doubting my ability to find happiness, I also worried about not having a passion.

I discovered later that what I was really worried about was not fitting into society's idea of an acceptable reason to step out of the rat race.

Because, it's acceptable to say - 'I've discovered that I'm a dancer/writer/interior designer/circus juggler, and I'm off to persue that'. While it will raise eyebrows and many will utter tsk-tsk behind you back, it's enough of a box in which others can place you.

But say that - 'I just want to Be', or, 'I want to do stuff that makes me happy', and then people will turn their backs on you. You will be boxed as lazy, irresponsible, self-indulgent, useless to society, selfish.....People will not be comfortable with your choice.

(And I'm not suggesting that all you will do is sit on your butt. But hey, if that's what brings you joy, then so be it. But most people that sit on their butts truly doing nothing, are not joyous, right? So of course I'm not talking about apathy, and I personally believe that joy is found being ourselves and being of service to others.)

The point is, you're not easily boxed and people won't be happy about that.

But what's really interesting is how we feel about not boxing ourselves. How comfortable are we not having an answer, or a socially acceptable answer, after the question, 'so, what do you do'?

So this brings me to the whole 'going about it' question. For me, it hinges on two aspects - theory and practice.

The theory is what I've been mentioning - how you feel and think on these issues. But more importantly, it's about realising what is possible. Truly realising it.

The theoretical part was easy for me, it wasn't an issue. I knew what was possible. I had lived, and been amongst those that lived, on the outskirts of society. For a lot of people, heck, perhaps for most, these are just vague ideas that belong to book or film. Yes, we all know that there are starving artists, and hippies living in communes, and travellers in caravans, and people who spin their own wool. But we know this on the same level we know that there exists professional assasins and spies - the stuff of books and films mostly.

This was the case with DIY Dad. He couldn't compute this other end of the social spectrum as something viable. Even if he could, he wanted a box. For example - fine if a person wants to paint all day, but they should sell paintings and pay the mortgage, and in having some 'success', you also have a job description to to tell others.

My issue was the practice. I knew what was possible, but I allowed myself to be stuck by the mundane daily grind. At the core, by my Fears.



So how did DIY Dad come to accept, at least as far as he was able, an unconventional life?

Let's first make something clear. I love him. He is the love of my life. I believe we are meant to be. So for me, leaving was not an option I entertained. I was going to make it work, but now I was going to make it work with me happy.

As a concrete thinker, he needed concrete examples. So I made sure he watched every show about people, ordinary folk, moving away from their normal lives to try something different. These weren't lawyers becoming artists. These were office workers starting a farm in France, or a paragliding business in Australia. It's a fairly popular notion in England. This leaving of your life for something more fulfilling, often in another country.

I also talked alot about people I actually knew, who left decently paid jobs for something utterly different. A nurse who became an air stewardess, a banker who became an interior designer, and so on.

I also stopped living the way he preferred, but instead lived how I wanted to live. I made it clear - I did not ask for most of what we owned. So if he wanted stuff, he had to take responsibility for working for it. I didn't even want the house, so why was I paying for it with my happiness?

(Between you and me, I appreciated the house, now that we had it, and all his hard work, but I had to be blunt so that he would 'get it'.)

You see, some people want certain things, or they think they want them, and they expect others to mold their Self into those wants. Marriage and any partnership is about compromise, but never about losing your true self.

And so he mostly did get it. He realised that there was nothing left to argue about. If I didn't want the house and was willing to lose it, then how could he argue with that? How could he tell me that I should want the house?

And this was a BIG mental shift for him. And it was a burden off his mind too. Afterall, trying to force someone to be someone they are not takes work. It's stressful for both of you.

So over time, he came to that place. That place that allowed him to truly believe that lifestyle possibilties were limited only by his thinking.

Here's a fictional dialogue that reflects many conversations I've had with others:

Person: But I have to pay the bills!
Me: No, you don't.
Person: But if I don't they'll cut off my water/electricity/etc.
Me: So you want water and electricity?
Person: duh
Me: Then you choose to pay the bills to bring you something you want.

It's like this.

Either do the job that brings you joy, or learn to be joyous/content about a job that gives you the life you demand. One of the biggest mistakes we make is believing the lie that life happens to us, rather than that every single occurence is our choice or of our making.

There are many, many people in this world who do very mundane, difficult, or boring work, and don't give it two thoughts. Why? Beause they work to live, not the other way around. You see this a lot in Europe. People live for their families, friends, good food, the simple joys.

If you are fortunate enough to live in a country that is rich, and thereby you have more choices than millions of others, isn't it a waste to not use that privilige?

We have decided that happiness and success is measured in money, status, fame, or passion. And those of us without those things are left floundering and wondering what it is we should be doing to get us there. We're reaching for other people's brass ring.

Once DIY Dad shifted his thinking, it was a matter of course before we were planning our move to another country for a life lived on our own terms.



Back to passion....

Yes, I don't believe that finding our passion is necessary. Me personally, I do have a passion, but regardless, that's not how I made the practical shifts in my life. I began with simply allowing my soul to Be. I feel it needed that time first anyway. I began by not making choices out of fear. I removed the phrases and words from my mind that I thought weren't a part of me.

From early school I questioned authority, out of school I questioned societal norms. I was a radical, an anarchist, a hippy, a non-conformist. So I asked the questions...

Exactly why am I supposed to get married?
Exactly why am I supposed to have 2.5 children, or any?
Exactly why am I supposed to have a respectable job?
Exactly why am I supposed to wear certain clothes, stick to certain subjects in conversation, or live a certain way?

I regarded 'supposed to' and 'should' very suspiciously, and still do. If you are brilliantly observant, you might have noticed that I don't use those words on my blog. I say 'ought to' at a push.

But these words had popped back in. Or, really, they had never left and I had simply been fighting them all my life. Given the right conditions, they positively flourished.

Without shoulds, the world was my oyster. I did housework because it felt good to take care of my home, I cooked because it felt good to feed my hard-working husband, I chose each and every chore from a place of soul rather than obligation.

And I know that many people are not comfortable with this. They will label me as selfish. They will say that sometimes in life you have to do things you don't enjoy, that sometimes there are obligations you are forced to do.

I don't believe that.

If you do something only out of obligation, you are a slave to Fear.

It is a fear of being alone, unloved, unaccepted, unrecognised, worthless, meaningless, a nobody, inferior.... so we conform. And then we moan about it or quietly die inside.

I believe that everything is my choice. Everything.

(and please don't think something ridiculous like, that hurricane wasn't my choice. let's be wise here, you know what I'm talking about)



So these very small things changed my life. I chose happiness and with that there was no room for doing anything out of Fear. Even folding laundry became an act of love. And if I didn't want to fold laundry but write or be in nature instead, I did that.

And once DIY Dad realised that what he asked of me was really his needs, he shifted.

Then when we were here, in Montenegro, away from the rat race, from the glaring eyes of our usual society, things REALLY shifted for him.

But this post is long enough.....

Okay, I'm digressing here. But you get the idea. Our world is not something that happens to us, it is something we create. And we create it as individuals and as a collective. Yes, if we break away too much from the collective realities, we are going to find ourselves rather alone. And as social creatures, we tend to avoid this. Sure, some conformity is beneficial.

But problems arise when we conform while believing we are acting from our own desires and needs. We convince ourselves that, 'this really makes me happy'.

I did that when studying at university and aiming for that title.

My partner wanted it so much, I loved studying so much, that I was able to make my mind cooperate. I loved the academic life, the books, the discussions with other students, even the time-tables and deadlines, well, not so much of the latter. But I loved the specifics so much, and I loved my parter so much, and I owned my childhood Fears so much, that I convinced myself that what I loved was the Big Plan, the Ultimate Acheivement.

But you know what is never convinced? What can never be convinced? Your heart.

Inbetween the exhiliration, and even the fun, there are dark times. There are tiny moments of emptiness.

When you are in you own company, doing nothing much, what do you feel?

I felt empty, numb, a fraud, longings without names, fantasising about other lives. Other people's lives were sources of fantasy and vicarious joy to me. In a way that my heart was drawn there. If not a friend's, a character in a book or film, or just a life from my imagination. And yet, for the longest time, I never really connected the dissastisfaction to my own choices.

When I look around at my life and think, this isn't what I want - I need to recognise, accept, and embrace that it is my choice to be in it. Because it was at the moment that I began to reclaim that awareness, of choice, that everything changed.



I haven't got it all worked out (thank goodness), and I often stumble or waver, but here's something that rings true for me.
Happiness has nothing to do with the complexity of passion, but about the simplicity of being authentic. When I am all who I am, doing what is authentically me, authentically loving what Is, that is happiness.

Wednesday, March 11

global kid

I think most of you know I'm a nomad, and I look forward to introducing the globe to the Wildflower, as well as discovering new places and people with her and DIY Dad. Thanks to Jumbleberryjam for giving me the idea of what to do with my own travel map.




It's taken time to get to this place, where DIY Dad is ready to travel so extensively. I am so glad we are at this place together now that we have a child. I feel travel is important, and if we can give it to our children when they are young, it's priceless.

My parents had to work hard to make a life for us in Australia, so money for travel was never an option. However, we travelled through the words in books and the images in documentaries. A time before the Internet, we owned a full set of Encyclopedias. They were my portal into other cultures and places.

Whether we give travel to our children through words, images, or actual experiences, it lays seeds for connection, tolerance, respect, love of nature, and opens their minds and hearts to the beauty of interwoven variety and similarity.

Our rough plan is to finish building the house, DIY Dad set up a small business, and me get some of the land in order. Then, I would prefer to have the Wildflower out of diapers and toilet savvy, eating a decent variety of foods, and for exotic trips, over 5yrs of age in case we choose to accept some vaccinations.

So we'll start in Europe - it's here, it's a similar standard in most places, and we can do quick weekend or week-long trips.

Now here's a little revelation I haven't shared with you yet. My Ultimate Dream, for the longest time, is to help communities in poor countries. I would like to be a part of teaching, building schools, child-caring, growing food, cleaning eco areas, that sort of thing.

DIY Dad is on board and would like to lend his diy skills to build, decorate and repair buildings such as schools.

I have taken a cursory glance at what's available, several groups offer initiatives to do this. You give your time and efforts, and they give you a simple roof over your head and food in your belly. Many take you on as a family. We aren't rich people, we just have enough to live without real financial worries. But we have time, will, enthusiasm, and compassion.

The idea is that we help others, we travel, we spend more than a tourist moment in a place and get to know the people, their culture and their needs.

We also enjoy the travel that is nothing more than large coffees, museums, galleries, markets, and strolls through lively city streets. I see the Louvre in Wildflower's near future. Hey, she is already preparing with this book....




I've added map with more details to my Stuff page.


Monday, March 9

enjoying motherhood?

It was one of the first questions I was asked on being a new mother.

Each time, I was left speechless, without an answer, unsure, gasping like a goldfish.

You know that situation where someone comes up to you in the street with a big smile saying something like, 'Hey, it's been ages, how are you, that last time was a blast!', and you have no clue who this person is?
However, you reach into your mind, into all the corners, feeling around frantically for a connection to a memory, an understanding. All to produce an answer that would make sense or be appropriate. But you come out empty-handed.

Well, it was a bit like that.

I felt that I should know the answer, that it must be there in my mind somewhere. But I couldn't make a connection.

You see, it wasn't that I did not enjoy motherhood. It's that the word 'enjoy' felt alien. I didn't recognise it at all. I had no clue who it was.

I was taking weeks to recover from a c-section. I was hormonal. Things with hubby were shakey. Baby was not sleeping so well. Breastfeeding was not working. Baby was not putting on weight.
This all then moved on to, incredibly bad sleep, irritable baby, aggressive baby, high-needs baby.

Umm, was I enjoooooying it? Hmmm

I loved her, was fiercely protective of her, did all I could for her..... and we did have many lovely moments, don't misunderstand me. Yet I kept waiting for this bliss that other mothers spoke of. This natural state that seemed to me the stuff of fairytales.

Was I enjoying it? I was surviving. That's what it felt like. I was trying to put one foot in front of the other..... one moment at a time. Do you ask a mother with a babe in arms who is gripping the dingy after the ship has sunk, while it's still storming, if she is enjoying motherhood?

Then, about a month ago, things changed.

It all began when I started to allow her to release stress through crying. Aggression is a lot less, irritability is a lot less, sleeping, hmm, up and down, but better.

About a couple of weeks ago I suddenly had the realisation - I'm enjoying mamahood. I cried. Emotions, sheesh! Happy tears anyway.

But yes, I've been enjoying mamahood, enjoying my baby. We've had so much fun, giggles, kisses and cuddles.

Even through her frustration of being unable to stand on her own, of trying to crawl, of teething again, we have been good. Just normal parenting challenges, not the Nightmare of those first months.

She cries now in my arms when she needs to, stress is released, and she carries on with her baby life. Totally. Normal. Stuff.

And there, right inside normalcy, is this magical........ Enjoyment.

Pretty groovy.

the shadow of Arrogance

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




When weaving a blanket, an Indian woman leaves a flaw in the weaving of that blanket to let the soul out.
Martha Graham

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Scott Adams


Creation

The Shadow of Arrogance is formed in a certain environment. Those who own this Shadow usually had parents who somehow made them feel less than perfect or acceptable. This can stem from so many reasons. Perhaps you are female and your mother had preferred a boy. Or you were from an unwanted pregnancy. A little later it might be that you don't emulate your parents' idea of a perfect/good child.

The child might be compared to 'better' siblings or other children. She might be compared to the parent as a child, or even to an imagined ideal.

Whatever the foundation, you sense that you are not good enough, or even more simply, you are not enough.

If the parent feels that the child is wrong/imperfect, they are compelled to set things right. This leads to criticism of the child. But unlike another Shadow that I will write about later, this criticism is not total rejection. The message is, 'I love you but you must...', or, 'I'll love you if...'.

Conditional love.

This is a crucial point because from this the child begins to learn that gaining love and acceptance is possible, if they improve.

The criticism might be very harsh with explicit messages such as, 'Why can't you be more like your brother?!', or more insidious ones such as, 'Mummy loves a clever/clean/good girl'.

A very small child cannot intellectualise any of this of course. But a child senses it all. They will sense your own fear of not measuring up. They will sense your anxiety at meeting strangers and wanting to appear perfect. They will sense that you view them as a nuisance or an inconvenience.

We understand now how important it is to separate the behaviour from the child. Children cannot do this so they take criticism or anger as a personal attack and subconsciously question your love for them.

As with all Shadows, you are most likely to develop a Shadow that was owned by your parents. A parent with the Arrogance Shadow is a slave to the judgements of others. So they will want you to behave or excel so that they can show you off. If you are misbehaved or too ordinary or imperfect in their eyes, you are a reflection of their own imperfections - and this they can't allow. So more criticisms follow, or resentment.

So the criticised child learns that they are loved but with conditions. To survive, the child's psyche decides that these conditions must be learnt and met. As you can see, this creates a person who learns to wear a mask. A mask of whatever makes them stand-out, or special in other people's eyes. I am not enough just being me, I must fake it and pretend to be something else. Many actors have this Shadow, it is possibly the ultimate mask.

In trying to be someone else's idea of perfect, the child will internalise the criticisms so that she becomes her own worst critic. She is after all, not good enough. And the only way to be good enough is to fix herself, to improve, to perfect herself.

It becomes an Arrogance issue because as mentioned, the child is loved. So the belief becomes, I'll do whatever is considered perfect so that I'm loved, because I am worth that love, I am special, they just don't realise it yet.

There exists an internal conflict of feeling not good enough and feeling special.

This is compounded by any improvements. The child with this Shadow becomes an expert in people behaviour so that she can learn what works and what doesn't work in the game of gaining love. She makes improvements and thus feels proud about herself. She can then judge those who are not improved in that area as inferior.

Thus, the internal personal criticisms evolve into criticisms of others.

The person that criticises other people constantly, is the person who fears most of not being good enough.

However, in more mature persons, the criticisms re-internalise. So much so, that their friends and family would never see that person as arrogant at all. Yet criticism of others never ends. They've simply learnt the art of keeping it to themselves, and worse, to convince themselves that deep down they are accepting.




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 of the Arrogance Shadow will come.

Sunday, March 8

amigurumi

Well, I thought that I was the last to discover this craft, but I've spoken to several people who also hadn't heard of it.

It's a Japanese form of crochet or knitting that literally means, 'knitted stuffed toy'. Crocheted amigurumi are the most popular. Although any small toy could pass off as one, what really makes it the amigurumi of popularity is that the toy is often anthropomorphic and definitely cute. So big heads often prevail, or just small.

The technique is about as simple as crochet gets. Once you know basic crochet, you can make these toys. It's single stitch working in a spiral, and using increases and decreases to form the shape.

I was crocheting for about 1 week and had only done one scarf before I gave these a try. It's single stitch all the way so it was great practice. I like to practice while still making something.

Oh, and another aspect of this craft that makes it appealing fr beginner's is that like scarves, guage isn't important.

Like all crochet though, complexitiy is up to the person who creates the pattern. there are very simple beginner patterns and then there are elaborate ones. However, the technique remains simple, it's just that there is more work involved.


I created this tiny turtle over a couple of days. Probably took me about 2 hrs. I didn't have an alternate colour like the pattern suggested so just worked it in the one.



Sorry, awful photo, there was very little light that day and baby was about to wake.

If you've never crocheted before, here's a quickie pattern-reading tutorial (from tiny turtle):

Rnd 3: *2 sc in next sc, sc in next sc; rep from * around – 18 sc.

It's the third round (or row).
You do 2 single stitches into the next single stitch loop (the 'next' is the first of that round).
Then a single stitch into the following loop.
Repeat that again until you finish the round.
You should have 18 stitches.

When you do two stitches into one loop, you have increased. When you do one stitch using two loops, you have decreased. Easy!

And you absolutely need a marker. Even if it's just a different coloured thread or the yarn you're using. I am terrible at remembering here I left off, and any mother with a child around knows you can't keep track of stitches!