Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May 31st

Grateful for little balls of fluff, that bring so much joy.

Welcome home, Matilda, Lily and Jasper! :oD

Monday, May 30, 2011

May 30th

Today, I admitted defeat and relinquished myself to the healing powers of convalesce - uninterrupted by the hindrances of my delight in constant activity.

I planned a sleep in.
Forgot the plumber was arriving at 8am.
Got up to let the plumber in (to reseat our sink, which, despite this being the fifth sink, has never managed to sit flush with the bench.  Fifth time's a charm!).
Tried to go back to sleep and decided to get up to be available in the event the plumbers needed to question me on anything (they didn't.)
Indulged in the pleasure of my sister's company via Skype for two and a half hours as I simultaneously crafted a couple of hats to be gifted (while resting on the sofa, under a blanket, remaining hydrated, so it counts). 
 Spent some time amongst my on line community (again, see comment in parentheses above).

Hats for Georgia and K

Felt weary, so closed my eyes.
Awoke three hours later(!!) to the phone ringing.  Donna from The Leader Newspaper calling to learn more about sewing cloth pads for Cambodia and Sheree's planned visit (have you met Sheree?).
I emailed through some info, so we'll see what comes of that!  Could be exciting.

So here I am.  Still on the sofa, under a blanket, this time in need of more hydration.
The head - oh how it pounds!
The man is out enjoying a testosterone shot.  I'm looking forward to his return.
In the meantime, I will make myself some more Thai-inspired pumpkin, garlic and chilli soup and get started on my next crocheting gift (while resting on the sofa, under a blanket, remaining hydrated).

May 29th

The dreaded lurgy continues to haunt.

So today was a day of doing our most favourite thing in the whole world.
Not much at all.

Our favourite place to hang out.

Craftin', catching up with our online community, escaping occasionally via the big black box.
But the thing that happens throughout that we treasure beyond words - hangin' with each other.

Guess what he crafted for me today?!

So much *squeeeeee*!
It's a storage pouch for my menstrual cup.  How gorgeous is it??!!!
Have I mentioned this man rocks my world?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

May 28th

I'm finding, along this journey, that often the things I take for granted, are the things I am most grateful for.  And the essence and purpose of this exercise, in this revelation, is not lost on me*smile*.

I've mentioned gratuity for my car before today.
And today, the car gains kudos again.  I was contemplating on this earlier... can I be grateful for the same thing more than once?  And when you think on it, of course you can!  Quite a ridiculous notion to think that you can't, actually.  I'm grateful for many of the same things day in, day out - Ben for starters.  I think I was trying to create rules for this exercise that are completely unnecessary.  Why would I do that?

I think it's because I like rules.  I like boundaries.  I like structure (even when I comes to plants, the structural kinds are my favourites *grin*).  I think I was feeling that this exercise is far too freewheeling.  Anything goes.  Not clearly defined enough...

I read these words and part of me wants to laugh out loud at myself and part of me wants to keen in grief!  Oh my goddess, woman!  LET GO!  Sheesh.  Relaaaaaax.  Yes, boundaries are important but freedom is absolutely essential!  Sometimes I feel like I'm a wound up ball of yarn in a box, yearning to be a untwisted skein swinging in the breeze...

So anyway, yes.  The car.
We traveled all around the suburbs today, picking up supplies for our wee kitties.  Scratching and resting posts, their preferred food, toys, flushable kitty litter.  The only thing we couldn't get today was the tiered litter trays.  We loaded up the car with huge bags of kittie paraphernalia and a resting post, strapped the other post to the roof of the car and drove 20 minutes home.  Without a car, today would have been a shiteload more inconvenient and expensive.  I love our car.  Have I ever showed you the number plate? 

And it appears our current cat in residence approves muchly of the new resting spots.
Twill be interesting to see how she feels about her new housemates...


After consideration about the multiple reasons to be grateful in any one day, I've decided to go back and tag every post with the thing(s) I'm grateful for in that day.  I think it will be wonderful to, at a glance, see all the things that I find absolutely rockin' in my life *smile*

Friday, May 27, 2011

May 27th

Grateful for new introductions!

And new experiences, as a result.  Meet Tres Leches.

Okay, you're probably going to hate me for that.
But gosh, is it worth it!  (Not you hating me, the cake!)

It was suggested by a friend, as the dessert to bring to our Feast with Friends gathering, as the theme of the evening was Mexican.  Perfectly apt!  Our taco dinner was divine, perfectly accompanied with frozen margaritas and finished just nicely with cornflake sticky goodness and le cake.  From what I could gather from the taste testers, I nailed it.  Which is always nice.  A win in my life of kitchen escapades is always noteworthy to me.  Not sure if I'll make it again, though.  Did you READ the ingredients list???  My arteries were groaning just from licking the spoon!

In other news, I made a trip into the suburbs today to drop off 155 cloth pads, a dozen or so cheesecloth babywraps and a whole bag of new underwear, all donated to make their way to LifeOptions in Cambodia.  I'm really grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute in this way.  I'm seriously considering donating my actual self for a period of a few months, in a volunteer capacity.  Logistics to nut out... but it's a seed that is currently germinating.

I got home from dropping the donated goodies off, to a message that read:
"I've made more top halves (of pads).  Have we got any more bottoms bits?  What shall I do next?"
So, it appears sewing fatigue amongst my village has not been reached yet! *laugh*
Maybe we'll hit that 200 mark after all!?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 26th

Woke feeling like yesterday's viral threat had taken hold.
So, a day of go slow was on the agenda.

Goose was happy to play at my feet to the sound of sewing machines whirring.
That and an unexpected interruption....

meant that tonight, I finished off a swag of cloth pads, 35 in total.  A whole lot were started on Tuesday during a cutting and sewing get-together with Sazz, Leah and Veronica.  And tonight Ben helped serge some boosters and snapped the lot of them!

So at a final count tonight, we're sending off 155 cloth menstrual pads to LifeOptions in Cambodia.
Awesome effort *smile*.
Very grateful for the opportunity to help in this small, small way.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

May 25th

Grateful for the opportunity my life gives me right now, to peek through a window of my child's alternate universe.  

Today, I got to do kinda duty.
Three and a half hours of mingling with four year olds, doing up capes, washing out paintbrushes, creating snails out of clay and faeries out of glittered paper.  And watching.  Watching how she interacts.  Watching how she plays, how she speaks, how she listens.  Watching how she speaks up, how she sits back.  Watching who she gravitates towards and who seeks her out.

The teachers are always ever so grateful to have you help.  And during the children's play, they hold you captivated with anecdotes of your child and how much she's developed since day one, how her confidence has soared, how her personality has blossomed.

She seems infinitely pleased to have me in her kinda space.
Fetching me a chair so as I could sit near her at snack time.  Seeking me out in the playground to help her collect seed pods.  Snuggling into my lap during storytime.  And well, of course she would!  She is only four after all.  Perhaps a little young to be spending so much time outside of the home....?  But I wonder, is that a need for *her* to be home, or a need of my own?

Straight from kinda today, we whisked up to visit Lily and Jasper.  There was much excitement bubbling from us both!  On fetching our kitties from their holding pen, our eyes met with the most beautiful face I think I have ever seen.  Sitting in the pen next to Jasper, was Matilda.  Four weeks older than our twins, one of Lulu's siblings, she was considerably bigger.  And gosh, did she ever let us know that she was missing Jasper from her side!  I instinctively reached for her and she melted into my hands.  It was instant love.

Matilda, our seal point Ragdoll

I asked Lucy what she thought Ben would say about another kittie.  By this stage she was snuggling Matilda herself and all she could do was nod fervently, so too was she captivated!  I watched the three kittens play, as Lucy followed them around the floor, attempting to capture the fuzzy white blurs as they raced past her.  I collected Matilda up into my arms on her next zoom past and locked eyes with her again.  I couldn't not adopt her into our family.  A pictorial SMS sent moments later entitled "Meet Matilda" and an SMS returned with a "why not?!" and the deal was sealed.


Jude, the breeder had just sent pedigree papers off for Matilda, hence the fact she already had a name.  I very much liked the name (in fact it was one that made the list for Lily, but didn't seem to suit her) and I thought it blended well with the names Lily and Jasper.  The decision was made on the spot to register Lily and Jasper, in the event Lucy (or even myself) might one day wish to show them.  It's not my thing, but I wasn't ruling it out for myself in the future, or anyone else.

R to L: Jasper, Lily and Matilda

The name Lily was already registered to a cat in a previous litter through Jude, so we needed to come up with an original pedigree name.  I misheard her at one point and the name Jarrah popped into my head.  So Lily's pedigree name became JarrahLily.  Matilda was already named and Mae seemed to flow from my lips, so MatildaMae it was.  Jasper was a little harder.  We were restricted to six letters, as 'Rosecoloured' must be in their pedigree name, as that is the family they come from.  I loved Augustus, but that was two letters too many.  We flicked through some online Latin names and narrowed it down to Lucius, Lucian and Dacian.  Dacian stuck.  So JasperDacian was so named!

The *twins* go in for their desexing on Friday and we pick the three of them up on Monday afternoon.
This weekend will be time to shop!
It's official.  We are now the new crazy cat people on the block.
The excitement in the house is palpable *grin*.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 24th

My most potent reason for gratitude today:

This woman came into my life 31 years ago today, as my baby sister.
I didn't actually like her very much for most of our childhood.  For starters, I wanted a brother.  I already had a sister.  I was *that* disappointed that my mother felt the need to console me by allowing me to name her.  I called her Shelly.  After my babysitter.  Who else did I know at three and a half?

Growing up, I found her annoying because she followed me around a lot.  And all my friends swooned over her big blue eyes and blonde, blonde ringlets.  They all thought she was sooooo cute.  And oh my heavens, did she play up to it!  Face of an angel, temperament of a she-devil!

When I left the family nest, she was still a child of thirteen.  I remember her changing the spelling of her name a year or so later and I felt so put out!  Seeing as how I was the one that named her!  I think on it now and it was a real indication of the individuality and strength of character this young woman had in abundance, that would later become so evident.


It wasn't until she spent a few months living with me in Australia, in 2001, that I got to know her as an adult.  That stint created the foundations of what was to become a fiercely strong connection.  The premature birth of her son in 2003 bought us even closer and when my turn at mothering arrived (at loooooong last), I regularly took Chell's counsel, who already had a few years of parenting two small children under her belt. 

We often lament the ocean that separates us.  
There are a myriad of reasons why she cannot be here and I cannot be there.  And while Skype and other various forms of electronic communication are invaluable, it pains us both that our children grow up without a devoted and doting Aunt living around the corner.  And we ache for the physical embrace of the other constantly.  It won't always be this way, I trust in that.  But for now, we make do.

 Chell and Goose

I am immensely grateful for the gift of my sister, my mirror, my confident, my friend.
I feel honoured to watch her transition into the woman she's becoming.  So strong, so confident, so wise, so loving.  I feel very much that she was a gift from the goddesses, into the lives of many - not just my own.

Happy, happy birthday sweet sister.
You are forever treasured in my heart.
May the sea breezes carry our kisses across the ocean to you, on this auspicious day.
The 31st anniversary of the day the world got just that little bit more special.
Your Jolin

Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23rd

Today is a very special day in my blogging journey.

Today marks the six month mark of blogging every day for a year.
Gosh and golly.

For a straight A commitment-phobe, I reckon I'm doing mightily fine *grin*.
So today, I am grateful for my perseverance, for my tenacity, for my commitment.
And I am also incredibly grateful for the window into the utter beauty of my world that I have had the opportunity to witness as a result of this exercise.  It really does start to become effortless.  The reframing of a shitty day, to find something to be grateful for.  And the joy in pausing to take stock of the truly wonderful things, regardless of how big or small, that make up the fantastic days.

 We are blessed with so much, yet often appreciate so little.
The consciousness of gratitude redirects your focus.
And I'm finding that such a wonderful gift.

Have you started yours yet?


Just on a side note, here's a couple of pics of my ongoing love affair with tightarsery *grin*.
It's becoming an art form now.
And yep, I'm still stitchin' for Cambodia.  A couple more weeks until our woman flies out!  Heaps of time for more stitchin'!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

May 22nd

There's a couple of things I'm very grateful for today.

After the awesome group energy of yesterday, today was a day for Ben and me.
A couple of days ago, a friend online had asked if anyone was interested in an overlocker - used once, still in the box.  I immediately (like, within 19 seconds) said yes.  And today we went and picked it up.

Meet my new machine!

We decided to coordinate our four hour round trip around breakfast and a coffee date with the beautiful Carly, the provider of my brand new machine (*squeeee*).  I love that I live in a world where items that are no longer needed or used, are offered up to be loved by someone new.  I also love that I could then on-sell my (laden with past life heaviness) overlocker to another home in need.  Perfection.

The second thing I am grateful for, is a man's need to tinker.
And a man's need to figure out how things work - and then *make* them work!
Have you ever had to thread an overlocker?
Oh my.

This is a five threader, but you get the idea, right?  Eep!

So, while I was busy attaching more boosters onto more pads, Ben was threading the overlocker and then serging even more boosters (enjoying the fruits of his labour).  We had a wonderful afternoon stitching together *smile*.

I was contemplating this train of thought, as I was stitching earlier...
I am very grateful for the ability to dedicate a whole day and evening (and another afternoon planned for tomorrow) to helping people achieve something they could not do on their own.  I started thinking about my gorgeous friends yesterday, who turned up on my doorstep, arms laden with sewing machines, fabric and children and contributed an amazing effort, despite the constant up-down, up-downs of parenting small children.  And how one of the gifts of not having children in my life full time, is my capacity to contribute my undivided time and attention to causes just like this.

Ben told me a story of how one of the many counter-arguments he would give in support of his choice to not have children (a stance he has found he has needed to explain and at times, almost defend since his decision more than ten years ago), is how he is able to positively impact the lives of so many more children (if he chose to) by not having his time and focus 100% taken up by his own, had he had them.

Knowing myself first hand, just how energy demanding children can be, I really resonated with that sentiment yesterday and today.  And I felt very grateful that, while at times sharing my daughter with her father is incredibly hard, it also frees my time to help others.  And I think that's wonderful.

And now this post is done, we're off to cut out some more cloth pads!
I plan to crack that 100 mark *grin*.
Enjoy your evening!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 21st

frieWOW!  Where do I begin??!!

What an awesome day!
The first of the seamstresses crossed the threshold just before 11am and from there, the house filled up pretty quickly.  Machines were all lined up.  Fabric was grouped.  Iron was switched on.  The first and only tutorial for the day was briefed.  Then away we went!

The group energy in the workspace and in the house was so beautiful to be a part of.  Seven adults and four children filled what was a relatively small space, with the noise of sewing machines, coffee machines, seven-way conversations and children voicing their needs - all at once!  Yet, it felt relaxed, constructive and organised.  

 Jobs were detailed and everyone selected a role they felt like doing.  Patterns of pads were traced onto cloth and cut.  Cloth cut outs were then sewn and turned.  Sewn cloth was then pressed with the raw edge turned under.  

 Patterns of boosters and PUL were traced and cut out.  PUL was then stitched onto the booster.  The booster was then overlocked. 

Cloth bunting, courtesy of cotton tightarsery.

The open end of the pad was then sewn closed, where I learned the most amazing thing!  Cotton tightarsery!  Have you heard of it??!  The saving of cotton (and time!) by running your next project under the needle, right up against the one you've just done!  Genius!  THIS is one of the reasons I LOVE crafting in groups.  The things you learn!  Another friend of mine today learned that the top stitch comes from the reel cotton and the bottom stitch comes from the bobbin cotton.  So, if you are stitching two items together that are different colours, you can match threads *grin*.  She was positively stoked at that revelation.

Anywhere, back to cotton tightarsery...!  I was so thrilled in learning this concept, all I talked about for the rest of the afternoon was tightarsery.  In all honesty, I loved the word as much as I loved the concept *laugh*.  So, thank you Veronica!  I will remember you forever, for that fantastic introduction! *grin*.

Then the final step in finishing the pads - the attaching of the snap press studs and...

VoilĂ !
So far, we have stitched together a total of 88 cloth pads and 26 boosters.  A huge, awesome effort.  I'm so excited.  The magic number I had in my head to begin with was 100.  So, I have a little more work in store *smile*.  Which to be honest, is not actually work.  I have thoroughly enjoyed every part of this process.  I'm looking forward to stitching up a few more *smile*.

Not too long after the sewing goddesses had bundled their machines and children into their cars and zoomed off home, I was blessed with the company of two gorgeous women (and one scrumptious wee boy) for dinner for three in-house.  *sigh*

Dining in is such a wonderful concept.  Especially when your dinner date brings with her all the ingredients to make a divine Thai chicken curry, then promptly takes over the kitchen while you sit watching in delight, sipping white wine.  I know!  How ace is my life??!!  *laugh*

Delectable food, sprinkled with fabulous conversation, followed by more enjoyable conversation and some yarn work (naturally).  We well and truly saw into the next day before my gorgeous guests departed for home.  Such a soul enriching day.  So many delights and so many things to be grateful for.
Some days I feel truly blessed.

Friday, May 20, 2011

May 20th

Today I am grateful for good old fashioned magic!

Lucy was riffling through the craft room shelves tonight and she came across an icecream container.
"What's this, mama?"
"That's Benji's magic box"
*eyes increase in size by about three fold*
"Can we open it?"
"We'll need to wait until Benji gets home, but I'm sure he'll love that".

Synopsis of next 45 minutes.....
*"When will Benji be home?"
"How long now?"
"What about now?"
"Has it been 30 minutes, yet?"
"How long is half an hour?"
"When will he be home again, Mum?"
*Repeat. Ad nauseum for 30 minutes.

But then, he arrives and (I was mightily impressed) she actually waited a whole two minutes of hellos before the excitement tumbled out.

  Benji's already known as 'magic' in our house.  He magics the (toy) mice away and magics them back again.  And tonight the rings were a hit, as was escaping the wrist binding.
The wide eyes!  The looking to me to work out how to interpret what she's just seen.  So, so precious.

I love that he brings that kind of mystery and excitement into her life.
Magic, in all its incarnations, is such a wonderful gift.
There is so much more to our world, to our existence than I could ever explain to her.  There's a lot I'm still working out for myself!  

And when the extent of my knowledge of this universe has reached its perimeters, and she looks to me and asks how dogs know when you're ill or why sitting by the ocean makes mama less crazy, I love that I can look at her with utter sincerity and say, "it's just magic, baby".

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 19th

I am involved in a very special project.

In June, a woman in my community is traveling to Cambodia, with her baby to volunteer with LifeOptions Asia.  An organisation who believes in children and their potential to contribute to change.  Sheree will be working directly with families by teaching them of safe birthing practices, hygiene and encouraging their children to continue attending school.

Many of the girls stop attending school because when they bleed, they don't have sanitary items, so choose to stay home for this time and fall behind in their studies, eventually dropping out, thus continuing the cycle of poverty.

One of the things Sheree is asking for in donations, is washable cloth (therefore reusable!) sanitary pads, enabling the girls to continue their schooling during their cyclical bleed.

I felt very moved to help towards this cause.  Apart from the obvious terrifying thought of not being able to complete my education just because I bleed every month, I have used cloth myself for nearly ten years (in combination with a menstrual cup) and I would never use disposable products again, given the choice.  I  have also sewn every one of the pads I now use.  So this cause was totally doable for me.

Getting started on the cutting.

Today I am grateful for the generosity of friends.
People not necessarily able to spend an afternoon focused on a sewing machine or be surrounded by scissors, pins, needles and oodles of cotton thread due to being responsible for tiny folk - but still wanting to help.  The contribution of fabric, PUL and snaps is just lovely.  And I just heard there's more coming in the post tomorrow!

Looking forward to our day of crafting this Saturday!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 18th

Grateful for the treasures the present gives to the future.

Just a couple of things I've received in the last few weeks...

Oh, and I have to show you baby Katie.

She had her face and body painted to look more beautiful.
Because she got married today.  
I asked who she was getting married to, because you have to love that person a whole lot, in order to marry them.
She said to me "she's getting married to herself".
Can you just imagine the pool of goo I melted into when she said that?

Here's to loving yourself so much, you would marry yourself.