Sunday, August 25, 2013

August Moon 2013 - Day 1

How have you treated yourself this year? Have you kept your intentions? 

2013 has been a year of learning for me. An enormous amount of study greeted me at the beginning (some that I had left till the last possible moment; as you {shouldn't} do) each week I have been feeding my brain with new to me knowledge. As fast as I can feed it, the faster the thirst returns until I am needing more. It has reactivated my brain in ways I could never have dreamt. 

Learning has been my intention. And I have kept it. I knew I had to be serious about it and I have allocated every spare moment in my day to keep the momentum flowing and I am proud of where I stand today; though I still have vast amounts remaining that needs to be completed.  

However in honouring my intention to study; I have neglected ME.

It may sound selfish but I learnt a very valuable lesson of BALANCE last year. If I don't have a little creative balance in my life each day, I fold like a pack of cards. Last year was the perfect time for me to step away from everything and live a creative life. This year however I am struggling to find that elusive balance between study, work and creativity as well as keeping my daily chores kicking along.

Right now I am sitting upon that delicate knifes edge and it is NOW time to start making small changes for the better. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Reading #challengecomplete

Remember I signed up for a read along winter challenge?  

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And then I went a bit crazy (as only I can) by setting up a great big long reading schedule

Then if that wasn't enough - I ADDED to said challenge? Come on, I should really be given extra, extra bonus points for that type of dedication right? 

Well the past three months have sped by and I am here to share that I did in fact meet all challenge laid down.

1) read the book "Pride and Prejudice"

* It took me nearly the full three months to read it, partly because I was slack, mainly because I never found the time to fully concentrate and because I really and truly struggled with the language. It is the type of book that is written in such a way that you really need to think because the sentences are formed differently. While it was good for me to finally sit and read a classic, I daresay the timing for my brain power (or lack there of) couldn't have been worse. I've been so busy with all my studies, that I have lacked brain power for anything other than nice easy reads. So this one was a real slog for me. 

*I'm not saying I didn't enjoy it - because I did. I actually found one morning while sitting at Maccas awaiting my parents arrival for a coffee, that I was so engrossed in one particular section of the book that I didn't realise they were there until they were peering over the book laughing that I was miles away. I think that maybe promising?

* The book is split into three parts. Have you ever walked through mud where your gumboots get stuck so fast they either stay there and your foot comes flying out & / or you end up on your arse in the mud it is that thick. Thats a little how I felt with the first part. I would be traipsing forward having glossed over a full page and then have to go back and re-read it so that I had a gist of where it was going! In the end I set a mini-challenge to sit in the sunshine while the girl and dog played and I read 10 pages at a time then gave myself a mini Facebook break in between. This got me through the first part, but I won't tell you that between that and watching LBD took me the greater part of a day.

* Part two was a little easier going on my mind, though I felt I would have struggled had I not been watching LBD alongside it. That reading schedule helped me immensely because I could relate what happened in the book to a more shall we say current state of events. 

* Would I read the book again? I honestly can't say. While I did find myself being swept away with the storyline once the language started gelling for me, I really can't say for sure - it was not the type of book that I could escape into and having a noisy family yapping around me made it that much harder to concentrate. Maybe one day when I'm old and all is quiet I will re-attempt it! 

2) watch the "Lizzie Bennet Diaries" found on you-tube

* I had seen these before, but decided for the sake of the challenge, that I would re-watch them. I followed the reading / viewing schedule (linked above) and I enjoyed comparing the modern day production to the old style of the book as well as vice versa.

* Going out on a limb here and stating for the record… (& please don't judge me!) that if it weren't for the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I would not have been able to endure reading Pride & Prejudice.   

3) watch a Pride & Prejudice movie (or the BBC miniseries)

* I watched the Keira Knightly (who I love) version of the P&P Movie and I quite enjoyed it

* While there were some parts I didn't quite understand originally, they have since made sense after finishing the book.   

* I also went out on a limb and watched Bride & Prejudice - the Bollywood version. It was funny but like the other one, there were parts I didn't quite follow. Also I struggled to keep track of which sister was which as they had changed the names to suit the Bollywood style.  

4) choose and declare the BEST Darcy EVER for bonus points.

* Hands down - Darcinator from Lizzie Bennet Diaries #FTW 

So there you have it, one challenge finished with just over a week to spare. The next challenge has been set #Emma but I have opted to sit this one out as one original for 2013 is more than enough for me. As well while I've been busy reading this book; I've not had a chance to read any others!  
 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Cows go Mad

Last week as I pondered my Nan it got me thinking about our somewhat crazy gift giving toward the end. She was a giver and some years you could expect to receive a beautiful, meaningful gift from her. Like the year I turned 19 I received a Pig Pilt (truth be told it is a Quillow… you know a Quilt / Pillow, I chose to call it my PIG PILT - Pillow/Quilt - I do nothing the easy way!) My Pig Pilt is still going strong 17 years later. On side it it panels of farm yard animals the other is a fabric with pigs and cows. Other years we received more obscure gifts (lets just say - one year I received some granny undies… so very huge. Yet I couldn't fit one leg into them :O )  

Anyhow likely the Quilt is where THIS cow saga all began.

It could have been the cheap Cow Bell (geddit LOL) she purchased for me at the $2 shop.   

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Or perhaps it was the laughing cow I got her the following year (you know those ones that laugh hysterically until you are laughing so hard you almost pee your pants?) 

It went back and forward for a few years until she sent me home with a birthday gift for my other half.

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Yes your eyes do NOT deceive you - she sent him a small packet of Cow Seeds. Complete with instructions on 'how to grow them'. 

I see your cheeky; and I raise it threefold, my dear sweet Nan. 

Mothers Day was not long after that, so my hubby and I decided to get a little creative and we made her a…  

COW GARDEN! 

A pretty blue pail, filled with dirt. A few seed scattered about, a cute "Cow Garden" sign and a couple of little "seedling" cows spread over the top.

It was the BEST. GIFT. EVER.

Except for the life of me - I cannot find a photo of it (oh the joys of pre-phone cameras!) lets just say it was hysterical and the gift went down like a lead balloon.

Nowadays the cow joke has been replaced with chickens. But I fondly remember those days of crazy gifts and I hope that perhaps one day, I will be too old to need normal gifts. Oh what am I saying, my own little chicken posse are doing a great job at continuing on my Nan's Legacy of Crazy Gift Giving!   

Friday, August 9, 2013

Inspiration vs too much

A little where I'm at… right now. 

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Every week I seem to be caught up in this whirl of busy and I am trying so hard not to get trapped in the anxious cycle again. This week has been no exception and while I have had some wins (if you call finishing ONE tutorial and taking ONE photograph a win that is ;) ) but I've also not achieved what I'd set out to do. I'm trying to tell myself that this is OK. It really is.  

On the health front - I have been battling a sinus infection most of the week - hello sore ears, jaw, throat, teeth and now cheek. Ouch! Not much fun, but it comes and goes and thankfully have only had one headache from it. I figure this is adding to my disjointed approach to everything this week.  

My mind has been abuzz with all manner of things, thoughts of life after study. Hopes and dreams rolled into pretty packages. A deep and meaningful chat with my dear hubby who is backing me 110%. I get this warm, fuzzy feeling when I know he believes in me and those little glimmers of hope sparkle brightly.

I have a million and one things I want to be doing RIGHT NOW. Alas I am garnering my energy and focusing on one thing at a time. Priority numero uno for August is to submit at least 4 assignments (2 writing / 2 photography) and Wednesday I had a moment to sit quietly at the library and churn out a couple of writing passages for my assignments. After a little polishing and some research I should have both ready to submit by next week. I have also have 4/6 photos for the first assignment and 1/12 photos for the second.

Sometimes I feel as though everything is coming together as it should; but other times like last week when I had a photo shoot all lined up - then it was cancelled. I know I can re-schedule but time is not being my friend at the moment.

I have new story lines buzzing around in my head, so much so that I've had to release them and start writing a few excerpts - stay tuned, I might even blog them. I have much research I want to gather for my Novel, it is all good and well to imagine but when it came to describing in 1000 words a scene - I flailed. Especially as the township I am writing of I have not visited for 25 odd years & our last brief drive through was at least 9 years ago. It is hard when you have snippets on the edge of your mind but you need to see to refresh and reconnect those memories.

Yesterday I walked about the house and there is piles of things everything - needed my attention. Apart from the piles upon piles of housework to be done; there is library books that contain information between their worn pages. Photography books I have borrowed to research styles. Bridal Magazines (no I'm not getting married) on loan from a friend to find pictures to submit for my assignment. And then there is the writing. Daily writing. Mutterings that make no sense, but need to see the light of day. Story snippets and conversations that need something more.

Then there is the study I should be doing.

And we won't even mention the severe lack of creating going on; at this stage of the game, I am thankful when I stick a small sticker in my current diary and call it art.

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Yet even with all this going on and swirling around me, I am managing to pick up my camera each day. I am capturing moments of our every day (most days) and I embarked on an epic scavenger hunt - contrary to popular belief it isn't for the prizes, it was more that I am struggling for ideas for photos each day - there is only so many waterfront shots I can take. So I've had a little excitement hunting down creative ways to take the photos on the list. My poor friends on Facebook must be sick of seeing my daily photos already! Not to mention I'm dabbling in a Project 55. We are given a word / subject to take photos of each day. I participated in a similar meme earlier in the year and I found it immensely inspiring for me to stop and think about photos and words. So I am doing that too - alas I am resorting to my P&S as that camera is with me everywhere.

And that is where I am in a mighty huge nutshell. More than likely a coconut shell! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

You did WHAT?

While I solely believe that we are all made up uniquely - I like to think we carry on traits from others near and dear; and those no longer with us. 

Example 1. My dad and I have the same feet as my (late) Poppy. True Story.  

Example 2. I find myself saying the same things to Miss K that were once said to me by my mum.

August is upon us again and with it is birthday month. Both my parents, my brother and my (late) Nanny were born in August (as well as friends and cousins) so it has always been a busy month. Sadly my nan passed away 4 weeks after her 85th Birthday and I remember her fondly during that time and this year - 4 years on, is no exception. 

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I often ponder whether I might have inherited a teeny ounce of her strength; a smidgen of her wicked sense of humour Or her completely original ways.

Today it happened.

As I pushed my full to the brim shopping trolley out of the shops this morning, a young girl was approaching. I identified her as C. So I wave and smile and she looks at me blankly. As she neared I realised I had the wrong person; we can blame a million things - the light shining brightly behind her, new & foggy contact lenses, lack of caffeine coursing through my sleepy brain synapsis.

IF this had happened to my Nanny; for sure she would have stopped and started a conversation with this young girl. My nan, she was rather quirky in her own unique way and IF young girl didn't stop and talk to her, I wouldn't have put it past her to run after her & buzz her with her voice or something of the like. 

Ordinarily I would have been totally embarrassed for sing-songing HI to said stranger. I would have mumbled a "sorry wrong person" and hurried away, head hanging in shame. OH THE SHAME!

But. Not. Today.

Today as I realised that this young girl was NOT C. A started a silly conversation: 

Me: "Oh sorry I thought you were C"
Girl: "No. Did you think I was CS"
Me: "Yeah. So you know C"
Girl: {looking at me strangely}  
Me: "So do you work with C"
Girl: "No…." backing away as fast as she could
Me: "No matter. I'll see you later then"

Girl last seen tearing off through the shopping centre as I happily pushed my trolley out the door.

As I sat in my car, berating myself for being so stupid AND how could I mix up the two as they didn't really look anything alike. It occurred to me that I was turning into my Nanny. 

I came home and related the story to my husband who, when I shared my lightbulb moment, shook his head and sighed and said "God help us all" 

{for the record: my hubby LOVED my nan. his reaction was probably more due to the fact I was beyond excited that I had developed some Quirk. Because you know; I didn't have any to start with ROFL!}
So this moment has got me thinking - I might share a few stories with you over the coming weeks, because this woman was the epitome of AWESOME. I mean. I try really hard and I have nothing on her level of AWESOME.     

Friday, August 2, 2013

HIGH Distinction

While some days I lament that I am not cut out for this Study gig, days like this one make it all the worth while! 

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I had written this assignment (for Creative writing) out months ago. I sat on it - intending to review. Several times I went back to it but still I couldn't submit it. I wondered whether the book I had chosen to analyse Point of View was suitable. I wasn't sure of my own understanding of the third part where I had to re-write a story changing the verb tense and I again second questioned my piece I submitted.

This term it was time to get serious, so after pulling it out to re-read for the 500th time - I decided enough was enough - I couldn't polish it any better than I already had and I figured if it was wrong, then I could start afresh; rather than re-hashing what I already had.

This week I received my results and got a High Distinction (my 2nd for this course) I of course was thrilled to bits with this result and it has given me an amazing confidence boost to keep working on the remainder of my assignments for this course.

However it was the tutors comments on my work that has blown me away "near flawless - a nice, polished piece" that has really got my heart racing (in a good way) and made me think that everything I dreamed of may well be possible. If I keep on polishing my work as I go. Re-reading. Editing. Review. 

It has even inspired me to delve into a new writing book I purchased and I wrote a page & a bit (A4) and it felt… just right!