Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Whoa! It's been a long time now....

More than a year since I was here last!

Lots has happened in that time.  And not happened. Life has held some unexpected twists and curves, some challenges that I've not known quite how to meet.  Of course, there's been some good stuff too which is great because we need that.  Or at least, I need that otherwise I get too bogged down in everything else that is going on.

Alas, feeling stuck is where I've been for a little while now.  So I've taken some ever so precious time out to rest, try and get my head together a little and have that time and space that is so important to me and my well being.

I'm in my beloved Wanaka (NZ).. that healing place for me and I really don't want to come home yet.  However, I have less than 48 hours left and I will be returning to Australia again until the next time I can come over.

This trip I also took a peek at the North Island of NZ.  I've not been there before and as I often tend to do, I jammed way too much into a short space of time.

Staying a night in a different place for 8 nights and travelling or driving every day is tiring.  It served two purposes though - I saw more beautiful countryside.  I think I was running from everything my life has become and this kept me busy and occupied and I would fall into bed each night exhausted which was crazy because I was exhausted when I came over here.  So it's had it's good points and not so good points.

My highlights in the North Island were Waiheke Island where I wished I'd had another night and a vehicle to explore, Te Awamutu where I stayed in at the old School House in a rural type of setting - it was peaceful here and another night at least would have been wonderful, Wellington where I again only stayed a night and got to see the Te Papa Museum and have dinner with a former work colleague that I'd not seen for 4 years.  Wellington looks to be a beautiful city and I'd have liked more time to explore there too.  

My favourite place in the north would have to be the Redwood Forest in Rotorua.  I didn't plan to go to Rotorua.  I actually planned to go to Matamata and do a tour of Hobbiton, but when I arrived at the Matamata i-SITE and saw how many tourists were waiting for the bus to go to Hobbiton, I changed my mind because it was just too people-y out there for me that day.

So I decided to go via Rotorua and see the Buried Village.  That turned out to be a very emotional type of experience for me and thankfully, it was very quiet that day!  

As I was coming back into Rotorua, I stopped at the Redwoods Forest and was awestruck at the majestic trees.  I enjoyed a brief walk, took lots of pics that didn't do them justice nor capture the colour or feel of the forest, then as I was about to leave I found out they had a tree tops walk that took around 40 minutes to do.

I was already tired and had over an hour's drive ahead of me to Taupo, so I made the decision to not do the tree tops walk... and it's been my one regret of this trip.

A few days later, I'd made my way to Wanaka.  This place always feels like home and I seem to have grown quite an emotional attachment to the place.

The best $20 I've spent was doing a Scenic Chairlift ride up the top of Treble Cone Ski area.  The views were amazing!  My $20 included a hot chocolate at the top of the lift area and I lashed out and bought a slice of pizza to go with it.  It is something I could do again and again and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

After I came back, I spent the afternoon around the lake front... walking, sitting, walking, contemplating, walking, soaking it all up, walking... I think you get the picture!

I've not found any answers to what's happening my life yet, however, I do know that the respite from my everyday life has been very welcome even though I don't feel anywhere near ready to go back.

Tonight I took myself to the movies at Cinema Paradiso.  If you're ever in Wanaka, go along... it's a real treat.  It's a quirky little theatre with a mix of lounge chairs and seats where you can take your food or a glass of wine in with you.  

They have a half time where you can have freshly baked biscuits that have been baking during the first half of the movie.  If you've ordered some dinner from their cafe, it is ready when you come out and they also sell home made ice cream that is also made on site.  It's an awesome little place and you would never guess what's inside when you're looking at the outside of the building.

The pics I've added are from my chairlift ride yesterday.  Not the best pics but the ones I could easily access to share.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Gosh, another post so soon I hear you say!  What on earth is happening?  A little insomnia is happening which made me think it may be a good time to write.  You know how it goes.. the great plan to help the you are getting sleepy thing!  Put all the stuff bouncing around in your mind down on paper... ok well on keyboard ... and then you can let it go.  By the way, what is it with that anyway?  The lie down to go to sleep and all of a sudden you have 101 things to think about... sheesh!

Speaking of by the way stuff, I noticed that there were 45 people who took a peek at this page and perhaps even read my last blog post 3 days ago.  I have to say that was a BIG and lovely surprise. So thank you to anyone out there who took a little time out of their day to read my ramblings!

I thought I'd give you the funny background part of how I came to meet this man who has arrived in my life.  His daughter has been a friend of mine for around 10-12 years.  We originally met in an online forum and then met in person a year or two later.  

Actually, our meeting in person was with a bunch of women from that forum who had decided that spending a weekend together would be a fun idea.  So there were 13 of us who gathered at one woman's place on the Mornington Peninsula, from Friday through to Sunday!  And oh, what a wonderful get together it was.

As it turns out, I hadn't seen my young friend again in the time since our first get together, however, we had kept in touch via social media/emails/etc.  She was aware that I'd done a 6 week stint up here (in what is my new city) and was going to be moving up here.  

While I was back home we had a facebook conversation along the lines of... 'I think I should introduce you to my Dad.  You two would probably get along well.  Just think, if you end up married, you could be my step mum... and you would have 10 children between you!  And you could have all our mutual friends attend, all of us girls could be bridesmaids (the ones from the original get together) and we could wear purple and our kids could be flowergirls and.... by this time I was almost choking!  With laughter. And thinking, oh my goddess, she is surely kidding!  So I treated it as the joke I thought it was.

Only it seems she wasn't quite kidding.  And a few weeks down the track, I had another message from her.  Actually.. I've told my Dad alllll about you and he'd like to meet you.  For real.  Of course my reaction was along the lines of what tha?  So next thing phone numbers are exchanged and I get a phone call from her Dad.  He seems nice enough.  I agree to go on a date.  She helps him arrange tickets to go to a dinner and Black Sorrows concert up here.

We met near a gelato place down by the water about an hour before the concert, so we had time to get the initial meet and greet and hopefully the awkward stuff out of the way first.  He was quite a gentleman and we had an enjoyable night.  He dropped me home again and we agreed to meet for breakfast the next morning before he headed off back down to where he lives (3.5 hrs drive south).

All of that went reasonably well, we seemed to be able to talk easily enough and so it was decided to meet again.  I was quite adamant and vocal about how I didn't want another relationship, not now and maybe not ever.  I was more than happy to have a new friend in my life and have some companionship from time to time.. especially living in a new town, it would be great to have a friend I could spend time with occasionally, perhaps share a meal with or go to a movie or concert with.  

But I definitely did not want a full on relationship in any shape or form as I did not have time for one of those and just wasn't interested! Not at all. Oh and while I had a little extra time now for going on the occasional date because it was the end of the year and everything slowed down, once the new year arrived, I wouldn't have the luxury of having that time available to be doing things like dating and all.  

And that is how our courtship (isn't that a cute old fashioned word?) started. Famous last words eh... I don't want... I'm not interested in... never ever or no time soon... I don't have time... it's like the universe just laughs when you utter those words and thinks, I'll show you what that looks like!  

So yes, it's been challenging.  And yes, it's been one of the hardest things ever. I was just not in that space at all.  I had plans.  Things I wanted to do.  Things that definitely did not include a relationship or the complications one can bring. I did not want to be tied down.  I wanted the freedom to make decisions on my own that suited me without having to consider anyone else in the equation.  My children are all adults now and for the first time since they were born, I have the time to follow my dreams.  And I did not want or need a relationship getting in the way of that!

Needless to say, those plans have either been put on hold to some degree or have had some adjustments while I explore this thing we have going.  In the meantime, I'm hanging on for the ride and seeing if I can keep up!  I'm afraid I'm not always doing a good job of the keeping up part and I've found it a real stretch to get my head around this whole relationship thing.  Which probably sounds silly to some of you.  Especially those of you who may be ready and wanting a relationship.  And maybe even a little selfish.  But it's the space I was/am in for a variety of reasons.

All that said, he is a good man and is caring and funny and romantic and can be ever so serious. He is also a practical joker and is like a big kid at times.  He has hidden behind curtains, in a cupboard and under a bed.  He has surprised me by having flowers delivered to my workplace, for the first time ever!  Another time he was concerned about me when I had a lot going on and booked me in for a reiki treatment one time when I went down to visit.  

So there are many good things about all of this and I find myself very conflicted at times because this relationship is so at odds with the plans and hopes and dreams I had for the next few years.  I hope I figure out how it all fits in soon! Or perhaps I need to just not worry about it and see what happens.

Well that's the end of tonight's reflective post.  If you joined for the ride, thank you!  

The pic I'm sharing this evening was taken just after dawn one morning from the top of Castle Hill in Townsville.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Hello to any random readers out there!  

It has come to my attention that this seems to have become almost a 6 monthly blog rather than the far more regular blog I had anticipated.  It definitely has it's ebbs and flows.  

So what's been happening?  Lots this end!  I'm settling into my new city in the tropics and have to say I found the summer rather challenging.  Winter, if one could call it that, is a whole other story and the weather is perfect!  Just a teeny bit cool at night, certainly not cold by any stretch of the imagination but enough to have a sheet and a lightweight blanket over you.  The days are glorious. Fresh of a morning but again, not cold, and the days are like early summer.  It's cool enough now that I can put pot plants out on my little deck without them getting burnt to a crisp by the summer sun. Living away from my family and friends has been a little tough too.. although good practice for when I move to NZ!  

The other BIG news is I appear to be in a relationship!  After saying things along the line of never again, well maybe but not for a very long time, and no way not for at least another 2 yrs because I have too much to do between now and then and the timing just sucks... well, here I am.

I have to say it's been the most challenging relationship I've ever experienced which is due in part to the timing being really bad in many ways and me not wanting to start a new relationship.  However, he is still hanging about or should I say coming up to visit - he lives 3.5 hrs drive south of me.. and when we are together, I enjoy his company.

I've found my future plans for the year have pretty much gone out the window and many things have been put on hold while I explore this whatever it is.  It's taking me quite some time to adjust and while I love spending time with him, I'm also very glad of the distance during the week as I need the space.  

I'm one of those weird people who loves their own space and desperately needs that time out.  I can't say I get time out completely though as we seem to spend a LOT of time on the phone each day, however, the physical space is just what I need and at this stage, I don't think I'd cope with living in the same town.  So baby steps as I do this whole adjustment thing and enjoy each day as it comes as I continue to try and become accustomed to this whole relationship thing again!

Relationships are sooo consuming, aren't they?  I've yet to find a balance and a way to make my hopes, dreams and plans to fit in around it all.  That said, the times we spend together often involve a lot of laughter, hand holding, sweet kisses and being in the country.

Well that's it from me for now, but I'll keep you posted!  Thanks to anyone out there who may have had a read.

Today's pic is some gorgeous sweet smelling flowers.  I have no idea what they are but I came across them when I was out walking one day.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Evening all 

(Assuming there are at least one or two out there reading!) 

It's been an interesting start to the New Year, as I've been challenged with a sore back that will be reasonably comfortable for a day or two, then hellish to manage the next few days.  It can become unhappy very quickly, usually when I've been sitting in a chair that's not as supportive as it could be in particular places.

Often when I've had a sore back, I take it easy for a while and it settles relatively quickly.  Prior to the last 6 months, I'd also been having regular massages which seemed to help as well.  The massages have dropped off since I moved and this time the back issues have been a little more persistent, so I finally managed to find myself a therapist with the assistance of Google. 

I have to say Madilyn from NQBodyfix is awesome.  I had an appointment with her over the weekend and have another booked for tomorrow.  I've had more relief since then, than I have over the last 2 weeks so I'm hopeful the improvements will continue.

Yesterday I was also very excited to learn my blood pressure was down a little.  I'm one of these people who isn't keen on visiting the Dr and just going there is enough to bump my blood pressure up.  When I was diagnosed with high blood pressure some 7-8 yrs ago, it was around the 175 over 80 something mark and within a month or so, it had risen to 198 over 99 which I'm told it quite dangerous and can precede a stroke.  So I was put onto medication.  

In those years, we've still struggled to get it to a reasonable level and you can probably count on one hand the number of times it's been in the 140's.  Mostly it's been around the 150 and in the last 12 months, had been edging higher and into the 160's again.  

I needed my prescription renewed and given I've recently moved cities, I was seeing a new Dr.  I mentioned I can feel my blood pressure rising on the way to my appointment and it's something I struggle with.  So my first reading was 163 over 70 (the lowest the bottom number has ever been since I was in my 20's) and then after me talking about my nervousness around Dr's visits, he re-took it about 5 minutes later on the other arm.  I was pleasantly surprised and very excited to learn it was down to 148 over 72.  Still up a little but a distinct improvement on the last 12-18 mths readings.  So I'm feeling very encouraged and somewhat inspired by that to keep doing things that will help lower it.

A couple of little amusing/silly things I've noticed and heard this week.  One was a young guy yesterday riding his pushbike in peak hour traffic along a main arterial road.  He was riding with no hands and playing his guitar!!!!!  I wound down my window as I drove past to see if I could hear him playing and sure enough, I could hear him picking out a tune and strumming.  Not sure what he would have done if he'd had to react to a traffic situation suddenly!

The other amusing thing was hearing a nickname for a local hotel.. known as 'pickup a granny'.  Apparently due to the style of music that's played which seems to attract a mid-aged audience.  Can't say I've ever heard that terminology before!

Well that's about it from me for now.  I was going to write a little more but feeling a little weary so I will leave it for now.  Have to say the couple of days after New Year in Kuranda were beautiful.  Don't have a pic now, so will add one later on.  Have a great evening!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!  There's always something a little exciting about a new year I find.. that feeling of freshness and new beginnings. 

I admit there have been times when I've had to squash the thought of it just being another day yet on the other hand, have been quite disturbed at the speed the last year has just passed.  How is it that they seem to go faster and faster?

So those little negative thoughts aside and back in their box, it's time to enjoy the freshness of a new year.  I always have a little fun planning what I'd like to do with this year and then looking back at what I've achieved over the last year. 

I also have a tin that I write down the things that made me smile or feel happy during the year and I love reading back through them at New Year.  Some things I remember and other things I'd forgotten until re-reading.  Either way, they bring joy again just thinking about them.  Alas, I left my tin back in Brisbane when I moved to Townsville, so I need to do a retrieval when I go back later this month. 

Plans for this year are coming along nicely!  I have a friend who puts out a great book for planning your year which makes it even more fun.  I will get the link sometime soon and include it. 

My New Year's Eve was particularly quiet this year.  I worked and then went out to dinner with a friend.  Unfortunately I've was having some problems with my back and was in considerable pain by the time dinner was done, so I headed off home to bed.  I woke a little before midnight though and was able to see the fireworks from my room.  How lucky is that!! 

New Year's Day has been spent at work, doing a little forward planning here too.  It's been quiet as far as clients are concerned though. 

I've booked in to do a 6 week art course starting mid - Feb, so am excited about that.  Hmm another link I'll have to find a way to include. 

Perhaps that can be on my to do list too... become more tech savvy! 

I have plans to head up to Cairns for the weekend, so will be nice to have a little time away with friends. 

Well that's it from me for now.  I hope you have an awesomely fabulous day and I wish you all the very best for a fantastic 2015.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Hello to anyone reading my erratic little blog.  For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a lovely day however it was spent.  I think for many of us, the aim is to enjoy some time with our loved ones. 

I worked Christmas Day and Boxing Day this year which was a first for me. I’m now living 1350 km’s away from my family so it was the first time ever I have been away from family.  I exchanged text messages with them all before I headed off to work, not quite the same as phone calls but given we were all getting ready to be somewhere else, it worked for the meantime.

My sons all got together at home for breakfast with their wives, girlfriends and children.  One of my sons managed to get everyone together and take a photo of them all which they then emailed to my work.  It absolutely made my day!!  The seemingly little things can have such a big heartfelt impact.

Work was rather quiet as it turned out, so I managed to have a productive planning day before heading home to enjoy a brief rest then going to a friend’s place for dinner.  Their home was warm and welcoming, with Christmas decorations about, their dog was extremely excited to see me and with some festive food for dinner, it felt a little more like Christmas for me.  She and I later sat in the pool, which was more like a big warm bath, for an hour or so and chatted about anything and everything. 

I came home and was able to speak with one of my sons by phone and another friend called to wish me Merry Christmas, so it rounded out my day nicely.  Even though I physically wasn’t able to be with my loved ones, it still felt like I’d enjoyed their presence during the day.

I felt very blessed as I have two friends who find this time of year difficult due to each losing a child just before Christmas in recent years.  This year in Australia, we also saw a rather horrific lead up to Christmas with a siege in Sydney where two people lost their lives and later the same week, 8 children were murdered by a woman who was mother to 7 and aunt to the 8th. 

My workplace was very affected by this as one of the children was the niece of a colleague.  Then I had word this morning (Boxing Day here) that another colleague lost her partner to cancer in the very early hours.  It reminds me of how much I have to be truly grateful for and how important it is to appreciate every day.

Of course not all days are going to be good days, but I believe each day we wake up breathing is a new day, a blessing in itself and we have a whole 24 hours in which to find something that makes us smile and feel a sense of gratitude and happiness.  Even if things are not going so well, it may be something simple that we can appreciate. 

I generally tend to be a more positive type of person but there was a time when I didn’t always feel this way.  I eventually came to realise that my happiness was my own responsibility and a choice that I could make every day.  I choose to be happy and have a positive outlook on life. 

I know there is tough stuff, I’ve experienced it and no, it’s certainly not fun.  But when I spend time stuck in that or dwell on it for long periods of time, then I don’t feel good and it can sometimes be hard to move those feelings.

I was recently in New Zealand.  I travelled over alone and had a day or two where I would have loved some company, so was feeling a little flat.  I called my Mum to see how she was going.  My Mum is in the early-mid stages of dementia and is in a nursing home.  During a lucid moment, Mum was asking me about what I’d seen.  She knows how much I love NZ and then she said, next time you go over, can you please take me with you and show me all your favourite places.

This makes my eyes well up even to type it now.  I would so love to be able to do this but both Mum and I know it’s not going to happen as she is not well enough to manage such a trip.  Mum has wanted to go to NZ and England for as long as I can remember, yet here she is in the sunset years of her life with regrets for the things she didn’t find a way to do. 

I have had an awareness for some time now that I need to follow my dreams, do the things I want to do and not be put off because I’m a middle aged single woman, because life is way too short.  This conversation with Mum really struck a chord with me.  I could hear the grief and regret in her voice and I don’t want to get to the end of my life with those types of regrets.  It has made me all the more determined to actively work towards doing the things I want to do and seeing the places I want to see.  To find a way to make them happen.

So that is my little piece of wisdom for what it’s worth today.  Life is not a dress rehearsal, we only get one shot at it, so enjoy it as much as you can.  Soak up all the experiences, the good and the not so good, learn from them, grow from them, make new memories with those you care about, see the things you want to see and experience the things you want to experience. 

And in among all that, I wish you much happiness and joy!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Well I thought I would try and get one more post in for the year!  Hehe.. hmm what can I say? The regular part of blogging hasn't been quite so regular this year.  Perhaps I can use an observation I shared with my work team on a number of occasions in relation to constant changes in our work space and govt policy.... the consistency is there is no consistency (kind of fits for me and blogging this year huh!), things are always changing and we have to adapt with them. Basically hang on for the ride or get left behind. So while I'm on the topic of change, there has been plenty happening in my life since last I wrote.  

Work - big BIG changes!  I came north to Townsville to do a 6 week secondment in a completely new program area.  I'd put in an expression of interest because there was a little uncertainty around a tender outcome for the program I was working in and I thought experience in a different area may be a good thing, should I need to be seeking work elsewhere later down the track.

Long story short, I ended up applying for the permanent role up here after the tender outcome arrived (not a positive outcome) and was successful.  This meant moving 1350 km's north and only having a weekend to find a place to live.  I was lucky enough to find a little granny flat with a wonderful landlady straight away.  I'm still in the process of sorting/packing/moving/winding things up in Brisbane but have until mid April to complete that which has been good.

The new job is essentially a promotion and a totally new program area to learn. It's been a challenging but rewarding space to work in and I will have my work cut out for me for a little while to come. I feel very blessed to have found a role that created a fairly smooth transition for me.

New town - I'm starting to feel a little more settled here and am enjoying the exploring part of being in a new place.  The weather has been quite warm as we head into summer, so that has slowed down the exploring a little, but expect it to ramp up once the cooler weather returns.

Social life - I have a social life!!!  I have enjoyed a couple of trips to the theatre with a friend and her husband who live up here.  Both fun nights out and a nice way to begin in a new town.  My landlady has also taken me along to a quaint little family run cinema which I've since attended again.  It's a great place and far nicer than the bigger cinema's.  I've also just joined a book club that my friend is involved with so will be going along to that in the new year.

Dating - Can you believe it?  I've even done a little dating since I've been up here!  I was set up on a blind date with a young friend's father.  Our first date was to dinner and a Black Sorrows concert.  Since then we've spent a little time together and he's taken me to explore some of the area north of here.  Lovely man and a nice friendship has grown there.

Friends - As I mentioned above, I have a friend here who I worked with in a volunteer organisation for a number of years.  I've been out to dinner with them and to the theatre a couple of times.  I also have a friend living up here that I went to school with interstate.  I hadn't seen her for over 20 yrs and we caught up a couple of months ago.  We haven't yet managed to catch up again, but the plan is there to do so.  I had another friend come visit me from the Calliope area and while he was here, we went across and explored Magnetic Island.  So it's all happening!

Family - I miss them dearly and can't wait to see them again late January. Thank goodness for phone calls, text messages and emails!  Not to mention being able to send photo's by text.  Youngest son is still healing from the accident I'd mentioned in previous posts and is having to look at a career change.  He loved his time in the snow and is hoping to go back for more next year.  

My brother was married for the first time on his 50th birthday and given I now live much closer up here in the tropics, I was able to attend.  I also had the opportunity to catch up with my friend.. the one who was busy trying to set me up with her Dad at the time. I was able to see my Dad and one of my cousins at the wedding which was a lovely small garden affair.  Sadly, Mum's mind is deteriorating a little more but I'm looking forward to seeing her again in January when I go down.

Writing - one thing about moving and wanting to keep in touch with loved ones. It's reminded me of a favourite past time I used to have.. writing letters!!  So I've been doing a little of that since coming up here and am thoroughly enjoying it.  Also have a few ideas floating for other writing projects but need to put those ideas down on paper and get moving on them.

Holidays - I already had plans for annual leave before moving up here and wasn't sure that I'd be able to actually go away anywhere given the unexpected move.  However, it all fell neatly into place and I was able to enjoy a week back in the south island of NZ.  Sadly, I had to cancel the retreat I'd planned to run in NZ for reasons beyond my control.  It was lovely to still be able to go over there though and do a little exploring of area's I hadn't previously seen, along with re-visiting some of my favourite places.  I hope to spend some time living over there in a few years, so will no doubt have a few trips over between now and then.

And I think that's about it for the quick catch up version!  The pic I've added today was taken at Wivenhoe Dam when I took my Brisbane team out on a team building afternoon, not too long before I came up to Townsville. Such a lovely restful place.