Mandala madness

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I don’t know if it’s the repetition, or the colours or the way the hook moves, but for me crocheting has a lovely way of muffling the white noise, quieting my mind, turning everything in my head down a little.  I’ve been working on a hexagon blanket for ages, so its been great to take a break and work a circle.  I found  this simple pattern on one of my favourite blogs, Attic24. It’s mandala central over there, so click and embrace the crazy.

 

 

photoDid you see that? No, me either. This happens a lot to me. People point out things enthusiastically, and for whatever reason, I never seem to catch them. “I missed it”, is the usual refrain. This is especially true of shooting stars. I’ve never seen one, ever.

I don’t like to think of myself as being unobservant, but clearly I’m not seeing the whole picture, so lately I’ve been on the lookout for those little things, and I think it might be working.

I usually go for a walk each morning, so that was the time I decided to stay engaged, look up, look down, left, right – then I saw it. A tiny ceramic plaque stuck to a stone wall under a bridge. The maker/artist, all round clever person had sculptured the face of a small dog and carefully written Tomarctus “Father of Dogs” in tiny print.

Random, unexpected, seen.

One home to the next.

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I’ve never lived in an apartment before – what, by the way, is the difference between an apartment and a flat (aside from pretension?). We used to live in a house on a busy street in Yarraville. It was great to be so close to “the village”, but the trucks. Man, the trucks. We knew what we were getting into when be bought the house, but our deposit wasn’t exactly huge, so we ended up with the worst house in the worst street. Except it wasn’t.

Over the next five years we got to know our neighbours, and they were lovely, funny, interesting people. The house wasn’t in good shape, structurally, but we got around it. We painted a little, did some gardening and tried to ignore the alarming slope of the floors and Niagraesque leaks during big storms. What I couldn’t ignore was the relentless roar of the trucks. I used to fall asleep counting them. Most nights I’d get well into the hundreds before falling into a swampy, fitful, dreamless doze that left me feeling perpetually jetlagged. But people like Noel and Joyce, the old timers up the road who had Buddy, the 50 year-old cockatoo, made up for it. There was a time a huge branch was hanging precariously over our neighbour’s fence. Someone knew someone who turned up and lopped it off for some beer and $50.

Timing is everything, and shortly after we decided to sell and buy an apartment in Footscray, my 83 year-old Dad became sick and was admitted to hospital. For the next four months the wheels sort of dropped off. Everything kept moving forward, but smack in the middle of it all was Dad, having good days, and then quite a few bad days, and then eventually he died in April last year, but that’s a story that feels like it won’t ever get finished.

So we got the apartment (I’m leaving out a whole lot of stuff right here).  It took two incredibly fit removalists seven hours to get our old house empty and us in. We helped too, which seemed like the right thing at the time, but these guys were super fit. Later that night I hobbled into an empty room and lay down on the carpet. Ten minutes later, I was still trying to get up.

They would hand me a box and say, “Here, take this light one”, and I’d nearly burst a hernia. Which reminds me. During a short break six or so hours into the move, one of the guys and I sat down for a breather. I was asking him lots of questions about his job; one included “So have you ever had a hernia?” He paused, tilted his head and looked a little quizzical. “Aww. I don’t think so. I know they’re up your bum…” That’s when I RUSHED in with a mortified over explanation. “No, no! I think you mean a haemorrhoid. I meant a hernia. Some people who lift heavy things for a living get them, like my brother in law. He’s a farmer…” Dad would have laughed.

When I spoke to friends and family about living in an apartment, a lot of the same sort of stuff came up.

  1. Don’t get too friendly with your neighbours. You don’t want them knocking on your door every five minutes.
  2. Weird cooking smells.
  3. Don’t buy an apartment with a gym, pool or a lift. Body corporate fees will kill you.

I’ve noticed some unspoken rules. Like when you’re out on your balcony at the same time as your neighbour, it’s ok to ignore each other.

People get described by their location. “Have you met the guy in the third floor in 27?”

My own experiences about apartments were based solely on movies, especially Hitchcock’s Rear Window, and while the reality is a lot less glamorous, there’s a lot I like about living here.

Some days it feels more like a big cruise ship – a half empty one. I work from home, so when I take the dogs for a walk, I can hear a distant door closing, or a clanging pipe from way off. The corridors are all carpeted, which is great, but you can’t hear people behind you, so I think I may have accidentally frightened a few. Sorry about that.

It’s taken many months, but I’ve bumped into most of our neighbours, who seem lovely, even the smartly dressed woman from upstairs who asked me if I played Bridge.

 

 

Heartful

Happy St Valentine’s Day. I can’t scorn it. Any day that celebrates love is fine by me. It doesn’t have to be crass or commercial, or involve a dead rose in a plastic cylinder. A poem scrawled on a envelope, or a silent wish just for you.

Whatever sort of day you’re having, I hope it’s heart-shaped.

 

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Lately I’ve Been…

Blogging With Pip e-course

So glad I signed up for this course. It was friendly, chatty environment, full of great, clear, helpful information to start (or in my case, kick start) your blog.

Cannot recommend it highly enough. You won’t regret it. Not a minute.

Gobbling up books at every opportunity:

Hhhh by Laurent Binet (Complex, but engrossing non-fiction)

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak (Liked it. Didn’t love it)

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Never wanted it to end)

Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Better late than never)

Stop Press by Rachel Buchanan (Excellent book (by a friend) about the decline of newspapers)

Picnic At Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay (Second time around and I was absorbed by every word)

A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Bitter sweet)

Updating my book reviewing blog, Slightly Foxed

Making a little reading space on our balcony (also used for cloud & star watching).

Making a Strawberry Sponge cake with butter cream frosting. Delish!

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Worring about the bushfires that burned 8ks away from my sister’s farm, but was very proud of my nephew for helping the CFA fight them.

Swimming with hairy less and goggles. I barrelled into those wave and felt free. I love that underwater sound, that garbled blur of colour and movement.

Movies, movies, movies:

August Osage County (3/5)

The Railway Man (3/5)

The Dallas Buyers Club (4/5)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (3.5/5)

HER (3.5/5)

Twelve Years A Slave (4.5/5)

All Lost (4.5/5)

Philomena (3.5/5)

Saving Mr Banks (2.5/5)

Drinking mineral water and cranberry juice

Putting a baby picture of my later Mother in a gorgeous silver frame.

Looking for jobs (& getting a little sad)

Getting obsessed with Pinterest and created, ahem, over 80 boards. I know, but the world is so interesting.

Finding some new blogs to read. Hello The Clueless Girl’s Guide, The Uniqueness of Being and the lovely House of Humble

Signing up to volunteer at 100 Story Building

Onward!