Friday, June 23, 2017

A goddess called ... Elizabeth?

A couple of nights ago I had a very vivid dream.

I was standing on a hilltop, but it wasn't the sort of romantic wilderness hilltop you'd expect in a dream, it was somewhere in suburban Australia. On either side of my hilltop, and up and down the hill, Colorbond fences hemmed in a development of brick veneer houses, and people walked up and down the hill, which must have been a park or reserve in the heart of suburbia.

Clouds hung overhead; not menacing, just grey and some lighter, almost white; not quite covering all the sky but about 5/8 of it. The sort of clouds that you don't want on a winter's day as they don't bring rain, they just hide the sun and make it colder.

In my right hand I held a clear quartz crystal; it was about 15 cm long, with a knobbly top and the shaft bright and sharp with a pointed end.

In my left I held a milky white crystal, more rounded on each end and not as long.

I held my arms up over my head and a flow of power streamed to me from the clouds into the crystal in my right hand. It wasn't like lightning, or golden flakes, just ... power. Visible, but rather like rain, almost transparent.

I felt the power run through me from my right hand to my left, and it seemed to stop at the left and go back to the crystal in my right hand.

I discovered that I could bounce rainbows at people and objects from my clear quartz crystal. I bounced them onto passers by, onto the fences. I simply held my hand out and a rainbow jumped out.

A voice in my head said, "This power is from the Goddess Elizabeth."

And soon after that, I woke up. For once I remembered my dream in utter detail; the fences, the winter jackets on the people, and the rainbows, which were quite small when they landed; only a few centimetres across but very colourful. And the Goddess Elizabeth.

Well, of course I went onto Google and discovered the only Goddess Elizabeth to be found is a manga character, and as I don't read manga that made no sense. I had, that night, been reading Death Comes to Pemberley (a follow on to Pride and Prejudice by P D James, and of course we have the lovely Elizabeth Darcy playing a leading role), so that may have explained the Elizabeth.

But I really think I had been visited by something or someone. A goddess? It's not often I get dreams so vivid I can FEEL them, and I FELT the power, I was there, really there, with a crystal in each hand.

So I jumped onto eBay and sourced a crystal  - a Tibetan Quartz - which is as similar as I can find to the one in my dream. I suspect the dream crystal was a luxury item costing several hundred dollars as it was quite large, and I paid $60 for one that's about 9cm long. Tibetan Quartz crystals are apparently used for conversing with angels and spirit guides. They are powerful healing crystals.

As I now live in a house I consider to be haunted, having a crystal which chats with spirits could be a good or bad thing. But the dream was so positive I was certain I had to buy one and it will be a good thing. When I looked into clear quartz crystals the powers and characteristics of Tibetan Quartz made total sense. Not all clear crystals are created equal it seems.

I'm debating whether to try and find a milky crystal too, even though the clear one in my dream was the one with the power.

Maybe there is truly a Goddess Elizabeth. Who knows? Maybe me. Maybe I can tell you more in a future post.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Crunch time with the pappadums

So is it really bad of me to finish off a half-empty packet of Patak's Mini Pappadums (Ready To Eat!) this afternoon so I don't have to share them with my husband when he gets home?

These are lovely, crunchy treats. Relatively low in the old kilojoules etc. I only meant to have a handful for morning tea, and I did.

Then at around 5 I got peckish (I'd only had plain steamed fish and broccolini for lunch as I'd been away for a long weekend and mysteriously managed to put on 3 kilos in 5 days. Bloody carbohydrates. But I digress.) and finished off the remainder of the pack.

My housesitter had left the pack for me; she's nice like that. We are neighbours and she kindly moved across the road from her place for five days to look after our animals. She also left home made chocolate mousse - which included avocado rather than cream; interesting and not too sweet - and I confess to scarfing that down last night after a bowl of chicken and veggie soup. Huh - and I wonder why my weight hasn't started to drop back!

I look at it this way: if I hadn't eaten the pappadums it would have been a handful or two of nuts, anyway. Probably just as many kilojoules. In retrospect the nuts would have been better as they are protein, rather than carbs. But oh, oh, oh! I haven't had pappadums in AGES! I'd forgotten how crunchy and addictive they are.  Mmm, that flavour!

I had to head up to the shops earlier in the day to get kale, cat litter and dog food, and I put mini pappadums on the list. Having managed to leave the list at home I realised I'd forgotten to get them when I returned and unpacked my bag (but I did get 30% off on frozen fillets of Hake ... not crumbed, just plain. Great for steaming or frying in a non-stick pan. Or currying. With pappadums on the side.).

So do I tell G the pappadums actually existed or not? I've hidden the packet in the bin under other stuff, so he won't see it and be jealous, for he loves his pappadums as much as I do. On the other hand, he DOES get into the chocolate digestives at the interstate office when he goes away for work, as he did earlier this week.

He might never know about the pappadums but I'm sure he'll sigh when I dish kale up for breakfast.   Seriously, we breakfast on kale and it's taken him - an old-fashioned unreconstructed male - a while to get used to the idea. I slice it and chuck it in a non-stick pan with eggs, turkey breast, spinach and sometimes a slice of haloumi. On the odd occasion we have bacon rather than turkey breast, but I'm trying to cut processed meat down for both of us, and turkey meat is very good for you. Kale, stir fried and still crunchy, is delicious with a spray of olive oil and a sprinkle of Himalayan pink salt. I think he likes it, deep down. He'll never admit it though.  As you can imagine we didn't have kale for breakfast while we were away; I missed it but I'm sure he didn't.

I think I'll shut up about the pappadums and rave about the Hake and broccolini for lunch, and the salmon and broccolini I'm about to cook for dinner. Broccolini's up there with kale for my bloke. What he doesn't know won't hurt him, and I bet he won't mention the biscuits he had on the flight home.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Just when I was having a peaceful day - the hell of broken websites

It's raining hard here today. A perfect day to be inside. Wednesdays are a bit of a day off for me as my colleague at my main client's workplaces has the day off, so doesn't chase me with emails and phone calls.

I decided I would devote this afternoon to self-improvement and relaxation.

I attempted a twenty minute yoga session. I say attempted because every time I did the Downward Dog our puppy raced up and licked my nose. I should, on reflection, have shut her in the kitchen but her whimpering would have been too distracting.

After that I lit a candle and did a twenty minute guided meditation, and felt peace flowing through me. I was relaxed, so beautifully relaxed.

Then I made the mistake of checking my email. Another client had written saying she wanted a change on her website, which is one where people can buy tickets for a charity sleepout. She wanted an extra, cheaper, ticket for school students. I checked the back end of the website. Looked easy.

My second mistake was updating the core software and all the plugins including the event plugin. Suddenly there were no tickets any more - none on the front end and none on the back!

All my peacefulness vanished. I had a headache almost instantly.

Of all the clients, it had to be her site. I swear, this woman is a jinx. She has two websites and every time I touch them they misbehave. Something goes wrong. Now these are simple WordPress sites. There shouldn't be the issues I have with them; when I've fixed one thing another pops up. I don't have any other clients with the problems she has.

So I've given up and posted a question on a support forum for the event software. I've decided if it's all too hard I'm going to pay a contractor to fix it and bill my client for their time. I am OVER fixing websites, I find it all too stressful these days.

I'm now going to find a quiet corner and try and meditate again. I feel sick to my stomach with this website issue. If only I could afford to retire and give this website bullsh*t up!

Friday, May 19, 2017

I sacked my hairdresser

I've been going to Hairy Mary for about three years now. Despite the fact that having a conversation with her does my head in (she's scatty, very scatty, but lovable), her work on my hair was usually pretty good.


Over the last year I've come to have a few reservations about her, however.  When she put foils in, she didn't really do them close enough to the scalp. Of course I wouldn't expect her to get too close - nobody wants to be burned by bleach - but some of them looked a little grown out when she'd put them in.

Then let's talk style. 18 months ago I went from a bob to a funky shorter bedhead cut, done with a razor. All was good for about a year, although it did look a bit too wispy on the ends from time to time. My hair is fine and I don't have a great deal of it, so I loathe the wispy look.

For the last two visits I asked her specifically not to thin out the ends too much, to make them chunkier and less wispy.

Sadly, she ignored me. Too busy talking about sixteen things at once to remember what I'd asked. When the sun is behind me you can see through the ends, and I hate that.

So a month ago I took my head to a hairdresser a short walk from where I live. More expensive, which is a shame, but the foils look sharp and she's helping me thicken the ends up and grow the layers out somewhat. I quite like a few freehand-cut layers for movement, but at the moment my hair has been so heavily layered by Hairy Mary I feel as if I should be wearing hats 24/7 until it grows out.

I don't know how to tell Hairy Mary she's been dumped. I suppose I simply don't. She'll figure out I'm just not going to her place any more. I can't rave about my new hairdresser on Facebook as Hairy Mary is a Facebook friend of mine. I don't want to hurt her feelings.

How many of you have told your hairdresser you're quitting them? Or have you simply jumped ship and gone somewhere else?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Stuff It

This morning while I was making the bed I noticed the drawer on my husband's bedside table was open slightly. I hate that. Drawers which are capable of shutting (which is most but not all the drawers in our house) should be shut or they look untidy. But I digress. This post is not about my OCD-ness regarding drawers.

No, it's about the remembrance day fake poppy that was in the drawer. And other Stuff.

I pondered why he'd kept the poppy. I know he's a Scot but he usually does put his hand in his pocket and buy a new one each year. It's not as if I bought the poppy for him and it has sentimental value (hmm, a $2 poppy).  I think this is what's happened (but I haven't asked him):

He's worn the poppy at the appropriate time, taken it off his suit and put in the drawer. Then he's forgotten about it. Now he doesn't even notice it's there, despite it being bright red.

I used to keep remembrance day poppies too. But not any more. I'd stick them in a potplant with something else such as a violet, just for effect. After several months of them gathering dust there (literally) I'd chuck them out. I mean, they ARE pretty. Too good to simply go in the bin after wearing. I should put them in a box to use for decorating gifts but frankly I'm a lousy gift decorator and I'd forget I had them anyway. So now, into the bin they go. I do it with gritted teeth as it makes me feel guilty.

And there's my problem. I was brought up by a Mum who didn't throw such things out. In fact she threw out very little in case it came in handy or in case there was another Great Depression or because it cost something to buy in the first place or because it was a gift from a friend or family member or ...

You get the picture. I was brought up to be a hoarder, to feel sentimental about things given to me, to not move things on if they were still 'good'.

But now I'm toughening up. I have to. I have a house full of Stuff, some of which I've sold or given away, and still more which I'm selling and which I intend to sell. I do a run to the charity shops with Stuff every couple of months.  I bin Stuff. I give Stuff to friends.

I have had to become unsentimental to a degree. And I'm a horribly sentimental person. It pulls me in two.

But I look around me and see clutter. I need to become more minimalist in order to feel less dragged down by all this Stuff.

As I've mentioned in previous posts Mum left me everything she had. And she had cupboards bulging with Stuff most of which she never used and as I haven't either, a lot of it has been moved on in some way, shape or form. But there's still too much Stuff.

Apparently we only use 20% of everything we own on a regular basis. 20%. That's not much. But when I think about it, that figure seems correct. For example when I'm cooking I usually use the same pots and pans each time. The tagine cooker gets one outing a year and I suspect that sooner or later I'll move it on too, even though I love its bright red colour. I probably don't need all the ramekins I have (two sets) but if I have a dinner party with more than 4 people I'll put them into use for individual puddings.

I plan to go through cupboards again over Easter and see what else I can move on either on eBay, Gumtree, Facebook buy swap and sell or simply give to charity. Although the charity shops are getting fussy now. I tried giving some oldish books to them this week and they refused them as they were foxed, and stated that no charity shop would take foxed or old books any more in case they had dust mites or similar. So bugger, I had to bin the books. Bin them! I nearly cried. I love books but wasn't going to read these again and it made me grit my teeth when I put them in the recycle bin. They weren't interesting enough to try and sell on eBay, either. :-(

My new hardline attitude towards Stuff is saving me money though. No more impulse buys at homewares shops or online. Department stores no longer hold any thrill for me. If I buy something it's to replace something useful which has broken. My rule now is that if I buy something new, something old has to go. (This doesn't apply to animals. Despite bringing a new puppy into our lives last year we have kept our elderly spaniel LOL!)

How I'd love to have a neat house without crap everywhere; like walking into one of IKEA's fake rooms. I'm working on it. The living room is looking more '50s minimalist these days which is a start.

But I can only achieve this if I stop feeling guilty and become unsentimental about getting rid of Stuff I don't use.  For me, it's very hard to do but I do feel a mix of exultation, lightness and some guilt when I achieve a purge of Stuff.

Do you get the guilts when you move Stuff on out of your place?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Throw me a throw

Just because I haven't been on here for a bit doesn't mean I haven't thought about it. I still can't use this particular Google account on Safari for a myriad of reasons, even though I'm running the most current software on my Mac and there shouldn't be a security issue. So can I be bothered to open another browser - Chrome - to update my blog? Not often.

One of the things I'd considered posting about earlier this year was last Christmas. We received a rather hilarious present from The Whingies. It was a fleece throw, which is a good thought as our house gets quite chilly in winter. But it wasn't a throw that in any way matched our decor. It was a throw from Guide Dogs of Australia, and featured a chocolate labrador, much larger than life, as the main element. Our living room is not neutral-coloured where the throw, which is chocolate dog on pale blue background, would look good. It's bright late 1950s pale greens and teals with orange/tangerine accents. Sounds loud but it works. But not with blue and chocolate.

OK, so we have dogs. Two, now, as it turns out, as we brought a beautiful toy Poodle girl into our lives last October. So The Whingies clearly know we love dogs as well as cats.

We pondered about why they would buy us that particular throw. If they donate to a charity it's usually a cancer one, not Guide Dogs.

Then it hit us. They didn't buy it at all. They won it as a prize in a cat show, where a non-dog person must have donated it, presumably as an unwanted gift.

We sat on the floor in the living room on Christmas morning, sipping Champagne and contemplating this thought while peering into the giant-sized eyes of the chocolate lab, and both of us burst out laughing.

Now I'm pretty good at rehoming gifts too, and if I don't have a suitable recipient for something I've been given but don't want, I give it to charity or sell it online. I take into account the person's taste and decor before deciding what to give them. I can't keep things people give me that I don't like or don't work in my house, not any more. I have too much STUFF. Too much clutter. I need to move things on if they're not suitable, rather than, as Mum encouraged me to do, keep This gift or That gift because That person gave it to you, even if you hate it.

We have a tacit agreement with the Whingies that while we give gifts to each other, they will be under $30. It's the thought that counts, it's a token thing, and I usually rack my brains to find something they'll appreciate as they consider themselves persons of high taste. Often it's a plant cutting I've been cultivating (this is acceptable as I receive plant cuttings in return) and this year I gave them a beautiful candle from the stock I sell and a bottle of wine.

So what to do with the throw? We opened it, as we didn't know what the design was, and having opened it and damaged the packaging in the process, can't rehome it as a brand new gift to a dog person. We may be able to use it on our bed as the dogs are - now the Poodle puppy is 7 months old and can hang on all night - sleeping on our bed, to the delight of our Spaniel, who I think has missed it. We certainly didn't miss the heat of them in summer!

It must have been the Christmas for throws. Another couple gave us a throw (clearly these friends all visit in winter where their teeth chatter if they move more then three metres away from the log fire) and the colours are pretty wrong in that one too. White background with orange (nice) and sky blue (doesn't work). That one is still in its packaging. It has gift potential. Not for the Whingies though as it wouldn't match their decor.

In the meantime I found a very cool orange and sage green 60s-inspired throw at ALDI for $16, which I've put on the sofa for the dogs to sleep on should they wish.