Words of Wisdom

Youth is wasted on the young.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Ten Years Later

I am becoming very reflective of late. 

It is ten years since I started this blog. 

This is what I looked like then.

I was recently married, full of joy, excitement, and looking toward the future.

 Ten years later  
I am still full of joy and looking toward the future. It's just that a significant part of my time is caught up in dealing with pain. My own and that of others.
There is the pain of my own aging: sciatica,  tennis elbow, cataracts.
There is the pain of watching those you love gradually exiting this life.
There is the pain of seeing your beloved child struggle with a plan for their future.

Ten Years Later

I am on my own again.
I am saddened by failure. I am  relieved by financial security.
I am not looking for another partner.

Ten Years Later

I love my job.
 I love the progress I have made. I know I should be able to do it better. I think I may finish my working life here.

Ten Years Later
I love love love my house
I know how much more love it still needs.
It fills me with joy every day.

Ten Years Later
I am back on stage.

So that's good.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Taming The Wasteland

When I bought my beloved house, and I do mean beloved, my one reservation was the garden. And I use the term loosely.

I mean.... it is more of a wasteland....

You see I'm on a slope and the garden drops off at an alarming rate. No-one seems to have done anything with the space except let gum trees grow. And weeds.

And as you can see, the fences were not overly secure either.....

I had one way down to the shed at the lower level, exiting onto the street below.

Now, the handrail was pretty indeed. But the stairs were dodgy.. These few look ok but...generally the tree roots were causing havoc with any constant level.

When I went off to the UK in September I listened with interest to the reports of storms and blackouts in my home town. I was pretty relaxed until I received this image.

One of my gracious gums had given up the ghost and sighed out of life across my staircase.

Sadly, this is what remained of my staircase:

Not pretty, or safe! So I started the old insurance procedure around recovering for damages caused by fallen trees. Getting someone to quote was a nightmare but finally a very nice man came and gave me several options. In the end, this is the one I went with:
I've got to say it's a massive improvement. Still got a bit of planting etc to do but I am excited....
Hopefully we can look to taming this wasteland next year....

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

My Grief Surprised Me

Four years ago I picked the BA up off a plane. This happened every holidays. It was nothing new. Except that this time it was. My tousle haired baby emerged from the arrivals ramp alongside a dark hair pimply youth! Alright, he wasn't exactly pimply; in fact he was quite nice looking, in a young sort of way, but he was a complete stranger! And they were exchanging phone numbers!

Feeling particularly awkward,  I actually walked in front of them for some distance until the BA called me in to 'introduce' this young man. Apparently they had been seated next to one another on the plane. I was cynical in the extreme. Surely we wouldn't hear from HIM again.

A week later he was in my house chatting to me about where he was going to take my daughter out.  Then he said he had to go because he was off to church....
My heart melted.

The BA's lovely beau was in the Army. I thought of calling him 'Army Boy' but the raw fact is I got to know him so much better than that. So, in a hat tip to 'Band of Brothers' I am going to call him Richard.

When she met him, Richard was a country boy from New South Wales, stationed in South Australia. Initially this didn't seem to be a huge problem, but eventually, it would be the death knell of their relationship.

I've got to hand it to them. Them survived separations that would test most of us. He was deployed to Afghanistan for 3 months. They survived that. She decided to take her gap year overseas. It stretched to 18 months. They survived that. In the end, he decided to move back to NSW to study and they faced the prospect of splitting up. They were both so unhappy about the idea that those of us closest to them said.."why split up?" And so, for about eight months, these two lovely young people kept their relationship on hold. They visited each other for a week or so here and there.
And every time they had to leave each other they felt bad.

After our overseas trip in October, the BA finally pulled the pin. The separations were too much and, at the end of the day as Richard pointed out, they didn't really have an end plan. I got the feeling he might like to  have one, but there's a big difference between 21 and 24. The BA is not ready to think about settling down yet, and if she was I'm not at all sure she'd want to do it in country New South Wales. He is such a sensible lad. He didn't pressure her or make suggestions he knew she wasn't ready for. He just let nature take its course. I'm so grateful to him for that.

This way, The BA has made the decision, and although it was hard, and she still cries about it over a month later, it wasn't a rejection.

But I am surprised by how much I miss him. He was around for 4 years and helped us out through a lot of awful rubbish in the last two.

He will make someone a lovely husband and I hope the BA finds someone closer who will do the same thing for her.

Meanwhile we cuddle on the sofa and watch comfort TV.

Other things I said about these guys

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

On the Rollercoaster Heading Down.....

I leave for the UK on 23rd of September, which is, co-incidentally, the day my school audit is due. What does this mean? It means that instead of a leisurely and enjoyable few weeks spending evenings: planning my wardrobe; packing and repacking my suitcase; and preparing the house, cats and pot plants for my absence; I will be spending long nights in at work catching up on all the paperwork I should hvae been doing whilst I was gallivanting about in the theatre.
There. I've admitted it.
Mind you, my recent 'theatre free time' has not been completely 'clean'. I made some prop knives the other day.

Play: 12 Angry Men
Brief: Make some identical 'distinctive' knives with ornate carved handles, capable of being stabbed into a table top.

So here is where we started.
Three identical plastic handled folding knives.

First job was filling the grooves with putty to give me a flat 'ish' surface to work on.

Next I undercoated them all in two coats of black enamel paint (the kind you use to paint model aircraft).

Finally I transferred a dragon design on to the handles using an internet design and some 'conte'.

Some red paint (2 coats) and some gold highlights.

A couple of coats of varnish....

I think they turned out ok.

Next step is to take the one which is waved in an actor's face and have the very real blade ground off!

Friday, 26 August 2016

Loving My Creative Life

Look what leaving your husband can do for you.......

Sugar, The Musical:

My return to the stage after 13 years.


JoJo....and yes, she was a girl in this production....

Our bird girls! Loved these outfits, and the day after this, we dyed all their shoes orange with my brand new washing machine (the other one died)

And here's the Amazing Mayzee!

From the back for privacy reasons; the same reasons that see my lovely kids with lime green squares over their faces in the other picture......

Horton! Best ever ears.....(not made by me)

Mayor and Mayoress of Whoville
We had so much fun with these costumes....

Then there was........


I was just a backstage type..... but here are my charges...

The Tin Man

The winged monkeys.....

Look at these guys!!!! <3 p="">

Herself in her insignificance, posing in front of the Emerald City...............

Finally: Pirates of Penzance.
This is the first act set which I oainted from scratch. My colleague is adding a boat.

This is the second act ruined chapel, which my partner did. Except for the crappy tombstones. they were all my own work :-(

I must have painted and repainted these guys 5 times!

Here's the first incarnation, when my aging techniques rendered them utter unreadable from a distacne.

And here's a final version of one of them.

So now I am officially 'show free' until after my trip to the UK.
What, wait....I didn't tell you about my overseas trip??????
Stay tuned....

Monday, 25 April 2016

Of Houses, Wallpaper and Sugar

Good Lord. When did I start this post?????
Perhaps I should abandon words and make this a photoblog? Lately, I have had little time to formulate words either written or, sometimes, even spoken! One night recently whilst playing games with The Bestie and The Opera Singer, I found myself unable to formulate coherent sentences or follow the play. And I was not drinking at the time! I am trying to cut myself some slack. It has been a stressful and overwhelming 6 months.

I got the keys to my new abode on January 15th. We (The Bestie and I) immediately decided that the carpets were a lot worse than they had first appeared. Re-carpeting was too expensive so I decided to sand and polish the floors before moving in.
Unfortunately, this meant that moving in and starting back at school, happened in the same week.

 Here's the lounge room during the sanding process.

This is the 'family room' (west view). That strange construction at the rear on the left is the entry to the cellar. The doors in the wall are blessed, blessed storage.....<3 br="">

Now, here is an example of how over enthusiastic girls can create issues. The Bestie and I tore out a bookshelf to find this behind it. What next, we wondered?

Here's the floors after their treatment.

The lounge room  looking North and....

Looking south.....

At this point it is worth noting that the removalists had come on their original appointed date, regardless of floorworks, so we had had to pile all the furniture into the bedrooms which were not getting the floor 'treatment'.

 This was my bedroom.

Once the floors were 'walkable', we moved all the boxes and furniture into the rooms that we thought would become their permanent homes. This is the family room looking west.

Aaaaand, looking east....

Suffice to say a fair bit of to-ing and fro-ing of boxes and  other large items occurred before everything started to settle in. By the way, that wooden construction above the family room is a mezzanine floor! Perfect for my sewing :-)

This is looking down towards the dining room. 

The kitchen presented problems as we didn't have the room for my oversized American style fridge. 
Here's the original:

The Bestie and I pulled out a bench and, bingo. Wall space. In this pic we hadn't quite moved the fridge into place as we were replacing the cork floor tiles that we had  damaged in the rip up.

Of course ripping out a bench meant I didn't have any bench space to speak of, so....
one 'gumtree' purchase later......

I'm loving this dinky kitchen now. The only thing it needs is a bench somewhere around where the wooden divider (near the camera) is. Well, actually that's not the only thing. The ancient electric range is a travesty and should be scrapped forthwith. The problem is its a domino effect, if I change this I have to change that and then I might as well change this too!....etc etc

But my post title included the words .....wallpaper.....

Now I will not lie to you. I have removed many a sheet of wallpaper in my time, usually with the assistance of the steamer, that wonderful modern contraption....however, this would have to rate as one of the WORST wallpaper removal jobs that I've ever had to deal with.....

Now on the back (highest) wall of the lounge room, there rested this innocuous beauty. I could have left it there but I knew that my time to strip things back was now. Besides, the paper was old and crusty, stained by many years of who knew what....

 We got stuck in, one Friday night, thinking it might take us 24 hours and, admittedly, the first layer came off without too much trouble. Then we hit ....this.

For those unfamiliar with the wallpaper genre, this is a foil based 70s metallic gem. It probably cost an arm and a leg when it was installed. It was a complete cow to remove.

The steamer had little effect on it. After two days of steaming and scraping we resorted to grinding the stuff off with a grinder. The house was coated in artificial snow!!!!!! Eventually, with two to three of us working at all times it took FOUR DAYS to completely finish the wallpaper removal!

Here's how things looked two days in...

Sadly, with our excessive steamer use, the underlying gyprock wall was completely trashed. The plasterer set us back another day....

So here's the finished product...

But now, this post is becoming unwieldy.... so I'll just show you my bush garden...

Which was ALMOST the reason why I didn't buy the property. Lord knows what I'm going to do with that wasteland. Stay tuned. And please share ideas :-)