Words of Wisdom

If I had anything intelligent to say, I would have let you know by now.

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Great Boulevard Sewing Bee

 So I thought I'd do a sewing post as I am sick of thinking about my house failing to sell.....

Back on Australia Day (26th Jan), Kindergarten Friend and his wife (The Divine Miss M) asked me to accompany them to the Fashion Icons Exhibition at the City Art Gallery. This was an extraordinary treat for those of us with a love of fabric and sewing. The original pieces by designers such as Chanel, Christian Dior, Yves St Laurent and Dolce & Gabbana were so displayed that you could walk right up to them and peer at the stitching! We marvelled at the metres of delicately folded fabrics and intricate beading.

 In the Art Gallery Shop, they were typically profiting from all items (cough:TAT) that could be remotely related to sewing or fashion. I fell for the old 'simple pattern for a skirt' trick, encouraged by a demo model on a mannequin in a striking African print. The Divine Miss M , who claimed not to be able to sew for $%#@, agreed to purchase some IKEA fabric and let me make her a skirt. I have yet to see this fabric.

BUT.... several days later I had cause to visit Local Cheap Material Superstore, let's call it Floodlight, and spotted some cheap and cheerful African print which I thought I could probably use

That's it on the left. The skirt was ludicrously simple and I quickly decided to make the skirt reversible, finding this other pleasant ethnic fabric in my stash.

Buoyed by my success, I quickly made this skirt:

(not really enhanced by my long tailed black shirt)
And this one, opting for a tie and 'wrap around' effect for the final version.
(please forgive bathers and megafat arms)

 So 3 skirts (4 if you count the reversible) from the one pattern....and I'm NOT DONE!!!!!

Meanwhile, I have been sewing plastic storage bags for the church's  'Kidsboxes' and was rewarded by the sight of two young children playing with a hitherto undiscovered entertainment.

Also whilst at the Exhibition, I succumbed to a 'sew your own' scarf kit which is basically a piece of fabric and a skein of thick thread for you to do a running stitch along the edge of it. Pics of that 'gem' when I've completed it :-)
The whole sewing 'simple and quick' has been very cathartic mind you, particularly in the face of my current woes.

Viva La Fashione!!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

I'm In A P****d Off State of Mind

Hellooooooooooo Bloggerworld!
Yes, it is me...I am back. Oh my goodness I love this space.

"So why aren't you here more regularly?" I hear you ask!.. A good and valid question... and one with which I have been struggling for some time.

Sometimes I am just too tired to write. Sometimes the overwhelming sadness of my current situation renders me inarticulate. No one wants to hear my whinging.

But here I am.  It's late, there is champagne involved, but my visceral need is to reach out into this place where I have found solace and wisdom in the past.

Oh and let's face it...no one else is listening :-)

So when I left you I was wallowing in my 'crap Christmas' and moving forward towards the sale of my house and the start of my post huband life. Guess what?


The agony of Open Inspections is with us every weekend. We find out the time around Thursday each week and we plan the weekend around housework, garden tidy up and hiding away the day to day paraphernalia of life. Sound system, TV, telephone and even the kettle, get swept off the kitchen benches and secreted in the pantry. Put away the sewing machine, the computer and the watering can. Buckets, mops, laundry baskets and cat food get moved up to the shed and the cats have to be tracked down and locked into The Pit for the duration of the inspection. Outside, Himself arrives, geared up for sailing, but he mows the lawn, vacuums up bark and leaves and makes a half hearted stab at sweeping the patio.

We are all over it.

For the first few inspections we filled vases with flowers, lit candles and set up glasses of wine. We removed every trace of our day to day life and presented a well manicured garden, teeming with life. Now, we sweep everything away with a lick and a promise, wave a hose over the browning lawn and pray for someone to come. We've had to reduce the price and we still had only one looker last Sunday.

We had a perfect offer back at the end of January. On the first day back at school I had the phone call saying someone had offered exactly the amount we wanted, and I cried with relief. That weekend I took Prof J and her engineer husband out to see the house I was keen on, and I made an offer.
OK it had a pool (not what I wanted) but it was so right in every other aspect. I made the offer subject to settlement and held my breath.

On the Tuesday of the following week the agent called to say the buyers had changed their minds. The reason? The wife didn't want to live on a slope. Hello, why was she looking in our area? ALL the houses are on slopes :-D

The house I had offered on accepted my offer, but once they learned I had no sale at my end, they insisted on the right to continue advertising.

As a result, the following weekend they received a better offer.

So we are back at the drawing board. The stress of having to work around the inspections is telling, although I must say The BA has been a great support and practical assistant. She is currently waiting for Uni to start up again. Having dabbled somewhat unsuccessfully last year, on her return from overseas, she has changed courses and hopefully will be more confident, resilient and successful this year. She applied for a full time job this week, thinking that she might defer her course and work first, but it didn't pan out. Oh well, she has other options. She's lucky in that respect!

Meanwhile Himself is living in rental accommodation, somewhat closer to our 'village' centre. In further confirmation of the reason why I cannot continue to hitch my (financial at least) star to his, he claimed to have been unable to have considered selling the house whilst living in it. Huh. Nice for some........
I have heard nothing from the boys. When I spoke to No 2 Son to advise of some urgent mail he asked me quite guilelessly where I was living. Despite having had Christmas Dinner together, the family had not discussed the marital situation at all. They were unaware of the plans for the house or the stage we were up to with respect to its sale. I briefly wondered whether they had noticed my absence at the dinner table.

This was so not the outcome I had expected when I made my vows 9 years ago.

Wish us luck in our wait folks!!


Saturday, 10 January 2015

Just Because they Say They Don't Love You Doesn't Mean You Haven't Done A Good Job

As I find so often nowadays, I must preface this post with the fact that I started it a long time ago.
Nevertheless, as I move to complete it, there are still issues that remain unresolved and roads to travel for both of us. And so I give you:
My Struggle With My Beautiful BA


(Quite A While Ago in 2014)

So the beautiful but temperamental Baby Angel (who would probably need a new name if she even remembered I had a blog, let alone bothered to read it) is not dealing well with my decision to strike out on my own.

I had not anticipated this.

In the past, The BA has sagely commented on the foibles of the male members of our family, summing the whole lot up with statements such as 'I wish we had a normal family'.
Well apparently, it seems, a crap family is better than none and guess what? It is all my fault!
Of course.

Because you see, I am still the adult. Even though the BA is 19 going on 105, she is still a neophyte human being with limited life experience.
And because I am still a teacher, while I am going through **** , you might as well learn from it.

So, here are her declarations and the obvious common responses.
I give you however, the Flaming Sword responses as an alternative.

1) "Mum", she cries, " You are messing up my life!"

Trap for Swordless parents: omg she is right. I am being so selfish. I should stay with him to provide a stable home for her to stay in for ....oh another 6 months before she moves out with her boyfriend.

Sword Response: This is a minor inconvenience for you now. You will still have a place to live, a roof over your head and food on your table. The negative elements of your life are being removed and with that comes pain. No one said life would be without pain. Nevertheless, the change will provide many positives which you still (because of your youth) cannot see. You will be ok. You will survive this my very loved child. The people who have been your stable childhood are all still there. You can adjust. You have the foundations.  You have the ability. You are resilient and you will be better off in a less stressed environment.

2) "Mum", she cries,"You are such a hypocrite, what can you tell me? You discouraged sex before marriage and yet we KNOW what you did!!"

Trap for Swordless parents: omg she is right, I was so totally a slapper.....

Sword response: That is like saying a person injured in a car accident cannot caution others against excessive speed.

3) "Mum", she cries,"venom venom venom "
Trap for Swordless parents: I am a terrible parent, I must get my child to love me again....

Sword Advice: when your child spews venom at you, respond with "I'm sorry you feel that way, however...." This strategy works as well at the age of 19 as it does at 4.

 You may have noticed that this last example was a trifle vague. That is because there were actually more nasty things that she said to me, but (the good news is), two months on, I can't remember what they were.... (deliriously happy face)

My happy lesson to you is that whatever I suggested....works!


It is now a long time since I started this post. There were about three weeks of awful, awful agony as she wrestled with the idea of giving up her 'childhood' home and her dysfunctional family. In that time she threw barbs at me which would pierce the toughest armour. Every flaw in my character, every mistake I had ever made in my life (all of which I have discussed freely over the years, believing that all learning is valuable) was brought back to assault me. I will not pretend the attacks did not hurt. Oh my goodness they hurt. They hurt because generally they were true but also because when I had revealed these 'life lessons' it was with the idea that she might 'learn' from them. I had not really anticipated catching them as a low blow to the stomach. Call me naive.

Since this post The BA has come around. I can almost pinpoint when it happened. She had stormed off to spend the weekend with her boyfriend and on her return she hugged me and said sorry. I don't know what had transpired on that weekend but she came back a changed girl. After weeks of resentment, obstruction, and aggression she returned resolved and cooperative.

So what are my lessons for you, young parents out there with younger kids and the vagaries of life before you?
My answer is: It is a process. It starts when they are tiny and you build, build, build upon it.

Every positive interaction you have with your child early on cements a relationship which will pay you back in spades later.

My relationship with the BA is far from storybook. It is normal and healthy, which involves a fair bit of argy bargy but when all is said and done, this is what she wrote on my Christmas card this year:

Dear Mum
I am sorry I decided to spend Christmas away this year, in hindsight I wish I hadn't. Just wanted you to know that I love you am always here for you no matter the distance. 2015 will be our year to start afresh and kick a***. I love you to the moon and back and appreciate everything you've done for me over the past years. I admire your strength, compassion and selflessness as an individual and your way of always making me feel loved. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Mum.

(I am not making this up!)

Friday, 5 December 2014

You Want My View Sucker? Pay Serious Money For It!!

Oh my goodness I am angry.

It has been a month of massive change and I am sitting (uncomfortably) in a low chair, typing with my elbows on my knees in this 'show home' of a building.

We stripped ourselves bare in order to attract a buyer and do you know what? I don't look my best bare nowadays. You wanna find my value? You gotta look a whole lot deeper than the cellulite thighs and the middle aged paunch.

This house has character. It may be a quirky character but it is not without purpose. There are distinctive areas in this house in which different groups of people can exist apart from each other and oh. my. goodness....that can be a precious thing.

This house has frontage on two streets. It has a shed with full power. It has a double garage to keep your car from rusting out. It has a pool which is a blessing on a 40C day and ..........

I am not selling it to you for peanuts!

In fact asshole, I may rent out rooms so that I can: nurture my garden, know my way home in the dark, spread out my sewing, stay in an area I love and continue to enjoy the beautiful sunsets rather than give my beloved home away to you for a song.

I hope I have made myself clear.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

It's Too Late Baby

My husband moved out today.

I knew it was happening. Hell, I'd spent the weekend packing boxes and hefting large items of furniture into the garage.

But all the same, he moved out today.

Coming home from work, the house is bare bones furnished with attendant dust bunnies and spider webs festooned across hitherto unseen wall spaces. The desolation of an imprint on the carpet, stark, dust clogged, indelible. Something has been taken from this place.

I have been here before. I have been here by choice and by circumstance. I have hefted and lugged before; I have planned, rationalised and adapted. I am a survivor. I am a survivor through Grace.

But that was then and this is today. All those experiences do not lessen the grief of this one. Do not lessen the feeling of isolation. Do not salve the burn of failure, the grief of loss. The visceral excision of a part of my life which, although flawed, had been stable.

I really thought this one would work.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

But If You Try Some Time....

So did I mention how much I like the Rolling Stones? Maybe not. Maybe that's a facebook thing....?

So, I really like the Rolling Stones. I like them so much I have considered getting a tattoo when I'm 80 (and I HATE tattoos).

And at this very moment in time they are IN MY TOWN. I even know where they're staying! I suspect that they will perform a small, intimate,  surprise gig somewhere in town prior to their concert on Saturday night and I am desperate to see them!

This weekend I went down to their hotel and sat in the bar for a while, but they didn't come out. I am considering a camp out on Friday (my day off)........

Truthfully though, I have a friend, who knows someone who works in the hotel, and although she has given me tasty tidbits like: the floor they are on, and calls me when they are going in or out with exhortations to 'get down here!!!'.... to be honest, the thought of being that close to them fills me with an awe approaching paralysis!! I am a pathetic creature torn in two directions.

One part of me wants to take my Goats Head Soup album (the second I ever bought, after Ziggy Stardust) or my Keith Richards authentic T Shirt certificate, down to the hotel and hope for the best. The other part thinks that I would not have the words or the spine to approach them....

But Saturday night is the big night. Of course we all know the traumatic story of their cancellation of the March shows after the death of L'Wren Scott. It was weird because people had been teasing me about one of them dropping dead before the concert etc and when a UK friend posted about L'wren's death at 6.30am my time.....I thought I was still dreaming! Still, time passes and we are here and now, waiting for The Stones.

So last weekend I went out on a Stone Hunt. After all, Adelaide is a small town. I had had a few tips as to where they may surface and, although I was flying solo, I ventured out into the night life of Adelaide in order to stalk the Stones. After all, what did I have to lose? It's not like they're going tobe here again.....

Most of the suggested venues looked pretty subdued during my drive past so I thought to park in the CBD and hang out in the hotel lobby. As I made a right turn into the street where I hoped to park, I noticed a slumped form on a bench outside the Cenotaph on the corner. By the time I had parked and walked up the street to the Cenotaph corner, the slumped form had parted company with the bench and landed squarely (and hard) on the pavement. He was lying in, roughly, the recovery position (apart from a weirdly twisted arm) and a quick check ensured that he was breathing. I tried to rouse ham and got little response so, feeling somewhat desperate, I called the Police. They were very kind and took all the details, assuring me that it was not my responsibility to sit with him until the officers came. But what could I do? He was incredibly vulnerable. I waited with him.

So it was that at 1.30am, I finally made it to the Intercontinental Hotel and strolled surreptitiously into the bar, to be surroundedby  a whole bunch of people in red, white and black clothing, and not a Rolling Stone in sight.

But my thirst for the Stones is unassuaged. I cannot wait for Saturday's concert. It is an amazing opportunity to see an iconic group of people doing what they do best. My Baby Angel was brought up to the strains of 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' and 'Straycat Blues' (a lullaby), warbled inexpertly by her obsessed mama. You cannot imagine how proud I was the day a friend reported that she had sung it to him from the back seat of his car as he had admonished his (same aged) son for asking for that 'one thing too many'. That's my gal!

And this brings to mind another issue. The BA had phoned me from the UK in November 2013 to ask me to buy her Stones tickets, back when March was the concert date. I baulked and refused to buy them on the grounds that she should not be deciding her course of action based upon the performance dates of a rock group! As a result, she stayed in her nanny position, traveled around and had a jolly good time. Just as we missed out on the Stones!

So here she is now, brought up on the icons, short of funds and pretty well 'bought out' of the ticket market by the ridiculously swift uptake of tickets in the first instance. There have been offers of tickets this time around, where people were unable to honor their commitments, but I felt unsure about buying them off the internet. It seemed inherently dodgy.  Then tonight all that changed.

Checking my twitter feed to see whether there was any suggestion of a late night show in Adelaide to night I came upon a last minute 'production run' of tickets. My mind was clouded by fog. I said to myself:
Is it likely your daughter is going to be able to see The Rolling Stones in real life ever again?
Can you let her miss out on this life event?

Of course the answer was 'non'. I booked those tickets right there in the car park of the supermarket.  They'll probably be behind a pole, but hell.......she'll be there! IT"S ONLY ROCK N ROLL!!!!!!