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Down the Rabbit Hole

Saturday, December 14th, 2019

I’ve done quite a lot of knitting, dressmaking and quilting in the time that I was missing from here. When times are hard I find working with my hands is incredibly soothing. It was and I did.

This was one project that I finished – although it took me two and a half years in total to make – it’s Sarah Fielke’s ?Down the rabbit Hole’ block of the month. Machine pieced, hand appliquéd and hand quilted. I bought the fabrics for the background specially but everything else came from my stash, which was very satisfying. Sarah’s pattern was simply amazing. I’m really glad I gave it a go, even if it did take a fair bit of perseverance to make it to the end!

It’s cold and blustery here at the moment – which means our bedroom gets pretty chilly – so I’m really enjoying snuggling down under this beauty at night. Getting up in the morning….not so much…..

Have a nice weekend

Helen

Taking time to live the life I want to have.

Sunday, December 8th, 2019

On Friday I went out for my regular morning run. It was well below freezing. Boy I did not want to get out of bed – but look at what I would have missed if I hadn’t gone:

The morning was so clear and we looked over a fog bank right over into the Alps. A photo really can’t do it justice – it really blew me away.

I have a group of lovely friends I’ve been running with on Friday mornings since forever – certainly more than 15 years. Same time, same route, sometimes more, sometimes less of us, rain, shine and everything inbetween.

I had a couple of years recently when I really didn’t run very often. I was taking medication that gave me asthma when I ran and had also helped to pile on a few kilos – and honestly running was agony. Actually it was worse than agony – I mostly felt like I was going to die. So for a couple of years I mostly stayed at home on Fridays and felt bad about it.

Then about a year ago – I finally decided that this wasn’t a state of affairs I wanted to accept. Sometimes when it’s cold and rainy it takes a huge amount of willpower to get out there and go, but I honestly can’t think of many times when I’ve ever regretted it. Well maybe the time we gave up (the ONLY time I should add), when the foot deep uncleared snow that was drifting deeper and the ice rain full in our faces made us decide that it was just impossible….

Anyway, a year ago I went back to my doctor, found a new medication that works and although it is still hard to run at the beginning as it keeps my heart rate low, my weight is still there and sometimes I feel like I walk as much as I run, I’m out there again on Friday mornings.

I think it is all to do with the realisation that I have to actually LIVE the life I want to have. I have to stop talking about doing things and actually get up and do them. I have to do whatever I can to make things happen, to be the person I want to be and to do the things I want to do.

So now I run, even though I’m not much good at it anymore, I go to movies on my own if I want to see them and I can’t find anyone to go with, I learn new things (like this year finally learning how to make sourdough), I skip work a little early to make it to a yoga class, I take time to sit outside and smell the roses or admire the sunset.

I guess this last year I have learned to take time for me and that it’s the little steps and the little things that make a good life. If I’m always rushing I don’t take the time to appreciate the little things and all that I have.

Have a lovely Sunday!

Helen

A lot has happened in the meantime

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

It’s been a very long time since I wrote anything here, but it’s time to dip my toes into the water again, it’s time to come back.

I lost my mother, I had a stroke, my youngest child moved out, my life changed …..hugely really….but I somehow stayed the same and just kept plodding on. Well you have to really, don’t you? And it’s OK, it really is. My new reality. Good days and not so good days, but I feel like the worst has happened and I’ve survived. Looking back I almost don’t know how I did it. But I did. One day at a time. One step at a time. I learned a lot. I was hurt, very hurt, by the way one member of my family behaved, but I am putting that all behind me and looking resolutely forwards. Best foot forward. That’s what mum would have wanted, it’s what she would have told me to do. At least I think she would. If she had been able to.

You know, it’s lovely to be back. I hope some of you, my lovely virtual friends, are still out there. There will be more. I’ve been sewing, and knitting, and other stuff.

Helen

Live the life you want to lead

Tuesday, March 13th, 2018

In the half a year (or more) that I’ve been away from here, things have slowly started to move in my life. For years I’ve been aiming halfheartedly and haphazardly at simplifying my life. This morning (while cleaning out a bookcase!), I had to laugh when I saw the collection of books on simplicity. There are more stashed in other locations. I can’t even remember what most of them are like. Were they helpful? I guess not particularly. If they had been I would have it all sorted by now….

About six months ago I came across a little mantra – Live the life you want to lead – and somehow it struck a chord and it stuck with me. Since then, with that in the forefront of my mind, I’ve been taking steps – some baby, some a little bigger – in the direction I want to go.

And it’s working.

I’ve taken a long hard look at my life and thought about what I really want and more importantly, what I don’t want:

  • I love my job at the university, but would I rather work 60% than 80% and have a bit more time for me? Yes? I asked for it and got it.
  • Do I want to get back to running regularly even though my betablockers make it really hard and give me a wee bit of asthma. Yes. I’m suffering but I’m getting out there 2-3 times a week and feeling  proud of myself for trying, even if my running is rubbish!
  • Do I really want to be church treasurer. NO!!! (did you hear how loud that one was?) I resigned, amazingly someone else volunteered to take over and my last day is Sunday with the Annual General Meeting. (Did I tell you how happy I am about this?)
  • Do I want to have less clutter? Yes! Every day I do a tiny bit of sorting out. Even if it’s only recycling old magazines that I probably won’t ever look at again. I haven’t had any really major purges anywhere, but just slowly and steadily reduced. OK, so no-one else in the family has noticed the difference. But I have. And with it has come a feeling of lightness and freedom.
  • Was I happy about being a helicopter mom and always worrying about my children and interfering in their lives – did I achieve anything? No! So I am slowly learning to let go, let them fly (they are grown-up after all), make their own mistakes….I think our relationships are better and nothing too horrible has gone wrong so far.
  • Did I need help with managing my mother and her dementia from a distance? Yes. Did she want help? No? Does she like help now she has it? Yup, she loves it! And I get a whole lot less worked up about things!

I suppose I realised that nothing would change on its own. I had to start to take steps to make it the way I wanted it. Even if they are little steps and it takes forever, I’m going in the right direction.

I’m taking time to stop. To read, to sit outside and soak up some sunshine when there is some. I’m enjoying a nice coffee and a walk in the old town. I’m going to see films and meeting friends. I’m doing a lot of yoga and feeling all the better for it. I’m slowing down, walking instead of taking the tram, watching TV and knitting in the evenings sometimes instead of always being busy.

It isn’t a life that will set the world on fire. I’m not going to run a marathon or write a best-selling novel. I have nothing to prove to anybody. I’m happy in my own skin and my little life is nice. It’s simple and it’s really nice. And that’s OK.

Helen

Minimalism…or not?

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

I’m in a quandry.

Completely torn in two directions.

I dream about living a minimalist life. Away with clutter and too much stuff, bring on the streamlined look – less to look after, space, light, freedom. I really want to live like that.

But I’m having a terrible job getting rid of anything.

I’d decided that when I got back from vacation I would start paring down my wardrobe. I have waaaaaay too many clothes, partly because I make a lot and partly because I keep things I like forever.

Now that I’m looking at everything I can’t bear to part with anything. (Well apart from two manky sweaters, which I knew I would never wear again in a million years). The rest? Can’t let go….

I look at things and realise that although they aren’t my favourite thing to wear, they still have a lot of wear in them and it just seems wrong to get rid of them, even though anything decent gets donated to the church bazaar, so has a chance of going to a good home. Most of the clothes I possess I bought because I actually liked them. And I actually still do (mostly).

I’ve realised that what I really want to do is wear things until they wear out and then get rid of them. (I mean I worked hard to earn the money to pay for them). But realistically it would take me about 50 years to get to a manageable level because clothes today just don’t wear out. At least not if you have as many as I do and so don’t wear things all that frequently…..

Do any of you have this problem? How have you solved it?

What a first world problem…..

Helen