Category Archives: seachange

Oh Supermoon!

We missed the moonrise this evening, but got to a beach at Jervis Bay in time to watch the Supermoon playing peek-a-boo with the clouds as the sun set.

It was pretty magical.


I only had my iPhone, but still managed to get a few decent shots to remind me of such a special occasion.

My girls loved it too, which made me extra happy: I have some pretty fond memories of sharing significant astronomical moments with my parents as a child. I remember counting down the seconds to 1:23:45 on 6/7/89 with my dad. And we were at the radio telescope in Parkes when Voyager 2 encountered Neptune later that year. We were among the first people in the world to see the signal kick back in once the probe had traveled behind the planet and out the other side.


I hope there’s a parallel universe where another Meg is a successful astrophysicist, because that’s definitely a path I was curious to tread.

As it is, I’m happy to keep dabbling and sharing a love of all things lofty with my little ladies. We really are made of star stuff, and I always feel at peace when I can look at the sky.

Now I ain’t exaggerating or nothing…

…but moving down the coast from Sydney was the best decision we ever made. 

Seriously.

I’ve already shared a few photos of the nearby beauty here, but even better than that, my backyard has gone from a tiny, overgrown mosquito-nest, surrounded by unit blocks, to this:


(The rainbow isn’t always there…)

Our biggest noise complaint has gone from a non-stop drone of traffic, trains, planes and noisy neighbours, to this:


AKA, a bloody great big tree full of currawongs. Not that I would ever complain about them!

We’re also frequently visited by magpies, magpie larks, rainbow lorikeets, rosellas, red wattlebirds, and my absolute favourites: kookaburras.

It is literally impossible to be sad when the kookaburras start chuckling.

And possibly the best part of moving down here? Our neighbours. Just today, my father-in-law popped over to give me a flower he’d grown in his amazing garden:


Isn’t it a beauty! 😍

(Inspired by today’s Daily Prompt)

Bloooooock block block block!

I know, I know. I’m a terrible blogger.

I just can’t seem to make it habitual. And the fact that I left things hanging with the first instalment of my bike riding attempt is definitely weighing on my conscience. I had hoped by adding a little pressure I could force myself to be more consistent – but no. Instead it’s just made me curl up and crumble and become victim to the part of my brain I’ve recently started referring to as the Chicken of Self-Sabotage.

Source

“Oh, you want to make progress on that piece of writing? It’s going to take WAY too much effort – why even try? You know you’ll never be happy with it anyway. Blooock block block block!”

“Oh, you’ve offered to do something for someone? If you complete it you’ll set up the expectation that you’ll always be this available, thus setting them up for future disappointment; but if you don’t, it’ll be yet more proof that you’re flaky and unreliable! Let’s just freeze up until the time pressure destroys you. Blooock block block block!”

“Oh, the house is so messy that you can’t think straight? Cleaning it will be a mammoth task. Let’s just go out and spend all the money you don’t have to distract yourself instead. Blooock block block block!”

“Oh hey! After weeks of calorie counting and forcing yourself to be more active you’re finally back under 80kg for the first time in years! Let’s celebrate by drinking half a bottle of wine! Oh dear. You’ve gotten the munchies and devoured the rest of your chocolate biscuits too. Whelp! May as well just give up now. Eat this bag of chips! Blooock block block block!”

Inhale. Exhale.

This voice has gotten quite loud recently, as I’ve kind of fallen off the mediocrity wagon and started getting lost in my own head again – daydreaming of future glory while conveniently ignoring the hard slog needed to get there. I weaned off my antidepressants a couple of months ago and although that’s mostly been great, an unfortunate side-effect is all the “unhelpful” internal monologues becoming more insistent.

Getting my brain back to its natural state has unleashed a flood of creative urges. An idea for a screenplay that’s been kicking around for a while suddenly coalesced and threatened to explode unless I started putting it on paper. So did a speculative fiction novel idea. And I’ve come up with two other blog ideas (which are totally laughable notions considering how poorly I maintain this one!).

I’m bursting at the seams with music ideas too: just listening to the hum of the fridge and the tick of the clock prompts my brain to start weaving a melody into it. I actually went to a music workshop with my sax a month ago where I jammed with an AWESOME group of people with an eclectic mix of instruments. It was so much fun. One of them has since tracked me down to see if I am available for regular gigs. YES! But also NO – that would need for me to: practise every day to maintain technique and stamina; rely more heavily on my in-laws for childcare; rely more heavily on family and friends for lifts everywhere OR get my driver’s license sorted ASAP. 

And don’t even get me started on all my crafting urges…

Inhale. Exhale.

It’s been hard not to get swept up in it all to the point where I fall in a heap and let the Chicken of Self-Sabotage peck me into submission. At the end of the day, though, I still need routine, patience, and self-discipline if I have any hope of achieving the barest minimum of these dreams.

You’re not quite there yet, Meg. Chillax, stick to the basics, and throw all that Chicken-feed to the other side of the barn. This will only work from the ground up.

You have the luxury of time and space. Keep making the most of it!

(Inspired by today’s Daily Prompt)

Learning to ride, Part 1

Hidely-ho, bloggerinos!

It’s been a while.

I’m all about getting back on the horse at the moment though, so I decided to pay attention to my email notifications this one time and use the Daily Prompt:

Embarrassing

You see, I’m finally taking the time to prioritise my (non-existent) fitness levels and have decided to confront a skill I’ve been lacking at the same time. Two birds, one stone, and all that.

Long story short, we had a bit of extra money recently so I bought this little beauty:


Isn’t she just gorgeous?

Short story longer: I’ve never actually mastered riding a bike before.

Oh I tried. I really did. But I just wasn’t that into it as a little kid and by the time it became a bit of an issue – what with me growing up in the country and all – I was too old to get away with crashing about in public like an idiot.

OK so technically you’re never too old for that BUT when you’re just about a teenager? No way. No how.

But still…

I ended up asking my parents for a bike for my 13th birthday, fully intending to take the plunge. My Dad was so excited and took me out to a local park for some daddy/daughter bonding time where he could share his wisdom and shepherd me into this new-found freedom. It was going to be glorious.

Until it wasn’t. 

I froze up pretty bad, unable to wrap my head around the necessary skills and terrified of falling. He decided to take a “tough love” approach and push me through that initial fear so I could see that it wasn’t so bad and I could conquer it.

Big. Mistake.

Instead of persevering I screamed and cried, demanding that he let me get off the bloody thing. He dug his heels in, but underestimated my stubbornness.

Rather than a touching, teachable moment – possibly involving a montage with inspirational music (it was the end of the 80s after all) – we had a Mexican standoff in the middle of a damn PARK on a weekend. Everybody else there stopped and stared while I screamed and pleaded and wished I could die from the embarrassment.

Eventually he relented and we wheeled the bike back home in surly silence.

I never touched it again.

As I got older I still kind of wanted to try again sometime so we held onto that bike for years, even taking it with us when we moved to Sydney. Rather than freewheeling around the hills and lanes of the Inner West it leaned against a wall outside where it was slowly colonised by ivy.

(It was quite a pretty art installation in the end. Before my parents moved back out to the country they left it in the rear lane where it was snaffled up by a passerby in a heartbeat. Hopefully they treated it better than I did.)

Now, almost a quarter of a century after that day, I figured I was ready to try again. I’ve spent much of my life looking like a fool in public since then so surely – surely – I could handle it this time.

I walked proudly out of the bike shop bubbling with excitement. My bike was shiny and red and gorgeously retro, and it came with a beautiful name – Audrey – already painted on. I was in a new town where I barely knew anyone and there were plenty of wide sidewalks and secluded parklands for me to practise on.

OK so ALL the kids ride everywhere and everyone’s more nosy than I’m used to and DAMN the cars drive fast…

And the kookaburras seem to cackle more loudly as I wheel my bike past them…

And the kangaroos really know how to stare at you until you feel uncomfortable and unwelcome……..

NO.

Not this time, you treacherous brain! I won’t be talked out of it.

I got Audrey home and had to put her straight in the shed, as we already had plans for the afternoon. The next day I got her out in the back yard and mounted the seat.

It felt pretty good.

My plan was to just practise coasting without pedalling and get used to balancing on two wheels first, before I got out in public and tried actually riding it.

It went… well? I guess? Kind of.

Let’s just say pedals hurt like a bitch when they bash into your calves and ankles unexpectedly.

This was still as hard and disheartening as I remembered. I could feel all the old neuroses and intense embarrassment bubbling up from my subconscious. Not gonna lie, I cried a bit.

I had to put Audrey away and rethink my strategy. This was going to be even more challenging than expected.

Sanctuary


We’ve been here two weeks now.

Well the girls and I have, anyway. Poor hubster has been mostly stuck in Sydney, tying up loose ends and getting rid of all the stuff we don’t want with us down the coast.

So far it has been as idyllic as I hoped it would be.


The girls are happier. I am bathed in a glorious sensation of space. My cat looks about 5 years younger and is clearly more happy and vital than he has been in a very long time.

So many new smells to sniff and spaces (generally full of cobwebs!) to explore and neighbourhood cats to chase off his lawn!

I am loving having my in-laws next door. Even if we don’t hang out, I know they’re right there, willing and able to share a cuppa or watch TV with the kids or help with a problem at a moment’s notice.


I’ve had a few pangs of missing Sydney – the cafes here are a bit shit and there’s no nightlife to speak of – but I’m still so glad we took this plunge.

Of course school starts up again tomorrow, and I have the daunting task of making new friends from scratch ahead of me (which is a lot like dating, only without the loud music and booze).

And then there’s all these bastards to deal with:

*resigned sigh*

More. Bloody. BOXES!!

I’m going to end up buried in these things one day. I just know it.

Anyway, lots of blogging fodder ahead – and hopefully a lot more headspace to do it more regularly again.

To finish on a high note: I completed the central panel of the filet lace table-topper I’ve been working on for 6 years now. Ta-da!


It’s so pretty!

Only seven rounds of border to go now. Easy peasy.

Panic attacks

The plus side: I miscalculated when school holidays started and it turns out we have an extra week before the move. 

The down side: regularly being frozen and overwhelmed by panic really impedes the packing process…

That being said, we got our first load of stuff down to the new place last weekend. My husband and his dad hired a truck and we got to work. 

 
Annoyingly, about a third of the load was all the stuff we still had in a storage unit on behalf of my friend who became homeless last year. She’s in Melbourne now and still not really coping so I promised we would take it with us until she is settled (which, to be honest, may not happen for a looooong while). I personally feel like she would be better off letting go of it all, but that’s not my call to make. It’s no real hardship for us to play caretakers so that’s what is happening for now. Hopefully we’ll find a more satisfactory resolution for that in the not too distant future…

Awesomely, we threw together about 20 boxes of our own stuff, along with a few bulky bits of furniture and other random things we can do without for a month.

 
That beanbag is stuffed full of soft toys (BEST way to store them when they’re not being played with, btw); one box has all our DVDs and PlayStation games; one box has all my winter jackets and track pants (which was “great” timing just before the Autumn weather finally kicked in…); the oven box has a few of Miss 7’s doll houses in it; all my CDs are in those milk crates and one small box – although one milk crate is only covers for the discs in my DJ folders that I need to keep here, and; all my books, minus a handful staying here for now, are in four boxes. 

 
All my craft magazines and books, all my recipe books, and all the other books that mean something to me are here. At least as many as these have been donated, sold or recycled as part of the culling process.

I will be able to fit all these in one set of shelves at the new place.

Not gonna lie, it feels pretty awesome.

And I’m pretty confident I can reduce things further when we’re setting up – especially with my CDs and DVDs. I rushed the process with them so I could put them in the truck (I reckon some angsty teens down in Jervis Bay are really going to appreciate the stash they will find at the local Vinnies in a few months…).

Up next, following the KonMari order of sorting through stuff, is skincare and makeup so I will attack the bathroom (where basically all of that is stored). I will cull my toiletries and makeup, attack the bath toys, go through the towels (we have way too many!), and give the room a good scrub down.

That’s my job for the weekend. If I get through that, I’ll start on my accessories (next on the KonMari list – man that book is a lifesaver when you are overwhelmed and don’t know what to do next!!).

Doable, right?

*breathe in; breathe out*

So long as the kids can entertain themselves I’ve got the next phase sorted. What could go wrong?

Balls in the air

Can you juggle?

It’s a skill I’ve occasionally attempted to master but never with enough conviction to keep practising. I just don’t naturally have the hand-eye coordination, or the ability to fall into that zone where your brain steps back and lets your muscles just do their thing.

I could really do with that skill right now.

We have four weeks until the move happens. We’ve factored in another three week buffer after that to tie up loose ends and get the Sydney house all spick and span before we hand back the keys, but the removalists will be here in four weeks to take everything down to our new home.

In that time I have to:

Finish culling, sorting and packing all my stuff;

Physically catch up with everyone I want to say goodbye to in person;

Help my 7yo process leaving her current school and the friends that she’s suddenly making all over the place (always the way!);

Help both kids reduce all their stuff to take;

Buy a soft cat carrier (my fur-kid tries to bust out of cages so ends up injuring himself on bars and plastic) and arrange a checkup and get advice on how to help my old buddy cope with all the stress;

Work out how to responsibly dispose of all the stuff we’re not taking with us (so difficult in the middle of the city!); and

Clean and tidy and cook and do the school run like normal.

Panic stations are setting up at the perimeter. I hope I’ve got this!!

5 weeks to go…

5 weeks until we pull up stumps and head down the coast.

Here’s what my living room currently looks like: 

 
Inhale. Exhale.

My plan to systematically sweep through the house and approach this monumental task by breaking it down into logical steps hasn’t gone too well over the last two weeks. I just can’t do it. I can’t make a plan and stick to it.

This is something I’ve known about myself for some time now. Why did I expect things to be different?

Silly Meg! *smacks hand*

Hubby’s anxiety is going into overdrive and we’re both really overwhelmed. The girls are being their usual selves and cavorting like puppies all over any progress being made, upending boxes and spreading the resulting discoveries liberally throughout the house.

It’s kind of intense.

Still, small victories have been made. Hubby took a carload of donations to a charity depot last week: 

 and I’ve been chipping away at other discards a little at a time.

My new approach is to go back to pottering about with a few tasks on the go that I flit between as my attention wanders. It’s not as systematic, but I’m getting a lot more done. Alongside cleaning and sorting, I’m applying the KonMari method to my own stuff with the goal of packing what’s left as I go.

I already went through my clothes once six months ago, but I still managed to get rid of another bag and a few pairs of shoes. I’ve been re-embracing my gothic past and DJing at a monthly club again (which is SO MUCH FUN!!), so I’m really not sure what my particular clothing style is all about anymore. Thankfully, Marie’s method of asking each item “Does this spark joy?” does work like a charm: even if I rarely wear a particular item of clothing, I love looking through my wardrobe and being thrilled by what I see and feel. I’m calling that a win.

The next step is to tackle books. In order to do this correctly I had to fish out the last few boxes with books in them from my back room: 

 I had a little help. ❤️

Many treasures were discovered during this process, including more craft supplies: 

 
blasts from the past: 

 
and the first book I bought about tatting, which led to a lifelong obsession with yarn crafts: 

 
Check out all these gorgeous lace edgings! I adapted a lot of these into chokers and trimmings for accessories back in the day: 

 
Now I have to pool all the remaining books and magazines together and work out which ones bring joy into my life and which ones I’m just holding onto for the sake of it.

I’m so glad I’ve spent the last year or two actively working on my hoarding tendencies. I’m so glad that I’ve persisted with The Making of Mediocre Meg even when I felt like giving up and submitting to entropy. Now that it’s crunch time I’m in a really good headspace to make the most of this opportunity. While I’m still keeping the things most dear to who I am now, I find myself gleefully letting go of so much stuff – it’s more the logistics of discarding large quantities of crap that is the main thing getting in the way this time.

It’s a good place to be.