Showing posts with label Life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Life. Show all posts

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Checking In

Sorry the blog posts have been few and far between these last couple of weeks. You know how they say, "something's gotta give", when you work and mother and housework (rather badly) and work and work?... well my poor blog has been quietly tending to itself while we have been settling back into the school/work routine. I think I have my act together now and over the next week or so will be moving everything here over to my new Wordpress site that Katrina has kindly set up for me. I also believe in the saying, "if you don't have anything to say, don't say it".. is that a saying? It is now. Between work and school, there's been not much interesting stuff to say.... it's just been school lunches and #mylifeinthecar and work and shed and couriers and boxes (my life is boxes) and emails and piano lessons and emergency school shirt ironing... you know the drum.

What do you do when you don't have the time to blog?..... when you get so busy and focussed you forget to even smile until someone smiles at you? I love the idea that Karen, from 'The Art Of Doing Stuff', came up with, as she needed some time away from her blog to get stuff done. She got her blog readers to write a story, starting with, "It was a dark and stormy night......". Head on over there for some great Saturday morning reading. It's hilarious! Her readers have a great collective sense of humour! Can't wait to see how it ends.... or it might never! HERE.

Happy Saturday! We're doing Michel Thomas' family French lessons this morning....we've got 9 weeks to get fluent... all of us, especially little peanut allergy boy... he has to be super diligent in another language.... and country. We're off on a big adventure. Tell you all about it soon.


Thursday, October 11, 2012


'Little one' started his new school this week.... and has experienced a great life lesson in 'change'. He has embraced it all, with gusto. It's been so wonderful to watch him blossom over only a few days. He's been positively joyous at school pick up, rattling off all the happenings amongst his new class and new friends. His smile is as wide as it's ever been. Breathe out!

"Twenty kids sat with me at lunch today"
"We're allowed to play before school!!!!"
"A girl asked me what my favourite colour is" (first experience with co-ed!)
"The girls sit around and divide their hair into 3 strands and put it all together" (has never seen a plait before!)
"4B are really upset that they didn't get me"
"The teacher doesn't yell or scream AT ALL and the kids are REALLY good in class...she just looks at them, like this, if they are being a bit too rowdy and they all get really quiet and sit up straight, she doesn't have to scream at all" (the screaming really got to him last time)
"I think I am a celebrity as everyone wants to play with me"
"We're all allowed to get a snack at 10, to eat at our desk, so we don't faint before morning tea!!" (he didn't cope well with the 6.30am-11.00am gap between meals)
"I like learning more I think, it's more fun"
"Had Japanese today. They are way more ahead of us. I didn't understand a thing.... but it's good"
"I asked some boys to stop blocking the slippery slide and they said, 'sure'... they're so polite"
"Everyone is calm, the whole school feels really calm"
"The Principal plays soccer with us at lunch time"
"They have a school disco!!!!!... AND a fete!!!!"
"You were right Mum, it feels like I have been here forever now"

'Mouths of babes'. You can't get better than that. I am taking ALL the credit for finding the school. It was all me! #pattingselfonback

The #mylifeinthecar situation is going to be a challenge over the next 8 weeks while I have 2 boys at different schools, on the opposite sides of town, but I'll drive/wait for/ do anything just to have happy boys. Things will settle down again next year when big son starts his IB Senior School in the same suburb as little one's school next year (he got in!... passed the 5 hour exam and the interview... the stress of it was a long wait to find out)....then we'll move house to be closer to the schools.

It's all happening. Change. It's good.

As I said to my youngest, on his first day at school on Monday, "son, that's one thing that is guaranteed in life... 'change'.... get used to it... embrace it".

He was so brave on his first day. He dug deep.  He embraced it.

So damn proud.


Friday, October 5, 2012

The Return Of Japan Boy

We waited for him....

... and waited.

For what seemed like for. ev. er.

... and then there he was!

 There were sweet little gifts from him and his host family.
The sweetest.

 ... and new fashions.
Chesty bonds and Japanese headbands, who'd have thought?

He's leaving me little surprises. 

Some wave.

So many stories to hear.... and not for the faint hearted either. If I'd have known that he was going to have to rise at 6am, ride a bike to the train station, then catch 2 trains for half an hour, then ride another bike for ONE HOUR, to the school every day... and then do the same again home at night, in the dark, with no helmet, with cars whooshing by, getting home to his host family by 9pm...... I would have thought twice about signing that consent form.

He thought it was UNREAL... all of it. His host family spoke not ONE word of English. He loved them, and chatted to them and played the piano for them and told them deadly Australian snake stories, all in Japanese. He said he spoke to anyone who would listen to him, anyone who didn't have headphones in their ears..... so he could speak his Japanese. He walked up to strangers and asked about their lives. He talked to little children, who were so cute he "could eat their cheeks". He learnt so many new phrases... colloquial speak. He revelled in every delicious moment. And it was delicious. His eyes get really wide when he speaks of the food. 

I could so travel with this boy. He sounds like me.

Now there's an idea!


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I Think It's Time...

.. for me to have a sale or something... clear some stock.

I couldn't get into my shed yesterday morning. I had to breathe in to get to my desk... and I am calling myself a minimalist these days!... a declutterer!

It's a tricky business, this lighting business. Stock is so scarce....when it appears, you have to pounce... and stockpile. It's feast or famine. There is never enough stock... for long enough. Those beautiful Glass Bell Pendant lights that stopped my heart a few weeks ago, I sold the lot and then the next lot and the next and now I have to wait until April 2013 for the next lot. What???? How can this be? This is the 21st century. I'm a bit sad about the eternal scarcity of stock, in this lighting wasteland we call Australia.

In brighter news, I sourced these beauties for a client today. I am embracing the industrial aesthetic more and more these days. It is all the rage over at the centre of the universe (New York).... and I was informed by a New Yorker, that 'Hamptons style' to a New Yorker, means clean, modern lines with industrial accents.... not the 'Leave It To Beaver' house that we all eternally drool over. Who knew we had it all so wrong? He was quite amused by the way we Aussies define 'Hamptons style', incredulous actually. It made for a very interesting breakfast-in-the-garden, round-table, group discussion at our bed and breakfast in Southampton. Definition of 'Hamptons Style'?... well it depends on your country of origin. Those who live and holiday in the Hamptons think differently!

I rather loved these too. For a stairwell .... or hanging over a dining table from a scissor trussed roof. Splendid.

I have been seriously loving this boy to death, while his brother is away eating REAL, authentic, made--in-Japan sushi. The Japan email last night stated that he had experienced 'true heaven on earth', having eaten at a real Japanese sushi train. Hope he took photos.

Meanwhile back in the real world, life continues. 
Does anyone else have a 10 year old who still begs to ride in the trolley and get buried in groceries?

We've been keeping busy.... to keep our mind off our absent brother/best friend/right arm .... 
.....visiting animal parks...

.... hugging things...

.....befriending things, 'lizard-whisperer' style....

Meanwhile, the due date for my Masters makeover reveal has been extended.
 Next week I get to show you. 
It's all finished. I'm living in it, blogging in it and generally lapping it up now! 

The 'before' was pretty bleak.

One more sleep until my big boy is home safe ... and different. 
He won't be the same... now that he has taken a bite of the world. 
You're never the same, once you've travelled.
And that's such a good thing.

Happy Wednesday!
PS. I'll let you know about that sale.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Ponderings

If I was to pick a colour that says, 'happy', it would be this. 
Just lovely.

I love the idea of a black board at the front door! Hellooooooo!

We had a magical day at the Koala Park yesterday... apart from the heartbroken tears over the caged Kookaburra trying to be friends with a free Kookaburra. They couldn't get to each other, even though they tried and tried. Little one was so distressed about it all and wanted to speak to a ranger about getting the free one in, to keep the caged one company. Then there were mutterings of staging a jail break. He's like that. So different to his older brother. He's me.

I took a few photos of snake and koala hugging. They're over at instagram @thehouseofam. Katrina had to take my instagram widget off this here blog as it was evil and scheming and had serious bugs in it. So if your blog is playing up, check your instagram widget. Thank goodness for blog designers who know something about something! So hopefully you won't be redirected to spam sites anymore when you visit here. I'm moving to WordPress in a few weeks so there will be crickets here very soon. Hopefully everyone will follow me over there.

We heard from 'Japan boy' last night. His host family has checked them all in to a 'fancy' hotel, for the weekend. My boys love that word 'fancy'. They use it for everything.... "he drives a 'fancy' car, she was wearing 'fancy' clothes". Little one wrote back to say, "so glad everything is so 'fancy'". I laughed. He also wrote back, "I love you for all my tomorrows".... so poetic. My heart sort of skipped. He's missed him so much. So big son is in a 'fancy' hotel. He says he is chatting to the host children all the time, fluently Japanese. He says the father doesn't say much. He played Japanese soccer and took part in a traditional tea drinking ceremony and reckons he's going to start drinking tea when he gets home. Love it.

Love him. I am so grateful to have been able to give him this opportunity. I am so grateful. I think he is too. Experiences, education, manners, compassion, empathy, social conscience are what it's all about.... not things. 'The most important things in life are not things'. I think my boys get that. I hope they travel the world.

I'm waffling. Feeling pensive. Missing my boy. Psyching myself up for a run.

Have a great day!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

It's So Quiet

It's been so quiet with big son away in Japan. Food is going off too! You don't realise how much a 15 year old puts away until they are not around..... I am baking with all my browning bananas... and our grocery bills are almost non existent!

We celebrated little one's birthday last weekend with a Pikachu birthday cake, made lovingly by his old nanny..... who has made him a cake every year since he was one. 

He was over the moon when he first laid eyes on it. Pokemon is BIG in this household ("but not during the school week", they chorus, on cue!)

Little son headed off to a computer game/animation course this week, at his request. Quote/unquote, "it's so much better than being at home". I think the shed work was getting to him! Not the most exciting way to spend the school holidays, especially with best friend/brother notably absent.

I was left to my own devices and busied myself with work and my little Masters makeover project. 

The hardest job was ripping the paper off. So well wrapped. You could tell they'd come from Germany.... the craftsmanship even extended to the wrapping.

Voila! ...the coveted outdoor chairs I have been stalking the Masters site for.... ever since they appeared as a promise of 'New Season Stock' a few months back. Love them to bits. They are so solid and so beautifully made.

Whipped up my little courtyard makeover and have been enjoying it all week.
The stinky soccer boots have been relegated to the far corner of the garage.
This spot is now all mine, mine, mine! 

Will reveal all later next week when I will also announce the winner of the $500 Masters Voucher. Beyond exciting.

In Japan news, contact has been brief and rushed. Skype hasn't really worked for us for some reason, only IM through Skype has given us snippets of our son's travels. An email arrived last night which was received with great excitement! He is currently with his host family in Mie. He was a bit nervous before he met up with them as he is staying with them on his own but from the tone of his email he has settled in with them nicely. There is a boy, and a girl, in his host family, who both attend his school. He had his first day at school yesterday. I sent him good thoughts all day. He says he LOVES school and that the girls sit in the corner and giggle and point. Knew he'd be a 'rockstar'!  He is very confident with his Japanese now and says he can understand and say everything. Nothing like a week's immersion. 7 years of lessons... but one week in the country was all that was needed for it all to sink in!

He loves the girls. I am so glad I packed plenty of female host/friend gifts... I knew he'd be needing them!

So yay, it's Saturday! We don't have to be anywhere. That said, we might take little one to the local Koala Sanctuary.... and look for stick insects in the gardens. It's just down the road and it's a beautiful day.

What are you up to?

PS. Would love you to email me if you are noticing any strange things happening with my blog as you read it. A few of my bloggy colleagues have been experiencing 'strange-ness' too..... redirection to spam sites, etc. I am moving over to my wordpress blog over the next couple of weeks. Couldn't come at a better time. This old rattler has had it's day!

PPS Katrina is on to it. May I just say, she doesn't just design blogs... when done, she monitors and fixes and tweaks and responds to 'IT gumby distress calls' 24/7. Great customer service. #justsayin #loveherguts

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Simple Rhythm

I find the more complicated the world gets, the more I seek out simplicity in all that I do. I was reading something somewhere last night about how smartphones have killed the creativity of boredom. Do you think that is the case? Are we at a stage now where we can't be still without being stimulated/occupied 24/7? Remember the days of staring at the walls in a waiting room, your mind wandering, creating?

I don't know whether it is just because I am getting older and more comfortable in my own skin, but I seek out simpler routines, simpler methodologies to all that I do in my day these days. The busier the world gets, the more effort I put into making mine less busy and more productive. I feel that it gives me the opportunity to live in the moment/task more and experience more gratitude for the little things, for each and every moment. The days are short. I feel the need to slow them down and savour them more.

My day starts simply when I get up with the sun, detach from the world, even my thoughts for a while, and run into the day. I work in a business that is uncomplicated, with limited overheads, a manageable product range with simple operational procedures. I can work pretty much from anywhere and I get to connect with happy, creative people.

My home is now simple, uncluttered, pared down, tidy, easy to clean and manage.
My wardrobe is manageable and consists of only what fits and what I love to wear. Our meals are fresh, uncomplicated, unprocessed. The TV is off most nights so we connect as a family.. and when it's not, we watch our favourite box sets of shows we are working our way through together. Our daily routine is simple.....and we all know our jobs, what needs to be done. Sometimes I shout from the kitchen at the end of the day, "aren't we a great team?!" I stop to savour and be grateful more these days.

Maybe because my life has been so complicated in the past, I am just revelling in normality! in peace! in contentment? in gratitude? Maybe things will change when I start building my next house? Maybe I am older and wiser and will be able to be 'in the world but not of it' when I'm standing on my next building site. Maybe busy New York put 'it' all in to perspective?

Maybe Einstein was on to something?  "I believe that a simple and unassuming manner of life is best for everyone, best both for the body and the mind". Albert Einstein ...

"Let your mind wander in simplicity" ~Chuang-tzu

"Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment." ~Buddha

Do you seek out simplicity in your life? Have you been looking for ways to un-complicate your life and savour each moment more? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Sunday, September 23, 2012


From My New York Collection

Something really beautiful from 'Zen Habits' this morning, HERE.

What a great concept ... taking time to applaud! 

Happy Sunday!


Saturday, September 22, 2012

It's Been A Rather Amazing Week

We've had an action packed week here. Talk about life changes! Our big son is now in Japan. Haven't heard anything from him yet, since he got to Tokyo, except a quick email from Changi airport saying that he got to Singapore.... and that he 'loves us more than anything in the world'. Good start.

We have skyped and emailed .... and are sort of dying to get in contact with him as it's been a week of good news for our hard working boy.

As well as getting Honours for his piano exam, we found out yesterday (after he had left the country) that he had been accepted into the selective Senior School he has been sitting exams and doing interviews for over the past term. He will be beside himself! A school with an OP 1 equivalent track record of 50%..... he now stands a good chance of achieving his goal of a career in Medicine. So happy for him.

There has been a lot of 'proud tears' shed in this household this week. After the airport drop off, the 3 of us sat on the couch at home and just cried... that he'd gone, that he'd done so well, that we loved him, that we loved each other, that little one was feeling so bereft. Tear, tears, tears!

Put him to work in the shed this week. A bit of real life 'home schooling'!

Little one is also changing schools. He has not enjoyed his last year of school and the Prep school was not living up to our expectations, after 8 years and a swag of hard earned school fees... so I quit the Prep School 5 seconds after my meeting with the Prep School Principal last week. "Son, this will be the last day you ever wear this uniform". Nothing like standing up for what you believe in.

Little one will be starting a new school next term. We have already had the tour with the most personable principal and have met every class and every teacher. They are so excited to have him and have already planned for him to coach the little Prep kids in soccer and they have already found a place for him in the school musical next term. He's delighted. It's a little school so we hope to find much happiness and get right back on track.

So we will be moving again to be close to the boys' new schools!  Hopefully we'll be close enough to be able to walk to at least one of them! Very exciting. Love me a new neighbourhood. I might even be able to unload some of my stored pretties from the shed.

I've had a rather lovely week too. One of my customers sent me this beauty. I had eyed it off in an East Hampton bookstore but decided that my luggage was already straining ...and I'd only been in the country a few days! Thank you C.... it is bringing me such joy!

Of course there had to be a bloggy lunch thrown in there ... with glamorous sandwiches....

... and evil desserts.... and lots of talk of 'interesting developments' as FF would say.

I've tried to even it all out.. with more of this....

.. and this.

Even Brian and Nigella have been enjoying gastronomical delights! Shudder.

It's school holidays now, so there's going to be a bit of this.....

.. sorry son. Character building. I spent most of my school holidays in a piano practice room, while my Mum lectured at the Uni. Pity I didn't actually practise the piano while I was in there. I could have been quite good.

Have a great weekend!
Oh, and don't forget to enter my '$500 Masters Room Makeover Competition' HERE. It closes next Friday!