BIG MAGIC

Hi there, readers. Are you still there? It's 2.55 on Thursday afternoon, and I have a story for you.

I haven't written since the beginning of the year. It's been a busy year, and there's things to report. Very exciting and wonderful things. In fact, I just got back from my honeymoon a few days ago. But that story will have to wait for another day, because today I'm going to talk about how I'm locked out of the house. And how, it's kinda sorta, a bit cool, it turns out.

Right now I'm sitting on a patch of dog-fluffy carpet, on the floor of my parents' garage. My phone is plugged into the socket, next to Dad's whipper snipper. I'm still in my work clothes from this morning (but I look a bit raggedy). My border collie, Lily, is asleep a metre to my left, but bless her, I have a cold and I keep waking her with a start, every time I sneeze.

How did my day come to this?!

I went to work this morning already sick with a head cold that had developed overnight. I usually wouldn't go to work sick - it really bugs me when people do that. You never know who has an important event coming up that they want to be well for! You should just stay home if you're sick. But the thing is, yesterday was my first day back at work after having been away for three weeks, so I ignored my own rule.

I sneezed at my desk til 11am, at which time my manager agreed it would be best I go home. I had some things to collect from my parents' place before driving home (45 minutes south of my current location) so I came here, gathered my things and then... locked my car keys inside the house. :(

I sent SOS messages to my Mum, to find out her coordinates and if she was at work, and if so, what time she'd be home. 5 hours away.

I obviously then walked around the outside of the house to see if I could break in. Unfortunately my parents are pretty vigilant about securing the house. Luckily the garage door was open though, as it always is, so Lily can come and go. I found some wire in Dad's tool cupboard and tried to pick the lock of the internal garage door, because, obviously picking locks should be a piece of cake and doesn't require any special skills, right? The spirit of McGuiver was not on my side today.

By the way it was a steamy 29C outside and let's not forget, I'm sick. I was not having a fun time. I set up a cushion chair in the shade and finished the last couple of chapters of my book. By that time, I was starving, so packed my handbag, rolled up my trousers, and braced myself for the 20-minute walk through the heat to the shops, in search of food. This is a true story of survival.

It was a scorching walk and not enjoyable. I had some lunch and then went to get supplies: tissues, afternoon snack, a charger and a new book.

I was browsing past the woo-woo section of books and a title called Big Magic; Creative Living Beyond Fear, popped out at me. In hindsight, this is interesting, because I'm dead sure there is a post-it taped to my corkboard at home with the book title Big Magic. I think someone recommended it, though can't recall who. Anyway, I bought it, and decided to walk home. May have stopped past Dunkin Donuts for a self-pity snack. #deserveit.

To my surprise, when I stepped outside of the shopping centre I saw that enormous steel-blue storm clouds had gathered, and they looked like they were about to drop. Sure enough, 5 minutes into my walk home, down came those big, fat raindrops. Right onto my thin white blouse, as I stood waiting at the traffic lights of a 4-way intersection. Perfect.

As I walked homewards I started feeling excited about the shelter of the garage. Isn't it funny, how perception shifts.

I re-positioned myself on my makeshift lounge station and opened up Big Magic.
I'm only six pages in. The introduction talks about famous poet, Jack Gilbert. Page 4 talks about his stint as a teacher...

"...he asked his students to be brave. Without bravery, he instructed, they would never be able to realize the vaulting scope of their own capacities. Without bravery, they would never know the world as richly as it longs to be known. Without bravery, their lives would remain small - far smaller than they probably wanted their lives to be."

It was then that I knew. I stopped reading and looked up at the sky, now streaked with harmless white clouds. I said, "thank you".

See, when I had arrived back at the train station after coming home from work this morning, I got in my car, and I had a question for my helpers (of the angelic variety). I've had some questions about what I'm doing, work-wise, and where I'm going.

I kept reading, til I got to the end of the introduction, which reads:

"He (Jack Gilbert) smiled at the girl (a student) with infinite compassion and asked, "Do you have the courage? Do you have the courage to bring forth this work? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes."

And then I cried a few happy, slightly overwhelmed tears. I realised that the utterly weird direction that my day took, was not an accident. I was meant to get this book and read these words. And that's why I'm sitting on the dog-furry carpet, with a headcold, locked out - but feeling grateful, and not at all sorry for myself (well... I could be feeling worse).

XO




Edit: Got home and, sure enough, there's the post-it. #magic #visionboards #lawofattraction


2016 AND LAST YEAR'S 'VEGAN' LIFE

Hello!

Long time, no blog.

2015 was busy, excellent, wonderful, life changing, extremely challenging, stressful, heartbreaking and then pretty wonderful all over again. I sure did learn a lot, and achieve a lot, in 2015.

One week into the new year and I'm feeling so excited about all of the wonderful new adventures and experiences that the future has in store.

The thing I wanted to write about tonight was my journey so far with living vegan.

I use the term loosely... let me explain.

Around this time last year I came across some information about eating animal products, and the cruelty associated with that, and it opened my eyes. It spurred me on to keep seeking information, and I have been continuing my education ever since.

My history shows that I can be a flighty person when it comes to routines concerning diet or exercise. I'll typically go through phases where I'm really into exercise, and then I won't really do anything for literally months. And same with diets - they can last a few weeks and then I fall off, then start again, or not.

So that being said, there was every chance that I'd start down this vegan path and then turn my back on it, but the amazing thing is, I haven't.

I haven't been fully vegan at any point in 2015, or even fully vegetarian. I've been gentle with myself at times because it's not been easy for me to change the habits that are ingrained in me, especially when you are literally the ONLY one among your entire circle of friends and family and colleagues who are eating this way. (The statistic is that 17% percent of people identify as vegetarian or vegan - where are you guys?!)

Anyway, throughout the whole of 2015 I've had some meat dishes here and there (I would say, 1-2 serves of red meat a month). I've had 1-2 servings of fish every week. Hardly any chicken, either - maybe once or twice a month. Dairy and egg consumption has also been hugely down. Barely any dairy milk (only splashes in tea if no other available), no yoghurt whatsoever. Some butter here and there. Cheese is tricky - I don't have a lot, but have found that hard to let go of for things like pizza and jaffels. Chocolate and treat desserts have also remained on the menu. In 2014, meat was a part of every lunch and dinner, and eggs were a part of many breakfasts. I haven't been 100% animal-free in 2015 but the change has been huge.

All in all, from January to December, I was consistent. Even though I have been far from perfect, not once did I grandly fall off any wagons or turn my back on my decision. I've always bounced right back to it immediately because I know it's the only choice.

Do I miss meat and stuff? Yes and no. It is mostly hard socially, and being the odd one out, when everyone else is getting into certain things. I don't want to eat them, yet a know they're tasty. Sometimes I eat them and then feel weak and guilty. And when I don't eat it, sometimes no one notices. Othertimes I feel sorry for myself. And often I will feel self-conscious because I suppose people think I'm trying to make a statement, but I'm not. I'm just doing what I'm doing. Sometimes you wish you still had the wool over your eyes because that would make my life so much easier! But at the end of the day, I know it's best.

It's difficult having people question you, in a way where they are kind of being aggressive. There is so much to tell, so it's hard to really give a meaningful answer without talking for 20 minutes straight. I don't want to feel like a preacher, and I'm also self conscious because I myself am not 100% vegetarian, so I feel like I don't have a right to say much.

I do miss the tastes and my favourite recipes. I suppose that's why I haven't fully "converted". I can't say at this point if I'll ever be able to commit 100%, and I say that with full knowledge that it's not healthy and unethical to eat animal products. But my hope is to continue to make changes for the better.

I don't miss meat when I'm at home, for the most part. I eat good food and I feel more energetic and less weighed down eating a plant-based diet. Sometimes when I have had red meat it tastes so oily and fatty and I just feel like I'm eating something dead with no value in it (funny that.)

Sometimes it's a struggle and I do crave meat and dairy products, and I eat them sometimes too, but I could never go back to eating how I used to.

My goal in 2016 isn't to be perfect. I know I will struggle and I know I'll eat some stuff I'd prefer not to. But I also know that I got through a whole year without losing my trajectory (without it being an effort) and I am so proud of that. So I will just continue onwards... making tweaks, building my recipe repertoire, and trying my best to be a strong and patient person.

I watched this YouTube clip tonight - it is kind of long, but I also think it covers a lot of bases and rings true.

I hope you have time to watch it.


Also, some great documentaries:

- Forks Over Knives
- Cowspiracy
- Food Inc.
- Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
- Earthlings

YouTube:

101 Reasons to Go Vegan
Animal Rights Speech
The Excuses Speech

HELLO OUT THERE


Fluoro Blobs Painting - Amazing


Flamboyant Fashion Camel

It's felt like squillions of days since my last blog. I miss blogging. Things have been completely hectic in life lately and I haven't carved out the time. Thing is though, you have to make time for the things in life that make you happy.

So it looks like I didn't mention on here the major news that Lindsay and I got engaged in May! Hoorays! And yes, that would be one of the major factors of life being a bit hectic, in a good way. Of course, I was so excited and surprised when Lindsay sprung that one on me (yes I may have given him a USB stick with two folders named 'Yes Rings' 'No Rings' but I thought it might get lost in his sock drawer for a year or so). That initial few days of sharing the buzz of our engagement with one another and our friends was really amazing, and quite overwhelming, too. One is not accumstomed to receiving so much attention in one big thwack, but hey, it was pretty great as well.

A few days after our engagement we flew up to Singapore for a week. It wasn't exactly planned that way, but I can vouch for engagement-moons! It was the best. We had such a fantastic trip and it was great to get away and enjoy one another's company and the glow of my ring  our news.

So I have to say, the only un-fun part about wedding planning, so far, has been the venue selection. We didn't have an idea to begin with so when we sat down to pull a shortlist together online, we were literally considering the whole state. #sospecific. Anyway, we decided to drive up to Byron Bay on a bit of a whim as there was a wedding fair on, and kinda fell head over for this place in the hinterland. We came back home to Wollongong and looked at a few other places closer to home, but our little hearts had been stolen so we ended up going with Byron, and we're both really excited.

Actually, in part, I think I have my Grafton Nanna to thank for that. My Grafton Nanna passed away a bit over a month ago. She would have been 87 on the 9th August. We travelled up to Grafton for her funeral. That weekend of the funeral we had planned to see one more venue, but of course we couldn't go because of the circumstances. The venue at Byron Bay only had one date in Spring 2016 remaining and we didn't want to chance missing out by delaying booking another week or more, so with that, the decision was made. So I said a quiet thankyou to Nanna because I think that she unknowingly gave us that little gift.

It was and has been a sad time for everyone. My Nanna brought us so many wonderful memories that we'll have forever. She liked to write, as well. She wrote detailed memoirs, and she and I were penpals for many years. It was a bittersweet farewell as we knew she had been ready to go, in her heart, for some time. When we were at the cemetery and her coffin was lowered into the ground above Poppy's grave, two little sparrows flew down and sat on top of the canopy above. I have chills even writing that now, which only affirms to me how real it was and is. It was the undoing of us all on the day and I believe that was Nanna and Poppy there with us, together again, with their own little sweet sendoff. Bittersweet.

Well I really didn't intend to come and write about that - but there it is.

Apart from the initial brain-haze with the venue selection, I've been having a lot of fun with planning our engagement party for November. Like, a LOT of fun. We're having the party in Mum & Dad's backyard and I am DIY craft heaven. Like it's pretty much going to be a DIY display with some music and wine also. And a glowstick ravecave. So yeah - loving this.

I'm working five days now and also still making wedding favours for Little Bow Thief, so all in all, life is pretty damn busy, but pretty great, too.

Today I bought an easel! Like a proper wooden artists one, a step up from the plastic white and red one that I had when I was a young thing. Not only that, but Riot was having a 50% off store-wide sale today, and I didn't even know it til I got there. Don't you just love that? I bought the easel primarily to prop up something for the party, but also, for the past year or so I've had this unrelenting desire to paint some stuff. Which has been a bit of a surprise because yes, I have always loved making and decorating things, but I've never actually tried to paint anything proper and thus I may not have any talent whatsoever. Hello abstractism. Pretty sure that's definitely the term. Pretty sure there is a painting in the Art Gallery of NSW that was made by a bloke throwing a can of Dulux at a canvas, so. Anyway, see those pictures above? I snapped those at a little gallery in Byron Bay. I like the brights. Maybe I'll use this as a little inspo when I get my artist on. I mean who doesn't love a fluro fashion camel? Um, nobody, that's who.

This blog has taken me five minutes past my sensible 10pm bedtime, so I'd better stop it there. This has been good, though. Says I :)