catch 22

I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. Do I want a simple life? Do I want to be self employed? Do I want to be a full time (working, making enough money to eat) artist? Do I want to have a regular job plus a life plus another 3 part time jobs to make ends meet?

sigh.

It seems that even if I try to have a simple life, I just can’t do it. Its not in my DNA.

For instance… There are times when I feel so tired and overwhelmed by all the things I do/want to do that I don’t know where to begin or when to stop.

I thought maybe I should just concentrate on one thing this year, my first year in a new country: A job, a home, a life.

Sounds simple right?

Then I think ‘well, I have to add in a hobby’ so I add ‘make things for myself only‘. Cool. I can do that. Find and fix or make things for my own use and my own home. (Cause, hell, I’ll do that anyway, even if its not on the list!)

Then I think, but what about my art? Ok, so I add ‘make art. For myself’. Set up an easel and work on it.

Done.

Then I think of the craft supplies I accummulate and I have to add ‘make stuff when I get the urge’.

Then of course I end up with tons of stuff I’ve made which I should sell… so the equation begins looking a bit more like:

A job, a home, a life, painting, a bit of craft work, some remodelling, some sewing, selling stuff on etsy, why not re-make a doll or two cause I enjoy it, how about the odd grooming job if it comes along, a life… if I have time for that…

See? I’m impossible. I can’t just BE. I get bored if I don’t make things. So I make things. And in my defence, if I ever want to be an artist, I mean a REAL one, I have to paint. And if I ever want to make a living out of my art and crafts, I must sell. And in order for it to be a full-time job one day it has to start as a part time job now and I must dedicate hours to it now…

Catch 22

But before I go off the deep end any more, I’ll share a quickie project I just finished today, for my own use.

I found this 3 compartment box at an antique store on Paros a week ago. It was bright yellow but a bit of chalk paint fixed that quickly.

I then painted labels on the front with black chalkboard paint, and voila. An organiser.

I don’t have anywhere for it to sit in my grandmother’s old house but in my own home it will theoretically live near the door and serve as an organiser and reminder to take certain things with me when I leave the house. I always thought something like that would be really handy so here is version 1.

Sorry about the terrible photos. When its in the ‘right’ spot I’ll get better ones. For now I just hung it on the bedroom door. The idea is that every time I pick something up that I need to take with me tomorrow or the next day or later in the week I put it in the box in the right partition. Then each night I move them over accordingly.

Last thing each morning before I head out the door I make sure I have the contents of the ‘today’ box with me.

Done.

Easy.

I hope I remember to use it.

z

you’re such a girl!

Its funny, but that’s what my cousin Maria said to me yesterday at the book/stationery/office supply store. While she got some photocopies done I walked around and explored all the goodies. I love shops like that. Those and hardware stores… I can happily spend hours wandering the aisles going “Ooh, look at that! I didn’t know you could buy that! And this comes in all those colours!” etc.

I was in my element. I left there with some air dry clay and 4 pens in various colours.

First colour choice: pink.

She said “you’re such a girl!”

It wasn’t cause I’m a girl. I just already had light blue. So I got pink and orange and green and purple.

But the main thing about the comment is that I’ve never ever in my life considered myself to be feminine. You know… a girlie girl.

I mean, I occasionally have feminine flashes – like I’ll buy a flippy skirt or a floral dress… but in general I’m the girl in the work out gear and sneakers, the chunky boots, the loose fitting baggy jumpers. I rarely wear make up. Always forget to wear perfume. Never get my nails done… Nails and sandpaper just don’t mix well.

In fact I don’t think I so much sway my hips when I walk as I stride purposefully… Mind you, its easier to sway in heels, which I never wear. Even if I could walk in them (which I can’t) I can’t even stand in them since I broke my ankle and had plates and pins inserted.

In fact, yesterday I noticed that one ankle is thicker than the other. Hm.

Funny thing is that sometimes I do have girlie leanings. Cause you know what, sometimes I like being feminine.

I love asymmetrical layered tops, lacey underskirts, leggings, cat eye liner, Jean Paul Gaultier in the woman’s bust bottle.

I think being girlie can be nice and I think I’m finally starting to enjoy it.

I say wear makeup (then remove it again at night), de-fuzz your hairy bits, wear perfume so you smell nice to yourself, wear jewellery, buy that nice dress, make an effort with the hair! Its never too late to start a shoe collection. You only live once.

Sure its a lot of effort (and not cheap) but you know what? I plan to spoil myself and do and wear things that make me feel nice.

Life is too short.

z

still on the wagon

 

Coffee without sugar?

yuck

Yuck.

I’m told I’ll get used to it. In about 6 months or six years. Not sure which. But right now I’m wondering if I need caffeine that much… yuck.

I’m pretty proud of myself this week. I haven’t eaten any sweets, even though Wayne got into the chocolate biscuits and left an open packet with two mint slice bikkies on the kitchen table, just staring at me. I left them there for two days till they disappeared into someone else’s mouth.

hehehe.

Zefi 1 – Wayne 0

I haven’t had a single teaspoon of sugar in anything, not a single lolly has crossed my lips. I’ve eaten some plain crackers and sourdough wholemeal bread… I was really good till last night when we went to a quiz night and I ate 1.5 white bread sandwiches. Not too bad… I drank disgusting unsweetened coffee instead of coke and when Wayne won a box of chocolates I didn’t have a single ONE.

I look amazing. I’ve lost hundreds of kilos and millions of inches….

As if.

I look no different, though I may have felt what might be, possibly, the outline of my ribs when I lay down yesterday. But I could be mistaken. It has been a while…

I’m hanging out till the day before I leave for Greece to try on clothes (and swimsuits) I’ll be taking with me in the hopes that maybe I can fit into my thin person jeans.

As if 3 or 4 weeks of eating healthy will make up for 10 years of not. Ha.

But its good to have dreams.

And really, it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. Except the coffee. That IS hard. Its almost like something clicked over in my brain and I have the willpower to say no. But its not that even. It doesn’t feel like willpower…

To me willpower would be to look at sweets and really really want one but say no.

I’m not feeling that. I look at them, and I can look at them and even think they look nice and know they’d taste nice, but I just don’t want them. I turn away and its not a struggle…

I can’t describe this feeling, it really is like I finally found the off switch. Which is why I think I’m staying away from all sweet things (except fruit) in case the switch goes on again and I can’t turn it back off.

Maybe the doctor was right and she ‘scared me straight’… maybe it was just time. Whatever, I wish I’d found this switch years ago.

z

no sugar

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Hello. My name is Zefi and I’m a sugar addict.

I’m the poster child for sweet teeth, forget sweet tooth!

There have been days in my life where not only did I eat sweets, but I ate only sweets. In fact, there have been plenty of times I’ve disgusted myself.

I know that diabetes runs in my family, and yet I chose to live with my head in the sand. Like Tom Hanks (I love Tom Hanks!), I lived like life was a party and there was no tomorrow.

My last two few visits to the doctor went something like this: “You have high blood pressure. Not too high, but a bit of concern. You need to lose weight and exercise more. You’re healthy and all, but you need to lose weight and exercise more. You’re insulin levels are fine, at the moment, but you’re not exactly metabolising sugar really well, which is a precursor to diabetes… you need to lose weight and exercise more. Stop eating sweets and carbs. You need to lose weight and exercise more. ”

You get the picture.

The visit before last I began to walk. I’d take the boys for a 1 hour walk most mornings (a real walk, not an amble). But like most things, life got in the way. How do I make time to walk daily and still be able home on time groom? I need to work.

Last visit I thought ok, I really need to do something. Really.

So I decided to cut down on sugar.

Like, stop eating sweets. Like not stop sugar in my coffee, but not eat sweets. I can do that. Surely…

Then I realised that I actually have to be a bit more proactive than that. The problem is I’m so lazy when it comes to thinking about what I should and shouldn’t eat. I’ve always worked on the “I’m hungry, I’ll grab something to eat” principle. And if what I grab is a ‘healthy’ sugar-filled muesli bar, or a slab of chocolate cake, well, I ate something

I always disliked all those ‘my body is my temple’ people who bore everyone to death about their diets and that, somehow, always seem to be sick…

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I don’t want to be one of those boring people: a ‘born again’ healthy person.

And yet, here I am. Working my way towards a holier than thou position if I succeed.

Its been almost a week with minimal sugar. I’ve resisted the licorice bullets on the table and the chocolate biscuits in the cupboard. I let Wayne finish the chocolates. Today I had coffee without sugar for the first time. I’ve been having tea without sugar for 2 days. I’ve snacked on cheese and crisp bread, I ate one slice of toast with my eggs instead of two, I ate one jelly snake and I had ice cream three times. (Ice cream doesn’t count…)

Ok. I’m not perfect! Its a work in progress!

Thing is, I don’t know how long I can keep this up or if I can even. So far it hasn’t been that hard, no bad withdrawals… but when it comes to reading labels at the supermarket and putting things back “cause that has sugar in it” … hm… and how do I live without bread and pasta?

The theory is that if I can get myself under control now, I won’t actually get diabetes and won’t ever have to deny myself sweets forever more. Right? Please tell me that’s right. I can still have an ice cream now and then if I don’t have ice cream 5 nights a week, plus 6 chocolate bars, 3 bags of lollies, a slice or two of cheesecake and 2 packets of biscuits…

Right?

Surely.

I hope.

z

 

plans…

Best-laid-plans

Yes. Well. This is how it goes around here:

I make plans for tomorrow, the day after, the whole week. I have a diary I keep my appointments in. I make lists of things I need to do – today, tomorrow, the day after, etc.

Then something happens. Nothing ever goes as planned… do you find that? Things I meant to do today get moved to tomorrow or the next day or next week. I do things today that weren’t on the list for this year. I shuffle papers, never use a pen in my diary (learned that the hard way), write new lists.

Surely I’m not the only person who’s life seems to have a life of its own?

Don’t expect any insights or clever solutions in this post. In fact, if you have a solution please share.

I know the theory: Write things down. Make lists. Prioritise.

I DO THAT.

Then things change and I need new plans and new lists. My plans are organic in nature, growing and changing…

I make lists and number things in order of priority as well as geographic location. I mean, how else will I manage to do everything in a time-and-fuel-efficient manner?

Will I ever get this under control or is this terminal do you think?

z

tidy here, mess up there

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Its a universal truth.

In order to clean up one room/area, you mess up another.

Or is it just me?

The other day I tidied up the living room. It was due. There was more dirt on the carpet than in the yard. No one can accuse me of not being house proud…

In order to clean and tidy the living room I had to remove certain items. Like the baskets of towels and other bathroom stuff which I’d put there while we were renovating the bathroom. Months ago.

Like the laundry baskets full of washed clothes waiting to be folded and put away. Ok, I’m down to one only, not so bad.

Like the pile of odd socks which have lost their sole mates.

You get the picture.

One reason for tidying was to lay down the new/used rug I’d bought. Cause one day I’ll rip up the carpet in there and we’ll need rugs for warmth. So I removed all the unnecessary don’t-belong-in-there items and cleaned and put down the rug.

Where did the extraneous items go you may ask? Well… they had to go somewhere. And that someone had to be out of the way, yet accessible in order for me to put them away at a later date. Probably much later.

The doorway to the guest room.

Is it just me, or is everyone’s life a matter of just moving things around? From here to there, from there to further over, then a couple of inches to the left?

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I’m sick of it. I’m feeling the itch again. The itch that says ‘get rid of it’.

I get that itch now and then, mostly due to the frustration of not having enough space for the crap we accumulate. The porch is full of things I put down months ago cause I would need them for something, like the final touches to the bathroom… The mud room is full of stuff that came out of the house to be put in its place later.

I’m gonna cry.

Its raining today. Our plan for today was to pick up a load of hay. Ain’t gonna happen in the rain. So I have an indoor (mostly) day to do some cleaning.

Or I could clip the poodles, who are looking a bit like woolly mammoths right now.

Or I could make the spanakopita I’ve been planning to make for the last 3 days.

Or I could just sit here and do nothing…

z

i once wrote a book

Like many people, I lived under the illusion that I could write (and illustrate) books for a living. Especially children’s books.

Do you know how hard it actually is?

Anyway, one day I actually did write a book which I self published on Lulu.com, the DIY online publishing place. This was quite a few years ago, there may be other places now, but back then I think that was it.

This is the book:

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Scooter was my second toy poodle ever. He was the first one I got while living in Australia. He was a real character, a little man with a huge attitude. He was hilarious. When we lived in Fentonbury the paddock next door was sometimes home to cattle and Scooter was game to take on anything. This is a true story. It happened one day while I watched. It was too good not to capture and share.

I think I sold about 10 copies. All to me. Ok, maybe a couple to a friend or two. The problem is that Lulu charges so much, its a ridiculous price to pay for a slim book!

I actually made heaps more selling the original watercolours on ebay.

I began illustrations for a book about Billybear, my other toy poodle, but never got past that to the story. One day I’ll finish it. Maybe.

You can see a bit more about my Scooter book and, if you have $$ to spare, you can order it online here.

Meanwhile, remembering this book got me to thinking about writing in general and beginnings specifically. I remember hearing somewhere that starting was the hardest part. I beg to differ. I can start anything, at any time.

Its finishing (or continuing) that’s the hard part!

In my mind I’m always writing first paragraphs for books. Its fun!

Like this:

The man lay in bed, watching the neon light outside the cheap motel window flash pink then red then white. He couldn’t sleep. He was too conscious of the loaded gun on the bedside table next to him. If he failed tomorrow he was as good as dead.

Or this:

Megan was woken by the cold. She reached for her comforter but something was wrong. She couldn’t move her arms or legs. Her eyes flew open and she looked around the dark unfamiliar room. She was lying on a mattress on a dirty floor, cable ties around her wrists and ankles. She remembered the man in the mask and she began to cry.

Yes. I obviously love crime and suspense books. Does it show?

heheheh

Ok, how about:

Amy looked up as Troy put a large coffee on the table in front of her. Soy milk latte with a dash of vanilla, just the way she liked it. He sat down opposite her and smiled. He was such a nice guy, considerate, kind, attractive. They had heaps in common. He had a good job. Her parents loved him. Yet Amy looked watched him stir sugar into his coffee and felt like the walls were closing in around her. 

The second paragraph? So much harder to do! LOL

z

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i’m back. sort of.

Its been almost a whole month since I last wrote and a ton has happened.

First I went off to the mainland, as I do most years, to groom poodles for the big shows. This year I went to Melbourne for the Poodle National and the Royal Melbourne Show.

I stayed with my good friend Iris, and groomed silver toy poodles for her, and her grand daughter’s white standard poodle.

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The gorgeous Kismet.

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The beautiful Mishka.

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The elegant Mystique.

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The cute Piper.

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The handsome Sonic.

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Retired from the ring now, the stunning Armani.

I had tons of fun playing with poodles and enjoying the smell of hairspray in the morning, but it was also exhausting and hard work.

I did manage to go out one night and catch a band, a great rockabilly/hillbilly trio called The Rechords – it was great to catch up with old friends and even have a few dances.

Unfortunately I got some bug on the flight over – not surprising, an airtight tube with a heap of people in it, you’re bound to catch something! – and spent my entire 10 days there living on cold and flu tablets.

I still had it when I came home, only worse. I spent the first week home feeling I was going to die and sounding like I had kennel cough. I’m still not over it … Still coughing, still blocked ears, still going through tissues at an alarming rate.

As a result, not much has been done around here. Priorities, right? I had to groom, its my job, so I concentrated on putting all my energy into that, then I’d crash out in front of the TV (or in bed) for the rest of the day.

The house looks like its been occupied by squatters for the last year, the yard looks like the weeds staged a coup and have taken over. Well… its spring and its been raining a lot and the grass and weeds are growing like WEEDS. Today Wayne took matters into his own hands and let the horses in to do some landscaping for me. As long as they don’t eat the precious few plants that made it through winter I’m happy. At least I can see the garden beds now.

chip

I also came home to an injured dog. Montana was run over by a car and had to have surgery to put in a plate and screws. She’s on the mend now thankfully, but coming home to her in hospital was awful. It really makes it hard to go away again. Between that and getting sick every time I fly, I’m considering putting down an anchor and staying put forever…

Anyway, I hope to get back to things soon. The bathroom is still not finished, the house, well, the less said about that the better, ditto the yard… The To Do list is staggering and I’m still spending more time on the couch with Montana, just existing and recuperating.

I hope you’ll forgive me and hang in there till I’m up to creating and sharing again.

z

the monster has woken

I haven’t posted for a while. I know. I’m a disgrace to blogdom.

I’ve been busy. Working. Creating. Being a social butterfly.

As a matter of fact, I’m reverting to an older version of myself. Or I should say – a younger version. I just wish I was as fit as I was back then…

z1

Me during my Robert Smith period…

No… not that far back. I’m actually talking about my rockabilly days. Gosh I miss those days – dance competitions, going to pubs to dance to live bands 4 days a week and twice on Sundays. I mean that literally – two pubs, 2 bands on Sundays.

Those were the days. sigh…

So, it all started about a year ago when I decided I was going to join the local radio station (TYGA FM 98.9) and play my rockabilly music so I could listen to it again. I played my music, singing out loud and dancing in my head (or bopping around the station when no one was around).

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Banner for my Facebook Rockabilly Rebel page.

Through the show I met some great people. This led to some nights out, the creation of a rockabilly night at a local cafe once a month, and last weekend… a live band!

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I started on the road to Rockabilly Rebeldom way back in Melbourne when I decided to learn how to dance R’n’R. I took a 6 week course and I honestly learned nothing. I just did not ‘get’ it.

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When I first started dancing, my flatmate and I took R’n’R lessons together.

The class would go to the odd band to practice and one of the pubs had dance lessons before the band. I went every week and made a nuisance of myself with the teachers, and one day it just CLICKED. There was no looking back from that point.

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Getting ready for a 40s ball.

I would go to venues and watch the guys dance and pick the best ones, then I’d go ask them to dance with me. I had a lot of girls hating me at that point. But I learned how to dance by dancing with lots of different guys who had different styles. And I loved it! I would dance all night, never stopping. I was pretty darn fit.

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Can’t be a rockabilly chick without a car!

Then life changed for various reasons and I moved to Tasmania and became a country girl. Living a long way out of the city and having to drive in every day for work meant that when I got home I didn’t go out again. And I couldn’t find any ‘scene’ here either. I gave up on dancing…

Do you have any idea how amazing it was to be out again, listening to a great live band and dancing again? I walked in and saw a couple of ladies dancing and I was up there like a shot, asking for a dance. I was chatting to the band during their break, I was making new friends all around.

The monster has awoken! I’m back baby!

z

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Long hair!

not enough time to do it all?

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I think I’ve always known that I might have too many interests, but it hit home last night when I watched a show on TV a friend told me I needed to see. It was about a woman who’s entertainment area was so full of ‘stuff’ no one could use it. Her ‘stuff’ had encroached in other areas of the house and was affecting her family.

The problem was that she was a crafter. She liked to do all kinds of crafts. She painted, beaded, sewed, knitted. Among other things. Everything she’d collected was stuff she thought she could use, remake, recycle, DO one day.

Now, I think I’m insulted that my friend thought I was that bad.

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I have outbuildings full of stuff. My house is livable. Ok, leave my office out of it! That’s my space and I’m the only one who has to squeeze in there…

But I do see her point. Grudgingly. I think the issue is with wanting to do too much.

On the show the ‘expert’ forced the lady to pick three hobbies and get rid of everything else in order to organise (and limit) her space.

I think he missed the point. Its not about having too much stuff, its about not having enough time to do all the stuff!

I know there isn’t enough time in a lifetime to do all the things I want to do. That’s the real problem. I don’t want to give anything up, but perhaps the old saying ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ is true…

I think I found the answer:

Take it in turns!

Concentrate on maybe 2 things at a time then move on to something else. Maybe a week at a time, or a month. That way you give yourself a chance to do a bit of everything and finish a few things along the way.

Problem solved. Maybe. Sort of.

Anyway…

Enjoy the funny craft related pics I found on Pinterest.

 

z

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