Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saying goodbye to 2011...

We're just about to head out for some last minute shopping to get us through the public holiday and then tonight - for the first time in years - we're heading out for a New Year's Eve party as a family. So, I won't be here for my usual New Year's Eve ritual tonight, but I'll do it tomorrow instead.

I like to meditate on what I want for the coming year and so on, but if you read yesterday's post you'll know I'm not doing that this year. Instead I'm going to let life take its course. I'll focus on the day-to-day and let the big picture take care of itself in 2012.

Whatever you're doing tonight, whether you'll be partying on with family and friends or having a quiet night in, or even an early night, I want to wish a Very HAPPY 2012! I hope it brings you many happy memories in the creation of the every day. I hope 2012 brings you love and laughter - take every opportunity to laugh. Laughter heals and it strengthens the soul, so laugh whenever you can! Be open to laughing at yourself. To many people take themselves too seriously, trying to be self-important and right all the time. Being right is highly overrated. Some wise person once asked, 'Do you want to right or do you want to be happy?' I say happiness is a gift that should never be passed up, because you just don't know when it will come around again. So, if you have to choose between being right and being happy, choose to be happy!

Laugh at yourself. Have a laugh with others when they offer you that opportunity. Don't borrow trouble. Don't look for the cloud in every silver lining. Don't tell the clown his shoes are a safety hazard. Don't trample on other people's joys just for the satisfaction of putting them in their place.

Be generous. Let other people be wrong and don't let on! Live and let live.

Laugh! Have a Happy New Year and let others have one, too!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Things I Know: Peering into 2012...

It's the second last day of the year! Tomorrow I'll do my usual New Years Eve ritual - although I'm not sure when as, for the first time in years, we're going out for New Year's Eve. Usually I start buzzing with new year's anticipation around about now. I'm usually hyped on the excitement of a new year full of new possibilities; the clean slate syndrome and all that. I'm usually sure everything will turn around at the stroke of midnight and all that has passed in the previous 12 months will be forgotten and no longer relevant.

This year is different.

It's not a bad thing, I don't feel depressed. I feel... I feel quiet. I feel reverent. I feel unattached. By unattached, I mean I feel as if I'm floating free in a deep, dark sea of space. I'm not pulled toward a desired outcome, I'm not pinned to a particular hope of a certain outcome. I feel that I've let go. I've let go because I'd finally accepted that I am not in control of my destiny.

Here is what I know as I float in the comforting dark blue ocean of space...

# I know I believe in destiny. I believe that despite having worked my best magic to make things be the way I believe they should be, all my work has been for nought because there is a destiny which will have it's way despite my [evidently limited] understanding of how things should be.

# I know I am not in control of my destiny. I can visualise the life I want all I want. I can repeat affirmations until I'm blue in the face. I can be positive and banish every negative thought from my mind and destiny will still run its course because there is a bigger picture which I cannot see and to get from point A to point C, I must travel through point B, whether I like the look of it or not.

# I know destiny will always be in my best interest - and this knowledge is what brings me peace as I surrender to it. Whatever happens, in the end I'll be exactly where I need to be (as I have been countless times before) and that will bring with it contentment. I look forward to that time!

# I know I could lay plans for 2012. I could plan to get my novel reviewed and submitted for publication. I could plan to for the next NaNoWriMo next November. I could make plans for when the Grumpy Old Man has his licence and a job and all the wonderful things we'll be able to do then. I could make plans to submit an application to do my PhD. I also know I've made plans like this for 2010 and 2011 and they just didn't happen for so many reasons which were ultimately beyond my control. So, I won't make plans for 2012.

# I know 2012 might bring no change whatsoever to our situation and this time next year the Grumpy Old Man may still not have a licence or a job, we might still be living in this house living week to week and being subsidised by mother-in-law. I know there is also the possibility that the Grumpy Old Man might finally get his licence in 2012, and we might finally have a car, and he might finally get a job that brings in enough income to free mother-in-law of the burden of supporting us. 2012 might be year that we put a nest egg together. 2012 might see us move from this house because the owners will be building townhouses in what is currently our back yard.

# I know that I know nothing about 2012 and I know that that is bringing me a sense of calm today because I know I am not in control, there is nothing I can't do to ensure an outcome one way or another, so I am free to just be.

# I know that freedom is a great gift and I am thankful to have finally accepted it.

Linking up with The Good, The Bad, The Unnecessary for Things I Know! 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Thankful Thursday: The End of Year Edition...

At a low ebb today - I always feel this way after Christmas; after all the excitement and suspense (these days the suspense is less 'What will I get' and more 'Will they love it as much as I hope they do' - I suspect most parents feel the same way)...

I thought it was time I exercised my thankfulness muscle, and my blogging muscle, and those muscles at my core that keep me from slipping into a complete blob on the couch (those muscles lose condition surprisingly quickly when there is a sudden absence of school runs and routine).

This is what I'm thankful for at the end of 2011.

# Being taken under the wing of an experienced school mum at the beginning of the year and being allowed to apprentice being a classroom rep with her - I learned so much!

# Being able to attend my Masters Graduation in April. I didn't attend my first Masters graduation from Melbourne University in 2003 and had always regretted not getting there. Attending the graduation earlier this year made attaining my second Masters degree so very real. It was wonderful meeting the other Masters students again as studying by correspondence can being so isolating - it was lovely to be participating with other people! Most of all I'm thankful my boys were able to be there as well, hopefully I will be able to see them graduate from their own Masters degrees one day!

# No colds last winter - barely one sniffle amongst us! Most years we have lots of colds and most years the Grumpy Old Man develops bronchitis and even pneumonia, but this year we had none of that! It was quite miraculous, actually!

# Having the opportunity to buy a fantastic new computer and an iPad and iPods for the boys. Perhaps these weren't the wisest financial choices I made this year. In fact, financially, they were crappy choices, but no amount of money can actually replace the career and social opportunities they have provided the boys and I. Having access to these tools has helped me with my writing, reading and reviewing. They allowed me to participate in 'Adopt an Indie' which was great for my writing. They allowed the boys to socialise better with their friends and in Erik's case, they actually cemented his place in a group of friends for whom gaming is of the highest priority.

# Each of my boys having a group of a friends now. I've mentioned this before, I know, but it's a big deal for me that my boys have friends in childhood because I didn't haven't many friends and none who lasted.

# I'm thankful for all the lovely things I won on blogs this year including a huge pack of Lego for the boys, a designer handbag and 104 boxes of tissues, amongst other things!

# For the opportunities for the Grumpy Old Man and I to participate in a couple of focus groups which brought a little extra income into the household.

# For my friend who gifted me a ticket to the Nuffnang Blogopolis Conference in August where I met people and learned things which allowed me to reach twice as many readers as I had before!

# For all the rain this year. I'm not a fan of rain, but after many years of drought and watching those water levels drop lower and lower, it has been wonderful to have rain and see the dams fill up and experience the greenness all around.

# That mother-in-laws angina was caught before she had a major heart attack and that she coped exceptionally well with the anaesthetic and is recovering from surgery quite well.

# For all the wonderful support from family and friends and from my readers this year - without all of you I think I may have fallen in a heap. Because of you, I'm heading into 2012 with hope that it will be a great year and everything we've been working to achieve this year will come to fruition next year!


Joining Kate Says Stuff for the Thankful Thursday linkup.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A January Challenge...

It's the end of the year. In fact, in four days time it will be 2012. For the past two years, I've hoped the new year would bring a positive change into my life. 2009 was a very difficult year, the difficulties we faced that year just seemed to spill over into 2010 and 2011. 2011 was a better year, a calmer year than the previous two. No one died in 2011 and we didn't have to move house in 2011. We almost got through the year without visiting someone in hospital for surgery, too! In many ways, 2011 was more stable. At the same time, the Grumpy Old Man got and lost two jobs even before he had a chance to start working, and he failed five driving tests - not because he can't drive, he can drive very well - because of test anxiety. Emotionally 2011 put us through the wringer time and time again.

Now we are on the cusp of 2012. For the past month I've been looking for signs that 2012 will be our year of positive change. At the beginning of December it was looking pretty good. The GOM had a casual job lined up to begin in January; just one night a week, but enough money to make us independent of mother-in-law. We'd also been offered support for his preparation for the next driving test in a few weeks. I was feeling like change was coming.

Then two days before Christmas we receive a call from the woman the GOM would be working for as of January, and her mum is feeling a lot better - which is great! - so, was wanting to cut back on night care, starting with night Dave would be working.

It was a blow just two days out from Christmas.

Now we need that licence more than ever, to increase Dave's chances of getting work through an agency or in domiciliary care. This morning, it looked as if the licence might fall through as well. I started to unravel. In the end the licence support is coming through for which I'm grateful beyond proper expression, but I think it shocked everyone just how much I'm living on a knife's edge at the moment.

I just don't have any clarity anymore.

Then I saw a tweet, and I followed a link to this book and this website and I'm going to give it a go. I don't know if I'll do it on this blog because it looks like it can get a bit raw and I know some of my readers find it difficult to put themselves in other people's shoes and have compassion for other people's foibles. I think I'll do it in a book here at home, but I might share some of my discoveries on the blog along the way... We'll see.

I've always been a person who knows what she wants and who sets goals to achieve what she wants, but if I've learned anything from the last three years it's that you cannot control other people, you can only change your own understanding and expectations of the world around you. I need to find my centre again, and ground myself and to get out of my head. I need to find the optimistic me again, the person who knows everything will work out.

I thought I'd share these two findings, in case anyone else wants to check this out or maybe challenge themselves in January as well. If you decide to use this workbook and you want to chat about it - I'm here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Some 2011 Christmas Highlights!

I started this post yesterday, but then had to leave the computer after uploading the photos to go and watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special. I just didn't come back to it. Yesterday was such a fuzzy day after the excitement of Christmas, and there was not shortage of excitement this year!

After mother-in-law's diagnosis of angina earlier this month, I decided it might be a good idea to set up a spare room for her to be able to stay with us if she needed (and also my brother, or my parents if they visit), and on the Friday before Christmas two generous friends took time out of their busy pre-christmas rush and delivered a set of bunks and a mattress. The bunks can be made into two single beds and we're using one of them in the spare room. I think it looks very cute in there with the liquorice all sort doona cover!

I had also decided that this year we'd attempt to make our own gingerbread house. Well, we sort of ran out of time, so I picked up a kit at Big W on Thursday, and on Friday we built it. Friday was a hottish kind of day, too hot for the mint icing. As well as this, the appliqué doors and windows had cracked in the packaging, so in the end the gingerbread house looked a bit like a Frankenstein creation - but we had fun building it nonetheless! We had to rescue it by putting it in the fridge when all the icing threatened to slide right off it! The kids ate it yesterday (Boxing Day), and we all agreed that next year we'll bake our own!

I coloured my hair red for the season - and I think I'll stay red for a while, it's such a cheerful colour! My face is looking rather puffy here, this humid Sydney-like weather does not agree with me and my cankles hardly fit in my sandals at the moment! Ah, yes, nothing like fluid retention to make you feel your age!

On Christmas Eve we set about cooking my family's traditional Christmas fair - double smoked ham, candied potatoes, mushroom cream sauce, red cabbage, veggies and red wine gravy from the pan juices. It was all going by the numbers and we had twenty minutes to go when we heard an almighty crash in the lounge room. At first I thought the Christmas tree had fallen over. The Grumpy Old Man and I rushed into the lounge room to find Erik, Luey and Bryn standing agape around Ari who was crouched on the floor crying. Erik was yelling, 'He went through the window, there's glass everywhere!'

Ari started to stand up with his hand over his face and then he pulled his hand away and there was blood everywhere! He was screaming and the GOM pick him up and ran for the bathroom with me in quick pursuit. Using clean face washers we managed to carefully wipe away enough blood - which was still gushing - to discover the original of the flow. It looked like it was coming from his eyes and the GOM kept saying, 'We need to take him to hospital, he'll need stitches.' but I was in that zone I go into in situations like this (there have been a few) and ignored him as I tried to get Ari to calm down and tried to stem the flow from the gash between his eyebrows.

I went with the best mode of calming a child in our house, and breastfed him for the first time in 4-5 months. This worked a treat. I assessed the cut. While it was considerable, I soon realised we'd be waiting in the ER for hours and in the end they wouldn't stitch or glue it, just steristrip it. So, we went with the good old bandaid - which the boy tolerated for a full two hours before insisting we remove it. He had a few other nicks on his forehead and a small bump, but within a few minutes he was back to his smiley, rambunctious self.

The glass will need replacing, of course.

So, instead of sitting down to dinner at 6pm (when Christmas officially starts in Iceland), we sat down closer to 7pm. The roast was a bit black on top, but no one cared!

I took a picture of the meal - because it lasts longer - I laugh every year at how we spend two hours cooking the meal, and only about twenty minutes eating it, and we always feel full so much faster than we want to!

You'll note the absence of red cabbage - I completely
forgot about it until the next day. Oh well there's always
next year!

After dinner there is always a bit of a clean up of the kitchen before the handing out of presents from under the tree.

Lego was a hit again this year, but probably not so much as...

Sonic screwdrivers! Each boy received their own sonic screwdriver from mum and dad; the original one for Ari, River's sonic screwdriver for Lukas, the 10th Doctor's for Bryn, and the 11th Doctor's for Erik.

From his brothers - instead of Lego - Ari received a Thomas Wooden Set Extension bridge, which he is completely in love with.

Then it was time for Ari to go to bed. Afterwards we spent nearly an hour trying to figure out how to get the batteries into each of the sonics - would have helpful if each one didn't have a different approach! Finally the boys were just about ready to go to bed. Then I said, 'I still know something you don't know...' Which was a reference to a conversation I'd had with them a couple of weeks earlier on the way home from school.

We'd been walking home from school, and I'd started singing, 'I know something you don't know, and I'm not going to tell you!' (which was a game my mum had played with my brother and I when we were little). They'd spent some time trying to guess what I knew over the next couple of weeks, but of course, it was a surprise.

So, late (for them, it was about 9pm) on Christmas Eve night, I handed each boy a box. I instructed each of them to stand away from  one another and on my count they had to open the packages as quickly as they could because they all needed to be opened at the same time.

Then I said, 'Ready... Set... GO!' And...

The opened their present from their uncle Mike - a Wii, complete with Mario Cart and Wii Dance III! I have to say, they were pretty excited!!! This was very unexpected after years and years of the GOM and I telling them we would never buy them a gaming console - and we didn't, but we did allowed my brother to. What I haven't told the boys is that uncle Mike also said that any time we wanted to add to the set, buy components or games, we could just buy them and bill him! Of course, that won't happen except for special occasions like birthdays or Christmas, but what a generous offer! We haven't managed to set the Wii up yet because we had mother-in-law over on Christmas Day and then yesterday I realised we didn't have enough power points on the surge resistant power board behind the tv, so we need a new power board, but in the meantime, the boys have been quite content with their sonics and Lego.

Sonics are very cool when mum uses manual settings on her camera with a low shutter speed and no flash!

I was very excited to receive some beautiful candle holders from the GOM...

And the boys...

I just love candle light so much!

Ari on Christmas Eve just before we transferred him to his own bed. Ouchies!

After the Grumpy Old Man went to bed, I sat up and enjoyed the peace at the end of the day in the candlelight of the my Christmas presents!

The next morning the boys were up bright and early (but not too early) for stocking presents! One of the stocking presents was a bow tie each - they'd been asking for bow ties all year! Bow ties are cool!

Being made to pose for photos when you want to play with your sonic screwdriver and Thomas bridge is not cool!

Lukas getting his geek on!

Erik doing it slighter cooler... er, I said slightly...

Then we backed up for Christmas Day Lunch with the Grumpy Old Man's mum.

After lunch we exchanged presents with Nanna and everyone received books! Mother-in-law showed her eternal optimism by giving my a gorgeous cookbook! She just refuses to believe I don't like cooking. She makes me laugh. This particular cookbook was for common pantry items - so packaged goods like baked beans and so on. In theory it's a great idea except that we don't keep a very comprehensive pantry; our pantry doesn't resemble the one listed in the book at all. I didn't have the heart to tell her that. The photos are lovely though and I saw a recipe for chocolate pikelets I want to try (I do bake, even if I don't cook!).

Speaking of baking - we've started a new tradition this year! For desert on Christmas Eve I thought I'd make an old Norwegian favourite Tilslørt Bondepike. Now as a cheat, I thought I'd use crushed biscuit instead of toasted spiced breadcrumb. I used crushed chocolate ripple (so it was a bit like a chocolate ripple layer cake). And instead of raisins I put a few cherries on the top layer for a Christmassy effect.

Anyway, we just didn't have room for it on Christmas Eve and then on Christmas Day we had a tradition pudding for desert, so we only got to the Tilslørt Bondepike yesterday and oh. my. goodness, it was sooooo good!

Next year, I'm going to modified it some more and use more cherries in the layers, rather than just apple. I'm also going to fold some brandy cream throughout the whipped creamy - or put a layer of brandy cream between the biscuit and cream layers. Yum, yum!

Oh, and I'm going to get a nice glass bowl to present it in!

How was your Christmas? Was it peaceful or a bit crazy like ours?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

From Us to You!

Merry Christmas!!!

Gleðileg Jól!!!

Glædelig Jul!!!

God Jul!!!

We're off to have a very happy Christmas with Icelandic Christmas tonight, and the Aussie Christmas tomorrow with Nanna! We wish your family every joy this weekend! Play safe and stay safe! Our thoughts will be with those families doing it tough right now for so many different reasons, may you find comfort in family and friends.

I just wanted to say that for the first time in a few years, I've really felt that old Christmas feeling this year and can't believe this special time of year is nearly over - I want it to last so much longer!

Well, better head off a get a start on tonight's meal (double smoked ham with candied potatoes, yum!). The kids are already asking when they can open their presents (not until after dinner, guys, just like every year)! Backing up for a Christmas stockings in the morning and another full day tomorrow with mother-in-law joining us for turkey with all the trimmings and, of course, pudding with brandy cream!

So, I might not get back until Boxing Day or the 27th and just wanted to wish all my readers A Wonderful Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Leggings As Pants and Feminism: Why I am wary (and weary) of both...

I watched in stunned silence last week as people went just a little bit nutty over Mia Freedman's article about whether or not parents have a right to impose their own values of their children (the point of which many seem to completely ignore; in favour of judging her view on a couple of feet of knit fabric fashioned into clothing). Unbeknowns to Mia, she'd stumbled into a festering political boil just ripe for bursting, and burst it surely did! The result was as ugly as when any boil bursts and spews forth the lurid green puss (in this case of suppressed self-loathing, fear and resentment) which has been brewing beneath the surface.

Who knew tights could become such a contentious political battlefield?

Back in the 80s there were people who liked balloon skirts and people who thought they looked ridiculous and yet a person's status as feminist was never questioned in relation to whether or not that person liked balloon skirts.

I don't like leggings as pants. When I see people (men and women) wear leggings as pants, I cringe. To me it looks like they forgot to finish dressing. I feel the same way most people would feel if they spotted someone walking down the street in a top and their undies. I have seen people wear actual hosiery as pants; the kind where you can see little red lovehearts on their undies... I can't help but think they ran out the door without realising they hadn't finished dressing - I also get stuck in that, 'I shouldn't stare, but oh. my. god. they're really see through, I wonder if the wearer knows?'

Apparently, for this transgression, I am not a feminist.

Well, okay, no news there. I'm not a feminist. I'm a humanist. I believe all humans are equal and should be treated with compassion and respect. I believe both men and women can and do oppress one another, and themselves...

Which brings me to why I am wary (and weary) of the entire leggings as pants and feminism bundle. For one woman to tell another woman that the second woman voicing her dislike of leggings as pants makes her no longer a feminist is a form of oppression.

I don't even get the logic behind doing this... So, it's not okay to say you don't like leggings as pants, but it is okay to tell other people they shouldn't voice that opinion?

As Lleyton Hewitt would say, 'C'mon!'

For the record, other things I don't like include:

Ugg boots (or as I like to call them Ugh! Boots)

Thongs; either variety, ewwwwww, they just toe/butt jam collectors!

Those thongs with ankle cuffs. I know they have a name, but I've blocked it from my mind...

Boob tubes

The combination of dark socks and shoes with shorts

The 'feral' look

Nose rings (as opposed to nose studs which I like very much)

Shirts tucked into pants with no belt

Shirts buttoned to the neck with no tie (especially short sleeved shirts)

Goodness, and that's just clothing! Don't even get me started on hair (hands up if you love a mullet- yeah, me either)...

I've voiced these other dislikes before - including my dislike of mullets - and never been accused of anti-feminism. Leggings as pants are apparently a law unto their own, a sacred ground upon which heretics will be sacrificed.

The thing is leggings as pants make people think of bums and sizes and shapes of bums, or rather, I would say it makes body obsessed people think of bums and their shape... and what other people might think about their body. To my mind for true freedom from the body image oppression in society a person must achieve that level of enlightenment where they no longer allow themselves to be offended or diminshed by, and no longer feel the need to suppress, others people's opinions, because they see those opinions for what they are, just opinions.

Me, I have no issue with leggings being skin tight. Skinny jeans are skin tight, they just don't look like long-johns (a northern hemiphere form of undies), so, to me they different.

I'm a size 20, and I love my body. I am not ashamed of my body or its shape. I am not 'fattist'. I don't believe fat people like myself should be relegated to 'tent city' in the fashion stakes.

I also don't believe leggings as pants only look ridiculous on fat people. I believe leggings as pants look just as ridiculous on slim people, muscly people, and even toddlers.

That said, my toddlers have all worn leggings as pants outside the house because to me they look like little Billy Connellys - the forerunner of the leggings as pants movement as far as I can tell. With my wacky sense of humour dressing my children this way has always made me laugh, because they were so cute... Yes, I'm terrible, Muriel, I dressed my kids for my own entertainment.

I had to post a video of Billy in his leggings
because even he won't be photographed in them.

While the leggings as pants issue might be all about body image for some people (people obsessed with body image from both sides of that battle as far as I can see), some of us just


'Men in Tights' kind of daft.

No, not those, these...

Though actually, the first one looks even more daft - apparently, there are degrees of daft...

I'm not saying they should be outlawed (it is good for one's health to laugh, so they provide a health benefit to those of us who think they look silly). If you like them, if you find them comfortable, by all means wear them... It's no skin of my nose.

I wear plenty of stuff other people think looks awful, or stupid, or weird, but I don't go around making my lack of style (in their dubious opinion) into a political issue, or make sweeping statements about their character based on their dislike of my clothing choices, or unfollow them or unfriend them on social media.

Quite frankly, I'm just not that invested in what others think about my clothing choices. I don't dress to impress anyone but myself, nor do I dress, and make a big deal about my clothing choices to the point of making my clothes my point-of-difference, in an attempt to show that I am rebelling against 'social norms'. Though I may have done that when I was fifteen and in the midst of trying to find my identity.

What has always made me wary of feminism is the hegemonic approach to values. 'True Feminists' are only allowed to express certain values. A true feminist might not choose to wear leggings as pants herself, but she should never make a public statement about her opinion of this clothing item, lest she oppress womankind.

That's just bullshit and sounds a lot like, 'Even if you don't love your husband's choice of tie, don't tell him because a good wife is always supportive of her husband's decisions.'

Pass the vomit bucket.

Are women truly that insecure?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

10 Things Tuesday: My 10 Favourite Things...

For today's post, I thought I'd write my 10 Favourite Things. This idea came about this morning after a conversation with the Grumpy Old Man where we had started talking about what might happen when the property owners move ahead with developing this property in 2012.

They're going to build a couple of townhouses in what is currently our back yard. We'll lose the entire back yard up to 1.5 metres from the back of the house (enough room for an adult to walk the parameter of the house, but not enough room for children's play equipment), as well as the garage and the back driveway. There is no driveway in the front of the house. The contents of the garage will have to be stored in our already cramped home; we'll possibly lose 1-2 rooms in the house to storage (the second laundry and possibly the third bedroom which we're currently converting to guest room for mother-in-law). We were considering moving, but we can't afford to move, and besides no one will rent a house to a family of six with no taxable income. So, we'll probably stay.

Anyway, I was joking around that we could just pack clothes and abandon everything else if we had to move but couldn't afford removalists (yeah, yeah, I know we can't really do that, I was fantasising). Then I added that I couldn't leave my gadgets; the computer, the iPad, the pods and the camera, I'd have to pack them, even just in a suitcase! The GOM said he couldn't walk away from his Comic Book and Graphic Novel collection. I said that I was happy to walk away from most of our furniture, except the cabinet and hutch... And, of course, this all snowballed.

Things, hey? They aren't just things, they mark our achievements, our passions, and our memories. If our house burned down I would be very sad to lose some things, and oddly enough photos don't rate highly among them.

This got me thinking about favourite things, but not only things; pastimes, music and concepts as well. So, I thought I'd list some here...

My favourite piece of furniture:

This was a generous gift from a friend (at a minuscule price), and an item of furniture I'd longed for since I was very young! If I could only have one item of furniture from my house, this would be it!

My favourite item of clothing:

This top was a birthday present from a friend last week. I have to say it is absolutely no reflection of her own tastes, she bought it because I love it! I love the colour and the glitteriness of it! I love the cowl neckline, it's amazingly flattering! I can't wait to wear it this Christmas. It makes me laugh because it's tangible evidence that I am becoming more and more like my maternal grandmother for every year that passes!

My favourite pastime:

If you've been reading my blog lately, you'll know my current favourite pastime is crocheting - at the moment I'm working on this gorgeous cushion, which I'm hopeful of finishing before Christmas!

My favourite blog:

Attic 24 which is the blog of one very, very clever and inspiring woman - Lucy! I don't know Lucy, I just happened on her blog a couple of weeks ago when looking for Christmas tree crocheted ornament patterns. I love almost everything she crochets and want to try my hand at so many of her creations! I'm so happy to have found a blog that inspires me so much.

My favourite saying:

My favourite piece of music:

The Grumpy Old Man and I have recently been catching up on Star Trek Voyager and I was reminded just how beautiful this piece of music is! I only wish is lasted longer! Listen to it with your eyes closed.

My favourite piece of jewellery:

I inherited this bracelet from my mum when I got married. She was given it from her mum when she got married. My maternal grandmother received it as a gift from my grandfather who designed it and had it made from silver wire work especially for her (I think for a wedding anniversary, or some other special occasion - mum???). I love how the segments form both butterflies and shields.

My favourite sensation:

Hot water spraying on my body! If I could design my ideal bathroom, I'd have a giant shower with spray nozzles from all sorts of directions - which could be turned on individually. It would be big enough for a bench of sorts where I could lay down and have droplets of water pummel my skin. A water massage!

My favourite pick-me-up:

Singing is always guaranteed to lift my mood - even if I'm singing sad, sad songs. There is apparently a proven biological response in humans to singing. I can't remember if it is related to increased oxygen in the blood, or some sort of seratonin release mechanism, but singing works every time for me (much more reliable than chocolate).

My favourite place in the world:

By the sea, sitting in sea spray (the light misty kind, not the wash-you-off-the-rocks kind). I don't care if it's stinking hot, or cold and rainy (so long as I'm rugged up). I just love to sit on rocks and feel the volatility of the sea, I find it soothing!

What are your favourite things?

Good Job!