my life in the land down under

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I’d rather be… writing?

Yesterday morning I came across an older post from someone whose blog I follow. It was written in response to a WordPress writing prompt, regarding what her ideal space for reading & writing would look like.

I haven’t thought about what mine might look like – but it did remind me I’m meant to be writing!

Two days ago – besides being Valentines Day – was a work day for me, and the date of my annual performance appraisal. I had spent quite a few hours over the last couple of weeks nutting out a self-review, to cover every indicator of every sub-category of the four main ‘competencies’ or standards that my work practices have to meet. So you can imagine my disappointment when my boss let me know I needed to write stories or ‘scenarios’ to back up my bullet-point statements of ‘I do this / I do that’. She gave some helpful suggestions but it wasn’t what I wanted to hear – and was followed by a particularly busy and difficult shift during which I had the role of co-ordinator.

To clarify – my boss has no problems with my performance, it’s just that the self-review needed to be written in a different way to pass the portfolio assessment (that’s a 3-yearly requirement).

Due to a bad habit of procrastination over things I don’t really want to do, and having already requested a three-month extension for my portfolio – which ends very soon (where did the last 2 1/2 months go?!) – I only have a few days to rewrite & re-present my self-review, in time for my boss to add her comments, so I can add the final touches to my portfolio and hand it in by 1st March.

So I’m meant to be writing stories for work today, but I’d rather be writing blog posts – or sewing that Made with Love quilt, which has gone on the back burner¬†again. ūüė¶

This weekend we have a photographic project on, which I expect to be fun but challenging, and that will involve a fair bit of post-processing and the creation of a slideshow. We were also planning to travel away for a few days from next weekend to visit John’s sister (who is also a quilter), and weather permitting explore some of the cycling tracks in her area. Plus I have several work days between now & then. So there’s not a lot of time…


Yesterday our 150th butterfly of the season emerged from ‘her’ chrysalis. Which also reminds me of John’s comment a few days ago that it would be great if we could withdraw from other commitments for a while, almost like going into a chrysalis, get some things sorted out, and emerge as something new at the end. ¬†ūüôā

Butterfly #150

Monarch butterfly #150 (female)

Butterfly #150 Drying Wings

Butterfly #150 drying her wings

Butterfly #152

Butterfly #152 (male)

Anyway, back to work…




In An Ideal World

In an ideal world, I would have unlimited time (and money) to do everything I wanted to do.

I would be perfectly creative – quilt seams would never have to be undone and re-stitched. Quilts would come together quickly and beautifully.

Photographs would turn out exactly the way I’d envisioned them, with no need to use a polarizing filter (!).¬†My photographs would be amazing and people would want to buy them, without trying to beat my prices down.

I would know how to do things instinctively, without having to learn them and making lots of mistakes along the way.

There would be no housework or other chores to be done Рthe house would clean and tidy itself (or never get dirty). Visitors would always take their shoes off at the door without being asked. The bed would never need making.

There would be no need to go grocery shopping. Delicious meals would appear miraculously on the table every night (my husband would probably disagree with this as he likes shopping and cooking!).

We could eat what we wanted without having to worry about our weight or the dentist bills. Dishes would never need washing.

My cup of tea would never get cold because I made it then got busy doing something else.

I wouldn’t break things, lose them, or forget where I put them.

Piles of paper wouldn’t build up on flat surfaces,¬†but instead sort and file themselves. There would be no bills to pay.

The cat would never miss the dirtbox; in fact he would always go outside so there was never a need to empty the box.

I would never have to run to get the clothes off the washing line because it suddenly started raining, when five minutes beforehand the sun was shining.

No weeds would grow in the garden. In fact, we could have the garden landscaped beautifully at no cost. The neighbours would offer to put up a new fence on the boundary at their expense. The same neighbours would never be noisy when I was trying to sleep after a night shift. Better still, there would be no night shifts.

The traffic lights would always be on green when I was running late.

I could have all the sleep I wanted without feeling guilty, and always wake feeling refreshed.

I would be energetic and highly-motivated, and never be in a bad mood, sad or irritable.

I could say whatever I liked in my blog, honestly sharing my thoughts.  I could be real and honestly share what was on my heart, without fear of offending anyone or bringing ridicule on myself.

Everyone would like, understand and¬†appreciate me (or, if there were difficult people I wouldn’t have to deal with them). There would be no misunderstandings, arguments, frustration, resentment¬†or rejection. I would like myself.

Family relationships (of all kinds) would be loving, supportive and respectful.

We would win the lottery  Рwithout having to buy a ticket. Or, we would have a great income without having to work (except if we wanted to).

We could follow our dreams; pay off the mortgage, keep the house and buy a motorhome, travel…

On a more serious note, there would be no child abuse; car accidents; disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis; cancer; or children dying of starvation. ūüė¶

I’ve just scratched the surface of what my ideal world might look like. Many of the above comments are a bit tongue-in-cheek, but who hasn’t dreamed of a world where everything was right, easy and beautiful. Especially when going through difficult times – and I know the difficulties I find myself facing are comparatively small. Most things I’ve mentioned are only¬†minor annoyances, with a few majors thrown in for good measure. I’m sure everyone could add to this list.


The perfect world might also be very boring. Where would we be without challenges? What would I talk (or write) about?

I guess the difficulties and struggles (both minor and major) are intended to make me grow into a better person – and I could certainly do with being more patient, forgiving and humble at times. Not to mention disciplined and organised. And happy!

I’ll keep working on it. ūüôā

If you are struggling through life at the moment, what helps you cope with it? What would your ideal world look like?


For the Love of Orange

When we got married, the kitchen I inherited was 70’s style orange & green, with paisley-patterned wallpaper and brightly-painted cupboard doors. John is a kitchen designer so we now have¬†a lovely large neutral-coloured kitchen.

I have always said ‘orange is not my favourite colour’, but have to appreciate the occasional gift of orange flowers, or the appearance of orange in other contexts (monarch butterflies for example!) – it really is a vibrant beautiful colour.

While away from home the other weekend, we visited a Blum showroom. They manufacture a range of furniture hardware / fittings Рfor the uninitiated that includes cupboard and drawer hinges and inserts but is much more than that. They talk of dynamic space kitchen planning and perfecting motion, and the showroom had some impressive examples of pull-out and lifting systems, and inner dividing systems for drawers. Guess what their theme colour is?

We will return sometime to photograph the options for John’s kitchen clients, but meanwhile I couldn’t resist these …

Lamps 1

Lamps 2



Tea / Coffee for Two


Whither Thou Goest

This week we have been talking again about possibilities for the future, a.k.a. ‘where do we go from here?’.

I’m torn between the desire for security and stability, and the need for change because things aren’t working well as they are. We keep cycling around; economically things improve for a while so the dreams go on the back burner, then work drops off again so we have to consider other options.

One of these options is uprooting and becoming mobile in a way that combines John’s work and our budding photography business, while still allowing me to continue with my job. I’m not sure how I will handle the mobile lifestyle, however they¬†say that when you look back on your life you’re far more likely to regret the things you didn’t do, than the things you did.

This week I have a new appreciation for Ruth (in the Bible), who for love of her mother-in-law gave up other options for her future in order to stay with and support Naomi.

In the same way, it seems right to me to support and encourage my husband & help him fulfill his dreams and potential, trusting that along the way my own will also be fulfilled. We are a team; our relationship will be strongest when we are pulling in the same direction.

“And Ruth said, entreat me not to leave thee, or¬†to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people¬†shall be¬†my people, and thy God my God.” – Ruth 1.16, King James Version.

I would like to know where the road leads before we start out, but that’s not possible. I have to trust God that we will make the right decisions and be guided in the right direction.

Destination Unknown

(photographed  on our honeymoon in 2005, somewhere in the South Island)

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All Change

Okay, so the holiday is over and I’m back at work…

Its been an especially busy week because my workplace shifted to a new environment on Monday. This involved a huge amount of organisation before the event, which I missed most of because I was on leave. I was back at work Monday morning though, a full-on day despite lots of extra staff and other assorted helpers. Then I had a few days at home before working a long day on Friday, a crazy busy day when the work just kept coming, and I wondered if I’d ever get to stop & eat! The most difficult thing seems to be orientating ourselves to the new environment and locating everything (‘Where is…??!!’ is a very common question). ¬†Activities which seemed simple to carry out before, now take much longer and are more stressful because of that.¬†We are having to get used to the distances between places; somehow everything seems to be much further apart than in the old environment. There are different rules too, so we are having to develop some new routines, such as where to go for lunch. Others outside the workplace have not been as patient as we would like, in some instances. Yesterday evening I had a phone conversation during which I was asked “Don’t you people have anything there?!” when I requested a fax number.

All this with a high workload as we go into the winter months, and less staff than we really need to cope with it. Aaagh, I think I need a holiday! ūüėČ

As you can see, the new area has some disadvantages at the moment, but I’m also finding some positives. It’s new and therefore more physically attractive. There are extra rooms which means people and equipment can be spread out more. Some things are in better places than they were in the old environment. It’s been purpose-built (or at least renovated) for us. The view is great. And the new staff bathroom is way more private than the other one was!

I¬†remember our last workplace move, about 4 years ago. After struggling initially, we gradually became used to the changes and the new routines became second nature. Here’s hoping the same will apply – and we won’t be moving again for a long while, if ever.

Season of Change