Battered and bruised

This past weekend we spent in the bush Larping (live action role play).  I’m sure what we do seems absolutely crazy to some people, but honestly losing yourself in a make believe world for a few days is rather pleasant.  We are with a group that regularly sets up weekend Larps and adventure days.

So with great excitement we packed up our trailer and costumes and foam weapons and headed off on our adventure.  We had decided this time around that our adv enture party would set up camp, in other words actually camp at the event.  It was part of the scenario we were trying to set up.  Friday afternoon we set up camp and were ready to play.  Friday evening at 8pm we were all called to the hall and instructed to bring absolutely anything we thought we would need as we could not go back to our cabins or tents.

From 9pm on Friday evening to 3am on Saturday morning we had to fight to take the town in order to get our cabins or tents.  This was awesome except for the fact that it was raining the whole time.  So picture about 60 adults running around in all sorts of costumes depiciting their character (humans, elves, dwarves, barbarians, sars, etc) slipping around in the mud, fighting with your foam weapons in the dark.  There seemed no end to the battles, they came in waves and by the time we had taken the town, we were all exhausted and very wet.  I couldn’t wait to put some dry clothes on and climb into bed ….

Little did I know that during all our battles in the rain, our tent had flooded and our suitcase of clothes was now sitting in a lovely big puddle of water.  Needless to say I had a sense of humour failure right there.  I picked up our suitcase and water poured out of it, absolutely every item of clothing was wet.  Our bed had water on it but thankfully our bedding was dry.  I really wanted to drive all the way home to get dry clothes.  Thankfully plot had assisnged a cabin to us in case we needed it.  I picked up our bedding and a semi dry t-shirt and headed for a dry bed.

During our epic battle the camp site dogs had managed to get at our meat that was on a spit because the rain killed the fire.  Not only that, they also managed to steal our bread and eat an entire 500g block of butter.  It was sad have to get rid of a lovely piece of meat that had been chewed from every side by the dogs.

Saturday was a relatively dry day and our adventure party spent the day NPC’ing.  That evening we set up our fires and prepared to cook a delicious rabbit stew.  This time we were a little more prepared and made our cooking fire under cover and our camp fire in the open pit.  The stew was delicious, my first time eating rabbit.  A little later in the evening our adventure party was called to a mission and it started raining again.

I know that most people would find it hard to believe that we pay to go away and do this sort of thing because we want to.  I can’t describe the amazing people we have met and the friends we have made in this group.  The nicest bunch of people you could ever want to meet and spend time with.  The hours of costume talk, armour talk, weapon talk, battle talk that goes on is fantastic.  The difference is this, the people that are attending want to be there.  They haven’t been told by their boss that they have to attend a team building weekend, or feel forced into spending time doing something they don’t want to do.  We want to do this and we will do it no matter what the weather or how we are feeling.

This week our bodies are weary, all that running around for hours on end, battling monsters, elementals, dragons …. takes its toll on you.  The bruises I have in the strangest places baffle me.  It is all worth it, the lack of sleep, the exhaustion, the exhileration and to be surrounded by like minded people is epic.

 

 

 

 

 

Clearing out the clutter

This is my year where I prune and “declutter” my life.  I guess we all start the new year off with these intentions and a couple of weeks into the new year we have forgotten about it.  Since I am now home most of the time I am managing to do exactly that.

I’m slowly getting rid of the clutter and emptying boxes and dropping off boot loads of things at the local Hospice shop.  Even my daughters are doing the same, every week they have a packet or box of stuff that they no longer need for me to drop off for them.  We all know how much simpler life is when you clean out and chuck away.  We also know how hard it is to be ruthless and achieve that.  I find myself unpacking a whole box and looking at the contents and making little piles of things and than becoming bored and shoving it all back in the box.  Now I have found this method to be effective, as I always have a rubbish pile.  So when I tackle the box again I go through the same process and than a few days later, I have it sorted.  I think I become overwhelmed and a little to sentimental and can’t let go of some things.  After the third or fourth unpacking and repacking, I get hard with myself and mentally say “it can all go”, and it does.  Its might sound like a long drawn out process but it works for me.  Last week alone I managed to clear out three big boxes of stuff.

I’m also pruning the things I don’t want in my life any more.  Simply, trimming the branch and moving on.  Sometimes we become too involved in too many things and have too many people we are looking after in our lives.  I’ve looked hard at the things I want to continue doing and will continue with them this year.  The things I was not enjoying, are no longer.  I have decided who I enjoy been around and have made a concerted effort to spend time with them.  The others that have either drained me or added no value whatsoever, are not forgotten or discarded, I have changed the way I interact with them in a way that suits me better and is easier for me to handle.  This has helped so much.  I have realised that I am not responsible for other peoples happiness.  I’m responsible for my happiness and that is my priority, and I don’t feel guilty about it one little bit.

I want to surround myself with people who add energy and value to my life, people who understand how I tick and tick the same way.  I want to bounce ideas and thoughts off people with similar interests as mine.  I want to read and read, but not just fiction, I have a whole list of non fiction books waiting to be read, on topics that interest me.  I only want to watch movies that I enjoy and not just watch a movie for the sake of it.  I don’t want to waste time attending an event, function or party that I really don’t want to be at.  My time is valuable and precious to me and I am going to use it wisely.

My aim this year is to read at least 25 books.  I have set myself a goal of reading for an hour or more each day.  I use the time waiting for my  girls after school to squeeze in some reading time and have got into the habit of always carrying my book with me.  You never know when you an opportunity will present it self for you to read.  Waiting at the doctors room, waiting at the bank, or when you’re early for an appointment, these are fantastic times to read.  Instead of getting annoyed about wasting time, lose yourself in your book.  If you spend a lot of time in traffic listen to audio books, you’ll be surprised how much listening you get done and it makes your road trips interesting.  If you don’t like books download podcasts on subjects that interest you.

Well having said all this, it’s time for me to go and fetch my girls from school and lose myself in my book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014 ….

A year has flown by and my promise to blog regularly in 2013 went down the tubes.  I’m determined to get it right this year.  My main reason being that I am on an exciting journey of self discovery and keeping a record will help me track my progress or lack of progress.

2013 was a hard year for most people, speak to people and they are happy to see the back end of 2013.  So many people I know suffered through the grief of losing a family member or close friend, lots of people went through personal changes at home, at work and more.  For me there were a number of key things that really shaped my year and taught me a lot about myself.

1. We moved home in April 2013, after 2 -3 months of uncertainty we decided to make a move to something  more affrodable and quaint.  A lovely little home in a lovely area.

2. I faced huge challenges at work that stretched me and despite hating every moment of it, I did it.

3.  Dealt with a few psychopathic people and removed them from my life.

4. Discovered something that very nearly broke my heart.  When people talk about “their heart breaking” I now understand that it really does feel as though your heart will literally break into a million pieces.

5. Made a huge decision to stop working after 28 years of getting up and going to work.

6. Had the opportunity to garden again, something I really enjoy.

7. Became more involved in our Larping group (Live Action Role Play), formed an adventure party and have been plotting and planning with them.

8. Lost a very dear friend that for some reason wants to remember me as I was before my divorce.

These are just a few of the things I experienced and each of these things taught me something about myself.  I realised that I am a whole lot stronger than I think I am.  I have the a huge capacity for forgiveness.  I may be quiet and never say much but inside I am processing and learning and adapting to things that come my way.  Sometimes I may allow things to get the better of me but when I dig deep I can move on and learn from it.

2014 is the year I pursue the things I want to do.  I am starting my own small home business as well as ssisting my man in his gaming ventures by running his ‘shop’, hopefully hitting the books to study Early Childhood Development, a subject I am passionate about, and maybe finding a part time job at a nursery school putting into practice my passion for kids and creativity.

So join me as I document this journey of discovery and learning.

Call me crazy

Call me crazy and mad, but my motto for the past three years has been to embrace whatever comes my way and step out of my comfort zone.

This has resulted in some fun things as I have stretched myself. In 2009 I decided to enrol myself and my daughters in belly dancing classes. It was fun and something we could do together. Sadly due to finances we had to stop after a few months. A year later I saw a Burlesque show and fell in love with burlesque dancing. This resulted in me attending some burlesque classes, and the making of various burlesque costumes. Burlesque will always be my first love, and I will always look for other types of dance and things to add to it.

Last weekend I went to a Magical Medieval Market and there was a stall selling all kinds of interesting things. I fell in love with the “comets”, I could picture them been incorporated into a burlesque dance, so I just had to buy some. Let me try to describe a comet – it is a small ball, attached to a chain on the one side and on the other side it has two long silk ribbons. The idea is to swing the ball using the chains and the ribbons while floating around in the air look like comet tails. I have been practicing this week and have not managed to knock myself out but have come close. I am determined to master them, and realise that lots of practice is needed to make them sail effortlessly through the air while swirling them. Something like a gymnast using ribbons in a dance.

Then to add to my crazy things list I have enrolled myself and my youngest daughter into a fire sticks dance class. Yes, we are going to learn a dance using fire sticks! Thankfully tomorrow we will learn to make our own fire sticks, practice movements and then choreograph a routine using the sticks. In November we will have our second lesson, practicing our routine, learning about fire safety and then lighting our sticks. It sounds like fun and is a great party trick.

For me life is too short to not venture out and try some crazy things. For me many things I now do and am interested in have been because I went out and investigated them and tried them out. How do you know you won’t like something until you have actually tried it?

Living differently, thinking differently

Over the past three weeks I have had some criticism levelled at me directly and indirectly. I could lie and say it didn’t hurt and I was fine with it, it hurt and it still hurts.

Three years ago I made some very difficult decisions to make enormous changes in my life that would not just impact me but impact all those around me in different ways. Those changes were not something I thought about one night, woke up the next morning and decided to implement. The changes were carefully weighed up and lots of thought and time was spent working out what the best plan of action would be. The bottom line was that no matter which way it worked out it would shock, hurt and confuse people. I decided that I couldn’t allow those things to stop me from doing what I needed to do. I made a choice and would need to live with the consequences.

One of the hardest decisions I made was to leave a job that I had been in for 10 years, I felt that it was my crutch in life and how could I possibly survive without it? The second decision was to get divorced which we all know is not an easy decision to make. I knew the impact it would have on my immediate family and extended family and friends. It would have been far easier to remain in my job, even though I was not enjoying it anymore, it would have been easier to bite the bullet and remain in a marriage that I was very unhappy in. That type of decision would hurt no one but me and surely I could suck it up and learn to live with it. But could I really? I realised that I couldn’t, that I needed to be brave and do what I needed to do no matter what.

Since my divorce I have learned many lessons, some good and not so good. People have judged and levelled all sorts of criticism at me without knowing the facts, and sometimes just because they felt justified to do so.

These three years have grown me and stretched me in numerous ways. I have discovered things about myself I never knew, or perhaps had just buried deep down because it was easier to do that then deal with it or acknowledge that is how I was feeling about life and things. I have done all kinds of crazy things and enjoyed so much. I have laughed and cried and got really angry with myself, but I haven’t backed down, I haven’t buried my head in the sand I have faced up to it all.

I can honestly look back and say that it has been worth the pain and agony and I know that there will be more pain and agony as the years pass. The difference is that I now know that I’ll be able to handle it all and won’t be scared to deal with it.

Creative juices flowing …

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday with a murder mystery dinner. My first official party since my 21st birthday brunch. My man chose the theme for the party and facilitated it for me. He made sure everyone was forwarded their characters and info that they needed to make the evening a success.

My job was to organise the decor for the party and the other small details. The theme was “Origami and the Gentle Art of Murder”. My mind started buzzing with ideas for the decor, I googled origami projects and then set about testing my origami skills. My first project was a cube using sonobe units. I set about doing this and loved the challenge and ended up with a pretty awesome cube. Inspired by this I searched for other ideas and things to make for the table decor and room decor. The internet has thousands and thousands of ideas and tutorials. I downloaded and printed some simple ideas and armed with a ream of paper set about making some cranes and pelicans. My character for the murder mystery dinner was responsible for using origami as a rehabilitation tool at the local prison and the prisoners were working on folding a 1000 paper cranes for a special project in Japan. I wanted to make some cranes and hang them up for display purposes.

I need to back track a bit and say that last 2 weeks ago I was struck down with migraine type headaches that lasted for ten days. My man was on a training trip to Nigeria the weekend before my party so I decided to spend the weekend in bed folding paper, in the hope of kicking my headaches. Now for anyone who suffers from bad headaches and migraines know just how debilitating this can be, for a day or two after the headache/migraine you feel rather fragile, well I felt as though an 18 wheeler had ridden over me and then reversed just for good measure. So sitting in bed I was attempting to make the A4 sheets into squares and had a production line going of folding the cranes to a certain point and leaving the remaining folding for the following week.

On Monday bright and early I collected my man from the airport and went home. Very proudly I show him my masterpieces and explain that I will complete the folding of the cranes during the week. While talking to him he casually picks up one and very quickly completes the crane! I was gobsmacked as I had been very carefully following my googled step-by-step video. I forgot that when he was a child his mom bought him an origami book and he is very good at origami. Then he proceeded to inspect my half folded cranes. The long and short of it was that my folding really sucked and my lines were not crisp and he told me off … I wasn’t mad at him for doing this, he was right, the secret of origami is a perfect square and crisp lines. (My 10 days of headaches is been blamed for my poor folding techniques.)

I decided to recycle my 50 half folded cranes and start again. So instead of having 50 cranes in my display I landed up with 8 perfectly folded cranes, about 50 pelicans (much easier to make) and a host of other stunning paper decorations. I made some fantastic paper daisies and made a ‘curtain’ of hanging flowers. I also made some really easy paper lanterns using strip of paper, very effective, will definitely use them for other functions. For the table we folded paper napkins into Lotus Blossoms, and it looked so pretty. The ream of paper I bought consisted of 5 bright colours – red, orange, blue, green and yellow. These colours made the decorations look bright and cheerful. The total cost of the decor was R60, the cost of the ream of paper! The reward for me was priceless.

The problem with me when I start something like this is that my creative juices start flowing and I am continually finding more and more things I want to make for decor and I have to stop myself from going overboard and exhausting myself. I now have a host of paper creations that I am planning to work on during the course of the year, simply for my own satisfaction and to show my craft ladies how simple it is to make some decorations for any occasion from ordinary paper.

Happy crafting!