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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coping Mechanisms

Living with two teenage daughters in the house can be a challenge at times. My daughters are really pretty easy and well behaved so I can’t complain, however, they have mood swings, which female doesn’t?

A few weeks back we had a major fall out at home that resulted in us relooking at how to deal with things. Bearing in mind that I was very aware of how the divorce had affected them. A few things came out in the process and some of them really hurt me. I also realised that they were lashing out and projecting their anger and fears onto me and in the process making me feel guilty about absolutely everything. After a few days of ‘nuclear fallout’ we were able to sit down and discuss how to work together from now on.

It was decided and agreed that our hormones often get the better of us and we need to accept this fact. We will all have good days and bad days, but we had to learn to live with this. We came up with the idea of a code word to help us when we were having a ‘fragrant moment’. Our code is: code blue. When the words code blue are uttered by us, the others need to understand that we are feeling out of sorts, grumpy, irritated or angry about something. It may not mean that we are feeling those things towards each other, it might be an outside incident or person that has made us feel that way. Code blue means, back off, let me deal with this, and when I am ready I will talk about it and if I don’t talk about don’t take it personally. It is a sign to show respect to the others and allow them that moment, acknowledging that they are in a bad space. The other rule of code blue is that you can mutter the words but you cannot make everyone else suffer because you are going through the ‘code blue’ moment.

This has helped us to deal with each other, to understand that sometimes the paw-paw hits the fan and that is okay. Acknowledging this to the family helps all of us understand and give space to the person who needs to get a handle on their emotions.

In the past we all thought that we were personally responsible for the bad mood one of us was in. We have now learnt that this is not the case and sometimes life just catches up with us and we have a down moment. It has also helped us to realise that we are not personally responsible for trying to get the other person into a happy space. We need to step back and let that person work through it on their own. We are also more direct with things, if one of us does something that hurts or irritates another we speak up about it but always in a polite manner.

We have found a coping mechanism that works for us and life is more chilled.

Blindly accepting …

In the last few years I have discovered something rather interesting. I am to blame for most of it simply because I just accepted what I was told and didn’t bother to explore it for myself. Why I did this is a mystery, perhaps at the times it was easier for me, who knows?

When I was married my husband and I had very different tastes in music and movies, as with all things there are always areas that overflow and a few bands or movies that you both enjoy. The same can be said for our favourite authors, he read books and told me they weren’t really my style so I just blindly accepted this and steered clear of them, the same with movies and music.

Here are a few examples, when Matrix came out he told me I wouldn’t enjoy it and I just accepted that and didn’t bother finding out what it was about or even watching it. Years later I happened to be bored and watched the second Matrix movie and I was hooked. I was also told that I would not enjoy The Lord of the Rings, so never even worried to watch the movies or find out more about them. He would take the movies out on DVD and watch them when I went to bed. For years I just accepted this and never really bothered to question it. Three years ago I finally got to watch The Lord of the Rings and since then have watched them several times.

Two weeks ago I was looking for something to read and stumbled across an author that I knew about but had never read any of her books. I know while married my husband read all her books and loved them and when I asked about them he said he didn’t think I would enjoy them. Again I blindly accepted this and steered clear of them. Two weeks ago I decided to try them and I am so hooked on them and loving them.

I don’t blame him entirely for this, I after all am responsible for my life and I should have ignored his response and told him I would try the movie or read the book and make up my own mind. What I do blame him for is that he thought he knew what I would like and dislike and that he never encouraged me to explore and try out new things. I know for a fact that I always encouraged him to try out new authors, movies, games and gave him the time and space to do this.

The big lesson I have learned is this: when someone says to me ‘you probably won’t enjoy it” it means that I will and I need to try it out for myself. I am in the one in control and know what I enjoy and don’t enjoy and as the years trot on I realise that my tastes and interests change and I need to bear that in mind and adjust the sails.

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.

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou


Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

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