Le Tweak, C’est Chic!

Pretty young woman with arms raised standing on beach

We must rediscover the distinction between hope and expectation – Ivan Illich

Yes, I know it’s a big ask to marry up the attention grabbing title (you’re curious and reading aren’t you?) and this quote from the masters. What could they possibly have in common?

I have been away from blogging for a few days because I discovered on Pinterest a board called Tips (one of many no doubt) and magically if you click on any website named at the bottom of the image, it takes you directly to the actual information. I am sure everyone knew that but I assumed it would take you to the website mentioned and then you would have Buckley’s chance of finding the solution promised. Wrong. And there went even more hours of my life.

So for the last few days I have been tweaking my life, my home and my body. I have had fun tweaking my saucepan lids into submission, making homemade make up remover wipes, repairing reading glasses and generally improving my life in a myriad of ways. (Plus I fixed two leaking loos for 75c and 60c respectively, YAY!)

But here’s where the quote comes in. I hope these tips and instructions will actually work. I hope my life will be all the better for having discovered them and having spent so much time on them. I hope I will have the answers to all my small problems in life if I just keep looking. But do I expect everything will turn out perfectly? Do I expect they will all work, my time is being wisely spent and I will become this superwoman/goddess of beauty and domesticity eventually? Not really.

Maid

I will continue though because the fun is in the tweaking. Small victories, new ideas, opening yourself up to a chance of improvement. That’s where the excitement is. I never know what I am going to improve next. We all tweak I am sure. Being totally sexist here, do guys tweak their cars to run better, or tweak their weight training for that extra bit of muscle? Don’t we tweak our recipes to make them exactly how we like? Tweaking is fun! It says I have ideas or knowledge, I am original, I can improve things and change my life for the better. I can get a small part of my life organised even while the rest may be going to sh… I am in charge, I am in control and things are only getting better while I focus on making them so.

So do we expect life will bed a bed of roses until we leave this mortal coil? You can’t tweak a loss, or a car accident or a major life event. We can only tweak how we react to them. Take a deep breath, perhaps. Repeat “it’s only money, only a number on my bank statement” or whatever else may calm you in certain situations. How about ‘this too shall pass’ or ‘when one door closes…’?

Anyway I will tweak away, enjoy my journey of discovery, my small victories and improvements, the good feeling of hoping I am in control of something, anything, while I expect that I am probably not the master of anything at all. But who cares? Today I am merry, the best there is.

And if you now have the song in your head from which I so blatantly borrowed the title, I apologise but go dance!

Dance away

 

Can you see the walls?

Umbrella Street

I don’t have a quote today. Nothing spoke to me. My creative well is dry again. However I found this photo on Pinterest this week and filed it under a board I created called Blog Fodder, so I will run with it 🙂

This is apparently called Umbrella Street in Portugal but maybe it’s photo-shopped. I love it anyway.

It reminds me of the subconscious walls we all have to protect ourselves in life, closely related to boundaries.

I’d like to think that this is what my protective wall looks like. It uses colour and fun and is childish. It has gaps and is trusting that I can handle a little disappointment. It is lighthearted, and uses pretty, but not infallible things to protect me. Perhaps I live in a fantasy that all is basically OK with the world and that we can seek out fun and enjoyment without guilt. I once read that the meaning of life is simply to enjoy it and I ran with that, so I seek out good stuff all the time as my means of distraction and focus. ‘Don’t Put off your Happy Life‘ is printed out and kept right here on my computer.

By good stuff I mean good times – taking time to work out what I enjoy and want and going for it. Things like time to myself, hazelnut coffee, chocolate, music, movies. No doubt I am at risk of coming across as childish, Pollyanna, naive and selfish. That’s OK. I have the same trials and tribulations as everyone else but I skip over them to look for the beauty and the good stuff, of which there is so much. I really love the sound of boiling water pouring out of my kettle into my cup! And yesterday I appreciated having a trolley load of shopping as I walked to my car. We are so lucky!

Anyway I digress. If your walls look a little more like this right now….

Berlin wall 1961

(Berlin Wall 1961)

then I imagine you’ve had a hard life which you’ve not been able to get your head around. I recently read that we build walls, not to keep others out because we don’t trust people, but because we don’t trust ourselves to handle others. I assume that means that we don’t trust ourselves to handle the feelings that we think the outside world incites.

Perhaps our filter on what we experience needs some adjusting. That has been one of my greatest lessons – that we have a filter and we can change it; interpret everything completely differently to suit ourselves. 

Anyway back to the lighthearted, here is another Pinterest image of painted beachballs in a tree which brought a smile to my face.

Watch out

Or, pulling out the big guns to get you to smile and lighten up today, try this!

Smiling

Are your Priorities Straight?

Valentine pancake

 

Not much time to blog today as it’s Valentine’s Day and to show the kids that I love them I made them these, above.

NO, I AM LYING, I actually made them these, below

IMG_0116

 

Damn you Pinterest!  I muttered something about ‘Happy Valentine’s Day Kids’ and ‘it’s the thought that counts’ and offered them these also

IMG_0117

 

It turns out, when you flip those babies over, you can’t see the pink heart anyway!  I had better luck with the card, chocolates and cupcakes I made for my boyfriend but don’t get me started on the Pinterest paperweight.  You can have a chuckle at my efforts another time.

Happy Valentine’s Day.  How will you show the ones you love how far you are willing to go for Valentine’s Day?

 

Time to Clear the Decks

Clear the decks

 

Photo from Pinterest

Confucius say Tidy Computer Desk equal tidy Mind

Yeah, I know that’s not exactly it but it’s early OK? And I wanted a quote to express a little joy I got this morning. I moved 3 hats. Not earth shattering, especially as I only moved them 3 feet above to a shelf, and yet the joy of seeing the white chest of drawers again was inspiring. It was refreshing, and now every time I go in my walk in wardrobe (for 3 days while my brain gets used to it) I will be reminded that things have changed. Life is always changing.

I am soothed by knowing that I have just a little control in this crazy world and that part of the ‘Happy Life‘ which I no longer put off (since I’ve printed out 3 signs to remind me) is to create calm. If this means hiding everything I have in cupboards or throwing away 27 things a day for 9 days, or buying myself flowers (a very rare thing), I can do it. And it has a great return on investment.

If can keep this up, it means I’ll be ready for anything. I will know where things are, I will be inspired by finding new stuff that is really actually old stuff that I love, and maybe the gods of Feng Shui will smile on me if I accidentally get it right.

If I can examine my resistance to throwing or giving stuff away, I will know myself a little better and can wear down my silly beliefs about hanging on to stuff. Extreme Hoarders anyone? I am fascinated by their logic but only because I have those tendencies.

Chair hoarding

Photo from Pinterest

Anyway, it must be time to clear this out a drawer or something before work. Tidy Drawer, Tidy Mind 🙂

 

Do you have plans?

I was planned

 

When I go to my computer each day, I have plans to blog, to reach deep inside myself, see what I find, hopefully like what I find and put it out there.

Sometimes life doesn’t go to plan like with these adorable boys and you like what comes even better!  I’ve had a great time on Pinterest today.  I am taking some of my own advice from a little while ago which is so good I reckon that it is my goal for today.

Dont put off your happy life

 

I hope you enjoy your happy life today, and that if your plans change, you enjoy them even more.

 

Do you mind being called a ‘Control Freak’?

Alone in a boat

A committee of one gets things done – Joe Ryan

I just couldn’t blog on Friday. I had the requisite hour, wasted ages looking at Pinterest, ran out of time and decided that a great photo and one quote would do it – and then the Universe wouldn’t let me upload the photo! That was my sign. No blog. Blogger’s block or something.

So it was time to do something different. I chose this quote at complete random out of a desk calendar and went with it. The point of these is to stretch my mind. Thank goodness I liked it because I wonder how well bloggers go with a subject they don’t like? Do we freeze up? Would I have made myself write if I found the quote boring? 

Anyway I digress. So why would a committee of one get things done? There are many other quotes about teamwork and ‘two heads are better than one’ and ‘standing on the shoulders of giants‘ etc. But then you get ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ and quotes like this.

This boat photograph inspires a good example. I once had the biggest fight with my best friend when we were 14 on a lake in a rowing boat. We soon grasped the whole rowing thing but when we tried to do it together we went round in circles. This added much merriment at first and a lot of embarrassment being at that age (in a public park in Paris I might add) and we eventually managed to progress, but when it came time to get back to the rental by a deadline so that we wouldn’t lose our deposit, it all went horribly wrong. Communication was lacking, co-ordination was lacking (mine) and we shouted, splashed and zig zagged along until we decided that one person alone would be better despite the combined strength of two. A committee of one.

I do like to work alone. I could not possibly blog with someone else. One person decides what to write. There is no room for discussion except with yourself and you just go for it. It would take too long to brainstorm and discuss other ideas each morning. I wouldn’t want to interrupt my ‘flow’ when I have it and I decide what I write, how I edit and when to hit publish. It’s a great feeling of control, this blogging thing isn’t it? Perhaps as writers/artists we are drawn to being in control. Are you a control freak? Do you mind being called that any more, now that it’s so commonplace?

I accept that side of myself now when it appears. And yet the answer to happiness I have decided this week is to be as easy going as possible and not let anything bother me if I can possibly help it. You might think the ultimate easy going people are all ‘peace, love and brown rice’ and live simply and rather poorly, which is too depressing but here’s the thing – they are happy! They have let go of wanting everything. I haven’t. I want all my creature comforts and lifestyle and to still be happy. Are they so hard to combine? Or do I have to be part of the rat race to keep this up and therefore likely be more stressed?

Anyway, I went to see the ‘movie’ Samsara yesterday, which was really thought provoking. It’s basically just footage of short videos from around the world and music to go with it, for 1 ½ hours. I thought it would be like spectacular armchair travelling (and leave me with a sense of wanting to get on a plane immediately) and it started out that way with volcanic eruptions and a monastery perched on a rock; the monks making sand Mandalas. But it progressed to disturbing images among the incredibly beautiful ones. It left me with a feeling of how lucky I am to be here. The rat race is doable for me because it’s what I know. Appliance factories in China and abattoirs and prisons and armies and tribes in Africa are too out of my experience. We all cope with and ultimately accept what we must.  Such is the human spirit.

Boy I am off the subject today! But at least I am flowing again.

Apologies for rambling on, to anyone who gets this far (or who stopped reading immediately). Blogging is for me to explore my beliefs and I’ve enjoyed that today. I rest my case – a committee of one.

 

Take a closer look

Raquel Welch

Being in a rush today, with dripping hair and a headache, I typed in ‘Vintage quotes’ on Pinterest because I am so impressed by the stunning images (and now GIFs – moving snapshots) on Old World Vintage Charm but instead of finding any amazing images like she uses, I scrolled down and down and found this one in there. How someone tagged this as Vintage quote, I don’t know.

Anyway I think this is terrific. This woman was/is long hailed as having an awesome body, so let’s take a look. Tiny waist, great curves (accentuated by the pose), shoulders and hips in proportion and seemingly endless legs.

If you look closer though, and if women wanted to be critical (I am sure there are no men complaining) you could say that she has a little pot belly, just an extra little mound below her belly button; and she has hips (god forbid, a woman has hips???); and some women with these legs might call them ‘chicken legs’, meaning much larger thighs than calves like a drumstick. There’s a slight chance (judging by the lack of tan underneath) that if she let go of her breasts, she might fail the ‘pencil test’ where hiding a pencil under your boob is a real possibility because it would be held in place by the folds (must remember that next time I want to hide something).

My point here is one that I often come to the conclusion of. It’s not what you see, it’s how you see it. I will take the pot belly, chicken legs, rounded breasts and thighs any day. How about I just accept them on myself? (no chicken legs here, just tree trunks). I think the trick to appreciating life is to let all the analysis and criticism go, and just

SOFTEN UP!!!

Disapproving Owl

 

Finding the Artist in You

Life is Art

 

Hear, hear! Here’s to unique, creative, artistic people! Wow, I guess the part about decorating your home seems obvious but now I think about it, the rest make perfect sense too, even the way you love someone.

I guess we were brought up thinking that art is only paintings and it has subtly been expanded to encompass many things, even graffiti. Andy Warhol comes to mind in this regard.

So why are all these other things considered art by this unknown author? (I found this on Pinterest). They seem to be talking about style but I agree that style is art. And everyone has their own style. Style is neither good nor bad.

If we agree that you each have a certain style and that what you are creating is art, what then makes us stylish and creative? It’s those million and one little decisions we have to make each day, even about what to put on our grocery list. Each decision is a personal choice, an expression of who we are. We are creating our world every second. We are creating art.

I think this is a great way to look at the mundane and not so mundane in our lives. It’s a way to see things differently; to appreciate ourselves more. We are out there, we are doing this, it’s not a rehearsal. If we can appreciate as we go about our day that we are putting ourselves out there, taking risks and creating something unique to us, that tells the world about us, we may grow a little in confidence.

And if you’ve gone one step further and created a blog, showcasing in essence who you are, then there is no doubt you’re an artist. Congratulations!

 

When the world looks different

Upside down snowman

Anyway I am digressing from writing quotes by the ‘masters’ it seems and have lapsed into silly land but we are the master of our own blogs, king of the castle, creators of our little worlds so what the heck! I will still smile at this image in years to come when, as an old lady, I read these back!

But there is a message here, in this lovely seasonal snowman image. (Not so seasonal here actually as it’s Summer in Australia). There are a few messages for me:

  1. Look at things differently – HUGE message, HUGE – That is the answer to everything I am convinced. Change how you look at things (upside down if need be) in order to change the very same world you are living in. Hopefully you will like what you see with your new eyes much better and if you don’t look again until you do.  Gratitude helps.
  2. Sometimes you feel out of kilter, like you are seeing good things differently all of a sudden, like this week when I got massively hormonal. It came and kicked me in the gut basically and I had a good cry for no reason at all, amongst other dastardly acts. I was still a perfectly good, functioning snowman but I lost the plot, didn’t realise I was looking at things upside down and forgot that it was ‘me’, not ‘them’ playing up. Apologies help.
  3. Things can be turned right side up again, quite easily. This too shall pass. Don’t forget that bad moods go away and if you aren’t wild eyed enough to forget that it’s your hormones and that you are not actually bipolar, all the better. Mindfulness helps.
  4. It’s good for the brain to do things differently, I’ve heard. Take a different route to work, sit in a different desk in class, eat something different. Be unpredictable and you will grow as a person. Looking at a picture of a snowman may make me a little warm and fuzzy from memories past but this made me outright smile. Humour helps.
  5. Thanks to the person who thought up this idea for a snowman and made it.  Thanks to the person who pinned it on Pinterest. Thanks for my PMS passing so that I may laugh again. Actually just

THANKS!!