Getting it together...

posted on: Thursday, 15 August 2013

I have found myself struggling all week to write a blog post. I have dilly-dallied for days and find that I can hardly form a sentence that makes sense. I think: my poor neglected readers who, touchingly, have come through lately (as they always do) with comments and recommendations.

I admit I've always had a faddish quality...I'm the one to embrace the 'latest thing'. Those who know me well probably roll their eyes as I decide I am going to adopt whatever is today's de rigueur thing. As it stands, this past week, the enormity of having no vocation has hit me...and I have to say: it's lovely! I confess, I have spent more than one afternoon lying flat out in the sun on our new trampoline, which I have decided is the perfect place to read a book. Almost a zero gravity feel, pausing to look up at the clouds as they roll by (this is England, after all).

via a well traveled woman
On recommendation of a lovely blog reader, I am currently reading a book by this writer and feel like it's a revelation! The enormous expanse of opportunity ahead of me is becoming clear; it all depends on how I chose to regard it.

I have a new project: it's myself.

The fact that there is a choice how to spend my days is dawning on me. Even before when I have had time off, it's been temporary and with strings. This time it's all very different.

Over the course of coming months, our home is going to completely change. You see, one end of our house is a separate cottage which, up until now, has been rented to tenants. They've now moved out and we are planning to knock through to enlarge our space and restore the house to one home instead of two. When I imagine knocking through I get this Tom and Jerry-esque image of a cat-shaped hole in the wall. How complicated can adding two doors be?! So exciting though - to idea of making this old farmhouse mine - and guess what? I am going to white-wash everything!

Meanwhile the summer continues; not exceptionally hot but at least dry and easy. Lots of beach walks; it always make me smile seeing dog walkers in jeans and sweatshirts alongside holidaymakers in swimwear - no matter what the weather. We Brits will make the most of a dry day!

via a well traveled woman
We are off to Portugal tomorrow for our summer holiday. We return to the same haunts, and this year to explore some new ones, but I refer back to my love of it, written about here and here!

via a well traveled woman

See you soon!! 
Lou xxx

Here's what I'm going to do...

posted on: Thursday, 8 August 2013

Wait, here's what I'm not going to do...let's imagine any old evening; I will not have that creeping feeling that I should be logging on to my laptop and checking my work email. I will not, the next day, search the inner reaches of my memory to recall the dial-in code to conference calls when I am driving, on the school run. I will not have to tell my kids to be quiet or worst still gesture at them furiously to pipe down because 'someone important' has called me. I will not have to sit opposite my boss (who by the way was lovely, but nevertheless) and be appraised  once a year and told that I have been given a rating between 1 and 4 for my performance and contribution. I will not have to put on high heels and drive to work in them, and stumble across the car-park balancing briefcase and handbag and keys and phone. I will not have that wild 'what-day-is-it?' feeling as soon as my eyes open where I immediately start planning contingencies, virtually in my sleep. I will not come home to dirty breakfast dishes, still on my kitchen table.

via patterson maker
But I will no longer have colleagues. I will not go for coffee and kill an hour on someone else's time (or dollar). I will not get peppy emails telling me of new company endeavours and policies. I will no longer know the very latest in developments, patents and amazing achievements of my former employer. I will no longer have that flush of pride when I speak about my profession.

What I will do is look after my family, and try to preempt their needs (and mine). I will walk the dog and strengthen my body again. I will search after well being - although it feels sometimes as if I am trying to capture something as nebulous as a fire fly. I will get good sleep. I will read. I will write. I will decide where to go with the oils. I will have flowers indoors; often. I will have lazy chats with my kids in those stolen moments at the end of the day when they serve up little bits of wisdom or worry. I will clean my house. I will surely sigh as I do so, knowing that I live with three people who seem to do nothing but mess up my clean house.

And the irony is that despite the fact that I think I am changing my life and being free of the constraints that held me, I see something like this and note that I am just hiding in the corner whilst the world carries on in the rest of the room. I have huge admiration for those who can really live a different life; one that goes beyond choosing a different destination for their holidays or fretting over what to wear or such 'small' decisions. There just isn't really a radical bone in my body and I don't generally get wanderlust or feel that I should teach my children about the world by visiting every part of it with them. Is that wrong? Surely in the end it comes down to bravery and temperament? But at the moment, I am taking a big cleansing breath and starting fresh, my way.

via patterson maker

A hit of nostalgia...

posted on: Saturday, 3 August 2013

So - this week I left. Finally - after what feels like the longest build-up - I left IBM. It feels good; strange but good. I will always feel a little odd, especially given that my husband worked there for 21 years and I for 15. An awfully long time in these modern, no-longer-a-job-for-life times. I was so touched by the way my colleagues marked my departure and whilst as each hour passes I think: this is a good thing, I was still surprised by how much it moved me. Embrace the change is my mantra.

via the gifts of life
I acknowledge that I am a nostalgic soul and this surely contributes to why I stick at things so long. My husband and I were mooching today, reading the local paper, when we saw that his childhood home was for sale. Given that he and I were neighbours (the original girl next door?) this has poignancy for me too. I got that familiar hit of heartache that I get when something from my past come to light. The same applies when I hear any song by Fleetwood Mac (...'Stop Dragging My Heart Around' circa 1981). I get sentimental about the times I spent in America as a child and long to return to Florida. It holds some sort of mystical charm. Nevertheless, next year when I turn 40, I have asked for one thing - to go back to the States. I don't mind which state - we have spent time in Boston and San Francisco, New York and Hawaii, and in my childhood Florida so many times that I can't recount. I just want to go back. I know that it might not the the same - things will for sure have moved on - but the lure is there.

I often have to remind myself that this corner of England that I inhabit is someone else's perfect destination and the place that someone, somewhere longs for. The cloudy days and the fields and cities that make up England. And I am sure that if I left this place - the beautiful country walks, the pubs, the beach huts, the endless cups of tea...I would get the same, if not stronger, longings to return.

The same applies, I have noticed, to shopping decisions. Haunted by those clothes of the past - perfect Hawaiian print Bermuda shorts when I was nine, that Fame-inspired sweatshirt when I was eleven, those patent penny loafers when I was fifteen. I have decided I am always trying to recapture that same feeling now, years later! Or even when choosing things vicariously for Boo, I have to stop myself picking up similar clothes that I had when I was her age. Taking the best from the past, but it's just the way I am.

via elsa may