Sunday, January 26, 2014

Gardening In January

The fish tank and acanthus

I spent this afternoon in the garden.
Thank heavens.
I know making stuff makes me happy. I know that. I know that just playing games and watching TV is like a spiritual famine.
I have knitted and sewn. I have appliqued and quilted. I have built digital houses and made digital cat costumes.
I have built a real house and have for the last couple of years, been gardening.

All of these things make me happy. Leave me feeling fulfilled. And settles my evil, noisy internal dialogue that makes my life so hard.

With hayfever of spring, the rush before Christmas and then the heat, I have been out of the garden for months and the agitation inside my head was building up dreadfully.

Without knowing how hot today was going to be, I decided that I just HAD to get back outside and do something.

The garden looked sad. Weedy and the lawns are not good at all. Heat and dog leaves the lawns very patchy; weedy; yellow or bare; and long and straggly in parts.

I started by taking John's birthday gift voucher to the hardware store and bought 8 bales of hay. And some plants...

It's amazing how much faff there is in just getting started. Hat. Sunscreen. Scissors. Crowbar. Shovel. Trowel. Lawnmower. Gloves. Fuel for mower. Finally I got going and I was hot just from carting things from one end of the house to the other.

The lawn mowing was done without enthusiasm. I can see I am going to have to plan some kind of recovery treatment for the lawn. Hmmm... Later.

Then to the hay. The hay was in compact bales. I cut each one open then spread in a cloud of dirt. So much dirt. I am coughing the stuff up now.

I planted one of the plants, but the rest I will have to think about. Really clueless about where to put them for the moment but they were reduced because they had finished flowering for the time being and I can't resist a bargain.

But after a couple of hours of hard work I was roasted. And burned. I drank litres and litres. And while the doc wanted me to drink 3 litres today, I think if he had known how much I was doing in the  garden, he may have made it 4 litres. Good thing he didn't know.

Anyway, I think the pictures prove it was very worthwhile!
Spring and now

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Planning a wedding

It is ages since the last blog. Ages and ages. Gearing up for Christmas, a holiday away, returning to work and a heat wave are all the stories that would have been told if there had been time to tell them.

We are sitting on the heels of the heatwave and it is still too hot to enjoy gardening which has been my main blogging joy since the ending of my Second Life building days. So I am thinking about the wedding:

  • When
  • Where
  • Who will come
  • What will we feed them
  • What will I wear
When ?
 We are still waiting to hear about Mark's visa. Submitted mid-last year, we were told to wait 7-8 months for the outcome. We are almost there. The hardest part is not knowing if the waiting will lead to a successful application. If it was just waiting for our turn it would be so much easier. But not knowing? I refuse to think about them deciding against the visa. We don't have a plan b. 
As part of the visa process though, we had to nominate a date so we have claimed the long weekend in October.

Where ?
This is a longer story. As I haven't blogged for ages I am going to let my hair down and get wordy. It is excruciatingly difficult to explain why the 'where' is so close to the story of 'how' it happened. But it is.

The Nettlewood Veranda
I remember sitting on the veranda at Nettlewood in Narooma and telling Mum and Dad, that if I ever ended up single again I would never get remarried.
I meant it. At the time I was still married, escape seemed impossible, and I felt so desperate that I promised myself that I would never put myself in the situation again.

Time passed. I met Mark. Many trials and tribulations and I find myself back at Nettlewood to explain to my parents that I am about to embark on a second marriage.

Did I tell them with a smile? No. 
Why? Because I knew they were worried and so was I. So much baggage. There is the catholic thing - ex-catholic for me but it is still there.
There was my overwhelming fear that once I allowed myself to be 'caught' by marriage, I would once again be bound, neglected like first time around.
I wanted them to be happy for me so much. I crave their approval even as an adult. Realistically there was not much chance as I looked so grave in my revelation, they could only have felt the same.

So it was a horrible moment. But we pushed the conversation along. Why was I marrying? Because I want to spend the rest of my days with Mark. (You see marriage is the problem, not Mark.) And the only way for us to live in the same country is to marry for visa reasons.

Things thawed and Dad asked if I needed a celebrant as he knew a lovely one. Indeed I did - part of the visa process required a note from the celebrant to say that things were set up ready for that part of the deal.

Then 'where' was the question. Well it seemed a hard thing to admit, knowing that they didn't really approve of the whole thing, but I admitted that what I really wanted was to be married in the gardens there at Nettlewood. 
My 'where' needs to be home. It needs to be family. And relaxed, friendly, and welcoming. Nettlewood was all of that plus beautiful. Stunning. Worth the exhausting trip that Mark's family would be making around the world.

It took no time at all before Dad had rung the celebrant and tee-ed up an interview and Mum had decided on the wedding meal. They are special you know.

That was a while ago now. And time brings change. Mum and Dad decided to sell Nettlewood and move for a host of good reasons. I was heart broken. No denying it. Some houses are more than the number of rooms and bathrooms.

While I was there for the holidays, Mum and Dad were keen to involve me in the house hunt. I was very disappointed - and worried that being disappointed and over invested, I wasn't going to give sound advice.
Aspen Island and the Carillon
So I booked Aspen Island in Canberra. My home this time - though not for my extended family. I look at this picture and I know it will be beautiful at that time of year. Aspen Island is beautiful. Almost worth the round trip for the guests (add the wedding and I think it bumps over the line). It doesn't have the soul of my family, but it would be in some ways my wedding. My hometown. So for a place to stand and say 'I Do' it wins but I can't figure out how to do the wedding breakfast with the same intimacy and joy that it would have if held at home. And my home just isn't big enough.

Meanwhile, back in Narooma we got on with the house hunt. Sad thing is that there wasn't much to choose from. Remove all houses with stairs from the list and there was not much offering. So we looked at houses with stairs. M&D did some research on the cost of lifts and we looked through any house that met at least a 1/3 of the list of merits we were looking for: Away from bush (fire concerns); level entry for aging knees and wheelchairs; room for band practice and tools and boats and cars and grandkids; easy gardening; handy to walks; views and reasonable chance for capital growth. 

We narrowed it down to two. One was a conventional two story house and a lift would be an absolutely, inescapably necessary addition. The second was set on two levels, but you could enter and live out your whole life on one floor and never go below. It had spent some years as a Bed and Breakfast so it needs some work done to reconnect the rooms to be once again a family home. 

View from B&B
The builder who added the B and B rooms walked through it with M&D and with a quick quote, has told them their ideas to link the house up will work. So now we are waiting to see if all the legal bits and pieced fall into place....

Somewhere to get married?
The rest of my wedding wonderings will have to wait for another blogging day