Festival of the Winds – Let’s Go Fly a Kite at the Beach

Festival of the Winds (1 of 13)The sun is out, the days are warm, and the time has come to shed the shackles of winter. Sydney turned out in droves – droves I say! – for the Festival of the Winds at Bondi Beach on Sunday. We traveled to Bondi Junction by bus and train.  At the train station, the line for the bus on to the beach was an hour or more wait, so we gave up and took a taxi.  With all the traffic, it still took over 30 minutes to drive 4 kilometers.

Festival of the Winds (9 of 13)It was worth it though, because the primary reason for our excursion, aside from serious cabin fever, was to meet our new friends from the U.S., Tami, Jeff, Lexy, and Austin.  They arrived in Sydney just a few days ago, to make Australia their home.

Festival of the Winds (7 of 13)The kites were fantastic.

Festival of the Winds (11 of 13) I’ve never in my life seen so many kites in one place.

Festival of the Winds (4 of 13)There were dragons, sea animals, a pirate ship, and endless more variety. This appears to be a rite of spring here in Sydney; it’s been going on for over 35 years.

Festival of the Winds (2 of 2)Some people would have been better off watching the kites instead of sleeping!

Festival of the Winds (13 of 13)When’s the last time you flew a kite?

Construction Zone

I figure there’s a new year and a whole new world coming for me in 2015, so I should update my blog to match.  I started, and then my brain froze.  Bear with me while I try to make this pretty again:)

Goodbye Sweet Rose

Rose the six-toed cat (1 of 2)
Rose left us today.  She’s been our companion for 15 years.  It will take a few days to wrap my mind around the idea that this sweet, funny, six-toed cat is gone forever.

The Weight of Things

dish brush collection (1 of 1)
What is the strangest thing you collect?  For me, it’s dish brushes.  I never set out to collect dish brushes; somehow in my quest to find the perfect dish brush, and in my husband’s quest to bring home from the store the type of bottle brush I was asking for, I ended up with quite a collection.  I use them all too.  I’ve found that each one works for a specific task.

Stuff has been on my mind a lot lately.  I feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in my house.  Possessions have weight, and it is pressing down on me.  I’ve been trying to weed out all the superfluous junk that I don’t need or use.  My goal is to go through the house each day and remove something from each room.  That something will go in the donate box if it is still functional, the recycle if that’s an option (like all those jars I keep because they have a pretty shape), or straight to the trash if it’s beyond use.  On the days I remember to do this, I do pretty good.

I’m reminded of my friend Sharon from years ago.  She lived in a huge, old Victorian home, stuffed to the brim with things.  She decided to sell the house and all her belongings and move to Santa Fe.  She sold almost every last thing.  I was amazed and impressed with Sharon for doing this.

She told me about the sense of freedom and relief she got from letting go of her possessions, and about how keeping those things had been eating her life away.  Possessions do that.  If they are valuable, you have to worry if someone will take them from you.  You have to put time and effort into the upkeep of your belongings.  The part I hate is wondering where things are.  If my home only had a few things in it, I would always know where they were.    As I write this, there is a closet to my left that is simply bulging with crap, most of it I don’t need or even know it’s in there.  I hate opening that closet to look for something, because it is always an ordeal.

Yet, it is hard to let go of things.  I’ve been contemplating lately just how much I could let go of if I needed to.  Truthfully, I am very connected to my things.  My dishes and pots and pans are home to me.  They speak to me of hearth and kitchen, safety and a full belly.  My books, too, give me comfort, all 70 zillion of them.  Some I haven’t read yet, so don’t want to let go of.  Of the ones I have read, some remind me of a special time in my life, some are ones I refer to, others are my favorite authors.  And then there are all the art supplies I’ve collected over the years and didn’t use up.  Will I ever really use them up?  And yet… I feel the sheer amount of stuff blocks energy flow, makes it hard for me to get the most important things done.

So I’m going to continue to channel Sharon as I clean up this clutter and send it off to somebody or somewhere else.  As I go along, I’ll ask myself about each thing, if it is really useful, is it beautiful, do I even like it?

So tell me, what is the strangest thing you collect?




Fun Stuff!


I’ve been wanting to do a photo book, but it wasn’t budget friendly until now.  I just learned that on Flickr you can make a twenty page book for only $10 through April 27.  So now I know what one of my projects will be this week!  Here is the link to go make your own book!


I know I promised to continue with the story today.  I’m in the midst of learning some exciting new photo processing techniques that I want to use on my Uganda photos, so I’m putting off the next installation until Monday.  See you then!

Confronting Age

stitching magnified

I’m aware that I’m aging.  I feel it in my joints; I see it in the mirror.  Although, truth be told, I feel younger this year than I did last.  Even my hair seems to be getting more brown instead of more grey.  I can’t explain that one, unless it’s diet related.  The place that I most run head long into the fact of my aging is my eyes.  I struggle with that.  I feel so helpless; I want to kick and scream, but there is nothing I can do but get new glasses.  Stronger glasses.  But hey!  These stronger glasses don’t work for everything!

I took a train trip up to Ogden with my knitting group on Saturday.  We descended first on the yarn store.  I got a big, bulky yarn that I can knit on big, bulky, easy to see needles.  After our lunch we decided to stop in a sweet little cross stitch shop.  I haven’t done cross stitch in years, just because it got so hard to see and keep track of my stitches.  Oh but this shop won me over.  I didn’t even see anything but the very front of the shop where they had all the Halloween and autumn themed stitcheries.  That little section of the shop was so perfect, filled with nubby linen stitched with hand dyed floss, primitive images of pumpkins, witches, and swirling leaves.

I decided I had to try again.  I was so thrilled to get home with my cross stitch chart and handful of floss.  I ironed my linen, stitched in my guide threads, separated my floss, and threaded my needle.  And I couldn’t see.  I squinted; I pulled the light closer.  It didn’t work.  I couldn’t see the threads in the 32 threads per inch linen.  I wanted to cry and I admit I came close to doing so.  Instead, I thought about how I could just give up and put my stitching away in the closet, or I could get on Amazon and order an old lady lighted magnifier.  I ordered the magnifier, feeling very old and defeated.

It arrived yesterday, and yes, I still feel like I’ve lost the battle against aging eyes, but this thing works!  It lights up.  It magnifies.  I can even see the black thread!  So I am going to suck it up, sit down here with my magnifying glass, turn on the audio recording of The House of the Seven Gables and continue listening to the story of old, nearsighted Hepzibah Pyncheon, as I stitch little flying crones on their brooms, like the old crone I am quite proudly becoming.

Friday Part Deux – Link Love

Diane at CraftyPod was looking at her top five most frequented posts so far this year and has asked her readers to do the same.  I had a pretty good idea which ones would be there, but thought I’d take a look anyway.

beaded spider on crochet web
The absolute favorite seems to be the one I’ve been reading today too, the crochet spiderweb pattern.

crochet oak leaf
Next up is the oak leaf pattern.

knitted pumpkins
Then a knitted pumpkin.  I’m thinking that everyone else likes autumn as much as I do!

paper globe garland green craft_1
A Christmas tutorial snuck in there with this paper globe garland made from old greeting cards.

rhubarb custard bars gluten free_1
And my personal favorite, these gluten free rhubarb custard bars.  I really wish I had some of this to eat right now.


This list is telling me that I need to be doing some more craft tutorials and recipes!  I’ll get right on that:)

What Do You Do When Your Pet Gets Old?

…and you can’t afford the expensive treatment the vet is telling you she needs in order to stick around a couple more years?

Rose the six-toed-cat
Rose is 14 years old. A trip to the vet last week showed that she has hyperthyroidism.  The treatment options are change her diet to a low iodine food, give her a daily medication, or have a very expensive radiation treatment that we honestly can’t afford and doesn’t come with any guarantees.  It would in all probability heal this particular problem, but the vet said that sometimes cats will go into kidney failure after the treatment.  The daily medication will end up costing as much and it doesn’t heal, only maintain.  Plus I’d have to fight her to get her to take it every day.  But if we don’t do anything, she will, in the vet’s words, “waste away.”

How on earth are people supposed to make decisions like this?  My husband, who really is the one footing the bill, won’t tell me no, no matter how much of a strain on him and our finances it is, because he never wants to disappoint me.  Even if it gives him a stroke.

So Long, Google Reader

As you may know, Google Reader is gone after today.   I’ve already switched over to bloglovin’ and I’m liking their format.  It was quite easy to transfer all the blogs I follow, plus claim my blog.  Check out bloglovin’ and don’t forget to add me to your feed with the button over in the side bar ———————->