Monday, December 3, 2007

The things I'm enjoying doing instead of the things I should be doing.

It's time to make the Christmas Pudding, and get presents, and clean up the house, and see friends, and visit the family......instead I'm sitting permanently at my desk with origami paper, pens, stanley knives and gluesticks unable to move away to do the jobs that are pressing.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sparrow village

Yesterday evening I went for a walk down Brunswick st. and stopped in at the Brunswick st. Bookstore for a browse before getting pizza and beer for dinner. When I got home Phil asked if I had seen any good books and I told him about the 'Book of birds of Melbourne' and how I wished I had bought it. "Birds of Melbourne?!" he scoffed, "What? You want a book about pigeons and sea gulls and those bloody yellow legged Minah things?" and I added meekly, "and sparrows....."

Friday, November 30, 2007

Chicken Mansion

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Big Chicks in the Shadowless Village


A large title for a very small drawing.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The embalmed bonsai

When I was a kid, my mum wore elastic topped 'slacks' and tunic style tops. She played golf with her friends who also wore elastic slacks and tunics. In the Summer Mum's left hand was always white where she wore her leather golfing glove while her arms up to the sleeve mark were a deep honey brown. Golf was her passion, she spent a lot of time at the golf course and consequently I was at the baby sitters a lot.
One of my baby sitters was wonderful, her name was Mrs Duffy she was short and wrinkled and had a face like what I imagined a plum pudding might look like, or a sugar plum fairy- I wasn't sure which, they were Christmas images I'd read about but never seen in Australia. I don't think Mrs Duffy had a husband, she lived in a little dark stone cottage and kept Eskimo Pie ice creams in an enormous freezer that took up all of her hallway except for a little gap to squeeze past. My other babysitter was called Mrs Skinner, she was tall and thin and had a rather severe angular face. She lived in a house with wooden floors and no toys. I screamed when I was left with Mrs Skinner, the time it took to play a round of golf felt interminably long at Mrs Skinner's house.
Mum spent so much time at golf that she didn't have time for gardening. In every room in our house, there was a vase filled with plastic flowers. There were roses on top of the book case in an array of pastel coloured blooms, that were waxy and death like, whenever I looked at them it chilled me. My mother's nemesis who was also Japanese, brought her a bonsai from the old country once. She gave my mother many gifts and I think Mum accepted them all just so she could recall her vivid hatred whenever she set eyes on them. The bonsai was placed on the top shelf in the kitchen where it languished, never watered or clipped. The bonsai was a precious symbol of the beauty of Mum's home land but at the same time a bitter reminder of Minnie, the hated bestower of gifts.
After many years the miniature tree was completely dessicated but seemed to have extra growth where the dust had accumulated and formed into clumps of grey felty material. One day the bonsai was taken away. I was not living at home anymore at this stage and the next time I came to visit, the bonsai was back but it had been sprayed an artificial dark lime colour, clumps of dust and all. It is still there, slightly larger again with another crop of dust. Mum no longer talks to Minnie.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Elastic time


While sitting at my desk this morning, I looked at the scanner and realised why I haven't been posting so often these days. It takes an enormous mental effort to move stuff off the scanner in order to lift the lid and actually scan something. After several minutes of psyching up, I managed to complete the task, once again marveling at the power of procrastination.
This week has dragged out like a stretched bit of blue tac. Phil has been in Croatia for a week and because of this I have been doing Mum stuff and Dad stuff, half of my time has been spent in the kitchen and the other half at the other end of the house in the computer room. While I was folding clothes yesterday during a brief respite in which. I escaped to the bedroom, Kobe came in to perform his duty of regular requests to play Star Wars Lego on the pc. I said I could play for a while and then would have to make dinner and explained as I do on a daily basis, that there was a lot of jobs to be done in the evening before bed. Kobe, to my surprise flung himself face down on the bed and wailed "why do the days go so fast?!!!" I was taken aback, I was under the impression that days only went fast once you reached 30, I could not remember ever having said those words at 6 years of age. If I recall rightly, Summer always took years to roll around and waiting in the doctor's office for vaccinations took even longer.
I looked down at my maudlin boy prostrate on the bed and thought to myself, his 6 years of life so far, seem compressed into an instant, I didn't want time to go so fast either. But time is elastic. Humans invented clocks and made equal measures of time, perhaps believing that we could somehow harness and control our lifetimes whooshing past and evaporating into the mists. Time is liquid though, sometimes it pools and seems static, moments later it cascades past at an alarming rate. When Kobe looked up at me I said "But your birthday and Christmas are coming! What if time went slow all the way until then?" He leapt up, eyes shining and yelled "yeah!" and ran off, I guess to speed things along a little faster.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Writing is a form of drawing!


I suppose these lapses of concentration are common. I'm finding it very hard to get 'into' drawing at the moment, my focus has temporarily shifted towards writing, I recently ordered a copy of "Living Color, a writer paints her world" , by one of my favourite writers- Natalie Goldberg. I was not disappointed, but having rediscovered her I then went on to re read "Writing down the bones." I originally bought the full size edition of this book and found that I was reading it everytime I went out of the house so I was over joyed to find the pocket version which I keep in my bag. It is the perfect companion to a quiet few hours writing in coffee shops. After all, I do live at the edge of Fitzroy here in Melbourne, there is a tradition for me to uphold. However I do not always wear black these days This book is a delicious blend of buddhism and writing, she amazes me that she was able to blend two of my fascinations, it gave me hope much in the way Dan Price did with his books on journalling and simple living. So I'm writing away, perhaps nothing that I would be willing to post but Goldberg's whole premise is writing as 'practice' as in zen practice. I'm going deep inside myself.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What a funny old fellow was Isaac......

I'm back from a long blogging silence. Just thought I'd mention what a strange guy Isaac Newton was. Brilliant, yes, but also odd....very odd. We are probably lucky that he lived long enough to bring us such amazing concepts as the Calculus, and his masterwork the Philolphiae Naturalis Pricipia mathematica. As well as such brilliance, Newton also indulged in some bizarre experiments such as inserting a bodkin (a very large needle) into his eye socket and rotated it about "betwixt my eye and the bone as near to the backside of my eye as I could..." Why did he do this? To find out what would happen. I suppose the down side to an enquiring mind is that sometimes you have to go to extremes to find an answer. The answer in Isaac's case was luckily, 'nothing lasting.'

Sunday, September 30, 2007

more journal pages

All my colored work has this color scheme, I do have other colors but they sit in the box unused. I found a really good journal for ink and wash yesterday, it's a $7.00 sketch pad with 200gsm paper, specifically for ink and wash, they come in smooth or textured. It's one of those pads that you can tear the finished page off easily, I don't like that sort. I bought it because it's so hard to find sketchbooks with good paper for wet media and I was sure I could make it more durable, I found some resources on the net about Japanese book binding and ended up using these instructions . However I didn't take the book apart at all, just sewed it close to the original binding tape and stuck a piece of watercolor paper on the front which I will embellish at some stage. Perhaps I'll post a pic of the finished cover at a later date. All in all I was very pleased with the result so far.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

Abundant


Took the kids to the beach today. It was overcast but mild, Kobe and Hana ran in and out of the waves, the clouds hung darkly over the pier, I collected different colored glass worn smooth by a million waves. We came away rejuvenated, licking fine salt spray from our lips.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cascade



Monday, September 17, 2007

Alignment

The forces of the Universe must be in alignment, both the kids were busy at the same time and not hungry for a change, the husband is working late. I sat on the sofa with Ry Cooder on the sound system , a glass of wine and the sketchbook and pen. Satisfaction settled on me like Spring sunshine and really....what more can I ask for. I feel very lucky.

A quote- "The specialness of artists is the degree to which these precarious balances are crucial backups for their real endeavor. Their essential effort is to catapult themselves wholly, without holding back one bit, into a course of action without having any idea where they will end up. They are like riders who gallop into the night, eagerly leaning on their horse's neck, peering into a blinding rain. and they have to do it over and over again. When they find that they have ridden and ridden- maybe for years, full tilt- in what is for them a mistaken direction, they must unearth within themselves some readiness to turn direction and to gallop off again."
Anne Truitt- Daybook, The Journal of an Artist.
A link- Pamela Dale an Australian Artist who makes some lovely assemblages in the shape of clothing and the very sensuous "blue paintings".

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Not very much



"The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out. Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it."
Dee Hock

At least that's the reason I'm giving for sitting about doing not very much.

Some lovely installation work by artist Maria Hinze

Friday, September 14, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Birth induced vision abnormality

I know I'm getting a bit obsessive with these dashes, my eyes are so red from staring at the page! They fascinate me because this is what I saw on light blank surfaces after the births of my kids. I remember staring at the wall in our bedroom in wonder at the sworls and dots and at the same time being a bit concerned that my vision was going. They went away eventually, in hindsight I guess it was caused by sleep deprivation.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Creative explosion


I mentioned in my last post how I stopped making art after art school, I couldn't cope with all I thought had to be done in order to be a successful artist. Just the thought of having to come up with brilliant, original works and networking with those that might further my career and building up a good cv and exhibiting as often as possible pretty much blocked me completely. I don't want to talk anymore about my 'creative trauma' but instead to mention what seems to be a creative renaissance. The people whose work I read about and look at are people who create for the pure enjoyment of it, selling or not selling just isn't the focus. The Net too, has joined people together, art isn't just in the galleries thank goodness! You can get on the net and look at work by all sorts of people from all over the world whose common thread is simply their joy in making stuff. It makes me feel for the first time that there are no rules and how liberating that is!
These people who may or may not call themselves artists often are more prolific than your traditional artist, I think this is because of a lack of inhibition, making art is about enjoying the process rather than trying to make a living or trying to become famous. (though there's nothing wrong if that happens too!) I was reading about Lisa Congdon this week, she calls herself an Outsider Artist because she has no art training, what I like about her is that she is incredibly prolific but the drive comes from an absolute need and love for creating, you can read an interview with her in Juxtapoz magazine here( sorry, this link isn't working for some reason, you can access it from the About page on her site.) Also she has a great blog here .
While I was thinking about all this, I had a look at this German site that documents Street Art, it brightens my day to spot little masterpieces while I'm out and about. What's your opinion on Street Art? Is it done by criminals or do you see it as unbridled creativity?

Friday, September 7, 2007

A moment to feel thankful


Tonight I was thinking of how I got back into art. It wasn't that long ago really, I made some toys for friends last Christmas in an effort to break the mass hysterical consumer orgy that Christmases past have been for me. After that little taste of creativity, something inside me was released, I never wanted to be without it again. When we went to Germany I was looking online for an English speaking life drawing class in the town where we were living. I didn't find one, but I did find Every Day Matters. From Danny Gregory's site I then discovered "The Wish Jar" by keri smith, she has been such a comfort when I've been feeling kinda lost. Her wild abandon and playfulness in creativity has inspired me to create where long ago as an art student I became overwhelmed and paralyzed with fear.
My journal has, as you have probably noticed, taken another swing in style, once upon a time this would have mortified me because I was constantly criticized at art school for not developing a signature style. These days, I welcome the new ideas.
I was browsing keri's site again tonight and out of interest read her article " How to start as an illustrator." She mentioned Bruce Mau's Incomplete Manifesto what he had to say seemed so wise to me at this stage in my life. I really think that what people like Danny Gregory, keri smith and Bruce Mau have done for us ordinary mortals has been absolutely liberating and it has been such a joyous journey to do and also to see the amazing work by people from all walks of life.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Introspection

"You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, simply wait. You need not even wait, just learn to become quiet, and still, and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet."
-Franz Kafka

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Branches

Monday, September 3, 2007

Time for a change.....again.

Wow, that was a strange experience. Last week I was happily drawing away when 'Pouf! ( everything sounds classier in French.) Inspiration dried up like the run-away Baked Bean under the couch. At least this time, I only felt mild consternation rather than a full-on panic attack. Maybe I could even grow to love and embrace these times. This week I've been thinking REINVENT. I reinvent all the time, this year I decided I wouldn't take on anymore new activities because I could feel myself wearing thin, last year I did Belly Dancing, pottery, fun runs, yoga, a writing course and I can't remember the rest but of course nothing was completed. I came to my senses this year and realised that staying at home with the kids, being a mum,wife, sister, daughter and trying to be creative really was enough for my limited energy stores. My compulsion to reinvent is something that I've really been ashamed of in the past. Deep down I believed reinvention really meant "unable to finish things" and "unfocused" but this is my year of being kind to myself and embracing the imperfection of life and perhaps even acknowledging that spontaneity, surprises, and gifts from your intuition are all good things that come from reinvention.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Father's Day

This is my Dad. While I was drawing him from a photo, my neighbor came in, after watching a while, she said 'is he.......alright?' What makes lots of volume which is fun to draw, comes from his years of cortisone use for chronic asthma which bloats the face. He isn't alright. There is a myriad of diseases he lives with on a daily basis. But he keeps going long after we feared for him and he loves his grandchildren and always finds a reason for getting up in the morning. I love you Dad, Happy Father's Day for Sunday!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pulled one out of the archives



Got out my pen and book this week for some drawing. There is something wrong with my pen, I'm sure. It turned every drawing into a grotesque version of what I intended, very odd, perhaps I can sell it on Ebay as an Original Ugly Stick. Oh well, the urge to post has to be fulfilled however, so here is a drawing that I hope isn't already in the archives. I'm pretty sure it was originally posted on my blog at Typepad where I had a brief flirtation before coldly dumping it, I was a cad.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Confessions of a germaphobe

A few weeks ago on my birthday, I chose as a treat to go on a date with myself to the library. It was very enjoyable, I read a book on germs. I didn't check this book out because I'm the sort of person who would seize up if I knew too much about the greeblies that live in our home. Most people know now, that the toilet is relatively clean compared to, say the kitchen sink which is really a swamp of the Black Death. I didn't know though that anti-bacterial cleaners are completely ineffective and according to recent studies the best way to sanitize something is to scrub it. ( and then manically wash your hands afterwards.) Of course I've been scrubbing away ever since, it is actually a very satisfying activity, I've just been watching months of fungal growth disappear down the plug hole in the shower.
Today's drawing is of the German artist Kathe Kollwitz (1867-1945) She was married to a doctor and was very busy helping him in his practice, looking after her two boys and the household as well as prolifically working at her art. She was a multi-tasker, she drew the women of the working class who waited in her home to see the doctor. Lots of women who did a hell of a lot more scrubbing than I do.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Quick! Someone skim the pond!

Sometimes my head is so full of ideas and then someone goes and pours acid down the drain and there are my poor ideas floating on the top of the pond, completely lifeless. I wonder why, when I have no ideas in my head my mouth still opens and lets a deluge of rubbish pour out of it. Appropriate silence is so difficult.
Having just demonstrated this difficulty- here is Henry Miller, the master of pared down expression who captured Paris, that city both sublime and filthy.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

CHADD

I seem to have a problem. A severe case of CHADD I suspect. Cross Hatching Attention Deficit Disorder.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Portrait of a man completely unknown to me

Actually I know exactly who this is. It is someone who really detests having drawings made of them and published in blogs. Unfortunately due to our family connections he has no choice but to suffer the indignity in silence.

Monday, August 13, 2007

6 on the Richter scale

I couldn't post last night, for some reason Blogger wouldn't let me. I kept clicking the Publish Post button and nothing........I was hyperventilating, I was having conniptions. That is one of my all time favorite words- Conniption. It's like a 6 on the Richter scale on the inside and a ripple on a pond on the outside. See what Blogger has done to me? Now I'm making no sense. whatsoever.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Another guy from the paper.

I've been finding it hard to settle down and draw since we got back. I've been drawing heads from the paper because I just want to practice and those inconsiderate people who frequent coffee shops won't damn well stand still. Mind you, I drew my niece today and she did stand still, very disconcerting- I couldn't draw because she was sitting there perfectly still but with a thick air of expectancy. I did complete the sketch and she was suitably underwhelmed by it.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Waiting for the train


I was waiting at the train station for my nieces to arrive, to pass the time I drew this from a book.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Pointless post completely unrelated to picture

The house sitter has left her goldfish here. I've never had fish before I didn't realize how interactive they are. Whenever I go to make coffee they both swim to the spot where they can see me, at first I thought the espresso machine was traumatizing them and they were trying to communicate with me using fish telepathy but I think they just know I'm the Dude with the Food so they swim around hopefully, much like the cat , except the cat doesn't swim, I guess you already suspected that. So when I fed them I noticed they would swim to the surface to eat and bubbles would come out of their mouths then they would swim down and more bubbles would come out from........well, somewhere. Every time I fed them I would peer at them from under the bowl to see just exactly where these bubbles come from and I'm rather disappointed to report that fish don't appear to fart like I suspected. The bubbles come from their gills so I guess they're just burping, but I'll keep studying them, after all they may be trying to communicate with me by burp talking.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Dollies


Today for my birthday I got a scanner and I went to the library to read magazines. Some kind of time warp happened while I was in there, 5 hours passed without my knowing. I was thankful it was only a few hours, was afraid that when I returned home the doorway would be draped in cobwebs and the family all gone to pursue their adult lives after the weird disappearance of their mother.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Letjagged


I promised you twang- G'day! Howzithangin? I don't think I have ever strung those words together in my life, in fact I don't know anyone at all that says 'G'day'. Hmmmm, interesting.....or is it? I digress. We've been home for 5 days, I've been jetlagged and ill probably from breathing that fetid air that gets perpetually recirculated through the aircraft cabin. My eye and nose have been streaming so much so, that I have taped a sanitary pad over my eye and plugged the nostril with a Med. I'm really getting into these blogs where the author describes their illnesses in vivid detail, they are surprisingly common, I guess that's why we have blogs in the first place, I can go on about any old shite and there's not a damn thing you can do about it, well apart from not reading this of course, but you are! Ha!

Ok, this is all getting a bit nonsensical even for me, I'm hoping my head will clear some time in the next few days then perhaps my reason will return.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Guy from the paper

Think I'll take a tram ride tomorrow to get some discarded newspapers.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

See you in Melbourne!


Ok, we're about done here. Just one major hauling of approximately a small city of suitcases to Frankfurt and then a little jaunt around Switzerland, then back to the Land of Oz. Next time I post it will be in a strong Aussie twang. Though I'm quite taken with this Twitter thing, (see my side bar at left.) I'll be letting you know at regular intervals such fascinating things about what I'm doing like picking my nose or vacantly staring into space.

I am perhaps obtaining much more great!






I've just been reading this blog- http://crackskullbob.squarespace.com/journal/ Not really sure what his name is, he seems a little multiple-personality, but hey! The blog is a scream! One of his posts was an experiment with something like Google Translate, I love Google Translate (http://translate.google.com/translate_t?langpair=esen ) , if you're ever feeling a bit low and are in need of a good laugh have a play with it. Crackskullbob translated English to Portuguese and back again, the following post was done in the same manner except to Spanish.






I am trying to lose some kilos, my gut is spilling on my waistband but really I am tired to wake up as much with the indigestiĆ³n and of the change more slowly. I am living on the soup of miso and fruit, is not so bad in fact that my stomach seriously of the rumbling is entertaining absolutely. The time of baking has been reduced greatly that is a premium. My husband will eat tonight toasted and tea, and will drain a bag in a cup and will add the hot water, there! Uses the supper! I complained to my husband the other day which just they did not make wrap the way that used to, all my t-shirts I look like to have contracted to reveal a charming roller of the fat, is not perhaps the washing machine, I am perhaps obtaining much more great.
I'm thinking I should write all my posts in this manner, it really improves the quality!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Art of The Nap

Phil has an enviable skill of being able to construct a makeshift bed wherever he is. I drew this in the garden behind the Elisenbrunnen, where Phil managed a little nap while the kids ran over the top of him and despite the sulfurous odour that comes from the natural spring nearby.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Parallel universes and earplugs

.
The other day, I bought a new pack of earplugs, an essential for wives of snoring men. These ones were a hot pink and Hana was absolutely intrigued with them. She asks all the time if I can get the pack out for her, she loves the colour, I think when she looks at it she can feel the colour, it is most certainly a pleasurable thing for her.
As I was lying awake the other night (not having the earplugs handy because I had put them in a cupboard to hide them from Hana) I got to thinking how intensely I loved things as a kid. Smells, colours, certain pictures, rocks, pieces of worn glass. It was certainly a sensual experience to look and touch certain things, I can't remember when I ceased experiencing those things so deeply. It made me realise that we inhabit a different world to the one of childhood. No wonder we clash with kids so much, we're living in parallel universes, and unfortunately the impulse to impose our realities on our kids is very hard to resist. I guess it's not wholly intentional. Of course we have their best interests at heart, we want to prepare them for the adult world. I guess the danger is that we unintentionally steal childhood time away if we are not open to their reality.
I began drawing again this year after a long absence because some accidental discoveries on the net lead me to a whole new way of thinking about creativity. I forgot the goal oriented, mentality which had previously frozen my desire for making art and began drawing my little life purely for the pleasure of it. This has resulted in a complete turn around in the way I think about just about everything! This kind of drawing is a kind of meditation, a kind of worship if you will. Time is arrested while the line takes on a life of it's own, it is refreshing, it is rejuvenating. At these moments I just barely capture that feeling I had as a child while tenderly stroking the inside fur of my cat's paw, drinking in the sensation and processing it with my whole being. I watch my kids and see them experience these moments constantly, I'm watching and trying to learn their lessons

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Leaving preparations


We go next week. I've been wandering about sketching things I may never see again, and living in amongst chaos while we turn out cupboards and filter through the amazing amount of crap that we have accumulated over the last 6 months. Now you see why I am trying to cease with the shopping! It's frightening to think that soon we will be home and a van is going to bring loads of stuff out of storage to pour into our overly large house and I will be totally overcome with having to deal with it all. I'm still fantasizing about moving into a cosy little shed like my brother's. When we get back, I'm going to contact these people- http://www.freecycle.org.au/
see if I can get rid of a whole lotta stuff!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

K.I.S.S

Now that the adventure of Germany is drawing to a close, we find ourselves discussing the next adventure. Phil and I have talked about downsizing for years now, and the time here has brought us one step closer. It's always been a good feeling to live out of a suitcase (well, 3 actually.) While we've been here I've weaned off shopping, which I did quite a bit of when I first got here. It got really tiresome and I realised that it was a pattern that I followed in Melbourne as well- 'Entertainment shopping'. I cut down our shopping trips to essentials only, would only grocery shop when the fridge was entirely empty. As a result, my bank balance has been healthier than it has in years and I feel a great weight has fallen from me because my days aren't planned around the daily shopping. I want to continue this when we get home. I've been severely curtailing the children's tv watching as well in an attempt to reduce their exposure to advertising which I've finally realised has as it's sole purpose- to encourage us to buy stuff we didn't need before. The days without mindless consuming and tv have been the most satisfying.

So Phil and I have brought up the topic once more- Will we sell our house? I'm dreaming of acres of bushland, no lawn, no flowers just a small house some vegies and the wildlife. I read aboutsome tiny houses at this link-
http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/home.htm
They are so small you don't even need a building permit, in fact they can drive the finished house to your land on the back of a truck! I was enchanted, but Phil is well aware of my tendency to excess when I'm enthusiastic and has suggested that small is good but he does want a certain standard of living which entails being able to swing cats and access to the grid. It's true, I am wildly enthusiastic especially since my brother and sister-in-law have bought land are about to move into their rather luxurious shed while they build their home.
Brother, I know you've got your hands full at the moment but could you spare a hand to build our dream shed? Please?

Trees


This weekend I went walking on my own for a bit of soul time. I climbed a lot of stairs up to the top of Lousberg. On the way I came across some old Roman Columns. Aachen was part of the Roman Empire centuries ago and I'm always blown away to find evidence in amongst modern life here. Further up the hill I was in the thick of the forest, I took Phil and the kids up the next day and when we got to this part Hana said we were in the forest from 'Shrek'. I love the forests here they're dark and damp and the smell is so fresh. I was trying to capture the darkness of the forest floor with the chinks of brightness showing through at the top of the hill. Have been practicing drawing trees because trying to capture their leafiness seems to elude me.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

We'll be off then.

We've finally made a decision about when we're actually going to leave Germany. Due to some tax issues we're leaving a couple of weeks earlier than planned. Three more weeks until Phil finishes work then off to Switzerland and Italy for 10 days and then home. I'm excited, I can't wait to see everyone at home! Despite all my whining, I will miss Germany, it has been hard but what I've reaped from this experience I will always be grateful for. Today I walked around the town and thought I may never see it again, I've felt so alien here but this place has absorbed me into it, it has been my home if only for half a year. I know from past travels how the places you visit just get better in memory once you've left, I think Aachen will be a place that the family and I will talk about always, a shared experience that is ours, a memory that we will share long after the kids have grown.

Friday, June 22, 2007

German street art

Vague? or Profound?
(No sex with Nazis)

Are you sure you're not? Really? Better go check.







Tuesday, June 19, 2007

It's a start




I'm very new to Voluntary Simplicity and part of the deal I've made with myself is to not give myself a hard time. I decided that to do this I would have to do it very slowly and I would start on myself. So far so good, I definately don't need any more new clothes, my wardrobe has never been extensive though I have coveted beautiful clothes. I am what you might call 'Fashion Impaired' before it left me feeling a little less than other people but now I can forget about shopping and lamenting that there is NOTHING TO WEAR! because I probably have way more clothes than what you might call essential. When the time comes to replace an item of clothing I don't have a problem with buying recycled clothing.


The other change I've made is to eat a little more simply, no more waste. This is another example of wanting to conform to some standard without ever questioning it. I guess I've had an idea that cultured people cook gourmet meals at least once a day. For me this has meant buying ingredients that I might use a part of and then having to throw the rest out because it spoiled. ( I couldn't make 2 meals in a row the same.) Also there was the time expenditure needed to make these meals. Not fun when you have young kids who want your attention at the end of the day. Time is definately one thing I want to gain from simplifying my life and I don't want to gain it so I can be more PRODUCTIVE , I want more time to really watch my children and savour this time, I want more time to relax and enjoy talking leisurely with my husband, I want more time to sit quietly with my thoughts, I want more time to recharge and energize instead of physically running around or thinking at top speed. So for dinner lately we've been having simple things with a hearty staple like the great grainy bread they have here, I find we're eating less and feeling more healthy, and lets face it in our advanced societies food is one of those things that has succumbed to overkill. We could probably all do with a little less in this area.


The next thing is a bit harder, have to tell the family back at home there will be no expensive presents from our overseas travels this time, however, if they want to see some photos and have a good natter, I have plenty of time for them!


It feels good to have made just a few small changes I'm going to sit with them for awhile before I tackle this a bit more.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Unsociable So and So's



I've made a few small changes to life lately and the rewards have been so worth it! Been thinking a lot about why I struggle with EVERYTHING, sometimes I feel I'm just an uncomfortable person, it's a permanent state for me. I've been away for 5 months now, it's given me so much time to think. Significant Other and I often talk about sociability, we get asked about it a lot because we homeschool the kids. We also talk about our own shortcomings, we're both pretty shy and really like our own company. Before, we were always badgered by those who were horrified that our kids didn't mix with at least 30 others of the same age every day, when we came to Germany, people began nagging me about 'getting out there' and being part of the community. It got me thinking about Socialization. I was brought up in the traditional way, I went to school just like all the other kids, I was really shy and endured people constantly trying to force me to speak. I had this fantasy that I became dumb and was prescribed a typing machine and screen, this was the only way I could communicate.
When I was a lot older and way out of school I decided the shyness was too much and practiced talking to people until I was more at ease. I still don't want to be with people all the time, I still love my own company. I've had times where I have made myself miserable with anxiety about whether the kids got enough social contact when I remembered all the kids I had to endure when I was young and how it turned me off talking completely. So I decided to give the kids a break while we were here and while I was at it, give myself a break. It's been great! Once I let go of the anxiety, it became so peaceful. At some stage, I stopped thinking 'unsociable' and 'reclusive' and began thinking Self Reliant. I really value this trait and think it's great for the kids, it's true they are very self contained but I think that's more temperament than anything we've done. They both still have lots of childhood fears but I see a strong sense of self beginning to bloom in them. And I stopped worrying about them needing other kids, we found heaps of them at the playground.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

One of those perfect moments.


So, I was having a shower the other day and I decided to multi-task on this occasion by brushing my teeth at the same time. When I finished there was no where to put my toothbrush so I opened the shower doors and threw the toothbrush into the sink about a metre and a half away. It hit the nearest side, slid down and up the opposite wall, then gracefully arced and balanced perfectly on the edge of the washing machine. I need say no more.....