Monday, December 31, 2012

December daze #31

I've done it! Okay so I cheated a little and started mid to late month but I have reflected and arrived here on December 31. It shows what one can do when one doesn't have to work and one can lounge in bed on WIFI writing my thoughts down. (I always think of that as "whiffy" following our Parisienne landlord's comment in 2010)  

This day's prompt says Think back to where you were all those moons ago, on 1 December when you started #reverb12. All the way back then, I asked: "How are you starting?"

Now, I am not going to ask you "Where are you finishing?" because this is not the end. What I want to ask is, "Where are you now?".

I could be flippant and say still in bed however I will move to the final part of the prompt...

 Take another deep breath.
Now quickly and without thinking too much about it, finish these five sentences:
2013 is going to be MY YEAR because... I'm organized and in a better place mentally.

In 2013, I am going to do... lots of creative things.
In 2013, I am going to feel... happy and alive!
In 2013, I am not going to... beat up on myself
In December 2013, I am going to look back and say... I really Lived!

 Today's Happiness project prompt is one that I realize will add to my goal to LIVE!

“If you make it a habit not to blame others, you will feel the growth of the ability to love in your soul, and you will see the growth of goodness in your life.” -Leo Tolstoy

Sunday, December 30, 2012

December daze #30

Often we see our life as a humongous journey, and we believe that not only have we not arrived at our far away desired destination, but we also think we must accomplish x, y, and z, before we can declare with satisfaction that we are THERE.
For a moment, take a close look at who you are NOW. See what you can declare.
Merge the past, present, and future into one big ARRIVAL.
Describe joyously and in great celebration the BEING that you ARE.

Years ago I did a Covey course which involved looking at your life goals. Years before that a friend of mine Jenny (lost track of you through the years Jenny) said that she had set up five year, ten year and life goals- I thought holy crap how can anyone do that and then blow me down years later, doing my Covey course I managed to. I liked his, Covey's,  life goal best- "To live, to love, to learn to leave a legacy" but one couldn't pinch the gurus goal could one! so my life goal became to "Celebrate, savour and document life's journey".
I had kinda forgotten this along the way over these past years. At this moment I am a traveller through a life that floats between NYC and Melbourne, Australia. Having used time to reflect on things I realize I tend to float above, have a type of out of body experience with my life and now need to BE and LIVE!
And so my 13 in 2013 will help me to do just that... taken like the 12 days of Christmas so there will be visits to 5 places I've never been before etc etc...
Lucky 13 for 2013 
1.One month at a time 
3 recipes
4 seasonal events
5 places I've never been before
6 RAK's 
7 kilos
8 meet ups
9 Music Events
10 Scrapbooking Events
11 Art journal "things"
12 Performances
13 Books read

Saturday, December 29, 2012

December daze #29

Yay! at last something I can actually write about that I did and have planned for....

What word did you select to be your travelling companion in 2012? What gifts did this word bring?

What word will you choose to guide you through 2013? What do you hope it will bring into your life?

For 2012 I chose the word "empowered" as I needed it to get me on the road to being "me" again. It brought me great solace and did in fact empower me to feel that I was connecting with myself and my surroundings. I feel that I have gotten over the hump that was in the way of my continued growth and happiness here in NYC and in life in general. Things have gone wrong during the year, as one would expect, but I have recovered from them much faster because I have felt more empowered than I did in the previous months/year.

My word for 2013 as I have said in previous posts is "Live". I had contemplated using empowered again but felt that was a little bit cheating (myself more than anything else). I chose Live because that will actually empower me to Laugh, Love, and all  manner of things.

Friday, December 28, 2012

December daze #28

Think of three things that daunted you in 2012: how are you going to work towards overcoming them in 2013?

# 1 This prompt is possibly one of the things that daunted me this year :) But then that has made me think of one of the things that has daunted me and that is communicating with friends and family. The ways in which I have relied on have fallen by the wayside in many ways. i used to write to Maddy and then receive letters from her. Michele and I had a goal this year of writing to each other- like real mail... snail mail and that worked for a short while as New Year's resolutions do- it tapered of because we'd meet up at some point and it didn't resume. She was 500% better at it than I. Then emails come in and I delay writing back to people waiting for a time when I have something to say (see a previous post) or I'd use every manner of excuse. I used to send out a type of group email to friends but became disheartened as very rarely did people reply. I was sharing my news with them and they didn't find anything they could share or want to share with me. I'd start my blog again with a great spurt and then it would lapse again. Michele's prompting me to get back into it as people liked to hear about what I was doing, was really helpful I just wish i could hear from those who do peruse this blog by their posting a comment.
However the system that Bronwyn and I have in place is to contact each other on the 22nd of each month mainly because that is our birthday date and a good way to remember each other and the grand time we had team teaching.
To overcome this communication lapse I'm going to put it into my WHI ME goals and set up a system of ensuring I talk with friends and family on a regular basis.

#2 My body shape and over-weight- I thought I finally had it all figured and was doing well in the run up to the Michelle Bridges healthy life style and diet but excuses got in the way- like travel to France and also doing it by myself was too hard for me to maintain motivation. But it's not too late!
To work towards overcoming this weight figures in my 13 in 2013 and comes in at #7 which means 7kgs! Also walking and exercise are going to feature in my WHI ME goals and with this plan to get myself organized i'll be able to keep myself on task!

#3 The greatest thing that daunted me throughout the year was me! However I worked through a whole lot of things and time healed some things as well as my changing the thing I could most easily change and that was me and my thinking and response to things.
Continuation of my art journaling will continue this process of changing how I deal with things.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

December daze #27

How did you make time for creativity in 2012?
Looking back, is there one creative time or one particular creation that stands out for you? (Maybe you could share it here?) 

Gathering examples of creative things I have done this year was actually a bit of a surprise for me to see the range of what I have managed to do this year. Quite pleased with myself really!

Zen tangling- well doodling really

Art journaling

Little book class with Dina Wakley

Participated in a number of ATC exchanges

Then there was the postcard exchange with the theme something fishy



How will you continue (or start) making time and space for your creative passions in 2013?

 The lovely Michele Luxemburg has started me on the path of an art journal calendar and we have put dates in our diaries to gather together and prepare pages so it doesn't get out of hand.
January page
And my plans for other activities include using art journaling for my reflections and plans each week (build it into my schedule and it may well happen. Also I'm booked into two weekend scrapbooking events as well as a few classes. 
So the creative me can get going!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December daze #26

One would have thought I had read this day's prompt during previous posts but no only just now...
How do you intend to carve out more time for the things that are the most important to you in 2013?

This where the 7  Habits come into play in my life - Putting first things first...

Habit 1 says, "You're in charge. You're the creator." Being proactive is about choice. Habit 2 is the first, or mental, creation. Beginning with the End in Mind is about vision. Habit 3 is the second creation, the physical creation. This habit is where Habits 1 and 2 come together. It happens day in and day out, moment-by-moment. It deals with many of the questions addressed in the field of time management. But that's not all it's about. Habit 3 is about life management as well--your purpose, values, roles, and priorities. What are "first things?" First things are those things you, personally, find of most worth. If you put first things first, you are organizing and managing time and events according to the personal priorities you established in Habit 2.  To live a more balanced existence, you have to recognize that not doing everything that comes along is okay. There's no need to overextend yourself. All it takes is realizing that it's all right to say no when necessary and then focus on your highest priorities. (Stephen Covey Seven Habits)

Using this as a model of thinking and reflecting I've reflected on on December daze #24!

The other habit that will help with finding time is Habit 7 Sharpen the saw.

Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have--you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. Here are some examples of activities:
Physical: Beneficial eating, exercising, and resting
Social/Emotional: Making social and meaningful connections with others
Mental: Learning, reading, writing, and teaching
Spiritual: Spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer, or service

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

December daze #25

How will you be vulnerable?

The soft white underbelly, the flaw in the armor, the Achilles' heel -- weaknesses are what make us the most human, the most beautiful. 

Next year, how will you tend to your vulnerabilities? How will you build them a shelter from the storm? How will you put them through physical therapy? How will you find a way to make them work to your advantage?  

And I thought the #23 was getting personal!

I tend to take things far too personally and feel in many and often the oddest situations that I have been abandoned. The obvious solution is therapy!

I plan to use my art journaling and other creative outlets as a means to get my self talk into a much better place and to stop being so introspective without losing my reflective capacities. One way to do this is to pause before I respond to things
There is one little habit I’ve learned that has changed everything else in my life.

The pause. An explanation from Zen blog....

When we fail, it’s because we act on urges without thinking, without realizing it. We have the urge to eat junk, and we do it. We have the urge to check email instead of writing a chapter of our book, and so we open our inbox. We have an urge to smoke, to drink, to do drugs, to chew our nails, to play a Facebook game, to procrastinate, to skip a workout, to eat more fries, to criticize, to act in jealousy or anger, to be rude … and we act on that urge.
What if instead we learned to pause after each urge? What if we stopped, looked at that urge, paid close attention to what it feels like inside our bodies, but didn’t act?
The urge would no longer control us. We would be able to make conscious choices that might be healthier for us, help us be happier.
If we can pause, we create space. Space to breathe, to think, to be without acting.
The pause is the answer to so many of our problems. Such a small thing, and so powerful.
To develop the pause, notice your next urge. Is it an urge to go check something online? Or eat something you know isn’t healthy for you? Pay attention to the urge, learn as much as you can about it. If you act on it after the pause, that’s OK. Just notice it, and pause, and pay attention.
Do it again for the next urge, and the next. You will get good at it with practice, and you’ll have lots of opportunities to practice.
The urges won’t go away, but your ability to pause will get stronger. And when you have the pause, you have everything.
Leo Babauta Zen Habits.... breathe

Monday, December 24, 2012

December daze #24

What is the single most important habit you intend to cultivate in 2013?

Wow! Was this one made just for me?

I know when I move away from my reflection practices and planning processes I feel out of control and not organized. The basis for my organization comes from my training with Stephen Covey's 7 Habits. An explanation of the framing of planning and reflecting in below courtesy of "".

So I am going to get back into my weekly reflection practices which I really haven't done much of since 2008. How do I know it's 2008? It was in that October (8) that Maddy, my mother, died and my routine up until then was to write a letter to her and reflect and plan for my week- writing and journaling and putting my "weekly compass" together.

So my habit is going to be put back into place but in a slightly different way (hopefully) using my new art journaling skills and processes.

Being able to set priorities is the key to getting organised and making the most of your time.
But how do you set priorities for your day-to-day tasks and activities as well as specific action items for your goals in order to make sure you’re not letting anything slip through the cracks?
You will have daily priorities such as taking the kids to school, and you should also have daily goal specific actions – these all need to be prioritized into one seamless set of action items to make sure your day-to-day life doesn’t take precedence over your goals and vice versa.
To prioritize day-to-day activities and goal specific Action Items, try any one of the following systems:
Must Do | Should Do | Nice to do
  • Priority 1: Must Do – these goals or activities must be achieved if you are to consider yourself ‘successful’. These are your highest priority goals or activities.
  • Priority 2: Should Do – these goals or activities should be achieved (but it is not essential) to consider yourself ‘successful’.
  • Priority 3: Nice to Do – self explanatory.
You may prefer the commonly used “High | Medium | Low priority” terminology.
Ranking system - where you number all tasks in the order that you need to do them, from 1 being most important (do this one first) to however many action items there are on your list.
Urgent | Important activity matrix Another popular way of prioritising action items is the Urgent | Important activity matrix originally developed by time and organisational management guru Stephen Covey.
This matrix is based on all tasks being assigned a level of ‘urgency’ and ‘importance’ as illustrated below.
Urgent/ Important Priorities Matrix

Sunday, December 23, 2012

December daze #23

Name three excuses -- stories you tell yourself that are holding you back -- that you are going to let go of in 2013.

Well this is getting personal again!

My three excuses I will let go of are
1. I haven't got time.
I either sit around wasting time saying I haven't got time or I don't set up my art journaling or scrapbooking stuff saying i haven't got time and I will have to leave a mess and i don't like mess but mess is all around me now as i write and nothing terrible has happened!

2. I'm too tired to walk/exercise today

It's been a long commute or I am in a place where there is nowhere to walk or I'm just bone idle!

3. I've got nothing to say

I don't write emails, letters or blog posts because of #1 excuse or I have nothing to say- I have done nothing, I can't think of anything but when I actually get down and do it as I am doing now I feel great and that I have actually achieved something. Having no work over the Christmas break possibly helps in this case!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

December daze #22

Swirling water on rocks

What was the greatest gift you received in 2012? What was the greatest gift you gave?
What do you intend to give yourself in 2013?

Interesting this prompt was for the day exactly one month after my 60th birthday.
The greatest gift I received in 2012 is connected to that birthday and that was the company, companionship and generosity of my friends who came to celebrate my birthday in a number of places first in Melbourne with a gathering on 22 July organized by Michele, catered for by her and a lovely lovely day with good friends. Then on November 22 some very loving and generous friends gathered in Nyons, France to celebrate the day I turned 60. Fabulous fabulous time. Many of the photos in December daze review are from that journey to celebrate Sue's 60th in Barcelona and my 60th in Nyons.

This is in Nyack, NY
I think the greatest gift I gave was my gift to Fran for her 60th, of frequent flyer points which brought her on the day December 22 (there's a bit of a number theme going on here!) to NYC for Christmas. People have said how generous and thoughtful that gift was- I hadn't thought of it in those terms but more that it was something I could do and I would benefit from it too. And I have so it was not only a gift to her but one to myself.

My gift to me in 2013 is time. Time to do something creative, time to get out there and smell the roses, time to think and relax and read and live!

How i am going to do that is all linked up in my goals and my through word and the 13 in 2013.

Friday, December 21, 2012

December Daze #21

What items did you tick off your dream list in 2012? What other, unexpected, dreams came to fruition?

What are the top three items on your dream list for 2013?

As it was the Big O year- yep I turned 60 there have been a couple of dreams ticked off the dreams list including:
  • Celebrating my birthday with friends in the South of France
  • Andrew, Lynne, Nick and Kate coming to NYC
  • Fran visiting and celebrating Christmas with me in NYC
  • A party in Australia with friends 
Unfortunately one major dream was shattered.

And now to three items on my dream list:
  • Travel with family and friends
  • Get to theatrical performances
  • Be content to be alone (all one)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December Daze #20

This reflecting thing is a bit of hard work at times ... making me think back over the year... trying to remember stuff.. any way this day's prompt...

What was lost in 2012? What do you intend to find in 2013?

I know what I intend to find in 2013- Happiness! I'm really setting up for this with my LIVE through word..especially with the L=Laugh I= Invite V= Vibrant E=Enjoy ! I have a range of combinations of words to ensure that I live a year of happiness. I know there have to be moments and times when things are not peaking as otherwise how can I savour those great moments.

As to what was lost in 2012? My big brother was the greatest loss. We continue to feel that loss and I know will do for a long time. He lived far away from me and now is even further away.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

December Daze #19

This one is taking the self absorption a little too far!

How did you nourish your beautiful body in 2012?

What self-care practices will you take with you into 2013?

The Health Goal for the year in our (Michele's and mine) annual goals/resolutions were:
1. Smooth extremities
Get hands and feet in smooth condition through moisturizers and treatment
2. Exercise plan
Get off train stops early, exercise at gym or other twice per week, beach walks.
Great to have goals- it'd be even better to achieve them but as Stephen Covey says if you don't plan to go somewhere how do you know when you get there or something along those lines perhaps a little less fuddled.

And so the extremities are partially smooth! Thanks to decent lotion and a other processes- getting a bit personal here :). But I figure if Louise can post her exercise and dietary stuff on facebook to hold herself accountable then I can do this here as no one reads it anyway! Or at least lets me know they read it by commenting....hint hint.

As to the exercise- I realized that getting off one stop early was really not enough (the gym was a great idea but that was all it was. However walking did go well most of the time!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December Daze #18

What colour best represents the year you had in 2012? And why?

What colour would you like to invite into your life in 2013? 

Be as literal or metaphorical, clever or crazy, or just plain off-the-wall with this as you choose! 

This is in a way a no brainer... if you know me well you'd know what colour I would say but then again there are a few choices...

  • Purple- I love certain shades of purple and the year has been to a certain extent a purple haze- not drug induced or drug related but taking some parts of Jimmy Hendrix's lyrics.....

Purple haze all in my brain
Lately things just don't seem the same
Actin' funny, but I don't know why...
Purple haze all around
Don't know if I'm  up or down
Am I happy or in misery?

  • Green- I love certain shades of green- "oh I like that one, yep it's green"

It's not that easy being green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves
When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold
Or something much more colorful like that

It's not easy being green
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're
Not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky

But green's the color of Spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like an ocean, or important
Like a mountain, or tall like a tree

When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why
Wonder, I am green and it'll do fine, it's beautiful
And I think it's what I want to be
  • But what colour do I want to take into 2013? And colour my life? a rainbow of colours as I want to LIVE, in part Neil Young has said it for me..
I want to live, 
 I want to give
I've been a miner for a heart of gold.

It's these expressions
I never give
That keep me searchingfor a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.
Keeps me searching for a heart of gold

And I'm getting old.
I've been to Hollywood
I've been to Redwood
I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold
I've been in my mind, it's such a fine line
That keeps me searching for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.
Keeps me searching for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.

Monday, December 17, 2012

December Daze #17

Stephen Covey had a life goal of "to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy" and this day's prompt is picking up on that legacy concept.

Think of one person whose life you made a difference to in 2012.

What did you gain from this?

How will you continue to make a difference in 2013?

Well in the cold light of day- it is grey and early morning and very chilly- I am trying to think of just one person to whom I contributed anything or even made a minor contribution let alone a difference! It shows how shallow and self obsessed I have become.

In amongst my list of 13 in 2013 are random acts of kindness, I think perhaps they should move further up/down the list so that there are more than 5 or wherever they are on my list.

I could have included here some of the people I work with in different work locations but that i don't think counts- it's my work I have to do it so giving to others is probably a focus that I can put into my yearly goals as well as my LIVE theme/through work for next year.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December Daze #16

A little more serious and not quite so fattening on this day (compared with day #15)!

Who inspired you in 2012? And why?

What gifts did they give you? And how will you carry these forward in to 2013?

Sources of inspiration are fascinating! I really have to think about this one ...
  • Michele inspires- her loving gifts to me throughout the year- the house painting, the company, the birthday photo book, the constancy and loving support;
  • My niece Bridie is an inspiration- she is such a wonderful mother to Dylan, partner to Sean and such a hard worker. Her capacity to share her life with me is a wonderful gift;
  • My niece Kathy who has worked her way through health issues, is working through the issues of the loss of her father and has planned and will commence in January the big family trip around Australia home schooling the kids and living and learning about our great southern land;
  • My close circle of friends have inspired and given me the gift of self assurance, independence and nurturing support. These have been physical support and the knowledge that I can call on them any time and they are there for me- I did and they were- thank you;
  • My scrapbooking buddies who craft and laugh and inspire me to try new things and expand my creative endeavours;
  • The people of Botswana- who live a simpler life to the full.
The thinking needs to continue!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

December daze #15

Some people must have amazing memories or amazing lives! I think mine is pretty incredible really , however this day's prompt has me really wondering how do people remember this fine detail?....

What was the most extraordinary dish you sampled in 2012? What made it so magical? 

It needn't be the most extravagant dish, just the one that knocked your socks off with its flavour, texture, aroma, freshness, colour, significance, timing… whatever. Relive the magic and help us savour it with you here.

Then when one actually has a habit of photographing whatever sits in front of them however briefly (ie a meal) hen one has a means by which to remember those extravagant things. It also means I have a justification for taking photos of my meals so that I can recall them for the review of the year.

 Most Sunday lunches in NYC will find me at Aoki the Japanese restaurant over the road. Great sushi and shrimp dumplings.

 My attempts at creating solo meals that provide solace and "company".
 The journey home to Australia and delightful "ethnic" dinner meal of multiple courses- each a delight in itself. The meal was evidence that the company at meal time and the conversation add to the "significance" and "timing" of the experience.

 Aah soup on a cold day- Michele's wonderful pea and ham! The company, the texture of the soup, the way food and the "event" it warms the cockles of your heart.

 I taught myself to make "little pies" and these little thai chicken pies courtesy of the Women's weekly pie cook book are a treat!

 The whole event that was the Melbourne celebration (4 months early) for my birthday involved food and these delightful cup cakes- the ones on the plate not necessarily Michele and I!

 Doing schools reviews brought great tase sensations too especially at two places- these are the scones and jam and cream from morning tea.

 For Dylan every meal is a taste sensation!

 The company of long times friends and neighbours from childhood, provides the "flavour" and the "aroma" to this meal.

 The simplicity of taste is often one that grabs the taste buds and lamingtons and a cup of coffee have great texture.
Mates from more recent times, sharing a meal that is home cooked with great conversation and laughter adding spice to the experience.

 Afternoon tea at the Hopetoun Tearooms shared with a loved and loving friend. Savouring our time together.

 The meals at Une Autre Maison- breakfast what a treat!

 Then our picnic lunches!

 A birthday dinner with great friends and my lovely sister.

 The adventure of getting to this great restaurant for dinner away from Nyons certainly added spice to the meal.

 Then the preparations for the Christmas pudding.

 Stirring it!
 And licking the beaters!

 Another of my new stand by meals- suki yaki.

And thus it is no surprise that one of my 13 in 13 at #7 is kilorams to lose!

St Thomas