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Get into Bunnings ladies!

Disclaimer – This blog post represents my inabilities to understand anything tools of trade and is not meant to be a view of women in general. I know some really cool tradeswomen who are still trying to educate me on the difference between a socket wrench and a torque wrench! All power to these women who ace power tools!

Its been almost a year since the separation, and I have been procrastinating buying tools and other handy(wo)man stuff that one needs around the house. Besides, I hate buying practical, useful things, it is so boring and taxing for my poor soul! But there are cobwebs on the walls and the windowpanes need a wash, so yesterday I went to Bunnings to buy a list of items the house desperately needs. I was in my faded shorts and a tee and did not even bother to change out of my thongs! But it is Bunnings, so dress code isn’t a priority!

It was a very overwhelming trip as I walked aisle to aisle, looking for the mundane items on my list!

Whilst in the tools section, where I probably looked like a total tool searching for a right angle corner clamp I needed to fix the ply that’s coming off the cornices in my kitchen, this man walked by and I just did my usual smile and hey! He then came back and said – “I am not following you around by the way, I have legitimate reason to be in the sections you are visiting”. That made me giggle, because until then I had not even noticed that he may or may not have been in the same aisles as me. So, I just said “That’s fine, I will let you follow me around if you help me find a right-angle corner clip”. That got me a strange look and led to a discussion on whether I even needed that item. We ended up getting me nails and a hammer to do the job instead. He then asked me if I would like to get a coffee! And because I am never not awkward, I blurted out, “Yeah, it would be great, but I have already had a coffee!” Great way to kill a potential hook up, I know! So that was that, and the lovely man said goodbye and left.

Then off I went to find myself some pliers and precision screwdrivers, which took another hour to find because there are so many options! I was about to have a panic attack when my rescuer – a very attractive man with the most beautiful green eyes grinned at me and asked what I was looking for because it looked like I was making a life and death decision standing there!

Well sir! It did feel like I was going to go into a coma from looking for a set of precision screwdrivers! We got chatting about my needs (tools, although I would have happily discussed my other needs with this attractive man), and he helped me pick the Stanley 66-052 6 pce Precision Screwdriver Set. We got talking about what we each did for a living. On dating sites, I normally tell men I work in a call centre, because I have found telling them I am a Strategist does not get me any points. My dating profiles literally say, “I get by”!

But I just told this lovely man – Tim, what I do for work, he told me he is a CEO of some construction company and we shared stories about goal setting and challenges COVID had caused for leaders in every single business in regards to future proofing and capital preservation. He asked me if I would perhaps offer him some advice on writing his strategic plan over coffee and took my number! It was not lost on me that he did not really need my help, but it is very hard to say no to a beautiful man who looks at you with such earnest brilliant green eyes pretending to need your help! So, I am looking forward to a strategy over coffee meeting with a handsome stranger I met at Bunnings!

Then on my way out as I carried a step ladder on my shoulder and a telescopic mop in the other hand to the car, another man stopped by to chit chat and asked me if I needed a hand putting my, erm mop in the car… and we chatted about what my plans for the rest of the day were and if I really wasn’t so exhausted from the overwhelming shopping day at a hardware store, I would probably have taken him up on his offer to buy me a coffee because as he put it, – I looked like I could use one! But I politely declined and got back home.

Seriously, I am getting off Tinder and getting on Bunnings! There might be something to it! May be Bunnings should start a Date at Bunnings over a sausage roll day! Okay I know that sounds terrible, maybe they can skip out the sausage roll part!

Who knew a mundane trip to a hardware store would end up being one of the best days of the week for me! I came back with an inflated ego, feeling like a beautiful, desirable woman, my faith in me restored!

I am definitely getting into Bunnings and am going to make sure I need a box of nails, or a screwdriver every week! Might even make an effort to look less like a homeless person next time, although from the look of things, it was not required!

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What do I need to feel whole?

Swing on swings with my kids

Lay down on the decking and imagine shapes of clouds as they morph from a horse into a sea dragon into a bowl of spaghetti in the blue sauce ⛅️

Run in the rain 🏃🏽‍♀️

If I had to be honest I think I need to be loved and desired to feel whole again, but a bowl of ice-cream on an extraordinarily balmy spring evening, watching the stars surface up will have to do for now! 🌌

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I get myself flowers every so often because I love me

Self-love has always been shunned by our society, and every thought of loving oneself comes with a nagging thought of “Am I a selfish person?”.

Yet how do we expect others to love us and desire us with boundless passion if we cannot love ourselves without feeling shame? When we love ourselves without prejudice, it also helps us see others in a softer light, and we become more accepting of others with their imperfections. I for one would love to live in a world that was more tolerant and less jaded!

So, I get myself flowers from the garden regularly, and every time I see them in a vase in the kitchen, they make me smile. Knowing I deserve to have flowers makes me feel loved! I must credit my boys for this gift of love though, they always bring me wildflowers, or feathers, sometimes rocks, when we go for walks. And that simple gift of thoughtfulness makes my day!

Happiness is not a sign of selfishness; it is a sign that you love being you. When we love ourselves unconditionally, we open ourselves to being loved for who we are and attract into our lives people we need in our lives. Nothing ground-breaking, it’s quantum physics!

These simple acts of waking up to admire the horizon, being grateful for my beautiful life and getting myself flowers has helped me find that elusive stillness in my mind. It has given me the ability to be present in my thoughts and focus on what is good in my life.

All is impermanence, but I feel that if we move with this impermanence, staying true to ourselves, we find our constant. This constant sees us through all the changes in life. I think my constant is happiness, I find happiness in every little crevice of life and build myself from there.

Flowers on my windowsill is a reminder of how colourful and beautiful this world is even on cold, grey, rainy days. They make me smile, and warm up my soul. If you are like me and like flowers, get yourself a bouquet of flowers girl, you deserve to love You!

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Mindfulness is so underrated!

I have a restless mind and am always doing something. My friends and family call me a photon, implying I do not have stationary mass. Whilst an overstatement, I do feel I need to learn to be one with myself without the need to be actively engaged in something physical all the time.  

I started yoga and mindfulness a couple of months ago on the insistence of a lovely young man, and that has been life changing. I am acquainting myself with the joys of sipping a cup of tea on the balcony with a delightful beautiful view I have never noticed before. I did not know kookaburras came into suburbia and that they sing so well! Australia has long been known as the Land of Parrots, but I had not noticed the beautiful bright little birds that come and sit on the trees in our backyard and sing.

All I needed was to allow myself to sit down with my cup of tea on the balcony for 5 minutes one day to appreciate these wonders of nature in my own backyard. Now it has become an addiction. I sit here every day, sometimes more than once to allow myself the luxury of just being me. I live in a free world, yet I have spent the last 2 decades depriving myself the basics of soul nourishment.

Do you know that if we sit motionless with our eyes closed and let our minds wander into the sounds and movements around us, just the feeling of wind on one’s face and the chirping of birds in the distance is enough to rejuvenate us?  

I sit under the sun every day, and just soak that golden warmth up, lighting up the very crux of me. That warmth can take me through the lonely dark nights. I sleep! I have not slept for more than 5 or 6 hours a night since forever, yet now I find that I can switch off early at night and wake up at dawn, feeling rested after a good 7 to 8 hours of sleep.  

My skin glows, I am smiling more, and my mind feels calm and okay with the ‘now’. I feel like I am in harmony with the wind howling on my windowpane and sound of rain falling on the metal tiles on the neighbour’s roof.  

I am finally okay with silence, and it is empowering. I do not need to constantly fill voids in other people’s lives with my energy. It is okay for me to just be. It is exhilarating to find a fraction of peace in my heart-center, and I hope I can continue my journey into self-reflection, accept who I am and fall in love with myself one day.  

1 step forward, 2 steps backwards

Conversing with Edward Frankle is like solving riddles, and that is probably what keeps me interested, because who doesn’t like solving puzzles!

I woke up today very hungover from a big night of drunk dancing with some gorgeous, strong women at a beach house in Mornington Peninsula to a text from Edward. It was a question about whether I had been to some restaurant – that’s it, just a text asking if I had been to this restaurant, which when I googled, looked pretty cool, and I hadn’t been, and so I said as much! And that was that.

Turns out, that was him asking me if I would like to go there for a coffee… go figure!

Now, I will admit that we did talk about a Sunday late night coffee, but nothing was agreed, and I had planned a dinner with a lovely girlfriend, so when Edward said he was suggesting that place for a coffee, I was already at dinner with this friend! Safe to say the coffee did not happen (again).

Anyone who knows me will tell you that you couldn’t possibly meet anyone more direct, and I think Edward couldn’t possibly be any more vague about his thoughts and desires! Working with unspecific plans is really irksome, and to avoid obsessing, I almost always choose a distraction!

And that is the tango that Edward and my communication is based on. We have now tried and failed to catch up for a coffee about 5 times in the last 4 weeks, and it’s not because of lack of trying! I believe when I say let’s have a coffee this weekend, I actually mean – Let’s have a coffee this weekend! We live in Melbourne, for the love of all things green, it is Café Central! Coffee is our religion, how hard can it be to agree a date and time and just rock up?

Apparently overly complicated when it comes to this lovely man with a brilliant mind, but complex thoughts! It is not fun being me right now, wanting to get to know a man who talks in riddles and cannot commit to a coffee but will ask to have one every other day!

I love an emotional challenge!

It only took Edward 2 and a bit year to ask me out for a coffee without using work as a crutch.

A few weeks ago, he asked me to invite him for a cuppa, and when I did, he didn’t get back to me for a whole day! Who takes a day to say yes to a coffee they asked someone to invite them over to? If Edward is a bit average at expressing himself, I am the queen of not saying what I really want to say! So obviously that coffee never happened!

Edward and I both decided to ignore the fact that we had an almost coffee and neither of us could be adult enough to talk about why we just didn’t do it. We moved back to our usual pointless conversation about plants and vegetable gardens, his Philodendron Xanadu he calls Mary and my unnamed Xanadu that doesn’t love me all that very much!

Then on a Friday night while listening to the rain drops falling on the tin roof, making these joyous metallic sound, I was surfing dating sites when a thought occurred to me and I wrote to Edward – “ Tinder-swiping when drunk is so adventurous, Saturday morning should be full of surprises”. It sounded like a fun thing to say at the time!

And I think that poor humour broke the barrier so to say.

We have been chatting almost daily, and Edward likes to keep me abreast of everything he is up to in life, we share our idle dreams with each other. It is really annoying to like someone that cannot make up their mind about a coffee but insist on showing you their shopping! I am trying to listen to my heart more than my head, and the heart says if chatting to this cautious, complex man makes me smile, where’s harm in that eh?

His pain struck a chord

Most of the conversation during our coffees centred around him telling me how sorry he was that he was so scruffy, when I was so impeccably dressed, or about how hard his life was, as he was going through a divorce.

As expected, I spilled my coffee on him a couple of times, bumped into the coffee table while trying to sit down and at one point sat right next to him, which seemed to make him jump up and shift over! I wish I could blame my awkwardness on genetics, but I think it’s just me!

During one of our coffee catch-ups he mentioned that whilst he tried his best to make his relationship work for the sake of kids, he couldn’t, and he saw himself becoming a sad, broken person, so he had to move forward. He said he didn’t think he could be a good father if he wasn’t a happy person. It hit a nerve with me, as those were my thoughts that haunted me each night about my personal situation. This was a period when there was a war raging in my head regarding my marriage.

As I sat listening, we said in unison “I/we have a right to live our best life”. And it was awkward after that, we just sat there looking at each other and then he said we should go.

But I couldn’t get his statement out of my mind, and I felt we were both on the same journey, he was probably a bit ahead of me in his thinking as he was already separated, and was going through the pain of having to co parent his kids, the separation was tearing him apart as a parent and as a human. These were my fears, he was living my fears! Watching him so broken, yet coming to work each day, taking the next step forward gave me some comfort in the possibilities of a life as a single woman, coparenting with an ex after 12 years of marriage.

Edward continued to semi flirt with me, in his weird aloof, disengaged way!

He would sign his emails as Mary and Edward, Mary being his Philodendron Xanadu, send me photos of his thriving veggie-patch and anytime I had a work related favour to ask, he would ask me to bribe him with a coffee.

I was living through a very painful haze in my personal life, trying to work up the courage to tell my then husband that I wanted out, so it was nice to have a distraction.

He is a quiet, very intelligent, seemingly shy man who is very tall and handsome, with an enquiring gaze, a lovely smile and a passion for water-polo. He wears this very English jumper with the Great Britain flag on it, almost every day, I am not even sure if it gets washed enough, but we digress! I don’t know what attracts me to him, but I cannot help smiling when I get a text, or really annoyed when I don’t.

I think he is still trying to find himself a little bit and is overly cautious.

He seems to be okay with regaling me with details of his sports encounters, or his frustrations with his ex, but if I ask him what he is up to on the weekend, he does not respond.

He gives honest advice and has spent quite a bit of his precious consulting time solving my work problems for cups of coffee, so all in all, I think he is a lovely man!

He texts at midnight to wish me a happy new year, send me borderline sexual jokes, or ask me what I am up to on Friday nights, but if I ask him the same question, nada!

We are now in lockdown 2.0, everyone is in house arrest, so we chat now and again, and it’s fun. I would like to not obsess over him, so I named my vibrator after him! Yes, I know that does not help, but I do get a kick out of making him pleasure me at my command!

Edward the English Strategist who is obsessed with roosters.

I think it’s time I introduced Edward Frankle!

3 years ago, I was looking for someone to facilitate a workshop for my organisation, and a colleague suggested I try Edward Frankle for the job as he was well regarded in the business and at my workplace. Well I had worked there for 7 years and never heard of this person, which is something to say as I work for a medium sized organisation and literally know everyone.

Anyway, off I went with the recommendation, and he did our workshop, it went well. He was quite friendly, but didn’t really do much beyond time keeping, and, well the post event notes were abysmal. He took forever to send us the invoice and when he finally did, I was astounded by his hourly rate! We paid that out, and that was that. I was probably too busy being a mum, or just didn’t think of myself as a woman anymore, whatever the reason, I never thought of the guy beyond how expensive his notes turned out to be!

And 3 years in, I struggle to not think of him!

It was around my 40th birthday I think when I first took notice of the man. I was walking around telling all my work mates about my impending trip to Hawaii to celebrate my 40th when a tallish man looked up at me with an amused smile and asked who I was going with. I told him it was a trip with my girlfriends, no husband and no kids and got a gorgeous smile in return!

He was very chatty and went on to tell me all about a trip his friend did to Hawaii and all the things I could do.

Then somehow the conversation shifted to plants. Well, by now we know I can talk anyone’s ears off when it comes to plants.  So, we had a bit of chat about plants, Edward shared that he would like to grow some vegetables and could use some help.

Over the coming weeks we talked about his veggie patch, and for a highly intelligent man, he was clueless about keeping plants alive, so I would like to think I educated him a bit. He also has the strangest sense of humour and it all revolves around roosters, must be an English thing, because I have yet to understand any one of his jokes!

Months went by, and, Edward would ask me for information and then suggest we talk over coffee! If I had to be honest only one of those coffees had anything to do with work. Mostly, we’d just get to the café and he would regale me with his stories that ranged from his obsession with ties, to his passion for water-polo. We would of course talk about plants, and I really enjoyed listening to him. I was happy to just hang out with someone who did not know me and seemed to like to hang out with me.

Patrick – flowing water

We have been placed in lockdown 2.0, and there shall be no mingling for quite some time. These strange times have seen us all forced into taking the pace of life down a notch. It’s like the Gods all conspired against human race and decided to put us all in time out for our shenanigans.

In this new normal where dating someone has become a distant dream, chatting online has really picked up. Must be hard on men who struggle to communicate with words at the best of times!

I e-met this lovely man Patrick Walsh on tinder, who is a firefighter for half the year and spends the rest of his year travelling the world, building spiritual connections. Patrick is studying trauma counselling and spiritual healing, as he wants to be a healer. Definitely not the kind of man I ever thought I would want date, but it sounds like the kind of thing I need to do. I must take the risk of new and different if I want different results! The critical thinking part of my brain needs a rest while I go out to experience life, so I am saying yes to this experience whatever it may be.

We have been chatting for a few months now and he feels like a kindred spirit.

 Hearing him talk is akin to watching water flow in ebbs. Travelers gain a perspective on life that the rest of us commoners will lack forever. I feel travelling quenches the wanderer’s thirst in us all, and that is what attracts me to this man. I lam a gypsy after all, in the quest of all things life!

Patrick through his kind, playful thoughts reminds me daily that life is not all about PnLs and routines. It is also about just letting go now and then and basking in the rare moments of joy and appreciation. We have spent the last few months talking about so many random things from Donald Trump to fears that trigger human emotions; from how good ice-cream is for our soul to how bad self-doubt is for our hearts!

He is a very intriguing person, who absorbs cultural minutia and becomes a part of it with ease. He has travelled to India a lot and loves the country, perhaps a lot more than I do. He recited the Mul Mantra to me when we talked, I didn’t even know what a Mul Mantra is, until he recited it. It is this quintessential Sikh prayer we are taught as toddlers, and I can recite it and even know what it means but didn’t know what it’s called. I did not expect a Caucasian man to teach me about my own culture. He can talk to such obscure cultural nuances from Italy, Cambodia, and other cultures just the same.

He talked me into giving yoga and meditation a go, and it has been great for my mind, body and soul.  

He is also good for my ego, as he reminds me every other day how beautiful I am. The other day I put up a photo of myself soaking up some sunshine and he wrote “you look like the sunshine you are basking in”. Really hard not to like a man who says things like this!

The simple things in life

I spent my entire Sunday outdoors with the boys, drawing love hearts on the pavement, bushwalking, bird watching and playing tag. It was such a simple day, but the perfect recipe of fun in the sun with the kids and turned out to be one of the happiest days I have had for a long time.

We live a 10 minute walk from our local nature reserve, but it took us about 45 minutes to get there as we had to make a lot of stops to help slugs across the pavement, bury the dead earthworms and to help dying bees die respectfully in the grass instead of getting squashed under someone’s feet. Then there were the chatty Kookaburras around every other corner today, singing their happy songs to passers-by.

A lot of wise people have written numerous books on the power of Now, however I feel the best way to learn about how important it is to be present in the Now is to spend a day with little kids. They are so busy enjoying the moment that what’s gone ceases to exist and the fear of tomorrow doesn’t even get any airtime in their life! That probably explains the radiant skin and unending curiosity for everything life in our young!

The simplest things in life often bring us the most joy, and we almost always overlook this joy, as we are too busy fretting bygones or worrying about the future. I was reminded today of how important it is to just slow down, breathe and let go! It is spring, and my green hilly suburb has brought out the best of spring blooms wherever we look!

I am bushed from the bushwalks (pun totally intended!) and running about, but my soul feels replenished, and I am ready for whatever the week may bring.

Why wait for the next life when I can do it all Now?

As I lay in bed this morning, naked, admiring my body through the lens of my phone camera, it occurred to me that I have spent decades body shaming myself about the little that I did not have, and been completely oblivious to how gorgeous the rest of me is! Self-doubt and shame about the imperfections of my body have made me spend these years in misery, drawing criticism from others of course, because isn’t that the law of attraction? We draw to us what we think! But this morning as I lay in bed, looking at myself in the soft morning light, the first thoughts I felt were of how beautiful I am! I have a wholesome, fit, beautiful body and am lucky to have the energy to continue to invest in it.  

So, my focus this spring is to build on the beautiful me and do things I wanted to be able to do but never did, as I have the most precious commodity at my disposal – time!  

I have decided to spend my time learning to do things I always thought would be a “next life” bucket list! I am doing a 31-day course online to get to a handstand with this amazing Yoga instructor – Carling Harps and have enrolled in classes to build my core. So what, if I am a 41-year-old woman who has had two C-sections? I deserve a strong core and a flat tummy too! I definitely deserve to see what the world looks like upside down!  

I have created a reward chart for myself, it works for the boys, so maybe it will work for me too! I get a star each day for every positive activity – yoga, run, 15,000 steps, no alcohol and staying sugar free! It’s been a week and the data I have collected suggests we may have a problem with alcohol… oops! 

I will do the Handstand and core building yoga daily all spring and see if standing on my hands will give me a different perspective about the world this summer! I will run when I can and walk when I cannot. I will soak up the sunshine, have oodles of tea and enjoy the sounds of the birds tweeting in my backyard.  

I will remember to put a smile on my face whenever a frown creeps up, and remind myself of how positively ravishing I look when I have just woken up and the fears of “what ifs” and “could have beens” haven’t yet starting gnawing at the edges of my soul! 

I will spend more time on building myself up because I deserve to love me!