Sunday, November 16, 2014

Not domestic drudgery to me.

Many people ask me what I do all day long. It seems that since I do not currently go out to work at a structured job, it must be impossible to fill my days. I am usually astounded by this question, as I actually feel more fulfilled now than I ever did going to work outside of my home everyday. In fact, most days, I don't accomplish everything I had hoped to in any given day.

When I worked in the traditional sense of the word, I actually felt like THAT was a waste of my time. I would dream and long for unplanned days that would stretch out before me and the hundreds of options available to me. Whatever suited my whim, I could embrace. And that is how I live now.  I wish I could tell you that I am doing wildly adventurous things everyday, but that would be untrue. It would also be exhausting. The days I enjoy the most are the days that I fill with simple acts of domesticity. Today is one such day. 

So far this morning, starting at 5:30 I have gone for a 45 minute brisk walk, taken a dip in the pool, tidied up after the weekend of guests, washed and hung two loads of laundry, made my bed, vacuumed, made fresh lemonade, poached an egg, swept the patio, watered the potted plants, deadheaded some flowers, hosed off the deck chairs, downloaded photos from my phone to the computer, paused to observe several butterflies and birds and these were all just things I wanted to do before I actually started the more ambitious part of my day. 

I wanted to write a quick blog and play a game of on-line Scrabble before I head off to the grocery shop to replenish the food supply. I will then prepare a few cold dishes to keep ready and on hand as the weather is hot right now and I really like to avoid heating up the kitchen in the afternoon if I can. Food preparation consumes a big chunk of my day, as I cook everything from scratch and as anyone who cooks will tell  you, this requires a fair amount of slicing, dicing, squeezing, mixing and chopping. There is also music playing while I am in the kitchen...a very important component. Now that I have the time to devote to this, I find it very creative and soothing. It is also self-nurturing and nurturing to others who eat my food, so all and all I feel it is time well spent. Not the chore it was when I had less time and was faced with the task at the end of a long day.

Before dinner, I will swim again and possibly read or take a cat nap...a siesta so to speak. I am completely content with this, a typical day for me. Some days I play tennis, or golf, or drive to Hervey Bay, or work on a gardening or art project or go for a bike ride or hit the weekly farmer's market. So, as you can see, there is no shortage of things to occupy my time. Truth be told, I wish the days were longer, so I could do more. I have little anxiety and enjoy my solitude. So for those of you out there, who find it hard to believe this is enough for me, let me assure you, it is. 

Contentment is highly underrated. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

No Itsy Bitsy Spider

I feel safer already. Sitting here, at my desk, behind my screened window, out of the intense sun and feeling my heartbeat slowing back to normal. 

It is official. I have now encountered a Huntsman. Not just any encounter. Not a giant spider across the room or on the ceiling, or scurrying under a bed. No. Those encounters are for amateurs. I just had the thrill of one racing up  my leg in the garden. My shriek of terror alerted my elderly neighbour, who likely thought I had just come face to face with Beelzebub himself. Frankly, that may have frightened me less.

I am pretty sure, the Huntsman was equally terrified of me, but that is not my concern. I suppose I was in his territory. I was planting some nasturtiums in the garden and noticed a large Foxtail palm frond that needed to be removed as it was close to falling. I forgot that I had read somewhere that sometimes these spiders hang out in the decayed casings of these fronds. I yanked it down easily and went back to my digging, but clearly this arachnid was not going to let me off that easily. How dare I disrupt his comfy quarters! It all happened so fast. I barely had time to consider my options other that to scream and dance about the front yard like a mad woman. After my initial shriek, I believe I may or may not have used the F word two or three times, mostly because it seemed the only adjective harsh enough to express my fear, now disguised as anger toward the spider for daring to come into such close intimate contact with my body.

It wasn't a moment later I heard my lovely protective neighbour shout across the fence, "You alright over there Deb?". Now I was just embarrassed. I walked toward the fence so she could see I was indeed still alive. She thought something far worse had happened to me. We had a chit chat about spiders as I tried to calm myself and she even assured me she was no fan of them either. She even told me she does a quick scan of her bedroom each night to be sure there are none about. This is a woman who has lived here all her life and even she doesn't like them. Gawd! What hope is there for me?

I suppose the good news is, I did not get bitten and I have surely survived my first bodily contact with one, which I reckon has got to get me some sort of Australian badge of honour at the very least.

One more step of initiation for me here in the Land of Oz.

Let's hope I can skip past the snakes. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Welcomed "home"

Sometimes it takes a step backwards to double check if you are on the correct path. That is what I just did over the last two months. It was not the intention of my journey, but it did give me answers. Answers to questions I did not even consciously ask it seems. 

Had I made the right decision to move to the other side of the world? Would the distance between my family and friends be too difficult to bear? Could I adapt and possibly even embrace the climate change? Was I a big city gal at heart? Was my relationship enough of a driving force to overlook the sacrifices I made to make it happen? 

One thing I knew for sure was that two months back in my beloved Canada would very likely provide me with a fresh perspective - either way. 

Initially as I took in the spectacular landscapes of B.C. and later Muskoka, followed by the Rideau Lakes in Ontario, I felt my heart fill with the beauty of these parts of Canada that are an intrinsic part of my history and being. As I drank it all in, I wondered if Australia could ever come close to feeding this need in me. The mountains, the water, the glory of the changing seasons, the colours, the smell of pine needles crunching underfoot. Let's face it, we are talking about two vastly different countries. As I pondered these differences, I began to wonder if the need to surround myself with the Canadian landscape was indeed something I could not live without.

But then something started to happen. As the days and weeks passed, the intensity of the beauty began to soften. It hovered gently day after day. I still felt comforted by it - fed by it, but another feeling started to take over. I started to miss my new life. I  missed my modest little house and the sounds of the tropics and the smell of the ocean. But mostly I missed him. And it did not matter where I lived. It mattered where "we" lived. And despite all the opinions to the contrary, this is what matters most. To me anyway. 

I read an inspiring bit of wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert yesterday where she talked about living your own dream, not someone else's dream. It was timely and spot on. I keenly observed the lives of my friends and family while back in Canada and concluded their lives are their dreams, not mine. Then, as if to cement it for me just a wee bit more, when I arrived back here in Oz, within the first 48 hours, I sipped a latte at the beach while an eagle circled over the shoreline and the balmy breezes filled my lungs and banished all travel anxiety. My garden had grown at a crazy rate, like greenery on steroids. Everywhere the Jacarandas were blooming. I stripped out of my city clothes and donned one of my hippie dresses, stripped that off a short time later and skinny dipped in our pool, ate a mango, drank a cold beer with a wedge of lime, said g'day to two kangaroos that were over my back fence, put some food out for the parrots and slept to the thunderous sound of a tropical rain on the steel roof.

And as wonderful as all that was, and believe me, it was, it was all just window dressing compared to the greeting I received at the airport. As much as I abhor cliches, home really is where the heart is and for me, that trumps everything. We could be anywhere in the world. But this little corner of Queensland will do for now. And bloody hell! I just looked up from this computer as a kookaburra landed on our Hill's hoist. He apologized for taking so long to stop by and welcome me home. I told him "no worries mate", I had already had the most amazing greeting...

...the one that mattered most.