P365 – Day 344 – lunar eclipse (10/12/2011)

After our visit to our friends’ place in the Huon, we made good on our plan to go tenting* in their back yard.
It was a great idea, because it meant we didn’t have to rush home in time for dinner, so we could catch up properly, have a few drinks and enjoy the great outdoors.
Juniordwarf was very excited because, after our recent camping adventure we decided that a “three man tent” is just a little bit cosy to actually house three people, so we bought him his own little tent. This was the first time he was going to use it, and he was really looking forward to sleeping in his own tent, with his teddies Billy and Jenny.
We thought it would be great to sit around the fire and watch it. Unfortunately the sky was covered by clouds, so we didn’t see a thing. We saw some light behind the trees as the moon was rising, but that was it.
This is our view for most of the night
This is what we might have seen if the weather had cooperated.
At about the time we were supposed to be able to start seeing the eclipse, it started to pour with rain, which put an end to the sitting around the fire part of the night as well.
It was kind of nice to go to bed with rain pouring down on the tent. Similar to rain on the roof, but a lot closer.
*Tenting = sleeping in a tent without actually camping.


P365 – Day 300 – the big 300

Another instalment in the occasional series on what pastpresentfuture is all about. You might also like to read Part 1 and Part 2.
This is Day 300 of my Project 365 photo project. 
Does anyone know what/where this is?
That means I have taken at least one photo every day since 1 January and posted it here on my blog. That’s 300 photos – actually more – since a lot of my posts have included multiple photos.
As well as the photo a day concept, I’ve found the blog space a good space to put my thoughts about things I’m working through n my personal life. Most times I can manufacture a photo for the day to fit what I’ve been thinking about. Or I can write a post and wait for the right photo opportunity. Whatever works.
I was discussing how much to share on a blog with a friend a while ago. I was saying that if I was having a really hard time about something and feeling really low, I didn’t really want to put that ‘out there’ in any great detail, because I’m sure no one wants to read about me moping around and moaning about things, which I do a lot*.
On the other hand, exploring some of my personality traits, insecurities or frustrations (which I’ve done several times on here) is something I feel more ok about doing.
When people leave comments on those posts or say something on one of my social networks where I share my blog, I feel reassured that I’m not the only one dealing with those issues. It also helps a lot when people comment from an outside viewpoint, and look at something in a way I wouldn’t have thought to look.
I suppose the main problems for me are firstly figuring out where the line between exploring and moping is, and secondly in deciding how much of that exploration I want to make public. Or, if you like, deciding when it ceases to be an exploration and turns into a counselling session.
I could fill up a post or more every day with subjects as diverse and fascinating as how I’m dealing with being an unhealthy perfectionist (I love that term!), why I’m terrified of talking to people, what I need to do to turn off my ‘inner critic’ and so on. (It’s a very long list, and I already have written on many of the subjects on it in more or less detail.)
In fact, I can see myself dwelling on these issues so much that I’d spend my entire life ‘analysing’ myself and not actually living. In other words, failing to appreciate the difference between thinking I have to wait until I’ve ‘fixed’ everything before I can start to relax and live life, and realising that there will never be a time when everything falls perfectly into place, so I need to get out there and live my life right now.
I know, I’ve said it before (more than once), and it’s a message I really need to get through to myself, so I’ll probably keep on saying it.
Life is now.
But it’s so easy to get caught up on the things that I need to ‘fix’ to create myself a better future and to think that everything will fall into place when that magical time comes, that I forget about the here and now. And that isn’t exactly consistent with the central premise of my blog, which is ‘present’. And I know that the magical time will never come. (Life is now.)
Past – well that’s a whole other post, and there’s some stuff I might want to write about later, or might want to leave well alone.
For now I’ll just say that I feel like I’m making some small but important changes in my life and my way of thinking that are – overall – having positive outcomes in my life. 
Sure, sometimes it’s two steps forward and three steps back, and I have my fair share of days where everything is too much, but there are other days when it’s three steps forward, one step back. But because (cliché alert) life is about the journey not the destination, that’s all perfectly fine. Overall, I feel like things are getting better within myself. (Life is now.)
I’m sure that this is due – at least in some part – to writing this blog, and getting support and encouragement from so many people, even people I don’t personally know, who take the time to leave me a comment or respond on Twitter or Facebook. It means a lot to me that you care and that you’re willing to put yourself out there and tell me that I’m not the only one dealing with this stuff.
Thank you all. 
* No I don’t. I have a tendency to keep the moan-y things inside and dwell on them. Or write them down in unintelligible handwriting. Or get all passive aggressive about them and deny that something’s wrong, even when something clearly is. Or post them in an obscure way.

P365 – Day 281 – two metre tall (8/10/2011)

This weekend is the official opening of Two Metre Tall’s Farm Bar season. 
To celebrate, the Farm Bar is open all weekend.
Juniordwarf learns self-photography
Lil Sis kindly agreed to drive us, so we all squeezed into her car for the trip. We met up with some friends and had a great afternoon drinking the different ales and ciders. 
Designer of the ‘Norfick’ shirt, Samedog.
Two Metre Tall has been very busy over the ‘off season’ and there is now an undercover BBQ area for people to cook their ‘beer fed beef’ steaks and sausages that come straight from the farm.

We called the BBQ area the ‘Man Cave’ because, well, there were a lot of men there bonding over the wood fire and discussing tongs. I don’t know, it must be a man thing.
Men doing secret men’s business in the Man Cave
Juniordwarf found himself a new friend in Molly the dog, who seemed quite happy for him to chase her around the place (he took this photo).
Molly the dog
It was a beautiful day, perfect for getting some Vitamin D in this part of the world where apparently Vitamin D deficiency is a big issue. Then in true Tassie style, we were treated to a glorious rain storm, which meant we could all cram into the shed and continue our sampling of the ale-y goodness. (Some of us might have drank a few more than others . . . )
Mr Tall, Lil Sis, Juniordwarf, Me & Slabs
Ashley working the bar
Ale-y goodness
Discovery of the day was the ‘new and improved’ Huon Dark Ale, which now has 25 per cent apple juice (from Huon Valley apples), and is a really delicious drink. We also tried the new wild yeast ale, which is a variation on the Forester ale – my favourite. I’ve forgotten what it’s called, but my name for it was ‘Salty Forester’. And Slabs’ new favourite is the Derwent Ale, which now uses spelt instead of wheat.
I love Two Metre Tall’s philosophy of using ingredients that they grow themselves, or source directly from local growers. Having direct links to your food by growing it yourself or, if you can’t do that, then at least knowing where it has come from and what’s in it, is an appealing concept, although for me right now, it’s not something I can do as much as I’d like to right now.
It’s something I’m becoming quite passionate about! But I digress . . .
As you know, kids love rain, and today was no exception. We’d been warned that the ground might be a bit soggy, so we made sure Juniordwarf was kitted out in his gumboots. This proved to be a really good idea, and allowed him to participate in ‘puddling’. His attempt to keep his pants dry was very amusing, but rather futile in the end.
Somehow I let him talk me into going for a walk up the hill, which was a Mighty Big Adventure. If I hadn’t turned him back, he might still be walking!
It was a fun afternoon and I’m looking forward to the next time. Thanks Ashley and Jane for a great day out.

P365 – Day 245 – a day with the boy (2/09/2011)

Juniordwarf’s school had a student-free day and it was my turn to have a day off to spend with him.
When he found out he’d be having the day with me, Juniordwarf planned out the ‘special acitivities’ that we’d be doing – making a Father’s Day card for Slabs and drawing a picture of a dragon for me.
Last week I saw a poster for the annual Big Playgroup, to be held at our local library today, so I asked Juniordwarf if he wanted to go.
He was very excited about going, and added that to his list of special activities.
A few weeks ago, the mum of one of his school friends (who I will call J) asked if Juniordwarf would like to go to their place to play with J, She said Juniordwarf was always concerned about J when he was sad at school and that he was a really good friend to J.
We’ve tried to organise this for several weeks, but something’s always come up. I thought today might be a good chance to do it, because we didn’t have any thing to do after Big Playgroup, so we tentatively agreed on the day. I said I’d call J’s mother after Playgroup and let her know how we were going.
We walked in to the library and it was packed with kids. Juniordwarf was a bit overwhelmed at first, even though I’d warned him that there would be lots of kids there and it would be noisy. He’s used to a quiet place with only one or two people there. I felt sorry for anyone who didn’t know it was on and went to the library to browse some books.
He wandered round a bit, but wasn’t interested in doing any of the activities. That is, until he saw the play dough. He made a bee-line for that, and did his usual thing of making a cake for me. But things have progressed – now he puts the cake in the oven and cooks it, before he gets it out (with an oven glove), lets it cool, ‘icings’ it and then gives it to me.
I asked him if he wanted to do some of the craft activities, which were set up in a side room, but he got quite upset and didn’t want to go in there, so I didn’t push him.
The Grade 6 kids from one of the local schools were there helping out.  A couple of them were doing face painting, and Juniordwarf freaked them out a bit when he asked for a butterfly. He wanted one on each side of his face, but I convinced him a spider tattoo was a better option.
The dental service people were there, so I encouraged him to go and say hello to the dentist and practise his brushing on the giant teeth.
There were some cool strap-on cars that Juniordwarf had a great time with. He ‘drove’ all over the library, going to various shops, getting out of the car, doing the shopping and then driving off to the next shop.
He got a balloon, and spent a lot of time letting it go and watching it float up to the ceiling (which I then had to get down for him, so he could let it go again . . .).
We went outside to the sausage sizzle, and after that he finally wanted to do a crafty activity, which was to build a little wooden car. We built it together and then he decorated it.
The last thing we did was to go into the craft room and make a card for Slabs. But I can’t say anything about that . . .  shhh!
Juniordwarf didn’t want to leave, but it was pack-up time and I asked if he wanted to go to J’s house. He was still keen, so I called J’s mother and she said to come over, so off we went.
We had a couple of things to do on the way in and said we’d be there about 1.30. When we got there, J’s mum said that J had been so excited that Juniordwarf was coming that she’d had to set the timer for him.
The boys had a great time playing and (wouldn’t you know it) when it was time to leave, Juniordwarf didn’t want to go. But I told him we could come back another day and he reluctantly cooperated.
I told him we could go out for ice cream before we went home, so we did that too. He had ‘white ice cream’, which he loved. 
He was also very excited about being allowed to put the money in the parking voucher machine, and wanted to put more money in when we were leaving.
Um, no, I don’t think so! It took a lot to convince him that this was completely unnecessary. 
Despite all his little refusals during the day, it was one of the best Mum and Son days we’ve had for ages.

P365 – Day 187 – disco fever!

Juniordwarf had been anticipating today for a couple of weeks.
His school had a disco for all the kids after school – littlies at 3.15 and the big kids at 4.15.
For $5 the kids got entry, pizza, a drink and a disco with a DJ – and a glitter ball and a bubble machine.
Juniordwarf was really looking forward to it, and kept telling us all about how he was going to have pizza and a drink. He seemed more excited about the pizza than the actual dance.
I went along to help set up beforehand, which involved cutting up fruit and blowing up balloons.
I’d love to say that Juniordwarf had a wonderful time, danced himself into a frenzy and that I got a lot of cool photos, but that’s not how it went down. He had a good time, he danced a little bit and he was one of the first in line for the pizza when it arrived (and tried to sneak back for a second piece, but was cruelly intercepted by his eagle-eyed mother).
Most of the time he spent following his ‘best friend’ (who has been his best friend for about two weeks) around, and I’m not sure if his friend was trying to get away from Juniordwarf or was just not interested in dancing, but they spent a lot of the time walking through the throng of jumping noisy kids.
The times Juniordwarf actually danced, he looked like he was enjoying himself, and it was great to see him smiling. He particularly loved the bubble machine.
So my picture today is the disco ball shining on the ceiling.
Groovy hey.

P365 – Day 92 – old photos

Part of Operation: Declutter involves taking all my old photos out of those evil self-adhesive albums and shoe boxes and putting them into some less damaging storage.

It’s been quite a trip down memory lane reliving moments from my past. As I was going through the photos I was thinking how much fun it would have been to be looking through the photos with the people who were in them. Some of them I’ve completely lost touch with, and others I’m glad to still be friends with, even if I don’t get to see them very often any more. And of course my beautiful Lil Sis features regularly in them too.

Here’s one from New Year’s Eve, many many years ago. True to the spirit of my project, I took a photo of the photo with my phone and had a bit of fun playing with some of the photo apps to transform it.

Yes, that’s a growing out perm and yes, that’s a headband. I used to wear it a lot. It’s probably just as well the rest of my outfit wasn’t in the picture!