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.
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P365 – Day 238 – something is missing

One of the things my counsellor told me was that I have to take a little bit of time to do things purely for myself without feeling guilty about it.
So to cut a long story short, I decided to take a day off work (and not eat into the ever diminishing time I get to spend with Juniordwarf now he’s at school). The plan was to go shopping (my work wardrobe is in serious need of a makeover and my lunch break isn’t long enough to do any ‘proper’ shopping), drink coffee and have a massage.
Brilliant idea, right?
Actually I rather detest shopping. It’s hard to find clothes that fit me – everything in the shops seems either designed for skinny young things or the more, um, ‘matronly’ types, and I don’t identify with either. As a result, I normally find shopping a rather stressful, unpleasant experience.
A coupe of weeks ago I put a call out on Twitter to try and find places where a (ahem) ‘curvy short chick’ might find clothes that don’t fit into either of the above categories. I got a few suggestions and decided to go for it.
I figured if worst came to worst, I could call a halt to the shopping and go on a photo walk. Or drink more coffee.
It sounded like a plan. 
Only when I got into town this morning I discovered that I’d left my wallet at home!
Now who heads out for a shopping trip without their wallet? Turns out I’m not the only one, and I had a few people on Twitter tell me how they’d done exactly the same thing.
Luckily Slabs was with me when I realised what I’d done, calmed me down, escorted me to the ATM and gave me cash.
I went to the coffee shop, ordered a coffee, caught up on a few blogs (one in particular cheered me up immensely) and, revived, headed out to shop.
It was a mostly successful outing. My work wardrobe is looking slightly more professional and, without the time pressures of having to go back to work, I didn’t hate it as much as I feared I might have.
The strangest thing was paying for everything in cash. I normally card almost everything I buy, and the feeling of handing over actual money for things over about $10 or $20 was just weird. But I think it also kept me in check a bit, because I could see how much I was spending, rather than adding it up at the end of the day.
Sa here is today’s photo – the inside of my bag. Camera – check. Lip gloss – check. Pen – check. Notepad – check. Fold-up shopping bag – check. Wallet – oops  . . . 

P365 – Day 199 – a flower for mum

A couple of weeks ago I was having a moan on Twitter that I couldn’t think of anything to take photos of for this project and one of my Twitter friends suggested that I check out the Hipstamatic app. She’d been posting some really lovely photos, which were very inspiring, so I decided to devote this week to learning all about how it works.
Hipstamatic is different to the other apps that I’ve been using, as you select a film and a lens before you take the photo, then the app processes the picture with those settings, instead of you applying filters and effects after you’ve taken the normal photo.
It looks like a cool retro camera, with a little viewfinder. Cute hey!
Once you have the app, you can buy extra lenses, films and camera cases, and occasionally they release some promotional freebies.
For my first attempt at using this app I went for a walk down by the docks at lunchtime to see what I could come up with. I got some lovely photos and some really crappy ones too – mainly because it was quite glary and difficult to see what I was actually shooting on my phone. But the good ones were well worth the time I spent down there, even if I felt slightly ridiculous walking round taking photos. (Why is it that I feel so self conscious taking photos around my local haunts, but if I was a tourist I wouldn’t give it a second thought? It’s not like anyone cares!)
I was going to put some of the photos on here, but then when I got home, Juniordwarf presented me with a flower that he’d made at daycare today, and I knew that had to be the subject of today’s photo.
He chose pink because he knows it’s my favourite colour, and when I asked him where I should put it, he said it was for my study.
Slabs said Juniordwarf was so proud of his flower and it was the first thing he showed him when Slabs went to pick him up from daycare. It deserves pride of place in ‘my’ study.
Juniordwarf also drew me a picture. I asked him what it was a picture of, and he said ‘coloured squiggles’.
Of course it is. 

P365 – Day 30 fun at the farm bar

Just outside Hayes, on the Lyell Highway, you will find the Two Metre Tall Company
Two Metre Tall is a micro-brewery located on a cattle farm, which brews a range of Real Ales and Real Ciders, including the glorious Poire, which I could drink all day if finances weren’t an issue and I didn’t care too much about my liver.
(I’m not going to rehash stuff from their website about the farm and the brewery on here – but do go and check it out. It’s an interesting read.)
The brewery owners, Jane and Ashley (whose impressive height inspired the name Two Metre Tall), run a regular Friday afternoon ‘Farm Bar’ session, complete with hand pumped ale and cider, music and a BBQ. You can bring your own picnic or BBQ or purchase some of Two Metre Tall’s glorious beer-fed beef sausages or burgers.
Slabs and I first went to a Friday Farm Bar last year when Lil Sis and Mr Tall were visiting and thoroughly enjoyed it. Only problem is, Friday’s a work day and I don’t get home until late, so it’s never been a goer for us unless we’re on holidays.
In response to requests from punters such as us, Ashley and Jane decided to open up the bar on a Sunday so that people who couldn’t get there on Friday afternoons could attend, and they scheduled three Sundays to see how it goes.
In the end, the afternoon turned into a mini-tweetup, with some of my Twitter friends getting in on the action as well, so it was great fun to meet some more people I’d only ever talked to online. Juniordwarf had a blast running round with another couple’s little boy (I wonder if there is a term for a twitterer’s children? Twitkids sounds kind of wrong) and the Forester Real Ale and the beer-fed beef patties were just what I needed. (Refer to point (4) in the previous post.)
It was a lovely way to spend a couple of hours and I definitely want to go back again.

P365 Day 8 – tweetup (8/1/2011)

Today I moved out of my comfort zone in a big way.
I’m not comfortable talking to people I don’t know, and I don’t much like being in groups of people. Being around people for any length of time drains my energy. I need a lot of time by myself. I get incredibly nervous before any type of social gathering and have been known to refuse invitations and avoid events because of my fear of being around too many people I don’t know. I’m a classic introvert.
So when I heard there was going to be a tweetup for Twitter people (tweeps) living in my area to meet each other, I wasn’t really interested and didn’t think I’d go. Sure, it seemed like a lot of the people I chat to on Twitter would be there, but chatting to someone online is a lot different to knowing them in real life.
I know different snippets about the people I follow – their names, where they live, how many kids they have, what sort of work they do, whether they use a Mac or a PC, what TV shows they watch, what they think of current issues – that sort of thing. I know different things about different people. People share information they want to share and leave other stuff private. Just like I do.
But despite knowing a little bit about each person, the thought of walking up to a group of people I’d never met in real life absolutely terrified me. I didn’t *know* these people. I’d never met them. What would I talk about? What if we had nothing in common? What if they wouldn’t talk to me? What if they were smarter or more sophisticated or better travelled than me? What if I started saying stupid things? What if . . . what if . . . ?
I thought about it for ages leading up to today. Part of me was curious. I wanted to put faces to names. I wanted to find out more. Part of me was terrified. I couldn’t do this. I hate meeting new people. I can’t just march up to a group of people I don’t know and introduce myself. I just don’t do that.
My practical self reminded me that, regardless of whether I wanted to go or not, I have a list of jobs around the house longer than my arm that I really need to do. If I keep putting them off I’m never going to do them.
By this morning, I’d talked myself out of going. Too much to do was the official excuse. I even tweeted as much.
But to my great surprise, interest and curiosity won out in the end (plus it was too hot to do any of the yard work we had to do), and I went to the tweetup.
I took juniordwarf because some of the others said they were taking their kids and I thought he’d love the playground. I thought it would be good for him to meet some other kids his own age. And (to be totally honest) I thought it would be easier to meet people with a child in tow.
I’m so glad I went.
I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to many people, because juniordwarf wanted to go straight to the playground. That was fine. It gave me the opportunity to talk to a couple of Mums and a Nanny, all of whom I’d exchanged tweets with fairly regularly. I said hello to some other wonderful people that I’d met on Twitter, even if it was just a quick introduction.
And none of them were scary. And none of them laughed at me. And if they were smarter, or more sophisticated, or better travelled than me, it didn’t matter.
When it all came down to it, we were all people happy to be meeting up with people we knew, but we didn’t know. And some of them might have been just as nervous as I was – I don’t know. And that’s something I have to keep reminding myself every time I’m tempted to avoid talking to someone, or to not ask for something – in the end, the person I’m avoiding is just a person, just like me. And the world won’t end if they don’t respond, or I don’t get what I want.
I know, because I have absolutely no ability to recognise faces, that if I see many of the people I met again I won’t recognise them and hope that if they recognise me they won’t think I’m snobbing them if I don’t say hello.
The day has taught me – just like several other things I’ve done recently have taught me – that I am not a shy person. A shy person would not have gone. A shy person would have stayed home and sorted through her clothes cupboard or the junk room study.
Shy is a label I’ve carried all my life. It’s not a helpful label. It never has been. It’s held me back from doing a lot of things that I might otherwise have done.  It’s a label that doesn’t apply to me. It hasn’t applied to me for quite a while now, but I’ve only realised that over the last couple of years.
This was another thing I’ve done to convince myself of that fact.