Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Where does the time go?

It's Easter this weekend, and we are 4 weeks and 2 days from escaping from Tombstone.

In August, it will be 10 years since my Dad was taken from us.

It is almost 18 months since we bought the bus/motorhome (aka Allie).

In 6 days, it will be 25 years since I had my first child.

On the same day, it will be 5 years since Mouse was born.

In March, it was our 11 year wedding anniversary.  In December, it will be our 27th anniversary of being together.

In 10 days, my father-in-law will be 80.

Where does the time go?

Monday, 7 April 2014

5 weeks and 4 days til we leave Tombstone.....

We have booked to escape! Woo!

Lots of pain-in-the-bum jobs to do, but we are leaving, so they are all steps on the road out of here.

In other news, I have acquired my fleece-lined tights (yet to try them, weather has been warm).  I have also revised my want list, rather than buy new boots, I am going to see if I can get the heels of the ones I already have altered.

School is going well, I am only taking one unit, a history unit, so that is interesting.  Only problem is that I have to try and get my major assignment out of the way before we leave, so I am pretty much lost in the French Revolution.

Thinking about getting another dog in the future - Sheldon wants a husky.  I think they are gorgeous dogs, but a lot of work.  Any dog is a lot of work and a big responsibility.  I'm not ready for that yet, thankfully he isn't either. Yet.

Can't believe it is already April - DST ended yesterday and we are already noticing it.  Blah!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Back to School: Why I Miss Attending Classes

Last week, I started Uni classes again.  I do my study by distance, so I just have to download lectures, write assignments, and sit exams.  Which is fine.  And will be even better once I am in another state.........

That being said, I miss meeting my fellow students.  I attended the odd class during my first degree, and, while I don't think I learnt any more with regard to the academic stuff, I certainly gained from being around my fellow students; what can I say, I like the social aspect of classes.  We are all there for the same reason, and have some interests in common.

That is what I miss most about school, the face-to-face interaction with like-minded people.  I am a member of many blogs, I have facebook, and I am a member in good standing of several forums, but it's not the same.  The only people I see on a regular basis are Sheldon, Grugly (oldest son) and his lady, EmB.  Nothing against any of them, but I know them, they are not likely to overly challenge my way of thinking; a little, yes, especially Sheldon, but not a whole lot.

What makes this post ironic is that today, I have to go socialise twice; a friend's family get-together/birthday barbecue, and to see my SIL and her hubby.  The latter, I am rather looking forward to, as we have gotten older, my SIL and I have started to get along much better.  The former, not so much; I don't like being around people drinking heavily.

Maybe, one day, I will get a part-time job, and that way, I will socialise with someone outside my immediate circle (which will reduce to Sheldon).  I love Sheldon, but I like to talk to other people too.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Upright, but not awake....

I've been upright since 7.22 a.m., the time science says is the best time to wake up.  It's now 11.34, and I am still not fully awake.

Reason: lack of caffeine.  It takes me 1 coffee, or 3 green teas to become fully awake.  So far, I've had 2 teas.  No coffee.  Sheldon takes at least 3 coffees to come fully awake.

Gone are the days where I could hit the ground running 5 days out of 7.  I can still do it if I have to, but I tend to hit the wall far earlier, and a lot harder.  I blame my kids.  All 3 of them hated school, so I had to battle every day to get them out the door, this killed my ability to go go go without any help.  It just took a while to hit.

If I ever get a job that requires me to fire on all cylinders early, I'll revert to having a coffee every morning.  I'll need to, at least in the beginning.  My kidney will hate me, but my brain will be (mostly) functional.  Mostly....

Sunday, 23 February 2014

*Whine alert* Why is it so difficult to........

....... find clothes (particularly dresses) that:

  • have a waist?
  • Aren't super-short or skin-tight?
  • Don't scream 'clubbing' or 'granny'?

You wouldn't think this was so hard.  I mean, apparently the fashion world has embraced that we are all different shapes, ages, and sizes, so where the Hell is the range of attire this should produce?

I love the cut of skater dresses/skirts.  Fantastic.  But, they are all too short for my 43-year-old self to feel comfortable wearing.  Everything else is either a sack (and yes, I could wear a belt), super-tight/sparkly, or looks like something Nanna or Nan would have worn 30 years ago (I loved them both, but they were in their 60's and 70's then, so I don't want to dress like them yet).

I want structured dresses, ones with waists, that don't look like a muu-muu, a bandage or a belt.  I would like to be age-appropriate, without the need for tights.

Don't get me wrong, I love that the young can wear these clothes and look good in them - I follow one blog in particular where the 20-something owner wears clothes that I love.  On her.  She's young, cute and they suit her.  I'd look ridiculous.  Because I am something like 20 years older.  And that is a huge difference.  She rocked a little mermaid skirt a while ago, which was super-cute.  On her.  But on me, it would look ridiculous.

By the same token, there is an older lady (probably in her 70's) who lives near us, who always, always looks spectacular. Pure class.  But again, I could never carry off what she wears.  It's not age-appropriate for me.

That's all I want, age-appropriate clothing.  With a waist.  Surely that's not too much to ask?

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Resolutions? What resolutions?

I didn't really make any New Years Resolutions this year.  Honest.

I did make a list of things I would like to get under control/do, but those are not resolutions.

I am thankful, because if they were resolutions, I would feel like a total failure.

I haven't managed to stay on track with any of them.

I haven't gotten back to exercise - family stuff has dragged me down.

I haven't been wearing makeup every day - see my previous excuse.

I have, however, walked every day, and made a point of doing SOMETHING with my hair every 2nd day.  So that is a start.

Getting out of Dodge and moving to Tombstone has helped me a lot though, I am not getting as anxious/tense, so I guess if I call that a non-resolution, to be less anxious/tense, I kinda win.  Right?!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

How Did That Happen?

As I sit here, zonked out of my brain with lack of sleep, it hits me - Uni starts in just over a week.  And I am not ready.  A month ago, even though I hadn't even started pre-reading, I was ready.  Now, I am just tired.

I know why this is (family issues) but I am afraid I am not going to find my 'get up and got' in a hurry.  It got up and went last week, and has yet to return.  All indications are it won't be back anytime soon.  Crap!

That being said, given that I have managed to (almost, 100 pages to go) pre-read for 2 of my 3 units (one I can't pre-read for), I should be ok until either my get up and go comes home, or my stubborn streak kicks in.  In the interim, I am going to bitch, whinge, and moan relentlessly.

Actually, no I'm not, I don't have the energy.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Creature of habit............

That would be me.  I only realised how ingrained some of my habits are in the last 6 months or so, and it was in large part thanks to my doctor.

I have to have (at least) annual blood tests to check my kidney function, and at least once a year my Vitamin B & D levels, as well as cholesterol, white cell count and other stuff is checked.  At my last check, everything was fine, except my Vitamin D, that was down to 38 (normal is 50+) and my white cell count was also down.

After some discussion, we hit on the issue for at least the Vitamin D - sunscreen.  I have worn sunscreen and sunglasses religiously 365 days a year for more than 2 decades, and this has driven my levels of Vitamin D down over winter.  Trying to not wear sunscreen for the first 15 minutes of the day, and going outside sans sunscreen for that time nearly drove me bonkers, so ingrained was the routine.  Last test was fine, back to 58.  I was still wearing sunscreen all the time (I gave up trying to beat the habit) but it was summer, and I was spending more time in the sun.  The white cell count was, we decided, just an anomoly, it tends to drop in winter (a pattern of many years).

The force of habit was further brought home to me the other night, I stepped out of the motorhome in the dark, and stepped into my 'camp' shoes, which were sitting in the exact spot where I always leave them.  Sheldon pointed out that I didn't even look, I just put them on.  Again, habit.

This got me thinking about how routinesed human beings are; we take the same routes to destinations we visit regularly, we run particular errands on specific days, we eat at the same place time and again (guilty, Thai Imperial Palace), we drink a specific drink, or stick within a specific list (skinny latte, skinny hot chocolate, no marshmallows, or skinny chai latte), or have a cigarette with coffee or alcohol.

I have become less inclined to do particular things on particular days since we got the MH, but certain habits still hold on (shoes, sunglasses & sunscreen being 3).  But, if those, and my preference of restaurant in Devonport, choice of footwear to purchase (flats) and preference of hot beverages are the worst habits I have, then I guess I am ok.  I just need to get exercise andhair/ makup into my habits, and I will be set for life!

Monday, 10 February 2014

So, yesterday I flooded half the house......

I am so clever.  In my defence, it was a genuine mistake, but it still wasn't good seeing water gushing out under the back door, or squelching through the hall at 11 p.m. last night.

How did I do it?  Well, it was a simple case of laundry gone awry.  And no, the machine didn't overflow.

Here's what went wrong.

The dog (16 weeks old) likes to 'eat' the dirty laundry, if she can reach it.  She also likes to pull the clean stuff off the line.  As she can get to the top of the dryer, I put the next load in the laundry basin, ready to load up after Load 1 was finished.

What I didn't realise was that the machine drains into the basin proper, not down the little drainhole the last 4 houses I have lived in have had.  So all was good, until it started to drain, then the water went everywhere.  And I mean EVERYWHERE.  It was coming down the back step in a waterfall, the entire hallway, the laundry and part of the main bedroom were soaked.

It took all the house towels, all of our towels, wrung out and air dried several times and it was STILL squelching in places at 11 p.m.  This was all helped by the fact that a hail storm blew in mid afternoon.

So of course, instead of the 2 loads I had planned, I had 5 to do.  One of them was our sheets, which I needed dry for last night.  And guess what was on the line when the hailstorm hit?!

My son and his partner thought it was all very funny.......... no matter that their bedroom was squelchinng, they were laughing so hard they were crying at one stage.  Me, not so much.  I was so embarrassed, I wanted to cry..... my sons response was to hand me a teabag and say, with a straight face no less:

"Mum! Go have a cup of tea, and calm the **** down!"

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Being a traveller, as opposed to a tourist

We've all seen tourists, and, to be fair, we've all been tourists, at least to a degree.  But I prefer to be, and will be, a traveller.  To my mind, there are several key differences:

A tourist has a specific list of places to go, attractions to see, and misses everything on the way.  A traveller takes it all in.  A classic example is the Great Ocean Road, in Victoria.  We came back along there late in 2012, took over a week to do it, but repeatedly saw people who were doing the whole shebang in 1 day (it's a 500 km round trip from Melbourne), flying around terrifying corners at 130kmh+, just to make sure they got it all done.

Tourists like places like Lorne, full of shops, overpriced accommodation, and bustle.  There's never any quiet, it's go, go, go.  Travellers prefer the quieter spots, like Johanna Beach (picture below).  I hated Lorne, too many people, too much noise.  And it wasn't even 'the season'.

Tourists treat wherever they are as if it was their own home, leaving their rubbish laying about, carrying on like yahoos, and generally being obnoxious (and noxious).  Travellers try to leave as few footprints as they can.

Travellers are not averse to tourist attractions, like the birdlife at Kennett River (which is basically a tiny shop & a holiday park).  The picture is me, with said birds.  Travellers will go to the attractions, then look beyond them.

Tourists are all about comfort, the traveller will make do.  We travelled 4 weeks, sleeping on bus seats, and had the time of our lives.  By the end, I at least looked like I hadn't slept for a month (I have photos to prove it), but we had a great time, and even when we broke down, 24 hours out of collection, we made the best of it.  Props to the tiny South Australian town of Keith.  Great community, wonderfully helpful and understanding.  Will go back for sure.

Now, all this is not to say I will never be a tourist again, or do tourist-y things, I do the 'tourist-y' thing here, if I see a plant, flower, building I find interesting, I have to examine it more closely, or take a picture.  I have, and no doubt will again, driven through places where I could happily spend time looking around.   But I also demanded a stop for things I really wanted to see (didn't always get it), even if it was just a random roadside object, like the settler house in a paddock on the highway near Padthaway.

The figure near the sign is not an actual person, but a straw figure in colonial getup.  Padthaway is also on my list of places to go back to.  Most of the places on my 'Must Return' list are out-of-the-way towns, although I must go back to Mount Gambier for the Blue Lake....

Friday, 7 February 2014

On needing more MAC.........

I have decided that, if ever I get through the colour makeup I have, I will be replacing it with MAC, and nothing else. This is not likely to happen in a hurry, it will take me an age to get through the 12-colour eyeshadow palette I have (no-name brand, but they last really well on), and the only thing I can see me using up in a hurry is mascara, which I will buy from the supermarket.

So why MAC?  In Australia, it is a bit exxy ($33 for a single eyeshadow, and about the same for a liner pencil), but in my opinion, it is very much worth it.  I have issues with eye makeup - it tends to either fade to nothing, or walk all over my face (Urban Decay was shocking for this).  MAC stays put.  I have 4 kohl pencils, and they do not budge, even if I am melting, the e/l stays put.

I used to have a MAC eyeshadow, Vex, which was a colour-change kind of thing, silvery-gold, slight shimmer, with hints of fuschia, gold, green, purple and blue, depending on how the light hit it - it was brilliant!  Then it grew legs and walked.  I also had an olive creme liner, which I killed.


The other thing I love about MAC is their collections/collaborations are incredibly cool.  They've had Hello Kitty, Dame Edna, Barbie, Venomous Villains, Fafi to name a few.  Rihanna has collaborated *yawn* and every year Viva Glam is a collaboration with a celebrity to raise awareness of AIDS.

Fergie Viva Glam

There have been some collections which have left me cold (Alexander McQueen), but for the most part, the quality of the product, and the often awesome packaging (examples below) inspires me to love me some MAC. The thing is, even with the price-point, MAC is worth it for me - Revlon is around $20 for a duo eyeshadow, and it's useless.  I'd rather pay a bit more for something I know is going to work, especially as, once it's opened, I can't returni it.

Barbie Loves MAC

Dame Edna - Hello Possums!

Hello Kitty.


Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Books, books & more books...

I love books!  I am, and have been for as long as I can remember, a voracious reader.  My preference is autobiographies, history books, Stephen King (especially the Dark Tower series, which, in my opinion, contain the best line ever written), and I absolutely loved Jeffrey Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme series.  Other favourites are Bryce Courtenay (Brother Fish is my favourite, I have it in hard cover), and L. Ron Hubbard's Mission Earth decology (Scientology is nutty, but these books are funny).

I grew up in a poor household, in a town where, for a number of reasons, which I will not go into in depth today, my education was not a top priority.  The main reasons were simple: I was a half-breed girl.  My value as any form of intellectual was less than nil.

Anyway, in this house of half-breeds, there were books.  Shelves of them; both shelves and walls were made by Dad, from timber pulled out of old houses being demolished - they looked like the picture at the top.  My mum wasn't much of a reader, but my dad was fanatical.  It's odd really, he came from a family financially better off than Mum, but her education was better.  That's not why my dad was a big reader, he was a book fanatic his entire life, possibly due to the fact that the only time he spent with his father (who had Parkinsons) was reading to him, and, when he (Pop) was capable, discussing them.

To this day, I cannot imagine a life without books.  Take away TV and the internet, I'll be fine.  Just leave me books!

I read to and with all of my children, and encouraged them to read on their own.  Sadly, only one maintained reading into adult life, being B, who is now studying bio-med research.  But they all had a good grounding in literature, it was always there for them, and they were encouraged to use libraries and book clubs.

At present, I have 3 books on the go; a Uni textbook on European historu 1648-1815.  This is interesting, well-written, and right up my alley, so I don't mind reading it.  I am stoked I got it from the library, rather than buying it - I am a cheapskate.

I'm also reading a book called City of Evil about crimes in Adelaide.  It is very averagely written (but better than Ann Rule), but nonetheless, it's a light break for my brain.  Kind of like literary junk food.

I am also reading My Love Must Wait, the story of Matthew Flinders - kind of a biography, kind of history, but not overly heavy (3rd reading), and well written.

I should add a caveat here regarding what I regard as well-written.  Jeffrey Deaver does not write well, but his stories and characters are complex and interesting.  Ditto Stephen King.  Some biographies are horribly written (a recent example was Mary Boleyn - that was hard going), and others are well written (John Hawkyns & Jacob John Astor), which, even if you are diving for the dictionary every few pages (hello JJA), keep the interest level up.  Dry facts do not a good bio make.  Neither does a tinge (or more) of  'woe is/was me' - Susan Travers.

Oh, and in other news, I have sourced the fleece-lined tights on my needs list, and found a website (Australian) with very reasonably priced cardis.  I just have to find sheath dresses, and pants that aren't skin-tight, flared or harem-y.  I think I would rather stick to European history, truth be told, because the shopping is so damn frustrating!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

The *Things I Actually Need to Buy* List...... Part the First.....

So, we have ascertained that I have must buys (boots/sunglasses) and wants (Meteorites/El cheapo Clarisonic-thing).  Now what we need to do, is work out what, besides boots, I actually need to add to my wardrobe for the cooler months.  Mind you, as I type this, I am in a sarong dress, and melting in my tin-can 'house', but if I don't get started before I actually need the stuff, I will just get all confuddled and throw my hands up in despair.  So, a list must be made.  As much as possible will be purchased secondhand, shoes will be new, as jocks.

I need the following for winter:
  • More layerable dresses, at least 2 - I have decided I really do prefer dresses to other clothing options.  They just need to be layerable, preferably structured.  Black/grey are preferred shades.
  • Layerable tops in a variety of shades.  Preferably turtlenecks, and preferably fairly lightweight.
  • At least 1 pair of dress pants - preferably 2, and preferably black, with zippers/buttons.
  • Fleece-lined tights - they have these in the US, so surely they are available to Australia? At least 2 pairs.
  • Neutral flats.  Also another pair of black flats.  Possibly a pair of patterned flats.  I currently have a black pair, and a leopard print pair.
  • Cardigans.  Black or dark grey, and a lighter colour.
  • Trackpants - 2 of.
  • Hoodies - 2 of.
  • Jocks - I have a billionty socks, and enough bras, but jocks are a bit ish......
Those are the things I know I need right now - this list may change (the links are examples only).  Today I bought a pair of $12 sneakers, if I am careful, they should carry me through for a bit. So that's it - I have no intention of buying jeans, I don't like them.  I'm sorely tempted to get a new wallet, mine is fine, but I want a new one.  This is largely because the one I currently have is the wrong shape/size to work, it takes me ages to find it in my (not large) handbag.  Strandbags are currently having a sale........

While we are on the subject of shopping, I have a question: today, after our shorebirds workshop/lunch/get-together, we had a browse around.  I was disgusted with the poor quality/high prices of a lot of boutique items - Kmart were often not only cheaper, but better made, and the fabrics felt better.  What's with that?

Friday, 31 January 2014

It's all Katy Rose's fault, and an addition to the *need to buy* list

I follow quite a few blogs, some I have been reading for years, and others are quite new.  The mainstay of my blog roll seems to be style blogs, I love seeing how other people style their clothes.  Many of them are by people with styles that, in 2 million years, I could never pull off, but I have found one whose author wears clothes that I not only envy her having the flair to pull off, but I actually want.

That would be Katy Rose, of Modly Chic.  Damn but she has a fine wardrobe, although she can keep the weather she is shooting it in at present.

The other day, she posted about how versatile a basic dress can be, and damn, now I need a flowy basic dress!  I'd actually take the one in her post in every colour if I was rich, but if I had to choose 1, I'd go the black.

I already have 1 basic dress (the grey structured on I paid $4 for - must take a picture), but I think I need a flowier one too.......... no, I do need a flowier one.  And when Sheldon appears confused by the need for 2 basic dresses, I will refer him to Katy Rose.  Excellent deal.  For me anyway..........

Now, onto the more boring business of a need.  I need new walking shoes - as in 5 minutes ago.  My current pair are now unwearable (they have been dying since winter), but I haven't found an acceptable replacement as yet.  The dead shoes are Rivers' Airforce Rockers, a cheaper version of the Masai walkers, which are brilliant for me, as they keep the pressure off my big toes (issues with the bone in the right one causes agony).  Problem is, Rivers have gone out of them, Payless have closed (they had similar) and I can't find the Skechers version anywhere here.

I cannot justify the price of Masai shoes, even if they are good for my feet, they are just too damn much money.  I may yet bite the bullet, and buy a cheap pair of sneakers that don't kill my toe too much and then grab a pair of Skechers when we hit Melbourne.

Now that's a plan - sneakers, a flowy basic dress and possibly some more flats (Dotti had 3 pairs for $30 last trip - no such thing as too many backups when you kill shoes like I do) when we hit Melbourne.  Oh, and my Maui Jims, and maybe my boots.  I can't believe I am actually looking forward to a shopping trip!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

And having said that..........

I spent money.  Not a lot of money, and it was on things I need, but still.........

I haven't had times to take pictures yet, because we have been moving from Dodge to Tombstone.  But I will add them to this post, as soon as I get sorted here.  Being the Australia Day long weekend, I have plans to relax, so probably not til next week.

Anyhoo, the grand total was $8.50 for 2 dresses.  1 is reminiscent of the sailor dresses of the 70's, only with added cleavage.  I suspect it is made of silk, but I can't be sure, all tags have been removed.  It is almost certainly of an older vintage, and I am super-pleased it fit - I loved the look of it on the rack, fell head over heels with the fabric, but was worried it would look dicky once on.  It didn't, although I am not in love with the sleeves; they are a bit too - flouncy for my normal taste, but everything else about it overruled that minor issue.  Plus Sheldon liked it, so that helped.  It's not something for going to buy groceries, but it will see lots of wear.

The other is a grey, fitted sheath dress, mid-calf length (the other stops just above my knees), from, of all places, Rockmans!  It is almost certainly an out-of-town import, as Rockmans here has nothing this classy (it's all skank or granny), or of this quality fabric.  It fits very nicely, but has enough room underneath for me to wear long-sleeved tops underneath in cooler weather.  Myself, Sheldon and the lady in the shop all thought it looked good, so I got it.

The thing of it is, I got these in a tiny, grotty looking little op shop, the bigger, lighter (and cleaner-looking) one over the road had nothing, except a pair of shorts for $6 (Yeltour), and a top (Supre) for $9 that caught my eye at all - one was an interesting fabric, the other a nice colour.  I thought them overpriced (especially the Supre) so I walked out.

These dresses were necessary purchases; apart from my sarongs, I have no dresses, and sarong dresses are not appropriate for every occassion (I'd never wear one to lunch with my in-laws, even though they are super-laidback).  The silk one is a more 'dressy' dress (lunch-appropriate), and the other one is of a style and colour I could wear anywhere.  Including job interviews/grad programs if I ever get motivated in that direction.

Feeling very pleased with myself............

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

My 2014 Purchase Wishlist

Now, I live a pretty minimalist lifestyle - purchase-wise.  I buy only what I actually need, and usually the cheapest I can find.  Or rather, the cheapest reasonably quality/fit I can find.

That being said, I have plans for 3 big splurges this year.  Two of them are replacement items, for things that are cactus; the other is a want, pure and simple.  But, it's been a want for over a decade, so I think I can allow myself to acquire it.  That would be these:

I love, love the pretty colours here - in the packaging and the beads.  These have been a whishlist item for myself and my friend GlossQueen for several years, so we feel we are both justified in acquiring them this year, although we have both set ourselves very specific life goals before we will allow ourselves to get them.  Now we will move onto the replacement items, which I will not only dream about, but buy.

Replacement 1 - sunglasses.
I wear sunglasses year-round.  No matter the season, or the weather, I have sunglasses on.  I have done for the past - let's say couple of decades (closer to 3, but anyway) ....  For the same period of time, I have paid no more than $20 per pair, and replaced them only when they are truly past it (arm busted off, lens cracked).  And for at least 15 of those years, I have been promising myself that once all 3 boys left home, I was buying myself a pair of Maui Jims.  3 years since the last one jumped ship, and it is time, not least because the ones I am using have cracked frames on 1 side, and the lens on the other tends to pop out at odd moments.  I have the ones I want picked out, Sandy Beach, with the bronze lens and tortoiseshell frames.  A mighty AUD$208 - Sheldon agrees these are a worthwhile purchase (too bad if he didn't: I NEED sunglasses, and I have promised myself a good pair for a long time).  I may get them here.

Replacement 2 - boots.
7 years ago, I bought myself a AUD$200 pair of Homyped boots, 3 inch heels.  I wore them 5 days out of 7 through the first 4 winters, including to some loooooong nights of bar work.  They then retired to 'out of the house' days, as I headed into my degree, which I studied mostly online.  6 months ago, I wore them for a day, and spent 4 in agony; my feet, ankles, knees, hips and back screamed 24/7, painkillers or no.  I nursed my sore body parts through to the end of the yuck weather with careful footwear selections, and then retired the boots to the charity shop.  Cost per wear came out to no more than 5 cents, when spread over the 7 years.  So a worthwhile purchase.

In light of my (apparently rapidly) advancing age, I now need to wear flat shoes.  Even boots.  So that is my 2nd replacement, a pair of boots.  Not the ones here, but similar.  They MUST be/have the following:
  • Leather;
  • Black;
  • Knee high;
  • Rubber-type, flexible soles;
  • Flat, or with a .5" heel maximum;
  • Almond or round toed.
And the toe of the boot must be where my toes are - I cannot walk in shoes with the toes 2 inches from my actual toes. Surely not too much to ask, right?  I quite like these.

I will also be acquiring a non-replacement, non luxury item; the Olay Regenerist Advanced Cleansing System, which is a cheaper version of the Clarisonic.  As my skin ages, it needs more specific care, and from all reports, these kinds of things (most people I know have the Clarisonic, but the saving I can make will buy me 1 boot, or 1 side of my sunglasses, or .5 of my Meteorites) are brilliant.  Sheldon is happy for me to get the Clarisonic (it comes in pretty colours), but I am stingy, so will get the Olay.  To see what the buzz is about, go here.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Reductionist Thinking

I have often seen, in the blogosphere, posts on reducing one's wardrobe, makeup, skincare, jewellery collection, or using it better (30 for 30).

These often occur at change of seasons, or New Year.  The general premise, so far as I can see, is that we have so much stuff, we don't appreciate it, and so accumulate more.  This is something I am very familiar with, having had to do a massive reduction in recent times.

Sheldon and I moved from a 3 bedroom house, with a shed, to a 21 foot caravan.  Let me tell you, there is nothing like a dramatic reduction in space to make you reassess your attachment to 'stuff'.  If we are honest, I personally didn't get rid of a lot, I am a fan of regular purges, so it was mainly household items, or items our sons had asked us to store, that I had to deal with.  Sheldon had (and has) far more to sort and decide on.

I have a 53 litre tub which contains my 'treasures', my great-grandmother's blanket, some books of family members, the cake plate and server that Nan got on her wedding day, and a display book of cards/pictures my kids made me.  Also a doona cover my mum made for B when he was a toddler, which served N as well, the shawl all 4 of us came home from hospital in - stuff like that.  These things I will never part from.

As for the rest, it's pretty minimal.  I have very little make-up (6 eyeliners, 1 mascara, a palette of 12 eyeshadows, 1 blush, 3 or 4 brushes, and 1 nailpolish), which I am making the effort to use (I bought it, so to not use it is a waste of money), 5 pairs of shoes (2 pairs of flats, 1 black, 1 leopard print, 1 pair of totalled sneakers for gardening/cycling,  my 'camp' shoes and a pair of flip-flops for errands), 8 sarongs for summer wear, 3 skirts (1 doubles as a strapless dress) 6 tshirts (2 for gardening/cycling/grotty work), 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of trackies, 1 hoodie (as for the 2 tshirts), 1 pair of dress pants, 2 long sleeved tops for grott work on cooler days, 4 turtlenecks, 2 pairs of leggings, 2 long tops to wear with leggings, 2 short-sleeved tops, 2 button-down shirts, 2 belts (black & tan), 2 handbags (black & tan).  And a backpack for cycling.  Oh, and a bathrobe, and a pair of slippers.  That's it.

My skincare routine is equally minimalist, although I am leaning towards getting a Clarisonic (or the cheaper Olay version); Coles unscented baby wipes, and homemade moisturiser of an evening.  Exfoliation is with a flannel.  Mornings is a wipe and sunscreen.  We make our own soap, toothpowder, laundry powder, mouthwash and deodorant.

I also own a laptop (5 years old) a mobile phone ($99 on prepaid): my jewellery collection is a watch, my silver earrings, wedding and engagement bands, and on special occassions, Nan's pearls.  We make our own muesli, and a bean mix (think McKenzies soup mix, but better).  We rearely eat meat, and dine out (Thai, $12.50 per person) once a month.  We see Sheldon's parents every 3 or 4 months, and have lunch and a bought coffee.  Our big luxuries are Jarrah white chocolate latte (him) and hot chocolate (pure cocoa powder, no sugar) for me.

I have found, particularly since we moved from the caravan to the converted bus that, even though I have less *stuff* than a lot of other people, I am happier, healthier and far better off - in many ways I am richer.  I sometimes find myself wishing I could justify a random splurge (hello Strandbags sale), but I usually get over it quickly.  I am heading into my 2nd degree, and just the other day, I read that Australian houses will grow by something like 150% by 2020 - that's 1.5 times more house than in 2010 - WHY??  Think of the crap that you can accumulate, and the cleaning you have to do!

 I think I will stick with my 'miserable' (someone actually called it that) life, with little space, little stuff, and send them a picture of something like this on a regular basis, as Sheldon and I wander the country, stopping where we please, and taking in the views.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

*Stolen* from Modly Chic - Taking Stock

Making: a start on my Uni readings for Semester 1
Cooking: nothing, Sheldon is the chef
Drinking: green tea
Reading: 2 bios, 1 on John Hawkyns, Elizabeth 1's slave trader, and another on Mary Boleyn, as well as a text on public policy
Wanting: a new pair of dress pants, and a pair of boots
Looking: into where to go when we get out of here
Playing: Jewel Quest Solitaire
Wasting: time, on here, and on JQ
Wishing: I still had my dog
Enjoying: the peace and quiet
Waiting: for the sun to come out
Liking: Facebook chat
Wondering: if we'll catch a lucky break this week
Loving: sarongs
Hoping: that all goes according to plan this week
Marveling: at thow fast time flies
Needing: not much of anything at the moment
Smelling: roses and honeysuckle I picked from the garden
Wearing: old sweats, gardening and housework to be done.  Also motorhome repairs.
Following: the cricket - 3rd ODI today
Noticing: the amount of *stuff* Sheldon has in his wardrobe, which has to be sorted
Knowing: I am going to miss my family when we get going
Thinking: that I should get back to doing actual work, rather than skiting off on the blog
Feeling: excited about school, and getting on the road at last
Bookmarking: sites for school
Opening: way too many tabs on Firefox
Giggling: the things Sheldon's gamer mates say on chat (it's audio, and he doesn't have headphones on)

Friday, 17 January 2014

Welcome to the Life of Riley!

So, here we are.  I'm Riley, married to Sheldon (not his real name), living in a motorhome in Australia.  At present I am in Tasmania, getting ready to hit the road.  Where we will end up is anybody's guess.

I am currently working on my second Bachelor's degree at the University of Tasmania, having graduated from my first last year.  Sheldon and I have 3 grown sons, (J, B & N), and 1 granddaughter (S), and 2 grandsons (K & B).  Sheldon is on a disability pension, due to a degenerative bone disorder which is eating his spine away.

Now we have that out of the way, let's get down to what this blog is about.  Or rather, what it isn't.  It is not going to be a soapbox for political, religion or any other majorly divisive issues - I may talk about them, but I'm not going to come out guns blazing.  Not that I don't, and won't go boots and all on rants, I will, but they will likely be limited to things like "Why can't I find clothes/shoes that fit me?".  I'll talk about the journey to getting on the road, the journey once we get on the road, things I wonder about, clothes and beauty.

The latter two make up the majority of my blog list for daily perusal; actually, I only have one beauty blog in the list, and even that isn't purely a beauty blog; it's a life and beauty blog.  Truth be told, all of the blogs I read have a fair bit of 'life' in them, none are restricted to just one topic.

Posting is going to be sporadic - some weeks there may be no posts, and then I may post 2 or 3 times in a day.  It will all depend on what takes my fancy on any given day, and what my internet situation is.

So, get comfy, buckle up and hang on - it's going to be a long ride...........