Where Will Your Road Lead?

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about where my road is leading me and I’ve decided that I won’t get old without a fight.  I won’t let my road lead to nowhere.

I’m watching people that were passionate and impulsive and full of energy let their lives slip away and I don’t want to go that way.

Please understand I’m not talking about aging, that happens and quite frankly I’m debating the whole botox issue* with myself at the moment. Crazy Cat Boy has taken to calling me “Angry Bird” and having just seen myself on screen, I’m inclined to agree with him.  It’s that gradual loss of a sense that anything is possible and doing interesting things with life that scares me.

So even though I’m in the second half of my life I’ve decided that I wont get old without a fight, I won’t give up on seeking out new opportunities and I sure as hell won’t allow taking a different way home from the shops to become an exciting thing in my world.  I’ve been as guilty of this as the next person, life gets busy and somehow we forget to live it along the way as the days and then months slip by.

I want to have an answer that is more than “oh, you know, just busy” when someone asks me what I’ve been doing.

I wont be scared, I refuse!  I’m issuing the challenge to anyone who wants to play along – What will you be able to say when someone asks “What have you been up to?”?

Where will your road lead you?


*There is a post coming on this.

Miranda Sings Award

mirandaWow, thanks Strictly Light Hearted. What an honour to be nominated for the Miranda Sings Award.  I’m new to this blogging scene and am working on getting better and following more of the amazing peeps in the blogosphere.

As per the rules, I have to list 7 things I love about myself and nominate 7 bloggers to receive the award. So here goes…

  1. I love to learn new things. New skills and knowledge excites me
  2. I’m always positive. I can generally see a way through any situation and know that I’ll come out the other side
  3. I’m loyal. Some would say to a fault, I don’t. I’m loyal, but I’m not stupid or blind!
  4. I’m organised and methodical, but I can also be impulsive
  5. I “know” things. Don’t ask me how, I just do.  I see them and they happen.
  6. I have a solid grasp on the concept of time and the benefits this brings – ask me what I’d doing in 2026, I dare you 😉 (there’s always a plan!)
  7. I love that I can trust my gut instincts; they are always right no matter how rash they might seem to others.

So who to nominate?   I’ve got a couple of bloggers that probably have no idea that I follow them and how they inspire me so I’m nominating them…

Sober Mummy over at Mummy Was A Secret Drinker

Fiona’s Saw It, Pinned It, Did It 

Jack Monroe at Cooking On A Bootstrap 

Mardene  The Fashionable Librarian  

Jackie Gower’s always great  Riches Have Wings

Thanks to all of you for sharing your stories and knowledge.

Wardrobe Crisis!

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What happened to generate this eye catching, dramatic headline you ask?  It started innocently enough; I was invited to the Australian Open with friends who are also business associates.  The problem is this meant “casual”.

“Casual” has always escaped me; I’m not good with casual.  Formal I nail, my work look is money no matter where you put me, but casual???

Hmmm…the tennis, right, fine: cargos, wedges, cute top, done.  But then lunch was mentioned and that threw me, lunch where? Were my cargos going to cut it? The top I was going to wear certainly wasn’t.  What now?

In my twenties this was never a problem. Lunch with the Queen, that ultra-cute white Cue outfit with the floaty skirt and short sleeved double breasted jacket would be perfect. Impromptu ski trip, no dramas; Day at the beach, sorted; Drinks with the PM, let me change my shoes and we are good to go.  I was never short of an appropriate outfit.  Now a simple trip to a slightly swankier shopping centre can throw me.

When did I go from finger on the pulse of fashion and always feeling put together to this slightly uncomfortable feeling that my shoes aren’t quite right?  Sigh.

Well, must fly, someone mentioned afternoon drinks at their place in February and I’ve got some serous planning to do!

PS: in case you are wondering I went with a good top, skinny jeans, the wedges and was boiling hot all day. My hosts showed up in shorts and thongs!  I can’t win. LOL

I’ve Quit Guilt & So Should You

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I gave it up about 18 months ago. If you haven’t already done this, give it a try it is liberating.

I was a 3 pack a day guilter so it wasn’t easy.

I always had that feeling that whatever was wrong was my fault somehow. It comes high school where I was bullied everyday then moving straight into a job where the company culture was to sit the staff down and tell us that we should do anything they told us to because no one else would hire us. I already knew from school; comply and conform is the only option for acceptance. Doh, talk about negative reinforcement!

Closed doors, must be talking about me. Something goes wrong on a project that I’m only slightly connected with, must have been something I’ve done. CCB in bad mood, yup, must have been something I said or did. It got to the point where guilt was starting to control my life.

My light bulb moment came after a particularly trying day at work where it was announced that “not everyone will be going” to a long awaited event that I was a critical part of the planning for. I immediately thought; Well, I should take one for the team, I’ll talk to the boss tomorrow and tell him to leave me out. Then I went home and got ready for my walk and CCB got cranky because he wanted me to go and do something with him, he didn’t need me to do it, it was just that what I wanted to do wasn’t about him*

So I went for my walk feeling guilty and then it hit me… why am I feeling this way? I deserve to get fit; I have the right to want what I want.

Then I thought about the work situation. I didn’t notice any of the boys volunteering to step back, so why should I? I’m a key part of this team and I should be at this event. I’m proud of the work I’ve done to get this up and running. Bugger it, I’m not having that chat with the boss tomorrow and I refuse to feel guilty about it.

So that is the day I gave up guilt.

I feel lighter and strangely more confident when I reply “That’s a shame, what is being done to resolve the issue?” instead of immediately trying to find a way that I messed up and jumping in to help “fix” it.

Guilt is a highly addictive, nasty, destructive habit that is bad for your mental health. Giving up is hard, but not giving up is worse. Take a hint from Tay Tay** and Shake It Off, Shake It Off.

* He’s working on that

** I wonder how different my high school years might have been if Ms Swift rather than Mr Farnham was the soundtrack!

Resiting The Urge To Crack

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Today I’m frustrated beyond belief. I know it will pass but the overwhelming feeling at the moment is to crack it. I’ve even gone as far as typing the email with a sting and a swing, professional right? Yeah, I know, I won’t hit send; I’ve applied the cup of tea theory* but still haven’t calmed down.

In any other circumstance I’d get rid of this service provider. They rarely deliver on time or to brief and to top it off when they don’t like what I’m asking them to do, they go over my head to my boss who promptly rolls over. The problem is they are part of the “family”, a sister company and what is worse, based in the same offices as the rest of the team – I’m not.

It doesn’t help that the MD of this company and I are both control freaks who don’t like being told what to do. I don’t think it’s chauvinism at work, I don’t get that vibe, more a not invented here syndrome.

My concern is also that at some point I know the companies will merge and I could be seen as this person’s employee.   My boss rolling over reinforces this guys impression that my direction can be over turned and that I’m not a valued member of the team. I think that frustrates me more than anything else.

Over the years I’ve faced up to a lot of difficulties that working remotely throws at you. Building relationships over email is difficult, missing out on the tiny details about projects that office chatter gives you, those little nuances that lubricate navigating the business. For the most part these have been overcome with time and patience, but this, I’ve applied every strategy I have in my toolbox and nothing works.

Sigh, it is what it is I guess, so I’ll just put my big girl pants on and deal with it.

Rant over

*Always have a cup of tea before replying. Or if you prefer, “Scritzy’s Coke Rule” works just as well.

If I’ve got mums face, who’s has she got?

lipsI’m not a makeup girl, never have been, but sometimes it’s called for. Sure, I slap on a bit of liner some subtle shadow and mascara before heading off to see clients, but foundation and lipstick are almost unheard of for me in a standard office visit. It’s cool, they know what I look like; so far no one has recoiled in horror when I check in at Reception, so I figure I’m ok to keep up this lax routine.

There was an important meeting last week, so I decided to step it up and “look the part” (We were up for some hardball negotiations: a girls got to feel confident and sometimes a killer pair of heels just isn’t enough **)

I realised something was wrong when the foundation brush seemed to stop half way down my face. That doesn’t look right, I know it’s been a while, but I’m sure that it shouldn’t look that dry and flaky. Perhaps the bottle has gone off. Ohhhh, that’s my face that’s dry and flaky, hmm. Extra moisturiser should do the trick. Damn, now it’s not thick enough to cover those weird brown and red spots that never used to be around the edges of my face. OMG, are they age spots and where did those blue veins that are normally hidden by my hair come from? Might be time to book in for a session of resurfacing with “Connie the Laser Lady”.

Right, that’s got the foundation sorted, I’m still not entirely happy; when I smile I have eye wrinkles. I thought makeup was supposed to hide that stuff?

Oh well, lips next.   Since when did the lip liner bounce along like that? Where did those craters come from around my lips? I don’t smoke, this can’t be right (Mental note: pay more attention to Connie when she talks about fillers next time)! Oh, well, lipstick will cover that wonky line. Lordy, that bright colour that I’ve worn for years makes my teeth look yellow! Think quick, tone it down with something duller. That’s better, crisis averted.

Then it hits me. My mind flies back to a 15 year old me taking control of my mum before a wedding and “doing” her makeup. I remember the way her eyelids moved with the brush when I put the shadow on and the how her lipstick bled up lines above the lip. OMG, somehow I’ve I got my mother’s face. How did that happen? I spend a small fortune on organic facial products, I wasn’t meant to get old makeup skin!

I look in the bathroom mirror and a painted person that I’m not sure is me looks back. I wonder who’s face mum is wearing if I’ve got hers these days? Oh hell, perhaps it grandmas! It seems that fresh horrors still await me!

PS: I checked my lipstick when I hit the office and sure enough, it was bleeding up lines that almost reached my nose, I’m doomed! 😉

** Yeah, yeah, I know, how about using your intellect and superior negotiation skills? Your appearance shouldn’t have a bearing on it. I know all that, trust me, I’ve got mad skills and I use ‘em, but still sometimes looking as fabulous as you are capable is a big confidence booster.

All Aboard The CC Train

It happened again this morning!  Yet another flag waving, look at me, I know what’s going on everyone email has shown up.email train

Dear Colleagues, I know you want to do a good job, I know you want everyone else to know that you are doing a good job, but for the love all that is holy, stop CCing in the world!

Why when I pose a simple question the reply to my email comes back with an extra six people looped in?  People that aren’t even remotely interested: remotely involved yes, interested nooo.  Some of these people even pay us to work this out so they don’t have to know about it.  That is our job!

Please, if I ask you a question, just answer me… if I’d thought anyone else needed to know I’d have included them.  I promise no one will miss out on any vital information.  I’m good at this, really, cross my heart.  I’ve even got a couple of bits of paper to back that up.

I’ve tried responding without hitting the reply all, but without fail replies comes back with everyone looped in again. Why?  Do you think I’m trying to hide something?  Do you think you’ve uncovered the great secret of my ineptness?  Do you think I’m just waiting to pounce on you for some mistake? It’s none of the above.  I just want to get my job done without annoying anyone.

For the record I think this practice makes people look needy and insecure.  It drives me insane (It drives my boss nuts to when his inbox  is filled with stuff he knows I’ll just deal with). Lord knows what your boss thinks (Well, actually I do because I asked if it was a directive from him; here’s a hint, it isn’t).

So, I’m begging you,  if we all promise to act like responsible, trustworthy professionals can we please pull the CC train into the station and disembark?  Pretty Please?……

“The One”

I’d set out on my quest with such high hopes.  I wanted desperately to report back with a tale of triumph and joy.hanger

You see something has been missing in my life.  Something that no woman should have to live without, that’s right, I’m missing the perfect top.

I know what you are thinking, how is that possible?  She seems so together, so on top of it all!

My life wasn’t always like this.   For the past four years (I’m not counting “seasons” that’s just depressing) I’d been blessed with “The One”.  Just the right shade of grey, three quarter length sleeve, hit just below the hip in light weight merino, sigh.   I’d confidently throw it on with my skinny jeans, ballet flats and swan out the door knowing that I looked sharp, on trend and completely in control of my wardrobe and life.

However, as with all good things it had to come to an end; Frayed ends as it turns out.  I keep “The One” in my drawer, but we don’t go out in public anymore.

For the past nine months I’ve been feeling disjointed and slightly off when I leave the house.  Yes, I know the replacement top I have is nice, and it was eye wateringly expensive, but it’s not, well… right.  It’s too heavy for a start, I won’t be able to wear it in summer and it’ll be bulky to pack when I travel.  Then there is the sneaking suspicion that the polo neck makes me look a bit old and stumpy, like I’m trying to hide a wrinkly neck*.

So this weekend I left wine country and headed into the city for a dedicated assault on the malls.  I had a list of likely targets in mind and had decided to throw budgetary considerations to the wind!

However it was to no avail.  The kindly assistant in Portmans sympathised with me… “Sorry love, they didn’t do that model this season, I don’t know why, it sold really well.  How about this one, it’s this seasons version?” She helpfully suggested.  But it was too late, I’d tried it on already, it made me look like I was wearing my 20 year old friends top in a misguided attempt to look fashionable.

I admitted defeat and headed back to wine country, stopping only to buy a bottle of red to drown my sorrows.

There is a solution to this though, I’ve decided to stay home on weekends for the foreseeable future, I think that’s easiest for all concerned!

*Disclaimer: It’s not that bad yet that I have to hide it.

A Lasting Impression

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I was sitting on the veranda when I first saw him on a sunny morning about three years ago; a small man, slightly stooped with age, impeccably dressed in pants, tweed jacket, proper shoes and tweed cap carrying his Eco friendly bag walking towards the local supermarket.

Over the next couple of years our relationship developed from “good mornings” to the much deeper “lovely day for a walk” comments once a week or so.  That was it, I didn’t know his name or where he lived, I just knew it was further around the corner than us. He was only a part of my life in the 900 metres between the corner and the supermarket.

It was rounding that corner one Anzac Day morning on my bike I encountered him, immaculately dressed as always, but this time in uniform, with rows of medals on his chest. “Good morning” he said, with a big smile, those bright eyes twinkling as always as we passed each other.  I remembered that our local service was held mid-morning at the RSL, not at dawn. Ah, so he’s a veteran; that explains the sharp dress sense!

It didn’t matter what the weather, the little old guy with the bright twinkly eyes and the smile would make the trip to the supermarket but it was clear he didn’t drive anymore. However, one day about a year ago, he got some wheels, a walker, the type with the little padded seat. It didn’t stop his supermarket walk; he just hung his bag over the handle and carried on.

Life went on as normal, Christmas came and went.  I realised that I hadn’t seen the little old guy with the walker… That’s what we called him in our house. I began to get worried and actively kept an eye out for him, I missed him.  Perhaps he’s moved, gone into assisted housing, or I’ve just not seen him I reasoned with myself.

Anzac Day 2015 rolled around and I dragged Crazy Cat Boy off to the local service, partially to pay my respects but mostly to see if he was there. He struck me as someone who would be in the thick of it, helping out and joking with his mates. I was unaccountably sad when I couldn’t find him.

Last month I clicked on the latest E-newsletter from a local community to see those familiar twinkly eyes and smile looking back at me.  The headline read “Vale Arch”. Two paragraphs summed up an amazing life of service to his county and a love of adventure that seems to have spanned the 87 years of his life.

So now I know his name, it’s a shame (or is it shameful?) that I didn’t know it sooner. So goodbye Arch, you’ll be missed.  I just hope that someday someone will feel that way about me.

I started this as a piece on personal branding, but it took another direction, I hope it does Arch justice.