In which Flamingo Dancer realises that even fast learners can be slow to learn, sometimes.

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In bed, due to another bout of diverticulitis, I clicked onto a blog I follow and was introduced to the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kendo.

Hello, epiphany!

Yes, indeed the little grey cell lit up like a firefly. I have always considered myself a fast learner; prided myself on being a fast learner, but it has taken me a life time to realise that a slow, quiet regard for clutter cuts the strings of guilt when disposing of “stuff”.

Have you ever stood there, that white blouse that is still in great condition but no longer a favourite, textbook published in 1984, or ugly Christmas gift in hand and wavered in your decision to cast it from your life? I have, right to this very day.

Well, that was until I read Marie Kendo’s book and realised that a mix of gratitude, for and to, the clutter; feng shui and a zen state of mind releases any indecision or guilt. Thank the item for its service, for helping to bring you to this point in time, and then send it on its way. Hallelujah!

It’s only a short book, about 235 ebook pages with a long index at the back of the book, so it only took me a couple of hours to read. At the end of the reading I had to hobble from bed and find a garbage bag to stuff some clothes into; clothes that had survived two or three recent “declutterings”. Out went a couple of things I kept because a daughter gave handed them onto me, and the I might get something to go with that brown skirt that was really not a favourite anymore. Into the bag, thanks for the service and here’s to the future.

I am a born again declutterer. A guilt free declutterer. I have my resolution for 2015!

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Bunny shadows, Santa and searching for a hit man in a shopping mall.

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Petite Fille, 22 months, sat shyly on Shopping Mall Santa’s knee and when asked “What do you want?” replied, “Change nappy”.

Perhaps a timely reminder that it is the simple things in life that are often the best?

 

We had stood in line for almost an hour, waiting to arrive at Santa’s sleigh. At one stage, I was using sunlight through the dome overhead to make shadow puppets on the floor to entertain our girl. The old bunny shadow still works, though she is an easy audience.

The situation was not helped by the young couple with a babe only weeks old, who insisted on having several rounds of photos taken and examining them minutely, trying to get the perfect shot with a baby who was too young to smile, or even direct his eyes. He was an ugly baby too. It was never going to happen.

The session was brought to an end when baby burst into screams. However, not before a certain FD Grandmother started fuming and wondering how much psychological damage she would cause to the assembled young if she beat the brains out of the new mother. I wonder if there is a “dial a hit man” service for that kind of thing? Christmas goodwill, bah humbug!

In need of caffeine, we moved onto a nearby cafe, where Petite Fille admired her own, and her Grandmother’s, beauty reflected in a glass door as she waited for a sandwich. A woman sitting at the next table sat watching us for some time before taking out a notebook and commencing to write furiously. She maintained this the entire time we ate lunch, only glancing our way occasionally. I had the weirdest feeling that I was being written into her novel plot.

International woman of mystery, femme fatale, international spy masquerading as a country grandmother? How do you think she created my character? Who am I?

First person to reply “drudge” is going to get it.

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A moment in time between a Flamingo Dancer and a bird of a different colour

Mr FD spied with his little eyes, one of these sitting on top of a basket of old blankets outside the patio door.

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Tawny Frogmouth

 

Except our photos are more like this :

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It was evening, hence why he was out and about

 

I just grabbed my iPhone to snap, but I wasn’t going to miss the moment just to perfect the photo.

The Tawny Frogmouth may have been a baby, as it was still rather fluffy. We wondered if it was the product of the fortification we witnessed between a pair of Tawny Frogmouths in the branches of a tree near the front of our block a little while ago… It seems to be a bit of a spectator sport for Mr FD and I, watching creatures fornicate. When we were a courting couple we arrived  home to see two cats fornicating under Mr FD’s share house, and one of the resulting kittens became a family pet, for the next 18 years! We also spied a pair of canoodling green frogs on our drive way not long after we moved into our Brisbane house a decade ago. We did not see another green frog until we moved to the country.

The little guy had settled on top of a basket of old blankets I was going to store in the garage to make forts with Petite Fille should ever the need arise. He flew away eventually, ending Augie’s dream of a tidbit for dinner (don’t worry, Augie Dog does not eat birds and was well enclosed in the house anyway!)

Another round of applause for country living.

in which Flamingo Dancer feigns niceness and needs a lie down.

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Another day, another trip into the city. This time to accompany Petite Fille and her Mummy to a Let’s Make Music Christmas breakup. It was run by the Salvation Army, and Daughter1 warned that there might be a little “God bothering” but really, it just put God back into Christmas and no more than we would have expected at a Catholic gathering for children. Well, maybe we would have run a raffle for some alcohol as well!

The children were given little rings of bells and ribbons on a ring to shake and twirl as they sang a few songs. They were all given a book, a candy cane and a chocolate bear to take home – the candy cane and chocolate bear were not acknowledged as food in Petite Fille’s case as she is still sugar free.

After a shared morning tea of water and fruit, toys were brought out to share, while the adults had a lovely morning tea of sweet treats.

The noise was a little much for my delicate ears, even my teacher ears, but it was such fun to watch all the different babies and toddlers interacting, or not interacting with each other. There were a few older children as well, as today is the last day of the school year for state schools.

Petite Fille is a gentle soul, and as she does not go to day care, is not aggressive in any way, so she was sometimes stunned by the open aggression of some of her play mates. Some might call it assertiveness, and some were too young to understand the concept of sharing, but there were a couple that were just little bullies in the making. Teacher FD had to pull herself into visiting Grandma mode and not go into discipline mode on those children.

Back at the house we shared lunch. Petite Fille now sits on a booster cushion on a chair as she has outgrown her high chair, and she was intent on showing me her “bounce” as she ate toast and soup. Just as well she was wearing safety straps! By the end of this visit she was calling me Grandma Flamingo Dancer. Her other grandma is just called Ga. Not that it is a competition or anything …

I drove home through the rain, listening to the audio book A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, which is absolutely wonderful. I laughed out loud in a couple of places, even though I was driving down the highway! A grumpy old man (59 years of age is old? I think not, but it doesn’t hurt the plot) who just wants to be left alone to be disappointed by the world, has his life invaded by a number of people and situations out of his control. It is also about the important of doing the right thing, and how helping others can bring rewards that can never be anticipated. One of my favourite reads for the year.

Tomorrow may not be the seventh day, but I am resting. I arrived home to find there was an invitation from the neighbours to a street Christmas party next week. I need to rest and gain my strength for another round of niceness, that being the niceness you pretend when you don’t do nice.

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I woke knowing I had to make pancakes this morning. I haven’t made pancakes in, forever. Augie Dog had his own pancake when Son and I breakfasted, and when Mr FD rose from his sleep in, Augie Dog lined up for another pancake.

He was so excited that he twirled around the kitchen while I cooked the pancake. Augie, not Mr FD. Alas, Mr FD’s twirling days are long ago. He can do a soft shoe shuffle though.

Afterwards, Son and I toured the vegetable garden and I picked some of the salad greens and included them on our lunch sandwiches. First harvest of salad greens from our new patch.

After lunch I settled down, a wine glass in hand, and watched one of those teary, warm and fuzzy Christmas movies that we all fall willing victim to at this time of year.

Just waiting for the Christmas tree to be brought in from the garage. What more can I say…

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