Well, not quite, but last night I faced one of those frustrating ‘I know it’s staring me in the face’ kind of dilemmas.  I’ve recently created one of the most super organised wardrobes going around (organised I said, not OCD), see exhibit A, especially when it comes to sorting out the pile of ladies nice things!  The other night I thought it was time to drag out the in-case-of-cold-emergency pj’s but after boiling myself all night I changed my mind and put them away again.  Now that it is gotten colder you think I’d be able to find them in this get up I have going on, but no, like Wally they continue to elude me.

That is the collective name for my dogs when they misbehave.  Yesterday being no exception.

Since we moved I’ve decided to keep the dogs inside while I’m at work.  On the majority of days it is no drama.  On the other days little Willow has taken to shredding things, usually it’s the mail the thought ful Postie has popped through the front door (he seems unable to re-shut the gate, mind, but that’s another story).

I arrived home yesterday and as I opened the front door to the usual symphony of excited jumping and yelping I saw the day’s mail lying untouched on the carpet.  In my head I punched the air in triumph, ‘hurrah’ I thought, ‘we’ve turned a corner’!

Not so.  This photo shows the knitted lampshade I made a few years back, only now with Willow’s creative influence (she didn’t stop there, it was pulled from the socket and legs akimbo halfway up the hall).  What you can’t see in this image is the shredded tv guide on the floor, the nibbled magazine basket and the grooming comb with a few chunks missing from the handle (I think that was racially motivated though).

So it’s off to the pet shop tomorrow for more doggie friendly things to chew and I’ll be dousing EVERYTHING else in tea tree oil to ward off bugger dogs inc.  Little buggers!!

Vegan RoyaleDon’t get me wrong, I heart food and I appreciate anyone with great cullinary skills – especially all the women in my family who cook!  It’s just that I have never really been motivated to commit to cooking well on a regular basis, preferring instead to buy cookbooks full of pretty pictures or watch tv shows making gorgeous food I’m unlikely to attempt.  It even got to the point where I had to self-impose a ban on any more books full of pretty pictures!  Cut to the recent series Master Chef and all that has changed.  I know my Mum will be pleased that I now regularly bust out the slow cooker on the weekends and make a meal or two to share for the week ahead.  Sometimes I even go so far as to make two courses.  Sometimes.  Now that Master Chef is off the air I feel kinda lost without my tutorials and idea sessions.  I’m not alone, we no longer race to the office in the morning to make comparisons of the previous night’s episode anymore either.  But I did learn an important lesson from the winner Julie.  Cooking can be a great way to show love, to heal, to nurture and to say thank you for the big things and the little things.  You may recall an earlier post where I mentioned Electric Legs has been sick, well one of my first instincts was to cook some food to make him feel a little better.  It seemed to do the trick for now, but he tells me I can’t have a 10 out of 10 for my first meal!  I just like that he thinks there will be a second one, ha ha!!

Roadside treasureI’m all moved in to my new abode and am getting more and more settled as each day passes.  Let’s not talk about the level of cleaning I had to do to be able to pack my stuff away but focus on all the ways I’m hoping to give my new place I share a more homely feel.  My new flattie, Electric Legs, has been rather unwell lately.  So it’s not surprising that cooking, cleaning and decorating have taken a back seat in his life.  And yes, I appreciate that as a sports loving bloke these things were unlikely priorities anyway!  But already I feel that filling the fridge with homecooked meals, stocking the cupboards with a broad range of ingredients and giving the bathroom and kitchen a good dry clean has made us both feel less ‘Frat haus’ and a little more like home.  Well I know it does for me!  While I don’t want to completely take over the look and feel of our shared space there are a few obvious touches crying to be made.  I reckon if I could find a retro coffee table, an art deco mirror, a hallway rug and table for the entry then my work will largely be done.  I have some great friends who are op-shop and e-bay fiends and they’ve really inspired me to not buy brand new and save something pre-loved from landfill.  So I’m on the re-use and recycle bandwagon, albeit a little late!  I’ve checked out a few local op-shops and scoured e-bay today but the best part of the new direction I drive to work is that it’s the annual council hard rubbish collection this week.  There is loads of stuff on the roadside begging for a new home out my way.  I’m contemplating doing a few laps of certain blocks in search of what I want as all I’ve seen so far is broken chairs, busted tvs and dead looking mattresses.  Err, not quite what I’m after but I’m on the bandwagon for the long haul so will keep going!

My old mantra

My old mantra

Like author Neradine Tisaj I like shopping, no I love shopping and I’m good at it.  Unlike me, Neradine is incredibly sensible when it comes to shopping.  But it wasn’t always so.  In her book How to Give Up Shopping she speaks as a true reformed unconscious shopper, and I think I have found my people.

Many years ago I used to work in finance and the hours, workload and pressures were often unbearable.  I recall one time, quite possibly at my lowest, I just bolted from the office and went out and bought a $400 lolly pink, two piece suit by a prestige lable, among many other things, all within 30 minutes.  That was the sale price by the way, and I remember at the time I  was feeling incredibly stressed, like my head would explode and I bought it to try and make me feel better. 

Now I could rationlise that purchase any way you needed me to, and did.  ‘I can wear it to the races’, I said to my bemused colleagues and ‘it will be perfect if I need to go to a wedding’ I told my strategically single, gay friends.   Did either of those things happen?? No.

Last year as I was preparing to downsize I culled my wardrobe and worldly posessions pretty hard.  I agonised over what to do with the as-yet-unworn lolly suit.  It was so expensive, it was well made, it was a good brand… and on and on it went.  Eventually, I was very firm with myself and donated the suit to my Mum and asked her to find it a good home.  But I’ll just die if I see it on a bag lady in the park!!

Following Neradine’s sound advice will now be my new mantra, you can borrow it too if you like so that you don’t buy a lolly-pink-never-to-be-worn suit!

– shopping per se is not bad, it’s over-shopping and getting in to debt that is
– gather your receipts and work out what you spend money on and how you are feeling when you do.  Build awareness of your weak moments
– don’t shop when everyone else is, the frenetic energy is very contagious
– don’t go to the mall because you have nothing else to do, find a new hobby instead
– write a list of 20 things that you enoy doing, keep it in your wallet and refer to it when you’re stressed, bored, sad or feel like spending money you don’t have!