Day 1 – Creativity Challenge

Click HERE if you would like to join me in the Creativity Challenge!

Today my challenge will be to write a short post about the following topic:

“What is the best lesson you have learned?”

When I was in my early 30’s my marriage broke up and I found myself in a situation where I had few possessions (including money) and three young children to take care of. I was also living in a remote Aboriginal Community in Northern Australia.

The lesson I learned is that I am stronger than I think I am. Sometimes I just pretended that I was strong and often that was enough. I also learnt that I was the only person I could rely on to get through the difficult time.

When I rang my Mum to tell her what happened she said that I shouldn’t even think about coming home. I was quite shocked at the time but now I realise that the path I did choose turned out to have a lot more going for it than if I had returned to my home town in Victoria.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

That was about forty years ago. My sons grew up with me in Western Australia. We did miss (still do) having extended family close by but it forced me to go out and meet people and in many ways enabled me to rebuild my life without the constraints and limitations I would have faced if I had returned ‘home’.

As I get older I see many people on their own – having lost their partners and perhaps their extended families. I do feel passionately that we need to be aware that some people suffer from loneliness and isolation. This is even more so with Christmas approaching. I find Christmas a bit challenging however I try to make the most of it and put in a little effort! I don’t think I am alone in this!

A Creativity Challenge

Do you fancy joining me in a 30 Day Creativity Challenge?

First, let’s jump ahead to the back story – next year (late March) I will be leading a small group of seniors (through our local University of the Third Age) in a course titled, Unleashing Your Creative Spirit. I thought it would be good to get my creativity muscles toned in the lead up to it.

If you are interested in joining me in the Challenge you can read about it in the following website and documents:

Inspired by Melissa Harfiel’s Tips for Undertaking a Daily Creativity Challenge: click HERE

Have a read of the documents and see if it appeals to you. The Writing Prompts documents is about 8 pages so you may want to just keep an electronic copy handy.

Day One of the Challenge will be on Monday 9 December for me but you can start when you are ready. We can share our activities on our blogs using the 30 Day Creativity Challenge tag.

If you have any questions or suggestions please leave a comment in the space provided below.

Kahuna or Cohuna – my home town?

Today I went to Bunnings to get a few garden things and at the entrance there was a colourful display of plants called The Big Kahuna. Now, you may have heard of the movie:

The Big Kahuna is a 1999 American business comedy-drama film directed by John Swanbeck, and produced by Kevin Spacey, who also starred in the lead role. The film is adapted from the play Hospitality Suite, written by Roger Rueff, who also wrote the screenplay. John Swanbeck makes few attempts to lessen this film’s resemblance to a stage performance: the majority of the film takes place in a single hotel room, and nearly every single line of dialogue is spoken by one of the three actors.

Wikipedia

I grew up in a small country town in Northern Victoria called Cohuna – about 3,500km away from where I currently live.

Surrounded by dairy farms, and situated on the banks of Gunbower Creek, (an anabranch of the Murray River), the town is a popular holiday spot as well as a regional sports centre with a wide range of facilities. Cohuna is the main access point to the attractions of the vast red gum and box forest covered Gunbower Island, which lies between Gunbower Creek and the Murray, and is home to diverse native birdlife, kangaroos and emus.

Wikipedia
Cohuna from above (Murray River)

So, the reason I am telling you all is this is because I just had to buy the flowers with that name! And here they are …

We have given the garden a bit of a makeover this week so it was good to add a splash of colour with the Big Kahuna name tag!

On Creativity

I am currently doing a course from University of the Third Age Online. It is called Unleashing Your Creative Spirit. I am keen to run this Course in 2020 through our local U3A.

I have met a lot of people in early retirement who find themselves wondering what has happened to them with all the changes of no longer being in the workforce. I have noticed that lots of people, me included, have a list of project we have always wanted to do when we got the time.

Well, we have the TIME now but struggle to make these projects happen. I have been wondering why that is. Some of my projects include learning calligraphy, making personalised greeting cards, sewing (I bought a nice new but basic sewing machine) photography (I purchased a digital camera) and writing. I also like doing WordPress websites for friends.

This course is great in that it looks at what motivates us to be creative and at what situations create blockages. It emphasises that a part of creativity is actually ‘work’ and organisation. That surprised me, silly as it may sound. I had thought that being creative was purely stuff you did for fun and quite different to what we do for work.

It was a bit of a light-bulb moment when I realised the ‘work’ aspect of creativity is the main cause of my not completing my projects. A small project I am working on involves using some photos of wildflowers to create greeting cards. My first big hurdle was I didn’t know how to print the photos even though I have a modern printer. I did persevere and had success!

I feel I have learnt a lot already and I can see lots of opportunities for exploring new skills and enjoyment along the way.

My Garden Project

I like to have a nice garden but it is not something that comes naturally to me. Up until recently all I had in my small, rear yard was the big, above ground garden bed, some palms and two jasmine plants.

The garden bed was really too big for the space and because it was so deep I had stopped planting vegetables and my mint, parsley and oregano started to take over. I was able to quickly sell the garden bed on Facebook but then what was I going to do with all that soil?

It is still a work in progress but I felt happy today that I had made some improvements. I now have some cherry tomato plants, some irises, marigolds, snapdragons and repotted herbs. A friend kindly gave me some lovely succulents earlier this week and I decided to use my multi-level trays just for succulents.

Approaching a task with trepidation!

Getting started was the hardest bit. Always worried I might mess it up 🙂

With the many changes to how we listen to music today I have been finding that even though there are so many options, I am actually listening to less music. We decided that having easier access to the multitude of CD’s we own would increase the likelihood of listening to music more often.

After searching the internet we found a CD cabinet that seemed promising. It arrived in two flat-packs and I volunteered to put it together. I was feeling confident after doing two bedside tables earlier this year.

In the end I was surprised to see how much space we have left over. The CD’s are now sorted into their different genres. No excuses now for not listening to music!

Here are a few shots  of the progression of the project:

 

Easy Assembly (Part Two)

Well I completed one of the two bedside tables today! I wouldn’t say it was easy though. Lots of little challenges that caused me to sit and stare at the instructions for minutes at a time!

It was good to do something with my  hands and to do something that needed attention to detail. I am usually  a “big picture” person and like others to look after the detail so this project was good for me for that reason. Only one more to go! It is not perfect but I would give myself about 7 out of 10 :)!

‘Easy Assembly’ (Part One)

Being keen for a bargain, I did some online shopping and ordered two bedside tables – to be assembled by me! I have never done anything more than Lego in the past (and I wasn’t too flash at that) so this is a real learning experience. I am tackling one cupboard at a time – naturally! It took a good part of this afternoon to get two drawers assembled.

Stay tuned for the finished product!  🙂

Random thoughts on Real Estate Writing :)

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I recently resigned from my part-time job as a Real Estate Writer with our local community newspaper. Each week I would visit three properties and write an article on each one. I also edited about a dozen small articles written by the real estate sales reps.

Real estate writing has a bad reputation however it isn’t that difficult to write up an honest description of a property with a focus on its positive attributes. Below I will include a copy of a PDF document of words I put together for reference when I was stuck.

Here are few random thoughts from my nearly three years doing the job

  • There is no need to say HUGE 2ha block of land. It is either 2ha or it isn’t!
  • Houses don’t BOAST! They may have a delightful kitchen but they don’t BOAST about it!
  • It is important to vary the first word in each sentence. It is so easy (when under deadline) to find that just about every sentence starts with ‘The’ or ‘It’.
  • Use Word’s thesaurus. It can really ruin an article if every item is described as ‘stylish’ when there are so many other options available.
  • It was useful to read other publications to expand my vocabulary. New words for me included “chic, bespoke, sleek, splashback, pendant lights, skillion roof …”
  • After a some time in the job it took a lot to wow me. A three or four bedroom home could range from around $300,000 to $2million plus. They were still functionally much the same!
  • Some sales representatives attempted humour in their writing – I wouldn’t recommend it unless you are a professional comedian – even then it is questionable!
  • I did a quick (extra) edit to ensure that every sentence ended in a full stop. I used to cut and paste so much it was easy to misplace a full stop.

Here is my handy Real Estate Words List