Tag Archive: life


It’s been a bit of a roller coaster day, in terms of emotions. I worked for three sets of people, all of whom were lovely, all of whom I learned something from but by the time I got home, I was ready to snuggle close to my family and feel the comfort of my own reality seep into my bones.

I find it quite sobering sometimes, being amongst photographs and memories that stretch back so far. Echoes of children’s voices and vibrant family lives, wound down to a quieter, sometimes more lonely time. Almost without exception, they are kind to me and thoughtful and I work as hard as I can, in the short time allotted, to do the things that they’ve identified as being the things that will be the most useful to them.

I dust pictures and clean bathrooms, vacuum and do laundry. I bustle about, making beds, polishing mirrors, wanting to leave things fresh and bright for another week. I used to think that cleaning was depressing, menial, that it meant something about who I am but the fact is that it’s just making things clean and I am still me and better for this experience I think. More than that, it makes me so grateful for everything. I’m grateful to have work that is meaningful. To know that what I do makes a difference, sometimes a significant difference to quality of life, for some people.

I’m grateful that all the movement makes my body sore with exertion by the end of the day and that I have the willpower now, to say no thank you to offers of chocolate cake and lamingtons and biscuits. Though if there’s time at the end, I may have a tea if it feels as though someone just needs a conversation that day.

I feel grateful to be reminded of how precious life, and the people we love, are. When I get home and Sam and Zac tumble, like overgrown puppies into my arms, when I walk into Andy’s arms, strong and warm, and there’s talking and noise and vibrance, I feel incredibly grateful for my life.

I feel more aware, more alert, more loving and more present, as a result of this work.

 

I didn’t write yesterday. It was soaping at my sister’s day and afterwards she and I went out for dinner, so by the time I got home, it was all I could do to shelve my soap before I got ready for bed. It was a great day. We each made a batch of soap and much measuring and pouring and mixing and talking and laughing was done. Also some eating of cake and drinking of tea.

I took lots of photos of course.

Welcome!

Welcome!

Mum and my sister in the prep stage.

Mum and my sister in the prep stage.Β 

oils and equipment everywhere.

oils and equipment everywhere.

miscellaneous things

miscellaneous things

Mum's friend in her funky soap-making smock.

Mum’s friend in her funky soap-making smock.

Mum's groovy (and very protective) boots

Mum’s groovy (and very protective) boots

Careful measuring

Careful measuring

mixing the oatmeal into the oils

mixing the oatmeal into the oils

soap in moulds

soap in moulds

Fresh soap

Fresh soap

My pure oatmeal soap, setting.

My pure oatmeal soap, setting.

It was very good fun, and then today, I unmoulded my soap and cut it into chunks. The container I used made for thick chunks and I couldn’t decide whether to have short, fat blocks of soap, or longer, slimmer soaps, so I called for help from Andy and the kids. It was a tied vote, so I did half of one and half of the other. We’ll know which is best in practice when we use them I guess.

I love how creamy these look.

I’m imagining how soothing these will be on our skin.

All the soap, curing in the cupboard. Just so satisfying :-)

All the soap, curing in the cupboard. Just so satisfying πŸ™‚

 

Today was a fairly relaxed day. Late in the afternoon, we harvested some more of the endless supply of cherry tomatoes growing in our garden.

They're rampant and show no sign of slowing down. This is just a portion of what is a tomato jungle. Some are propped up with stakes, others have just taken over whatever they've been able to scramble up.

They’re rampant and show no sign of slowing down. This is just a portion of what is a tomato jungle. Some are propped up with stakes, others have just taken over whatever they’ve been able to scramble up.

But the tomatoes taste fantastic.

But the tomatoes taste fantastic.

 

 

Quick update on the soap front. After 24 hours, I turned out the soap and cut it into bars. I got 32 bars, each weighing about 120g. I don’t know how much weight will be lost as they dry but I’m expecting that they’ll end up at over 100g a bar, which coincidentally is about the weight of an average, shop-bought soap.

I like that the box they’re in has a history too. I bought three of them last year, from an elderly man who was moving. He’d made them a long time ago, for storing homemade beer I think. They’re rough and well used and perfect for their new purpose.

I love the way they look in their box lined with newspaper.

I love the way they look in their box lined with newspaper.

 

I think I could have left the soap to set for a bit longer. I wasn’t quite done and the middle pieces were a little messy to cut, even with wiping the knife down after every cut. The knife ‘drag’ through the soap means that you can’t quite see the subtle swirls of light and dark. Still, it’s a first try and it’s good to be learning what works and what could be done better.

It smells really fresh and beautiful and (this is the bit I’m really excited about) it really lathers! Soft, creamy, fresh, and after I’d washed my hands with it, my skin didn’t have that tight feeling it gets with commercial soap, it was really soft and comfortable.

Success!!

Andy's calling it 'Soap-Henge' :-)

Andy’s calling it ‘Soap-Henge’ πŸ™‚

 

The other thing was that tonight, I was at the supermarket, loading shopping into the car when my name was called and I looked up to see a woman I worked with very briefly, a couple of years ago. We said hi and then she walked over to tell me she’d been reading my blog. We have a mutual friend who had posted it on her Facebook timeline, so I don’t know why I felt so surprised but I really did.

She said she’d felt inspired by some of the things she’d read here and we talked about our weight loss journeys for a little while. I’d been feeling a bit low today. There was nothing wrong exactly, I’d just been carrying a nebulous sense of blah all day, added to which, it was a coldish evening and with the healthy food for dinner, I’d also bought other, less healthy stuff. An emotional response to the feeling of unease.

Our conversation brought me gently back to a sense of balance and reminded me to be grateful and mindful. So I’ll start by being grateful for that. πŸ™‚

Creating our World

Today, meeting the second of two new clients, I realised something about my supervisor.

It’s part of her job to liase between the people who need our services and the people who provide the service, and what I realised, is just how great she is at her job. Apart from giving me the information I need in order that I can do my job in the best way possible, she also makes sure she tells me something positive about each client. It might be how friendly they are, or how accommodating they’ve been. She might say “I think you’ll like them, they’re really lovely” and in turn, she tells them them positive things about me too.

It means that when I turn up at their home, we’re already pre-disposed to liking each other, which for me, means that the work feels easier and for them, makes it easier to have a stranger in their home. It’s something I really appreciate about her. When I mentioned it to her, she thanked me but said she would hope that it isn’t so out of the ordinary, that she’s really just doing what anyone else would do. But I know better.

Not everyone uses their words to create warmth and connection. What she doesΒ isΒ out of the ordinary and it makes a difference to the people she comes into contact with. I’m very glad I get to work with her.

Driving to work, I had to stop and take a photo, it was such a beautiful day. Sunny and cool, and I got to drive along a long, winding, wooded road, listening to music.

Not another car to be seen.

Not another car to be seen.

 

Sports night tonight, for Sam and Andy, in a town an hour and a half away, so Zac and I played hide and seek a little, watched tv a little and snuggled a little. Then we had crumbed fish, wedges and a spinach and cherry tomato salad for dinner.

Tomatoes from our garden :-)

Tomatoes from our garden πŸ™‚

 

That’s Day 7 of the ‘Posting my evening meal every night for a week’ Challenge. Time for something new.

I’m thinking perhaps to post whatever exercise I do this week instead. Day 1 tomorrow πŸ™‚

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