If time is irrelevant why is Novemberitis a thing?

NovemberitisNovember is upon us and I’ve got to be honest: I started feeling the twang of Novemberitis around the second week in October. What is it about this time of year that squishes me into a ball of uselessness? I mean, really. I’m enthusiastic about the upcoming year. I’ve got some ideas swimming around. Some old. Some new. And yet here I am, half falling asleep, feeling guilty about skipping NaNoWriMo this year, and wondering if another nap is actually going to help me feel “more refreshed and capable” in the long run. I hate November. Hate it, hate it, hate it. And yet I am quite aware of how ridiculous that is. Novemberitis isn’t a thing! It’s nonsense. Just because you get hit with a bucket of the blues every single time this ungodly month comes around doesn’t mean anything! Does it?

Honestly I have no idea…

What I do know though is that I somehow have to snap out of it. The only thing keeping me going at this point is our trip to…hmmm….where are we going again? Somewhere outside of Grahamstown. Hlosi? Is that a place? I don’t know how game farms work… I should probably look that up before we set off on Friday.

The (sort of) point is that Novemberitis has me in its death grip this year. It’s pretty bad. A part of me is ashamed of it, but then another part knows that sometimes “the dumps” happen.

Is there anything I can do? It’s kind of too late now, but maybe I should try and “do” something about it for next year. Maybe plan a trip. A road trip maybe. The weather is a little windy this time of year, but that’s ok, isn’t it? And spring is pretty. Although…September and October are prettier. November is just this limbo month where the swimming pools are all still too cold to jump into and the heat is yuck.

And Christmas is coming.

Blegh.

Just blegh.

I hate November.

Nesting Season

Nesting SeasonYou know… I didn’t know that I thought it, but I think I’ve always just assumed that humans are these massively evolved beings that don’t really march to the beat of nature’s drum. That’s kind of stupid, I guess, when you take things like menstruation and ovulation into consideration (glory!) but yeah, you know. Actually no. That’s not right either. That stuff is biological, not instinctual.  What I’m trying to talk about is uncontrollable instinct. *shakes the cobwebs from her brain* Here I thought we were all at least semi-in-charge of all this nonsense that goes on around us, but after observing myself as well as all the people around me over the past couple of days, I think I might be changing my mind.

Now I am wondering: are we somehow instinctively tied into the changing of the seasons as well? In the same way that animals are? I know you could probably go and read up about this stuff online (I might do so just now) but just from my own observations I help but wonder. After a short winter of stagnation – comfort food and cosy weekends in front of the telly – September has arrived and everything seems to have gone mad. Is it like this every year?

Suddenly everything is busy! Nevermind spring cleaning…it’s just all this getting ready for this and that and the next thing. Work is mad. Life is mad. Kids are mad. And it’s not just me. It’s everyone! I’m starting to feel like a bird who just automatically starts making a nest and then suddenly he’s all “wait a minute…what am I doing? Why am I putting this twig here?”

Yesterday I actually felt myself burn out. The switch came while I was trying to have a conversation with my mother. It was kind of like my body was telling me “you didn’t listen when I gave you a fever blister, you didn’t listen when you couldn’t sleep, so now you have to crash, don’t say I didn’t warn you”.

I’m dead on my feet. And I feel ridiculous! Because the reason I’m wiped out is because we’ve been working towards good things! We’ve got a road trip with the kids coming up, and a wedding. And then we’re off to Zanzibar. The chaos has purpose. But the chaos also has damn sharp teeth.

So now I’m just sitting here going: Nadine, do not wipe yourself out before you have the chance to enjoy your damn holiday. Find your energy. And find it now.

Enough of the nesting season! I’m ready for a cup of tea and a nap.

The Art of Inspiration: A hat tip to Colours of You SA

13882138_1775442932698090_822200258108124904_nI’ve wanted to be a photographic artist since I was about 15. Before I even knew I wanted to write, I knew I wanted to take pictures. Silly thing that. I suppose. I don’t even know why I decided I wanted to do it. I probably saw a pretty photograph. Probably one that my grandfather took. I can’t remember, but of course this was a mad idea.

I wasn’t into the idea of being someone who is paid to take pictures at weddings. Or do school portraits. I wanted to take pictures because I wanted to take pictures. The idea of photography as an art instead of as a career was completely lacking in any pragmatism so it made no sense to pursue it once I left school. Of course I still have no career anyway, so walking away was of no practical consequence, but at the time it seemed reasonable to forget it. Forgetting it, back then, did at least save me a bit of money, because film photography was really expensive and I certainly could not afford to play with it!

Today, of course, digital exists, and with it a whole new artistic avenue. And I’m getting old now. I’m figuring out that holy crap life goes quickly thing. So I’m kind of less open to walking away from the stuff that makes me tick. Even if I’m a little shitty at it and have no business trying let alone succeeding.

And that is what brings me to my reason for posting today: Gerard and the Colours of You team. (more…)

Homeschool Photo Club

Noah the PhotographerForgive this post for possibly being a little long-winded as I preamble to the point. My husband and I were having a little bit of a chat the other day, saying how we wondered if we should worry about the amount of time our children tend to spend on their phones as well as their computers. Of course, their curriculum demands that they spend plenty of time on their computers as it is, but there’s also Youtube, Showmax, Netflix…the list goes on.

But the thing is: this is the world that we live in. And when it comes to technology I do try to consider such things. For one: I’m on my phone/iPad/computer/tv all the time too! I’m not saying that it’s particularly “ok” but it does definitely seem a little disingenuous to go the banish the technology route if I am a culprit myself.

So what I decided to do was have a discussion with the kids about our concerns regarding their phone use especially, all the while acknowledging that it is just sort of how it is these days. Then we had a long discussion about creativity and how important it is to play with that side of your persona. I suggested to them that if we can’t get away from our phones, perhaps we could put them to a little bit of creative use.

The thing is, I am severely ill-equipped to help them draw pictures or paint or sculpt without resorting to Youtube videos and going “have at it!” but I have been getting into photography as a hobby over the last while (finally!) and while I acknowledge that I still know very little in this field, I am willing to play alongside them and share my tiny bits of knowledge if they’re willing to learn. Of course they were willing – they are quite polite children, after all – and so it came about that we decided to start a bit of a homeschool photography challenge.

Photography can be a great art medium, and if you use what you already have (phones, iPads, mom or dad’s camera) it doesn’t have to cost the earth to develop a love for it.

We’re calling it a homeschool photography challenge mostly because we’re homeschoolers, but also because we’re trying to put a bit of “education” into the challenges. That’s a bit of a challenge in itself! We’re hoping that a couple of you homeschoolers out there might join us on Instagram as we play our way through this journey. If you’re not a homeschooler, however, we really don’t care and we’d love you to join us anyway.

Basically we’ll share a challenge on our Instagram page and then possibly re-share photographs submitted to the challenge in a “special mention” kind of way.

Follow @homeschoolphotoclub to keep up with our challenges and check out #homeschoolphotoclub to see our collective pics.

Happy hashtagging, folks!

Google Turned Me into a Spoiled Puppy Today

A little while ago I kind of entered a competition on a Facebook friend’s blog which asked entrants to share their stories about how Google has made their lives a little easier. Of course, Google is something I use daily for a plethora of reasons, but I decided to share how Google is kind of the reason that I am managing to get to travel a little more these days. You see, without Google, would I ever have discovered awesome sites like Booking.com or ended up getting in touch with people like Aftab from Glimpses of India or learned about all sorts of flight apps and cheap airlines that make travel possible?

For my efforts Google sent me this beautiful huge box filled with all sorts of fun tech-savvy treats – including a Sony Xperia Aqua Dual phone! I’m completely blown away. And so excited to start playing around with the camera on it. Daft I suppose, but these days I’m having way more fun with phone cameras than I ever have with my Nikon. Granted my camera still has its place, but it weirdly pleases me to no end that so many beautiful images can be created with just a smartphone and a couple of photo apps.

Have a happy Monday, friends out there! I hope today includes at least three small sparks of happiness for you. And if the happiness doesn’t find you, I hope you are proactive enough to go and find it yourself!

Everyday Should Be My Birthday

imageI’m about to dive into a pile of books right now. You see, I have this habit of buying pretty much any book I spot that has a circus/carnival theme to it. I LOVE carnival stories. So much so that I’m finally ready to work on one of my own. But, until I do, these are my inspiration. Well, some of my inspiration at least. I’m almost positive that I must have more than this. This pile looks so small, doesn’t it? I’ll have to fix that….

But really I should do this every day. Instead of wishing I could do it every day. Hmmm. But the problem with reading is that you know if you get “too” stuck in a book it’s difficult to come out and do all the things that demand doing. Like husband (giggle) and laundry and dishes and….wait…why am I arguing that I should be doing dishes rather than reading again?

Oh yes. Societal pressure. And the ever so slight chance that my mother-in-law might visit without calling first.

—>*insert laughing winking face here*<—-

Have a great weekend, fellow readers and internet dwellers. I hope it is dotted with many of the things that make your heart smile. Like wine. And cake. And books. And ALICE!!

Where do all the spoons go?

20150511_180458I have come to the realisation that we have only three teaspoons in our house. This is not long after buying new teaspoons because of the dwindling stock. Is this a thing? Like the thing where socks go missing because some sort of magical force is trying to free all the house elves? Or like where your underwear goes missing because you have dodgy neighbours? Because unless I have the old “it happens to everyone” explanation, then I really just can’t come to terms with this spoon thing. It’s weird. I cannot for the life of me imagine a scenario in which it makes sense for spoons to keep getting lost. Of course, I do have three children, so that usually explains everything. But seriously: where the hell did all the spoons go?!

365 Skies

DSCN4838It’s the first Monday of the new year which means that some of us more lofty folk who believe in the psychological power of new beginnings are most likely playing with the idea of our plans for the year. I mentioned somewhere before that I’m keen to take more photographs this year. I have no real photographic aspirations other than to enjoy playing with my camera as a hobby so please mind your manners before you go mouthing off about how every idiot with a camera thinks they’re a photographer these days.  I started a silly new project and decided that I’m kind of proud of myself because so far I have managed to stick to it for five whole days. That’s probably five days longer than I have ever stuck to a diet – so yay me, right? It may not last forever, just like my other resolutions may crap out on me a lot sooner than they should, but for now I’m just enjoying it. It’s a little sparse now with only five pictures but I think it might actually look quite pretty as a collection once it’s a little bigger.

Check out my tumblr feed to see the first 5 of my attempt at 365 pics of the sky. Why? Because I can. And I want to. I don’t need any other reasons.

*update* My Sky Project has been moved to Instagram. You can find it here.

The End of the Alphabet ~ CS Richardson

I must admit that I particularly love books like this one. It’s so lovingly odd – almost like the author was told about these things called books and he then decided he’d try writing one. Don’t take that statement as insulting though. The End of the Alphabet is kind of refreshingly without pretention or strict structure. It reads like someone sat down and wrote something. Just because. Which is often the best kind of writing.

Ambrose Zephyr has only thirty days to live, and he has decided to spend them travelling with his wife. Short, sweet, and to the point, The End of the Alphabet takes you through Ambrose’s diagnoses to his death without any flair or overtly emotional sentiment, but somehow the simplicity of the entire story allows you to fill in your own emotional blanks. I imagine this tactic might not work for everyone, but CS Richardson certainly owns the style with flair.

Should you read it? Yes. Especially if you’re a busy person and would like something you could get through in an afternoon. Richardson is Lemoney Snickett without the quirk.