Sunday, 4 June 2017

Crazy, busy May

Oh Lordy, it's been a busy May this year!!!  Actually, it started straight after Easter with a school disco on the first day back.  I believe I actually blogged that one!

The following week was ANZAC Day, essentially the Australian version of Memorial Day, for my American friends.  We had a fairly quiet day at home, because I knew it would be my last quiet day for a while.

We had a P&C (parents and citizens) meeting  on the Wednesday, then all hands were on deck in for our local May Day Fair.  May Day is a big deal in our town, which has a very strong set of unions.  The unions put together a big fair, providing free rides, plenty of food and drink, a car and bike show, and market stalls.  All the local not-for-profit groups take up the market stalls (and make a bit of a killing, to be honest!), and there is a rodeo and fireworks throughout the weekend.

Our school's P&C had the opportunity to purchase a donut fryer and dispenser and a slushie machine.  I am SO glad we had so many volunteer parents and teachers throughout the day because it was mayhem!  One of the new teachers at the school is a face painter, so she set up at one end of the tent and couldn't quite believe how busy it was (I think she finally got a quick break around 2pm).

We completely sold out of our slushie mix and donuts, and people even waited up to half an hour for the donuts!  They're a massive hit and were the talk of the town.

In the evening we sold glow products before the fireworks and sold out of those as well!

It was a massive day for the committee members, who were there from 6:30am to 8pm.  And none of us could look at a donut for a day or two after!

The Big Fellas and I went and saw our doctor the following week to arrange for vaccinations for our cruise in July!!!  We're getting very excited now and have finally received our check in details and been able to collect our tickets!

My parents came up for a bit of a flying visit that week, too!  It was SO good to have them here!  I took the three days off work to hang out with them and give them a bit of a tour.

The first day was a bit overcast and cool, so we mostly sat inside and talked and played a word game on mum's phone.  It was perfect for a bunch of introverts :)

We balanced our introversion by having our good friends over for dinner and trialed the new wood-fired oven!

Yes, that IS the largest skewer you'll probably ever see!

We still need to do the paving properly, and we're going to fill in the gaps with stones (probably a bit safer than wood chip!), but it's basically done and it's VERY good!!!!  Here's a closer view of the "art" the Big Fella and I did together:

It catches the light differently throughout the day and ask you look at it from different angles.

The next day Mum, Dad and I did a bit of a walking tour, going to the local coal centre for morning tea and checking out the coal museum and Japanese garden.  Mum and Dad grew up in a coal area in Victoria, so it was really interesting going through the museum with them and hearing a few stories, while they learned a few things about the process of coal mining that they hadn't known.

On our last full day, we drove to the closest large town and out to the dam on the other side.  We had a picnic lunch and did some rock-hopping (the Little Big Fella got the day off school and LOVED jumping around the rocks with Grandad!).

We all took photos (I've got some cool ideas - an abstract and a mini masterpiece) and the weather was beautiful.  We stopped for a coffee and poke around the shops before heading home.

The Big Fella and his mate left on a deer hunting trip that morning so we made sure to get a photo of all of us before they left.

Mum and Dad flew home on the Saturday, then the Little Big Fella and I went to the skate park in that town before KFC for lunch, a quick stop at the shops (and a quick hello to our Principal and her kids) before heading home.

I'm pretty sure I sat on the couch, reading for most of that evening and Sunday.

The following weekend the donuts made a reappearance at a Family Fun Day held by one of the pubs.  It wasn't overly busy, which was pretty lucky because there were only two of us running it (as opposed to a minimum of 4 or 5 at a time during May Day Fair).  Again we sold out and turned people away!

The next day was a clean up day and meeting of our Art Society.  I got to work outside with one of our oldest members, and she is an absolute crack up!  She kind of reminds me of my Grandma before she had her stroke - she's quick witted and spritely and willing to help everyone.  And, oh my Lord, she is funny!

Speaking of art, the week was full of it!  The local high school runs an art show each year and it's quite a big deal in the area.  I got two of my pieces framed and I was so happy with how they came out!!!

I also submitted two other pieces, but they were really to support the high school, rather than because I was overly happy with them.

I got SO sick on the Tuesday!!!  I woke up fine and went to work, then during the morning my nose started running and by lunch my body was aching and I was sneezing all over the place.  I packed up and took all my germs home with me, then spent the next 36-odd hours fighting a fever.  I finally woke up on Thursday feeling normal temperature and it was such a relief.  I was fully exhausted, though, so ended up staying home Thursday and Friday.

Friday evening I stocked myself full of cold and flu medications and nasal spray and ventured out to the art show to see what it was all about.

People, I have SO much to learn!!!!  Some of the art there was a-maz-ing!!!!  I was inspired and humbled by the amazing talent shown there!

It was great to see a whole bunch of people from the Art Society, as well as local friends.  I also ended up having a good chat with a guy who contracts to us at work and his wife.  They live about 6 or 7 hours away and he hasn't worked with us for over a year, so it was great to catch up a bit.

It turns out his wife is an artist, who also teaches, and she gave me so much in the time I got to speak with her!  Little tips, comments about why some paintings just didn't quite "work" (apparently their perspective was off so it didn't quite ring true), techniques that she used in her submissions.. it was awesome!

She ended up winning "Best in Show" and "Best Oil/Acrylic" with a painting of two horses that was stunning!  So I guess she had an idea of what she was talking about :)

I didn't win anything, but did get merit awards on both my framed pieces.  And throughout the night people (some I had never met before) complimented my wave painting.  It was quite a surreal experience, to be honest.

I ended up going home before the night was through (the medications started wearing off, I think), but got a text message from my friend - my wave painting sold!!!!

Honestly, I was (and still am) stoked and amazed!  I mean, I really liked it and was proud of it, but I didn't think anyone would really want to buy it at the price I had on it (all pieces in the show had to be for sale, and the school took a 25% commission on all sales, so by the time you include the cost of framing, time and materials, the price I put on it seemed a bit high to me).

So, now I feel like my personal bar has been set higher.  I want to improve, and try new things, and push myself, and read and watch videos and talk to as many artists as I can, and attend workshops and, and, and... paint!

But, ultimately, I'm doing all of this because painting makes me happy!  So, I think I'll keep going for now!

This last week has been a bit crazy with trying to catch up at work after being sick, and I've had a bunch of appointments after work.  But I've had a nice, quiet weekend and feel peaceful this evening.

The coming week will be cool!  The Little Big Fella has a sports carnival on, and because I knew far enough in advance, I've taken the day off to go and watch him.  He is SO excited that I'll be at school with him ALL day!  It makes me a little teary, actually, because this is the first sports event that I'll be able to be there for the whole day, rather than rushing in to watch a little bit on my lunch break.  And seeing how happy my not-so-little boy is about it melts my mummy-heart.

So, hopefully I'll take a few photos and tell you all about it soon :)

Before I finish off, I wanted to show you some of the gorgeousness that's been in my garden lately.  Enjoy!