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A lovely relaxing weekend enjoying my new home. Went to Garadice lake with Brendan and Coco yesterday and marvelled at the ice that’s still on the lake … it’s like sheets of glass.

Coco was in dog heaven and ran and sniffed and checked everything out. I just strolled happily enjoying the quiet and the fresh air. I’d made us corned beef sandwiches with mustard and Brendan brought along a flask of tea … lovely.

I rang both my parents on Saturday as it was their birthdays.

Pa was 78 and Mum was 74 … they’ll outlast me for sure. Both are full of life and energy and I love them very very much.

Dad and I chatted away happily about all sorts of things. He’s always been so supportive of everything I do. And I’m green with envy as he and my stepmum Liz got a Wii for xmas … and they’ll never love it as much as I would!! Dad did say that he’s played golf on it.

He usually plays golf on Saturday mornings very early because of the heat. He didn’t on his birthday as it was in the high 30’s C … in the morning! He was born and reared in Ireland [as was Mum] but he can’t understand how people can live in this cold.

I was reared in Oz and can’t stand high heat … go figure.

I was cooking the corned beef when I rang Mum and we had a fine time exchanging recipes and she told me how Gran used to cook it.

Always lovely to talk with them.

And now it’s Monday and I plan an active working week:

  • asking for advice and support from Leitrim Enterprise Board about Life Dreaming
  • doing 2 days research and writing for my Dublin contract
  • continuing the pr for my Blogsite Design workshops. My free ad in the Visual Arts Ireland enewsletter should get some takers
  • talk with one of my SKIL2 mentors about interface design and getting someone to build the prototype
  • do some online research and writing for Mary in Oz

I also want to email some family and friends and have a catch up … and Coco wants to go play outside … and there’s the marmalade to make … and groceries to buy … and dreaming to be done.

I’m typing this from my warm bed because … I can.

I can work and be comfy at the same time … and it’s Monday so I like to ease myself into the week.

I hope you have a lovely week.

slan

Liz

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Yup … it’s the kind of day to stay cosy and warm inside.

Unfortunately I had to go into town [sounds like a bleedin’ trek across the himalayas … it’s only 5 minutes in non icy weather] to pay the rent and get some more books from the library.

My good friends Miriam and Jimmy are staying with me for a few days [as they wait and try to get up the icy back mountain roads to their home] so we walked carefully in convoy into town.

As we walked down the road from the estate the army drove up to grit the roads … better late than never lads.

It’s slippy in town but it felt great to be out and walking even if the windchill factor is minus 5.

Dropped in and had a chat with Maggie … then off to say hi to the fab women in the Credit Union … then to the bank to pay the rent … then library to get books and say hi to the lovely women there … then Hi to Maggies Mum and Dad who have had no running water for weeks and still look neater and dapper than me!

Was about to slide my way home when I was hailed by Sharon Sweeny [Cannaboe Confectionery entrepreneur and wicked witch baker of my favourite carrot cake … no Liz … it is not a health food!] who offered me a lift back to my home.

Lovely to see her and I want to sent my best wishes to her mother who had a wee fall [like thousands and thousands of others around the country] on the ice and broke a few bones. It could be any of us no matter how careful we are.

Thanks Sharon for the lift and I have to give you a jar of honey that the wonderful Anne sent us from the Liz Biz beehive in America. The honey is delicious and I want to send a big hello and happy new decade to Anne. May you, your husband and bees all flourish and prosper.

Home now and enjoying the swedish cinnamon buns I made for the first time yesterday. They were delicious and I was very pleased to serve them to Jimmy and Miriam.

notice carrot cake in background?

I bought the best cook book ever last week and have been making stuff from it ever since. It’s a book that was commissioned by the Irish publishers Mercier Press from a food blogger … a young Irish lad called Donal Skehan. He writes a blog called Good Mood Food and I’m loving the cook book.

Tonight I’m cooking his recipe for Thai Green Chicken Curry and later on in the week I’m making big batches of 2 soups to freeze – Red Pepper and Tomato soup & Pea and Mint Soup.

And just in case you think I’m lolling around cooking … I am!

I’ve also sorted my office and have already booked Koh restaurant for a new round of Blog Design workshops in Dublin on Feb 6 and 7.

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The workshops I did in November were a great success and I am really looking forward to doing more this year. The people I get to meet are really interesting.

The cost of the workshop is 80 euro and runs for 5 hours. People leave with a fully designed blog site and the skills to insert content and vids and photos and heaps of other stuff. People also get a 60 page info pack, chocolates and a fun learning time with me.

What’s not to love?

Someone sent me an email from an organisation [who will remain nameless] who is offering a 6 hour workshop in Dublin on setting up a blog and writing content … and they are charging 295 euro!!!

So I feel like I’m offering a quality bargain.

Coco and I are now ensconsed warmly inside and I’ve just put out heaps of bread for the birds.

All is well in my world.

Slan

Liz

p.s If anyone around town [or family in Oz and Singapore] has a Wii console they want to sell … I’d love to buy it. I really want to get the console, buy the EA Sports Challenge and just go for it in the privacy of my own home. You can email me – focusedsolutions1st@gmail.com

If there are none going I’ll buy one with the profits from my blog workshops in February.

When it comes to being physically fit I realised that I needed some new solutions to a very entrenched old problem. I decided to bring the exercise into my own home and make it varied and interesting with clear goals and feedback along the way … so that’s why I want a Wii.

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liz

Anyone that has read this blog over the last few years will know that I’m basically a very optimistic person.

I believe that feeling hopeful is why I get out of bed in the morning.

And the last year and a half have provided a lot of interesting challenges and opportunities … most of which I have met with a measure of good cheer and creative thinking.

Yup – there have been duvet days and I love them.

And I’ve had fantastic support from family and friends … my love and thanks to you all.

I believe that nothing stays the same – good or bad – and part of thriving in this crazy chaos is to build your capacity for resilience and humour and patience and persistence.

Even in the worst moments I knew that it wouldn’t last.

Not being clairvoyent is a gift … I really, really, really … really … don’t want to know the future.

And many of my friends and family have faced their own big challenges this year – ill health, death of loved ones, financial woes … loss of some kind.

People’s capacity for courage and just damn good humour in the shittiest situation never ceases to encourage and amaze me.

Many of you have been my inspiration this year … thank you so much.

And now for the good news.

I heard a week ago that myself and a Dublin consultancy had won a nice contract.

It means that I will have more money guaranteed for the next 6 months.

The relief is wonderful … and the genteel poverty of the last 18 months wasn’t all bad either. It’ll just be nice to be able to pay bills and rent on time …and then buy some winter clothes.

I’ve also applied for an Entrepreneurial Internship grant with the National Digital Research Centre in Dublin. If I win one then I have to move to Dublin for 3 months and build a SKIL2 prototype.

Special thanks to my brother Marc for doing all the visual branding for SKIL2 and for agreeing to be my Brand Director.

More thanks to my good friend Margaret Lonergan who has agreed to be my Visual Interface Design Director [a bit of a coup as Margaret was Head of Visual Communications in the National College of Art and Design until feb this year when she went back to her visual communications consultancy] as we design the most beautiful + practical + affordable online learning space.

And even more thanks to Amy [one of my international SKIL2 Mentors] who read through the application form and gave me detailed and brilliant feedback that made it even better.

I gave everyone fab titles because currently they have been giving me their time and talents for free. When SKIL2 makes money they are sooooo getting a bonus.

Exciting and scary … as all adventures should be.

I’ll hear whether I am invited to pitch the idea to a panel by tomorrow.

Writing the grant application was really useful as I had to further refine and clarify what SKIL2 was all about.

And I got to do it twice!!! Lucky me.

I had to work online within their site …and when I went to save a pile of work I’d typed … it disappeared …never to be found again by the NDRC techies.

That was fun …rewriting everything. On the sunny side …I further refined my ideas.

When shit happens I tend to give myself a moment or two [or 20 … depending on the crisis] to feel angry, sad & scared.

Then I get on with it and find a solution and ask for help.

My fundamental power is to choose my attitude in any given situation.

Smiles in the sunshine are easy … smiles when crap hits the fan … well … that’s a tad more challenging.

To be honest, I really don’t like what happens when I get angry. Lots of chemicals flow thru my system and make my body hurt and I feel sick.

Calm tends to be my default state.

And things are happening in Ballinamore.

This Friday Mary from Cara Pharmacy is having a fundraiser for the Northwest Hospice at the Commercial Hotel.

It’s free entry and there will be:

  • a make up demonstration
  • Fashion parade
  • wine tasting
  • Flower arranging demonstration with Gail
  • Goodie Bags
  • Cannaboe Cake decorating demonstration from Sharon
  • Finger Food
  • Raffles

A great night out.

I’ll miss it as I’m starting work in Dublin on the new contract on Thursday and Friday and then I have 2 fully booked Blogsite Design workshops for Artists + Creative Entrepreneurs on Saturday and Sunday.

They are in Koh Restaurant and the owners have given me a private wified dining area for free – many thanks to them for sponsoring the workshops.

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I  love finding beautiful places to create learning events. All the participants will be able to order food and refreshments as they learn.

koh seminar room

I hope there are fab things happening for you.

slan

Liz

p.s Coco dog is fab as usual. We’ve been getting straight up and out walking at 7.45am every morning. Coco loves it … and I yawn my way down the street.

I let her loose at the canal at the bottom of the street and she just runs and runs and runs. I stroll and enjoy the morning quiet.

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For the last 3 days we’ve seen the rare and shy kingfisher bird … tiny and a dazzling blue. It skims along the canal and yesterday it stopped and sang. This morning it skimmed twice and then we saw 5 swans fly across the sky and a rainbow.

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p.s.s I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been a time billionaire while I’ve been experiencing genteel poverty.

It’s given me space to develop SKIL2 and Life Dreaming as well as do a pile of probono work and fundraising.

Well, I’m at it again.

Aine Martin and I are running the Big Clothes Swap Party in Ballinamore on November 27th. As far as we know, it’s the first one in the Northwest of Ireland.

Marc has done his usual design genius job of creating a poster.

I’ve attached it here just in case you want to print it and share it around.

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Yup … nice of the sun to shine for a day as we approach the end of summer.

Now you guys know I’m not one to complain … but really … 3 years of rain with very very very intermittent sunshine … days that we can count on our fingers.

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As Mags said to me [and Mags is ALWAYS right] ‘at least this year we took advantage of whenever the sun came out.’

And once again … she’s right.

Whenever the sun shone for more than a few hours (there was a day in March … then April … then June) Mags and William and myself would message each other and organise a communal barbcue in the land at the back of Williams cottage.

Good times had by all … and hopefully a few more before winter.

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Anyway … today was lovely and I took Coco out for a walk and loved getting out of bed [never thought I’d say that].

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I took photos and enjoyed looking up through the trees at the sunlight.

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There are blackberries ripening and I want to go pick some on the weekend and make jam. They grow wild on my walks.

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Not sure what the red berries are … anyone know?

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I love looking at how the light shimmers and spears through the trees and just makes everything look happy.

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Coco was her usual happy self … rain or shine.

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She still can’t understand why the sheep don’t want to be her friends.

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And she comes back and lays down nearly every time I call her.

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I’m extending the command to ‘Stay’ … and she does … even when she wants to be gone and running.

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Enjoy the photos and I wish for days and days of more sunshine … happiness wrapped in light.

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Slan

Liz

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Drifty flu days

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I’ve been in self imposed flu isolation since last Friday … don’t want to share my germs.

It’s not that hard to lay in bed with Coco curled up and the fire going … and did I mention the very potent cough syrup?

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Have a nice cough to match the flu and have decided to stay inside until Friday.

Compared to real illness … this is no hardship and I’m enjoying the chance to do as little as possible and just be quiet and alone … well … as alone as you can be with Coco.

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A nice counterbalance to all the fun and excitement of my visit with Mary in Dublin.

I’m on the sofabed by the fire and Coco is fast asleep across my legs as I type … I can see myself being happily ensconced here over the winter.

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I want to send my very best wishes to 2 dear friends who have been much sicker than me … and are now on the mend … Paul & Trina … lots of love and I know you’ll both be bouncing around real soon … you are both a delight to know.

Off now to nap.

slan

Liz

p.s just got this newsletter in my inbox … mindbodygreen is a really nicely designed site with short + sharp insights.

I know when a site is working for me when I stay on for a while and browse … and … rss or become a Facebook Fan … I did both.

Well worth a visit.

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Coco in seek and destroy mode … after the flies. She can spend hours just watching them and then pouncing … she’s a terror!

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I love writing.

This blog started as a place for me to write whatever came into my head … and that hasn’t stopped.

In the first year or so I had about 250 to 300 hits a month … now that’s what I can get in a day sometimes.

It’s not the end of August yet and I just checked the stats for the month … the highest ever in the history of Liz Biz … 4,007 … and rising.

Thanks folks … for visiting … for reading … for commenting.

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A number of my international readers have become friends … and that delights me.

I know some of my family read the blog regularly … hi Dad … hi Siobhain … hi Marc.

And the people of Ballinamore … and their relatives and friends everywhere … read this old thing … thanks so much.

I still love writing this blog … and will stop when it feels like a chore.

In some ways it’s become a kind of journal for me to look back on in my older age … which I think is lurking around next week!

I love documenting events and seasons in Ballinamore … a small town that seems to always have something going on.

my cottage

And in a few hours my dear friend Mary will be visiting from Oz (we are sooo not in Kansas anymore Dorothy) … and I think I’ll have to light a fire.

And it’s still summer … sob.

In anticipation of Mary’s visit I have been cleaning and tidying the cottage all week … a few hours here and there … really don’t love doing it.

The place is looking much better … although she’ll probably walk in and offer to help me clean it! She’s a tidy tidy tidy person … and I love her.

Still got a few things to do so will pop away.

Just wanted to say thanks for reading.

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Slan

Liz

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I know … I know … I really shouldn’t moan about something that is totally out of my control.

I wouldn’t even mind if we got full days of rain (like yesterday) and then full days of sunshine (like … when?).

Take today for example.

I went for a walk with Coco and Maeve about an hour ago … sunny and warm … lovely.

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Just as we got home it bucketed down … I think it might have stopped now.

’tis a bit of a misery sometimes.

I really enjoy the teeny tiny moments of sunshine we get as I can then take Coco for a walk.

On Saturday I took her down to the lock and watched her be very nervous around the water … she is soooo not a water dog.

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I walked onto the steel bridge and she went ballistic barking … she hates it when she can’t go where I am.

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As soon as she saw me coming back she lay down and waited happily.

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Maeve is great with Coco and I think she’s very brave around such a big dog.

Coco runs at a huge pace and Maeve always stays still.

I took a couple of photos of them both … and in the year since I’ve had Coco both Maeve and the dog have grown.

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Maeve took all these shots … it’s fun to have some photos of me and Coco together … me looking windswept … Coco looking fab.

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We also noticed that the level of the canal has gone over the actual gates so there were Waterways Ireland men trying to sort the electrics for the gate so it would open … there’s always the option of buckets guys.

My big plan for this week is to totally tidy and clean the cottage for Mary’s visit on Friday.

I had a skype vidcam call with her this morning and she actually said she’d love to help me clean (sick or what?).

I told her that if she saw the state of the cottage right now … she’d fall into a coma for the rest of her visit.

As it is … I told her that I’ll probably be cleaning for 4 days and she’ll come into the cottage and say something like ‘ Don’t worry … another few hours and we’ll have it ship shape’.

Have to think of a pile of rewards for all this effort … all suggestions will be taken on board.

And if someone says ‘ah Liz … the inner satisfaction of seeing the cottage spick and span will be it’s own reward … ‘

I’ll hunt you down!

I hope there are many fab and delightful moments in your week.

slan

Liz

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