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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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Aaaaah Friday

The week started brilliantly with the arrival of 2 friends, Miriam and Jimmy.

They stayed until Thursday as they tried a few times to get through the snow and ice to their home up the mountain.

Somewhere up there to the left!

It was a real treat having them stay here and we had some great chats and laughs.

They are great people and run Build Your Own Wind Turbine workshops in Ballinamore and an annual 10 day workshop in Gort that attracts people from around the world.

On Tuesday they became grandparents again when one of Jimmy’s daughters had her first child. They are now on their way to Cork and still haven’t seen their mountain home since before Christmas.

I loved being a hostess and cooking. I find cooking very relaxing and love to try new recipes on people … and Miriam and Jimmy were quite happy to try my offerings … even the Thai Green Curry with pasta instead of rice!

I also did a fair bit of work on the pr for my Feb 6 and 7 Blogsite Design Workshops and have a booking already!

blog design workshops in Dublin

I’m looking forward to more bookings when the Visual Arts Ireland enewsletter comes out next Tuesday. Nearly 50% of my previous workshop people booked after they read about it in the newsletter.

All the excitement of packing and moving and Christmas and lovely visitors … was bound to catch up with me.

Very tired the last day or so … and because I can … I’ve been having Duvet Days.

Having a lovely time roaming online and reading and taking naps and eating healthy food … and not planning or organising or thinking … just drifting happily.

Will feel fab tomorrow and get sorted to go into town and do some chores and take Coco for a long long walk. She did get to run around the field next door today and then she was quite happy to loll with me.

It’s the New/Dark Moon tonight … great for wishing and beginning new ideas and projects.

Have a wonderful weekend.

p.s Happy Birthday to my Mum and Dad tomorrow. I’ll be ringing Oz to say hi. When I was a kid that’s how I thought parents got together … someone matched people by birthdays. It’s as good a way as any I suppose.

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.

blog design workshops in Dublin

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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dec 27 snow in field next to my home

Now that I have sorted the broadband stuff and vented about Eircom [will keep you updated on whether they end up offering restitution for their incompetence] … it’s time to focus on the brighter side of life.

photo from my office window soon after moving into new home

I have a great feeling about this new decade and I don’t care if it’s just my optimism … good feelings are good feelings and should be hugged and snuggled close.

I’m in my new home and am loving the space and light and warmth … and Coco loves being able to play [tied to a long line] outside and watch the birds.

Decorating the house for Chritmas was a delight and my friend Brendan joined me for lunch … lovely to have a guest in the new space. Here’s me surrounded by food abundance and … a glass of bubbles … surprise surprise.

The kitchen dining room is huge and as you can see has room for a lounge suite. I’m really pleased that my Eamon Coleman painting has at last found a space big enough to hang … it was the first painting I ever bought in Ireland nearly 16 years ago and I love it.

The lounge room has a lovely fireplace [which is getting a lot of use in these freezing conditions] and Brendan lent me his Xmas tree which we decorated … looks fab and I still haven’t taken it down I love it so much. When the snow and ice melts then I will bring it down.

Upstairs I have 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms … one is now an office. My big bedroom gets the morning light and looks over fields. Coco loves standing on the couch and looking at the birds outside. I’ve started leaving seeds and bread and oats out for the birds and Coco goes into a kind of shivery delight when she sees 6 robins all perched on the wall!

view from one of my bedroom windows

Soon after I moved in it started snowing and I watched in delight as everything became whiter and whiter … little did I know it was going to last over a month.

The views from my house

my back yard

The back lane behind the house looked like something out of a movie and I ended up laughing when Coco tried running down the ice laden space … legs going everywhere!

The field next door is Coco’s idea of heaven as she just runs and runs around it … I get a bit nervous that she’ll run across the road but so far so good.

Over the last weeks we’ve had more snow and ice and I’ve taken lots of photos. I was telling my nieces and nephew in Oz about the snow so these photos are for them … they meanwhile are experiencing temps in the 40’s C.

Note – all the thumbnail photos can be enlarged by clicking on them. All the photos are either in the field next door to my new home or on the road walking in to Ballinamore … 5 or so minutes although I haven’t been able to walk in since Xmas as the paths on the estate are icy dicey.

Marc asked me today if I had made any new year resolutions and I said no … what I’d done was make some Life Dreams for this year and the new decade.

I clarified what was important for me right now and drew/wrote ideas … here’s a photo of the drawing that I’ve put on my fridge so I can see it every day. I took each of the areas and have noted things I want to do [and the rewards] … and I know that circumstances may change and opportunities/challenges will arise … that’s life.

I’ve been doing my own Life Dreaming for around 20 years now and I still am encouraged by the fact that there is always some new insight … something else I see and learn.

What did I learn doing this Life Dreaming?

That developing and launching Life Dreaming online and globally this year is THE biggest dream I’ve had in a long long long time … and achieving it will fuel and fund a lot of my other dreams.

I was already committed to Life Dreaming … but making the realisation that Life Dreaming is the priority in 2010  [after looking at my 2010 Life Dreaming drawing more closely] has added another layer of focus and intent for me.

Because I have now made it such a huge priority … that will take time and effort and energy … I know that I will be saying NO to many other opportunities and offers [no matter how interesting] that have already begun to come my way. That’s known as the Opportunity Cost of making a decision.

It’s all about where I want to focus my will.

That doesn’t mean that I won’t ensure I eat well … spend time with family and friends … find some form of exercise that engages me … travel a bit [Paris and Marrakech are on the radar] … love Coco … make a welcoming home … make some short term money … listen to my intuition … be part of my community … write this blog … drink bubbles!

But it does mean that for 2010 there will be some interesting paths I could have travelled that I will consciously ignore because I am developing Life Dreaming.

There’s a kind of serenity and peace in making that decision and being [relatively] clear about what is important in my life right now.

That’s how Life Dreaming works for me … it helps me create purpose and direction [without losing a sense of the spontaneous or ridiculous that populates my life] in a way that makes me feel excited and enthusiastic … and that’s got to be the most powerful way to live … for me anyway.

And Life Dreaming is a partnership with my brother Marc … and that’s brilliant for so many reasons. I know that there will be times in this year [and beyond] when Marc and I will feel frustrated and exhausted by developing Life Dreaming … and that’s life when you’re building a business. I also know that we’ll have more fun together than a bag of monkeys and we both believe passionately in how useful Life Dreaming can be.

So … Coco & I send you magnificent wishes for a year and decade that engages you and brings all the abundance you want.

Slan

Liz

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Nearly there

And the move goes on.

In the last stages of the move to the new home.

I made a decision last week that I chose to stay calm and unstressed through the whole process … and I have!

I think Maggie is wondering what wonder drugs I’m using [none Dad!] and Brendan was saying how stressful it usually is to move house.

Well folks … I decided to buck the trend.

And my calmness has been greatly helped by William and Brendan helping me move things over different nights … and Brendan having me over for meals most nights … and Mags driving me to Enniskillen last night to buy new bedding.

Friends … I do love them.

I have no internet access or phone so am using my friend Brendans when I get the chance.
 
Phone will be the same and new address is 20 Pairc Fea. Ballinamore. Co Leitrim.
 
I have been sorting, throwing, packing and moving things every day since the weekend. 

 
I see all the throwing and sorting in the cottage as a great exercise in decluttering [I can hear the amused guffaws from my friends … I’m untidy]. As I take time to tidy I have also enjoyed remembering the great 3 years I have spent in the cottage.
 
It’s been 3 years since I moved to Ballinamore and renting the cottage was the best thing I did. It put me smack in the  centre of town and I got to know my neighbours and all the people that run the shops in the street.
 
I got to know the Hamills and their children and we had great fun with the Sunny Funny Garden … and I am enjoying watching Maeve, James and Eoin grow into really delightful people.
 
And I got to know Maggie … a treat for anyone lucky enough to meet her. Many good times [and more to come]. Mags thinks I’m either pretending or really am having a stress free move … either way … she’s probably sure I’m missing a cog!
 
And yesterday I rewarded my efforts by spending 3 hours in the new house unpacking and rearranging things. Took Coco to see her new home and she loves it! She ran around sniffing everything then pretty much either looked out the kitchen or my bedroom window at the fields outside.
 
The lounge now looks amazing and I decorated the mantle piece … photos will be posted when I get broadband in a week or so. The kitchen/dining area is big enough for a couch and it already looks very homey.
 
My paintings and sculptures are happily spread through the house.
 
Today will hopefully be the last load of things to move … fridge, couch, table, cabinet and LOTS of books and files.
 
I thank Mags, Brendan and William in advance for their help this evening … there will be bubbles at the end.
 
And tomorrow my good friend Linda comes over the help me clean the cottage from top to bottom. Thank all the deities for Linda … she actually likes cleaning. So, in a way I am providing her with a great experience. I live to serve!
 
My access to broadband and a phone are very intermittent and full service should resume by the end of next week. My Skype is banjaxed as I think Diva has a microphone problem. Will sort soon.
 
And tomorrow evening Linda and I will be sitting by the fire sipping bubbles and eating whatever she has brought over from her home.
 
I know I say it a lot … but friends really are your wealth … and I’m a billionaire.
 
Must go now and work my way through the list of things still to do … it’s long but I know it will get done … with the help of my friends.
 
XXX Liz

p.s Pa, if you have been trying to ring me … the phone in the cottage is disconnected and the new one won’t be connected until tomorrowish. Give me a ring on Sunday if you are free as I’d love to have a chat … same phone number. xxxxxx

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In just over a week  I will move into a new home.

I have had 3 very happy years in the wee cottage in High St and many many great memories.

By living in the main street I got to know heaps of people and they got to know me.

And … I like change.

I particularly like it when it’s within my control.

For the new year and the new decade I decided that I wanted a new space to live in for all the adventures that are ahead.

In the current economic climate one of the beaming lights for renters is that rents have dropped by a significant amount this year.

Places that were renting for 500 and 550 are now available for just over 400 euro a month.

And in Ballinamore there are a lot of places to rent.

I’m moving to a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom home with a large kitchen dining area that gets the morning sun … and opens to a backyard for Coco dog.

It’s a 5 minute walk from town just across from the football field and is on a hill with mountain views.

I love it.

And with every change there are things that I’ll miss … even when the change is fab.

I’ll miss the Hamills and having Therese next door.

I’ll miss having Maggie just 2 doors up … although I will continue to haunt her and visit the shop every day.

I’ll miss all my shop neighbours.

And I’m only 5 minutes away … not moving to Guatamala.

I just wanted to do this quick update so my Dad doesn’t think  I’m dead … Just packing Da.

My phone number will be the same and my new address [for Santa] is 20 Pairc Fea. Ballinamore.

I’ll be taking photos on Saturday of Santa’s visit and the turning on of the Xmas lights and post them on the blog.

I will also post up some shots of the Clothes Swap Party which went very well … we raised 800 euro and the 50 or 60 women who came along had a ball.

Marc and I are having great conversations about the development of Life Dreaming and the launch in 2010.

I’m planning more Blog Design Workshops for Artists and Creative Entrepreneurs in Dublin at the end of January.

My contract of work is going well.

Coco is fab and I am healthy.

Lots to be grateful for in my life.

I send you very best wishes.

Slan

Liz

p.s   Pa, I haven’t been able to ring because I went back to Eircom and calls to Oz cost something like 75 cents a minute!! Have been sending telepathic messages of love as you don’t like emails. xxxxx

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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.

koh3

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.

P1080013

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.

p1070795

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.

BigClothesSwapMeet_A3PosterV2_110309

BigClothesSwapMeet_header

BigClothesSwapMeet_mid

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