Saturday, 28 October 2017


Hi Guys,


Only one last catch up after this entry and then back to normal.

First, I would like to remember my Mum ten years on, whom, even though she did not intend to leave me with such a mess, I miss dearly and appreciate her even more than before and hope that she knew in her heart how much she meant to me.  I also would like to believe she knows I have honoured all that she was hoping for and then some.  When I do look up at those stars I can see what I believe to be a twinkle of her eye just for me.

Today, is 28 October where I live and it has been ten years since my Mum sadly passed away and my journey with so much grief and horror began in earnest.  It may have been a hard slog at times, but I also have learnt a lot along the way.  Endurance, tenacity, loyalty, faith, forgiveness and other most amazing feelings.  My Mum gave me the gift of love.  That gift remains whether she is physically here or not.  Her love lives on.

I had hoped to be finished by now, but the job ahead was so huge that was impossible.  Gladly, I can state I am over the hump of the abundant work that I inherited and on the home stretch at long last.

Have just found some photos that I thought I would share a few here with you all in no particular order.

Mum and Sylvia.  Both dearly missed.

Mum and Zigis.

With family from Mum's side in Sydney in the 1969.  Mum, Tante Aina, ???, me and Grandmum.

Mum and I in Riga, Latvija in front of Hotel Riga.  I was all of 19.

Mum encouraging Aija to go onto the grass.

Mum and I in Riga, Latvija, Bralu Kapi by my Dad's father's grave.

In Japan.  I am way up the back on the stairs.

Just landed in Riga, Latvija for the first time and surrounded by people giving my flowers.  I yell to Mum, 'who are all these people?', Mum yells back, 'they are all our family!'.  And there were more walking towards us!

Grandmum, Mum and I.

 Mum and Zigis.

Dad, Zigis and Mum.

Mum with her family.

Mum and I.

Mum with Aija and her friend Laura.

Well, there are just a few memories.  So many that I could share.  Mum loved her family and clearly shows no matter what decade.  Wish you were here like so many who have lost their Mum's.  You are never far from my thoughts.

Now, onto the next instalment of this second last catch-up.

This time round the next post I shared was on 3 July.  Not really to do with decluttering, but had an impact all the same.

Here is what I posted:-

"3 July 
Excitement plus. After some 7 to 8 years living without a stove using a George Foreman small roaster and fry pan, I finally have had one installed last Saturday. Have gone through two Georges in that time. Scored said 7 year old stove from friends who are in the process of renovating their kitchen and knew I didn't have a working stove so offered it to me instead of going out in hard rubbish. The only cost was the electrician to install. Decided to use my birthday gift money that was earmarked for a TV antenna. I can wait a little longer for an antenna. A fully functional stove takes priority. Have cooked a few things on the stove top and am in heaven. Just look at it every time I walk into the kitchen. Doesn't take much to make me happy.
This stove may not fit the space perfectly or match the decor, but she looks beautiful to me.
Have said thank you to my friends, but for good measure, here is one more thank you."

You can imagine the great time I have been having cooking normally once again.  Ah, the spoils of modern life.  Try living without one of the modern wonders for a few years and then one appreciates the advances we have made.

Next was sorting the tools that had been left on and under tarps in the backyard with a little help from my women folk.  No lads available.

Here is what we got done back in August:-

"15 August · Melbourne, VIC, Australia · 
While there are parts of the world going through conflict and turmoil, at times it is best to look towards ones own backyard to keep from going mad. In my case, literally.
Last area to truly be sorted and finalised was all the tools from the shed. I had left them out of necessity on the backyard lawn on top of and under tarps, till I could deal with it all.
Snaps below show the backyard tarped, before and after, and now well on the way to being a usable backyard once more. May look like a mess still, but for me it looks perfect and is yet another milestone finally reached at long last.
Got this done in under an hour with a little help from my friends, Sonya and Sue.
The rest I can deal with what is left, over the next few weeks that will go out in the next annual hard rubbish collection in September.
Will be so happy when this outside part is finished so I can get the garden back into ship shape once again.
Looking forward to a garden party one day as my reward.
Once I am done with the 'Sort and Purge' component of this journey, next step is to impart most of this to those who will love old vintage tools. Having both my Dad's and Granddad's tools, along with Dad's fishing gear, even old, there is much to organise. The pink bath tile in the shape of a seashell as a soap holder is the original from my home from when it was first built in 1961. I am amazed my parents held onto so much. Astonishing what I have found."




Stella was helping also.                          

Garden party sounds mighty good to me eventually.

As one can see as slow as my progress is, each step done, is a step closer to being done.

As frustrated as I can be, I remind myself of how much I have achieved when I look back over the years.  I have to remind myself to be kind and patient.  Patience was never my strong suit in my younger days and is proving to be still a challenge at this end as well.  But, patient with myself I must be.

All those who are finding it difficult to start or just keep going, remember, breathe and be kind to yourself.  If it helps, then sit down with a cuppa, take a deep breathe and then after that tea, plunge in and do one drawer or one shelf.  It will be one more drawer or shelf done.  If that is all you can manage each day, then imagine in a year of days how much you will have achieved.

Just keep going forward and outward.

Last catch-up next time.

Till then.

Ciao for now,
Anita at the top of her mountain looking out onto the view of the future.

Thursday, 26 October 2017


Hi Guys,

Next instalment to catch you up to where I am now.

In February earlier this year my children put on a belated 60th birthday celebration for me and called it '21st + 40', being by now I was already 13 months older.  We all had the best time and all those that I knew and met over the last 6 decades and meant a lot to me were invited.  The celebration was held at a friends cafe bar in the courtyard with my favourite trio of musicians playing the best of the best.  There was even a roast at my expense, which had us all in stitches.  Ending with a traditional Latvian birthday chair toss with my daughter sitting in for me.  I didn't want to risk falling and breaking a hip after all that I had been through.  What I has unaware of was my daughter asked people who wanted to give a gift to do so in cash and gathered it all together so I could get more sessions with the professional, as my progress slowed down dramatically without her, as well as some other things if possible.  I was presented with the most generous gift with many many cards to combine enough for me to be able to get the carport finished as well as other much needed medical things done and some aside to fly to Western Australia with my Mum's ashes one day soon.  I was lost for words and that does not happen very often.

I put aside enough for 8 more sessions and set about getting that carport finished and done with.

At this stage I was finding some delightful items, but some made more impact than others. 

I found, still intact and not damaged thankfully, was a sketch by an old friend from long ago, Phil, that was sketched while sitting at an afternoon party going on around us.  

Here is what I shared on 5 May after one of those sessions.

"5 May · 
Another find from last Monday. Sketched by a friend, Philip Barnes, back in 1979/80. Was so sad to be told last year Phil had passed away in 2015, which makes this even more precious to me. He sketched this at one of the many gatherings and get together's. On this particular day I was very hungover. He got it all, including my eyes.
Dusi saldi Phil. Will never forget our wonderful conversations.

Phil went on to do more outstanding works and was twice Archibald finalist.  

First of Red Symonds from Skyhook's rock band here in Australia.

Second of Anna Meares Australia's Olympic cycling champion."

Only a small thing, but means a lot to me.  I cannot express how incredibly sad I was to learn that Phil had passed away in 2015.  

At this time another friend decided to come and regularly help me as well.  Such a huge effort on her behalf and we only do so much and then we stop to do some more every so many weeks as time and health allowed.  Each hour done meant I was inching ever so closely to the carport being knocked off.

In between, these sessions I would sit at night in front of the TV and sort through the mountains of papers that belonged to my Mum and some of my papers I had kept from the various jobs I had held.  Course notes and so forth.  Much has been tossed into recycling.

Here is one of my finds in my Mum's papers:-

Finding many treasures while sorting my Mum's massive quantities of paperwork, letters and notes, and am finding all sorts of family information. It really is like discovering another side to her. Found this piece of prose just today that she had taken time to note down and keep. Her writing was very beautiful and flowed with ease. Sheer poetry in motion itself. She must have really liked this piece to bother writing it down. Some pieces should be shared. Not sure who the author originally was, but Mum dated when she wrote this as 18 February, 1981. In the past, I have been accused of being 'too nice', as if it was a bad thing to be. I still find that astonishing. Looks like Mum taught me well, as I still prefer to 'be nice'. I don't see 'being nice' as a bad thing and never will.
In speaking of another's faults
Pray don't forget your own
Remember those in houses of glass
Should never throw a stone.
If we have nothing else to do
But talk of those who sin
Tis better we commence at home
And from that point begin.
We have no right to judge a man
Till he is fairly tried
Should we not like his company
We know the world is wide.
Some have their faults and who does not
The old as well as young
We may perhaps for aught we know
Have fifty to his one.
I'll tell you of a better plan
And find it works real well
Just try our own defects to cure
Before of others tell.
And though I sometimes hope to be
No worse than some I know
My own shortcoming bid me let
The faults of others go.
It's nice to be important, but
Much more important to be nice.
However, did a google search to find the author of said above prose to find this one, which is the same till the fourth stanza...
Be Careful What You Say
by Joseph Kronthal
In speaking of a person's faults,
Pray don't forget your own;
Remember those with homes of glass
Should seldom throw a stone.
If we have nothing else to do
But talk of those who sin,
'Tis better we commence at home,
And from that point begin.
We have no right to judge a man
Until he's fairly tried;
Should we not like his company,
We know the world is wide.
Some may have faults — and who has not?
The old as well as young;
Perhaps we may, for aught we know
Have fifty to their one.
Then let us all, when we begin
To slander friend or foe,
Think of the harm one word may do
To those we little know.
Remember curses sometimes like
Our chickens " roost at home " ;
Don't speak of others' faults until
We have none of our own.
... not sure which is the original, but I must say I prefer my Mum's version she kept.

Due to looking through all this, I have gone on a journey through time. When I am done with the sorting, I will have a life time of interesting items, stories, photos, newspaper pieces and oh so much more documented. 
I have kept only the most interesting items and will share more later on. Tomorrow I work on the other side under the carport. Am hoping only one more sessions to knock it all off. Then a skip and then outside under the carport will once again be just a carport and not a 'steptoe and son storage area'. I will be so glad when that happens. Inside will be easier to deal with as I wont have to deal with horrid weather, wind and rain, along with the ants nests, red backs and all the other spiders and creepy crawlies. Thank goodness."

A real treasure and insight into what was important to my Mum.

By this stage I was ever so close to the carport being finished.  A skip was being organised so all the big items left that needed to be tossed could go there and then and not have to wait till September for the next council hard rubbish.

I was so close to finishing this leg of the journey that I could smell it.

At this stage I was not travelling so well.  Most everything was getting me down.  All who have a long hard slog would understand and that is most of us at one stage of our lives.  Just that some slogs just go on for far too long is all.

I posted this 18 May as it reminded me to find the stillness:- 

"18 May · 
Have been sorting through more paperwork and other various wares and tares and found this little 'more recent' gem that I printed from an education website.
Cannot locate the piece now via said website, so am typing out to share with you all, as I really like the message and feel it is a timely reminder to us all that we don't have to be absolutely perfect in all that we must do.
Source: - printed 16 February 2016
I was listening to a Yoga Summit the other night and a teacher on there (Laura Cornell) outlined five steps to "move in the direction of your desires" and one of these steps has stayed with me ~ a refrain that I have since repeated internally and even out loud in my team meeting this week.
The step was this: "Take inspired, imperfect action".
Our team had decided that a norm for our meeting should be "make decisions efficiently" and I piped up and said "we can take inspired, imperfect action" ~ they loved it ~ it is debilitating.
And as I said to my Year 4 student last year as she rubbed out her artwork for the 10th time "perfection is the enemy of done" (I didn't make that up, though I wish I had).
We don't try anything new, we don't speak up, we hesitate in our decisions and we don't back ourselves in case what we try, say and decide is not "perfect". We feel too vulnerable. This step is profoundly applicable to teachers and their students in realising their desires/dreams/learning goals.
You won't get closer to achieving anything unless you start. You won't find out the best pedagogy for your students unless you experiment. You won't know if your idea will work unless you test it out. Give me imperfect action over inaction any day.
We just need to accept imperfection ~ one inspired action at a time! Inspired action sounds lofty, but as Wayne Dyer always said, "inspired" means "in spirit" ~ to live in a way that sees us connected to that deep space where spirit resides. The place that has been obscured by years of stress or disenchantment or sadness or distractions. The place that we have lost touch with in the busy-ness of daily life.
In my experience, to live from this place of spirit we must cultivate stillness ... and that doesn't have to be done perfectly either. Stop and do one minute of abdominal breathing as you wash up ~ you don't need to buy the perfect meditation cushion, incense, crystals or download an app ~ these are all distractions.
Just be silent and still with that monkey mind chattering in the background ~ no perfection required. So this month make a pact to release the ideal of perfect action or a perfect outcome and create stillness in your life on a daily basis to take inspired imperfect action to achieve what it is you desire in your classroom and in your life.
Postscript: As I type this my five year old daughter is watching a fairy DVD where for five minutes they've sung a song about "Princess Perfect" ... oh, the irony! Gee, I wonder why we all feel we have to be perfect?! Time to eject the DVD (or fake a black out)!!!
Author: Unknown
Perfection versus Imperfection. I know what I wont worry about any longer.
That and find the stillness of each day."

Of which I am still working towards.  That and long deep steady breathes to find my inner calm.

It was on 7 June, fittingly my Mum's birthday, that we went through the last of the boxes under the carport.

This is what I posted back then:-

"7 June · 

Broken the camels back.
Got it done and dusted.
Got to the top of that mountain.
Better late than never.
All these and more come to mind as I have been a busy beaver for the last few months sorting what's under the carport. I just wanted it done.
Finally, today, which just so happens to be my Mums birthday, I sorted through the very last box.
The sun was shining and the heavens smiling at this monumental milestone. Has only taken 9 years to get there or here.
Skip in 2 weeks to throw all the large items left under the carport and out the back and the carport will be back to what it's original intended function was for. To park cars only.
Oh what a feeling.
These last 9 years have been hard work and this last few months made possible from birthday gifts by many of my friends. This is the result. All I can say is one massive THANK YOU.
Will share more photos later of the end result after the skip is removed by mid to late June, but here is what is left.
Thanks to all who helped me physically along the way to get to this stage along with the following to name a few in no particular order.
I thanked many, but will not mention here so those can remain incognito but they know who they are along with several organisations who were instrumental near the end being Partners in Recovery, SalvoCare, Vision Australia and Wendy from Skeletons In The Closet.
Over the last 9 years some helped long ago and others many times over and much appreciated from the bottom of my heart along with the birthday gifts that helped me cross this finish line all that much sooner.
Jumping for joy.
Mexican wave.
Celebrations coming up.
Singing the song "Oh Happy Days"!"

The relief I felt was immense.  Yet the anticipation of getting the skip done kept me from enjoying this most monumental moment in time.

We finished at this point at which point I needed to place some items in the shed and the remaining larger items in the skip that was yet to come.

My reaction and Wendy's knowing we were about to go through the last box!

How I suddenly felt.


My focus now is moments.


No more of this any longer.


Still a work in progress.

This certainly is still a work in progress.

Vital ingredient.  To believe.

And never stop no matter how many stops you make along the way.

Then I posted the following on 20 June about the last of what was under the carport into the skip that had finally arrived.  I had a few hands on deck to come and as plans can fall through it ended up being only myself and my son to get everything broken down and into a 6 cubic skip.  It took us 2 days with some help from our neighbour at one stage with the fridge as that was just too much for me to cope with and after a few beer breaks we got the job done and the carport cleaned up and fresh for the first time in almost 10 years.  Ah, the neighbours will be happy at long last.  Must say, my neighbours have been absolute gems with their infinite patience and understanding.  For that I am grateful.

Here are some of the photos I shared at that time.

I called it STAGE ONE IS OVER!





Good feeling to have the carport back to being just a carport once again.

I finally have got to the summit of my mountain and was savouring the moment before tackling the second stage of this epic journey.

Again, I will reiterate, while going through your own journey, be kind to yourself.  This decluttering stuff of stuff doesn't happen overnight and without sweat and tears.

Just remember to breathe and to keep your humour close by and as many kind willing helpful hands.

Must say I have been enjoying the view ever since and everyone's reaction when they see it finished.

Oh, what a feeling!

Cheers for now
(NB.  only one or two more catch up to go then back to normal once more.)