Saturday, February 28, 2009

Deranged fools

Today I bring you a piece of Hugh McLeod’s blog, which he wrote on 19/2/09. This guy makes a living drawing cartoons on the back of business cards. Really really. He also does a bit of marketing for a winery in South Africa called Stormhoek. Really really. And then he works for Microsoft jazzing up their corporate life. At the moment he likes hanging out in a small place called Alpine, in Texas.

Whaddayaknow: distinction of the working human
“A. Most people work for the money. Most people wouldn’t do their jobs for free.
B. Most people hate their jobs.

But I’m not thinking about “Most People” right now. I’m thinking about the small percentage of the population who want to love their work; who want to find meaning in their work... and are willing to work like hell to find out how.
Those crazy, deranged fools…

How do they manage to exist? How dare they exist!
Are you one of them? Just curious...

A CrazyDerangedFool [CDF for short] is, like me, somebody who has the temerity to aspire to work in a way that produces both joy, meaning and contribution for both them and others, while also paying the bills. It's about creativity, it's about finding meaning, but it's also about living in the real world. That's the reality I want to live in, and from the vast quantities of e-mails and comments I get from y'all, that seems to be your game plan, as well.

I really liked what Ms Constantine said in the comments of the aforementioned post: “I'm working about 30 hours a week on top of my "day job" so that one day I'll be able to do the work I love. I'm currently doing the extra hours for free, so I'm kind of one of them. Gotta pay the bills though.”
Ms Constantine, that too has been my life for the last twenty years. I too am a CDF. This IS INDEED the crazy, deranged, foolish world of my own making that I chose to live in. And this IS INDEED the crazy, deranged, foolish world I will die in. I've already
crossed the Rubicon. Alea iacta est. There is no going back. Ever.”

Read more on Hugh’s work:

Great stuff. Love his cartoon work. They’re bafflingly good.

So how are you viewing your work? Love it? Hate it? Not thinking about it but that just stepping on that treadmill every day? And in case you were wondering; I’m a CDF too. I work 44 hours average a week on my day job, 10-12 hours on Quality living, 6 hours a week on my blog, and about 14 hours on the farm per week. That’s 74 hours. No wonder I feel a bit gaga while I was training for the triathlon as well which was at least 8 hours a week. I calculated that I have exactly 20 hours a week to do ‘other stuff’ like make dinner and what have you, housekeep, whatever and I spend 10 hours per week in the car traveling. That leaves me with 8 hours of personal recreational time PER week. At least I still have that. I know there are some people who work ALL the time. Now THAT would do you in well and truly…

I’m happy to say I like working on my oddball ideas outside of work. I have concocted this simple and wicked idea for lifestyle blockers to help them in winter. I thought it up last year, even made the logo and everything, now have to do the homework to get the thing made. It will be good to get it up and running as it will help Nico once he does get on the farm fulltime. The things we do…. My fabric designs will be printed this year but have been pushed further in the year due to the ‘current economical climate’. It will not stop me from continuing to be creative. I reckon it’s the time to search for those niche areas and pounce on them like no tomorrow. The world is not waiting for ‘another business’, they are however looking for wanting their problems solved. They want to be heard. Find peoples issues and solve them. That my dear friends, is the future.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Keep on dreaming?

I was told when I was a kid to ‘consider my future’. I had to be sensible and plan ahead. Uhuh. Now look what became off me! Much good that running off with life and doing something so silly as moving to the other side of the world has done for us! Living down under based on a feeling. Pah! What sort of career move is that?

We didn’t move to New Zealand to be sensible. We didn’t move here because we had a neatly outlaid plan. We certainly did not move to ‘up our careers’ but it has done nothing but improve them. We did not move here because of family even though we do enjoy seeing them when we do. We did not move here to escape our lives in the Netherlands or because we had little money.

What I like about us having moved overseas is that even when the sense of adventure has worn off a bit, as work is pretty much the same everywhere, the sense of belonging doesn’t. The further you move away from that which you know, the more you get to know yourself. Most of us look outside ourselves to fill up gaps and fears. If your desire is to simply be, grow and experience, it’s brilliant. I can recommend it. Be warned; it’s not the easy route. You’ll encounter that which you don’t expect, dramas will unfold where you don’t see them but all in all: life improves enormously when you emigrate.

When someone tells you to be sensible and choose a domestic predictable existence: just run for the hills. Literally! Then sit down and enjoy a picnic watch the view and enjoy the company of those that are happy to share the experience with you.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pressing the buttons

I just saw a girl walk past with a mobile attached to her ear. There are many around. It’s beyond a trend now. I even saw a young one with a Blackberry in the hotel elevator in San Francisco. Why this girl would need a snazzy piece of IT attached to her was beyond me as she obviously wasn’t in business. She was talking loudly into it (is there another way?) and was totally oblivious to her surroundings.

I get the feeling many people find it easier to communicate to other people through the phone instead of looking them in the face and talking to them. I have noticed that many-many-many of us carry these hot batteries around and look after it better than we do our pets. It’s almost like carrying a holy grail. It’s like showing off cars. Mine has! Etc.

A lifeline to communication they say. Is it? I enjoy nothing better than my mobile giving a last squirt of life and then dying off on me in the weekend as there’s no reception on our farm (well not with Vodafone). What a shame… ! Not. Nice and quiet! Yessirree. Love it. Me Time at last.
My husband gets quite upset if I don’t answer my mobile when he needs me. He says why do you have one if you don’t use it? He likes to be able to rely on me and that I understand. The truth is I leave my mobile in my handbag and when I am with clients I leave it there forgetting about it. Oh did you phone? Sorry! Uhm yeah, handbag, etc etc. My point is that the people who I’m with at the time are my priority. If I do hear it I get it and someone gets lucky. (Good on them, enjoy it while you can.)

I prefer communicating with others in person opposed to phoning although it has its benefits when ones parents live on the other side of the world, as mine do. Still, a lot is left out in the communication when you cannot see someone’s face. Is it just me or are old fashioned ‘how do you do’ and seeing others for coffees a better way for catching up then quick calls or emails?

And here I was thinking I’m a modern woman of the world. Another illusion bites the dust. I think I can live with it though. Quite happily.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Self doubt

We are in the habit of doubting ourselves. I thought I was running short of blogs..Running short?! How can that be with 35 blogs still to be published….. Even if I didn’t write for 6 weeks (!) I’d be dandy. Well that’s the benefit of working in advance I tell you. I was surprised that I had that many!
Getting back to the self doubt thing: Sometimes we can talk ourselves in to something or OUT of something. We sell ourselves short, we imagine things will happen that don’t etc and so on and so forth. Does this have to do with confidence? I think it has more to do with a reality check. Dreaming of achieving our goals is one thing, but we all like to anticipate in some form that we’ll actually make it.

I went through 5 website designs with Quality Living before I actually felt I achieved the result I was after. I took me a year and a half. Half of me was embarrassed it took so plippin long and the other half said, well c’est la vie. I work fulltime so can’t realistically expect my idea to fly and take off in a few months. I went through periods of frustration, teeth grinding, anger and doubt. When I finally made a resolution I’d no longer worry about the outcome but start with a clean slate it finally came together. Sometimes when you decide let go of the outcome the whole situation resolves. Magic stuff.
So when in doubt:
What’s the worst that could happen? Is it REALLY that bad/sad? No? Then dust yourself off and get on with it. Trust your own instinct and stop listening to others. It’s YOUR life. You know what to do. Trust that. What are you waiting for then? Go go go. And have a latte, and a muffin while you’re at it. Excellent.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tending the side of the road

I was driving to work the other day and saw two guys standing on the side of the road cleaning and tidying the area around a white cross sign. In New Zealand it’s 'common' to find these white crosses next to the road where a loved one was killed. Sometimes these crosses are adorned with flowers, teddy bears and the like. These two men stood up and waved to the driver of a stock freight truck driving in front of me, passing them by.

It looked like a father and son tending the side of the road. Their car was parked with the boot open en the son was clearing weeds. Would it be his sister who’d died there? How often would they go here and tend the area marking her death? Is it important that they go together? After having written about men before being sometimes quite oblivious to remembering important dates I was touched by seeing these two working side by side, remembering and looking after the small area of grass next to this road of tar. That’s genuine love for you. Why would they do it otherwise?

It’s a funny world we live in and we forget how quickly we can literally dash out of it. Bang! Dead. The same applies to those we love who surround us. Sometimes we may take them for granted as we think they will always be there.

My friend Miranda had found it disturbing when I once told her I didn’t think I would live to be very old. The look on her face showed that she was disappointed she wouldn’t have the chance for us to sit together like grannies having a cup of tea discussing the state of affairs in the tea cozies industry. What do you mean you’ll be lucky to reach 70?! The truth is that I don’t care so much about growing old, more about the quality of my life. I’ll probably go with a bang and that’s fine with me. No long lingering dramas, just poof! Gone. Check out time.

That time has not come yet as obviously I sit here typing. For others the finality comes before they are good and ready. How can you be ‘ready’ anyway? That must be the point to let go of it. It is profoundly sad when it happens for the people surrounding the ones dying. I like the idea that even though we depart we are still there should we choose to. This way we may lose our physical bodies but not the essentials that make up who we are. It takes away the fear many of us have towards ‘the end’. What if there never is an ending to our being? Why would we worry about it? We could just happily continue on doing stuff and get used to it working slightly different. Anyway, that’s just a thought.

So, as we tend to the side of the road we remember and plant for the future. We shape our lives and that of others as we go. Nothing is forever and yet, it is.

Friday, February 20, 2009


A girlfriend of mine has the tendency to point out when I gain a kilo or lose some. She does not intend for this to be mean but just states a fact. I do not keep tabs myself as I don’t have a scale at home, but I can tell when jeans are wearing well or worse. The literal bottom line (and I have a very nice one I’m often told) is that I have to be happy with my state of physique. When you care about how you feel and how many blobby bits you carry with you then your own view of your body is the only thing that matters. I’ve noticed that other people’s comments reflect on how they perceive their own body image, not necessarily my own.

I feel less fit with too many additional bits. I do like a bit of scrumptious flesh on me. It makes me feel healthy and “me”. I’m a woman, I’ve got ‘roundings’ and I’m not Twiggy. Fortunately mum and dad have done well in the genes department so I’m naturally lucky with my shape I guess.

So what we are talking about here is the:
Acceptance of the state of flesh
The following of your own cookbook
That exercising is good for the body but also for the brain.

Funny enough the self image lies in the brain not so much in the body. It’s how we VIEW ourselves and how we feel inside our skin that shapes our opinion. It’s as important to take care of the inside as well as the outside. At the moment my outside is looking quite stunning. My inside is a bit foggy but it’s starting to clear up again. Being too busy clogs the brain with twitter twatter. Yip they’re right, time for meditation again! More about the art of a ”tete-a-toi” another time.

The most important thing about self image for me is self acceptance. Rejoice in being you and everything falls into place. Wonderful stuff. Simple but apt and feel the change. (That and get all happy training for a triathlon, like me.)

I would also suggest for everyone to start a Whitebook. This is especially important for ladies. Write everyday what you have achieved and what went well. We tend to focus on what we haven’t done or haven’t achieved yet opposed to praising the skies about the pile of things we have done this week! I have the tendency to flog myself inside if I haven't done all I had to do. A Whitebook puts things in perspective which is healthy. And yeah! it’s Friday......

Thursday, February 19, 2009

How the moment takes me: writing

Several people have asked me lately: how do you write your blogs and WHEN? Well I tend to write most of it before work (early birds catch the worms) or when ever I get the chance, say late afternoon. The last few weeks I haven't written that much as work's been busy. I usually select one of my earlier inspirations out of my word document when I come into work every day and pop them in the blog. Find a cool picture and voila! It's that simple.

I can write hours on end if I have the vibes. (This is in the weekends) It’s funny and scary. I just type what comes into my head. Just like that. Then I read it again and go; gee whiz that’s quite clever. Who wrote that? It wasn’t me I just typed it you know… or was it? Basically I found it doesn't matter as the topic of what I write about is more important then who wrote it. Sometimes I have finished a piece and go: wow that's cool. Did I type that? I can laugh about it. I write for the sake of writing, not because I want to achieve something. That makes it better I think.

I don’t often have to re edit myself. I pre edit while things come into my blond macaroni whizzing ammunition of a contemplating blob of a brain. Gorgeous stuff sometimes.
Also: headings. Hilarious. All sorts pop up like hotwired muffins. Exploding popsicles. Burping Yodas. You get the idea.

What do you think of:
Push biking intercourse
Blotty friend
Poetic mongrels
Bird paint
Squashed sky

Nope, I have NO idea where that came from. I told you I write as I go.
Still, you have to admit, it’s funny. Oh come on. Just a little bit!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tall poppy syndrome

A mate of mine was criticized for taking initiative and doing something he thought would be good for ‘the greater good’ of a group. It was a relative small thing but I have heard this before. How come initiatives are often batted down? Why does your work get critiqued? Did you ask for censoring? What gives someone the right to do so? I have that happen to myself now and again and find it really stupid actually. I mean, if it’s a fair reasonable comment, ok. But the winging? Get over it already!

I know why I can get into tantrums for being refused to do something fun that I think is an awesome idea. It has to do with being the baby sister and having to compete with the big bros. (Literally as I have 2 big brothers.) Of course I got over the competitive thing as we’re all different anyway, but the urge to make the most of myself has always stayed. I have felt that my whole professional life I wanted to become a great success like them as my whole family has been an inspiration. The chances of me being a slob are remote as my genes are against me. With the whole family being driven bright talented individuals I’m not going to exactly sit down and start knitting. No offence.

Getting back to the Poppy.

Seriously it is a problem here: Wikipedia says the following:
"Tall Poppy Syndrome (TPS) is a
pejorative term used in Australia, Canada[citation needed], and New Zealand to describe what is seen as a leveling social attitude. Someone is said to be a target of tall poppy syndrome when his or her assumption of a higher economic, social, or political position is criticized as being presumptuous, attention seeking, or without merit. Alternatively, it is seen as a societal phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are criticized or resented because their talents or achievements elevate them above or distinguish them from their peers."

So there you go, a down under illness. Brilliant. Aaaahhhhhhh. Can I say a very down under thing? “Bloody stupid” There! That’s what I think of this. (Okay okay settle down already. I heard yesterday that meditation is JUST the thing) Fortunately the Australian prime minister was quoted responding in a similar manner: they want to do away with the poppy as a syndrome as well in Aboriginal County.

Exploring this further, how can one beat the Tall Poppy Syndrome?

This is what Kiwis say themselves:
"Tall poppies are people who stand out from the crowd. They aren't afraid to be different from everyone else and because of this often become incredibly successful. In New Zealand we have an annoying habit of feeling threatened by these people and to make ourselves feel better, we do whatever we can to cut them down to size.

We can be incredibly well-meaning about this – saying things like "they need to come back to earth", "their heads are getting too big", "It’s for their own good". Failing that, we just spread wild, untrue, unnecessary and unfair rumours about them. Tall Poppy Syndrome is alive and well all through New Zealand's society. You won’t have to look too far to see it in:
Sports, Arts, Schools, Workplaces, Politics and pretty much anywhere you find people!

Example of a Tall Poppy: Joanne K. Rowling's story
Unless you’ve been living in a cave you will have heard of Joanne Rowling and her books about Harry Potter. JK Rowling’s story is an incredible story of determination and persistence. Her mother died very young – at 45 and Joanne took this very hard. She moved to Portugal, where she met a journalist, married him and had a daughter. Sadly, one year later the marriage ended and she moved to Edinburgh to be nearer to family. As a single parent, she really struggled with very little money. She was unemployed, with a baby, living in a one bedroom flat. She got income support of the equivalent of $NZ150 per week, which meant that Joanne had to be extremely careful with her money – at times she would skimp on meals for herself.

She often wrote in caf├ęs with her baby asleep in the pushchair – a cup of coffee was cheaper than heating her flat and they could both keep warm while she wrote. She wrote her first book on notepaper, and then had to go home to type the notes on a cheap old typewriter. She had to type multiple copies because she couldn’t afford to photocopy them. She struggled with depression on and off, but even managed to turn those episodes into positives by using them as inspiration for some of her characters. To make ends meet she started working as a French teacher and then managed to get a Scottish Arts Council grant giving her enough money to finish writing her first book.

Once she had finished the book she sent the first 3 chapters to an agent, who promptly sent them back (I bet he or she regrets that day!). After being rejected in her first attempt, she tried another agent who agreed to act for her. It took a year for her agent to find someone who would publish it. By the summer of 2000 she had earned over $USD400 Million for her first 3 Harry Potter books! Her book “Harry Potter and the Half Blooded Prince” sold 6.9 million copies in its first 24 hours! Her story is hugely inspirational, all the way down to overcoming the Tall Poppy Syndrome. She has had a 2-year court battle to defend the fact that the stories were not stolen and were her own.

While struggling, there was no way for JK Rowling to know that what she was writing would ever be a success – how many times do we hear about endless rejections of manuscripts, and how many books have never and will never be published. She battled poverty, depression and rejection and won. She had the dream, the determination and the self-belief to push through adversity and setbacks that would have stopped most people very early on. These are the people who feel threatened by her success.
What can we learn from her journey?”
Source above text:

My mate concludes with: "Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticised anyway. You'll be damned if you do and damned if you don't." – Eleanor Roosevelt
I think it’s safe to say the following:

“Just do it” covers it nicely. Long live Nike and stubborn people! Lead by example and forgive the ignorant for they do not know any better. If we didn’t do what’s in our hearts and have fun, then by crikey WHAT exactly are we doing here at all? Why would we envy others for their achievements? I honestly NEVER got that. I celebrate others in growing, why would that EVER affect me badly? Such nonsense.

Bless anyone for kindling their own light and ‘sticking with it’. Next time you meet a tall poppy, give them a hug, do a high five or say Yeah! very loudly. if we are to be distinguished from other humans because we achieve our goals, let us celebrate this, instead being muffled in a corner where it's dusty and one has to sneeze. And besides, wouldn't you agree it's SO boring these nondecript corners? Why would it be nice to be stuck THERE?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Trust and respect

What does trust mean? How can you measure someone’s honesty? How do you prove your own?
Bottom line: trust and reliability depend on the following factors:

a) Showcasing by actions
b) Genuine body language
c) Tone of voice
d) Showing respect
e) Vibes

Actually the vibes you emit will give you away any day of the week.
There is no quick cure for the wounded trust. The only thing you can do is reflect and behave accordingly to your new set out intentions.

I am in a situation now where I have to rectify my behavior. Why? I have been caught up in my own life and simply had too much to think about and juggle. Not being the best planner in the world is a bugger but still I make the best of it. My husband has been therefore at the losing side. I don’t want him to be affected by my irregular antics so will have to shape up my planning. This way he will see that I do mean what I say and that he is still fortunate to have married me (hopefully).

Babe I’m sorry. I mucked up, it wasn’t nice of me. I love you.

(When in doubt what to do: admit you’ve been a doodly twit -which is true- and hope for forgiveness.)

Monday, February 16, 2009

The positive aspects of light addictions

Mine are:
  • Hugs
  • Chocolate (especially mousse)
  • Shoes (you know: heels!)
  • Goats (witty and happy)
  • My husband (genuine, honest and wise)
  • Singing in the car
  • Writing blogs
  • Hanging out with positive friends (Cara, Susan, Steve, Bill to name a few)
  • Pasta… of course!
  • Dancing (whatever style)
  • Me-time in the weekend (otherwise I go gaga)

    Note: by no means am I advocating pursuing dangerous inflictions on your digestive system or otherwise by becoming a negative addict. An addiction that is harmful to yourself can never be a good thing.

Recognizing positive addiction

How can you tell whether a favorite activity such as playing golf or working jigsaw puzzles has grown beyond leisure activity into a positive addiction? According to Dr. William Glasser, author of Positive Addiction, the activity gives you such happiness and confidence that you:

· spend about an hour most days engaging in it
· feel discomfort such as anxiety, sluggishness, irritability, etc. when deprived of it

Interesting. Now I haven’t read this book but yes I have to add an addiction to the above list as I forgot about it, can’t believe it.

The following I have found while doing a google
Differentiating positive and negative addiction

In Coping with Addiction, psychologist A. Tom Horvath defines positive addiction as one in which the benefits outweigh the price. Exercise might not always feel easy or comfortable and playing the guitar can cost you in equipment and callused fingertips, but those risks aren’t as weighty as the perks of good health, improved mood, coping with stress, etc. Horvath applauds positive addictions as healthy substitutes for those struggling with negative addictions such as smoking, alcoholism, gambling, etc.
Since Horvath asserts that addictions are considered negative when the price outweighs the benefit, applying this formula to your own habits helps you know if a positive addiction is no longer positive for you. Your habit that seems harmless might not be if it impacts negatively on your health, relationships or work.
Think about whether some of the following conditions apply to you:

· you find it impossible to take a break from the activity, even for illness, a family crisis, etc.
· you continue the activity against your doctor’s orders and jeopardize your health
· you’ve started to exclude other pleasures from your life (such as time with loved ones, other hobbies)
· the activity is all you think and talk about
· loved ones express concern about your behavior
· you are concerned about your behavior
· the activity dominates your life

Here are a few scenarios that might help illustrate when a positive addiction has turned negative:
· continuing to run after your doctor warns that your knee needs a break from high impact
· refusing a break from exercise, golf, gardening, etc. when you have a fever, flu or other illness that requires rest
· being unable to stop knitting or sculpting even when you develop painful carpal tunnel syndrome
· increasing the time you spend on the Internet to the point that your family feels neglected
· not being able to agree with your loved ones on vacation plans for fear that you won’t have access to your activity for 1 week

Resuming balance

If your passion is beginning to feel more like a prison, you’ll agree that it’s time to strive for balance. Sometimes you just can’t recognize how out of balance your life has become because of a habit until your loved ones complain about it. Ask those closest to you if they feel neglected or in any way concerned about an activity you consider a positive addiction. If you suspect that your good habit has gone bad, you can try the following:

· Moderate the activity—reduce the number of hours each week that you engage in it.
· Explore other interests that might meet the same need without threatening your health—replace running with biking or swimming; knitting with a craft that doesn’t bother your wrists; Web surfing with reading, puzzles, etc.
· Seek the help of a mental health professional if you fear your behavior is out of your control.

(Source info:

Well there you go! Monitor your chocolate intake…. And your work addiction. But that’s a story for another day. While I’m writing this I have decided I will go home and sing all the way home to my heart’s content. It won’t bother anyone as Nico’s taken our own car with me working late. Oh solo mio…… la la la la

Saturday, February 14, 2009


For some people Spam means that meat stuff in cans that the Monthy Python guys sung about ("Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, baked beans, Spam, Spam, Spam and Spam"). For most it’s getting the tons of marketed Viagra pill adds crammed in their Inbox. I REALLY don’t need those! There must be so many Spam filters out there keeping the crappy emails out. My gmail account is very good at doing this and when I have been away for as while the Spam folder is filled to the brim with all sorts of nonsense.

To my great amazement (after doing a quick Wiki) I found that the Monthy Python Spam and the Inbox Spam are in fact one and the same, as the term Spam is derived from that particular sketch and the Spam meat! I had never given it any thought before, but this Spam business is language in the making for you.

Origin of the term "spam"
It is widely believed the term spam is derived from the 1970
SPAM sketch of the BBC television comedy series "Monty Python's Flying Circus".[11]
The sketch is set in a cafe where nearly every item on the menu includes SPAM luncheon meat. As the waiter recites the SPAM-filled menu, a chorus of Viking patrons drowns out all conversations with a song repeating "SPAM, SPAM, SPAM, SPAM... lovely SPAM, wonderful SPAM", hence "SPAMming" the dialogue. The excessive amount of SPAM mentioned in the sketch is a reference to British rationing during World War II.[citation needed] SPAM was one of the few meat products that avoided rationing, and hence was widely available.
In 1998, the
New Oxford Dictionary of English, which had previously only defined "spam" in relation to the trademarked food product, added a second definition to its entry for "spam": "Irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of newsgroups or users."[17]
So there you go: don’t take the holy name of Spam in vain, except when you’re deleting the stuff.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Come on confess, you thought I was going to write about sex right? Life is not all sex and roses but there is such a thing as dripping passion.

Why do we work? To make money for starters but if you’re clever enough, you figure out that money doesn’t make the world go round, love and passion do. Truly, really, feverishly, stupendously.
I have a great passion for what I do. Trust me I wouldn’t be doing it otherwise. If I don’t feel excitement or inspiration I get restless jangly feet and I’m off. Passion fires us up. It ignites and is Life. I love it. Sometimes we do confuse the work passion with the person passion. It happens to the best of us. That is however, another story.
My passion is to create and to do this in a team environment. Even though our clients depend on us to provide the pearls of wisdom and color, I still view the interior design as collaboration, a joining of forces, a mutual creation. It’s about the clients’ atmosphere, their personal story, their views.

What IS good interior design anyway? For me it’s about translating that which a client wants to see and create that loving house around them bringing out the best it can be. It’s writing down the untold story, capturing the family spirit and surrounding them with familiar and articulate pieces that comfort and give light to their life. A house should foremost not be a castle, but a home.

We use shapes, color, light and texture to create the best suited environment. We extrapolate, interview, work like mad and then get all excited when thoughts, ideas and decisions are brought into existence. I see interior design as an art form. It’s painting 3d using shapes, form, color and texture. You start with the canvas and fill in the story as it further unfolds. The results are satisfying and still surprising. Never think of interior design when it looks like a show home. That’s downright scary.

Many clients say that we do not just do a great job; we exceed an expectation which is the best testimonial. We seem to have great taste and that reflects on our clients. Thanks goodness we have a sense of humor too, whoooeeeeeee. (Ok that’s enough.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Manifesting dreams

Many people I talk to are figuring out how to realize your dream? Have you read the Secret?

Regardless of what you think of it, I find I have been applying the principles of the secret without realizing it for at least a decade. I started to become aware of this when I kept visualizing things with intention and it happened. This is how Nico and I found our house in Holland and also how we found our house in New Zealand. Desire what you want to happen but also KNOW it will come to you as it’s already there, you just need to find it. This is not idle hope but it needs to be something you need to know as a fact. It’s all about knowing with certainty that your dream is manifesting by using strong intent.

For me, the ingredients for realizing your dreams are:
  • Know what you want

  • Picture it clearly in your head (see the house, job, place, situation)

  • Think about the Timeframe you want something realized

  • Feel strong intent using your emotion

  • Know for a fact you will realize this desire

  • Work hard and do everything you can to reach your goal (this is re-enforcing your goal through actions)

  • Dedication and perseverance (stick with it)

  • Believe you will get there. Always. (Don’t give up)

I was thinking the other day that I would really like to do larger interior design jobs and also commercial. I even thought how many I’d like to do and how much revenue I’d like my boss to make per month. (When I get really cracking I will kindly suggest a commission.)
A lady walked in a week ago saying they would like me to sort out their carpet and drapery for them. Two days ago a lady came in who's just build a house and is starting to look for furnishings. Today I'm going to measure drapes for a golfclub that is also thinking about doing developments.

I also send out a few other emails/intents to realize my goal of being extremely busy this year with interior design work. By putting my intentions out there I send out energy to say I’m here to find more challenging work, thank you for sending it my way, I’m good, I know I can really make a difference for people in their homes. They’ll be thrilled they got us on board.

My point is you cannot realize a goal unless you WANT it and KNOW you are able to get it. Hoping won’t cut it. You have to believe this in the core of your being that you are worthy of your cause and that it can be realized. There’s no room for doubt. If you doubt yourself then your vision will take a lot longer to manifest itself.

This system works; it has done wonders for me. Feel free to give it a go yourself.
(But as Yoda said: “try not, do, or do not.” He was bang on that little green man.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


more hot fuzz....

Hot fuzz

In case you were wondering what's happening in down under:

Koalas are melting in Oz.
Victoria is burning.
The recession is media hyped
And I’m working my pants off.
(the end)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Pondering Wonderings

Yes I’m a confessed ponderer. It can drive my husband nuts. He doesn’t always follow what I’m articulating. This is not a new thing as many people seem to get halted in their tracks trying to figure out what the blazes I’m on about. This I have accepted as a fact of life. I am more patient with my clients; as after all, it would be prudent for them to understand me and vice versa. How could I make a living otherwise? So does this mean I’m either intelligent, thinking faster than the average person, or I’m I just plain nutty? You be the judge.

I’ve been known to make up words. You will find them quite often amidst the wordy spread on this blog. You better get used to it or go back to reading a newspaper; magazine or whatever takes your fancy. It’s ‘Mirjam’ lingo yes sirree.

The pondering wonderings habit runs in the family. All of us, included my dear husband, are used to my father’s incredibly fast change of tack mid story. We can follow his jumps, bounds and leaps as years of training do that to a person. Possibly I’ve been infected with the genetic zig zag technique. If a stranger visits the household or a business relation we end up translating dad’s enthusiastic tales.

Bottom line: I am used to thinking fast and outside the square. I’m not one for the usual route as detours can make life interesting or fieldtrips makes a mundane day change into a glorious one. The Pondering Wonderings continue. Watch the space... at least you’re pre warned.

Monday, February 9, 2009


I’ve found a book again that I bought years ago which is about writing. I was reading some passages in it and was pleasantly surprised when the author Julia Cameron said that she literally writes down what pops up in her head. I can relate to that.

It can be really amazing what comes out of these blogging sessions. I can get quite intrigued myself. Because I don’t always know where these words come from, they just appear and I happily follow them. What does that make me? A writer of dotter downer? Maybe it doesn’t matter. The story is more important than the storyteller…

So what do you read (besides this funny blog)? Have you ever read Enders Game? Impressive narrative. Still an all time favorite in my family. We all have the entire series. Great book for the highly intelligent. Great for 8+ kids too.'s_Game_series
Neal Walsch did a brilliant job of writing down what God told him. Aside the fact whether you believe in God or not, the dialogue was superb and the topics interesting. Food for thought and Neil sold millions of books so it must of hit a nerve globally. I enjoyed it and read all 3 years ago.

I surprised to read a book by Gordon Ramsay … as I honestly didn’t take to the guy before. A mate of mine suggested I should read a book of his and I decided it would be a good idea to make up my own mind. I have to be honest: I was impressed. The guy obviously worked hard and it was interesting to hear about how his father in law is intertwined with the whole operation and how he grew his business.

Of course movies are stories told ‘in motion’. My favorite is Amelie Poulin, it’s absolutely exquisite. The beauty of it is in the imagery and in that what’s not being verbalized.

So what keeps you from doing what pleases you and letting others know? Is it setting up a veggie garden? It may be writing as well or singing. Do what inspires you and share it if you can. Start a modern gothic petanque club or a leather knitting society. Expand beyond that which takes your fancy. Grow your ambition and ‘spread the word’.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Paperwork and the story of Health

I have been accused of not liking paperwork. This is true. Paperwork is a necessity of the modern life. Even though I can appreciate its practical effect then it doesn’t have to mean I have to love it. I am the one doing the bookkeeping at home. Why? Because my dear one wanted me to learn how to do book keeping and to keep an eye on our finances. “It would be good for me”. Sigh. Thanks dear.

A while ago Nico and I had to re examine our health insurance. We were with a company that we thought was professional and good. Truth is; how the heck do you know? You read the small print and then get too bored to pay proper notice. You hope for the best, pay your premium and forget about it.

I met Jason our insurance broker through a business network and no, we didn’t have income protection. Why would we need it? We’re in our 30s, young, healthy etc and so forth and didn’t see a need for it. We naively thought that if we needed an appendix taken out that the Dunedin hospital would look after that. Now that idea would need revisiting we were politely told. I had the distinct impression that we had been missing out on doing something very clever. And I hate missing out.

I told Nico that it would be a good idea for Jason to go over our insurance stuff. As Jason happily went through our data a week later and showed me spreadsheets and impressive understandable data, I wondered how come we always think of these things when it’s usually too late. Jason showed me an independent study which listed companies that are walking the talk (or not) and being the best qualified in the market. The results showed which ones would pay out more if we got slightly flattened by a truck. I was also told that women are more expensive to insure then men which surprised me.

Jason doesn’t always advise his potential clients to change companies. Every situation is different. What IS important is to insure wisely. Nico and I both have income protection now which ensures that if one of us suddenly departs this world or gets sick for an extended period of time, that we are looked after financially and therefore medically. Jason’s company Finluca Services helps to make sure people are not being ripped off and that they are also not being over insured. (

Why Jason likes to wade through all the papers is beyond me but I’m happy he has done this for us. We are now officially ‘sorted’ and I can go back stuffing the paperwork in a folder and forgetting about it but at least I earned the right to do so.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bikes and babies

Lately it seems to be motorbikes and babies that everyone is involved in. The men are talking bikes, riding bikes, discussing which ones to buy, plans for trips etc. Friends of ours gave us DVDs to watch and they have a bike each. My boss has bought a Ducati very similar to Nico’s last year. Nico’ youngest brother just send a picture of his BMW bike as he just got his license. The DVDs of the Long Way Round and the Long Way Down by Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor are amazing. To be fair, I’m absolutely hooked. These DVDs positively will GET you on a bike. That’s how neat it is. They ride through countries like Mongolia and Siberia and the whole continent of Africa. +

Then there are the babies. My sister in law is pregnant, one of my best friends has a kid I see every week, partners of mates are pregnant or just had a baby, my brother and sister in law had a baby last year. I see pregnant customers, I see pregnant women in the street. I tell you the baby bounciness has definitely hit me. There’s no escape! This does not mean I feel the baby cravings coming on though. It’s terrible to say this but I’m very practical in that regard. Nico and I are up to our earlobes in farm + work and a baby is very much the last thing on our minds… so I continue to swallow the pill with conviction. (Sorry mums and dads.)

Anyway, there it is! I have no idea why the bikes and babies have come upon us but they have. Maybe travelling with a baby is on the cards. For the life of me, I don’t know what it means. I find it very funny though. Nico is amused we were discussing babies again because of this. I think he’s still a bit afraid of the topic. He’s not the only one. Bikes though, that’s an entirely different matter…. Shall I go get my license? Steve’s wanting to sell his bike… now there’s another thought! Broomm broomm

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from.”
(Seth Godin, in his latest book ‘Tribes, We need you to lead us.’)

People have the tendency to not make themselves responsible for their own lives. “No my boss made me work overtime and I hate what I do anyway so it all sucks” “My husband wants me to lose weight and that’s why I come to the pool every day to swim” “He never listens to me and I don’t feel happy in our relationship”. See what I mean?

Yes it’s human to have a good whine to someone else and say boohoo my life is so boring, tough, hard, difficult, lonely, unsuccessful, stressful, unsatisfying or un-fun (if you feel that way, that is). Problem is that IT DOESN”T MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER to say these things to other people. Have you realized that?

I was feeling tired last week and had a whinge to my poor mum on the phone. It was so annoying! Basically I wanted a cuddle and for someone to say all right you lovely get of your bottom and get on with it. This is enough and you don't want to act this way. It’s fine to realize I had landed in the old trap again of wanting to achieve too much but the side effects are that it gives me the frusty dusties. So I decided to snap out of it before I had a chance to get the fever of the poor-me-disease. It’s no fun for people around me and it doesn’t get us anywhere EVER.

Right, here’s the recipe for battling boohoo-ness:

a) Give yourself a hug or ask your partner to provide you with a cuddle. (Take it easy on yourself)
b) Find out why you are feeling down, depressed, tired, disappointed, angry etc. Talk about it or write it down. Don’t take it out on others, find a boxing ball instead.
c) Start a diary; write things down often to get it out. That or see a therapist/counselor regularly. (I write this blog and find that helpful, if it’s very personal I write it in my own diary)
d) Start exercising, it gets the stress beasties out of your body and it’s good for the brain. Eat well to compensate for energy loss until you build up more stamina.
e) Team up with a good friend to establish your goals and follow up every week on progress. Share.
f) Don’t desire to do too much (I do and by crikey I’m a hard learner…) and nip perfectionism in the bud. It’s a right killer.
g) Don’t do ANYTHING someone else wants you to unless you want to do it also. Motivation goes down the gurgler if you persist and it causes resentment.
h) Practice your sense of humor. Remember to LAUGH. (Once we were funny, hang on how did it go again?)
i) Take up a weekly hobby or sport that makes you very happy. I absolutely LOVE dancing.
j) See friends and hang out. Enjoy dinners and playing with their kids.
k) Allow yourself to be lazy at times (this I find very hard, sleep in? Like WHEN?)
l) Stick to your new plan! Yeehaaaaaaa. = victory.

The truth is this:
Being grateful creates happiness. Appreciate what IS there, let go of how you think it SHOULD be. And: be patient, things will fall into place. Hang the frust dusty jacket or give it to charity.