#39

At this point in my life, my strengths and weakness are becoming pretty clear. And not that I like to focus on my weaknesses by any means, but this blog entry relies on one of my biggest – balance.

Since I was little, my balance has never been my strong point. I can elegantly trip over my own feet standing still, and while that sounds like a unique talent, I assure you it’s never been beneficial.

I’ve tried everything from skateboarding to surfing, but I’ve just never been able to figure it out. Perhaps I’ve never really given it enough of a go, but after watching a documentary on bones at the age of sixteen, the fear of falling with my wrists out first has ever since had me fear unbalancing the wellbeing of my radius’.

But as all things go in my life, this determined bundle of ambition I call myself can’t seem to ever give up on the hope of one day not being capable of losing balance on flat ground (or in a room full of people at Pilates).

The thing is though, if you don’t keep trying, you never will learn something new. And I’ve grown to learn that the moment you believe you can’t do something, is the moment you quite literally can’t.

I met someone the other day who told me she couldn’t snorkel because she hadn’t ever had lessons. Now I’m not sure I’ve met one person who’s ever actually had a snorkelling lesson, so I was confused by the notion at the time. Put the mask on, breathe through the tube, swim. Granted it takes some getting used to at first, but I’ve always thought the process to be pretty straight forward.

The entirety of our trip at Isla De Potipot in northern Philippines, she refused to snorkel the beautiful reefs surrounding the island because she’d already made up her mind that she couldn’t. She was scared she would fail at it, and despite us all offering to teach her how, she declined.

And the more I think about it, the more it really stands out to me as a lesson on never imprisoning yourself in accordance to what you think is not possible. She missed out on a whole under water wonderland that day, and while she had every right to make that decision – I just couldn’t understand it.

So I guess when it comes to balance, why should the fact that I have none of it mean I should corner myself in. The reality is, I’m happy to fall off, over or out, if it means experiencing something new. Sometimes you just have to give something a chance and see where it takes you. To hell with the wellbeing of my radial bones, right?

Ergo, bucket list #39. Learning to stand-up paddle board (SUP, as it will from here on be abbreviated to).

It’s always been something I’ve wanted to try. I live close to the beach, and on the ocean’s softer days, it’s home to many people aboard SUPs. To stand on the roof of the ocean, under blue skies and sunshine, had always struck me as being the dream.

On the fourth day of being at Moreton Island last year, we had woken up to a windless morning. The sea was calm, and clear. So my Mr. and I decided to hire a couple of SUPs and give it ago. The added bonus was that I figured falling off into water, would turn out to be a much softer break fall than concrete.

I must admit that while I knew my balance and lack thereof, would keep things interesting, I didn’t anticipate just how hard it would be to stand up, let alone remain upright.

In the time it had taken my Mr. to help me push my board out, head back to the beach, grab his board, head back out, stand up and paddle over the small breaking waves – I had barely accomplished kneeling on all fours.

He could barely control his laughter in between shouting encouragement my way as I put on a show that could only be likened to Bambi’s first steps. With wobbly legs and a whole degree of arm-waving, I finally stood up after far longer than I care to admit.

From there things got easier. Turns out standing up was the hardest part for me, the rest was relatively straight forward. While the occasionally lump in the ocean unsettled my balance, I never fell off. However I will admit to a fair bit of yelling, “Don’t come near me!” and some use of my oar as a jarring stick whenever my Mr. would teasingly come too close for comfort.

After we had paddled ourselves up the beach and back, we decided to spend the rest of our last hired hour laying on our boards. From the depths of the clear blue waters, we had been spotted by a pod of playful dolphins. Sitting on my sup with a smile as wide as my face plastered on, I watched them swim, dancing through the ocean as if it had been rehearsed especially just for us.

If I could SUP and swim with dolphins everyday, I would – because I’m really not sure how it ever gets any better than that, even if it does take me a small lifetime to stand up.

Balance or no balance, never let your weaknesses define what your capable of. There’s always a way if you will it. You can always do something extraordinary.

#39: Learn to Stand-up Paddleboard – Check!

d x

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#68

It’s really not until you become a house owner that you understand the true beauty of a hardware store. As a child I used to dread trips there. I would drag my feet down every aisle adorned with every different kind of screw known to mankind (and yet still not the one my father would need) and grumble the entire way.

I really never understood the hype, until three days after moving into the new house when I needed to use a screw driver to attach the new 75 inch tv to its accompanying stand and realised a large gap in my inventory… tools.

Off to the local Bunnings I marched, concerned that my creativity and a knife tip in place of a screwdriver may not quite get me through the years to come. How I had gotten 22 years in and never found use for one, I’ll never quite know – but I was very aware this was now an issue.

In the midst of the large store room, inundated with every tool, contraption and adjunct I could have imagined, I realised I was well out of my depth. If the crisp white dress and beach wedges hadn’t already given that away, I was sure my overwhelmed, and slightly clueless, expression would…

And without warning, standing there in the middle of the tool section, it happened. I caught the hardware bug, my creative bones humming at the new ideas growing bigger aisle by aisle.

That was all it took. From that point, I’m sure I became Bunnings best customer, taking fondly to the ability to create an online ‘Bunnings Wishlist’.

I had so many big ideas! But the first of many, was a hanging vegetable garden – earning a spot on the bucket list at #68. My first industrial project for the little white house.

With a old palette collected from the skip bin down the road where another house was being built at the time, a little Tarzan SuperGlue, screws and my newly acquired drill (possibly my favourite purchase since becoming somewhat of my own builder’s apprentice), I managed to construct a hanging garden shelf. Pulling every second wooden paling from the palette skeleton, I cut and glued it to the base of the existing palings. And with little tightening of a few screws, a whole lot of youtube instruction and some creative ingenuity, it was finished.

A true tradie would have laughed hysterically at me. But everyone has to start somewhere right? And I hadn’t sawed off a finger or glued myself to the wood – so I viewed that as being rather successful in my books.

A week later it was secured to the fence just outside the door to my butlers pantry and I filled it with a dozen herbs, a little bit of lavender (out of Igloo’s reach) and a couple of succulents for show. And I oddly had never been more proud of anything else as watched my little herbs grow to overflow their pots.

Now, even two years later, every time I eat my famous spaghetti bolognaise infused with fresh basil, oregano and chive, I feel just that little bit more accomplished and that little bit more in love with creating something of own.

And if that has you inspired for dinner tonight, I’ll leave the recipe below 😉

#68: Build a hanging vegetable garden – check!

d x

Spaghetti Bolognaise
Ingredients:
– 500g Pork Mince (somehow just better than beef..)
– 425g Tomato Soup
– 140g Tomato Paste w/ Garlic and Herb
– Basil, Oregano + Chive (fresh is better, but from a jar will do too!)
– Pasta

Method:
1) Heat saucepan and cook pork mince on high until brown, removing excess water from pan if necessary.
2) Reduce heat + add in tomato soup, tomato paste and herbs
3) Leave to simmer + add Basil, Oregano and Chive to taste (I prefer a good pinch of all three!)
4) Serve with pasta

Servings:
4 people (or 2 + a delicious lunch for you both the next day!)

Happy cooking!