Monday, 23 May 2016


This year, so far, is one of unease for me.

I’m working hard to overcome my health issues which began last year.
I feel mentally drained as I question, doubt and worry about my future wellbeing as my immune system waxes and wanes.
Sometimes, it feels like one step forward and two steps back.
The cha-cha of life.

Jack is declining.
His fifteenth year is fraught with ailments and subsequent treatments. His sight is completely gone now, and his hearing with it.
His world is a dark, silent one.
The reassurance of my presence is more important than ever.
My little blue shadow has been attached to my side for so long, always in my sight, and my heart. It's as if he has always been there, a part of me.

I sleep little, for he lies at the side of my bed, and every snuffle and turn wakes my shallow slumber as I listen for any signs of his discomfort.
And his nightly wanderings of the house, has me ever behind him, guiding him back to bed, or outside should he need to go.
I'm on "Jack time" now, as his routine is of utmost importance.
He is a trooper, and after one of his bad days, he’ll come round with a renewed appetite and an old gentlemanly spring in his step.

But I know the day will come when he’ll let me know that he’s had enough. And, I’ve promised him, when that day comes, I’ll not let him linger just for my sake.

The hunt is on for a new home, as we renovate and prepare this house for sale.
How much does one do? Over capitalise and not recoup in sale? Do just enough, and risk losing potential buyers?

One real estate agent tells us to, “blow the budget on renovations - people here want a certain type of house”, another says, “don’t, as you won’t get the return”.
Or, “sell now, quickly, as the bubble will burst soon and you won’t get what you want”.

What we want.
That’s nebulous in this market.

Pressure builds and stress simmers.

Real estate prices continue to rise and rise, but our finances don’t rise to meet them.
Outrageous prices being asked for less than so-so properties.

My little dream of an acre or so, with a small humble cottage on a sunny plot with perhaps an old tree or two for shade in summer - just enough to grow a healthy garden of medicinal herbs and vegetables to sustain us and keep us well - is now fast becoming just that, a dream.  Nothing more.

My happiest days are spent in a garden, tending the earth… just like I once did.

Now, I battle depression, and fight to keep upright some days.
I spend too long looking back.
To the times when the earth and I seemed to work as a team… me - nurturing, nourishing, sowing and giving back to her, and she - bursting with health and vitality, showering her rewards.

I continue to dream of somewhere to create once more, a sanctuary. 
But my hopes dwindle.

I’m a simple soul.

I don’t ask for material riches - expensive cars, jewellery (of which I own none), designer apparel (I have but few op-shop sourced clothes) or exotic overseas holidays.

I don’t go out often. When I do, evidence of the dash for cash and gathering of wealth and material gains seem to shout in my face, and I am repelled.
I rarely watch TV anymore. Preferring to seek the programs or movies I want, rather than have the endlessly superficial jammed down my throat via my eyes.
It all seems so offensive.
Or, perhaps my tolerance level has been dialled way down to just above zero.


A month of mixed emotion.

It is the month where autumn glows in tones of red, golds and burnished browns.
The coming cold fills me with a quiet joy.


I was born on May 24th 1963.
My mother died in May - on Mothers Day 1986.

Thirteen days before my birthday.

For all the childhood trauma and abuse I endured, the loss of a mother is still huge.

I eternally yearn for a mother that never was – kind, gentle, loving, supportive. 

Every year, on Mothers Day, I am reminded of what I lost, yet never had.
It is not a joyous day for me. Try as I may to lay my thoughts aside.

So, as my birthday approaches each year - even more now as I age - I feel a deep melancholy.
I ache for a connection with a tribe I’ll never know.
I feel a need to belong to the ancestors of my mother’s European homeland.
Blood kinfolk.
To know their stories, so that I may weave a rich and varied life tapestry from fibres dipped in their - my - history.

But they're all gone.
Torn by war. Archives destroyed.
Tenuous threads that lead nowhere, only to sorrow and impasse, it is a futile pursuit.
Sections left un-stitched.
Emptiness remains.

Happy Mothers Day.  Happy Birthday.   Blah.

Life feels scattered, sometimes shattered and disconnected.

There are times when I feel terribly alone and disconsolate as I withdraw further from society.  It’s an odd feeling.  And unsettling.

I crave the need for solace and healing in the earth.
But for now, I must wait.
And hope.

Forgive my errant ramblings. I didn’t set out to say so much. But there it is.

To finish on a more positive note, I share what I have been creating in my studio.
Some wee folk you have seen, some not.

According to professional bear artists, “your first ten bears are your ugliest”.
That seems a little harsh and critical. But, who am I to argue with professionals.

So, here are some ten of my "uglies", in no particular order of creation.
They are beautiful to me.

I’ll let you be the judge.


  1. Oh dearheart.
    Your uglies are beautiful. Full of heart and soul. Melancholy marvels.
    I am sorry that you are feeling so overwhelmed and lost. And ache with you for Jack's decline. His paws are wound deep into your heart strings.
    Hugs. Always.

    1. Thank you, EC.
      One day at a time.

      And, my "uglies" will hopefully become more attractive, if I'm to believe what "they" say :)

    2. Your uglies strike me as pretty damn perfect now...

    3. Humble thanks. I do love creating them so much. There is a little bit of magic in every one.

  2. I see no ugliness there, I see a family of lovingly crafted, beautiful bears and hares; I look up at my Harry Jnr, looking down from his perch at the top of the bookshelf, his eyes seem to be focused on the screen here, looking at his cousins.
    I'm so sorry to hear about Jack, I'm sure he welcomes every minute of your company now you are on 'Jack time'.
    It's hard to know just how much to do with a house for sale; I remember there wasn't a lot of interest when we were selling our home and the agent suggested the blue walls might be putting people off, we should paint them white. We did so and the buyer turned out to be the first person to see the house when the walls were blue and that was one of the reasons he bought.
    It might be a good idea to pretend to be a potential buyer and walk through your own open inspection and hear what others think, of course you'd need to have a thick skin in case they say things you don't want to hear.
    I hope your health improves soon.

    1. Your Harry Jnr. was a joy to make especially for you River, so he is very special - and I'm very glad you love him so :)

      Jack reassures me often as much as I him. The bond we have is deep.

      As much as I'd like to, we're not allowed to be present at inspections - even if I did wear a Groucho Marx mask and attempt incognito :)
      That is apparently what the agent is for - to relay any, and all, constructive comments to us afterwards.
      Everything is uncertain, and we can only do what we can afford to do, I guess.

  3. The cha-cha of life and Jack Time... oh, my Vicki... Such a dark time for you, and how very sorry I am that you are struggling with so many things, and have been for some time. And so sad that sweet Jack is fading... These are precious day with him. :) I'm sorry your dream of a new home feels more day dream than reality. We can only afford to do what we can afford to do. Going broke on renovations that may never see than monetary return seems excessive, to me. But then, a lot about this materialist, consumerist world I don't get... I don't go out either, so I know what you mean! ;) VERY much hoping and praying your dreams come true, that you will be of restored health and walking longer in a sunbeam that along a shadowed path. Thinking of you... ((LOVE & BIG HUGS)) P.S. These are the most BEAUTIFUL and SWEET ugly bears I've ever seen. Nope, no ugly here, not a bit!

    1. Thank you for your warm wishes, Tracy.

      Yes, we can only get done around the house what we can, and see what happens.
      But, it seems that people are so choosy these days, especially if one's home doesn't fit the House & Garden model.
      I guess I'm just more cynical these days.

      And yes, I think my folk are quite sweet, but, I am their creator, and a mother always loves her creations :)

  4. Happy Birthday. Here's to a much, much better year. And chocolate. Hugs.

    1. Oh, thank you so much, EC. I appreciate it very much :)
      And yes, Chocolate.
      My son works at Haigh's Chocolates, so guess the lovely surprise I received this morning...
      I'm trying to make them last, but... :D
      Hugs xx

  5. Well, I don't see one ugly animal in the whole lot...they're all adorable!

    Vicki, I am so sorry to hear that Jack is failing, and that this time is such a dark one for you. If love and heart-felt wishes for your happiness and good health can do any good, you should feel a little better as soon as I press the "publish" button. Take care, dear one.

    Blessings to you and Jack,


    1. Thank you dear Victoria, thank you. Your blessings are gratefully received.

  6. Bears are never ugly. One of my favourite little bears was bought in a shop when the brat in front of my threw him on the floor saying he was the ugliest bear she'd ever seen. I can't be sure if there were tears in his eyes or mine but he came home with me to the bear family.

    1. Well, I do agree with you there. No bear is ugly.
      And I must say that I was amazed when I read what the professional bear makers say about one's first ten being ugly. I also thought that perhaps they are too removed from their creations and over critical.
      But then I thought, mine are beautiful to me because I made them, perhaps others feel differently.
      I'm pleased to know that is not the case.

      I love your story of rescuing that poor wee bear from the floor. He has his forever home, and that is so heartwarming :)

  7. i have words not good enough for how i feel about it all.
    you have my heart. and your jack. and my jack.
    and YOU know your little creations are beautiful. because YOU are.
    all my love from across the blue. xo♥ furever.

    1. Words aren't necessary.
      You know.
      That's good enough ♥

  8. Other people may make ugly bears. Your ugly bears are gorgeous. I'm sorry that you're struggling so. It's so difficult being underground, especially at this point in the age when what was once solace and strength within the culture has largely dissipated. It feels like at the very hardest times we are dumped on our arses to travel the underworld ourselves. I hope writing here and getting comfort from those lovely commenters above has given you some comfort.


    1. Thank you kindly, Sue.

      Yes, our culture has changed, and we must seek further and harder to find the community we need to guide and support us.
      But, they are there. And in reaching out, I believe we can be strong when at our most vulnerable.
      Because, we are not alone.

      I feel ever heartened by the kindness of others.
      And grateful.


  9. Belated birthday wishes to you Vicki!

    And there's so much here that you say that speaks to me, deeply: houses and renovations, (and real estate agents and selling) - all too fresh and recent an experience for us. All of that, in fact The call to find a cottage sanctuary and healing garden; and also mothers.

    And I'm so sorry that your dear boy Jack is ailing. It swells my heart that he is so dearly loved and cared for.

    Your bears are quite astounding - such soulful and exquisite creations. They are Real Bears, (and Real Bunnies). You have a rare gift.

    Wishing you healing thoughts, many blessings, and large cups of delicious and warming tea. xx

    1. Thank you for your healing thoughts and blessings, Antoinette.

      I feel bolstered by your words, and of the other wonderfully supportive comments here.
      Nourished by kindness, ready to forge on.
      There is strength in community.

  10. So many thoughts and blessings I want to send your way---I am not too good with words. I will dream along with you, Vicki. Hold fast.
    Your "wee folks" have tremendous hearts! Very precious and such personalities!
    My love to true blue Jack, too.

    1. Thank you Charlene. Your thoughts and blessings are felt from way across the sea, be assured, and are gratefully received :)
      I will give Jack a cuddle from you.

  11. As you know I could probably write this same post. I can't speak to much of it, because it just dredges up all my own stuff and I am really tired right now, but I feel ya! I completely understand and have many of the very same thoughts.
    I will address your real estate though. As someone who just went through months of Hell trying to sell this place I can offer a bit of advise.
    Get an appraisal before you even list the house, know what a buyer will be able to get a loan for. We did not do it and it ended in a contract termination a week before we were to close because they buyers had an inept appraiser and it came in under the offered price, so they couldn't get the loan. If I had it to do over, I would get all of my stuff out and rent while selling. Trying to keep the house show ready, trying to buy and sell at the same time and all that comes with it was just too much. That business is for someone younger and much less busy! We did no renovation, just priced the house with the understanding it was priced with that considered. Six of one half a dozen of the other, it costs you either way. We gave a $2000 paint credit and came down on our asking price to accommodate the inspections.
    Its the worst real estate market I have ever known as far as lenders and greedy realtors and predatory inspectors. I feel like everyone in this industry has lost their minds. Just try and look towards the end when you find a perfect house and just get through each day with that goal in mind. This process is one of the worst things I have ever been through, but I have survived it and with fingers crossed I think we will close next Friday, but shhhh, don't tell anyone, something else might happen! Its hard but survivable, prayer also works :)

    1. Yes, our lives do follow similar patterns at times, Tracey. I know you understand much of what I write. It isn't easy, that's for sure.

      Thanks for your real estate advice. I find the $2,000 painting incentive very interesting. I don't think they allow that over here, but is certainly something I might bring up with the agent. It seems like a sensible thing to offer, but, whether it's allowed in Australia, I'm not sure.

      I may end up painting some more darker areas in a nice neutral to freshen things up.
      The TV home shows over here really influence peoples' perceptions on what they want in a house these days.

      I agree, this has been one of the worst periods in real estate! Everything is overpriced, and competition is rudely generated by the estate industry to drive up prices... and thus, their commission rewards in the end.
      It is just that, an industry. One generated to suit them, not the sellers or the buyers. I hate how they pitch buyers against each other to finalise a sale.

      But, it'll be tackled nonetheless - with elbow grease, visualisation, prayers to the Universe and a stiff drink :)

  12. Vicki, I read Tammy's post and thought I would stop by. In spite of the fact I'm very, very sad right now, I'm so glad I did. The loss of Jack must be devastating. I've been there. Dogs are truly God's creatures. Simply perfect in every way, and they make us better for having loved them.

    Since this post was written in May, I don't know what you've decided to do about your home, but my humble advice would be to keep it clean and clutter free and don't spend too much money on renos. And please don't give up on your dream.


    1. Thank you so much Doreen, your words are a comfort.
      What you say is true, and Jack has made me a much better person.
      He was my little steady presence at times when the world crashed around me.
      A very special friend.

      Our house selling was put on hold, but will soon begin again in a few months, and I agree that clutter free, clean and minimal reno work is the way to go. The right people will come along I'm sure.

      Thank you again, it meant a lot xxx

  13. Heartfelt hugs and oceans of caring.

    1. Thank you so much. I'm not faring very well at the moment, but will post about my boy soon xxx

  14. Hello Vicki,
    Just like Doreen, I am here after reading Tammy's post and while I am so sorry to hear about your sweet pup, I too am glad I found you. You are an amazing writer and quite an accomplished bear maker (I think your first 10 are lovely, btw). I couldn't stop reading your words. I could relate to so much of what you said. I am sorry you are going through some troubled times. I do hope that the house sells quickly and you do get your cottage. Lovely to meet you....

    1. Thank you Kim, your kind words mean a lot to me.
      Lovely to meet you too, and I hope to spend time conversing with you in the future... when my heart has been stitched back together.


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