Menu

I continue to work on my word and focus of the year which is CALM. May has been a good month! I continue to learn to create calm, in my head and elsewhere, react to events calmly and not worry about things unnecessarily.

It’s been a busy month, but a good busy. We’ve continued to play music with other people in pubs, prepared for our gigs, we spent a weekend in Dingle, and I’ve come back into the flow with my design work and I finally manage to move forward with my graphic design plans.

During May I also attended a Zoom workshop to study the guitar style of Doc Watson. So, a good busy!

Calm despite what media feeds you

I continue to focus on enjoying the good things in life as much as I can. I’ve learned to stop my overthinking quite a bit – I notice when my brain starts spinning too much, and I steer my thoughts in a different direction.

But that isn’t easy. Media and today’s society are doing their best to make people miserable – bad news and negativity are being shoved down everyone’s throat through all kinds of channels. Maybe because upsetting people is profitable on social media? But I ignore the noise, I refuse to let it get to me. I close the browser, move on, go with the flow and do the things that make me happy. As for bad news and things happening in the world, I stay updated to know what’s going on, and that’s it.

Calm with music

We’re having our first gig in about a week. And I haven’t been able to prepare a lot because I’ve had problems with my voice and have been busy with work, Doc Watson tunes and other things. But I’m ok with it. The songs we do well are good, and we have a good variety of songs and fiddle tunes. I hope to learn bits of lyrics for other songs I don’t know 100% by memory yet and will work on them during the week. When I don’t actively practise, I’ll keep a playlist with those songs going while I work.

Also, we’ve been playing in other pubs such as O’Neill’s during the spring and some people have come back week after week to hear us, so we can’t be too bad! The most important thing we can do is to have fun, enjoy ourselves playing music, and see it as a nice jam session. We’ll be fine and while I’m going to practise as much as I can during the week, I’m not going to worry about it. I’m simply done with worrying, and I’m going to have fun despite not being the most fabulous guitar player.

A friend told me that at her first gig, people told her to stop! And it hasn’t happened to us yet, so I guess that’s a good sign… 😁

Calm in the garden

Last autumn the weather was quite wet for a long time which made it impossible to cut the grass, but while the grass was still growing…. I did a few attempts but was unable to do it properly. This meant that in the spring, the grass grew in thick chunks and the entire lawn at the back was a total nightmare to cut. I called it “grass hell”. 😂 This is the disadvantage of the mild Irish climate – the grass starts growing again in early March or so but you normally can’t cut it for (at least) another few weeks because it’s too wet. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, last summer I left an area uncut and let wildflowers grow. The insects need it more than we do. But with too rich soil, grass will be happier than wildflowers and this spring, the usual wildflowers never showed up in that area and there was mostly rough grass. I’ve done a lot of reading on this topic and realised that if I want a meadow, even with the no-mow method, there’s quite some work involved and considering that particular area is even under normal circumstances awful to cut, it probably isn’t the best place to create a meadow because the maintenance will be too hard. So I had to cut the grass and make another plan. There are two options – either get sheep or remove the lawn!

After some hard work, now the area is cut and we have a plan.

We’re going to build a nice patio in the middle of this area with shrubs all around it. We’ll sit there with a good drink, or read a book, while enjoying the scenery. At the bottom part, there will be some other planted areas – we’ll build this one bit at a time and it will take some work, but it will be good in the end. At the top part (closest to the camera) I hope to make another large garden bed for smaller flowering shrubs and perennials. It will be a lot prettier with more colour instead of all the green, and we need more pollinators in this area where we’ll also grow vegetables – to the left in the white boxes you can see our tomato plants.

Gardening is one of my most important feel-good activities, so all this planning and work gives calm and enjoyment because we’re creating something that will be beautiful, and better for wildlife than the ugly lawn will ever be.

Enjoying the season

May is a wonderful month in this part of the world. Flowers start to bloom, the weather is usually mild and you can see the summer coming. We’ve had very windy weather here but still mild, and I’ve been out quite often for walks down the lane or to Ballinglanna by the sea. The little lane down the hill is stunning with all the wildflowers and blooming trees! This week’s walks offered a variety of wonderful scents and colours.

The weather is supposed to be less windy and very nice over the weekend, so I’ll enjoy it to the fullest! If you have a word, concept or goal of the year I hope you are doing well with it, and I hope things are as good as they can be where you are.


I’m joining Sue, Deb, Jo and Donna in the monthly Word of the year link-up, and will join Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share too.

About Author

Hi there! I’m Susanne, a Swede living in West Cork, Ireland. I play the guitar, create photos and work on creating a career in graphic design. Welcome to my blog where I share photos and thoughts.

38 Comments

  • Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
    27th May 2022 at 1:21 pm

    Hi Susanne – what a beautiful spot you live in! That scenic view from the lawned area and all those gorgeous flowers. Spring is definitely in the air in your part of the world. Hope the gig goes well and that your voice is at it’s best for the occasion. And I loved your “good busy” description – it’s so much nicer than being frantically busy!

    Reply
    • Susanne
      27th May 2022 at 2:52 pm

      Yes, I love where I live! The almost constant wind is the disadvantage but when I see this view, I feel it doesn’t matter! Thanks for your well wishes! Honestly I’d prefer less busy but after two year of no socialising, I want to do everything, but will slow down in the next few weeks.

      Reply
  • Anne Fraser
    27th May 2022 at 1:26 pm

    I like the idea of calm and busy. I think that is my favourite lifestyle.

    Reply
    • Susanne
      27th May 2022 at 2:53 pm

      Yes, it’s good if you balance the two of them! Which I’m not necessarily good at but I’m getting there.

      Reply
  • Joanne
    27th May 2022 at 1:47 pm

    OH I bet that patio area will be wonderful! Such lovely views on your walks too. I find nature to be quite calming and as much as I do not enjoy gardening I do seem to putter around in the beds pretty often; adding in new flowering plants and pulling weeds.

    Reply
    • Susanne
      27th May 2022 at 3:01 pm

      Nature definitely is calming. I think the new patio will be lovely. It’s in the warmest area of the garden too, and then with that view!

      Reply
  • Maria
    27th May 2022 at 2:10 pm

    Calm is such a great word to focus on these days. Your garden plans are exciting, the view is absolutely gorgeous. Have a lovely weekend!

    Reply
    • Susanne
      27th May 2022 at 3:02 pm

      Yes, calm is a good thing to focus on, and it’s helped me a lot so far. I wish you a good weekend too!

      Reply
  • Joanne Tracey
    27th May 2022 at 10:00 pm

    What a beautiful view! Your garden (and garden plans) are lovely. I was nodding at the waiting for the grass to dry comment – we’re doing that at present – it’s been too wet to cut the grass for weeks with all the autumn rain and now it’s knee high in places. Heavy sighs. Love what your doing with your music and looking forward to hearing more about your design work. Thanks for linking up.

    Reply
    • Susanne
      28th May 2022 at 12:21 am

      The view is the very best aspect of this house! The lawn, not so much. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one having this problem. The back garden (in the photo) is ver odd because the grass grows much faster in some areas and even normally it’s difficult to keep up! It will definitely help to “build away” some of the lawn.

      Reply
  • Natalie
    27th May 2022 at 11:37 pm

    I’m glad May has been a good month for you and you’ve been able to experience more calm. Your garden plans sound great. Once you have your patio, I’m sure you’ll get such good use out of it. Have fun with your music gig and a lovely month of June! Thank you for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare.

    Reply
    • Susanne
      28th May 2022 at 12:23 am

      Hi Natalie, yes I’m sure the patio will be a lovely place to be. Very likely it will be our favourite place in the garden! Thanks for coming over and I wish you a good weekend.

      Reply
  • Janet Alcorn
    28th May 2022 at 1:24 am

    Wow, you have a beautiful view! I’ve always wanted a wildflower meadow too, but as you say, they are a bit of work. And you’re right–for social media companies, upsetting people is profitable. I’ve been working on spending more time reading, writing, learning a language, and exercising and less time doomscrolling Facebook. Definitely better for my attitude.

    Reply
    • Susanne
      28th May 2022 at 9:00 am

      Yes, we are so blessed living here! It’s a wonderful location.
      I’ve also almost stopped using social media, I check my Instagram now and then but only on my computer or in an iPad browser where I have no ads or suggestions, and I check my Twitter but usually just browse a few posts, and I barely use my Facebook account, actually I’m thinking of removing it.

      Reply
  • Denyse Whelan
    28th May 2022 at 6:49 am

    Oh we so get the wet ground here in my parts of Australia. All the grounds, people’s lawns, golf courses and sporting fields are either muddy puddles everywhere or so much water underneath nothing can be done.
    This was a beautiful post of ‘calm’ and it is so good reading what you are up to in life, music and more.

    Denyse #WOTYlinky

    Reply
    • Susanne
      28th May 2022 at 9:08 am

      Hello Denyse, I’m sorry to hear about the wet weather in Australia, I’ve read it on other people’s posts too that Australia has received unusual amounts of rain. Here I guess we’ve had less rain usual during the spring, at least after the winter storms stopped. We’ve had scattered showers and quite unstable weather though (which is normal) but the biggest problem in the spring is that there isn’t enough daylight or sun to dry the morning dew, usually.
      Happy you like these posts, I haven’t written a lot lately, we’ve a lot going on but maybe I can make more time for writing during June.

      Reply
  • Debbie Harris
    28th May 2022 at 10:37 am

    I love your outlook Susanne and your ideas sound great, what a lovely spot to relax in and take in that view. Your WOTY calm is a lovely one and your seem to be doing well with it. I felt calm looking at your flowers and photos so it’s worked for me. Thanks for joining us.

    Reply
    • Susanne
      28th May 2022 at 9:22 pm

      Thanks Debbie and I’m glad my flower photos were calming. Yes, my focus on calm has done me a lot of good so far and I’m so grateful for that.

      Reply
  • trent
    28th May 2022 at 1:58 pm

    Yeah, so much negative news and bad things happening, it is very difficult to keep that calm! Music does help. Glad you are continuing your journey and are playing out! Very cool 🙂 I can relate top the lawn issues! lol, I’m sure the patio area will be a perfect place to sit and relax. Yeah, I guess still that theme of calm. I hope you have a wonderful week! Good luck in your major gig.

    Reply
    • Susanne
      28th May 2022 at 9:24 pm

      Thanks, Trent. Yes, it’s wonderful being back to playing music with other people and being out and about. The lawn is going at least ok but so much work! I’m looking forward to the gig now, very curious how we’ll handle it!

      Reply
  • Rosemary Carlson
    28th May 2022 at 2:36 pm

    Love your beautiful pictures. CALM is good. I’m going to follow your example!

    Reply
    • Susanne
      28th May 2022 at 9:24 pm

      Thank you, and I hope you achieve some calm too!

      Reply
  • Gary A Wilson
    28th May 2022 at 3:54 pm

    Hi Susanne,
    In my opinion – you are spot-on correct in how you’re dealing with our media today. My wife and I have all-but abandoned traditional news as being crazy-agitating, manipulative, polarizing, biased, and hell-bent on destroying our society for some reason. They out-right lie about some things and have been caught making things up to support some of their agenda items. And, yes, I think they have some how found ways to make money on this chaos.
    I can’t fix any of this – but I don’t have to jump into the pool with them and be part of the group-think meat grinder they’ve constructed.
    I don’t do WOTD, M or Ys, but since our last major election (where the US media fully jumped into a giant virtual overflowing toilet, we’ve backed away to a place of calm and doubt we’ll ever return to where we were – because that place no longer exists.
    You also called out many great things you’re doing and I celebrate those with you.
    You certify for me that there is still intelligent life out there.
    Blessings

    Reply
    • Susanne
      28th May 2022 at 9:44 pm

      There’s so much BS going on out there these days and you just have to ignore the noise and focus on what gives you quality of life. I can’t say anything about US politics (in most cases) but in many other contexts it’s simply… you can’t fix stupid so better just move on. Like you say, you don’t have to jump in the pool with them.

      Reply
  • Alex
    28th May 2022 at 7:50 pm

    That garden view is amazing and loving your pictures

    Reply
    • Susanne
      28th May 2022 at 9:44 pm

      Thanks Alex, I’m glad to hear that.

      Reply
  • Sue from Women Living Well After 50
    28th May 2022 at 11:51 pm

    Hi Susanne, lovely that you have linked up with us at #2022WOTYlinkparty. Your word ‘Calm’ is certainly having an impact on your and I think time in the garden would certainly bring feelings of calm and mindfulness. It is exciting that you are performing again and I would love to see you sing and play. I’m sure you will be wonderful. Enjoy June, stay calm and I look forward to you joining us next month. xx

    Reply
    • Susanne
      29th May 2022 at 8:52 am

      Thank you Sue, I think June will be a good month too, with some relax after our first gig (it does bring some pressure after all), and I’m going to Sweden and will see my family for the first time in 3 years.

      Reply
  • Tammy Breitweiser
    29th May 2022 at 6:16 pm

    Calm is such a great word to ruminate on! Thank you for this post!

    Reply
    • Susanne
      30th May 2022 at 8:35 am

      It certainly is! More calm creates more enjoyment and a better life.

      Reply
  • Rowena
    30th May 2022 at 12:44 pm

    Susanne, I loved reading your post and absorbed your photos. I research Irish-Australian history, but haven’t been able to get over to Ireland in person and resorted to doing little travels via Google Earth. I’ve been around Cork City. On another trip I went from Cloyne to Midleton https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2022/02/21/driving-from-cloyne-to-midleton-cork-ireland/. My 4 x Great Grandmother was an Irish Famine Orphan from Midleton. While I was in Midleton, I stumbled across a bookshop and went to their website and discovered Michael Harding. Have you heard of him? He’s so interesting.
    I’m rather intrigued about your music. What sort of style do you play? I’ve listened to a few Irish pub bands on Youtube and just the warmth and friendliness of the Irish pub scene was so alluring. I’ve since started going to a local venue here just North of Sydney on a Sunday afternoon. It’s not the same, but it’s on the way.
    Hope you have a good week.
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Reply
    • Susanne
      30th May 2022 at 12:58 pm

      Hi Rowena! The Irish pub culture is lovely. It’s so much more than drinking, at least (or especially, I don’t have so much experience from the bigger cities) in rural areas where the pub is more of a meeting place where you meet people and have good chats over a drink. Pubs can be important community meeting places to have events and similar. You might want to check out my post about O’Neill’s in Butlerstown (just look back in my archives, I only have 20 posts so far so it should be easy).

      Your research must be interesting. There’s a lot to learn about the Irish-Australian connection, much of it quite sad I can imagine. We often go to Midleton because the famous whiskey distillery (making Jameson, Redbreast and more) is there and they sell a single cask whiskey you can’t get anywhere else. Sadly I don’t read much these days, I simply don’t have the time, but I hope to do more reading in the future, particularly about Irish history.
      Our main music style that we’re best at, is bluegrass, but we’re both learning Irish music, my husband on fiddle and accordion, and I’m learning to play the concertina. We’re a bit behind because we both lost the inspiration for it when the pandemic hit, but now when we go to trad sessions again we’re getting back to it. For bluegrass I play the guitar and my husband plays the mandolin. If you visit my YouTube link at the bottom of this page, then go to “About” there is some info with a link to our band YouTube where we have a few recordings.

      Reply
  • Kirstin
    31st May 2022 at 3:33 pm

    That’s great that you’ve gotten out and played music…I honestly haven’t really watched the news in a few years…I’ll pick up things here and there but it’s just so negative and one sided that I avoid it. Your view is beautiful…love your raised bed area. I think a patio there will be amazing.

    Reply
    • Susanne
      1st June 2022 at 8:29 am

      Yes, there’s been a lot of music in pubs lately! We’re enjoying it 100% while we can. Who knows how long it will last. Avoiding the news is a good thing for your mental health! I want to be updated on certain things so I read RTÉ now and then but that’s it.

      Reply
  • Kadie
    9th June 2022 at 1:51 am

    I wish I could get into gardening but I just don’t know where to start. I can see the idea of gardening being calming but for some reason things that make other people calm I seem to overthink and end up more stressed. Your weather looks beautiful there. We had a wonderful May, on the warmer side and everything is so lush and green and colorful. So far June’s been lovely as well, even when raining, like today, it’s still pleasant. I’m excited about the Summer season, but not yet ready to let go of Spring. At least with everything opened up pretty much as normal, we will have a much different summer than the last two here. Whether that is good or not remains to be seen but we will see. I’m hoping to get outside to some concerts and events that haven’t been held in the last two years.

    Reply
    • Susanne
      9th June 2022 at 1:48 pm

      Well, gardening is not for everyone! You’ll find your own things that are calming for you. I hope you’ll get to do some nicethings this summer! We’ve been out and about since about April and a while I was certain we would get Covid but it never happened as far as we know. Now infections are rising slightly in Ireland so we’ll see… but for the moment I’m actually in Sweden!

      Reply
  • Anne
    12th June 2022 at 7:57 pm

    You know I love reading your updates, Susanne, hearing about your music, and seeing your beautiful pictures. (And also, apparently, commenting super-late… sigh… life has been a bit nutso again.) I love the garden plans and cannot wait to see how it all comes together. While trying to grow plants stresses me out (the fact that my indoor plants are *still alive* should tell you something…), I do love and appreciate the beauty of a garden, and the wild beauty of a landscape. You have both, and you are so lucky! I love how you can literally walk out your back door (well, it seems that way) and be ‘in nature’. I was thinking this morning – and last evening, actually – about how I can better connect with the natural world. As I think I’ve mentioned in my own posts, nature is not, um, at my doorstep. (That would be a busy street, and [siiggghhhh] a McDonald’s.) So I need to figure out where the close(r) natural settings are that I can access on a more regular basis. A summer project, perhaps…

    Anyway, here I am blathering on again. I completely hear you on the news. I am glad you are not living here – it’s just awful, to be honest. I have a habit tracker that I fill out every evening, to keep myself on track for healthy behaviors, and one is “doom scrolling vs. fun reading”, which refers to the (sad) fact that I default to the Washington Post app when I pick up my phone during the day. I want to shift that to reading a book through the app for that – figuring, I pick up the phone, but why should I bury myself in the news all day long? I can check in morning and evening and be done with it. I am not doing too well with that habit and need to re-commit to it….

    SORRY for the LONG comment. I guess I missed your posts and had a lot to say!

    Reply
    • Susanne
      13th June 2022 at 8:38 am

      Stop the doom-scrolling. You don’t need it and it doesn’t make you any happier. Have a nice coffee and read a book.. you can do that on your phone if that’s more convenient.. or something. I read very little news, I focus on what and how I can improve my own life and enjoy it more. I hope I can keep this up when winter comes again. But at least I’ll have music for distraction otherwise.
      I hope you can find ways to get out and enjoy nature somewhere… it is very soothing and good for the soul. Even visiting a botanical garden of sorts could be good enough.

      Reply

Leave a comment