Monday, January 31, 2011

Today I am thankful - water, tomatoes and shops

- for my first water aerobics class of the year, at Kings. My other classes at Jubilee begin this Friday but I have to be in the city so won't go until the following week. It always feels like such an effort to go, but it isn't, and it feels good and I enjoy it!

- for the tomatoes I bought at Tullys, which smell like tomatoes! The supply that came with our fruit and veg box on Friday barely made it through the weekend and I had intended stocking up at the farmers market, but Tullys is always a good option!

- for a pleasant wander through the Mornington shops after aerobics, including a soy chai latte at page 8 - mostly window shopping, all I bought were some incense cones at Himalayan Journey.

Self-portrait Sundays - January 30

I delayed taking this photo because it was just too hot yesterday!

Here I am in my beautiful but unkempt front garden.
It is mostly Australian natives and they tend to look messy and
don't have the same aesthetics as plants from other countries.
Yet visitors to our country see them as exotic and unusual.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Today I am thankful - cooler, web and ebook

- for the air cooler in my bedroom - it is just one of those cheap ones you fill with water but it has kept me cool on this 40 degree Celcius day! I haven't moved far from it or my bed all day!

- for my online world - blog-hopping, Facebook updates and more have entertained me as I wait-out the heat. Keeps my brain active while my body moves as little as possible!

- for my first e-book download from Kobo books - all set for the new Kobo reader I have finally ordered! I now have "The Fry Chronicles" by Stephen Fry and can read it on the laptop and Blackberry as well as the Kobo when it is delivered - and apparently it will keep track of where I am up to on all three! As it is a fairly heavy real book, I will enjoy being able to take it wherever I go without it cluttering my handbag and making my chiropractor AND mytotherapist cluck with disapproval at the weight of it all!

52 Weeks of decluttering - week four, part two!

Just a quick note to share my attempt to resolve the towel confusion situation.

If this doesn't help, I will just throw all the towels away and buy white for everyone!
Towel Storage for Dummies!
BTW, I have the same system for towels as bed linen - two sets, one on, one off. I trained my family to rehang their towels years ago by fining them 50 cents for every towel found lurking in bedrooms or on the bathroom floor. It is now a family joke, but it used to reap a fortune for our Kris Kringle jar!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Today I am thankful - sunshine, volunteers and a free day!

- for the beautiful sunny day, without the extreme heat we have been told to expect in the next couple of days. This is my idea of perfect summer weather :)

- for the wonderful volunteers who run ABA BECs (Breastfeeding Education Classes) - it is always amazing to watch the sharing of wisdom. People ask why we don't run more classes, not realising these women give of their family time on the weekend to spend 3 hours or more with them.

- for a day unplanned tomorrow! A Sunday with no commitments, hopefully not too hot! It's a 5th weekend in the month, so not a lot of Farmer's Markets available, so might venture to one further afield, seeing I have the luxury of time.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Today I am thankful - walking, text and crayons

- for a lovely beach walk with Molly and Kaitlyn last night. The weather was perfect and we had a lovely chat while we walked. It is nice to spend time alone with Kaitlyn, especially now she is married.

- for the SMS from the pharmacy reminding me I had filled my last script and I needed to see the doctor for another. Wish I could set something up  with the dog when I run out of dog food - "Dear Mum - buy food!"

- for the gorgeous colours of the water-colour crayons at the art shop, where I spent a blissful few minutes working out which to add to my collection - and referring to my trusty little red moleskin notebook, where I had listed them all with a sample scribble, so I don't double up ;)

52 Weeks o f decluttering - week four

Patting myself on the back this week, as I got some serious decluttering and organising happening!

My target was our hall cupboards and linen cupboard. In the original design circa 1970s, the cupboard was a double hanging area, one assumes for coats. Probably really useful in a climate that includes ice and snow in winter, but slightly overkill in our temperate zone! So after we moved in, I added storage shelves. The linen cupboard alongside lost its floor storage to the ducted heating vent when we installed that.

Over the years the space has severed in a variety of ways. Now it is back to just being a general household storage zone. A good attempt was made by Melissa to stretch the space allocated to her sewing supplies, however I also had that in my sights this week!

I use the top shelf to store bed linen, which is separated into individual sets. I like the system of storing each set in a pillowcase, but my cleaner doesn't, so she just stacks! However, I was all getting a bit out-of-control so needed revisiting! Our collection of white bed linen had accumulated far too many pillowcases: each time I replace a worn out sheet or quilt cover, I end up with non-optional pillow cases!!! So I went through and selected my preferred ones (with the highest thread count) then moved the overflow to the "Spare/Guest" section. I plan to dye them in various colours to match with the kids sets . So now our stack is back to basics: I only have two full sets of linen for our bed, one on/one off. My cleaner changes and launders them once a week and cycles them through on the one day, so no need to have extras causing clutter. I also have this system for my son and did have for my daughter until she began buying her own: she now has four sets and not enough shelf room! mmm ... she plans leaving home soon, so I will be patient!

The next shelf down holds our small collection of place mats and tablecloths, whittled down over the years because we don't actually use them regularly, so they were just clutter. We also keep beach towels here.

The original third shelf had been removed without trace at some point (I have no memory why!) and that really affected the efficiency of the space, so we replaced that. the idea of this storage area (which is "high rent" storage real estate) is that it is for items that are used occasionally but regularly. What had started to happen (again) was it turned into a dumping ground for "I don't know where it goes" stuff! My intention is that everything has a home, but there are four of us living here!

I spent much of Monday afternoon sorting through all the STUFF and making good use of my sorting baskets - Throw Away, Give Away and Put Away. I good load wen off to Savers and a satisfactory lot went into the bin/recycling. I also separated out stuff that doesn't rate the real estate and shipped that to the storage unit (why were decades of xrays and scans in there, when the only time they are ever needed is when I see my neurologist once in two years?)

I had been accumulating used gift bags for reuse, but they had been joined by branded store bags, so those all went to recycling and I moved the gift bags into a flat plastic crate. And as I never, ever use gift wrap and certainly wasn't going to use the cheap rolls bought years ago, I shipped them off to Savers.

Electric extension leads etc were wrangled into a labelled box (again!) and assorted camera gear has a box of its own. Melissa is allowed a couple of her plastic sewing storage boxes, but the rest are in HER storage unit (did I mention she plans to move out??)

The purple crates hold my resting craft tools/supplies - like my pottery tools etc. Stuff i wouldn't want to replace but aren't in use for now.

Floor space is left clear for the portable air conditioner to sit - it is currently out being used.

Next cupboard over is the linen cupboard.

This space gives me more angst than it should! You will see the shelves are labelled - we had a cleaner a couple of years ago who was HOPELESS at putting anything away, so there are labels all over the kitchen and cupboards (still didn't help her!) and we just left them for future. But this is how it looked when I opened the door - the empty space is marked "bathroom" Those purple towels are in the space marked "ensuite"and those green towels should be in it! The purple ones should be in the space marked "bathroom". Now, that sounds uber-OCD, but it fascinates me! And then when I came home yesterday, she had moved them BACK after I moved them on Wednesday! Am thinking she is confused by the "Bathroom/ensuite" termonology, so considering changing to colour labels!

That top shelf was cluttered by Kaitlyn's "memory box" so she came and collected it yesterday! ( I think that was the last of her stuff!!)

Now there is room for the pet blankets, next t the blankets and throw rungs (the blankets are missing, being washed!)

(The towels look a little sad because there was a load on the line!)

The baskets hold face washers and wheat bags.

So now I just need to train the cleaner and I should be able to return to "set and forget" mode with this one!

I also cleared out the big bottom drawer in the big dresser in the bedroom, which stored memorabilia which was already decluttered - I moved those into a plastic storage box and used the drawer to hold cushions. A smaller drawer also got a big declutter - the big achievement there was I could finally reunite all 7 cassette tapes of the Chronicles of Narnia, which got split years ago! Not that we use cassette tapes anymore, but I kept them on principle!

Next target - kitchen cupboards, especially the out of reach ones and their secrets!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Today I am thankful - Simon & Garfunkel, tidy toys and a clean house

- for Simon & Garfunkel! Yes, really :) I picked up their "Best Of" CD at the library the other day and played it  during my travel time today. It made me realise just how much their music was a part of my childhood - either background music on the radio or lyrics to learn for school singing lessons!

- for a fairly quiet day at work, which allowed me to do a little housekeeping - the phone still rang endlessly with BEC bookings, but only a couple of people popped in to the Centre. There is such satisfaction in getting all the toys back into their "proper" toy boxes!

- for coming home after the cleaner has been here and the house is in order, with light and air streaming through the open doors and windows and all I "have" to do is make a cuppa!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Today I am thankful - white linen, family and abundance!

- for my lovely, white bed linen! This week I have sorted out the linen cupboard and have an over-abundance of white pillow cases! Every time I replace a sheet or quilt cover, it comes with more pillow cases! I don't think they ever wear out. So have set aside the excess and am going to add a couple to each dye load I do through the year, which will give me coloured pillow cases for the rest of the household! (I did suggest, with my arms FULL of white linen, that I should throw it all in the machine with a sachet of purple dye I have on hand - Melissa thought this a great idea, so I had to explain my bed is the white space in life that allows colour everywhere else!)

- for Australia day, when I personally celebrate the safe arrival of several ancestors to this country since 1816. From convicts to pioneers, to those seeking a new life, generations of my family have led to me being here with a wonderful lifestyle. I am sorry that our indigenous people were so badly affected along the journey that led to today, but wish we could all begin to look forward together, rather than look back separately.

- for the knowledge that my daughter Melissa should never go dirty, dry or unscented - today I attempted to declutter the bathroom and have never seen so many bath products and skin lotions!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Today I am thankful - breastfeeding, salad and day off!

- for being able to reassure the mother of a nine month old that she was doing great with breastfeeding and they could go on for as long as they wish! She kept saying she wished she had joined ABA earlier, because her family, mothers group and others around her weren't supportive of her breastfeeding. She is now hooked up with her local ABA group :)

- for the pleasure of eating a salad for lunch, because I made the effort to prepare it last night. Just assembled it at work :) Doing pretty well sticking to my goal of lunch being important enough to plan for.

- for the bonus of a free day tomorrow, Australia Day, even though I wish it didn't mean missing a drop-in day at the Breastfeeding Centre: saw a few visitors today and more coming Thursday, just hoping not to many walk-ins turn up.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Today I am thankful - decluttering, chiropractor and sunshine!

- for finally finding some decluttering mojo and tackling the hall cupboard! There will be details in my weekly decluttering challenge update :)

- for getting back to my chiropractor, my regular routine of visits got interrupted after the wedding and then the holidays and now I am back on track.

- for the beautiful sunny day we ended up with, after rain overnight, with a cool breeze - just perfect for open doors and windows and re-drying the washing on the line :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

52 Weeks o f decluttering - week three

My main achievement this week has been more on the organising side and less decluttering - as the year starts to get busy again, I have spent some time organising my car. Even though I no longer spend the time I once did managing "mum's taxi", my own commitments see me on the road most days: three days commuting to work and two weekdays and the weekend balancing home, health and community responsibilities.

Back in the days when I worked five days a week and spent an hour travelling each way, I learned that it pays to keep stuff on hand that you might just need. Here are some the essentials I keep on board:

  • Enviro shopping bags: I now have a system where all my ecosilk and fregie sack bags are corralled into one tote bag, which I grab and take with me on any shopping trip, large or small. Also keep a refillable water bottle and a keep cup in there, to prevent the "I forgot" scenario!
  • Weather kit: I have been caught too many times with our variable and unreliable climate, so now I am ready for just about everything nature can throw at me! As well as umbrellas, I have some of those throwaway ponchos an my gum boots (wellies, rain boots!); I also keep a long sleeved sweatshirt for when it is colder than predicted and for our summer, there is a hat, parasol, sunscreen, insect repellent and water bottles!
  • Overnight bag: this is a new addition, which I have been meaning to do for ages. A small duffle bag holds nightwear, toiletries and a change of clothes (including shoes), plus medications for three days. The recent floods motivated me to get this sorted!
  • Just in case: as well as a first aid kit, there is a bag of dog bits and pieces; personal care stuff; reading material; a rug and cushion; spare bathers and towel; pen and notebook and other odds and ends - If I get stuck somewhere I am ready for just about everything!
My work organising this week consisted of relocating all those archive files to my storage unit , making use of the space freed up by our working bee and getting them out from under my feet at the office. I might even be able to claim some of the rental on my tax!

So not a lot of use of my three sorting baskets this week, but clearing the decks for future progress!
I bought a set of these last year - best organising purchase ever!
From Flylady, of course!

Self-portrait Sundays - January 23

Here I am in my scrapbooking room - although I haven't actually scrap-booked for a while. There is no reason, other than motivation. I have my supplies, piles of photos patiently waiting and 40-odd albums already finished. Perhaps it is the distraction of other things (I am thing a word that starts with face and ends with book!) or just I am out of the habit and need to just do it!

Until then, I can sit in my rainbow room, surrounded by things I love and wait ...

Today I am thankful - friendship, abundance and birthday

 - to have known this wonderful woman, who I heard today has passed away. Sam Cassar was such a special person, one of the people I met through ABA who was a keeper, who crossed over the friendship line and will stay in my heart forever. I don't know any details yet, having only heard via posts on her Facebook Wall. This photo, taken at the Pregnancy Babies and Children's Expo in 2009, shows just how much fun Sam was. We will miss her terribly.
Hard to keep dry eyes today
- for a wonderful morning at the Mt Eliza farmers market, where I bought luscious apricots and strawberries in abundance, plus spinach and rainbow chard  for my green smoothies, marinated goat's fetta and big bunches of basil. Its hard not to eat well with so much fresh goodness.

- for my husband turning 47 today, once again restoring us to being the same age - I spend six months each year which a higher age! but today especially thankful to have life.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Today I am thankful - twins, AV and wisdom

- for the joy of expectant parents who are having twins, because the excitement is catching! I especially love my Twins and More BECs (Breastfeeding Education Classes).

- for trouble-free audio-visual, because videos which hang up, CDs which won't play or data projectors having hissy fits really cramps my style!

- for expectant grandmothers who listen and watch, then share how valuable the information would have been when they were struggling to breastfeed and how they wish they had listened more to their babies and less to the experts!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Today I am thankful - muscles, horse and lunch

- for a fruitless trip to Dandenong post office* with my son to get a Tax File Number (system was down) that wasn't wasted - we stopped by the office and he transferred boxes of archives to the car for me and then unloaded at the storage unit on the way home! (He needs to go to Dandenong to try again tomorrow, but I can't see him wanting to do the trip with me and spend four hours helping run a breastfeeding class for expectant twin parents! Might be his father's turn)

- for the amusement of watching a horse enjoying the breeze as they cruised along the freeway in a horse float : nose and tongue poked out through a small window, just like a dog!

- for stopping at the coffee shop where my daughter works for lunch and randomly timing it as she also ordered her lunch! Lovely to lunch with two of my children.

* For some bizarre reason, only a handful of post offices can process these and none of our local ones are on the list! So all the uni/TAFE students like my son are madly tearing their hair out trying to organise it for their enrollments.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Today I am thankful - numbers, lunch and breastfeeding

- for the realisation that our Branch increased Breastfeeding Education Class attendance from 270 couples in 2009 to 575 in 2010!!!! I let out a squeal when I worked that out!

- for making the effort to go buy ingredients for my healthy lunch, instead of just going to Subway.

- for the media attention this stunning photo of Miranda Kerr breastfeeding her new baby is getting: so wonderful to see a real breastfeeding image portrayed, rather than one discreetly set up by a photographer!

Miranda Kerr and her baby boy Flynn.
Taken by our favourite Elf, Orlando Bloom

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Today I am thankful - simple, silence and paperless journey

- for the look of wonder that appears on a mother's face after I explain how her body and that of her baby work together to establish and maintain breastfeeding: she asks why nobody has explained it that simply?

- for silence when I get home, shattered only by the excited dog: sometimes the antidote to a busy day is a buffer time before domestic noise takes over.

- for a productive day in the office, which allowed some time for decluttering of paper files - including adding more hanging files to the "redundant" pile!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Today I am thankful - internet, salad and free labour!

- for finally getting online four hours after I got home! had to wait for tech support to get home and sort out the lack of wireless.

- for the great salad I had for lunch: Spinach, Orange and Avocado! From the Radiant Goddess menu plan.

- for online grocery shopping, a month's worth of groceries and a willing son happy to put it all away!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Today I am thankful - errands, fresh produce and getting organised

- for achievement: I had an errand running afternoon and got through everything on my list - including finally remembering to drop off a year's worth of old ink cartridges for recycling at Officeworks! Extremely well-traveled, those cartridges, residing in my car for longer than they should!

- fresh fruit and vegetables: like a calm before the storm, the market was full of lovely goodness, some of which will be the last for a while, as supplies have been washed from the ground in so many parts of the eastern states.

- getting organised: as I finally get some energy back after my stalled start to the new year, it is good to get some stuff ticked off my list of targets!

Self-portrait Sundays - January 16

Thankful over the weekend - community, environment and my parasol

I spent the whole weekend at my local beach running a parent's retreat/baby care tent at our local Waterfront Festival. This is one of my favourite events for the year, so lots of reasons to be thankful, but here are three:

- for community. I love this wonderful opportunity to catch up with people as they pass by my tent. Old friends, family members, people who have have known through ABA in the past ... it is just such a wonderful show of community. It is a time when our large city goes back to its roots as a small fishing village where everyone knew everyone. It is also fun to promenade with my daughter Melissa and be introduced to all the people SHE knows, as the next generation that has grown up in the area!

- for our wonderful environment. This beach is my happy place, where I go to walk, to meditate and to enjoy nature. I am proud to share it with so many visitors, many who have come quite some distance to take part. The weather was perfect (after so much rain) and the beach was at its shining best. I got to also enjoy it early, before the crowds arrived, when it was calm and peaceful.

- for my beautiful parasol! Melissa and I bought these last year at the St Kilda festival and as well as giving fabulous sun protection, they bring so much joy to people around us. Oh, for a car boot full of them to have sold - everyone asked where they could get one too! Colour is catchy!

Friday, January 14, 2011

52 Weeks o f decluttering - week two

Part of me feels like I didn't achieve much this week but then I remind myself it was my first week back to work and I am decluttering there as well, so I have two lives to report on!

This image from the Organzing Junkie blog
sums ups my week nicely!
At home, my main Ta Da is finally shredding all my unnecessary paper from 2010, which had exploded out of my household journal and was creating stress. Of course, once I started the shredding process it all cleared away quickly and order restored once more. I am also pleased to remove a couple more plastic pockets from my folder, as more services get converted to paperless billing.

At work I have been pottering around dealing with displaced objects after I rearranged in the last week or two before the holiday break. More shredding :) and condensing of files to move off-site for archiving. As part of the team working on the ABA 50th anniversary history project I am having to actually go through all that stuff kept for just such a need and getting it organised so our researchers can use it for the publication they are compiling is a priority, without getting side-tracked by reading it all as I go!

So this week has largely been about PAPER and I am motivated to move on to our own four drawer filing cabinet and cull as much as I can. With the floods this week in our country, I have realised that the 80/20 rule would apply to most of our belongings, so am trying to work out the 20% that would be a problem if lost to fire/flood, so I can digitise or otherwise protect it.

To see what other organizing junkies have done this week and to download a free printable bookmark, visit:

Today I am thankful -sun, hair and anticipation

- for blue sky and sunshine, because they mean the rain has stopped. As Victoria took her share of the insane weather, we are well and truly hydrated and parts of our State are now dealing with floods of their own, as are parts of Tasmania. I don't ever recall a rain band causing such havoc across the entire eastern side of Australia and the news of several dry days ahead is a relief to us all.

- for getting the chance to get my hair cut and "coloured" today, as it has been much too long! My regular hairdresser is busy nurturing a new baby, so it was back to my previous hairdresser/friend and my fringe is purple once more!

- for the upcoming weekend of fun, food and entertainment at the Waterfront Festival! Each year there is some new delight which enters my life at this event - I wonder what it will be this year? (I probably won't get to do my daily update on Saturday, as it is late by the time I get home, so if I don't I will do a bumper one on Sunday!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Today I am thankful - eavesdropping, nice words and fair weather

- for my daily eavesdropping on my 19 (almost 20) year old son Kieran's end of the conversations as he plays World Of Warcraft online with his friends. It is a window into their lives - without them having computers all over the house and eating all the food! (We are lucky he happily uses the main desktop computer in the family room, otherwise we would never see him!) It is, however, less interesting at 2am!

- for the lovely words about me posted by Tangerine Meg on her blog today, in response to the Versatile Blogger award I passed onto her a few weeks ago. I love her marvelous artwork and she inspires me to delve into my own.

- for the fact that the constant rain we are experiencing is expected to ease in time for this weekend's Waterfront Festival in Frankston, because I am heartily sick of this and my other favourite local event, the Festival of Lights, being wrecked by the elements. Just once, it would be nice to have a dry, calm, not-too-hot two-day festival, where I spend the days manning a feed and change tent for parents and babies!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Today I am thankful - community, fundraising and drop-back-in

- for the wonderful community that is pulling together in Queensland, Brisbane in particular as they wait for the flood to peak. From the Prime Minister and Premier down through local government, services and members of the public, the message coming through via the media is one of a united community pulling together and supporting each other. As the waters move down into NSW, that community will also need to come together.

- for the marvelous fundraising efforts coming through my Facebook and inbox - it seems everyone is doing something. We as a country learned so much from the experience of Black Saturday and it is heartening that something positive came from that horror.

- for reopening our drop-in day at the Breastfeeding Centre today, because three mums of brand new babies plus three with older babies needed our support and it is so good to be back on deck providing it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Today I am thankful - safe, informed and high

- for my family being close by, safe and (relatively) dry. Our hearts go out to our friends in Queensland and northern NSW, as the floods just get more and more severe. Like the Black Saturday bush fires, I am thankful to not only have my family, friends and animals safe, but also my photos and other treasures.

- for social media - Twitter and Facebook - and online 24 hours news service for keeping us up to date with how everyone is faring: status updates saying all are high and dry, or safely evacuated or even just inconvenienced are very reassuring.

- for our own home's location up a hill and nowhere near running water, because we are now expecting high rainfall over the next few days, which will be bad, but nothing like what they are dealing with up north.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Today I am thankful -

- for the first Dandenong ABA meeting this morning, a topic about Your Toddler and the New Baby which evolved into a fascinating discussion about child spacing, birth order and more, because only Emma and I had more than one child and the other three mums were thinking about when they would have a second baby.

- for my last day before back to work tomorrow, because honestly, this holiday and resting stuff has me exhausted and I need to get back to normal! Doing too much is easier on my body than doing too little, I think!

- for my Gorgeous Goddesses: they know who they are and why I am thankful for them being in my life.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Self-portrait Sundays

You might have guessed by now that I find challenges to make my humble life more interesting.

Sometimes, I also ask myself why!

Anyway, this year I seem to be participating in a "Self-portrait Sunday" challenge in a forum in the Goddess Circle. Each week, we will take a photo of ourselves and reply to a journaling prompt.

I have decided not to post the prompts or my responses here, as I want to journal them elsewhere and suspect my answers won't always be something I wish to share so publicly! But I will share the photos here and on Facebook :)

Week One

Week Two

You will see that this week I am in desperate need for a haircut and that the purple streaks have all but vanished from my hair. This week also saw my hairdresser give birth to her first baby, a boy, so I will need to make other arrangements in the short term!

Today I am thankful - memories, diversion and recycling

- for childhood memories. Today we had a family working bee to sort and declutter our storage unit. This included our newly-married daughter retrieving her boxes of old toys, school books etc after several years being hurriedly packed away for a bedroom redecorating. While she sat and sorted, choosing what to keep and what to let go, we all got to remember the years gone by. We also used the opportunity to go through old children's books, which resisting culling by invoking memories of endless stories on our knees.

- for technology, which allowed me to divert my home phone to the mobile and let me do my Breastfeeding Helpline shift while we de-cluttered. I was able to help a mother discuss ways to return her baby to the breast while putting everything back.

- for the two car-loads of stuff Melissa took down to her workplace: she works at Savers, a recycled store! Of course, she probably brings the same amount home each month, but at least it is different stuff!!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Today I am thankful - Aunty email, new baby and TBT

Today I am thankful - for an email from my Aunty Becky in my inbox this morning, because I haven't heard from her for a while. We share an interest in our family history and I love how she weaves bits and pieces into her messages. (I know she is reading, so waving in reply!)

Today I am thankful - another baby has made it safely into this world! A son to my lovely hairdresser, Aliza. Looking forward to lots of cuddles with that one, as I visit her home to get my hair cut!

Today I am thankful - for the inspiration of this gratitude project I have undertaken for 2011: last year I stumbled across a blog called Three Beautiful Things, where the writer posts just that, every day. I enjoyed sharing my daily life through pictures last year (365 Project) and hope to achieve the same through words this year.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Tis the season to declutter ...

January. New year, new beginning - and for many people, new self-promises that include words like "organised", "declutter" and "sort"!

I have traditionally become motivated in this way around January 6th, which is when we take down our Christmas decorations and remove our tree from the house. This day is usually preceded by increasing "twitchiness" to get started on that, which I distract by making a start in other parts of the house.

This year, I have been thwarted a little by a flare-up of fibromyalgia, leaving me fatigued and having to manage over-all joint pain - not generally ideal conditions for decluttering! However, I have made use of the short bursts I get each day and have made progress in the scrapbooking room and our bedroom, plus the lounge room - which all sounds quite grand,, except I only did these rooms in the last few months of 2010, so I have really just been Equalising them!

My real targets are the annual "turn out" of the hall cupboard and linen cupboard, the kitchen cupboards and the shelves in our family room. (These shelves used to be my ABA hub when I was tethered by a desktop computer and folders of paper files - these days they have been quietly taken over as a sort of gaming/video hub for my 19yo son, so I may as well remove the last of my stuff and admit defeat!)

But the biggest target of all will be this Sunday, when the family have been ORDERED to turn up for a working bee at our storage unit! The newly-wed daughter has a three-bedroom house, a garage AND a shed, so the time has come for her boxed childhood to leave home! That will free up space for the stuff we do need to store off-site: our home has no garage, three occupied bedrooms and a well-filled scrapbooking room, no roof space or usable under-house storage and two sheds filled with tools and bike stuff belonging to my husband. So, seasonal stuff like the Christmas decorations as well as other items go to the storage unit. Unfortunately, it is also a bit of a half-way house for stuff that we might be ready to let go, odds and ends from my workplace that need storage and a heap of other stuff including my late fathers electronic organ, which my eldest daughter will take when she finally moves out!

So, come Sunday, I expect them all to rock up ready to get dusty and dirty! There will be rubbish, recycling and rehousing until I can sweep the floor clean and only put back "that which I love or need." (from the book The Accidental Organiser, borrowed from the library this week)

Which should be a good beginning to my various organising challenges for the year!

 The Organised Housewife

Today I am thankful - myotherapy, comedy and basil

Today I am thankful - for my wonderful myotherapist, Laurence, who told me she knew I was having a fibromyalgia flare-up, because she could feel the tissue beneath my skin was inflamed. When you have invisible illnesses, sometimes it's nice when they show themselves to your health team.

Today I am thankful - for the hilarious comedian Denise Scott, whose book "All That Happened at Number 26" is keeping me laughing on a hot and sore day. Her stories are just as funny in print as when she tells them.

Today I am thankful - for the - not one, as promised, but - TWO bunches of Basil in the fruit and veg box! Sigh, it really is summer when you have an abundance of Basil!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Today I am thankful - beach, library and no school!

Today I am thankful - for living so close to a beautiful beach, because an ordinary day of library and shops can include a walk on the sand and a sit in the sun.

Today I am thankful - for the fabulous local library, where it is easy to while away an hour or two browsing, reading magazines and choosing music to bring home.

Today I am thankful - for no longer seeing "school book lists" on my to do list, especially after a quick trip to Officeworks to pick up the calendar for the fridge!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Today I am thankful -

Today I am thankful - for volunteers who give up family holiday time to hire breast pumps to mothers in need, because a crisis couldn't care less what time of year it is.

Today I am thankful - for online photo processing services, because I can make all my selections in my jammies and just wait for the postman or go pick them up when I go to the shops.

Today I am thankful - for our wonderful home delivery of bread and milk this morning, because having everyone home so much means a lot of extra toast round here!

Annual Diary Envy

Tis the season when gorgeous new diaries, calendars and daily planners are cracked open for the first time after being selected from the array of choices on offer. This used to be a favourite time of year for me - til I went digital!

Don't get me wrong - I am still 100% committed to going paperless and the system I have with Outlook on my computer synced with my Blackberry works perfectly. I can't even remember the last time I bought and used a paper diary and I only have calendars as wall art (I obviously have to buy the Australian Breastfeeding Association calendar every year!)

But how I miss the joy of putting pen to paper for the very first time! I don't even have a paper address book and although I have good intentions of paper journaling, if I ever do really make a habit of it, my stash of notebooks would serve me well for years  to come.

So I sob inwardly as I look away from enticing displays and begin to twitch by the time they are all 50% off in the post Christmas sales. I gaze wistfully at the Filofax inserts (I still have her, tucked away, page-less and purposeless after her hard work in the 90s) and I lust after the family organiser calendars that would have been so wonderful in the olden days of kids at school (these days, we buy a $4.95 desk calendar from Officeworks and bung it on the side of the fridge, where the kids list work shifts, LAN parties and cos-play events.

Sigh - might just change the colour of my Outlook background ...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Today I am thankful ... no commitments, summer fruit and sunshine

Today I am thankful - that this bout of fatigue/fog/downtime is at least well-timed for my second week of holidays, despite not being quite what I had in mind.

Today I am thankful - that it is summer and the fruit bowl  is full of stone fruits, the fridge is full of berries and bananas are so abundant right now.

Today I am thankful - that the sun is shining, whether I am enjoying it through the window from my bed or warming my aching joints sitting in it on the deck.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Today I am thankful - warm socks, luscious berries and cosy bed

Today I am thankful for - warm, woolly socks. Despite the sunshine that finally peeped through the clouds after lunch, there is a chill in the air. Summer isn't here today.

Today I am thankful for - a stash of berries left in the fridge which disappeared into a lunchtime smoothie, along with some raw cocoa, green tea, yogurt, banana and spinach. Perfect to sip while surfing the web.

Today I am thankful for - my cosy bed. I had a long lie-in this morning, my body seemed to need it. There was nothing else I needed to be doing, so I gave in and snuggled.

In 2011, I hope to blog regularly about things for which I am thankful.

Scrapbookers - imagine the worst

Two things haunt the nightmares of those who scrapbook - fire and flood.

In 2009, many Australian families lost everything to bush fires.

Emerald, Queensland - where my friend and her daughter live
Right now, large parts of Australia are under water from massive flooding. I have friends living in these areas and was saddened to read this email from one:

"Today has been a funny sort of day. With the water up still no cleaning up can be done but we were a bit cut off from things as intersections around us are blocked with water. We tried to get to R's to see how it fared but couldn't get there on the bike but someone gave us a lift over the worst intersection and we got to the top of her street. The water was very deep - waist high perhaps - at the entry to her street and two low set houses inundated. Couldn't really see her place and couldn't get into her street.

What a scrapbooker's stash
can look like after a flood - source 
We walked back up this afternoon and managed to get to her house. She has about 7 inches of water through the downstairs (which is garage). Wheelie bins knocked over. We had moved her car around to our place, had picked up her dryer and cardboard box with her grandmothers wedding china in it, mower and thought everything else would be okay. Well.... I hadn't seen her box of scrap booking stuff on the ground or her little wheelie bag. The bag will dry out but all her scrap book paper is wet. We spread it out all through her house upstairs and hope that it will dry out okay... or at least that some of it will be usable. I feel so awful that I missed it. Really feel like I let her down.

Buddies I wonder if I could ask for your help here. Her birthday is in early February. I wondered if my dear buddies would make me feel better about letting her down by sending R some scrap booking stuff. Just some paper... nothing huge. I know that many of you have expressed a feeling of helplessness being so far away to see what we are going through. We haven't really suffered at all... bit of inconvenience. But R has lost all her paper I I feel like it is my fault. She had a packet of velum and it is now all wrinkled up... interesting effect but not quite what it was supposed to look like.

If you want to do this for R then could you send it by the 6th February. Please wrap it up and send her a card with it (or a note) So that she knows that people all over Australia care about her and what has happened to her. If you want to send it to me here I will keep it all for her and give it to her .. or you can send it to her at  _. If you have your own stock of scrapbooking stuff then just send her a page or 2.

D went to a meeting today at the council chamber as the rep for the UCA. He is going to be involved in meetings from now on. We will probably help them open the Lifeline Shop tomorrow. We will go back to R's when the water goes down and clean it up and then will help where ever else help is needed..

Tonight we took up some glow sticks to the children who have been evacuated. They were showing a movie tonight at one of the evac centres - Toy Story 3. Then they will get the glow sticks. They were leftovers from the Carol's service in early Dec and our minister left them for us to give kids on Christmas Day but we only had a few so we took the left overs up. Hope the kids enjoy them"

Rockhampton - where other friends live
How awful for my friend. In the grand scheme of things, it is a trivial thing, nothing compared to what others have lost. Yet it is one thing I can do something about. I am sending a package of scrapbooking love to her daughter and asking my scrapper friends to do so if they can. I am hoping we get far more than R could ever use - enough to share with scrap bookers throughout the flooded regions.

If you would like to help, leave a comment and I will reply privately with the postal details.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Today I am thankful ... connection, lazy days and renewal

Today I am thankful for - online connections that allow us to reach out and help each other. As a breastfeeding counsellor, I use social networking sites more and more to connect with mums seeking support and information and it feels like a chain of women around our planet.

Today I am thankful for - cool breeze, warm sunshine and lazy days. Too many friends are battling floods, snow and extreme heat - it is nice having weather you don't have to think about.

Today I am thankful for - the energy of a new year to reset and renew. Reviewing goals, setting intentions and gaining inspiration from others doing the same.

In 2011, I hope to blog regularly about things for which I am thankful.

Reviewing my yearly goals 2011

This time last year, and the year before, I looked back at my goals for the year before and set my intentions for the year to come.

Time to take that journey again.

This is what I started out with twelve months ago:

Goal: Capture the memories (was become a better photographer)
Strategies 2010
- always have a camera with me (DSLR, compact point and shoot or Blackberry)
- commit to the Project 365 and take a photo every day of the year.
- commit to Project Life and create scrapbook of the 365 photos.
- continue to scrapbook my way through photo prints and maintain current albums
- journal more, blog more, remember more!

Goal: Be as healthy as I can (now incorporating Enjoy More Yoga)
Strategies 2010
- Enjoy regular yoga: twice weekly classes where practical
- Continue water aerobics at least once and preferably twice weekly
- Eat less, move more
- Eat fruit, drink water
- Walk instead of driving
- Regularly use Wii Fit to chart progress.
- Lose weight at a safe and steady pace
- Swim for pleasure and movement (review need for ongoing classes)

So, how did they hold up? Not too badly, as it happens!

Goal: Capture the memories

Well, I lugged cameras with me all over the place in 2010 - my DSLR mostly, but also upgraded to a smaller point and shoot to go in my handbag and had my BB when I really needed to travel light. And I took 365 days of photos and compiled my Project Life album.

I didn't scrapbook as much as I would have liked - although I did achieve the LOAD (LayOut A Day) challenge in February, not long after that, my scrapping mojo went walkabout. I limped through the year scrapbooking little but capturing plenty of photos and memories for when the mojo gets back. I did blog more and collected plenty of memorabilia, but didn't start journalling.

Goal: Be as healthy as I can
Not too bad - regularly got to yoga once a week and the barrier to doing so twice-weekly was more to do with time-tabling than motivation. I did move to taking a second water aerobics class in  third term and my only regret is that took so much time procrastinating to do. And I began using time pre-class to swim laps - baby-laps, but laps none the less! I quit lessons because they were making me feel bad about what I couldn't do, so instead I started to focus on what I could do! At the bigger pool, I have mainly done back stroke, but at the smaller pool have started doing "my" breaststroke and have actually made progress!

I turned a big corner eating-wise when I rediscovered raw/whole foods and mostly I do well with breakfast, not too bad with dinner and less successful with lunch (I don't always ensure I have healthy options with me at work or make time to eat on busy days.) I started juicing again and found new ways to get extra fruit into my diet - including my super smoothie breakfasts - which even include spinach! I didn't get very far with the Wii once the summer holidays ended and my weight has been up and down, despite best intentions leading up to the wedding! But I think I ended the year weighing less that I started - the only time I ever weigh myself is when the Wii makes me - I rely more on how my clothes fit!

So - back to the future!
I am happy with my two goals, with the addition of a third and the revision of some strategies:

Goal: Capture the memories 
Strategies 2011
- always have a camera with me (DSLR, compact point and shoot or Blackberry)
- continue to scrapbook my way through photo prints and maintain current albums
- journal OFTEN, blog DAILY, remember more!
- create more - experiment with art journalling.

Goal: Be as healthy as I can 
Strategies 2011
- Enjoy regular yoga: twice weekly classes
- Continue water aerobics twice weekly
- Eat less, move more
- Eat fruit, drink water
- Walk instead of driving
- Explore getting my bike back in order and ride for pleasure
- Lose weight at a safe and steady pace
- Swim for pleasure and movement 

Goal: Invent the rest of my life (countdown to lift-off 29/7/2013)
Strategies 2011
- Establish a regular saving practice
- Take stock of all possessions 
- Explore options for life after 50 
- Plan for independent living as my nest empties
- Work out what I want to do when I grow up!

You will see I have added a whole new perspective to my goal-setting - my word for the year is CHANGE and I am embracing all that it means now and in my future.  The concept of a Second Adulthood really appeals to me and I am heading directly to one!

Same time next year :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Reverb10 December 31 – Core Story

December 31 – Core Story
What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world? (Bonus: Consider your reflections from this month. Look through them to discover a thread you may not have noticed until today.)
(Author: Molly O’Neill)
Well, this prompt is best answered through my 365 Project - a photo a day in 2010.
I title my project Nothing out of the ordinary and that is the central story at the core of me. The everyday is extraordinary and I share it with the world quite happily - online, IRL - what you see is me. So I am going to throw this over to anybody reading this and ask YOU the question - what is the Core of Yvette?










My Word for 2011 is ... CHANGE

For the past few years, I have embraced the concept of One Word for the year. I am not sure where the idea began, but I learned of it through Ali Edwards.

In 2009, my Word was CREATE. in 2010, it was ENJOY.

This year, my One Word is CHANGE.

With one daughter married and living away from home, another ready to leave the nest and a son beginning what will hopefully be his final year of tertiary studies, my nest is emptying. Rather than a feeling of sadness, this brings the excitement of CHANGE.

In 2011, I will turn 48. In two years I will crack the half-century. My body has started the major CHANGE signalling the end of fertility and my future as a wise elder is visible down the path of life.

It is time to evaluate WHO I am and make plans for my Second Adulthood. "Later" is fast approaching and all those things put off until then need to be planned for. CHANGE can be positive, good and exciting.

Ironically, as I actioned the first of my plans on Friday (creating a new bank account online), my iTunes randomly shuffled and as I clicked the "create new account" button, Rod Stewart sang "It's not time to make a change, just relax, take it easy, you're still young, that's your fault - there's so much you have to know"! Thankfully, my love of Rod Stewart has never cast him in the role of guide or mentor, so I laughed and clicked the button anyway! As I heard on TV recently, Rod is to become a father again at 65, so I will take on board the line that came later - "Look at me, I am old but I'm happy!" (Unlike me, Rod has never-ending fertility and this could go on for years yet!)

This morning, the first of the year, has seen me make a start on one goal which will be actioned this year - my daughter's friends were discussing their tattoos and there are now plans to take me to their body artist soon to get the "ink" I have been promising myself since the year I turned 40! Now I just need to decide on a design and find the cash!

Today I am thankful ... weather, home safe and magpies

Today I am thankful to wake up during the night and pull the doona up over me. The massive heat yesterday (we reached 41 degrees Celcius, about 105 F!) came from nowhere and thankfully went away after a day. No doubt there will be more to come, but for now it is cool.

Today I am thankful to wake up to a house full of young people - my kids spend NYE here and some friends stayed over. They are all safe and sound, which is the best start to a new year any parent can wish for.

Today I am thankful for the young magpie enjoying a breakfast of leftover bakery items outside my bedroom window. He can't see the cat watching him intently through the thin curtain! This young bird is descended from the family whose babies we helped raise five years ago, they are content to forage around here and the adults never swoop us because we are family!

In 2011, I hope to blog regularly about things for which I am thankful.