Monday, February 28, 2011

Today I am thankful - mini-break, Dalek and Kobo (again)

- for a lovely, if brief, mini-break in Brisbane overnight. Really good night's sleep (exhaustion will do that!), breakfast watching the world go by and a 30 minute wander in the CBD and King Edward Park (across the road from my hotel). Then a shuttle bus out to the airport and home again, home again, jiggedy-jig.

Art In King Edward Park

My hotel reflected in the building across the road
while I waited for my shuttle!
- for the golden Dalek which has invaded Brisbane without them knowing!
Exterminate! Exterminate!
- for my Kobo e-reader, which worked wonderfully on my trip. I even finished my book on the way home on the shuttle, with less motion sickness than usual if I try to read on the road :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Today I am thankful - drivers, jammies and Rachel :)

- for a wonderful time this weekend in Brisbane with fabulous friends - special thanks to Madonna Thomas and Kerrilee Hall, who between them seemed to have driven me over every inch of Brisbane city on their quests to transport me to hotel, dinner and back! I think I am starting to remember some of these streets, LOL!

Kerrilee and I had a lovely dinner together :)
- for my wise decision to stay the extra night, rather than flying home late this afternoon and getting home about six hours later! Much nicer to be sitting here in my jammies.

- for Rachel Fuller - my most avid blog reader :) I love spending time with you and just wish you didn't live so bloody far away! I love that you love my blog and knowing you are reading along - mwah!

Today I am thankful - peers, food and 70s!

- for the chance to spend time with my peers - those who staff the ABA Branch Offices in other states. Sharing our systems and procedures is really great! Being with lots of online friends and colleagues is pretty good too - another Facebook meet-up!

- for the amazing food at this conference venue!

- for the wonderful outfits recreating the 70s at tonight's dinner and entertainment! It might have been the decade that fashion forgot but we didn't forget the fashion! Yes, photos will be coming to a Facebook near you. I won't be sharing pics of the movers and shakers moving and shaking though, because some readers may be traumatised and others may sue!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Breastfeeding: Together we do better

One of my favourite events each year is the ABA breastfeeding seminars for health professionals and those working with breastfeeding women in the community. Over the years I have been able to see and hear wonderful international speakers and the upcoming event next month is no exception.

The deadline for registrations is this week and you really don't want to miss out - and don't worry if you aren't in the capital cities or even in Australia, because the best bit is that the seminars are also available online! This means you can download and watch on your very own computer anywhere in the world AND you get speakers from both programs!

One speaker I am really looking forward to is Dr Alison Steube (USA) on Why does it hurt? An approach to breastfeeding-associated pain and Yes we can! Transitioning home for breastfeeding success, because my everyday work both at the Breastfeeding Centre and as a volunteer on the Breastfeeding Helpline can really be summed up with these two topics. 

Alison's post Is breastfeeding promotion bad for mothers? has me really looking forward to hearing her speak, as she focuses on better support from the community as being key to increasing breastfeeding success for individual mothers. 

Hurry and register now for Program 1 of the Australian Breastfeeding Association's Breastfeeding: Together we do better seminars. Program 1 is available in Hobart Saturday 5 March, Melbourne Monday 7 March, Canberra Tuesday 8 March and Brisbane Wednesday 9 March.

Registrations are closing very soon:

Hobart - Saturday 26 February
Melbourne - Monday 28 February
Canberra - Tuesday 1 March
Brisbane - Wednesday 2 March

Don't miss out on hearing fantastic international speakers including:

Prof Lesley Barclay (Australia) on
Professionalising breastfeeding; Introducing risk

Dr Alison Steube (USA) on
Why does it hurt? An approach to breastfeeding-associated pain; and
Yes we can! Transitioning home for breastfeeding success

David Clark (USA) on
Protecting Breastfeeding through implementation of the International Code: What’s law got to do with it?; and
Formula for disaster: attempts to undermine the Code in the Philippines

Dr Foteini Hassiotou (Australia)
The role of breastfeeding in preventing obesity. Breastmilk is both cellular and nutritional.

Click here for more information on the seminar

Click here to register now

Can't make it to the venue? Click here for information about our online seminar

Today I am thankful - Queensland, travel and anticipation!

 - for being in Queensland for the first time, ever! Now to see what all the fuss is about :) Loving the Queenslander houses already :)

- for trouble-free travel, door to door. Taxi to shuttle bus, shuttle to Melbourne airport, plane to Brisbane, lift from Kerrilee to conference venue - only took about eight hours (!) but I gained an hour because they don't do daylight savings up here.

- for anticipation of a weekend of hard work (cause its ABA) and being with friends (cause its ABA)!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Today (and yesterday!) I am thankful - peace, photos and blue!

- for the moment of utter peace as I stopped for a drink during yoga class and looked across the room at the view outside - the clear glass made it appear we were practicing outside.

- for the joy of reliving last November's wedding of Kaitlyn and Ashley, as I got to view the wonderful wedding photos taken by Rachel Richter! And uploading the slide show to my laptop, so it is going to Brisbane with me tomorrow! (As soon as we can share them online, I will! Be patient!)

- for the arrival today of my new Tupperware seals, so now the healthy foods in my cupboards have blue lids! (You can't get round ones anymore, so I will swap to ovals for those)

Tomorrow I head off to Brisbane for a conference and will return home Monday evening. Depending on how good my web access is, I will either post each day or catch up next week!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Today I am thankful - safety, tshirts and tie dye

- for the safety of my family and friends, as Mother Nature releases even more devastation - now with another earthquake in Christchurch, NZ. It is only a few years since my daughter called New Zealand her home for two years, back packing her way around the North and South Islands. She was only in Christchurch a few days but is stunned to see what has happened. It looks like the youth hostel she stayed in there has been flattened. Christchurch has hosted Bookcrossing conventions where online friends have gathered, so it all just seems too close to home.

- for the opportunity to share with you the art of a lovely Friend of mine, whose work inspires me and which I wear proudly on a tshirt which always brings kind words and happy faces:

The really good news is - you all have a chance to WIN one of Tangerine Meg's tshirts to brighten your own world! Quick - go to Tangerine Meg tshirt giveaway. And enjoy browsing all the designs and colours to choose which you would like to win :) (I chose the Hippy Heart in purple)

- for feeling quite relaxed on finding out today that there is a dress theme for the conference dinner I will attend this Saturday night in Brisbane (with no time at all to make or plan anything!) - Something 70s for our conference dinner. Tie dye is encouraged! No worries, will just hit the wardrobe then!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Today I am thankful - support, food and SARK!

- for the chance to talk to midwives at Dandenong Hospital about all the wonderful things that are happening with the Breastfeeding Centre. It's really great to have their support and enthusiasm there for us, they refer so many new mums to see us :)

- for a burst of energy to prepare lunch and snack supplies for my work week - gave the fridge a good clean-out, added some fresh supplies and cooked up some brown rice and quinoa.

- for the arrival of a new SARK book from Amazon - looking forward to experiencing it!

Today I am thankful - rest, Kobo and hopping

- for another rest day - take that, common cold!

- for my Kobo e-reader, much easier to hold in bed than a heavy book when my body is stressed.

- for blog hopping around the web finding new places to visit and things to see. Its like world travel - in bed!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

52 Weeks o f decluttering - week seven, part two

Having some down time today, trying to get on top of a cold. So I thought I would catch up on the prompts from organizingjunkie for this week and last week:

Week Six Questions to ponder this week:
1.  What did you accomplish this week on your 52 weeks list?
Last week was my pantry and kitchen cabinet attack!

2.  Have you had a negative conversation check with yourself lately?
Haven't had time to pass the time of day with me, let alone talk negatively ;)

3.  Are you beginning to see new habits developing yet?
I am learning to love what I really love and ditch what I don't.

Week Seven Questions to ponder:
1.  Let’s talk stuff!  What have you tossed out this week?
Pens! I can't even recall the last time I actually paid money for pens, at home or work, so how come there are always so many? One of life's mysteries.

2.  Have you ever regretted something you’ve gotten rid of?  Why?
Yes - but oddly cannot remember a specific item! And that is probably the lesson here - stuff is just stuff and can always be replaced. Treasures can always be remembered, even if you no longer own them.

3.  How tempted are you to rush out and pick up pretty organizing containers first?
I have learned from experience that the shopping is the last step in organising, not the first. Most of the time, I already own the containers I need for the task and using them often allows me time to live with it awhile and see is it really is the right solution. But I also shop without buying a lot, so I know what is out there and can go get it when I do decide I need it.

Today I am thankful - lazy, son and virtual friends

- for a lazy day in bed, letting my body fight this cold, while my brain caught up on blog reading, Bed of Roses and the "Life" series on ABC iView and even did a little decluttering! Lots of good raw and whole-foods to eat, tea and water to drink and four-legged attendants by my side (or on top of me, when possible!)

- for my amazingly resilient son, Kieran, who has completely re-adapted his sleep patterns to meet his needs: up in time to leave for TAFE before 8am, home around lunch-time, sleep all afternoon, game online all night til the wee small hours, sleep until time to repeat! And I despaired that he would never sleep as a baby! (Actually, I think he has just reverted to that same sleep pattern, 20 years later!) And who said to me the other day "Oh, yeah, I'll probably be on a raid on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 8pm, so if you need me to do anything, it'll need to be before then" as he happily assembled my flat-pack shelves!

- for online friends, who keep me entertained in my sickbed - thank goodness for the internet and a lap-top!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Today I am thankful - cold, supplies and magazines

- for coming down with a cold today, just about the only time I can squeeze one in! Of course, it means when I fly to Brisbane next week, I will have to deal with sinus pain - but I don't think I have ever flown without just having had a cold! So my quiet weekend at home will be spent resting and drinking copious amounts of tea.

- for getting all the errands on my list out of the way this morning before I started to feel sick, including a trip to the supermarket to restock the pantry supplies on my list after the big clean out. Apart from the check-out, I love pottering up and down aisles at leisure selecting staples, spices and the like.

- for the hour I spent at the library reading the Oprah magazine. I also discovered a new publication about green living, which was a bonus. It must be a new subscription, as there weren't any back-issues for me to bring home! Part of my own greening is that I no longer buy magazines, so the library collection is my only fix. Am looking forward to Kobo getting magazine access in Australia though ;)

52 Weeks of decluttering - week seven

Another shortened week, as I was at a conference last weekend. So only a small project on my decluttering list.

Our laundry is an awful space to use. It must have been just right in the mid 70s, when the size of the washing machine was most likely a twin tub, which was nowhere near as deep as modern machines. And dryers were a luxury item mostly seen on American sit-coms! So we were doomed before we began with the space.

Over the time we have lived here, I have made multiple attempts at creating storage space from where there is none. (Now if that great, big broom cupboard we turned into a second pantry had been built in the laundry, life would have been much easier!)

In our household, everyone is responsible for their own laundry (except me, who has my cleaner do it!) so the space is actually used by five different adults. It is also where the cat litter tray lives and where all the cleaning supplies and tools are kept.

I had a small, elderly cabinet scavenged from my parent's home which has done it's best to provide storage for some years, but it gets incredibly grotty incredibly quickly! And our cleaner was tending to pile all the cleaning products into a bucket anyway, to carry around the house and this didn't fit on the shelf, so ended  up taking up vital floor space.

The new bins on the old shelves

I was inspired by these at Ikea:

But was even happier to discover these at Officeworks:
Which were much cheaper and much closer to home! 

But they were out of the actual units when I finally went to buy some! So I bought the bins and pondered what to do. Then, when I popped in to the local store near work for some stationery, there they were! So I bought the medium-sized unit and my son assembled it for me.

I am really happy with the result! The cleaner can take them out to transport, I can add/remove or rejig the whole arrangement and it is easily wiped clean. I plan to stock up on the bins to use elsewhere in the house, as they are so inexpensive, and am trying to work out where else I can squeeze some units into - at $59 for the medium, compared to $95 at Ikea, they make for a very affordable option!!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Today I am thankful - install, assembly and uncommitted!

- for the AV install being complete! Some fine-tuning of the hard drive needed, but otherwise, we can now share educational videos, power-point presentations and more with our Breastfeeding Centre visitors on a large screen without having to send prayers to the AV gods first!

-for peaceful assembly of flat-packed shelves by my son. As he has genes from both sides for explosive outbursts during such activities, it is a delight that he just calmly puts the pieces together in peaceful silence.

- for three days without commitments, other than water aerobics, myotherapy, a little grocery shopping and maybe a trip to the Sustainability Festival, if the weather holds. Calm between storms - after last week's big conference weekend, I am now preparing to head to Brisbane next weekend for the ABA Manager's conference!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Today I am thankful - Dads, shelves and Essence

- for the three supportive dads who came to our drop-in day today with their partners and newborn babies - great examples of men who want their babies to be breastfed and want to learn as much as they can to support their partner on her journey through the early days.

- for the new stock of the shelf units I wanted at Officeworks, spotted when I popped in for office supplies! Went back after I finished to pick one up for the laundry.

- for the arrival of Essence magazine in the mail - after almost 27 years, I am still as keen to read each issue of the ABA magazine as ever.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Today I am thankful - joy, Life and MS, Mums & Milk

- for the pure joy of playing with a 9mo baby while his mother and I talked. His delight with simple toys and practicing new skills was a reminder of the wonder of the human body and brain in the first year of life.

- for the new installment "Life At Five" of a series which is following a group of young Australians through the early years. So lovely to catch up with them again and see how they are going. Inspired to re-watch Life At One and Life At Three again on ABC iView.

- for the amazing response already to my announcement on Facebook of my intention to research and write a book for mothers who have MS, about pregnancy, breastfeeding and motherhood with their special challenges.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Today I am thankful - mittens, rest and handbag

- for the lovely, knitted mittens that Kathleen passed on to me over the weekend :) She not only knitted them but spun the wool herself (or something crafty like that!). It happened when I posted these on my Pinterest board, then she replied she had these if I would like them! yet again, social media at its best :)
My new mittens!

- for the luxury of a rest day after a busy weekend, which sees me lazing around in bed with the laptop doing nothing in particular!

- for the fact my handbag is almost dry, so I can soon put all my stuff back inside! Saturday morning saw me with an inch of water in my bag after my water bottle wasn't, in fact, closed! (If I ever need an emergency bucket, my bag is good to go!). My lovely friends Carol and Ange were there to support me through the process of rescuing electronics (all good) and everything else - Carol dried all my cards individually at the breakfast table :) Only drownings were of the paper receipt/business card type - even my Moleskin notebook recovered in working order! My (fabric) wallet was soaked through but has now dried in perfect order. And thankfully, I had removed my Pouchee filled with essential stuff and packed that in my backpack to lighten the load (yes, Carol, there could have been MUCH MORE in there!!!!!)

Self-portrait Sundays - 13/2/2011

As I set off from Ballarat, it dawned on me today is Sunday and I needed to take my photo! So I swung by the Eureka Stockade and grabbed a quick shot!!!!!

Now, for those of you who are not local, here is some info about Ballarat and the Eureka Stockade, which played a significant role in Victorian and Australian history during the gold rush in the 1850s.

The Eureka rebellion, which is often referred to as the 'Eureka Stockade', is a key event in the development of Australian democracy and Australian identity, with some people arguing that ‘Australian democracy was born at Eureka’ (Clive Evatt). In addition, the principles of mateship, seen to be adapted by the gold diggers, and the term ‘digger’ was later adopted by the ANZAC soldiers in World War I.

The rebellion came about because the goldfield workers (known as 'diggers') opposed the government miners' licences. The licences were a simple way for the government to tax the diggers. Licence fees had to be paid regardless of whether a digger's claim resulted in any gold. Less successful diggers found it difficult to pay their licence fees.
Population of the goldfields

The population of the Victorian goldfields peaked in 1858 at 150,000. More than half of these were British immigrants, and 40,000 were Chinese. There were also Americans, French, Italian, German, Polish and Hungarian exiles as well as many other nationalities. (The Oxford Companion to Australian History)

Between 1851 and 1860, an estimated 300,000 people came to Australian colonies from England and Wales, with another 100,000 from Scotland and 84,000 from Ireland. Gold seekers from Germany, Italy and North America also made the journey to Australia in search of gold. Just over 5,000 people from New Zealand and other South Pacific nations, and at least 42,000 people from China, also arrived in Australia during the 1850s gold rushes. During this period, the colony of Victoria received 60% of all immigrants to Australia.
eGold: A Nation's Heritage: Immigration and Ethnicity.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Today I am thankful - Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

I have been away from my home broadband over the weekend and what I was able to access through my mobile service was agonisingly slow! So here I am, firstly, thankful for faster internet :)

- for the joy of seeing my dear friend Pinky McKay launch the new edition of one of my favourite books Parenting By Heart. In a room full of mums and babies (many who are my friends on Facebook!) it was just lovely. Camera in hand, I got to capture the atmosphere to share with you:
Pinky McKay's book launch

- for a stolen hour between the launch and the time I needed to hit the road - which I got to spend at Chadstone Shopping Centre :) I went to T2 and bought the tea canisters and spoons I had promised to get and I also succumbed and brought home the second installment of Michael Palin's Diaries in paperback, because it isn't yet available for Kobo.

- for being back at Ballarat, and being with so many people I truly love spending time with. And being supported by my own two doulas, Lauren and Bronwen, who made my arrival and set up so much easier for me.

- for waking up from a really good night's sleep, a rare treat and so needed with a hectic time-table in front of me.

- for the annual photo opportunity with all our volunteers, which I shared this year with Beth, daughter of Karen, who used to play with my son when they were pre-schoolers and their mothers were busy moving and shaking! (This is really just a Facebook meet-up with a few non-conformers taking part unknowingly!)
ABA Victorian Branch Volunteers

- for the amazing sight of 200 party revellers, most of whom were wearing one of my signature colours - a room full of ORANGE! Celebrating diversity, we were invited to wear either clothing from our heriitage or a country we identify with or orange, the colour of harmony. I just packed my usual wardrobe, but it was like being in a clothes shop designed just for me! I fell in love with many outfits :) Here I am with a special group of buddies:
Ange, Yvette, Debbie and Sophie

- for a fantastic range of inspiring speakers - our conferences are amazing, put together entirely by volunteers, and this year was no exception. The afternoon panel debate introduced me to this amazing stay-at-home dad and his blog reservoir dad

- for the lovely thank you gifts given with love to myself and other speakers - which included some of the wonderful tea towels commemorating the conference, which have a very special story you can read here.

- for the two very special birthday's today, February 13, for on this day, 20 years ago, my last child, my only son, Kieran was born. And what a date for me to birth on - for this date, in 1964, saw the very first meeting of the newly-formed Nursing Mothers' Association, which grew to become what we now know as the Australian Breastfeeding Association, which is now - like me - 47 years young!
What I was doing 20 years ago!

Friday, February 11, 2011

52 Weeks o f decluttering - week six

For this week's challenge, I set the kitchen cupboards in my sites.

Our 1970s home has its original kitchen. It is what it is and it does what it needs to do.

The "built in pantry" was a new concept when it was built and it is amusing that the "built in broom cupboard" beside it was actually bigger! (shakes head at 1970s male architects). Once we worked out converting the broom cupboard to a second pantry was a smarter use of space, food storage became much easier.

My life-time collection of Tupperware Modular Mates containers have stood the test of time. They hold our dry goods - I have a very low packet-tolerance going back to when I first set up home by myself: mouse, cereal pack. Beginning of Tupperware obsession! That was 30 years ago next month!!!!!!!

Anyhow, back to now. Although I routinely sort things out every few months, I really wanted to revise the whole set up this time. As our children have grown to adults, one has moved to her own nest and the other two share cooking duties with their parents, our family diet has changed and evolved. Where once each had a basket for their school snacks, now there is no need, for example.

We grocery shop once a month, sometimes in person, sometimes online, depending on my energy, time and availability of a slave assistant. So we need to keep a supply of goods to last the four weeks between pays. Our meat, fresh produce, bread and milk are delivered through the week on standing orders with Aussie Farmers.

So here are my before pictures:
Still home to the vacuum,
the converted broom cupboard

Molly showing you where her treats live!
Shelf by shelf, I worked through, clearing, cleaning and replacing. I kept a running list of supplies to be restocked as I went and threw out a few expired or mystery items.

And here is the after:

Back in order

Didn't touch the pet food shelf - dog was excited enough!
I also introduced a new storage option - my healthy food cupboard! I had already been using the lower shelf for my supplies to make my steel cut oats in winter, and my Goddess smoothie supplies had begun to join them :) So, as I sorted out our pantry supplies today, I decided to make the move more permanent! My plans include buying new seals for my Tupperware, so everything in this cupboard is blue, leaving the yellow to the main pantry. (Have even placed the order!) Hoping that assists any helper fairies! 

My healthy cupboard

So Sunday, I tackled the next on the hit list - the cupboard above the stove where we keep our herbs/spices and cooking oils etc. And a rarely-touched alcohol supply!

Good bones but lack of exercise!
I had the structure in place, put there years ago, but sharing the space with others who shop and cook had seen a clash in buying and storage preferences! It was time to push the rest button.

I use empty pesto jars to store things - they are perfect and DH made the shelves for them. But you can see the girls prefer the jars from Masterfoods and McCormicks! LOL! I buy the packets because they are cheaper and decant them. (Someone who is female, lives here and isn't me had bought multiples of ground ginger!)

I now have a list of new residents who require pesto jars and they will join us over the next few weeks. The right hand rack on the door is now dedicated to salts and peppers, while the left one accomodates those commercial jars who remain. The oils/vinegars/soy sauce bottles are corralled in their space and the top shelf is now fully living up to its name!
Calm restored
I also decided to tackle the cupboard where we keep our drinking utensils, but forgot to take a before shot in my enthusiasm! But here is the after:

Switched - the glass-ware was on the bottom shelf, but we rarely use it.
Finally, thew Tupperware cupboard was brought back in order - a thankless task, because everyone chucks stuff in the wrong places! Especially the much-maligned (but wonderful) cleaner. I took out a box that was holding the "Heat and Eat" containers - want to get a slightly bigger one to replace it. The boxes act like drawers. Also read my son the "riot act" about mis-matching seal and base colours (tutt, tutt) when he freezes his spaghetti bolognese - luckily he shares my OCD traits and has promised never to do so again ;)

It is a simple system - I even use pictures from a catalogue! Sigh.
And my vintage shelf Contact survived yet again - each time I think I will remove the last of it and each time, I get lazy about removing the sticky residue! Has actually stood the test of about 20 years quite well - I bet a replacement wouldn't!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Addicted to blogs

To paraphrase Robert Palmer - "Gonna have to face it, I'm addicted to - blogs!"

I have hundreds of blogs in my Google Reader RSS feed and yet I still regularly reach the end and get this message: Congratulations, you've reached the end of this internet.

So I was happy to discover a new way to find new blogs to enjoy.

Blog Love describe's itself as:

The initial idea behind blog love was I often click on people's profiles and they don't have their blog listed in their profile so I can't then find their blog to follow them back.

Also everyone is always looking for new blogs to follow.

So by everyone in the community getting involved and sharing their blog url's and a brief description of their blog in one place and then sharing the link to this blog by having a button on their sidebar means we can all share the blogging love!

I am looking forward to lots more ways to fritter away my time :)

Today I am thankful - packed, fudge and nurse

- for feeling organised to head off to conference tomorrow. Just need to pack up the techie stuff after breakfast and hit the road! Going via the launch of Pinky McKay's new book at Chadstone Shopping Centre :)

- for ordering our new AV gear for the breastfeeding centre - served by a lovely man who swears his name is "Fudge"!

- for the knowledge that our poor, sick cat Merry might have spent the day sprawled on Melissa's bed, but she did so with the company of our dog Molly, who seems to aspire to a nursing career! Or maybe it is just empathy and understanding, from one sufferer of blocked anal glands to another? (Merry had an abscess burst yesterday, an emergency trip to the vet and is now wearing a "bucket" on her head)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Today I am thankful - attaching, super-food and new AV!!

- for clever newborns who know what to do! 4 babes today aged between 5 days and four weeks, all having attachment issues, all being fed EBM and formula from bottles. ALL went onto the breast first go when mum adjusted their position and put the mouth on the breast, not the breast into the mouth! All fed well and dropped off to sleep and went home with content mums and babies :) Sometimes it seems too easy.

- for a good food day - blueberry and raw cacao green smoothie for breakfast, quinoa and salmon stir-fry for lunch, fruit for snacks and water for drinks. Full of super-foods today!

- for getting the go ahead to update our AV set up at the Centre! Now to purchase and get installed asap, so the battle of the DVD player will be awarded to ME as winner!!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Today I am thankful - compliment, frost-free and no mail

- for nice words, from the pharmacist, on my hair coordinating with my outfit :)

- for getting the seal fixed on the freezer, which should now be frost-free again, because chipping the ice out brought back memories of regular defrosting.

- for the peaceful afternoon I got, thinking my emails were being sent, then realising at the final minute that Outlook had stopped responding and they were all banked up in my outbox! I just thought everyone was too busy to get back to me!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Today I am thankful - newborn, clockwork and packing!

- for the gorgeousness of my hairdresser's 4 week old baby boy. Even though I work with new mums and babies, it is still a thrill to see your friends begin the motherhood journey.

- for a busy day running (almost) to schedule - just a little late for chiropractor because of above!!!! ABA group meeting, water aerobics, hair and chiropractor - and even made time to buy and eat a healthy lunch!

- for getting most of the packing out of the way for this weekend's conference for ABA volunteers in Ballarat. Means I can just focus on my work this week, which will involve preparing for said conference!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Today I am thankful - cupboards, sunny and foods

- for reaching the end of my quest to declutter and organise the kitchen cupboards this weekend. I tackled them in order of priority and while there are still some to go, I am happy with what I achieved. Now, nobody use anything and it will stay like that ;)

- for fair weather, now dry and sunny, much cooler and predicted to stay like that for the week. Hopefully our State can dry out a bit, after more floods yesterday. At least the garden doesn't need watering!

- for foods that we never dreamed of when I was young!  It is interesting that each time I do a deep organising of food storage, I am creating labels for new foods. As a child, there were two types of rice: long grain and short grain! Today, I have separate containers for about five types and that isn't even all I could have!

52 Weeks of decluttering - week five, part two!

I am taking a break mid-way through my kitchen organising and thought I would answer the prompts on this week's thread at I'm an Organizing Junkie

Questions to ponder:
1.  Name ONE reason you want to get organized.  It will be neat to see the variety of answers.

I have read a few other people's responses to this and observed a common theme of wanting to be "in control". My answer is different and I wonder if that is a reflection on my ten-year journey of organising?

I want to get be organised because:

  • it allows me to focus on doing stuff, not being delayed in the process. 
  • it removes the pressure for me to have sole responsibility, by allowing others to find/use things
  • it reduces mental confusion and physical effort when I have a health flare-up
  • we can use what we have without duplicating unnecessarily, better for our environment (personal and global)

2.  What did you organize last week & were you happy with the way it turned out?
I will skip back to the week before, because last week doesn't count.
I organised the hall and linen cupboards and am really happy with the result. And the change of labels for the towels was successful in modifying my cleaner's confusion between bathrooms!

3.  Have you had any breakthroughs or a-ha moments yet?  I would love to hear them!

I have been reminded that the main reason for clutter is having too much of everything. I could never be a minimalist, but it really helps to limit our options to that which we love or use. Our wardrobes become cluttered with clothes we don't wear, we have linen we don't want to use; the kitchen contains food we won't eat and tools we won't use. But we cling onto them because we don't want to be wasteful or we fear not being able to get things again. This mind-set has been passed down to our modern lives from the stories of the Great Depression and two World Wars. But we live in fear of something that will probably never happen and it prevents us enjoying the things we do have, which get trapped amongst the stuff we shouldn't have. 

We also cling to things that represent who we used to be or who we would like to be - for example, I have just moved our wine glasses from an eye level shelf to an out-of-the-way top shelf: I don't drink because of my medication and I don't have friends around to drink like I did a few years ago, so why did they have prime storage real estate and the mugs and cups I use constantly for tea jostled for space? It took maybe ten minutes and now the person I am right now is represented in this cupboard we use every day:" I am a person who drinks tea everyday and has glassware for special occasions like family celebrations."

We also hang on to things people gave us, as gifts or hand-me-downs, even when we don't like/use them.

Anyway, break-time is over, so it back to the coal-face!!!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Today I am thankful - alone, modular and dry books!

- for getting the house to myself for the afternoon as I initiate Operation: Pantry! I am organsing and decluttering the kitchen cupboards this weekend and I like to do that by emptying them out one by one and only returning what belongs. Easier without distractions.

- for my Tupperware Modular Mates collection, most of which is between 20 and 30 years old and still going strong. As I said when I was gradually buying them, having parties to get them free and placing orders year after year, they are a life-time investment!

- for the fact that we escaped flash flooding overnight, despite my dream - no doubt stimulated by the endless downpour and floods across our east coast this past months or more - that I woke to find the house flooded and had to throw out my entire book collection! Definitely a nightmare!

Only a bad dream - all still safe and dry!

Plan To Eat - what is your experience with the program?

Having a play with and would love to here from others who use it.

We have done similar menu planning systems in the past and they did work well for us, but we moved onto different strategies. But as part of my effort to make lunches less of an after-thought, I am considering getting back into menu planning.

I am a little disappointed it can't (currently) import recipes directly from blogs, meaning I would need to input those manually. But I do like that it can sync with my Google Calendar, therefore my Outlook one (I have them auto sync) so I could see easily each day what to eat!

Our family lead busy lives and aren't always home when originally expected - I like that you can easily modify the servings.

Have you used Plan To Eat? Like it? Love it? Loathe it?

Friday, February 4, 2011

52 Weeks of decluttering - week five

I am here to report that NO decluttering or organising was achieved this week and that is perfectly okay!

Instead, it has been the sort of week where we rely on what has been organised to get us through :) A combination of extreme heat and commitments away from home have left no time or energy to do anything organisational.

So I thought I would share some of my existing systems with you and how thankful I have been for them this week.

  • Nappy-bag method - no, everyone relax: nobody is having a baby! However, one of the best tips I ever got as a new mum was to always keep the nappy (diaper) bag stocked and ready to go and to have duplicates of all items so you weren't constantly finding yourself without some essential. Over the years, I have applied this method to the kid's school/swimming/ballet etc bags and now they are all old enough not to have any of those, it is my turn :) Currently, I have:
    • Yoga bag - with everything yoga inside, except the clothes. I have a specific bag for yoga, with aids like socks, jacket, towel-mat, water bottle, scarf and more. All I need add is clothes to change into after work, as I head straight to class. I also keep a set of toiletries in the bag to freshen up after the work day. I now keep a yoga mat in the car, as I have several and always used the studio ones, which seemed silly!
    • Swimming bag - I attend two water aerobics classes each week, Monday and Friday, at two different pools! My swimming bag is where I store my swimwear and towel, so I don't needlessly have to transfer from a drawer - after they are washed, they go straight back in the bag. I have the most wonderful wet bag I bought at a baby expo I volunteered at - designed for mums using cloth nappies! It gets my wet bathers home from the pool without soaking everything else :) This bag has its own water bottle, plus a set of toiletries - body wash doubles as shampoo. I buy ten class passes for each pool and these live permanently in the bag, so they are never left behind.
    • Laptop bag (currently a sleeve) - my work laptop is also my home laptop and the only computer I use, so it goes to the office and back with me three days a week. I have one laptop, but two power leads, so I never have to pack that unless I am at an external location. I also have two sets of USB cables which connect my Blackberry, camera AND my new Kobo (blessed be the people who use standard peripherals!) so I don't have to worry! This means I can charge them ALL through the laptop, but I also keep a second phone charger permanently at the office. And I keep a card reader at the office for uploading photos from my compact point and shoot (which uses a different USB cable :( )
    • Handbag - much to the distress of those who put my body back together again (my chiropractor and myotherapist!), I tote a lot of stuff around in my bag :) I HATE being caught without life's essentials! So, I have permanently in there stuff like lip balm, Moo Goo moisturiser, Burt's Bees cuticle balm and other personal care items, I also have tweezers, tiny pliers (jewelery repair) and folding scissors! I keep my compact point and shoot camera in this bag and my retractable Sony headset, plus my wireless internet dongle. I have a tube of Pure Wipes and some Blister Stop. I carry a small tin of almonds for when I need a snack and a sachet of honey if I need a sugar fix (I am a fainter!). Like my mother before me, I carry a tape measure. I have a pen and my Moleskin notebook. Three pairs of glasses (reading sun and distance!). - but have a second pair of reading glasses by my bed.  A post-card sized wallet holds ABA postcards, receipts for petty cash and other active paper. A drink bottle. I just add my phone,  and my new Kobo (:)) and I am ready for anything!
    • Shopping bag - I have posted about this before: a tote bag that holds six eco-silk shopping bags, my Fregie Sacks for fresh produce, my Keep Cup and an empty water bottle: all part of my pledge to eliminate disposable items as much as possible. Kept at the foot of the passenger seat in my car, grabbed for every excursion into any retail location, even if I am not planning to buy!
    • Dog-walking belt - I love my DOOG Walking Belt which lives in the car, because it is most of use for our regular beach walks. In it are poo bags AND hand wipes (really brilliant!) but I also keep lose change for emergency gelati purchases ;). Hooked on to the belt is a pouch for my Blackberry and yet another water bottle! I plan to buy some sunscreen wipes to keep in here too. And I have some of my Squizz cards, because dog walkers make lovely new friends :)
  • Dinner roster - four adults live in this house and four adults share the cooking! The two kids and I do two nights each, while my husband does one. Same nights each week, so nobody can say they forgot. I do Friday - when our fruit and veg box is delivered and Sunday - when I have usually been to a farmers market, so have lots of fresh goodness, which I prefer. We have other deliveries timed perfectly with my son's nights (he cooks spagetti bolgnese and salmon steaks every week), while my daughter draws on her pantry stash of tinned goods - ever the back-packer :). Rod usually cooks some sort of meat and three or more veg on a Saturday.
  • Home delivered everything - fruit and veg, meat, bread and milk, monthly groceries! Even when I am too tired/sick/busy to shop, food arrives! Magic!
  • Self-serve laundry - to each their own! All the family deal with their own laundry,* fitted into their schedule when it works best for them. Individual laundry hampers. My daughter likes the marathon of lots of clothes, less frequent laundry and major wash days on days off. My husband likes to get it all done on a Sunday, ready for the work week. My son does it when he runs out of clothes! 
  • Paid help* - I pay for our cleaner who comes twice-weekly, as a management strategy to allow me to work, rest and play! So as well as all the house cleaning, she does all my personal laundry, plus towels and the bed linen for my husband and I. The kids do their own bed linen. Of the three days I work, one day's pay goes to the cleaner - and I get the four days I don't work to manage my health, community work and home management!
  • Sunday night sort - not always Sunday, but mostly, I take 5-10 mins and prepare for the week ahead. I grab yoga clothes and pop them in the bag, return laundered swimwear and towel to that bag, tidy up my handbag and replenish where needed and make sure my phone gets charged etc. I also tidy my wardrobe of anything out of place, so come my work-day mornings, I can calmly and easily get ready. I try to work out what I wear the night before, to save me morning brain-power!
These are just a few of the strategies I have to keep the wheels turning, even when the wheels fall off! The best days are when I come home from work to a freshly cleaned home, with my laundry folded or put away, the fridge and pantry are full and there is a home-cooked meal underway  - it is like having a WIFE or MOTHER!!!!!! LOL!

Today I am thankful - home, air con and art

- to get home! I love living where we do, but is a one hour journey to the City and when you begin that journey at 7.30am, it seems extra far! I trained in and out today, with a suitcase of brochures and handouts to distribute to maternal and child health nurses at their conference.

- for the air conditioning at the venue, because the humidity today is unbearable! The tail of Cyclone Yasi has stretched down to us and given us a taste of tropical weather. Just going between the station and venue had me gasping! Didn't need to use the umbrella, because I carted it with me today!  Sky is now brooding with thunder and dark clouds fir to burst.

- for my order of a print from artist Lori Portka, which was waiting for me when I arrived home :) This is the one I got:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Today I am thankful - humour, birth and sleep

- for the Aussie sense of humour, even in a crisis: on-the-spot journo on radio yesterday, in the face of on-coming cyclone, apologised that it was "a bit blowy here" to explain the noise. Bloke interviewer post-cyclone this morning described having all his chooks* in the bathroom, where they promptly "perched on the vanity, staring at themselves in the mirror, amazed at how good looking they were".

- for the fact the population is plus-one, minus-none after the cyclone - a new baby calmly and unremarkably born on her due date in the evacuation centre. Her mother wanted a home birth, so refused the offer of a transfer to hospital! The baby was caught by a visiting English midwife, holidaying in the area :) In the sick bay of the school they were sheltering in.

-  for the fact I did get a (just) little more sleep after my husband got up at 4am, to catch a flight to Brisbane. Had to convince the fur-babies that this did NOT mean it was morning and time to play! YAWN!

* Aussie for chickens :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Today I am thankful - yoga, bananas and newborn eyelashes

- for the first yoga class of the year + the beautiful sunflowers in the garden outside the studio.

- for bananas, as I drove home the man on the radio was alerting us the the risk to banana plantations from the cyclone. Remembering the prices after Cyclone Larry (when they went to $12.95kg), I was happy to pop into the shops and find them on special for $1.95kg. Bought three kilos to stock up the freezer against my daily banana use in breakfast smoothies.

- for the eyelashes of a newborn baby, unfolding like the wings of a freshly hatched butterfly, giving a hint to how long and lush they will soon be. Today was a newborn day at drop-in day and I got to cuddle one off to sleep :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The "Naked" Truth

In my position at the Waterfront Festival last month - sitting outside the baby feeding tent for two days! - I was able to indulge in one of my favourite past-times - people watching. Add to that lots of time to ponder and I started to observe how attitudes to bare skin change dramatically when beach-side.

From toddlers to elders, there was the life cycle of the human body laid bare to see.

Children ran around clad only in bathers, oblivious to concerns about body image (or skin cancer risks).

Pre-teens and early adolescents strutted self-consciously, tugging bits of clothing up or down constantly, while those a few years more confident paraded their impossibly youthful bodies in impossibly revealing swim wear. (Gee, thanks for that! I looked like that too, you know - thirty years ago, when I walked the same sands)

The pre-motherhood women generally walked even more confidently, with short shorts slung low and  short tops slung short! Tattoos were in abundance, on trim taught skin.

The mothers tended more in two directions - covered and uncovered. The younger the children, the more focused they were on them and hovered with sunscreen, hats and pram shades. Their own clothes were either too-tight revealed on bodies that had gone up several sizes or were baggy and unshaped to hide the bulges.

Add a few more years and the mothers of teenagers and adults had re-gained figures old or new and generally covered up against the sun damage they had already received decades before.

The grandmothers were covered up or boldly bare - this seemed the next generation confident enough to strut in swimsuits in such a public theatre. The older they were, the less they seemed to care about wobbly bits or saggy bits.

The elderly had reverted to the cover of the toddlers, with hats and sunscreen and shade protecting tender skin. Some sported evidence of cancerous growths removed from faces and hands creased and spotted from decades of sun exposure. If only the teens actually saw their futures in these elders, they would run for cover!

So, if you asked the question: which of these is the typical, what would you answer? At which stage on our journey from cradle to the grave is our skin and body shape "normal"? The answer is never, yet the media would firmly have us believe it hovers somewhere after puberty and before pregnancy. A scant ten - twenty years out of 100? it hardly seems fair. Yet when I look at the bodies around me at beach or swimming pool, I see the simple progression as we change in body shape, as our skin becomes less taut and the environment etches its marks upon us. So by the end of life, we have a body so different from that we started with, yet entirely as it should be after decades of living.

Today I am thankful - cyclonic names, chiro and kobo

- for the fact they didn't name the Cyclone bearing down on my friends in Far North Queensland another girl's name starting with "Y", because it is going to wreak awful havoc and I would never hear the end of it! Seriously, I am worried for several people and their families and wish this could be downgraded like the one that threatened other friends in Western Australia only days ago.

- for the fact my Chiro is no longer in Cairo - it is surreal that just a few weeks ago, my chiropractor posted this photo on Facebook and we chuckled about the pun.

- for my new toy, which I just collected from the post office: my Kobo e-reader is charging as I write! perfect timing, as I am manning a display at a conference in the city on Friday and can take Stephen Fry with me!