Sunday, 12 July 2009

*peeks and looks****

Within an uber busy life I found maintaining multiple blogs became impossible so this was the ball I dropped. I have a few moments so thought to poke my head up and wave hello. Maggs

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Silence

This weekend I disappear into silence.
Geni is gone and th walls close around me sheltering from winter chill and as Friday eveing grows, my voice is silent.
No sound.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

What most makes me smile...

If you look at Abigail, what you see is the smaller version of me. 

She is exactly as I was in mien, in spirit and in looks.  It is like stepping back in time, and delightful when you consider so many seek eternal youth and immortality, and there in that small morsel of love made flesh IS my embodied immortality.  My dna is running around in that small morsel of human delight.

At not quite 4 months, she is so determined to lurch into life and living and her disposition is sunny.  When you hold her, she is not a clumsy cuddle - rather she nestles and snuggles and fits.   People cross roads and streams of mall traffic to come and coo and goo and Abi holds court rewarding those drawn in with the widest of smiles.  I watch her eyes drinking in everything and everyone, and then tapping the knowledge down deep.  She lacks no confidence either. 

I feel blessed and honoured she is with us.  
 

Sunday, 14 June 2009

What does love look like?

Love is:
  • a half girl/half woman bullying older sisters to ensure they remember my birthday and remember to call me and spoil me on the day.  She did it by phone call and text message and was relentless.  And I adore her for it. Thank you Leonnie for understanding how much these things mean to me.
  • an 82 year old frail woman, my mother, wanting to catch buses and go and buy things to cook and make a feast for me and mine to make me feel special.   As it was my birthday I could stop it and instead picked up delicious cheeses, a variety of crackers, cabanossi, fruit ( for a platter) and a cheesecake and a vanilla sponge.
  • my daughter (Tess) telephoning me and offering me MsLizzie ( aged 3) and Abigail ( aged 4 months) for Saturday night instead of calling a babysitter.    She knew Geni and I had soccer on Sunday and it was my birthday so she isn;t want to burden me.  How can those two be a burden?  It was a delightful time.   I  have asked her to stop being 'considerate' and instead to ask me.  I know I can say no if I am unable for any reason, but I would like first right of refusal.   It would only be rarely I would say no!!
  • A veritable feast of stationary items for me to fill with thoughts and feelings and words
  • NOT having to be the one to do all the washing, cooking and cleaning on the weekend

Friday, 12 June 2009

Fingers like

blocks of ice, so cold they almost hurt.
Yes. It is winter, down under style.
This doesn't mean snow and ice but does mean humid wet style cold and bitter driving winds that cut through any and all layers of fabric.

As the sun sets here the sky to the west is painted rosy pink and salmon. 

I went to the gym this morning while everyone slept and after a yoga class and some cardio I came home girded and ready to tackle the washing pile - only to find it had been begun!!  Yeah!!  Who said you can't teach old dogs new tricks?

That said Tess is dropping Lizzie and Abigail to us to spend the evening.  Pandy has organised a birthday party for her boyfriend Nick and we get the littlies ( I much prefer that to a night of partying!!)

And tomorrow we have soccer at 11.40 followed by a visit with mum and then a cutting of the cake for me!! Yes. Tomorrow is my birthday. 

Thursday, 11 June 2009

I should have waited before speaking up....

Yesterday I got to 2pm full of the attitude of gratitude to receive a phone call telling me Amy ( 22) was at the hospital. Her throat had swollen shut and she was in terrible pain and couldn't swallow. I was about to head into a planned meeting, so went into that and grabbed a bag and immediately afterwards straight out the door and to the hospital to sit with her as long as I was able.

The doctor diagnosed a bacterial infcction and an allergic reaction and although she wasn't admitted it was a stressful couple of hours. Still, thinking things through, it could have been so much worse!! She is miserable and sore but had been topped up with antibiotics to kick start fighting the infection. and I got to spend some time with the gorgeous Ms Abigail who is quite the ray of sunshine. She coos, goos and generally lights up and is as fat as they come.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

An Attitude of Gratitude

One of my dearest online friends talks about feeling like they are sitting at the centre of a perfect storm  and this got me cogitating, as these things often do.  He is right, Fujific that is.  Storm clouds have gathered and violent and high waves are sweeping away and around and stirring up so much we have perhaps taken for granted.  

At times like this I look closely at what I am and what I have in my hand and that is how I begin each day.    

This time last year my mother was about to be admitted for removal of 2/3rds of her stomach as in the course of testing for something else entirely they had discovered stomach cancer.   Her journey was an horrendous one leading to 4 operations in 6 weeks and many close moments on the very edge of death.  I got to the point where the coffee making take away outlets at the hospital were giving me staff discounts as I was there so much, haunting their corridors and wards.  I sat with her, and beside her and walked this journey in every way as I could.  And I am grateful.  A year later she is back, at 82 living independently in the house I grew up in maintaining her weight and still very much with us.  I am grateful for each and every day I share with this remarkable woman!!

The experience with mum brought to the fore the strengths and wonderful caring found nestled in my grown children.  Tess ( mother of MsLizzie and the delightful Abigail - who was born just a few months ago!!) takes mum to the hair dressers every week and drives her shopping.   Amy and I as well as my cousin Anne, take turns accompanying Mum on her many visits to medical tea,ms for checkups and monitoring.  Mum has just completed her first serious round of testing and has the cancer all clear!! One year down.  Her oncologist whispered how delighted he was and  how he wanted a family like hers when he is older.  That delighted her.   And delighted me.

This time last year I was still working my way through the family court to secure Geni's living agreement with me as Dopey didn't seem to see a need  to "change" the way things were; namely I did the work and paid for everything while he was listed as having care and control.  needless to say, the magistrate likewise agreed that the family orders should reflect the true status and so Geni is now living full time in my care and it is a successful arrangement.  

There is the addition of Abigail to our Zoo/tribe and there is Pandy not being as obnoxious.   

I have a paid job that is flexible to allow me to care for my family when I need to, and it challenging and a situation where there is something I may learn every day.  I largely have my health.  My Fitness challenge is going well and I am enjoying pushing my body each and every morning.  

Monday, 8 June 2009

Tuesday return to work after a long weekend

It was odd coming in today with it being a Tuesday and not a Monday. 

I am out of synch, although I did get to the gym before coming in and have organised myself so I keep a black suit ( trousers and a tailored jacket) at work so I may just bring the blouse/top component and jewellery and hence cut down some of the load I am carrying.  Between my laptop, my gym clothing and a full change of work style clothing plus a book to read...mmm needless to say I get EXTRA strength training daily at this rate.  I have a pair of black boots and flat black shoes which now live in my bottom drawer at work and I shall change when I get to work and change to go home, so my runners will travel back and forwards actually on my feet.  They take up BULK and weight!!

There appears to be no lasting damage from the face full of speeding soccer ball and I am grateful for that! Still it was an eye opener - but as I said before it is better it was me and not those around me.  

Geni came home yesterday afternoon and cleaned her floordrobe.  I am under no illusions; it will end up scattered again, but she was open to my requests.  I found myself a tad dispondent as the washing pile and load seems to land in my lap ( unaided).  So I have resolved to ask for the help I desire and deserve.  This should be interesting.

Staff meeting in 5.  Must rush.


Sunday, 7 June 2009

We won the soccer 5 to 1

Geni scored her first EVER goal AND the ex his girlfriend leonnie and girlfriends daughter turned up and in fact drov Geni there. Yes, peeps, hell did freeze over!!!

I arrived at the field ( our home field) half an hour early to set up the field as ours was the first game scheduled for the day. To my horror whomever had closed the evening before had NOT clsed. All rooms and storage areas were unlocked and open and the grounds were a mess. The coach and I ran aound and set up and claned up and as the others arrived Leonnie and I were chatting with two of the parents on the sideline while the team practised shooting and a soccr ball game out of nowhere at full force and hit me smack on the face.

I reeled. It spun me around. Tears ran down my face but I was not crying, and my face went numb. I stayed standing. My face was numb. I managed to keep functioning. I was grateful it was me and not Leonnie who was right next to me.

I eventually got the feeling back in my face and ther was no swelling or broken nose but I ached everywhere. I suspect my body took quite a jolt.

I went home and the Ex took both my girls and his new family and went for breakfast and took them shopping at the local mall. I did little washing and went shopping myself picking up two pairs of shoes at 75% off and a new book to read.

Geni came home to get changed for a sleepover so it was in, we left and dropped her at her friend's place and she is seeing a movie with the girls today before coming home. I just received a text asking if I was going shopping as she wants money. But I m not planning on going shopping today, so if she wants money she can catch a bus home. She won't . LOL

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Preparations

Soccer early tomorrow morning and no rain, this week to wash it out.  I have Geni's soccer clothing and boots and the keys to the field ( which I have just collected.)  I have the game card prepared.  I will be leaving here around 8am so it will pay to have it all ready.

In the oven I have a 2kg blade roast which has been slow cooking for two hours after marinating in lemon, olive oil, garlic and thyme and oregano.  The aroma is a luscious invitation to slurp and eat until the rich juices dribble down my chin.  I am aware of this as I think of how I know Geni's father claims he is driving her up for the game.  If he does I will be shocked because it will mean he has made an effort for her.  It will also mean I will be there with him, his girlfriend and people I am used to spending my time with.  If he does not drive her, then I doubt she will arrive on time.

Me and my pondering.

Terminator, Salvation was enjoyable. SlumdogMillionaire  was astounding.   Two whole more days.  

Friday, 5 June 2009

Lazy day

Saturday and the time has half bled away.  No children to want and need, today.  Today as Slumdog Millionaire plays out the early afternoon, and brings back to me with alarming clarity my time in Mumbai/then known as Bombay, I am spending a few moments catching up with those I have long followed online and thinking my way into the weekend.  This weekend is a delight in that it is a long weekend, so although Sunday is eaten into with soccer morning I have a whole Monday to putter and potter.  

Amy and I attended the State Theatre for the world premier of a film called Disgrace - the first screening of one of 8 films competing for the $60,000 prize pot at this years Sydney Film Festival.  Intriguing story. Intriguing book.  Personally I will be surprised if this film wins.  

This morning I have sorted the kitchen garbage ( ensuring the recycling is accurate. )  I have fed the now 6 kookaburras who gather each morning for breakfast from my balcony and I have NOT done the washing.

Today is my rest day from the gym and I find I miss the morning pushing of my body!!!

Have a wonderful weekend. 

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Finally

A few moments at the beginning of a day to catch up here.  Taking on a fitness challenge has shown me the importance of being organised.  I already have a full and busy active life, but factoring in JUST that little extra all about and for me is a challenge.  

To start with I have to overcome the programming that is inate in me that EVERYONE and everything they want, somehow is more important than me.  What I have learned is that if I don't put myself first, noone else will put me there.  yes  I know I do that. BUT not everyone is me.   I suspect the subtle and constant quiet reminder mantra that should underscore my thinking and doing should be "Not everyone is me."  it explains a lot.  It dissipates expectation.  It grants me ownership of myself and allows others to make their own choices in their own unique way.  In fact, it underscore our individual uniqueness and the true beauty of that.

I also have noticed some of the self sacrificing that is so much a part of me has translated to some of my grown up daughters.  The amusing part of that is that I never expected that.  Truly the book children read most is NOT the one on paper, but the one bound in shoe leather ( you and me!!) so we must be aware and conscious of the messages our lived choices are giving to them; not do as I say - more do as I do. 

I have stuck to my goal of 40 - 60 minutes Monday to Friday for almost two entire weeks now.  I am resisting the temptation to get on the scales every morning and will only weigh and more importantly, measure myself weekly.  The aim of this is to take that time to boost my metabolism and to also support my health which always dips during the winter months.  This year I am giving myself the best chance possible.

This morning I woke into a misted world with the coming morning hovering.  Just at the horizon on the east...pushing back the wreathing with silver streak of pure light.  
]
Good morning to you all!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Two minutes

*peeks in and waves franically blwoing kisses to you all on way out the door to the gym EVEN in the pouring rain....*

I promise you a lnger post when I stop to catch my breath!!!

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Time flies

I seem to catch a moment or two to live along side during my frantic race through the multitude of small things which makes up my day and cumulqatively my life, but sometimes I feel a need to just sto0p and look.

Altready we are moving into June and that is yet another half a year chewed through. I know I have lived through much and learned a lot but if pressed I could not sit down and draw huge brush strokes to mark the passing of this time. I have stopped not global conflicts nor saved anything or anyone in dire need. Rather my life appears currently to be lived in the quiet small moments that amass and thn fall away - perhaps forgotten.

My fitness plan is moving apace and I am thoroughly enjoying each moment at the gym. I am currently resisting the temptation to go overboard with this and to pace myself.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Tagged by Xanadu

1) What is your current obsession? 
Fitness and optimum health - I am on a 12 week body blitz ; curious to see what the best me could be - physically.

2) What are you wearing today?
Black leggings with a white seam down the side, white socks, a black long sleeved t short and a black white and grey cardi...  I shall leave my underthings to anyone's imagination 

3) What's for dinner?
Grllled fish on a bed of wilted english spinach with mushrooms and a squeeze of lime and loads of garlic and ginger

4) What would you eat for your last meal?
Barramundi grilled in a white wine and butter flavoured avocado sauce. Lemon cheesecake.

5) What's the last thing you bought?
A train ticket to get Lonnie home with me last night

6) What are you listening to right now?
The silence of a winter morning, punctuated by the laughter of 4 kookaburras trying to get me out on the back vernadah with morsels of meat to feed them.

7) What do you think of the person who tagged you?
I have read her for some time and always come back to read about her life.  Her honesty and candour and loyalty is refreshing.

8) If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be?
I would like a place in Glasgow in Anniesland - not far from the station and in a refurbed old warehouse/tenement, with wood panelled walls and light twinkling in the double glazed windows, with underfloor heating.  I would like another one in Gulshan n the outskirts of Mumbai, and another on Denman Island (between Vancouver Island and the mainland - Canada)- a log cabin.  And one right where I m now.   Is that too much to ask?

9) If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go?
To Tess' place to spend some time with Her, amy and my two grandbabies!!

10) Which language do you want to learn?
I need to resue some of my Arabic and Hindi - I am out practise.

11) What's your favourite quote (for now)?
"I trust, but I verify!!"  from Gorbachev's autobiography!!.

12) What is your favourite colour?
Blue but I am also fond of red and yellow and orange...and green..LOL

13) What is your favourite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe?
My black boots

14) What is your dream job?
I am in it.. someowhere I can help people grow

15) What's your favourite magazine?
Don't have a favourite.. although will buy any magazine for health hints and tips and for crosswords ( not necessarily in that order.

16) If you had £100 now, what would you spend it on?
A new refrigerator

17) What are you going to do after this?
read and do some work on Farm Town

18) What are your favourite films?
Too many to name.

19) What's your favourite fruit?
Strawberries, passionfruit, crisp tart green apples sliced so thin that eating them raises goosebumps

20) What inspires you?
Beauty, loyalty, caring, selflessness

21) Your favourite books?
Anything printed

22) Do you collect anything?
Black and white cows, children, family, people I love, thoughts, artwork, bags..LOL boots

23) What are you currently reading?
King Arthur - Dragons Child by M.K. Hume

24) Where do you want to be in five years? Loved and loving

25) By what criteria do you judge a person?
I try not to.  However I have a low tolerance level for fools or malicious souls.  


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The rules:
1. Respond and rework; answer the questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your invention. 
2. Tag eight other people. Tagging, with love: Dorrie, Dustbunny, Lermontov, Chaz, Wizardress, Fin, SilentWhisper, and Justfly. Anyone, though, please feel free to participate (or not) just as you desire.

Shivers

Winter nibbles my bare fingers in my very own loungeroom as I type this.    Outside I can see the grey skies, hovering over a shadowed land.  I am grateful to be alive, and grateful to feel cold.  As it is morning, I have made a warm bowl of oatmeal and cut into it a small apple before cooking and I am sing a tiny teaspoon to consume small mouthfuls of the sweet natural warmth.  Morning fuel for my body.

I am taken in my mind and heart to revisit a past where my father yet lived and had oatmeal every single morning.  He did not add the apple, and sweetened his with refined white sugar instead and floated a jug of milk on it.  He passed away in 1984.  My older children were younglings then.  Tess who most recently gifted the family with sweet lovely Abigail was a mere little one herself and dandled on his knee being fed small mouthfulls from his very spoon.  Yet now she is fully grown.  

I vsit in my thoughts m own mother, who to this day - winter and summer still has oatmeal to begin her each and every day.    And I have avoided it all my life - until now and find I rather like it.  This makes me smile.

The house is full of snug snuffling and sleeping bodies - plus me; awake.

Good morning!!!

I have a noon 15 appointment with a personal trainer.  I will be buying white jazz shoes for Leonnie for a school recital.   I am seriously considering buying Leonnie and Geni each some boots....

As my borthday is coming round so rapidly, I am trying to think of what I wnat to do and how the family will celebrate this.  Mum is a fan of Fu Lin but aftwr mothers day and feasting far too much I suspect the rest of us want a Fu Lin break.  That said I will happily cut a cake at Mum's on my birthday.  Any ideas or suggestions??

Amy sent me a text telling me she was wrapped in the blanket I knit for her two years ago and she thanked me for the soft warm gift.  Each of my children has a custom knit blanket and I have enough pieces for several more.  mental note to self sit, match up and sew in my spare hours..  This years I am working on something rather special for someone rather special...  I can't wait to send this.  Guess I will have to finish it first!!

What  does your weekend hold for you?


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Morning...in the dark.

Gymclothes on CHECK
Shoes on CHECK
Gym bag packed and by the door CHECK
Hair brushed CHECK
Workclothes CHECK
Work shoes CHECK
Jewellery CHECK
Bus ticket CHECK
Train ticket CHECK
Coat CHECK
Soemthing to read on the train CHECK
Drink coffee - underway

Made and delivered Geni's lunch, and prepared her white blouse and put out the hair straightener.  I will telephone her from the gym to make sure she is up and again when I am on the train to make sure she is out the door in time for the school bus.

Oops time to go 

Monday, 25 May 2009

*peeks at seldom sighted sunshine****

Good morning, as Tuesday crawls steadily towards lunchtime.  The weekend is over and the house is still a bit chaotic as the washing and drying I wanted to get done, well - between social and fitness and wetness, c'est la vie!!

The fitness challenge is progressing well.  I suspect I picked the best time as after two days and two gym sessions plus 4 hours dancing and another session, my legs are telling me loudly and long they are there. 

I have noticed this morning ( Day 2 of early arising to got to the gym) that a quiet voice in the back of my mind kicks in and tries desperately to persuade me to stay wrapped in quilting just 10 minutes more...or "since you are going to the gym after work , why go this morning? Stay here, write in your blog, chat with your friends....".  Interesting what speaks to you and tries to control you.

Since I have committed to this wellness journey, I am more conscious of the need to break old patterns, accustomed ways of behaving and living and doing things.  A shake up is galvanising!!!

So, here I am, feeling happy with myself and determined to see my way through this 12 week challenge. 

What does your inner voice say?  I have realised you are able to break old subversive patterns in the way we talk with ourself.  I am conscious that I CAN do this.  Not that I will start and not finish, then then give myself 5 different acceptable excuses.    I want this investment of time in myself.   I want to give this example of self love in a positive way, to those I love.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Goodmorning Noah - where is the Ark??

Goo morning all from a wind swept and rain sodden world!! The valley I sit here looking out over as I type is a breeding ground for clouds and the rain flings itself steadily downward drenching and soaking everything.  I can hear it.  I can almost feel it - yet I am grateful I am inside and warm sipping my second thick black fragrant coffee of the day and eating a bowl of oats cooked with half a cup skim milk and a small chopped apple with a teaspoon.  

The sweet glutinous warm is a sensation that is comforting.  As I nibble my way through this,  think of my father who ate a bowl of oatmeal every morning.  I think of my mother now 82 and still following this habit.  I feel their spirit acutely alongside me.  And I am grateful for their love and nurturing, for their lived example of the true meaning of love and for being inside while it is so deeply and vigorously sodden outside!!!

I adored Star Trek and found myself smiling at all the allusions to the first series.  I sat on the very edge of my seat totally engrossed for the entire 2 hours and 2 minutes and hardly noticed time ticking over.  The action was superb and the characterisation was effective and believable.  I want to go again!!!!!!!  But Terminator: Salvation is soon to be released so that and the second Transformers is on my list.  Terminator simply because the very first of this series was the most heart breaking romance movie I had seen up to that point...  STOP IT - DO NOT LAUGH AT ME!! I mean it.   Imagine someone loving you so much they would come across time for you?  Who would not want to be loved like that???

The program for the day runs something like this; breakfast and a lazy languid start, a shower and a quick tidy and then into Hornsby for a coffee out, a 6mm crochet hook and a wander round the shops ( new boots mayhap??? or perhaps something irresistable to wear this evening and certainly a new book as I have read everything available here up to and including labels on cans....)

Once home I will stow my bots and bobs and dress and head into town to meet my grown up gerlies as we are going to dinner followed by a session of latin dancing at Vivaz.  I adore dancing and I am so out of practise.  I am also out of practise trudging out and about socially so this is a nice toe in.   

I have signed up for a 12 week fitness challenge and will explore the gyms locally.  I have seen two which might do, where I might pop in on my way home each evening which will work to helping me achieve my goals.  As I age it has become obvious that what one doesn't use, one loses.  I have had a series of health issues across the last five years that show me I need to keep my body finely honed and well nourished and to be as fit as I can - just in case.  I am treating myself with the same level of consideration and care I treat those I love.  This is good as an example and also acknowledgement of investing in health.   ( okay - I will put away my soapbox!!)  I am aware I have aged well, thus far and wish to continue, in a healthy and productive way!!!  I will be the very BEST me I am able to be.    I do so adore having goals.!!!

What are you plans for this day?

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Storms and angry weather

I live at the very end of a valley where noone lives except a creek and the tributory of a large river.    I also find it delightful to wake to the sounds of parrots and cockatoos and the raucous laughing of kookaburras who seem to think my backyard is their personal hunting ground.   Right now a chorus of lovesick frogs serenade the momentary cessation of the wild wind and bucketting storm.  

The weather was so angry that I woke many times through the night as whole rivers cascaded down the gutters and spilled like a dam overflow down the walls.  Inside we are safe and dry, but outside the elements are showing us that man dreams if he believes he can tame this.

I love it.  I glory in this violence and the sensations that come with it.  Even though I battle to maintain my precarious health, I adore each and every moment here listening to this.  The very wildness strikes a chord deep within me and I rejoice in some primal way.

Good morning all - as my friday begins.

Tonight I plan to take in the new Star Trek movie as Geni is with her dad and I believe it is time to take some time.  Tomorrow night it is dinner and dancing at a latin club in the city with my grown up girls.  They love to dance and share this with me, so watch out Sydney, we are out and about!!!  Sunday we have a soccer game just before lunchtime but I doubt this will go ahead with the weather as it is - in fact, if this continues I can see it being rained out with the grounds closed.  

Time for my shower and to get myself all gussied up for work.  Have a wonderful day all of you.  I know my American, Canadian  and European friends have summer in their care and I am glad they ae making the most of it and caretaking for me.  But I find beauty in this dark loud and almost-angry world we inhabit down here now.  Today I am alive and breathing and I delight in this and the possibilities which lie before me.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

quick sneak into here

I should be getting dressed but the wind is throwing the rain at any surface from any direction and listening to the tempest raging outside I am enjoying my corner of warmth snuggled in the lounge.

Stormy, wet, windy, cold.
Welcome to a Sydney winter.

I have so many thoughts racing around inside my brain but lack only the time to allow them to find their way down here. Hopefully a little later will see this happen.

Until then,
good morning all!!!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

On Teenage Girls and Men

During my current and brief tenure as manager of a Teenage Girls Soccer team, I have noticed common complaints regarding the way dad's ( or male authority figures) talk to or about teenage daughters.  The girls, themselves have much in common.

here are my observations:

Men point out the flaws and faults to demonstrate opportunities for change and growth and to make teenage girls think.  Please note this does not work.  teenage girls see the constant dwelling on the negative and picking at them.  They then think no further and simply feel.  Teenage girls benefit not one jot or iota from this.  

To reach a teenage girl and effect change, firstly praise the good you do see ( even if at that moment it is infinisimal!!).  They will then ( liking praise) do more of said good behaviour.  And no ( all men reading!) THIS does not mean you are lying to them.

The other thing you must do is check your ego at the door.  There is enough sense of self worth ( however unfounded) in a teenager...there is not enough room in the building for another ego.   Your partner/wife also expects this behaviour form a teenage female. She was one, never forget - she never has forgotten.    Said partner/ wife also expects you to be an adult and not become a teenager emotionally in knee jerk to the tounts and slings and verbal arrows form the teenager.  Remember this mantra:

"The only way to win is NOT to play!!"

What does work, is picking your battles.

Then pick your time.

Remember if you link her behaviour to something she wants from you, there is more likelihood you will get it.

You can say no.  Do not discuss it more than you choose. Do not rise to the bait and get into verbal knots - you only lose!!

Bury them at 11 and dig them up at 30... it applies to both girls and boys and remember to love them anyway and don't give up!!!  We all want a love that loves us anyway.  Model that love. 


Friday, 15 May 2009

Weekday mornings...the start









I wake before the sun so many time.  

The alarm is set for 5.30am however I am usually awakes before it and turn it off so as not to disturb those sleeping.

Around the house I pad, barefoot or sock clad.  I know (even after such a short time) the sounds and sighs of the floorboards in this place, so I walk so as not to creak and clack.  The house and I conspire to ensure the others sleep still, while I quietly fill these first hours.

The jug in the kitchen sings and bubbles a burbling song while I visit the bathroom for my shower.  My clothing has patiently sat on a chair near the loungeroom doorway all night eager for the day ahead, and on my way back to the kitchen I layer the clothing dropping my night wear into the dirty linen basket.   I pick up my earrings and necklace, sitting beside my clothing and attach and drape them as I pad to make my coffee.

On the way through I turn on my laptop and sign in making coffee and Geni's lunch while it works its way into wakefulness.  We sit together and I take my first coffee moments o read those I am able to, check my Farm Town crops and always keeping an eye on the time.

I check my bag ( or bags) ensuring I have everything I need.
I take Geni's lunch to her and kiss her hello then head into my morning.

The images above show my morning, currently. Right up to the short bus ride to the station.


Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Mothers Day, albeit late

The number of mothers in my direct family is increasing rapidly.  I suppose that will happen when one gives birth to 2 sons and 5 daughters.  On top of that, we still have my own Mother (affectionately known to all as G-G), so it was quite the celebration.  But I have already outlined the Family Zoo celebration and delight.  For me this is about Motherhood and my personal gratitude to still have around me and in my life, my own Mother and to here acknowledge what she has helped me to see and be.

My mother is my very best friend.  There is nothing I cannot say to her or offload onto her.  She listens and certainly doesn;t always agree but lets me bounce my thoughts and more importantly, my feelings off her.   If she could physically help me she also would but those days are gone.  I well remember 15 to 20 years ago when I was a very young mother juggling many young children and two jobs and study when Mum would turn p to visit after catching two buses and walking a fair ways with her cleaning clothes in her bag!!  Touchy me, in those days - I felt it was a criticism about how I kept my home.  But the simple truth was she JUST wanted to help in any way she could because she saw what load I was carrying.

Truly I can state that it is easy for me to love because my mother has lived love for me.    I was not always wise enough to see what she did or what she was or even what she was teaching me, but in retrospect I am grateful for every lesson she lived and for being who she is. 

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Homework Leftovers





Geni and Leonnie did "homework" and took over the lounge room Saturday evening.  It was such a joy to me to see them choosing to do this without being nagged and together and companionable as well.  

They even cleaned up the mess.

These small moments an small things slip by us if e do not capture them.  It does not have to be with a camera, but life races by so quickly, I want to hug to me every happy moment.

Right now I am having my first coffee of the day and sitting in my winter layers.  Tights, leggings, a shirt, an overdress, a cardigan ( and I haven't even thrown on my coat yet.   Yes.  Winter lives with us right now.  Still, it is winter without snow and with chilly early mornings and after darks but lovely long blue mild days.

Wednesday and after work we will pop out to see Mum.  I am so grateful for each and every moment we have with her after nearly losing her last year.  My CE lost her Grandpa last night so I am too aware of mum.  

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Mothers Day






7.30am   Time to get up and drink a coffee before Geni gets up to get ready for soccer ( early game this week)
8.00am  Leonnie teeters out with a handmade book of vouchers as a gift and she and I worked on her pencil box.  She designed and cut the wood and made this an she is now decorating this as a technology project.  Nicely done as well I must say!!!  We had spent time saturday  and Friday evening painting and developing the concept.  This is the finished product!!( see above)
8.45am Collected by Nadia's mum, completed the game card, spoke with the ref, organised a linesman to run half the field.  it was cold and wet so th girl played on and got drenched.  They won 3-2.  
11.30am Home again.  Hot shower for Geni, chase Leonnie to finish up and pack up everything she needs for school and the return to her dad's place.  
12.00 On the road to collet Mum.
1.00pm Lunch at Fu Lin with Family Zoo. Tess, Erik, Lizzie and Abigail; Mum; Amy, and we lot.  Pandy Nick and AJ couldn;t make it.  The older girls clubbed together and bought me a Pandora bracelet.  The wrist links were too large for my wrist so they will return this, but I have my first beads too.  
4.00pm All back to Mum's for coffee and cake (pavlova and chocolate mud) and I ended up with a surprise bunch of palest pink long stemmed roses as well from the two youngest.  
6.00pm Went to drop Leonnie back to her dad's.  He was not there and suggested she just go inside alone and wait for them.  I POLITELY texted him advising that there was no way we would leave one 13 year old girl there alone.  We were happy to wait. ( Breathe Maggs.  Calm down Maggs..  grrr #$...**)  Did I ever tell you I dislike that man???  Or his values are not my values??

Geni is grumpy as a bear with a sore paw as her latest beau is seeing someone else.  Big deep breath.  

Morning world!!

Friday, 8 May 2009

Seasonal change

It is winter.

I know it is winter because I hug quilting to and around me at night....in summer I lie with as little on as possible with all bed clothing pushed to the bottom of the bed.  Usually it is a sarong curled and tied that lightly drapes.  

In winter, I pull socks onto my feet to pad around the house, and in summer my naked feet kiss the carpet and tiles my toes rejoicing in the redeeming coolness.

In winter I like sleeves and layers and textures ( not scratchy) whereas in summer, light and filmy is the go.  And no sleeves.  

In winter once I have divested my work clothing and mien, I haul on something long and warm and layer my top half then I curl into the corner of the lounge and wrap around me one or more throw rugs, all soft and warm ad as I sit and drift or orchestrate between bouts of cooking and organising, I knit or crochet.  he wealth of hand made and crafted winter odds and ends grows apace ready to gift to those I love.  It keeps my hands warm and my fingers nimble, also.  In summer I line the leather of the lounge with a cotton bedsheet so limit sticking.  No covers required.

Winter reminds me of days gone by when money as scarce and a growing family clamoured for food.  Always on the back burner on low I had a pot of soup bubbling.  The soup always started with bones and lentils and veges, cooked until thick and fragrant.   If anyone walked through the door I always had something hearty and warm to offer.  Freshly bakes bread and a bowl of my soup.   Into the pot as the week went by went all vegetable peelings and more water, apple cider vinegar and a plethora of spices, and the soup reinvented itself and never emptied.  I still keep and freeze bones form meat and chicken, and as winter grows around me and temperatures drop, a least once a week I make a huge pot.  One never knows when family zoo may descend!!)  Winter is self saucing puddings and custard and whipped cream ( nothing like a little over kill!!)

Summer is all light meringue with clouds of whipped cream, topped with stone fruit and passionfruit.  Fruit and yoghurt,  grilled meats and salad mixes.

I need to do a shop sometime today.  I believe I will pick up a ham hock, some bacon bones,  some dried split peas and a bunch of celery and some bratwurst and a fresh rusty loaf and split pea and ha will be on the menu.

Into a huge stock pot, throw the hock and the bones, cover with water and boil until the met begins to fall from the bones.  

In a microwave safe bowl, throw the split peas cover with water and microwave for 10 minutes.  Stand.  This prepares the speas without the need to bring to the boil and soak overnight!!

As the meat leaves the bones, pull the bones out, roll up your sleeves and as the bones cool, strip the meat and throw back into the stock pot. It doesn;t matter if it is in chunks.   Top up with water and add the drained split par cooked peas.  

Chop the entire bunch of celery ( heads and all) nd add to the pot.  
Bring back to the boil, then turn down to a rolling simmer and let cook until it smells done, stirring occasional.

Brown the wurst, slice into generous rounds and add to the pot before serving.

Imagine this with warm fresh crusty bread....

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

One pair of socks

On my toes and feet the last couple of days, whenever I have been at home, has resided a fantastic pair of thick black socks with an ankle collar of fake fur.    I am someone who feels the cold, yet these socks have radically transformed my winter experience.  

My feet are warm, therefore I am warm as toast - seemingly all over and sometimes even hot!!  

These socks are special because they arrived in Australia from a special friend and dear lady; Lori in the Netherlands.  I want to say what a special and thoughtful friend she is, but more than that - even though these arrived in the midst of my summer, now winter is here they are a true blessing.  And each time I pull them on, I think of her and the gift of her friendship.

If it were not for the net and happenstance, and so many other "ifs" this friendship would not have started and grown.    Lately I have been enormously busy ( as has she) but I want her to know and all of you I have grown to know and love and look for, that if I may be a tad absent, it is only temporary and I think of you even if I am unable at this time to spend as much time reading you as I would prefer.  

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Bittersweet teens - Black humour alert!!!

I know I tend to look at emphasise the positive, but the simple truth is that like everyone else I have my ups and my everyday downs.  Surviving teenagers is a very delicate balancing act, so I want to share some of the grit and the glory - so to speak.  There are times I can almost believe that teenage daughters are God's punishment for having sex in the first place.  I can say this because I have five daughters ( some thankfully now out of their teens and on their way to raising teenagers of their own!!) two of whom are currently going through this hormonal right of passage and as different as chalk and cheese.

There are four things you will NEVR hear your teenage daughter say:
1.          "I don't need money.  I am going to get a part time job and be self sufficient!"  With our Prime Minister's stimulus package and the promise of $900 per person last evening on the walk from the bus to the door Geni asked (a)if I had received mine and what was she getting from that!!!  She also asked (b) at what age the Family payment should come directly to her and she informed me she still wants pocket money as it is not enough.  I pointed out (a) I had not yet received that money and that I would buy a replacement fridge when it comes in and maybe some furniture for the rumpus area and (b) that her father still claimed her and received this money so I had no idea how much it was.  
2.          "Can I get you a cup of tea after I have unpacked the dishwasher and put everything away?"  I have been informed that irregardless of our agreements, IF I want her assistance then I must ask for it. So I have been told  Geni gets $25 a week.  From me.  The deal is that she does two loads of washing and cleans her room once a week.  Sneaky mum has also suggested that her room is cleaned, organised and vacuumed before she asks if she can have friends stay - because the answer will be no if she doesn;t.  She has completely skipped part A but always manages to clean at least once a week because with teenage girls bribery never fails ( remember that as a fallback - find something they want and attach something YOU want from her as a condition.) 
3.          "Drugs and sex are overrated.  I am going to plough my energy into learning Mandarin and algebra!"  Yeah.  Right!!
4.          "I don't ever want to go out with him again!  An incredible physique, a Harley Davidson and a recording contract are so overrated!"

What you will hear, though - 
"If you talk to my boyfriend again,I will kill you."
"Please don;t talk about that with me here.  I will tell you when I want to talk."
" What was the emergency with Chloe/Lucy/interchange name here that I was talking on the phone at 2am?  My friend needed my support.  It is just stuff."  (In fact everything becomes Just Stuff and she stops talking with you. )
"I am just having a few friends over" which translates as an open invitation to anyone in the country under 25.
"I just hate you!! I wish you would die!!" I should have typed this in caps as that is how this is flung down - usually when you have denied her something or money she has her heart set on, or permission to do something you know is not right or good for her.

Having consulted other mothers, it is clear that once a daughter starts into the teens she is taken hostage by hormones.  Having always preferred the natural look she will suddenly begin guarding her mascara and eyeliner more closely than a Columbian drug lord.  Her once pristine bedroom will become so unkempt that visitors wipe their feet before leaving, and her outfit chopice will make her look like she lives on the streets.    She will start dating a succession of boys who smell like dead rodents and have entire ecosystems under each fingernail.  You will try to placate your husband/partner by explaining that whenever the daughter is down in the sumps she will get herself a new boyfriend.  To which he will reply: "So THAT'S where she finds them!!"

So why do our teenage daughters all seem to have a "I find my mother contemptible" clause in their contracts?   Have we been too lenient?  Too keen not to replicate tyhe authoritarianism of our parents, perhaps we have been too lax in our discipline??

It seems to me that teenagers crave boundaries.  Daughters don;t want their mothers out on the "pull" ( like Fergie ( former Duchess of York) boasts of doing with her two daughters.  They don;lt even want THAT sex talk.  Not from their mums, at least.  In my house, any mention of the word "period" in a context other an Hellenic or Jurassic is met with derision.

Before I started looking for a loophole in their birth certificate I firstly examined myself. Have I been a good role model?  Think about it - it is our generation which has produced the corporate cowboys and  the reckless leaders responsible for the current credit crunch.    And lets not mention the way we have allowd big business to vandalise the environment.   Perhaps we need to vote in more inspirational leaders at the helm of the world as they see it to set better examples.  

Either way, I suspect mothering teenage girls will always make you feel you are testing the depth of the water with  both feet.   Yet it does get better.    Like rock hard butter, daughters do eventually melt into spreading consistency!!

Just today  Geni crushed me in a  bear hug and said she was sorry for being so grumpy the other day ( although she was raiding my change purse at the same time!!)  "When I was younger I just couldn;t believe how silly you were!! But now I am older ( she is all of 14) it is incredible how much you have learned in a year!!

Motherhood is like a beanbag - easy to get into and hard to get out of!!  It does have its cosy moments!!  Not that I am kidding myself - I suspect the first 40 years are the hardest!!

Meanwhile I will try to cut Geni some slack and keep my sense of humour intact ( black though it is!!)  Netx time she screams "I hate you! I wis you would die!!"  I will just smile sweetly take a swig of good red wine and reply: "I m doing my best , darling!!"

Monday, 4 May 2009

The world and time racing by

It is Tuesday morning and I am taking a short while before launching myself into the day to just breath and spend some time gathering my thoughts.

Geni is a "normal" 14 year old and in her mind the entire world revolves around her.
I have asked her to keep her bedroom door closed if she will persist in filing her clothing on the floor.
She leaves the door open and then gets very upset if anyone goes in there for any reason.
I have told her that her "privacy" will be respected IF she keeps her door shut.
She yelled ant me and I am ashamed to admit that yesterday, I yelled back.
I hate descending to that level. I hate letting anyone annoy me to the point that I just yell.
Well, Geni quietened down awfully quickly.
She wasn;t listening when I tried to talk to her and felt she could yell me down. But she was amazed and finally heard me out.
RESPEC T has to be earned. It is a two way street.  I have pointed out to her that my life is ALL about putting others before myself and constantly considering everyone; the food I buy often is not what I would choose to eat ( for example) and the food is THERE when they want it; her clothing is collected and washed and mended ( when required; I have signed on for managing HER soccer team ) which means some inordinately early starts on a weekend;  I have rearranged my work life to accomodate her schedule.. I could go on ( and last night I did.)

I have asked Geni to meet me half way.  I have explained that although she sees all I do as "my job", it in fact isn't.  It is the result of choices I make.    As all relationships are two ways, (give/take) I had the opportunity to point out that it is not all give my way and all take hers.  She is to think of ways to meet me half way.

I disliked intensely that she refused to listen to me and expected me to listen to her while she verbally attacked me.  I could, and should have handled this better.  I will next time.  

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Morning rushings

Sunday morning - breakfast gulped down, doing the same to coffee waiting for the shower.  Two teenage girls and unless I sneak out and about before the sun, the wait for shower time can be excessive.  I keep reminding myself that is better than the alternate - namely smelly teenagers. 

* Completing the game card for Geni's soccer, throwing on a load of whites, reminding Leonnie of her pencil box/decoupage assignment......

*     Cannot log onto work email.  

*     I did a weekly menu and shop yesterday.  There has been rebellion in the ranks as Geni is used to going to the fridge and cupboard and deciding ad hoc what she would like.  There is some latitude for that, but for fiscal reasons as well as ease ( I do not wish to be a short order cook!!) we will stick to the menu.  I have bought in some yummies/lusties as well as the good stuff.   Also, as I am getting older, I am more aware that my body works better when adequately nourished.  So I am planning to ensure we all have all we need ( and not excessive amounts of anything naughty) to keep us as healthy and close to our comfortable weights as possible. 

Morning ALL. :))

Sunday sees me putting the full stop on last week, preparing for the coming week.
Soccer game at 11am.  

Stop and collect a few things at the shops.
Leonnie's homework.
Geni's homework
3 loads of washing.
Vacuum.
Spend some time - all of us, just sitting.  Together. 
Feed the kookaburras in the backyard.

Return Leonnie to her dad's this evening.

Think about what Family Zoo will do about Mother's Day next weekend..





Friday, 1 May 2009

Yawn.....

Saturday morning and the household is sleeping - except for me!  I need to skedaddle and collect some soccer id cards so that means an early morning bus ride and walk home ( that takes care of some of my exercise for the day!!) and of course I indulged my obsession/addiction with Facebook Application Farm Town.  Yes, little Miss I Have No Time for Gaming is curiously addicted to Farm Town. 

The sky is blue.  The weather is perfect for walking, and I am not wasting these precious moments.

Have a wonderful day/night.  

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Another week is over

Spent half a day at work Wednesday. Spent 3/4 day Thrsday and managed a whole day today and now the weekend stretches before me.  But before the weekend I lived intensely in each and every moment of today.

While waiting for the bus, I saw a kookaburra sitting in the fork of a blonde trunked gum tree, the pale feathers on his chest and neck the exact blonde of the paper bark.  There he sat, still, watching what must have been a potential meal, enriching my wait.  

A gang of arguing cockatoos took flight up the valley and flew low and  quarrelled loudly while low flying to ensure everyone in their wake was also awake. They circled once and headed north up the valley close to the creek.

I managed to complete and submit my network upgrade business case and reworked and reorganised the wording ( twice) and I am finally happy with the result.   I organised flu injections for all interested staff.  AND someone will come onsite and do it all here.   I wrangled a development timeline to complete the database redevelopment project from the database specialist.  And chased a few other bits and pieces; odds and ends.

Leonnie met me at work and travelled home with me, and we collected Geni and her friend Nadia where we catch the bus.  A quiet night is on the cards as we sit curled together watching chosen shows and movies and nibbling, sipping drinks all wrapped in blankets and quilts.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Reminders

Do you sometimes feel a little blue or feel your dreams are moving away from you?  Here are some simple steps to help you embrace the positive every day!!

The simplest things can make our lives fuller, brighter , better and more joyous;
  • Everyone has imagination; use yours anytime you want and be creative!!
  • Remember every so often to touch someone when you are near them or talking with them - it makes people feel special.
  • Use money to empower not control you.  Make it a tool and not a driver.
  • Include rituals in your life no matter how small.  They are so important.  Even a cup of tea can create a ritual.
  • Always give with the fulness of your heart - whatever the response.
  • Find something sacred in each and every day.
  • Walk every day - it helps harmonise the mind and the body.
  • Don't let any season pass without an abundant feast to bring you close to nature and the season.
  • Unwind your body at the end of each and every day.
  • Passion doesn;t get lost- just abandoned!!  It is never too late to find it again!!
While you make your way through your life today, have a cuppa or a drink, turn the pages on a book, smell the food before you eat it and savour it, feel the texture of the fabric on your sheets as you turn down your bed, smile deeply and sincerely at those you love and drink them in with your eyes.  Treasure this and every moment as you live it.


Saturday, 25 April 2009

Images from the sleepover

AJ helping me ice cupcakes14 year olds

13 year olds

How to Make KIndness Your New Routine

I am committing myself to living a more compassionate life and I have found it is as tough as sticking to a new fitness routine.  The same strategies apply as well.  These basic lessons have risen to the surface in me again as I am living consciously more in each and every moment.   This decision of mine came when I asked myself what I thought people might say about me if I suddenly died, right now.  The next thing I asked myself was what I would genuinely LIKE people to say about me.  And this led me to ask myself what steps I need to take to become more of that ind of person.

Can you tell I am committed to continuous improvement?
  1. START SMALL.   It could be as simple as striking up a conversation in a friendly way with someone who looks lonely or lost in a banking queue or a supermarket.   Being aware of the nuances of feeling in the people we work with and around on a daily basis also provides opportunities.    I endeavour to listen not only to what people say, but also to what they don't say.  Sometimes, I have found, just asking if they are okay makes all the difference in the world.  
  2. CHOOSE AN ACTIVITY YOU ENJOY.  I thought about what I like o do in my spare time and I went from there.  Even those who LOVE to shop could volunteer for a service like Dress for Success which provides career clothing or counselling to women in need, or if you like chatting on the phone, the Red Cross provide a service where you would telephone each day an elderly person who lives alone JUST to make sure they answer and are still okay.  For some of these elderly, this is the only social contact they have, and should your assigned person not answer there are people to contact who will pop around and check on them.  I know each time I read about an elderly person found dead after an extended time, my heart just breaks.    If you want some good ideas try volunteermatch.org or idealist.org or networkforgood.org.
  3. BE SPECIFIC.  Instead of saying to yourself, "I want to help children" say ( for example) "I want to read to children once a week".  How many primary schools need teacher's aide assistance with the slow learners?  Or organisaqtions like Big Brothers and Sisters who take disadvantaged children for outings or a weekend once a month to give parents a break?  This will help you figure out what you yourself can contribute.
  4. BUDDY UP.   Invite a friend to join you -it is always more fun!! Shared.  You also get the benefit of motivating each other.
  5. PUT IT ON YOUR CALENDAR.  Schedule it.  Even if the activity you chose isn;t a regularly scheduled volunteer gig you can still pencil it in.
The five steps outlined and bolded work for any routine you choose to undertake.  

What do you need to work on?
What would you like to do?

Picture this

Image the seconds ticking by and you are struggling to communicate the simplest of ideas to the person next to you.  You feel disconnected, hampered and frustrated.  You can see it clearly in your mind but you just can't find a way to convey this.  This could be a light-hearted moment from a game of Pictionary or for the 120,000 Australians living with autism, this is their daily challenge.

There is a new national campaign called Drawtism asking people to host Pictionary evenings with family, friends and colleagues this month.  Drawtism is based on Pictionary which has an authentic connection to the experience of autism, which not only demonstrates some idea of what autism is, but is a way to galvanise support.

Register you game of drawtism at www.drawtism.com.au

For those overseas of elsewhere on this planet, why not take these principles and do a little of this where you are?  There is fun and lightheartedness involved but it also helps us appreciate what others go through or live with and gives us a doorway into helping - what do you say??

Invest in a child's education

In Australia why don't you this year  donate to the Smith Family's Winter Appeal ( running from May1 to June 30)?? According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about 680,000 children live in homes where neither parent is employed and this is expected to rise as the global financial crisis continues.  Many of these children are left with no choice but  to wear their summer school uniform through winter because the expense of winter uniform is unmanageable for the parents.  

Being dressed differently can impact on how the children fit in and are accepted by their peer group as well.  Supporting children to fit in and feel comfortable where they are educated can help break the cycle of poverty.    To support this appeal call 1800 024 069 or go to www.thesmithfamily.com.au

Wherever you are in the world, it might be a good idea to explore what you can do where you are.



Post sleepover stunned state

Yes, last night saw the new house filled to the brim with 13 and 14 year old females.  Our fridge has been temperamental since we moved it; sometimes the fridge section works, but the freezer works al the time.  Yesterday it was JUST the freezer so maggie went into plan f, g, h.  Cooling small individual drinks in short sharp freezer spells, only cooking the mountains of food at the last moment and being creative in packaging and saving leftovers.

Needless to say, everyone ate far too much and there is enough food left over to feed the rets of us for the coming week.  

And I am relaxing and reading

Thursday, 23 April 2009

A kind act a day, can keep the doctor away - PLAN a Week of Worthy Activities

  1. Feeling overwhelmed? Lend a hand.  In a study completed recently researchers measured the brain activity of volunteers who dispensed cash to different sources as a part of a computer game.  When these volunteers "donated cash" to a charity instead of "keeping" it they activated the part of the brain that produces oxytocin , a hormone that relaxes you and helps you feel good.  This hormone also helps you feel more attached to others which is why the body produces it naturally when you cuddle a baby.  FIND a philanthropic activity you enjoy ( volunteer for a literacy program, help out at a soup kitchen or a charity depot/store, walk homeless dogs at an animal shelter) make it part of your weekly or monthly routine.
  2. Simply seeing people do compassionate things may help you get over a nasty cold faster.  I a study done by a behavioural psychologist students who atched a documentary about Mother Teresa and her work in Calcutta had significant increases in immunoglobulin A ( a type of immune cell).  SEE benevolence by renting Hotel Rwanda or I Am Legend or view tv shows about heroes.
  3. Many people cope with negative emotions by overeating, drinking or smoking.  Research shows that you can get a  healthier "helper's high" instead.  Pitching in actually raises endorphin and dopamine levels which brings you feelings of euphoria.  One of my ways of coping throughout my life is to stop and count my blessing and when I get my eyes off myself, I can see so many more less fortunate than I am.  That levels things out for sure.  In a study with AA, people who did not become sponsors ( helping others stay sober) were twice as likely to relapse in the year following the end of treatment.   One of the mottos of AA is "By helping others, I help myself. "  TRY working at a community garden or cleaning a beach park or playground.  
  4. Cholesterol and blood pressure aren't the only considerations when it comes to keeping your heart healthy.  Negativity - anger, hostility and resentment - have been linked to heart attacks and premature death.  So has self-absorption and self-centeredness.  Researchers in one University study surveyed medical students in their 20's and again in their 50's.  People who scored high on hostility in their 20's were four to five times more likely to have developed coronary heart disease in their 50's than those with lower scores.  Interestingly, data from a group monitoring volunteers shows coronary disease is lowest in area where most people serve as volunteers.
  5. If you are suffering from a chronic illness, it is easy to become depressed - which can make your health spiral further downwards.  Assisting others can help you stay healthy.  In studies of people living with MS or HIV/aids,  patients who got involved in helping others with the same illness stayed healthier, longer. Plus they were less likely to feel lonely or negative.  Reaching out improves self confidence and lifts depression that can compromise physical healing in the ill or injured.  HELP people facing similar challenges to yours, whether it is dealing with illness, or a special needs child.  Call a lcoal hospital and find out how you may help another patient in recovery, be a hotline volunteer or start a support group.
  6. Helping others can help you age gracefuly.  Researchers who followed 2000 people over 55 found that those who volunteered regularly had a 44% less likelihood of dying during the 5 years of the study.  Those who volunteered for two or more organisations had a 63% lower mortality rate than non-volunteers. JOIN forces with others whoa re volunteering. Help out t a church or centre.
SUNDAY:  Give something away.  Donate clothes or books to a charity.  The hospital which housed and cared for my mother for most of last year, takes donations of books and offers them to people who spend their long hours beside the bedside of a loved one.  When someone is gravely ill, it helps to have something with you as you sit and wait.  One can't always focus but sometimes it is a relief.  The Hospital asks for a gold coin donation for these.  We often take our books and donate them by the box load ( we are al great readers..)

MONDAY:  Shop consciously.  By fair-trade coffee and chocolate and eco friendly cleaning products.

TUESDAY.  Read for inspiration.  Subscribe to an e-newsletter of an organisation you admire.

WEDNESDAY.  Click for good. Do your online shopping at charity malls like igive.com and buyforcharity.com and prompt free donations at "click sites" such as thebreastcancersite.com and theanimalrescuesite.com

THURSDAY.  Spread the word.  Tell your hair stylist about cutitout.org (a program that assists salon staff identify domestic violence victims) or encourage children to check out kindnews.com which teaches children about animal welfare.

FRIDAY.  Be a stealth Samaritan.  Leave flowers and a treat anonymously on a friend's doorstep, pull the weeds from a busy neighbours garden while they are at work, take the children of a single mum for a couple of hours so mum can have some "me" time.

SATURDAY.  Host a party with purpose.  Ask guests to bring gifts of non perishable food to contribute to a food bank. 

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

habits of morning

Dark drapes around me
I extinguish the light
gathering to myself
essentials - a book, glasses
hugging them close.

I pad across the floor
quietly to feel my way
around the bed
to you.
with hand I find your head and face

I lean my body down
against your sleep warmed form
kissing you hello
and goodbye.
You murmur and snuffle.

With your arm you reach around 
hauling and holding me tight
against you
to rest and lie there.
For a brief moment I give in.

Aware of time marching into the day
I let you settle back
into sleep carrying with me
the weight of your arms
anchoring me against you.
f

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Soldiers

An army of twisted trees
stands at attention
beside me
grey green their uniform is
waving branches
in endless animated drill.

This army does not travel far.
Guard duty is its posting.

Morning

Someone took a paintbrush
dipped in pastel pinks
and salmons
and golds
and drew it across the morning sky

Someone dipped clumps of cotton
into gunmetal greys
and intense blues
with whisps of white
and stuck them over the watercolour dawn

I stood.
I reminded myself to breath
In.
The beauty
immobilised me.

Morning when I would normally....

Now, usually I have my head down and tail p inside a CBD skyscraper facing NOT outward.    Here I sit at home, watching the rain drift across the uninhabited valley behind me and listening to the rain pater and whisper against the back verandah.  The valley is brimful of clouds.

Geni stayed last night with Nadia and Erin ( at Nadia's house) and today is at Erin's place ( 2 suburbs away).  We mothers have developed a group of safe parents who we know will be there with the girls as they are at such a precarious age.  13/14.   Not all the girls in their friendship group have parents who care where they are or what they are doing, so we who do are making sure we communicate to ensure the girls are cared for and always have a safe person there in some way.  The girls all play soccer together as well.   Geni we will collect from Hornsby around 4.20 this evening and we have not christened Thursday - yet!!

Today, Leonnie and I are home and Leonnie is still sleeping while I have indulged my Farm Town addiction and am finally catching up on email to those I have neglected over the time of the move and resettling and reading my way through their lives as I miss them so much!!  I am still pottering and puttering in sorting and throwing away and recycling.

Leonnie is having a birthday sleepover on Friday night and I am preparing menu and ideas for this as well.    Leonnie can sleep until she wants to wake - there is no pressure here and no need not to indulge. 

Even on holiday I have managed 7 loads of washing and even dropped into work to set up for a skype visual training session yesterday morning ( how does one spell brownie points??)   But the rest of this week is mine and the girls and I am extremely grateful for this.     

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Moments

Words spoken
laced with laughter
underscored
with wit
and humour.
The floor
paced away
beneath my feet.
The window looming large
and retreating
retracing
my pacing 
punctuating
by words spoken.

More.
I want.

Waiting.
While I slept
it sat
like a gift.
I opened and read
A great flower 
that could be hope 
slowly unfurled 
inside my chest.  

It didn't blossom, 
but 
it did unfurl.

What am I?

Richest red,
I hold you
inhaling
tart sweetness.

I bite
deeply into you
explosion
of intense sweetness

From the Train

Out there
the world is shrouded
soft whispy gray
hovering
just above
grass
jewelled
with individual sparkles
of dew.

Out there
the nearby sentinel trees
stand
stark and clear
fading clearly
becoming
only haze
awaiting sunrise
calling the day.

Coffee with my friends

This week I am on leave and although no trips are planned, we are still cleaning, scrubbed and making this wonderful shell full of light and air on the very edge of the National Park and open bushland, into our home.

But before I continue with the work component and spend time with Geni and Leonnie, I shall enjoy my morning coffee with my friends, here.  And catch up.  

" A good friend is a connection to life - a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world."  Lois Wyse.

This friendship is a comfortable place I place myself and just AM.  I trust those who visit me there.  Their loyalty to me and their advice and honesty has helped me weather so many of the storms life has laid on me and over my busy life.  Each and every one of you I treasure.

I wish to leave you with a quote:

"Pick a day.  Enjoy it to the hilt.  The day as it comes.  People as they come... the past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present - and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future."  AUDREY HEPBURN

Saturday we were enjoying our last lazy unencumbered morning and moving bits and pieces of furniture around and planning a change or two of placement when the phone rang.  It was Leonnie. In tears.  Geni took over and asked if we could go down and collect them.  It was around lunchtime so Tony and I grabbed our shoes and began to head  out to the car while reassuring them.  Kate, their dad's girlfriend, had made Leonnie cry.  Their dad was at the bowling club ( cheap booze, gambling on the horses -after all, it is the autumn carnival at the races and being Saturday even though it was his daughters last day with them, HE was absent and he left them with his girlfriend. )  I can understand her upset and resentment.

Geni went and suggested to kate that she understands that Dad and she may be fighting but Leonnie and she had just got up so they didn;t understand why she was "mad "(angry) at them?  I have no doubt whatsoever that Kate may have been confronted by her plain speaking.  Kate has an 8 year old daughter ( Faith) who takes every opportunity to hit and kick the older girls.  When the older girls ask her to stop or ask the adults to intervene, Kate denies her daughter can do any wrong and suggests my girls are making it up.  My girls do see Faith as a spoiled brat but feel they should be treated the same.  Kate apparently goes home to her mother every time Graeme and she fight.  So she and Faith left and left my girls in that house alone.

I asked them to get their things together.  Then we made our way down there.  Their dad told them from the bowling club - not straight back home - to tell us NOT to come. Too late. Plus if he has been at the Club he will have been drinking and even if he borrowed a car to bring them, he would be inebriated.  So, no.  Not good enough.

He didn't come straight home but he was there when we collected the girls.  he came back to emotionally LOAD Leonnie because he is afraid she will want to move into here with us now.  Leonnie and I talked and I told her that there is no way I would load her.  That I have full confidence that she will make her own decision but the thing I did say was that she needs to make her decision based on what is best for HER - not on making me happy or daddy happy.  That we are adults and therefore responsible for our own happiness, as she is for hers.

Both girls have emptied the fridge and the pantry so I suspect there wasn't much at their dad's place.  But that is expected.

The first thing we all did was sort through and setup each girls bedroom.  Tony and I hadn't done that as being teens we expected they would have their own idea about what they would like, so now the living area is completely arranged and there are only a few leftover bags and storage to go through.

We also spent most of Sunday sorting through and rearranging the downstairs section in preparation for Leonnie's slumber party this Friday evening.  What fun!!! 


Saturday, 18 April 2009

Unpacking my life

Finally, a full week after the move, this place is beginning to look and feel like home.  I still find myself scrubbing walls and skirting boards, as layers of life's leavings show up and as I "see" them, I scrub them into cleanliness.

Window sills, skirting boards and a farm of breeding recycle bags, folded within bags.  

The bedroom looks and smells and feels like mine.  My clothing and jewellery have their own places assigned and everything is where it should be.

The kitchen is unpacked and functioning, as a kitchen and the first meals cooked and demolished as fast as they came form the stove top oven.

The entrance hall has my flavour and little pieces of my paintings or ornaments welcoming any who arrive. Geni and Leonnie arrived back last night to a flurry of assembling and ordering their rooms and furniture and much list making as to what else they may need.

The longeroom is and has functioned as a lounge the entire time, but the dvd collection has been unpacked and the display cabinet is being used for sorting for the moment. The rumpus downstairs is beginning to find some order as the bits are moved elsewhere and the collection of bags diminished.

It will all come together, I am  sure.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Easter Feast





Updates from a Busy Life

In the midst of packing, cleaning, hauling and unpacking, rearranging, more cleaning, we managed to fit in a wonderful Easter Sunday visit for most of us at Tess' place.  

Over Thursday evening and  throughout Friday.  My girls are as good and effective as any grown removalist and we had a barrel of fun in helping each other.  As is my usual practice I largely cleaned and scrubbed as we went so by the time Monday came it would only take a cursory once over for us to bring the place we left up to scratch.

Sunday saw a pleasant time for us all.

We are largely unpacked with some things yet to do and work ongoing.  Life goes on.

It is quiet out here.
In the morning the valley is full of clouds and everything is peaceful.

What a wonderful way to start the day.
Any day.

Abigail Easter Sunday - 5 weeks old





Easter Egg HUnt Much fun for everyone.