first, peel your banana

andy-banana

Bananas don’t last long in the extreme Australian summer heat. Five were dying in our fruit bowl this morning. Mr FD manned up and added two to his lunch time salad, but two from five still left three. I decided to make the two ingredient cookies my granddaughters love (2 bananas : 1 cup rolled oats, bake at 200C for 15-20 minutes) . Except somehow I never manage to follow the recipe correctly – this time not quite enough rolled oats in the pantry- and so I topped up with muesli!

Earlier this morning I had noticed all the New Year Resolution posts popping up online. This year’s resolution for me was to be creative and I have given myself a 9 out of 10 for that resolution. Not quite a 10 because sometimes I am too lazy to do anything but sit and mindlessly flick through Facebook or mindlessly resort to old habits! By creative, I don’t just mean “arty”, I also mean trying too look at a world with a design mind – seeking new uses for things, being innovative in my life as well as creative. I am happy with what I achieved overall though.

Looking at the sad bananas in the fruit bowl, I though that maybe 2017 could be the year to work on food waste. We buy so many vegetables and fruits that just wither and rot in our refrigerator. Much of this is due to the fact that I have great plans for the week, but as each day passes and I get tired and the school work piles higher, I resort to pulling in for takeaway at night rather than even think about making a simple meal.  Bad girl!

Looking at it creatively, trying to minimise food waste also means that I am planning our shopping better – maybe even save money in the process. We will certainly eat better meals, and that will impact positively on my health, which we all know needs all the help it can get!

Mr FD  in recent weeks has become quite the hand at the barbecue, so if I  plan meals around that to start with, I can’t see how we can’t prosper. I have a slow cooker to use in colder months. It also continues on my 2016 creativity resolution, which makes me self-pleased. I am feeling superior already.

So, that’s it, folks – my resolution for 2017 is to reduce food waste in our home. Good for me, my family, the community and the planet. What’s not to love?

Just going to tell Mr FD what his first resolution for 2017 is…

 

 

 

Two down, 363 to go!

You’ve been on hold for a day or two, haven’t you, dear? I have been off living a life.

A phone call asking for a New Year’s Eve babysitter, sent Daughter2 and I off to the city to care for Petite Fille while her parents partied their way into 2015 at a pool party. Daughter2’s Beau had already returned to the west coast and to work, so she had a quiet New Year’s with Mama on the couch watching truly terrible television.

We had gone out for take out Thai food and a bottle of white wine for dinner, and as we walked back into the house, Petite Fille declared “Party!” I wasn’t even wearing a paper hat! I think my granddaughter may be  a party girl at heart, if it is possible to be  a party girl at 22 months of age.

I have to admit that after two glasses of the wine, I didn’t actually see the New Year in. Daughter2 informs me I snored the New Year in, as if it was possible that a Flamingo Dancer would ever consent to snore; but I was asleep. Sleep is high on my New Year’s Resolutions List, so I am off to a great start for the year!

New Year’s Day we decided to go out to brunch, but being Brisbane most of the cafes and restaurants were closed for the public holiday, assuming everyone in the world was snoozing off a hangover. We found one restaurant with a spare table, but they told us there was a two hour – TWO HOUR- wait on food, so we moved on. The only other alternative did not warn us of any wait, but wait we did. It was well over an hour before our simple orders of raisin toasts and fruit salads arrived. Then they tried to give D2 cow’s milk instead of soy milk coffee, which would have given D2 a very distressing outcome had she consumed it. They made fresh coffee.

Jan2 was a wedding shopping day. Daughters went bridesmaid dress shopping while I stayed home with Petite Fille (and yes they found one). The ladies were gone all day – the first day D1 has spent away from Petite Fille since she was born. The most she has ever been away has been three hours previously.  We all survived, though Grandma was rather tired by the end of a day making buses out of chairs and rugs, and crawling around the floor finding pieces of duplo. I may have developed an eye twitch due to near exhaustion by the end of the two days, but all was good.

Big hugs for D2, as I left. She returns to Perth, on Sunday. I will see her once more, for a long weekend, before she returns for the April wedding. Looking forward to more happy times in 2015.

Living the life, as I said, even if all the niceness kills me in the process!

happy person

sack cloth and ashes are sooo last year

No  New Year’s resolutions this year, except to live a good life and to be of some help to others. I have come to the opinion that new year resolutions and the modern form of self-flagellation; for why would an arbitrary turning of the calendar, an artificial construct at that , bring us to wrought a change that we have no considered worthy in the months just past?

New Year calvin-hobbes-new-years-resolutions

For in the words of Cyril Connolly, “If our elaborate and dominating bodies are given to us to be denied at every turn, if our nature is always wrong and wicked, how ineffectual we are—like fishes not meant to swim.”

night sky

Regrets? Not a one.

New Year 31

2012 Resolutions:

I must change.

I must remove all the excess. 

I must get rid of all the clutter.

I must eat healthier food.

I must exercise.

I must read more, for pleasure and professionally.

I must watch less TV.

I must be more active in my own life.  

Well, we are in the last few hours of 2012 and like millions of others, I feel a little tug to pause for reflection on the year that has been. I am not making any resolutions this new year, having decided that I am about as good as I am going to get (and hey, as a goddess, that is pretty damn good!)

At the turn of 2011 to 2012 I made the  resolutions listed above. How did I go? I blitzed it; of course not!

Well, I changed. Who doesn’t as they live through another year, notch up another year on the birthday totem? We also started a new life, a country life; and I gained permanent employment in a role that I always desired, but took the long route to achieve. Happiness off the scale has been my reward.

Excess? Well, it was a slow walk to a crashing crescendo on that one. Budget cutbacks achieved some trimming. Moving achieved even more (do I pack the shit, or do I toss the shit? After packing about a gazillion boxes that question becomes way easier.) The final cut to excess was achieved through a mind shift that minimalism brought me more joy and far less stress.

Yes, indeed moving got the toss out regime into high gear, and we managed to downsize to a smaller house, but it is still obvious that I need to cull more than a little bit more. It will happen, the die is cast. It has become a mindset and a need, and so clutter has been controlled as well.

Food? Well, I would have classed that a big fat F for failure until the last few weeks when I think I finally got the light bulb moment. After yet one more bout of diverticulitis, and a pretty severe one, I have really looked at my diet. I have suffered from diverticulitis for over fifteen years now, and I do not believe that my diet really plays a large part in my chronic condition, though I avoid certain things as a precaution; anyone who has suffered the pain of an attack would do the same.

For months I have been trying to cut back on sugar in my diet. Yes, I of the chocolate and jelly baby eating sweet tooth. As my children joke, “Mum thinks lollies are a food group!” I eliminated sugar from my one coffee a day at work – woohoo! To cut a long food saga short, in the last weeks of 2012 I just didn’t want to feel second rate anymore, I want to have more energy and so I really working on what I eat; and when it is something not so good, at least the portion size. So, maybe not an F, but more of a D+.

Reading, well the professional reading went up off the scale; so much to learn. I started a professional Scoop.It to curate the information and to share it with colleagues. Along the line I joined a bookclub that has forced me to read things out of my usual comfort genre (biography and memoir), but I didn’t cut out the television watching as much as I planned. Heck, there was that ongoing sideshow called the US Presidential Election and I just couldn’t drag myself away. Then to have it followed by the Fiscal Cliff, what a gift for a comedy lover!

Exercise came with the move to the country, where just walking to the mailbox is more than I used to walk in a week living in the city! Exercise also came with the arrival of a puppy named Augie Dog, who loves to play, well he loves to play all the time, and any game! He also lowered our stress to levels not experienced in years

And the last resolution; to be more active in my life? I am, I know I am. I am grateful for and I appreciate everyone in my life, and everything I have. My blessings are many and I try to embrace each moment. I even try to be nice, even though it goes against my natural inclinations, for I find nice exhausting; but I do try.

Life is rarely what we hope or wish, but all we can do is our best and try to be resilient. I have tried to ride the roller coaster and yet set my own path at the same time. Win some, lose some, for sure, but I try to stay true to myself, and try to stop others setting my life agenda. Life? I am in it.

happy drink

silk purses and sow’s ears

NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS

Every day I wake up, stand at the bedroom window and look at the garden, the trees, and the hills beyond and feel so refreshed and optimistic. There is something about returning to one’s roots, in my case the country, and being close to nature that infuses the spirit with peace and serenity.

There is this little bubble of joy inside of me that I am not sure I have ever experienced before in my life. As Daughter1 commented on Christmas Day, “It is as though you all [Mr FD, Son and I] exhaled when you moved here.” She added that she had never realised how much we must have all hated living in the city until she saw how happy we are now. “It is though you all inhaled and held on tight all those years [10 years] and now you are breathing again”.

All the years of remaking myself – redundancy in 2008, retraining to become a teacher, starting a new career in education in 2009, searching for a full time permanent job until 2012, has been an adventure for sure. It has also been stressful and often uncertain, but the journey has brought me here and for that I can only be grateful. As I often write, we can’t help what happens to us, but we can help how we deal with it, and I like to think that I have tried to make the most of what has come my way.

So, in 2013 I am not making any New Year’s resolutions. After decades of trying to perfect myself, I think I know that I am about as perfect as I am going to get. I am what I am, and time to enjoy what I have and not waste precious time and energy. After all there is only one of me, and that is enough for the world, and me!

New Year No-resolutions (1)

I told you so…

Just goes to show that exercise is not all it is cracked up to be. I went for my walk in the rain on Sunday and then Monday morning I woke with a cracker of a headache that lasted all the way into Tuesday. Obviously, it was all too much of a shock for my delicate body.

Maybe I should have started more slowly. First day I should have just laced up my shoes and walked to the mail box, just to get my psyche alerted to the coming onslaught of movement.

Second outing, maybe I should just walk to the end of the street and back, then lie down awhile. If this doesn’t bring on any ill effects then maybe I could walk around the block (three street). Once again, if no medical intervention required, I could cast a little more caution to the wind, and maybe walk for 20 minutes.

That would probably been enough exercise for the year, and another item ticked off the resolution to do list.

And no, it had nothing to do with the large glass of red wine I consumed on Sunday night.

Don’t even try to argue with me.

Monday resolutions

I love my job, in case you haven’t noticed yet. 2012 has been such a turn around from 2011, and not a day goes by that I don’t remind myself how fortunate I am, and to send another wish into the cosmos that the bubble doesn’t burst any time soon; or preferably ever.

When I took the decision to go back to university and become a teacher in late 2008, so late in 2008 that it was Boxing Day 2008, just days away from the close of applications for a January 16th start, I had no idea what would happen. I just knew that it was my last chance to change careers. Time was ticking away and the window of opportunity doesn’t stay open for long after a person hits the age of fifty.

So, how does that fit with my 2012 resolutions? Well, for one it shows that being active in my own life really works, and though actions don’t always bear fruit in the beginning, if you just keep working at it, often if only to take two steps forward and one and a quarter back, just to keep that goal in sight and eventually there will be some pay off.

Every day, now, I get to go to a workplace I have grown to like in a very short time, to a role that I absolutely adore. Not that I wouldn’t give it up in an instant if someone offered me the possibility to retire in comfort, but that is not an option, and in the meantime I am in a worker’s paradise!

My fear is that one morning I will wake up and find that the carnival has moved on without me.

The last couple of years has shown me that things can go sour very, very quickly, and without reason. Sanity does take a holiday from time to time. As a result fear and anxiety sneak in the back door when I am not looking, despite my efforts, and I need to let go of fearful thoughts that cripple and just trust my instincts and go for it. So, that is an aspect of  “change”, my first resolution for 2012, that still needs work.

Fear only binds us to old ways, and bad habits. Letting go of fear, trusting myself  and my abilities to be enough is an end goal, and I have worked on it really hard this past week. Now, when those negative thoughts come oozing through the cracks, I just acknowledge them, decide what is within my control and what isn’t and then let them go. If it is out of my control, why waste precious energy on it? That is what I have learnt this year and worked on this week.

Strangely, it actually gifted me a sense of empowerment, for now, instead of wasting time and energy on hopeless endeavours trying to control everything, I can concentrate my efforts on the things in my life I can control, and the redirected time and energy go into the realm of influence I do have, and I am more at peace with my tasks, and so much more productive and creative.

In fact, I heartily recommend the method: can I control this? No, then let it go. Yes, then what am I going to do about it? It really is as easy at that. Just ask yourself the question – what can I control?

Monday resolutions round-up

When I started to think about writing this post my main chain of thought was that I had little to report as I felt that many of my resolutions had been shelved during the week as work crowded in. Second thoughts however showed that while some things stood still, there was some progress in other areas.

I do continue to change, and I am proud of that. I am trying to be more honest with myself, and not to fall back into old habits that defeat me. I have continued to work on blocking negative thoughts, and to take responsibility for my actions, be they good and bad!  I have learnt a couple big lessons in that area this week.

Excess I am getting a good grip on. I have stopped buying for a start. Truthfully, hunting and gathering just doesn’t interest me anymore. Thanks to a snazzy phone deal I gained a free ipad this week, so I see ebooks on my horizon. In future, I think my addiction to mindfulness and cognitive behaviour texts will be in electronic form. I am not making claims as to leisure reading as yet, but my plan is to only buy books I really want to keep in hardcover. The one issue I have with electronic form is that an ebook will only stay available as long as some company deems to keep it available. There may not be second hand copies around as in days of hard print.

Clutter, well that it a constant battle. In my office I clear the decks before I leave every day, so that I am not faced by yesterday’s detritus in the morning. It is a very positive way for me to start my day. Home side, well I have been trying to deal with the mail as it comes in, but Mr FD is not cooperating as much as I have “asked”. He may have to go the way of the clutter if he doesn’t wise up soon.

Can I just fluff over food and exercise? Not going well with food, and exercise consists of parking in the car park on the far side of the campus. Sugar has slipped back in. Jam on my breakfast toast is my guilty pleasure. I bought a Turkish delight chocolate one evening because I was tired and sooky. One night I ordered pizza, and it was an effort just to rise from my chair to walk to the door to take the pizza from the delivery man (we aren’t quite on first name basis yet, but we do natter about our days now). All I can do is start again, right? Something is better than nothing!

Yes, I am reading more. Professionally I have no choice, but then again I am enjoying my work so much that I have an insatiable hunger to learn and grow. Now that I am helping with the Yr 7 project I need to get up to speed fast (first meeting this week),  but I also have to maintain my reading in literacy and information management. Reading for pleasure is not a lot, but some is taking place. If I have to choose between reading and sleep, I am slumbering in a moment!

I am so tired by day’s end! It is go all day, and I rarely have more than a fifteen minute break at lunch, just enough time to gobble down a wrap (usually chicken or salmon and salad). One night I was showered and in bed by 7.30pm! I do get up at 5.15, so it is a full on day. The time just flies, though sometimes my energy slumps early afternoon just after I have food. My body wants to curl into a ball and digest, but I have been making myself hit the library floor to shelve books for a few minutes. It breaks the energy low and helps me to get to know the collection and what is popular and what isn’t. A mundane task is good for thinking too, and often the time I have my more creative ideas.

Television. Television is still often a background to other things. The news channel might be on as I work on my laptop, but  more often now I switch it off and just have music as my background.

I think the big area is that I am more active in my own life. Like I have a choice with my job! I am trying to achieve calmness and to be organised, and not to allow anxiety to rob me of confidence. Each night I am doing a thirty minute lying down guided meditation with a John Kabat-Zinn cd.

I took a mindfulness short course about 4 years ago, and I have from time to time used the techniques, but I find it hard to concentrate without a guide, so I am really pleased that I have found a cd that suits me. Some voices just irritate me so much I can’t relax at all!

Already I feel the positive energy and calm that meditation is helping me to cultivate. I also look forward to my nightly sessions all day, so that has to be a good thing. During the day I also remind myself to stop and just concentrate on my breathing for a couple seconds to calm myself down when I start to get too busy, in mind or body.  So some good progress in the area. Yay!

So, though I thought I had not progressed with my resolutions, taking time to reflect and to journal my efforts, big and small, has shown me that I have in fact made more progress than I thought. Good work, FD!

The goddess just keeps getting better and better. No wonder you love me!

[Humbleness might be on the resolution list for 2024. I have my adoring public to consider]