Friday, September 30, 2011

I love surprises

Friday night and youngest son and I made the three and a half hour drive to Renmark to spend the Labour Day long weekend with my family.

We didn't tell anyone we were coming so the look of surprise on both my parents faces when we turned up there, followed by the look of surprise on my sister-in-law's face when we walked into the Club where they were having dinner tonight was gold.

I love surprises, so today's surprise on my family was lovely. Yes Louise I'm remembering to breathe and this weekend is just what was needed, it's all about relaxing time with my family. No housework or cleaning to be done in Renmark, in fact no shopping either. I guess I'll just have to spend time reading, writing and socialising - mmm how hard is that?

I left hubby home because he's got to work this weekend and middle MM stayed home because 16 year olds have superior social life's to their parents.

Project team lunch went off well today and we've decided to do a monthly team lunch because it was so well received. My head felt like it was going to explode by the time I escaped at 1pm. Friday mornings are just incredibly busy because I send all the communications and schedules out for the week, so the fact that I even got out of there by lunch time is an absolute miracle.

It's also thanks to the office team working to assist me to get out the door on time, the unity that is growing within this group is something wonderful to be a part of. Not that we don't drive each other crazy with the insane pace and stress at times also.

Well I'm in kick back mode now and plan on putting my feet up and watching my darling nephew who is beside himself with excitement that his 'big cousin' is here. Youngest MM is going to have a shadow for the next couple of days.

Have a great weekend all

Cheers, Fi

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Short and sweet....

Just some really quick words tonight, because it's late and I've only just got here and last night I didn't even make it here. It's all about priorities.

Life is following the same crazy busy pattern at the moment, too much to do and not enough hours in my days. Last night I was in bed and asleep before 9.30, as a night owl this is not the norm unless I'm sick.

I also seem to have finally regained some of my sense of humour and I'm not taking everything quite so seriously. I'm pretty certain that the irritability or the sense of agro is pretty much as a result of the not smoking. I'm usually not a grumpy person and this week the lightheartedness has started to return.

Tomorrow is a huge day, early start for work, massive amount of communication collateral to finalise and send out. Project team lunch to organise and then I'm out of the office early afternoon to start my long weekend early. I have something rather special on tomorrow night but I'm going to come back and tell you all about it tomorrow night.

In amongst all the things I have planned to do this weekend, I also need to do a challenge update this weekend sometime, arggh I need more hours.

Cheers for now, Fi

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Overinflated Fears

Yesterday I caught the train to work - it was something really quite minor in the scheme of things.

Friends commented on the fact that they wouldn't know where to begin with catching a train because it's been so long since they did. Hence they would never dream of doing it.

The thing is, at the age of 15 I flew to the United States alone, it was my first time on a plane and I did it alone. I flew from Adelaide to Sydney and then got on a flight from Sydney to LA with an hour stop over in Honolulu.

Then through customs and onto a connecting flight to Portland, Oregon where my grandparents met me at the airport. Now that was big! So a little bus ride across town in down town Adelaide is nothing.

For the record be wary when the airline tell you that your child as an unaccompanied minor will be looked after on their flight across the world. The reality is I survived the flight and did what needed to be done - in fact I was less scared doing that than getting on a silly little train.

Why? - I have no idea. What's the worst that could have happened, maybe I'd be late for work, get on the wrong train. No the absolute worst thing - do something stupid and look like a fool in front of people who know what they're doing.

Safety is pretty well fail safe on train platforms these days - barring someone throwing you in front of a moving train which isn't really a common occurence in Adelaide. The only thing to be scared of is the unknown and / or doing something wrong. No threat to life or limb though.

How often do we blow challenges and dreams out of all proportion and make them bigger than they really are? Our fear makes them seem like these big insurmountable things and the reality is most of their size and threat is purely in our minds.

It's possible to buy glasses which enlarge things and magnify them. I need glasses which reduce things and minimise them, namely my fears. I can't even believe how dumb my fear sounds now and I don't usually scare easily. I've overcome fear of public speaking, I've tackled going back to school and then on to uni, there's numerous things I've achieved in my life.

I've faced down some big and downright ugly fears, yet I feel I've lost some of my punch lately. I'm going searching for some of those minimising glasses because I have a lot of things in my life still to accomplish which need to look less intimidating.

What about you?

Cheers, Fi

The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure

Monday, September 26, 2011

Life is an adventure

Riding the train was a step outside of my comfort zone today and better yet I survived to write about the experience.

The ironic thing is I was coming up with all sorts of excuses of why I wouldn't do it today and I wasn't concerned that I might be letting myself down, but the thought of letting any of you down when I said I would do something, well that was a different thing.

You don't need to tell me that you didn't care either way because this was the skewed view in my mind.

So I stepped outside of my comfort zone (I could count on one hand the number of times I've ridden the train in 39 years and none of them were in the last 20 years) It was all about new experiences and not all enjoyable ones, but at least I can speak with knowledge of the adventure.

The morning ride was crowded beyond belief and was by no means conducive with writing, reading or perhaps even breathing. My biggest mistake was sitting in a seat facing backwards which means I felt queasy most of the ride. I was too anxious to get on and in a seat, to do any practical planning. Gees how sad does that sound.

I then had to get off that train in the city and then get on another one to my workplace which is only one stop out in another direction. All a learning curve, but no major slip ups and the whole journey took about 50 minutes. However, based on that ride alone I would never have got on another train again.

The ride home, which I spent most of the day dreading, was not so bad at all. It wasn't as crowded or unbearable and was much better once I was facing the right way - despite what anyone may say about it making a difference. I was actually annoyed that I didn't have my laptop for the journey home (I left it at work to avoid extra baggage for the journey home)

So I've completed a challenge on my 101 in 1001 (train ride to work) - but I'll save my full update for my once a week post. I'm also thinking of new things for my list - so I'd really like to add 5 lots of 'stepping outside my comfort zone' challenges, because this really made me feel uncomfortable and I think we all need to do something other than what we're comfortable with to shake us up occasionally.

Also to the really well groomed man in a suit who rubbed his eyes, picked his nose, scratched the inside of his ear and then smelt his fingers - I was watching and that classic look on your face when you realised I was watching you - well that made the whole train ride worth it. People like you make the most unbelievably good story characters.

My adventure and I survived - I'm feeling happy instead of irritated tonight which was half the reason for trying this.

Cheers to all of you, Fi

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Free Stress Relief

There's no better time waster or anything quite as relaxing as nursing your grandchild to sleep in your arms. It's something that I didn't do a lot of with my own children, not because I didn't want to but simply because you don't want to get them to used to being rocked to sleep and also when they finally went to sleep you always had a million and one things to do.

When it's a grandchild though you only have them for a short while, so the other tasks can wait till later and you can't spoil them by cuddling them to sleep once in a while. I had my little man for the night last night and before he went to bed and this morning I've spent a great deal of time doing very little other than relaxing with him cuddled up in my arms.

So my exhausted and stressed little self needed no money spent, no miraculous cures. I just needed to spend some time doing nothing but cuddling a sweet little man. Mothers don't get the same benefits, it's simply not the same when it's your own baby. Being a nani rocks, you get the stress relief benefits and then you hand them back - I recommend it to everyone (not that anyone has control over when it happens).


....... and smiling
The first part of this post above, I wrote this morning. The organised part of me had it ready to go for tonight and I had a list of things that I needed to accomplish this afternoon because I'm hopeless at relaxing. So after enjoying the time with my little man I was planning to run around like a fiend and get everything done. My body obviously had other ideas because I've been asleep with a migraine most of the afternoon instead. 

I've just spoken to my brother on the phone and he gave me a nice lecture on why I haven't been to the chiropractor lately. I normally go fortnightly because my neck and back are pretty bad and also are where I carry most of my stress. Yes, thank you for the advice little brother - I've been too busy at work and not taking care of 'me', but I will take myself to the chiro this week.

Next weekend is a long weekend in Adelaide (Australian Labour Day holiday for all my overseas friends) and I plan on having some 'me' time. See I'm a hopeless case - I even plan my relaxation. That's one of my challenges on my 101 in 1001 list - too be more spontaneous, it's going to take some work.

Anyway, I hope you're having (or have had) a relaxing weekend.

Cheers, Fi

Only in spontaneity can we be who we truly are ~ John McLaughlin

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My husband has moments of brilliance

Once in a while, on very rare occasions, my husband has moments of brilliance - not that I would tell him that. His flash of apparent brilliance last night has yet to be proven so I'm still only mildly convinced.

I've been harping on this week in my posts about the imbalance in my life, so for starters his ESP is working well because he doesn't read my blog which makes his flash of brilliance even more amazing. Mind you, my less than happy attitude (translated -  grumpy attitude) might also be some indication that a solution might be needed.

At the moment I leave home in the mornings at 6.45am (this is torturous for a non-morning person) I drop my son at work and then I start the trek to my own workplace. I arrive at work at about 7.35, give or take a few minutes and the drive is not too painful. The thing is, I don't need to start until 8.30am but if I leave home any later, then I spend double the time stuck in traffic and the drive to work is beyond hellish.

As is the case, if I arrive at work at this hour then invariably the work starts once I walk through the door - I'm the fixer of all at this hour (because no-one else is there yet)  I then don't finish till 5pm and that's if I'm lucky, and the drive home is frequently an hour or more and some nights is similar to a kamikaze run. I get home most nights after 6 and then have dinner and all the other tasks ahead of me.

My blog and my writing is my relaxation but by the time I finally get to sit down at night and write I'm beyond exhausted. So here's hubby's flash of brilliance - why don't I drop son at work and then drive to the train station (10 minutes away) and catch the train to work. Yes this means an hour on the train morning and night, but he reasons if I take my laptop then I can write during that time instead of fighting with the traffic nazis.

I have to try this out because I'm not sure of the logistics of writing on a train with the peak hour rush around me, but at the very least I could probably read or listen to music and not get to work quite so early. It would also utilise the travelling time more effectively and assist with the lack of 'me' time. I'm going to give it a go on Monday morning and will let you know if it's successful or not.

Further to achieving greater work / life balance, I've been compiling a list of 101 challenges to accomplish in 1001 days - thank you Tilly at The Laughing Housewife and Sarah at Sarsm for initiating the challenge. My list is now up on a tab on my blog (taking the place of my goal-setting page) and I'll provide updates as I go along.

The project that I'm a part of for work is meant to take 3.5 years - all being well, that's 1278 days to completion. So if I complete 101 tasks in 1001 days, I should be finished towards the end of 2014, and what a well rounded person I should be in time for the wrap up of the project. Okay life still needs to happen in around all of that, so lets see how we go.

So there's my steps for greater work / life balance and a happier me - what about you, are you all good or are you in need of some balancing mechanisms also?

Cheers, Fi

Friday, September 23, 2011

Magic imagined worlds

By the time we get around to Friday every week, I feel like I've been chewed up and spat out. It's pretty obvious that my life is slightly - okay a lot - out of balance at the moment.

My week is about early morning starts, which is hard for someone who's not a morning person.

There's extra hours in the office which is more from choice than because it's expected and mainly because there's so many things to do that I'm not sure where to begin. All of this contributes to feelings of unbalance and exhaustion.

No lectures required, I know I have to fix it. I'm pretty sure that once we settle into steady project mode and we get some sort of processes around what we're doing then life might balance out a little bit more.

Do you remember your childhood years? Were you spontaneous and carefree or were you the organised one who was a serious planner? I don't think I was either, I probably sat nicely on the fence - not too out there and spontaneous, but not too serious and organised (my mother may say otherwise).

I was the dreamer who lost herself in books and writing and imagined worlds. I dreamed of climbing the Magic Faraway Tree with Moonface and his friends, and of solving mysteries with the Famous Five because Enid Blyton was my idol. I also dreamed of spying on my neighbours and my family and writing all of my observations in a little notebook like Harriet in Harriet the Spy.

How did I get from there to where I am today? Do family, work and life intrude and we change, or is it that we were always like that deep down and we've peeled back a few layers of the onion skin to become who we really are deep down.

I want the carefree, dreamer back - I miss her. Maybe I wasn't totally carefree but I was definitely lighter and less tense. I don't want to care about the project team schedules and changes and justifying why things are the way they are. Okay it's not that I don't want to care, but I don't want to be so irritated by the changes (yes this from me who wrote about change and loving it a few short months ago)

Its not so much the changes that I dislike but the whinging and whining from others, and everyone expecting me to fix the problems. It's changed, I can't control it - just bloody get on with it - or at least leave me the hell out of it.

I want to dance on the wind, sing like a fairy and once again dream of climbing the Magic Faraway Tree. To feel at peace with me and at peace with the world. Calm, at ease and at peace - sounds like a pretty nice place to be. I don't much like the irritable me at the moment - nor does hubby for that matter.

Tonight I'll just have to settle for curling up on the lounge and dreaming of two days free from schedules and communication planning. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore my new job, I guess the biggest thing is I don't like not being able to control and manage things as I once used to. I will learn to adapt and go with the flow a little more often, or go crazy trying.

Hope you have a wonderfully relaxing weekend, be it real or imagined.

Cheers, Fi

Using the device of an imaginary world allows me in some strange way to go to the central issues - it's one of many ways to express feelings about real people, about real human relationships ~ Lloyd Alexander

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Peeling back the layers

Everyone thinks about onions as they sit on their lounges and watch television - don't they? So what makes me think of an onion as I sit here tonight?

For starters, I was thinking about the different aspects of co-workers personalities, and my own for that matter.

I was also pondering the sometimes irritating behaviours of others and also recognising my own behaviour and how people might view me at any given time.

This made me think of the different parts of our personalities and how much we feel comfortable in revealing to others. So then  I arrived at the onion - I know that somewhere over the years I've heard the metaphor of onion and personality.

So my best mate Google and I did some searching and below is one of the things that I found which might make sense of my thinking (okay maybe not). Basically personality is defined in layers much like an onion and as you peel back the layers and delve deeper you get closer to the inner core, the true person so to speak. Summary of the layers follows or the full article is available here.

The Outer Layer is the one we tend to keep on display - the one that the 'world' observes and the one against which we are mostly 'judged' by others. In the outer layer we are able to observe our behavioural skills - the various actions that we take - the techniques that we use to get into action - and many of our day to day habits that come and go over time.

The Middle layer contains some of the deeper attitudes that we hold beneath the surface of our day to day actions and behaviour. By exploring this layer we can learn much more about how we see ourselves and understand about those Values we have been learned in our life. This Middle Layer also hosts some of our more Enduring Habits.

The Central Core holds our deep seated energy, our inner motivation to act and the way that we are likely to interact with others. In our core we will find our basic 'world views' and strongly held beliefs.

See what training does to you, it makes you go home and think about totally off the wall things. I've spent all day at work going over the concepts from our Team Leadership and Effectiveness training and creating posters of the guiding principles for the project team. Then I come home and instead of relaxing, I'm thinking about stinky, smelly onions and how they relate to the layers of our personality.

I think I need a holiday already. The urgency and unpredictability of project work is really good at peeling back the layers and uncovering the true essence of a person. Three weeks down and only 3.4 years to go, that's only potentially 1200 days give or take a few.

Not even sure where I'm going with this post, other than to help my understanding that team members have many different layers and it's going to be interesting peeling back the layers as we work within the project constraints. The thing is, peeling onions often makes people cry (except for me, because contact lenses do have one advantage) which probably means there's some interesting times ahead.

Cheers, Fi

Life is like an onion: you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep - Carl Sandburg

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Words of Wisdom 7

Wednesday's are now my Words of Wisdom posts. They will be brief (as opposed to my normal long ramblings) and hopefully interesting.

In essence I will share with you something I've discovered, read or learnt during the week. I love useless little facts, so this week I'm sharing some more of my finds.

Useless little facts

1)  79.3 - the average life expectancy of an Australian male. A woman's life expectancy is 83.9.
2) Canada is an indian word meaning "Big Village"
3) Snails can sleep for 3 years without eating
4) An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.
5) The continents names all end with the same letter with which they start
6) Mosquitoes are attracted to the color blue twice as much as to any other color.
7) Facetious and abstemious contain all the vowels in the correct order
8) A pregnant goldfish is called a twit.
9) The liquid inside young coconuts can be used as a substitute for blood plasma
10) What do bullet proof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers and laser printers all have in  common?-- All were invented by women.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

When the mask comes off

Our second day of Team Leadership and Effectiveness training today and we're learning all sorts of things which fascinate me. This afternoon we looked at psychological types via the Myers-Briggs model. It's amazing how accurate some of these things are.

The most fascinating part of looking at psychological types is how wrong our perceptions of others can be, or theirs of us. By nature I'm introverted, I internalise a lot of my feelings and I feel most comfortable in my own company. Noise, people and activity for me is exhausting. I need 'me' time to regenerate my energy levels with my own space and no-one bugging me.

Quite simply I'm not a people person, yet every single person in the group today was amazed that I wasn't in the extroverted group. Why? because I've learnt what is necessary to be successful in my job, I know how to adapt, I know how to get results and that's by being extroverted and confident when it's needed.

It's not that I'm being deceptive, but that I can step into my work persona when I need to, I can pull on my mask so to speak. There were others within the group who also didn't fit others perceptions. People who are perceived as one certain type, but who in actual fact only don that mask for work purposes. All of us have the ability to pull on the mask and become who we need to be.

This was such an eye-opening exercise in general when you consider our relationships with others. My husband is an extrovert type - he loves people and is happiest when surrounded by conversation and noise.

The saying goes that opposites attract and in terms of psychological types - they also balance each other. The same can be said in work situations - teams need a balance of different types to work effectively.

If you're interested in psychological types - there's a heap of information available on the web, just search for Myers-Briggs. There's also many different types of psychological tests around.

Well my mask is off and I'm enjoying my own company and the peace and quiet which I cherish after a full day at the office.

Cheers, Fi

In summary - this is me -  Introversion_iNtuition_Feeling_Judging (INFJ)

INFJs are gentle, caring, complex and highly intuitive individuals. Artistic and creative, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. INFJs place great importance on having things orderly and systematic in their outer world.

They know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand. They are usually right, and they usually know it. Consequently, INFJs put a tremendous amount of faith into their instincts and intuitions.

Consequently, most INFJs are protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it. They are deep, complex individuals, who are quite private and typically difficult to understand. INFJs are concerned for people's feelings, and try to be gentle to avoid hurting anyone.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Believing in the power of 'me'

Today I'm sharing my thoughts on World Moms Blog about becoming a 'nani' at my tender young age (okay restrain your laughter).

Please feel free to go and check it out and share some comment love, but make sure you read about the 101 challenges in 1001 days here before you go.

I have to thank Tilly at The Laughing Housewife for suggesting I look at the 101 challenges in 1001 days. Firstly, it made me re-examine my busket list of 40 things which I wanted to achieve before I turned 40 and I realised that some of those on my list were merely statements and not actual activities or goals. No activity or task to complete.

Secondly, the suggestion also introduced me to some great new blogs and a whole set of new challenges and ideas to help me live my life, my way. My initial panic of trying to think up an additional 61 tasks for the list was minimised once I actually put my mind to it and starting thinking about all of the things that I want to do in my life.

Once I finalise my list then I will share them with you. If anyone is ahead of me with a list of goals ready to go then by all means go right ahead and join Tilly and her friend Sarsm for the 101 in 1001 challenge. It's a fun way of tracking our goals and really achieving the things we want to.

Personal growth seems to be all around me at the moment. Today was day one, of a two and a half day training course at work that I'm doing called 'Team Leadership and Effectiveness training'. All of the project team are doing this training to assist with obviously, working effectively as a team.

Ironically so many of the things that we are learning and discussing could be used just as effectively in our personal relationships and family situations. Once I've absorbed the entire contents of the course then I might share some of that with you all as well.

Well after a full day of having to use my brain in ways I don't normally have to, I'm a bit zapped. Hopefully I've provided you with something to build on in terms of your own self improvement or at the very least provided you with some interesting reading material.

Cheers, Fi

The highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without abusing it. ~ Lord Macaulay

Sunday, September 18, 2011

In charge of re-writing my life script

I posted the link to 'How to Live a Better Story' yesterday because it was a post that really resonated with me.

I've always been a big believer that we are the masters of our own destinies and that we're the ones at the steering wheel of life.

There's a multitude of metaphors that I could use here for life and the path that lies ahead, but I kinda like thinking of our lives as a story and that sometimes we need to create better scenes. Life is too short to be participating in a tacky, badly written story.

The essence of a good story contains good well rounded characters, some action, plenty of healthy emotion, a sense of satisfaction and achievement, and a feeling of making a difference.

My life doesn't need any more excitement or action but it definitely needs a happier main character. This main character needs a little less action and drama and a lot more balance and satisfaction. I need to figure out how I can help the main character in my story feel happier and more content. Not that she's depressed, far from it, she's just lacking self fulfillment.

This was my realisation this week 'All of us have moments in our lives in which we realise how fleeting our time on this earth really is. It is then when we stop and wonder if we are settling for a life of mediocrity or living the life we really want'

I need to go back and re-read my bucket list because somewhere along the way I've gotten a little side tracked with what I want to achieve. Admittedly, being sick for almost a month has really thrown me off balance, but I think my inertia began earlier this year with some of the dramas with my boys. I let myself get bogged down with fear and worry.

My bucket list was my list of to do's before I turn 40, which is ..... egads.... only 48 days away. It's spring time in Adelaide and spring to me is about rejuvenation, new beginnings. The thing I love about spring is the colour and light, the abundance of flowering trees and little buds of blossoming life. Flowers and hope and life.

My completed novel which was one of my biggest life goals and which I finally achieved, still sits waiting for it's final edit. My words that I posted on the 1st May were 'six months of writing have resulted in 32 chapters, containing 207 pages with 81301 words' and yet I have done nothing more with it. My masterpiece sits untouched, unloved and yet every part of my being was poured into creating it.

So I will be taking some time to get my head back together and re-focussed on achieving my goals. Because the reality is that the only person who can write my life story is me and I've been doing a rather sad attempt at it lately.

What about you, have you lost step lately and need to do some re-aligning on the path of life?

Cheers, Fi

This life is only what we make of it, and we only get one. Live your amazing life now!

We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

How to live a better story

I don't have many words to offer this week, but I found this post which definitely appealed to the writer in me. It definitely got me thinking that my life needed a little rescripting. So are you living a good story or could your life story do with a bit more action and excitement?

Cheers, Fi

Want to play along with Six Word Saturday, it's easy? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I can smell it coming in the air

Phil Collins sang the words 'I can feel it coming in the air tonight' - well I can smell it coming the air today - spring, my second favourite season and the lead up to my favourite time of year - summer.

I guess giving up smoking has helped my sense of smell, because I could really smell spring coming today. You know the first warm day of spring and you can smell the flowers and the sunshine in the air.

Balmy nights, okay well just warmish but better than freezing cold and having to almost sit on top of the heater to keep warm. If winter only lasted about a week each year I'd be happy. A week of snuggling up in front of a fire is about all I need.

Warm sunshiney days make everything seem a little bit easier, a little bit more bearable, in fact a little bit happier. Driving home from work tonight I could smell all the different cooking smells because it was such a still and warm evening, see what giving up smoking does to you - it gives you back a sense of smell.

I'm back in my happy space and all the stress of project work just swirled around me and over me today. If only I could figure out how to be a grease slick all the time so that the stress just slides right off me. I'm still a little bit amazed that I'm now getting paid to do the things I like doing best - writing, creating and designing.

Sure I've always done these things in my previous roles but only around my other tasks, now these are the primary bits of my job. I'm still doing some admin stuff, but only because it never ends and co-worker couldn't hope to do it all even if she tried because there's too much, but that's okay I don't mind.

I'm still glad that tomorrow is Friday, I'm very much looking forward to our first weekend in a long time when the temperature is expected to be in the mid twenties. Roll on spring, we're past ready for you. While I think of it, if you read my post yesterday then you'll understand when I say - R u okay?

Cheers, Fi

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Words of Wisdom 6

Wednesday's are now my Words of Wisdom posts. They will be brief (as opposed to my normal long ramblings) and hopefully interesting. In essence I will share with you something I've discovered, read or learnt during the week.

This week I wanted to share R U okay day with you - source Body & Soul magazine and the site R U Okay?

Thursday 15 September, 2011 is R U OK? Day.

It’s a national day of action which aims to prevent suicide by encouraging Australians to connect with someone they care about and help stop little problems turning into big ones. On that day we want everyone across the country, from all backgrounds and walks of life, to ask family, friends and colleagues: "Are you OK?".

Staying connected with others is crucial to our general health and wellbeing. Feeling isolated or hopeless can contribute to depression and other mental illnesses, which can ultimately result in suicide. Regular, meaningful conversations can protect those we know and love.

It's so simple. In the time it takes to have a coffee, you can start a conversation that could change a life. Here are some tips from Body & Soul magazine which may help:

•  Start a general friendly conversation somewhere quiet and private.
•  Build trust through good eye contact and open and relaxed body language.
•  Ask open–ended questions to discuss concerns based on their behaviour.
•  Listen without judgment.
•  Suggest and help them to get help if you think they’re in need. News Limited, the publisher of body+soul, is a media partner of the R U OK? campaign.

We shouldn't be so busy in our lives that we need a special day to remind us to ask our friends and family the question 'R u okay?', sadly many of us are. I'll be taking the time to ask the question, will you?

Cheers, Fi

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What a difference a day makes

So I haven't quite traded my dull grumpy people pants for shiny happy ones, but what a difference a day makes. I don't quite feel like I could rip heads off today, not like I could yesterday anyway.

It's starting to feel a little bit like fellow co-worker and I need to perhaps develop thicker skins because boy are we upsetting some people. The project team are spilling over and taking up too much room, monopolising meeting rooms and generally are just everywhere.

Of course it's because the two of us are booking the rooms and re-arranging the furniture to fit more people in so it stands to reason that people are getting annoyed with us. We're still only dealing with the core project team, next month we will be bringing an additional 40-50 people in daily for workshops. Then the fun really begins.

Talking of fun, here's a website that I found which has some amazing photos of animals, literally hundreds of funny photos and cute photos if you like that sort of thing. I've provided a snippet of the pictures you can find there.

Five things to make you smile or ask why
  • 23% of all photocopier faults worldwide are caused by people sitting on them and photocopying their butts.
  • All major league baseball umpires must wear black underwear while on the job!
  • Americans eat nearly 100 acres of pizza every day - that's approximately 350 slices per second!.
  • Billy goats urinate on their own heads to smell more attractive to females.
  • Grapes explode when you put them in the microwave
Sometimes I need to be reminded of all the fun things in life and that we can always find reasons to smile.

Cheers, Fi

One day at a time - this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering

Monday, September 12, 2011

Shiny, happy, people pants....

Many years ago when my oldest son was a toddler, he had a favourite song called 'Shiny Happy People' which was a popular song at the time and was sung by a group called R.E.M.

It was also the early nineties when happy pants were the latest fashion rage. I know I'm really showing my age here but happy pants were baggy, loud, multi coloured pants very popular with teenagers.

My toddler son had many pairs of these pants (hip young mother that I was) and he used to refer to them as his 'shiny, happy people pants' mixing up his favourite song and his favourite item of clothing.

It always used to make me laugh and think of happy people running around in brightly coloured pants. Happy people with happy pants.

I thought of the song today when I was driving home, but on the flip side, because today I was definitely wearing my dull, grumpy people pants. I'm not sure if the giving up smoking irritability has caught up with me but today I was quite simply a grumpy cow wearing my grumpy pants.

Admittedly I didn't have the grumps in the first initial weeks of giving up smoking because I was so desperately sick and just felt plain miserable. It's finally caught up with me though. I just wanted to be left alone and no questions asked, which was not to be my luck of course. Note to self - grumpy cow is not a good persona for the communications person either.

Driving home it was probably fortunate that the guy driving next to me was always slightly a car length ahead of me because I was in the mood to give him a small piece of mind - not that it was any of my business, but I was in a mood. Smoking with your toddler in the back seat is just bad news buddy. I smoked for years but never in the house or in the car with my children. My lungs, my choice - not my kids choice.

See, I told you I was in fine grumpy form today. Mercifully the day when exceedingly quick with plenty to keep me occupied and hopefully no long term working relationships damaged with my less than friendly demeanor. The IT help desk don't count because as mentioned previously, myself and fellow co-worker are already on their hit list.

You know exactly what I'm talking about here don't you. Just one of those days in a million where everything and everyone just annoys the utter $@#! out of you. Keeping that in mind, I think I might find a nice quiet corner of the loungeroom tonight and hopefully the men in my life will cut me a wide berth.

If any of you have some spare shiny, happy, people pants laying around - I could probably do with a spare pair to replace my dull, grumpy, people pants.

Hope your day was better than mine.

Cheers, Fi

I'm a perfect example of the grumpy, old man. I'm really good at it. ~ Ned Beatty

Sunday, September 11, 2011

All speaking a different language

I've mentioned on many occasions that I live in a houseful of males - so to say communication in our house is challenging would be an understatement.

Boys - big and small - have egos (not that girls don't) and often they say things that may not necessarily come out the way they intend them to.

On the other hand there are many words that go unsaid for many of the same reasons which can be just as frustrating. Some days I feel like my primary challenge is maintaining open channels of communication in my home, or worse that I'm translating everything. We all speak English, yet sometimes we're all speaking a different language.

Teenage boys grunt and groan and have attitudes. Grown men grunt and groan and have attitudes. Often they all clash and I make things worse when I speak up and try to maintain calm. I don't always get it right either and some days it can be exhausting.

If you could take emotion and ego out of the communication process then I'm sure all of us would do a much better job of it. How many of us say words in anger and in frustration and then regret them later. How much of our message is lost because we don't stop and think before we say something and we get carried away by the emotion of what made us say something in the first place.

In my role as a communication lead on the project we have communication plans and we have timed and appropriate communication briefs in suitable formats for the intended audiences. Our communication needs to be consise, appropriately timed, informative and in most cases free from emotion. If only family communication could be so easy.

Are you challenged by communication when emotion and ego gets in the way? Do you live in a houseful of males and feel like you speak a different language?

Cheers, Fi

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place ~ George Bernard Shaw

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Do you remember where you were?

I think all of us remember where we were 10 years ago when we first heard the news, no matter where we lived in the world. It was the early hours of the morning and I was in bed, my husband had just come to bed and had the television on when we watched the replay of the planes hitting the twin towers in New York.

What we saw was more terryifying than any movie we had ever seen and initially that's what we thought we were watching, a movie. The events in America brought fear right into our homes and changed the world as we knew it.

My thoughts are today with those that lost loved ones on that terrible day.

Cheers, Fi

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. ~ from the television show The Wonder Years

Want to play along with Six Word Saturday, it's easy? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thank god it's Friday

There are weeks when I greet Friday's with open arms, this is one of those weeks. Whoever knew that the Communications Lead and the Administrator on the project would have such extensive job descriptions.

Okay who am I kidding, I knew that if things needed to be done it would be me and fellow co-worker who would be doing it.

This week I believe we've both walked several thousand kilometres over 3 floors of the new building.

We've moved more desks, chairs and filing cabinets than there are people in Adelaide, well maybe not quite that many but it sure was a hell of a lot.

We've fed people, organised every conceivable item necessary for the project team, moved our own office members two additional times (trying to fit into the limited space we have) and harassed the IT help desk people so many times that I think we're both are on a secret hit list somewhere.

The thing is, when we walked out the doors tonight I finally felt a little more settled and organised - well until Monday arrives and we get thrown a whole new set of challenges. We've climbed mountains, leapt buildings and knocked down all of the obstacles thrown our way this week, with very few swear words (okay, lots of swear words but muttered very quietly)

Two days of peace and quiet is my aim this weekend. I don't want to talk to anyone, I don't want to do anything and I just want to relax. Probably not going to happen quite that way but I do at least plan not to move a table, chair or person for two days and that is achievable.

I just have to keep reminding myself of all the non smoking kilos that I'm kicking to the kerb with all of the additional physical activity. Five weeks of non - smoking next Tuesday - yeah me!

Well that's my news following a very exhausting week, hope you've all had a productive week.

Cheers, Fi

It is not your aptitude, but your attitude, that determines your altitude ~ Zig Ziglar

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Making things happen - no excuses

I've said before that I'm not the most patient person in the world and I know that I step on toes when I get frustrated.

This week I've probably stepped on even more toes than normal because I'm the sort of person who likes to get things done, not tomorrow or next week but as soon as humanly possible.

When I come up against people who don't think the same way that I do, or who waste time telling me all the reasons why something can't be done, or who go at a snails pace then I'm probably not the nicest person to be around. Okay so there's no probably about it, it's a fact.

It's not because I'm a nasty person or even that I like upsetting people. It's more to do with the high standards I set for myself and my need to make things happen, my need to 'fix' things. I would like to be able to go with the flow, to sit back and let things happen around me. It's not an easy thing to do.

I have the utmost respect for people who makes things happen, who don't waste time on all the why nots. Ironically I've just googled the words 'making things happen' and the first option is a book on Project Management written by Scott Berkun about his 9 years of experience working on one of Microsoft's biggest projects.

There was a time many years ago when I let my fears paralyse me and stop me from getting things done and achieving the things I wanted. It was a firm decision I made to never to return to that place. So if I step on a few toes, or bypass those who are on the slow and steady path then that's the way it has to be.

I'll always apologise if I unintentionally hurt someone, but I will never apologise for making things happen, for wanting more in my life or for helping others. Basically I've learnt that I should never have to apologise for being me. What about you, be honest - do people like me annoy you or inspire you?

There are those who work like a dog to make things happen, there are those who watch things happen, and then there are those who wonder what happened. Be the person who makes things happen.

The world responds to action, and not much else. ~ Scott Adams

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Words of Wisdom 5

Wednesday's are now my Words of Wisdom posts. These will be brief posts (as opposed to my normal long ramblings). In essence I will share with you something I've discovered, read or learnt during the week.

Our move to new offices means a longer drive time for me, so when I read about creating calm in your car this week it seemed an appropriate thing to share with you. The full article can be found here.

Creating calm in your car - source Body and Soul
•  Make your car a sanctuary. Keep it tidy and well maintained.
•  Approach drive time as useful time, not just about getting from A to B.
•  Set the tone for each trip. Sit calmly and hold the wheel gently.
•  Aim to stay present instead of being in automatic mode.
•  At every red light, focus on breathing gently.
•  Tune into your posture. Stay straight but relaxed.
•  Talk to yourself like a wise guru after every minor frustration.
•  Let your car reflect an attitude of self-care. Have inspirational tapes or healthy snacks on board.

Some of these things might be difficult for me - inspirational tapes and snacks, mmm not so sure. I can say that I'll probably be doing a lot of breathing gently because there's a heck of a lot of traffic lights between home and the office (maybe one day I'll count them)

So what about you, long drive or short drive to work?

Cheers, Fi

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Brain won't switch off

I need one of those switches which turns my brain off when I walk out the office door. My forty five minute drive home whizzes past because my brain is still going one hundred miles an hour with all those things that I still need to do.

You know that feeling when you drive somewhere and then you arrive at your destination and think how did I get here, well I'm probably suffering from that a little too frequently lately.

Today in our communication meeting the boss raised the suggestion of a blog for the project. Mmm getting paid to write blog posts as part of my job, that's going to be an imposition - not! I had to restrain myself from being too excited about this prospect.

Of course from this discussion then the off switch on my brain wouldn't work on the way home as I thought of all the different things I could do and add to the blog. I haven't had this sort of brain overload since my first days in the HR department at my former job. It's nice in a crazy sort of way

Using all of my forward thinking, I had already created a template to use for a project team blog (okay the truth is I set it up back when I was bored out of my brain with very little to do each day) Those days are just a vague memory now, with so much to do and not enough hours to do everything in.

What about you, do you like calm and organised, or crazy busy and not enough hours sort of days? As insane as the crazy days are, they're still what I like best.

Cheers, Fi

Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it ~ Charles R Swindoll

Monday, September 5, 2011

My gold star effort day

Do you know that feeling when something goes really, really well? When you finally know that months of hard work and pulling your hair out has finally paid off. Well that's me today.

Our first day of having all of the full time project team members under one roof, both from our company and the consulting firm.

It was an exhausting day and there weren't many moments where I actually sat down today, but we pulled it off and it was a massive success.

It was like Christmas today as everyone congregated in one space full of excitement and goodwill. Desks were assigned and everyone received brand new laptop computers, screens, docking stations etc.

Trying to organise that many people and set up all of their systems access, emails, their paperwork and all of the other requirements was huge. We provided morning tea for the project team and members of the IT group, followed by lunch and then we finished up with a get to know you drinks and nibbles at a local pub this evening. Really, I feel like all I did today was organise people and feed them.

Today was the easy part - provide equipment, feed people and provide an opportunity for them to all network and get to know each other. The remainder of this week will be orientation of the software and project documentation, setting up project guidelines and principles and training for certain systems. Next week the serious work will begin with foundation training in the new system.

I am so excited and energised by what lies ahead and can finally smile about the frustrations of the last twelve months. Yeah there are those of you who have been reading my posts over the last year and probably wondered like me, if this day would ever arrive.

Well the day did arrive and we nailed it today with the kick off party. When I whinge about the mountain of work in the coming months, about how project life can be excruciating and how the people can be damn annoying then you have my permission to remind me that at one stage I was euphoric about the whole thing.

Tonight I'll go to sleep with a smile on my face because the day did finally arrive and everything which could be done to ensure it's success, was in fact done damn well. Woohoo!

Cheers for now, Fi

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In search of a healthy balance

Sunshine and spring days - gotta love them. Fathers Day in Australia today and we went for a nice Chinese meal with hubby's family.

I rang my dad who is just a little too far away for a visit and then the rest of the day I spent doing very little. Hubby unfortunately had a shortened day because he's working an afternoon shift today.

I'm still struggling with fatigue and a lack of energy so I've been doing some research on healthy balance and restoring energy levels after the flu. For a person who is constantly on the go and usually full of energy I'm finding this situation very frustrating.

I found an interesting page on lemons and the health benefits. Ironically while I was sick and coffee tasted disgusting, this is what I craved, hot lemon drinks. It's amazing how sometimes our bodies know what they need before we do. I'm thinking with all of the health benefits of lemons that I probably should maintain this healthy habit.

I've found a couple of good healthy living blogs which appealed to me - The Wellness Warrior and Body & Soul - so I've added them to my regular reading list. These blogs are a balance of eating well, living well, thinking well. In other words a balance of mind, body and soul. Since being sick I've felt remarkably off balance and I'm sure the quitting smoking has added to that feeling as well.

There's a new series called Wild Boys which is just about to start on television and which from all the reviews sounds really good. I'm not a huge television fan but will check this show out because it's a little different from the normal TV series. Bushrangers, stage coach holdups, horses and bad boys - definitely a change from the normal viewing and also said to portray Australia's bushranger history.

Have a great week all, if I have any energy left after tomorrow's momentous day then I'll be here to share my day with you.

Cheers, Fi

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Everyone needs a dream - what's yours?

Martin Luther king famously said the words 'I have a dream' in a 17-minute public speech delivered on August 28, 1963, a speech in which he called for racial equality and an end to discrimination.

His words were powerful and inspirational and even today everyone recognises those four little words. Well I have a dream and while it's not as powerful or as world changing as Luther-King's dream, it's my dream. It's not yet a goal, because a goal is something that I set for myself and which I work towards step by step.

My dream is something that came from a meeting many years ago during my childhood. I met an inspirational woman whose name was Francoise, she was a french backpacker who stayed with my family for a short while. All those years ago, this woman was living my dream. She was a backpacker / writer travelling around the world with her typewriter in her backpack and very little else in the way of personal possessions.

She travelled from home to home - family to family, writing about her adventures as she made her way around the world. I think in fact she came to us via family members in another state. Francoise was not a young adventurous and carefree girl but a middle aged woman living a very simple and carefree life.

This is my dream, and  I say dream because at this stage in my life, I could not pack up and head off overseas without a care in the world. It's something that I dream of doing in years to come when my children have left home and I have the freedom to do so. Sadly hubby would be left behind as well, because that's what would allow me the ability to write and create and just simply be me.

That's how I envisage the dream. Me, my laptop, my camera and the freedom to roam and record my journey and my adventures. No plans, no responsibilities, no worries. Tuscany, Egypt, Rome, Paris, Canada - the sky is the limit.

So that's my dream, what's yours?

Cheers, Fi

Want to play along with Six Word Saturday, it's easy? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing.

We all have our own life to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving. And we all have some power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing. ~ Louisa May Alcott

Friday, September 2, 2011

I have a houseguest tonight

Pyjama party at my house tonight, my grandson is here for his first sleepover and I'm a little bit excited. I've pretty well stayed away from him for the last four weeks, which has been torturous but necessary because of how sick I've been.

My clever little man has been sleeping up to seven hours at night for most of this week, so he's been in practice for his first sleepover. He'll be ten weeks old on Monday and is sleeping most of the night - I told you he was the most blissed out, calm baby in the world.

My cat is checking him out at the moment, I just wasn't quick enough to get my camera out of my handbag as she circled and observed him with great interest. She's not used to little people.

Well today was our final day of preparation for the arrival of the project team on Monday. My administrator replacement (she's an absolute godsend) and I have run around the last few days like chickens with our heads cut off endeavouring to have everything prepared for Monday.

We have moved, jiggled, crammed and restructured rooms, furniture and people with an aim of fitting all of the team into the space we have been allocated and ensuring they all have filing cabinets, desks, laptops, stationery etc etc. It's been no easy task and we have copped plenty of flak for the purloining of certain items, removal of others. But in the end I think we're all good to go for Monday.

Monday will be a very very loooonnnngg day. Early start for co-admin partner and I to ensure everyone has full building and safety induction, then morning tea, project 'showbags' and an introduction from the Managing Director. Then distribution of laptops, desks, security passes (security photos also to be taken of everyone) and all of the other paraphernalia. Then it's about getting everyone's computer access, emails and printer access established. Sounds simple but will be a mammoth task.

We then have meetings, orientation and meet the team activities. Mid afternoon we're off to get everything set up at the local hotel for drinks and nibblies for the project team and this will include management from the consulting firms we'll be working with and the governing councils from all of the businesses that have allowed us to 'borrow' their people for the project.

I'm sure Monday night I will fall into bed and be asleep before my head hits the pillow. We have a massive day planned and for me it's been 13 months coming, so in some ways I thought it would never get here and in other ways it feels like we haven't had enough time to get ready.

Being sick over the last month for myself, my boss and co-admin partner has been immensely challenging and has made things twice as difficult but I'm looking forward to the kick off on Monday.

Well I'm off to prepare a bath for our littlest houseguest and to spend some time playing with the gorgeous little man. Youngest MM was itching to have a cuddle and has commandeered him (in other words my youngest has moved away from the X-Box to play with his nephew, nothing short of a miracle). I'll get him to assist with the bath as well. I plan on enjoying a relaxing evening with my favourite men which will enable me to recharge my batteries for next week.

Have a great weekend all,

Cheers, Fi

Optimism is the foundation of courage ~ Nicholas Murray Butler

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lovin' my new space

I couldn't resist showing you my new office space. It's hard not to get excited about a bright, spacious new area when you've come from an office that was drab, mouldy smelling and which had no windows.

Not to mention the old offices were riddled with white ants, mice and every other rodent and creepy crawly thing in existence. Lets face it, the old office building was way past it's use by date and will shortly be a pile of rubble.

Compare that description to this - my new desk and office space

It's not even the fact that the building is new that I like, it's the windows and the bright open spaces and the multiple little chill and chat areas that exist for use during lunch breaks. The new office has such a nice feel about it, which is exceptionally important when you spend so many hours each day in the place.

The forty five minute drive each way is a bit of a drag, but you have to take the good with the bad. My driving time has become my thinking time each day.

So I've just googled healthy office spaces and someone did their homework in our new building because we tick most of the boxes. Not a bad effort and the 'new space' definitely makes my days more enjoyable. What's your workspace look like?

Cheers, Fi