Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tag - you're it, or not

I prepared this post last night (aren’t I organised) because I knew I’d be busy tonight (puppy class and school tour) and also because I already had a post to write in response to Bethe sharing the bloggy love.

I’ve been tagged by Bethe at Daily Journey.

I don’t generally do a lot of these things but I’ve seen this one around and I can’t resist the urge to tell you all lots of useless facts about myself – hit ESC now if you can’t stand to read any more useless facts about me.

There’s rules, because there’s always rules – and of course I’m going to break them, I can do that can’t I?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blink and you'll miss me

Busy, busy days - last night I finally got myself along to yoga with my 'exercise buddy' and we had a great time, definitely going back. Next week we're going to try the Body Balance class which is a combination of yoga and pilates and see which we prefer.

The new instructor will be struggling to compete with the abs of last nights instructor - I'm pretty certain my exercise buddy is only going back for that reason. Most of us can only dream of abs like this guy had. Nothing like having a nice speciman of male to look at while you're sweating it out.

This morning I got on my treadmill before work - yeah me, so I've finally got started on my exercise plan. When I'm trim, taut and terrific then I'll post pictures (ha-ha)

Then tomorrow night is a tour at my son's new school and then off to puppy school to earn my human equivalent of liver treats - because she can sit when told. So plenty to do and not enough hours but that's life for most of us isn't it?

No more words to share here tonight because I'm visiting over at World Mom Blogs where I've written a post called 'Tough guys with marshmallow insides' so why not pop by, share some comment love and say hi.

Cheers, Fi

Click on the image for World Moms Blog

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Open minded education

I had my little man for the night so as you can imagine there were a lot of things that didn't get done while he was here. How do mothers of young children get anything done, I've forgotten how it works.

It was also way too hot yesterday before he arrived to do much of anything. So once he went home today I raced around like a crazy woman trying to get everything done.

and it was still so hot.....

All my washing, the housecleaning and a batch of triple choc chip muffins and choc chip biscuits - can you tell what my boys like best? Quite funny because chocolate is the one thing that I don't eat (yes if you're new around here you can pick yourself up off the ground from the shock of discovering my aversion to what most others would kill for)

I also made ham and corn pikelets and before you get all excited and ask for the recipes I must confess to one of my many motherly failings - today I used packet mixes. Forgive me for I have sinned.

Speaking along religious lines (well I was thinking along them anyway) I've been helping my son with his religious homework for his new school. This is all an education for me in itself because we are not religious, no let me word that another way. Our family doesn't follow any set religion, yet I wouldn't say I'm not religious because I definitely have spiritual views and firm beliefs in certain areas.

Anyway back to religious education, I'm not sure that I'm the best person to be helping him (but then I suck at maths too and I always manage to assist with that - and he passes, although I think that's more his amazing brain than my assistance)

Really I think it's all about helping him to understand what he has to do for homework, helping him to determine the best way to relay his message and then suggesting possible sources of information.

I don't believe it's for me to teach him about religion, but I have taught him to be open minded and to question and to learn about anything which he doesn't know. When all else fails I'm also very good at suggesting that other scholarly person in our life called Google.

He wanted to know what it takes to become a saint having just completed an assignment on Mother Teresa - this time we turned to the ol' faithful and both he and I learnt an amazing amount about this incredible woman.

So you see, his education is also building mine, because every day should be a learning day. Once you stop learning, you surely die.

Please feel free to leave me a comment but I ask that you be respectful with your words (my mother and my children read my blog) in the event that I have said anything about religion which may be contrary to your own beliefs.

Cheers, Fi

You keep playing, keep studying, keep listening, keep learning and you keep developing. It's a way of life. ~ Red Rodney

Saturday, February 25, 2012

6WS - The last of hot summer days

Summer has just realised that she's nearly done her time in the Southern Hemisphere for this year and has thrown up a couple of stinking hot days as a final hurrah.

38c degrees yesterday, 39c today and 37c tomorrow. That's roughly between 98 -102 F. After a very mild summer this has come as a bit of a shock.

All too soon though we'll be whining about the cold and rain and while I much prefer the heat, this is a bit warmer than I like. Keeping the babies and puppies in our world cool is a challenge. We've been giving our new puppy chunks of ice in her water bowl and to play with.

I missed a great photo opportunity yesterday, when I walked in from work she was stretched out on the lawn with her chin propped on a huge chunk of ice, but as soon as she saw me she was up and waggling her whole little body in greeting.

My grandson is here for a sleepover and at least the house is nice and cool. I was going to take him down to a friends place this evening, they've got a pool and were having a BBQ dinner but it's still so hot outside. I think he's been much happier here exploring the house which is nice and cool and especially now that he can move with his commando style crawl.
I'm just looking
Can you still see me?
Poor hubby is working in the heat tonight, though afternoon shift is probably preferable to dayshift in this heat. Youngest is staying at another friends house tonight and middle son and his girlfriend are out and about. Just me and junior staying cool in the house tonight. Another night of peace and quiet and the littlest has just closed his eyes and given into the sandman's commands.

So is it warm or cool where you are and what's your weather preference?

Cheers, Fi

I'm linking up with Cate who gives us all a place to visit and connect. 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, February 24, 2012

Going nowhere fast

Guess what - for those of you who are regulars around here I'm going to spare you the pain of talking about babies and / or puppies tonight.

Okay keep the cheering to a dull roar and if you're silent for just a second you'll hear the absolute silence that surrounds me at the moment.

Can you hear it - silence is such an awesome thing. Is it wrong to get excited by an empty house and peace and quiet and 'mum' time?

Hubby is working on afternoon shift tonight, youngest son is at a friends place for a sleepover and middle son is down the road at a friends place and will be home a bit later. At least when he's only two blocks away it's not far for him to drive home. Let's not even go into why he would drive two blocks, logic doesn't figure in the brain of a 17 year old new driver.

This is truly the clearest indication of how old I am when I relish Friday evenings at home on my own in front of a computer screen. The television is showing the movie that I want to watch, not what someone else wants to watch. I think this can also be classed as dorky, nerdy and even sad behaviour.

I had lunch today with a former co-worker, one of my dearest friends who I consider my brother from another mother, well also from another father for that matter. He's the big brother I never had. He kicks my butt when I'm being a twit, gives me a shoulder and an ear when I need someone to whine to and provides a hug and words of encouragement when things are not going quite so well.

Everyone needs a friend like him (or a big brother if you're lucky enough)

Summer has arrived just a little bit late in Adelaide with three consecutive days of 37C degrees coming up and we're only seven days short of the official start of Autumn - what's that all about?

Do you ever have so many things that you want to do, strong goals that you've set for yourself and because you don't know where to start or what's most important - you stay stationary, spinning your wheels and not achieving anything or moving forward? In other words you're going nowhere fast.

I need to do a lot more thinking around what's most important to me. My family - hubby, my boys, my grandson they're all givens but the rest all needs a greater focus and a bit of rubber under my wheels to stop my wheels spinning and give me some forward momentum.

What's slowing you down or preventing you from getting what you really want?

It's Friday, my eyes are tired - excruciatingly so, middle son has since come back from his long distance visit two blocks down the road and despite peace and quiet and 'mum' time, I'm exhausted. Time for bed.

Cheers, Fi

Note to all -  Tomorrow night I have my grandson for a sleepover and it will be his first tentative introduction to our new bundle of fluff so all bets are off tomorrow - you'll probably get pictures and words about babies and puppies.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Puppy versus baby - same, same?

I’m still on the subject of puppy school - because I can, but also because it occurred to me today that puppy school is much the same as I remember baby playgroup being all those years ago. You know how it is, you go along to the playgroup (puppy school) with your little bundle of joy, and you don’t know anyone there.

You meet all of these strangers who have brought their little ‘poppets’ and you thank the heavens because your baby (puppy) is cuter and / or better behaved than theirs is. Everyone also has this misguided belief that theirs is by far the cutest baby / puppy on the planet.

You puff out your chest with pride when yours shows everyone exactly how clever he or she is and when other people comment on how cute they are. But you also hang your head and make excuses when they do something not in keeping with group togetherness like bite another attendee, make lots of noise and / or pee or drool on the floor (baby or puppy)

My sweet little bundle of fluff (that‘s the puppy not the child) who has been the soul of good behaviour since we picked her up on Sunday, suddenly became the devil incarnate (much like my children used to do on outings when I wanted them to behave like little angels.)

Okay, she wasn’t quite that bad but she was challenging. She was distressed by having a lead on. The collar we put on her when we got her and she's happy enough with that, but the lead was new last night and boy did she protest. She also wanted to use her teeth on everyone’s fingers, this comes more from bad parenting because hubby has been roughing her up and wrestling with her. Remember that this is the man who originally didn’t want us to get a puppy.

Last night at puppy school she wanted to romp and socialise and not lie quietly or do as she was told – how much does that sound like my household of boys? By the end of the class though she was exhausted and back to her sweet-natured adorable self.

Next week if she can sit on command then I will get the human equivalent of a chewy liver treat for being a good doggy owner – mmm can’t wait. If only getting my children or even co-workers within the project team to do what I want them to do was as easy as feeding them a few liver treats and patting them on the head and saying ‘good girl / boy’.

Using similar concepts though – whether human baby, canine puppy, co-workers or teenage boys - if I feed them and tell them they’ve done a good job at least I may not be pulling my hair out quite as much. 

Cheers, Fi

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Back to school

Puppy school that is. I've never been to puppy school before, it's all about teaching your puppy social skills, manners and good behaviour. I think half of our project team need to go to puppy school.

Consequently, not much time for words tonight - but two things to share. This snippet came from another Change Management site - they have some really good things on them. This one you can find here, but this bit I had to post.

John Lennon famously said that life is what happens while you're busy making other plans - personal change is a constant part of our human journey. We survive the drama of adolescence, the responsibilities of adulthood, and the challenges of ageing.

The recent ABC TV series 'Making Australia Happy' emphasised two key strategies for personal wellbeing.

First, practise mindfulness, or trying to 'live in the present'. Try to avoid replaying past failures, guilt and resentments, and being too anxious about what is ahead.

Secondly, clarify your personal vision for the future by writing down what you would hope people would say about you at your funeral - then work backwards!

The second share is this website called Polyvore (and I might be way behind the times and you may have seen / heard about it already) but it follows on from the post I did about dream journals on my other blog - just one more thing which I will find time to catch up on this week. Too many things going on and not enough hours in my days at the moment.

Anyway, the site is a great way for putting together vision boards without the mess. Be creative without leaving the computer. Have a look if you get a chance, there's heaps of examples to look at and then you can create your own by clicking on the 'create ' tab.

So that's it for tonight - I'm exhausted and need to go to bed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I am, you are - simply amazing!

Image Credit
We’ve all probably experienced it, we all have different perceptions of it – but it probably has the same effect on all of us. I get so incredibly annoyed when people can’t / don’t do their jobs properly. 

I think it must be the ‘organising’ (read that as controlling perfectionist) side of my personality which gets frustrated when people can’t do what they are paid to do.

How hard can it be? I don’t tolerate it from myself so I sure as heck don’t think I should have to accept it from another person. Quite simply, managers who need to be managed bug the $#@% out of me.

Maybe I’m the stupid one for caring that I do a good job and that I make sure I do it properly. No half–assed attempts or half completed tasks because I find it shoddy and disrespectful to not do the best job you can.

There you go, that’s my little vent for the day.

Now to more interesting topics, our little canine addition has turned all of the males in my family into marshmallows. Hubby (who didn’t really want me to get a puppy in the first place) took her to the vet for her injections yesterday, bought her enough food for the next 3 months, a new ‘quality’ bed, plus all of the pre-requisite toys and grooming products.

Hilarious how such a small bundle of fluff can inspire this kind of action and expenditure.

I found this poem below while researching change management websites today and felt it was appropriate to share. I sent it home by email and I forgot to get the web address so my apologies that I can't share where it came from - if you own it (because amazingly creative people do visit my posts you know) then please own up so I can give you credit.

I am
I am good person.
I have integrity.
I do what is ethically right and good.
Whatever life puts before me will be useful experience that will make me stronger, wiser, and more tolerant.
I am strong enough to understand and make allowances for other people's weaknesses, and their behaviour towards me. Other people's behaviour is about them, not me.
I focus on the joy of living my life and helping others where and when I can.
I am what I eat and drink, so I eat and drink good things.
I am what I watch and play and listen, so I watch and play and listen to good positive things.
I take exercise which I enjoy. I walk when I don't need to drive or take the bus or train.
I smile and laugh whenever I can - life is good - getting caught in the rain reminds me that it is good to be alive to feel it.
I forgive other people. Deep down everyone is a good person, just like me.
I am a compassionate and loving, caring person.
I am a good person.
I am.

Yes people it's true, I am, we are - simply amazing. All of us!

To the splendiferous Jenn at I am not Superwoman - best of luck on your Ethiopian adventure. According to my calculations from half way around the world, take off into the wide blue yonder should be less than 48 hours away. Be amazing - I know you will be!

Cheers, Fi
"Success - To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; this is to have succeeded."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Meet our newest family member

We've always had pets - lots of them. At one stage we pretty much had every domestic animal there was. Dog, cat, rabbit, guinea pigs, geese, chickens, ducks. We had our own beginnings of Noah's Ark in our backyard when my children were little.

Over the years old age and natural attrition has dwindled our 'ark'  and after having our dog put down several years ago, hubby said that's it, no more. We still have a cat and chooks but have not added to our menagerie for quite a while.

Until today that is... and here she is, our new girl - an 8 week old labrador / staffy cross.

The boys and I have been working on hubby for quite a while and he's been quite resistant to the idea of us getting a puppy. His greatest joy has been in developing a 'bowling green like lawn' - he's not too keen on doggy doo marring its perfection.

The rules and regulations surrounding the addition of our new 'baby' are quite specific, all doggy doo must be cleaned up daily, we must walk her and take her to dog obedience training and we must be good 'doggy owners'.

Anyone would think we'd never had animals before, but we nod and agree with him. I can almost guarantee that I will have to fight hubby for the right to walk the dog once he gets used to having her around, but lets not mention that. We know the truth.

How hard is it for four of us to agree on a suitable name for her - VERY. At the moment we're thinking Molly, not my first choice but one that I can live with and so can everyone else.

So on this Sunday night let me voice my immense gratitude for two things - our newest family member and my middle son being in one piece after his latest adventure. His car is a little worse for wear following a 'mishap' last night which was only mere feet away from being a really serious incident. I am thankful that he was being watched over and that all that is damaged are his pride and his wallet.

Cars can be fixed - lives can't, and hopefully this is the wake up call that he needed. Yep, you're not invincible and shit happens even when you are a good driver.

Hope you have a great week everyone.

Cheers, Fi

Saturday, February 18, 2012

6WS - You forget how exhausting they are

I'm looking after my nephew tonight and last night I had my grandson for the night. Right about now I feel like I'm about 110 years old. I've definitely aged about 70 years in 24 hours.

My grandson has just discovered that he can crawl - my house is no longer set up for little kids, I'm thinking that will have to change very soon. My nephew is a 3 year old bundle of energy who moves at the speed of light and makes enough noise to mimic breaking the sound barrier. In fact I think he could probably talk underwater with a mouthful of marbles without a problem.

He's loud, he's over the top and then he gives me a gorgeous cheeky little grin and says "I love you Auntie Fi" and I'm lost. Hubby is on night shift tonight so trying to sleep with an exuberant toddler in the house is challenging but he's taking it with good grace. He'll probably be grumpy tomorrow once my nephew goes home.

I've forgotten what it's like to have inquisitive little people in the house, ones who are into everything or who want to question everything you do, everything they see and everything they hear. How on earth did I ever used to get anything done with three small children of my own?

Middle son is out with his girlfriend and youngest son has gone to a friends party. My teenagers have a better social life than I do. My sister-in-law and her mum are at a hens party and will be back later tonight and I believe my nephew has asked me when his cousins and his mum and nana will be back at least 300 times.

He's getting into sleeping mode on his little bed on my lounge room floor and he's stopped talking, he's still wriggling like a worm but that may be my last questions for tonight at least.

Well that's how my weekend is rolling, what's happening in your world.

Cheers, Fi

Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years.  We grow old by deserting our ideals.  Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. ~ Samuel Ullman

I'm linking up with Cate who gives us all a place to visit and connect. 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, February 17, 2012

Another week down...

Blogger has been playing funny games again. Comments have disappeared and while I understand the need for typing word verifications so that Blogger can tell you're not a robot.

I'm left feeling dumber than a robot when it takes me three attempts to actually figure our what the words are when I'm trying to comment on others posts. What's with that?

This weekend is going to be a 'little men' weekend, my grandson is here for a sleepover tonight because his daddy works Saturday mornings and then my nephew is coming to visit tomorrow night whilst his mum and grandma go to a hens party. Little men and lots of love and hugs.

Forrest Gump is on television tonight, love that movie. It's such a feel good movie which makes me laugh out loud.

Youngest son finished out his first week at his new school and I for one am amazed at the contrast between public and private. They get their own personal laptop computer, they have a special lunch for new students and most important is the quality of school work he's doing and not just photocopied sheets being handed out.

It's early days but I'm believing it's probably the best move we could have made for him. Exorbitant costs but worth every cent for the quality of education I'm already seeing. It means that I've put my Masters in Communication, which I got all the information for, on the backburner for now, his education is a little bit more important than mine at this stage.

Anyway my boss said it today, the secret of Change Management is the person who can think on their feet, spin the best bullshit and make others believe what they're spinning. I don't need any Masters degree to do that. I'm learning all the tricks of the trade rapidly every day.

I'm off to a yoga class on Monday night with my 'exercise buddy'. I've wanted to start going to yoga for years but never really committed to doing it. The last time I went to a yoga class was when I was about 15 (a million years ago) and a friend and I went to yoga with another girlfriend and her parents.

The thing was this friend's parents were of the hippy persuasion and were also part of a nudist community so we could never take any of their activities seriously. Yoga at that stage rated up there as a 'hippy activity', unlike it is today.

My other friend and I spent most of the class laughing (as teenage girls are prone to doing) I'm sure that even if we had of wanted to, we wouldn't have been welcome back in that class. I promise to be more mature on Monday night and not laugh hysterically because my body won't cooperate with what my brain wants it to do.

Well grandson is sound asleep, despite youngest son thundering around the house like a herd of elephants, hubby is about to go off to work on nightshift and I'm waiting up until middle son gets home. Driving teenagers - ugh I hate this part of motherhood.

Hope you've all had a productive week.

Cheers, Fi

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities. ~ Jean Houston

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Silently suffering

As mothers we’re on call physically and emotionally 24 hours a day, yet we’re often also the ones who put our hands up to help a friend, or step in for a family member who needs assistance, or volunteer for school activities, playgroups, sports groups – the list is endless.

We are busy, busy, and busy and we still always have time to lend a hand or add something to our list of things to do.

Despite my amazing talent for time management and yes I’ve had many years of managing children, extracurricular activities, work and study I still found myself leaving certain things until the last minute. It could be called prioritizing, or not.

I was at university for six years, studying part time in-between working and mothering and I suffered from an ailment common for many others. Whilst 99% of my assignments were completed ahead of time and handed in by the due date, it was that 1% that always got me.

I believe the problem is that I suffer from put-it-off disease.

This ailment is not new and it’s not even specific to any gender or age. It’s quite unexplainable most of the time as well, because the thing is that a person who suffers from put-it-off disease is often one of the most organised and busy people.

I have no problems with time management, I’m always on time and I meet my work deadlines and my parenting deadlines – you name it and it gets done, so it’s not because I can’t manage my time.

I set goals and I achieve the things that I set out to achieve so I don’t suffer from procrastination either. In fact I’m probably quite annoying in a family of males because I’m a list maker and an action person who once I set my mind to achieving something then I just do it and I drag everyone along for the ride.

The thing is I still suffer from put-it-off disease. It has no pattern, it has no discernable symptoms. It’s not even one specific activity that it relates too. Just every once in a while it raises its ugly head and makes me feel anxious because I have to put something off.

I believe, and please keep in mind that I’m no doctor or expert, that put-it-off disease sometimes attacks the most organised person to remind them that they’re human and that occasionally it’s alright to not be able to do everything.

In some cases the best treatment for this ailment is also in overcoming the fear that what you have to do or say may raise comments from others which makes you feel vulnerable as well.

There’s no known cure for put-it-off disease that I know of and it should never be confused with procrastination. One of the best tips for prevention of this ailment is to remember that it’s okay to say ‘no I don’t have time’, or ‘no I can’t help you at the moment’ or ‘I’m sorry I can no longer do this’.

So do you, or someone you know, suffer from put it off disease? It’s probably more common than you think.

Cheers, Fi
“If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it. The more things you do, the more you can do” Lucille Ball

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Loved up...without flowers and chocolates

Valentines Day is for young people and new lovers. I'm not old or jaded, just realistic. My husband is not romantic in that he buys me flowers or chocolates - besides he'd be wasting his time because flowers make me sneeze and I don't eat chocolate.

But he does;
  • occasionally bring me a morning coffee in bed (despite not being a coffee drinker himself)
  • cook amazing dinners which are better than eating in any five star restaurant
  • change the oil and water in my car (the benefits of marrying a mechanic)
  • encourage our boys to be decent human beings - hubby may be rough and ready but our boys have learnt the right values from him (and lots of bad habits too)
  • teach our boys to look out for each other
  • have the most amazing work ethic
  • ensure the boys do their share of chores around the house to help me
Hubby even made sure that middle son bought his girlfriend of two months a small gift of flowers and chocolates today. I love that he did that. It's teaching my son the right thing, that another person's feelings are important. I had to laugh though because she doesn't like chocolates either.

I was also heartened today because a friend got in touch and offered support for my 'fitness' campaign - an exercise buddy so to speak. The irony of this heart warming offer is that this friend and I used to absolutely detest each other.

As former work colleagues, the first year or two of us working together we clashed so badly it was laughable. Our boss regularly had us in his office diffusing the latest flare up between us. Admittedly that was back in my young and stupid days (okay so it was only 10 years ago)

I'm not even sure why we disliked each other so much, possibly because we're so much alike. We rapidly discovered in working through our agro with each other that our partners are also so similar in some ways that they probably both came out of the same mould. To have come as far as we have, to have her offer an ear, a shoulder, or to be my exercise buddy means a lot to me.

Kyles - you rock, thank you.

I also had another former work colleague email me with a lunch invitation for next week, I miss this person and our daily chats so much. He was the older brother I never had.

See so I felt the love today - from my children, my hubby and some very dear friends. That's the true meaning of Valentines's Day for me.

So what made your day special today?

Cheers, Fi

Note: As much as I would like to moan and whine and complain, I'll restrain myself because I didn't win the Vitamin Me contest. Not everyone recognises brilliance obviously.

I can live without money, but I cannot live without love. ~ Judy Garland

Monday, February 13, 2012

Two way conversations coming right up

For the longest time I considered moving this blog to Wordpress because I wanted to be able to reply to people's comments.

I never got around to it because I'm still more partial to Blogger, and then they finally brought in a reply option and I still didn't use it.

Well now I have, if you left a comment on yesterday's post then I've replied. So many times people have asked a question in the comments section and I've wanted to respond, well now I can. So there's an incentive to leave a comment (even if you don't normally) just so I can at least say hi.

Most nights as I write my posts, I have the television on in the lounge room and I sit on the lounge with my laptop on my lap. I'm not a big TV viewer but it's background noise and sometime I catch parts of shows which I wouldn't specifically sit down to watch. Reading and writing are much higher up on my list of priorities.

We have a television show called My Kitchen Rules which is on most week nights - tonight they have two young bachelor guys cooking. Amazing food cooked tonight and by amateur cooks, young lads even - absolutely spectacular.

For my non - Aussie readers, each pair on the show have to cook a three course meal of their choice and are then critiqued by 10 fellow contestants who come to a 'dinner party' - these guys scored 95 out of a possible 100. This is the highest score ever on this show.

I don't get too excited by food or recipes, but check this out - this is what they cooked

Entree - Trio of seafood
Main - Signature roast (3 roast meats in one)
Dessert - Gateau Opera

Tonight I stuffed up mashed potatoes, not sure where it went wrong. Gees I never mess up mashed potatoes, but I did tonight. These guys make me want to bury my head in a pillow.

Well youngest son had a great first day at his new school, the permanent grin on his face is a small indication.

Hope you've got plenty of reasons to smile

Cheers, Fi

But communication is two-sided - vital and profound communication makes demands also on those who are to receive it... demands in the sense of concentration, of genuine effort to receive what is being communicated. ~ Roger Sessions

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Running on the treadmill of life

There's one or two things in this world which are unforgiving and unrelentless in their cruelty - one of those are the mirrors in a changeroom. Ugh!

Giving up smoking was a monumental effort for me and luckily was assisted by a really bad case of the flu. I was so sick that I lost weight the first three weeks and then it started creeping up. It's been seven months and I'm cured of smoking but I'm probably carrying an extra 7 - 8 kilos at least.

In seven months you can almost create a new life. In seven months my thighs and stomach have taken on a life of their own. It's depressing and it's one of the reasons why I resisted quitting for so long. Because of the weight gain, stupid vain excuse I know.

I'm not that big in some people's books, but all that really matters is how I feel. Today I feel huge. I've been kinda ignoring it for the longest time, burying my head in the sand - but a change room mirror tends to provide a good slap in the face.

I can get motivated about learning and psychological improvement but physical - urgh, hard work. I wish exercise excited me, I wish it was easy to give up the 'bad habits' I have. No, not chocolate or lollies or sweets. My vices are cheese, bread and carbs, oh and lots of milky coffees.

Torture is coming, life is going to get painful. Hubby will be ecstatic when I get back on the treadmill that he lovingly purchased for me 14 months ago. I nagged forever to get one because I planned on giving up smoking and was worried about the weight gain. It just took me an additional 7 months and a bout of the flu to get there and then I forgot (mmhmm) to get on the treadmill.

Deep breath - I can do it, I want to do it, I will do it. Looks like I've got some planning to do and some hard decisions and a few more glimpses in a BIG mirror to remind me why I need to do it. As always, if I share it with you guys then I feel obliged to follow through on my goals - whatever works right.

Youngest son, bless his soul has just asked me to teach him how to iron his clothes for his new school. No assumptions that mum will iron them for him, gotta love that. Full school uniform with dress pants or shorts, collared shirt and tie for the new school and he ironed them all himself tonight.

I'm a bit late with my weekly post on Rainbow Dreams, hubby's birthday yesterday so I didn't even turn the computer on and then out to dinner tonight, so I'm a little behind the eight ball. I'll get it up in the next few days, also a post due this week for World Moms Blog so plenty to do - just for a change (chuckle).

Hope you all have a great week,

Cheers, Fi

I wake up every day with the realisation that this is it, that there's only one shot at this life and I can either enjoy the ride and live it to its fullest and to my highest potential or I can stay the way I am. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Need a four day weekend already

Some weeks Friday just can't come around quick enough - this was one of those weeks. I haven't blogged for two days - once upon a time that would have brought on an attack of the guilts because I wasn't posting every day and also the jitters from withdrawal, it no longer has that effect.

The reality - plenty of other things to do and the only one applying the pressure is me. Some days I feel like all I do is write and create and communicate and I get home and I have zilch energy or urge to write for myself.

It's 9.30 and I've just sat down tonight, luckily I'm sitting upright because I feel like I could go to sleep with very little effort. Grandson is sound asleep on the floor in front of me, he's growing so damn quick. He was super happy and giggly when I picked him up from my son's and then miserable when we got home.

Irresistible and sound asleep, love this age
He's teething and he was hungry and tired and for some reason hubby and youngest both made him cry. I'm wondering if it's because they're both dark haired and his daddy is blonde. Okay so I've forgotten how a baby's brain works. He's about that age where they start to get a bit wary of people they don't see regularly so maybe that's it, and maybe not. Maybe I've just lost my knack with babies.

Anyways it gave me a perfect excuse just to sit cuddled up on the lounge with him in my arms.

Work is ramping up and the next few months will be full on with change management training and then with facilitating change activities across our 19 different businesses at 180 sites. We begin the first of a series of software implementations in roughly 10 months and there are some monumental changes coming. The task is huge, daunting even and we're seriously under resourced.

Head down, bum up, eyes closed and charging forward - that's how I plan to tackle the next few months - with time out for good behaviour.

Right now I plan on hitting the hay, my little houseguest doesn't sleep in on weekends so early start in the morning. Have a great weekend all.

Cheers, Fi

My mum sent me an email this week and I'm not sure who is responsible for these pics but had to share because the photographer did a fantastic job of matching kids and dogs.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Some days are smiling days

Doing my little happy dance - he's in, youngest starts at his new school on Monday. I'm amazed at the difference between private schools and government schools, aside from the hit to the bank balance, you actually get treated like a human being, not just another number.

The smile on his face, when the head of the middle school told him there was a place for him, was priceless. So very happy for him.

Actually today was a day of successes, I discovered some fantastic tools to use for work - clipart (not boring staid ones either), animations, video templates etc - boss was happy for me to get a year long subscription. So unlimited downloads means I can use at home as well, paid for by me and then reimbursed by the company.

I know dancing furballs are pretty irritating but it pretty much matches my mood today so I couldn't resist. I put a smile on everyone's faces today because I was quite excited by my new discoveries - small things amuse small minds and all.

Got middle son's fees sorted out for second year of his apprenticeship, what a shamozzle - trying to charge us outstanding fees (rubbish) so I made a detour past there this afternoon, too hard trying to explain over the phone.

The irony, they 've installed a new administration software system and it's gone pear shaped and the entire office staff were bagging it as I was standing there waiting for them to sort out my mess. I had a nasty glimpse of a possible future event, being that I'm working on a project to implement a new system and many of our people are resistant to the changes coming.

IT implementations and change management - yay what a fun combination.

Now before I run away - Jenn this is at your request, my delish recipe that I made on the weekend. Modified from another recipe I found, to create something I actually tried at a bakery a few weeks ago. Middle son even ate it, this is the middle son who hates every single green vegetable in existence (except salad greens).

Basically it's a spanakopita recipe with sweet potato added. If I had of realised I was going to share the recipe then I would have taken a photo of my creation but the picture below gives you an idea of what they turned out like.

Spinach, feta and sweet potato in puff pastry

1 onion (finely diced)
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
500gm baby spinach leaves
4 sheets of puff pastry
200g feta cheese (crumbled)
1 large sweet potato (thinly sliced)
1/2 bunch of dill, chopped finely
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
2 eggs lightly beaten
additional beaten egg for egg wash
cracked pepper

1.      Preheat oven to 180°C. (160°C fan forced)
2.      Peel and slice sweet potato in thin slices and place on a tray in the oven until partially cooked - roughly 10 - 15 minutes. 
3.      Heat oil in a frypan, and then add onion and garlic. Cook for 1 minute until softened, and then add spinach and the dill. Cook, stirring over low heat for 1-2 minutes or until spinach has wilted. Drain in a colander and cool, chop roughly and then combine with cheeses and egg.
4.      Grease an oven tray with spray oil. Lay out sheets of puff pastry, leaving the plastic underneath to assist with rolling. Layer strips of the cooked sweet potato in the middle third of each sheet of puff pastry and then spread the cheese mixture over top. 
5.      Brush all edges of the pastry with beaten egg and then fold each third in to form a pillow, crimp ends with fork to seal.
6.      Remove plastic from the pastry with the aim of transferring the 'pastry pillow' onto the tray with the join to the bottom. Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash and sprinkle cracked pepper over the top.
7.      Bake for 45 minutes or until golden. Rest for 10 minutes. Serve with tossed salad.

So easy! You could also make this as individual pastries as well. Enjoy!
Cheers, Fi

Monday, February 6, 2012

Smiling inside and out tonight

Two lots of good news - finally. Brother and sister-in-law have announced I'm going to be an auntie again - a nephew or niece to join the family mid year. 

Well we all know it's probably going to be a boy because we only have boys in our family, but my nephew is convinced it's going to be a girl. I'm so happy for them because they've had a fair run of bad luck. Congrats guys - love ya's.

Second good news - murphy's law kicks in here. The second week of the new school year once I've paid all my sons school fees and bought uniforms etc I get a phone call today to say they have a place for him at the private school that we tried desperately to get him into the end of last year - so interview with the head of the middle school tomorrow afternoon.

Fingers crossed we'll get him in. He has excellent marks and attitude, and wants this so much. Unlike his older two brothers who treated school like a chamber of torture that they couldn't wait to escape.

Amazes me how different three boys can be.

Love this - courtesy of my mum
'Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater.

If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby. If you give her a house, she'll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart. 

She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her.  So, if you give her any crap ... be ready to receive a ton of shit.'

Words to live by
  • I fully respect your right to disagree with me, so long as you understand that I'm right and you're wrong.
  • If you think your teenagers are fully honest with you, just think back to when you were a teenager.
  • The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents, and the second half by our children.
  • I don't know the secret of success, but the secret of failure is to try to please everybody.
  • Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.
  • Without ego, greatness is impossible.
  • It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help
  • Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell and have them be happy to be on their way.
  • Never miss a good chance to shut up.

 So do you have a 'sensational' moment to share?

Cheers, Fi

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Calm blue ocean

Do you ever wonder what it might be like to have a calm, stress free life? If you answer that you already have one, while I'm happy for you, I don't want to know about it.

Every time I think everything is cruisey then something happens to give me a swift kick in the pants and remind me not to be so complacent.

I dream of calm, cool, stress free - I'm sure it was never this hard when my children were younger. There are also the well-meaning people who have to butt in with their two cents worth and seem to take pleasure in others hassles.

Okay, deep breath, move on. I can't change them, I can only change how I react.

I once had a friend who used to always intone the words 'calm, blue ocean' over and over again with the aim that this was supposed to calm a person down. Never quite worked for me, positive people can sometimes be awfully annoying - myself included.

I was meant to go to breakfast with a group of girls from my former workplace this morning. That went down the gurgler what with things going on in my world and then the friend who organised breakfast having to catch an emergency flight interstate this morning because her teenage daughter has been in a serious car accident. My thoughts are with her today, sometimes shitty things happen to good people.

Today I spent my afternoon cooking, I'm not a huge fan of cooking but sometimes it's relaxing and calming. I made frosted chocolate muffins and bacon, zucchini and carrot slice for the MM's lunches this week. Plus a spinach, feta and sweet potato mix in puff pastry for tea with a tossed salad. Healthy food which actually tastes good.

Except for the muffins - the other two things are new and untried before. They both have turned out a triumphant success, I have them occasionally - successes that is.

Well that's all my news for now - have a good week. Calm blue ocean everybody (snicker, snicker)

Cheers, Fi

Note: I just googled calm blue ocean for a picture and found these words "Feeling stressed? Feeling like you’re living in a world that is totally out of control? Try this: picture yourself on a gorgeous beach, take a deep breath, and repeat after me, “Calm blue ocean…” Breath. “Calm blue ocean…” Now open your eyes. You’re feeling better right? Maybe there is something in this?????

Saturday, February 4, 2012

6WS - Smart people know when to shutup

There are times when I wish I posted anonymously because then I could properly vent when someone bugs the #@$% out of me. I'm sure some people don't realise how ignorant they sound when they open their mouths and simply don't shut up.

A conversation is meant to be two way, otherwise it's not a conversation - doh!

I suffer occasionally from verbal diarrhoea, I think we all have our moments. I'm also prone to moments of self importance and self righteousness. I guess that's probably why I recognise it in someone else and why it irritates me so badly.

I guess the difference is that I recognise these limitations in myself and so I'm conscious of it and I try not to be too obnoxious, too often. The thing is I hate having to resist the urge to tell someone they're an ignorant twit. Some times I can't resist either, but I'm never cruel, or nasty - sometimes maybe a little abrupt and maybe even a teensy bit rude. Oh - okay, occasionally I don't hold back.

I'm not perfect and I am getting better at keeping my mouth shut, I just find it hard when someone is belittling someone else and trying to prove their own greater intelligence, or when they're simply a pain in the rear end. Making another seem stupid to make yourself appear better is not acceptable in my book.

How do other people handle this? If someone is talking and you can't get a word in edgewise and they're so obviously wrong in what they're saying - do you speak up and tell them, or do you shut your mouth and think about frolicking in meadows to keep your cool?
Feeling so much better now that I've got my agro off my chest and that I haven't named names or given away state secrets in the process.

On a nice positive note, I also have my new post on vision journals up on my other blog if you want to drop by and have a peek.

Have a great week everybody

Cheers, Fi

Thanks Cate, for giving us all a place to visit and connect. 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, February 3, 2012

Have you had your 'Vitamin Me' today?

I’m not a big fan of competitions – only because I never win, but I’ve found a really good sounding one. As my dear mum always says ‘You have to be in it to win it’, so of course I have to enter.

I found this competition on Nuffnang – strange name but probably only because I’m old (forty is positively ancient after all), I’m sure hip and trendy young things know what Nuffnang means. Anyway, before I can tell you about this competition, I have to share a little story with you.

Let me share a little story about a tired and hardworking mother of three boys, grandmother of one baby boy and auntie to another boy. Boy, boys, boys – everywhere you turn, so obviously you can understand how ‘overworked’ this poor mum is. Not to mention the overgrown boy she’s married to.

Most days the mum looks like this (only with blonde hair 
and this pic is on a good day) 

On a bad day she looks more like this (again with blonde hair, 
not red – but you get the idea)

One day the mum was trawling across the internet and found this site

On this website, she learnt about an amazing new discovery which will revolutionise the world. A newly discovered vitamin which is easy to find, costs nothing to attain and has amazing properties capable of nurturing the body, mind and soul.

Vitamin Me can be found in all forms, but is best attained by experiencing exciting adventures, soaking up some arts and culture, consuming delicious food and wine, or enjoying some beautiful scenery and wildlife

The best sources of Vitamin Me in North Queensland
If you don’t have a blog or you don’t live in Australia, then it sucks to be you because you can’t really enter, (pause here for meaningful sigh). You probably could create a blog with a winning post in the next 7 days, or move to Australia, or at least plan to visit Australia and then make full use of the prize. But….. let me save you the effort, because if positive thinking has anything to do with it, then the prize is already mine.

In case you're also a positive thinker like me, I'll share the details of the competition with you because I believe strongly in the idea that the best WO/man  will win. Chuckle, chuckle.

All you have to do is compose a post on your blog explaining how you would boost your vitamin levels if you won a $5000 dream holiday in Queensland. It can be pictures, recipes, words whatever you want.

The competition opens on the 24th January and runs until (AEST) 10 February 2012, so get your posts in quick on the Nuffnang competition entry page. The entries will be judged by Tourism Queensland and will be based on originality and creativity. The winner will be announced on the Nuffnang website on Monday 13th February 2012.

But just in case you missed me saying it earlier, this will be me below after getting my massive dose of Vitamin Me in Queensland when I win. 

So the only real purpose for me in writing this post, besides creating THE winning entry, is to remind you all to ensure you’re getting sufficient amounts of Vitamin Me in your life and to find it some other way, because the Queensland gig is mine. 

It also means that when I’m sunning myself on a beautiful beach in far north Queensland and posting pictures to my blog you’ll be able to feel suitable levels of envy knowing how I got there.

Cheers, Fi

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What about me?

Do you ever have days when there are too many things to do and not enough time to do what you want to? Dumb question I guess. I'm putting together a post which is for a competition, so it's going to take a little bit of effort and planning.

Husbands and children don't really get the statement 'I have things to do', because blogging doesn't count as anything worthwhile. Ahh, the life of me.

So you have to come back tomorrow when hopefully I will have put something clever together. It's a blogging competition with a cool prize - so worth a little effort and I'm sure you'll want to read about it. Although I'm not sure that it's as exciting for someone outside of Australia, but you never know.

I will now don my taxi driver hat and be off to do what every good mother does best, look after her family's needs. It makes my proposed post even more applicable. Yes, mysterious me, you'll just have to come back tomorrow won't you?.

Cheers, Fi

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I could have been a legend already

Once upon a time I was a SAHM (that's a stay at home mum for those who don't do acronyms) Strangely enough my job combines technology and project work and it's a career area which has an acronym for every single thing possible - but that's another post altogether.

Anyway back to the once upon a time story. In my younger years I was at home with three young boys and I did lots of exciting things like washing, cooking and cleaning yet I felt like my brain was going to explode from boredom. I wish that back then there had been something like the blogosphere - well there probably was but it was only in its infancy (yes I'm really that old)

If I could have been at home and writing and blogging I would never have felt the need to venture out into the big wide world. When I find time in my busy working life I visit a number of blogs. I'll share a few links in a minute (but they're making money and I'm not, so you have to read my words first)

Don't get me wrong though, everything happens for a reason because boredom made me go back to school and finish out my SACE (highschool diploma) and then continue on to university. The thing is, paid blogger and online contributor weren't on the list of career paths when I was younger otherwise I surely would have known what I wanted to be.

These days bloggers go to conferences all over the globe, and they do career presentations, and they have a voice - world wide, and they make some serious dollars for doing fun things. The truth is that most of them are just mums. Just mums who the world has finally realised have a wealth of information to contribute, and blogging is enabling them to reach more people than ever before.

I count myself lucky these days that I have a job and that I get paid to write and blog and develop internet sites. But just think what a legend I could have been if I'd started blogging when my children were young and I had plenty of mind numbing moments to try and fill. Fancy getting paid to travel around the world and talk about why you blog and what you've learnt.

Blogging conferences are even moving with the times and are child friendly - doh! otherwise the mummy bloggers wouldn't turn up. 

Now as promised, below are a couple of the up-and-coming Aussie mum bloggers who are going places literally and figuratively so it seems, and making money while they do it. I'm sure you all know a mountain of others or maybe you're one yourself - that's me thinking positively that any of these 'established' bloggers would even read my posts.
So when I grow up, I'm going to be a professional Blogger who travels the world and gets paid to give my opinion.

Cheers, Fi