Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 31st

There's just *something* about indulging in new lingerie...

And today's shop was most definitely indulging.  Because, although supportive underwear is oftentimes a necessity, supportive underwear with lace and colour, doesn't *quite* fall into the category of necessity.  My last indulgence of *this* kind, was foreverago.  Back when I considered beautiful lingerie more for showing off than comfort and support.

Turns out, manufacturers have cottoned on that women might want both (they may have cottoned on within the last fifteen years, but that's how long it's been since I was in the market).  And although my definition of *showing off* has changed significantly in the last 15 years or so, I must admit, I do quite like to catch a glimpse of beautiful lacework in my reflection, from time to time.

(image showcasing glimpse of beautiful lacework beneath clothing removed due to reconsideration of maintaining G rating.)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

July 30th

Grateful for a day of fulfillment today!

An early morning blessing to the yogi gods, followed by the collection of a beautiful friend on my way home, then into the big smoke to catch up with friends of old and friends anew over breakfast!  Did I mention it was a CRAFTY breakfast??!!  Oh divine of divine!

Five women and a delectable man clustered around a table, littered with yarn of every colour and ply.  There was a dead fish baby hat in bright rainbow colours (the design meant the opening of the hat was the fish's mouth! Fantastic!), the beginnings of a red amigurumi teaset, a ripple blanket in oceanic colours, crocheted flowers of purple and chocolate, a cardigan in lilac bamboo, neon red winter woolen gloves, a lace poncho in green and a jumper in hot pink.

The breakfast menu at Jorg's alone, was enough to call us 60km from home.  But the lure of spending a dedicated four hours to crafting in fabulous company, with food, coffee (and wine, ahem) available with one nod to the waiter, was too much goodness to stay home and miss!  So many unfinished projects completed and so many loose ends tied up (sorry).  We departed company with intentions to make it once a month - with perhaps a hot springs picnic escapade in our neck of the woods on the agenda.

Driving home, we were still in the depths of the city when I found much delight in this sign:

No more coffee for the next 55km??  Surely they're not serious?!  This is MELBOURNE after all.  Coffee is available EVERYWHERE!  Alas, not along a stretch of 8-lane freeway...  and that's fair enough I suppose (although, I'm sure I'm not the only Melbournian that would support a pittstop along the way for a dose of beanly-goodness... *smile*

Friday, July 29, 2011

July 29th

Tears fell tonight.
Despairing over working care arrangements for next year.  Arrangements that place Lucy's needs above mine and her dad's, while still being flexible enough for us both to still earn an income, for now and for squirreling for the future once work stops.  

If we were still together, all income regardless of who earned it, would go into a joint pot.  So it wouldn't matter who worked what percentage of the week, or who was on school drop offs or pick ups or lunch duty that night.  But because we're not, the situation becomes more thought-worthy.

I know I'm in a fairly uncommon situation, where Lucy's dad strives to remain as much a part of her day-to-day life as financially possible.  And for all but the first 9 months of her life, he has worked part-time, sacrificing his career and financial gain, to do just that.  Now he is down to one income, he knows that is no longer sustainable for the long-term.  With her being at school next year, he sees the common-sense opportunity for him to resume full-time work.  But for one parent to work full-time, it means either the other parent cannot, or the child enters after-school care.

Which presents me with a conundrum.
I am very blessed and incredibly grateful, to share a love and a life with a man who has offered and is happy to support me financially for as long as I want it, in order for me to not only spend quality time with my child, but also to build a business from the fruit of my passions.  As evidenced by the last five months.  But this man also knows, that with an exception of two years study and nearly two years of Lucy's babyhood (including late pregnancy), I have been working in some capacity or another since the age of thirteen, and complete and utter financial dependence is not something I am 100% comfortable with.  At all.

And while I trust in my relationship more than I trust I won't be hit by a bus tomorrow, if we were to separate next week, I would be a woman with a small child, without a home and without immediate income.  I'm not naive and I'm not reckless.  So, to offer Lucy's dad a 40 hour full-time work week, at the expense of time to work myself, I'm leaving myself a little more vulnerable than I'm used to.  Conundrum, yes?

And of course, at the centre of all of this, is a small child that needs as much stability and routine in her soon-to-change world as the adults in her life can give her.  Which in itself, is questionable.  Is a split week best?  A split fortnight?  A split month?  I have been mulling this over continuously, for months now.  Neither Lucy's dad nor I are any closer to working out the perfect arrangement for all.  Until tonight, that is.  I have searched my heart inside out, consulted with Ben and I believe I have found a solution that may just work for all.  I have forwarded my thoughts to Lucy's dad.  Now, I just await his thoughts.

Gratuity kudos?  Why, the man that makes this all possible, of course.
Watch this space.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 28th

Grateful that there are people in our world who think like this.  Grateful that there are people in our world who think outwardly enough to share these thoughts with those around them.  And grateful that I have the means to receive these thoughts and share them with my world.

I'm seeing demonstrations in my personal world at the moment, of power superseding love.  Of power being wielded in the form of exclusion, of manipulation, of untruths.  Of fear of consequences paralysing authenticity.  Of love being sacrificed to save face.

It's quite saddening.
But it is what it is.  People operate predominantly to maintain personal safety.  Despite actions that bought them to that place causing hurt.  Despite opportunities to right wrongs.  Despite the probability of unconditional understanding and grace on offer.  A person will more often than not, choose self-preservation and maintaining the semblance of integrity (even if they know it to be false), over admitting wrong doings and risking a fall.

To err is to be human.  To acknowledge error and take responsibility for consequences takes strength, courage, remorse and humility.  To seek to mend wrongs, to give love and be open to receive love demonstrates a heart that favours the power of love over the love of power.

Why do we find this so hard to do?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

July 27th

"Mum, I wanna watch a (DVD) show."
"Sorry, love.  No."
"But I really want to.  Pleeeease?
 "Goose, my answer is no."
"Oh!  PahLEASE!  Dad lets me."
"And that's what happens at Dad's house.  In this house, it's not okay with me.  Sorry."

Five minutes later, after I had finished putting away the groceries, I find this:

She sees me taking a picture... "Come help me, Mum.  I'm painting a turtle shell and it's going to take me AAAAAGES without help."  "Sure, love *smile*.  I'd love to."

In other news, look what I found today!

The second image showing a size comparison with our cutlery.

Granted, there's only one of each in a set, but it's not plastic and it's a great size for wee hands!  Why doesn't anyone sell a child sized cutlery set??  (Or if they do, why haven't I found it yet?!)  In most households, there's at least the same number of children as adults, if not moreso.  Why must we buy individual knives, forks and spoons (with the copious packaging that comes with the necessity of buying individual sets)?  Do manufacturers think children only eat once a day?  Or that parents do dishes after every meal (or every day for that matter??!!)?  

My child has been using a knife and fork since the age of two and her hands will most likely be ready for adult size and weight cutlery by the time she's ten or so I imagine.  So that's eight years of using what exactly?  This particular issue has been a bugbear of mine for years. So anyway, I was most pleased with my find (thanks Aldi!), even if I did have to purchase two, with all the wasteful and unnecessary packaging.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 26th

Today, I am grateful for the creative, artistic and passionate pursuits of women I admire.

Meet Taylor and Felicia (and their babies).

Taylor is a gift for my niece, my sister's child, who came earthside six years ago today.  And Felicia is for Lucy's fifth birthday in September.  It's apparently quite extraordinary for freckles to appear on the palms of hands or soles of feet.  My niece and my child both share an extraordinary attribute.  They both have a freckle on their right palm - in exactly the same spot.  My sister and I don't share this biological mark - it's utterly unique to our girl children.

My gorgeous niece.  Happy birthday, darling xx

So I have chosen to stitch matching birth marks on the right palms of Felicia and Taylor, to honour the unique and beautiful marks of these gorgeous girls.  This I did tonight, in the company of my crafty women-folk.  I spoke to my niece tonight via Skype, to wish her happy birthday and to explain my gift was late, but it was most certainly coming (in a really big box!).  I'm not sure how much of her reaction was excitement of the coming gift, or excitement of her impending night, camping in a sleeping bag, in a tent, on the floor of her bedroom, with her brother *smile*.  Bless.

I think these dolls are amazing.  To share with the girl children in my life, the normalcy of vaginal birth and breastfeeding, through play with their dolls.  Sure beats the pointy-high-heeled-toes off Barbie, any day!

Monday, July 25, 2011

July 25th

We're not long home from an evening out together.
A Northern Indian buffet at our local Indian restaurant followed by a few hours of pool and bowling.

We had a marvelous time.  And you know, the thing I think that makes it that much more enjoyable, is both our ability to disconnect from ego and play without competitiveness.  I'm quite choosy about who I *play* with.  The intensive energy of someone intent on winning (and often it's just competitiveness with themselves, not even with the people they are with) makes me quite uncomfortable.  It takes the fun out of play for me.  It takes the enjoyment out of the company for me.  So when I'm around that kind of energy, I end up having a really bad time.

It stems mostly I imagine, from the societal belief that failure is the ultimate in doom.  Whereas my view on failure is the wonderfully clear demonstration of how not to do it next time.  Ben and I share similar views in this arena, predominantly in business and personal endeavours.  But as occasions such as tonight (and others like it previously) show, in traditionally competitive sports too.

This evening I am grateful to have a partner to play with, where play is just that - play.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 24th

We had planned a leisurely lunch for two today.
We had also planned to return home after yoga to shower and tart ourselves up a bit before dining.  Except we walked out of our 90 minute worship and found ourselves too starving to make it home and back again.  So we decided the Mornington sect would just have to look the other way if they were offended by our sweaty, disheveledness.

I was craving wood-fired carbohydrate goodness but Sunday at half eleven left us with few choices.  The spot we found didn't have wood-fired goodness, but they did have my favourite savvy by the glass, so it was a perfectly acceptable compromise.

I was feeling a little *let's challenge the comfort zone*, which is a frequent headspace after 90 minutes of pushing my physical and mental capacities to their limits throughout my practice, so I decided to forgo the safety of a lamb salad and instead ordered the seafood platter (minus the oysters).

Seafood Platter, for one (apparently).

This is me asking "are you serious?  I ordered the platter for ONE!"
(I had no idea he took this shot, but it illustrates my incredulity perfectly)

And aside from wincing at the ridiculous amount of food that arrived, knowing a fair amount would be wasted, I really enjoyed my lunch and it felt good to have taken a risk (for me) and have it pay off!

Grateful for feeling the fear and doing it anyway *grin*
(Oh and yes, I did have a chat with the chef...)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 23rd

Today, I am grateful that I could lie on the sofa and do nothing.
Yep, nothing.
Well, I was knitting and I was watching trashy chick flick movies back to back - but essentially, nothing.  After yoga this morning, Ben had finance stuff to do and all I wanted to do was revel in the pure pleasure of zero responsibility and zero obligation.  It was fantastic. 

I used to feel such GUILT for idleness.  I put it down to my upbringing and societal conditioning.  My mother is the kind of person who stops once a week, for an hour, to watch her favourite tv show.  At all other times, she is moving.  And the last thing she was going to indulge in her children, was laziness.  So, doing nothing was something you did when your mother wasn't looking.

On becoming a functioning member of society, it was drummed into me that busyness was productiveness!  And productiveness was a positive contribution and hence you were valuable!  Then I entered the professional field of preventative health and learned how wrong I was.  How wrong we all are!  Oh my.  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Adrenal Fatigue, Auto-immune diseases.  There are sooooo many, countless, ways in which the body tells us that constant *productivity* is not ideal for health.  That our physical, emotional, mental and energetic bodies require down time.  And if we don't honour that need, our bodies force it upon us.  And often in a way that takes us many moons and much energy to recover from. 

Preventative health is my philosophy for longevity.  I've discussed this before.  Yoga for stretching and strengthening my muscles, my spine, my fascia.  For stimulating my lymphatic system, my circulatory system, my endocrine system.  Chiropractic care for maintaining spinal alignment and nervous system health.  Vital, chemical free foods to provide the best building blocks.  Conscious thoughts of kindness, gratitude and creative intent.  And idleness, for keeping balance, for pure pleasure, for reminding myself that life is not all about drudgery, enslavement, difficulty, chore.  

You know that old adage, where the old man is lying on his death bed and he's asked what his biggest regret is, and he says he regrets that he spent too much time at work and not enough with his children...  well, I ponder something similar.  At any given moment in time (and I often use this to make big decisions in my life that I'm unsure of what the outcome will mean), I think to myself, if I were to die tomorrow and I were looking back on my life, would I be satisfied with my journey, now it's done?

I read a book entitled the 4 hour work week a few years ago and it introduced me to the concept of the Deferer.  Essentially, someone that puts off all the fun stuff until the end.  The saver, not the spender.  The person who works his whole life, with the intention to relax once he hits retirement.  I got a lot out of that book, but the thing that really stayed with me, was this concept of Deferer.  Except, I applied it to all things.  You know, use the good crockery every week, rather than just on special occasions, that sort of thing.  Where was I going with this...?

Oh yeah.  Downtime.  If I don't make it to this magical age of retirement or when all the hard work ends and the good stuff is supposed to start.... then I reckon I'd be really pissed that I didn't enjoy myself along the way.  In the event my life is not 90 years in duration, I don't want to be reviewing my innings, lamenting the fact that I didn't have as much fun as I could have.  I want to look back on my life if it were to end tomorrow and think "I had a rockin' good time".  And right now, I absolutely would.

The next time you have an opportunity to do nothing.  Do it.  And enjoy it.  Don't think about all the things you *should* be doing (and while I think of it, I highly recommend eliminating the word 'should' from your vocabulary, it's a perfect vehicle for delivering guilt and enforced obligation into your consciousness, and really, what good are they?).  Consider it therapeutic.  Necessary.  As essential as breathing.  Your adrenals will love you for it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

July 22nd

So, are we grateful when our friends introduce our children to addictive screen games on their iphones?

Well, in this case, when the colouring pencils no longer hold interest, or the stickers, or the moisture-activated tattoos and there was still much conversation to be had, perhaps yes.  Perhaps when such a decision results in pleasure all round, can that really be defined as the unhealthy or evil?  Perhaps such occasions are examples of the need to take a mama-chill-pill and relax and enjoy the upshot of a rare and wicked indulgence. *smile*

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 21st

Grateful for a special genre of friendship.

Today I visited a dear, beautiful, gorgeous friend.  She lives on the other side of town - literally (like, I have to drive in the car for an hour, cross a bridge AND a city to get there), so it's no easy feat for us to catch up.  Especially for her, just at the moment.  Because you see, just over two weeks ago, she birthed her third son.  And like most women, I'm a fly to honey when it comes to brand new squishy babes and their still-high-on-oxytocin mamas *grin*.

This woman and I share a history that goes back over eleven years, before my child, before her father even!  We met at work when I was a crazy young Kiwi on a fly-through visit.  I was placed in her team and it wasn't long before we discovered we not only shared the same crazy sign of the zodiac (Sagittarius, in case you needed confirmation), we also shared the same birthday.  Instant rapport!  In the same way two men who turn up to a party wearing the same shirt become instant friends - the same is true for Sagittarians.  We adore each other.  We know ourselves to be fabulous, so it must automatically be true of another born under the same sign. 

My fly-through visit plans changed when I fell head-over-heels in love with my daughter's father and I began to develop some depth to budding friendships.  T and I married our lovers in the same year and both rushed headfirst into the excitement and craziness of making babies.  It was this life phase that took our friendship to the next level of intimacy.  Cycle after cycle after cycle we treasured our sisterhood as we lamented our inability to conceive, and shared mutual strength, heartache and hope.

Our lives took on different directions when my husband and I embarked on a two year sabbatical in my country of birth.  Even on our return to Australia, our paths didn't cross again until Facebook threw us back into each other's lives two or so years ago.
As I was visiting T today, standing in her kitchen, completely at home in a home I haven't visited in nine years, making us lunch, rifling through the cupboards and pantry finding plates, making us tea... her sitting, resting, chatting as I busied myself in her domain, it struck me how amazing this friendship is.  How special this friendship is to me.  How much I value this woman in my life.  It's not often a friendship between two women can span such a length of time, have such an huge absence in the middle and still have such a wonderful, intimate connection that picked up where it left off (and be more connected, if that's possible).

I have seen enough moons in my life to know the difference between a true friendship and an association.  A friendship for me, is one of honesty.  Of reality.  Of emotional authenticity.  Of trust in vulnerability.  Of kindness.  Of laughter.  Of unconditional love.  They are not easy to find.  Even when you think you've found one, hardship for one or the other can prove otherwise.  I care for many, but I open my heart to few.  And T is most certainly one of the few.

If you're reading this, thank you beautiful woman.  For your friendship.  For our connection.  And for scrumptious cuddles today with your squishy, divine boy *melt*.  And just while I think of it, if you like, wash your breast in warm water, then pop it in the dryer.  If it doesn't shrink to size, I'll whip up another one for you both, better sized for his head *grin*

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

July 20th

I read this article a few days ago and it reminded me that I had some coconut butter in the fridge.  Remnants from our summery days of raw.  So I decided to get it out and replace the olive oil called for in our bolognaise recipe, with this much raved about fat.

First impression was the smell, as it was cooking.  It dawned on me as I was walking back up the hall from running the bath, that the house was filling with the most exquisite smell - a smell I hadn't come across before.  I quickly realised it was the coconut fat in the meat mix - not that it smelled of coconut.... it was odd.  But most mouth-watering!

Then it came time for the taste test.
We certainly noticed a difference!  But it wasn't coconut in the same way I would expect if I had tipped my after-shower body milk into the dinner.  No, it was different for sure - but exactly how, I couldn't put my finger on it.  Either way, it was certainly heavenly!

So, I'm so wonderfully grateful for the learning of new things.  For the courage to risk dinner for three (including the fastidious and temperamental taste buds of a 4 year old) in trying something new.  And for the bonus of it paying off!

One other thing I'm grateful for today.
The sourcing of fantastic, quite-out-there, incredibly interesting resources that align with one's passion.
I call this find, a total score.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July 19th

Tonight I'm grateful for completing two crafty projects I've had on the go for a wee while.  I used to thoroughly look forward to craft night for the catch up and wind down.  Now I really value the time for 100% dedication to crafting.

I literally do not find the time to pick up my needles at home anymore.  A&O completely dominates all alone-time.  And my time with company, is well, time with company!  So, out of the four yarn projects I had on the go this morning, only two remain.

Kinda hard to tell, but it's a green sheep.  There's a story about that...

And the last of my custom hats.  Think I'll add a couple of flowers though, just in case the wearer finds herself in the mood...

Speaking of completed projects.  Although I am only posting questions one week out of every two for the moment, my plan is still to answer one per day to keep and post at a later date.  Today's question was fantastic!  I very much enjoyed researching it.  In fact, I went a little too far I think and included way more information than was actually necessary.  But it was just so interesting!

I am very grateful for the fantastic hard copy resources I have at my disposal when it comes to fleshing out the concepts in my head.  These were part of my arsenal for today's task!

Monday, July 18, 2011

July 18th

Grateful for alternate universes.

Places of escapism, where the rest of the world just doesn't exist for an hour or three.

Where all your senses are nurtured and your desires are met.

Where all thoughts dissolve away as you melt into the hot, mineral-infused liquid therapy.

All the more incredible under a dark sky, filled with stars.

We often disappear into this luxurious haven.  Some of our best business ideas have been conjured inhaling the sulfurous air.  But mostly, we just sit.  And smile.  And try not to think of anything at all.

I highly recommend *smile*

Sunday, July 17, 2011

July 17th

An early morning desire to drive found me in Warburton at half past eight.
With nothing open and no one around, the river called.
I was delighted to find a trail that followed the Yarra up one length, across a bridge, then down the other side.  An hour later and I was back at the car, stomach growling.

A leisurely breakfast and a craving for bean satisfied, and it was time to come home.
But not before a stop in at the famous tea shop!

You like my booty?

Now to watch Episode Three of Star Wars (for the gazillionth time) and find out exactly how banana tea tastes.  Milk you think - or no?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

July 16th

After a 90 minute session in the hot room this morning, the kittens demonstrate perfectly, the extent of our activity for the remainder of the day.

Grateful for days of downtime.

(Pics posted especially for Fiona ;o)

Friday, July 15, 2011

July 15th

Grateful for blue skies,
warm sunshine,
wide open spaces,
the squeals of children
and the laughter of their mamas.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 14th

Oh - the blessing of the extra child!

When the dynamic is right, the combination is magic!
We are minding the child of a friend overnight.  Lucy and A had never met until this evening.  And despite A being three and a bit years older than Lucy, they have not left each other's sides all evening. 

From A reading Lucy story after story, to playing with toy dinosaurs, to creating and play-acting imaginary creatures, to drawing on the windows, to one teaching the other hoop jumping.  Ben and I stopped twiddling our thumbs after 20 minutes, accepted the wonderful fate of the evening and picked up our needle craft *grin*.

It's just gone 9pm and they are still playing - although I did request they put their pajamas on about half an hour ago.  There is laughter, chatter and animal noises coming from down the hall.  We see them occasionally as their play takes them outside of the studio and on location, but mostly they are absorbed in their alternate universe at the end of the hall.

It gives me infinite pleasure to see my velcro baby so happy and content in the company of a person other than her parent.  It's everything I can do to stop myself *checking in*.  I mean, I knew this day would come, obviously!  But I was feeling like it was going to be - I don't know - thirteen years in or something??  A is a gorgeous child.  I feel very blessed we have the pleasure of her company for the next 18 hours or so.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July 13th

It was another early start this morning, only this time, for work - rather than practice.
Ben helped me construct an organisational chart for the business today.
Another tool to help me prioritise my time and ensure that I spend equal time building content for the website as well as tending the social networking aspect of the marketing, which seems to be dominating my time at the expense of everything else.

A simple exercise, but so demonstrative in clarifying where I'm at, what roles represent the business and who's doing what.  Naturally, Ben and I are filling all roles at the moment.  But this chart of position hierarchy illuminates roles that could possibly be filled by others, as the business grows.
Very à la The E-Myth.

Have you read it?

A rule of business I learned many moons ago (heavens knows from where), was to start as you mean to go on.  In other words, put in place the structures you foresee your business needing in the future, right at the beginning.  Everyone starts small.  But if you plan small, you'll always stay small.  And if you don't stay small, you'll struggle to grow as fast as your business grows.  If you plan big, all your structures will be in place for when you do grow (which will be inevitable, as that is your intention *wink*).  So growing pains will be negligible.  That is one of the best things I took from this book.  Much wisdom in that one key.

So a bit of business followed by a 90 minute practice, followed by an afternoon of chillin' with my girl.  And now, a bit more business and then a bit of time with my man.  A perfectly balanced day, if I do say so, myself.  I might just be getting the hang of this.