Looking Forward To 2015

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So every year I make a list of things I want to achieve and at the end of every year I feel like I have very little to actually show for it. I’m beginning to think that I am either very unmotivated (sometimes true), I am easily distracted (also sometimes true), I split my focus too much (I can never seem to finish what I start), I have unrealistic expectations, or I’m focussing on the wrong goals because I’m stuck in the mindset. I’m thinking it’s a little bit of everything, but mostly the last one. I’m not focussed on the right things. I’m stuck in the mindset of trying to do too much and be too big and change too fast. I’m too focussed on achievement rather than just enjoying the ride. That’s what life is, one big continuous journey. That’s the key of what I’ve been missing in these resolutions. I’m too stuck on feeling like I need to achieve great things, when I just need to be who I am and recognise that life is made up of the little things that are pretty special too.

So what do I have in store for 2015?

Photography

I did actually take a photo a day last year (mostly) but it was pretty much all of my darling daughter. I’m still hung up on the photo a day concept, but I’m finding it too arduous and it’s clogging up this site. I’m finding myself posting for the sake of posting instead of actually considering what I’m taking photos of and thinking it through. I’m not happy with a lot of the photos and they’re frankly pretty boring, even for me and I took them! So I’m going to simplify. I’ll only post up what I’m happy with and actually want to post. I’ll still take photos every day, but I want to be more careful and considerate of what it is I’m doing. I don’t want to just be filling a quota and just dumping everything on here. There are so many last minute and thoughtless photos on here and I’m definitely not happy with and this year I just want to do things that make me and my family happy. I should also probably get back into it and take photos of something other than my daughter, as cute as she is!

 

Read More Books

I did okay with this one last year, but only because I was obsessed with all things baby especially sleep. I still feel like I spend too much time online reading small and easy to digest articles instead of proper books. I feel like I’m getting dumber with each passing year, and part of that is that I don’t read as much stuff with substance. I’m just getting little bits and pieces of everything. I also still have a terrible habit of starting heaps of books and never finishing them, so maybe I’ll try to finish what I start, including the dozens of books I’ve started by never finished. Part of reading more is unplugging, getting off my laptop, getting off the internet, and definitely kicking my damaging Pinterest addiction. I suppose what I really want to do is to simplify a little and focus rather than dividing all my thoughts over many different snippets.

 

Exercise Consistently

I know I say this every year but it’s an ongoing project. After being diagnosed with gestational diabetes and forcing myself to waddle around more to keep my blood glucose in check, I now don’t have a lot of motivation to get out there again. It was a tough recovery, which meant I wasn’t as mobile as I probably should have been and add to the fact that some days I’m still in a lot of pain, it’s hard to do any exercise just for myself. The most I do nowadays is going for walks with the little one and lifting the pram in and out of the car. I did go on a couple of runs last year, but nowhere near what I was doing prior to getting pregnant. My core strength is also currently non-existent!

 

Be In the Moment

I spend too much time going over what happened in the past that can’t be changed, and worrying about what is probably never going to happen in the future. It makes me unable to enjoy what’s happening right in front of me. I don’t want to be burdened by all these things that may or may not happen. Instead I want to be a part of what’s happening right now and to be completely available for my daughter and any future children that I might have. Sometimes I worry too much about the destination rather than the journey. It’s so cliche, but true in my case. If parenting has taught me anything, it’s that there is no endpoint. Everything is just fluid and always changing. I worry too much about the future and it makes me so anxious. Every time I feel like I’ve figured something out, it changes, so I need to learn to be adaptable and flexible and just go with the flow. Part of this is also just appreciating what is in front of me at the time. I want to enjoy music more and stop splitting my attention. Maybe I should also learn to do one thing at a time and simplify rather than trying to cram more and more things into my day. Time is precious, but I think I could spend it better by slowing down rather than speeding up and becoming overstimulated. I could probably learn a lot from my baby and making things simple. Being around her reveals a lot of truths about myself and the way I choose, or have previously chosen, to spend my time and energy.

 

Be Myself

One of the greatest insecurities is fearing that people won’t like and accept me. It’s silly and I have no idea why I am crippled by these thoughts, but it makes me less honest. It makes me not speak up and to hide what I’m really thinking in case I offend someone or that they judge me. This has never been more relevant now that I’m a parent. I want to be a person that my children can look up to and be proud of. I want them to know that it’s okay to be yourself and that it’s not important if you fit into a mould or if people like you or not. I don’t want to be burdened by expectations or worry so much about what other people think, who let’s face it, whose opinions don’t really matter. If people don’t like me for who I am, then they don’t have to be around me and vice versa. I also don’t want to keep taking so many things to heart. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, so why waste energy getting upset when I don’t agree with them?

 

Finish What I’ve Started

I’m terrible at starting projects and never finishing them. It’s like the 10 books sitting next to my bed that I’ve half read but haven’t had the motivation to finish, or the thousands of tabs I have open in my browser that I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten around it yet (yes my husband says that I have terrible tab addiction). Actually, I’m not sure if it’s lack of motivation or that I just have a short attention span or that I’m afraid to let go of anything and just hold on forever. It’s probably a combination of all these things and more. It probably doesn’t matter what the reason is. It makes me feel burdened though and this year I want to feel lighter within my own head. I know I have a heap of things I want to do but I think it’s time to get serious about finishing them or giving it away.

On a side note, I did finish my baby blanket (even though the baby I made it for is now almost 3!) and it only has on mistake in it. When I finished it, I was so proud that I felt like making another one. The husband kindly and sensibly said no to that idea!

 

Focus On My Family

This is the big one this year. Everything else comes second. I want to be a good mum and a good partner, neither of which I am right now, but I feel I have the potential to be. It’s probably like wanting to be happy though. It’s very difficult to define such an abstract concept as ‘good’ or ‘happy’ because the goalposts are constantly moving. I suppose what I’m looking at is to strive to improve and change and be flexible with my approach. I want to change the things I’m unhappy with, like my impatience, my tendency to bottle things up, my terrible habit of shutting down when I’m stressed… The list goes on. I suppose what I want to achieve with this is that I need to stop letting the little things get to me and focus on the big picture. My priority is my family at the moment. That’s my big picture and with everything else I just need to take a deep breath and take a step back.

 

There is so much more that I want to do an achieve, but I don’t know if I have the time or motivation to do it all. Baby steps.

Hiatus

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It’s been a tough month and I’m very behind on my Project 365, for good reason as well. In fact for the last few weeks I just haven’t really taken any photos except of my new bundle of overdue joy. She didn’t want to come out, but we forced her out eventually. She’s happy and healthy and that’s all I could really ask for, coming out at a whopping 4.05kg (huge for someone as little as me).

Me on the other hand am slowly on the mend after nothing going to plan (not that I really had a plan), but it seemed like everything that I didn’t want ended up happening. I had to be induced because she was almost 2 weeks overdue, and after ‘failure to progress’ (horrible term by the way) I ended up with an emergency c-section. To top it all off, about 10 days after, I ended up with a very nasty infection that saw me back in hospital. The first two weeks of my little one’s life on the outside, I spent half of it feeling sorry for myself in hospital, and feeling a bit bitter about how indifferent some of the staff in the hospitals are. Don’t get me wrong, most of my care was absolutely fantastic, but having to endure the emergency department is an entirely different story. Thanks for the endless budget cuts to health you lousy government!

However, I’m back home and bouncing back and hopefully that will be the end of that. The point is that I really haven’t taken any photos for Project 365 over the last few weeks. I don’t even know what the themes are anymore. Hopefully when I’m settled down I’ll get back into it. For now, I’m just going to enjoy a bit of a break in my sleep deprived state and spend a bit of time just staring at my little (or not so little) one, and wondering what to do with myself. Everyone tells you how hard the first few weeks with a newborn are, but no one really tells you how to get through it! Special mention goes to the husband who has been so amazingly calm throughout the whole ordeal, helping me get around when I was in so much pain, and also caring for our daughter when I was in no condition to do so. I am forever grateful for his love and support, and thankful that we have a healthy little one despite all the drama.

Unnecessary Baby Stuff

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I’ve been on leave for a couple of weeks now, and it’s been good in some aspects (sleeping in, napping when I want, slothing around and catching up on bad reality TV ie. My Kitchen Rules and The Block). It’s also been good because I’ve finally washed all the baby stuff we’ve gotten. I feel like the baby has more clothes than what I do, and that’s a lot! It’s weird not going to work, but also nice. Everyone keeps telling me that I should just relax and enjoy and take it easy, but there’s always a part of me that feels like I should be doing more (still haven’t finished packing my hospital bag and I’m technically at full term now!).

One of the things that has been occupying my time is reading baby books and going on the internet, including my good friend Pinterest. It’s so easy to just Google things, like what I should pack for my hospital bag when I’m stuck on ideas. What’s really annoyed me though is how over-medicalised and generally crazy and over the top some American blogs and sites are. I guess it’s just like everything, to take it with a grain of salt and just use the information that I find useful, ignoring the rest. I still can’t help by find some things really irritating though, just like crazy parenting forum acronyms. I know I should just ignore it, but I think I’ve just got too much time on my hands at the moment. So here’s what is annoying me.

Too much material stuff. How can one tiny little baby possibly need all this stuff? Now I might not really have a good idea of what a baby really needs and what is just convenient, but some of the ‘essentials’ lists are just insane. There is so much baby stuff that they only use for a short period of time, yet people buy this crazy stuff. Here’s a list of really useless stuff that no one needs at all! Every time I walk into a baby store I feel completely overwhelmed with the amount of stuff they have in there. Babies really just need love and attention and you know a few other little things. A diamonte encrusted dummy or a wipes warmer is not something I would consider an ‘essential’.

Too many crazy rules. There is so much angst over whether babies are developing at the right rates and what they are meant to do at what stage and then of course stressing out over it. I can see myself doing the same thing, comparing my child to other children and stressing about it. I just need to remind myself that everyone develops at their own rate and not to stress about it too much. While we’re talking about stress, I don’t know why everyone is so hung up on sleeping through the night. I remember learning about sleep cycles during uni and newborns don’t have sleep cycles like adults do, so why are their so many rules and books and advice on getting them to do something that isn’t natural to them? It’s not forever and eventually they’ll settle. Parents just need to do what works for them.

Too much emphasis on God and religion. Now I’m not religious and I have nothing against religion, but it really irks me when people say that they are just putting their trust in God and it’s not God’s plan to have children, and thanking God’s good grace for getting through labour and the difficulties of coping with a newborn. How about these people give themselves and their partners and support people some credit. It’s not God that got them through. It’s just themselves.

Professional baby photography. Now, I know it’s pretty important to get photos, but I was reading a few posts about there being professional photographers in the US who are affiliated with hospitals to get those all important perfect newborn shots. Don’t even get me started on a ‘cake smash’ photo shoot. Very contrived.

Professional maternity photo shoots. Maybe it’s just me, but I think these are sometimes a bit cringeworthy. Nothing wrong with getting photos while pregnant to remember what you looked like, but some of the poses are a bit… It just makes me feel embarrassed for them. Just like an engagement shoot, I think it’s very American and very unnecessary.

Going home outfits. I can’t believe people actually go out and get crazy designer wear for the baby to go home in. At first I thought I needed to get a ‘going home’ outfit for safety or comfort purposes (keep the baby at the right temperature etc.), but then I quickly realised it was just all for photos and show. Everything has to be ‘picture-worthy’. I think regardless of what the baby is wearing, he or she will definitely be picture-worthy. Just get a random onesie and a blanket and a safe car seat and I think that should be it!

Elaborate baby announcements, gender reveal parties, crazy baby showers. I think all of these are kind of cute, but entirely unnecessary. I hadn’t even heard of a gender reveal party until I started going on forums. What happened to just telling people? And don’t get me started on baby showers. Some of them seem really over the top, when really it should just be about catching up before the baby comes. My workmate was saying that it doesn’t stop there. Kids birthday parties are getting more and more elaborate as well. It feels like it never stops and people are just trying to show off.

Phew, that’s a lot of stuff. I clearly have too much time on my hands, and feeling overly judgmental today! Even though there’s a lot of crazy advice out there, there are some really practical blogs I’ve read that make me feel a bit more sane and more to my liking. Who knows, once the little one pops out I might think otherwise.

 

Also on a completely unrelated note, I was reading an American food blog and there was a post on how to make home-made whipped cream. Seriously? Is this for real? As if you need an actual ‘recipe’ for that. Do they only buy things in canned form? Growing up I had never even heard of any other way to make whipped cream other than, you know, whipping cream. The comments on how amazing this method is astounds me. I also hate recipes on Pinterest that use instant pudding mix, cake mixes etc. Instant turn off.

Project 365 2014 – Day 63 – On My Mind

Day 04 - March Photo A Day - On My Mind

Day 04 – March Photo A Day – On My Mind

I can’t escape gestational diabetes at the moment. Testing my blood and monitoring what I eat is always on my mind. No matter what time of day, I’m thinking about it. I think about whether I eat something that I’m not sure will put me over, if I haven’t had a good night’s sleep that my readings will be over, if I’ve done enough exercise for the day.

I’m lucky that it’s diet controlled at the moment, but also frustrating not knowing if I’m going to have a bad reading for no apparent reason. It’s also frustrating having to time everything, thinking about what I’m eating and what I’m going to be doing in 2 hours time and remembering to carry my kit around with me. The timing usually works pretty well with my breaks at work, but on occasion I get held up and can’t get away, which then delays my readings and leads to inaccurate readings.

I still feel very bitter about having gestational diabetes with absolutely no risk factors. Everyone new I see (midwives, endocrinologists, dieticians, diabetes educators, doctors, GPs, general people) look me up and down (probably wondering why I’m not horribly obese) and then proceed to ask me if there’s any family history, and when I say absolutely not, they have that surprised look on their faces as if they’re not sure of what to say next. I’m also met with surprise when I’m at dinner or morning tea and I tell people I can’t eat this particular thing. They just think I’m being paranoid, that I’m being a health nut and worried about my pregnancy weight, and that one little tiny piece of cake isn’t going to hurt. The problem is I know that delicious cake, as much as I would love to eat it, will put my readings over. I’m not any of those things people think I am and I don’t like being boxed in like that. I would love to eat cake and chocolate and white bread and creamy pasta and udon noodles, but with some trial and error, I know my body won’t respond well and that I’m putting my little one at risk.

There’s a lot of judgment and misunderstanding around diabetes. Everyone expects you to fit into this cookie cutter idea of what they believe diabetes to be and are surprised when you don’t meet their expectations. I am also guilty of this. I had no idea about it before being diagnosed and I had so many misunderstandings of what it actually is because it just never concerned me.

I’ve come to accept that it’s nothing I’ve done wrong, nothing I’ve done to cause this. Gestational diabetes isn’t a ‘lifestyle disease’ and wasn’t caused by me eating a bit of chocolate during early pregnancy or being inactive. It’s just something that sometimes happens. However, I have quite tired of having to explain that to people, when they’re judging me, when they say that I shouldn’t have eaten this or that or that I should have done this or that. I’m also tired of having to explain and justify what I’m eating or not eating. What I put in my mouth is my business, but apparently when you’re pregnant, everything is up for discussion and unsolicited advice, particularly from people who have no idea what they’re talking about.

Some days it really gets me down, especially when I get a high reading and haven’t eaten anything out of the norm. Other days I’m okay with it, that it’s just another part of life, and am hopeful that it’ll just all disappear after giving birth.

Winning

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Overall I think I’ve had a pretty good pregnancy, that is until the last week. Apart from having to deal with the gestational diabetes, which I think I’ve got mostly figured out (limited carbs are okay in the morning, can’t have any at night or it pushes me over), I managed to get gastro last weekend. It was fairly mild as far as gastro goes, but when you’re pregnant, even small things make you feel like you’re dying. Trying to manage blood glucose and make sure I’m getting enough nutrients when I can’t even keep water down is not easy.

So on Monday I pushed through the first hour of work before leaving to see my GP as calling the hospital was pretty much useless. I think I’ve mentioned before that I quite like my GP because she’s very sensible, but also very cautious about things. Some time off work watching bad (but addictive) reality TV, a blood test and a urine sample later, I was feeling much better and I went back to get my results.

Turns out my liver function test was a bit abnormal, which could be related to the gastro or another pregnancy complication. Hoping it’s the former, but I’ll need to have another blood test soon. Also I have a UTI, which I’ve never had before and just thought all my urinary symptoms were just a normal part of pregnancy. It’s hard to differentiate what’s normal and not normal during pregnancy as pretty much everything could potentially just be a ‘normal’ part of being pregnant. It’s frustrating because I don’t want to be a hypochondriac, but I also want to be cautious, and I have a tendency to worry about every little thing.

So I got started on some antibiotics. They ran another culture and turns out that there are two strains of bacteria, one of which is resistant to the antibiotics, so they started me on a different lot of antibiotics. I haven’t taken antibiotics since I was in primary school, and they’re making me dizzy, nauseous, and just a bit upset over everything.

As the husband said, I am totally winning at pregnancy this week. Hoping for a much better week ahead!

 

Hit List

I would kill for some icecream and mochi right now. Feeling sad about forbidden foods.

I would kill for some icecream and mochi right now. Feeling sad about forbidden foods.

This week’s hit list is quite extensive, but really the top three would be…

1) Gestational diabetes. Every time I think I have it figured out I realise that I haven’t, and I just really want to eat some chocolate. I swing between being okay with it, and being frustrated with it and those annoying little numbers. I just can’t seem to wrap my head around it.

2) The random that somehow got a hold of my credit card details and tried to steal $13,000 from me. Too bad my limit is much much less than that, but I still have to go through the annoying process of disputing almost $1000 worth of transactions that got through. The bank gets a special mention because I had to call them up when I noticed there were some transactions on my credit card, only to be transferred 3 times and the call centre guy telling me “Oh, it’s a good thing you’re on top of this. There has been some fraudulent activity on your card. I’m surprised you didn’t get a phone call already”. Fills me with confidence!

3) Australia Post. I missed a packaged delivery and got a notice to pick it up 2 suburbs away (not the usual post office they send it to). On the card there were extended hours pick up (outside of the very inconvenient hours of 9am to 6pm). So I went after work one day, got there are 6:10pm, which was fine because the latest pick up time was listed as 7pm. Everything was closed so I knocked on the door. An employee came out and after telling me off for not being able to read (pick up times between 9am and 6pm) and me showing her the card that said otherwise, she said she couldn’t do anything because she already locked up and that the cards should have been reprinted as those extended hours no longer applied. So helpful.

Special mentions go to the jerk who threw his cigarette butt out of his car on a total fire ban day, and anyone who is too stupid, lazy, incompetent or arrogant to indicate when driving. It’s really not that difficult!

Things could be worse, but I also feel like they could be better too.

2013 Recap & 2014 Goals

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I’m back from Christmas in sunny (and incredibly hot and humid) Queensland. I’ve decided that my poor pregnant body does not get along with heat. I spent a lot of time having cold showers and hopping into the pool with the dogs. It didn’t help that the air conditioner wasn’t working. My feet swelled up like beach balls, I was sweating the whole time, and what kind of mosquitos bite you on the face and feet? Annoying ones, that’s what!

Apart from all that, it was really nice to just get away from Melbourne for a little while and just relax and eat a lot of food. At times there was probably more food than baby in my belly.

This year has been quite eventful, even though you wouldn’t be able to tell from this blog’s very distinct inactivity, especially during the second half of the year. I haven’t done or tried a lot of small new things, but there are some reasons for that. The biggest things would probably be buying a house and of course getting pregnant, both massive life-altering and exciting events.

Buying the house was stressful and continues to be stressful as we discover new and stupid things that the previous owners have done. Dealing with banks (still pulling my hair out about how incompetent some of them are), mortgages, not knowing if we had enough money to put together a decent deposit (thanks parentals for the much needed assistance), shifty and pushy real estate agents (I am still getting calls about different properties, sometimes from the same real estate agent that we bought through. I already bought a house you vultures!), and of course the previous owners. We’ve had to fix drainage issues, electrical issues, had to clean a lot of their disgusting filth (and boy there was a lot of it!), deal with their overgrown and disorganised garden (which we are still in the process of doing), fill in the thousands of holes they drilled in the walls trying to mount their TV (okay, only 30, but that’s still like 26 too many holes), and we’re still sending back a heap of their mail (including Christmas cards from their relatives and car registration and bank statements) which they only redirected for 3 months and clearly haven’t changed their address anywhere. In short a lot of our troubles come from the incompetence of our previous owners, which we couldn’t have known before buying.

However, despite all the annoyances (and the horrible pink room, which is 3 different shades of pink) it’s our home now. I think it has great potential and we have a lot of great ideas we want to implement when we can afford to do so. It already looks so much better than it used to. It’s never going to look like something out of a magazine, but it’s ours (after paying off the bank!).

Sometimes being pregnant feels a bit surreal, but she’s recently started kicking, which makes it so much more real. I never understood why you feel so unwell at the start when you’re not supposed to tell anyone. However most of the first trimester nausea is gone and apart from the tiredness it hasn’t been too bad. Although I remember reading that being pregnant means that I’m always going to be in some kind of discomfort, and they weren’t wrong about that. Every day there’s something new and different to deal with and have a mini freak out over until I realise that everything’s just going along normally (thanks doctors, baby books and  helpful internet).

I still can’t quite believe that we’re going to be parents and responsible for another human being. Some days I feel fine about it and other times it makes me so anxious because we really don’t know what we’re doing. I don’t think I’m a very maternal person and even now I still don’t really like holding other people’s kids. My mum always said that it’s different with your own child though. Our lives are going to change so much in ways that we can’t even imagine. I’m lucky to have a lot of support around me though and some very candid workmates who have all been there and done that and are happy to share (and over share) valuable information.

The husband also managed to get a permanent position, which is fantastic. Just one less things to worry about. My work has been good and everyone’s been really supportive of my pregnancy. Everything just seems to be falling into place for us after a few false starts and a lot of stressing. I don’t imagine it will be smooth sailing from here, but I’m sure that the challenges we face in the future, we’ll get through.

There are lots of things that I didn’t have the time or the motivation to achieve this year, so I’ll dedicate more effort to achieving those things. Things like my Project 365, knitting, writing, reading more, eating better, exercising more (to be fair running 300km in total this year wasn’t going to happen after getting pregnant!), playing the piano more, learning languages, drawing… they just never happened. Maybe it was because I’m completely addicted to Pinterest and Candy Crush and that I’m a total procrastinator, but hopefully in the coming years I’ll continue building on these skills and being motivated enough to achieve what I set out to do.

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So here’s what I want to achieve in the next chapter of my life.

Photography

I’ve decided to keep up with the Fat Mum Slim photo a day. I’ll start with January, and hopefully if I keep enjoying it, I’ll continue on. I’ll take it a month at a time, because I think what puts me off the Project 365 is that I just run out of inspiration or I get discouraged because I don’t feel like my photos are any good. I also want to take more photos of the people I love instead of inanimate objects. I need to learn to use my expensive flash properly. I’m sure with having a child soon I’ll be taking photos like there’s no tomorrow.

Blog More

This once speaks for itself. It goes hand in hand with not taking as many photos this year. I have kind of left this alone for a while, and it’s kind of nice to have a place to express my (sometimes very boring) thoughts. I’m also aiming for quality rather that just incoherent rambling, a specialty of mine. I’m still not sure where this is headed, but I’m sure it’ll just evolve naturally.

House Things

There are so many things I want to do around the house, but small steps. We need to set up a nursery, including getting some furniture. At the moment we can’t even decide what colour to paint the place! Painting is a big project as well. I’d like to organise stuff in the house a lot better. The husband still has a lot of stuff in boxes that we just don’t know where to put yet due to this house’s complete lack of storage space (and his extraordinary amount of stuff). I also want to try and set up the garden better. I don’t know anything about gardening, but I want to learn. We have a lot of fruit trees that have become diseased because we didn’t know we had to spray them. We also have to tame the crazy vegetable garden that’s completely overgrown with canola. Can someone please tell me why the previous owners planted so much canola? There is an endless list of things I’d like to do, but these are probably the big ones for now.

Read More Books

I keep starting but not finishing books so more reading is in order as usual. Eventually it would be good to get through all the books on my shelf, but for a start I’ll just finish the ones that I’m already halfway though on my Kindle (which is about 10!).

Knitting

I still haven’t finished the baby blanket or the scarves, so that’s a continuing goal.

Cook New Things

We sometimes get into a bit of a rut with dinners so next year I should start making more new meals, especially the things that I find on Pinterest. I think we generally eat quite healthily, but sometimes (especially this year) we’ve been lazy and have been getting take away more often. We already generally eat gluten free, but I think we need to try more paleo or fodmaps type meals and see if it improves the husband’s IBS. I would also like to set a good example for our future child/children and that involves eating a wider variety of healthy foods and eating less processed crap. I think trying something new or different once a week should be doable.

Exercise Consistently

I’m going to try and make it a goal to do some form of exercise a day, stretching, Tai Chi, walking, swimming, running (after the baby is born), yoga, pilates… Just something. It doesn’t have to be much, but I just want to keep moving around. I would prefer it to be dedicated time rather that just incidental exercise though. I tend to start something, get really involved for about a month until I get sick or injured, and have to start from scratch again. Maybe doing it in smaller increments will help.

Learn/Improve Languages

Still haven’t made much progress on this front. I’m still not sure if I’d like our child to speak another language. In an ideal world that would be great, but I don’t think with my limited skills I would be the one to teach her. I also don’t like the idea of Saturday language schools because I don’t think their teaching methods work, or at least they didn’t work for me.

Stress Less

This will always be an ongoing issue for me. I think I’ve gotten better, but I am still too caught up with worrying what other people think of me. I still worry about how I appear to the world instead of worrying about how I feel about myself. I’ve seen what I don’t want to become in the people I see around, so I want to aim to be happy for myself and not for anyone else. I think worrying less or at least choosing the right moments to worry will also make me a better parent. This post here pretty much sums it up.

There is probably so much more I want to achieve, but this will do for now. It’s pretty much what I’ve been wanting to do for the last few years, to just develop new skills, be happy, be passionate about something, be a better person, and generally to be more appreciative.

So goodbye 2013 and happy new year! I’m sure 2014 will be an exciting year.

Project 365 2013 – Day 208

Cleaning

Cleaning Supplies

I wish I had taken some photos of how disgusting our new house was before we got to cleaning it up but I was just too angry and frustrated that the previous owners would be so very selfish, inconsiderate and lacking in any basic decency. I suppose we’re used to renting so when we move into places they’re relatively clean. What I just don’t understand is how any human being can live the way the previous owners have.

Here’s a list of things that have made me really angry and have taken some of the excitement out of our new home:

  • The kitchen was absolutely filthy.
  • Where the bin was looked like it had never been cleaned. It actually made me dry wretch a little bit
  • The oven was a complete mess. It was so caked with dirt that you couldn’t see through the glass door. It was completely black and opaque, not to mention the seal was broken (but we already knew that).
  • They left a microwave filled with god knows what stains in it (worse than any communal microwave I’ve ever seen before and I’ve stayed in student accommodation before!)
  • The stovetop had so much black baked onto the rings that it was really hard to get going
  • They had been using the range hood without a filter on it so there was oil absolutely everywhere, dripping off the range hood itself and caking all the cupboards in a disgusting oily film. Luckily my mother in law is a cleaning genius and with the help of some Jif easy life kitchen cleaner she managed to get the kitchen cupboards back to a workable condition.
  • The dishwasher was disgusting and smelt terrible because the drain was blocked with food (how can something that is meant to clean things be so dirty?)
  • There is black mould all over the window frames in every single room
  • The carpets are stained with so much stuff and what looks like (and I hope is) chocolate
  • There is permanent marker on one of the walls (which a Chux magic eraser and a lot of time were eventually able to get out)
  • There is permanent marker behind one of the blinds
  • There are random stickers absolutely everywhere, walls, carpet, light switches, windows
  • Dirty hand prints on the walls and ceilings (what did these guys have demon children? Or just simply no discipline at all!)
  • Holes absolutely all over the walls. They clearly didn’t know how to hang pictures or put hooks in properly. Where they’ve previously mounted their TV there are (and I’m not exaggerating) almost 40 holes. Clearly don’t own a stud finder.
  • There are no doorstops and consequently there are some dents in the walls from where they’ve installed hooks on the back of the doors. These guys are real thinkers!
  • There’s a few floating shelves that look like an OHS hazard… They’re not level and half falling off the wall
  • There’s not forethought into the front gate. One door opens forward and the other back and is propped up with and old bit of timber
  • They left a whole lot of junk in the backyard including, but not limited to, a broken car seat, broken suitcases, old paint, a massive box of empty jars, two massive stained bean bags, two broken kids bikes, a rusty wheelbarrow, rabbit food, an ironing board, filing cabinet, fish bones, an old chimney… Don’t even get me started on what they left underneath the house…

I’m sure we’ll find many other things that will infuriate us in the future but I suppose we’ll deal with that when we get to it. We suspect that they originally bought the house to flip it but they DIYed a lot of superficial things (like doing a really sloppy paint job and redoing the bathroom where none of the tiles are level) and haven’t really taken any care with it or done things properly. I have a feeling they’ve just given up on it and decided to just get rid of it.

I was getting really frustrated and discouraged with this place and wondering if we had made a huge mistake, but the husband reminded me that even though we hate it now, we’re going to fix it up over time and really make it our home. It will be a lot of hard work, but there are things to like about this place, like the location, the tonnes of natural light we get, the layout of the place is good, there’s lots of wildlife, we have a big backyard to fill with pets, there’s a nice deck where I can sit and read in the sun, and we finally have a lovely patch of grass, not to mention never having to deal with landlords and real estate agents again.

Thankfully my in laws are very handy people at fixing and cleaning and there’s a hard rubbish collection coming up in about 6 weeks when we can hopefully get rid of a lot of junk. The joys of being a home owner!

Back On Track

Colours

Colours

Okay, so Project 365 2013 is not really happening at the moment. I know I’ve been distracted by house stuff and life in general, but I should still have a few minutes a day (less than that even) to take a simply photo. I think I’ve missed more days than I’ve actually done this year. It’s the halfway point in the year, so it’s time to turn it around now.

I think part of the problem is that I’m lacking in a clear direction for this project. It’s how I am in life, I lack clear direction so I keep plodding along and going through the motions. It makes me stagnant, stuck. I’m not able to improve and be better. Most of what I do is pretty random, because I don’t feel as if I’ve found my niche. The ground perspective thing was okay for a while, but I think it’s getting a bit old. I need fresh inspiration. What I need is a theme.

I’ve thought about doing a project with daily inspirations like what they do at Project Life 365 or an Australian version from Fat Mum Slim, but I’m not sure if I have the creativity to do it. I’m a very literal person and I think I’d struggle to come up with ideas. Maybe that’s what I should do for next year though.

Last year I had been toying with the idea of doing monthly colour themes (like you can see here at Sharyn’s Shots) and I’m wondering if that’s what’s would keep me interested. I’m drawn to colour and bright things, kind of like a bird (I like pretty shiny things). It’s also a theme that has a lot of flexibility, which is something I think I need to stay motivated. Otherwise I probably get stuck and hung up on particular themes.

So what colour should I do first?

Melting Away

It's alive! For now....

It’s alive! For now….

It has been ridiculously hot lately and it doesn’t look like it’s letting up any time soon. I am definitely not designed for summer. It hasn’t helped that our airconditioner is pretty close to useless so I haven’t been sleeping much either. The heat makes me crazy, but not in a fun-loving-let’s-party-all-night-long kind of way. More in an irrationally grumpy, I-can’t-think-straight, I’m-going-to-murder-the-next-person-who-says-they-love-summer kind of way. It’s not a good look. And don’t get me started on humidity as well!

In addition to extreme grumpiness, the heat also makes me so sleepy, unmotivated and lethargic. It induces me into a state of what I like to call, the sloth. When it’s hot I don’t want to do anything but lay on the couch being unmotivated and sloth-like. It takes a lot of effort and will-power to get me up and going. I overheat and sweat very easily so exercise is very difficult in the heat, which is annoying because exercise, as much as I hate it, seems to wake me up and energises me.

The heat also makes me feel cloudy. Yes, I know winter’s cold and miserable and full of sickness, but there’s nothing quite like that crisp morning air to make you feel mentally refreshed.

So the heat is a very good excuse (okay, mediocre excuse) for me not doing my Project 365. I’ve been incredibly slack with it, not only with not uploading any photos, but I’ve actually been really slack taking them. I don’t even want to think about how many fillers I’ll have over the last month. I have a lot of catching up to do. I’ve just felt incredibly unmotivated in terms of my photography. It kind of feels like a bit of a drag, and when something you normally love feels like a burden, then there’s something really wrong. I blame the crazy-inducing heat.

It feels like the longest summer ever. It was hot in November already, and it’s meant to be Autumn now but it sure doesn’t seem like it at all!

On the positive side of things, my washing always gets dry in summer. I also spied a few tiny little green leaves on the bonsai today. I definitely thought it was dead since we went away to NZ. I’ll just have to keep an eye on it so that the awful heat doesn’t take its life away again… as it has done to me!

(I should have put a warning at the start of this post that it may contain traces… okay, is TOTALLY melodramatic).

 

Project 365 2013 – Day 45

Lists

Lists

I’m a list maker. I love making lists and I love the feeling of crossing items out at the end of the day. It also an necessary evil because I’m one of the most forgetful people in the world, so lists help me to organise my day and my thoughts. In the spirit of being environmentally friendly and not churning through trees, I’ve tried using electronic lists with programs like Reminder and Clear and even using the lists in Google Calendar. These are useful because I can just carry them around on my phone. However, I’m a very tactile person. There’s nothing quite like being able to physically hold things in your own hands and then crossing them off with a pen. Post-it notes are my weapon of choice. I love the pretty colours and they are usually just the right size for making my lists.

I am also in the constant pursuit of happiness and improving my life. I’m not the most positive and optimistic person. As my friends will know my default position is pessimist, expecting the worst, and being validated when the worst does happen. I’m a cynic and a worrier, but I don’t want to be. I want to be happy and bright and optimistic and improve myself so that I can be a better person, wife, daughter, friend, and one day a mother. So today was writing down all the things I wanted to do to reach that goal, or at least make progress. Progress is just as important to me as an end goal, and since happiness so just so difficult to define, progress is good.

Some of the things on my list are:

  • Unplug and go outside
  • Establish an efficient morning routine (ie. I spend way too much time procrastinating in the morning)
  • Do things progressively (instead of all at once and getting overwhelmed)
  • Be thoughtful (don’t be quick to judge)
  • Be attentive and in the moment (instead of being caught up in the past/future)
  • Dirty clothes into the laundry basket and not on the floor
  • Things get put away after being used – Everything should be in its rightful place
  • Improve flexibility – physical and mental
  • Limit sleep in on the weekend to not stuff up sleep pattern too much
  • Get up earlier to do some exercise before work
  • Don’t waste away time being a sloth – be productive because time is precious

I have a lot more, but small steps at a time I think are needed for me.

Soundtrack Of My Life

wow, this photo was one of the very first photos I took with my macro lens back in 2010. I know I could do better now!

wow, this photo was one of the very first photos I took with my macro lens back in 2010. I know I could do better now!

I used to listen to music all the time, studying, driving, when I was bored, while eating breakfast in the morning (because  my parents were ‘no TV in the morning’ kind of people, running, travelling on the train, walking to and from school/work, trying to get to sleep… These days it really isn’t a big part of my life. My commute now lasts about 20 minutes each way and that’s where pretty much all my music listening occurs.

I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately and I’m not quite sure why. I don’t know if it’s the weather or stress or worrying about things… whatever it is it’s driving me crazy, literally. My memory is terrible, I can’t think straight, I’m yawning all the time, and I feel like I’m about to burst into to tears for no reason. Clearly I do not function well without sleep. Usually if I have a bad night’s sleep, I’m so tired the next night that I’m just out. No so lately unfortunately. I’m very tired, but sleep seems to elude me. So what does this have to do with music?

When I was living at home I used to listen to my (back then) MD or (later on) my iPod mini or (even later on) my iPod touch to get me to sleep. During high school and uni I had a lot of trouble getting to sleep because I had so much running around in my head, mostly learning things I guess. Every night it was a similar playlist, sometimes different depending on my mood, but that was how I switched off my brain and got to sleep. It worked like 98% of the time to get me to sleep within 20 minutes.

Since  I moved out, I seem to be fine getting to sleep without the music except on occasion. So after a week of barely getting any sleep, it was time to break out the music again. I was listening to one of my old ‘sleep’ playlists and while it still took me ages to get to sleep, listening to the old songs brought back old memories and made me think of all the things that have happened in my life.

It’s strange. When I listen to songs, not all songs, just some songs, I can remember what I was doing at the time. Certain songs are just forever associated with particular events.

Like every time I hear Katy Perry – Teenage Dream I think of the time we were in a shopping centre in Japan and the husband had to go to the toilet. He comes out laughing because there was a guy in there that was singing to the music playing, but he didn’t know any of the lyrics so he was just making words up.

When I hear Taio Cruz – Dynamite I think of the time we were at a theme park in Japan and the ride we went on made me nearly throw up. That song was playing while we were on that ride. I then remember going on the world’s slowest ferris wheel after and still feeling so unwell. The husband still makes fun of me for that.

Justin Timberlake – What Comes Around reminds me of driving to and from Ballarat for a placement when I was a student. There were so many other songs that I listened to in the car, but that one just reminds me of that. I can remember listening to it when I drove out around the lake to the shops to get some groceries.

The Cinematic Orchestra – To Build A Home reminds me of my student placement in Bendigo. I was listening to The Fray – Cable Car when driving out to my final uni exams for my bachelor degree. Snow Patrol – Set Fire To The Third Bar, I listened to sitting on the grass when I was an intern and trying to just get a moment of peace at lunch time. When I first started full time work I listened to a lot of The Script while reading the Time Traveller’s Wife on the train. When I changed departments last year I listened to a lot of Little Birdy while walking to work. At the moment walking to work I’m listening to a lot of Pink’s Blow Me One Last Kiss.

David Guetta – Without You and Titanium, I Just Dance The Way I Feel, I listen to a lot when running at the moment. The Bravery – Believe I remember cutting through this vacant lot on a run one day when I was still living at home. Keane’s The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore was playing the first time I ran in the rain when I first moved out. There are so many more but I would never have enough time or motivation to be able to list them all out. I don’t know how I can remember these useless things and not important things, but the brain is mysterious like that.

I don’t know why I have these associations, and like I said before, it’s not for every song and not for every situation. I kind of like it though, because when I think about all those great and not so great times, I feel like I’m watching a movie and the music is my soundtrack.

I don’t listen to music as much as I used to, but I should because it makes me feel happy when I’m sad and calm when I’m anxious, and sleepy when I’m feeling like a crazy teary insomniac. Hopefully I’ll get some more sleep tonight so I actually make more sense!

Choices

IMG_4276

My friend raised a good point the other day, that if we weren’t being paid for what we are currently doing, would we still be doing it? In other words are you passionate about your job? I would probably say that for the majority of people it would be an overwhelming no.

My dad has always said that a job is just a means to make some money so that we can do the things we really want to do in life. This is coming from a man who came to this country with literally nothing. He worked hard at something he was overqualified to do, didn’t get paid very much and stuck with it for a very long time. He didn’t feel that he had a choice.

I have choices though. Growing up I was given the best opportunity to learn and succeed. It is this choice that leaves me overwhelmed and sets the bar high. I have choices to do what I want, work hard to get it, and actually achieve it. So why am I still at a loss?

While I realise that any job has its good and bad sides, I’m wondering what exactly is going to make me happy? Or maybe I will never find a job that fits that criteria, so I should just take my dad’s advice, as a means to justify the ends.

I thought that I loved my job, and I do love some aspects of it, but lately I’ve found myself feeling unsettled. Is this really what I want to be doing for the rest of my life? And if not this, then what?

I’ve never been a decisive person. I don’t own my decisions and I’m more likely to just let things happen or to let someone else make choices for me. I think it’s time for that to change.