Projects

bikes ‘n stuff…

OK, so I’ve told you have entered the mad mad world of women over 40 who decide to do some crazy exercise event (usually a marathon, but I HATE running), in my case a 200km bike ride.  But at least if you are running, all you need is legs and shoes.  I have discovered with doing a bike ride, whilst you can do it sitting down, some equipment is required…

I have done 2 training rides and so far I have bought:

  • gel padded knickers (and yet to receive them in the mail)
  • gel bike seat

Are you seeing a theme here?

I have discovered there is much more to be bought:

  • gel padded bike pants (several pairs)
  • sports socks (‘cos my husband gets cross at me for wearing his)
  • foot strap thingies (apparently makes riding easier)
  • drink bottle back pack thingy
  • mini super duper bike pump
  • little ‘bum’ bag for a bike (not for me) to put phone and coffee money in

I also have the small issue of a bike.  I have a gorgeous bike that I call the yellow beauty, from Reid Cycles (can be seen here –Yellow Beauty).  I love it.  I feel like The Queen riding it.  It is not made for a 200km ride! So I have been using my 1 year old son’s mountain bike (also from Reid Cycles) with a gel seat attached.  It is a hard slog I tell you.  I have been told that I need a road bike, though they aren’t very pretty.  I wonder if I could get one with a basket on the front?

My other challenge is that I have to raise $2,500 just to participate, and it would be sad if I did all this training and then could actually do the ride!  I have raised $125 (thank you to some very generous friends).  Would anyone else like to donate to a very very very worthy cause – Cancer research?  If so, click here.

How about a pic to brighten your day?

Susan x

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’tis the season…

Well hello festive season!

Yes, it is the 1st December, and we launch into the festive season…possibly the most stressful time of year.  But I love it!  I have always felt that Christmas time is like having a new born baby – it is an absolute joy and special time of your life, but you are just too tired and stressed to enjoy it.  Who agrees?

Each year I vow to enjoy it, but usually end up exhausted and stressed and can’t wait for it to be over.  But this year will be different.  This year I have a plan!

So what is it that makes Christmas time stressful?

Well, too many activities on for one.  Everything costs a bundle of money. And I am exhausted – not enough sleep, too much heavy food and alcohol and not enough sleep, and then add worries about the spending of money and remembering each activity.

So what is different his year?

I have done most of my Christmas shopping already, and have done mostly it online. I have also spread it out over a few months, so we don’t get one big financial whack.  We try not to go overboard.  Kids get a present from us, a present from Santa, and then a Santa bag/stocking with bits and bobs. So the boys shopping is pretty much done.  My side of the family is big.  We usually do a Kris Kringle, but this time we have decided no presents. So just the in-laws side to shop for.

I am really making sure I get enough sleep.  This is such a big thing for me as I can be such a flaky sleeper which can lead to all sorts of stress and anxiety (as well as being a result of all sorts of stress and anxiety – bitter cycle).  So for me at the moment, down time and sleep are important.  I like to be an early riser, so I am making sure my nights aren’t too late.

There are so many activities this time of year – catch ups with friends, work do’s, school activities.  I am trying to be mindful and make sure that I enjoy these rather than feeling exhausted.  The point about getting enough rest and down time helps with that.  I also drop activities if I can.  And whilst I would like to make it to all the work functions and consider many colleagues to be friends, when it comes to family and friends, the work ones go on the bottom of the list, and if they need to be dropped, they are.  When the kids say they are not keen on the school disco, I don’t push them to go; I just give a sigh of relief.

I am conscious of practicing mindfulness and gratitude.  I have spoken to the boys about the trap of getting caught up in the ‘season’ and at least once each day we need to stop, take a breath, and think about the things that we are thankful for. I am also very guilty of looking forward and not enjoying the moment.  I am always rushing ahead.  So this year I am deliberately practicing mindfulness.  Being in the moment, and enjoying the moment.  Enjoying my boy’s last year of primary school and his year 6 graduation. Enjoying what could be the last year that my baby believes in Santa.  Enjoying my big boy in his last days of year 8 before he moves into the boy-man world of year 9. Enjoying catching up with friends and appreciating them.

Part of practicing gratitude is giving.  It is hard to give when you feel you have so much to do and pay for at the moment.  It is not just Christmas, but all the school things that need to be paid by the end of the year for next year.  Don’t worry, I get it.  Boy do i get it.  But there are so many ways you can give.  Rather than buying normal cards from Officeworks to go with teachers gifts, I have bought cards from Christian Blind Mission (I try to buy them from different places each year – it was World Vision last year).  It costs the same as a card from the shops, but has a greater impact.  The cards I bought pay for the lenses that are required for cataract surgery.

I know this sounds easier than it really is, but being organised is a big one for me! I review the calendar several times a day and make sure I am on top of everything.  It doesn’t always work though – I thought the sports carnival was last Friday and was all prepared, but it is this coming Friday!  I was a bit disappointed not to get that out of the way! I do list after list – which teachers gifts and Kris Kringle gifts do we still need to get?  What activities and appointments are coming up?  Is there anything going on at work or work trips that will throw a spanner in the works? Where do I need to get others to help?

I am really trying to eat healthily.  Christmas time in Australia is good for that – great summer fruits and veggies, and lots of glorious seafood. And along with that I am actually planning to do exercise in December.  Hah!  We’ll see about that one.

I am deep breathing.  A lot.

So what am I doing this 1st day of December?  I am playing Chris Isaak Christmas Carols, having a coffee, reviewing what needs to be done today, and just enjoying the moment and the sunshine. Oh, and will probably put up the Christmas tree later! (And yes, I am not mentioning all the mundane crap about getting school uniforms and work clothes ready for the week, lunch box food, exchanging something that didn’t fit for Ed’s graduation clothes, getting the school booklist done and paid for, getting Ed to a party etc – everyone has all that stuff to do).

How about you, are you feeling festive?

 

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I DIY’d…

I have DIY’d my arse off lately! As per usual I have a few half-done projects, such as…
Kitchen splashback
Talking of half-done projects, my kitchen has been half renovated for many years, and I don’t have a splashback. I wanna splashback!! I want something a bit different, and not too expensive. Everyone one has glass nowadays, so I don’t want glass. I wanted a really groovy and ‘out there’ tile, but my husband won’t let me. So what I have come up with is wall paper. I have done a test with several wall papers on some mdf that I have varnished.
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^^^ These are my sample papers. My fave is the one on the left.

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^^^ I have it sitting behind the stove to test the durability.

I used a spray varnish, but when I do it for real I will use a roll on varnish to get a thick glossy look. The spray wasn’t thick enough.

My benchtops at the moment are laminate, but I want to use Ardex Feather Finish to do a hardy concrete render on the bench top.  Check out a tutorial about it here.
Blanket

This is my second half finished crocheted blanket! This one will be about 25 cm of grey, with a fluoro stripe, then grey, then stripe, then grey… I think you get the idea. Like it so far??
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Vegetable garden
I have saved the best until last! I have a half done orchard with various attempts at a veggie patch each year (are you sensing a theme here?). I have about 10-12 sad fruit trees, 3 chooks, a pile of wood, and my most recent attempt at a veggie patch was garden beds in special plastic ‘bags’. I really wanted a real veggie patch, so I have sorted and moved a huge pile of timber that was also in my orchard that my husband has had sitting there for years. It was a from a friend’s old car port that they took down with hubby’s intention of us using it for god knows what.

ARch & chook

^^^ I always have to include a picture of this boy with his chook…

I moved all the wood.

I sorted all the wood.

I picked out the good pieces for edging the garden beds. I also found a few good pieces to make a table top for a potting table.

I got brackets, screws and my husband’s handy dandy electric drill, AND I MADE 4 VEGGIE PATCH GARDEN BEDS!! And made the table top.  Woo hoo! Very empowering.

 

veggie patch part done veggei patch 1

 

^^^ Can you see my table top at the back leaning against the fence?  I just need legs for it now…

I only had enough soil to fill one of them, so the rest can wait until next weekend, because I tell you, I ache.

Every. Single. Muscle. Aches.

So I am going to try and bribe my boys to give me a massage while I look through my gardening books and plan all the vegetables I will grow.

Did I mention that I ache?

Give a little…

I’m sure we all give a bit of money to charity here and there.  It could be giving money to the tin rattlers at traffic light, selling raffle tickets for charity, or sponsoring someone raising money for cancer research.

But it isn’t often that you get to see the actual results of your donation.

Well, this week I did, and it made me cry (as per usual).

I have been going through a spate of donating lately (I will list the causes at the end of this blog in case you want to give a little too!), so have sponsored a few friends, clients and family members in their various pursuits to raise money for medical research in lots of different areas. $10 here and $20 there.  And I hope that in my lifetime I see some sort of result for everyone’s time and effort.

A few weeks ago, maybe even a couple of months ago, I noticed something on Facebook about a New Zealand Dad, Robbie Ritchie, who had a life threatening condition in his brain with an 80% chance of having a brain haemorrhage. He needed an operation that could only be done at the International Neuroscience Institute in Germany.  The more I read about this family and their need to raise $200,000 to be able to go to Germany, pay for the operations and remain there for several weeks, I just felt that I had to do something.

So I donated my $20 and kept an eye on their story. I learned of all their fundraising efforts in New Zealand, their angst at leaving their little boys back home whilst they went to Germany and their nervousness on the eve of the operation.  I felt nervous for them too.

Well yesterday Robbie had his surgery, and he came through it all ok.  I breathed a sigh of relief for this family that I don’t know and never will know.

It was so rewarding to be able to see the result of the money I donated, even though it was a drop in the ocean of the $156,000 that they raised.

I will still continue to donate money to people who are committing their time and effort to raise money for a cause they have been touched by, but I will also keep an eye out for those causes that will have an immediate effect. There is nothing better!

Robbie Ritchie’s Story

https://www.facebook.com/RobbieNeedsHisBrainFixed?ref=ts&fref=ts

https://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/robbieneedshisbrainfixed

http://fixrobbiesbrain.wordpress.com/

 

Other causes I have donated to lately…support them where you can…

 

http://relay.cancercouncil.com.au/2013/wagga_wagga_relay_for_life_67/Elders-Wagga-Wagga

Sponsor my sister Jane Whitlock and niece Ellie Taylor in Relay for Life…

 

http://register.gongride.org.au/2013-Sydney-to-Gong-Bike-Ride/natalie11479

Sponsor my colleague Natalie as she is riding to raise money for MS research…

 

http://ml14.endcancer.org.au/site/TR/Events/Melbourne2014?px=1036130&pg=personal&fr_id=1090

Sponsor my client Michele as she raises money to end Women’s cancers…

 

I am also part of a group of girls who get together every 6 weeks or so.  We each take $20 for the kitty (and a bottle of wine for the fun)…and when we get enough money together we donate money or vouchers anonymously to local causes.  If you are located on the Mornington Peninsula and want in on this one, let me know!

A few pics from our Sunday jaunt last weekend…

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My Wednesdays…

A couple of months ago I changed from working full time to having Wednesdays off.  Oh, I love it!  In preparation for all of the extra time I would have, I bought canvasses to paint, fabrics to sew, and glass to mould in my kiln. I had dreams of spending the day taking photos, having a tidy and calm house, and feeling refreshed for the rest of the week. The projects I had in mind, oh the projects! Did I mention my vegie patch? And the exercise, all the exercise I was going to get. The possibilities…

The reality?

Well, I still adore Wednesday. Love it, LOVE it.

I do vaguely clean the house and do the washing (must go and put another load in right now).  And I do re-establish a sense of calm and order to our home and family. I generally get dinner organised early, and make a nice after school snack for the kids.

I try to work on my blog, and research ways of taking it further, as well as continuing my ongoing research into dyslexia and dyscalculia for our Max.

I even bought some great exercise gear from Geometry Active Wear (it is brilliant – really holds everything in!).

BUT…I haven’t taken any photos for ages, my fabric is untouched (and I have some great orange fabric for cushions in there!), my glass has not been taken out of the box, my kiln is cold, and my canvass is still stashed behind the chair in my bedroom. Vegie patch? Non-existent.

And today Arch is sick, so no school for him.  Instead I am sharing my day off with him, and taking him to the Doctor.

But I am patient.  I know my time will come. And when that time does come, I will be ready!

 

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^^^We are hanging out for warm days again…^^^