101 things about me

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Step by step...

I think after that last post, I had a mini melt-down!

I read over it in disbelief and realised my hopes were not achievable in the time I had allocated. Totally unrealistic. I also realised I was putting too much pressure on myself, and if I wanted to achieve any of it, I had to prioritise, focus on the immediate and 'shelve' the rest, for when I had time.

And so - here I am. One week later and feeling a little better. I have found benefit in focusing on the 2 most important things on my list right now. I am not good at ignoring the rest, but I am managing to get things done and release some stress. A little.

This Sunday is my fun-run. It is 10km and will be the longest distance I have ever run in one stretch. My longest run in training has been 7.5 of running and 8.5 of running with about 1km of walking (having had a minor hissy fit due to a strong head wind!) I decided the entire 10kms would wait until the day. Heather is also running with me (also a novice) and I worry I will let her down. We ran together on Sunday and we have a similar pace, so I think we will be together most (if not all) of the way.

Sunday. The forecast is for 30 degrees. The run starts at 8am and the evening before is meant to be cool, so it should be OK. My aim is to run the entire distance, slowing if I need to, but no walking and no stopping. My hope is to do it in around 1 hour 10 minutes. I will be (slightly) disappointed if I take longer than 1 hour 20. And then I realise it wasn't THAT long ago I claimed I couldn't even run 5kms!

I have no idea what this is going to be like. I expect it to be tough. I am both dreading it and screaming out in my head "Bring it on!" For someone who always considered 'funrun' the ultimate oxymoron, whatever happens will be pretty incredible. Wish me luck!

I will post after to let you know how I go. 'Before' photos possible, 'after' photos unlikely given the heat radiating off my face is of a radioactive nature and all cameras are at risk within 20 meters.

On top of all that I am preparing for an interview for a course I really want to do next year. I was expecting the interview to be at least a week later, but it is now scheduled for next Tuesday, and so the timing has caused more pressure than I had wanted. I have to prepare a folio of artistic work.

Drawing is the main focus, and painting, and calligraphy and book binding... anything of a creative nature is being included. As it is an 'entry level' course, I don't really know what is required, what skill levels they are expecting, the style or range they are hoping for. I am including all I can think of, trying to be selective across a range of work that my inner critic tells me won't be as good as all the other applicants.

Through it all I must try to remember one of my lessons from philosophy. Step by step. Eventually I will get to the destination. Step by step.

Monday, 19 November 2007

I have a list...

Some people have a dream... I have a list!

I have a HUGE list of things I want to do right now. I am being pulled and pushed in all directions. Here is just a taster of what is awaiting my attention right now.

Blogging... I need to do more, and I need to get on and visit and catch up on about a months reading of my favourite bloggers.

I have been tagged twice now and need to respond. (Please forgive me, you have not been forgotten).

I have a pile of books at least 3 foot high of reading that is awaiting my attention. That's just novels and includes the final 2 Harry Potter books. It doesn't include a dozen creative books and their tasks I wish to attempt. There are the countless magazines and articles I have put aside for 'a spare minute'.

I did a book binding course a month ago and was asked to write a review of the day... you guessed it, haven't done it. And I have books I want to create.

I went away with my Philosophy Acorn group and promised to write an article for their magazine.

I am meant to be designing business cards and a logo for Mal's business, Portrait Pro.

There is calligraphy I should be working on.

I need to do my tax.

I have renovations waiting. Half done tasks that taunt me as I shower and tease me as I sit in my kitchen and attempt to navigate the sewing machine with a couple of projects I am trying to complete.

I have a folio I am working on for a course I want to do next year. This is a biggie. I really need to spend solid time on this, as it is a priority in my life right now.

I am running a 10km 'fun-run' in 2 weeks time and am still in training. 3 times a week minimum, I am out there, trying to improve and feel comfortable in my body and in completing the distance.

I need to wash the car. And vacuum.

And then there are all the things I need to do, just to survive the working week. I need to do washing, cleaning, dusting, gardening, vacuuming and cooking. I need to eat, sleep - oh and I need to go to work!

I need to rewrite my list, put it in order of priority...

Thursday, 15 November 2007


A month ago, I wasn't sleeping. In fact the problem was not getting to sleep, but rather staying asleep. There were things on my mind that would prod me until I responded. 3am, when the mind was resting seemed an ideal time to discuss important (and not so important) matters. My eyes would open, and it would start with just one small thing jumping into my mind. Another 'small' thing would interrupt impatiently and be added to the original... and then another and before long, I was wide awake with no hope of sleep.

If I happened to wake at 3, then I would stay awake for a couple of hours before falling back into restless slumber within half an hour of my alarm sounding.

And so, after that first night, whenever I woke at 3am I got up. Over the course of a few weeks it became almost habitual to wake at 3, rise, do 'stuff' (as only 'stuff' is possible at 3am) and return to my bed at 5. My alarm would be reset to 6, when I would get up and get ready for work.

I did a hell of a lot in those hours. I wrote and did filing, I caught up on emails and did a lot of clearing out. I may not have been sleeping, but the therapy was fantastic. The more I did, the more my mind shook me awake and pushed me out of bed. I was a little wired for a while there. I was however, getting to the point of exhaustion. A lot of 'stuff' was getting done, but my mind was sleeping at other times during the day. Weariness was beginning to play tricks on me. I could barely make conversation and intelligent or witty responses were totally beyond me. Blogging was unfortunately one of the victims.

So, here I am, a month later and (almost) regular sleep patterns have returned. Now the problem is more getting up when I want to. Bed is my friend. My 5am walks are suffering and whilst my sleep patterns are a little more sane, I have a growing list of things to do. It seems there is advantage to insomnia, and for maybe a couple of days a week, perhaps I would welcome it. Balance is the key.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Sunshine and Funerals...

Today was a beautiful day. The sort of spring day, that lifts out of early morning mist and warms into a golden glow. The sort of day that makes one want to celebrate life. And so, it seems fitting I guess, that on such a day we attended the funeral of a family friend to commemorate his life.

My brother spent summers with his son and my parents became good friends with his parents, building their friendship over golf and many years of shared meals and laughter. In truth, I didn't know Keith that well. However, whilst I knew little of his history, I do know this. Whenever I saw him he met me with a smile. I never heard him speak ill of another person. His laughter was genuine. He adored his wife and loved his son. He was, as the celebrant said, a gentle man and a gentleman.

He had not attended church for many years and was clear in his wishes that the memorial was to be held at the local golf club. For an avid golfer such as himself, perhaps it was a more fitting place of worship. As the ceremony continued inside, outside a willie wagtail collected twigs and parrots landed on nearby pillars. The flag waved at half mast and golfers wandered up to the greens, putting balls into the hole before moving on to the next tee. Life outside moved on.

Near the end of the service, they quoted the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson which inspired this post...

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

It is a beautiful quote and a timely reminder of values and practices that ensure one's life is worthy of celebration.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

On a busy day

A friend sent me this last week. I generally don't like 'feelgood' emails mass produced with the final line... send this on to 47 of your nearest friends (or else) and it is rare for me to forward them.

HOWEVER, as it's my first day back at work and there are 14 jobs waiting in my in-tray ready to book in and over 100 jobs waiting for costing (and my replacement has scampered off to work elsewhere for the day) today some of the advice may come in handy!

So if you know your day is going to be crazy - remember these things if you can, and I will try and do the same. Wish me luck.

ONE. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to... As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

FOUR. When you say, 'I love you,' mean it.

FIVE. When you say, 'I'm sorry,' look the person in the eye.

SIX. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

SEVEN. Believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT. Never laugh at anyone's dream. People who don't have dreams don't have much.

NINE. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.

TEN. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN. Don't judge people by their relatives .

TWELVE. Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, 'Why do you want to know?'

FOURTEEN. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk..

FIFTEEN. Say 'bless you' when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN. When you lose, don't lose the lesson

SEVENTEEN. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

TWENTY. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

TWENTY-ONE. Spend some time alone.

Monday, 5 November 2007

It's been quite a week...

It's been quite a week.

It has included an airport reunion, another big birthday celebration and a party to mark the end of the Festival of the Fortieth Birthday. Phew!

I have cheated a little.
I have added some posts in retrospect... just to get you all up to date.
So read below, just to get a little taste of my past week.

I will add a post about the party tomorrow, as I have the next couple of days off work.

Time to relax a little maybe?
Well... If you know me, you know that's not totally possible, but I'm working on it in between all the other stuff I have to do right now.

Friday, 2 November 2007

November 2nd 1937

This is the day my father was born - 70 years ago!

I have been watching him lately and thinking about what this means. A long time ago, I would have looked on 70 as old. A man of 70 would be (funnily enough) an old man. And yet, as I look at my Dad, I do not see an old man at all. What I see is someone who is still passionate about the world around him. He loves his family (and they love him), he is active (he won golf last week), he works hard, reads widely and is always ready for good (and intelligent) conversation. Fantastic.

Happy Birthday Dad.
Hip Hip Hooray!
Hip Hip Hooray!
Time for cake!

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Airport reunions...

I have a thing about airports. It's a kind of love hate relationship. I have spent far too many hours in the discomfort of airport terminals. They may look different, but they differ little worldwide. Never comfortable. Impersonal. A meeting place at best. A place to stretch. Destination emotional rollercoaster.

Farewells, reunions - it matters not. I cry watching strangers in their heartfelt embraces, their awkward good-byes, their joyful hellos. In need of some emotional theatre? Head to the airport. And that's just with me! And I'm even worse when it's about me and the people I love. I have cried (well sobbed uncontrollably would be more accurate) on any number of occasions, and believe me - It generally ain't pretty.

It's Thursday night in Geelong. It's cold and it's raining. My brother and his girfriend are due to return from 6 months absence. I have missed them. We have been in contact, but it is never quite the same as being able to see them in person and I am happy to be the meet and greet delegate.

Avalon Airport is an ugly destination. Neither Geelong nor Melbourne wish to claim it as their own. It's arrivals hall is a mere cubicle, a bunker of grey cement surrounded by cyclone fencing and stale portable toilets. It contains little more than a few understaffed car hire counters, a luggage carousel and a half a dozen sticky plastic chairs. The sliding doors in the far corner of the windowless fortress, refuse to open to people on the inside, intended only to allow the travelllers a grey welcome. Duelling stringed instruments may well be playing over the intercom, if one could hear it throught the static. A flickering flourescent tube completes the b grade movie atmosphere...

To my relief, the plane is (virtually) on time and the waiting is minimal. It is not long before I see their tanned smiling faces., and the grey surrounds fade as the sliding doors open.

There are no tears. Just smiles and warm embraces. Welcome hugs.

Welcome back. It's good to have you home.