Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Productive day?

Im writing this blog post the night before, and feeling kind of exhausted, and wondering why. I felt more tortoise than hare today as I went about the daily living of my life, and certainly not as productive as I might once have been. While I havent been a full-time working mum for a while, I remember its crazy rhythms, and the sheer effort required to keep on DOING things; managing work and family required incredible endurance. So now that I am working far less, I was expecting things to be different. That I might not only find time to do things more slowly, and thoughtfully, but also that I might actually find small parcels of time in the day to do, well, not much at all... and now the hard part: not feel like a slacker!

Instead of whipping myself for not getting things done more efficiently (im not entirely into self-flagellation, but catch myself thinking unhelpful things now and again) I thought I might try and pull myself up on this kind of negative reflection, and try another approach. So, i thought i would take a minute or two right now, at the close of the day, to think about what i did manage to do.

Hmmm....this will probably only be interesting to me, but this blog is for me, right? Yeah... well maybe it will also serve to remind us all of how much we actually do get done, even when we feel like we ain't doing much at all
  • Getting breakfast ready, getting two kids up and dressed. Packing lunch boxes for one, and entertaining the second, cajoling her to eat something. Anything...
  • Check work emails. Not much there. A few quick responses
  • Clean coffee machine
  • Have breakfast, shower, get dressed.
  • Put on a load of washing, hang that one out, put on another
  • Find dog, call vet, negotiate treatment plan for non-eating behaviour. make appointment for vet
  • Call the wood guy to get wood delivery
  • Put another load of washing on, hang out the previous lot.
  • Tidy kitchen, compile shopping list
  • Clean away camping gear from deck (left there for at least 7 days...sigh)
  • Read 4 year old a couple of stories
  • Call sister
  • Call friend to get a referral for an opthalmologist in Launceston
  • Make lunch, feed little one
  • Read little one tow more stories and convince her to have a nap
  • Put on more laundry
  • Make a dog bed in the car, wake up grumpy sad little one
  • Take dog to vet, looks like he has a bowel obstruction and needs surgery. Poor little guy
  • Ring wood guy to get wood delivered (its getting cold here at night now)
  • Get a few things from the supermarket
  • Pick up older child from school
  • Speed home as it looks like raining, take of washing from line
  • Dealt with urgent mail
  • Fold washing and put away
  • Made a bit of a after school snack for the kids and I (just toasted croissants)
  • short trip to the post office to collect parcels
  • Suggest a clip-making exercise for the girls to get into
  • Clean kids bedroom, vacuum
  • Encourage eldest child to get ahead on some homework
  • Get dinner on (tom yum for S and I, spaghetti for the kids)
  • Rang vet to get latest on poor little guy (hes doing OK)
And its not yet 7pm, so i suppose there might be further things on the list...

But why is it that this list becomes important in making me feel better?
Why is it not simply OK to just sit still and read a wonderful book for half an hour?
Why do the guilt demons arise if I think about doing something thats just for me?

Rhetorical questions, yes, but how did your Monday go?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Picnic Heaven

Only one and a half hours into a hill-walk and we arrived at the gloriously named "plains of heaven", on the summit of Ben Lomand.

A feast for hungry walker; a shared meal, thoroughly and happily scoffed by 5 happy souls on a sunny day.

Strawberries, dates and peaches: Brought by my new friends R and M. Just married, they are living proof that love exists after 60. We kept expecting them to sneak off behind the bushes...

Lots of Tassie cheeses, oat cakes home made Anzac's and biscuits: My sister and I amassed a small treasure trove of cheeses. A Heidi Raclette, Meredith Dairy Goats cheese with dill, and a stinky blue. Tasty stuff!

Homous, mountain bread, grapes and Italian Chocky: A young Sydney vet, new to Launceston and weekend walking., added her offerings to the group meal.

We were all thoroughly stuffed, and satisfied that the caloric intake was well compensated for by the climb to such heavenly altitudes.

Monday, March 9, 2009

No-fuss ice cream

My mum texted me on the weekend to ask for this recipe, so rather than read it out over the phone, I thought Id share it with blogland. Mum and I made a terrific fig jam version of the icecream, with toffee bits sprinked over and through it. It was pretty outstanding. So here you go, folks. Make it, its easy: no stirring every 10 minutes, no fussing about with ice-churns. You'll love it. My yoga teacher kindly left me with this entry in my 'favourite recipes' cookbook. Lord knows I will need to do ALOT of Yoga to burn off the necessary calories!

4 eggs (separated)
600mls cream (500mls works OK too)
1 cup of castor sugar
vanilla essence
4 Tbs water

1. Whisk egg white until stiff peaks form, gradually add 1/2 cup sugar. Beat until sugar dissolved.
2. Beat egg yolks with water until pale and frothy. And 1/2 cup sugar and beat for 5 minutes. Add vanilla.
3. In a clean bowl, whip cream
4. Fold all ingredients together.
6. EAT

*Add a shot or two of coffee instead of water
*Add 3 TBs Honey in with egg yolks
*Fold through fruit or jam just before you freeze
*Fold through melted chocolate or choc chips or even TOFFEE.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

wrack: saturday haiku

sky high dreams hover
a tangle of ideas like
small shipwrecks tumble

Friday, March 6, 2009

"A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of." Jane Austen's quote for today

Well I must say that disagree with this on so many levels, but it has to be said that money does bring with it options.
Today is the first day that my resignation as a university lecturer takes effect. Having filled out the forms, and delivered them into the hands of the university administrative machinery, I know that I am now no longer a "Lecturer (Level B) in Architecture and Urban Design". Letting the position go, along with its academic kudos, is the easy part. I know I have moved far from the place of identifying with my job description, and think of myself as a whole bunch of more interesting things now: MOTHER, WALKER, LOVER, FRIEND, YOGI, ARCHITECT, TUTOR, DESIGNER, to name a few. (These are not in any particular order, just as they occur to me this morning!)

Probably the hardest thing about this is the loss of a difinitive, regular, asssured, secure income. Now i hesitate before buying somethig for myself in a way that I never really did. Yesterday I stood in the local Mountain Design Shop, knowing that I need a pair of gaiters for walking now that the weather is wetter and the leeches are coing out on the trails, and I thought hard about where the money for these was coming from. Its largely my huband's earnings that will finance these gaiters. Hmmmm.... so I should ask him? No...not necessary, he will laugh at me, surely. And chide myself for even THINKING that I should ask!!!Hmmmm....so will I not buy the best, most durable kind as these are the most expensive? (This would be my usual tactic). No, I can surely get by with a cheaper pair. I ended up being so perplexed by the nature of the decision, and the awareness that this wasnt really MY money, that I didnt buy anything. CRAP! I do need these gaiters....

Thursday, March 5, 2009

walking remedies

It seems that the idea of walking has become like an addiction: I'm suffering withdrawal symptoms from not walking for 3 whole days. Fortunately, Launceston is blessed with so many interesting walks to do, and my friend M and I are intending on doing them all, several times if need be, as part of a regular Thursday walking 'date'.

So today, M and I had plans to walk to Mt Barrow, another Alpine summit, not too far from where we live, but we both have suffered from too little sleep, and are nursing parallel sadnesses. She for her partner that may have a serious illness, and me for a project I am working on that has gone pear shaped, and my client has taken to attacking me personally, which I am not dealing with terribly well. I must say that my own worries seemed pretty trivial in the face of hers, but still hurt none-the-less. We chose an easy suburban bushwalk of only 2 hours through Cataract Gorge, and the Duck Reach Power station.

And so we walked with our sadnesses, sharing the depth of our fears on the trail. We both cried over our lunch. She, a woman of over 60 who has already lost one husband to an illness, and me, rather selfishly for my sense of wounded pride. The act of walking seemed to work this stuff out of our bodies, and help us find a passage across the suffering.

Next week we will climb a mountain and see if the rarefied air might elevate our spirits a little. We have decided that neither of us wants to carry this mood on another walk, but it is what we both needed to do today.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Walls of Jerusalem

I have a wonderful reason for an absence of posts in the last few days: I have been off hill walking in Tasmanian alpine country.

I havent attempted such a long and arduous trek since I was in my 20's (quite a few years ago now) so this was a bit of a test. I even lost a little sleep the night before with thoughts of 'can I really do this?' and wondering how my creaky knees would hold up under the weight of a pack and a 600m climb on day one.

But it was fabulous! I felt FABULOUS! I think mountain air agrees with me.
The landscape is perhaps better described as a prehistoric dream scape. 1000 year old pines with gnarled mossy limbs, tear shaped highland lakes coloured with reflections of the ever-changing sky. Water tastes better than wine, and the air is like happy-gas.

Today's Jane Austen Quote:
'To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment'.