Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tattoo Tuesday (yes, on Wednesday, what of it?): Eternal Gratitude...

Linking up with Tattoomummy for Tattoo Tuesday!

What : a symbol I created myself from a stylised gratitude symbol (the circle) and two stylised eternity symbols on either side. It represent 'Eternal Gratitude', to me.

Where : inside right forearm.

Why : I'd decided to have a tattoo done for each of my boys representing my relationship with them, and what the mean in my life. The first three boys were easy, but Ari's was harder. Partly because he was only just truned two and I didn't feel I knew him as well as the other boys yet. I decided to get him an interim tattoo, but something that would remind me how lucky I was to have had four wonderful boys, especially him because he was the one I hadn't told my husband we had to have from the start (I'd dreamt of the other three early in our relationship and told my husband we just HAD to have those three, but then I realised there was a four waiting to be born - a bonus child - one I'd never mentioned before)... Ari was also my long wanted homebirth, and I'll always be grateful I had that experience.

Generally speaking, though, gratitude is something that is very important to me, so I wanted this tattoo as a ready reminder.

Ari loves to trace 'his' tattoo with his fingers, and often draws his own tattoo on his forearms, which makes me laugh!

Wordless Wednesday - Some Days...

Some days the cookie tin peers into me as I peer into it - and laughs...

Linking up with My Little Drummer Boys for Wordless Wednesday, Toronto Teacher Mom and Faith Hope & a whole lotta Love.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

10 Things Tuesday - 10 ways to procrastinate productively!

10 ways to procrastinate productively...

- read this list!

- watch a movie you love; what you're actually doing is 'vetting contents for my children for future reference/preparing myself to give an interesting response to the question 'What did you think of [insert title of movie here]?'

- go window shopping (this can be done in person or online); also known as 'research for that mad Christmas rush' - January is NOT too early!

- put on you favourite music and dance like mad; now you're taking care of your health!

- browse the fridge for leftovers; this is called 'clearing out the fridge'

- play bejewlled/angry birds/words with friends; now you're exercising your strategic thinking muscles, hand-eye coordination and neurological response times.

- get on Twitter and Facebook; social networking is a legimate career enhancement strategy, and if you have children you're also being a good parent by staying abreast of technolgy and finding the dangers your children need to avoid!

- go sit in the sun; vitamin D is essential and there are plenty of studies showing an increased deficiency in adults (particularly women) in recent years... Also, you're verifying the efficacy of your sunscreen. Take a book and you'll be improving your mind at the same time!

- give yourself a manicure; not only does this come under important personal grooming - a good first impression might get you a promotion, or get you tot into that fancy preschool, but it's also a cost-saving and preventative measure as you'll be far less liking to snag you stockings on a rough nail edge!

- go get a real coffee at a cafe, not only will you be lowering personal stress and saving on future medical bills but you'll also be playing your part in stimulating the ecomony and keeping a struggling artist in paid work!

*If you've already done any or all of these and still need to procrastinate, then 'brainstorming' other productive procrastination activites for a blog post is really something you NEED to start doing, so get to it!

I'm linking up with Diary of a SAHM for I Blog On Tuesday

Monday, August 29, 2011

Remembering Ari...

PhotobucketDear Ari

It's almost three years since you were born, and yet it feels like it has been so much longer. You were a greatly fought for and planned for fourth child. I'm not ashamed or shy to say you were my last chance at a girl, and I went all out to try and make that happen. I'm not ashamed of that because you were always going to be you, no matter what I thought I needed or wanted at the time, and in your way, you had the last laugh, as you always do!

I was going to name you Soley Dis (pronounced sole-A deese), and call you Disa (rhymes with Lisa). You were going to be my blonde haired, blue eyed girl - just like the painting of your Amma from when she was four. Although you're a boy, with light brown hair and green eyes now, you absolutely do look like your Amma in that painting!

I went on a special diet, and took a special powdered supplement, and so did your dad. That poor man has been through a lot with me and my demands, and I think in a way, this is why you are especially cuddly with your dad, and let him put your sleep - you know what he went through for you to be born!

My pregnancy with you was different to the others (a sure sign to me that you were a girl, at least in the first few months). I only had about 4 weeks of nausea, and I craved fresh fruit and vegetables instead of the (preferably deep fried) potato products and thick shakes I'd craved with your brothers.

It was also different because for your birth I planned to stay at home. When I was pregnant with Erik, I was a wide-eyed novice for whom it was all a wondrous adventure. I had no particular hopes or expectations. When pregnant with Luey, I felt sick all the time, and I worried about having to have a caesarian because Erik had been 4.5kg and I expected Luey would be bigger. When pregnant with Bryn, I wasn't afraid of a caesarian anymore but really didn't want a tear and wanted to be left alone in labour and to be 'in control'.

But during my pregnancy with you, I knew you would be okay. Mostly I worried about money. I wanted to have you at home, but I worried that my midwife might suggest we transfer - she assured me that would only happened if necessary, but I worried about that too, that I would pay for a home birth and wouldn't have one. I worried about you being fine and me regretting paying for a home birth when there wouldn't have been any interventions at hospital anyway.

I worried about your dad possibly being at your birth. He hadn't coped so well with Erik and Luey's and so I hadn't invited him to Bryn's (which he was quite happy about - he felt more useful being at home with the big boys) - and Bryn's birth has been so calm and relaxed as a result.

I worried you might want to arrive overnight and your Dad would have to be in the house, fretting. I worried that Erik and Luey and Bryn might distract me and I might not feel as relaxed with them all there.

I shouldn't have worried. You had it all sorted!

Many weeks before you were born, my body started to prepare for your birth by having lots of prelabour. I worried you might be born early. I shouldn't have worried about that.

A few weeks before you were born I went and saw a psychic friend. She had told me, on the day you were conceived, that you would be born and would be a girl. On this day, she said you were a boy. I already knew that, but hadn't told her.

I knew you would be a boy from the moment the sonographer turned on the screen at your 12 week ultrasound. I couldn't even really see you, but instantly I knew you were a boy. I had that confirmed two months later at the mid-pregnancy scan.

My psychic friend, who knew you were due on October 17th, told me I had to do whatever I could to ensure you were born in Libra. She said Scorpios often had big life lessons and resisted learning them. I smiled when she said that because I knew - despite my worry you might be born early - that you would not be born in Libra.

You just didn't have that measured Libran feel about you.

I also knew with a father who was Aries, a mother who was Sagitarius, a brother who was Leo and two other brothers born in Cancer, you wouldn't do well being born in Libra. You really needed to be a Scorpio - the fiery water sign.

I told her we were considering the names Ari and Leo, but hadn't decided on the order. She said Leo Ari would suit you best because Leo is a gentler more artistic name and you would need that to soften your approach to life. My own instinct was to call you Ari Leo, because I felt you needed an edge in life.

Ari means Eagle in Icelandic, and I liked the idea of you soaring through life. It also means Lion in Arabic. Leo means Lion, so to me you will always be Lion Lion. Fierce but with a big heart and a keen eye. A protector, a hunter and regal!

She told me you had been my son before. That we had lived during war times and you had lost me. This piqued my interest because my most vivid dream ever is of being taken hostage during a war and being shot - I dreamt of dying. I died in my dream - it was a very life-affirming experience! She told me you had a little sister who had planned to come first, but then didn't want to come without you because you were her protector. So, you took her place and if I had a fifth child, she would follow. If I didn't have a fifth child, she would come in the next generation. One day you will have a daughter or a niece who adores you!

She said because you'd already lost me once you would fear losing me again. I want to tell you you will never lose me.

The 17th of October came and passed, as I knew it was, and soon we were in Scorpio. I held out hope you might wait until October 31st or November 1st, but you had your own birthdate in mind.

On the 25th, prelabour was intense throughout the morning, and then I found out a good friend had her son that morning and prelabour eased in the afternoon.

On the 26th it came on again in the afternoon, but the contractions were 20-40 minutes apart and I felt frustrated. Under advice from my midwife, I did some high knee stepping for an hour or so in my bedroom and got the contractions down to 6 minutes apart, though weak. I became tired and decided to rest for a 30 minutes and the contractions stopped altogether. This made me angry. I told you I was over the games and you could just come whenever the hell you wanted to, and I had a glass of wine and some soft cheese on crackers in defiance of your stubbornness!

I couldn't sleep over night. Contractions were still 20-40 minutes apart but strong enough to keep me awake, so I sat at the computer and surfed the net as I had the night Bryn was born.

I was wary of calling my midwife because I was sure contractions would just stop - as they had earlier in the week when felt sure you would be born. Besides they never got closer than 13 minutes apart before she arrived. I did call her at 7am on 27th and said I thought maybe that day would be the day and could she come and give me a check up, but not to hurry. I rang my friends who were coming to the birth as well, and told them the same thing, don't rush, but come in the next couple of hours.

When my midwife and a friend turned up an hour later and the contractions didn't stopped, but moved to about 6 minutes apart, I finally felt that you would be born that day, and that's when I mark the start of labour - 8am. Your dad left the house at that time to take your brothers to school, and I asked him to take Bryn as well so I wouldn't be distracted. I never should have worried about your Dad having to be at your birth - your timing was impeccable!

My labour with you was very smooth - that's really the only word I can use to describe it. It was painful. The contractions hurt a lot but in between them I felt great, and they weren't close together. This reminded me of Luey's birth. The contractions only got to be about 3 minutes apart except the last two or three.

When the wave of a contraction rolled over me, I would breathe deeply and slowly. I would be standing and would sway my hips and stand in a half swat and picture a lotus flower on the ocean floating towards me. It was a corny visualisation I heard about somewhere, and now it makes me laugh, but at the time it really worked! I'd sway and breathe and keep my eyes shut, and then finally the wave would pass and I'd feel fine, and I talk and joke around.

Then I felt you turn a bit, and spiral right down into my pelvis. I got down on my knees at the end of the bed we still sleep in, darling, and I reached down to see if I could feel you - I had never done that with your brothers. A little inside me I could feel your head. It was surreal, and circular. I felt you and you were a part of me, but you were already your own person. I felt the need to push, but I was waiting for something I couldn't quite remember.

Then I heard a car door slam out on the road, and I remembered. I was waiting for Jayne. I told the others Jayne was coming and to open to the door for her. They didn't register straight away - at least that's how it felt, so I said it again - they hadn't heard the car door - and I think they were surprised that I was aware of anything other than the bedroom and the happenings within.

Jayne came into the house, and was ushered into the room. I wanted her to be there the moment you were born. I wanted her to see you and to take photos of you, and she did.

When I knew she was ready, I pushed. I'd planned to breathe you out. I probably could have done that, but the burning was intense and I wanted it to end, so I pushed and you obliged and slipped out in one movement. As you passed through I knew you would be small. You felt like a long skinny rabbit.

And there you were.

You were loud. You would be Little-Big-Voice. You have always been my Little-Big-Voice. Fierce as a Lion with a heart just as big. You are stubborn. You are very, very loving. You cry whenever anyone leaves the house, anyone, even people you've just met. You don't like people to leave. You love hugs and kisses. 'I want a kiss' was one of your first sentences. You adore your brothers, but oh boy, you can yell at them louder than anyone in this house. You are still little - you're almost three but the average size of a child a year younger - but your personality is huge and you have a way with people that is unparalleled.

I'm linking up with Cherish Your Cherubs over at Seven Cherubs!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Don't be afraid of getting it wrong!

I'm the kind of person who often feels defeated before I begin something because I know it'll never be as good as I want it to be. The end product never really matches the picture I had in my mind before I started. I guess, I'm a bit of a perfectionist.

I love an empty page, a fresh start, a new day, a new house, a new course. I love beginnings. Beginnings are full of possibilities. At the beginning of something, it can be great - in fact, for me, at the beginning of something it's always going to be perfect!

And then I misspell a word and have to scribble over it and replace it, or rub it out (I LOVE computers, because my mistakes can be deleted before anyone gets to see the end product and the end product can look more perfect than the process ever was!).

I hate getting things wrong. I hate looking daft.

Maybe this is because I'm a firstborn and firstborns are notorious for taking themselves more seriously than their younger siblings. After all we're the ones our parents heaped all their dreams on, right? That's what sociologists and theorists say, anyway. I'm not sure if that is true for everyone though

Maybe I don't like to get things wrong because I'm superficial and taken with appearances - I kind of hope that isn't the case!

Maybe it's a need to compensate for my vision impairment, a need to prove that even though I can't see as far as other people, or read as fast, or drive a car, I'm still pretty awesome!

Whatever it is, I usually feel very discouraged the moment my ideal is marred by an embarrassing miscalculation or oversight or less than perfect performance. Often at that point I just want to chuck in the towel and start afresh on something new.

Worse still, I often don't begin projects that would otherwise excite me for fear of not having all the information and looking incompetent when others realise I'm relatively clueless.

This has been what has stopped me putting together a proposal for my PhD application all year. What if I do some preliminary research and can't find any other research like my own, then put that finding in my proposal and the people up at the University laugh at me because I missed some obscure research paper everyone else knows about.

Just recently I've realised something though. The greatest success stories are about the people who were willing to be wrong. In fact, successful people have rarely done everything right from the get go. What they did right was not let being wrong stop them! They were willing to take a chance at being wrong, and if they were wrong, they learned from that and improved their next attempt.

I'm naturally a shy person. All my life I've waited for people to approach me and talk to me, and invite me along with them. I've often felt unseen, forgotten and excluded.

Recently, I've realised I have to be prepared to be rejected, to be laughed at, to be wrong. I have to be prepared to pick myself up and keep going if the worst case scenario happens.

I have a tendency to see things differently to other people. This might be a side effect of being vision impaired, or having ADHD or even growing up bi-lingual, I don't know, but sometimes I see possibilities where other people just see impossibilities. I see potential where other people see the gap between either and or. Maybe I'm wrong, but if I just accept the status quo, if I am too afraid to look naive, then I'll never find out.

So, on this sunny Sunday, I want to implore you to be brave! Brave being wrong, looking daft and not being perfect! Brave being rejected. Brave it and maybe just maybe you'll find a wonderful world of opportunity on the other side of the fear!

I'll see you there!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Preparing to apply to do a PhD...

I'm linking this post up with 'I'm grateful for...' at Maxabella Loves.

Since the end of last year, when I finally finished my Master's Thesis, I've been thinking about and planning for applying to do a PhD in Creative Writing.

The Master's thesis consisted of a 40 000 word creative piece - in my case a Youth Adult novel - and a 10 000 word exegesis (which is something like an essay about the whys and hows of writing the novel including a review of similar pieces of work currently on the market). The PhD I'd like to do at Deakin University is a bit like the Master's degree, except the creative piece will be about 80 000 words (another YA novel) and the exegesis will be about 20 000 words. So, double the word length for everything.

You'd think, having done a research Masters before, and gaining a Distinction at the end of it, I'd feel fairly confident applying to do the next step, the PhD.

Nothing could be further from the truth! I have no idea what I'm doing, really. I know what I want to research - the progression of folkloric literacy in Icelandic immigrants to Australia - but I am lost about where to start researching this. I'm not even sure I have the resources right now (while I'm not connected to a university and have no memberships to journal databases and so on) to speak authoritatively on the gap my research would be bridging. Thank goodness I know exactly what I want to write for the creative piece, at least that is something!

So, this week I'm grateful for...

  • Knowing what I want to write for my major creative piece.
  • My mum, who has already started her PhD and can help me distill my thoughts and prepare my proposal. Having some sort of mentor in the application process is something I think all PhD candidates would benefit from. If you can find someone who has done it before you, then that will relieve a lot of stress. If that person did their PhD at the university you're apply to, BONUS! If they researched somewhere within your field that is also a bonus (mum is at a different university to where I want to apply but is researching in a related field, which is great for me because she gets what it is I want to achieve!).
  • My friend Jayne, who is studying at the university I am applying to and is willing to be my security blanket at the Open Day tomorrow! (she may be getting sick of being referred to as my security blanket, I really should think of another term - any suggestions?)
  • My husband - the ever constant Grumpy Old Man who has put up with my almost-constant anxiety since he first encouraged me through the process of applying to do a Post Graduate Diploma in Education way back in 1997. He is the one who picks up the slack when I'm up until 5am writing. He cheers me on when I'm at a low ebb. He celebrates with me when I reach a minor or major goal. He's even dragged himself out in driving rain with pneumonia to physically hand in one of my assignments when I'd been up for two days straight finishing it and no energy left to travel across town to hand it in myself!
What are you grateful for?

Microsoft for Mac Giveaway Draw!

Yay! Thank you so much to everyone who participated! I had my little helpers draw the winner and filmed it for you all - I tried to delete my voice over but for some reason my morning voicing still managed to make a gravelly appearance, my apologies to anyone who experiences bleeding from the ears...

Congratulations Quixote!!! I will be in contact via your blog to grab your postal details!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Things I Know About Numbers...

Image: source

Things I Know About Numbers...

Numbers get such a bad rap by people who don't understand them, or even fear them - it's like numerophobia, or something. I love numbers, and not because I'm particularly good with them, not at all, I have average to poor maths skills, but I really do like numbers.

People often say numbers don't MEAN anything, but these people also like to bandied about the term 'quantity versus quality', which to me, just shows they don't get the beauty of numbers.

One of the reasons I love numbers is that they are all about relationships! Each number is, itself, a static phenomenon. One is always one, under no circumstance does one ever become eight or five. Anywhere around the world throughout time, you can say 'one' and people know exactly what one is.

I love words, but the meaning of words change all the time 'gay' in 1911 didn't mean the same thing as it did in 1961, or what it means in 2011. Words mutate and take on different common meanings.

I like numbers. They stay the same, but they are constantly marking relationships. Take the number one, again; it can be the first, or the last, the whole or only a very small part of the whole. It can be the top rank, or the first rung...

And numbers can represent your personality, a pattern, the key to entering. They can be anonymous, or denote, very specifically, a person's position in a company or family.

Numbers don't judge, they merely impartially represent change. That something is growing or shrinking is neither intrinsically good or bad, it just 'is' to numbers.

Numbers intrigue me.
Numbers are fun.
Numbers are reliable accountants of change.
Numbers are stable.
Numbers are egalitarian and coperative.

I love them!

PS. Letters? Don't get me started on letters! Is there anything as obnoxious as an A, with all his 'I always need to be first and I don't need to work with other letters' - or smug little E, you just know she knows she's the most valuable letter in English literacy... Letters annoy me with their inconsistencies and their cliqueyness!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thankful Thursday: The unexpected edition.

Linking up to Thankful Thursday at Kate Says Stuff.

This week I'm thankful for stuff I never expected to be thankful for:

~ having to get up at 6.30 in the morning to get my children ready for their day.

~ having to be organised the night before so their clothes are laid out and the kitchen is clean and tidy and ready to serve breakfast in.

~ having to walk the boys to school and walk to pick them up afterwards.

~ having to prepare dinner in the middle of the day so I only need to throw it together just before dinner time when we're all tired.

~ being the only person on call when the school nurse calls on Friday for me to pick up my six year old with a gash to his eyelid and again on Monday when it's my 12 year old's turn with a gash on his chin.

~ needing to be in bed by 11pm so I can get up in the morning despite being a nightowl by nature.

~ having to be the one who runs all the daily errands with my toddler in tow.

~ I'm thankful that my husband was made redundant 2.5 years ago and has not been able to get work in his previous field again. I am thankful because it has changed how I view all those things I used tobresent having to do (all the items listed above) so, now that he has work placement in preparation for his new career I'm thankful that I'm needed to do all those things because he can't. It means he'll be in paid work soon and we may be able to stop living week to week!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

10 Ways To Get What You Want!

I always tend to get what I want (and if I can't get it, I tend to change what I want - you know, like how I decided I wanted to be a writer instead of a brain surgeon after I discovered that you kind of need to be able to see beyond the end of your nose to do surgery...).

Seriously though, yeah, I do get everything I want, eventually. I have a knack for it. Sometimes though, I forget how lucky I am with this, and sometimes I forget that I don't always get everything I want straight away, which - for the most impatient person in the world - can be hard to live with... Or maybe it's just hard for other people to live with me while I'm working on getting what I want.

I'm a bit of a believer in Law of Attraction. In fact, I believed in Law of Attraction before some clever marketing person coined the term. However, I think sometimes the concept of Law of Attraction is oversimplified and turned into some sort of wishing well of good luck. I so often hear people say that all you need to do is believe something will happen and then sit back and wait for it to come to you.

I'm pretty sure this is not how the world or the Universe or forces that be work. The reason I'm sure of that is because everything is always in perfect balance. For everything always be in perfect balance, you have to give as much as you get. So, tossing a coin into a well and then going and having a siesta under a tree while you just wait for the Universe to provide seems out of balance to me. What's that old saying, "God helps those to help themselves"? To which my mother-in-law always adds, "And God helps those caught helping themselves!"

Anyway, that was my rather long-winded way of getting to this week's list of 10 Thing Tuesday. This week I want to share some of my secrets to getting everything I want, so you can do it too, because I'm just that kind of generous person, right?

10 Ways To Get What You Want...

1. Know what you want. Be clear about what you want, it may be a small thing, it may be grandiose but know what it is; what it looks like, feels like, how much it costs (financially and emotionally). Be clear because otherwise you might get easily sidetracked, and being sidetracked never gets you there! It may take a little while to figure out exactly what you want - that's okay - it's not a race!

2. Find out how others have gotten what you want. Find other people who have what you want and read about them, or go listen to them talk, or best of all talk to them. Find out how they got what you want (no, really, it didn't just land in their lap - there are no overnight successes, there really aren't...). When you know how other people got what it is you want to get, you will have a better idea of how you want to go about getting it - and you might not like how other people got what you want which is good, too, because it'll allow you to find your own path and be innovative!

3. Figure out your obstacles. Um, if what you want costs money, don't tell me that being broke is your obstacle! There are plenty of people around the world who have achieved their financially expensive obstacles despite not having a lot of personal wealth. Think of Olympians, or even better disabled Olympians, who have to convince their community that their dream is worthwhile and then raise money to get over to the Olympics while also training and qualifying. Sometimes our biggest obstacles are our own doubt or our own desire to have life served up to us on a platter. Getting what you want can sometimes be hard work (okay, most of time) but keep thinking about how happy you'll be once you've got it!

4. Plot your path to what you want. My husband loves the saying that goes "Perfect Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance" (he doesn't always engage this saying, but he sure loves to say it!). Some people like to write lists (like me, hence this meme), some people like to draw, or keep a vlog, whatever works for you - plot your path, have a plan, it will make everything seem much more clear and manageable and achievable.

5. Break that path into manageable steps. Unless your goal is to have a sandwich for lunch and you have all the ingredients at your finger tips, chances are it ain't gonna happen instantly. Sometimes looking at the ultimate goal can be overwhelming and can cause a feeling of inertia. Break you plan into bight sized pieces, have mini goals and focus on those, tick each one off and then move on to the next one and before you know it your ultimate goal will be within reach!

6. Ask for help. Here's a big secret revealed for you - please pass it on. THERE ARE NO MEDALS! That's another way of saying, don't try to do it all on your own. The most successful people in the world had help, either through mentoring or directly through hands on help. Don't try to do it all yourself, you'll wear yourself into the ground and then you won't have the stamina to make it to the end point. Like a marathon runner; pace yourself and accept those bottles of water on the way to replenish you. Delegate what you can - you are the manager of your life and all good managers know how to delegate!

7. Give of yourself, selflessly. The most successful people in the world are generous people! Who doesn't love a generous person? When someone does something for you, don't you just want to go out of your way to help them, too? Be generous, help others, share of yourself. When you have success, share it, tell others how you got there and how they can do it, too! Give a helping hand to someone who is where you used to be. Have compassion. Remember: everything is a perfect balance, so give to receive and receive to give!

8. Keep you eye on the goal and don't become disheartened. My favourite children's book in all the world is a Dr Seuss book "Oh, The Places You'll Go"... So much wisdom in this book - let me share a bit;
You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don't
Because, sometimes, you won't.
I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.
(Wasn't he brilliant? Just love his work!) So, sometimes things will seem to be against you, sometimes for a long while, but you've just got to keep going and taking tiny steps until you get through the darklands and come out the other side and feel the wind behind your sail again - it won't always be a cake walk and sometimes you'll feel discouraged but keep picking yourself up and moving along your planned path and you will get there!

9. Keep living in the now and noticing and enjoying what you already have. There's a saying, "Life is what happens while we're making plans", don't forget to live life! This is one I have to remind myself of all the time. The destination is exciting and something to look forward to but if you only keep your eye on the goal, you'll miss all the wonderful going on around on the way there. You can't get that stuff back, so be sure you don't wake up at your goal and realise you missed your life!

10. Stay calm, have faith, know you can do it! This is the bit so many people selling Law of Attraction skip to. Know you can do it because if you do the first nine things on the list you will achieve your goal, whatever it is!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Bird Boys...

Linking up to the Cherish Your Cherubs Project over at Seven Cherubs! This weeks activity is to RECORD your cherubs. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to take a bit of a snapshot of the boys right now - I literally dragged them outside ten minutes ago to take some quick pics just for this project - that is something I don't do very often because life is so busy!

I talk about the boys a fair bit, so on this occasion I'm going to use the suggested topics because they are on things I often don't cover - and because then I'm sure to cover the same stuff for each child!

So, here's what I'll cover in this week's activity:

1. What are your cherubs interests?
2. What do they like?
3. What do they dislike?
4. What is their favourite food?
5. What is their favourite game to play?
6. What is their favourite saying?
7. What song do they love the most?
8. What is their favourite television show?
9. What is their favourite book?
10. Who is their favourite friend?

Erik Keith Michael - 12

1. Erik loves to draw, loves lego, loves contemplating the world around him and asking nitty gritty questions about the hows and whys of everything. He LOVES social drama, and can tell you the life story of almost anyone at school!
2. Erik likes being on the move. Bike riding, scootering, rollerblading, anything with wheels! He likes being in motion.
3. Erik dislikes choices. Whatever the option is, he wants another one, then if he gets that option, he wants to know if he can have the first option instead.
4. Erik's favourite food is (I just asked him and he asked if it could be a drink - see what I mean about options?)... Mango Lasse!
5. Erik's favourite game is Lego Starwars.
6. Erik's favourite saying is "Huh?".

7. Erik's favourite song is "Party Rock Anthem".
8. Erik's favourite show is Doctor Who!
9. Erik's favourite book is "The Bad Book" by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton.
10. Erik's favourite friend is Harrison.

Lukas James Thomas - 10

1. Lukas loves his Harry Potter wand, hanging out with his friends, and reading.
2. He likes sleeping and being a big brother - especially to the youngest.
3. Lukas dislikes being bossed around (also known as being told to do anything he should be doing but has put off to the last minute).
4. His favourite food is also a drink - Pancake Parlour Spiders (ice-cream in soft drink for the uninitiated).
5. His favourite game is Starwars 3 on the Xbox (we don't have an Xbox, or anything like an Xbox, so he plays this at friends places occasionally).
6. Lukas' favourite saying is, "Muuuuum, make him stop!"
7. His favourite song is, "Last Friday Night".
8. His favourite show is Futurama.
9. Lukas' favourite book (this was a hard one because he likes so many books) "The Pencil of Doom" by Andy Griffiths.
10. Lukas' favourite friend is Liam.

Brynjar Jonas Dal - 6

1. Bryn loves Lego, Beyblades and his scooter.
2. Bryn likes to eat! Well, he doesn't like food so much, but he is constantly asking to eat something!
3. Dislikes cleaning his room!
4. Bryn's favourite food is pasta bolognese.
5. His favourite game is Lego Batman (which he plays at a friends house).
6. Bryn's favourite saying is, "Can I have something to eat now?"
7. His favourite song is, "Dynamite".
8. Bryn's favourite show is "Horrible Histories".
9. Bryn's favourite book is "Ben 10 activity book" (with stickers).
10. Bryn's favourite friend is Aidan.

Ari Leo Dal - 2

1. Ari loves cuddles and kisses, his train set, riding his scooter and going to the park.
2. Ari likes Thomas the Tank Engine dvds.
3. He dislikes being left out of anything his big brothers are doing - he particularly dislikes the baby gate in their bedroom door!
4. Ari's favourite food is butter chicken!
5. His favourite game is chasey - he doesn't mind whether he is the chaser or the chasee, just so long as he can RUN!
6. Ari's favourite saying is, "The Tardis" - which will only makes sense to those of you who are familiar with Doctor Who. Everything is "the tardis" according to Ari...
7. His favourite song is "Twinkle, twinkle little Star" (closely followed by "The Rainbow Song").
8. Ari's favourite show is Doctor Who (don't judge us, okay!).
9. His favourite book is... Anything by Dr Seuss or Lynley Dodd.
10. His favourite friend is Sienna.

For the older boys, I consulted them on most of their favourites, and some of them are not what I would have observed as their actual favourites... All the boys are mad keen Doctor Who watchers (they're watching a taped episode as I write this and squabbling over who gets to be the Doctor). Also, Lukas' favourite friend is actually Winter, but he's a bit shy about that. The big boys all listed computer games as their favourite games, but they don't actually have computer games (they've only just received iPods and they've only had access to them once), so I'm going to say all three of them love imaginative play with their lego because this is what they actually play at the most (it's a mother's prerogative to change their children's minds, right?)...

Erik is sensitive, active, and loves attention and applause!
Lukas is an avid reader of books, extremely social and feisty!
Brynjar is sweet, easy-going, but also knows exactly what he wants out of life!
Ari is a firecracker, loud, boisterous and passionate!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gates and setting boundaries for children...

Yesterday I mentioned that our front gate was broken...

Today it was fixed...

In many ways the new gate isn't as nice as the old one; it doesn't quite match the fence, not only because it's new and fence obviously isn't, but also because it has blunt pickets instead of arched pickets. It is very practical and not at all whimsical like the old fence. The latch is shiny and new, though I was happy to see the handyman used the old hinges, I liked those hinges, they had history. I like history.

The gate doesn't need to be pretty, it's most important function is create a safe boundary for our yard. Since we've moved to this house, our toddler, Ari, has escaped on no less than three occasions. The first time he escaped, he managed to toddle the length of our block (we live at one end) all the way to the major road at the other end of our street. Luckily, observant neighbours noticed him and collected him before he attempted to cross the busy four lane road!

On another occasion, he only made it out the broken front gate and down the neighbour's driveway before his big brothers spotted him (they were just coming home from school) and brought him home.

On the third occasion, he headed in the opposite direction to the previous two times, and was spotted crossing the road which runs along the side of our property...

A firm secure boundary keeps a child safe when parents are distracted by other children or everything else they need to do as well as keeping a direct eye on each of their children.

Children don't like boundaries - that's completely natural! Children are curious and want to learn all about the world around them.

Often they feel they are capable of doing this alone and to some degree parents do need to give their children freedom to explore and to experiment in their interactions with the world. If we constantly hover over our children expecting them to be mamed or killed at any moment, we can instil undue anxiety in our children and teach that the world is a frightening place they cannot cope with without our constant input.

However, children also lack the ability to predict many of the variables of effects that come from their every choice. Little by little we provide them with opportunities to observe and learn the links between cause and effect, we share our own experiences with them through stories and we talk them through situations - sometimes with role-play - so they are equipped with a variety of safe options in new circumstances.

Children need to test boundaries. They need to find out how sturdy a boundary is; can they get through it, over it, under it? Is it going to be there tomorrow, next month, next year? Does the same boundary apply in every situation, or just this one? All this testing and verifying and checking can be very frustrating for a parent, but it serves a real purpose for the child (other than to drive you insane!), it tells them how safe they are.

When setting up boundaries, keep the following in mind...

  • Is the boundary too small? Are you restricting your child from learning about their world and gaining experience which will inform future, bigger, more important decision. Are you telling your child the world simply isn't a safe place and instilling fear in your child?
  • Is the boundary too big? Does the child even realise there is a boundary, or are they free to roam so far that they feel like they could go on forever without you caring about their safety? Boundaries let the child know you care and are looking out for them, if they can't see the boundary when they are with you, how can you see them if they reach it?
  • Is the boundary firm? Will it hold up in a storm (especially is the storm is child-created!)? Can the child touch it without going through it, will it hold the child's weight if they push against it?
  • Is the boundary compassionate? Don't make your boundary from barbwire because when your child pushes against it, they will hurt themselves and then they will not trust you or feel safe with you. You boundary needs to be firm but not harsh and not damaging to the child. Keep a compassionate boundary.
  • Does your child know about your boundary. Be kind to the child and give them foreknowledge of the boundary, don't let it spring up and surprise them as they run up to it. Set you boundary while your child is calm and can listen and take in that the boundary exists. If you wait until the child is running into the boundary, they might keep running into it blindly out of their own sense of frustration and hurt themselves on it.
I'm so happy our gate has been fixed today because this week is promising to be beautiful in Melbourne and Ari and I are going to go out and play in the front yard, and I'm going to watch to make sure he  can't open the gate himself (there will be lock on it, but I have to check that he can't climb the fence either). He'll be so happy, he's missed the front yard while the front gate has been out of commission!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thank you Bill and Claudine... The story of a house.

We're renters. One day we hope to be buyers or even owners, but for now we rent. The house we're currently renting is relatively small for 6 people, but it's on a huge block of land - well, huge for suburban living, and certainly huge if you consider how much more high-density living there is in Australia these days. We live on a corner block with a really big back yard, and a decent sized front yard. The front yard is enclosed - I'm using that term loosely because, as I write this the front gate is broken and doesn't close properly - by a metre high white picket fence. The back yard is enclosed by a much taller paling fence. Nothing modern, or snazzy, or heavy duty - just practical.

We're fairly certain the previous owners were in this house for a long while, if they didn't build it themselves. It's a weatherboard house dating back to around the 1940s. There is a good chance the previous owners actually did build it, they certainly modified it themselves.

The original house would have looked like a cross if you took an aerial shot of it when it was first built. The western point of the cross is the master bedroom - it gets incredibly hot in there during summer and they didn't put a ceiling fan in at any point, so I can only imagine Bill and Claudine (we've seen mail addressed to them, their names were William and Claudine) spent many a hot night laying on top of sheets, maybe with a table top fan to cool them.

The southern point of the cross is the lounge room; a long, narrow room with windows and doors and a gas heater on every wall so that you can't sit any large pieces of furniture against any of them. I don't think Bill and Claudine were into large pieces of furniture. There is a built in set of shelves, which span the 1.5 metres between the gas heater and a corner of the room - these shelves are not deep enough for records, but may have held books, not a lot of books though.

The eastern point of the house is the toilet and laundry.

The southern point is the bathroom and a bedroom.

In the middle of the house holds the kitchen and the dining room. The benches in the kitchen, and the sink are very low. They only reach the tops of my thighs and I'm only 163cm (5'3") tall these days (I seem to be getting shorter), So, Claudine must have been a shortish woman because standing at the kitchen sinks does my back in. There is no room for a dishwasher of the electric variety in the kitchen.

Some time after the original house was built, other spaces and rooms were added. In the south-eastern corner of the cross there is a patio which is delightful to sit on in summer, it's big enough for a table and chair, a swing seat and paddling pool.

In the north-eastern corner of the cross a room was added off the laundry - at first we couldn't see why until we noticed the red lamp, and the black rubber fittings around the frames of the door and the windows. What is now our second laundry, rooming the dryer, clothes horse and ironing board, used to be a darkroom. Either Bill or Claudine were interested in printing their own photos and had a custom built room complete with shallow basins and peg lines! I like to think it was Claudine because there is also a buzzer in the room which goes off in the garage, so maybe she used to buzz Bill up to the house when dinner was ready.

In the north-western corner of the room is a third bedroom which can be accessed through the second bedroom. Maybe Bill and Claudine had an oops baby? Maybe they had to take care of an elderly parent for a spell before the parent passed on?

Two things we do know. Bill was a DIY man - most men were after the war. He may have been a professional plumber because a lot of the DIY projects we have spied have been plumbing projects. If he was a professional plumber, he liked to save money by cutting corners on the jobs he did at home because a lot of the work he did has come under criticism by the plumbers who have come to fix our plumbing years down the track - poor Bill!

The other thing we know is that Bill and Claudine were avid gardeners! The garden is full of all sorts of fruiting trees and bushes and flowers. They like the unusual and the exotic - many of the fruits that grow in our back yard are completely unfamiliar to us. They also kept chickens. They had a very small car because also the garage is big enough, but the driveway is quite narrow.

Bill spent enough time in his workshop, which is attached to the garage, to warrant installing a buzzer to save Claudine having to yell out to him when she needed him. Bill also fancied himself as an electrician because he's rigged quite an interesting series of lights and outlets down in the workshop - so maybe he was an electrician who figured he could do his own plumbing as well, or maybe it was the other way around.

We never met William and Claudine, but we know William died first and that Claudine was alone here for a few years before she also passed on because I met the lady who was the emergency person to contact for the alarm Claudine used to wear around her neck on a cord. That lady was nurse who lived in a unit next door but recently moved. When she spoke of Claudine it was with warmth and a little exasperation, so maybe Claudine was an independent soul.

I wonder where her children moved away to?

I don't often think about Bill and Claudine but today is a gorgeous spring day - spring has sprung early this year - and the garden is full of bright and fragrant flowers and bushes releasing their seeds into the spring breezes, and I'm thankful to Bill and Claudine for providing us with all this beauty and these lovely scents!

Friday, August 19, 2011

My best friend isn't 12...

Lately I've been watching 'World's Strictest Parents' which is pretty much a show where teens who seem to be vying for the World Championship title of 'Most Dislikable Adolescent' are removed from their comfort zone for a week or two and placed with a 'strict' (otherwise known as sensible) family for a week. In this situation, the teens buck and kick like mules for a number of days while their temporary foster parents patiently reinforce their stated rules (which is relatively easy for these 'strict' parents because a) they are impervious to emotional manipulation due to lack of bonding and b) they know the brat-at-hand will be off their hands in a couple of weeks anyway), until eventually the teens inevitably buckle under and come to their senses.

At this point in the show the broken teen is handed a letter from mum and/or dad exclaiming their concern and hopes for their wayward child - and this is where I always find myself gritting my teeth... Without fail the parents - well actually, it's mostly the mums - will state that their child is their best friend, or that they want to be their child's best friend...


Okay, before you stop reading, don't get me wrong here, I'm not at all suggesting that parents and children are natural adversaries. NOT. AT. ALL! I'm not suggesting that parents and their children can't ever become friends, either.

I'm just saying it cannot happen while the child is still dependant on the parent for food, shelter and protection.

True friendship is an equal partnership. Both parties are equal, both parties can set boundaries. Both parties have the same amount of power in the relationship. This is simply not the case with parents and their children.

A parents job is to apprentice the child, which inherently means, setting boundaries and consequences. Children can't set boundaries and consequences for their parents, nor should they as they have not yet developed enough maturity or experoence to extrapolate the consequences of the boundaries and consequences they might choose to set for their parents.

If parents attempt to be their child's best friend, they put too much pressure on the child to confide in their parents, and considering the intensity of a parent child relationship, this gives the child no breathing room to vent their own frustrations - it's like trying to be best friends with your boss (yeah, yeah, someone is bound to tell me they are best friends with their boss - well, that's pretty rare and if one of you screws it up it's never going to be as messy as messing up the parent-child dynamic).

Likewise, asking your child to be your best friend? Come on, you seriously can't find someone else to be your emotional support? Essentially, that's what a friend is. Don't ask a child to fill an adults role - get a friend your own age!

I'm great friends with my mum, now. We weren't friends until I grew into adulthood - poor mum had to wait until I was nearly thirty. I was still ascerting my independence until then.

Teens are all about ascerting their independences and figuring out who they are independent of their parents (who provided all the DNA). It's kind of hard to be best friends with the people you need to reject before you figure out what parts of them you identify with. If you're cheek-to-cheek with the big picture, it's hard to get enough distance to really see the big picture!

Perhaps one of the issues these terrible teens are having is that there is an expectation of the grand friendship while the teens need enough distance to figure themselves out without the risk of hurting their best friend who just also happens to be their safety net...

By all means be friendly with your teens, be their for them, be an open ear - but please, please, don't delude yourself that you are your teens best friend or expect them to be your best friend. That kind of relationship cannot be had with the person you have to guide and set limits for, the power imbalance is too great. Trying to be your teens best friend is not fair to them, it sets up false expectations that conflict with your role as their mentor and safety net.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Beware the 'professional opinion'...

So, I was referred to this article today, and setting aside that I quite like what Lenore Skenazy has to say about teaching children real life skills through measured freedom, I was just blown away by the hyperbole in the article. The writer refers to - as an example of her professional experience in this area, I think - how she often counsels the victims of violent crime and in doing so, the reader is supposed to be reassured about her experience in this area.

The issue I take with this is that her vast experience counselling the victims of violent crime actually makes her less able to have a balanced view of the true level of risk out in the real world.

We see this over sensitisation of professionals all the time - it also happens with lay people exposed as well - they are frequently exposed to 'worst case scenarios' and it begins to colour their view of the world. They allow themselves to believe their experience is far more common that it actually is, their experience becomes their new norm. If it can happen to them it can, and probably will, happen to everyone!

How often have we seen the dialogue between the teenage child of a police officer and their police officer parent debating the safety of the neighbourhood because the officer lives in a constant state of heightened aware of the dangers.

The dangers exist - I'm not saying they don't -, but people on the front line of disease, death and crime are going to be confronted with those dangers far more frequently than the rest of society, and the frequency with which they are confronted has absolutely no bearing on the ratio in wider society.

An obstetrician will almost only ever encounter women at risk due to pregnancy - that is their job! This is why so many OBs view birth as dangerous.

A police officer will meet more criminals in their work day than people who are not criminally minded, so they see potential criminals everywhere.

A counsellor will counsel hundreds of victims every year - far more than most people will meet in an entire life time.

Doctors only get to see the people who are REALLY sick from illnesses, this is not representative of the illness' affect on the general population though because those people who are coping don't go to the doctor, and don't end up in the ICU.

For every child who dies from measles, there are, in fact, 99 children who don't die, including 25 children who don't even have a rash!

It's the black brick phenomenon, you see. As humans we're designed to notice the bad - in order to avoid it when we actually see it again in future.

If we are presented with a red brick wall featuring the occasional black brick, our eyes will automatically be drawn to and remember the black brick. In fact, if asked to recall the number of black bricks a little while later, we will probably be able to recall the exact number! Does that mean the wall was made of black bricks, or even mostly of black bricks? Probably not. It means we notice the aberrant bricks because our human mind says there is something wrong with them...

Today The Grumpy Old Man picked up a news paper and, while it was still folded, he had a look at the front cover, the top story was about the husband whose wife died from excessive blood lose while having her tubes tied. The Grumpy Old Man was rather upset by the photo of the distraught man, so he decided to move on and read something else, he turned the paper over and the bottom half of the front cover was about the little girl who was attacked by a pitbull in St Albans last night...

If you watch the news, or read the papers, or follow police reports via Facebook, you will hear no end of horror, tragedy and sadness - that is the news, not because that is all that ever happens on this planet. Not because every tubal ligation ends in death or every dog is a child attacker, but because people are mesmerised by the black brick, they can't take their eyes away from the abhorrent lest it sneaks up on them and gets them while they are distracted by all the good and beauty the world has to offer. We live in a world that would have us live in a constant state of panic, and we listen to people who are already traumatised and over sensitised by the tragedies they see every day as part of their work.

A small hand can cast a large shadow...

None of these phenomena reflect the true balance in the world. So, beware the professional opinion and put your critical thinking caps on!

Thankful Thursday...

Joining Kate at Kates Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday!

Today I'm thankful for:

The living hot water bottle I get to crawl into bed with on these cold winter nights! That would be our 2.75 year old, of course. One of the benefits of co-sleeping is that he's already been in bed for several hours by the time we get there. He's all snuggly and warm and usually reaches over for sleepy cuddles when we come to bed. On these cold Melbourne winter nights, it's so nice to have his warm little feet on the small of my back!

Friends who call when they sense I'm in a funk and make me laugh and totally get over the fact that I'm almost 40, have several degrees, but no job and no award winning novel - actually, not even a published novel. Having friends like these means I can refocus on all the things I do have and how I'm steadily focused on reaching my goal of being a published novelist - one day!

Supportive blogging people! I've been overwhelmed this week with the support I've received for this blog from complete strangers! The generosity of some bloggers is in complete contradiction to the rumours I've heard of competitiveness and cliquiness among parts of the blogging community worldwide. Here I am, little old no-body-special in the blogosphere and I've felt so validated and supported all week - THANK YOU!

I'm so, so, so, so thankful that The Grumpy Old Man finally got a placement for work experience in his new field of employment. We'd expected getting placement to be something of a cake walk because there are constant media reports of shortages in this field, but apparently not so in our particular area. Then this week, he finally got a positive response (after calling 20 places!), and now he has work placement of three full workdays for the next five weeks! It's unpaid, but after this he'll be able to get paid work for the first time in 2.5 years! So excited!

The love of siblings! Sometimes they bicker and argue all day long, day in and day out, but the tender moments always make up for it... This morning Ari got up some time after the other three, came out and headed straight for Luey's lap for cuddles. Makes my heart melt - I hope this is a bond that lasts a life time for them!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday: Buddha Boy Turned Six Yesterday!

Joining Trish at My Little Drummer Boys...

This boy smiled just twenty minutes after he was born - really. He is always easy to love - really!

Thank you for six smiley years, Buddha!
Love from Mum, Dad, Erik, Luey and Ari xxx

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

10 ways to be like The Doctor...

If you're wondering who The Doctor is, then we've obviously never met before...

The Doctor is my family's current obsession. Some families bond over their religion. Some families bond over footy. We bond over a fascination with all things Gallifreyan, most particularly new series Gallifreyan. The phrases 'Timey-wimey, spacey-wacey' and 'Spoilers!' are a code even our 2.75 year old understands. While other children are seeing Horcruxes everywhere and dueling with wands, our boys engage in games of 'sonic screwdrivers at ten paces'.

We love nutting out the myriad of possibilities in the plot; who is dreaming; who is the girl in the spacesuit; under what circumstances did The Doctor tell River his name? We have theories, all sorts of theories, even the 6 year old has his own theories...

So, here's a list of ten ways to be like The Doctor:

  1. Dress sharply and believe in your style - bow ties, Fez' and Stetsons are all cool because The Doctor believes they are cool, he says they are cool, even in the face of other people's doubt. 'Bow ties are cool!' - remeber that.
  2. Talk quickly, in non-sequators, and contradict yourself often. The truth is always the truth when you say it, but time is a funny thing, and the truth can change, change with it, but always be true!
  3. Be curious. Have an open mind for all things, be open to all new experiences, greet new experiences with excitement and great anticipation of adventure!
  4. View every obstacle as utterly surmountable - every problem as solvable - don't forget to look at it laterally!
  5. Run! Don't run away, run toward! Run toward the light, toward the solution, toward freedom, toward love. Run, and don't look back!
  6. Solve you problems peacefully, and with humour. If you have to lose your cool, do it righteously in the protection of those who cannot protect themselves, but don't injure those you are angry at.
  7. Invite people into your life, you don't have to invite everyone, but allow yourself to have a few close friends and be a loyal friend to them as well.
  8. Let every person you speak to feel that you notice them and care about them as an individual, whether they are your child, your partner or a person you've never met before, allow them to feel important and seen when you talk to them.
  9. Be willing to learn from your mistakes and to readily admit when you got it wrong.
  10. Love your gadgets and call them pet names, you just never know when they might come to life and try to snog you!
We all have a lot to learn from The Doctor, wouldn't you say?!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The things i'll do...

Feel free to skip over this post, it's just for verification purposes...


Who can guess what this is all about then?

Poor man's macro photography... Not for the faint hearted!

The other day on Facebook a friend uploaded some stunning macro photos she'd taken using the method described here. I'm not going to link to her photos because a) I don't have her permission and b) they're so totally awesome compared to my pathetic attempts that I'd be embarrassed to have them compared!

This method worked surprisingly well! I used my old Canon 350D with my 50mm 1.8 lens. I have NO IDEA what f-stop I was on or which shutter speed I was using (I need to brush up on the hows of my camera again because my sieve-like brain doesn't want to retain any information that doesn't refer to Doctor Who or blogging at the moment), but I still managed to get results I'm relatively happy with - you know, for a first go and considering I have not depth of field perception myself...

Here's the best of what I got, and many of these photos are still blurry, but it's a start!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

'You talk too much to be an introvert!' and other misunderstandings.

I'm an introvert.

People who don't understand the psychological terms used by Jung, and who have met me in person will be chuckling into their electronic screens right now.

I find that almost any time I tell people I'm an introvert, someone will have that reaction because introversion is so often associated with shyness and timidness. Say the word introvert and people tend to think of drab wall flowers who don't make eye contact and mumble their words.

One look at me will tell you I'm bright, bold and loud!

I do suffer from agoraphobia, which means I have threshold syndrome; I find it extremely hard to leave the house unassisted (psychologically). This is probably mostly related to having relatively low vision, but is also just a fear of taking up space and being a nuisance to other people if I have no specific errand to fulfil. Why I don't feel I have as much right as anyone else to just be out there is still a mystery to me - even after many hours of professional counselling.

But agoraphobia aside, I am an introvert - a brightly dressed figure you'll find no where near the wall at a party, the one you can hear even before you enter the room...

At last weekend's Trivia Night, I was the one dragging others to the dance floor (not the Grumpy Old Man - he has a gamy knee). I was the one who stood alone at the end of True and False game and took a theatrical bow after I received my prize.

At the school gate I draw attention to myself in my red and purple, or red and green, or purple and green medieval clothing choices...

I'm an introvert.

How can I possibly make this claim, you might be wondering?

The definition of an introvert in common dictionaries often includes the word shy, but this is a common misconception. Introversion and extroversion were terms used by Jung to describe where people found  their energies. Introverts tend to draw their energy from introspection and reflection. Extroverts tend to draw their energy from interaction with other people.

While I enjoy seeing other people, I find it exhausting - draining of my energies. One outing, or even an event at home where others come to see me, usually leaves me craving solitude to process all the stimuli. I need time to think about all that was said and done. Events like Christmas or extended trips away from home almost always leave me exhausted to the point of tears as the adrenalin leaves my body again.

Even in my own home, I 'hide' away from my family at my computer. I'm there, they come and find me and talk to me, but I can go several hours without talking to anyone. At night, at 7pm when the kids have gone to bed, and the Grumpy Old Man has taken Ari to bed - he usually dozes off with him - I sit in absolute silence, sometimes just staring out at the walls without seeing them and let my mind wander and pick up and explore the events of the day.

I love to talk and sometimes I do figure out what I'm thinking through talking it out, but mostly I prefer to be alone with my thoughts and nut them out in peace and quiet. Talking adds to the clutter in my head.

Now admittedly, having ADHD might have something to do with that need. Maybe without ADHD I might have been an extrovert. The fact is I'm not.

I'm an introvert - I rejuvenate my energy through time alone where I can process my experiences and reflect on them.

In the process of researching for this blog post, I discovered something I have never heard of before. The Ambivert. It seems on testing, the vast majority of people fall into the broad spectrum that is Ambiversion. These people do not fully identify with introversion or extroversion.

Image: source

Where do you fit into the spectrum?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Giveaway: Because I love youse all!

ATTENTION: I have been a bad, bad girl! In my enthusiasm to give back to my awesome readers for all their support, I forgot to read the fine print! Therefore, I've needed to change the conditions of the competition, so as not to land in some deep do-do. Those of you who have already entered, don't worry! It's all good, your entries are valid as is! As compensation for my idiocy, I've now reduced the number of followers required, so the lucky winner can start using their new mouse and Office software sooner!

As I've written a fair bit about, I've been having a lot of luck lately. Things just seem to be going my way - at least when it comes to winning things. Recently, I won Office for Mac: Home and Business package, through Nuffnang. The thing is, I'd just bought a Mac, and with it came a copy of Office for Mac: Home and Student package including a free wireless mouse. The iMac also came with a wireless mouse, so I decided I would give the Home and Student away to one of my followers!

Now, I have to admit, I love to talk to you guys, and I LOVE comments - because I'm all in my head a lot of the time and getting someone else's perspective is actually really good for grounding! I've been trying to think of ways to encourage everyone to talk more - your thoughts, your opinions, your feelings about things are really interesting and important to me, so please share - both here and on the Facebook page (if that is more convenient)!

So! You know what's coming next, don't you? That's right! If you'd like a chance to win the Office for Mac software with free wireless mouse (hey, even if you don't have a Mac, maybe you're cleverer than me and can sell it on ebay!), then:

  1. Become a follower this blog via the app to your right. 
  2. Leave a comment - even if you're already a follower - let me know! I'll put you in the draw! 
  3. You'll get a second entry if you tweet a link to this post or share this blog post on Facebook (2 extra entries if you do both!) and come back and let me know!
As soon as the page accumulates 100 followers, I'll draw the winning name!

NB: don't forget to tell your friends!

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thankful Thursday...

Joining in with Thankful Thursday at Kate Says Stuff!

I have quite a lot to be thankful for at the moment, and here is just some of it!

My kids!

And they're so angelic when they
sleep, too! Naw!!!
I don't usually make a special mention of being thankful for my kids because, you know, I always am, but lately I've been especially thankful that I have healthy children and that I have them at all! I have seen a lot of families of late who have lost the opportunity to get to know their babies better and watch them grow up and develop into the amazing individuals they absolutely would have been. I have also known a few families who got to have their babies for a while, but then experienced devastating news that their child was battling an illness that would eventually and inevitably take their lives prematurely. That these things even happen crushes my soul and the only thing that mends it is having my children to hold and love and cherish and although I always love my children, I'm more appreciative of the truly astounding gift it is to have them happy and healthy and growing and thriving!

Return of Lady Luck!

I've already broached on this in other posts but I can't say it enough! For the past couple of years I've felt that my status as an innately lucky person has been challenge quite strongly, but just recently I've felt like my old Lucky self again! Lately, it seems that anything I touch is turning to gold, and it's a wonderful feeling that I'm deeply thankful for!

The Sun!

I love the Sun and last week Melbourne was granted something of a stay of execution by the blessing of several unseasonably warm days. I really felt like I had to a chance to thaw out during those days and it has given me a lot of energy to get through the next few weeks of cold or gray weather - and even this coming weekend we've been promised a couple of lovely warm days! During the mini-warm-wave we had last week, I realised there is no problem in my life that is so big that sunshine can't make it seems fairly insignificant! The Sun has a way of putting everything into perspective and I'm very thankful for that!

My friend, Jayne!

Jayne is a lovely person who is very accepting of other people's differences. She is stronger than even she knows. This week however, I'm particularly thankful that she took on the unenviable task of entertaining 6 children aged 2 to 12 for 6 hours - and way past the bed time of four of them! This allowed the Grumpy Old Man and I to have a rare night out together! I'm thankful for the friendship I have with Jayne!

There are many other little things I'm thankful for, but those are the ones I wanted to mention this morning! What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

10 Realities of Living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder...

PLEASE forgive me for I have sinned and this is my third blog post in one day... I was sent a reminder by a friend who is hanging for me to post this - so this is for her (but you can read it, too)...

10 realities of living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

1) Needing constant stimulation and variety and feeling restless and bored with things once you've absorbed everything inspiring to you from them - which you usually do in a compressed amount of time because of your tendency to obsess over things!

2) Having four streams of thoughts at the same time - all the time! Right now, for me it's: writing this; singing 5 Little Kittens along with whats-his-name on Playschool; wondering when the Grumpy Old Man will get that Bryn's mouth doesn't have an 'off' setting, and stop whinging about the constant chatter; and realising I didn't call mum today, as I promised - d'oh!

3) Sitting down to write a blogpost at 9am, hearing the toddler getting into something, going to investigate and suddenly it's 10.30 at night and you spy the 'New Post' window on your desktop screen and think who opened that window? And this after an entire day of checking into your blog, Twitter and Facbook on your iPad.

4) Starting to tell someone something and hours later realising you never finished your original thought.

5) Shying away from long term commitments (like memes on your own blog) because your past history with consistency looks like a row of swiss cheese slices lined up one after another.

6) Jumping straight to the endpoint of puzzles and knowing the answer wihout being able to say how you got there - and then being accused of guessing...

7) Making connections other people deem to be non-sequetors (because they can't see the pathway of you connections).

8) Talking to the same mums at school that you've been talking to all year, and still not being able to remember what their names are despite them having told you several times already.

9) Insomnia.

10) You have great ideas, like a "10 ThingsTuesday" link-up, you encourage people to join you the first week, you put it on your blog schedule - and then a friend tweets you on Wednesday wondering what happened to "10 Things Tuesday"?

If you want to link up, feel free! Tell us your 10 Things!

Good Job!