All posts by Jenny

Musical Memories

Its been a while since I did one of my little trips down memory lane – and since I was supposed to be doing one a month I have a few to catch up on!

I was sorting thru one of my cupboards recently and found all my Music Albums. I know they are very uncool now but when I first started work buying music on vinyl was one of those luxuries you bought yourself… and you would save up to buy the expensive ones or double albums…. Some of them still have a price sticker on and they seem to range from about $3 to about $7 with double albums being about $10. So not much these days but remembering my first pay packet was about $45 for two weeks work they seemed expensive then…

And Albums are often such works of art…. something that is lost buying modern digital music. The Album covers were often very beautiful and detailed…designed as an eye catching promotion to make you buy the music. Many of them opened up and inside there was often more pictures, maybe a word from the artist about the album – or even all the words of the songs! Some even had a little book inside which was an added bonus. You would sit in your beanbag with the headphones on reading the album cover as you listened to the music….

I remember being in boarding school and one of the girls got a portable record player for her birthday. She was the absolute envy of everyone…even tho very few of us had a record we could play on it. She was in my dorm so we got to listen to it more than most of the girls…Thinking back now I bet the sound on them was pretty atrocious but I don’t remember that we minded. Being on a portable record player you had to sit on your bed and not walk across the room or it made the needle jump and possibly scratch the record which was heartbreaking!

I think my first couple of singles were ‘Nights in White Satin” and “House of the Rising Sun’… we played and played them all the time. Such appropriate songs for hormonal teenage girls! Also Bridge over Troubled waters and Wuthering Heights….. goodness quite a range there…

My first Album was ‘Hot August Night’ by my favourite artist Neil Diamond. My love affair began when I was in 3rd Year High (Year 10 these days)… I have almost all his albums and have been to most of his Australian Concerts. Back then I can’t remember if it was cool to like Neil Diamond or not… I guess many of us have special memories of the music or artists we enjoyed as teenagers…look how many baby boomers pay to see old rockers nowadays…

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Back in the seventies Neil Diamond was pretty big in Australia. I remember he did a tour in 1974. I had booked tickets for the Perth venue which was later in his tour. Myself and a friend were travelling across Australia and happened to be in Melbourne the night he was performing at the Myer Music Bowl. We didn’t have tickets but went to the venue and sat outside the venue up on a hill – where the stage was miles away (back in the days before the giant screens you have these days).

Needing to find a loo I was wandering around behind the venue trying to find the facilities. Near the back entrance (above it actually as there was a driveway going underneath to the stage door) there were a few girls standing around. I don’t know what made me think that they might be waiting for Neil’s arrival but I was standing right there and in drove Neil!! He got out of the car just below us and waved up at the now hysterical group of girls…Hi girls – he said. We all screamed again and waved back. Some of the other girls passed down things to sign but I had nothing – not even my camera to take a picture!! He signed the albums and waved again and went inside the venue…. My heart was pounding and I was exploding with excitement. I found the loo and then hurried back to my friend…. Not being able to contain my excitement for another moment I yelled at them from about 20 yards away (I do these embarrassing things all the time…) – Guess what I just did??!!! – well about hundred people turned to hear what I had just done… I just spoke to Neil Diamond – I said breathlessly!!! So that was my close brush with my hero and I can still see that encounter whenever I think of it……. So after all that excitement we stayed to see the concert – I stood on my rucksack to be able to see over everyone else… and altho you could hardly see him you could certainly hear him…

So big was Neil in those days I remember they broadcast his Sydney concert live across Australia… I remember the Prime Minister was in the front row (what a waste of a good seat) and I sat at home in front of the TV watching it. Years later (many years later) they released that concert on a DVD and I watch it and it takes me back to those days so many years ago.

When Neil finally came to Perth he played at the WACA. We got there early and put our rugs on the lawn. The West Australian had a couple of pictures in the paper next day and you could order a copy. Of course I did – and I still have them. I look at Neil and his long hair and it reminds me of the time all guys had long hair – not like today. And of course Neil doesn’t have such luxuriant locks any more either… but he still has a cute bum!

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Jenny Buckingham125

I jokingly tell my hubby that if Neil Diamond ever rocks up to my front door and proposes then he is to instantly divorce me so I can elope with Neil. Strangely my hubby has agreed – I don’t think he thinks it will ever happen….

So Thank You Neil for forty years of wonderful musical memories… hopefully there will be many more….

So after you have flicked thru the 20 or so Neil Diamond Albums  (I wont inflict photos of them all on you here) what else is there?… My albums reflect the seventies and eighties and the music that was around in those times – more recent music is on CD’s – and more recent still – on my iPod….

Rod Stewart was another great love of mine… I can remember going to a couple of his concerts. One I remember in the Entertainment Centre he came out for about the fifth encore with the house lights on and everyone still standing on their chairs and dancing….

Alice Cooper was pretty outrageous for those times…. there was some talk of him (pretending) to rip the head off a chicken and having a snake on stage….. I didn’t go to any concert of his…

Wings was the first concert I remember queuing up all day to buy a ticket for…. I remember lining up around the Entertainment Centre for an entire day to get tickets for myself and my friends – those were the days where there was only one ticket office and you couldn’t ring to buy tickets – you had to line up…

I saw Elton John perform a couple of times and Fleetwood Mac. Dr Hook were insane – I’m not sure they knew what planet they were on that night – but they were very entertaining! Leo Sayer was great – as was ABBA. ABBA were huge in those days. I used to love watching Countdown on Sunday nights. I remember when ABBA’s Fernando was the number one hit for weeks and weeks – and it finished off Countdown for so many weeks… They were the sort of group that everyone said they hated but still sold so many Albums – so an awful lot of people that said they hated them must have been buying their music!

I didn’t see ELO or Bryan Ferry…which is a shame… I love Bryan Ferry’s music and he is a pretty sexy guy! Interestingly I havent been back to see any of these artists in more recent concerts – except for Neil…. I think Rod Stewart is great as a gravel voiced crooner (have several of his recent albums) but somehow I think I prefer to live with the memories I have of them when we were all younger! I also cant bear to see tribute singers or bands – I’d rather be home listening to the real thing…

Then I have an eclectic collection of other music from those days.. love dancing to Status Quo, saw Suzie Q at the Beatty Park Aquatic Centre – she lifted off the roof, saw Stevie Wonder…and John Denver a couple of times- all country folk and apple pie.

My friends went to Uni and they often had music sessions there… I remember seeing Mike McClelland there and maybe Ross Ryan… I have several of their albums…

And all those sad melancholy albums about love lost and life. Janis Ian was a great favourite of mine – but many of them were very sad songs. Demis Roussos was also into love songs…I remember playing him a lot when my boyfriend (now hubby) was travelling around Europe without me. And Lobo….. I still hear his songs on the radio and they bring back those years of teenage angst. My Lobo Album has a scratch on it and many of my favourite songs have a skip in them – so I had to find his music online to be able to get the songs without that added extra. Also Cat Stevens…loved his simple music and the messages within them…. Boney M was exotic melodies – probably introduced to me by Countdown. Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Young, along with Bob Dillon were probably an influence from my (more sophisticated) Uni friends.

I also have about four America Albums…. and a Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan and The Eagles…. I think I was influenced by a couple of my Uni friends to get into those bands – they were really into them whereas my tastes were different and I doubt I would have developed a taste for them otherwise..

I also have a lot of Rick Wakeman music. Don’t hear that on the radio much these days…I will have to go back and listen to them again…

I have a few Australian Bands as well. I remember travelling down from the country and staying at the White Sands hotel with my girlfriends and going to see Ol 55 who were performing at that pub that night. These were clearly influenced by Countdown…

The rest of my collection – some Beatles music – I was just too late to be a Beatles fan – but I do have their various incarnations since – John Lennon, Wings … I also have a few compilation albums popular in those days – all showing a popular and unsophisticated range of music tastes…

Also a lot of ‘rock’ musicals – remember the first versions of Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell….. who didn’t cry in The Rose, or Love Story or Sunshine??? Does anyone else remember Tommy with The Who?? Grease is still my favourite musical (along with Mary Poppins – but that’s another story) – and have seen many versions – but Olivia and John are still the best!

The oldest record I have is a Connie Francis one that I pinched from my older brother. I loved that album – still do….. Lipstick on your collar, Tenesee waltz….. just beautiful…

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They always say that a certain song will always provoke a memory…. That memory and music are closely related….. and that is true. I remember a song called ‘Toast and Marmalade for Tea’ was a big hit when I was studying for my Leaving…. hardly ever hear it on the radio now tho so must have been a very tiny hit!! I just looked it up – was an Australian song…as Molly would say – Do yourself a favour and listen to it.. Toast & Marmalade for Tea – Tin Tin

Whenever I hear a Meatloaf song I am reminded of driving up and down to my country home, sometimes three times a week, when my Mum was dying. I used to turn it up full blast as I drove and sing loudly – it kept me awake on those long drives and perhaps screaming out the songs helped with my grief and sadness at the time. However I also remember that listening to Meatloaf tended to make you speed!!

Happy Birthday Helen is a song I always associate with my daughter as it is a song we always play on her birthday….

So my trip down memory lane has finished… hope it reminded you of the music that means something to you….. it certainly bought back those years of the 70’s and 80’s to me…. and my 200 vinyl albums will stay in my cupboard so that sometimes I can listen to them and remember my younger days….

Procrastination v mania

Gosh its hard work not being a procrastinator!! Perhaps it just shows I am lazy but use procrastination as my tool to not do anything…..

I dont think I’m lazy but I am working very hard doing my one bite at a time project in my garden. I am trying to do at least one hour every day and I have been quite obsessive about doing it. Some days I do more than an hour to make up for the days I don’t get to it. I calculated I have done at least ten hours per week for the last five weeks – so that is fifty hours at least…. and that isn’t counting the time I spend at the shops and at the nursery buying stuff for the garden!

I have been tackling it one garden bed at a time – but I live on a 2000 metre block so there are a lot of garden beds and my garden has been very neglected the last couple of years. And of course once I have done a garden bed I cant just move onto the next one and forget about the completed ones… I have to water them, kill pesky snails, weed them, talk to them…. all takes time….. its like doing one of those races that each day you get a little bit further on – but each day you have to start right at the beginning and check all your previous work and maintain it before you start on a new project! So each day takes a little it more time maintaining and so less time for making more progress.

I did a list the other day of the tasks that still need to be done. It went over two A4 pages – which was a bit discouraging. It seems the more I do the more I find to do. I keep thinking of more grand plans, more things that I can plant, more money I can spend….

Procrastination is defined as  the avoidance of doing a task which needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time.   Mmmmm Not completely true – I have been known to clean the house or do the ironing instead of doing paperwork…. so you dont just do pleasurable things to avoid doing stuff – you just find something else to do instead of doing the thing you should be doing. They say procrastination isn’t a sign of laziness but perfectionism – not wanting to start a task in case it isn’t done perfectly…..

I certainly procrastinated for a long time before I started this garden – this task I will never finish…. so perhaps that is why I procrastinate. I recognise in myself that manic gene that once I start something I cant stop… and I know that I cant just work at something in an organised measured manner – but that I go flat out at it – impatient for it to be finished so I can do something else, but not being able to just keep plodding away and keep doing other things at the same time – I become very single minded about it all. And then of course I burn myself out and fall in a heap and then have to really work hard to keep the project(garden) maintained and to keep it from being neglected again…

I have nearly finished the garden and I can feel that this little episode of mania is about to dissolve – but I want to continue to make progress – even if it isn’t as much as before. So in an effort to do other stuff apart from the garden and to be a bit less obsessive about it, I am going to try and do something else for an hour a day and do the garden a couple of times a week… Otherwise I will fall in a heap and not finish it which would be a shame…and I do need to do other things as well – not to mention my body is not enjoying all the digging and carting of heavy stuff around the garden…

So I have proven that doing a little bit each day is a good way to get things done…I just need to find out how I stop this from becoming an obsession – becoming anxious if I dont do that bite every day….. It seems I am destined to alternate between a procrastinator and an obsessed mad woman if I dont find the answer…

 

Reclaiming my Garden

I like before and after stories…. they are a record of our achievements, a chart of our progress – and thus an inspiration to continue to try and reach our goals…

I love beautiful gardens…I bought our current house, I am sure, because I fell in love with the garden. The little house we are in is on a 2000 metre block. Half the garden is bush and fruit trees, the other half is (was) beautiful English style gardens. The people we bought the house off were diligent gardeners (My neighbour tells us the reason they got out of bed in the morning was to pick the next weed), the lawns were immaculate and looked like bowling greens, the plants pruned and pampered. Sadly I do not come near their standard! Also the garden was watered via a pump from the local creek and I don’t think they ever took any notice of water restrictions.
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This is our garden when we bought the house…can assure you it doesn’t have a bowling green for a lawn any more…
I did say I loved beautiful gardens, but I don’t necessarily like the hard work involved! And I don’t really have a green thumb. I have lots of gardening books and do my best but the garden has never looked the same. Also I tried to be more ‘water wise’ and the grandfather rule that allowed you to have a pump in the creek expired when the pump did, so we have been just using hand moved sprinklers ever since. So all these factors meant after initially embracing my beautiful garden I became discouraged when things died due to my more prudent (read legal) watering regime and me working near full time. Extremely long hot summers and lack of motivation meant my garden struggled….
When I went to Europe I saw some beautiful gardens. Monet’s Garden, even on a hot day was just beautiful.

This is Monet’s Garden…. I doubt I can get a pond like that but surely I can have some nice flowers?

Then travelling down the Rhine, I fell in love with the window boxes. Everywhere you went were magnificent colourful boxes of flowers. So many cities were just a riot of colour.

The floating flower markets in Amsterdam were just amazing…. and the window boxes in Germany and some of the city gardens were beautiful…

Then in Slovakia we did a home visit and a little Russian lady showed us her vege garden that was filled with every sort of edible plant using every corner of her long yard. I noticed she had a small corner (about a square metre) filled with Gladioli – which was her one concession to the need to feed her family.

A Backyard vege garden in Slovakia…

So I came home inspired to reclaim my beautiful garden. It may never reach its former glory but it can be better than the neglected place it has been recently. While we were away the grass had grown everywhere so we needed it all whipper snippered before I could even begin.
Sadly I dont have any before photos…but I have taken photos to plot my progress… I decided that every day I had to do something in the garden – and almost every day I have managed to do that. I find once I make these determinations I get a really anxious feeling if I dont stick to these plans. So my ‘One Bite at a Time’ philosophy does work – even with gardens that look like a jungle! And it is odd that altho I am a procrastinator, if I have started a project I really do stick to doing something every day. Even if it is only ten minutes I do it. And until I do it each day I am anxious about getting it done – I can see my obsessive compulsive tendencies coming out!

I have a self imposed ban on certain Hardware and garden nursery stores. I tend to buy far too much stuff there – including plants that I let die. I do have a soft spot for pot plants so I have quite a collection. And who can resist some of those beautiful planters? Anyway I have had to lift this ban so that I could fix up my garden. But I have tried to be sensible and only buy what I need and generally I have been fairly good – just a few minor transgretions….

So motivated to reclaim my garden I started at what I thought was the easiest part. The pot plants on one of my verandahs. I have thrown out a lot of plants that really werent that flash (yes actually thrown them out), repotted everything, tidied everything up and moved all the emply pots nd pots where plants have died to my newly claimed potting table. I held a survey of people who used the verandah (my husband) and asked what needed to be done to encourage him (and me) to sit out there more often. When we bought the house I fell in love with the verandah and imagined sitting out there with cups of coffee – which of course hs rarely happened – so a survey was important. We tidied up the table so newspapers could fit (instead of pot plants) and tarted up the couch so it looked more inviting to laze about on. So mission accomplished…
My newly tidied verandah with an inviting (I hope) couch and a breakfast table…
I used to have a vege garden but that had been neglected for years. I decided with raised garden beds it was easier for me to manage – and out of the reach of chooks and ducks. So I ordered two new raised garden beds. They have taken ages to fill as they are quite deep. All the whipper snippered grass has gone in there, all the pot plants that have died and the pots sat there with potting mix in it – and layers and layers of my own rabbit poo mixed with hemp bedding (beautiful compost). I hope to be able to plant them soon – just waiting for the bunnies to produce a bit more poo! My garden bed that I started before I went on holiday has just produced its first lettuce feed – and eating your own produce is great motivation!
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The last week or so I have been working on a small garden bed along the drive way… overgrown with lavender and self sown hollyhocks (dont you love Hollyhocks? They always remind me of my Grandpa as he always had them in his garden).
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My Wisteria has turned into the man eating plant out of the ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ this year and is galloping over an archway. The area underneath reminded me of my Mums shadehouse where she kept her potplants. Out on the farm with limited water her shadehouse was under the high tank stand, with tamarask tree lashed around the outside and this giant orange creeper that grew over the entire tankstand. It was cool and shaded inside and this area felt the same…. So I have tidied it all up, bought some new plants to go in pots under there (yes I am addicted to buying plants online – did I mention that before?) and t now looks lovely and inviting….
My lovely Wisteria shadehouse and a climbing rose at the top. A herb and lettuce garden and some of my geraniums I have potted up (with a couple of ducks in the background ready to swoop for snails)…
When potting up my many potplants I took a lot of Geranium cuttings….. Several of my friends also collect Geraniums so we are doing a bit of a swap meet in the future….
Thats the progress so far – still have a few more areas to go but it is slowly taking shape. I want to finish the main lot of work before the real heat hits as I now I will lose motivation once summer arrives…
Looking again now at my photos when travelling inspires me again to reclaim my garden…. I will update you in the future when I have done some more…

The world of podcasts

I work night duty a couple of nights a week caring for a severely disabled boy while his foster parents sleep. When he is unwell I have a busy night but when he is well I spend nine hours in a darkened room with a limit on the activities I can do to keep me occupied…
I used to mainly play games on my iPad but feeling a bit bored with that (did I really say that out loud?) I looked around for something else I could do.
My daughter suggested I download some movies – so I have downloaded a couple of old series (watching West Wing series one at the moment) and that has been good.
However I then thought of podcasts. I had heard about podcasts for a long time but hadnt really investigated them. Not knowing where to start I went to the ABC (as I knew they did them) and had a look around. I discovered that you can subscribe to them, they are free, that they download to your iPad automatically. So I subscribed to ‘Conversations‘ as I often listen to them on the radio…
Then I googled podcasts and was astounded at the whole new world that appeared before my eyes. There are hundreds of podcasts available on any topic you can imagine. So I am now also subscribed to ‘All in your Mind‘ a Radio National series on Mental Health and ‘The History of England‘ which is up to podcast 164 and has been going since 2012. The added advantage of some of these podcasts (like the History of England) is that it also has a website that has added stuff you can read or download.
Overnight I have listened to three podcasts which have been interesting, educational, have made me think and reflect and have made me laugh. It also means I can say I am working at two things on my list – learn more history and not play computer games so much. So a win win.
My  podcasts tonight were from All in your Mind – a distracted mind. It was very interesting discussion about the current information overload and how multi tasking makes us inefficient and tires out our brain. But it also said that daydreaming is good as it is a reset for the brain – so my brain must be reset a lot!! It also said lots of stuff I do know but cant seem to d,o which is things like using your calendar and become more organised…. and that we need to practice developing a longer attention span and filter the information we receive to ensure it was accurate information (aint that the truth!!)
Conversations was with Rajana Srivastava – a Melbourne oncologist and writer. She talked about her early life and choice to become a Dr and also about telling people the truth about life and death. This was also an interesting discussion about being truthful to patients and allowing them to plan for their death…. Surely it is our final right to know if our death is imminent so we can choose how we die?
The final podcast was about woman in Anglo Saxon England… Seems like woman had more power at different times in history and that the women’s liberation movement has been around longer than we imagine. It also seemed pagan women had a lot more power and that the Christian church was very bad for women’s rights…. well at least that is what I took from the discussion!
So an interesting range of podcasts that kept me awake and entertained for a number of hours. And what a lovely free resource this is…. I guess they can be as dry or as interesting as the presenter. The History one is very chatty and done in a conversational way like he was sitting over the other side of the table chatting to you. And at the end he personally thanks any donors and gives shout out to people that have asked questions…
If you find any interesting podcasts on getting organised and not procrastinating dont tell me! I want interesting things to listen to!

My (current) Life Goals

 

 

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I did think about calling this my Bucket List but that implies it is a finite list to be ticked off before you die. This is more my current list of things I want to do or achieve – this list can change by adding or taking things off it, some are things that will always be on my list (like travel) and some of the things on my list are very whimsical and light hearted….

Just a little side track from my list to show you how my mind works and why I get distracted and take ages to accomplish anything…. I started this blog about 5 hours ago – thought it might take me 30 minutes to finish. But then once I started writing I thought of the ideal banner for this page (the one above)…. thought I will make my own banner for this …cant be that hard…..

So I looked thru my photos and found something I liked. Too easy! OK now to do the writing on it. Publisher. That’s pretty easy…. so I did the photo and the text and saved it as a jpg. Uploaded it but it was tiny and I couldn’t make it bigger…. mmmmm OK we will use Word. Did it again but it wouldn’t save the picture with the font on it – would just save the picture. mmmmm did some gardening while I pondered. I really want that Banner now so wont let it beat me. OK ask Dr Google. Watch a You Tube on how to put Fonts on pictures. Too easy…. Followed the instructions. Font on picture. Save. Upload. Once again picture with no writing. Can it really be this hard or am I just dumb? (Don’t answer that!) OK back to Dr Google. Search for suitable Apps. Find one. Doesn’t work on laptops only iPads. Found another one. Download. Have a play for an hour or so to figure out how to use it. Finally a Banner made and uploaded. It doesn’t look that wonderful for five hours work… but I did it myself…..

(I can hear you all screaming at your Laptop telling me the easy way to put writing on a photo!! I would love to know – and if you a good App I can use…then I can do more banners in the future)

So back to my list (not in any order of importance just as I think of them)

  • More Travel – this means I have to keep working to pay for it…but my work is pretty rewarding so can probably manage it. So many places I want to go to – but I hope the US and Canada next time.
  • Learn History – I’ve always liked History and travelling thru Europe there were so many places and sites I saw that I wished I knew more about. I was wading thru a 10 volume ‘History of England’ but that can get pretty dry – and I have just discovered podcasts. (Have found these podcasts with accompanying website – check it out. History of England)  I can sit at work and listen to podcasts on all sorts of subjects – currently doing the War of the Roses. I have found a History or Europe and a History of the Roman Empire so lots to listen to!! lol
  • Write my Family History/Photo Book – I’ve tried many times to write my Family story…. but I get overwhelmed by the hugeness of the project…. I have just started again so hopefully it will eventually be finished!!
  • Write my own Family story – The stories of our ancestors are important but so are our own stories. My children will think my memories are great to have – even if I think they are a bit boring! I can remember my Mum saying that nothing she could tell me about her life was very interesting – but how I wish she had written those memories down….
  • Reclaim my garden – I love beautiful gardens but have completely neglected mine for a couple of years. I saw lots of beautiful gardens in Europe (including Monet’s garden) and just fell in love with the breathtaking window boxes particularly in Germany. I also saw the best back yard vege garden in Slovenia (or do I mean Slovakia) where we went on a home visit and an old Russian lady showed us her back yard which her family lived on for the year.
  • Get fitter – Any of you that have been following my blog in the past know how much I have struggled with motivation to get fit. You may remember that I got walking poles and started doing walking before I went to Europe. I did manage to lose weight and did get fitter – and I am so glad that I did! I did so much walking when I was in Europe and I know if I hadn’t done that walking training  I would not have managed so well. But since I came home my walking poles have stood beside the door (mocking me!!) and not been used. So I want to get back to walking regularly – just to improve my health – and maybe I can listen to my History podcasts at the same time!
  • Volunteer – I want to do some volunteer work…. not sure in what area yet. There are so many areas that I feel I can contribute in some way….. I first really thought about being a volunteer when I had a pretty scary day at the Breast Clinic at a local public hospital a year ago…. a volunteer tea lady ministered to a roomful of anxious women plying us with smiles and cups of tea…. and I just thought ‘what a wonderful thing to do’….. I did go onto the volunteer website and there was just so much choice and so many different areas and types of volunteering…so need to put some more thought into it before I decide.
  • Scrapping – I need to find my mojo with Scrapping. All my scrapping stuff is jammed into a small room and so I have very little space to get organised. So that room needs to be reorganised so I can find stuff. My time spent with my scrapping friends is very valuable and so I should be achieving something in that time apart from talking, eating and drinking!! Besides I have about 1000 photos of Europe to organise.
  • More ME time – I just need to have some ‘chill out’ time. I find it almost impossible to just sit and read without feeling as tho I should be doing something more useful. I have cleaned and tidied up the couch on our verandah to make it look inviting so I plan to sit there and read – or do nothing…. When we bought this house I loved the verandah – and yet we hardly ever sit out there… so I have tried to remedy it by sprucing up the table and chairs so we feel more like eating out there and just ‘vege out’ there!
  • Start making Bread and Baking again…. I made some muffins the other day and remembered why I stopped baking – and went and bought a new Mixmaster…
  • Go to the movies regularly…I never go to the movies…need to make it a habit.
  • Spend less time playing computer games – listen to podcasts instead.
  • Catch up with friends whenever possible. These days our lives are so busy and it is so easy to not see good friends for ages… and there will come a time when we wish we had made more of an effort. I cant imagine lying in my death bed wishing that I had spent more time working or cleaning – but I can certainly imagine that I might wish I had spent more time catching up with friends and family..

I am sure there are lots more things I could add to this list…. but this looks a fine start! So I need to be more organised and less manic about how I achieve the things I want to achieve. At the moment I  am rushing from one project to another – perhaps afraid my manic phase will finish before I have done all the things I need to do…. but perhaps this time I have my ‘One Bite at a Time’ philosophy to keep me on track….

I challenge you all to make a list of the things you want to achieve and we can all work towards them together….

Well Hello there Blog….

How I have missed you….. I have thought of you often as I was jaunting around Europe… and even more since I got home….. So many times I have found myself writing blogs in my head – but being the procrastinator that I am – I haven’t put anything down on paper.

So here I am – a blank page in front of me, so many things to write and not sure where I should start!

As is my want, whenever I am faced with a large task or many tasks I tend to become overwhelmed and not do anything. However I have found that in more recent times I do tend to adopt my ‘one bite at a time’ philosophy more frequently, and so do break the task down and at least start making some progress instead of avoiding the task altogether and finding other things to do….

busy

I have noticed my life tends to fluctuate from me being very unmotivated and not doing anything, to being almost manic and trying to do too many things at once…. I cant remember if that was always the way I operated or if it is something that has developed over time – it certainly seems to have happened over the last twenty years.

I can also get very obsessive about things once I start doing something – whether it is just paperwork, family history or playing games on my iPad – once I start I get very absorbed in things and very single minded about finishing something I have started. This can be a good thing but it can also be a bad thing. When absorbed in something I tend to neglect everything else and feel very unsettled if I am not working on my current passion.

At the moment I am quite manic and am trying to do several different things at the same time. This is good I hear you say? It isn’t really when you just rush from one project to another – doing a bit on something and then doing a bit on another…. so you end up with many different things on the go, you lay awake at night planning all the stuff you have to do the next day (or next week) and meanwhile you live in the clutter of several tasks that are half done that you are working on.

I blame my holiday of course for this manic behaviour…. Five weeks away from home seeing the world and removed from the daily hum drum of life you gain a new perspective on many things…

I think the biggest change is that I am stepping back from a hobby I have been very active in for over twenty years. I decided that there was so many other things that I wanted to do or achieve and so I needed to spend less time with this hobby to create time to do other things… It was a tough decision but I am really excited about the many other things I want to do.

Trouble is – I did spend a lot of time doing this hobby but I doubt giving it up will really give me the amount of time I will need to do all the new adventures I am planning to do! So some juggling of time will still be required – but meantime I am very motivated to do many of the things on my to do list! So that is a good thing – so long as I don’t burn myself out in two months and go back to being the unmotivated Me that I can easily become….

So, Dear Blog, I am sorry I have neglected you for so long… but I promise I will come back here again very soon…..

Yes I am still here..

Yes I know! Its been a long time since I have been on here…..

I have actually been busy doing things – but not really working on decluttering my house…

Lets list the good things I have been doing…

I have been walking (reasonably) regularly with my walking poles. I try to do it 3 times a week – doesnt always happen that many times but I have been doing it as much as I can. I have also been quite proud of myself that I can manage more distance and at a good pace than when I started. My fitbit has been a great motivator and I am now in a group with several friends that wear them….sadly I regularly bring up last position for steps per week but I am sure I do more than I did. Unfortunately I am violently allergic to something on the fitbit band and I look very uncool with a sweat band underneath it! Fitbit have offered a full refund but I havent been able to find something I like better so not sure if I am going to persist or settle with something not as good…

I have slowly been losing weight. I didnt start out specifically to lose weight but since I was walking and trying to get fit (and I want to eat what I want when travelling) I started using Lite n Easy. If I stick to the diet it isnt that hard to lose the weight. I am half way to my goal weight. My only concern is if I continue to lose weight I may need to buy another new wardrobe before I go on holidays.

I have been on two short holidays in the last couple of months. On impulse my daughter and I went to Bali for 3 days. In that time I managed 6 foot massages, a manicure, a pedicure and a facial. In between pampering we sat around Norma Jeans drinking coffee and playing on our iPads… a proper holiday and some lovely mother daughter bonding! I also went to Tasmainia for a week which was mostly a lot of work and early mornings but also a bit of sightseeing. These two holidays were great dry runs for our big holiday and each time I came home with a better idea for packing gear or something else I needed to buy. So I count these jaunts as holiday research.

I have also been catching up on paperwork ready to go away on holidays. Boring stuff but my floor inbox is now getting quite empty.

Some paperwork that I have been spending a lot of time doing is getting things ready for my holiday. Have spent a lot of time (wasting time?) researching where we are going and finding out things to do. Also booking tours and accommodation which is great fun to do. I have probably been spending more time on this than I should!!!

So these are my achievements for the last few weeks. I havent done a lot of tidying altho I did move the cabinet where all my old vinyls were stored. I am going to write about this trip down memory lane in another blog…

My daughter is going to house sit while we are away. Her bed (and many of her clothes) are still here after at least 5 years since she last lived here. She tells me she would rather sleep in her old bed than ours…and so now within 4 weeks I do have to at least clear the path to her bed and get some of the junk out of her room. Mind you this junk is from other rooms and is waiting on the floor so it can be packed away in the cupboards in that room once she removes her clothes!! So I hope that while she is living here she sorts thru some of her stuff so that when I return her room will be ready for me to move my stuff in there…we will see…

So I hope you have all made more progress than me… altho my house hasn’t had any attention other things have made progress – so I suppose that is a good thing!

 

Diary of a Procrastinating Scrapbooker…

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As you all know I could win a Gold Medal for Procrastination! If there is something I don’t want to do I can always find a reason not to do it… This works especially well when it is something like ironing or cleaning the house. And if I am doing the ironing it probably means there is something even worse that I am trying to avoid doing….

Last weekend I went off on a Scrapbooking Retreat and I truly realised my capacity to procrastinate – even when doing something I really enjoy! Perhaps procrastinate isn’t the right word? It is more accurate to say I can find lots of things to do instead of what I planned to do – and that I distract easily! So I decided to do a bit of a log book of my weekend……

I guess the problem started as I have been doing a lot of night shifts and so hadn’t had time to prepare anything… and I had lost my Mojo and wasn’t really sure what scrapping I had to do that I was organised for…..

Of course my main excuse for not getting organised – as I told my scrapping friends – is for the sake of their own sanities!! There was a while there when I had worked thru a couple of rooms, got myself organised for scrap days – and created this blog – and the universe as they knew it seemed to be skewing out of control… where was the Jenny they knew and loved who was never organised for scrapping and who spent scrapping days sorting thru photos? A disorganised Jenny meant the universe had returned to its equilibrium and all was well with the world…..

So I arrive at the weekend in the country loaded up with all my stuff (as I wasn’t organised you need to bring everything just in case you need it).
I unload the car and sit at my table….
I hadvea chat to the girls and then go for a coffee….
No inspiration….
I set up the wifi on my iPad and check out Facebook….
Still no inspiration….
So since I have just finished night duty I go for a nanna nap for a little while…
Then it is time to get ready for tea.

A few wines at tea and then back to scrapping. Check Facebook again. Play some games….

Finally I sort thru some kits and some photos but decide that what I needed I don’t have with me so that is packed all away again… then I give up and go to bed…

So day one. No scrapping completed.

So first full day dawns. Up for breakfast. Long chat over coffee. Then into scrapping room.
What to do… I decide to do a little album about my daughter’s dog.
But first I need to check Facebook and make sure the world is surviving without me..
Play a game for a while…..Then we start to chat about my European Holiday. Out with my itinerary and we all discuss the tour options (many of my friends been to Europe). I download a couple of new Apps onto my iPad that will be useful for when I am travelling.
By then its time for a cuppa before I start work…..

After that I spend about an hour sorting out the photos I want to use  – I have about 300 photos, many of the same photo but different sizes… this is a direct result of my disorganisation. I wasn’t sure what I would need and how they would fit in the album so had got many of different sizes. By this time my scrapping friends were feeling much reassured – the photo sorting disorganised Jenny had returned and so all was well with the world!
Then time for lunch…

Back to work and slowly things start to happen… the doggy book takes shape – despite my best efforts to concentrate I still find it easy to get distracted….
Another coffee. Check Facebook. Check the internet. Text my hubby.
Lots of laughter. Lots of talk.
Then off to have my foot massage….. very relaxed now. Hard to get started again.
Perhaps I can knit a few rows on the community knitting project to fill in a few minutes?
Then it is time for pre dinner drinks and chats. Then it’s too close to tea to start on anything new.

After dinner it’s time to do some more work. I have finished the doggy album and start on my smash album… but hard to make a decision about what to do next with it so I check my Facebook again …… and the internet…. and play a game or two on my iPad…

Second day dawns….. determined to achieve lots and finish the projects I planned to…
Leisurely breakfast.. and check Facebook and the internet for news of a local cyclone…
Now to work on the Smash book… lots of thinking time needed to choose which paper and how to put it all together… oh now its coffee time…
Time for facial…lovely and relaxing… (Yawn) relaxing time checking the internet and playing a few games…

The girls are teasing me about my Fitbit..they are telling me that wearing my Fitbit bracelet isn’t all I need to do to get fit? So since it is hot and humid outside I take to walking up and down the long corridor to our rooms… it is 75 steps to the end of the corridor. So even though I hate exercise I walk up and down the corridor several times every hour… that fills in a bit of a time…

Lunch time… more feed…. another long chat over lunch…. another coffee….

Between walking the corridors I work on my Smash Book… it is making progress… I sew the books together.. and think I would like to have a break for a while and work on something else…
Cricket could be on  – turn on the TV to check….
Worn out with doing nothing I have a pre-dinner nanna nap…
Time to have a wine before tea…lovely roast dinner….

Now back to do another doggy album….. Need to sort thru the 300 photos again and find the photos I need….also need to choose the paper….. mmmm wonder what is on Facebook? Wonder what happened in the cricket…..
Walk up and down the corridor a few more times – rescue one of the other girls from a marauding spider lurking in the corridor…
Finally off to bed to play a few more game…final day tomorrow….

Cooked breakfast on Sunday. Read the paper online while I drink my coffee….
I really need to finish the second doggy album so I start work on it. Check facebook…play a few games, lots of laughter and chatter…lots of wandering around looking at other peoples work…

Finally time for lunch…then its pack up time. Always takes more trips to put it back into the car than to get it out. Always takes up more room. Never as much fun packing up to go home…

So my weekend is over. I did achieve quite a lot considering how many other things I found time to do!! Two little doggy albums done and some more work on my Smash Album. What can’t be measured – and which is priceless – is the time spent with friends. Even if they do tease you have sorting photos and not being organised…

My scrapping friends assure me that I am not alone in this world of procrastination – that they also do it – but I doubt they can do it as faithfully as I can! I guess when you are doing your hobby and doing it for pleasure there are no rules except to enjoy doing it… so perhaps, in this instance, we should be able to procrastinate and find distractions as much as we wish….

Did the earth move for you?

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I actually had this moment last week…. but it wasn’t in relation to housework but to starting my exercise regime…

I thought – I could go for a walk with my new poles – and then I thought….I cant do that! It’s too hot! I don’t have time! I have so many other things to do! I will do it next week….

But the fact I had seriously considered getting up and walking was an interesting thought… I realised that finally I had run out of excuses and that my mind was actually ready for the commitment!

I have lots of reasons to get fit… of course the main one is so that I live longer and be more healthy in my dotage…. I need to live long and healthily to complete all the things I have been putting off for years… I don’t want to be restricted by my health and not able to do the many things I want to do for the second half of my life.

I have also said goodbye to a number of people that have gone before their time….. I think that if they had the choice they would prefer to still be here and if they could have done something to make that happen they would have done it… and I am actually wasting my gift of life and health by not being more motivated to exercise and live more healthily…

And finally – and perhaps what has finally got me out of my chair and walking – is my holiday in July. Only four months now before we go to Europe. This is an expensive holiday that my hubby and I have saved hard for and are looking forward to. I notice on the itinerary that there are lots of walking tours thru many of the little towns we are going to. I would truly hate it if my lack of fitness prevented me from participating fully in all the activities… what a waste of money and how disappointing…

So this is my motivation….

So I bought a Fitbit wristband a couple of weeks ago which tracks my activity. I love gadgets and felt that having this might be a good motivation – and it has proved to be that. I have it on my computer and it tracks my activity and diet – and is scarily accurate about tracking my sleep patterns! (altho it is confused most days as I have done a lot of night duty recently…)

I also signed up to have Light n Easy delivered so I would be more circumspect about what I was eating…. and make it easier to track calories. I don’t eat a bad diet but am addicted to having a can of Coke a day, love potato chips and a glass of wine – and I drink too much coffee…

So I am on Day 4 of my fitness plan. I have been pretty good about sticking to the diet (altho I have to eat lunch at 1am and have breakfast at about 2pm when I get up after sleeping). I did have a can of coke yesterday but then felt so bad because it completely upset my calorie intake!!! But otherwise I have been pretty good. I am trying to just have 2 cups of coffee a day, no chips and will try to fit a wine into the plan a couple of times a week.

I am surprised that the earth did not move on its axis last Thursday afternoon when I went for my first proper walk. It was such a momentous occasion that I am surprised some minor earthquake wasn’t noted by seismologists …I donned my (new) walking shoes and my (new) walking poles and walked around the school oval a few times. And I have done it again today. And was rewarded by receiving an email from fitbit congratulating me on my number of steps!! So feeling motivated right now!

So as with everything you need to find out what your motivation is to do an action that you might otherwise keep procrastinating about. I guess it is the same as the whole theme of this blog – take one bite at a time…. I procrastinated about getting fit for months (well probably all my life!) but eventually you face reality and realise that you just need to do it. I am not sure why some of us need more motivation than others…. but it is frustrating. If you need extra things to help motivate you like gadgets, dietary plans etc then use those to help motivate you. And I guess if you stuff up don’t give up entirely just get up and carry on and do the best you can.

And try not to think of reasons why you should stop doing what you know you need to do… I know I have a little voice in my head saying – but if you lose weight all the clothes you have bought for your holiday wont fit you – but I know that is Bad Jenny voice! If I lose that much weight I will just have to go and buy some more clothes – and that wont be so bad will it?

Back to Square One!

Well I think I can say I have failed this month to do anything much that I planned to do! I have fallen back into bad habits. Procrastinating, finding excuses, not doing my lists, not started walking yet. I am even writing this blog right now to avoid tidying up the February room….

My life seems to be a constant cycle of doing nothing much, then getting really inspired about something and then becoming almost obsessive about finishing it. I hoped that by setting small achievable goals that I would keep plugging away at things instead of being so uneven with my successes.

I can still find plenty of excuses…the weather has been so hot and humid it saps any energy from you, I have been doing a lot of night duty which inevitably wears you down, and negative people around me have made me a bitter and twisted person!!! I hate finding excuses for not getting things done…It seems ungrateful to use these excuses for my failures. The people I care for face much greater challenges than this and yet can achieve their goals. Busier people than me seem to be able to have a tidy house and be more organised than me…. It is too easy just to beat yourself up over your lack of achievements – which I think then turn into self fulfilling prophecies – I feel like a failure so I am a failure!

So now at the start of a new month I have to reassess. I have to try and work out where I failed, recognise where I have succeeded and try and do better this month.

In January one of the things I did do finally was set up my vege garden. This has been one of February’s great success stories… I get a great deal of pleasure each day checking it out – I even found my first small cucumber yesterday! So that is an achievement!

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Another thing I hadn’t planned to do but have achieved is that I have set up a much nicer aquarium in the family room. I had my fish in quite a small tank and they had bred lots of babies so it was very overcrowded. Someone offered me a much nicer tank for a very cheap price so I have set that up. That required me to move a few cupboards and things around (which haven’t been set up again properly yet) but I am very proud of my tank now.

 

 

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This is the old tank.

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This is the new one – all the fish think I am going to feed them!

So I must try and see the things I have achieved and not just beat myself up for the things I haven’t achieved….

I also love gadgets! My daughter has inherited the same gene. So in an effort to finally getting me walking I have ordered one of those pedometer wrist bands that are all the rage right now. I hope that with something showing me so plainly the progress (or non progress) I am making as far as steps per day go that it will finally get me out there and walking.

So my goals for March? Finish (start) the February room, which was the January room – and very probably it was the December room as well!!!

Use my flash new pedometer and start walking. Set my self step goals each week and work towards them.

And probably more importantly – try and celebrate my successes and be less harsh on myself for my failures…. but try to fail less often..