Friday, February 28, 2014

28:02:14 Goodbye Summer

Today is the last official day of Summer.
Tomorrow will be Autumn.
Last night we had 225mm of rain fall from midnight till morning.
Today the roads were flooded, the grass soggy and my post waterlogged.
I think Summer up and abandoned us early...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

27:02:14 Crochet

Crochet seems to be gaining popularity amongst my age group. I've noticed recently that many of my friends regularly Facebook their latest creations. At bookclub last week my friend Jo was happily crocheting away as we nattered. We teased her about her new passion and made jokes about her age. Today one of my patients was busily crocheting these cute flowers as the base for a baby quilt her daughter was making. I asked her could I take a photo to send Jo and pretend it was my own work! Sure enough when I was on lunch I got a sarcastic message back from Jo calling me a show off! I'm not sure how long I will wait before admitting it wasn't actually the work of my own fair hands....?!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

26:02:14 Passionfruit

Our one year old passionfruit plant has grown like crazy over recent weeks. Today I saw the first flower! I don't think I've ever seen one before. It looks like something from a science fiction movie! 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

25:02:14 Regionals

Today Gareth swam in "The Regionals", one step on from his school swimming carnival last month. He was so excited to have qualified for the breaststroke in today's competition. There were four different heats.  He came first in his heat which made him swell with pride even though his final time didn't get him into the top eight going forward to the next level of competition next month. Just the experience of getting this far was something that he had always wanted to do and he was so pleased that he got to give it a go. After his race he got to choose any ice lolly he wanted. Zombie guts was the one he decided on and enjoyed every icy bit!

Monday, February 24, 2014

24:02:14 Habenero

At last our Habenero plant has grown three little chillis! 
Looking forward to making some eye watering salsa this coming weekend!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

23:02:14 Shortbread hearts

A batch of heart shaped cookies to bring to share at Children's Liturgy at Church this weekend. We had fun teaching the kids how to "Love one another" and then watched them run around after Mass sharing the cookies with the other people from the congregation! 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

22:02:14 Kayak Visitors

Some unexpected Saturday morning visitors. We heard giggles from the front porch and when we opened the door we found friends outside that had kayaked from their house to ours. The giggles were from the kids who thought it was really funny that their mum had capsized. They made their way around the side of the house and sat in the back garden for a while to dry off and recharge with cookies and iced water and then made their way back down to the lakes edge to kayak home again!

Friday, February 21, 2014

21:02:14 Love is...

Love is...
...opening the wardrobe of an elderly patient and finding a clean handkerchief folded and placed in the pocket of every one of his freshly laundered tops.

I look after many frail and aging people in Rehab. Almost all of them have anxious families in the background wondering if this is the point where they will have to admit they cannot care for their loved one at home anymore. Some days I will see an interaction between a husband and wife or a daughter and father and it leaves me humbled at the love that is shown in small ways. 

Today I opened a wardrobe to take out fresh day clothes for one of my patients. He was being discharged home into the care of his daughter. I grabbed the first top I saw and as I was walking towards the bathroom I spotted the handkerchief neatly folded in the left breast pocket. I stopped and looked back at the other tops, all clean, ironed and hung in a row and all with a folded handkerchief in the pocket. 

I dried the frail old man and helped his thin arms into his top. Without looking he reached for the handkerchief in his left breast pocket and he used it to dab at the dribble of saliva coming out of the corner of his mouth. It was instinctive. He knew it would be there. As it was yesterday, as it was going to be tomorrow. The tears pricked in my eyes and I knew he was loved. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

20:02:14 Old Ducks

Tonight's "Old Ducks"  BookClub. 
Seven women.
Three copies of The Time Travellers Wife. 
Only one of which was read. 
A crochet book. 
Chocolate wrappers and empty cups of tea.
That just about sums us up! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

19:02:14 BBQ Queen!

Well my foot rest has managed to make it out of the box! It was a bit of a minefield putting it together but I'm pleased to say it is finished. All we need now is to test it out!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

18:02:14 Work v's Reading...

A day off work. Helping at Gareth's Primary school. A catch up with some other mums after we had finished our reading groups. Then home to do some chores and to put together a new BBQ. Got a bit distracted with trying to finish this months Book Club novel. Reading the book/Making BBQ??? Making BBQ/reading the book??? The book won and I am glad to say I have finished it in time to discuss at Thursday nights "Old Ducks" but the BBQ will have to wait until tomorrow...!

Monday, February 17, 2014

17:02:14 Dirty knees, Happy boy

After having two girls a boy is a fun change. Even though my girls are teens now and past the stages of pink and dressing up they are still so different to Gareth. 

During the school holidays a friend rang offering to collect Gareth and his bike so he could have a "Man Day" When I got home from work it was to find a grubby, bruised but very happy boy telling me all about the fun he had, the falls off the bike, the grazed knee and how fast they had been going over the bush tracks. 

After a good scrub in the shower Dad was home and the stories started again. More detail came out about the fun. In particular about a difficult jump on the track that one friend wanted to try but another chose not to do. How that led to a talk from the boys father about how good it was to follow your gut instinct and not be pressured into doing something just because everyone else is doing it. A lesson I am sure I have tried to teach Gareth at many stages over the years but one that when heard from a friends father had more impact. 

Today I am stopping to reflect on how lucky I am to have our little bit of testosterone in our home and also how grateful I am that he has other good male role models in his life. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

16:02:14 Necklace

Co-incidentally this necklace also was my gift from this years Christmas girls night out with the same group of friends that yesterdays cup and saucer came from. You really never know what you might unwrap as you choose between tiny delicate packages and great big glossy boxes with bows on top! 

This year I was the lucky recipient of this handmade necklace. It comes with information saying that it is a once off item made with delicate paper and must not be allowed to get wet. I love that it isn't a mass produced item made overseas but is the result of someones time and passion. 

If the mystery friend who put this in the middle of the table would like to tell me where it was bought from I would be very happy to add a link to this blog post...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

15:02:14 Japanese cup and saucer

Two years ago at a Christmas girls night out we exchanged Secret Santa gifts. I was lucky enough to come home with this. My first cup and saucer. I have enjoyed making a pot of real leaf tea in the evenings when I finally sit down and chill. A healthier alternative to a half bottle of red wine! 

Last year I decided to try to collect a few more cups and saucers of every different shape or colour so I could share a cup of tea if friends called in. Every now and again over the coming weeks I will take a photo of one of them and tell you the story behind the cup in the photo. For now I will say goodbye as it is time to put the kettle on!

Friday, February 14, 2014

14:02:14 Valentine card

I love making my own cards. It's funny how over the years my taste has been drawn to simpler and simpler layouts. Gone are the multi layers of paper and embellishments. Instead as I look through Pinterest for inspiration I find myself looking at the less dramatic and more subtle layouts.

Maybe it is also a reflection of my lack of crafting time. Often I need inspiration only minutes before we are due to leave the house for a party.

Or in today's case quickly making a card at 6.30pm on Valentines Day while Byron is minutes away from getting home from work! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

13:02:14 The Time Traveler's Wife

This months Old Ducks book club read is "The Time Travelers Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger.

It's a big book with lots of pages. That makes me sound like a kid complaining about my homework! I'm just struggling to work my way through it in the few small snatches of opportunity I get in amongst getting the kids to and from school/activities/their work/my work/cooking/cleaning/breathing...

It needs to be read by Thursday. One week from today. I have brought the book to work with me and have gone to sit in my car at lunchtime determined to get another chapter into me. I bumped into Jo who is my friend who host us "Old Ducks" each month. I told her how I was only a quarter of my way through the book. If I'm honest I was hoping Jo might say she was not finished yet either. Her response just about summed up us old ducks and how seriously we take our literary responsibilities...

"Don't stress Gina I haven't even started yet. I saw the movie and thought that would be enough..."

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

12:02:14 No sleep logged today...

I mentioned on an earlier post that Byron and myself have FitBits. One of the interesting things mine does is it gives a "bar-code" representing how well I slept. The solid blue is deep sleep meaning no movement could be detected by my wristband. The pale blue is where the wristband feels me toss and turn which is normal a couple of times during the night. Any pink stripes represent times that the wristband detected me sit up in the bed or get up and walk around.  

The top two bar-codes are an average nights sleep for me and were the last two good nights sleep in my own bed before we set off on our UK and Ireland  trip.

The "No sleep logged today" represented the lack of sleep logged on our 48 hour door to door journey where my head never saw a pillow.

And the bottom bar-code was the first nights sleep in Ireland. I knew when I got out of bed that I had slept dreadfully and half remembered getting in and out of bed as I thought I heard the kids awake (They were sleeping) But it was totally amazing to see the exact breakdown of exactly how my body reacted to the change in time zones! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

11:02:14 Whiskey

Byron was talking whisky with a work colleague and he asked me to take a photo of his collection because he couldn't remember exactly which varieties he actually had now (rather than the bottles he had historically drunk over the years!) Many of these bottles were gifts for his 40th Birthday and are being very slowly appreciated one dram at a time!

Monday, February 10, 2014

10:02:14 Back to school

I know I'm a bit behind myself but finally here is a quick look at the kids heading back to school. 
They are all getting so much older and I cannot believe this is the final year we will have a child in Primary school.Next year all my kids will be High School students. I feel old!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

09:02:14 Friendly pants!

Do you ever see a sign somewhere, or a label and it makes you laugh? Well I have a friend who married the lovely Mr Shortall, making her Mrs Shortall and eventually leading to a Miss Shortall, Miss Shortall and Master Shortall! It would be safe to say that we like our friend, dare I even say Love?!! And by de-fault we love her hubby and their three little ones too. So this label just about jumped out at me while shopping! 

Shortall Family WE LOVE YOU!!!

Saturday, February 08, 2014

08:02:14 Dedicated to...

On a previous post about turning 40 I mentioned that I had been lucky enough to have the first edition of a novel dedicated to me. There is (as always) a story behind this!

I am a member of a book club called the "Old Ducks" We do lots of chatting but it tends to wander away from the book of the month and onto any subject we fancy. On one of the very first book club meetings I told the girls there about a childhood wish that one day I would have a book dedicated to me. I used to love opening up books and reading who's name the author had written inside the cover. As a child it seemed a reasonable idea that someday it might be me. As an adult I had realised that it was somewhat unlikely ever to happen.

Little did I know that within that small group of women was a budding author who only a few short years later would have completed her very first non-fiction book ready to publish. She paid to have a hard copy printed in August and I was so looking forward to actually seeing and holding it. When she collected me to bring me to my birthday dinner with friends she gave me my present to open.

It felt like a book... I stupidly found myself wondering what book it might be until the wrapping came away and I realised it must be the book! Her book! I was so excited I was squealing. Not as loudly as I squealed when I opened the front cover and saw the dedication!!!

Thank you my wonderful "Old Duck" friend. I cannot wait until your book gets publicly printed and ready to buy in the real world (only a few short weeks away) and I can blog more about it and tell everyone to go buy a copy!

Friday, February 07, 2014

07:02:14 Swimming Carnival

Gareth's final swimming carnival in Primary school. I couldn't be there due to work commitments but a gorgeous friend sent on some photos she had taken of him. You can see more of her work here.

He is so excited because he did well in this race and has got through to the next level: Regionals!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

06:02:14 Stormy skies ahead

A photo I found on my phone. If I remember correctly it was taken on the road between Dublin and Wexford. Just as the rain eased and the windscreen wipers were turned off the sun fought to shine through the dark storm clouds. It's not always possible to catch a good photo in a moving car (I was the passenger not driving!)  but this gives a small impression of one of the many amazing skies we saw on our holiday.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

05:02:14 Fitbit competitiveness

I love my gadgets. Last year as Byron and I were striving to get fit we treated ourselves to activity trackers from the FitBit range. (not a sponsored post friends! Just us buying each other something out of our hard earned cash!) You could argue that they are fancified pedometers and on one hand I would agree with you. If I was on a budget I could still aim for 10,000 steps a day on the basic pedometer we got free inside a cereal box a while back! However the overwhelming appeal about the FitBit flex that Byron bought me is the ability to be ridiculously competitive. By sharing our profiles with one another we can see on the app on our phones how well the other person is doing and we are automatically placed in a leader board against one another. It boils down to who is better than the other *cough, cough* she says from the top of the ladder! It also gives you feedback on how well you slept but I'm saving that screen shot for a future post!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

04:02:14 Initial

We got a lovely surprise in the post. It was a card from one of our Japanese students Madoka. She had made each of us a little key chain with our initial and a Disney silhouette. Here is mine. It is so cute!

Monday, February 03, 2014

03:02:14 5 Cent

A 5 cent coin found by Gareth as we crossed the road. Battered and dull. Worthless to most adults who drove over it. Gareth's eyes lit up when he looked closer at it and he noticed that it was minted on the year I was born. I wonder if back in 1973 my parents could have guessed at where I would live in the the future? 

As my children grow and I hear Sian talk about the possibilities of University courses, some in Newcastle and some further afield my heart aches a little. Part of me wants to keep her here, close to me as I am sure my parents would have said about their first born. And another part of me wants to let her stretch her wings and fly away to have adventures of her own and fill her life with experiences just like I have done. This coin may be getting a little worn around the edges, but the adventures it has had over the last 40 years could probably fill a book.

Would you rather shiny and perfect or a little ragged around the edges...?!

Sunday, February 02, 2014

02:02:14 Bush walk

It's a warm time of year here in Australia. Summer days can get ridiculously hot and it can be hard to get motivated to get outside and exercise. If we get up early enough in the morning it can be really nice to go on an early morning walk. This morning Byron took us on a path through the bush he had found while cycling with Gareth. Under the dappled shade of the gum trees we marveled at how close we were to our house and yet felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. I still liked using the excuse of stopping for a photo to catch my breath. Walking with Sian makes me feel old... Slow down sweetheart!

Saturday, February 01, 2014

01:02:14 Terrarium

Making a terrarium out of an old cookie jar and some succulents she bought with her pocket money at the weekend. I love to see her busy and creative.