Saturday, May 31, 2014

31:05:14 Supper Club!

Tonight I had fun with my friend Jo as we served home made soup after our parish Saturday night Mass. We each made a huge batch of soup, Jo made Leek and Potato and I did Carrot and Coriander. We had such a giggle wearing our "Come Hither" aprons that we made from a pattern Jo bought and then shared with me. There was lots of friendly rivalry as we tried to push our individual soups on the poor unsuspecting parishioners and put them all on the spot by asking who's was the best. There were some very diplomatic answers! It was a pleasure partnering up with Jo. I hope we get rostered on to a future supper club evening!

Friday, May 30, 2014

30:05:14 Being brave!

I have a friend. She is fearless. She will talk to anyone she comes across in day to day life and will always strike up conversations, asking them about themselves and learning more about them in 5 minutes than I would in a year. She has a way of making normal people feel that their unique stories are important. 

I saw a man today. He was cutting up a tree trunk with a chainsaw. I passed him on the way to the post office. I passed him again on the way home. I saw the circles of fresh cut logs stacked into a wall behind him and I so wanted to stop and take a photo. But not while the man was there. Maybe later when he was finished and gone back inside.

I drove past him again as I dropped Sian to piano. The light was fading fast. He was still there, still cutting and stacking. The urge to stop and take a photo nagged and nagged at me. I found myself thinking of my friend. She would tell me to stop the car, to say hello and be brave. I passed him again on the way home. I slowed the car down, my heart pounded and my cheeks burned. As I pulled in I grabbed my phone and my courage and got out of the car before I could chicken out. He stopped cutting, looked at me approaching and stood there with a surprised looked on his face.

"I'm so embarrassed" I mumbled "I don't normally do this kind of thing" His eyes twinkled and he broke into a grin. I told him I am taking a photo a day for this year. I said I had been admiring the growing wall of logs and wanted to take a photo of it but that I had not wanted to stop while he was still there. I asked if I could take a photo. He laughed and said of course.

I took one quick photo, my cheeks still hot and turned to get back in the car. He asked me my name, I answered and asked the same back of him. In the next few minutes the most lovely story unfolded. He was Henri, The tall tree was dead and he had wanted to cut it down for months before it fell and caused injury or damage. His wife wouldn't let him because he was 71 and his knees weren't as strong as they used to be. But she was gone to visit their daughter for a few days. She had made him promise to ring a tree surgeon and he had, three times with no answer. He had gotten his ladder out, leaned it up against the tree and looked at it. He was hesitant to climb the ladder and that's when his neighbour had come out and offered him help. Between the two of them they had cut the dead tree down. The younger neighbour up the ladder and Henri down below shouting instructions. He wanted to get the wood all cut and stacked before his wife returned.

I'm so glad I stopped.

Glad I was brave.

Glad I followed my friends example.

Glad I'm not Henri when his wife comes home!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

29:05:14 Sky

The Sky above John Hunter Hospital today was blue and layered with the most unusual clouds. Like a soft bedspread thrown haphazardly it made me stare upwards as I walked towards the main entrance. The low drone of the Westpac helicopter approaching broke the silence of my thoughts and I found myself changing my focus from serene beauty above to the reality of my surroundings. Another life changed. Another family facing phone calls they never wished to hear. The very best of medical care awaits just a few minutes away for that unknown person descending onto the helipad.  I hope their eyes will see the blue sky above them as they feel the rush of the gurney racing them to the amazing team of professionals inside the doors of the Emergency department. I hope they will be ok. I hope they will get to walk once more under the blue expanse and feel the sun warm on their skin. That they will get to do the things I so nearly take for granted every day. 

Begin doing what you want to do now. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand, and melting like a snowflake. ~Marie Ray

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

28:05:14 Origami health

Another Artwork on display in John Hunter Hospital. This time Origami cranes.
Cranes are thought to represent many things including longevity or recovery from illness or injury. A former patient used empty medicine vials and made tiny cranes to put in each one as a way of connecting the ancient legends of good health with modern medicine. Every time I walk past this display window I stop and see something different. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

27:05:14 Aboriginal painting.

I love this aboriginal painting hanging in John Hunter Hospital. 
The more you look at it the more you see. 
What do you think it represents?

Monday, May 26, 2014

26:05:14 Autumn Sunset

Sunsets are gorgeous at this time of year. The weather is still in the mid twenties during the day and goes crisp and cool when the sun goes down. I can't believe we are days away from Winter. This year is slipping away so fast on me. I'm not ready to admit it's almost half gone.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

25:05:14 Warner's bay walk

We finished off this weekend with a walk by the lake. Gareth came with us while the girls studied for upcoming exams. What started out as a stroll become a 7km hike. Ice cream at the halfway point re-energised us. 

We were talking to Gareth about healthy balances. Relaxation v exercise. Treats v healthy foods. At the end of our walk I asked him to guess whether the 7kms walking had burnt off more calories, less calories or the same calories than the magnum I ate...? 

I would have assumed I had easily burned off the ice cream. 

Surprisingly RunKeeper told me I'd burned 337 calories and the magnum wrapper told me I'd eaten.... 


Saturday, May 24, 2014

24:05:14 Baileys Fudge

As I read a news story I saw a link underneath. A link to a recipe site for Irish Cream Liqueur Fudge. I couldn't resist. Once I'd seen the ingredients they seemed burnt into my brain...

400g Condensed milk
400g Dark Chocolate
75g butter
1/4 cup Irish Cream Liqueur

The next time I was in the supermarket these ingredients fell into my basket and tonight became fudge!

Yum! A bit sticky even with freezing it but it isn't designed to be held for long!

Friday, May 23, 2014

23:05:14 What price for Mr B?!

He's a classy man my Mr B. 
Priceless in my eyes. 
But only $3 in the eyes of our local Reject Shop!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

22:05:14 Mother and child

I love this piece of art. It's a life size wood carving of a mother and baby and I think it has been carved from one huge piece of wood. It is on one of the corridors of John Hunter Hospital. When I do my rounds of the wards doing my pre-admission assessments this is my favourite spot to sit for my lunch break. A quick cup of tea and a read through my notes before going off to see the next patient. 

The carving disappeared for a while last year. I remember walking along the corridor and seeing the white plinth sitting empty. There was a sign saying it had been damaged and was under repair. I was so glad when I returned today to see it back again. Having such a beautiful object where people can get up close and run their hands over it, feel it's beauty smooth under their palms is risky. There is always the chance of damage. I wondered when the mother and child were returned if they would be encased a perspex box, protected from future wear and tear? 

It was so good to see it back on its plinth this week, sitting just as it always had. I ran my hands over the soft silky wood and sat down for my break next to it. I think that it's value and beauty is in its accessibility. In how it makes you want to touch it, feel the curves of the wood beneath your hands. I'm really glad the "powers that be" think so too!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

21:05:14 The courage to be imperfect.

I saw this poster hanging up on the wall of a hospital I visited today. 
I liked the message. Some of the statements seemed easy to me, logical and achievable. 
Others were things I know I don't do but could learn from. 
I thought I'd share it here for you to look at and so that I can look back and find it in the future if I need a little reminding...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

20:05:14 They have a story.

This week I am working away from my normal ward based job. For the next month I will be driving around 6 hospitals in New South Wales doing assessments on patients who are hoping to transfer into my hospital. 
It's hard filling someone else's shoes. You have to step out of your comfort zone and learn quick. I come across so many different people when doing this role. I meet staff in other hospitals and get an insight into how their units work. I get to meet so many patients, young and old and all with a unique story to tell. 
That's the bit I love. The getting to know, however briefly, another person, often at their most vulnerable. People who are bombarded by choices and change. Some don't want to see me. They just want to go home to their safe place. Some are lonely and need to talk, they squeeze my hand tight as I go to leave, scared and uncertain of what the future holds. Every now and again I feel like I have made a difference. It's so good to go back to a patient and tell then that I have a bed for them. 
I did that today. A vibrant older lady who's daughter was torn about going overseas. Who's leg was in a cast with nothing but time needed before she could pick up the strands of her normal life again. I excused myself to answer a call, and on returning told her the bed was hers. She broke down in tears. Deep sobs that contagiously passed to her daughters and granddaughter around her. "I'm happy" she said "Silly tears, just happy ones" 
I walked away with a lump in my throat. They're not just a number. Not just a successful empty bed filled. They have a story. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

19:05:14 Driving log

The law here in Australia is pretty strict on learner drivers. Although they can apply for their learners license at 16 years of age they need to have 120 hours of supervised driving over a minimum of 12 months before they can go on to take their driving test. Each drive, no matter how short, gets logged in a book along with the road conditions, weather, traffic and whether it was daylight or night driving. It's great to see Sians log book filling up with drives that she does with Byron. Before long we will book her in for some lessons with an instructor to make sure we are not passing on any bad habits. I can see a few more grey hairs appearing on Mr B's head over the coming weeks!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

18:05:14 School gardens.

Gareth goes to a lovely school in a bush location. The school is surrounded by greenery, bushes, gum trees. Idyllic. But like any garden it needs some TLC every now and again. A couple of times a year they set aside a Sunday morning and ask the families to come along for a few hours and work together to weed and thin back the growth so that it looks a bit more organised and we can pull out the plants and weeds that are trying to choke the nicer foliage. The benefits to this are multiple. The kids get to work side by side with their parents to clean and tidy the place they spend five days a week. Having helped to clean and gather rubbish from the gardens I believe it makes them take greater pride and care of their school playground over the coming weeks. It helps to build community spirit and parents get to know each other, particularly the Dad's who often work longer hours and are less involved in the school run. This is our last year at Primary school as Gareth will move on to a much larger High School in January. We will miss being part of such a small and special community although Byron says he won't miss wheelbarrowing mountains of mulch too much!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

17:05:14 Time out Bath!

One of my Mother's Day gifts this year was a packet of  "flowers" that are actually soap petals that can be sprinkled into a bath.  

I find it hard to relax in a bath. My mind just races at 100mph of all the things that are still on my "to do" list. I struggle to stop and slow down and force myself to relax. Sian was lovely and ran me a bath so I could try my new petals out! She even shared her smelly candle with me so the bathroom smelled heavenly. 

How could I say no!

Friday, May 16, 2014

16:05:14 Old Duck Cake!

It was Old Ducks Book Club again this week!

A magazine article is being written about Bookclubs in our area and we were asked to submit a photo of us discussing our latest read "Cloudstreet" by Tim Winton. 

To make the gathering look even more exciting a special cake got baked by one of our members "ducklings". I might be biased because she is my "Sponsor" child and I happen to think the sun shines out of her... Face...! 

BUT Didn't she do an amazing job?! 

It's at times like this I like to think that I am a great influence on her as she grows up into the amazing girl that she is. Of course, I'll say the opposite if she ends up in detention! 

You just keep baking those cakes Sophie. And I'll never tire of taste testing them!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

15:05:14 Boring sewing

I like doing fun sewing projects but not boring ones. Sian now wears a senior uniform which means that in January we bought a new navy skirt for her. It needed adjusting as it was too long. I'm not a fan of paying someone to do what I can do myself and so it was me who painstakingly took down the original hem, measured, pinned, cut (gulp) and hand stitched the new hem in place. It was slow work, boring work.

Now we get to the interesting bit. First day in school Sian came home and did her household chores including emptying the kitchen bins. I won't forget the scream. "Muuuuum" or the look on her face as she smelt the bleach run down her leg. Saw the colour strip from the skirt in an ugly patch that matched the pallor of her cheeks. Someone *cough* *Byron* *cough* had well meaningly poured bleached into the bin the night before. It was an understatement to say that I was mad. Hell hath no fury like a mother who knows that she will have to start all over with a new skirt again...

It took quite a few weeks to co-ordinate getting a new skirt. It wasn't just the money, it was the special order that was going to take 4-6 weeks to complete. Added to the procrastination of me leaving it at the bottom of the to-do list because I just didn't want to do it. Finally the skirt was bought (no special order, easy, they had her size in stock) After another round of procrastination I finally sat down this weekend to take it up. 

No more colouring in the bleach stain with permanent marker that only provides a temporary fix. Deep breath, skirt number two is ready to wear. And the kitchen bins need emptying. I do not like this deja vu that is following me around. It might be time to swap the chores around...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

14:05:14 Child of Mary

Today I want to re-share a blog post from last year. It tells the story behind the "Child of Mary" medal with the blue ribbon that you can see in yesterdays May Altar post.

I grew up in a Catholic family. I have memories of my Grandmother teaching me prayers as we shared twin beds in my room during her visits. I would lie there and watch her as she went through the pages of her prayer books. The pages thin and marked with years of fingerprints, pieces of paper delicately folded and placed between pages, remembrance cards of people she loved who had died, novenas she had been given and would pray when special intentions were needed. Religion was as much a part of her life, her day to day routine as breathing. Prayers when she woke, prayers as she sat in the comfy chair near the fireplace. Watching the traffic of us kids going in and out, "Say hello to Granny" as we came in the door from school. "Did you give Granny a kiss Goodbye?" as we went to run back out the door. Prayers after dinner, prayers before bedtime, prayers of thanks when happy, prayers of help when sad.

When my Granny was a young girl she belonged to the Child of Mary. I don't know very much about it. As a young girl I imagined it must have been like an Irish version of the Girl Guides, only with prayers. When you joined you were given a silver medal. It had your name engraved on it and it meant that you were a member for life. You wore your medal on a blue ribbon and on your death you were to wear it on you as you were laid out in your coffin. This medal was one of Granny's prized possessions. She talked about it wistfully, it had gone missing some years before. Not truly lost but misplaced in the farmhouse she had spent her married life in with my Grandad. The house that I had spent happy weekends in as a child. The house with high ceilings and high beds, layers of heavy blankets and throws that held you tight to the mattress. The house with no central heating, no plumbing in the original house, just an added on bathroom downstairs and out through the back kitchen. Too far and too cold for young feet or arthritic knees to creep to in the dead of night. A house with chamber pots under the beds. Oh the fun of hearing Granny pee into the enamel glazed metal in the dark of the night! A house that in recent years she had spent the summers in but when the winter winds descended she would go visit from son to daughter, and on to another and another, 4 weeks here, 6 there until the Spring re-emerged and the warmth returned and so would she to the farmhouse once more. But then the years went on and she aged and she delayed returning to her house a few more weeks, and a few more, until finally she slept there no more. Still the house stood solid and empty with its rooms ready for her return. 

The years passed and I grew up and became a student nurse. I worked hard and partied harder with the friends I rented a house with. We did shift work which sometimes involved nights. Nights meant seven 12 hour shifts in a row and then seven glorious days off. Many times as I came off my last night I would get on a bus to the farm in Kilbehenny. I would sleep on the journey and my Auntie Mary would be waiting for me at the local town. I was greeted with bear hugs, smiles, fast conversation in strong familiar accents, genuine welcomes as though I had returned home to where I belonged. I would leave behind all traces of city life and truly relax. I chose my clothes from the big airing cupboard each day. Whatever overalls would fit would be mine to wear as I shadowed my Uncle into the milking parlour, my Aunt around the kitchen as she provided a never ending supply of food and cups of tea for uncountable numbers of cousins and local friends that came in and out of the back kitchen door all day. Heaven on earth!

There was one week I told my Granny I was going to Kilbehenny on my week off nights. I would have been about 19 or 20. She asked me to do something for her. When Granny held your hands tight in hers and looked you square in the eye you knew it wasn't a question you could say no to! She asked me would I go through her house, room by room, drawer by drawer, cupboard by cupboard. Would I find the silver Child of Mary medal that was somewhere inside? Permission to go into the big old house? Permission to go through hat boxes, photo albums, everything that would have been off bounds to us curious kids in earlier years. I could have bitten her hand off in excitement. And so that trip to Kilbehenny stands out in my memory as one of the most special and magical few days of my life.

I stood in the hush of the empty rooms and listened for ghosts. I closed my eyes and pictured my Mum growing up surrounded by her siblings. The stories I had been told in my childhood swirled around my head in a delirious jumble. I felt like the kids in the Chronicles of Narnia as I opened big wooden wardrobes and inhaled the smell of mothballs. I ran my hands through the hanging clothes under the watchful eyes of imposing paintings of saints hanging on long triangles of wire from the high picture rails. I went through fragile boxes and opened tissue paper wrapped memories. The hours flew by and I heard the call to lunch. I walked back over the field to my Aunt's kitchen and we all sat and ate the main meal of the day from steaming plates overflowing with chicken and potatoes and veggies. 

Had I found anything? Not yet. My Uncle looked at me with his weather beaten face. His head tilted to the side as he asked me a serious question. "Now Gina, as you went through the house did you find any money? Anything? A single solitary coin at the back of a drawer? A penny? a tuppence? Anything? " No I replied. Not a single one. I looked around the table as silence hung in the air and then back at my Uncle. His face stayed serious and then his eyes twinkled and the biggest, deepest belly laughed roared out of him, his hands slapped his thighs in mirth as he laughed and laughed and laughed. "That'd be right" he said. "Your Granny has never been known to leave even a penny unaccounted for!" The laughter rippled around the table and the conversation returned to the farm, the weather, the jobs still to be done over the fast approaching afternoon. 

When food was eaten I went back again and continued my search. The afternoon sun started to slip away and the chill of the evening was settling in. I was hungry again and hours had slipped by since I had returned to the house. I had just gone through the final room, my Grandmother's bedroom. I had thought this was the most likely room to have the medal tucked away and so I had purposely left it till last. I hadn't wanted to find the medal straight away because then I would have forfeited the right to explore through the rest of the house. And yet I had been through every drawer, every box. I felt disappointment fall over my shoulders. This wasn't what I had planned. I knew dinner would be ready soon and I didn't want to return to my Aunt having failed my task. I thought I would have to start again from scratch the next day. 

I stood in the middle of my Grandparent's bedroom. The big bed on my left and the old window on my right, the Fireplace behind me and the open wardrobe in front. I reached out to close the door when a black patent leather bag caught my eye. I lifted it up and turned it over in my hand as I had already done before. I re-opened it and my hand moved around the empty space inside when my fingers felt the edge of a small zip. My heart pounded as I pulled gently on the zip. I knew I had found it even before my fingers curled around the thin metal oval. I pulled it out and breathing deep uncurled my fingers to find it cradled in my palm. It was bigger than I imagined and it was a dark grey, years of oxidising had made it dull and indistinct. But it was found!

I ran across the field dividing Granny's house from my Aunt's. Jumping the small trickling stream without my usual hesitancy, running through the thick grass avoiding cow pats as I went. My Aunt was standing at the sink looking out the window and saw me running. She knew! The delight on her face made my heart race even faster. Within minutes she had got out the pot of Silver polish and was helping me to clean the medal until it gleamed. She found a ring box to keep it safe and promised that we would drive to town the next day to buy a pale blue ribbon to hang the medal on before I gave it back to Granny. 

I don't know what it felt like to be the first man to step on the moon, to be an explorer discovering a new land or a pirate finding buried treasure. All I know is that I would not trade places with any one of them for the moment I found myself back in Dublin kneeling next to Granny's chair. This time I was the one holding her hands tight and making her look me square in the eyes. I know she cried as she opened the little ring box and held the medal tight in her hand. That through her tears she told me that she would now be able to have the medal around her neck as she was laying in her coffin, and that before the coffin was closed the medal was to be taken off her and given to me to treasure always. It was my Uncle with the twinkling eyes and booming laugh who did just that as the rest of the world celebrated the arrival of a new millenium and we mourned the departure of our dear Grandmother. 

So here is the medal. Still with it's pale blue ribbon bought by my Aunt in 1990 and handed back to me by my wonderful Uncle in the early days of the year 2000. Worn by me as I laboured to bring my babies into the world and lying today on a crochet cloth made by Granny many years ago. 
Gone but never forgotten. xo

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

13:05:14 May Altar

I'm so late for this little tradition. During the month of May it is customary for Irish Catholics to make a May Altar. The children in the family go out and pick flowers each day to keep the altar looking pretty for the month in honour of Mary.

I've only made mine this week. It took minutes to put together but sometimes the to-do list gets overwhelmed with such a list of jobs that it makes me afraid to tackle them. A good day with the right attitude and energy can see so many things accomplished. Hopefully today will be one of them!

It has been four years now that I have been making a May Altar in our home. For many years before that I had fallen out of the habit but something happened in 2011 to change that. You can read the blog post "Tears and Gratitude" here...

Monday, May 12, 2014

12:05:14 "Returning" by Francesca Suters

It's Today!!!

Today is the official book launch for "Returning" written by my good friend Francesca Suters. It will be happening at our local Toronto Library from 5.30-7pm.

You can read more about Francesca here

Here is a small excerpt from her website to draw you in to this unique book....

Rita is 29, married to her soul mate and a mother to two adorable young daughters. She has always thought of a new year as a clean slate, but one New Year’s Day is a clean slate like no other, when Rita wakes up as her 16-year-old self, living her 16-year-old life.  

Piero is a loner. The only recent exception to his solitude had been his close friendship with Rita’s sister until her sudden death. Now he finds himself instrumental in helping Rita make sense of the new direction her life has taken.

A thought-provoking story, Returning seamlessly invites the reader into both adult and teenage mindsets and tackles the what-ifs. What if you were able to live your teenage years with the wisdom of your adult mind? What if you met your partner at a different time? What if your regrets could be re-written?

I better go get making some cup-cakes for the launch party!


Sunday, May 11, 2014

11:05:14 Mother's Day.

It's Mother's Day here in Australia. In Ireland and Wales Mother's Day was in March. It is easy to get caught out with getting cards and gifts to our mothers when the world isn't reminding you at every shop window that Mother's Day is fast approaching. But for Byron and the kids there is no excuse. Everywhere we go the shops are telling us to buy, buy, buy! 

A good friend said to me that for Mother's day all she wants is to have the kids around her and home-made cards. For me it is breakfast in bed and lots and lots of cups of tea! And chocolate! 

The years are going by all too fast. Sian is nearing the end of her school years and this is Gareth's last year in Primary school. For me a perfect day is waking in our house with all my kids under one roof, all healthy, all safe, all loved. The breakfast, the cards, the cups of tea... they are the icing on the cake!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

10:05:14 Which kiss?

I wish this post was sponsored by Magnums. I wish they had chosen me to taste test any of their limited edition ice-creams. I'd gladly taste-test regular ones, special ones, limited editions, rejected wonky ones. If it is covered in chocolate I'm yer man! 

Alas these were paid for fair and square in the local chip shop by my lovely Mr B. Five limited editions, five members of our family. It was fate in a fancy over-priced box! When it was time to choose we read the descriptions and asked everyone to point at their first choice. Gareth only heard " White Chocolate" and was won over to the Tarte Aux Pommes . Rhiannon was magnetically drawn to Gateau Au Chocolat. Byron went straight for the coffee laced Tiramisu. Sian hovered between Creme Brulee and Meringue Et Fruits Rouges. My finger came in last and knocked Sian's away from the Meringue, her fate was sealed. "First Kiss" it was for our first born, A "Loving Kiss" for Mum, "Passionate" for Mr B, "Flirty" for our gorgeous Rhiannon and "Stolen" for Gar. 

Ah, chocolate and ice-cream on a stick. It doesn't matter what you  call it, what number you assign it. How limited the edition. It's a bloody good combination!

Friday, May 09, 2014

09:05:14 Madness

Oh, How true! I try so hard to keep mine burning bright!

Thursday, May 08, 2014

08:05:14 Leaves

Although no indigenous trees here in Australia lose their leaves in Autumn there are a few orange leaves scattered around from trees that have been imported and adjusted to this land of topsy turvy seasons.

I had to stop the car and take a quick snap of this Japanese Maple that is growing just a few streets away from me. The owners must have thought I was a mad woman jumping out of the car, engine still running, phone held up as high as my tip-toes would allow me, sun blinding my eyes as I pressed the camera button and hoped for a good shot!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

07:05:14 1887 Nursing Job Description!

I think Nursing has changed a lot in the twenty years since I trained under the guidance of the Sisters Of Charity in Dublin. It's a lot more casual these days with no-one checking the hospital corners on the sheets as I make up beds during a morning shift. As much as I look back on how strict the nuns were in St Vincent's Hospital one look at this list of rules shows how much stricter things were in times gone by. 

I have been working in my current role at our local hospital for over 5 years now. I think I better print this out and go ask for my 5 cents a day raise...!

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

06:05:14 Lake walk

We live in a spectacular place. Every now and again we need to pinch ourselves and really appreciate the beauty around us. Trying to get to 10,000 steps each day makes Byron and myself park the car a little further from the shops, or squeeze in a walk while waiting for Sian to finish at her part time job. When we drive we are focused on the road ahead, on our speed, our destination. When we walk we find ourselves taking strides at a slower pace, admiring breathtaking views that would go unnoticed from the drivers seat. It's good sometimes to slow down and smell the gum trees!

Monday, May 05, 2014

05:05:14 Book launch

Do you remember that I said a friend had dedicated the first bound edition of her fiction novel to me on my 40th birthday? Well now the book is really "properly"  published and the launch party will take place in Toronto Library on Monday 12th of May! If you live in the area I would love to see as many of you as possible come and support Francesca. She has worked so hard juggling her writing with raising three young kids and working part time too! This night should be a real celebration, a chance to hear her talk about how she achieved her dream and maybe buy a copy of her book so she can sign it for you too. I can't wait!

Sunday, May 04, 2014

04:05:14 Darts

Byron has re-discovered a childhood passion. Darts! 

We were invited to a family's home for a BBQ a while back and after food there was a family competition of darts. I let the side down badly but Byron helped to balance my woeful score with his much better one. When we had settled on a date to have our friends join us in our house for a return barbie Byron just HAD to buy a dart board to continue the competition fun!

I thought the board might be a passing interest and I would have bet money on it gathering dust over the rest of the year but it has become almost a daily thing for Byron to disappear into the garage for a quick throw of "arrows"  His aim was to get a triple twenty and he finally got there!

Saturday, May 03, 2014

03:05:14 Sewing

I've dusted down the sewing machine so I can get to work on a project that is for a Birthday gift coming up in quite a few weeks time. I'm fed up being late getting cards and parcels in the post so I'm trying to work a little ahead of myself so that I can be on time for this one. I can't give too much more away or I may spoil the surprise but I will post a photo of the finished project when the gift has been received!

Friday, May 02, 2014

02:05:14 What a Walk!

I love using my FitBit to monitor how active I am being. It is good to have a way of seeing that I am reaching my minimum 10,000 steps each day and I love the competition between myself and Byron and other friends of ours that use the same brand of devices. 

This week we had a once-in-a-blue-moon day together while the kids were in school. We decided to do a big walk that has always appealed to us but the kids would probably find too long. The weather forecast was for showers so we planned the route with the option of taking shelter in a coffee shop if the skies opened up too much. Luckily the dark clouds that whipped across the sky never seemed to be raining on the exact path we were walking so although we did a coffee stop it was only so we could refuel before continuing onwards. 

My legs were just about ready to drop off as I got into bed that night. I don't think my daily summary has ever looked so impressive so I'm posting it here knowing it will be a very long time before I have a day like this again!

Thursday, May 01, 2014

01:05:14 Safety first!

Byron works in an office. The most dangerous part of his day is going into the staff kitchen to make a cup of coffee. Imagine my surprise when he came in the front door wearing all of this gear?! Steel toe-cap leather boots, reflective trousers and shirt, hard hat and safety gloves and goggles!

Apparently he has a meeting scheduled in a few weeks that will take place out of the office environment. It will technically be in a power generating station. Although I don't think he will be in the middle of any real action he will have to be dressed head to toe in fully protective clothing.  

I guess I should be grateful I have a husband work in a company that takes its Health and Safety seriously so he comes home safe to us each day!