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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lost

The crew of the good Ship LBTEPA would hereby like to issue a distress call. Nothing so severe or dramatic as a "Mayday!" but seriously, We Are Lost. We are eating and drinking like combine harvesters, can't form a positive thought to save our lives and have yet to establish a workable exercise routine. Despite loving our family and new life tremendously and not regretting The Move for one minute, we are so lonely that reading our Christmas cards made us cry because we miss our friends so much. It's a pretty lame scene on the poop deck these days.
We have seen the race shirts for the Olympic Distance tri we were thinking of doing and quite frankly they're not worth the effort. We would like to point out that 'the effort' is not only 1.5km swim, 40km bike ride and 1okm run but also a 600km round trip to Melbourne, and working out what to do with Noddie since J is working. I've never been this heavy and I feel disgusting. It's a big horrid cranky mess.
Quite obviously, I need A Chart. A Chart is The Answer. It's Always The Answer. Charts lead to movement and I'm so tired of being stuck. But what should be on it? Only my five faithful readers, fountain of all wisdom that you are, can help me. What do you do on a daily/regular basis that makes life full of energy and zing and purpose and fabulousness?
More anon - when I hear back from you!
PS I didn't kill the inlaws. It all went superbly :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

questions

1. How was your Christmas? I hope it was fab! Ours was, and continues to flow on into the Spousal Unit's birthday celebrations today. Happy birthday J!
2. How ironic would it be if the utter boringness of that 'reflect and manifest' thingy I was doing - the one during which I identified my word for 20111 as 'connection' - had driven away all my blog reader friends? Is anyone still out there?
3. Can I finish the G@torade olympic distance tri in two weeks, under the cutoff? I have to say, it feels pretty groovy to know I could finish it no matter what, extra lard and post-surgery training slack-o-rama and all. Must find out the bike cutoff time...
4. Can I transform the house and myself into a vision of loveliness and whip up yet another rolling afternoon-into-evening feast in the next two hours, without a) getting stuck into the sherry b) bursting into tears or c) killing my inlaws?
We shall see....
More anon, revellers!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Christmas and all that

Best wishes for safe and peaceful holy season to all my imaginary internet friends.
Ho ho ho!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Out

I'm clearly far too cranky to do something like this reflect and manifest project. I don't feel like talking about myself all the time. I'm stopping.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Prompts 17 and 18

Prompt 17: Lesson learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?
The best thing I learned about myself this year is my capacity to hold onto a picture of a hopeful future. In comparison with many, we've had an easy ride this year, but, la-las that we are, we struggled. There were dark times. This may sound pretentious, but the majority of the time I lived by and modelled my values. If I didn't, I caught myself and (usually) apologised. I led my family through our winter and here we are, relatively healthy and functional, ready for a happy Christmas and a cruisy summer. Yay.

Prompt 18: Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did/didn't go for it?
This is not my prompt.
I, LBTEPA, am like Yoda:
Try not, young Skywalker. Do, or do not.
I mean, I try small things, like a different cut of sk1ns (naaah) or hot water and lemon in the morning (hmmm) or a new crochet pattern. But Big Projects? I either do them or I don't, and I always know why. I wanted to do two marathons and move across the state and have three jobs and keep on with my Masters in 2010, and I did. I was often scared and full of doubt, but I had A Plan, and faith in it, and there was enough incidental enjoyment going out in the lovely countryside and communing with my sisters in Stupid Determination to make it worth the price in time and fatigue. If it hadn't been worth it or if the price had been too high I would have stopped. Not. Failed.
Next year I want to try.... ummm.... something will come to me, I'm sure! And I'll enjoy it!
What do you want to try?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Prompt 15 and 16

Prompt 15 – 5 Minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.
Hokay....
moving, so many boxes! the horiible horrible beige house that turned into our lovely lovely house with a few tins of paint, our beautiful view, poor Jeff being so sick with pneumonia, learning to light the fire and split kindling, training for Gold Coast when it was so hard and I was so sick, finally finishing and being sooooo so relieved, behaving badly all week afterward becuase my head hurt so much sorry sorry to everyone I promise I'll do better next year, realising I had to quit one of my jobs (ahhhh the relief....) finding out my sinuses were f$%^ ed (= there was An Answer), running Melbourne Not Sick!! going sub-six, Grizzly Bear giving me his medal, my spotted blanket at the hospital , Cathy coming to visit me after the surgery, all my good friends from uni, my awesome job gosh I love it, talking to Emma on Skype, writing a million Christmas cards...aaaannnddd that's five.

Prompt 16 – Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?
I learn something important every time I talk to my friend B. She is a profoundly insightful, hugely experienced psychologist who is not only unbelievably generous with her expertise but also hilarious and a pleasure to spend time with. Thanks B!
My comrades in Stupid Determination, Emma and Mrs W, are always inspirational to me. I'm lucky to have them in my life.
*getting all emotional*
That'll do.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Prompt 14

I decided one more OMFG who writes this stuff? prompt and I'm out of here it'll serve me right if I don't manifest anything next year won't it? but I like this one.
December 14 – Appreciate What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
I was going to say this year I've really come to appreciate the Spousal Unit a great deal more than I have in the past - but we had a row last night and I'm a bit off him today :P
No, seriously. I can't appreciate just one thing after such a big year. I appreciate
- J
- Mum
- my friends
- the beauty of my new home
- the determination and intelligence I possess
from the bottom of my heart. I express gratitude for these things by noticing and naming them and by living my best life.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Prompt 13

Prompt 13 – Action. When it comes to aspirations, it’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?
Oooh! Oooh! I know this one:
Sorry, bloke, but it IS all about ideas. It's about having an idea and not smothering it with "OMG too hard" or "I'm too busy/old/fat to ever do that". It's about letting your dear little idea out from under "can't do it right now so there's no point thinking about it" or "even though I'd love it I wouldn't be good at it and I'm scared people might laugh"and giving it space and light to grow.
Once you've done that

JFDI
If you have a Big Dream, or even a big Have To, JUST DO IT. Do something. Do ANYTHING. If there's one little thing you can do to take one tiny step toward it, do that. Have an assignment coming up? Get all your stuff out and do the easiest bit. Type the title page if that's all you can stand to do. Next day, do the next easiest bit - set up the reference file, start searching for articles. Do SOMETHING. Have to fold a huge pile of washing? Pick out all the towels and do them; tell yourself you don't have to do the rest unless you feel like it (and who knows, you just might). You want to get fit and strong? Walk for five minutes today - let the dog out so you have to go and get it - or go and sit in the pool or do one situp. Then do it again tomorrow. Keep the idea in your mind and chip little bits of it away. Want to go to Venice for Carnevale? Print out some photos and stick them up, buy a book....do something.

Oh, I almost forgot the most important part. Make excuses, whine, give up, say it's too hard and you hate it and you don't know who ever had such a stupid idea.....THEN DO SOMETHING.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Prompts 11 and 12

Reading these prompts, I am getting the sense that this is a project for someone at a different stage of life from mine.....
and I should probably have started a new blog for this too. For your convenience I'm labelling the 'prompt' posts as such. Normal programming will resume shortly and will be clearly marked!

Prompt 11 – 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?
The cliched answer is 11kg! One of the things I could do without is my habit of squashing tiredness and sadness with pizza and wine. There's not much else I'd prune. Most of the 'stuff' in my life is there for a reason - sentimentality, enjoyment, utility, haven't got around to shouting at the Spousal Unit to take it to the tip yet. I cull my clothes, books, linen press and shoe cupboard regularly. I'm pretty careful about not having people close to me in my life who are toxic to me. As my good friend the mighty Emma said, bugger it (or words to that effect), I'm keeping my stuff!

Prompt 12 – Body Integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?
First reaction to reading this post: Huh?
Second reaction: I thought mind-body dualism went out in the 1980s.
If I really have to answer this question - and I do, becuase I said I would - I'd say the times I'm closest to just existing are when I'm in the surf. Swimming in the ocean takes all my thoughts and senses and my physical self and pummels them into an exhilarated laughing bundle that eventually lands in a happy weary heap on the shore. Swimming in the pool and riding my bike are similar.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Prompt 10

Prompt 10 – Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?
Giving up my third job was the wisest decision I made. Although I liked my workmates and my office, I wasn't learning anything and it wasn't very lucrative. My family needed me at home more. It worked out beautifully. I like my home to be an oasis of order and calm hahahaha a girl can dream! The Spousal Unit is worrying less, and Noddie may possibly be less cranky and argumentative. It's difficult to tell.

Prompt 9

Prompt 9 - Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.
Par-tay number one with a bullet was the Gold Coast Marathon post-race gathering. I'd been so worried and scared and so weary and sad and I was just so f#$%ing RELIEVED to be finished and surrounded by my friends who all understood why I kept wandering around grinning like a fool saying I. am. so. f#$%ing. brave and were kind to me and made sure I had champagne. Clothes? Lots of finisher t-shirts. Food? Wedges ring a bell; there may well have have been pizza. Mmmm...pizza...Music? Bar tunes and I recall some footy (possibly both kinds) on the tv. People? Lots of tired and happy-looking skinnyfasts with varying degress of sunburn, mostly wearing medals. It was also the last time Team SD was together in all its loud fabulousness. Drink? Oh my, yes.
Honourable mention in the party stakes goes to Noddie's circus birthday. And I didn't have to run for six hours to go to that.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Prompt 8

December 8 prompt. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.
It was pursed lips all around at the LBTEPA think tank when our cerulean orbs alighted on the above, but we have decided that this month we're game for anything even Eat Pray Love-esque navel gazing oooh I never said that
So I asked my husband what makes me different? and he said, your spirit of adventure, your determination and your big laugh.
Would it be lazy to leave it at that?
I don't like to think of myself as particularly different - I know my good qualities and I know what I
Anyway, enough of like about myself. Does thinking of my good qualities as 'different' imply judgement of others? Am I overthinking this?
WHAT MAKES ME DIFFERENT
My spirit of adventure. You ask poor Noddie - I'll make anything into an adventure - a ride on a train, a bike ride by the river, a walk, driving on a new road for the first time. I like to express that spirit in other ways as well. I wear bright colours, pretty shoes, lippy and big earrings. I try and notice small things that fill life with pleasure and interest. A marathon is an adventure, from the time you decide to do it to the day you hang up the medal. And then there are the memories...
My determination. I think about something I want to do, then what needs to be done to make it happen and whether I can be bothered putting in the work. This is a less common way of approaching things than you might think - so many people focus on all the things that get in the way of their goal, then decide it's too hard and they can't do it. Eyes on the prize, darls!
My big laugh. I do my living in public (within the bounds of appropriate behaviour of course). I laugh loudly and smile often. I try to live by my principles and to speak up when I think something is wrong. I call things how I see them, which isn't as bad as it sounds becuase I'm inclined to see the good in people. Unless I don't like them. That's a joke.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Prompts 6 and 7

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
Apart from food which I don't really count as making becuase (for the most part) it's a chore that fills a need and I try to make the best of it, the last thing I made was a ringmaster's jacket for Noddie's circus party. I used satin-backed shantung and big gold buttons from the button box. I need to clear time for making the Christmas pudding! I've also been working on a crochet nanna rug made of super-lairy acrylic flower motifs on and off all this year shame on me. My best self would remember to pick it up more often when I'm watching tv in the evening with the Spousal Unit. There are a couple of lovely tops I want to make, but it's not lack of time that's stopping me; it's lack of energy to re-learn pattern fitting since I'm carrying this extra weight.
December 7 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
I knew about the online community, especially the running and triathlon communities, before 2010. Maybe I've needed it more this year than ever before, but I've found the openness and unconditional support of my friends to be absolutely invaluable. (((((((((HUUUUGE HUGS))))))) to you all, darls!
In 2011 I want to connect more with people from my new town. We're all ok now, all pretty settled. I feel as though I have a little bit of spare energy now to make the effort.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Wonder

We at the LBTEPA theatre company hereby declare the monster dance concert week over, and a huge success! We were so proud of Noddie, dancing so well and having such a good time even when she was so very tired by the end. This afternoon the two of us are decorating the tree and the house in a lazy let's have another break shall we? sort of way. So pleasant.
I'm really looking forward to Christmas, are you? The LBTEPA copyright and legal department has registered the word "massive' to describe this past spring - marathon, surgery, exams, Noddie's birthday, the election and of course the great tapdance extravanganza of 2010 - so it's very pleasing to have ticked off the last Big Thing and settle into Christmas mode at last.
It's go big or go home at Chateau LBTEPA, as you know. Our mottos for December are if it doesn't move, put tinsel on it, and if you can see any green on the tree you haven't finished. Summer's coming too, that wonderful time when you see old men from church down the street in shorts and think how weird it is to see their knees. Christmas presents, the Christmas letter... I love it all.
Let me share one of my favourite songs with you.

So LBTEPA, you ask, how's the project going? It's interesting (to me at least!), although I'm tending to rush my answers a bit and not craft my prose as carefully as I would normally do. Possibly a symptom of reluctance to engage in a challenging activity? Or could I be manifesting my cranky anglo-saxon protestant sceptic by accident? We shall see....
Prompt 4: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?
This is something I have been lucky enough to do all my life. I say lucky becuase my dear Mum always told us happiness is the sum of small joys. Because of this, I've been deliberate about looking for small, joyous, wonderful things, like the first plum blossoms of the spring or how the earliest sunshine transforms the spiderwebs in the grass stalks into a bed of sparkling dew-flowers. Thanks Mum!
Prompt 5: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
I let go of the illusions of pride and strength. I can't do "anything". I can't do "everything" either. Why? I had to! Reality smacked me until I did! It's ok, though - although I sometimes miss being bullet-proof hahahaha, I find its departure has left me much more room to really be me. Sad, small, stuck, hilarious, amazing, fabulous me.

Ooooh I must just quickly mention that on Tuesday I am showing up to the scary tri club full of scary skinnyfasts for their weekly mini-tri. 6kg extra and all, I'm going for it. Go me, eh? I'll let you know how it goes.
More anon, resumers of regular programming!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Prompts #2 and #3

DECEMBER 2 PROMPT
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
Lots of stuff - and no. My life isn't about writing.
But how about this?
'What do you do that interferes with you doing things that make your life rich and joyful?'. Errrr..... well, since this is all about being truthful and going to unfamiliar places in my head and in blogland.
Too much aimless faffing on the internet.
Too much unaddressed anger.
Too much wine.
Is it a coincidence that I've recently experienced major paradigm shifts with the last two of these? I'm not going into detail but I'm feeling much less helpless and stuck. Now - aimless faffing on the internet. It's sometimes functional for me, but needs to be time-limited. I need to become more discriminating between when it is functional, and the times I'm using it to avoid something. I can do that.
DECEMBER 3 PROMPT
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail
.
A digression: it's been a huge week at the LBTEPA theatre company. Noddie's tapdancing concert has involved hair practice, a photoshoot, a stop-start rehearsal and a full dress rehearsal. Her little-girl bob has been pummelled into a rock-solid stage-worthy bun with gel, pins and glitter hairspray. Her stage makeup requires nine products, half an hour and a very steady hand. The stop-start rehearsal ran an hour overtime, on a school night. In the car on the way home I asked Noddie, did you have a good time? She replied, oh, Mummy, it was fantastic times a thousand- no, it was fantastic times infinity!
I know what she means. I know that moment when life is distilled into the important and the wonderful and the unbelievable. I know it well. I'm so happy for Noddie that she knows that feeling. If it means she can smile so wide and be so excited and sound so thrilled and joyful, I'll bloody well conquer stage hair, and stage makeup, and even fear-of-scary-dance-Mums if I have to.
More anon, toe-tappers!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Reflect and manifest

I've half-heartedly signed up for this. Accordning to the good souls who've come up with this idea, the idea is to use the daily prompts
"to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead".
As you know, reflecting is very much the LBTEPA Way (ooooh...shiny!); however, as a cranky Anglo-Saxon Protestant I regard "manifesting" with suspicion, with pursed lips and preferably from a considerable distance. But nothing ventured, nothing gained, a change is as good as a holiday etc etc blah blah blah. Here we go.
December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
First reaction: whoa! Difficult! The words that came to mind for 2010 are "hard" "lonely" "struggle" - stuff like that. Oh. Says something, doesn't it? But is this something LBTEPA wishes to share with the universe? Hmmmm...
Upon reflection I'd use a phrase rather than a single word: Dreams come true. But dreams have a price, and we've paid and we still pay. It's been a good bargain; we don't begrudge it! But it's been much harder than we expected. That's all.
The word I would like 2011 to embody is CONNECTION. Loneliness can be paralysing but it won't go away by itself. I want to actively seek connections, to make new friends and to reinforce old friendships. I want - no, I am going to - resist the impusle to withdraw.
That'll do for today.
You have a good one, eh?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

You win

1. Decide it's been far too long since I went swimming (six months. I know. Shocking). Pack stuff for an early workout.
2. Fail to set alarm
3. Sleep in.
4. Work, cook, eat dinner. Say goodnight to Noddie.
5. Go to pool.
6. Discover that swim passes expire six months after purchase. Oh, yes, said the perky chick at the counter, a lot of people didn't know that. omfgIsaidtomyselfyou'refuggnjokin
7. I don't take my purse to the pool. Go home. Get money. Go back to pool.
8. Fill in lengthy form to get new swim pass.
9. Pool closes in twenty-five minutes. Decide to have a swim anyway. Mmmm...... swimming..........
10. Start to strip off. Poolie tells me pool closes in ten minutes. omfgIsaidtomyselfyou'refuggnjokin
11. Find out they can't reinstate a swim onto my pass, only leave a note on a file that I'm owed a visit. omfgIsaidtomyselfyou'refuggnjokin
12. Go home.
13. Sulk.

You win, infuriating pool people. FOR NOW. I'll be back.....
More anon, crosspatches!