Fireworks in my heart

I love the Ekka.

Well, really…I love all shows.

It all started with the small country show in my home town.  We were lucky to get three or four rides in sideshow alley but each year I couldn’t wait for May to roll around to head back to the show.  We won’t talk about the year I developed a crush on a ‘carnie’ though… Although a crush at that age basically meant that my spending money was wasted on the Hurricane rather than any other ride.

It seems here in Brisbane when it comes to the Ekka, you either love it or you hate it. The lure of the Ekka strawberry sundae or a dagwood dog just isn’t enough for some people.  I love it all.

Last year, the Ekka was special. It was the last Ekka my husband and I would spend together – just the two of us. I was 34 weeks pregnant.

This year, the fireworks were in my heart!

I didn’t see much of the show last night.  I was too busy watching the joy on the faces of my true loves.

This year, the fireworks were in my heart.

This year, the fireworks were in my heart.

What’s your favourite thing about the Ekka…or do you stay away?

 

 

Country girl stuck in the city!

I used to hide my country side. I pretended it wasn’t there. But then I threw caution to the wind and embraced the (good-natured) ridicule of my friends!

I have two groups of friends. The ones who are ‘country’ and the ones who are not. My country friends are greatly outnumbered.

I grew up in a small town but I now live in Brisbane. This creates a constant dilemma for me. I love what the city has to offer but I miss the wide-open spaces and the simple life that is possible in a small country town.

I have spent most of my adult life in Brisbane and for the majority, have enjoyed it. Now with a baby and limited time, money and energy to enjoy the city benefits, I find myself wishing for a country life again.

It’s making me crazy. Just this morning, I set the alarm for 2am to watch the live feed of a Garth Brooks* press conference. I’m the mother of a 10-month-old. That. Is. Nuts. What new mother gives up sleep on purpose?

Garth Brooks

So tell me…how can I keep the balance of the city/country life that I want?

*Hands up if you know who Garth Brooks is?

Born to run

I wouldn’t call myself a runner but I’ve enjoyed running at many times during my life.  My running fitness has come and gone many many times over the years.

I remember back at high school sports days.  I entered everything.  I was running, throwing and jumping.  I loved doing it all.  I entered the sprints and the long distance events.  I absolutely knew there was nothing streamline or aerodynamic about this body but I still did it.  I was never a first-placer but I think I was a solid performer.

Then one year, I sprained my ankle doing high-jump.  High-jump!  I am 157cm tall.  What business did I have doing high-jump at all?!

I grew up in a house across the road from my high school.  The next day I sat at the window of our second-storey and watched the long-distance running events.  I was devastated.  The long-distance events were my favourites.  I didn’t join in just to make up numbers.  And I gave it up for dumb high-jump.  (I’m still bitter).  This was one of the key moments where I realised that running was ‘my thing’.

So, I’ve been an intermittent runner.  I’ve never trained regularly but I might have trained (and I use the term loosely) for specific events.  My longest distance has been 10km.  I have one major problem when it comes to running.  I’m not consistent.  I go out too hard too soon when I’m trying to get my running fitness back so it’s a short-lived effort.  I usually find myself injured and not running again.  I do it over and over again and never seem to learn my lesson.

The most recent time was after I had my baby nine months ago.  I was due to compete in a triathlon when she was 4.5 months old so I had to start running.

The first run felt great…60 second run, 60 second walk.  Oh I loved running again.  I think I may have done one more session like that…felt really great again so i stepped it up. The next session was 5 minute run, 1 minute walk.  Uh oh.  Tore my left calf muscle.

So I promised myself this time would be different.  I’m going to take it easy and listen to my body.  After all, as part of this overhaul I need to get disciplined around the things that make my life better and also the things I like to do.

I like to run – so I need to ensure that I get to a place that is sustainable to manage on a consistent basis.

I’m halfway through Week Two on Couch-to-5k (C25K) and loving it.  It’s an eight week running program designed to get non-runners up to running 5km (or 30mins non-stop).

I’m forcing myself to stick with the program no matter how good I’m feeling.  I know in eight short weeks, I’ll be back to running at least 5km.  It’s a short time in the scheme of things.  It sorta feels nice not to be under pressure with this.

I’ve always felt like I’m achieving something with running.  It’s not easy (especially with a short body built for comfort) but I grin like a cheshire cat while I’m doing it because it amazes me what this body can achieve.

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What’s your ‘thing’?  And tell me honestly…what were you like at school sports days?

Overhaul – The ‘before’ post

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You know the silver ball in pinball machines…that’s me.  For the better part of this year, I’ve been lurching from here to there and in every different direction.

Back in June 2012, I made a decision to lead a more conscious and fulfilled life.  I left a long-standing career in finance, started studying, worked on my health & fitness and generally gave myself more time to just ‘be’.  It was a resounding success.  My stress levels dropped. I lost 15kg. My relationships improved. I fell pregnant.  Life was good.  Best decision ever.

When I look back on the first six months of 2014, I realise I have fallen back into old ways. I’ve been living a purely reactionary life again.  I could sit here and justify it.  I work.  I study. I’m still a new mum (Little Miss Z is 9 months old now).  However I know it’s a cop out.  I know I could have done better.

I’m not talking about trying to be a Superwoman.  I’m just talking about getting the basics right.

Don’t get me wrong.  The last six months have been amazing.  I have a beautiful baby who is growing up healthy and strong.  I marvel at her every day.  I have a husband who makes me want to tear my hair out at times but is an awesome husband and father.  I also have wonderful family and friends who are there when I need them.  We’ve had our share of hard times in 2014 but gee, we’ve have some cracker times too!

Regardless if they are good days or bad days, I know I don’t want each day to melt into the next – I want to be here, I want to be present and I want to have some say over the direction my days take.

So, here it begins. Deskmum Overhaul.

A six-month journey in reflection, thinking, planning and taking action to reclaim my life.

Sounds a bit airy-fairy doesn’t it?  Don’t worry, it won’t be.  I’m just not that sort of person.

To be honest, I think I could fix a lot by cutting out the procrastination – so this overhaul could be done and dusted in one month!

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What is one thing you would like to change over the next six months?

Music memories

We all have songs that are inexplicably linked with people, places or events in our lives. Music has the amazing ability to transport you to another time and place.

When a specific type of music is played constantly in your youth, you grow to love it. Whether it is because of the emotional link or because it’s actually good music, I’ve seen so many examples of parents and their children liking the same music.

I thought I would share the music that reminds me of my family.

My dad is a keen guitarist and a great singer. He loves music and his collection is many and varied. He likes to play his music loud (too loud!).

My dad has been a James Taylor fan for as long as I can remember…it goes all the way back to his younger days.  He used to tell us little anecdotes about James Taylor. Much like the ones we will probably tell our kids about the artists we listen to.

I’m a James Taylor fan and no matter what song it is, I always think of my dad.

The Phantom of the Opera soundtrack was the music of choice for mum during my teenage years. She played it so often and I always wished she would turn it off and play something from the top 40.

Now, it provides a feeling of comfort and connection. A few months after mum passed away 10 years ago I found myself in London. One thing on my to-do-list was to take in a show at West End. Phantom of the Opera was the obvious choice.

I have two brothers and a sister. For my older brother and sister, I bet they don’t even remember owning the cassettes that make me think of them.

My sister received Graceland by Paul Simon as a gift in her early teens and this is my music memory for her. I don’t even know if she likes Paul Simon! I know I do. Again, probably because I heard it so much.

The Beach Boys always make me think of my older brother. We went on a beach holiday for Christmas one year and he was given a Beach Boys tape for Christmas. It ended up being the soundtrack for our summer that year and I can still remember all the words.

I’d rather not have the music memory for my little brother. It was the song we played at his funeral. Time of your Life by Green Day. He was taken from us too early and was just 15. I’m sure we all had questionable music tastes at 15…the two CD’s I can remember in his collection were Korn and Linkin Park. Sign of the times! When I hear the song play on the radio, I like to think he’s sending me a hello. Yesterday marks 15 years without him. Feels like such a long time since I’ve seen him and also feels like yesterday.

So there you have it – the music that keeps family close.

Tell me about the special songs that remind you of loved ones or link back to people you have seen or places you have been.

Do I have a “retro” tv?

Exactly how old does something have to be before it’s called “Retro”?

I don’t like to brag but I have a rather large tv. It’s silver and black with a flat screen.

Most tv’s these days are 50 or 60 inches. Mine is 50 or 60 kilos and is deep as it is wide. I could pretty much use it as a coffee table. Well..actually…I sorta am. There is currently a hat, a magazine, a children’s book and a remote control stored on it!

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The TV was bought back in 2004 when I bought my first house as a young, single girl. I think it was about $1500 and a little bit fancy with it’s wide screen and flat screen.

10 years on, it is still going strong and we cannot find a reason to get rid of it and upgrade.

When friends laugh at my tv…I could say that I’m concerned with the environmental impact of a throwaway society…or maybe that I’m trying to live a frugal life.

The truth is, we just don’t care. It functions. It’s enough. (Although,I was disappointed I couldn’t see the scores during the Aussie Open this year…the format wasn’t ‘compatible’)

Sometimes we watch a little tv…sometimes we watch a lot. End result is still the same – we hold our own at the water cooler the next day!

All that being said…I won’t be unhappy the day it finally gives up (and neither will the Harvey Normans and Good Guys of this world).

What item at your place won’t get replaced until it’s given up the ghost?

Surprise Package

Last week was a pretty shitty week…and if I could, I would ask the universe for a do-over of May 2014.

But my day brightened up when I returned home on Friday to find a surprise package at my front door.

It was an unmarked box so I was trying to rack my brain as to what it could be. Was it some online shopping I’d ‘forgotten’ I bought? Was it a birthday gift? Or was it like the time my sister found a surprise package on her doorstep? (A few dozen bottles of wine she doesn’t recall ordering due to…well…wine!)

Turns out it was my first delivery from Red Paw Paw. Exciting! Red Paw Paw is a company who offers subscriptions to receive a monthly box of household and grocery goodies. Yes…goodies. I love me a surprise box of goodies.

I had only subscribed a few days earlier so I was stoked that it was already here. The basic gist is that you pay $5 a month (chicken feed!) and receive $30 worth of products to try. Some are full size and some are samples. As part of the deal, you agree to use and review the products.

Easy done! I can do that to get a little present in the post each month.

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*This post wasn’t sponsored by Red Paw Paw…just my love of simple surprises!