First world problems (and solutions)

Today was my first day back at work.  My first day at work without a car to my sole use, to shuttle me in 20 minutes for the calm streets of the inner city, to a small satellite city 20mins drive away.

I awoke at the same time as usual (5.45am) and figured I’d get to work when I did – rather than adjusting my wake up time any earlier to accommodate the new misfortune of no (wholly and solely free) car.  I left home at 6.15am, rather than 6.40am, but I was OK.  I didn’t feel rushed or put out.

I arrived at the train platform close to work at 6.57am.  There goes my previous start time of 7am, as it’s a 10-15 minute up hill walk.  Seeing the bright side, I walked to the cafe (where I’m well known for stopping in the driving days), and took the hill with pride.  Look at me – all this incidental fitness, before mere mortals (like the BF) have even stirred from their sleep.

The trains of Sydney source:
The trains of Sydney

Arriving at work, I had blisters on my heels.  Thinking nothing of it, I swore to change to my ‘comfy’ boots under my desk.  Then I embarked on trying to enter the fortress known as my work.  Despite having the security clearance, there was no way to access the property on the three closest sides (one being a train line, the other two, both locked with keys safely stored in my desk, since relinquishing my car).  Still – more exercise, and arrived at my desk before the logical new start time of 7.30am.

Alas, the homeward bound journey was almost as fruitful (escape as difficult as entry again!)  I left work at about 4.15pm, a touch more than was required of me (and duly noted, as I have to accrue one day off a month in the new role, by documenting what I did beyond standard hours).  I walked to the train station, caught a train, arrived at my home platform at 5.03pm and was home by 5.20pm.

All in all, I worked (and travelled to/from) for 11 hours.  I used to manage 9.5 hours.  Losing another 1.5 hours makes me think about a lot of things:

+ I’m getting about 45-50 minutes more incidental exercise

+ I’m using public transport which I support from an environmental standpoint

+ I’m saving money – buying a car would be far more than my $1200 annual train ticket.  Even adding a daily coffee, I think I’m till ahead.

+ I get to see more of the ‘magic’ hours of the day – sunrise and sunset

Cairns at 5.45am: I promise to share more about my holidays when I learn to liberate the photos
Cairns at 5.45am: I promise to share more about my holidays when I learn to liberate the photos

– I have less time for running and fitness like before

– I’m getting hot and sweaty in my work uniform – more washing than before 🙁 (But I was thinking of Dar in the snow and freezing conditions)

– I get blisters

– I have less hours to myself each day, which might result in less sleep

Come find me stalkers source:
Come find me stalkers

My promotion is temporary until the new structure is formalised, and there’s strong encouragement for me to apply for the management team.  With that, there’s every chance of a novated lease arrangement with a car, as part and parcel of the role.  So there’s no point rushing to buy a car until at least June 30 2014.

The negatives can be optimised.

I can travel in ‘free’ clothes rather than my uniform.  I could even travel in work out clothes and runners, which don’t cause blisters, and tack a park session onto my homebound journey.  Have I mentioned my ‘home’ station is spitting distance from the BF’s work? Probably not – this would mean we could meet and walk home together after my work out.  All I need to facilitate is getting washed and ironed clothes to work, and change there each morning.  I could even make a ‘clothing run’ once a week or fortnight by car, which is still better than a daily or more regular journey.

Well from what could have been a whinging post, I think I’ve found some valid solutions from normal days…

Clucky – and not just cause it’s Easter

Longtime readers will remember my only ‘he says, she says’ post about puppies and babies.  So there’s no surprise that I’m pretty keen on having children, and not in some far off distance time. However, after a week of holidays, having a friend with a 7 year old stay and the current book I’m reading (called The Godmother, and given away free when the library was culling books), I have been thinking more seriously about being a parent.

Somehow, travelling with teddy seems oh so easy! source:
Somehow, travelling with teddy seems oh so easy!

I really enjoy some of my friends kids.  Other kids tend to drive me nuts.  It’s hard to know what reactions my children will arouse in me – and then I realise – it’ll be both!  Sometimes I will think they can do no wrong, whilst the world is secretly wishing there was a mute button on my baby/toddler/child.  Other times, I will curse their existence whilst others can clearly see it’s only a stage, or a mood, or the lack of sleep.

The biggest reality check whilst out shopping with my friend’s seven year old, is that they are continuously there, and so full of energy! There are so many questions.  There is so much energy.  The games never get boring to them.  Sure you can shower in peace at this age, which I am sure feels like a solid victory after going through the baby and toddler stage, but my oh my, it’s tiring.  And I tire easily from a day without children.

Still adorable? source:
Still adorable?

How do parents deal with the utter exhaustion?  I really can’t imagine the interrupted sleep.  Whilst I have every intention of returning to work, I won’t be much use to anyone if I’m getting negligible amounts of sleep.  And I don’t think I’ll be a great mother if I’m always tired – I’m not a great human now when I’m tired.  Just ask around!!

In light of these thoughts, I’ve realised that while I sometimes think ‘now’ would be the perfect time for kids, I also have some time.  The BF isn’t ready for children yet, for a few reasons that I respect.  We agree that children will be a few years away. With that in mind, it makes it easy for me to say ‘yes’ to two weeks in Japan with the State Emergency Service.  It makes me realise that whilst tubing and snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef were options for children, would I have the money and inclination to do it with them?  Would the burden of their wants and needs and desires to do other things make it less enjoyable and as good as doing it as a couple?  So now I’m planning bigger and better – I’m thinking of squeezing visiting Russia, Romania, Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia into a trip to (mainly go to) France.  I’m imagining the destinations I’d like to see in the US, cataloging activities and restaurants.  Planning to this level is something I’ve never done before – no matter how organised I may be in other facets of my life.

The kids you dream of - happy!! source:
The kids you dream of – happy!!

Sometime, this planning (and saving) stops me dead though –  when I think of the cost of schooling – even just of child care in the early years.  Maybe I should batten down the hatches and save every cent that’s not spent on essentials? And then I realise life is about balance – I can’t come down on the black or the white side of this issue, as much as I’d like to.  And if my parents are anything to go by, my desire to travel and my/our finances will always find a way, no matter the age or quantity of ankle-biters (or the logistics of car seats and hotel rooms).  So I will continue to plan the holidays even if my destination wishlist will never been done before kids.  Let’s face it – it’s human nature to dream, and we’re never done!

What are you thoughts? I know most of my regular commenters have children, so I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The spare room/guest room/study

I realised that I’ve not shared photos of the second bedroom in our home. I had a friend come to stay recently, so I got it extra tidy and spick and span, and took the opportunity for some photos.

And when I’m on holidays, what better way to get a quick post ready for you? We’re in Cairns for a few days, I’ll be sure to report back on my return!

View from the door
View from the door

Apologies for the photo quality. I must buy myself a camera, but I just can’t work out what I would buy if I did. So the iphone continues…

The other side of the bedroom is the more used study component
The other side of the bedroom is the more used study component
The study with the lamp on.  I love lamps.  It's my touch to the BF's desk.
The study with the lamp on. I love lamps. It’s my touch to the BF’s desk.
My guest's daughter had missed the past birthday and Christmas gifts from me, so she was spoilt! They were all activities.
My guest’s daughter had missed the past birthday and Christmas gifts from me, so she was spoilt! They were all activities.
The apartment came with these shelves, so most mail sits on the bottom shelf, waiting for the filing time into the binders above.
The apartment came with these shelves, so most mail sits on the bottom shelf, waiting for the filing time into the binders above.


I went shopping and I bought…

This one is called Boris - he's bigger
This one is called Boris – he’s bigger
This is Rufus, he's Boris' friend, but smaller
This is Rufus, he’s Boris’ friend, but smaller

Ferns: $40

Camping BBQ - still not constructed though.  Look! It has a light too!
Camping BBQ – still not constructed though. Look! It has a light too!

BBQ: $169 $99!

This is my Christmas gift from my parents, now stretched, and on the wall
This is my Christmas gift from my parents, now stretched, and on the wall

Christmas Canvas art stretched $80~

Beautifully soft, and zips up nice and snug.  It just needs to get colder!
Beautifully soft, and zips up nice and snug. It just needs to get colder!

Cardigan $249, but only $169 after gift vouchers. See it here for more details etc


Random cooking utensils – totaling about $100!

The only thing that was a ‘surprise’ was the cooking utensils and some gifts. I hadn’t planned on stopping in this great store. But once I was in there, I suddenly found I ‘needed’ mini spatulas, to scrap out jars with. And a sipper lid for my reusable bottle – I kept spilling it from the wide mouth. And there were two (unphotographed) items that are for a planned gift of an irregular reader’s partner…

Everything else is part of a considered plan.  Sort of.  I do feel like I splurged a little though, in the past few weeks.

When was the last time you feel like you splurged?

Modesty in dress

In primary school, I sat next to Abigail, a primith (ok, that’s how I heard it back then, it seems it’s Plymouth) Brethren.  She wore a headscarf, but otherwise, she didn’t seem any different to me.  She did sit out of the 1 hour religious class run by the state school.

My memories of Brethren's at school source:
My memories of Brethren’s at school

Queensland isn’t as multicultural as other parts of Australia, so I don’t think I was exposed to headscarfs of Muslims until moving to Sydney.  That being said, since an early age, I have travelled and have be understanding of the decisions of cultures and religions to wear things that cover their head, or are more modest in length.  When I was 8, I went to the North East US and saw the Armish.  This trip was probably my first introduction to Orthodox Jewish men in New York City, though I don’t clearly remember this.  I occasionally saw my cousins in yarmulkes, as their mother is Jewish, and I understood that this was part of their faith tradition.

Only since visiting Israel in 2012 have I come to know that Orthodox Jewish women wear headbands or headscarves to cover their head, wearing longer skirts, usually below the knee.  They almost always have thick, skin toned tights with flat shoes.  In some regards, it seems like a uniform!

An image of slightly less shy NY Jews from my favourite photographer, Louise Hawson of
An image of slightly less shy NY Jews from my favourite photographer, Louise Hawson of

I completely respect the choices for people to wear clothing in accordance with their religious traditions or in accordance with their religious texts.

Where I have come undone lately, is within the Christian faith.  I stumbled upon a lovely blog called Large Families of Purpose, and chose to read about their decision to wear modest, long skirts instead of pants and shorts.  Thankfully, this was a decision they came to, it’s not something they’ve done ‘since always’.  Nonetheless, it challenges me.

I chose to wear ‘church’ clothes to church.  I feel uncomfortable if I wear a skinny strapped top or dress, and I won’t wear anything too casual.  No one has told me to do this, it comes from respect, perhaps.  And being with an older demographic.  However, in the rest of my life, I wear what I chose to wear.  There’s some short skirts and dresses.  I always things I feel comfortable in, and certainly wouldn’t call my outfits particularly racy or provocative!

A family company specialising in modest dress source:
A family company specialising in modest dress

I’m not going to start wearing floor length skirts and dresses.  However, I’m not sure how they (people such as Erika on the blog Large Families on Purpose) get the idea that they should. I think the issue I have here is less about religion, but this perception:

We do not want to stir up inappropriate thoughts or behaviors on the part of men or boys, or provoke emotional or physical actions towards our girls.

It’s not my job, nor any woman’s job, to stop men having ‘inappropriate thoughts’.  Why should women be the guardians of decency?  Why should be reduce our self expression and clothing choices for males?  To be honest, if I didn’t wear my work uniform, I would actually attract more attention.  And to be honest, I don’t want to ‘stand out’, or be anymore attractive than anyone else might be – I’m there to get a job done,

The only bible reference cited on the blog is this one:

“You have heard that it was said to the ancients, ‘Thou shall not commit adultery.’  But I say to you that anyone who so much as looks with lust at a woman has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  – Matthew 5:27-29.

Well, if that is the case, best we don’t wear makeup, and I’m certainly not the biggest fan of make up!

I suppose I struggle to see how Erika Shupe at Large Families on Purpose came to this conclusion.  Even the older ladies in my church wear pants!  I won’t be giving up shorts, or pants or leggings, that’s for sure.  But I do wonder how Christians finds reason to radically change their wardrobe to be more feminine, and how this decreases ‘looks of lust’!

What are your thoughts on modesty?  How do you feel about the dress codes of other faith communities? And your own?

Photo free post

Last weekend’s to do list worked so well (for me).  So I’m trying another for my day off tomorrow

  • Write a post about my *crazy week* with some photos of the new additions in the house
  • Write a ‘religion’ post
  • Load of washing
  • Whole house vacuuming (the bedrooms weren’t done last week!)
  • (Maybe) buy a BBQ – part of my ‘end of the world’ preps, made more real life with the Cyclone Ita (Cat 5) off the coast of Queensland, and scarily close to our holiday destination for Easter – Cairns! also picked up a 20L canteen!
  • Ironing (but watch an episode of Breaking Bad)
  • A week’s worth of bible reading
  • Pick up my new passport!!
  • Cashed a cheque
  • Mailed a letter
  • Replaced the rusted out sieve
  • Bought more gifts for a friend’s 30th

Let’s leave it there – don’t want to get too ambitious.  And I do have Wednesday off next week, as we have guests here on Tuesday and Wednesday night.  So it’s not like I need to cram it all in or anything!

Sorry to those who will be working tomorrow – at least you didn’t have multiple hospitals hanging by a thread (power wise) for the past 24hrs! I feel like I’ve earnt it!

Religious curiosity

I’m incredibly interested in religions and faith.  My 90-ish grandmother did a Bachelor of Theology in her rather mature age (ie I was a baby… so not that long ago really), and I keep thinking that perhaps I’d really enjoy studying theology too.

My church, I'm not sure if I did the flowers!? source:!_DSC7292
My church, I’m not sure if I did the flowers!?

Regular readers or real life friends who read here would know that I regularly attend church and am heavily involved.  I wasn’t always so ‘into’ church.  And when I first started attending regularly, I was very self conscious about telling anyone, lest they think I wanted to convert them!

What drew me back to regular church attendance, but also openly disclosing it, was how I viewed a colleague’s faith. My colleague is Jewish.  And not once does he apologise for being so (in the way I sometimes feel I should or need to as a ‘Christian’).  He embraces the commitments of his faith, and in reality, his culture.  If dating a Jewish girl meant he had to (start to) eat Kosher, well so be it.  No biggie.  Such open mindedness to the doctrine and commitments requested by faith impressed and inspired me.

I am regularly inspired and hold faithful people in high esteem, particularly when their faith is different to mine. What I mean to say is, I don’t think it’s ‘weird’ or ‘strange’, the habits they have from their faith, whether it’s stopping 5 times a day to pray, abstaining from types of meat or meals at times or complying to dress codes.

What I struggle with regularly and continually is the differences of interpretation of the rules within my own faith community (Anglican or Church of England).  My church struggles within it’s diocese, and I think this struggle is something I feel personally, as well as now being part of a larger church community that’s at odds with it’s peers.

Why can’t I see the habits of those in my faith that are different to mine as admirable, but not for me?  I think I see what ‘other’ faiths do, and think “good on them, that’s their way”, even in the shades of difference between the devout and the more cosmopolitan.  However, within my own, I turn each custom over and see if it fits, how it fits with others, and where I stand.

There’s a number of ‘things’ – habits, customs, doctrines, I’d like to explore over a collection of posts.  My aim is to verbalise my thought process.  It might not interest you – a-ok with me. (I’m as surprised as any that people continue to not only visit my blog, but comment too!) It isn’t my intent to offend anyone, and I heartily encourage counter thoughts and points, rather than agreeing.  And if there’s things you struggle to understand or resolve, I’m happy to use them to spark my own point of view.


Things first on my list are

  • conservative dress for Christian women
  • living together before marriage
  • marriage and divorce
  • bible directives – Jewish and Christians

What interests you about other faiths? Are you interested in religion, or think it’s a source of more conflict than resolutions?

Weekend to do list


Can you see my future here?
Can you see my future here?

Sorry, I seem to have lost my momentum of regular posts.  I think it packed up and left with motivation a few weeks ago.  Hopefully both with return with renewed vigour, but until then, I’ll stick to publishing a weekend’s to do list:

  • Vacuum both bedrooms
  • Clean toilet
  • Fold and put away light load
  • Stain treat linen shirt (again)
  • Wash dark load
  • Buy two ferns for the living room (:D)
  • Get cuttings of herbs from friends <- our napping got in the way
  • Visit open house for awesome 3 bed warehouse conversion (and dream of my future).  Yeah we like to look at places of our dreams. It sold before we got there 🙁
  • Go rock climbing
  • Do an interval run, aiming for a 4 mins on, 2 mins off for a distance of at least 5kms 5km attempting 4.30/1.30 splits (but not succeeding!)
  • Write the little bro an email (he’s in South America) He’s already written back too 🙂
  • Take back plastic packaging & bags to Coles pre run too!
  • Buy some paints for my growing collection of tubes for a Advent calendar (talk about prepared, right?)
  • (Maybe) buy some quilting and coloured thread to make this
  • Read a few more chapters of my book on Gen. Honoré’s experience in New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina (ideally finish it to return it to my mentor on Monday)
Views for miles… yep I could live here

What’s on your weekend’s to do list?