Shop-a-thon

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

Utensils...
Utensils…

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?

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
Views for miles… yep I could live here

What’s on your weekend’s to do list?

Stand up paddle boarding in Sydney

One thing I’ve been meaning to try is stand up paddle boarding. After a few false starts due to bad weather, I finally dragged the BF to the latest ‘it’ activity!  Even I’m surprised that this didn’t end up on my (recently updated) Summer Bucket List.

I have NOT been meaning to show myself in a swimsuit… But this is me 6-7kg lighter than at Christmas, so that’s something to celebrate.  Alas I never got jet skiing/swimsuit photos to share with the world wide web.  Also, I think it’s important to focus on healthy activities, rather than just eating out (which I used to do a lot of).  We’ve also been indoor rock climbing this summer too!

Coming in (with a turn)
Coming in (with a turn)

Seeing I’m as white as driven snow, I opted for less sunscreen and more clothing… At least, until it got too hot, and I went for a swim.

Ok, you can stop taking photos now :)
Ok, you can stop taking photos now 🙂

I didn’t actually fall in – I was blown away that I took to it so easily. Naturally, the BF did fall in, so then he pulled my ankle cord that was floating in the water, and tugged it sufficiently hard to throw me off *hands on hips*

Emulating the advertising on the combi van!
Emulating the advertising on the combi van!

I was wondering if my stand up and kneeling balance was a fluke, so I tried something a little more complex 😉

Oh while I'm showing off!
Oh while I’m showing off!

And now I’m just getting silly!

It was $20 per person for an hour. The second hour was $10. It was cash only, and we didn’t have enough, so had to drive off and return. It’s not the easiest location to get too – a little bit of a bush or water side walk. There is two places you can stand up paddle board in Rose Bay (eastern suburbs of Sydney), and we went to the place I knew from kayaking there in the past (you know… back when stand up paddle boarding wasn’t a ‘thing’). The other location is closer to Rose Bay shops, and very accessible, but I have no idea of their prices.

Would you try stand up paddle boarding?  It’s pretty relaxing on the spectrum of activities, and affordable too!

Giving – time and/or money

I read a very interesting post this morning by Emily at Emerging Personal Finance called ‘I’m not going to rob you‘ (you can read my comment too).  It spoke to me as last night, I reflected on my voluntary commitments whilst at the State Emergency Service (SES – like FEMA). On Sunday night I’d felt overwhelmed with what I wanted to achieve after work this week.  That overwhelmed feeling is something I’ve written about here, where I listed all my commitments outside of work.

The 'guys' in orange - I got my gear last night! source: www.ses.nsw.gov.au
The ‘guys’ in orange – I got my gear last night!
source: www.ses.nsw.gov.au

I have always been reluctant to part with my money, linking to a tight budget when I was student.  Now days, my budget isn’t at all tight, and long term readers will remember that in early 2013 I did set myself the target of spending $100 per week in ‘generosity’ – donating to church, gifts, and general fundraising etc.  I stopped tracking it, but in 2014, set up automated withdrawals to a savings account, so that I create lump sum to draw from at any time.  I use this money to ‘give’ to fundraisers, and my idea is that it will grow and one day sponsor a hospital wing (ok, maybe something a little smaller. The thought is regular contributions + compound interest = BIG lump sum).

Something like this? source: hprpf.forumotion.com
Something like this?
source: hprpf.forumotion.com

This post is more or less for me to work through my current motivations and actions.

I prefer to give time over money, but realise that money is valuable too, so I’m ‘stockpiling’ it to use as needed.  I give my time as much as I can.  At the moment, it’s a regular 2+ hours at SES, a variable commitment at church across the rosters and Parish council meeting once a month and the co-op, which I have ignored for the past few months, but now have a project that suits my interest, so need to plough in the hours to get it done.  I feel a little overwhelmed at finding the hours for the co-op, as I also have personal things like the podiatrist, a hair cut and a dental specialist’s appointment all this week.  But it’s ok, I can do it.

I CAN get enough sleep;

I CAN cook healthy meals and maintain my calorie limit;

I CAN work out six times a week and continue to lose weight (weighed in at 72KG!  This was a milestone goal, so I’m rapt, as I also ran 14 mins, which is ‘around the park’ which was also a goal, see more on my weight loss plans here) and

I CAN contribute to my community above and beyond my work.

A giving heart? source: Charlotte James www.slimming.com
A giving heart?
source: Charlotte James www.slimming.com

I’ve just got to remember it’s all possible. One day at a time.  One step at a time.  These things are important to me.  TV is not.  Relatively, reading and writing on blogs is not. Priorities!

Is it all possible?  Does something have to give?  Do you prefer to give money or time, or both?

Sorry all…

I’ve been absent.

Weekends seem to be devoted to reading MANY blogs on a comfy sofa, grocery shopping, church, and TV absorption (it really does feel rather brainless… I was watching the Australian mini series ‘The Slap’ about the perspectives of 6 people who were at a BBQ where an adult male slapped a 4 year old child).  OH and vacuuming the house and changing the sheets, with a load of a washing.  I kid you not, nothing more really happens!

It’s the last week in this management gig, so that’s good (to go back to one role, and it’s responsibilities, rather than straddling two ineffectively!).  The pizza party incentive was extended by a week, by the other manager.  Whilst we might not have met the target I set, we certainly knocked it out of the park on usual monthly averages, so I can’t really complain!

The exercise for my weight loss program fell off the bandwagon about Wednesday last week.. Maybe Tuesday? I had a sore shoulder on Saturday week ago, and it got worse and worse. I could hardly play water polo on Wednesday night, even if Dad was watching and it was my last game til next Summer.

Mostly, I’ve kept to eating healthily, and where I’ve slipped up, I’ve still tracked all the calories. Still, the app’s promises of weight loss in the ‘next 5 weeks, if every day was like today’ are getting closer to my actual weight. So I better ramp up exercising… but:

Now I’ve hurt my left outer foot/heel. So I’ve booked to see a podiatrist tomorrow evening, and see what’s wrong and how it could be fixed. Add that to three visits to a physio in a one week window, and I’m really making private health work hard!

Right, what else should I check in on?

Holidays!!  The two indecision maker (myself and the BF) finally pushed the ‘buy’ button for a 5 night trip to Cairns, leaving Good Friday.  We’ll get back Wednesday and still have a couple of nights at home before returning to work the following Monday. It’ll be nice to have longer than a weekend’s time at home, and I’ll look into doing a ‘learn to surf’ during that time too.  I’m sure it’ll be cold, but there’ll be wet suits… and maybe hot chocolates… Cause Lent will be over then (starts tomorrow – no more Mochas for me, which might help that weight loss!).

I should say, I really appreciated finding out how you all plan holidays.  I really do want to poll my readers on so many things, as I find it incredibly interesting how different people make decisions!

Hmmm… I think that brings those who are out there up to speed on life of listing!

Privilege, sacrifice and the legacy of family

Sometimes the coincidence of reading blog posts and discussing things with friends merge to create the perfect storm to contemplate the depths of life. Today, I hope to write a more thoughtful, philosophical post and given that’s not my normal modus operandi, it might come off confused, garbled or incoherent.  It will also be rather wordy!

I’ve established that it’s close to impossible to separate your current situation in life from your childhood.  How you grew up bears a significant shadow into your adulthood.  That’s not to say that one’s childhood will reflect their adulthood (financially poor youth won’t mean financially poor adulthood for example), but whatever the formative 18 years of one’s life exposes them to will strongly impact the rest of their life, and the relative feeling of comfort they feel within the echelons of society.

‘Feeling poor’ is something that can’t be denied.  However, it is strongly linked to the community you’re within.  I spent the first 10 years of my life in a large home, with my parents and siblings.  I attended a (free) public school, I enjoyed (free) public dental care, and my parents drove second hand cars.  As children, we seldom went out for dinner, and never got to eat when at the shopping centre or any other excursion – it was always a supermarket visit followed by a picnic in the park, at best.  I felt comfortable, and I didn’t feel my parents had any trouble with money.  In retrospect, I know that my early primary school years coincided with a downturn in the economy, and may have impacted on the ‘luxuries’ I experienced, such as eating ‘out’.  Compared to my public school classmates, I felt I was the same.  No better or worse, in some regards, they seemed to have a ‘better’ life as they enjoyed going to amusement parks, something we’d never done as a family.

Boarding house dining room source: www.stmargarets.qld.edu.au
Boarding house dining room
source: www.stmargarets.qld.edu.au

When I was 10, a collection of circumstances coincided.  My father was offered an job overseas, which covered all tuition for his children.  I was offered an academic scholarship at a prestigious boarding school, that covered half my tuition fees.  The combination of these two factors presented my parents and myself with two options:

  1. I could study ‘in country’ and live with my family, but my education would be in French (I am a native English speaker)
  2. I could study in my home town of my childhood, and attend a boarding school

Regular readers (or anyone who started reading yesterday!) will know that I chose to go to boarding school. Honestly, I was presented with both options, but I was pretty clear that the opportunity to ‘sleep over’ every night, and be independent was pretty appealing. Financially, my parents were not impacted between the two decisions.  Emotionally, there was a huge learning curve for us all! That being said – I chose boarding school, and my mother ALWAYS wanted to board herself, and so encouraged my choice.  Over the seven years I lived at school, my mother repeatedly was asked ‘how she could do it’ by her colleagues and friends.  As a family, we never questioned boarding school.  Despite the emotional moments, I mostly LOVED my independence, and my parents wanted nothing but my happiness, but it’s hard to ignore that I was receiving a quality education with all the additional opportunities that a private school can offer young ladies.

Whilst my scholarship endured for my eight years at the private girls’ school, my father’s employer changed during those eight years.  Therefore, the cost of my education borne by my parents also fluctuated.  Furthermore, I have two siblings, and when they reached the age for high school, they too were enrolled in private schools.  My parents had always prepared all of us for a high school education in a religious private school.  I just started mine three years early due to the circumstances!

Assembly hall, and the top storey was all dorms source: source: www.stmargarets.qld.edu.au
Assembly hall, and the top storey was all dorms
source: source: www.stmargarets.qld.edu.au

I cannot deny that I was privileged to attend a fancy private school for eight years AND live on campus for seven of those years.  I have to balance the idea that, by the grace of God or serendipity, I was offered a scholarship; and my father was offered a comprehensive remuneration package to relocate for three years.  I know the cost of educating my younger siblings did not come as easily.  Neither had their fees subsidised (by employers or scholarships/bursaries).  Perhaps inflation of school fees outstripped the pay rises my parents received, or it was a case of ‘two is double the cost of one’? (Thankfully, they avoided all three of us at private schools at once! Family planning (or not) seemed to have it’s blessings occasionally).

Whilst I feel like I might have excelled academically no matter my education, it’s hard to know for sure.  From a strong foundation in my secondary education, I received the marks to be granted a first year scholarship in engineering.  Engineering was not my first choice, but a scholarship was enough to entice me to try it out. For six years, I battled my studies – there is NO way I would say being a student was the best time of my life. (being a young, paid, professional is FAR better!).  I chose to support myself from my second year of studies, covering all of my costs – rent, food, tuition (which can be deferred in Australia).

Approaching graduation, I swallowed a bitter pill and moved home – after six years of loud and regular berating of friends who lived at home with their parents through their tertiary studies! When I looked at the figures, I saw there was no way I could ‘get ahead’, which in Australian is ‘buy a property’.  I chose to move home months before completing my studies, and stayed at home for the first three years I worked in my career.  Living at home is a luxury I didn’t have through my secondary schooling, nor some of my primary schooling.  I self imposed my tertiary studies to be self supported. However, when I joined a graduate program with six month rotations around the business (ie locations all over Sydney), I returned to the family home and (willingly) paid a nominal amount in board.  During this time, I aggressively saved, whilst taking annual international holidays and bought my scooter.  I wouldn’t even be as gauche as to say living at home was a sacrifice.  I love my parents, they live relatively close to the city, and their home fits all us kids (with less formal living spaces becoming bedrooms!).  After three years of paying below market rent, and having meals and chores done as part of a family, I had sufficient money to put a deposit on the loft.  My parents did not co-sign on my mortgage, which I knew they never would.  They did not gift me any money, nor did any other relative, beyond the usual $50 Christmas money or similar.

Not for a BE, but the Grad Dip Eng... but she's a girl! source: www.gsu.uts.edu.au
Not for a BE, but the Grad Dip Eng… but she’s a girl!
source: www.gsu.uts.edu.au

I’m grateful to God that my life has lead me to where I am now.  That I had the privilege of a good education (and the associated opportunities of sport, music, debating etc) in my childhood. I had the luck to find that my parents lived ‘nearby’ at the end of my tertiary studies (in actual fact, they did from my second year onwards!) My choice of subjects and my results from high school led to my studies in university, which lead me to a career as an engineer.  Now I earn a salary I couldn’t have imagined as a teenager, and I earn close to or on par with both my parents (one is a teacher, the other is a ‘banker’ but also qualified as a teacher).  I own a property, that I bought ‘all by myself’ – no mean feat in Sydney’s inflated property market.

Last night, I was embarrassed by the good fortune I list in the paragraph above.  I know that without my mother who had a private high school education at a school that offered boarding, I may not have had parents receptive to boarding school.  Without the chance of my father’s employer and package, I might not have had the chance to start my private education so young.  Without my parents choosing to settle in the city I was at university at (which is different to where I grew up/went to school), I might still be struggling to save for a housing deposit.  I look back, and see a ‘normal’ everyday kid starting life, and from the age 10, my life took an early trajectory beyond what was planned for me.

I still feel ‘normal’, but I realise I’m not.  I’m in the top x% – I don’t know if it’s 10% or 5%.  But I know I’m lucky, I’m privileged.  And all this, after spending eight years at a school where I felt ‘poor’, ‘uncool’ and not good enough.  Not good enough at sport.  Not smart enough at my high school classes – as if coming eighth in a number of my senior subjects in a cohort of 140 is a poor outcome.  I passed every subject at uni, first go – except for one subject I failed FOUR times!  That one subject, and the four attempts (over three years) made me think I was dumb, useless, and perhaps not cut out for engineering. It’s amazing that my perseverance, and a solid job offer as I approached graduation, helped me persuade university management to ‘waive’ the pre-requisite requirements, and let me attempt the following subjects – all of which I passed.  It led me to a job that I still have days where I think ‘how did I end up here, I am SO out of my depth?’ and moments when a colleague thinks out a situation and in my head I’m thinking ‘how does he know this??’.

I suppose it’s like a fat person trapped in a skinny body, or a young person in an older body.  I feel like a normal, working class child (now adult), who somehow infiltrated a prestigious school.  A less than stellar intelligence that scrapped through an engineering degree.  A recruit/graduate who ‘won’ a job at a very generous company (pay wise, but also benefits) despite there being clearly more knowledgeable applicants.  I’m the girl who started with humble beginnings – a family with used cars, never eating out, living a simple childhood, to this adult who was able to buy their own home, has a (traditional) degree and a very well renumerated job with great hours and benefits.

There but for the grace of God go I. 

I really don’t have a hard luck story, and sometimes I’m ashamed of that.  I didn’t crawl out of debt, or a horrible home life or childhood. I didn’t battle ‘incredible odds’.  I hope that forever, I can remain grounded; aware that there are so so many less fortunate than myself, and have the humility and generosity to share everything I can.  I can’t change what went before, but I can look forward and continue to be someone who makes everyone feel included, no matter what circumstances their life has presented them.

How do you feel your childhood has influenced your later life?

10 things I learnt from boarding school

I spent seven years in an all girls boarding school, in Brisbane, Australia.  Sometimes, there’s nothing quite like remembering the quirks of communal living.  Given the vast majority of people have little to no exposure to boarding school, I hope this might be amusing!

1. You always take the plate second from the top in a stack.  The top one is assumed to have been sneezed on or touched or something?!  Maybe it’s just the dust cover?

2. Showers require thongs.  The idea of bathmats – pft, I laugh at a bathmat! (actually, I sorely missed them during term time, and hated the flood of water that resulted from thongs + multiple showers)

3.  (White) Bread is a staple.  And it is delicious 🙂 Plates of 10 slices on every dinner table every night!

4. Loaves of bread are likely to be open at the bottom of the bag.  Liberating the doughy thick crust is heaven for some random people, and if the top of the bag has been taken, there’s always the other end.

They looked *just* like this! source: marquetteturner.com
They looked *just* like this!
source: marquetteturner.com

5. Caramel tarts are worthy of sprints times comparable 100m mens final to get to afternoon tea FIRST!  (However, returns are not guaranteed, it depends if they were all eaten at the dessert the night before).

6. Lights out is multi staged: there’s overhead common lights out, and then there’s lamps out.

7. Privacy is flexible: with partion walls that didn’t go the ceiling, curtains instead of doors…

8. In primary school, it seemed perfectly acceptable to buy a frozen slushie on arriving at the movie cinema, walk around drinking it, and refill the cup prior to watching the movie you came to see.  Actually, we never had any staff even raise an eyebrow at this – that stuff MUST be cheap to supply! Or the staff too young and nervous to bother with tweens?

MMM Blend 43 - the taste of mass produced coffee source: www.centrestatefoods.com.au
MMM Blend 43 – the taste of mass produced coffee
source: www.centrestatefoods.com.au

9. Coffee is a food substitute: We didn’t get a lot of snacks, other than the most mottled, old apples and oranges (ie the cheap stuff).  Therefore, with enough milk and sugar, instant coffee becomes palatable to a young’un.  However, when Dad offers you a coffee at home, it will be nothing like instant coffee, and nothing you can do will make it taste the same.

10. Parcels are enough to brighten a whole week! There was a parcel list posted daily on the noticeboard.  Birthdays were wonderful, as were starts of term, where you awaited ‘forgotten’ items to be sent, hoping Mum would have included a treat or thousand in there!

Oh it’s funny to look back. Some of these points are still true today of boarding schools I’ve worked in, but I think some become the function of a school’s culture!

Which was the ‘weirdest’ to you, and which seems the most normal?  Any quirky school memories or habits for you?

Q&A Birthday

A secluded beach in Southern WA
A secluded beach in Southern WA

I’m going to answer a list of questions I made up for myself, and if you’re inclined, I’d love to know your answers in a post or the comments. (I’ve added some unrelated photos for your viewing pleasure though!)

  • Most recent dream you can remember: being in France, and a ‘pop out’ toilet existing on a bus, and ending up in a totally different city on the bus from the airport to wherever.  When I got there, there were such lovely people who I met, took me to dinner after I asked where I could stay.  Weirdly, they all spoke English too?
  • Favourite places in the world: Equal between NYC and anywhere in France (though Paris is magical).
  • Favourite meal: Mac’n’cheese made from scratch by the BF.  That’s not to say I don’t like other things, but this is the go to food atm!
  • Names of imaginary friends in childhood: Daniel! He lasted far longer than my female imaginary friend whose name currently escapes me.
  • At what age did you stop sharing a room (if you shared): I think it was about 8?  When my younger brother got old enough to share with the other younger brother.
  • Folder/scruncher/hand roller (if you have to ask, move on!): informal folder.
  • Favourite place to read novels/kindle: lying in bed.  I have often longed for an arm chair though.
  • The year you ‘grew up the most’: A cross between 1995 (10 years old) when I started boarding school and 2006 (21) when I lived in France for a year
  • Pizza cheese – on top of everything, or under everything: definitely on top!
  • The first thing you’d do if you were God for a day: make it rain every night from midnight to 5am only.  Easy to plan around, and doesn’t spoil a day!
  • Would you give up your paid employment to blog: nope!  Whilst I enjoy blogging, I like my day to day life, and I’ve never really wanted to be ‘selling’ stuff, which I’m sure is how I might feel if I got too into the paid side of blogging.
  • Do you like your handwriting: Yes, yes I do.  I’ve spent time to make it neater.  However, I still type faster!
  • What’s your definition of hell? Oh wow, so many things! Starting with extreme weather conditions and being dressed inappropriately!  Probably followed by a power point presentation?
  • If you could make one law that everyone followed, what would it be? Compulsory indicating! I can’t imagine where you want to be (hold up, that IS a law… just poorly executed or enforced).
  • Worst job you could do? Work in an abattoir/butcher.  I don’t love meat, and like to buy it as readily prepared as possible.  It’s probably not surprising to regular readers, but I think I would enjoy working as a garbage truck driver, or in a tip/dump, given my zero waste aims (I assume this might be a likely answer for some)!
  • Short nails or long nails (ladies)? Short! Anyway they have to be for water polo, but it’s also it is my preference.
  • How often do you trim/file them? At least weekly I cut them!
This is part of the innovative stairs and gardens as part of the Central Park development in Sydney (ie right near my home!)
This is part of the innovative stairs and gardens as part of the Central Park development in Sydney (ie right near my home!)

I look forward to hearing any of your answers!

Pondering heartache

Let me first start by saying, this is a philosophical post.  Nothing bad has happened with the BF and I don’t plan for any heartache.  This is in response to blog post I recently read on A Summer of New.  (This blogger happens to be someone I went to school with, and I could probably write a great number of posts on those times.  She was that one person I wanted to be just like – be that smart, produce those amazing posters and assignments, and nightly sentences (to help with our spelling and vocab development).  She got more 100% and Amazing foil stickers than I could fathom.  For the later years of primary school, this was who I looked up to.)

Sure a perfect depiction source:glory-company.com
Sure a perfect depiction
source:glory-company.com

Anyhow, she mention in the linked post about the ups and downs of life.  The times of being happy, and then of recovery, often related to the end of a relationship.  It brought me to thinking both about relationships, but also their ends.

I always feel my ends of romantic relationships should be silent.  Certainly, the anguish and sadness shouldn’t be outwardly visible for more than a week or two.  Maybe, with family, you can wallow in you hurt for a little longer, but your friends much prefer you were you’re not sad faced, or quiet and dull.  You’re to be chirpy and happy.

I distinctly remember a friend experiencing a break up about the same I did, and her saying ‘you have no right to still be sad, how long were you together, a few months?  Me & him were together for 5 years!’, as if hurt is proportional to the duration of the relationship.  As if I could only be sad for a snippet of time, whilst she continued to heal for years.

source: www.deviantart.com
source: www.deviantart.com

The truth is, it takes time to heal from the rejection.  From the confusion.  Even when you are the one that ends a relationship, it takes time to be sure you’ve done the right thing.  To believe that another relationship is possible, another relationship equally deep that shares all the positives of the past relationship, all the good qualities.  Sometimes, it does truly feel like you’ll be alone forever, and perhaps the ex isn’t *that* bad?

I reflect on the years of my dating life, and I too can see expanses of years where I retreated into my shell in the romantic sphere.  Where I still socialised, but was not truly ready to challenge myself with a new relationship.

But socially, in the greater world, I feel heartache is silent.  It’s made to be silent.  I feel, when it’s the end of a marriage, it’s a little more open.  A little more supported.  But the end of other relationships are like a shadow, hardly even noticed.

Would you agree?

What? It’s Christmas Eve?

Tonight I fly across country from Sydney to Perth, to meet the BF’s family for the first time!  EKK! Will I get the house clean in time, and pack enough nice outfits for the possibly sweltering heat? (Although it’s now turned gloomy and cool here in Sydney, and I couldn’t be happier.  My morning walk was just delightful is the milder conditions). I’m debating whether I can take walking clothes for all the days we’re away, in my 7kg luggage allowance?  In any case, I’ve walked 94kms in since I started the challenge on 25 Novermber, which has taken almost 13 hours.  13 hours sounds like a lot, but it’s under the duration I should have walked to by today (13.75), but my distance is further than I predicted?!

From one side to the other source: www.laineybird.com
From one side to the other
source: www.laineybird.com

I’m not sure what my posting schedule will be for the next week.  By January 1st, we’ll be back to normal in Sydney, and I’ll try to pick up where I left off.

Interesting, Boxing Day (26th December) will mark 1 year of blogging for me 🙂  This will mark the 224th post.  Here’s my first post ever.

I do plan to post about my 2014 goals, and maybe with some spare time this afternoon before we head to the airport I might share my lengthy and ambitious goals (or queue them up, so I don’t bombard you with lots of posts all together, and then a long silence).

I broke into the gingerbread house on Sunday – it’s delicious despite it’s few weeks on the shelf.  I think I shall make gingerbread a food group.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, whatever they’re doing.  I look forward to hearing about it all – I hope there’s some peace and relaxation!