Category Archives: Being Me

Sunday log

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This was the last week of our summer holidays, as I head back to the office and R1 to vacation care and R2 to his kindy/day care tomorrow.  We had visitors from home, my dad and my teenage half-brother whom the kids adore.  It was also a bloody hot week.

Steps forward

1. Escaping to the air conditioned library, I checked out 4 books which seem to have a theme…

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I soaked them up immediately, reading the first chapter of each and then jumping between books for days.  I have finished No Impact Man and 21st Century Smallholder, but will definitely have to read the latter a few more times.  Reading No Impact Man and seeing the type of lifestyle he led before embarking on his year long experiment at living without environmental impact, I realise that I am already some way along my journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

2. I made jam.  Pretty much, in a nutshell, that is a massive leap forward.  Jam making was the one insurmountable. For nearly a year I read countless books and blogposts regarding jam making, but until today when the kids baulked at the plums from the market because they were too tart, I did not have the courage.  God knows why, because the recipe for plum jam was plums, sugar and water.

So utilising all of my acquired knowledge I jumped in head first.

It seemed like I was doing it right and wrong at the same time.

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I sterilised all of my implements and put a saucer in the freezer for the wrinkle test.  I measured out my ingredients.  (To give you an idea of how huge a leap forward this was for me – I am a grown woman and yet have never ever weighed out ingredients for a recipe before. Truly.) A minute before I had to start the rolling boil the plums were still firm so I mashed them despite the recipe not calling for this action. I conducted the wrinkle test multiple times, beyond the time specified for maximum rolling boil, but the jam still swam on the saucer.

No matter, I poured the runny jam into jars and took photos because I was just so damn proud of myself.IMG_1103

Later I realised I had halved the plums and sugar quantities but not the water.  Oh well, next time.  Because there is definitely going to be a next time. It is so easy!!  (Unless you get it wrong 🙂 )

Step back.

1. This one is dad-related.  He wanted to take the kids shopping for their Christmas gifts, so I met him at a local mega shopping centre.  I hadn’t been there for so long and I seriously had a visceral reaction to it.  My legs hurt after walking around one shop and I realised I was no longer ‘shopping centre fit’ capable of walking all 3 levels for 6 hours at a time.  This was the good part.  Unfortunately, R2 hadn’t lost the art of consumption, and became attached to all sorts of flame wielding plastic men.  I caved in and said he could have them after we couldn’t find a single wooden toy by the third toy shop.

He played with them for all of three minutes before declaring he wanted to collect the ‘whole set’.  My heart broke to see him back on the ‘I want’ merry go round, when we were doing so well off it.

R1 only wanted school shoes, white volleys, as her Christmas present, no matter how much my dad tried to talk her out of it.  But this made me think – am I pushing an unachievable and demoralising asceticism on my children in my own egoistic pursuit of a certain kind of lifestyle?

While these Sunday logs measure my slow incremental weekly progress, my dad’s visit showed just how much my way of living has changed in less than a year.  There were stark contrasts between what we both felt were ‘normal’.  He double plastic bagged every little thing he bought and then ripped the bags open so they were unusable.  He bought a slab of 500ml water bottles which he chilled in the fridge, creating excessive rubbish and consuming energy, when I had a jug of filtered water for drinking.  His first option was buying takeaway when I preferred to use what I had at home.  His suggestion that I poach eggs in a plastic container in the microwave (I felt physically ill at the thought of this).  His inability to be inside a warm home without air conditioning.  Litres of soft drink in the fridge.  Assumptions that I hang out at the shopping centre with the kids.

These all horrified me.  Yet I hadn’t really noticed myself changing so much.

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day of[f] work

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I am perilously close to getting used to not going to work.

Yesterday I went to the office with my sore back, but left early to go to an acupuncturist.  Today I stayed at home, as the pain was quite debilitating and the long walk across town from the train station to my office building crippled me yesterday.  But today I did work and achieved a lot, in between sessions of lying flat on my back on the couch (working on healing).

I spent the morning drafting and redrafting my planting schedule for my new vege beds, including a monthly calendar of activities.

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In the afternoon, I researched my family tree in the lead up to a mini family reunion this weekend.  I used the Births, Deaths and Marriages indexes and Trove newspapers to come up with this.

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I finished off the day with some weeding at dusk.

A full day of productive and immensely satisfying work.  Unlike going to the same workplace day after day.

Not that there is anything wrong with my current job – in fact there are parts I feel are very meaningful and interesting, vastly unlike my last job with a consulting company where I was treated like an automaton, unable and not allowed to have feelings, opinions, ‘issues’, hormones, interests, commitments, responsibilities.  Things I have in bucketloads.  There, I was explicitly told by manager to leave the office building one time that I was crying.  I was also told that work was my number one priority and I had to work my family life around that (I am a single mother!!!).  That was the day I applied for my current job.

An indication of how traumatised I had been by the previous workplace – in my second week at my new job I had an unpleasant event happen in my life, and I was asked by my supervisor if I was going to be alright.  My immediate response? Yes, I promise I won’t let it affect my performance.  She repeated, no, are you going to be alright?  I had forgotten how to be treated like a human being.

So when my manager yesterday showed concern and empathy regarding my back and said to take as much time off as I need to recuperate, then I know I am in a good place.  And yet……the idea of spending most of my waking life away from my home where the real work needs to be done is grinding and weighing me down.

chutney day

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Usually I like to have a little forewarning of my children’s sick days, so that I can plan for them, for instance, sleep in until at least 6 am.  Not so today.  We had the mad rush through breakfast with gentle threats of coercion to finish breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, etc etc, and it wasn’t until we were getting the school bags out the door that R1 developed the inability to walk due to a sore tummy, head, nipples, etc.

So, it was an at home day for me and R1.  The sheer luxury of a whole day to make some headway into the ever growing list of ‘things to be done’ was overwhelming.  For the past 2 weeks I have been collecting ingredients to make a zucchini chutney – ever since I decided that this zucchini may have actually finished growing.  Yes this is a zucchini, but I only believe this because it grew on the zucchini plant.

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So what to do with a vegetable that weighs over a kilo? Well, a while ago I bought a preserves book. This was when I decided to pretend I was a housewifey. I figured, I was the breadwinner, I could also be my own housewife.  So I bought the preserves book and a house with a garden at the same time.  When I choose a new path in life I tend to throw myself into it completely and make it happen.

Anyway, until now, I just haven’t had time to make chutney, so rather than let a non-work day go to waste as well as a rather large vegetable, today was the day.

Either I am not made of housewife stuff, or the author of the book was a misogynistic witch.  35 minutes to make, my arse!  The prepping took me an hour and fifteen minutes alone.  And I have a blister at the base of my index finger from chopping the ‘zucchini’ into centimetre square cubes.

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The 35 minutes was for actual cooking, although in reality of course it was over an hour. There was no mention of the consumption of time spent dicing, slicing, wincing.  Lucky I had the time to spare today as I was a ‘stay at home mum’ for the occasion.  But does this mean that women’s time spent prepping recipes ‘just happens’?  This recipe made me angry that such time spent was apparently inconsequential. Anyway, I digress…it probably was due to my inept mastery of women’s arts.

This is the product of two and a half hours of my life.

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Despite being shattered from lack of sleep, I couldn’t just nap or knit or read today. No I had to spend the hottest part of a sweltering day over a stove (’tis the lot of women 🙂 ) to make it worthwhile.

In my meditation practice over the past 18 months, I have been working on releasing this mindset, this need to make every moment productive. So even on my busiest of weekends without the children when I have to condense a fortnight’s chores, errands, and other housewifey duties into 2 days, I have always taken 3 hours out on Saturday afternoon to go on meditation retreat. This even during the insanity of 6 weeks when I crazily added doing an online graduate certificate into the mix.

R1 spent her ‘sick’ day making puppy dog cards for her brother which said ‘you rock R2’.

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And I still haven’t started making my Christmas presents for this year…