Sunday, March 3, 2013

the last post...from here anyway....

I have a brand new shiny internet home so this is the last post from this version of The Spiralling Shape. You can find me here Or if you want to copy and paste - This blogger blog has been very good to me and I am sad to say goodbye but times change and I decided it was time to consolidate my web presences in one place. The Spiralling Shape continues but you will also find my other blog, tumblr and a bit more about me. So, hey! Come with me! I will see you there.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Last of the summer blouses

Today I finished sewing what I have decided will be the last of the summer blouses. When I was in Brisbane a few weeks ago I made flying visit to Gardam's in Edward street and bought the last of the roll of this beautiful rose pattern broderie anglaise. And I decided that I would make one last of what has become my standard sleeveless summer blouse. I think I have made about 8 of these since the sewing bug bit me last birthday. They have been awesome with pants and skirts all summer. But with autumn around the corner it's time to start sewing things with sleeves. Here is the finished product. No doubt I will be able to wear it for a while yet in what passes for Queensland's change of seasons.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Virtuously hungry

I'm starring in my very own, home-made version of The Biggest Loser at the moment. We're just reaching the end of the first week. Unlike the TV version there have been no tears, no fights with other contestants and nobody has screamed at me while making me do ridiculous physical challenges. It's all a lot more sedate than that. It started last Saturday night when the parents and I snap-decided to go to Tasmania in May. After booking the flights we all looked at each and realised we were terrifically unfit, and let's face it, if we're being honest, fatter than we should be. If we were going to trek about on a proper holiday we had to increase our general fitness. We have 11 weeks. I knew weight had crept on over the past two years. Since August 2010 when I had surgery I hadn't got back into any kind of exercise routine. Work involves lots of sitting down and long days meant I wasn't making time for physical activity. So, I took a deep breath and weighed myself for the first time in years. EEEEK. It was worse than I had imagined. I am the heaviest I have ever been in my whole life. This called for action. Within half an hour I joined Weight Watchers Online and started making a plan. The first step was to throw out all the unhealthy food in the house because if it's there I'll probably eat it. When I say unhealthy food I'm not talking soft drink, chips, lollies, cake, buns, pies or junk food. I don't buy those things and really don't eat them very often. There was a packet of bought biscuits that went in the bin. Then I made a big list of good food and hit the grocery shop on Sunday morning. Recipes in hand I spent the day cutting up fruit, celery and carrot for snacks, and cooking meals for the freezer in acceptable portions. I made some raspberry and banana muffins from the WW site and froze them in ones. I also made lite jelly and started planning my menu for the next day. So after a week of following the WW points plan I have been virtuously hungry some of the time. I have exercised every day - either walking or cycling for between 20 and 30 minutes - I'm starting slowly. I have realised that it wasn't that I was eating bad food, I was just eating too much of it at certain key meals. Breakfast has changed the most. I'm eating about a third of the cereal/muesli I was having but I'm eating way more fruit. The other thing to go is the daily takeaway coffee as even though it was skim milk, one coffee a day was blowing my dairy intake over the top. And bread has become a sometimes food instead of an every day food. This is sad because I love bread. I'm allowed a treat once a week which I had this morning in a large chai latte and delicious BLT. Any results? Well I decided I would measure my waist and weigh myself once a week. I measured my waist today and have lost 2cm. I haven't weighed myself yet today, but I cheated and snuck in a "weigh in" on Thursday. I had lost 1.7 kilos. Hurrah.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

an at home weekend

Well it's been a big February so far. It took two weeks for me to be able to move back into my house properly. Even though I was sleeping here after a week of the flooding I had no hot water system so was living a strangely displaced existence with half my clothes at my parents' so I could shower there and get to and from work in a relatively respectable fashion. Then just as I got back to work it was time to high-tail it to Brisbane to the wonderful NLS6 conference. It was an amazing relief to escape Bundaberg. The conference was awesome. I got to listen and talk to lots of fantastic people. I also did some shopping therapy before leaving to come back home. Finally on Friday a new hot water system was installed and I felt like I could really move back home properly. So this weekend I have been nesting. The fridge and cupboards were bare so I went shopping and filled them up. I have cooked all day today to restock the freezer with meals. I've made an Irish stew, spaghetti bolognese, raspberry and banana muffins, fruit salad for the week and jelly. I have healthy fruit everywhere and am enjoying lovely cups of tea made in my own kitchen. I can even wash up without boiling the kettle first. Yes, I do realise these are all first world problems but they're my first world problems so I'll take responsibility for that. Yesterday I sewed and nearly finished my dark green dress. I also went out and bought some cute blue shoes from Saskia's after a delicious chai latte and bacon and egg burger breakfast. And then in the afternoon I had a gorgeous nap on my lounge. It seems like months since I had such a beautiful at home weekend. And joy of joys, on Thursday I nabbed my They Might Be Giants tickets for May 8 in Brisbane. And the next day I'm flying to Tasmania for a ten day holiday. Things are looking up!

Friday, February 1, 2013

The river ran through us

After waiting for the Burnett River to peak all night Monday and into Tuesday it stopped at around 9.5 metres. I spent Tuesday obsessively checking the BOM flood warnings and gaining a new insight into things like catchment areas, rises, falls and just how water works. Ultimately, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world because although the water seeped into my newly renovated garage/music room, it DID NOT go through the main house. What an amazing relief. And even though once the water receded the yard stunk like an old chook pen or stagnant pond I didn't care. My little house had looked the record flood water in the face and like Gandalf in LOTR it said "YOU SHALL NOT PASS" (or whatever it is Gandalf says if indeed it is Gandalf). So much of Bundaberg has not been as fortunate as me. North Bundaberg looks like a war zone. There are gaping holes in the road that are up to 20 metres deep and 100 metres long, houses have moved from the stumps sometimes all the way down the road. Others have been completely destroyed and so many more will contain the ruins of people's belongings. As yet we have not heard officially of any loss of life in that area but I worry that it is only a matter of time. After the initial joy at my own good fortune I felt a little bit guilty. How and why could I be so relieved when so many others were still devastated? I know there's no real rhyme or reason to it. That's what makes it seem even more awful and unfair. Tomorrow residents of North Bundaberg are going to be allowed to cross the bridge and look at their houses, or where their houses once were. I can't begin to imagine what that would be like. The recovery for them (if that is indeed the right word) will be slow and long and no doubt painful and frustrating. People help in any way they can. After I got myself mostly organised with my house, I figured if I could only help a few people that would be better than no help at all. I gave clothes to a piano student who had to be evacuated from her North Bundaberg home with her husband, young son and twin daughters. They are living with friends. She was delighted because it turned out that water hadn't actually risen as high as the ceiling. My mum and sister and I cleaned out our wardrobes and took clothes to one of the many evacuation centres. I bought up big on soap, shampoo, deodorant, breakfast cereal, bread and fruitcakes and took them to another evacuation centre. I gave a blanket extension to all students in my course. Their final assignment was to be due on Monday. After about the 20th student emailing or phoning in the last couple of days, all with stories of the flood, our university deadlines paled into insignificance. These students needed compassion and support. As educators we are to provide them with that as best we can. No doubt there will be more to do in the days and weeks and months ahead. I'm ready. I think Bundaberg is too.

Monday, January 28, 2013

there's no holding back a river

The first time my house flooded there was no warning. I had my parents living with me as they were in the process of building a new house. There was an afternoon of torrential rain, the sewage main backed up through the house while we were watching television and before we knew it we had to pick up our toothbrushes and make a run for it. Today we're sitting in the house again with too much time to prepare. The Burnett River is set for record breaking levels. During the GREAT FLOODS of 2011 I didn't see a drop of water from the storm water drain that runs at the back of my property in my yard. This morning I have my own river views and a pool. It came up in the night.
Last time I lost all my shoes, some furniture, an entire house of floor covering and other bits and pieces. This time all my shoes are up high, shelves are all emptied, all furniture is on blocks and crates and the piano (which survived in 2008) is on a trolley ready to roll outside. Violin, viola and other precious things are in the car ready to go. I also have made a preliminary call to my insurer to start the ball rolling if need be. In other words, I have been fortunate this time to be able to be as prepared as I can be. There's no holding back a river.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

a la Mr Henry Rollins

The best thing I watched on TV this week was the documentary about Bill Hicks on ABC2 on Sunday night. Of course I recorded it and watched it on Wednesday but we won't quibble over the details. I am ashamed I was not particularly familiar with Bill Hicks. I had heard his name here and there but never really got any further than that. After watching the documentary I was mightily impressed that such a small "l" liberal, subversive comedian made a career of any kind in the USA. I was also very sad that he died so young of pancreatic cancer. The footage of his final shows made me think that he was on the brink of a big career that would have transcended comedy and morphed into spoken word political comment a la Mr Henry Rollins. We shall never know. I also finished my bingeing on Being Erica thanks to BBC IPlayer. Sadly, they don't have Season 4 but I read the summaries on Wikipedia and I think I will manage without seeing it. Canadian television is interesting. Why don't we get more of it? And last night, once I had seen Federer put Tomic back in his place on the tennis, I watched the final episode of Season 3 of Treme. While not without its flaws I have grown to love those characters as well as the look, feel, pacing and of course music of this great program. By the end I was sad, hopeful and uplifted all at once. If TV can manage that then I think it's okay. If you have never seen Hoop Dreams then you must watch it tonight on ABC2. It's a classic documentary and a devastating expose of the Great American Dream.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Challenge accepted

So this might well be a post about work. Yes, it is. This time last week I was very glad that I had got the whole "first day back at work after Christmas break" thing out of the way before a full week. All the little stresses with taking on a different role were starting to be ironed out and I felt much more confident about the week. I'll let you in on a secret. The thing that was worrying me most about the new role was the calculations involved in the workload document. One thing it seems academics have lots of time for is spending hours coming up with complicated ways of calculating and distributing workload. One of the things I have to do as Head of Program is put together a workload document that does these calculations so that every permanent/fixed term staff member is meeting their required workload for the year (eg. full, fractional ) AND in doing so make sure that the delivery of the program's courses is fully covered in both internal and distance modes according to the estimated quotas for students. This also needs to be done in such a way that we are not spending over our budget with casual staff BUT by the same token we employ the necessary casual staff so we don't find ourselves with permanent staff almost double a full time load (as happened on occasion last year). So it's a balancing, problem solving, mathematical act that requires a calculator. I had been putting off looking at it but on Wednesday I forced myself to open up all the various documents and start at the very beginning. Because as we all know the beginning is a very good place to start. What I found as I put some attention and time into this was that far from being the pain in the neck I had imagined it to be, I was actually enjoying thinking about the big picture/little picture problems that had to be sorted out. In fact, it was shall we say....rewarding! Now there's a surprise. Of course there's every chance that this time next week I might be throwing the workload document out the window. But for now....let's be positive! Challenge accepted.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

and I am cute too....

So it seems that today is the last #blog12daysxmas. I thought we had a day to go. I know I promised to write a post about what I read in 2012 but seriously, I didn't keep track. That's why I just signed up to goodreads now and started a 2013 shelf which I hope to add to through the year to make a 2013 post about my reading habits possible. So far there are 2 things on it. If I crack 50 books for the year I'll probably be doing really well. I do know that I tend to avoid fiction these days - unless it's classic stuff - your Dickens, your Brontes, your Austens etc etc. Contemporary fiction makes me cranky, disappointed and more often than not bored.

What I have read most of during 2012 are memoirs and autobiographies. I love them. Mainly of comics and actors, but other real life stories as well occasionally. One book that I neglected to blog about during 2012 (after I had twitter promised to do so!) was Letters from Aspergia - self-published by @sulischild. Autobiographical - this was a tremendously insightful look at what it's like growing up and living as an adult female with Asperger's Syndrome. It made me look at myself and the people around me with fresh eyes and new understanding. I highly recommend you follow her and buy a copy. It also has beautiful illustrations.

Over the next little while I have to start reading for my research project on community cultural heritage. That's on my to do list for tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it. I just need to push myself to get started and then I know I will be up and away! Like Super Grover!

Friday, January 4, 2013

of meditation and exercise

Today started a little inauspiciously. I woke up way too early and my brain clicked into gear immediately. My head was also a little woozy which I hate. I made myself do yoga breathing and this passed by the time it was time to get out of bed. I did my meditation before work and felt all the better for doing so. I go back to Saturday morning meditation tomorrow and am resolved to get back into my good daily habit as it really makes a difference. The first two days at work had been full on with so many things flying everywhere that I forgot to take time to breathe. Luckily, today was less hectic and I made time to concentrate in a clearer way. I felt like I had actually made some progress by the end of the day which was nice. What is less lovely is that the aches and pains in my hips (particularly right hip) have returned after 3 days of sitting at a desk. I am trying harder to take more regular breaks - stand up, stretch, short walks - but this pain had disappeared over the break altogether. It wasn't even bothering me in the night. That combined with the thigh pain from endometriosis sometimes makes me feel old. I must keep exercising and gradually increase my physical fitness. At the moment it's very poor! Oh that does sound like a New Year's resolution after all.