Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

P365 - Day 270 - more photos

This morning Juniordwarf picked up my phone and somehow managed to get into Hipstamatic.

He loved how he could see things through the ‘viewfinder’ – including his own fingers.

I showed him how to take photos, and he set about doing so with great gusto. He thought it was great fun, and even went down the hallway to take a picture of himself in the mirror (it didn’t come out).

Like most of his photos at the moment, these ones were blurry, because he doesn’t hold the camera still, and aren’t actually of anything.

But I get a real kick out of watching him take photos and enjoying himself while he’s doing it. The technique can come later.

So today’s photo is by my very first blog guest, Juniordwarf!

Monday, September 26, 2011

P365 - Day 269 - photos

Now I’m into my last 100 days of the photo project, it’s another post about my blog, and why I’m doing it. This post is a follow-up post to this one. There will be a couple more in weeks to come.

In terms of the purpose of my blog, I don’t think anything has changed from when I started. I want to keep a pictorial record of 2011, and to try and improve my photography skills – which, using an iPhone camera, is proving to be a bit of a challenge. However, since I changed my approach and started processing the photos using the different camera apps on my phone, and converting everything to a square format, this part of the project has become a lot more fun.

At first I wasn’t very keen on the square format, which I first used in Instagram and thought was very artificial to start with. But since I started using Instagram more often and found some other square format apps, I’ve found it to be an interesting challenge. 

Most of my photos can be made to work in that format easily, a few have to be really forced into it, and a few don’t work at all. It brings back memories of my old 126 camera that I used when I was a kid, with the square photos and the fixed focal length lens (and very harsh flash), but obviously I can do so much more with these photos than I could with the old ones.

So the focus of my blog is on the photos. If you’re interested in the stories behind them – which I hope some people are – then that’s great. But if you’re not, then that’s fine too. I don’t expect everything I say to be interesting to everyone who reads it. 

I hope you like at least some of the photos.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

P365 - Day 268 - let’s talk about housework

I loathe and detest housework with every bone in my body really don’t much like housework.

I’m not very good at keeping things tidy.

The concept of ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’, while being the cornerstone of every decluttering/home organisation book I’ve never read, is about as foreign to me as the concept of, well, exercise.

I’ve heard of it, and I’m told that it can make your life a lot easier and healthier. I’ve even attempted to do it once or twice, without much success.

Our house is a bit of a mess. All I can say in my defence is that none of us have asthma or horrible allergies and the largest number of mice in the house at any one time has been one. So a bit of dust hasn’t endangered anyone’s health.

I’d like a clean house, but I also have other things to do. Like work, getting to work, cooking, spending time with my family, watching Very Important things on TV, doing (ahem) research online, sleeping, keeping my bench top clean . . .

And I’m not very good at packing things away. If I’m in the middle of a project, the stuff all tends to lie around until I get my next burst of inspiration, which might be three months later.

I think my son might have inherited my inability to tidy up after myself too. I set a shocking example!

I am also a reluctant disposer of things I don’t need. I won’t say hoarder, because that brings up images of that dreadful show on TV about people who really do hoard to the extreme. Trust me, I am not that bad! We can get into every room in our house, we do eat on the dining table, and there isn’t a single cupboard where we’re too scared to open the door in case everything falls out.

My dilemma is that I have other things that I have to do ahead of housework – and I especially include spending time with Juniordwarf in that list – I don’t want to miss out on experiences with him because I’m too busy dusting or scrubbing the laundry floor. So, say those who know, the housework can wait.

But, on the other hand, the messy house makes me feel stressed and tense, and on days when I feel like I’m about to hit rock bottom, having to step over stuff just to get in the front door doesn’t make me feel any better.

And when the whole house is like that, well, the effect is compounded.

My problem is, and has always been, that I am an all or nothing person. And the result of that is nothing.

So instead of saying ‘the house is a mess! It’s upsetting me! There’s so much to do! It’s too much!’ and not doing anything, I need to forget about the big picture for a while.

One of the things the counsellor suggested on Friday was to make a to-do list, but to only put three things on the list. Three things that I could do, or make progress towards doing that day. It might – and indeed should – be as simple as ‘hang out the washing’ or ‘go to bed early’. That way by the end of the week I’ll have 21 things that I’ve achieved or made progress towards.

So with that in mind, my three things yesterday were to tidy the lounge room, tidy the kitchen and get a couple of things for Juniordwarf’s room to store some of his more scatterable items in.

Those three things actually took most of the day, but I took a stop-start approach, so I could make sure I had enough time with Slabs and Juniordwarf, and cook dinner – which I actually enjoyed doing for the first time in a long time  . . . probably because the kitchen was tidier than it had been for a long time!

Today one of my three things was to vacuum the lounge room. I’ll spare myself from the embarrassment of admitting when the last time I vacuumed was and just say that it’s been a while. I was going to do it yesterday, but I didn’t get to it.

The good thing about that was, I didn’t care too much.

This is a huge step for me. A while ago I might have gotten cranky with myself for not having finished the whole job yesterday, and told myself how slack I was for not having done anything.

But yesterday evening I could look at my list and see the three things ticked off. Correction self-critic:   I have done three things today, thank you very much. And I knew I could just put the vacuuming on my list today; it would be the first thing I’d do this morning (after having coffee) and after I’d done it I could go outside with Juniordwarf.

Which I did.

Keeping the lounge room tidy is going to take some work for all of us. There will be days we won’t pack up, but the challenge is going to be to not let that one day drag into two and three and a week.

But I'm not going to worry about that tonight. I'm just going to relax in my tidy lounge room.

P365 - Day 267 - coffee (24/09/2011)

and cake.

Our Saturday morning ritual.

Friday, September 23, 2011

P365 - Day 266 - waiting

Today I went back to my counsellor. I booked this appointment a few weeks ago, because I thought I could use some help working through some of the stuff in the Self-Esteem book. I hoped that she might be able to help me step outside myself and develop a more objective and accurate picture of myself than I currently have.

But other things have intervened since I made the appointment, and there were more immediate things that I needed to talk about today.

I’m glad I went. 

I really needed to talk. 

I needed someone to help me to put things into perspective and to suggest some things I can do right now to make me feel better.

That’s what I got, and I do feel better.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

P365 - Day 264 - the budgie

This is our budgie.

He's been staying at my mother’s place since we went away.  Today was the first day Juniordwarf had seen the budgie since we left, and he was very excited about seeing him.

We’re going to pick him up tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

P365 - Day 263 - gardening

Juniordwarf said he wanted to go outside this morning, so I told him to go while I finished what I was doing.

A while later I went out to see what he was doing. He’d put on his little gardening gloves, got his little digger and was in the vege garden digging in the soil.

He was digging soil out of the garden and putting it into the polystyrene box that we’re trying to grow carrots in (rather than battle with the oxalis in the vege patch).

I asked what he was doing, and he said he was gardening.

Of course he was!

P365 - Day 262 - flowers (19/09/2011)

Our last day.

Juniodwarf, Slabs and I went to Floriade, Canberra’s annual spring festival with Grandma.

We had a couple of hours there. Juniordwarf loved smelling the flowers, even the ones that weren’t scented.

In amongst the stalls was the Chilli Factory, home of ‘the world’s hottest chilli’. They had free tastings, so I went straight for the ‘Devil’s Delirium’, which ranked 14/10 in hotness – but they actually have an ever hotter one. That pretty much killed my taste buds for the rest of the tasting. Slabs approached it more sensibly and started with the milder ones before attempting the hot one.

Juniordwarf went on a ride and on the jumping castle before it was time to go.

We went out for lunch and Juniordwarf had raw salmon sushi as they didn’t have any smoked salmon. He started eating it with a little squirt of soy sauce, then a mouthful. Despite his penchant for nuggets and chips, we’re really pleased with how he’s starting to try different types of food.

After than we spent a few more hours with Grandma and Grandad, then headed off to the airport on our way home.

Somehow Juniordwarf managed to stay awake not only for the whole flight, but also on the drive home, and he had his latest bed time ever, about 10.30.

Then we could collapse too.

P365 - Day 261 - picnicking (18/09/2011)

Slabs and I got a well-earned sleep in this morning, and the family got to experience the fun that is Juniordwarf waking up early on a Sunday morning!

We met Lil Sis and Mr Tall for a picnic lunch at Weston Park and a ride on the miniature railway

After we got off the train, Juniordwarf saw lots of kids were eating icecreams. The manipulation went like this: ‘Mu-um . . . other people are having ice cream’.

We’d heard there was a maze in the park too, but didn’t know where it was, so Mr Tall went to ask the people at the train station/kiosk about it. (It had gone.) 

Juniordwarf thought that Mr Tall was going to get him an ice cream, so he lined up behind him.

When he realised Mr Tall wasn’t getting ice cream, he came back to us and repeated his original statement.

It worked.

P365 - Day 260 - sight-seeing and partying (17/09/2011)

We went shopping this morning, then did a bit of sight-seeing. Or rather, we went to Parliament House. 

Juniordwarf loved the water feature at the front of Parliament House, and insisted on dipping his feet in.

After that, we drove up Mount Ainslie to show Juniordwarf Canberra from above.

In the afternoon we went to Aunty Purple Bee and Uncle Tee’s house for their birthday party and to toast them as they head off overseas to get married. 

Juniordwarf was especially excited because he was going to be allowed to sleep at Aunty Purple Bee’s house instead of coming back to the motel with us.

He's getting a lot more confident dealing with Aunty Purple Bee's dog.

Lil Sis and Mr Tall dropped in during the night too. They’re en route to Tasmania.

P365 - Day 259 - remembering (16/09/2011)

Today marked two years since my father passed away.

I wanted to do something to remember him, but wasn’t really sure what would be the right thing to do, especially since we’d be on holidays.

I decided that, as Dad had served in the military and had spent many hours in the War Memorial on his visits to Canberra, it would be ok to go there.

I took Juniordwarf with me, although he didn’t really understand what it was all about. Maybe when he’s older.

I wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do when I was there, and it was difficult to really reflect. But I’m glad we went.

After the War Memorial we met up with a friend for lunch at the Dickson Asian Noodle House, which was my favourite place for laksa when I worked in Canberra. I’d been looking forward to this since, well, the last time we were in Canberra – about 18 months ago. Their laksa gets rave reviews, but this time, unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as usual, which was disappointing, as I’d waited so long.

Never mind. There’s always next time. In 2013!

At the playground in the morning

P365 - Day 258 - happy birthday (15/09/2011)

Today was Juniordwarf’s birthday.

He’d been so excited about it: the holiday, being with Slabs’ family, getting a pirate cake . . . and he said he was going to wear his pirate suit all day.

When I asked him what he wanted for his birthday he said he wanted ‘a pink cake’, and ‘pink presents’. I asked what he actually wanted in the presents, and he said he wanted clothes and The Wonky Donkey. He was absolutely convinced he’d be getting that book, and he didn’t stop talking about it, so that was on the ‘definite’ list.

The plan was for us to take him to Questacon in the morning and then meet Slabs’ family at a park for lunch and a small party.

We gave him two presents in the morning, with the rest to come at the party. He was absolutely over the moon to get The Wonky Donkey (and we lost count of the number of times we played the CD in the car). I also decided that each birthday I was going to try and get him to make a hand print and write his name for a special scrapbooking page, so we had a bit of fun with some purple paint.

No doubt inspired by Fathers Day, Juniordwarf said he wanted breakfast in bed, so we let him eat his toast in bed.

He had a wonderful time at Questacon. He particularly loved the Earthquake house and the roller coaster simulator, as well as the kids section, Mini-Q.

We met up with Grandma, Grandad, Aunty Purple Bee and Uncle Tee at the park, where Juniordwarf opened the rest of his presents and got his pirate cake that Slabs made yesterday.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at the park and then back at Aunty Purple Bee and Uncle Tee’s house, before going out for dinner.

We had a very tired little boy on our hands at the end of the day.