Tag Archives: Reflections

Losing my habit

Many moons ago I was studying for my higher school certificate (HSC for the Aussies, final school exams that give you your marks to get into University for everyone else 🙂 ), I had always had issues with exam anxiety. It wasn’t that I didn’t study or didn’t try, I just got in there and somehow convinced myself things were trick questions or they wanted more than what was on there or had blanks. It was a bad time. My grandmother was also very ill and going through cancer treatments.

One day I went to visit my grandmother with my Mum and the doctor chose that day to tell us that she would not be getting better. I blocked up all my reactions and when we left the hospital I kept striding towards the car until my Mum yelled for me to stop. I sat down on a short wall and started crying. My Mum had her cigarettes sitting next to her and I just took one and lit it. That was the day I first started smoking.

I was a pretty considerate smoker I believe. I stood away from people and crowds when smoking. I held the cigarette away from myself and blew the smoke away from myself to reduce the amount the smell stuck to me. I would also eat a mint, wash my hands and give a spritz of perfume after a smoke and like any decent person I binned my butts.

Because my hubby, siblings and mother smoke I have always found it very difficult to quit or cut down. I would also use smoking as an appetite suppressant and didn’t feel I could quit and lose weight at the same time and because I was always trying to lose weight I never really quit.

I always thought I would quit when I got pregnant. For many years of trying I didn’t think of quitting. Then when we found out how much IVF was going to cost us I decided I didn’t want anything risking it not working and I just completely quit on February 15 this year. One day I smoked the next day I just stopped, that evening I was sitting at a table whilst my Mum and Hubby enjoyed a smoke and a cuppa together and it was hard, but I didn’t smoke.

I have now not smoked for 155 days.

I am so very proud of myself. It was not easy. It was in fact very hard to break a habit I had for over a decade. I feel I am healthier for it. I used to always get bronchitis in winter, I have not (touch wood) had anything awful so far this winter (although I also had the flu vaccine for the first time this year). Whilst all my colleagues have been falling around me I have marched on with sometimes mild flu symptoms. I have been an asthma sufferer for years and since quitting I have not had one attack. Not one use of my inhaler. That is incredible to me.

Between quitting smoking and the IVF meds I did put on about 8kgs (my IVF doctor was not pleased) and my eating was just out of control because I was using food to fill the smoking hole. Last week I signed up with weight watchers to help get my eating back on track. In the first week I lost 2.4kgs so I feel like this was definitely a good move.

I knew going in that quitting smoking would be a long road. I was prepared to put on weight and wait for my body to get used to being without cigarettes before attempting to lose it and now I am ready to build a new lifestyle that does not include smoking.

It was a massive part of my life. My husband who generally succeeds at everything he does lasted half a day. I am not mad at him for this because I know how difficult it is. I believe in him and know he will get there.

I have had difficulty because I used to use a smoke as a time of stress relief. Suddenly removing that from my life I believe had a bigger impact than the cravings. To deal I replaced it with watching Netflix and eating chocolate basically everyday. As a chocoholic I must admit I loved this, but my fat jeans did not. They no longer fit 😦 It also did not solve the problem because I was avoiding de-stressing by submerging myself in another world. It was all still there when I turned the TV off at night.

After our fresh transfer for IVF failed I went into a dark hole. I knew I needed to make changes to help my mental health and help me heal from this devastating result. So we took a break from IVF to allow my body to balance out all the hormones and we vowed to stop having timed intercourse for a couple of months (anyone who has had to do this knows what it does to your relationship and we have been trying to conceive for 4.5 years now) and I decided to make some changes.

So what has this loss of habit brought me?:

I no longer have asthma symptoms, I can breathe easier, I don’t get sick as often and if I do I get over it pretty quickly.

My decision to change my lifestyle began 155 days ago when I quit smoking. I knew I was in for a long journey, but so far it has totally been worth it. I have been going to Pilates for 3 weeks and love it. Yesterday I added in some treadmill work before Pilates which my body was not used to, but was very good to me. Pilates has also helped my headspace. I plan to increase the number of times I do it a week because I feel that this could provide me with the de-stress I have been craving. Long soaks in the bath have also helped with this and finding ways to spoil myself a little that has nothing to do with food or smoking has helped with the de-stress too.

The combination of quitting smoking and having a break from IVF has hubby and I connecting like newlyweds, we are coming up on 9 years together and 5 years married and I can with confidence say that our relationship is everything  have always hoped for in a marriage.

Whilst I put on weight initially I am now losing it slowly in a healthy way and filling my body with awesome nutrition to support the beautiful embryo we have frozen just waiting for transfer.

Making the decision to lose this habit has had many positive impacts in my life. It was one of the bigger challenges I have faced in life and I am proud of myself for overcoming it.

 

Response to the discover topic The Things We Leave Behind

 

 


Raw: Infertility

Warning: this is going to be raw. I am not going to edit it and I am going to babble. I do not expect my thoughts to be flowing perfectly because that’s not what happens to my emotions when I think about this. This post is about the struggles of infertility from my perspective and I’m not gonna lie, there will be swearing and talk some people might find uncomfortable. Oh and it will probably be long. How long? Hmm… as long as I need it to be hahaha. 

I’m just going to say it, I am going to say what we are all thinking. Infertility is BULLSHIT! It is a horrible, no good, low down, nasty bugger of a thing!

contentbullshit

Source: iaintskinny.wordpress.com

One of my fears growing up was that I would be barren, I have no idea why I had this fear. There was certainly no precedence for it, but have it I did and more than once I have wondered whether my fear somehow brought on my condition/s (AKA PCOS, Insulin Resistance and a slow as all hell metabolism). You know mind over matter and all that jazz. Obviously this is probably ridiculous, but you think a lot of strange things on the IF journey.

The IF journey has a huge effect on not only the women involved, but also their partners. If they are open about their struggles it will possibly also effect their immediate family, other children they have and friends.

I often feel as though the word ‘infertility’ could be used synonymously with ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’ because in my mind there is no doubt it causes or greatly contributes to causing both. There is no way you could go through this process, this journey and not be affected by it, if I ever meet someone who says they aren’t I am going to ask what prescriptions they are on because I need to get me some of that!

Each month is this stupid mental and physical roller-coaster. Let’s have a look shall we…

From day one of your cycle (first day of Aunt Flo (AF)) you are cramping, in pain, yet dedicated to trying for a baby so you are already basal temping first thing in the morning and recording it down like a dutiful soldier (let’s not mince words here because you are fighting the war against infertility). For those who haven’t experienced this let me be more clear, we take our temperature and write it down, then chart it to figure out when we are ovulating. We do all of this first thing when we wake up of a morning before even sitting up in bed. We do this everyday of our cycle, which means we do this every day of the year, every year until we fall pregnant (or switch methods).

Once AF has finally disappeared a new game begins. Depending on how long you have been trying to conceive (TTC) you might be just basal temping, you might be using ovulation strips (you pee on them) to identify when you ovulate and there are many other techniques and/or medications you could be trying. Pretty much the further into the game you get the more you try. At this point I am more than 4.5 years into this baby making game… tenacity people 🙂 So here is what I do. I temp every morning, once AF finishes we then start the sperm meets egg method which involves having sex every two days, from the 10th day of my cycle I continue basal temping and back it up with peeing on an ovulation stick. Once I get a positive result we ‘try’ three days in a row, then skip one day and then have sex again. After that comes the wait, you’d think this meant a holiday which I would totally deserve as all the above is pretty exhausting whilst maintaining a full time job, house and eating, pooping and now apparently exercising and whatnot.

“The two week wait” – this sentence wets the eye of even the toughest of the infertility community. The two week wait is the space between when you ovulate and the end of your cycle. It is completely torturous and the whole time you are asking yourself if there was more you could have done to ensure pregnancy and you are praying and begging whoever is in charge up there to help you out. Trust me, it doesn’t matter how non-denominational you are, at some point you will pray. Naturally stress, anxiety and angst is probably not good for a developing embryo, but hey there is only so much chocolate one can eat and we can’t have alcohol because we are trying to get knocked up. ‘Knocked Up’ I used to enjoy that movie, now it just pisses me off.

The closer you get to the end of the two week wait the more anxious you become. You pay attention to every little twinge in your body, do you feel nauseated? You cup your breasts trying to figure out if they are bigger or sensitive. You have conversations with yourself convincing yourself over and over again that there is no point in taking a pregnancy test early because the results won’t show properly. How long can you hang out? This past month I made it to day 29. I had no indications whatsoever of AF, no cramps or spotting at all. So I tested, and… nothing. Big fat negative (BFN). Naturally I was upset, an hour later I go to the toilet and there is AF. Meanwhile what is this ‘Aunt Flo’ stuff? It’s a period. I HATE getting my period, but I love when my Aunts come to visit. It is a period in every sense of the word and the words it gives you when it comes are “You period Are period Not period Pregnant period Again period!”

2ww

Source: sachablack.co.uk

Then with the beginning of your period you are back to cycle day 1 and get to start the fun all over again.

You would think this would be enough to throw anyone off balance right? Right! But just for the heck of it, let’s add on some more stuff.

Amongst all of the above you will need to be seeing probably a GP and a Fertility Specialist (because we are all made of money too) and they might put you on Clomid which turn your ovulation cycles into overdrive, imagine if a normal ovulation cycle is a Nicholas Sparks novel inspired film like the Notebook, well Clomid and it’s awesome emotional side effects are the equivalent of Arnie taking on the predator. You will be WAY emotional, in fact on day 6 of my first round of Clomid I cried in the middle of a restaurant you can read about cycle 2 of Clomid here and here.

If you have PCOS and/or Insulin Resistance you will probably be put on Metformin which can also have some amazeballs side effects. Seriously you guys they are so awesome… not. In a post called ‘The Metformin Effect’ I discussed the fortunate and not so fortunate side effects of this medication and also have some very handy hints on how you can handle them until your body is used to it and settles down.

jelly_beans_shellac

What is your fave colour?

If you have a lazy ass metabolism you will probably be put on something like Eutroxsig or Oroxine. This can be hit and miss and definitely look up the side effects in case you have a bad one. I was on Eutroxig at first and all my hair started falling out. Then I finally got changed to Oroxine and thank god the hair situation has calmed down.

Then you have the surgeries. Convinced I had endometriosis the specialist decided to do a laparoscopy complete with a uterus clean out, tubal flush and ovarian drilling (which is exactly what it sounds like). For me this was not fun. I also got an infection in one of the wounds which made me very sick and I still didn’t get a baby.

Then you can move on to IVF. This is where you spend your savings, or take out a loan/second mortgage, dip into your superannuation or just spend your future kids college fund on a variety of medications and medical procedures where they give you lots of drugs through needles to send your ovaries into crazy egg producing mode, you have a bunch of blood tests (more needles), then ultrasounds where they stick a wand up your vajayjay, then they put a massive needle up and through your vagina wall and into your follicles to extract said eggs (apparently some women are knocked out for this, but I got to experience it all in HD! Honestly one of the most traumatic experiences of my life to date), then you get to be completely angry at your partner because all they have to do is have a date with a sample cup. The sperm and eggs are put in a petri dish for 24 hours for their own date and then the angst begins again.

sperm meet egg

Sperm meets Egg

For me it went like this.

Because I had done wayyyy too much reading into statistics I decided that 11 would be a good base number… we got 9 so that was already disappointing for me. Overnight 6 fertilised which is more than 50% which is good so then I was happy. Come day 3 and 3 were looking good, come day 5 and only 2 were looking really good.

They transferred 1, more tubes and what not up my vajayjay freezing the other and sending a sample for genetic testing. Then I was sent home to start the dreaded TWW yet again (see above). My TWW did not end as hoped and there were LOTS of tears to be had.

Meanwhile your first period after egg retrieval and transfer is a painful SOB!!! Seriously it was SO BAD that the cramping disturbed my bowls and I had to leave work because the bleeding and diarrhea was sooo bad I could not be out in public!

Then there was more waiting to see if the embryo we had frozen was normal… 4.5 weeks later we found out it was THANK whoever is upstairs!

I truly hope that one day my journey ends with my husband and I having a child, but to date I can summarise my IF journey as follows: waiting, perfunctory sex, all of the NEEDLES and going broke. Not to mention the fact that I feel like my vagina should be charging admission at this point, she’s reaching studio 54 numbers now. And then there’s breaking your heart once a month when AF arrives or you don’t see that second line on the pee stick. I just want to earn my stripes!

There is still much for me to figure out like how to do those pee sticks without peeing on yourself… so hard to pee on teeny stick when you first wake up in the morning.

I have terrible days, friends, an unhealthy obsession with chocolate, fellow bloggers and a sick sense of humour seem to get me through. What gets you through?

 


A lull…

I know I have been absent. I abandoned you and I am sorry. The difficulties I discussed in my last post along with some not so good stuff going on at work that I am not aloud to talk about at the moment, but suffice to say that it is stressful stuff.

I have also just been really down and feeling quite lonely. I think whilst I love my new home moving there and not having the company of my parents has compounded the sadness of the IVF transfer failing. The place often feels rather empty and whilst I would like to do activities like unpacking and gardening and what not together, Hubby generally seems to like to get stuck into things separately which I guess is fine, but not grand for the whole lonely thing.

Just sad

We got the test results for our frozen emby and it is completely normal. HUGE sigh of relief!!! They sent me the report which I thought would list all the different tests they did on it, but it didn’t. We opened it and it simply had our names, when the testing was done, that it tested normal at the highest percentage, the GENDER and that it was fit for transfer. Yup that’s right, we were not going to find out the gender because I was worried I would get too emotionally invested in this life that might not come to be and we found out by accident. Meanwhile I was totally right, I tried not too, but all I can think about is this little life and what they might look like and how I would love to do the nursery. OMG SO BAD you guys, I have not had any of that too badly, but it is in high gear now.Hubby and I decided we are not going to tell anyone the sex (I reserve the right to change my mind about this) even if it works it is the one thing we feel that we would like to keep to ourselves.

I became desperate to have the next transfer work I decided I HAD to lose weight somehow and signed up to Isagenix because it worked for my friend. I did it because I was desperate basically. Well I learned my lesson, I did not react well to this system, it tasted awful and I gagged my way through the shakes and the pills. By day two I was severely (and uncomfortably almost painfully) bloated and had added 5+cm to my waist line. They kept pushing me to continue it and go on a cleanse day and said it was normal. I had a big break down to my husband and talked to him about my/our diet and lifestyle and that I was desperate to lose weight to give this baby the best chance at latching on. We talked for hours. I made the decision to return the Isagenix and look at another way of getting fit. This all happened during the two weeks I took off of work because I needed some head space. Weight watchers has previously been amazing for me and teaches you good eating habits. We decided to do this instead, I just have to wait for my refund for Isagenix.

So yes I have been struggling with some seriously sad feelings. Hubby actually wanted me to see someone because he said in 9 years he had never seen me like this. I think I just really needed the two weeks off to veg out, sleep and work through some shit (I am a GREAT bottler of feelings). I feel a lot better for it. Now I just have to send off the stuff back to Isagenix, get my money back, join up to weight watchers (or rather rejoin) and go to the Pilate class I convinced my friends to attend with me once a week after work (don’t worry I intend to do more than one bout of exercise per week 🙂 )

sleep

All the sleep!!!

What crazy things have you guys tried when you were desperate to lose weight? Did it work?


The Brazilian Files

Warning: I’m talking waxing people

They say “beauty is pain” – I don’t know who started that, I even Googled it and could not figure it out, suffice to say in a lot of cases it is true. Today however I am talking about a specific kind of pain… I am talking about the dreaded waxing… the brazilian!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I like to get all my waxing/beautician stuff over in one go. I go in once every 5 weeks and do the eyebrows, bikini line etc. I have thought about permanent hair removal, but that is about as far as I have got with that… thought about it LOL.

Recently I went on my regular visit to the beautician I have been seeing for many, many years. I even followed her when she moved a few suburbs away, she is good and she is reasonably priced. So this day I went and she was on her own because the other lady was on a half day, should be no issue right? So here I am in a tank top and a g-string on this table legs all over the place and she has got her hot wax and is putting it in the kind of places where you really want someone giving it 100% focus as a little stray wax could put you in a world of pain and the phone would not stop ringing. Seriously what would normally take a maximum of 10 minutes took us 30. It was insane, she kept having to leave the room mid wax and I would lay there listening to her conversation on the phone or hearing her talking to the random that had walked in until she came back.

Eventually she gave up and brought the cordless with her and then I had the awesome experience of having her waxing between my legs whilst fielding phone calls, that was seriously bizarre, I mean I have heard of multi-tasking, but that is not something I want you to do whilst you are applying hot wax to my lady parts!

Then someone came in the front door again so she had to go out, I happened to look to the side and see the mirror they have there so you can check your wax before going out and paying in case there is anything you want them to fix and had to laugh at how ludicrous I looked. One leg up and out and one to the side, at some stage of mid wax (I wasn’t entirely sure where we were at so I didn’t want to put my legs together in case things then got stuck – Oh my god can you even imagine that!), pretty much bare enough to cause significant embarrassment if someone walked in, listening in to a conversation I shouldn’t have been dealing with before my morning coffee (apparently her bf was going to ditch her if she didn’t bald her beaver – I felt like screaming at her to dump him if he doesn’t return the favour and bald his balls!!) and apparently a bit of the cotton she had used had not made it to the bin and was stuck to my knee. I had a good giggle at myself and then realised how much we really bare to our beauticians, my beautician has seen more of my body than my doctor, she knows more about our house dramas than most of my friends, she knows and remembers the name of my Hubby and our nieces and nephews – some of my colleagues don’t even know I have any.

Isn’t that an incredible amount of trust? Not that I am saying it is a bad thing, I just had never thought about it before and was quite amazed to be honest.

Don’t worry, she didn’t leave me stranded, she came back and finished me up and apologised profusely throughout the entire thing. Funnily enough (even with Clomid going nuts) I wasn’t upset about it, because I knew that they had recently moved areas and that they were in a small collection of shops rather than a mall now and she was very ill with fluid on her lungs for a few weeks so she really needs the business. Then I realised I knew her well too. How interesting that both of us share so much of our lives with someone we see once every five weeks.

How much do you share with your beautician?

 


The Metformin Effect

I want to talk side effects. Not to be confused with special effects which are which are commonly attributed to huge explosions or amazing action sequences in films directed by the likes of Joss Whedon, Michael Bay or James Cameron who I still haven’t forgiven for Avatar – all you did was give Pocahontas and her people Argyria and have them do questionable things with their tails. Thank you for Dark Angel though, that was awesome!

I digress (although not entirely because technically Argyria is a side effect of being exposed to chemical compounds *oh man I have my nerdy Librarian glasses on today bigtime hahaha*), back to side effects.

So I have been happily taking my Metformin for several weeks now and I have noticed some side effects. Some of which have been quite good, others not so good and after chatting to a friend who as it turns out has the exact same diagnosis as I do and the same meds I discovered more side effects that I hadn’t yet linked to the Metformin.:

Untitled

 

What is your favourite colour jelly bean?

What is your favourite colour jelly bean?

I hope this is helpful to those of you dealing with these side effects.


Relationship potholes – Baggage check

Daily Prompt from the Daily post:

We all have complicated histories. When was the last time your past experiences informed a major decision you’ve made?

Just over seven years ago I met my Husband and we became friends, at the time I had just started seeing another guy. We had gone on a few dates and he was a really nice guy (let’s call him David), he had a great job and earned incredibly good money (approx. 90K p.a.). After about a month I had realised that whenever I went out with David he usually managed to find a poker machine at some point in the night and spend a bit of time there. This was a serious red flag for me as the last two men I had dated had hidden their poker machine love for some time into the relationship, but then two days after they had been paid they were out of money and looking for permanent loans from their girlfriend AKA me.

I had already been aware that my attraction to my new friend was steadily growing and I didn’t feel that was fair on David, so I had some thinking to do.

After the experience of my last two relationships I had serious baggage when it came to any kind of gambling, I had just seen too much of my money go into that coin slot and even when my ex’s won they didn’t pay me back the money I had loaned them.

The worst experience was one night my then boyfriend said he was going to the bar to get a beer, I asked if he could get me a coke while he was there, he then asked me for some money to pay for it. I only had a $50 on me so I gave him that and off he went. Lines at bars can be really long so it wasn’t until the time reached 45 minutes that I started to worry, I went looking for him and found him at the poker machines, he handed me my drink and I looked at it in dismay, because the pokie area was also the smoking area, my drink had gathered some friends in the form of cigarette ash. I pointed this out to him, he suggested I get a new one as it was only $2, I asked for my change so I could and he looked at me surprised and said, “Oh did you want the change?” Now quite aggravated I replied,

“Well I assume you used my money for your beer too so that was $4, my ash coke was $2, that’s $44 change… naturally I would want $44 in change”

“I don’t have the change” he said

“Why? What happened to it?” I asked. He gestured to the poker machine that had only $5 credit left on it, “you put MY money into a poker machine?” by this point I was raising my voice.

“Well, yeah. Is that a problem? It was just change” I was completely shocked and couldn’t understand why he wasn’t in the least contrite.

“Are you kidding me? How could you think it was okay to put someone else’s money in a poker machine? Part of that ‘change’ was supposed to pay for a taxi home from the train station. I now have to walk two kilometres home in the dark! Does that sound like a problem to you?” He then had the audacity to get made and said,

“I thought we were going by the whole ‘what’s mine is yours’ thing, I’m so sorry that $44 is more important to you than your partner having fun” at that point in my life I was stupid, insecure, young and naïve. I was stupid enough to believe it was a mistake because he’d had quite a bit to drink and that it wouldn’t happen again. I am cringing right now because I can’t believe HOW STUPID I WAS!!!!!

I learnt a huge and harsh lesson from that relationship and I was determined to never make the same mistake again. So when David started showing a penchant for gambling alarms were screaming in my head. I decided I didn’t want to risk it and broke it off with him. We parted amicably and still interact on Facebook, it turned out he didn’t have a problem with gambling so I felt bad for judging him prematurely, but at the time I couldn’t see past my past experiences.

Silver lining for both of us though – eventually I started dating my Husband after we both realised being friends wasn’t enough for us and David went on to meet a lovely lady who he is now engaged to.

So everything (luckily) ended up happy sparkle time 🙂


Finding myself in the Red Centre

Recently I read a piece called “The top 10 tips I’ve learned from minimalists”  on the blog The ExtraOrdinary Simple Life by Lara Blair. This post discussed how to find the parts of a minimalist lifestyle that work for you and provided some great tips on putting them into practice.

After having a comments discussion with the author regarding single socks and their attack on the minimalist lifestyle and the zen of the human race in general (it made complete sense to us and I may blog about it at a later date) I discovered a comment written by All thoughts work outdoors, part of which really struck a chord with me. The paragraph that particularly caught my eye was as follows:

“I found that a simple, yet very powerful tool for decluttering is to reevaluate one’s social life. A lot of people hang onto stuff because they wanna be prepared for any social situation, be acceptable to anybody and everybody who will judge them. But when you get hard-core-honest about who you really want to spend your life on, you’ll find it’s the ones who don’t give a rat’s ass if you have festive holiday napkins or the right hemline”. – All thought work outdoors, 2014

I loved this comment! I absolutely remember being this way, wanting to be acceptable to all, be a pleaser, I somehow believed that being part of the pack and being accepted and acceptable was vital to being happy. What the hell was I thinking?! How much time and energy I wasted being this way is quite scary to think about. When I was 18 I even drank the same drinks as my friends because lolly water alcoholic drinks were so in, they tasted like Bertie Botts’s every flavour beans, but they were in so I had to like them.

My wakeup call came when I moved to Ayers Rock at the age of 19, for those who haven’t been let me tell you, it’s hot, it’s arid, there is red sand everywhere and pretty much everything about it is not conducive to wearing make-up and sexy dresses. Basically it is about trying to stay comfortable and always being prepared for a sand storm and visits from unexpected wildlife 🙂 It was fabulous and I loved it! I learned so much and I met amazing people from all corners of the Earth and all walks of life, it was a completely unique experience that I value so much. Though I didn’t realise it at the time I now believe having this experience at that age really played a part in shaping who I am today.

While I was living at the Rock at one point I had 3 jobs, I worked full time as an all-rounder for a tourism company (which pretty much means you need to be able to do anything), I was a guide on sunset champagne tours a couple of times a week and I ran Karaoke once a week. I didn’t feel overworked because we had so much play time as well, I explored all the amazing things the Red Centre had to offer, there were many times that I truly felt like I was being paid to be permanently on vacation.

When I moved back to Sydney at 21 I really didn’t understand the friends I had from High School anymore; I didn’t get wearing teeny tiny dresses to go out in 15 degree weather, I didn’t understand them wearing more make-up in one night than I saw in 2 years at the rock and I really didn’t understand these women I knew to be very intelligent giggling and flipping their hair in an effort to get male attention.

Did I feel out of place? Yup. Did I feel like the odd girl out because when I went out I mostly wore nice jeans, a pretty top and flats? Absolutely. Was I always on the outer edge of conversations with my old bosom buddy friends from school because I didn’t relate easily to them anymore? Hell yes! The above coupled with the fact that my grandfather passed away not long after I moved back had me in a pretty dark place; I would try to talk to my friends about how I felt about his passing and found that they just didn’t get it. None of them came to the funeral to support me and after a while I started getting comments like, “are you still sad?” (I don’t blame them for this really as I came to the realisation that none of them had dealt with the death of a loved one).

So I trudged along, I still went out with the group, due to the alcohol education I had received living at the Rock I no longer drank lolly water, or anything else the girls were drinking… it was mostly beer for me at that stage. After a few months I discovered something thanks to a male friend of mine, one night whilst the girls were tearing up the dance floor and we were chatting he divulged that the girls in the group were really intimidated by me. I was shocked and asked why; he gave me the following reason:

  • After school rather than go straight to Uni I had moved interstate, lived and survived on my own and thrived whilst holding down three jobs – all my friends were living the Uni life, some working casual in bars, the others living off the bank of Mum and Dad and they all lived at home.
  • When I go out I have the confidence to wear whatever I am comfortable in and am happy to strike up conversation with pretty much anyone (pretty sure this came from 2 years in a town of 1500 people where you knew everyone so you talked to everyone) – the girls were nervous about approaching new people, particularly guys.
  • I hold my alcohol really well and can keep up with most guys – thanks Ayers Rock alcohol education 🙂 Although I must say that this trait does run in the women of my family for some reason.
  • Because I wear sensible shoes I can pretty much stay out all night without complaining of sore feet – no running around the streets in bare feet for me. It also means I appear to have more stamina.
  • I am able to talk to guys easily, I can hold my own at the pool table and drink with them – What can I say they had a lot of pool tables at Ayers Rock and I like the game. Pretty rusty now though.

It was then I realised that the girls were having as much trouble relating to me as I was to them. By moving interstate and living/surviving on my own, working and paying bills I had matured significantly. In high school we were all having the same experiences and because my friends then went on to Uni even though they were at different Unis studying different subjects they were still having similar life experiences whereas my experiences were completely different. The fact that we were still making such efforts to relate to each other was quite admirable.

It seemed living there gave me the independence to grow into who I was removed from the variety of influences girls in the city have at that age. I am quite thankful for that now, it helped me discover who I was and I don’t spend as much time trying to impress people by behaving in any way that is unnatural to me. Take me as I am world 🙂


52 books in 52 weeks

New Years Eve 2013 resolution time. We are all familiar with the almighty resolutions list we create for ourselves each year, most of us are also aware of exactly how long that list usually lasts, so this year I wanted to create a different kind of list. I didn’t want my list to limit me as much as previous lists have e.g. lose 10kgs – things like this on your list are not fun, they are a chore, for those who are successful with things like this I truly salute you, but I hate them on there. So, since this is my list, this year I put what I wanted on it rather than what I thought I should put on it and so far it has been a lot more fun keeping to the list.

The list

  1. Try new things – Challenge yourself.
  2. Lead a healthier lifestyle – you can combine this with trying new things – e.g. new recipes, new foods, new activities, have fun with it.
  3. “Home truths” – Don’t lie to myself or blame things on others that are all on me.
  4. 52 books in 52 weeks – read 52 books in a year – try new authors, things you wouldn’t normally read and finally read the Hobbit – you have had it for years!!!

It’s a short list, but I have stuck to it for four months and it has been great! Here’s some of my progress:

Try new things:

Done

Home made waffles – I have eaten waffles before, but never cooked them… so good!

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Salmon steaks with rocket and walnut salad – never had either before and cooked it all… I am now a salmon lover! (Not big on seafood generally)

Roast pork loin with roast apples, onion, zucchini and potatoes – I have eaten pork before, but not pork loin and never with roast apples – it was amazing!

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Tried my hand at cake decorating for my brothers birthday, he loved it!

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Until yesterday I had long hair… now… big change!

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Coming soon

I have the ingredients to make individual baileys cheesecakes… that’s going to happen really soon

I am currently devising an Easter activity for my nieces and nephews (oldest is 2.5) which will not cover them in goop whilst still being fun – will post my failure or success haha.

Nieces and nephews are still a little young for tonnes of chocolate so I am thinking decorated cupcakes for easter – watch this space.

 

Healthier Lifestyle

This has ended up being mostly food based, but it is interesting how slight changes have made big differences, where before I would maybe munch on some potato chips I now go for black sesame brown rice crackers – so good! I have a bigger lunch now, rather than just a sandwhich I have salad as well which keeps me fuller and sometimes I don’t even suffer from 3.30itis 🙂

The harder part has been soft drinks, whilst I never had tonnes of it – maybe a glass a day I am now trying to not have any. It’s weird, when you have not had it for some time and you have a glass it makes you feel thirstier than you were originally!

 

Home truths

I came up with this because – well it’s kind of complicated, but I just started seeing so much violence in everyday life and it really bothered me. When I say violence I am being extremely general, in addition to all the horrible events I see in the news I mean the discourteous way people deal with each other on a daily basis. People are so self-involved these days that nothing external seems to penetrate their tiny universe. I had already started thinking along these lines, but decided to include it in my resolutions one day after a woman at the shops was on her phone in her own world and smacked into my trolley (which had my 2 year old nephew in it), lost her balance and impaled my foot with her stiletto. I helped her up and asked if she was ok, to which she replied, “why don’t you watch where you are going you fat f*&#!” My reply, “I might be fat, but you are ugly inside and out and no amount of hooker make up or heels can fix that. Get your potty mouth away from us, I don’t want my kid exposed to your filth” I am not going to lie, that come back felt good. I felt I had managed to knock her down a peg or two without stooping to her level, but hobbling home I found myself reflecting and wondering if I could have done more to avoid that scene. I decided I needed to be more reflective on my behaviour on a full time basis to try and balance out some of the ugly karma in this world 🙂

 

52 books in 52 weeks

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS CHALLENGE!!! Please see progress below:

Number Title Author
1 –

Jan 1-5

Earthly Delights: a Corinna Chapman mystery (2004) Greenwood, Kerry
2 –

Jan 6-12

Heavenly Pleasures: a Corinna Chapman mystery (2005) Greenwood, Kerry
3 –

Jan 13-19

Devil’s Food: a Corinna Chapman mystery (2006) Greenwood, Kerry
4 –

Jan 20-26

Trick or Treat: a Corinna Chapman mystery (2007) Greenwood, Kerry
5 –

Jan 27 – Feb 2

Forbidden Fruit: a Corinna Chapman mystery (2009) Greenwood, Kerry
6 –

Feb 3-9

Cooking the Books: a Corinna Chapman mystery (2011) Greenwood, Kerry
7 –

Feb 10-16

Babies in Waiting (2012) Fiore, Rosie
8 –

Feb 17-23

Kushiel’s Dart(2001) Carey, Jacqueline
9 –

Feb 24–Mar 2

Kushiel’s Chosen (2002) Carey, Jacqueline
10 –

Mar 3-9

Kushiel’s Avatar (2003) Carey, Jacqueline
11 –

Mar 10-16

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire) Martin, George R. R.
12 –

Mar 17-23

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire) Martin, George R. R.
13 –

Mar 24-30

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire) Martin, George R. R.
14 – Mar 31 – Apr 6 Divergent Roth, Veronica
15 –

Apr 7-13

Insurgent Roth, Veronica
16 –

Apr 14-20

Allegiant Roth, Veronica

 

Let me know if you want information on the books I have read, happy to share thoughts or recommendations. If you have a recommendation for me to include in my 52 books in 52 weeks journey please recommend away 🙂


Social Media Addiction

So a little while ago I read this post http://kristenlynnwrites.com/2014/03/04/if-our-great-grandmothers-wouldve-had-facebook-and-twitter-when-they-were-young-mothers/ by Kristenlynnwrites and I loved it, it struck a chord with me, but in a different way than I would have expected when I started reading the piece. As I kept reading and giggling my way through the tweets I started thinking about the fact that because they didn’t have social media etc. they probably had a lot of time for other things. Then I read a comment by http://mrhairybrit.com/ that basically said exactly what I was thinking, “… the next generation is going to be a little lost in the world of social media”. I completely believe this in fact in some cases I feel like this is a bit of an understatement 🙂

Social media use is a little bit out of control, there I said it. Don’t get me wrong I use it, I absolutely use it and having lived in a few different places I find it a fabulous way to keep in touch with people I possibly wouldn’t be able to afford to keep in touch with otherwise. In fact I have done a lot of research and study into measuring and getting value out of social media technologies (which is likely evident from my last post) so I am certainly no Noob when it comes to the 2.0 world. What I have a problem with is the people that get so involved with their social media platforms that they basically spend more time posting their life on one platform or another than living it, that is where I think there is an issue. I believe we need a rehab clinic for social media addiction because trust me it is real!

So here are some prime examples of things happening on social media that drive me nuts:

  • Mums and Dads posting every breath of their child’s existence. Guys your kids want to make a connection with you, not the lens of your smartphone, put that down and play with them; you don’t need evidence of being a decent parent. In fact if all your interactions with them are through the lens you are not really exhibiting great parenting skills, stop observing and get in there! Someone doesn’t have to ‘like’ it on Facey for it to have meaning.
  • This next one was over the line and a totally legit reason to de-friend someone – recently the wife of a friend of mine had a bub, afterwards she posted photos of her C-section on FB… not okay! I wouldn’t want to see myself cut open like that, let alone anyone else… keep it in the family.
  • My husband and I got married 2 years ago – people were really surprised when it took us a month to change our relationship status to married (I don’t really know why they cared to be honest, but apparently it was a thing for them). When we were looking for someone to do our ceremony we kept seeing references to a Facebook inclusion, when I eventually asked what it was we were told that a lot of people after signing the register like to have an extra part where they update their status’ on Facey to say they are now married… ‘umm okay, no we won’t be having that. Yes I understand it is popular, we still don’t want it’. Since when was the ring, ceremony and massive party not enough evidence of the ‘I do’?
  • Selfies have gone too far! Yes I have taken them, yes I have posted them, yes I love the famous Ellen selfie, it is fabulous! But enough is enough… I do not need to see Belfies (Butt-selfies) which are just pure grot and who thought of that anyway?! The sheer amount of duckfaces I have seen in the past year have made me irrationally hate Daffy Duck a much loved icon of my childhood. And I have to say it… WTF is with after sex selfies?! How is this an okay thing to do? Vent, vent, vent, whinge, whinge, whinge. As a Librarian I have to admit that I do enjoy Shelfies, it’s a guilty pleasure to be able to have a perve at others bookshelves from the non-judgemental corner of my own home 🙂

So people go on with all these conspiracy theories about Big Brother watching and the government spying on everything we do, the thing is that if they wanted to they wouldn’t have to work very hard. I mean seriously, we are posting our entire lives to social media, all they would have to do is write an extremely basic program with some search terms and it would pull all of your information up. I can literally go onto my Facebook page right now and tell you everything one of my friends had to eat yesterday; seriously he posts every meal… I don’t even know what I had for breakfast yesterday, but I know he had a full continental breakfast in the lobby of a hotel near his work… does that not worry anybody else?

We have basically created our own strange version of The Truman Show; we have done this to ourselves. We are too quick to post stuff and we don’t think about the consequences, for example, did you know people Google you when you go for an interview? If you Google my brother’s name a certain way you will find a video of him setting off fireworks out of his butt from 5 years ago. Once the information is out there, you no longer have control of it.

What do your uploads say about your personal brand? http://www.brandnewmedia.com.au/blog/the-facebook-makeover

What do your uploads say about your personal brand? http://www.brandnewmedia.com.au/blog/the-facebook-makeover

So people please think before you upload and if you fit into any of the examples I have spoken about please seek a 12-step program in your area.


Brand New Year

2013 was a crazy whirl-wind for me. I honestly kept trying to get to writing Libraries of the future – Part 2, but every time I sat down to do the research for it I got distracted or called away (let’s be honest, sometimes I was doing the research and kept finding interesting things and got carried away in my surfing endeavors) either way it will be forthcoming… eventually (kind of like George R. R. Martin’s next book haha).

I have been finished my Professional Library cadetship for a year now so have been in the job market and I am recently officially graduated – hooray! I have to say after spending a year in the ‘I am awesome please hire me chair’ I have learnt so much about applications and interviews. I’ll be honest (and blunt) my first couple of applications were BAD, I knew I was right for these roles, but I wasn’t even getting to interview. I was completely frustrated and quite a bit desperate because who can afford to be out of work these days! Then one night as I was plugging away at yet another set of selection criteria I had a thought… what if I approached this like a Uni assignment. I looked at my previous applications and evaluated them, I found them to be at pass, maybe credit level – P’s might get degrees, but they don’t get you in the interview chair. Then I looked at the assessments I received HD’s for – BIG difference in language, layout, pretty much everything. So I wrote my next application as though I was writing an assessment and my goal was to fit as much vital information in there as possible in a small word count without waffle – I got to interview. The fit for the role wasn’t right for me or them and it wasn’t a Librarian role so it didn’t go ahead, but I was onto a winner. I contacted an agency that specialises in placing Information Professionals and I applied for one of the contract roles they had and was working a week and a half later 15 minutes from home!!! Dream come true! The contract which was initially 2 months was extended to 9 and I have had the time of my life here – even meeting a life-size working R2-D2!

R2-D2 and me!

R2-D2 and me!

With my contract ending at the end of January I had to get back on the application trail, the problem being as many of you would know that most people don’t do a lot of hiring at Christmas. So I set up all my alerts and RSS feeds for a variety of online job advertisers and one morning the tell tale *ping* of an email arriving held a surprise. The University quite close to my home (yes it is a good one) had a really good 12 month position available (long service leave fill – the role is retiring and will become available after this time). I wasted no time in applying using my new method, a week and a half later I was in interview, 3 hours after the interview they were calling my referees so I knew I had done well and 3 days later I have been offered the role of Liaison Librarian in a great University Library. A little side-note to this tale is that it was one of the Libraries on my ‘I want to work there’ wish list Woo-Hoo!

Now in my case with this role I got a fairytale ending, but it could have easily gone very wrong. Here is where the learning experience came in. Please make sure you know your referees extremely well, you need to know that no matter what is happening with them you can rely on them to give you a good reference. In my case I hadn’t spoken to one of my referees as they called so quickly after the interview and something was going on with them at the time (I have no clue what so I cannot comment on this, but their response was very out of character and I have never seen or heard of this person acting this way they have always been completely lovely!) and their response to the call was that they didn’t know what they were talking about and didn’t have time to talk. Queue the panel member calling me and asking what is happening, luckily I was able to contact another of my ex bosses and get her okay to provide her details within half an hour (she is a complete doll and totally saved my hide!). If they hadn’t have wanted me enough to call and advise me of what had happened with my referee (which most places WOULD NOT DO! I need to stress that fact!) I would not have got this job – because of my referee. When I called the person I apologised for not speaking to them before they were called, but they would not accept my apology and simply said, “I guess you have learned a harsh lesson today” – OUCH! Obviously they felt that after that I wouldn’t get the role either, while I understood that this person felt blind sided by the call I was also hurt that they were willing to cost me the possibility of a job (therefore an income) to teach me a lesson. This was someone I always looked up to as a boss – mental note: I never want to end up like that!

So here are my tips to ensure this never happens to you:
1. Contact the person you want to use and ask them if they would be willing to do it for you – most places require you to enter your references at the time of application now so you need their okay early.
2. If you get an interview, let the people you put down as referees know and send them the position description for the role you have applied for. This means that they will know the role you have applied for and will be able to talk to your strengths in this area.
3. After your interview, just give them a heads up. A quick email or message is fine, something along the lines of, “Just finished my interview, I think I went pretty well. Thank you for being my reference, I hope they contact you. Fingers crossed”.

Hopefully they will in turn let you know if they were called and how they felt it went. If anyone else has any tips in this area or applying for roles or wants to share their story please feel free!

This post didn’t really end up the way I had planned, but I think I like where it ended up. So in the spirit of ‘where the wind may take me’ I am not even going to go back over and edit this post before I publish it – this kind of makes me want to chew on my nails, but here…we…go…