A Guide Makes Good Use of Her Time

The Guide Law

  1. A Guide is loyal and can be trusted.
  2. A Guide is helpful.
  3. A Guide is polite and considerate.
  4. A Guide is friendly and a sister to all Guides.
  5. A Guide is kind to animals and respects all living things.
  6. A Guide is obedient.
  7. A Guide has courage and is cheerful in all difficulties.
  8. A Guide makes good use of her time.
  9. A Guide takes care of her own possessions and those of other people.
  10. A Guide is self-controlled in all she thinks, says and does.
I was a Girl Guide, Junior Leader, Assistant Guide Leader and Gumnut Guide Leader in the days of my youth.  Guiding still holds a very dear place in my heart and many happy memories and some embarrassing ones. My bra being flown from a camp flagpole was not a highlight!
It is interesting the things that come back and stick with you.  I could not recite the entire Guide Law to save my life but I often think to myself “A Guide makes Good Use of Her Time”.  This seems to have become more and more relevant to me as I get older.  Obviously I now have multiple roles in life and never enough time in the day.  Being on crutches and having impaired mobility for so long was a salient lesson in what can be achieved in very small pockets of time.  At this stage of my rehabilitation I can be standing around for 30 minutes at most before my back starts hurting so I have had to make sure that I make very good use of those 30 minutes (or smaller) intervals.
The smaller intervals are perhaps the most interesting.  I try to get as many little things done as the kettle boils, as the toaster toasts and when I have set the oven timer for something.  I have loaded or unloaded the dishwasher at one of these time, put a load of shopping away or cleaned down the sink. While I’m waiting for my computer to boot up or shut down or for the printer to work I can tidy numerous things off the desk.  When there are bigger tasks like folding washing, cleaning and the like I often set a kitchen timer for 15 minutes to get myself started and then keep going in 15 minute intervals.
Then there are some other ways to consider good use of time.  A big one for me recently has been sleep time.  I am often turning my light off when there is a 9 at the front of the time on the clock!  I then have a far better chance of getting the 8 hours sleep that I really need.  And what about when choosing what to do?  I had a  an afternoon with Daniel this afternoon as Anthony was off playing Bowls and Eric was at a friend’s place.  I would have been very well justified in continuing to plough through laundry and tidying up especially after yesterday’s Dinosaur Hunting party but Dan and I headed for the local park with his Big Bang Rocket and in true Daniel fashion he soon adopted four other random children and organised a series of test flights making sure that everyone had a turn and that they knew the correct technique.  Now that was good use of time!
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Websites I Am Always Talking About

I probably don’t frequent as many websites as most people, sticking to Facebook and Google Reader for the blogs that I enjoy.  However when I am talking to people about the things I love I often mention certain websites and am not always ina position to write them down.  The goal of writing this post is for people to refer to my blog for my favourite sites!

The Book Depository – There is a UK site as well as others in other countries.  It is a place to buy lots of different books at greatly reduced prices and there are no shipping costs.  They seem to send the books as soon as they have them available so when I made my first order a few months ago I actually received three separate parcels in the mail – good fun all in itself!  As an example of the possible savings, I bought two knitting books which sell for $45 each here and by using Book Depository I paid about $22 each.

Strawberry.net – I was put on to this site quite recently by a good friend when my skin was suffering from the cold and dryness and I was finding that my products froma rather cheap direct sales company were irritating my skin and not being very effective at all.  Back in the day, before children, mortgages and financial strife I used to use Clinique products and loved them.  I had given them up because they were simply too expensive and I was finding that I used them too sparingly to do any good.  Now I am back to using Clinique, having paid very low prices to get some items and my skin is really showing the benefits and feeling fantastic.  There is no shipping coast and extremely fast service.  Just as an aside, the same friend put me onto Blinc mascara. It is seriously the best mascara ever and lasts through absolutely everything because it actaully puts little “tubes” of mascara around each lash which stay there until rubbed gently with a wet washcloth.  When you rub them off you can actually see the little tubes on the washcloth and there is no residue smudged around the eyes.  Obviously they are very fine tubes and there is no ill-effect on the lashes. To quote Molly Meldrum, if you are a mascara wearer, “do yourself a favour” and try some of this stuff because it really is wodnerful!

CafePress – I am very happy to be the owner of two knitting t-shirts and one teaching t-shirt from this fantastic site.  There are shirts, sweaters and a range of other products with slogans and graphics for almost any occupation or hobby you could dream of.  It is worth a browse just for the entertainment value of what sayings they have on offer. My knitting shirts are “I knit so I don’t kill people” and “Keep calm and carry yarn”.  My teaching shirt is “I teach, what’s your superpower?”  There is some shipping cost but the service is faultless and they are a very good quality product.

Ravelry – Whenever I am talking to someone who is beginning to knit or crochet I invariably ask them if they have been on Ravelry.  It is a networking site for knitting, crochet and spinning and has thousands of members who share patterns, yarns and finished projects.  You can sign up for free and either browse through what’s on offer or start your own Ravelry “notebook” with pictures of your projects and links to the patterns and yarns used as well as where you obtained them.  because of all these notebooks you can search for a type of project or yarn and find almost countless results.  It is very useful for when you want ideas for a particular item like beanies or tea cosies or if you are deciding on whether to use a particular yarn or pattern.  Just make sure you have a spare 4-5 hours to spend browsing if you decide to have a look.

FlyLady – As I get back on my feet quite literally I am using and will continue to use FlyLady.  It is all about organising yourself and your house to take the best possible care of yourself and your loved ones.  I could write pages about how good her system is but it would be far better to just pay the FlyLady a visit and check her out for yourself.


Money Too Tight To Mention

Unfortunately we did have to mention it to someone who could help us out of our current financial crisis when we asked for help last week and unfortunately we got completely dragged over the coals, interrogated and thoroughly criticised for nearly all our life choices including but not limited to – choice of jobs, choice of hobbies, child care arrangements, activities in which our children are involved, the things we eat and the list goes on.  I’m the first to admit I am not perfect by any means.  My house is messy, we’re eating too much take-away and sometimes I sit down and play on the computer or knit something when perhaps I should be doing housework but is was just awful to have just about everything we do turned into a negative.

Suffice it to say, we didn’t chose to get into a financial mess and we’re sure as heck going to make sure we never do again.  This time has just been an unfortunate melding of council rates, car registration, massive tax bill, power bill and a range of medical expenses occurring all at once along with the normal end of year things like school book orders, piano lessons, chess lessons and the list goes on.  I’m ona much reduced salary compared to teaching and it just hasn’t worked for us.  It isn’t like we are going out every night or having caviar on our crackers.  We spend very little on clothes and entertainment of any description.  Now I sound like Im trying to justify our spending which I shouldn’t have to do.  We make choices – some are right and some are wrong but ultimately they are our choices.

I never want to go down the path of needing to ask for help again from the source we used last week. Never, ever.  So I’m taking baby steps to regain some control of the situation.  I’m going to to ring and try to organise some sort of payment plan for the hideous tax bill.  I’m selling my wedding dress.  I’ve started the process of frogging a garment I knitted a while back but decided that I would never wear.  The yarn is too good to wastes so I’m re-claiming it all and knitting coffee cup cosies to sell on e-bay or etsy.  I’m also looking into what I can make rather than buy for Christmas presents.

I’ve also got huge amounts of stuff that can all eventually go on e-bay – clothes, toys, baby things, furniture etc etc etc.  It will take a long time but I will do it and I’m sure I will feel better to having a less cluttered home.

I felt dreadful about this whole situation until last night when I sat down and started unravelling knitting.  Then I felt I had some tiny measure of control back.  Hopefully that feeling will grow.


Just One Piece

I’m playing along with Hellowl’s My Place and Yours this week and the theme is to choose one piece of furniture from your house that you would take if you could only take one piece across t

he country.  I thought about my desk

first which is a

 

recycled white wooden kitchen table with a green and white laminex top.  I do spend a lot of time here but there probably are better des

 

ks out there.

I’m such a dag.  I couldn’t live anywhere now without my Ikea storage unit inherited from my boys who used it for their trains and now has been re-purposed as my craft centre.  It is not particularly beautiful but is extremely functional and it makes me happy to sink into the recliner beside it and choose something to play with.


Taking Positive Steps

I’m back at work tomorrow and still feeling a bit fragile.  However I’ve done my first group fitness class in years this afternoon – aqua aerobics and lived to tell the tale so it doesn’t appear that I am going to break any time soon.

I saw my wonderful GP yesterday expected her to to be buried under a mountain of paper work from both hospitals.  She had heard from neither!  After some discussion and pushing on my poor sore chest I was diagnosed with Costochondritis  – Tietze’s Syndrome which is described below:

Costochondritis is a condition that causes chest pain due to inflammation of the cartilage and bones in the chest wall. Also called Tietze’s Syndrome, costochondritis occurs when there is inflammation at the junction of the rib bone and breastbone (sternum). At this junction, there is cartilage joining these bones. This cartilage can become irritated and inflamed. Depending on the extent of the inflammation, costochondritis can be quite painful.
This information comes from here and is the best explanation I’ve seen so far.  My GP wrote down the name of what I had because she knew I’s be coming home and googling it.  The nasty thing about it is that the symptoms mimic cardiac symptoms so they have to be well and truly ruled out before it can be diagnosed.  It makes me wish I could have gone from work to my GP but that wasn’t possible at the time.  If, God forbid, it ever happens again I’ll be much less anxious because I know just how healthy my heart really is.
Before I saw her yesterday I went to the gym that I joined in  (ahem) July) and got set up with a basic program.  I was a bit naughty but I explained to my GP and she was fine with it.  I admitted to having high blood pressure and Obstructive sleep apnea but I didn’t admit to the recent chest pain issues because I knew it wasn’t cardiac and I also knew that they wouldn’t let me near the place if their was the slightest suspicion that I might drop over from something.  My blood pressure was in fact brilliant when it was taken yesterday so she was more than happy to write me a little letter for the gym stating that she was very happy for me to begin a graduated program of exercise.  My instructions are to take anti-inflammatories for a week and no heavy lifting for a month and she has written that in the letter to work.
So last night I planned meals and today had a quiet day at home.  I did some knitting and some de-cluttering and then took myself to the library, the chemist and to Coles for some provisions.  I didn’t get the apricot chicken into the crock pot for tonight’s dinner as planned but it is ready to go for tomorrow.  Dh is having a half day to play Bowls so he will get it out of the fridge and put it on at lunch time.
On Sunday I went to knitting as usual and it was like the “Teresa Support Group”.  What a truly wonderful group of women.  They understood.  They said all the right things.  They gave me hugs and encouragement rather than lectures and advice.  I took myself off to Mass late that afternoon as well because I felt in need of some time with God both thanking Him for getting me this far and asking for strength to move ahead.  It was also the day that Mary MacKillop became Australia’s first Catholic saint.  Praying, singing and receiving the Eucharist all felt so right.  It was like coming home.  I obviously need the spiritual health overhaul as well as the physical one.
I’ve got my clothes out for tomorrow, lunch planned and dinner organised.  I’ve asked for dh to pick up boys so that I can go to the gym do my weights (very carefully) and some cardio after work.  The house is still messy but I’ve got most of the clothes ironed (by Mum) and it is pretty clean (once again thanks to Mum).  Most importantly I’ve scheduled everything for the next week and put it all up in the kitchen so everyone can be “on the same page”.
After massive fights on Sunday between the boys I have also overhauled (or rather created) a set of guidelines for Wii and Computer use which are working spectacularly well for both them and me.  But more about that in a later post as I need tocatch some ZZZZZZZZZs before I go back to work tomorrow.  I’m not looking like the lady in the picture here but it is something to aim for I suppose!