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Excuse Me Linda….but….

I've always got alot to tell…. I usually forget most of it

Catching My Breath

This entry is somewhat unremarkable to most who might happen upon it, and move on to read it, but to me, it’s necessary to empty my head so I can catch my breath. It appears that the two are inextricably linked and breathing easy doesn’t come while my head’s in a state of overwhelm.

So in the previous 10 days I’ve:

  • written, preped & conducted 3 workshops to community volunteers,
  • Spoken at another workshop
  • lead a team who has received, sieved through and coordinated over 1000 team nominations for the districts football Competitons for the coming winter season,
  • Organised and preped a volunteer review panel
  • Put that panels work into a report which was distributed to stakeholders for endorsement or protest
  • Reviewed and adjudicated on 29 protests
  • Revised the outcomes
  • Written over 70 individual communications
  • Responded to more than 120 emails
  • Travelled interstate for a 12 hour round trip
  • Never been to bed before midnight, most nights it’s been 1-2 am
  • Been up at 5 for a 7 am breakfast presentation on three days ( requiring makeup and heels no less!)
  • Have worked till past 10.30pm on 6 of those days
  • Worked past midnight on 2 of those days
  • Worked a full weekend
  • Received a nationally recognized award for my work
  • Received a local award from the federal government member for my work
  • Babysat
  • Attended a musical (Mumma Mia @ the Capitol Theatre Sydney)
  • Managed to re-start a dormant blog. That’s a sure sign that my head’s in overload.

So that’s it for this one. I’m done. I don’t even want to think of what’s coming up this week, but it’s more of the same!

Have a great week everyone

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I’m going grey too…..watch this space

I’ve been having a bit of a giggle of late.  I’ve heard two podcasts in the last three weeks featuring a person named Karly Nimmo and her decision to go grey and be fine with it.

Apparently, Ms Nimmo is a bit of a minor celebrity in some circles, and more power to her (I think I missed the memo list of current celebrities).  Anyway, each time I listened to the two totally separate and unrelated podcasts interviewing her for 20-30 minutes on the subject, I had the urge to send them a message to let them know that Ms Nimmo hadn’t actually invented the concept of going grey.

I’m not laying claim to the concept either, but in October 2017, I made the same decision to embrace my grey and just let it go, or let it grow!  So I think I had the idea before her, and I’m considering looking into copyright or plagiarism laws to see if I too can milk the grey bandwagon for a few dollars.

I’m doing so for similar reasons to Ms Nimmo, because I don’t want to dump all those toxic chemicals on my scalp, cm’s from from brain, and have them absorbed through my skin and add to the already significant toxic load that has spent half a century accumulating in my beautiful temple of a body.  Yes!  I said beautiful.

I may be mid 50’s and 35kg overweight (I call it under height for my weight), but I’m beautiful and worth the investment of care that I’m now giving myself…..but, I digress.  The point it is, well, I’m a bit miffed!  Why didn’t I think to let the world know that I’ve decided to go grey and get an agent to ask around to see if anyone wants to interview me on my decision.

Hells Bells!  Are we so devoid of anything interesting or meaningful in our lives that the most interesting podcast guest someone can come up with is a chick who’s decided to go grey?

So, in case anyone’s short of a special guest this week, here’s a list of my current projects and life events which I consider newsworthy;

  1. I’m going grey (on purpose)
  2. I’m currently doing a double Liver & Kidney de-tox
  3. I’m on a mission to declutter one draw, cupboard, or pantry shelf a day until I’ve covered my whole house, top to bottom
  4. When I de-clutter, I give stuff away for free….that alone makes me a worthwhile person to follow closely.
  5. I’ve recently completed a LoxToxLife course
  6. I’m heading towards (a work in progress) eliminating single use plastics from my life
  7. I’m currently completing a course of understanding Whole Foods and putting that knowledge to good use
  8. I’ve recently received a prestigious National  award
  9. I have a batch of Kombucha brewing (that’ll be my 8th batch)
  10. I’m about to re-embark on my healthy eating plan after falling of the good food wagon for a few weeks
  11. I’m looking after my Grandson on St. Patrick’s Day
  12. I have an opinion on just about everything and I’m happy to share those opinions.
  13. I recently received some messages for my son from my recently deceased ex-husband (RIP Dave you beautiful man)

That’s just the short list, so if anything is of interest and you want to interview me, hit me up in the comments sections 🙂

Smile – don’t take life too seriously.

 

When Life Derails Your Best Intentions

I thought it’d be interesting to write about life, but it turns out that the very thing I wanted to write about, derails my efforts to write, and here I am almost 7 months since I’ve written a word in this blog.  Shame on me!

Almost everyday I drive 35 minutes to work, and 35 minutes home, and I have a million ideas.  I tell myself, I’ll write about that, I could really do something with that idea, experience, feeling, notion, whatever….. and I imagine the words or the soapbox speech or whatever great idea took a hold of me…. I can see the words shooting out of my fingertips and onto the keyboard, flying invisibly onto the screen and I secretly air punch my pending brilliance.

Then life turns up and derails my ambition for yet another day.

I listen to a really broad range of podcasts on my way to and from work. Some are presented by really interesting people with a good message or an interesting point of view.  Unfortunately, some are delivered by knuckle-dragging neanderthals, without an original idea and even less ability to communicate it in a way that doesn’t leave you wondering how they manage to function on the most basic level on a daily basis without hurting themselves.  Spectacularly, at least 50% of those who I listen to, including the oxygen thieves, make money off a blog of some sort.  I don’t even want to make money off mine… I just want to complete an entry.

So this entry is dedicated to my sheer determination, that in spite of every road block of the past 7 months, despite sheer exhaustion after a long, long day and an the invisible pull of my armchair, calling me to it with a promise of a cradling peaceful rest, I have resisted every distraction in order to sit myself down and start my cathartic writing habit again.  Let’s hope this attempt holds.

I love my life!

I’ve got so much to say, to get off my chest, to beat my drum about.  I can’t do it face to face, the poor world would just be saying “oh fuck off Linda…. you talk too much!”  But if I can just write about it, I feel heard without hurting everyone’s ears.  Without pontificating to within an inch of my life (yes, I can do that too).

So, I’m back.  Smile.  It won’t hurt much, and you can always just ignore my ramblings.

But before I go, I want to tell you, since I last wrote in early August 2017…. I have a new grandchild, a grand daughter.  That makes two now, one of each!  Who have an equal claim on my heart.

She arrived on the 20th August 2017 and I had the most spectacular privilege of helping to bring her into the world.  Another little bud on the family tree who now owns a piece of my heart.  Oh, but she lifts my soul.  Sweet little RouxBee.

I stopped in for a visit tonight and was rewarded with feeding her her dinner and rocking her to sleep.  My heart is full and I left to come home feeling complete and at peace & at the end of the day, could there possibly be anything better?  I think not.

I still practice acknowledging Gratitude every day.  I’ll end with my Gratitude.  I am grateful for the love and warmth of human spirit shown to me over the past week.  I’ve had an amazing, surreal week and I will write about it soon.  But it needs to slow down and get back to normal before I can do that.  But, I’m grateful none the less.

LC

Don’t be too hard on the volunteers working for you

When volunteers are in a position of management, they often have to deal with complaints.  Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect system.  Sporting clubs in particular, are run by community volunteers.  They don’t always have the skill sets to deal with issues.

Often times, community members forget that they’re dealing with a volunteer who is just doing their best.  They’re not an expert.  They’re a time poor, sometimes unskilled person who hasn’t got a clue what they’re doing and are just trying to do their best to bring about a resolution that works for everyone.  Often times the complainants are precious, entitled, smug drama queens (that’s a gender neutral term in my view!), who should have probably been told to pull their heads in on a few more occasions that what their parents did.

From the complainants point of view, club volunteers are often referred to as incompetent or inept, or uncaring or biased, because they didn’t get the result they wanted.

From the volunteers position, they are finding themselves increasingly having to deal with members of the public who expect a perfect system and are only willing to accept their preferred outcome, and when they don’t get it, regularly make threats of retribution or legal action.

My response to this is to ask everyone to take a step back and calm down.  Set an example for your kids! It’s kids sport, and it should be able to be resolved by the adults being reasonable and respectful toward each other.  When that doesn’t happen, volunteers become anxious, agitated and in the end, too scared to volunteer and they walk away from community service because it’s just too hard, or too scary, or too unpleasant.  The agitator often feels like they’ve won a battle, but rarely step up to take on the role vacated by the volunteer, so in the end the only loser is community sport and the community being served by the volunteer.

If I could have some magic wand power today, it would be to wave it and see everyone calm down, walk away, take a breath and decide how important it really is for you to be right in this thing you’re arguing about?  Will it matter to you in 5 years time?  Will it change your life or that of your child?  If it won’t matter in 5 years time, don’t give it more than 5 minutes now.

Just imagine for a minute how hard the job of the volunteer is (that’s a word that describes someone who’s working for their community FOR NO PAY!).  They’ve been at work all week, just like you.  But the difference between you and them is that they come home, get changed and then start working again for you, for nothing, so your child can take part in a sport at a lower cost, because none of the workers delivering that service are being paid.

So, please.  Pull your head in.

Our Lives As A Mini-Series

I’m often told by friends who I don’t see too often, but who follow my antics on Facebook, that I lead a full life, that I’m always flitting about attending functions, or that I’m surrounded by family & friends,  that I have an amazing garden, talented children, patient husband etc. etc. etc.

While much of this is true, the reality is that it’s a “Best of Linda” summary of my life,   with all the boring bits left out.  This is true of the blog posts too.  Seriously, who wants to hear about my laundry day, or how much dust & dog hair I vacuumed up this morning? (I didn’t vacuum this morning by the way, but I will…. soon).

For me, it’s about maintaining a positive outlook, about focusing on the good things that life brings, or that I find on my weary, often boring journeys through the tedium of making a living and living my life.

There’s a lot that happens to us, that’s out of our control, but our mindset, how we interact with others and how we value ourselves and our life, our environment and those around us are all within our control.

We’ve all got choices.  I make choices everyday, every minute of everyday.  Those choices determine how I interact with others and how I feel about myself.  That determines how I treat others, how others treat me in return or how I allow others to treat me and how I react to them.

My choices determine what I eat and if I exercise and how I treat my body, which in turn will determine whether I get healthy, or whether I lose energy, focus and health

They determine how I spend my time and whether I value my time, or whether I just squander it and then feel bad or complain later that I don’t have enough time.  We all have the same amount of time right?  We all have 24 hours in a day.  There’s no way of making and extra 2 hours to get 26, but we do get to choose how we spend our free time, even it if turns out that we only have 30 minutes of free time a day after we’ve worked for our employers, or our own businesses, and after we’ve worked for our family, and after we’ve traveled to and from our commitments, and after we’ve had our shower and done our laundry and mowed the lawn.

We get to chose whether we want to do something to add value to our own lives, or the lives of others, which in turn may add value to our own lives.   We can choose to read a book, listen to a podcast, read a blog or a website, study something new, create something, learn something new.  Or we can watch another mindless bit of TV where we don’t have to think, we just have to be mildly amused, or moderately outraged, or slightly aroused  by another hour long episode of poor acting or bad reporting that we don’t think we can live without.   When put like this I’m tempted to say that we don’t have a choice….. We MUST turn off the TV, surely!

I just try and stay positive, even in the face of adversity.  Look for the lessons in tough times… and in good times, practice Gratitude.  It keeps life real and keeps you humble.

I think above all else, Gratitude is what does it for me.  When life sucks, I try to find something to be grateful for, and there’s always something.  It’s very hard not to be positive, when you’ve got something to be grateful for.

When you find your positive, share it.  Share the smiles, the victories, the funny stories, the happy times.  Don’t lock that shit away in dark corners.  Share the love.  Before you know it, your life and how it plays out becomes another one of your reasons to celebrate.

Little Changes For The Better Are Better Than No Changes At All

The last eight months have been a transformation for me.

What started off as a get healthy, lose weight, get fit personal challenge has morphed into a bit of a re-birth.

The re-birth hasn’t stopped at physical health, which is coming along nicely thank you very much.  My outlook has changed on so many levels that I almost don’t recognise myself anymore.

I’m often amazed when I’m in a position to consider something that I’m arriving at totally different view points to those which I’ve held for years and I’m loving the new view points too.  They’re much gentler, though they don’t belong to a tree-hugging pushover either.  They just come from a place of kindness, gentleness and practicality.

There’s not much room for drama either…….  I’ve become quite allergic to drama.  I avoid toxicity too.  It’s ok to not like someone, or to disagree with them, but I’ve got much less room for nasty talk.  I don’t feel good around it anymore.

Though I will admit that I’m still a chronic mimic.  I’ve spent my whole life mimicking as a form of ridicule and it’s probably the one habit that I need to work on breaking, but closely connected to that habit, is the undeniable drive to want to make people laugh.  To entertain.  I just need to work on not using people as my material.

I’m living a much slower, more intentional life and I’m so enjoying the benefits.  I’m less concerned with social media connections and more concerned with real connections.  Face to face, or at least voice to voice.

I’m enjoying watching my grandson discover new experiences through my eyes, rather than through the lense of an iPhone, and really being present with him. That’s not to say that I don’t snap off a burst of cute pics, but I’m making conscious efforts to put the camera or phone away and just be with him when I get the chance.  I’m comfortable in the knowledge that while I might forget the moment eventually (because I’ve got the worst memory), no amount of photo taking will ever bring me the joy that the last 5 minutes with him just gave me.  So I’ll take my 5 minutes of joy and interaction and just bask in it and the smile that it brings to me.

I’ve become more grounded.  I mean that in a literal sense.  Spending so much time with my hands and feet in the dirt.  Cultivating.  Growing food and shade and beautiful scents and stunning blooms and prickly cacti too!  I can wander into my garden and be frustrated with whatever bit of shit life’s just dished up to me, but let me tell you, it’s really hard to stay angry when you’re working in a garden.  It just goes, like magic and before too long, I can’t even remember why I was angry, or better still, without even knowing I was looking for a solution to a problem, it manifests itself to me and I’m right with the universe again.  This never fails to happen.  On days where there’s nothing obviously wrong and I don’t need healing, I get in the garden anyway and when I’m done I feel strong, powerful, useful, happy or I’m just beaming with a smile that lights up my side of the street.  If you’ve got a garden, get out amongst it.  If you hire a gardener, sack them and do the work yourself, or become their apprentice.  If you don’t have  a garden, gown a pot plant, or grow a herb or vegetable in a pot on your balcony or window sill.  I guarantee you’ll smile.

But most of all of late, I’ve enjoyed a real sense of calm in how I deal with life’s challenges now, compared to before. I put that calm down to meditation, which I thought I was totally shit at, but it turns out that the benefits kind of creep up on you when you’re not looking. I’ve been trying to mediate regularly for the past 2-3 months.  Each time I try I think, I’m so crap at this….it’s not working.  But a little while ago I noticed that I was having these totally alien reactions to situations that previously would have had me        F-ing & C-ing and putting myself into foul moods that I’d then take out on those around me….and now I find myself being all Zen Earth-Motherish in my reactions.  Sometimes I just laugh at myself and say “who are you & when did you move in?”  But it’s all good.  I like me.  I can live with this latest incarnation.

So, if you’re reading this for the first time, you probably think you’ve come across the blog on a raving lunatic, but it’s all good… I’m really quite normal, bordering on boring most days.  I don’t normally jabber on about myself to this extent, but I really felt the need tonight to just document all the changes that I’ve been racking up in my head of late.  Might be good to go back over this post in years to come, when I’ve reverted back to my crazy stress head self and remember a time when I was consumed with calm.

Big hugs

L

xx

Stupid Overload – A Working Woman’s Hazard

OMFG!  I can’t believe how many versions of totally stupid I’ve had to deal with today.

I need danger money.

Normally, I’ve got the reserves to dig deep, find some graciousness, tolerance, patience, kindness or whatever other “ness” is needed to move past or look past the profound stupidity that I’m sometimes dished up and just accept that not everyone’s an expert and that most things are new to someone at some point.

I know that it’s unreasonable to expect everyone to know everything, all of the time.  But FFS!…. can we not just apply a little common sense and think before opening our mouth, or before we act on an impulse?

All my months of calming meditation went by the wayside tonight.

Now I have to re-group.  Find my inner calm.  Find a way to add value with how I respond and above all, maintain a level of respect.

When I’ve done that, I’ll be popping out for a moment to pick up my sainthood!  I’ll be back as soon as I can.

stupid-people_3220574

Gratitude

Gratitude

Most days, 99% of the time, I’m grateful.  Consciously grateful.  Actively grateful.  I’ve learned to just be, and think of something I’m grateful for and to acknowledge it.  I just fail to say it out loud.

I’ve been doing some reading lately and also listening to some pretty good podcasts (check out http://www.slowyourhome.com or http://www.theminimalists.com both really good podcasts) because I don’t have time to read as much as I’d like to, and funnily enough, Gratitude has been popping up in those arenas too.

It appears that the message that the universe is sending me this week is “Articulate Your Gratitude Linda”.

It’s good to feel it, and good to acknowledge it.  But when you say it out loud, you’re less likely to forget it AND when it involves another person it encourages them and reminds them of their worth.  Everyone benefits from knowing that they’re appreciated.  I don’t mean superficially and I don’t mean by just good manners like saying thank you (though good manners are important too), I’m talking about knowing your worth or that what you’ve done for someone else has made a difference to their life on a much deeper level.  Cementing in their minds the knowledge that who they are or what they’ve done for you is really important to you.  You can’t put a price tag on that.

By singling out one of my sons, I’m not diminishing my love for my other children, but this week, I am particularly grateful to one of my sons.  This boy and I have been to hell and back, several times.  We have Hell Frequent Flyer miles.  If you’d asked me years ago, I would have said that maybe there’s no end in sight for our journeys to the dark places that the human condition sometimes sends us to, but I can tell you now, that the light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t an oncoming train after all.  The light was the many lessons that being his mother has taught me over the years and that when we did come out the other side, those lessons for us both, would put us in a position to not only move us forward, and make us stronger, better people, but I can say definitely in my case, put me in a position to help others in ways that I would never have been able to without having taken those journeys with him.  Others have helped along the way, but my ability to advocate for others and my empathy have their roots in being his Mum.

For that, I am very, very Grateful.

 

A rant at the decline of community responsibility

I know I should stop comparing now to then, or them to me/us, but my sense of selfcontrol fails me.  For decades I’ve watched the decline of the community taking care and responsibility for itself.

I always promised myself that when I got older, I wouldn’t be one of those oldies who says “back in my day”, but even that promise, which I’ve managed to keep for most of my adult life, is becoming a struggle and I find myself biting through my tongue to stop myself from saying “young people these days…..blah, blah, blah”.

24 years ago, when my now 30 year old son was turning 6, I took him to the local football (soccer) club to register him for his first stint in a team sport.  I was new to the area, and didn’t know many people, I was also house bound with a young baby so I was limited in what I could do during the day.  But what I did know was that I wanted to be involved in the lives of my children.  I wanted to make sure that whatever activities they were involved in where well run and were going to be good for them both physically and socially.

When I took my son “L” down to his first practice session, I saw a lady that I had recently met at my kids new school.  She saw me and waved, but was clearly super busy and didn’t have time to stop and make small talk.  A short while later, I saw her sitting by herself, so I went to her to say hello.  Maybe she was a new friend opportunity, and I really needed to make some new friends.  I knew no one in the area and I was really lonely.  Being a previously very social person, the loneliness was really getting to me.

So I said hello and we got talking.  She was the secretary of the club, and she regaled to me how busy she was and how she wasn’t coping between her kids sport, work and home.  I made one little innocent comment which was “I’ve got a bit of time on my hands, if there’s anything I can do to help, just let me know”.

With that she jumped up, asked me to put my hand out (the child in me said “ooooooh!!! I’m going to get a lolly”) and when I did as I was bid, she dropped a key in my hand and said “congratulations, can you look after the canteen for me?”  That’s how long it took me to become the Canteen Manager.

That was my introduction to voluntary community work.  That was the start of the most passionate affair I’ve ever had.  Not with another man, but with making my community, my little part of the world we live in, a better place.  Over the years, I went on to hold almost every role the club had to offer, and retired when my employer deemed that my voluntary service and my employment may be perceived a conflict of interest and required me to resign (a good decision on their part).

Though I was retired from service to the club, I never lost interest, and to this day I still serve the club in a small capacity that’s permitted by my employment.  I’m a life member, a privilege I hold dear.  Every year I still attend their AGM, to help with numbers, or to explain to incoming volunteers what help is available to them or to encourage someone who may be wavering on a decision to serve or not.

Over the last few years, I’ve seen a consistent and steady decline in the numbers attending the club’s annual meeting, and more so, I’ve seen a decline in the numbers of parents putting their hands up to volunteer, no matter how small the contribution.

“I’m too busy”, I hear all to often, or “I work so I can’t help”.  When I hear this tripe, I just want to arm myself with all the sarcasm I can muster and let these self-serving humans have it with both barrels.

I want to scream at them that the fees they pay for their kids sport would be multiplied by ten if their club had to pay someone to do all the work that the volunteers do for nothing.  I want to scream at them that I worked throughout most of my service time to the club, and that I was a very busy person, with many obligations…..but I managed it, and while doing so, made some of the best friends I’ll ever know.  I volunteered when we were poor, both in funds and time, but still I did it, because the community needs people to underpin it.

The underpinning that is given to a community group by a volunteer is worth so much more than the wages that would be paid to a worker, because what they do, they do for free and they do it with care and love and compassion.  They don’t do it because they’re getting paid, they do it because they’re great humans that care about their communities.

More and more these days though, what I’m seeing are the parents of players that were at the club 25 years ago, still volunteering, even though their children have grown and left the nest and moved on.  Still, their ageing parents are doing the voluntary work.

My children’s peers, who now themselves have children playing at the club are apparently too busy to help, but I tell you what, they’re not too busy to sit at their computer when they get home to write that strongly worded letter to the club to complain about the voluntary coach of their child’s team, or about how their little Johnny was overlooked for selection in the A team because all the selectors are idiots and don’t know what they’re doing.  Or, my personal favourite, “the committee is corrupt, their kid got selected but mine didn’t!”  Never stopping to think that maybe their kid just isn’t good enough, or that maybe that committee kid is better because they spent their after school hours, 4 days a week, down at the local football fields, practising, kicking a ball around, while their volunteer parent is serving their community for yet another year.

I once had a conversation with a Mum, during my service years, and she said “I honestly don’t know how you do it.  When do you find the time?  Don’t you ever relax?”  She then started to talk about TV and was astounded when she found out that I had no idea what TV shows she was referring to because I hadn’t sat down to watch TV in months!  I suppose that’s how I found the time.  That and being both a good time manager and a chronic insomniac 🙂

The club in question was faced with the prospect of folding.  Closing it’s doors (or fields) to the kids in the district because of the chronic lack of commitment.  It’s terrible that it had to come to that point to wake up the community, but I’m pleased to say that it did wake it up, and they did step up and rescue the failing club and all ended well.  A shame that it took threats of closing to get the response, but great that they did get the response after all.

Onwards and upwards!volunteersneeded

 

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