The temperature is in the 20s today, and it's glorious! (Out of the wind that is).
Monday, August 24, 2009
The temperature is in the 20s today, and it's glorious! (Out of the wind that is).
Friday, August 21, 2009
L'Arche is present in various places around the world, and supports its homes through donations. It's an extraordinary movement, founded by Jean Vanier; a man whom many people claim to be a living saint.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Sorry guys, this is a women-only post. You wouldn't be interested, trust me.
I have been wondering if there was any evidence that PMS symptoms can worsen once you've had a few children. I've done a little research on symptoms and treatments, and summarised the best I found here.
In my case, ever since my cycle resumed after baby number three, that time of the month has been starkly evident - much more than ever before.
Before I had this gorgeous boy of mine I noticed almost nothing. But since having him, this is what I've had:
- Lots of bloating - to the point that my dad, with one look at me, asked if I was pregnant again! (Tact is not one of his strong points, but at least you can count on him to tell it like he sees it.)
- Moodiness - more like full-on depression and edgyness lasting around three days. I was feeling awful the last few days and fighting back tears most of yesterday, and today, guess what?
- Pain - not so much this time, but two whole days (!) of abdominal cramps the two previous months.
But this horrible, heavy, woe-is-me, can't-be-bothered to wash a dish or pick up the phone to call a friend-mood is the awfulest of awful.
I tell myself that there is no reason to feel this way; nothing particularly bad has happened, it is probably the hormones. It makes little difference.
I had to fight back the urge to call my husband and beg him to come home by four o'clock in the afternoon.
It even crossed my mind to wonder if post-natal depression can come 16 months after the event!
Three days of that is bad enough. To anyone who lives with this all the time - my heart goes out to you.
Today, all the colour is back in the world for me. And I had a thought; what if I'm thinking of it the wrong way?
What if my PMS has always been the same; it's just that I'm a lot happier with my lot in life than ever before, so the difference is a lot more marked?
Any suggestions? Anecdotal evidence that PMS, or the experience of it, is better or worse after having kids?
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
These two pics are from the magnolia tree I pass twice a day.
For months it was an intriguing canopy of closely woven, intersecting branches. Stark bare and knobbled twigs that looked like lace against a cold blue sky.
Now the lace has disappeared; exploded into this mauve and white brilliance.
Magnolia trees are in flower all over our neighbourhood at the moment. This one is easily the best one I've ever seen.
Some of the other trees are already sprouting bright leaves which will last through spring and summer. But this brief late-winter window where there is just this floral show, no leaves, is just glorious.
But a feast for the eyes does nothing for hunger. When we got back home I got my two youngest to work in the kitchen on that block of chocolate which has been calling to me from the cupboard for ages.
I figured making cupcakes with it was better than just eating it all by myself.
For a change.
My all-pink-clad three-year old daughter wanted pink icing on them. I used an easy friand recipe by Bill Granger and they are divine.
I used about half the recommended sugar and they are still very sweet, chocolatey, fudgy and extremely moreish. I must triple the recipe next time.
I wish I could say the icing is messy because my daughter did that bit - but I can't!
Bill Granger's easy baby chocolate cakes (published in the Aug 17 Woman's Day)
225 unsalted butter
180g dark chocolate
1+1/3 cup caster sugar
2/3 cup plain flour
2 tbls cornflour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 180 celcius and grease the friand moulds.
2. Melt butter gently in small saucepan over medium heat. Place chocolate in a large bowl and pour hot butter over it. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth.
3. Sift flour, cornflour and salt together, add sugar and add to melted chocolate in two batches, stirring until just combined.
4. Add eggs gradually, beat until smooth.
5. Divide mixture into moulds and bake 15-20 mins until skewer inserted into centre comes out clean.
6. All to cool, turn out onto wire rack, and add icing or drizzle with melted chocolate.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Have you got a blog, or another personal or business website?
I recently attended a one day workshop on writing and editing for the web with the Society for Editors in NSW. I can highly recommend reading on the subject, if you can't get to a similar course.
From the first exercise Simon Hillier (one of the guys behind the popular travel websites travel.com and lastminute.com) got us to do, my head was buzzing with ideas to use on the soon-to-be-launched website for my business, The Write Device.
I really liked his insistence on plain English and his balanced approach to SEO.
Simon said that you can stuff your webpages with key words and do all sorts of little tricks, but getting a high ranking on Google is pointless if the content doesn't draw people in and give them what they want quickly.
This was a refresher for me; I covered this stuff at uni in my journalism course. But that was a while ago now. So it was great to get some new knowledge, ideas and inspiration.
I'm sure it will help me in my own business and also add value to my clients.
I could say more, but I've got to finish writing my website copy!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Picture credit: druss101
The study by the University of Newcastle in Australia found that people exposed to natural environments:
- report higher satisfaction with life
- are healthier
- cope better with stress
- recover faster from illness or injury, and
- have improved concentration and productivity.
Picture credit: jimmydavao
Picture credit: Chris Gin
Ah, I feel better. How about you?
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Especially when you don't do an awful lot of running. We did a bit of jogging, before a sore knee (not mine), slowed us down.
The last time I was in a such a sea of people was last July, during World Youth Day. It is truly amazing to be part of a mass of humanity which stretches out in front of you and behind you as far as you can see in both directions.
And everyone was happy. Even the lady I saw carried off on a stretcher near the finish line was smiling.
We were among a sea of 70,000 people pouring through the streets of Kings Cross down to Vaucluse and Rose Bay, across to Maroubra and down to the gorgeous Bondi Beach.
It feels good to be able to cross something else of my list of things I wanted to achieve this year.
I didn't want to be encumbered with a camera. It turns out I could have brought it after all.
There were so many fantastic photo opportunities today. One picture I would have taken was of the piles of empty plastic cups that had been tossed down at the sides of the road at every drinks station.
I'd been under the impression that the drinks stations were places where people could refill their bottles, not contribute to tons of plastic unnecessarily going to landfill.
Anyway, there are some photos from the day up already on the Sydney Morning Herald's photo gallery. Enjoy, and get inspired for next year!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I jumped at the chance to interview Julie Goodwin and her family for the Broken Bay News, an Australian Catholic diocesan newspaper and website.
Julie was the popular winner of MasterChef, which was the most successful reality show on Australian TV this year so far.
So I was more than interested in the chance to meet and speak with her. Better still, as we tried to find a time that was mutually convenient for us to meet, it seemed as though I might even land at her place at around dinner time.
But although that wasn't to be, I still enjoyed chatting with Julie and her husband Michael about what it was like to participate in the show, how they feel about the win, and about their Catholic faith and church-based community which sustains them.
Their young boys are very proud of their mum and are coming to grips with their sudden fame, but I found that there was a quote or two which I judged a bit too personal to include in the story.
Children just aren't as guarded as adults, they don't filter their answers as we do. They don't know how the media works. So I feel that in order to be fair sometimes it's appropriate to be a bit conservative, if the opportunity allows, when it comes to reporting what children say.
The other extreme is when you have to interview kids who will only speak in monosyllables, or say 'I don't know'.
Ah kids, what can you do?
Monday, August 3, 2009
Photo credit: jennifrog
I love Taronga Zoo. I took my two youngest children there last week.
It’s like a little piece of Australian bush in the city except that you can also find zebras, lions, giraffes and elephants, turkey and hawks and hundreds of other wonderful creatures there which you can't find in the bush or the outback. Hopefully not anyway.