Saturday, January 2, 2010

Change of Life

Some of you guys are gonna want to cover your ears because I’m going to be talking about “change of life”!!! Yep, the girlie kind and the general kind! At the moment I feel like a cross between Shirley Valentine and (Aloysius) Snuffleupagus (I didn’t even know Snuffleupagus had a first name!!!). Come to think of it, his hair was a great shade of auburn - guess whose going to be making a trip to the hairdresser this week . . .

There is a lot written and said about the physical changes of life that women experience and being a woman I feel like I have the right to speak about those firsthand. Men, I am not ignoring your experiences, I just don’t know enough about them to do them justice! Please add your comments as you see fit.

On top of the physical discomfort that hot flushes bring (I have decided that I AM global warming), I happen to live in Queensland – it’s not just the “Sunshine State” it’s also incredibly humid. I am considering moving to Antarctica where I can become my own personal ice melter and be blamed for all those icebergs floating through the Atlantic (do I have my geography right?). Some people may say that this is “God’s Country” but only if he enjoys the fires of hell!

While there is some sorrow that comes with the changing of one’s body, I am trying to be like “Costas” who tells Shirley not to hide her stretch marks, but to celebrate them because blah blah blan . . . she’s right, men are full of shit!

There are some changes that we seem to feel are BIGGER than others – first day at school; graduations; birthday with an “0” on the end of it; the birthing of children; a new millennium (who remembers Y2K and all the problems that were going to happen when the computers of the world crashed?); purchasing a home; and now a new decade – 2010, we like things that end in zero!

And what is it about a New Year? My most memorable one was spent at the base of the Edinburgh Castle listening to a concert with the moon raised directly above the castle and the snow falling. It felt like magic, and I was sure that this new year would be better than any other just because of how it had started. Why is one day any different to another just because the calendar clicked over and we get a new diary? And yet, it does feel like a new beginning, we awake feeling renewed and fresh (unless you indulged just a tad too much the night before). A new year brings with it hope and a desire to do “it” differently this year - a “change of life”.

Apart from hot flushes, what does a “change of life” bring for you? Some changes are “uncomfortable”. Some are welcome. Some are hard. Personally I tend to fight them every step of the way till I surrender exhausted (emotionally and physically) with my eyes raised to the sky shaking my fist. Maybe this “change of life” might bring with it a graciousness I don’t now feel with acceptance as its companion.

I liked some of the points made by Adrian Savage in his article “10 simple ways to save yourself from messing up your life”

In brief he suggests:

• Stop taking so much notice of how you feel
• Let go of worrying - it often makes things worse
• Ease up on the internal life commentary
• Take no notice of your inner critic
• Give up on feeling guilty
• Stop being concerned what the rest of the world says about you
• Stop keeping score
• Don’t be concerned that your life and career aren’t working out the way you planned
• Don’t let others use you to avoid being responsible for their own decisions
• Don’t worry about your personality - you don’t really have one

He makes some interesting points, some of which I will be trying to incorporate in my year of “no new projects” – 2010 is my year to finish off the past decade and tidy any loose ends before taking on any new ventures.

I'm off to watch Shirley again . . . I feel a kinship with her . . . or maybe I'm just hoping that one day I'll get lost in the Greek Islands and meet a Costas! Actually, I think its more about having a love affair with myself and her "F" plan!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Village . . .

A girlfriend recently published a blog titled “Got Friends?” and used the turn of phrase “it takes a village to raise me” (please have a read – it’s great) . . .

And she’s right – it does take a village to raise me, or as I like to say, to help me live a balanced FAB (Family and Business) life.

While I penned some similar thoughts in my first blog, it wasn’t put quite so eloquently but was along the same line:

Last night we went to watch my son play soccer (as we do every week) but this time he had bought his own cheer squad with him – while he has me there every week, I don’t think these friends embarrass him quite as much as his Mum who is horse by the end of the evening from yelling “come on Bandi’s”. This week Max invited three friends who have become a part of my (our) village. These young people (well they seem young to me but I know they see themselves as adults – and the fact that they were born well after I entered the workforce is a whole different blog on its own!) have become an integral part of our day to day life as I try to provide a balanced quality to my FAB life.

Maddie was introduced to us by a neighbour – she is a smart, intelligent, witty young woman who goes above and beyond the call of “babysitting duties” to help me when I need it most. She has become a friend and confidant and my children adore her getting very excited when they know she is coming to visit.

Matt tells me that he was born at the very end of the 1980’s but I’m convinced he is much older than that! Maybe it’s just that he is an old soul in a young body – he is an emotionally intelligent male who gives me hope for the future. We were lucky enough to meet Matt at our after school care service - he is a wonderful example of maleness to my children.

Stephie gives the best hugs according to my son – I’m only third on the list after his Aunty Sez! With a talent for soccer Steph is a firm favourite in Max’s mind and manages to keep the kids entertained for hours.

Doing this “on my own”, these kinds of people are an integral part of our day to day living – and to me maintaining some semblance of sanity (or the appearance thereof!).

Then I received an email from a much adored friend. Its message was regarding the idea that people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. We’ve all read or heard a version of this concept, and that combined with Chry’s blog got me a thinkin’ . . .

I (like all of us) am a product of “my village” – the village that I was raised in by people who came and went for a reason, a season or a lifetime. There are many of them – people who touch our lives and leave their mark. Some marks are deep and leave ugly scars, some are a beautiful soft touch that leave us feeling safe and loved. Occasionally it is a smile that fleetingly leaves us feeling warm. Likewise, we too leave our marks on those around us. Of course we would all like to think that we leave a good mark on those who travel through our village, but I realise that I am just as guilty of leaving scars. I would like to think that I didn’t do it intentionally or deliberately, however I know I have done it. I hope that the moments of beauty and warmth far outweigh those . . .

I’m very excited about the people who are a part of my village – the ones I invite in and those who just drop in for a “coffee” and then go on their way! I’m very grateful to those people who choose to be a part of my kid’s village – thank you for staying and playing. To those of you who are a part of our village and choose not to leave it better than you found it – there’s a blog coming for you!!!

Who are the people in your village??? If you haven’t told them recently that they make it possible for you to lead your FAB life, it might be time to drop in for a coffee!


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Small Things . . .

Anyone living in Brisbane will know how welcome the storm was on Monday night. My daughter said "the rain smells so beautiful" - and so it did! I ran around pulling pot plants out to make sure that they got the soaking that they so desperately needed. I went to bed to the sound of thunder and watched the lightening though the windows.

The next morning I awoke to find a "small" flood in my bedroom and walk-in wardrobe . . . my initial thought was to ask my children which of them had "spilt" some water - that was until I realised you could sail a small boat though the "flood". What was already a busy day (I was due to start a new TAFE course) suddenly became much busier as I spent hours on the phone with insurance and repair companies negotiating times, services and insurance policies, and then started that horribly task of "cleaning up" aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh. Anyone who knows me knows that cleaning is one of my least favourite things. While the psychs at work once diagnosed me with "clinical perfectionism" that does not mean that I enjoy cleaning - and this situation was taking on a whole new meaning of "cleaning".

My annoyance grew to a BIG angry monster when it was discovered that the cause of my flood was because an insulation installer had "forgotten" to put one of the roof tiles back when they finished my job. Just one little tile is all it took to create this huge mess that could take weeks (if not months) to rectify. Industrial dryers were installed in my bedroom (it was so noisy we couldn't sleep in any of the bedrooms); damaged installation was removed from the ceiling; ruined Christmas presents were layed out to be photographed for insurance purposes; clothes had to be found new homes as the wardrobe could no longer hold them; and "mess" got shuffled through the house from one location to the next.

I am frustrated that one little tile (or the absence thereof) is all it took . . . and the song "from little things big things grow" keeps going through my head as I avoid my bedroom and what awaits me. It got me to thinking about those "small things" that impact on us so greatly - "good" and "bad" - depending on your belief system you may see them as "challenges" or "opportunities to grow". Some days I just see them as a big pain in the rear end!

There are little things that get me through the day. A really good coffee! A bargain at the shop. A hug from my children. A phone call from a friend to check in and see how I'm doing. That order for 100 cup cakes. A new business idea. The smile from a stranger. The sharing of a special moment. Having a special moment. And the support of friends, family and work mates . . . that is what is necessary to get me through the day.

Those small annoyances also seem to grow. An order that doesn't arrive on time. A client that doesn't turn up. A rude shop assistant. The stubbed toe at the most inconvenient moment. These are the things that can stop me getting through the day . . . if I let them!

From small things, big things grow.

I hope you'll share those things that help you get through the day. What are the small things that make it possible for you to lead your FAB life? What are the things that get in the way of having a FAB life balance? Hopefully we can share some thoughts that might help us all.

I still think that the rain smells beautiful . . .

Remember, it's a FAB life . . .

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Many Hats

Today I attended a full day training course run by Tracey Leak. "The Art of Home Based Business" covered all the topics that one needs to run a small business - marketing, finances, budgeting etc. etc. Tracey is a fun, energetic, friendly, happy, generous person who makes learning fun!!! She can tell you her story much better than I can. Check her out: (under construction)

One of my favourite parts of the course was doing an Organisational Chart - kinda funny for a one (wo)man show . . . Apparently I am the "owner", "manager", "operator" and the "team" - not to mention the fact that I am also responsible for marketing, finances and sales. I'm laughing (verging on the hysterical) as I think about it!!! Of course, as a FAB (family and business owner) type person I also wear a lot of other hats . . .

Yesterday I worked in the morning (dropping the children off at a friend's place on the way as my usual babysitter wasn't available) getting home just in time to get my children and myself dressed into costumes, packing the car and then heading off to the park to do a 6th birthday party for 45 people which included 20+ witches, ghosts, ghouls and monsters (no, not their personalities - it was a Halloween party). I had spent the week making toffee apples, marshmallow ghost ice cream cones, decorated biscuits, 50 monster cakes and making various trips to the shop for yet more goodies to add to the "trick or treat" lollie bag game. Yep, I'm nuts!!!

Now I don't tell you this to blow my own "horn" - quite the contrary - because on top of all of this the party wouldn't have happened without a number of people. Not just my friends who very kindly took on unpaid babysitting duties in the morning, but also Merry-Lou who (as always) provided enough food to feed an army. Aunts and uncles who blew up balloons, took photos, entertained and watched other people's children while also assisting with cleaning up at the end of the day and helping to pack the car . . . it was a group effort and something that is necessary for any parent (single or otherwise) who is trying to raise children and run their own business at the same time.

And so that I could attend today's course and learn how to better run my business, my Mum also looked after four of her Grandchildren so that their parents (her offspring) could do what they needed to do to better provide for their families. Like I said - its a group effort . . .

So, massive thanks to all those good people who assist me while I balance my FAB life - I couldn't do it without you! How about you? Who makes it possible for you to do what you have to do?

Remember - it's a FAB life!!!


Welcome to Brisbane's FAB network - a network for people who run a Family and Business here in Brisbane.

As a small business owner I have experienced first hand the challenges that you can face when trying to balance a family and work commitments. Where do you go for help and support when funds, time and energy levels are low (or tied up) and needs are high and varied? My hope is that by meeting and associating with others in the same situation we can help and support one another through sharing our ideas, successes and challenges in a supportive, non-judgmental family friendly environment. Meetings and get togethers (both formal and informal) will cater for children - babysitting will be provided at affordable prices by qualified professionals.

My vision is to provide a site where Family and Business owners can advertise for little cost and network with other like minded people. I anticipate that while treating ourselves and each other with respect we will all benefit and find what we need to succeed. Please feel free to share your thoughts, business and activities with everyone . . . we look forward to hearing what you have to say!

Remember - it's a FAB life.