Ms Betterhome


Birthday reflections

I’m celebrating with a work-at-home day (actually this is a very good celebration, and we will have veggie shepherd’s pie & bubbly later)

I thought I’d revisit the post on my priorities for the year, & see how things are tracking:

Home & relationships I said: I want to devote energy to MrB and our home & garden. That means having fun together, but also staying mindful of the household jobs that really niggle at him. The house is a bit dusty (and furry, thanks to our wonder pup), but in general, we’re on top of all the practicalities, and having a lovely time together. The various aspects of the sex/love constellation are all very sparkly, and I’m very happy (though not complacent, I hope).

Work I said: This year I want to thrive, not just survive!…That means preventing overwhelm by staying positive & forward looking, and focusing on eating well, and getting enough sleep & exercise. I wouldn’t say I’m overwhelmed – but I’m not super positive, either. My area is under-resourced, and I’m looking seriously into ways to make a lateral (or radical) move out of my current position. That said, I’m feeling strong, and well placed to move when I need to.

Exercise I’m still doing 30 mins of walking most days, taking the dog for a stroll, plus 3 x 20-40 minutes of yoga and pilates a week. I bought a couple of Exhale Core Fusion boxed sets, and have been loving their ‘Energy Flow’ DVD. My swimming dropped away in the wake of my last spate of work travel, I’ll get back into it next week. I also need to re-start my habit of getting up early to do 15-30 mins yoga or arm work in the mornings.

Food I’m still eating really well, but think I’ll do another 6 weeks of  myfitnesspal tracking from the 21st of May. My clothes are fitting well, and I’m feeling good, but I’d like to keep my good habits up.



What I’m up to…

Well, I’m not doing the Independence Days Challenge this year. Work has already gotten crazy, and I’m trying to really take care of myself, so it’s first things first!

My personal priorities right now are:

Home & relationships I have a lot of travel this year, and I want to devote energy to MrB and our home & garden. That means having fun together, but also staying mindful of the household jobs that really niggle at him. I like Gala Darling’s take on keeping thing’s fresh.

Work This year I want to thrive, not just survive! This means planning ahead to manage my projects well, and making sure I delegate when I can. I currently have 4 staff, 2 who are pretty autonomous, another 2 who really only work on my projects… So I have to stay in a good place to supervise them properly and delegate (not dump) tasks appropriately. Plus I need to be in a good place to encourage and mentor them, so they can develop according to their own interests. That means preventing overwhelm by staying positive & forward looking, and focusing on eating well, and getting enough sleep & exercise.

Exercise I do 30 mins of walking most days, taking the dog for a stroll. I’ve added 3 x 20-40 minutes swimming or gym cardio per week, plus an additional 1-2 hours a week of yoga and pilates (using Gaim DVDs) , and at least a 1/2 an hour of dancing. I’ll be going to a day club to dance this afternoon. When I do it at home, I tend to do Gabrielle Roth’s Wave DVDs. I have her 3 DVD set – the Power Wave is my favourite. I’ve also started doing some arm work with light hand weights. I’m starting with 1.5 kilos, as my upper body strength is pretty ordinary.

Food I used the myfitnesspal app to keep a food & exercise diary for 6 weeks. I’ve stopped now, as I think I’ve learned appropriate portion sizes pretty well now… I’ll start again if I feel like I’m backsliding. I’m generally eating vegan with attention to getting some protein in all meals; minimising my intake of oil & processed foods (but getting plenty of plant fats in whole nuts & seeds); minimising flour products; and avoiding anything with added sugars, and limiting fruit to the equivalent of two small pieces a day.

According to the scales I didn’t lose kilos in the first 6 weeks, but my body has changed shape dramatically, and I’m fitting pants I haven’t worn for a while, so things are definately happening. I feel a lot stronger, and it’s much easier to climb stairs & hills.

Having said I’m not doing Independence Days, the truth is, we are still gardening, harvesting, cooking at home and buying in bulk. This week I did a big stockup on organic, fair trade coffee, bulk rice (from Honest to Goodness), and tinned tomatoes & beans (from Aldi).



Motivation and the blahs, pt 2
April 1, 2010, 2:58 am
Filed under: about me, learning | Tags:

As sometimes happens, slowing down & acknowledging that I had lost my mojo helped me find it again.

As yesterday’s post observes, I did some de-cluttering, & physically chucked out some items that were just taking up space. I also laid plans to use my stockpile in specific ways (ok, I’m drawing a long bow, but it still helped me feel a bit less stuck).

In addition to that, I consulted the booklet that came with my new homeopathic kit, & decided to try ‘gelsenium’, a remedy recommended for those who are literally paralysed with anxiety or apprehension. In my case, the paralysis was mental, not physical, but I gave it a go, and ‘whoosh’, roadblocks shifted.

I went to the gym in the afternoon to burn off some adrenalin, and slept better than I have in weeks as a result. I’m going to need to finish a writing project over the long weekend, so will give myself some ‘time in lieu’, and go get a pedicure this afternoon.



Motivation and the blahs
March 30, 2010, 6:02 am
Filed under: about me

I have a lot on, and lots of it involves long projects, with ill-formed boundaries. Plus I’m on the road to Mortgage Land, and reading news stories like this. I’m feeling a bit burnt out at the moment, so am trying to take action on a couple of fronts.

1) I’m taking Floravital, a herbal iron supplement, in case my fibroid-enhanced periods have run my iron levels down.

2) I’m taking Bach flower remedies – a mix of Walnut (aka Pluto Juice), Hornbeam, Willow, Oak and Elm.

Hopefully this will help on the body/spririt level… my mind may be a tougher nut to crack, though a long weekend will help. I actually do have a psychologist I check in with every so often for a ‘tune-up’. Even if it’s only twice or three times a year,  it’s good to have a sounding board, unrelated to work or home, not a close friend, but totally trustworthy. I will make an appointment if moping persists.



Trying to fit it all in
November 1, 2009, 9:45 pm
Filed under: about me, gardening | Tags: ,

My work is going to be really demanding over the next six weeks or so – I have to finish a grant application, write an essay for my Masters, knock up a couple of conference papers & run a series of ‘evaluation’ interviews with a group I’ve been consulting for.

I’m going to really need to keep my spirits up by exercising & eating properly. Fortunately I find cooking relaxing… so even though I had to go into work yesterday (ie Sunday afternoon), I still had a ‘wind-down’ in the evening, cooking up a couple of lunchboxes’ worth of soyaroni with broccoli/olive/tomato sauce (with a sprinkle of flaxseed oil & nutritional yeast stirred through at the end). I don’t like to get over-reliant on pasta or soy… but sometimes a less than ideal lunch is better than no lunch at all. The soyaroni tastes good, and gives a big bump of protein to the veggie sauce. I keep sachets of miso soup in my desk drawer for afternoon snack, and I carry a little pack of dried fruit & a few almonds, too.

I’m trying to combine exercising with commuting, too – will walk a half hour through to back streets to a ‘distant’ bus-stop this morning. Of course that only works ‘cos I don’t have too much to carry today. I did quite a bit of replanting on the weekend, so provided I keep the water up, the garden should pretty much grow itself 🙂



10 how-to books that changed my life (in a good way)
October 19, 2009, 5:17 am
Filed under: about me, learning | Tags: , , ,

It’s hard to limit a list like this, but these are the books that have challenged, inspired and supported me, in all aspects of ‘home-making’.

On money & frugal living

The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyzyn

You can find this book recommended everywhere online… it’s dated in some ways, but truly inspiring in others. The link takes you to a recent interview with ‘The Frugal Zealot’ herself at The Simple Dollar.

Your Mortgage The Savings Edition: How to Save $50,000 to $250,000 per Property by Anita Bell

The new edition of an Australian classic. Believe it or not, I was clueless about home-buying ’til I read this (some time around my 40th birthday).  Bell has a down to earth style, & she sincerely wants to help people sort their finances out.

9 steps to Financial Freedom by Suze Orman

As above! I read the Australian edition of this book, which I picked up at a 2nd hand bookshop.

On sexuality & relationships

The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy

Please don’t be horrified by the ‘S’ word. This is a wonderful & supportive book which would help communication & negotiation in any relationship.

Passionate Marriage by David Schnarch

A guide to getting through bad times, & celebrating  sexuality as part of long-term, committed relationships.

Urban Tantra by Barbara Carrellas

Gorgeous, queer-friendly introduction to sacred sexuality.

On gardening

The Wilderness Garden by Jackie French

Inspiring! Jackie French is one of Australia’s great gardening/sustainability writers.

Fresh Food from Small Spaces The Square-Inch Gardener’s Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting by R. J. Ruppenthal

This book made me realise how much I could grow in a inner-city backyard. Yes, I went vertical.

On cooking

How it all Vegan by Tania Barnard and Sarah Kramer

It was hard to choose between all the great cookbooks Barnard & Kramer have written (including Kramer’s solo publications), but this was one of the first books I read that made vegan cooking & eating & living seem easy & fun.

Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

And this was the other one! Moskowitz’ books are all outstanding… I’m currently drooling over the veggie sausage recipes in Vegan Brunch.



The permaculture vision vs the day job
October 17, 2009, 11:27 pm
Filed under: about me

I have the kind of very intense workload that lots of people in their 40s have – I work long hours & bring work home with me, deal with deadlines & dramas, travel for work every couple of months, keep up with a number of projects simultaneously… and I’m half way through a 3 year contract, so I don’t have much wiggle room in terms of altering the job as it stands.

I love the diversity of my work, which involves writing, teaching & research. It pays well (which is important after being a student for over a decade), &  I get to  make a difference to things that are important to me (like social justice) as part of my job. But I do feel torn sometimes between the level of energy it takes to work, and the levels of energy I would like to put into other things – friends, family, community, sustainability, food security. It’s a juggling act, and  I drop the ball at home or at work more often than I would like.