Thursday, October 30, 2008

Law of attraction

I stumbled upon this bright yellow book at the library recently - how could I miss it? It is called, and I am not kidding, Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting - The Astonishing Power of Positive Feelings. Not the best title, but it's proving to be an interesting read.
It was published a couple of years ago, well before the force that is The Secret, but it is essentially the same idea: the law of attraction. In a nutshell, the book says we are all basically energy and we give off energy. We emit energy at different frequencies and... you know the rest.
You get back what you give out kind of thing.
The book is a little repetitive - I guess it's just reinforcing a point - but I've been giving its premise a bit of a shot. The results have certainly made me sit up and take note. Here are a couple of the things that have happened in the past few weeks:

* I was worried about losing my job, since I'm not a permanent member of staff. Very worried, to the point that I was getting upset about it at work. After the worst morning (tears in the office) I read a bit of the book in my lunch hour, felt a lot better, had a quick cheapie massage ... I get back into the office to have my editor usher me into his office and reassure me that all is OK.

* I was feeling pretty OK about my finances - a couple of invoices had been paid in one chunk ... then the quarterly childcare rebate ... which I had completely forgotten about!

* Having decided I was in dire need of some decent summer clothes I walked into Myer at lunchtime yesterday and tried on the most beautiful pink dress. It is just one of those rare pieces that fits so perfectly. Amazing. So I say goodbye to big chunk of the childcare rebate and walk out happy!

* Go to Greek bakery to pick up some fresh Turkish Delight - I ask the lady for a kilo, she puts some pieces in a box ... it is exactly one kilo. Exact.

* Trying not to focus on feeling isolated in my position in the new office ... when my colleagues ask me to lunch. Nice.

* Driving home tonight I was thinking about how I won two competitions recently and how it was probably because I believed I was going to win. I haven't been thinking about comps much lately and it occurred to me that it might be in my interests to ... walk to the mailbox. Lottery cheque is waiting. Not the big one, but still a win!

What do you think? Sheer coincidence? I don't know ... but I don't think so.
I choose to believe that there is definitely some magic to the power of belief.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Some kilos to kick

I have been thinking about weight a fair bit of late. This is how the weight-loss process works for me: it begins as a niggle, then bothers me and bothers me some more until I think, "Right, I am going to lose some weight" and then I make a start. I am always pleased with how I go and, without fail, I think, "Why didn't I start earlier?".
I'm almost at the point of starting again on a weight-loss kick. I did Weight Watchers most of last year and really loved it. It's the second time I've done WW and frankly it works. Very well. Slow and steady weight loss, great recipes, easy to make new habits.
It's just the getting there ...
I'm nearly motivated to begin all over again.


I'd done WW before E (in fact, up until I fell pregnant with him). I think I lost about 7 kilos, which took me to 62 kilos. For someone my height, 62 is bang on a BMI of 25 and, well, just feels good. Not fat, not skinny - just right.
Of course, after having E the weight issue hung around for a while. The expectation that the kilos would "just fall off" with breastfeeding did not (unfortunately!) materialise. Bummer.
So I got back on the WW horse. At my first weigh-in I was 69.9 kilos. I chipped away at it for six months or so, just eating well and doing mild exercise (I don't do gyms - walking and cycling only, thanks).
At my lightest I was 58 kilos (two kilos under my goal weight of 60). And damn that feels good. I'd not been that light for a few years, the compliments flow, the energy improves, all is hunky dory.
After at a while I started loosening up. I experienced this wondrous sensation of being able to have "bad" weeks of not watching my points, consuming lots of wine and STILL remaining the same weight. Could this be my new weight set-point, I wondered?


Sadly, no. The "I'll just eat whatever" mindset remained while the low weight did not. Like boiling a frog, it crept back on slowly, slowly. And I've had no motivation to actually halt the process, despite all the hard work I put in to actually lose the weight in the first place (how frustrating!).
I am one of those (unlucky) people who put weight on round the stomach. It's never an issue round the bottom or the thighs or really anywhere except the middle.
I was reading the Sunday paper last week and I saw a little piece about the government launching a campaign to encourage people to decrease their waist measurement for health reasons. It said women should have a waist measurement of no more than 88cm. This made me pick up a measuring tape - to find that my waist measures 92cm.
I was shocked.
Then two more things happened last week that made me think about my weight. We had people from MBF come to our work and set up a "free health check" in one of our meeting rooms. So off I went: blood pressure good, resting heart rate (52) excellent, BMI: 26.5. Err, not great. Then he measured my waist and got 92cm ... at which point he informs me the optimal size of my waist is not 88cm, it's in fact 80cm. Sheesh, 12cm feels like a lot to lose.
Later that day I received a catalogue from Ezi-buy in the mail. I flicked through it and came to the size charts. According to this catalogue, my waist measurement means I ought to be wearing size 18.
Hmmmm. Okaaaaay. I am actually wearing size 12 clothes (admittedly some are tight round the waist) and some size 14s.
You would think that all this would be enough to make me take all 65kg of myself back to WW. But not quite - as I said, something in my head will click (and probably soon) and it is then that the process will begin again.
In the meantime I am still processing what happened to me yesterday. I was walking E in the stroller by the river, on our way to meet Shaun off the train. Four old deros were sitting by the river, swigging cheap wine and swearing at each other. (Thankfully it is rare to see deros round our place, but it does happen).
I was walking along, minding my own business and admittedly wearing a skanky old pair of shorts and a stretched-old old grey t-shirt when one of them yells out at me: "You've got a fat arse."
Head down, keep walking.
Then he yells it again: "Hey, you've got a fat arse."
Lovely. Really lovely, Comment clearly meant for me, as I am the only other person in the park.
Ignore, ignore. Drunken idiot. I don't have a fat arse! Never have had one!
Anyhow, Shaun was brilliant and told me that of course I don't have a fat arse, that the old fools were clearly blind (drunk?).
It's tricky, all this stuff, isn't it? My rational mind tells me that 65kg is really not that much overweight. But since I am someone who has blood pressure issues, I feel I ought to watch it, for my heart's sake. I also work in an image-conscious industry, and a competitive one at that. Come to mention it, almost everything is competitive these days.
Anyhow, I know what I need to do and, you watch me, I will do it. Just in my own time.


Meanwhile, some happy snaps of the lounge-bouncing kidlet. Who definitely doesn't need to lose any weight.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008






(Amazingly, he DID manage to go to sleep for his nap without Bobo - something of a first. Must have been really tired. The good thing about Bobo being so, err, loved is that no-one in their right mind would want to keep him. I just hope the play centre staff don't bin him before I can get back there.)

Why is that that the two toys E has adored in his life have both been white?


Damned polenta. Why is it so tricky to make? I never seem to get it right. I got the most lovely Jewish cookbook at work last week and I tried to make the polenta gnocchi in it.
Too squishy to shape!
We now have polenta, um, sludge for dinner.

Monday, October 20, 2008

If a watched kettle never boils, does a watched garden never grow?

I think I need a new hobby, because my current one is driving me a bit batty. I decided a little while back to take over our vegie patch because Shaun sometimes does infuriating things like tip an entire bucket of water over the tiniest seedlings, flattening them in an instant.
So I weeded, pulling out great handfuls of grass and mint (that stuff is prolific!). Then I conditioned the soil patch by patch with my Bokashi.
I know gardening is supposed to be relaxing and good for you - and I definitely think it is - it's just that I go and look at mine about four times a day. Just in case there's been any, you know, triffid action from the tomatoes.
This is my problem (and it doesn't only relate to the vegie patch, sadly): I have no patience.
I want results - and I want them now!!
It is over the top to sprinkle seedlings with water three times a day, isn't it? And to gently smooth the soil around them? Thought so.
And part of the problem is that I (of course) went completely overboard and as a result my small vegie garden has:

pak choy
radish (another weed!)
... and today I bought some basil to plant among all this.

My problem is that I've planted various seeds over a few weeks, then a) I've forgotten where I've planted them (luckily it rains) and b) I am unsure exactly what's a seedling and what's a weedling. I suspect I have pulled up a couple of perfectly good baby vegies.
The answer may be a self-imposed ban. I need to restrict myself to just checking the garden every few days. Perhaps then I will see some actual progress!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

My future's so bright ...

'S' is for Super Cool. Like, clearly...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The logic of a three year old

Me: "Do you want to come in the car to the bank with Mummy?"

E: "Yes."

Me: "Great, we'll go to the bank then we'll get some fish for dinner, OK?"

(long pause)

E: "But Mum, where are the fishing rods?"


Monday, October 13, 2008

Voting with my feet

I'm feeling all righteous. This week I've made some small changes that are of quite large significance to me (though possibly not to anyone else).

In the past week I have:

* Closed the bank account I have had since kindergarten. Which Bank? Yes, that one (of course). Having been a customer of the Commonwealth Bank from the days when my pocket money was 20c I've been through many ups and downs with them. On the whole the service is ... lacking, but never appallingly so.
No, the issue for me runs deeper than that. A few months ago I was writing a feature that led to me interviewing a fairly prominent businessperson with excellent environmental credentials. We were talking about corporate cultures and how some will never change to be more environmentally responsible. It was she who sowed the seed when she said, "When you talk to anyone from the Commonwealth Bank you can just tell they're never going to change."
So I did a little research of my own.
It appears she is right.
Just how 'green' any bank can be is kind of debatable, but I expect some corporate responsibility from an institution that deals with my savings. The more I looked into it, the more I realised that this bank is appalling ... and the powers that be ought to hang their head in shame.
Today I went into my local branch and asked to close the account. They naturally asked why and I told them - and they actually said this to me: "Ooh, I wouldn't be leaving this bank right now with all the financial instability. This is the best bank for keeping your money safe."
So if I wasn't enraged enough by their temerity last week, when they bought BankWest after crying poor and not handing on a full interest cut, I certainly was by today's little piece of fear-mongering.
Good riddance to them! I feel cleaner (and greener) already.

* Cancelled a too-good-to-be-true Telstra contract. Yes, we had one of those sales people come to our door telling us we were a "high-priority customer" Telstra wanted to woo back from Optus. The guy offered us an incredible deal: national calls capped at a dollar, lots of extras, a credit on our first bill, this kind of thing...
So we signed it.
But we had reservations from the start, because the modem for our cable broadband had to be replaced with a wireless one, which sounds less appealing. It's hard to work your way through all the various providers and plans and bundles, as almost all have something you want but none have everything you want.
Then last week there was an article in the Sydney Morning Herald that said Telstra's sales group TSA, the group employing the guy who came to our house, had been allegedly harassing potential customers, being really pushy and promising anything and everything knowing full well they couldn't deliver on it.
Which got me thinking. There is no way I wish to financially reward, or be associated in any way at all, with a company that employs bullies and condones bullying behaviour.
So on Day 9 of the 10-day cooling-off period I cancelled that contract and told Telstra exactly why.

* I switched my electricity to Jack Green. I've been looking forward to doing this. Our contract for supply ended a fortnight ago, so the time was right. I still can't forgive Energy Australia for the time, about two years ago, when it was revealed that customers who thought they were on 100% green power were actually not. I have a sneaking suspicion we were among them because when this hit the media I rang Energy Australia and asked to speak to someone about whether or not we were actually signed up for 100% green power (as the paperwork in front of me said). They fobbed me off to their "Contracts" department and of course there was never a phone call back or a letter.
So now I am no longer a customer.

Oh, it feels so good!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Behold the Bokashi!

I think I am in love with my Bokashi bucket. In case you've not heard of it, Bokashi is a kitchen composting system, where you chuck all your food scraps into an airtight bucket, sprinkle a handful of this micro-organism (not as icky as it sounds - it's like handling wheat bran) and it ferments. After it's fermented (it's far nicer than your usual compost, such smells like pickles), you bury it. The idea is that your food scraps break down and become a rather ace soil conditioner.

Boy, does it work.

I present, for your enlightenment, Exhibit A: tomato seedlings of (pretty much) the same size, planted on the same day, watered the same amount, receiving the same amount of sunshine.

The tomato plant on the left is planted in soil that hasn't had the Bokashi treatment; the specimen on the right is lovin' the Bokashi-enhanced soil.

This stuff is amazing.

However, if you are going to rush out and buy a Bokashi bucket, please buy the orginal Bokashi bucket, which is sold by a family in Marrickville who have put lots of work into building the product up and showing at organic markets etc, etc.

Last week I got a press release from Bunnings announcing that they were selling bokashi systems ... of course at an undercut price (about $30 less for the bucket, I think). And probably made in China. Don't do it, support a small business!


A completely unrelated question: is this child exploitation?