Resolute: March Recap

Resolute - Mar recap image

March has disappeared in a blur, and April is already well advanced. I can’t believe how fast this year is going! In fact, I spent a whole lot of March bemoaning how fast life is going in general, and wishing it would slow down a bit so I can catch up.

March wasn’t all about generalised wonderings, though. I also managed to tick off both of my March resolutions at the start of the month and squeeze in part of an extra one, all while still working on all the others. Go me!

So here’s where it’s at:

Remember Shrove Tuesday
Okay, so technically I forgot Shrove Tuesday, but I don’t think we should get hung up on technicalities. I ended up making brunch pancakes the following morning, which I decided still counted, because it was still Tuesday on the other side of the world. I’m more of a crepe fan, so these babies were a more of ‘pancrepe’.

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They were especially delicious with the fresh blueberries in them, and natural yoghurt and maple syrup I covered them in. Definitely a make-again dish. My bad photography doesn’t do them justice.

Take More Photos
Speaking of photos, my other March resolution was to get snap happy. Totally aced this one. My phone’s camera folder is jam packed with shots of everything from my lunch at a local cafe:

Lunch at Vintage Latte, in Toowoomba. May have found a new fave cafe.

Lunch at Vintage Latte, in Toowoomba. May have found a new fave cafe.

to snaps of a friend’s wedding:

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And, of course, way too many photos of the most handsome nephew in the world:

I mean, how cute is this?!

I mean, how cute is this?!

It’s amazing how easy it is to take photos of babies—they’re so beautiful, even an amateur like me can amazing shots. I think perhaps this has moved from a resolution to an addiction.

Try Ten New Foods
This wasn’t even a March resolution, I just had a moment of insane braveness. We went out for lunch, and my uncle ordered brains. Now, I’m all about trying new things, but offal is one of those things that honestly makes my stomach churn and my head spin. Yech! Or so I thought.

Sitting next to my uncle, I had a pretty good view of the crumbed lamb’s grey matter, smothered in rich gravy. Suddenly they didn’t seem so bad, and the gravy certainly look amazing. Then I surprised myself…I asked if I could try some.

Guess what? Turns out I don’t mind brains. I mean, I’ll probably never order them myself, and I certainly wouldn’t cook them. But, if they were put in front of me, I now know I could not just eat them, but actually enjoy them.

So hurrah for trying new things! One down, ten to go.

The Other Stuff
As the year goes by there is going to be a lot of updating of past ongoing resolutions, so I figure there’s really only need to update on the ones I’m actually succeeding with at the moment.

Financially, I’m not really any more stable, and I may not be in the near future. However, I have made a decision that will hopefully guarantee me a happy mix of financial stability and job satisfaction. Watch this space for more info in the coming days.

I’m also making in-roads on the whole not sweating small things/being kinder/being more thankful. Things aren’t all rainbows and lollipops, but I’m making the best of them, and trying to acknowledge the parts those around me play in making things better. I’m lucky. I may not have millions of dollars, or look like a movie star, but I do have great friends and family who make me laugh and provide plenty of good moments.

Speaking of good, one thing I’ve totally got down is the eating a good breakfast resolution. Hurrah for success! And also for my egg-poaching skills—I’d totally rock a Master Chef poaching skills challenge.

Stay tuned tomorrow for April’s Resolutions!

 

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Resolute: March’s Two

Resolute - Mar Img

I was feeling mighty good tonight. I woke up early and ate my usual yummy poached eggs brekkie. I slaved over four job applications. I exercised, took a friend out for coffee, and made a delish veg dinner. Accomplishing multiple resolutions in one day had me on a high. Then I went on Facebook, and discovered I’d forgotten Shrove Tuesday—resolution fail! Bugger.

But! But, what if I was to have pancakes sometime early tomorrow? It’s still going to be Tuesday somewhere in the world until around lunchtime tomorrow here. So, technically, as long as I have pancakes sometime tomorrow morning, I’ve still remembered Shrove Tuesday. Right?

I’m going to pretend you all said yes, and move on to talking about March’s resolutions. I’ve only got ten left now, so from here on out there’s only two per month, and this month’s is particularly easy!

Remember Shrove Tuesday
When I was a kid my favourite part of Easter, even more than the copious amount of chocolate, was Shrove Tuesday. This magical day was the one day in  the year when dinner was swapped in favour of a decidedly sweeter affair. For those not familiar with this Christian observation, Shrove Tuesday is the considered the last Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Traditionally, being that Lent is a time of giving up more worldly pleasures to look inwardly and repent for wrongs done, the Tuesday was a time of feasting, as a last opportunity to indulge and remove richer foods before the fasting began. As a kid though, it always just meant Pancakes for Dinner!

Pancakes! Almost everyone loves pancakes, right? As I’ve gotten older I’ve found I can take them or leave them for the most part. They can be too doughy, too heavy, or simply too sweet for me. Their French cousins, the crêpe, I find much more palatable. Thin and light, with just a touch of colour, the crêpe is my perfect version of the pancake.

I’d hoped to remember Shrove Tuesday this year, not just as a chance to indulge in a heavenly dessert, but as a start to Lent. While I don’t go to church regularly, and don’t pray as often as I should, I do consider myself a Christian, and try to act in a Christian manner in my daily life. For me, Lent has always been something that I try to abide, as it is a time to refocus not only my faith, but my beliefs and morals as a person. It is a time I can use to take stock of who I am becoming, and decide how I where I want to go in the future to improve myself.

As Lent starts tomorrow, I will be abstaining from midnight tonight for forty days. However, what I choose to give up isn’t edible, so I can still have my pancakes tomorrow, and still call it Shrove Tuesday if it’s in the morning. My mum will also be happy with this—as my love for pancakes has waned, hers as grown to rival even the most vehement pancake lover.

Take More Photos
I thought this would be hard for me. I’m one of those people who is really bad at remembering to take photos, even though I always have a camera on hand. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good photo, I just always seem to get lost in the moment.

Then this little guy came along:

HC

And now I can’t stop Snapping, no matter how hard I try. HC isn’t even two weeks old, and I’ve already taken over one hundred pictures of him. Not all of them are good, but they’re all still saved in my computer and on my phone, ready to pull out and brag about at a moment’s notice.

I’m also going to try to take more photos of everything else in my life. My friends, family, Bonnie the dog. I’m sure there’ll be hipster food shots, and a few cooking snaps. This is going to be a year of happy snaps, arty stills, and precious moments, for sure.

Needless to say. I’ve got this month’s resolutions in the bag already.

Resolute: FebruaryRecap

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Another month over already! This year is already going way too fast for me, especially when it comes to resolutions. I’m not going to lie, I haven’t done so well with February’s five, but I’m getting there, and really doing well on January’s five. Here’s this month’s recap.

GET THAT TATTOO
This one failed big time. Between spoiling my new baby nephew, and paying vet bills, cash was not something I had spare. Ergo, the tattoo has been put on hold. Perhaps I’ll make it a splurge item with my first paycheck when I finally land a job.

BE MORE AWARE
Hmm…this could be viewed as a failure as well, especially seeing as I was so unaware this month, that I manages to trip on my own pants and break my toe. Clearly not paying great attention. But I have been paying more attention to my local community, and the changes happening in it. As much as it pains me, I’ve taken to reading the (badly written) local paper of a morning, and paying attention to the (badly produced) local news. Unfortunately for my parents, this means the occasional expletive yelled at the television when they mispronounce names or the weather girl stares at the prompter the whole way through the weather report.

SEW, KNIT, CROCHET
So, I tried to do more sewing, I really did, but it’s really hard to sew with a broken toe. I tend to use my big toe to adjust the speed of the machine—something I only discovered when I lost control and went all speed demon on a hem I was attempting. I did crochet some, though! I’m working on a very bright, rainbow blankie for noone in particular. Pictures to come.

EAT BEAKFAST
I’m proud to say I succeeded at this one! I think I skipped breakfast all of two days this month. The bonus of this is it also helped with getting healthier, because when I eat breakfast I don’t snack as much. Because I’ve taken to eating the same thing for breakfast pretty much every day (poached eggs on toast), I’m a veritable master at the perfect poached egg. An added bonus for me, and anyone else who just happens to be around for breakfast.

BE KINDER
I think I did ok with this resolution. There have been days I have struggled with my temper, or just been too lazy to help when I could see it was needed, so there’s still improvement to be made. I have made a concerted effort to let go of things that would normally bother me, and am certainly getting better at not setting gigantic secret expectations for people, and then getting cranky when they don’t measure up.

I’m also being kinder to myself. Allowing myself slip-ups in my diet, not getting frustrated if I accidentally take a four hour nap instead of a twenty minute one, and accepting that some days my body just hurts. Definitely more work to be done, but I’m getting there.

As for January’s goals, I’m still working hard on them. I’m avoiding gluten pretty well, and don’t seem to struggle too much with avoiding sugar during the week. My Saturday Cheat Day seems  to rollover into most of Sunday, but by Sunday night I’m usually behaving myself again. It’s been easy to be appreciative, with wonderful friends taking me out for a lavish surprise dinner, and a new nephew to enthral me. You know what, it’s also easier to let things go when you’ve got wonderful things to appreciate, because the little negatives seem so less important when you’re holding a sweet baby boy.

Still a lot to work on. More goals to get started on. Overall though, I’m feeling pretty good about these thirty accomplishments. As long as the year slows down a bit, I’m totally going to nail the list, maybe even with time to spare.

Resolute: February’s Five

Made by moi, using this vector.

Made by moi, using this vector.

Time for February’s Resolutions! Now, of course, I’m still kicking on with January’s (and have been doing mighty fine on them the past few days, if I do say so myself), but I also have to get cracking with a few more so I can get this list sorted by year’s end. Now, just because it’s my birthday month, doesn’t mean I’m going to be taking it easy on myself. In fact, I think this month’s are some of the hardest, especially in terms of maintaining long-term.

So, here’s February:

GET THAT TATTOO
Way back, sometime in our late teens, Wabi and I both decided we were going to get a tattoo one day. Not too be cool—we’ve never really been the hippest cats (as evidenced by this sentence). I can’t speak for Wabi, but for me tattoos are a really unique piece of artwork that displays something about you as a person. They are also permanent, so unlike your hair colour or clothing style, they can’t just be changed, leaving an etched memory of you forever (or until you decide to remove it, I guess).

Because there is such permanence, a tattoo was never going to be something I just jumped into, especially when I was well aware how inconsistent and scattered I am. While I’ve been wanting a tattoo for a very long time, I wanted to wait until I was one hundred percent convicted about what I wanted the tattoo to be, and I think I’m finally at that point. I still have to sort out an artist, and get a design done, but I know what I want my tattoo to mean, and what I want it to say about me. And, I figure, what’s a big birthday for if not doing something a little crazy, right?

BE MORE AWARE
This one’s a little airy, but something I really want to achieve. I think, these days, because we live so much of our lives at a hectic pace, and spend so much time in virtual reality, we have lost a level of awareness of both ourselves and our surroundings. I know I’m nowhere near as aware of things going on in my local area as I would have been when I was a kid. Which is troubling, because I should be more aware now than I was then. I also know that I’ve been caught off-guard by people’s reaction to me, or by my reaction to them a lot more. I used to be very adept at picking up on other’s emotions, and reading their needs. I know this has been altered a lot by less interaction with people, but it’s also because while I’ve been ill, I’ve been much more self-involved.

No more blinders this year, though. I don’t want to be one of those people that is constantly surprised by other’s actions and reactions. I want to know my community, and work to make it better and more interesting. And I also want to continue to learn about myself, and become aware of my bodies likes and dislikes, so I can keep moving forwards instead of stumbling backwards.

SEW, KNIT, CROCHET
This one’s a fun one, but also one I’m implementing as a bit of emotional exercise. I’m an anxious bunny. I stress so much that I’ve clenched and ground my teeth to within inches of their lives. My ultimate stress relieve is water, especially the beach. Ideally, I’d love to be living at the coast where I could decompress with a walk on the beach at the end of the day, but that’s not really an option right now. Cooking is the next best option when it comes to calming down, but it doesn’t sit well with the need to drop some weight, because I end up “tasting” everything.

Enter crafting, alternative go-to stress relief. I don’t love all crafts, but sewing, knitting, and crocheting take me to a happy place. I love coming up with an idea, and turning it into an actual something. I love that a pretty piece of fabric can miraculously become a cute skirt. And the whole process has this bizarre pacifying effect on my jitters, that leaves me feeling accomplished and ready to take on the world. Added bonus: I get cute clothes and soft furnishing to keep for myself or lavish on friends.

EAT BEAKFAST
This is another one of those “taking better care of myself” things. You see, I suck at mornings. Everything is so much sorer, stiffer, and hurtier of a morning, which makes me super slow. This makes either super rushed, super late, or super hungry because I end up skipping breakfast to get everything else sorted. The problem with this is it screws with my head, leaving me feeling faint and fuzzy. It’s also really bad for weight loss to skip meals, especially breakfast.

So, this month I’m going to try my darnedest to eat brekkie every day. Whether it’s a full-out feast, or just a quickie smoothie, the aim is to ensure there is something in my belly within an hour of waking. I’m hoping that starting strong in the mornings will help me work my way through the day eating responsibly, and looking after myself better.

BE KINDER
Okay, to start with, I’m not a mean person. I swear. But, like most girls, I do have a bitchy sass-mouth in me. She’s a nasty piece of work, who loves to use words to cuss out her foe, and is always much worse at a particular time of the month. I don’t like her. I want her to go away. So I’m working on not letting her come out to play as much. I guess this kind of sits with last month’s goal of letting things go as well, because a lot of the bitchiness is pure anger or jealousy at people that have wronged me. Whatever the reason, it’s a trait I find really ugly, and one I definitely want to reduce.

So, less name-calling, more forgiveness, and a good helping of humility for me. I’m also going to have to work on controlling my temper, and staying calm. Most importantly, I gotta, gotta try a little tenderness!

So that’s February. Wish me luck!

Resolute: January Recap

Hey hey! If you’re an Aussie you’re brain is finishing that with “it’s Saturday!”. It is, isn’t it?

Anyway…it’s February! Yay, right? It should be, it’s my birthday month. But I actually hate February, because it’s, quite literally, EVERYONE ELSE’S Birthday in my family as well. Okay…that’s a bit of a stretch. I do, however, know someone on every day in February, except for the thirteenth. Anyone on that date wanna become my friend, so I can bingo it? So, basically, February is Buy All the Presents month. Which I would totally love (because I really do love buying people stuff), except for the whole not having money thing.

Which is a great segue into my update on January’s resolutions, seeing as one of them is all about having monies. Let’s begin there shall we?

I swiped this from the gorgeous Kristy, at Southern In-Law. I promise to do better next time.

BECOME FINANCIALLY STABLE
Hmm. This one didn’t go so well. Apart from going over budget on the wedding from hell (story for another time), I also managed to sew myself to my sewing machine, which required immediate medical attention. Bills, bills, bills! Aaaannnd no luck with finding a job. Sad face.

on the upside, I have reigned in my frivolous spending, and cut down dramatically on the amount I waste on fuel/excess phone usage/junk food, so it hasn’t been a total loss. And I have been applying for lots of jobs, I just haven’t found the right one yet. No matter, onwards and upwards, right?

DROP THOSE KILOS
Just because I’ve been spending less on junk, doesn’t really mean I’ve been eating better. I’m still snacking way too much, and not exercising nearly enough. Big fail on the whole chubba-be-gone front. But February has 28 days—the exact amount of time it’s supposed to take to break a habit. Going to nail it goal this month.

BE REAL/LET THINGS GO/BE MORE APPRECIATIVE
Oooh. These ones were fun. I totally got real this month, and stopped overcommitting. Mainly because I spent most of the month completely broke, but also because I was being an Eeyore and dwelling on things big-time. Ergo, did not do so well at the whole letting-things-go challenge. In fact, I would probably say I failed miserably at this one. I’ll try harder this month, I promise.

I totally deserve a gold star for being appreciative this month, though. I’m pretty sure there was a week in there where I said thank you at least a hundred times a day. But I’ve also been trying to find the positives in things more, and focusing on the good I have in my life as opposed to the bad.

So, I’ve had a few wins and a few losses so far. I definitely need to step up my game, but, given the craziness that has ensued this month, I’m pretty proud of myself. February, I’m going to be continuing with all these resolutions and adding another five to the list. Stay tuned for that post in a couple of days. Until then, Happy February!

Resolute: January’s Five

If you’re a regular reader (or have the ability to scroll back a post), you’ll know that this year I turn thirty. You’ll also know that I’ve set myself thirty resolutions for the year, in the aim of making this a year of change and growth. I promised to set myself a few to complete each month, and blog before and after they are achieved.  Seeing as January is almost over, I figure it’s probably time to talk about my Resolutions focus for this month.

This month and the next are a bit different to most other’s because there’s a collection of goals that are really long-term adjustments, rather than quickie challenges. This means, that while I’ll start them this month, I’m not really going to complete them until later in the year, probably not even for a couple years, but this will be the first step.  These one’s will updated regularly, along with the monthly ones, so you can keep me on track. And I mean that—feel free to give me some encouragement, or admonish me when I don’t quite achieve the month’s goals!

So, without further ado, the first five:

DROP THOSE KILOS

For many reasons—because of the PCOS and ME/CFS, because I’m lazy, because I like chocolate—I am the heaviest I’ve ever been. Unfortunately this creates a pretty vicious cycle, because the extra weight flares up my ME/CFS, making it hard to exercise, and then I eat bad because I feel bad…and gain more weight. In the past four years I’ve gone from a size 12-14 to a size 18-20, which has really dented the shaky self-confidence I’d worked hard to build.

I say I’m lazy and that I have eaten badly, but in truth a lot of that was due to frustration over not knowing what was wrong, or how to fix it. Now I know that PCOS girls tend to have to work harder to lose weight, and are much more prone to gaining it, I have a reason. After doing some research, and watching my reaction to different foods I know my triggers. I know what foods make me feel bloated and sluggish, what I eat that tends to make me gain quickly, and what foods make me feel really good. No surprise: the stuff that makes me feel best is fruit and vegetables!

So, this year, all that nasty weight is going to go away, and be replaced with the building blocks of confidence. Sugar, wheat, and gluten are gone, dairy is a sometimes food, and exercise is the new daily staple. Hoepfully, with all this in place, I will be wearing a bikini again at Christmas, and not hiding under shape-wear and baggy tees.

BECOME FINANCIALLY STABLE

When I was younger I was flush with cash, despite receiving pocket money. I got my first job at 12, and have worked ever since, even supporting my family by buying the weekly groceries through a tight patch when I was sixteen. I was strict on myself, allowing myself to blow the first pay-check at a new job, before squirrelling away sixty percent of each pay for a rainy day.

The past two years as I’ve been working to sort out my health I’ve been living predominantly on benefits. The meagre amount received from these benefits was usually barely enough to cover bills, food, and daily living expenses. I’ve had a run of giant medical bills, but I’ve also been stupid with my money at times, spending it willy-nilly, without considering the future.

While I don’t ever want to be one of those people that place great emphasis on money, I do want to go back to the sensible=spending ways of my youth. I want to pay off the debts I owe my parents, lighten the load on my credit card, and develop a positive credit rating, so I can eventually get a loan to buy a house. All those things, however, are secondary to the number one goal: finding a job. To be able to do anything, I have to start making enough money to do more than just scrape by, which means a full-time, nine-to-five, J.O.B. To tell you the truth, I’m secretly really excited about the concept of none-to-five! It’s crazy, I know, but it feels good to have enough energy to get through a week without needing to sleep half of it away—I want to use that energy for something worthwhile.

BE REAL/LET THINGS GO/BE MORE APPRECIATIVE

These next three I’ve grouped together, because they are pretty well connected. You see, I used to be one of those people that was always doing something. Throughout university, I worked an average of thirty-five hours a week and attended full-time classes. When I wasn’t at uni or at work, I was at a gig, or out for coffee, or taking a road trip to the beach. I wasn’t good at sitting still for too long, and I loved being really busy.

Because I’ve been so used to living life at double-pace, having ME/CFS has really been a struggle. My body no longer copes at high speed for very long, and my ability to push past the exhaustion and find a second wind isn’t so great. Not only does this frustrate me, but I’m sure it frustrates others. I’m always late getting to places, it takes me much longer to complete tasks, and I often have to say no to fun outings, so I’m fit to meet my obligations. Then I get angry at myself, and I rant about what I ‘used to’ be able to do and how fast I used to be able to get it done.

This year I’m going to focus on recalibrating—slowing down. I’m going to start doing things earlier, or simply allowing extra time to get them done. I’m going to be realistic, and acknowledge that it now takes me twenty minutes just to get out of bed because I need to wake up my muscles. I’m going to factor into tasks extra half-hour it takes me to get them done. I’m not going to get angry at myself, I’m not going to be frustrated at my body, I’m not going to focus on what was, because that only makes me feel worse.

I am going to appreciate the fact that I’m still fully able bodied. I’m going to revel in the fact that I can get out of bed, instead of sleeping all day like I was doing only months ago. I’m going to be grateful for the things that these changes have given me, and work with the positives instead of against the negatives. Which is what The Thirty is all about—working towards a better me. And hopefully a happy and successful one as well.

Resolute: The Thirty

New Year’s Card, from Emily McDowell on Etsy.

So I decided that, since I’m thirty this year, I should have thirty New Year’s Resolutions. Why? I don’t know. Probably because I like making lists, like, way too much. Anyway, I came up with thirty, and I’m going to try my hardest to achieve them all. In fact, at the start of every month I’m going to pick certain ones to achieve, and blog about them before and after they are achieved. Basically I’m using Heidielka as a method of shaming myself into accomplishing things, because if I don’t cross them off after saying I would, I’ll feel a bit silly.

Sometime in the next week, I’ll tell you all about the first few. For now, here’s the full list. Some of them are tough and a little scary, some just plain silly, and some (I hope) will make me a better human being.

  1. Make cheese
  2. Be real
  3. Drop those kilos
  4. Learn to ride a bike
  5. Become financially stable
  6. Leave the country for at least a week
  7. Take dance classes
  8. Be adventurous
  9. Remember Shrove Tuesday—PANCAKES!
  10. Try ten new foods
  11. Swear less
  12. Go to the ballet
  13. Sew, knit, crochet
  14. Get that tattoo
  15. Read more books
  16. Take road trips
  17. Be kinder
  18. Cook a whole turkey
  19. Learn to say no, some times
  20. Take horse riding lessons
  21. Let things go
  22. Eat breakfast
  23. Be more aware
  24. Take more photos
  25. Live responsibly
  26. Take a mystery holiday
  27. Buy chickens
  28. Try speed dating
  29. Change someone’s life
  30. Be more appreciative

So that’s my thirty for thirty. What were your resolutions this year?