Jan. 19th, 2009 11:41 pm
mrsbrown: (domestic goddess)
Tonight was the night to start putting the kitchen back together.

It's the sad part of renovating, where you have to admit that you have more stuff than really fits into that beautiful, expansive space you had when you just finished painting and the room was empty.

Sorry [livejournal.com profile] mmy_me, I hadn't got back to you sooner. It would be great if you had some clothes for Rose at Canty Faire. I'm not sure how tall she is, and she's asleep now, but her last dress was about 80cm from shoulder to hem.

And the weather next weekend? I wish the Bureau would get it together. When I checked this arvo, Saturday had a day of 36 forecast. Now that's disappeared and the temperatures all weekend are predicted to be no higher than 24. Hooray! no fire ban!! No dying of heat prostration!! Of course that's not the forecast for Ballarat, but it seems to be fairly close to melbourne's forecast for the other days this week and there isn't a 7 day forecast available.

This morning I politely asked the person sitting next to me on the tram if he could turn down his music player. He looked a bit non-plussed, but complied. The two men on the other side of the tram (unrelated to either my neighbor or each other) told me off! Apparently, music players are the modern thing and if I have a problem I should move!! I suspect the woman sitting opposite to me turned UP her music player on purpose and ignored me when I asked her to turn it down. Next time I have a problem I think I'll make my seagull imitation noise. When they complain I'll explain that if they have a problem they should move away from me. It would be embarassing if they didn't complain about my seagull noise, but most people (even my friends) complain after the second one, so it probably won't be a problem.

Oh, and MrPeacock has been offered a place in Science at Melbourne Uni. The offer says that enrolment day is next Tuesday - do you still have to go there to enrol? 'Cos that will be difficult while he's in href="http://www.defence.gov.au/Army/artc/training.html">Kapooka doing basic training and I'm not keen to take another day off work. I wonder what subjects he wants to do? He didn't get around to telling me before he left.


Sep. 7th, 2008 11:33 am
mrsbrown: (big machine)
I once had to give a 5 minute talk about myself. It turned out that I am was all about rationing the things I do in my day, so that I have enough energy to make it to the end. Carefully planning whether I should catch a tram or walk somewhere depending on what I had planned for the evening.

Later in that personal development course I learnt that I could keep doing stuff even when I felt tired. I could even walk 14 hours a day and have enough energy to cook dinner for 7 over a campfire [1]

I know a bit more about myself and energy now:

If I exercise regularly I have more hours in my day to do stuff, 'cos I don't need to flop on the couch in the evenings.
If I have too many things on in a weekend I'm likely to get up one morning during the week and procrastinate leaving the house. Luckily I can now work at home on those days[2]
If I'm doing something exciting and challenging that fills my weekend, I'm surprised at how well I feel on Monday.
If the exciting and challenging project continues into the evenings of my working week, I can just keep going for about a fortnight, but I will collapse at the end and have trouble moving again for a few weeks.
I have physical and intellectual energy and, while one influences the other, they're not the same. So telling myself that I could walk for 14 hours and still do stuff necessary for my survival, isn't enough to keep me at work for 14 hours, even if I do have a deadline.
Hanging out with my friends frequently gives me the energy, that I didn't think I had, to do stuff afterwards.
Since being Baroness, I can do more than I thought I could and work on more projects than I thought I could. And I like the feeling I get when I move from one project to another, even though I'll get hijacked by my brain and stop.
Just keeping on going, and forgetting about how much energy I have, I get more done and I like it better.

and the kicker?

When I'm worrying about rationing my energy, I use it up and get less done.

To illustrate; yesterday I wandered around the Healesville Sanctuary and got home feeling like crap. I went out with my friends anyway and got home at 1.30am feeling better than I had when I left. This morning is my only free time, so I carefully slept in and then read some book 'cos it's my only opportunity this weekend. Now I'm writing this, 'cos lying in bed often loosens my muse and I like the achievement of letting it loose. I've been interrupted several times by the small child in my life and now I'm angsting about both finishing this and getting on with being sufficiently organised to have a reasonable time this arvo. Soon I'll do the Baroness stuff I want done so I can hold my chin up at Bash. I'll then spend the arvo at Bash where I'll put on my happy face and probably have a good time. It's time with friends and frequently energising, even if I'll get home and wish I'd spent more time at home this weekend. I've got someone coming home with me, but he'll only get an hour of my time, 'cos then I have to go and have dinner with my mum and sister. That will also be better than I anticipate and I'll probably get home feeling good. Until I realise that I have to work out what to wear to work tomorrow.

The whole time I'm doing all that, I'll be worrying that I should be having quiet time to store up for my work week, which includes 2 major projects, a bunch of interruptions I know I'll have, a new employee I'm responsible for and ongoing negotiations with the owners of the company I currently work for. There's no time to stay home on the couch this week. And I have a big weekend next weekend.

So, how much energy do I have available for all that? hmmm, maybe I should take it one thing at a time and enjoy as much of it as I can.

But how the f%^k am I going to get through next week?

[1]that's one pot with boiled pasta, milk powder, chicken seasoning and plastic cheese - not so much dinner as food.
[2] But probably not this week

Oh dear!

May. 4th, 2008 11:33 am
mrsbrown: (domestic goddess)
It starts so easily.

I think, "what shall I read? I haven't read Anne of Green Gables for a while, its lovely and peaceful and chirpy" And I start reading my ebook.

And I finish it and start on the next one, Anne of Avonlea. As the week goes on and I read the next one and the next one during the week I start to get nervous.

Yesterday morning in bed I finished Rainbow Valley, and I had the first cry.

Then this morning mr-bassman woke me early by getting out of bed and I started on the non stop, moaning, teary with occasional pauses to cry harder experience that I have every time I read Rilla of Ingleside.

I have to read it in one go and I have to read it on my own. That means staying in bed and pretending that my bladder isn't about to explode, my tea addiction doesn't need feeding and that my blood sugar low is not contributing to my woes.

Unfortunately, because I read it electronically, I can't ignore running out of battery. So I got up, emptied the bladder, drank tea, ate bread, interacted with Rose and settled down with a plugged in pda to recapture the misery. It's not the same, but I've finished it now and I'm still a bit teary. At least I got the worst bit out of the way before the battery died.

I've been contemplating a post this week where I talk about the characters I've identified with and what they've taught me.

I didn't learn anything from the childish Anne, but the grownup Anne takes joy in her life and the now of her children, enjoying them and remembering that they won't stay babies forever (makes me cry). She also seeks out people who understand her and will do anything for them. She's understanding of people's mistakes and sympathises with their point of view.

Horatio Hornblower has the same doubtful voices in his head as I do. And does stuff anyway, really cool stuff. He also takes responsibility for things. Even when problems are obviously not his fault, he asks, "what could I have done to make this thing not happen" He takes that all too seriously of course, but I guess I don't get involved in activities that include people dying.

I play Pollyanna's glad game. I learnt from her grown up version (thankyou project gutenberg) that it wasn't a good idea to evangelise at people about it, so I don't.

Laura Ingalls Wilder showed me the sorts of living conditions that people can happily live in. When I remember that she shared a bed with her sister, that she lived on potatoes and salt pork twice a day for three months, that she sat and made buttonholes for 10 hours a day - gee we have it easy these days!

There must be more, but I have Bash to get ready for. And I haven't told you about my new haircut either!
mrsbrown: (domestic goddess)
I think of myself as trustworthy.

Lately I've been feeling like it's harder to achieve than I like; That the promises I make to people are not always being kept.

I try to prioritise stuff. I put family stuff first, then work and then my hobby.  But I feel like my actions aren't really keeping it like that, I think because when I make a promise to an individual, that overrides the priority goals and I have to keep it, or my brain will explode with the stress.  In some ways the Baroness thing is a promise I made to a whole bunch of people, so it's harder to prioritise it in it's rightful place (at the end) or I feel super guilty about some of those promises.

Promises are really useful at work.  I use my promises to people to motivate me to do stuff and create deadlines that I then have to keep.  But I think maybe I have too many promises on the go at the moment.

It is reasonable for my daughter to ask me to spend time helping her to organise her room (build bunk bed, clear my desk, move it to her room, move new desk to study)
It is reasonable for my workplace to see me for at least 7.5 hours a day, if not longer, particularly when I'm about to become a shareholder and there's stuff I need to do about that.
It is reasonable that I attend Monthly Bash, sufficiently prepared to reward people for the stuff they do, looking like a Baroness.

I'm not sure I can do all three this week, while also mothering that 2 year old and occasionally paying attention to my 15 year old.  My husband will also have to wait, and I certainly shouldn't do any work on that sock I'm halfway through.

Also, there are 7 weekends until Festival, and only two of them don't have an SCA commitment.

This is a bad time of year for my work commitment, and I think that's my real problem.  My brain doesn't want to let me put that ahead of SCA stuff, particularly Festival and really, I just want to go home and sew. (After I've organised MsNotaGoth's room).

(pause for getting myself to bed and chatting to Sneetch)

Hmm, this rave has put the summary into my head - I'm so stressed I can't do anything except recite the list of things I should be doing but haven't done.

And the problem is half solved - I've written the list and I can start ticking things off, that'll make me feel better.


Jan. 24th, 2008 08:28 pm
mrsbrown: (sca baby)
Tonight's the night before the big weekend.

The night I'm finally well enough to bustle around and organise... stuff!

My house should be full of people pulling things out and asking, "do we need this?" or "do you think we could fit this in?"

We should all be working together and having a good time doing it.

[livejournal.com profile] mr_bassman is off teaching someone how to make a gambeson (I'm sure he could work it out with all those other people there) and he took Rose with him.
MrPeacock would be up for it, but has gone to dinner and a play with his grandmother
Sneetch  "couldn't be bothered catching a train " to my house "again" and just wants to spend one day in one house
and MsNotaGoth told me that she's grownup and doesn't need my help.

Late news, MsNotaGoth interupted my whinge to come and tell me she's ready to pack now and now she's on the phone persuading Sneetch to come over too. (but mostly because she wants to drive our new car)

Anyway, I was going to observe that I'm playing happy families, and I need to have another look at what my needs in this situation really are.
mrsbrown: (Default)
Rose, with a lion )

Rose, who pointed at a chicken and had her finger pecked )

Rose, hanging out with the band )

I had a beautiful muse here, all about spinning plates and family life when you've got three children and the rush of managing to keep the plates spinning against all odds and how Rose is going to miss that wild feeling my other children were a part of, when we were collecting them all to go home or watching them all at places like the zoo.

And then I did a beautiful description of my kitchen on Friday night, with MsNotaGoth and Sneetch helping make dinner and [livejournal.com profile] mr_bassman  washing dishes and Rose demanding pieces of grated cheese, while everyone but Rose tried to talk about whatever was important to them at the moment.  It included me grinning maniacly as I went to check on [livejournal.com profile] doushkasmum  and [livejournal.com profile] sacred_chao who were hiding from it all in the family room.

But LJ ate it as it was posted, and I had to write it all out again.  Bummer
mrsbrown: (Default)
Skiving (sp?) off from my exam and writing stuff to you instead.

1.  This morning I found the energy rating site for air conditioners.  Yes, as Alan Pears says, air conditioners might be cheap for the consumer, but they mean the government, and ultimately, the tax payer, has to pay up to $6000 to provide the electricity infrastructure to run it.

I struggle with air conditioners.  I hate the heat as much as the next northern european descendant, but I know it's only hot enough for me to want air conditioning for about 10 days a year.  In my house, when I get my act together, I'll get ceiling fans and/or an evaporative cooler.

Also, if you only have electricity connected to your home, they are the most efficient way to heat it.  Efficient reverse cycle air conditioners produce about the same amount of greenhouse gas for heating as gas heaters, yes even in nasty brown coal burning Victoria.  The problem is that when we have them, we use air conditioners for coolingin summer, which is when we have a problem with electricity demand.

I like the idea that if you have air conditioning you should install PV panels to power them.  It's a good match, producing maximum electricity when you most want cooling.  I guess if you can't do that, you should pay the premium for 100% accredited greenpower

2.  It's really nice having a laptop.  I'm lying on the couch to do/avoid my exam.  Unfortunately, I'm also right next to the new tent.

When I was newly pregnant with Rose and feeling sick, I spent quite a lot of time in company with my other new tent (which I'd link to but Flickr is down).  I said at the time that the smell of new canvas and fresh enamel paint would probably have a bad association for me for the rest of my life. 

It's happened before.  When I was queasy with Sneetch, I spent 3 days at work drawing the most amazing 3D image using an inadequate drawing package.  It's a fabulous drawing, but I can only look at it for about 10seconds before I start feeling queasy.  Bleurgh!

I was right about the tent smell.  Although it's a funny bad association.  There's the queasy feeling, which is bad, but is right next to the sense of achievement I have in designing and participating in making something that looks and is so fabulous.

3.  Been thinking about Steven Covey's Circle of Influence, and Circle of Concern.  One of my growths through being a parent, and a single person and stuff was realising how much of my energy and arguments were about me worrying about stuff in my circle of concern, instead of my circle of influence. 

After a comment I made yesterday, and some conversations my friends have managed to avoid having with me lately, its probably been a good time to revisit it.  Actually, I think Hornblower had some influence there too.  Anyway, its all about taking responsibility for the stuff I have direct control over, and letting other people work out for themselves that they need to do stuff too.

Hmmm, does Douglas Adams count as a guru too?  I use his concept of SEP a lot. Not so much the invisibility field, but dividing problems into mine and Somebody Else's.  OTOH, I might come off a bit flippant when I do that at work.

4. We're off to the zoo this arvo  I wonder how Rose will manage with her Daddy on stage and her not allowed to be with him?  Maybe we'll spend the whole time looking at the Hippos or something.

mrsbrown: (sca baby)
I'm not at Bash.

Here's why -
Forecast for Sunday
Rain, locally heavy, easing to showers late in the afternoon. Fresh to strong
southeast winds moderating tonight.

It's raining now, it was raining this morning, and it looks like it will be raining later.

I seriously thought about canceling but I've tried to do that before and the fighters all look at me reproachfully and I worry that I'm letting my normal, "can't be f&cked" attitude get in the way of doing something good.

Thought of the morning; am I tired because I'm tired, or because I'm in the habit of feeling this way and I just need to start doing something interesting and the feeling will go away?

I did feel a bit envious, as I watched the Baron, his guard and MsNotaGoth drive away. I thought seriously about going anyway and had to remind myself that mud and rain, while fun for the toddler involved, are not fun for her parents.

I'll stay home, Rose will have the nap she didn't really get yesterday and I'll read "The Black Moth" and probably fall asleep on the couch. I hope they don't give up and come here.
mrsbrown: (Default)
Women with teenagers dress in frumpy clothes because all of their funky clothes get appropriated by their teenage daughters. The mothers think, "I don't wear that very often anyway, she can have it" and then they blink and there are no funky clothes left.

Now that our family room has been renovated (we kept it a secret so the kids didn't find out before they came home) we're spending more time talking to each other. We still want to spend time in there, 'cos that's where the heater is and, hey, it's a nice room now. But there's no computers or television, so we chat.

well duh!

May. 19th, 2007 08:01 am
mrsbrown: (rally)
Wow. You know I'm not one to write a lot of words. I like to think that what I have to say doesn't need 1000 or more words of padding.

When I was in High School, I had trouble writing enough words for the 250 word essays.

Anyway, I was amused to take a glance at this article this morning. (I didn't read it, it waffles and I lost interest once I started thinking about the important stuff - me)

I was saying this 20 years ago, when I was in Young People for Nuclear Disarmament. Then I said, "I'm sick of hearing about the 'Good Old Vietnam Days' "

THAT didn't take 6 pages!
mrsbrown: (sca baby)
I've often commented that the middle ages were all about the pieces of wood and the white cloth.

Pieces of wood with which we put together beds, tents, tables and chairs. When they're all in the trailer they're just pieces of wood.

White cloth I use to make under tunics, chemises, shirts, veils, aprons, food straining bags, napkins, tablecloths, bibs, dilly bags, food storage bags. When they're all clean and folded and place in a chest, they're just white pieces of cloth.

The last couple of weeks, it feels like it's all about the yeast, and the water, with occasional bits of flour too.

We've bought wooden barrels, to serve beer and cider from at Festival. So I've brewed beer and cider.

I made a wood fired oven, so I made bread.

We made verjuice from the grapes in our backyard and it got lactobacillus. We didn't want that.

I made a sourdough starter which, I was amused to read, requires lactobacillus to grow, that lactobacillus, I did want.

Anyway, tonight I started to clean out the barrels so I can put the beer in to condition (yes, it's really getting a bit late, but tough!) and realised that we should have filled them with water last week, so they wouldn't leak. Now they're soaking in my backyard and I'll fill one tomorrow instead.

The cider is still occasionally glooping and I have to decide if the sugar content will be sufficient for secondary fermentation in the barrel, without adding more sugar, if I should wait for it to finish and then add a measured amount of sugar. Actually I sort of feel like it's all moot. Once we open the barrels, we'll lose carbonation anyway. But I'll go through the process, at least once. And maybe someone else can angst about it next time.

After my barrel filling plan was foiled, I started my first batch of sourdough bread. I'm going to punch it down (I hope) tomorrow morning before work and put it in a tin in the fridge. When I get home I'll bake it, in my normal oven. I have too many other things to do without getting distracted by a fire in my backyard.

So, tonight was all about the water and the yeast. Although I did get another three eyelet holes sewn on Rose's Festival kirtle, only two more to go and then I need some cord and aglets so I can do it up.
mrsbrown: (Default)
A good friend is probably not going to die any time soon

The friends and networks I established 15 years ago are still there, and I should really spend more time seeing them. If only so they'll look after me like they've looked after my not-dying-yet good friend. They're important.

Also, I think I'm the matriarch in my new job, so if I want someone to mention international women's day, it will probably be me.


Feb. 10th, 2007 11:08 pm
mrsbrown: (sca baby)
I just called [livejournal.com profile] tenbears , [livejournal.com profile] tenbeers

What does this mean?
mrsbrown: (Default)
Is it surviving when you go to IKEA to return a christmas present and come out with $3000 worth of kitchen doors?

Is it better when you only pay $260 for the doors?

What about when you go to Bunnings to get hinges for the doors, only to find that the IKEA hinges are cheaper and better, but the new toilet seat will be really nice?

Of course, then you have to go back into IKEA to get the hinges that are cheaper and better...

But are they cheaper if you then buy a rail and hooks for hanging the frypans... and a bunch of shelves to make the bathroom shelving you've been talking about for a while?

And then you have to go to a hardware shop for timber for the carcass....I wonder what I'll find there?

The laundry, with it's new doors, looks lovely. And the new cabinet in the bathroom is rather large, but will be great in the new kitchen.

The free dishwasher works. It has a light and a detergent dispenser that works and it doesn't leak. It's previous owner described it as, "working like a Swiss watch". It does work well, but we don't think that Swiss watches are usually so loud.
mrsbrown: (sca baby)
Z needs braces, T could probably do with them too. That needs to happen in the next 2 years.

All three, Z, T and G have wonky feet and need orthotics, G and Z already have some, but Z probably needs new ones sooner than later.

G and I wear glasses and could do with new ones.

I occasionally use a physiotherapist, and all of us should be seeing a dentist more regularly.

I don't currently have health insurance. I don't see the need. I'm happy to wait all day in the emergency department or outpatient clinic of the nearest public hospital and to occasionally pay extra to see a specialist. The local health centre bulk bills and has an arrangement with the local pathology and x-ray labs to bulk bill also. Mostly I don't pay much for health care of the "see the doctor, you're sick" sort, it only cost me about $200 to have Rose and that was avoidable.

But I could choose an "extras" health insurance package. I could pay an insurance company about $800 per year to provide us with about $1000 towards each of the sets of braces, pay completely for the glasses and more regular dentist visits, and pay for at least half of the orthotics, in addition to paying for some of my physiotherapy and a psychologist if I decide I want/need one. A cost of about $8000 over the next 4 years.

Now to my ethical dilemma;

If I pay for insurance, when the bills come in, MTB (kids dad) and I split the bills and then I use the insurance money to pay my half. OTOH, if MTB and I share the insurance, we take the insurance money off the cost and then split the rest - I think it costs me more this way. But if I insure the kids, MTB can't insure them as well. He wouldn't have the cost reduction strategy available to him.

Should I tell him?

BTW, I think his new job means that he'll have to pay the health insurance surcharge, 'cos he'll earn too much. I don't think that will change his ideological stance against private health insurance.

And does anybody have a good reason to avoid Australian Unity Comprehensive Extras Cover?
mrsbrown: (Default)
Thankyou [livejournal.com profile] sorenr, I think [livejournal.com profile] splodgenoodles might enjoy this site you showed me.


Now I want to volunteer. It's just like the project I talked all of my friends into when I was in year 8. We read Susan Cooper, The Dark is Rising, for a literacy project at school. Five of us sat in a room, took parts and read the first 5 chapters into a tape recorder. The tapes were intended to encourage non readers into reading after hearing the beginning of a book. I've always had doubts about my choice of book, but I loved it so much I wanted everyone to read it. I still hear my voice as Farmer Dawson when I re-read the book.

Besides, I really enjoy the sound of my own voice and love reading out loud, particularly children's stories. I can't wait to start with Rose.
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