Who now Mrs Doubtfire?

You are a star.

On my way to work yesterday morning I was listening to the radio when I heard the news about Robin Williams. I gasped out loud. I didn’t know much about his private life and his struggle with depression. I only really knew what I saw of him in movies. I introduced my son to Mrs Doubtfire last year and he loved it. I also remember watching Mork and Mindy when I was a kid. He was a great comic, and entertained us all and I think when what you know of somebody is being funny, their death by apparent suicide is unexpected and sad.

My Facebook and Twitter stream has been full of other peoples thoughts about him too. He’s left a great legacy for us – his fans. We’re lucky.

I think suicide has touched us all at one time or another, some more than others.

I had a phone call from an ex manager one day to tell me about a colleague of ours who’d committed suicide. Apparently my manager became concerned when our work mate hadn’t come to work so went to his place to see if he was there. The door was propped open with a shoe and my manager found him – dead. I had no idea about my colleague’s private life, only that he had a young son and was divorced from his wife. I suspect that many of us are really good at hiding things. And I wonder how many people hide their depression in the workplace because they don’t want to be labelled.

I’ll never forget him because when I came back from my overseas holiday in the year 2000, he asked me – jokingly – if I’d come back pregnant. Unbeknown to him, I actually was pregnant and I nearly choked when he asked. I would have loved to have said, well, yes, I am pregnant actually,  just to see the look on his face, but I was standing in my boss’s office and that’s not how I wanted to break the news.

A few years later I bumped into another colleague and chatted to her, and offered my condolences about her daughter in law who was tragically killed in a traffic accident. She told me about a person that we’d both worked with who’d committed suicide recently. I didn’t know this person that well but had picked up that she was a bit highly strung. Again, I had no idea of her personal struggles.

I don’t know what it’s like to suffer with depression. I know I go through down periods but I know that it’s temporary and that in a day or so I’ll feel better. I’m lucky. I like to think that if any of my friends are depressed and they need someone to talk to or help with something that I could be that person.

While deaths of celebrities like Robin Williams are awful, it does highlight that depression is real, and not something that you just snap out of.

A bit fit

Walk the line. Day 244/366.

A few years ago I started running. A few months after that I stopped. However, during this process I was using Runkeeper to track how far I ran and I continued to use it after the running finished but I only tracked my walks and of course it wasn’t indicative of how far I walked each day.

I wanted to use a pedometer to track how far I walk each day so a couple of months ago I bought a Fitbit. On Shai’s advice I bought the Fitbit One.

My goal is to walk 10,000 steps per day and my morning walks only cover just over a third of that quota so I have to fit more in during the day. I suppose I could get up earlier and walk for longer. I know the dog would love me for that and maybe when it’s a bit warmer I’ll set the alarm for ten minutes earlier and just do it. I know excuses excuses.

The Fitbit One also tracks your sleep and I seem to average around 7 – 7.5 hours per night. That’s not too bad. I did wonder if wearing the Fitbit to bed those first few nights contributed to bad sleeps? I’ve found the wriststrap I put on to put the Fitbit in comes off during the night sometimes so I wonder how effective the sleep tracking component is.

But that aside, the steps tracking is great. I forgot to wear it to work the other day and as I’d had a few walks during the day and climbed lots of stairs I added that in manually based on a similar day. I pretty much wear it all the time and it’s become a competition with myself to see if I can reach the 10,000 steps per day. I think it’s equivalent of just over an hour of walking briskly but it’s amazing how much housework and supermarket shopping can bump up your steps.

I haven’t friended anyone in the Fitbit community and I may or may not but I’m good at being in competition with myself. If for some reason I don’t walk in the morning because it’s raining then I wonder how I’ll make up the steps I missed during the day.

Walking has great benefits and I’ve seen first hand the effects of not exercising enough. Mum doesn’t get much exercise and she’s been plagued with knee and hip problems and she’s overweight. I’ve vowed that I don’t want to be not as mobile as I get older and as running is off the table then walking it is. I do Pilates once a week for strengthening too and that’s made a difference I’m sure.

I chatted to a colleague recently and he’s been getting up at 6am before work each morning to walk for 6kms and he does more on the weekends. I asked if he’d noticed benefits and he said he’d lost 14kg since February when he started. He said he’d changed his diet a bit but for the most part, walking has helped with his weight loss.

Michael Moore has written about why he walks and it’s a great read. He doesn’t walk to lose weight, he walks to feel good. And it’s true. I know it helps clear my head and even getting up early to walk the dog before work helps wake me up and gives me a really good start to the day.

Do you get out walking? How does it make you feel?

Walking near work

There’s some great walking trails near where I work so we went for a drive recently to check it out. I managed to drag the teen and the dog along – not that the dog needed much persuading.

Phoenix

I think he enjoyed himself, and so did the lad – so much so that he’s keen to go back. When it suits him that is.

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I do have quite the stubborn child. He’s always been stubborn and I know these teen years are going to be testing times for me as a parent.

I’ve given up nagging him every day about tidying his room. As he tells me, when I’m asking him to do something, it’s just blah blah blah to him. He now has to put his clothes away, I won’t go in there when the room’s messy and I can’t even get to his drawers. That seems to be working, and the last couple of weekends when I’ve given him a list of jobs including tidying his room, it’s been done.

I’d let the dog accompany him to bed but I managed to put a stop to that last night when I said that if he continued this practice that he’d be in charge of changing and washing his sheets. Dog hair sticks to flannelette sheets and there’s a doggy smell that lingers a bit when the dog’s been on his bed. I prefer bedrooms to be a no-go dog zone.

Took the dog to a dog training session the other day. Very interesting. That will be a separate post. This adopting a rescue dog has been quite the eye opener.

Winter flower

It’s about the stories

Sun in autumn

People want to hear stories. Stories make reading more interesting. My day job involves writing for the web and a web review of our website has suggested showing rather than telling, ie use stories. Rather than tell people what a fabulous organisation we are, let’s show them.

You know how when you’re thinking about something you notice a lot more about it. Say, you’re looking to buy a certain type of car. You’ve never noticed those cars on the road before until you want one and you notice heaps of them.

So it’s happened to me with storytelling. I’ve been thinking about stories, and thinking about writing more here – I go through stages – and what do you know? I’m not alone. Let me share some other people who are also thinking about stories, or telling good ones.

Leah Peterson tells stories – hers and yours. She’s currently doing a series of interviews with bloggers. It’s interesting reading and a great way to find out about new bloggers.

Neil Kramer writes stories and he’s also just started an experiment where he chats with people and puts the transcript up on his website. I’m interested to see where this goes.

Karen Walrond tells stories and takes amazing photos. Maybe one day we will meet and she’ll take an amazing photo of me. I love how she captures portraits. She also wrote a recent post called These people are nothing like me. If you’re looking for other bloggers she’s shared some there.

Because the above three are based in the US, here are a couple of Australians who tell great stories too.

Kirsty Rice is an expat living in Qatar but she’s originally a local gal who grew up in the country like me and does a great job of sharing what it’s like to be living overseas.

Anna Spargo Ryan is originally from Adelaide (where I live) but now lives in Melbourne. She shares a lot about her life and she also includes some of her writing.

I know there’s loads of other writers out there who tell stories and do an amazing job but these are just five.

Please tell me yours.

 

A renewed interest in crochet

Learning crochet

I used to crochet. I used to knit. I can’t remember when I last picked up a crochet hook, but stopping knitting was a bit more recent.

So when I got invited to a Nanna Skillz event put on by Yelp, I was pretty excited. I didn’t know what to expect but it involved dressing up, food, drink, nanna skills and croquet. How could I turn it down?

The dress code was white and I have an aversion to white, or it does to me. However, digging through my wardrobe, I found I have quite a bit of cream, including a cream crochet skirt with gold sparkles – an op shop purchase – and a beautiful vintage cardigan. I also dug up a cream crochet handbag that used to be my nana’s. Very appropriate I thought.

Crochet handbag and skirt

I had to drop my son off at a birthday party at a nearby indoor bowling place dressed like this when everyone else was a lot more casual. I just don’t care anymore but I would have been quite embarrassed a few years ago. When in doubt and a little bit nervous – strut. Surprisingly my son was okay with my getup until he saw the gold sparkles in the skirt.

It was a fun Sunday afternoon. I went by myself but caught up with people I’ve met on Twitter and in real life at other events. I love that Adelaide has a great Twitter community that extends into the meeting in person. I also met a few new people.

There was plenty of food to try and drinks to be had. I tasted cheese, salami, pickles, gnocchi, icecream, beer, whiskey and cofffee – all from locals. Luckily I hadn’t had time for a decent lunch prior.

The crochet ‘stall’ consisted of a couple of crochet rugs on the ground and some very helpful and patient crocheters. And once I put my glasses on I could actually see what I was doing better.

Now of course I’m all invigorated to try out crochet again. I’ve got some hooks and wool kicking around so I just might get cracking. I’ll have to relearn some more stitches and learn how to read patterns but I’m sure I can do that.

If I get good at it I wouldn’t mind making this crochet hat or this poncho.

crochet_hat_9 Fairy-Tale-Poncho-Collage

No wind and a kite festival. No it doesn’t work.

Blink and you miss it – the last month that is.

We got his application done and submitted – finally. Now it’s the waiting game.

So the school holidays were clouded with his application deadline looming. We did, however, manage to fit a few things in like the kite festival. Unfortunately there was no wind the day we went so it was a bit of a fizzer.

But we caught up with some friends which is always good.

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The lad got to go for a ride on the carousel, or the hurdy gurdy. Does anyone call it that anymore?

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They don’t go faster if you try. He tried.

Go faster

Beach near sunset for a fly of a kite.

kite

There was a bit of limited success and a bit of running up and down the beach to try and get the thing in the air.

 

Nearly

But when all else fails, the ocean is there for the swimming and as it was probably pretty much the last decent swimming weather – why not?

Sunset swim at Semaphore

Not a shark

Application schmapplication. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I want to look back at this time and say to myself, ‘see, it was all worth it.’ Why you ask? Because I’m helping my gorgeous (said with tongue firmly in cheek at this time) son to write an application for a high school he wants to go to and which would suit him.

Applicants have to write or prepare their own application answering selection criteria. Get your parents to help you it says! Faaarrrk. I’d rather write yet another job application and that’s saying something. Although things are looking good on the job front for me. More to come when I can say more!

Ever tried helping your child write an application when their attention span is bloody nought? Sure, he wrote down the bullet points that he wanted to address, but the devil’s in the detail isn’t it? I think we’ve finally done it though and it just needs a few other people to look at it because I’ve sure had enough.

And it’s not just that. Because he doesn’t want to go to his zoned high school there’s paperwork around that justifying the decision too.

It’s Easter long weekend for goodness sake and there’s lots I’d rather be doing than pinning the lad down to concentrate. He doesn’t get the consequences of this I don’t think. Sure he’s passionate about why he wants to go this high school but translating that to an application? Nah huh!

As this woman says: “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That“. Have you seen it?