Sunday, 28 September 2008

Why (not) Walk?

“Happy is the [wo]man who has acquired the love of walking for its own sake!”
- W.J. Holland
(1848-1942), “Walking as a Fine Art,” in The Moth Book:
A Guide to the Moths of North America. 19O3.

I've been taking walks for years and years. Sometimes, I'm enthusiastic about it. Sometimes, I'm not. Regardless of my enthusiasm, I get out of bed each morning and head off around Brookfield Park & local regions for anywhere up to an hour. I do it again some evenings when the mood takes me.

For me, the secret motivator is 'get a dog' (that's Lucy in the picture above). During the 90s, I had Lizzie, my first Labrador. We walked together most mornings until she was aged 8 years and died of cancer. We were up early & accompanied by any number of the four tadpole off-spring & later by my parents' dog, a Shi-Tzu named Poppet who had a yen to be a Paris Hilton handbag dog rather than the family pet who traipsed the neighbourhood in the early mornings. Together, we all marched along Fulham Road in Townsville with Lizzie pulling all the way as she went from fenceline to fenceline saying good morning to her mates. We did a circuit of 7.8km around the Pimlico parks stopping only for a puddle here and there on the way home for Lizzie to get cool on Summer mornings. It was a fabulous start to the day.

Around the same time that Lizzie died, I headed off to France for a year sans enfants. I didn't have a car so continued the trend of walking everywhere I went. I came home fitter than I had been since I turned 30.

Stupidly, I stopped walking in the park for a few years. My first excuse was Alex, my number 2 labrador who hated going for early morning walks (one day I might tell you about the tugs of war we had on the front footpath with his bum planted in the 'no go' position). I used my Leslie Sansone video cassettes instead. They too were fabulous, but I missed the friendly hellos from other walkers, the season changes in people's gardens and even the other pooches.

These days, The MOTH & I have Lucy and Harry. Every morning, we walk to the local park and tramp up and down the pathways, along the creekbeds and home again. The dogs come home hot, happy and ready for a swim. I come home and do the only television watching I do - a Leslie Sansone 5 mile walk which is a combo of two DVDs. It's all part of the plan to get the obligatory 10,000 aerobic steps a day. It's fabulous.

So, why walk?

It's been proven time and time again: Walking is good for you. Walking is a low-intensity cardiovascular workout that is good for your overall health. Not only is it convenient, but there is no need for confusing or expensive equipment - All you need is a pair of good walking shoes and your own two feet!

Benefits of walking include:

Extended longevity and quality of life - Exercising is an important part of living a healthy life. When you exercise you are improving your health and are therefore extending your longevity and quality of life.

Boosted Fitness - Distance-wise, walking burns about the same number of calories as running. Running a mile may be faster, but you'll burn just as many calories by walking it. Plus, walkers get added health benefits from the extra time it takes to walk a certain distance.

Toned muscles - When you exercise, you are working your muscles. The more you work them, the more toned they get!

Weight management - Walking about 2,000 more steps than usual (about a mile) is enough to keep most people from gaining weight

Reduced risk of heart disease - Walking can reduce the risk of heart disease by as much as 40% by reducing the following risk factors:
High blood pressure
Obesity and overweight
High levels of triglycerides
Low levels of HDL ("good" cholesterol)

Reduced osteoporosis risk - Not only can walking reduce the risk of osteoporosis, but it can also help decrease the rate of bone loss if you already suffer from osteoporosis. Being physically active from walking strengthens your muscles and bones.

Reduced risk of glaucoma - Walking reduces eye pressure that could lead to glaucoma.

Eased arthritis pain - Joint soreness and stiffness are often relieved by walking.

Reduced stress, anxiety, and feelings of depression - Walking releases endorphins (neurotransmitters that are produced in the brain) which make us feel better and reduce pain.

More clarity and creativity of thoughts - Stepping away from your everyday routines and stressors for a calming walk will help you to think more clearly and creatively. If you're stuck on something (a paper from work or school, or an emotional rut), take a break and get outside for a walk. You'll be surprised how much it could help.

Connection with nature - Another stress reducer! For me, a walk in Brookfield park each morning is essential.

More time to spend with friends, family and pets - That way everyone gets "together time," and needed exercise! The MOTH & I regularly walk together.

Where do you walk? How often do you go? Get out there, folks. It's worth it!


Friday, 19 September 2008

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The Treasure Box

Treasure : Valuable or precious possessions of any kind.
Booty: A valuable prize, award, or gain.

It's always interesting to me how language changes from country to country and context to context.

This blog entry is not about money, jewelery or any other valuable assets, per se. Nor is it about shaking any part of one's anatomy. It's about cookies and cake and edible treasure that is swapped between lovers of nice food.

We have a new family tradition in our family circle: a plastic cake box of homemade delicacies (or other etcs) swapped between the kitchens of Castle Bliss and Princess Street. Behind me on the stove is a saucepan-full of fruit cooling ready to be made into fruit cake and taken over to the Crown Princess Couple (The CPC) on the morrow.

When the cake is demolished (which might be a fortnight, but might be a month), this same box will be returned full of delicacies from The CPC's kitchen.

In a world where we are all weight conscious about eating 'naughty' things, where we are too busy to do too many small acts of kindness (or so it seems) The Crown Princess and I have decided to take a stand and enjoy our little bit of naughtiness (hence the idea of booty - which is usually taken on the sly) and treasure (something special from someone much loved worth more than all the gold in the Earth's crust).

Perhaps I should have filled the box with birthday candles for this first trip. The Crown Princeess's Consort turned 30 yesterday! I decided against this because he would not be amused at his age quite yet at the obligatory fire extinguisher clutched tightly under my arm to use with said candles. LOL

Perhaps one day it will be sent full of kibble for a new puppy or kitten.

Whatever is in it, it's a little bit of fun & an activity that will bring joyful memories in years to come.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Another Busy Week

We had an interesting week, really. It was deadly in relation to lots and lots and lots of work but we did have a few nice social occasions. I finally had to resort to writing The MOTH a list of jobs the length of his arm to do this weekend simply to get everything done. Oh gosh, I felt so guilty. Nevertheless, the jobs are done. The house is clean from stem to stern & the yard mown - we live in a veritable House and Garden home tonight.

So what social events did we get involved in? Like all days on the calendar, we took Lucy & Harry to the local park for a run and a 'hello' to the usual suspects. It's amazing how many people we know through the dogs! On Thursday, we went with friends to the Sidney Nolan exhibition at the Qld Art Gallery. I liked his use of colour, but found some of his Australian work rather childlike in execution.

Then on Saturday evening, would you believe that The MOTH & I had dinner with my ex-husband's parents? I kid you not. We did. I haven't seen Bill & June for a while, so it was lovely to catch up again over a nice dinner. The crown princess and her consort cooked. The crown prince and his consort arrived just in time to eat. A great time was had by all.

So what's happening this week? For The MOTH, it's a week-long trip to Sydney (he leaves first thing tomorrow morning), and, for me, it's the usual exercise routines around dogs and working out each day, work on Monday ^ Tuesday and study - again. Plus, we are also celebrating the Crown Princess's consort's 30th birthday (gosh, 30 already? Wow!). He's a lovely man. Hopefully, I will catch up with his mother for lunch on Thursday as she's in town from Toowoomba for the week.

Have a good week, one and all.


Popping in to say 'Hi'

I'm not doing any stitching at all nor collecting any new stash, as you know, but the good news to tell the world is that Chatelaine designs has finally re-released the Medieval Town Mandala pattern. This means that some time in the next week I'm going to buy me a copy. I've wanted it for such a very long time.

Other news: My version of the Lizzie Kate Living with Charm is in being framed. At first, I started with the country look white frame, but it sucked. Next, The MOTH and I tried a brown and gold frame. I'll take a pic and show it off when it's finished.

Life's still over-busy, but it's fun.

Happy stitching to one and all.


P.S. (Tuesday evening) Snowmen are on sale at 123Stitch!

Saturday, 6 September 2008


Yes, right! I got what I deserved this week. I thought wanted to rule the world, so what did I get? Stomach flu. LOL.

Stomach flu (when you are febrile and vomitting for three days) is not fun. It brought me down to earth, anyway. It's brought me back to my reality which is back to the grind of working in the shop on Mondays and Tuesdays and doing my studies on the side while The MOTH travels Australia (and sometimes the world) with his company.

Drink a glass of tap water for me, will you? I need it, but it's gonna take a while to get back to full strength guzzling on my part. Such is life, huh?

Somehow or other, it didn't dampen my spirits. I'll be scrying for that solar-system to influence again next week. It's probably gonna take some divine intervention, but what the heck.

Meanwhile, tomorrow is Fathers' Day here in Australia. My father died in 2002, so I have only lovely memories of him to celebrate, but to all you dads out there, have a happy day. To all you off-spring, spoil you dad. He's worth it! The MOTH popped into Laurieton, NSW, to visit his parents this week for a day and a half (while I crawled into my batcave - er, sickbed).

Paul Harvey (google him, he's quoted often on many URLs) wrote the following sermon. It's kind of sweet.

What are Fathers Made Of?
A father is a thing that is forced to endure childbirth without an anesthetic.
A father is a thing that growls when it feels good--and laughts very loud when it's scared half to death.
A father never feels entirely worthy of the worship in a child's eyes.
He's never quite the hero his daughter thinks, never quite the man his son believes him to be--and this worries him, sometimes.

So he works too hard to try and smooth the rough places in the road for those of his own who will follow him.
A father is a thing that gets very angry when the first school grades aren't as good as he thinks they should be.
He scolds his son though he knows it's the teacher's fault.
Fathers are what give daughters away to other men who aren't nearly good enough so they can have grandchildren who are smarter than anybody's .
Fathers make bets with insurance companies about who'll live the longest.
Though they know the odds, they keep right on betting.
And one day they lose.
I don't know where fathers go when they die.
But I've an idea that after a good rest, wherever it is, he won't be happy unless there's work to do.

He won't just sit on a cloud and wait for the girl he's loved and the children she bore. He'll be busy there, too, repairing the stairs, oiling the gates, improving the streets, smoothing the way.

And here's another one that I liked:

What Dads are made of

God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of the summer sun,
The calm of the peaceful sea;

The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight;

The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family's need;

Then God combined these qualities,
and when there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it


author unknown

Happiness & laughter always,


Fathers Day 2008

Father's Day is a celebration inaugurated in the early twentieth century to complement Mother's Day in celebrating fatherhood and male parenting, and to honour and commemorate fathers and forefathers. Father's Day is celebrated on a variety of dates worldwide and typically involves gift-giving, and special dinners to fathers and family-oriented activities.

Sadly, my own dad died in 2002, so I have no father to spoil today. Fortunately, my kids do a wonderful job for their own father. This year they bought him a computer so that he can get online and be in more regular contact (not that I'm sure that that is going to work).

I'm one of the lucky ones. I had three lovely men who were male role models in my early life: a fabulous, slightly eccentric (some would say 'very eccentric') father and two lovely grandfathers.

Today, I'm cooking The MOTH a special dinner for his day. Paul's both a wonderful son and a wonderful father. He took Friday off and travelled the 600km south to spend Thursday evening, Friday and part of Saturday with his own elderly dad. He's disappointed that his boys have let the day slip under the radar again.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Never too old

Wanted: Solar System to dictate

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream;
not only plan, but also believe.

Recently, I went to see a careers psychologist for a couple of sessions. I'm not overly fond of teaching high school kids and would like a change.

The outcome is that I need a solar system to dictate. My strengths are telling people what to do, it seems. Er ... setting goals, working out how to do them and then telling others to do them (the royal family - my off-spring - can relate to that). I'm very strongly analytical etc, but can't be bothered wasting time on persuasive techniques - no wonder I don't like teaching high schoolers. I have high expectations of the students which they don't have for themselves. It's also why I found nursing so frustrating at times (everyone telling me what to do but never wanting to listen to any observations I had made). I hated seeing people die who, if someone had listened early enough, could have been saved. It happened too many times.

Quite seriously, the psychologist said to start a post grad in medicine. With my personality, half the fun of it will be getting the qualification so it won't matter that I'll only practice for about 20 years. I'd love to be a surgeon. Gotta get in the stitching somewhere if I'm not working on my projects.

I'd also make a whiz bang systems engineer-slash-industrial psychologist. Yes, I can imagine me trouble shooting and working out how to fix stuff.

It's nice to know that all that study I'm doing at the moment isn't a waste; however, if I really want to be a librarian (I'm studying IT & info management), it will have to be one who is organising large acquisitions and collection takeovers cos the day to day minutia would become too repetitive.

Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.