Hi All, if you’d not noticed I’ve been missing in action for a while (I’m sure you all have busy and exciting lives outside the bloggosphere to fill your days with). It’s been due to a combination of finishing up a very busy semester at work, dealing with three weeks of gastro being passed from one to the next family member – poor Miss Four came down four times with this nasty bug – and the craziness of getting ready for the move, which happens in a week and a half. This post has been waiting for me for two weeks and will probably be my last post as a Melbournian. However I thought this would be an opportune time (between packing boxes) to sit down and consider how I’m going at meeting the goals I set for myself back in January.
Goal 1: Reading goal – 15 books read during 2013.
This was a goal I failed miserably at last year, but to date I’ve already read 10 of the fifteen and am a good way through the 11th. I also stated that I only wanted to read really great books. This hasn’t always been the case, I haven’t LOVED everything I’ve read, but all have been worthwhile. When I looked at the list I would recommend most, the Jennifer Worth books (Call the Midwife being the first of four), There Should Be More Dancing by Rosalie Ham (also wrote The Dressmaker), and Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons. I also read Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali which was incredibly interesting but also quite heavy handed, biased and very political. I’m now indulging in a bit of John Steinbeck with Of Mice and Men (can’t believe I haven’t picked this one up before), inspired by a conversation I overheard my Year 10s having in my Geography class. They had English after Geography so always had their novels with them (the whole class was reading Of Mice and Men) and the discussion and debated sparked by this little book was fantastic. So much so I thought it time I read it for myself.
Goal 2: Cooking with my Christmas gadgets (pasta machine, ice cream maker, plus my slow cooker).
I haven’t done a lot with this goal so far. The gadgets are all boxed up ready to go so I’ll have to pick this one up again after the move. Plus I should have more time to spend in the kitchen then. I have made pasta plenty of times, just sticking to spaghetti or fettuccine and pairing them with fresh and simple sauces. I do want to give ravioli a go so will try that soon. The ice cream machine did plenty of vanilla and chocolate batches plus a strawberry and mixed berry ice cream. I’ve also collected lots of recipes to try so look out! And the slow cooker has just done some basics, stock, soups (pea and ham is my favourite so far) and bolognaise. But given that I’ve been trying to empty the freezer not fill it I haven’t used it much this year.
Goal 3: Reinvigorate my pots and hanging baskets and conquer the chilli/capsicum growing curse.
Well, I did re-do my hanging baskets with herbs and flowers for the time we had open houses in the lead up to the auction. Since then everything has died and once again I have a plant morgue hanging from my pergola. Time to start again I think. As for the chillis and capsicums, I’ve learnt one thing. Capsicums (for me) do so much better in year 2. I left my plant in last year to over-winter in the ground and I had such a bigger crop, earlier fruit, bigger fruit and lots that ripened to red before it got cold. I’ve again left it in for the next owners, I wonder if they’ll leave it or remove it. And I’ll be experimenting with chillis once we move and it warms up – I’m thinking I’ll put some in our nice sunny north-facing front garden in amongst the herbs and ornamentals I have planned.
Goal 4: Crafting – crocheting, knitting and sewing.
Hurrah, I’ve had a good go at this goal so far. I’ve finished the first of my crocheted blankets, this one for Miss Two and I’m pretty pleased with it. My joining together wasn’t perfect and a couple of the squares were a bit bigger than the rest, but it worked well anyway and Miss Two loves it.
Plus I’m well on the way to finishing a second one for a very special person, though stupidly I packed all my wool including the wool I need to keep going on this project so it’s now on hold for a couple of weeks.
I haven’t start the knitting yet, but it is top of the list for evening craft after this project. I’ve had the sewing machine out a couple of times and whipped up a pair of tracksuit pants for Miss Four, some more draw string bags for the toys with multiple parts, turned a dress into a long top for me and started a quilt. Lots more planned too and with the new house and a bit more room I should be able to leave my machine set up on a dedicated table all the time.
Goal 5: Community – do something for the good of others and something for the good of me.
My idea here was to make regular blood donations for the good of others. I’ve now made three donations and was looking at making it more often by giving plasma or platelets which you can donate every 4-6 weeks. I’m O- (the universal blood type) so it’s always in high demand, it’s also something I find easy to do and quick. However I’ve had a few medical issues lately which will mean I’ll have to make sure I fell 100% before giving any more donations. I think with the move and some changes to diet (more meat would you believe) and supplements that should do it, but I’ll stick to my three monthly donations for a while longer.
I also wanted to do some kind of class. I’ve been trying to get into a crochet class, but am still on the wait list. Disappointingly I think I’ll have to cancel this and try to find somewhere else. I have done a ten week parenting course with some mothers I know from playgroup. I’m usually pretty tentative about this kind of thing (I don’t like being told how to parent generally and I often find ‘experts’ judgemental), but this was relaxed, practical and raised some very interesting ideas. I’ve also been doing pilates for about 16 weeks (two terms of 8 weeks) which has been fantastic for mind and body and definitely something I want to continue. The bread-making course is still on my list.
Goal 6: Professional – to be a ‘better’ teacher.
This is a tough one to write about not least because as a rule I don’t blog about work. I definitely feel like I was better at my job this year and my classes ran more smoothly. However I discovered that to do this I had to dedicate a lot of my own time and the time I would had been spending with the girls, Mr Good, managing the house or doing the things I enjoy (like blogging) to work. As a result things in these areas didn’t run so smoothly. This is primarily what drove me to take more leave from my career and come back to it at some time in the future. I do have the intention of doing some more study in the next few years to keep my foot in the door so to speak. And perhaps Mr Good and I will consider switching roles for a while (though I’m a little skeptical about how the house will fare in that switch??).
Goal 7 – The BIG One, The Move.
This one is almost complete, with just the physical move to go. It has all happened a little faster than anticipated and not quite as we envisioned it. Our goal was to be settled before the start of the school (Kinder) year next year, that will well and truly happen. We also thought we’d be moving closer to the city, however in the end Ballarat ticked the most boxes and we were able to secure a gorgeous Victorian weatherboard for a lot less than anything we could hope to get in Melbourne. Our house-selling went very smoothly, though it was a massive effort getting it ready and keeping it pristine for a month between when it went on the market and the auction. We got a great price for our current house meaning that our mortgage will be much more manageable on a single income for a while. Ballarat is closer to my parents, I’m very excited about that and so is Mum. I have friends with children living there already which makes it a lot less daunting. And it’s big enough that we should be able to find everything we need very close. The downside is the length of Mr Good’s commute, but hopefully that won’t be for too long and he will be able to find work in Ballarat. The thought of only being fifteen minutes from work (or less) is so appealing. Also I’m sad to be leaving my friends; I have a lovely groups of friends some of whom I’ve known since high school and others which have just come into our lives since the children came along, all will be missed (but I’ll be back for many visits!). And finally I have mixed feelings about leaving this house. It doesn’t do want we want our house to do for us (and I won’t be sorry to leave that darn dishwasher behind!) and our new house offers us the lifestyle we want (ie a bigger backyard etc). But this was the first home of our own that we could do what we wanted with. And more importantly this is where we brought our two new born tiny daughters home to. It saw them go from those tiny completely dependent babies to walking, talking, dancing, laughing, singing, crying independent entities, similar but different and our delights. I know that will continue in the new place, but it won’t be the first.
Of course with the move comes a whole new set of goals – some home renovations, a new garden to design, new markets to check out and a whole town to explore. It’s a little overwhelming, but I’m feeling much more motivated than I have in a while (though that may be due to getting on top of those medical issues as much as anything).
So there’s my mid-year review. It’s nice to write it all down now and see how I’m going, work out what should move up the list and what areas are being neglected or over-indulged in. Much better than getting to the end of the year, digging out that old post and realising I’ve achieved nothing I set out to.
And my next post will be from chilly Ballarat, wish us luck with the move.