The neglectful blogger….

For the last six months, since we made the life-changing move from the city to the country (well, regional city at least), I’ve blogged a lot – a lot for me, more than I have in the entire three years I’ve been doing it.  Actually I’m not sure where that three years has gone some days.  The last two weeks I’ve blogged twice, both with a brief list of what the garden has been providing, nothing particularly interesting or time consuming.  It’s not that I have writer’s block or nothing I want to blog about, it’s just that I’ve had lots of other cool things going on.  It’s been nice to do those things and put this on hold, I think I’ll blog less from now on (narff77 that will make you happy, good luck getting through the rest of you RSS feed).  I’ll still bore you with my harvest and monthly garden updates, I’ll still write about great books but as my reading has slowed that will no longer be weekly, and I’ll still write random posts when I feel inspired or cranky (like this one), other than that, I’ll do cool stuff in my rest of my time.

That cool stuff lately has included……

1. Starting a Masters in Educational Studies and feeling inspired and a bit frustrated (at the system) and like I’d like to see change happen on many fronts in education.  Reading the academic papers, researched based with real evidence and not filled with buzz-word vagueness that you get from departmental program materials has been wonderful.  Teachers should be given time to do this instead of the crap those at the top of the education system deem worthy of our precious time which are generally meaningless, lacking in evidence-based effectiveness and tossed aside whenever the next fad or change of government comes along.  The waste of time, energy, resources and professional capacity is staggering!!  See… that’s passion right there, I wonder if I can do something worthwhile with that?  Anyway, I love studying and I excited but also apprehensive about this new, challenging course.

2.  I’ve rediscovered my childhood through my kids…. well a bit of it anyway.  I’ve been waiting nearly five years for this to start.  Introducing my kids to the stories, books, games, shows and so on that I loved.  As I don’t remember much of anything before age five, I really needed to wait til my children got to that point before the nostalgia really kicked in.  This week Miss Four (who is five next month, gulp) and I listened to Enid Blyton’s The Folk of the Faraway Tree on audio book.  Instead of the tv coming on after kinder, we would get snacks and a blanket and curl up on the couch together for half an hour to listen to the next installment of the story.  I had wanted to start with the first book – The Enchanted Woods – or the Second – The Magic of the Faraway Tree – but it was the third book that was available so we went with it.  Miss Four was still engrossed and has been talking about the characters ever since – she particularly likes Whatshisname.  Now I will have to find copies of all the books and the Wishing Chair books as well.  She has been ready for longer chapter books for a while, but I haven’t gone there because it’s hard to read just to one child and Miss Two doesn’t have the concentration to last through a chapter of anything.  Soon enough I’ll be pulling out my much loved Roald Dahl books and I can’t wait.  We’ve also been watching some classic cartoons on youtube.  Things like Superted, Mickey Mouse (and Minnie of course, a favourite of the girls’), Donald Duck, Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny, Smurfs (hard to find episodes on Youtube) etc.  Still on the list is Danger Mouse, Roger Ramjet, Inspector Gadget, Cities of Gold, Bananaman, Garfield…. okay a few.  But then again I did grow up in the Saturday morning cartoon era.  It was Six’s Super Saturday Show with host Glen Ridge for me having grown up in Western Victoria with only two stations, 6 and ABC.

3.  I discovered a new blog all about buying nothing new for a year (2013) and decluttering and that sort of thing.  It’s great, highly readable and quite motivating.  It also helps that I have a few things in common with Mama Fearce – both teachers, both with small child(ren), both looking for ways to escape consumerism and buy more conscientiously or ethically etc.  The motivating part of this has so far seen me nude up my email inbox a surprisingly cathartic process – though I did delete an important email from uni.  I put blocks of loads of crap that was filling my inbox, deleted literally 1000s of old emails and created two folders, one for archive emails – those I need to keep for whatever reason – and one for this to-read or to-do which will then get deleted or archived depending.  The trick to it seems to be regularly clearing it out so it doesn’t ever get overwhelming and setting aside a little ‘me time’ to read the emails I’ve filed.

The second big move is on the decluttering front.  I’m by no means a hoarder, I never have been, but I’ve still accumulated too much stuff.  I’ve had piles I want to get rid of in the spare room for months gathering dust and things that I’ve held onto for whatever reason that need to be reconsidered.  So I’ve listed a bunch of things of freecycle (I hope they go, but if not most are op-shop worthy and a few will get tossed) and I’ve listed all my maternity clothes on ebay.  I’ve pretty much decided against more children and if that changes I’ll purchase second hand maternity clothes when I need them.  I only had one small space bag full after two pregnancies – which I thought was pretty good in the first place – but it still worked out to be about over 20 items which I listed in group lots to sell.  I’ve put the minimum amount on them plus postage so theywill sell, but it would be a bonus to get something decent to put towards the winter-proofing-the-house fund (more on the later).  This move also got Mr Good considering his hoarding ways (way worse than mine) and has listed ten (of the probably 10,000!) Star Wars collector cards he has carted from house to house since university days.  This is a stunning and surprising turn of events, hopefully he has success selling them and will continue on with the rest of the boxed up, dust gathering collection.  The decluttering will continue with baby clothes, toys, my clothes etc.

The next bit of motivation came in a post about leveling up or life hacking.  Not something I had heard of before and definitely something I will be investigating further, but the premise is to find ways of simplifying your life or changing something you do so you add to life without adding to responsibilities or burdens.  Her examples were listening to audio books in the car on the way to work to use that wasted time more productively and enjoyably – something I wish I had thought of last year, now I drive so rarely and for such short distances it would take me six months to get through something. She also started to do the dishes nightly with the husband so they could reconnect AND have a clean kitchen to wake up to.  I mentioned this to Mr Good and he thought ‘Yeah we should do that’.  I was mighty excited – clean kitchen has been part of my duties since I stopped working and I was great until about Christmas, then it started getting on top of me.  I think doing it together will be good for getting the work done with less effort on my part and less time in total and also for Mr Good and I to actually have a conversation.  There’s lot of other cool info and links on the site (most of the links I haven’t followed yet, you can only do so much) so do go and check it out.

4. Visitors, I’ve had lots, I love visitors.  Lots of cups of tea, chats about kids/kinder/my old school workplace – not regretting moving on from there right now.  My mum bought a tin of chocolate chip biscuits, yum!  I babysat two of my friends kids one evening so she could enjoy a function (which she was MCing) without bouncing a baby on her hip.  Neither of us have family in town, so for now we will be that for each other!  Love that connection.  We also squeezed in a local foodie night – yummy local produce platter and great music, though a freezing night – followed by a hot chocolate and (second) dessert at a restaurant I’ve been eyeing off.

5.  A crafty night with a fellow blogger who moved to ‘The Rat’ recently and some of her friends.  It gave me time to pick up my much neglected crochet and it was fun!  I was late due to the whole scrubbing kids clean after feeding them a nutritious meal part of my life, but that is neither here nor there.  There was great 90s music playing and interesting conversation (much of which I followed vaguely, drop spindles? tv shows based on Sherlock Holmes? tumblr?)  I was a little lost in the detail at times, but hey I’m usually the last one to discover such things…. or miss them altogether.  At those times I just smile and nod, smile and nod…. and hook a bit more.

Well that’s some of my cool non-blogging stuff, what’s happening in your ‘real life’?  New blog discovery?  Random bit of inspiration, motivation…. procrastination (it’s a fine line!  I’m looking at you Pinterest!)

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19 Responses to The neglectful blogger….

  1. Rachel and Jamie says:

    I often think of doing my Masters in Education, but then I recover 😉 Good luck!

  2. Sue says:

    I often think I would like to join some sort of craft group, so someone can show me how on earth to be crafty! I quit facebook, so more time devoted to work and garden, I have started making so e Lavender bags for heating and destressing the family, lots of baking using Zucchini in 1,000 ways, lol. Good luck with the Ed Dept, wish they would lessen the burden on teachers, they seem very stressed out at my kids school and it’s hard to approach, doesn’t feel too community minded right now which makes me a little sad.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Yes, craft groups are very good, and I reckon a great place to learn too. I used to do crafternoons with my sister sometimes, when we lived in the same city. We would chat, maybe watch an old movie, eat and she would knit and I would crochet. A very pleasant way to spend an afternoon. The lavender bags sound great – I need one of those to help my headaches and insomnia! And I too have been cooking zucchini 1000 ways – have you tried slow cooking with with olive oil, ground coriander seeds, salt and pepper, perfect side dish for some steak of fish (or anything else really)? I’ll dig the recipe out and post it if you’re interested.
      As for the education department, I don’t think being community minded even rates a mention any more!

      • Sue says:

        That’s a delicious way to cook it, I would love to try that! If you wouldn’t mind posting it I would love to check it out.

  3. narf77 says:

    The Folk of the Faraway Tree was my sanctuary as a child I ADORED that book :). BOOYAH! On the “back to edumacation” by the way. We need teachers who are passionate about educating and who can recognise bullshi# at a mile off. There are too many teachers who love the sound of their own voices and who could care less about who is actually learning anything from their classes. Worse still are the lecturers who just use the same shitty old material year…after year…after year and who are just doing a “job”. Throw them all out and put passionate people in their place and shake up the education system. It shouldn’t EVER be a “safe” job. It should be exciting and new and vibrant and ever changing not stuck back in the 1950’s where we only just learned that the world is round! Just had a couple of lecturers who taught the same old same old. Had fun making them twitch 😉

    The Wishing Chair was on my list as well 🙂 I wasn’t privilaged/lucky enough to get hold of Roald Dahl as a kid. Had to read them as an adult but I guess I was being “protected” as his stuff can be hilarious but a bit dark and I was a bit of a nervy kid. All of the cartoons that you are reeling off were lived vicariously through as a kid and as my kids childhoods as well. I remember James Valentine as the kids morning host before he went off to become “Come dine with me”‘s Australian laconic host. I grew up in Western Australia and we only had 2 channels as well and one of them was permenantly stuffed with cricket and football 😉

    Lets not talk about Pinterest lest my complete addiction become apparent to the rest of the world ;).

    • Barbara Good says:

      Oh yeah, there are some pretty crappy lecturers out there and teachers too I guess. An while I have worked with some that perhaps need to be moved out of the system most are great – and would be even better with proper development and support! There’s not too many left who do the chalk and talk style teaching where they go on and on. Exciting, new and vibrant (but not accepting every new thing that comes along either) is exactly how I’d like to see education and the atmosphere in schools.

      As for Roald Dahl, I love, love love them and did from my first encounter. They are dark and even a little scary but oh so brilliant and funny and….. everything!

      • narf77 says:

        And Mr Dahl stimulates the imagination like no other 🙂 I have teachers in my family. I was going to be a teacher. I think that teachers are the next most important profession to parents and that they should be renumerated, supported and encouraged in their jobs. They nurture our kids when we aren’t there. How on EARTH are they supposed to do that without a solid support system that assists them and that rewards innovation behind them? We were just unlucky to get 2 chalk and talkers in a row (even though we are online!) that just toted out the same old same old every year (that we kept catching them out on because it was either out of date or simply wasn’t there any more).

      • Barbara Good says:

        Good for you for pulling your lazy lectures up about their out of date teaching material and shame on them!!

      • narf77 says:

        Lol 😉 I guess it is just easier to stick with the status quo than to make an effort to step out of your comfort zone

  4. My first of the Faraway Tree books is Folk of the Faraway tree with Curious Connie coming to stay. The memories that have just flowed back through my head! 😀

    We’ve also been working through the old cartoons with our kids. They have a real love of Caspar the friendly Ghost at the moment. It usually involves blankets on heads, running with said blanket over the head up and down the hallway woo-oooing and hopefully avoiding slamming into a wall or cupboard. I grew up on watching Agro week mornings and from the few snippets of that rude brown bathmat my kids will NOT be reliving that part of my childhood. 😉 The cartoons though they’re welome to. I eagerly await them being old enough to watch Captain Planet which was a real favourite. 🙂

    I’ve been away from the blog for a bit too. We were away last week and although I have much to share from that as well as all the things that have happened since Friday I have no urge to sit and write. I think a blog break is healthy at times whether it’s due to writers block or lack of time or a choice. 🙂

    A night out from the family every now and then is so healthy I find. Getting the chance here is almost as rare as hens teeth but well done you for getting your crafty night out. I had a meeting to attend the other week and it was such bliss to be able to spend time with adults uninterrupted by little people. 😉

    Sounds like you’ve been having a wonderful time and I hope it continues for you. 🙂

    • Barbara Good says:

      Seems like everyone loved the Faraway Tree books, how could you not!! Captain Planet isn’t a cartoon I’m familiar with – will have to youtube it! And casper, I had forgotten about that one.

  5. Jenny Pearson says:

    Hi Barbara, I must admit to some selfishness, in that I did/do miss your wonderfully interesting blogs, especially from a young Mum (another perspective to mine), a keen cook (have tried quite a few of your recipes with great success), a garden lover and a lover of recycling and simplification, having said all that, I can totally see the joy you display in discovering many “cool” things to fill your very precious time. One thing I may be able to help with is looking for the Enid Blyton books “The Folk from the Faraway Tree” series. They have passed through our Op Shop on many occasions, so I will alert our “book lady” to your request and hope for the best. At 20c a book they would be a bargain buy for you and a priceless treasure for your girls. If I am successful, I will pass the message to our mutual friend.

    • Barbara Good says:

      Point taken Jenny, will post more mum posts and definitely some cooking ones. It seems like we’ve been a resource for each other as I cook some of your recipes regularly too. I LOVE the almond chicken especially and the mini pizzas have been a life saver several nights. I’ve missed your comments too, so must post more Jenny-preferred posts.
      I would adore you forever if you happen to come across some Enid Blyton books in the op shop. Not that I don’t already think you’re great that is!! I passed some my excess garden goodies on to our mutual friend on the weekend (through Mum and Dad). I’m sure she put it to good use as I just couldn’t face another pile of cucumbers and bowls of cherry tomatoes.

  6. Jenny Pearson says:

    Hi Barbara, just a quick update for you – have acquired an A4 hardcover copy of The Wishing Chair Again for your “treasures” and am still looking for any more in the Faraway Tree series. My “book lady” reliably informs me that we get plenty of copies of said books, so more should be forthcoming in the not too distant future. Will pass this on to you know who – happy reading, and happy reminiscing.

  7. Jenny Pearson says:

    Hi Barbara, just have to stop meeting this way, and I must gather my thoughts together much better than I have recently so I can do only one post to you – just a suggestion, and nothing to do with the topic of the moment, but more to do with your lifestyle as a whole – I also visit another blog called Down to Earth by Rhonda Hetzel, who is a great advocate for the simple life, and all that entails, not pushy mind you, just suggestive – anyhow I digress, she has just released a new book called appropriately The Simple Life a penguin publication and only $10, just thought this may interest you.

  8. Christine says:

    Total snap on the “going back to Uni” bit sapping blogging energy! I also got accepted into Masters of Education (or was it Masters of Teaching?) and while I’m LOVING it, I’m spending so much time thinking about the study that I’ve found less and less time to think about what I’m blogging about. Lots of projects have fallen on the back burner :/

    Everything you’re doing sounds super-interesting and I’m looking forward to hearing how it all goes 🙂

  9. Pingback: Life Hacks and Audio Books | The New Good Life

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