Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Time keeps on ticking...

Where has all my spare time gone?

Mark... Zonta... Nia... Work... Family... Friends...

Life floats by and before you know it months have gone by and nothing to show.

Time to get serious about all those promises to set priorities and get my shit together.

But what comes first?

I am the sort of person who cannot say no. However in the coming months watch out this normally very willing person is going to start saying a lot of "sorry but I can't". Life and the hours that we spend with our loved ones are too precious to spend phaffing about with a million and one other committments.

I have accepted that my baking was getting out of control and it really wasn't always the most "healthy" of ways of displaying love and affection. It was actually verging on OCD at times. Some people wash their hands a million times and some bake 11 dozen tarlets in one evening. Not healthy.

I noticed a few weeks ago that wheels have started to really fall off. Not enough time to stop and smell the roses. I have already prepared my Zonta club that I won't be taking on a role from May which is a real pity - you are supposed to take on President's role for 2 years, but I really cannot commit.

Expanded post.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My Nia journey.

I posted last year about my Nia intensive training here. Someone posted an anonymous comment - please leave at least your name so I know who I am talking to! - asking about the rest of my journey. So here it is...

Warning this is a pretty large post - grab a cup of tea and settle in!

If you asked me this morning what my Nia journey looks like... Sore thighs and upper arms from dancing 3 classes yesterday (2 on my own and one with my students). Is it just me or does everyone push themselves a little harder when dancing on your own? You sink deeper into a sumo stance, your precision is a little more "tae kwon do" and less "tai chi" and your cross front cha cha cha seems to take up the entire space. Once I am in front of a class I am more aware of "toning it down" for students.

So where was I? Oh yeah my Nia journey...

Nia looks like... Heading home last night and falling asleep very soundly. Waking up this morning and looking forward to presenting Nia to the general population of my city on a stage in the Queen St Mall! A year ago I could not have seen myself dancing 3 classes a day and dancing in front of hundreds in a public space! So how did I get here?

In April last year I undertook my White Belt. The white belt expereince was really intense. Emotions and bodies were certainly frazzled by the end, but we were excited about taking our next steps.

However, I found - at the end of my white belt - I was a little lost. I certainly wasn't confident to teach. I guess this is why there is the new 25th Anniversary Nia Green Belt being advertised. Everything that is found in the Green Belt is what I expected as I entered my first Nia white belt circle. I realise now that there are a lot of Nia folk who attend White belt on a purely personal level so can completely understand the focus. I would attend the green belt if I could, but it is a little too far to travel.

Since completing my white belt there have been ups and downs galore. I didn't actually find time to learn a routine until I was asked to sub for Sophie while she went to the US to undertake her Brown Belt on October - 6 months after my white belt. In the 10 days she was away I led about 6 classes - teaching a sort of personalised version of Dreamwalker White Belt.

I found the learning of the routines really difficult. I am a logical person who likes things "spot on". Needless to say of the form and freedom Nia encompasses I think I slept through all the freedom sections of white belt! I was completely "in my head" for those first classes - got to get it right, got to remember the music ques, got to do 8 leans followed by 8 pulses followed by etc etc etc...

I now have a lot less difficulty learning a routine - much more about feeling it and simply moving to the music. If I miss a que, completely forget a section of the choreography or whatever who cares - just keep that booty shakin'! When I talk to students they say basically the same thing - it doesn't matter what we do we just love to move.

I taught a new routine for the first time last night comprised of Girls Night Out, Dreamwalker and a song or two from a few other routines - theme is "play" - my students were fabulous! I knew about 75% of the routine really well and at the start of the class I mentioned that it was the first time I had taught this routine. One of the students said don't worry - we won't notice if you mess up and flail about the place, it will just look like "melodic arms" to us! Bless them!

But I disgress again...

So I learnt my new routines, I taught my first classes and could confidently call myself a "Nia White Belt Instructor". I am proud of that tag. To all the lucky students who are able to share a Nia teachers first baby steps into teaching it is an honour, but I do apologise to all of my lucky bunnies. I was so jam packed full of adrenalin I danced at level 3+++++ and by the end we were all in a big pile of sweat on the floor. I am much more mindful now about bringing my energy down a peg and letting others take it up a level on their own.

For me - someone who has never danced before, never really been into any form of exercise - it is a really wonderful feeling to be able to get up in front of a room and give people an experience. There are so many people out there who - like me - have been told over the years - you will never be a dancer, you are as graceful as an elephant, dancing is too expensive. That is simply not true! You simply need to find your feet, find your style and find your very own groove. Nia gives people the opportunity to express themselves, dance and enjoy the moment.

Last night I was dancing Adouma (by Angelique Kidjo) with my class and there is a section of "chicken arms". I looked around the room and people were smiling, laughing and dancing like chickens. I said to them "how good does it feel to let go of everything from your day and be a little silly?"

We sit at work all day with our "professional face", go home and put on our "Mum / partner / carer" face, but sometimes I just want to put on "my" face. Nia allows you to do that. A lot of my students call Nia "their time" - time they take out of their day to release, have fun and move for no other reason apart from "it feels good".

I want to write more, but let's face it... If you have made it this far wow! I should be nice and let you get back to your families now.

Expanded post.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Interesting article.

Thanks to Michaela for sharing this one!

The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough by Lori Gottlieb

I really enjoyed this article. Time keeps on ticking... One line that I giggled over was "I certainly don't feel old, but my eggs sure do!".

So yes this is certainly not your feminist viewpoint on how life pans out for a mid-30's woman who hasn't met Mr Right yet. However... it is very honest! Enjoy.

Expanded post.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Biggest loser.

So we went to the vet yesterday... I'm a bad Mum. My cat is 6.5kg and has tartar build up on his teeth. "Normal" is apparently just under 5kg for a cat of his frame. Hmmmm...

So we now have young Mr Max on a more extreme diet, we have to give him lean steak for his teeth and exercise regime - Mark and I are his own personal trainers.

We have purchased a laser pointer which is awesome fun with him. His exercise consists of us sitting on the couch with a laser pointer and watching him chase the laser mouse shape all over the house. He appears to love it and it is entertaining for us as well. It is really fun to move it in circles and watch him run in circles. Am I cruel?

Last night we did a PT session and after 10 mins my poor little cat slumped in the middle of the room panting furiously. I gave him a few minutes break and off we went again. Needless to say last night we didn't hear peep from him throughout the night - when I woke up this morning he was still asleep.

Now we have to get a set of scales to keep tabs on this tabby and for his weekly "weigh ins".

Expanded post.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Went to see Interpol last night and it was really good. I am surprised - not being a HUGE fan - that I knew all the songs. Not too surprising I guess given that Mark is a mad keen Interpol fan and plays the cds over and over... Overall had a wonderful evening.

Youth Group were really good as well. I really enjoyed the light show - its been years since I have attended an all out "rock show" as opposed to small gigs in clubs or smaller venues. I think the last one may have been Pearl Jam, Hole or Soundgarden in the mid to late 1990's.

Interesting venue and the overall dynamic was subdued - it was in a big convention centre. So no alcohol inside, started super early and crowd control was pretty strict. We were watching the crowd and thought this is a really subdued audience. The support band, Youth Group, said the same thing. Our comment was if you had a teenage daughter you wouldn't even remotely question letting them attend - it was safe and not too many drunk fella acting up. I took ear plugs as well in case it all got a bit too loud, but I didn't need them. The sound and acoustics were awesome.

One thing though that Mark and I were discussing on our walk back to the car. We are officially old now. We both really appreciated getting seats as opposed to the standing / dancing room on the floor. On our way home we agreed... Our view was great, our feet weren't sore at the end of the night and I didn't have to fight with big fellas for personal space. Yes, yes I know... we are old...

Expanded post.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Pre-marriage counselling

What is it about counselling or whatever that makes it feel okay to discuss things to strangers that you haven't spoken to anyone about in a long, long time? What is it that makes it okay to share your phobias, your dreams, your highs and your lows with people you have never met before?

Don't get me wrong - I am a pretty open and consider myself somewhat honest straight up person. But I have to admit I find it quite surreal when I sit back and review everything we discuss.

For those who have never had couples counselling before I would say - go for it! Don't sell yourself short and take the easy "one weekend" option for pre-marriage counselling. Do the hard yards and take the time to stop and listen to your partner. If not through an organised program then through a professional counsellor or someone.

I thought I knew most things about my relationship, my partner and myself, but as they say... You never stop learning. So far there have been a few lightbulbs going on for me. Some things that have made me stop and think about my actions and their implications on others around me. Some things have made me take stock of what is important to me. There will be some changes in the not to distant future in my life and the choices I make.

Who would have thought it... Apparently I actually do have annoying habits!

Expanded post.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Bridesmaids forced to sign pre-nuptial contracts

This is insanity! I guess by the very last comment I am not a very stylish bride by having 3 bridesmaids...

Follow link for article.


Bridesmaids forced to sign pre-nuptial contracts
Monday Feb 4 13:00 AEDT
By Rajeshni Naidu - ninemsn

Bridesmaids are being forced to sign pre-nuptial contracts before weddings in an attempt by brides to take control of their big day, according to a UK survey. More than one in five women would opt for a contract and almost half of those surveyed by You and Your Wedding magazine said they would fire a bridesmaid if they broke the agreement.

Popular clauses in contracts included gaining weight, getting pregnant and changing a hairstyle before the wedding. The recent trend in pre-nuptial contracts for bridesmaid could soon be hitting our shores, with a Melbourne council worker admitting she was ostracized for dyeing her hair before her friend's wedding.

The woman, who did not want to be identified, said changing her hair colour from blonde to brunette five months before the wedding drew unkind remarks from the bride's mother.

"Her mother said, 'oh, I can't believe she dyed her hair just before the wedding': she said it would throw off the symmetry in the photos," she said.

"She was kind of hoping that her brown-haired daughter would be flanked by two blonde bridesmaids."

The second-time bridesmaid said she was surprised and disappointed by reaction she received. "I didn't think it would make a difference because I thought I was chosen for me and not my hair colour," she said. "I thought if worse came to worse I'll wear a wig but I definitely was not going to change my hair colour back."

Fashion editor for Bride magazine Kirstie Armiger-Grant said she's never heard of bridesmaid contracts in Australian weddings.

"I think it's very shallow and selfish and I don't think it's going to happen here," she said. "More of the trends in Aussie weddings now is letting bridesmaids choose their own dresses to make sure they're happy and comfortable on the day."

Ms Armiger-Grand said Australians tend to opt for more outdoor weddings, which are more friendly and relaxed. "We have less church weddings than the UK, and some older and stylish brides don't even have bridesmaids," she said. "There's less of a huge bridal party in today's weddings."

Expanded post.

Lime Polenta Cake – gluten free version

Wish I had a photo of this cake, but literally it was devoured at work this morning in record time! A definite favourite for my work unit. The outside goes sort of crunchy from the polenta, but inside it is sticky and creamy. So amazing! I want to try it in pink grapefruit flavour next time.

Follow link for recipe.

Lime Polenta Cake – gluten free version
250g butter
1 cup caster (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
¼ cup lime zest
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 ¼ cup almond meal
1 cup polenta
¼ cup gluten free self raising flour

1. Cream the butter and sugar
2. Add vanilla and then the eggs one at a time. Beat well.
3. While continuing to beat add the lime zest and juice.
4. Add the polenta, almonds and SR flour.
5. Pour into a round tin lined on the bottom with paper.
6. Bake at 180 degrees (celcius) for about 40 mins.

To serve – heat cake (if it is not served immediately) and drizzle with citrus sugar syrup. Or pour hot syrup on cold cake. One has to be warm so it soaks through.

Citrus syrup
1/3 cup lime juice
3-5 strips of rind
1 ¼ cup caster (superfine) sugar

Add all ingredients to a saucepan and bring to boil stirring regularly. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 mins or when it has thickened a little.

Expanded post.