Challenge 6: 30 days of clarity

I’m a few days late with posting about the beginning of Challenge 6 of #steppingonthecracks. I had a vague idea about what this challenge was going to be about, but wasn’t sure how to articulate it. Then I realised that figuring out what the challenge is is actually a big part of the challenge.

I mentioned in Challenge 5 that I’d been reading Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and that his first habit is about being proactive and working within your circle of influence. 30 days of doing this was hard to define, but I’m trying to at least keep this idea in mind as I go through the day. And not complain about things I can’t do anything about.

Dr Covey’s second habit is “to begin with the end in mind” – that is, to start with a clear understanding of your destination; to know where you’re going so that the steps you take are steps in the right direction. This is a common theme through many of the books and posts I’ve been reading lately – that you need to know where you’re going so that you can do things that will get you there, not things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of your life.

Some of the ideas that I’ve come across in this sphere include writing a personal mission statement, identifying your personal values and, of course, goal setting. The thing about goal setting is that you have to figure out what’s important to you before you can go in and set your goals. For example, I consider learning to be very important, so one of my goals for this year was for me to read 24 books. The step I was going to put into place to achieve this was to set aside a dedicated time to read every day.

But that’s getting ahead of myself.

I’ve been feeling a bit scattered lately, and have this overwhelming urge to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. So the next 30 days (or 26 days now) will be about working through some exercises to help me sort out everything that’s going round in my head and get some clarity about what’s really important to me. I have a long list of resources, tests and exercises, including a couple of work-related activities that I’ve been spending a bit of time on in the last couple of weeks. I don’t imagine I’ll end up doing all of the exercises because there will probably be a lot of repetition once I start to get some clarity and begin to sort my thoughts out.

I’m not sure what this challenge is going to look like, but what I’d like at the end of the month is to know myself a bit better and to have some written evidence of this!

20160904 Sunrise rainbow


The long and (not very) winding road

The long and (not very) winding road
Meningie, Australia

Meningie, Australia

You know what a great idea it had been to get up early and see the Twelve Apostles in the morning light? Well for the Blue Lake of Mount Gambier, this didn’t work as well. We saw the sun rise, but the lake looked less blue than it had appeared yesterday. Still there was a pretty cool effect of fog appearing to be pouring into the lake, so that made the early start worthwhile.

We also discovered that the Leg of Mutton lake, so named for its shape, was actually now called Leg of Mutton Lake Crater because, well, to be a lake I imagine having water would be a requirement.

So that’s two of the four lakes dried up since 1979.

We then began the search for a cafe open at 8am. A quick lap of the main street revealed nothing, but trusty Google found us at Cafe Melzar, carefully hidden away in a side street, which opened at 8am. We arrived at 7.57. It was the best breakfast of the trip so far (yes I did have southern fried chicken with waffles and maple syrup and it was delicious), and the best coffee. Recommended.

Today was to be the big drive through the Coorong so we wanted to be on our way as early as we could. Driving out of Mount Gambier it was kind of cool to know we were driving over the top of the Engelbrecht Cave.

We took an accidental detour into Beachport, which is a pretty little town boasting the second longest jetty in South Australia. 772 metres, but it was originally about 500 metres longer. (Port Germein has the longest one; at 1532 metres it’s still not longest jetty in Australia – that honour goes to the Busselton jetty.)

We walked to the end and back, had coffee and hit the highway again. We decided not to go to Robe, but stopped in Kingston SE for lunch. We saw the old Cape Jaffa lighthouse, which had been constructed in the 1870s and when it was decommissioned it was taken apart and reconstructed in Kingston in the 1970s. There was also a life boat from the Southship OLIVA that ran aground in the Nightingale Islands in 2011, and the lifeboat washed ashore in the Coorong two years later.

Then it was time to hit the Coorong. You can’t actually see much (anything) from the highway. I can’t remember where we went in 1979. There’s an old dirt road between the highway and the beach, and a 4WD track on the beach and I can vaguely remember driving along something like that. Unfortunately circumstances dictated that we didn’t do any of this, and so we ended up driving straight through to Meningie, on the shore of Lake Albert.

It’s a tiny town and we stayed at the caravan park. In a cabin, thankfully, after the wild weather that his us during the night. I went for a walk along the lake and was happy to see pelicans, since we missed the pelican observatory on the Coorong.

We had dinner at the restaurant that was part of the museum complex over the road. I had Coorong Mullet, which we’d seen advertised for sale at several places on the drive. It’s also called Yellow Eye Mullet and it was very tasty.

And that was it for a quiet Saturday night. Our longest drive was over and we kicked back after dinner with a couple of fantastic beers from local brewery Robe Town Brewery.

12 of 12 August 2015

Wednesday 12 August was a work day that wasn’t 100% normal. The forecast for Hobart was 4-15, with a chance of a late shower.

1 of 12 – It was cold when I got up. It’s the time of year when afternoon me hates morning me for rugging up so warmly, because I either swelter in all my layers walking to school to pick up Juniordwarf, or I have to take so much off that my bag is stuffed full of clothing and heavy, so I get hot just by carrying it. No glamorous school mum here, just a bedraggled, frazzled, flustered, melting mess.

1 of 12

1 of 12

2 of 12 – If you read my post about our recent lunch at Peppermint Bay, you might remember that Juniordwarf loves the movie Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, and wanted to try sardines at the restaurant. Once he’d had sardines, he decided he loved them so much he needed to have them again. They’re now a staple on our weekly shopping list, and he has them a couple of times a week for breakfast.

2 of 12

2 of 12

3 of 12 – Juniordwarf is a big fan of the author Andy Griffiths. He has heaps of his books, including the “Treehouse” series. The latest book in the series, The 65-Storey Treehouse, was released today. Juniordwarf is a frequent visitor to one of the local bookshops to flick through the Andy Griffiths books, so much so that the staff have been enlisting his help to cross off the days on the countdown poster to the release. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to get into the store to get the book today, but it’s on the agenda for tomorrow.

3 of 12

3 of 12

4 of 12 – This time of year has some lovely sunrises. I haven’t taken a lot of sunrise photos this year. This is the post-sunrise sun over Bridgewater.

4 of 12

4 of 12

5 of 12 – Lil Sis, my Mum and I went to the cemetery to pick out a spot for my Dad’s ashes to be interred. He passed away in 2009 and was a donor to the Utas Body Bequest Program, so it’s been several years until we’ve been able to find a place to lay him to rest.

The cemetery is in a lovely quiet spot. We passed by this view of the Mountain, still dusted with snow after last week’s cold snap.

5 of 12

5 of 12

6 of 12 – One of the areas we had a look at.

6 of 12

6 of 12

7 of 12 – The Daphne in St Davids Park is smelling divine.

7 of12

7 of12

8 of 12 – We had to pick Juniordwarf up early today so he could go to the dentist. He had his teeth scraped and cleaned for the first time. He was a bit uncomfortable, but he was a real trooper and didn’t complain at all. I did have a photo of him in the chair but I can’t post it because the dentist is in it, and you know how you can’t show dentists’ faces on television . . .

9 of 12 – Juniordwarf is a big fan of The Princess Bride. We’ve watched it together several times and he likes to act it out. When I found out that Cary Elwes, who plays Westley in the movie, had written a book about the making of the movie, I wanted to read it. The library didn’t have it, but they did have the audio book, so we’ve been listening to that. It’s a really interesting. I’m glad I’m a lot more familiar with the movie now, after repeated viewings, because I know exactly what he’s referring to most of the time.

9 of 12

9 of 12

10 of 12 – I used to not like grape hyacinths. Now I love them in early spring. They look fantastic planted en masse. If only I had somewhere I could do a mass planting.

10 of 12

10 of 12

11 of 12 – Once upon a time, another lifetime ago, I studied French. After I left uni I forgot about it. Lately I’ve felt like I wanted to take it up again. I got onto the Duolingo app a couple of weeks ago and started to see how much I could remember. More than I thought. The Duolingo website tells me I’m 52% efficient in French (whatever that means), which I’m pretty happy with after two weeks of revision.

11 of 12

11 of 12

12 of 12 – We’ve been planning our NZ trip since 2000. Every time we’ve started to get serious about it, something’s happened to put the trip on the backburner. Now in 2015 it’s really going to happen. Next month! And I’m going back on my TravelPod to blog about it.

12 of 12

12 of 12

Walk In Her Shoes – Day 7

Well, this is it – the end of a journey that started back in January when I signed up to do CARE Australia’s Walk In Her Shoes Challenge for the second year.

Since then I’ve been gradually increasing my daily step goal from 13,000 in January to 25,000 for the week of the challenge. I originally set a daily goal of 20,000 steps, but I really wanted to beat my 2014 step total over the week of 183,214 steps. So to do that I’d have to do just over 26,000 steps a day.

My other goals were to beat my longest walk from last year of 12.21 km. Then I said bugger it, I want to walk 15 km. And we know what happened there. My other goal was to walk 6 km in less than an hour.

Today was Day 7 of the challenge, and I’m happy to say I walked at least 25,000 steps every day. I’ll know my final total tomorrow, but I feel confident I’ve eclipsed that 183,214 target. And I achieved my other two goals as well. *Happy dance*

So instead of going on about steps and stats (I’ll do that tomorrow), today I thought I’d post some photos from my walk this morning. After about an hour I got sick of Runkeeper and turned it off. I just wandered around, taking photos. I even ran for a bit because I think I miss running.

I walked up the same street three times trying to get a decent shot of the sunrise.

20150322 WIHS Day 7 05 Sunrise

Autumn is in the air, but it was hard to find a scene that would prove it.

20150322 WIHS Day 7 09 Autumn

We have mist.

20150322 WIHS Day 7 11 Mist

The river looks beautiful with the mist.

20150322 WIHS Day 7 13 Derwent

Then we get to the top of the hill.

20150322 WIHS Day 7 14 Mist

And we get a great view from here.

20150322 WIHS Day 7 15 Derwent

Both ways, up and down the river.

20150322 WIHS Day 7 17 Derwent

I love this one from the Esplanade. The three dots in the middle of the picture are ducks I didn’t even realise were there until they flew past me.

20150322 WIHS Day 7 18 Derwent

I tried to get a decent photo of this spider’s web, but it didn’t quite work out. The phone camera does have its limits.

20150322 WIHS Day 7 22 Derwent

Finally, I’m sure you want to know which leggings I was wearing today to round out my week of leggings.

20150322 WIHS Day 7 23 Leggings

It’s been a great journey, and I felt really happy this evening when Juniordwarf said he’d donate $20 of his savings to my fundraising. I didn’t want to pressure him, but just explained what I’d been doing and why. He said he wanted to help the people that CARE helps, and said he’d contribute. It was a lovely moment.

Tomorrow I’ll be getting up early to go for a walk because I don’t want to break the habits I’ve been building up over the last two months, but I can guarantee I won’t be doing anything near 25,000 steps.

My fundraising page is here if you’d like to contribute, and I’ll be doing a final post next week on my total step count and my thoughts about taking part in the challenge this year. There might also be a report on what Zoe’s been doing, since she seems to have abandoned me!






Walk in Her Shoes – Training Update

It’s now less than 3 weeks to the start of the Walk in Her Shoes Challenge on 16 March. I’ve signed up for the “Gold” level, which is 20,000 steps a day – the same as I signed up for last year.

Before I signed up I’d set myself a 15,000-step goal each day, but I wasn’t achieving it very often. I decided to lower my expectations (I know. This is unheard of, right?) and drop it back to 12,000 steps. Not only that, I made it an average daily step count over a week, rather than an absolute goal. So all I really wanted to make sure I did was a minimum of 10,000 steps a day, which seems to be the generally agreed minimum for reasonable health.

I think reducing the target helped, because instead of every day having nothing in the “step goal” box and feeling miserable about that, most days I’d have a tick in there, which then made me feel a whole lot more positive. That encouraged me to increase the target once I’d started achieving it regularly.

Since then I’ve gradually built up my daily step target. This week I’m aiming for 19,000 steps a day, which is just 1,000 fewer steps than my Walk in Her Shoes Challenge goal. So far, 3 days in, I’ve done it reasonably easily (if getting up at 5am to go for a walk is ever easy*), so I’m already looking ahead to my 25,000 step “stretch goal”.

In the mean time . . .

While I was doing walks at lunchtime, when it’s relatively warm and I need to have some water, I got really annoyed by my shoulder bag flapping against me as I was walking.

I thought it would be great to have some kind of holster thing that I could strap to my leg and have easy, non-flappy, access to my water bottle. Most of the solutions I found online seemed excessively expensive and hard-core for what I needed, but after an extensive search of sports shops and outdoor shops in Hobart I found a reasonable compromise without the hefty price tag.

20150216 Water holster

I set a new personal best. Yay.

20150214 Walk data

I saw a beautiful sunrise in Bacchus Marsh.

20150222-02 Sunrise

I did my longest walk since my 12.2 km walk last year.

20150222-08 Longest walk so far this year

I’ve been battling blisters that haven’t been sure whether they are blisters or callouses. It’s been rather painful to walk the last week or so. I got all the anti-blister things to try and sort this out once and for all.

20150223 All the blister things IG

The latest recommendation from the chemist has been these, with paw paw to soften the callouses. Note “actual size”.


And finally, I was interviewed by our local paper about participating in the challenge, and they sent a photographer out to take some photos of me walking to go with the article. Some of the photos were very silly, so I’m sure one of those will be what they’ll use if they go ahead with the story. Please don’t laugh at me if you see it.

OK. 19,000 steps. Focus. Walk. Try to go to bed a bit earlier.



* It isn’t.

Week in review: 16-22 February 2015

This week’s goals:

  • 17,000 steps per day – 6/7 days. Weekly total 137,518 (daily average 19,645)
  • [Private Goal] – 0/7 days
  • Go to bed before midnight (baby steps!) – 5/7 days – 3 of which were 11.55, but it all counts!

This week was a quiet week. Still settling back into school routines and trying to get to grips with new arrangements. Library day is different, PE day is different, music day is different – all good fun to try and remember. I’m trying to put my own morning habits and routines into back place as well as trying to get Juniordwarf to do things like get his stuff out the night before instead of racing round in the morning looking for it.

We’ll get there in the end. Probably the end of term, when it will all fall to pieces again at holiday time.

We spent the weekend at Bacchus Marsh with family to celebrate a significant birthday. It’s not a place I ever would have thought to visit otherwise, but it turned out to be a delightful town, with some lovely old buildings and very friendly people.

The clouds looked like mountains in the sky

The clouds looked like mountains in the sky

It was a very hot weekend, but we had a great time with Slabs’ family and I think his parents must have been thrilled to have all their kids in one place, as it doesn’t happen very often.

Slabs and I took the opportunity of having 6 babysitters to get away for a couple of hours and have lunch at the Bacchus Hill winery.  I mean seriously, what else would you do at somewhere called Bacchus?

Bacchus Hill Winery

Bacchus Hill Winery


Wine time back at home!

Bacchus Hill Winery

Bacchus Hill Winery

We enjoyed the wine and the food a lot, and Slabs appreciated being somewhere with a bigger range of reds than most Tasmanian wineries produce. Unfortunately, not having any checked baggage with us, taking some home wasn’t an option, so we’ll just have to go back next time we visit the area.

Impresario Theatre

Impresario Theatre

Bacchus Marsh Court House

Bacchus Marsh Court House

Lerderderg Library

Lerderderg Library

Werribee River

Werribee River

It was 36 degrees or something equally horrific when we got home, and the house was like a hot box. Sleep proved to be very difficult on Sunday night.

Next week’s goals:

  • 19,000 steps per day.
  • [Private Goal]
  • Go to bed before 11.45 pm.