Monday, 31 May 2010

Celebrating those at Stage IIII/ - Acceptance

This is the stage that we resist from day one.

WE DO NO WANT TO ACCEPT whatever has caused our grief, be it death, illness, disease, tragedy, loss or change.

We want it undone.

We fight it, resist, do anything to avoid it. We bury our head in the sand (denial), fight it tooth and nail for it is so unfair (anger), plead and beg for it to be reversed and go away (bargaining), until we become completely depleted and despondent (depression).

Then one day, we succumb (acceptance).

Does that mean we've given up?

At first, I thought it did - and that's why I fought against it so much. I have since invented a new meaning for acceptance.

Acceptance is giving up the struggle, but not the hope. It doesn't mean you have to like what has caused you grief, but you can live with it. It's about choosing to be okay. It's about moving on. It's about discovering new meanings to life that did not exist before.

Until tomorrow, may we have compassion for all those who are at various stages of grieving. Wishing you a speedy journey to stage five.

Grace xx

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Sunday, 30 May 2010

Honouring those at Stage IIII - Depression

Today's Sunday Sentence

Whenever someone sorrows, I do not say, "forget it," or "it will pass," or "it could be worse" - all of which deny the integrity of the painful experience. But I say, to the contrary, "It is worse than you may allow yourself to think. Delve into the depth. Stay with the feeling. Think of it as a precious source of knowledge and guidance. Then and only then will you be ready to face it and be transformed in the process."

-Peter Koestenbaum, Philosopher

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Saturday, 29 May 2010

Honouring those at Stage III - Bargaining

So my tribute idea is not going as I thought it would go. I had grand visions of opening up a global conversation as we progressed through the five stages of grief.

I imagined people opening up and airing their experiences, thoughts and feelings, albeit anonymously, to help themselves and others heal. Contributors and readers alike would have felt important, considered, acknowledged, supported and loved.

Oh dear, I'm such an idealist. Is that pathetic? Is it time that I learn once and for all, that it's safer to be a realist and stop trying to be a hero.

I am a little person with big ideas. Too easily discouraged. Too often full of fear. It makes me wonder, who do I think I am?

Until tomorrow, keep going because you said you would.

Grace xx

PS. The answer to Saturday Quiz No. 1 was EARWIG and the winner is... Garrie, the iron commentator. Congratulations Garrie, you have a virtual set of steak knives coming your way. These imaginary knives will have you cutting rubber tyres, Reebok runners and aluminium cans in no time.

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Friday, 28 May 2010

Honouring those at Stage II - Anger

Today I received a rather abrupt email that ended in the words:

"I was always told that I was born with very few eggs and that's why I went through POF. As a result, my ovaries became small. Did I/they miss something? Thoughts?"

I have just finished writing my response and after sending it, I started to wonder - am I in stage 1 denial and is she in stage 2 anger?

Here's my response:

"When I hear the 'theory' that women are born with a finite number of eggs and that when they run out, it's all over for them (in terms of procreation), I get a deep feeling saying 'that just doesn't make sense'.

Perhaps Christopher Columbus had the same gut feeling when he sailed out into a world that was supposedly flat.

I just don't buy it, it seems illogical when you look at how procreation works in nature. I have seen apparently infertile plants (i.e. grape vines and two lemon trees) unable to bear fruit for years and years and years, suddenly bud and sprout fruit again (as a result of careful nurturing and a change in their conditions).

This is what makes me think there's something else going on in our bodies that human beings haven't quite figured out yet. There's already evidence of POF women who've had shrivelled up ovaries and /or no visible follicles in ultrasound that go on to have babies. This in itself negates the theory.

A friend that I met via a POF support website nine years ago is a living breathing example of this (as are her two miracles born a few years apart). I think it's just a matter of time before we read an article that says science has been getting that one wrong.

It's only my view, but it is my view.

In the meantime, I think it's really important to be supportive of those who are in the early stages of their POF journey... all I'm saying is that we have to be sensitive to them and their feelings.

For many the diagnosis will be like the death of their babies, for they would have imagined them, dreamed of them and named them (I know I did). I understand there are other ways of becoming a parent and that it takes more than a biological link that makes you a mother. I know all that and I get it. But it wasn't an overnight insight.

It took me time to get over the devastation and initial sense of loss when I first received the news and I'm sure there are many women who are still in that devastation stage. That's who I'm appealing to."

So today is dedicated to all those who are in the anger stage of their grieving. Whether that's you, or reminds you of the unspoken anger you once felt - please feel free to express yourself below. Today is about you.

Until tomorrow, create space to vent anger - it is better out than in.

Grace xx

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Thursday, 27 May 2010

Honouring those at Stage I - Denial

Yesterday's post broke all records.

I have received so many comments, calls, emails and SMS messages from family, friends and strangers from all over the world. It has completely overwhelmed me.

It also made me realise that the sensitive subjects of grief and infertility has struck a chord with a number of people for a myriad of reasons.

As a result of all this, I want to dedicate the next five days to support and honour those who are at different stages in their grieving process.

If you are grieving, or have grieved, I invite you to express yourself and share as much or as little of your story about your first stage - Denial (remember you can preserve your anonymity and post as a guest).

The purpose of this is not about dwelling in grief, but to help those that are in the midst of it to move through the five stages. It's about opening up a conversation, extending a hand, heart, shoulder and ear. It's about letting them know they're not alone. It's about hope.

Until tomorrow, help our friends move through to stage two.

Grace xx

PS. I extend my hand in friendship and support to those who are grieving no matter what the cause. If you are moved to say something, please do.

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Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The 5 Stages of Grief

Continued on from yesterday...

It's funny how your mind operates under stress.

There I was sitting in my car, imploding with grief. Instead of calling my husband (then boyfriend) or Mum for consolation, all I kept thinking was "Who can help me right now?"

My first thought was Kylie.

Not only is Kylie my gorgeous dear friend, confidante and soul-sister, she's also a nurse. Don't nurses know everything 'medical'?

Poor Kylie - I can't imagine what my call would've been like for her that day.

As soon as I heard her voice I began sobbing uncontrollably. I blurted out my diagnosis, my despair climaxing when I was hit with the most disturbing thought - that I may have lost all possibility of having children of my own.


I have images of Kylie skipping along merrily wearing her infectious smile only to have her long distance friend call and dump an emotional bomb on her. If you're reading this Special K, I'm sorry for the distress it must have caused you. I hope that was counteracted by the other shock news phone call three years later - you remember? - the one when I told you I'd won $15,000, had booked flights and you had 1 hour to get to the airport.

Sweet Kylie did her best to console me, but the only consolation I sought was for the clinic to phone back with news that I'd been given the wrong results. They didn't.

I can't remember much after that - only hours of crying, stinging eyes and an ache in my chest. It was excruciating.

At that point, I was in stage one of the Kübler-Ross five stages of grief
  1. Denial
    "This is not possible, it can't be happening, they've made a mistake. There must be other answers". This led to frantic searching for solutions, seeking all kinds of alternative therapies; traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, hypnotherapy, Bach flower essences, Reiki, applied kinesiology, NET, CBT, yoga therapy, Ayurvedic medicine, psychic healing, aromatherapy, colon hydrotherapy, crystal healing, dietary healing therapy and meditation - most of which brought back menstruation, but nothing ever permanent or pregnant.

  2. Anger
    "This is not fair, why me? There a so many people 'less healthy' or 'less deserving' than me - people who smoke, take drugs, are alcoholics. How can they get pregnant and become parents so easily? This is bull$hit!!!" I was completely angry and utterly furious with God, the universe, mother nature and anything else that I could put a label on. I questioned my faith in me, my beliefs, everything. I was bitter and unforgiving. I became intolerable of people asking me "When are you going to have kids?" - I either wanted to swear at them or hit them in the mouth with my shoe. I didn't x 2.

  3. Bargaining
    I engaged in conversations with God "I'll pray every day, I'll fast, I'll eat well, exercise, do yoga, meditate, take my medicine, I'll stop drinking caffeine and wine, no more wheat, no more dairy, no more sugar, or salt, no more gluten, I'll only eat low GI foods, I'll juice every day, I'll even do a coffee enema every day - I WILL DO IT ALL (and I've done it all) if you could just please, please, PLEEEEEEAAAASE let my body work so I can have a baby!"

  4. Depression
    Deep, dark and scary. To me this was a loss of lives, the lives of my beautiful yet-to-be-born children. The sons and daughters I had dreamed of, imagined and anticipated. I cried myself to sleep every night. I collapsed in the shower, sobbing on the ground till the water ran cold. I felt pain in my heart and sickness in my stomach every time I heard news of someone becoming pregnant. I could not look at pregnant bellies. I could not stand hearing women complain about being pregnant (I want to punch them in the nose - seriously). I could not hold babies without tears welling in my eyes and my lips quivering. I was in constant pain. It felt like an elephant sitting on my chest. I was aching all the time. I felt I was going insane. I was once so disturbed by my upset that I wished someone I disapproved of would miscarry - how horrible, judgmental and inhumane is that? (thankfully that wish was not granted).

  5. Acceptance
    One day I decide I cannot go on living my life in chronic anguish and yearning. I choose to be okay. I am okay. I became an aunt. I realised I can still have children in my life, it's just going to be different to what I first imagined. I had a dream that dictated words for a manuscript. It was a blueprint for a children's book. I spent nine months and four days to create and deliver a book that (without my knowing) turned out to be the physical manifestation of all my maternal love for my unborn babies. Every time I hear news of a child loving my book I feel a connection. My maternal flame is lit. I feel I have made a difference. I am happy. I am a mother.
September marks 10 years since that fateful day. A decade.

This has been the most difficult thing for me to write and the most freeing. I am sobbing once more. I will sign off for now.

Until tomorrow, be brave and take all five steps when grieving. The fifth one is the best.

Grace xx

PS. At the time of my diagnosis I was told I had gone through premature menopause. The condition is now more commonly known as Premature Ovarian Failure (POF), though it is in transition to being known as Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI). It can affect women as young as 16. While many alternative modalities have theories about how this condition occurs, western orthodox medicine state that there are no known causes.

PPS. For avid followers of Weigh-In Wednesday, click here to see video

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Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The time has come...

Another day has passed and still no words.


Is this just another case of writer's block, or is it time to start writing about matters that matter?

There's something about me that you may not know. It's something that has taken so much of my strength to endure, all my powers of positive thinking to come to terms with and every ounce of faith to get through.

It's something I've wanted to tell you from the beginning, but didn't know how to break it to you, or when was the perfect time.

Perhaps now is.

In September 2000, just a few months before my 30th birthday, I went to see my GP (General Practitioner) to get results of a recent blood test. As I waited in the lounge I began wondering what could have caused my periods to cease after I stopped taking the pill six months earlier.

I was a little nervous. You see, what prompted me to have the tests done in the first instance, was a comment made by my mother a week earlier.

We were sitting on the couch, side by side, when I felt a wave of heat come over me. This was not the first time. My cheeks flushed, burning hot, and I tore my jumper (sweater) off quicker than a groom removes his bride's lingerie. Mum jested, "Are you having a hot flush?" and with that, I began to wonder...

For as long as I can remember, Mum often warned me and her nieces of the necessity to procreate early - "If you want to have children, you'd better have them young... women go through menopause early in our family.... my great aunt was 33 when she went through menopause"

Years later I learned that the great aunt story was out by at least a decade. According to my grandmother, said aunt was in her 40's. However I can't help wondering whether the constant reminder of the tale planted a seed that eventually became my truth.


"Grace Mimmo!" called my doctor, and I followed her into her room. She read out the blood test results addressing each of my hormone levels. She deduced that I was post menopausal.

POST MENOPAUSAL!!! How was that possible? I hadn't even turned 30!

Everything sounded like it was being projected through jelly (jello) from that point on. Slow motion. Even the voice in my head was dazed, saying over and over - "I can't believe it, it can't be true, it must be a mistake, my mum was right, but I'm too young, this is not possible..."

I must have looked like a zombie as I walked from the clinic to my car. I sat and stared into nothingness. Stunned. Shocked. Desperate.

"What do I do now? Who do I call?" I quizzed myself. "Kylie", I heard myself answer. Isn't that the first sign of insanity? That was the realm I was about to enter.

Until tomorrow, may we all have courage to continue our stories.

Grace xx

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Monday, 24 May 2010

Still stuck

So Monday's come around, and I'm still lost for words.

I found an old picture of me hugging a tree that I hoped might inspire some philosophical brilliance.

The photo quality was crap so I thought working on it would buy me time to conjure up some masterful words of wisdom.

I spent an hour playing with painting effects in an attempt to create an 'artistic' look.


Still crap.

You know what they say, "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear" - or as Pat says, "you can't polish a turd" - both of which are right.

So here I am stuck. Without words, an unpolishable turd of a photo and a commitment to write daily till November the 3rd. What to do, what to do.

Perhaps if it stops raining tomorrow, I just might go outside to hug a tree and see if that'll help transform the sticking point in me.

What do you do to become unstuck?

Until tomorrow, um... errr... hmmm...

Grace xx

ps. Saturday Quiz No.1 winner will be announced next Saturday.

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Sunday, 23 May 2010

Sunday Sentence

"What you are is what you have been, and what you will be is what you do now."

- Buddha

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Saturday, 22 May 2010

Saturday Quiz No.1

As I'm still in the process of filling my well with enough words to string a reasonable sentence together, I've invented a quiz for this Saturday.

I'm not sure if I'll do one every Saturday but we'll start with this, see the response and take it from there.

To the right you will see a photo of me circa 1997. Admittedly I went to town with Photoshop, but it's for a good cause.

I've recreated one of my favourite quizzes of all time and I wanted to share it with you, but I couldn't just give it away. It's so much more fun to guess.

So without further ado...

What am I wearing?

Write your answer in the comments section below.

Until Monday, have a fabulous Sunday.

Grace xx

PS. Click photo to enlarge for closer inspection.

PPS. Click here to find out the winning answer (at the bottom of post)

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Thursday, 20 May 2010

Well, well... well (the sequel)

I've had time to ponder since yesterday's post and it seems you have too.

Here are the responses I've received thus far:
  1. Remind ourselves how blessed we really are... far better to focus on the positive and count your blessings if you want to fill your well

  2. Ride your bike, it fixes all the world problems one pedal stroke at a time

  3. What if you dont have time to ride your bike... and you know how blessed you are but you still can't shake it off?

  4. Dig a hole... go outside, grab a shovel, dig a hole and plant something... spending time in the sunshine, nurturing a small patch of earth and making a investment in your future is an exercise in hope
Firstly, THANK YOU!

Now for my responses:
  1. Reminding ourselves how blessed we really are is being grateful for having a well in the first instance. Counting our blessings is also useful. We could do this literally by having a container that is our 'well' (i.e. jar or empty ice cream container) and then write our blessings on scraps of paper (recycle) and fill the well one blessing at a time - I like it!

  2. If one has a bike, is capable of riding and loves it, then brilliant. If not, then one must find an activity that is engaging and fulfilling. For me, it's being playful and creative for fun (as opposed to being creative for work). This morning I chose to colour in the well. I was completely absorbed, in the moment and most importantly I was using a part of my brain that doesn't get as much exercise as the other side that does all the thinking and worrying.

  3. I also have moments when suggestions 1 and 2 don't work for me. This happens when I am in serious 'drought'. What I is I tell myself that every drop is progress. You know how a dripping tap can fill a sink? Same thing. One drop at a time, or as No. 2 suggested, "one pedal stroke at a time". I also look at what's emptying my well faster than I can fill it and takes steps in addressing it.

  4. Spending time in the sun (without falling asleep and burning to a crisp, but that's another story) is brilliant for filling the well with vitamin D and increasing serotonin production. Nurturing something to grow in a patch of dirt sounds lovely, though I don't have a patch of dirt where I'm living right now, but am now considering adopting a plant next door.
Once again, thank you for your contributions.

Until tomorrow, keep filling the well and mend the leaks.

Grace xx

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Well, well...

Has your well ever run dry?

One day you wake up and find yourself...
  1. without any energy, enthusiasm or drive

  2. feeling compassionless when hearing someone spilling out their wounded heart (and all you want to do is book that waxing appointment you've been meaning to do since you started resembling a wooly mammoth)

  3. without an ounce of patience, not even to wait for a child (or your partner) to finish their sentences

  4. unable to withdraw cash out of an ATM, or pay for your shopping with the credit card (ouch!)

  5. staring at the contents of you fridge and cannot think of a single meal to put together

  6. spending two hours to come up for a idea for a blog and then another two hours to write it (no, I'm not exaggerating)

  7. doing one, some or all of the above

Q. What do we do when our well has run dry?

A. We fill it up (hard answer, wasn't it? - not)

Q. How do we do that?

A. .....................................................................................................
(okay, now it's your turn. Aha, not so easy hey? Please write your answer in the comments section and we'll see where it leads)

Until tomorrow, find ways to help bloggers fill their wells.

Grace xx

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Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Change in focus, not intention

As you may know, I created 'Wednesday Weigh-In' to keep me on track.

I thought a weekly check in would keep me focused, knowing I'd have something to report.

However something wasn't right.

I decided many years ago that weighing oneself weekly was not always helpful in ones quest to trimming down. Contending with the psychological blows that accompany the inevitable fluctuations, often does more harm than good.

Scales are an inaccurate measure of one's true progress. This is because they do not measure fat, they measure weight... and weight is made up of a number of things, such as bodily fluids, muscles, bones, organs, skin, hair, nails - even un-excreted faeces! (not to mention clothes).

A true measure of fat loss is how your clothes fit and how your body feels. If you want measurements - look at centimetres and inches instead of kilo's, stones and pounds.

So with all this in mind, I had to do something that still kept me in check with weekly reporting, but was more in line with what I believe. So, I created Wednesday Wake Up!

Right now, I'm finding out why my body is resistant in burning fat (high insulin and under-active thyroid are major contributors) and learning how I can make adjustments to resolve these issues. I was instructed today to focus on stabilising my insulin first and foremost, then work on fat loss. But you know me, I love a challenge and to multi task ;-)

Until tomorrow, if something isn't working for you - change it!

Grace xx

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


Remember my little boat metaphor? Well, there are times when I'm sailing on life's ocean when I don't know where I'm going.

I bob up and down aimlessly wondering how did I get here and where am I going to. The most bizarre thing is that I cannot pinpoint when and where I went off course.

It's times like these I need a lighthouse.

Lighthouses are a solid pillar of strength, firmly grounded and emit homing beacons for those that seek it (much like the light at the end of my tunnel).

Friends are like lighthouses. They remind you where you've sailed from and facilitate in navigating where you're heading to. They have the uncanny ability to shed light on subjects, enabling you to see something from a new perspective. They are the guiding light that we seek.

Tonight I bumped into such a lighthouse. Someone I have known and loved since I was an awkward, pimply-faced teenager. Seeing her filled me with instant relief and sense of comfort. I returned home with a knowing feeling that all will be well.

Until tomorrow, spare a loving thought and gratitude for all the lighthouses in your life.

Grace xx

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Monday, 17 May 2010

My Confession

Noticed how my posts over the last 10-days have been short, somewhat vague and even shallow?

It's time for my confession.

I've been trying to throw you off the scent by giving you crumbs, hoping it'll be enough to keep you at bay.

Occasionally I'd throw a longer post, but it was really just extra long babble to pass the time.

The decline in comments is also a clear indication of just how 'un' stimulating my blog has been. A lot like me really.

"Why?" I virtually hear you ask.

Truth is, I've been feeling unbelievably crap these last few weeks and I didn't want to be caught out. Sure, I gave you clues with the 'S.A.D.' story but I wasn't totally up front.

I entertained conversations in my head that went like, "If I just tell them a little bit, then it'll keep them off my back" (not that anyone's on my back). I've been keeping up appearances and instead of being authentically me - warts and all - I've refrained from writing the truth.

Partly because I don't want to 'burden' anybody on days I'm feeling flat. Who'd want to read something from someone who's having a bad day? I can't bring myself to write anything of any substance until I'm over the hump and back on the rise again (which I'm guessing you've already guessed has just happened).

Why do we do this?

I'm sure I represent an entire population of people who only want to share ourselves when we're upbeat. We love to inspire, charm, motivate and lift the spirits of those around us. But when the shoe's on the other foot, we turn in on ourselves. Surely this is not healthy.

I have no intention of turning into someone who's always complaining (that wouldn't be any fun - or maybe it would...? - either way, it's not cool) - but isn't it time we can be frank that not everyday is a sunny day? We all have rainy days, don't we? Isn't that NORMAL?

While I continue to avoid putting dampeners on those around me, I am essentially censoring myself - my true, normal, up and down self. The happy-go-lucky exterior becomes a facade and if I'm not careful I could have an enormous divide between what the world sees and what's really going on behind the walls.

Until tomorrow, remember what confessionals are for - to speak unspoken words, thus penetrating the barrier that separates perception from what is.

Grace xx

PS. Just for the record, the last 10-days have been physically, mentally and emotionally scheit (a slightly more polite spelling of what I really want to type). My anxiety levels have been through the roof. I have struggled to get out of bed most days, have not been able to face basic daily activities and as much as I've dressed myself in gym gear on a few occasions, I did not step foot in it once last week.

Today I experienced something that was like a panic attack, heart racing, tightness around my chest and found it difficult to breathe. I went to my healthcare practitioner and my insulin levels were through the roof again. This frustrates, scares and baffles me as I have been super conscious of low GI foods. We're now investigating other possible causes i.e. stimulants like caffeine.

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Sunday, 16 May 2010

Sunday Sentence

"Years teach us more than books."

- Berthold Auerbach (1812 – 1882)

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Saturday, 15 May 2010

In the red

Red is today's theme.

I'm wearing a red beret, red cape, red boots, red bangle and read earrings, which went perfectly with my red handbag that is now resting next to my red cup.


Because I'm celebrating a friend's 40th (hello Mickey) and we were instructed to wear a splash of red. Done.

So after a glass of red, we retired early as Patrick has a mountain bike race tomorrow. We pulled up at the front of our place a little before midnight and as I stepped out of our red car I sighed, "Oh poo, I haven't done today's post yet!"

So here we are.

My eyes are red, I'm going to bed so goodnight my friend, I'm off to rest my head.

Until tomorrow, pick a colour and thrash it.

Grace xx

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Friday, 14 May 2010


Have you ever heard of S.A.D? It stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is commonly known as winter blues.

I first heard the term about 15 years ago when my GP (General Practitioner), aka doctor, diagnosed me as a sufferer. I thought it was totally ridiculous and never took it seriously. Ever.

Yet with the onset of each winter I seem to have a recurring set of symptoms; chronic fatigue, heightened anxiety and a feeling that resembles an elephant sitting on my chest.

Occasionally there's some relief when the sun breaks through the clouds (or I get to do a Bollywood class), but generally the mood is grey and glum.

How long can I continue to turn a blind eye?

Would finally acknowledging this as an actual condition, and take measures to manage it, be better than burying my head in the sand - or more accurately, my pillow?

My husband suggested I take a flight north and get some sun. I am considering it.

Until tomorrow, if something persists - take notice.

Grace xx

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Thursday, 13 May 2010

Bollywood Masala Saaga

Oh my goodness I AM SOOOOOOOO EXCITED!!!

I started my Bollywood dance classes tonight and I absolutely LOVED it - so much fun!

It's 10:30pm, I've just walked in the door and my eyes are popping out of my head. What a day. What a fabulous day.


It all started when we took our international guest to visit to my cousin's winery, Witchmount Estate, whose 2004 Shiraz won the 2008 Syrah du Monde (best Shiraz in the world). Luckily for us, the museum stock has just been released and we all snapped up a few bottles for a cool $80 each (bargain!)

I then parted company with Pat & Co. and met up with the delightful Year 8 student I'm mentoring at the Abbosford Convent, along with her mother and mischievous younger brother. The meeting adjourned a pot of tea later and I embarked on an hour's brisk walk to the dance studio. Unlike last week's high altitude training, this time I was adorned with rubber-soled Mary Jane mid heels (stylish AND practical).

I meandered in and out of wonderful little streets and cobbled laneways before I found myself in the same street as my friend's ultra funky design studio, Platform 5 (BTW as a result of this blog I was asked to write content for their website, which they're in the process of uploading. In the meantime, see 'Our Work In Words' and 'Disciplines' written by none other than your's truly).

It just so happened that as I was passing by, two people were pushing their bikes out the front door. I asked if Dan was still in. Affirmative. I slipped upstairs for a surprise visit (don't you just love that?) and within a few hugs, a micro chin wag and a wave goodbye, I was back on the road.

On the way to the dance studio I noticed a very groovy place I thought could be a good venue for the finale dinner with Shirley - our Singaporean amiga, Pat's coaching client and a dynamo pocket rocket (one in the same person). The intriguing exterior was framed by a kitsch-come-cool white picket fence with the words 'Southpaw' on one side and 189 Gertrude St on the other.

Upon closer inspection, the restaurant-bar was just fabulous, complete with quirky retro furnishings and enhanced by Parisian bohemian flavours. Très cool. The menu was tantalising so I booked a table for three at 7:30pm - just in time for me to return there after my Bollywood class.

I arrived at the dance studio 25-minutes early. Then I misread a sign on the door believing that it said class started a further 15 minutes later, thus leaving me a total of 40 minutes to fill in. I had the strong inclination to call my cousin, who lived a few blocks away. Turned out that she was visiting her dad (my uncle) in hospital, which was literally around the corner.

I ducked in for a half hour visit and returned to the classroom thinking I was 5 minutes early. Actually, I was 10 minutes late. The sign I'd misread was for 'Belly Dancing, 3rd May at 6:30pm' instead of 'Bollywood Dancing, 13th May at 6:15pm'. What planet was I on when I read that notice (twice I might add)...?

Luckily I only missed out on stretching (phew!). I was shrugging my shoulders, stomping my feet and shaking my hips in no time. Loved loved LOVED it. Still smiling.

After dancing, I met up with Patrick and Shirley for our last supper (she heads off to Brisbane tomorrow). Delicious food, AMAZING wine and superb ambience. Totally perfect.

So all in all, a massive day and I'm pooped!

It's now 11:30pm and my five minute post has turned into a Bollywood Masala Saaga*

Until tomorrow, go with the flow and see where it leads you.

Grace xx

PS. I've gone nuts with the hyperlinks today and I would like you to know it's because I WANT to do it - and not because I'm getting paid for it (haha - I wish!). Actually, I often get asked for details when I mention specific places in my blog, so I thought I'd save myself a dozen emails or phone calls by directing you via links. They're there if you want to follow them and if you don't - just don't click them. Too easy.

*Saag is an Indian spinach dish that I love (thought you might enjoy the pun) and yes, I did take that photo when I was in India last year.

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Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Time Out

My husband invited me to join him on an overnight trip down the coast while he conducted some private MTB coaching.

He took one look at my grey-ghost complexion this morning and thought the fresh sea and mountain air would do me the world of good.

He was right.

I am taking time out to recharge and re-invigorate myself.
  • First stop: Geelong foreshore to film today's Wednesday Weigh-In (done - though still waiting for it to upload to YouTube)

  • Second Stop (depart in 5 minutes): You Yangs National Park (near Lara) to pick up Patrick, his client and their bikes

  • Third Stop: Scotchman's Hill Winery (don't worry, I have a former life in the wine industry and spitting is the order of the day)

  • Forth Stop: Forrest overnight (near Apollo Bay) via the Great Ocean Road
Until tomorrow, remember to give yourself permission for time out whenever necessary.

Grace xx

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Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Sugar Coated

Here in Australia, it is traditional to serve 'fairy bread' (pictured right) at children's birthday parties.

Fairy bread is sliced white bread smothered in butter or margarine, then sprinkled with sugary coloured beads that we call 'hundreds and thousands'.

While it's pretty, colourful and crunchy - one would seriously have to question it's nutritional value and what it teaches children about what we consume at celebrations.

I'm not about to stand on a soapbox and rant about this with a waving finger. I am simply exploring my own upbringing, how much I LOVED fairy bread and comparing where I am now with the advantage of 20/20 hindsight.

So what brings me to this point?

Remember how I said I'd been feeling really tired these last few days? It turns out that my insulin levels were through the roof and have been causing a domino effect, causing my pancreas and liver to go bonkers (Australian for crazy).

This completely puzzled me as to my knowledge, I have been consciously consuming low GI (Glycemic Index) foods for several weeks - I even pick the sultanas out of my weekend muesli (I have a super-smoothie breakfast on weekdays). I was instructed to write everything down to see if we could uncover what I might be missing.

Turns out, my gluten-free bread is higher GI than I am permitted and that different information sources have different values for foods I considered 'safe', like polenta (corn maize) - some say high, some say low, some say medium.


I am becoming frustrated with trying to do the right thing and finding out that it's those 1%ers that are undermining my efforts.

Then my monkey mind took me on a random nostalgic journey of sugary foods that I once consumed with no consequence (or at least I thought they had no consequence), and it brought me to fairy bread. I have vivid memories of the magical party treat looking all tempting and delicious at the beginning of a party - but by the end the colour had bled, thus staining the bread.

Is that what happens to us?

Are we like fairy bread that is bright and vibrant when fresh, then over time become stained by the hundreds and thousands of high GI foods that we've consumed without awareness? And can those stains ever be removed?

Where I'm at right now is looking at my reality - without sugar coating anything. It's a scary space to be in, but a necessary one.

Until tomorrow, ask yourself whether there's anything you've sugar coated that you could do without?

Grace xx

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Monday, 10 May 2010

How Much Are You Worth?

I recently had an enquiry from a literacy coordinator, who employed my services a few years ago.

I ran a four week writing workshop for a group of students who produced a picture book for their young school 'buddy' - very cool.

I learned that the coordinator had relocated to a different school and that my services were required once more.

Only this time it was to read my book to a younger audience. Equally cool.

It's always nice when somebody makes contact after moving to a different place of employment. It makes you feel like you did a fabulous job in the first instance. Very rewarding.

I was asked to submit a price - bearing in mind the school was on a 'tight budget'. I have to admit, I severely dislike that statement. It's like one of those really annoying Top 40 songs that's forever playing on the radio - enough already!

Unenthusiastically, I calculated an absolute base price. It's the minimum amount I'm prepared to work for that makes the effort worth my while. I submitted the price and after a few days was met with a very polite "I'm sorry, it's above our budget". Not so rewarding.

This is where it gets interesting.

The old me (pre-Project Grace 2010) would have interpreted that into something like, I'm not good enough, I am not worth it, blah blah blah. I would have agonised over how much more I could reduce my fee whilst simultaneously stripping myself of any trace of dignity.

But today, that did not happen.

Instead of my predictable response, I simply shrugged and said "oh well, too bad" and started writing this post. I have no desire to rethink my price, renegotiate ways we could make it work and so on. I just don't want to waste any energy on it. Simple.


What is happening to me? Whatever it is, I like it.

Until tomorrow, realise how much you are worth and be 'not-negotiable' about it.

Grace xx

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Sunday, 9 May 2010

Happy Mother's Day

You might be worried that my last few posts have been quite short. It's not that I've lost interest.

Not at all.

Continuing with Project Grace 2010 ensures that I'm living an inspired life. It's evolved into something that is making me a better, happier and healthier me.

Checking in every day with you, no matter how brief, gives me a sense of purpose. And while this 'purpose' is not entirely clear to me at this point, I'm happy to keep putting one foot in front of the other (day after day) until my path reveals itself.

I ought to be honest and confess that I have been feeling quite tired these last few days - hence impacting the length of my posts.

My husband has a hunch that I share his bacterial infection and is medicating me with elemental silver, my hairdresser thinks it's the weather and the cooler short days makes us want to hibernate like bears (I concur), and I suspect it could have something to do with the increased exercise combined with an under active thyroid (revealed in my last series of blood tests) that has created an energy tug-of-war.

So without further ado, I bid all mothers a happy Mother's Day and ask that you take a moment to be grateful for all that you have, including the headaches, heartaches and hard work that makes you worthy of such an honourable title. I think it's so cool that you have a day dedicated to you (and yes, I still want to join the 'club').

In the meantime, I'll leave you with these parting words from one of this world's most compassionate and selfless 'mothers'...
"It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters."
- Mother Teresa
Until tomorrow, find blessings in all that we have.

Grace xx

PS. This painting top left was done by a talented young artist called Neysha Sheyla who's based in Germany. Please click on the painting to visit her Deviant Art page.

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Saturday, 8 May 2010


What started as a simple ride in today's perfect autumn weather to have coffee and practice French with a fellow Francophile, turned into an all day affair that culminated in a French film called MicMacs.

Directed by Jean-Piere Jeunet (Delicatessen, City of Lost Children, Amélie), this is a must see for anyone who loves quirky French cinema.


It was beautifully shot, the music was deliciously French and by the end, I was holding my stomach laughing at the total absurdity of it all.

Just my cup of tea.

One of my favourite characters is the contortionist (pictured top right), who reminded me just how good it is to be flexible.

Until tomorrow, turn a simple activity into an all day adventure.

Grace xx

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Friday, 7 May 2010

Bali Reflections

I love this photo.

It was taken in Bali last October while Patrick and I were cruising the island on a scooter. So much fun.

This photo reminds me of life, only I am soooooo tired after a massive day that I simply cannot conjure up words to do it any justice.

So I'm asking you to contribute... what does it symbolise to you? I'd love to hear your thoughts, ideas, feelings and so on.

Until tomorrow, remember that it's okay to ask others to assist when you're feeling tired.

Grace xx

PS. Made a video of my Power Smoothie this morning. Click here if you'd like to see what I look like when I get out of bed - fuzzy head!

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