Tweet tweet

I’ve been using Twitter since March 2007. I’ll tell you why.

The Twitter bird

I started using Twitter because some friends I met online were using it and I was interested in trying something new. There were all sorts of new social networking tools around at the time – Facebook was still fairly new, MySpace was in full swing, Friendster was on its way out. It’s funny, actually, to think of the myriad of different social networking services that have come and gone in the past five or so years. Facebook has stuck, and so has Twitter.

Twitter is an online messaging service. It’s a bit like the status update aspect of Facebook. You have 140 characters to type a message that is then broadcast to all your Twitter friends. You can read the messages from the people you follow as well. Twitter posts are called tweets. Twitter people are called tweeps.

My first tweet was unremarkable: “I’m tweeting, dummy”. My most recent tweet was “I’m sore today after training last night”. It’s all pretty inane. And yet Twitter informs me that I have tweeted over sixteen thousand times. That’s a lot of chatter. So why?

Twitter keeps me in touch with my friends and what they’re up to. I can see where people are, who they are with, what they are doing, thinking about, struggling with. And my tweeps can read the same about me. I feel connected to this group of people because we share so much of our lives with each other. It’s the quickest, simplest, most interesting way I’ve found to interact with others online. I find it rewarding and satisfying.

Did I mention I’m quite nosy? And a bit of an over-sharer? Twitter is the perfect medium for someone like me.

You can find me over on www.twitter.com

My Twitter page

How to…

…be a stepmother. I’ve been giving this a bit of thought lately, since this will be one of my new titles when we get married in March. Really, I’ve been stepmothering Miss B for a while now. It’s happened so slowly that I’ve hardly noticed it. We’ve been living together for 18 months, which is probably a long time in the life of a 10-year-old, I’m thinking.

What makes a good stepmother? I had a stepmother when I was B’s age, and I can’t say it was a positive experience. So what I can learn from that?

Well, firstly that I’m not B’s mother. She already has one that she is very fond of. Making sure I stay out of the way of their relationship is really important. I see my job as supporting Stephen in his role as B’s father. When he needs help, I do what I can, otherwise I should butt out. Of course having already had a (very similar) 10-year-old girl myself, I do have a perspective to offer and I’m not backward about coming forward with it. But I do often stop and think, “it’s not my business”.

Secondly, I’m active in her life. I’m one more person that can add something to her life – take her places and give her experiences she might not get from anywhere else. We walk, bike, run, play tennis together. I take an interest in the things she’s doing and her worries and concerns. But it’s important not to be too ‘in her face’ with my involvement. Again, I have to leave space for her parents to do their parenting.

Third, I try and stay out of areas of discipline and punishment. It’s not much of a challenge since B is so far a pretty well-behaved kid. Stephen and I will talk about any issues that arise, but he is always the one to talk to her if there is a problem. That is his role.

Fourth, I am encouraging and supportive of B’s relationship with her mother, and her grandmother who is also very important to her. Mummy and Grandma are part of our lives when B is with us. We ask after them, include them in conversations about what she’s been doing, and her plans when she goes back to them. I want her to have as smooth a transition from home to home as possible.

And finally, as cheesy as it might sound, I try and pause at times and think, “what am I doing to help give B a good experience of this day?”. Because I’m not her parent, I am released from dealing with some of the mundane details of her life. I can focus on having a good time. In this way, step-parenting is a bit like grand-parenting.

And in fact, looking over the list, my approach to step-parenting is very much how I want to grand-parent. For me, it’s about knowing my role and my place and not overstepping the boundary into parenting. I’ll always be walking this line, but for me the most important thing is that we (me, Stephen, B, Megan, Antony, Grace, Wyatt and Arlia) take care of each other. Because, regardless of step-whatevers, this is what makes us a family.

What I’m looking for

When I posed these questions to myself the other day, they seemed pretty straightforward.

  • What do I want to do?
  • Who do I want to be?
  • What am I looking for?

Once I started thinking about how I might answer them, it was harder than I thought. Not for the reason you’d think either. I know the answer to these questions. But the answer just isn’t all that interesting or thought-provoking. I know who I am, what I want to do and what I’m looking for.

The past couple of years have been a huge period of change for me. Before now, the questions would have been really difficult to answer, and might have sent me into an emotional spin. Let me tell you what I mean.

When my son turned 18 (in November 2006), I was going through something of a life crisis. I was in a job I wanted to quit, an unhappy relationship and my children were growing up. These things defined me, and they were changing. I spent the next couple of years struggling with this, becoming more and more unhappy until eventually, in 2008, I had enough. I quit my job, left my relationship, kissed my children goodbye, and wandered off to find myself. And I did find myself, somewhere out there in the wind and rain and sunshine.

So these are easy enough questions to answer, but hard to make thoughtful and interesting. I’ll have a go.

1. What do I want to do?

This is the easiest question to answer. I want to keep doing what I’m doing now, but even better, and moreso.

I had such an amazing time last year, I’m not sure how to top it. I got engaged, became a grandmother for the second time, watched my children grow up a little more (21, 18 and 10, significant years). I had a very successful year at work, I made some amazing new friends, I tried new things (hockey, roller blading, tennis, futsal) and loved them. So these things, I want to keep doing.

There were also some challenges. I’ve had a difficult few months health-wise. I’ve struggled with migraines and back and hip pain. The hip pain made me hang up my running shoes for the latter part of 2010 and that’s been really hard. Running keeps me sane, it sets me to rights. I’ve not found anything I like as much. So this, I’d like to change. And I feel like I’m heading in the right direction with that.

  • I want to (and will) get married this year.
  • I want to watch my family grow up some more, and be there when they need me.
  • I want to continue to improve my skating – stopping, pivots, speed, crossovers.
  • I want to be active. I want to run, walk, dance, skate, blade, play tennis.
  • I want to be social. I’ve met some cool new people this year and I’m looking forward to hanging out with them.
  • I want to slow down a bit. Well, I’ll do my best!

2. Who do I want to be?

I’m pretty happy with who I am right now. So in 2011, I just want to be me some more. Mother, wife, nana, friend, worker. I want to be happy, and healthy, and present, and alive.

The biggest change for me is the ‘wife’ bit. I’m looking forward to being Stephen’s wife, more than I can express here. It means a lot to us both to be making this commitment to each other. It’s not something I thought I’d be doing again, but it just feels right.

3. What am I looking for?

This is a harder one to answer. I don’t know. I have found what I’m looking for. It sounds like a cliche, but I was so lost and now I’m not. When my son turned 18, I had lost my purpose. I didn’t know who I was or who I wanted to be, where I wanted to be. It took time, but I figured it out. For now anyway.

So 2011 will be a year of consolidation for me. In the last couple of years I’ve taken actions and made choices that have set me on a path. I did the hard yards and now I have a clear trajectory to follow. I just need to sit back and enjoy the ride.

I’m looking for a smooth ride.

A new year

A lot of people I’ve spoken to in the last few days have said, “I don’t do new year’s resolutions, but I might start/stop/continue/change x”. Even people who don’t like the formality and cliche of the new year’s resolution seem to recognise the ticking over of the year as a time to reflect and make changes.

I love the idea of using this time to think about where I’ve been in my year, and where the coming year might take me. I want to learn from mistakes made over the past twelve months, and shape the direction of my adventures for the next twelve.

I was discussing goal setting with a friend over coffee the other day. It’s something that’s important to us both and we had an earnest and illuminating conversation about it. So with thanks to Erin, I will answer three questions about 2011:

  1. What do I want to do?
  2. Who do I want to be?
  3. What am I looking for?

I’m going to think on these and write more about them in the next few days.

I fought the store, and I won

If you’ve been following along, then you may remember a few weeks ago I had an interesting experience with a loyalty card at Bakers Delight (see Am I missing something?). Let me not recount the whole story, but just say that the shop assistants at Bakers Delight Palms have some funny ideas about how these things work. You may also recall that my workmate Pip waded in on the issue after I told her about it one quiet afternoon at work. She kindly (and hilariously) called head office and confirmed that the Palms store was indeed quite mistaken about how the loyalty card system worked.

Email from Head Office

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, armed with the email from Head Office, I braved the bread shop once more. I just wanted to redeem my stamps for a free loaf of bread. Sue was working. I was pleased about this, since we now had a history of loyalty card discussions. We started with the usual routine:

Sue: “You’ll need to spend $6 to redeem your free item”.

Me: “But I’ve collected all my stamps, I’m ready for my free bread now”.

Sue: “It’s store policy”.

Now I tried to be as nice as possible about this next bit. It was christmas eve, and I do understand that Sue isn’t in charge of store policy. But I felt ripped off. I pulled out the email and Sue and I read it together carefully.

“You’re right”, she said. “You get the bread for free. Can I show this email to my boss?”.

“You can keep it”, I said generously. “Thanks so much for the bread, and merry christmas!”.

Okay, so I didn’t really wish her a merry christmas, not my style at all, but you get the idea…I left happy (with my free loaf of white block toast slice).

Wedding things

Well, it’s 2011 and I can finally say, “I’m getting married this year”.
We’ve done pretty much everything that needs to be done, and have spent the past few weeks tidying up all the loose ends:

  • Organised the rings
  • Contacted the venue, caterer, band, photographer, celebrant
  • Organised the bridal shower/stag day
  • Organised the making of the wedding dress (this one was complicated and took me a while!) and picked up the flower girl/bridesmaid dresses
  • Organised hair and makeup
  • Printed the invitations and readied them for sending
  • Booked all the honeymoon accommodation
  • Finished the wedding website.

The website has been our holiday project. We wanted to have one place people can go to get information about what we are doing. It’s been a fun and challenging task, and we finally have it in a shape that we are ready to share with you. So I give you our work-in-progress: www.applekeep.com/Castle/Turret.html

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 5,700 times in 2010. That’s about 14 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 67 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 72 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 13mb. That’s about 1 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 7th with 97 views. The most popular post that day was Am I missing something?.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, Google Reader, bestwwwoffers.com, and noarmsjames.wordpress.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for mac classic, ibook clamshell, ibook g3, ibook g3 clamshell, and powermac 6100.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1. Am I missing something? December 2010

2. The Cult of Mac June 2010

3. About January 2010

4. The 30-day challenge April 2010

5. Mother May I? November 2010