Monday, 21 November 2011

Speaking Out!

White Ribbon Day
It is November 25th this year, Friday that is!

If you haven't heard of it, well now you have! There is no longer an excuse to bury your head in the sand.

In support of Wanderlust and all the other victims of this abuse lets all speak out and stop burying our collective heads in the sand.

Domestic violence against women and children is happening every day around you.
Not in my neighbourhood....think again. It is much nicer to think that it is not happening though, isn't it? The reason many people feel this way is because they don't know what to do.

Speak Out

Domestic Violence is everywhere. Many people think that it is something that is of a bygone era or that it is for those in the less fortunate areas, maybe they think it is only for those affected by substance abuse.

Maybe they don't realise it can happen to anybody.

At the start of this year in response to a friend I started facebooking information out on this subject. They needed help and due to their situation, some randomly read posts was the safest option for them in a shared forum.

The address above is one of the images that I connected people to, to highlight what DV is and is not. It is an insightful resource.

Inadvertently I offended a family member who thought I was talking about her situation. I wasn't, whilst hers was a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship, the friend I was helping was in danger. They were isolated in a rural area, did not know how to access help, substance abuse was also involved and there were children too. This friend I grew up with at a distance and we became friends later, what saddens me is that from what I know of her childhood, the same is now happening to her as an adult. Her husband is a wealthy, respected farmer, involved in many charities and committees in their town.

Early intervention is the key in all areas of life.

Back to the family member who has now left her husband. I am in two minds about this as she never gave him the chance to seek help and see if it could all work and he was willing. We have since also learnt that she only married him to have children and knew they were not ideal together. It doesn't condone her partners behaviour, but sometimes the violence can be lessened, this is a case where I feel it could have and therefore the 2 little boys in the midst of this would not have had to endure what they have. She and her husband were both well educated people in management streams, middle class comfort.

I have another friend who today told me that she was thrilled to only be losing her licence for three months and 3 days. She blew in the mid to high range. Her partner and her were at a celebration and he was being an idiot (as he is when alcohol is involved) and so she decided to leave. He came after her and started yelling and having a go at her because if she went how was the car going to get home and there was no way it was going to be left in the car-park! He has already lost his licence for a couple of years for driving under the influence! So after a heated argument and pushing and shoving she gets in and drives.

All the while he is putting her down, calling her a fat arsed skank, stupid, bimbo, slut and believe it or not a whole lot worse (I have heard it all from him). He is poking her and pinching her whilst she is trying to drive. They are driving over a bridge and there is a breath testing station at the base and he is smashing her head into the steering wheel and pulling her hair at this stage, she is just trying to drive and stay on the road. She nearly ran over the police officer.

When she gets out and she is already crying and in a state; they breath test her and she openly admits to drinking and driving. The officer asks her about what was going on in the car as he could see that she looked like she was being shoved, she tells him. Charges are laid on her partner.

Guess what? She is still with him. It annoys the life out of me as her two kids now entering their teens are witness to this. The daughter now comes with her own set of issues and their 12 year old son, thinks his parents are losers and becomes very upset when they fight. I have given them both all of the resources I can to get help for themselves, each other, their children. You can lead a horse to water......

For teens and adults affected by this and for the accompanying troubles within that lifestyle go to They have great easy to read resources and contacts nationwide.

I grew up knowing my parents were not suited to each other, different. I can honestly say though that I never saw them argue, never heard it either. I know they disagreed, had different opinions, but violence was just not part of our lives. I am truly grateful for that, so thank you mum and dad.

Due to my mother and I clashing though I did live informally with a foster family. Have I told you about how wonderful they are? Will do so one day.

From time to time came emergency foster kids. I remember Hayley. Her stepdad used to bash her, but not her younger sister. Hayley was 13 or 14, I was 11 or 12 the same as her younger sister. So Hayley came to my foster family. She did not know about hygiene ( you have to wet all of your hair to wash it!), she did not know about feminine products or cycles, she did not have a clue about life in general. I remember thinking she had the prettiest face, much prettier than her "nasty" younger sister. One day she was struggling with her very basic maths homework. I was year 7, she was year 9 and I helped (think I did it) her with her homework, she had no idea how to do multiplication. That was the day that it became clear to all of us that she had suffered some kind of brain damage at the hands of her mother and stepfather. How cruel, how utterly disgusting to do that to another human being. What gave them the right.

So to all the Hayley's, Will's, Carly's and kids you are always in my thoughts. I work with adults who began as your story everyday and I pray that you don't end up as they have.

To the rest of us I say educate yourself, speak up and out, reach out to another, but know when to back away and that some people just make bad choices.

If you are looking for other ways to support people affected by domestic violence I could write you a whole blog on that topic alone. However buy the Big Issue it supports the vendor, many of whom are victims at some stage in their life. Or checkout the lovely Lina at as she has found a beneficial and aesthetically pleasing, not to mention useful way to help.

If you are in South Australia this may help.


If you do find yourself in this situation or know of somebody who is, it is never too late to speak out.

Take care and I hope your journey is not a painful one.

Friday, 18 November 2011


I am jealous of planned and ambitious people!

The sort who are always together, knows their stuff, are directed, officious and make things look easy.

Jealous because I am in all essence the opposite. I am a drifter, I fall into things rather than plan, I am a procrastinator and I blame that on being a balanced Libran - I see two sides to everything.

I fell into nursing, I fell into year 12, I fell into university, love and marriage. I am not sure that I have ever actively planned and controlled anything in my life. I have never been a planner.

I never planned to get married - I did.

I never planned my pregnancies and they came to me when they should have.

I never planned my career - but I am always landed with opportunities.

In the past year I have been inundated with jobs and job offers. All great, all I am passionate about.

I took one, it was a three month stint. I took it because I felt I had the skills to take it on and make effects within that three month period.

Now 7 months later I am suddenly the level 3 RN in our team.

This is not the first time I have been a level 3 RN, but it has been a long time. Since then  I have had children and my priorities in life have changed. I no longer live, eat and breathe work......

I do the work I do because I love it and I am passionate about it, not for any other reason. Prior to being the level 3 I thought I had the best job in the world. It was a combination of all three of my passions - teaching, community and critical or advanced care. My level 3 is amazing in every sense of the word, she has it all, brains beauty and just one of the nicest people I have ever met.

I have big shoes to fill, but only for 7 months. I wouldn't have taken this in a permanent sense. I feel fraudulent for even having the role - how did I end up here? Yes I went through all the normal routes and interviews. Why didn't I stop and say thanks but no thanks? Why is NO such a hard word for me to say?

I love my level 3 and for some strange reason she has faith in me. She also knows I will keep the program true in its path and I have no agendas and she thinks I won't stuff it up in her absence. I really hope I don't.

You would think I have never been here before, but I have. Last year instead of getting the casual lecturing role I sought, I ended up being the lead lecturer and location coordinator. Prior to that I had acting team leader and quality coordinator roles; Clinical Nurse roles at level 2 and level 3 Clinical Nurse Educator roles.

First group of international students as a Course Coordinator
Now the University has several groups running concurrently.

None of them I asked for, all of them I was asked to do and I did and apparently well.

I know I am a good nurse. I know I am great with the clients I have.

I don't think I am a good leader. I don't do authoritarian and I am a hopeless delegator, I always teeter on trying to be a friend to those I am supposed to lead and in doing so I fail to delegate.

Now it is time for me to "man up", take the lead, take charge. But what if I don't know what I am doing? Say the wrong thing or look stupid?

Once that really would have bothered me and from a personal level. Now I don't actually care what people think of me, but worry that what I do will reflect badly for the rest on my team.

So maybe fate controls me, but it is time for me to take control. I am grateful to receive the challenge, I think...........

This is my unplanned journey and I need to know the destination.

Stay tuned for this one as I fumble and stumble and make the odd bumble.

XXX Fiona

Monday, 14 November 2011

Dyson Delights

I love vacuuming.

Don't panic you read correctly I really love vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms. I don't care for the rest of the household chores.

To me there is nothing more rewarding than starting out with a crumb, dog hair, dry play dough covered floor and as you vacuum, you can see you are removing the detritus away.

Every time you vacuum you get to start with a clean slate again.

Last year when times were tough in my life, my computer and work became my life. I would sit on it for hours at night after having finished all of my jobs, working away, I rarely slept more than 3-4 hours.

I used to give myself breaks and wander aimlessly through websites. One night I obviously entered a competition. I never enter competitions.

It was on the AsthmaSA site and there was a Kids Breathe Better link. A competition was running and you just needed to write your story about your child's asthma.

So I did...apparently. I was away camping at our piece of Paradise in October last year when I checked my e-mails and there was an e-mail telling me I had won a DC23 Turbo vacuum from Dyson through the Kids Breathe Better Competition.

I almost deleted it. I thought it was SPAM, a joke, a virus on my MAC.

However it was true. I was one of 500 around the country who won a vacuum.

So it means my writing was maybe not so great with so many winners, but that is besides the point.


I needed a vacuum, my estranged husband had my beloved Dyson at his house in the country where it was REALLY needed and I was using my mums spare Dyson upright.

I was so grateful for this wonderful prize and I put it to good work every few days.

This was truly the highlight of my life last year. I told everyone how excited I was to have a new vacuum and be using it.

They all thought I was mad.

That vacuum was a sign of hope to me at that time and I cherish it, (you wouldn't think so if you saw what it lifts from my floors though!).

I was just so lucky.

Try your luck you just never know!

Sunday, 13 November 2011


Wow what can I say?

I was done for the day with my blog.

Then I was asked to do something amazing.

My friend is a very talented photographer, unlike me. She and another three businesses are fundraising for a family and their little girl with profound disabilities and a dazzling smile.

I have tagged and shared where I could and will participate in the clothes swap and donate some wine for gifts and auction.

Tonight however I was asked to "PIMP THE CUBBY".

Apparently that is my skill, my forte, only I can girly it up on a budget, which is great in keeping with my most recent post Thrifty not shifty.

To be asked by friends to help them is a privilege and gives you a great feeling.

To be asked by friends to help complete strangers, well that is an honour that words fail to describe.

I hope to do this little girl, her baby sister and mother and father proud.

Girly stuff is easy and I have everything I need to hopefully make this little Cubby a home for these two little cherubs.

It is a 24/7 workload that is unrelenting and unforgiving to parents of disabled children. It does however come with its own joys and triumphs that parents of non-disabled children won't experience in the same way.

As many of you know I work amongst many disabled clientele and I love my work. To be able to "play" amongst this family with a child with a disability and hopefully create them something delightful well that will be a joy. The last time I did something voluntarily for a family with a disabled child was back when I was studying and a severely disabled 8yo girl, her mum and grandmother were trialling a patterning program and needed volunteers.

While I have just collected a series of things for our cubby house and when I put it together it will look great, I am delighted that I will get to put my creative genius to further use.

I am so grateful to be asked and hope I do them all proud.


Saturday, 5 November 2011

THRIFTY NOT SHIFTY - Green with gratitude

Now I tossed and turned over this blog title. Do I call it green with gratitude, or Retro Vision or Thrifty not shifty?
Since the blog is based on gratitude, that title won, but I really loved Thrifty not shifty! Then I decided to be greedy and blend the two!

I think I am the queen of green.

No, I don't recycle every single container, piece of paper, cardboard or tin. I do use commercial washing powder but 1/3 what they recommend. I use vinegar for softener, cleaning drains, cleaning in general. Borax is bountiful, Eucalyptus oil a godsend and Lemon's essential. I use earth friendly washing up liquid, I prefer candles and essential oils to artificial air fresheners. Ooh and it doesn't cost the earth! In winter I put a pot of water on the wood fire with cloves and cinnamon and vanilla.

 Since ever I can remember I have loved "old" things, junk my mum called it. To me it was like treasure hunting. It still is.
My nana's old tins that she rescued from the shed for me, Grandpa was storing nuts and bolts in them! You will also see an old salter scale that is still in balance, jars with various cutters and old mixing bowls

 The lure of an op shop is often just too great for me to resist, or a second hand store. I mean who knows what hidden treasures lurk in there?

I am not the only one with this little habit.
The great Diva Kamina over at blogs solely about this. I often share the little gems of stores I find with her, so that she too can check it out and share with others.
Kelly Doust has even created a successful writing career and website around upstyling what you can find, check out It is classy not trash to be stiff with your cash!

 I have a wardrobe full of fabulous finds almost all from op shops. They are clothes I could never buy full price. Such as two cardigans from this season, Country Road and Witchery, both pure wool and two of them for less than $15.00, a whole lot less than they were new. A Ginger Crush bag, Nine west kitten heels, Veronika Maine skirt and pants, Stephen Dattner suede jacket, Jaqueline Eve clothes, Espirit, Susans, Portmans, my wardrobe is bursting at the seams.

 My children also have a wardrobe full and I mean full of clothes all brand name and all from the secondhand stores. Some still have new tags on them. There are so many parents out there that see something, love it and buy it, but don't stop to consider if it will actually fit the child when the right season comes around or the child goes through an unpredictable growth spurt - as they do, who would have thought? So I buy my girls secondhand clothes and they are still well dressed and they ruin them at kindy or childcare or in our own backyard and I don't have to sweat it out over the replacement cost or chide them unnecessarily over clothes.

Nor does it mean that they have one good outfit that they are rarely allowed to wear and when a special occasion comes around, no longer fits them. It is also a far cry from the tragic memory I have of hand me downs. My cousins were all older and the clothes were well and truly out of date by the time they came to me. The best I had was Grasshopper, my children have general Target, and others such as Fred Bare, Pumpkin Patch, Milly and Molly, Eeni Meeni Mini Mo, Milkshake, Espirit, Country Road, Gap, Next, Ooobi and Sprout.

 It is not just fantastic clothes that lure me, but nostalgic memories. I often seek things that I loved in life at somebody else's home. My style I would say is classic/antique/eclectic, but not offbeat. I recently bought a tin letter, bills, misc. holder that is the same as my nana's, my mother was horrified, but I loved it. Bit pricey though I paid $4! Occasionally I can find a nice Carlton ware piece or some junky old vase that looks great with flowers in it.
My $4 letter holder, RRP as high as $20 in some trendy "retro" stores.

 Back to my kids. Our toy-room is um.....a little bit like a kindy room. Few of the toys I have bought new, most were secondhand or gifts. Great learning toys, hammering blocks, duplo, marble run, operation game, barbies, prams, irons and books. We love books, I will always let my children buy books and often this is their treat.

From this to...see below

The $5 Fisher Price Secondhand dollhouse, complete with climbing baby.

Playroom converted old sunroom at the front of our house. Wall of bookshelves was originally timber, carpet was on sale and the redecoration of this room cost less than $300, including lots of white paint to cover the dry old timber!
We have lots of creative and educational toys, run of the mill - over marketed toys, lots of books and now two matching secondhand white desks with hutches. There is a wall of white board and blackboard for drawing and writing, peg board for hanging and is their space to do what they like!

 My love of green extends to saving toilet rolls for craft and any type of wrapping, it never takes long to collect huge piles and often I take these to childcare and kindy. My kids are often screaming to do craft and a bit of sticky tape, some cheap shop embellishments and home made glue go a long way for an afternoon of entertainment. If supplies are low, you could always find a place such as That's not Garbage. . Such a simple idea for being green with benefits for so many.

 This week has been hard rubbish week in our neighbourhood. For once I didn't have much to throw away. However someone still found use in my old clothes horse, junky metal rods, a broken dolls pram and old kids bike and an old round table that will be nice with a coat of white paint - I just never got round to it. I am not sure why the little old cane chair was left though?

Me well I found two perfectly good steel painting ladders, timed nicely for house painting this summer and a little mantle piece, which will be great in the new cubby. Could have picked up four matching dining chairs for our set of six, but I was not quick enough on my walk around the block and well people come equipped with trailers early on the Monday stuff goes out for pick up.

 So being green is so easy, it does not mean radical change or going without. In buying what others no longer need or want I am saving myself money and the earth. There is no need for cotton to be unnecessarily irrigated in the Australian desert so that I can have nice clothes, I am buying something that has already been through the manufacture process and there is almost no packaging or bags, as here in South Australia we no longer have plastic bags and need to recycle or use environmentally friendly bags. I never go without, the money I save on clothes I can instead spend on food or decent footwear. I probably should just save it for that renovation that will never take place if I keep going to op shops!

So be grateful for others who have more money than you and throw away perfectly good items. Be thankful for those impulse buyers who we can then cash in on for great finds. Thank god for the Salvos, Vinnies, Goodwill, not to mention the numerous other little gems in our midst.

Try the multiple online sites too:

Check them out you too may just be surprised at what you find.