Teen parenting…. Karma (Post 21)

Last night there was a small incident, that it won’t go into to respect the privacy of the innocent, but it made me think back on my teen years, with my current perspective of a parent of teen daughters.

OMG! How did I survive my teens? To put things in context, my parents had but a small place in my teen years. My father was absent (returning when I was 18) and my mother abdicated from the role of strong parent. My older brother escaped the family home when I was 14. As a result my other brother, sister and I were pretty much left to do what we wanted, unsupervised. And we did.

It horrifies me now – both in terms of what I got up to and the risks I took. Boy, if I’d had me as a parent I would been locked up with the key thrown away. I mixed with a rough crowd – into alcohol and things by 15-16yo. I was very much on the periphery of this group, as a somewhat straight teen trying to be way cooler than I was. As an insecure girl, without a huge amount of self-esteem, it was risky place to be as I was joining in things I knew were not right and that I didn’t really want to do – but I didn’t want to be seen as the conservative, uncool person that was really me.

Now I see my daughters and worry. In some ways the risks are less – they are far more knowledgeable than I was. And they both generally have more confidence than I did. But the risks, though changes, are still very real. For instance, any slip ups now, and it can be immortalised on social media. The peer pressure is still there, as are woeful teen self-image issues, and alcohol and drugs are ever present.

So I tell my kids:
– tell me anything. I will always have known worse and I’d rather know.
– trust yourself and your gut instinct over anyone else.
– the friends you have in high school (as a teen) are generally friends by proximity only. As an adult you will choose your friends differently, based on what ‘you’ like, rather than a need to be part of something.
– accept that the teen years have a load of crap that is a part of it all. Very few remember their teen years as ‘the best of times’.

I know they will both grown into wonderful adults but I hope their paths are not too bumpy. You need some bumps to develop the ‘smarts’, but I hope they don’t have too many so they get damaged on the way through.

At the end of it all, I think I turned out OK – so my kids should be fine. But there were some rough, vulnerable years there.

I am ‘sweet’ 16 in the photo. Not sure what the hair was about though 😉



To document… Part 3 (Post 20)

The third workshop on documentation was held today… Where I presented a merger of the two document maps produced the other day. The first question they dealt with was…. Is anything missing?

OMG, to the list of 37 documents I swear we added another 10. However I found a couple of things interesting:
1) I was told I was completely missing a stream of documentation. Considering they compiled the original list, I had missed nothing – but I bit my tongue and we added the documents.
2) I used a technique I learnt recently in a facilitation course – even if you think they are done – wait quietly & count to 10. A lot of people cannot handle silence, especially facilitators that are ‘extroverts’ like me. I have found that it works, and it worked today. The silence provides some people necessary time to think, and also means that perhaps the question is not fully answered. In this case it lead to another 10 minutes of talk. There were a LOT of introverts in the room, in fact I am sure I am the only extrovert. To do the ‘count to 10’ thing I do need to mentally count to 10 and hold myself back to do it.

We then moved on to labelling each document with ‘authorship’ – which meant not just who writes it, but who should be involved in the reviews. Harking back to the first workshop, they were very possessive about who wrote what, and who owned what. For this exercise I told them I wasn’t interested at this point in who ‘owns’ anything – just who should be involved.

We only got about a third through this and will continue it on Monday, but already there are more names (and skill sets) involved than previously. YAY!!!!

The next step will be to group the documents by dependencies. The aim is that by having more people at the table for one document, the dependent documents can start being prepared at roughly the same time – removing the need for 3-4 weeks of private iteration before anyone outside the original group gets to see anything.

It is an ongoing saga, but one that seems to be heading the right direction – though slower than I hoped. We will get there.


When it alteration finds (Post 19)

This is not an appropriate time for Shakespeare, nor is Sonnet 116 in any way related to the theme of this post, but it is a way to introduce ‘alterations’.

It was costume time at Calisthenics last night – the trying on of 5 costumes, and trying of many mothers’ patience.

We had scored 4 costumes from previous comps – fabulous. Until I found out that 3 need alterations. Then came the MJ costume. I was devastated. I have to ‘lift’ the pants higher. To do this, I will need to take out 2/3 of the sequins (that took hours! to sew on), unpick the top from the pants front and back…. And start again. I will also have to take in the sleeves (not too hard), take in the side seams of the top (more challenging) and put darts in the back (bloody hell).

Ever single mother has very much the same task ahead. Having been asked to have the MJ costume pretty much complete for this fitting, I now envy the mothers who were slack, and hadn’t yet attached the top to the bottom. There goes the next 2 weekends.

In a likeness to the immortal crow call of Graham Kennedy….. farkkkkkkk! Fark, fark, fark!

Not happy, Jan.

With those two very Australian popular culture references, I will leave you to gaze at my new best friend:


To document… Part 2 (Post 18)

We had our second session on documentation today. As I was not having a good day (brain addled by vertigo from moment of waking), I needed to rethink how the session would run – to remove the work from me, and ensure the group stepped up.

So with a bit of prep time, the group was presented with two lots of butchers paper on 2 walls, with 2 lots of post-it’s. One post-it to one piece of documentation.

The group was split into 2 – my selection to mix the skill sets and agendas – and they were asked to put the documentation into sequence, including where possible grouping of like documents, and dependencies.

It was interesting to see how things panned out. Both groups’ sheets look different – but there really wasn’t great variance between the two. Having said that, I’ll be typing this up tomorrow so I’ll get to test that statement.

I didn’t ask for overlaps in content, but it was obvious from the conversations they were drawing some conclusions by themselves. I will draw this out on Friday.

What was interesting was the pieces of work they thought were missing. There was content or ‘decisions’ they felt wasn’t clarified. In asking about this, the interesting part is MOST of what they wanted they have – just not in a format they are used to. Talking afterwards with a colleague of mine, who is a manager within this environment and is a participant of the sessions, he agreed – they have an inability to recognise information spread in format. The information has to appear the way they expect it, or they don’t digest it. (Secondly, it is very nice to be validated!!! I respect this colleague immensely so I was very glad he thought I was totally on track.)

We both agreed it would be valuable to pull these clarifications out to a template they recognise, followed by a bit of explanation of where the clarification came from. For me, this is a huge learning. To me the decisions were there – I was having difficulty understand what they were missing. Now I know. Pulling it together will be next week’s task.

The third session is on Friday, and we will focus on overlaps, redundancies and concurrent authorship. It should be a doozie!!!!

So far, so good. I just hope my brain is not so addled on Friday 🙂


Hunting for a sequin or two. (Post 17)

So the task of finishing the MJ costume has been waylaid by a lack of sequins. I wasn’t given enough in the pack that was distributed by the Calisthenics team leader. Bugger.

So I ventured to one of my favourite places today – Spotlight! I can spend hours in Spotlight and not buy anything, just get ideas. I think it’s the closest I come to understand my husband’s love of Bunnings.

But today I spent… It was so much fun. I bought some new scissors, which are much sharper than any other pair in the house – hands off everyone! I also got appliqué paper for Kid2’s design project for school, and red beads for the MJ costume. I was swayed by a sale on wool and a cheap pattern, which will now probably be knitted before the mucho stripy jumper (after I finish knitting the rug).

I also got a lovely surprise at the counter when I paid. As I am a member I received an overall discount of $10 and the wool, which was already marked down by $2 a ball, I got for half price – that was $26 off in total. I am generally not big on store memberships – absolutely every shop wants you to join so they can bombard your email with ads, or even worse – SMS you. But I love Spotlight so much, this just made my day. I don’t even mind their ads.

Yet, no sequins. Spotlight had the wrong size. The lovely lady on the counter recommended a craft/bead shop, which was my next stop. Red sequins, right size but a plain red, not sparkly. The sparkly ones are called Laser sequins. Who knew? I lost interest in the hunt then, and I was hungry 🙂 So I’ll be hitting the team leader up for more sequins tomorrow night. That’s ok, I had just wanted to finish the damn thing today.


Warming up for winter (Post 16)

Among other things I have been very busy knitting. The vertigo has slowed me and the calisthenics costume has side tracked me, but I have been greatly enjoying it this autumn/winter.

I’ll be honest and say that it was the Better homes and gardens magazine that got me started. I scored a year’s subscription as a Xmas present, so every month I get a lovely surprise. The mag has had a wonderful focus on things crafty over the last few months, with projects for knitting, crocheting and appliqué. This is my kinda thing!!

So I invested in 3 of their rug projects – one of each of the kids (they chose their preferred pattern) and one of me, which of course is the one I’m doing now… last.

The girls love their rugs, and they are so easy and fun to make. I have changed the patterns a bit, re the styles of knitting, and have also made the rugs wider by adding in additional column. Having whizzed along, I have been most disappointed that the knitting brings the vertigo on. I only do little bits now – half an hour at a time – to avoid the worst effects.

I also have a secret aim to use the leftover wool to knit the most truly stripy jumper ever seen. I made a wonderful stripy jumper a number of years ago, which Kid1 then stole (she says claimed) off me about 2 years ago. I had lost the pattern, but found the original pattern book online and just repurchased it.

I can’t wait to finish my rug so I can start the jumper!!!


Family in the way (Post 15)

I meant to blog last night, but family sorta got in the way. It’s not very nice of me to say that, but we had a belated celebration for Miss 17’s birthday with 19 members of the extended family descending around 5.30 for dinner.

I tried to keep things easy by having a pizza & pasta night… Boy can they eat!!! I will say they had all left by 8.30, but I was so exhausted that by the time I’d cleared up everything I was done the night.

It was not long into the gathering that I realised I had forgotten how much noise the younger ones make. They make a little gang, with a 4yo, 6yo, 8yo and 9yo, and there are no wallflowers among them. Having said that, there are few wallflowers among the adults either – there’s really only my sister-in-law (on my side), and I think she barely copes with it all.

But the nose and ruckus for the young’uns was quite disturbing. I am positive my ones made this much noise at the same age, but I’m just not used to it anymore. Their gang now (12yo, 14yo, 15yo, 2x17yo) hangs quietly in one of side rooms, talking secret disparaging teen things.

The adults, especially on my husband’s side are a loud, gregarious bunch who you do really have to get used to. My family is much quieter, and I was always the talkative one in our mix – but I am absolutely no match for my in-laws. Which is lovely. Just a bit wearing when one’s not in full health.

So there’s my excuse, and it’s lame. I’ll try to do a 2nd blog a bit later to even things up.

As a family illustration I found this lovely cross-stitch. I’d love to stitch this… Perhaps I should do this for niece’s wedding later this year?