Tuesday, February 19, 2013


You know the more I thought about the matter of routine the more I realised how much a lack of it had been affecting me over the last week.

Coming back from holiday on a Monday rather than a Sunday threw me to start off with, then a little thing I know but my washing got done on a Tuesday rather than Wednesday. But Wednesday I started the first of a run of lunch covers at the other kindergarten in town so different routines & children although for both Weds and Thurs I was working with at least one if not two teachers I'd worked with at AWK!

Thursday morning life turned upside down when I was woken by Phyllis falling in the hallway and as it turns out fracturing her hip. She's away 'down the line' in Whangarei as our hospital doesn't stretch to orthopaedic surgery. So I've taken on the mantle of her P.A. and being information central...

So this means not only is my 'usual' routine of last year out the window but I haven't even got hers to anchor me to a day in the week (she's writing a sermon so it must be Tuesday evening) or week in the month (it was Golden Age today so that makes it the 3rd Tuesday of the month).

Rudolph Steiner had a lot to say about the importance of routine, within the day, week and year. Especially he felt this was so in the realms of education and working with adults with special needs - when working at Garvald I don't know that I ever really quite 'got it'. I could understand it from a theoretical point of view but for me as a staff member my own life was so lacking in consistency due to shift work I didn't live it in such a way that it was meaningful (that irony was not lost on us at the time I can assure you!). But the last few days have really made me think about it and how routine enables me to cope with things, and when I have to think about the things I usually just do because it is ....day because they haven't happened/happened on a different day it has meant coping with the unexpected has been that much more overwhelming.

I probably didn't help my own cause in that case by doing my washing today, a day 'early' again - as Wednesdays used to be my day off it was the best day to get it done. I have to work tomorrow as I did last Wednesday, oh my poor befuddled braincells! However on Thursday I will collect my milk delivery and another part of my life will fall back into it's normal pattern (last Thursday having been chaos and I forgot). It has been almost with a sense of relief over the last few days that I've made up the next batch of rosemary hair rinse, a batch of toothpowder, a jar of yoghurt, another tub full of fruit and nut mix, and a big pot of soup frozen in portions for packed lunches. Just normal every day type activities that give definition to where I am in the week and month.

I suppose in this bid to regain some normality of routine back into life it means I'd better do the cleaning tomorrow afternoon once I'm back from work. Normally the home help would be here doing that but she can't go to a home if her client is in hospital (bummer... I must admit I do like having a home help do the floors and bathroom!), then if nothing else at least it will feel like a Wednesday in that the house will smell clean!

At least the uncertainty over whether I'd be going away or not on Thursday has been sorted and I'll just be at home over the weekend, which I am extremely grateful for. Given when put on the spot today I struggled to think through a problem that should've been a doddle I don't think I'm really in the right headspace yet for thinking beyond anything beyond domestic arrangements! Fingers crossed though the carpet will come soon and then at least I can get the house back to looking more like normal again, for my sanity's sake let alone Phyllis' safety!

Sunday, February 17, 2013


Routine is something that various philosophers, educationalists and so on have claimed to be good for a persons hauora (well being). Routines and rituals provide the bedrock upon which so many of the worlds churches have been built as an organisation.

But so far this year any sense of an ongoing routine in my life has been lacking. The first few days of the year were very structured seeing as I was at Summer Gathering - mealtimes were set, daily worship and sessions were part and parcel of the day. Then came a few days of travel where the next departing bus or plane were what defined the shape of life. Once home it was fairly easy to slip into 'holiday mode' - no alarm clocks, take each day as it comes... the 'to do' list defined the day, what had reached the 'urgent' status or what looked like the most attractive alternative! Then came a couple more weeks of travel visiting F/friends and family in Melbourne and back here.

By this point (i.e. mid February) I was starting to feel the lack of consistency in my days so was quite glad to have lined up 5 days of lunch cover at the nearest kindergarten to home. Only a couple of hours each day but it provided a definition to the day that I'd been missing - plus lunchtimes are one of the most structured parts of the kindergarten day so it was easy to know what I should be doing when even amidst what were to start with a lot of unfamiliar children.

On facebook Deb shared something she'd learnt at the recent Webstock event "One big thing that I personally took away from this year's Webstock is: less passive consumption of information and more creative production. One of our speakers, Clay Johnson, said that the first thing he does in the morning, before he checks his email or Twitter or anything, is write 500 words. Every single morning. And that puts his brain into a creative, productive, active mode rather than starting off in a passive, reactive mode."  and it made me realise that I start every day very much in the passive mode, be it reading facebook or emails, listening to the radio etc. The idea of being creative first thing (beyond making breakfast - which is always the same so I don't have to even think about that) seemed like an anathema, definitely in the territory of 'here be dragons' and woe betide anyone who tried to convince me otherwise.

But it got me thinking. At the moment life is a bit different anyways as there is no way I can lie in bed and check facebook before breakfast as Rosie (the cat) comes to tell me she wants breakfast the minute she hears me stir. So rather than switch on the laptop this morning I switched on the kitchen radio and sat down with my porridge still not to emails but to the newspaper (yesterdays as we don't get a Sunday one), after all as it is turning up 6 days a week already paid for I should at least glance through it whilst I'm the only one home! As the computer wasn't already on it was far easier to then go and do something else constructive (a small amount of housework) before engaging with the online world.

I don't think I'll ever be the sort to leap straight into action every morning, I still need time to surface and just take in the world as a part of my morning routine. But whilst I 'have' to get up straight away each morning upon waking I'll see if I can get into a routine of leaving the laptop until later rather than letting it start my day.