241 Things are looking up

I have no real anything to write about but am trying to get back in to a rhythm so let’s give it a go; After a hard-core week of catching up with stuff at work, trying to wrangle teenage grrls and feeling like a GIANT whale thanks to some bloody pills my bloody useless doctor gave me – I am actually feeling pretty good.

We were down to sometimes none and mostly one child for most of the weekend. It was quite good to have time to clean the house and the mental space to be able to read a book but I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t make the most of it. Saturday was GREY. I always hate grey days. The bleakness of the sky. The ‘meh’ of mother nature. And it’s all glarey and reflecty in my eyes and I have to squint. Bleh.

Unfortunately I am not the only one affected by the grey skies. The Grumpy Dutchman outdid himself. The oldest child was at his friends house getting screen stoned on minecraft and the youngest was having his first only-child-sleepover at Oma and Opas and I was stuck at home with the grumpiest Dutchman you can imagine. So we sulked in adjoining rooms. I read a book. He listened to records. At one point we slept on the couch – not talking or touching – each with a cat on our chest. And I spent the day feeling like a fucking whale.

Which I have isolated to one thing. My useless doctor gave me a pill to take to ‘help’ with my PMT. (Which I am not convinced is not just me being old and tired and it being winter). It’s called Premula and is meant to be all natural and hippy-approved. Well. I asked about side effects – none said he. I said really? Not believing him because no womb no opinion. Well, said he, you might have a few PMT-y type symptoms for the first few weeks but they’ll settle down. Noone gets them though you’ll be fine.

Hang on a second. One of the side effects of the pill I am taking to stop PMT symptoms might be that I have PMT symptoms for the first few weeks?

And how. For the last few weeks I have been feeling progressively more ‘pregnanty’. For the men – the three or so of you who read this occasionally – this means sore boobs, swollen belly and vaguely and randomly horny. But I assure you it’s mostly sore and fat. It was getting so bad that even my tent dresses weren’t making me feel good – just like I had escaped off a camp ground.

Obviously I stopped taking them and am waiting for the ‘side effects’ to start wearing off. I’ll just have to go back to being a normal bitch once a month.

In other news – NACHOS are the best comfort food for this weather. We have had them two nights in a row because they are popular with little children – no visible veges you see – and I like mine spiceky. Also free veges are the best veges. We went up to Mums place and loaded up from her garden this afternoon – it is really good to have the little lads in the garden picking the food – it meant that the oldest was way keener to have carrot in his homemade sushi because they came out of Nana’s gardens and he had helped pick them!

Anyway, it was a good weekend in the end, I got to ride my bike, have a special lazy lie in this morning with my eldest boy playing computer games and reading and I’m having a GREAT hair day. So.

Have a great week peeps, I hope August was good to you – I for one am glad it will be over by Tuesday.

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237 The walking wounded.

You remember my b’day? I turned ‘old’. One step closer to 40. Another year’s worth of grey hairs (my eyebrow!? Fuck that’s cold universe). All that stuff that comes with getting old. But I consoled myself with jewelry. And loving friends and family of course. But mostly jewelry because I’m super shallow and shiny things fill my happy basket.

Remember my ring? My happy happy iron pyrite Nick Von K ring that is all big and sparkly that I love?

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I got an owie.

It turns out that it is so heavy that when I wear it on my pointy finger I am dragging the tendons across the bones and they are sore and achey. This I discovered when I tried to get out of bed and couldn’t raise myself on my left wrist. It continued when I got to boot camp and couldn’t do a press up. So I took myself to schools Physio and now it is all strapped up and I am ‘resting it’.

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SO I guess I have to wear the ring on my other hand?

234 Tart or Quiche – I don’t know

Had quite an efficient day don’t you know; Sleep-in, walk on the beach, I even folded the mountain of washing that had been taunting me for weeks.

Mum dropped off two dozen happy-chicken eggs so I thought I’d share a recipe for a Sunday eh? I don’t know what you call this – it has no crust – ensuring it is gluten-free but follows the line of a quiche. Not dairy free. Tart or Quiche? I dunno.

You need;

  • 10 eggs
  • one red onion
  • 2 cups pumpkin peeled and cubed
  • 1 block of feta
  • one pottle thingy of sour cream
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  1. Cube the pumpkin roughly, chop the red onion into big chunks and coat the liberally with olive oil. Set in the oven to bake until tender at 180 degrees.
  2. While the veg is cooking whisk the sour cream in with all of the eggs.
  3. Chop the Feta in to chunks and grease the base of your quiche dish.
  4. Layer the feta with the pumpkin and onion, pour the eggy mixture over the top and bake until golden brown on top.
  5. Serve with Salad and ice cold white wine (if you drink).

YUM.

It was so yummy that I had a conversation with the GD about having a couple of meat free days a week – you know because environment and budget stuff – and we agreed that I could probably make yummy things that this once or twice a week.

Then the smallest child woke up and cried for nearly an hour because he wanted Meat. ‘MEAT I WANT MEAT! WHERE IS THE MEAT. WHY DIDN’T YOU COOK MEAT, I WANT MEAT, NO HAM AND CHEESE SANDWICH ISN’T MEAT. I WANT MEAT’ (quiet sobbing) ‘meat, meat, snuffle snuffle, meat’ Real tears streaming off of his chin.

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230

We farewelled Nana Betty today, it was lovely in its own sad way. Lovely to spend time with my brother – it’s actually been a great couple of days hanging with my grunting, monosyllabic, silver fox of a younger brother. We don’t normally hang out much at all – he’s not a big fan of kids and mess and I have them in abundance. He married a lovely young woman who doesn’t swear or make messes or wear anything vaguely interesting (FUCK I’m a bitch!) and he doesn’t like to make waves either so we simply don’t see much of each-other. That makes his wife sound terribly boring and that’s not true at all – we are just complete opposites.

It’s weird to look at my brother and see a grown up man. Because, like, he’s younger than me and I’m not bloody grown up! He owns property and apparently a suit (looked very dashing today) and has been going grey since we were teenagers. Me too but hair dye duh. He has a dry sense of humour and is slightly more expressive than our Dad and Uncle. Grunt grunt, mumble mumble what?

It was hard to watch my Dad break down as he finished the eulogy. At the end he asked us to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Nana – today was her birthday – and I felt myself crack too. It was hard to sing Happy birthday and hard to watch my Dad cry.

My Step-Mum has been an amazing source of strength for Dad. She has basically put her life on hold for the past few years to care for Nana Betty and indeed, it was she who slept at the hospital with Nana as she was fading. I have nothing but thankfulness and admiration for the amazing job she has done of looking after Dad and Nana and the rest of us when we needed her. I hope she gets some time to grieve, her relationship with Nana was special too and she needs time.

In the weird, sad way that funerals are, it was a time to see family that you don’t really think about for the rest of the time. I have not had a close relationship with my Dad growing up and therefore his side of the family remain, for the most part, a mystery to me. It was really good to see my Uncle and cousins on that side, my step-brother, his nana, good to see them all.

We did what we could to celebrate Nana Betty and honour her memory, and I’m pleased to say that I believe her spirit is finally free.

229 – a little variety would be nice thanks

Today I collected my Grandad to take him to see Nana in the hospital, and I had my littlest lad in tow because he came down with a fever last night and is not feeling great.

We took Grandad to have a speedy haircut and then went to a corner deli/cafe thingy to have lunch before we headed to the hospital. It was loud as those places are – coffee machines clanging, people chatting, doors banging and general white noise. My Grandad is deaf in one ear and wears a hearing aid in the other one so I have be QUITE loud for him to hear me. He was happily munching away on his ham, cheese and tomato panini – ‘There’s something in here I don’t recognise Kathleen what is it?’ (Did I mention he has macular degeneration and can’t see anything except for with his peripheral vision?). ‘THAT’S PESTO GRANDAD – IT’S BASIL AND STUFF’. After determining that Basil was a herb grown in the garden he seemed to like it. The little lad had a fizzy orange drink that he didn’t touch (and poured down in to the foot rest later in the car) and  a bucket of hot chips (which he didn’t eat and fed to the chickens at Mums place later).

I explained to Grandad that we would drop him off at the entrance of the hospital and go and park, he could go up to Nana and have some quality time, and then me and the little lad would join him but I didn’t think we would be long because he was feeling so tired. I said ‘WE’LL GO WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE IT GRANDAD’. Really loud because he couldn’t hear me. Grandad answered me in the rare silence that sometimes falls in one of those places;

‘It’s alright Kathleen, I won’t want to stay long, we are married in name only really now with your Nana being ill – although the last 20 years or so were pretty awful too’. Cue stunned silence from those around us.

Master 4 pipes up – I didn’t know he was listening – ‘You know Grandad you can marry boys too, so why don’t you not be married to great Nana any more and marry one of your friends?’. Too quietly for Grandad to hear – but not so for the tables who had tuned in on either side. I’m sure I heard a very posh lady snort.

But – actually the point of mentioning the cafe was the food thing. Because it is mere days before pay-day we are down to the last of our supplies, which equals no organised food prep for me and my special gut. So I was starving when we got there and thought fuck it, I’ll get whatever they’ve got that’s gf with my coffee. My delicious/so hard to give up/the only thing that is getting me out of bed coffee.

I scanned the food case and it was depressingly familiar. The only gluten-free option (nicely wrapped and on the top tray so no food crumbs could be getting on  it – can’t complain about that aspect of it) was…

You guessed it – Orange and almond friands! These consistently are the only options at most cafes that don’t pride themselves on being paleo or ‘clean’. It’s a little sad. Orange and almond friands or flourless chocolate cake. Always a sweet option. Don’t get me wrong – I love that is even an option – but why does it always have to be sweet? Dear Cafe owners – feel free to experiment.

Having successfully been off sugar for the last few weeks I was reluctant – but did I mention starving? So I bought one and tried to have it with my coffee. It was too sweet and gave me an instant gut ache. Oh well. I stole a few hot chips and we went on our way.

The littlest lad is not well poor kid, he’s in bed now with me sitting on the floor, the room lit up with a blue glow from my lappytoppy and every now and then he rolls over pathetically and asks for water. Not fair to feel crappy when you’re only little and can’t really and truly appreciate having to stay in your bed all day.

Nana Betty’s funeral is tomorrow, and Mum is back to look after her folks again. My life will start to gain some semblance of normality and I just might get back to work – that is if the bugger hasn’t passed his lurgy on to me!

On a – literally – lighter note; have you noticed it’s getting dark later and later? Spring is right around the corner! Yay!

226. It’s been a tough week for Nanas.

Nana Betty finally gave up the fight this morning really early. I got the call from my stepmum and felt relief for all involved. She had held on without food for two weeks. She had one very strong heart. The funeral is on Wednesday.

My other Nana fell in the middle of Wednesday night and broke her hip. She had a full hip replacement yesterday morning and I spent the day with her and Grandad, I also shot up the hill this morning to make sure she had taken her meds (she hadn’t) because the last thing we need is for her to spiral downwards again and start refusing food or hurting herself.

So this is why you havent heard from me for a couple of days – I’m not dead – I’m just having Nana time.

222 – All the feels

Tonight I was invited to go with the Deputy Principal to watch one of my Year 12’s give a speech at the Outstanding Student Awards, for those students who have participated in Project K. Project K is a leadership and mentoring program run by the Foundation for Youth Development in Auckland and they provide an incredible service. Of the 7 students from across Auckland who spoke tonight, 3 of them will be selected to go to speak in front of the Governor General at Government house. Lord, did I have the feels.

The students who spoke were so different, from all different backgrounds and came from all ends of Auckland. The one thing they had in common was a need, a potential being wasted, a disengagement with school and their surroundings – for whatever reason. They spoke variously of truanting school because they didn’t ‘see the point’ in school, of not knowing who they were, of suicidal thoughts, of ennui.

All of them so positive now, so engaged, so motivated – one boy now literate and visibly shaking as he read his simple yet powerful speech.

Oh lordy – my eyes were a wee bit leaky.

One of the fundamental aspects of the program is the mentor relationship. The students are assigned a volunteer who is vetted and actively engaged with by the Project K folks and it is that ongoing support and guidance that all of the students spoke of. Having someone there for them, someone to collect them and take them to the gym, someone to talk through their fears and aspirations, someone to be a cheerleader and check in with them at school. The students spoke of these people with such love and gratitude.

Oh and oh my goodness. I was so proud of our grrl – she spoke so articulately about her struggle, she honoured both her culture and her journey to find where she was placed within it, she spoke of her goals and the reality of the challenges she will face – and she spoke of perseverance and support systems and how wonderful her mentor Sheryl is for her.

Such a great night.

And the funny thing was that because Chelsea Sugar are great sponsors of Project K (they even encourage members of their staff to become mentors in the program) they hosted the event and gave goodie bags to peeps who attended. I got given a bag of all different types of sugar! After a week and  half of being sugar-free and having the withdrawal headaches to prove it! Universe! C’mon!

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221 – green smoothie success!

It’s been aaaaaaaaaaaaaages since I used my blender – something about a cold smoothie first thing in the morning has NOT appealed in this recent weather (oh my god the HAIL today – like freakin’ snow! Aucklanders went in to shock all over town and forgot to how to drive). Anyhoo, hot brekkies have had way more appeal – especially after boot camp in the freezing cold – and today was no exception.

However, part of me getting back on track is being prepared for stuff. A ‘treat’ I have been loving recently is the v good green stuff smoothie at Kokako. And as the GD pointed out the last time he brought me one to work – they are waaaaaay too expensive for what they are – so I hatched a plan.

This morning I made a smoothie to GO. I made it and put it in my little glass jar with the straw that I got from the warehouse for $2.50 and stashed it in my work fridge for morning tea – which is EXACTLY when I felt like it – win!

I tried a new combo;

  • one and half handfuls of spinach leaves
  • an inch thick round of pineapple with outside bits cut off, cubed
  • one cup coconut water (check the box – heaps have added sugar – I get the one that has the lowest sugar content and def no ADDED sugar)
  • one frozen banana
  • one tablespoon LSA
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder

Whack it in and smash it all up together – I give it two blasts because the LSA can be a bit gritty. Water will suffice instead of the coconut water – it is sweet.

It was great! And the best bit is that Master 4 tasted it this morning and then this evening – after refusing a perfectly delicious gf pasta and meatballs – requested it for his dinner! I took out the coconut water and upped the greens and he could hardly tell the difference. That’s one way of getting spinach into a pre-schooler.

Monday is done. Thank the gods.

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220 – Sunday prep

Kia ora koutou and I hope you are all feeling fine on this here Monday eve,

Or have you got the Sunday horrors too? I get ’em every weekend now but I have many and varied ways in which I ‘deal’ with them. The best used to be to just day-drink. Ahhhh… just keep a nice slow beer buzz on all day. But, you know, parenting, and being old and shite means children to feed and hangovers that last for DAYS now. I’m nearly 40 you know. Fuck it.

Some of the things I do; I rush about madly trying to ‘get the most out of the weekend’ OR I lie around doing absolutely nothing until nagged sufficiently by children or the grumpy Dutchman. I try to organise ‘good for the gut’ food in advance for the week/I shave/dye/trim or wash any hair that catches my attention (no I don’t shave my legs in winter because cold and the GD complains but he puts up with it just fine – a hairy ankle isn’t going to put my man off his dinner). I read books (ha ha – I plan to read books but I have mentioned I have children haven’t I?). I clean things randomly – very randomly. I try to spend as much time with family where possible AND I try to catch up with friends. I try not to think about work until I really really have to. It’s quite a bit to fit in to two days.

It really makes you wonder why we work for FIVE days and only rest for TWO days. Surely we’ve got that ass about face?

This weekend in between family stuff I have been to the movies with a friend who wanted to escape me from Nana and work stress bless her – I highly recommend ‘Amy’ the doco about Amy Winehouse – it is a tear-jerker for sure – not a dry eye in the house. It’s probably very wrong, considering her struggles with addiction, but I did leave really wanting a glass of wine and a ciggie…. Lucky Nana didn’t have any.

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This evening for dinner I made a yummy recipe that I like to make every now and then; Salmon Patties with (random) greens. It’s great because it makes a bunch of them and I can have them for lunch the next day. It’s not my recipe and I’ve added and taken out some stuff to suit my ouchy gut – a good one to play with.

You need

  • two 200gm cans of pink salmon
  • a couple of Kumara, peeled and cut in to cubes
  • 2 tblsp of Capers (drained)
  • a handful of coriander chopped
  • spring onion chopped up (I think you are meant to use red onion but I can’t tolerate it)
  • 1-2 eggs whisked
  • breadcrumbs (I use almond meal because gluten)
  • you could add peas/grated courgette – although courgette would make it wet so add more almond meal I reckon
  • salt and pepper
  • coconut oil

Steam and mash the kumara, wait to cool then add the salmon, capers, coriander, almond meal, egg, spring onion and any other veges you are adding.

Roll in to balls, then flatten in to patties, coat in almond meal/breadcrumbs and shallow fry in coconut oil until golden brown. They are GREAT with mayonnaise. You should get about 8. Serve with random steamed greens – we had beans and spinach and broccoli.

And two left to have with my lunch tomorrow – win!

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216 – Mental Health Day

Nana Betty remains at rest. She is sleeping mostly – waking briefly to look to the right – her eyes seem fixed – but mostly sleeping. I took today off work to visit her, going out this morning to be there while Dad and Dianne couldn’t and it was nice just sitting with her.

After that I headed back in to town to see the (slightly less useless than my usual doctor) doctor about my recent blood tests and results. Evidently he seems to think that – weirdly enough – me falling off the food wagon is the immediate and most obvious cause of my iron levels and everything else going to shite. Seriously. I paid him money to tell me that.

The good (not great but at least it’s an explanation) news is that my face and hand skin stuff is most likely a form of psoriasis (that sounds gross eh? Mostly I don’t look SO bad ha ha) that can be treated (probably) with a cream that I today got on prescription for only ten buckaroos. Fingers crossed. Where I avoid most anything that goes on your skin for fear of making it worse – this has no petroleum in it – guess what it’s main ingredient is?

Urea. That’s right – it’s tickling your memory/word association bone – Ureaaaaa…….Urine!

‘Urea, also called carbamide, is an organic chemical compound, and is essentially the waste produced by the body after metabolizing protein. Naturally, the compound is produced when the liver breaks down protein or amino acids, and ammonia; the kidneys then transfer the urea from the blood to the urine. Extra nitrogen is expelled from the body through urea, and because it is extremely soluble, it is a very efficient process. The average person excretes about 30 grams of urea a day, mostly through urine, but a small amount is also secreted in perspiration. Synthetic versions of the chemical compound can be created in liquid or solid form, and is often an ingredient found in fertilizers, animal feed, and diuretics, just to name a few.’ From WiseGeek.com

Anyhoo – apparently it’s really gentle, french (he kept stressing that it was french and oooh la la fancy) and commonly given to folks with sensitive skin like me and waaaaaaaay better than topical steroids! Feeling hopeful. Wish I’d thought of washing my face in wee before now. Ha ha no.

Iron, Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Probiotics – you name it – he reckons I should take it all. We’ll see – I am terrible at remembering to take pills after about 3 weeks but if I go back to sugar free-ness, dairy free-ness, COFFEE free-ness, raw food free-ness etc I reckon I’ll start to absorb the stuff again.

As the GD thinks that most supplements just give you expensive piss, and that my track record is NOT absorbing anything from supplements anyway because of my damaged gut, I am going to shop around and try to find the best form of iron to take that will be absorbed the easiest and not, ahem, slow anything down.

Or I could always just eat lots and LOTS of prunes.