152 – My jeans are judging me.

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After nearly two months of eating any-fucking-thing I want. It came to a head this morning after a walk in the beach. Gumboots, jeans and a giant jacket should have been perfect for the job but by the end of the (really lovely) walk I was feeling like I was in danger of being rolled back out to sea. Actively avoiding anybody with a ‘save the whales’ glint in their eye or Greenpeace bumper stickers on their car.

I know that this is mainly in my head – but unfortunately I am in my head too and I can’t escape it. So I might have finally found my resolve to get back on track properly – no folks not in fact for my health – but my vanity! Ha! After eating some chocolate to steel my nerves I got organised and cooked my lunch for tomorrow – random and varied vegetables from the fridge combined with salmon and an avocado to up the ‘good fat’ quota for my skin. I have just now joined Junk Free June – search for me as nzmockingbirdgrrl.com and feel free to donate to Cancer research – no pressure. I work well when I have an obligation or commitment outside of myself so hopefully it’ll be the push I need. If you are in NZ you should totally do it too – we can suffer together ha ha.

Tomorrow breakfast will be poached egg on toast and the wonderful, aromatic, best friend that is a hot flat white in a cold hand on a winter morning is hereby banished to the occasional Sunday morning treat. There is no escaping the 3pm slump when you are coming down from a decent coffee.

Good intentions. Meanwhile I am focussed on the good fun of meandering along the beach with the three Dutchmen and the dog this morning, and the joy that is a long weekend to ourselves to just hang out. We live in a beautiful part of the world.

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113 – sick daze

There are some things that remain true in life no matter what you do;

  • Your best hair days will always be when you are alone – not seeing anyone and certainly with nowhere to go.
  • Your worst hair days will always coincide with important meetings, formal events and your most ‘public’ days.
  • When you have no money you will be bombarded with things you want to buy every where you go, ‘essential’ shoes, great dresses, new tattoos – whatever – you want it all!
  • When you do have a bit of disposable income you will find nothing you want.
  • People will always ‘pop in’ for a spontaneous catch up when the laundry couch is at its peak volume and height.
  • Conversely – when the house is spotless and looking like a photo shoot for ‘Your home and Garden’ everyone will be out of town.
  • There is always someone around when you fall off your heels.

I could go on but I won’t,

The same is true for teachers and illness. Mostly teachers don’t get sick during term time. We just power through because there’s so much to get through. Getting sick means lessons get shoved back, due dates are messed with and relief needs to be set. And setting meaningful relief is trickier than you think. So of course it makes sense that teachers get sick in the holidays and spend the time they have off recuperating. I thought I had gotten away with it this time – the lads got sick, some of my colleagues got sick, but I seemed to be cruising along scot-free this time!

Aha! The heavens laughed at me, it was not to be! You think you can just relax now you are back and school and busy as a busy thing? Not you! No. Not me.

On Tuesday night, high on homemade chocolate and small boy love, I got my boot camp gear all ready in its spot, packed my lunch for the next day and went off to bed to dream of upcoming meetings and the first day back of the mindfulness course on Wednesday night. I tossed and turned and couldn’t get comfortable all night, I was hot and achey and tired and yet unable to sleep.

I was already awake when my alarm went off at five (don’t worry I don’t normally get up at 5 – I was getting up early to put a casserole on for dinner because I was going to be out AGAIN that night and the poor GD had been doing all the dinners) so I got up, assembled the chicken casserole, changed in to my boot camp gear and drove off to boot camp. All the while feeling REALLY queasy and weird. I thought it was a case of too much homemade chocolate love – a hangover of sorts. But I felt SO weird sitting waiting in the dark for the other girls to arrive that I texted our instructor that I couldn’t do it that day and drove straight back home to bed.

I have not yet gotten out of bed, although I am now – after being very pathetic at the GD and him taking pity on me – eating a piece of peanut butter toast after nil by mouth for 48 hours. Up until about an hour ago all I had had was boiled water out of the jug because even the thought of anything else made me want to heave. Remember the lurgy the lads suffered while I was too far away to help in Christchurch? And me being more than a little pleased it wasn’t my problem in my blog afterwards? Well Karma is a motherfucking biatch.

Body aches, cramping, an essential ‘clearing out’ of my system from both ends, dizziness and headaches plagued me all day and night. I couldn’t lie in one position for too long because it hurt all of my joints so I slept fitfully, all the while very conscious of what I was missing at work – 72 emails later I may have caught up with what I need to be doing when I get back.

I am now feeling more human again (thank the goddes) but am still in bed because I’m not yet my ‘best self’. One of the weird side effects of this sort of illness though is that my skin isn’t red for once in my life, my tummy is flat like a teenage girls and my hair never looked so good! Go figure.

In about an hour I’ll go have a shower, wash my hair and face and go back to being the frizzy-haired, flakey, red-skinned, pot bellied foodtard you all know and love.

I have to go now – my children are literally crying over spilt milk and as they know I’m awake and semi-functioning I have to go and ‘mother’ them.

Day 101 – Last trip up the hill

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Today I went with Mum on a road trip up the hill to Kerikeri and back again. She has been trying to get my grandparents house cleared out for them, they have finally sold it and Mum is the one who has been sorting it all out for them. She has the onerous and emotional task of going though all their stuff, deciding what they might still want and what goes in the rubbish or to the charities. So on her last day trip today me and the lads went with her to try to help. We drove three hours each way and the lads were really good. They were patient and funny and kept us entertained all the way. We went to a cafe in Kerikeri called ‘Santeez’ that was gluten and wheat free (said so on the sign outside) and had a yummy lunch. I had a real coffee with real milk. On road trips the rules don’t matter.

Mostly my job was to sit and say what to chuck and what to keep so Mum could just power though. We threw out 11 rubbish bags of an old ladies collected pieces of paper. We hadn’t noticed how hard it was getting for Nana to remember things. Little tiny pieces of paper in all of the drawers with lists and facts on them that she was trying to remember. The family; the daughters and their children and their children – all the names and birth dates. On multiple pieces of paper. Mum has found identical lists of phone numbers – copied in duplicate up to 50 times. Every single letter she had received, every bill, every receipt, every lotto ticket. Mum found SO many combs. I found a drawer entirely dedicated to empty glasses cases. And this is after Mum has been going week after week to clear stuff out.

Anyway. I thought I would have more feelings about the building itself. But it turns out no not really. Nana and Grandad never really imprinted on it. In the twenty+ years they lived there they just occupied it really, and without them there I had no feelings for the space. It still smelled the same, it still ‘felt’ the same. But it is just a building. The people are what matter. The people are who you miss. I took my camera because I wanted to get some pics of the empty house but it was simply to document the process.

It’s funny, when Mum and I have been going through the photo albums we have found endless images of the house and it’s gardens. Her gardens were beautiful but my Nana was/is a terrible photographer. The photos are mainly blurry or composed badly or completely fucking random. But I kinda love that about them. She repeated the act of photographing her surroundings, shooting film after film, getting them developed and then patiently sliding the images in to photo album after photo album. It’s the same bloody photograph over and over again. There’s a million reasons why Nana might have needed to take these photos. Some more obvious than others. Repetition in order to prove existence. As if she needed reminding. And here I was today walking the same path. Taking the same photos. Although mine are in focus.

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Day 74 – preparation or bust

I am determined not to be caught short this week for food, so I spent this evening – until well after my bedtime prepping. I now have homemade capsicum and eggplant chutney, falafels, chicken poppers and boiled eggs all in the fridge waiting to be sorted in to lunchboxes for me and the fam. No fruit this week, just back to basics with cooked veges, meat and green tea. Green (vege only) smoothies for brekkies and homemade chicken stock in our cooking. Got to get back on an even keel if I am to beat this slump. I may even make bliss balls if I have the energy after school tomorrow – in between the exhaustion I am feeling inspired!

Now I must sleep. Monday (and cyclone Pam) awaits!

Day 41 – Decluttering and prioritising time.

Two things that stress me out;

  1. Stuff where there shouldn’t be stuff. I know those of you who have graced our humble little abode with your glorious presence will find this hard to believe (spoiler alert – we have a lot of stuff) BUT I hate it when the stuff isn’t in its place. For example the only things that should be on top of the shiny cabinet are the ornaments. ONLY the ornaments. Not bills, or pieces of Lego or fucking any bloody thing you can’t be bothered putting away. No, the mantlepiece is not a good place to keep the bicycle repair kit – it doesn’t quite fit the ‘look’ we are going for babe. Don’t get me started on Master 4’s idea of ‘putting something away’.
  2. And having too much stuff – again, I know we have a lot of stuff – but we have the perfect amount of stuff. It’s just right. Being the collectors of beautiful and wonderful things that me AND the grumpy Dutchman are (yes babe you have how many records? and boring non-fiction books about old stuff?) we do need to do a really good cull every 3-6 months. Usually different stuff each time, (always clothes though; the boys just keep growing no matter how hard we try to stunt their growth with junk food and TV) and always other stuff.

Tonight we did two things to help reduce the stress around these things; We got a cleaner in to do a quote for us AND a friend of mine who has a cool cause called ‘A Book in the hand‘ came and collected some baby stuff to give to people who don’t have a lot of stuff for whatever reason.

I am not telling you this to be all oooooh they so fancy they getting a cleaner! Nope, although we can’t yet afford to buy our own house I’ll tell you why we consider this a good use of a small part of our weekly budget. We are paying for Time. Time to spend with our lads. Time to spend with each-other. Time to read a book if that’s what we want to do. Valuable, rare time. Like most folks we both work full-time, our lads are in care until one of us collects them and we keep working day hours – 8am – 5pm – most days. Like everybody else we get two days on the weekend. And we sure as shit don’t enjoy spending one whole day cleaning the house from top to bottom while the lads follow us round being bored and miserable. (One whole day you say? you’re doing it wrong! Well, we haven’t yet figured out how to clean and entertain the children adequately so they pretty much do all they can to sabotage our efforts to get attention – it’s not an efficient process). We have had a cleaner before and it really frees us up so much. She used to come on a friday and we’d get home and walk in to a beautifully clean house and it was… just…. bliss. The best. (also the morning she came we would run around throwing things in their rightful places so she could better clean the surfaces left behind – voila less stress because everything is in its place! Perfect!).

So we’ve gone back. It means less beer for the GD and less cruising Trademe for me but it’s totes worth it.

The other thing we do, or at least try to do is re-home stuff we can’t/don’t use anymore. Trying not to  landfill can be hard – it’s amazing how many places you can ring to donate to and they don’t want your stuff (a lot of people must try to get rid of dodgy stuff I reckon) and I can’t be bothered with Trademe most of the time. But I would rather give our stroller to a family who can’t afford one than sell it for $20 on trademe and then have to figure out how to get it to Tauranga – you know what I mean? My favourite people to give (good quality clean and safe) stuff to are; the Women’s Refuge, the SPCA, the local school if it’s potential art materials etc, and if I can’t find anywhere I ask around. A book in the Hand is a great concept – Sarah collects books for school children who don’t have them – check out her page, tonight we didn’t have many books to give her but she is involved with another group called ‘Share the Love’ who operate out west and collected a heap of kids/baby stuff to take to them.

It feels good because our loved things go to be loved by someone else, I hate waste and I like to think that the boys toys get to be played with by new kids and don’t grow all lonely and sad in a cupboard somewhere wishing for the good old days… Toy Story really did a number on me huh.

Anyway, in other news I only did HALF my daily goal of steps today. wtf lazy ass.