Friday, December 31, 2010

Feeling like I should be “doing something”

I get times when I feel a great need to be doing something constructive and artistic, but I haven’t found something that works around the children just yet.
Gardening is great, but the results are slow and I’m more of an instant-gratification type.  Knitting and crocheting the same, even though I am getting a lot quicker at both.

Scrap-booking, painting, sculpture or writing are great, but difficult with pre-schoolers around, and impossible with a speed-crawling baby intent on pressing the shiny blue button on the PC.

I am also easily bored, and need to give myself small, specific goals in order to actually get into a habit of doing something regularly.  With the knitting & crochet I have a list of mad ideas to try, in amongst making practical items for sale in the shop, and I tend to sit down at the end of the day to do that.
With this blog, I am making myself post once a week, and trying to write about 500 words for each post.  If I find I have a lot to say, I am writing out a couple of posts, and saving one for the following week, so I can either get ahead of myself or have a week off.  It also helps me to think of topics if I write notes when I am inspired by something, so I can then put it together later on.  I am carrying a little notebook around in my handbag for this purpose, but as I get most of my inspiration when driving, I think I need to get hold of a Dictaphone or something.

I have also been thinking about New Year resolutions.  I decided a couple of years ago to set 3 realistic goals at the beginning of the year and make a decent effort to achieve them.
The first year I started I planned to: listen to and play more music; learn a new language; learn to run.  I managed the music and the running, and researched what language I might want to learn.

This year I kept the language plan, and aimed to exercise regularly (running was out as pregnant by this time), I also aimed to cook more new recipes and build up a collection of tried and trusted meals.  This ended up very well in me creating a fundraising recipe book for a local voluntary organisation.

I still have not managed the new language, but I will be buying myself an Earworms CD with some Christmas money, so I will add it to my goals for 2011.  I think I can combine my next plan to start running regularly (when Kaitereo is in kindy and Hakopa is asleep) with learning Mandarin by listening when I’m on the treadmill.

So, that’s 2 goals sorted – learn Mandarin and start running regularly – now I have to figure out what else I can realistically achieve in 12 months.  Knitted Taj Mahal anyone?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Caterpillars and courgettes

Now the frantic preparations for Christmas are all over and done with, I can sit down and write a line or two.

Summer is proving to be hot and dry and the local farmers are getting very worried that they won’t have enough grass to feed the cows and to make hay and silage for winter feed.  We have seen the problem on our own land, and Tareka took to break-feeding the heifers from our Friendly Local Farmer in order to make sure they ate all the rubbish stalky grass, as well as the little bit of nice green stuff at the bottom.

I am slowly learning a bit more about cows as we look after the Jerseys from the FLF.  We have a nice agreement going where he uses our place for a bit of extra grazing, and in return we get the paddocks managed and get access to the stock water for our own needs.  He also sends a fair amount of meat our way whenever he has a beast slaughtered, and he’s raising a couple of calves for us this year too (but we’ll be paying him for those ones, as it’s pretty expensive!)

Having access to stock water has meant that my children have been able to play in the new paddling pool they got for Christmas despite the lack of rain, and as a result have been out in it every morning since we put it up.  It has the added bonus that the water sits in black alkathene pipes all day, so by the time we fill the pool it’s as hot as a bath!  I am being very conscientious and using the water from the pool on the garden, so we are not using any more water than usual.

The garden is thriving, and I’ve been feeding all the plants that have started flowering in preparation for fruit-set.  I have a Bokashi bucket outside the back door, so I’ve been using the liquid from that on the veg, and so far it seems to be doing them well.  The pumpkin, kamo kamo and zucchini are all flowering, and we have had fruit of the zucchini already.  The tomatoes have been a bit battered by the wind, but a couple of flowers seem to be hanging on so we may get fruit yet.

The broccoli is going great guns, but I have spotted a few chewed leaves and green caterpillars, so I need to think about spraying.  Tareka is planning to zap it with toxic chemicals, but I am going to try making something from the rhubarb leaves first, see if I can’t be a bit clever by saving us money and being a bit less nasty to the environment at the same time.

I’ve also offered the children a prize for every 10 caterpillars they spot.  They aren’t willing to collect them yet, so we go round together and I either squish them, or pick them off for the kids to stomp on.  I have taught the kids to make sure that if they are stomping on caterpillars to make sure they do it quickly and thoroughly, so the little mini-beast doesn’t suffer.  He may be eating my plants, but there’s no need to be cruel.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I love therapy

So I had the first of six sessions with a clinical psychologist on Monday.  Now for those of you that don’t know me, I suffered from clinical depression as a teenager, which came to a head when I was in my first year of University, culminating in some fairly severe self-harm; thanks to some utterly wonderful friends having the guts to tell me I needed help (thank you guys, you know who you are) I ended up on Prozac and having counseling.

Counseling was the best thing I ever did, it saved my life and my sanity, but I think I stopped going sooner than I should have, as I never really quite resolved the issues of my teens properly.  However, it gave me the ability to sense when the black dog is at my heel again, and take myself off for more counseling when I need it.

Since moving to NZ and having children, I have resolved a lot of my issues with the support of my wonderful, patient husband, but I know I still have a few things to deal with.  I tend to get bogged down in the mire when I am sleep-deprived, so it was this that took me to the doctors recently.  She suggested anti-depressants, but I know a lot of my depression is better dealt with by talking to someone, rather than drugs, so I asked if we could hold off on the pills until I had completed the counseling and then take it from there; my doctor was very supportive.

There have been a lot of ad campaigns in NZ recently about mental health, and that it’s OK to admit that you’re not OK, and to seek help, so it was my good fortune that there is a free program through the Primary Health Organisation enabling me to have 6 sessions with a clinical psychologist.  This is one step up from counseling and exactly what I need, as I have done a lot of talking and reasoning about my issues, but I am at a stage where I need to learn practical steps for coping when I am in the situations that trigger my depression and anxiety.

At my first session we went over my history, and the reasons that brought me to counseling this time, and my psychologist concluded that I am a master of avoidance.  I have to admit she is right, I do everything to avoid the situations that cause me the most stress, but in avoiding confronting them, I end up dreading them and getting more worked up and anxious about what might happen.  She has set me a task to do before our next session, in which I need to list the pros and cons of avoidance, in order to show me that, while there are a lot of benefits to avoidance, there are a lot of reasons why avoidance is damaging to me and my relationships.

Rationally I know that avoidance is not good, but I will need a lot of convincing to show me that the benefits of confrontation outweigh the benefits of avoiding it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Not running at full capacity

I am still not 100% well, and this has been shown by my attempt to get back into normal routine since Mum arrived.  I have been getting tired just climbing out of bed and organising my face into awake mode, let alone trying to get 3 children up, fed, washed and dressed by 8am 5 days a week.

Thankfully most of the extra-curricular activities have now finished for the Christmas holidays, so it's only school I have to worry about now, and having Mum here to help when Tareka is working makes a big difference.

We have been out to a few things, most notably the local Christmas Parade, where the children were overloaded with lollies and ice blocks, and Hakopa discovered the joy of chocolate ice cream.

The floats were all of a vaguely connected Christmas/New Zealand/Fairy tale theme, along with an impressive rendering in cardboard and tinsel of the local power station.

The garden is sprouting beautifully, and despite a few minor leaf miners, our crops are growing vigorously unmolested.  Even the pathetic watermelon which literally paled at the idea of being in the garden, instead of in its nice little pot on the windowsill has gamely grown its first true leaves and is struggling towards the sky.

Hakopa is now crawling properly, instead of doing the crazy swimming manoeuvre he was using to get around a month ago.  This is great for him, but now means we have to be on constant orange alert to prevent Barbies best shoes being consumed by the baby.

The girls are delighting in the unlimited attention from Omi, and she is doing very well keeping up with their demands to read, play games, dress up and jump on the tramp.  (That's a trampoline, not a random homeless man in the back paddock).


In other news, I would like to congratulate Pak n Save on Mill Street, Hamilton for finally correcting a terrible wrong.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chesty McPhlegm

I have been rather poorly this last week.  A week last Tuesday, my husband had had enough of my complaining and sent me off to the Doctor.  The Doctor sent me for blood tests.  The Phlebotomist was the most unpleasant and grumpy person I have ever had the misfortune to encounter who nearly made me cry. Then I went home.

The following day I was at Playgroup being organised, and then I got a call from the Doctor informing me that she suspected I had a pulmonary embolism and said I needed to get to hospital for a scan immediately.

A round of frantic phone calls and Tareka zoomed in to collect me and the children, and we met Nana and Poppa at the hospital.  The respitory specialist asked me lots of questions involving long-haul flights, smoking, contraceptive pills and obesity to which I responded in the negative and then he concluded that I did not have a blood clot, but they gave me a chest x-ray just in case.

I was sent home with a viral chest infection and a command to rest from the specialist.

As soon as I got home and allowed myself the luxury of being ill, I promptly got a lot worse and spent the weekend in bed coughing, wheezing and sleeping.  I am just now starting to recover, and have anti-biotics as the chest infection has turned from a dry, wheezy cough to a wet, lumpy one.  It's lovely.

This is the first time I have been ill enough to need Tareka to take more than 1 day off work to help me, I don't get sick very often, but when I do, I do it properly.