Thursday, September 28, 2017

Family Holiday: Cape Town

We just arrived back yesterday from a family holiday - three of us - to Cape Town, and I have a few thoughts to share.
1: Family holidays are intense. You are with each other, as a unit, ALL the time. We did bicker and rub each other the wrong way, which is probably normal. My partner and I ended up bickering quite a bit. I turned into a grumpy bitch.
2: We were a bit too busy and over-scheduled, but we wanted to see it ALL and do it all. We didn't build in much rest time. We should have.
3: I believe that perhaps humans are born explorers. We were probably meant to be nomadic. I am just musing here, but every day, we had the urge to go out and explore Cape Town. We didn't WANT to be cooped up in our hotel room. We wanted to walk around, to see things, to experience things, to taste things. Which ended up exhausting us somewhat, but we wanted to do as much as we could. The strange thing is, even my partner, who normally naps every day and doesn't want to do much, was on the go all the time in Cape Town. He found his inner child a bit. It was truly wonderful to see.

So maybe this explains why we humans love to run Comrades, and do trail runs, and triathlons. We are probably born explorers.

Wine tasting at Spier. We look super happy but tensions were running high at times during our holiday. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Running time

Just a log for me:

12 Sep 2017
5km Lilicrona - time 29mins 36 secs. I only walked twice, very very briefly, ran 99% of the way. Ran in my pink Vibrams, but straight after I ate something. Legs were still a bit stiff and tired from Sunday's 10km.
Wed 13th Sep 2017
4 km time trial route 24:30
Walked a total of three times, for the count of a few seconds only. Hilly course, tired legs.

Sunday 17th Sep 2017
15km long run.
Around 2hr 45mins. 

Friday 29th September 2017
9km
52:44sec
New shoes, Altra Torin. First time in them. What a noticeable difference running in those to the Vibrams. In Vibrams, my lower legs, feet and calves do a lot more work. In these, it feels as if my thighs and hips have to work more. Shoes feel chunkier. Loads of cushioning. Not sure if I like it, but I like them better than my Asics. So far.

Saturday 30th Sep
5km Parkrun
28mins 54secs
Wore new yellow Vibrams. Loved them.

Sunday 1st Oct
19km training run
2hr 7mins
Wore Altra's - felt very heavy, felt slow, feet hurt - I wore thicker socks. My toes felt like they were rubbing against the socks. Not a pleasant run. Felt ill and very sore at the end, back was sore, everything was sore.

Monday 2nd Oct
4km
no time.
Ran at mom's house, just quick round the block. Loved it. Wore my new yellow Vibrams with the toe socks. Felt free, felt fast, even though I am not sure I go much faster.

Wednesday 4th Oct
5km - Lilicrona
28mins5sec - PB!
Wore yellow Vibrams with socks. Under big toes was only place that rubbed.

Friday 6th Oct
9km (to the beach and back)
Didn't time it

Saturday 7th Oct
8km (ran to gym, did a workout, then ran back home.)

Sunday 8th October 2017
21km with Striders (training run)
Didn't time it. About 2 and half hours.

Wednesday 11th October 2017
7km - 5km PB (27min 3 secs) and hill training.

Thursday 12th October
11km in wet, windy rainy conditions

Sat 14th October
5km - ran, walked jogged - 32mins

Sun  15th October
27.5km Munster run - 3hours, 10mins. Got hot, felt quite thirsty towards the end, battled a lot the last 5km.

Wednesday
5km Lilicrona - PB - 25MINS50SECS
Yellow Vibrams, big toes hurt underneath. Even though I ran fast, I felt fat and heavy.
Plus about 1.5km hill work - did the hill 3 x


Sunday, September 10, 2017

I have re-kindled my joy of running/being active

This post is a reminder to myself.

You see, for ages now, I have lost my gym mojo, my active-lifestyle mojo. I have just been going through the motions, not sure of what  I am doing. I think it's because I have had no fitness goals, and I am someone who loves goals.

So I stopped working out intensely, and then about 2-3 weeks ago I got really sick with the flu and couldn't work out at all. I did nothing for two weeks. I was actually enjoying the break, even though I wasn't enjoying the flu. Doing nothing was ok, until the end of week 2 when I started to feel really "blah". I even felt just as stiff and "tired" in the mornings as I did when I would exercise, and I realised that not exercising was not helping me much. So the next day I went for a run, and experienced that lovely post-run euphoria, and wow, all of a sudden, I remembered how good it can feel to exert myself physically!

And suddenly I fell back in love with activity.

I had been feeling mixed feelings about my exercise for a long time. I was even not sure if I wanted to exercise anymore. I was beginning to think that I should just quit the gym, stop running, and throw in the towel completely.

But my run (5km) had me feeling so good that I changed my mind right then and there.

I am vital and alive, I thought, so why would I just stop and sit around? I mean, I don't have to train like a world champion, but I love nothing more than that post-run euphoria, and I am still young and fit and capable. Why WOULDN'T I want to use my body?

I think that competing in the body-building competitions have messed with my mind. They've made the whole focus of me being active all about how I look, when, really, it should be about how I feel. I should be active because I like how I feel, not because I think it should make me look a certain way. Before I did those bikini contests, I simply enjoyed running and dancing for the sheer joy of doing them. Now, I do things with "weight loss" or "cutting" or "building" in mind and if I am not "getting anywhere" I tend to feel like it's pointless. But when I enjoyed that little run so much I realised that I could be denying myself such joy by not moving.

So I will exercise if I feel like it. And I will move to feel good. And for now I am setting a little running goal of completing a 21km half marathon. Just a goal for fun.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Brasil Cacau Hair Treatment Review: Day 1

Brasil Cacau keratin treatment. My hair looks straightened but is actually just blow dryed here after the treatment. 

My hair immediately upon getting home after the treatment. My hair felt very smooth and was super shiny. 

So two weeks ago I got a Brasil Cacau (the brand name) brazilian hair treatment. It's not actually a straightening treatment, it's an anti-frizz, keratin treatment for the hair. It tames frizz by replacing, or sealing in, keratin, into the hair with a flat iron. Then after that, you go to the basin, get rinsed, get a masque put in for ten minutes, rinsed again and then my hair was dried off. No flat iron and yet my hair came out pin straight.

I am not actually looking for pin straight hair, but rather, for manageability. My ends from about mid length down are so fried from previous bleach, that it get's very dry in winter and hard to comb. My hope was that the Brasil Cacau treatment will help with that.

I can report that it has helped somewhat, but this is not a smoothening/manageability treatment, so it doesn't actually make it easier to comb. That wore off very quickly. I can still see the treatment in my hair in that my hair dries straighter, and looks less frizzy, but it's not all that easier to comb. I would say it's probably a strengthening treatment more. I will see how it goes and see how long it lasts, which will determine if I feel it's worth doing again.

I am using their brand of shampoo and conditioner, as I feel that if I spent so much money and time on the treatment, I may as well not take any chances of ruining the treatment with cheap shampoos and conditioners that could possibly strip out the keratin. At least, that is what the warnings are - that you need to follow the after care protocols to make sure the treatment lasts.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Note to myself: diet related once again. Here we go.

1: Clearly I am a little diet-obsessed. Wish I weren't, but I am a bit. Sorry.
2: I can still let go though, and enjoy a holiday. We just went away for three nights to Cathedral Peak Hotel in the berg, and it was LOVELY and I had a blast and I ate whatever I felt like. I only gained 500gms, over the holiday, so I feel good about that.
3: If left to my own devices, I will not overeat.

4: However, if I start to try to manipulate things too much, like I did yesterday, I will compensate, like I did today.

Here is what happened. We got back from our holiday, I was happy with my lack of weight gain, so the following day, it was my period, and I ate a shit ton of chocolate and some cake. Oops. But so what, right? I weighed myself, which is not the right thing to do around my period, and then felt bad at the weight gain. Then, even worse, I went shopping at PnP clothing, and the lighting and all those mirrors had me feeling really, really shitty about my body. I have gained weight lately and I don't like how I look, and I am feeling pretty miserable about it and seeing it reflected back at me was not pretty. I got a heavy dose of reality. I was zero carbing yesterday in order to lose some weight. I did lose weight - 500gms to be exact. From yesterday to today.

But after zero carbing yesterday, I was craving carbs like crazy today. I had bought a packet mix chocolate cake that I was intending to bake with my son over the holidays. Today is the second last day of the holidays. I decided to bake with him, and eat a tiny bit of cake.

Well, I went bat shit crazy and ate a ton of the cake. You see, it broke up into pieces, because it stuck to the crappy cake tin, and so it was all bits and pieces. We made the icing, so my son and I just iced random bits of cake and ate them. He is a typical healthy child: he stops eating when full.

I could hardly stop. I did stop, eventually, but I must have eaten about three people's serving of cake and icing. Goodness it was delicious. Now I feel full. And a bit sick. But also happy.

I simply cannot diet. I CANNOT diet. I cannot follow any single particular diet anymore. I can't eat high fat. I did it yesterday and it was great, I felt good, but today I just wanted carbs.

I also cannot cut fat out of my diet either. I have learnt that the hard way. I did it quite well during my gym days, but it made me deranged.

My only sane solution now is to eat a balanced mix of fat, carbs and protein.

If I Bant, which is healthy, I have to Bant on the carbier side and eat sweet potatoe, butternut and the like. And not drown food in fat.

I have to unwind my mind, now.

I think I may have stuffed my mind up when it comes to food.

I am not normal anymore.

I go crazy.

I need to stop weighing myself. I need to stop thinking about diets. I need to simply aim for healthy. I know that what I just did now, which it to eat my body weight in cake, is NOT healthy. I COMPLETELY pendulum swung. I know that I need to simply be normal.

I can only follow my own internal plan. I can't keep living with this fucking obsession. I need to stop reading diet and health books and magazines and TRUST my body.

Louise, I am you. If you read this again, let me remind you to trust your body and to listen to your TRUE needs. Your body needs healthy food, not cake. But cake now and again is ok. In SMALL amounts.

Today you read about a mechanism by which the body can store dietary fat. Of course it can. The body can store fat, protein and carbs. I believe it. I believe the body can do all these things.

My belly is getting fat and flabby and I believe it's from messing about with my diet. I believe it's time to clean up my diet and get healthy now. I know what healthy eating looks like. Time to implement it.

Friday, June 23, 2017

My current headspace: Quit Social Media

I am quitting social media. For how long, I have no idea. But for now, I have saved my Instagram pics that I wanted to keep and I have deleted that account, and am going to do the same with Facebook. I watched this simple, yet powerful video but a guy called Dr. Cal Newport, who has never had a social media account of any kind. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram. He makes a good case for quitting social media.

The point that hit home for me was this: social media is designed to be addictive. It's meant to keep you scrolling, to keep you on that screen for as long as possible.

This hit home for me, along with an episode of Carte Blanche I watched a couple of weeks ago which makes Facebook seem quite creepy: even if you have never used Facebook in your life, it has collected information on you. Scary. It has some profile on you.

Here is a freaky thing: I deleted my Facebook account around three years ago. I was off it for about six months. It was great. Then I found I had all these photos on my phone and didn't know what to do with them. So I reopened a Facebook account because it's so easy and convenient to upload pics directly to Facebook from the phone. I was using it as a sort of photo storage thing. Same with Instagram.

But now with Google photos, my photos all get stored automatically, in chronological order if they are dated, and it's private and easy. Well, they are private to me.

I google searched myself and the images that came up were from my blog. So my blog pics are all public. Which is fine. Cos I obviously chose to share those.

The main point and reason that I, personally, am quitting social media is so that I can focus my mental energy on things that really, actually matter. I keep talking about writing a book. I have started many books. I have never finished one.

I want to actually finish writing a book in THIS LIFETIME.

To be honest, even blogging is a distraction, but it's also a form of writing practice.

I already feel clearer being off Instagram, and I have deactivated Facebook until I can get my pictures downloaded.

Lastly, I feel it will be setting my son a good example to be off Facebook. He already talks about "posting" pics and videos. It's not entirely healthy, I don't think. If I want to share a pic of him with my family, I can email it to them or I can whatsapp them.

So long Facebook.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Comrades, and a get together.

Taken by my son
I am staying with my mom in Durbs for a night so we can go watch my brother run the Comrades. This will be his second run, and it's an up run this year, meaning they start in Durban and finish in PMB.

It's always nice to see my family and for them to see my son.

Yesterday afternoon I caught up with three of my closest, lifelong friends from primary school - we stayed friends during high school too, but we all met at primary school. The four of us catching up together doesn't happen that often now that I live in a sleepy coastal village, but now and then, when we do catch up, it's great.

I couldn't help but notice how we all are aging. The wrinkles. The grey hair. The extra bit of weight on all of us. The stress too, etched in our faces. I can see that we are all at the most stressful point of our lives. Three of us have kids, one is a single career woman who takes on far more work than she should. We all have pets and homes to look after. We all have huge financial loads to carry. I mean, we ended up talking about finances - life insurance - for goodness' sake! On what planet do four women get together and talk about the benefits of life cover? But we did.

It's a sign of our age and I just thought "I am really and truly middle aged now."

Our parents are aging. Two of us out of the four have deceased fathers. Two of us (not the same two) have three children each! Not me, clearly and I once again knew in my heart that having one child was, for me, the right decision.

Not only is education ludicrously expensive nowadays, but life in general is so costly. And things break and don't last, so now, you get families who constantly have to factor in buying new cars, new laptops, new appliances, all the time. I mean, on what planet do people replace their cars on a yearly basis? But one friend's husband wants her to do that.

In my dad's house is an old fridge/freezer that he had since he moved in to the house 28 years ago! Where do you get that nowadays? Modern life is crazy and greedy and too busy and nuts. It's also beautiful and vibrant, but mostly, it's nuts.

My one friend told the tale of her cousin, a gorgeous blonde woman, mother to three kids, who is going in to rehab for a cocaine addiction. I mean, what the....? And none of us were that shocked. This is the tale of modern life.

My other friend likes her wine. Heck, I like my wine too! I even know women who drink in the day.

I just thought to myself "We all have our coping mechanisms," and some of us cope worse than others, but at this stage of our lives, we really are all just coping. I don't think any of us has it easy.

I think the only way to stay sane is to realise that we are ALL going through the same shit. Different shit but the same, essentially. We need to be super kind and super gentle with ourselves. We need to throw judgment out of the window. We need to also let go of a lot of "stuff" we carry with ourselves.

It was so, SO good to see them again. These are the women I measure my life by. Not in a judging way, but in a marking-of-time way. As time moves us on, I see that we are all the same and none of us can escape the stress and the aging and the shit that life deals us. And yet, it was beautiful too. The one friend had her brand new four-ish month old baby with her, and his fat chubby cheeks and Gerber baby mouth were such a reminder that out of our old tired bodies comes new life.

And we reminded each other, in talking about the passing of a friend who is our age, 39, that our lives are fleeting but so precious.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Google photos and playing around.

From when our Frenchie was a tiny pup. 

I



I haven't posted in a while. Personal busy-ness. Life gets busy all the time, no matter what.

But on the plus side, I have deactivated from Facebook for a while. And from Instagram. It's giving me more time. I discovered Google Photos! A free photo storage place just waiting for me to use it! Duh. So now I am experimenting with dragging and dropping photos onto my blog. So this is a playing around blog post.

My brother is going to run his second Comrades tomorrow. He is really inspiring me because he was the teenager who would NOT get up until around midday. Lazy was an understatement. But now...he is doing this amazing thing. I cannot believe it.



From Nov 2016 - the white bikini I took with on our cruise. Oh how I would love to go on a cruise again. 

Things are wrapping up with my Dad's estate. His house sold. It makes me feel relieved and sad both. With his house gone, there will be nothing left of him in this world to show he was here. His house was still something of his that was a protection for me. It was my home. I lived there on weekends and during my Tech studying days. In fact, I lived there until I moved in with my husband. That house has been in my life 28 going on 29 years. Can you believe it? And even though it's old now and needs a revamp, it's been a good home. Solid and stable, just like my dad.

Sorry this post is just a ramble. I guess it's indicative of my emotions right now.
















Saturday, May 13, 2017

Rust en Vrede 1694 Classification review - red wine

So after watching two videos on You Tube where the presenters both raved about this wine called 1694 Classification, from wine farm Rust en Vrede, I decided I had to simply try it once in my lifetime.

It has an exhorbitant price, for sure, but not more than a dinner out, and seeing as the hubster and I hardly ever go out, and seeing as I have my inheritance from my late father, I thought now is the one time in my life where I can buy myself this bottle of wine.

A nice little surprise is that it came in a lovely wooden box, with a paper wrapping around the bottle. Very classy. I love small things like that.

And it didn't disappoint. Oh, it lived up to every expectation I had for it. It was silky smooth, fruity but not sweet, no trace of vinegar at all, which I often find in wines.  This wine wasn't chocolately, or mocha tasting, it was more fresh tasting, but very satiny. I don't know how to describe it, but it had nothing sharp. No pointy edges on the tongue. It tasted the way a good wine tastes in my head, but this time, I was drinking it FOR REAL. Bliss.

And luckily for me, this wine arrived on a day when a cold front hit. So the weather was perfect red wine weather. I sipped it slowly and savoured every drop, which, with this wine, I could.

The only downside is that I have laid off alcohol for the past two weeks, pretty much had nothing, so this wine hit me hard. This morning (the morning after) I can certainly feel it! I only had half a bottle, which is two glasses, and I feel dehydrated, and ill. Even though I took Panado's before bed. Even though I had water in between sips of wine. I am SUCH a light weight when it comes to drinking.

The other downside (with all alcohol, and by no means anything unique to this wine) is that it made my appetite HUGE. I have noticed this. I eat far more when I drink. I get far hungrier.

We had supper as a family last night, and I dished my portion and ate. An hour later, I was standing by the fridge, raiding the leftovers, eating again. And the alcohol also makes me crave sweetness, or carbs the next day too. I wake up hungrier. I lose all appetite control.

So I will enjoy the rest of this bottle but I will not buy it again. I don't think it's worth spending that much money, even on the best wine I have ever tasted. Perhaps only again for my fortieth birthday, or some such milestone. But I am really glad I got the opportunity to splash out and buy this for myself.

I believe that sometimes, such an experience reinforces your sense of self-worth. You say to yourself and to the universe that you CAN and you DESERVE such nice things. I fully believe in things like that. But never beyond your means. I also fully believe in having no debt.

Cheers to Rust en Vrede. If I ever go to Cape Town, I will go to that wine farm.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Writing, glorious writing

I love writing.

I am really such a nerd when it comes to that. I love to sit and type and describe. Well, duh, it's obvious because I have a blog. I mean, who else CHOOSES to write but those of us who love to?

I was the type of child who actually used to LOOK FORWARD to school projects that involved a lot of writing. Because I just wanted to sit and write so much. I relished essays. I relished any sort of book project. I even enjoyed debating and orals for the writing part - the fact that I had to write out the oral excited me no end.

I am a dreamer, a bit of a "head in the clouds" type of person. I am not very practical at all. I can't fix anything that's broken. I can't take a machine apart and then put it back together again. No, not my talent, that.

But ideas. Concepts. Words. Now THOSE are my playground. Even images. Which is why I am an artist too. I can do stuff IN MY HEAD. I am good at formulating ideas. Communicating my ideas.

As a child, I created book after book. Character after character. My first story book, I wrote and illustrated at the age of seven, and it was called "Murtle the Turtle".

My son is interested in robots and robotics at this same age.

So, it's clear to me that I MUST follow this path, and write the book. It's about damn time. Soon I will be old and then dead, and my book will die within me.

I have always put too much pressure on writing. On my writing. I get such pleasure from doing it, that I haven't wanted to spoil that by making my writing my source of income. Perhaps that was right of me, I don't know. I could have possibly made money from writing by now. But in a way, I am glad I have kept my writing as a hobby. Something I do for fun and for me.

My art has made me money and it's causing me to hate my art. Sad but true. I hate that I have to paint what I am told to paint, instead of what I WANT to paint. Because, if I were free to paint anything, I'd love to paint bright stuff. Bold and bright. But anyhow.

So the whole point of this blog post is this: I love writing. I am nearly 39 and I believe that I am probably now old enough to have something of value to say. And it's probably time now that I put something on paper and say it.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Blood sugar and wine post

Blood sugar
Yesterday I had a smallish piece of cheesecake out at a coffee shop. I then tested my blood sugar when I got home, and it rose to 9.2 mml/dl. It stayed that high for about an hour or so and then slowly dropped down.

So even though I have been having the odd carb, this rose my blood sugar higher than I expected.

This morning I tested my blood sugar after a piece of toast with butter. The highest it rose to, after 45mins, was 6.3mml/dl. An hour later it was back down to 5.5ml/dl. Which is a very normal blood sugar. The body likes to remain within 4-6mml/dl generally, so it only rose above that very marginally. Phew. So one piece of toast, for me, is not a big deal.

But this just goes to show me how bad SUGAR is. If white toast, which is the most ground up and refined carb you can get, only does that to my blood sugar, but a tiny piece of cheesecake, which didn't even eat the crust of, raises my blood sugar and keeps it so high, then the main difference and culprit is the sugar. I am SO glad I did this little experiment and test. I will continue to test my blood sugar after a whole wide range of foods and drinks. I am seeing that anything with sugar in it is very bad. But carbs - whole oats, for example, or sweet potatoes - don't really raise it that high.

Wine
I had two tiny glasses of wine last night to finish off a bottle I had opened a while ago. I find that you can't leave a bottle open for too long else it tastes a bit yuk. Anyway, after not having wine for a good while, I realised how bad it makes me sleep - I battled to sleep nicely the first half of the night, and then this morning I felt puffy and just...not myself. A little irritable, actually. Just shows you, once you clean out your system, and then you re-introduce a toxin, how you feel it's toxic effects more. And it's amazing how quickly you get used to the toxin as well!

I definitely notice that I get a crampy-leg feeling the day after drinking. Drinking is really not good for me. Sometimes it takes pulling back from something to show me what it really is.

So yes, I will still enjoy the odd glass of wine now and then, but I will most certainly cut down.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Weight, health, work...

What goes into making a life worth living?

That is a big question. I don't really know the answer, but as I get older, I do know this: there are seasons for everything in life. I didn't realise that when I was younger, I thought I had to EVERYTHING NOW. But actually, I didn't. I don't. There really are some things that are better to do when you're young, and some things that are better when you're older. And things change. And your feelings about things change too.

I never realised when I was younger that my feelings would change so much about certain things. But how you view yourself and the world certainly changes as you get older. And it's good. It's very good. Getting older, which seemed a bit terrifying, truth be told, when I was younger, is now a welcome relief. I am naturally letting go of so many things. I am, slowly, painfully slowly, starting to let go of my body image. My looks. Not entirely, sadly. I still worry about how I look, and my weight and how other's perceive me.

I think having a neat appearance is good - so, not to let go of oneself, totally is a good thing. But letting go of this obsession with looking a certain way is VERY GOOD.

Back onto the health train...I am still somewhat confused about Banting but I know it's the right direction. I just want to know, for someone active like me, why I get cramps when I Bant. Still haven't figured that one out.

My weight went right up this past week or two, after eating carbs, but it got uncomfortable, so now I am losing the weight again, or at least, I am trying to lose the weight. I didn't like feeling so big, even though it's only 2kg of weight gain. For me, that's a lot, and I didn't like that feeling.

Work: I might quit doing illustrations. I am feeling like it's time for that to come to an end. It's a season that is now ending. There are many reasons. But the main one is that I no longer get any joy or satisfaction out of the illustrations. I no longer care. Not at all. Not one bit. It's not right and so I must end it. Art should feel good. I want to try my hand at other things. I want to explore earning money doing other things.

I am currently enjoying NOT preparing for or doing any bikini competitions. I think for me, the season for doing that might have passed too. I am not prepared to take any stuff to make me grow muscles, and so, my body is showing signs of it's age. Without steroids, females over a certain age do look less toned. It's nature. I think I am ok with that.

I really am maturing as I age. It's wonderful.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Nose vs Mouth breathing

Watch this video and be educated!

It has all the basic info on mouth vs nose breathing. In a nutshell, we are MEANT to breath through our noses, not our mouths. I have battled, for as long as I can remember, to breath through my nose at night. It just seems to get stuffy and closed up. I have to sleep with a glass of water by my bed to quench my dry mouth at night.

But after this video suggesting that you can even tape your mouth shut at night with micropore tape to train yourself to nose breathe, I decided to try my darndest to do it naturally, with no tape. I spent a good half an hour or more last night, before bed, blowing my nose, trying to clear it, and just holding my mouth shut to "force" myself to breath through my nose. It wasn't easy but after a while, my nasal passages opened up and I was able to get air through both nostrils. And...I am super chuffed to report that I managed to sleep the whole night with my mouth shut.

How do I know? Because the twice I awoke for a wee, I could feel my mouth shut. I didn't need to drink as much water. And when I awoke this morning, my mouth was still shut and not dried out as usual.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Who are you? And yes, you need to SAVE!

I know I have one or two readers, even though I sometimes think I am the most ordinary person with the most ordinary blog, so who on earth would want to read this, right?

But I see that there a few regular views every time I post: I'd LOVE it if you left a comment, just to introduce yourself, or let me know who you are. I love connecting with fellow humans, and would love to say hi back.

On another note: my father's greatest legacy is this: he left me with investments. His own and some in my name. And they are teaching me that it's NEVER ever too early, or too late, to start saving. It's really something we don't do enough of. All of us. SAVE.

If you read this blog today - PLEASE start saving. I repeat: start saving. It can be as simple as a savings pocket linked to your bank account. BUT DO IT. You see, I had one investment in place, only one, measly little investment. Then my dad passed away last year, and I see that he had quite a few. He had retirement money and some extra investments. I have NO retirement money. Just that one measly investment. I had, up till now, nothing. What did I think I was going to do when I got older? I have no clue. So now I can set up something for my retirement. Thanks to my father.

So I beg you, please think of this. Think of this, and realise that it's about you paying your future self. You have to. No one else is going to pay the 65 year old you. The you of TODAY has to pay the you of tomorrow.

GO DO IT NOW.

Capitec bank, at the moment, has a great five year fixed term savings plan. I am sure there must be others like it. Please go do your research and go do it. It's the best thing you can do with your time and money.

Friday, May 5, 2017

No wine for a month

I must stop drinking wine on the weekends. I don't overdo it, but it's becoming regular: every weekend. I am now starting to rely on the wine to relax. That is NOT good. I need to learn how to relax in my own home without wine.

I never ever thought I'd say that I need to cut back on alcohol but....I do. I love a good red wine, I have to say. I really do enjoy the taste, and savor it's flavour especially with a nice meal out. However, I have started to have a glass here and there, more than I used to, and that's not good. I know it's not good because I have been feeling grumpy the next morning. Foggy. Just generally not good.

So then I watched this video on Youtube and realised that I was generally feeling crap and perhaps, just perhaps, it had to do with my wine drinking. Not excessive by most people's standards, but I realised that perhaps my sleep was suffering, my metabolism and my liver. Small knocks to the body can add up.

So I have cut out wine for just a week and already I feel better. More positive, less snappy and more "myself". I don't say I will never drink again, but I will definitely

I am now in a process with gym where I am "bulking" for a challenge. Very, very scary for me, as a woman, to "bulk". Because obviously, although I don't want to gain fat, in order to put on muscle, I cannot starve myself. I can't cut out carbs or calories - in order to maximize any small bit of muscle growth that I can. And, let me tell you, growing muscle is HARD. The body has it's genetic muscle potential, and to push past that takes either steroids, or working really hard in the gym to push harder than you normally would. You have to activate muscle fibers that don't normally get activated.

So I am fine with pushing hard in the gym, I like it, and that is fun and "easy", mentally, to do. But to eat more food and gain weight...that is not easy. I am not Banting right now. For six weeks, no Banting, no cutting out any foods. It's scary cos I can see I have gained some fat and water weight in a week already. BUT - it's put me ahead in the challenge.

I need to learn to be ok with my body changing and also to be ok with a little extra body fat for now.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Checking in with myself and Nitro's leg update.

Nitro is doing well, and has just one week left in the metal pins. They are quite something! I tell you, this has been a rough and hard road. It's been difficult to keep him confined in a cage - it's just NOT a thing you want to do to a puppy full of energy. We are now letting him out more and giving him more freedom but we still do try to keep him as still as possible.

His right leg is always going to be shorter than the left one, but it is growing at the moment, and so we hope it will be enough for him to use it. At the moment, it sure isn't hampering him. Yesterday he took off chasing the hadeedah's outside (something he should not be doing just yet, oops) and he went as fast as any dog I've ever seen!

My Dad's estate is starting to pay out to me and wrap up. I am really feeling all sorts of mixed emotions that I just don't know how to express. I feel grateful, and I feel guilty, and I feel sad still, and blessed and ... it's really hard, actually. It's hard to receive this gift from my father when I am unable to say "Thank you" in person. It's hard to not be able to speak to him and tell him how I appreciate it. It's hard because our relationship was a bit strained and even though I really tried to bridge our gap, it never really became easy between us.

I STILL want to know where the consciousness of a person goes when we die. Where? Where is my dad?

On a lighter note, it's back to school again today! Hooray. The hooray is more for back to normalcy. I love the week days. I don't love the weekends so much. I WORK more on a weekend, or in this case, long weekend, than I do during the week, because I am constantly tidying up after my family and sorting out food for them. Right now is the first quiet moment I have had in five days.

I need to just calm myself and my whole energy. Calm down. Breathe in and out. Aaaah, that's better. I notice that I sometimes just forget to breathe deeply.

And that's all for now.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Nitro's leg, and roots, and my mom.

Here is a pic of Nitro's leg and the "bionic" metal pins. I have to clean the holes every day to every second day. It's quite a process but I am getting good at it. I could be a nurse! The trick is to not stress about hurting the "patient" - just be confident with what you are doing.

Shame, poor pup, he has about two more weeks, then we go back to the specialist and see what he says.

My mom came to visit for three days - I am helping her with her car repairs. It is always lovely to see my mom. She really is a light in my life. An interesting little tidbit: my mom has Banted, or followed LCHF since April 2014, when I introduced her to the concept and I started as well. She hasn't once deviated, or doubted it. Yes, on the odd occasion she has had a bit of a dessert, but not often at all. Her weight dropped very slowly, but steadily, and seemed to stop around 56/55kgs. She was thrilled with that as, previously, she was around 70kgs. Now, all of a sudden, her weight has dropped to 53kgs. It's like her body has just shifted again. Perhaps her hormones are balancing better. Just shows you, never give up on your healthy diet.

And after a nice three month break of not doing my hair, I got my roots touched up. I think I quite like the darker roots although, I also like the blonder look too. What are your thoughts?
See, no make up. I am getting braver with going without make up these days. 

After a THIRD bought of tongue thrush, I have decided, that's it, enough is enough, NO more sugar for me. EVER! (Until I cave and eat cake again....I am an addict, I realise that now.)

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Nitro our puppy is home

I brought Nitro home last Wednesday.

Keeping a puppy calm is NOT easy. Their natural inclination is to jump around.

He has been kenneled at the vet for two weeks - he has been kept very confined.

My clever husband built a cage for him so we keep him mostly in there but we take him out often for walks and food and toilet. The walks have to be calm and controlled. We did try let him off leash, but then he is liable to just take off in a run, if he sees something of interest.

I have to clean his pins (the huge metal screws going in and out of his leg) every day or every second day, depending on the puss that comes out.

Now, it's Sunday morning, and I have him calmly lying at my feet in the lounge. I have the other dogs outside except for the calm Pekinese. The Peke is a young dog but he acts like an "old soul". He is calm, he is sensitive to tones of voice, and he is my shadow. He just watches Nitro and doesn't excite him.

Sitting calmly with the puppy here now is making me feel very meditative. It's a beautiful Sunday.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Vibram Five Fingers for running

Below are the pair of Vibram Five Fingers shoes I have. I watched reviews on Youtube on all the Vibram shoes, and everyone had positive things to say. I saw runners raving about running in them. So I figured I would try a short run here and there, and the novelty would soon wear off, and I'd probably go back to running in my thick, cushioned Asics, right?

Well, to my surprise, I was wrong! These Vibrams are dream shoes to run in! Let me explain:
My first run in them was just 3km, down the road and back. I made the mistake of running almost the whole run up on my toes, not really letting my heels down to touch the ground. I say mistake, because you are not supposed to do that, you are just meant to run naturally. But I must say I was scared to let my heels touch the ground.
Anyway, the next run - which was a 4km time trial, I realised I could just run normally and naturally in these shoes, and whilst, yes, the ground was more "felt" - I also felt I could just run in a freer and faster way. Thereafter I had a long run coming up, and I was scared to try it in these Vibrams, so I wore my heavily cushioned, padded, motion-controlled Asics. Well, I had to drop out the run at 18kms due to hip and knee pain in my right leg. It's my "typical" injury - I always get tightness and soreness in my right hip/butt/leg. So I stopped running at 18kms, even though my muscles could have carried on, I didn't want to force it and seriously injure myself. The pain was pretty intense. I rested and asked around for the name and number of good chiros and physios.

Now, an aside: I have had this recurring injury for years. I have been been to three chiros over the last 12 years for it. It has never been solved, it never goes away. I have noticed one thing, that my right butt muscle is weaker than the left - so I focus now on not favoring my left leg, if I realise I am doing that.

Ok, so the next run that I wanted to do with my running club was a 14km route. I had rested four days after the long run in my Asics, and the hip/leg/going to my knee pain was pretty much gone. But I didn't want to exacerbate it - what to do? I was scared to run in Asics, but also nervous to use the Vibrams as I had only gone maximum of 4kms in them. Eek. Well, Vibrams it was. I decided to see if the hip/joint pain would come back in the Vibrams. I wanted to know if the pain was due to the distance I had run, or due to the shoes. And there was only one way to find out.


And the short answer: the joint pain in my right leg didn't recur. I just felt a slight tweak in my right knee, but nothing serious, and that could have been because that knee gets affected when my right hip gets sore - so it could have been left over from the previous run. But after running my best and strongest 14km in Vibrams, even though my muscles in my lower legs, especially the springy ones under my calves, were SORE, it was a muscular pain, a pain that, by the next day was less, and is easy to recover from. But no sore hip, no sore knees. No joint issues. I could not quite believe it.

Running in Vibrams feels completely different to running in traditional running shoes. There is NO help from the shoes. Your feet and legs have to do ALL the work. But that's also better, in that you build up foot and leg strength. Up hills is easier, I find, as I just go up on my toes, taking short little toe push offs. My feet are more sore after running in Vibrams, but it's a good sore. I now realise how little work my feet actually did in my Asics, which makes me think that the Asics makes me move from my hips rather than from my feet, which is where the movement is supposed to start from.

It's only been two comparison runs, but so far, the comparison is amazing. In the Vibrams I feel springy and natural. I feel like a kid set free. I ran that 14km at the front of the group, keeping up with the faster three men! I even had a little energy to do a small sprint at the end! I am beyond amazed. I never quite expected to enjoy the Vibrams so much. So...whilst I can't say that they have solved all my running problems, I feel, at least, for now, that I am onto the right track. The barefoot-running STYLE is certainly one that suits me. And it would appear that these shoes are the ones that allow me to move in a better way. Related image
The pair of shoes I have run in




Saturday, March 25, 2017

Goings on right now in my life: mixed.

Firstly, I have joined South Coast Striders running club and got my running license number too.
I've taken the running plunge!

I ran my time trial in these! They certainly got people talking and one guy even said he saw someone do Comrades in them. 


I did their 4km time trial on Wednesday and, to my surprise, I was the second lady back. Woohoo. I ran the 4km in 22 mins. I want to better that time, obviously. I ran in my Vibram Five Fingers shoes, and although there is no cushioning under my feet, they are so lightweight, I actually felt like I could go faster.

Maybe the extra speed I felt is in my mind? I don't know. But I ran well. Yes, my feet took a hammering, but in a good way. They had to work harder, and under my toe got a blister, but by the next day that blister wasn't sore at all. I am consciously going barefoot now as often as I can in order to strengthen the muscles and ligaments/tendons in my feet and I actually think it's working. I can feel my toe strength has improved, as well as my arch strength, and now, I am finding most shoes to be uncomfortable.

On Friday I got a top up on my lip filler. I had it done about a month ago to try to correct asymmetry in my top lip: so they just put filler on the right side that was less voluminous. But the thing is, you pay for a full syringe of filler, so he had left over, and so of course, I went back to use it up as this stuff is not cheap! But the problem is now he needed a bit more than what was left in order to do my top and bottom lip to even things out. So I bought another syringe of filler. Now he has used about a syringe full, but now he has left over of the second syringe. However, I don't think I will go back for that filler, as this time, I swelled up and bruised really badly. He hit a blood vessel, I think, on the lower left side, and it's really looking terrible. Plus, the pain! My god it was and is still sore (I am typing this the next day.)

Gosh it looks really bad hey? Never again. 


I thought to myself, as I drove home "Why do I DO this to myself?" I start off with a simple thought: let me correct my natural asymmetry. And it just escalates from there.

I also got Botox done the day before, and THAT is fantastic. It doesn't hurt (well, hardly) and there is no down time, really, except to not exercise for 24 hours afterwards, and the results are great. However, I sometimes wonder even about that. Yes, it works. But it's costly. If I saved that amount of money every year, I could add nicely to any investment or retirement fund. I MUST think like that, because, as my husband points out, we don't want to be 85 and battling for money. We want to be financially independent and able to enjoy our golden years. I think he has a good point and that having a smoother looking face is all well and good but what will it really help me? It won't feed me or help me earn more money. It's a waste of money, I guess. It's nice but not essential. I think I am maturing enough to NOT do these things. My partner loves me, and he is not expecting me to be wrinkle free forever. So what is wrong with me that I feel the need to do this?




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Nitro's Leg Part Two, and a bit of running.

Yesterday I took part in a 5km fun run for Hospice, and I ran a PB (personal best) time of around 27 mins! Hooray! I was the second lady home too! Happy dance! I would have been the first, as I was leading until over halfway, but a strong woman overtook me when I had to stop and walk a bit to catch my breath. I need to practice not needing to walk for 5kms.

In other running news: I have bought myself a pair of Vibram five fingers shoes. I did a run in them and I was thrilled with how they felt.
The Vibrams are supposed to feel as close to barefoot as possible. I think they are pretty close. The only thing is that the fabric between the toes is a little clumsy. But they are very comfy overall.

Nitro 

His leg is healing well, apparently. He is being kenneled in Hillcrest, at the surgeon's practice, for two weeks. Then he will come home for another four weeks. They recommended he stay there initially for the wounds to heal a bit, and for the sister to keep an eye on him.


Nitro before his op: look how skew his paw was due to the one bone curling around the other. 

My mom took this picture when she went to visit him.
My mother, who lives nearby, goes to visit Nitro and sends me updates and pics. 

We are praying that all goes well and that he heals well. Here he is with his "cone":



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Death....tiredness....bloating and painful tummy

I don't know where to start, however, I have SO many thoughts crowding my brain right now, I know I need to start somewhere.

Death: yesterday my best friend in Durban phoned me up to tell me that one of her friends, who is the wife of a guy who was in school with us, died in a car crash. She died at the scene of the accident. I am in such shock. This young woman was turning forty this year and had a fortieth party planned. She was mother to twin girls. It's such a final, quick thing, death. She was vibrant and alive one moment, and within a short space of time, she was gone.

I thought the exact same thing when my dad died. He was alive (ok he was not so vibrant, he was very depressed) and then, next thing, gone, just like that.

What the fuck for? Excuse my swearing. But really! Death teaches us what? It teaches us the impermanence of life. But what are we "meant" to conclude from that? I don't know. Is death's message telling us not to wait, if we want something badly we must just go for it? Or is it telling us to slow down, stop and appreciate the simple things? A bit of both?

I am mentally drained after a week or two of worrying about Nitro, our puppy, and his leg. I KNOW that worry doesn't help any situation, but I couldn't help but worry about it. Now that we have acted, and he's had his operation, I feel better, however, I still worry about how he will heal and whether the op will be successful. I know better than to worry, and yet, my mind is full of worry. I have not slept well at all thinking about him.

I am now suffering with something that I NEVER used to suffer with before: a very bloated, painful, swollen tummy. I don't know what's going on, but I am in agony. Could it be stress? It's very weird and unlike me. I have always had a flat, pretty easy-going tummy. If this continues, I must see a doctor. Another weird and unrelated thing: I have had no period for going on three months. Early menopause?


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Nitro's leg - Part 1

We recently got a new Amstaff puppy to keep our Frenchie pup company, and to "take over" as our older Amstaff gets on in his years.

Baby Nitro, our Kusa-registered, Micro-chipped, purebred Amstaff pup just a day or two after he arrived. 

How cute is he? Love. 

Even cuter to see three of our dogs all passed out and sleeping together in one big bed. 

The two pups get along so well and love to sleep close to each other. Cuddling in this pic. 
So this little pup has wormed his way into our hearts very quickly. He slotted into the pet family here easily too. Even the cat has shown him she's boss of him, so all was going really well and according to "plan". We felt that our fur-baby collection was pretty much complete now.

But all along, something was just odd about the way this dog sat. I noticed it from day one. He would sit with his right front paw bent at an angle, almost as if he were posing and leaning on this left leg. At first I thought, "Oh how cute," but then I noticed he always sat that way, and I wondered if he had a bad habit of favoring one side. Then, after him being with us three weeks, on a Saturday morning, I said to my husband, "Look how he sits with his paw at a funny angle." My husband thought it looked odd and suggested I take him to the vet. I messaged the breeder straight away, asking if she had any idea what it could be, or if she'd seen such a thing. Almost like a huge twisted wrist is what it looked like he had. She said she had no idea and suggested I take him to the vet. The vet took x-rays and this is what he found. The left image (the pup's right front leg) is the one that is not normal, as you can see. The right image is the normally growing leg. The images are front and side.



So, what happened is this: the one growth plate on the one bone is damaged and that bone is not growing, causing the other bone to curve around it. I asked the breeder for more and she said he did have a wound at birth, which she thinks is from the mom dog's tooth when she bit the birth sack open. So our poor pup was damaged through no fault of his own or of anyone's: just an unfortunate accident. 

The operation to try correct this is complicated and involves 6 weeks at least, recovery, where he can't move around. Not an easy thing for a young pup. But we fell in love and so we have decided to go for it. We can't send him back, even though the breeder was willing to take him back. We just could not say goodbye. Once a dog enters your home and you love it, for even a short while, he becomes your family. 

So yesterday I drove him up to Durban to the specialist, and we went ahead with the operation. He stays there for 2 weeks of kenneling so they can watch him and treat the wounds/bandages and give him medication. The house seems very quite today without him. I am like a mother worrying about her child. This is super emotional and it was a big decision for us to make. An option was to wait until he was fully grown and then amputate, but for such a big/beautiful breed of dog we just couldn't do it. 

Please pray for him if you read this. 


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Good running time and other things

I regularly run a 5km route near our house along the beach - it's a stretch of road that a lot of runners/walker/cyclists use. It's flat and if you park and run to the one end and back it's a neat little 5km.

I usually do it in 32 mins or so. Sometimes 34 mins, sometimes 30 mins. Yesterday I pushed myself and...hooray, I got my time down to 28 mins! 28mins and 30 secs to be exact. I was chuffed. I have been doing a bit more running lately as I have been finding my gym training to be a bit stale lately. I get a bit bored sometimes. And also, with the lovely summer days making an early morning run so pleasant, it's gorgeous to run outside.

I have no idea what I weigh, and I am not doing ANY sort of diet at the moment. I am telling myself that I can have whatever I want. And mentally, that is very very freeing. I then find that I don't want too much junk anyway, but at least, I have removed the guilt element if I do eat something with sugar or something fried.

I went in to work at my husband's business yesterday - I am helping out because the office manager is on two weeks leave. He needs the leave. It's a good feeling to "work" again. I put that in inverted commas because I do work from home illustrating, however, because it's from home, I never feel like I am "going in" to work. Working in my husband's business feels official, like "real" work. And I must say, it feels good. It also feels good to get out of the house and to stretch my brain in a new direction again.


Monday, February 20, 2017

So much going on in my head

I am feeling scattered and unfocused. Yesterday, I was super grumpy.

Today I feel bloated and "ugh".

I sure hope it's my period coming, as I haven't had one since....I can't remember when. Honestly. I think around Christmas time, but I am not sure. It could have been even before that? So is this now the start of menopause for me...? I do feel like my hormones are changing. I can just feel my body is becoming different now. In subtle ways. But the changes are there. Oh well, maybe the period will come.

I STILL have this thrush tongue even though I have now taken, including today, three anti-fungal tablets. I am going crazy with this. It's getting me down. It just makes me feel yukky.

I am now avoiding sugar like the plague. The thing is, the thrush - Candida - does seem to make me crave sugar more. I am thinking about sweet things A LOT - my usual mental fight - but I am trying not to give in.

I wonder if sweeteners also contribute to thrush at all? I have been having quite a bit of sweeteners lately - after giving them up so well before - because on a hot summers day (and it has been HOT AS HELL lately) there is nothing better than something icy cold to drink - like a cool drink of some sort, (Woolies sugar-free drinks) or I make coffee/chocolate frappes in my Nutribullet, but they need some sweetness to not taste gross. I haven't actually had much real sugar, but it was Valentines not long ago, and my darling "husband" (ex) bought me roses and chocolates. I have been trying to restrict the chocolates (they are dark Lindt balls, but you can TASTE the sugar in them) but I ended up having three of them yesterday! I just can't say no to one of those!

I really need to clean up my diet!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have a lot on my mind to do with my dad: he has left me a pretty good inheritance. I am very lucky. It doesn't mean I will never have to work again - but it is a lovely nest egg that I can invest and hopefully grow for my retirement. Which is great because as things stand today, I have no real retirement policy. I have one little policy with Stanlib - unit trusts - and they are doing ok but they are no where near adequate for retirement.

So, if my dad's house sells for a decent, fair amount then that will help me. His car will sell. And I will get a few of his policies. Out of what he has left me, he has put a trust in place for my son where a big chunk of money will go - which is really really lovely. One thing I can say for my dad, he was a planner. And that is truly going to help me and my son. And now my partner.

But the problem is: I am struggling with feeling like I deserve this. You see, he and I were not exactly close. I mean, we were, but he was old school, where he battled to show his true, real emotions. I longed for that from him. I longed to know the real him and how he truly felt about things. He never really gave me that. He never really divulged his real feelings to me on any topic. He was the type to talk to me about the weather and cricket, for goodness sake! Me, his own daughter!

The fact is, I can't change our relationship now or who he was, but I do know he loved me, and I loved him. He infuriated me but I loved him. And I suppose, thinking about my own son, I would leave every cent I had to him in my will too, even if we were not close. It's not about how close you are with your children, it's the fact that they are your flesh and blood! They are you!

So I have already been to see a financial adviser. With my partner. Gosh, I really am just going to call him my husband, as that is really what he is. We are just not married on paper anymore. Which, actually, is one of the first questions I asked this adviser. Is it better for us to get married or remain divorced but living together? He said, without a doubt, it's better for us to remarry, because in the case of death, the estate automatically rolls over to the spouse if there is no will in place or the will is not actionable for whatever reason. He said it's always better in most situations to have a contract in place that states your relationship.

Soooo, it looks like we are getting remarried!

And I am happy about that. I really am. I said that he and I should, this time round, get married on a boat cruise! Do something totally fun like that. Different and fun. We've done the formal wedding, now we can elope! And, how cool is this? This time round our son can BE at our wedding. Hahahaha.

The thing is, I now am coming into enough money where I don't actually need to stay with my partner for financial reasons. I could actually now set up a life of my own. But I don't want to be on my own. I WANT to stay with my ex-husband, soon-to-be husband. I love him. Yes, he frustrates me, but that is normal. My own son frustrates me. It's totally normal and it shows our bond. I now realise that in our marriage, pre-divorce, I was looking for "perfect". I thought that if I felt frustrated or upset by things he did, that it meant we shouldn't be together. How wrong was I!!! I now realise that there is NO perfect. There is NO such thing. There is only working on your relationship all the time, because you have chosen each other and you want to work on it. This time round, we are committed to that.

So one good thing: this money coming to me is making me realise that my relationship now is REAL and it is what I really want. I always knew that, of course. I wouldn't have moved back here if I didn't, but when you are the partner who is not earning the big money, then you always feel a little dependent. Now, finally, I can contribute real money to our future. It's great. I want to. I want us, as a little family, to feel secure.

This money is also making me think about my future and what I want to DO with the rest of my days. I have the luxury now to plan a bit. I am 38 turning 39 this year. I could live another 40 years. Or more. Or less. But let's estimate around 40 years. That is a looooong time. It's also a short time. But really, it's a long time. I need to make this money work for us and our retirement. Retirement could be awful or it could be great. But talking about this with the adviser made me realise, what do I value? What would I want to spend my money on in retirement?

I am not that fancy, so no big cars or houses for me. In fact, personally, I keep saying to my husband, our house is big enough as it is, in fact, it may be a bit too big already for us, and that when our son is grown up, we should downsize and move into a small flat. Or a complex.

So on that front, no big expenses.

I love to run, do some exercise, and I am sure I will still want to even when I'm older. I may get slower, of course, and change from weights to something else. I may walk instead of run, but I am sure I will want to keep active.

I love writing, and if I ever get the peace and quite, I want to write that novel, dammit. I know, it's not always about peace and quiet, but often it is. Writing something makes a lot more sense when you have time. When you are rushed and stressed, it doesn't seem conducive to writing.

I want to be able to go out for a cup of coffee every single day.

That one above is my number one thing. I think going out for a coffee - and yes, it's really as simple as that - is my all time favourite thing to do. And to do it daily. Or almost daily.

Right now, I feel guilty if I spend the R30 or so odd rands on a coffee every now and then. I don't do it daily, but I easily could. I love it. It's about more than just the coffee, although the taste of "real" coffee (as opposed to the home granules) is much nicer.

For me, it's about the vibe. I love just sitting and observing. Or just sitting, taking a deep breath, and letting someone make something for me for a change, whilst I just relax for five minutes. This weekend I hardly sat down. In between the school outing on Saturday morning, going in to my husband's work and shopping and cooking and doing tons of dishes and cleaning up after the new puppy and disciplining it, I feel beat!

So yes, to walk into a cosy coffee shop where someone just does ALL that needs to be done (boil the water, prepare the thing, wash the cup and spoon afterwards) is a dream. And I get to sit still for that whole time. Bliss. And I get to observe a bit of life outside of my home. I think it's money well spent. I will not feel guilty any more for that. The truth is, I don't go for coffee every day. But when I do, I must just enjoy it and relax and let go of the guilt. I can't be pinching pennies over coffee.

Do I like to travel? Yes, and I would like to do some travelling as we get older. But I am a home body at heart, and I don't want to travel TOO much either. I like being at home. I love my animals and my space. So to me, a planned holiday once a year, or once every two years would be nice. Even just weekend getaways in South Africa are nice. I think travelling within our own country can be wonderful.

I don't really want to do much different than what I do now. I want pets, I want a roof over my head, a car that works, and hopefully my health. I would hope for a grandchild, but that is not my decision to make.

It's interesting times. It's a blessing to think like this.

It's also made me question my current work, my illustration work. I hate it. I am hating it. It's not so much the actual work that I hate, it's how they brief me that I hate. I never really know what some of the ladies want. And they want really complicated images. And sometimes they send me bad resolution images to work from and want them "yesterday", as in, impossible deadlines. I'd love to give up that work.

It's something I need to meditate on.







Monday, February 13, 2017

Progress pics

Pic on left in pink bikini is Oct 2016. Right pic, turquosie bikini is yesterday, which was 12 March 2017

Left: Oct 2016 progress pic. Right is Feb 2017. 
I share my "progress" pics here because I am going to start training properly again today. I don't know how well I will stick to any diet, but looking at these two pics, I look pretty much exactly the same, even though inbetween I went crazy diet wise, so I don't know that diet changes much for me.

I am simply recording where I am now, and let's see. I'd like more definition in my legs, as they are my "fatty" area.

I don't know if I will compete, I want to, but maybe it's too soon to tell.

I must've unknowingly had sugar yesterday. I say unknowingly, because my partner and I ordered the no sugar added Muggachino's at Mugg n Bean, but I believe the second lot we ordered had sugar in them because I went home with such a sore, inflamed gut. My gut is actually tender this morning. My thrush is still there on my tongue too.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Thrush AGAIN! And a new puppy called Nitro.

Oh gosh, I can't believe it, thrush on my tongue AGAIN!

And I know almost exactly what it's from. Skinny Diva spirit cooler drinks. You see, we were expecting a couple (friends of my partner) to come over for a braai, so last weekend I bought a six pack of them. I don't know why. I suppose I thought the new-mom (couple have just had a baby) might like one. I regret buying them now. So anyway, the braai fell through, and so I have had just ONE Skinny Diva a day  since Tuesday. Which totals four. And yesterday I woke up with thrush growing on my tongue again. Which just shows me - there is definitely, definitely a fair amount of sugar in that drink. I had another Skinny Diva yesterday seeing as I had bought and taken an anti-thrush tablet but I know it's not good for me.

This is my bodies way of telling me how bad sugar is. My body is sensitive and doesn't do well with sugar. On the plus side, though, it raised my blood pressure enough to allow me to donate blood again. I am guessing it's from the sugar. Or the fact that I had my son shopping with me. Lol. He talks so much that I end up losing my concentration and forgetting what to buy - and so yes, my blood pressure must go up with him around I am sure. But at least I donated blood safely and didn't feel faint. So I have done two donations recently. I had stopped for a long time due to always feeling faint afterwards, but it seems like I am better now.

I donate because I believe it's the right thing to do. One day if I need a transfusion I will be SO grateful to the people who give up their time and blood.
Meet Nitro! Cool name, I think. 

It's crazy in our house at the moment as we now have another puppy! This new puppy is our older Amstaff's replacement, as he is our main protection. So, in total, we have two puppies, three adult dogs and one cat. Six pets. Gosh. Surprisingly they all get along well. It's actually helpful to have two puppies together as they play together nicely. Before this new one arrived, our Frenchie was taunting the Pekinese and I felt sorry for the poor Peke.

But this is the LAST of new animals for a long time. I am pretty exhausted. And our house smells of puppy pee. I can't wait for them all to be house-trained.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Precious moments

Moving away from diet to motherhood.

The past two nights, I have laid down in the bed with my seven year old just before he goes to sleep and we "talk". He loves it. It's so special. I actually have really enjoyed that time. The first night we did it - just spontaneously - he told me all about the different robotic/sci-fi things he wanted to invent - and I was actually quite blown away by how clever and imaginative he is.

Last night I told him a bit about what I can remember from when I was seven, and he chatted to me about his day at school. This is the blessing: I have a son who WANTS to tell me things. I must not take that for granted. It's not always easy to get a child to talk to you, I mean, REALLY talk to you. It takes true, real listening. I think this is something I want to continue doing with him, as I think it will be a good "habit" for the future, when he really will need to offload his feelings and his day to me.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Feeling good on SOME carbs

So yesterday I ate a few carbs. Yes, some sugar snuck in there in the form of a few bites of cake. It's ok. I only had a little. I then still had salad, chicken and a boiled egg. So I got in protein and veggies. All good. And fat in the form of chicken skin and of course, there is fat in the egg.

And let me report this to myself: I slept SO well. I usually notice that I sleep well on zero carb/low carb - but last night, with just a few carbs, my sleep quality was different - better, I would say. I had a very balanced day eating-wise - not too much of any one thing. I had a glass (yes only one) of wine last night too.

I had such a good day yesterday. And I didn't overeat on any one thing.

I did get stomach pains after the cake bites - I guess my body is shocked by the sugar again. But I didn't freak out. I just knew that they would pass.

So last night I had these really, really vivid dreams. I don't recall dreaming much lately in my low/zero carb state. But last night I dreamed a lot. And I slept SO well. My body felt so happy.

In fact, right now I feel so relaxed and good. I could easily sleep more, but I don't NEED to.

I woke up easily too. And felt good driving Seth to school. Happy.

It's actually NICE to have NO food restrictions at all.

Yes I want to be a kg or two leaner and lighter, and yes, I want to be healthy, but the thing is, I am pretty darn healthy. I now KNOW that sugar is the problem, and so, rather than completely cut it out, just avoid it as far as humanly possible, but allow it now and then.

So I know I am confusing myself but I seem to be a lucky individual for whom moderation really does work, and who CAN eat almost anything she wants. Almost. Not without some limits, but luckily I don't have to go crazy limiting myself.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Meditation Sanity

Today I sat outside, with my cup of coffee and "meditated" again for about half an hour. I put that in inverted commas because I just sat and watched the trees, looked at the sky and got quiet inside.

SO vital.

I need to do that MORE.

I feel ready to tackle the day.

I feel healed inside.

Food is healing, but so is mental clarity. Meditation. Inner space.

Here is the thing with zero carb that I struggle with: mentally, limiting myself so much. I live in a modern world, where there ARE so many nice foods - and "hack" foods too (artificial sweeteners) and wine and nicely cultivated fruit and veggies.

It's difficult to limit the palate and the mind.

I would not want to go back to being a caveman who has to hunt for his food. I would not even want to be a modern hunter-gatherer type. I just want to enjoy my health as far as possible.

Having said all that: I must also be careful that the fear of disease and getting older is not greater than my enjoyment of life. What good is eating zero carb or eating clean or whatever, if I am not enjoying my days?

Sometimes I am far too stressed over what I eat or don't eat.

Sometimes I worry and google too much.

Other times, I get bored. The truth is, I probably need to work. I am an intelligent woman, whose brain is a little wasted. However, I like being home and being home with my child. I like being a hands on mom. I like doing things with him.

I need to accept that I DO live in a modern world where we eat out, where we have foods of agriculture and where things are busy and stressful.

I will just leave this awesome blog post here, where you can read about trying to live your best life in this modern world. http://eatingacademy.com/personal/move-defines-live

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

HbA1c - Normal - and a squishy belly

My result this time was exactly the same as my last test - 5.1%. Even with the boat cruise sugar, and even after stuffing my face with cake and shit after my dad died!

Gosh, so clearly I am very insulin sensitive. I am truly a lucky one. A blessed one. Well, let me correct that by saying: I work hard for that luck. I work out. I run. I weight train. I eat mostly right. I drink in moderation. (Yes, sometimes I go overboard, but not often.) I don't smoke.

I am happy with that. Would I like a lower HbA1c? Yes. I would very much like to bring it down to 4.5% or somewhere like that.

But I won't look any good result gift-horse in the mouth! I am a healthy, healthy 38 year old! Hooray!

Now just a word on my stomach, and what I do truly believe is going on when it gets "loose and squishy-feeling" on low carb/zero carb. Today I am constipated again - a little blocked up - and my stomach is hard. I can feel the fullness, and that feeling is pushing from my insides, out and against my lower abs. Which results in my tummy feeling firmer. When I stand or when I lie down, my lower belly FEELS firm. I can tighten my lower abs and there is something from the inside pressing up against them, giving them a firm feeling. When I am "empty" and not blocked up then my lower belly goes very squishy as there is no firmness within me - no colon full of shit, basically, sorry to say it like that but it's the truth - and so my belly "gives" easily. It's just an illusion.

What I need to really work on is my body fat percentage, and forget about the volume of food and waste in my intestines. I want to lose about a percent of body fat.

Today my blood pressure registered very low - I normally have low blood pressure - and so even though I tried to donate blood, they would not allow me.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Blood Test results

So far I have had three of my four test results back.

My fasting insulin is ridiculously low - lower than normal. I am happy with that. You would think then that I would be super skinny. Not so. I am still normal, healthy weight, and in fact I am battling to get to my previous skinnier weight.

Not that I am unhappy - no - I am very happy with my weight.
Pic from 25 Jan 2017 - just recently. No weight problem. Very happy with my healthy weight. Even some definition visible in my legs. 

Don't laugh but this is my tummy bloated. I know, looking at this pic with fresh eyes, I can hardly see the bloat. It's a little bigger. Oh dear. I am thrilled with the muscle I have managed to build in my arms. 

The pic on the left is recent - taken yesterday, the pic on the right is taken just before the boat cruise. So Nov 2016 on the right, Jan 2017 on the left. I think I look a little leaner now, but the lighting is different so it's deceiving. I never really change much. I am very lucky. My body, overall, remains the same, almost no matter what I do. It's a blessing and a small curse. I say small curse, because I feel I work SO hard in the gym and I battle to change much, and yet, it's a blessing too because even if I don't go to gym, I don't put on weight. 

Would I like to drop down a bit just because? Yes. Why? I have no idea. Sometimes I like to drop my weight lower just to see if I can. I have this crazy and weird fear that as I age I will lose my ability to be so lean.

Yes I am nuts, I am obsessed. I have this fear of getting a huge round tummy like my mother. She inherited her mother's round tummy (my grandmother's tummy). So I am obsessed with staying lean and keeping my tummy flat. I am pretty much always trying to suck my tummy in.

My liver test results were all normal except for two values: one was high, one was low. I assume they are not serious - I feel pretty healthy and I feel well. Except for one small concern: I have lately noticed a pain in my left thumb joint. I hope it's not early arthritis.

I am going to re-commit AGAIN to a healthier diet. Once again, I recommit to cleaner eating. By which I mean: all natural. I ideally like to be zero carb but mentally, I just battle. So if I can, I will. If I can't, I won't .

If I eat some veggies, it's really not the end of the world.

I love fresh dates and I bought some the other day. They taste like caramelized sugar to me - yet they are natural.

On Friday and Saturday I had some flour - gasp, horror - and it did clog up my bowels. I had no BM (bowel movement) for two days! Then yesterday I had three! Tee hee.

So yes, I am on a continual quest for health. Lately I have been having artificial sweeteners again - I don't know why. Sometimes I just want sweetness, which I suppose is a natural craving. I don't believe in my heart of hearts that they can be good, but I do know that a little won't do much harm.

I now anxiously and eagerly await my HbA1c test result. That will be the true test.

Now that I am 38 going on 39, I just want to age well. I realise now that I can't fight my aging, so I just ask God that I age as well as possible.