Thursday, August 30, 2012

[a case of the dumbs...]

Dear future smart lady,

Growing up (as you well know), I was fairly clever.  I was in extension classes for primary school so I wouldn't get bored and start fighting people (ha).  I passed tests in high school without trying too hard.  Heck, I was never the dux of the school or even a prefect but I learned fast and held information in my head with relative ease.

I was nothing special, not by a long shot and I had my share of failures.  I could do nothing physical well - ballet at 7 years old was a nightmare because I couldn't skip on my tippy toes (no toes and all that...)  In phys ed. I was the last one picked, and sat out for most of the classes actually but that's no biggie - I'm not scarred for life or anything. Far worse things have happened to far better people.

In nursing school I passes with average grades.  A little unusual for me - I had to try in order to do well.  I am lazy by nature (not something I'm proud of but I'm too lazy to do anything about it), and so I passed and became a nurse without ever failing a paper but on the flip-side I never made an A.  I didn't try to.  My patients have never asked me what grades I got and I never told them.  I'm better at the practical stuff anyway, and they seemed happy enough with my bedside manner and skills.  I still maintain that in a job like nursing, there's no point getting A grades if you can't meet with someone in a vulnerable position and enable them to feel heard and understood.

 The nursing thing is maybe a whole other post - suffice to say I seem to have lost my mo-jo and I'm not sure where to go with it, but it'll keep.  For now it keeps me in the manner to which I'm accustomed.  Which brings me to my next point. 

It's just that I've become very... dumb.  

Well, either that or I suddenly hang out with very clever people (I don't think that's the case...  hehe).  Or the other option I was thinking of is that I've become cleverer, and therefore am realising how thick I am now.  Tricky huh?  

It's just that lately I'm the girl in the group who always has awkward encounters with people in stores.
I'm the girl who doesn't know where something is on a world map.
I'm the girl who laughs thirty seconds after the joke has been told.
I'm the girl who sits quietly in the corner, unable to join in with a conversation about politics or current affairs.
I'm the girl people look at with blank stares, as if I am speaking a different language.

I'm that girl.  You know the one.

If I didn't know better, I'd think I had pregnancy brain, or some kind of medical condition.  I'm not feeling sorry for myself here, just surprised amazement.  How did this happen?  This sudden realisation, and the disappointment in myself.  Also, how do I stop this?  I'm reading current affairs websites, studying maps, thinking before I speak, making jokes, brain exercises.  Nothing.  I remain a thicko.

I always like to laugh at myself, and I'm a bit of a storyteller I suppose, but when it gets to the point where the people you are with are laughing at you, rather than with you, I wonder if perhaps toning it down a notch is required.  There is a fine balance between laughing at oneself, and the ability to still be taken seriously.  I gotta say, it hurts a little when the line is blurred.

This post doesn't have a happy ending yet, my dear future smart lady.  I hope that I can cultivate some element of smartness, and soon.  Before I get a name for myself as a total eggo and lose all my friends.  

Anyone have a smart pill?

Love, current small brain me.  xx

Sunday, August 26, 2012

[reminder - book club, and a giveaway!...]

Just a reminder that I'm hosting the bookclub this month!

Mrs. Readalot has been kind enough to offer an amazing giveaway so click below to enter!

[monday memorandum...]

Blogging is a funny thing - it's like a private journal that you write knowing others will read.  You know that they read it, but they often don't sign the visitors book or give you any feedback so it's hard to know if you're doing a good job...  at writing a journal for yourself... that you aren't supposed to care about others reading anyway...  Odd.

: :  the encouragement...  Just talked to an old friend who without knowing that I was thinking of pulling the plug on this blog as a public forum, gave me some encouragement and let me know she'd been reading and anticipating every post.  So I'm still here (for now).

: :  the maternity shows...  Love them.  How miraculous is birth?!  Those perfect wee kids who start off as a sperm and an egg - a key and a keyhole which fit perfectly together to make a person.  Even when things go wrong (I see that a lot in my job), there is still a miracle that occurs.  Love it.  Cry every time (during the shows of course - not at work.  That would just be unprofessional).

: :  the italian delivery...  Italian delivered right to the house - how freakin' awesome is that?  I don't think there was the option in New Zealand, or if there was I never knew about it.  Well, pizza hut I guess but that is so not the same thing.

My Guy and a calzone.

: :  the mom...  My housemate is American.  So American.  My Mama is coming in three sleeps (!) and there has been a lot of talk about 'the mom'.  Funny as.  Can't wait!

: :  the paralympics...  I am really looking forward to the paralympics.  There is something awesome about people who (in some cases) have a good reason to give up on life but choose instead to make it extraordinary.  This weekend we went to Stratford Westfield (which is next to the Olympic park) and we saw heaps of Paralympians.  I felt so honoured!

: :  the local...  I'm not much of a drinker but I love heading to the local.  We're lucky enough to live just on the edge of the Thames, which (although quite revolting really) looks gorgeous in the sunset.  It gets busy out there and there is a super cool atmosphere.  Only thing, if I may be permitted to say something negatory.  Three times that we went there, they ran out of food.  I repeat, they ran out of food.

From my seat at the local.

: :  the library etiquette...  As I write this, I am at the local library.  It is a really nice, brand new library overlooking a lake with some really awesome spaces and services available.  Then a girl ate two bananas.  You read right - she sat behind me and ate two bananas in a row.  Is that etiquettely acceptable (firstly two bananas in a row - too much potassium, and secondly can you actually eat in a library?)  Also there was a water leak so they have an area blocked off, with big signs saying that you can't go in there.  So people climb over the couches and signs and go in there anyway.  Huh?!

: :  the care package...  A dear friend (who is going through her own troubles at the moment) sent us some special New Zealand lollies this week.  What a sweet thought!  My Guy opened the jaffas before I even got home, and we ate the pineapple lumps (frozen, of course) during a movie we watched.  What a treat!

Jaffas being consumed.

: :  the haircut...  My friend K and I had haircuts this week.  Thankfully she came with me, because it is at a friend of a friend of a friends house, and the last two times I've been I got hopelessly lost.  One time I expect I was going to be murdered by gang members but I managed to escape.  Anyway, the haircuts are nice and the hairdresser is nice so it's a win all round.

: :  the tax department...  I suppose I had better not say what is in my mind to say about this department for fear I will be banned from re-entering my home country.  Suffice to say that I expect to get a large sum of money in my bank in return for my time and effort, and the copious amounts of incorrect information leading me up many dead end garden paths.  Too much?

: :  the rain...  I love a good thunderstorm, and we sure got one this weekend!  Not long after we arrived home from Stratford, the rain came down (hence the leaky library, I guess) and there was even thunder and lightening.  Awesome!

Out my lounge room window - the ominous clouds!

Sheesh, that all feels a bit negative - I have had a great week really.  I'm enjoying chilling out at the library on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  I'm going to pop downstairs to the cafe and get a pain au chocolat and an elderflower cordial now.  Cheerio!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

[five years...]

Bucket list:  3).  Reach five years of marriage.

Reaching five years of marriage - something that I feel quite proud of.  There were some hairy moments where we weren't sure we'd make it but here we are - five years married to the man of my dreams.  My lover and my best friend.

We celebrated in Canada, and in fact lost half the day because of the time difference when we travelled back to England but no mind - we still made it!

Bucket list number three - tick.
(Also hurry up me - I'm almost thirty and I've still got a way to go!)

See my full bucket list post here and my page with the completion list here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

[calm in the storm...]

Dear future freaker-outer,

This past week I had a lovely compliment from a nurse I worked with, who I had never worked with before.  She said to me at the end of the day that although the day had been very busy and chaotic, she noticed that I had stayed calm.  She said she'd looked over at my side (we work sides - a side of a nursery each) and there was obviously madness, but that I'd appeared calm through the day.

Funny, future me, I remember that I didn't feel calm.  I felt a bit fretty and stressed - it was a very busy day.  It's not something that comes naturally to me - I'm a worrier and I get stressed easily (hate that about myself).  I'm proud to say that (mostly) I've taught myself to keep cool when I feel like I might lose it if I don't...  At work, anyway.

After work that same day, I got lost on my way home.  Whaaaaat?  So dumb - I go home that way every day after work.  I missed the bus by about 30 seconds - as in, I actually saw it up the road.  Gutted.  So I looked on my phone when the next bus would come - twenty minutes.  My housemate and pal, K,  had made me lemon chicken (amazing) and she was waiting at home for me.  My headphones weren't working so I couldn't listen to my Hamish and Andy podcast.  Then my phone died (no map).

So (stupidly - have I mentioned I'm a direction douche?) I decided to walk to the next bus stop and see if I could get ahead of my bus.  Fail.  Then I thought I'd walk along the route and catch the other bus I sometimes get.  Fail.  Next option, walk to Waterloo station and get the tube home.  Fail.  I ended up at the wrong tube station, on the wrong line and had to catch the tube to Waterloo (would have been faster to walk the right way in the first place).  Multiple fail.

I felt a bit mad.  I'd left home at 6.30am, worked a long and tough thirteen hour day and I just wanted to get home to my lemon chicken and brownie (it's really all about food for me).  How does one get lost on the way home?  Idiot head.

Then I remembered a choice I have.  Being calm in the face of dilemma or stress is really a choice that I can choose to make - the frustration doesn't have to overwhelm me to the point where I yell (I sometimes yell at things - like buses "why do you hate me, bus?!"), and cry (I sometimes sob just a little).  I can just realise that whatever happens, this will be over soon and I can learn from it.

I'd like to say that I just chilled right out and took each (wrong) turn as it came.  Instead I muttered under my breath "stoopid, stoopid.  you don't even know where waterloo is.  what are you, blind?  bakerloo line?  what happened to the jubilee?  oh, and now there's nowhere to sit on the tube.  stand up then, bum bum face.  couldn't have waited for twenty minutes for the bus, huh?"  Ah, negative self talk.  You are unhelpful.

So, my dear future me - you have much to learn about relaxing and realising that life is an adventure made up of missed buses, flat batteries, broken headphones and wrong tube lines.  Frustration and stress will get you to the end no faster than calmness and laughter.  At the end of the ride is lemon chicken, brownie and watching New Girl with a great friend.

Learn it, and learn it soon.

Love, present day me.  xx

Monday, August 20, 2012

[monday memorandum...]

Funny week...  Well, weeks.  I've got two Monday memo's to update cos I missed out last week.  I feel like I've been working my hoo hoos off.  I haven't really - I just don't know how people work five days a week.  I worked four for the last two weeks (12 hour days) and I am exhaustified.  Ha, what a pansy, right?!

: :  shoes...  I got some new running (well, slowly walking) shoes this week, ones that are good for my foot, and they are the best.  Funny thing about them - you can't wear them with jeans or tights (my most common lower body attire).  So I have two options - wear them anyway and don't bother about fashion rules, or don't wear them.  I chose to wear them - today I wore them with jeans.  Fashion disaster.

: :  fruit salad magic...  There is something magic about fruit salad that you purchase.  Not fruit that you purchase and make it yourself.  No siree.  The fruit that the man purchases and cuts up, puts in a fancy container and charges you a 300% mark up.  That's the magic.  It is delicious and refreshing, and I love it.  I only wish there were a request system, because the man puts too much gross melon in my fruit salad.  If I'm going to pay exorbitantly for a fancy cut and cup, surely I can ask for melons-out?  Wait, I know - I can resell it as a melon salad?!

Half full melon cup, anyone?
 : :  heatwave...  It has been really hot here lately.  Britain doesn't know what to do with 30 degrees - it is so unusual.  I'm a cold lover - me and heat were not made to be together too so I feel their pain.  In fact, at work they put out a 'heat wave warning' and it said that we had to prepare ourselves and our patients because London is expected to reach 31 degrees, and maintain 20 degrees overnight.  Ha!

: :  olympic fever...  The closing ceremony was pretty cool, huh?  I'm looking forward to the paralympics too.  A couple friends and I watched the closing ceremony at work - they have set up a room with a bar and a view of Big Ben.  Also, some olympic rings.  Rad.

Olympic rings

: :  the mother...  Eight sleeps until the mother arrives, and the plans are coming together nicely!

: :  tea with the Queen...  Did you know you can go inside Buckingham Palace?  Me neither.  But I did it.  And then had a hot chocolate in the garden cafe afterwards before walking through the garden.  And the Queen was home.  True story.

Hot choc and scones

: :  bright...  It was a bright day (so hot) in Brighton.  The London family headed down there (once we managed to get on the train) and stayed one night.  We had some fun, watched some karaoke, ate a tonne of great food.  Oh, and My Guy purchased a few gobstoppers from a retro lolly shop.  And I mean gigantic gobstoppers.  It was the best kind of night away.

: :  london appointment situation...  I have been having some health troubles lately, and have had to go to a few appointments.  Sweet crumbs alive, it takes hours.  One appointment I had meant I left home at 10am and arrived back again at 5pm.  Seven.  Hours.  Ridiculous.  This morning I had an appointment too, only I was gone for a total of three hours - home by 10.30am.  Amazing.  I'm figuring out to streamline the process.  Ha.

: :  six a.m...  Unless you have somewhere awesome to go, it's never fun getting up at 6am.  This weekend it just meant I had to get up and go to work, and it's been freakin hot in the nursery lately.  I eat breakfast in the lounge, and it's nice to appreciate things even when you'd rather be sleeping.  Six a.m - if you and I have to meet, thanks for an awesome sunrise.

Great week.  How was yours?!

Friday, August 10, 2012

[friday fupdate...]

I don't think there is a word that's like update but starts with 'f'.  A little lazy perhaps, but hey.  This week was a little boring in some ways.  Living the high life in London is supposed to be all fun and games, travelling and friend-making, but the fact remains:  life is still life, and normal life happens too.

Nevertheless, normal life is great and there were things I liked about my week that I would like to 'fupdate' you about.  Ha.

Linking up with Meghan this week!

 I wholeheartedly believe that no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something you can be thankful matter how simple it is. 

: :  berlin...  I told you in my Monday Memorandum that we came home from Berlin on Sunday.  It was an awesome weekend - so much history.  I'm writing a post in my mind about it already.

I believe the longest part of the Berlin wall still standing after the fall of the wall in 1989

: :  i.r.d...  I'm a bit tongue-in-cheek saying I love the tax department... I'll be loving it when I get my money!  Well, actually they replied to an email I sent super promptly so I was most impressed.  (I wont ruin it by telling you they didn't actually answer my question.)  Also, I think it's funny how if you can't remember your password, it's okay - just click over here on 'can't remember your password?'  Then it will take you to a screen where you enter your username and 'password phrase'.  Huh?  If I can't remember the password, what makes you think I'll remember the phrase that I made up to go with the password that I can't remember?!

: :  phish food...  I never think much of Ben & Jerry's to be honest.  Give me tip top orange choc chip any day.  But sweet moses this is amazing.  Prescribed to me by my husband with the return of this weird toothache/stiff jaw thing I get.  I accept.  A wife's gotta obey, right?

: :  london family...  My Guy and I are so lucky to have each other here in London.  We are doubly blessed with two awesome friends who we can travel with, dine with and even live with.  I like to think we are pretty good at not getting up in each others biz too much - we do lots of things apart too, but we have established ourselves as a close knit 'family away from family' here.  It's a nice thing.

: :  pizza lounge...  Pizza, and a lounge - what's not to love, right?  We have been a couple of times before, but this time it was right on dusk, just the three girls headed out and we sat out in the beer garden.  We ate pizza and chatted about life (well, I chatted - too much - as usual).  It's a really nice place and not well frequented enough!

: :  planning...  Mum is coming in 17 days and I'm planning what shennanigans we can get up to while she's here.  Also the London family are planning a trip to Brighton next week, and Ireland for New Years.  Planning is awesome because it means things are going to happen!

: :  sunset...  It shouldn't take things like this to make us appreciate where we are situated (in life, or physically) but it's nice to be reminded every now and again.  It was a beautiful sunset when we walked home from the pizza lounge, and we timed it perfectly just as the sun was settling behind the London skyline.  If you look carefully, you'll see the famous gherkin!

What things did you appreciate about your week?

Monday, August 6, 2012

[monday memorandum...]

This week hasn't been a particularly eventful one - Monday Memorandum wise anyway...  The first three days, I worked.  And the next four days I was in Berlin, and that's another post.  So just a short one today.

: :  olympics...  I still haven't been able to get any tickets for the Olympics yet, but I have been watching lots on tele - have you?  I especially like the synchronised diving and the rhythmic gymnastics.  There are some tickets left for the paralympics which I think would be awesome to see too.  Side note - how cool is the 'blade runner'?!

: :  giant ship...  We had to go down to Canary Wharf to get my phone looked at (something about the battery draining too fast), and saw this big ole ship.  I don't think this picture quite does it justice - this bad boy is very large.  These ships look like they should definitely not be floating.

: :  special visitor... My Mum arrives in just a little over three weeks.  Can't wait!

: :  shorts...  Today I am wearing shorts, for one of the first times this summer.  Now as I look outside it is very overcast, and I have a jumper on too.  Hehe.  Ironic.

: :  pattern...  On a walking tour in Berlin, the rain came pelting down.  We had wet feet and heads, and so stopping off for a hot drink was a welcome treat.  This hot chocolate was so yummy and appreciated - and I liked the patterns on the cup too.

: :  got milk?...  Love this new campaign - well I think it was more like just an accidental happening.  Georgia, who is the author of Gregarious Peach posted a photo of herself breastfeeding in the milk section of the supermarket with the title 'got milk?'  Then a bunch of other women got on board and posted pics too.  I think it is so sad one of the ladies had a comment about how 'revolting' breastfeeding in public is.  What a shame that that is the attitude that is out there!

: :  cartoony...  This is quite a cool effect that My Guy found out our phones can do!  And this is the effect of going to the toilet and leaving my phone with that same Guy.

 : :  plant situation...  For those of you that have been keenly following the growth of our herbs - here is the latest update on the fast growing, and sunlight addicted herbs.  Coriander (the yuckest one) is still winning, with parsley coming in a close second.  I'm rooting for basil.  Go, basil - go!  (See the previous pic here).

I'll be back with more on the trip to Berlin later in the week.  Until then, what have you been doing this week?

Friday, August 3, 2012

[mad morrocco marketplace...]

In the middle of the city of Marrakech is the marketplace.  A giant open space surrounded by small stores and mosques.  And filled with people.  The people are the heart and soul of Marrakech, and I would challenge anyone who doesn't smile at the conversations and advances of the Morroccan people.

By day, the market houses souks (stalls) and juice stands, along with a few guys who own monkeys wearing pink shorts, some ladies who do fake henna tattoos and some snake charmers.  (Note:  There is no such thing as a free lunch photo taken of a snake/with a snake/of a monkey/with a monkey/henna tattoo/henna flower/tour guide/anything in Marrakech.  I recommend learning to say no in french - it will make life a lot more enjoyable and a lot less awkward...)

At dusk, setup begins for what will soon transform into the food markets.  What can only be described as a cacophony of sound and smells, of hustle and bustle emerges from the ground up.   Tourists from all walks of life are propositioned by men selling their wares - juice, scarves, herbs, hats.  They speak fabulous english and entice you with promises that their product is 'the best ever' and they are having a  'half price sale', or even a 'liquidation sale'!  

The food stalls are numbered - a vibrant man stops you to inform you 'Number 117, it will take you to heaven.'  A few steps on is 'Number 88, you just can't wait'.  The food is cheap and potentially cat related (there are a large number of stray cats for the taking), but it feels like just what you need after a 46 degree day browsing the souks and drinking lemonade in the (very warm) shade.

Somehow the market manages to feel inviting, welcoming and exciting while at the same time making one feel a little anxious, frightened and overwhelmed.  Marrakech is amazing and even life changing in its entirety.  The people and the culture make for an experience like no other - one to be absorbed by osmosis and processed when the time is right.

As the sun goes down over one of Africa's busiest and most lively open air markets, it is easy to believe that you have stepped into some kind of cultural show.  The square and its entertainment is certainly aimed at tourists (and their wallets), and the locals are most welcoming and attentive.

Marrakech, you crazy city you.  See you again soon.