Tag Archives: life

And there it is

So, people – there it is. Goal weight. Or should I say _initial_ goal weight (I still want to lose a little more, but this was my first goal to reach, to keep me motivated)

I wasn’t expecting it, as I’ve been feeling a bit meh the last few days (headache, etc) but still eating (nothing stops me eating – not even food poisoning – I’m African) and running with Odin (who is doing superbly, by the way) and of course all the walks with the pack. It was a nice surprise, I have to say! I was expecting maybe 1 pound less than yesterday ( I did acknowledge that I’d been pretty good about my portion control since the weekend, when I binged on pizza and beer with my husband) but instead I found 2.5 pounds dropped off. It’s a good feeling. Now I just need to maintain, and/or drop a little more and then I am going to start weights, and get some tone to my jiggly bits.

Yay me! Of course, waking up this morning my knees were incredibly sore :/ Just my body reminding me that I turn 40 in a few months – another reason I wanted to reach this goal weight before that day. Psychological barrier and all that.

40. Quite honestly I never thought I’d make it to forty, much less be married to an American and living in a foreign country. I couldn’t “see” my life passed around 25. That was my “I am a grown up now” age, when I was a young girl. 25 was OLD. 25 was a “real grown up with a job and stuff” but I never wanted kids or to be married – I was never one of “those” girls who planned my wedding and picked my dress out before I’d even turned 14. I played with dolls, but I made them do crazy stuff like bungee jump and ride motorbikes and do karate. I never gave it a thought, really. I was too busy playing “Thundercats” and climbing mountains and riding around on my bicycle (while I had one, anyway – it was called Lightning and I pretended she was a horse) until the street lights came on and I headed home to read books until much later than I was meant to be up, and eat peanut butter toast.

Life has been… interesting and a challenge at times. I’ve been through some hectic sh*t, but I’m stronger each time I come out the other side. A bit more worn and dirty and cynical and jaded, but much stronger for sure. I have many scars – both physical and emotional – and while I do try to be open-minded and easygoing, I DO have certain things that rile me up no matter how hard I try not to let them. But I’m not ashamed of that, or any of my scars. My life is my life. It’s made me who I am and what I am. If I was not who I was at the time, I would never have made the decision to break out of IT and get into photography, quit my job and start riding horses all over the place. I would never have met my husband, because I wouldn’t have been house/dog sitting so much.

So many paths taken that have led me here. Nearly 40 and living in Germany, on an American military post, with my gorgeous husband and 3 beautiful furry children.

Life, huh? It’s cray-cray.

 

 

An interesting article

My friend Steph posted this article about a topic that’s quite inflammatory and divisive and seems to be intensely debated over the last year or so. I know where I stand – I don’t see why women who choose not to have children are vilified and called “selfish” and asked “WHY?!” as if it’s some kind of crime to make a choice that doesn’t affect ANYONE else except the person who makes the choice.

But that’s my opinion.

 

A quote from the article…

Today, 19 percent of women end their potential childbearing years without having had any children—making childlessness as common as it is irrationally controversial. We had the chance to talk about the topic with Meghan Daum: author, LA Times columnist, editor of the forthcoming essay collection Selfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids, which is out tomorrow, March 31.

By email, Daum and I discussed everything from why childless-by-choice people are often forced to produce a “why?” for the (sometimes) well-intentioned crowd who demand an explanation for their decision to not procreate; the hubbub around egg freezing; what drives people to remain child-free; and why the phrase “child-free” itself needs to be retired.

 

Thoughts?

A New Year

So. 2015 huh? And still no flying cars.

Tesla’s are cool, of course – but they don’t fly…. yet.

ISIS are making a concerted effort to f**k the world up.

America slips deeper into idiocracy. (That movie is a scary warning, which unfortunately no Americans seem to take seriously)

My home, South Africa, begins to twist into “new Zimbabwe” thanks to Zuma and the ANC “gang” – with farm attacks and “reallocation of land” and load shedding and all that fun stuff. Apparently Zuma blames the “white colonials” for all the trouble they (the black people) are having now in South Africa. Yeah. Because it was so rosy before they arrived, right?

Dogs are doing well (although G is having a bad tummy morning – but I know the reason why and I have taken steps to sort her out)

Husband is still away. They extended his mission time.

So there went our Nordic dream trip. Yay army.

One good thing came of all that mess – in trying to sort out a shengen visa to travel around Europe, I discovered that because of various factors (foreigner, married to a US military member, living in Germany on orders) I can actually get a kind of residence permit, which will allow me to travel Europe without the need for a visa! Yay!

So this afternoon I’m off to see Mr Kupke at the “government house”  (not the Rathaus, he was quick to clarify) and begin the paperwork for that.

I just let Gina out on the balcony for the 10th time this morning, and 7 seconds later she was at the door, asking to come back in – I timed it. Seriously. She’s worse than a cat. I’ve had it up to my eyeballs with this in and out and in and out and in and out every 2 minutes, so she can now sit there and chill until I feel like opening the bloody door again.

UPDATE: there was a reason for her restlessness – she is quite unwell. Vomiting, bloody diarrhea. So I rushed her through to the vet. No parasites or Giardia, thankfully. But she will have to fast for today and see how she does tomorrow with a little bit of chicken or something. Danke schon, Doktor Dehn.

Been a few months now as a vegetarian and I’m doing well. No anemia, no weakness or issues. I’ve been using an app called “MyFitnessPal” which helps me count calories etc and I have been slowly and steadily losing weight. I’ve lost 10lbs now, and while I have hit a slight “rut” now, hovering around a weight, I just need to be disciplined and stick to it and I am sure I can lose some more. I’m close to my goal weight. I just need to stay on track.

We’ve had loads of snow, but I think it’s now petering off a bit. We’re heading into March (it’s Gina’s 6th birthday tomorrow!) and it’s starting to warm up. Then again, Germany (Baumholder especially) likes to keep us on our toes when it comes to the weather.

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Today is the day, and why I can’t give up cheese.

As I wait for the US to “come online” I count down the minutes until my Facebook account disappears forever.

Not discontinued, but actually gone. Deleted. All trace of me removed. I feel a bit weird, but also good. Had a strange dream last night about it – cutting a line, flying out into a grey/black world like a kite let go. I could see lights down below, but I was… free? Alone, but free. I think I had wings, but I don’t remember. I looked down, not up.

Today’s the day.

 

I tried to give up dairy too, as I am a vegetarian (lacto-ovo… sparingly) and I know what goes down in milking sheds/factories.

But then there was macaroni cheese. Linguine pasta with creamy alfredo sauce and portobello mushrooms. Chocolate milk. Ice cream. Whipped cream on apple pie. I know it’s wrong. So very wrong.

I tried soy milk.. it was ok – but tasted weird after a while. I tried almond milk – didn’t like that at all. Even tried rice milk (nearly gagged) just so I could say I had.  I’m not a vegan – I wish I had the discipline, money, time to be. But I am still a vegetarian.  Some days are harder than others (I gave up meat because my conscience/heart wouldn’t allow me to enjoy it anymore, not because I don’t like the taste) and I struggle. But I’ve seen my health/body change already in just a few months of being serious about it again.  Lost weight, lost fat, feel lighter and more energetic. I just get so _bored_ with the options available here.  That’s what makes it difficult – lack of choice and variety.

So maybe when we move back I can get into it better.

Big things ahead. We are hopeful, after such a long time.

 

Stay frosty.

Step Away

So. I did it.

2 Days ago I finally pressed the “delete account” button for Facebook.

Day 3 of Life Without Facebook and I have to say, I still have the habit of sitting down in front of my laptop in the morning and think of clicking the link to check my FB, but it’s waning very quickly. This morning I didn’t even open up my “daily” folder.

I opened email, checked Ello, and then had a chat with some friends on slack (new school IRC, basically – same good old friends and channel though) and continued with my day.

Sunday means dog park play date, and I also made breakfast for my husband who is on 24/7 duty for a week. Fun stuff.

We headed off, breakfast warm and cup of fresh coffee in hand for him too. Dogs said hi, we hung around for a little bit and then met our buddies at the dog park for an hour and a half of running around in the mud and rain. It was great. Dogs were great.

So I am _slowly_ getting used to Life Without Facebook, and I am starting to slip into a _new_ life routine. It’s pretty cool actually. I have moments though, I will admit, where I think about it… but it passes and I move on.

I was on Facebook for 10 years… seems both shorter and longer. I was a beta tester, so I got to iron out the bugs and see it change. Not all changes were for the better. The recent influx of complete idiots (this new generation is just unbelievably stupid… seriously) has also soured it for me. And the privacy issues and copyright issues and the whole limiting access to your network unless you pay them… just nicked my “mafioso” nerve and I’ve just had enough I think.

I had a lot of excuses/reasons for staying on, but I was brutally honest with myself and realised that the people on Facebook would do fine without me – my rescue organisations would be taken care of by my good friend Nicole (Even more so, as she’s a volunteer at many of them too) and my Berner groups are so large now they would barely notice the absence. Besides, my husband is still on it and he’s still in the groups, so he will let me know if I miss anything.

I haven’t posted photos in a long time, and I removed all my information a long time ago.  So it was no big jump. Just a few moments of heart fuzz and then it was all over.

I still have about 11 days left to “change my mind” until they actually delete all the information etc… but quite honestly – I don’t miss it.

I’m getting back in touch with the “old school” – even writing letters by hand (just to my mom for now, but I’m happy to write to anyone who wants me to) and living my life for ME.

Hoping my inspiration will blossom again – for my photography, my sewing, my running, my yoga.

It does feel like a weight off my shoulders. I don’t know why, as I was not really very involved anymore (only checked it once a day for 5 minutes) but it does feel like I’ve let go of something that I didn’t need. Which is a nice feeling. If a little scary for me (if you ever have time to listen, I can try and explain my “unable to sever” dreams/daydreams/thoughts) generally.

Life goes on, and so do we.

 

Stay frosty.

 

 

Silence is not always bad

Doing this #100happydays thing with a few friends – where you try and find at least one good thing about your day.

It’s been… interesting. I will admit that I skipped a day, or two. Not because I couldn’t find anything to feel happy about, but simply because my brain has enough trouble remembering things that help keep me moving each day and I just forgot completely to “take a shot” of something good.

I wanted to take a shot of my dog’s poop – that’s when I realised that I needed to think again. Reason being – my dogs have been so sick for so long, that seeing a “good” poop from them made me happy beyond words. Seeing it consistently for the last few days has really kept a lightness to my heart. Also, seeing Gina’s new energy level and playfulness (like when we first got her!) and Azzie calmness and happiness, makes me feel bad for them that they were sick for so long.

It’s still slow going – taking it a day at a time with this – but they are definitely getting better and this makes me HAPPY!

A happy fur mom.

Azzie has another issue that we now need to deal with – but it’s not making her sick and it doesn’t affect her in any way other than it embarrasses her and makes a little mess. Doesn’t happen all the time, of course – almost random, really – so it’s hard to sort out. Going to try something natural first, before we hit the drugs. Just waiting for it to arrive in the mail.

Husband has been gone “on mission” for a little bit and will be gone for a little while longer. I miss him, of course, and the house is silent without him – especially in the evenings and on the weekends when we let our hair down and listen to music, watch movies, laugh about things or he plays his games and gets loud and silly and has fun with his friends online.

But sometimes, it’s alright, the silence. I focus on things that I would normally ignore – me, for instance, and how I am doing.

Some people find it hard to understand that I really don’t mind being on my own. I’m never “alone” – just, not in the company of people. This is fine with me – I like my own company. I can say/think what I want when I am with me – no filter necessary to either tone it down or make it understandable to other humans. My husband gets me better than most, I will admit, but even for him, some of the things that come out of my mouth, from the depths of my dark mind, even he doesn’t always understand it.

 

I’ve had more memories return, as well, from my youth. It seems 10 years is long enough to keep them locked away and now they are starting, slowly, to resurface. I’ve “dreamed” a few – but I know they are _real_ not just my usual vivid dreams. I “remember” them when I wake up. Things come back to me. I have been a little… saddened I guess is the word, by some of them. Because I could not (cannot) remember most of what happened to me before the accident, when things come back and I can understand them better, see them from an older and wiser perspective – I see things now that I was completely oblivious to when they happened.

One of the memories nearly woke me screaming the other night. I woke up with jaw clenched, hands clenched so hard my nails dug into my palms. I was sweating profusely and my heart was beating so hard I felt like I was going to vomit. And my head hurt so badly I couldn’t move it. My husband slept on, so I am assuming my “noise” was all internal. Which is fine. It’s not a memory I wanted to share, anyway.

 

Head injury, and PTSD, affect us for so long after they happen. Sometimes the recovery can be painful – not just physically, but emotionally and mentally too. New pathways are formed in our brains, which means new ways of seeing things. Some of the things can really suck.

Luckily, one of the good things that came of my head injury, PTSD, and subsequent recovery is that I am very strong, mentally. I am also very close to myself. If that makes sense. I know _me_ and I know what I am and who I am and what I can and cannot handle. So, while I feel like I wasted my youth trying to have things I could never have, be with people who didn’t want to be with me at all, or get myself into situations I should have been smarter about – I learn something from every memory that comes back.

Any fellow sufferers who read this – hang in there. Don’t give up. Be strong. Be yourself. Trust yourself.

 

Before The World Became Smaller

I had a thought a few moments ago.

Letters. Letters are awesome. Handwritten, filled with the smell, feeling, sound and visual treasure of someone taking the time to put pen to paper specifically for YOU. Or you, taking the time to do the same for someone else. Making spelling mistakes, trying to stay neat and tidy and legible, trying to write with a flow and ease that makes sense to the story you are telling.

So personal. Special. A treasure.

So, while I know that it will be hard, and that there will be times when I think “I can’t do this” or I feel guilt for abandoning my charities and rescue organisations and awesome groups of like-minded people – I am removing my Facebook account. Once and for all.

It’s time.

I will, of course, keep my email open, and since G+ is so wrapped up in everything else, it will remain simply because I cannot remove it – so I will have chat too.

So if you need me, come find me on G+, or better yet, send me an email – if you know me, you know my email address (or at least ONE of them!) by now.

Best ever – write me a letter, or send me a postcard.

We don’t take the time to enjoy these simple joys – I plan on doing just that.

With the new year, everyone also chants the mantra “new year, new me” – but I am going for somewhat of an _old_ me – before the world became so small, and everyone knew what everyone else had for breakfast.

The world, OUTSIDE, is still so beautifully FILLED with awesome things to see, and taste, and smell and DO – I want to get OUT there.

I will, most likely, remove my twitter account, and other peripheral “social media” accounts – there are just too many, I feel.

I will, however, also keep my blog going – it’s been a hard slog to get here, and I don’t relish losing the access I have to vent and rant and air my views on things.

This is just my opinion, my choice and who knows, I might be dragged into the next social media “new thing” by my “friends in the know” as I’ve been a “beta” tester for so many of these before – but for now, I want simplicity. I want old school. 

I want hard copy and tactile communications. I want to throw myself into MY LIFE, not watch other people’s and wish I could do the same. I want to put my efforts back into things that make ME happy – my photography, my health and fitness, my sewing, my baking and cooking, my amazing husband, my incredible dogs. I want to LIVE LIFE, not sit and watch it pass by!

We do, truly, LIVE ONCE – I don’t want to regret the “I should have” moments.

 

*tthhbbbbbt*

 

A

My Friend Lizzie

My New Zealand friend Lizzie (aka Elizabeth Charleston) has been through hell and back. We met many many years ago in Cape Town, and for many reasons (our mutual love of horses, the outdoors and being awesome) we became friends, despite all the crap going on in our lives.

A few years after my massive head injury, she suffered one herself (her horse fell on top of her, causing many injuries, including the head injury that basically stopped her life in its tracks) and we found ourselves consoling, complaining and comparing reactions and stress factors and triggers. Her friendship helped me overcome some terrible psychological issues thanks to the PTSD from my head injury. When she came back to Cape Town for a short visit, we spent quite a few mornings sitting on the stoep (porch) of the house on the farm I was watching for a friend – sipping tea and watching the early morning mists rise off the grass paddocks and the Guinea Fowl flapping and dancing in the dew covered grass. These quiet mornings were therapeutic for both of us.

She’s been through some rough times since then (a secondary knock on the head set her back quite a bit) but she bounced back, and is slowly (as all head injury sufferers will understand – slowly is the best way, or the wheels fall off) climbing back on the (proverbial!) horse of life. She is a staunch advocate and spokeswoman for  THINK! Head Injury Awareness in New Zealand and has made huge ground breaking steps in both removing the stigma of this “invisible” injury and making people more aware of the help they can get, and the steps they can take to live a “normal” life.

She just started a blog and I wanted everyone to check it out – she’s only written one post so far, but that’s the way it goes :)

She is an interesting and clever woman – just give her a chance to “recharge” :) – not to mention one of the most beautiful women I know :)

 

Leaving behind passwords

These days, with the all powerful social media dug into everyone’s life like a burrowed tick – gorging on information: the blood of the internet – there are some “moments” and some awkward issues that you don’t really think about until they appear in your life.

One of these: the death of someone in your family who also happened to be active on social media and online in general raises its multifaceted head quite a bit in my life.
My father passed away over 2 years ago now, and he was a big geek: very active online with multiple projects going on and lots of group involvement. He had a Facebook account and a LinkedIn account and probably many others, but these are the two that I interacted with him on. Knowing my father as I did, I know for a fact that he was highly secretive. There was no way he would let anyone know his passwords – especially to social media.

So now he’s gone: his Facebook account is still “active” and so is his LinkedIn account. His birthday still appears as a Facebook reminder, he still gets “endorsed” on LinkedIn and invited to various groups (I’ve seen him included in various mass invites that I seem to be included in as well) and told to Like pages. People still leave him messages on his wall and leave comments on his photos or anything else he had posted before he died.
My question is: who do you trust with your keys? Who do you tell where all the bodies are buried? You do not know when you will go. You simply do NOT. It could happen any time. We are never prepared for it, really. So at what point do you tell your best friend/partner/spouse/brother/lawyer that in the case of your death, there’s this brown envelope in your desk that has all your passwords. “Please clear my browser history, bro.”

Also – if you ARE entrusted with someone’s passwords, when is the time right to delete their accounts? When do you mark them as “gone” or put an end date on their timeline?
I understand a last will and testament for your possessions, money, etc – but what about your online life? Your gaming avatars? Steam? Your Xbox live account? Your email account?
What about those?
When do you let go? When, and how, do you let their online friends know that you are deleting the character? Or do you just leave it alone? What needs to go, what can stay as a reminder in the ether of the person lost?

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