The goose is cooked.

Last night I had a pretty broken sleep. For some reason, the alarm on one of our cars kept going off randomly through the night. It went at 2am, 4am and 5:10am. There was no one in the yard and no apparent reason for it to have been triggered.

The car is a BMW. I don’t know if it’s the same with all BMers, but out one has an alarm that is just the world’s loudest repetitive beep. It doesn’t even sound like a car alarm. Doesn’t seem like the most sensible idea for an alarm.

Anyway, every time it went off last night, I somehow incorporated it into my dream as a microwave. The first time I heard it, I dreamed that I was getting a roast chicken out. Weird – I’ve never even seen anyone roast a chicken in a microwave – I don’t think you can.

The second time I was shouting at Shaun (in my dream) to go and get the dinner out of the microwave.

The third time was weird. I thought the microwave was faulty because it wouldn’t stop beeping, so I was going to take it to the shop. I was annoyed though because I had to walk there – the car had been stolen.

Don’t brains work in crazy ways?

It’s not the drinking…

…it’s how we’re drinking.

For those of you that don’t live in NZ, that is a current ad campaign on TV. We have a huge drinking culture here. The misconception is that it is young people, but apparently 60% of binge drinkers are over the age of 30.

My mum has always gone on about binge drinking. We are certainly guilty of it in our family (with the exception of mum and dad). She says that among other things, one session can cause a decreased sperm count for up to 3 months. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but when I told Shaun he went white.

Last weekend I got really angry with Shaun for pretty much the first time in 6 years. He isn’t handling his booze at the moment and gets these awful hangovers. I have always had the attitude that partying shouldn’t get in the way of other responsibilities (which is pretty easy for me as I don’t really get hangovers). Anyway, we had agreed that I’d get up and do all my weekend chores and Shaun’s so that he could cut the hedge. It was getting really long and he reckons I don’t do it properly…

I got up and cleaned all morning and he just stayed in bed. I was really hacked off. I went round to mum and dad’s place to cool off so that we didn’t have a fight. When I got back he had chopped the hedge, mowed the lawn and finished the laundry.

I asked mum what she qualifies as a binge drinking session. She said anything that gives you a hangover.

Brilliant.

Shaun can have 4 beers and I can have a keg.

Thanks for the things I take for granted.

I remember when I was a teenager and I used to wish that I had perfect skin. I always thought that I would rather be overweight than have bad skin, because at least I could do something about it (theoretically). To have spots was frustrating and at times it affected my confidence.

To be fair, it could have been worse. I didn’t have acne or anything, but still, I always had pimples and there were days when it was downright crappy. It was frustrating.

I was in the bathroom in the gym this morning and I noticed my skin. It’s flawless. I can run my hands over it and it is absolutely perfect. It’s been like that for a few years now (admittedly I did take medication for a few months a while back to get it that way) and I don’t think I’ve ever stopped to be grateful for it. This morning when I noticed it, I remembered how I used to feel and it made me wonder what other things have passed me by without me stopping to appreciate them.

It’s easy to take things for granted. They seem like such small things now, but there was a time when they rocked my world.

That crazy interweb thing.

Well, after months of designing websites for other people, I’ve finally managed to get my own up and running. Just like my branding, I found it nearly impossible to write a site that I am happy with. It’s a whole different kind of pressure!

Now that it’s finished I’m absolutely stoked, but every time I look at it I see things that need to be changed or improved. It is very lucky that I don’t have an obsessive compulsive personality (which IS different from an addictive one) or this could become a bit of a problem for me. I feel like I want to spend hours doing research to find new technologies or strategies to use, but that would be (a) to the detriment of my other work and (b) just plain unhealthy!

So here it is folks. Constructive criticism appreciated…

wedding invitations

Ok – so that’s not really what the site is called (it’s actually Eye for Design), but I want the anchor text…!

Blood sports

We went to the K-1 on Saturday night. My boxing trainer was fighting. It was awesome. I didn't realise how tense I was until his fight was over. I think I expended about 1000 calories by sitting there with every muscle in my body clenched.

As a general rule I don't like blood sports. There is something pretty gross about watching two people beat each other up. As an ex-martial artist I appreciate the sportsmanship side of it, but in judo you don't tend to see the same level of violence as you do in kick-boxing, and at K-1 level it doesn't get much more violent. Except maybe cage fighting.

I've only been once before and the crowd was so violent that I couldn't handle it. It wasn't like that this time, and knowing someone that is fighting makes it that much more exciting. Anyway, he won, so he goes on to the next round in the Kings of Oceania championships.

It's fair to say that I'm a new fan.

On the border

Last night I went to a seminar on Borderline Personality Disorder. People with BPD make up a large group of the callers that I get at Youthline, but I have never had a good understanding of what the disorder involves and what causes it.

To be honest, I don't know much about any kind of psychological disorder. I recognise the symptoms and I know how to help them on the phones – that was part of my training, but I have never really understood what it is that they have to deal with on a daily basis.

Callers with BPD are some of the hardest to deal with. Many of them present with extreme emotions, one of which is often anger. They get angry with you on the phone, and that can be hard to deal with. You have to have your own personal boundaries in order to stay safe on the phone, but I often have inner conflict with regard to self-care and client-care. It can be daunting.

The key thing that I learned last night is that people with BPD are really just people that have trouble managing extreme or difficult emotions. The symptoms they have all tend to be ways of dealing with those emotions, whether it be cutting, extreme dependance, suicidal thoughts or any number of other things.

The underlying issue for BPD callers is always a tricky emotion that they are struggling with. Sometimes they are aware of it, other times they are not. The job of any person that is trying to help them is to assist them in coming up with healthy alternative ways for them to deal with that hard emotion.

Such a simple concept but a matter of life and death for some.

Grace and dignity

A couple of people I know have done embarrassing things lately. The details aren't important, but they are things that just want to make them want to curl up and die. I was interested (but not surprised) that they asked me for advice. I have done lots of embarrassing things.

There are two key things to remember once you have done something that you regret. The first is that you cannot undo it. What is done is done. All you can do is minimise the damage.

The second (and more important thing) is that people are going to remember how you deal with it as vividly as they remember what it was that you did in the first place.

I remember a school camp when I was younger. We were playing some sort of game in the bush and I was desperately trying to impress a guy that I really liked. Everyone liked him, so there was some competition. During the game I had a bit of an accident and ended up falling into a swamp and cutting my hand open on a stick. When I jumped out of the mud, my pants stayed behind. I was mortified and bleeding, but I laughed along with everyone else.

I was pretty sure that I had blown it with the boy, but in a crazy twist of fate, we ended up together. Months later when we were talking about our relationship, he told me that what had first attracted him to me was the way I dealt with the swamp situation and my ability to laugh at myself.

So ultimately in this life, things are going to happen to all of us that are humiliating. If you carry yourself with grace and dignity when they do, it is those things that you will be remembered for.

Thank God for the ‘flu

This morning turned into a bit of a rigmarole. It is my first day back at work after a couple of days at home sick. I thought I might head to the gym and sit on a bike for half an hour, rather than do a normal workout. Otherwise I thought I'd have trouble waking up. I got into the car and went to start it but absolutely nothing happened. I figured perhaps there was something wrong with my immobiliser. I have one of those ones where the beeper has to be within a certain distance of the ignition or it won't start. I went inside to get the spare one, but still nothing.

Then I realised that the internal light wasn't fading off like it usually does when the door is shut. Probably because I turned it on last night to check the odometer reading and never turned it off. Damn it.

Usually Shaun would still be in bed for another hour so we could swap cars, but as fate would have it, today he had a 6:30am sales meeting so was in the shower. I don't have an AA membership but he does. He asked me in the weekend if I wanted one, but I told him not to bother because I'd never use it. Typical.

We decided to push the car out onto the street and crash start it. Unfortunately it was halfway down our long, sloped driveway. After a huge amount of effort, we managed to push it out to the curb, where it got stuck. It weighs an absolute tonne, and I am only running on half strength due to being sick. We spent 15 minutes trying to bounce it out of the curb onto the road, but each time we got it there a car would come and we'd have to push it back. This happened 4 times – you'd think one of the cars would have stopped to help. One guy even commented "Bummer guys" as he drove past. Bastard.

We realised that it just wasn't going to happen so we left it on the curb and I called AA and did my best (which was pretty crap to be honest) at sweet talking them into coming out even though Shaun wasn't going to be there. They decided to do a one off call out since he has been a member for 15 years. Nice of them. They said they would be there within the hour.

I knew that once they got there I would have to leave straight away to recharge the battery so I stayed in my gym gear. After an hour of doing nothing they called back to say that a guy would be leaving in 10 minutes. I figured I'd quickly jump in the shower so that I wasn't really late for work. Of course, the second I did, he arrived.

The upshot of the story is that our combined lack of strength has saved us $25,000. I was telling this story to the AA guy (who just wanted to talk about the pros and cons of 2.5 litre Imprezas) who told me that you should never crash start Subarus. Apparently it would have "blown the 4WD unit out of the bonnet".

I think it is the one and only time I am going to be grateful for being sick.

Social illnesses

I have a compromised immune system as a result of the medication that I take. I know that but I choose to ignore it. It means that I get sick (either a cold or the flu) 3 or 4 times each winter. If I look after myself I can minimise the damage, but it's tricky because I tend to go back to the gym earlier than I should.

There is a pattern to my getting sick. Every time I go out and have a huge party weekend, I get sick the following week. Everyone knows it. I have a friend that wonders what party she has missed out on if I'm not at work.

I haven't really been out and had a huge weekend for ages. I had decided that for the sake of responsibility (and the fact that I've sort of grown out of it) that it was time to slow down and get healthy. But occasionally it has to be done, so the weekend just gone I did. And now I'm sick. I feel like I have been hit by a truck. I don't really have a sore throat or anything, but every muscle in my body aches and I am sleeping more than I am awake. It's not too bad – at least I get to stay home in front of the fire. I always have this guilt when I am not at work though. Probably because I know this illness is partly my own doing.

I tell you what though – the weekend was worth it!

Culture Club

When I was a kid, mum and dad used to take us to shows all the time. Some of them completely captivated me (like the circus), and I would sleep through others (like operas in other languages). Almost always I would leave thinking how cool it would be to have that sort of talent. I did both dancing and acting when I was young, but it's fair to say that I sucked at both. I was always the character in the background that was carefully hidden behind props.

I realised a couple of months ago, that apart from circuses (I have an obsession), we don't go to any shows. So last night we went to Stomp. It was FANTASTIC! Such a cool idea. It was just 8 people onstage, and they didn't speak once. They did amazing things with household items like brooms, water cooler bottles, folding chairs and zippos. It was all about rhythm and movement.

I usually have trouble sitting still for more than an hour at a time, but last night 2 hours flew by without me even noticing.

If Stomp comes to your town, I highly recommend checking it out.