Making peace

The results of the Global Peace index have just been released and New Zealand is apparently the second most peaceful place in the world to live. The index rates countries based on factors including levels of violence, organised crime and military expenditure.

Norway is first, which is hardly surprising – the only thing they kill over there is whales.

Shaun and I were talking about it this morning. He was surprised “considering the number of people that have been murdered lately”. What?? There is about 1 every 2 months. That may seem like a lot compared to when we were kids, but a murder here is still very much front page news and rocks the country. He seems to forget that in other countries murders don’t even make the papers most of the time.

People here don’t own guns unless they are farmers. We had our first drive by shooting last month and someone died accidentally. We have gangs, but unless you live in a small town you don’t really see them. The closest we get to political corruption is some guy that got some migrants to do some work in his garden without disclosing it.

There was a public uproar last month because the government made it illegal to smack your kid. People seemed to think that they were being robbed of their human rights. I guess they forgot that the kids that were being whacked are humans with rights too.

I walk alone through the city in the dark without fear. I don’t carry pepper spray in my bag. I will let my kids walk to school. Hell, there are even times when I forget to lock my car.

This place is paradise. Let’s not take it for granted.

Nothing to see here.

Very, very occasionally I sit down to write in my blog and I just can’t think of anything to say. It’s not that nothing has happened, it’s just that I can’t think of an entertaining spin to put on it. I didn’t embarass myself at the gym this morning. I didn’t forget to bring underwear to work. I don’t have any exceptionally strong feelings that are busting to get out.

It’s funny really. People often tell me that there is no way they could blog every day because interesting things just don’t happen to them. So? You think interesting things happen to me? Occasionally, but only as a result of my own stupidity! As a general rule I just manage to spin normal, everyday things into a mass of smoke and mirrors.

On days like this, I sometimes write about the things that I love about a specific person in my life. For some reason I don’t feel motivated to do that today, so it’d feel kind of contrived. I feel like I’ve done more than enough raving about my exercise regime and my health of late.

I could talk about how I recovered some old chairs last night. I’m sure that’d have you on the edge of your seats (I’d say excuse the pun, but I think that might be asking a bit much). Or I could quickly go and back my car into something in order to rave about how bad a driver I am, but I suspect that would be more likely to result in a post about how my husband has confiscated my car from me, so I’ll give it a miss.

Nothing amazing is going on with the weather and it’s just an average day at work. I haven’t done a Youthline shift for a couple of weeks. I got some new boxing gloves on Monday but I haven’t used them yet. I’m not working on any particularly exciting projects and I don’t have any really annoying clients at the moment.

It’s just life as usual. As it turns out, I’ve managed to rave on about absolutely nothing for 6 paragraphs.

And I’ve just wasted 10 minutes of your life.

The cat that nobody wants

Before we got Julio and Les, Shaun ‘hated’ cats. Well that’s what he said. He grew up hating them because his dad does (supposedly). They are a dog family. So when we bought our first house and I ordered two cats, he took a bit of convincing. We saw a photo of them before they arrived. According to Shaun, Julio looked more dog like, so he was ‘Shaun’s cat’ and Les was mine. That worked well for me, because when they arrived, it became apparent that Julio was lacking a bit on the intelligence front. Well that’s what I’d tell Shaun anyway.

Shaun loved both cats the second they arrived (as did I). I even busted his dad letting them sleep in the bed once when they were staying with us.

It became an interesting social experiment for us. I would tease Shaun about ‘his’ cat and he would berate me for loving one more than the other. He said that he was worried I might do that with our children. I told him that of course I would, if one child was stupid. 😉

So the lighthearted teasing went on for years. ‘My’ cat was smaller and cuter and smarter. ‘Shaun’s’ cat spends a LOT of time on the couch and has the tendency to love people to death – which can be exhausting due to the fact that he is almost 8kg of solid muscle. I know it sounds hard to believe, but there were times when my teasing would become tiring for Shaun. I learned my lesson the hard way though, when my cat was killed.

Well so you’d think.

I got around it by claiming Shaun’s cat. I started a whole new round of teasing. I invited my new best mate Julio out onto the lawn to play a game. Shaun and his cat Chico weren’t invited.

Then last night Shaun asked me why he had to have the cat that no one wanted. We looked at Chico and he looked back at us and it just about broke my heart.

I’m not going to tease any more.

Mr Personality

I had a weekend of celebrations and injuries. Saturday morning was the last session of Bootcamp. It was pretty hard work. We spent a couple of hours crawling on our stomachs through swamps and swimming down freezing rivers. Due to a couple of episodes of insubordination, I had to carry a 40 gallon drum up a hill on my back. I guess I didn’t put it down carefully enough because not long afterwards it came barrelling down the hill at high speed, straight towards my platoon. In a selfless act of bravery, I took it out with a flying tackle.

OK, it took me out. And split open my elbow.

We had a celebratory bbq afterwards. Our instructor declared me to be the first woman he has ever met with balls. I was quite proud.

Last night were the Lewisham Foundation Hospitality Awards. As mentioned last week, Dave (and Suite) were up for three awards. It’s fair to say that we were more than a little overexcited. As a result I got careless (ok, drunk) and had a couple of wardrobe malfunctions. Whilst standing on the balcony of a top floor hotel suite in the middle of the city I had a Marilyn Monroe moment. I looked just like her actually, only not beautiful, blonde or busty. At least my underwear matched my dress.

The second incident was not quite so classy. Whilst attempting a treacherous road crossing in 4 inch stilettos I took a fall and sprained my ankle. I sure am glad there’s no Bootcamp this morning. (Although to be honest, that’s more because of my hangover than my injuries).

Anyway, back to Dave. Suite took Best Wine List and I am a (slightly broken) sibling of the NZ Hospitality Personality of the Year.

I’m proud of you little brother.

Powered down

Last night was weird. Typical of course, because Shaun is out of the country. Something always seems to happen when I’m left home alone.

I had kickboxing after work. It was a particularly hard workout and I was dripping with sweat. There was some blood as well unfortunately, as a result of my trainer standing on my stomach while I was doing crunches. So I was badly in need of a shower. More than badly in need.

I got home and let myself into the house. I turned the lights on in the lounge and noticed that they were only kinda half strength. It was like the dimmer was down, only it wasn’t. I thought perhaps Shaun had changed the bulbs and I hadn’t noticed. It wasn’t really bright enough to see. The same in the kitchen. The ones in the bathroom and study didn’t go at all.

The TV was working but the stereo wasn’t. That was annoying since the sound from the TV goes through the stereo. The microwave was working but at half power. It was turning at half speed and took 10 minutes to heat a bowl of pasta. The fridge was doing the beeping thing that it does when you leave the door open. It was incessant. After a couple of minutes I opened it and punched the back wall of it so hard that it stopped. I suspect it will never start again.

I stripped out of my wet clothes ready to have a shower. I noticed that the neighbour’s place was completely dark, so there was no point in messing with the fuses (which would have just been asking for trouble) because it was clearly not just us. While I was peering out at the neighbour’s place I noticed him standing at his window in the dark, watching me. I waved. He ran off. I thought that was strange until I realised I was standing in the middle of the semi-lit kitchen, naked.

Anyway, I turned on the shower and waited for it to heat up. It didn’t. There was no way I could get away without having one and I couldn’t put it off any longer because it’s winter here and I was starting to get pretty cold. Apparently the pump that brings the hot water up from downstairs had no power. I jumped in and HOLY MOTHER OF GOD was it cold. I suffered the excrutiating needles of ice water for the shortest possible time. I had to wash my hair. I thought I was going to get hypothermia.

Just as I was stepping out, the power came back on. Typical.

Damn you and your procrastination

Shaun is a very giving person. He does a lot for me and I am grateful. But there are times when it really screws things up for me. Those are the times when he procrastinates. If it only affected him, that’d be fine. It wouldn’t be my business. But unfortunately it doesn’t.

He used to have this habit of deliberately ignoring traffic tickets until he got a warning letter. He said he was doing it to make the council do more printing (he is a printing specialist at a photocopier company). It always seemed to go horribly wrong and we’d end up with fines and court costs. I put a stop to that habit.

Then he’d announce that we were going on holiday somewhere and that he was going to organise it. A week before we would be due to leave he’d decide that he’d better book the tickets, which were by that stage about 5 times as expensive. I put a stop to that habit as well.

The most recent incident is a bit more difficult and the fallout is significantly larger. I was lent a scanner some time ago by a girl that was a friend at the time. As the result of a series of unfortunate incidences, I no longer want to have anything to do with her. The end of our friendship was painful and drawn out. I had to be the fall guy for my group of friends, none of whom wanted anything to do with her. Somehow that kind of thing always ends up with me.

I decided to box up her stuff and send it back so that she had no excuse to try and contact me. Shaun kindly volunteered to drop it off during the day so that she would be at work. I had to bite the bullet and email her for an address. It instigated another series of painful emails and heartache. She wanted to talk things through. I still want nothing to do with her but I don’t have it in me to just be plain hurtful about it.

That was over 2 months ago.

The day before yesterday Shaun called me to say that he was around at her house but the place was empty so I’d have to contact her again for a new address. No f*cking shit! It’s been over 2 months.

I tell you what, he’s lucky our place wasn’t empty when he got home.

Personal Best

Today is a good day!

This morning was the last Wednesday morning that I’ll be hauling ass to Bootcamp at 0550. Today was the day that we have been working towards for the last 5 weeks. On Day 1 we did fitness testing. It involved military style press-ups (hands under shoulders and elbows skimming rib cage, chest dropping to 5 cm above the ground – much, MUCH harder than a standard press-up), sit-ups and a 2.4km run. Our results were recorded and the aim was to see how much we could improve.

I was a little frustrated about the sit-ups. There was a limit of 130. Once you reached that you had to stop. I would have thought that 200 was a more realistic limit. Anyhow…

My original results were 25 press-ups, 130 sit-ups and 11mins 55secs for the run. I was highly doubtful that I would be able to improve on the press-ups. I do more strength work at boxing than at BC. The run was always going to be a shoo-in. I had to run the first one holding onto my guts because I still had gaping wounds from the surgery.

I decided to do some press-ups last night to see. I got to 23 and I was burning. I figured I could do two more when both Julio and Chico decided to have a fight underneath of me. By the time they vacated I had lost momentum. I wasn’t feeling confident.

Anyhow, I’ve rambled long enough. I managed to pull it out of the bag. I hit the sit-up limit again, managed to haul out 34 press-ups and shaved 41 seconds of my run.

I guess hanging out with the platoon of monkeys for a month hasn’t all been in vain.

This white girl can’t dance

I am a bad dancer. I have always been a bad dancer. I have no natural sense of rhythm. As a teenager I was part of a dancing troupe for a couple of years. I was always hidden WAY down the back where I couldn’t be seen. Or I was the ‘very important’ character in the show that had to run across the stage once, never to be seen again. Because that’s what I’d do. Run. There is just no dance in me.

At my gym there is one fitness class that I won’t do. Yup, you heard it here folks. There is a fitness class that I WON’T do. It’s called BodyJam. They describe it as a ‘dance cardio workout’ and that is exactly what it is. I tried it once for 5 minutes. After flailing my arms around for a while in what appeared to be an attempt to save myself from drowning, I noticed that people were staring at me. I skulked out, never to return.

For all of my dancing disasters, one thing I can do it keep in time to music. It never really occurred to me that anyone couldn’t. This morning in Step class it became apparent that some people can’t. There was a woman in front of me who appeared to be working out to an entirely different set of songs. She wasn’t just getting the routines wrong, she was jumping when no one else was. It was hilarious. Especially when she would do this purposeful march around her step about 20 seconds after everyone else had.

There is a guy at Bootcamp that has similar issues. He can’t keep in time to counting. When we do things ‘in cadence’ we have to count out loud. Like with star jumps. You count out loud when your arms go in the air. He counts in between our counts. How can he not notice? He does it every time. He never gets told off though. I do. For laughing.

Every time actually. I guess I’m the idiot.

The gremlin

On Saturday morning Chico had his second shot, so we decided to train him to use the cat door. Well, to be honest, we decided to tape it open so that he no longer has to be shut inside. It’s nice to have the time out…

Things were going pretty well. Julio was so sweet. Wherever Chico went, Julio followed. There is no doubt that he was protecting him. After a couple of hours, Julio came running inside howling. That went on for a couple of minutes. He quite often does it and I usually deal with it by howling back at him. It’s therapeutic.

The reason for the racket became apparent a few minutes later. We were making the bed when I tripped over something. I looked down and just about lost the contents of my bladder. A gremlin was in the bedroom. It was about the size of Chico, but it was dripping and completely covered in green slime. It looked a little distressed and sorry for itself. After half an hour of grooming, the gremlin turned out to be Chico. He had obviously fallen into some kind of pond or planter box or something. I assume he had trouble getting out and Julio was trying to tell us.

The newly clean fluffy kitten made a quick recovery and celebrated by running around the house at top speed for an hour. That game came to and end when he ran at pace into the bathroom and jumped straight down the toilet.

I hope human babies are a little easier to control.


I am feeling a bit flat. I can feel the collective eye rolling all around the world from those of you that have been telling me to slow down and let myself recover. I hear you. But I’m not sure that you understand the enormity of what you suggest.

I was always prepared to take the requisite 7 days off work, and then ease back into exercise slowly. I did that. Then I got the cold and took more time off. To my mind, I have eased back in slowly. This week (a whole month after surgery) was my first full week back at boxing and Bootcamp.

Anyway, as you know, I’m still struggling with this infection. I am half way through the second course of antibiotics and it is showing no signs of letting up. I have been lying to mum about the amount of exercise that I’ve been doing – she says that my body needs the energy to fight the infection.

The rational part of me knows that she is right. Unfortunately the irrational part of me is far stronger. After so many years of living with an eating disorder, exercise is my way of staying healthy, but physically and mentally. If you have ever suffered from bulimia, you know that it is never, ever something that you ‘get over’. It is something that you learn to cope with by finding healthy strategies. Mine is to exercise. That way I can eat and drink and enjoy life without being obsessive about my eating.

The moment I stop with the exercise, I start battling with those old demons.

I’m just not prepared to go back there.