Boxing commando

Yesterday was interesting. Each night I pack my bag ready with gym gear and work clothes for the next day.  I pretty much do it without thinking. On Wednesday night I clearly did it without thinking at all. Yesterday lunch time I went to get changed for boxing and discovered that I’d packed no workout bra or underwear. Dilemma.

Obviously, not working out was not an option, leaving only two other possibilities. I could go commando and bra-less, or I could wear my work underwear and then have to continue to wear it for the rest of the day once it was soaked through with sweat. Mmmmm.

I tried option one.  It became quickly apparent that that was not going to be appropriate. My top was one of those Nike Fit ones. They are skin tight, semi-see-through camo and completely unforgiving. It is the middle of winter – it was 8 degrees at the time. I looked like some kind of commando porn-star wannabe. I would have been taking my life into my own hands if I had’ve worn that into a boxing gym full of men.

So the work bra it was. That was fine whilst working out. Afterwards I had my shower and went to put it back on. First I had to wring it out. Seriously. I put it on and it was stone cold and wet. Nice. Then things got worse.

Obviously, as the afternoon wore on, the bra was going to dry out. Dried out sweat is never the most pleasant of things. So you can imagine my dismay when I discovered that I had run out of deodorant. Excellent.

I did a scout around and came up with a couple of other options. I could either smear myself in liniment or douse myself in toilet spray.

If it happens again I’ll choose the liniment.


It all started yesterday. I was driving down the road and it was the most amazingly clear, still winter day. I played this game that I play with myself on occasion (stop it…) where I try to think of anything in my life that is less that ideal. I came up a blank. I was full of the joys of life.

I got to work and was having my shower. I guess I was smiling because a colleague asked me what was going on. I told her that it was the most amazingly beautiful day and that I was genuinely happy to be alive. That could conceivably have been eye-rollingly sickening, but as it turned out, it had the opposite effect. She left the bathroom several minutes later thanking me for picking up her day. (I have to be careful. I don’t want to get a reputation for cheering people up in bathrooms.)

I went home yesterday evening still feeling especially bouyant. It had the same effect on Shaun. We have started packing up the house, which tends to make one feel a bit stressed. But no, our house is all rainbows and sunshine. Even the cats seems particularly content.

I went to Youthline and in my entire three hour shift, not a single person called. That hasn’t happened to me in my 2.5 years as a phone counselor.

And this morning, nature came to the party. For the second time this month I feel moved to post a picture of the sunrise.

Sunset over Mt Wellington

Sunset over Mt Wellington

It doesn’t get much better than that.

As good as a holiday

It’s a pretty transitional time for me at the moment. There are things changing all over the show. All good, but change always takes a bit of getting used to. I’m not someone that’s afraid of it, in fact as a general rule I welcome it, but it’s just human nature to hold on to what you know.

Moving time is approaching fast. In just over a month we’ll be in the new house. Well, more like a month and a half, but two weeks of that we’ll be overseas. So last night we started packing. Just the bookshelf, but it kind of signified the beginning of the end (at our current place). The reason that we’ve only started with the bookshelf is that Shaun wanted to do the packing. I have a ridiculously complicated packing system, meaning that the bookshelf was the only thing he was courageous enough to try. Ok, the only thing I’d let him touch.

We will actually be on holiday when the house settles and then we’re renting it for a few days off the new owner, so we have to be all packed before we go away. We’ll be camping in our own place. Weird.

Another change on the horizon is a new gym. My trainer has left Ringside. I’m going to continue to box there but I’m following him to the new place for kickboxing. Wow. I kinda like the fact that I know that place inside out. I’m part of the furniture there, albeit a very loud, clumsy piece of furniture. People are just used to me. It means that when I spinning backfist myself right out of the ring it doesn’t matter. Or when I get my foot caught in the ropes and fall into the middle of a class people hardly even notice any more. A whole new group of people means I have to go through it all again! But part of me is excited about it.

The last change has already taken place. Yesterday I got a new work PC. Boy, it’s true what they say about a change being as good as a holiday. I couldn’t wait to get to work this morning! This thing rocks! I’ve got my old one on a switch while I get this baby up to speed, but so far so good. I no longer have to spend the first 45 minutes of my day waiting for all my apps to load up.

Holy hell. I sure am going to be productive now!

Liar liar pants on fire

One of my friends found out recently that her boyfriend has been seeing another girl behind her back. He’s effectively been living a double life. My immediate reaction was one of disbelief. He seemed so completely in love. Admittedly their relationship has been slightly rocky, but that is usually as a result of her not knowing what she wants, not him.

He is older than us and is feeling pressure to settle down. She wasn’t certain that he was the person she wanted to do that with, but she like having him around. He looked after her and it was an easy option. I guess he started looking elsewhere.

Once her initial anger wore off, she listened to his story. It gave her a shock. It gave us all a shock. During a period of being separated, he met this other woman. She is a single mother who lives a simple life out west. She worships the ground that he walks on. She is looking for a man that wants to get married and live a quiet life. She has no financial expectations of him. She doesn’t care what he wears or what his manners are like. She just loves him.

Huh? It began to sound as though he wasn’t getting those things from my friend. And it’s true. He wasn’t. She, like me and the rest of our friends, have always considered ourselves low maintenance. And we are. We are right at the bottom end of a very high maintenance circle. We take for granted the things that we have. We just expect things.

We have never stopped to think about the kind of pressure that those expectations must put on a man. As women we feel like we get a raw deal with trying to juggle careers and children and fertility and body image issues and all those sorts of things. We think that men have it easy. But I guess they don’t.

The reason he was seeing this other woman was because she loved him for who he was, not what he could provide. He was feeling pressure to earn a certain income and buy a certain type of birthday gift and drive a certain type of car. As soon as the truth came out, he felt like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders. He quit the high paying job that he hated. Now he can find something that he actually likes doing.

Hell, who could blame a man for running for the hills? It’s certainly made me think.

Someone else’s body.

This weekend has been quite a hard one for me. Not in my usual holy-hell-it’s-been-a-hard-weekend kinda way. Quite the opposite actually. I’m chemical free. Well, that’s not strictly true. I think I inhaled some leaf spray on Saturday whilst killing aphids, but you don’t get much cleaner than that.

On Saturday I started taking the fertility drug Clomiphene. They recommend that you avoid alcohol and caffeine whilst taking it, in order to maximise the effects. I’ve known this for quite some time, but I’ve managed to compartmentalise it in my head and ignore it. It became very real very fast.

I got up early on Saturday to go to boxing. I couldn’t have my pre-training Red Bull. When I was done I got home and couldn’t have my usual coffee whilst reading the paper. Every time I felt thirsty and went to the fridge I had to remind myself that the Coke Zero was out of bounds. We had Shaun’s parents staying for the weekend. Around 4pm they brought out the wine and cheese. No wine for me. We went up the Sky Tower for dinner. For the first time in my life I ordered a virgin cocktail. I couldn’t even say it without laughing. No wine with dinner. It was starting to wear a bit thin by that stage. (Nothing compared to lunch at the vineyard on Sunday, though.)

You’d think that all this clean living would mean that I was full of the joys of life. Nope. I seem to have been robbed of that as well! I am tired and irritable. I worked hard all weekend to keep the irritability in check but the exhaustion was harder to handle. I had to have day sleeps both days.

It gets even more annoying. I need to go to the bathroom every 5 minutes. Well so it seems. Weird. It’s not like I’m full of booze and coffee. Since I’m purging fluid at such a great rate, why the hell am I bloated like [some revolting bloated thing]? (See? I can’t think either.)

On the up side, my breasts seem to be growing. On the down side, who the hell needs great breasts if the rest of them looks like a pig?

Well, it’s finally happened…

…I’m getting tired of the parties.

Do you think perhaps I’m growing up? It’s sort of sneaked up on me. Last Saturday night was a big one. It was Fight Night and I rolled in around 9am on Sunday, when Shaun came and collected me (he had sensibly headed home around midnight). I spent all of Sunday on the couch and on Monday I was feeling too lazy to go to boxing. I think I’m getting too old for this game.

I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I’m relieved. I have always harboured a (not so secret) fear of how much my life will have to change when I have children and how difficult I will find it. On the other hand, I feel this sad kind of nostalgia for the past that I’ll be letting go of.

People around me are reacting a bit strangely to it as well. A couple of weekends ago I had an extreme sport event at 6:30 on Saturday morning, so I announced on Friday night that I would only be having a couple of drinks. All hell broke loose. The people that I was out with divided into two teams. The one that looked like the world had just ended and the one that looked like I’d just told the biggest lie that they had ever heard. There were even complaints! What kind of monster have I created?

I am going to be starting fertility treatment in the near future. That will mean no caffeine and very limited alcohol for a couple of weeks each cycle (and no more cigarettes or mind altering substances). In that regard I guess I’m pleased that I’m headed in that direction at least to some degree already.

My friends all started slowing down quite some time ago. Admittedly that is because they all got broken to some degree, but I guess they’ve been waiting for me to catch up. Well I have. I’m here.

I’m not sure how I feel about it but I’m willing to give being a grown-up a shot.

For granted

It’s a cliche to say that you don’t know what you’ve got until you lose it, but boy is it true. I think it’s probably important to be reminded occasionally in order to be truly appreciative.

Last night I got home and planned out my evening. I had some work to get done, some chores to do and some packing for today (more on that later). I decided to get them done as soon as I got home so that I could then relax on the couch and enjoy a rare treat – some TV.

So, with work and dinner out of the way, I sat down in front of the fire to watch CSI. The cats and I had just settled in when the power went off. Annoying. We sat there waiting for it to come back on. And waiting. And waiting. After half an hour it became apparent that it wasn’t going to be coming back on any time soon. We called the power company and the recorded message said that the cause of the fault was unknown and it would be an estimated 2 hours before the resumption of service.

Well how incredibly inconvenient! Luckily, due to the very real threat of bird flu killing the entire population of this country, we have an emergency kit containing candles and stuff. (It is possible that in the face of a bird flu epidemic, people will shut off our power when they raid our house to try and steal out Tamiflu). The fire was also throwing out some light. I was grateful that we weren’t relying on electric heating and that we’d already had dinner. What I hadn’t ever really thought about was how much we rely on electricity to be entertained. No TV, no stereo, no computer, no lights for reading. It was only 8pm so it was too early to go to bed. We were faced with the scary prospect of having to have actual conversation. As luck would have it, the power came back on 2 minutes before the start of CSI. Perfect.

The second thing that I take for granted is my car. That is surprising really, considering the fact that when I started having seizures I couldn’t drive for a year. That was only 2.5 years ago. How quickly we forget. Today my car is in getting serviced. Shaun dropped me off. Not surprisingly, the forecast is for horrendous storms today. It’s Thursday – kick boxing straight after work. Shaun, bless his heart, has planned for us to meet friends at the pub after that. He plans approximately one thing a year, and this year it happens to be today.

So… I meticulously packed workout gear, showering gear and going out gear all into one gym bag that I can carry on my back when I run from work to the gym. It was no mean feat. It reminded me of the days when I would have to pack my work clothes into a back pack small enough to carry on my back for the 10km run from home to work. I don’t miss those days.

Anyhow, I get to work just in time to get a text from my trainer, canceling today’s session.

Oh well, if nothing else it’s reminded me of how lucky I am.

It’s your truth, not mine.

Sunrise over Auckland

This morning there was the most amazing sunrise. This photo doesn’t do it justice. It looked like the sky was on fire. Looking at it made me feel happy to be alive. I was having my shower thinking that today is going to be a great day. I’m at a good place in my life and I’m grateful for what I have.

Then I sat down at my desk and started my daily routine. I checked one of the forums that I am staff on and discovered a personal attack by a friend. I figured that he must have been kidding, because it was so weird. I asked him. He wasn’t. So I asked him why on earth he decided to attack me out of the blue, first thing in my morning, for no reason at all. (He says I’ve changed as a result of being on the staff. He says I’ve ‘sold out’.) He said that telling the truth isn’t an attack.

It’s not even the truth. It’s his personal opinion. It’s like when someone has one of those days when they’re not looking their best. (I’ve heard that other people have those.) Is there anything to be achieved by telling them? All it serves to do is upset them. It certainly doesn’t make them look better. It’s cruel, thoughtless and self-serving.

The effect it had on me was so profound that it shocked me. I felt this huge ball of rage and disgust inside of me. I briefly entertained tears, but the anger was bigger. I’m not pissed that he has that opinion – that’s his right. I’m hurt and angry that he would choose to publicly attack me over something that is so trivial. If it’s an issue for him, why not email me?

I was grateful to have an appointment with my physiotherapist just now. It gave me a chance to get away from my computer and cool off.

Now I’m still hurt, but the rage has subsided.

He almost ruined my day, but in order for that to happen I’d have to let him.

Blowing off steam

Disclaimer: This is a long and conceivably boring rant, but I just have to get it off my chest.

When it comes to my design business, some jobs are great. They take very little time and the client loves them immediately. Other jobs are not so great. They start out simple (so I quote accordingly) but they end up long, drawn out and stressful. That’s the case with the branding job I’m currently embroiled in.

It is for a kitchen designer. I should have known that designing for another designer was never going to be much fun. His brief was almost non-existent, which surprised me. I kinda thought that he’d know how frustrating that is.

Anyway… with the brand nailed down we moved on to business cards. That dragged out for over a month. We finally settled on a design and I got it ready for print. He decided to use his own printer so I sent him print ready files. He signed off the proof and when the cards came back he asked me if a 3mm bleed was standard on print files. Huh? He shouldn’t see bleed on his finished cards. Turns out he thought that the noise and pixelation around the text was bleed. It wasn’t. It was a screw up. He sent me a card sample. The printing was abysmal.

I told him to contact his printer to ask for a reprint. They emailed me saying that the files were dodgy. I rechecked and resent. There was nothing wrong with the files. They came back with some email that went around in circles saying that they were only 72 dpi. What a load of crap. When I confronted them I got a call from the branch manager. He told me that when he blows the file up to twice the size of a business card that the text isn’t clean. So? Even if that was true (which it isn’t), we don’t want business cards that are twice the size. They know they have screwed up but they just won’t admit it.

Their final ridiculous call is that they don’t accept pdfs that are compressed from Photoshop. They only accept InDesign files. It is the first I have heard (after several conversations and numerous emails) and it seems rather strange considering the fact that the pdfs I created were done off a spec sheet that was provided to me by them!

So last night I went home and opened InDesign for the first time. I spent my entire evening learning it on the fly and recreating the file. Seems to have worked reasonably well and they are happy with it, but it is the hardest couple of grand I have ever earned.