Ode to underpants, small u

I grew up with the fear of God in me. The spoken wisdom: Always leave the house with clean underwear. If you have an accident at least you will have clean underpants.

Wearing underpants began out of fear. Venturing outdoors past the gate meant underpants first. Exploring in trees in parks, hanging upside down on jungle gyms and looking for bugs: underpants first, safety second.

Underpants were exchanged daily. They were dropped onto the unclean laundry pile in the wash-house and they were hung on the line outside and brought indoors, folded and returned to the tallboy drawers, ready for another important mission.

From cotton practical basics to so-called attractive uncomfortable micro sized underpants, these were worn throughout my life. Yes, those ones which seem to serve no purpose, the ones which do not cover the back side2w, were tried in the past. The ones that were itchy and rode up the backseat throughout the entire journey. What is the point of them? Seriously. Today I am back in the realm of cotton comfortable underpants again.

Some days I go commando, some days I bother to change my underpants. Some days I don’t. I have even tried turning them inside out, just because I wondered what it would feel like. Not very different. I have even worn them damp because they hadn’t dried properly from washing them in the sink the night before while on holiday. I wouldn’t recommend that by the way. I have 0—-==] peed myself laughing and had to change them twice in one day. Haven’t laughed like that in a while. Today I don’t put on my underpants with the fear of God in me. I put them on when I feel like it. I choose to wear natural fabrics. I choose comfort. I choose whether to put them on and when to change them.

Thank you underpants. I know where you are when I need you.

Today I am sober as a pair of comfortable freshly laundered underpants.

-==[]

This post is a collaboration with my cat. The letter ‘w,’ ‘0—-==]’ and ‘-==[]’ was brought to you by my cat.

Coming up for air

Still here. Still sober. Haven’t had much to say. So much is happening in the world with regards to COVID-19 and I’m staying home, staying safe.

Haven’t been reading blogs. Apologies. Hoping that everyone is safe and well. For all the essential people and businesses that are keeping the world functioning as best you can, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I have moments of anxiousness. Followed of feelings of gratefulness. To have a roof over my head, no shortage of food, self isolating with someone I love, cats to cuddle with, plenty to occupy myself with till the end of time. Retired. Plenty of firewood to get us through the coming winter, power, internet, water, views of trees. Rubbish services are still running. And time. Learning to use time more wisely in among long stretches of sleeping, cooking, Netflix and YouTube.

I enjoy my own company and could happily spend everyday at home. I prefer to deal with people via email or text. Online shopping for groceries has been a great experience. However when I went out today to check out the supermarket situation I felt such elation to be outside. I felt like I had been holding my breath for weeks. Elation, tears of relief and a little less anxiety. In all honesty we were running the car around the block to keep the battery alive. It was just a car ride but so much more. I waved and smiled to a complete stranger and was greeted in return. A pleasant exchange. I will make the most of the garden, take the time to get outside in the fresh air and make a better effort to keep my fruit and vegetables healthy and edible. I have started coriander, ginger, turmeric and garlic inside.

Sanity toolkit for me consists of computer adventure games, sketching, writing, and organising the house. Currently in the kitchen. Part way through. Got side tracked and did the entrance way instead. Feel myself easily distracted, thoughts scattered. Listening to Billie Ellish while cleaning has been good. Taking time out to have a really good cup of tea or coffee in a chosen cup. A moment to saver the taste, notice the shape of the handle and how it allows me to hold the cup. Take in the colour of the tea, the smell. A moment of serenity. I seem to have collected demitasse cups. I have choices. I have a Turkish tea set too. I can travel the world with a cup of tea. Opting for tea these days because I made some wonderful cafe de olla, Mexican spiced coffee, and wow, fantastic but strong, made me wired till the wee hours. Love the flavour. Look it up if it peaks your interest. Used jaggery for the sweeter instead of panela.

Arts Live
Heard today that PBS is or is going to shoe online for free Broadway show of the past. And National Theatre is going to show on YouTube from 2 April.

Online education is coming cheaper or free
https://www.edx.org/
https://www.udemy.com/
https://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm
http://www.openuniversity.edu/
https://www.coursera.org/

Learn a language
https://www.inc.com/larry-kim/9-places-to-learn-a-new-language-online-for-fre.html

Reading
Despite the libraries being closed I can still access ebooks.
https://www.gutenberg.org/

Be well. Be distracted if that is the best way to get through this. Safety first.

Wash your hands. And put cream on afterwards. My hands feel raw from all this washing. I was even washing fruit in soapy water today. No complaining here.

COVID-19: Day 6 of Level 4 Lockdown here in New Zealand.
(Level 4 is the highest level.)
(Self Isolation – Essential services – Financial Support –
Be Kind – Wash Your Hands – Stay Home)

A change is afoot

Yesterday was a good day. From the outside looking in it was an ordinary day, just like any other. But it wasn’t. I felt different. I was active. I made healthy meals for brunch and dinner making sure I had vegetables. I chose soba noodles over fried eggs and bacon. Then I had more noodles for dinner with fried vegetables. Yes I like noodles.

I drank green tea throughout the day. And this is the weird part. I did not snack or have any desire to snack between or after meals. I drank tea instead. I had a bath and went to bed early. I planned my bullet journal, wrote and sketched. I exercised for twenty minutes while I read an Ebook. Gabrielle Union’s We’re Going To Need Some More Wine. Finished it. Well worth a read.

Depression was nowhere in sight. Not even on the horizon running towards me. No sign, nothing. It felt strange. It felt wonderful. I haven’t had a day like this in a long time. Everything clicked and I did normal things but it all felt, well, great. I even felt excited. I didn’t do anything special. I didn’t go anywhere. Yet, it was an extraordinary day. Today the feelings are still with me. Even DH remarked at the change.

What have I done differently? Nothing. That’s not true. It is an accumulation of daily morning pages written at anytime of day, treating myself with kind words like my new best friend, rather than the harsh words of the voice on the shoulder. I have been writing dreams mostly daily. By dreams, I mean wishes for the future, rather than the dreams when you sleep. And I am dreaming big. Letting go and writing things that dare to be written. It is freeing.

Daily rituals or routines that you enjoy or help with your day, your development, learning make the difference between disorder and order. Automatic actions make for less choices or decisions to be made. They have already been decided. There is less mental gymnastics to perform. You just do it.

I am my new project. I am determined to give my future self a healthier body, a more organised home, and a brighter future. I am looking at this with fun and enjoyment, not as a chore. If I mess up. So what. Tomorrow is a new day. I get up and try again.

My 2020 goal is the little goal. The goal where I build myself up and give myself a healthier lifestyle and build up stamina for the rest to come.

Best Decade Ever with Mel Robbins, if you follow along with the free course it really inspires you to dream. It’s not too late to join. Google it and discover for yourself.

Today is turning out like yesterday. Another extraordinary day.

Sober as. The turn of a bird’s head.

Dream challenge: Weigh 75kg(165lbs) and to go indoor rock climbing by 30 November 2020

Said it..My goal is to be 75kg (165lbs) so I can go indoor rock climbing!

My future self, my old me is my focus. I am doing this for my future me. I am looking after myself for my future self. I am imagining how I can make my life easier for my future self. Carry around less weight will make life easier, eating healthier will give me longer and a better state to be in. Exercising now will improve my moods for now and the future. Continuously learning something will stimulate my mind and hopefully prevent Alzheimer’s. Using my hands to create something will also reduce the chances. Learning a language will activate a part of my brain so it continues to be stimulated. Travel in the future will be enhanced by language skills learnt. If I can’t do it for the present me I will do it for future me.

Sometimes it’s hard to do something for oneself. We sacrifice ourselves by ignoring what needs to be done. For reasons unknown. I am quick to help someone else if they drop something, to open a door, or to return a shopping trolley for someone less able. It’s a given. I like to help everyone else except myself. I cannot explain it. I’m doing it for my future self. Whatever makes it happen. If it’s a mind game that works. I’ll take it.

Yesterday I added cycling to my habits. A stationary cycle. This is for my mental health. Yesterday I did 15 minutes. DH is doing it with me. I asked him to join me. He did.

The Minimal Mom from YouTube has a vlog about meal planning and what I took away from it was a sheet of paper for the fridge door.
Left hand column has the words USE UP.
Right hand column LEFTOVERS.

So before something in the fridge, freezer or cupboard goes to mush, expires or goes mouldy you have a second chance reminder. A back up. Today I wrote eggplant and tomatoes in my Use Up list. I tossed some mystery meat from the freezer. It had freezer burn and I cannot tell what it is because there is no label on it.

I mentioned I think in my last post about organising my kitchen cupboards. Well I have instead started cleaning the kitchen. It is a roundabout way of doing it but it will all benefit me down the line. Wiping kitchen cupboards. Wiping the kitchen floor. Wiping out the microwave. Leaving the oven for another day.

I am doing Mel Robbins #BestDecadeEver challenge. Look it up if you want to join. Completely free. My above dream is the first dream I am challenging myself with. I stopped drinking. I believe I can do anything.

Join me in voicing your dream and let’s help each other get there. Encourage me. Prod me. Call me out if I get off track. Join me.

Week 1, 2020

Books Read:
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Dollars and Sense: How We Misthink Money and How to Spend Smarter by Dan Ariely and Jeff Kreisler

“A wise man knows himself to be a fool, but a foolish man opens his wallet and removes all doubt”
from Dollars and Sense, p254

Another year. Another dollar. I said join me on my No Buy Year. Well I think a more realistic one is a Low Buy Year. Same thing but making better choices but not as severe.

I am making better choices. Last week I put some items into the virtual cart. I slept on in and then deleted them the following day. Nothing bought. Only imagined.

I have joined up with Mel Robbin’s “Best Decade Ever” and am dreaming bigger. Join that too if you like. It’s not too late.

Composting is something I want to get better at. In an ideal world I will eat everything I buy and there is nothing wasted. The spinach at the back of the vegetable drawer is never forgotten. There is no sloppy mess. Reality is something different.

I plan to take stock of everything in my kitchen. The edibles. We have tins in the wash house too. And more tins in the hall cupboard. Are we expecting a zombie invasion? No. We are stocking up for the unexpected. The emergency rations. If the power stopped and you had to fend for yourself how long would your pantry allow you to eat for? How long should that be? It depends on where you live, rural, town, city. It depends on the number of people in your household. It depends on the season too. If you were snowed in how long could you survive without leaving the house? I say that sitting here in summer. It is a hypothetical question for me. It never snows here.

Procrastination is the name of the game. I am living as I used to live when I lived in the countryside when the nearest supermarket was a 40 minute drive away. We had two freezers, shopped weekly and stocked up for what if the power cuts off. Lightening strike, car accident, high winds, forest fire. We prepared. I haven’t lived in a rural area for ten years yet my mind still haven’t realised that I no longer need to stock up like before. I have three supermarkets within a five minute radius. Make that four. One is open very long hours. I am never going to go without. I can simply hop in the car and get what I have forgotten.

Again in an ideal world I would have had my shopping list with me and I would have bought everything on it and so there would be nothing forgotten. Reality is not so easy.

The list of food inventory is a daunting task. Have you done this yourself? Do you do it every year? Every season? Never? I know I will find duplicates. I know I will find expired food. Some dates I will ignore and keep regardless. Some will be tossed into the bin. This is my task for January. My task to know what I have in order to use it wisely.

I love food. We have Japanese, Korean, Indian, Vietnamese, Chinese Middle Eastern and Italian ingredients. We do use them. It takes a lot of organising. I have fallen off the list. It is chaos in the cupboards. There are noodles. Oddles of noodles. Flat ones, thin ones, fat ones, white ones, brown ones, black ones, clear ones, buckwheat, bean, flour made ones, frozen ones, fresh ones and packaged dry ones. This is just the noodles. Now you can start to understand my reluctance to start.

Join me on my kitchen expedition. Discover the depths of your cupboards. Find what lurks beneath the bench and behind the tins. Place like with like. Devour the contents and make delicious meals. Would you go as far as writing out an inventory? And use it to make your future meals? Who knows what will happen until we begin.

Sober as. A bag of frozen noodles.

Adios 2019

No shoulds or musts this Christmas just past. No presents exchanged. No dessert. Lunch at 4pm. Breakfast in pyjamas. It was just right. Spending time leisurely and watching the Christmas tree lights twinkling, getting Alexa to play Christmas music. No obligations. None. No travelling. None.

Second Christmas sober, yet it feels like my first. Newly sober only a month last year and it felt all so new and weird. It felt more like a sacrifice or a token gesture to myself, a temporary measure. Second Christmas in and I’m loving it sober.

When I watch a movie or a series I no longer get envious of the wine or spirits being consumed. I don’t go down the alcohol aisle at the supermarket. I no longer exchange rewards for alcohol. I don’t feel like I’m missing out by not drinking. I’m letting go of the crutch.

I no longer need actual crutches too. My fibula bone is mending well. The muscles around the bone are getting a workout. I can walk up steps easily but still working on coming down. Physiotherapy continues. Progress is being made.

Appreciation of small things is what I have learnt. Here are a few:

I can place bread in the toaster without needing to remove my crutch.

I can fetch someone else a cup of tea and something sweet.

Having a bath is wonderful.

Listen to your body. When it needs sleep: sleep.

I no longer need to put on a moon boot and gather crutches to get from bed to the loo. Accidents did happen.

Loading a dishwasher is a job of satisfaction now not a chore.

Walking barefoot on the sand at the beach is precious. And then when the water washes over your feet it’s a rush of joy.

I can now sew back on all the buttons that came off the duvet bottom. Each time I fluffed up the duvet the buttons got caught in my crutch, and off they flew. I have collected them in a jar. Time for a repair job.

Learning to be a better passenger in the car. Holding my tongue. Then enjoying being driven. Letting the driver drive without ‘helpful’ comments from the backseat driver sitting in front seat, without the wheel.

Housework is no longer loathsome. It’s growing on me.

I no longer take my body for granted.

Six weeks in bed was actually enjoyable. I had one really grumpy day but otherwise I made the most of it. Reading, writing, drawing, thinking, watching films and documentaries, drinking lots of water. I didn’t have to look after anyone but myself. DH looked after me, fed me and amused me.

Knee scooters are awesome. Mobility increases 10 fold.

Get lessons on how to hold crutches properly. I was holding mine backwards. Yes it is possible but very unstable. Now I am a pro.

Patience is a virtue.

Spending time with yourself is enjoyable.

A tray turned upside down makes a great table in bed.

All the best for 2020!

Happy Holidays

A public holiday here in New Zealand, today Christmas and tomorrow Boxing Day. All is quiet. No lawn mowing, no building noises. Bird choruses only.

22 degrees Celsius, cloudy.

Happy Holidays to all. Thank you for your words or wisdom and support this year. This thing called “sober” is so much easier with our online chats. My consistency of being sober amazes me. I love it. I made the right choice.

Having a slow Christmas here. Pyjamas, ham and cucumber sandwiches for breakfast with tea, Christmas trees lights, Christmas music watching one cat acting silly with a shopping bag. Bliss.

Roast beef will be later, much later. Lunch will be at around three. No rush. Lunch for two.

Peace and joy to all❤️

No Buy Year

I’m having a No Buy Year. A spending freeze.

What do I mean by that? It means I am buying necessities, food and toilet paper and things to help the home function. Insurance, rates, power, internet, water, petrol and phone bills are part of the necessities. Netflix is staying. Not a necessity but an exception.

What I won’t be doing is retail therapy or online shopping. No book shopping. No clothing shopping. No random items just because it’s on sale. Nada. No eating out. No gadgets.

There will be two exceptions. A book festival and the paving stones need changing. Correction: I think that the old paving stones are looking shabby and new ones will look better. It is a want rather than a need. So and the Netflix makes three. Make that four. Paint. When
I run out of paint for my art I will buy more.

This means hopefully I will become better at planning meals. I will appreciate what we already have. Spend more time following creative pursuits, reading, writing, getting dirty in the garden, cooking and walking.

I am doing this as a fun challenge. I’m looking forward to this. I’m not depriving myself of joy. I am focussing on what I have today.

Join me.

And the first job I have is decluttering the house. This will help me with an inventory of what we have and what we don’t need, what we can sell, what we can give away and what needs to go out in the bin. I have started. I can’t say the method is orderly but the first room is the bathroom. I decided that the bathtub needed to be a place of calm. Then after that the bedroom. I have started decluttering so many times over the years but never finished. I gave up part way through because it was overwhelming. I am determined this time. I want to be organised. The declutter will allow me to be so.

Sober as. A rubbish bag.

Happi

My Year of Well Being started on December 1st. Sounds awfully grand and OTT. It’s not really at all. I have been ruminating on the word Wellbeing, Well Being and Well-being. What does it really mean?

For every person this will be different.

I have been thinking on my affirmations too.

I am happy. I am healthy. I am wealthy. I am wise.

Again each of these words mean different things for different people. Making it to one year sober has been a pretty big deal, to borrow the expression from Ashley Graham.

Someone wrote last week in another person’s blog comment area that they didn’t think of being sober forever. I thought no, me either. When I started this sober journey I had the idea of seeing how I felt after a year and with the possibility of drinking in moderation after that. After my first month I thought that was a dumb idea for me. After six months, I thought how ridiculous for me. Who was I kidding. Now I think I am sober, and I want to continue being so. For how long? Who knows. It’s not a question I need to answer. For now and today I am sober. I like myself sober. I want to be sober. That’s really all there is to it.

Being sober is the first step. Tick. There already. Now I want to focus of being the best version of myself. Taking an internal journey and finding how to do this. I don’t expect to have all the answers at the end of my year. I expect to be further along the right path. I expect to be sober too.

I was looking at the word WELLBEING and hygge popped up again and again. It’s a lovely Danish word, Swedish too. It encompasses all that makes life comfortable with a candle, a cosy corner, a good book or a film and comfortable clothing, with or without company. It’s taking time to slow down. It means many things. Well being is one.

Hygge (pronounced HUE – GAH) really appeals to me. I got a book out of the library probably a couple of years ago on the topic of Hygge. I liked it immediately. I started to light a candle every time I wrote my morning pages. I used a plain tea light candle. No smell. And I added essential oils to my burner and away I went. It was a ritual I began and it became a daily habit.

How do I incorporate more candles into my life? Bath time. I have more tea lights for the bath. I gave the place a good clean and made it more inviting. I turn the lights out and watch the candles flicker. I turn the fan off and I lie in silence. It is peaceful. For now I’ve stopped reading in the bath. I no longer need to watch for wet fingers on the pages.

We are going into summer and the humid and hot weather hasn’t arrived yet so I will continue to have baths for as long as I can. Baths and summer don’t really go well.

Happiness and being happy is not the same for each of us. It is not plastering a smile on your face and wishing it to be so. It doesn’t work like that. I think we need to define it first.

Yet before we can begin to look at ‘happy’ we need the bare necessities. We need a roof over our head, clothing, food and sleep.

Happiness used to mean luck and prosperity and more of a collective idea for the entire country, these days it has become for an individual pursuit, a journey to an emotional state.

Happiness for me is when:

I spend time with DH.

I am in the zone with creative pursuits.

I sleep for at least eight hours a day.

I have a home that is clean, tidy and organised.

I have no anxiety.

I have depression tamed.

I have enough money to be able to live comfortably.

I fit the clothes in my closet.

I have no hot flushes or night sweats.

I eat/cook fruit and vegetables straight from our garden.

I am reading a book.

I am cuddling with the cats.

I am enjoying a cup of tea or coffee and something sweet.

I am watching a good film or series.

I am walking barefoot along the beach.

That will do for today. It’s not the entire list. It’s a start. Oh and by the way some of these above are written as if they are already achieved. I am not organised yet but I am making my way there. The garden is not where I want it but it’s on the way.

What is your version of happiness, either now or for the future? Write it as if you have already achieved it.

Inner Strength

Finding this inner strength that I have isn’t easy. I have thrown rocks in my own path, stacked it at the back of a storage shed behind the towering boxes, I have left it alone amongst the cobwebs and dust. I did it to myself. I buried it instead of using it.

One year sober. Who would have thought it? I wasn’t certain I would get this far. I added one day to the next and here we are with days sewn into weeks, patched into months and I’ve gone and made an annual quilt of hand stitched threads of soberness.

It feels good. This strength that I have found is saying I can handle it. Whatever it may be I can handle it.

I’m re-reading Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, by Susan Jeffers. It’s a different read than when I read it years ago. That’s a good thing. I’m learning something new about myself.

Being curious, reading, seeking and trying are traits that never get old. It makes me a perpetual student. I won’t stop.

Today my plan for the afternoon is reading on the couch with the Christmas tree lights on and the doors wide open. I’m resting my ankle again but wiggling my toes. It’s a sunny day. The cicadas are singing. It’s a good day.

Sober as. A piece of string.