Time to contemplate

I had a rather slow start to my day.  I’d gone to my best friend’s place to watch the rugby last night (Crusaders v Sharks semi-final) and had a meal, some red wine and some Baileys then crashed the night in the spare room.  I guess I didn’t quite have enough water as I had a slight headache this morning.  I eased into the day with my friends over tea and toast before coming home to a lazy day, grateful I’d done the housework yesterday.  It was a bit of a grey day, too, so not the most inspiring.  Instead it was a day to contemplate, read a few blogs, make some vegetable soup and start a new book.

Everyone needs a lazy Sunday occasionally (albeit without the slight hangover) to think about things.  I often feel full of gratitude when I do this.  I’ve been listening to some music, and enjoying some old sounds from Bell XI.

So to summarise, today I’ve contemplated a few things:

  • Gratitude diary – I’ve been a bit slack lately.  So today I’m grateful for good friends, good times and having the fabulous ability to read (which so many of us take for granted) as reading can help you escape, help you learn and can take you anywhere in your mind.
  • I need to move a bit more.  It’s winter and that extra 4kilos I put on in the motel isn’t going anywhere fast.  So more yoga, and less indulging in wine and food (although my decadent chocolate brownie served up with salted caramel sauce last night was also hard to say no to!).
  • Focus a little more on real life, rather than social media life.  So I’m going to reintroduce no internet after 9pm (except for streamed radio) so I can read, or do some craft.

It’s kind of a minimalist version of my 10 day declutter challenge I did last year.  A little bit of shaping up, a little bit of tuning in and a little bit of pare down (keeping my newly decluttered home decluttered).  Except this time I just want to reintroduce these steps and form them into habits, rather than for a short time.

It’s already after 9pm so the internet thing will have to start from tomorrow, but in a minute or two I’m signing off to go back to my book, and then have an early night so I can do some “moving” in the morning!  I’ve got a busy six-day work week this week, so I think it’s a good time to make an effort to re-tune myself.

Have a good week everyone.

It’s what I call “home”

I love reading home decorating magazines, and at one point briefly wanted to be an interior designer.  Just as well it was a momentary yearning as I would have been rubbish at it.  The thing is I love looking at beautiful things, pristine houses, or cluttered cottages but I’ve discovered putting it all together isn’t at all easy!

If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know I was out of the house for earthquake repairs.  I’m very grateful.  I have been one of the “lucky” ones here in Christchurch with mainly cosmetic damage to my place (there was a little structural damage in the roof and my concrete block walls were cracked outside – but not split or broken).  So I’ve been happy to wait my turn for repairs. I’m well aware there are people in Christchurch with worse houses still waiting too.  As every room in my house apart from the spare room (typically the one with the ugliest wallpaper!) had to be repaired, I’ve now got fresh paint in all rooms, and the ugly dated stipple ceilings, complete with asbestos, have been removed and I now have lovely smooth ceilings.  I also have smooth walls with the dated wallpapers all gone.  We’d painted over those previously but I was amazed at how different they look.  The place does feel rejuvenated.  Now to put my own stamp on the place.

Cleaner layout with the dining room

Cleaner layout with the dining room

"Spanish white" kitchen and dining room looks rejuvenated from my yellow

“Spanish white” kitchen and dining room looks rejuvenated from the previous yellow walls

 

Prior to the EQ repairs I had updated the sliding doors in the lounge.  The old one kept sticking, so badly that I needed to call my friend’s husband one day to help me to close it.  Time to update and double-glaze.  This completely changed the room, opening it up so much.

The old slider

The old slider

The new slider

The new slider

 

The challenge with my place is it is a 1970s unit. It’s not modern and it’s not old.  So finding something that fits is hard.  The lounge has been my biggest challenge.  With the new sliders opening up the room with a double opening, rather than a middle single opening, I felt like the indoor-outdoor flow had doubled.  In summer it will be great to open the doors into the garden,  which normally is much tidier and full of blooms!  I felt like I should have a retro bach kind of feel to the room.  Modern furniture wouldn’t be right, nor would old furniture, but a bit of a muddled mis-match might be okay.  Considering I’ve got a beautiful old piano in the lounge I had to cater for that.  A bach has a relaxed feel to it, and my bookcase full of books and CDs seemed to fit okay.  What about the furniture?  I’d inherited mum and dad’s lounge suite which I hated.  It was beige. Striped beige.  The whole room had a bland feel to it.  It needed vibrancy and colour.  While I’ve kept the walls neutral, I didn’t replace the carpet due to time constraints and the fact that renovations and EQC repairs don’t go well together, so it was up to the furnishings to bring the colour.

Off I went to a furniture maker that my mother had used occasionally.  I like the fact that it is a local manufacturer.   Everything is made here in Christchurch.  It’s important to support places like this.  The extremely helpful staff clicked on to my idea of style – slightly retro – and showed me around a number of furniture styles.  They then showed me a range of fabrics, taking into account I have a cat who loves to use her claws on furniture.  The velvet lazy-boy I had in the house is the only one not scratched by her, so we looked at the ranges in velvet textured materials and I settled on some bold colour choices.

Proof is in the pudding, of course.  I still have to do something about curtains in the lounge.  It’s winter, so I’ve kept the old ones as they’re heavy and keep the frosty temperatures out.  Once spring comes I’ll take them down and look at options.  I want to keep the openness of the room that the doors give, so I’m thinking some form of blind.

So here, without further ado, is my new lounge furniture.

Purple and green!  Bold enough I feel.

Purple and green! Bold enough I feel.

A brief glimpse of sun on a cold morning brightens the room too.

A brief glimpse of sun on a cold morning brightens the room too.

 

What do you think?  Obviously I’ll update the kitchen at some point.  It’s in my mid- to long term plan and I’m thinking semi-cottage style; white with dark bench tops and the wooden look floor going through to the dining room.  Short term is get some more wall hangings up in the lounge – photos from my trip etc, and paint the spare room which is still in its hideous original wallpaper state (albeit with a new ceiling).

It’s a very difficult thing, this interiors stuff.  I know you can always change paint colours.  That’s easy and that’s cheap.  It’s the furnishings that cost, so I want to get it right first time!  Those curtains will be the next challenge, as I think I have the furniture right.  I guess the main thing, is I like it.  After all  it’s my little space on earth, what I call home.

 

Listening to Family of the Year

I’ve heard this lovely song over the last few weeks, getting quite a bit of airplay on the BBC radio.  Funny, I listen to BBC radio more than I do any local stations.  When I get up in the morning I listen to News-based radio stations, in the car I switch between Radio Live, Radio NZ and one music station – RDU – my old stomping ground.

Anyway, this wee track may be familiar to some of you who have seen the movie Boyhood – it’s on at the NZ Film Festival at the moment and will no doubt come out in general release, but I’ve yet to see it.  Boyhood is a Richard Linklater film and I’m a big fan of his.  In the meantime, I can listen to the jangling guitars and harmonies of this track.

A Juicy Life

I’m a bit late to the whole juice thing. Sure I like a smoothie occasionally – and now that I have my stick blender I do make a mean smoothie – usually berry and banana. Recently I came along a banana and cashew nut smoothie recipe and I enjoyed that (it was a Nadia Lim recipe posted on Facebook). The juice thing however? Well, early last year I bought a juicer. And it sat in my cupboard in its box until I moved out for EQ repairs. I nearly put it on Trademe, but thought, no, let’s put it in the pantry out of the box and maybe I’ll use it.

Well I’ve been back in the house about a month now. I have just used my juicer for the first time. This was spurred on by a couple of things :-

  • I need to lose weight – I’ve piled it on this winter
  • I had my first Kale based “Smoothie” at work this week

YUM! I’m now a convert!

So today, being a Saturday and with a little time on my hands I made a “Breakfast Blend” from a juice recipe book my sister gave me ages ago. It had orange, carrot, kumara and ginger in it. I had to fake the ginger thing with some crushed ginger as I couldn’t find any root ginger at the supermarket this week, so I’m not getting a huge ginger kick from this juice, but it tastes great. The kumara gives a slow release GI of energy, which is why it’s called Breakfast Blend.

My juicer is just a wee baby one – suitable for single people – so I just halved the recipe. I’ll still have a piece of toast with it, but perhaps I do feel just that wee bit healthier for having had a juice for breakfast (one with veges in it and all!). Supermarket shop today will definitely include Kale or Spinach for some green smoothies.

All those foodies out there – what do you do with all the pulp?  (told you I’m a juice ‘virgin’) … and do you have any favourite blends to share?

How's that for bright orange?

How’s that for bright orange?

Quiet days and memories

The River was playing today when I was sitting at my computer uploading a picture to Facebook of my mother and father.  It’s their wedding anniversary today.  57 years ago they married on a cold winter’s day in Westport.

The River isn’t a happy song, and it’s almost a ‘Christmas’ song … but it’s melancholy feel just made me well up a little.  I miss my parents and it startles me sometimes when the grief hits again like that – at the least expected times.  The moment passed and the day went on.

It’s been a good day to ponder memories.  I’m having a couple of quiet weekends recovering from my venesection treatment last week (a busy week followed, so I’m still quite tired).  So I sat down and had a look through my photo album and just remembered mum and dad at their best.

On that note though, does anyone else think, how much lovelier ‘old’ black and white photos are?  There’s something about them that has style… or perhaps it was just the fact that people dressed up more.

Engagement day photo

Engagement day photo

Grateful for bad blood

Life is full of challenges. On top of other things, I suffer from haemochromotosis – which is too much iron. Having too much iron can make you as fatigued as being anaemic. Also excess iron can cause major damage to vital organs such as the liver and heart. I have blood taken off every three months to help keep this at a tolerable level, but I have to go to the hospital for this treatment due to my other complications! The process is tiring for me – removing blood removes the oxygenated cells from my body and my body doesn’t get great oxygen at the best of times, and because of that they only take half the amount of blood they normally would.

However every time I go to this appointment, I’m almost always overwhelmed by how fortunate I am. The Medical Day Unit I go to is where people are having oncology treatments such as chemo. On Fridays it is always busy … to overflowing, with people being treated before the weekend. There can sometimes be a bit of a delay before I am seen and this time was no exception. The nurses were so apologetic. I didn’t nor do I ever mind. I always pick a Friday afternoon so I don’t have to go back to work and have the weekend to rest up and recover. When I sit there looking around me, I’m just reminded that I’m actually quite lucky. Overhearing the conversations between patients, they’re all so good about their lot. They joke and banter with the nurses and doctors. It is quite humbling. The least of my worries is not being seen to immediately. What’s a bit of bad blood compared to cancer? There are people here who need the nurses’ attention and care before my little procedure.

I’m grateful for how stable my health is, long may it stay that way. I’m also grateful for the staff we have in these units. The front line staff of our hospitals are pretty wonderful, no matter how tired and pressured they are.

Listening to … Grant Nicholas

I’ve not posted a “listening to” link for a bit… that’s because I was listening to all my old music on the iPod while I was at the motel, and have only got back to my habit of scouring the net for some new sounds in the last few evenings.

Anyway, thanks to the good folk of BBC2, in particular, Jo Whiley, I’ve heard this lovely song and it just took me to a sweet place. I’ll have to check out the album in August when it’s released. So, Grant Nicholas (of Feeder fame) going solo. Enjoy.