26 February 2010

Does my Butt Look Big in This?

If a guy you once dated for three years (and were engaged to twice) turned out to be living right around the corner from you...
...and if his kids went to the same school as your kids...
...and even on the same darn walking bus...
...would that make you feel a bit wierd?

How about if you hadn't seen this guy for nearly 20 years, and the last time you saw him he'd come to ask if you'd take him back (the answer was no, BTW)...
...and if he was best man at your sister's wedding and they were all still great friends...
...and you found out from your sister that he had been talking to your kid on the walking bus...
...would that make you feel wierd?

And then, what if you were racing out the school gate after a "Meet the Teacher Evening", wearing your glamorous "grubby old jeans and t-shirt" outfit, sporting your best humidity frizz ponytail hairdo... (I bet you can guess where this is going)...

...and suddenly There. He. Is.
Older. Balder. But definitely him.

He's coming towards you, he's sure to recognise you.
Oh crap. Your brain freezes and...

You Smile. And say a casual, Hi. And you keep walking.
He is looking at you strangely like he's trying to figure out who you are (because you are wearing fabulously Dark Glasses).

"Um, hi..." he says uncertainly. You pass him and keep on walking. Does he realise who you are? You turn your head, he's looking back at you.

Oh, crap, crap, double crap! That's not a great view of your Wide Load! Seeing you for the first time in 20 years and that's what he's going to remember! To make things worse, your tall non-balding handsome hubby is hurrying twenty steps ahead of you - so you can't even rub this guy's nose in your success in the husband department.

After twenty years, his last view of you is your wide waddling butt. (OK the wide angle camera lense could have something to do with it)

You come home all flustered. Your husband thinks it hilarious; your kids think it's a great joke... oh yes, they do.

So what do you do? You take photos of yourself to post on your blog so you can ask your friends...
...does my butt look big in this?

24 February 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Camera Finds

Here is a random selection of photographic "treasures", found hiding on my camera.

Photographers: Miss Fab (A.K.A. Princess) and Mr Dash G.
Subject matter: Mostly Themselves
Taken: On the Sly

Our mission here today is to answer the age-old question: Yes, but is it Art??? I'll let you be the judge...

Self-Portrait, by Dash

Inside Me, by Dash

Deep inside Me, by Dash

My Happy Sister, by Dash

My Loving Mother, by Dash

Self-Portrait, by Miss Fab

I Am Beautiful, by Miss Fab

My Silly Brother, by Miss Fab

My Brother's Foot, by Miss Fab

A Star is Born, by Miss Fab

So, have we discovered any major talent?
22 February 2010


I know how this doggie feels. Bugger!!!
You know how I've been soooo good and going to the gym three times a week?? Well yesterday I did my back in. Baaaaad.
And my chiropractor said: No gym for you for a bit. Bugger.
And No more Rowing Machine ever. Worst thing out for your back. Bugger! (I lurve the Rowing machine)
And Be Extra Careful or your disc injury could go to The Next Level (A disc Hernia. Does that mean Surgery?) Bugger!!

So here I sit. But not for long, because it's killing me. Owwwwch.

I have a dodgey disc in my lower back, you see. The core of it is damaged and sometimes "bulges out", pinching the nerves in my spine. It's been fine for a couple of years,but when it "goes", Oh it's like someone takes a sledgehammer to my back. And then follows up with a swing from an ice-pick. Down I go.

Once it happened at kindy and I collapsed on the porch and had to crawl inside (past all the yummy mummies), and lay down for half an hour before I could move. Then it took two people to help me up and get me in my car. I was "out" for a week or more.

This time it's nowhere near as bad as that, but still. I can't sit for long. I can't bend or lift or stand for too long. Like I said, Bugger!!

Just when I was getting into a good rhythm and routine of exercising. I'm determined not to fall off the Fitness Wagon, determined to do the walking bus tomorrow, get back to the gym by Thursday. Cross fingers!

PS Click here for The Toyota Ad (a real hard-case Kiwi ad starring that poor dog and the word "Bugger!")
19 February 2010

Fitness Log #1: Moving the Mountain That is My Butt

Days since beginning Gym Workouts:  11 days, 3 hours, 19 mins
Number of Gym Workouts planned: 6
Number of Gym Workouts accomplished: 6!
Goal weight loss: 15kg
Weight lost to date: 200 tiny little grams
Still to lose: 14.8kg!!

Journal Entry: I have been working my butt off (or at least trying to) for the last week and a half. But did you have to use your magnifying glass to see that miniscule weight loss figure?

I've been trying not to get disheartened but to look on the bright side, see long-term.

When I joined the gym I stated my priority goal as being "to get fitter" with a bonus goal of losing weight.
Ha! I was obviously kidding myself. I want to lose the weight!!! Otherwise why would I be feeling sad about my teeny weeny 200grams??

The bright side is: I am actually getting fitter! Amazingly I have more energy (*choir breaks into hallelujah chorus*). Physically, I don't feel as lethargic, despite the killer humidity. After the first few workouts I came away wrecked and gasping. But now, well look at me!

Before the Workout

After the Workout (still smiling!)

I am smiling! I am breathing normally! I don't look (or feel) like I am about to pass out!

Mr G is being a great encourager, telling me I look hot (*ahem* - ulterior motives?) Telling me to take the long term view; saying he is proud of me etc etc. Bless him!

(Meanwhile let me tell ya that his gym workouts are starting to show. Oh yes, when I snuggle him there's much less to squeeze... Hehehehe. Oooh, come back lovely pre-wedding abs! Nice!)

So since you guys are my friends, you won't mind if I do a Fitness Log update every so often will ya? You know, to help me stay motivated, to keep me accountable yada yada yada.
17 February 2010

Chocolate Crackle {Gluten free, Dairy free}

4 cups gluten free rice bubbles (rice puffs)
250g of vegetable shortening (e.g. Kremelta or Copha)
1 cup of icing sugar
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/4 cup of cocoa

Melt the kremelta in the microwave then sift in icing sugar and cocoa. Stir in coconut and rice bubbles.
Place spoonsful in mini cupcake papers and put in the fridge to set. Allow approx half an hour setting time :)


Unexpected Journeys

My life's Journey has not been what I expected at all.

My teenage plan for my life was to be married young (say 19?) with a couple of well-behaved children... I pictured myself in the year 2000, standing on a balcony overlooking the Millenium celebrations (I would be thirty i.e. old.) I imagined my thirty-year-old self cuddling up to my (faceless) husband while my well behaved children slept peacefully; I would be content and satisfied with life, observing the fireworks in a kind of warm glow.

I was the last one of my sisters to be married and have children. I am the eldest; my sisters both married at age 19. I didn't meet Mr Right until I was 30.

I thought getting married was the icing on the cake, the reward for all my years of service and sacrifice. I never expected to break down and spend the first few years of marriage in an emotional hell.

I thought I knew what it took to be a great parent. I said to myself, "No child of mine will ever do this that and the other..." I hadn't reckoned on children having minds of their own.

My twenty-something plan for my life was to be New Zealand's answer to Jackie Pullinger or Donna Crouch (two women I admired). I would single-handedly work miracles in the lives of teenage down-and-outs. I would throw myself completely into youth work and serving God, whatever the cost. I would be a pastor and community leader, I would travel round the place speaking and inspiring people; my life would make a difference. I would be significant.

I was sure I was going to do big amazing world-changing things. I did manage to do some good things which helped other people... but I never reckoned on the price being so high.

I thought I would always be strong and dependable, a doer, a leader. I never reckoned on Depression and Anxiety ankle-tapping me.

I thought I knew what God had planned for me. I was a pastor, a leader, a person of influence. And so it would always be... I thought.

But God had other ideas.
Since He knows me so much better than I know myself, He saw below the surface of my skill and my ability. He saw past my "noble" aspirations and into the core of my insecurity. He understood that I based my value on Doing. He knew that I struggled with Just Being.

He didn't want me to live my life on the treadmill of People Pleasing, the tightrope of Fear of Failing; the rollercoaster of Insecurity.

So He stripped me. 
He peeled away all the things I had relied on to give me a sense of Mattering.
It hurt. Oh how it hurt. But in his kindness, He made sure I would survive by bringing Mr Right along just in time.

How many years had I cried lonely tears waiting for The One? Not a minute too soon he arrived.
My Mr Right believed in me and fought for me and refused to let me give up on myself.
"If I love you, (me, the Great Mr G who could have had his pick) if I think you're worthy, who are you to say otherwise?"

God knew that I couldn't reach up to heaven; I couldn't hear or receive His divine Words because I was hiding from Him (I didn't want to hear what He might ask of me). So He sent me this man who would be Love to me.

If I thought this Unexpected Journey was a brief detour, a mere sidetrip, I was mistaken. I am forever changed and can never go back to where or who I once was.

The old dreams have been let go of. New ones are slowly emerging; small seeds only, but still they are there. Once not too long ago I thought I would never want to dream again.

The old ways are in their death throes. People Pleasing raises its head from time to time: that one is hard to kill. But Just Being has taken precedence over Doing.

I know I am worth more than just what I can Do: I am valuable because I am Loved. I am Worthy because I am His child. Mothering has taught me this. Pain has taught me this.

I'm not in any rush; I know I'm a work in progress. When I've learnt all I'm meant to learn, and become all I'm meant to be, only then will my journey be complete.

This Journey will take my whole life.
15 February 2010

General Wierdness and Pats on the Back

I suffer in the heat of Summer. Am I the only person on the planet who does not love this season? I am sure  if I confess to you that I am hanging out for Autumn's crispness you will think I am wierd.

Summer, be over already! I've had enough of the sweaty stickiness. Humidity, begone!
Wierdo, I hear you muttering. OK, OK, I know I am. You Northern Hemisphere-ites are probably cursing the snow and ice... or at least the rainy grey fogginess. And you Aussies are probably thinking, Harden up, mate! You don't know what hot is with your pathetic 27oC.

I'm a wooss, I admit. The heat turns my brain to mush and shortens my already-short fuse. I can't find clothes that are comfortable cool and light - but that also hide my rolls! I am dreaming of layers. And jeans. Long sleeves to hide my batwings and jackets to hide my muffin.

So there you have it. More evidence of my innate wierdness. The only Kiwi who avoids the sun, and chooses the shade over a tan. Hey, my delicate palor is preferrable to the leather-look, ya know!

But I am patting myself on the back for two of my recent accomplishments...

1) I have joined the gym.
OK, you can pick yourself up off the floor now. Shocking, I know. Anyone who knows me can tell you how lazy I am - I'm the original couch potato. But things are getting desperate. The middle-age spread is spreading rapidly. I have had to admit to myself that I am no longer NZ Size 14 but a fully fledged Size 16 *gasp*

Now, I can live with myself as a 14 - but not as a Size 16. I am too uncomfortable. Too lacking in energy. Nothing looks nice on and the couch has too much pull - I can only see it getting worse. Drastic measures are required, and so with the extra push of having to get fit for Gail's 16km Walk for Haiti... I am now a 40-year-old wannabe Gym Bunny. (Check me out reading the Rebel Sport Catalogue, scouting for gym gear to cover my wide-load!)

I joined the YMCA, not a poser gym (yay). There's plenty of old grannies and people in even worse shape than me, so I feel right at home.
I'm going three times a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, plus I do the Walking School Bus on Tuesday. Can you believe it?

You should have seen me on Friday: I tried out a "Combination" Class, which nearly killed me. I have only just stopped aching everywhere, so it must have done me some good. But boy-o-boy, am I unco! Two left feet, two right arms. And don't you just hate the huge wall mirrors they have in gyms? I don't want to see myself 10 steps behind everyone else, sweating like a piggy wiggy!

Next time I will drag my friend Meg with me for some moral support. No weight loss yet :( Guess I'll have to knock the icecream and weekend takeaways on the head to get some results *sigh*

2) I got the most amazing bargains in the end-of season sales!
My mother-in-law would be so proud of me (she's a great bargain hunter). I have bought up a bunch of next-years' sized clothes for the kids at the Farmers Clearout. Really great stuff down from $18-$23 to $3.75!!!

I totally raided the $5 racks and grabbed t-shirts for everyone (plus birthday gifts for the cuzzies) and then when I got up to the checkout, it was a further 25% off. I got nearly $200 worth of clothes for $45. How's that for great??

So. I may be wierd and totally over Summer. But I am planning ahead for next year's Summer. We are equipped with next year's clothes. And by then I'll (hopefully) have a beach-worthy bod. Too bad I'll be hiding in the shade :)

What's your favourite season?

Extra Photos from GoogleImages
14 February 2010

Loving...NOT Loving: Movie Magic?

Seen any movies lately? I'm not talking a DVD night here - I mean going out to see a new release on The Big Screen. Movies are a rare treat for us (you too, huh?) The effort and cost of arranging babysitters means that when you get a chance to see a movie at the Cinema you want it to be a good one.

Tonight was such a night (in honour of Valentines tomorrow). Mr G was thinking a nice meal; I was thinking: Avatar! Everyone's raving about it, it's breaking Box Office records (apparently) and could do well at the Oscars??? Oh yes I am so well informed. Mr G was easily persuaded and off we went.
We didn't see the 3D version (I was worried I'd get motion sickness, as I get queasy on the Motion Master...silly me!)

Avatar was great - well worth paying a babysitter for. It was original and clever, and it had heart. It was fast paced, action packed, amazing graphics, relatable characters, a great story and a satisfying conclusion.

The boys will like it because it's manly and techo and there's plenty of testosterone flying around. This is one to take hubby to.

The girls will like it because the hero is a hunk (even in a wheelchair; even when he's blue). The story tugs at your heartstrings, there's romance and a great Cause. Don't get put if because it's sci-fi. You pretty much forget that it is, it's that good.
This movie is lingering in my thoughts... which is the mark of a great movie, in my book. I'm just wishing I was braver and had seen it in 3D. It was fab in 2D. It would have been mindblowing in 3D.

My verdict: LOVING Avatar (5/5) 
Don't wait for this one to come out on DVD - if you get the chance see it at the cinema... (yeah, in 3D).

On the other hand... I was hanging out to see The Lovely Bones. I loved the book; it was moving and original and so well written. I had high hopes for Peter Jackson's adaptation. After all, he did a great job on Lord of the Rings - true to the character and "feel" of the book. Watching his movie version was like seeing scenes from my imagination played out on screen.

So Peter, I was expecting great things from your Lovely Bones movie.
I went with Meg as Mr G was not keen, so no babysitter required. Just as well.

I was disappointed, Peter! You took liberties! You made it way too dark. The book was not dark. I don't like dark books. OK so the story had an awful murder in it, but it wasn't a gruesome scary book at all.
Peter, you made Susie Salmon's heaven seem like a very wierd and frightening place. I did not like it. It didn't feel like the same story at all. I am shaking my head at you, Pete. Sorry mate but you missed the boat on this one.
My Verdict: NOT Loving The Lovely Bones (2/5 - and that's generous)
Don't even rent the movie on DVD. Just stick to the book.

What good (or crappy) movies have you seen lately??

Photos from Google Images
12 February 2010

Why I Love You All

I do, you know. Love You.
I've been sitting here with my coffee reading some of my favourite blogs and feeling very grateful to have "met" such a great bunch of bloggy friends.
I love the humour, the creativity. I love the cameraderie. I love the pouring out of people's souls and the encouraging words that come back.
I've heard rumours that Blogland can sometimes be cut-throat and brutal. Apparently there are bloggers who plagiarise (steal) other bloggers work; apparently there are also meanies who leave angry judgemental comments and engage in cyber-bullying. I haven't experienced any of this first hand.

I seem to have stumbled across a bunch of bloggers and blog followers who encourage and support, rather than attack and tear down. That's you! Yes, you. And I am very thankful for you.

Like the other week when I posted about my son hurting my feelings by saying I was fat... well! All the (too kind) compliments I received from you lot made me blush, I tellya.
When I was being chased by the Black Dog, you guys prayed for me, sent me emails and left encouraging comments.
When my Dad had a heart attack last year, prayers went up for him all over the world - thanks to you guys.

Blogging for me has become more than just a creative outlet, or a family record or a chance for me to sharpen my writing skills. It has become a real community of friends, confidants, allies.

An online support group. A coffee group spread around the globe.

So thanks. I mean it. I love you all.

The photos are from December when me and Gail got to meet PaisleyJade, BanBan and Weza in Warkworth for coffee. *Sigh* Looking forward to also one day meeting my favourites Widge, Meredy, Cat... having coffee and Cake with Laura in L.A., going to Disney World With Miss Obnoxious and meeting up again with Sophie and Rebecca in Oz... hey dreams are free!

(Plus, I am privileged to know and do RL coffee with Gail, Amy, Meg and Sammy. So blessed. So blessed.)
08 February 2010


Last night I lay in bed and tears rolled down my cheeks.
I just need to know, are we doing alright as parents? I sobbed to Mr G.
We are, we are, he reassured me.
But how do you know??? I begged.

My heart was aching with the heaviness of the task. Raising three human beings from babyhood to adulthood. Teaching them everything they need to know to survive in the world. Shaping them into responsible caring good-hearted people. Equipping them with tools to face disappointment, heartache, meanness and failure... so they will bounce back rather than break.

I had found some old photos tucked at the back of a drawer. Photos of us in our early days as parents. Photos of our first two babies.

My heart ached with how quickly those years have passed. And now another child is speeding on his way from babyhood. Before we know it they will all have grown and flown. It's going too fast! I will never get those years back. They will never be babies again. A lump of sadness sat in my chest, and I couldn't cry it away.

This morning we rushed to get ready for another day. But for a few moments I sat on the window seat with my cup of tea and whispered some thoughts up to heaven. I really don't know how to do this parenting thing. I would really love you to let us know how we're doing; how to do it better. I don't know much at all. I could really use your help, you know.

Later while I was making the lunches a song came on which I love. It's a prayer for my children. A wish. A hope.

I turned the music up loud. I scooped up my Little One, my Most Baby. And we danced. I spun him around and he giggled.

Me next, me next! Cried the Big Boy. I scooped him up, all seven years of him. All lanky limbs and spiky hair. We danced. I spun him around and he giggled.

My turn! My turn! called the Big Girl. So I scooped her up and held her close. I breathed in her hair and felt her velvet cheek against mine. Big Boy and Little One held hands and twirled alongside us. We all spun and danced and turned together, giggling.

My heart was aching with how much I love them. I hope they will always Dance.

I Hope You Dance, by LeeAnn Womack

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed

I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens
Promise me you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance
I hope you dance

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances but they're worth taking
Loving might be a mistake, but it's worth making

Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out, Reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance

I hope you dance
Time is a real and constant motion, always rolling us along

I hope you dance
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone...