Seven Nights

Seven nights sober,
A dry week so to speak,
No wine, no beer, no spirits near,
The evenings seem longer, the mornings lighter,
The fog is lifting,
Different risks are being considered,
The possibilities are endless,
And oh so worth it.

No

no

No is such a small yet powerful word. We don’t say it often enough.
We are a society of aiming to please. We do it so often we don’t know we are doing it, we don’t know why we are doing it and we don’t have time to stop and wonder why.
We try to please our parents, our siblings, our family, our friends, our colleagues, our bosses, our pets, our Gods. We are so busy trying to please that we forget ourselves. We become upset and irritated but we have no idea why. I know why.

No stops time.
No makes you think.
No gives you time to breathe.
No gives you your soul back.
No gives you your self belief back.
No gives you boundaries.
No gives you freedom.

I said no this week. It gave me a headache. It made me doubt the decision. It made me feel selfish. It made me fee unkind. I slept on the no. I woke up feeling stronger. I woke up feeling a little bit more me. I stepped into the light. I feel powerful. I like this new feeling.

We should say no more often.

Just one bite…it can’t hurt

©londonmoorebeauty.wordpress.com

I don’t wish to be obsessed with food. But I seem to be.

Call it the magic hours or the golden hours, the time between eight and ten in the evening are the bewitching hours of when I am liable to pick up a snack and consume it until either the bag is finished or the last crumb is eaten. I crave something to eat at this time of day. Do I really feel hungry if I’m honest with myself? No.

A distraction is what I need.

It all comes down to habits. I have gotten into bad habits. Time to distract myself into a good habit.

List of Distractions
A nice hot bath with candles or bubbles or both.
Watch a film
Exercise
Read a book
Write a journal post
Write a blog post
Call, email or write a friend a letter
Talk to your family
Enjoy a hobby
Play a computer game

Let’s analyse the suggestions shall we?
A nice hot bath, sounds good but does that include wine and cheese? Or a slice of cake with the hot drink? Or a cocktail?  Just kidding! Forget about it.

Watch a film…doesn’t include homemade popcorn. You should know better. You could always knit while you watch. Sketch. Keep your hands busy so you aren’t inclined to think of popping a kernel. Seriously? Popcorn?

Exercise? This late at night? Why not. You could prop up the iPad on the exercise machine and watch a film while you exercise. Perfect. Now why haven’t I done this sooner. Yes why haven’t I?

Read a book…too easy to graze and read isn’t it. But it doesn’t have to be like that. Read in a different spot than you would normally if you like to eat while you read. Break that habit. Join a library. You cannot use the price of books as an excuse to refrain from reading.

Snacking….You could always challenge yourself to eat only what you can eat with chopsticks. Especially for those at a keyboard. Sticky fingers and keyboards are yucky. Drink spills can also be fatal for keyboards. Long stemmed glasses and spare ribs do not maketh a computer snack.

Back to the journal writing. You could write what you are feeling when it comes to the golden hour. You could write what you are thankful for or you could write a food journal of what you ate today. Every item you ate. The quantity but not the calories. The list is enough to scare you. You know deep down what is good for you and what is not. The brain knows this but the heart twists the arm and before we know it the excuses are said and the item is consumed. The momentary feeling of pleasure is lost almost immediately after finishing the item. The feeling leftover is of disappointment. We are our own worst critic and we are harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else. We show no mercy when we we should. We are kinder on our worst enemy than we are on ourselves. When will we learn to be kind to ourselves. We are not perfect despite the little voice inside our heads telling us that we really should be trying. None of it is important really.
We should just learn to be happy right. So easy. I said it so it should be done. It’s not done. It’s not that simple. Yet it should be.
Why do we worry so much about what we eat or don’t eat? Why are we so obsessed with food. Too much or too little? It’s where the money is channelled these days. The food industry. Everyone trying to place their product in easy reach of you the consumer. Eat this, not that. This is good for, that is not.

ANYTHING IN MODERATION.

There.

That was easy. That is my rule when it comes to food. That is enough. Do I stick to it? I wouldn’t be writing this if I were.
The little voice on my shoulder is tapping me and asking but what is moderation? You know when you have stepped over your line. And face it. Everyone’s line is drawn in a different spot. What is my line today may be drawn in a different spot next year. We need to feel good about ourselves and that is where we want to head.

Write a blog post,..that’s what I’m doing now.

Can I give you a suggestion. Stop buying snacks. It’s that easy. Don’t have anything in the house that you are tempted to snack on, unless it’s a vegetable or fruit. Treat yourself like an alcoholic and remove the vice from your home. I have cupcake molds and sprinkles and icing but have I made any? No. Because if I make them I will eat them ALL. It is safer not to. I could freeze them, couldn’t I? That could be a solution. But that’s just like having vodka in the freezer for the alcoholic.  If you go to a cupcake shop and you are tempted. Just buy ONE. Gluten free? They have cupcakes for you too.

So you are with me this far and you are still not sure what to do. Avoid the supermarket and visit the greengrocer, you know the place that sells fruit and vegetables. Go to the butcher if you are meat inclined. If you must go to the supermarket don’t walk down the junk food aisle. Avoid all of them, the one with fizzy drinks too. And avoid the alcohol aisle too while you are there. Take the temptation out of your field of view. Distract yourself. Write a shopping list and keep to it.

Good luck.
Go forth and distract thyself.

MUSIC
Groove Armada – Think Twice

Peri-Menopause, Hot Flushes and Night Sweats

I am quite prepared to go off to the doctor to ask for medication to relieve or eliminate hot flushes and night sweats but I am stick in the mud stubborn to not ask for help with depression.  Yet the medication that I received for the hot flushes turns out to be the same for depression. Go figure. It turns out that Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor medication or SSRIs in low doses can actually stop women in peri-menopause and menopause from getting hot flashes and night sweats. This side effect was discovered when doing anti-depressant trials. As I was researching hot flushes as how to get relief or get rid of them I discovered the SSRIs, along with black cohosh, soybean/tofu and wild yam creams.

I decided that I would try SSRIs and supplement that with soya milk. The SSRI that my doctor recommended was one with a long half life (slow release; easy to begin taking and easy to stop taking). Fluoxetine was what was chosen for me. Would it work? There was only one way to try. 10mg daily.

The first two weeks I became an insomniac and I was beginning to suffer from a lack of sleep but I managed to get into a normal sleeping habit and can now fall asleep within 10 minutes, for me that’s normal.

I discovered that I don’t like drinking soy milk, the natural unsweetened kind, no matter how many bananas or blueberries I put in to disguise the taste, I just don’t like it. So that idea went out the window. Tofu once or twice a week is a much more sensible option.

I don’t drink coffee or tea, as in no caffeine. I cheat once a month, but I don’t count that.
Because I don’t drink lattes anymore nor do I indulge in masala chai I don’t drink milk anymore. That was a natural progression. It didn’t occur to me for a while that I had stopped dairy.
I am not eating bread, noodles, rice or potatoes just now, I am a meat and vegetables eater.
I am not eating sweets from a bag. I have cut down on sugar a lot!!!
I do however still bake and make everything in smaller sizes. And instead of eating many in one sitting I can make the tin last for a week sharing.

I feel healthier and lighter and I am becoming leaner. All a welcome change.
I feel brighter too. Cloudy days don’t bug me as much anymore.
The hot flushes have gone.  Hooray!
The sweats have gone.  Hooray!
One particularly bad day I had hot flushes and sweats every half hour. Now. Nothing. Absolute bliss.
I am going into winter and the one good thing about hormonal changes is that my body temperature seems higher and I don’t feel the cold the same.

On getting home from the doctor’s that first day I went home to check the medicine, Fluoxetine. It gave me a bit of a jolt. That’s the generic name for Prozac. I panicked a bit and thought of addiction but then realised that I would not be upping my dose anytime soon this side of Sunday, or the other side either. A plus for Aspergers, being able to follow the rules. I was actually killing two birds with one stone. An ugly saying but one that seemed the most appropriate. Killing the sweaty monster and the dark shadow, what could be better than that? Was I hoping too much?

I just about cried in the car park. With relief. Why did it take me so long to get help for myself? Finding a good doctor was important. Moving around a lot makes it harder to settle on one. Now I feel settled.

So how do I feel?
Menopause feels under control.
Depression feels under control.
I feel that I have my life back again. I feel like someone left the gate open but I don’t realise yet that I can walk through. I can’t believe my luck.

For those of you wondering the difference between a hot flash and a hot flush, well, they are the same thing.
For those wondering what a hot flush feels like, honey, it ain’t anything like a royal flush in cards, it’s more like a wave of heat that hits you suddenly, and only you, it creeps up your body to your face and neck, it makes you come out in a sweat, soaking you to the point that you think everyone must be staring. You feel like you need to mop up fast in case anyone saw. You stand anywhere with a breeze so you get some relief. It can last for years, only weakening in strength with age. It affects everyone differently. Some don’t suffer from them at all. Probably a tiny minority.

Update: Exercise habit is almost nil. I’ve upped the dose from 10mg to 20mg to balance with my weight increase. Drinking tea and the occasional coffee. No night sweats, no hot flashes/flushes. Could do better. Why is it that we know what we should be doing yet we just don’t do it? That in itself makes it doubly frustrating. One day at a time. Don’t be hard on yourself. I know. I know. But still…

Read more on perimenopause and aspergers

MUSIC
Lou Reed – Perfect Day

The journey home

IMG_0080

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne ©aspergersontoast

I enjoy travelling. No. I love travelling.  But I don’t enjoy the week(s) following the return home. Is it the return to reality? The return to ordinary life? I cannot seem to get myself together for a week or so. The house order becomes chaotic. The bag is left unopened. The washing suffers. The personal hygiene suffers. I can’t sleep. I’m tired. Weepy. I don’t want to do anything. I feel low. I basically don’t feel like being home. And recently my ankles and calves have started to swell with air travel. That hasn’t helped the mood. Oh this is the Post trip blues.

The house hasn’t cleaned itself. The DIY project that was unfinished before we left is still in its unfinished state. The lawns haven’t been mowed. And the garden hasn’t been watered. Unless you count the rain. I know!

Why is it that the hardest thing about a trip is the return home. Even writing this makes me feel pathetic, stupid and ungrateful. I am moaning about taking a trip.  Come on! Some people don’t get to take time off. Some people have two or three jobs and would love the chance to go somewhere, anywhere or just spend time with their family at home. I know how bad this sounds. But I can’t help the way I feel. If you want to tell me to stop being pathetic, don’t bother. It won’t help. It will be on deaf ears.

I think it has to do with my routine being messed up.

I like to sleep in my own bed.
I like to walk in the door and think I’m home.
I like to spend time at home.
I like to cook at home.
I like to spend time in the garden.

I think I need to have a routine for the trip return. More rules and routine but it may help the transition. Don’t you have a checklist before you leave the house on a trip? It may be so familiar that you no longer need the note, but its in your head just the same. Well I think I need a checklist for the return. More lists. I’m making myself feel crazy just thinking this. Something has to change.

Suggestions from Lonely Planet:
Plan your Next Trip: start planning where to go next
Start a Piggy Bank: save those coins at the end of the day
Be a Tourist in your own town: rediscover where you live
Share the Love: Share your travel tips, advice online to others
Make Art: Use your photos, memorabilia, holiday thoughts to make something creative

MUSIC
David “Honeyboy” Edwards – That’s Alright

Ebola, Ebola, Trust the doctors

Listening to this song makes my heart sing. It makes me feel light and I am so in awe of the talent and the dignity of the artists.  The theme of the song is a heavy one but it handled with so much care, Ebola the invisible enemy. To spread awareness about Ebola in song is the perfect medium to educate people and encourage people to visit a doctor.

I saw Salif Keita in concert in New York at the Apollo Theatre a few years ago. Seeing Salif Keita in the video brought back those memories. I remember walking to the theatre not realising that walking a hundred and ten blocks would take so long. I know!  At the time I didn’t really think of the distance in terms of more than a hundred blocks more like just a little further than the top of Central Park and on the map it looked a fair distance. In fact it was far, much too far. We like walking and New York is a fantastic place to walk usually. Anyway we got to about 100th Street and admitted defeat. We were running out of time and energy. We hailed a taxi and got dinner on the way at Zoma, an Ethiopian restaurant then taxied the rest of the way to the Apollo Theatre. It was a truly memorable concert. Salif Keita is a Malian singer songwriter and is well known in Europe as a successful “African star of world music.” (Salif Keita does a solo starting at 2:00 on the YouTube video)

MUSIC
Africa Stop Ebola – Tiken Jah Fakoly, Amadou & Mariam, Salif Keita, Oumou Sangare, Kandia Kora, Mory Kante, Sia Tolno, Barbara Kanam and rappers Didier Awadi, Marcus (from the band Banlieuz’Arts) and Mokobe
(with English subtitles)

Methylcobalamin Vitamin B12

Along with my folate supplement I have been looking into B12 and finding out what this vitamin does for us. Turns out it is rather vital to our everyday function.

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin needed for
metabolism,
brain function,
maintaining the nervous system and
forming red blood cells.

b12

©A.D.A.M.

The half life of B12 is 6 days but it can hang around in the liver for up to 400 days. Excess B12 is excreted in urine. Many people show a B12 deficiency. Vegetarians cannot get B12 from their food unless it is fortified in cereals or soy products. Supplements are the other choice unless you eat meat, fish or dairy.

Foods with high levels of B12:
Shellfish:  Clams, Oysters, Mussels
Liver:  Beef, Chicken (pate)
Fish: Mackerel, Smoked Salmon, Herring, Tuna, Tinned Sardines
Crustaceans: Crab, Shrimp, Lobster
Fortified* Soy Products: Tofu, Soy milk
Fortified* Cereals
Red Meat: Beef, Lamb
Cheese: Swiss, etc…
Eggs: Chicken, Goose, Duck
Dairy: Nonfat yoghurt, Skim milk
*Fortified with B12

b12a

©A.D.A.M.

Low levels of B12 can cause:

Anemia
Loss of balance
Numbness or tingling in the arms and legs
Weakness
Diarrhea or constipation
Rapid heartbeat and breathing
Stomach upset and weight loss
Easy bruising or bleeding, including bleeding gums

How to check your B12 level?
The vitamin B12 level(serum levels) is a blood test that measures how much vitamin B12 is in your blood.
Normal values are 200 – 900 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL)in the US. Yet in Japan and Europe 500 – 550 pg/mL is considered a low B12 level. In Australia 150–221 picomoles per litre (pmol/L) or (200–300 pg/mL) is considered low.

Nicotine and alcohol don’t help absorption of B12 into the body. Excessive Vitamin C intake, Antacid tablets, insulin enhancers for Type 2 diabetics, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), antidepressants, anti-hypertension drugs also zap B12 levels.  Think you may be showing signs of being Vitamin B12 deficiency? To read more visit b12d.org

How much B12 do I need?
“Recommended dietary amounts (RDAs) are 2.4 micrograms daily for ages 14 years and older, 2.6 micrograms daily for pregnant females, and 2.8 micrograms daily for breastfeeding females. Those over 50 years of age should meet the RDA by eating foods reinforced with B12 or by taking a vitamin B12 supplement. Supplementation of 25-100 micrograms daily has been used to maintain vitamin B12 levels in older people.” (Mayo Clinic)

Cobalamin or Vitamin B12 come in these forms: Cyanocobalamin, Hydroxocobalamin,  Methylcobalamin, Adenosylcobalamin.

B12 Supplements
For B12 supplements Methylcobalamin Vitamin B12 or Sublingual(under the tongue) Methylcobalamin Vitamin B12 are suitable for vegetarians and are Kosher. I prefer to steer clear of the Cyanocobalamin form of B12 to avoid the chance of cyanide poisoning. Check your labels.

B12 deficiency: a silent epidemic with serious consequences by Chris Kresser LAc, a licensed acupuncturist and functional medicine practitioner.
For article READ MORE

BBC Documentary about B12 and Dr Joseph Chandy
(aired 2006) (length: 9min45sec)

Note: I am not a medical professional. This blog post is for information purposes only. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment.

MUSIC
Aretha Franklin – Think

MTHFR gene and Methylfolate

 

folate

©bloodwork.com

After reading Everyday Asperger’s  blog post here about the MTHFR gene and methylfolate I got in the car almost immediately afterwards and drove to the late night supermarket to hunt for methylfolate. Being a supplement I thought I had a slight chance of it being available. No luck. Only folic acid. We then went further afield and looked for the all night pharmacy. We drove past it but couldn’t see it as it was too dark. We took a chance and drove to another pharmacy that we thought might be 24 hours open. It wasn’t. Although a disappointing result I felt victorious. I had taken action to find something to aid in my combat tool kit for depression and general mental health.

Day 2 in the search was little better. The first pharmacy said no immediately but recommended another pharmacy down the road. We wandered a little further. No stock but they could order it from the States. I got their contact number and said I would call if i didn’t have any luck. By this time I was tired of looking. It was suggested to me that calling ahead might be a better use of time. A sensible suggestion. But sometimes you just want to run around like a headless chook.

Day 3 I called back the pharmacy and ordered methylfolate (Metafolin).  I was in a pharmacy, another one and asked about methylfolate. The pharmacist there hadn’t heard of it, but she showed curiosity and a willingness to learn. She said she would look it up and I also mentioned the MTHFR gene too. She initially thought I was looking for folic acid but I said no, not everyone can absorb it.
I am very surprised at the lack of access to methylfolate. I cannot wait to try it and see if it helps me. I am very hopeful.

I waited patiently…

The order arrived four days later. I got a phone call from the pharmacy I was in the car in time before it closed for the day.

Two weeks later….

I feel like my head is clear and I have more energy and want to be active. I feel brighter. The difference after taking methylfolate (Metafolin) is dramatic. At the same time I am slowly improving my diet and eating more vegetables especially ones rich in minerals and vitamins. I have self diagnosed this need for folate. If I want to confirm that I do in fact have a mutant MTHFR gene then I can order a gene kit. See below if you want to find out more about your DNA.

(Update:
Four weeks later….
I am really beginning to feel like my old self again. Enjoying being me again. Energy levels much greater than without folate. Will look at adding Methylcobalamin Vitamin B12 to my daily routine.)

So what is MTHFR?
methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (NAD(P)H)
For detailed information go to Genetics Home Reference.

MTHFR Support Australia (40 minute recorded youtube talk with visuals)

folate_absoprtion

©lef.org

What is Folate or Methylfolate? Is it the same as Folic Acid?
‘Folate is Vitamin B9 and is NOT the same as folic acid. (Folic acid is synthetic and is not found in nature.)‘* See the number of transformations that folic acid must go through in order to be useful to the body. However if you have a mutant MTHFR gene then folic acid supplements won’t ever help. Folate supplements on the other hand can be absorbed into your body right away without the need to transform into something else before being useful.
Folate = L-methylfolate = Metafolin = 5-MTHF = L-MTHF = L-5-MTHF = MTHF

How is FOLATE labelled?

Calcium salt based:
L-MTHF, L-5-MTHF, MTHF, L-Methylfolate
Metafolin®: Merck, medical food (NeevoDHA, Metanx, Cerefolin and Deplin)
Extrafolate-S®: Gnosis, dietary supplement available over the counter
Generic/racemic formulas, dietary supplement available over the counter

Glucosamine salt based:
Quatrefolic®: Gnosis, dietary supplement available over the counter’**

**www.methylpro.com

How much do you need daily?
800mcg folate is recommended daily. You might see results with 400mcg folate.

*MTHFR Support Australia

DNA Kit
To check whether you have a mutant MTHFR gene you can order a DNA Kit from 23and Me.
Cost is US$99. You send them a sample of saliva and they return a printout of raw genetic data. You will not find out about future health issues or your likely time of departure.

Note: I am not a medical professional. This blog post is for information purposes only. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment.

MUSIC
London Grammar – Metal and Dust

Resistance is futile

“Shows a reluctance to move.”

Procrastination
I will give any excuse in the book not to exercise. It’s too windy, it’s too cold, let’s wait till the afternoon, by that time neither of us feel like it, it’s too hot. The tyres on the bike are flat. I don’t have anything to wear! I can’t find my pedometer! I used to be so active. I can’t believe this is what I have become. I don’t like it one bit. (I have a pedometer clipped onto my bra now so at least I can tell how many steps I do each day.)

Resistance is futile. This is what I told myself. I am going to exercise whether I like it or not. I have been walking five days a week. By walking I don’t mean power walking, I mean parking the car at the furthest spot in the car park. I mean going to two or three places and walking about and going home. I’m moving. We have been doing this for about a month and the effort is paying off. The fresh air, the forced interaction with people is pleasantly surprising.

Stationary Bike is next. So far three days in and going strong. Twenty minutes is where I am starting at and after a month I will see how I feel. Exercising as soon as I wake up lifts the guilt on will I or won’t I exercise. It’s done and out of the way. The act of exercising for me at the moment is not fun. It is a chore. It is something to do to get better physical and mental health. It seems to be working. If it only gets rid of the guilt that is more than enough.

Promises
“Shows a reluctance to continue despite…..” numerous attempts at walking and the cycling machine. I am back to square one again. I was trying to combine walking and cycling but I am back to just walking. Walking 4,000 steps is my daily goal. I read somewhere recently that if we change the word from “goal” to “promise” the intention becomes more personal and we have a greater determination to keep your promise. Do you agree?

My goal is to walk 4,000 step every day.

I promise to walk 4,000 steps every day.

or better still….
4000steps
Wording
Does that really make a difference? If I wrote it down longhand, with paper and pen would it become even more personal and make an even greater difference? Does adding “I” into the sentence make a difference or is it the word “promise” that makes the difference? Or does it not matter at all? Some days I don’t feel like doing anything and other days I could walk forever. My best will not be the same each day. What I mean by that is on a good day the effort to walk 4,000 is so easy, yet on a reluctant day the number 4000 may seem unreachable. The effort for the good day will be less than on the bad day despite the number of steps being different. Just looking at the numbers doesn’t tell the whole story. Only I know my best. That being said the point is not to use up all your energy on a good day. Conserve your effort so that you may continue the next day. If you decide that you are doing so well you decide to walk 10,000 steps when your average is 4,000 steps then you can imagine that your body will be tired the next day. Isn’t it better to do 4,000 consistently instead of bursts of energy followed by inactivity?

Goal Setting
I am on the fence with goal setting. I no longer make New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t see the point in making a resolution that will not be fulfilled. I used to write a long list of things on my list. But the disappointment of not completing the tasks became more than the reason for writing them in the first place.
However I do use a calendar and write down things to remember. I have to do lists. I am trying to set up a routine so that my habits become automatic. This is a work in progress. I think my goals may not be written specific enough. That’s why I am on the fence.

Personal Goals
 I let my imagination run wild and I come up with six cards. Now on these cards, hand written cards, I have a mentor’s photo and name written in the top left hand corner, and I write the goals on the right hand side. Each card represents a different aspect of my life. For example, Christine de Pizan (1364 – c. 1430) is one of my mentors. Yes, she may be dead but she inspires me. I still consider her a mentor or guide. It may be stretching the boundaries of the word mentor but that works for me. I also try to find female mentors where possible.

Write It Down
I write down what I would like to achieve. On paper my goals look great. They are grand ideas. They are good ideas. Some people say that you should write your goals down. I’ve done that. Others take it a step further and say you should verbalise your goals to others. This part I am not so sure if I agree with here.

To share or not to share your goals
If you state your goal out loud to someone then  you have an increased feeling of pressure. For some people that may be encouraging, for others it is a burden. You know when you announce that you are going to do something and then you don’t do it, you know the feeling when you are asked about it later, and you have to say, well actually I didn’t do it, or I didn’t finish it or I’m doing something else now. It embarrasses both the person asking and the person replying. I think after trial and error that stating goals on paper is better than verbalising. People have been known to cheat and bend their own rules in order to complete their goals. Results get made to fit the hypothesis. Sometimes the results should be surprising or unexpected. Only we know if we have completed out goals properly or not. I’m not sharing the goals on my cards for the very reasons I have mentioned.

Get Specific
But what happens if you are stuck on the journey and you don’t know how to proceed? Say a fork in the road, at a roundabout with multiple exits and you are without a road map or snowed in for the winter. That’s when it gets tricky. Maybe you wrote down a goal that wasn’t specific enough. Maybe you need to tweak your goal with more precise language.  This is when I think you need to break down the BIG GOAL into many little goals, or baby steps on the way. Maybe you need to add deadlines to your goal. Always review your goals. You may decide that your goal is no longer relevant to your life and it may no longer serve its purpose. Time to make a new one. Sometimes we may just need a reminder of what we wanted to do after becoming sidetracked with life.

Break It Down
My cards look great and already one mentor is going to be replaced. I need to find a replacement. I want to break the goal into smaller goals and set myself a time limit. I may have six cards but that doesn’t mean that I am chasing six tails. I am not juggling at the moment. I am with my feet up at the inn waiting on the snow to clear. Or I could get a shovel and start digging my way out. In order to do that I need a shovel, some wet weather gear, a thermos of hot tea and patience. I could have been digging daily so that the snow didn’t build up in the first place. But hindsight is a wonderful thing. I could just wait till spring and enjoy curling up with my kindle and watching the flames of the log-burner.

Even making a fire needs steps broken down.
What do you need? Newspaper, kindling, smaller logs, larger logs, matches, hand fan.
How do you build a fire up? Layers, newspaper, stack kindling on top of the newspaper, place the smaller logs on top of the kindling. Open the damper to allow maximum air into the log-burner. Light the newspaper in several spots. Close the door of the log-burner. Wait for the kindling to catch fire. Wave the hand fan if needed. Add larger logs once the smaller logs are well lit. Add logs as needed.

Writing out the steps to achieve your goals makes achieving them manageable and it allows you to SEE how to get there. If one way doesn’t work, try a different route for your steps.

Prioritise Your Steps
This is a challenge for me sometimes, priority. It is easier to do low priority stuff than high priority usually. But if we break down the high priority tasks into smaller tasks then the tasks will appear more manageable and less daunting. Working out how to tackle a plan can make a difference between starting or abandoning it.

Visualise Your Goal
Try having a Photoshopped finished goal for your desk if appropriate. For example: Photoshop yourself recieving a prize for your artwork. Superimpose your artwork onto the winning frame and Photoshop yourself into the recipriants body.

I do not multitask. I think it allows you to do all things poorly. I would rather do one thing at a time and one thing well. It helps with concentration. However sometimes it is better to do something poorly than never have tried though. Life is never black and white, it tends to be a lot of gray.

Reaching a Goal
When we reach a goal we can sometimes feel elation followed by deflation. While on the journey we can see where we will end up but not how. Once we have reached “there” we have nowhere to go next. It’s a bit like getting to end of a good book. Satisfied, disappointed yet a little bit of angry that there are no more pages to read. Selfish thoughts really. That is where the next goal comes into play. And the race is off again and the journey to reach the next goal.

To Do Lists
I think I have given myself enough work to do with getting back on track with my goal cards. I wrote the steps down and saved them onto my computer. What the file name is, I have no idea, well maybe some idea. Having a paperless room is great in theory but if it is anything like my floor at the moment I cannot see how I will be able to find things. I am yet to be paperless but I hope to be despite my reservations. Not being able to see the paper will be enough reward. My goals are not broken down well enough, time to address the problem. I think I have plenty to do.

Lastly
Revisiting what I write down is important. I may need to rewrite the ideas again to feel it. I need reminders. I need prodding. I also need to remember that sometimes I slip back into bad habits. This is normal. Gently guiding myself back to the right path is needed constantly until the new good habit is formed. But again I slip again and again. Sometimes I don’t want direction and that’s okay. All in good time. Sometimes I need rest. Sometimes the goals are wrong too. Sometimes they need to be dropped. Deciding.  It’s part of life. Perfection is not. Perfection is in a sunset or a leaf. I’m looking for contentment and peace of mind.
And to be perfectly honest the exercise at the moment is not working as I had hoped. I am trying but it is like trying to get a cat into a bath. I am going to try walking with headphones.  So let’s say half an hour, 3 minutes a song, I need 10 songs with good tempo. What’s a good songs to walk to?

MUSIC
OK Go – Here It Goes Again

Is buying a SodaStream machine worth it?

  • I don’t drink soda, by that I mean sugar-laden carbonated caffeinated or non-caffeinated drinks. I haven’t for many years.
  • I don’t buy sugar-laden juice from the supermarket. If I have juice I make it myself and when I do it is a mix of vegetables/fruit.
  • I’m cutting down on my caffeine intake. I have a double espresso maybe once a week or once a fortnight now.
  • I’m cutting down on my wine intake. I want to substitute wine with sparkling water. I want to be healthier.

Why am I thinking of buying a SodaStream?
I want to drink carbonated water/sparkling water instead of wine. I’m NOT interested in adding flavours.
Buying bottled sparkling water is expensive and I want to see if buying a SodaStream machine is cheaper.

Here are the Pros and Cons

CONS

  • It’s another gadget to have on the kitchen bench
  • SodaStream has a factory on the West Bank for more on this read here and here.
  • Gas bottles need to be replaced. (solution: always have a spare.)

PROS

  • I can make my own sparkling wine. (I know I said I wanted to make sparkling water but one has to try this out. Homemade sangria might me quite refreshing. It could always be made without alcohol anyway.)
  • The gadget is compact. Doesn’t take up much space on the bench.
  • I can enjoy the bubbles.It is cheaper than bottled sparkling water in New Zealand.
  • Plastic or glass bottles are not thrown away with every bottle. SodaStream bottles last 3 years.
  • Gas bottles are recycled. The cylinders are cleaned, inspected, and refilled by Sodastream. Refills are bought at a reduced price of about NZ$11-$13 when exchanged for an empty one.
  • A 2 year warranty

I suppose it depends on how often you intend to use it. I could just drink filtered water, but I want to have a little fun when I’m not having wine. Life is in the bubbles! Would you buy one?

All prices below are in New Zealand dollars. Brands are local, supermarket generic and international.

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UPDATED:
We took the plunge and bought a machine and we haven’t looked back. I must say though having someone explain how to use it was hilarious. Unless you have used one before hearing someone describe the sound it makes when the carbonated bubbled enter the water is well worth it alone.
11 December 2014: We use the soda stream practically every day for water only. It has been a great purchase. A kitchen gadget that is used regularly. 🙂 Our local supermarket stocks the refills so we don’t have to make a special trip elsewhere. We kept the cardboard packet for the refill so it is better to transport to and fro in the car.  Still haven’t tried making wine sparkling. Enjoying the water too much. Maybe over the summer we will try.
11 September 2017: Using the soda stream about once a week. Still think it was a smart purchase.

RESULTS:
Sparkling water – EXCELLENT
Flavoured sparkling water – POOR (Tried a sample no sugar lemonade flavour that came with the pack. Didn’t like it at all.)
Sparkling wine – untested to date.