Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I'm back!

I have no good reason (excuse?) for not posting for so long. In fact I hadn't realised this many months had gone by until I logged onto tonight. I truly thought I had posted to my blog in February and March but I see that this is not the case. So this entry is a bit of a catch up on where I am at and a bit about what I've been up to.

The main thing is life is all good! My work life balance is spot on - I'm loving my job and also loving how I am spending my leisure time.

Firstly, my house is still on the market. Sigh. It's now listed with The Professionals and they are doing a great job but the buyer (for my house anyway) has not been identified yet. There have been quite a few people through but not the right match for the property unfortunately. I've had no quibbles about the price that's been advertised and there doesn't seem to be anything I can do to the property to make it more appealing to potential buyers - unless I can increase the size of the bedrooms, add another bathroom and reduce the size of the section. So the waiting game continues for now. It's a little frustrating as I am ready to move on and I feel I'm being held back from doing that. My method of coping is to keep active and spend as little energy as possible fretting. That's working pretty darn well.

I'm still not eating meat and not missing it at all. I haven't managed to eliminate fish from my diet yet - I love eating fish! That is something I need to work on. I had thought that by cutting out meat I would naturally lose some weight but that hasn't happened. I am pretty sure that wine is the culprit there so for the past two weeks I haven't been drinking any alcohol - I will check my weight in another week or so and see whether that has made a difference or not. I'm not that bothered but I know I'm carrying a few extra kilos than is good for me.

Since I last posted there have been plenty of adventures in my life so I'll finish off this post with a couple of them. The post will be far too long if I try to cover them all off.

In February I spent a long weekend in Auckland. The main purpose for my trip was to spend some time with a very good friend. We spent the weekend at her family bach with her husband and sons. The bach is at a lovely seaside spot called Matapouri. We spent plenty of time at the beaches in the area. Here's a photo of my favourite beach - Whale Bay. It takes about fifteen minutes to walk to the bay and is well worth the walk.

We had a fantastic weekend at Matapouri and I was already plotting a return trip by the time Sunday rolled round. Here's a photo of the beach at Matapouri itself.

In March I had a weekend trip to Lake Taupo to stay in another bach. This bach is owned by the directors of the company I work for. It's situated at the southern end of Lake Taupo in Kuratau. The weather for the weekend was rubbish but it was quite warm so we spent quite a bit of time in the water mucking around in kayaks. I think I need to do some serious training in how to paddle a kayak. The kayak I had a play in has so rudder so I would manage to do about 6 to 8 strokes before I would end up in a turn I couldn't stop until I would be facing back the way I came. Very frustrating but sort of amusing at the same time.

Also in March I had my birthday. This year I decided I wanted to head into the bush so I talked my sons and their girlfriends into coming along. We booked Oaks Hut in the Orongorongos through the Department of Conservation. The walk in there is quite short and easy with a river crossing at the end. We walked in after work on the Friday, stayed two nights and headed for home on the Sunday. Friday night was when the earthquake happened in Japan but we were blissfully unaware of the extent of it. Here's a picture of the crew outside the hut ready to head for home.

And a picture of the damage you can do if you slip on the track. Ouch.

I think that's enough for one post. There are a few more adventures I want to post about so keep an eye out and I will get onto that soon.

Monday, January 31, 2011


Right now I should be 100% focused on selling my house right? Open homes twice a week? Loads of pro-active marketing? The difficulty I have with that concept is that I've had two open homes with absolutely no takers. That's a little (a lot) disheartening. So what am I to do? Well, my answer was to go away for the weekend and ignore the whole thing. Is that wrong? Who knows. I do know that I have recharged my batteries and feel more able to do something about it now. Do you want to hear my plan? Yes? Too bad. Instead, I will tell you about my weekend away - that's much more fun.

I headed up the west coast with my friend and his sons for an overnight camping trip. I can't tell you exactly where we went as it's a Secret camping spot (deliberate capital letter there for emphasis). Anyway, it's a slightly convoluted place to get to but once you're there it's like being a million miles from anywhere. Think of a long sandy beach strewn with driftwood that stretches further than the eye can see. And huge sand dunes - fantastic for climbing to the top and then running madly down to the bottom. And crashing waves (no-one around so no need for soggy swimsuits). And birdlife chirping and cheeping. And marvellous sunsets. Gosh it was wonderful. Here's a few pictures for you (they really don't do justice to the landscape - maybe it is time for a photography course - or a better camera!).

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Vegetarian / pescetarian

I've been 99.9% meat free since Christmas Day and it hasn't been as difficult as I thought it would be. My intention was to be vegetarian but I have found, so far, that I am more comfortable being pescetarian. For me this means I have fresh fish perhaps once a week and have tuna in my lunch once or twice a week. I'm happy to continue like this for now but am sure I will phase out the fish in the future. It's also my intention to cut out dairy and cut back on other fats and oils (as per Dr Esselstyn's book.

So what does this change in eating mean for my meals generally? Well, breakfast is either home-made muesli (yum) with rice or soy milk and yoghurt or Vogel's toast with Vegemite. Most of the time I have freshly made juice - the favourite mix currently is carrot, apple, beetroot, pineapple and spinach - delicious! At some stage I will revert back to porridge - probably once the weather gets cooler again.

Lunch during the week is most often a salad or a wrap but is sometimes leftovers (my favourite would have to be leftovers!). Lunch on the weekend varies considerably depending on what I am doing. Today I had a mushroom, spring onion and spinach omelette (with fresh eggs from my chooks).

I guess dinners are the more interesting area these days (for me anyway). I have tried a recipe out of Esselstyn's book called Kitchari - it's a sort of soupy / casserole sort of thing with rice, yellow split peas, chilli, veges, fresh coriander and cumin seeds. I'm not convinced they are all the ingredients but I've lent the book to a friend and can't double-check. The other night I sort of felt like tacos but when it came down to it I cooked all the things I would have had with the tacos and just ate the fillings - so I had brown rice, lettuce, sweetcorn, mushrooms, zucchinis and spring onions - so tacoless tacos. Yum! Vege curries are fairly high on the agenda as are stir fries - all simple to prepare without meat.

I have to admit I feel a little better and more energetic at the moment but I can't be sure that is entirely due to my change in diet.

The other recent change is an increase in exercise. With my finger slowly healing I knew it was time to get back into more activity to regain my fitness and strength. I rejoined the gym so am back to spin classes twice a week and at least one Thai Fit class. On top of that I went for a run the other day - first one for about three months. And on weekends inevitably there is at least one walk up a hill if not more. Next weekend I am off for my first tramping trip since my accident in November and I can't wait! It is also my first trip with the tramping club that I joined late last year so will be interesting to meet some new people.

Life continues to be good - now, if my house would sell it would be even better!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year resolutions?

I've never been one to make New Year's resolutions and this year is no different. But, I have to say I have been pondering recently on what I expect this year to bring me.

I think that I am more uncertain than I usually am due to needing to sell my house. Until that is completed a lot of other things are on hold. My bike accident has given me time to think (too much time!) but that has been quite beneficial.

One thing I know for sure is that I want to be fitter and stronger and take any opportunities that come my way to get out and about. I joined a tramping club before my accident with the intention of tagging along on some of their trips. As soon as my finger has healed sufficiently I will be putting that into action. I've been trying to get out walking as much as possible to retain some level of fitness. Today's walk was up Mt Climie - a 12km walk with a 615 metre climb. Here are a couple of photos taken from the top.

I intend to do a lot more tramping plus I have a season ski pass for the upcoming winter so want to get a lot more skiing in. Fingers crossed for a good snow season.

I've also recently read a book entitled Prevent and Revers Heart Disease by Dr Caldwell Esselstyn (no, I don't have any heart problems - I heard an article on the radio about it and was curious). The premise of the book is that by following a plant-based diet with virtually no added oils and fats heart disease (and other illnesses) can be prevented. That's made me think seriously about my diet so I intend to head towards vegetarianism if not veganism this year. Yesterday was the first time since Christmas Day that I slipped from being entirely vegetarian - I had fish for lunch. I'm not missing meat at all and am enjoying trying out new vegetarian recipes. So I will see how this goes. I figure it certainly can't hurt - I'm eating loads of beans, etc to provide the nutrients I need.

I have a simmering feeling that I'd like to travel this year - I have no specific destination in my mind at this stage so will need to mull over it a little more.

So that's it on my subject of resolutions. There's an underlying one of sorting my finances out but that depends on the house sale so I'm letting that one slide for now - apart from being as frugal as possible in the meantime.