Things I Love Thursday

Okay so last week I was pretty sick, and some stupid decisions were made such as drinking lots and lots of disprin. But it made me really appreciate some things. My best friend Sophie for coming to pick me up and drive me to a doctor, even though my brain was fried and I had forgotten that there is a local doctor, pain killers, my new awesome doctor, electric blankets, Netflix, juice and blis tablets. I’m also pleased that I got so much craft done while sick.

On the weekend I went to stay with my folks and that was lovely too. We watched About Time and had good food and mum made chocolate drop pancakes in the morning. NOM!

Looking forward to seeing my Girl tomorrow ❤ So much.

A bit of financial freedom is a beautiful thing. I fiiiinally upgraded my phone and it’s so lovely to have a phone which reliably works and does proper smart phone things. Plus paying off debt, splurging on DVDs and blu rays, a couple of things I’d been needing and not having to worry about my credit card.

Work’s good. New office, new squad and I feel good about both changes. I think my brain suits BAU work a bit better than massive project work… well, at least at the moment while I’m still upskilling.

Honourable Mentions: Broken Arrow on blu ray for $10, dreams of my love, waking up totally warm and comfortable, Wolf Among Us, skype, chippies, getting my teeth cleaned (okay it hurt but I feel good for getting it done), laughter and being healthy!

I woke up with this Eurovision song in my head the other day, it’s all about the message and being upbeat. I love it when they all do the little synchronised dance…

No Prejudice by Pollaponk

But the song I can’t stop listening to at the moment is this one, Na Na Na by My Chemical Romance

Long Haul Flights – a guide to making it super awesome.

I have had a few awesome things happen this week. This is about my decision to take a last minute trip to the States to meet Jess. I am leaving in two weeks(!!!) and that means I get to plan a massive trip, and work out the best way to handle two long haul flights.

I asked my friends for advice and was pleased to find much of the advice was things I already planning, things I’d worked out on my flights to and from Japan. But it’s always always good to get these things confirmed. The number on tips, for making your time on a plane the best they can be are as follows:

-> Aisle seat. Obviously useful for getting to the bathroom, and for getting up to wander about. Unfortunately I am a devotee of the window seat. I love to look out the window, and you can kind of lean against the side of the plane when it comes time to doze off. Most likely I’ll be in the window seat and climbing over people when I need to pee, but I’m okay with that.

-> Enjoy it! Seriously! Get into the mindset that this is a chance for you to chill out, gorge yourself silly on TV shows and movies and silly video games while people wait on you and bring you snacks and drinks! – excellent tip from Jackie. Mindsets make such a different to your experiences, if you go in expecting 15+ hours on the plane to be a Hellish time, well then… chances are it will be a self fulfilling prophecy. But if you frame it like a chance to catch up on movies and tv, take whatever things the flight attendants offer and just plain have fun, the flight’s going to be a lot easier.

-> Kindle/iPad. Save weight in your case and read as much as you like. I don’t have a tablet, but I do have a kindle, it’s loaded up with books and I went and added in the Harry Potter series and Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series as well, because sometimes up in the air you don’t want to challenge yourself too much and something you already read is the way to go.

-> Warm socks, comfy pants and a blanket or scarf. Keeping warm is always a priority for me, since I have lizard blood and get cold easily. I had a great outfit for my Japan flights, loose track pants, a soft long sleeve t shirt and a t shirt over the top, plus hoodie. I shall be reprising that outfit for my upcoming flights I think.

-> Identifying your luggage. This is essential, and I’ll be having some fun this weekend with fabric paint and my plain black rolling case.

-> Take your own headphones. I love my sennheiser noise cancelling phones, but I was trying to work out if they’d be too annoying to travel with or not. The number of people who suggested I take my own solved that dilemma for me, so I’ll be bringing them along and at Frank’s suggestion I bought a converter so I can use ’em on the plane.

-> Neck support. I know some people are torn on these things but I got a pretty good inflatable one in Japan which made it easier to be comfortable and sleep on the way home.

-> toothbrush, a little moisturiser to allow yourself to freshen up. I bought some travel wipes from Kathmandu which I’ll also use for cleaning hands and the tray table and things around me, just because why the hell not? I might decant a little moisturiser as well and my toothbrush will be in my carry on as well as some floss. Little things can make a huge difference to how you feel.

-> Bring your own snacks. I’m going to spend as much of the flights asleep as I can but I think I will still stash some chippies, muesli bars and chocolate to tide me over. I seem to remember one meal on the way to Japan that was far too late being served for my liking.


Now my biggest challenge is working out the best bag for my carry on. My laptop now is bigger than the one I could easily slip into my backpack last year so I’m going to try it on a few different things. I may end up attempting to make my own with many small pockets for things like headphones converters and things, but we’ll see! Maybe I have something I can convert in my vast array of bags I already own.

I may blog about my ultimate carry on kit, when it’s done.

Other tips from my wonderful friends: Get up and move regularly and keep hydrated. Worth taking your smartphone charger in carry on. Some planes have USB ports at the seats even in economy. Don’t have teeth pulled on day of departure. “Make fists with your toes.” Take the cabin luggage weight restrictions seriously – but know what you’d throw out if you are over the limit. To help sleep phenergan, eyemask & earplugs. Ditch your shoes ASAP!

Have you got any tips for long haul flight not covered above?

Antidotes to Monday

I’ve been feeling pretty miserable with a cold since last week, but I have managed to avoid despair by concentrating on the good stuff. I do this to a degree anyway, but I’m calling it Radical Self Love, because it’s Radical Self Love month and Steve sent me a brilliant email reminding me to outsource my worry and focus on what I wanted to do which instantly made me feel better. Forget guilt over not getting things done and give yourself some ‘me time’. For me this was lying about on the couch reading, interspersed with watching Buffy and having Maccas for lunch without judging myself.

Steve also pointed me at this brilliant article from Seth Godin about effort vs luck which is all sorts of comforting/inspirational. Yay Steve!

For an example of looking on the bright side: I was in a fragile mood on Saturday, which was not a good frame of mind to be playing Guinevere in, however, the Camelot LARP was held in a beautiful setting, I caught up with a number of good friends and there are so many stunning photos of everyone in costume that it was all worthwhile. (Besides that, I achieved my aims, did NOT cause the fall of Camelot and managed to wrangle extra magic out of Nimue with the GMs help. Camelot shall have a true heir! None of this Mordred fellow!)

Merlin, Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot

You can see more here, photos of nearly everyone in the LARP.

On Sunday I was minding my own business when a dragon went past. Where are Lancelot and Arthur when you need them? No one on twitter could provide a sufficient answer for this. Luckily it kept following its pretty sparkly ball to the waterfront.

I’ve been getting a lot of good books read while I’ve been feeling crappy, it’s so good to be able to escape into someone else’s world. I started The Yes Man by Daniel Wallace today and I’m really enjoying it. Its funny, conversational tone is easy to read and it’s the good type of self-help book that leads by example, rather than lecturing you. I saw the movie adaptation of it last year and rather liked it, but it’s always best to go to the source.

Finally, for a more teary kind of happiness, check out this video from the end of the Jim Henson memorial Muppet special where Robin sings ‘Just one person;’. Inspiration, emotion, muppets.

Random things

Scary Minds, the centre for Down Under horror fic has done a great review of The Event. This has made me very happy, and once again cemented the importance of doing fiction that is available to people for free. I should do more of that. In fact, this morning I started a short story with an eye to submit it to everyday fiction, since Matt and Debbie have both had the good luck to be accepted to there. Unfortunately I think my story might be longer than 1,000 words, but hey. There are other markets.

Ironically, I think this photoblog of unhappy hipsters focussing as it does on loneliness makes me feel more connected to the general population of the world. Maybe that’s why I still love awkward family photos so much as well. We’re all just trying to be cool.

I started my journey into Radical Self-Love. I have this gorgeous NZ designed and made notebook that a friend gave me for my birthday. On the front it says “You’re lovely” in ribbon writing. I figured that was a pretty good start for my radical self-love bible. In the front I have written:
“To love myself, increase my creative output and become rich and happy. I will use my own capacity for love and happiness to improve the lives of those I love. I will be a successful writer and my success will bring joy to others.”

I have chosen my old gold un-charmed charm bracelet for my totem/reminder of radical self love. It’s delicate and gold and it has a heart lock clasp. I keep meaning to get charms for it but I never quite manage. Maybe this month? As I achieve stuffs?

Also, this morning I went for a run. There are three main things that have made this happen: 1. My asthma has been really bad these past couple of weeks, exercising cures it quite a lot. 2. I suspect I might be getting my mother’s varicose veins, and that freaks me out, so I’m hoping exercise will cure that too. 3. I am rounder than I have ever been, which I don’t particularly mind in the boob department but some of my clothes are getting a little tight. Being fitter may not cure me of roundness, but at least I’ll know I’m healthier. Plus, 4, Lee keeps bugging me about getting exercise. This will solve that. So, yeah. I’m a get back into running. Not full time, no marathons, just aiming for 20 – 30 minutes three times a week. It’s not much, but it’s vastly more than no exercise at all.

How to Be Rich and Happy – values and worrying

This last week I took my life in my hands and ordered a life change. It was half price on the internet. Seriously.

How to be Rich and Happy by Tim Brownson and John P. Strelecky. It comes with a money back guarantee too.

Now I have had a crack at self help books before, and for the most part I’ve ended up discarding them. But this one I have decided to commit to. I’m taking it slowly and working through the exercises.

So far I’m only a quarter of the way through or so but I’m already learning stuff. I figured out what my values are (I really like happiness and creativity it turns out, who knew?) and the ‘anti-values’ that I should avoid the most (conflict and anger). That was fun. Although I feel weirdly secretive and protective of those lists. I don’t want Lee to see them for some reason.

Yesterday I outsourced my worrying. Seriously, Tim did all my worrying for me. I know it sounds kind of silly but it really worked. On twitter I’d let Tim know any time I started worrying about something, then he’d let me know that he had the worrying under control and I could relax. It was amazing. I would be sitting there and something worrisome (usually something I’d already told Tim about) would spring to mind and I told myself “It’s OK, Tim’s doing my worrying for me today” and I’d get this amazing feeling of light and happiness.

I had a holiday from worrying, essentially. And worrying is something that I am really good at. I initially learned it from my Mum and I have nurtured the habit well.

I had this huge grin all through work because I didn’t have to worry about things. I also learned that the things that I am worrying myself about are either things I can’t control, or things that are inconsequential. I had nebulous, vague worries like ‘my digestive system’ or specific little niggling worries like when my Trade Me package was going to be delivered. Passing them on was a relief.

I also noticed a tendency I didn’t know I had to start worrying on behalf of people, like the callers at work who have problems with some trade, I would start feeling bad and then remind myself not to worry and then I would be able to focus instead on how to resolve the call.

It’s a little harder with the bigger stuff, like if I started thinking about whether I’m doing enough to support my mother in law through her stuff at the moment, or if a friend of mine is having some trouble. I would feel myself beginning the worrying but then I told myself that it wasn’t going to help. If I want to support someone I love I have to do it with actions and you know, actual help, not with worrying.

I think I’m going to keep telling myself that someone else is handling my worrying. I like this big smile and I want to keep it. I should also add that I slept really well last night too.

Oh and just for additional linkage, here’s a good article on how to make lasting changes in your life, from Zen Habits…Go Slowly

antidotes to Monday

Boundin’, the cute musical, dancing Pixar short that precedes The Incredibles. Such a cute and simple message and I always find it uplifting.

Take a long hot bath.

Read one of those books that you can read over and over again because they’re so good. Mine are things like Ender’s Game, Necklace of Kisses, Alanna the first adventure, A Little Princess, Fruits Basket or Harry Potter.

And you should definitely read this article from Rock Your Day this is your chance.

Antidotes to Monday

Coming into Wellington we wheeled over Makara, the sun was just going down

Coming into Wellington we wheeled over Makara, the sun was just going down

Breathe deeply. I keep forgetting to do this when I get stressed and then my body gets stressed because it’s not getting enough air. I can’t believe I still forget to breathe.

Start something new that you really want to do but keep putting off because you’ve got other things you should be doing. Last night I started two (count ’em two!) new ink and water colour pictures. Today I started a new quilt. The quilt is for me. I can’t remember the last time I made patchwork for myself. It must have been my jeans quilt.

Lie down on the floor (or bed), turn your palms to the ceiling and let your spine sink into the floor. Let your shoulder blades fall down. Let gravity straighten you out a little. Breathing is good for doing this too.

Watch a this flipbook music video. It’s neat.

Turn off the TV or DVD or whatever you’re watching and do something else. Read or craft or run around. Listen to music and dance.

Antidotes to Monday

Little things you can do to make your day a little bit better.

Change the sheets on your bed. Nothing like slipping into hotel-style clean bedclothes. (I can also recommend getting a new duvet, but that might be a bit extravagant.)

Finish something. Even if it’s just doing the dishes, vacuuming a single room or reading the rest of your book. You get a little sense of accomplishment no matter what it is.

Watch some silly little videos on youtube. Such as the Jenni’s Angels filmography or check out some cute animals on cutebreak, the genius that brought us slow loris. Or these compiled songs from Animaniacs.

Do something you hadn’t planned on doing. Instead of eating the leftovers/toasted sandwich or other boring food at home, go out for dinner. Instead of staying in and watching boring TV, go out to a movie or visit a friend.

Give yourself permission to go to bed very early and read a good book. I’m really enjoying Dracula right now.

Antidotes to Monday

This video of a slow loris enjoying a rub.

A long hot bath with ‘sunshine’ lush bubble bar.

Put on your comfiest clothes, even if they aren’t attractive at all.

Reading something cute and silly and fun. (I recommend Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls vol 3: Best Friends and Drama Queens, especially for reliving childhood dramas).

Takeaway food for dinner.

Snuggles with someone warm.

Cupcakes, chocolate, cookies or any other comfort food.

Feeling sorry for yourself for a bit and then relaxing into calm happiness.

Sleep easy

I haven’t been sleeping well lately, I’ve been waking up at odd hours, some times able to get back to sleep and sometimes not so much. Then I get hella sleepy during the day, want to crash out on my desk at 2pm at work.

Following conversations with a few workmates who were having similar problems I began to suspect this was all of a sudden a common problem. I suspect it’s an alien invasion plan. The aliens are here, right, and they’re going to interrupt our sleep and make us all really cranky. Once we’re all cranky enough they hope that we’ll attack each other. Then they can take over the world.

I wasn’t too sure how to defend against this, but then my workmate said that he’d tried a herbal sleep aid Healtheries easy sleep and that it had worked for him. We were talking about it a day later and another workmate mentioned she’d taken it and had the best sleep in ages. I tootled along to the supermarket and bought myself a bottle of them. The checkout operator asked me if it worked, because she hasn’t been sleeping well lately either. Alien invasion theory isn’t sounding so crazy now is it?

So on Friday night I tried it for the first time, just one pill. The effect I noticed once I had given it an hour to kick in was that it made my head really heavy. You know that stage of sleep where you feel like you’re sinking into the pillow? It recreated that for me. This makes it really easy to fall asleep.

Then I woke up after an hour or so to pee, because I’d drunk a lot of water to swallow the pill, because it is a big pill. Walking was a bit difficult, I wove around a bit. I had a good night’s sleep but I did keep waking up at random hours, like I have been lately. On Saturday morning I managed to sleep in past my alarm time and get out of bed feeling relatively onto it.

On Saturday night I had a lot of champagne at Morgue and Cal’s civil union, and when we got home around 11.30 I took two sleep pills to see if I could stop waking at random hours. Well, I can tell you that these pills definitely have an effect, two pills was way too much for me. I still woke up at random times, but I managed a very long sleep in. Basically it was very difficult to wake up. I managed to stumble into the lounge and onto the couch where Lee and I watched some Season Three Supernatural. I was very sleepy. I wanted to close my eyes all morning and go back to sleep.

After midday we opened up the curtains and decided to enjoy the sunshine. The Lovely Sokky managed to meet up with us in Waitangi Park and some good lounging and catching up was had. On Lee and my return home I tried to do some copyediting and fell asleep for about an hour.

I woke up from that nap feeling awesome, and made it through The Winding City rehearsal with nary a yawn. Last night I went back to a single pill and I think that’s the way to go for me.

Once awesome side effect of these herbs is vivid and memorable dreams. On Friday I dreamed that my hair had grown out enough that I could make braids. Giffy was very pleased for me. Last night I dreamed about my new Buffy game character and some intriguing drama I could work in regarding his parents. Good times.

Point of Fashion: Kapcon 18
Current Obsession: New Buffy game! Woop woop!