Random thoughts on a Wednesday

Today I drove past where a car crash had only just happened. I'd driven past the same spot about 20 minutes earlier and all had been well, and then I drove back and there were two cars off the road, a bunch of people gathered, no emergency services on scene yet. And although I thought to stop at first, upon seeing about 8 people there already I told myself to just keep on driving and trust that all will be well. I have limited first aid skills, and I did not want to be a "rubberneck" just watching what was happening.

But I still felt uncomfortable on the drive home, wondering how the people in those cars were doing. I saw two emergency service cars speed that way and gave them ample space on the road. And I quietly wished that all was going to be well.

Had I been one of the first on the scene, I would've stopped. But I wasn't, and so I just drove on.


It's interesting to notice what my body is doing now that I've started eating a bit more fat, and a little less carbs. A very modest LCHF diet, basically.

I have become more taste-sensitive to sugar. We went out to get ice creams one day and I picked an ice cream that I knew I had liked previously, a chocolate-coated, toffee-core, french vanilla.

But when I put it in my mouth, it was, like, jesus this thing is sweet! And I even wondered whether to keep eating it, or toss it in the rubbish bin - or, more likely, give it to The Man to finish.

I have not cut sugar out of my diet entirely, all I am doing is lessening the amount of sugar I eat, but my body has already come aboard with this habit where things that used to taste nice sweet before, now taste sickly sweet. Like, too sweet to enjoy.

And so, partially, I am lessening the amount of sweets in my diet not because I tell myself so, but because my taste has changed and things I used to enjoy a lot don't taste as nice any more. And I find that things that used to be too bland, sweetness-wise, now taste nice.


Another thing I've noticed a few months into this LCHF thing now is that when I am ill or feeling off, I am craving sugar.

Last week, for example: I was ill, and I pretty much walked around for several days thinking of chocolate and ice cream non-stop! And it's not that I haven't noticed it before at all - I knew that during sickness a lot of people (once they get their appetite back) want carb-loaded meals like pasta and toast and stuff.

But it's just that now, a few months into eating a little differently and now that my tastes have changed, it really stands out to me when I am wanting sugar. It stands there like a big, red stop sign prompting me to ask myself, "Maria, are you alright? Are you ill? Are you feeling stressed? Are you worried about something?" It stands there like an un-refutable sign that says to me that my body is wanting simple, straightforward energy. It doesn't want to deal with ketosis - it wants glucose, carbs. Upfront like that.

And so as is the case with being ill, I basically figured that my body was wanting sugar because it was under stress from this cold virus already and it didn't want any more physical challenges along its way. I ate the toast, and the chocolate, and the ice cream, and left it at that. It was alright.

But it's that at other times when I am not physically ill, it serves as a powerful marker to me to check with myself emotionally over how I am doing, and to see if there is something I need to address, because turns out that when I am stressed, oh heck do I want chocolate!

Except, it's not always the only way forward. When the kids were doing their best at being little shites a few weeks back and I suddenly thought, "Man I would love some chocolate right now!", instead of eating chocolate I took it as a sign that I needed to find a way to take care of myself, and so I said out loud, "Hey guys, who would like to go for a walk?" And we went for a walk, and it was fine, and my craving for chocolate subsided - that basically, when I was feeling better and not as challenged emotionally, my body was willing to fund its energy in ways other than simple carbs and glucose.


I love my kids.


It is very hard to explain to someone who isn't in their early twenties what it's like being in early twenties. Even people who have once been young seem to have forgotten the amount of confusion that comes with growing into an adult.


I don't know how I managed to have never heard of this book or this movie - until yesterday - but wow.

And please, please, please don't give up on this movie just after watching its trailer. The trailer's shite. The movie isn't.

Conversations with The Man: f*ck yeah

I take the kids shopping and leave The Man home alone. Upon returning I ask if he enjoyed some quiet time, and he replies with vigour, "F*ck yeah!"

Me: "You do know that one day [The Kid] is going to say that to the teachers when they ask him a question at school."

The Man: "Yeah, unless [The Girlie] says it first."

Things to do at the swimming pool

Do you know those bath / pool toys that you can suck water in with, and then squirt it out in big jets?

I think you've got a cool mum when you return from the swimming pool and your mom has A BLISTER on her thumb from teaching you how to squirt water and then spending 45 minutes trying to see if she can get the water jet to reach the swimming pool ceiling.

Also, it hurts to use cooking utensils now, because, blister.

The right place

When I moved to New Zealand 7 years ago, it was because I was backpacking. It was fun, it was exciting, it was new.

It was fun.


Then as the company I worked for offered to keep me on, I stayed because it was fun, and exciting, and... why not stay? It allowed me access to this wonderfully adventurous countryside that is Wanaka-Queenstown, and it astounded me that I got paid for living there and doing all this. Coming from Estonia where I was spending my days working at the office and studying towards a Master's degree on the weekends, it was, like, really? You want me to stay?

I'M IN!!!


Then a pregnancy, and a baby. I was preparing myself for it to be a-few-years deal where once The Kid was older and we had residency, I was going to kind of resume from where I had left off.

Fun was still to be had, but in different circumstances.


But now life has changed - especially when I compare it to that first bit where I had been backpacking around - A LOT. I lead a very city-centered life where rather than hiking tracks near town and how to get an infant to sleep in a tent in October, I am familiar with where libraries are and how to find the children's ward at the hospital. I work hard to save money so we can buy a house, read through various schools' ERO reports and google things such as neuroplasticity, rather than "midwinter access to Dusky track" and "do I have to remove my eyebrow piercing for childbirth".

And I do sometimes wonder, why are we here?

Yes, I do feel like I fit in. I still tell myself that once the kids are a little older, I am going to start having some epic fun again.

But on mornings like today when sad news about another friend in Europe have come in, with no way to hug other than say so on Skype, I do need to remind myself of that.

I think it's easier for me than it is for The Man. I can be fiercely independent. I thrive on challenges and ambition, even if amidst all that I do need very good friends to surround myself with. But for The Man who is a much more social creature than I am, and who is spending such long days at work so we can afford to live where we are living - without the rewarding landscapes and challenges we were facing in Wanaka - it is sometimes difficult to keep looking forward to something that is in the future, always in the future.


But then I think, why go back, either?

I don't know what I'd do either in Britain or Estonia. Here I have an outlet looming over me - we move to Invercargill, I will study quantity surveying, we'll have a house with a mortgage payment affordable enough that we'll start having outside life again, and time. And probably both money and time to go to Europe every now and again, without losing the outlet that is Otago, and Southland - the New Zealand's southern coast - which I intend on exploring once I have my life set up in a way where there is opportunity to do all that again.


And so today, I would like to raise a toast to:

... multi-day, soul-challening hikes again!

... screaming of fun!

To snow!

And to keeping on feeling like I'm in the right place.

Like pink much?

I bought The Girlie a new (pink! floral! That's what The Girlie would point out, anyway) swimsuit and she's insisting on wearing it in the house although she's got all her other clothes underneath it and it barely fits over it all.

If it's pink or floral - or both! - she's wearing it. Doesn't matter if it's winter boots in 20-degree weather or a dress when it's 5 degrees - if it's pink or floral, she's wearing it.

God knows where this pink-and-floral worshipping has come from because it certainly ain't me!

Another story about real estate

Now that we've made a decision to move to Invercargill next year, I've started keeping track of what houses are sold for what prices there. A simple notebook - pen and paper.

It has meant that most of the time I've sat down about once a fortnight, gone through Trademe listings and written down the ones that are in the area I'm looking at.

But sometimes it has meant looking at a listing and thinking, man, if we bought this one, we could've done it, NOW.

175 Crinan street was one of those. A 1930's built red brick house with 675 m2 of land, 3 bedrooms and although not exactly fancy in terms of its condition... it looked perfectly livable. And not just livable but something me and The Man could've easily done up over time.

And it cost $110,000 NZD.

At $110,000 we could've paid it off within 10 years by doing $194 a week payments - and to those of you not familiar with New Zealand prices, $194 a week is doable even on a minimum wage. We wouldn't have done many overseas holidays if we actually were on a minimum wage but... still. The point was: when I saw this house pop up, I thought, to go now?

The current plan is to wait until next year when The Kid is almost 6 years old, and go when The Kid can go straight from his current Christchurch preschool into an Invercargill school - without having to go into any intermediate preschools between here and there; to go when the timing is the best for The Kid, not necessarily when it's the best for us, financially.

But this house was one of those moments where I thought, man. Would it be worth it?

It's all about balance, I keep telling myself. It's about balance.

And besides, the house has now been sold. To someone else.

On real estate sales ads

Yes, it's a pet peeve of mine when real estate agents are the only ones consistently ignoring a "No circulars" sign on my letterbox, because why is it that everyone else respects the "No circulars" sign, but real estate agents keep popping ads into my letterbox about how "fierce bidding resulted in another great sale for my neighbor"?

I may have come across a tad passive-aggressive when I e-mailed about it yesterday but... come on, guys. (Personal details replaced with ***.)

If a residential mailbox has a sign "No circulars" then circulars includes real estate ads, so please ask your mailing staff to respect that.
Thank you.

Real estate agent:
H Maria,
Thank you for taking the time to email me.
I apologise for any disrespect caused you.
I so often get told by people in the neighbourhood that they enjoy being kept up to date with what properties are on the market and selling around them but I certainly don’t want to intrude where it is not welcome.
What is your address? I will make sure my delivery people are extra vigilant in not delivering real estate news to you in future.
Kind regards,

Hi ***,
People who enjoy getting unsolicited mail don't usually put "No circulars" signs on their letterboxes, so you are welcome to drop your ads into theirs, no problem.
Also, Marketing Association has introduced a National ‘Voluntary Code of Practice’ to encourage the responsible delivery of advertising material by ensuring that letterboxes with ‘No Junk Mail’ (or similar) stickers are observed. People who receive unsolicited mail despite these stickers are encouraged to inform the Marketing Association to complain about non-compliance with their code.


Real estate agent:
Thanks for your reply Maria, I will pass it on to those who deal with delivery.
You are welcome to supply your address and I will make particular note that it be avoided.
Kind regards,

That's not the point. A resident should not be contacting each company separately to request circulars to not be delivered - that's what the mailbox signage is for. One sign on the mailbox, applying to ALL marketing materials. You may be very passionate about selling your real estate and thinking that people want your ads, but it doesn't make you exempt, which is why no, I will not be supplying you with my address.


PS. Just out of interest, do any of you happen to be people that this real estate agent is referring to, who "enjoy being kept up to date with that properties are on the market and selling around them"?

I'm not. I can already see what's selling for how much. It's called THE INTERNET.

Rant over.

A book I am going to read

Not that I think I will be needing the advice much - I have grown pretty good at this not-giving-a-f*ck thing - but nevertheless it is a book I want to read, because even going by the few sample pages I saw on the internet, this author is very much a my kind of an author!

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck by Sarah Knight

Yup, would still recommend watching it

Finished watching Michael Moore's "Where to invade next" tonight. Wow...

Well done, mister Moore. Well done.

Gibraltar Rock track in Christchurch's Port Hills

If you asked my kids, they would tell you that the track was called "sheep poo" track. And if you asked me, I would tell you that I heard way too many times my daughter exclaim, "Poo! Mama, look, poo! Other poo! Other poo! Poo!" to a point where I was, like, oh my god child, what do I need to do to distract you from the fact that there's so much poo...


Looking back towards Christchurch

Looking towards the car parked on the spur there

The game of spot-my-children which got interesting whenever someone crouched down or fell.

The Kid insisted that we were walking into a cave and though I tried explaining that it's a bush, he argued, "No, dark, mama! Cave!" Yeah, okay, child, you win. Cave.