Saturday, March 31, 2012

A very mixed up post

About friendships

One of the blogs I quite enjoy reading is Marcia's blog (click here).

She always has some great ideas and often very thought-provoking posts.  Her latest post all about friendship and just how easy it is for you to be vulnerable in a friendship was pretty interesting to read (click here).

I would say for me - I'm typically pretty reserved.  And honestly it is not's me.  Totally.  Nothing personal, just that it feels safe to be able to hide behind the walls you put up throughout your life.  And in fact in December I wrote about exactly this:

Do you think I cannot see
What is beneath your eyes?
That what you say is not always true
But sometimes only lies

I think sometimes it's easier
To pretend and hide behind
The walls that are around your heart
Not to share what's on your mind

I think it's sometimes simpler
To wear a happy mask
Than face the fears and demons
Answer the questions some might ask

But when the day is over
And there's no-one else to see
Surrounded by the darkness
That's when you'll simply be

I keep this poem with all my others here.  To me it kind of says how we all go through life and pretend and hide because it seems simpler and easier, but of course when it is just you and your thoughts then the real you kind of comes up to the surface - does that make sense?

Without naming anybody -

At the moment there are quite a few people I feel I get along with and some I would regard as really good friends.  Which is a bit weird for me, because I do struggle to make friends.  Acquaintances - sure that's pretty easy, but to feel that I have something in common with another person takes a lot more work for me.

Just yesterday as I stood there outside Caitlyn's class I looked at all the other mums waiting for their kids and thought that I very much do not fit into their group.  They are all nice enough, but it just seems like I have absolutely nothing in common with them.  Sometimes I don't think I'm very typical and then it becomes hard to relate to others.

One friendship in particular I would describe as my closest where I have (as Marcia said) become very "vulnerable" and opened up more than I would typically open up in a friendship, but then this friendship is based on absolute and mutual trust.  Where we both know each other really well.  We know that we can both trust each other completely.  And this is the kind of friendship I truly appreciate, value and hope will last!

I'm not naming anybody in this post.  These friends I referred to know who they are...

Do you have that kind of relationship with your friends?

About Dedication...

I'm really proud of Rose's and my dedication.  Instead of sleeping late on a Saturday morning, she came to pick me up at 8:30 so we could go to our Saturday training session with Lynley (click here).  Are we dedicated or what???

If you are in the Kapiti area, come join us.  It is really affordable and Lynley is a very accomplished athlete.  Sometimes we'll be doing some biking sessions, when it warms up a bit we'll be doing some sea swim sessions and there will be some run sessions.  Right now we are a great bunch of ladies of all shapes and sizes and fitness levels (some of us like me with almost non-existent fitness levels), and if the interest is there I'm sure Lynley will have some sessions for the guys as well.

This morning's session was a run-technique session.  She explained some good technique for running, did a few core exercises and we did a short run at whatever pace we felt comfortable with and practising some of the technique she showed us.  An advantage of doing this as part of the group is that not only is it very supportive, but it does keep you going.  For me running is very much a mind set thing where I often stop running and start walking instead when I start telling myself that it is hard work.  But of course in a group setting you are more likely to keep going.   

Afterwards I went to register for tomorrow's half marathon walk and I am all set.  I believe it is a beautiful setting for this walk all along the beach and it will be an interesting experience.  Exhausting I'm sure because I've never walked that distance all in one go. 

About a fun outing

After I came back from my morning training session and sorted my entry for the walk tomorrow, we took the kids to Queen Elizabeth Park.  Queen Elizabeth park has one of the nicest beaches.  There we caught the tram (which was made in 1923 or something) and it took us to where the Kapiti Festival (click here) was being held.

When the tram pulled up this song jumped into my mind:

We didn't stay too long in the end, but it was a nice relaxing outing.

Here are some photos:

Here comes the tram

On our way to have some fun.

The kids loved this slide!

They had this bouncy castle thingy in the sea, but we didn't do this.

How was your Saturday?  What did you get up to?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Photos as promised...

Recently I did this post (click here). I promised that as soon as I got some photos taken by The Professionals' photographer that I would share this.  Yesterday Scott from CCF forwarded me some of the photos they took.

The start of my talk (and quietly wishing I would not cry)

I looked up at the screen to make sure I was at the right slide.

It was here where I became emotional - almost at the end of my talk.
There are more photos on their Facebook page (click here). I'm hopeful that what I shared that night had sufficient impact. 

I was looking at the little ticker on our old blog and it says:
Seems hard to believe that 2.5 years have gone by since Bianca finished treatment.  In one way it seems a bit like a lifetime ago and in others just like yesterday and to be honest there are moments that feels a bit overwhelming when I sit down and really think about it.  I don't trust "tomorrow".  Not anymore.  I used to and then things changed without warning way back in 2007. Without giving us the luxury of time.  I think that was the first time I truly grasped the concept of just how short life really is and how you have to make the most of "today".  People always think "it only happens to others" and then we became "the other people". 

But anyway.  Today just seems a bit of a reflective day for me so I'll sign off here.

Hope your Friday is going well.  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I've become one of those people

I've become one of those people.  The kind I never thought I'd be.  The kind I would normally look at and say "just listening to you makes me feel exhausted".  This whole week so far I've gone out every single day and did something exercise-wise.  I've had 2 swim sessions, 2 bike sessions and 2 run sessions so far.  Okay the 1 run session that I did with Rose the other night didn't really count as the pace was much too slow for me.

Recently it's been suggested that I might want to do a few run sessions on my own too so I could push myself a bit harder.  Tonight I did and managed to do a 5km distance in 32 minutes 17 seconds.  I didn't run the whole way, but had a few brief walking sessions.  Partly I think I may have gone just a tiny bit too fast (for me), but also my mind keeps playing games with me and then I lose focus and instead of just focusing on getting into a rhythm I start focusing on how much effort it is.  I really need to get my head around working out the right pace and hopefully at our Saturday training session Lynley will have some good advice with that.  Halfway my legs did get a bit sore, but I coped and it's not too bad right now.  Will see tomorrow if I'm able to actually walk after tonight's session.

I recently stumbled upon an old email and I couldn't help laughing.  It was in August last year that I emailed one of my previous bosses who likes to run and is pretty good at it.  I wanted to know how on earth I was supposed to get started with running.  He suggested at the time that  I run 1, walk 1 parapole.  I kind of looked at this and wasn't quite sure what "parapole" was supposed to mean.  Now I know English is my second language (with Afrikaans my first), but I would say that my English is pretty good.  So I Googled the term parapole.  The last thing I wanted was to ask him and make a complete idiot of myself.  And yes, you guessed it, Google didn't know either.  So I took a chance to ask my ex-boss what this term meant (thinking that maybe it was some or the other fancy running term).  Couldn't help laughing when he replied "duh, I meant power pole".

I have a long way to go still and I am nowhere near the point where I can say that going out and doing exercise is fun or easy, but I'm working on it.  And I guess that's what's important at the end of the day.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Just a few bullet points today...

  • Tonight Rose and I will go for our run.  Around 7pm.  I know we're nuts to want to go out that time, but it is quiet, the boys are back from work to take care of the kids and it will still be light enough.  Are we dedicated or what?
  • This coming Sunday Rose and I are doing a half marathon.  That would be a half marathon walk all along the beach.  I have no idea how long it will take us to walk 21km. 
  • The girls had their swim lesson today and they are both doing so well.  Bianca especially is making a lot of progress and we are finally at the point where Caitlyn doesn't spend the session crying anymore.
  • Can't believe the first school term is nearly over. Caitlyn loves school and has settled so well. It seems to have gone almost too fast.
  • Bianca had a netball practise session yesterday and loved it.  The only possible issue might be that we suspect her training days will be on a Thursday after school, but that is the same time as her cheerleading practise sessions.  So I'll need to email the teacher tonight and get an understanding of what is going to happen when.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A productive exercise day

I started another blog entry and for a bit I was sitting here wondering "should I?" or "shouldn't I?" and then in the end decided not to.  I think when it comes to a blog it is important to be careful what you put for people to read because you don't always know what people will make of it or how they might interpret what you write and how it is in your head is sometimes seen as quite different to how you intended it.  A bit like when I write poetry.   I would hate for people to take something the wrong way.  Just recently I shared 2 poems - this one (click here) and another one which I ended up taking off because I felt concerned what people might think reading it, and I would hate to accidentally hurt or offend people.  I still have the blog I created specifically for my poems and thought it probably is best just to share it on that blog rather than here. Not that I've written anything new recently.  But yes, sometimes I forget people can't see inside my head.  But anyway... I'm rambling... And that is never a good thing.  Apologies.

Change of subject...

Some of you might know that for a while now I've worked with Paul and his music.  Well not "work" in the formal sense of the word, more just I've been interested and wanted to learn more so started recording some of Paul's songs for YouTube.  Which is great because this way Paul gets to share his music with others.

One of the songs Paul recently shared on his blog is this one:

I just love the words in this one!

One of Paul's blog followers then shared his own version of Paul's song on his blog (click here)

Wow, 2 versions of the same song and it sounds so different.  Makes me wish I could sing and play like they do!  I like both versions.  But to be honest my favourite version is one Paul did on the piano.  Some of Paul's songs are amazing on the piano and it just suits it so well, like this one:

Today I was really productive on the exercise front.  Which is good because there is a particular goal that Rose, Denise and I are starting to work on and let's just say we've got our work cut out for us.  And I believe the word "crazy" has been used too.

This morning I went for a swim.  Apart from actually enjoying it, it is important that I practise what Val teaches us every Friday and certainly for next year's Kapiti Women's Triathlon I want to be significantly more confident swimming in the sea and waste less energy swimming the 400m.  So this morning I decided to swim for an hour and just see how many lengths I am able to do.  I wasn't focused on speed, but simply to try and keep going for about the time I thought I would be there and by the end of it (a little bit over an hour) I did about 80 lengths.  There were brief stops between each length, but they were mostly only brief to either wait for the other person in the lane who was about to get going or to get ready to swim back up or back down the lane.  And by the end of it I wasn't feeling all that tired and probably (no definitely) could have gone on a bit longer.  So I felt a bit surprised.  There is still technique I'm not doing as well as I should, but I guess practise makes perfect.  Well I hope so! 

Later on I did a bit of a bike ride.  Not a long ride, but since it was such a lovely day decided to make the most of it.  The flat bits are nice.  The downhills amazing.  The uphills...not so much. No I lie...I hate uphills especially when you look at the road and it doesn't look like much of an uphill - but boy does that catch me off guard each time... and I'm a long way off from enjoying having any kind of hills as part of my exercise.  They weren't even particularly challenging hills.  Sigh! 

How was your day today?  Did you have a good start to your week?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A sunny day in the city making a difference

Today we mostly spent in the city.  We left Kapiti at about 9:30 after we picked Sarah up and then we headed off to the Chicago Sports Bar in the city. CCF had another fundraising event and organised a face painter, some people got their hair sprayed and a few brave ones (including Terence) got their heads shaved.  All for a good cause and every little bit helps :-).

Here are some photos that I took today:

The view from the motorway

Wellington City
Today was also a bit of a reunion.  When we got there we saw Steve from The Breeze Radio Station.  We last met him in 2008 during the CCF annual appeal and we were invited to be guests during their radio show.  Bianca was only 4 then, had virtually no hair and significantly less beads.  You can read all about that visit here (click here).
A reunion.

Caitlyn wanted to be a Tinkerbell Fairy

Sarah selling raffle tickets

This lady looked stunning with no hair!

Bianca shaved most of her dad's hair

Smile :-)

Our friend Lani - a good sport :-)

"Mum, look!  A bird man!"

After Terence got his hair shaved he wanted it painted at the back. To me it looks like Voldemort from Harry Potter :-)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A cold swim and some hills

This morning the Saturday training sessions started again.

Basically it started off as part of the preparation for the Kapiti Women's Traithlon.  It was such a helpful training session because it helped with building confidence, but more so I found it was actually rather nice training with other people.  So after the Kapiti Women's Triathlon a few of us were really keen for the Saturday training sessions to keep going.  After all we're on a roll now and there is no point in stopping the training and we may as well keep going for next year's triathlon and try and improve our times a bit.  And really I kind of need all the help I can get right now because Rose has all these plans and goals and keeps finding different events for us to participate in.

We were only a small group today, but hopefully some more people will join us as we go along.  The nice thing of course is that you don't have to focus on absolutely everything.  Maybe you just want to do some work on your bicycle or work on your running or maybe you would like to develop your confidence swimming in the sea - so it is pretty flexible.

This morning's session was a swim in the sea (and it was very cold this morning, so I don't think we'll have too many of those with winter not too far from now) and we also did some hills with our bikes.  Lynley, our coach, was giving some good advice on how to use our gears more efficiently to better manage the hills.

Rose and I with Lynley (in the middle)
What I also really like is that it is neat working with people who know about the right way to train.  I've been reading up on a number of different training plans and they are so hard for me to understand.  Having somebody who could actually show you how to do it properly or what you should and should not be doing makes all the difference in the world. 

It seems between Paul and Lynley my world will be filled with hills...

If you are keen to join our (very affordable) sessions, make sure you request to join the Facebook group (click here) or contact Lynley at who can give you all the details.  We're a great bunch of ladies and I promise we will make you feel very welcome :-).

Friday, March 23, 2012

Productive but quiet Friday

Today was teacher's only day.  In our world it means teachers go off and do something (not sure what, but I once saw on The Simpsons that they go off to fun amusement parks and do rollercoaster rides on teacher only days ;-) ) and we keep the kids at home. 

For most of it we just had a quiet day at home and then at 1pm Bianca, Caitlyn and I went to the local New World where we collected money for CCF.  Bianca was wearing her beads and Caitlyn wore her sibling beads and that is really so effective.  One person walked past and said "please tell me she didn't actually earn all those beads" and I nodded my head "yes, yes she did - every single one of them".  

Later it was time for Rose and my swimming lesson.  I was actually really looking forward to it.  Got there and... well some kid decided to use the swimming pool instead of the toilets and so our swim lesson was cancelled.  So then since we had the babysitter booked anyway we deliberated to go for a coffee or do the right thing and go for a run. 

We did the right thing and went for a run.  I was not sure how my legs would cope, but we kept the pace on the slower side and I was pleasantly surprised when we did 7km without any walking at all.  It took us 56 minutes 29 seconds and that is the most (distance and time) I have ever run without stopping.  I could have gone a bit faster, but that was the right pace for Rose and I just stuck with her.  A good thing I think because of all the leg troubles I've had to date.  I think I could have easily continued running, but that was enough for one night I think.

Both Rose and I are really excited that our Saturday morning training sessions will be on again from tomorrow morning.  We have some pretty big goals ahead and kind of need all the help we can get.

How was your day?  Did you get up to anything special?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A very rewarding evening

Last night was an amazing evening!  What a privilege to be invited to be part of such a great event!

The function was hosted by The Professionals Hutt City to raise funds for the Child Cancer Foundation.  It was held at La Bella Italia in Petone (and if you are ever in the area, go there!  Their food is amazing!)

Apart from selling tickets for people to attend the evening which consisted of a dinner and a cooking demonstration, they also held an auction and once again I was pleasantly surprised to see Bianca and Caitlyn's artworks up for auction.

Bianca's on the left and Caitlyn's on the right
How cool to see it on the auction sheet :-)

I believe there were about 100 people at last night's function.

The auctioneer meeting Sarah, the CCF CEO

This guy played the piano at times during the evening.  He did a great job!

Around 6:15pm (or maybe slightly after) we were welcomed by the MC. 

Sarah, the CCF CEO was up first to share with the audience what the purpose of CCF is and how their contribution help families fighting childhood cancer.  She reminded the audience that CCF gets no government funding at all.

Then it was our turn.  It was slightly different this time in that I was asked to make up some slides and I basically just put some photos to enhance my talk.  I was hoping to finish my talk with this clip, but sadly we couldn't get it to open on their laptop. 

I mostly kept myself in control during my talk, but became emotional towards the end of the talk. 

As requested, here is a photo of me during my talk.  Scott, the CCF fundraising manager took some photos, but unfortunately wasn't at a very good angle and so this is the best of the ones he took.  I've asked that some of the photos be sent to me that the other photographers took last night so will update when I get it.

Bianca was also wearing all her beads and during my talk I shared a bit about what they mean to us and what they represent.

After my talk, the auctioneer put Bianca up on stage and asked her a few questions.  Bianca is a natural - far better than me...

Then they auctioned off the first two items - Bianca and Caitlyn's artworks.  Both their pieces did really well in the auction!

Gabriele the Chef then did his cooking demonstration and he demonstrated making a Risotto.  He was so good and really entertaining to watch and listen to.  It was all so professionally done with a big TV screen to make it easier to see what he was doing.  He was telling us all about the type of herbs he likes using, how when you cook the onions "blonde is better than brunette" and he shared a bit about "hunting mushrooms" in Italy.

While the Chef was finishing off the Entree, this lady did some opera singing and also sang another song "In the arms of an angel".  She had such a lovely voice!

I thought the Risotto was absolutely delicious!  Doesn't it look great?

Last night I was absolutely moved.  I met somebody who was incredibly inspirational -  Dean Gifford.  He was also one of the guest speakers.  If you don't know Dean, click here to read about him.  He is currently fighting his own battle with cancer, but despite this has been doing so much for children fighting cancer as well as doing really cool things for the children on Ward 18 at Wellington Children's hospital.  On top of that he's done quite a bit for the people in the Solomon Islands.  I was totally moved!

Here is the owner of La Bella Italia Petone catching up with Dean after his talk

The rest of the auction went really well and it was heart-warming to see the generosity of everybody supporting a great charity!  Both Dean and I were completely surprised and blown away when 2 people gifted their items they bought at the auction to us.  I was given a midweek getaway accommodation / dinner package at The White Swan in Greytown for 2 people.  Incredibly kind and generous!!!  On top of that The Professionals Hutt City also gave Bianca and me a thank you present so we were incredibly spoilt last night!

Dinner was lovely!  Really fancy!

At the end of the evening we did some more photos.

Dean and us with the kind gentlemen who gifted their bought items to us.  Thank you, it is very much appreciated!

The people who bought Bianca's painting.

This lady was also originally from South Africa.
Then it was time to go home after a wonderful evening.  We met some amazing people and let me tell you The Professionals is such an amazing organisation and what they do for the Child Cancer Foundation is amazing!

We arrived home around midnight and today I kept Bianca home from school as she wouldn't have been very productive today at school and as her teacher told me last night would have been a very positive thing for Bianca to be involved with.

I feel so incredibly blessed to have had the opportunity last night to be able to try and give something back to CCF, to share our journey with the audience there last night and to help make a difference. 

It was such a rewarding experience!