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On not feeling lighter

For a year, I basically sat on my ass, doing nothing.  I had no energy.  I was actually very anemic, but I didn’t know it at the time.

I didn’t realise that gasping as I walked up the stairs was not a result of being out of shape and sitting on my ass all day.  I blamed myself.

I didn’t realise that not being able to walk across a soccer field carrying a camping chair without feeling like I was going to faint was not a result of being out of shape and sitting on my ass all day. I blamed myself.

Still, if you sit on your ass all day doing nothing, even if it’s because you’re anemic, you’re going to gain weight.   And I did.

One year on, I’m no longer anemic, and I’m working.  Both these things are good. Doesn’t mean I’m any more off my ass, since it’s a desk job, but it means, at least, that my meals are more regulated and I make sure they’re healthy.

I have also apparently lost weight.  I have no proof of this – only that my doctor and my husband say so (I haven’t been weighed to check) and that I’ve had to take my belt in two notches.

I certainly don’t feel like I’ve lost weight.  I feel just as huge and bloated. I still blame myself.

I don’t feel any lighter.

Just what are they doing in there?

I have to preface this post with the disclaimer that I am very familiar with digestive issues. More than I’d like to be.  I have spent my time in public washrooms doing the “polite flush” and, if necessary, waiting for an empty washroom.

But, ya know, some people seem to take that a bit far.

At my new place of employment, there are two ladies bathrooms.  At any point in time when I visit to do some business, the same shoes and pant legs are in the toilet stall. It’s not just one person – I think there’s 3 or 4 of them.

And they are beyond silent.

As in, they do not even move if someone else enters the washroom. They barely breathe. And they are there for very long periods of time.

One time, a coworker and I were there for a while as she showed me how to put a new roll of paper towels in the dispenser (it’s every person’s responsibility, y’all). The person in the stall didn’t even adjust on the seat.

I’m positive that there was a day when one person was in the toilet for most of the morning. (I had a cuppa.  Black tea is a diuretic, you know! I had to go a bit more often than usual.)

I get the whole “getting paid to poop at work” thing.  I know about constipation.  I know about being embarrassed about noises.  It can’t be that they’re calling people on their mobiles – they’re silent. They could be texting – but this company doesn’t ban personal mobiles or anything. They could do that from their desk.

But a whole morning? How do my coworkers not notice this person missing?  How does their boss not notice their work not being done? How can their legs not fall asleep from sitting like that for so long?

Just what are they doing in there?

Those gut feelings always seem to be right.

I thought I’d be posting with the exciting news that we were moving.

Apparently the Universe didn’t get the memo.

We wanted the adventure and the opportunities from a new job offer in another country.

But during the interview process Hubby’s gut started ringing alarm bells, and, as usual, those gut feelings turned out to be right.

Here’s why it didn’t happen (prospective employers take note!!)

1) The prospective employer wanted us to travel to the other country for a face to face interview and pay all expenses ourselves, thereby asking us to take on all the risk. This is completely opposite to our experience with any other company.  First alarm bell.  Second alarm bells came during the interview itself (on Skype, eventually), but I’m not going to detail that here.

2) An employer that is willing to recruit from another country has either not been able to find a suitable candidate in their home country OR the out-of-country candidate was heads and shoulders above the other candidates, and therefore the employee is calling the shots, not the employer. And yet, this employer (through the recruiter) kept ignoring our requests and making unreasonable demands. Third alarm bell.

3)The prospective employer low-balled their first offer and then came back with a reasonable offer when we counter-offered.  Then tried to tell us they were being “reasonable and coming to the party.”  See point number two.

4) The prospective employer first did not want to send us a written contract until we arrived in the other country. When we balked and said we wouldn’t do that, they finally sent the contract a week later, with hubby’s name misspelled. We took two days to go over the contract and then respond.  Apparently we “took too long” and it was our fault we could no longer start when they wanted us there. Fourth alarm bell.

5)  We asked for a 6-8 week start date from signing the contract.  Even though the employer knew we were moving from one country to another and would have to sell our house etc etc etc the employer insisted on a 4 week start date.  So, leave work on Friday and start in a new country on Monday?  Unreasonable.  When we said we could do that if the employer helped us relocate, we were turned down.

An employer who will not allow an employee time to settle his family into a brand new city is not setting a good precedent and does that mean that if something happens and he needs some time off work for whatever reason they will be unreasonable with that too? Fifth alarm bell!!

At any rate, the alarm bells were ringing much too loudly, and we said no before we signed the contract.

Under Box #2 there was nothing, and I’m left with my comfortable shoes. And that’s okay.

Recording ideas while driving

As I mentioned in my last post, I do a lot of driving. It’s the best place to think, for me.

I often come up with great ideas for a blog post. I even write it all out in my head.

You never get to read them.

By the time I sit down to my computer to write it all out, one of two things have happened.

First, I’ve forgotten the idea or what I was going to write about the idea.


Second, I wrote it all out so well in my head I no longer need to type it out.

Not helpful for my readers, I know.

So I tried keeping a voice recorder in the car. (The one on my phone is poor and here in NZ it’s illegal to be using your mobile phone while you’re driving, anyways.)  I kept either forgetting to have it close by, or it was too dangerous to turn it on.

Can’t write things down while you’re driving, either.

Any other suggestions for me, so I can keep writing out my random thoughts for you, my reader?

Everybody should work retail at some time in their life.

Five reasons why I believe everyone should work in retail for at least 6 months:

5) You can learn how to “count up” change. (“You gave me $10, and the item was $6.50.  50 cents makes $7 and $3 makes $10.)

4) You can learn how to roll your eyes at customer’s stupid questions without them noticing. “Um, I want a book.  It had a blue cover, and it was on Oprah.”

3) You can practice your diplomacy skills. Not just on your customers, but on your co-workers, too. “Yes, being a manager would be a great position.”

2) You can learn how not to be that idiot customer when you’re on the other side of the counter.  “Yeah, hi, I’m looking for a book that has to be special ordered… I’ve brought the name, author, publisher and ISBN information for you. And yeah, I know it could take 4-6 weeks, and I’m prepared to pay for it now.”

1) You learn the importance of having first aid. So that when a customer walks in and says “I feel funny. Do you have a place where I can sit down?” And you take them to a chair, and then they suddenly have a seizure, you know what to do.  Instead of, say, running around the food court of the mall yelling for somebody who has first aid while your colleague calls 911.



Headaches and antisocialness

Another March, another National Meeting.  This one was a lot of fun because my roomie is a good friend.

It was enjoyable for another reason as well… this is the first national meeting I’ve been to that didn’t give me the whopping headache I’ve come to expect.

Apparently the combination of air conditioning, overhead lighting, lack of water, and people noise is enough to give most people a headache at conferences.  I am no exception to that. Every single Playcentre National Meeting I have been to has given me a headache.  Even this one. It just wasn’t as bad.

And I think I know why!  I bought myself a visor hat – you know, like the ones little old ladies wear when they’re gambling or playing bridge. I didn’t care that it looked stupid (and made my hair flat).  I think it worked. My headache was very minor and as I said, I enjoyed the meeting.

Only one thing bothered me this weekend (and that’s saying a lot, because I could tell you stories about crap-looking food that was meant to be gluten-free, being dripped on by the leaky roof in the dining room, a lack of decent hot chocolate or coffee… etc.) and that was that I did my usual schtick of being antisocial on the Saturday night.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m an introverted extrovert, and for me to go to these meetings and appear extroverted I need recharge time. So I skipped out on the “fun activity” and went back to the hotel room instead.

I missed out on a singalong.  Awwwww. I like those! I even took my ukulele so I could have joined in the playing, too.

So I wish I had not been so antisocial.  But then again, I need that recharge time. Would I have been quite as satisfied with the weekend without that recharge time? I’m not sure.

**A reminder that if you live in NZ and love Baker’s Delight you should enter the draw for 1 of 3 $10 vouchers!!

When all I want to do is share, but I can’t.

Some friends of mine recently gifted me several past editions of the Playcentre Journal to help me in my role as editor.

Ivy at Lower Hutt Playcentre

Case in point - creative commons picture - does her mother know I've posted it here? Ivy at Lower Hutt Playcentre (Photo credit: ordinaryfool)

I jumped up and down with excitement and couldn’t wait to read the issues I had never seen.

There were cartoons about best practice, centre spreads about each of the areas of play. Discussions on the differences between Playcentre and the usual preschool/daycare/kindergarten scenario. Articles about the New Zealand Playcentre Federation’s (NZPF) bicultural journey and our dedication to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

They are a wealth of information and resources, and sincerely, all I want to do is share!!

For some of the information, it will be easy enough to use the historical article as a starting off point and create an updated version. For other information, obtaining permission to reprint is probably a mere formality.

What to do with the rest?

My first reaction was to scan and post them on Facebook.  In fact, I did scan one page and post it before I really thought of the implications. For there ARE implications.  Pictures loaded to Facebook become Facebook’s legal property.  That’s an issue, because all this material technically belongs to NZPF, and I don’t have permission to post it online.  Then there’s copyright issues, copy and paste issues, all that fun stuff.

So my scanner is quiet.

And yet, there is a large Playcentre population on Facebook, that would use this information as springboards to fantastic things.

A conundrum. I want to share, but cannot!



Image by cucchiaio via Flickr

There’s a lot of information out there about how words can hurt, and how people can shoot down ideas with non-verbal communication like a shrug or a disapproving frown.

It happened to me, yesterday.

I was excitedly telling a group of my Playcentre peers all about my readings over the holidays, my enthusiasm for some of the concepts, and the ideas I wanted to try.

Two of my peers were encouraging – they know that new ideas are worth trying, and they felt my plan was worth a shot.

The other two weren’t so sure.  They were concerned about the people involved in my plan. And they used both their words and their non-verbals to tell me so. Shot down all of my explanations. My peers did not tell me to stop my plan,  but they did not offer a better solution, either.

Even though it was split evenly – half encouraging, half not – the funny thing is that I let the discouragement fill my mood.

Bubble popped, I wasn’t as happy to join in the rest of the discussion, and I was grumpy until after dinner.

I stewed over what they said while I told Hubby all about it.

And then he said “What did the other two say?”

As I re-told the opposite side of the story, my optimism came back.

I’m ready to go again. I will start my plan, keeping in mind the objections, but positive about what I am about to do.

It will work. I know it will. And if I start it right, it will snowball positively, so that it doesn’t even require me to keep going.

One small step at a time. 

Three books that have me impatient to get back to Playcentre

Cover of "Switch: How to Change Things Wh...

Cover via Amazon

We’re nearing the end of our summer school holidays in New Zealand.  My Girl is thrilled to go back (“I’m taller! And I have a wiggly tooth!!”).  The Boy, not so much. (“I can’t play Lego at school.”)

I’m absolutely impatient to go back to work. I have Big Ideas I want NEED! to try.

It’s all because of two brothers. Dan and Chip Heath, authors of three books:

Made to Stick

Switch: How to Change Things when Change is Hard


The Myth of the Garage (You can download this one for free at this link)

I originally got onto these books through Jessica at Team Rasler, who blogged about what happened when she applied the ideas from “Switch” to some issues she had with her husband. I was so intrigued I ran out and got the book. Then had to get the others (AND the free resources at the HeathBrothers website.

These three books have given me ideas on how to increase our training levels at Playcentre and start a mentoring program. I’m so excited! Hopefully as I go (this will be a major work in progress) I’ll be able to blog what happens.

As Flint Lockwood says in Cloudy with a chance of meatballs: We’ve got a diem to carpe!


**And nope, I was not compensated in any way for this post.

Garden before and afters

I love before and afters.  And I hate gardening.

Since it’s extremely unlikely that my hubby will hire a gardening person to come and deweed my garden, I had to come up with another way to motivate myself.

So I’ve been doing my own before and afters. And because I know there’s other people out there who like before and afters, I’m showing you what I’ve got so far.


My front garden before and after

My veggie garden before and after (not done, but it started to rain, so I stopped.)

So, this seems to be working. The prospect of having a before and after to look forward to has got me to do two gardens so far. Four more to go!! (And a tree to cut down!)