Day 5 – Bears, sharks and homemade food

You can tell by the title of this piece, that nothing is normal these days. Anything goes. It’s mid-afternoon on a Monday, and by this time a plethora of noise would be surging out of the local schools as the thundering and shouts of children released from classes comes towards me. But not today. It’s still amazingly quiet out there.
Last night after eating this . . . slow cooked casserole . . .(for want of a better word):
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I headed out on my bike, joining my sister on hers, for a cycle around the neighbourhood, being careful to maintain a distance between us.
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VERY worth it. Followed this morning by my walk around a shorter area of the neighbourhood, crossing empty roads usually clogged with traffic.
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I was heartened to see all the bears in windows as I walked, and this particular frontage exceeded all expectations.
Upon arrival home and after the usual coffee on the front porch, I found Rona asleep on my bed . . .
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So I crept quietly away and collected feijoas from under the tree instead. These I cut up with apples and stewed. We’re going to have a bumper crop this year.
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Lunchtime came soon enough, so I settled to making a paleo lunch out of my grain-free bread and with eggs, bacon, tomato and leeks. Mmmmm.
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I had to move Rona off my computer this afternoon to do some work (!!!) and am pleased that the addition of a face mask on Con has made the atmosphere around here so much more pleasant.

Amidst doing some work, I found an engaging app on the iphone, downloaded Google Chrome, and tried inserting an animal name in there: lion, shark, goat. . . further under the descriptions is a ‘See in 3-D’ option, which allows you to place the life-sized animal into your own space. You can imagine I lost a good half an hour just testing that out.

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Time to go and make a cup of tea (again) and work on my story.
By the way, I am NOT going to be one of those diligent types who have set up a calendar with the words ‘Tidy up and clean xxxx area’ in each one. {Shudder}. Just saying.

Day 4 – toothbrushes and tips

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It was a beautiful Autumnal day this morning, and after a spell on the front porch I headed down for a walk past the supermarket. Most times I’ve cycled or walked by there, the spaced out (2 metres apart) queue is so long I can’t bring myself to join it. However, contrariwise, this morning without particularly planning to go, I was so delighted to find only five people in the line, that I joined it and then had to spend the 20 minute wait thinking of what I didn’t already have stored away at home. Fortunately my friend Jan was waiting in the line behind me.

Shopping done (it’s amazing what you can find that you suddenly NEED), I walked home. That was when I found Con ahead of me in the bathroom using my toothbrush.

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SO annoying.

In my absence, Con and Rona appear to be in a bit of a snit with each other. It’s not like they talk a lot anyway, but THIS is what I came back to.
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Con’s not talking to me either, since I removed toothbrush privileges. Fine with me.

We’ve had a wee meeting this morning, via Zoom, which worked well. It saves making cups of tea if you are all virtual, but it’s hard to sing the same notes together.

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Onward and upward. Hope you’re all doing well. For some reason I have a terrible urge to make cake, but there’s only a limited number around to eat it. We’ll see.

Oh, before I go, there’s one tip I invented for if you can’t bear being in the house ONE MORE MOMENT. Go for a virtual drive. Choose a destination, open up Youtube, find the journey, prop the ipad up on the dashboard and sit behind the steering wheel and pretend-drive there. It works.

Day 3 of Lockdown – the cracks are showing

Banana feijoa paleo muffins

Today – Saturday – was amazingly quiet upon waking. No cars, just the sound of a tui singing. I headed out to make my paleo feijoa muffins for breakfast using coconut flour and the last of my eggs. (Queuing at supermarket later). The thing about coconut flour is how quickly it browns – so while I video-chatted with my sister I kept a gimlet eye on the oven. They’re not bad!

Con helps himself to the muffins

So I’m sitting outside on the porch eating muffins, and sipping coffee. Still quiet.

I have seen numerous teddies in front windows but since I don’t have any have had to make do with a rat, bunny and wombat. I hope the kids don’t mind.

Ratty, bunny and wombat

Came back inside and found Con hoe-ing into the muffins!

Yesterday was a busy – almost normal – day, working from home. The new meeting style is by video call and that has advantages (sweatpants) and disadvantages (“could the rest of you mute so I can hear what she’s saying?!”).

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Three monitors!
Workmates

I came out of the office to use the toilet and found Rona there before me! So annoying having Lockdown buddies taking advantage!

Excuse me!

And made some zucchini fritters for lunch but had to share them. Nothing for lunch today.

Hope you’re all isolated and alone and taking life seriously (not something we would normally wish each other). I’m off for a bike ride soon.

This will be a LONG month

IMG_4404That’s me – waiting in line by the coffee machine because Con got there before me. I’m not sure having more friends share the space is working. They are beginning to reveal rather boisterous and selfish personalities.

Later, I went to get the fallen feijoas from under the trees out front. The flatmate planted the trees, and we are getting a good crop this year. A bonus that they are coming at lockdown time. EXCEPT:

IMG_4405Con helps himself to the feijoas, reducing the number drastically.

THEN I took a break from work and decided to read a book recently given to me. What an ideal time to read books, eh?

EXCEPT:
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Yeah, Rona was already well into it.

Fortunately the wine order arrived yesterday, which meant I could crack open a bottle and enjoy a glass – calm down, as it were. BUT:
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Like I said, be careful what you ask for. I wanted company, and made it. And now company is becoming a crowd.

TAKE CARE, stay safe and stay your distance. Onward and upward etc etc etc.

Life in lockdown – making new friends

Rona and I watch tv
Meet Con and Rona

I’m happy to say I’ve found a way to cope with isolation for a month! Make new friends! Literally!!

I keep scaring myself by walking in to the living room and finding a presence there already, and it’s not my flatmate! He himself is regularly taken aback by the sight of the figures unexpectedly appearing. They take up way too much room on the couch but will be useful when I’m feeling in need of a hug. Today – one of my work days – they were absolutely useless at filing and answering calls.

Day Two of Lockdown

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The video upload is taking too long. So instead I’m sending you a still of me sitting at the desk frustratedly wishing it would hurry up and upload, and realising it is probably because so many other users are on the internet right now in my vacinity. I’m also guiltily looking like I’ve been distracted once again from my purpose.
Today I went out and delivered flyers to a couple of streets in the area, from a facebook page we have joined to help those who may be elderly or vulnerable in the next few months. It’s amazing how many people want to be useful during a time like this.

THEN I came home to a good coffee (got to have that sorted) and hung out my washing. By that time it was lunchtime and I made myself this delicious prawn salad:

img_4369and scoffed it down in front of Lightbox watching a show.

I forced myself back to my desk and began further edits and additions to the children’s story I started years ago, but have a good chance to finish right now. How perfect to use the self-isolation to complete some writing tasks.
THEN I felt the call of the Outlander show which I did not see last night. The latest episode went up and I’ve waited until today to view it.
SO – onward and upward. I’m back in front of my story and will do another hour, and by that time it will be dinner again. The food plan is going well, albeit annoyingly slowly in terms of weight loss now. After an excellent start, I have found the last month that I have barely lost anything despite eating well. Still, it’s a lifetime change, I tell myself, so I’ll crack on with it.

I have a feeling that WordPress is going to find videos too weighty in size to bear putting one up daily, so it might have to be just the blog for now. Sorry.

Onward and upward. Stay strong, stay calm.

Day One of Self-Isolation

Alright – it happened. Today the Prime Minister gave us 48 hrs before lock down for the Coronavirus. A very unprecedented moment for us. I cant bring myself to write it up so I’m video-ing instead. Please forgive my pointing at the LEFT of Australia instead of the right, indicating New Zealand! I was looking at a mirror image. Stay calm!

Another small milestone

Well, it has only been six months, but finally I set off on some walking exercise this morning! I know, I’ve been riding my bike since mid-December, but because it puts no weight on my ankle it has been gentler exercise than walking, which I’ve only done to get from point A to point B. It felt good to answer to the call of the morning sun over the harbour:

I went to the physio on Monday and have been carefully doing the ankle exercises to free up some movement in that area. Almost back to normal:
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And although I’ve lost weight since my nutrition plan started in January, things are slowing down, so I thought I’d better pick up the exercise. It felt good! Onward and upward as they say.
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Tomorrow I’ll be cycling to work in the city again, feeling the briskness of the air and probably in darkness when I set off. I’d better check my lights before I go. Our University is still open, although we are checking to see if we can work from home. No decision to do so at this stage. (Sorry, I’m not going to mention the c-word in this post).
I had to break with my usual eating plan over the weekend at the Roman party but I’m back to the protein, vegie, low-carb meals again.
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And, just to add a frisson of excitement to this post, we have a bit of a RAT problem in the peninsula right now. The abundance of fruiting in the native trees and the warm weather, has caused an explosion in the population down by the wetlands. This was felt very personally when I was watching television a few days ago and a dark shape ran behind the monitor. I was standing on the sofa in a flash! We have traps out, there is poison in the ceiling, and there have been no further sightings. BUT (sigh) I heard scrabbling in the ceiling again last night, so either it’s a new one, or the old one come back. They’re looking for a warm winter home right now. Life on the edge, eh?

[I apologise to any who have rodent phobias, who have unwittingly read this post and even now feel shivers down their spine.]

Back on more pleasant matters, enjoy these two shots taken from the walkway this morning. I’m thrilled to be starting to be ‘back to normal’ or even better than normal after a long haul of recuperation. Take it easy everyone, and stay calm.
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Keeping one’s head above the water

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Who knew it was going to be such a big year? And it’s a hard thing to keep a level head about because of the deluge of information that is sweeping towards us through social media, news, gossip and government broadcasts. Some of it essential, some informative, and some downright scare-mongering.

It is a time to be grateful for friends, family and community. Until it becomes essential to self-isolate I will amend my future travel plans, stay vigilant about my health, and follow the simple guidelines about washing hands and refraining from handshakes etc. However, if ever there was a time to stay in touch (not necessarily literally) with those you know and love, it is right now. Encouraging one another, relieving stress and anxiety, and reminding those who are likely to feel anxious that much is being done, and dwelling on the worst scenarios is not helpful.

Personally, I watch the latest from the Prime Minister and her updates. I ensure that I have a reasonable amount of FOOD, WATER, essential items to last a couple of weeks. I am embarrassed by people who have tipped over into panic buying and have made it difficult for the elderly and infirm to get their regular shopping. So far although we’ve had some panic-buyers here in New Zealand, we have not yet been bereft of all toilet paper (Seriously?!). In the end, what is going to matter is how you treat your neighbours and work mates. Do you care enough about THEM to stay at home if you feel a little unwell? Do you decide to put off that trip until the crisis is over? Do you keep an eye out for those who can’t get the things they need? Will you be prepared to share your supplies if need be? And when all is said and done, stop watching the posts on Social Media and continue to live your life. Turn your device off and go for a bike ride or a walk. Read a book. Take each day at a time.

It IS likely to get worse here in New Zealand, and we are taking measures to make the impact as manageable as possible. In the meantime, last weekend, my friends and I enjoyed a wonderful evening together celebrating a birthday, and just having fun. I went to a meeting on Sunday morning, and the first ballet (Snow White) I’ve attended in years in the afternoon. I don’t know how long we will continue to be able to attend group gatherings, but until we can’t I’m boots-and-all in. SO, if that was my last weekend of busy social agenda, then it was a good one.

Today I went to the physio for the first time, to get some movement back into the injured ankle. I cycled there, and I expect to be cycling on Thursday and Friday in to the city and my workplace. My nutrition regime is still steadily on target: third meeting was last Saturday, and I’m down 11.8kgs since I started. (It’s been a bit level the last week or so for various reasons, but I’m not worried.)

Enjoy these photos of the events of last weekend. And stay safe, informed, and – take a deep breath – CALM. I am heartened by hearing some really positive stories from those who are confined in isolation. One woman wrote about how much she discovered of her community, also kept in the same building, and how they have come to know each other and care for each other in ways that they wouldn’t have under normal circumstances. It’s often at time like this that we discover what true grace, generosity and kindness is. Hopefully for most of us, we are hardly likely to experience the more dramatic ends of this virus experience. But should we have to, we’ll see what stuff we are made of.

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Feeling a bit nutty and seedy

And what is THIS deliciousness I hear you ask. THIS is my own home made brand of paleo crackers, much cheaper than the supermarket bought ones and so easy to make. It’s all just seeds (including chia seeds which are the binding agent) and water, slowly baked in an oven. Put a bit of cheese on these, or avocado, and Bob’s your Uncle.
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Today is the last day of my days at home working on my own projects before I head in to the university tomorrow to take up the reins of my two-day job there. I love this combined work/life balance, and enjoy the many activities I find to do on Mon-Wed, as well as the busy work as an admin for postgraduate students at the end of the week. Right now, it’s very lively at work. The Coronavirus has played some havoc not only at my workplace but even locally where I live. We have one case of it, well documented and followed, at hospital, but it has been enough to cause a surge of frantic shopping around parts of Auckland. We have a strategy in place at the university in case we need to work from home, but that’s not on the books right now. Many of my own students are international, and have paid large sums and left home countries, to come and study here. I feel for any who are struggling to make it here in the middle of their research, and who are unable to get back because they left during the end-of-year holidays.
Last Friday, my ankle screw was removed, and I am now in the final stages of 10 days of recovery and then I’ll be exercising fully on it. It looks a LOT better than it did five months ago. (The pink is wearing off).

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Meanwhile, in my small house in the suburbs, I have been slowly getting smaller (Yay! Down 11.7kgs now since early January). I have occasional surges of sugar cravings but have averted them. Yesterday I made use of a gift voucher to try one of the ‘Hello Fresh’ food boxes and when it arrived I eagerly searched the contents and made plans for my dinner for the rest of the week. I’ll be taking out the carb content in the meals, but judging by last night’s Jerk Chicken, it will be a very pleasant tasty change from my usual. I bought the three meals for two people, and plan to have left overs every other night – so six night’s dinner is sorted!

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Now, in the light of all the desperation and trauma happening in the world right now, I’m going to remind you to pull back a little and see the small hopeful signs of life and beauty around you. I have to do it for myself regularly. That cunning balance between staying informed and alert, and not becoming depressed or anxious. Here are the small things that I’m heartened by:

It’s almost feijoa time, and our trees are budding with lots of fruit:
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The rain has finally started appearing – we need much more of it – but this week has been overcast with stray showers. Water is so essential to our wellbeing, right? I’m going to go and get another glass of it now.

When I check our local facebook page, I still see all those friendly posts offering free items, or putting food in the free food shelves, and lost items being found. I am so glad of the generosity of strangers in my own community.

I’m ready for our winter. I’ll have to face cycling to work in the dark and the rain, but at least I can still cycle! And OUR winter, means that the northern hemisphere will finally start to see the sun- it’s definitely their turn.
Until next time. . .  enjoy your week, relax, breathe, and be kind.