April 2019 - This and That

It's been a while!

I probably write a couple of blog posts each week, in my head, while I'm driving and then I get home and they are gone or I have run out of the mental energy to type them out. I had a light bulb moment this morning, light bulb for me at least. RECORD, I can use my phone to record my thoughts so that they don't get lost! Then, type them out. How brilliant is that! Oh if only I had thought of that sooner, like years ago, even. I did a wee practice this morning, speech to text recording thinking that would be even more clever as I could simply do a little editing and then copy and paste. But no, unless I annunciate very slowly and very clearly it looked like a bad English language translation and while my brain is slow, to speak that slowly would leave me forgetting what I was talking about in the first place. So dictation recording it will be, maybe I could multi-purpose and turn my recordings into podcasts. Brilliant! Not really!

Anyway, enough of that and on to more important things such as life. Since I last wrote one of these in um, August 2018... I've got a bit to write about. Let's start with...

Family
The Princess turned 16 in March. I still have trouble wrapping my head around that. She's a good teenager, a typical teenager and a not so typical teenager. This year is a big school year for her, she is studying, Maths, English, Accounting, Economics and History and is planning on university (phew) and a degree that will end up having something to do with business. She does well at school, of which I am thankful. The Cowboy gave her a road code pack for her birthday so next up for her is going for her Learners Licence. I also have trouble getting my head around that too! She already has a car, she paid for some of it and her Grandfather the rest. Lucky girl! I'm also really lucky because I got to catch up with my oldest nephew in January and then one of my 20-year-old twin nephews stayed with us last week. I also had a holiday in Cairns staying with my brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephews. I'll save that for a separate blog post though. I've also been to Rawene and stayed with my Mum and Stepfather. I treasure the times I have with my different family members. Different being the word haha!

The only family members in my home that let me take their photo!

Home
No major changes around here, although I do have plans for rearranging and redecorating, like most things, it's in my head, or on a list. We moved the lovely big bookshelf my Mum gave me out of the garage and into the dining room but I've yet to do anything with it as I am toying with painting it white. Let me know what you think, white or wood?  I'm also going to sell the dining room table. When I bought it, I was living at the castle and had the room for dark chunky furniture, but in this house it is overpowering. I'm going to replace with it a smaller lighter table that can extend and am going to add either mismatched chairs or patterned (floral) upholstered chairs. The Cowboy's boy left home, well moved his stuff out of his room, which we still call his room, but is now a bit more girly looking as I use it to photograph shop stuff but I'm thinking I'll sell the Queen size bed in there, which dates back to when I was married to the Wasband and buy a pull out sofabed or just a smaller bed. Anyway, its all just ideas, lots of ideas! The Princess's room is looking good though. It's very white, very calm and very grown up. We put up a big round mirror the other day, sourced from KMart. It looks so good. I would love to post a photo of it, but it probably would not be allowed  -haha

to paint or not to paint?

Post Concussion Syndrome Update

I think I'll save most of the details for a separate blog post because I have people that follow just because of Post Concussion Syndrome and others that won't want to read about it. While I still have symptoms, I have come such along. I managed to get myself cleared for full-time work at the end of February and with that was able to come off the financial aspect of being support by ACC, which I am grateful for but was certainly financially limiting. Other big achievements are driving four hours to Rawene on my own and flying for the first time in two years, on my own too, which involved navigating airports, customs and transfers between airport terminals.

School
Wow, last time I wrote about school, waaaay back in August 2018, I was only working 3 days! By the end of Term 4 (December 2018) I was working 4 days, had increased the number of groups I was taking for Writing Enrichment and was also working as the lead teacher for a Special Needs student who started at our school. That was a quick learning curve, I had to upskill myself, set up a programme for him by scratch and liaise with a whole lot of people outside of our school. I loved it and quickly grew to love him. Through him, I found my niche in teaching and special needs teaching is the area I will in all likelihood end up in. In saying that though, this year I accepted a position in my school to cover the Performing Arts role for one term which involves Music, Drama and Dance for the entire school and I also love that! I see each class in the school for an hour session every two weeks. That's around 600 children through my room. Quite the challenge for a girl with Post Concussion Syndrome but I managed it, although I would end up spending every Saturday in bed sleeping and giving in to the headache I had battled with through the week. It was great though and definitely another big learning curve as I had to do a lot of quick upskilling in the music area! I also had my special needs boy each morning before Performing Arts classes. Next term, which is next week, my boy will be at another school, which will be wonderful for him even though I will miss him so much. The Performing Arts role has been extended into the new term so I am excited about that! The biggest thing I have loved about being back at school 'properly' is being among my friends/colleagues. I didn't realise how much I missed that aspect of my working life. An added bonus is I can now be part of conversations with them again!

A warm up dance is part of programme. It's great cardio for me at the same time!

Reading
I love, love belonging to a book club, reading books I wouldn't normally read and then once a month meeting for dinner and book discussion, lots of other discussions too! It's fun! Here's a list of my book club reading since last August.
The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell -  Horror.
I struggled with this and went to book club and after listening to the discussion came home, finished reading it and actually ended up enjoying it.
The Power by Naomi Alderman - Contemporary Fiction
This was another book I wouldn't normally read but really enjoyed it and totally recommend it, especially if you like dystopian society type stories.
For our book club Christmas dinner we did a Secret Santa book exchange. I got the Book Thief by Markus Zusak, oh my goodness, I would rate this is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It's definitely a book I would re-read.
How to Stop Time by Matt Haig - Contemporary Fiction
Again, not something I would normally read but thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend.
The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa - Contemporary Fiction
A beautiful translated story set in Japan and personified by a cat. Very moving, I wept at the end!
The History of Bees by Maja Lunde - Contemporary Fiction
This was an unusual story as in none of the main characters were likeable! However, it was a very good read and scarily thought provoking. Would totally recommend.
And this month is,
Love Life byRay Kluun - Contemporary Fiction
I have yet to start this, book club is at the end of the month and if I read it too soon I forget the story so find the discussions hard! It does put a bit of reading pressure on though. Funnily enough, or maybe not surprisingly a few of us wait to just before we meet to read the book, for that very reason.
Watching
We have watched soooooo much since August. Netflix is big in this house! Here's a little of what I have watched and enjoyed.
If you like comedy, British comedy, I recommend the following:
Cuckoo - Series
What we did on our holiday - Movie

If you like a good crime series, again British, then watch:
Shetland
Line of Duty

Other stuff I have enjoyed recently is:
Dirty John - True life series
The Silence - Movie

Trips Away
Another great thing about the Post Concussion Syndrome improving is I have been able to do trips away. Last September I gave myself a little retreat and stayed at Rosebud Cottage just out of Muriwai, so not far from Auckland. Oh my goodness it was heaven. I'm going to do a separate blog post about it because I have lots of beautiful photos to share, but let's just say, outdoor bath, candles, and vintage decor.

In October the Cowboy and I did a getaway to Bethalls Beach for two nights. Again, it's just out of Auckland but I had never been and at that point didn't really tolerate car rides that well. I'll do a separate blog post about this trip too just so I can share my photos. It was fun and we enjoyed some beautiful New Zealand scenery. The accommodation was interesting though.  More about that in my future post, which will be soon, soonish!

Bethells Beach

Muriwai

At the beginning of January I drove myself to Rawene, a big deal for me! I love Rawene and did my usual walk for coffee everyday thing. I helped my Mum clean the church and did the church flowers for the Sunday service. Mum and I visited with a few of her friends which was fun, although a car ride to visit one was not, a nasty windy gravel road that had me dry-retching. It was worth it though because Mum's friend lives in a beautiful farm setting, she runs the farm on her own and does all sorts of building projects herself, has beautiful extensive gardens and does the most beautiful needlework as well! She is such an incredible and inspiring woman!

Rawene

Church flowers, flowers from Mum's garden, arranged by me.

Then on a whim, mid-January, I booked myself a one way flight to Cairns as mentioned above to visit my brother and family. Again, I'll do a separate blog post about that, because of the photos, etc, etc. Obviously, I eventually returned, well I had to, my school and the Princess's school was starting!

Port Douglas Beach

Thank goodness they had a pool.

What Else
This year, so far, I've caught up with friends I haven't seen for ages which is really nice. I'm trying to not get back into that teaching is all consuming during term time and there is no other life! A teaching friend and I have also started a tradition of meeting once a month for dinner or a movie, or something, anything, just so that we have some kind of term life and life outside of our families. Since Cairns, thanks to my sister-in-law, I have changed my eating habits and started exercising regularly and as a result, I have lost around 8kg in weight. Physically, I feel fabulous. The downside is my clothes are too big, even my underwear, which I noticed one day at school when running after a child and had to hold my pants up haha. The upside is I have had to buy some emergency clothes to tide me over, do you like that, emergency clothes!!! I've also trialled some different skincare products as well for beautyreview.co.nz but will do a separate blog post about them. A separate blog post is starting to become a broken record!
The BIG NEWS
No, I am not pregnant, snorting to myself here, or getting married, even bigger snort, excuse my warped humour! No, the big news is, for those of you who don't know, I opened up an e-commerce shop. Back in September actually! I'm mostly selling fashion and accessories at the moment, things I really love, but will also be branching into skincare as I also love skincare! Please go check me out.
So there you have it, a life update. A big one at that. Thank goodness for all the photos I take, they serve as a good memory jogger!

Thanks for reading, extra thanks if you got to the end!

Rachaelxo

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