Hello 2016!

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My first work week of 2016 is done. Another festive season done and it’s time to pack away the tree and it’s tinsel. Smokey the cat will miss the baubles to play with!

So I guess it’s time to think about what I want from 2016, right? As I said here, I am not big on serious resolutions, but I do think the beginning of a new year is a great time to sit down and think about what I want out of the coming months.

Mostly, these are things I strive for every day of every year. But I guess it’s good to remind myself of the goals every now and then.

Actually, having looked at the dictionary definition for “resolution”, particularly the synonyms, maybe I am big on resolutions, after all:

resolution
rɛzəˈluːʃ(ə)n/
noun
noun: resolution; plural noun: resolutions
1. a firm decision to do or not to do something.
“she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more”

So without further ado:

My house:

  • Spend some time and (a little) money each month on prettifying my house – especially the outside areas. Even if it’s just a small purchase each month, I want the outside of my home to be an extension of the décor inside that we have been working on for the last few years.
  • Spend a little time each week doing small organising jobs to maintain some control on the clutter.

My work:

  • To be positive and upbeat wherever possible.
  • To look for opportunities to excel.

My family:

  • To be present and in touch.
  • To communicate well.

Me:

  • I am hoping to begin something that I have wanted to do for all my adult life. I want a degree and although I have started studies before, I have never seen them through. I labeled myself as a bit of a quitter. My experiences in the last two years of running have proved to me that maybe I am not so much of a quitter after all. Which means maybe it is time to start again and achieve the that one goal that has eluded me all these years. More on this to follow.
  • Run… just keep running, get my pace to under 8:00 min per km, finish Two Oceans (dare I hope for under 3 hours?)
  • Carry on with my LCHF/Banting lifestyle and hopefully say good bye to a few more kilograms.
  • Find time to be a little creative everyday. I’ve started a #drawsomethingevery day challenge – I am hoping that I manage to keep it up and produce something little each day. More on that later!
  • Read more
  • BE GRATEFUL and AWARE.

Over to you – what are your thoughts for the year ahead?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some more reflections on the year that was…

Most years, I try to sit down and do a little reflection on the past year. This is the first time I’m doing it on a “public” forum. Generally my thoughts are confined to scraps of paper which disappear over the course of the next 365 days. I reckon if I do this here, at least it will be around to look back on this time next year!

2015

Our kids have both grown so much this year. Ewan seems to be taller and more grown up each day and Claire is looking decidedly tweenish and less like a little girl every time I stop to take a look.

Both of their year-end school reports were great. I felt like I spent a lot of time nagging and lecturing after each test result came in, as well as running around at the last minute. In 2016, I would like to be a bit more organised and in touch with what they are up to and avoid the “after the fact” speeches about studying harder next time.

Ewan achieved well at all his Golf tournaments and discovered he can run too – I am hoping he does more of that next year. He’s also had positive responses from two choice highschools, so we will take some time now in this last year of primary school to make some big choices about where he will go in 2017.

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Claire discovered gymnastics and can be found upside down most of the time. She has become ever so graceful in her movements and I can’t wait to see where another year of training takes her.

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About this time last year, we brought our new baby kitten home and we have watched her grow from a kitten to a gorgeous adult cat this year. She adores the kids, especially Claire. Smokey and the dogs have a tentative peace agreement and she spends much time napping in Zuby, the Beagle’s bed, much to Zuby’s irritation.

Smokey

Claire also adopted an adventurous hamster named Dumpling. Her recent escapades include falling down the stairs in her hamster ball and escaping from her cage in the middle of the night and being rescued by Nick from the cat litter box.

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We had the best mid year holiday in Sedgefield with a little road trip through the Karoo… The best time!

The kids also went to their first pop concert – Claire was over the moon to see 1D (before they split!)image12

Work has been a challenge – our intimate little company was incorporated into a huge corporation and the move has been quite a thing to adapt to, from the increased travel time to the hundreds of new people to get to know. It has been a little stressful, but it has been a positive change and I have a good feeling about what 2016 may hold for me, career wise. I do love my new surroundings – our campus is a beautiful place to work in.

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My running has really improved. I am over a minute faster per kilometre now than I was a year ago and I pretty confident that I can drop another minute off my pace in 2016 if I stay motivated and consistent. I logged 907 km on Strava, ran two half marathons, made a whole load of new running friends and revived my blog to journal my journey.

Nick just seems to be running further and faster and he has his sights set on the Two Oceans Ultra next year.

I’m around 10kgs lighter than I was a year ago and 20 kgs lighter than I was two years ago. It’s been a slow process and loads of ups and downs, but I’ve kept at it and the results are visible. Less than a kilogram a month doesn’t sound like much at all but I will be thrilled to be another 10kgs down this time next year!

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We enjoyed an amazing few days with Nick’s family, when both his sisters were in the country at the same time. Jenty did a beautiful family photo shoot for us to celebrate the occasion and I can’t wait to have some of the images printed for my walls at home. Green-family-010.jpg

My best girls have been around all year for chats (in person and on whatsapp),whine, wine and loads of laughter. You know who you all are and I thank you for being a part of my life.

All in all… it’s been a pretty good year. We enjoyed all the things that count in abundance and I am hopeful for great things for 2016 – for me and for you! Thanks for reading and for all the encouragement to continue blogging!

See you next year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The good, the bad and the downright bizarre of our Public Health System

I have an awesome domestic helper named Virginia (we call her VG for short) who lives with us and is a very important part of our cozy little household. Virginia and her family hail from Rustenburg. A couple of weeks ago, Virginia’s sister, Elizabeth, an energetic, bright and healthy woman, started feeling terribly ill. She went to the local public health clinic in Rustenburg for treatment and was given Panado.

She didn’t feel any better (obvs) and after a few days, she decided to come to stay with VG and try a a clinic in Johannesburg for treatment. The clinic here diagnosed her with depression and advised that she could see one of the state psychiatrists in a couple of months. Depression! Truly – I don’t believe this woman has ever been depressed in her life.

Three days later, on a lazy Sunday morning, VG phoned me from her room, sounding frantic! She asked me to hurry downstairs, which I did. When I saw her, she was in a state. She asked me to take them to the Helen Joseph hospital. Her sister was not doing well at all. I told VG to bring her to the car. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone as sick standing upright. And she wasn’t really standing upright, at that. She was physically supported by her sister and a friend. I suddenly started feeling nervous. This was a very sick woman. I drove as quickly as I could to Helen Joseph and once there, found her a wheel chair. If left VG, Elizabeth and friend there with a wish to the universe that she would receive quick and appropriate treatment. VG arrived home much later that night confirming that she was admitted and undergoing tests. The tests confirmed that she was actually in renal failure and she spent the next three weeks undergoing dialysis.

It has been a couple of weeks since she was discharged. She looks a thousand times better but she is still undergoing dialysis on an out-patient basis. She will need dialysis treatment until such time as she miraculously regains renal function or a donor kidney is found. I’ve  had a call from the Helen Joseph Renal Unit, confirming that at some point in the near future, they would be delivering a monthly supply of home dialysis kits . They have also come to do a home inspection to confirm that her current residence is suitable for home treatment – clean, running water etc.

We have all been really impressed with the treatment she has received at in the last few weeks at Helen Joseph. We always hear such horror stories about our state hospitals, but in this case, they have been amazing! What I don’t get is how the public health clinics could so irresponsibly prescribe Panado or diagnose depression in a patient whose life was in danger from renal failure?

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Race #4 – and our little tribe is growing!

The race I chose for April was the Sportsman’s Warehouse Cradle of Humankind race. Jeanette found the race on one of the event websites weeks ago and we all decided it would be a fun and scenic race one to take part in. Jeanette, Jolene and Nick were going to do the 21.1 and I figured I could do the 10. It would be fun to actually go to a race with Nick. We also discovered there was a 5k fun run and suggested the kids take part which they decided was a fun idea. My brother- and sister-in-law, who are recent RWFL converts, also decided to join us for the 10k run, so it turned out to be a rather large crowd.

As always, it’s really just the early wake up call that sucks. Once I’m up and out the house, it feels like a bit of an adventure. I even managed to get some decent sleep, but only until about 3am at which time I started checking my clock every few minutes.

We arrived early and the race was really well organised, so parking and registrations were a breeze. Indoor and clean toilets earned the event bonus points. I do so hate a port-a-loo!

The race itself was awesome. The route went straight out for 5km and then a sharp turn back up the same road. The country scenery was beautiful and the hills relatively gentle. I started out really well and was happy to meet with my friend Kathy a little way into the race. We stuck together for the rest of the way and the first half of the race flew by easily. I have to admit that the gentle hills felt brutal between kilometre 5 and 7 when my legs started to feel a little tired. After 7, I decided that I really needed to push through the ache and managed to run most of the last 3 kilometres, with a lot of encouragement from Kathy. I had set my hopes on finishing around 1:25 and managed to actually do 1:22 – a new PB and 7 minutes faster than my previous 10k race finish!

As for the rest of us… – well, Nick managed to finish his half marathon in under two hours and the kids finished their 5k in 30 minutes and are ever so proud of themselves. We added four more medals to our collection and despite some tired and achy muscles, the Greens have been on a endorphin high for most of the day.

I love how social the races are – so much fun to share the experience with friends and family. I love that we are all doing something healthy together. It’s given our lives a new dimension.

I’m sure most of my Facebook friends are rolling their eyes by now at my incessant running posts, but it’s an achievement I’m incredibly proud of and I won’t be shutting up anytime soon 🙂 The funniest blog post has been doing the rounds lately about just that.  Anyway, I’m sure my Facebook friends prefer the running posts to the birthy ones!image1

An Event-full weekend!

I’ve mentioned before that I have discovered goal setting really helps me keep with this running thing. I have challenged myself to enter a race at least one race a month. Although I would be letting no one down except myself, I have discovered that I am a pretty hard task master and I don’t actually want to let myself down.

Although I procrastinated terribly about actually entering race, and literally entered just before the online entries closed, enter I did and the race I chose for March was the Denel 10k, which took place in Irene, Pretoria this past Saturday.

I panicked a whole lot less about this race compared to the races from a few weeks back. I knew I could do the distance. What worried me about this one was whether I could do it in a better time (which meant running at least a part of the distance) and do it on my own as I wasn’t going to have a partner distracting me from the distance like at the V-night race or setting the pace like the Gift of The Givers race. It also meant another ridiculously early start to the day, so another night of no sleep in anticipation of a 3:30 am alarm.

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Sunrise over Irene
Sunrise over Irene

The race itself, once I was up and dressed and out the house, was great! Extremely well organised, good parking, nice route and of course, my rider for any race : a medal at the end (albeit one that is shaped like an army tank)

I coped really well with the distance and managed to run parts of the route with relative ease. I managed to knock about five minutes off my previous PB.

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I think that the confidence in knowing I could finish helped, as well as the fact that I made a point of eating beforehand and making use of the water points for a little Coca-Cola boost. Although I try to bant the rest of the time, I gave myself a little leeway for some sugar then.

I spent the rest of Saturday recovering by napping and just generally doing as little as possible and although a little stiff, by Sunday I was ready to party the night away at the One Direction concert with my kids.

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I am definitely getting stronger and I am starting to set my sights on doing longer distances… maybe a 15k, if I can find one and then perhaps… a half marathon???

 

 

 

 

 

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