Local Heart, Global Soul

December 7, 2018

Sometimes You Need To Trust Your Gut…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The next morning we prepared to leave Greymouth.

It’s an early start partly because we want be to able  to take our time, especially through the really winding stretches of road.

It’s also an early start because no one slept well. I have been without everything except my strongest pain medication for several days now and my asthma in particular has been bad at night, with me  blocked up and emitting either a loud wheeze or snore at turns.

It’s been so bad that I kept up every other family member in our small, shared room. Even though they said I kept them awake “all night” and I know I was guilty of this, I was also kept awake by himself snoring as well for at least part of the night so no-one woke rested.

I take a low dose antibiotic daily in order to keep my lungs clear of fluid,  it also helps to replace large doses of Prednison which of course have made my bones thin. Without the lower doses Prednison and the antibiotic I still take, I find it hard to get comfortable at night, so the wheezing and snoring were always a problem were suddenly back with a vengeance.

I knew my chest felt tight and that I woke over again but didn’t realise how bad things were for Kiwi Daughter, Little Mr and Himself because of it. The next morning I felt decidedly off colour but chalked it up to two bad night’s sleep and a desperate need to get back to the asthma and foot medications we had accidently left back in Hanmer Springs.

Breakfast found us finishing off bits and bobs from what we had bought in recent days.

Little Mr could not finish the rest of the bottle of chocolate milk and not wanting to see it go to waste I poured it onto cornflakes to eat and use it up.

Breakfast is not usually something I eat until I have been up for quite some hours and definitely not when I’m due a long road trip or boat trip. On this occasion though I was tired, out of sorts and just wanted to get back to Hanmer.

Even though it was early morning the temperature was already rising steadily and it was promising to nudge thirty degrees again. We hit the road directly after breakfast and we were not many kilometres into the journey when I found myself feeling as green as grass.

Again, we chalked it up to a bad night, but we were not too far out of Greymouth when a layby with a historic monument came into view and I got Himself to pull over, telling him I REALLY needed some fresh air. The historic place is the Brunner mine and I stagger out with the camera hoping for some distraction from the horrible feeling in my stomach. Photographs taken, I go to go back to the car but suddenly green becomes even greener and  I had just enough time to duck behind the little memorial building where I promptly lost breakfast in unceremonious fashion. Luckily I’d taken my water bottle with me and could clean up before heading back to the car.

I should have trusted instinct and a lifetime of travels with motion sickness but it seem that in the absence of sleep, common sense  and trusting your instincts goes out of the window. Even back in the car, although I felt better, the green nagging feeling persisted so the kilometres rolled by in less than enjoyable fashion and it seemed that I needed one rest stop after another with ever increasing regularity. It might “only” have been 213 km’s but it’s a three hour journey that started to feel like it was going to become a ten hour one. It’s by far the worst car journey I’ve had since I was a kid. (Ok, there was one Portugal trip where Kiwi Daughter and I threw up in ditches on opposite sides of the road but that was more than ten years back).  One thing is sure about learning lessons from the past, I should never let those lessons get crowded out by something as stupid as not wanting to waste two cups of chocolate milk. Sometimes you are better to trust your gut.

(Grrr i’m having troubles with my photos *again*  they repeatedly refuse to load) I will keep trying, as I have been for the past week. Apologies again. – kiwi.

March 15, 2012

When a Piece of Plastic Stopping You From Going Green… Is a GOOD Thing!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Since this a car journey that features mostly winding roads, hills, trees and both inland and coastal views, landmarks that are a bit different are welcomed by kids looking out the windows.

But one of the most noticable differences between the generations sitting in our vehicle is that our kids have Nintendo games to play on long car journeys and prefer this to looking out of the window.

(the fact that our Nintendo’s are exclusively reserved for long car and plane journeys and are not out at other times is definitely part of the attraction)

As kids, Himself and I had no choice but to look out of windows : that and the “I Spy” game were our only entertainment.

Since I have always turned green in cars, I regularly offered my parents the alternative entertainment game of “get the car stopped quick enough to get kid about to throw up out of the back seat and onto the grass to get the inevidable over with” with extra challenges of steep gradients, narrow roads, lack of grass verges, passing traffic and possibly bad weather thrown in.

Ah, “anti-car-sickness pills” I hear you say…

…hmmm that was the other game of “how far can you spit the pill?” since I wasn’t great with pills either.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Nature posted revenge by giving Kiwi Daughter the “motion sickness gene” so I’ve “been there, done that” with the pill swallowing drama and tears from the parental side too and from whoever’s side you look at it, it wasn’t fun.

Fortunately help is at hand from a very unlikely source.

I was allerted to a gadget by a French friend who has the same problem with two of her four children but a more difficult situation because pulling over suddenly in French motorway traffic really is taking your life in your hands.

Not surprisingly also she tried everything and had already been down the unsuccessful pill-with-tears route too, then she found it…

…a piece of plastic that changed their travelling lives.
Like her, I was totally sceptical… come on, a tiny bobble of plastic stuck to a wrist strap…    …that’s IT ???

I stopped laughing when she told me that her boys now had hassle-free car journeys all the way from the Netherlands to the South of France.

Let’s take a closer look at this seemingly silly piece of plastic. It’s a little bobble of plastic, solid, smooth and attached to a one-size-fits-all wrist strap that does up with valcro.

To wear it you place the plastic bobble on the the centre of the inside of your wrist and do it up as tight as is comfortable. This forces the plastic bobble down to press on the pressure point in your wrist and takes care of your motion sickness.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Easy as that, there’s one for each wrist and if for example you are bobbing up and down in a boat feeling bad, then an additional press on the plastic bobble is also said to increase the fight against nausea.

Before we left for New Zealand I dispatched Himself to the ANWB (Algemene Nederlandse Wielrijders Bond = Dutch Automobile Association) to procure us a few pairs. If any piece of plastic against car-sickness needed to be put through it’s paces, then the winding roads and hills of New Zealand would be the perfect place to do it.

In addition to the car journeys there was the added bonus of the Cook Straight ferry crossing since Cook Straight has been deemed one of the roughest pieces of water in the world (after Fouvoux Straight further south and the Drake Passage off South America).

These places can all be found within the infamous “rouring forties” and are the product of routine high winds that circle the globle at this latitude and either a meeting of two vast oceans (Drake Passage) or in New Zealand’s case, the funneling of big winds and vast seas through narrow landmass gaps.

I’ve had experience of Cook Straight in both it’s extremes: from as calm as a millpond and in the most awful storm in the 1980’s (awful as in: I was clinging to a table that was bolted to the floor but the chairs were sliding past back and forth in alternate directions as the boat rolled from one side to the other… needless to say the rest of the ferry crossings that day were cancelled and the ships stock of “amenity bags for the stomachily unsteady” started to run in short supply.)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If any stout test is needed to see if these wrist-bands are up to the task, then the comination of road and sea routes that New Zealand has to offer will be sure to show up any strengths and weaknesses.

I’m delighted to report that much to my amazment, these bands really do work!

Ok, we did take rest stops to get some fresh air but we managed shorter and fewer stops than previous trips doing the same route, so much so that we arrived in Picton with just over an hour ahead of our estimated arrival time…

….and  there were no “Mama, I don’t feel good, I think I’m going to be sick” pleas constantly from the back seat, and I personally have never had a less green road journey as this one.

Granted it didn’t cure our motion-sickness 100% but it did help take away maybe 80-90% of the misery and that  for both Kiwi Daughter and I, means that these wrist bands are nothing short of miraculous and we will be packing them on every long car journey from now on.

There is no gurantee that these will work… apparently they help roughly 80% of motion sickness sufferers, to a greater or lesser degree: but if you have suffered car-sickness or sea-sickness, or have kids that do, you will know that a “no-pill” solution that offers any improvement at all is only a win, win, win, win, win solution.

I’m so delighted with these that I want to share my exciting discovery: If you suffer from car-sickness or sea-sickness or know someone who does, then comment on this post before midnight on March 22nd,  2012 and be in to win one of these for yourself!

I have two to give away, so you have two possibilities to win… so drop me a line and be in to win!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 8, 2011

You Want to “Postaday” But You’ll be Away ? Practical Blogging Tips.

Filed under: Blogging & Writing — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

I know that some of my readers have accepted the WordPress 2011 Challenge to make a daily (or weekly) blog  post because they would like to get into the habit of blogging more regularly.

Keeping  up with posting regularly can be daunting enough if you are at home and in your normal everyday routine, but what if you are on the move? … and maybe to somewhere with little or no internet connection? What happens if “Life Happens” and there is a family emergency,  unexpected work pressure,  or rushing to the littlest room with severe tummy troubles and the dilemma of not knowing which end of yourself to point over the toilet bowl first?

I have been blogging daily for a year and a half now and all of these things have happened to me.
So here are a few Tips:  You are into the business of blogging because you like the business of writing,  Yes? My first tip involves some extra work, but will be well worth it in the end. It doesn’t matter what your blog is about: Surely there is a topic that is close to your heart, a question you’d like to ask or an opinion that you’d like to get off your chest. First you need just a little inspiration.

Tip One: make a folder on your computer  or a notebook where you  jot down notes and ideas of possible blog topics. The weird, wonderful, serious, whatever…  jot ALL your ideas down.

(photograph © Kiwidutch

FORGET the phrase “writer’s block”. Seriously, it’s a disease you can convince yourself you have at the mere glance at a blank page. EVERYONE has good ideas!, It just so happens in life, that the moment in the day that we have to time to write does not neatly coincide with our best creative moments, so you will  just need reminding what your good ideas were.

Be it on the computer, in a notebook or on the back of your shopping list, write down your  idea as soon as as you can.  If your idea is on a scrap of paper or anything you can loose, then transfer it to your notebook or computer file as soon as you can. These summaries, words and phrases are your “inspiration” file.  Make a habit of adding to it as often as you possibly can… 10 topics or 100, it doesn’t matter, these are the tinder for your creative match.

Now a little effort is required: Draw yourself a timetable and force yourself to  make not ONE blog post at a time, but TWO. Post one of them as usual but save the other one as a “draft”, or put it into your schedule with a date far away (yes, even next year!) I already have a few of my topics in the WordPress Schedule for December 2011!

In theory I have a whole year to finish off, refine my “reserve” posts, and add photos, but in reality they will be ready long before the scheduled posting date, and when I need a post in a hurry, then I only have to change the date of that post in the schedule to tomorrow, or whenever date I need it.

If you expend a little energy now then you can quickly build up a stash of “reserve” posts. If you put your posts into a schedule one year in advance, then not every one of these has to be a fully completed post.

Keep your “stash” of reserve posts and use them in case of illness, family emergencies, holidays etc.  Make it a priority to “top up” your “reserve”  posts as soon after use as you can. That way you won’t suddenly find that your stash of reserves is … oops …zero.

These “Reserve” posts can be used three ways…

(A) Save them for when you are desperate to have a blog post that you can just slot in quickly.

(B) Use them as a buffer… so you have posts already in the schedule for the next two weeks  and the one you are working on today is destined to be added to the end of the queue, thus if you add a post every day then you will aways be two weeks ahead.

(C) Do a little of both. Have a few finished posts already lined up for the next days, a few finished ones as ‘reserves” and a stack of others at various stages of being “works-in-progress”

In my schedule I currently have a “stash” of completed posts,  some half-written ones, some that have a short paragraph or a few lines and a stack more that are just a title or key-word just to remind me of a topic. I use a combination of (B) and (C) when I post, but I very often also ‘insert” many ‘impromptu” posts as well into the queue,  … these are usually in response to a comment made on my blog, or because reading someone else’s blog  has inspired me to write a post of my own right away.

Inserting impromptu  posts is easy, all I have to do is to re-jig the scheduled posting dates.

So next time you need to be on a flight somewhere, you can leave your blog post in the safe hands of the  schedule and it will post automatically for you at the time and date you have designated.

By keeping a blog post coming at your set posting time in the week, your readers will keep with you.Big time gaps in your blog are  actually fine but eventually some readers may drift away and also on a psychological level you make it harder to kick  yourself to get back into the rhythm of blogging.

Big gaps in your blog posts might make you feel under pressure to produce a new blog post, and writing because you feel you “have to” is not fun, it’s stressful. Blogging should be fun.If though you find that too many things in Life overtake you at once then be realistic… don’t sweat the small stuff.

If your child is in hospital, a parent  or a friend is in their last days, you need to meet work commitments or your family time is being impacted because of your blog then it’s time to take a step back and realise that posting on time in your blog is the least of your worries and no longer top priority for the moment.

And rightly so, Sensible  regular readers who have gotten to know you will understand.

Happy Blogging!

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