Work nightmares. You know the ones. Those that make you toss and turn at night. You can’t stop your mind from going a million miles an hour. Trying to solve problems all night long.
These dreams have been a curse for me for a long time. A stressful case at work will keep me up all night. So will urgent deadlines. An early morning flight will have me dreaming about sleeping through my alarm clock and waking up to a taxi in the driveway!
Worst of all are those dreams where I’m actually making up the problems – real or not.
And in the morning, I wake up feeling tired and stressed instead of refreshed. Continue Reading…
I am the first to dread Mondays in our house. I suffer horribly from the “Monday Blues”. But I’m done with it. It’s not helping me or anybody else, so I’m turning over a new leaf. Welcome to POSITIVE MONDAYS!
This week it’s back to work as normal. I’m slowly recovering from the flu, and my brain is almost functional again. I just got a pay rise (not sure if that is a good thing, or if it just adds to the handcuffs, but an interesting topic to explore later…). And, if all goes to plan, we may even buy a house this week!
I wish you all a fantastic week, with whatever it is you are doing. Remember:
“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love – then make that day count!“ Steve Maraboli
A friend reminded me recently that doing my best does not mean working myself to the point of a breakdown. And I thought I had been doing quite well with this whole work-life balance thing! Oh well. Sometimes we are good at kidding ourselves.
Last week I made myself very ill. It started with a cold. I went to work. I spread my germs around. Then I went to Sydney for a conference. My daughter said to me “Mummy I don’t want you to go to Australia, you don’t have to work when you are sick”. I said I do, and her response “but not always Mummy”. I could put this conversation down to childhood innocence and idealism. But she was right.
The Beartooth Highway is a 68 mile All American Road that winds its way through Montana and Wyoming, leading its travellers to the iconic Yellowstone National Park. At 3,337m high, there is some serious elevation – a bag of chip bursting elevation in fact! Starting from around 1,600m in elevation, you start your climb starts in grassy meadows, travelling through switch-backs and steep zigzags, past banks of snow, and skiers blasting past your window.
We flew into Billings Airport, as the closest airport we could find to Yellowstone National Park, that didn’t cost an extremely exorbitant amount (i.e. Jackson Hole). Billings turned out to be a great place to pick up a rental, stock up the car, and find cheap accommodation. I have to provide a recommendation here for the Hilltop Inn. This was the cheapest hotel accommodation in our entire trip, and it provided free breakfast. The room was huge, and to top it off there was a microwave and a fridge so we could self-cater a family dinner (with the help of a hot chicken from Walmart!). Would love it if they didn’t use disposable plastic for EVERYTHING though, a little better for the environment if they used glasses, plates, knives, forks etc instead of the single-use plastic variety – wrapped in another layer of plastic for hygiene.
The Beartooth Highway
We had three amazing All American Roads on our bucket list for our US Trip – the Beartooth Highway, the Big Sur Coast Highway, and the Tioga Pass (technically a National Scenic Byway). Unfortunately for us, a storm took out a key bridge on the Big Sur Coast Highway, and the snow didn’t clear from the Tioga Pass by the time we travelled through in early July – which left only the Beartooth Highway.
Even then, the Beartooth Highway was CLOSED the day before we left Billings. Hubby was devastated, knowing the Big Sur was closed, watching the snow reports daily for the Tioga Pass, and refreshing the Beartooth Highway website hourly for updates to see if it was going to open. In the morning when we were due to leave Billings the hotel staff gave us the good news – it was open. For now. Get moving… We knew we were still hours away from the start of the Highway, but we took the risk. We were very lucky. It was closed again the next day!
On 1 July I pledged to give up alcohol, and I signed up for Dry July to raise funds for people affected by cancer. A month later and I’ve reached my goal, I’ve abstained from alcohol and I’ve raised $249.75 for Look Good Feel Better, to help people living with cancer. And I’ve been surprised with what I’ve learned along the way.
Why I gave up alcohol
I had a number of reasons for giving up alcohol and signing up for Dry July. Firstly, I was looking forward to the health benefits of not drinking for a month. Secondly, I’ve also lost too many people I love to the hideous illness.
I lost my father to cancer over 15 years ago. Despite his fight, he didn’t make it to my graduation. He wasn’t there to walk me down the aisle at my wedding. And he never got to meet his beautiful grandchildren.
I was so proud of the girls today. We managed to have a great day, without devices – wet and windy wild weather and all.
After a treat for breakfast (bacon and egg baps, with coffee from the cafe around the corner for Hubby and I), I took the girls roller skating. Although Miss M has been skating before, she is still very much a learner, and this was Miss T’s first time on a skating rink. After a few false starts, they had a ball. They raced each other and the clock. There were “musical spots”, “show off your tricks” (i.e. manage not to fall over), and skating “limbo” (not surprisingly, the tiny tots on wheels won this one!). A hurt tailbone and a sore wrist later, they can’t wait to come back! All for a $2 entry fee! A bit of frugal family fun for my new better budgeting segment I think.
The girls – in a good mood – even helped me with grocery shopping on the way home. Well, not sure if “helped” is the right word, but they certainly took it upon themselves to fill up my trolley for me…
After lunch we did the traditional childhood thing and had the neighbourhood children over for an afternoon of hut building, playing board games, making a banana cake for afternoon tea and pizza for dinner. Followed of course by ice cream sundaes.
Somehow we have been convinced that the neighbour should stay for a sleepover. They dragged the spare TV into the hut, snuggled up in the piles of cushions and blankets under fairy lights and sheets and watched a movie. And that is where they are now. In the hut, on the floor, snuggled up in blankets and cushions. Not quite asleep.
It’s school holidays! Well, to be fair the girls have been on holiday for a week already, but have been at school holiday programme. NOW I am also on holiday for a week!
Bring on a week of sleep ins, lazy mornings sipping coffee in the sun, reading blogs. Movies with the kids. A trip to the skating rink. And a few days in Taupo. A touch of prawn fishing (I will have to explain that one more when we do it!). And Hubby may even take the girls skiing.
I have also set myself a few blog goals:
I’m writing a guest blog on ‘teaching your children the value of money’, I have timed this to get it done on my week off.
I want to get my ‘subscribe’ button working.
I’ll keep you all up to date with our holiday adventures 🙂
And of course there are a few boring jobs to do around the house. I’ve already cleaned the linen cupboard.
There were thirteen candles in our house this week. Officially a teenager in the house. A milestone duly celebrated with even more teenagers for a teenage sleepover!!
All whilst I’ve pledged not to touch a drop of alcohol for Dry July! Luckily for me, a compassionate mother has sponsored me a “Golden Pass” so I can commiserate the upcoming teenage years with a well-deserved glass of red wine.
So what are we in store for?
The metaphor of conquering Everest in the wrong shoes springs to mind [Rachel Halliwell on the terrible teens]
To me, the most surprising thing is how much my 13-year-old resembles her two-year-old self.
Like her two-year-old self, she is prone to tantrums because she cannot find the “right” shoes or the pants she wants to wear are in the wash (absolutely my fault, washing should be a same-day-service, oh, and I should be a mind reader and ensure that whatever has been dumped on the bathroom floor appears clean on the day she wants it!).
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
We have been reading blogs about life on the road, talking to travel bloggers with children, watching Netflix travel programmes made by full-time travel bloggers – and all the while wanting desperately to change our lives.
But there is something holding us back, so many reasons not to go. A sense of security. Two “amazing” jobs. A pension plan. School. A community. Family.
So the question is – do we buy an RV, take the kids out of school, and hit the road, or do we do the “sensible” thing and wait until they leave school – then hubby and I can travel to our hearts’ content? BUT – so far none of our parents has managed to make it to retirement, so why plan for retirement? Wouldn’t it be better to get out there and live NOW?