Friday, 30 January 2009

House - Spare Room

In December I posted about the state of our house and the spare room which finally had a bed in it.

Milord wasn't quite happy with the spare room, although I assured him that Mom enjoyed camping and she'd be fine!

Since December we've renovated the window and moved all the junk into the roof. Last weekend I touched up the scuffed paintwork, mopped the floor and washed and redid the linen...

Tah dah!



It is now nicer than our bedroom...

Mom arrives at Sydney airport at 5:20pm today. It's a hot day in Sydney - 30C - but apparently a lot cooler than where she's just been travelling in Melbourne/Adelaide - 45C! We have a bottle of wine (wah) chilling in the fridge with steak and salad, should be good.

I have to work next week, but I'll be sneaking off lunches with Mom and probably leaving early when I can!

Have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Twilight - revisited

Every read a book so annoying that you can't get it out of your head?

Twilight... yeah.

Among the many many things I couldn't get my head around was that a group of 100-year-old teen-looking vampires have to repeat high school and college over and over and over again... "to fit in". So I googled it to see if anyone had a decent reason and wound up in very like minded company.

I have lost approximately 3 work days here and I'm only halfway through the thread. If you are thinking of reading Twilight or the rest of the books, read this instead. It will take just as long but is better written and a lot more entertaining!

Also a very funny and snarky synopsis of all the books here.

When I finish this thread I will be looking to see what other books they are snarking about!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Bluebottle Update

No, there is not much else going on with me! I could tell you about the renovations and cleaning at Chez Saffa, or how much being sober at certain gatherings totally sucks, or how it got to 43C on the long weekend (109.4F) and how we are now discussing getting an air conditioner...

But you really just want to know about the baby, don't you?

Oh okaaaay then.

The house is looking pretty good. We had the loft ladder put in last week and on Saturday, the hottest day in three years, Milord and a couple of friends carried dozens of boxes of stuff into the roof while I tidied and cleaned - I'm not allowed any heavy lifting*! The spare room now looks like a bedroom. I'll take a photo shortly...

We went to a barbeque with Milord's friends on Sunday evening after a day of DIY etc. That particular gang knows I'm up the duff so I didn't have to pretend to be detoxing... I'm 7 weeks pregnant and already fed up with being the sober one at parties and the designated driver. 33 weeks to go... oh yeah and then breastfeeding sobriety. *sigh*

I don't miss the grog much (not at all to be honest), it's just that some people are easier to handle with a few snifters under your belt. Milord's friends are ok, but, well, you know... they're his friends not mine.

Monday was "Australia Day", the anniversary of the colonisation of Australia by the British in 1788, when all Aussies celebrate being Aussies by holding barbeques and playing cricket and drinking beer. Well, actually, that's not quite true. The native Aborigines, who call it "Invasion Day", don't much feel like celebrating that anniversary! I see their point.

It was nice to have the day off even though I wasn't too interested in barbies, cricket or beer. I sent Milord off alone to yet another bbq... I don't think he had a huge amount of beer but heavens he reeked of it when he came home. And during the night. And this morning. Curse you, sense of smell!

Week: 7

I got my blood results today - iron etc is good and I don't have Hep B, Hep C, syphilis or HIV (woot). The vaccinations for Rubella and chicken pox must have worked because I have antibodies. I've made an appointment for a "dating" scan for next Monday and then we shall see Bluebottle for the first time!

No change in my measurements from last week again.

How do I feel: Still quite tired. My appetite has gone wonky - I don't really get hungry and it is the rumbling of my tummy that reminds me to eat and then I have a quandry because I don't fancy anything in particular. I've gone right off meat... it doesn't make me gag but I just don't want it. Having a wonky appetite is making it hard to plan meals or cook - I come home and have a couple of apples and then remember I have a husband to feed too. My boobies are starting to get a bit sore and don't even think of tweaking my nipples!

Cravings?: I'm loving fruit, crunchy steamed veggies with a baked potato, nuts and dairy. And I'm thirsty a lot - I'm getting through a lot of water.

How does Milord feel: Happy but nervous. He rang me before I was even out of the doctor's office to check if things were ok. He is absolutely terrified of something going wrong with the pregnancy or the baby, but I'm not letting him talk to me about that kind of thing. He can talk to someone else about that stuff, my baby is going to be perfect!

Latest Bizarre Pregnancy Fact: Nothing new this week, but not being able to have a hot bath annoys me. Raising your body temp over normal can cause miscarriage... or so they say. If it worked I'll bet there would be a lot fewer unwanted babies in the world! But I'll play it safe of course.

Latest Probable Old Wives Tale: *No heavy lifting when you are pregnant. As much as I'm loving not having to lift stuff I can't find a reputable source for this one. I wonder if it's something men came up with so that they could feel more involved in nurturing their pregnant woman? I know it seems to give Milord a surge of pleasure to do the harder things for me at the moment!

Case in point over here... and totally what I've had running through my head lately. How are you supposed to look after a toddler if you can't lift heavy things?!

Friday, 23 January 2009

This is SO a Mommy Blog already!

Sorry. I assume I'll start talking about something else sometime...

I had a nice night out with 7 of my girlz yesterday. I did go home early for a lie down and snack before heading out and I was perhaps the perkiest among us! My best friend in Oz (gotta think of a cool nickname for her... ummmmm... she's Irish, and totally hot, and halfway through her first pregnancy: IrishMILF it is!) came along.

IrishMILF is 19 weeks into her pregnancy and has a neat little bump to show off (she's a tiny skinny laydee so the bump is quite obvious. I imagine that mine will take much longer to heave into view from the pillows of plump around my generous midriff). I saved her day by producing a snack bar when she was about to murder people through hunger before the food arrived!

She is desperate to chat about my pregnancy, but I'm not ready to tell everyone in that group yet so we had to talk in veiled references.

There was a discussion of baby names... What do you guys think about telling everyone the names you've shortlisted? (IrishMILF did, and they're lovely names - not wierd Irish ones either (teehee)) Milord and I think the names should be secret until the baby has arrived.

Ages ago (we've been planning a family for years) when we were discussing names Milord said "No royal or biblical names, and no nouns or adjectives, and nothing in the top most popular names." Since we've been pregnant though every name he's proposed has been a king or queen or biblical figure or both - and usually quite popular too! Funny. We already have a strong contender for a girl's name, but it's early days and we shall see...

Oh and my "detox" didn't attract a single comment!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Yawn

I.. am.. so.. sleepy... I nearly fell asleep at my desk before lunch so I dragged my protesting butt to the gym in the hope that a workout would wake me up. It did, but for about half an hour! 4 hours to hometime. ugh.

We got our security screens yesterday and I'm chuffed with them. It was a very hot and humid evening so we left our bedroom windows and front door wide open overnight which was pleasant... except when I went for a wee in the night and jumped out of my skin on the way back at the sight of the street. The noises from the street are taking a bit of getting used to, but the breeze is nice!

It's just as well that we have the screens up because Milord was doing a bit of DIY yesterday and smashed our bedroom window (it's also just as well that it's hot weather!). He rang me at work to tell me and I was all, "Oh nevermind, we'll reglaze it before it gets cold". The bloke who sits next to me told me that if he'd rung his wife with that sort of news he'd have his head bitten off... I told him I save that kind of reaction for bigger mess-ups!

Our desired builder has sent us his quote to do our extension and deck and stuff. I opened it just before going to bed - I have got to stop opening mail at bedtime - and totally freaked out. A quiet wail of "We can't afford that!" because it is THREE TIMES more than we can borrow to pay for it. The guy is on drugs!

We'll have to make a plan. Maybe just extend the house and do the kitchen and leave the back yard for another time. We shall see.

Speaking of the kitchen - we met with a kitchen designer on Wednesday and worked out our little island kitchen for the middle of the living area. Picture this in the middle of a long thin room.


On one side (where the glass overhead cabinets are) is the TV/Sitting area and on the other is the Dining area which opens onto the back yard. The person in the kichen will be able to see and speak to anyone in any part of the living area or back yard.

It's not going to be cheap - we've selected some very funky storage solutions and a granite counter top. Plus we now need to go shopping for fridge, hob, oven and dishwasher as we kind of have none of the above.

*sigh*

This wouldn't be a big deal if I didn't know I'd be stopping work in 7.5 months time! Milord and I want me to be a "Stay At Home Mom" until the kiddies are in school so we've structured all our outgoings to take that into account... we'll be fine but there won't be much cash left over at the end of each month.

I'm meeting with a group of girlfriends tonight for dinner. I've told them I'm detoxing for January so there should be no awkward questions when I don't drink... since Septsober they don't think it's too out of character!

I think I'll duck home early for a snooze before I go out tonight. Oh I'm such a bundle of fun!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Smelling

I've also been trying not to bombard you with pregnancy news but there's not much else going on. The result is that I'm not posting anything - so the hell with that!

I've always had an overactive sense of smell. Well, I assume so, but I only really became aware of it when I quit smoking for good (10 years ago this month woot!). Suddenly I could smell things other people couldn't, and this is not always a good thing... I walk in the front door going "Pew, I have to take the rubbish out" while Milord can't smell a thing until the bin is a foot away and open.

Pregnancy enhances a girl's sense of smell. I gave this a bit of thought and I presume it's so that we have an early warning system around food that is on the turn... I can't think of any other good reason!

So now as well as my usually over-the-top sense of smell I have pregnancy enhanced smelling powers. It's a curse. I can smell a cigarette over a block away. Someone near me in the gym today had garlic 2 nights ago. Visiting a doggy house is suffocating. I have to cross the street to get past "Mr Chao's BBQ Takeaway" (deep fried everything) on my way home and don't get me started on the fishmonger.

Of course nice smells are also enhanced. Chocolate is fabulous. Milord's occasional glass of red wine is a fruit bouquet sensation. And the freshly showered, sun-warmed young man who sat next to me on the bus yesterday was positively intoxicating... if they could bottle that they'd make millions!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Bluebottle Update

Been a bit busy lately... Things are all go in the Saffa household:
- Mom arrives in under 2 weeks so we are frantically trying to get the spare room ready.
- We've kicked off the next round of renovations so that we'll have finished the extension and back yard before winter (Bluebottle should be born in early spring - mid Sept).

This week we are:
1. Getting the security/mosquito screens fitted to the front door and bedroom windows.
2. Installing a loft ladder into the roof so that we can move boxes up there.
3. Meeting with a kitchen designer. Woohoo!
4. Hopefully submitting the Development Application for the extension.
5. Getting our bedroom windows measured for plantation shutters.
6. Arranging a mortgage increase of over $50000. With the recent rate cuts this is not a big deal, luckily!

Next weekend we have asked some friends to come and help us move stuff into the roof, and we also need to put up towel rails, soap dish, loo roll holder, mirror etc in the bathroom.

This is all distracting us from being pregnant, which is probably a good thing ;-)

Week: 6

Since last week I have chosen an obstetrician and a hospital (eenie meenie... it's a bit random really!). Next week I'll get my blood results and get a referral for a dating scan, which I will have while Mom is with me - yay.

No change in my measurements from last week, so I won't assault you with my blubbery photos...

How do I feel: Fine, except I'm beginning to get weary. My bedtimes are getting earlier and on the weekend I'm inclined to have an afternoon nap. I also can't let myself get hungry because I totally crash when that happens... I've taken to carrying a handful of small snack bars in my handbag. My appetite is normal though.

Cravings?: I dreamed about a cold fruity glass of white wine last night... then again I also dreamed about Brad Pitt - is that a craving?

How does Milord feel: He has come to terms with it now and he seems very happy. He's started telling his friends and I think being able to talk about it with them is helping him feel excited. He's being very solicitous so far too, which is a pleasant surprise. (I was a little concerned he was going to be all "get over it" but he's taking my weariness and constant snacking very well!)

Latest Bizarre Pregnancy Fact: You shouldn't wear underwire bras from mid pregnancy until after you're done breastfeeding. They can cause blocked milk ducts which is a major owie. (I've just bought 2 new underwire bras, dang)

Latest Probable Old Wives Tale: Leftover rice is bad, especially if you reheat it. It absorbs all the bacteria in the fridge and will make you sick. (My doctor's handout didn't say anything about rice so I'm thinking this is bollocks)

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Roomies

I was following links in blogs and ended up on a hilarious post about roommates.

I have been very lucky in my life in that I've rarely had to share my space with people I'm not closely related to or in love with. In fact the only times would be when I first moved to London.

When I arrived in London in January 1999 (10 years ago!) I had all of 400 pounds to my name. I'd arranged to crash with old friends for a couple of weeks, assuming that I'd pick up work in no time and move on (Mountain Man would be following as soon as he organised his visa). Richard and Shona had a tiny one-room flat in North London, and I slept on the floor between their bed and the TV and they'd step over me on their way to work!

I really struggled to find work at first and it was March I think before I finally found something. In the meantime Richard and Shona had rented a 4 bedroom house near Wimbledon and were supporting me and at least one other newly arrived Saffa girl! They let me stay in a room of my own rent-free and Richard even ended up lending me 1000 pounds because my cash ran out. What fantastic friends!

In terms of mad housemate stories there I'm probably the one they muttered about. Being unemployed and broke I would sleep late, then catch a bus into town to job hunt from an internet cafe, then I'd come home and read books. I'd cook if it was my turn, and at night after the working folk went to bed I'd stay up very late watching TV and drinking the cheapest grog I could find... I think I was reduced to bottles of sherry at 2 pounds each! Shona and another girl cornered me one day to tell me they were worried about my alcoholism and they wanted to pray for me...

When I finally found work I paid Richard back-rent and repaid the loan, and moved into a room in a 2 bedroom flat in Kilburn, North London. I was sharing with a French/Italian couple who worked at night in a hotel. It was mostly brilliant - we never saw each other as they worked nights and I worked days. I'd see them on the weekend for a bit and they were quite pleasant.

One balmy spring night I was fast asleep when my bedroom door opened. I was awake instantly and I saw my male housemate wandering in wearing just underpants. He pulled back the covers, climbed into my bed, laid his head on the pillow next to me and went straight to sleep. I was lying on the far side of the bed against the wall (because that's my preferred side of the bed... it is also Milord's preferred side of the bed - I had to reset myself when we got together) and I didn't quite know what to do. I don't wear nightclothes so there I was frozen in shock, naked with a strange man in my bed!

I called his name and shook him - no reaction. I climbed over him to get out of the bed, pulled on some clothes, and tried again. Nothing. Then I went to his room, woke his girlfriend and got her to help me... After a lot of calling and shaking he finally roused enough to be very confused and grumpy and she led him back to their bed! The next day he had no recollection and I bought a small bolt for my door...

Mountain Man got to London in midsummer that year and a couple of months later a room opened in Tara's flatshare and we moved in. That was a 3 bedroom flat full of Saffas - we'd generally have at least 2 folk crashing in the living room. It was party central, and I quickly discovered that visiting the party zone was a whole different ballgame to living in it! I need a fair bit of space and quiet from time to time and there was none to be had here... it totally did my head in and again I reckon I was the worst housemate in the mix as I struggled to maintain my sanity. I was grumpy and snarky and disappeared into our room for hours at a time. I was the housemate who'd storm into the living room at 2am to switch off the blaring stereo, and I was the one who drew up the chore-roster and worked out the phone and grocery bills.

I liked the people (a couple of whom are my close friends) but I hated hated hated living with them!

After a year I convinced Mountain Man to move into a place of our own... and that is the last time I ever had a housemate. I'm not a "sharer". I simply can't do it!
Never again.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Bluebottle Update

My closest friend in Oz was overseas for the holidays and I was eagerly anticipating her return to tell her my news (she's at 16 weeks herself and was hoping I'd join the club). Instead she found out via a friend who reads my blog and sent her over here... hmmm. I suppose that is the downside of a "public" announcement. Ok, I'll make a deal with you, my loyal readers: if you tell folk I'm preggers then you also have to tell them if something goes wrong. From my research that seems to to be the main reason people don't tell during the first 12 weeks - having to deal with the "How's the baby?" questions if you lose it. Milord isn't telling anybody yet, and apart from a select few (and you) I'm not telling either. I'm pretending to do a January detox!

Having said that though, friends of Milord's picked him to be among the select few to know that they were expecting within the first few weeks. They lost the mite right on 12 weeks just before a visit to Sydney, and when he assured them that he'd told nobody they said "Uh.... can you rectify that?" because they wanted sympathy not "How's the baby making going?" stuff.

I got a telling off from my friend for posting intimate things on the web. "What if Milord reads it - and how can you say those things about your ex?!" This baffled me. I can't think of anything too outrageous that I've written here about my exes... Guys, my DAD reads my blog! And I always bear in mind that although Milord doesn't read my blog, he could someday. How bad am I going to be?

It's my blog. This is what blogs are. Honest, intimate thoughts - we wouldn't write them otherwise and we sure wouldn't read them. I keep mine anonymous to hopefully prevent anyone googling themselves (or me) from finding it, but if I've invited you to read it or if you stumble on me and decide to stay, that's ok. The day I get trolls that may change, but my posts don't tend to attract the trolls. Yet.

If you don't like it DON'T READ IT. Ok. Rant over...

I went to see my doctor this morning. She knew I was trying for babies so she's thrilled. Now I have to find a gynae and choose a hospital and stuff... I gave several vials of blood to pathology for various tests, and in a couple of weeks I'll go back to check the results and get a referral to my chosen gynae. All very low-key for now. My doc reckons I should be ok in spite of the meds I was on over xmas, but I do have to find a different hayfever medication.

Week: 5

Weight: 71.5kg
Boobs: 98cm
Ribs: 82cm
Waist: 87cm
Hips: 98cm
Thigh: 58cm

Photos:


ugh. That's not a baby bump, that's my spare tire! ew

How do I feel: Fine. Perfectly normal. No symptoms except a missing period. I was sleeping badly but I think that was the detox because now I sleep like the dead.

Cravings?: A glass of wine in a hot bath....

How does Milord feel: It isn't real for him yet, although he's starting to treat me like something delicate. He barks at me if I lift heavy things and doesn't drag me in front of buses anymore. He's hasn't quite gone teetotal with me but he has cut back enormously so the snoring has stopped - yay.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

The Graveyard Book - Audiobook

I've been a blog fan of Neil Gaiman for some time. He's the author of Stardust, which was made into a movie in I think 2007 (and many other books). I'd read Stardust years before and adored the movie which I saw in an open air cinema, lolling on beanbags with too much wine (I had to get it on DVD later to see the ending again properly!).

For several months now his The Graveyard Book has been making waves in literary circles and I was itching to get my hands on it. In the last few days before Christmas I lurked in the bookshop drooling over it, but financial constraints prevailed and I walked away without it.

Imagine my surprise and delight on Christmas morning when one of Milord's presents to me turned out to be the audiobook of The Graveyard Book - an unabridged 7 hours read by Neil Gaiman himself! I'd not mentioned it, and Milord had never heard of the author - how on Earth had he bought me exactly what I wanted?!

It turns out that Milord was shopping online for audio books for me (I listen to them on the bus), and under the Sci Fi category he saw Terry Pratchett who I knew I liked, and Terry Pratchett has co-authored a book or two with Neil Gaiman and the name stuck in his head. The following day he was in the bookshop and spotted The Graveyard Book, and bought it on the strength of that tenuous connection!

I was stunned. Milord was stunned that I was stunned.

I'm on disk 5 and loving it. Neil has a brilliant reading voice, switching pitch, accent and inflection depending on which character is speaking. It is a series of tales based around a child raised in a graveyard by the dead...

Apparently it's inspired by Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, which I will now have to get my hands on and read again for the first time since I was a little kid!

Friday, 9 January 2009

Bluebottle

I've just been chatting to Mom, and because I was calling from the office and I don't want them to know I'm pregnant yet, she suggested we refer to the baby as "The Bluebottle". (A bluebottle is a small stinging sea jellyfish thing, with blue tendrils)

So we discussed how excited we are about Bluebottle (!), and was Bluebottle making me ill (no), and how far along was Bluebottle (4 weeks), and when was Bluebottle due (late Sept)... I think the name has stuck! I told Milord over lunch and he's not convinced but we shall see ;-).

I'm trying not to post about Bluebottle much, because having been on the other end a few times I know how dull pregnant women can be. It's hard not to though - because I can't. think. of. anything. else! So skip this post if you're not interested...

I feel fine. Totally normal. If I hadn't been watching my cycle like a hawk I probably wouldn't even have noticed my late period yet. Nipples are a little tender, but no more than usual during my cycle. No cravings, no nausea, no nothing.

I've actually lost weight. I shed 1.5kg when I was ill, and another 0.5kg this week as I cut out booze and ate healthily (that's a total of 4lb). I was rather overweight going into Christmas and I'm still well over my good BMI so this is not a problem! I'm not letting myself be hungry and I'm having 3 meals a day with snacks, but it's mostly fruit and salad with a lean cut of meat and I don't fancy sugars or fats. I'm about to switch to decaf coffee, and I've cut my tea consumption in half. Booze is out.

So really I'm just on a detox!

My cold is hanging on but is a smidgen better every day. I have a doctors appointment next week and if I'm still chesty I'll ask her about it. Along with all the other questions I have! I've cut out all my usual vitamin pills except for the folic until I speak to her too, because I'm confused.

Milord is still very reserved on the subject of Bluebottle - I think he's just terrified of getting too attached in case something goes wrong. I understand that, but I also can't do this thing in half measures! I'm pretty sure he's happy though. Perhaps once we have the first scan he'll relax and get excited. I tell you what though: he has this thing about jaywalking in front of traffic and usually drags me in front of speeding buses which I hate... well today on the way back to the office after lunch there was a gap in the traffic that he usually would have walked us into - and he held back until we got a green man. Hmm.

Funnily enough I'm not scared anymore. Before I got pregnant the idea terrified me, but now that it has happened I am totally sanguine. Whatever happens, I will deal with it. It's what I want, and I'm very happy!

Apart, perhaps, for the fact that I have to cut out a lot of my favourite foods for a while. Goodbye oysters, pate, rare steak, poached eggs, smelly cheese, prawns, carpaccio, mayonnaise, mussels, tuna... and wine, gin and vodka. See you in 8 months!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Twilight

Did I mention that I got the novel Twilight for Christmas? I'd been intrigued because so many women of all ages seemed to be hooked, and I love me a good vampire story.

I read it cover to cover on Christmas Day while sick in bed. It's a good read and hard to put down,

...but....

...quite simply I won't be buying any more in the series.

No spoilers here, but I just couldn't really connect with any of the characters. The female lead is irresistible to living men and vampire men, because... she's pretty and smells good. The male lead is irresistible to everyone because... he's beautiful and smells good. You couldn't imagine just sitting down with either of them over a cup of coffee for a good chat.

And whenever she tries to snog him she faints. Big whoop.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Kwanzaa

This is a belated festive musing... most of the blogs I read seem to be American, and I love the different perspective it gives me on stuff. During their elections I was reading blogs from opposite extremes and it was so nice to get an idea of what the folk on the ground were making of the impenetrable rhetoric. It's also been a shock to hear how hard the recession is really hitting folk there (one tends to dimiss news reports as hysterical) - I am so very lucky to be where I am right now.

So anyhow, in the run up to Christmas almost everyone in the US and Canada were wishing each other "Happy Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa". I sort of get Hanukkah (although from my research the meaning has mutated a long way from the original and is now a kind of Christmas thing) but what was this Kwanzaa? Sounds ethnic. Maybe it's a Native American mid-winter festival thing?

I asked Suzanne and she responded with something along the lines of "Well, if the African doesn't know then wow!" Hmm, ok, an African celebration? I hadn't heard of this, so I googled it: Kwanzaa: basically a newish Black-African-American celebration of heritage, that falls over the Christmas week.

Interesting.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Shhh

Listen, do you want to know a secret? Do you promise not to tell? Closer, let me whisper in your ear...


The second line is faint, but it's there...

Milord doesn't want to tell anyone yet. I think he's struggling with the idea... after a few exclamations of "Oh shit!" and "I guess we have a surplus of wine now!" I gently told him to say something nice before I thumped him.

I'm terrified. I'm excited. I'm happy. I'm not ready. I'm totally ready. Oh god.

1 week down, 39 to go.

Edit: I've been googling and they say we count from the first day of my last period, which doesn't make much sense does it? So officially I'm 4 weeks along! Wow, that was sudden!

Friday, 2 January 2009

TLC

Being ill lately has caused me to flash back to the last time I was this ill. In October 1999 Mountain Man and I were trekking in the Himalayas in Nepal...

There should be a special name for one's "last major ex". He's not my last boyfriend before meeting Milord, but somehow the 3 blokes in between just don't seem to count. Milord can't stand hearing him mentioned - ok he's like that about all my exes, but Mountain Man really gets up his nose. I've decided it's because I don't really have anything nasty to say about the guy... the worst thing he ever did to me was a sort of amiable neglect. I can't say he was the best boyfriend ever, but he was a great friend and soulmate and for a very long time our destinies were entwined. What would you call that? "Major Ex"? "Big Ex"?

Trekking in Nepal was certainly an experience (that link is a good summary of what we did on the uphill leg). Some of it I loved, some of it I hated, and then I was more ill than I had ever been before in my life which added an extra dimension.

When I first got home after the trek I was asked if I'd do it again.
"No, but ask me again in two years."

After a couple of years my answer became (and still is):
"Yes, but only with a companion who would look after me properly."

I have plenty of tales from the trekking trip, but sadly being ill overshadows a lot of them. We'd been walking the Annapurna Circuit for about a week I think, steadily climbing along mule tracks and getting fitter by the day, when we arrived at the village of Manang where all trekkers spend 2 nights to acclimatise (it is at 3500m, and climbing a flight of stairs leaves you as weak as a kitten). We found a fabulous room in a lodge with its own bathroom and running water (unheard of)! After we dropped our bags we went walking (puffing and staggering in my case) up to a glacier then back down for dinner...


See the glacier? It ends in a turquoise lake just behind me.

I can't remember what I ate now, but maybe it was soup that hadn't boiled hot enough, because the next day my insides wanted to be outside! Mountain Man went out walking with some trek-mates and I counted knots in the rough pine ceiling between visits to the squat-loo. On the following day we should have walked on, but I wasn't well enough, so Mountain Man waved a sad farewell to the trekkers who'd been pacing us thus far (you develop quite a close bond with the people you see every day) and tried to amuse himself.

On the next day I felt no better but Mountain Man "was bored". He rolled me into the shower and when I came out my gear was packed and on the porter. We made it about a kilometer up the trail before I sat down in the dirt and wept, and then he let me go back to the village and curl up in my sleeping bag again.

On the following day we made better progress, and then we generally made the required distance although I really wasn't well and measured the route in toilet stops. Most food repelled me and I lived on snickers bars and boiled eggs on toast. We got higher and colder, and I got slower and slower. We eventually summitted Thorong La - a pass at 5400m. Most folk start walking at 6am and cross the pass at 10am. We started at 4am and reached the top at 12am. God it was a hard uphill slog through a treeless wasteland far above the snowline. The water in my water bottle froze solid and I couldn't feel my feet. I remember at one point mid morning a man with a horse came past offering lifts up the hill and I refused because I thought we were almost there... and I was several hours wrong!


That's me on the right under every item of clothing I had...

We had a long rest at the top of the pass. I was so happy to be there - from here it was all downhill!

And it was. And I began getting better... except for a nasty cough that began developing. That got so bad that we actually located a local hospital in one of the villages and lined up with the Nepalese to have me looked at. The doctor was brilliant - he must have trained overseas as his English was perfect! He had a look and listen and prescribed me a ton of antibiotics, paracetamol and codeine, and we walked on.

My cough got worse and worse. It got to the point where if I stopped walking I would begin coughing uncontrollably so I just didn't stop - I walked like an implacable machine. Eating and sleeping were difficult, and I was completely unable to talk. Very social!

By the last week of the trek I was pretty much ok - bar an intolerance to certain foods and an occasional cough - I was skinny and super fit and barely noticed the mountains rolling away under my heels except for the awesome scenery.

To this day I firmly believe that if I'd had the chance to stay in bed for a couple more days when I first got ill that I would have shaken the tummy bug, that I would not have caught the chest infection, and that my trekking experience would have been a whole lot better. We had heaps of time - there was no rush to get back to Kathmandu - but Mountain Man was bored... wanker.

These past few days being ill have brought out the best in Milord. He never resents me needing a lie down, or asking him to go to the chemist or to find a fruit I am craving. Not once has he been bored by my sickness and forced me out or abandoned me.

I'd go trekking again... with him.

First Day of Work 2009

So I made it into work today. I have a squeaky version of my voice now and my cough is under control... Someone has already asked me if I partied too hard over New Year! Geez I wish.

I'm feeling a bit tired so I probably won't work a full day...

Signs that the gods want me to go home:
1. My security pass isn't working. I had to wait 20 min in the lift lobby for someone to let me in to my floor!
2. My other team members haven't arrived. I wonder if they have taken the day off. This is awkward because I'm not sure what I should be working on... nothing much seems to have changed in the code since I was here a week ago!

Hey, one piece of good news - I've lost more than a kilo (2 pounds) over the past week. When I was very ill I wasn't interested in food, and when I started getting better I only wanted things like fresh fruit and salad - I went right off bread and meat and sweets. I now have an idea of what "consumption" must have been like in times past. *shivers*

I can't recommend being sick as a weight loss technique, but it's nice to begin the year with the festive fat already gone!

I have 28 days until Mom arrives in Sydney. I'll have to work for the first week that she is here, but then I'll have two weeks off with her before I fly to Cape Town for a wedding. This time we're staying put in Sydney, and I'm looking forward to exploring nearby attractions and going hiking in the national parks. Milord is pretending to be anxious about having her here for 3 weeks, but they actually get on fine!

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Happy New Year!

It's 2009, and what a year 2008 turned out to be!

- We got engaged, and we married within 3 months in South Africa overlooking the sunset sea.
- We bought a house in Sydney, half renovated it and moved in.
- I chucked in my job before getting married and found a new one with the Bank when we came home, for more money in a better location.

Those are the big things... and we did them all at once while people told us we were crazy. It wasn't that bad - things are only as stressful as you let them become and I had Milord as my rock and hopefully I was his. Plus, to be honest, nothing in my life has proved as difficult as changing countries, so if I can cope with that I ought to be able to shoulder a bit of wedding/job/house pressure!

In 2009 we hope to build on the foundations we have laid. We will finish the house, we will hopefully start a family, and we may even start up a business we have envisioned... I'll say more about that if it gets off the ground!

So how was your New Years Eve? Luckily we had planned to stay home for a quiet one anyway, because I wasn't over my cold yet. The antibiotics are working like a charm (Milord is doing the smug thing for "dragging" me to the doctor. Hey, I'm just happy to have a man who cares enough to do that!) and I'm a lot better but not 100% yet. I'm still a bit feeble and have a cough, but the pain has gone and I'm sleeping again. I even managed to drink a few glasses of wine! We watched the fireworks on TV (did you see the Sydney fireworks? Wow. Seriously. Wow) and then I went to bed and left Milord playing Xbox until 3am.

Par-tay central. Oh ya.

Today is stunning and neither of us is hungover. Milord is stripping old paint from the spare bedroom window frame and I'm on the spare bed watching. I love work: I can watch it all day! We want to strip, re-paint and re-hang all the the bedroom sash windows, and put up fresh architrave thingies before our security screens arrive. We're also going to try to get white wooden plantation shutters installed before the end of Jan if possible, when Mom arrives for a visit.

We have our Christmas pressie cd's playing: The Killers, Rhianna and Pink. It is a dry 30C, and I have a loaf of white bread baking which we will have with ripe avocado for lunch. I'm on my second vodka and orange and life is good.

May this year bring you what you wish for most. Kat: the career to fulfill you. Suzanne: a job to hold your head above water. Sis: better health. And anyone else dropping by - if you know what you want then I hope it comes to you.

Saffa x