Monday, August 8, 2011

Provide Solutions

Lately, more and more people are struggling to make ends meet.

As a culture we could keep focusing on the problems or we could actually look to others to provide suggestions and solutions to help people get through the toughest times.

I am sure that there are people in this country who take advantage of the welfare system or live well outside their means and spend their money on “wants” vs. “needs”. I do not want to talk about those people. I want to talk about the people that are seriously doing the best that they can to make ends meet and they still struggle.

I do not want to hear about the price of milk anymore. Yes, it is expensive but everything has gone up in price. Last year people were focused on the price of cheese. We do not have children, but we still buy 2 x bottles of Dairy Dale milk for $6 from our local dairy. We keep one for home and I take one to work.

There are some amazing people out there that have made HUGE lifestyle changes to try and get ahead and lessen the struggle:
  • Hannah and her family moved to a smaller city; they have a vegetable garden etc.
  • Liz can feed her family of 5-6 on about $150 per week through good budgeting and a lot of home-cooked meals and baked goodies. Here is a link to her blog
  • Jane takes out the exact amount of money in cash for her weekly groceries and does not spend more than that
  • Make your own cleaning products (Wendyl’s Green Goddess website can be found here)
  • Carla who pulled money out of her “ass” last week by looking around for things in her home to sell
  • What about talking to your friends or neighbours and buying bulk vegetables i.e. 10kg of potatoes and splitting them up?
Somewhere along the line I think that some people have lost the skill of cooking and baking and even having a simple vegetable garden. A vegetable garden does not need to be expensive you could even grow things in a couple of old pots.

I absolutely love the philosophy of Sophie Grey (Destitute Gourmet) who makes amazing, nutritious meals on a budget. Her circumstances changed and as a family they had to make changes to their life.

Seriously, someone (I’m looking at you Close Up, Campbell Live, Breakfast) needs to get Sophie Grey on instead of continually talking about the problems.

So what are your ideas for saving money and getting through the tough times?

Sunday, August 7, 2011


I have seen quite a number of counsellors over my life. However, it was the last one that I saw whose sessions have stayed with me over 10 years later. Hers are the words that I heed when things get tough or I am feeling “wistful”.

Like everyone I have been hurt in my life. I also trust easily and sometimes that blinds me to my natural “instinct” about people or things. One counselling session we talked about hurt and the feelings around hurt.

What I learned was that “hurt happens no matter what” and the higher we build walls around ourselves to stop the hurt, the harder the hurt will be. With this in mind I started to pull down the walls that I had put up to stop being hurt. I opened myself up more to people and began to trust again. When hurt happened I accepted that hurt; while unfortunate was part of life.

The other thing that we talked about was our reactions. We talked about a particular instance when I was angry and my counsellor asked me how I felt and I said “angry” and she said “no what did you really feel” and I said “anger”. We went on like this for a bit until she said “if you really think about it, what you were feeling was “hurt”. When I thought through the whole situation I realised that she had hit the nail on the head. So I now realise that a lot of our emotions and reactions will stem from a particular emotion, and not necessarily the emotion that we think.

A lot of my anger and frustration comes from a starting point of hurt and sadness. I am sure I have blogged before about not feeling that I can get my words out or tell people when they have upset or hurt me. This means that my resentment grows; but hurt was the seed. I find it hard to move on from things because I cannot say what I truly want to say. Ironically it is probably because I am afraid of people taking things the wrong way or even hurting them.

Recently an amazing woman Mel told me to not be afraid to speak my “truth”. A few weeks ago I read something that Mel had written about speaking her “truth” and how she had kept silent over the years because she did not want to rock the boat and I can completely relate. I want to be able to speak my “truth” with honesty and integrity.

So at the end of the day I believe that to move through hurt we need to pick our battles and determine what is truly hurtful and what could be a silly mistake. For me it is about speaking my “truth” and being honest with myself and true to my feelings. It is about controlling my own reactions to situations and being able to let things go rather than hold onto them.

I am still learning and have a way to go; but I am getting there.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Summer Holidays in Colville

When I was in my mid-teens some friends and I spent two glorious summers in Colville; as one friend grew up there. We spent about 6-8 weeks there during our summer holidays and often I did not want to come home. Even now I yearn for those summers. They were bliss. Not a care in the world.

These summers’ holidays to me were freedom, fun, sun and no parents. Even now things take me back to that time. The smell of a wood fire burning (that’s how we heated the water) and incense. The music of Melissa Etheridge and Prince (‘Purple Rain’) takes me back as I listened to their music on my Walkman for one whole holiday. I would simply swap the tape over again and again.

Because we were only about 15/16 we walked everywhere. If we wanted chocolate (and you could buy this in chunks from the Colville General Store) we had to walk. I lost weight as we ate whole food, fresh food, vegetables, and good grains. At that stage in my life I really own ate fish and no meat. We went floundering for meals and cooked everything on a wood fire (even birthday cakes). We did both yoga and dancing on New Year’s Eve’s in the Colville Hall. I actually think that we cleaned the hall after a huge party and I remember my feet sticking to the floor.

Thinking about this now at 35 I think that weight-loss can actually be fairly simple if you just take it back to basics. It is about smaller portions and beautiful whole/fresh food like fish, brown rice, vegetables and the occasional treat and then a whole lot of exercise like walking, swimming and climbing trees.

Colville was a pretty small community filled with amazing, caring people, hippies, and Buddhists. There were the cool untouchable guys and girls and we spent a lot of time admiring the ‘Mahana Boys’ from afar. These guys played rugby and surfed a lot and worked sometimes. There were so many stories born out of small town truths and rumour. I remember one guy that had been injured in a car accident where he essentially lost half his face on the road. He always seemed distant and also unapproachable; as though he felt that people would only judge him by his scars. Personally, I did not even care.

I had a huge crush on a guy who grew up down in Colville. I spent the whole summer just hoping and praying for just a glimpse of him. I think I spoke to him once, but for over 2 years I totally lusted after him as only a gal in her mid-teens can do. I think we spent more time with his younger brother who was probably 3-4 years younger; I remember looking after him as he vomited after drinking whiskey. When I started writing this blog I actually used Google to find both guys and now they are grown up and so amazingly HOT! I can still see the guy that I had the crush on all those years ago, and his younger brother is still the same except he grew up.

Other things I remember is Layla going without deodorant because she thought that aluminium could contribute to breast cancer. I remember the hot days when she would wipe under her arms with tissues. I remember my friends Aunt burying the placenta from the birth of her son. She wanted to do it in Colville because it was special to her. I remember camping in Waikawau.

And finally I remember climbing up the hill overlooking a farm house after a long night to watch the sun creep up into the sky.

So thank you Colville; those summers helped shape who I am today.