Rise Up

Bruce Springsteen was in town last night. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to go, but it was great to see all the photos and videos from friends.

One video in particular caught me out – on the way to the gym, walking past the 185 Chairs and the former CTV site, I was moved to tears watching a video from the concert last night – Bruce singing a special tribute version of My City of Ruins.

 

He wrote the song about New York City after 9/11, but its equally fitting for Christchurch on 22/02.

There’s a blood red circle
On the cold dark ground
And the rain is falling down
The church door’s thrown open
I can hear the organ’s song
But the congregation’s gone
My city of ruins
My city of ruins
Now the sweet bells of mercy
Drift through the evening trees
Young men on the corner
Like scattered leaves
The boarded up windows
The empty streets
While my brother’s down on his knees
My city of ruins
My city of ruins
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Now there’s tears on the pillow
Darlin’ where we slept
And you took my heart when you left
Without your sweet kiss
My soul is lost, my friend
Tell me how do I begin again?
My city’s in ruins
My city’s in ruins
Now with these hands
With these hands
With these hands
With these hands, I pray Lord
With these hands
With these hands
I pray for the strength Lord
With these hands
With these hands
I pray for the faith, Lord
With these hands
With these hands
I pray for your love, Lord
With these hands
With these hands
I pray for the strength, Lord
With these hands
With these hands
I pray for your love, Lord
With these hands
With these hands
I pray for your faith, Lord
With these hands
With these hands
I pray for the strength, Lord
With these hands
With these hands
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up
Come on, rise up

Rain is much more fun when you have a car

When I’m rushing around in my car doing errands, I often pause with gratitude that I have a car and a license that allows me to get around and get things done. I got my driver license in March 2008, not long after becoming a Nana. It was the push I needed to learn to drive – something I had a fear of for the longest time.

And on days like today when it’s cold and wet, I’m even more grateful. It’s annoying that it’s wet out, but imagine having to get all that stuff done with no car! You’d leave the house with a brolly and a raincoat, get wet just walking to the bus stop and be damp all day. Yuck.

rain-girl

The one where I baked a cake

I really don’t like cooking – I’m not very good at it and I don’t have the patience or passion to get better via practice. But I decided to bake a vegan chocolate cake for Megan’s birthday. Wyatt, Megan and Antony are dairy-free, and I can’t eat anything fun, so I thought it would be good to bake something we could all eat.

It turned out pretty well too! I think maybe the cake tin was too deep and small, because it took an hour and a half to cook all the way through – instead of the recommended 45 minutes. I think I’ll need to buy a different tin and give it another try.

Anyway, here’s the recipe – super simple!

Vegan Chocolate Cake

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
6 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup oil
2 cups cold water
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla essence

Sieve all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix to combine. Add the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.
Pour into a greased and lined 20cm cake tin and bake at 180°C for 45min or until the cake springs back and a skewer comes out clean. Leave in the tin for about 10 min after it is taken out of the oven and then turn out on a wire rack.
Ice when cool.

I’m in training!

I started training for the City to Surf today, with a 6km run. I felt slow and fat after two weeks of eating and not really exercising, but it was good to get out and stretch my legs.

The City to Surf website has 10-week a training schedule that I have chosen not to follow too closely, with four runs per week ranging from 20-90 mins. I think it designed to ensure you finish in the top 10 runners! I will be lucky if I come in ahead of the fast walkers, and that’s fine with me – 14km is a long way…

I will be aiming for 2-3 runs a week for the next 12 weeks, but broadly following the ever-increasing distances.

I’ve run the City to Surf twice before, and don’t remember it being that hard, but both times it was 12km rather than 14km, so it will be a bit more of a challenge this time around!

 

 

Year in review: 2016

This year I think I finally achieved a level of balance in my life that I’ve been working towards for years. Life was busy, but so much less intense than the past few years. Here’s how it went down.

January: We start the year in Kaikoura with Megan and Blair, where it rains without stopping for three days – we play a lot of cards. We journey to Temuka to collect Bronwen. We visit Okains Bay for some family fun. We go to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, epic! I go to the gym a lot and walk up the bridle path with Stephen and Bronwen. I tick off a bucket-list item by going to Waitangi – a tropical paradise. We get a coffee machine for home, love it.

February: I do a lot of running in preparation for the City to Surf. The Valentine’s Day earthquake happened – scary but fine. We commemorate five years of shake, rattle and roll. It finally feels like things have moved forward. Leap Year, so we get an extra day, and Steve gets a birthday!

March: Stephen and I celebrate five years of wedded bliss – a delicious dinner at Spice Paragon. I have a fun roadie to Dunedin with my girlfriends. Christchurch Armageddon – bigger and better than ever, with Richard Dean Anderson! Running, running, running. I finished the City to Surf (half) with my best time ever, boom! The whole hoard goes camping at Kaikoura – me, Stephen, Antony, Jade, Wyatt, Arlia, Megan and Blair. This is followed by a quick trip to Hanmer on the way home with Nick and Rach, where we take the time to deface Kylie and Todd’s newly framed house-in-progress.

April: Happy birthday Rachel! I go on a lovely retreat with my girlies at Lake Brunner – it rains a lot. I try burlesque dancing, roller skate on the pier, do a lot more running. Larry the Learning Lemur visits and I knit him a jumper. Poor Wyatt ends up in hospital for a week with appendicitis. I get a shiny new toy – my iPad Baby Pro, it’s omg awesome. Dead End Derby puts on an epic show with Batman v Superman, then the fam travels to Dunedin so LDR can beat the Bonnie Brawlers – Bronwen and I ref. Stephen and I (and about a million Thompsons) descend on Foxton Beach for my sister’s wedding – I discover that my new brother-in-law is the brother-in-law of my brother-in-law (he was married to my sister’s ex-husband’s sister). We get a cleaning service, it is life-altering! I am awarded “Volunteer of the Year” for services to senior league ice hockey.

May: At work I am promoted and start a new role – Learning Management Systems Lead, Dale joins the team. The Frompsons take up knitting – we all knit a scarf. I retire as DED Secretary, an important letting go. We have an epic fun time in Nelson with ORDL, I’m honoured to bench them.

June: Armageddon Wellington, yeah! So good. Stephen and I play a bit of (actual) squash, I’m better than I thought. I travel to Nelson for a getaway with the girlies. The iPhone turns 9 (aw…seems like only yesterday…).

July: Megan and I go to Knitting Club, there are pyjamas and cups of tea. We teach Wyatt and Arlia to play Catan. Pokemon Go happens. We have a lovely mini-break in Hanmer. I get awesome new roller skates. Star Trek Beyond is release, I love it! The fam attends the Mainland Mayhem roller derby tourney in Dunedin, it snows!

August: I change my name legally from Brigid Susan to Bebe Brigid. I knit my first hat, just in time for the awesome Rangers Tekapo hockey weekend. So much fun! The Canterbury Red Devils make it to the finals of the NZIHL by the skin of our teeth, but lose to the Southern Stampede – they dominated the season. I knit my second hat, for Arlia. Running, running, gym, gym, gym.

September: I get a delightful new iPhone 7, and Stephen gets his Apple Watch Series 2. There is a lot of running and gym-ing. Bronwen goes to Japan! DED puts on Pokemon Woah! roller derby edition.

October: The month starts with a trip to Kaikoura, bliss. I get my Apple Watch Series 2 – it’s omg awesome. Apple Pay comes to NZ, yuss! It’s like magic! The Arts Centre reopens. Megan and I get tickets for Green Day, Megan and Bronwen get tickets for Panic At The Disco, and Stephen and I get tickets for Dixie Chicks – 2017 will be the year of the concert. We attend Auckland Armageddon, so so good! We house swap with the Mount Albert Thompsons, as they happen to be in Christchurch for Labour Weekend. Bronwen gets her learner licence.

November: We get PlayStation VR! I thought it would be a gimmick but it’s amazing. Bronwen wins a math prize at school. The Kaikoura earthquake extravaganza happens. We are all literally and figuratively shaken up. Stephen gets a brand-new Mazda 3 with all the bells and whistles for his birthday. Zoom zoom. We have a very nana-ish Gilmore Girls viewing party – everyone is home in bed by 10.30pm.

December: Megan leaves home, sadface. The Synapsys team celebrate Xmas with painting and sipping. I celebrate Xmas day at the gym, yeah! Followed by waffles and ham of course. Stephen and I get new AirPods! Stephen, me, Antony, Wyatt, Arlia and Bronwen go camping at Temuka – it rains. Stephen and I conclude from this that we need bigger, better tents for bigger, better camping. Stephen and I finish the year the same way we started – kicking back in Kaikoura. There is a big mess to clean up at the caravan, but it survived the earthquake well.

Summarising this year is easy – lots of family time, lots of new gadgets and a lot of New Zealand-based travel. Various configurations of the Frompsons travelled to: Kaikoura (4 times), Okains Bay, Waitangi, Hanmer (2 times), Nelson (2 times), Lake Brunner, Foxton Beach, Dunedin (2 times), Wellington, Auckland, Tekapo (2 times), Temuka (2 times). Stephen and I also both travelled to Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin several times this year. That made it a busy year because we had a lot of weekends away, but it was all fun stuff and there was a lot of relaxation in there. I think this has been my best year yet for doing less and saying no more – ironic considering I decided not to make it one of my goals for the year. Maybe that helped!

30. My current goals

Gah, this one again. I find goals so hard to write about, not because I don’t have any, just because they are so mundane. Throughout my 20s and 30s I worked hard to lift myself out of some fairly difficult circumstances – two kids at 19, no high school eduration, divorce, addiction. My goals were lofty and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to achieve them. I sobered up, went back to school and got a Masters degree, the kids grew into sensible, well-adjusted adults. I got a great job, and then another great job. I married a wonderful man, purchased a home, went on several overseas trips. Became a grandmother. I have a great life.

I feel like I’m on the right trajectory now, the ship is self-piloting. All I need to do is make small course adjustments here and there.

So how do I set goals when life is just as I want it? Last year I said this:

If my goals were to be things that I knew I could achieve in the coming year (i.e. things I know that I will actually do), they would go something like this:

1. Buy all the Apple-y things

2. Go to the gym a lot

3. Spend a lot of time at the ice rink – playing hockey and supporting others

4. Spend lots of quality time with my beautiful children and grandchildren

5. Travel within New Zealand – Wellington, Auckland, Waitangi, Dunedin are sure bets

6. Try and carve out space for relaxation but not really succeed, realise that relaxation is not really my thing

My goals for 2017 are not dissimilar. I suspect 2017 will involve less ice hockey than previous years, since we have a good crew sharing the league admin workload, and Wyatt and Arlia aren’t playing. On the travel agenda are Kaikoura, Auckland, Napier, Bluff, Brunner, and probably Wellington and Dunedin at some point.

My biggest goal is to work on some home improvement. We’ve spent the past few years using our extra money for overseas trips, and have made a decision to stay home this year and do some renovating instead – our bathroom and laundry need an upgrade.

27. A photo of myself today, and a description of how my day was

Here are two photos – pre and post gym workout. That’s the RPM instructor in the background.

And here is how my day unfolded…

I woke up at 7.30am, got up at 8.30am, had a delicious pancake breakfast then settled in for some hockey admin and TV watching – Netflix FTW!

At about 12pm, I had a shower and then did some organising for camping tomorrow and some other tidying things. The cleaner was due at 2pm, so we wandered off down to Re:Start Mall for some lunch – dumplings for me and pizza for Stephen.

We came back to a delightfully clean house, watched some more TV, and then I went to the gym, to the supermarket and home for dinner.

And now I am sitting with my feet up watching more TV.

It’s been a perfect combo day.

 

26. Something I don’t leave the house without

When I pack a bag to leave the house I make sure I have my phone, watch, wallet, headphones, sunglasses and battery pack. These are my essentials. Number 1 is probably my phone.
Note, no keys. Our front door and car locks are digital so I often have no keys with me. For the most part I can also manage without bank cards now that I have Apple Pay.