Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Procrastinator's Curse.

I am here because I'm procrastinating. Which is a little bit funny because I'm usually not here because I'm procrastinating.

But there are only so many ways you can procrastinate before you start doing things you mean to in preference to things you meant to do before the things you're doing now.

And so it is.

My procrastination channel of choice is most often the computer. I can find all sorts of rubbish on here that I can kid myself is good entertainment. Hitting the global leader board on a word finder game on Facebook though... That was a new low. I don't think the Facebook procrastination option is open to me any more. Feels bad, man. Real bad. I did it without cheating, and I ALWAYS thought those leaders must have cheated.


There was a time when I procrasti-cleaned and procrasti-baked. That lost its appeal when I no longer had essays to write for uni, but it was good while it lasted. Nothing was more important than a few smudges on the windows when there was an essay due the next morning! I wish nothing was more important than the bathroom mirror right now, but alas...




Apparently nothing was more important than the bathroom mirror. I'm completely serious! Who knew?

Then nothing was more important than snuggling the toddler back to sleep, then cleaning the rest of the bathroom, a cup of coffee and putting on a load of washing. And now that the load of washing has finished and is waiting for me to hang out, there's nothing more important than finishing this post.

See how that works?

The chain of procrastination is a beautiful thing. Or it would be if I wasn't putting off other awesomely fun and inspiring activities. Such as playing phone-tag with government agencies so that I can, in turn, procrastinate over filing overdue tax returns. Yeah, that's fun (and important, hence the procrastination).

Over the years, I've tried to come up with ways to stop my procrastination. To be the organised ... what's a word that means the opposite of addle-brained? ... y'know, one of them people what we all wanna be like, anyway. Except that I'm scared of lists and diaries. I always feel like a complete failure when I, well, fail to adhere to them. The inner critic gets up on her high horse and does her best impression of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. Nobody's winning that war.

So I have to find another way of overcoming it.

I'm trying something new.

I hereby give myself permission to not do stuff.

Not all stuff, because some things are necessary for survival, so I'm keeping the "need to" things. But "should do" and "must do" are now hereby replaced with "could do" and "might do". Then for good measure, I'm adding a "because" after them too. A positive "because". As opposed to a negative "or else".


I might go to the gym because I'll feel much better about myself afterwards.

Feels much nicer and more inviting than:

I must go to the gym or else I won't get any fitter.

Gunnery Sergeant Hartman can bugger off; I want to give the curious and enthusiastic side of me a chance to do its thing.

Because I think that's where happiness lives.

Do you have an awesome way of overcoming procrastination that I (or someone else) can tuck away for future reference?

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Monday, 17 September 2012

You Need To Know This About Depression

A couple of hours ago, I felt lethargic and was very much in my "Daze" state (hey, it's the morning and I don't do mornings well). I sat at the computer just clicking link after link until my brain got used to the fact it wasn't asleep any more.

Situation normal then.

The link-train ended at this blog post by Dan Pearce: That's Just Depressing.

I have felt ALL of the feelings expressed here. Done everything everything in this post, and it made me want to explain why to those who cannot yet understand. Because you do get people telling you to snap out of it - those who think your depression is like their "down mood". Cheer up or look on the bright side my arse! Get over it and you're making everyone else depressed too are phrases that need a slap in the face.

If you know someone who is depressed and have ever said those words, then you need to know this.

If you ARE depressed and you can't see the point (you know what I mean), then you definitely need to know this.

To be depressed can be likened to being morbidly obese.

One is no more "a mental thing" than the other. Or less, for that matter.
It is impossible to "get over" or "snap out of" either of them.
Neither is a conscious choice.
To heal is always possible, but will require effort. Sustained effort. Learning to know yourself better and how to take care of you.

For those with depression: can you imagine being morbidly obese and just wishing it away, hoping as you go to bed each night that when you wake up in the morning, you'll be slim? Would you awake each morning expecting to have the energy to run ten miles and be surprised and upset when you can't?

Those with depressed friends, would you tell a morbidly obese person that their problem was all in their head? Would you expect them to overcome it without the support of those close to them, without involving a GP, without involving a personal trainer, without care and encouragement and love?

You're damn straight you wouldn't.

But these two problems are incredibly alike.

One is the exhaustion, the overloading, the almost impossible heaviness of the body.

The other is the exhaustion, the overloading, the almost impossible heaviness of the emotional mind.

Both can be overcome with help and determination and with a lot of self-kindness.

Depression is not a choice. It's incredibly frustrating for everyone involved. And this misery doesn't love company. Like the morbidly obese, depressed people most often cut themselves off from the world, whether through shame, or fear or simply not having the emotional/physical energy to shower that morning.

Depression can't be seen. But it causes years of existing instead of living.

Be gentle with yourselves and with those you love.

Knight N Daze.

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Monday, 10 September 2012

10 Ways To Bug Your Neighbour

Assuming I'm your neighbour!

If messing with your neighbours is where your heart lies, let me give you some advice from neighbours I've had through the years...

In no particular order:

Bulk buy fireworks during the week they're on sale then spread the use of them out over the year.

I used to have a golden retriever who was about as far removed from a gun-dog as you could ever imagine. He would try to sleep under us during thunderstorms and on Guyfawkes night he needed sedation. Random fireworks did not a happy camper make.

Mow your lawn at sun-up to get back at another neighbour who partied all night.

I'm neighbours with both of you! Why must I be subjected to two forms of torture?

Park your car in front of your gate so that it blocks the footpath.

Especially if you live on a busy road. Mothers with strollers and toddlers, who act like greyhound puppies on uppers, love nothing more than to meander into the middle of the road to get past your vehicle! (Public service announcement - you're welcome)

If you live in an apartment above someone else, be sure to wait until they have swept their balcony before you do your own.

That way, your special brand of dust and dead leaves will be sure to make their work a waste of time. Extra points if they have put out a clothes airer full of damp clothing.

Play your favourite porn on a continuous loop with your window open.

Because no one else must be allowed to sleep with their windows open. Nosir.

When you leave for work at 6:00am, be sure to honk your horn to get your partner's attention because you forgot your phone. Honk as you drive away, in thanks for them bringing it out for you.

Let's face it, if you're up and about then everyone else probably is too, right?

Store up your garden rubbish and mix in your old plastic paddling pool. Wait until there's a good stiff breeze in the direction of your neighbour, and their washing is on the line. Light a bonfire, drink beer and sing loudly.

At this point it's fun to listen for loud cursing and then call your friend and laugh about it.

Watch as your dog takes himself for a walk, slowing down traffic and defacing people's gardens. Don't call him back unless a car honks its horn.

Extra points if you growl at the dog as if it was his fault and not yours.

Play basketball in your driveway until 10:00pm.

Better if you start playing at 8:30pm so they just have time to get the kids to sleep and relax on the deck with a glass of wine. Nothing is more relaxing than the echoing toing! toing! toing! of the ball bouncing, interspersed with the clatterclatterclatter of the backboard whacking against the garage.

For best effect do this every night.

If your car is on its last legs anyway, don't bother repairing it. Just let the screaming of the fanbelt be an audible expression of the last nail in the coffin. Use this car often.

Oh wait, that was me... No one ever complained about that. Not to my face, anyway!

What have your neighbours done that drove you bananas?
Got any good stories?

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Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic

Sunday, 9 September 2012


It's been almost a year since we had pets. It'll be more than a year until we get one again(although I've recently found myself thinking that some tropical fish or a canary might not be too bad). Yet they have a way of finding me. Earlier this year our former neighbour's cat spent the majority of his time perched on the arm of our sofa.

And now there's Roger.

That picture's not Roger; I'm actually being pretty kind to him not putting a picture up. He likely wouldn't stay still for me to take it anyway. But Roger is like the picture. In the same way carob is like chocolate or decaf is like coffee. The same colour. Ish.

Roger is a stray says the intel on the street. He certainly acts like one, though I'll give him his due: I've never seen him getting into the rubbish on rubbish day.

His name is probably not Roger either. Heck, I'm not sure if he's a he or if I'm just gender-biased because I prefer male cats (they're 50% cheaper to get desexed, so what's not to like?). But Roger seems like a good enough name and it's not as if he responds to anything else.

I'm not the sort of person who runs around naming other peoples' animals - even if they have ditched them - but this little fellow has made a bit of an impression on me.

It wasn't the two minute staring competition we had when he realised I was watching him eat the bread I'd thrown on the lawn for the birds (he won).

And it wasn't that I caught him using my freshly planted carrot plot as a toileting facility (though I did, and I think it's been a performance repeated many a time, because it's been a month and only four seeds have sprouted).

And it's not that I've spotted him squeezing out from under the house through a hole the size of a tennis ball, or snoozing on the compost heap or being as cute as an ugly cat can be when he thinks he's alone under the clothes line. Or even that I can't get within ten feet of the ratbag.


It's for what he did to Mr. Me.

His nice, reliable car had been serviced and its engine flushed resulting in a mysterious leak in the radiator. Subsequently, every time before driving, the water had to be topped up until it was fixed.

It was night time, and a bit cold. The car had been in the driveway for about an hour and he innocently went out with a bottle of water and the keys. All was quiet.

Until the scream!

As he popped the bonnet, Roger readied himself for blast off, and the second Mr. Me lifted the latch, Roger was out like a bullet, and using Mr. Me's arm as a rebounder, hurtled over the fence, through my vegetable garden and away into the night. The only evidence that anything happened was scuff-marks in the celery and a curious neighbour poking her nose through the curtains.

That's when he won me. The cat has spunk. If only he'd learn to stay out of my carrot patch!

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photo supplied by Rjlerich

Saturday, 8 September 2012

5 Languages of Love.

I love Mr. Me. I honestly do. And I'm pretty sure (okay, I'm actually positive) he loves me too. But, dammit, we don't speak the same language. Not even close to the same language. In fact, we're complete opposites!

This was first brought to my attention about a year ago by a counsellor we were trying on for size, who informed us of the five love languages:

Words of affirmation

Quality time

Receiving gifts

Acts of service

Physical touch

and asked us to rank them in order of importance. 1,2,3,4,5 for me was 5,4,3,2,1 for Mr. Me.

Brilliant. What we've got here is failure to communicate...

Armed with this knowledge we set to trying to learn each other's languages. It's a two way street, too; one of us can't just learn the other's language and expect everything to be okay, because the other person will lose a part of themselves in the process.

Sometimes we remember; sometimes we don't.

This morning we didn't. Oh, he didn't do anything objectively wrong... merely facilitated my sleeping until 8.30am, had pancakes made when I got up then organised to take the kids to the park leaving me alone for the morning. Problem is, I don't notice these as things to be grateful for. Problem is, stuff like this rather annoys me. Heck, if he'd brought the pancakes into the bedroom I'd have seethed!

Of course he was upset that I wasn't grateful. I was resentful that he had decided my preferences for me.

I think I'm fairly easily pleased. All I want is a cuddle and kiss whenever we pass each other in the hallway, but that's not easy for him. Physical touch is the lowest on his list and the definite winner for me. For me, acts of service falls well down the bottom, only slightly above receiving gifts and there's a huge gap between those two and the others. But acts of service are his number one, go-to thing. I feel disempowered by them. Indebted.

We speak different languages.

By fine coincidence, last night, in effort to wind down before sleep, I grabbed the closest book to the bed. It happened to be The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, which Mr. Me had borrowed from the library a couple of weeks earlier.

By fine coincidence, it was fresh in my mind that the big lug speaks a different language to me. We got through the perceived insults much faster than usual.

I still don't really understand his language and it baffles me how he could misunderstand such a simple, low maintenance language as I have, yet there it is:

Words of affirmation

Quality time

Receiving gifts

Acts of service

Physical touch

Our reason for feeling unloved and unappreciated while swimming in the stuff.

What's your love language? Is it different to your significant other, or family members or children?

You can take a quick quiz here to find out if you're unsure.

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Thursday, 6 September 2012

I Refuse! (being a role model)

I'm not, in general, an early riser. For the most part this is okay, because Mr. Me gets up at stupid o'clock every morning and does all that wonderful parenting stuff while I sleep (but remain fully aware of just how cool that fact alone is).

This morning was no different, but I woke to a curious event. Oldest Son refused to go to school. Point black. "I am not going!" in his best, most authoritative and decisive voice.

It went a bit like this:

Oldest Son: I'm not going.
Mr. Me: Why not?
(a few seconds of stunned silence)
OS: Because I don't want to.
MM: Since when?
OS: Since always.
MM: Nice time to tell me now, five minutes before you're supposed to leave. No, you're going.
OS: I'm not going
MM: And you couldn't have said this earlier? Before you ate your Weetbix? Before you lounged in the sun? Before you watched TV? Before you went to bed last night? It had to be right now, five minutes before you're supposed to leave? No, you're going.
(a few more seconds of stunned silence)
OS: I'll walk half way then go somewhere else then.
MM: Looks like I'm walking with you all the way to your classroom, and on the way, you can tell me why it is that you didn't want to go to school. Let's go!

It turns out he had a fairly decent reason for not wanting to go, but the point is: when something is important, even if it's uncomfortable, you can't leave it until the last minute. If something is important enough that it affects a seven hour block of your day and the day of several other people, it's really unfair to procrastinate it away.

And it occurred to me that my behaviour, that I happened to mention in yesterday's post, has certainly not been invisible.

Is it right of me to support a position (and I do!) which doesn't allow procrastination of that kind, all the while being a hypocrite?

I think it's clear to most people by now that children don't do as you say, they do as you do, and there is no choice about if you get to be a role model. You are if you like it or not. At the extreme risk of being cliche, you can't talk the talk if you don't walk the walk. Down with all this segregational rubbish; we don't have two classes of people in our house. Which means I must hold myself to the same standard.

Sigh. I'm still learning too.

Do you think it's okay to have separate rules for adults and kids?

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Wednesday, 5 September 2012

The Gym is Stalking Me!

I joined in July. It was AWESOME! Especially the buying new workout clothes part. I fully recommend that. You get to feel virtuous while procrastinating and spending money all at the same time. It's inspired, especially when you don't think too hard about what happens next.

I went religiously for a week - every day for cardio in the morning and twice in the evening for Zumba classes. It kicked my arse. I kicked it back, oh yes I did!

This is the new me, I decided. The fitness-building, weight-losing gym bunny. I still felt virtuous and was still spending money (unfortunately, membership isn't free). The best two out of three - even though if I could find someone to pay me for it, I'd be a professional procrastinator.

It's often said that school-age children have the attention span "years of age = minutes of attention" before you have to direct them back to the path they were travelling down.

Apparently, my attention span is a week.

Oh, I wombled along the side of the path for a while, going in once or twice a week. There was even that one session with a personal trainer that left me crippled for three days, which might have centered me on the path, but I was still walking wonky and fell off before long.

It's been two weeks since I've stepped foot in the gym. The procrastinating and spending money is there... not so much with the virtuous.

Now I see the gym everywhere! The swipe-in tag on my keys taunts me daily. I've filled in a form with a borrowed pen with their brand on it. Someone's dropped appointment card littered the supermarket carpark (which happens to be across the road from the place itself, but that hardly counts). The kids turned TV on after school today and the show they watched just happened to shoot a story in the skate park my gym overlooks. The mirrored glass windows practically screamed at me you should be watching this from a treadmill, not a sofa!

I almost listened, too. Almost. I mean, I had to cook dinner, right? I'd go right after dinner... and after I'd procrastinated a bit more. Maybe. After I take this call, from a number I don't know, on my cell phone...

Okay! I freakin' get it, Universe!

I now have an appointment with a personal trainer tomorrow evening and my gym's number is no longer "unknown" on my cell phone. And I promise now to again be that fitness-building, weight-losing gym bunny and feel virtuous.

But can someone please remind me in a week?

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Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The World Is Bored With Your Problems

We've all said it. I can't actually remember a time when I've said it, but I can sure remember feeling it, then feeling guilty about that. And before I really started paying attention to what came out of my mouth, ie, before impressionable little people entered my life, I'm sure it would have been something tactless, empathyless former me would have spouted.

"I'm totally over hearing about (insert latest natural disaster/war here)"

I've heard it plenty, and it's always said with complete obliviousness to the merest idea that others might be feeling empathy for the continued suffering of victims. Or even that the victims may still be suffering and there's a chance that they'll never "get over it."

It's a wobbly old world. This time 2 years ago, I was probably holding onto a door frame and waiting for yet another aftershock to pass. "The Big One" hit that morning - a 7.1 magnitude earthquake, just 10 kilometres deep and we considered ourselves lucky!

Nobody died.

Lucky indeed; the quake happened at 4.35am and most people were in the relative safety of their beds. Boy did it make the news though!

People weren't unaffected. Liquefaction rivers drifted through dining rooms, water was undrinkable (for those that even had any), the power was out, sewerage lines broken and shops and petrol stations were understandably closed for business. But we knew people cared. Of course they did. It was new news and for that day, there was a whole television station (maybe two!) dedicated to constant updates on the well being of Christchurch citizens. We were in a state of emergency, and people cared. For a bit.

Just about six months later, it happened again, but this time in the daytime and we did not consider ourselves lucky. It killed 185 people. Injured thousands. But we knew people cared; search and rescue teams from all over the world flocked to Christchurch and we felt cared for and loved. Everything that could be done, was being done.

Three weeks along and it was Japan's turn. A magnitude 9 quake followed by a tsunami. A complete tragedy - never ever have I felt for the victims of a natural disaster more than this, with our own so fresh and recent in my mind. I was very pleased to know New Zealand's own SAR team immediately went to help as theirs did for us. I watched it nightly on the news and thought often about the people there.

Then it happened.

I overheard it around the end of March while walking down the street. A street in my town! Where we couldn't walk near some of the buildings for safety's sake, and the roads were still decorated with cracks and liquefaction!

"I'm totally over hearing about that tsunami"

I'm glad it wasn't one of my friends, or even acquaintances.
I don't think I could have remained friends on those terms.

"I'm totally over hearing about (insert latest natural disaster/war here)"

It affects me when I hear it.

I'm not short on problems of my own, some of which may seem pretty trivial, others less so. And they don't always play nice in my head, which has led to depression (crying in the bottom of the shower because it feels too hard to turn the shower off and get dressed kinda depression), self-medicating with food, and self-hate. THIS IS OBVIOUSLY NOT THE FAULT OF THE PERSON SAYING FLIPPANT COMMENTS. There has to be fertile ground there already for tiny seeds like that to grow into brambles from hell. But it seems that every so often, no matter how much I try to sweep up those seeds, some will get lodged in a crack somewhere and take root. I start thinking Did I talk too much about what's going on for me at the moment? Are they totally "over" hearing about me too? My current problems are nothing compared to tsunami/drought/wildfire/hurricane victims... and I dial back the depth of my conversations with them to just trivialities. I can't help it.

Paranoid? Maybe.

Except now my friends are an empathetic bunch. A lot of my long time friends always have been, but I have managed to just drift away from some who might just be "over" hearing about anything that isn't them. I believe my world is a more optimistic place because of it.

Do flippant comments affect you?

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Top photo supplied by Chris Watson.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Hello, My Lovelies!

You are my guinea pigs.

Don't fret too much, I'm not into animal testing.

But I thought I'd better warn you, since this is the first ever blog post from Knight N Daze, and you're not even sure yet if I'm a knight, or in a daze!

This is a blog for me, quite honestly. I'm more than happy for you to share it, if it's what you're into, and that fact alone will give me a bit of a kick, since it'll be about me and my thoughts and opinions too. Sometimes I like me and sometimes I don't, so it doesn't really matter which way you swing...

This is not an advice column or a "how to...", though you never can tell, I could get instructional now and then. And it's not about depression or weight loss or parenting even though I have some pretty grand ideas on all of them that I'm bound to share.


This is pretty much a diary of my self improvement. A way for me to document and follow how far I've come, because often times I feel like not only am I at the bottom of the ladder, but that someone is dangling the ladder out of my reach and taunting me with it! I'm sure it'll be helpful to stare at my reflections (see what I did there?) and know that I have actually been participating in life. And if not, I'm sure I can hire me someone to kick me in the pants.

So, Welcome, My Lovelies!

For today, I'm feeling a bit knightly. And no guinea pigs will be harmed in the making of this blog.

Image courtesy of prozac1 /

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