Wednesday, 30 August 2017

The Time Is Now

Two whole months since my last post. Numerous times through July and August I had ideas and musings rattling round my brain but nothing ever evolved into a fully fledged post.

So why now? Why tonight have I decided to put pen to paper... or fingers to keyboard? Well because I had a bit of an epiphany on Sunday and it evolved while I was at work last night. Allow me to elaborate...

I spent a few hours on Sunday leafleting in the sunshine. It's a key promotional time for Slimming World as we try and coax members away from barbecues and beer gardens and get them back to group. I have to get 6000 leaflets out at four key times throughout the year. Thankfully, I have wonderful members who help me with my campaign but I still have plenty to deliver myself. So there I was, wandering the streets of a new-ish estate in Burton Latimer. It was a beautiful day and I was enjoying the time to just think and to just... be. I don't usually enjoy time alone but I felt both productive and peaceful.

I was thinking about the thought process that a person goes through before joining Slimming World or embarking on any sort of weight loss programme or fitness regime. Quite often we're waiting for the perfect time... Or rather we talk ourselves out of doing it because of X, Y and Z reason. "I've got that hen weekend... Then it's the Bank Holiday... And then mum's birthday... So, I'll wait..." We wait. Postpone. Fresh starts always happen on Monday mornings and are often abandoned on Monday afternoons.

Following on from this thinking I'd done, I said in group last night that September seems to be a much better time than January to make resolutions. January is quite frankly an appalling time to make changes. It's dark and cold, Christmas is over, everyone is skint and most of us have a few pounds to lose. Deciding to overhaul your whole life under those circumstances is frankly a bit daft. And highly unlikely to stick! Bravo to those who make it past January 5th with any resolutions still in place.

September gives me that fresh start feeling. I graduated from university in 2003 and yet I still get an overwhelming urge to buy new stationery at this time of year. I can still picture the inside of the old WH Smiths in Eldon Square, back home in Newcastle. Pencil cases, cartridges pens, eraser pens, ring binders and pads of thick file paper. Joy! Oh it was like crack to a little stationery nut like me. I loved the newness of it all and the clean slate nature of a new note book. I always pledged to do my best handwriting in my new school books... It never lasted long!

My point in all of this is that there's no perfect time to do anything. You'll always talk yourself out of it, given enough time or you'll convince yourself that there'll be a better time to do whatever it is you're contemplating. In my experience (almost 36 years on the planet) there won't be the sign you're waiting for. Whatever it is, just do it now.

I'm the world's worst for this. I always put too much emphasis on a certain time to do something. Or I think that this new book or piece of stationery is exactly what I need to change my life! No book or note pad is powerful enough to turn me from a disorganised bundle of chaos and occasional fuckwittery in to a super organised bad ass... It just up to me to do it.

So I'm making some resolutions for the latter part of 2017. I have things in my life that need changing and all I can do is tackle them one at a time. But first to buy a shiny new notebook to write them all down in...

Friday, 30 June 2017

Grief is a Bear...

... Seriously, just go with me on this.

Since October 18, 2015 when my entire world came down around my ears I have felt like there is a rather large, deeply formidable and scary bear following me around. This bear is my grief and it is monstrous. 

It's been a bit of a shitty week. The ongoing fallout from me bolloxing my beloved car... The running of three Slimming World groups wearing me out ... And then to top it all off, a bastard cold virus. My upper lip is 86.4% cold sore which has led to many questions from the children at school about "that thing" on my face. Some were slightly more diplomatic... "Have you had a nose bleed?" asked one girl, her head tilted to one side in concern. No, no I haven't. I'm just burnt out and my body is letting me know how deeply unimpressed it is with me by giving me a scabby lip! 

All of these niggles and annoyances added up until I found myself weeping under a tree in the park earlier this evening. I realise how terribly Jane Austen that sounds but trust me it wasn't. Lizzie Bennett wouldn't have been honking her bogeys in to a scrunched up bit of kitchen roll that still had traces of cake crumbs in it now, would she?

So why the tears? I miss my dad. A simple sentence just four words in length but it means everything. I changed that day. It is my humble opinion that the two things that change you most in life are becoming a parent and losing a parent. In a way, I know I am lucky that I experienced the former then the latter meaning that my dad did indeed get to meet both of my children but he's not here now and he will not see them grow. 

Welcoming Eva in to the world back in December 2008 rewired me at my very core and changed my understanding about what it means to love someone. Losing my dad in October 2015, changed my programming again. Now I had to try and process the notion that the world would indeed keep spinning even without Steven Reeve on it. 

In the (almost) thirty four years of my life prior to my father's untimely departure, I would have been described by anyone who knew me well as an "emotional" person. I cried. A lot. At the drop of a hat in fact. Anything could set me off! A film, a song, a TV advert, books, the weather, an insult... Kati Reeve LOVED nothing more than a proper, good snotty weep! 

And then Dad died and everything changed. I remember crying and wailing uncontrollably in the moments after my sister broke the news to me but in the days that followed... Nothing. I felt like I should be crying but I just couldn't. I cried at the funeral... I also laughed a lot too but that's another story. 

Now there are things that I want to cry over and times that I feel moved to tears. I want to express those feelings and the little bastards just won't come. My job can be very emotional at times. Members are astonishingly brave and open in group about their struggles with their weight, how being overweight has made them feel... We run competitions throughout the year and the nominees will pour their hearts out! I feel deeply moved, I want to cry so they know that their story has touched me and nothing comes. And then I'll bawl twelve hours later over something completely innocuous! 

Again, I find myself pondering what the point of my post is. If I'm just saying "Grief is rubbish" ... Well we can file that one firmly under "No shit!" can't we?! I think I just needed to clear my head and this seems to be as good a way as any to do that. 

As ever, I hope that something in my ramblings will resonate with someone who reads it. A few folks close to me have queried why it is that I need to put my most intimate thoughts and feelings out in to the world. Why not just write it as a Word document and save it...? I wish I had a good answer but the best one I can give is that I hope it helps someone. I've taken real comfort in knowing that I'm not alone in sometimes finding motherhood an (almost!) impossible struggle and I am so grateful to bloggers like Hurrah for Gin's Katie and Sarah, The Unmumsy Mum... Not forgetting the lovely Giovanna Fletcher. So maybe reading this will comfort someone... Maybe they too have a Grief Bear following them around threatening to swallow them whole. Maybe their grief is a different beast altogether but they'll identify with my broken emotions and tear ducts not working and performing when I want and need them too! Who knows?! The other explanation for the blogging is of course coz I like attention but again, that's another entry for another day. 

Until next time, kids... 

Sunday, 18 June 2017

How Fascinating!

I haven't even got a title for this post as I sit down to write it. I've found so far (in my lengthy blogging 'career') that I tend to start with a snappy title and go from there but today I'm not even sure what the purpose of the post is... Actually, that's not strictly true. I'm hoping that a stint at my laptop will help to clear my cluttered mind and I also know full well I'm avoiding doing actual work. Oh yes, I put the 'pro' in procrastination.

I've been up since 6ish this morning. This is fairly standard. I normally get my one lie in of the week on a Sunday morning but today is Father's Day so Pete is still snoring away upstairs while I man the children. My last post was written on a Sunday morning too and I was all at peace with the world because all my group admin and support was done and for a brief moment I actually felt in control of my work load. Not so this morning! For the past three weeks and for nine more to come, I'm covering a third Slimming World group. This means I'm now running eight sessions a week on three consecutive days. I am just about keeping my head above water but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't hard going. Hats off to the consultants - and I know some myself - who run more than that! I salute you. I can only imagine that you must be hyper organised... and possibly a robot. Not to say that I'm not enjoying the Wednesday group, I certainly am but keeping on top of the food diaries and admin for around three hundred members is no (fully Food Optimised) picnic.

My problem (or one of them!) is my inability to either just crack on and get stuff done OR decide firmly to leave the jobs for today and just relax. Relaxing does NOT come easily to me. It occurred to me this morning that in the time I'd been up I'd achieved very little but I also hadn't just sat down and chilled out. When I feel overwhelmed by tasks and To Do lists I twiddle and faff, half doing jobs and getting increasingly frustrated with myself. I'm not really doing anything but I'm also not doing nothing.

One of the amazing trainers at Slimming World HQ (aka The Sparkly Castle) always encourages us to be "fascinated" by our own behaviour especially the not so good stuff. Rather than getting annoyed at yourself for your inability to just complete one effing task, you try and take a step back so you can examine your behaviours or your motivation for the choices you made and learn from it... In short, rather than calling myself a "div" or a "useless twat" as I often do, what I should do is say "Hmm... How fascinating!" Ideally one would learn something from this self examination and thus make a different, more positive choice next time.

Have I learned anything from this morning's events? Other than that blogging is a nifty way to feel like I'm doing something when I'm really not?! Yes actually I have. I've realised that if I just identify what needs doing and allocate a set amount of time to that job, I can get it done and then do some guilt-free relaxing. I'll let you know how this goes!

One more thing... When I post this and then pop off to first eat my breakfast (raspberry oat muffins, yay!) and then second, write my To Do list for the day, one thing I won't need to write on there is "Ring Dad". As I said earlier, it's Father's Day today. Last year - my first Father's Day without my dad - Pete and I were separated and I was coming back from a hen weekend in Cambridge. I was spared the whole business of Father's Day. Today, I can't hide from it. I will be celebrating my partner and all he does for our children as well as us spending time with his dad who also does so much for all of us. Even though the pain is just as raw as it was back in October 2015 when my dad left us, I will think of him and smile as it's impossible not to. How lucky I am to have been born to such a wonderful, kind, flamboyant, funny man. Happy Father's Day, Dad! Thank you for the gift of humour and for the good genes that you gave me... They just about counterbalance the batshit crazy ones I got from my mother!

Now, to my To Do list and to actually Do the things on it!

[Just read back the above before I hit 'publish' and I had to add something... Pete is a daddy because Eva came into our lives in December 2008. Our beautiful first born! I know Pete was astounded by how much he loved her the very moment that he met her... Might not be so keen on her right now though. He's having a lie in, she's in her bedroom belting out made up power ballads in a delightful faux American accent!! Happy Father's Day, Pete!!!]

Sunday, 21 May 2017

It's the little things...

I won't deny that a large amount of my blogging thus far (all three entries!) have been fuelled by frustration or mild disaster. Too early starts, missed dental appointments, missing trousers, late for school days and forgotten coats on a rainy day. The best way to cope with lifes ups and particularly the downs is to laugh about them. Find the comedy! Use your crappy day to make someone else feel less crappy about their day. Having said all that, I'm actually here this morning with a completely different mindset... I'm actually in a good mood with zero (or a lot less) grumbling to do! Imagine such a thing...

It's Sunday morning. The sun has well and truly got his hat on which is jolly decent of him after frankly bonkers weather over the past week. It was either super sunny or raining like Noah needed to head to Wickes for ark building materials. My OH is in bed right now and our children are playing Super Mario 3D World on the WiiU. They got Nintendo Nerd genes from their father, along with Lego loving genes... They can thank me for their mega chatty genes!

I'm sat with the French doors open and out in the garden I can see my washing on the line. Ridiculously, simple shit like that makes me happy. I feel at peace right now and I can tell you that moments where I feel that way are few and far between.

Like many millions of others, I have problems with my mental health. I won't say "I have mental health issues" because my dad (God rest his wonderful, funny soul) had an almost irrational hatred for the word "issues" so I endeavour not to use it too often. One of the reasons I came back to this blog a few weeks ago was so I had a platform to talk about mental health because I'm passionate about it being talked about often and therefore normalised. I've suffered from depression of some sort since I was about 14 years old and have seen numerous counsellors over the years. I've also been on/ off medication to help me with it since I was 21. Right now, 50mg Sertraline a day is doing the trick.

I am prone to bouts of overwhelming and non-specific sadness and I struggle to switch off and relax. In short, I'm a fidgety little fecker most of the time.

Outwardly I may seem confident but a lot of the time, it's a front. I'm playing the part of Confident Kati and that can be exhausting at times.

Hence, when I feel content as I do right now, it needs documenting! I want to be able to refer back to this post when I'm feeling not so shiny and remind myself that I am capable of feeling okay.

So what cosmic events occurred to bring peace to Miss Misery McFidget-Pants? Well, by some miracle I finished all my Slimming World related admin/ support work by Friday evening. This is rare! I normally do as much as I can until I run out of steam and then resume at 6am on a Saturday morning when Squiddly and Diddly (my children) drag me from my bed. Not so this week! I was done and dusted and that meant that I didn't boot up my work laptop from Friday teatime until about half an hour ago when I needed it to write this. That was a good feeling, let me tell you!

Yesterday morning I headed off to Nottingham with a bunch of my lovely colleagues from school. I love my job as a SW consultant but you don't get a lot of 'staff excursions' because one of us is always running group or busy with admin. Since I joined the school as a lunchtime supervisor I've recaptured that feeling of having 'work mates' in the traditional sense and it's quite lovely. We had booked to do an escape room experience - my first - and although I was a little apprehensive, I really enjoyed it. We didn't actually crack it in time but thankfully they let us out anyway! Phew! After a lovely lunch (which I managed to Food Optimise, win!) we headed home.

My wonderful (would be) in laws had my children for the day as I had my day trip and Pete (my OH/ their son) was off enjoying an all-day PS4 COD Zombie marathon at his mates house. As interests and pastimes go, it's a fairly innocuous one I suppose. I'd rather be with a Lego-loving, occasional gamer than a man whose moods are dictated by a football team although no disrespect to footie loving men and women. It's just not our thing.

Finding myself home with no Pete and no children was odd but wonderful. I decided to go for a run (get me!) as my sister and I are taking part in the Great South Run in October. I'm sure this will be mentioned again as I ramp up my training and therefore whinge my arse off about the fact that I hate running. I waited for the rain to stop then trotted off to my little sister's house. Three and a bit miles and it was quicker than Thursday's run of the same distance so I was pleased with that.

A cuppa and a catch up with my (step) sister, Laura is always good for the soul. I'm so lucky that she lives so close, despite ending up in Kettering for a completely different reason to me. I only wish my big sister was closer too.

The children were delivered back to me all bathed and pyjama'd. I don't know where we'd be without Janet and David. My children couldn't ask for better grandparents. Once E and H were tucked up in bed, it was a Nashville catch up and then bed for me too.

Perhaps my many (arf arf) readers will find this post a little dull. I don't suppose a blog should be a 'What I did at the weekend' report like school used to ask you to write on a Monday morning but I just wanted to focus on all the little things that brought about a sense of wellbeing and calm to my often noisy and troubled mind.

Of course I have much to do to get ready for the week ahead. Uniforms to iron, group prep to do, figuring out when I can food shop etc but for now, I'm going to make another brew and just breathe and be.

I wish you all a wonderfully chilled out sunny Sunday!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Organisation, thy name is NOT Kati!

I started my last post with the Urban Dictionary definition of 'the walk of shame'... Well I can tell you now that if you looked under 'organised' in a dictionary, one of the definitions might be 'what Kati Reeve is not'. *sigh*

I realise that as flaws go, being disorganised is a far from heinous personality crime but when you are the disorganised one I can tell you it's really effing annoying!

Take today for example... I get in from my lunchtime job (I'm a lunchtime supervisor at my children's school) just after 1.30. My car is already loaded for me to go to my 'proper' job so in theory I've got 45 minutes before I need to leave again and not much I need to do.

Fast forward to 2.25 and I haven't left the house yet. Not only that but I'm frantically trying to find letters to go in my cinematic lightboxes (the struggle is real people) before I can leave. It's a classic Kati scenario... "I'll just do this one job now, it won't take long... Oh shitting bastard hell! I'm late!!!!"

So I arrive for work ten minutes late. I'm self employed (as a Slimming World consultant) so there's no boss tapping their watch but what there is instead is me fleeing around like a blue arsed fly, trying to get everything done on time. Add to that the fact that I didn't have my usual social team there to help me set up and my 'shift' didn't get off to the best start. Thank goodness I have lovely members who pitched in and helped.

My members know me to be disorganised and will often ask me (affectionately, mind you) "What have you forgotten this week?" or they won't even feign surprise when I tell them I have forgotten something. I fear that when they talk to their friends and family about their Slimming World consultant, they'll say "Oh yes... she's lovely. Not the most organised creature known to man, but..."

As I said earlier, there are certainly worse ways to be described by others and I could live with being disorgainsed if it didn't impact on others around me but of course it does. Yesterday we experienced what can only be described as biblical rain and which massive div took her children to school without coats. Oh yes, that'd be me!! Once again, for the record: took my children to school coat-less in the midst of an epic downpour. So before I could go and do what I needed to do I had to drive home and back again to deliver said coats.

Walking in to the school's reception area I said, handing the coats over, "Officially nailing parenthood since 2008!" I make jokes about it but it does bug me because it's avoidable. I stress myself out with stupid shit that needn't even be a problem but it becomes one.

So I find myself wondering, is it possible to rewrite your programming? Can a perpetually disorganised spanner such as myself become an organisational badass?! In all honesty, right now I'd settle just for remembering basic shit like, oh I don't know, putting coats on my children when it's absolutely shitting it down...

I could've spent this time researching ways to become more organised but we all know that would've been half an hour of pinning stuff to my 'Get your shit together, Kati!' board on Pinterest. Yes, I have a board by that name. No, I have never actioned any of the things I've pinned to said board.

My bed awaits. I shall dream of a time when I shall have all my ducks in a row instead of the wee bastards wandering off in fifteen different directions!

Friday, 12 May 2017

The Walk of Shame

walk of shame
phrase of walk
  1. 1.
    informal
    an instance of walking back home on the day after an unplanned casual sexual encounter, typically dressed in the same clothes as the previous evening.


This is the official definition of a walk of shame. When you are a 35 year old mother of two in a committed relationship, it has a completely different meaning. I define it as failing to get your children to school on time and therefore having to take them in through the office. And yes, you've guessed it! I did one this morning. The shame is compounded when the headteacher is waiting in the office to usher stragglers in AND (double whammy) you also work part time at said school. Oh Lord... 

I took a picture at about 8.15am yesterday. My daughter (Eva, 8) was curled up on the sofa, all ready for school and tapping away on her tablet. Her brother (Hal, 4) was sitting with their daddy (Pete, 34) playing on the iPad. My OH who does the school run on a Thursday, was stretched out chatting to Hal. They were not only ready on time but they were SO ready for school that they had time to RELAX before they needed to leave. WTAF?! I asked him what witchcraft this was, how could it be that he was reclining on the sofa on a school day? Why is it that my school run days (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) are an endless stream of me bellowing "Where are your shoes...? Did you bring your cardigan home? No, we  don't have any brioche? CAN YOU PLEASE JUST GET IN THE CAR?????" 

My day started at 5.15am when I woke for a wee and then couldn't get back to sleep, mainly because my brain (or what remains of it after two children) started going "Stuff to do. You've got so much to do. Do it. Do it now. So much work. Stuff. Stuff. Now. Get up!" etc. Stupid brain. So I got up and proceeded to procrastinate like an absolute bastard. 

"Katherine Emily Reeve, putting the pro in procrastination since 1981" 

Take now for example, I have 31 food diaries awaiting my attention. The dishwasher needs emptying. And reloading. I need to leave for my school job at 11.30 and before then I'll need to eat. So what am I doing? Updating my blog, obvs. Insert eye roll emoji here. 

One more thing before I go coz I made myself laugh and it might make you laugh too... Driving home from dropping E and H off this morning, another driver flashed her lights at me. Or at least I presume it was at me. I did a quick check of what she could be alerting me to... I was driving on the right side of the road, I had my lights on (it's a filthy grey day today)... The next thing I thought "Are my doors closed?" 

"ARE MY DOORS CLOSED?" Really Kati, really?! 

Jesus wept, I know I'm tired but did I really think I could have driven almost all the way home with my car doors open and not notice??

I am happy to confirm my doors were closed so I have no idea why I got flashed at. Anyway, that's enough work avoidance for now. Here's to getting all of my work done and being tucked up in bed by 9pm tonight! #lifegoals 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

... And then I got to work and realised I'd forgotten my trousers!

The sort of day I've had in a nutshell! I've been thinking about starting a blog for a while and when I posted the above as a status on my Facebook, I realised I had the perfect title for my first ever post.

My day then... It began at 4.30am with a brutal wake up call from my 17 month old son (hereafter, he shall be referred to as DS - Darling Son - because he is darling, even if he does get me up at half sodding four!) and continued to spiral out of control from there. We were up at 5.30am and out of the door on the school run by half 8. My daughter (DD) started school in September and while this is fabulous, there are days when it comes time to leave the house to take her and I have a real "Do I have to?" moment. As in, really? Again? I have to walk all the way (it's ten minutes) again?!

Needless to say, DS fell asleep before we even reached the school gates and remained comatose until... wait for it, quarter past eleven. The little toad! When we got back to the house, I left him in the buggy, wheeled him inside and watched The Following. Lovely bit of gruesome, murder-y violence for a Wednesday morning.

Back out again (DS still asleep!), this time to the dentist. It's a good walk to the practice from my house, about thirty five minutes so I got a stomp on and arrived sweaty and exhausted... And sadly, half an hour late. The appointment was at 11, apparently. I'd have put money on it being at half past but a quick check of the reminder text message they'd sent me, proved that they were in fact right. I was late. So I did the only thing a woman who has been up since half four in the morning can do... I started to cry. Just a bit. I was just so tired and felt so stupid. They kindly booked me another one for half 12 so off I went.

I dived in to my favourite coffee shop (much more on that place another time) for a hot chocolate to calm me down and to get DS (awake at last!) an emergency crumpet.

Had my dental appointment then set off to the childminder's house to drop off DS before walking to work. It may be worth mentioning at this point that I can't drive. Well, I can to a certain extent but I am not licensed to do so as yet so I walk everywhere! I do ridiculous mileage in a week, usually pushing a buggy. Great for keeping me trim but utterly crappy when it's chucking it down or blowing a gale.

So dropped off DS, legged it to work, minutes to spare before my shift started and... I couldn't find my trousers. I leave a pair of work trousers in the cloakroom so I don't always have to carry stuff back and forth between work and home. I was wearing jeans on arrival obviously! I was tired certainly but not quite tired enough to leave the house naked from the waist down and not notice! So no sign of work trousers. Brilliant! Went downstairs in jeans and work blouse (looking utterly ludicrous!) and then a colleague said she may have covered my trousers with her coat. And so she had! I'd done what's known in our house as "a man look".

My shift passed without incident and my evening has also been mercifully quiet. Thank goodness!

And so there you have it! Your first fascinating glimpse in to my life. It's all about early starts, bad time keeping and misplaced trousers! Bet you can't wait for the next instalment...