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My first holiday season as ‘The Mrs’…

My first holiday season as ‘The Mrs’…

Right, so not formally married.

But for some experiences it really doesn’t matter if my name is Miss Darling or Mrs Handsome. Really.

We’ve been living together for 2 months now, and while some things are a mess, other things are going quite all right. The mess being everywhere in the house where I’ve been.

The Season to be Jolly has some challenges for me in general, but I can manage.

Having a man in the picture like this brings it’s own challenges. Some I’ve had to deal with last year, some I’m only experiencing this year.

I think I’m not the only woman facing this problem.

My family is celebrating a pretty traditional Christmas, with presents and church but without the sun, pool and possible braai. Too cold for that! But I really really miss my summer Christmases. TDH’s family is celebrating some cross between Sinterklaas and New Years this year; the concept being basically a ‘secret santa’ with a teasing surprise on New Years Eve. Not quite sure how that developed.

We don’t have any decorations up, except for cards. I couldn’t make my mind up about the tree until now, and I’m not getting a tree 4 days before Christmas. I feel bad for a tree that had to grow 20 years just to dry out in my living room, and since someone pointed out the landfill fake trees create that’s not really an option either. I had a potted tree 2 years ago, managed to allow it to survive through August before it died. I’m thinking a smaller potted tree again. At least it has a chance, you know?

Oh. Cards. Still need to write those.

Holiday season as ‘the Mrs’ consists -and will probably continue to consist- of the following type of scenarios:

The Wish List
He doesn’t know what he wants. I don’t know what he wants because his favourite activities consist of playing tennis, reading free downloads on his e-reader and playing on his computer. TDH is more Spanish than Dutch in the end, except for his love of cheap and/or free things. The ideal gift for him would probably be the gift of not wanting or needing anything and/or being Superman. Kind of hard to wrap that, you know? He also still has a few unused vouchers. (I think we counted the total value to a few hundred euro’s)

Over the past year and a half, Christmas/New Klaas and his birthday invariably had me in the interesting position of my family asking me what he wants, his family asking me what he wants AND having to figure out what to give him myself.

This year he finally succumbed and has a wish list! This really helped when the second round of messages, e-mails and phone calls came in to ask if I’ve figured out what he wants yet.

My advice for other Mrs would actually be to keep track of his wishes throughout the year because men don’t know what they want if you ask them.

The idea of gift-giving is, after all, to pamper the others.

The Making of Plans
Is this one of those automatic female roles you get as a woman? Just curious!
See, I’m not good at making plans. I don’t know what my tomorrow brings, usually. My concept of time has 3 times: now, and now now and incomprehensibly far in the future. South-Africans will understand. Now now is a special kind of not now.

Yet, I find myself being the one approached about the holiday plans.

Uh…

I don’t know. Will get back to you later.

Shucks. It’s the 20th of December and ‘Incomprehensibly far in the future’ has suddenly dropped into ‘now now’ or even ‘now!’.

Luckily I’ve learned to write things down in a planner, so there are a few things I can look up in order to give an answer to those hard questions!

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Shopping

And then, once we have established the wish lists, it’s time to go shopping. TDH wants to do it ‘together’.

Not sure how that works. He was present, true, and he did the clicking and typing for one of the online orders, after I had to think of the text and such. And he helped pick one other gift, while another wasn’t available when we went. Effectively. I’m not complaining, just evaluating. Without me, I think everyone would be getting vouchers.

So I bought our gifts, went shopping with my mum for his gift from them, and just now got phoned by my sister trying to buy him a gift. And the Christmas cards, but that was my idea anyway.

All in all I’m not mad or frustrated, just amused.

Can’t say I’m doing ‘nothing’ you know?

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Posted by on December 20, 2014 in ADHD and relationships, Dear Diary

 

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Snob.

I am deliberately becoming a snob .Well, when it comes to stuff that is. 

Let me explain. 

Over the past few months I’ve been learning more and more to go for quality over quantity. To over think before buying. And not to settle for less, because going for less skips the satisfaction… in the long run, it does save money. I think. In the short run it brings more small moments of enjoyment into my day. I suppose it’s just the material (and nutritional) equivalent of making conscious, weighed choices staying true to oneself. 

I’m not good with money, or, well, my impulsiveness is. Part is ADHD, part also is just me trying to satisfy some ‘craving’. I want to look and feel great. At some point, I decided to stop buying anything that isn’t ‘perfect’; AKA exactly what I want. At the same time, I’m also learning to think before I act, and to remind myself that I don’t NEED everything I think I do. It’s basically the same thing expanded: do I want this dress, or do I want the opportunity to have or do something better later on? It’s a slow learning process, but I’m getting there. I think. 

When trying to save money, the first response would be buy the cheaper stuff, right? So I did. And I was not satisfied. The mascara ran, the jeans were uncomfortable and became only more uncomfortable with wear, the nail polish chipped, the body lotion made me itch. And I kept on thinking about better products, controlling impulses.

And I learned to be critical; I learned to decide for myself if something is worth it. And if it’s worth it, it’s worth it. If it isn’t, and I am not in some crucial need for something that would at least sort of work, I’m not getting it. Not even if it’s free. And that’s what it’s about: quality over quantity. And you can feel special every day! A few examples:

Ray Ban Aviators

I got myself a pair of Ray Ban aviators when I first started working. Before that, I had tons of cheap sunglasses, and only one pair of about 20 over a few years time was suitable to drive with, given my latent strabismus. Most sunglasses gave me a headache sooner or later, and the others impaired my ability to see depth due to poor lenses causing minor deformities in the way you see. This can actually also happen with some expensive designer eyewear, my mum’s Chanel sunglasses did that too. My choice for Ray Ban simply had to do with the aviators, and the price range at that time. Turns out, Ray ban also makes smaller frames which work better on my -apparently- small head. And then they got lost in the drama of transporting a bicycle by train. I was heartbroken. I had been wearing those for over a year, enjoying every wear, even looking forward to days on which I could wear them. I’ve taken care of them. I never had a pair of sunglasses that just worked that well. They were heaven when driving. 
But, they were expensive. So, I resorted to cheaper ones. A next pair of drug store sunglasses got tossed after one wear: headache. Then there were the ’emergency’ Polaroids, large and black and too polarised to read your iPhone screen. Gives a pretty rainbow though. And ugly. Then, there were the ’60s style Polaroids, bought only because the other pair was visually annoying me. These looked better, but they were still too big on my face, and too polarised for me to enjoy them. They were a utility. And now they’re scratched in such a way that it kind of defeats the purpose: why put sunglasses on to see if you can’t see through them. No idea how it happened; but it had something to do with me not loving them enough to always keep them in a massive case. They didn’t fit in the smaller cases. Massive case defeats it’s purpose, I don’t like dragging around too much crap. The total cost of sunglasses over the past year was half the price of the Ray Bans, and I would have gotten three times the joy out of them. I’m kind of bummed, the idea was to sort out some long-term issues and then rewarding myself with a new pair of Ray Bans, but to me it’s just simply not worth getting another pair of Polaroids (headache free lenses). So I decided to get myself the Ray Bans again. The Sunglass Hut will be getting ‘mine’ in this week. Some good things are worth the wait. 

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Jeans

To stay in the mood: I’ve had similar experiences with clothes. It’s not about expensive brands really; it’s about the stuff that works best for me. I mean, my ‘perfect’ tekkies for this summer cost me 20 euros at H&M, same goes for a lose knit jumper from C&A and that maxi dress I just LOVE wearing. I am wary of spending a lot of money on something that’s obviously a trend item; if I can’t find it cheaply I’ll have to do without. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t fit. Basics are worth ‘investing’ in. Sure, I can find seemingly fitting jeans for 30 euros. The pair of ONLY jeans I got 2 years ago only fit worse, rather than better with wear. I was getting impatient for it to ‘wear out’. Which doesn’t happen, because I avoid wearing it. And not to mention the annoyance I get from the gaping backs. Recently I tried Levi’s Curve ID. I’m somewhere between a Bold and a Demi curve, and I ended up getting a skinny one in Demi Curve. I needed half an inch extra to close the button on the Bold, thanks to my high-sitting hip bones. I’m a bit dissapointed, because the Bold made my bum look marvellous, but in this specific one in the Demi my bum looks great too. Anyway. I want to wear those jeans every day. They’re comfortable. They wear in to fit me, rather than become uncomfortable. I don’t have to wear a belt! MY JEANS STAY PUT!! I’d rather have 1 pair of these than all those other half-fits I own!
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Food

I’m a funny one. I went to the Burger King, right before roaming through the organic supermarket. While I’m all for being eco friendly and organic and such, I’m not going over the top. I went to the Burger King, because I didn’t want to cook. I didn’t finish the burger, because it was horrible. I went to the eco supermarket, because I wanted Tony’s Chocolonely salted caramel chocolate. Got some other stuff as well. I’ve been eating healthier lately, and I’m noticing that I’m eating less crap. Quality over quantity! I actually didn’t even consider getting a BK smoothie, because I was planning a home-made smoothie in my head! The Tony’s chocolate may be more expensive, but it lasts longer because it’s exactly what I want. My chocolate cravings are satisfied with one or two (depending on the size..) squares… whilst I’m capable of eating an entire bar of something else. Win on all fronts, right? Now I wonder if coconut goes with berries in that smoothie…

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Posted by on June 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Wardrobe Management for Chaotic Fashion Victims

Time for another post, and time for another useful (or, so I like to imagine) ADHD post. But, also quite useful for anyone who likes organisation or who owns more than five tee’s.

My recent project (almost finished…) was to switch winter and summer clothes. The reason behind the switch is overview: there technically is enough space in my wardrobe for all my clothes, but I find it easier if I can’t see the stuff I won’t be wearing for a while for obvious reasons (such as summer dresses being a bit chilly in the snow). I have a lot of clothes, and I’ve impulsively bought too much over the past years. I’ve been guilty of buying something I NEED or MUST HAVE double because I forgot that I already owned something similar… And simply put: being organised as much as possible really helps if you’re a chaotic type.

In my previous home I had a walk-in closet (shuffle-in-sideways), which was ideal. I lived there for a year, before that most of my clothes have been stuffed inside a small wardrobe, boxes, or simply somewhere in my room. Every now and again, I’d discover things I didn’t even know I had. When I got the walk-in, I organised the stuff and had space to put it all. Then I had to move, and just had too much stuff. And somewhere, I got a brilliant idea: to turn the hooks on the hangers, and I worked it out to something that works, more or less. So, here comes.

If you have ADHD and like pretty clothes (or simply own clothes), your wardrobe is likely to end up looking like this:
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Less-than-ideal. So, here’s the plan:

Supplies
– Heaps of clothes.
– Iron, ironing board (skip if you own wrinkle free clothing only)
– 3 corners, bags or baskets, or any combination of the above
– Storage bins/space (I have ones that double as poofs)
– Wardrobe closet
– Hangers
– Pen and paper
– Bakers twine, string, ribbon, whatever.
– Help, but not from a rat
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Method
1) Start by designating an area/basket/bin for things to toss, things to consider, things to store.

2) Then start with something easy, like shoes. Get all shoes on one heap, clean out closet space where shoes were. Try on shoes, check their state.
TOSS: everything that is not fitting, too worn or simply something you haven’t worn in ages and shouldn’t have bought in the first place. Don’t literally toss straight away, wait till the end of the method.
CONSIDER: The shoes you can’t make up your mind about.
STORE: the shoes that will only be taking in space for the next half year because the season literally is wrong for them.
TIDY UP: The rest. Put them away neatly, paired and sorted. If needed, cleaned. I took a pair that needed fixing straight to my ‘to do’ pile in another room. You can put a piece of paper in the shoes, which you’ll remove when you wear them, so next time you do the wardrobe switch, you’ll know what you haven’t worn. I skipped this, as I don’t have a massive amount of shoes.
WRITE DOWN: what you may need to get, now that you have a nice overview of what you have.

3) Easy wasn’t it? Next: socks and underwear. Same procedure.
TOSS: non-fitting, worn or torn.
CONSIDER: Well, no-brainer, really…
STORE: Things you won’t be wearing, such as thermo undies in summer season
TIDY UP: Everything you still have left, and keep it sorted. I use two old storage bins as sock- and underwear drawers as I bought a wardrobe without drawers
WRITE DOWN: what you may need.

4) Now, for the most work…. clothing. Same procedure once again. One big heap, or… if you’re ‘advanced’ you’ll now already have a closet with ‘marked’ items, which you can remove immediately and TOSS, more about that later. Clean out the closet. Sort out the clothing, AND the clothing from storage.
TOSS: clothes you’re not wearing anymore, clothes which are ripped beyond sublte repair, stained, don’t fit, are worn or which you shouldn’t have bought anyway.
CONSIDER: well-fitting things that you may or may not wear
TIDY UP: Iron what is needed, you’ll thank yourself later. Sort: shirts with shirts (I have a pile of sleeveless, short sleeved and long sleeved), trousers with trousers, etc. Now here comes the catch: Turn hooks on hangers ‘backwards’ when hanging them, put folded clothes in the closet inside-out and tie a piece of string to the things that can’t be folded inside out.
WRITE DOWN: what you need.
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5) If you’re anything like me, you’ve broken that up in pieces. You can do the same with your bags and accessories, I’m sort of sorting out belts and have forgotten about sports clothes. Now, pick up the CONSIDER heap/bin/bag. Go through it impulsively: would you feel happy in this: TIDY IT UP. No? TOSS.

6) The TOSS bag.
Put the great stuff up for sale, or give it away to someone that will give it a good home. Consider doing a clothes swap. Take things in reasonable condition to the YMCA for example, and the rest goes to recycling. H&M has this new thing for recycling fabric. Smile, you now have space!

Results
Voila, you now have a sorted out wardrobe full of clothes you can and will wear. Gives peace of mind in some sense!!
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To Be Continued…
Now, the first time is a massive hassle, I know. But, next season, it will be easier. Things that haven’t been worn in 6 months need to be tossed; unless
– it’s special event clothing
– you had a reason to not wear them, that will change in the foreseeable future; such as my hatred of the colour purple last summer (I normally love purple) or the fact that I had no real reason to wear my ‘neat’ trousers for a season, but I will be needing them soon. In general, you’ll wear fashionable items for a few seasons, unless they’re incredibly dated. Of course, if you have a massive home with no intention to move anywhere ever again, you can have a attic full of ‘vintage’ clothes in ten or twenty years, but my life is fluid and besides, in 20 years time my body will have changed. Bags can be kept for this reason, and shoes.

It helps to keep a smaller TOSS bag around from time to time, and do TOSS things that get written off during the season as soon as this happens!

I found doing this for a year now very handy, and also quite insightful about my own style. I’ve learned that I do not need another t-shirt because I have about 40, for example. I got a few outfit-ideas along the way. Clothes are meant to be worn, not to be kept in closets. I get to enjoy the benefits of an organised wardrobe, wear clothes that fit and have overview in the mornings. (Of course, this requires normal tidying up from time to time). No more looking for THE OTHER SHOE for example. Somebody else gets to enjoy the clothing you don’t, perhaps even somebody who can’t afford it. You may get some cash from selling. Also: reusing and recycling is very eco-friendly. Win-win, right?

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2013 in ADHD, Brilliant ideas, TallSkinnyCurvy

 

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Hey, this works!

Hey, this works!

Every now and again I stumble onto something that really works for me. Pretty amazing. In terms of ADHD management I’ve made these discoveries so far:

1) Exercise is king!
Nothing works as well as exercise does. It doesn’t really matter what type of exercise, as long as I do it. Actually it does, I’ve never really managed to make yoga work. It just balances things out, and it’s vital in stress management, and other benefits include a toned body, physical fitness, not getting sick as fast, having more energy -and channelling it- and the only real downside is the risk of injury.

2) Nutrition is queen
Well, duh, you might say. But this genius discovery didn’t come for free. Anorexia worked like a charm in terms of ADHD management, but the side effects included trying to climb a mountain whilst being more than a bit underweight and suffering from symptomatic anaemia. I’ve discovered that sugar makes me feel off, and has a potential to freak me out. Especially refined sugars. What works best in terms of getting what I need is to make sure I get my veg, fruit and protein, making sure that I get some source of calcium… and then bothering about carbs. Sadly, I’m still not very good at this, and I tend to grab junk when I feel hungry because I still am not very fond of food. Recently I’ve started implementing meal plans again, and it does have a positive effect on how healthy I eat. I probably should go stand in the corner for doing this because I gained a pound; but then again, there are reasons why this is the weight I’m maintaining.

3) More than beauty sleep!
I need my sleep. I am more sensitive to things like shift work and jetlag than most people. ADHD symptoms get a lot worse when I’m sleep deprived, leading to more stress, leading to more exhaustion, leading to depression. Something very important I discovered is that despite my naturally lagged sleep cycle, I need to get to bed before midnight preferably, because then I am better rested. Dull, I know. I’ve also discovered that melatonin DOES actually help, more so in summer than in winter. Plus, sleep makes you prettier.

4) Write it down
Sometimes things can go all crazy in my head, and it helps to write them out, or type them out. Just think twice before leaving the crazy for others to see!

5) Keep the list somewhere ELSE than in your mind!
I’m talking to-do lists, shopping lists and the like. I have a to-do list on my phone. I have a shopping list app. I have a whiteboard for random notes, such as bills I need to pay or certain ideas. At some point I had the amount of time needed for certain chores on it – I should do that again as it helped me actually do stuff. I have a birthday calendar.

6) Keep your environment clean and tidy.
I hate housework. I hate tidying and cleaning. But it’s neccessary! Else my mind gets even more chaotic than it’s normal self, and that is NOT a good thing. It’s just easier to get everything else right when you can actually find your stuff!! Also, this has a positive side effect on losing things and having to replace them.

7) Paper obsession
Or, online, if you please. This is actually something that I tried just to keep my spending in check, and it’s working. Pinterest and sites like that are great too. Just those millions of ideas, tampered. For example: I love fashion and make up and the like, it’s my morning playtime. And I tend to go overboard when shopping. This season I got myself a stack of magazines and an empty A4 notebook. And scissors and tape. Actually, this idea started out as my mood-book for decorating my new home. But, it works. Now I have ideas, and then I can select the best ones and not spend my money on whims.

8) People
I need positive people around me who accept me for who I am. We all do. But when you have a little something out of the ordinary, you need them even more. You need relationships. Personally, I am becoming more and more convinced that I/we need God.

9) Oh, the pills.
Important! Like reading glasses. It just helps.

10) Playtime!
ADHD means never really growing up in some sense, so remember to play as much as possible. That’s where the genius comes from!

11) Rituals.
Right. Certain obvious things get easier if they become part of a ritual. This I learned from ADHD coaching. Really no-brainer things really; bedtime ritual means drinking something, relaxing WITHOUT the computer and then going to bed. Makes sleep easier. Checking the next day and packing your bag before doing that saves trouble in the morning. Linking things to already existing rituals work too: putting your contraceptive next to your toothbrush and making the link between pill and brush, for example.

12) Oh, planner
How could I forget this? This is usually the first thing ADHD coaching teaches. I do tend to remember appointments and such, just not really very well. And I’ve had several accounts of double planning… write everything down. And don’t lose it, like I have now…

That’s about what I can think of now… I’m not ‘good’ at any of it yet, but some positive effects have started to show.

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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in ADHD, Brilliant ideas

 

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