Aldi champagne

Today’s sparkling drink came courtesy of Mr S. He’d gone to Aldi for some pants and came back with sparkling wine, except it gets to call itself champagne because it comes from there. Erpeney no less.

Champagne Veuve Monsignor Brut Selection NV

Cost: at the top of my everyday drinking range at $21. Exxy when you say it is Aldi. But cheap if you want to say you’re drinking champagne.

On opening: opps. It was warm and bubbled over. Yeasty and fresh scent.

First mouthful: Smokey yeasty, in the French tradition. Not sweet.

Opinion: definitely drinkable. I’d buy it again.

Here’s how Casey from The Travelling Corkscrew reviewed the wine. Clearly she writes about wine a lot. I’m going to have to up my adjectives and noun groups.

 Well, it’s a sparkling golden colour on the eye with tiny streams of mesmerizing relaxing bubbles gliding up from the bottom of the glass. On the nose, I picked up hints of vanilla oak, fresh grapefruit and just out of the oven biscotti. In the mouth, it’s smooth and easy drinking with a kick of smooth oak at the back and some slightly toasted lemon and orchard fruit notes. Value for money.

Self care day

My sister’s work is highly emotional. It would take a toll. And it involves travelling. Her employer gives the workers a self-care day after every case concludes.

That got me thinking.

I don’t normally blog about my work. But here sort of goes.

I work in a high pressure, highly relational, job with constant decision-making and no down time in the working day. There’s one client who has unreasonable and unachievable expectations. She is often aggressive and rude and shouty and down right mean. And my employer gives me no back up.

Last week I had a bad night’s sleep, woke with a disturbed stomach and dreaded going to work. I am sure my blood pressure was up. I was tense and my back and neck were like rock. I knew I had to give news to that client that would probably see her respond like a rabid dog, adding to her probable Human Rights Commission claim that I can see happening in a few years.

Fuck it!

In that same week, I had several reports of suicide ideation or attempts that I had to deal with and support other staff through, including calling an ambulance and debriefs and return plans. And one family where a mother did actually commit suicide and I have to support her kids. And I had to make a report to Family Services. And deal with a faulty nationwide computer glitch that affected mandatory standardised testing. And find staff.

Those incidents didn’t actually disturb my equilibrium. That may surprise some readers but dealing with crises and taking logical steps to move forward is something I take in my stride.

Solving the unsolvable, while being politically correct, with little, actually no, support from my employer, when I think we are doing an amazing job and few could do better in the context we are in, which has been acknowledged by experts but not my employer who just ducks and weaves. And to be abused by this one woman. Repeatedly. Now that pisses me off. And affects my health. One day I might tell the story of why I didn’t blog last year.

I take very few days off for illness. Not unless I am really really ill in a physically obvious way.

But my mental health and my bodily wellbeing is important.

So I took a self care day. Some may say it is a sickie, the days Aussies allegedly take when they are not sick.

But it isn’t.

I needed to still my mind. And every time I feel sick from this woman, I will take a day and be honest, as so many of my colleagues are not, and report it as stress.

People in my position hate being seen as weak. And being stressed is seen as weak.

Well, fuck it. Then I’m weak.

My new worm garden

Look what turned up!

My second worm garden.

First step: put it together.

Put some gravel around the drainage hole to stop soil washing out.

Next: add soil in the bowl, around the worm tower home. It doesn’t have to be good soil because the worm wee will add nutrients. I didn’t have enough potting mix so dug a little bit from my garden and used the soil from four pots of plants that died of thirst.

I threw in the paper bag the gravel came in with the worm garden kit into the tower. The worms will eat it.

Here come the worms! I don’t need to buy any. First I grabbed some of the vegetable matter that was in top of the worms in the old tower. Then I just grabbed some out of my existing worm colony. (Done the bottom of the first tower there was some amazing compost – AKA worm castings. I will have to investigate getting it out and using it some time.)

Water the soil and pop the lid on.

Now what shall I plant in here? Any suggestions?

Fitness Week 4*

*changed the title of tracking my current exercise posts from Fernwood Gym to Fitness, as it is clear I am happy with my gym choice. Now to see if I can actually do more that a couple of months of exercise.

How have I gone this week?

Mmm. Skipped a work out on Saturday. I had French lessons and then went out to lunch and to see a play at the Opera House.

But don’t you fret and don’t you frown, cause I went to the gym on Sunday. Did weights!

I know, amazing, huh? I’m sticking with a weekend weights workout!

Even though I kind of push myself, I’ve realised it is nothing compared to Olga. So I have decided that I will continue with a PT.

This week, at my Tuesday PT session, Olga had me pushing something that looked like equipment the front row of the All Blacks rugby team push to practice scrums. And she had me doing all manner of squats. And she’s upped the weight on the leg press machine. Apparently you are meant to press your body weight – giving me another reason to lose weight. And the abdominal work we did! Phew! I do normally avoid or cheat on abominable abdominal exercises. Amazing how hard you can work in 30 minutes.

Yes, I will definitely continue with a PT. It’s exxy, but if I get stronger (and hopefully slimmer) then it is worth it.

I think I am already stronger. My guide? I can wear high heels to work all day again and not have to swap them for flats after an hour or two. And I’ve done some gardening and not been crippled from back pain.

I know I have to change my eating to actually lose weight. But as that is not currently on my micro-ambitious goals, it has to wait.

Thursday’s yoga was cancelled. Arghh! It was too late for me to psych myself up to face the traffic to go to the gym. The traffic is always worse on Thursday nights.

I was quite disappointed. I may make it up this weekend. Stay tuned for next week’s fitness post to see if I make amends.

I did the usual walk on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday after the PT session and a short walk on Friday. The light is lovely. Look at the setting sun lighting up the red leaves.

Australian sparkling wine

I’m partial to a glass of sparkling wine.

I have no memory for names.

Combined, these two facts mean when I go into a bottle shop (what we Aussies call a purveyor of alcohol, cause hey! it comes in bottles) I never remember what I liked, loved, put up with or disliked.

Today I had a brainwave: I have a blog. I can review my purchases and the review will live here for me.

Today’s drink: Stirling Vineyards Pinot Noir Chardonnay Adelaide Hills NV

Frankly, I was attracted by the discount. Half-price! At $28 a bottle full price, one would expect a very nice drop. So let’s give it a go and hope that it didn’t have to be heavily discounted because it wasn’t good.

And I am a sucker for packaging. I love the silver cover.

On opening: nice apple scent.

First mouthful: very little bubbles. And a nice piquancy. Not too sweet. Not too dry.

Opinion: quaffable. Not sure I’d pay $28. At $14, I could stock up.

Fernwood Gym Week 3

Last Saturday, after French lessons, I decided not to go to the Pilates class. I used the Natilus weight machines instead.

I warmed up on the walker and the rowing machine. Then did three sets of ten repeats on most pieces of equipment except the chin up machine. That one is hard and not easy to adjust as you have to climb up and down. I gave it a go – three times. I just couldn’t get the counterweight right. And as it was the last piece I used, my muscles were fatigued.

The gym was very quiet. No loud music. No sweaty men dropping weights or grunting. Besides the Pilates class taking place, there was someone on reception and between two to five people using the equipment while I was. Very non-intimidating and non-stressful.

I’ve definitely picked the right gym.

I came straight home after working out and did my usual walk with Mr S. My legs were really heavy. It was a hard walk. But there’s always something to look at. As I don’t like a post without a photo, how’s this massive colony of fungi! Always something to see on my usual walk.

I had another long soak in a warm bath with magnesium. Apparently magnesium helps muscle pain. I can tell you it certainly helps me relax. I came out and fell straight into a deep sleep. I smell like kitchen salt though. Which is not so pleasant. Not unpleasant but not pleasant.

Back to Olga for the PT session in Tuesday. She gave me another workout. And made me laugh again. We started with boxing. I’ve never boxed before. Not sure I had much force behind my punches but it sure is demanding. We did some weights and then the dreaded core. There’s no second guesses for why my tummy is flabby.

Thursday’s yoga class worked its magic in mindfulness and stretching and strength-building.

Add in another couple of walks, it was another good week. Not as much as I planned to do when I was on holidays. But I knew all plans that seem doable when I am not at work, fail when I am at work. Two gym sessions and a yoga class just about is all I can fit in.

I can’t do it all

I love my French lessons. Except thar as we get more advanced, we get more homework, harder homework.

OK, maybe the previous year’s homework was easier, not because it was at a more beginner stage, but because I’d learnt that level of French at high school. So it was just rebuilding the synapses that I had laid down at school.

Anyway, whatever. That’s not the point.

The point is with work AND French lessons AND getting fit (or going to the gym) AND all my other little challenges AND other demands (like a son who lacks confidence so wants me to read and offer suggestions to his uni assignment), I’m feeling overwhelmed.

I knew it would come.

So what to give up?

  • Work. I’d do that in a heartbeat, but I need the money
  • Gym. Pfft. It’s not something I do cause I love it. I don’t even enjoy it. It’s to stop pain and to keep mobile as I age.
  • Family stuff, including helping with assignments. They need me. I love them. Enough said.
  • Reading. Really really love this.
  • My garden. If you knew how little I actually did, there’s not much time to conserve by stopping here. Just the death to a few plants.
  • French lessons. It’d save three hours on Saturday. And madly, guiltily doing homework on Friday night.

Really, it’s a no-brainer. Also, if I’m not revising ever day or so, what’s the point? How much am I retaining?

Now if I wasn’t working, I could revise. And I’d continue the lessons.

I mentioned my intention to a fellow classmate. She’s a surgeon. (Just dropping the circles I move in. Lol) And she said that I couldn’t quit. She loves having me in the class.

Isn’t that nice?

I have to admit, I am the class clown. I do like a laugh. And I like to rock staid conservative types. My class is in probably the most conservative area of Sydney, so there’s not much competition for my style of humour.

Still, it’s nice. So I will review my decision as the term progresses.

Have you ever had to quit something you enjoy because you just don’t have time?