Being motivated to keep fit in the heat

Do you know what I’ve been finding rather challenging lately? Having the energy to keep moving and to be fit, especially after working long hours and coming home to a sweltering hot house. But as humans, we’re designed to keep moving although in this day and age, it’s hard to believe that’s the case since we spend most of our time sitting on our butts, playing games, reading books or binge-watching movies/tv shows.

I used to go on weekend hikes and evening/early morning runs and I’d walk long distances and it never phased me how far or how long it took. But then I stopped for a variety of reasons and then I felt myself getting fatter… and fatter… and lazier… and lazier… and the thought of walking anywhere got my stress and anxiety levels going.

Now I want to change that and get back into the zone and claim my enjoyment for long walks, short runs and weekend hikes because if you’ve read my posts from last year, you would know that I really enjoy these things. Maybe not at the time of doing them, but the satisfaction of reaching a destination or achieving a goal is a feeling you just can’t beat.

There’s also heaps of other benefits to moving and getting out and about – you improve your stamina, burn more calories and it positively affects your mood and mental wellbeing.

It can be extra hard to motivate yourself to move especially in the deep heat (yes I’m talking about you you awful average 23 degree muggy New Zealand heat) so I thought I’d share with you four things that I do to motivate myself to get out and about even though I would rather sit in front of a fan and read a book.

Go for a swim

I think this one is an obvious way to cool yourself down while also getting in some physical activity. I used to hate swimming in summer at the beach just because everyone else had the same idea so parking was a nightmare and finding a decent spot in the ocean within the flags was torture. But now, I just embrace it. And if you live in a place like New Plymouth, there’s more than one beach and the further out the beach is, the less people there’ll be. My favourite beach happens to be Oakura beach, where the waters are usually calm and there’s less people.

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If you’re not a fan of salt water and waves crashing into you, head down to your local pools. The ones in New Plymouth mark down their prices in the evening (I think an hour or two before they close?) which is pretty cool. I’ve never actually swam at our local pools but I know I definitely would if I wasn’t such a fan of the open-air ocean. Feels funny saying that because I’m actually deathly afraid of everything that lives in the ocean…

Evening/early morning strolls

This is my fool-proof way of motivating myself to keep moving. I’m a fan of early morning runs or evening runs because there’s no sun and usually the heat is not so bad. Sometimes it can still be a bit muggy but it’s way more manageable than going in the middle of the day when the heat is in full force. And if you do your exercise in the morning, at least it’s out of the way and you can spend your evenings just chilling and feeling super proud of how productive you’ve been with your time! thumbs up yo

And you also end up catching some incredible shots of the sunset/sunrise. Here’s one I snapped last week on an evening run:

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Go for a wander in the bush

lol that heading made me giggle a little. What I mean is going for a run/walk in a shaded area like a bushy walkway or an area in a park where there’s bound to be heaps of trees.

There’s a walk that I personally really enjoy in New Plymouth. It’s by the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge and you can get a good 7km in just walking to Bell Block and back.

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But doing this walk in the scorching heat is a killer because it’s very open and there are no trees to shade you. So this walk is best done in the evenings or early in the morning. For other times of the day, a walk in a place like the Te Henui Walkway or Pukekura Park is ideal because of all the trees that shade you throughout the day. Of course if you’re not from New Zealand, I’ve linked the places above via Google Images so you get an idea of the type of trek those places are. I’m sure there are similar parks/walkways wherever you are 🙂

Get into your active wear

You know how in winter when it’s super cold and wet and you come home and get straight into your PJs because you’ve been miserable and you just want to be warm and comfy? In summer, I usually come home and tear my clothes off and get into shorts and a tee. When I know I need to get out and about, I’ll get into my active wear and let’s be honest, who doesn’t like being in their cosy, comfy active wear?

By being in it, it reminds me that I need to get out and about and get some exercise into my day (FACT: I’m wearing my active wear right now as I’m writing this). Even if I’m in it for a couple of hours before I actually leave the house, it’s one less excuse I’ll have (because apart from “it’s too hot”, there’s “i’m too hot to change into my active wear”).

And if you want to run/walk in the morning but you know you’ll wake up and tell yourself “i can’t be bothered changing into my active wear”, leave your workout gear and shoes somewhere close. Hell, if you need to tie your hair up, make sure you’ve got a hairband around your wrist and have your hairbrush close by. What excuse will you have now?

So there you have it – the top four things that I do to keep moving and motivated during the summer. I’m not saying you should follow these ideas but they’re what I do to make sure “it’s too hot” is not an excuse for not doing any form of exercise or to not fit in at least a 20 minute walk into my day.

There are also other things that you can do to keep moving, such as, joining a class or going to the gym. You can also indulge in the many free workout videos on Youtube and work out in the comfort of your own home (this is something I do as well but not often hence why it didn’t make the list). I’m a fan of being out and about and keeping things very cheap so these things work for me.

By the way, I don’t exercise every day. I do have my lazy days but I try to aim for at least five days a week of movement. Next challenge is definitely going to be making sure I continue to exercise in the winter without using the excuse “it’s too cold”.

What do you do to motivate yourself to exercise during the summer? I’d love to know!

Getting hygge with the heat

I was recently introduced to a new word/concept – hygge (pronounced hue-guh, not hee-gi as I keep thinking it as). It’s a Danish word that can’t be described using one English word. It’s probably best described as a feeling of cosiness, content, satisfaction; a moment that’s just plain special from enjoying the simple things in life. It even gives me fuzzies just saying the word. But it’s not just confined to a feeling – it’s also about your surroundings such as your home décor and with loved ones.

We’ve all experienced hygge in some way, shape or form without realising it; reading a book under the tree, enjoying a hot chocolate in warm, fluffy pjs in the middle of winter and even just watching TV and chillaxing are all examples of hygge moments. While I would describe it as ‘hygge moments’, to the Danish people hygge is their way of life. Research* tells me that the word hygge was made famous in the UK in 2016; so famous that it earned a spot in the Collins Words of the Year for 2016. Soon after, the Americans started raving about it. So I guess it’s fair to say that hygge is quickly making headways around the world (although it makes me wonder why it took me so long to get acquainted with the word? Maybe it’s because I’m from New Zealand and it takes a million years for things to get down to this corner of the Earth…).

While the words ‘cosy’ and ‘fuzzy’ are usually associated with wintertime, I think hygge can also be experienced in the summertime. No I’m not asking you to break out the fluffy polar bear PJs and wear it in this 24 degree heat or start a fire in the scorching warmth and sit next to it while attempting to enjoy a book and also trying not to melt. There are lots of different ways to experience cosiness and well, hygge, even in the heat.

Here’s are my top six ways of creating and experiencing a hygge atmosphere in the hot weather: 

Have a bath

Don’t scream or panic. I promise you the heat hasn’t got to me and I’m not crazy. Yet. You know how we have warm baths in winter because it’s relaxing, warming and oh so comforting? Well, why not have a cool bath in summer? It produces the same effects – relaxing, warming and comforting without sharing your water space with others a la the beach or the public pools. Plus you get the added bonus of adding a bath bomb to create your own little galactic and glittery cocoon with bubbles. Delightful.

To create a more comforting and cosy atmosphere, why not light a candle, pour yourself an iced tea and read a book? I promise you won’t die of hyperthermia if you stay in the bath for hours. Here’s a pic of the last cool bath I had:

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Plant it up

Summer makes me think of bright colours and light, airy spaces. Adding succulents and/or flowers in a room is guaranteed to create a summery atmosphere – I guess in some ways it’s like bringing the outside to the inside (if that makes sense). Just being near flowers makes me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.

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I love the aesthetic of succulents and the fact that they’re low maintenance. Its unique and pointy leaves adds an edge to wherever you place it. I got these at the farmers market and absolutely adore them. If you’re in New Plymouth, it’s from the Saturday markets behind the old Mill.

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Enjoying a cuppa

I love tea. Earl grey, jasmine green tea, lady grey, chamomile… I could go on. But when you’re hanging in average 25-degree weather, the last thing you want is a hot drink. Nah uh. But if you’re like me, you don’t want to give up your comforting beves…

Why not enjoy them chilled by throwing in some ice cubes? I particularly enjoy a cuppa cold chamomile.

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the tag on my teabag #preach

Relax under the shade

 I think I’ve made this pretty clear in heaps of my posts but I love reading. While I never mind my surroundings when I read, I always find it more enjoyable when I read in a cosy, chilled spot.

In summer, it’s hard to find a cool spot indoors… unless you have air conditioning or are sitting directly in front of a fan. I don’t have the pleasure of either of these luxuries so I like to sit outside and pray for a breeze.

In particular, I love sitting under the trees to get a bit of shade.

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My parents’ garden is set up pretty nicely. It’s like a little wonderland and I spend a lot of time reading in the hammocks. I always find myself with a smile of my face when I’m swinging in the hammocks with a book or kindle in my hand. I know we’re not all lucky enough to have a set up like this but I’m usually quite content with lying on a blanket under a tree. Pure bliss.

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Breaking out the summer sheets 

In wintertime, I usually break out the dark coloured duvets and bed sheets. To me, the darker shades are comforting and warm and it makes me want to dive into the sheets and I know I’m going to be nestled in fuzziness. In summertime, it’s quite the opposite. To achieve the same feeling, I break out the bright, light and airy sheets.

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I love these sheets. If you’re in New Zealand, you can get them from Briscoes. They have a cool, hippy vibe to them and the flowers, leaves and bright colours makes me so happy. Plus its so cool that after a long day, all I want to do is just dive into bed and unwind and enjoy the moment of being relaxed and joyful.

Have a picnic

There’s nothing like embracing summer by heading out into the great outdoors and taking in some sweet fresh air. Enjoying a wine/beer/alcoholic bevy of choice with a fruit and cheese platter under a tree at a park and enjoying a gorgeous view is one of life’s simple pleasures. And guess what? You can do this with family and friends as well. This is sharing a hygge moment with loved ones at its finest.

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So there you have it folks; my list of six things you can try to get hygge with it in summer.

Are you into the hygge life? I’d love it if you shared your hygge experiences and thoughts! In particular, what you do to hygge in the summer!

February is for lovers

I can’t believe we’re already 6 days into February. Where did January go? And what did I do in January?!

I definitely think it’s true what they say – the older you get, the faster time goes. So rather than sulk about the inevitability of time moving forward (and in quite the hasty pace!) we might as well embrace it and take each day as it comes.

So February… I think it’s one of those months that people hate, particularly singletons. It’s the month where we bring out the dusty Bridget Jones DVD, re-read ‘PS I Love You’, ‘Twilight’ or ’50 Shades’ and relive that perfect romantic scenario in our heads, probably turn to desperate measures and PAY for Tinder so we can extend our range in the hopes of finding someone even if it means that they’re thousands of miles away, hook up with the first person that pays attention to us at the bar because we don’t wanna be alone on V-Day… yerp you get my drift. Let’s be honest though, we’ll probably spend the day at work and the evening lounging on the couch overdosing on rom-coms while devouring a tub of ice cream and enjoying a cheeky bottle or two of red so we don’t have to face the reality of being alone.

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To be honest, as a singleton, all I think about these days is how I’m pretty darn lucky because I get to save money and I don’t have to be disappointed if my partner/lover/hubby/bae forgets or god forbid, just buys me chocolates and flowers and that’s it. Also, do we realise how much businesses and restaurants profit from V-day? All the overpriced gimmicks like teddy bears, chocolates, flowers… eek. But I guess us singles stand to win the days AFTER V-day because cheap chocolates. HOLLA.

I know I sound like some lonely, old, jealous fart that’s hating on V-day because I’m going to be all alone. I really don’t mean to sound hateful. There’s nothing wrong with V-day and if you’re going to be spending it in some gloriously romantic way then I’m genuinely happy for you. I’m not going to lie – the older I get, I’m happier spending the day with family, friends or even myself! After all, it’s just another day.

To me, February shouldn’t automatically make you cringe and give you mad anxiety about finding a v-day bae (hello past me!). It should be just another a month; one where you’re focusing on you and spoiling the hell out of yourself by doing the things you want to do. It should also be a time where you spread love and joy by spending time with your family and friends.

I’ve decided that this month, I’m going to take self-care very seriously and spend time with myself and do things that I really enjoy like reading, baking, walking, having a bath, and being optimistic and happy where I can. I’m going to buy myself flowers, a card, bake myself a cake and make myself a mighty fine dinner and be my own trap queen.

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I’m also going to be sharing with you a series of posts showcasing the bits and bobs of things that I enjoy. I’m thinking Wednesdays will be dedicated to book favourites and reviews, Fridays will be dedicated to different ways of unwinding from the week and Sundays will be dedicated to a baking recipe! I may tweak this a bit but this is just to give you a general idea of how I’m planning on documenting my February self-love journey.

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I’m really excited about putting together this series! It’s gonna be fuuuuun!

What do you do when you’re giving yourself some self-love time? Do share!

Answering Union Jack’s call

I don’t know why I spent a good two minutes laughing at the title of this blog post. It’s probably because I thought I was being really funny and smart at 1.55am but then it hits me that it’s neither funny nor smart but I keep it anyways as a reminder of how ridiculous I can be.

Anyways, hello, I’m neither funny nor smart but I’m here to talk about probably the most exciting and scariest decisions I’ve made in my life to date: moving to London. Eeeek!

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So when did I make this decision? Well, it’s always been in the back of my mind. Since I was about 12, I’ve always wanted to go to London and Europe in general to explore castles, hilltops, visit historical spots and touch all the forbidden items in museums and art galleries and set off alarms, get arrested and deported back to my native NZ… okay I digress, but you get my point. But I never did it when I was younger because life got in the way. I was either in a long-term relationship, building a long-term career or just swimming in debt because of my shocking poor money decisions.

Now that I’m no longer single, no longer working on my career since I’ve put it on hold and a little bit better with my debts, I feel like it’s finally time to do this. I know for a fact that if I don’t and I settle, I’m always going to wonder ‘what if?’ and I’ll probably go through a painful midlife crisis that includes abandoning my partner/husband and children to go on this crazy ‘finding me’ trip. So yeah, it’s time.

I’m going on a Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa, which entitles me to stay and work in the UK for two years. I leave New Zealand on 20 March from Auckland International and head to Doha and then leave Doha to London on 21 March. I arrive in London at 6.20am (LOL) and I know you’re probably like wtf but I chose my flight based on two important factors: price and shortest wait time. After buying my tickets did I realise I was arriving super early AND my flight from Auckland to Doha is 18 hours long – the longest flight in the world, literally (YEAH WTF). But what’s done is done and it’s part of the adventure so I’m not gonna cry about it. Yet. Maybe I’ll do a blog post on the experience… (let me know if you’re actually interested…)

I’m going to be staying with an old work colleague while I find my feet and I’m so grateful for her letting me crash on her floor. I know it’s going to be a hella busy first week filled with job interviews with different agencies, picking up my BPR (I think that’s what it’s called), sorting out a bank account, working out how to use the god damn public transport system, finding a flat, etc etc etc. Gosh I’m exhausted just thinking about it all but I know deep down that it’s all gonna be worth it and I’m gonna be okay.

I mentioned last year that I’ve been quite unwell. The bad news is that I still have my off days but I don’t think I’m going to let that get in the way of my plans. I’ll of course be discussing the trip and my worries with my doctor before I go but I’ll be sure to register with a GP as soon as I find a flat (apparently the UK have these rules where you can only be registered to a GP in the area that you live in). Worst case scenario is that I end up hospitalised in the UK or I have to cut my trip short and come home earlier and that’s totally fine because by then I would’ve done some travelling and gone outside of my comfort zone. So yeah, I’ve thought about this, I haven’t neglected this pretty significant detail.

So how am I feeling about it now that I’ve got 61 days left to go? Well, I’m shitting myself. There’s always the doubt of whether or not I’m going to find a job, of whether I’m going to find a place to stay, whether I have enough money to get by before getting a job and a steady income, and hell what if I hate it? There’s always going to be the thought of failure if I do come back early but I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s okay because I repeat, at the end of the day I’ve travelled and I’ve tried it and yeah.

There are so many exciting things happening when I get there. I’m going to see Flight of the Conchords at the O2 (I think it’s there) and I’m going to Prague in the first week of April. I’m still planning other trips away in April because it’s birthday month so why not treat myself!

While I’m shitting myself about this, I’m also really freaking excited and I think excitement outweighs fear. I’m really looking forward to the sites, the experiences, the people, the journey, the tears (I know there’s going to be lots and lots of tears be it joy or sorrow) and the memories.

I guess that’s all I’ve got to say about the journey for now. I’m thinking I’ll do like a moving blog series closer to the time but for now, it’s back to the list of things to sell, downsizing my stuff, to-do lists of things I need to do before I bail and yeah… thanks for reading and see ya next time!

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Have you moved away from your homeland? What was it like? I’d love to hear all about your experiences and if you’ve got any advice!

Oh, how I’d wish he’d go away…

Have you ever heard the poem ‘Antigonish’ by William Hughes Mearns? I feel like it’s one of those poems that we encounter at some point in our lives, be it in a song reference, a movie/TV show reference or even somewhere on Pinterest/Tumblr/Reddit.

It’s quite an eerie poem and has such an eerie feel and while it sends shivers down my spine, I really like the fact that it’s the use of words that’s making me feel that way. It basically reinforces the power of words and how it can affect emotions, moods and the imagination.

Anyways, the point of this blog is that in the last week, I’ve been feeling rather bleak and empty. I feel like my emotions are best represented by this photo – we found a wreckers yard somewhere in the middle of nowhere. It was raining and misty and the yard was so empty, so abandoned and so creepy.

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Anyways, back to what I was saying; the nasty voice inside my head has been making frequent visits and I just find I hate myself and everything about me, physically and emotionally. The other day, we had a German couple stay with us on AirBnB and they asked me how old I was. When I told them I was 27 and they said they were 21 and 20, I lost my mind. They were travelling the world and were so independent and I’m living at home with my parents. Lol. I was so embarrassed I practically avoided them for the rest of their stay. That’s another thing; I find myself being so embarrassed about the way I look and wanting to look ‘normal’ and blend into the shadows, not stick out like a sore thumb in the crowd.

Let me just say that I’m never this hard on myself. Sometimes the critic rears his ugly head but it never lasts long and the power of positivity usually kicks him back into his cave. I love myself 85% of the time and while it’s not 100%, it’s damn well better than what it’s been in my younger days and I’m still working on my self-love. I also want to point out that I’m not embarrassed about my current situation of being at home with my family; it’s great being able to spend this time with them before I head off overseas for god knows how long. I also really like my blue/green hair because I feel like a magical unicorn and I like being different and being able to express myself with my style but today, oh today…

What does this have to do with ‘Antigonish’? Well, the man that keeps appearing but isn’t there reminds me of that negative, self-loathing voice that keeps appearing but really isn’t there. He rears his ugly head, says some nasty things, but at the end of the day, I tell myself he’s just a voice, he’s not really there and he’s only as real as you let him become. He’s also as present as you let him be.

I know it’s never an easy feat dealing with him when he arrives. This is what I do when he visits: I sit there, listen to everything he tells me, mope around, shake him off, make a plan on what I’m going to do to address his words so I can make a change and prove him wrong, sometimes I end up feeling helpless because I’m weak so I let his words linger and I mope some more but when I’m finally done with moping I get up and get on with it and do something I love, such as:

  • Walk/wander/run
  • Listen to some guaranteed happy tunes
  • Write
  • Harass my family
  • Play with my cats
  • Nap
  • Read
  • Practice a craft I’m trying to master
  • Chores
  • Have a bath
  • Binge watch something

Not gonna lie, some of these things I don’t actually love but they serve as fantastic distractions.

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It’s never easy when he rears his ugly head to belittle you and make you feel hopeless and ugly. But you gotta remember that he’s only as strong as you let him be. Have the courage to step back and say fuck off because while the man is waiting there for you and you’re looking for him in the hall, you won’t be able to see him at all.

So, go away, go away, don’t you come back anymore…

Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door…

Do the dark days hit you as well? What do you do to get rid of the little man and his hideous words?

They’re definitely two of the hardest things

In the last month, I did two of what I consider the hardest, scariest things: one, I put my heart on the line and told a boy how I really felt rather than dismissed my feelings and running away from them and two, I let him go.

In my 27 years of life, I’ve never actually told a boy how I felt. I’m the type of person that doesn’t like feeling vulnerable and exposed. I like to give the façade that I’m unbreakable and strong, but deep down I’m a fucking marshmallow. Now dear reader, you know the truth.

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If you read my last post, you would’ve guessed that being sick made me realise that life is short and that I need to get my shit in order. One of the things I thought was to tell this boy the truth and let whatever happens, happen. It went well at the time… and then it didn’t a week later.

In the last month, I’ve been through a tumultuous rollercoaster ride of emotions. I’ve been very high, very low, very neutral and I never know what to expect when I wake up in the morning. While it may seem normal and exciting for us as humans to wake up and live for the unpredictability of life, it’s actually quite scary when you’re a bit of an emotional wreck like I’ve been lately. I’m not myself.

I knew that I was putting the poor boy through my emotional hell. And I couldn’t allow myself to leave my emotions in his hands because I was incapable of looking after it myself. Then I made the rash decision to end things. I walked away.

I walked away because I wasn’t doing him any favours and because I wasn’t doing myself any favours. It’s true what they say – how can you learn to love someone else when you can’t even love yourself?

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Walking away is hard because you don’t want to seem like you’ve given up but you also don’t want to be stuck in something that can’t go forward because you’re busy trying to keep it and your life afloat.

While I’ve spent the last few days allowing the reality of what I’ve done sink in and wondering whether or not I’ve made the right decision, ultimately I know I need to remind myself that I need to do what it takes to make sure I’m happy. While it hurts now, I’m proud of myself for doing these two things and owning them. I know it’ll get easier.

Right now, I need to give myself the time and effort I need to grow and be happy. And while I don’t believe in fate or destiny, I know that if things were meant to be, they’ll be. Now I’m signing out to go make some more important decisions… watch this space.

I will however leave you with this message:

Dear reader, never give up on yourself. You were destined for great things. If you’re going through a rough time, remember to give yourself the opportunity to show you that your life can be better and everything will be okay.

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Where have you been?

Yes, I’ve missed you guys too. I wish I could say that I’ve been on some amazing overseas adventure, or even a cruise or a wildlife safari but alas, I would be lying and I’m not very fond of lying.

Truth is, I’ve been sick. No, not deathbed sick but it feels like I might as well have been! I’m on the road to recovery from goodness knows. I haven’t been diagnosed yet but I tell ya, it’s been a month from hell with aches, pains and a whole lot of drugs. The top drawer of my bedside table is OVERFLOWING with drugs and I’m not exaggerating!

I’m feeling better though! I’m not 100% but I’ll take 79% over -89.9%.

This week I’ve been playing a whole lot of catch up with life as well as with work and study. Should I do a blog post on how to get back to on track with life after you encounter a major hurdle? At the rate I’m going, I think I’m equipped to talk about it…

Oh you’ve twisted my arm – I’ll add it to my list.

When you’re sick and removed from the outside world, it’s easy to fall into a pit of sadness, loneliness and feeling like nobody cares about you. But let me tell you, despite those feelings, it gets better and people shower you with love.

I got flowers delivered to me from work! That was pretty exciting albeit awkward because I didn’t believe the poor deliveryman that dropped them off. But look how beautiful they are!

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The flowers definitely brightened up my day given how dark and crappy the two-three weeks had been.

And then there’s the emails, the texts and the calls. I felt so loved.

So guys, it seems like what I’m saying is if you don’t feel loved, just get sick and people shower you with love and you truly realise you mean something to at least someone… but I’m not encouraging you to get sick… I’m just making an observation!

Anyways, this is a boring post I know but I just wanted to give you a quick update on where I’ve been.

Brace yourself – the blog posts are coming.

p.s. Alex if you’re reading this, I hope Germany is treating you well and I miss you!