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It Keeps You Runnin’.

Brrrr.  It is cold.  Like, freezing-your-butt-off cold.  Which is pretty normal for Winter, I suppose, but it seems extra chilly at the moment.  We’ve had some wild, stormy weather with thunderstorms and heavy rains, hail and flooding, and people have lost their fences and roofs.  I had a few pot plants go for a tumble, but that’s about it.

In a continuing attempt to be healthy and lose weight, I have been walking and / or running, regardless of the weather.  In some ways, exercising in crummy weather is better for me, for several reasons :

  1.  Less people around to witness my lack of coordination and grace.
  2.  If you’re drenched with rain, no one can tell if you’re sweating.
  3.  People think you’re very dedicated and diligent.
  4.  You can wear big baggy raincoats and wet weather gear and
    hide your flabby bits.
  5.  Ditto wearing hoodies and other head-covering ensembles.  Bad hair be damned!
  6.  When you finally get back home to the warm and dry, it seems SO MUCH  warmer and drier by default.
  7. You can be a bit smug about how disciplined you are (see # 3.)

I must admit it has been VERY hard to get motivated (although the size of my thighs should be motivation enough) and some days I would rather go straight home, put my PJs on, and stay warm with a cup of tea and Vincent D’Onofrio (via a Criminal Intent DVD).  This week it has been difficult to organise walking times because I’ve worked overtime and had car issues.  And I’ve been lazy.  But I try and go at least a few times a week, even if I just pop out at lunchtime for a quick trek around the block.  It’s better than nothing.  This is what I tell myself anyway.

There have been days when it has been raining so hard I have come home COMPLETELY drenched, and my sneakers are making that gross squelchy-squeaky noise that sounds like you’re walking on dead frogs.  I’ve got raindrops in my ears, crazy hair, and small puddles in my pockets, but that’s ok.  I’m still glad I have made the effort and have one less reason to feel bad about myself.  It’s so easy to fall back into house-slug habits and just go straight home, after a day at work sitting on my bum in front of a computer, with no exercise or fresh air.  But I’m trying to do better and get out there.

So, I shall continue to waddle around, rain or shine, with little guilt-ridden breaks in the middle where I “forget” to do any exercise at all.   I will stop to take photos and watch dogs play.  I will run when there’s no one else around, and walk when there is.  I will try not to spoil it all by coming home and eating a cookie.  But, even if I do, I will forgive myself and start over the next day.  That’s the biggest hurdle for me.

x

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Breathe, Dammit!

My body has been playing some nasty tricks on me lately. By lately, I mean all of my life. But, especially lately, it seems to be really amping up the symptoms, making me imagine all sorts of diseases and physical abnormalities. I hurt my back a few weeks ago – a combination of couging, over-extending and just being a bit careless. It really scared me – the pain was horrible and I could barely stand up straight. My doctor told me it was just an acute issue and would resolve itself with rest and all the usual remedies – heat packs, anti-inflammatory gel (I can’t take the tablets) and the use of my beloved TENS machine (seriously – do you have one? They are THE BEST!). The pain did go away and I gingerly went back to my normal day-to-day routine. Until I bent over a bit weirdly and hurt it again. The pain went away much quicker this time and I thought it was all going to be ok. Until, this week, the pins and needles started in my legs and feet. Immediate meltdown from me, imagining everything from Parkinson’s disease to strokes and irreversible nerve damage. I am nothing if not a drama queen.

So, faced with these horrible imaginings, I took my doctor’s advice and went to a physio she had recommended. This morning, anxiety levels high and ability-to-cope-with-bad-news levels low, I spent an hour with said physio. She was awesome. Very thorough and kind, she talked about everything that my body is going through and how much of it is probably related to my overall anxiety and stress, combined with my really ridiculously tight muscles (brought on by stress and anxiety…you get the idea). She didn’t do the whole “it’s all in your head and you just need to relax” speech – she was very sympathetic and explained things. Because I have a history of nerve damage and neurological issues (from my meningitis), this also sets the body up to be hyper-responsive to stress and any physical sensation, especially if that sensation mirrors anything my body went through when I was really ill.

She was happy with my back and spine in general – didn’t find anything there to be concerned about (I was worrying about bulging discs) and my overall movement and range was ok. But I need to fix my breathing. This has always been an issue with me – I am a shallow breather, barely moving at all when I take a breath. The physio said she couldn’t even tell if I was actually breathing or not. So I have to learn how to breathe diaphragmatically. This is really tricky for me – I always hold my tummy in, even when supposedly relaxed – so it will take some time for me to retrain myself. I have had numerous doctors and physios tell me this. Now I HAVE to do something about it and really persevere with it (I am actually trying to do belly breathing right now as I type this). Because I don’t want to keep getting these problems.

Work has been incredibly stressful, with lots of redundancies and overall workplace anxiety.  Some days are really miserable and lonely – this does not help my mental wellbeing.  I miss my friends and the camaraderie that you get when you work together every day.  My workload has tripled and I am not always a happy camper.  Basically, I am a grumpy, stressed-out hag most days.  Having fuzzy feelings in my legs (and not just because I haven’t shaved them) is another stressor I could do without.  But I will take the pins and needles over the horrible back pain.  THAT I can live without, thank you.

I need to work on my fitness levels and stop the stress-eating (ie bingeing) that I have been doing.  My weight has crept up and that’s making me feel crummy.  I’m not exercising at all at the moment and that’s making me feel guilty AND crummy.  So I need to improve lots of things, starting with my coping mechanisms and mindfulness and the whole breathing thing.  So much work to do!

The Universe keeps telling me, in its own not-so-subtle way, that I need to chill out and calm down, stop worrying and de-stress, otherwise I will get sick or develop weird pains and other annoying bodily issues.  Pretty much every illness I’ve ever had has been stress-related, so I need to do something about it.  I don’t even know how to begin.  I don’t know HOW to stress less.  But I am going to have to learn, quick smart.

Do you have a really simple method for de-stressing?  For learning how to not worry?  All suggestions and advice gratefully received!

Thanks for dropping by – take care of yourselves x

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Ellis Brook Reserve

I am unfit.  There is no denying this when you are struggling to ascend a set of roughly-constructed bush stairs and you’re wheezing so loudly you’re scaring the local wildlife.  Yes.  That is me.  Two sets of stairs in on a recent hike through Ellis Brook Reserve and I am starting to see stars and pass out.  But, to be fair, I am a little bit anaemic at the moment and I was trying to keep up with girls half my age as they whizzed up the hill on their skinny little legs.  I also did not warm up properly, nor was I actually expecting such a rough and steep climb.  Preparation – apparently not my thing.

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However, wheezing and near-death experiences aside, Ellis Brook Reserve is a very picturesque place to hike.  The terrain is a little rough and not really suitable for a gentle Sunday stroll.  My friend and I went with a new group and none of us had ever been before, so no one knew what to expect (you can read travel guides but unless you’re actually doing the walk yourself, it can be tricky to gauge how difficult it will be) but we all went at our own pace and everyone was very patient and considerate of the slower-climbing members (ie me – Miss Fat’n’Fainty).

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The scenery was beautiful, with amazing views down through the valley.  We snuck into the quarry, which is actually fenced off but some lovely soul had cut a hole in the wire so you could squeeze through.  Ah, vandalism, sometimes you can be helpful!  The colours in the rock and surrounding landscape were stunning, as were the bright blue flashes of the little native Splended Fairy Wren (wish I had been fast enough to get a photo – they are just gorgeous).

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Unfortunately, having to watch where we were treading/climbing, for fear of tripping or breaking an ankle, meant we weren’t able to stop and take in the sights as much as I would have liked.  But it was still lovely and made me feel good to be out in the fresh air and not being a slacker (ie staying home, rugged up in bed, on this cold and chilly morning).  The group we hiked with were really friendly and chatty, and made the morning very pleasant indeed.  Apparently, there are a number of trails you can follow and so maybe, next time, we will go on one of the longer ones, which may be less steep and treacherous.  I am very clumsy and have terrible balance, so someone else may find it very easy to hike this particular trail and wonder what the heck I am talking about.  I personally wouldn’t take dogs or kids on the trail we walked, but I did see some people bringing their pooches along with them.

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All in all, a beautiful spot to get some exercise and take in the natural beauty of our gorgeous state, without having to drive a million miles from suburbia.  Worth a look 🙂

Thank you for stopping by.  And a big thank you to all my new followers – your support is very much appreciated! x

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Beach Vibes

I am not very bright.  Sometimes I am downright dumb.  Case in point : only just discovering this beach, only 10 minutes from my work, when I have been at this job for four years.  Four years!  I could have been going to the ocean every week for the past four years!  What a dufus!  Geography, to be fair, has never been my strong suit, and I never drive in the direction of the coast – I am always in a hurry to just get the heck away from work ha ha.  I just want to go home at the end of the day.

So, now my walking schedule has taken on a much more pleasant vibe.  I LOVE the beach – it is my favourite place to be.  I love the sand and the seashells, the water and the sea air.  I don’t care that my hair gets messed up or that I get sand everywhere.  I actually feel content and happy near the ocean.  It is calming and soothing and makes me feel small and safe all at the same time.  Plus, it is so beautiful and much nicer to look at than a sidewalk or a road, when exercising.

A brisk, half-hour walk along the beach is restorative and cleansing and great exercise.  You feel it in your calves and legs and spirit.  And, for some reason, I don’t feel self-conscious at the beach.  This may be because there are more scantily-clad ladies around than I, so I don’t feel that anyone is bothering to look at me, wheezing along the shore in my daggy shorts and t-shirt.

I’d like to say I am exercising every day, but I’d be lying.  Life isn’t simple or straight forward this year and so free time is not always something I have.  But, I am trying to fit in as many walking days as I can.  With a location like this, I have no excuse, and I actually look forward to going.  I collect shells and take photos, watch the people surfing, and just breathe the fresh air.  It’s good for the soul.

I promise to post some crafting things soon – I’ve just been so busy with life and haven’t been able to get stuck into anything creative at all.  But I have got a couple of projects in the works and will post them here soon.

Hope you are having a sunshiney, happy day 🙂

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Crazy people surfing with parachutes!
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Lacey Waves!

 

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Beautiful Ocean and Sunshine

 

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An obviously well-loved part of the beach.  Look at all those footprints!
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Gettin’ darker and moodier…
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Just one lone surfer left…

 

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The tide’s a-comin’!

 

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See.  I do actually walk as well as stop and take photos!
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How to Measure Christmas

Christmas Day is just around the corner.  I can’t believe how quickly it has come up this year.  I probably say that every year, but this last twelve months has whizzed by, and so much has happened.  It’s been such a strange, disturbing year, with a lot of loss and grief for so many people.  I don’t know about you, but I am praying for a much kinder 2017.

My Mum is currently suffering with a nasty cough/virus and it makes me very anxious.  I can’t bear for her to be ill.  She is always so healthy and I sometimes forget she is a senior now, and small illnesses can be potentially dangerous.  Also, being sick at Christmas sucks!  I know she feels miserable and concerned and also annoyed that she can’t do a lot – she hates neglecting her garden and other chores.  I just worry incessantly, especially as I am not just around the corner but 30 minutes drive away, and I can’t keep a close eye on her.  Luckily, my best friend’s Mum is just around the corner – in fact, she is taking Mum to the doctor’s this morning (I would have done but had no one to cover me at work). Hopefully she will get some antibiotics (even though she hates taking them, she admits she probably needs some this time) and be on the mend soon.  We’re meant to be spending Christmas Eve with my brother and his family, but I don’t know if she will be well enough at this stage 😦

It’s funny how, in the lead up to Christmas, you think about all the things you would like, and hope that Santa obliges.  This year, I just want my Mum to be well, and for us all to have a nice, peaceful, stress-free time together, with no dramas.

This week, I managed to get all my Christmas shopping done in record time.  I have less people to buy for this year, for one reason or another, and it made it much easier.  I made a few gifts too, which meant less spending (always a good thing) and less stress (a very good thing).  I also decided not to do the fancy wrapping I always do, which usually ends up with me stressed out of my brain and wrapping gifts every night until midnight, making sure they all fit a “theme” and all look decorative and pretty.  Not this year.  I used store-bought wrapping paper and did nothing fancier than tying them with string.  I didn’t even use matching tags!  *gasps*  It just made everything so much easier and quicker and reduced my stress by about a million percent.  I am wrapped and done, ahead of time.

Whilst looking for gifts for my Mum, I pretty much followed the list she had given me (an Ian Rankin book, some gardening stuff, a Michael Buble CD, pyjamas) but I always like to get her some other little extras too, so she has some surprises.  I found this set of measuring cups in an op-shop and thought she might like them.  They look vintage (although I suspect they are not) and I liked the little Wintery scene on them, which I thought would also make them ideal for Christmas decorating, if Mum didn’t want to use them as actual measuring cups.  I just thought they were sweet.  And at $5.00 for the three, I wasn’t exactly breaking the bank.

I hope she likes them, and is well enough to enjoy all of her presents.
That’s all I want for Christmas.

Best wishes to you all.  Stay well and take care of each other x

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My Week in Pictures

It’s been a hectic week.  I have been madly making cards and other crafty goodies for my upcoming market stall.  I’ve been organising things to sell at a car boot sale this weekend (I have so much junk-that’s-not-really-junk to get rid of).  I’ve been organising quotes for air-conditioning in my rapidly heating up house.  I’ve had several birthday events to attend and catch-ups to arrange before Christmas.  It’s all happening.

I finally updated my phone and now have a much better one that doesn’t take blurry photos and doesn’t keep shutting down for no reason.  My old phone looks and behaves like something from the stone age.  Well, to be fair, it was about eight years old which, in phone terms these days, is practically a millennium.

I can take selfies now without having to guess if I am pointing the phone camera in the right direction.  And then edit the photos on the spot if I am not happy with them (ie don’t like the way I look in them).

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I also managed to fit in a spot of op-shopping.  I haven’t been for aaaaaaaaages, mostly due to lack of funds but also I just haven’t had time.  I broke my shoes this week so I actually did need to go and find a new pair.  Not wanting to spend a fortune, I of course when to the op-shop to check out what they had available.  I scored these lovely buckle-detail wedges.  I cannot walk in wedges, normally.  I fall down, a lot.  I wobble and am very unsteady because my ankle tends to turn in and I am a super klutz.  But these had a nice chunky heel and were very stable and comfortable.  And my perfect size! Better still, they were only $3.00!  I mean!  How could I not get them?  I wish they had been black as they would be more practical for work, but beggars can’t be choosers, right?

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My garden has gained a critter.  This VERY LARGE grasshopper.  Who only has one back leg.  He has been on the same tree for about a week now.  I am not sure if he is resting or waiting for a bus, preparing to die, or just hanging out.  I must admit to being a bit squeamish about crickets and grasshoppers but I wouldn’t hurt one and, as I have no garden to speak of, there is nothing for him to destroy, so he can stay.  I don’t know if he can get around on one back leg – I’m assuming they don’t grow back like a spider’s does.  He is quite magnificent though – he looks like he is wearing armour.  He was kind enough to let me get in his face and take his picture without leaping off and scaring the bejeezus out of me.  But I do fear he is not long for this world, which is a shame.

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I had a lovely afternoon of Lego and tea with my Mum, brother and his brood.  Playing with Lego is an age-old tradition in my family.  I don’t think we will ever tire of it, and I am so glad the littlies enjoy it (because it gives us an excuse to play too).  That’s my castle there in the middle of the table – it’s been demolished by Master Nine, despite my protests.  I used to love hanging out with my big bro’, back in the day, building all sorts of creations.  I’m lucky I even had a big brother who didn’t mind his little sister hanging around playing with his stuff and probably taking all the good bricks.

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I went walking with a friend and found this beautiful cockatoo feather (shortly after having a spectacular fall and landing on my face).  Isn’t it gorgeous?  The Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo is endangered and always having its habitat destroyed by various construction projects and deforestation.  They are lovely creatures and it would be a shame to lose them.  I have treated them when I was a vet nurse and, despite their large size and FEROCIOUSLY STRONG beak, they are quite a gentle bird and very intelligent.  I love this feather and it will have pride of place on my hall table.

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I have not been looking after my plants at all, but they continue to amaze me with their resilience and growth. My “Mother of Thousands” plant is doing so well and is producing so many babies I feel I should open a nursery.  It is doing so well despite my neglect and  inability to remember that plants like water occasionally.

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Even the “dead” leaves from my Kalanchoe Feldtschenkoi I threw into the garden have sprouted bubbies and they are so cute!  They’re like tiny little rose buds at this stage.  I love that they propagate like this.  This is why I never throw any part of a succulent away – it still has life in it even if it looks dead!

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I got glasses.  Proper ones.  Not over-the-counter-chemist ones.  Actual optometrist-prescribed ones.  I am still getting used to them.  I really only need them for fine, intricate work, particularly when crafting and drawing, so I keep forgetting I have them.  They are currently buried under a pile of card-making supplies.

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My cousin in England sent me this STUNNING photo of my Mum.  I have never seen it before.  She looks so beautiful.  She would have been about 18 years old, just engaged and living at home with my grandparents.  Check out those nails!!!  They’re her real nails – not some fake stuck on ones.  And her hair is amazing (although I know now where I get my split-fringe issue from!).  The photo would have been taken by my Grandad who loved to shoot very posed pictures – he would always have a prop and a theme going on, ha ha.  No candid happy snaps for him, oh no!

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Now I just have to concentrate on my market stall on the weekend and then I can relax or, at least, make sense of my house and maybe start decorating for Christmas before Christmas has actually been and gone.

Hope you have a wonderful week and accomplish everything you you have planned (even if your plans include lots of napping, day-dreaming and generally lounging about 🙂 )

Thanks for reading, as always x

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Love and Miracles

Just a short post today… A bit of a stressful weekend just gone, with my elderly Aunt in intensive care at the hospital due to cardiac issues, my friend experiencing relationship dramas, another friend in serious ill-health in another hospital, and life just chucking stuff at everyone left, right and centre.  I just want everybody to be ok 😦

But I did fit in an hour or so of crafting.  I was determined.  Even one card is better than achieving nothing at all.  So I sat and made this one little card, which isn’t fabulous, but it is finished.  And it has a bird, which makes everything better.

I do so want to believe in love and miracles.  Especially at the moment.

x

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