Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes - Turn and face the strain...

Moving right along...

Last night TLOML and I cooked a roast and it proved to be my first major slip.  How oh how could I resist baked potatoes???  For Herbert's sake I am only human!

I cooked masses of pumpkin and sweet potato (allowed), zucchini, broccoli, and the most delicious piece of tender lean beef, seasoned with salt, pepper and oregano.... (drooling all over again now).  I slipped in three little ways...

1.  I had a huge serving having waited too long for the dinner to be ready
2.  I had three tiny pieces of potato
3.  I followed up with a generous dollop of flavoured yoghurt

My taste buds were in heaven.

The worst thing was probably the yoghurt because it has way too much sugar and that is the villain I have worked hardest to avoid.  I guess to be honest I have not cut out as much sugar as I should have...  Tropical fruits are in season here and I have eaten several mangoes, two pears, quite a lot of watermelon, and one red papaya.  I have also had flavoured yoghurt maybe four times in the last two and a half weeks.

TLOML has been very encouraging and has been carrying on about how good I have been and I know I have done pretty well but I still think I need to be more aggressive about losing the sugar.

Here is an interesting note...  I seem to be having less bouts of severe pain.  Now I wasn't looking for this and to be honest it is always variable and sometimes I do go a while with only the lower level baseline pain but I think this is starting to appear significant.  I will say that I have been easier on my body than I was in the months leading up to this situation because it is so bloody hot I have not been doing any projects outside (having finished replacing all the stair treads into the house - all 16 of them! - in the 6 weeks before TLOML's birthday in mid November).  But I am going to aqua aerobics twice a week and last time I went to aqua I was spending a couple of days recovering from each session.  I hope this is not just a normal fluctuation and that it proves to be a significant improvement but I won't shout it from the rooftops just yet.  Still here's hoping!

TLOML is working her last days this week before breaking up for the summer holidays.  Her summer plans are still up in the air (waiting for someone else to make a decision) and so, therefore, are mine.  I don't think I will be going to Sydney.  The Boy is working lots over the summer so he is too busy to hang out with and much as I would LOVE to see all my friends it is a big expense when The Boy is not available.  I will probably just stay home and swelter quietly with our beloved dogs.  Maybe if TLOML ends up staying here too we will get away to the tablelands for a few days at some point and cool down.  I certainly have enough university work due at the end of January to keep me busy!

I know in the grand scheme of things if I make this dietary regimen a lifestyle (and I think I probably will) then a few cheats now and then are not only fine but are necessary.  This first 30 days though, I really need to stay hyper-focused and try to be perfect so that I can really make a difference to my blood readings.

I think I can ... I think I can... I know I can!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Happy Anniversary Baby!

Well yesterday was the one year anniversary of the last time I had a cigarette and it was the easiest quit ever.    I have come to realize that I am actually in control of things like smoking - I can stop quite easily with minimal pain (nicotine gum for a couple of days) and easy to manage cravings.  It just isn't that hard!

I'm trying to apply the same mindset to my dietary lifestyle change.  I'm trying not to say I am on a "diet" and to invoke the phrase "going primal" instead and strangely it is harder to change the way I talk about what is happening than it is to change the foods I am eating...  Maybe because I need to think in advance about foods and the words just pop out uninvited... I'm not sure...

Looking around online for more info on the Paleo Diet I came across a series of reports from a San Francisco TV Health Watch program.  The TV doctor was going paleo and followed a diet prescribed by the research team at UCSF and the documentary clips are so interested I thought I should post them here... about half way down this page there are five links under the video clip - I think they are really worth a look.

I'm doing pretty well with going primal...  yesterday I made a huge pot of Italian style vegetable stew stuff...  

two onions chopped and softened by frying in a teaspoon of olive oil
two tins of tomatoes with no added preservatives or sugar
about twenty pitted kalamata olives
a generous sprinkle of Italian herbs and black pepper
about a tablespoon of garlic
a teaspoon of ginger
a teaspoon of chili
two carrots
six medium zucchini
one medium sweet potato
a quarter of a small pumpkin (skinned)
one large eggplant
about a cup and a half of red wine
any other vegetables you feel like adding.

It was super yummy - I ate a bowl and a half with just a little shaved Parmesan sprinkled on top.  Then I stir fried some lean kangaroo meat that had marinated in red wine and garlic (which I think could have been better if cooked on the BBQ). 

The tomato stuff made enough for maybe three meals for TLOML and I.  We ate as much as we wanted, then froze half of what was left and kept the other half fresh for eating today and tomorrow.

Not bad huh?  This is the Italian version of my standard one pot vegetable thingy...  I have an Asian style version and an Indian style version but they are all basically the same with different spices and flavours.  

Probably none of this sounds too amazing but seriously I didn't cook anything until this year really... except to run the BBQ grill and to grab processed food from the fridge I had nothing to do with food production until moving in with TLOML.  Now I cook heaps and we reheat my cooking on most of the other nights!

As an aside it is anniversary season for me...  in about a week and a half TLOML and I celebrate our first anniversary.  I have already bought a few little gifts online and have been having the fun of seeing them arrive almost daily.  I doubt TLOML will do anything much but that's fine.  I have the leisure and pleasure of shopping and choosing things while she is at work.

Do check out the video it really is enlightening...  There is another story about the study, two groups of diabetics were given diets for two weeks - one group was given the diet recommended by the Diabetes Association (the Mediterranean Diet) and the other group went Paleo -- the first group showed no significant changes while the Paleo group saw lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, lower blood sugar and lower triglycerides.  It even surprised the researchers what could happen in two weeks!  I hope my version of this diet does the same for me when I go in for my 30 day blood tests!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Day 7 since D Diagnosis Day & Diet

Well this time last week I got the dreaded news and I must say I have been quite proactive throughout this week.

I have joined an online health and diet tracking community at that allows me to input everything I eat and any exercise I do... it also tracks my weight loss (assuming I have any) and if and when I start measuring my blood sugar it can track that too.  I'm using the site to try and keep my interest level high and my focus intense.

On Friday night we went out for drinks that turned into dinner with TLOML's workmates.  Her boss (who is wonderful) was permanently confirmed into the position and it was truly cause for celebration.  I confined my drinking to Gin and Tonic (low sugar and low carbs) and though it still has calories it is better than wine or beer.  Then I managed to choose a meal from the menu where the only thing that was not Paleo approved was the mashed potato and I only had about half a cup.

Yesterday we went across to the mainland and saw the new James Bond movie Skyfall ... it was very good (if you like that sort of thing which I don't really)... we had lunch at the local Leagues club and I ordered a Gluten Free Option Kangaroo Salad made with lots of greens and lean kangaroo loin.  It was bloody delicious!!!  I should have taken a picture.  The waitress might not last long (but then again it was the Leagues club) because she put it on the table and promptly told me that she couldn't cope with eating Skippy...  Hmmmm... not the best marketing move LOL.  Kangaroo is a great option for any red meat eater who is dieting... it is tasty and lean and high in omega 3's, antioxidants etc (check out this link if you want some info)  Anyway I had a lovely lunch accompanied by ice water with a slice of lemon (free is me!) and didn't harm my diet in any way!

So things are going well... no spectacular weight loss... but to be honest that is not my focus anyway even though I could do to lose a few pounds my real intention is to change my blood sugar readings.

I really appreciate the comments and the support it is wonderful to know people are reading this and thinking about me even if only for a few minutes.

My thanks to you!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Is it day two or day three?

Well early days either way...

I just wanted to quickly touch base and let you know that I am doing ok so far.  I have NOT yet managed to get a Paleo breakfast and have had cereal two mornings in a row but the rest of it is going well.  The grocery order arrives this afternoon so I will have more choices then!

FibroFacioGal (my old mate whose blog is really worth a read) commented on my blog and asked what I'm going to do with myself and my new found education once I finish this Masters.  I'm not sure everyone knows but I have been doing a Masters of Conflict and Dispute Resolution and I should be finished early in the new year.  This very question is the fuel of much intense self-examination and thought.  My Professor at the uni is trying to persuade me to do a PhD and has a study plan all worked out for me.  She has given me some work as a Research Assistant (which I can do at home, in bed, lying down... nice work if you can get it eh?) and the project I am working on is a pilot... the Professor has suggested that when I am done with the Masters I could carry on with the extension of the pilot study we are working on at the moment and do a nation-wide study of the same issue.  It's pretty interesting stuff - we are researching conflict between graduate students and their PhD supervisors.  Quite possibly I could get a scholarship and some research funding to continue this study and the Professor would help me get it all up and running.

As part of my course I have done what I need to do to become accredited as a Mediator and as a Conflict Coach so if I were going to go back into the mainstream workforce I would probably be looking for something in one of those areas... apparently Family Mediation is a growth area and I only need another course or two to get accredited in that too.  As things stand at the moment I am not really fit enough to return  full-time to the workforce and I already have some part-time work so I am pretty happy with where that all is for now.  Strangely the recuperative effects of not working make me feel almost well enough to work but time and again I find that when I take on a project here at home it knocks me back down again so much that for every hour I spend doing something I need three hours of resting to recover and I'm likely to feel lousy for a day or two!

I just had a call from The Boy who is working and taking care of himself; he's doing pretty damn well for a nineteen year old!  We had a nice long chat.  The shopping order arrived with all my new veggies and stuff - I unpacked as much as I could before pooping out.  Off to pick up TLOML from her work in about half an hour... Life goes on... with or without the diet...

Monday, 26 November 2012

The view from the bottom of the valley...

Well it has been ages since I wrote a blog and there are a number of reasons why... I guess, in part, I didn't think I had anything to say or anything anyone else would find interesting...  I have been doing OK with University and I'm in the home stretch for the Masters...  Health wise I have been kind of bouncing along... not great... not terrible...  I appear to have entered menopause and for the past few months I have felt like I'm permanently experiencing severe PMS...  I've been pretty grouchy, very snappy and a bit paranoid...  I described myself to a friend today and told her that TLOML doesn't seem all that into me at the moment and she said (rightly) "Who would be into that?'

Well I thought I would start blogging again because yesterday I got some not great news and today I have begun the first part of a journey designed to turn my health around... (at least as much as possible).

Yesterday I got the results of a Glucose Tolerance test and it is the first test I have flunked since high school! My baseline fasting glucose was 7.2 (130 for my North American friends), then I drank the sugar drink and 60 minutes later it was 14.3 (258) and after another hour (120 minutes total) it was 13.5 (243)...  The doctor (who I have never named but she took over after Dr McSincere left) said she doesn't think it will be able to be controlled by diet but she wants to give me a month to try and get the levels down and then she will repeat the test (lucky me it cost five needles getting the test done the first time).

So here's the challenge... I am going to start a Primal/Paleo diet.  Taking sugar and grains out of my diet will not be easy but the alternative is most unattractive.

So here goes...  Today, without knowing it, I did the wrong thing by having some cereal for breakfast... no more cereal...  lunch was a hearty ham and eggs which, as counter-intuitive as it sounds, is apparently one of the best things I can eat...  dinner is on the stove chicken, brussel sprouts, broccoli, sweet potato, red cabbage, onion, garlic, chili, ginger, with a dash of wine (not much I promise).  I have ordered Krill Oil and will start that on Thursday.

Well I intend to find a site online to track my progress...  I have a friend in the US who has cured her own diabetes readings with this diet and she is going to coach me online...  I'm going to weigh myself but I'm not sure I am going to share that with you lot...

Wish me luck, I have not really done much with dieting in the past... I did the juice diet for most of a week last year...  I spent a few months on a low fat diet back in the mid 90's...  Still I never had as much motivation as I have right now - today!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Ugly Boats and Ugly Houses

I remember once one of my ex-girlfriends was having a tantrum and picked up a heavy paperweight and made as if to throw it into the leaded glass window on the built-in-buffet...  "Don't!"  I screamed, "Tell me why I shouldn't?" she yelled back, red faced and with flaming eyes....  "Because it's beautiful." I replied.  She calmed down, lowered her throwing arm (which I can assure you was deadly accurate and powerful when used!) and said "Yes.  It is.".  Beauty managed to save itself from destruction in that case.

Another time when I was a Realtor I was working with a young woman buyer and she had a list of very practical requirements of the home (she was an accountant) and she was very tight in the budget department...  I showed her a house that ticked all her boxes except having a garage door opener...  Unfortunately what the house did have was orange (yes I mean it) shag carpet wall to wall and on those walls  was the synthetic 'genuine imitation picture of wood' fake wood panels, the basement was full of dead appliances, the upstairs had that 50's colourful striped carpet... it was UGLY!!!  She said, "I can't buy it; it's too ugly" and I said "But it has everything you want, new roof, new furnace, updated plumbing, near the bus, nice area...." etc etc ... Of course I understood... it was UGLY!  A week or so later I heard from the agent who had that house listed asking me what my buyer thought... I told him it was probably the right house for her but that it was just too ugly... He said "Put it in writing, whatever you want, make us an offer; my seller is very handy and is keen to sell."  My buyer took some persuading; it was hard to get her to see what the house would look like with the carpet all removed and the floors all polished, the paneling taken down and the walls patched and painted beige, the giant woodburning stove removed from the middle of the dining room (you can't make this stuff up seriously), AND a garage door opener installed.  It was the longest list of requests addendum I have ever seen in real estate and nearly every one was accepted.  The day we inspected the house, after the work was done and before closing, my buyer was astounded (and so was I) it was the cutest little house with beautiful maple floors.  Several years later I saw that buyer at an event and she was still in love with her house.  Ugly just might not be permanent.

I've been shopping for a boat - now that I live in tropical paradise I may as well get out on the water and enjoy it...  I fell in love with the prettiest little runabout, but it doesn't have an electric tilt button and I don't think my body can handle lifting the engine.  It also only really has room for two people, the trailer was rusty and unregistered, it is a long way away...

In my imagination I want a boat like this one (it only costs about 20 times my budget!)

Then, for the same small budget, here locally, I found a bigger boat with an engine with tilt, rego on the boat and trailer (which is decent), all the safety gear, and plenty of room....   but OH MY GOD IT IS UGLY!  This thing has been hand painted (without the need of masking tape or a good eye, perhaps Helen Keller and Stevie Wonder worked on the paint job together?)  It has all the wires running down the side just hanging there, the bench seat across the front is a lump of timber, it is hideous!  But hey as I used to say to my real estate clients... "Paint's cheap!"

This weekend I am going over to town to go to Uni for a workshop...  I have arranged to check out the boat again on Saturday (after my course) and if it all checks out on Sunday I will take the truck over on the barge and pick up the boat...  I'm not sure if I want to call this boat 'The Silk Purse' or 'The Beast' but either way it will be quite the project cleaning it up.  Maybe I will blog about my progress (with pictures of the hideous thing)...

Pretty ugly huh?  I blotted out the guy and the number though...  (Actually it looks worse than this in person).

Perhaps I will paint flowers all over it like the old VW's from the 60's and 70's?  Maybe I will install a couple of banana lounges in the back of the cockpit?

Whatever way it goes it will be an adventure!

So unless something better presents in the next 24 hours I am buying the ugly boat on Sunday!

UPDATE: not 30 minutes after I posted this blog I was contacted by someone in response to my wanted ad - now the ugly boat has a competitor!  Two to see on the weekend!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Being Grateful!

I shared this on Facebook this morning and it got me thinking that I probably could do with a gratitude list - so here it is!

When I lived in the US once a year we would have what was usually an orphan's Thanksgiving dinner.  We invited anyone we knew who couldn't go to their own family... for whatever reason...  Always there were people there whom I had never met, frequently there were people who spoke no English, and usually very few of those present knew each other.  We ate - huge meals of turkey, with lashings of vegetables and then desserts; and we drank - significant quantities of wine usually.  The funniest time was when we invited this Moroccan guy, Adi, who was married to an American acquaintance... his wife was away on an academic appointment and so he was going to be home alone.  Adi was a great dinner guest but I must confess to fits of uncontrollable giggles (wine assisted I'm sure) overtaking me when he brought out his slide projector and started showing us a travelogue of the tour he was selling to Morroco!  He had printed sheets for us and our other guests to sign up there and then - everything but the credit card machine!  Another time we had two Korean students (they were at law school with a friend of ours) and one of them brought her mother who spoke no English - the poor woman (who remained sober) was quite overwhelmed by the raucous, inebriated volume of our laughter and conversation.  One of the memorable components of each of these cacophonous gatherings was the pause before we actually ate when we would go around the table and each say a few words about the things that year had delivered for which we were grateful.  I kind of miss that... the breath to think about only the benefits... the moment to rise beyond the irritations of daily life and look at the more important truths...

Charlie Brown and Snoopy can't even hope to be grateful every day for everything - but how about being grateful today for the good stuff?

I am grateful for (in non-significant order)
  • being Australian
  • living in a country where (in spite of constant attacks from the right wing, big money, and big finance) there is still a system of universal education, welfare, and healthcare
  • having in my life a plethora of interesting, intelligent, like-minded people who believe in taking care of those who have harder roads, the earth, the animals, the ocean...  I am grateful for their passion and their staunch beliefs
  • every day in every way I am grateful for my parents and my upbringing most especially my mother who is omnipresent in my thoughts in spite of the nearly 4 years that have passed since she died
  • The Boy - OMG I am so grateful for The Boy - when life has reached its lowest ebb it is his existence that has enabled me to survive (as a side note he is doing incredibly well at the moment and has been promoted to supervisor only half way through his traineeship - it doubles his salary and the company has put him in the very best location in their flagship store - starting the day before his 19th birthday The Boy is on his way!)  I am so very fortunate that all my crappy decisions didn't manage to screw him up too much!
  • the dogs.  Frizby and Venus add so much to my daily life especially in the production of endorphins I'm sure.  I adore the babies and I love that TLOML and I are both loving them together
  • The Best Friend - anyone who has read this blog before knows what a jackpot I have won with her, I am forever in her debt for the help she has given The Boy and I am so lucky to have her friendship
  • the chooks who give us lovely fresh eggs but who more importantly give me pleasure and make me feel all warm and fuzzy and entertained
  • opportunity - just when I thought I was pretty much out to pasture from now on I have had yet another opportunity land in my lap - work I can do while lying in bed, that furthers my studies and enhances my resume while paying me a good casual wage... just a few hours a week but that is about all I have in me anyway...  Out of nowhere here comes another chance to feel success
  • my intelligence and my ability to write - I'm not meaning to sound arrogant but I would be remiss if I failed to be thankful for these undeserved (and frequently misused) gifts
  • The Nurse - how lucky am I that I come to a strange place, where I only know TLOML, and I find in her friend someone who is so wonderful and so accepting of me - someone who has been open to allow us to develop our own relationship and whom I just adore!  (she loves me too!)  Serendipity at it's finest.
  • TLOML's youngest son - his presence makes me feel just a little less pain about being so far away from The Boy; his humour clicks with mine and I am grateful for the moments when our eyes meet with understanding and laughter.  I am also grateful for the fact that we just 'get' each other and that he forgives my grumpy moods.  He can be a shit of a kid (can't they all?) but I really love him and that is something worthy of gratitude!
  • his father - how cool is it to really enjoy your partner's ex?
  • my health - I know this sounds strange being that I have a chronic illness but it's true - even though I am in constant pain and I never feel great, I'm actually quite healthy in other ways... I rarely catch colds or viruses and my constitution is strong - good heart, low blood pressure, and all this in spite of the terrible things I have inflicted upon my system over the years...
  • Facebook - without FB I would not be able to maintain solid and consistent relationships with the many friends I love all over the world - I can't hug them but we can interact and correspond and KNOW that we think of each other with love and fondness.  Also it was Facebook that brought TLOML back into my life and I will thank FB forever for that.
  • my friends who are scattered so far and wide - loving them makes me feel good
  • good food!  Here in Australia we are lucky to have terrific fresh produce, meats, seafood and anything else we might want.  I'm learning to cook (after decades of avoiding it vehemently), I'm almost enjoying it and we sure do get to eat well!
  • TLOML - I've carried on enough in these pages about how fortunate I am to have met this crazy wonderful woman... we have our ups and downs, our moments of pique, and yet we just roll on past them - not dragging them on like extra carriages of cargo - they are shunted off onto a siding never to be seen again...  she shares without question her life, her house (which is now our home), her friends, and her family, and my life has a depth of pleasure and a richness I never expected to experience again.
I'm sure I have missed stuff, it is by no means a complete list - off the top of my head these are the biggies...

I think it's good for us all to spend time occasionally thinking only of the good stuff - let all the nasty stuff go -- for the most part, you can't change it anyway so why dwell on it?  I'm not convinced of the power of positive thinking and I can be a bit of a pessimistic optimist at times (hope for the best and plan for the worst) but really a few minutes dedicated to thinking only the stuff that feels good is really healthy!

Thanks to any of you out there who bother to read this and comment -- I love you too!

Thank Herbert for it all!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Good News Monday!

I know I am an unforgivably slack blogger.  I ask for no forgiveness and I know my apologies are not nearly sufficient.

That said -- I have been BUSY!!!

Chronological order usually seems like the best way to relay a narrative account of events but not today I have news I am busting to share!

I just handed in an assignment to the University (one that I suspect is inferior in quality, unfortunately) and as I opened my uni email to send the assignment in I found several emails from the Director of the Master of Conflict and Dispute Resolution Program in which I am studying.  One was giving me a mark for the last subject I finished and I was STUNNED to discover that I had achieved a High Distinction on each of the components and therefore my first HD for a whole course!!!  Yippee was I completely surprised I thought my final assignment on that subject was  a load of tripe and onions.  I also had an email giving me a totaled mark for the subject I finished before that (in this case I got an HD for the major assignment but a Credit for an earlier piece of work gave me a Distinction average).  None of this is THE good news...

I also had an email from this professor advising me that she has received funding for a part time research assistant and asking IF I AM INTERESTED!!!!

Does the Pontiff wear a silly hat?
Is a duck's bum watertight?
Are polka dot bikinis itsy bitsy and teeny weeny?

Of course I am bloody interested!

I don't know too much yet - the project is looking at conflict between PhD Students and their Supervisors.  Both of the lecturers involved in the project know me and know that I have health issues and problems with endurance, they are both quite flexible, so I'm pretty sure they would be flexible and quite possibly some of the work would be able to be done remotely (coming to you live from my bedroom!).  Anyway, it's very exciting and here's hoping... it could be the inauspicious beginning of my academic career!

OK now to some newsy stuff...  at the end of June I celebrated my 50th birthday.  I had a lovely day with TLOML pottering around in town and shopping at the hardware shop (the Aussie version of Homo Depot). I can't really remember why we were there but we got some fairy lights for the party and a solar powered pair of spotlights that now light up the back yard on a movement sensor.  We had spent the week leading up to the birthday cleaning, sorting, tidying, decorating and generally finally moving me in.  The Nurse (whom I adore more every day) gave me, as my birthday present, 6 hours of her labour and came the day before my birthday and got so much done I was amazed!  I am returning the favour now by giving her some handy work on an as needed basis - already I think I will put in a new toilet roll holder and there is some other stuff she wants me to do.  A great idea cause we get to hang out together - get stuff done - save money - and make each other feel good -- Wins all around!

We had a lovely visit from The Actress, The Percussionist and their daughter for a few days and a quite small party the day after my birthday.  One night while the visitors were here we went in the evening to a place called West Point to watch the sunset.  TLOML's ex (who I am just crazy about as I have said here before) came and brought his guitar and his mandolin, their son (Who would have thought I could find a kindred spirit in a 15 year old boy?) built a fire on the beach and I got absolutely sloshed and sang all evening.  It has been a LONG LONG time since I enjoyed something like that!  Here are a couple of pics...

It was the most wonderful evening.

I still miss The Boy and I wish he were closer - he is doing so well fending for himself (well almost he still has the watchful eye of The Best Friend not too far away thank Herbert!).  I feel a real sense of pride in him and I'm so impressed with how well he is approaching his work and his responsibilities.  One of the head honcho's at his work (big position about five levels of management above The Boy) singled him out to come in for a chat and talked about his goals and how he is enjoying his work.  There is even a strong possibility that he might get promoted into a supervisory role before the end of his traineeship.  I feel so incredibly fortunate in that area because Herbert knows I made more than my share of parental mistakes and still managed not to totally break him - by good luck not good management!  We Skype'd for a while the other day which is a pretty good substitute for being together.  He turns 19 in a couple of weeks... how the years have flown!

Things are going well with TLOML.  We hit an occasional bump but we seem to bounce back pretty well...  There is a lot of love and understanding between us... The dogs (our shared babies) are a constant source of joy, amusement and aggravation (that would be Frizby delivering that part) and we have to control ourselves from talking about them all the time when we are with other people.  I have also been twice to the produce store to acquire some new chooks (chickens) and today is the first time we have had TWO EGGS!!!  She calls me "The Chook Whisperer" when I sneek out at night to make sure the new chookies have not been excluded from the perch (I pick them up and put them on the perch for the night).

Pastoral, peaceful, pleasant, playful, pleasing and paradisical... (unfortunately still painful too, but c'est la vie).

I think island life agrees with me....

Thursday, 21 June 2012

On the water

Riding across from the island this morning on the ferry I was struck (as I often am) with the beauty of the place where I live.  The sea was glistening, the air was crisp - but not cold - and the golden light of early morning revealed the gullies and crags of the surrounding landscape.  I sat on the upper deck- alone - and viewed the world as if I were a tourist.
This brought to mind the many times I have been a tourist on boats.  The ferry to Madeline Island off the northern coast of Wisconsin in my beloved Lake Superior - the car ferry to Bainbridge Island across Puget Sound from Seattle - sightseeing on Milford Sound in New Zealand - funny old rusty ships to the Greek Islands when I was a child and car ferries across the English Channel on the same trip - canal boats in Amsterdam - a cruise ship sailing into Cape Town - for that matter the first time I rode the ferry to Magnetic Island back in the mid 1980's when I was young, fit and invincible...  What beautiful sights I have seen from the water!
It is a long love affair, this relationship with the water...  I rode a ferry across Sydney Harbour to school for 7 years and I always loved it. The relaxation of a leisurely trip across the water releases the tensions of the day and creates a separation between home and the outside world.  This afternoon on the ferry I enjoyed a lively and cheerful conversation with a woman a barely know and another I have never been introduced to, as we pulled up to the wharf on the island I saw TLOML's ex, who always makes me smile, poking his tongue out out me because I had failed to see him sooner.  There is no one who could have mistaken the genuine pleasure that showed on my face when I saw him.  He is a wonderful guy and I really like him!  TLOML was there to pick me up in Shermie, with both the dogs wagging their tails and happy to see me.  We went right to the beach and walked for a while as the last of the daylight faded from the sky.  It's not bad living on an island in paradise, especially not when the rest of Australia is suffering through a chilly winter and I am warm on a beach in shirts-sleeves at dusk.
The ex of TLOML (P) brings me to another point...  Now I have never been a man hater, a separatist, or in any way anti-men (after all I do have a son!) but as a general rule, throughout my adult life, I have not really made friends with all that many men.  I have a very close friend in Minnesota, a gay guy I used to work with, but other than him most of my friends have always been women.  Here things are different.  In all my life I have never met so many men who I REALLY REALLY like!  This place is full of beautiful, gentle, men.  Three of my favourites have the same name (P) LOL and quite frankly there is another P, who I don't know very well, but who I really like too!  Up until moving here I would really have only counted The Best Friend's hubby, The Optimist, and The Actress's hubby, The Percussionist, among my favourite people - men were very poorly represented!  This is no longer the case.  Now I know that the rest of the good guys were hiding up here!
OK gang - Day Two is done - only one to go (of my stint over at the University)... I think I can... I think I can...  I know that the ride on the ferry adds time to my long and tiring days... but there is something else that it adds which more than makes up for the deficit...  It gives me a boost to the spirit and a lift to the heart.

But I am very glad to be home.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Musings on life, Herbert, and blogging

It's some sort of a cycle.

I don't blog, then I feel guilty about not blogging, then I think I have nothing to say and why would someone want to read my drivel, so I don't blog...

I want to talk about all kinds of things but some of them are minutia and some of them might be too personal or might make me look foolish - so I don't write.

There are lots of great excuses - I am busy studying (I have received Distinctions for the first two subjects I have finished), I am busy living (TLOML and the doggers absorb my time), I'm not in great health (when I crash I crash and I just want to let my mind run free in an effort to forget my body is actually still part of me) but none of them is a good enough reason not to write.

In 10 days I will tick over into my 50's and I can't believe it.  In so many ways I'm so unchanged from the child I was.  I'm still homesick for my Mum, though she has been dead nearly four years.  I'm still socially anxious and I still never feel like I fit in.  I still feel like an awkward misfit who doesn't quite get anything right in this world.

A couple of days ago I went to a memorial service with TLOML.  It was for a woman in her early 50's who died suddenly of a brain aneurysm.  A few years back I lost a very close friend like that, she was only 44 and it was a devastating shock.  The service was on the beach at sunset and there were lots of people in attendance.  The clothing was casual and colourful.  Lots of people were barefooted.  The local a capella choir, many of whom were close friends of the woman, sung.  When darkness fell a large paper heart was set alight, big paper lanterns were released - rising towards the stars on the power of their flames, and tiny boats with candles were lit and floated into the sea, it was beautiful.  Although I had never met the woman, she and her partner having been overseas since I moved up here, I heard stories of how she had touched people and the causes she had fought for.  More than anything I heard stories of the bond she and her partner shared, it seems they were truly soul mates.  Although I was a stranger, there as a sign of support to TLOML and her friends, some of whom were very close to the woman, I was deeply touched.

There is no justice in this world.  Miserly, miserable people live long unproductive lives making others unhappy and kind, gentle souls can be snatched away without time to say goodbye.  People in horrid relationships become elderly being rude and unkind to each other and someone else loses their soul mate in early middle age.  There is no rhyme or reason, no sense, no logic, Charles Manson grows old in gaol while Princess Diana, who worked so hard for so many valuable causes, is killed at 36.

I don't understand Herbert.  It just is.

Starting tomorrow I have a three day workshop at  the university.  That will probably knock my body around a bit so the weekend will be at least partially dedicated to recovery.  I'm in recovery today too because yesterday I started washing windows.  The Actress, The Percussionist and their daughter are coming to visit to share my birthday.  I'm so pleased they are coming and I can't wait to see them.  So TLOML and I need to get the house ready and washing the windows is one of jobs I have decided to tackle.  I like doing things where it makes a big difference, where you can see the result of your labour.  But I pay.  I pay dearly every time I throw myself into a task.  Last week I did a little car maintenance including flushing the radiator and was sore for a couple of days.  Washing the dogs did me in too.  I don't care though.  I would rather keep doing things and know I need a couple of days to recover than not be doing stuff!

On the home front everything is going well.  I miss The Boy though he is doing well in Sydney and is working hard.  The dogs are terrific though Frizby's separation anxiety is a bit of an issue.  Now if I go for a swim she keeps swimming out to me.  TLOML and I had a swim the other day and Frizzle was exhausted from swimming out to us every time we took her back to the beach.  (Hence why I was bathing the dogs!)  The nights are quite cool here at the moment but the days are beautiful.  Sunny and warm and sparkling Especially through the clean windows!!!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

It's about time, it's about dogs...

Well back in April I undertook the A - Z blog challenge because my blogging was flagging a bit and it seems that rather than give me a kick start (as I intended) it exhausted my creativity and caused me to need nearly a month off blogging!  Never fear - I have returned!

I must confess life has been rather busy of late.  I am working on my masters - not nearly as much as I should be - but I am doing it.  I've finished the first subject, am in progress with two at the moment and I'm about to start my fourth.  Then I will be half way through!  It's very interesting learning about conflict, mediation, and all that other alternative dispute resolution stuff.  Although I must confess that it is a bit difficult doing this when I am not working.  Hanging out in paradise with TLOML and the dogs just doesn't give me all that much food for thought in the conflict department.

Healthwise I think I am doing somewhat better than I was six months ago.  The pain levels are not good at all even though I'm taking much better pain meds and I'm almost constantly maintaining a level of pain medication to knock the worst of it down.  I can feel the pain killer I took this morning has worn off and I'm getting those nasty roving cramps that make everything else hard.  On the upside I have had far less issues with the other things that are a problem --- like vertigo, fatigue, the swallowing problem, weird skin sensations etc etc -- you know all that bonus stuff that we get with fibromyalgia.

TLOML and I seem to go from strength to strength in our relationship.  There is not a moment of any day when I don't feel like the luckiest woman on earth.  Neither of us is perfect but there is something pretty damn close to perfect about our relationship.  If we have a spat we get over it quickly and no one holds a grudge, we enjoy a lot of the same things, I get along well with her friends and her family, basically we have a lovely life.  The nights are chilly at the moment and we get excited that we are going to be able to snuggle and spend the night close to each other.  Almost every day when I pick her up from work we take the dogs to the beach.  I'm slow but I have built up the distance I can walk and we stroll hand in hand talking about our day and enjoying the dogs together.  It really is one of my greatest joys.

Now I have to tell you a bit about the dogs.  TLOML already had a dog when I moved in and she is a fabulous dog!  Her name is Venus and she is mostly fox terrier with a bit of kelpie probably.  She's very obedient, affectionate, lovable and easy to get along with but she is getting on a bit and has grey on her nose and around her eyes.  In the US I had a dog I LOVED called Sergio but I couldn't bring him home to Australia, even if I could have afforded the $3,000 I couldn't have stood him being in quarantine for 6 weeks!  He stayed with my ex who loves him and has a great home for him, but I still miss him.  So I mentioned to TLOML that I would like to think about getting another dog so that Venus can train it before she gets too old to play.  I started looking on the RSPCA site - I really believe in rescuing a dog if you can!  Then I found this young female dog called Misty who was described as a Maltese cross.  She is black and white and fluffy.  That night I showed TLOML Misty online and she agreed that she would be the one she would be most interested in too.  The next day I had a doctors appointment for some xrays on the mainland (free floating bone fragments in my ankle Yippee!) and I popped out to the RSPCA and met Misty.  OMG she was so cute!  Unfortunately the staff informed me that there were two people who had expressed an interest in her ahead of me.  I put my name down as interested and asked them to find out if the others were going to adopt her because if they didn't I was pretty sure we would.  Later that week it was confirmed that the other people couldn't proceed at the moment and if we wanted her we could have her.  So I took TLOML to the RSPCA on Saturday morning and watched her fall in love with the scruffy little bundle too.
Here she is on her first day with us - at the petshop buying her collar and lead before heading home to the island!
Neither TLOML nor I liked the name Misty so we decided to call her Frizby which sounds kind of similar but is cuter and more fun.
Venus (on the left) is teaching Frizby where to wait when we are in the kitchen.
Mostly now we just call her Frizzy or Frizzball or Frizz and she is absolutely wonderful!  At first TLOML was adamant that Frizby would be my responsibility and I would bear all the costs (blah blah blah) which would have been fine with me but I thought it might be nicer if we adopted her together.  It seemed that the idea of knowing which dog belongs to whom kind of presumes that one day we will split up and I don't ever want that to happen!  I mentioned this, with the note that it isn't about the money, and TLOML agreed. So now both dogs are OURS!  It has really been a lovely bonding experience and we both think it was by far the best decision.  We think she might be some sort of Poodle/Shih Tzu/Maltese cross but who knows, she doesn't have a squashed in face like a Shih Tzu and she is bigger than either them or a Maltese...She is like a lamb more than anything else!  So now we are in love not only with each other but also with the dogs.

So there you go... living in bliss is not really the stuff of great blogs I guess... my life is filled with laughter and love and lots of fun too, The Boy is busy in Sydney and I wish we had more contact but other than that, oh yeah and the nagging chronic pain, everything is perfect!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Screwed up is NORMAL

If you meet someone who appears completely well adjusted they are either repressed or false...  somewhere, in some way, we are all screwed up.  I used to think I was pretty well adjusted but the older, and more self aware, I have become the more I realize that I was just glossing over my eccentricities, phobias, and sensitivities.  I'm nearly a basket case if you really catalog my oddities!  But so is everyone else!

I am frightened of flying things -  can't handle them being too close to me - is this because of my brother's 47 budgerigars (parakeets) that used to fly free through our rumpus room?

I have some level of separation anxiety, ok quite a high level...  is this because my dad left when I was nearly 6?    I suffered horrific homesickness as a kid - Dad said it was because I was too close to my mother - but I had an overwhelming fear of something terrible happening when I wasn't there - maybe I was just an incurable sticky beak or maybe it was a control issue?

I'm thingy about my things.  Mum used to call me "Black Jed" and said "Nothing comes between Black Jed and what's hissun." -- I have no idea where she got that saying, although knowing mum I would say it was a line from some old movie.  I even googled it without result.  Interestingly I have spent the last 13 years getting rid of stuff - my possessions have been broken, stolen, lost, abandoned, withheld, auctioned, destroyed, sold, given away, and sued for...  I suspect short of blasting my possessions into orbit with a satellite or vapourizing them I have covered pretty much all potential aspects of dispersal.  I flew home from the states with 6 suitcases, drove to my new tropical home with a sedan full of stuff, and aside from a few things that are still stored somewhere at my brother's place, that's it.  Sometimes I just need to get used to things, like getting used to TLOML taking off in my car and calling it "our car". This, by the way, is fine with me, but I do know that I have an emotional response which I need to manage intellectually.  I hope that people can be forgiving of that moment of non-generosity that happens before I get my emotions under control.  It is just a touch of Gollumitis "mine mine my precious".  In other ways I am incredibly generous, for example with my time, labour and expertise...  I will help pretty much anyone to do pretty much anything with no expectation of repayment or return.  But stuff... stuff is an issue...  Actually I became quite philosophical about this after several years of repeated losses... for example just recently I bought my 6th cordless drill having had the other five taken from me in one way or another over the last ten years.  I have taken a zen approach in deciding that this is clearly part of my life lesson...  In the words of Deepak Chopra "Let it go".

I can't stop listing my problems without talking about crowds, queues, and social anxiety...  I can get quite close to a panic attack in a crowd or when trapped in a queue.  This has become worse since I have had FMS - I should say since FMS started to really impact on my existence because I think I have always had it probably - but now the panic to get out of the queue is exacerbated by the pain of standing and the desperate need to get off my feet.  I'm a very socially successful person, I can talk to pretty much anyone about anything and yet I am quite freaked out by strangers and groups of people.  One on one I am fine in a group I can't have my first few drinks fast enough to make these situations tolerable.

I'm not about to list other people's issues but I do know that no matter how smooth and unencumbered with complexes people appear they have got some areas of weirdness.  I think we are all twisted, it is part of the human condition, part of the wonderful diversity that makes us all individual!

Monday, 30 April 2012

Z stands for endings

Some say in order to have a beginning we must first experience an ending... today is a day of ending...

April ends and certainly May will begin.  I can't believe how quickly this year is passing.
The A - Z blog challenge is ending too and although I will be glad not to feel the pressure to blog, just because it is time to blog, it has been fun.  The poems that I have used to close each blog have been fun to write and strangely good for my ego as they have somewhat rebuilt my badly damaged belief in my own ability to do new and different things.
Today I finished my first masters subject with the submission of my final essay.  It was two weeks late and took masses more work than any other paper I have ever written (short of full length books) and it has been stressful to the max.  I was required to analyze a conflict and chose the court case that is going on at the moment over accessible taxis in New York (thanks to my mate Sarah at who wrote the incisive piece that drew this conflict to my attention).  It was a really difficult assignment because though my conflict analysis skills and knowledge were being tested I needed to completely study the conflict itself to demonstrate those skills.  If you want to know anything about that conflict up to April 20th (the date of the most recent appeal hearing) I'm your girl!

So what are the beginnings I wonder?

I have not signed up for any other kind of blog challenge at the moment so I can hope now to resume normal blogging habits.
As far as university work goes I have Zillions of things I now need to do!  I am off to conflict coach TLOML's ex who has GENEROUSLY agreed to be my guinea pig.  I also have discussion boards to do (that require lots of reading) and another final essay that needs to be started.

So there you go, not too many Z's are in evidence, but such is life.  Thank you for joining me on the A - Z Blog Challenge and welcome to the new followers I have acquired this month!

Zoo and Zoom
show you my limit
but they do mean this blog is done in a minute

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Tell me Y?

I'm glad I am nearly through with this challenge cause I am seriously running out of interesting ideas.

How about some song titles
Yellow Ribbon
Tell me Y
You know the drill...

Yummy and Yukky
are both rather childish
I'll find tougher words to make me look wildish

Friday, 27 April 2012

X is for eXtra eXausted!

Off to town today with the dogger to have her vet check.  Frizby is fine!  Had lunch with TLOML's son which went very well...  I'm too tired to dick around trying to think of X words when there are so few...

eXtraordinary and eXasperated
are both very long
neither is right and both are wrong.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

W is for Frizby's Frightening Foray

OMG this morning began from a lying down start with Frizby taking off into the Wild.  She was playing with the  dog across the street, Pee Wee, when they ran off somewhere...  Off on foot Went I, Waking the neighbours With my Wicked Whistle and my Worried Woops.  Half an hour later still no sign of Frizby but PeeWee had come home...  TLOML called in late to Work and We jumped in Shermie and Went further afield searching for the baby.  Finally a Woman said she had seen her and tried to catch her and that Frizby was too frightened to come to her.  She pointed off into a Wide field that led to a WaterWay and TLOML headed in that direction while I drove home, she still Wasn't there, and then Went to the other side near the creek...  I couldn't find her nor could I hear TLOML calling out - back to the car and driving back towards home I saw her Waving Wildly and With her Was the Wanton Wretch.  I could have cried with relief!  She Was covered With sticky seeds and filthy!  What a Worrying start to the day!  My throat is sore with calling out and by 8.30am I'm already exhausted!

Frizby is now grounded!  No more playing with Pee Wee for her!

Willful and Willing
describe our new pup
I wanted to sleep but I had to get up

V is for "Verily I say after thee" ANZAC Day.

V is Victory and today is ANZAC day which stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corp which commemorates the service of all Australian and New Zealander troops but most particularly refers to the force that fatefully and tragically invaded the Turkish held peninsula of Gallipoli in 1915.  The ANZAC's were sent out of the trenches and into the decimating fire of the Turkish guns at the command of the English.  I can't speak for the NZ'rs and not even for all Aussies but I know for me this signifies the beginning of the end of the British Empire.  They screwed us with a monarchy (royally) and when this was followed up by the withdrawal from the Pacific when Singapore fell in 1942 we were no longer committed to the Empire... we knew that our future lay in alliances with the US, not with Britain.  I can't blame them for covering their own arses but nor can I deny it happened.

My grandfather was at Gallipoli in 1915, they are all dead now the WW1 veterans, but every 25th of April we think of them, and I, at least quietly, utter the words... "Lest we forget."

"They shall grow not old
As we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them
Nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them.

Lest we forget."

Virtuous and Virtually
will never kiss
one is too good and the other a near miss.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

U is for Un everything...

Hmmm I think I will try and think of some Un words that are Upbeat instead of Upsetting...

I can't be Untired or Unmiserable... nor can I be Undepressed or Unsick... hmmm this is hard...

I could be Unbequeathable but I'm not sure if that is good or bad...

Could I Unsadden or Unperturb?  I guess like the song says you might try to Unbreak my heart (not that I personally need that assistance at this time.

doesn't sound pleasant
but at least in Australia it's here for a mere peasant

Sunday, 22 April 2012

T is Today, Tidy and Tired

Totally spent Today avoiding my Torturous university assignment.  The most Terrific way to avoid is To get Thoroughly Tied up in other Tasks.  Tons of Things got Taken care of here Today!

The Tremendous new dogger is kicking arse and Taking names!  She is Transcendentally Top of the Tops!

Terrify and Terrific
are awfully near
yet one gets a scream and the other a cheer

Saturday, 21 April 2012

S is for Splendiforous and Serendipitous too!

TLOML and I have been considering an addition to the family... Some Say it is too Soon but we are Sure - So Saturday being the day today we Stepped into the Strange and Selected a Simply Superb Stray from the rSpca!

She is quite Something and we are Surprised She had not been Snapped up Sooner!  Soooooo  She is now Safely Situated here and we are Smitten!  Her name is Frizby BTW and She is about 14 months old, fluffy black and white, Shitzhu X Maltese... Soft... Sweet... and Spoiled already!

Safety and Shelter
might be akin
but our bed is much Softer than the Shelter She was in

Thursday, 19 April 2012

R is for Really Really wonderful*

Radiant, Resplendent, and Ravishing - how we Relish the moments when we can Realize any of those Representations.  I have Recognized them in others but Rarely in myself.  I was, however, one of those women who "glow" when Reproducing so I had nine months of Radiance while carrying The Boy.

I Remember when I started this blog I Requested a partner with sparkling eyes...  TLOML has Relucent Refulgent (now there is a word that sounds VERY different from its meaning!) blue eyes and I Respond with Rosy Rapture every time they Reflect in my direction.

Retain and Restrain
are like days of old
one means to keep and the other to hold

*TLOML and The Nurse will Recollect this Reference

Queuing up and strange scrabble words

Q Is a really close friend of mine --- Hi Q Baby *waving*

In Alix Dobkin's Lesbian ABC - Q is for the Queer you fear you are... no fear here --- not queer either---
Odd (as I confessed during O Day) but NOT Queer... I do have Quite a lot of Queries when I am in a Quandary and I become Quixotically Quizzical with Questions!

Queans and Queens
are not the same sex
There are lots in a drag club and four in each deck.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

P is Putrid and Pulchritudinous in Parallel

Perhaps I should have Put P in a Package and Posted it to Pike's Peak...  Oh well... missed that chance.

Pompion and Pompous
exist side by side
but the lowly pumpkin will never preside

Monday, 16 April 2012

Oh yippee it's O!

OK it was Outstanding to relax a bit today and not feel so Overwhelmed!  I spent some time on school work and some fixing up the Old BBQ The Nurse gave me.  So tonight burgers were in Order and they were extraOrdinary!

Organised and Ordinary
are things I'm not
I can try to keep Order - but Odd's what I've got.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

N is for Tipsy but Not for sober!

Finally Finished (oops those are F's) my workshop.  It was Fabulous but Fatiguing (yikes it happened again). Now this week I have a Noxious Nasty essay due and I Need to get a high mark to make my personal target.  Got home pretty early this arvo (afternoon) and then we went to the Nurse's (phew) place to watch TV because for some weird Nefarious Notion our TV is Not working!  I had a few glasses of Nice wine out of a box and TLOML drove cause we are good girls!

Tomorrow TLOML goes back to work and I will be eNjoying my solitude (that might be a Fib (oops I did it again)).

Nice and Nasty
are somewhat diverse
but if I'm just me I don't have to rehearse.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

M words are Marvelous!

M is for the Million things she gave me (Put them all together they spell MOTHER etc)
Multitudes, perhaps even Millions, of Magnificent words begin with M!

My Monogamistic (I hope) Mate today performed Miraculous and Momentous Masterpieces of Mediation to Mitigate Morose Matters Masterfully.  I'm both Moved and Markedly iMpressed!

More Uni today after a difficult and Minimal night's sleep.  It Made it hard but I Managed to Make headway regardless.  All Multi-kudos to TLOML today.

Monsters and Mobsters
sound so alike
One gives a roar and the other a strike.

Friday, 13 April 2012

L is for Locked and Loaded

As my mate Carinthia said I should Give em L... so here it is.

Uni all day today again and it was a pretty good day.  Learning Lots of really interesting stuff and getting to know some new people which is kind of cool.  L is for Love too as I'm sure many of you have thought and this is not the first time that I have talked about Love in this blog!!!

The day was ok but the evening has been Lackluster to say the Least.  Had a Lengthy and not so Lovely talk with the Love of my Life (TLOML) and I'm Leaning towards Low but it wasn't anything bad between us just Lonely Legends from my former Life.  Still Lift and Look Light because I am NOT in those Lurid Locales any Longer!

Lessons and Laughter
could be contra-indicated
so when I get both I quite often feel vindicated

PS no seasickness tonight --- phew!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

K-Day nearly Killed me!

OMG what a day.

I Kaught the early ferry to town and it was ROUGH.  Out to the university and... phew day one of my Konflict Koaching Klass (sorry Kan't Kontain myself) was exhausting.  I am really fascinated by the subject and the Klass was Keen but my body is Klapped out and by the end of the day I was really struggling to Kope.  Three more days are going to Kill me.  To Komplete my Krappy feeling I got seasick on the ferry on the way home and spent the evening being tended to by the Kute and Karing LOML...  I'm lucky.

Keeping on Keeping on
might work for Rolf*
to be quite frank I'd rather play golf

*Non- Aussies might not recognize this reference to Rolf Harris a famous Australian entertainer who used the slogan Keeps on Keeping on in a long running series to TV Kommercials for a brand of paint.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

J is not for Jellyfish it is for Just made it

Today the discussion boards for my workshop closed and I had to Jump right in and submit my final discussion topic.  Phew!  I actually did Just make it and my posting is the last one on the discussion board... oops I hope that will suffice.  I know this is not much of an effort for a blog but it's the best I can do for today.

Justice and Judging
Aren't quite the same
One can be fair and the other's insane.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

I is for Irukandji Illness and Injuries

Today I went to see the GP (Dr McSincere) and I have finally decided to do something about following up the problems I am having with my right shoulder and right ankle.  It's really hard when you have a chronic pain condition to know which areas of pain are just fibro and which are actually Injuries.  My right shoulder has been extremely painful for many months and I have finally come to the conclusion that I must have hurt it.  Any time I reach back (like to put on my seat belt or to reach around to get a glass from the bedside table) I get stabbing and long lasting pain at the point of my shoulder... It isn't just fibro... So I'm off for an ultrasound and a couple of x-rays.

After the doctor I met TLOML at the beach and for the first time this season we braved the stingers and went for a swim!  Naturally this followed a check with The Nurse about how many stings there have been lately and where they occurred.  It was lovely!  Here is a picture of the tiny Irukandji that can cause so many problems for anyone unlucky enough to be stung.
Back home I finished off another paper for University and then here I am... writing to you...

Illness and Injury
Neither is fair
But luckily for me I have the pair!

Monday, 9 April 2012

one HUNDRED blogs and HOME again!

This is the one Hundredth gonna eat worms blog.  Hard to believe I Have traveled such a Huge distance since my Humble beginnings with a single follower (myself).

Hopped on a plane (not a Helicopter) and flew Home today.  Already Hurting to be away from The Boy and all the other people we love in Sydney, still I'm Happy to be Home.  The Hike Home was Harrowing and it Hurt Heaps so it Helps to be just Hanging loose for now.

Over the next couple of days I Have Heaps of Homework for university and then starting Thursday I will be at a workshop for four days so I might be Hatching very Hasty entries in this Horse race for the next week.  Please forgive me!

Heaven and Home
Might be the one place
But it's people you love make it more than a space.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

G stands for everything that's Glorious and Good (except The Boy)

Some of my Good and Gallant followers will Garner the Genuine meaning of the heading of this post, while I'm sad to say that others will only be able to Guess...  Such is the outcome of my pitiful attempts to maintain some degree of anonymity.  Today I have been both Grouchy and Grumpy and I'm sure quite Grotesque as I Grumbled and Garumphed my way through the day.  I can't entirely Guarantee the cause of this Gloom but I am sure leaving Sydney and Going back to paradise is part of the Grief... actually Grief is most likely the Guts of the issue as I prepare to leave The Boy with no plans for the next time we will see each other.  Most likely I will be back here around Christmas but still that is a Great way off.  Thus I Growl and Gripe on... and on...

Grief and Glory
are oddly related
and much worse for me when anticipated.

Friday, 6 April 2012

F is for Frigging Fibromyalgia

I tell you what if I ever had a choice about what to Frigg around with it sure as F**k would NOT be Fibromyalgia.  I am so Freaking sick of being Flattened by this Frightful FMS that I think I will dedicate the rest of this rant to the wonders of the F word and just how versatile it really is!  A multi-purpose noun, adjective or verb!

I don't give a F**k (Here it is a gift that you are withholding (perhaps one that Flies))
It's F**king Fabulous (Note the expletive expression of delight (or sarcasm))
F**k Fibromyalgia (Probable not delight, more likely an angry expression of violence towards something abhorrent)
F**k you!  (There are Few things that Feel more Fabulous than this ultimate rejection)
I'm F**ked! (This makes tonight no different From all the other nights when I have Felt F**ked)
It's F**ked ( It is NOT going to work any more)
What the F**k? (An all purpose question)
Well I'll be F**ked! (Anyone can be surprised, no?)

Fibro and Fantasy
Don't fit together
With or without the addition of leather.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

E is for Egalitarian

When asked for my philosophical or political orientation I will often describe myself as Egalitarian.  It is Exhaustingly Effortful to Elaborate Effectively on Elements as Essential as Egalitarianism when Engaging in Exchanges with Extremely Evil BIGOTS!  On Facebook the other day I shared a photo that said "Get your religion out of my vagina", it is one of many slogans I Embrace.

Equality for Everyone
Seems really Easy
That people oppose it makes me feel queasy.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

De-Lovely... Cole Porter said it best!

"It's delightful, it's delicious, 
It's delectable, it's delirious, 
It's dilemma, it's delimit, it's deluxe, 
It's de-lovely"

The Devine Cole Porter Deftly Defined "D" alliteration and Didn't he Dream up a Doozie?

Today we are off to visit my Dreamy friend (previously referred to as The Lioness). In her work she Documents and tries to Defend one of Sydney's convict landmarks.  In this case it is the only site that is Dedicated to the convict women.  I can't wait to see her and the Dig!

A Ditty of Doggerel
Is all I can write
As  I murder the language with Devilish Delight!

*wicked evil grin as befits the Descendant of Depraved Deported felons*

Monday, 2 April 2012

C is the Cutest of them all

Here we are in Sydney Calm and Concealed at TLOML's bro's house.  We Collected the rental Car and Charged through the Congestion...  It is Cool to be Carefree.  The harbour is Clingquant!( I know that is a Cryptic word but it is so Correct!).  This evening we are off to see The Boy and have Chow with The Best Friend and her Clan so that should be Completely Coruscant!

Charming, Crazy and Curt
to each I've been wed
and by all I've been hurt.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

B-Day but not THAT B-Day

Today is the day for B to stand up and Be counted!

Ergo it is B-Day but it is not MY B-Day... that is a Bone of contention and a Basis of some apprehension for me.  In a few months I will turn 50.  TLOML is also turning 50 a few months after me.  Her Bounteous Buzz aBout her Birthday Bash is Balanced By my Blue Butterflies as I try to Bargain my way out of any kind of Bother.  BLLLLLUUUURGGGHHHH!!!! (another useful exclamation.)

Beautiful and Brooding
Both start with B
But one describes her and the other is me.

A is for the A - Z Blog Challenge

A is for AAAAARRRRGGGGHH (which is the noise I wish I could make with gay abandon)

I decided in view of my moany groany guilty blog that I would suck it up and join this blog challenge... I'm not sure if I will have a theme... check out the banner thingy if you are interested too...

here goes

Adorable and Arsehole
both start the same
but one makes you smile and the other complain.

A guilty blogger...

Forgive me readers for I have sinned --- it has been bloody ages since my last blog and it was a fair while between that one and the one before.

*big bloody sigh*  I haven't been reading many blogs either so all my cyber mates are very distant and unfamiliar at the moment...  I'm sure I need a boatload of hail Herbert's to receive absolution for these sins.

Tomorrow we are going to Sydney and I have been stressed to the max (a total female dog to live with) about the trip...  I can't wait to see The Boy and I talked to him for nearly two hours yesterday on the phone which was great.  I have assignments due for University so I will need to keep studying while away.  On top of all this I have been feeling like absolute excreta for the last week or more.  Roving muscle pain that refuses to respond to anything from massage to morphine has taken up seemingly permanent residence in my body. Quite frankly it just sucks, to be honest.

TLOML has been wonderful as usual but even she has not escaped my irritation and my moody, PMS'y, I'm sick of hurting, unreasonable wrath.  She's pretty good but isn't quite rivaling Mother Theresa for sainthood so there have been a few snappy exchanges.  Fortunately we do manage to get over it very quickly and we are forgiving of each other.

The weather here has become incredibly beautiful; brilliant blue skies, warm but not as hot and humid, glistening sea, lush green gardens and bush (from all the rain we were having a few weeks ago)... quite frankly if I wasn't so keen to see The Boy I would rather stay here right now than go away.  I'm sure once we are underway I will relax a bit and that I will actually enjoy it but it's kind of hard to think of traveling for pleasure when I have been so haunted lately.

So I don't blog because I feel like I am boring and grumpy and incapable of seeing anything in an interesting and amusing way... and then I lose touch and blah blah blah....  well there you go...

I will try to do better, I promise.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Fantastic fantasy

First let me make some excuses for not having blogged lately...  It is partly that I have University work to do, partly that I feel kind of boring with nothing to report and partly that I have yet again developed a mild obsession with genealogical research.  (Mostly I guess I am just slack).

Health check in - very VERY up and down... one weird thing that is bothering me is that I have a strange metallic taste on the tip of my tongue and about the bottom inch of my tongue ( to the tip) has altered taste sensation and feels odd and maybe is a bit numb.  I have been noticing this for quite a while but it has become increasingly irritating over the last few weeks.  My presumption at this stage is that it is most likely a drug side effect so I am starting to isolate meds and stop taking them (yes I will be good and taper etc).,  The good news in this is that the my new GP, Dr Sincere, has finally given me some better pain relief in the form of Tramadol and so I don't have to keep struggling on with the codeine which has always resulted in more irritation than benefit!  Even better is that the tongue issue was happening before Tramadol so I it is not the culprit!  Now I probably need to make it clear, before my loving and adoring fans become desperately concerned about my possible addiction, I try to get by with no pain killers most of the time.  This is just for the really nasty breakthrough pain when I just can't stand it any more.  I am NOT about to start any regular pain medication if I can possibly avoid it!

Shermie, my car, had a flat tyre this morning...  That was upsetting.  Fifty dollars later (and drenched) we are underway again.  I am going to have to re-register Shermie in my new state which is going to be expensive.  We also have a trip to Sydney coming up in a couple of weeks which will be a bit of a financial drain, so money worries are causing some anxiety.

The "Wet Season" has been living up to its name lately.  This little island has been washed and rinsed so many times in the last week that I think we are all growing webbed feet!  I can't begin to guess how many inches of rain have fallen in the last couple of weeks but it is LOTS!!!  This means that all the creeks are running like crazy.  Yesterday, Sunday, in spite of the rain TLOML and I decided (at her suggestion) to go and swim in one of the waterfall pools.  OMG it was so beautiful.  The water was cool but not cold.  We were completely alone for the entire time we were there.  I wanted TLOML to strip off and run through the bush and over the rocks like a wood nymph but she refused to oblige...(Oh well it was worth a try!)  It was sublime...  To have such a spectacular place, where the water has gushed for millennia, entirely to ourselves!

One of the many wonderful things about TLOML is her unquenchable sense of wonder, another is her unfailing appreciation of beauty, and a third is her truly deep rooted gratitude for the gifts we are given.  How fortunate we are to be Australians and to have places like this to experience and appreciate!

This is the spot but it was really full of water and the rocks in the foreground were submerged.

I am still totally incredulous that my life has taken this turn for the fabulous.  TLOML and I are going from strength to strength.  We have still never had an argument and the challenges that we have faced (that include some very serious stuff) have been external.  I can't believe this happiness is mine!  I am boring I say it so often!  Literally, (and I do know what that means) I can't believe it!  I've had a terrible string of stressful and difficult times in my life that began when I left Australia.  Ghastly relationships, financial ruin, the loss of my parents, developing a chronic debilitating condition...  The twenty-first century has not been easy for me.  I was incapable of seeing any kind of happy ending and I was resigned to the fact that it would just be a miserable struggle until I was done.  Quite frankly if I didn't have The Boy I would possibly have given up completely.  It is so often said that things happen when you least expect it and it could not be more true for me.  Suddenly I am in the best relationship of my life and living in paradise.  One of the reasons I don't blog as often as I used to is that I can't imagine anyone would want to read me going on about my incredible new life all the time, and yet my gratitude and wonder totally dominate my heart and mind.  Perhaps one needs to descend to the depths of despair (I love alliteration!) before finding a new source of light?  That said I'm still hurting, limited, and physically struggling, but so very, VERY, grateful for the gifts the universe (aka Herbert) has given.  Maybe pain is the shading that provides the rich contrast in the landscape of my life.

The ceaseless rain continues to fall and that's just fine!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Heigh Ho Heigh Ho...

It's off to Uni I go...

Oh dear, wouldn't you know it?

Here I am about to begin the second weekend workshop (there are a bunch of assessments tied to this weekend) and I'm sore all over.  It started last night, a bit like the voodoo doll stuff, randomly roving pains.  I drugged up at bedtime and was too tired to drive TLOML to work this morning.  I am pouting because this is the first time I haven't driven her down and picked her up since I have been here.  She took the car while I slept.

So now I am awake and all my muscles feel like muscles feel after they have had a really sharp cramp...  you know that feeling?  That tender ache that feels fragile and unstable?  It feels like at any moment the muscles might suddenly decide to screw themselves up like a Chinese burn and torture me just for fun!

I'm not sure what time I need to leave this afternoon.  It's TLOMY's early off afternoon so she will be home soon.  The dogger and I are sacked out on the bed wishing she was here.  We are a pathetic little pair.  I really should take the 3pm ferry but I am going to leave it for the 4.25pm - when I feel like this I can't take the extra hour and a half tacked onto my evening.  I'll also have to leave early to get the 9.00pm home cause waiting until the 10.30 would kill me.  Not much good am I?  Today 4.25 to 9.30 is already going to be too long away from horizontal.  I wish I could call in sick.

We have to do some kind of group presentation this evening and I am so unprepared...  As a group we have had minimal contact but one of the clever clogs has unilaterally decided we are going to do a role play and apparently she has a script running through her head... (can you bluetooth a script from one person's head to another yet?)  Oh well, it's a good thing that life is such a grand adventure - no doubt all will be revealed some time this evening.

This gecko on the lantern the other night was almost transparent...  You could see her belly full of the nighttime insects she was catching.  Unfortunately my phone is not quite a good enough camera to capture her perfectly.

Oh - I did manage to suck it up and get some real study done yesterday so I don't feel quite as guilty as I did when I wrote about my avoidant behaviour.  (I still haven't tackled the roman blinds though.)

I think this blog sounds disjointed and haphazard... unfortunately that is the way I'm feeling at the moment too.  I feel like I was built by a committee!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Feeling old... Defensive walking...

Age is a funny thing it's relative, personal, and it's tied to time which is such an elastic concept that there seems to be no rhyme or reason.  The passage of time is completely esoteric.  You certainly can't pin it down.

Yesterday The Best Friend had a birthday.  She was treated to the dubious pleasure of TLOML and I singing Happy Birthday onto her answering machine.  The Best Friend was one of the youngest women in our class at school.  In June I will turn 50 and TLOML hits her half century in November.  Strangely,The Chef, who was featured recently in a newspaper article has managed to only be 47....  Hmmm very interesting, cause I am almost certain that she was actually older than me!   LOL.  Oh well, we know that there are some things that can halt the passage of time and most of them have to do with wealth and fame.  I don't blame The Chef really; after all, 50 is a VERY BIG number!

Jazz, my blogging fibro sister, has written a great blog about feeling older than she is and rather than repeat all the things I wanted to say that she has already said I will just link to her here (I'm sure she won't mind).  It's a great blog.  So often I have ideas fermenting in my brain getting close to becoming a blog and Jazz will jump in just before I am ready to write it and steal all my thunder!  Sometimes we seem to be eerily in sync.

My take on this feeling older actually needs to be credited to a conversation I had with The Best Friend a couple of months ago.  She pointed out the way elderly people negotiate their way through a crowd.  Many/most/perhaps all seniors move near other people with a visible hyper-vigilance.  This isn't "defensive driving", it's "defensive walking".  Keeping a very close eye on anyone else who is moving nearby and testing the ground before putting all weight on the leading foot has become a way of life for me.  I get it, I really get how elderly people feel out in the world.  I know what it's like to fear an accidental bump with a stranger - I know because it hurts!  It hurts like (insert expletive of your choice) when I get jostled in a stupidmarket queue or when someone laughing unexpectedly steps back into me and it triggers a series of painful spasms that radiate from either the site of impact or from the part of me that moves unexpectedly to save myself.  I now travel the world with the wary, skepticism of a bona fide Methuselah!

When I was a kid I never took a staircase at less than two steps at a time; almost every time I ran down steps I would jump down the last five or six.  I touched a banister only to vault out of the stairs or down to the next flight.  There were two speeds, flat out and stopped.  Those days are gone.  Now I traverse the globe with care, caution, and a desperate desire to anticipate the movements of any other things that move!

Last night I knocked over a glass of water.  Startled myself which hurt my back.  Dropped to my knees to wipe up the spillage which caused stabbing pains to explode from both knees.  Reached under the bed with the bathmat and seriously popped some kind of tendon in my right shoulder.  Then stood up and collapsed on the bed groaning in pain.... see what happens when I am surprised?  Thank goodness TLOML was there to take over and clean up my mess.  The knees and shoulder have yet to relent.  So do I feel older than I am - damn straight I do.  Do I move like someone older than I am - pretty much all the time (unless I forget or react and do something like I did with wiping up the spill last night).  Do I have that suspicious hyper-vigilance about how other people are moving?  Yep, I do.

So to all my geriatric followers (of whom I have none) I get it!  I know you are careful and that the cranky look on your face is actually fear.  I, like you, fear the unexpected.  I don't need to bungee jump for thrills - walking through a crowd is about as much excitement as I can stand!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Roman blinds, a busy week and avoidant behaviour...

I guess writing this blog is part of my avoidant behaviour...  I'm hiding from the readings I should be doing for my university course...  If it weren't for  the last minute I would never get anything done!

We have had a really busy week!  I needed some recovery time after the weekend spent at university and I took a little on Monday before swinging into action and cooking the 'Aromadorable Gunk' (thank you Carinthia!) in an enormous quantity.  Tuesday was to be my introduction to TLOML's "extended, blended, family diner".  So on Monday I cooked the sauce and that evening TLOML and I worked our way through my mum's "no fail Pavlova recipe" because TLOML's younger son turned 15 on Tuesday and he had requested a Pavlova for dessert instead of a cake!

The last time (the only time) I made a Pavlova was with mum coaching me through it in the kitchen of my duplex in St Paul Minnesota on the eve of my 44th birthday (2006).  Anyone who reads my blog with any frequency will know how often I talk about my mum and what a huge part she plays in my life even now when she has been gone for three and a half years.  So it was a lovely and bittersweet occasion to be making the Pav here in my new environment.  I was more than a little sad that The Boy (my son) was not here to share the evening (and the Pav) too.  I am missing him horribly.

The extended blended family is a very special group who are linked by shared children... it might best be described by an equation, which would necessitate an understanding of maths (which I do not possess) - but I will try...

TLOML and her ex (P) are the parents of the birthday boy (B)
P is now with D and she has two sons (T & F)
T & F's father, A, is now with M and they have two daughters (b & a)

This group generally gathers for "family dinner" to celebrate anyone's birthday or for other special events and on Tuesday night we hosted the entire clan (which now, including me, totals 11).  We had a lovely night, the Aromadorable Gunk went over well and the Pavlova was gobbled up quickly.  P and D hung out for a while later in the evening after A & M had to get the little girls home to bed.  It was really good having a chance to get to know them better.  I have some of social anxiety and P had been gently inclusive throughout the evening, especially noting that it was my first "family dinner" and I was grateful for his efforts though I still found the bigger group a bit overwhelming.  The after dinner cuppa with P &  D was more my style and I was much more relaxed.  They both have really nice energy and it was great to let the anxiety go.  It's a real credit to ALL of these people that they have such good relationships with their ex's and that the lives of the kids can include this bigger circle of love and support.  If it takes a village to raise a child then this group is getting it right.  On a personal note P said to me, (in front of TLOML) "I'm just glad you are making her happy" and I think it is the second time he has expressed that sentiment to me.  It's wonderful to be with someone who has such a caring and civilized relationship with their ex.

Wednesday saw us gathering with the extended, blended family and a host of their other friends for the Syrian dinner which went really well.  I did adjourn to the couch earlier than most but managed to handle the cushion on the floor while we ate.  I lost much of yesterday to anti-histamine induced sleep following more itchy and scratchy and here I am today casually writing a blog!

I have been working up to a Roman blind repair project.  I have investigated the mechanisms, purchased the cord, bought new split rings to replace the really cruddy ones that are on the blinds and made inquiries about getting a hot glue gun so that I can shorten them.  This project is providing a nice distraction from the pile of readings I should be doing for my current course at Uni.  Unfortunately I think the pulley mechanism at the end of the blind is dead so I might need to figure out how to replace that or jerry-rig up some kind of replacement.  I will walk around this problem for a while longer before actually tackling it.  There are (at least) three of them here that need repair.  (An excellent avoidance technique.)

Almost every day, while she is at work, I send TLOML a text in which I tell her "I adore you" in a different language, today was Latin (Ego adorabunt te),  though I have done languages from Afrikaans to Welsh.  It's part of my job description as Officer in Charge of Adoration.  TLOML finishes work early this afternoon...  I think we should have lunch out and then maybe hit one of the waterfalls on the creek...  Whatever we do will be fine though.  We both seem to be pretty happy as long as we are reasonably close and not apart for too long.  TLOML says she feels so safe with me that she can be a brat, she is too!  But it just makes me smile.  We are relaxed with each other in the way of couples who have been together for a long time.  This has to be the lowest anxiety relationship I have ever been in!  With no fights or arguments we have weathered an externally generated problem undamaged and perhaps even more closely bonded.  Less than 4 months ago my life was very dark and I couldn't see much in the way of a positive future.  My how things can change!

See?  I have managed to absorb an hour and a half without picking up a text book!