Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Today I am thankful - patience, reading and anticipation.

- for patience: anyone who follows me online or has to deal with me face-to-face needs great patience right now, as I am grumpier than I can stand, let alone anyone else.I am counting the day until it is Spring, as I need sun and warmth and nature to help me get out of this fug.

- for reading: I am progressing in my effort to make up the backlog of books to meet my personal Goodreads challenge to read 52 books in 2011. It seemed quite manageable, as all things do, in January!But my secret weapon is to replace my usual radio listening as I commute with audio books - aha! - which I used to listen to constantly when I drove an hour + to work each day when I worked full-time. Now I only do 20 mins each way three days a week, but it all adds up! And by slecting slimmer volumes of paper books and keeping my Kobo charged, I am getting there!

- for anticipation: Doctor Who returns this Saturday, along with a new series featuring the wonderful James Nesbit :) sadly, this kind of Saturday night entertainment is more appealing than partying these days!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Today I am thankful - technology, decorating and completion

- for technology: I have a new  work laptop :) One of the only perks I have (apart from all the yummy baby cuddles I get) is that this is also my at home computer and commutes to and from home/work with me. My last one had reached that overheating/working-slowly point, so that always makes a new one extra-shiny and wonderful! I chose to go down from a 15" to a 12", to minimise the size issue and also have a lighter, thinner model. So I have gone back to a monitor/keyboard/mouse on my desk to make it more ergonomic for using six hours a day at work. It is a joy to have everything up and running ( a slight hiccup getting my Outlook synced but working through that) and using Windows 7 after Vista (although I never minded that, unlike many!)

- for decorating: I am enjoying the fruits of my labour as my living room makeover comes together. This week I added a rack of Scrabble letters to spell out BOOKS on the wall above my bookshelves. And I now have an idea to revamp the gallery wall near the television.
Almost done - my Scrabble table

New home for a figurine!

To Do - time to revamp this wall.

Scrabble letter canvases from Typo!
- for completion: my Friendship Blanket is just about done: I finished the edging last night and now just have to deal with some loose ends! And I made a crochet laptop sleeve on the weekend!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Today I am thankful - Fry, Facebook and pain-free

- for Stephen Fry :) he is everywhere with me at the moment - in the car I am listening to his Fry Chronicles on CD as I travel to and from work. In bed I am listening to him read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (by his friend Douglas Adams who was just describing in the car!), on the telly I am loving him in Kingdom and always in QI; in the post MOAB is my Washpot on CD is winging its way to me and I have long been a Twitter fan and blog follower.

- for Facebook - as always but especially when I connect with new people and then wonder how I ever lived without them in my news feed! It is just such a great way to share stuff with everyone and leads to great conversations about books, life and more. I never seem to have the sort of negative issues others describe - obviously I only know nice people ;)

- for pain-free: after again waking with a blinding headache at 2am (exactly the same time as occurred about a month earlier!) I booked straight in to see Shady my chiropractor. I was pretty sure it was related to the chronic problem I have with my upper spine and sure enough, he zoned in and did his stuff and today I have no headache :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Today I am thankful - focus, 3yo and talking

- for focus: I haven't been thankful-blogging every day lately and that is okay, because I am trying to have less screen time and more time reading, scrapbooking and crocheting. I am whittling down the number of books I am "behind" in my Good Reads challenge to read 52 this year, I have made a great start to getting Kaitlyn's wedding scrapped and my Friendship Blanket continues to grow.

For 3 year olds - yep, they drive you to distraction with their endless questions, but that can lead to amazing conversations: today at a meeting at the Breastfeeding Centre, I was interrogated by a boy who wanted to know what the balloon was for. I carefully showed him how I use it to teach mothers to use the electric breast pumps we hire (it demonstrates the change in suction strength as you adjust the dials). But then he needed me to show him how the other ones on the shelf worked, so I showed him the manual version of the same pump which he capably worked out the piston action. Next was another one with a squeeze action - quickly handed back as it hurt his hand (I get the same feedback from mums!) So I asked which one he liked best and he announced "the one where you just push the button!" LOL and we thought it was just adults who preferred auto over manual!

- talking: on the telephone! Yes, I do it all day at work but not so much at home unless I am doing a shift on the Breastfeeding Helpline. But today I phoned a few people about this and that and spent a nice hour or two chatting. Just like in the olden days before we had email, chat and Facebook!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

"But you don't look sick!"

Sigh. It is such a burden to appear in positively rude good health when you feel like death warmed up on the inside ;)

Truly, if I have heard it once I have a thousand times - people are astonished to hear my "laundry list" of health woes, claiming I just don't look sick. Perhaps they would be more convinced if I had bits dropping off or poxy sores all over my face? I don't know, but what does "sick" look like anyway?

I am "blessed" with multiple, chronic health issues -
  • multiple sclerosis
  • fibromyalgia
  • cysts on my thyroid
  • depression
  • back and neck problems
Because I am open about my health - including mental health - I find myself explaining things in conversations with family and friends, along the lines of:

"I didn't know you were depressed - you always seem so happy" - that must be the drugs and therapies working then. That and the fact that when I am having a really bad day I am most likely at home under the doona, not out and about.

"You wouldn't know you had MS from looking at you" - yay! I have the invisible version, where the impact on the central nervous system is less motor skills and more cognitive skills, less mobility and more sensory. I don't use a walking stick, frame or wheelchair: most people with MS don't. But more money is raised for research with images of chair-bound people than those who walk and talk!

"You don't seem to be in pain when I am with you" - Drugs are good! I live on pain-killing medication to manage my chronic pain in my lower back, neck and shoulders and the flare ups of fibromyalgia pain in my joints and connective tissues. I religiously visit my chiropractor. I avoid activity which will aggravate my conditions - and I just put up with it mostly. If you greeted me with "Are you in pain today?"  (yes) instead of "How are you today?"(okay) I would answer differently!

"But you do so much!" - but there is so much I don't do: I pay a third of my salary to a house cleaner; I am in bed 12 hours every night; I rarely go out in the evenings; I only prepare two meals each week; I rely on online shopping; I miss activities I want to do because of pain and fatigue ... but sharing news about the things I do is much more interesting than whining about what I don't!

So, next time you meet with someone who admits to chronic illness, don't tell them they don't look sick (because that sounds like you think they are faking it or deluded) instead, ask them how they are doing with that. Instead of declaring they look well, ask if they feel well? Instead of complaining about what they don't do, ask if there is anything you can do for them.

If you want to know more about the secret lives of people who don't look sick, check out this excellent website http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/

If you ever here me referring to energy as "spoons" and worry I have lost the plot altogether, relax - this explains what I mean The Spoon Theory.

And me? I'm off to the doctor!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Today I am thankful - Spring, vintage and power-points

- for Spring! Alrightt, not really spring but a taste of it :) I am so over winter, it was so lovely to walk to the post and feel warmth from the sun.

- for vintage: the postman stepped through a time-warp with my mail today - a vintage Scrabble game with bonus vintage travel Scrabble, plus a vintage Enid Blyton book - Ebay finds that together looked like a snapshot from times past.

- for power-points! Yeah, its the little things that make me happy - the electrician returned and moved the multiple points he installed six months ago back alongside my desk, which had moved to a different room! Seriously over power boards, double adapters and extension leads! Sadly, Kintara will need to wait a little longer as her new power points are still on my side of the wall which will be relocated with our refit! Patience dear, patience ;) But the good news is the plans are approved, we just need to wait for the government cheque!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Today I am thankful - Friends, wool and rest (plus Mr Do-Bee!)

- for old friends: on Saturday I lunched with my oldest* friends for the first time in ages and honestly, it is like slipping into comfy slippers being with them! Our shared history covers 35-40 years and we slot back together like no time has passed. There is a lot more of "You know, whatshisname?" and sharing of various signs of aging, but deep down, we are still just four teenage girls from school getting away with whatever we can! *oldest as in longest friendship, not oldest people!
Girls at Boyz @ Manyung Gallery, Mornington
- for wool: my basket is full to the top! Each of the friends I saw on Friday and Saturday contributed a ball or more to be worked into my Friendship Blanket, so my crochet project will continue to grow :)

- for rest: I have Mr Do-Bee from Romper Room stuck in my head, after a thought this morning that some days I DO and others I BE! Yesterday and today are BE days, focused on rest, reading and crochet - with maybe a scrapbook session later and a trip to the chiropractor (who will mutter about the rest he thinks I should take far more often!!!)
"Try to do what's right
and not do anything wrong
I'm a Romper Room Do Bee
a Do Bee all day long"
 Romper Room spanned the period from my pre-school years to those of my eldest child, starting in Australia in 1963 (the year I was born) and ending in 1988 when Melissa was four. My memory may often be challenged due to the cognitive impact of multiple sclerosis, but I still remember the words to nearly every song from the show! Extra trivia - one of my friends in the photo above is married to a man who was actually on Romper Room as a pre-schooler! Sadly, I was never so lucky!

This is an American version, but it will give you the general idea if you are too young to know what I am on about!