Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sick but happy

I do not know what's going on with this avocado...

I've been slack at blogging the last couple of weeks, mainly because I've been sick. This is obviously not gleeful, and I'm especially displeased because I've been virtually free of colds, the flu and other contagion for almost 10 years. Yes, 10 years! 

But since I got back from Brisbane at the end of July, I've had a head cold and then bronchitis (for the first time ever), which now seems to have morphed into another head cold. In between those two lurgies, I had a blood clot in my leg (not serious), but I can't blame my faltering immune system for that. 

Anyway, enough of that. On with the gleeful stuff! I remain happy, despite feeling poorly

Today was a quiet day at work, so I had no excuse not to tackle a crappy job I've left on the backburner for too long because there was one aspect of it I just could not figure out the last time I worked on it, and I've been struggling for brain power lately. But today I finally found the answer, albeit through little skill/mental agility of my own, and it was practically staring me in the face the whole time! I feel like a goose, but I'm so relieved it's solved. 

Last night I was doing a Target puzzle on my phone while the AFL Brownlow medal presentation was on TV. There's was something on about the Hawthorn Football Club, whose team colours are brown and gold, which prompted Luke to chortle, "Poos and wees!"...at exactly the same moment I found the word 'poos' in my word puzzle.  (Yes, the puzzle allows 'poos', although it doesn't accept 'pooed' - or 'penis' or 'anus' - but it's not due to American prudishness, as evidenced by the fact that 'vagina' is accepted and so is the C-bomb, the rudest word of them all! It's just because the puzzle a bit shit ('shit' is also acceptable). I just posted a review of the app pointing out its deficiencies and was pleased to see  others making similar comments. Puzzle pedants unite!)

One of the indoor plants we bought recently has sprouted a flower. I was surprised because although it's healthy, it needs to be repotted and I didn't think it would be happy enough to bloom. 

Daylight savings starts this weekend! Hurrah! Winter doesn't seem in any hurry to leave us, but at least the days will start getting longer soon.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Happy, happy, happy

Even the rain can't dampen my mood 

Remember that mysterious lightheartedness I wrote about six weeks ago when I went back to work after my holiday up north? Well, it continues! That makes it less of a mystery: I'm happy!

I'm exhausted and I feel like I've been trampled by a herd of wildebeest, but I'm still happy. I wasn't unhappy before, but now I have that little spring of happiness bubbling away inside me and it's delightful. 

Life is pretty good. I absolutely love my four-day weeks and I'm enjoying my job. I'm relishing being free of the urge to splurge on clothes and shoes (three months and counting...). Luke's almost-three-week absence in July/August seems to have made our hearts grow fonder, and not just for a weeks or so. I actually feel excited about seeing him every day when I get home from work. It's like a new romance all over again (only I don't need to shave my legs regularly or leave the room to fart). 

Although I'm not feeling great physically, there has been some improvement on the migraine front. I've gone off prevention medication and I'm only taking a supplement recommended by my neurologist called MigraineCare, which is mostly magnesium and B vitamins. I'm still getting migraines, but the frequency and duration is significantly reduced, and that's gotta be good for my state of mind. (It's no surprise that chronic pain and depression often go hand in hand.) 

Speaking of depression, I decided about a month ago to reduce my (already fairly low) antidepressant dose by half. I tried to halve my dose at the beginning of last year, but it was short-lived because I very quickly returned to being my unmedicated moody, cranky, negative self again. This made me wonder if my recent happiness was really 'real' while I was on medication.

But I'm pleased to report my happiness does indeed seem real. It's actual happiness, not chemically induced. I have noticed a difference, but not in a bad way - I just feel a little more emotional when I see sad things on TV. For example, last week Foreign Correspondent was about China's so-called left-behind children - kids whose parents have left them, usually in the care of relatives, to move to far-away cities for work, ostensibly to earn money to give their kids a better life. But those poor kids barely had any contact with their parents and they were not always treated well by their relatives. One little girl's fondest wish was simply to have a birthday cake. I nearly cried. But I don't think it's bad to feel more if your feelings are 'normal' and healthy. 

I've pondered why I'm doing better on a lower dose this time around and I suspect it's related to my belly. Yep, my belly. Sounds odd, but there is increasing evidence of close links between mental health and gut health. Back at the start of the year my gut was basically a cauldron of nasty bacteria, but after months of diet modification and supplementation to heal my gut, it's functioning vastly better. I can't know for sure, but I reckon a better balance of gut bacteria is related to my more balanced mental state. 

But I'm not spending too much time analysing it; I'm just enjoying it. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A day out west

Luke and I went for a day trip out west yesterday. First we visited the Red Rock lookout near Colac, an area of highly concentrated volcanic activity 6,000 - 12,000 years ago. You can see several craters (or maars) from the lookout. 

You can also see Lake Corangamite, which is Australia's largest permanent salt lake, as well as lots of gorgeous green fields. 

As we approached the turn-off to the lookout I saw a big hill in the distance and said to Luke that it looked like Mount Elephant, but I didn't think it was in the right spot. Turns out that it was Mt Elephant! Go, me. I know my big hills. Western Victoria is home to hundreds of dormant/extinct volcanoes and as I grew up in that part of the state, I have seen quite a few of them. I lived near the foot of one (Mt Rouse) in my teens and my Dad built the fire lookout that sits on its summit. 

Anyway, here are my photos from the day. 

On the road again...the other side Geelong

Lots of canola fields on the way to Geelong

 Some of the craters seen from Red Rock lookout

 Looking towards Red Rock lookout, Lake Corangamite on the horizon

 So green

We had lunch at the bakery in Colac and then headed towards Beech Forest, which is on the edge of the Otway Ranges and close to several waterfalls. We visited Hopetoun Falls because it's only a short walk (downhill) to get the best view of the falls. 

Lots of steps, but it's a beautiful walk

 Look! A waterfall! 

 I enjoyed walking through mud and puddles 

 Taken from a rock that I stepped into the creek to get to. 
Yay, gumboots 

Ready to unfurl

We stopped for a little while in the redwood forest near Hopetoun Falls before heading home via the Great Ocean Road.  

The trees were planted in 1939

A creek runs alongside the forest

On the Great Ocean Road 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Skulking about Richmond

I didn't go to yoga this morning because I woke up feeling very body-weary. Later in the morning I took the bus to an 11.30 appointment in Richmond because I didn't have the energy for a half-hour walk. But then I wandered for eight kilometres* around the back streets of Richmond taking photos before walking almost all the way home. 

If you saw someone in red boots skulking around between Bridge Road and Victoria Street taking photos of things on people verandahs and in their front yards, that was me. 

I posted my pics to Instagram when I got home and was amused and a little creeped out when I noticed I was being silently watched while taking a photo of chairs on someone's verandah! 

This photo is a little blurry because I rushed to get a shot of the dog while it was still sitting on the seat. 

It started wagging its tail when it saw me and I assumed it was going to come for a pat, but it got down off the seat and headed straight for the open front door! 

Some more of my photos:

 Snail lunch

 Closed up

 Love the shutters and entrance. Near Richmond West station 

 Shutters and statue

 Verandah seats, also near Richmond West station 

 As above

 Pretty garden and cottage on HighettStreet 

 Verandah bike, Lennox Street 

 Buttery yellow and blue 

Verandah couch 

 Conformity is overrated

 Verandah seat with wine glass

 Lovely lavender

 More verandah seats 

And couches

  * according to my VivoFit

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Crazy frog

This frog - the desert rain frog - is an actual real creature, not a squeaky toy. Really.