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Showing posts from July, 2014

A bad version of Yes Minister

Australian politics continues to take a step, or a billion back, to no future for the poor.  The latest is, that job seekers will be expected to look for 40 jobs a month.  Anyone deemed to have "spammed" employers, will lose their entitlements.  To the best of my knowledge, spammed, appears to mean use the internet and email to apply for jobs. 




Apparently, using modern technology is some how cheating.  I guess the job centres will be buying up typewriters and fax machines so that job seekers can stay up to date with modern technology.  No doubt there will courses on how to write with a quill and feather.




These job applications will be done while doing between 25-15 hours of unpaid work for no dole (6 months on, 6 months off).  You have to work for no pay for 6 months in order to get the dole which is not enough to pay for the basics anyway. 




I'm still not sure how this will ever be deemed legal under Australian, or indeed international law.  We are after-all a cosignatory…

House fever!!!

I'm hoping a second cup of camomile tea, in a peony pink cup, will calm down my rising house fever.  It's too late and miserable to get out and about now.  Oh dear, got some serious house fever...need to get out, tomorrow.


Ah well, ...my house fever might pass by tomorrow. 


Stormy weather predicted for tonight and possibly tomorrow, so I will have to go for a house fever cure that does not involve going on the road until the weekend, if possible.


Okay,...


Possible house fever cures:
find a good ebook/ blog to get lost incrafty projects - make something watch one of the DVDs I have out from the library

and, the best one by far,
a change of scenery!!!   I guess I could take my laptop and camp out in the shed.  Except I think it's being used for man duties at present, so this would not go down well.  Ah well...Anyway, grateful for a safe roof over my head, the power is still on, it's warm inside and I am fed.  About to eat an apple, one of these days that habit might actually k…

My reading addiction, and I

I love to read.  And, I do not have much patience with books that do not grab me pretty quickly.  I give them a chance, but if I find myself suffering from depression as a result of the book, they soon get given the heave - ho. 


It's not like I do not enjoy reading books about other people's hardship, nor do I squirm away from difficult topics, such as medical ethics.  I quite often find myself reading these books, and appreciating a medic's point of view of health care. 


It's just that some books are more therapeutic for the writer, than the reader.  And, it's a fine line.  I've said that before on this blog. 


So, what does hobartchic read when her selections from the library are simply not hitting the mark?


Well, much to my pure, books-are-better former self's disgust, I must confess to reading an awful lot of...blogs!!! Hehehe!  I guess writing a blog and not reading them would be hypocritical in the extreme so it's hardly a confession!


I love re-readin…

Stormy weather

Spent an evening grateful to be inside with the weather buffeting and blustering, and generally putting on quite a show.  Unfortunately, some people in northern Tasmania and Victoria have been affected by the severe weather.


Here in Southern Tasmania, I am sitting it out all warmed up by my room heater and hot water bottle.  So far, here, power has remained connected, although the lights have threatened turning off.  I have my trusty wind-up torch beside me, because I am too slack to ensure that there are batteries in my torches!  I love my wind up torch, my dad managed to secure me an upgrade for $2, my original which is kept with the first aid kit cost $25.  Sometimes cheaper is better.


Actually, I have had great use out of both of my wind up torches.  I strongly recommend buying yourself one.  They are so handy when the power is turned off.


I guess it pays to be prepared for regular emergencies such as power blackouts.  If only I had the self discipline to have an emergency stash of c…

It's not personal, it's business

Successful businesses have certain generally accepted hallmarks.  In order to run a profitable business, it is generally accepted that the following will be needed: a vision - a written statement of where they want to be; goals - goals that are SMART (http://www.hobartchic.com/smart-goal) Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic and Timely; plan/s - written down with goal posts laid out; support - a team of people that support you; advisors - expertise is worth paying for; contingency plan - a Plan B; flexibility - change is inevitable; news - stay up to date with industry news; place - a place of business, that is welcoming, clean and suitable; budget; yourself  - an understanding of personal strengths and weaknesses.


Now, I use these hallmarks, or tools, to help me to run my healthcare.  My goals change with information, my vision has basically not changed the whole time I have been fighting for wellness.  I need a strong support team to keep me going when times are rough. 


My medica…

Hello, Mr Peat

Re reading Ray Peat's article on gelatin, stress and longevity.  Certainly possible that gelatin may have a role to play in if not cure, then recovery and life enjoyment.  Interesting if you are fascinated by people that think outside the square and research, research, research.


http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/gelatin.shtml

Dear Diary, I'm having one of those days

I'm having one of those days and so far everything I have written sounds like it should start, Dear Diary.


That's not what I want to write about.  Given that this is a blog about my journey with chronic illness and looking for hope I realise that sounds contradictory.  It's just that a lot of my posts lately have been that I am struggling.  As much as there needs to be some of that, I want this blog to always be more than that.  I want this blog to be focused on looking for hope, even just a glimmer, joy even when it is hard to find, and happiness even when some days it seems elusive.


So, today, I am indeed having one of those days.  Maybe, you are reading this and having one of those days yourself.  Well, I guess it sometimes helps to know that you are not alone.  Rest assured, you are not alone.  It's okay to feel like you are, but that's one reason why I started writing this blog.  I wanted people to know that they are not alone.  I wanted people to know that t…

Cat and the fiddle

There is a good side of life throwing you more lemons than you can catch.  It makes you appreciate the good times that much more.  It makes you want to create special memories with the people that are special to you, and share your life.  It makes you see things from a space that most people wait their entire lives to see. 


It gives you perspective that most need to be grand(parents/aunts), before they notice.  It ages you in so many ways, it makes you weary at times, but it makes you want to soak up all the good moments.

All boxed in!

Suffering from a dose of TV-regret.  Watched the local current affairs program and caught up with all the things going wrong with the world.  Watched a comedy and should have continued with that.  That would have been smart. 


Nope, instead I watched a program about people preparing for the end of the world called 'Doomsday Preppers'.  This put me into a bit of a funk, combined with some other internet drivel I found myself reading today.  I found myself wondering whether I was lacking in paranoia.  Some of it seemed out of balance.  I was watching a woman worrying about having enough food for a structural economic collapse but looking like she could keel over at any minute because she looked so unhealthy.  I should think just being in a constant state of worry would, in itself, not be good for health.     


I'm not saying there was not sense in what they were trying to do.  I think being prepared for reasonable likely scenarios is an intelligent thing to do.  I'm just no…

The Importance of Being Imperfect

5 things I can afford to do imperfectly:
Clothes, as long as they are neat, practical and reasonably flattering, they do not have to all be brand new.  They can be bought from the local charity op shop, gathered from the local tip-shop, acquired through a garage sale, or swapped with a close friend or relative.  There is nothing wrong with doing this imperfectly.  One of my favourite tops cost 50 cents.

House keeping.  It's okay if things are less that perfect.  Figure out what you need to do to keep things clean and tidy.  Have a cleaning schedule if that works for you.  Do what you can, and if you live with other people find a way to divide the tasks so no one gets overwhelmed.  This is not a call to live in a constant muddle, it's a call to simplify and not get overwhelmed. 


Food.  We are meant to use food for nourishment.  In the real world, most people can not afford to spend their time, energy or income on 101 ingredients, or hours baking a soufflé with pumpkin three ways …

Dear Pancake

"Dear Pancake" refers to my current mood, which is, a little flat.  I'm not depressed.  I am simply drained of physical energy.  Just a little flat, like a pancake.




Thrown much at my body today, spent time madly searching internetland for answers to my current state.  I guess as much looking for hope, as much as for answers.  That's what we need more of sometimes. 




Someone could read to me the entire medical library and it would not necessarily help me when going through this.  We need more than just knowledge, we need to know that there are other people out there who are struggling, fighting and looking for answers.  We need to know that we are not alone.




I know that changing my hormones affects all this, probably.  I know that things will hopefully get better in time.  I know that it's in part probably caused by a virus that likes to play hide and seek in my body, and is currently, neither managed, nor eradicated.


I know that I feel like a pancake, and that is fin…

A cup of kindness

One of the running themes on this blog is the importance, of little gestures that make a big difference to yourself, and others. 


Sometimes a random act of kindness, needs to be visited upon ourselves, so we have the energy to look after others.  That morning cup of coffee, the quick flick of mascara so we feel confident to get out the door, putting on a favourite t-shirt, getting an early night, or allowing ourselves to rest, in a comfortable bed, with a hot-water bottle, cup of herbal tea and a funny video.   


For me, the last few days, have been challenging, due to pain and exhaustion.
Made all that bit harder, because I struggle to accept this part of the journey.  I'm learning to accept that I feel resistant, a bit sad, grieving for a time when I was full of verve and energy, on a more stable basis.  I'm learning to accept that I feel guilty sometimes, and I am learning to just sit those feelings out.  It is made easier, by learning to adjust my expectations and be kind to …

Licorice allsorts

Have a craving for dutch licorice.  This may have something to do with the herbal teas I am drinking to help with fatigue symptoms. 


Spent some of the morning at the beach, treated to a beautiful cup of coffee, soaked up some sunshine.  The rest of the day with my nieces, at the park and being creative.  Quite a good day. 


Oooh, sugar cravings, though.

Heartbreaking news

This is a small note to say that I am deeply saddened to hear about the tragic loss of life from flight MH17.


My thoughts and prayers are with the families, and friends of the people that have lost their lives.  


Of all the images that I have viewed today, when trying to understand the magnitude of this tragedy, the one that has stayed with me, is of people gathering outside the Netherlands embassy in the Ukraine.  Thank you for gathering and leaving flowers, and lighting candles.  These gestures of peace and kindness are incredibly powerful.  I am very touched by these gestures.


All the passengers, and crew, of the MH17, R.I.P


Heartbreaking news.

Blind leading the blind

I have the greatest, the GREATEST, respect for patient groups, and for patient advocacy.  However, we all, myself included, need to be careful where we get our information from.


It is a bit too easy to read something online and assume it is true, particularly when desperate for relief.  It's is also complacent and easy to take advice from other patients without tapping into the expertise of doctors.


Yes, on occasion doctors have made mistakes in my diagnostic journey but in fairness I would not be here without them.


Yes, you have to know how to negotiate and respectfully advocate for your specific needs.


Yes, learning from other patients and hearing about their experiences can be therapeutic, and it can guide you on the questions to ask your primary physician.


BUT the misinformed and incorrect information being bandied about by non-patients and patients on
how to treat auto-immune thyroid disease makes me sick.


So, please be informed, ask questions, find a doctor you can trust, do not g…

Today I am grateful for...

Today I am grateful for...
Sunshine!Good quality coffeeLaughter - made someone smile todayFamilyGood food - yummy veggie fritters the head gardener made, yum!Democracy - the ability to vote and do so safelySlippers, to keep my feet warm, cheerful colour too!Car - nice to not have to walk too far when unwell!Memories - saw a notice in memory of someone I knew who died in her twenties a few years ago.  It made me glad that I could remember her, and very proud I was able to help her through some tough times.Other bloggers - took me a long time to read blogs, but now it's a regular leisure activity.What are you grateful for today?  I hope you have ten or more too!
Originally published at www.hobartchic.com March 2014

How to eat your body weight in chocolate

How to eat your body weight in chocolate? one bite at a time!


I was contemplating the above exercise when I realised that it might make more sense, given I wasn't actually hungry, to put it on my face instead.


Which morphed into a coffee facemask:
So, a teaspoon of quality ground coffee, half a teaspoon of honey, and a teaspoon of low fat yogurt, and I had a lovely indulgent face mask.


My coffee facemask, is messy, and be careful that you leave room around your eyes and any sensitive areas.  It will stain things if you are not careful, but it feels reallllllllllyyyyyyy good.


Made a really nice hand scrub and would probably be good for feet.


And then, I put my home-made lazy days night time moisturiser on top.


Nice.


Disclaimer: not suitable for people with allergies
Originally published in March 2014 at www.hobartchic.com

Reslience and a red tea pot

I have a choice in my situation, I can be a permanent victim.  I could easily be only my disease, my pain, my suffering.  I could dig a hole so big that even Mother Teresa would consider leaving me there.


Or, I can ask for help, I can seek the counsel of wise people, I can acknowledge what I can control and accept what I can not.


I figure if I do one small thing each day, I will be further along than if allow myself to languish, the far easier solution in the short term.


At times, it's lonely being sick, and at times even the most together person will crack.


There are amazing therapies if you are struggling.  I personally had a great deal of success with a therapist who was trained in EMDR and CBT.  I was ready and open to learning and changing and am forever grateful I invested the time and money into these.  I would be a wreck if it was not for this knowledge and experience.  I sought out help and it took a lot of time and effort.  I got the right help because I kept on looking for …

Ode to Op-shop

There is a popular past-time in Tasmania we like to call Op-shopping.  It derives from the term Opportunity Shop and refers to re-loving second hand goods.


Today, I am grateful that I not only got some absolute bargains, but I met the nicest op-shop lady.  It's rare to come across a grump at the op-shop which just adds to it's appeal.
Op-shop sale!!


For $12 I got three tops for running WHEN I get well (hope, baby, hope!), some sexy singlets, a spring nightie I need to adjust and a sexy purple halter neck dress I plan on using to flaunt my terrifically toned arms etc WHEN I get well, and fit and hot.
Ah, so much fun!!!


This week, I wish you op-shop happiness.  The feeling you get when you get something flattering, beautiful and an absolute bargain!!!
Originally published March 2014


Washer woman joy

There are few things that cost just a bit of time, that can be enjoyed alone, that bring as much satisfaction as clean washing drying in fresh sunshine.


I know, you're thinking, how can I have such an exciting life too?


Today, I embraced my inner 1950s housewife.  Admittedly, in my case without the husband, generous housekeeping allowance, or in fact, the house.  Don't worry, I did not let those minor details stop me.


Ladies and gentlemen, the excitement did not stop with freshly laundered clothes.  No, it just gets better....and, I cleaned the stairs, and now I have the smug satisfaction of looking at them as I traipse up and down them in all their golden oak coloured glory.


Then, for additional jubilation I sat down to the head gardener's sewing machine and fixed a dress, patched a pair of jeans and hemmed another pair.  The head gardener never would have guessed a couple of years ago that she would have found herself reprimanding me for using her sewing machine without her …

Beautiful!

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Having embraced my inner 1950s housewife for the last few days,  I needed to fix the cabin fever that I was experiencing so I drove to one of the many beautiful beaches that we are lucky to have, here in Hobart, went for a short walk and took the above photo.  Beautiful!!!


I hope you have a spot, park or garden where you can enjoy nature, even if it's as simple as a luxuriant pot plant and a café set.  www.apartmenttherapy.com have some wonderful posts on how to create a beautiful spot for contemplating.  There is even a budget living section!  It's one of my favourite websites to go and be inspired and allow myself the luxury of dreaming.
Published originally in Mar 2014 at www.hobartchic.com

Holiday close to home

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Today, I set myself the challenge of getting out of bed.


Having met that challenge, I additionally set myself the challenge of getting out and about and only using minimal resources, with maximum benefit.  I needed a rest and break from all the domesticity!


First, I made myself two cups of strong flavoured coffee with milk and put it in a thermos.  For that decadent café experience I added a drop of vanilla essence.  Grabbed my keep cup a very lovely friend gave me for my birthday one year (good friends = priceless), grabbed a locally grown apple.


Grabbed two magazines that I enjoy reading borrowed from the library.  Drove to a local quiet park, curled up in a patch of sunshine under a small maple tree and made the best of my frugal morning.  So nice to get out and about.



I hope you find something that costs little and fills you with joy this week.
Today, I am grateful for beautiful parks, warm sunshine and vanilla flavoured coffee.
Originally published at www.hobartchic.com in March 2014

Little cup of inspiration

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I am inspired by women like Eleanor Roosevelt, who is said to have once commented that
"A woman is like a tea bag, you can't tell how strong she is, until you put her in hot water"!!!


Isn't that truly, the most awesome quote, I love that!!! This is a woman who was faced with great adversity and achieved the most amazing things.  For a little inspiration, read about this amazing woman.

I was going to write about my scones I whipped up, with cooked potato as part of the base, served with wild blackberry jam, and mock cream.


Basically, my recipe was based on the kind of things that they made to cheer themselves up during World War 2 in places like Australia and the United Kingdom.


There are some great blogs out there in the blogosphere about such times, and what we can learn from the people who were in extraordinary circumstances.  It's stories of people surviving, and doing their level best to thrive, that keep me going on dark, tough days.


Lest We Forget.
Originally publ…

Stupid O'Clock

Originally published at www.hobartchic.com in Mar 2014


Today, I woke up at stupid o'clock with no pressing need to be up before the larks.  The head gardener was up even earlier, and uncharacteristically had the washing machine on when the birds started their morning rendition.  We commiserated over herbal tea about our internal alarm clocks.


On a positive note, there was the most magnificent sunrise, and my inner impatient geek appreciated that the internet is faster at that hour.


The weather has been refreshingly cool and rainy.  A good day to be inside and a good test of how Tasmanian I am.  I love this weather, even if it is a little chilly.  The lack of rain was making me a bit cranky - right there, born and bred Tasmanian.


Have been very good with the food and tea consumption today.  Brown rice and quinoa vegetable risotto/morning gloop, lots of milky black tea and green tea, herbal teas, few bowls of minestrone soup (yum!).  Feeling virtuous!


Had a random surprise this afternoon…

Chillax...

I've found that part of recovery and embracing well-being in a truly whole (social, psychological, physical) sense requires times of rest.  I like the expression chillax, just the word sounds relaxing!


"Chillaxing: a state of ultimate chill and relaxation"  (urban dictionary www.urbandictionary.com)


10 of my favourite ways to chillax:


1.  A good book that takes my mind to another place.  Lately, 'Not Eating Out in New York' (based on the first two years of a blog of the same name) and Monty Hall's 'Great Irish Escape' have met those criteria beautifully


2.  Catching up with friends and family that make me relaxed


3.  Cuddles with someone special, that makes me laugh and smile ;)


4.  Somewhere quiet, out in nature so I feel "grounded"


5.  Running around after my nieces, is not exactly chillaxing territory generally because they are such little jumping beans, but I love their company, and they make me happy.


6.  A decent drama that takes me out of my …

Investment in the good life

We hear so often about the importance of investing wisely in superannuation for retirement/ 401k plans, investing in the right location for bricks and mortar, and business enterprises.  Very few people seem willing to put in even half as much effort into a long term strategy for their health and wellbeing.
It's a strange approach most people take to be serious about their finances and forget that being healthy is an important part of enjoying their finances.


The same person that will quickly arrange a mortgage for $400, 000 can balk at the concept of daily walks to prevent or manage lifestyle related illness.  It's only a few minutes a day and costs probably no more than $200 in generic sports shoes per year.   They will have time to work 80 hours per week but "no time" to work out.  Money can be found for a new deck for the house but no money for fruit and vegetables.


I really do believe that we tend to get what we prioritise.  It's not just a matter of how much mo…

A bad day, with progress

A few things, today, was a get up early, and rest most of the day, kind of day.  It did not affect me as much as it once would have done.  Accepting bad days helps, because I'm not expending so much energy feeling guilty, which does not help anyway.




It was not a pleasant day.  Still, it was a progress day.  I had time to reflect, and some of the worst feelings and pains are lifting.  Maybe it did not feel like progress.  Thankfully, it does not have to feel like progress, to be progress.  The dizzy spells are largely a thing of the past, although I still have moments of weakness and days like today.




I will take a bad day, but progress overall, as good news.  Even if progress feels a bit like treading water.




I read another woman's story of CFS recovery today.  It's always nice to stay close to hope.  I hope this post gives you hope, because sometimes progress comes disguised in a day largely spent in bed, and that, is okay.




My handmade circulars, did not work (surprise, surpr…

Just make the bed

In what feels at times like a lifetime ago, I completed a certificate in hospitality at one of the premier institutions in Tasmania.  As you can imagine, I learnt a thing, or two, and came to appreciate the work that goes into a seamless, apparently effortless, presentation of a hospitality venue. 


One of the tips that I learnt is that presentation is half of making a place look clean.  In other words, keep the clutter to a reasonable level, balanced with comfortable furnishings, the odd plant (fake or real), and you are half way there.  Crucially though, the first thing that we were taught to focus on was making the bed.  Because if nothing else is done, and a guest walks in, a well made up bed instantly gives the room a lift, it looks like everything is in control, even if it isn't.


So, if you do nothing else today, may I suggest you make the bed.  Plus, it makes you feel better.  There are few things more decadent than getting into a well made bed.


When I am having a challenging …

Looking for joy

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It's well past time I went to bed.  I'm feeling less than settled, in some pain, and infuriatingly quite awake.  I've spent the evening knitting, reading blog posts about being content, watching Gardening Australia, watching the end of season 10 of Greys Anatomy, and finding joy right here. 




With such sedate, comfort viewing as Gardening Australia, I might turn into a reformed gardener one of these days yet!  You will notice I balanced it out with Greys Anatomy though.  Mainly I spent the evening reading about how people cope with less money and how they learn skills along the way to make the best of their situation. 




One man on one the comments, on a personal money forum I skimmed through, was complaining about his wife who was daily spending 80% plus of the money he was bringing home on food and smoking (I know cigarettes are highly addictive, my only point is that she was spending more money than necessary for their daily needs, I'm judging her spending here only.  …