Ms Emmalumpdogg’s true calling

In which she shows that even city dogs know what to do…

For days now on their morning walks, Ms Emmalumpdogg and her Daddy have been spying a surprising, out of place thing. And every day, Ms Emmalumpdogg has looked up hopefully at Daddy, asking, “Can we cross the road and go over there today?” Only to be told, disappointingly, “not today, big girl”.

But today, she’d decided enough.

Off they went, not long after dawn…

Yes! Finally! Daddy had, after several of Ms Emmalumpdogg’s “we shall not be moved” moments, agreed to take her to the flock. To get her closer to what she knew in her koolie/kelpie bones was her True Purpose in life! Sheep! Part of her soul! Where she was meant to be! Her own little herd of people around the house was all very well, and she loved looking after them, but she was, after all, a Working Dog.

Happy and exhausted, Daddy and Ms Emmalumpdogg trotted home for breakfast and a nap. After all, a girl has to build up her strength for more adventures!

Well, I’m back….

Let’s try this again.

So. I’ve been away from the blog for a little while, partly because I’ve been unwell, partly because of the dreaded ‘Rona causing disruption everywhere…

Telehealth, while a necessary and luvverly and long needed addition to our health care system, has several failings, especially when it comes to the delivery of certain services. (I had to giggle at a letter which advised me that one of my providers would support dental care via telehealth. How, exactly, would that work? Mail you a sterilised kit, and have you poke around in your own mouth as they watch via webcam?!)

Mental health services via telehealth are … better than not getting any mental health services at all. But nowhere near the same as actually seeing the people you need to see. (I acknowledge I am immensely privileged in the amount of mental health services I receive.)

there have been many days when I have done this (never so glamourously)

Still, as the government in its wisdom has decided we are allowed to venture out again (for certain definitions), I have valued being back at my regular appointments.

But more than that – I have been able to go out with some new friends. As scary as that was, that’s been wonderful.

Me. Yep. (Artist unknown)

There’s been so much going on in the world. Not just the plague, but the necessary reckoning that has come with beginning to acknowledge what white privilege is built on around the world – black lives, black deaths, and the continuing exploitation of the labour of people of those whose skins are not white, those who have never been the beneficiaries of the Anglo class system.

I’m proud to have been born and raised on Wiradjuri land. But I never learned a single thing about the culture of the people whose land I was occupying, without treaty, without consent, while I was in school. My partner’s people and culture was part of a policy of “extirpation”- as though they were vermin. We don’t talk about it often because the wounds, even this many generations down, are deep.

Where to from here? I don’t know. Day by day.

I’m drawing again, or at least, trying to. That feels like… something.


(Or, is this rock bottom?)

Today was … not good.

The cough continues. The aches continue. Nothing is resolved. I don’t meet the criteria for Covid-19 testing here, so I could have it… and we’ll never know. Stuff like that can mess with your head.

I’m a step away from falling into the blahs. Which I won’t tell my mental health professionals about because they’ll want me to go on an antidepressant and – just nope. The last one was a disaster, I hate feeling like a guinea pig/lab rat “ooh, let’s try this one, poke poke, see what happens”… nope, I’m over that. If I’m significantly depressed, I know which antidepressant has worked in the past. I’ll be willing to take that. But I’m not anywhere near there yet.

We’ll all just keep singing happy little songs until this passes, huh?

Remember your social distancing and wash your hands



Caity, oh Caity, where have you been?

(ummm… not out?!)

Most definitely, not out.


This cold. Or flu. Or whatever it is. I’m tired of having it (and of it making me tired!) I’m sniffly and coughing and weak as a kitten, although the last day or two have been better, so I’m hoping I’m heading towards recovery.

I did cook, with lots of hand washing and appropriate hygiene, another big stew/soup in the slow cooker:

Mmmmm soouuup

But allll that pumpkin had… well, let’s just say it’s disagreed with some of us. Oops. Luckily, there’s other stuff in the freezer, so one person can gradually eat this lot up, while the other clears up other food. And we know pumpkin is now off the menu.

I’ve missed everything this week. Haven’t called people, haven’t exercised, haven’t done any art, just slept a lot, ate a bit, read a bit, then collapsed back into bed. The highlight of the week was getting clean sheets on the bed.

I had a couple of days where I overdid it on reading the news. There’s so many conflicting numbers. “This is the only number you need to know”, says one source, trumpeting that the R-0 is dropping, thanks to most people behaving decently. And yet: “Be prepared for Level 4 social restrictions, and this is what they may look like”, and “police impose record fines for bad behaviour”…

I try to let all that go, and wait for Dr Norman Swan and ABC health reporter Tegan Taylor to tell me the fair dinkum stuff on the Coronacast Podcast (and I miss them on the weekends).

The other podcast I listen to during the week without fail I can’t find a way to link to, but here’s a screenshot of their logo. It’s an offshoot of another podcast I listen to, but this is a daily one, and is as the two hosts say, “here to provide comfort so we don’t all go bananas in this crazy time”.

be wary, they’re sometimes sweary.

They may be sweary sometimes, but they’re also honest, and compassionate, and real. (And privileged and white, sure, but still, I’m not going to hold that against them right now.) The amount of work that goes into producing a podcast is huge, and to do it daily with kids at home even if you do have access to great equipment etc is a significant commitment, plus they’re keeping up their other podcasts.

Me, I’m more…

Yup. Sums it up.

Meanwhile, poor Mr Beloved has had to do rather a lot, apart from making sure that Ms Emmalumpdogg goes out for her walk

Smug Doggo will insist!

He’s also been the one tasked with venturing out for groceries and the dreaded chemist run. The chemist is the worst, we reckon that it’s the biggest pathogen palace around. Last night I realised I’d somehow run out of lip balm completely. Not a skerrick left. And of course, I only wear red lippy – not a viable substitute. Neither, it turns out, is hand moisturiser… yuk!

Oh, and it’s Easter Saturday as I’m writing this. It feels very odd, still, after all these years, not going to church for Easter. I miss the traditional hymns and service of the Anglican Church, although I suppose my memory of it is like an insect in amber now, and nobody even does it that way anymore. I’ll potter about the house with Easter hymns ringing through my head tomorrow, no doubt, but mostly the church left me long ago. I feel sorry for those who have true church community and are missing out this year, for who knows how long.

Well, that’s it. I’m in no way caught up, I have other posts waiting here, but my eyes tell me I have to stop.

Remember to call someone you need to talk with, cook something yummy, and wash your hands!



Not much today…

I feel like I’ve washed my hands a hundred times, the skin actually started to split, in the little webs between my fingers.

Does she really need a caption?

I watched Her Majesty’s speech (online, I didn’t get up at 5 am to watch it live) and thought she was very inclusive. And even though she didn’t say

She could well have. Her “we will meet again” was a beautiful touch, I thought, well done to whoever wrote the whole thing.

And now I’m tired. More tomorrow. But at least I wrote something.

Remember, sleep is healing, buy some more hand cream, and keep washing those hands!



Vulnerability is not a dirty word- or, yoga for the left/right dyslexic

Tonight, I went back to doing yoga. Something I’d been meaning to do for a long time, but this week’s email from Adriene resonated… and I showed up.

And it was tough. There were tears. There were moves I couldn’t do, (but I kept going as much as I could) and a long way to go. The class was 35 minutes of yoga for vulnerability and as I worked, with Emmalumpdogg helping (sometimes by blocking areas of the mat) I was grateful for Adriene’s gentleness. And her sense of humour. I didn’t think the end of the thirty five minutes was ever going to come and then there I was…and I’d even held two full planks (not for long, but I’d done it!)

Obviously, this is how I look while I’m relaxing. Obviously.

It’s taken ages even to write this much, as the pain is starting to kick in and I’m tired.

And did I mention I’m left/right dyslexic? So when she says things like “now take take your left arm and point that elbow down, down, down past your right knee, nose to the sky” I’m still saying “wait, my left is THIS one, it’s going THERE, and where’s my nose… what, you’ve gone where now?” But she’s so calm about it all I try anyway, and keep going, and do things I would never do if this was a yoga class full of people who could see me.

I might do more (a shorter class, one I’ve done before) tomorrow- or I might call it a recovery day.

For now though: get some exercise, talk with someone you love, and wash your hands!





Swings and roller coasters …

Yesterday was my birthday. I’m now (mumbletysomething) years old. And I’m grateful. There were times when I didn’t think I’d reach anywhere near half the age I am now, or thirty, or forty, let alone pass fifty. There have been bad moments. Bad days. Bad years, even. There have been weeks where I haven’t seen the sun, haven’t wanted to get out of bed, haven’t looked after myself.

And those times could come again.

I live with brittle bipolar disorder. Which means I get the usual highs and lows of bipolar disorder – but I get them hard, and fast. Imagine being on one of those deranged, loop-the-loop, high adrenaline roller coasters at a theme park, when you’d rather be on the kid’s level roller coaster, gently trundling up and down. I’d love that, just… that’s not how it works for me.

It’s managed. Mostly. I get a lot of help. I was very late in getting a diagnosis. And my life probably would have looked different if I’d known sooner, but hey – here we are. Another year older. I tend to stay quiet on my birthdays because I miss people who haven’t made it this far. So, apart from a little photographic silliness, I had a quiet day – read a little, binge watched some stuff, listened to some podcasts.

Today I managed a little more – while Ms Emmalumpdogg was out for her walk with her Daddy, I dragged out the vacuum and got the worst of the front room done, went back through the lounge room and kitchen, at least at floor level. (It’s best to vacuum while Emm is out, because she’s still convinced the vacuum is The Enemy. She has become reconciled to the necessity of brooms and dustpans, but I don’t think we’re ever going to win the vacuum war).

Then later I got some more exercise (it all counts) using the pear corer so I could make pear crumble for pudding. We were lucky enough to get a big bag of Packham pears on sale so we’ve been eating them up, but they’re much better cooked. My arms are very weak (actually, all of me is very weak, I have wasted muscles as a result of anorexia and that’s one of those things I need to work on – it’s not just psychological recovery, it’s long term physical recovery as well) and I get tired and injured so easily.

I was looking back at some photos earlier tonight, comparing how I used to look to how I look now. And I really prefer the way I used to look. Not just the longer, natural hair (I miss that, too) but the face shape, the healthier look. I feel like my new face belongs to someone else, not me. I want my proper face back. Hair that doesn’t break. Muscles that don’t scream when I try to do something simple like close a window. I want to want to eat. Some days… are easier than others in that.

Sometime after April 2018
April 2020

There’s probably… 15+ kg difference between those photos? Could be more. I wasn’t in the habit of weighing myself before (and I’m only allowed to weigh myself once a week now) so I couldn’t say for sure. I’m working towards an initial goal weight but so far I can’t get back up there. I’ve been stable for a few weeks now, so at least that’s one roller coaster I’ve stepped off, even if it’s just for a while.

I’m tired. Enough of the roller coasters for now.

Enjoy the ride. Walk in the sun (a socially safe distance apart). And wash your hands!



Today’s Achievements Unlocked

I’m No Rosie…

But I managed to sweep the lounge room and kitchen floor today! Huge achievement. You see, Emmalumpdogg is a merle spotted, double coated doggo, and she sheds fur all. year. ’round.

You could probably make little needle-felted Emmalumpdoggs, to have perched in various poses, sitting all over the house, she sheds so much fur. And that’s with daily brushing. We still get tumbleweeds of Emma fur floating along the floorboards.

That’s our happy girl!

I also made another huge pot of chicken soup – this time, with a different spice blend, added carrots, and a tin of chickpeas.

Mmm, sooouuup

I also got all the dishes washed, spoke with my mental health peer support worker, paid for a prescription I needed written by my psychiatrist (I deliberately stayed away from her office when I was due for my last appointment because I had flu symptoms, and then a couple of days ago tried to order one of my much needed brain medications only to discover I had no scripts left – and had to pay to have one written outside an appointment. I’m rather annoyed by that, since I feel I did the right thing by staying away… And the psychiatrist obviously didn’t check my file during that appointments time, just left it up to me to follow up. If I was that capable, I wouldn’t NEED a mental health team, would I?! (headdesk…) anyway, it’s done now, faxed to the pharmacy, and I phoned this afternoon to ask them to dispense it).


So… What else did I do? Washed and dried and moisturised my hands what feels like a hundred times… My skin is already prone to dryness (yet another bonus symptom of Sjögrens Syndrome, and Happy Sjögrens Syndrome Awareness Month if there’s anyone out there reading this!) and the cheap petrochemical moisturisers are horrible on my skin. Part of my birthday treat will be buying a tube of my favourite hand cream (ahhh, luxury!) instead. That’s a tomorrow job, when I go to the pharmacy for my order.

For now, I think it’s time for some TV, more moisturiser, and my last cup of tea for the day.

And tell me your achievements – you’ll notice today I didn’t list a shower, and that’s ok. Any achievement is fine. If you drank your water – good job! Brushed your teeth? Great! Read some Instagram? Well done!

Until next time, remember, we’re all finding the new normal, it’s not the end times, and wash your hands



Those online meetings?

Email? Maybe. Audio-visual? Please…. noooo….

because online meetings are EXHAUSTING

I had two mental health meetings today (not unusual, this often happens) but somehow, having to do them via telehealth was so much more draining than usual. Whether it was the lag time in the technology, or just my feelings of lack of privacy and security, I hated it. Haaaaaated it. But … it’s our best option while the pandemic lasts.

Badly lit, but this is no high budget production….

I fell over for a small nap, woke up for dinner when the hoon across the road roared off… and now it’s time for podcasts and maybe an audiobook chapter.

Maybe tomorrow will be more productive.

Remember, no matter how tired you are, wash your hands, and don’t forget to eat,



Well I woke up this mornin’…

(and of course this should be in 8 bar blues…)

I’d only had 3 hours sleep.

(3 hours. Sleep.)

But I got up and made breakfast and a cuppa anyway.

Welll, I said I woke up this mornin’… (continue as you like, the blues 8 bar pattern should be familiar enough)

And then… the migraine fairy hit me over the head with her great big wooden mallet. DOOONNNNNGGGGGGG!

Sing along “Welll I woke up this mornin’…”

Cut to much later in the day, when I stumble back out into the light, knowing that today, we have to set up and test for Zoom and Skype telehealth appointments later in the week.

What an annoying disappointment Zoom turned out to be! The audio was dragging and delayed, the way to send invites was clumsy. We have fast internet (by Australian terms, having been lucky enough to be in a pilot suburb years ago where we got the much vaunted National Broadband Network fibre directly to the house).

Whether it’s because *everybody* working from home (and especially telehealth providers) have been advised to use Zoom as a secure way to provide services, and therefore Zoom’s servers are clogged liked a sewer full of fatbergs, or whether my (not that old) computer didn’t like the program, it just was not workable.

Skype, on the other hand, was easier to connect, had zero audio or visual lag over wired or wireless connection, and was clear to see and hear. Definitely a winner. I’ve been using Skype with one of my medical providers for years and while her setup sometimes had delays, it was still nowhere near as bad as Zoom.

I would prefer going to the privacy of a provider’s rooms, of course I would! But its a pandemic. I have yet to read the news today (oh boy) but I’m sure it won’t have suddenly all gone away overnight. Safety for everyone has to be be observed.

At the same time, I’m getting tired of the stupidity of panic buying. Very tired. There are a few things that will be in limited supply, for good reasons – like rice – growers simply couldn’t get the water to grow a good crop this year (do not even talk to me about the mess that the government has made of the Murray Darling River) – but mostly, supplies will build up again, supermarket shelves will be stocked and greengrocers will be able to fill orders, if people stop being so selfish.

Oh, I’m tired. I still have that post-migraine hangover and I’m feeling groggy and grumpy. More later.

Wash your damn hands and stop being idiots.