Ugh

(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

Love

Caity

Since it’s still my birthday week

(I started writing this ages ago…)

and I was going through my computer today…

(it was “today” when I wrote the bulk of this post….)

I found some slides that had been converted to a usable format. All of my childhood is trapped on slides, little yellow topped boxes, hidden away. Stuck in a cupboard in Mum and Dad’s house. Somehow I got a few scanned, some… I couldn’t make any sense of, I didn’t know the story behind the photo.

But some I did.

I’m not going to apologise for the image quality, I could have tried to edit it, but I wanted to leave the authentic slide film experience.

Obviously my love of pointy party hats goes back a long way!

I was four. My Mum put so much effort into this whole party!

I think I count 8 kids? Maybe 9? And this with my sister still in a high chair. All that special party food, and the very special “Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe” birthday cake, which needed extra decorations.

Mum helping, me being imperious…

Nana was also there, so Grandpa must have been (photo to follow, I need to upload) and of course Dad was taking photos.

My childhood birthday parties were amazing things. I remember Mum going to so much trouble every year – not just the cake, there was the new dress, (which she made), and who would come, and some years I remember I insisted on themes….

Now I don’t do much for birthdays. It’s mostly a new book. I wonder what happened to the kid who loved birthday parties so much? Do we all just lose that joy?

Maybe tomorrow I’ll make something nice and birthday-ish, anyway.

Take time to remember, maybe cook something nice…. and wash your hands

Love

Caity

Caity, oh Caity, where have you been?

(ummm… not out?!)

Most definitely, not out.

Sigh.

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!

Love,

Caity

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!

Love

Caity

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!

Love,

Caity

 

 

Today…

I admit I had a little breakdown.

I was overtired, overwhelmed, and under-caloried. Oops. My hands were sore, my eyes were stinging, I’d generally neglected to look after myself.

And so I had a little crash.

Some time on the bed, eyedrops, hand cream, and a bowl of frozen raspberries and I was okay to get up and keep going again.

Then my little blender somehow went wrong when I was mixing my food supplement (chocolate flavoured Ensure, the nicest of the supplements) and things got messy. Fingers crossed it still works tomorrow.

But! Thanks to a recipe from my dear friend in Canada (hi Mandy!) and Mr Beloved’s braving the shops during Oldies Hour at Coles (“I’m oollld!” he says, but we actually qualify to shop then on several counts) we had this amazing soup tonight. It’s the Slow Cooker Chicken Fajita Soup from The Whole Cook, and it was as good as Mandy promised. I used chicken thighs instead of breasts (cheaper and better flavour) and only half an onion, and cut back on the chilli powder slightly; next time, I won’t cut back on the chilli because even though I don’t usually tolerate spicy things well, this wasn’t spicy – warming, filling, and exactly what I needed today. With lots to put away in the fridge and freezer.

The Coronavirus crisis rolls on, with new rules announced today further limiting movement and social contact: essential shopping/medical visits that can’t be done by telehealth only, exercise obeying social distancing rules, over 70s must stay at home, more financial help for those who have become unemployed as a result of the virus – and fines and police enforcement if the rules are broken. What frightens me is that these laws are being rushed into effect with no grandfather clauses – no end dates. Margaret Atwood’s dystopian vision in “The Handmaid’s Tale” is starting to look just a little too prescient…

For us oooold Robert Smith fans…

In happier news: I had a lovely long text chat with an old friend tonight (well, old in the sense that we’ve known each other quite a while, and old because we are) and the talk came around to writers we mutually admire. He has finally embraced the joy that is Dorothy L. Sayer’s Lord Peter Wimsey novels (her religious work is scholarly but tedious), and he has just read “Gaudy Night” – coincidentally, I had just reread the same book.

He particularly enjoyed her descriptions of Oxford (I have to take his word for that, having only ever seen it on screen, but imagined it frequently) and thus the chat moved to another author who uses Oxford in his work: Philip Pullman. (Yes, the author of the audio book I’m enjoying so much.)

Which reminded me, I keep dipping into this book, which was my Christmas book last year

So clever. For short bouts only. With thinking time and note taking.

And now it’s time for me to listen to the Coronacast podcast, then switch over to listening to the audiobook and hopefully… sleep.

Remember, take care of yourselves and each other, cook something nice, and wash your hands,

Love

Caity

Keen readers…

May have noticed that there was no blog post last night.

Are there any keen readers? Send me a comment, I’d love to hear back from you!

But you know what? Even if this is me shouting into the interwebs, I’m okay with that. Because my entire blogging life, which stretches waaaaay back to early times on Typepad and Livejournal, more than twenty years ago, has been less about who’s reading, and more about something else. I think it was Gretchen Rubin, speaking on Judith Lucy’s podcast, who said that narrative was how we made sense of our lives. This, and all my other blogs, have always been my way of turning my narrative, my stories, into memory, into reality, into history.

So here’s a little glimpse of what happened today: I walked Ms Emmalumpdogg. Mostly successfully.

Happy tails, to youuuuu…
Over there, Mum!

I say “mostly” because a) it was a very short walk and b) usually she walks with Mr Beloved, not least because she is around half my weight (yes, she needs to lose a couple of kg) and she is VERY strong. However, she is also quite well trained, and so long as people (especially cyclists) don’t sneak up on her while she’s busy on her walk, she’s quiet. She is a Koolie/Kelpie cross, both Australian working dog breeds, and both known for being good thinkers – dogs you have to work with, not dogs you can always tell what to do, because they may decide they have a better idea – and be right.

There’s an interesting smell over HERE!
But I CAN be good and sit when I’m told
See Dad? I’ve got this!
And of course, the most important business of any walk- checking one’s pee- mail
Crossing safely.

We didn’t see anyone else, so we maintained the appropriate social distancing rules currently in force.

Since that was nowhere near enough of an outing for the doggo, we came back inside, let her have a drink, clipped her leash back on, and sent her back out with Daddy for her usual, much longer walk.

And she was very happy.

Tomorrow I’m going to take her on a short outing by myself, as having Mr Beloved next to us was causing some issues; but as you can see from the glaring white state of my legs and Ms Emmalumpdogg’s happy smile, today was good for both of us.

And now it’s time for me to ask you, imaginary reader: what have you done to put a smile on your face today?

Remember to be good to yourselves and others, (now more than ever as we enter into this lockdown phase that I’m just hearing about), call someone you miss, and wash your hands!

Love

Caity

Today, I’m tired.

So for some reason, I’m tired today. I took this photo earlier in the day, showing my new computer glasses (single vision, since I wear multivision or whatever the fancy name is for most of the time, and a different pair for reading, and of course prescription sunnies… quite a collection I’ve built up over the last couple of years).

Also, since I’m expecting hairdressers to close, and I was going to grow my hair out anyway (and it’s getting a bit tight between now and next pension day), it’s time to start using scarves and bobby pins and anything else that comes to hand to manage my hair.

I over-read the news today, and there really wasn’t any. I mean, nothing that was going to make a difference to the way we are already living. We’re already self isolating, and only venturing out for essentials. We’ve already experienced the brutality and rudeness of some people at the shops. Some of my necessary medications are unavailable from the pharmacy, they say they’ll try and supply soon… (I’m hoping that for a couple of key ones we can find them somewhere, because otherwise things could get… tricky.)

So – back to the self discipline of only reading the news once, at most twice, in the day. Preferably around lunch time, when things have maybe stabilised. Any more than that is just feeding anxiety.

And of course, there’s always this…

Meanwhile, the most excellent Miss Emmalumpdogg continues to let us know when there is a WRONG by barking at it and pointing to draw our attention. She is also a marvellous self taught therapy dog, who knows when we need extra cuddles, or a nap.

Maybe tomorrow will be more productive. Or maybe not. Right now, it’s time for podcasts and then sleep.

Be kind to yourselves and each other, try and get some exercise while you’re self isolating, and remember to wash your hands!

Love

Caity

Something must be done.

hey, this is something, let’s do it!

So this afternoon, the first text message arrived. This is what it said:

Coronavirus Aus Gov msg: To stop the spread, stay 1.5 m from others, follow rules on social gatherings, wash hands, stay home if sick.

aus.gov.au

There ya go. We have been told.

Who writes this stuff?

Is this going to make a difference to those who are still going out and clearing the shelves and hoarding? Probably not.

Is it going to leave some people unnecessarily worried? Possibly.

I am not dismissing the advice. After all a man from our town has died from Covid-19 now. HOWEVER, he contracted it while on a cruise ship, and his family and contacts are now in isolation. This was not a direct transmission case.

1.5 metres, girls! 1.5 metres!

The smoke is bad here again, but now we know why: more than 20 hazard reduction burns around us, and a large hazard reduction burn off throughout the week in the Lockyer Valley State Park. So I’m back on my red preventer inhaler medicine for asthma, which I usually only use when we either have bushfire smoke or the woodsmoke season starts. (I have cleared using it this way with my doctor, and have regular lung function tests.)

Making sure I eat….

The other thing I make sure I do is EAT. The thing that’s maybe hardest for other people to understand about anorexia is that it’s not about eating, as much as it is about how I think about food – or rather, I don’t. I’ve lost my natural hunger signals so I have to set alarms to remind myself to eat. It’s a battle in my head about wanting to eat. I don’t fear getting fat (it’s not that sort of anorexia) nor do I throw up food (that’s a different kind again.) I have an anorexia that’s technically called “Eating Disorder (Not Otherwise Specified)”, and some people tell me it’s about control, some people tell me it’s about past trauma, some people tell me just eat when my alarms go off. It’s not an easy fix, and it’s not going to be a quick one. Like other brain behaviours, even when it’s “cured”, it can come back.

When you have no egg cups… you innovate!

Soft boiled eggs are something I’ve been able to manage. My dietitian says they’re great, (even better with buttered toast soldiers but I didn’t do that today because I am just about out of my special bread.)

But back to the egg cups: I know I own at least one, somewhere. But since I can’t find it, I’m using this trick instead: small bowls, filled with about half a cup of rice each. Once the eggs are ready, use the rice-in-bowls as egg cups. So long as the rice stays clean (no eggy drips), I pour it back into a separate little jar, ready to use again.

Maybe when we’re next allowed out, we’ll look for egg cups (if such a shop is still open). Or maybe I’ll just keep using my little rice bowls.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll make biscuits. I think gingernuts sound good.

I’m tired, so that’s it for today. Remember, be kind to yourselves and others, wash those hands, and eat when your alarms tell you to,

Love

Caity

Breaking out, briefly

So today I got to leave the house for a while! I wouldn’t have even considered it but my throat was much, much better – just rough because of the huge amount of smoke in the air, coming from vegetation fires thirty-ish miles out from where we are:

And I promise that we left the house for essentials. Yes, bread, milk, pharmacy items – but also we went to Officeworks. Because now that we’ve all been told to stay at home as much as possible (at least, that was the last news I read, I haven’t read any since this morning, I don’t want to know if it’s a level worse than that) I am working through the book I bought for my birthday:

Lynda Barry’s “Making Comics” (see some great extra pages at the link below) https://www.drawnandquarterly.com/blog/2019/11/lynda-barrys-making-comics

So, Mr Prime Minister, (or anyone else, for that matter) – we did it safely. We stood 1.5 metres apart from everyone else. We stood behind the marked lines at the registers. We used a tap and go card, not a pin. We washed our hands immediately on coming back into the house.

But I will FIGHT YOU FOR MY BOX OF 24 CRAYONS AND MY 8 DRAWING PENS AND MY 200 INDEX CARDS, oh yes I will.

I’m serious. These, as much as my brain chemical medications, are essential supplies. It’s already tough going, finding routine, staving off the loneliness, finding motivation, without the usual external drivers.

And for those of us who already spent a lot of time on our own, and only got out for say, groceries or medical appointments, and now don’t even have those outlets ?

From the awesome Dorothy Gambrell, artist of Cat and Girl http://catandgirl.com/

It’s going to be tough unless we can find a new way to live. I’m going to use up my phone calls I usually let go unused. I’m going to try video calls with people who might not have done that before. I’m going to try and get a bit of housework done (within my abilities, if I overdo things I end up having to have a recovery day or two and the last thing I want is a depression spiral during self isolation.)

How about you? Any plans for different activities? Are you baking? Doing different exercises? Sorting through those books you’ve been meaning to get to? Sewing?

Take care of yourselves and each other. This isn’t the end of the world, it’s just… different. And wash your hands.

Love,

Caity