wherever you go, there you are

Autumn colour already

Or, wherever you travel, you can't escape yourself. Sigh. Despite having to take myself with me, craft weekend was pretty good. It is always pretty good because it is craft weekend. Especially that Friday night feeling; of having cleaned the house and escaped the city, once past the horrible merge on the freeway it is all beautiful light and country cloud views, arriving to a clean and familiar venue, of having greeted your sewing friends as you and they arrive, of having the whole weekend before you. We talked and sewed, ate well, drank a bit. A mouse ran over my foot at dinner one night* and we decided that it was probably a native marsupial mouse because it was so unafraid and so round and cute. One of our number was brave enough to pick it up in a plastic bag and release it at the far edge of the property.

Because my life is as it it is, I was in the midst of increasing my Latuda (sounds like a Latin American holiday with party drinks but is actually a new anti psychotic with fewer evil side effects than the others, that can be effective against bi-polar depression) every second day. So on Saturday morning I had a whole one. I thought I might be sleepy but I was not. Indeed I was quite focused on my sewing and had a pretty productive day for me and managed to cut out three items of clothing and sew nearly two. They were pretty simple items, but I'm reasonably pleased with how they turned out. However come about half past nine (early for me) I started to hit a wall and went to bed early and fell straight asleep followed by a period of restless awakeness and then a period of dreams so large and vivid that I was quite disorientated when I woke. Indeed I could imagine these dreams escaping the confines of my head on the pillow and bouncing around the room, around the house, disturbing others. In one part of the dream, I had awoken early about 6.00 am and it was just becoming light but there was also fog everywhere, the fog was white and tangible like cotton wool, cold and spider webby. I traveled through this fog on a bus down Johnston street and then caught a tram along Brunswick Street and another bus through Carlton, to be dropped off in a strange suburb of previous dreams. The other part of my dream was in Queensland but somewhere more rural than where my sister lives. There were lots of people from various parts of my life there and we were all  going to go to a country fete and eat cake and slices. It had rained and I went out to take photos of denuded hills, that were sad, like the way Gerard spoke about the rural countryside when he was depressed. I got caught in some very sticky and stinky mud and went back to say it was impassable. However my brother in law bundled the children into the old Prado which went effortlessly through the mud, sucking it up and spitting it out through the snorkel. Everybody laughed. Ha ha.

* I don't think mice are an issue there, I think it was just the one cute marsupial. Very different from the mice we get here.


Last minute dinner in the park....

Man and cat.

The Monday just gone was the third anniversary of Gerard's death.  Predictably I was sad and forlorn but unexpectedly I was also a bit angry. It's hard to write about this. Yesterday I stopped at the end of the last sentence. Today Grace has given me 30 minutes before she wants to use the computer to play Sims so I am going to try and bash a bit out. The day before the anniversary, I posted a photo of Gerard on Facebook with the words, This is four years ago, almost a year before he died. It's a funny and kind of sadly prophetic photo. Gosh, I still miss Gerard but sometimes I hear him in my head telling me to pull my finger out.... Did I want sympathy? Maybe. Did I want people to know that I still feel stuck? That I feel a bit crap about that?  Maybe. Maybe. To be honest I think three years means that I should have moved on a bit more than I have. That I should be right in the middle of the new life I am meant to have. The one I can see with a new or renovated house, more socialising, more work, more life. If I had been the one that died, I reckon Gerard would have re-partnered by now. He might have fixed the house a little too and I reckon he would be working more. It's not that he would have been any less devastated but I think he would have been more practical about getting his life back together. I know that's what he thought I should do. But I haven't. It took me until I was 35 to meet Gerard and settle down into a long term relationship. He had serial long term relationships right from when he was young. Although I had a serious relationship in my twenties, it ended badly and after that, for various reasons, I was somewhat unlucky in love. So now I think at 54, it's unlikely that I will re-partner. I feel that I had partnered and that we were going to get old together, that that was one thing I had sorted, after all.

Back to the anger. I have been pretty low for the last couple of weeks. Coming home, feeling isolated, missing my family in Queensland, the hot weather, anxiety about the changes I have made to try and build a new working life, walking, injuring myself by walking too far too soon, not walking, not sleeping well on hot nights, sleeping in, lethargy. Culminating in a feeling of quiet desperation. A feeling of wanting sleep all the time and not wake up. And then the anniversary. Always another fucking anniversary. I seem to get myself on track and then I am undone by yet another anniversary. If my life was a bit more developed perhaps I could just feel sweetly sad on the day and go about my business. But no, the anniversary pulls me under like a nasty wave in the surf and then dumps me before churning me under again.  Maybe three years isn't that long in the scheme of things.

Anyway. The week has progressed and things are a bit more back on track. I had my volunteer shift at the neighbourhood house and it went well. Very well even. Well enough that I feel optimistic about the track I have placed myself on. I was skim reading something on the internet via Facebook about noticing happiness and joy and making a note of it. I think that's something I used to be good at, so now I'm trying to notice moments when I feel happy and content. It might be as simple as the moment I sit down to a nice dinner with Grace and there is a pretty sunset out the window. Or when Rupert snuggles up to me in bed and rests his snout on my belly. Or the feeling of a class well delivered. It sort of works.... I also tried another thing I skim read somewhere, about bounding out of bed by saying  in your head, 5...4... 3...2...1 get up. Sadly that did not work. Look, I suppose I shouldn't grumble so much. Things are happening. Even during the low period, I was still doing things, still hanging out with people, procrastinating about stuff, getting on with my life. It was not as drear as it sounds. But I was kind of low inside.

I go out walking

Starting to sweat. Rupert happy.

I didn't want to go for my walk today. But I did and now I am sitting at the kitchen table, all showered and in my comfy clothes, not sweating anymore and using Grace's fancy mac laptop (which she needs for school) while Grace is making dinner. Today has been the sweatiest walk since Queensland and it isn't even that hot or humid. It might have helped if I'd worn cotton pants instead of jeans but I think I would have still been sweating from my eyes - perhaps it was the sunglasses? Anyway despite feeling a bit creaky and sore in the knees sometimes, I do like how I am getting better at the walk and the beauty of it does lift my mood. Also and I don't think it is unrelated, the scales have started to go down. Not by that much but by enough to know it isn't a daily variation.

The walking isn't just about losing weight although I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I was pleased about that. I am. The walking is about improving my fitness and general stamina for life. It's embarrassing to be too slow and puffy to walk with a friend and tedious to be made breathless by housework done at a pace.  I would like to be fit enough to walk for several hours without it being a big deal. Like maybe on a hike, or an overseas walking tour. Everyone, including the cardiologist I saw for the stress test (my heart is working as it should, just really unfit) says I need to take it gradually and build up over time. My current goal is that when I next see my GP that I can say that I can now do the walk that prompted the stress test.

Losing weight though. That's a hard one. I would like to believe in the body positive movement and be grateful for the body I have. I want to believe that all bodies are good bodies. And I definitely hate dieting. But I'm not happy being this big. It's like there are two big voices coming at me. One is that dieting has been proven not to work and that you'll just get bigger with each diet and that you can be fat and healthy at the same time. The other voice is saying that being fat is definitely unhealthy, that it leads to other health complications such as heart problems and type two diabetes. I suspect that despite being contradictory both voices have some truth.  My doctor, unlike another one at the same practice, has never fat shamed me. He does agree when I mention it that losing some weight would be helpful. His big thing though is exercise and he says that if exercise was a pill, that everyone would be one it. I guess any way you look at it, you have to start with the body you have now and that maybe lasting changes will be slow and not as drastic as you would like. There is no doubt more to say about the space between those two voices, but eh, walking and less sugar and see how we go.            

home again

Also at the dog beach

We came home on Monday night, it was deliciously cool after the humid subtropics. Cool and dry. After the slightly dazed taxi ride from the airport, feeling all spread out after the cramped two hours in the middle seat of a Jetstar economy flight (only two hours but I always feel tense trying not to take up more space than I feel I should), we arrived home and the house felt very small. There were also big unseen spider webs running across rooms and a daddy long legs nest of spider babies under the mantel piece. But I was pleased that I had cleaned and washed the floors before I left, and changed the sheets. It felt nice and orderly.

The next day, as I was making text arrangements to pick Rupert up, I looked out at the long grass and saw a big rat running around the yard. It doesn't take long for the wild life to make itself at home. When we got in the car to go and get Rupert, the car most absolutely wouldn't start and I momentarily didn't know what to do. Then I called the RACV and it was sorted within half an hour. It was so good to see Rupert again. After we got home, the two of us had a big snuggle on the couch, his snout resting on my leg. Later after doing some shopping, getting a new car battery and having dinner, he sat on my lap for a long time. Then slept on my bed. It was so nice. I thought he might have had such a nice time at the dog sitters, what with other dogs to play with and two walks a day, that he might have forgotten us. But no, he seems happy to be a at home and as bonded to us as ever.

Yesterday was also coolish weather wise and we went for a walk down the creek. Grace was even OK with letting him off the lead for a bit. I was pleased that the walk I had struggled with six weeks again wasn't such a drama. I was a bit sweaty at the end and maybe a bit puffed considering that I wasn't walking that fast but not freaked out. A bit of an improvement. Today was pretty hot so we went to the Altona dog beach instead. Rupert had an awesome time and I wish I had gone for a swim, but oh well, I had a paddle and that was OK.

It is nice to be home but I am missing Betty and the family so much already.