Sunday, July 28, 2019

Finding myself..

I've been struggling for some time to figure out who I am in terms of style. This has been an ongoing process since I ever became aware of style, and here I am at 47 still struggle with it. I've come close at times. I know for example that I don't do well dressing like most of society. I always have to stand out - whether I really want to or not. I'm not sure why this is. I guess I'm just not into fashion as such. I've worn all sorts of things in an attempt to find myself style wise. Peasant clothing (and by that I mean actual clothing that resembles what peasants work centuries back), all monochrome, loud colours - REALLY loud designs. Lagenlook (look it up)). Just recently, I thought I'd found myself in swing tops and balloon pants. Apparently not, because I'm still looking.

Some of the changes I've made have been in pursuit of fitting in. Fitting in with my alternative friends, or in with the office environment expectation of dress. Neither suits me.

The other thing I've always tried to avoid is anything resembling brown, including oranges and warm neutrals. This stems directly from associating brown with my mother and all the furnishings of our home in the 70s. Mum told me last year that those were not her choice of colour but that having to live within the very strict confines of what my dad thought was reasonable budgeting for clothing and decorations, she had limited herself to browns to be sure her clothes always worked together.

It struck my then that the reason I had not like all the brown and orange, and had associated this with mum was that those colours were not colours that reflected her personality.

Slowly, I've reintroduced myself to oranges. I've come to terms with orange. I've come to accept that warmer colours work better on me than cooler colours - although my skin is a neutral colour. And having accepted that my base of complimentary colours sits within what would be considered an Autumn in all those colour coding systems I've also come across a system called Dressing Your Truth, which is also a colour system, but based on your personality. Like so many things I've tried before I don't know for sure that this will work either but I'm willing to give it a try. As it turns out, my personality - the drive I have to get things done, to be loud, and a bit pushy, even to walk heavily on my feet and not be the cultural definition of what is considered feminine (the reason behind changing my name from Claudette to Sif to soften the sound of my very name), is a type 3, which is a colour range that fits within the autumn palette. Though, DYT will argue that neither black nor which belong in the colour range, which some charts disagree with that argument.

Unfortunately, with my recent attempt to fade into the background by wearing monochromes, and black and white and grey, I've just gone through my wardrobe and there isn't much left. Interestingly, the stuff I bought from Keshet, that I've been hanging onto until I lose some more weight IS within the colour range. It seems I was on the right track there. Which is good, because I felt good wearing them. I put them aside because I felt they were too loud for the office.

So, here we go again. Hopefully this time I'll get a lot closer to finding myself - at least my style - a bit quicker.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

My biggest vice...

My biggest vice is my shopholism. Seriously, my name is Sif and I am a shopoholic.

I try not to be. I've locked myself out of shopping sites such as eBay and Aliexpress, but I end up just letting myself in again because I NEED something. The thing is, there is always something else that I need.

Recently, it has been clothes and shoes. When we first moved into this house it was furniture items. Just recently I bought a fold out bed for Erik because he was staying here a lot but you know, he never uses it, he just dosses down on the couch (which annoys me, by the way).

Internet shopping has really fuelled my shopping fervour. It is just so easy, it's like drive through and not having to leave the car - I don't even have to leave the house. I'm also addicted to getting packages. It's so exciting to have deliveries. Sometimes I can't even remember what I'm waiting on in the mail - then it's like a little surprise.

Being a minimalist just plays into it. I like to declutter. I LOVE getting a skip and filling it up, or sending Dave to op-shops with a boot full of donations. Of course, this then leaves space and an imagined need to buy more stuff. It's s vicious cycle.

I'm very nervous about having our household income reduced so severely now. Even though I'm losing about 2/5 of my annual income, it seems I'm working too many hours a week for Dave to qualify for getting his carer payment back. I need to be working 25 hours or less a week, and while I'm working 22.8, they also count travel time because it is time away when he is not caring for me. So, basically, his income is the $130 or so a fortnight he gets in carers allowance. The rest is the money I earn plus my pension and family allowance. We're not on the poverty line, we can pay our rent, our utilities, food, and petrol, but after that there is basically $50 a week left. So, we can't afford any kind of emergencies.

Obviously, I'll be looking for work to fill in the two days I've just lost. Obviously, I'm very grateful for having a job at all - so many people in our organisation have been given redundancies or have not had their contracts renewed. It is no reflection on their abilities, it is just that with the NDIS arriving the entire disabilities services sector is undergoing enormous change. It is affecting all organisations across the board and many jobs are being cut.

Less money means less money to spend on stuff we really don't need, which is on the face of it a good thing. The thing is this addiction to shopping is soothing some issue I'm avoiding and now I'll have to deal with it, I don't know what it is. I'm scared. I'm also scared because my other self-soothing activity is eating chips and lollies - something else I won't be able to afford.

Expect more blogging, writing is something that helps me a lot. You'll probably get to see a lot of the darker side of my world interpretation. My apologies in advance if you find it frightening.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Put together...

Having bought Bryn a new phone of his choice (within reason), I have managed to get my rather old, but trusty, Mac back. Getting use to the old commands has been... interesting. I'd completely forgotten how to set up accessibility on a Mac - it use to feel intuitive. I have to say though that a Mac system still dacks on a Microsoft system in regards to accessibility. There are no jaggies! I feel like my vision is so much clearer.

Anyway, that is not what this post is going to be about. I just get a bit distracted, you know, it's an ADHD thing.

What this post is about is my ongoing struggle to find just the right look for myself. I know this is fairly vain but actually it's quite important if you think about it. Being put together shows forethought. It shows attention to detail. Being put together shows an understanding of oneself. Basically, is about being stable, trustworthy, and centred.

Lately, I haven't been feeling particularly put together at all. I've felt messy, all over the place, and between styles, which I think rightly reflects my state of being at this stretch in time. I'm in a state of transition and flux where I'm trying to let go of the past and step into the future, or better still the present. I'm looking forward to reducing my working week to three days, although it will be a financial strain on the household budget especially because I'm determined not to move from this house in October - I really love this place.

I'm in the middle of a discussion about doing a little shadowing in an area where I'd like to see my career open up. It's exciting, but nothing concrete just yet.

I've also just gotten my second NDIS plan accepted. It's pretty much the same as the last one: I've still got personal training - YES! -, house cleaning, and gardening. This time I'm actually using the funds allocated for a physio and went to see one for the first time ever, yesterday. I'm also going to get a support person, specifically to go shopping with me. It will mean I can get the weekly shopping done myself and stop relying on Dave to do it. His legs are so bad now, he prefers to do single basket shopping two or three times a day. It is driving my batshit insane, and it's no good for the budget. What I'm planning is to get someone to go with me on a Monday or Friday once my schedule settles down. I'll do a weekly shop. I might also get someone in to help me do a big cook once a week so I can freeze some quick meals because I know that is something else Dave is struggling with.

Figuring out how to make the most of those two extra free week days is another area of transition for me, right now. There are a lot of things I'd like to do. Obviously, there are things I need to fit in. My second trainer was unable to work with me this past year because he's only available Monday-Wednesday, and I was working all of those days (all days during the week). Now though, I can fit him in - if he can fit me in. I like his approach, he uses a lot of body weight exercises, which I enjoy. With my usual PT I'll continue on with cardio mostly - more boxing would be great. The physio will be another to fit in. I'm seeing him twice this coming week. The physio shouldn't be ongoing though, just a few weeks and then whenever needed.

I'd really like to get another day's work - or even some gainful volunteering - happening. Something that would help me move towards the kind of work I really enjoy. It's not that I'm loathing working in recreation I like the people, but I'm very much more an advocacy leaning type of person. Whether it be through public speaking, writing, liaising with community and state, or even federal bodies. I like those sort of negotiations. And these are the sorts of things my studies have skilled me for.

Take for example an upcoming opportunity I've created for myself. I'm going to a day long seminar/course type of thing on working with people from migrant and refugee communities. My manager then wants me to teach our team what I learn on the day. This is exactly the sort of thing I've studied for. Teaching, I can do that!

So, back to the clothes. I've wasted money and time trying to put myself together. Today, I think I've started moving in a direction which will work for me. It helps that current styles are leaning towards late 80s fashion - Lord help me, I nearly bought a jeans jacket today... Anyway, I have options I can work with and a sillhouette which suits me. I have high hopes of feeling more put together soon, and with that more settled.

Now, where did I put my phone? Maybe Bryn will know...

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

Part time...


As of the 18th of April (it's the 30th but effectively the 18th because of Easter and Anzac Day holidays), I be working part time. It's been a long time coming, but the cardiac arrest has really put things into perspective. Money will be tight again, but I feel like it's worth it. I'll be working Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, which is perfect. As I'm in the process of advertising and starting up new groups (subject to numbers), I may need to work more days, but we'll see.

Working full time has been great, it really has, the money is pretty good, especially when you've been living under the poverty line for a couple of decades. The down side is that there is no time to do office hours kinds of things, medical appointments (which there seem to be more of now), training appointments, that kind of thing - ever notice how when you want to list stuff you suddenly can't remember the long list you had in your head.

I want to do more writing - well, actually any writing would be good. There is a mentoring program I want to do to get that next book out. I haven't even had time to promote the last book.

Anyway, there it is. Part time work. For now, anyway.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Me; the cliche...

Tomorrow will be two weeks since my cardiac arrest and one week since the ICD implant.

The implant site swelling is slowly reducing and today it started to get quite itchy. I can’t decided if that is a good thing or not. Itch is a sign of healing, but can also be a sign of infection. There is no excess heat though, so for now I’m thinking this is healing.

I haven’t done much of anything since I got home. On Thursday (the day after I got home), my dad and his best mate came to visit from on the VIC/NSW border, they stayed six hours and it was fantastic to see them, but I was wiped all of Friday. Yesterday, I wasn’t much better, the cleaners came for a couple of hours, as they do every week, and today I’ve been wiped again.

This is leading to a very frustrated me.

I’m getting very lethargic from doing nothing, but doing anything seems to wipe me out.

And then there is work. Tomorrow, I have to contact our WHS officer as well as our HR office to find out what the next step are. I am worried, to be honest, because I don’t know what I am capable of at the moment, whether I can start back full time, whether they’ll even let me. What if my absence means we’ve lost funding because I didn’t get those groups going? Do I even have a job to go back to?

I did the math today (I don’t recommend doing this when you don’t feel great physically and/or emotionally), and without my job, we’ll drown. Even if I lose more than 4 days a fortnight, we’ll drown. It’s the new cost of the rent. I need to not think about that right now.

Emotionally, everything is dawning on me now. The reality of nearly dying. Wondering if I’m happy with how my life turned out. Am I loving my life, or am I just getting through the days. Is it a first world entitled perspective to believe I have the right to love my life? Do the majority of people on this planet love their life, do they even think about it? Is having the space and time to think about it a luxury? Is discontentment just a sign of having far too much time and space and becoming far too self-obsessed? And round and round and further down the rabbit hole I tumble.

I have identified two things I do when I’m anxious. I eat crap - I don’t each a lot but what I do eat it pure rubbish. And I spend money. I rarely go to the shops, I order online, or I buy in app lives for my game. I’m pretty disgusted with myself. I want to sort these responses. Maybe that will help me feel more in control? I just don’t know. This situations has thrown me off axis completely.

Friday, February 08, 2019

Cardiac Arrest...

On the 28th of February, I suffered a cardiac arrest.

Dave says I got up, made myself a coffee, waited for it to cool while looking at my iPad, took a sip, and keeled over.

Dave called Erik downstairs to call 000 while Dave, who thought I was having a seizure, attended to me. He noticed my breath was thready, and then I stopped breathing. Erik took over and did compressions until the ambulance arrived - actually three ambulance, a fire truck, and a police car, according to Luey who was just arriving home while all of this was happening.

What I gather from cobbling together everything I’ve heard since, I cycled through the gamut of arythmia types, even in an order they don’t usually present.

I died three times.

I spent 9 days in hospital and had a defibrillator+pacemaker implanted.

It’s been a bit of a shocker... no pun intended.

I haven’t really had time to react to it, and I’m not sure what happens next.

Obviously, I’m not at work. I have a clinic appointment on the 20th of February. I think I only have leave days until the 18th. I have no idea what happens after that. I don’t know if I go straight back to full time, or part time, or even back at all, at this point.

Other than having a lump protruding from around my left collarbone where the device was implanted, which a a little tender, and a sore sternum from the compressions, I only feel a bit tired if I try to do too much (how long is a piece of string).

My memory is more shit than usual - which is saying something, but I’m sure that’ll right itself as well.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Syta's visit...

At the end of November a minor miracle happened here in Melbournetown. My aunty Syta came to stay for a month. This was a dream come true for us, and for her. I would never have imagined that one of mum's brothers or sisters would ever make it down to Australia, despite many plans to do so by so many of them.

Anyway, it finally happened. Although she stayed here for nearly a month, I didn't get to see her a lot because I was working and she and mum did a trip down memory lane to Sydney.

I did however get to all to myself on one Saturday and I took the opportunity to show her around a small part of Melbourne. I planned the following route for us because I wanted her to see a couple of places in Melbourne I knew she wouldn't have gotten to. 


For breakfast we went to Bluetrain for real pizza and a drink (beer and Pinot Grigio).

Syta isn't particularly afraid of heights, so I took her up to the 88th floor of the Eureka building and showed her the layout of Melbourne. Of course, Harlem got to see the top of Melbourne as well - he is also not bothered by heights.

We went out on The Edge. I've done this before so I wasn't worried at all. Syta was a bit iffy about it all, but hey, it's an experience she'll never forget. We weren't able to take photos ourselves while in the box, so we took photos of other people going out on The Edge.

Afterwards, I took her down Degraves, which she loved. I should have taken a photo of the street long cafe, but we were so busy looking at everything that I completely forgot.

Next we visited the iconic Young and Jacksons pub. We start on the bottom floor for some live music, beer, and bourbon and coke.

Harlem made a fun backdrop for the disco lighting...

The we moved up to Chloe's bar to visit Chloe, because, let's face it, you haven't really been to Melbourne if you haven't visited Chloe. Harlem was quite a show stopper with a bunch of patron's wanting a photo of him, and even a photo with him! We also had a nice lady take a photo of us with Chloe, but I'm keeping that one for my private collection.

and beer and bourbon and coke...

Finally, we migrated up to the Cider lounge for some gin and tonic, and Zambuca with coke.  Where we were hit on by a drunk old dude who probably thought we were dried up old singles with nothing better on offer. I sent him on his way toot sweet.

From there we went to Hosier (Hosiers?) Lane to have a look at all the graffiti.

Stan Lee had passed away only a couple days earlier, and someone had been quick of the mark with a dedication.

I got a pick of Syta next to a 'hole in the wall' - though actually it was a side window, probably more for ventilation that a servery, but she got the idea.

I was going to show her The Forum, but there was some concert happening at 8.30pm and goth types were already queued up around the block at 5pm.

So, we went over to Fed Square and I took her into the Bird's Nest - which is probably the only part of the Fed Square design that I appreciate.

Finally, we treated ourselves to our 7th drink of the day at Time Out - a Toblerone Coctail, which consisted of Kahlua, Bailey's, Frangelico, and chocolate - oh my god, so yummy.

I think Syta and fun and saw a different side to Melbourne.

Finding myself..