May 11, 2013

A Crystal Ball Maybe?

Posted in Journey, ME/CFS tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:41 pm by Reva

Tonight I was at dinner with some colleagues. Towards the end of the dinner one person “shushed” the rest of the group and when everyone was quiet she asked “when do you girls plan on becoming mums?” I find this to be an inappropriate question to ask a group of people that are colleagues, not close friends. And to be honest there were probably only one or two people there that I’d consider to be friends. I’m not sure if it’s just because I didn’t know how to answer, or at least I didn’t know how to answer in the company of this particular group, but I think it goes further than that.

I think that this is such a personal thing. I hear friends who get frustrated being asked the question “so when will you have kids?” when they’ve barely finished walking down the proverbial aisle. How do people feel it’s their right to know? How do they know that the couple haven’t made the decision that having a child isn’t for them? Or even more awkward, they have been trying for years and been experiencing heartbreak for years.

A few years ago my friend went with her mum to an afternoon tea. She took along her young son who played quietly. One of the ladies, innocently I’m sure, told her how wonderfully behave her son was, then asked when she would be giving her mother another grandchild. My friend had a difficult pregnancy and didn’t have an easy time when her son was an infant. On top of this she has her own chronic health problems. Even if this wasn’t the case she was well within her rights to respond as she did. She told her mother’s friend (and everyone else in the room who’s ears likely pricked up at the question) that she in fact had been going through IVF, and until the week earlier had been pregnant. I was so proud of her putting up this response in the hope that maybe, just maybe these ladies might think twice before asking such intrusive questions to other women in the future.

This evenings question has made me think that maybe I need to come up with my own response to these questions. What’s a concise way of saying that I’m single and in my 30s? I have chronic health condition that seems to send men running. I don’t really get out much and when I do I don’t tend to meet many new people anyway (meeting new people is EXHAUSTING). Sure you don’t need a man to have kids these days, and it’s crossed my mind to go it alone. But I also don’t think I have the capacity to go it alone. I’m sure I could emotionally, but what about those days that I can’t move from the couch? I can ignore the dog crying at the door but I couldn’t do the same to a child. I know some amazing people who have similar medical conditions to me who do have loving partners and families, so I know it can be done and I’m absolutely not ruling out becoming a mother. But if I am to have children, first I need to find a man who loves me, and who I love. I don’t need a perfect man but I do need that man to be supportive, one who sees bringing up children as a joint role, not one left entirely to the mother (yes I have met men who still believe that it’s the mother’s job). I’m almost certain that if I have children I won’t be able to work so that man would also have to be prepared to live a single-income lifestyle, one where money and possessions aren’t everything. I need a man who can accept that sometimes I can’t always follow through and do the things I want, that sometimes I have to cancel plans at the last minute, that I can’t always be as spontaneous as I might like.

So when will I become a mum? I’ll become a mum when and if I’m ready. And if that window of time passes before I meet that man, or I meet that man and we decide not to, or can’t, have children, or I never meet that man, then maybe it wasn’t meant to be. I’ve been assured that my Goddaughter will be coming to live with me when she hits the rebellious stage so it looks like I will be lucky enough to have the experience of dealing with a difficult teenager (or preteen if she follows in the footsteps of her cousins) even if I skip the infant/toddler stage. In the meantime I’ll appreciate my quiet morning breakfasts spending hours reading the paper over coffee, I’ll appreciate being able to come home and reheat leftovers if I can’t be bothered cooking, or can’t find a vegetable in the house, I’ll appreciate watching what I want to watch because hopefully one day I won’t get to do it anymore.

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February 16, 2013

The Versatile Blogger Award

Posted in Award tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:54 pm by Reva

I want to thank Mommabel from True Life Is Stranger Than Fiction who nominated me for The Versatile Blogger award and apologise for the fact that it has taken me so long to sit down and respond.

versatileblogger113

The rules of this award are:

• Thank the person who gave you the award and include a link to their blog (see above)

• Select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or regularly follow

• Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award

• Tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself

• You can find more information and other winners here

Here are my nominations – a combination of blogs I’ve been following regularly for a while, and a few ones I’ve recently discovered:

1. Lethargic Smiles

2. Musings of a Dysautonomiac

3. Momentary Solutions

4. Rag And Bone Shop Of The Heart

5. Knocked over by a feather

6. Hope For Heather

7. Oh What A Pain In The…

8. Throughhikerlife

9. Does Your Journey Seem Long?

10. Debauchery Soup

11. decimawho

12. Disorderly Chickadee

13. neveraloneblog

14. The Nerves Prick

15. Do I look Sick?

To my nominees: Please don’t feel obliged to follow the rules if you aren’t into awards, have already received the award, don’t have the strength or for any other reason– I just hope that I’ve sent some extra traffic your way xx

And finally, seven things about me:

1. I love the colour combination of pink and green

2. I hate being untidy but I can’t seem to overcome it

3. My cousin introduced me to wine (fruity lexia from a cask) at my Confirmation BBQ when I was 10. We broke the news to my mum about 10 years later. A further 10 years on she’s still getting over it.

4. Sometimes I just want to run and I hate my body for not letting me do it.

5. I love the TV show Scrubs. It’s my go-to section of my DVD collection when I’m having a bad day

6. I have conjoined toes. My swimming teacher told me it would make me swim faster. My swimming teacher lied.

7. I think my dog is hilarious, but accept that I might be biased.

January 20, 2013

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Biscuits

Posted in Food, ME/CFS tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:16 pm by Reva

Today I tried to work on an assignment which has a due date that is zooming towards me. I managed my initial 45 minute goal, took my 15 minute scheduled break, and couldn’t get back into it. I took an hour or so to just lay and had another go at the assignment. This just confirmed that my brain is pretty much mush at the the moment so I decided to bake. I’ve had a rocky couple of weeks and baking makes me happy, even if it can use nonexistent energy. I decided to bake my favourite chocolate chip biscuits. Super easy and I had planned to make them for the past two weeks as a part of a (belated) Christmas gift for a family friend.

choc choc chip biscuits

I love these biscuits because they are so easy and I always have the ingredients on hand; coming from a Women’s Weekly cook book, they never fail. The ingredients are also listed in weight so I find that I’m also saved a tonne of washing up because I just just pop the mixing bowl on the scales and add everything straight in.

I decided today to do something really crazy and replace some of the flour with cocoa powder; what can I say? I like to live dangerously 😉

chocolate choc chip biscuits

Overall it was a success. The biscuits were crispier than the original version, but in a good way. They were very cracked on top, so I might have to play around with the recipe or oven temp next time. There was one small almost-disaster where I was trying to unload one tray onto the cooling rack, and load the next tray on my too narrow kitchen bench tops, and the cooling rack toppled off. Fortunately the batch was saved from the floor by my buffet, all but one anyway. And only one third of that one was demolished by Maisie.

Ingredients

250g butter
165g castor sugar
165g brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
300g self raising flour
30g cocoa
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
300g dark chocolate chips

Method

1. Beat butter, sugars, extract and egg until creamy.
2. Sift in flour, cocoa and bicarbonate soda and stir until combined.
3. Stir in chocolate chips. Refrigerate for an hour.
4. Preheat oven to 180degrees
5. Roll level tablespoons of dough into balls and place on a greased oven tray 3cm apart. Bake for approximately 12 minutes.

supper

December 22, 2012

Road Trip

Posted in Journey, Progress, Strategies tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:47 pm by Reva

I’ve just made the 300km trip to my hometown to spend Christmas with my family.  It’s a long trip when you have a chronic illness and are travelling alone (well, with a dog) but it’s a good opportunity to have a good think.

1km

Coffee break.  Okay, so I planned this to avoid making and cleaning up breakfast.  Poor Dog thought she was going to a play date, but just enough time to grab a quick coffee, a piece of toast and read the first two pages of the paper

coffee

17km

Where’s the cruise button gone? Same place that the volume control is on the steering wheel.  I don’t have it.  I’m not driving one of the work cars.

63km

As I’m going through a slightly windy part of the route I remember a conversation I had with my mum in the same spot 12 years.  I’d just bought my first car and we were driving home.  Dad was driving ahead and Mum decided she needed to tell him something.  She was going to phone him and I suggested that maybe as we were in a fairly remote area we probably wouldn’t have reception.  She couldn’t understand why that would be the case when we could see his car.  Sorry mum, they’re not walky talkies

120km

I’ve remembered 4 things that I’m sure I’ve forgotten.  Nothing urgent, just inconvenient.

124km

I’ve forgotten what it was that I remembered I’d forgotten.

136km

Time to stretch our legs in the largest town along our route, a thriving metropolis of 2300 people!  Coax the dog out of the car.  Wander around letting her sniff things.   Coax her back into the car with treats.  Check the boot to see if maybe I remembered to pack the lollies.  Nope, I really did forget them.

149km

One of my favourite road signs.  Sounds much more pleasant than a bumpy road.

 bumpy road

My other favourite is “Fatigue Kills”.  It hasn’t got me yet!!

167km

The scenery

photo

180km

swamp

I’ve been driving this road regularly for the past four years.  It was only during floods about 18months ago that I realised this was swampland.  Prior to that the droughts in the area had dried it out.

197km

Starting to fade.  I could do with those lollies.  I know they’d make me feel terrible later but a sugar high would help me get through the last 100km

209km

Christmas in rural Australia – I was hoping to see the old scarecrows that a farmer dresses up as a Christmas family watching TV would be out but I either missed them or they’ve been put away.

christmas letter box

213km

A duck? Out here? Just out of the corner of my eyes I’m sure that’s what I saw.  Can’t have.  Hold on, could have been a snake, a brown snake curled up with its head up.  Hmm.  Not going back to find out.

228km

Straight ahead and behind.  The farmers in this region have had it really tough.  After a decade of drought there were massive floods through the region about 18 months ago.  Now everything is so dry again.  Many farmers are unsuccessfully trying to sell up, and walking off the land.

aheadbackward

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

247km

I could really do with a bathroom break thanks to the coffee and the attempt to keep hydrated…but you saw the scenery

263km

There’s some fantastic Australian music on my playlist.  I just hit play on the alphabetical list and am finding myself singing along to some oldies but goodies (You Am I, Powderfinger ) as well as some newies (The Rubans, San cisco).

287km

Nearly home…the ground starts to turn red.

red dirt

298km

Made it

the end

November 25, 2012

Liebster Award

Posted in Award tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:02 pm by Reva

Thank you E. Milo for nominating me for a Liebster Award. I still get excited knowing that people are reading what I write.  I know I’ve said it before but I started this blog as a way of getting my thoughts, feelings and frustrations about living with ME/CFS down, I guess as a form of therapy.  While I didn’t expect to have readers, I’m so grateful that I do as I’ve met some wonderfully supportive people who can relate to what I right from all over the world.  E.Milo has kindly said that as I have done this process just recently I can conserve energy by not doing the whole process again but I think it’s only fair that I answer her questions.

This award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers (give or take) that a blogger feels should get some recognition. There are four steps a nominee takes to receive this award:

  1. List 11 things about yourself.
  2. Answer your nominator’s 11 questions.
  3. Choose up to 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers and ask them your own questions.
  4. Inform your nominees of their award nominations

My responses to points 1, 3 and 4 are here.

And my responses to E.Milo’s questions are below

  1. Finish this sentence: “One day I will…”

Learn how to do nothing and not be worrying about what I should be doing

  1. What sound or noise do you hate?

My pager beeping.  It guarantees the way I planned to ration my energy for the day is about to have to be re-planned.

  1. What is your favourite animal?

I know I’m still boring but dogs.  I just spent a weekend with two of them and they’re hilarious, like two toddlers!

  1. What is your perfect  birthday meal?

A shared platter of cheeses and antipasto with a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc followed by lemon tart for dessert.

  1. What part of your body do you like the most?

My conjoined toes.  Just because they’re a good talking point.

  1. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

Travelling around Europe with no need to rush home so that I can do it at my own pace.

  1. What three people, dead or alive, would you like to have at a dinner party?

My grandmother, who passed away before I was born, Bill Granger to cook and

  1. Where do you want to be or how do you see your life 20 years from now?

I hope that I am settled with someone I love, either with a couple of kids, or travelling the world.

  1. What is your biggest vice?

Chocolate.  Until about 6 months ago I had willpower, then overnight it disappeared.

  1. Name one book and/or movie that made a difference in your life.

I don’t know if it changed my life but Bobby is right up there.  I loved how I came away from it feeling like I learned so much given that my knowledge of history is so poor, and how Emilio Estevez managed to weave so many stories amongst such a significant true story.

  1. Finish this sentence: “I am thankful for…”

My family.  Thanks to them I am sitting here tonight with clean windows, leftovers, my ironing done, a lovely tidy yard, a fully functioning computer and resting after some wonderful company.

October 26, 2012

Ten Little Things That Get Me Through the Day

Posted in Strategies tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:17 pm by Reva

  1. Grocery Delivery – I love grocery shopping (is that weird?) but it can be extremely draining and on a bad day it can have me in a withering heap with all the noise, bright lights and people.  I now get all my fresh food delivered.  I have a set order for vegetables milk and bread with a company that sources all Australian made/grown products.  I pick and change all my other fresh food based on my plans for the fortnight.  This means I only have to go to the supermarket for a few extras – rice, toiletries, frozen veg and a few herbs and spices – so I can do the job quickly if I time it right.
  2. Planning and Freezing Meals – this helps me for a few reasons.  By planning, I don’t have to go back to the supermarket outside my fortnightly trip.  I also don’t actually have to think about what I’m cooking.  If I come home exhausted I go onto automatic pilot, check the fridge door and cook before I sit down (if I sit down there’s no going back).  Also by freezing my leftovers I can not cook at all and still not end up eating take out (I actually find reheating from the freezer easier than take out) which means I can usually stick to a healthy, mostly unprocessed diet.
  3. Routine – back to auto pilot.  I find routine hugely helpful.  I often forget how helpful until I stray from the routine and fall in a heap.  If I stick to routine it takes less concentration.  I have a bedtime.  I very a little with whether I should stick to the same “get up” time on the weekends or not.  Sometimes I feel
  4. Employing help – it took me a long time to get used to the idea as it felt like an extravagance for a single person working part time, but the little bit of money I spend to have someone do my “heavy” cleaning (scrub the shower, vacuum and mop the floors) is seriously the best thing I did for my condition.  Previously I’d have to spend the next 2 days on the couch after doing these (which did NOT do wonders for my social life and therefore depression associated with ME/CFS) but now I no longer waste the 2 days post big clean and my house stays clean (clean, not tidy).
  5. Sitting down to brush my teeth and dry my hair – I did this by accident and didn’t realise right away I was doing it, but I sit on the side of the bath when I’m blow drying my hair and brushing my teeth.  This helps manage my orthostatic hypotension.  This brings me to…
  6. Electric toothbrush – my gums ended up in a mess and I realised that I was so exhausted and weak at the end of the day I wasn’t doing my teeth properly.  On advice of my dentist I invested in an electric toothbrush.  The one I have flashes a red light if I brush too hard and buzzes every 30 seconds with the idea that you spend 30 seconds on each quadrant of the mouth.  So now I’m brushing my teeth properly with no concentration or effort required.
  7. TV episodes on DVD – sounds stupid but I discovered that these are great to help with pacing.  They’re shorter than watching a movie which means I can break up jobs by watching one or two episodes.
  8. Saying No – this is really really tough.  I hate saying no.  I think it’s part of my nature to want to do things to help people.  But over time I’ve learnt that saying Yes all the time helps everyone but me.
  9. Maisie – okay, Maisie might not help my ME/CFS directly but she does help with the social isolation and hence depression associated with it.  I was being treated for depression at the time I got her and while I know that she’s not the only reason I’ve been managing my depression I know she’s a big part of it.
  10. Letting go of perfection – I’ve always been a perfectionist.  When I was little I used to run inside and change my clothes 3 or 4 times a day when I was playing in the sandpit.  I grew up in a household where everything had to be clean and tidy ALL the time.  You’d never know it looking at my desk or my house but I HATE being messy.  But if leaving things in a mess on my desk means I can drive myself home safely, or leaving the dishes on the sink means I can get through the rest of the week at work, well, I had to get over it.

October 17, 2012

Meet Miss Maisie

Posted in Strategies tagged , , , at 7:51 pm by Reva

Maisie’s my guard dog.  No really, she is!

Maisie loves toast, licking things (everything – faces, the floor, the air, I’ve even caught her licking walls on at least two occasions), her friends Barney, Polly and Nelly, hiding rawhide in her special places (frequently under my pillow) , the next door neighbour (who visits her when I’m at work) and the cleaner.

She likes doing neighbourhood watch from the end of my bed, and comes to find me to tell me if there is something out of place.  She likes to bark so that everyone knows how big and tough she is.  This includes the large dogs we pass on our walks.

She doesn’t like other dogs walking anywhere she can see from the front window.  Or cats she can see from the front window.  Or people she can see from the front window.  Or birds…anywhere.

Maisie knows how to sit (when she wants to), wait (if she chooses to), find her duck (or whatever toy is closest to her that she thinks might pass as her duck and get her a treat) and to check if someone’s at the door.

The truth is on the really bad days, without Maisie I’d go a little crazy.  I really think that since Maisie came to live with me I’ve managed my ME/CFS better.  Having another living thing with me means that I can talk to a living creature other than myself.