Wednesday, July 31, 2013

ONE OF THOSE DAYS (A RAMBLE)



I had a whole body massage today. It made me realise just how much shit is taking place in all these muscles of mine. My physio came in before the masseuse got to work. She told him "Anna's a mile a minute kind of person and so there's a few parts of her body that will really need some work". Work. They really don't use that word lightly, I've come to learn. My neck and shoulders are very seldom seen to and having them squeezed and kneaded i.e. worked upon today was nothing short of punishment. Punishment for allowing all that stress to accumulate over time, of constantly asking for more from my body and never giving it anything in return. Not even a little compensatory stretch here and there. Oh - how about those psoas muscles? Hey Anna, fancy pain that'll have you panting like you're in labour? Yep, that's thanks to all those years you spent sitting there, hunched over your desk despite everyone telling you to practise better posture for. your. own. good. That notion of prevention being the cure was totally lost on me. My masseuse says the body is like a bank - we can't keep on expecting more and more from it without paying it back. That means rest, relaxation, massage, moderation... 


I feel like there's so many knots to undo, so many layers to peel if I want to get to where I want to be. I still need the experts help and will for a while. It certainly hurts the pocket but is worthwhile when there's a return on the "investment". It takes a lot of work outside the consultation room and that's the tough bit. In all honesty, it feels like the layers are still revealing themselves and at the moment almost every body part from below the breast is a problem! At first I thought it was just one small area in the pelvis but I'm learning that often it's the whole system that's out of whack. Posture, chronic tension, years of misuse. General build-up leading to decay. Where do I even begin to get to the bottom of it?

So, I've got a mat. I've got a foam roller, tennis ball, whatever I need to dig into every tight muscle. I'm reading the books on healing pelvic pain and I've got a beautiful relaxing space out on my balcony to take the time each day to stretch and knead as they instruct. I even bought a gorgeous candle to try and add to the whole "this is a peaceful place, not a painful one" atmosphere, if it's even possible. Anyway, that was what was happening with me today. A little overwhelmed by everything suddenly. Maybe when I'm feeling less sore (my tailbone is so painful right now) I'll feel back on top of things. Aaaaaanyway. I hope I didn't just depress you to the core!!! Tell me I'm not the only one who all of a sudden, almost out of nowhere, gets overwhelmed with doom and gloom?

THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF BIRTHDAYS

This is extraordinary. I first read about it on A Cup of Jo (she has some awesome links, doesn't she?) and shared it with just about everyone I know. It is not an astrological profile, but rather a personality profile they've created from a 40-year, 20,000 subject biographical study. I couldn't believe how accurate it was in describing me. Then I looked up James' D.O.B and it was just as uncanny. You can also do a relationship profile, if you're game. Mine was so spot on, except I kind of freaked a little when it said our relationship was ideal for love but problematic for marriage. Eek! I guess 40, even 30 years ago marriage was a bigger game-changer than it is now with all us co-habitators, try-before-you-buyers. GRAIN OF SALT, ANNA. GRAIN OF SALT. Anyway, try it and let me know what you thought of your profile!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

CHALLENGE DAY 30: HIGHS AND LOWS OF THE LAST MONTH

This post marks the end of the long drawn out 30 Day Challenge. I bet you thought it'd never end! I'm to give you the highs and lows of the past month but it's proving difficult because the whole month of July has been incredible. Not only had we just been on a great holiday to Mexico and the US, we moved in to our new home, sold our old one, gotten ourselves a rad new dog and gotten me on a physio plan to try and undo the mess that is my pelvis. There haven't been any real downers, unless you count the dog having an upset stomach or the fact that WEDDINGS ARE SO GROSSLY EXPENSIVE. But those kind of things are part and parcel of life, wouldn't you say?



IT'S SHOESDAY

I'd like you all to meet the latest addition to the shoe rack. These aren't Givenchy, but they are a brilliant tribute. I had spied the designer ones in David Jones, melted, then put them back where they'd no doubt  find a loving buyer who could offer them a better home, possibly on custom shoe shelving in a wardrobe you'd get lost in. I was just about to walk out the door when I saw that Witchery had a nearly identical offering, albeit sans zipper trim and almost 1/4 of the price. What do you think? Shameless knock off or wise buy?

THEY DON'T MAKE 'EM LIKE THIS ANYMORE

Monday, July 29, 2013

TODAY


A really quick post from me just now as I have physio shortly. This is me just now in our back courtyard. I just love it out there in the morning/early afternoon when it's getting drenched in sun, maybe even more than staying in bed.
I had to pinch myself this morning. I was washing the windows and sweeping the yard and thought "I am tending to my very own house". Am I a grown up already? I don't feel like one, but I guess I would look old enough to be considered one.
Already it's weird to look at a photo and realise I look like a grown woman! Which kind of makes me frightened of becoming one of those older women who envy youth and resent the ageing process. I want every decade to be better than the last. I really hope that's how I'll see things.
Anyway, I'm rambling. I will check in with you guys soon, maybe I'll give you a tour of our new home after I've given it a once-over.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

DISCO PIGS



This disco revival excites me more than I can adequately express. Let's go right back to where it all began - isn't this just one of the sexiest disco tracks ever recorded? 

Friday, July 26, 2013

CHALLENGE DAY 29: GOALS FOR THE NEXT 30 DAYS

My goals are so embarrassing, and so few. I feel like I'm a first world problem when I read over them:

1. Put down the phone and other tech devices during the time I get with my fiancé. I don't know why when I wake up I feel the need to check my email almost immediately. And don't get me started on instagram. I'm addicted. From now on, that stuff can wait until he's out the door.


2. Find the Ultimate Paint Shade for our walls. What a task. What a nightmare of a task. It's isn't lost on me how fortunate I am that this is my idea of stressful task right now.


3. Commit to all the stretches and toning exercises my Physio has advised me to do, regardless of the suffering. Have your Iliotibial bands ever met a foam roller? Sweet Justice of the Peace, it's cruel!


4. Finally send my mother her birthday card and present. Her birthday was in June. I am so ashamed of myself, especially given that I even have an express post envelope to post it in. Here's a picture of my mum that my cousin dug up a few days ago. Pretty foxy eh? In this pic, most of her five (!) kids were in high school. Might need to add "become foxy mother" to my list of personal life challenges.


5. Get a wriggle on with all this matrimonial stuff!!! Our wedding is in just over three months and I don't feel stressed yet. This has me panicking that I'm not doing it right. I do, however, think I might have found a pair of wedding shoes I like. Well, maybe I am being a bit deceitful in calling them "wedding" shoes. You see, I really like them but really don't think they're a wise investment right now. To be honest, I have never bought expensive designer heels before. I could try to justify the purchase if they were to be the shoes that carry me down the aisle and into the red. Aren't they nice? I stole this picture from Minna's blog.


6. Keep walking. I've been pretty good since our holiday, which was effectively one long walk-a-thon for us. All I need is a fully charged iPod and some decent trainers but sometimes it's like there's this massive magnet inside my house and I'm made of iron and it's just impossible for me to leave the house unless it's absolutely crucial. Well, exercise is crucial and I aim to keep up with it.

What are your goals just now? Go on, put mine to shame!

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS?


I cried so much when I watched this the first time. This guy does some incredible wedding videos.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

CHALLENGE DAY 28: SOMETHING YOU MISS

I miss having my family together in the one place. We all live in different towns and cities and my eldest brother has been living overseas for the past few years. The last time we were all together was for his wedding and before that I can't even remember when we were all in one place. We always have the best time when we're together and I always leave with sore cheeks and a sore belly from laughing so much. My family is crazy! They'd make the most entertaining reality TV show cast. Here we are, looking as sensible as we can:

IT'S BEEN NICE


We cleared out and handed over the keys to our old flat just the other day and, despite the excitement about having our own house, I was a little sad to be leaving the home where so many beautiful moments in my life took place. I'll always remember the very first day I moved in. We hadn't even been together long before I moved in but the second I walked in the door, I knew I was where I should be. James was going to be at work when I brought my suitcase over and so he'd written notes all over the apartment (some of which I still have), showing me where everything was and how to operate all the techy stuff. It was the sweetest gesture.



That wee flat was where we used to stay up until the early hours talking, despite both of us having to be at work that morning. I don't know where we got the energy. I laugh as I remember the days I used to smoke (I knooooooow, so filthy, so foolish) and while I'd stand there on the balcony, James would be inside doing this theatrical display of mock-smoking, which always made me laugh. He doesn't realise it yet, but he's the most talented thespian I've met.

It feels so long ago that I was at uni and used to cram study in that apartment. Whenever I had to write a major essay, we'd move the computer to the dinner table and it'd be covered in pages and pages of my notes. There was never room to eat dinner at those times. And if you're eating on the couch, it's always appropriate for the meal to be outsourced, and outsource we did.

That place also was where I started this little blog. Almost every single post, except the last one, has been written there. I could sit here for hours recalling every brilliant memory but I doubt it will hold the same appeal for you as it does me! We're moving on and now we've got a home where I dare say even better memories will be created. We'll be newlyweds in this house, for one. And I already know that my sister is planning my hen's do which will begin under this very roof! ;-)



The night we came to our new house to do a final inspection, we bumped into the previous owners, a husband and wife, as they were leaving. The lady told us it had been an incredibly happy house for their family and hoped we'd be as happy living there as they had been. I've got a really good feeling we will be.



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

CHALLENGE DAY 27: A PROBLEM YOU'VE HAD


Workplace bullying. I used to hear those words a lot and not really give them much thought. To me, bullying was something that happened in school but that no-one would ever get away with in adulthood and the workforce. I couldn't comprehend that there could ever be a dynamic in a workplace that would lead to grown adults getting away with bullying behaviour. 

I wasn't far into adulthood when I experienced workplace bullying first-hand. I can't even describe how sick the whole situation was. I was working for a small PR firm with a whole other bunch of young women hungry for a leg up in the competitive communications industry. Most of us were fresh out of uni and well aware of how hard it was to find paid work. If you've studied Communications, you'll know what it's like! I guess this gave our boss quite an advantage over us. She knew we were hungry, our resumes needed something like this on them and hence she could pay us whatever the heck she liked and we'd still come to work each day!  In fact, we were being paid below the minimum wage. It's crazy, I remember nodding and accepting the job without having even asked about the salary! I actually recall her sheepishly providing me the numbers but explaining them away, saying we were getting a good opportunity and that the business was just starting out and so forth. Plus, she explained that she actually paid herself less than what she paid us. When I was young and naive, I believed a lot of what came out of the mouths of people who were older than me. I always assumed I knew less than them. (This is kind of off-topic but if you're a young person reading this, I want you to know that you should never underestimate how little those people you think you ought to look up to actually know. Never assume that just because they are older than you that they can't be immature, irrational, inappropriate or wrong. That includes your boss, your uni lecturers, even your own parents. Don't assume they're right when they treat you like you're stupid or wrong. You'll be their age one day and you might find you know infinitely more than they ever will - give yourself credit!)

Anyway, the pay stuff was a bummer but I let it go. But then there was the verbal abuse and the alienation. Now, I had interned and worked in magazines and PR in the past and I was very familiar with the whole "nice girls don't get the corner office" stuff that some bosses/colleagues bought into. But this wasn't anything like that. What took place in this small firm was downright abuse. I first noticed it when we'd get interns coming in to work. Often we'd have them go away on lunch and never return, it was that bad. They were usually warned by the girls to never ask the boss a question, that if there was something they needed to know they should e-mail one of us and act like they know what they're doing. Some interns hadn't got the memo and the minute I'd hear them approach her, I'd just about be sick. They'd ask an innocent question about how something should be done and she'd tear them to shreds. Usually it would be a question back to them "Are you seriously fucking asking me that question?" but sometimes she wouldn't even acknowledge their presence and one of us would, in that awkwardly silent moment, frantically rush to their aid. Then we'd quietly shoot them an e-mail apologising for her and saying something like "in future, if you have any questions, just ask me". 

I can't even believe I'm saying this but I got used to her behaviour. We all did. Her humiliating one of the other girls while we all looked on, unsure of what to do or say. I developed a twitch in one of my eyes and couldn't take a deep breath the whole time I was working there but I never once considered that I was under way too much stress. I honestly thought this was just how working life was! And then one day the bullying started to be directed at me. One time, in the middle of a staff meeting, she berated me for the fact my page wasn't as neat as hers. She wondered how I could possibly get any work done when my notes weren't in neat columns. She halted the meeting, made me go back to my desk and re-write my notes in the same format as hers, then return and show everyone the changes. It was humiliating, being treated like a primary schooler in front of all of my colleagues. After the meeting, everyone showed their support quietly, in e-mails or whispers when she was out of the room, but the sting was still there.

Another day I arrived at work to find that she had written an e-mail to the entire office informing us all that I would be going to the grocery store for supplies for the office and that if anyone needed anything at the supermarket, to e-mail me with their requests. It was so horrible to be punished at work, to have my role undermined like that. Others in the office would have tried harder, apologised more, stayed back later. I think it was a combination of shock and losing the desire to even be in such an environment, but I said nothing. I simply went to the grocery store as per her request and tried, unsuccessfully, to get my head straight. I didn't know how to resolve the situation, especially when I realised that all the passion I had once had for the role was fast draining from me. What happened when I returned, though horrendous, was a blessing. She had wrongfully assumed I had made an error on something and, being impetuous, flew off the handle at me. "WHAT KIND OF F--KING RETARD..." was how she began her tirade. It was loud and disgusting and frightening. I'm not kidding, I nearly wet myself. I am the kind of person who freezes in frightening or shocking situations, so how I did what I did next is beyond me. I managed to get up from my desk and calmly state: "Mary*, that is not how an adult should ever speak to another human being". She didn't know what to say, I don't think. But she had the last word, which was "just - just - go and take lunch". I then walked out of the place, never to return again. 

Though I knew she was out of line, my confidence was around my ankles after the whole experience. I started second-guessing my abilities and questioning whether any of the things she had said about me might have been true. After being in more positive, professional environments after that, I realised just how toxic my old workplace was. My confidence returned and I could see that my ex-boss was indeed a very twisted person and the situation I was in was quite serious. I know if I ever meet anyone in a similar situation I'd want them to know that this is absolutely no reflection on them and that they should never, ever put up with it. Even if everyone else in the workplace appears to be accepting it, it doesn't mean it's right.

*Not her real name

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO

It's no secret I fell in love with San Francisco while we were away (that fog, for one, was captivating!) When we returned there for the final leg of our trip, I even started looking at the listings in the windows of real estate offices. Then I felt like I was cheating on our new home and got guilty (side note: did you know James has this funny thing where he rarely pats other dogs because he feels bad towards Elsa? He doesn't want her to smell another dog's scent on him, lest she feels rejected).

Aaaaaanyway, back to SF. June gloom was nowhere to be seen on our return and instead the sun was out, the glorious smell of summer was in the air and San Francisco was an exciting place to be. Though we would just miss Pride weekend and the fourth of July, we got to experience the moment when they lifted the ban on gay marriages in California. The city was buzzing! We also got to see the yachts coming in for the America's Cup and while I don't know much about sailing, it was nice to watch those big boats circle that beautiful bay. Let's not talk about the inflation in hotel prices at that time, k? I hope I will get to return there someday, if only to pick up my heart from where I left it.



^^Everyone is talking about the "cronut" but what about this massive donut? 
I shall hereby refer to it as the "monut"^^






Monday, July 15, 2013

UNDER THE WEATHER


Poppy was pretty crook yesterday. We took her to the emergency vet because it was clear she was at risk of dehydration and they kept her in overnight. Today she went back to our normal vet and they've been running more tests and so far everything looks OK and her symptoms have improved. She has been bright as a button the whole time and all the clinic staff have fallen in love with her. It's really hard not to, she's just so cool. Fingers crossed this is just a little thing and not a sign of something chronic. It's hard when stuff like this happens.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

CHALLENGE DAY 26: WHAT KIND OF PERSON ATTRACTS YOU?

^^ This photo has nothing to do with this post, but pictures of these two are just too cute not to share at every opportunity^^

What kind of person attracts me? This is a big question - everyone I know is so different! I had to have a good think about the people I surround myself with and then ask myself what it is they all have in common...

I noticed that they are all very compassionate people. I find it difficult to be around people who don't have any empathy for others. I don't think I could be friends with people who laugh at other people's misfortunes or who judge others without ever having walked a mile in their shoes.
I like people who don't place importance on social status/money. My friends don't need to be seen with the "right" people, don't deem anyone as being beneath them or anything like that.
I am drawn to people who I can trust. I have a lot of time for people who would never whisper a word of something you told them in confidence. The people closest to me don't feel the need to run with the pack and make others feel that they can be themselves around them as well.

What kind of person attracts you?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

CHALLENGE DAY 25: SOMEONE WHO FASCINATES YOU AND WHY

Remember the 30 Day Challenge I got just past halfway through and abandoned as I set off on holiday? Well, I really, really wanted to complete it while I was gone but of course I was so busy, my laptop screwed up and then I thought I'd just ditch it altogether. The thing about it is, I was so close to the finishing line and I thoroughly enjoyed doing those posts so I decided I'd keep on going with the last five of them. Is that cool with you?


Today I'm talking about someone who fascinates me. The person I've chosen is everyone's favourite talk show host, Ellen Degeneres. Now, I first cottoned on to the fact that Ellen is one very decent human being when I saw this interview with her and Lindsay Lohan, around the time when Lindsay was taking a lot of drugs and had that crazy break up with Samantha Ronson. I think Ellen saw that Lindsay was in a bad place, genuinely cared about her and knew this was her chance to try and let her know that there is a life and happiness outside of all of the shit she was caught up in. Ellen opened up about her own struggles, which she really didn't have to do and if I were Lindsay, I'd have cried at the gesture, it was just so human. Another very touching instance was when Ellen gave this heartfelt message in light of a spate of teen suicides, where the victims had been tormented and bullied on the basis of their sexuality. She is very principled and pure of soul, which comes across very clearly even in her stand up routines - there's some very good life messages within that comedy of hers. 

According to the guy who took us on a tour of all the celebrities homes in Hollywood, she's one of the best he has come across. He says she always waves and says hello to all the folk on the tour bus as she comes out of her driveway, instead of acting bothered like a lot of her famous neighbours tend to do. A really good sport, in my opinion.

HEY, POPPY!





She's finally here, little Poppy the Chihuahua. We brought her home last night and Elsa was a little apprehensive about the whole thing but she hasn't been too unfriendly. That is, she hasn't bitten her yet! Poppy didn't cry once last night, which I think might have had to do with Elsa being in the same room, so we all got a very good night's sleep! She's having a whine now so I might let them both play for a while. If you want to see more of Poppy, I've been uploading tonnes of pictures of the little one to instagram.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

^^Moving into our new house is a big, exciting change for us, but it isn't the only one!^^

There was a time there, only last year, when it felt like nothing was going my way. First it was the 24/7 searing shin pain that stopped me from standing or walking for any length of time. Then that all healed and it wasn't long before I was struck again - this time by a bigger evil: chronic pelvic pain. The knowledge that my particular syndrome was pretty rare, mentally draining and most difficult to treat had me convinced that I would be forever doomed to living just half a life. That no matter how great things are, that little dark cloud - those sensations and the fear of having them for the rest of my life - would always be restricting me from being able to experience 100% joy. I was wrong. Well, I won't jinx things by saying something so definitive, but at this moment I am wrong.

Remember how I told you I was going back to San Francisco for a week of treatment with a physiotherapist well-versed in my particular condition? Well, we actually made some very promising progress. The treatment involved pretty intensive massage on my thighs, butt and especially near my sit bones, where the main branch of the pudendal nerve is. The bruises were horrific and I was very, very sore. And I didn't have a chance to recover because I had to have the same thing done for five days straight. Have you ever had a really hard massage on a bruise? It's not nice, not at all. And with that kind of physio, there's every chance you're going to need internal work too. You've got to leave your inhibitions at the door if you want to get better. But you soon realise this is what they do day in, day out and if they don't care, nor should you!

She seemed to believe I could get better without having the major surgery I had initially thought was the only choice I had. What she found was that there was some pretty upset muscles down near those sit bones. It is possible the muscles/fascia are too tight and could be placing pressure on the nerves in that area, hence the scary symptoms. She gave me the name of another pelvic physio in Australia to continue my treatment and I got to consult with her just last week. I'm now finally full of hope; no longer letting symptoms make me feel like my life is over - heck, I just had a month-long international holiday! I really didn't think I'd get through it without any trouble but I did. I'm not so sure whether my symptoms are resolving as much as it seems they are or if I'm just better at dealing with them, but either way I sense a shift. We'll know more after 6 months of treatment. Other changes are happening too: we get the keys to our new house tomorrow; around the same time, we'll be welcoming our new dog into the family and then it'll be less than four months until James and I say our "I do's". You know me, I don't like to jinx things by talking about the future, but just having this level of excitement and happiness without the little black cloud hovering near is kind of a big thing for me.

One more thing before I go... Apparently 1 in 5 women suffer pelvic pain. I honestly didn't realise the figures were so high! I guess it's not the first thing people are going to divulge, not like if you pulled a hamstring or caught a stomach bug. Knowing how few and far between pelvic floor physiotherapists are in relation to the huge numbers of people who need them, I figured if anyone wanted a health career that guaranteed them a fully booked schedule and a good income, pelvic floor physiotherapy might be an option. And you get to change lives for the better in the process, which is probably the most fulfilling part. I've considered branching out into that arena myself, cause goodness knows the line of work I'm qualified for is a fast shrinking industry now! Best go where you're needed, right? We'll see what the future holds.

Anyway, I'm going to continue with packing my house up and then rustle up some spag bol for the hungry boys (James' brother is coming to stay). I hope you're having a great day, wherever you are, whatever you're doing.