Thursday, September 15, 2016

Happy, happy, happy

Even the rain can't dampen my mood 

Remember that mysterious lightheartedness I wrote about six weeks ago when I went back to work after my holiday up north? Well, it continues! That makes it less of a mystery: I'm happy!

I'm exhausted and I feel like I've been trampled by a herd of wildebeest, but I'm still happy. I wasn't unhappy before, but now I have that little spring of happiness bubbling away inside me and it's delightful. 

Life is pretty good. I absolutely love my four-day weeks and I'm enjoying my job. I'm relishing being free of the urge to splurge on clothes and shoes (three months and counting...). Luke's almost-three-week absence in July/August seems to have made our hearts grow fonder, and not just for a weeks or so. I actually feel excited about seeing him every day when I get home from work. It's like a new romance all over again (only I don't need to shave my legs regularly or leave the room to fart). 

Although I'm not feeling great physically, there has been some improvement on the migraine front. I've gone off prevention medication and I'm only taking a supplement recommended by my neurologist called MigraineCare, which is mostly magnesium and B vitamins. I'm still getting migraines, but the frequency and duration is significantly reduced, and that's gotta be good for my state of mind. (It's no surprise that chronic pain and depression often go hand in hand.) 

Speaking of depression, I decided about a month ago to reduce my (already fairly low) antidepressant dose by half. I tried to halve my dose at the beginning of last year, but it was short-lived because I very quickly returned to being my unmedicated moody, cranky, negative self again. This made me wonder if my recent happiness was really 'real' while I was on medication.

But I'm pleased to report my happiness does indeed seem real. It's actual happiness, not chemically induced. I have noticed a difference, but not in a bad way - I just feel a little more emotional when I see sad things on TV. For example, last week Foreign Correspondent was about China's so-called left-behind children - kids whose parents have left them, usually in the care of relatives, to move to far-away cities for work, ostensibly to earn money to give their kids a better life. But those poor kids barely had any contact with their parents and they were not always treated well by their relatives. One little girl's fondest wish was simply to have a birthday cake. I nearly cried. But I don't think it's bad to feel more if your feelings are 'normal' and healthy. 

I've pondered why I'm doing better on a lower dose this time around and I suspect it's related to my belly. Yep, my belly. Sounds odd, but there is increasing evidence of close links between mental health and gut health. Back at the start of the year my gut was basically a cauldron of nasty bacteria, but after months of diet modification and supplementation to heal my gut, it's functioning vastly better. I can't know for sure, but I reckon a better balance of gut bacteria is related to my more balanced mental state. 

But I'm not spending too much time analysing it; I'm just enjoying it. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A day out west

Luke and I went for a day trip out west yesterday. First we visited the Red Rock lookout near Colac, an area of highly concentrated volcanic activity 6,000 - 12,000 years ago. You can see several craters (or maars) from the lookout. 

You can also see Lake Corangamite, which is Australia's largest permanent salt lake, as well as lots of gorgeous green fields. 

As we approached the turn-off to the lookout I saw a big hill in the distance and said to Luke that it looked like Mount Elephant, but I didn't think it was in the right spot. Turns out that it was Mt Elephant! Go, me. I know my big hills. Western Victoria is home to hundreds of dormant/extinct volcanoes and as I grew up in that part of the state, I have seen quite a few of them. I lived near the foot of one (Mt Rouse) in my teens and my Dad built the fire lookout that sits on its summit. 

Anyway, here are my photos from the day. 

On the road again...the other side Geelong

Lots of canola fields on the way to Geelong

 Some of the craters seen from Red Rock lookout

 Looking towards Red Rock lookout, Lake Corangamite on the horizon

 So green

We had lunch at the bakery in Colac and then headed towards Beech Forest, which is on the edge of the Otway Ranges and close to several waterfalls. We visited Hopetoun Falls because it's only a short walk (downhill) to get the best view of the falls. 

Lots of steps, but it's a beautiful walk

 Look! A waterfall! 

 I enjoyed walking through mud and puddles 

 Taken from a rock that I stepped into the creek to get to. 
Yay, gumboots 

Ready to unfurl

We stopped for a little while in the redwood forest near Hopetoun Falls before heading home via the Great Ocean Road.  

The trees were planted in 1939

A creek runs alongside the forest

On the Great Ocean Road 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Skulking about Richmond

I didn't go to yoga this morning because I woke up feeling very body-weary. Later in the morning I took the bus to an 11.30 appointment in Richmond because I didn't have the energy for a half-hour walk. But then I wandered for eight kilometres* around the back streets of Richmond taking photos before walking almost all the way home. 

If you saw someone in red boots skulking around between Bridge Road and Victoria Street taking photos of things on people verandahs and in their front yards, that was me. 

I posted my pics to Instagram when I got home and was amused and a little creeped out when I noticed I was being silently watched while taking a photo of chairs on someone's verandah! 

This photo is a little blurry because I rushed to get a shot of the dog while it was still sitting on the seat. 

It started wagging its tail when it saw me and I assumed it was going to come for a pat, but it got down off the seat and headed straight for the open front door! 

Some more of my photos:

 Snail lunch

 Closed up

 Love the shutters and entrance. Near Richmond West station 

 Shutters and statue

 Verandah seats, also near Richmond West station 

 As above

 Pretty garden and cottage on HighettStreet 

 Verandah bike, Lennox Street 

 Buttery yellow and blue 

Verandah couch 

 Conformity is overrated

 Verandah seat with wine glass

 Lovely lavender

 More verandah seats 

And couches

  * according to my VivoFit

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Crazy frog

This frog - the desert rain frog - is an actual real creature, not a squeaky toy. Really. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Spicy, decluttering, greenery

Ghost sign on Victoria Street, Albert Park

I made a tasty chicken curry from scratch for dinner tonight. I had most of the spices already (including fenugreek seeds, of all things!) so I thought I might as well make the curry powder rather than buy it. I used a coffee grinder that a friend gave me to make the powder - much quicker and easier than trying to make a fine powder in the mortar and pestle, that's for sure.  I love the smell of all the different spices. I made enough powder to make several more curries.  

I cleaned out my bathroom cabinets and laundry cupboards this afternoon and got rid of quite a lot of stuff. Well, all the half-empty products I no longer use are sitting in a box while I work out where to dispose of them. Although they aren't strictly hazardous chemicals, I don't want to empty them down the sink. Next weekend I plan to do the kitchen, including that one draw full of random crap that everyone has somewhere in their house (the one with duct tape, sparklers, a cigar cutter and widgets with no readily discernible use.) 

We bought some new indoor plants yesterday to replace the ones I bought years ago that eventually gave up and died a while back. We got a spathiphyllum (aka peace lily), a syagrus and a fittonia, which is the prettiest little thing.  A bit of greenery always brightens up the place, doesn't it?

Friday, August 26, 2016


I had an impromptu wander around my neighbourhood this afternoon on my way home from yoga and an osteopath appointment. I spotted a beautiful white magnolia tree on Park Street and stopped to take a photo and it went from there. 

 Winter dining - blankets provided

 Entrecote on Domain Road, South Yarra

 Verandah seat. Millswyn Street, I think

 Lovely row of terrace houses, also Millswyn Street

 Beautiful entranceway

 Spring is springing. Magnolias are blooming all over the place

 Verandah pot

 Wimmera Bakery, an old building on Millswyn 
Street that's now a residence

 Ghost sign - engineer and panel beater - on St Martin Place 

When life gives you lemons

 I LOVE this art deco front window on Millswyn Street

The aforementioned white magnolia, Park Street

Now that's a fence post, also Park Street

I walked about 14,000 steps and then I came home and got into bed - yoga + osteo + 14,000 steps = sore body. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hilarity, spending and saving

A Twitter friend retweeted this video of Steven Jacobs, a morning show weather presenter, being "attacked" by a big chook last night. I watched it at bedtime, which was foolish because I couldn't stop laughing, even when I was just thinking about it. All that laughing made me too overstimulated to sleep. 

I watched it again this morning at work and giggled to myself like a nutter. I can't even explain why I find it so hysterical, but I do. I think it might be the flailing.

I lost a lens from my glasses when I was in Brisbane and I have only just got around to getting it replaced (I have spares obviously). I was pleasantly surprised that it only cost me $60. My health insurance paid about half of the cost, which I wasn't expecting because I'd already claimed for lenses this year.  Pretty happy about that. 

I went also went to Priceline on my lunch break to buy some pressed powder because I had used up every last crumb of what I had, and it was 50 per cent off. Wooh! I also stocked up on one of my skincare essentials and it was 20 per cent off. I'm spaving left, right and centre today (spaving = spending + saving).