Sunday, February 26, 2017

Small things

I found a teeny weeny feather on the floor of my kitchen 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

What I've been doing


I've been a bad blogger again. It's not that nothing gleeful has happened; I've just had so little energy for the past few weeks that most days I'm basically only working, eating, and sleeping. 

Luke and I have done a couple of nice day trips on weekends (Port Arlington and Noojee), but they depleted my battery and there was no energy left over to blog and post photos (except to Instagram because that's quick and effortless).

My current malaise is frustrating because I feel as if I'm doing all the right things to boost my energy  - I'm eating better; I'm getting up earlier and not rushing to get to work; I'm walking to or from the office every day and I'm racking up 10,000 steps nearly every day. And you know what? I FEEL WORSE! I'm physically and mentally exhausted, and I have constant stiffness, aches and pains that seem to be getting worse as I go along. It's not fair.

On the way to Toorongo Falls near 
Noojee, Gippsland 

But enough woe-is-me. I'll see my doctor soon, and in the meantime I'll keep doing what I'm doing because I'm really pleased with how well I'm sticking with my habits. Some of the exercise habits have fallen by the wayside for now because of my lack of energy, but I'm going great guns on some of the other habits.

I'm particularly pleased with my efforts at getting up earlier. Since I started, I've been getting up five minutes earlier each week, and this week I'm rising at 7.25. This gives me enough time to get ready at a leisurely pace and walk to work (also at a leisurely pace), arriving about 5-10 minutes early. At the moment I'm leaving the house only about five minutes later than when I was getting out of bed - or even earlier, since I'd got in the habit of staying in bed until 8.10 at the end of last year.

I'm simultaneously loving and hating being an earlier riser. The moment my alarm goes off I think, "Ugh, I can't do it today. Just one more snooze," but then I just do it and get on with things. I suppose I hate that moment, but I love everything that comes after it.

I'm still surprised I've managed to do it so easily. I love my bed  - ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT - and even when I'm feeling OK, I do not like getting out of it. Previous attempts at getting up earlier - even just 10 minutes earlier - have failed miserably, but I wasn't giving myself 'gold stars' for effort on those occasions. Those gold stars (ticks, whatever) are magic.

Eventually, when I'm getting up early enough, I want to start doing some stretches  - maybe some exercise - in the mornings, and I'm thinking about bringing my starting time forward to 8.30am so I can leave at 5.30pm instead of 6.00.

Betty the boat at Portarlington

The other habit I'm totally acing is walking to/from work. I started off walking home from work, but for the past two weeks I've been getting up early enough to work in the mornings. I much prefer the mornings - a walk along the river is a pleasant way to start the day, especially compared with cramped public transport; it's cooler and has that nice new-day freshness about it; I don't have the aches and pains that come with sitting at a desk all day; and the time I arrive at work isn't dependent on the trams running on time.

Since I'm doing well at walking to work, I'm also reaching my daily goal of 10,000 steps. The trek to work accounts for about half of that, and even on the weekends I reach my goal most of days.

Other habits I'm doing well at: 

* not complaining on social media (this is really hard some days);
* no negative comments on social media (debate about politics is allowed, just politely); and
* flossing most days (no more lying to the dentist!).

Habits I'm doing just OK at: 

* not eating gluten. Initially I was hopeless at this - I love bread - but I thought it might be why I was feeling so bad, so I stopped a couple of weeks ago and I've been doing a good job of sticking to it. But if cutting gluten out is actually making a difference to how I feel, it's happening at a glacial pace;
* reading before bed every night. Some nights I'm just too tired, which is a decent reason except...
* ...I somehow manage to stare at my phone instead of sleeping, so that's another bad habit I'm not doing a great job of overcoming;
* no extreme napping. Again, as I've been feeling wrecked lately, I don't feel bad about resting when I need to. Some days I just lie down, sometimes I nap for an hour or so, but other days I sleep...and sleep...and sleep.

Fuzzy caterpillar near Noojee

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Hey boy, hey girl

I'm not much into dance or electronica, but this Chemical Brothers song is an old favourite. It popped up on my iPod on Friday and I've been listening to it ever since...well, mostly just the first minute or so of it over and over to hear the bit (at about the 38 second mark) where the base kicks in. I have new, better quality earphones and the bass sounds ah-mazing

Friday, January 20, 2017

Dish lickers

A pair of greyhounds on Chapel Street 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

I'm walkin'

Crossing 'my' bridge this morning

I forgot to mention in my previous post that I have also revived my habit of walking home from work, which is only the habit requiring the most energy to achieve of all my new 2017 habits (albeit on only four days of the week).

At some stage - when I'm getting up early enough and I have more energy - I will start walking to work in the morning as well, like I used to in the old days before my work moved to the west end of the city (and thus a little further from home). A walk along the river into the city really is a much better way to start the day than crowding onto a tram like sheep.

But for now I'm quite enjoying not catching the tram home after work (even on hot days) and getting a 45 minute walk in without really feeling like I'm making an effort to exercise.

Sometimes I walk on the south side of the river and sometimes on the north side, which is nice on hot days because there's a no-bikes-allowed path which is very shady and less busy. One day I detoured for the final part of the walk through the north end of the Botanic Gardens, which was very pleasant (even though as I walked from the Tan track to the garden gate I found myself amid a group of people much older than I who were all jogging up and down the incline while I dragged my sore/weary body up it...and then had to have a small lie down when I got home.)

I'm still doing well on getting up earlier. The last couple of days I've been tempted to hit the snooze button and stay in bed a bit longer because I haven't been sleeping as well, but I didn't! Go, me! I've been talking myself into just getting up and getting on with it. I really want those ticks! I'm still surprised how such a simple thing is motivating me so effectively, especially as it's private - I'm not accountable to anyone; it's just me and the list. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

All of these (good and) bad habits

Last Monday I decided to get my act together to overcome some of my bad habits, revive some old habits and develop some new ones. Instead of just deciding to get up earlier, exercise more, read more and nap less, and then just muddling my way through, I've gone and got all systematic about it.  

Nothing complicated - I have a list of all the habits and I get a tick for every day that I do what I'm meant do (or don't do what I'm trying not to do).  I know that sounds tedious, but I like seeing the ticks piling up and missing out on a tick does motivate me to do better.

So far I'm doing a good job of getting up earlier (and getting to work early), walking 10,000+ steps a day, rebounding for 15 minutes most days, stretching, reading a book before bed (instead of the internet), flossing and not whining on social media. I'm doing a reasonable job of not napping  - I was doing well until an epic nap on Sunday. 

I'd like to say I feel great, but actually I'm utterly exhausted (and I'm not even waking up earlier!) and my body feels sore and stiff. Mentally though, it feels good to be taking action to get my crap together, and I'm pleased with my progress so far. 

I really do function better with routine. Boring, but true.    

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A hot, but beautiful, day out

Luke and I visited the Blue Lotus Water Garden at Yarra Junction on the weekend. I didn't even know it existed until a few weeks ago when I saw a post about in on Facebook, which seems bizarre to me. I've lived in Melbourne a long time and it's been open for around for 10 years (although I think it's only open to the public during lotus season, which starts late December).

I love visiting the Yarra Valley/Yarra Ranges. It's just so pretty with the blue mountains lining the horizon and the (still) green fields dotted with hay rolls or lined with vineyards. I feel my yearning for a tree change rising every time we're there. (Have I mentioned before that Luke and I have been thinking of moving to the country - or back to the country, in my case - at some stage? No particular place in mind as yet.)

Anyway, the garden is beautiful. The many ponds are brimming with flowers. It was stinking hot, especially in the greenhouses, but that did not deter us. Here are some of my many photos: 

 Our lunch view 

 Giant lily pads

The lilies above are the world's largest water lily, Victoria Amazonica. The lily pads regularly grow to more than 1.2 metres across, with one said to have measured 3 metres in diameter! These ones were big, but probably a bit less than a metre wide.  
 A selection of the many water lilies on show 

 The centre of a lotus 

 Lotus flower again 

 Heart-shaped tree trunk 

 The flower of the silk tree 

 Another lotus flower centre

 A dragonfly that sat still long enough for me to zoom
in for a (relatively) clear photo

 Stripey skies 

Lotus fountain with actual lotus

After the lotus garden we decided to visit the William Ricketts Sanctuary in the Dandenongs. Despite visiting the Dandenongs many times, I've never bothered to visit the sanctuary before. The shady, ferny pathways dotted with sculptures were a welcome respite from the searing heat of earlier in the day.
 My favourite of the statues 

Close up