08 July 2012

Saturday - outreach

Every winter The Girl heads off for a week of Salvos' creative arts camp - QPAS (Queensland Performing Arts School). The 'kids' (from 13 to 25) choose two electives, focusing heavily on performing arts, but also including painting, preaching, stage tech and other interesting choices. At the end of the week each elective presents a short, 2-3 minute, sample of their learning, in a concert for family and friends.
This year the organising team decided to do something a little different. They organised the use of an area at Southbank and asked various Salvo groups to set up an information/display booth for the day. Instead of one private family concert, there were two concerts open to the public. I thought it was a much more valuable experience for the QPAS kids; far less insular and inward looking that usual.
Southbank Parklands
There is an amazing amount of talent in the Salvos' young people. The Army has always had a proud musical history and in recent years has started to embrace other performing arts. When I was teen, if you weren't musical, didn't have any musical training, you really didn't have a lot of options for creativity. There is still a very heavy focus on music, but drama, dance, and static art are all being featured (although still not so much in the day-to-day church).
The Girl chose "Show Choir" this year. A new elective, it's a mix of dance and singing. Her second elective was drama, which she has done for three years. It was more interpretive dance than 'drama' per se. I'm not sure I entirely understood it; however, I recognise the difficulty of creating a more traditional drama piece for 15 or 20 kids that only takes 2 or 3 minutes and gives everyone fairly even exposure.
The only downside of the day was that I wasn't thinking when I left home. I was wearing a jacket, but no socks, no singlet, no scarf. Thankfully, there are Saturday markets at Southbank and between concerts I wandered along til I found a scarf. Couldn't find any socks or stockings though. Took me an hour or so after we got home to defrost enough to sleep. Once I was in bed, I was warm externally, but shivering anyway.

07 July 2012

Tuesday - Friday : where does the week go?

Well, so much for posting a photo of my dinner every night! That lasted all of a day. I did take a photo on Tuesday - Indian. Wednesday we ate with friends (little rude/odd to take a photo of their table)! Thursday was a bit hit-and-miss for dinner. Friday we ate out at a restaurant (again, a little strange to take a photo).
Indian - beef madras, prahata, carrots and beans
('cause the Man can't do 'no vegetables')

So, the good stuff this week:
- I'm finally feeling like I'm over the brief course of steroids.Why anyone voluntarily takes the things is beyond me. They have a list of possible side-effects a mile long and none of them real fun.
- I've handed over my baby at work. I'm really looking forward to work on other projects, but it is really hard to let go. I just have to say "It's work; it's not personal. It is not my responsibility if the person who has been given it doesn't live up to my high standards." Similarly, if they exceed my high standards, I have to still let go!
- My next package of uni has arrived. Not sure this is a "good" point for the week, but it means I am one step closer to my Masters; one step closer to finishing this crazy journey that I swore I'd never start.
- My girl comes home from art camp today.
- I've just made a big batch of pumpkin, sweet potato, ginger and lemon grass soup. Hope it's good 'cause I'm supposed to be eating it for lunch for the next week or so!

On another note, my old (former) toxicology lecturer posted a link to research this morning. Apparently, meditation can create new brain paths. Article. In looking for info about the integrative body mind training mentioned in the article, I found this very interesting post by Jonathan Fields.

I was caught by his paragraph:
Done right, AT (Attentional Training) induces a psycho-physiological state where your heart-rate, blood pressure and levels of stressor hormones all drop precipitously, while your attention becomes highly-focused. And, inducing this state on a regular basis not only helps your mindset, it dramatically lowers your risk for heart-disease, diabetes, and various other life-limiting conditions. It helps you sleep deeper, longer and wake fewer times at night and it can lower anxiety, stress and depression. That’s where the focus has been in most of the research.

My instant thought was "this is what reading does". When I read I am highly focused; barely aware of anything going around me, but at the same time I am completely relaxed. Later in the post Jonathan actually lists some everyday activities that can induce this "Attentional Training" - running, playing music, art. When I sew I do reach a level of focus and relaxation, but not to the same extend as reading.

My conclusion - I need to read more. I haven't read (or sewed) a lot recently because of the competing demands on my time. And because I do so easily get lost in a book and it can chew up whole days. But maybe that's not such a bad thing.

02 July 2012

Monday 2 July 2012 - getting healthy

Went back to work today. Not sure it wasn't too soon, but I don't know that I could have handled another day of doing nothing. Thankfully, felt well enough to stop the dreaded Prednisone. All swelling gone; just a few itchy spots (had to duck off to the ladies a couple of times to scratch in peace).
Another appointment with the naturapath this afternoon. She told me I'm not eating enough. I'm probably eating enough calories, just too sparsely during the day. So, got to try and put some new habits in place. Started a food diary to try and track how I do. Thought the easiest way to track dinner (which is the most variable meal) would be to take a photo. So, here's dinner from tonight. Grilled fish and baked vegetables.

01 July 2012

The last two weeks

I'm not even going to pretend to remember what happened every day for the last two weeks. The good stuff - celebrated my nana's 90th birthday with her; started a new project at work; went clothes shopping with my 14 year old ('cause I'd rather going shopping with you mum than my friends); starting seeing the naturapath again.
The not so good stuff - got a viral throat infection. I actually didn't feel all that sick. Just had a sore throat and no voice. No other standard 'cold' symptoms. Went to the doctor in case it was tonsillitis (which is often bacterial and therefore treatable with antibiotics). He gave me the week off so I didn't spread my germs about. I felt like I spent most of the lolly-gagging about for nothing. Until Thursday night. During the wee hours of Thursday morning my feet were a bit itchy. Thursday night my right shoulder blade was itchy, and my feet, and behind my left knee. Friday morning I was covered in hives.
Hives are incredibly annoying, but they are (in my case) actually a sign that I'm on the mend. The way it was explained to me - my body ramps up white blood cell production to take on the virus (that's normal). When the virus is defeated the extra white blood cells are supposed "stand down", mine don't. They look for something else to attack. There's no more virus, so they attack me. Therefore the hives are a sign that the virus has been defeated. Doesn't actually make they any more pleasant.
In fact this time, the hives took it out of me more than the blasted virus. I've spent most of the last three days sleeping. Partly hive induced, partly steroid induced. The steroids relieve the inflammation, but they nasty blighters and I'm guessing not performance enhancing.
I have provided amusement for my Facebook friends, however. Saturday I did my impression of a botox experiment gone wrong. Everything swells up and is really tender. Thankfully my feet didn't swell too badly this time; walking is agony when they do. My hands did swell and using a knife and fork to eat was out of the question. My charming man has a warped sense of humour. He gracious poached me eggs for breakfast and did his best "feeding the toddler" impression, complete with airplane noises. I think it was my most liked status update ever.
I don't mind the hives, the itching, the swelling quite so much as I mind the indignity of not being able to do for myself. Not sure how well I'm going to deal with old age.