Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Being kind to myself

I went to see my psych today, mainly to talk about my self esteem, which seems to have been sinking lower and lower for a while now.

I tend to not see the good in myself and be way too hard on myself. I'm not kind to myself. In fact I can be downright nasty to myself in my head.

As I have trouble finding good things about myself, I've been tasked with writing down when someone says something nice to me, or when something positive happens. I'm hoping to turn my negative self talk into realising that there are good things about myself. Which yeah, I know, I've talked about already on this blog, but I really need to absorb it, to accept it.

Today my psych told me it was awesome that I went to Queensland and back. And it is. And you know what, it's made changes in my life already, that drive, even as unpleasant as it was at times. On the weekend B and I went into the city to the IMAX theatre in Darling Harbour. The drive in, which normally I would have avoided like the plague, was much easier for having done the much bigger drive to Queensland. We went the M2, the Lane Cove Tunnel and the Gore Hill freeway, all of which I have had trouble with in the past. I won't say there was no fear, but there were no panic attacks, and the anxiety was down to a workable level.

Hooray me!

Monday, December 17, 2007


It's fair to say I don't like rats. It's fair to say I hate rats. They scare the bejesus out of me. The way they move so quick, their beady eyes, pointy teeth, thick tail ... errrggh.

I read the Sydney Morning Herald online and today I came across this article

They've discovered a rat which is "about five times the size of a typical city rat," and oh how lucky, has "no fear of humans".

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Photo is from SMH

Let me just say, I don't plan to travel to the Foja mountains rainforest in eastern Papua province anytime soon!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Wildlife in the backyard

I've got a day of gardening planned today, and was getting stuff ready when I hear Billy growling and barking. Billy never growls unless it is at an animal of some kind, so I knew he'd found something.

I go outside and he's confronting a blue tongue lizard. These lizards are very common in Sydney, and this one was a reasonable size, probably about 30cm. The lizard was hissing away at Billy, Billy was growling and getting close to it. I thought he would be likely to get a bite from the lizard as they will attack if provoked. Billy was ignoring my commands at this point, and had a go at biting the lizard. I picked him up and chucked both dogs inside.

Now I had to do something about the lizard. I put my gloves on and got near him and he was hissing away at me now. There was no way I was going to pick him up, gloves or no gloves. So I got the shovel and picked him up, him hissing away, and deposited him out the back gate into the park.

Hopefully he is smart enough to pick another backyard to live in now!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Confessions of a 'housewife'

Let's just say I'm not the world's best housewife when it comes to cleaning. I have a high tolerance for clutter, and the cleaning tends to get away from me most of the time. Most big cleans are just before guests are due to arrive on the doorstep.

Well, for the first time ever, I organised a cleaner to come clean my house. She gave me a quote over the phone and reckons it will take her a day and a half to complete. This includes dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, windows, and the oven. Oh, how I hate to clean the oven. Today she was here for the afternoon and was still going when I got home around 20 to 6.

Me thinks she is now regretting quoting over the phone. She rang during the afternoon to let me know that the price she quoted included the discount (the company I work for has a benefits scheme and this month there was a discount for getting a cleaner). I had actually wondered if the price had included the discount, but thought it was a little odd for her to call whilst actually cleaning the house to tell me.

And she paused .... and explained that otherwise it would have cost more. I'm like "uh, ok". She paused again, and then said that she'd just called to let me know.

I thanked her and got off the phone. What I'm guessing is she was angling to see if I would offer to pay more. Which I didn't. 'Cause I think I'm paying enough.

I get home, and she's cleaning away, saying things like "yep, still here, just doing the bathrooms". I thanked her, then nicked off to the gym.

She's here again all day Saturday, the house is already looking much better, so I'm pleased it's being done. Just feels a bit weird to actually pay someone to come and clean your own house ..

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas shopping

Drive into Parramatta early enough to beat the traffic ... good. Shops not open yet ... priceless.

Bright spark that I am I decided to get there at 9am, figuring I'd beat everyone there. And I did, including the shop owners. Sundays the shops open at 10 apparently, even 2 and a half weeks before Christmas.

So, I treated myself to a Bacon and Egg McMuffin and a hash brown (I went to the gym yesterday, it's all about balance). Then wandered about for a bit until the shops opened. By the time 10:00 came there were more people about, probably about 10 people waiting outside the shop I was waiting for.

Got a couple of presents ticked off. Buying presents is hard, I really really want the person I am buying for to like their presents. It's like if they don't like the present then they will think I don't love them enough, that I wasn't able to divine the exact present they would love the most. Silly really. But at least I know it's silly, so that's a step in the right direction. :)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's beginning to feel a lot (little) like Christmas ...

Having been away for a couple of weeks has kind of thrown off my sense of how close Christmas is. It feels like it should still be a month or so away, but nope, 2 and a half weeks to go. Gaaaaah!

Have bought a few presents, still have the bulk of them to do. Haven't started doing Christmas cards to post. Haven't put the tree up yet, that is a project for this weekend I'm thinking. I may even put on some Christmas carols to listen to while I do it. :)

This year we're having Christmas at our place. Looks like we'll have a fair number of people coming, around 15 or so I think we counted. I'm trying to organise it that everyone brings something for the meal, so it is not so much for us to do.

Also, as I am working right up til Christmas, I'm hoping to do most of the prep work on the weekend. I really don't want it to be a hectic day on the day, but we'll see how we go.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

An Australian Idol in the making?

When we were up at Wet'n'Wild we were standing in line for a ride (as you do), feeling slightly uncomfortable wearing wet cossies, standing about with 20 or so similarly clad other people.

Wet'n'Wild likes to play music throughout the grounds, which is cool with me, I quite like some of the music young people listen to these days. :P

Anyways, a Kelly Clarkson song comes on, and this boy in the queue starts singing along. Now most people when they sing along to a song, kinda sing a couple of words here and there, and fairly quietly. Not this kid.

I'm guessing he was about 13 maybe ... definitely pre puberty, and he sang every . single . word .... and reasonably loudly. And his voice was higher than Kelly's ...

That song finished, a rock song, can't remember which, but a male singer, came on ... nothing. Didn't want to sing to that one.

Next song - Pink. Again, sang every word. Again, reasonably loudly, and again voice higher than Pinks.

Made B and I laugh. Maybe in about ten years time if the show is still going, we'll see him on Australian Idol. :)

Holiday - the trip home

It seems that I am an obsessive person by nature at times.

Even though I'd made the trip up to Kingscliff successfully, in the days before going home the trip home loomed large in my mind. The last two days I was consumed with a sick worry which was hard to ignore. It was like all my nerve endings were raw, I just couldn't find a positive place in my head. I'd tell myself positive things, that I could do it, I'd be fine, just enjoy the moment, look how pretty the beach is. And during the days, this sometimes helped, as the beach at Kingscliff is very pretty and soothing. But at night, the positive thoughts were just so much shouting into the wind, and I was filled with dread. Maybe this time I wouldn't be ok, maybe I'd just go mad. B assures me this can't happen, but it is hard to believe when you are in that place.

But morning came, as mornings always do. We packed up, and set off at 7.21am last Friday. For me the waiting is the worst part, so it wasn't so much panic once we set off, but a kind of quiet despair. It's not the actual driving the car that bothers me, it's the sheer distance of the drive. Ten hours to home. My brain just couldn't deal with that. So, I did what I did on the way up, just get to the next town, then deal with the next part. Every now and then the whole trip would press itself against my mind, but I fought it off, and told myself things like "Well you want to go home don't you, this is what you have to do", and "Each kilometre you are getting closer to home, you are doing it, you are being successful."

But oh man, the roadworks. The Pacific highway has been having roadworks done on some stretch or another of it for many years, and will for years to come. It is the main road north, number 1. And although we'd had some roadworks on the way up, it was nothing compared to the amount of roadworks on the way home. I think there were about 6-8 stretches of road where we were delayed. To the point where people were getting out of their car to stretch.
After a while it was like, "oh come on!, more *&($ing roadworks?!"

But we got home, and we got home early enough in the evening to pick up the dogs, who were boarding at our vets. We had planned on picking them up Saturday, but it was nice to pick them up early. They are very happy to see us, and have been little furry magnets to us since we got back. :)

Thus ends the holiday blogging. It's hard to know on balance how I should feel about it, but I will hold onto the good, and try not to obsess about how I handled the not so good.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Holiday part three

One of the days we decided to go to Wet'n'Wild on the Gold Coast. This is a water rides theme park, which is probably about a 45 minute drive from Kingscliff. There are many rides, ranging from very tame to full adrenalin rush.

We'd been once before, in school holidays. This was a mistake we were not likely to repeat. The queues for each ride were enormous, you'd be waiting up to 45 minutes for a 1 minute ride! This time, it was out of school holidays, and much much better. There were still queues for some of the rides, but it wasn't bad.

It was a good day, certainly a tiring one. There's lots of walking (surprising how sore bare feet can get walking on concrete all day!), and lots of climbing stairs as some of the rides start quite high up. Good time was had, we didn't get overly sunburnt, and we got to finish off the day with dinner at a friend's place. These friends used to live in St Ives, but a couple of years ago they decided to move to the Gold Coast. It was great to see them again and catch up, was sad when they moved away, don't get to see them much now.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Holiday part two

Kingscliff is a fairly small country town on the coast, probably about 15 minutes south of the Queensland border. The place we stayed at is B's parent's holiday flat, which is on the same street as the beach. The beach there is incredibly pretty:

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The sand is very soft, and a fair bit paler than the sand at Sydney beaches. We swam every day, sometimes multiple times a day. We bought body boards up there and enjoyed catching the waves. Incredibly hard work though, there was quite a strong rip, so trying to get out to the waves was good exercise!

Holiday part one

So as mentioned below I've just got back from two weeks away. B and I drove up to Kingscliff, which is just south of the QLD border, very close to the Gold Coast.

Now, part of my suffering from panic attack disorder comes in the form of not liking to be out of my comfort zone. And I can tell you, driving ten hours away from my home definitely falls into this category!

So we left on Tuesday 20th November at 6.40am. I'd spent a mostly sleepless night panicking about the drive up, panicking about the holiday in general. B was great, he helped me to think positive thoughts, which enabled me to pack and get into the car. We started driving, and the panic attacks started hitting me within 5 minutes. I thought "I just can't do this, there is no way I can do this." We got to Pennant Hills, which is about 15 minutes from home, and I completely froze. We had to pull over to the side of the road, and I pretty much flatly told B that I couldn't do this, I wanted to go back home.

Conversation ensued, B assuring me that I could indeed do this, I'd regret it if I didn't do it, didn't face my fears. And my heart was telling me the same thing. I felt stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, a drive for ten hours to almost another state. Impossible. On the other hand, giving up and going home. Unacceptable.

Somehow I gathered the will to go on. More panic attacks ensued on the freeway (freeways freak me out, the whole no where to turn around thing, what if there's an accident and we're trapped on it, fun thoughts like that). But I continued on. The way I did it was to break the journey down into chunks.

- Just get to the end of the freeway.
- Just get to the next town.
- If it is a fair distance between towns, say 50 km, break it down further. Just get the next 10 km done.

And we got there. And I was pleased that I hadn't given up.

Back from holidays

Sorry for the lack of postings lately, can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post!

I've been away on leave for the past two weeks, and previous to that work was insanely busy. Normal posting should now resume. I'll tell you about the holiday, and will try to upload some photos for you.