Things learned in lockdown – aka things I have learned to do and learned about myself

  1. How to wax my own eyebrows (and yes I still have eyebrows, surprised myself there!)
  2. Going to the nail salon all these years was probably not a good idea – it’s taken 8 weeks and my nails are still a mess, but I can see healthy nail growing (note to self, don’t – just don’t)
  3. Keeping up exercise. My gym, like everyone else’s, shut down. Luckily, I am a runner. So, I’m back to running 6km 3 times/week. Weekends are long bike rides with my partner. We have eBikes. However, I do make sure I turn the e-assist to zero as much as possible. But hells no for the hills, that’s a definite 5 – 7 assist!
  4. I am fortunate to have kept my job and to have a job that easily moved to working from home. I have taken a 20% pay cut and at the moment I am on 3 weeks unpaid leave (whilst still working on a project).
  5. I am one of those persons who is up at 6am for my run, then shower, brekkie and putting on my ‘work clothes’, make-up and doing my hair.
  6. The first few weeks I started getting in the habit of drinking wine nightly. Now there’s nothing wrong with a wine or three. Always good for relaxing and rewinding after a hard day. But I did not want it becoming a ‘thing.’ Plus I don’t need the extra calories. Lockdown is tough enough without that. And a couple of wines and I start looking for things to snack on, usually the unhealthy things.
  7. I generally don’t mind spending a lot of time at home.
  8. Zoom meetings are two things. 1) Endless and often boring. 2) Sometimes a necessary thing for work stuff and just to see and speak with other humans oh and 3) I do love playing with the virtual backgrounds. Yes, I know. That’s 3 not 2, I could correct the initial statement, but I won’t. Because, no reason.
  9. My dog and cat love having me home every day.
  10. I do not miss the daily commute to and from work.
  11. I will find it hard to go back to that routine and I know I will be reluctant.
  12. I am ready to retire (shame I can’t actually afford to retire). We went through a restructure and multiple redundancies last month. I had to lose one of my team and I’d only hired her in January and she was really good at her job. I have no heart or stomach for this type of thing. I know it’s because of Covid-19, However, I have experienced many restructures over the last 10 years or so and I have been on both sides of the redundancy equation. I don’t want to do it anymore. The world of work is too harsh for me. Necessary, but not where I want to be.
  13. I downloaded a cool meditation app and I’ve been trying to do a meditation at least once per day. It’s really good as they have different timed meditations from 5 minutes to 45 minutes. So it’s perfect to find one that suits the time you have to commit.
  14. I’d like to record a meditation – as in I’d like to run a session myself. So I will play around with that idea a bit more.
  15. I wanted to try again to learn to play the flute. Yeah, I managed two days of 15 minutes re-learning just how to squawk out a noise. I guess it needs to become a habit if it is anything at all.
  16. I do not like jigsaw puzzles. Not one little bit and I have absolutely no desire to spend lockdown and isolation with one. Nope.
  17. I have really missed writing blog posts.

dating detritus

Stuff (literally, stuff!!)

What the hell do you do with the left over flotsam and jetsam when a relationship ends? Whether it be a longish-term relationship; short-term dating thing; maybe a relationship, but let’s not commit thing; briefly hanging with someone and leaving sth at his or hers thing or they leave stuff at yours.

Sometimes relationships and dating adventures end abruptly. You know that thing when someone breaks up with you via a text message or when they ghost out of your life (or you ghost out of theirs). You’ve spent time at theirs and they’ve spent time at yours. You may have left a pair of earrings on the nightstand or they left their t.v. in your living room (don’t laugh, one guy actually did leave his t.v. behind and his kayak and other random things).

on the river in my kayak

So, anyway – where was I? Oh yeah. What do you do with other people’s stuff when things don’t end so well? It can be a dilemma. Do you drop everything off and risk a confrontation? Do you call/text asking them to collect their stuff, also a confrontation risk.

Two stories:
  1. t.v/kayak guy. That one ended really badly to the point where actually seeing him could have been verging on dangerous. So being a creative type I thought about it, definitely did not want his gear cluttering my garage. Also, did not want to be accused of ‘stealing’ his gear. Solution found – I contacted AirTasker (nope this is not an ad, but they were dang useful!) and I put up an ad along the lines of “tradie required (with ute/pickup truck/van to collect stuff i.e. kayak, t.v. and random crap) and return it to my ex. The kicker is that you (aka tradie) have to call him and let him know you are on your way with his gear.” I had half a dozen guys message me straight up. Chose one who couldn’t stop laughing and said he’d wished he’d thought of that to collect his gear after his last break-up!! Mission accomplished 🙂

    …because ghost!!
  2. Ghoster. He had some of my stuff, a sweater and other random stuff I’d left there. When someone ghosts (actually I’m still not entirely sure who ghosted whom in this case – but whatevs), you can’t just text or call and say “so, give me back my things phantom man!” Because that’s the whole thing with ghosting – you DO NOT contact them, like ever!! I kept him as a FB friend and could see whenever he was online. I didn’t ever message or comment. Five weeks after the ghosting I got home from work one evening and found a box on my front porch. I opened it and found my sweater and other lost items 🙂 Happy days 🙂

Then I unfriended him on FB! 😛

musings on dating, ghosting and life journeys

Dating and friendship

Since my second marriage ended some (almost) 10 years ago, I have found myself on and off the dating scene. Sometimes more on and sometimes more off. I regularly talk about dating with my girlfriends in person over a wine or three or online with more distant friends including one of my blogging buddies Maria @adriftinathens

a very good vintage

We all date and meet potential partners in different ways, sometimes online dating, sometimes in real life. We’ve all experienced ghosting and other dating horrors in one form or another. And to be honest, I’ve probably ghosted a few after some desultory messaging that seemed to go nowhere and the effort in making some form of ‘it’s over before it’s begun’ message seems a bit redundant.

Ghosting

I once experienced ghosting after dating someone for 3 or 4 months and then nothing. No contact, no text, no call – nada! Sometimes it’s actually difficult to determine who exactly is the ghoster and who the ghostee. In this case I had sent a reply to a text message and then that was it – no further communication. My girlfriend asked if he had perhaps become seriously ill or worse yet died! But no. His little green light on Messenger was regularly on when he was using his phone – so I’m fairly sure he was still hail and hearty.

ghosting
yeah, nah

However, I was not overly emotionally invested in the relationship and I decided to let it go. I think a few years back I would have been more inclined to follow up with a “why?” But now, nah. As Maria always says to me “if a man wants to see you, he will”. And that is absolutely correct. Anyway, I think I miss his dog more than I miss him.

Life journey and fellow travelers

I have discovered over the years that people join me on my life journey for varied lengths of time. Some have been around for years; some for months; some come and go and others are around only for a little while. I recall earlier this year having the most intense and brilliant conversation with a man (over coffee after a Parkrun). He told me he was married, plus he was from a Parkrun far from my local run. I knew as the conversation beautifully unfolded that this was a really special connection and that one hour was the only time in this life that we would connect. He was in my life journey for the briefest snippet and that’s just how it is sometimes.

This attitude also allows me to let go far more easily than once I could (or could not more to the point). If a relationship ends, regardless of whether it’s me letting go or they drifting apart from me, then it’s done. There may be some residual sadness or longing, but it dissipates and fades away. I can acknowledge what was, appreciate the positives and let go of the negative.

Then move on and see where the next adventure leads me ❤

 

 

First responder

I updated my first aid certificate last year and downloaded the St John ambulance First Responder app to my phone. Fortunately, I hadn’t needed to make use of it until the weekend whereby I faced a situation that made me relieved I’d updated my skills recently.

I was on a date on Sunday afternoon (second date, new guy – from my dance class 🙂 ) We went to a concert to listen to a Rachmaninoff Choral (the All-Night Vigil – an a capella composition). It was beautiful and uplifting. My date suggested we go for a walk afterwards. We did, it was a lovely sunny day and we walked and talked. On our way back to the car we saw a man writhing on the pavement with two young women standing nearby. As we approached I asked what had happened. They did not know the man, but had stopped and they’d called an ambulance.

My date and I stopped to help and we put him into the recovery position (part of the DR ABC first aid). It was a difficult situation. The man was quite a big and strong fellow and he was drifting in and out of consciousness and at times flailing about and other times panicking that he could not breathe. My date was brilliant and managed to keep hold of him, so that he didn’t further injure himself. I had to let go a couple of times as I couldn’t hang on. He was frothing at the mouth at times and I was worried he’d aspirate, but we managed to keep his head tilted downwards most of the time.

We also spoke soothingly with him, reassuring him that he would be fine and that the ambulance was on the way and that we would be with him the whole time and keep him safe.

It felt like forever for the ambulance to arrive. I asked one of the girls to call again and heard her explaining our location. The app I mention above actually uses the GPS coordinates of your phone so the ambulance knows exactly where to go. I hadn’t used it initially as they’d already called emergency services. However, when I heard her repeating our location several times, I realized it would have been better to activate the app.

The ambulance arrived some long minutes later and the awesome paramedics took over. We left and continued to the car.

I am grateful I had the skills to assist a person in need. I am also grateful I was with someone who immediately rendered assistance alongside me and worked perfectly together as a team.

If you can, please do a first-aid course or update your skills. Download a First Responder app if your city or town has one. You never know when you may need it for a stranger, friend or family member 💖

 

 

George the Therapy Dog

Some weeks are like that – yes?

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks at work lately. Things have been happening that are beyond my control and I’m left feeling like I am hanging from a trapeze wire by my fingertips. This sense of helplessness makes me go a bit inwards and lose my sense of self. The world becomes narrow and grey and I find it hard to focus.

To keep connected to the world, I have to keep doing all the things that feel good and right. I need to keep going to dance class and laughing with my friends. I have to keep going to the gym, no matter how grim I feel on first wakening. I have to eat healthy. I am an emotional eater aka when I feel crap = I will eat that whole pack of cookies and wash it down with half a bottle of wine. Then I feel even worse.

I have to go to work everyday, smile and behave like everything is fine and dandy!

00100lPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20190818080414286_COVER[1]

But most of all I need to hug my dog  George . He’s a therapy dog. I’ve written about him in previous posts here and here and also here. We have volunteered at aged care homes; childcare centers; schools and universities. George has worked with Psychologists to help children overcome their fear of dogs. He is a lovely, gentle and beautiful dog. He absolutely knows when things are not right with me and he will just quietly snuggle up with me and make sure I am ok.

image of my heart
so true!

Therapy Animals

BlossomAre the best. There is a lot of research on animals and their positive impact on people.  I read an article  last week about a prison in Indiana having inmates look after shelter cats. This was hands down the best thing I read all week and helped pulled me out of my funk. If nothing else, look at the pics – those cats!! If prison is to be rehabilitative as well as punitive, having programs whereby inmates can participate in something that connects them back to the world, that is a good thing.

 

 

Trying to get rid of back pain – aka I got me a hula hoop!

Digital blue human rubbing highlighted red lower back pain

Research and Dr Google

I’ve been doing all sorts of research into lower back pain. I have plaintively whined at Doc Google for help and the good Doc has given me many options. There’s a lot written about back pain, some good, some fairly useless. You can do various back stretches (mmhmm, doesn’t help a lot for me); buy a new mattress (yup, only arrived yesterday so jury’s still out on that one); exercise (well d’uh!); keep your weight down (extra weight adds pressure to your spine and other joints); and back strengthening exercises.

Flexibility & stretches

I’ve tried yoga and pilates at various times over the years and I’ve realised I’m not particularly stretchy and some of the poses/moves in both disciplines can cause a fair bit of pain. For sure these work for some people and that’s fantastic. However, the rest of us non-bendy types feel like a massive fail for our inability to pretzel. It is definitely one of those things you love or not, unfortunately I’m a not!

Seattle Yoga Love

I have downloaded a guide to back stretches from Harvard Health – I think if I did them every day, they may have a positive impact. And that’s the thing. I’m really good at exercising pretty much every day, I eat healthily most of the time. I stretch after I go for a run and sometimes after the gym. But a routine of daily stretches is just one thing that I start for a while and then give up.

So maybe rather than whining about my laziness, I should just work back stretches into my daily routine! Right? You would think.

Or…

Buy a weighted hula hoop!

My gym has one and I idly picked it up a while back (last time I hooped I was 10 and fairly crap at it), gave it a twirl and away I went, magic! I felt quite proud of myself 😀 So, I researched the benefits of hula hoops and found that they are great for core strength, abdominals, obliques and wait for it – strengthening back muscles!!

me and my new toy!! loving it

You need to hoop between 10-30 minutes per day to gain any real benefit. So of course I started out at 30 minutes – easy! Give it a go, if you don’t quite get the hang of it keep practising. Most gyms have them, so if you belong you can try one out before committing to having one at home. Mine was $35, so it was well within my price range.

I definitely can feel some changes, my abdominals are firming up, my posture has improved (wasn’t expecting that) and I’m hoping the strengthening of my back muscles helps in easing or even better, getting rid of my lower back pain!! I’ll update y’all if it does! 😀

 

I think I’ve been orange-flagged, maybe.

single orange flag CC

Warning flags and dating

After years of dating and some spectacular relationship fails, I think I’m a bit of an expert on red flag behavior. I can pick up on player tactics, commitment phobes, gas-lighters, bitter & twisted-haven’t-gotten-over-their-ex guys and hustlers that want to push you into a full-on relationship before their sketchy façade slips right down. One guy I was seeing earlier this year kicked my dog. Yep, he kicked my dog. So that’s a hell no right there!

I’ve spent many hours with my girlfriends (and guy friends) talking about red-flag behavior. People who lie about their age (men & women are equally guilty of this), that always baffles me, for sure you’ll be found out. For my guy friends their red-flag issues are women who not only lie about their age, but also their appearance – usually pics on dating sites, you know the photo of you that was taken 15 years ago? Yeah, that one. Just don’t.

Me – flagged? No. Really?

However, I did not consider that I would be flag-worthy (or should that be un-worthy?). I tend to see myself as a reasonably nice human being, with some (minor) failings, but generally good relationship potential. Seriously, I am so convinced that I would not set off anyone’s flag radar, that it came as a shock on the weekend that maybe I do! Yeah, I know – get my ego back in check. Ouch!

Family of Origin

big sis and I
Big sis and I

And it’s funny (not laugh out loud funny, but peculiar funny) because it’s a flag that I think of as amber/orange too, but had never applied it to myself. It’s not enough to stop seeing the person, but something to keep in mind. And that is family of origin issues.

I have found that guys who have had fraught relationships with their parents and/or siblings can be tricky to deal with, mostly if they have not resolved and moved on from childhood issues. Research (here & here) indicates that family of origin conflict may impact on future relationship behavior.

The guy I started seeing recently did mention early on that he considered women as ‘orange-flag’ if they have issues with their family. That made me prick my ears, pause and think “huh…” So on the weekend I thought I’d talk a little about my family of origin with him (issues abound for sure, well not issues, more like the definition of ‘dysfunctional’ was invented for my family!)

talk about it - don't talk about it

Before starting in on the convo, I did ask him about his ‘orange-flag’ comment. He clarified that in his experience it was definitely a warning flag, however he did not get a “bitter” vibe from me. Nonetheless, I shut down the conversation at that point.

There is no bitter vibe, I’m not even sure that there ever would have been, it’s far deeper than that. Plus, I feel I have dealt with things as much as I can and I have a reasonable amount of self-awareness. However, I thought maybe another time we can talk, but for now and until he knows me better and understands who I am as a person, I’ll keep my orange-flaggedness to myself for a little while longer!

orange flag CC

Need to get stretchy – Yoga or Pilates?

Tell me what you think – yoga, pilates or comment if you have a better idea!

Back pain!

Y’all know I’m into being really active. I run, swim, dance, hike and walk George (my therapy dog). And I’m all for “feelin’ the pain” (actually no, I’m not, but you know that thing – “no pain/no gain” 😛 ) But this is a whole other level of pain! Dislike!

It’s worse in the mornings and it truly is a comical sight watching me try to put my socks on so I can get my joggers on. Luckily, there’s (usually) only George and my cat Blossom around to snigger at my sad attempts at foot sockage.

Seriously, I can’t actually bend first thing in the morning without excruciating lower back pain, so putting on socks has become no small feat (hahahaha feat/feet). I usually put my foot up on my knee and try to lasso the sock over my toes!

Oh and to add injury to insult – here’s a pic of me at my last running event – The Perth Women’s Classic 10k fun run. I literally face planted on the finish line! Cut my chin open, but got free champagne and I still recorded a good time! (check the blood on my nice white event t-shirt! much ouch!)

Running pic
faceplant!

Research on back pain

I’ve done a bunch of research and discovered the following useful (useless?) facts:

  1. My doctor prescribed anti-inflammatories and said “arthritis, it’s your age, get used to it” (rude!!)
  2. Google told me I need a new mattress, preferably firm/medium (there’s actually a research study on it and it’s a thing y’all)
  3. Google also told me to do back stretches when I first wake up (didn’t help)
  4. Then Google told me my sleeping position sucks and I need to sleep with a pillow between my legs and sleep on my side (y’ha, I do that – helps a little bit, but not enough to get my socks on!!)
  5. My PT at the gym told me to give up running! (not gonna happen)
  6. My girlfriends tell me to take up yoga or pilates. Trouble is they are all devotees of one or the other, so I’m kinda stuck.

Need your help to make a decision – there’s a poll at the top of this post, so vote your fave stretchy exercise and help me make a decision. Not to bias the poll, but I’m thinking of doing a Yoga Challenge (don’t see the point in just plain ole go to the community hall and getting my stretch on).

This one looks cool Yoga Burn Challenge

 

Running + Dating = Running/date is a thing y’all :D

Time for a run/date – how cool is that?

My ideal first date, go for a run and impress him with my sweaty awesomeness! And I got that opportunity on the weekend. I’d been messaging with a fellow I found on my dating site. A lot of his photos were of him at ParkRuns around the world and y’all know I love ParkRuns and travelling, so how could I not be impressed? Plus he’s good looking, came across as smart and genuine and obvs fit – can’t be doing all that running and be unfit, right?!

So, he kinda invited me on his local ParkRun on Sat morning and to go for a coffee after. Best first date offer ever!! Except I had to get him to come to my ParkRun as it was a special one for me, I was about to run my last timed run in my age category of 55-59 – I turned 60 on the 10 Sept! (more on that below). My ParkRun buddies were insisting I do a new PB on the day and go out with a bang! And that’s a challenge I just had to accept. So I invited my date to my run and coffee/breakie after and he said yes and came to my run 🙂 🙂

One of my running buddies offered to pace me 🙂 We’ll start off at a slow and steady pace for the first km or so he said.. mmhmm, his idea of slow and steady was my idea of ‘holy hell this is fast!’ He kept me at a steady rhythm with target goals along the way and a mantra to play out in my head. I noticed my date overtake us at some point and I was thinking – awesome, he’s faster than me! I spotted him as he was heading back after the turn around point and he stopped to take an action shot of me (there’s also a really nice shot of my date guy and I after the run – but I won’t post that just yet – early days people 🙂 ) Oh and I got that PB by 10 seconds!

running at ParkRun
My final 55-59 timed run and I got that PB and was first in my age category – thanks to my pacing buddy and everyone at my ParkRun cheering me on!

Then date guy and I went for coffee and breakfast afterwards. Really good conversation and he is lovely. We talked for ages, but I had to cut it short as it was my birthday party day and I had to get organised. He messaged me later in the day with photos and a thank you and on the mad spur of the moment I invited him to swing by my birthday party that evening. He said he’d love to and he did! He was totally at ease with my family and friends and they all loved him. So, how’s that for a first date? Running in the morning, celebrating my birthday in the evening AND running the gauntlet of my family and friends! What a guy, he’s a keeper – am I right?

Musings on turning 60

Turning 60 is awesome, I love milestone birthdays, it’s always an excuse to celebrate, throw a party and have everyone pamper you – what’s not to love? What’s even better is that at my party some of my friends gave me cards to celebrate my 50th and one thought it was my 40th (bless!!). I guess all that exercise and healthy eating and keeping a positive mind-set (and for sure I know that is not always easy, I speak from personal experience) has stood me in good stead for where I am at right here and right now.

There were some beautiful and thoughtful gifts, my daughter bought me a Kobo (an eReader). I’d previously not been keen as I love ‘real’ books – however I have literally run out of bookshelves and the books piling up everywhere looks a bit like I should open a second hand bookstore before I (and the mutts) disappear under the pile 😛

So here are a couple of party pics for y’all – take care, look after each other and if you’re approaching a milestone birthday – enjoy and eat that cake!! xoxo

 

Running… what else?

I found a new thing (well new to me) ParkRun…

I’ve joined the #ParkRun phenomenon. I love running on my own, but it’s pretty nice to run with a group. Have y’all heard of ParkRun? I’ll add a link below for you to check it out. It’s a community/neighborhood organised group and anyone can join in, it doesn’t matter what your pace is, you can run, walk, take your kids, dog, partner, best friend. Or like me, go by yourself and find friends and make new friends and meet more of your neighbors. The best thing is that once you join ParkRun you can run with any group around the world – great way to stay fit and healthy and meet new people wherever you might find yourself 🙂

Here’s the link –  ParkRun

Lurve and that online dating thing and oh my gosh, ghosting really is a thing!

Well, I persist! Met a cute guy online – 53 year old lawyer. Went on a couple of dates. First date he took me out for dinner, lovely spirited conversation about everything – politics, travel, history, music, movies. He walked me to my car told me I was gorgeous (naaw, bless!) and kissed me – I usually don’t allow guys to kiss me on a first date, too intimate too soon – but this one seemed different and I felt a connection.

Second date he invited me to the cinema, he chose On Chesil Beach, a slow moving British period drama. Lots of beautiful long camera shots of a pebbly British beach and awkward sex scenes with the protagonists and a tragic and trite ending. He held my hand throughout and stroked my hand and fingers.

After the movie he wanted to go to San Churros (if you don’t have this franchise in your city, go google it) and suddenly I felt like an awkward 15 year old. He wanted hot chocolate and a plate of churros (Spanish donuts with a sugary dipping sauce).  The conversation was flat, mostly because we were surrounded by noisy teenagers and that does not make for conducive small talk!

He walked me to my car, quick kiss and a “see you later” from him as he dashed to his car. I was left standing with a bemused expression on my face and thinking hmmmm. Then he “ghosted” me! Literally ghosted me. Did not call or message, nothing, nada. Just disappeared. I was messaging my mate Ali and her response? He forgot to use his big boy words! Classic! Seriously, all that is required is a polite text/message saying, thank you, but I don’t think this will work. No harm, no foul and we all go on our separate journeys knowing that good manners prevail and all will be right with the world.

on Chesil Beach photo
I’m kinda thinking this still from the movie might be a slight indication of the soon to be fate of my date! 😛

Take care y’all and treat each other with respect and kindness xo