Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What I did on my Holidays!

Not a school essay - really what I wanted to blog about was a film I saw and a book (one of many!) I read!

The film I saw must have come out a year or more ago. But it happened to be having a return season at the cinema in Bowral when I rang up to see what was on. I'd wanted to see it when it came out but somehow hadn't. Mum had, and she had loved it, so we went! As it is in Heaven - that's the translation from the Swedish. Probably many people have seen it/heard about it. If you haven't, go and see it! Such a wonderful wonderful uplifting film - about a violinist/conductor who develops a life-threatening heart condition and returns to the village of his youth. He ends up conducting the local village choir, a mixed bunch (non-auditioned of course) of locals all with their own problems and issues.

There's a beautiful song that the woman with the husband who beats her (Gabriella) sings in their village hall concert. The words were just so inspiring that I had to search the internet to find them. Here they are (again, obviously translated from the Swedish!)

It is now that my life is mine
I’ve got this short time on earth
And my longing has brought me here
All I lacked and all I gained
And yet it’s the way that I chose
My trust was far beyond words
That has shown me a little bit
Of the heaven I’ve never found

All my living days I will live as I desire
I want to feel I’m alive
Knowing I was good enough
I have never lost who I was
I have only left it sleeping
Maybe I never had a choice
Just the will to stay alive

Being who I am
To be strong and to be free
To see day arise from night
I am here and my life is only mine
And the heaven I thought was there
I’ll discover it there somewhere
I want to feel that I’ve lived my life

It really struck a chord with me - probably it is better when you hear the music and see the lovely brave woman singing it out at the front of the choir stage, with her husband glowering in the back of the hall. But - yes, I too want to feel that I've lived my life!!

The final scene, of the choir on a big competition stage in Salzburg, with their conductor, probably dying from a heart attack, unable to get up the final flight of stairs to the stage to be with them, but still hearing them from below, was just utterly wonderful. I sat there with tears streaming down my face and a huge joyous smile plastered all over the same face!! As all the other (professional) choirs who were in the audience (and had previously been pretty snooty about this village group) slowly stood up to sing with them! Oh I'm nearly crying again writing about it ... :)

And the book that I read, which was perhaps in a similar vein, was Eat Pray Love. I know, I know, it's been out for a year or two, and I've finally got to it. (Although if I'd read that Julia Roberts was recommending it I'm not sure that I would! I don't know why publishers think that would make anyone buy a book!!!) But luckily I hadn't, and I really loved the book. It was so uplifting and - reminding me that there's so much more to life than I sometimes allow myself to remember! I know, I shouldn't need reminding. I do have that gift of Maharaji's knowledge. But I'm a very imperfect and easily distracted person and consequently am really grateful for all the reminders that come my way!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back home + new kitten

Family Christmas scene
Back home after a nice Christmas down at my Mum's. Ate lots of wonderful food (too much of course!) and enjoyed good company! This photo was from the Saturday Christmas lunch (the 2nd one!) - typical Aussie Christmas. Everyone collapsed reading their presents, and/or watching the Boxing Day Test Match (cricket) ...

The weather was pretty dismal for the first few days I was down there - I can somehow never remember how cold it can get in Bowral at Christmas! In Queensland it's usually heat wave conditions, and so when I pack I manage to remember to throw in a pair of jeans, cardigan and a couple of long-sleeved teeshirts and think that will do it. Wrong! On Christmas Eve we took the dog to the dog park (off-leash area) before going on to some friends for drinks. It was drizzling, cold and the grass was wet. No one there could believe I'd come down with only sandals to wear. I don't wear any other shoes in summer!! And so my feet and sandals got progressively wetter and wetter! And the people we were going to were not the sort where you could kick off your shoes and go barefoot!

But I don't/didn't mind, really! I had a lovely time. Managed to do some yoga a couple of times. Peter, my nephew, told me that his work was offering staff yoga and he was enjoying that. Can't remember what sort - definitely not ashtanga. I guess that'd leave people a bit too sweaty to go back to their desks!!

new kittenAnd then yesterday I collected the new kitten on my way home from the airport. (No, it wasn't on the way at all unless I had moved north of Brisbane, but ...) She spent a couple of hours hiding behind the sofa and/or fridge, but then got bolder and ventured out. By the time it was bed-time she was ready to snuggle in my bed! Right now she wants to help me type this blog! I'm sure I'm going to be exhausted running after her for the next few weeks!

Friday, December 19, 2008

christmas holidays start now!

Yes - I'm on holidays now! Not back to work till Monday 5th January.

Had a big day today - had to get up at 5.15am to get to the hospital for 7am to have my first immunoglubulin infusion - blogged about in my lymphoma blog. Apart from anything else, I was dying to get out of there as we were having our work Christmas party at lunchtime today, in some botanical gardens nearby. The infusion turned out to take a bit longer than I'd thought (hopefully it will be quicker in future) and so I didn't get there till 1.15pm. But they'd all waited for me to start.

And we had such a lovely time! Even though it was predicted to be an extremely hot day - 37degC! - trust us to pick the hottest day of the summer to have an outside party! But we had a nice shady place to sit and eat and talk. (And fight off the scrub turkey that was hoping for some scraps!) One of the people brought her 7-8 year old son Isaac with her. And we had a (child-sized!) cricket bat, stumps etc. and ended up having a great game of cricket after lunch. It was hilarious - lots of diving to catch the ball from the boys, and underarm bowling from the girls! Plus the work humourist Paul was shouting out lots of hilarious comments and 'sledges'. (I know a lot of these terms will mean nothing to people who don't follow cricket, but ... !)

It was a really lovely day. I looked at all my workmates and thought what a great bunch of people, and how sad it was that in a couple of months we'll mostly be scattered in different jobs either in the University or elsewhere. Kind of an 'end of an era' time. It will be really sad to see it all end. No more outrageously funny emails from Paul. Cup cakes from Kylie at morning tea. No more morning tea sitting outside the front of the building with everyone each day.

But, once again, a really lovely day, some great memories to store up!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Doctors and Yoga and the kitten

Well, I saw my specialist today. No surprises, (although I wish there had been!) I've posted about it on my lymphoma blog - had a bit of a hissy fit about it all but feel better now! Having the first infusion on Friday.

Yesterday a friend came in to work and we did a yoga practice at lunchtime. It was really wonderful. We can't do the normal Friday one as (apart from the infusion) we've having a big Christmas/farewell party at lunchtime that day. I'd lent her the Ashtanga NY DVD on Sunday, and she brought it back - she really loved it! It made me watch it again last night and yes, it is a really inspiring and touching DVD.

Apart from the last minute Christmas shopping stuff, I also need to buy some stuff for the new kitten! I'll be bringing her home on a Sunday afternoon straight from the airport ... Ooh, it is exciting! There will definitely be heaps of photos coming.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It was fun!

Party was fun - although a lot of work! Even though everyone helped with the washing up etc., there was still a bit to do after they'd left. But I finally managed to collapse with my feet up and a glass of wine, and reflect!

Susan and Lyn (and my mother!) will be happy to hear that I didn't go with the plastic plate option in the end - I borrowed the pretty plates from my work. (Which very annoyingly were just a bit too big to fit into the dishwasher!) Everyone had a good time - although I sometimes think that when you're the one having/organising the party, you spend most of your time making sure food is appearing (I let the drinks take care of themselves!) and that people are having a good time, meeting others etc. So it's hard to sit down and chat to friends for any length of time. But still, I did have a very enjoyable time - and hopefully it will remind me that entertaining can be just that - a lot of fun!

Unfortunately I left my camera on my bed, and so forgot to take any photos! Memories will have to remain in my head, and not my Macbook ...

Now I've got a quiet week, gearing up firstly for Wednesday's appointment with my specialist, and then on Sunday for the flight down to Sydney (and thence the NSW countryside) to spend Christmas at my Mum's. Everything's slowing down at work - people are starting to leave - for the holidays I mean, although actually 3 people will be leaving for good at Christmas. All a precursor for the departures/redundancies early next year - they are either going to, or are expecting to go to other jobs in the new year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Party organising

It's been a very busy week so far, but I managed to fit in some yoga at lunchtime today - that was so nice!

Now I'm surrounded by lists of dishes to cook, things to buy, things to borrow, things to do, etc etc. I'm having a Christmas BBQ lunch this Sunday and it's suddenly rushing up on me! I keep inviting people and I should have stopped a little while ago I think! There won't be enough chairs now - oh well, people can sit on the floor if they need to sit!

I'm borrowing glasses from work and my cousin is bringing extra cutlery! I was going to borrow plates too but suddenly thought last night - really, with 20+ people coming, we can just have plastic plates and throw them away! The dishwasher would have to be going continuously otherwise!!

On Monday night I went to a friend's graduation ceremony. Then yesterday lunchtime was a big secret party for our boss whose birthday is next week but he'll be on holiday! We wanted to thank him for all he's done for us over the years, but particularly over the past few weeks/months with the big 'restructure' (aka getting rid of 75% of our group) that is going on. I told my Mum about how wonderful he's been, always doing the best for his staff, and she (an ex-army wife) said - well, he was in the army wasn't he (he was!) - an officer always looks after his 'men'! So very true ...

(I haven't blogged about all this yet and I think I'll still leave it for a while! Don't want to dwell on negativity when I'm not feeling like that at all! It will all come out soon - we've got till the end of February at the moment!)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Immune system gone missing!

Sigh! I checked with my GP the results of a blood test I had done recently (my specialist being overseas for a couple of weeks) and it appears that my immunoglobulin levels are seriously low. They are an essential part of one's immune system. Unfortunately that probably means that I can't get out of what he (the specialist) predicted I'd need to have - monthly 'infusions' of gamma-globulin for at least a year! Double sigh!

It all makes sense - in the last month or so I've been on antibiotics twice, and each time have been feeling great when I've been on them, but a few days after coming off, I'd start coughing at night again etc. I'm 10 days off antibiotics right now and am feeling OK in the daytime but coughing and having sore throats etc at night. My white blood count is down again too, but this is probably because they've having to do so much work fighting off infection.

Anyway, I've got a prescription for enough antibiotics now to last me till I see my specialist on the 17th December. And then we shall see what he has to say (as if I didn't know!)

Oh well - it could of course be a lot worse. And at least when I get back onto the antibiotics I'll start feeling better again, so that's good!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I'm getting a new abyssinian kitten! I went and saw her a few weeks ago when she was only about 4 weeks old - so cute! This is a not very good photo I took of her then - she was being held by the breeder. I wasn't allowed to touch her at that time - I guess she hadn't had any vaccinations yet. Her name is Saffron - Saffie for short.

I had been going to pick her up the weekend before Christmas and fly her down to NSW with me to stay at my Mum's for Christmas. It seemed like a good idea when I thought of it months ago. I have 2 weeks off over Christmas and will be spending the first week down in NSW. But as the time has approached I have been wondering if this is really such a good idea after all - mostly for her! Being picked up by a new person, and about 24 hours later being put in a plane and going to yet another new place! anyway, the breeder has agreed to hold onto her until I come back (with some relief on both of our parts!) so I'm going to collect her on my way home from the airport!

My health has been mostly OK, although I seem to have started coughing again at night which is extremely boring to say the least! I don't know who I can complain to now! But I'm still OK in the daytime (touch wood!). I've been doing yoga and going to the Curves gym 3 times a week, which I'm pleased about. I do know that exercise is good for your health, and immune system generally. I haven't started going back to class (yoga) yet. I was going to go today but ended up getting spaced out doing Christmas shopping and didn't get it together. I think I will probably have to leave it till next year now - I could only go next Saturday now, as the following ones are going to be busy busy busy!

It's funny, normally I'm not very social at Christmas but this year I seem to have been invited to heaps of Christmas 'dos' - starting tomorrow evening! And I'm having a Christmas BBQ lunch myself in a couple of weeks too! Mostly some people from work, family and a few other friends. Should be nice.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Yoga and downpours

Well, I've managed to do yoga twice this week. Which I suppose is an advance on the previous few weeks when I was too sick to do anything that put my head lower than my chest ... On Tuesday I just did a really short practice - 1 sun salute (!) and a few standing poses - just testing the waters vis-a-vis inversions and coughing.

But today, I did quite a bit more - our Friday lunchtime yoga sessions started again after the finish of uni exams (which used the room). Just 2 of us were there, but I managed an hour of yoga. I was still careful about anything like downdog, did shortened versions of the sun salutes etc. And it's 3 hours since I did it and I haven't been coughing, so hopefully that means I can slowly build my whole practice up again, and won't need to be scared of inducing coughing fits.

I was supposed to go to class tomorrow in Brisbane, but there's a big thunderstorm predicted for tomorrow afternoon, and I don't think I want to be driving in that. Again! Yesterday I went in to Brisbane after work to have some acupuncture, and when I came out, the skies were black and I had to drive home at about 60kpg along the highway through pouring rain and thunder and lightning! Not fun ... :)

We've had the most amazing weather here these past few days. Huge storms, ripping roofs off, flooding creeks and bridges not to mention houses. I've been OK, no leaks or fallen trees or anything, but I did measure 235mls of rain a couple of days ago. That's 9.5 inches in the old measurement!! My water tanks must be full - it's been too wet to check. It's been great getting all that rain, but I'd like it to stop now please!

And I'm going to see the new James Bond film this weekend - yes!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Plan to start yoga again!

I was looking through a drawer for some spare Christmas cards I'd bought and never sent last year (yes, I've suddenly realised it's that time of year, specially for overseas cards!) and I saw the old wall calendar I'd had last year. It had pictures from an ashtanga yoga class for each month - just regular people doing yoga. And it really made me want so much to be doing yoga again.

I've had a few setbacks with the cough etc. but do feel I'm getting on top of it again. (yes, I know, I've said this a few times before!) But anyway, I've decided to try doing some at lunchtime this week, specifically I'll try very cautiously doing 1-2 sun salutes, and see how downdog goes. If it doesn't get me coughing again, I'll increase the number slowly, and hope to be able to go back to class next Saturday. Now that is a plan I like the sound of!!

Actually, I had to go and have chest physio this week. Apparently I've damaged my lungs sometime ago by coughing too much, and that damage is never going to go away. So I'll be more liable to getting chest infections etc. Luckily the resulting bronchio-something (!) that I've got is in a very early stage, and should be able to be kept there if I look after myself.

It was quite amusing - the physiotherapist kept on repeating that this condition that results in the boring cough was never going to go away completely. In that, I'll be liable to get chest infections that will bring it back. After the 4th time I ended up saying to her - look, I've recently survived having cancer. I'm certainly not going to break my heart over a bit of a cough that comes every now and then!

Last night was the Bach Society Choir performance of The Messiah. It went pretty well, although there was a sticky moment in the 2nd half when one voice-part didn't come in when they should, which unfortunately resulted in us altos losing our place and not coming in either! Luckily the other 2 voice parts were still singing and we managed to pick it up again a few seconds later!! These things do tend to happen sometimes in performances! Anyway, I had a lovely time, and what's more, I didn't cough at all. I did come armed with Fisherman's Friends (very strong mint lozenges) which my Mum told me stopped her coughing fits, and whether it was them, or maybe the physio the day before, it was really nice not to be coughing my head off while I was supposed to be singing!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

What a day!

At work yesterday in Australia we were all glued to updates on the web, including the CNN live feed. When CNN called the election for Obama - at about 2pm, it was just so exhiliarating! It just seems like finally (well, after a few years) America is coming back to the world family. People here, in Europe, the UK, Africa are all so excited and thrilled! And Obama even said something about that towards the end of his acceptance speech ... :) I got text messages from my sister in London yesteday evening (their morning) to share her excitement.

A friend of mine told me how when she was a very young child her parents called her in to watch someone on the TV, saying this is really, really important. It was Martin Luther King speaking. I feel like this was one of those moments in history too ... one of those times we'll be able to say where we were when we heard the news.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Good news at last!

Yes, I am definitely on the mend - I can't say how much of a relief that is after 9 weeks of coughing and wheezing, sinusitis etc! I've held off saying anything for a few days as there've been a few occasions in the last couple of months when I thought I was getting better, only for it to come back a day or two later! Anyway - posted a bit more about it on the lymphoma blog (even though what I had is nothing to do with lymphoma, that blog is about my health!)

I even feel like I can sing properly (or nearly!) again - which is good as I've got choir practice for The Messiah tonight, and the performance is next week!

I don't, however, feel confident to start my yoga practice again yet. I'm going to wait until I'm completely confident my airways are 100% back to normal. Hopefully that won't take more than another week or two ... :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

How people find this blog

It's really interesting - ever since I put the 'feedjit' widget onto this blog that shows where/how people have come to visit the blog, I've seen people arriving on a particular post I made nearly 3 years ago when I was in India - Butterfruit Milkshake (aka Avocado) - Yum. Anytime I look at the blog, there's almost always one or two visitors who've come to that page via a Google search for the word 'butterfruit'.

It's so strange - who'd have thought people would be searching for that and ending up on a blogpost I made 3 years ago about a wonderful milkshake!! I bet they're pretty surprised when they do get here <grin>

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Yoga - or lack of it!

It's been weeks since I've dared do any yoga - not since the disastrous occasion when doing downdogs in surya namaskara A gave me a coughing fit that lasted for hours and hours. I'm still not better, and although I miss it so much, I really don't dare do anything until I'm completely better. I just cannot put myself through that again ...

I guess if I wasn't so tied to the ashtanga type of yoga I might find it easier to pick and choose poses that mightn't bring it on again. But, even though I do sometimes leave different poses out for one reason or another, in this situation it would be such a radical change that I can't bring myself to try. It just wouldn't be - ashtanga? right? I don't know ... :)

Anyway - I went to see my specialist last week for my regular 3-monthly check-up - blogged about it on my lymphoma blog. All good!

After my busy busy weekend last week, I'm having a really nice quiet weekend - doing pretty much nothing. Staying home, reading, (writing blog posts!), maybe a bit of gardening. It's nice ... The litter of Abyssinian kittens that I'm going to have one of, were born about a month ago. I had been thinking of going to see them this weekend, but maybe next weekend I will ...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Choirs, family Sunday lunches, etc

Well, it's a case of same old same old, as far as my health (sinusitis / 'post viral cough') is concerned. I decided to stop blogging about it coz it's just too boring, and doesn't get you anywhere! I've been to the doctor 4 times now and can't say much is improved! I do have my 3-monthly appointment with my specialist next week and it would be wonderful if he had some magic solution that could fix everything! But I don't expect so ... I just think it's a matter of time. So, that's it - until I do really get rid of it, that is! Then I'll be shouting from the rafters!

Last night was the big choir concert. We did a Haydn Mass and Te Deum, and Britten's St Nicholas. My cousin and Aunt who are visiting from Africa and England, both came and really enjoyed it. Today they came over for a picnic lunch at my place, along with some other Brisbane relatives (who they are staying with). We had a lovely time - what a Sunday should be: relaxing with friends and relations, not being busy rushing out shopping or whatever.

Tomorrow night I am determined to go to the Bach choir rehearsal for the Messiah. I missed the first one last week, and you can only miss one if you want to sing it!

Apart from that, very unpleasant things are happening at my work. I don't think I'm going to blog about it all yet, but it will all come out sooner or later! (This post would be way too long if I started on about it all now!)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

downdog was a biig mistake!

Did some yoga at lunchtime today - and even though I only did 3 sun salutes (at which point I realised I should stop doing downdog!) I ended up having to leave work early because I started coughing a couple of hours later and just couldn't stop! In fact I drove out and only got 200-300 metres down the road when I had to pull into the side and sit and cough for about 15 minutes! When will this end I ask myself - and anyone around me!

People at work who had it said the coughing lasted at least a week after the sinusitis went. I'm sure it's been that long for me ... grrrrr!@#!*!!

I feel better for having vented - now I can go back to soldiering on and being brave!! :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Still coughing myself sick, but ...

I'm trying to soldier on (grin) and not concentrate too much on feeling sorry for myself! I did go back to the doctors today - she thinks my coughing attacks at night are related to the sinusitus which hasn't completely gone away. She gave me a prescription for Prednisone (oh no, I hate that stuff!) to take at night just for a couple of nights, which she feels may stop the irritation etc ... Whether I'll be able to sleep at all taking that stuff I forgot to ask! Maybe if I don't fall asleep I won't be waking up with those coughing fits and that's how it works! Kidding, but ... :)

Anyway, what she said all made perfect sense so the little niggles in the back of my mind have been put to rest again.

So - what else? I've spent the weekend tidying up the house for an impending visit by my Aunt (England) and cousin (Mozambique). They're arriving in Brisbane on Friday and I'm having them for the weekend. I sometimes need something like this to stir me up to clean/tidy the house! Specially when I've been sick for so long ... The last time I saw my cousin Caroline was when Angela and I did a sort of farewell tour of England and Scotland before moving back (me) / emigrating (Angela) to Australia - 1988! 20 years ago this year ... In one way it seems just like yesterday, but in another, another lifetime!!

My yoga practice (and any exercise) fell into a big hole over the past few weeks. I finally did a short yoga practice at lunchtime last Friday, and hope to continue doing that at least 2-3 lunchtimes this week. But I don't think I can go back to a class for another couple of weeks. Apart from the continuing sinus problems (which affect any standing forward bend poses), I normally go on a Saturday. And I can't go for the next couple of Saturdays because of visitors this Saturday, and then the big choir concert the following one.

I'm also thinking of starting back at Curves (gym) after work today - we shall see what I feel like at the end of the day.

Went to have brunch with some friends yesterday, up their almost '4wheel drive car only' track! Luckily they'd had it graded recently and it wasn't too bad. We had a lovely time, sitting and talking on their front deck. They used to have a lot of chooks, ducks and goats, plus a horse. But since they got rid of all that livestock, they seem to have wallabies almost as pets! I saw a couple lying around behind their house ... :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I feel better now!

No, I've still got the cold/flu/virus/whatever ... but I went to see the doctor at Uni today. And as soon as I walked in the door she said - you've got sinusitis haven't you! She could tell just by looking at me. Well, I had been feeling blocked up and swollen around my eyes ... Anyway, she checked me over, confirmed that the nosebleed was definitely a result of whatever it is that I've got, and nothing 'sinister'!

So I came away with a prescription for antibiotics and instructions to get cold/flu tablets, nasal spray, eucalyptus oil for inhalations and I don't know what else! When I got to the chemists I told them I was coming to buy up the shop!!

And - it's probably all in my mind, but I'm sure I'm feeling better already! However, I'm still going to be taking it very carefully. Still don't dare do anything like downward dog (yoga pose) yet!

Before all this I did manage to drag myself to choir practice last night, though I only stayed for the first half. I'll still have to do lots of practice at home to catch up after all the rehearsals I've missed. The concert is next month.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I probably shouldn't have but ...

... I just really wanted to go to my yoga class on Saturday - I'd missed the previous week's class because of being in Sydney. I had woken up that morning feeling good (this virus seems to mostly affect me in the evening/night) so I decided to go.

But I did/do have some sort of flu/viral thing happening! So I decided I'd talk to the teachers, take it really carefully and slowly etc, cut down on sun salutes etc etc. But I was only onto my 2nd surya namaskara B when I got a nosebleed! It wasn't very bad but I still didn't like it at all! I've only had a nosebleed once before and that was when I was in hospital last year. That time it was because of low platelets ... but I don't really think that's the reason this time. I don't have any bruises or anything, and I had heaps then. I guess it's because of blowing my poor nose, and dry air and stuff. I hope so anyway!

Anyway, that brought me up short! Richard suggested I don't do any standing poses, and just do seated ones as they're less 'dynamic'. So, that's what I did ... Which was good - there's plenty for me to work on there, even without doing any real strenuous or inverted poses. I was partly trying not to bring my head down (to avoid possible further nose bleeds) so it was a bit odd ... :)

Of course the next morning I woke up really tired and stuff, so I took advantage of it being the weekend, and stayed in bed till late. At work today a couple of people who've had this were telling me that they'd feel fine one day, and then completely exhausted the next ... Went on for a couple of weeks - great! This is my second week - let's hope it's the last!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Trips and colds and ...

Went to Sydney last weekend for Jo and Emma's engagement party. He's off to Oxford University for a year - tomorrow actually, and it was really nice to see them before he goes, as well as be there for the (long-awaited by parents /grandparents of both!) celebration! Put some photos up on Flickr and Facebook ...

Since I got back I've unfortunately succumbed to one of the many colds/viruses that everyone around me had been getting all winter! And I had just started to pat myself on the back for not getting any ... oh well! At least it's giving my immune system a work-out. :)

Couldn't go to choir practice last night, and won't make it to the choir camp this weekend. Well, no voice to speak of, and the drive to where it's being held is just too much for me to contemplate feeling as I do! So far I've made it in to work one day this week, and I guess it depends how I feel tomorrow morning whether I'll make it 2 or not!

No yoga to speak of - everything has taken a hit from this ...

I do just manage to wander out and look at (admire!) my veggie garden beds - seeds are coming up, lettuce is almost ready to pick, as is rocket and spinach. Very satisfying!!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

gardening, Facebook - Dungeons & Dragons

Found myself sitting at the computer googling earthworms (for the garden!) and thought - I must post here! Don't ask me what the connection is ... :)

It's a wonderful time for gardening - I know it'll be too hot in a couple of months, so am really enjoying diving in at the moment! Amazing how quickly the weather changes. Last weekend I was sitting in front of the combustion (wood-burning) stove wearing many layers. Today I'm in teeshirt and 3/4 length pants with all the doors open and it was almost too hot to work outside in the middle of the day! Spring has definitely sprung!

Since Scrabulous has disappeared off Facebook I've just discovered something else there to amuse me when I'm at work, or sitting in front of the computer. Dungeons & Dragons: Tiny Adventures. It is curiously addictive, so beware anyone who has a go!! (I think you just have to seach for it in Facebook -> Applications)

Yesterday at yoga class I was distinctly hot again! In summer it's like a sauna at the shala. Winter not so warm - it's really a big drafty community hall, so hard to keep warm. It was good in class, although I think my shoulderstand wasn't quite as good as last time - I did feel a bit of pressure at the top of my neck. But I do think my hips are opening a bit again. Ever since I started back (January) I've felt completely jammed up in the hips. But a few weeks ago I started doing that 'thread the needle' pose (god knows what it's called) as a hip opener, and I do believe it's starting to show results - thank goodness!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Yoga and travel dreams

Went to yoga class yesterday evening. Another really nice class. All this year, since I started back, it's been a bit 'stop and start', what with one thing or another. And I've been holding back on doing some asanas until I'd got more strength back. Last night I decided to (mostly) stop doing that and do all the poses I've been given. So I've put back garba pindasana, and my attempts at supta kurmasa (laughable attempts!) It felt good ... R helped me with shoulderstand - getting my elbows closer together. Felt completely different!!

I've been enjoying reading blog posts from Mysore - quite a few people with blogs on are there at the moment. Sounds so lovely, I wonder when/whether I'll ever get there?! Not on my next overseas trip I don't think ... though I'm thinking of trying to incorporate a yoga workshop in Bali or Thailand on the way there or back, when I do go. All still a dream at the moment of course. I'm saving like mad (or trying to!), hoping to go sometime next year. Time will tell I guess ...:)

In the meantime I'm enjoying life, pottering in the garden and playing with websites. And trying to organise a Sunday lunch at my place in the next few weeks. Time I pushed myself out there again and socialised a bit!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

dirty hands clean heart

Have been having a very enjoyable weekend out in the garden! I 'recovered' an old vegetable bed that had been unused and covered in tussocky grass for years. Well, I've cleared half of it anyway! the next half will have to wait till next weekend! I got in some organic soil, some compost and cow manure and spread it all over the bed, dug it in a bit, watered it and am now leaving it for a couple of weeks to settle in! Then I'll get planting!

And I did some weeding, compost-making, general clearing up! Feels great to be back in the garden! Spring is coming very soon, and come December it'll be too hot to spend much time at all doing things in the garden, except if I get up at 6am!! So now is the time to be out there!

Yoga on Saturday was wonderful! I had to be careful of my 'wound' where they pulled the portacath out. It's got internal and external stitches. The internal ones will melt away but the external ones have to be taken out at the end of next week.

But I digress - I wasn't sure what might be a problem, just felt it out. And, particularly in the sun salutes, it was one of those practices where everything just flowed. I so enjoyed it! I did have to be careful in chataranga (or my feeble attempt at that!) but that worked out and it was only when I got to setu bandhasana that I got a 'no! stop!!' message from my body!

Now that the Olympics are on again I'm getting glued to the TV again - at least I'm able to draw the line at watching weight-lifting!! The opening ceremony didn't start till 9.45pm on Friday night here ... I watched it for a while, swapping between watching and reading my book off and on! It was beautiful - that scroll of paper idea was amazing! But really it's not the sort of thing I can sit and watch for however long it took. I didn't even watch all of the Sydney Olympics opening ceremony ... I'm looking forward to seeing some of the gymnastics, and the diving though. And, go the Olyroos!! (Australian Olympic 'football'/soccer team :)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Goodbye to my Porta-cath

And I hope not to see you again, or at the very least not for a loong time! Yes, it's coming out - tomorrow. I have to be admitted as a day patient, but it's done under the wonderful 'twilight sedation'. That means no anaesthetic (which I hate!), I don't remember a thing and feel fine afterwards! I'm not allowed to drive, so I'm getting myself to the Wesley Hospital (where it's happening) by taxi and train (the train station is 4-5 minutes from the hospital) and Lorraine is picking me up and bringing me home. Then back to work on Friday.

Went to yoga on Monday, having missed it on Saturday as I went to a video event at Amaroo (which was lovely). Boy was I stiff the morning after yoga though! Even though I did that Rodney Yee DVD class on Friday. Shows how much that did for me (nothing!) I'm doing yoga at lunchtime today, but am not sure how I'll go in our Friday lunchtime video group, as I'll have stitches from the portacath removal the day before. But I'll just see how I go, what feels right.

The little website I was working on has now resolved itself and is up, thank goodness. So I now just need to explain to its owner how to upload the word/pdf files via the cPanel so she can make them available via her blog.

And ... I've been starting to think about getting a new kitten (Abyssinian of course). I had a look on the web for local breeders and sent off a few emails enquiring about availability etc. Didn't get any replies, so sent more emails further afield (like Sydney and even Melbourne). And then I thought to check my Spam folder on the weekend, where I found replies to all my emails!!!

So now I've 'ordered' a kitten from a local Abyssinian breeder, who is expecting kittens to arrive at the end of September. Which would mean I'd be able to pick up my new kitten shortly before Christmas (they keep them for 12 weeks before you can take them away from their mum). It is quite exciting! I still think about my Mieke but I just have happy memories now, the sadness has gone. And I think that by Christmas it'll be well time to have a new little friend living with me!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Holidays do energise you!

I came back from a week away last weekend, feeling energised and ready to take on lots - re-start old stalled projects (eg the garden!) and everything. And after a week at work I'm still feeling good which is great!

We had the 2nd meeting of our book club on Thursday evening - this time it was held at my place. A few people couldn't come but there were still 5 of us sitting round the fire and having a great time talking about Life of Pi. It was really interesting how different people picked up on different things and glossed over others! I guess when people read, it is to a certain extent filtered through our own life experiences and likes/dislikes. 3 people had made notes and/or printed stuff off the internet, and two of us (me and Georgina!) had read the book weeks ago and that was all! But still it turned out we all had lots to say, and it was a very enjoyable evening.

Today we had our lunchtime yoga group at work. I normally do my ashtanga practice while the others follow a video. But this time, for some reason I decided to join in with the DVD they were playing - one by Rodney Yee. It was quite fun to do for a change, but I'm not going to make a habit of that!

Still haven't quite finished that little website I was doing. Somehow the domain name has gotten 'lost' - floating in the ethers somewhere! I originally registered this on behalf of a client, and then a couple of months ago I transferred it to the client. Or so I thought! Now it's not in my name at the registrant place, but not in the client's name there either. And when I do a whois search, it is still in my name!! Hopefully this farce will get sorted out very soon!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Back home again

I'm home from a week's holiday in NSW - had a lovely time. The wattle was flowering all along the roadsides - lovely! However, it was pretty cold down there! One morning the pipes had all frozen, and the water in the birdbath was solid!

On the Monday we drove up to Sydney and I managed to get in a quick visit to the new Apple Store in Sydney. Gazed longingly at the new iPhone there - one day I'll get one! But for now my aim is to save up enough to go overseas next year! My accountant also told me I needed to get a new laptop, but I'm afraid it's going to be the same story regarding priorities!

We spent a few days in Mudgee, a lovely little town in central NSW - has a thriving wine industry among other things! We were staying with family friends who have a property (farm!) there. It was so nice. I spent half a day driving round helping to cart rocks to put into a creekbed to help erosion there. Then we went wine-tasting and even honey-tasting!

Met up with someone who I used to work with - she is enjoying her new life down south!

I took my yoga mat with me and managed to fit in a bit of yoga once! (naughty, naughty!) But I guess that's better than nothing. Monday evening I'll go in to class.

Now I'm sitting in front of the fire, but it's a lot warmer up here! Tomorrow I'll work on a small website I've got to do, and I'm also going to try and finish (or nearly finish!) my mosaic piece! On Thursday evening our new book club is meeting at my place and some of my fellow mosaic-ers are coming and want to see it finished!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cardiff photo in online travel guide

Have a look at this:

Schmapp for the iPhone

Last year someone from this online travel guide (Schmap - what a name!!) contacted me and asked if they could use one of the photos I’d taken at the National History museum near Cardiff (Wales) when I was there in 2005. (They found them in my Flickr page.) So of course I said yes.

Now they’ve done a new version of the online guide for the iPhone, and they sent me this link to show me what my photo looks like in their iPhone guide!

If only I had the money to get one ... :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Doctor's visit and other stuff

Today was the day I went for my 3-monthly appointment with my doctor ... rather than repeating it all, you can read about it on my lymphoma blog. Suffice to say I am pretty happy about things!

I managed to combine the doctor's visit with a work project meeting in one of the uni's coffeeshops - Wordsmiths. I'm part of a small project team that is trying to write/develop clear accessibility approaches, based on the WCAG v2.0 Accessibility 'Principles'. These are much clearer than the W3C's V1 targets, but are still quite difficult to comprehend! We're doing this initially for our workplace TEDI (Teaching & Educational Development Institute), trying to apply them to different roles within TEDI- eg. Graphic Designers, Instructional Designers, Programmers. Now we've won an internal grant from the uni's diversity/disability committee to do this, which means we're going to have to take the next step (!), run training sessions for different groups within TEDI, and also present it as a 'seminar' with the university's annual Teaching & Learning Week, sometime in November I think.

This weekend I'm going down to NSW to spend a week with my Mum. We've got a pretty busy week lined up, with various family members coming down on the weekend, a visit to Sydney on Monday, and on Wednesday we're going on a bit of a road trip to Mudgee, to visit some friends. That should be really nice - we'll be there for 2-3 days. Then back on the following weekend. I will be taking my camera so should have some nice photos to share ... :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Christian the Lion - wonderful YouTube

This is such a gorgeous Youtube video! When someone sent it to me on Facebook I was sure it was not going to have a happy ending, but instead it brings tears to your eyes!!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

My scans were clear!!!

Yesss!! I had CT and PET scans last Friday and although I'd been sure they would be clear, as the date approached I started to worry, all the 'whatifs' were running through my head, specially in bed at night!

Anyway, I got a message from my doctor that they were negative / clear !! I'm seeing him again in a couple of weeks, and I'll see what he has to say then, but it is quite a relief! (I couldn't have waited 2 weeks to hear!!)

Apart from that (great news!) things are good! I did yoga practice at work yesterday (lunchtime) which felt really good. And we've got the Friday lunchtime yoga session with a few others from work happening again too.

The chooks have gone back to Angela, now that she's back from her world tour! She came for dinner on Sunday night and we went down to the chookshed at about 8pm with a torch and various boxes and managed to transfer them into said boxes without too much squawking or anxiety!

Anyway, I'm happy! A weight has been taken off my mind (which I put there, but ...) and I can get on with enjoying life and what it brings!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I saved an owl!

Yes, that's right! My chook (chicken) shed, which is currently home to a friend's 5 chooks while she's away, is split into 4 'enclosures', and has netting over the top of 2 of them. I did this years ago in a vain attempt to stop wild birds coming in and eating all the grain I put down for my chooks. But occasionally a bird would still manage to get in and get stuck inside for a while till they found one of the holes to get out.

Well, last night when I came home, I checked the chookshed for eggs (none!) and then noticed a bird hanging upside down from the netting in the next bit. It was flapping its rather large wings for a few seconds, then stopping and hanging there. It was too dark for me to do anything, so I went on up to the house, got some scissors, gloves and a torch and came back down. Then I discovered it was an owl (so sweet)! I wasn't sure how close it'd let me get, but it seemed to be happy for me to get closer and closer as I snipped away at the netting. Finally I got close enough for the netting to give way and the owl was free to escape!

Of course, he/she escaped into the netted area, not out of it! But I cut a big hole in the netting and had to hope for the best! And this morning when I came to feed the chooks on my way to work, there was no owl!!

Things like this make me feel so glad to be alive!

Friday, June 20, 2008

websites and stuff!

Well, I didn't quite make all of my list of things I was doing last weekend. Ended up not going to yoga class, and instead went earlier this week. As it was even though I'd felt fine all weekend rushing around, on Monday I was quite exhausted, had to leave work early and even found myself going to bed at around 8.30?!! Unheard of normally! However, that did the trick and I've been fine since then. Though I'm planning a quieter weekend this time, that's for sure!

The website meeting was good - I am going to do a simple one-page site for her as a placeholder, and later when she gets time to work on the main content, etc, then I'll re-do it. And I've also got another meeting next weekend about another website that should definitely go ahead. I've already done a (yoga) website for this person, and she's much more business-like! (Won't be a yoga one this time, but one for her new consultancy business.)

This is all probably not that interesting, but I do use this blog as my diary nowadays, and I guess life can be quite normal and subdued sometimes! On that subject (blogs) can someone tell me what's happened to Vanessa? (aka Mindbender blog)? Did I miss something? She (or her blog) has disappeared ... Just wondering, that's all <grin>

Friday, June 13, 2008

busy weekend

I've got a really busy weekend coming up! Tonight I'm off to a 'Friday 13th Trivia night' at someone's house - she's got 35 people coming!! (Help!!?)

Then tomorrow I'm getting my hair (such as it is!) cut. And yoga in the afternoon, and from yoga class I'm going straight to my aunt's for dinner which will be nice. And then on Sunday someone is coming to see me in the morning about a website she wants doing. And finally, in the afternoon I'm going to the inaugural meeting of a book-club! Should be interesting - as long as they don't want to read romance-type novels, or really really serious ones either!! But the first book we're going to read is The Life of Pi, which I haven't read yet so that should be good!

So ... that's my news, hot off the press on a Friday afternoon!

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Dreaming Festival ...

Yesterday a friend and I went up to Woodford to go to the Dreaming Festival. This is an indigenous music/drama/arts festival on the site of the Woodford Music festival that I usually go to each Christmas/New Year period. For some reason I'd always resisted going to the Dreaming Festival (this is its 4th year) but this year I thought I really needed cheering up (!) and decided to go.

And it was just wonderful! I had the best time ... :) Saw some wonderful music, and amazing dancing (not to mention wonderful theatre too).

These are the 'Chooky Dancers' - young Aboriginal guys from an island off Arnhem Land (in the north of Australia), most of whom can barely speak English. A few months ago someone put a video up on YouTube of them doing their own take on Zorba the Greek, and it just took off! Hilarious! They have now been invited to Greece to do it, and who knows where else! This (below) is one of the Youtube videos - of them doing a dance to Superman!

And these are another Aboriginal group of dancers with heaps of children joining in - doing a kangaroo dance!!

Then we went and heard Gurrumul singing. A just incredible Aboriginal singer. Blind from birth, mostly sings in his local language, was once in Yothu Yindi (Aussies will know this Aboriginal band!) and now also in the Saltwater Band (ditto!). He has such a beautiful pure voice ... and again, it was totally wonderful! At one point, for one song, you heard this didgeridoo in the distance, the stage had a dark background, and then these Aboriginal dancers came through the mist and darkness and were dancing on the stage too. It was eerie, mysterious and totally mesmerising!! Unfortunately the photos I took were very dark and don't do it justice at all.

I could go on - about the amazing Maori play set in World War 2 in Italy, the 3 Native American dancers, the campfires set up through the festival grounds where people sat around and talked ... on and on. It was truly a wonderful day, and just what I needed! I am slowly getting used to life without Mieke, though i did again burst into tears yesterday when I told my friend about it. But life goes on (as always!) and I know there are new and wonderful experiences coming to everyone, me included.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Very sad news about my Mieke pussycat

She's gone. Yesterday. I had to sign the form to authorise the vet to euthanise her, and I stroked her (and soaked her head with my tears) as it happened.

On Monday afternoon (when I was home sick from that sushi-overdose) she came in from outside and I could see she was having trouble breathing. I took her to the vets, and they ended up sending me off the the University's small animal clinic as it was too serious for them to deal with. The vets there told me it appeared she had a large 'mass' in her chest cavity which was leaving very little room for her lungs. Anyway, they kept her in overnight and did further tests on her. I had to go to the hospital on Tuesday morning to have my portacath flushed and get blood tests, so I went to the Uni clinic on the way back from that, in my heart knowing what was likely going to have to happen.

Supreme irony - it appeared likely that she had a lymphoma! But she wasn't going to survive it.

I've had to stop writing this a few times in an attempt to keep it together (I'm at work). I know it was for the best, that she was suffering. At least now it's only me that's suffering. And I will get over it. But right now ... I've had her for 12 and a half years. She was there with me when I broke up with my partner of 18 years. She was with me when I went through chemo for NHL last year. She has been a support and a companion through all of that.

I shall miss her more than I can say ...

Monday, June 02, 2008

I don't think the sushi was such a good idea!

Honestly, I love sushi, and I love those 'sushi train' japanese restaurants. But last night R and I went to a different one (after seeing Indiana Jones, which was fun!) and in the middle of the night my insides completely rebelled and couldn't get rid of it all fast enough! That's enough detail <grin> but suffice to say I am at home today still feeling pretty weak! Though, as it's been pouring with rain (hooray!) it was a good day to stay home from work, tucked up in bed!


Saturday, May 31, 2008

yoga - it's getting better!

Had a really good time at yoga this afternoon. Maybe because yesterday we started the Friday lunchtime yoga at work again - that probably helped! But anyway, I'm slowly putting poses back in as my yoga practice recovers. today I added in garba pindasana. I did try and put that back in a couple of weeks ago, but I got a really strong pain in my right hip halfway through the 'rocking and rolling' (!), so stopped. Today it was fine.

And yoga at work on Friday was good. It was the first time I'd managed to organise it since I'd been back. Quite a few people had said they'd be doing it, and then they all started to drop out! I was worried it was just going to be me and a new temp! But we ended up with 5 people ... ! We usually put on an (old) video - a Level 1 yoga class run by Louise (something) from Byron Bay. The others follow the video, and I just do my normal practice off to the side! We can't get the room for the next 2-3 weeks - it's exam time at uni and they will be using the room for exams. But after that we should be able to have it for the next few months.

Apart from that, today I did some more on my mosaic piece. I finished the tiles round the edge, and started filling in gaps. Tomorrow I'm going to the movies with Ross - I guess we'll either see Indiana Jones or 21. Well, that's my choice anyway ... We shall see what he thinks :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mosaic and stuff

Well, I had lots of fun at the mosaic workshop, though like many things it's not as easy as it looks! This is what I've done to date. Still more mosaic to go on, and then grout. I'll post another pic of the finished item. god knows what I'll do with it when it's finished, but it's something to get started on!!

And the smaller mosaic at the top of the picture - there's a good story attached to that! When I was a kid we lived in Libya (my dad was in the British Army and we were posted there for a year). We lived in Homs, and just down the road (or mediterranean coastline) was a ruined Roman city called Leptis Magna. My sister and I learnt to swim there, in the rockpools. The sea had receded since the city was a functioning port city. Anyway, we used to swim in the rockpools with masks on. And in the bottom, in the sand there were all these bits of tessarae - the bits of mosaic that the Romans had used to make mosaic floors. The mosaics had been broken up by the sea I guess. So my mum still has boxes of these that we collected as children. And she made the little pot-stand (can't remember the actual word for this!) in a craft class a few years ago, using some of those bits of what had once been part of a Roman mosaic!!

What with all the running around, getting tiles, safety goggles, glue, etc. I didn't end up having time to get to yoga on Saturday. I realised I'd forgotten to bring my mat with me anyway, so perhaps I subconsciously knew that would happen?! Anyway, I went yesterday evening, which was good. I haven't been going to the classes during the week for a while now. It's just easier for me to go on the weekend - considering that it's a 45 minutes drive there.

At work I've been trying (with the emphasis on 'trying'!) to learn Joomla. A content management system. There are 2-3 websites coming up that I'll be working on that will need to go into a CMS, and we've sort of decided that Joomla is the way to go. I can get some of it, but the template file that incorporates all the CSS, and actual graphic layout of the site ... it is just doing my head in! Luckily someone told me about a place that sells a sort of 'kit' that includes an hour-long video explaining everything, and a Dreamweaver extension to use. And even more luckily, my work has agreed to buy it! It got very good reviews on the Joomla website, so hopefully it will help me get my head round it all!

Healthwise everything is good, although there is still the tendency to put any little thing that happens under the microscope and think, what is this? is it something I should worry about? ... etc etc! I guess that sort of comes with the territory nowadays!! I am trying to wean myself off reading so much on the web about lymphoma nowadays, not visiting the discussion boards very much or anything. For a while I felt compelled to read everything every day, but I'm trying to be more 'normal' !! I am still on a couple of email lists, and do follow up on things that sound relevant to my situation. But it feels good to pull back somewhat from all that. :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why am I so busy?!

Had to make the decision last night not to be part of the choral recording that my choir is doing in a few days time. I just seem to be so busy at the moment and there's heaps of music that I either don't know, or else am very rusty on. I can't see when or how I can do enough rehearsal to be able to do it ... Ah well, there'll be another concert next semester that I'll be singing in.

Why am I so busy? Well, one of the reasons is I've been asked to update a website that I did years ago. It's one for an organisation I'm involved in ... shan't put the URL here as I'm not proud of the site anymore. For one thing it's laid out in tables (shock, horror!) instead of purely CSS. Anyway, it's taking a lot longer to fix up than I thought it would and there's pressure to do it asap. And this is of course all being done in the evenings, after I've been at work all day, then gone to the gym on the way home. Apart from that - I guess I've just been taking on a bit more than I had been and, particularly if I don't go to bed early enough (ie. by 10pm) I end up getting tired ... and grumpy with myself!

Anyway, I just needed to clear the decks a bit! This weekend (Sunday) I'm going to a mosaic-making get-together with some friends which should be great! I've always wanted to do some mosaic, and so I'm going to have fun! I'm either going to do a plant saucer/platter, or a large square pot rest. I'm restraining myself from launching into big complex projects before I've done anything! It's been hard, but ... :)

At yoga class last weekend it was wonderful to meet up with a woman who'd gone to live overseas last year, and had somehow heard about me getting ill and sent me some sweet emails at the time. She is back on holiday and I had no idea - so it was lovely to see her walking in! We had a nice little chat. She told me she followed my blog so she knows what I'm up to - hi there Daniele if you're reading this!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Handel concert

The (Handel) Judas Maccabaeus concert was on Saturday night at St Johns, the Anglican Cathedral in Brisbane. It went pretty well I think. The cathedral was nearly full and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. We had a great supper afterwards in the courtyard - and as well as Teresa coming, I was amazed to see Dion there too. I hadn't even asked him if he wanted to come, but at my party the choir people were telling everyone about it, and he decided to come! In fact he told me it was a choice between a friend's birthday party or the Handel concert, but Handel would always win that contest!! I shall have to put him on my list of people to invite to choir concerts. Turns out he sings in the Queensland Choir, so he's definitely into choral music.

I went to yoga class one evening during the week as I knew I wouldn't be able to go on the weekend - Iain was there, it was so nice to see him again. Just a few little directions/comments and it makes such a difference.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Flowers, books and yoga

I got into work on Thursday after spending the morning in a workshop on another campus, to find these flowers on my desk! I couldn't believe it - honestly I'm not the sort of person who gets flowers delivered, particularly at work! And OK, yes they're from my aunt and uncle in the UK, not some romantic interest (what's that?!) but I was quite overwhelmed, and somewhat embarrassed too! I share an office with 2 young guys, and - well, I don't like too much attention on me !! But they're gorgeous, and look great at home as you can see!

So, it's been a long weekend here - May Day etc. I've had a great time. On Saturday I went to Avid Books (wonderful bookshop in Brisbane) and 'spent' a book token someone had given me for my birthday. Such a great present! I got a really great Donna Hay recipe book (I've been wanting to get some new ones for ages), and also an impulse buy of Rupert Everett's autobiography! A long time ago I worked in theatre wardrobe at the Royal Shakespeare Company in London, and Rupert worked with us as a (very naughty!) dresser for a while in those days! Before his ignominious departure as described in the book. Without asking anyone (and he'd never have been allowed to) he 'borrowed' the lead actor's costume to go to a party and somehow the costume got left there! You can imagine the horror when it was discovered missing before the next performance!!!

Anyway, after that I rushed off to half an hour of choir practice, before carrying on to yoga class. Very busy there, with only one teacher this time. But just practicing in that sort of atmosphere really seems to lift my practice.

Then yesterday I went out with a friend to see this film 'Miss Pettigrew takes a Day'. Set in London just before the start of WW2. Very light but amusing! I think my mother would like it - she was living and working in London at that time. Met my Dad towards the end of the war ... :)

Today I've just been gardening and doing stuff around the house ... generally having a nice lazy day!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

choir, health, yoga ...

Spent the weekend at a choir camp. Our choir QUMS (Queensland Uni Musical Society) is doing a big performance of Handel's Judas Maccabaeus in just over 10 days' time. And although we've been rehearsing it for months, it's still a biig piece and lots to learn/polish! We're performing it at St John's Cathedral in Brisbane (apparently the last Gothic cathedral to be built - in fact they're still building it!) and there are going to be 4 soloists and an orchestra. Should be amazing - I normally only sing in big things like that when it's the Messiah - also by Handel!

Apart from that I have been slowly recovering from all the excitement ... photos will come soon I promise! Yoga did get a bit left behind but I practiced today - and it was hard! Normally it's only like that the 2nd practice after a gap!

Nothing much else ... but? wait! I just remembered! I had a blood test and then saw my doctor last week! Nothing too much new to report. Although my blood levels were a bit down on the previous test, he thought that those (the previous test results) were probably still reflecting the booster injection I'd had. My new WBC levels are still 'trending up' (!) if you take out that one. He was happy with it all. I am due to have scans (PET and CT) at the end of June and will see him again the following month. Assuming all is well in those, he said he probably wouldn't schedule any more scans unless/until something showed up. Which hopefully will either not, or not for a very long time!!

So anyway - it's all good!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

happy party

Had such a lovely time at the party! Everyone was really happy and it was just great! One friend insisted on singing (declaiming?) a song from Shakespeare to me (as a birthday thing), other people told lurid embellished stories about my youth, and a good time was generally had by all! The only thing I was a bit sad about was that my iPod playlist that I laboured long over putting together, was really only heard by the people sitting closest to the kitchen (where the music machine was). But the 2 girls working in the kitchen said they really like it, so I guess all that work wasn't completely in vain!!

Photos will follow in the next few days, although some are on my Facebook album now.

Yoga has gone a bit into abeyance as I've got my mother staying at the moment. But I'll be back to it on Wednesday, and expect to be stiff!

Yesterday we trailed round Brisbane showing my brother-in-law and his wife round various art galleries etc before their flight home in the evening. They had flown up from Sydney specially for the party, as had my nephew. Jo, the nephew had to fly back to Sydney early on Saturday morning to help organise another birthday party that night for his girlfriend's mother! So it was such a sweet thing that he came up just for my party!

Today I'm having a bit of a quiet day - you know, washing, reading, playing on the web!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I'm baaack ... :)

Well, I wasn't supposed to be 'officially' back posting here till next week after I've seen my doctor again, but I've been spending quite a bit of time 'doing up' this blog again - new template, new pictures, new lots of things. And I just can't resist posting - don't want to wait till next week!!

So - I'm going to assume everyone who's interested will have been reading my lymphoma journey blog ( and so knows all about that. As I said there, I'm in remission. I'm back at work fulltime, back doing yoga, back living my life! My blood counts are still low, and my immune system still compromised, but as of my last blood test it's on the way up! Still building up strength etc. but lately I've been feeling soo much better and stronger. (Feels a bit scarey to say that - almost inviting some sickness or other to come! But I mustn't be too superstitious.)

Anyway, (this is a bit of re-hashing from the other blog, but ... ) I made a sort of new year's (new life!) resolution to not be so shy, to be more 'out there' enjoying life and taking what was on offer. So, as my birthday is next week I decided to have a party, partly for that but mainly more as a celebration after all of last year's events! That's happening this Friday evening, at a cafe in Paddington (Brisbane). Well, it's actually what they call a 'Backyard BBQ' - is being held in their very nice back yard and catered by them. This is so unlike me, but to be honest having taken the plunge I have really been enjoying all the organisation etc. and am very much looking forward to it ...

I'll still post health stuff on the other blog, but now that it's not so much of a focus in my life I'll leave it just for that!

Feels great ... :)


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