Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Middle-of-the-night blues

I think it shows what a wiped-out state I've arrived at over the past couple of weeks, that last night I woke up at 3.30am totally depressed and in a state, convinced I had far too many things to do/organise before Christmas, and too little time! And I lay awake for at least half an hour with all this stuff going round and round (and round!) in my head, unable to get back to sleep. All the time a part of me knew that I most likely would not be feeling like this in the morning, but that made no difference to my feverish, worried brain!

Why do I do this to myself? Of course I can organise what I need to do in the next couple of days - I'm well on the way to that already (nearly lunchtime on Tuesday!) I can understand this sort of thing happening when big/bad things are happening in my life, but ... really, Christmas preparations?!!! All I can do is put it down to being tired and run out of energy at the end of the year. Thank goodness where I work give us the time between Christmas and New Year off for 'free'. So when I stop at lunchtime tomorrow, I'm not back at work till the 4th January ... should be able to 'recharge the batteries' in that time!

I've also arranged to spend a few days in late January with a friend who lives near Byron Bay - and very near the beach!  So that should be really lovely! Hmm, I wonder if I can drop in at Dena's shala while I'm down there. Now that'd be wonderful - must investigate!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Time of year busy-ness!

Well, after last weekend I almost need a day off to recover! I think it must be a combination of the lead-up to the 'holiday season', plus I realise I haven't had much time off at all this past year. And it just seems like there's always heaps of things to do, Christmas parties to go to at this time of the year!

On Saturday I found myself getting up early to do shopping, go to the library, etc. Then driving half an hour west to go to our Book Club Christmas meeting/lunch. Which was really nice - we'd had The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - the first book of the wonderful Millennium trilogy, sadly published posthumously, by Stieg Larsson. I've got the 2nd book as an audiobook (thank you audible.co.uk!) and if I don't get the 3rd one for Christmas I'm going straight out to buy it!! Highly recommended - everyone loved it! (And I caught a bit of the ABC's 'First Tuesday Night Bookclub' program last night on TV. Everyone was recommending books for holiday reading and I noticed these books came up on quite a few lists!)

But anyway, then I had to drive over an hour and a quarter in the opposite direction to get to my yoga class. And it was really humid - and I've never sweated so much in a class!! Followed by my (normal) 45 minutes drive back home again. And I'm still trying to track down this wonderful instrumental version of arti that they were playing in class a couple of weeks back! Richard can't quite get the info right for me to find it on iTunes ... (Premie readers will know what I'm talking about!!)

Yesterday - Sunday - I was supposed to go to another Christmas party - and I really would have loved to but ... I was completely knackered and just couldn't! I did however manage to make it to my friend Helen's art exhibition opening at the Ipswich Art Gallery late in the afternoon. Could only stay for about 20 minutes before leaving to go home to collapse again! Lovely watercolours from her recent long South American holiday ...

Ah well - not long now!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Good and the Bad!

Well, good and bad to report on! I'll start off with the bad! As part of the government's attempt to stimulate the Australian economy they have been offering 'free' roof insulation to all home-owners - up to a certain limit. Well, my house is notoriously badly insulated - hot in the summer and cold in the winter. I'd always been told that the cathedral ceilings that are throughout the whole house are very difficult/impossible to insulate but when I went and enquired again, I was thrilled to hear they had some new type of 'blow-in' insulation that could be used, and was covered by the government's insulation rebate.

So, yesterday was the big day. But ... when they arrived they took one look at my ceilings and said - no, we can't do that! After lots of to-ing and fro-ing yesterday and today, it turns out that there's more than one type of cathedral ceiling, and the type I have (with the beams exposed inside the house) can't be insulated that way - there's only about 38mm space between the ceiling lining and the corrugated iron roofing. Big sigh!!

Ah, but the good news ... !
Today I saw my specialist, having had extensive blood tests on Monday. And counts are looking really good!

White cell count   4.6   (normal range 4.0 - 11.0)
Neutrophils   2.7   (normal range 2.0 - 7.5)
Platelets   155   (normal range 150-450)

Platelets were in normal range for the first time, probably in 2-3 years!! And Dr B said nothing to worry about - everything is normal, and as it should be.

And so really, that totally outweighs any disappointment I might have had about the insulation. There are much more important things in life ...  :)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

a post in search of a title!

I missed my normal Saturday yoga class, but luckily a friend and I had already arranged to do yoga at my place on the Sunday.

I put on the David Swenson DVD and we followed that. My friend has done a lot of yoga for years. Although she hasn't specifically done the ashtanga practice, she knew most of the poses in the first series. It was an incredibly hot day (39degC) outside and I put the air-conditioning on. I think we would have been in a sauna if I hadn't - my house is not well insulated at all! Anyway, we both really enjoyed it and are looking forward to out next 'yoga Sunday' - which won't be till mid-January unfortunately, what with the approaching Christmas/holiday busy-ness!

And the approach of Christmas means I have to get myself organised! Mum is coming up to stay for the Christmas week - I normally go south to her place, but as I'll be going down there in early January for my nephew Jo's wedding, she decided to save me one of those trips! We'll mostly be doing the usual family stuff - and I have managed to book lunch for a few of us up at the wonderful Spirit House Thai restaurant in Yandina ... Can't wait!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Handel's Messiah in the Cathedral

Rehearsing The Messiah
Last weekend was the annual performance of The Messiah in St John's Cathedral. I love singing The Messiah - I join another choir just for this performance. St John's is a 'new' gothic cathedral - I've put it in quotes as it's been in the building process for around 100 years! But it is now complete and was full of lovely patchwork-like decorations. A few photos follow ...


Decorations from cathedral opening

Monday, November 16, 2009

"... And all is coming"

Had one of those sweet yoga practices at class on the weekend. I was really looking forward to it as I drove the 40 minutes trip there, and it was no disappointment (as if!) Everything flowed. I seemed to have more strength than I've had for ages, and was even able to hold ubbhaya padangusthasana (sp?!) - really for the first time for over 2 years ... Not to mention getting both feet off the ground in bakasana, again unseen for a similar amount of time!

It does seem like I may finally have gotten over the 'bump' caused by the NHL in 2007 and subsequent lack of practice (and any strength) for 6-9 months. Who'd have thought it'd take so long to get back from that ... ?!  Of course I'm being very cautious in any pronouncements here - don't want to tempt fate !

And I'm older :) , and also my new working situation means I can't practice as much as I used to. (Not that I've ever been a 6-day a week person, except when in India.) But I do what I'm able to, without writing myself off. And right now, it seems like it's paying off, even if it's taken more time that I would like.

I know, I know. As a very wise person said - "do your practice and all is coming" ...


Sunday, November 08, 2009

What the cat brought in?!

My gorgeous pussycat Jedda - that's her waiting in the doona to pounce on me (!) - has been decimating the lizard population around the house ... sigh! She brings them in and plays with them until they're long dead! I have been consoling myself with the fact that at least she's not bringing in any birds, which my previous cat Mieke used to do, and which really upsets me!

However, yesterday I went out to do some shopping, and left her outside. When I came back she had obviously brought something in (through the cat-door), and was trying to get it back out from under the chest of drawers in the living room. To my utter horror, what she eventually pulled out from there was a snake!!! I nearly died! I do know there are many brown snakes around where I live, and they are extremely poisonous. This snake looked to be young and a greeny-brown colour - about 1 meter long. I have no idea what sort it was - but it did also seem to have been damaged to some extent as it was slow and wasn't really trying to attack her, more get away from her. I know I shouldn't be pleased about any damage to a wild animal, no matter what it is, but really, a snake inside your house?!! I got a towel and managed to drop it on the snake, take it outside and drop it down a bank some distance away!

And while I was looking at her trying to 'play' with the snake, I thought to myself - I don't know that I'm going to have you for long Jedda. If she thinks it's OK to play with snakes, she's going to get bitten. And there's nothing I can do. Well, I guess I could keep her in all the time, but I don't think that's going to happen. But I think I will continue with the regime of her only going out on the weekend ...

Of course another consideration is her bringing a snake into the house and losing it there!!! Wonderful thought! (not!) But having thought further about that scenario, I really think that if she has brought a snake in, then she'll be excitedly trying to find it, and hearing it moving around, so I guess I'll have to be (slightly) consoled by that ... !

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Yoga under the hammock

Such a lovely morning today ... I had to help out at a training course being run at the Ipswich campus where I used to work (near where I live). I didn't have to be there till 9.30. I have a friend who used to work with me there before we all went through that big restructure/retrenchment thing at the beginning of the year. We used to do yoga together every Friday lunchtime in one of the teaching rooms there. She and her husband + stepdaughter have just come back from 7 months travelling in South America - lucky things! Mind you, I saw some video on their Facebook shot on a bus trip up the side of a mountain on what looked to be a one lane track cut into the side of a completely sheer cliff! No way I could have done that!!

Anyway ... she lives really near the campus and we arranged to do some yoga together at her place before I needed to go and get ready for the training. So we set up on the verandah and I had a gorgeous practice, managing to avoid the hammock! It was just a really nice environment - lovely garden greenery and smells, and her 2 dogs keeping an eye on us from the nearby sofa! I do miss those Friday lunchtime practices ... :) But we're going to find other times we can practice together - probably Sundays.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

waiting for the storm

Hot hot day here in Queensland! We have been 'promised' storms and rain by the weather bureau later today/tomorrow. Really hope they're right - it's 34degC today (and we're still officially in mid-Spring!) and when I walk across the grass at the university, it's crunchy! I hate it when it's so dry that happens ... Usually we're complaining about the humidity here, but I don't think I'll complain about it again for a while!

Yoga was (of course) incredibly hot yesterday! Someone asked me a couple of days ago if I knew of Bikram yoga and I said that's aka Hot Yoga! Well, I think my ashtanga class qualified on that count yesterday ... :)

That 'someone' was a good friend of mine back in Brisbane on a visit for her sister's wedding. We used to work together a few years ago.  She and her then partner moved to London for his job (with Apple). We met up at a Vietnamese restaurant we'd been to before - it was so nice to see her. I'll see her next year when I'm in London - it's starting to become a real prospect!!

At work I finally got the revised eLearning website up last week. I'd had to make changes to it to include stuff about the Blackboard 9 upgrade which is consuming my work life these days! I've been doing so  many things I've never done before since I changed jobs ... really great! One of these has been helping one of the trainers to run 'What's new in Blackboard 9' courses, and I believe I'll be doing them on my own next January/February.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What ... ?!

I haven't written for ages ... what's been going on?! Difficult to say! Maybe I don't think I've got anything that exciting to write about?! Or maybe I've been caught up doing things and haven't got around/found the time to write? Or ...

Well, I don't really know the answer - sorry! I do know I've been contemplating the whole blogging/diary-writing issue lately. I do really like blogging. And I have always been a diary-writer. A few days ago, I happened to find/pick up one of my old diaries, from a pretty intense period of my life - a few years ago (relationship break-up - that sort of thing!). I didn't actually read any of the really painful entries - skipped to some that were from a bit later. But I was really struck by the difference in what I would write in that diary, and what I write in this blog.

I was always aware that I would self-censor a bit in a blog that is open to the world (well, whoever can be bothered to read this, that is!) It's inevitable - in fact sometimes I'm amazed that a shy person like myself can happily open her life up to all and sundry on the web! But - because I know everyone can read this, there are obviously going to be things I'm not going to write about here, for whatever reason.

However, it was quite a shock looking at the old diary. I poured so much out into that, it really makes my blog seem very superficial! I had no idea how much I was self-censoring! So, I thought about that for a while, and then decided to set up an additional, totally private blog, to use the same way I used my old paper diary. I know I could carry on writing in a physical diary - and when I go travelling I do a bit (in addition to blogging). But I guess I'm a child of the internet nowadays (well, I kind of like to think of myself that way !) - and I would rather be writing online!

So - quite pleased with myself about that! I will see how much use it gets - I have no intention of stopping writing here! Just giving myself another outlet for more private musings ...

Stopping now - I'll write a more interesting post in a day or two!

Friday, September 25, 2009

L'Oratorio d'Aurelia

Went to see this wonderful whimsical circus-type performance last night. Aurelia - emerging from the chest of drawers above, is French, and has worked on stage with her family almost since she was born. Her mother, the youngest daughter of Charlie Chaplin (!), designed and produced this amazing show.

"The show looks like the world of a mischievous child, full of freakish creatures, both comical and frightening.

It’s a surreal world that some have compared to the paintings of Salvador Dali or Rene Magritte. There are many poetic elements in it, like the scene in which Aurelia plays an old Italian song on alarm clocks old and new."
(quote from an online review - http://www.theworld.org/2009/07/29/aurelias-oratorio/)

Well worth catching if you can ... :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Happy Weekend!

Well, things are looking up again .. for me if not for Jedda who is locked into the house for the next few days! Went to a lovely yoga class yesterday afternoon. It ended up being a led one (not Mysore) and various poses were left out to accommodate everyone there. I started off being annoyed by that, but luckily let go of it and it was just what I needed. I wasn't feeling very strong (too many missed practices!) and - well it was just what I needed. Jedda, I hasten to add, is still on the mend. Her voice is coming back to normal, and she's more active (and more demanding!) So that's a big relief.

Today some friends came to lunch. One of them, Ross, had offered to help me with one of my 2 garden projects - converting the pool into a garden pond. He had managed to find an old plastic garden table that was being thrown out, which we'd agreed I'd need to place pots on. So he turned up with that, plus some fish and plants he'd take from his own garden ponds (his garden is just a wonderful tropical paradise in a suburban backyard - amazing!)


Here he is placing one of the plants on the table ...

And this is the view I have sitting at the breakfast table ... (without him of course!)


We all had a lovely time eating and drinking and enjoying the day.

And finally, below is a photo taken last weekend (seems like an age ago now!) when I was in Sydney, and Mum and I went to lunch at Jo and Emma (nephew and girlfriend)'s new flat with the million dollar view over Sydney Harbour ...


That's Jo and Peter (nephews), Mum and my brother-in-law John.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Oh what a week!

My poor little pussycat Jedda! I was away last weekend in Sydney (maybe another post!) and she was in the 'pet motel'. Got back, collected her and let her out in the garden for a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon before bringing her in. Next morning I noticed she was a bit subdued but thought she was just pleased to be home. When I got back on Monday evening she wasn't there to greet me - as she normally always is. Found her in the bedroom, picked her up and she made this really strange, low sound. Gave her a bit of a tickle, and found a lump on her throat, which turned out to be a paralysis tick!

Well, I managed to get it off intact, and then thought - what should I do now? My local vet had gone home for the day, so I went to Google, and discovered that I really had to take her to a vet. Found one that had an on-call vet, not too far away, and off we went. I ended up having to leave her there for 3 nights! Her throat had got a bit paralysed and she had been starting to stagger. I finally picked her up last night, and ended up taking a 'carer's day' today to look after her. She's still liable to chuck up, choke, and her voice is really quite low still! I don't even know if it's ever going to get back to how it was before ... :)

She is definitely better tonight than she was when I picked her up yesterday - thank goodness. Don't even ask how much it costs to have a cat in a vet hospital for 3 nights - horrifying!!

My friend Ronnie was blogging about how important dogs are to humans. Well, cats are the same (but different of course!)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

A few photos

The front-door fish ... :)

Just got back from a day at choir camp - held in some boy scout camp up in the north of Brisbane. It started on Friday night but I usually only manage one day. It was fun, though by the end of the afternoon we were really stumbling through ... you should have heard us attempting to learn the final piece for the day! Not a pretty sound ... ! This (below) was the final rousing rendition of Laudate Nomen Domine (taken as a choral anthem by Australian uni choirs) - just a few of the choir in the photo.

I had to struggle at yoga yesterday afternoon. Was pretty tired after a long and tiring week I guess! But I am noticing that having decided to stop spacing out so much during practice I'm getting to the end of my practice quite easily in the time I have. Quite amazing to think that a few weeks ago I wasn't able to do all the poses because of time constraints!

And finally, here's a picture of sleepy-head Jedda ... :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Happy (poetry) days

My friend Angela is having a very happy time having won an Arts Council grant that sent her on a 6-week stay in a cottage somewhere in Ireland to write poetry! I've been following her blog - http://light-trap.blogspot.com/ which is full of misty photos of Irish scenery and happy poetry readings both in Ireland and London ...

She's not actually coming back to Australia (and work) till next January - lucky thing!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Breaking the silence

Don't know why I haven't been posting - nearly a month now since I last posted. Life is carrying along happily, and pretty mundanely to be honest! No big exciting things happening ... :) I did have a very nice yoga class on the weekend, and feel pretty good about that side of things. Work is going well - though I'll be really glad when it gets to be light at the time I have to get up (5.30am). Did some gardening on the weekend - planted some tomatoes and another strawberry plant. And other veggies planted are doing well.

I've got a couple of garden 'projects' that I'm hoping to finish, or at the very least get underway before Christmas. One is to mosaic an old round cement slab that's sitting in my front garden. It's about 1.2m in diameter. I know I need to do it before summer gets to its height (January/February) as it'll be too hot to work outside then. I went to the library on the weekend and got some mosaic books out, looking for a design/ideas. Then I can work out how much I need in the way of different coloured tiles etc, and start to collect them.

My other project is the swimming pool. My swimming pool is an above-ground one, that is decked in around most sides, and only accessible via the house verandah. A few months ago it started leaking a bit (again!) and the people who look after it told me that the tree roots that have been trying to get in from underneath are too much of a problem and I needed to replace it (and remove the tree-roots). About $1000. Then it turned out that I'd have to replace the supports as they were rusting away ($$$), and the pump no longer works properly, and ($$$$$) ... So I decided the swimming pool had had its day; stopped paying the pool guys to come and clean it every month and just left it (covered).

I had the idea to convert it to a garden pond, but it seemed like it might be too much work. And then someone else said to me that she'd deck it all over (having removed the pool itself plus water) and have a large entertaining area there. Now that seems like a good idea, at least for when I sell the place (which I will do eventually). But right now I'm saving to go on an overseas trip next year and I don't want to spend money on something like this. So, after consultations with another friend, for now I'm going to encourage frogs etc. into the pool, get a few low-maintenance water plants into it and see what happens!

I find it's good to put a kind of deadline on things - gives me something to aim for. I don't know how far I'll get along with these projects, but I'm pretty sure that if I didn't say to myself - do this by Christmas when you (I) will have family and visitors around, it's quite possible nothing would happen!

Hmm - seems like I did have a few things to write about after all !

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Swine Flu in the Help Desk!

I work in one corner of a big room that contains the University's ITS (Information Technology Services) Helpdesk. I and one other guy do (among other things) the staff support for the use of Blackboard (the University's Learning Management System to deliver online courses for students). We don't answer the phone like the others in the Helpdesk area, but logged incidents (see my ITIL training coming to the fore!) relating to Blackboard are passed on to us.

Don't know why I felt the need to give that great explanation!

Anyway - on Friday afternoon, one of the casuals who works on the helpdesk (answering the phone) got the results of tests that said he had Swine Flu! I guess I ought to be a bit worried by this, considering my somewhat compromised immune system - it might be thought that I was particularly at risk. But - maybe I'm being foolish, maybe it was just a big Friday afternoon-type feeling, but my main emotion was amusement! We were all jumping around, keeping him at a distance while he tried to wipe his desk and headsets with some anti-bacterial wipes, all the time proclaiming how embarrassed and sorry he was! We just kept on joking and wiping things that were anywhere near him! It just seemed a great distraction for a Friday afternoon!

But really - I do feel my immune system is coming back now. I've actually stopped counting the number of weeks since I've had to be on antibiotics! (Last count was 7 weeks - maybe last week, maybe the week before!) And also - they reckon that kids and young adults are most at risk. Neither of those descriptions really cover me〈grin〉. Also, I've read that 'older people' (!) may have come across some type of flu remotely relate to this one, which would give 'them' some immunity to it!

Whatever - I am 'over' the big fear/concern about Swine Flu that we all had a few weeks ago. Now my main feeling about it is that maybe it's good to get it this time around when it seems to be really mild, in case it does mutate (as the 1918 flu epidemic did) into something much worse. I do intend to get vaccinated against it when the vaccine comes out - if I haven't caught it in the meantime!!

And I've had a lovely weekend. I've been working on a website, and doing a few things in the garden. I've felt strong and well - it's a very nice feeling!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Yoga Practice Musings

Ever since I got lymphoma 2 years ago, had to spend time in hospital and had to give up yoga for 6 months, I have struggled to get my practice back to anywhere near what it was before.

I guess I can point to various reasons, or excuses! Like there've been quite a few times when I've got sick and haven't been able to practice for weeks at a time. Like I seem to have put on a bit of weight which is proving very hard to move off again, sigh! Like how I moved jobs this year which also meant moving campuses. A great new job and I'm very happy in it. But, apart from the extended amount of travel it's involved, at the old campus I had a great set-up to practice (by myself or with others) at lunchtime. That has been very much harder to organise here at St Lucia.

But, whatever the reason, my practice, and I guess my body, is very different to what it was B4! One of my hips has seized up and just won't 'open'! I have no hope of doing bakasana (OK, I probably only got that once before, but still!) And I'm even finding it hard to bind in Marichyasana A and B ... (hardly/never did in the other two so I won't be mentioning them!) And just general weakness, lack of flexibility issues ...

So anyway, when I went to class last weekend I was musing on this to myself (I felt it was a particularly weak practice on my part!) And then as I was leaving, this amazing thing happened. My teacher saw me going, stopped what he was doing and came over and told me he felt my practice was really moving ahead!! My mouth dropped open in utter surprise ... he carried on in this vein for a little while and then said goodbye and went back to helping someone!

There's obviously something else going on that I have no idea about! I guess I/we focus and stress on certain things but a 3rd party can stand back and see a completely different picture. I still don't quite know what he was talking about, but I do know he has inspired my practice this week, and let me feel that it's OK to be weak in areas that I was strong(er) in before. At least for the moment!!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Great news on health front!

Had my 12-monthly CT scan today and it came back clear! More details are on my Lymphoma blog.

I am very happy this evening!!!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Holidays ...

My colourful washing line

My Colourful Washing line! I wear lots of colourful clothes - and when I hang things out on the washing line I love the way they look! I even make sure they look good on the line - try not to hang two things the same colour next to each other! All for my own benefit of course, but ... :)

That was down in Bowral actually, my Mum's house. I'm back home now after spending a few days down there. Lots of eating (as if I needed that!), good wine, family and good books (among other things)! Not a huge amount of yoga - it is very hard to get warm/flexible enough down there in winter! - but some ...

Now I'm sitting in front of the fire at home, with Jedda curled up in a ball beside me. Very cosy! Tomorrow I must get onto a website for an ex-workmate, which she's already paid me for. And then back to work on Monday ...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

an unwanted bath

an unwanted bath
Originally uploaded by tlong

My Google homepage has (among other things) a list of photos of cats recently uploaded to Flickr. Just look at this one - I couldn't resist posting it here. Never seen a cat and a rat together like that!

And talking of cats (and cat-owners) - guess who was climbing up a ladder in the middle of the night trying to entice a very naughty pussycat down from a tree! Yes, it was me!! Jedda pussycat (or kittycat as she's not 9 months old yet) only goes outside on the weekends, and never at nights. But I had to go out to visit a website client and then onto yoga at about 2pm yesterday and of course she was nowhere to be seen. And when I got home around 6.45pm, ditto! I kept calling her, to no avail.

Finally at about 10pm when I went onto the back verandah to call her yet again I heard pathetic squeakiing (she's good at that!) in the distance, and eventually after much wandering through the undergrowth with a torch, I realised she was above my head and spotted her! But would she come down? No, of course not! I brought a ladder around and climbed up a bit (only halfway) but it was never going to be high enough and she wasn't going anywhere. I gave up for a while and when I came back again she had of course gotten herself down quite happily and was still 'busy' outside! Very naughty pussycat!!

This post is full of cat-stuff - in case anyone cared, I managed to fix my MySQL issues, upload the CMS website, fix a few email problems and my client is happy! And I have ordered a new Macbook Pro - Yesss!!

(And of course, yoga was wonderful, as always!)

Monday, June 01, 2009

mySQL hell!

Spent most of the weekend fighting with MySQL and phpMyAdmin! They have won so far! I'm trying to do something very basic and obviously missing something, but it's pretty frustrating! All I want to do is move a CMS-MS (that's CMS Made Simple!) website I've been developing for a client from the test area on my website, to the area on the same host where I host websites. And can I do it ... ?!?!!! No!! I have moved the files of course, but it's the database that I'm having problems with. And restrictions with usernames ... sigh! I'm sure when I finally manage to do this it'll all seem really easy, but right now it doesn't! This is the first CMS site I've done, so I guess there's bound to be a bit of a learning curve - just wish it'd straighten out now!

Did manage to escape this mental turmoil and go to yoga class on Saturday afternoon ... which was really nice! I'm still struggling to find space in my day / workspace to practice during the week. But I managed to practice in the gym last week, which although somewhat odd, was OK! There I was squished in between various gym machines and people lifting weights ... :) I've asked around at my workplace and the consensus is that it's most unlikely there are any empty offices that I can use, so this is the best alternative I can come up with!

Friday, May 22, 2009

I passed!

I've been putting off posting. This blog is part of ashtangi.net, and this week (last Sunday) the Guruji of Ashtanga Yoga passed away.

I've kind of been at an impasse, not quite knowing what to say about it all but feeling that I needed to. I feel a bit on the edge/side of the Ashtanga community. I never had the opportunity to study with him - the one time he came to Australia and I was signed up to attend his classes I came down with a bad case of Giardia and had to cancel.

But, although I can't say I'm a very 'good' practitioner, Ashtanga Yoga has been a big part of my life for about 9 years. Since I started practicing it I've learnt and developed so much, and have had no desire to do any other kind of yoga - ashtanga just 'got me'! So I'm really grateful to Pattabhi Jois for teaching this practice to Westerners, and bringing it to the West. And I feel confident he can rest in peace, knowing he's left it in safe hands with his grandson Sharath having pretty much taken over in the past couple of years.


Now I've said that, I can go back to my previous post, and the title of this one! Yes, I did it! I took the ITIL exam again on Tuesday and I passed! Got 77% ... I was so thrilled and excited - it meant much more than if I'd passed the original exam! Probably partly because of the extra effort I had to put into studying all the concepts/theories/terminology again and somehow fixing it all in my head! I spent most of the weekend doing that, plus reading the manuals on the bus to and from work each day for the previous week! What a relief all of that's over!!

Now I've got a peaceful weekend ahead of me - and I'll dedicate my yoga practice this weekend to the memory of Guruji Pattabhi Jois.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

ITIL certification course

Last week was exhausting! It was a short week - the Monday had been a public holiday. But Wednesday to Friday I was on a 3-day course - ITIL Foundation certification. Basically this is all about processes that are (or should be) used within the IT industry, and in my new department (ITS) they like all staff to get certification. It's all theory and really hard to cram into your head! I was completely wiped out by it. We had an official exam on the Friday afternoon ... We'd done 2 trials (previous exam papers) and I passed both of them. But I failed the official one! I was so upset on Friday evening. I knew it was stupid but I'd put an awful lot of effort into it, and the fact that I'd passed the two trial ones easily - it was infuriating! I've decided I'm going to have to do the exam again - and if/when I pass, then I can let it all drop out of my mind and probably won't remember much of it at all.

Sigh ... I don't know why I've got so wound up about this - everyone at work dreads this course and there was lots of eye-rolling when I said I was going to it. I guess I'm not actually used to failing(!), and having put so much effort into trying to understand the concepts, and learn which processes went with which service - failing really got to me! I had to make a big effort not to have it cloud my whole weekend - ridiculous I know!

Feeling better now - it's Sunday afternoon and I've just been planting some potatoes in the veggie garden I dug over a week or two ago. I went to yoga yesterday afternoon - bit of a slog coz I was feeling weak and stiff, but I'm very glad I went (as usual!) Tomorrow morning bright and early (6am) I'm off to the hospital to have an IV-IG infusion. I need to get a CT scan organisied for the next month or so. If I don't catch my doctor (when he comes up to the ward to do his rounds) then I'll have to make an appointment to see him and get the forms. This (CT scan) is my yearly check-up ... :) Feeling fine about it now but I know I won't be sleeping too well the night or two beforehand. Ah well - cross that bridge when I come to it!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Yoga and the 5 Rhythms

I've been collapsed at home today (Sunday) after quite an amazing afternoon/evening yesterday. Went to yoga class in the afternoon which was quite lovely. Not that anything wonderful in the way of breakthroughs or progress happened - probably the reverse as I still haven't sorted out a new practice schedule since changing jobs (and time available). But it just felt so good to be 'in the slot' of practice - doing the sun salutes and just following the series through. I had to leave early because I was supposed to be somewhere at 6pm, and the teacher had started talking to everyone about pranayama, or the basic beginners' pranayama that he teaches and we do at the end of asana practice. I had to get up and go in the middle of all of this which felt a bit awkward, but couldn't be helped.

So - where I had to be at 6pm was at a 5 Rhythms dance! I'd never heard of this before, but a friend (Ross) invited me to one being put on by his yoga teacher. Basically it's a dance 'practice' founded by someone called Gabrielle Roth, where you dance to 5 different rhythms - flowing, staccatto, chaos, lyrical and stillness. 20 minutes for each rhythm. I wasn't sure what to expect but it was wonderful! I would have thought I'd have been pretty tired having just done about 1.5 hours of yoga, but I didn't sit out any of it! Most of us did kind of treat the last one (stillness) as a sort of savasana, lying on the floor, but still I have to say I was quite amazed that I was able to keep dancing without any thought of sitting down for a while!

However, today is a different matter! I was quite tired, and when I got back from doing the shopping (and visiting the library) I was quite content to have a slow quiet afternoon! Mind you, I'll still fighting with uploading my CMS website to a test server - unsuccessful to date! Hoping to get some (more) help from the user community, who of course are mostly in Europe/USA and so in bed when I'm awake, and awake when I'm asleep!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Photos from Easter

Mothers and daughters
Me and my cousin, my Mum and my Aunt

Jedda, lounging on the antique furniture

Jedda - hiding in the bedclothes
hiding in the bedclothes!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Post-Easter holiday

A nice Easter holiday ... I took a couple of extra days and am now just back at work. This is the first break I've had since all of the emotional upheaval that I guess inevitably comes when a whole group of people you've worked with for many years are made redundant / split up. Somehow it seemed a much more significant event than if I'd just resigned.

My Mum came up from NSW (she usually does for Easter) and we had a nice family time. Went to visit one of my cousins on Easter Day - she's just moved into a new house at Mt Tamborine - about an hour's drive south of Brisbane. Very pretty there, up in the hills (Gold Coast hinterland) but also very green and wet! It rains a lot!! We had a big family lunch there with 4 generations (including an 8-week old baby, great-grandnephew of my mother).

On Monday a friend from many years ago came through Brisbane for the day - on her way from a wedding in Melbourne and a Great Barrier Reef holiday in Cairns, back home to L.A. We knew each other when we both lived in London a long time ago, and since then have met up every few years. Talked (and ate, and drank wine!) for hours and hours, so now we are both fully caught up on what's been happening in each other's lives!

I also spent quite a bit of time on one of the two websites I'm developing. It's mostly finished now - just whatever changes/updates that are requested. Next weekend I'm going to meet up with the client for the other website, to move that along too.

And this evening I'm (yet again!) picking up my yoga practice and going to class.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Week 2 - a little tired!

Last week I sailed through with heaps of energy, but I'm a bit more tired this week. I guess it's to be expected - will take a while for my body/circadian rhythms/whatever to get used to the new situation. But that's OK. My cough is also getting a bit worse, which doesn't help. I've got some antibiotics but am holding off taking them until I'm sure I need to.

One thing I'm really missing is yoga. Last week I managed 2 practices. This week, nothing so far! I'll go on Saturday but I can't see any other options. I've already got to get up really early - not going any further (or earlier) down that track. And I just don't have the energy when I get home. When I was at the other campus I practiced at lunchtime - there were heaps of spare rooms around, and we also had a weekly yoga session with 2-5 others. Here - this building is a rabbit warren but I don't think there's much spare space. Anything that doesn't have people in it has piles of computers and parts and cables and so on!

There is, however, this Unifit system where the gym is available for one hour at lunchtime to staff whose departments (mine included) pay for their staff to attend. After Easter I'm going to sign up there and see if they'll let me do my yoga practice there in the gym. Not ideal, but the best (possible) solution I've come up so far.

Weekends have been taken up with work on 2 websites! Never rains but it pours ... One of them is my first CMS-based site. I'm using CMS-MS and am getting the hang of that. The other one is a static one, that's come out of an Arts grant that a friend applied for. She quoted for a website as well as everything else. This is 2 Artists books, so will have lots of images etc.

And I'm really pleased because I'm going to be able to get a new laptop from the proceeds of these two websites. My existing one is over 4-5 years old and is just soo slow. It's a Mac Powerbook, and I've been using the later Intel-based Macs at work for years now. The difference in speed is amazing. But it's not just the comparison - there is definitely something wrong with the Powerbook. I'm making sure I back up to an external hard drive every night, just in case of disaster! Just have to hope it lasts out for another month or so!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New job and other stuff

I've been in the new (ITS) job for 3 days now, and I feel sure it's been a great move for me! The people here are great, and they really look after you. Being the 'information technology' centre of the uni, I guess it's not surprising that I was asked what sort of new computer I wanted, and was a 22" 2nd monitor big enough for my 2nd screen! (My last 2nd screen was about 15"!) And - give us a list of all the software you'd like us to get for you ... for someone like me it's almost like I died and went to heaven :) But they're also asking if there's anything else I'd like. [ed: I'm getting a brand-new iMac, with lots of Adobe software - yess!!]

My immediate supervisor is a coffee fantatic - brought in her own very expensive espresso machine and buys really good coffee beans. She won't let anyone else use the coffee-maker, but makes coffee for us all during the day!

The travel is a lot more than I was doing, but it's doable. Most days I'll be getting an inter-campus bus that goes between the campus I was working on and the main one in Brisbane. Once or twice a week I'll drive in. Takes about an hour. The problem with driving in isn't so much the drive, it's the finding somewhere to park when you get here! If you arrive later than 8.30am you're pretty much 'stuffed' (to use the vernacular!)

Anyway - I drove in today as it's choir practice tonight, so no point in catching the bus home and then turning around and driving back in almost immediately. And I'm going to go to yoga this evening - there's a 5.15pm class at my yoga school. So that's great ...

Finally - this is a really interesting blog/article on the future of newspapers - well worth reading if you're interested/concerned in this issue.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Pussycat, yoga and job!

Jedda crashes out
Latest Jedda photo - crashed out!

I've been feeling pretty good all week (marvellous what antibiotics can do!!) and went to class yesterday full of enthusiasm. It was one of those days when the teacher decides to lead people through the sun salutes and the next couple of poses - up to trikonasana. That always shows me where I'm taking extra breaths! That would be in surya namaskar B! Don't know when I'll ever be able to stop doing that, but it's good to be reminded!

Practice was really nice - I felt so positive about it all. I ended up being stopped as I was going into Karnapidasana (I had to look up the name in my David Swenson book - it's one of the shoulderstand variations!) Anyway, the teacher told me I was pushing myself too much and needed to build up strength before I carried on further! Oh well, such is life! Last weekend I stopped a lot earlier - at navasana (boat pose) but I think that was mostly that I was feeling a bit off, possibly because I'd had a flu injection the previous day. So it was a real thrill to have a practice that, if not back to where I was 18 months ago (was it only 18 months ago that all that health stuff happened?!) at least felt quite strong and positive!

On Friday I went for an interview for one of the jobs 'on offer' in a couple of weeks. It was good, although there wasn't as much web development in it as I had hoped. But they said there was quite a lot I would be able to do, just not in the position description. And if I go and work there I can have a Mac (they'll get me a new one!) and it's a big group within the University so other opportunities may well come up. I've got an interview for the other job on Tuesday, and I'll decide after that ... :)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Definitely time!

Definitely time that I posted again! Have been having a few health issues, in that as soon as I stopped taking the antibiotics, the coughing etc. started up again. So I'm back on them until I see the specialist in 10 days time. On reflection, I remember this happened last year when I had that long long period of coughing etc. And I had to keep on the antibiotics for quite a long time. Sigh! Just have to hope that in time the immunoglobulin infusions I'm having will raise my immune system to a level where it can cope with these things in a more normal fashion!!

I missed a bit of yoga last week, but have been back to it this week which is good. Even the doctor said I should be doing yoga for my health! I guess I can let myself off when I'm feeling physically ill, but otherwise not!

At work, in the whole restructure thing is slowing winding down to the end date (20th March). I've now got 2 possible redeployment positions lined up at the university, which is good. I'm leaning more towards one than the other, but will go for interviews for both anyway. We went to a very good 2-day workshop called something like 'Career Transitions' last week. Although we were all a bit jaded and suspicious to start off with, it turned out being really worthwhile, and I learnt a lot! Plus we all gained in confidence, as we were all put through a job interview by the person running the workshop, in front of everyone else. And even though each of us was pretty nervous, the rest of us were able to reassure the person being interviewed that they came across very well, and not at all nervous! It was really eye-opening.

One door closing, another opening ... and so it goes :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yoga at last!

Yes, I made it to class last night. I guess it hasn't been that long, but it seems like ages! Because I'm still coughing quite a lot I decided to only do 3 of each sun salute. And then I just felt my way back through standing, and up to navasana in sitting. I was tired but it felt so good!

I did feel sorry for the people around me though. Class was packed and I was coughing quite a bit! But maybe I'm being over-sensitive / self-conscious ... that's probably true!

Got home (to a complaining kitten wondering when she was ever going to be fed!), had a quick dinner and was in bed by 9.30pm! I was exhausted! And slept like a log - it was hard to wake up this morning. But I'm feeling good, and ready to do yoga again at lunchtime today - as it's one of our work yoga days!

Other news - content for edition 6 of the foame poetry website is flowing in, and it's on track to go live on St David's Day (traditional publication date because the person who set the foame site up is from Wales!) Another website that I quoted on, and which we did the graphic design for about 6 months ago, has finally been signed off on and should be ready to start on in the next week! And there's yet another website waiting to be done after that too! So I should be very busy in my so-called 'spare time' for the next couple of months!! Lucky I really enjoy this sort of work ... :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Things are looking up!

I'm definitely feeling better today! Still coughing but apart from that, things are good! Have spent the weekend working on websites (current and upcoming) and watching the cricket. Hoping (fingers crossed!) to get to yoga tomorrow.

And as requested, here are a couple of photos of Jedda, taken today.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Consequences and pussycat bravery

One unexpected and unwanted consequence of my holiday was that I caught a cold, which promptly went to my chest and has left me 11 days later still coughing and sniffling (to put it mildly!) Unfortunately I've been told to expect this sort of thing at least until my immunoglobulin levels rise higher in a few months' time. (see latest post on my lymphoma blog for more details if you're interested!)

And one extremely annoying consequence of this is that once again I don't feel I can do any yoga at the moment. Hopefully I will be able to go to class on Saturday afternoon, but I'll just have wait and see!

Sweet pussycat (whose name has now changed to Jedda - from this film about an Aboriginal girl made in the '50s and considered shocking at the time to White Australian society!!) is still going mad, waking me up at 4am wanting to play, etc etc. On the weekend she was introduced to more people and even a little dog! I was working on the 2009 issue of the foame poetry ezine (due out on 1st March - St David's Day) and the editor/owner brought her dog on the Sunday. I was so impressed with Jedda - of course she hid in the bedroom at first, but within 30 minutes she had come down to the living room to investigate this strange creature, and I think the dog ended up being more scared of her than vice versa!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Holiday weekend

Australia Day long weekend is the end of the summer holidays for schoolkids - it's back to school next week! I had a really lovely long weekend - took the Friday off too, making it a 4-day weekend. I've been down the coast staying with a friend in Ocean Shores (which is about half an hour north of Byron Bay).

We had such a great time - went swimming in the surf almost every day. Went out for dinner with some friends on Saturday night, and a party on Sunday. Saw the wonderful film Milk - which I highly highly recommend, and also found time for lots of talking, plus of course keeping up with the cricket (Australia vs South Africa, one-dayers) and the tennis (Australian Open).

Did try to go to the wonderful Sunday Bangalow market, but just as we drove into Bangalow the heavens opened and a real tropical downpour ensued. I ended up being dropped off in the town while Vic went to do a small amount of shopping in the markets. But it was chaos - shops were sweeping water out the doors, the only business being done there really was in the coffee shops! And in the markets, apparently the stallholders were there but everyone was just sheltering under their stall umbrellas and wondering if the rain would ever end!

Yesterday evening we had to go out to a party, and were forced to leave the tennis with Roger Federer at 2 sets down, seemingly headed out of the tournament! Luckily there were a few tennis fanatics at the party, and after a while someone managed to turn the TV on (with no sound!) But that match had finished and we were convinced he'd lost till someone else got his laptop out (mainly to get some music playing) and we discovered that amazingly Federer had come back from the brink and won the next 3 sets and the match!

Since then I've come home via the cattery where I picked up young Jessie from her first (of many to come in the future!) visits there! Had the usual complaining all the way home but she is happily snuggled up between my back and the back of the sofa now, purring away!

And tomorrow back to work, and more importantly, yoga at lunchtime!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

New Yoga Mat

I got a new yoga mat at class on the weekend. It's a really nice thick, heavy-duty one - apparently comes from Germany. My yoga teacher said these are the best quality, and he's been using the same one for over 3 years! My previous eco-mat, that I was so proud of - got visiting friends from the UK to bring out for me - didn't last at all. It shedded bits all over the place, but the main problem was that it got really slippery where you feet wear away the surface.

Anyway - always nice to practice on a new mat, especially when I'd been reduced to using a very worn-out and thin one I'd got for travelling years ago ... :)

Went to a work-friend's birthday party on Sunday, and met up with some people who used to work with us last year (or before), It was fun sitting out in the backyard, drinking wine and talking to people.

Miss new pussy-cat is settling in nicely - which means she's getting wilder and wilder! I now think her name is Jess, or Jessie! That seems to be sticking better than anything else I've tried!!

And next weekend, which is a long weekend here in Oz (Australia Day), I'm going to Byron Bay to stay with a friend. Should be great! It's been a year since I've been there (and seen my friend) so we'll have lots to talk about etc!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Class (yoga) again at last!

Went to yoga class on the weekend - first time in about 3 months! Since I had that period of awful coughing every time I did any inverted pose ... For the past few weeks I've been doing yoga at home, and with our yoga group at work. But going back to class is definitely another level of intensity altogether. The energy was just wonderful!

I did some poses that I'd been leaving out for a while, either because of time constraints, weakness, or whatever! Shoulderstand (sarvangasana) was one - and I felt much more upright in that pose than in the past.

I hadn't made any particular new year's resolutions this year, but now I feel that one thing I really would like to do is move forward with my yoga practice, put more energy there. I feel that for the past couple of years it's been stop -> start -> stop -> start ... Understandable given the circumstances, but now it's time to get out of that cycle and go forward!

Mind you, I say I hadn't made any new year's resolutions, but one thing I do know! I am going to see Maharaji this year, whether it's here in Australia or somewhere else if he doesn't come to these shores. It's just been far too long!

I saw my doctor yesterday, and had the 2nd of the immunoglobulin infusions. All good ... I'm seeing a respiratory physician tomorrow, and after that will blog about them both on the lymphoma blog.

Friday, January 09, 2009

New Pussycat Photos

Here are some photos of my new Abyssinian kitten, Jaffa - at least I think that's her name! Not completely sure yet ...

Jaffa in the chinese bowl
(In the chinese bowl - my heart was in my mouth, but she seems to have given up on that now!)

My new favourite toy
(Manic playing with a toy!)

Butter wouldn't melt in my mouth
(Butter wouldn't melt in my mouth ... Oh really ?!?!!)

She is very cute although also very playful and skittish, racing round the house like it's a racing circuit!! The place is strewn with things she's grabbed to play with!! And she wakes me up at about 4am every morning wanting to pounce all over me!!!

This morning at breakfast - it was so funny, I wished I had the camera with me. She'd somehow managed to get inside one of my (rolled up) yoga mats and her head was peaking out the end, looking like a wild cat!!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

why blog?

I read a newspaper article (ed: just added the link!) today about how people are sharing too much information these days - in reality TV shows, Facebook and MySpace, Twitter, etc etc etc.

"Today we all live with the expectation that we must happily spill our guts for whoever cares to slosh through them. Once considered a virtue, discretion is now viewed as either a character flaw or a sign that you're hiding one."

It made me stop and think about my use of blogs and Facebook. Am I being exhibitionist or something to like writing a blog (or two)? It's certainly not my nature to overtly draw attention to myself - I'm quite shy. I like to think that I do keep private the things that should remain private, but maybe I cross the line ... not sure!

I do know that I have always been a diary-keeper. Sometimes I'd let it go for a while, but then a year or two later I'd start another one. However until I started blogging, it was never for public reading. I started this blog when I went on an overseas trip and it seemed like a cool and easy way to keep friends and family in touch with what I was doing!

Then the ashtangi.net blog site was put together and I wanted to participate/join in, even though most of the other blogs there are from much more advanced and/or dedicated ashtangis than me! And so this blog did turn into an on-line diary, and my paper diary faded away! But really, I'm pretty much writing here for me/my benefit, not for anyone else. Just like with a diary, it's fun to look back to where you were/what you were doing a year or more ago. And with my yoga journey especially.

When I was diagnosed with NHL (Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma) 18 months ago it was different. I decided to set up a separate lymphoma blog to write about what happened, how it was in hospital and going through all that unbelievable stuff!

But this time it was not only for my benefit (and I have now re-read it a few times, from a distance, marvelling that this really happened to me!) But also for other people who found themselves in a similar situation, to read about someone's experiences, the good and the bad. I have certainly found it incredibly helpful to read other "cancer warriors' blogs" as well as discussion boards etc. You get so much information, and reassurance that other people have gone through the same thing as you, and they've come out the other side! I really think this is one big example of the fantastic way the internet has brought people together.

So, I can reassure myself that the lymphoma blog is definitely for a good reason! And this one? - well, I'm a web developer. I live in the technical and online world! So it just seems normal that I'd be using at least some of the tools that are around me. I don't think I need to be too concerned that I'm turning into a Britny or Big Brother type person!! Really!!


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