The Intervention

Just when I thought “interventions” were only done on rather scary reality TV shows I found myself the “victim” of a very large intervention on Sunday.  There I was, innocently drinking coffee with a good friend of mine  and relating the events of my week when she announced that we were going to deal with my clothes.  My pleas to finish the coffee and continue chatting were ignored and we were off into the bedroom to begin.

Clothes flew and were flung in all directions in the hours that followed.  Luckily she is a really good friend because comments included “No!”, “Frumpy!”, “Get rid of it”, “What were you thinking?” and “Did your mother choose this?”  I should hasten to say that I owned only one item of clothing chosen by my mother and it has now gone to a  better place.  The final tally was five small gar bags of clothes to go to charity, three small gar bags of stuff that I will fit into soon and best of all, a wardrobe which contains only items that I can wear right now.  It is the first time in my adult life that I can remember having such a wardrobe.  The aforementioned gar bags went into the back of my friend’s car so there were no chances for me to change my mind and the three bags of ambition clothes are going to be boxed up in plastic crates so that nothing nasty befalls them.  The wire coathangers were all dispatched to the garbage bin and the plastic coated wire hangers were deemed to be only good for hanging up my husband’s shirts.  I have most hangers the same the now and all facing in the same direction – revolutionary!

I still have the shoe section to go and a few drawers but they seem easy compared to the task of tackling that overstuffed wardrobe.  I am eagerly anticipating being able to pull out something to wear very easily from those places as well.

The flow on effect from this will be the ease with which I can put together outfits the night before to wear the next day.  I’m intending on having Plan A outfits for days that I am working and Plan B outfits for days that I am not.  The drawback is that I don’t have as many clothes but when I think about it I don’t really have less clothes because the ones that are not there could not be worn anyway.  So it is full of win all round really.

The saying “Knowledge is Power” could certainly be applied to my fateful Sunday afternoon too.  I was lucky enough to attend a High Tea on the previous Saturday where we met Suzy the Stylist.  Prior to that day I never would have thought that I had anything to gain from listening to a stylist given that I am overweight, the majority of my clothes are bargain buys and I usually buy things without trying them on because of time pressures.  Boy was I wrong!

I now know that I have curvy figure (somewhere under there!) and what to do about dressing for that figure.  I know exactly what to look for now in shops and which items of clothing I would like to buy when I next have the opportunity.  Because I was also able to look at things through a “knitter’s lens” as well I now know why some of my projects look good and why some of them should never have seen the light of day.  I am actually having one piece frogged, the wool washed and rewound so that I can knit something else with it!  Best of all when someone mentions a  knitting pattern on Ravelry I know immediately whether it will work for me or not.

So while it isn’t an extensive wardrobe, it is completely functional and even though I needed to sit down for quite a while and collect my thought post-intervention I am really glad that it happened.  And to my dear friend – Thank-you. I needed to be bossed around and I’m truly glad that you did so.

And now dear readers:

Have you ever been part of an intervention? Either intervening or being the “intervenee”?

How do you organise your clothes?

If you are losing weight, what are you planning to do with your clothes?


Websites I Am Always Talking About

I probably don’t frequent as many websites as most people, sticking to Facebook and Google Reader for the blogs that I enjoy.  However when I am talking to people about the things I love I often mention certain websites and am not always ina position to write them down.  The goal of writing this post is for people to refer to my blog for my favourite sites!

The Book Depository – There is a UK site as well as others in other countries.  It is a place to buy lots of different books at greatly reduced prices and there are no shipping costs.  They seem to send the books as soon as they have them available so when I made my first order a few months ago I actually received three separate parcels in the mail – good fun all in itself!  As an example of the possible savings, I bought two knitting books which sell for $45 each here and by using Book Depository I paid about $22 each.

Strawberry.net – I was put on to this site quite recently by a good friend when my skin was suffering from the cold and dryness and I was finding that my products froma rather cheap direct sales company were irritating my skin and not being very effective at all.  Back in the day, before children, mortgages and financial strife I used to use Clinique products and loved them.  I had given them up because they were simply too expensive and I was finding that I used them too sparingly to do any good.  Now I am back to using Clinique, having paid very low prices to get some items and my skin is really showing the benefits and feeling fantastic.  There is no shipping coast and extremely fast service.  Just as an aside, the same friend put me onto Blinc mascara. It is seriously the best mascara ever and lasts through absolutely everything because it actaully puts little “tubes” of mascara around each lash which stay there until rubbed gently with a wet washcloth.  When you rub them off you can actually see the little tubes on the washcloth and there is no residue smudged around the eyes.  Obviously they are very fine tubes and there is no ill-effect on the lashes. To quote Molly Meldrum, if you are a mascara wearer, “do yourself a favour” and try some of this stuff because it really is wodnerful!

CafePress – I am very happy to be the owner of two knitting t-shirts and one teaching t-shirt from this fantastic site.  There are shirts, sweaters and a range of other products with slogans and graphics for almost any occupation or hobby you could dream of.  It is worth a browse just for the entertainment value of what sayings they have on offer. My knitting shirts are “I knit so I don’t kill people” and “Keep calm and carry yarn”.  My teaching shirt is “I teach, what’s your superpower?”  There is some shipping cost but the service is faultless and they are a very good quality product.

Ravelry – Whenever I am talking to someone who is beginning to knit or crochet I invariably ask them if they have been on Ravelry.  It is a networking site for knitting, crochet and spinning and has thousands of members who share patterns, yarns and finished projects.  You can sign up for free and either browse through what’s on offer or start your own Ravelry “notebook” with pictures of your projects and links to the patterns and yarns used as well as where you obtained them.  because of all these notebooks you can search for a type of project or yarn and find almost countless results.  It is very useful for when you want ideas for a particular item like beanies or tea cosies or if you are deciding on whether to use a particular yarn or pattern.  Just make sure you have a spare 4-5 hours to spend browsing if you decide to have a look.

FlyLady – As I get back on my feet quite literally I am using and will continue to use FlyLady.  It is all about organising yourself and your house to take the best possible care of yourself and your loved ones.  I could write pages about how good her system is but it would be far better to just pay the FlyLady a visit and check her out for yourself.


Step by Step back to “normal” life

Or as normal as it ever gets!  I’ve officially been cleared to work again, I’m no longer wearing splints and walking longer and longer distances until i start limping again and need to stop.  I did alarm the physio with a very swollen left ankle (the fractured tibia one) on Friday night so I am taped up for the duration of the long weekend but flesh coloured tape is much less conspicuous than big black lace up splints.

There are so many things you take for granted until you have your mobility taken away from you.  I’m really enjoying things like:

having a shower standing up

carrying things around from one place to another

walking around places

being able to get up off chairs

getting my own cup of coffee and indeed getting cuppas for other people

walking along hand in hand with my little boy

DRIVING – even though I have to use Anthony’s car for the time being.

I’m in the process of transitioning from convalescence to supply teaching again and I feel as if I am launching myself onto the world as a whole new person.  A wise person told me that all these thigns happen for a reason and I found that statement hard to take as I hobbled around on crutches. But now, as I find myself on the way out of it all I believe she may have known what she was talking about after all.


What do I really need right now?

Thanks to a very generous friend who has negotiated her way through peak hour traffic to pick me up last Thursday and the Thursday, I’ve been able to re-join Weight Watchers and start again.  I know that quite a few people who know me well will be saying to themselves, “Here she goes again. What will be different this time?”

Well, there are quite a few differences already.  I’ve got a Chronic Condition Health Care plan set in place by my wonderful GP which will give me access to an exercise physiologist (a cross between a personal trainer and a physiotherapist).  My GP will be keeping a closer eye on things and the nurse who is part of the practice will keep up with me too.

I am still seeing my wonderful physio as my ankles continue to heal and he and I have been discussing possible exercise options for now while my ankles are still quite wobbly and weak and later when I can do more weight bearing exercise.

I’ve been to the gym and was quietly pedalling the recumbent bike as I had been instructed by the physio when the trainer asked if I would like to join in a weights circuit with three other ladies.  After a bit of encouragement from him, I did join in and much to my amazement, I was able to complete a 45 minute circuit with very few modifications.  It was the most amazing feeling to do that successfully.

I’ve got a great circle of friends who are “in the loop” about my efforts and are encouraging me every step of the way. Eric is right behind me cheering me on and Daniel, who still lacks tact and diplomacy at almost 8, has asked whether my big belly (which he illustrates by holding his arms out wide) to going to shrink up to the size of his belly.  Probably a bit extreme but he is being positive in his own way.

One of my friends is going to join the same Weight Watchers meeting as me so I will be meeting up with her each week.  I can’t say how glad I am about this.  Not only will I get a free pampering session and she a 3 month movie pass due to a membership promotion but I will look forward to seeing someone each week who is truly on my side and has much the same dry sense of humour as myself.

However the number 1 things are weighing in each week (which involves fronting up the the very formidable Carol) and staying for the meeting.  I certainly won’t paraphrase the meeting content here because if you want that you should really go to Weight Watchers yourself. But when we recieve information, we all process it in different ways and take away our own responses and hopefully, action plans.

This week was all about monitoring hunger signals.  We discussed the difference between being so hungry that you would eat almost anything to having eaten so much that you feel like your clothes would burst.  Ideally we should aim for something in between.  That is going to happen for different people in different ways but for me hunger signals are controlled when I eat small amounts often during the day, keep moving and maintain my water intake.  Please excuse me for a moment while I uncap my trusty water bottle and take a big swig.

 

 

 

 

Ah, that’s better.

We have discussed many mantras and saying that we can use to keep our goals in mind and to stay on track.  It was recommended that we have a saying that describes ourselves at a healthy weight in the present tense and includes some tings we can do or have achieved.  Mine is:

I am slim, fit and focussed.

Then I thought more about what would help me to monitor my hunger signals and indeed, lots of other signals from my body and I came up with this:

What do I really need right now?

Some of the answers to that question in the last few days have been:

salad instead of chips

baked fish instead of crumbed fish

more water instead of more coffee

one small dessert that I really liked instead of just eating dessert whenever it was offered whether I really liked it or not

doing my physio stretches

walking a few more steps

keeping up with my pain relief so I could keep up with moving more and healing faster

not staying up for the end of the movie/tv show but going to bed when I needed to

taking a nap during the day when I needed it

doing something pleasurable during the day

talking to people who woud help me with making good choices

So far in one week I have lost one kilo.  But that isn’t really important in the big scheme of things because I have gained so many other really important things.


Another Knitting Metaphor

A very dear friend of mine has recently taken up knitting.  I am absolutely thrilled about this as it almost feels like I have a knitting protegee.  I only wish we lived closer to each other so we could sit down together with some good coffee and yarn – and knit. LOL!

Her first project was, quite wisely, a cotton discloth which she knitted over teh course of about a day.  I told my boys about her starting knitting and how she’d finisheda project that took a day and Daniel was heard to remark, “Well she must be a much better knitter than you!”  At age almost 8 he lacks a lot of diplomacy and can put people in tehir place very abruptly.

When my friend’s first project was finished, she sent me a text saying that it had a bit of a factory second look about it.  That immediately reminded me of my dream balnket that I began knitting during a time when things weren’t going very well.  The first panel had many, many mistakes but as I progressed there were hardly any.  I’m not attempting to fix the mistakes because they are not enough to make the blanket unravel and just like certain events they will be around in the future where they will remind me of where I was a at that time.  It is something like how most people will remember exactly where they were when the recent royal wedding was taking place.

My dear friend, the new knitter, has also faced some challenges lately.  I’m hoping she will be able to look back at her dishcloth sometime in the future with its slight imperfections and to remember how she went on to re-shape her life after some hurdles.  I hope she also recalls how the simple repetitive movements gave her some momentary serenity and calm in teh middle of some turbulence.  There is no doubt in my mind that she will get through this “rough patch” and be even stronger and wiser for doing so.  And in the meantime, she can just keep knitting!


The View from Here

The camera worked for long enough this afternoon to get a shot of my very unattractive ankles in socks and splints.  They look a bit powdery because I need to put on prickly heat powder before the socks so I don’t get driven mad with itching and it certainly makes me glad not to be in plaster.

Today hasn’t been a good day.  I’ve been down, teary and tired all day.  It was a combination of things.  I was still pathetically exhausted after my trip to hydrotherapy yesterday, today was bit of an anti-climax because I wasn’t going anywhere and I’m not going anywhere for the foreseeable future.  Hydrotherapy will only continue once it is approved by Work Cover as I already had had the five automatically allowed physio sessions while in hospital.  It is really my only prospect of getting out of the house because we will be reimbursed for the cab fare.  I’m not able to drive yet and I don’t know how long it will be before I get behind the wheel.  If I was to get taken somewhere like a shopping centre I would have to hire a wheelchair and then have someone to push it.  The potential “someones” are either a bit old to be pushing me in a wheel chair or they have small children to deal with.  We can’t afford to spend any money on cabs that will not be reimbursed as my work prospects are going to be limited once again and for who knows how long.

Dh is working full time 5 days a week and may be doing overtime on Saturday and of course the boys are at school.  They will be off on holidays at the end of next week but we will still be housebound because it is too far from here to get to any public transport and we cannot afford cabs.  The book club girls took me out last night for coffee and book discussion but I came away from that realizing that everyone is still really busy and the fact that I am out of action doesn’t change that.  So while plenty of people have asked, “What can I do to help?”, I’ve really only been able to ask for people to bring the boys home from school and even that was quite difficult to organise.  Life goes on as normal for everyone else which means they don’t have time to stop for visits or cups of tea.  Everyone balances multiple roles and has a busy schedule including me when I’m not on crutches.  So I can hardly ask someone to pick me up and cart me around in a wheelchair and no one really has spare time to spend here with me.  I think all of that hit home for me this afternoon and I felt really black.

The flood of phone calls and text messages that happened while I was in hospital has dried up to almost nothing.  I’m lucky if I get two texts in a day and no one has time for phone calls these days.  There isn’t really much to say either because I don’t know when things will improve with my ankles and there is nothing happening here at home.

I also realised that I wouldn’t be able to get to Weight Watchers tomorrow night as I had planned because the boys have hockey training.  I cannot ask them to miss it as they missed out already last week while I was in hospital and it is on every Thursday so with great sadness I changed my Weight Watchers subscription to “on-line only” even though I need it and the meetings especially now more than I ever have before.  My weight has made this whole injury thing even more complicated and I really can’t see things improving while I am so sedentary and while I am relying on everyone else to supply me with food.

Dh really is doing all he can.  In fact he has been quite legendary since I’ve been home.  He sets up the lounge room each night ready for me the next day with the TV left on stand-by, the remotes all put where I can reach them and most importantly, makes sure that the floors throughout the house are almost completely free of clutter.  We are both terrified of what could happen if a crutch slipped on something that shouldn’t be there and went out from under me.  He gets the bathroom ready for me to take a shower each night with the transfer bench half in and half out of the bath and everything where I can reach it.  Then he puts on my socks and splints for me afterwards in the lounge.  I get a coffee made for me in the morning before they leave and yesterday he left a ham and cheese sandwich in the fridge and the sandwich toaster out on the bench.  I was so glad to find that when I got home from hydro!

As for the boys, the novelty has well and truly worn off.  They are usually very put out when I ask them for anything or to do something for them because it takes them away from their all important computer games.  And of course, their projects and activities must always come first.  Eric was very impatient for me to get to the computer and help him fix a flyer he was making this evening and kept coming out to ask me when I’d be there despite the fact that I didn’t have my splints back on.  The flyer was about him offering his services as a cross country coach for the the other kids at school but that’s another story!

My parents came to help out today but even that is a mixed blessing.  While I truly love that our bathroom got cleaned and the sheets on my bed were changed I didn’t need to be told that I must not apply for any job until I am off crutches, that knitting is waste of money (again!) and that I really must do something about my weight.  (If I didn’t already know the last one it was brought home to me when I had to crawl up our back stairs on the night of my fall!).  I know they mean well and they are really the only ones that are in a position to offer us any help but some moral support and encouragement would be nice once in a while.

That is the end of my whining for now.  There are some good things happening.  Unlimited time to knit, stitch, read and watch TV. Time to read lots of stories to Daniel.  I get to sleep in because there is nothing to get up for and I would be in the way during morning rush hour anyway.  I have a couple of projects to tackle –  writing and researching some pieces for the school magazine and doing the “end of season” achievement cards and certificates for Little Athletics.  The latter is an enormous but tedious job but I certainly don’t have the excuse of not enough time to do it.

It’s awful to say this but I am dreading today (I’m writing this after midnight which shows how ell my sleeping pattern is going).  I’m going to miss a couple of my regular Thursday activities, my ankles will still hurt and I will still have the long day on my own.  But I guess I just have to take a deep breath and think “this too shall pass”.


Taking Positive Steps

I’m back at work tomorrow and still feeling a bit fragile.  However I’ve done my first group fitness class in years this afternoon – aqua aerobics and lived to tell the tale so it doesn’t appear that I am going to break any time soon.

I saw my wonderful GP yesterday expected her to to be buried under a mountain of paper work from both hospitals.  She had heard from neither!  After some discussion and pushing on my poor sore chest I was diagnosed with Costochondritis  – Tietze’s Syndrome which is described below:

Costochondritis is a condition that causes chest pain due to inflammation of the cartilage and bones in the chest wall. Also called Tietze’s Syndrome, costochondritis occurs when there is inflammation at the junction of the rib bone and breastbone (sternum). At this junction, there is cartilage joining these bones. This cartilage can become irritated and inflamed. Depending on the extent of the inflammation, costochondritis can be quite painful.
This information comes from here and is the best explanation I’ve seen so far.  My GP wrote down the name of what I had because she knew I’s be coming home and googling it.  The nasty thing about it is that the symptoms mimic cardiac symptoms so they have to be well and truly ruled out before it can be diagnosed.  It makes me wish I could have gone from work to my GP but that wasn’t possible at the time.  If, God forbid, it ever happens again I’ll be much less anxious because I know just how healthy my heart really is.
Before I saw her yesterday I went to the gym that I joined in  (ahem) July) and got set up with a basic program.  I was a bit naughty but I explained to my GP and she was fine with it.  I admitted to having high blood pressure and Obstructive sleep apnea but I didn’t admit to the recent chest pain issues because I knew it wasn’t cardiac and I also knew that they wouldn’t let me near the place if their was the slightest suspicion that I might drop over from something.  My blood pressure was in fact brilliant when it was taken yesterday so she was more than happy to write me a little letter for the gym stating that she was very happy for me to begin a graduated program of exercise.  My instructions are to take anti-inflammatories for a week and no heavy lifting for a month and she has written that in the letter to work.
So last night I planned meals and today had a quiet day at home.  I did some knitting and some de-cluttering and then took myself to the library, the chemist and to Coles for some provisions.  I didn’t get the apricot chicken into the crock pot for tonight’s dinner as planned but it is ready to go for tomorrow.  Dh is having a half day to play Bowls so he will get it out of the fridge and put it on at lunch time.
On Sunday I went to knitting as usual and it was like the “Teresa Support Group”.  What a truly wonderful group of women.  They understood.  They said all the right things.  They gave me hugs and encouragement rather than lectures and advice.  I took myself off to Mass late that afternoon as well because I felt in need of some time with God both thanking Him for getting me this far and asking for strength to move ahead.  It was also the day that Mary MacKillop became Australia’s first Catholic saint.  Praying, singing and receiving the Eucharist all felt so right.  It was like coming home.  I obviously need the spiritual health overhaul as well as the physical one.
I’ve got my clothes out for tomorrow, lunch planned and dinner organised.  I’ve asked for dh to pick up boys so that I can go to the gym do my weights (very carefully) and some cardio after work.  The house is still messy but I’ve got most of the clothes ironed (by Mum) and it is pretty clean (once again thanks to Mum).  Most importantly I’ve scheduled everything for the next week and put it all up in the kitchen so everyone can be “on the same page”.
After massive fights on Sunday between the boys I have also overhauled (or rather created) a set of guidelines for Wii and Computer use which are working spectacularly well for both them and me.  But more about that in a later post as I need tocatch some ZZZZZZZZZs before I go back to work tomorrow.  I’m not looking like the lady in the picture here but it is something to aim for I suppose!