there may even be sewing


my walk to work

In terribly exciting news, I’m working from home tomorrow because we have a plumber coming to affix permanent repair to roof. I then have Friday and Monday off as annual leave days.

This is a Glorious prospect and I must do what I can to make the most of it. Hopefully this will not involve much time faffing about on the InformationSuperHighway and will involve much exercise and Actioning of Items.

I’d best get onto a list.

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let’s just try everything

I’ve taken the completely unscientific approach of trying two things in an attempt to alleviate that headache I’ve been recently (constantly) whinging about.

Thing 1: I’ve stopped reading the (backlit) kindle in bed in the dark. Actually I’ve stopped the kindle entirely, mostly because my recent reading was only in bed in the dark.

Thing 2: I inadvertently pressed the left of the bridge of my nose on Saturday and it hurt quite a bit. Don suggested my headache might be something sinus-related (which I disputed because I could breathe quite well), but I had been coughing at night, and ibuprofen and paracetamol weren’t really helping the pain, so I gave an anti-histamine a try (self-medication all the way in this house).

Oh! There was a Thing 3: buying a new pillow. My old one rather resembled a rock, was replaced with a very full and squishy cheap synthetic one which is lovely. My sleep is much better.

Oh! and also a Thing 4: Less other screen time. I’m trying to take time away from the computer and tablet. This has had varying levels of success.

These four things appear to be working very well. It is completely delightful to not be walking around with a terribly sore head. I’m loathe to mess with the delicate balance so I’m going to go the rest of the week with the anti-histamine and afterward gradually reintroduce the kindle at other times of the day – in conjunction with wearing my reading glasses – and avoid reading in the dark at all times.

Of course I’m totally sure that this lack of headache has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Bobs is on holidays.

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50before50: #32 listen to an audiobook

So if you’ve not read the comments on this post, you won’t be aware that after not inconsiderable angst, I chose We need to talk about Kevin as my audiobook. I was pretty relieved that the excellent Carmela recommended this, because I’d already downloaded it and was having a little post download anxiety!

I started listening on Monday and very quickly I was totally hooked. The narration by Lorelei King (who sounds a whole lot like Katey Sagal) is superb and the story is utterly compelling.

I restricted myself to listening while walking to and from SML and at lunch. But I really do think I could have easily listened all in one go, so invested was I.

Anyway, after eking it out I finished it up on the way home on Friday evening!

It was just brilliant. I’d guessed pretty early on where this was going, but that didn’t spoil my experience at all. This was the most perfect introduction I could have had to audiobooks and I will be surprised if anything else can measure up.

I found this exercise really interesting as I don’t generally read with a voice in my head. I can do it if I force myself, but mostly I let the words in a book kind of wash over me. I suspect this is why I often don’t really get poetry – I read way too fast and don’t get immersed. Yes, I should slow down.

I wondered if I would get into an audiobook as much as I would a real book and I think I did, but it was a completely different experience to that of reading. One thing I didn’t care for was that I couldn’t mark noteworthy passages as I would with my kindle. And on the rare occasion that I’d missed something, I was a little tedious to go back.

Amusingly I was so immersed in this that my internal monologue was happening a Lorelei King/Katey Sagal voice and I was talking in the same cadence. This wasn’t really much of a surprise as I do this sort absorbing / mimicking people’s voices quite a lot (unconsciously of course, I’m not a dick), and don’t get me started on unconsciously replicating other people’s body language.

Of course now I have to decide whether to keep up the audible subscription (AU$14.95 per month) which allows me to download one book, and then it’s $14.95 per book thereafter within the month. This is not an insignificant investment, so I think I’ll ponder for a bit longer. The difficulty is that there are an awful lot of books narrated by, well, people who sound like pompous (or ponderous) twits. But I’m definitely not saying no to keeping it up.

And we can cross this item off the 50 list (hurrah!). I’m really pleased that I chose to do this – I’d never have attempted an audiobook under normal circumstances because I was sure I’d hate it, and now have discovered a New Thing!

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you can’t do what?

A while back, I read what if your mind’s eye is blind? on kottke, which linked a facebook post by Blake Ross called aphantasia: how it feels to be blind in your mind.

It’s pretty lengthy, but well worth the read (no, really). It’s mind blowing. No, really.

Here’s the intro:

I just learned something about you and it is blowing my goddamned mind.

This is not a joke. It is not “blowing my mind” a la BuzzFeed’s “8 Things You Won’t Believe About Tarantulas.” It is, I think, as close to an honest-to-goodness revelation as I will ever live in the flesh.

Here it is: You can visualize things in your mind.

If I tell you to imagine a beach, you can picture the golden sand and turquoise waves. If I ask for a red triangle, your mind gets to drawing. And mom’s face? Of course.

You experience this differently, sure. Some of you see a photorealistic beach, others a shadowy cartoon. Some of you can make it up, others only “see” a beach they’ve visited. Some of you have to work harder to paint the canvas. Some of you can’t hang onto the canvas for long. But nearly all of you have a canvas.

I don’t. I have never visualized anything in my entire life. I can’t “see” my father’s face or a bouncing blue ball, my childhood bedroom or the run I went on ten minutes ago. I thought “counting sheep” was a metaphor. I’m 30 years old and I never knew a human could do any of this. And it is blowing my goddamned mind.

This blew my mind because – THIS IS ME!

I can’t make mental pictures. Until I read this I had no idea other people could. Mind. Totally. Blown.

It is incredibly weird to discover that most people have this ability that you don’t have. And that you have reached such an advanced age and are only just finding this out.

The best I can do is varying sizes of grey blobs in my head, but mostly it is just a blank void. I mainly “visualise” things with words and descriptions. I can’t hold an image of people’s faces in my head, I can’t conjure up pictures at all. I have an endless wordy narrative running in my head all day long. The words-not-images thing probably explains why I am a voracious reader and why I take a large number of photos.

I really did think counting sheep was a metaphor for simple counting, I use the same language as everyone else of “visualising” things, but I genuinely thought that was a metaphor too.

Obviously aphantasia is a spectrum and I am rather different in other ways from Blake Ross. For me, it’s just the inability to make mental images. Unlike Ross I have very vivid dreams and can play music in my head. I have a better than usual memory (though as I get older it is not quite so razor-sharp). I also have excellent recall – I can usually tell immediately when I have been somewhere before, even if it was many years ago. I don’t think I’ve ever forgotten where I’ve parked, for example. I’m very good at recognising people – even people I haven’t seen for years or have met only once. I suspect my brain has developed as some sort of compensatory mechanism – data is obviously still getting to my brain and being retained there, but I’m not accessing it as others do.

I’ve been thinking of signing up for the Exeter University research study. But I’m still not quite convinced that everyone else can really see pictures in their minds and I’m not misinterpreting the whole thing!

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50before50: #20 learn to meditate – day one

I’ve been wanting to try meditation for ages and ages and a couple of years ago signed up for a free trial at headspace.com … and did precisely nothing with it.

After settling on learn to meditate as a replacement for #20 on the 50 list, earlier this week I signed up again with a different account (I know not quite in the spirit of free trials) … and did precisely nothing with it – until I was sent a reminder to get started and I decided today was the day.

This time for sure

This morning I woke up with a quite horrible headache again after sleeping badly again. This has been going on for a week now. The thing is, I’m not particularly stressed or anxious, I’ve mentioned it has been quite mad at SML, but that’s been really fun. So I have no idea where the headache is coming from. Okay, let’s be honest I’m actually I’m fairly sure the headache is coming from reading late at night on the kindle without wearing my glasses – clearly having the typeface bumped up to old lady size is no longer working.

But I digress. I decided I was going to start this by sitting on the bed, up against the bedhead with the fan pointed at me (it’s quite warm today), and would use my phone.

I settled myself and clicked through the link from the reminder email and … blank screen.

I decided that maybe the ipad would be better, so resettled myself, clicked through the link on the reminder email and yay – the website opened in safari.

Now to enter my email address and password. Password incorrect.

Try again. Password still incorrect.

Reset password. Back to email and click on create new password link.

Create new password, re-enter new password. Log in. YAY!

Click on play on first lesson. Nothing.

Click again on play on first lesson. Nothing.

Repeatedly mash play button on first lesson. Still nothing.

Maybe there’s a problem with safari and open in firefox.

Enter email address and password – I’m in! YAY!

Click on play on first lesson. Nothing.

Click again on play on first lesson. Nothing.

Repeatedly mash play button on first lesson. Still nothing.

Decided maybe there is a problem with the web browser on mobile devices. Google same.

Find there is indeed a problem with website on mobile devices.

Try downloading app. Go to app store app. Search for headspace. Do not find headspace in search results.

Return to headspace website in browser, search for link to app.

Click on link to app, which takes me to the correct entry on the app store app.

Download app.

Open app and enter email address and password.

And we’re in.

THIS WAS NOT AT ALL RELAXING! If I didn’t need mediation before, I definitely needed it now.

Anyway, after finally downloading the app, I was good to go with the first lesson

After all that it went not too badly. The Matt’s voice is quite soothing, but not in a DFH* rainforests-crystals-whales-and-dolphins way. My thoughts drifted, but not too much. I credit that to the headache and not my superior mindfulness powers – my head was too hurty to drift much. I already know that if I concentrate on my breath for any length of time I tend to panic and veer toward hyperventilation – my long-time cure for that is to just focus on something else for a little bit, that worked. I felt slightly relaxed afterward.

I’m planning to do this every morning until the trial expires, so I’ve got a couple more days whether I’ll take up the not-inexpensive subscription, or move onto another form of guided (or not guided!) mediation.

xxx

*Dirty Hippy

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and hopefully throwing off this headache

This week has been pretty nuts, there’s lots of stuff going on at SML which I’m very heavily embedded in.

Today involved waking up at 4:45am when Don went to golf, not being able to get back to sleep, early to work with one four hour vendor presentation, a lively debrief, brief lunch and one three hour presentation, much longer lively debrief and a handover with Bobs who is off for a two week holiday (I’m minding a bunch of stuff while he is gone).

It has been great fun, but I’m still all hopped up on caffeine and sugar and adrenaline.

I haven’t even begun to think about what I’ll be doing on the weekend – there will be much relaxing, pottering and not thinking about SML much at all.

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50before50: #22 100 days of happiness challenge – days 1-7

I’d been putting the 100 day challenge off, waiting for the perfect time to start – but that is a sure way of never starting anything!

I’ve had a horrible headache for the last few days and work has been very intense, so it’s been quite a difficult thing to keep up with for the first week. They’re less than magical – but that is kind of what I was feeling, which I suppose is entirely the point!

These are my first seven days, with instagram captions included.

100 days of happiness: day one – hungry ladies. #catsofinstagram #100happydays #dayone #kitties #catsoftheinnerwest #100daysofhappiness

xxx

100 days of happiness: day two – crunchy peanut butter + butter on lightly toasted white bead. #100happydays #daytwo #100daysofhappiness #comfortfood #peanutbutter #toast #hardenedarteries

xxx

100 days of happiness: day three – awesome new retro 70s runners. #brooksrunning #shoes #runners #100daysofhappiness #sale #vanguard #100happydays #daythree

xxx

100 days of happiness: day four – new notebooks from #daiso !! 1. My note: happy enjoy everyday. 2. It’s mine: it’s my favorite note. 3. Boîte de papeterie: learn as much by writing as by reading. #100daysofhappiness #100happydays #stationery #notebooks #blackandwhite #dayfour

xxx

100 days of happiness: day five – cold shower before bed after a very hot day. #cold #hot #100daysofhappiness #100happydays #dayfive #tap #brokenairconditioner

xxx

100 days of happiness: day six – choosing the next book to read on my beloved kindle. #100happydays #daysix #kindle #100daysofhappiness #besttechever

xxx

100 days of happiness: day seven – self-seeded tomato! Tomato plants magically started growing from the worm farm compost, this is one of the only tomatoes that made it to maturity. #100happydays #100daysofhappiness #dayseven #tomato #garden #dayseven

xxx

I’m fairly confident that I’m unlikely to update this weekly, but hey let’s aim for that.

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