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Monday
Oct312016

Facebook Detox 

 

I’m going offline tomorrow.   Taking a break from Facebook and other social media.  I’ve become one of those people who constantly checks my phone to see what’s happening in the world.  I’ve become 85% of the population. 

I’ll probably only detox for a week but I want to see how it feels to not be obsessed with what my friends and the broader Universe is up to. To be honest I think it will freak me out a little – give me a huge dose of FOMO – and maybe even make me feel a little isolated.

I already know some of the things I won’t get to see while my phone sits idle.  Glam shots of all my work buddies at a social event tomorrow night (I’ll be there too but it won’t matter because I won’t be posting photos).  Fun stuff we get up to at work (eg; cheese platters and Snapchat).  Endless photos of friends at Melbourne Cup parties all around the country.  Pictures of kids and dogs. 

There will be no Facebook reminders every morning …  my beautiful Aunty’s Debbie’s birthday (she would have been 60 this week) … seven years since I ran the New York marathon … various flashbacks to the days when I’d get dressed up and drink champagne with other race goers in VIP marquees.  No Facebook pokes to show me how great my life has been.  It’ll be okay – I have my physical memories, I don’t need scheduling software to tell me what I’ve been up to in a cyber episode of This Is Your Life.  

I’m looking forward to getting back time to do more productive things.  Over the past few months I’ve become very aware of how many hours (maybe days) I can lose in scrolling absently through my feed, looking for something to interest me, randomly pressing the Thumbs Up button on friends’ posts.  Any spare moment where I can feel boredom creeping in is an excuse to pick up my phone and see what’s happening on Facebook.  TV Commercial breaks.  Waiting for a meeting.  Public transport.  Standing in the line at the supermarket.  Eating lunch.  Sometimes I just pick up my phone to see what’s going on.  Don’t judge me, you know you do the same.

I am frustrated and disappointed in myself that it’s come to this.  That I’ve become so attached to my phone and social media that it’s time for a self imposed ban.  I’m also a little freaked out that, as a person with friends and family all around the world, I will be missing out on their news.  What if Shelley Belly sees a squirrel in the park in London?  I won’t be able to like that.  How will I feel in a week if I know that I missed out on seeing everyone bitching about the weather?  No one will be able to see all the amazing food I’m eating.  It could be a disaster for my social life and relationships.

Oh and if I miss your birthday, it's not my fault.  I used to have a paper diary with everyone's birthdays in it, but Facebook got all clever and now everyone 'remembers' it's your special day.  (Not me this week - sorry)  

So here I go, posting this blog – and then detoxing for a while.  Wish me luck.  If you miss me and want to know what I’m up to, give me a call.  I’ll be happy to email you a photo of my cat Asha playing a piano.   

Sunday
Oct232016

Sick of being sick 

I’m not very good at being sick.  Actually that’s a lie, as this year I’ve been sick more than ever so obviously practice makes perfect.  I’ve mainly had a continuous head cold (currently up to week four of the one I caught in Perth) with the occasional addition of a sore throat or bronchitis.  I’m good at catching stuff, I’m just not very good at ‘being sick’ like normal people.  I’m not sure what to do.

Whenever I’m not feeling well people (usually at work) say the following to me, “Why are you here?  You need to go home and rest!” 

Rest?  What exactly is that?

Here lies my problem.  I don’t know what rest up means.  Am I meant to stay in bed for two days straight and attempt to sleep?  Is resting all about sitting on the couch for hours watching mind numbing TV?  Pumping yourself full of vitamins with a hot water bottle and a pile of Who magazines? 

I find it hard to do absolutely nothing. Sure, I like to chill out and watch TV sometimes but the thought of lying around feeling sorry for myself doesn’t make me feel good at all.  It makes me feel guilty.  Like I’m wasting time.  So I’d rather just do a little bit of work (or head into work if I’m not going to spread my germs) and keep things moving along while my body does what it needs to do.

It’s fine to sit and reply to emails if you feel a bit under the weather.  It’s not like I’m doing manual labour.  I can keep the house clean and tidy – and I still need to eat so a bit of shopping is okay.  I just need to carry a lot of tissues with me.  And my social life?  Well yes, I cut back a little bit, but I’ll be climbing the walls if I don’t have human contact after a few days. 

My current shitty headcold doesn’t seem to want to go away no matter what I try. Even a spot of resting (working from home for two days). I’ve avoided drinking with no luck.  Getting drunk didn’t kill it off.  Good food vs junky crap showed little result.  I’ve eaten enough kale and other super foods to become my own nutritionist.  Nada. Exercising / Not exercising means nothing – I feel more bleugh if I don’t get off the couch and surely those endorphins will kill the bugs, right?  Sleeping for hours on end (almost too much sleep) vs not enough just proved to me that 10 hours sleep is heaven, but I’m also okay with six.  Nothing worked.  Nothing made me feel better.  Another good reason to not spend monotonous hours watching Dr Phil and drinking herbal tea.  

I’m still lost.  Still confused as to how to ‘be sick’.  Given the weather continues to impersonate Winter, I’m thinking this cold is here to stay.  If you have any ideas on how I can ‘rest up’ and not die of boredom, I’d appreciate it.  Just don’t text me between 12noon and 1pm, that’s when Ellen is on.  

Sunday
Oct162016

Social media fail 

I missed an opportunity for social media greatness thanks to technology. (And a drunk guy.) It hurts. 

Recently I went to an Awards Ceremony.  It was a fun night, a great chance to celebrate awesomeness and all the great people I work with – and catch up with old friends.  Oh and drink a bit of wine.  Just a little bit.

My day started early with a ladies networking brunch, a lovely morning enjoying delicious food, champagne and inspirational conversation with a stack of awesome chicks.  Although I feel slightly ripped off having to get up at 7am on a weekend (the men get to sleep in), it’s always such a pleasure to spend time with other like minded women.  I took photos of champagne and flowers to share on social media … and remind everyone at how early I’d had to get up.  #martyr

I then headed to Skinny Bitch’s fancy apartment, stopping off for cheese. bread and dips on the way.  GFM had popped in to hang out with us and drink wine while we had our hair and make up done.  He was witness to the magic of fake eyelashes and expensive concealer.  #Luckyhim.  

Our make up artist was lovely, laughing at our stories on dating and work gossip, as she meticulously turned me into a slightly glammed up version of myself.  Actually, that’s undervaluing her skills and experience.  She took me and my underslept slightly stressed post hiking in the wind and rain face and turned me into a glamour queen.  As she primped and curled and teased my hair, I was nervous as to what I’d end up with.  When I finally got to look in the mirror I was relieved (and excited) to find that she’d turned me into a super glamorous version of myself.  I didn’t even look tired anymore.  What a miracle worker.  The best $225 I’ve spent in ages.  #investment

I raced home and slipped into my expensive dress, a creation from Nicola Fenetti (who I was surprised to find is a man, not a woman, showing my lack of fashion cred). Confession: I’d worn it once before in May, however it cost me so much I need to wear it at least 97 more times to get value out of it.  It’s also a fun party dress, so perfect for the night ahead.  #shortfordancing

As I plugged my phone into its charger I had a quick look at the power bar.  42%.  Crap. How did it get so flat so fast?  I looked at the clock.  Just 14 minutes to finish getting ready before calling a cab.  Not enough time to recharge my phone to full capacity.  I threw the charger into my clutch and ran out the door.

Collecting Chillax Amanda on my way through, she suggested I switch my phone to low power usage. #Smartgirl.

The Awards Ceremony was lots of fun.  We clapped and cheered for each award our team won (around 15 I think) drinking wine and catching up in between.  Thankfully there were no boring speeches and the night went quickly … giving me the chance to head to the Ladies and charge my phone briefly.  The power signal barely increased.  I was starting to feel a little stressed as it hovered at 20% for most of the night.   I avoided my usual uploading to social media of all the fun I was having (eg; pictures of my food).  That could wait.  #FoodFOMO

Skinny Bitch and I took photos against the media wall.  People commented on how hot I looked.  I felt great.  It’s so nice to feel confident – even if it is just under a mask of good make up, a spray tan and smoky sexy eyes.  GFM joined us and we took some fun shots together.  Not enough though as I saw my phone power slowly slipping away. #eek

The Awards Night ended (I left empty handed, ripped off for my nomination) and we waited for a bus to take us to the next venue.  I found a powerpoint and plugged in while we stood around, wishing I’d packed my flat shoes.  My powerage barely moved, sitting dangerously on 16%.  I’ll be fine, I thought, I’m not checking anything online (also uncommon for me), just taking a few photos. 

Our After Party throbbed with cool dance music and free drinks for everyone – as we all crammed into the cool bar. I chatted to people I hadn’t yet caught up with and sipped slowly on vodka and soda (I’m fighting  bronchitis so trying to take it easy).  It was fun.  I nervously checked my phone.  Still alive.  Just.  8%.

I’d come to the realization that there would be no more photos of me in my moment of hotness.   That’s okay.  I had a few shots - better than nothing.  Just enough for an updated Facebook profile and not much else.  #Damn. 

As I was contemplating calling it a night, someone that I have admired for a long time came into my view.  I really want a photo with them!  I handed my phone to a colleague and asked him to take of shot of us.  No flash, he said pressing random buttons, clearly 17 beers over the legal limit. Try again, I pleaded.  Nothing.  He smiled at me, in a hazy, I’ve had too much to drink zen.  I looked at the photo.  Just a block of fuzzy dark nothingness.  I had missed my opportunity for social media joy.  #fangirlmomentlost

If you see the shot of me from that night, please make sure you like it.  A lot of effort went into that one photo – and I’m not sure I’ll be looking that good again for quite a while.  #maybenever 

Sunday
Oct022016

Holiday rip off

I’m sick.  Nothing new there, except that I’m on holidays.  The only other thing worse than being sick on holidays is when it rains on holidays.

I’ve had both.  Which is why I’m feeling ripped off.

Its been a tough few months with lots of changes – especially at work – so I was looking forward to a long break, heading back to sunny Perth to catch up with friends.  Natty Nat and I had also booked to do Cape to Cape – a tiny 135km walk over seven days.  A great way to get some exercise, clear my head and soak up the beautiful scenery of Margaret River.

The week started off well.  Natty Nat and I embarked on the first few days of our trek with excitement – and a little trepidation – could we do it?  Would we get through the long 22km days?  Could we finish without stacking it?  (A common occurrence for us both.)

By day four I was feeling elated, proud of what we’d done so far – hiking up and down hills, scaling rocks, walking four hours through scrubland - and looking forward to the next few harder, longer days.   Sure, the red wine and cheese we had that night helped a little, but I was finally relaxing into my holiday.

Then the rain kicked in.   And cold wind.   Walking for 22kms on a beach in freezing gale force winds while being pummeled with hail and rain isn’t a great way to spend six hours.  Suddenly my little adventure wasn’t as much fun as I’d hoped.  Thank God I’d made a last minute purchase for a rain jacket.  $200 and a wet weather policy was never part of my plan. 

Two days later I woke up with a headcold and cough.  Bang, just like that.  What a surprise.

I popped some Codral and packed a stack of tissues and soldiered on.  The rain and wind got worse, but I was determined to finish.  When we finally reached the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, I was tired but happy.  That night I lost my voice.  

We headed back to Perth and I bunkered down in a friend’s apartment spending quality time alone on her couch with a doona.  The cold weather and rain continued.  My strappy tops and short skirts stayed packed away in my suitcase.  My usual black cardigan with thick stockings and boots I frequented in chilly Melbourne became my holiday wardrobe.  Not a ray of sun in sight.

Now I’m back home and the weather still hasn’t realised it’s Spring yet.  I’ve spent more time in bed sleeping than catching up with friends and frankly, I’m a little depressed about it.  Tomorrow I go back to work – and as much as I love my job, going back with a slight chest infection and white pasty skin isn’t exciting me that much.  I’m meant to look happy, healthy and glowing.  I’m not. 

My holiday expectations were way under par – where can I apply for a refund?    

Monday
Sep262016

One foot in front of the other 

I hiked 135kms last week.  I’ve never hiked before, but Natty Nat suggested that walking Cape to Cape in Perth would be a good practice run for me as I want to do the 800km Camino trail in Spain.  Smart woman.  So off we went.

Hiking is so much more than just walking through bushland and admiring the scenery.  I thought I was going to wander along pathways seeing birds and wildflowers, soaking up the sun and fresh air.  Get a bit of exercise.  I was wrong.

Our first few days were relatively easy.  17kms covered on walking paths trodden by previous hikers.  The other hikers in our group were friendly and supportive, and we chatted and laughed as we walked up and down low hills, through bushes and trees – pointing out wildflowers and orchids.  As we got closer to the ocean, we spotted pools of dolphins playing in the waves.   Breaks for morning and afternoon tea were spent munching on muesli bars and fruit (hiking makes you hungry) before setting off again.  My feet were sore but I felt good.  I like this hiking thing. 

Day four and shit got real.  We increased our distance to 22kms.  The hills got steeper and longer.  Up AND Down.   The terrain intensified.  We hiked on dirt, sand, sandy dirt …  with tiny rocks jutting out of the ground, ready to trip you up.   In the dense bush, the pathways diminished to almost nothing, so we pushed through the foliage, getting scraped by the spikey leaves as we walked past.  I prayed I wasn’t allergic to anything I brushed past. Totally left my epi-pen at home.

The walk through Boranup Forest was amazing, as we wandered under hundreds of tall trees which provided a canapé from the intermittent sun.  I considered running off into the forest to escape, but knew that I could have another dark chocolate muesli bar in 4kms so I kept going. 

The real hell came two days later when we did long walks along the beach.  Not a romantic, let’s take our shoes off and hold hands as we saunter along the sand, walk.  This was 7kms of trudging in deep sand … often in wind and rain.  Long kilometres where it felt like our end destination would never arrive.   You’d become dizzy trying to keep up with the person ahead of you, placing your feet into their footprints to make it a little easier. It wasn’t. 

Then there was the rock climbing – and descending.  I’ve never been comfortable jumping around on rocks or scaling cliff faces.   On this hike, we did both.  After a long walk up sandy hills, we’d be faced with an expanse of large rocks to climb over.  Slow step by slow step we’d ease ourselves over them, then continue to push ourselves up and down the trails, before we’d hit another patch of rocks. It felt like a tuff mudder course, working my way through the various challenges.  I really hoped there wasn’t an electric fence section coming up.

On day six, I hit a wall.   A headcold took over my body and I felt like death.  Yes, I wanted to stay in bed with my electric blanket on, but the wannabe warrior (stupid, stubborn girl) inside of me dragged my sorry ass off for another 22km day on the sand.   I sniffed and coughed my way through the wind and rain, popping Codral and Nurofen and trying to soak up the views.  Thankfully endless kms of greenery and long blue oceans kept my spirits high, with new panoramas every time I reached the top of yet another hill.

My hands and ears got sunburnt.  I’ve never spent this much time outdoors so I had no thought whatsoever to slip, slop, slap these parts of my body.  They’re now a lovely matching pink colour.

Our final day provided the biggest challenge.  Within 25 minutes of starting out, we were pelted with hail.  Giant frozen raindrops that stung against my new rainproof jacket.  I laughed.  It was all I could do as I contemplated the next six hours of walking.

We scaled more rocks.  Slipping and skidding along plates of slimy moss.  We hiked another long 7kms of beach, smacked in the face with rain and a cold headwind.  As our final destination approached, the track turned into a narrow winding path about 30cm wide.  I tried hard to quell my fear of heights (and dying from falling off a cliff) as I slowly inched along the mud.  Thank God for the hiking pole in my hand – it gave me the confidence I needed to get through every step of that hike.

135kms (and more I’m sure) later and we finally arrived at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse.  It had started out as a tiny dot on the horizon at the start of the day – and now we stood in front of this giant white landmark, exhausted but super proud of our achievements.   Hiking is so much more than I expected – every part of my body hurts, but I loved this amazing adventure.   As for doing Camino, I might just think about that for a while.  At least until my ears stop peeling.