Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Getting Ready for Christmas

This coming Sunday is the start of Advent. That means it's time to start getting ready for Christmas.

While for me, Christmas is primarily a spiritual thing, all of the family things around it are also very special.

Because of the summer heat, I have limited energy, but there are some things I will always gather the energy for (even if other important-ish things miss out.)

My family puts up our Christmas tree on the first Sunday of Advent.  My daughter, son-in-law and grand-daughter will visit. So they, my son, and I will decorate the tree together. Our Christmas decorations are like a family story.  They all have memories attached to them, so for me, the day we decorate the tree is very special. I have to come up with a nice decoration to celebrate my new grand-daughter's birth this year.

I also spend most of December baking the family's favourite treats for Christmas. My kids grew up just knowing there'd be home-baked shortbread, fruit mince pies, cake and puddings, and fresh home-made lollies. Yes, I know Christmas could happen without these things, and it would be easier to buy manufactured Christmas treats, but I love that they love it all.

It's harder to do it all now, but it's still important to me that I can do it. As with everything, it's a matter of prioritising what I do.

In the summer heat, rationing my energy is incredibly important. Doing my baking in the coolest part of the day is one of my strategies to help protect the little energy I have. Having an afternoon nap or retreating somewhere for air conditioning during the hottest part of the day also makes a big difference.

Monday, 25 November 2013

When the (Energy) Budget's Tight

Weather always affects me.

The hot, humid, weather in Brisbane through the summer storm season saps my energy and leaves me exhausted.

Of course, in winter, the cold makes my joint pain so much worse, that it's not really any better than summer.

So with the heat and the humidity at the moment, I'm doing very little, except watching all the things I need to do build up around me.

After the effort of eating breakfast and taking morning pills, I go back to bed for a nap.  There's another nap on the agenda most afternoons.  That doesn't leave a lot of time for life.

So I set priorities.  My children and granddaughter are my top priority.

Next at the moment, is planning a trip to England next year to see my sister. My children, son-in-law, and granddaughter are all coming with me. To minimise the impact of differences in temperature, we're going in July, travelling from our winter to England's summer.

After that come necessities like feeding myself, the son who still lives with me and the pets. At that same level is making sure I take all my pills.

Then I try to save some energy for my friends.

So if you ever visit my house, and notice the dirty dishes in the sink, the washing that's been on the line for a week and not brought in, and the carpets which are overdue to be cleaned - you know why. Those things just didn't have a high enough priority level to make it into energy budget this week.

Maybe when the next storm breaks, and the weather cools down for an hour or two, one of those "extra" jobs will be done. Maybe.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Not Keeping Up

For Patients for a Moment Blog Carnival this month, Leslie at Getting Closer to Myself asks "what do you do when you can't keep up?"

My first thought in response to that is "when did I last keep up with anyone or with anything?"

"Behind" is the basic way I live my life.

Unless people walk slower for me, I don't keep up when I'm out with family or friends.  Most people slow down for me.  My son just stops every now and then for me to catch up.

At the moment, my family and I are planning a trip to England to see my sister.  One of the things we plan to do there is a visit to a zoo which has electric wheelchairs to loan to visitors who need them - we've decided we need to hire one of those. For once, I will keep up.

Of course, keeping up with people when I'm out isn't my only issue.

I get behind on most things. Today I cleaned the bathroom.  I've been weeks intending to do it, but I've just run out of energy before I got to it.  I used to get really frustrated at all the things that had to wait because I just got behind.

I guess I've just become used to it. I've stopped beating myself up over things.

I know I have to prioritise what things are most important at any given time. I break the most important tasks down into their smallest parts, and alternate between small parts of tasks and rest.  Things that are low priorities usually don't end up being done.

Yes, I'm behind on all the things that need to be done. I probably always will be. Keeping up is unrealistic.  But I've come to terms with that.  My goal is to get by, to do what's necessary for survival, and just a little bit that I want to do more. That's enough.

It's Heating Up

It's late spring, and the summer storm season's already begun.

That means incredibly hot, humid days, with storms in the late afternoon or overnight.

It also means I'm suffering from fatigue reaching the point of exhaustion without doing much at all.

My son's first-ever attempt at hairdressing.
And, on top of that, I'm suffering from rashes from the heat.  Dermatitis on my scalp has come back, after being away for some time.

Today, it reached the point where I couldn't stand it any more.

My son came to the rescue, with the hair clippers.

For his first-ever attempt at hairdressing, I think he's done a good job of clipping my hair.

I've also noticed that, although I don't have a serious butterfly rash, I'm starting to get pink across my cheeks, which is not a good sign.

The worst of the hot weather is yet to come. Summer doesn't actually start until December. So far, this year has been Australia's hottest on record, so I'm not looking forward to the last six weeks of this year, or the start of next year either.

I have a couple of strategies for hot weather. One is to get rid of as much hair as possible and wear light clothing.  My home is quite cool, except for the hottest days, and normally I can keep under fans or an evaporative cooler. (Eventually, I will save up for air conditioning.)  When it does get too hot here, I tend to go to places like shopping centres, or fast food places, where I can find a quiet place to sit with a cool drink and my kindle while the worst of the heat passes. As always, I try to avoid being outside in the sun.