Category Archives: NLD

2015 in Review

Hello readers!

As part of the goals I set myself each year, I like to report back in my last post of each year to see how I’ve progressed and what I could have done better over the year. As I am aiming to start 2016 with a more focused approach to the blog, as well as writing more of a variety of content, the way I approach these goals for next year will be changing. However, here’s what I learned from 2015 in line with the goals I set:

-I have learned that health is a priority. This year, I’ve started to discover that my health is starting to stop me from doing things that I used to be able to with no problems. Any ideas I previously had about doing extended travel are pretty much impossible now due to my health, so I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I will have to do shorter overseas trips than I normally would hope to do. I also cannot really drink alcohol anymore (or as much as I could when I was younger) due to how much it mucks up my health in the days after. My levels of tiredness and fatigue have really increased, meaning I struggle to stay up late and attend social events. I’ve seen more specialists than ever this year, and after trying out an insulin pump sensor (where the doctors could not figure out why, even though I was taking all the right steps, my blood sugar levels still weren’t as good as they should be), my doctors have started me on Metformin. They hope that taking this will help my blood sugar levels stabilise, and help in dropping my insulin levels. I’ve always been afraid of needing to be on more medication than needed, but for a chronic immune disease I have to be accepting that this may be the case. My health has come in the way of a lot of things this year, but I have been reminded this year that I am still a strong, capable person and should be thankful for the health I do have.

-I have learned that it’s good to be flexible with plans for the future. I went into 2015 with no idea of what I wanted to happen with my career, plans for saving up for a house, my husband’s job and much more this year. Most of 2015 was pretty rough for hubby and I in relation to these: hubby made the decision to leave his career of teaching due to the lack of permanency and more (which I won’t go too much into on here), so he is currently trying to find a new job for 2016. His goal is to find something that allows him to pursue his passion for writing – whether it be part of the job, or outside of the job (ie. it’s a job where he doesn’t take the work home, and he has time to work on hobbies at home). It’s been quite a journey seeing his focus change over the year, but after what’s happened this year I can completely understand and support his decision. As a result, we’ll hopefully be closer to our goals of saving up for a house (something we’d never be able to do if he stayed in teaching). At the same time, I’ve spent the year trying to figure out where I wanted to be going career-wise, and have ended the year starting a one year secondment with a fantastic, supportive, positive team. This role will help me cross-skill and give me a chance to see what other opportunities are available, and it’s the perfect place for me to be for 2016. I’m really proud that I’ve taken the step to think outside the box and be more flexible in where I could be going for the future – stepping out of a permanent role for a year to try something new is quite a big change for me. However, I feel that it’s really going to help be establish myself career-wise and figure out the direction I’d like to take for the future.

-I have learned that being healthy is more important that trying to reach weight loss goals. After all the health issues I’ve had through the year, I managed to put on about 2 kilos this year. This was pretty tough for me, however in hindsight I really did have a lot on my plate in the year health-wise which would make weight loss and visual progress impossible. Looking at progress photos from where I started my journey in 2014, however, there’s still a massive difference thanks to muscle and toning. Nevertheless, I really struggled this year with the expectations of the gym to follow their meal plans and programs against what my doctors and health needed from me, as well as not seeing much physical changes in my body from exercise. The realisation that I need to get my health sorted before I can try and actively pursue weight loss was absolutely vital for me this year. Due to finances and needing to afford new medications for 2016, I have stepped back from following the gym’s meal plan program. Instead, I will be going into the new year making my own meal plan to follow: a hybrid of the plan I was on at the gym, filled with the required amounts of food and nutrients my doctors and dieticians have recommended, and taking lots of inspiration from Japanese bento lunches. My hubby and I are aiming to make ourselves more bento styled lunches and eating more organically (more grains, meat, fruit and veg and less processed things) in the new year. I also need to start not drinking soft drink anymore – something which has crept up again on me towards the end of this year. So, in focusing on getting my diabetes blood sugar levels in control, hopefully having less insulin as a result and following my own meal plan, I hope to get my health in order so that I’ll then start seeing some progress at the gym.

-I learned that keeping up the things that you’re passionate about is vital (and that exploring new interests is also vital). This year, I feel that I’ve let my hobbies go to waste – I haven’t actively given myself enough time for the things I enjoy. I’ve only really given myself two sewing projects (one where I only need to hem the dress before I can report on it on the blog), but I just haven’t been inspired enough to finish it off. My resin jewellery adventures went on the backburner once Summer ended last year, while I also barely managed to read any of the books I had in mind for my Goodreads 2015 challenge. This year has been rather serious in nature as a result, focused on sorting out finances, health and jobs. I feel I would have gotten through this year much easier if I had given myself more time to pursue my creative outlets. As we get closer to 2015, I now have my Shamisen – something I intend to share with you as my musical outlet. Hubby and I are also aiming to revamp our sewing area, so it is much more accessible and easy to use (I think one of the main things which makes sewing uninspiring for me is how messy our sewing area is!) And once financial plans are sorted, I’m hoping to get back into resin jewellery and maybe complete a workshop to bring myself up to speed. I really hope I can get these hobbies back on track, as I’d love to share them with you.

-I have learned the value of studying a course relevant to my employment and one that is very versatile for the future. I spent the first half of the year trying to figure out whether I wanted to get back to study: the course I was completing last year came to a halt when it was cancelled and all the distance classes on offer disappeared as a result. With my Asian Studies course no longer available, I decided to re-evaluate what I wanted to study. I have a love of learning, and I can see myself studying so many different areas in the future. However, I never really pursued academia related to my career – this year, I decided to branch out and make this happen. In starting a postgraduate business degree, I felt quite nervous: I was from a humanities background, and unsure as to whether I could be as concise and factual as a business degree required. However, my first subject was a fantastic introduction for me, and I can see just how relevant and useful this is going to be for me. I received a distinction for this subject (in fact, I was two marks off a High Distinction), and considering I completed this subject in my own time around full-time work, I’m suite proud of the result. I am hoping in the new year to try and do two subjects a session with the support of work, which would mean that I could potentially finish my Masters degree with a double major by the end of 2017 – years in advance of when I would complete it if I did it all in my own time. Studying a degree directly related to my career (which could also help me branch out into other areas if I decided to do so in the future) has been such a confidence booster for me this year.

– I have learned that I need to stop writing about certain parts of my life on the blog just to “have content” each week. As a result of this, I’ve made a conscious decision to stop talking about my job/work on the blog. Work is work. Last year, I felt that even though it was something I could provide an update on for the blog, it shifted my focus from using the blog as my creative outlet. Also, as I’m trying to differentiate myself from my professional/career through this website, I don’t see as much value in providing updates. I’m starting 2016 in a fantastically positive and supportive space for my career, which likely means I will have more energy and enthusiasm to working on some of my goals surrounding hobbies and outside-of-work pursuits.

Overall, I think that for 2016 I will continue most of the goals I had listed for 2015, but rather put them as overall goals. I think giving a year limit for the goals makes them unrealistic and makes the blog too rigid in the content I’d like to share. So, these goals will be more of a reference point for me to keep in mind when sharing ideas on here for next year onwards, but I’ll also focus on just writing and sharing more on here, and not being afraid of stepping outside the box of my usual content.

I look forward to sharing 2016 with you! Happy New Year 🙂

Week 19 Update, 2015

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Hello and welcome back! Here’s what I’ve been up to over the past week:

-Last Monday I received the best news ever – I finally received the all clear from my doctor to return to normal exercise and the gym! Words cannot express how excited I was about this: after having to take off 3 months from exercising and suddenly go to complete bed rest and no exercise, I was so ready to get the all-clear to return to normal levels of activity. I needed my energy levels back, and I even craved going to the gym (something that my old self would have NEVER admit to saying). I do have to take it easy for 2 weeks, and will have one follow-up check to ensure my NLD does not disagree with the resumed physical activity. But regardless, I’m back! I returned to the gym last Wednesday, and I then went to the gym for the next 3 days straight. I don’t know what it was (perhaps having been forced to take 3 months off), but I now have this incredible drive and energy towards getting to the gym. Even after an exhausting day, I found myself with added motivation to get to the gym, walk in my lunch breaks and much more. In fact, I exceeded my 10, 000 step goal easily on these three days as well. Now I am able to exercise again, I’m not going to take it for granted. I’m aiming to keep weekends as a rest time for myself (to ensure I don’t push myself and over-do it for my NLD), and Tuesdays are my rest-day due to D&D. Otherwise, I’m resuming 4 days at the gym per week, and lunch break walks every working day! 🙂

-Last week I received final confirmation of my mentoring going ahead. Apparently, this was meant to commence last week, however due to a technical glitch I did not receive this information. Anyway, I have received the profile of the high-school student I will be mentoring (who seems like such a cool chick), and I will commence my volunteer mentoring with her this week. I am so excited about this opportunity, and being able to actively donate my time to help someone and make a difference. Due to privacy laws, I likely won’t be able to share much specific information about the progress of this, however I am mega excited to finally start doing some volunteer work!

-Also, as I mentioned in last week’s post, I decided to take the plunge and sign myself and hubby up to NerdBlock. To those unfamiliar with Nerdblock: this is a service that delivers a box to your house each month filled with goodies tailored to your specific interests. We enjoy purchasing a nerdy “treat” for ourselves every now and then, however as we need to epically start budgeting our finances better, we needed to find a way to conveniently give ourselves a small, set amount for this each month. Here’s where Nerdblock came in, and became the best option for us. Firstly, we will receive a t-shirt with our orders each month, which was a big selling point for us. If we receive a shirt we don’t like, we can pass it on to friends or gift it (or put it up for grabs on eBay, if this is allowed). However, the Nerdblock service means that we’ll get a surprise each month, and receive specialised merchandise. This will ensure that we won’t waste our money on spur-of-the-moment purchases, as we’ll be budgeting towards our Nerdblocks instead. Hubby and I will be doing “unboxing” videos once we receive our box each month, and we can’t wait to share this with you.

-On that note, I am aiming to write a post in the near-future discussing what I’ve been up to in helping hubby out with his YouTube channel, as well as our future plans for the channel. We’ve just reached 100 subscribers on YouTube, as well as almost hitting 1000 followers on Twitter, so we’ve got lots of planning to do! 🙂

-This week hubby and I were relieved in that we believed we had finally “caught up” on any financial commitments we had. We would be ready to start saving towards our “future epiphany”, rather than putting savings aside and then having to use them for unexpected financial emergencies. However, it appears we’ve been hit with a whammy, and we now have to gather some emergency finances towards major car repairs and expenses in the next 4 weeks. This has been a major disappointment for us, as we are exhausted and just want to have a lucky break and meet our goals, rather than working so damn hard and just keeping our heads above water financially. However, we’re trying to stay optimistic: we have each other, which is more valuable than money. We also have a rule that we will never, ever fight about money, which has been really beneficial in our focus of dealing with sorting out finances. That being said, we realise that in our country, so many are doing much worse than we are, therefore we need to be thankful that even though we are struggling, we are still keeping things together.

-Over the weekend I also had the pleasure of attending the very first annual Rockabilly Festival in my home-town. I am in the process of writing a review about this event (as I’m waiting on some photos from the event to be published), however hope to have this up in the next week or so. Overall, the event had a great atmosphere and attendance, but I felt it needed to be better organised and have more variety of food and stalls. More to come at a later date!

That’s all for this week! Later this week, you can expect the very first post in a series I’m starting called Mrs Ginger Fox Abroad, where I’ll be writing about my experiences overseas and travelling in general. My first post will be based on my most embarrassing times overseas (who doesn’t like a funny story?). I hope it’s entertaining! Anyway, thanks for reading 🙂

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Week 18 Update, 2015

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Update time! The past week has really flown by, and it feels like nothing major happened. However, we’ll see what I can come up with here:

-My NLD appears to be settling down. In saying that, I really hope I don’t jinx myself for my dermatologist appointment today (Monday), where I hope to get the ‘all clear’ to return to exercise, walking and the gym. My leg hasn’t been giving me much pain at all: only when it’s been irritated due to the bandages being too tight, or when I’ve done too much walking and need to rest. It’s now been three months since I had to stop going to the gym, and I am so ready to return. I’m over not having any energy, and I’d love to see the amazing blood sugar levels, confidence and energy that the gym and regular exercise gave me. I had to drop all physical activity in February in an instant, and that’s been really hard for me to do after finally making exercise and being active a daily part of my life. I do miss it, and I’m wishing with all my might that I’ll get approved to return to the gym for this week. Update: as of tonight, I have received my doctor’s approval to return to the gym! I’m very relieved, and will write more about this next week 🙂

-Over the weekend, hubby and I set ourselves up with some YouTube videos to walk us through making simple logos in Adobe InDesign. This was in line with my curiosity with trying out some Graphic Design. Well…it was interesting, but it wasn’t as enjoyable for me as learning things in Photoshop. I also feel that I perhaps lack the creative eye required for Design, therefore my skills would be better reserved for editing, or basics in Photoshop instead. So, it may be back to the drawing board on skills to look into developing…though I’ve had some really good ideas and feedback on family this week on things that I should have a look into.

-Also, I can confirm that I am still slightly addicted to exploring Pillars of Eternity. It’s so refreshing playing a game created by many who worked on the Baldurs Gate series, where it has so many of the great things modern technology and skillsmanship (as well as crowdfunding) has given, such as an epic soundtrack, detailed character appearances and party interactions. I am loving the detail of the story, as well as “good” and “evil” not clearly being defined in the game as well. I really want to write a review/opinion post on the game, so hopefully you’ll see one up here soon!

-In our weekly D&D group, we’ve started playing a Pokemon based series, which has been developed by my husband based on a combination of the Big Eyes, Small Mouth games and homebrew based on the actual mechanics of Pokemon (ie. lots of maths and probability). It looks like a very exciting game that we have ahead, however the first game (where we just created our characters and Pokemon) was basically us having to use a lot of math. I haven’t really done detailed maths since high school, so my poor brain was very tired, haha. But yes, we hope to officially start the game this week, and I look forward to reporting back here with details 🙂

-Speaking of my husband, I’ll be helping him out more with his YouTube channel. I am already doing a Zelda-based web series with him (which I will share on here soon), however due to the increase of followers we’ve received through YouTube and Twitter, he’s thinking about branching out into other areas. It’s a completely new and foreign type of media for me to be doing, but it’s really enjoyable being able to share our experience and love of video games and nerd culture. We’re also so extremely thankful that people actually take the time to watch the videos as well and share their feedback. So yeah, I’ll be reporting more on this in the near-future.

-On the same note as the videos, hubby and I have decided to sign ourselves up for Nerdblock this week. We like to allow ourselves to purchase something small each month as a treat, of sorts. After researching, and hearing feedback from friends, we’ve decided that getting a Nerdblock each would be a good replacement for this. Each month we will receive a box of goodies, and it will always come with a tee-shirt (I really need to branch out with my nerdy t-shirts, especially given how most of the wardrobe is work-friendly clothing). So, it’s something we can look forward to. I’m going to be signing up for the Arcade version (video game merchandise), while hubby is signing up for the Comic version. Whilst shipping is only a few dollars less than the Nerdblock itself, the whole thing pretty much would cost the same as us buying a nerdy shirt and one piece of nerdy memorabilia from a game store in Australia. We’re going to do an unboxing video on YouTube each month too (I haven’t found too many Austalians doing these so far), and it’s good to do something small to keep our hobbies and passions alive and our fan-girling/boying active.

Well, that’s about all I have for this week. Lots of nerd and video-game talk, sorry (but not sorry). I have been working on a few posts behind-the-scenes, and am hoping to have at least one up in the next week. Two of my upcoming posts are about my travel experiences, while another is about the importance of staying creative. Anyway, thanks for reading 🙂

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Week 15 Update, 2015

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Hello there! Apologies that I only submitted one post last week and am a bit late this week – life admin got in the way. However, as I had the time to research and watch each of the Eurovision 2015 entries in the process, you can expect an article with my favourite entries later this week! Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to over the past week:

-My NLD leg ulcers have been a bit funny this week. They’ve gone from being crazy-infected and very full of liquid (again, sorry for visuals), to being very tough, full of solid matter and red. I actually had an incident late last week where I woke up to my ulcers bleeding everywhere, which was very unusual. As such, I’ve had to dress my leg differently over the past week, in preparation for likely surgery this week. The dermatologist told me last fortnight that it’s extremely likely that, when cleaning the wound in the minor procedure, he will probably give me anaesthetic due to how much pain I was in last time. Luckily, after seeing his today, he only needed to slightly clean the wound.  Regardless I’ve been advised that I will need solid rest for a few days after to ensure that the wound does not become infected again. As such, I have already booked in leave, so that even if I do feel okay, I have to take it easy. Realising how big a part all of these chronic immune conditions (I have three) have in my life has been hard recently – especially considering I only gained two of them in the past few years. Being someone that enjoys challenging herself and being busy, it’s been incredibly difficult realising that I have to ‘take it easy’ and rest.

-Yet again, I have barely done any exercise this week, thanks to my leg giving me shots of searing pain since late last week. I can see all of my hard work from the gym coming undone due to needing to rest for my leg. It’s been really disappointing, and (even though I don’t weigh nearly as much as when I started at the gym) I’ve been rather hard on myself. I had a bad moment over the weekend when, whilst trying to find a formal dress to wear for an upcoming event, I discovered that I currently am barely fitting into any of them. As such, I went on a bit of a spiral about feeling bad about my looks over the weekend. However, I need to remember that taking it easy for now is needed so that I have a recovered leg. Getting back into the gym and losing the excess weight will be easy, however if I have to try and do this with a non-recovered leg, I will get nowhere. Realising that I’m not being lazy – I’m being healthy in giving myself rest time (ordered by several doctors) to ensure that I am as healthy as I can be before starting back at the gym.

-Over the weekend, I also started my sewing project of the Asian-print 60s dress. However, we came across a problem – when cutting out the bodice, even whilst following the directions of the pattern hubby accidently cut out the bodice wrong. After a second attempt (which also came out wrong), we ended up running out of fabric to be able to make the whole dress. Unfortunately, this fabric no longer exists, so we cannot buy additional fabric in the same print to work with. So, I will be using this fabric to make an epic formal circle skirt at a later date. Hubby is going to source some other fabric for me (to make this dress at a later date), and I’ll probably wear another dress to the event instead. Apologies – this project will be on hold until we can source some other material.

-I’ve been using my ‘Spin for Perfect Skin’ contraption for about a week now, and I’m quite impressed with the results. I will write a post about this with more details soon, however I’m finding that my skin is starting to clear itself up. My skin is much softer, and I haven’t had a breakout since starting to use this. I’m going to give it another week or two before I post some ‘before and after’ pics and a better post. However, I’m pretty happy with it all so far.

-You may have seen in a post via Twitter and Facebook that I finished the main quest in Skyrim for the first time over the weekend. Yes, it’s taken me several years to actually have time to sit down and play the game the whole way through. Like any good game, I feel a little bit sad since finishing the main quest, however there’s so many side quests that I am yet to complete. I haven’t decided whether I go ahead with the path line of the werewolves, or the vampires (spoiler alert, potentially), and I have not directly sided with either the Stormcloaks or Imperials yet. I’m going to play a little bit more of Skyrim over the next few weeks to see what else is left to do in the game. However, I have also been investigating whether I will go ahead and purchase the Elder Scrolls Online. I’ve been watching a few video reviews, and will have a chance to test out the game over the weekend too. I’ll keep you updated 🙂

-I had a quite stressful week last week. My workload (like the majority of staff in my office/unit) is quite insane due to lack of staffing and resources, however I do feel that I must ‘grin and bear it’ to a sense, as that’s what everyone else is doing. As a result of this, however, I’ve had several days this week where I’ve come home quite upset, disappointed and frustrated as to where I’m currently at career-wise. Hubby had reminded me over and over again this week about my plan to use this time to work on my hobbies and interests outside of work, and I can see that I haven’t been focusing on this. I’m hoping to ‘come up for air’ so-to-speak over the next week, and spend some time on out-of-work interests. The next two weeks are going to be intense work-wise, so I desperately need to ensure I have some creative outlets set up in advance.

That’s about all I have to report this week. Apologies for the lack of interesting content, or the overdose on not-as-positive reflections. I’ve had to do a lot of life admin this week, and I guess my reactions can be seen through this. Anyway, thanks for reading and hanging in there 🙂

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Week 14 Update, 2015

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Hello from the long weekend! I’m writing this post across the Sunday/Monday of the Easter long weekend after a relaxing few days of catching up with family, playing video games and catching up on TV shows. So, it’s about time for me to write an update for you 🙂 I feel like it’s going to be a long one for this week! Here it goes…

-After seeing my infected leg last week, the doctors have formally given me an indicator of when I should be able to return to the gym. They want me to take 2 weeks after my *expected* surgery in two weeks time, which means – should all go to plan and I recover well – I should be able to start back at the gym at the start of May. I have discovered that I have put on yet another kilo due to not being able to exercise or be active, which has been disappointing for me. However, everyone I have mentioned this to – whether it be hubby, friends, doctors or the gym- have all said that my priority is making sure my leg recovers. Pushing myself at this stage could have bad long-term complications for my leg, so I need to take it easy. It’s been really hard for me to do this, because I feel that I’ve been letting a lot of people down. The pain of my leg changes on a daily basis, therefore I’ve had to change plans at the last minute a lot recently. It’s made me feel like a complete douche of a friend, terrible colleague/worker and an unhelpful wife. I’ve had this condition for five years now, and I just wish it would stop getting in the way of life, especially over the past two months now.

-Over the past few days, a few things pretty awesome happened on the internet. Firstly, a photo of hubby and I at our wedding (from my Instagram) was featured on Buzzfeed in their article titled “47 Brides Who Prove What Perfect Really Means”. I didn’t even know this had happened until I received a combination of notifications from Facebook friends and new followers through Instagram. Hubby and I are number 38, titled “It’s OK to get weird”, and some people did think this title was having a slight “go” at us. In all honesty, we did not picture it that way at all, as we’ve always acknowledged our quirks and weirdness (heck, we described our wedding as nerdy and quirky). Anyway, through this post, I’ve met some amazing people and fellow bride alumni (haha), which has been an awesome experience.

Secondly, my NLD post I wrote a few weeks on here actually was re-tweeted by a few prominent (and largely followed) Type 1 Diabetes Twitter communities. I am so happy that I’m able to help in spreading knowledge on NLD, and that others have found the article useful. Plus, I’ve also now been able to connect with some great people and groups through Twitter. Overall, these two experiences via the internet have really left me inspired to keep sharing things through my blog, and through Instagram and other mediums, as people can care, or even be helped from it. I’d like to send a massive thank you to those who have reached out and followed me (whether on here, Instagram or Twitter) and continue to read and inspire me to write more. I really appreciate it 🙂

-Over the weekend, I have started a sewing project with the help of my dear husband. I have a work conference later this month, where a formal dinner event requires me to have an evening/formal dress. So, I’m using this opportunity to try and sew my first retro-inspired dress. As I’m not a confident sewer at all (I’m very much a beginner), hubby will be helping prep patterns and pinning. If this doesn’t work out, I do have a Plan B thanks to eBay, however I am hoping to document the making of this dress through an upcoming blog post. I’ll keep you posted, and any sneak peeks will be shown on Instagram.

-So, yes. I have a work conference to attend in a few weeks, where I also get to attend a fancy dinner and be put up in some nice accommodation. In all honesty, I’m really, really excited about this. I’ve wanted to participate in a conference or external event for work for a while. My ultimate wish for a few years was to participate in an international event for work (this is domestic), but regardless, I’m really excited that I’ve got this opportunity to learn and network. It’s making me feel that, as a worker, I will have the chance to feel involved and that my work is important – something I’ve really needed recently.

-Over the weekend, I decided to bring home my viola and clarinet from parents’ place (yeah, I haven’t touched my viola since a gig almost 2 years ago, and my clarinet for even longer). I’ve recently been considering picking up my instruments again, as being able to play music is such a precious skill to have in life. Even if I ended up not deciding to pursue it professionally when I was younger, recognising that it’s something I can do for fun and not ‘seriously’ has been a concept that’s taken me a while to understand (seriously…). Once we have our new computer built, I’m also going to boot up Sibelius and have another go at composing again. I’m also considering (if my clarinet is still in good enough condition) to look into any jazz bands in the area. One of the best experiences I have had as a musician was playing jazz, particularly being a part of the Senior Jazz band in high school with peers in the year above me. So many of those guys were incredibly talented, and we sounded really good. In fact, it’s probably been one of the most fun music experiences I’ve had, so I’m considering whether I try to pick up the clarinet and research some local jazz. It’s also made me wonder about investing in a soprano saxophone (something I’ve thought about picking up for a few years), or (if needed) a newer clarinet. I miss playing good jazz music, and miss playing music overall. Here’s hoping I can be proactive about utilising this skill.

-I’ve been in a bit of a predicament over the past couple of months. I’ve been thinking about the things I love to do and am passionate about, such as music (as per above), and realising a few things. Firstly, unfortunately none of these things that I’m passionate about would provide a decent income to live off (it would most likely be less than I am on currently, as a new-ish young professional), and secondly/more importantly, I wouldn’t know what to do if I decided to pursue a qualification in them. Music basically goes into either teaching, or working as a musician – neither of which seem very appealing to me (unless it was private teaching). Plus, most teachers end up pursuing formal Australian Music Examination Board (AMEB) grades to prove their skills, which has been something I’ve always been a bit unsure about going after. However, I also like the idea of being a composer, or even a theory teacher, though the same restrictions apply. Maybe I’m just destined to keep the things I’m passionate about as gigs or hobbies on the side around work which pays the bills. It’s been tough realising that, thanks to the real world and financial constraints, what you dreamed of achieving when you were younger is pretty much impossible to go after as an adult…

-Now that we’ve caught up on some financial bits and pieces (stupid Rego and Greenslip), hubby and I have been discussing budgeting in some money to purchase items to review for our social media platforms. Hubby will be able to invest in some old and new games to review, while I can use mine for a variety of things: clothing, accessories, make-up, skincare, fabric, patterns…the list could be endless. Is there anything you would like to see me review? Please let me know in the comments below, and I’ll see what I can do 🙂

Wow, it’s been a week of lots of creative ideas and working on things I’m passionate about. It’s exactly the type of week I needed after last week, upon reflection. So, thanks for reading, and thanks for sticking with me each week. Til next time 🙂

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Week 13 Update, 2015

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Time for another update! As I’ve been quite unwell this week (more info about this below), I’ve got a shorter update:

-My progress with exercise and getting healthy has been set back again due to my NLD becoming re-infected. I thought I would get the all-clear to return to the gym, however as the ulcers decided to play up early last week, I now have to wait another three weeks before I can try to get clearance. The Dermatologist wants to do a minor operation on my leg again to clear out any dead/infected tissue, however this time I will receive some local anaesthetic (thank goodness). I’m really devastated that I can’t return to the gym and to being active, because I am feeling so lethargic and gross because my activity levels have dropped.

-In an attempt to try and counteract my lethargic feelings, I’m trying to add some small amounts of activity to my day. Late last week, I’ve reintroduced doing a 15-20 minute yoga meditation/deep breathing session before bed (which will also help with my stress levels). I’ve also re-set up Wii Fit, and have created a 20 minute aerobic and yoga workout of light upper-body activities. I really can’t push myself, especially when my leg is infected, but I want to try and do *something* so that I can start feeling more active again.

-My self-esteem has really taken a hit over the past week. I’m feeling so exhausted because I’ve gone from exercising up to six days a week, to nothing.   My activity levels have dropped, and I’ve lost the energy I had when I was going to the gym and walking each day. I’m pretty sure I’ve put on weight as well, so am feeling ashamed that my progress with making my body healthier is slowing down. Yes, I know I have to take it easy for my leg to heal, but it’s been rather disappointing to see all the things I’ve been working on with my body (gaining muscle and toning up) coming undone. My acne has also flared up big-time because of my lack of exercise/stress/not-as-healthy eating and drinking habits, making me extremely self conscious about how presentable I am at work and in general. I also haven’t been able to make myself ‘feel pretty’ in setting my hair and such, because my leg is stopping me from being able to stand up/sit long enough to do my hair properly. So overall, I’m feeling pretty crappy this week.

-Because my energy levels have been so low, I’ve been having much more caffeine than I should be having. By caffeine, I mean Pepsi Max and Coke Zero – the nasty artificially sweetened soft drinks that I KNOW makes me put on weight. It’s crazy how easily you can become addicted to them. Alas, I’ve been having these quite regularly, and I need to stop and get re-focused on being healthier. So, this week I’m going to make an active effort to stop having these soft drinks. I want to make these a ‘sometimes’ option, only for parties or social events. So, I’ve bought supplies so I can get back into my water mixes (water with lemon and mint leaves), and we also got our Soda Stream gas bottles refilled so I can make soda water. I’m also hoping to have my green tea and other teas more often; while they still contain caffeine, they’re relatively more healthy than the soft drink overall. Here’s hoping I can really cut this habit.

-I was hoping that I’d receive some news last week slightly related to the ‘future epiphanies’ that my husband and I had. Alas, I’ve found out I probably won’t hear any news for at least two weeks. I am kind of relieved that there’s some extra waiting time, because if the news is good news, it will then be quite a stressful time ahead. Anyway, no news to report here (yet).

That’s about all I’ve been up to, for now. Thanks for reading 🙂

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Week 12 Update, 2015

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Time for another update! Here’s what I’ve been up to over the past week:

-My leg seems to be slowly improving; however, the ulcers themselves are still quite inflamed and aggravated. I’m hoping to get the all-clear to return to the gym when I visit the dermatologist later this week. I feel terrible for not being able to exercise and be as active as I was a few months ago, however making sure my leg recovers is priority. Here’s hoping I’ll be able to start sharing progress under the Curves Complete program next week!

-I took the plunge and made a Facebook page for my blog over the weekend. It was about time for me to create a place to share stuff from all my social media pages (Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and the blog) on one medium. Plus, I wanted to share more things, particularly content which I’d prefer to do in this setting rather than my personal pages. I’m hoping it will help me to expand this page, gain new followers, and make this a more interactive experience. So, if you have not done so already, please head over to Facebook and like the Mrs Ginger Fox page. I’d really appreciate it 🙂

-I have no news regarding future plans and epiphanies. Maybe in a few weeks I will, maybe I won’t. It’s all in the hands of fate (and some planning) to see what eventuates. I’m keeping my lips sealed on this until anything happens…if it does! I really hope I get some good news this week, as it would really lift my spirits.

-I spent the weekend researching my old fabric and patterns and want to make it a goal this week to finish some of my stagnant sewing projects and start some new ones. I’d like to document my experience sewing the retro-inspired plus size patterns I’ve obtained. What I’d like to do is an honest review of the patterns: critique real difficulty versus what difficulty is listed on the pattern, as well as details on the fit and any recommendations. I am quite a beginner at sewing (though, that could be helpful for those also thinking about trying sewing out), however I was actually quite good at sewing when I was younger. So, I’m hoping that with practice, I’ll get the confidence and patience (let’s face it…prepping fabric and cutting out things can drain the fun out of things sometimes) to get things going again!

-My husband and I have spent the past week creating some more videos for his Youtube Channel (which I am part of…well, I am in most of the videos). I’ll be doing a guest video as we’re currently doing a viewer request run-through of Pokemon Red/Blue versing each other. Hubby has also set up a Twitter and Facebook to share the videos, and he has been going playthroughs of Retro games in particular. I may feature some of the videos on here too 🙂

-Whilst brainstorming about some hobbies I can do on the side, I received a really good suggestion. It was recommended that I get back into music…specifically composition. The idea would be (if I am ever good enough) to potentially offer my services as a freelance composer of music for amateur video games. I am a bit rusty, having not composed properly since I started university. Plus, not regularly performing as a musician means that my skills would need to be refined with much-needed revision. However, it does combine two things I am incredibly passionate about: music and video games (and I love good music, and attempting to compose anything remotely similar). I’ve always regretted not continuing on with my music training and making something useful of it, however this could be a way to keep the musician in me happy. So, this idea is currently in the back-burner, so-to-speak, until I have some free time to give it a go.

That’s about all I’ve been up to! Later this week, I’ll be sharing a reflective post based on some volunteering opportunities I’m about to undertake. Thanks for reading 🙂

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Week 11 Update, 2015

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Hello again! Well, in comparison to the past few weeks, I’ve realised that I haven’t really had much to report on for the past week. So, this week’s update will be a shorter one. However, I have been working ‘behind the scenes’ on some bigger plans and some more writing, so you’ll hopefully see some more exciting content on here soon.

Anyway, here we go with the past week in reflection:

– After visiting the Dermatologist last week, I’ve received confirmation that my NLD is in fact improving. I am getting little to no pain from the ulcers anymore (unless I really push myself, or am ill). This has meant that I’ve been able to increase my steps allowance for each day. In fact, without trying, I managed to get a 10,000 step day last week (I only realised at the very last minute that I had done this!). However, the Dermatologist refused to give me the all-clear to return to the gym, as he does not want me to push myself too early and have the ulcers open up again. I guess I can understand, but it’s been really hard not being active. I’m worried about all the progress I’m going to lose because I haven’t been going to the gym or been able to actively walk. I guess making sure that my NLD is better takes priority.

– Thanks to our epic friends at Gorilla Wolf (insert URL), I won a gift card to Amazon during their 24 hour anniversary stream on TwitchTV. I managed to receive my order last week, and cannot wait to read the two books I decided to purchase. Firstly, I purchased Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes, which looks like a spectacularly helpful resource. So many bloggers I follow on Instagram have been raving about this book and Ann’s approach to marketing of online content. I’m pretty excited to see what I learn from the book, and if/how I can apply this to my blog and its future. I also purchased, Gertie Sews Vintage Casual, which is the new book from Gertie of Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing fame. I have Gertie’s first book already, and as a long-term follower of her blog, I knew I would need to snatch up her second book as well. The patterns, in the second book in particular, match my everyday style and there’s even patterns for sweaters and cardigans (yeah, I’m a bit obsessed with knits….). I was starting to get back into sewing last year, however life did get in the way – having a wedding and all. This book has inspired me, and I’m hoping once I have some spare change (enough to buy some new fabric), and a free weekend (god knows when that will be), I’ll be able to try it out. Overall, I highly recommend both of these books so far, and will have to do a more in-depth review once I’ve finished reading/using them!

– Over the weekend, I took the first real step in moving forward with the epiphany that hubby and I had from a few weeks ago. I guess it’s now out of my hands as to how it will go from here. Again, I won’t be able to share any details on here, however I feel really proud of myself for trying something new and being brave and sticking to it. That’s all I can say on this one, for now!

– Two of my dearest friends announced their long-awaited engagement this week, which (while hubby and I have known for a while) was amazing news! It’s super exciting stuff, and hubby and I will both be part of the wedding day. It’s incredible to think that it’s almost been a year since we had our own wedding! I’m really glad that, now we’ve had the experience of a wedding, we’ll be able to pass on advice and help out based on what we learned from organising the whole shindig before. It looks like it’s going to be a really exciting year 🙂

That’s all the updates for the past week. I did warn you that it would be short-but-sweet! Thanks for reading!

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What you need to know about having Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum

So you have heard me mention NLD recently, and you probably want to know what the hell it is I am talking about. Or maybe you’ve just found out you have NLD and now want to know exactly what you’re in for. Either way, here’s a post letting you know all about it:

Firstly, this post is based purely on MY experience of this chronic medical condition. I am in no way medically qualified and I highly encourage you to speak with a GP or dermatologist if you have this condition to find out what treatment options are available to you.

So, what the hell is NLD?

Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum (say that three times in a row!) is a condition with no known cause or cure, and where treatment options vary from person-to-person. It is a skin condition where raised, hardened spots appear on the skin. These can take many forms and are frequently lesions, rashes and ulcers. They most commonly appear on the shins or legs; however, there are cases where these appear on the feet, arms, face and more delicate areas of sufferers.

The name is a bit of a mouthful so I’ll refer to it as ‘good old NLD’, only without the ‘good’ and with a fair bit of the ‘old’. Haha.

NLD is a rare medical condition; however, there is research that shows that it is more common for Type 1 Diabetics to have NLD, although they are unsure why. It is also common enough for an NLD sufferer to be diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes and it is believed that approximately 0.3% of the diabetic population have NLD. The condition is also linked with those who have rheumatoid arthritis, and sufferers of NLD are warned that they may also develop rheumatoid arthritis.

Despite popular belief, NLD is not caused by poor diabetes control. In fact, my diabetes is the best it’s ever been and my NLD is at its worst. Fantastic diabetes control can help with the healing process; nevertheless, the cause of NLD is not reliant on how well you actually are.

How painful is NLD?

It’s hard to explain the pain of NLD. If the lesion or spot is just a raised, red scar, the discomfort you’ll experience is just an itch or like a rash or dermatitis. However, if you’re like myself and have ulcers that like to open up, the pain is similar to anything from a second to forth degree burn. When my ulcers are open, I generally have a sharp pain in my leg, which is made worse by standing or walking. It’s at its worst when I first wake and it is normally not until lunchtime (and with lots of sitting) that this pain subsides. This pain quickly reappears if I’ve walked too much during the day, or will hang around all day if I’ve slept weirdly on my leg.

How to you treat NLD?

Good question! Treatment options vary with each individual and, from what I have read on some online support groups, there’s no one way that has been entirely successful in clearing up a person’s NLD. There’s suggestions of steroid shots, treatments with topical cortisone, even tanning (what the?!) as ways to treat the condition. I won’t be able to seek a more long-term treatment until my NLD spot has healed completely into a scar again – this could take years – so for me right now it’s about the regular cleaning and dressing of the wound. I find that, for me, the best products to use on a daily basis are Betadine (the iodine in this helps kill any nasty bacteria) and Solugel (this protects the new healthy skin growing across the ulcer and helps immensely with the itchiness!). I am a massive fan of using an Adaptic gauze – which has a slight coating of Vaseline which helps the creams settle in place – and then covering the lot in a cohesive bandage which allows the ulcer to breathe a bit easier than other types of bandages, plus it’s a beige colour which isn’t as noticeable.

Is there a cure for NLD?

In short – no. Not yet. NLD fits into a myriad of other chronic immune conditions where the cause and cure are relatively unknown (or a definitive answer hasn’t been discovered). I’m a bit of a lucky-duck: having three conditions that are all chronic, immune, and based on unknown cause with no known cure. Because of this, many doctors seem to hypothesise that the cause is related to a dodgy immune system (I won’t even try to explain or justify this, as I have no idea), but all medical professionals I have seen have agreed that this condition does not go away. I will have this red, protruding mark on my skin for the rest of my life. When it is closed and ‘healed’ it is similar to a port wine stain in appearance and I know I must one day become accustomed to having yet another aspect of my physical appearance grabbing people’s attention.

What can you do to help someone with NLD?

While having NLD really blows, there are people going through life with worse conditions or experiences to deal with. If anything, NLD has helped me become more compassionate, especially towards those who have medical conditions and are in similar situations and even more so if it’s chronic or immune related. I feel enormously for anyone who, like me, tends to get sick all the time thanks to having a terrible immune system. Naturally, most of us are pretty tough cookies (or we pretend to be); however, it’s really nice to receive support from those who care. So, how can you help someone with NLD, or a similar chronic immune condition? Everyone is different, but I do know the following: those suffering from a chronic illness or condition don’t want sympathy; they want you to understand. Take the time to research and read up on the conditions so you can really acknowledge what the person is going through, as well as considering how this impacts on their day-to-day lives. Knowing that someone has cared enough to take the time to learn about what you have to deal with on a daily basis and to tell you that they ‘understand’, and especially knowing that it’s honest and genuine…that is such a wonderful thing.

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Week 10 Update, 2015

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Wow…we’re almost a quarter of the way through 2015! I’ve had a rather busy week sorting out health issues and planning for the future. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

– So, last week I mentioned how I was planning to use this year to figure out what the hell I was doing. Well, I have some progress to report. Over the past week, my husband and I had a bit of an epiphany regarding plans for the future. I will not go into specific details here (because I don’t want to reveal any plans until they actually happen – if they happen), however I can say that for the first time in a few months, I haven’t felt this calm and at peace overall – especially about making a decision which could potentially impact the direction we’re both going in. Everyone who I’ve spoken to about this (which is very few, as we’re keeping it private unless it actually goes ahead) thinks it’s an amazing idea and for us to go for it. It’s really exciting finally having some direction which seems meaningful and with long-term benefits, and I have a great gut feeling about this too. I haven’t felt this excited and at ease about a decision with massive change involved for such a long time! I hope I have some fantastic news to share with you related to this in the near-future, however it’s something we’re going to start working on this year.

– I also visited the hospital for my regular Diabetes Clinic check-up this week. Unfortunately, due to my NLD playing up, my type 1 diabetes has also been impacted due to my lower activity levels. While my HBA1C was the same as last clinic, it still needs to be at least 1% lower. Also, I’m still struggling with entering my insulin into my pump correctly (especially when snacking, where I’ve been entering it manually rather than having to test my sugars every time I eat). This is mainly because I’m self conscious about having to check my sugars all the time, as well as accessing my pump in public/at work. If I use a manual setting, while I can use the pump button sounds to enter in my insulin (meaning I don’t need to go into a bathroom to access my pump to read the screen), it means my food and insulin is not being recorded accurately. Also, my carb counting needs improvement, and I’ll be needing to start measuring out my food in detail to ensure I’m entering correct amounts into my pump to correlate with my blood sugar levels. To help with this, I’ll be downloading a few apps recommended by the clinic. If they’re any good, I may review them on here. For my next clinic visit, I’ll be seeing a Professor who specialises in diabetics with insulin pumps (whom all the diabetes doctors and clinic staff rave about), so this will hopefully be a good thing for me.

– Over the weekend, I managed to see an amazing concert with my sister. My sister and I grew up learning classical music together, and for my birthday she purchased us tickets to James Morrisons’ A-Z of Jazz with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. I have always loved Jazz, and seeing it performed by James Morrison, as well as his jazz band (the best jazz musicians in Australia), and the Sydney Symphony was absolutely incredible. I miss seeing live concerts, and as such, my sister and I have decided to keep ‘gifting’ each other tickets to concerts we’d like to see. In the meantime, I’m hoping to plan to see an opera soon, as well as some Shakespeare and ballet.

– There isn’t too much progress to report regarding my leg. I will be visiting the dermatologist this week to see if the current bandages have been helping. I haven’t been able to go back to the gym yet as I haven’t received clearance from my doctors. However, as I’ve been able to up my step intake without much pain, I’m hoping I’ll be able to start back next week.

– I have been writing more content for the blog, which I’ll be posting up later this week. Sorry for the delay – I’ve had to rest up and have had a few appointments and social events in my normal blogging/writing time.

And that’s another week to report 🙂 Thanks for reading!

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