Tag Archives: Random Ramblings

Taking on Autumn like a Viking

Dear Audy,

I’m back! I’ve missed you guys. Sometimes blogs get sick, just like people do, but it’s OK, Rellacafa is feeling much better now.

As for me, I’m feeling pretty run-down and determined. They aren’t the most obvious of emotional state friends, yet, here I am. My feelings are like that polar bear and wolf that play together, the ones I spent a lot of time awwwwww-ing at earlier today.

Autumn tends to take a massive toll on my sensitised nervous system, however I refuse to let it plummet me into the depressive depths of this time last year. I’m going to stand up here on the surface and take my beating like a warrior. A sexy, viking warrior. Like Ragnar Lothbrok. I’m going to take this battering just like Ragnar would. Mmmmm, Ragnar.





OK.



OK, I’m back. Sorry about that. I watched the season 2 finale of Vikings last night and now my head is simply full of it. I’m going to miss those brutal spunks.

Wait…

Ragnar Lothbrok


OK. Now you get it.

A couple of days ago, I went on adventure that involved me driving to the city, which is approximately one album away from where I live. Regina Spektor’s “What We Saw From the Cheap Seats” for the drive in and Lissie’s “Back to Forever” for the drive home, if you must know. And yes, I did sing along the entire time because as far as I’m concerned, that is a very important part of being a good driver.

My adventure took me to a writing workshop about sharing invisible lives and telling personal stories. Stories like yours, stories like mine. Most stories are interesting if you tell them in the right way and I’m a firm believer that we can always learn to do things better. Except maths. Once you do the maths right, that’s about as far as maths can go. Your thing equals the right thing and then you win. Maths is pretty boring like that. Which is why I like stories much better.

As an added bonus, I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle from Living With Bob (Dysautonomia). It’s wonderful to meet internet friends in real life! Us bloggers with chronic pain and illnesses rarely get the chance to do so on account of that involves at least two of us being well enough to leave the house and socialise on the same day, a phenomenon with a similar occurrence rate to solar eclipses. I guess. Let’s not pretend that I know anything about solar eclipses, I just assume they’re really rare because the sun doesn’t disappear from the sky that often. Except at night, but we’re eclipses, not sunsets. We’re special.

Michelle Roger and Hayley Cafarella


It was lovely to go and talk about writing with other writers, it made me feel more like one of them. In spite of having to work around constant pain and setbacks, I feel very strongly that it’s important for my sanity that I keep writing. Social events like workshops can be great for getting re-inspired or finding a new perspective on things. As someone who is often secluded from the world, I have some inside knowledge about how important it is to get out and experience different things whenever possible. I will share it with you now: VERY VERY IMPORTANT.

I also think that learning in general is very important. For this reason, I have started one of those free, online university courses. You know, the ones that pop up in your social media feeds and guilt you into feeling like you don’t try hard enough at life. I thought I’d try one of those. I want to put new stuff in my brain and I don’t have the funds or functionality to attend actual classes of any sort right now. I’m learning about neurobiology, because aside from being relevant to my every day life, it’s just plain interesting to me. I’ll let you know how I go…

And that’s it from me, for now. I shall now get back to the business at hand, or, to be punny and specific, in my hands. That business involves trying to figure out what temperature it is and how much swelling and pain determining such things requires. CRPS is the mystery that just keeps on giving. It’s a mystery that’s bigger than today. Which makes this whole paragraph a fancy way of saying that I’m going to stop writing and watch TV.

Love & I Have Returned Hugs,
Caf

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  • Frankie Magazine with added Me!

    Dear Audy,

    This week, something massively exciting happened at just the time that I needed it most. Those who read my last post would probably have noticed that I have been struggling a little bit of late. Nothing particularly awful happened, some weeks are easier to deal with than others that’s all. I needed a bit of a boost and thankfully, the perfect thing arrived in my mailbox!

    It’s my favourite magazine, has been for years… And this month I am in it!!


    (source)


    Each issue, Frankie includes a feature titled “Everybody has a story”. In issue 47 I am that story. How exciting! I’m so grateful to Stella for putting this article together. I have long wanted to share my story to help raise awareness about CRPS and chronic pain in general. I am so happy with the tone and message of the article that I could bounce off a wall or two.

    I wanted people to know the pain doesn’t have to be a death sentence; millions of people live with every day. Not just survive, but live. Probably some of the people you know – not everybody with chronic pain likes to talk about it. Not everybody with chronic pain is even aware that what they live with is a real condition that is shared by so many. Some of those people feel isolated and maybe just a little bit like they are going crazy. I am so pleased and proud to have had this opportunity to help raise awareness.

    I would love it ever so much if you check out the article in Frankie, you can get a copy from wherever you usually buy magazines or online here: Frankie Press Online Shop

    So yeah, a magazine feature? Total mood boosting magic shot.

    Also helping me put myself back together this week were my lovely friends who sent me messages, called me up and came to visit. You are all wonderful!

    I’m starting to feel like my old self again. I’m starting to feel able to cope with the pain fluctuations and resultant time spent managing them again. I’m still terribly behind with things like inboxes, however I will tackle these little by little and slowly catch up with my online world. Wheeee!

    Do you like to read blogs and vote for things? If so, I have the perfect opportunity for you! Voting is currently open for the Sydney Writers’ Centre Best Blogs of 2012 Peoples Choice Award. I would be most honoured if you wanted to vote for Rellacafa, but please also check out the other amazing writers that you will find on the list and send some love to your favourite Aussie bloggers! Click here to get started.
    People's Choice Award


    Oh, and while I am pimping myself… Have you liked the Rellacafa page on Facebook? Please do! I’d love to interact with you there. You can also find me on Twitter, YouTube, and now Instagram. No need to be shy, I promise to be friendly (unless, of course, you get creepy and then I get creepy and we get into a freaky creep off).

    Self pimping complete.

    I hope that you have a wonderful weekend, Audy! I will do my best to keep regaining my strength and hopefully get back to regular posting next week, including sharing my favourite gems from the blogosphere on Fridays.

    Love & Promos,
    Caf

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  • Crashing Without Explosions

    Dear Audy,

    I commenced my year of doing things this week.

    I’ve been working on a plan for an online support group with Chronic Pain Australia that I am very excited about. It’s at the out of my own head and into the arena of group ideas stage. This week I will begin creating content for the sessions and sorting out the technical aspects. I cannot tell you how it feels to be working on something other than managing my pain…it’s a me that I haven’t seen in years.

    I caught up with friends, drank at a bar during the day, visited a gallery, attended Spicks & Speck-tacular and went to the movies. That’s a pretty big week in my world.

    This is the year of re-conditioning. I am attempting to re-build myself and my life. My time is being divided with a bit more structure and I am focusing on the things that I need to get done, rather than whether or not I am up to doing them.

    The key is to try not to plan more than I can cope with without pushing my body into ruin. It’s not always possible, but sometimes it is and I am just trying to cultivate more of those times.

    I never expected this to be easy and gosh darn, it isn’t.

    Sunday has brought with it a flare of mammoth proportions. A big, hairy mammoth that has been swept up in a bushfire.

    Every joint aches and my flesh burns. I have also been wearing this blush (the real kind, not makeup) all over my body that gives me the appearance of someone who sat out in the sun for too long. This is new, this red me. Previously discolouration has limited itself to my hands and feet but…whatever, Body.

    I will just keep doing nice things to you until you decide to be nice back to me.


    Thankfully, Sunday counts as Sunday in my new perspective on the calendar (ingenious, I know). I don’t have to do things on Sundays. Except maybe lay in the sun, as the name suggests.

    Most of the day was spent on the couch. Air conditioning brought the pain down a little, however just getting up was enough to make me groan with the movement. I did manage to not be completely beaten into incapacitation by getting through some laundry and sweeping the floor. After which I collapsed back onto the couch and watched a movie. Still, I’m proud of the achievement.

    Gotta count all the little things. Doing so has prevented me from getting upset at this flare. It’s been a slow day but no big deal, hopefully I will wake up less sore tomorrow. It would be ignorant of me not to expect flare days being that I am well aware of the fact that I have CRPS, even when I am managing the symptoms well.

    And so I am still here. Sitting on the couch. With pretty hair and a pimple.



    And you get another self snap on this blog on account of I don’t have the energy to find a picture that poignantly illustrates the rambling point of this post.

    Which I guess is that bad days happen sometimes, they hurt a lot when your bad day is caused by an angry nervous system, but they do pass like all the other days. They aren’t super meaningful and they don’t have to make you cry, but they are there just the same.

    The lows are a part of us.


    It’s really quite nice that I’ve kept this confined to a physical low and not given into negative thinking. Not even when an old anxiety cycle about a slight problem with a household appliance tried to whir back up again…I actually just laughed at my brain when it did that.

    Oh, LIFE. Did it forcibly show you its power to go up and down this week? It does that. Don’t worry, tomorrow is on its way…

    Love & Carrying On,
    Caf

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  • Off To A Good Start

    Dear Audy,

    It’s finally here! May 2012 bring you something beautiful, something relaxing, something hilarious and something surprising. May these gifts bring lessons and the learning bring contentment.

    I haven’t felt this positive about the beginning of a year in a long time.


    Happy.


    Holidays can be tough for those in chronic pain. A time of celebration for the past year and planning for the new one can all seem a bit overwhelming to those who aren’t able to follow their dreams and passions due to unreliable bodies. I am not immune to this, but I am getting better at dealing with it.

    I found myself needing to do a lot of thought patrols. Despite my best efforts there were a few moments of sadness, longing and regret. Chronic pain can invite a sense of disconnect from society and it can be hard to learn to not view this a reason to be upset.

    It isn’t a reason to be upset, though, it’s just some habitual thoughts. The sooner I replace them by thinking other things, the sooner their hold on me is released. Habit has a habit of pretending things are much more important than they are simply because they are repeated.

    This year, I am actually proud of what I achieved in the last 12 months. I have learnt enough about myself and my body that I feel equipped to continue managing my pain and improving no matter what new challenges life decides to throw at me.

    The holiday pangs disappeared quickly once January arrived. I have been enjoying my friends, my prince, some movies and my air conditioning. Not to mention, there is just so much to look forward to about the year ahead!

    Starting tomorrow, when I shall be heading off on my first holiday in too many years. It was a last minute decision, everything just sort of lined up for my prince and I.

    I feel so very lucky.


    I am looking forward to trees, beaches and the relaxation that only exists in worlds away from one’s home.

    When I return, I shall get stuck into working on things that will improve my life and keep me on the path to healing. I am actually looking forward to settling into a productive routine rather than allowing pain levels to dictate what I do.

    My motto as I launch into re-conditioning myself out of cripple mode shall be:

    There is always a workaround.


    I quite like boiling ideas down to mottos. I have a lot of them. Is that just a me thing? What are your mottoes?

    Love & Happy Days,
    Caf

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  • Next Year Is Going To Be Pretty Awesome

    Dear Audy,

    The year is winding up, Santa is nearly here and the people of Earth are taking their holiday stances as excited, indifferent or grinch.

    I haven’t done much about Christmas this year, haven’t even found the energy to put up the tree. I’m far more excited about January approaching than the day of feasts and presents on this particular cycle through the months.

    I feel like I am very much ready for a new year. I am finally settled in my new home. I don’t have to move in the next twelve months, a sense of security that I have not had in years. I can set up my things and make home comfortable enough that I can focus on other things.

    Plenty of other things! I have big plans for 2012.

    I am going to:

  • Stop taking daily meds and just use them for breakthrough pain (I’m down to just 2).
  • Further strengthen my body and enjoy the added benefit of effortless weight loss that comes along with a mostly paleo diet.
  • Get very involved with Chronic Pain Australia and enjoy having an actual job to do that can make a difference to people other than myself.
  • Write some marvellous things.
  • Sew some fabulous things.
  • Cook some delicious things.
  • Keep my head on straight.


  • Sounds pretty reasonable, yes?

    On the weekend, I got a birthday present, even though it wasn’t my birthday and I was at a party for somebody whose birthday it actually was. Yay! My present is this freaking adorable diary for next year. Thanks, Bob!



    It has STICKERS!

    And POCKETS!

    And LITTLE FACES to record one’s mood!

    I am going to use it to organise the productive side of my life, set myself deadlines and note how my CRPS is doing and how well I am coping. It is a very enlightening thing to keep a record of what I have actually done to combat my pain and then compare this to how much pain I am perceiving. Makes it a lot harder to sit around when perhaps moving or stretching would be a more beneficial use of time.

    Which is really what I should do now; these muggy mornings are more painful than the clear ones.

    What are you planning for the year ahead, Audy? And will you use a pretty diary to help you achieve it?

    Love & Patterned Pages,
    Caf

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  • You Will Love This.

    Dear Audy,

    Every now and again the internet affords us one of those little gems that couldn’t have gotten here via any other medium. Thanks to the lovely Lyra sharing this on my Facebook wall today, I have laughed until I cried and then laughed some more.

    This guy is so awesomely awed. Turn up the volume and enjoy.



    Love & Giggles,
    Caf

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  • Ramping Things Up!

    Dear Audy,

    Exciting news! Well, it’s a couple of days old exciting news, however I have been busy recovering from my recent exertions and working on a follow up to my little announcement..

    My first article is up over at ABC’s Ramp Up website! The article focuses on the difficulties faced by people who require permits for disabled parking, but don’t have visible signs of a disability. You can read it here: Parking With Pain: The Wheelchair Illusion.

    I also want to share this video with you, thanks to @ABCRampUp for tweeting the link. This short film raises an entirely different issue related to disabled parking; the issue of able bodied people taking up disabled parks without a permit.



    Yeah…that pretty much speaks for itself.


    Huge thanks to everyone who has already commented on the article, shared it, and given me cyber thumbs up! It is very exciting to have the opportunity to write in a professional setting and hopefully spread further awareness about the daily struggles facing people in chronic pain.

    Love & Woo Hoos,
    Caf

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  • The Unintentional Soundtrack Of My Life

    Dear Audy,

    Oh, with the soreness this morning! I woke up moaning and I’m having quite some trouble getting going. I have big sewing plans today (“Places to be!” -Tara, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 5), and so I’m trying to warm up my brain and then I’ll get to the warming up my body part shortly. I included that quote up there on account of it is stuck in my head. This is because any time that I have things to do or places to be and I am not doing them or going there, I get this quote stuck in my head. Buffy fans might remember brainsucked Tara and her repeated insistence that she had places to be, I certainly do. You see, this song and quote association has been going on for some time and only seems to grow in numbers of triggers. This post is dedicated to the unintentional soundtrack of my life.


    (click for source)


    Things that I cannot do in mental silence:

    Mop the floor. Why? Because once upon a time, Adam Sandler used to release comedy albums and once upon a time, I thought these were hysterical. Every time I grab a mop, I can’t help but sing the little ditty from The Severe Beating Of A High School Janitor. This association has probably been going on the longest and that’s probably because it’s still fun to sing.

    Mop, mop, mop
    All day long
    Mop, mop, mop
    While I sing this song
    Gonna wash that floor
    Gonna make it shine
    Gonna clean off the spray paint with turpentine


    Wipe sleep out of my eyes. I tweeted this the other day, but regardless, it’s probably pretty obvious what happens when I do this. Especially if I happen to do it after I wake and I rise. Damn, you, Daydream Believer, you always hang around for hours.

    Have a hot flush/fever. With my CRPS and medication, this is probably a lot more common in me than the average person. Most nights, average. Nowadays, I simply cannot change temperature quickly without an invasion of the worst kind…Katy Perry. Because of course, I’m hot, then I’m cold, you see, just like in the stupid song. Quite often, in bed, I’m also yes then I’m no about whether I should be under the doona. I’m in, then I’m out of bed, trying to get comfortable, which could also be considered being up and then down. I feel rather wrong about being uncomfortable in bed, when it’s right to feel snuggled. There is also the part where I can’t think properly and anxiety starts to turn my worries into black and then white extremes, instead of their rightful grey. Goddammit, Katy Perry. Please just shut up and look pretty.

    Do the laundry. No, Lisa Mitchell (Coin Laundry), I don’t have a freaking dollar! I don’t need a dollar to operate my machine!! Although I would probably quite like a house on a hill and a memory from when you were seventeen, I don’t need to think about that every time I wash clothes. Every time. Even now, just thinking about it. “Do you have a dollar? Do you have a dollar for ME?” I almost want to go and do my laundry at a laundromat so the whole thing makes more sense.

    Wake up badly. Badly as in sore, or sorer than usual, more exactly. Nup, this isn’t Daydream Believer’s fault, it’s Brenda Walsh’s. Oh, I suppose some of the blame lays with Kelly Taylor, Donna Martin and was it Emily Valentine singing the lead? You don’t know? Well, that’s because you haven’t watched enough Beverly Hills 90210 and should probably fix that. Then, you too, can enjoy ‘Waking Up Is Hard To Do’ to the tune of ‘Breaking Up Is Hard To Do’ and an image of Shannon Doherty and pals dressed like AWOL Robert Palmer chicks.

    Make a repeated mistake. Because, OOPS! I did it again! Just like Britney and that bloke she was toying with…I know you did this on purpose, Britney’s marketers, so enjoy having a snigger at the effectiveness of your little ploy.

    Kill Bugs. Sometimes, even ants, sometimes a large quantity of ants creates a loophole, but mostly… “I killed ‘em, Gilbert! I killed ‘em!!” -Arnie Grape, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993).

    Look for information without hearing Information Man. Thanks, Robert. Lesson to be learned from this vague reference? Don’t give high school kids coffee.

    Now that I’ve written this post, I am sure I am going to start noticing more of these popping up. I wouldn’t even be surprised if my brain created new ones just to mess with me a little, I can’t help it, there is a stirrer in me who loves to stir even me. ‘Stir’ in the create a bubbling pot of annoyance or emotions kind of way. Not hurtfully, just amusingly so. Writing this has effectively put a halt to the ‘Waking Up Is Hard To Do’ brain worm that inspired it, but it has put a little bit of each of the things I’ve talked about in my head and now I’m suffering from ‘Caf’s Unintentional Soundtrack Medley’. Oh, help, is there anything worse than a megamix?

    Do songs and quotes haunt your day to day life? Please share, that way, I will feel less silly!

    Love & Gummi Brain Worms
    Caf

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  • The Worlds In The Words

    Dear Audy,

    Yesterday I did something that I have been planning on doing for a very long time, I commenced Operation Book Sort. I find some peculiar sort of satisfaction in tidying my books and the older they are, the better. Yellow pages? Excellent. Falling out of the spine? Oh, my heart aches for you. Once a precious gift for a stranger? How much mystery and history you hold!!

    20100804 Bookshelf


    When I was a kid, I would read my books over and over and over again. Once was never enough. As an adult, I find that once is enough for most books, although I wonder what I am missing out on by not taking a second or third journey through the worlds in the words. Nothing that I have ever read as an adult has affected me the same way that those child read wonders did. Thankfully, most of these wonders act as little portals to the place where their time collided with mine and we shared adventures, grievances and dreams.

    I recently mentioned a particular favourite of my childhood books, The Racketty-Packetty House. Thanks to one of my lovely readers, I now know that the author was the ever so captivating Frances Hodgson Burnett (of The Secret Garden and The Little Princess fame) and that the story itself was recently celebrating its 100th birthday! Birthdays are wonderful, this birthday called for a re-release of the book and now this happy little reader has a new copy coming. I cannot wait to visit the Racketty-Packetty (doll) House again, I have missed its run down family of misfits so!

    I have dreamt of doing and being a lot of things in my life, but the earliest plan that I can remember was to become an author. I still enjoy writing, however I have always struggled with the discipline it takes to finish something that I have started. I have oh so many story plans that never make it past the first few chapters. In recent years, my efforts have been repeatedly thwarted by the chronic pain in my hands. I have decided that I shouldn’t let this stop me anymore. I have been working incredibly hard at pacing my day and managing my pain effectively and I feel that I am at the point where I can take on a few creative challenges, as long as I prepare myself to be flexible and not allow distractions or flares to completely halt my progress. I kind of feel that if I don’t then I shall end up a bitter old screwball.

    Operation Book Sort has brought to my attention many literary gems that I had not seen or thought about for many years. I am considering a taking a reading trail down memory lane and to try and re-experience some of their magic so that I might feel inspired to weave my own stories. Just thinking about it is sparking off inspiration, so perhaps I shall just need to stare at the shelf for a while…

    What were your childhood favourites? I think, above all else, I was most taken by The Chronicles Of Narnia. I am still looking for hidden worlds behind secret doors…

    Love & Litspiration,
    Caf

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