On Monday morning, my Mum and I along with Jen Angee attended the Morning Melodies function at the Cranbourne RSL. Today’s performers were Danny Stain (vocals and acoustic guitar) and Warren Keats aka Mr. Wizard Man (bass guitar and backing vocals) doing a Tribute to Johnny Cash. On first appearances, the duo looked like The Odd Couple but they surprisingly performed brilliantly together with plenty of entertaining jokes thrown in. Danny and Warren nailed Cash’s trademark croon very impressively and alternated lead vocals on a few of the tracks.
They played many of Cash’s classic songs including Folsom Prison Blues, Help Me Make It Through The Night, Cry Cry Cry, Big River, Walk The Line, I Still Miss Someone, Ring of Fire, Sunday Morning Coming Down and I Got Stripes. They also performed a few familiar classics from the likes of Elvis Presley (Blue Suede Shoes, Suspicious Minds) and Neil Diamond (Sweet Caroline). I was really impressed with Danny’s knowledge of Johnny Cash’s musical career and personal events during the 1950’s and 60’s. You can tell that he is genuinely passionate about being a musician and singer as well.
On Monday night, I attended an Open Level Vinyasa yoga class with Aaron Petty at Level Up Yoga in Berwick. I felt like tonight’s class was a mixed bag for me. A lot of insecurities were coming up inside of me that have remained unresolved. I tried really hard to brush the negative thoughts aside and acknowledge things like: some of the students in this room know each other and have existing relationships. I’m introverted and don’t speak up as much in groups. Nobody included me in their conversations.
The reality is that it’s not their fault, it’s mine as they probably weren’t deliberately ignoring me. And yet somehow it just really bothered me tonight. Not even my internal Elsa from Frozen (LET IT GO! LET IT GO!) could keep my negative thoughts at bay. Besides this, I did manage to enjoy the class itself for the most part. We begun by doing a seated Nadi Shodhan Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) practice which really helps to balance the left and right sides of the brain, lower your heart rate and reduce anxiety levels among other things. https://www.doyouyoga.com/a-basic-intro-to-alternate-nostril-breathing/
Then things kicked up a notch by doing several challenging Vinyasa flowing sequences:
Flowing Sequence 1: Standing Forward Fold, Downward Facing Dog, Three Legged Dog (x3), Knee to Nose (x3), Plank, Chaturanga, Updog. Flowing Sequence 2: Crescent Lunge, Warrior 2, Reverse Warrior, Downward Facing Dog. Flowing Sequence 3: Crane pose, Eagle pose, Dancers pose. We also dig some “Dog Flips” (Wild Thing pose) which was pretty hilarious as it’s a really difficult pose to hold and be still in. https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/wild-thing
Aaron wanted us to focus on Mindful Breathing during our Vinyasa yoga practice tonight as it’s often easy to forget about it when your mind is so focused on getting the poses and movements right. We finished the class off by doing some deep stretches and releasing twists before going off into our Shavasana. I love how Aaron gives his yoga space a unique touch like serving tea, burning incense and sage and playing chilled out “Stoner” music. I’m sure I’ll “let go” of all those stupid, negative thoughts I was having tonight and leave on a more positive note next time. https://www.aaronpetty.com/teaching-schedule/
On Tuesday morning, I went to my Employ Your Mind session at WISE Employment – Cranbourne Office. It was a smaller group today compared to last week perhaps due to the wet weather outside. We begun the session by exploring “Gistful Thinking” which is about extracting the main point or idea behind a book, an article, a movie, conversations or our own memories. Gists are very helpful in that they make it easier to store information, provides a stronger memory and makes it easier to remember things.
Next we continued working on the Thinking Gym computer program that we started last week. As expected, the puzzles get more difficult the further you progress through each of the exercises. I was finding the memory ones in particular very tricky as not only do you have to remember a specific shape but also the colour of the shape among other possible options. There was a “fill in” styled exercise which involved inserting words into a star shaped grid which I found easy and enjoyable.
The last part of the session involved coming up with some topic ideas for the next project. I came up with three: Yoga and meditation, local bands and becoming a barista. I decided to go for the latter topic as it’s something I’ve only recently started researching and would actually be less work for me than trying to come up with something different to present. I could look into possible training courses I could do, how to operate a coffee machine, the types and styles of coffees that can be made etc. But I only needed a topic name for now.
On Tuesday night, I went to my final YardFIT session for the Term at The Yard Strength & Fitness in Pakenham. After Mandi gave us the heads up about a truck rolling over near Officer, I honestly dreaded how the traffic was going to be. The Princes Freeway was blocked off from both ends so we had to find an alternate route.
Google Maps gave me a “back way” to avoid the freeway. Unfortunately it probably didn’t make much difference as it took me over an hour to get to The Yard. I was pretty unfamiliar with these back roads. Pound Road was a terrible, unsealed gravel road which felt like it was never going to end. And then the cars began banking up on Ballarto Road once I got through Cardinia as many people wanted to turn onto Koo Wee Rup Road. I knew there was no way I was going to make it there by 6pm.
Rodney Millar was in the same predicament and so we were about 25-30 minutes late. Thankfully Mandi was happy to wait for us and start the session when we arrived by 6.30pm. We warmed up by doing 100 tyre flips (50 each), working on getting a good technique and not rushing through them. Next we did three rounds of: 60m sled push, 30 second battle ropes, 60m farmers carry with a weight increase after each round. It was pretty tough especially when it got heavier and fatigue was setting in through my arms. https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a19538861/how-to-flip-a-tire/
Tonight’s WOD was called Kettle Bell Hell. Mandi arranged kettle bells of varying weights (6-14kg) which we would use during the workout. We had to do 2 x 20 reps of the following: Single Arm KB swings, Single Leg KB Deadlifts, KB cleans, KB push presses, KB overhead press, KB snatches, KB sit-ups, KB Single Arm Lifts. As usual, it was a pretty intense workout but at least I had the option to drop down to a lower weight when needed. I’m honestly glad that I made the effort to come out tonight despite the delays and traffic issues as I always feel great after the session. https://www.mensjournal.com/health-fitness/15-best-kettlebell-exercises-all-time/14-kettlebell-jump-squats/
On Thursday morning, I drove down to YMCA Casey RACE intending to do a Body Pump class with Natalie Blanch but due to circumstances (running late, getting interrupted by text messages and phone calls), I missed the boat. It was probably a blessing in disguise as I was feeling quite stressed and flustered rushing up the ramp to access the Group Fitness Room. As the customer service staff member was busy on the phone, I figured that I’d grab a ticket from the self-serve kiosk. Sadly I wasn’t able to locate it in time.
I decided to walk back to the car and mentally “re-group” as well as give myself the opportunity to work through all those missed text messages and voicemails. Turns out that my mental healthcare plan has expired and so I need to get it reviewed by my GP next week so that I can claim my Medicare rebate for my last psych session. Anyway, I figured that considering I’ve made the effort to drive out to Casey RACE, I might as well do some form of exercise.
I decided to do a 45 minute workout on the Treadmill. I’ve often hesitated using the gym equipment as I prefer to have a program written out but thankfully there are plenty of preset options on the Treadmill to choose from. I started at walking pace and gradually increased my speed up to 7 kph. I selected the option to display a guided tour of a picturesque mountain range in Utah including the Grand Canyon. I ended up burning around 250 calories, getting my heart rate up to 160 BMP and travelling a distance of 3.5 km.
I’m actually really glad that I was somehow able to put myself out of that negative mindset (It’s just not my day today. Nothing’s going right for me) and actually do something positive and productive with my time. https://www.caseyrace.ymca.org.au/gym/gym-facilities
On Thursday night, I attended my Aspergers Victoria Adults peer group meeting at The Nerve Centre in Blackburn. I had a lot of mixed feelings about tonight’s meeting. Firstly, some of the discussions went off on a tangent and also became quite heated. Members were speaking over one another trying to get a word in edge wise, some rambling on for far too long. It actually made me feel quite uncomfortable and awkward to listen to it. Secondly, the questions that Colin provided in the email for our topic tonight “Small Talk and Making Conversation” were practically tossed to the wind and not addressed besides the 5th question about role playing.
Most of tonight’s discussion centered around Colin’s handout on The Art of Conversing with Ease (ironic considering how some of these conversations in tonight’s meeting were going). The handout itself I found to be very educational and helpful. There were several main headings including:
Why do we converse? Friendship. Information. Entertainment. Stimulation. Work situations. Confidence building. Sharing hobbies and interests. Out of curiosity.
Why do we hesitate to initiate a conversation? Self consciousness. Good Impressions. Disclosure. Fear. Rejection. Judgement. Emotions. Distractions. Wanting to be cautious.
The four levels of conversation. Small Talk (Weather, News, Current Events). Fact Disclosure (Name, Occupation, Location). Opinions and Views (Politics, Current Issues, Environmental topics). Personal Feelings (Family, personal goals, problems).
Tactics for a successful conversation. Attitude. Prepare. Listen. Open ended questions. Matters likely to be discussed (yourself, themselves, immediate surroundings). Balance.
I actually did find some of the member’s points to be valid and quite useful so I decided to make my own notes during the meeting. However, I didn’t feel comfortable at all speaking up as the outspoken and dominate members became too much for me. I almost considered leaving early but somehow managed to remain strong and grounded despite how anxious I was feeling. The meeting left me feeling very drained and I didn’t feel like sticking around for supper or a social chat.
Tonight’s meeting certainty wasn’t a waste of time for me but I wish the discussions were moderated a bit better. I could sense from the actions and body language from some of the people in the room that they felt the same way. A few people excused themselves early. Some turned to their smart phones. And some even started nodding off (which is understandable considering how late these meetings go). Hopefully the next meeting will be a bit more constructive and positive but it’s tough with multiple personalities and 25-30 other “Aspies” in one room. https://www.aspergersvic.org.au/events
On Friday morning, I had my Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) done at Narregate Medical & Dental Centre in Narre Warren. I tried a different tactic today to help me cope with the nervous of having a blood test done. I kept as calm as possible to prevent myself getting worked up. Not only did I have to get three blood tests done but I also had to drink a 75 gram glucose drink and wait around the pathology waiting area for 2 hours. Like my general blood test, I had to fast for 12 hours or so and not eat or drink anything else until the test is over.
Thankfully the male American pathologist that I had last time was working today alongside a woman in her 50’s or 60’s. I felt much more at ease compared to last time even though I’m surrounded on all four walls by medical equipment, cupboards and drawers. Not exactly the most exciting view to have when you’re getting blood extracted from your vein. But much to my surprise, I didn’t have a negative reaction to any of the three blood tests. I feel like I’m slowly confronting my fear of injections, needles and blood tests and gaining a bit more confidence.
The pathologist doing it is also a significant factor in all of this too. I wisely opted to have it done on my right arm as they found the vein much easier than on my left. Besides the usual sting on the needle piercing the skin, I didn’t have any other issues besides feeling hungry and a little off from the glucose drink. I’m fairly confident that I won’t be at a high risk of diabetes and taking the GTT is more of a precaution than anything. https://www.clinicallabs.com.au/patient/collection-information/collection-guide/blood-collections/glucose-tolerance-test-gtt/
“A portion like madness in season. Bracing all like a breaking of reason. With every night lost and every day torn. With the drama feeling calmer and it’s calmer in the storm. Speakers are crying like a forest in the rain. I was so alone with my thoughts and my pain. And the darkness closed like a mouth on a wild night. I’ll never be free. Ooh, in this darkness. Please light my way. Light my way.” Moby – This Wild Darkness (2018)