On Monday morning, I went to the Morning Melodies function at the Cranbourne RSL with my mum Angela Dixon and her friend Jen Angee. Today’s performance was Marcia Rae, who sung a collection of 1950’s and 1960’s rock n’ roll, rockabily and pop songs. She wore a long flowing floral print dress with patches of green, black and white before changing into a black cocktail party dress with bright pink frills for the second half.
The songs that she sung were from artists including Patti Page (Mockingbird Hill, Tennessee Waltz), Dion Dimucci (Teenager in Love, Runaround Sue), The Crystals (Da Doo Ron Ron, He’s a Rebel), Doris Day (Kay Sera Sera, On Moonlight Bay), Patsy Cline (Crazy, Walking After Midnight), Elvis Presley (Have I Told You Lately That I Love You), Bobby Darren (Dreamlover), Mary Wells (My Guy), Shirley Bassey (Kiss Me Honey Honey) and Chuck Berry (Johnny B Goode).
On Monday night, I attended my second Christmas Baking class at Balla Balla Community Centre. Last week I was feeling a bit awkward and out of place. It didn’t help that I was working with a couple of ladies who were essentially perfectionists and I was making all kinds of mistakes. This week’s class went much smoother since I made the decision to try working in a different area. Anna and Carolyn were both friendly and easy to work with.
This time around, we made a Buche de Noel aka a Christmas Yule Log cake. Firstly, we made the chocolate ganache by heating up with 1/2 cup pouring cream and melting it with 200g of dark chocolate. Next we mixed 3 eggs with 1/2 cup of caster sugar until the mixture reached a thick creamy consistency. This mixture was then poured into a baking tray lined with baking paper and baked for 15 minutes.
Next we made the hazelnut filling by combining 125ml of marscapone, 125g of cream cheese, 1 1/2 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1/4 cup of chocolate hazelnut spread and 1 1/2 tablespoons of Irish cream liqueur. Once the sponge has been baked, we then had to spread the hazelnut filling over it and roll it up on the short side. Then we covered the rolled up sponge with the ganache and added some edible mushrooms, fake dirt and cocoa powder dusted over the top.
On Tuesday morning, I had my counselling session with Dr. Warrick Arblaster at South Eastern Counselling and Psychology in Cranbourne. I was feeling really flustered and nervous today for some reason, I guess because talking about my issues isn’t always that easy for me. I mainly focused on the stress and pressures I’ve been under at work recently. I had a mental image of myself emotionally breaking down in the car after my shift was over. This didn’t happen in reality of course but that was how I was feeling inside. I felt like I wasn’t doing a good enough job on the weekend and that nobody really appreciates me.
I also talked about my terrible sleeping patterns. Last week my insomnia levels were at an all time high with my average sleep rate dropping to 4-5 hours per night. One night I actually got 3 hours after being wide awake most of the night. I have tried several strategies to improve my sleep such as dimming the back lights on my phone and laptop screens, reading a book, listening to some relaxation/meditation CD’s, taking sleep vitamins, using lavender spray on my pillows and sheets, writing in my journal and deep breathing exercises. They all have varying degrees of success but at least I’m trying to be proactive about it.
As I’ve run out of sessions on my Mental Healthcare Plan, Warrick charged me a fee of $85. I can justify it because I seem to be clicking with this psychologist and yet that doesn’t change the fact that I’m struggling financially. Still he’s worth the money and next year I’ll be able to renew my plan anyway.
On Tuesday night, I went to my first Body Combat class at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. This is essentially a high intensity cardio workout with mixed martial arts moves. Each track had us doing a series of jabs, hooks, uppercuts, knee lifts, front and back kicks, sword slashes and foot pulses. Your stance is really important as you have to place one foot forward and the other at a 90 degree angle whilst keeping your fists up in a defense position.
The hardest thing for me like always is being co-ordinated and keeping up with the various exercises but I’m a really fast learner and I actually enjoyed this class for the most part. The female instructor was very motivating saying things like “Come on guys, you can do it” and “I want to see your maximum effort” over the upbeat dance tracks. I still got fatigued very easily but I still kept going and didn’t give up.
On Thursday morning, I went to my Body Balance class at YMCA Casey ARC in Narre Warren. We did our usual routine with a few added poses and movements including Warmup (Tai Chi circles and flow), Sun Salutation (Standing forward forward, half lift, downward facing dog, plank, updog, half moon pose), Warrior Sequence (Warrior 2, extended warrior, sun warrior), Balances (Eagle pose, tree pose) and Hamstring Stretches (Happy baby pose, scissor legs).
Later that day, I caught up with my friend Amy Breedon at The Glen Shopping Centre in Glen Waverley. Admittedly, I did have a little anxiety getting my bearings and making sure I didn’t forget where I parked. Thankfully, the underground carpark had bright yellow numbers on the poles so I saved it into my phone just in case. I hadn’t been to this shopping centre in about 10 years so I really didn’t know the area that well, though I do drive down Springvale Road pretty regularly.
We had lunch together at Hainan Chicken in Kingsway. Sitting outside, the warm gusty winds kept blowing everything over from the table number to the jug of water on the table. There was random events happening on the street including a couple of real estate agents dressed up in sharp suits and getting filmed for a promotional video and a black crow flew in on the table next to us. It was great catching up and talking about what’s happening in our lives. I still hesitate and hold back a lot in conversation which is probably my anxiety and social awkwardness at work but it didn’t stop me from trying.
On Friday morning, I had my Vinyasa Flow yoga class at Just Be Yoga and Meditation in Beaconsfield. I was still feeling half asleep from going out last night and some of my joints were really stiff and tight so I definitely needed this class today. It was a moderate size of about 8 people with 3 guys and 5 ladies. Here are some of the poses we did today:
- Flowing Sequence 1…From extended child’s pose, we scooped up across the mat into cobra pose before pushing back into downward facing dog pose, plank pose, chaturanga, seal and upward facing dog pose. We also did some arm and leg balances by extending out the arm and opposite leg.
- Flowing Sequence 2…From double warrior pose with our legs in a wide legged stance and knees bent, we did several standing poses including warrior 2, extended warrior, triangle pose, wide legged standing forward bend and a crescent lunge.
- Inversions…If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while, you’ll know how I feel about inversions (I hate them :P) but only because I struggle with them both physically and mentally. I just can’t handle the sudden rush of blood to my head and the lightheadedness I feel nor do I have enough core strength to be able to kick myself up into a handstand. So I did the easier option today of handstand preparation aka downward facing dog into the wall. We also did a supported shoulder stand using a bolster underneath the hips and raising the legs towards the ceiling.
“Lately now when I’m surfing the channels, headlines that terrify, more news to paralyse. Lately now it’s like some kind of panic, all there at six o’clock, when will it ever stop.” Birds of Tokyo – Catastrophe (2016)