On Christmas Eve, Mum and I attended the Carols by Twilight – Christmas Eve event held at Max Pawsey Reserve near Fountain Gate. It’s my second time going to a local Carols event, my first being over 6 years ago. As always, the event is run and organised by Casey City Church with many guest speakers and singers performing on stage including Andrew De Silva, He Planned Us and Gary Pinto. Of course, these Carols have a very Christian in orientation and whilst I don’t believe in God per se, it’s highly irrelevant. For me, it’s about being involved with the City of Casey community and celebrating the true meaning of Christmas…love, joy, peace, family, friends and being grateful for what you have in life.
We didn’t end up staying long as the weather decided to turn cold with a bitter, icy wind blowing across the reserve but it was still nice that we made the effort to listen to a few of the carols. After grabbing some coffees at Maccas, we decided to finally check out some Christmas lights. I was determined to visit the hugely popular display down at Hugo Court in Narre Warren to see what all the fuss was about. Getting down there early and finding a side street or court to park in is key because the traffic banks up very quickly.
We started by walking down Song Street with one house featuring two snow machines, creating lots of white foamy suds. It looked really cool. Making our way down to Hugo Court, there was literally people from the local CFA directing the crowd with glowing red wands. The moment we set foot into the court, it was bedlam. A cascade of brightly lit LED lights, inflatable Santas, Penguins, Snowmen, Reindeer, flashing signs, a radio station playing Christmas songs. But instead of being overwhelmed, I found it to be a truly magical experience. I had a ball taking photos and letting the atmosphere sink in.
The only downside was getting out of the area. A few drivers were getting impatient and rowdy. There was huge potential for road rage but thankfully Mum and I dodged a bullet. You just have to be really patient and be prepared that it can take up to 20 minutes to get yourself back onto Narre Warren-Cranbourne Road. But besides that, it was definitely worth going to. Hopefully I don’t leave it this late next year!
On Christmas Day, My parents and I had a busy morning ahead getting all the food prepared and cooked as well as decorating the outside patio area. It didn’t take long for me to start feeling exhausted but it came together really well. It’s a big area of strength for me, the creative side. We always go all out when it comes to Christmas and it’s easily my favourite part of the day.
In the afternoon, we had relatives over from my step-dad’s side of the family. We had a lovely roast for lunch which included chicken, ham, pork, potatoes, pumpkin, beans, peas and carrots. The conversations at the table were difficult for me to join in with as usual and when the topic turned to sexual predators and pedophiles, I was ready to exit stage left. I just feel so disturbed and uncomfortable hearing that stuff and that’s only so much I can handle before I have to leave.
In the late afternoon, we opened up our Christmas presents under the tree. I always find this experience to be both overwhelming and awkward. At least now that I’ve got an official diagnosis, it would explain why I’m not as “expressive” as I should be. From the outside looking in, most people would think I’m ungrateful due to my lack of excitement but it’s far from the case. It’s more I have no idea what to say besides thank you. I couldn’t be more grateful, I just don’t often show it with my non-verbal cues and body language (Autism 101).
In the evening, we had my Aunt, Uncle and Cousins come over for dinner. I decided to have a Nanna nap before they arrived as I was feeling buggered as. The food we served up was similar to our lunch with a selection of chicken, pork and ham plus coleslaw, potatoes and pasta salad. We engaged in the usual tradition of pulling Christmas crackers, wearing paper hats and reading the lame jokes inside of them.
It’s true that I’m still very reserved, socially awkward and sensitive even around my family but it’s something that I’m continuing to work on embracing and accepting. It was a really long day for me overall but the upside is that we didn’t have to travel anywhere today and the weather was lovely throughout the day.
On Boxing Day aka “Recovery Day”, we spent the morning sitting around the dining table eating bacon and eggs for breakfast, talking about how dodgy our current government are and how the oil companies are ripping us off when it comes to the price of petrol. I honestly felt like a zombie crawling out of bed after all the food and alcohol I consumed yesterday. Thankfully, no hangover though! Then comes to fun part of cleaning everything up and packing away all the decorations. One step at a time though.
I spent most of the afternoon just resting up and trying to catch up on some sleep. The last thing I wanted to do was rush out to the Boxing Day sales. Seriously FUCK THAT! I’d rather shop online to be honest. In fact, I decided to buy a few Christmas sweaters from eBay ready for next Christmas. My cat Lotus decided to join me for a nap for the first time ever on my bed. It’s good to see that she’s finally warmed up to my bedroom and my bed.
On Wednesday morning, Mum and I both had well overdue full body Chinese massages at Best Body Massage in Eden Rise, Berwick. Best Body is basically just Top 1 Therapy trading under a different business name but offering the same deals. I opted for a deep tissue massage with hot stones which only cost me $45 for a whole hour. The guy did a very thorough job getting all of those knots undone and relieving a lot of tension through my back, shoulders, neck and spine. Pretty much over a month’s worth of stress, anxiety and muscle soreness.
This place is still unfortunately plagued with the same issues as Top 1 Therapy. Don’t expect to get much conversation from your massage therapist unless you’re fluent in Mandarin. Also, they could really benefit from having a staff member act as a permanent receptionist and door greeter as the guy doing my massage had to constantly rush off to attend to phone calls and customers dropping in. Basically, they’re lacking in the customer service department but considering I’m only paying $45 instead of $100 and the therapists are highly skilled in what they do, I can let the cons slide. http://edenrisevillage.com.au/store…
On Thursday morning, Mum and I visited the Cranbourne Hyundai Used Car Dealership to begin the search for my fourth car. We were both wearing our invisible “JUST LOOKING” t-shirts as I’m still extremely guarded and weary when it comes to car salesmen. Thankfully the guy who looked after us, Rod, was quite easy going and pleasant to deal with. He didn’t pressure us to make a sale at all, nor was he holding “grand sale” balloons like Pennywise The Dancing Clown (A sure bet to run in the opposite direction!).
I brought along my list of potential cars that I wanted to have a look at including a 2014 Hyundai i30 Active GD2, a 2013 Kia Cerato S TD and a 2011 Ford Fiesta Zetec WS. I was leaning the hardest towards the i30 and even briefly sat in the car to check out some of the features. I wrote down some “must haves” including a CD player, keyless entry, rego, 3 year warranty, low kilometers under 100k and priced under $15,000. It pretty much ticked all those boxes but I refused to sign any paperwork yet. I’d rather have a few models to consider and make sure I’m 100% happy with the next car I purchase. http://www.cranbournehyundai.com.au/…
On Thursday night, I attended my Body Balance class with Rowena at YMCA Casey RACE. It’s been a couple of weeks since I last went to a group fitness class so evidently I was feeling pretty out of practice tonight but it didn’t take long to pick things up. Rowena had a strong Irish accent and was very bubbly throughout the class.
We did our usual sequence of exercises during the class including: Tai-Chi Warmup (Swan Dive, Overhead arm circles), Sun Salutations (Forward Fold, Downward Facing Dog, Plank, Baby Cobra), Standing Strength & Balances (Warrior 2, Sun Warrior, Side Angle Pose, Triangle Pose, Half Moon Pose), Pilates (Bicycle Crunches, Firefly, Arm and Leg balances, Knee to Nose), Twists & Hamstring Stretches (Butterfly Forward Fold, Serpentine Twist with Leg Extension) and Relaxation. https://www.lesmills.com/workouts/f…
On Friday morning, Mum and I returned to the Cranbourne Hyundai Used Car Dealership for a second look. Thankfully I didn’t have to deal with any Max Kirwin type used car salesman (Good one Max? More like get the fuck away from me Max!) as Rod was there again. As I was walking through the middle of the yard, one of the cars immediately caught my attention. It was a dark blue coloured 2015 Hyundai Accent sedan. On closer inspection, it pretty much ticked all the boxes on my wishlist and inside I knew that this was “the one”.
Rod sat myself and Mum down inside his office. The space was clinical white and undecorated aside from the Hyundai logo and a few certificates on the wall. The anxiety levels were building rapidly inside of me but I knew that if I didn’t put the car on hold today, I would probably regret it. Still I find the whole process of signing contracts and paperwork to be extremely daunting. After sorting out some technical issues, we managed to get the ball rolling and Rod even put a personalised “SOLD” sign inside the car for me. I’ll be finalising the transaction and picking it up next week if all goes well.
On Friday night, I went to an RPM Express class with Laura at YMCA Casey RACE in Cranbourne East. Being the Christmas holidays and also the fact that it was wet and humid outside, there was only 3 people in tonight’s class but it was no surprise. I was still determined to get a really good workout done and I decided to turn up the resistance quite a few times up to 40-50%. The mountain climbing sections were easily the hardest for me but I was burning heaps through my knees, glutes and thighs.
I was also more focused on the wattage display and tried hard to get it over 170-200W. I was a good feeling pushing myself as hard as I could on the bike and being an express class, it was much shorter than usual. https://www.lesmills.com/workouts/f…
2017 has been a year of major growth for me. From having the strength and courage to turn down and walk away from people and situations that no longer serve me well to having emotional breakdowns in front of my former personal trainer to getting counselling and a formal diagnosis for mild Autism. I’ve done a lot of personal development, worked on improving my mental health issues and put myself out of my comfort zone (Do It In A Dress charity event, work Christmas function, Yoga Retreat in Moggs Creek).
It’s been a huge year for fitness, trying out new things (Strength & Conditioning, Bootcamp, CrossFit, Water Workout, Swimming, Spa and Sauna) and pushing myself really hard to achieve results. There’s been plenty of bumps in the road along the way from changing gyms to yoga studios closing down but none of these things have hindered me.
It’s been a really tough year financially for me but I’ve always tried to persevere and get myself through it. I didn’t attend as many local gigs as I would have liked to this year but many hurdles got in the way. Hopefully my attendance will pick up in 2018 as I find a better way to balance my life. However, I feel like my contribution was still significant in terms of writing reviews, band promotion, buying merch and sharing band related posts.
Thank you to all of my family and friends for sticking by me and supporting me this year.
MY GOALS FOR 2018 SO FAR 1. Buying myself a new car, probably an ex-demo 2016 Hyundai i30 or similar at Cranbourne Hyundai.
2. Joining an art/painting/life drawing class in Berwick.
3. Travelling to places including Redwood Forest in East Warburton and Launceston, Tasmania.
4. Continuing to write blogs, reviews, interviews with Behind The Scene and supporting the local music scene. Increasing my attendance at local gigs.
7. Burning body fat and gaining lean muscle around the arms, legs, thighs, stomach, back, hips, glutes etc. Losing another 5-10kg.
8. Joining a support group to help with my mental health issues and emotional wellbeing e.g. GROW group, The Anxiety Disorders Association of Victoria (ADAVIC).
9. Joining another cooking class at Balla Balla Community Centre.
10. Continuing to work on improving my self-confidence, self-care and personal development to become a better person.
12. Volunteering at an Animal Shelter, caring for domestic pets.