Monday, 31 December 2012

Farewell 2012

Holidailies 2012
With the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics 2012 was a year I knew would be good but I did not know just how much I would also go splat and learn so much. The weather let me down a bit as I had been promising for some years our strange weather pattern was saving itself for the glorious summer of 2012. Despite the rain, it was still a glorious summer as a result of the collective glory from the Olympics. And when I say Olympics I automatically include the Paralympics, both of which I have been addicted to watching for over a decade now.

The splat parts of the year have been extra splatty though at the time the lessons were not wasted on me. I've come out more bolshy and stronger, feeling like I know a bit better who I am and what I am prepared to accept which surely has to be a good thing.

This is the year the answerphones were switched off. After all, if they are not being attended to for some strange reason then just switch them off until such time they are worth having in place. There is not much point in people thinking they are being ignored when they are not, it is just that I am not coping.

There are other things in my life that need switching off and I will get to those in due course. This year it is plain as plain can be that life is to be lived in the here and now. Sure there is still hard work and plans laid down but not at the exclusion of enjoying the journey with loved ones.

As much as I knew that 2012 would be quite a year, I have a strong feeling that 2013, my 50th birthday year, will be even more of a year. The year when we wipe our slate clean of all debts and my shoulders are relieved of the worry. When ironically the debts go that I earn more that could even enable us to travel and go places together. There is so much more good that I can not even contemplate, I just know it in my bones.

This is the last day of the Holidailies 2012 project so I shall be posting a whole lot less, though still posting. I can't believe I managed to complete the one a day posting schedule! When I look over some of the writings of fellow bloggers on this project I can not help notice how much the project has reminded people of the joy of blogging or journaling. Blogs that have been unattended have been stirred up; bloggers that have been elsewhere on other formats have returned albeit for the duration. I have only recently returned to blogging myself so this worked out well. A little less often and more quality suits me better as there is nothing like the reflection and expression one gets from journaling publicly even though I am incognito.

Here is to 2013. A year of more changes. May it be gentle and kind as we learn the next lessons in our lives.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Family time

Holidailies 2012
Another family gathering around our dining table, more eating, a little drinking, sharing of tales about this and that with thoughts for the year ahead. A large homemade tiramisu punctuates a round of Balderdash full of mirth. Being drink free I am the nominated driver for the night, driving from my own house twice in different directions. The roads are dark and surreal with their lack of traffic. I feel out of sorts in the blackness, thinking about life, mortality and making the most of every moment. Life is too short not to live each precious second with as much joy as is possible. For the penultimate day of 2012 the lessons of this year continue thick and strong.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Music of life

Holidailies 2012
It may be a job and one that has to be worked at a great deal, it is still a gift. Playing music and bringing it to the lives of others. For the pleasure and the sheer enjoyment. To feel the rhythm and the vibration. Stirring up memories and creating new ones. And then there is something else that I witnessed today. After a short impromptu private performance for a few friends the musician stood up to pack away and then invited the teenaged son of the house to come and try the instrument. He was up like a flash to try and he did a pretty remarkable job of creating some beautiful sounds. He asked relevant questions and listened to the answers. Then we were told how much the instrument had cost: near the price of a small house! Which gave even more value that the young person was allowed to hold and play this divine work of art.

It was a beautiful moment in time to be cherished and I am grateful for the friends and people in my life.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Hydrogen Peroxide Therapy

Holidailies 2012
Along with the Warrior / Fast 5 Diet I am also exploring Hydrogen Peroxide, or H2O2. Using food grade 35% H2O2 diluted in distilled water or in freshly squeezed juice.

Yesterday my friend arrived with a bottle decanted from her supply of 35% for me to try. As I squeezed just one drop into a glass of distilled water to try I noticed it was odourless, colourless and tasteless at that dilution. Yet with the small spray bottle of 3% she had made up with distilled water it had fizzed on a tiny cut that she had. Overnight I was wondering if the 35% was just water by mistake. Remembering a youtube video I had watched with a guy demonstrating the effects of 35% H2O2 on the palm of his hand, this morning I squeezed a couple of drops onto the palm with no effect. Hmm I thought. As I did not have any cuts to try it on as H2O2 fizzes on blood I retrieved a bit of the orange skin flesh and squeezed some drops on there to see the effect. At last I started to see some slight fizz.

Somehow though, in the process I had managed to let some H2O2 fall on to the side of my hand near the base of my thumb, or perhaps that is where I opened the bottle.Which I did not realise until I had stood for some seconds peering at the fizzing orange and felt the burning sensation. Oh my word, my skin was turning white and it hurt a bit and I was more than a bit scared. However a couple of minutes under the tap and now twenty minutes later there is nothing to show for the drama.

I had to know and I am glad that happened as a very practical sign of the care one must take with H2O2. Today is my first day taking 3 drops diluted three times a day. Tomorrow it goes up to 4 drops and so forth until day 23 when one gets up to 25 drops and then one comes down again until back at 3 drops for the maintenance dose. I may not get to the top dose as I will follow my instinct but who knows. The purpose is to oxygenate the whole body system from the inside. It is said to cure illnesses and ailments. I am using it as part of my MOT in preparation for my 50th birthday and the next stage of my life.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Back to work

Holidailies 2012
Silly me fishing for compliments from son regarding last night's festive feast. He has just emerged looking for a breakfast of left overs yet with the cheek to give a list of criticisms with almost no positives. Thanks son. Just in case I was feeling smug about the table of amazing food that I produced and was enjoyed by everyone with people having at least seconds if not thirds, he tells me the turkey was not moist enough. I don't think he has ever had truly dry turkey that sits in your throat and what I made was extremely moist and almost all polished off. Tch! He has just left the room with his plate of left overs for breakfast. I rather think that says it all.

I'm working today but with just the one client who is a dear friend, and then I am working all day tomorrow at the clinic. Then am off again until next Wednesday. It is rather luxurious this annual holiday business.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Boxing Day Special

Holidailies 2012
It has almost become traditional in our family for both my sister's and my families to gather together at a large meal at our place on Boxing Day. We are four-a-piece in each immediate family, plus my two of my sister's in-laws plus our two parents (now one since mother passed) and then any sundry friends. There is usually a theme and sometimes fancy dress - we do like a good dress up.

Each year I would cook a fabulous meal that would normally need a month to organise. Some of it would be prepared in advance but mainly it was engineering precision in the last twelve hours to produce an apparently effortless feast usually perfectly timed.

This year is a tad different in that I have no idea what I am cooking today! As Mr Doris and I enjoyed a Christmas Day as the guests of a friend I knew I would not be around to prepare so instead of the usual midday feast, we are going to have some sort of early evening buffet. Before Christmas I located two supermarkets that would be open today so shortly I am going to go a huntin' and a fishin'.So who knows what we will be eating, will very much depend on what is in the shops and of reasonable cost. Items on sale would be extremely helpful in the scheme of things and I am hoping to find some exceptional bargains.

Instead of the usual furniture moving operation to fit in extra tables and chairs it will be buffet style so that will make it easier. The main thing is a very good nosh up and a meeting of everyone in our annual gathering. On with the day.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Happy Christmas

Holidailies 2012
The day is here and I am the only one awake at just gone 8am. Daughter is cosy asleep on the sofa, son is in bed and Mr Doris also still with the land of nod. I am awake because that is what my body clock does despite a very long day yesterday. On the last two years I have had a two hour round trip to go pick up daughter on Christmas morning so this is luxury. It will soon be all go with a cooked breakfast and then the kids going their own way and Mr Doris and I going ours.

Seasons greetings for a joyful world.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Punching High

Holidailies 2012
Christmas Eve is traditionally meeting up at my sister's house with extended family and assorted friends for mince pies, mulled wine, playing of instruments and singing Christmas carols. Followed by a walk down to the church for the midnight service through our festive lit town. The pubs will be loud and raucous as we walk home with young 'uns in teeny bits of clothing being super cheerful pouring out into the street. It is a great atmosphere. What is there not to love.

I'm off out to get the mulled wine sorted as that is in my remit. I've been looking at recipes to see what people say or suggest and was surprised that actual citrus juice is not recommended in the brew, just the citrus peel. I'll be carrying the hot toddy glasses which we have in good number to drop them off ready for later.

It is day 8 of my Warrior / Fast 5 diet, except that with all the festive enjoyments the five hour windows have been rather longer and extremely full of chocolates and alcohol. Last night was a mega session but I seem to be surviving without the help of any pain relief. It will be interesting to see what the scales have to say about it all in the new year.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Lovely Day

Holidailies 2012
So far: waking up cuddled with the Mr; doing my nails in a vibrant purple gloss; a friend stopping over and going out with her to the local food emporium and escaping out the fast moving basket aisle; then walking through the fresh air to the allotment to check on our land acquisition; walking back via the rather good coffee shop at the garden centre full of silver and white ornaments with the wood fire burning and jazzy Christmas carols playing; then home to prepare the lamb koftas for later and now sat around chilling out. The later afternoon and evening pans out ahead mellow and content.

Pity the washing machine has just started leaking. This will be the third washing machine that I know of that has gone kaput in the last week.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Annual Round Robin

Holidailies 2012
It was with real delight and zeal in opening the Christmas card I realised it contained the annual round robin. It is from my cousin and his wife, which makes it actually written by his wife. That is how these things usually work, but not always as my Mr Doris has on occasion written them. We have written such things in the past but I'd like to think we wrote them with a different style and acknowledging that it was impersonal and then tried to make it as personable and friendly as possibly. We did them using web pages, thus saving on paper, and included photographs. It was never a catalogue of achievements nor just a diatribe of saccharine.

The latest offering from my cousins did not disappoint and launched right in as to where each of the family including the adult members are up to in their highly successful studies. We get the grades and the successes. The kids are young women and I wonder what they think of their parent's cloying newsletters boasting and bragging. Each sentence fits the cliche of the Round Robin Christmas Letter and I wonder if these people do not even glance at the media and the backlash. Today's BBC Magazine has an amusing item to join all the others online. The latest one page A4 printout using a Word layout on 80gsm photocopy paper even contains grainy photographs of them at their best Olympic seats this year.

It is not that I do not want people to share their achievements and to feel good about them, just that if one has a page of monologued super achievements topped off with them looking forward to another action packed year then I am left chuckling and cheered up by the humour of it all. It is surely meant to be humorous, isn't it?

We used to regularly receive another Round Robin from some friends that went over several pages and was a catalogue of exciting places they holidayed to in just that year. I read these travelogues with huge jealousy as we were facing financial crisis year after year. Then one year it stopped and soon after we heard they had separated and divorced. All that glitters is not gold so why pretend it is.

Friday, 21 December 2012

The miracle that is Christmas

Holidailies 2012
Not in the Christian sense but with regard to not stressing and panicking about getting everything done. On Monday I was asked by a colleague if I had done all my Christmas shopping and I had replied that I hadn't and I didn't care, it would happen when it did and sure enough it has. In one day it was all shopped and wrapped and the three Christmas cards I just had to do were written and posted. Done with costs kept to a very reasonable amount. The presents were chosen with love and I think are lovely.

Today I survived yet another end of the world, unless this is all an illusion. It has been very busy at work, however I know this was not an illusion. I've come home to do my niece's and my daughter's nails and I am knackered. My own look appalling and need doing before tomorrow as I have a day of work from early but that is my last until the end of next week.

Today was my fifth day of doing the Fast-5 or Warrior diet and I am loving it.

Roll on Christmas and friends.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Feminine Genius

Holidailies 2012
When I am good I am smokin'! First thing today I set to and sorted our mystery cupboard. If we lived in an old house it would be the cupboard under the stairs, the one where the vacuum and the cleaning materials are alongside the re-usable shopping bags and the carrier bags. The duplicate cleaning materials and the multitude of washing up sponges yet there are never any when you want them. The singular solid builder's glove has been thrown along with the debris of four years of living here leaving order and virtually a little grocery store of supplies neatly stored. The dustpan and brush were never handy and then I realised I should just shift the hook and bingo, maybe our lives may become tidier simply because the cleaning materials are more accessible.

The real genius began when I turned my attention to our cooker. We live in rented accommodation so the landlords are responsible for such things working. When it broke down again for the umpteenth time a year ago they decided to replace it. The engineer did so but the door never quite fitted. It would creak and not shut properly so when cooking the heat would escape out of the sides of the door wreaking the surrounding fascias of the cupboards. Mr Doris tried fixing it, I tried tweaking it, we told the landlord of the damage but they did nothing. Today I took the door apart. Four tiny little screws were all that held the door together. As well as a good scrub to all sides of the glass panels I studied the mechanism.









And then it became blindingly obvious that this flappy piece of metal was not incidental. That it was there for a reason. Suddenly things began to clunk and click into place. A few minutes later the door assembled and everything reasonably horizontal and opening and shutting like a dream. Looking shiny and clean. And fixed. Oh yes, when I am good and I am very good! Leaving me pondering that when the cooker was installed it was not installed properly.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

14 years ago today...

Holidailies 2012
... we moved in with the darling Mr Doris. So this is our 14th Christmas together. Although I do nothing more to note this anniversary than to acknowledge it, I remember it second to our wedding anniversary and more than the date we first met and the such like:
  • Possibly because the day was so significant and went significantly pear-shaped and righted itself within the day? That was on account of the moving people I had organised deciding they were not going to move me after all once they fully realised how much stuff I had compared to the size of their van and just disappeared on the day of moving and luckily the second choice removals made themselves available to rescue a damsel in distress. 
  • Possibly because as a unit with my small kids I took a step off a very big precipice into the unknown without any back-up plan? 
  • Or maybe because I recognise that Mr Doris had been so brave to allow familyhood fall around him in one fell swoop.
Any which way, I was brave to make the move and Mr Doris was brave too. I like that. To this day I still do not know how we fitted all our furniture in with his, arrange it into some order and then six days later I cooked Christmas dinner for us all and his lovely Jewish family. I can still see all the happy faces sat around the dinner table squashed in by furniture and feeling the love and feeling we were home.
This post has been chosen as one of the Best of Holidailies today. Yaaay! :-)

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Warrior Diet

Holidailies 2012
These past couple of months I have been experimenting with fasting. Prior to that I have been experimenting with eating healthier and for over a couple of years I have experimented with a no-added-sugar and no-alcohol diet. The net result is that I have felt good on the whole. I still have my blips such as the other day with one depression after another I couldn't stop eating and wangled a whole cheesecake down my gullet in a 12-hour period plus sundry other items. 

Yesterday I started the Warrior diet. Rather unwisely without any preparation but I felt it was right for me just to jump right on in as that sometimes suits me. In any case, there was one very major hurdle for me to overcome and that was my attitude to breakfast: I love it and feel it is the key to everything yet the Warrior diet consists of no eating or consumption of any calories over a 19 hour period and then to have a five hour window every day, about the same sort of time and preferably in the evening when all food consumption takes place and you eat all that you would normally eat in a day. Therefore, no breakfast if one wants to interpret it that way. I weighed up eating my lovely breakfast on my own to family meals with my beloved and there is no competition.

What is more, when I started yesterday, I had a busy and late day at work knowing that I would have an active work day involving physical work. My previous experiments in fasting days actually meant one had a breakfast and then fasted until the next day apart from a little miso soup. So going without breakfast was new on me and what a revelation. I not only survived, it was actually alright. I managed all my physical work, I didn't feel tired and apart from some prattish thing I was doing much later on (after I had broken my fast at 5.15pm with a breakfast I took in with me to work) was actually quite sharp enough.

After the "breakfast" I was extremely full on the smaller meal in my presumably smaller tum which was a bit worrying by the time I was home and Mr Doris was cooking us a lovely meal and I didn't feel quite so hungry. Nevertheless I ate as it is still very important to have all your calorie intake each day but only within the eating window. And then there is the next key point for me - never to eat late in the evening and here I am doing just that. Throughout the day I drank black tea, green tea or water to keep hydration up.

Day two today and I do not have a late day at work so I can modify my food window to say, from 2pm to 7pm, or 3pm to 8pm. I have quite a bit of running around to do so that will be interesting to see how I manage. This is all experimental. In recent times I have read some ideas about the body going into repair mode during fasting rather than growth mode and that fasting only has to be the equivalent of a good night sleep plus a bit more. There are all sorts of fasting such as IF Intermittent Fasting and Alternate Day Fasting and so forth which I am researching too.

Since I am going to be fifty years old soon, I have been doing all sorts to try and get myself into better shape for the future. Not just physically, but also health wise and mentally. I have no desire to become one of the walking dead, just fitter and healthier. It will be good to see what role this may play.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Progress Report

Holidailies 2012
  • Paper chains made. Said paper chains now on floor in neat piles awaiting blue tack finding operation to fix on walls.
  • Christmas tree up, dressed and lit up. Not a single present underneath on account of not having Christmas shopped yet. Fingers crossed for some sort of Christmas miracle this week. This morning at a local potential gift emporium nothing would do anyway but they seem to have put their prices up. Not good at all.
  • Fish tank more than half the water replaced and is now clear again after too much blue water treatment. I swear I can now see the fish waving yoo-hoo at me!
  • Kitchen sorting begun. A bit of space made and a bit more to be found. Major cleaning yet to be done if we are to have guests in the house within a matter of days. Oo-er.
  • Home made shortbread made and hmm. Tasty enough but as experimental presents will not do when made in a rubbishy oven that I have not tamed. Idea tried and dismissed.
  • Friend staying sorted. So pleased as I think it is nearly a year since we have met up!
  • Yet to do complete sale of house, keep working, keep head above water, keep smiling :-)

Sunday, 16 December 2012


Holidailies 2012
Seeing the names and ages of the twenty children aged six and seven years old whacks it right into your face. Then there are the names of the adults who, presumably were terrified and possibly trying to protect their charges, and their lives also brought to a sudden end.

An old blogging friend, Chandira, has written a short item Shooting today and astrology lesson which touches on some predictions of future upheavals and changes. When it involves actions like this it is all too scary and just not fair, on the other hand, it promises a clear out of the old and better things ahead with a better world order.

When I read something like that I wonder why the young innocent have to suffer? There is no rhyme nor reason that can justify it. We can weep for those involved and the family and friends. Beyond that, what can be done? We can scream and shout about gun laws and mental illness and the punishment system but really, what good would it do whilst one area is being tackled and someone determined slips through the net to create the impact they think they desire.

It would do us well for each of us to remember that we are interconnected, that we are not islands even though we may at times feel alone. To remember that what you and I say to the other person in our household does affect the wider world, and those thoughts that we think that are unkind do seep out and grow like cancers in all sorts of ways. No one is innocent in this and we all need to take a collective responsibility.

Our love does affect the next person and just one smile to a stranger can be remembered as a beacon of hope for years. I know because a bus driver once smiled at me as a child during some very tough times and that kept me going. Sure we must look at gun laws but if people did not feel the need to pick up a gun in the first place to devastate others then there would be little need for the laws.

Chandira also talks about food additives and depression. Have I ever mentioned anything about vaccinations? And just yesterday my attention was drawn to some interesting ideas regarding eating patterns and the fact we are addicted to eating - we in the so-called richer world seem to live to eat rather than eat to live. So many things that we accept as gospel when it may well that however well meaning we arrived in that situation we are now firmly staying there because it suits this or that big business: the drug companies; the food industry; the Press and Media; and so forth.

This is bigger than just one person with a gun and if we all re-examined everything, were more open -minded, and less condemning of others then we have a chance.

Saturday, 15 December 2012


Holidailies 2012
I am, I am, a good girl I am. Really. I've just been chatting to a friend and as you do, one conversation jumps to another and I suddenly worked out how many times I have been sacked in my time and it turns out four times! Actually, it would be nine times if you count the five times one mad employer sacked and re-employed me over a one week period when I was doing some work with her overseas, but then I am only counting that as one time. What is it about me that gets myself into these situations?

All these employers were women and very difficult ones who I had seemed to win over, at least for a while. With the exception of the last employer, I had worked very hard for them for over a year, and in one case on and off over several years. I worked and gave everything I had and yet something happened and obviously it was not enough.

My current employer knows about my last employer sacking me. Something happened today, something good I had done and was being acknowledged for, to which I cheekily asked my boss that if I ever do anything that she felt I overstepped the mark, to please speak to me about it and not to just sack me. Bless her, she was appalled at the thought and it was sweet the way she assured me she was not going to sack me. On the whole, this employer is not difficult. Actually, she is very kind and good at growing her business. A rather good state of affairs and reasons to be cheerful.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Hibernating Cook

Holidailies 2012
Since my busy and emotional day on Tuesday, and apart from a few hours out to work, I seem to have been sleeping since. Probably at least 28 hours in the past 48 hours asleep. What is it when I am used to sleeping six hours or so in a 24 hour period to suddenly more than double.

Today is a longer day at work and I'm at the clinic on Saturday too so I guess I have prepared for that in advance.

Yesterday for therapy, and as Aldi have a special offer again on parsnips, I made a gorgeous spicy parsnip soup. Some of which will do me for work today. The other day I found roasted peanuts without any salt or added oil in Waitrose and ground those in my mini food mixer to make homemade peanut butter. Most of the shop bought peanut butters contain sugar which I find rather unnecessary especially when without salt is also surprisingly palatable. My son wrote poison on the label the last time I made peanut butter which shows what he thinks of it. I redeemed myself last night by making oven chips that were not my usual potato wedges and looked like regular chip shop chips and tasted like fine dining chips! Served with oven baked fish easy going from the box and tomato halves gently fried and mushy peas. Basically, fish chips and mushy peas with tomatoes. Rather tasty.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Migraine history

Owning a Triumph Herald as a family car in the latter part of the 1970s was not glamorous or chic although they are now collectors cars. It was a tiny two door car for our growing family of five, bought very cheaply as our first car in the UK. It was tatty but this is not really about the car but about the people inside and my migraines.

One summer we loaded up the car with two adults and three children ranging from 7 to 15 (with me about 14), the camping gear, and most of the supplies we would need for a week away camping across the country. I was always ever hopeful that maybe this time we would have fun and there would not be any arguments, but still full of trepidation should it go pear-shaped. We finally set off no-one else knowing I had a migraine brewing. There was no point me saying because for years now my mother had lost her patience with my migraines so I tried to put on a happy face and settle back.

The car motion, the lack of oxygen despite the inevitable draughts, the heat and the arguing from my mother did not bode well. After some hours we stopped by the side of the road for a break and my mother, with her "let's pretend we are a jolly and happy family" cracked open the flasks and a tin of cold rice pudding. Mention rice pudding to me now and I love the stuff, especially out of a tin! Back then was another matter. If only I could keep to myself and not eat and drink I felt I could do this journey. Rice pudding on top was an unforeseen nightmare. With my mother you could not refuse. If she said jump then you did so regardless if you were stood next to a cliff. I can not remember if I told her at that point I had a migraine or whether I dared not say.

The cold, wet and slimy rice pudding could not be refused. To refuse was an insult to my mother's happy family mode. So I ate. Trying to shovel the sickly revolting spoonfuls into my mouth and swallow. I must have been ashen and almost green in the face and then the inevitable happened. I threw it all up. We were outside on the road so it did not make a mess of the car or clothes or anything else. My mother shouted and accused me of doing it on purpose. The shouting went on and I still felt very ill, though, as is often the case, I felt slightly better for throwing up. This would not have been a two way conversation, you could never do that with my mother which is a pity as that is just what she needed. No-one dared. Not even my father.

My mother was so angry that I had ruined our family holiday that she ordered us all to pack up, in the car and back home. I was under strict orders not to throw up again despite going back into the motion of the car and the lack of oxygen and the atmosphere you could cut with a knife. That was the end of that particular holiday.

I have had migraines on and off since at least I was four years old though they have developed and changed over the years. Perhaps they were not so bad when I was very little and just meant a few hours out of my life. I remember an aunt giving me crushed ice to swallow when I was about five to help settle my throwing up. I can not remember much about them until about the age of ten or eleven when I was taken to the doctors but there was nothing that was apparently wrong or could be fixed.

There was one time though which I remember clearly and was amazing. My mother was nice to me. She looked after me during a migraine and mopped my brow with a cold cloth. She sent out for expensive pre-cooked chicken to help me back to eating, and also lemon ice lollies to help settle my tummy. By this time the migraine had been raging for two days. She even put me into her bed. She was loving and kind to me. It was amazing and memorable.

The next month I had a huge migraine that was it. The crazy mother was in residence and I was told I was not going to pull a fast one and was abandoned to elsewhere. She was never nice to me again during a migraine. In evaluating my life I sometimes wonder if I had migraines psychologically or sub-consciously on purpose just so that I can get back that nice mother. You see, I neatly blame myself for my migraines.

By this time I was having huge migraines that would last for days and be debilitating. It was often thought that my migraines were tuned into hormones as I would have a big one monthly and then other ones in between and I had that pattern since about 10 or 11. Since I did not start my periods until gone 16 I am not sure that can be entirely valid.

By the age of sixteen, when I had left home, they were worse than ever. Somehow I managed to keep down jobs despite being seriously incapacitated every few weeks. Toilet floors I have known should become a blog post of its own! Then about the age of 17 the visual disturbances ramped up and were so disturbing I took myself to hospital where they were puzzled too and not much help. Back then the visual disturbance part of a migraine was not so widely acknowledged. My vision splits into quarters with the top right and bottom left quarters of each eye blacking out. In order to see I have to move my head. After a two or thee day migraine I think I can physically feel my brain, like a walnut rattling in its shell. After a migraine I feel jubilation and relief that it is over. During, I have sometimes sunk into tears from the pain which never ever helps and only makes it worse. I want to bash my head against a wall and for it all to end. I throw up and I cannot keep anything down. I need to be in the dark and a cold cloth on my brow is essential.

All in all I've not had much from the medical people. Other people go to the docs with a headache and they are referred for brain scans and what I consider to be special consideration. (And quite rightly so.) However, as soon as they hear of my migraine history that is it, end of story. Sometimes I think I am going to die and no-one cares but each time I survive. I have tried out beta blockers and in recent times specialist migraine medications. All to no avail. For a while I had respite with cranial osteopathy and also had exclusion diets. The best medication has been a simple paracetamol taken in the very early stages before I start throwing up. After that nothing would stay down anyway.

I have had an extremely good run on cutting sugar and alcohol out of my diet. I tried it for just a month at first on the advice of a lovely friend and voila. Amazing. Almost no migraines over the year or so I kept to the regime. Since my mother was ill and dying and I was running around I fell off the bandwagon a bit and been on and off ever since. Curiously I have had a lot more headaches and the occasional migraine since.

I'm not a good migraine patient - I've had them for about 45 years! I would like to be cosseted and looked after but in reality I am best being left alone to get on with it. Maybe because that is how I have learnt to adapt. Or it is just me.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


Holidailies 2012
Below is my own attempt at ASCII art. Or rather, I used a generator and then, with a bit of effort, modified it to my own taste. What is there to say about today's date of 12th of the 12th of 12 that hasn't already been said elsewhere? The only thing I think we can say is that is a very interesting pattern and worthy of note. Oh yes, and thanks to the scheduler, this post has been posted at 12.12am too.

  1111    2222222222          1111     2222222222         1111     2222222222    
 1:::1   2::::::::::22       1:::1    2::::::::::22      1:::1    2::::::::::22  
1::::1   2:::222222:::2     1::::1    2:::222222:::2    1::::1    2:::222222:::2 
11:::1   22222     2:::2    11:::1    22222    2:::2    11:::1    22222    2:::2 
  1::1              2::2      1::1              2::2      1::1              2::2 
  1::1              2::2      1::1              2::2      1::1              2::2 
  1::1            222::2      1::1            222::2      1::1            222::2  
  1::l        222:::22   DM   1::l        222:::22   DM   1::l        222:::22   
  1::l     22:::222      DM   1::l     22:::222      DM   1::l     22:::222     
  1::l    2::22               1::l    2:::22              1::l    2:::22        
  1::l   2:::2                1::l   2:::2                1::l   2:::2             
  1::l   2:::2                1::l   2:::2                1::l   2:::2             
11::::11 2:::2     22222    11::::11 2:::2     22222    11::::11 2:::2     22222
1::::::1 2::::22222::::2    1::::::1 2::::22222::::2    1::::::1 2::::22222::::2
1::::::1 2:::::::::::::2    1::::::1 2:::::::::::::2    1::::::1 2:::::::::::::2
11111111 222222222222222    11111111 222222222222222    11111111 222222222222222

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Hit the road Jack

Holidailies 2012
It is currently minus 2 degrees centigrade, so not that cold, and I'll soon be out for a bit of a drive across the country to see a friend. It is a shame that it takes something so serious as a terminal illness to pull one's finger out and to meet up. I am very much looking forward to visiting again which makes it about twice so far in less than a month.

Driving is so enjoyable when it is not to a work deadline and is across beautiful country and the destination is desirable. Coo, a quick look out the window reveals thick frost on the car windows. I'll make sure I am wearing winter gear this time and that I have supplies in the car.
             ."` _     :  _  `.  .:::;.    .::'
         jgs '--(_)------(_)--' `      '::'

Hats off to Joan Stark's ASCII art. How fab that she has her own Wikipedia page. I think it takes a certain brain to see and create in this way. After leaving such a legacy on the web I hope she is enjoying life somewhere.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Sunday Surprise

Holidailies 2012
One of those days that just does not pan out as expected. I was going to have a girly day out with one friend who has been having a lot to deal with lately but then she was really not up to it despite a reasonable amount of persuasion. I was then left with a whole day unassigned and oh, how nature abhors a vacuum! Another friend is having one brick wall after another and I discovered that one might think that certain things shouldn't happen in life but I am constantly shocked and surprised. It seems that dying with a terminal illness is not enough to persuade BT they should connect a telephone line as a priority. Other options are sadly less available due to the nature of erratic mobile reception.

Later on Mr Doris knew to try and snap me out of my feeling down and persuaded me to go out to a nearby Arboretum that we have not been to before. It was a lovely drive but cold and wet in the park so we soon hightailed out to the pub where I had yummy mulled wine. Most festive.

After we came back I did some more research and then felt exhausted and napped on the sofa to be woken later by daughter coming for an unexpected visit. After a nice chat I ended up doing her some overdue treatments and then we ate some leftovers for dinner. Daughter was teasing her younger brother that she fancied a sundae from McDs but he wasn't interested in taking the small walk to get any. Then I threw a swerve ball and offered them sundaes each for pudding and put my coat and boots on and went and bought them. I never do small things like that so they were really appreciative. Silly appreciative. That was really nice, and fun.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The ex-Ex

Holidailies 2012
Following up on our visitor of the last couple of days it would be safe to say that I am angry, disappointed and still processing. It all started with my son and I picking up his birth father from the station on Friday. After more than four years since his father made the effort to visit him, son has grown into a young man and they both pretty much walked past each other. At least I was there to draw attention between them and the reunion was sweet enough. In the car home I was sorting out the housekeeping of train times home to find that the Ex had his return train booked for less than twenty four hours later with all sorts of excuses regarding getting ready for work and giving someone else a lift. The tickets that were booked in advance. I do not know how son felt hearing that his father was not even going to stay the previously promised two days. After four years it is sad that was all he could manage.

Over the dinner table there was good enough banter going on, and the Ex was revealing his plans in the next couple of years to emigrate the country to live across the world. I caught son's eye and wondered if he understood what was being said and felt for him, wondering how he was doing. At that point I realised so many things. This was the man who I had always thought that family was the most important thing to him (even though he had got things wrong so many times), and gives so much lip service to family, and yet he was prepared to swan off out of the reach of all his kids and potential grandchildren. He was not providing a potential holiday destination for his kids he was looking after himself. He was the centre of his own universe. I had a thirteen year part time relationship with this man and finally broke it off back then because I knew I wanted my kids and I to be the centre of his universe and that was never going to happen because of his other commitments. That night I realised that Mr Doris is the centre of my universe in that he is my axis from which I am able to fly and return, and that the kids and I are the centre of his universe. We are still very independent people, just that we know where our priorities lay.

The next morning son cooked the Ex breakfast whilst I decorated the Christmas tree before going out to work with a client. They went for a walk round town, had lunch out and ended back at ours. Sat again at our table, son helped me to place the rest of the pieces from a magnetic poetry set onto a magnetic board, whilst putting together a rather creative set of words. There was general chatter and then son launched into a memory about one Christmas when his "parents" gave him a booby present in a large box. As he was saying I was dreading the punch line thinking the worst when he added that we then brought out the X-box he had wanted. It was like he was saying to his birth father, look here, this is what you have never done for me. I wonder if the Ex heard that, I hope he did.

Never again will I facilitate the Ex to come and stay. Whilst he swans off around the world spending money that he has never, ever offered to support his youngest son, and can not be bothered to give time to him, I have washed my hands of him. Son is old enough now to organise whatever he wants for himself. Of course I would help and support my son if needed but I won't ever make the same efforts again. 

Saturday, 8 December 2012


Holidailies 2012
That's the age of my oldest client, Lillian. That would make her born 1918, before the end of World War I. When women still wore long skirts, although they were starting to shorten for some. The year the Russian royal family were shot. Lillian lived through the second world war, nursed the war wounded, made toys for the war orphaned at Christmas, served in the houses of the gentry, married and had children. As she loved her parents, her children in turn love her. Lillian is bed bound and yet lives in her own house with carers and mainly her daughter doing all that is needed.

For a year now I have been in and out to see this beautiful lady, her body all scrunched up. Her face always a picture when I arrive and so pleased to see me. Like many people who have served, Lillian is more genteel than the aristocracy! Today I was booked to give her a body massage. In effect, as her skin is so fragile and easily bruises, it is more like a gentle body rub, working each of her limbs with a very good moisturiser and then onto her torso discreetly keeping her private bits private although she is of an age now she does not care what she shows I still go through a process of keeping her dignity. All the while, Lillian is sitting on the side of her bed as she finds that the most comfortable position. In order to reach her back and neck I bring fresh over-socks and put them on and climb into bed astride her. Lillian found that so funny last time when I teased her that I was not accustomed to getting into bed with my clients.

This time massaging her hands was a little more sad as I thought they are like the hands of a corpse as they are just skin and bone. With beautiful nails that seem to just blend into finger and bone. Before the massage today I removed all her whiskers using tweezers gently holding her skin taught. Like any woman, Lillian loves having all the face hairs removed and it seems I can do it relatively painlessly for her. I decided to do those today before the massage as I shall be back just before Christmas to give her a facial and to give her ears a good clean around and outside them. It seems the care workers do not do that sort of thing, nor will they do a simple foot soak yet they are paid to wash a client. They are also not allowed to take off their outside shoes apparently, and so walk into people's bedrooms with their outside shoes. The world has gone mad.

Naturally Lillian has a new audience for all her stories and I love hearing them again and again. It is quite a privilege.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Independent fingering

Holidailies 2012
I love it when pillow talk, after thirteen years of marriage, is snugly, smiley and a chuckle. Reviewing key aspects of the day, noting issues, both laughing over the same things, sharing hopes and expressing gratefulness for each other. Today, son's birth father is coming to visit him for the first time in four years and will be staying for the weekend. Mr Doris is delightful and enabling about such matters. I just find it odd when the Ex is around and I find it even more odd when he does not appear in the least bit curious to see his son during these vital growing up years.Thank goodness for Mr Doris, the best dad my son could have ever had.


Piano lesson yesterday revealed that my fingers do not all work. Or rather, are lazy and I've gotten used to not using them. I have at times in my life had typing as a large part of my professional work and yet I very adequately type with only my thumbs and first two fingers of both hands. Seems my piano playing wants to do the same thing, which is a little difficult when ten fingers are not always enough so one has to use them all and my pinkies keep wanting to fly up like I am holding the finest bone china tea cup in elegant company. Apparently I am not to stress over it and just exercise them a little each day, getting them to all work independently.


Yesterday evening in the cold, sleet and dark, my sister and I attended a candlelight ceremony at the local cemetery to remember those that have died this year or in recent times. My niece sang in the choir, a brass band played and there was a tree of lights switched on. It could have been a beautiful ceremony except there were too many thank you speeches for organising the event, not enough gravitas and it was just too cold and uncomfortable. How on earth the brass band coped with frozen fingers and lips I just do not know. It still seems strange that our mother is gone and that it is already eighteen months since she passed.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Fav holiday food

Holidailies 2012
My new favourite holiday food are soft shell crab. I discovered them last year in Phuket at a restaurant on the beach. It was a plate of crispy, garlicky, crab unctuousness. With small crabs or small pieces almost unidentifiable of which I was most unsure but as my local Thai guide highly recommended them that was one of the dishes. For which I am so glad.

Just a few weeks ago I was with my sister at a Yo-Sushi and there I had soft shell crab in a tiny wrap. It was a few mouthfuls of delicious moreishness and I was in heaven. Sometimes one tries something on holiday and then it is never the same back home, but on this occasion I was not disappointed.

Seafood is one of my most favourite foods. Lobster is a luxury and prawns are amazing, especially the proper big ones. I suppose it is the texture that appeals so much as well as that fresh clean taste. Regular crab is so yummy.

On the other hand, I do not do mussels, whelks and the like and am not overly keen on scallops. I guess that is the whole species of shell fish. I once tried smoked oysters and they were quite good but it might as well have been smoked bacon!

At Christmas I like experimenting and do not have a favourite food, apart from all the vegetables. I love lightly steamed Brussels sprouts and I think the key to help those less fond of them is to crisp up some finely chopped bacon and to sprinkle that on them. One year for Christmas dinner we had Surf and Turf; another year we had Indian takeaway bought the day before and reheated; on several years we have had turkey in brine which has been a magnificent success; on one or two years we had a turkey which I injected with my own baste (yum yum); last year we had a three bird roast in which I carried out the successful deboning of a chicken, a duck and a turkey and then resewed them up with stuffing. That was both beautiful and delicious. Cooking began so far in advance and it was worth it.

This year we are going very different and way out with Christmas Dinner - I am not going to cook. We are going to a friend. Oh my goodness and how amazing. Even though I love the hustle and bustle of planning and preparing a big Christmas dinner for everyone I am so looking forward to not doing any of it this year.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Pageviews, Cold, and Dust

Holidailies 2012
Blogger have some interesting stats available for: Now; Day; Week; Month; or All Time. Not that one can ever truly rely on stats as being correct as one can visit a site and it not register or one can be a returning visitor after just an hour and you register as a whole new visitor. Allowing for all that, it tickles me in the last day there were four page views of my blog in Kazakhstan and nine pages in Poland. In the last week, eight pages were viewed in Brazil.

Curiously, double the number of pages were viewed in the UK yesterday than in the US yet over the last week the figures flipped and the US have viewed more. In the last month, seventeen of my pages were viewed in Indonesia. I am in the UK and so these places strike me as far away, exotic and most of all non-English speaking.


It is early December and we have our heating on in the Mash household. Last winter the heating was only put on some time in January of this year. Could this be the cold winter promised?


On the decorations front, I have only gotten as far as as digging out the Christmas wreath and putting that on the front door. Seeing as we live in such a small apartment where space is at a premium I am a little perturbed to find the said wreath on a side counter not even put away from last year. Oops and eeks. This required some careful dusting before putting up. Luckily I was fastidious about carefully storing the rest away, and am still in two minds about getting them out. Bah humbug!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The middle ground

Holidailies 2012
Our lovely neighbour has her Christmas wreath up on her door, which is about four foot from our apartment door. I saw it for the first time yesterday, which is quite late for her, and it made me smile. So I feel it is my duty to get ours out too so that she can have that reciprocal smile when she comes out her door too.

This is extremely late for me - not even an advent calender is to be seen in our place. Very unusual. Admittedly, I have a lot on my mind that "I do not know how I feel" this year.

Driving to work yesterday, I realised that phrase "I do not know how I feel" had become part of my vocabulary this year. I have always been one of extremes, not quite black and white extremes I'd like to think, more of, you either did or you didn't and in that, it was either with excitement or not at all. My mother either made a mega obscene fuss of you or you were abandoned to the outer reaches of her universe. I have long wondered if my enthusiasm for whatever was a mirror of her ways, so yesterday I realised I had this new aspect of just saying "I do not know how I feel". More of a middle ground and that was absolutely fine.

That phrase was borne for me out of some particularly difficult experiences with someone in my life this year. Actually with two completely different people. I wonder if they are as confused and baffled by it all as I am. Rather than me drawing any decision or judgement on them or the situation I have decided to leave it at the "I do not know how I feel" stage. On the basis that least said soonest mended, not that I have any energy or desire to fix anything. Another new one for me - not feeling the need to mend.

Meanwhile the sale of our house* has fallen through in the last few days. Once again. Over five years we have had the house on and off the market and now at a greatly reduced price. Another buyer has stepped back up, at an even lower price. Releasing that house before Christmas would wipe our slate clean. Using the phrase "I do not know how I feel" has helped me through this because at times when I let go of that phrase then the enormity of all the negatives weigh heavy on me in a hugely depressing way. At least the middle ground allows me to skate through and still have some happy times. Feeling depressed does not.

*This is the house that we once loved and lavished. We downsized and could not sell due to the economy, then we left and rented it out. The first family screwed us over and the second were lovely but decided to leave and the house has now been empty for nearly six months leaving us paying a mortgage plus rent on where we live now plus all the sundry costs. As we "own" a house we do not live in, we are not entitled to any help. Then there are all the accruing interest charges on the debts from doing up the house. "I do not know how I feel" helps!

Monday, 3 December 2012


We all carry baggage of some sort. May try not to but it is inevitable. Some have beautiful, sleek items, some have joyful affairs stuffed full of love, some have pain and illness, and so forth. Mostly I bet, we have a combination to reflect who we are. I try to think of my baggage assortment and all I can see is a ratty, tatty odd ball assortment with one or two gems of potential.

Maybe it was always those gems of potential, or an inner faith if you like, that kept me going through my growing-up years and since. Not that I sit and wallow in my childhood and blame my parents and in fact it is the opposite and far too much that I blame myself time and again for every thing that goes wrong. In the past I have written a fair deal about my mother, who passed away last year, about her undiagnosed Aspergers* qualities that in her may have contributed to her psychological and physical violence towards us all. I have written a bit about my father's complicity in it as he too suffered and then also my brother's added violence towards me as the convenient family scapegoat.

All that adds up to quite a bit of baggage. Some of which has been processed through counselling and blogging and the love of good people around me. I may not talk or write about it much these days but all that stuff is still there. A rag of a rug ever present under my feet that I fear less will be pulled out from under me, but still often fear. It is very difficult living life always being on guard, trying to say things right and not make a mistake, always taking on board the blame, and many more self-destroying behaviours. All this without actually looking or behaving like I am a creepy-trying-to-do-right person. And there you go, I can kick myself for that behaviour too.

It would be easy to say to snap out of it. Very easy. If only.

*Aspergers: please note that I do not for one minute say that people with Aspergers are necessarily violent or horrible. What I do say is that my mother's behaviour is consistent with the diagnosis. She struggled through life trying to cope with it herself and her own violent childhood, though mainly, she was in a world of her own not aware of how others were affected by her behaviour. She was never kept in check (my dad, her husband could have lovingly done that) and so knew no boundaries. I have written a few posts, this being one Parents with aspergers and on account of the many emails I have received over the years about it and what people say, I shall start to put in some labelling on the blog so that other childhood incidents can be more easily found. The reason for that, is that when one goes through this sort of living madness, to read that you are not alone is a Eureka moment. To know it is not all your fault.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Party Texting

Holidailies 2012
Am just back from a fabulous night out at the work's Christmas party. It was a Chinese banquet with party games, karaoke and dancing. We rarely get to chat at work so before the music went up so loud we were able to talk and discover and share. It was illuminating. I don't sing but even I got up as a sort of backing singer for our group. There was much to be part of and to enjoy, even if one doesn't like all the music being played. So why does one of our number insist on chatting on Facebook instead of interacting with real life people in the here and now?

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Custard kisses

Holidailies 2012
How could I not write about Prince William kissing me? Not because I am a royalist or am particularly bothered by titles or anything like that but because he is so darned handsome and suave. And it was the way he kissed me.

This is a very hot topic for me right now as it happened, just a short while ago. In my sleep! I am more Prince Charle's age and grew up in Australia lusting after him as the desirable prince who would sweep me off my feet. As I have gotten older I find I have gotten pervier and look at much younger men in a sinful way because of course I am still only a teen or my early twenties inside my head. Prince Charles holds nothing for me now, however his oldest son is a confection.

A group of us were on a visit somewhere. This included the darling Mr Doris. Prince William was saying hello to various people and he came up to me. Still sitting (I am so not a Royalist even in my dreams!) I smiled and held my hand up to shake hands and say hello. He took my hand, turned it over so that he gently but firmly held my fingers with the back of my hand towards him, at the same time he swept down onto his knees and with his other hand cupped my hand, he looked deep into my eyes holding my gaze, said something like "Hello my dear" as if he was so delighted to see me especially and then kissed my hand. That was it, a short sweet moment in time. He stood up and went to say hello to someone else. His wife was also there and saying hello to people too.

In the next moment my head slunk into Mr Doris' lap and I pulled the paper programme over my face to block out the world, the event and any more of Prince William. It was a perfect and beautiful moment in time to treasure. It was lovely to snuggle into the warmth of Mr Doris' lap. I could overhear someone saying this was a normal reaction to Prince William and someone else saying he knows what he is doing. I didn't care, it was lovely. After a while I passed into a short, deep sleep and then awoke to see the others were being given a lesson by Prince William on making custard in a tin mug. Everyone was stirring their own mugs of almost gruel like custard. I'm not sure what I thought of the thin, lumpy custard or how he had become a celebrity chef type person.

As I awoke a short while ago, I was snuggled up to Mr Doris' back and smiling. A lovely start to December.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Holidailies are coming

The 13th Annual Holidailies no less though I couldn't find this free community project in 2010 and did my own December Dailies. I first came across it in 2007 and took part as an "At Home" participant which meant I did not have to go and post updates to the Holidailies site. This year however, in honour of doing everything as differently as possible and it being a productive year one way or another, I am going to be a fully signed up member.

Starting December 1st it is best to sign up now. Wahey, starts this Saturday.

Last Saturday I discovered from a close friend that I have become a grumpy old woman! Yesterday in the bank, the cheerful teller beamed at me like a best friend and cheerfully asked me if I had done most of my Christmas preparations. I quickly replied not a thing and I don't care. After being taken aback she laughed and said she was glad she was not the only one. Funny thing is, anyone who knows me knows how much I love a lot of the little details of Christmas: the decorations; snow; food and advent calenders; Christmas Stockings; and the good wishes; so it really was a blunt display of bah humbug. (Which, with the help of the useful blog search facility shows that I am also not adverse to either!)

On Sunday I volunteered as a Marshall at our local town's switch on of the Christmas lights. Silly me did not realise when I offered to help back in September that I would not yet be in the festive spirit and that I would be subject to Christmas Carols from 2pm through to 6pm. I had my face painted and charmingly smiled and chatted and Christmas bopped. I still wasn't feeling it.

Maybe Holidailies 2012 will do it. Bring it on!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Snappedy de do da

Yesterday 18 year old son did not snap at me. Not once. He smiled. He talked. He shared. He even answered a question. All before going out to work in the morning. I sit here typing almost with bated breath - will he emerge this morning as Mr Jekyll or Mr Hyde?

On the other hand, 23 year old daughter who has been so so lovely of late, and was admittedly suddenly struck down by a bad throat yesterday, and for whom I had really pushed the boat out by driving across the country the day before to rescue her because the UK train network sucks and she needed to be at her job by a certain time, was so unnecessarily short tempered with me. Very snappy on what could otherwise have been a momentous day.

Yesterday, I went down the road to do piano practise and had an impromptu lesson before late shift work. Both hands are working together, albeit simple notes, and it feels great. Had the first black key yesterday which was F ♯, otherwise known as G ♭. That was just an accidental note in a short piece. The next practise piece was in the key of G Major which means it has F ♯ but then, bizarrely, did not have any F ♯ which I had just "learned". What is that teaching book trying to do? Starts to tell you about these lovely licquorice notes you get to stroke and then tells you in this first piece where they are not accidentals that you are not to play any. I am puzzled.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Ironing the edges of ones life

Hats off to a very lovely Saturday in the company of an old friend and just chilling out. A very special day topped off by reclining on a sofa with friend in her conservatory, chatting about life and times, looking out into the wide vista with dusk gathering across the gardens, river and fields, as the rain pelted down. A moment in time to be treasured.

♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡

Bit by bit over the last months I have been clearing and sorting aspects of my life. Simplifying. Cutting back either actively or by default. Some of it has not been done positively and has happened as those things fell off the edge of my ability to cope. There was never anything personal. It just was what it was and as long as others did not take offence then there was nothing that could not be mended in time. Am I sad that some things are beyond repair? I'm not sure and I don't know. Is it worth me being angry and upset about someone's action as a direct result of my non-availability? Rhetorical belly button gazing.

Bit by bit I've been taking positive actions to help me live in the here and now. To appreciate and love and enjoy right now. In the middle of the night I have discovered the call centre for my mobile is not 24 hours so I have to wait before I can telephone to ask them to switch off my voice mail. What is the point of having a voice mail service when it distresses me? When I do not manage the calls and (wrongly) feel under pressure all the time by its very presence. Bizarre when one realises that the mobile is part of my business. Better to switch it off now, and then to re-integrate it back when and if I am ready for it. The callers can always text and at least they do not have to pay for a phone call to an answerphone that is not answered.

Dealing with the email has been a long drawn out process. Unsubscribing from a million and one lists I seem to be on has been cathartic. Lists and Groups I truly believe are great are just overwhelming. There was a time a few weeks back when I thought I was seeing a bit of space and then all the Christmas related emails have ramped up even from lists I thought I had already carefully unsubscribed. Many email lists are just rubbish and unsubscribing would just ensure being added to many more lists so those have been left alone.There may come a time when I think starting over with yet another new email address might be the only way.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Piano Playing

And just like that, I am learning the piano. Again. It is years since I have played with both hands and decades since I had lessons as an adult. Starting again from scratch feels great. A sense of jubilation as first the right hand plays some notes and then the left hand plays, one after the other in time and notes correctly picked. My teacher plays the jolly accompaniment and I feel like I have achieved much being part of this music making.

We do not have a piano nor space for one, then I recall that in my lifetime I have bought and owned two pianos and ended up giving both away.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Intolerance all around

Today - November 20 is International Transgender Day of Remembrance 2012

When you look at this Memorial List and realise it is of some of those murdered in just the last twelve months it is gut wrenching. All those lives cruelly cut short due to intolerance and ignorance.

What should also be added to that list are those that kill themselves and who have, in effect, been constructively murdered by society around them.

I hear people give lip service to understanding but sadly I think there are not many. Trans is not a lifestyle choice and the sooner people truly realise the better.

Thank you to Anji for bringing this to my attention today.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Still dancing!

I can still move, shake my booty and dance. And the only two men who got up on the dance floor all evening were my darling Mr Doris and our 80 something neighbour who we took along for our other neighbour's 65th birthday. Mr 80 is a petite looking chap who scrubs up nicely and had some nice grooves - it was he and I who kicked off the dancing for the evening with an elegant little number.

Maybe I didn't join in with the "party" dances and their set moves and routines but I was there with anything freestyle. It was so much fun and just what the birthday girl needed was to know that her guests were having a blast.

Apparently Mr 80 hadn't danced for twenty years as his wife had been ill for so long and then died last year. He had such a grand time and looked so happy when we dropped him home again, as we all did. I just hope he is in good health this morning and it didn't finish him off - albeit with a smile on his face!

I could have danced all night ..... I could have danced all night and never ever stopped.....

Friday, 16 November 2012


Sat here eating a substantial healthy breakfast (1) at my desk .... shortly needing to switch off (2) to wash and shower for work .... solid clients (3) from 9am to gone 2pm with not a break (4) .... back home to help Mr Doris buy a 50th gift (5) for his brother .... need to take it easy tonight so I have the energy for all the socialising this weekend: a 50th tomorrow on the other side of the country and a 65th on Sunday back here. Such a social butterfly! LOL

  1. I do healthy these days, big style. From chia seeds to Acerola cherry juice to pomegranates which are currently four for 99p in Aldi! I even tried making my own peanut butter using a small herb grinder. It was a tad gritty and industrial as I over roasted the peanuts (64p from Aldi) and didn't remove all the red skins but I know exactly what is in it: from 200g of raw peanuts yielded 196g peanut butter which had just a little splash of olive oil added and barely a couple of pinches of salt. I'm looking forward to the next batch in a week or so - need to pace myself. This morning I had an avocado (50p from Lidl) sliced with the squeeze from a dried up lemon knocking around and pepper; with two slices of wholemeal toast with homemade peanut butter; two satsumas (bags were recently 69p from Aldi); and a weak black tea. I went for the slight caffeine on account of my day ahead.

  2. We used to only use standby. Mr Doris had assured me it cost nothing..... hmm! That myth is so busted. Shut down and off is where it is at these days. Not off at the wall, just at the equipment.

  3. Clients are at the clinic I work at so I am paid just a bare minimum. However, my boss has been amazing and put me through all sorts of training I could not have otherwise accessed and excitingly I am currently helping to trial out a new machine.  Busyness means clients which means employment which means higher pay.

  4. Modern day working laws in this country seem non-existent. If I can grab even a glass of water over the five hour period is down to me - as long as I tell a client to please hold on while I do so. Or if there is a gap but then at those times there is so much to be done including cleaning the room down before the next client. I tell you, we are probably more hygienic than a UK hospital!

  5. We live in a lovely small town with its own delicatessen. So I will help Mr Doris to choose some treats to go into a hamper and also some beers from the specialist ale shop. Mr Doris does not drink and he would have to rely on just the pretty pictures to guide him - at least I have drunk and enjoyed the real ales in the past and can give a convincing argument for one beer or the other!

I really must dash - the countdown had begun.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Duvet:Mattress:Husband Ratio

Nothing better than that feeling of lifting the duvet corner with its fullness filling my small hand, stepping into bed and sinking into the deep softness of the in-built mattress topper upon a firm mattress, and snuggling up to a warm and naked Mr Doris. Feels like I am sinking gently, cosseted in warmth and fabric and human touch. Feels safe.

This year has been amazing in some ways as change is good and there have been so many changes. On the other hand, so many tumultuous things have happened and are happening. Storms going on around me in other people's lives that impact me. Life can be so hard and just unfair at times. Bad things happen to good people - where is the karma in that?

A dear friend of many years is ill and after dealing with many difficulties in life is possibly terminal. The doctors have said it is so .... I just don't know how one lives with that knowledge. She is vibrant and very much alive. Who is to say what and how long? It is just not fair.

We started the year looking forward to a potential empty nest. That went pear shaped and moreso, delightfully, daughter has moved into the area and now lives just minutes away. The daughter I had previously shed many tears over on account of our diffcult relationship is amazing and wonderful. Son has changed careers already and now an apprentice will need to live with us another year on account of the economics of it all. At least he is gainfully employed - I'm not sure I could have coped much longer with him hiding out in his room playing games online.

Some aspects of my work are great and some, well, very sad. Mentally and emotionally this year I have been more fragile than ever. Resorting to an antidrepressant for the first time in my life. After 10 weeks and no sign of any benefits I came off them but hey, here's the great stuff - the side effects of coming off are still awful that weeks later I am still feeling it. In the place of drugs there have been some wonderful changes: a free of charge allotment to dig over - nothing like good solid exercise and turning the earth; going back to a no-sugar and no-alcohol diet; other diet improvements; and other exercise improvements. I had the feeling my GP was very impressed though I still have a way to go. Which reminds me, I have had a raft of tests and am still getting some other things sorted out.

Early next year I'll be fifty years old. For that I have vowed to get myself in good condition and sorted out. Despite the financial quagmire we are still in there are many aspects I can already tick off as a result of improvements and efforts this year: dentist - check; lose weight - check; better nutrition - check; exercise - check; wardrobe to be proud of - check; decent shoes - check; and I'm sure a few more. More are in hand such as improving libido!

As for the ratio between Duvet:Mattress:Husband I rather think the ratio is actually between that and the rest of my life. Thank goodness for Mr Doris and our lovely bed. Each time I lift those covers and step in I feel a sense of relief and calmness. An appreciation for the snuggliness of all three and the sanctuary they provide.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Joining the dots

The last few weeks have felt particularly sluggish. Nothing specific and yet almost right across the board except in one notable area: show me an empty chariot for someone else's cause or business and I am right on in there. Never mind that my own life and income is sad and wilting, that I am feeling tired and miserable and sorry for myself. If there is something that I can do to help and the cause is worth the effort then I am leaping aboard with little hesitation. It strikes me that I am good for other people and at times quite questionable to myself.

It is a facet of me and how I operate which I know I do not want to eliminate so I do not think I will ever really change on that score: I just like to help and be useful. Like a lot of us really.

These days I am not feeling too fond of the ideology of karma, that what you do unto others comes back to you. Simply because too many bad things keep happening to good people and this is not stacking up too well in my mind. Karma might be useful when thinking about some sort of cosmic law for the bad things people do but it seems less and less relevant when the argument is flipped.

Perhaps when I take up the reins of someone else's chariot I am escaping my own life - that is the usual sub-conscious reasoning. Or perhaps I am looking for some sort of magic wand that will make everything right for me if I help make things right for other people?

After these last weeks and months of treacle could it be that somehow I have managed a double backflip with a triple twist landing with a certain amount of aplomb? The wheels are in motion in my life once again and I am very hopeful. Hope and Faith should have been my middle names as these seem irrepressible despite layers of depression heaped upon at times. Instead of me having to battle away, a proposition has come knocking on my door and one which I very much welcome. It would combine me riding someone else's chariot with being able to ride my own. A neat little answer to a business conundrum. It all feels good, looks good and sounds good. I don't have to work by myself, and will have the structures of someone else's enterprise combined with bringing in my own speciality and being able to develop.

It is a shot of confidence. I can see myself receiving substantial cheque payments for excellent services rendered. A win-win situation. This weekend should see something developing as long as I keep clear headed and provide information needed for a targeted email. Next week may start bearing fruit, or maybe it will become apparent in due course.

As ever in my life, I am aware of another big change or development and the fanfares that surround it. I am aware that in the past things have changed quite drastically and what was, no longer is. Just like that. Perhaps it is like being in a clothes shop and trying on different outfits, liking something so much thinking this is "the" outfit, only to take it off and hang it back up again. Maybe that is all it is and maybe that is an OK approach to life and I have been just too serious about it all.

My life is exciting and interesting, but then whose isn't in their own ways? There are amazing people in my life and I have been blessed on that score. Also, somewhere in my life there must be an attic with my picture because here I am in my 50th year and for some reason I am looking better than I feel I have ever looked. Which is pretty darned useful since I am now working in the beauty industry. Sure I am aging and could do with some better skincare, but on the whole, I can still get by without makeup and usually do though am transformed with a lick of powder and brow colour and lippy.

It is coming up to a year since my mother died, not yet, but soon. This is a new landmark in my life. This week I went to the funeral of a child and the wails of his mother were piercing. Another friend's son who was lost is finally found. So naturally I think about my own son and my own shortness with him over various issues and how I should be grateful my son is neither dead nor lost. Then magically out of the blue something shifts. He communicates. And now, he has landed a job with which he is happy and is good for his confdence. He starts next Monday. Oh please let this work out for him too.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Are we creating a monster with Kony 2012?

When I first watched the Kony 2012 video I noticed it was 30 minutes long and had to switch it off for another time though watched it long enough to hear the interesting snippet stating that there were more people on Facebook than there were alive across the world two hundred years ago. Food for thought.

This morning, when I could have laid in bed a bit longer except the postie woke us on the doorbell, I watched Kony 2012 and was captured. It is slick, well produced from a visual and audio point of view and well, simplistic. It is made by a US Non Governmental Organisation Invisible Children and has a call to action to sign the petition to the US government; share the video and amongst other activities to "Cover the night" on April 20th - again aimed at across the US. It is compelling and I felt like I wanted to do my bit, to share and to spread the word. My finger hovered over the Facebook button and the desire to share, but I also wanted to know more.

Previously I had heard about the African child soldiers but hadn't really absorbed it. The Kony 2012 video made me look a bit further. Back in the 1990s I remember the genocides in Eastern Europe and how I had misguidedly thought we couldn't possibly have another genocide in this world, that we wouldn't let it happen, and then news was coming out - it looked like a genocide, it sounded like a genocide but at first it wasn't called a genocide. And I did nothing. All my public outrage did nothing constructive and then after the event it is called a genocide and we had let it happen.

What could we do when faced with this news? All comfortable and cosy to some extent in our lives. The Kony 2012 video has a very interesting inverted triangle logo and explains how traditionally we have money and power at the top pointy area of the triangle but that with the power of the masses at the widest part of the triangle the balance of power could be shifted. How we can make a difference by being aware and making a noise. This is, I think, a very powerful message to us all. And I one I think, despite the critics of the Kony 2012 video, we would do well to remember.

In my search to find out a bit more, such that one can from our ability to hit a few buttons on a search engine and to eat whatever one is served up, I find some useful critiques. WarChild has a response which suggests the video is about five years too late and that much has already been done. It compliments the makers of Kony 2012 for bringing this issue to the masses in such a short period of time, and in a way is sorry they were not able to do that in all the years they have been going. They reiterate this is still ongoing though and much still needs to be done especially in helping with the rehabilitation of those involved.

National Geographic has a post from a writer View from North Uganda which refers to a former child soldier Anywar Ricky who is now a director of a local Ugandan organisation Friends of Orphans. Mr Ricky says that he is concerned that the work of the Ugandan government, it's own local organisations and Peace Talks in 2006 are sidelined in the Kony 2012 video and that much good has already been done. After all, Kony is said to already be out of Uganda and operating in nearby countries instead!  This article also recognises the good the Kony 2012 video brings by focusing on the issues but asks that the focus is on building a better Uganda.

The Independent blogs has one from Musa Okwonga titled, Stop Kony, yes, But don't stop asking questions  in which he talks about the irrelevance of this campaign to a country where Kony is already gone. He talks about the simplicity of the Kony 2012 video and asks us to question the role of others such as the President Museveni who has been in power as long as Kony has been in action. After all, if our Prime Minister Cameron had this sort of atrocity going on during his watch he would not still be in power over twenty years later.

Some Christian writers have criticised the Kony 2012 video saying that it is not for us to seek revenge and that retribution is in the hands of the Lord. Ultimately, maybe so, but should we turn a blind eye in the mean time. Reminds me of the "joke" regarding a flood and a person climbing on the roof of their house and when a boat comes along to save them refuses to get on board saying my Lord will save me and then another vehicle comes to help and is refused on the same basis and then finally a helicopter is also refused in favour of the belief that his Lord will save him. The guy is drowned and up in heaven asks his Lord why he wasn't saved and the Lord says I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what more did you want? But I digress.

Finally Al Jazeera has an article by Adam Branch: Dangerous ignorance: The hysteria of Kony 2012 which raises the most worrying concerns that the Kony 2012 video is encouraging the go-ahead for US military involvement in Uganda at a time when oil has been recently found. That possibly the Invisible Children organisation is a pawn in a power game which has nothing to do with protecting the children and everything to do with money and power. A short quote from this article:
In terms of activism, the first step is to re-think the question: Instead of asking how the US can intervene in order to solve Africa's conflicts, we need to ask what we are already doing to cause those conflicts in the first place. How are we, as consumers, contributing to land grabbing and to the wars ravaging this region? How are we, as US citizens, allowing our government to militarise Africa in the name of the "War on Terror" and its effort to secure oil resources?
Overall in the number of articles and comments I have read, has come across an indignation against the US and its so-called militant kids and that by their simplistic actions they are demonstrating a white supremacy over a black nation. To some extent, one can see that the Kony 2012 video might be a creating a monster in its supporters blindly listening to just that viewpoint and thinking they know best and working in a way that does not provide real help. Or will it?

Coming back to the Kony 2012 video I am very curious about the world we live in and the way we choose the easy option of turning a blind eye, or else simplistic answers such as doing a "Facebook share", or signing an online petition. Mass action is important, and yes, it certainly feels good to know one has taken part in a mass action. Others can look at it and say it is superficial and self-serving, and to some extent it may well be that. Still, we surely have to do something don't we? Some people will not watch the Kony 2012 video; will not watch the news; and will not try to find out more about anything. I think whatever we do, we should always question it.