Bits and Bobs

Well, sadly, all my seedlings died. That is normal for me though. I’m just not great at seeds. I’m better with small plants, and have just planted two sage and one thyme plants in the garden, and the mint in a pot. Mint is not allowed in the garden. It’s such a thug. When it really gets going even in the pot it tries to root in any pots next to it. But I do love it, and the smell.

The old doorbell battery finally stopped working, so I have fitted the new one. I managed to sync it with the ringer – very pleased about that – and have fitted the new pusher thing to the front door. Little things do help me feel better about stuff.

My back is improving but slowly. Went to the hospital today for nerve conduction tests. Unpleasant. It turns out it’s not carpal tunnel syndrome, but cubital tunnel syndrome, which I think is basically nerves in the elbow being crunched. Hmm. Will see if the information gets to the consultant before I have the ultrasound/x-ray/steroid injection next week, and then it’s the week after that I see him. I’m relieved they found something, because I always feel such a fraud. Imposter syndrome, I think they call it. I certainly felt like that at work, always terrified somebody was going to discover I was crap at everything. I wasn’t actually crap at everything, though. Just felt like it.

Hubby’s new hi-fi was fitted yesterday. It all went well and he is very, very happy. The only problem was a technical one, and didn’t affect his music playing. We had access to the wireless network in the lounge, but no wired network in the study. It took me till this morning to work it out, and one of the ethernet cables wasn’t plugged in at all. Not just not where it should be, but not at all. Anyway, once I thought it through, and found it, we had access to the internet, the network, the lot. Hooray. Satisfying, if frustrating yesterday.

So now we have a gardener who comes fortnightly, a cleaner who also comes fortnightly, and a window cleaner who comes every two months. All jobs we are just not physically able to do any more, and I have actually been urging hubby to get a cleaner and a window cleaner for some years. The gardening was my domain, so I didn’t need to persuade anybody! All of them do a wonderful, wonderful job.

Today at about 1 pm, we had thunder and lightning. Only one clap/flash, but boy it was loud! in May!

The cat is currently trying to herd me into the lounge, where she clearly thinks I ought to be at this time of night (6 pm).

Not a terribly good photo of me wearing the top some of the grandchildren gave me for my birthday. This is before my post-lockdown visit to the hairdresser . . .

Things are happening!

The oven has continued to work ok, so that’s a mystery.

The decorator has been and we should get the quote shortly. All starting to fall into place now.

I have an appointment for a nerve conduction test, and another appointment for ultrasound and x-ray scans of my hand, when they will also do a steroid injection into my thumb. Then I get to see the consultant the following week to decide what to do (joint fusion or joint replacement).

Today my back is dreadful. I’ve had back problems for over 40 years, surgery 28 years ago which helped, but am all bent over to one side. It’s improved from this morning, when I was bent over sideways and frontways as well! still, painkillers, hot/cold packs, not doing anything for more than 20 minutes, and tomorrow it should be better. If not, I’ll try and get to the osteopath this week.

Part of the “not doing anything for more than 20 minutes” included a potter round the garden, in the rain. Took a few pictures because the colours cheer me up so much! and made me feel better even though I couldn’t manage a shower this morning. (I’ll deffo have one tomorrow, though!)

Recovering

So. The fridge is working fine, and the fan oven mysteriously just started to work again all by itself. Strange.

However, hubby’s hi-fi is definitely dead. So we’re getting new kit. No small matter, and he’s very excited about it.

Visited a new cattery this morning. The one we used and loved for many years was Compulsorily Purchased (it’s a thing) because of the HS2 railway. Very sad. So she went to a different one which the cat liked – I can tell because she came back happy and not clingy. That one is now closed because, well, Covid. The owners were a bit anti-social, but the staff looking after the animals were just lovely.

So we had to find a new one. It’s excellent, although the satnav let me down badly. It took 35 minutes to travel 9 miles there, and 12 minutes to get home. But now I know. They have a wooden log in each cat-room, standing on end, leaning into the corner. For a scratching post. Genius! I’ve asked where they get them. Our cat has ruined our carpet. But only in certain places.

I slept for most of yesterday, and half of Sunday, but am feeling a little less shaky and knackered today. Found a nice easy crochet pattern for a shawl which will be good to do when I’m fixed. https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/one-row-fishnet-shawl

The weather here in the English Midlands is changeable, to say the least! today we’ve had the complete gamut. Rain, wind, sunshine, cold, warm. British weather, I guess. Sigh.

The planning for the decorating of the lounge has moved up a notch. Waiting for a decorator to come along and quote us. Exciting.

And May The 4th (fourth, if your first language is not English!) be with you all 😉

What a week.

On Sunday, at 5 pm, we had a power outage. Everything went off. The house alarm was beeping irritatingly. We checked the fuse box, and managed to get the lights working, but no power sockets, except in the study (but only temporarily).

So we arranged by phone (which is strongly discouraged, they kept saying Look at our website, which we couldn’t because we had no access to the internet) for an engineer to call the next day. We were so relieved when he turned up at lunchtime because we had no hot water or heating, and we were cold.

He whizzed about through the house, and the short version is that he got everything working again, apart from hubby’s hifi (oh NO!), the fan oven and one fridge. We are very fortunate to have two fridges – when we moved in together we’d lived separately for a number of years since our respective divorces – and an ordinary oven as well as a fan oven. He said that the fan oven and the fridge would need repair/replacement. He/we think there was a power spike.

I ordered a new fridge, and had to think about the oven repair for a day or two because I just can’t cope with too much going on.

The fridge was due to be delivered today, and was actually on the van, when I thought it might be prudent to check the fuse in the fridge plug. It was blown, and a new fuse did the trick. So I phoned the people delivering the new fridge, slightly (very) panicky, to cancel it, and they were fine. So that saved us a bunch of money.

Meanwhile, the hifi man was due this morning (Wednesday) and hubby dealt with him (hifi is actually broken), the lawn man was due this morning and just got on with it, and the cleaner we have just organised arrived unexpectedly, wanting to do the 6 hour deep clean we were expecting next week. I wasn’t even dressed. So I rushed upstairs and threw on my “working” clothes, no shower, nothing. When I say “rushed”, that means I struggled up the stairs, cursing silently to myself. When I say “working” I mean clothes I wear when I expect to get dirty and/or sweaty, eg making a cake. Just for clarity 😉

Oh. My. God. I didn’t actually explode, but my brain felt like it was.

So we compromised and the cleaner just did upstairs – it looks absolutely fantastic. We are so damn pleased.

On top of all that, today is the anniversary of the day my Dad died, 42 years ago, very suddenly, with no warning, at the age of 58. I was 24 and my sister was 21. Normally I’m in absolute bits, but today I was just sad. I have worked out why I used to get so upset – he managed Mother’s worst behaviours, and once he died, that protection was gone. Now Mother has gone too, I don’t have to worry about that. Although some of her nastier sayings keep going round my head.

Also, on Monday I saw a consultant about my hands. He is going to arrange some imaging to see what is going on, inject my right thumb, possibly fuse the right index knuckle and maybe replace the middle finger knuckle. He’ll decide after the scans. This is all fine, because I have had plenty of time to think about priorities and have decided that reducing the pain is the main thing. Not sure how I would manage to write or knit/crochet with a fused knuckle or two, but that is secondary. I expect I’ll manage something clumsy but effective!

Had a repeat blood test on Tuesday so it’ll be interesting to see what that dredges up.

So, tomorrow I am just getting showered and dressed. And that, guys, is all I intend to do. Maybe drink some tea.

Progress

I am so relieved, and so is everybody I know, about the verdict in the George Floyd case. The thing is, though, it should have been an open and shut case, but because this was a white cop killing a Black man, there was still just the chance it might go the other way. True justice will be when there is no doubt about such things. I guess that for George Floyd’s family there is a kind of closure, but I can’t imagine how I’d feel in their place. Mixed emotions I guess. And cops do not have a good time in prison. I know nobody’s supposed to have a good time in there, but cops – well. Particularly when it’s absolutely crystal clear that a cop is a racist. Hmm. Karma.

I can’t remember who asked, but somebody did, for progress reports on the crochet blanket-to-be. Well, today the osteopath did some gentle work on my poor hand and I was actually able to crochet a (purple) square with hardly any pain. I’m so pleased with myself. So here’s a picture! And there’s enough left on the 50gm ball for one more. Each 50gm ball does two squares. The ones which look pale grey are actually pale lilac.

My friend’s little boy chose a plant for my birthday a few years ago. It’s flowered regularly at this time of year ever since. I have been known to drown these (Christmas Cactus? Shrimp Plant? Schlumbergera?) but this one has survived my ministrations. I sent them a photo so they could coo over it. Oh blimey. You can see all the dust and cat hairs on the mat. Oh well. It’s real anyway.

Windows decided to install, without my express permission, (!) the update it’s been threatening me with for weeks now. I’ve been ignoring the dire warnings, because last time I installed this particular update, I couldn’t print anything until I’d uninstalled it. So I was quite concerned. There was no opportunity to say no, or stop it, so I let it carry on and it took a couple of hours. During which time I crocheted said square.

Then, before I tried printing, I did a full backup, including email and mobile phone contacts, and bookmarks, to two different places, and then a backup to a USB stick of the passwords I’d need should I have to access the network.

I tentatively tried to print, and IT WORKED. Thank goodness for that.

Still downloaded Ubuntu 20 LTS though, and have burned the installation files to yet another USB stick, just in case. You never know.

Mixed Results

Had a blood test last week. Our doctor’s surgery has a website you can log in to and have a look at your results. So I did. The good news is that my thyroid levels are fine, and the cholesterol level is better than it’s been for 20 years. Still a little high, but much better. I’m guessing that’s down to giving up dairy altogether.

However, there are several results which are “abnormal” so I have to have a repeat test next week. My red blood cells are too big, and my iron levels are low. I don’t understand any of the other results which are dodgy, so will wait and see what happens. If the doctors want to do anything, they’ll phone me. If they don’t, I’ll arrange a telephone appointment to discuss the endless sleeping.

Today has been a medium day. I have managed to get up, washed and dressed, make a chocolate fudge brownie thing, and eat lunch, but it was touch and go. I’m ready for bed now.

Not doing any handicrafts at all, but just reading a knitting magazine and thinking about crafting helps a bit.

Here are some photos to cheer things up a bit. The flowers in the vase are what’s left still in bloom after our 21st wedding anniversary last weekend. Yeah.

Sunshine

Always makes me feel better. I even managed to stay out of bed until now, and have also been for a very short walk. Excellent.

The difference between the days when I feel like this, compared to the bad days, is stark. It’s hard to know whether it’s the M.E./CFS, or the remains of the virus from last week, or what. But I am just sleeping when I need to, and that seems to work.

The sycophantic, over-the-top, repetitive coverage the BBC has provided on Philip is just too much. He was 99 years old! brave, strong, difficult, racist and totally lacking in empathy, but that’s about it really. I expect Liz is sad though, she really liked him. I spent some time amusing myself by allotting a nickname to each Royal, in the vein of Ethelred the Unready, or Edward the Confessor, or Charles the Bold (or was it Bald?). I don’t think I’ll share them with you though. Don’t want to get into trouble for insulting the Royals. 🙄 But we are republicans in this house (in the British sense!) and would like to elect our leaders, instead of this heredity nonsense.

Have undone all my knitting. I’d gone off the scarf I was doing in mistake rib, it hurts to knit, and I went off the colours too. Instead I’ve crocheted a tea-infuser cosy for hubby, which he seems to like, and then had to not do any handicrafts for a few days. Today I’ve had a first go at latch-hooking. I can’t believe how long it took me to get the hang of it. The tremor doesn’t help, nor does the stupid brain. Finally, after watching a YouTube video, I twigged. Not something I can do without concentrating though. Yeah.

Line of Duty (BBC TV series about an anti-corruption police department) is absolutely gripping. Love it. No spoilers though.

We also finished watching Season 5 of Better Call Saul. Oh. My. Days. Can’t wait for Season 6. Then of course we’ll need to watch Breaking Bad again.

And now it’s bed time. Siesta every day. Reading a Stella Rimmington book – she’s very good.

Modest Goal Achieved

Yes. I actually got up, showered, washed my hair And Got Dressed today. First time since Sunday. Hubby and I both seem to have some sort of virus. Not Covid, but we’re both tired and very floppy. We had been to the recycling centre on Friday. You have to book a slot, and we were both masked and gloved, but it’s the only place I can imagine we caught anything.

Dairy: I have a “Milk Ladder” pictogram, but am seriously thinking of not doing it. For one thing, I feel loads less bloated and have no tummy ache now I’m off all dairy, and have lost 6lbs in weight.

Handicrafts: tried, and failed spectacularly, to convert some skinny jeans to straight jeans. I’d got the inserts ready and everything, but after spending hours and hours and hours struggling, getting fraught, sweaty, and my hands protesting loudly, I gave up. The net result was one pair of jeans with the leg seams undone. Bought a new pair instead. Yeah. Just tried them on and they are FAB so I have ordered two more pairs. My current jeans are old and starting to fall apart, even though (or maybe because) I love them, so need new ones. The pair which has arrived is going in the wash tomorrow.

Not been able to knit or crochet for weeks now. I have a telephone appointment with the doctor tomorrow, so hopefully will end up being referred to the specialist. I also have pins and needles in the fourth and pinky fingers of my right hand, as well as the arthritis, and pain from the bottom knuckle of my thumb down to my wrist. At least three different things going on there. Hmm. Left hand is starting to hurt too. Oh joy.

The weather is cold and it is snowing intermittently, in a desultory way. It’s not sticking, though.

We have seen some seriously good films. The Irishman – an Irish guy who gets involved with The Mafia. Long (three and a half hours) but very involving. The Two Popes – Benedict XVI and Francis – loved it. Particularly loved all the different languages you get to hear (French, Italian, Spanish, Latin) – although my Latin is rusty to say the least! The Popes are played by two British actors (Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce) so it was a joy to hear them say how exhausting it is to speak English – so many rules and so many exceptions! Also Mary Queen of Scots. Very good. Very well done. Not exactly historically accurate, but hey, it’s a film. It’s not meant to be.

Had to go back to bed this morning for another little sleep. Got up, dressed etc, and had some lunch. Now I’m sitting doing this with a cup of tea. May need yet another sleep this pm but decided I would just do what my body suggests and not beat myself up about it.

Time to go and read a bit. I have a magazine which appeared this morning and two different books, one a library book (Henning Mankell – not a Wallander story) and one a book I’ve bought (Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Frasier). Also just finished Disloyal by Michael Cohen. Blimey. That was hard to read. It’s a mea culpa but also brutally honest. He’s a hard man to like but I do appreciate his bravery in writing it. Could only manage to read one chapter at a time, though, because it’s so intense. I’ve also read Rage by Bob Woodward, and two books on Trump by Michael Wolff. Fire and Fury and Siege, I think. Again, intense and difficult.

Trying to stay positive

Struggling a bit at the moment, to be honest, with pain and depression. I do have medication for both, and have needed to up the pain meds, so I’m taking Co-codamol 30/500, which is the strongest of that particular make, and has to be prescribed. But it makes me feel a bit odd, so I only take two doses of two tablets a day, and the other two doses are plain Paracetamol. It’s just a question of what time to take which meds.

So in an effort to be less miserable, I have ordered and received a latch hook kit. It’s something I thought about but never followed up on, and one of my friends has started and loves it. When I’ve finished the current project (tea infuser cover) I’ll have a go.

Meanwhile I’ve taken some photos of the lovely colours in the garden, which always cheer me up. May is my favourite month, I think, garden-wise, although autumn is my favourite season. I try to ensure that there is always something interesting going on in the garden for every season, though it does require research because I don’t know enough. I do know some stuff, but not enough. A couple of photos of Bertie the cat sneaked in. She’s being cute because she wants to be fed . . . and in the final photo she’s got her little tongue out a bit . . . .

So here you are: