More on The Log

Well. It turns out that to prevent a log from weeping sap, it needs to be kiln-dried. Thank goodness for Google. I eventually bought a Swedish torch thingamajig which is kiln-dried, and hubby helpfully cut in half. Sap-weeping log is in disgrace in the garden. Kiln-dried log is now in the lounge. Bertie the cat, of course, has taken absolutely no notice of it. So the next step is to lure her in with catnip. Usually works. The plan is that she uses the log to scratch, rather than the carpet.

sappy log

kiln-dried

After two years of waiting (Two Years!), cancelled the guy who was supposed to be digging up and relaying our front lawn with clover. Asked our garden maintenance guy to quote, and he came today. I’m excited all over again about it.

I thought I could feel a sharp edge on one of my bottom teeth. After checking in the mirror, I can see I’ve managed to break a corner off a tooth, or maybe a filling? either way I went to see the dentist, and am going to have a white filling (rather than a grey one – why on earth do they do grey ones at all??), at great expense, in ten days or so.

Being really careful about how much stuff I do each day. It seems to be keeping the M.E. at bay, so I think I’ll continue on this path. I have various forms of exercise – all very easy and not too taxing. One is a series of four or five stretches which help my back. One is a walk round the block (8 minutes). One is a 20 minute “yoga for seniors” session. I can’t do any of those every day, but my thinking is if I do at least one of them each day, that provides a variety. Also it means I can adjust my exercise to the weather and how I’m feeling. Yeah.

The garden is really starting to green up now. It’s just so lovely to see.

I’m just so sad about the Russia/Ukraine business. I think Putin has lost his marbles. He looks a bit puffy in the face – or is that just me? any way you look at this a lot of people are going to be hurt/killed. And for what?

Progress

Of a sort, anyway. The pain in my hand is almost negligible now, and I hardly need any painkillers. Still stiff and a bit swollen, but I have my exercises which I do several times a day and physio tells me I’m doing really well.

However, I’m still not regaining the weight. 8st 6lbs now. Saw the doctor who arranged blood tests and a stool sample test, so am waiting for the result of those.

I feel generally better but am still very tired and it seems to be taking a long time to go away. Surgery was on 21 July, so nearly 3 1/2 months ago. But then I’m older now and really don’t react well to general anaesthesia. Ho hum.

The garden is a delight. Just beautiful. And very busy with birds! Nuthatches, sparrows, blue tits, great tits, wrens, and the occasional greater spotted woodpecker. I do love Autumn.

We have family all over the place – Dublin, Southampton, New Zealand, and friends in France, so I’ve been busy wrapping Christmas parcels (a few birthdays in there too!). Got a good routine now and lots of boxes piled up in the study awaiting further attention.

On Monday it was hubby’s birthday. So last week his son (who lives in Dublin) came over as a surprise with his wife and little boy. I knew about it but was sworn to secrecy. Managed to keep the surprise until we actually got to the restaurant, and he was just so pleased to see them. Also, his son who lives in Malvern came along with his daughter. Just lovely.

I’m late to the party I expect, but have recently discovered new authors. John Sandford, Tony Kent and Zoe Sharp. Absolutely unputdownable. All of them. I’m delighted to discover that there are lots and lots of the John Sandford and Zoe Sharp books. Can’t wait for Tony Kent to write another one. And Lynda La Plante has introduced a new protagonist, Jack Warr. Also very very good. Meanwhile I’m reading John Le Carre’s final book, Silverview. I am enjoying it but it’s a bit confusing. Nearly at the end/denouement now. Mm.

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.

Episode!

Well, I’m in the throes of an M.E. episode. Trying really hard to be positive and “do” stuff, but failing. This week I’ve managed to stay up and out of bed till lunchtime once in the last five days. Failed this morning. No knitting or crochet mojo. Tried a bit of crochet yesterday but it didn’t go well.

Was supposed to go to the osteopath today but re-arranged. It feels a bit sad-making but at the same time empowering because I have a measure of control over my stupid health. Plenty of sleeping, and reading when I’m awake. Also ordering stuff I do actually need, as well as want, online. Handcream, for example, is a constant thing for me as my hands are terribly dry all the time. So I’ve ordered some. And earrings are a new problem. Now I have various pairs of glasses, wearing at least two at once, the reading glasses dangling and the distance glasses on my nose (or vice versa), dangly earrings are just not going to work. Particularly with masks as well. So stud earrings it is. Ordered two lovely pairs from John Lewis, then of course needed a jewellery box to hold them, to replace the ice cube tray I’ve been using for the last twenty years or so. I can justify almost any purchase if I try hard enough . . . 🛒😉. And of course retail therapy is always, always good for the morale.

The garden is even better for the soul of course but it’s been cold and wet the past couple of days. I can look at it out of the window of course, and do. The bird feeder table is very popular at the moment, which is great. The cat seems to have an arrangement with all the birds. She looks at them, they fly away, and all is well. The pigeons – well, they just waddle off because they’re as big as she is.

The cat. Mm. She is much more chatty and approachable now she’s getting older. Not exactly affectionate, but keeps trying to herd me into the lounge, when I’m busy in the study. So I’ve set up another cat bed in the study, and she will occasionally sit in it!

To sleep? or not?

Sometimes I wake up at the normal time, thanks to the alarm, get up and have breakfast and have to go straight back to bed. My brain isn’t working properly, I can’t cope with easy crosswords or even Solitaire. Sunday (I think) I went back to bed and slept for five hours straight. Then woke up and had a shower, and felt ok.

Today is Tuesday. Same thing, but I only slept for two hours, and felt ok-ish. I needed to do my ironing but really couldn’t muster the energy until about forty five minutes ago. It only takes ten minutes, because we each do our own, and one of my little life rules is that I do it every week. So there’s not much. Schlepping the ironing board from utility room to lounge is the hardest bit, to be honest, but that’s what makes me want to put it off. Anyway, long story short, I did it because I could feel the energy needed just getting to the right level, and of course I felt much better afterwards.

A shower always helps me feel better. Always. But I don’t always have the energy! how frustrating.

Looks like we’re in for the long haul with Covid/lockdown, so I’ve been trying to find at least one positive thing in every day.

Today was the ironing! and then, as the sun was out and it’s not actually freezing cold, I pottered round our small garden and found these snow drops. Love them.

Also tried to take a photo of the cat, but she would not look at the camera. I pulled a little weed out of her catnip pot – it’s real catnip in there, just a bit sad and wintery at the moment – and her reaction was priceless. “What are you doing? That’s mine! Have you changed it? I need to investigate all of it right now!” she is such a doofus.

Achievements.

Flu jab – done.

Mammogram – done and results received (clear).

Knitting project – discovered I had knitted the back of a jumper for a nearly-6-year-old in the next size up. It was massive. It meant I wouldn’t have enough yarn to finish it. I searched online and nobody else has any left over of this yarn. The maker has stopped making it in this particular colour. So I undid it all and have started again. Sigh.

Shopping delivered this morning – unpacked, wiped and put away. Hubby and I do that together.

Scandi-noir series DNA – finished last night. Yeah. Not clear while watching about time frames – is this now? is this years ago? but overnight have sorted it out in my head. I think.

Ignoring Trump-Giuliani-tantrum – mostly.

Posted a birthday present for end of November. Fortunately, it’s not the jumper I’ve messed up!

Tried out new John Lewis jeans – so comfortable I’ve ordered another pair.

That’s quite a lot really, in my head.

Mm.

Trying to Stay Positive!

The knitting is going ok. I can’t knit for as long – I was doing two hours each night, with the odd half hour or so each day if I had the time. Now I can manage about three quarters of an hour. That’s fine though. It means that a bobble hat is taking me several evenings, instead of one or two, but it’s ok. I’m loving the colour (coral) and the chunkiness of the yarn. Discovered I hadn’t bought enough yarn to start with, so had to order some more, and asked if they could match the dye lot. They did! so shout out to LoveCrafts.

Having a few issues finding jeans I like. I don’t find rigid, 100% cotton jeans comfortable. I have had a rule for about 25 years that I don’t wear anything uncomfortable, ever, including shoes, even for a party. So rigid jeans are out. I have a couple of pairs of Not Your Daughters Jeans, which are comfy, but ridiculously expensive. I also have a couple of pairs of comfy Boden jeans, which were discontinued when I bought them cheap. I’ve tried two different sizes and two different styles of Lands End jeans, and just don’t like them. Am awaiting delivery of some John Lewis jeans, two different sizes. If those don’t suit, I’ll just give up, I think, and keep my eyes open. Sigh.

The shopping has just been delivered. We use disinfectant wipes to clean the bag handles and every single item delivered.

I have been awaiting an invitation for my annual flu jab. Nothing. And we’re almost in November. I can’t find a way of contacting the surgery except for phoning, which takes 45 minutes each time just to get through to a person. Luckily I needed to order some repeat prescriptions, and there’s a little comment box, so I put a note in there. It worked! Flu jab tomorrow and a blood test a week on Monday. Probably for the thyroid, they do a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test to ensure I’m on the right dose.

Last Christmas present due to be delivered today. Then I can start working out which boxes to use to send them all. Apparently Royal Mail are starting a pick-up service. Excellent news. No more queueing in the Post Office. You pre-pay the postage, which is already possible, then pay another 72p per parcel for the pick up, and book it. Five parcels maximum. Am going to investigate further to see when it actually starts.

The garden is a joy. Still waiting for the work to be done on trimming the leylandii, willow, lilac, winged spindle and the front lawn to be dug up and relaid.

Up and Down

Yeah. My hands are particularly painful. Will be hoping to speak to a doctor tomorrow.

Also have had to give up on the daily walks. Even though they were very very short, I was having to spend two days a week asleep in bed for 6 hours at a time as a result. That is not how I want to spend my life. It wasn’t the best idea, really, although it sounded excellent. What with the M.E. and stuff, I wasn’t walking every day before lockdown, so doing more during lockdown wasn’t sensible. I am continuing with the morning stretches though, and trying to be more active in the house.

Little things, like going upstairs when I need to and not leaving it until there are several things I need to do upstairs. So I’m up and down the stairs more. Also, if I need to do something (small, in the shed maybe)  in the garden, I don’t leave it but do it straight away. That way I’m moving about a bit more.

This morning hubby helped me get a fuchsia out of its pot, where it really wasn’t doing terribly well, and into the soil. Fingers crossed it will perk up a bit and grow a bit more enthusiastically.

Gardening is lovely, but it’s very ad hoc. And I only do it when I need to, when the weather is nice, and when I have the energy. Those three things don’t always coincide.

Also am wondering about a power supply/adaptor for the wildlife cam, which eats batteries. Had a look on tinterweb, but didn’t really understand. Maybe tomorrow, with hubby’s help, we can sort something out.

Finished the slide project. Far fewer than I thought, probably 1,000, out of which I dumped about 500 (cats, dogs, views, people we don’t know, railway journeys  – 🙄 – you get the picture). I’ve uploaded them all to my Google Drive and shared them with the immediate family, who are very enthusiastic. So now I need to sell on the gizmo that converted them. Ebay.

Next up are the cine films. They really need to be done professionally. Doing them yourself involves a working projector, running each of the 55 films through it against a screen of some sort, and filming the result with a smartphone. Not ideal. But expensive to have done. We’ve sent off a couple of films, which weren’t labelled, to a company and will see how they come back. When there are lots they come and collect them and post the resultant DVDs or USB sticks back. We shall see.

I’m still putting a soft toy on display in our front window for any childreIMG_20190415_180432939n who potter past. There are a few, some of which I have knitted, some of which I haven’t. Currently it’s Eric the Bumblebee (congratulations if you got the Monty Python reference). Tomorrow it might be Bagpuss (Alan Dart). There’s also a Victorian style doll (Jean Greenhowe), and a couple of small penguins, also Jean Greenhowe. I did knit all of those. It just depends on whether I remember, and the mood I’m in.

Very concerned about the chaotic UK easing of lockdown. BoJo doesn’t really seem to know what he’s doing. Dominic Raab (the guy who didn’t realise that the English Channel was such a busy trading route!) is totally clueless and mostly inarticulate. And Trump! don’t get me started.

Hubby and I are carrying on the same, as we both have “underlying health conditions”. Zoom works ok, so does Skype and WhatsApp, but the broadband isn’t terribly reliable. Talking to YD in NZ is difficult, although ESW (now 4) is very engaged and chatty, so that’s a damn shame.

I’ve just finished reading @SusanCalman’s book Cheer Up Love, about depression. I do like her. She’s honest, funny, self-deprecating, and a lot of what she says about being sad resonates with me. I have certain go-to books when I’m down, and one of the other authors I regularly read is Bill Bryson. I have Adventures of The Thunderbolt Kid ready.

And today, for a special treat, I exfoliated my baggy old face and had a face pack. Doesn’t look any different, but feels lovely. Yeah.

 

Where to start!

Been back from New Zealand over a month now and life had pretty much settled back to normal. Until The Apocalypse (Covid-19) arrived. Bleugh.

I don’t understand why people would buy ALL the toilet rolls and ALL the pasta. What about everybody else, dickheads?? Huh?

Hubby and I are not self-isolating yet but we are “distancing” socially. It was my sister’s birthday yesterday, and we were actually in the same room! but didn’t hug. Hmm. It’s sensible, just a bit sad. So we bumped elbows instead. I won’t catch public transport or go anywhere too crowded (not that anywhere is at the moment!)

Although Hubby, bless him, went to a concert at Symphony Hall last night. On public transport. And bought a Big Issue (which I won’t touch and is now in the recycling. I usually do buy it, but not at the moment!) Sigh. He’s 74, with a heart condition. We did talk about it but he’s a grown up. Hmm.

But then I have a hair appointment tomorrow. Just hoping the hairdresser people all wear plastic gloves. I expect they will. They’d better not breathe on me either. Joking. (sort of).

Been catching up on “inside” jobs, although managed to do an hour’s gardening last week, which was lovely. I just cut back all the ugly dead stuff and did a very small bit of weeding. Now the daffodils are centre stage and look lovely. I’m absolutely knackered, of course, but happy.

And this morning I sorted out all the stuff from Mother’s house which is going to eBay/Freecycle/charity shop. A very small proportion has been bought on eBay, the rest is charity shop/Freecycle. So boxes have been reorganised and there are lots more boxes in the hall, far fewer in the study! Also went through two boxes of framed photos, sorted the frames into charity shop/tip (refuse centre), and kept all the photos.

Just to give you a small idea of a fraction of the stuff. There have been umpteen (probably 100) visits to charity shops. We have filled two medium size skips, and will probably fill another one. But Mother’s house is looking better now.  Bigger. She was a bit of an “accumulator” and there was stuff just everywhere.

Next up – sort ALL the photos (boxfuls) into some sort of order. I have the box, I have the photos, and an idea of how I’m going to do it. Just need to wait for the energy to do it . . . in the plan is also writing on the back who is who, if  it’s not already done. My sister and I are the last people on this side of this family who will have any chance of identifying people, and it’s just so useful when looking through old photos to know. Instead of gazing blankly at strangers,  there are”ohs” of recognition as realisation dawns. It’s history. Family history. Yeah. Dad was born in 1920, and there are photos of his parents, the (very) odd aunt, and so on. Just the clothes are interesting.

And then there are hundreds of transparencies to go through. Hundreds. There is a slide projector which of course I haven’t the faintest idea how to use, but that will be another little job. Learn to use the slide projector. Learn how to load the slides into the cartridges. Learn how to identify which slide is actually showing at any one time. I may need to set aside some time for that . . . .

Woke late this morning, unsurprisingly. Feeling ok though, but I am aware I’ve done enough.  Hence sitting blogging.

Managing.

Writing is supposed to be cathartic so I thought I’d jot down a few notes about how I manage the depression and M.E.

Went to the osteopath today because I was in some pain. It’s part of the maintenance and upkeep. As usual after the osteopath I’m pretty low tonight and on the verge of tears. Taking regular painkillers. Can’t take Brufen because of my asthma. Big old bummer, because they are such effective painkillers. I can take Cocodamol though, and am at the doctor’s next week so might mention it then.

However I re-arranged the pedicure, which was going to be tomorrow, and have cried off the knitting get together tonight. Will see if I am able to get to the sewing course on Saturday – I’d really like to go, because it’s making a Japanese Knot Bag and matching purse, but if I’m not up to it, then I’m just not.

Such decisions sound a bit sad, but in fact once I’ve decided that I need to cancel stuff, I actually feel a bit better about things. Not exactly in control of my health, just managing it better. I don’t like to feel that it’s managing me. Even though it probably is. Mm.

I’ve been sleeping a lot. Most of Tuesday. Managed to have a shower and wash my hair on Wednesday. Then had a half hour sit down, and did my ironing. I do it every week, and hubby does his own, so it only takes about 25 minutes maximum. Then lunch, and then did the online shop. So quite a lot achieved yesterday. But the afternoon sleeps are long. At least three hours, sometimes four. Then I sleep all night too.

Might consider a bath and face pack tomorrow. Will see how I wake up. I very, very rarely have a bath. We have some nice bubble bath though and it does help relax my back.

I have two go-to authors whose books I read when I feel like this. Bill Bryson, who is just one of my favourite writers, and Tom Cox. Ditto. Can’t help smiling as I read their stuff.

Retail therapy always helps too, so have ordered a couple of tops (reduced) from Warehouse. Two different colours, and two different sizes, so we shall see if I like the colours and if they fit.

Hubby is off to a meeting tonight so I shall watch some crappy tv. No knitting mojo at all at the moment, and booked in for steroid injections into the knuckles of my right hand on Monday. Will see how things go after that.

Christmas almost organised. Thank goodness for the internet. A bit of baking to do, but nothing major. Last year I did a Yule Log which is fat free, therefore dairy free. It was delicious and both hubby and I liked it, which is a bonus. He doesn’t like fruit cake so if I made a proper Christmas cake I’d just eat it all and put on loads of weight. And am going to do some mince pies only in filo pastry as I have some in the freezer. Everybody else can eat normal ones from the shop, but the dairy free ones from the shop tend to be cheap and nasty.