Not Knitting

Not knitting, not at all, but managing to get things done in the garden. Took three heathers out of their pots and planted them in the ground. Briza Media (perennial quaking oat grass) arrived and is now in its own pot. Hubby cut down intrusive tamarisk tree and we cleared the ground ready for the new bird-feeder, and put down a concrete slab so hopefully this one won’t rot.

Reading a lot. A lot. Currently three quarters of the way through Beth McColl’s book about mental health. Oh. My. Days. She’s in her twenties, but so wise. As a sufferer from mental health issues she really knows what it can be like.  And the writing style is very engaging and friendly. I’m finding it so reassuring, because the things she recommends are the things I do. But then I’m 65 and have had mental health problems all my life, even in childhood. So I would expect to have learned how to manage it, and mostly I do.

Ordered another wildlife camera – we have one, but keep missing the woodpeckers and the jay for one reason or another. A second one, I thought, would give us more chances to capture pictures of interesting things. Still awaiting delivery. Just realised I only ordered one memory card for it. Two would be much more sensible. Hm.

We are “doing” the next fam-a-lam quiz, so are busily setting up questions. It’s good fun, and we are bouncing questions off each other to see if they’re appropriate (too hard/easy), because it all depends on your knowledge and experience. Hubby seemed to think I would easily recognise something (can’t say what), but I assured him I definitely wouldn’t!

Still in lockdown, by choice, because I do believe that capitalism has become more important than human life in whatever meetings are being held. But thanks to Zoom, and the telephone, and WhatsApp, we are keeping in touch. Missing family and friends though. Mm. And now they’ve found this dexamethasone helps a lot, that’s encouraging.

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.

Guidelines for Life

  1. Always wear comfortable clothes, including (especially) shoes. Even for a party.
  2. Ignore the siren call of “dairy free” signs on cakes in cafes. Particularly at motorway services. The result of buying and eating one: they’re always stale, dry and tasteless, so there’s guilt for spending the money, guilt for eating it and guilt for eating and not enjoying it.
  3. Do not beat yourself (myself) up for being ill. That’s just insane. But I still do it.
  4. And a new one which has recently become clear to me. Never, ever buy handbags on the internet. It’s always, always a disaster. There’s a whole science attached to buying a handbag. Colour. Style. Does it suit me? is it comfortable to wear? is it big enough? Does it call to me? and so on.

That’s it.

 

Pain!

I’m told that when you have toothache to leave it a few weeks, because it might settle down.

So I did. Not the best idea.

I have a sinus infection, which is causing some (lots of) pain in my lower jaw. Yep, my lower jaw. Upper jaw as well, just to add to the confusion.

Anyway, the dentist did X-rays on Tuesday which showed nothing amiss.

The doctor, however, put me onto antibiotics. Which they don’t do as a matter of course, these days, so I’m relieved she did.

After two days of same, plus 2 x 30/500 Co-codamol four times a day, the pain has eased fractionally and I am starting to feel less like a limp rag and more like a human being. I can actually drink without a straw (to direct the water away from the pain), but only room temperature drinks. I can eat a little, as long as there’s not too much chewing involved. Like for a baby who’s being weaned. Bananas, soups, soya pretend yoghurts, that sort of stuff. So definitely on the mend.

But blimey O’Reilly.

October.

What a busy time I’ve been having. Another fifteen days of voice loss due to sinus/ear/throat infection. Went away to the Cotswolds for  weekend with ED, partner and their little boy, LCS. It was delightful, despite the rain, and we had a really lovely time.

Looked after ESW this morning while her mum went to the osteopath to sort out large amounts of pain. That helped mum, a lot, and we had a fabulous morning with ESW. Funny, affectionate, playful. Excellent.

A few months ago I bought a ticket to see Sarah Millican at Warwick Arts Centre in Coventry. It’s on Thursday 11th October, and I’m really not up to going. When I actually booked the ticket I was full of enthusiasm, and thinking “It’ll be fine, it’ll be fine” when of course it won’t. So I’ve put the ticket up on a resale site – https://www.seetickets.com/rd/event/sarah-millican-control-enthusiast/warwick-arts-centre/1169002. We shall see.

The new storage for the Lego works much better. The children actually play with it now. Although some of them prefer my buttons, which are also colour sorted. And that’s ok too.

 

Maintenance and Upkeep

That’s how I refer to the myriad ways I keep body and soul together without disintegrating completely.

It involves: the doctor, James the hairdresser, Laura who does my feet, Jenny the osteopath, the dentist, my husband who puts me back together when I start to fall apart, my daughters, and a lot of medication.

Next week I’m having my hair done, having a hearing test, and going to the osteopath, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In other news, I had almost finished a baby cardigan for a baby-to-be, in lovely West Yorkshire Spinners Bo Peep DK. I’d used a pattern I’ve not tried before. It was awful. The neckline was lumpy and vile. I picked up the neck stitches twice, tried to sort it out with matching wool, and eventually threw a minor, adolescent-type hissy fit and dumped it. Then I grew up again, got it out of the bin and unpicked as much of it as I could manage. It’s lovely to knit with, but very sticky to unravel. Row ends and shaping were a particular problem.

So now I’m knitting a Puerperium for another baby-to-be, in the same yarn but different colour. I do have a plan to replace the disaster, which involves buying more yarn. Yay!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Also thinking about the autumn, garden-wise. Rudbeckias, dahlias and planting some daffodil bulbs and possibly some crocus bulbs are currently swirling about in my brain. Mm.

 

Ups and Downs

Well, life seems to be conspiring against me, knitting-wise, at the moment.

In no particular order:

The weather. It’s just too damn hot to knit. I’m so lethargic. Hate it. Our grass is now yellow straw. Very short yellow straw. Most of the border plants are coping without water, only the hydrangea which is under the willow tree in front of the leylandii needs watering once or twice a week. Understandable, really, with the two thugs it’s competing with. Can’t wait for rain, although the weather forecasters are suggesting it’ll be another month. Sigh.

The football. Very exciting. Much more exciting even than the World Cup is usually. Lots of excellent teams unexpectedly losing and going home. And I can’t believe England is in the last 16. That may of course change after this afternoon’s game. But the upshot is I can’t knit and watch exciting football. I mess up my knitting big time.

My health. I am in the middle of a bout of laryngitis, with no voice at all (can barely whisper) and feeling like five kinds of sh*t. Sleeping a lot. Languishing, really. Painkillers and lots of cold drinks, and some honey and lemon hot drinks for when the coughing hurts my throat.

Knitting mojo has disappeared.

So any one of those things would stop me knitting but all four together? Mm.

Luckily I don’t have any time-sensitive projects at the moment, so it just doesn’t matter.

April! What!

Where to start.

Just finished reading Fire & Fury. Jeez, what a read. Buckle up, buttercup, and hold on tight. Things are as I thought they were, only much worse. Devastating. I can’t believe this guy was elected. But he was, and it is what it is. Not going to read the Comey book, though, just can’t cope with any more bad news. Although I did wonder if that’s why Trump “pardoned” the guy who gave away state secrets – because Comey had prosecuted him. So Trump, having never met the guy, pardons him, just to piss Comey off (in my opinion). Right. How very presidential. Not.

Also, Syria. Sigh. Just. Sigh.

Getting over an M.E. “episode”. Slept for 23 hours last week from Wednesday lunchtime to Thursday late morning. Mm. Not great. No knitting. No gardening. No crying, either, though, so could be worse.

Been to the osteopath today, and need to go again in two weeks. Sore, achy and weepy (though not actually weeping!) and not planning to do anything at all tomorrow. Except possibly a little bit of ironing. Will see how things are in the morning.

Really need to get somebody in to do a spring tidy up in the garden. It’s going bonkers now, and I haven’t been able to do anything to it since last October. All the dead stuff needs cutting back. All the leaves need sweeping/vacuuming up. I have eleven huge pots of dead plants which need dealing with (emptying, getting rid of the compost, etc). Lawn needs mowing before it gets any longer. And now some of the daffs need dead-heading. Sigh.

I haven’t been able to knit, but I have been able to do knitter-type things, like make decisions about future projects and browsing Ravelry. That’s quite soothing to do.

And the weather has improved. Today has been lovely. Sunny and mild. We actually dried most of the washing outside on the line. Smells delicious.

On the much more positive side, I have a new great-nephew. He is called Zack and is of course delightful. Love little babies. Particularly when I’m actually related to them.

And that, my friends, is all for today. Hoping to be a bit less miserable next time.