Busy, busy.

For me, anyway. Busy for me does not equal busy for other people.

However, I have crocheted three small items (gifts so no details), continued knitting for one of the grandsons, and actually managed to wrap most of the Christmas presents. Normally most of them go into gift bags and are handed to the recipients, but of course this year they all need to be wrapped and posted. We have family and friends in Dublin, Malvern, Brighton, Southampton, France, and New Zealand. The last of these I already posted and has actually arrived.

The crochet was a bit fraught, though. I started on a thing I’ve done before, three times, without any problems. This time I just could not get it right. The edges were all over the place and the stitch count was always wrong. Eventually, after six re-starts and a new pattern, and watching very useful YouTube video tutorials on how to turn and where to poke the hook for the first stitch, I finally got my head round it. Phew. Now I have ordered some more appropriate yarn and will do some more when it arrives.

Also took the plunge and ordered new bras (see what I did there?!) We shall see what transpires.

Have spent a lot of time sleeping lately. Today I did get up but had to go back to bed at 10, and slept till 1 pm. Got up, showered and dressed (always an achievement).

We’ve been watching a three-part series on Berlin in 1945. Old diaries and old films have been skilfully put together. It was difficult to watch, particularly for me, as I have Jewish heritage, but worth it. I felt quite sorry for the people, except for one young woman who worked in an office, when she wrote how dreadful it was for “we Germans” to demean themselves. She was talking about the manual work, collecting and sorting bricks. When I’ve seen the photos of women doing that I’ve always assumed they self-organised. Nope. No. They were organised by Russians, or British, or Americans, and clearly resented that, and doing the manual work. Hmph.

Have also just finished reading “The Good Germans” which was very interesting and surprising. I read “The Good German of Nanking” years ago and was profoundly touched. I also have “Hitler’s Willing Executioners” by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, which tells a very different story about how normalised and widespread anti-Semitism had been for many years before WWII. So it was heartening, and good for me, to read about high-ranking Nazis who were what was referred to as “Beefsteaks” – brown on the outside and “red” on the inside, which means that they were secretly anti-Hitler and did all they could to subvert his policies. For example, one particular senior Nazi was also a Quaker, and managed to arrange for various Jewish people to be sent to Quaker houses in America.

Sometimes I think some of us (certainly I do) live in an echo chamber, so that our own views are reflected back to us and hardly ever challenged. So I do try to understand other points of view when I can.

I even feel a little bit (only a very little bit) sorry for Trump. He is acting, in my view, like a spoiled 74 year old child, refusing to accept he lost. Thank goodness the judges and the courts are upholding the law and ignoring the tantrums.

It feels a bit calmer now and I have hope that a smooth transfer of power can actually take place. Mm.

Cheering up.

Yesterday I was very low. It was 41 years since my dad died suddenly, and I do wonder if it’s normal to feel so sad after so long. My sister assured me that as long as I don’t feel that bad all the time, it’s probably ok. Then it occurred to me that Dad acted as a buffer between me and Mother, and he curbed her more difficult behaviour. So when he died, that was all gone. Oddly, having realised that helps me understand why I miss him so much. Also, it probably wasn’t the best idea to digitise more slides yesterday. There are photos in there of him I’ve never seen, and nostalgia plus grief aren’t the best of companions.

Add to that the pain in my stupid arthritic hands, and you have the perfect storm. Took two Co-codamol (30/500) at bedtime and it took two hours for the pain to go away. I was actually in tears with it.

But. Today I have had a telephone consultation with the doctor, and have a new pain analgesia regime.  Paracetamol in the day, then two Co-codamol in the evening, every day, regularly, to keep the pain at bay. It feels slightly counter-intuitive, but as the pain is constant, it does make sense.

Made chocolate fudge brownies this morning. Thank goodness for the electric hand mixer. They smell divine and I can’t wait to have one after lunch.

Ordered some new lipstick – I’m not a big make up wearer, but the one I ordered is Clinique, and it’s called Bare Pop.  It’s just exactly right for me.20200429_114730 And while I was on the John Lewis site, I treated myself to some Chanel No 5 perfume spray.  A big treat. I have always loved it. Always.

So now I’m awaiting a couple of tops from Seasalt Cornwall, lipstick, perfume, and also ordered some emery boards (can’t get them from our supermarket!) Just the anticipation cheers me up. Shallow, much? Don’t care. Needed cheering up, and various sorts of retail therapy always help.

Will go for a short walk after lunch. Yesterday it was pouring with rain so I didn’t go.

And it’s my friend Réjane’s birthday today. Joyeux Anniversaire, mon amie.

 

Things I’m doing slightly differently

For a start, I’m setting the alarm clock so I actually get up every morning. It’s for 9.30 a.m., so not exactly early, but fine for me. If I don’t set the alarm, I just sleep till mid-afternoon. Not great.

Going for a small walk every day. Hubby devised a shorter walk than the 10 minute one, which takes me 4 – 5 minutes. It’s for when I just can’t manage the 10 minute one, and it works a treat.

Noticing  what’s going on in people’s gardens. Particularly at this time of year (spring in the UK), there are lots of things bursting into leaf/flower.

Knitting with a slightly different technique, keeping my index and middle fingers together, which doesn’t hurt so much. My middle finger keeps trying to point nor’nor’east instead of due north (assuming my other fingers are pointing north, if you see what I mean). I have to make a real effort, and sometimes actually pull it back with my other hand! What on earth? Arthritis I guess.

Ordering stuff online. To date, a web cam for hubby and one for me, some plants which haven’t arrived yet, some compression gloves, various new tops (yay!) and a new hand- held electric mixer.

Trying to eke out the painkillers because they’re just so damn hard to get. My lovely friend brought me two packets yesterday and left them in our porch. It’s her birthday today. Happy Birthday you legend! you know who you are.

Attempting not to get too panicked about the pandemic. Harrumphing of course about Trump and his determination to make it clear that he really is the stupidest man on this planet. Glad Bojo is on the mend, though he must have been much worse than they let on.

Not beating myself up for the stuff I can’t do. Trying not to moan about, or even mention, the aches and pains of getting older. Not interesting to anybody except potentially the medics. And even then, they have more important things to worry about.

Looking forward to planting the double cosmos seeds I have. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, which will make the earth easier to work, so maybe this weekend. Yeah!

And finally a picture of the lion I knitted for my great-nephew, whose name means “lion”. It was his birthday last week, so now he’s actually seen it. He loves it. It’s called Lucy, so a non-binary lion. Bit hairy for a lioness, but hey, what can you do. Apparently there was trouble when he discovered she’s not allowed in the bath, or to eat his Weetabix. Yeah.

 

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.

Back again

Well, I did get better from the M.E. episode, but have had a throat infection and no voice for the past 12 days. Harrumph. I’m better enough to do things like have my hair cut, and I went to the knitting group today, but it’s so frustrating only being able to whisper. And the funniest thing is that whenever I explain to anybody I have no voice, which involves pointing my flattened hand, palm down, at my throat, and waving it from side to side, whilst whispering “no voice”, most people then whisper back to me. The guy who cuts my hair actually started using an improvised sign language, bless his heart, so I cough/laughed and said “I can hear you!” and it was all fine.

But for a week or so I was not well. No knitting, no guitar. In bed, very tired and weepy. Bummer, big old bummer.

However, yesterday I felt up to some tidying up in the garden. I cut the dead dicentra right back, deadheaded the buddleias and trimmed the whippy growths off the wisteria and the golden hop. It only took half an hour but the garden looks so much tidier. I do have a new plant (heuchera, Ginger Peach) but haven’t decided where it will go yet. I think I’ll do that tomorrow.

Bought some new stuff at the knitting shop today – some of it is for me to knit Xmas presents, some of it is for a present just as it is. Nearly finished child’s hooded jacket – cast on the hood today. Must find some interesting buttons though. Hmm.

YD is feeling much better now she’s 20 weeks. All is well, she looks fabulous and feels good too. Thank goodness. ED is still luxuriating in motherhood with her delightful little boy.

The Malvern grandchildren came to stay last Friday – Sunday. We went to Ragley Hall, which has an excellent adventure playground, perfect for an 11 year old and an almost 14 year old. Trampoline, high rope bridges, monkey rope, zip wire, wonderful. We just made encouraging noises and provided large pieces of chocolate cake and hot chocolate with cream on top at the fabulous cafe afterwards. And of course we were both in need of sustenance too!

Just treated myself to a new handbag, new ankle boots for the winter, and some new underwear. I had to research it long and hard on the internet, but for once, everything is actually perfect! The bag is the right size and shape, the underwear is fabulous, and the ankle boots I actually went to the shop and tried several pairs on. I’d taken socks and my orthotic insoles with me to make quite sure they would fit with my winter gear. And they do. Good old Marks and Sparks.