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.

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.

To The Wire

Wow but it’s been tense this last week. I live in the UK, but it feels like the whole world has been awaiting the results of the US election.

I am so relieved, just so relieved, that Biden and Kamala won. I’m not sure what’s going to happen next, despite Trump’s blustery tweets (which seem to have gone very, very quiet this weekend).

There is of course a lot to deal with now, including how on earth it was such a close race.

Ho hum. I do have a lot more thoughts on this particular subject, but not sure it’s appropriate to share them right now, as there are a lot of people who will not be at all happy with the election result.

So what’s been going on here? at our house? well, I have a niece who is 40 years old today. Lockdown celebration of course, and her sister collated video messages from family and friends which she’s made into a delightful mixture. It’s just so lovely.

And last Sunday hubby had a birthday, so I made him a chocolate cake. Dairy free of course. It was, even though I say it myself, absolutely delicious. I baked it on the Saturday, but we couldn’t wait until the actual birthday to start on it, so we had some on Saturday . . . . And on Sunday evening, just before national lockdown, we went to Lambs of Sheep Street in Stratford upon Avon, which is a fabulous restaurant we go to regularly. Excellent. Hubby had steak, I had duck. Delicious. Then we went home and ate some more chocolate cake . . .

Then hubby’s very old MiniMac computer started playing up. It had Ubuntu installed on it, because one of the iOS updates broke it. At least Windows will tell you if an update is inappropriate (usually). But even with Ubuntu, it was failing. So now he has a Lenovo with an SSD. Runs like the wind. But it arrived with no DVD drive in it. I am in correspondence with Lenovo (We bought it direct from them) to find out why. I’d like them to send me the drive and I can fit it. I also want to know why the guarantee has only 8 months left on it, as we bought it this week. Hmph.

I’ve been sleeping a lot. I mean A Lot. Yesterday I woke at 2.30 pm, today I got up, had breakfast, and went back to bed again. Woke at 12.30, so I was able to at least shower and dress before hubby’s afternoon ziz.

All the Xmas presents are ready to be wrapped, labelled and parcelled up, but I just don’t have the oomph to actually do it. I’m intending to do it in stages, it’s just too much altogether otherwise. Even so. Maybe tomorrow morning. Our main postal service has started collecting parcels from your house, so that will help a lot.

Finally found some jeans I like. John Lewis. Yeah. The thing is, because they’re brand spanking new, it feels odd to wear them round the house! so I haven’t yet. But I will I’m sure when I’m feeling a bit more Rah! Rah!

Decided I would crochet some face / wash cloths, so am awaiting some lovely variegated yarn (Rainbow Cotton from Hobbii). It’ll make a change from knitting and won’t take long. Am awaiting a grandson’s measurements from his mum before I can continue knitting the jumper I started. Apparently he’s had a growth spurt, and is all arms and legs. Not sure I want to knit something that (a) he may not choose to wear and (b) won’t fit him even if he does adopt it. Hence the crochet project idea.

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.

Not great

The good news is, the cat is better. It took a month, and she had to be anaesthetised so they could wash out the wound properly, x-ray it to make sure there was nothing in there (there wasn’t) and take a swab to establish exactly what was going on in there. Result – bacteroides which needed a different antibiotic injection. Now she has no cone collar, she’s very, very happy, and back to normal. Even, dare I say it, slightly more affectionate than usual. That translates into allowing a slightly longer cuddle each day than the regulation ten seconds.

The bad news is, I’m not well at all. Some sort of chest infection or other. No voice for the last seventeen days, coughing like a bastard, very weak, achy, shaky, tired and weepy. I am trying to at least shower each day, but can’t always manage it. I’ve cancelled everything I was going to do, and am just pathetic. I’m taking 40mg Prednisone – last dose of the fourteen days on Sunday. Also 100 mg Doxycyline which I absolutely hate, but are the only thing that work, last dose of the seven days on Monday. I’m really, really hoping that by the middle of next week I’ll feel like a normal person. Or at least on the way there. Or at least the blood pressure and pulse rate will be down and more like normal.

My mother meanwhile has bashed and cut her shin badly, which is not good news at 83. Twenty-two steristrips and a large dressing. I can only contact her by text, and she says she’s doing fine, but of course she would say that because she is as brave as a lion. As soon as I’m better enough hubby will take me over and we will do whatever she needs us to do. In the interim, my sister, who lives locally but works full time in a very busy job, has had to manage it all. Damn and blast.

Then I was too ill go to to Logan’s first birthday party. Ex-hubby had offered to take me and YD (now heavily pregnant) down to Southampton for the day, and they did actually go, but I was just too poorly. Even Facetime/Skype was a bit difficult, what with me having no voice! but Logan is just a joy to us all.

Today I had to go back to bed at 10 am, woke at 1.30pm, and had a cursory shower/hair-wash. I can’t cope with the usual moisturising face/arms/legs at the moment, just too much.

Can’t knit. Can’t even pick up the guitar. Reading is something I can do in short bursts. Thank goodness I’ve done all the Xmas presents. Don’t even talk to me about the tree. That goes up the week before Christmas, and not a moment before.

I feel as if I’ve fallen off the small social world I do have. I’ve been out of the house to go to the doctors’ three times in the past two weeks, and am due again on Wednesday. But am not up to driving, so wonderful hubby has to take me. Phhhhh.

Oh. And the cat peed in the car before I got ill, so now my car stinks of cat pee, despite my feeble attempts to sort that out. And now I’m not well enough to do anything about it. I do have a plan, which involves a special valet service, but it’ll have to wait till I can drive at least.

YD has stopped work. Yesterday. Hooray! time for her to put her feet up.

Hopefully, my next blog will be a little bit more cheerful!

Just thinking aloud

Today I was going to go to a local craft fair, to one particular stall, run by a young woman who comes to the knitting group. She’s very young, 16 at the most, and a crochet whiz. She’s absolutely amazing. Fast as lightning, and doesn’t use a pattern either. She makes the most beautiful crochet animals, with a Japanese twist, just out of her head. I’d really like to support her, and was thinking of getting some of her creations for Christmas or birthday presents.

But today’s not a good day. I helped put away the shopping, and had a shower and got dressed, and that’s it. That’s me done for the day. The tremor is quite bad today and I’m all of a doo-dah. Bit weepy and pathetic. Used some of my Chanel No 5 talcum powder after my shower. Washed my hair and everything. Small things to make me feel better.

So I made us both a cup of tea, and sat down at the computer and played Solitaire for a while, then a game of Mahjong with a particular tile set I like (it has Greek letters and Roman numbers, so bends my brain in a different way from the usual Mahjong pictograms).

I’m seeing the doctor in about ten days, and need to speak to her about how low I’ve been. Not sure what she’ll suggest, as I’m on almost the highest dose of antidepressants anyway. But we shall see.

There is some gardening to do – planting a rose and a medlar tree, both gifts, which I’m really looking forward to. But I know that it would just not be wise to do it today. Tomorrow and Monday are forecast to be fine and even sunny, so one of those days perhaps.

The bathroom needs a thorough cleaning, and that’s in the plan too. Not nearly as much fun as gardening though, huh.

Have been knitting things and am pleased with what I’ve made. Just started on a pair of socks for YD. I’ll post photos when they’re done. Fabulous yarn. West Yorkshire Spinners DK. Plain for the welts/heels/toes, and printed for the leg and body. Lovely to knit with.

Also re-organised my earring storage. Next up is necklace storage – special hooks ordered.

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Have been having problems with the network/hi-fi system, but it seems to be sorted now. A bit Heath-Robinson, because there’s a 30 metre ethernet cable trailing across the lounge/hall/study, so that the DS is connected directly and physically to the router. You’d think, in this day and age, that there’d be something a bit less messy. Plans to get it done properly and surface mounted, with proper cable. I’m thinking we need STP (Shielded Twisted Pair) rather than UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) because it will be a permanent installation, so doesn’t need to be particularly flexible, but does need to resist interference. Need to talk to the installers. It’s been doing my head in, because his music so important for hubby. It would be for me like not being able to knit. So I like to make sure, if I can, that it all works.

I’m sick to death of the election already. Promises, promises, promises. Hmph.

Oh well. That’s it really for today.

Happy.

Been to meet new baby Logan. Delightful. Mother and father absolutely wonderful with him. Mother (ED) is a natural. Breastfeeding really well, loads of milk, very contented baby. Sleep deprived parents though 😦 but that’s normal with a new baby. It’s just so lovely to see such a happy new little family. Lucky, lucky baby. He has just the best start in life anybody could ask for.

ED is so brave, and so strong, and such a natural mother. She had a horrible time in hospital, but is playing that down. She’s never been in hospital before, ever. She’s healing well and looking fabulous. Logan’s Dad is wonderful with him. So natural and calm. Despite Logan yanking out a handful of chest hair immediately after birth! bless them both!

And I do love very small babies. They just smell so nice. They’re soft and warm and cute and like a little parcel, ready for cuddling. Logan has downy dark hair all over his legs! so smooshy. He has his mother’s family’s top lip! and his dad’s nose!

And here’s a couple of photos. Three, to be precise. I’m trying not to saturate the internet with baby photos! but he’s just so lovely.

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The journey down to the south coast was excellent. Fine, sunny day, no traffic problems. We found our hotel no problems, checked in, then off to visit grandchild. Premier Inn – can recommend without hesitation. Excellent value. Lovely room, comfortable bed, really good. Dinner at Prezzo in Eastleigh, watched some AlJazeera news – very interesting, different perspective. Their weather forecast was a little odd though. Australasia and the Far East. Erm?

Fabulous breakfast, then back to visit grandchild again. Lovely, lovely, lovely. Lots of cuddles, like Saturday, with both me and Grandad. Never thought I’d see the day.

And today his other Grandad is going to visit. A baby can’t have too many people to love it, in my view. A happy, happy time for us all.

What? more than a month?

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Can’t believe it.  It’s May already. The garden is bursting into bloom and I love it.

I’ve been knitting quite a lot – new summer top just blocking, waiting to be sewn up. Photo when it’s done. Also halfway through a Wingspan – I think this is the third I’ve knitted. Lots of projects in my head, lots.

The shop (Stitch Solihull) is taking part in Love Your Yarn Shop this Saturday – if you live in/near Solihull, West Midlands, come along. Back of Notcutts on the Stratford Road. Cake, discounts, mini-workshops – lots of fun to be had.

I went to a lampshade making course there and am delighted with the lampshade I made. Now I want to buy kits to make four new ones for the lounge table lamps. Very exciting.

But I’ve had another M.E. episode. Lots of sleeping, feeling very very low, not able to do much at all. Had to send my apologies to a lunch I was going to in Coventry on Wednesday. Hmm. And I’m not sure what caused it. Usually I have an idea of why it’s happened. Not this time. I am feeling better now though but I know I need to take it easy and be careful. Hmph.

 

23rd February 2014

Lots and lots has happened since I last blogged. The trick is to remember it all.

Union-wise – I’m going to a Regional UNISON Seminar in Bilston in April, and Retired Members’ Conference in October. It’s ok, it’s one day in April, and one night in October, because we oldies are less likely to party the night away . . .

Still knitting the cable jacket – in fact had a small disaster. I’d finished the back, and almost finished the left front, when I found a huge, obvious, mistake, just above the armhole shaping on the back. So I unravelled it and knitted it back up again.
knitting mistake

Here’s a photo of the mistake. See if you can find it. But it’s all ok now. Then I made a mistake on the shoulder shaping of the left front, and had to re-do that. But now I’m on the right front, and being very very careful.

YD has had a dreadful time at work, but has come out unscathed, and is now angry rather than in bits. Brave soul. She was 30 on Friday. Can’t believe I have two daughters over 30.

Stitch Solihull is having a “knitting-fest” at the end of March, to celebrate their first whole year trading. I’m making a three-tier carrot (birthday) cake. Iced. In the planning stages at the moment.

The garden is looking less bedraggled, and buds are appearing. Snowdrops and primulas are blooming, and the daffodils are budding. Lovely .

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I have new glasses. They’re a very similar style to tme in my new specshe previous ones, but are lighter, a less dramatic colour, and have proper nose pads, which means my nose stays cool and comfortable. Essential (!)

Had another small episode with my back, but the osteopath and 48 hours on Tramadol sorted that out.

And most exciting of all, I’ve been covering the shop. I’ve done it twice now. When either of the young women runs a course on a day she works, they need somebody to staff the shop. And I’ve really enjoyed it. Still not quite used to the till, but am able to offer advice on yarns and patterns, and only had to ask for help twice on Saturday. Several more dates in my diary. It’s voluntary, but it’s just so exciting. Leaves me very tired though, but that’s manageable! and it’s so worth it. Love it, love it, love it.

Next course I’m planning to book myself into is lampshade making. Very excited about it. Not sure when it will be, but it’s definitely in the new course schedule, which should be out by the end of this week.

I also made some dairy free Danish-type pastries. Cinnamon rolls. Bought the puff pastry (dairy free) and made the mixture myself. Delicious. I’ve missed Danish pastries so much!Image

Time to blog.

Not a lot has been happening, really, but I thought I’d have a little blurt on the blog.

I have finally managed to plant the tulips – found a huge pot which took all 14 of them. They’re apricot and I can’t wait for them to grow. I’ve wanted to plant apricot tulips for a long time, but there’s just no space in the garden beds! The garden is actually lovely at the moment, the rudbeckias are really cheerful, and I’ve managed to plant the daffodil bulbs as well as some – lots and lots – of annual poppies too. Fingers crossed they grow.

Last thing I’m going to plant are winter pansies. Dark purple ones look wonderful on the front of the house as it’s cream-coloured. Just need to pop to the garden centre and buy some. I have everything else I need to plant them.

The pain in my hand is still there. Not all the time, but when I try to straighten my hand out, to pick up a glass of water, say, or something like that, I can feel it grinding and it cracks very painfully. But I’ve seen the doctor, told her I’m no longer on the Tramadol, and she’s prescribed Co-codamol. That’s ok and helps with the pain, but makes me very sleepy, so I’m only taking them at lunchtime and bedtime, or else I’m asleep all day long.

Knitting is going well. Have finished two Christmas presents, am on a third, and plans for more. Each project takes a week or two, and I’m not planning to knit as many presents this year, so I won’t feel I’ve failed if I don’t get round to them for whatever reason. Is it just me, or do we all (women) set ourselves impossible targets then beat ourselves up when we don’t achieve them?

Made a new sewing needle case today. The old one was very old and boring and falling apart, so I found a scrap of fabric and made myself a pretty new one.

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Also set up another Christmas present – a sewing project this time. All ready to go now, but enough is enough for one day.

We have fixed the kitchen sinks and taps this week. The sinks have “basket waste strainers” or some such technical term, and although the washers are detachable, you can’t get the replacements. So we went to B&Q and found something that will do, and instead of buying new “basket waste strainers” for £12.50 each, we spent £2.50 on two new washers that will fit. The taps needed new “insides” – don’t know the technical term for that – you can’t get just washers for the sort of taps we have – but we fitted those ourselves and they’re wonderful now. It’s like having a new sink!

I’m about halfway through Christmas presents. Some are hand-made, some I’m buying, but I don’t have plans for all of them. Need to check Amazon wish-lists (yes, mine is all up to date) and contact parents. Children’s wish lists are a false friend – they don’t update them, so you end up buying them something you think they’ll love, and they already have it. Yes, it’s happened to me.

The cat has completely recovered from her abscess under the eye and the fur has all grown back. You’d never know she’d had anything wrong with her. Bless her little heart.

I’ve been reading a lot of Bill Bryson books lately. They always cheer me up, no matter how dreadful I’m feeling, and I frequently laugh out loud. As a result, I have been thinking about what would constitute a perfect small town for me, and mostly it’s where I live, although I would be very happy to do without the McDonalds. There are bookshops, several libraries, a local yarn shop (7 minutes walk for me, yay!) a pleasant shopping area, but a few too many chain stores. More independents would be nice. But hey, you can’t have everything. I always go to an independent shop whenever I can – Woolmans rather than Notcutts, Stitch Solihull rather than anywhere on line or Hobbycraft, and so on.

Can’t wait to cast on part 2 of my current knitting project tonight. Always exciting. And the yarn is fabulous – Opal Sweet and Spicy – you just never know what’s going to come up next colour-wise!