Monday, February 20, 2017

Still struggling along...

I've written up a list of health complaints to take with me to my doctor's appointment a week Friday. I'm allowed one thing to present with, so I've written ONE list. I'm happy to attribute a portion of this list's complaints to menopause, but not all of it.
I don't particularly want to make 16 different appointments to take care of the list, but if I have to I will. Surely one or two things can be checked off with, say, a blood test? The NHS is a frustrating place to navigate. A very broken system with employees who are doing the best they can with it. I'm sympathetic, but still frustrated.
I am pondering what I need to remove from my diet to moderate how I'm feeling: dairy, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, carbs, etc. I'll be sitting down this week and making up lists of food I need to focus on.
I also discovered this morning that all that coconut I've been inhaling the past several weeks (about 3kgs of it now) is both terribly fattening and sweet - even though it's raw, unsweetened coconut. This is why my work pants, which fit me Friday, don't fit me this morning! I did walk to work - housesitting this week in town - which took me 45 minutes, so that's something. I plan to do it all week, weather dependent. It's direct and quite pleasant so I'll take advantage of the mild weather and do a morning walk. It's half-term so the roads are much quieter, too, which is nice.
As one of my complaints is shortness of breath (attributed last year to anemia), I won't be walking back in the evenings as it's all up hill (although a very long, gentle hill) and I would struggle. One thing at a time. I felt great this morning for doing it, so that's a start.
I've sat at this place before (they have three cats) and wondered about their little garden annex, which they now use as an AirBnB flat. I was asked to put some milk in the fridge for the new guest who arrives on Tuesday, so took the opportunity to snoop. It's very tiny - just two rooms and a bathroom - but quite bright and has everything necessary (including a small outside garden space off the bedroom) for a comfortable stay. They used to rent it out and I may ask later in the year if they're considering doing that again, as I would be very interested. I believe the last time they rented it, it was £680 'all in', which is highly unusual. As I'm not in a position at the moment to really do anything about it, I'll leave it, as I say, until a bit later in the year. It costs nothing to ask, after all.
It would be really nice to have my own place again, even a tiny flat. I don't dislike living with my cousin, but I've said from the beginning that ultimately I want my own space again. It seems to be taking me an awfully long time, though! Ah well.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Mid-February already!

The chocolate tart and chocolate chip mint ice cream I enjoyed at the Leenane Hotel. Worth a return visit in itself!

Finally feeling a bit more 'with it' and arrived home a couple of hours ago after an overnight dog sitting job for my colleague. Jac is a lovely fella, easy to care for and he essentially spent the day sleeping yesterday. I watched trashy Saturday daytime TV and we went out for a walk about 4:30 for about half an hour.

We had a much longer walk this morning, which was nice, and now I'm back in the Forest. My cousin is visiting her mum this weekend so I have the place to myself until tomorrow. Not doing much of anything - trashy Sunday daytime Netflix mostly, and cuddling with the cat, who was all alone for 24 hours. He survived unscathed and is happy to have one of his laps back.

I have another housesit starting Friday night for a week - 3 cats in a six-bedroom house. I don't mind as it's only a week, on a direct bus route to work and they pay me. The cats are more or less friendly and it's quite straightforward. I will put the cash towards a bus pass, some groceries and if any left over, travel funds. I'm attempting to save my £5 notes this year, as well as my £1 & £2 coins, although I don't actually use cash that often. Regardless, it's a bit of a challenge and will be interesting to see how well I can do. I'll keep the notes, but re-deposit the coins.

Scotland accommodation is all sorted - caught a mistake in one of the bookings but because it's so far ahead, there was no trouble sorting it out, fortunately. Phew! We booked our final B&B about a mile outside Fort William in a pretty spot overlooking the loch. It's slightly cheaper than the original booking, too, which is nice. Our first class train tickets are booked for the Jacobite and our cream tea and cheese plate ordered! It's going to be fantastic.

I've had to cancel one of my planned getaways this year already which I'm a bit annoyed about: I had wanted to go to the Bristol Balloon Festival and reserved a B&B near the grounds. I had asked a cousin who lives in Bristol if she wanted to join me but didn't hear anything (which is fine because I am capable of doing things on my own - haha!). A week or so later, however, I found out that she, along with her kids, is going to the Isle of Wight that week with the cousin I live with (and one of her nephews), so it means I have to cat sit. It would have been nice if she had just TOLD me this. I don't mind cat sitting at all, and it now means I have two extra days' holidays, but I'm just a bit ticked off with the lack of communication, that's all (says I, the Queen of Non-Communication).

I'm starting my third week off FB. I was despairing and sad about the political stuff that kept appearing, so have taken myself off for awhile. I'm not sure how long at the moment, but I'm not missing it and my mental health is more important to me. I'd rather a break than a breakdown.

Anyhoo, there hasn't been too much of note happening (apart from a sudden addiction to coconut flakes - I've gone through over a kilo of them in about 3 weeks!), but I'm really just happier to be feeling more with it (mentally) and slightly more energetic. The temperatures are going up a little (although we had light snow flurries yesterday morning) and the days are lengthening, so I'm sure that has something to do with it. A little extra light is always welcome.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Alllllllllll week...and into next, I believe.
It's a bit warmer at least, although so much rain is going to be not only depressing but is going to create all kinds of road and flooding issues.
"Into every life a little rain must fall". Sure, but there must be limits?
I've temporarily deactivated my FB account because I am in despair at what is happening in the US at the moment. I need to take a break and because I get most of my news ("news"?) through FB, it was the most direct way to cut off the majority of that. Here, there were thousands who protested the PM's Royal invitation to the President. There are over 1.5 million who have signed a petition asking her to revoke the invitation. I'd like to see her set a precedent, honestly, and damn the 'special relationship'. This has put the Palace in a rather unusual position and I'm waiting to see what they decide. Protocol, professionalism and position come into play here, but I for one would really like to see the Palace overturn the invitation.
The Daily Mail (at the bottom of the "quality journalism and readership" ladder) screamed a headline this morning that '99% of Daily Mail readers agree with Trump's migrant stance.' This is misleading because Trump's stance is against IMMIGRANTS, not migrants. As for the 99% of Daily Mail readership, well...
The almost-daily executive orders (which were apparently wholly illegal and unconstitutional during Obama's tenure?) are making my head hurt.
So I've stepped away from it. I don't know for how long. I'm choosing to stick my head in the sand (his firing of the US Attorney General this morning actually made me gasp in horror).
And then some kid shoots 6 Muslim men in Quebec. At least the PM is calling it what it is, a terrorist attack. That's cold comfort, but I give him a lot of credit for saying it.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

End of January - phew!

How I'm feeling in January...

Not that I want to make it seem like I'm rushing or anything, but I'm really looking forward to January being over. Mentally, it's been a bastard, bringing me down for several weeks at the beginning of the month. It's only been the last week or so that I've finally started to feel better and brighter. To that end, I've essentially written it off as any kind of productive month and am just using it to organise, plan and think about what I want to do for the rest of the year. It's still doing something (more or less) just not as energetically.

I had almost 10 days off over Christmas and was planning on having a few days alone to recharge and plan after a short visit with my sister. That plan was scrapped after she had to leave the place she was staying - no physical danger, fortunately, it just had become very unwelcome and uncomfortable for her. So she ended up here, initially for a couple of weeks, but only left yesterday. My cousin is annoyed because she was promised a weekly monetary contribution which hasn't happened - she's given my sister an extra week to pay it. My sister asked if I could loan her the money (£300) but I don't have it. So it's up to her to figure out how to make it happen.

It was a long time to spend with my sister and I'm feeling more relaxed now that she's gone (she can be quite spiritually intense). She's applied for a job in Devon and in the meantime has moved to a housesit near Salisbury for a couple of weeks.

I had a nice enough break, we did lots of walking and relaxing, probably got through a book or two, and all too soon work rolled around again. It's still fairly quiet and I hope it picks up again soon. It's nobody's fault, but it is a bit frustrating and despite best efforts, I am becoming bored again, which is not good.

However (!!), because I am now a mature and productive adult (haha), I've decided to forego rash and impulsive decisions about leaving jobs I'm not happy with and finding something else because I'm tired of doing that. No, it's not the most challenging job I've ever done and my boredom plays host to all sorts of alternate options, but I am lucky to have a) a permanent job, b) a steady paycheque, c) colleagues that I like, d) good bosses and, e) the opportunity of a slightly flexible schedule (in that I can take a day off here and there and make it up, rather than being held to taking it as vacation or sick or whatever). I can set my budget (within £20 or so) each month to pay my bills, pay down some debt, etc. And in this economic environment, that alone can be enough.

I don't REALLY want to get a second job, despite the fact that I'm struggling with my wage, but if I can get my debt down to a much more manageable level (have no one to blame but me for that), then I would have more to do more FUN things, rather than feeling this lack of... all the time. Having said that, I haven't ruled it out, I just would prefer not to (and it would depend on the job). But needs must, I know...a goal of mine this year is, however, to ask for a raise.

In December, I bought a fun goals planner here. I've not quite completed it, but am doing my best with it. I'd like to have it fully done by the end of January. One of the items in it is a list of '100 Things' that I want to do this year. They can be literally anything, simple to complex (a weekly bubble bath, climbing Mt Everest, sitting with a cup of tea or glass of wine for half an hour each night, starting a business, reading more/less, watching the Northern Lights - you get the idea). I have just over 80 at the moment, several of which I can already confidently cross off the list! The ones I've crossed off are:

  • Go to York (going with my cousin for my birthday in April).
  • Go to Edinburgh (going with Jane in September!).
  • Contact a genealogist about their work.
  • Visit friends in Nottingham (May - yet to confirm, but at least we've discussed it!)
  • Self-catering weekend with my sister and my cousins - just us girls! (booked for end of May)

Not a lot, but I still think that, despite having the energy of a slug, it's a good start! :) One of the other items on my list is to read more non-fiction, so I started this year off with a book about feng shui, which I've just finished today. It was really fun, so I made copious notes and I've got all kinds of plans for my room. :D It's a little project I can do over the next several months, including collecting little bits & pieces to enhance it.

I'm trying to decide what my next non-fiction book will be.

As I said at the beginning, January is a write-off, so a lot of the other stuff is going to start in February, now that my energy is coming back. And if I don't get them all done (is Goal #100 "meeting Gary Lineker" really going to happen?), I'll just move them to next year. The book is all about taking responsibility for change and fun and your circumstances. There's a Facebook group that's supportive and fun and interesting and there to help you reach your goals - you can use it as much or as little as you like. I'm spending a bit too much time online at the moment, so one thing I plan to do is remove the FB app button from my iPad to make it less accessible. It's become overwhelming, politically speaking, so I need to step away from it.

I'm planning a trip to Scotland with Jane in the autumn before she goes on her hike. I'm going to drive up and meet her and we're going to spend a week or so exploring the country from Edinburgh to Glasgow to Fort William (with hopefully a visit to Loch Ness, a Jacobite train trip, and a few little side trips if we can fit them in). My return from Glasgow will hopefully include an overnight in the Lake District, as I go right past it and it seems a shame to miss out if I don't have to. It's supposed to be beautiful.

Last Monday I was in a car accident en route to the train station with my sister. There was heavy fog and the roads were quite icy. I thought I was going slowly enough but as I hit a corner (a tricky one even in good weather), I was obviously STILL going too fast. There was already a car on its side in the ditch and a police officer on the scene and as I tried to avoid a van that was coming the other way, the brakes locked and I hit him on the rear driver side. My poor wee car had a smashed headlight (which needed replacing anyway) and now has a permanent dent. The other fellow drove off without much concern or exchange of information after asking if all okay, so that left me hanging as the officer couldn't do anything without details. I drove home and my sister had to take a cab to the train station instead. I ended up taking the day off to drop the car for repairs (the rock stars at the garage repaired it the same day) and calling the insurance to report it. What a pain! I paid for it out of pocket (£85) because both the fellow I spoke to at the insurance company and the guys at the garage said if they'd had to take the front panel off to repair it, the car would have been written off instead. That startled me but I suppose makes sense, as that would have cost far more than the car is actually worth. As the guy at the garage said, the car is worth more to me on the road as she is. A dent is unsightly but she's still roadworthy and driveable, so doing any more work isn't worth it.

Annoying and frustrating, but no one was hurt, so overall it could have been much worse.

I've decided that I'm going back to school this year. I need to have a focus and that seems like a good one. I double checked to see if there was a similar program closer to home, but there isn't, so it's an hour's drive for me once a month to attend class. I'm okay with that. I want something that'll make me some (extra) money as I head towards, and into, retirement in the next 15 years and that'll allow me to feel good about what I do. I've decided on acupressure, and the following year will add aromatherapy. That feels more like what I need, so I'm going to follow that feeling. I can register for the online portion of the course anytime, which would lessen the workload in the fall. This is something I plan to do at the end of February. Then I have to make sure I take the time to do the reading and reviewing to get it completed.

I'll also be meal planning and try to get into the habit of making meals that will last more than one day. Freezer friendly, easy, tasty and cost saving - I need to make more of an effort with my food. My cousin is really good at that sort of thing, so I know will be able to help with stuff like that. I'm lazy - I admit it - and would rather spend my weekends just not doing much of anything than cooking 101 things, but do acknowledge that it's a real time saver during the week and the less thought for me around what to eat, the better!

Anyway, that's really about it. Just a few thoughts to catch up. To those on the east coast, I hope the ice storm eases and that some sense of normalcy returns soon. Take care of yourselves!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas!