Coughs and sneezes spread diseases

Hubs and I have been knocked sideways with a virus, he didn’t go to work on Tuesday last week because he looked like death, went to the doctors on Wednesday and got signed off work for the rest of the week. I went to work on Friday, we had a new starter on Monday and I needed to get his desk ready. As soon as it was done, I went home, crawled into bed and metaphorically died too.

In and out of bed all weekend, went to work to greet new starter on Monday, I dug out his laptop from where I’d hidden it and went back home to bed. Tuesday I managed till 10am, today I’m hoping for the whole day. Fingers crossed.

Neither of us are sleeping well either which doesn’t help, we’ve had two nights back to back where we’re awake in the wee hours. Last night I saw 12:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30 – when my alarm went off at 5:30, I was so deep asleep I felt like I’d been yanked out of bed like a back tooth.

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On the bright side, I now know that there is a difference between ice dancing and ice skating and got the proper giggles at a god-awful commentator when she noticed that the Russian lady in the ice dancing had her shoulder taped up; “It’s a really strenuous sport with all the lifts they have to do.” I wish I could remember what she said properly, as I was laughing so hard, but alas I don’t have the energy to trawl back through the sh!t-house coverage to find the exact quote. I switched it off in the end the coverage was truly shit-house, if you’re showing a sport that is scored, don’t cut away from the scores to talk about something else!

Maddening.

Mind you, I loved this story about Elizabeth Swaney, competing in the half-pipe for Hungary, bit like how Vinnie Jones was able to played football for Wales. Bill Murray did ask for a normal person to compete in the Olympics so we could compare how good the athletes are, now we’ve got one the outcry is hilarious.

I’ve not been able to track down the BAFTAs ceremony online, I watched a live update and punched the air with joy when Allison Janney won Best Supporting Actress. She’s fabulous. Apart from that, I did my usual reading of HE Bates Darling Buds of May series and watched the first episode of the ITV adaptation (remember that?!) with David Jason, Pam Ferris, Philip Franks and Catherine Zeta Jones.

Here’s hoping it shifts soon, I’m running 15km with Kath in a few weeks, I need to be out pounding the tarmac, not nursing a sore throat and sneezing.

I’ll think of a title later

Since 2005 I have struggled with sleeping, it can take me hours to get to sleep. Then I’ll keep waking up. Then can’t get back off again. So far, so insomnia.

I tried sleeping tablets, but hated the horrible taste in my mouth the morning after. To be honest; they also didn’t help any – I just felt dopey – as well as wondering why my food tasted revolting. I limit my caffeine; for all my jesting about coffee, I only have one or two a day, everything else is I drink is decaf or water.

After a while, I ended up resigning myself to feeling sluggish and tired all the time. My mind would whirr away; replaying things over and over, or creating new things for me to be anxious about. I eventually found a solution that worked for me though, I would listen to audiobooks and “write” the words out in my mind with visualisation. Listening to and “writing” would let me fall asleep simply because my monkey mind wouldn’t get an opportunity to chatter at me. If I woke up in the night, I’d rearrange the headphones under my pillow and do the same thing all over again.

Last week I had a bit of a breakthrough. Monday night was awful, as Hubs was snoring like a train, and the cat stank. I don’t know what had happened, but Chief Brody was shoved outside for the night, Tuesday morning I cut fur off around his bum and we’ll leave it at that #bleee

On Tuesday night I decided ‘Enough’, I lay in bed and concentrated on my breathing and drifted off, waking to my alarm on Wednesday morning. Also, Buddhify have updated their app and have some new meditations. That night I listened to a five minute version of near enough the same thing I’d done the day before; it asks you to concentrate on the lower half of your body, hand on your belly to feel it rise and fall with your breath. I woke up before my alarm and lay in bed listening to the birds going crazy in the tree outside our house. I was so excited, it was ridiculous.

On Tuesday night this week, I slept so well I actually wondered what happened. Right through to wake up to the birds again.

9adff455bd3091ff7dba5be7278653acI’m now at day eleven of not drinking. Using the Jerry Seinfeld method of keeping going, I’m marking crosses off on my wall planner. Now having got ten in an albeit wonky column, I don’t want to break the chain. There are several reasons for this, to say a few things have collided. This article for one thing with this quote:

“In my head, I was a moderate drinker, but after I’d had a drink, I wasn’t. The more I drank, the more I wanted to drink. Drinking increased my thirst. I wanted the second drink more than the first, and I wanted the fifth more than I’d wanted the fourth.”

The first article on this edition of Woman’s Hour, (seriously , if you’re not subscribed to this podcast, why not?) the two ladies that are talking were speaking my language. I have to admit that I am done, I can’t do half-hearted any more. I can’t do moderate, because as soon as I’ve had one drink, I want another. As you can imagine, this decision has not been made easily. But also realise that I will be sleeping better with no alcohol in my system.

I’m listening to (and reading) Russell Brand’s Recovery: Freedom from our addictions and working my way through his thirteen step program. I’m not sure about going to AA to get some physical (as in people) support, I’m not convinced I could do the god bit without grinding my teeth. Higher power is one thing, but naming it?? There are several secular meetings near me, if I need it – I know they’re there.

Picture credit.

Shake it up

A morning blog. How out of the normal for me and that’s why I’m doing it.

Morning y’all.

My intention today after my meditation is calm. I love how the word I need for the day finds me as I sit in silence. I’ve been meditating for years, I dip in and out of it, but am trying to build a framework for my days – which more often than not start with sitting in stillness for 10 minutes to figure my shit out.

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I’ve been drifting for a month or so, I lost my way and had a pity party for one. No black dog, no anxiety, just wondering “What do I want?” How can I work towards a goal, when I’ve lost my goal? When I don’t know what I’m aiming for?

I saw my GP this week, my medication has been dropped back down to normal; my counselling sessions *blows kisses to V* have gone from fortnightly to monthly; and whatever funk I was in with myself the last few weeks has blown over. I love this time in the emotional fabric of my life. Coming out of a hole of anxiety or depression and feeling the breath of life on your skin again is something to be celebrated – so I am. Hence my morning blog and shaking it up today.

It’s a clean slate. New beginning and a do over. Just like every sunrise is. Take a deep breath, gird your loins and away you go.

So now what? I’m entering a period of Deep Thought, although have less programming to run, I just need to work out my own question to 42. But I do know where my towel is. So that is a start.

 

In a week, it’ll nearly be over

Today is Thursday, which means next week is 24 December, which means on Friday next week a lot of the kerfuffle and panic from people’s lives will be gone.

I’m even more stoic than usual (if possible) about this Christmas, mainly because Hubs will be away 23-24 December. If his flight is delayed, he may not get home until Christmas Day. We’ve made no plans other than our usual boiled eggs and soldiers for breakfast, and maybe a picnic, (if it’s not too hot). He’s been away eight days out of the past eleven – I think we could all do with some down time with him at home. Our family ‘do’ is on 27 December, when we are all together with the in-laws and then we’re celebrating our youngest nephew’s first birthday on 29 December.

Not forgetting the Boxing Day Test, which against the West Indies could be over and done with in three days not the usual five. (I’m still amazed that some of the fast bowlers refused to bowl from one end of the Tasmania pitch; erm – that’s your job?) Hubs is off to the Test on Boxing Day, if it’s still going on 28 December, Peanut and I will join him too.

The decorations in our local shopping plaza/mall have been up since before Halloween. This week Peanut came home from nursery with glitter and porridge oats in a sachet, with a poem about leaving the mixture out for Santa to guide his reindeers to the house, which infuriated me no end. Having spent all year talking about characters i.e. Batman, Superman, Santa; his childcare have revved him up to eleventy stupid about the whole ‘Santa’ gift-giving thing. Peanut is freaking out that we don’t have a chimney, so he can’t hang his stocking and how is Santa going to get here? Hubs and I have been really careful in our language saying ‘You need to wait for Christmas for your presents’ and ‘It’s about being with family and celebrating a special occasion’. Nowhere have we said anything about ‘Santa bringing you stuff’. It’s maddening that at not quite four and a half, we’re already battling peer pressure against a decision we’ve made not to lie to him about where his presents come from. ARGH.

I’m off to be a humbug and collect Hubs from the airport. I’ll leave you with this:Christmas

 

 

 

 

A NSFW post

Thought I would give you the heads up on this post – it may contain language, of the Anglo Saxon variety, I’m discussing gender and sexuality. It will also include my favourite insult, which is really, really awful and also needs some thinking about before the depth of how awful it is sinks in. So if you’re not in the mood for language, or for me to get on a soap box, please move along now. I won’t be offended. This probably also should be flagged as a trigger warning because of what I’m writing about too.

—o0o—

Jack Monroe is a hero of mine, they’ve been through so much in their life already, apparently all brought on themselves if you’d believe the Daily Mail and Richard Littlejohn. Jack’s column ‘Hunger Hurts’ shares an insight into what it is like to live on and below the breadline in the UK, and just how quickly it can happen to people. Getting pregnant and having to give up a night-shift job because affordable child care wasn’t (and isn’t) readily available, put them in the unenviable position of watching income and savings disappear, selling objects to put food on the table.

(For those who aren’t aware of who Richard Littlejohn is, he is a ‘journalist’, writing for the most right-wing of papers. He’s obnoxious, but has a baying audience of people who think he speaks the truth and for them. To give you an idea of what he’s like, he wrote an opinion piece on a trans teacher at a school (“not only are they in the wrong body, they’re in the wrong job” natch); picking this up from a local news story, but outing them to the nation, outing the school and causing so much heartache in an already difficult journey, the teacher, Lucy Meadows, committed suicide).

Jack blogged about recipes and budgeting to feed a family on as little as £10 a week. As the blog went viral, this spiked the ire of people who have lots of money and think people who rely on contributions from the state should either be forced into work; or brushed under the carpet because it can’t be that bad really – just get a job, tsk.

Tax breaks given to people to buy second homes, either to rent or use at weekends, in Australia have pushed the housing market up to the point where Hubs and I are pretty much resigned to renting for the rest of our lives. We can’t get on the ladder, because a two bedroom house (minimum we could move into) is at least $350-400,000 to start with. We’d need to save around $80-90,000 minimum for a deposit. Even though we are both working, our disposable income goes on exciting things like child care, fuel so we can get to work, food and bills. Party on. I’m guessing from what my friends are saying, the UK housing market is about the same. Priced out of reach of people who are trying to get on the housing ladder, with not much affordable housing being built any time soon.

Continue reading “A NSFW post”

A workaround, of sorts

Last week Apple released an update to their operating software, moving all audiobooks from iTunes to iBooks. So far, so what?

I spend most of my time either plugged into podcasts or the spoken word, to the point where I don’t now often listen to music. I still struggle to get to sleep, which considering how much I love my sleep still amazes people. I can’t switch my mind off, so I listen to books, write the words and drift off. When I wake up in the night, every night, repeat. This stems back from when my first marriage imploded. I would read to go to sleep, drop my book, wake up. Read, get sleepy, turn off light, wake up. The first three to four months after we separated are such a blur because I was so, so tired and ravaged by grief. I wish I’d had audiobooks then. I only manage to drop off on my own if I have a siesta, in daytime. Read into that what you will.

I use podcasts as my radio, as the radio in Australia is dire. Commercial stations that play the same songs over and over, usually someone from a reality TV show. The talk radio is marginally better, but how I long for the BBC, so I podcast my favourite programs and cope that way. That David Cameron is doing his utmost to disband both the BBC and the NHS fills me with rage – so it’s probably good I don’t live in the UK anymore, I’d be properly militant. I’d long ago stopped using the podcasts app on my phone, using Downcast instead. My back screen of my phone has a group folder called ‘CrapApps’, it includes the stock one (?); the weather one; the watch one (FFS); game centre; the hopeless, shitty calendar; newsstand. You get the picture. I cannot remove them from my phone, so they sit there, useless, taking up storage space and ignored.

Last night I spent three and a half hours sorting my phone out so I can listen to audiobooks. Because in iBooks, you can’t play a series of books back-to-back, so overnight when I wake up, I have to open my phone, restart it, lie there waiting for my eyes to adjust again. Moving the books from iTunes also didn’t necessarily move all the chapters over, helpful. In the end, I dug out my old iPod, inscribed with ‘I worked hard for this’ on the back of it. Brought in 2006, still in good condition, 32MB of memory and loaded it up with audiobooks and music.

It doesn’t have a speaker, so I plugged in some headphones, put them under my pillow and was able to play a series of books overnight. Hurrah.

I really do have a love / hate relationship with my phone. I hate how it dominates my life. Yet I love that I am connected with people I care about through it. I hate that I now go back to the house to get it, if I’ve left it behind. When I first got my Nokia brick, if I left it behind, “Oh well. People will call me later”. Now we have to respond to a text message in a nano-second, otherwise you’ll get a follow-up ‘You ok?’ sent.

I’m able to listen to audiobooks, so I can sleep. But in 2015, I’ve had to go back to 2006 to do it. Thanks Apple, another leap backward in technology. I logged a helpdesk request with you to help me resolve it, it got a few comments with other people frustrated beyond belief with the ‘improvement’. But no-one could fix it. Thanks.

I know this is totally a first world problem, when you see the picture of the little boy sitting outside a McDonalds, using the light from there to complete his homework – it pales into insignificance. Apple have created this beast, where we are all dependent on them, I know other phones are available, other software – but when you look at people on the train in the morning, barely anyone reads a book now. Life has moved on apace so that if you don’t have a multimedia device somewhere on your person, you’re regarded as odd.

I’m not entirely sure that it helps. People complain that they’re busy all the time. Turn the TV off, put your phone down, get outside and walk around. You’ll be amazed at how much more time you have. When it’s just you, not you and a gadget. See, it’s proper love / hate.

Take the donuts

People who’ve been reading my blog for a while will know of my adoration of Amanda Palmer. I found her by accident, through listening to an interview with her husband, Neil Gaiman. Yes, him. He wrote his book ‘The Ocean At The End Of The Lane’ for her, I looked her up as I’d never heard of her and slowly she crept into my life. I read her book ‘The Art Of Asking and it broke me open, I’ve downloaded the audio book, spending a voucher Hubs had given me for a present on it. I want to savour listening to it, so it’s sitting there, waiting patiently. I don’t want it on while I potter about the house, so I think I’m waiting for car trip to listen. I’ll know when it is the right time.

Take the donuts. What on earth does that mean? Ask for help. Be grateful for what people offer to help you get through. Amanda Palmer has just said goodbye to her best friend of 30 years who passed away this week. Anthony, she wrote about him in her book, he was her next door neighbour, he was also her mentor, guide, friend and a second father to her. Both she and Neil Gaiman were in the UK, fulfilling work commitments when they got ‘that’ call. The one that says you need to come now, don’t wait.

Squeezed onto the last row of a flight to Boston. Not pulling the ‘Do you know who I am / we are?’ cards so they turned left on the plane; just get us home – please. Collective fans on patreon, facebook and twitter held our breaths, willing them home while holding Anthony and his wife within us all around the world. Support was sent to them both all over social media and so on to Anthony and his family. They got there in time.

It was a remarkable use of social media; for good, not evil, no trolling, just an outpouring of love and support. They both said that it helped that so many people were thinking of them while friends and family rowed a loved-one out on his final journey.

Take the donuts.

I used to follow various famous people on instagram, less so now as I got fed up of the pleading, jumping up and down ‘Notice me please!’ from people in the comments. Celebrities are more accessible than ever before, they can tweet news about a new film to millions, they don’t have to sit in interviews to get their projects publicised. Journalists are now often rehashing twitter feeds for ‘news’; you almost know everything within minutes of it happening. Whether it is news, or not. Most often not.

People who are famous for being famous; famous for sex tapes; famous by association as a sibling or parent of someone else who was/ are famous; are now listened to intently. Whether for good or evil. Kardashians, I’m looking at you. Please, start doing something constructive with your lives, for the sake of the millions of teenage girls who think that contouring is now an appropriate level of make-up to wear to school. Please use your influence for good. Not spawning a phase of girls sucking their lips inside a shot glass – FFS.

Both Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman, from the beginning of their careers recognised that fans were important. They got the word out, shared stuff ‘All the things’ with their fan-base. They’re open, honest, very sweet and adore each other. Watching them on stage and the goofy looks they give each other, the interaction between the two of them was heartwarming. Was it any wonder that so many of ‘us’ reached out to ‘them’ – when ‘All the things’ they make, songs, music, art – whatever, touch us? When someone hears you; when their use of words or music and something in you resonates loudly, you hang on to it. We feel connections deeply, that’s why they’re connections, they’re more than just glimpses of something familiar.

I’m not very good at asking for help. It takes a deep breath and a leap of faith to admit that you’re drowning, not waving, struggling with life and being vulnerable. We’ve a lot of friends who are struggling at the moment, families with cancer affecting day-to-day lives,  I can offer help easily. Will run around like crazy after someone else, but less so after myself.

Take the donuts. When you need help, reach out and ask for it. Call someone. If you need some wallpaper hung, a birthday cake made, your car washed, dinners cooked, whatever it is, whatever someone offers you. Take the donuts. Here’s an extract from Amanda’s book where she explains it:

Thoreau wrote in painstaking detail about how he chose to remove himself from society to live “by his own means” in a little 10-foot x 15-foot hand-hewn cabin on the side of a pond. What he left out of Walden, though, was the fact that the land he built on was borrowed from his wealthy neighbor, that his pal Ralph Waldo Emerson had him over for dinner all the time, and that every Sunday, Thoreau’s mother and sister brought over a basket of freshly-baked goods for him, including donuts.

The idea of Thoreau gazing thoughtfully over the expanse of transcendental Walden Pond, a bluebird alighting onto his threadbare shoe, all the while eating donuts that his mom brought him just doesn’t jibe with most people’s picture of him of a self-reliant, noble, marrow-sucking back-to-the-woods folk-hero.

Taking the donuts is hard for a lot of people.

It’s not the act of taking that’s so difficult, it’s more the fear of what other people are going to think when they see us slaving away at our manuscript about the pure transcendence of nature and the importance of self-reliance and simplicity. While munching on someone else’s donut.

Maybe it comes back to that same old issue: we just can’t see what we do as important enough to merit the help, the love.

Try to picture getting angry at Einstein devouring a donut brought to him by his assistant, while he sat slaving on the theory of relativity. Try to picture getting angry at Florence Nightingale for snacking on a donut while taking a break from tirelessly helping the sick.

To the artists, creators, scientists, non-profit-runners, librarians, strange-thinkers, start-uppers and inventors, to all people everywhere who are afraid to accept the help, in whatever form it’s appearing,

Please, take the donuts.

To the guy in my opening band who was too ashamed to go out into the crowd and accept money for his band,

Take the donuts.

To the girl who spent her twenties as a street performer and stripper living on less than $700 a month who went on to marry a best-selling author who she loves, unquestioningly, but even that massive love can’t break her unwillingness to accept his financial help, please….

Everybody.

Please.

Just take the fucking donuts.