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Sometimes you just have to write things out… (or in the words of Monty Python – Life’s a pile of Shit)

Well this week has been a bit crap.

Disappointingly it’s only Monday.

But I get this sometimes when I sink into self pity and a general mire of ‘woe’ because one or two things happen which push things slightly over the precipice of complete shitness.

Don’t worry I will be fine – I always am – but it’s times like these that I have to take a deep breath and refocus.

You may have similar moments where things are simply ‘unfair’ it feels like everywhere you turn someone or something is out to get you.

What I want to do is stamp my feet, shout, scream, be HEARD, tell everyone this is UNFAIR!

I really, really want to do this, but I know that I can’t.

You see there are so many people worse off than me, it makes me feel like a petulant child. Except I’m not. I’m an intelligent, grown woman.

It’s a constant battle to take that deep breath, to count my blessings (I used to hate it when people told me that, what do they know about what I’ve gone through!!) but it does help.

Yes things aren’t always easy, but I’ve never gone hungry and it’s been many years since I was without a roof over my head – and in fairness that was only for a few days because I was too proud to go home.

So what is my problem?????

The answer is: I keep on picking myself up, and picking myself up, and picking myself up and it’s getting tiring… no jokes about weight here!

Sometimes it’s tough when from the outside and at base level I have nothing to complain about.

Except I FEEL broken.

I am blessed with so many talents which I love to share but I’m always on the outside, totally my own fault as I don’t feel comfortable around people, I know they don’t bite (well mostly) and I’m a naturally outgoing person on my outgoing side…

I’m totally rambling now!!

Deep breath.

The best thing I can do is take care of myself, take time to breathe…

I’m going to recognise the things I can’t change and write them down, put them in an envelope marked ‘later’ and file them. (It may be a large envelope)

Next i’m going to phone my kids to tell them how proud I am of them – again don’t worry this is me making sure my wonderful children know that they are valued not a suicide call!!!!

I’m then going to walk my gorgeous dog and take note of the things around me, the way the light catches on the ocean, the shapes the shadows from the trees make… I love nature it is so beautiful and asks for nothing in return.

I’m going to prioritise time with my wonderful husband – he may not appreciate this but it’s happening anyway!

Then I am going to paint (I admit I love painting and there’s an unashamed link to my art website on my painting!),



knit,

and create things that I can give to others…

Recharge my soul for a day or two.

Pick myself up.

Assess my situation and if there’s something I don’t like, take measured steps to change it, whilst acknowledging that change doesn’t happen overnight. I’m not naturally patient so this is the difficult bit.

Step one…

Breathe.

The sun will set, the moon will shine and the sun will rise again.

In more words of Monty Python…

Always look on the Bright Side of Life, de do dedo dedo dedo

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Self sabotage

I wanted to share a few things and I’ve tried to write them down and basically failed – I ran the past iterations past my wonderful husband who said they were ‘ok’ but not quite ‘right’… which is a kind way of saying they were sh1t.

I totally agreed – they weren’t in my ‘style‘ I was being too serious and it all got a bit depressing if I’m honest.

I naturally did the sensible thing and deleted the drafts and all associated photos etc. – thankfully my wonderful husband automatically backs up everything we do on some whizzo system so I didn’t lose the photos completely (apparently I do this regularly, I begged to differ however he is of course completely correct).

The thing is I really want to share a few things…

I want to share about the fact I have been diagnosed with Primary Lymphoedema – I didn’t even know this condition existed let alone the fact that I’ve been living with it for the past 20+ years! I just thought I had swollen sore ankles and legs because I was fat. I never felt comfortable in dresses and regularly joked that I had ‘elephantitis’ of the feet – ironically stage 3 Lymphoedema is exactly that!!!

My mind by the end of this thought had already latched on to the fact that I’m not fat – well technically I do have an overweight BMI… but seriously when I was in the ‘healthy’ bracket I looked awful and I was completely miserable!

But I have always had a ‘body image’ issue – when I look at myself I see someone at least three sizes bigger looking back at me and I don’t know why.

I’m not horrendous – at least I don’t think I am – so why do I see myself differently?

It affects all sorts of things, I literally think anyone who tells me I’m beautiful is a complete nut job who probably needs a long overdue trip to the opticians!

Subsequently my past choice in partners has been a bit ‘iffy’ – obviously I have moved on from this and my wonderful husband is just that (although I have actively discouraged any trips to the opticians just in case).

I also have a belief that I’m a bit stupid (being slightly dyslexic and ambidextrous didn’t help in school as the teachers simply didn’t know how to classify me – it really is ironic that they give those names to conditions that an ordinary person would struggle to spell!!), I have total squirrel syndrome which is also unhelpful (my wonderful husband has pointed out that not everyone may know what ‘squirrel syndrome’ is – it is where something moving catches the corner of your eye, a bit like seeing a squirrel in the garden when you’re in mid flow and you find yourself talking about nuts instead of tea) – but at the same time it is totally awesome as I love to learn all sorts of things, however sticking at them is tricky as something else catches my eye…

So all in all it turns out I’m a bit of a basket case…

I also seem to have lost my thread. Again. At least some things are predictable!!

The point, I think, is that all this has been holding me back – I don’t believe people who say nice things, I don’t believe in my own abilities because I’m constantly sabotaging my own potential!!

I mean seriously how stupid is a that!!!!

In order to try and see how stupid I was I took an IQ test – turns out I’m not that stupid (I took four different ones just in case the first one was out to flatter people – they were all in the same ball park).

I like to collect external validation, not content to love knitting I’ve started a master knitter course, not content to paint I entered exhibitions (I won the best domesticated animal category in the Association of Animal Artists annual exhibition in 2014), not content just to be a certified coach I am now a master coach – the list goes on…

Do I believe I’m ‘good enough’?

No

Am I getting better?

Yes, slowly

I feel that now my Lymphoedema has been diagnosed I can move forward – it proves that my self belief was not correct, something can be done to change it, I’m now in compression garments and I have actual ankles!! I’ve been totally obsessed with other peoples ankles for years!! I was forever looking at larger ladies and being completely and utterly envious of their skinny ankles… I can now buy a pair of cowboy boots!! I don’t think the medical staff have come across someone quite so excited at the thought of wearing compression garments for the rest of their lives…

I’m also contemplating seeing if I can influence the makers of the garments to design some fun patterns – a fishnet pattern in purple with sparkles would be totally awesome!

Exciting Stuff · Uncategorized

Eye Eye… Look who’s just gone and done it!

Well 20+ years of contemplation, investigation and general parping I am finally sat here typing this sans glasses!!!

I have worn glasses since I was twelve and those of you from the UK will know the pain of the pink NHS plastic glasses issued to those who couldn’t afford/ weren’t prepared to pay the extra for any glasses that looked remotely cool:

Delightful aren’t they?

I knew we weren’t well off (at all) but I did really hate those glasses and yes I did suffer the usual ‘four eyes’ jokes.

Of course now I’m a parent I can totally understand why my mum was reluctant to pay the extra when my prescription was changing twice a year and I did have a tendency to loose/sit on them!!

So when this new fangled laser eye surgery came into existence I thought my saviour had arrived – no more glasses!!!!!

However back then it was a developing science and ignoring the fact that I definitely couldn’t afford it I started to look into whether it was feasible… the short answer being – No.

This was due to the fact the my poor eyesight is largely down to having an astigmatisms which back then was untreatable. I treat this as a sign, on the basis that I couldn’t afford it anyway and carried on with life…

About ten or fifteen years later my little brother has his eyes lasered – it’s brilliant! He’s a convert – I literally hear about nothing else…

Naturally I start to look into it again (I am now sporting glasses that are quite nice so I don’t mind wearing them but I would still rather not).

I discover they can now do my prescription! However I still still can’t afford it so start looking down the contacts route instead – you can now get weighted contacts, but they’re hard ones and extremely uncomfortable… I stick with glasses… I buy a designer pair… I sit on them… my mother really did know what she was doing.

A few years later my hairdresser has her eyes ‘done’ she has the same prescription as me… it is very tempting… I’m now on toric soft daily disposable contacts but my vision isn’t as good as glasses as they ‘swing’ whenever I blink so that everything goes a bit blurry, but they’re good for a night out.

I look more at the side affects as I’m an artist in my spare time now and I do love my art, ridiculously so, (feel free to check out my work on FaceBook / website – the website needs updating, it’s on my ‘to do’ list along with several hundred other things – let me know what you think) my eyes are naturally dry so I’m concerned about extra dryness but I’m also terrified about losing my sight, after all it’s just cosmetic, I can see perfectly fine with my glasses (I’m now on ones the you can sit on and they spring back into shape – genius!).

Fast forward another five years… I should probably warn you about the length of this blog – but it does span 20+ years!

I am on secondment in the USA and my son has just has his eyes lasered, he is also a total convert and one that knows I’ve been looking into it far his entire life so I hear everything and basically I should “JDI Mother!”

I take this on board and look at the advancements that have been made, along with the cost – it’s not cheap the £250 per eye is basically bol***ks – I’m an accountant by original trade and I’ve been borderline (and occasionally well over the border) broke for most of my life and so frivolous spending is not on my agenda, however, over the last few years, things have become easier. But old habits die hard and to be honest I’m glad.

So I look at the price I pay for my designer glasses, my occasional contacts etc. compare it to the fact that I have dents in my head and nose thanks to the glasses, the issue re sunglasses (esp. now we live somewhere that sees the sun more than twice a year!) and the poo bag issue…

It’s still a lot of money with a long pay back period… I research what’s around locally and how much… I imagine on the basis that everything except petrol (gas) in the USA is TONS more expensive than the UK that it will be a decision for when we return to the UK.

I found a place in Connecticut called Liberty Vision in Hamden – they have excellent reviews – better than others, I do believe reviews are an excellent first check, make sure you look at recent reviews and see if they are ‘confirmed’ customers where applicable. They seem good and they do the latest surgery techniques that involve 6300 individual readings of each eye to customise the treatment.

The cost is comparable to the cost in the UK in fact to my surprise it’s slightly cheaper!!! I know!!!

It’s Christmas so as I’m with my son and also seeing my brother I interrogate the pair of them on the finer details… I’m on the verge of a decision… I still can’t really afford it but I do have an empty credit card… so I am considering it…

I would like to point out at this point that I truly believe that you should not put something that is not absolutely necessary on credit!!!!! I know I’m the worlds worst on this but now I’m free of the debt I would totally recommend never getting into it again. EVER. I cease considering it again.

Shortly after Christmas I come into some money – a small inheritance (not so small for me!) which could either get me an electric harp when we return to the UK or… it could… possibly… I book an appointment to see Dr Gold!!!

I have the free consultation – it’s very thorough and I’m very impressed with Dr Gold, he is reassuring and doesn’t sugar coat the procedure which I appreciate, he also instantly gave me a feeling of trust which is so important.

I book in for the ‘Op’ at the next available slot – if I think about this much longer I’ll have died of old age!

So… E Day!!

I am so excited/nervous/terrified!!!

During the procedure you’re given a bear called Seymour (see-more, I wasn’t in a ‘laughing at jokes’ place but did appreciate the humour) to hold – this is to stop you from trying to wipe your eye – I felt a bit sorry for Seymour, i don’t know how other people hold him but I nearly decapitated the poor thing!

The ‘procedure’ is not pleasant, at all. However it is over very quickly.

It really is very unpleasant – did I mention that?

I had the procedure where they remove the top layer of your eye and then laser it (don’t worry I was reassured this layer grows back in about three days) rather than the one where they cut a flap on your eye, lift that up and then laser – the recovery time for the ‘flap’ one is much quicker however the cut never heals… I didn’t like the sound of that – neither did Dr Gold who doesn’t operate that procedure at all.

My wonderful husband was able to video the procedure from an adjoining room where he got to watch the camera on the laser machine! He has the video and I did consider posting it here but it is a bit grim… I’m glad I couldn’t see it! So instead this is my eye being lasered!

As soon as it’s finished (which i am exceedingly glad about! It doesn’t hurt but it’s not nice) I notice the clock on the wall which I couldn’t read before – it’s 10:25!!!! The whole thing took ten minutes and i can see!!!!

My eye’s are sore, actually very sore, which is to be expected – there are a lot of instructions which boy am I going to follow!!!

But I think I can rock this laser look!

One week later – no protective lenses, drops every few hours and i can see better than I could with glasses, I was even able to wear make-up again and you have no idea how much easier it is when you can actually see (although I think I do need more practice).

There is one downside… it appears my bathroom needs a damn good clean!

Body Boss · Uncategorized

Bodyboss – week 10 – officially Boss Level! Eeek!!

This is it, the last cycle, the toughest cycle, I am still in the game!! All be it on the ‘b’ team…

I don’t know if America has the concept of a ‘b’ team but essentially it’s the team that puts as much effort and work into their game but don’t quite make the grade… I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll never be able to do a push-up, well, not before the end of this program. Maybe in another year or so, possibly.

I’m feeling a bit like that at the moment, don’t get me wrong I feel tons better than I did when I started and I’m so much stronger but I definitely don’t have the body that the girls in the pictures do, not even close.

Girl in book:


Me:

 
But… me at the start:

  

I need to focus on the positive:

  • I may not have a flat stomach, but it’s better than it was.
  • I have kept up with the program and not given up – that’s a huge plus!
  • I have to admit that I have enjoyed it more than I thought I would, even when I get stuck, I can modify and keep going.
  • I can do a headstand! Ok that wasn’t part of this program but without bodyboss I wouldn’t have even attempted it!
  • I can do a V sit-up.
  • I have lost a bit of weight – and that’s without any form of diet, which living out here is a minor miracle! In the U.K. I was always told to clean my plate, it’s a bit of a culture shock being able to ‘box up’ what’s left and take it home!
  • I went clothes shopping and was a size Small – still makes me giggle! As to whether I can fit into the clothes I brought over from the U.K. or not… we’ll find out after week 12!

After writing down all the positives I already feel better, it’s very easy to put yourself down, much easier than complimenting yourself.

I try to always be kind to myself, a very important lesson learnt by experiencing some tough times, basically there are enough people and things that will try to erode your confidence – don’t join them!

Monday – legs and booty! 

Oh my goodness… but I’ve got this! Well apart from the reverse butterfly kicks… and it takes 9 minutes and I am so rubbish at ‘jump rope’ especially when I’m cream krackered, all I seem to do is basically whip my ankles!!

My thighs hate me…

Tuesday – yoga day!

I love, love, love yoga day. I especially love it as my wonderful husband joins me.

This week is my choice so we’re doing a fundamental basics with Adriene, it’s great, looking at focusing and grounding your basic balance. I love how you concentrate on working and stretching, becoming aware of you muscles and then the wonderful relax at the end… a workout that leaves you completely stress free… I think I could get into yoga…

Wednesday – arms, abs and core – hmmmm

Ok I’ve now got the bench hops right, apart from not quite getting the height – twice – not pretty but I keep going! 

Leg lifts – again I think I’ve cracked it, I was having serious issues with my back arching when I tried to lift my legs but now I put my hands under my bottom which prevents my back arching and forces my stomach to do the work, boy do I know I’ve worked my stomach!!

Still can’t do push-ups. I have a theory though, I’m going to start stood up and doing push-ups on the breakfast bar, I then intend to lower the height to the bench building up my strength until I can do a full on push-up… it’s a cunning plan, so cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel! (If you’ve never watched Blackadder – you should!)

Side planks are also still an issue, I manage 20 out of the 40… three times… 

I have decided to practice my headstand after each workout, I’m trying it against the wall – again I figure if I get comfortable against a wall I can start to try to balance slightly away until I eventually can do them properly.

Thursday – cardio day!

I’m quite looking forward to today, it’s the last hour of my book ‘The Elementals’ by Michael McDowell it’s great listening to a book whilst on Satan (my running machine) as you don’t realise how long you’ve been walking/jogging – forty minutes goes in a blink of an eye and it was quite exciting! 

It’s a really good book, based in Alabama it’s a slow burning, gothic horror, although I felt it was more haunted house than horror… it worth a read/ listen! 

Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’ next, he’s one of my favourite authors so I’m looking forward to the next fourteen hours on Satan – not all at once though!!

Friday – Power Up!!

Hmmm only four exercises but two of them are tricky I.e. currently impossible…

Box Jumps – slight issue being still no box… still no intention of getting one, it really would spell disaster!! I substitute with bench hops…

Push-ups – I start my experiment and do push-ups against the side shelf thing, it’s sort of breakfast bar height but it’s a random shelf in the basement… anyway it’s hard work but I can do them! 

Here marks the end of week 10 and my goodness me I am certainly feeling it this week!!

I can hold a headstand against the wall for about thirty seconds and get down without breaking my toes – bonus!! I may get my wonderful husband to video it next week!!

Two weeks left before the final reckoning and I’ll see if I can fit into the clothes I brought over with me… I really don’t know if it will be a success… 

Body Boss · Uncategorized

Bodyboss - cycle 3, week 8 – still with a wall but I’m trying to scale it!!

This is tougher than Toughy McTough on a tough day!!!

But I am soldiering on in true British style, there have been several strong cups of tea required this week, a small weep and the saviour – a pool! I will explain…

This is the picture that greeted me this week – after last week I was tempted to go back a cycle…


Don’t get me wrong, this is inspirational, however I didn’t look like that in my teens, so my mojo is still not quite on track. 

But then I had a little ‘chat’ with myself, at the end of the day I’m 46, I’m never going to look like I’m in my teens again – I’m dammed sure I didn’t appreciate it at the time! 

I dug out a photo of me aged 17 to prove to myself that actually I was ‘ok’ and realistically I am actually ‘ok’ now, I just need a rather overdue tune-up…

Me at 17, behind the scenes of a production of ‘once a catholic’ waiting for my cue…


It was quite a good show even though I had the worst line EVER “you will still respect me in the morning, won’t you Cuthbert?” I still cringe at the thought of saying that with my dad sat happily in the audience!! 

So on reflection I need to pull my socks up, get a grip and get on with it!

Monday – legs and booty (this used to be my favourite day…)

Ok I’ve done a long day at the office and I don’t want to exercise. So much for my pep talk. I phaff about until my wonderful (I wasn’t quite thinking that at the time) husband told me to jolly we’ll get on with it as tea wouldn’t be ready until I was finished! Food, unfortunately, is always a good motivator – it was a healthy tea so that’s ok! 

Oh my goodness… most of the exercises I can do to be fair, I just seem to have zero energy… I have to say ‘single leg glute bridges’ are as horrific as they sound… I do normal ski Moguls rather than ones on a box as I don’t have a box and if I did I’d probably have an accident!

I do three sets as required, they take 9.5 minutes rather than 8 and that’s with only managing 30 squat cross jumps and 20 squats with front kick… I am not impressed with myself… I have two strong cups of tea to rebalance – I’m sure most of you would think this is herbal to balance my inner energy, it’s not, it’s proper Yorkshire tea strong enough to stand a spoon in. I am reasonably good and don’t add sugar (I really want to add sugar, really).

Tuesday – yoga day, my new favourite day, and breathe…

My wonderful husband has picked today’s class, it’s the beginner one for back pain (I have a little smile to myself that he’s finally realised that the beginner class is the best place to start).

It’s lovely, we have a none challenging, really good stretch courtesy of ‘yoga with Adrienne’ she had a new studio space – I don’t know how old the class was but it looked a lovely space 😊

Wednesday Thursday – arms, abs and core.

Yes I know, Wednesday turned out to be a bit of a disaster. I knew I had a hair appointment at 5:30pm and the likelihood of me getting back from work in time to do the workout before the appointment was slim (i.e. None) so I set my alarm for 5am to do them before I left the house at 6:30am. I get up with the alarm and put my workout stuff on (I’m not awake so the fact that it’s on the right way round is a success!) however on the way to the basement I have to pass our puppies crate… she wakes up… seriously who could walk pass this cutie!


Thursday it is then…

Rock bottom (at least that’s what I hope it is!) has officially been reached with the introduction of not only ‘aeroplane push-ups’ but also ‘side planks’ even the spider planks involve a partial push-up!!!

To say I struggle is a mahoosive understatement!

I manage two cycles with 10 out of the 24 aeroplane push-ups (and by push-up I mean dip-down) and 10 out of the 40 side planks…

This is the part where I need a moment to have a little weep… I find myself saying I can’t do it… And I really believe that…

But that’s when I think of my granddad whose favourite phrase was “there’s no such word as can’t”. Grammatically he is completely correct. 

I know that most struggles can be overcome with positive thoughts (admittedly not the easiest thing to master) but it is right, if you believe you can’t do something you won’t. 

My favourite poem is by Roger McGough and I memorised it as a teenager, I often think of it to help me ground myself, it’s called ‘missed’:

Out of work,
Divorced,
Usually pissed,
He aimed low in life,
And missed.

The motto being – aim for the highest and if you miss you still end up somewhere pretty good 😊

I decide not to skip a day but to shift a day and only have one day off at the weekend, after all if I keep trying I will get better!

Thursday Friday – Cardio day!

I’m quite looking forward to this, my book ‘The Elementals’ is getting interesting! 

I decide to do ‘as much as I can’ then work on seeing if I can get better at push-ups, I do 30 minutes of fast walking (4mph) with the occasional jog and then spend 10 minutes trying to teach my body to do push-ups, it’s not a resounding success but I think I’m getting better…

The filter system in our pool (we rent, it’s pretty cool and I’m going to miss it big time when we go back to the U.K.!) has been fixed today which means that although it’s a tad chilly (it’s not heated so it’s around 24 degrees C) it’s the best feeling ever to jump in when you’re extremely hot and sweaty!! I feel 100% better 😊

Friday Saturday – power-up!!!! 

Yey I’ve made it! Ok I’m a day late, but I made it!! 

I’m extremely happy and I manage to do the whole routine (minus a box for the jumps) – twice as instructed! 


I have also joined the ‘yogaclubchallenge’ which involves doing a set yoga pose every day for a week, hopefully it will inspire me and help with my core muscles… puppy Nya has decided that it looks fun…


Have a great week and here’s to carrying on regardless!!