June 5, 2017

Day Three update

Posted in June tagged , , , at 11:46 am by viewfromthisdesk

Day Three was tougher than I imagined.  Sunday is the one day hubby is home so we usually have a massive list of jobs to get done.  It’s usually busy and productive.  But yesterday was wet and it meant that all the things we wanted to get done in the garden were difficult and all the house jobs I’d done on Friday and Saturday to keep distracted.  And I’d woken with a banging headache which I didn’t understand.  Doctor Google informed me that drinking eight pints of water was actually a Very Bad Thing.  Turns out, drinking too much water in one day is actually the same as not drinking enough and makes you quite ill.  Fatigue and headaches being the main symptoms.  Ooops.

So Sunday I was careful to keep my intake to three pints.  Which was more difficult than I anticipated.  I’d woken not feeling hungry again which is a bizarre concept for me.  I’m always hungry, always thinking about food and my next meal.  Food is used to celebrate, to cheer me up when I’m sad and to suppress emotions.  Hubby uses it as an apology.  Food is central to everything.

Lunch was a bacon sandwich filled with tomato and lettuce too.  I didn’t take a picture because you all know what a bacon sandwich looks like and equally, I didn’t have a whole rainbow in the meal.

Tea was lovely thought, I made vegetable cous cous and got all the colours in it except purple.  If I knew how to cook aubergines, this would have been a perfect rainbow.  I had a bowl of fruit afterwards so I got all the colours then.

There’s enough left over for me to have this again for tea so that’s something to look forward to.

I’m not sure what three days of rainbow eating has achieved other than making me realise it’s super hard to have purple in every meal.  I love beetroot but can’t have it every meal.  I need to think about this experience and reflect back.

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June 3, 2017

Day Two, sponsored by Crayola

Posted in June tagged , , , , at 7:25 pm by viewfromthisdesk

Saturday I woke and I wasn’t hungry.  This is most unusual

Saturday has always been a day of food pleasure.  Breakfast would be pain aux chocolat from Lidl or something involving toast. Always carb centred.  The treat for the weekend.

I foolishly jumped on the scales.  In my head, eating well for one day should automatically result in a half stone weight loss but of course the scales showed no different to the day before.  I told you my relationship with food was twisted.

Saturday is also a day of chores, so I kept busy and drank water and just had zero desire to eat.  By half one I knew this lack of desire should be ignored.  Eating is a vital part of survival after all.

I didn’t want to take a picture of a sandwich.  That’s proper naff.  But I’m looking on this as accountability.  I could tell you I ate a sandwich but I might have secretly shoved crisps and chocolate in my face.  I’ve got to be honest and writing this is forcing that issue.


Not feeling hungry made this meal prep frustrating. But hey ho.

Red – tomato
Orange – carrot in sandwich
Yellow – pepper
Green – lettuce in sandwich
Blue – red cabbage in sandwich
White – spring onion
Tan – brown bread

Two things I learnt from lunch.
1 – a salad is boring without lashings of mayo.
2 – a sandwich is boring without crisps.

But I’ve also challenged myself in a different way, I’ve put on a pair of jeans that I’ve not been able to wear since before holiday in February.  I can do them up without too much issue and they’re snug but not cutting off circulation to legs.  I’ve managed to keep them done up until after tea.  And post-tea is always going to be a pyjamas and dressing gown kind of time anyway.

Tea was my favourite so far of the five rainbow meals that I’ve made, sweet and sticky stuffed sweet potato.  I used half the amount of maple syrup and double the amount of mustard and it was delicious.

Red – peppers
Yellow – peppers
Orange – sweet potato
Green – courgette
Purple – beetroot added post photo
White – mushrooms
Tan – raw cashews

Honestly, it was lush. And quite easy to prepare too. And I might have a small bowl of fruit in a bit if I feel the need but currently I’m super full.

A Colourful Day One

Posted in June tagged , , , , , at 1:06 pm by viewfromthisdesk

So, I survived Day One. Hoorah. All that fruit and veg didn’t kill me.

And I must apologise now. I think that people who take photographs of their food are proper wanky. I can think of nothing more self absorbed than a picture of your dinner.  And yet, I’ve fallen into that category.  I’m trying to justify it in my head by reminding myself that I need pictures for this blog, for people to interact with my challenge and help me.  But I still feel like a pillock.

You all saw my breakfast yesterday, it was tasty and pleasant and whilst my white element of natural yogurt wasn’t strictly accurate, there was no way I was putting banana in my face which is the only white fruit on the lists I’d found.  I figured natural yogurt was a good compromise because it’s good for gut bacteria.  And better than clotted cream in terms of nutrition.

I didn’t find lunch too much of a struggle either, I just made myself a reasonable bowl of salad stuff.  Fairly easy to throw together but I was reminded very quickly why defaulting to beige food is so easy.  Cutting and washing all these veg is hard work.  And I know you will be scoffing that line, what can be difficult about hacking up some items?  But I struggle with my hands, I find it difficult to hold stuff and giving me a sharp knife is a huge liability.  By the time I’d finished cutting stuff, three of my fingers had swollen, my joints were on fire and I really didn’t want to eat, I just wanted to cry and feel sorry for myself.  So this is an added dimension to the challenge for me; healthy eating without hurting myself too much.  I don’t agree with pre-prepared stuff, I think it’s lazy and expensive and a daft concept.  Plus, I’m too stubborn to give in.

So, this is lunch:

This was possibly more easy to do than breakfast.
Red/Pink – tomato
Yellow – sweet peppers
Orange – carrot (I dislike raw carrot massively, so this was a big thing for me)
Green – Lettuce and cucumber
Blue/Purple – Beetroot and red cabbage
White – Spring onions
Tan – Raw peanuts

I again, tried to eat whilst concentrating on my food.  I ate the carrots first because I really dislike raw carrots and I wanted to enjoy my meal, so I got those out the way quickly.  The rest was alright but afterwards, I felt like it had taken forever to eat, I was chewing my food so much more than usual and I was bored of eating by then end of it which is a new concept for me.

The evening meal was one I had to make that would suit both my new challenge and hubby’s need for feeding.  He’s tried to be supportive in this but ultimately, he is a boy and thinks that a comment along the lines of ‘I had a pint of cider, which is apples and therefore green’ is helpful.  Or ‘what colour is a cheese sandwich on white bread with salt and vinegar crisps?’

Neither of us are big fans of fish.  Not proper fish anyway.  We both appreciate it’s super good for us but we’re not bothered about it.

(As an aside, yesterday was apparently national fish and chip day in the UK and national donut day in Canada, why did I start Day One of Rainbow eating on this date?!!?)

But it was Friday and therefore it was fish for tea. This is what I made:

Red/Pink – Salmon.  Yep, it’s so good for us it counts on the rainbow scale, ours is wrapped in pancetta stuff to make it taste nice.
Yellow – corn
Orange – carrot
Green – green beans
Blue/Purple – was blueberries for pudding
White – potato
Tan – missing

I have to confess, I didn’t enjoy this meal at all.  I don’t enjoy fish, I eat it because I know I should.  I eat it because fish from the chippy isn’t the best decision.  And even hubby ate all the veg, the carrots were reluctant on his part and he flicked lots over to me but he did eat some.  I also struggle with the concept of potato being white.  Avoiding carbs is something I actively do when I need to shift weight and so having spuds is a weird thing for me.  I could have had cauliflower but the recipe for the roasted salmon has you bake the fish over the small new potatoes and so it had to be that way. On looking back, my day was gluten free and that doesn’t have good memories for me.

I’ve found myself drinking lots more water too.  I drink lots anyway but I made myself aware of amounts yesterday.  So one pint before breakfast, two pints between breakfast and lunch, two pints between lunch and the evening meal and then another one between the salmon and bedtime.  It may be excessive but water suppresses the hunger feeling.

I’m not going to say day one was easy but I bring my own personal issues to the challenge.  I’m certainly concerned at how beige my life had become but I have a bad relationship with food and beige is safe.  Safe but not good.

 

June 2, 2017

Eating the Rainbow

Posted in June, Weight Watchers tagged , , , , at 12:32 pm by viewfromthisdesk

I’ve often written about my food demons, it’s not a new thing I’m springing onto the world this morning. I really struggle with my weight, it’s never under control, I’m never happy with the numbers on the scales or the way I look or feel.  Even when I finished the ww vouchers and had lost all that weight, I didn’t see the change, I didn’t feel any different and without that routine and structure and pressure to succeed, it’s all gone south.  I’m not as heavy as I was on my wedding day, that’s always been a big number to avoid for me and I’m managing that at least, but it’s still not enough.

I hate the fact that weight can go on in one meal but it then takes two weeks for it to come off.  I have zero patience in life let alone something as huge as body image and weight numbers.

So the other day I was watching something called ‘Doctor in the House’ on BBC.  I stumbled upon this the other week when there was a show about cluster headaches and the most recent one mentioned something called rainbow eating.  It’s all linked to better, healthier eating and getting a better balance of vitamins and stuff into your body.

Chatting to hubby about it, we are very much easy beige eaters.  We need to be better about what is on a plate.  It’s difficult because he only likes peas and doesn’t contemplate salad or fruit.  When I’m cooking – a task I hate – I don’t want to prolong the trauma by cooking stuff for him and other stuff for me, it’s just too much.  So we fall into a trap of not enough veg or fruit in a week, let alone a day.

Rainbow eating is as it sounds, you have to try and within one day eat all the colours – red (and pink), orange, yellow, green, blue (and purple), white and tan.

So this weekend I’m trying rainbow eating in a massive way.  Three days of really making an effort FOR ME.  I have to try something crazy and new to reboot my relationship and attitude to food.  I wish I could afford either a food delivery or a chef thing but it’s not an option.  I’d like to know how to cook new stuff but I don’t have the confidence to try and I find it pointless and unfulfilling when it’s just for me. So, my attitude is – how hard can just three days be?

So this morning I headed off to the supermarket and ended up with a trolley full of fruit and veg which was a new concept to me.  Aside from a tub of natural yogurt and a tin of salmon, this trolley could have been for a vegan I’m sure.

Day One, Meal One.

Red/Pink – strawberries, raspberries and cranberries.
Orange – mandarin oranges.
Yellow -grapefruit.
Green – grapes.
Blue/Purple – blueberries.
White – natural yoghurt. (added after picture)
Tan – raw cashew nuts.

It was tasty but yes, I ate it with a cake fork. I wanted to take my time and consider what I was pushing into my face.  I felt if I used a spoon, I’d just mindlessly shovel.

So between this meal and my next, I have an aim to drink two pints of water and keep busy.  When I’m not occupied I eat and that’s not good.  I need to be distracted but also mindful for three days so that maybe habits are changed.  And then after the two pints I guess I need to start washing and chopping stuff for meal two.

March 28, 2017

Laidlaws Rule

Posted in March tagged , , , , , , at 10:42 am by viewfromthisdesk

So I was mooching around the social aching face the other day and came upon a posting by a website called 22 Words.  I’m not sure if this is where it all started but it’s where I found it and I’m not bothered to search any further.

This posting stated there is a new thing called ‘Laidlaws Rule’ and this was invented by someone called Marc Laidlaw.  I’m sure it’s not at all technical or full of science but it is incredibly fun.  This rule states:-

‘The first line of almost any story can be improved by making sure the second line is ‘And then the murders began.’ ‘

Now, if I’m making the effort to battle through the finger joint pain and screaming bones everywhere else to type this post and share this with you, then you have to try this rule.  It is quite simply brilliant.  And means I got to pick up proper books for a few minutes too.

Now, as the rule states, this works for *almost* any story.  It doesn’t work for crime authors necessarily, especially not Simon Kernick who generally kills at least nine people in the first half dozen words.  It also isn’t quite so great on Haynes manuals for early Ford cars which form a large chunk of our bookcase.

However.

Take ‘Thomas and a Dragon’ based on the Thomas the Tank Engine Series by The Rev W Awdry.  Applying #LaidlawsRule to this, is as follows:

One morning the Fat Controller came to see Thomas.  And then the murders began.

You cannot tell me you did not spit your tea out a little bit at that?!

‘The Inside Track’ by Jake Humphrey

In the autumn of 2008, I was scooped up from the friendly, colourful, smiley world of children’s television and pitched head-first into one of the most high-profile, ruthless and exciting sports on the planet: Formula One.  And then the murders began.

‘Rockers and Rollers’ by Brian Johnson

When we were kids in Dunston, there were places we were told not to go, and there’s where we went – basically, anywhere dangerous.  And then the murders began.

‘The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart’ by Anna Bell

I glance up at the oversized clock on the office wall and it seems to be saying it’s four o’clock.  And then the murders began.

‘My Autobiography’ by Guy Martin

I’d just left the pits after the fuel stop.  And then the murders began.

 

I appreciate that three of these books are autobiographies, but that seems to be all that we have on our bookcase in proper book format since I’ve had to move to my kindle.  Two of the above aren’t autobiographies and it’s still very funny.  So, distract me from this awful joint pain and grab the book(s) nearest to you and comment how #LaidlawsRule changes your story.

 

March 2, 2017

Snoring: suffocation or separation?

Posted in March tagged , , , , , , at 2:43 pm by viewfromthisdesk

I am very aware that I only write nice things about my husband on this blog.  He freely admits he’s never read any posts but I feel I should be polite and respectful about him.  After all, he’s put up with a whole tonne of medical rubbish and supported me through the drama that is my life since 24.

Alas, I can pretend no more.  My husband is a nightmare.  I cannot rose-tinted glasses it any more.  There is no half-full, positive spin to the situation.  I am beginning to hate him and that’s not healthy.

We’ve just returned from our summer holiday.  We have to take it in February because of work so it’s a nice experience to get away from grey, dreary, miserable home and go somewhere sunny.  Yeah, the temperature change on our return is a shock and it’s horrible in the summer when everyone else is going away and we’re not but hey ho.  As usual, I caught some germ ridden lurgy on the plane back and coupled with jet lag and everything, I’ve been feeling utterly wiped out and quite down in the dumps.

Hubby is immune to all lurgy and is just bouncing around the place, relaxed, refreshed and showing off his tan at every opportunity.  I’m shattered.  I just want to sleep.

And herein lies the problem.  For some unknown reason, he’s snoring really, really badly.  Since we came back it’s like sleeping with what I imagine a bunged-up hippo would sound like.  He’s utterly unaware of it though.  It doesn’t make an ounce of difference which position he’s sleeping in, whether he’s coated in a thick layer of vics and has olbas oil all over his pillow, whether he’s had a shower immediately before bed or not.  And in my lurgy-miserable-exhausted state, I just want to suffocate him.

For a couple of evenings I’ve moved to the spare room.  My leaving the bed wakes him up and he always tells me he doesn’t want me to go.  But he doesn’t understand in his slumbering state that I WANT and NEED to sleep.  He says he’ll try not to snore but I’m not sure he really has any control over it.  If I stay in bed, I’m staring at the ceiling, bunching up the duvet in my hands in an effort to control my urge to punch him really hard in the ribs.  I’m tense and angry and not at all relaxed or calm or anywhere near sleep.

But the spare bed is not my bed.  I do not have a me-shaped dent in the mattress where I curl and fit perfectly.  The pillows are not covered in sleep-spray in my foolish effort to drug myself into slumber.  The room is not perfectly dark, the shadows are different and it’s not mine.  He refuses to sleep in the spare room, there is no discussion about it once I ask and he says no.

So, at 1.30am I moved to the spare room.  At 3am this morning, when I’m still wide awake and I know the alarm is going off for him in a couple of hours time and he’ll wake me with his gallumping around, I’m in the spare room, crying with frustration and exhaustion.  I don’t know what to do.

I’m working every day this week because we’ve returned to a busy and full diary.  Yey.  But I’m a zombie.  And it’s hard not to be grumpy ALL THE TIME.  I’m fighting the urge to have an afternoon/evening nap because my OT says that’s the wrong thing to do.  And I want to sleep AT NIGHT like a NORMAL person.  ARGH.

I thought vics and olbas oil might help him breathe easier if he’s got any small trace of my germs but it’s not working.  Waking him up and asking him to change position isn’t working.  He refuses to move to the spare room and I don’t sleep much if I do.  I just can’t win.

So.  People of the blog-reading-pastime world.  What on earth do I do?  Make the spare room mine and separate?  Or just suffocate him so it’s silent?

 

January 18, 2017

Paying it forward

Posted in November at 11:24 am by viewfromthisdesk

Or attempting to at least.

On New  Year’s Eve, I agreed to participate in a pay it forward thing for 2017. I was super cautious after the mess I made of random acts of kindness but I decided that this year it would be one act a month and would cost no more than five quid. That way, I can’t get carried away and it’s fairly subtle.

This morning I saw some flowers in a shop. In a colour I’d never seen before. I knew these flowers were someone’s favourites. It made sense in the shop to get them for this person.

Then it got super awkward. I’m stood on their doorstep realizing I hadn’t thought it through. How to explain why I’m suddenly buying them flowers? I did make a hash of it to be honest. I repeated myself about ‘I know you like these’ I thrust the flowers out like a jousting pole, I fidgeted on the doorstep like I was stood on hot coals. I was not in control.

But this person has flowers and I’m now aware that I need to try harder next time to not be a wittering idiot. The first time is always the hardest, right?

 

In other news, I still miss Pirate Cat like crazy. Her memorial beads are in progress  and I have super amazing mates who have contributed. I also have the lurgy, my throat is lined with razor blades and broken glass, my head is going to explode.

January 12, 2017

January again

Posted in January tagged , , at 11:52 am by viewfromthisdesk

Almost a year ago I wrote a post about death.  At the time, there had been many high profile celebrity passings and society was in shock at the loss of talent.  For me, the date that I wrote was the anniversary of my Dad’s death and as this looms on the horizon again I find myself in a pretty dark place.

Celebrity deaths last year were frequent and many people were upset at these.  Music and the arts affects us all, we each have a song that takes us to a magical memory, a favourite film or album for all occasions.  I must confess, I wasn’t upset at any of these.  Shocked and surprised for a moment, but never upset.  Growing up, death has just been one of those things and for a long while I’ve wondered if I’m immune to feeling any emotion when it comes to death, I’m all out of feeling, I used it all up.

But at the end of January 2016, Patch Cat died.  It was a Sunday afternoon, we were not with her.  She was 16 and had been everyone’s favourite cat.  She loved boys, tolerated girls and would run off in an open van in a heartbeat.  She did honestly once elope with the RAC man who had come to fix next door’s car once.  If you were allergic to cats, she loved you more.  She was old but was the Peter Pan of cat-ness.  She always wanted to play and had this look on her face that was always kitten like.  She wanted nothing more than to chase after a scrunched up ball of paper or to lie as close to the brick hearth of our open fire as possible, even if it meant singeing her whiskers on occasion.

Pirate Cat didn’t seem bothered that her sister had died.  They were never close to the point of ever curling up together.  They had their own favourite places and these never overlapped.  Pirate had a permanently worried look about her, she was much more quiet and took her time getting to know people.  It wasn’t that she liked girls more than boys, she didn’t like anyone much because she just didn’t trust anyone.

But Pirate Cat chose me.  She would let me fuss her, she would on occasion sit near me.  A few years back, this progressed to sitting next to me on the arm of the sofa on the condition that I didn’t move, attempt to stroke her or acknowledge that she was there.  And then one day, she sat on me.  We must have had the cats for at least ten years, if not more by this point.  It was for less than a minute but I remember the shock and excitement like it was yesterday.  Neither hubby nor I could believe it had happened.  She was not a lap cat.

And then I got ill.  And whilst I had been ill for a bit, it was around the time that I was not managing my crashes particularly well.  I was not listening to anyone and I was just in a cycle of making myself progressively worse.  Hubby got me to sit on the sofa one day and all of a sudden Pirate Cat was sat on me.  I was so shocked that I didn’t move.  And so it began.

Pirate Cat became a kind of service cat if that makes sense.  Her sitting on me made me stop.  It became a statement in our house that ‘Pirate Cat says rest’ and it was the only thing I’d listen to.  No human could get me to take any notice of how I was feeling or how bad I was making myself.  On occasion, hubby has come home to find me asleep on the sofa/floor/bed with Pirate Cat on guard.  She wouldn’t leave me until he’d acknowledged her.  It was like she was making sure he knew he was responsible for me now.  She would calm me, look after me and make sure I knew I was to stop.  She was the cat guard of my duvet palace.

Just before Christmas, Pirate Cat was noticeably old.  We had celebrated her living with us for 16 years in November and knew that as she was at least 17, this was a proper stonkingly good age for a mog.  She slept more, she ate less, her joints began to click more than mine.  The tables had turned and it was us that was looking after her.

Last Friday, at 6.20pm, Pirate Cat died.  The details are irrelevant, but we were both with her.  We said thank you and goodbye and she just deflated away.  I haven’t cried the way I did on Friday for decades.  She has left an enormous hole in my life that I’m struggling to cope with.  Last night I apologised for sneezing because sneezes made her jump, then I remembered she wasn’t in the living room to be startled by it.  She used to let herself in the downstairs loo and lick the back of the door, we have no idea why, she did it all her life but she would often get stuck because she’d lick the door shut.  Before we left the house, we’d have to make sure this door was properly shut and I’m still checking it each morning.  I am leaving the bedroom door open just in case she wants to curl up in the duvet even though she hadn’t made it upstairs since late November.  I’m convinced I hear her clicking along the laminate in the hall.  I was certain I saw her the other night walking around the edge of the sofa.  Hubby and I have both heard her chattering in the night and then remembered it’s Jack from down the row, not Pirate.

I’m not ready to think about new cats.  I don’t want new cats, I want Patch and Pirate back.  I don’t want it to feel like I’m replacing them.  I’m sure in time it will happen, it certainly is very odd having a cat-free dwelling and it is true that ‘a house without a cat isn’t a home’ for us.

In the meantime, I’ve found a company that does memorial jewellery and I’m in the process of sorting that.  It isn’t cheap and I’m going to ask to friends and family to consider getting me a bead instead of birthday and/or Christmas gifts this year.  Certain colours mean different things in the honouring of Pirate Cat and it’ll mean she’s always with me.

November 1, 2016

Grieving for the past

Posted in November tagged , , at 10:45 am by viewfromthisdesk

I just stumbled upon an excellent blog post entitled ‘Grieving for me because of M.E.’ and it was blinking brilliant.  Totally resonated with some of the thoughts and feelings I’ve been fighting with these past few years.  Hubby and I often talk in terms of ‘before’ which is kinda like modern societies BC / AD time splits.  ‘Before the diagnosis’ would be a good title but I was struggling for a few years before that actually occurred. ‘Before’ is all and more of these.

Before I was ill.
Before I got tired.
Before things hurt.
Before I couldn’t walk unaided.
Before I had to give up alcohol.
Before everything had to be considered in minute details as to how/when/where.
Before people thought I was unreliable.
Before working full time wasn’t possible.
Before being a burden on those around me.

I know I try and laugh and joke and use humour as a distraction tool.  If I’m making you laugh with me, then you won’t notice the pills I’m swallowing or the furniture I’m clinging onto to walk around.  You won’t notice the pain dulling my eyes or the strappings and supports that are holding me together.  If I make my crutches colourful and exciting they’re an accessory not a burden.

And some of you gorgeous, lovely people have constantly told me to be honest.  To trust that you won’t run away and you’ll stick with me no matter how bad.  But I don’t want that.  I want before still.  I want to be the person I used to be.  I am grieving for before.

October 18, 2016

Think before you blog

Posted in Health stuff tagged , , , at 9:36 am by viewfromthisdesk

Last week I wrote on Tuesday about how fabulous I was feeling, how things were fairly even-keel even though I’d done way to much on multiple levels.

It was all really quite glittery rainbows and dancing unicorns wasn’t it?

I ended up horizontal on Thursday and Friday.  Only managed to get out of bed and dressed on Saturday.  By dressed I mean more than my duvet.

This week I’m incredibly sore in most of my usual important joints.  Some of my finger joints have swollen up and I thought it was a genius idea to grab a sheet tray off the worktop the other evening without realizing that it had just come out of the oven.  I’m unable to manage fixings or fiddly stuff so all my clothes have to be pull on sorts, writing is really painful which isn’t ideal when there are dates in October than need cards and notes.

Physically, I’m struggling.

But I shall emerge from my cat guarded duvet palace and shove on something so I don’t get arrested and paste a smile on my face.  Just don’t look too closely for the cracks in this veneer will shine through.

 

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