June 8, 2017

Revenge of the Rainbow

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

It really is as sinister as the title suggests.

Yesterday I decided to have a non-rainbow breakfast.  I wanted to see how – if at all – I was affected by non rainbow foods, either physically or mentally.  I suppose I was testing to see if my attitude to food had changed, so buy eating something that I knew wasn’t brilliantly good for me, would I feel guilty or inspired to counteract it and run a marathon or something.

So I had hot cross buns for breakfast.  They smelt delicious in the toaster; the spices, the bread goodness.  Yummy.  And then paired with a layer of budget-supermarket-own-brand-Lurpak-type-product it was just heaven on a plate, I could not wait to just shove it into my face.

However, I have learnt to take my time over food and savour the different levels of senses.  It didn’t make a noise so I was entirely enraptured by the look and the smell before the taste.  It was beautiful.

My first bite.  My very first bite.  Oh my taste buds exploded with joy.  And then a crunch and a weird metallic taste and ….. pain.

My mouth was on fire.  The sensation in my mouth was horrid.


I had taken a chunk out of the inside of my lip.  It’s just over 1cm square which for someone with a delicate sized mouth like mine, is a fairly massive lump.

I’d like to say that the rest of my hot cross bun breakfast was left on the table whilst I tended to the medical emergency, but it was not.  I can say that hot cross buns with a blood coating are not tasty.

My lip yesterday swelled on the one side, it was super painful to drink hot tea or even warm tea so it was another water day and eating wasn’t fun so I just had cauliflower cheese for tea.  This morning, it’s less oozy and less frequently bleeding so hopefully it will heal up soon.

 

Will accept tubs of ice cream as sympathy and love.

June 6, 2017

Rainbow Lessons Learned

Posted in June tagged , , , , at 1:10 pm by viewfromthisdesk

It’s difficult to know what this experience has taught me as I’ve just got random thoughts about it.

For starters, I did honestly think that I might lose weight by eating far more healthily but I didn’t.  Three days of mindful eating and I didn’t even see one pound off on the scales which surprised me.  It wasn’t the reason for doing it but it would have been nice to see a change in numbers.

Rainbow eating as a concept is to target a rainbow a day.  In order for me to to appreciate the theory of it all, I decided to try a rainbow a meal.  Otherwise I’d be doing beige plus some sides which wouldn’t exactly teach me anything.

When I went shopping that first morning, I was surprised how expensive it was to buy a trolley of fruit and veg.  But I have to remember that I’m taking the idea to an extreme.  Beige food is cheaper – a box of frozen chicken steaks that will do two meals is cheaper than a tub of blueberries for example.  I went shopping at what is considered a ‘budget’ supermarket, I can’t imagine what the cost would be if I shopped at a typical supermarket or at a farm shop.  The trolley full I bought on the Friday morning was almost the same amount as our weekly shopping budget and that’s not fun.  Aside from frozen veg that I already had in the freezer, this stuff also doesn’t last very long, and I hate shopping.  Rainbow eating over a longer period of time would result in more trips to a supermarket which is something I don’t want to entertain.

Money aside, I learnt that salad is boring without mayo.  Moving forward, a tub of coleslaw will be an investment and I’m sure it counts as something if I get a low fat low sugar version.

I was going to make a red cabbage side that even himself will eat.  It has orange juice, raisins and apple in it. That’s got to be a couple of colours for sure.  But the shop didn’t have red cabbage and I forgot it’s not the right season for that.  Purple as a veg colour is hard.

Sandwiches are boring without crisps.  I’m not sure sandwiches are really meals without crisps to be honest.

I was surprised that the first breakfast was so nice.  That mix of fruit with yogurt was delicious.  Going forward, porridge with mixed berries would cover three colours and if I found some nuts or seeds that would add texture.  I get super bored with food really quickly so I’d need to find something to keep changing the texture and presentation of food and I’m not sure I’ve got the imagination for that.

I really liked the sweet potato thing I did for tea on Saturday, it was easy to make and really tasty.  I will make it again for sure.  And not just because I’ve got another sweet potato in the veg rack.

Because I was eating so much veg and fruit, I noticed my meat consumption reduced.  It wasn’t intentional but just happened.  My besties will have opposing feelings about this.  The sweet potato dish for example is supposed to have bacon or a gammon steak chopped up into it, but I just used some left over pancetta from the salmon dish on Friday, so it wasn’t as much as the recipe suggested.  And when I was eating salads, I was happy with the raw nuts as protein.  Chicken is my favourite thing in the world and I’ve not eaten it at all over the three days.

Wearing jeans that I knew were tight made me more conscious about the amounts I was eating.  I didn’t have anything ‘treat’ over these three days – no chocolate, crisps, ice cream, biscuits or cake.   I can’t say that’s been particularly fun but it was part of the process.

As an experience, it was thought provoking and challenging and frustrating and fun all mixed up in a mad mixing bowl of food.  I had to plan ahead more and think about what I was having and allowing time to prepare and rest up.  Food was – to a point – more enjoyable but salads are my sticking point.  They’re boring and dry and I don’t want to feel like I’m eating cardboard.  Another massive issue is that I dislike cooking.  It’s a struggle for me, physically and mentally.  It hurts.  I get no pleasure from cooking.  I hate the fact I’ll wrestle with ingredients and kitchen space for an hour or more and within ten minutes of dishing up, it’s all gone.  I wish hubby would cook more but he won’t.  His idea of cooking is buying a takeaway on a Saturday night.  It’s tough.  I could really do with someone else cooking for me and then I’ll be more open to trying new stuff and I’d feel less angry about how making meals hurts so much.

What has been super lovely is the people that have found this blog and messaged me and told me that they’ve given it a go for a meal or a day.  The statistics have been bonkers.  The supportive comments have been amazing.  Maybe that’s what I need to focus on from now on?  Food rather than the health updates.

June 3, 2017

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 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?

 

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.

 

July 12, 2016

What *have* you done?!

Posted in July tagged , , , at 11:25 am by viewfromthisdesk

As mentioned before, I’ve been using my crutches more frequently this year.  It is what it is.  And yet, even people who have known I’m not in the best of states have that horrified gasp of ‘what *have* you done’ as their greeting, as opposed to ‘morning, lovely to see you’ which I’d much prefer if I’ve managed to get dressed and leave the house.

I had a situation a couple of weeks back where I had got out of bed, thrown clothes on and made it out into the world.  The person I first met just looked at the sticks and went ‘been doing to much have we?’ with a grin, so that was fine.  Topic done, dusted and left.  Then someone else came and did the horrified end of the world situation and wouldn’t leave it alone.  But what HAVE you done?  It wasn’t nosey, it wasn’t even really concern it was just on repeat.  Which did my head in.  So I smiled and said ‘oh you know how it is these days, these husbands think they can get away with anything they like’ thinking a joke would just let it lie.  ‘Don’t be silly’ came the reply, ‘what have you done’

At this point I wanted to get to my feet (and sticks) in an elegant fashion, much-like some new-born giraffe that had been born on its head and say ‘it’s none of your business, shut up and respect personal boundaries’

Instead, I replied again and said ‘it’s just my life now, I got out of bed and this is what happened’

They just wouldn’t accept my answer.  I wasn’t wanting to get into a conversation about my ME, about how some days I can’t walk or balance or do anything. How it was effort enough to get more than my dressing gown on that morning, how my hands were still burning from having to brush my teeth and hair.

I looked at person number one, begging them to get the other person to just shut up and thankfully, the message was understood.  Person two was told to stop asking questions and just leave it.

But the experience has shaken me up a bit.  I’d finally gotten my head around the fact that it’s okay to be out on crutches, that it’s fine to still make the effort to go out even if that level of extra support is required.  Yet this level of persistent questioning that invaded all aspects of personal space ruined it all.  If I know you and we consider each other to be friends, I’ll tell you the truth – if you genuinely asked.  Equally, if you were a friend, you’d know that today wasn’t a great day but I wanted to see you and therefore it was a sticks or cancel situation.  You’d be thrilled to bits that I still made it out.  You wouldn’t care about the sticks.

I’m finding myself analysing everything now.  Do I really need to go out?  Do I really need to go somewhere because there will be other people there.  Can I ask hubby or a friend to go instead?  I’m getting hermit-like again.  It’s not good and I don’t know how to fix this.

July 5, 2016

Learning the art of balance

Posted in July tagged , , , , , , , at 2:29 pm by viewfromthisdesk

I’ve been utterly awful at the whole ‘pacing and prioritising’ thing that the medical peeps bang on about.  I’ve been brought up with the ‘if something needs doing, get on and do it’ attitude and approach.  It’s hard to change something that has been forced into your brain for so long.

This year has been the most challenging for me so far.  I’ve spent way more time on my crutches than in any year previously.  I’d like to claim it’s because I want to show off my gorgeous coloured sticks but it isn’t.  My joints and balance have been particularly horrendous this year and I cannot attribute it to any particular reason other than this condition is deteriorating.  I’m not doing as much physical stuff as I used to or indeed want to.  Any fun event is wrapped in days of resting and relaxing and neoprene things.  My bat work is set up on the basis of not much walking around on site and me being somewhere I can sit for the survey which is neither professional or ideal.  Concerts are few and far between this year.

On the back of all that misery however, I had a light bulb moment last week which I feel deserves praise.  I was working away for ten days, at what I call my temping job.  It’s a tough gig though.  It’s a proper eight to nine hour day, it’s constantly busy and noisy and bright.  There is nowhere to hide, nowhere to escape to when it gets too much and certainly no flexible working hours.  It always makes me ill and I’m absolutely aware it makes me ill so nothing *should* be planned for the time I’m temping.  Nothing except sleep and more meds.

In previous years, I’ve taken the approach that of course I can do it all.  Of course I can temp and keep house and do bat surveys and have a social life, of course I’ll be fine.  With bad consequences.

This time, I literally just did temping.  The house is now a mess, I turned down bat work and I had no life outside of the nine hour day.  It was work-home-pyjamas-sleep.  So I managed some time of balance.  Not in the literal sense because I was on my multi coloured sticks for the whole time, but balance in terms of not trying to do it all.

But how do I now not over compensate for this week of being sensible?  This week I have booked three surveys with another as a possible.  I desperately need to turn into some crazy person with the ability to clean the house (even though housework is one of my worst pain triggers) and make it all look normal and respectable.  I just can’t do everything in a sensible and balances fashion, I’m wading through treacle whilst being stuck inside a constricting jumper.  I can’t employ someone to clean because I can’t afford it.  I can’t turn down temping or bat work because I can’t afford to do that too.

I’m clinging to the ‘look how well I did last week’ attitude in the hope that no one will notice what a mess I’m making of this week!

March 4, 2016

March Madness

Posted in March tagged , , , at 1:24 pm by viewfromthisdesk

In January I wrote about setting myself little targets each month so that things didn’t seem utterly overwhelming.  I set myself three targets to achieve by the end of February, these were to write my thank you letters from Christmas, to weed two rose beds and to eat somewhere new.

Well, I wrote my letters so that’s a good start.  It was tough going and I did end up typing them but I decided that typing was better than not writing at all.  It did mean I had a huge expanse of empty white space to fill though which was really daunting.  Thank goodness that as an adult I don’t get many presents anymore!

I haven’t weeded my rose beds.  They look awful.  I am ashamed.

Eating somewhere new was managed, just not quite how I’d intended.  There is a place in town that hubby and I have wanted to go to for ages, which we were going to eat at on Monday night for our engagement anniversary that didn’t happen.  Aside from that, I went out for lunch with a couple of my bat girlies to this very place so I’m counting that as a win.  Any meal time will do quite frankly.  We still want to go to this place, we’ll probably aim to go for April which is when we got together.

So my March targets have to be:

  1. Get better! I need to shift this lurgy that has taken residence in my chest.
  2. Weed the rose beds and prune the clematis climbers. I’ve had an email to say it needs to happen now to ensure a good display of flowers.  Maybe sub consciously,  I keep hoping that some secret gardening fairy will turn up for a random act of kindness, but it’s unlikely so I’ve just got to get on with it.
  3. Sort out my shoes. I’m no Imelda Marcos but I have lots of shoes that I now never can wear again. I’ve held onto them for an unknown reason, pride maybe, proof that I did once wear these gorgeous things, but my joints and social life do not allow lovely heeled shoes any longer.  If anyone reading this is a size UK 5 feel free to come and help me and have first dibs!
  4. Something new. I’m not sure what I mean by this exactly but in a vague way it’s along the lines of wanting to push my life boundaries a bit. I’m not going to suddenly book myself in for a skydive or start collecting imperial sized nuts and bolts, more something along the lines of visiting somewhere or trying something (food, music, theatre-esque) or experiencing something unknown and previously undiscovered.  My conditions limit so much and I’ve allowed myself to become an utter social hermit.  Too scared to try anything really.  I’m not sure how this will pan out but I’ve got to have the idea lodged in my brain.

shoe mountain

(This isn’t my shoe mountain, it’s an image I’ve stolen from someone else on the interweb.  Although I do like those red ones in the middle.  Would never be able to wear them but they’re very lovely!)

 

I’d be grateful for any help anyone can offer, be it physically or motivationally.

February 29, 2016

Confessions from a Leap Year proposee

Posted in February tagged , at 2:41 pm by viewfromthisdesk

Two leap years, eight calendar years ago I became one of those desperate women that was fed up of waiting for tradition and popped the question to my then boyfriend.

And I had been more than patient.  Honestly I had.  We’d been together nearly eleven years by this point.  Eleven long years.  Of which half had been wondering if and when he might ask me.  Birthdays, Christmas, Valentines, our Anniversary and holidays were all spent hoping, wishing, waiting.  I was the absolute definition of pathetic.

It’s not as if marriage hadn’t been discussed.  It wasn’t a subject that we were pretending didn’t exist.  On my 18th birthday, when we’d been together just four months, he gave me a ring.  A gorgeous gold band of eternity type promise.  He said that it wasn’t an engagement ring but a commitment ring.  One that would be ‘upgraded’ when I finished my degree.

Except I didn’t finish my degree in the conventional fashion.  I left university early, returned back and set up home with him.  Friends and relations got engaged and then married around the time that he had said would be for us.  Radio Silence.  I finished my degree with the Open University, on my graduation day I was proud of what I achieved and secretly waited for that magical moment.  It didn’t come before the graduation ceremony, nor over lunch with our immediate family or during the meal that weekend with the rest of our family.

I wondered what was wrong with me, why he didn’t see forever with me.  He was happy for me to be cook, cleaner and candle-stick maker on a daily basis, he said he had no intention of seeking a life elsewhere and yet he didn’t want to make it official.  The more people asked or pushed, the more silent and annoyed he became with the subject.  So we all shut up.  And waited.

More radio silence.

Eleven years is a long time to wait and question what is wrong with oneself.  It was utterly soul destroying and there was nothing I could do about it.  Until February 2008.  I’m a traditional girl at heart, I wanted it to be proper, I wanted the fairytale with shooting stars, rose petals, a nice speech.  I wasn’t wanting a flash mob dance or fireworks spelling it out in the sky or anything more than a nice dinner.  Whichever way it was still a foolish notion.

And then we were on holiday for leap years day and just prior to going away a friend said ‘so are you going to ask him then?’  Bizarrely, it had never occurred to me.  Some time in the previous past had been a television programme on ITV where women proposed to men on live tv and then show number two was whether he sais yes or not and then the marriage, there and then.  He had said (whilst he endured this programme) that if I ever did that to him, he would say no and walk away.  He didn’t want to be embarrassed.   Five minutes before ‘doing the deed’ I suddenly remembered this tv programme.  Panic.

People will say I have my fairytale now, I have my happy ever after.  I asked, he said yes, fairy dust was sprinkled, everyone has perfect skin and Disney-style smiles.  But I do wonder if I did the right thing.  Should I have asked?  Where would my life be now if I hadn’t?  Hubby freely admits when asked (by others) that he would never have asked me, it wasn’t something he’d considered getting around to.  It wasn’t on his radar of things to do.

Today should be a day of celebration, of positive memories and giggles.  Instead, this day comes around and I dwell on the regret, the questioning – should I have done it?

It isn’t helping that we’re both ill today.  He’s getting over a chest infection and I think I’m at the beginning of it.  I’ve been ill with some flu-cold-lurgy thing for three weeks now and it just isn’t abating.  Maybe I’m feeling down about looking back because I can’t breathe, sleep, eat, move.  We were going to go out for a meal tonight at some new place we’ve both been wanting to try since it opened and we’ve had to cancel our booking.  If he remembers, I guess we’ll be toasting our anniversary with lemsips tonight.

At the last leap year, I said something on facebook along the lines of ‘don’t do it if you can’t live with the disappointment of not getting the fairytale.’  I think I still stand by that.  I may be a strong, independent, modern woman but just once it would have been nice to have been floored by tradition.

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