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melting but not down

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

I am going to bed now, but first....my little life....

This is the new, improved version. I've worked out that most of my life has taken place within an area of about 270 square miles. Interesting to see clearly how over the years I've moved from the town to the country and even more interesting....not so long ago, while I was researching my family tree, I discovered that I've gone back to my roots.....my maternal great-great-grandfather lived a five minute car ride from where I live now! He's probably looking over my shoulder every time I mooch round the charity shops. Aha, maybe he's guiding me to the bargains! Click on the picture to be able to see the detail.

and another early night bites the dust ....

...thanks to Photoscape. It took many hours and umpteen attempts before I managed to convert two very different styles of picture (one yellowing passport photo of lovely daughter and one high definition shot of beloved son with busy background) into these two reasonably well-matched photos which look very well in their gilded cast iron frames. Definitely worth the bug eyes.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Impulsive, moi?

Before getting ready for work, I thought 'I'll just check my e-mails' and there was one from Paypal, promising entry into a £10,000 draw for anyone shopping on one of their featured sites. As one of them was a ticket seller, I had a quick look to see whether there were any for the current tour of one of him indoors' favourite women, Tina Turner. Only 2 at Manchester Arena on OUR 30TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY! Reader, I bought them.

I am fading, I am fading......

see the silver, see it shine

I am streaking,

the pigment's leaking,

goodbye brown girl,

it's greying time.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

counting my blessings

  1. being loved by my family
  2. my recovering skin - the discoid eczema has practically disappeared along with the itching. Just a couple of coin-shaped smooth pink patches remain on one shoulder blade and a few fading smaller spots here and there. My doctor has prescribed bucket loads of a wonderful oat-based moisturiser called Aveeno (google it - can't be bothered to put in a link!) which I'm supposed to slather on 5 times a day! Apparently DE is the most difficult eczema to treat and requires this level of preventative treatment. Ah well, I shall have skin like a baby's bum by Christmas, pity husband just won't be able to get a grip.
  3. British summertime (now there's an oxymoron). Nature called at 4am today, went back to bed then up again at 8 which I thought was a respectable time for tea and tinternet. Except it was 7am. More time to blog - whoopee!
  4. it's Sunday so it's Countryfile! Shall wake husband at about 10.40 to give him time to come round before the programme starts. Just love chilling out on the sofas watching C before starting the day in earnest.
  5. hopefully a friend is coming round today to chop some of our trees down to a manageable height (before fallen-from-grace-neighbour decides to poison any more of them). The spare wood can then go down to the village green in readiness for bonfire night on the 5th. Hope I remember to take some pictures for the blog.
  6. I plan on cooking today. Thud. I have promised him indoors venison casserole. Me and my big mouth.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Just a quickie

..cos I've so much to catch up on - we lost our internet connection on Wednesday night and it's been just AWFUL being cut off from all my favourite haunts! Have just got in from shopping with mum (three and a half mind-numbing hours in Morrisons and she still hasn't bought enough feckin food to last the week) and am looking forward to having a good old root round eBay. No doubt (?) you'll be relieved to know that every single one of my blood tests came back fine and my blood pressure is tickety boo (I was rather hoping they'd find something wrong they could fix). In an effort to find out why I'm so bloody knackered all the time, my doctor has come up with the theory that I might be suffering from sleep apnoea and has made me an appointment with the sleep clinic! He arrived at this conclusion by measuring my neck, noting my womanly curves and establishing that I snore. Well yes I do, but NOTHING like the cacophany emanating from himself, especially when he's had a good drink - he snores, grunts, chunters, whistles, forces big noisy jets of air down his nose and sometimes does this HUGE gasp/jerk/yell when he starts breathing again after holding his breath for an age. Anyway, I'm quite looking forward to the sleep clinic experience, all good fun!

Oh yes, a moment of sympathy please, for poor traumatised husband...I finally persuaded him to go to the doctors yesterday for investigation of his many ailments which include a distinct possibility of prostate problems. It's taken me 18 months to get him there and his worst fears were recognised....rubber gloves, gel, knees up to neck...need I say more? (hahahahaha, ahem, sorry, just composing myself) Aren't men babies? They should try putting up with all the indignity that accompanies examinations during and after pregnancy/smear tests/coil fittings/mammograms etc etc.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


You'd think, wouldn't you, that having made great improvements on the eczema front thanks to the steroid tablets and strong ointment double whammy, waking up in the wee small hours would be a thing of the past? Last night I was in bed before midnight and fell asleep quickly but at 4.30am this morning was wide awake again. No, I wasn't itchy, snorry husband was safely tucked up in a bed an hour and a half away and elderly dog was still in slumberland - the problem was wind. Mine.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Things I have learned in the last 8 hours..

  1. Making a couple of affectionate comments about husband's snoring/heavy breathing/whistling/grunting instead of expressing irritation at not being able to get to sleep, will be met with the same level of umbrage. Better to head for the spare bed in silence.
  2. Not ironing daughter's work trousers inside out, unknowingly risking a 'shiny arse', in an effort to save her some time on the morning, will not be construed as being helpful.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Picking up WilloSwitch's tag....

Seven random pieces of information about me:

1. I was born with a caul which apparently is supposed to mean I won't drown, but is that only if you carry it around with you? I think the maternity hospital probably binned mine.
2. In my youth I learned a fire-eating routine and performed it in a skimpy chamois leather costume to 'Reggae Fire' - a song sung by my husband's band.
3. I was part of a local support group that helped out at the women's camps at Greenham Common back in the early 80s.
4. I spent a year trying to run a one-woman business, making uniquely designed shirts for big men (inspired by my lovely large husband) but found it a lonely and unprofitable endeavour.
5. I still have all my own teeth.
6. Ginger is my favourite flavour.
7. There's a half-inch gap in the life line on my left hand, about two thirds of the way down. Gulp.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Blogging etiquette

I know I've been doing this a while (this is my third blog) but there are still a couple of finer points needing clarification, can anyone help?...
  1. Should one always acknowledge every individual's comment on posts?
  2. Is it rude to remove blogs from reading lists if nothing has been posted for a significant period of time, say for example, 3 months? 6? 12?

Gear trouble synchronicity

My car keeps sticking in gear, usually reverse or 1st if I'm moving slowly with the clutch still pressed down. I also am having trouble moving from one gear to another. After last night's interrupted sleep I was so tired today and definitely short on patience, not ideal as mum was having a dithery day. Now I'm back home and trying to de-slump as I'm supposed to be joining my husband and friends for an Indian meal in less than 2 hours. Really, I'd rather just potter about and have an early night. Bah humbug.

I forgot to mention that I managed to keep my cool today while mum ran through the list of things I've bought her over the last year, trying to be helpful, that actually she doesn't like at all...
  • the two pairs of pyjamas I bought and took up for her when she was in hospital after the stroke - they're too 'gaudy' (pink check and light blue check)
  • the 5 pack of white Sloggi pants size 10 as her others are barely fit for dusters - they 'dig in' her (she's at most 4'8" and about 78 pounds)
  • the two warm cardigans with pockets (her preference) - they're too big
  • the two pairs of black elasticated waist trousers that I took up by hand - they're straight leg instead of narrow

I also gave her a smart padded navy jacket from M&S last Christmas as she didn't have a winter coat - she 'forgets' she owns it. Then there's the china budgie I brought back from holiday, beautifully detailed and the spitting image of the budgie we used to have that she loved. It 'fell off the radiator shelf onto the carpet and broke' while dusting, within a week of it's arrival. And guess what, the photo I made for her this week in the red velvet frame...disappeared - she's 'trying to cut down on clutter'. Sigh. Will I never learn?


The meal was lovely, the company very pleasant and I'm glad I made the effort.


This is beginning to feel like the norm, sitting in front of the computer with a cup of tea at daft o'clock in the morning, this time precipitated by a hot flush, husband's snoring and an empty tummy. It's lovely and peaceful here in my back room, with the just the table lamp lit. Husband and daughter are asleep, our sweet little dog has just been out and rather stiffly climbed the stairs back to bed, a little damp from the light rain. The only sounds are the whirr of the hard drive fan and the blood singing in my ears.

I'm feeling quite content. I managed to clear some tasks this afternoon before going to pick beloved son up from Darlington station; so good to see him on top form again after all the stress he's been under recently. All's quiet on the crazy ex-girlfriend front and he's just been promoted at work so is buzzing from the upturn in his fortunes. He has a fun weekend in front of him, richly deserved - paintballing with his sister (the brave organiser!) and pals tomorrow, then over to Manchester for a friend's 30th birthday. It's always a blessing to have him home - living in Nottingham, he can't afford to come up more than a few times a year and I'm afraid we're hopeless at organising trips down to see him.

In a funny way, I'm rather glad about my depression diagnosis. Without it, I wouldn't be on Prozac and feel happier and calmer in myself which I'm sure has helped me relate better to mum, has made me feel cherished by my daughter who always makes sure I'm ok and, just maybe, has had an impact on my relationship with my husband. I feel closer to him than ever before, he's been very gentle with me and probably now realises why he has been married to an occasionally crazy woman over the last few years! After 31 years together, it's easy to take each other for granted, settle into a routine and lose touch with the feelings that brought you together in the first place. I haven't always have been able to say this over the years, but hand on heart, I love him and am glad he's always going to be a part of my life.

Friday, 17 October 2008


Feeling a little light-headed this morning as I've been fasting since 9pm last night in readiness for the blood tests today. This is my third day off work, taken as holiday rather than sick leave - a suggestion made by my boss who understood I wasn't up to going in to work but didn't want me to feel I couldn't carry on with normal daily activities like shopping or walking the dog (lol) without risking someone identifying me as a malingerer. Of course, it also helps the service's sick leave figures! Suits me as I already had five days carried over from last year's leave, I struggle to use it all.

What have I done on my three days off? My memory's terrible. Let's see, Wednesday I went to mum's for lunch, had a nap on her settee afterwards...what the hell did I do after that? No idea. Went home. Yesterday went to mum's again , this time we went out for lunch and then to Guisborough market as it was a lovely sunny day, the sort of bright crisp autumn weather I love. I bought some delicious yoghourt covered ginger and a bag of cranberry/nut/seed mix from the health food shop and a Yorkshire Tea Marmalade cake from a stall that sells the most amazing jams and chutneys. Back at mum's (after another nap) I helped her have a shower and washed and blow dried her hair. Mum has been much easier to get along with lately. Since the stroke, she doesn't go into one of her old lengthy rants on the litany of 'who-done-me-wrong' (dad's relatives featuring prominently) and 'episodes-from-my-miserable-life' (mostly the trials of living with her pig of a father after her mum's death when she was 10) so much; it's as though the stroke has destroyed some of the neural pathways that formed links between each story. She seems a little happier although still likes to have something to worry about, so I try to deal with each concern as it arises.

Yesterday was a good day for problem solving - I've arranged for a friend to look at mum's fire - it needs the firelight bulb holders fixing, I made her a list of useful telephone numbers and stuck it on the fridge so she no longer has to go rooting through umpteen old diaries and scraps of paper and I took her a photo of her and dad and my son and daughter together in their garden. I'm quite proud of it as its a composite of two photos taken on the same day, probably a few months before dad died, nine years ago. One was of mum, daughter, son and his ex-girlfriend, the other had dad replacing daughter. I chose to work on the former as mum and son were smiling into the camera on that one, cut and pasted dad from the other and stuck him over the ex, then spent ages in bitmap changing pixels to hide the joins. The only problem is that dad seems to be standing on mum's left foot, but it doesn't matter as in the photo frame, that bit is chopped off. I used the frame I bought from eBay - the red velvet and satin roses.

Yikes! As I finished the last sentence I glanced at the time and it was 8.44 - my blood test appointment was at 9.10 and there I was, in pyjamas, unwashed! I'm afraid I didn't have time for a shower so had a quick freshen up, cleaned my teeth, didn't bother with make-up (well, I may as well look poorly) threw on jeans, t-shirt and a warm cardigan and shot off to the surgery. The nurse was very gentle and efficient. She took three phials of blood and explained that the doctor had asked for the works - tests for liver and kidney functions, thryoid, anaemia, diabetes, vitamins and goodness knows what else. If they don't find something amiss among that lot, there's no hope for me!

Well, am now munching my way through breakfast - an apple chopped up with the cranberry mix and date, fig and seeds yoghourt. *Will then have to clean up before husband arrives home around lunchtime and then the weekend begins!
*Actually I went back to bed instead :-)

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Sod's law

I did all the right things guaranteed to send me off to sleep. A little, well alright - a lot, of messing about on the computer combined with watching 2 films (LiL and Honeymoon in Las Vegas - similarly underwhelming), a warm drink, off to bed around 11.30pm feeling tired, took a superantihistamine, read the last bit of a book about Hannah Hauxwell and then.....WIDE A-BLOODY-WAKE!*&*!!* and HUNGRY!!!*!!!!*!

Well at least I'm off tomorrow and can have a lie-in but what's the betting I wake up early?

2.20 am and I think I'm ready to go back to bed. Say a little prayer for me, my baby.....

...and here we are, wide awake again at 6.30. You have to larf.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Be careful what you wish for

I've just finished watching Ladies in Lavender.

It was alright.


The best laid plans....

  • Never got round to watching Ladies in Lavender, thanks to the computer's siren call, but was disciplined enough to go to bed at 10pm. Was woken up somewhere between 1 and 2am by persistent itching so I applied moisturiser and made myself a cup of tea. I had intended watching LiL but when I turned on the TV there was a subtitled Spanish film on, 'The Sea Inside', which turned out to be mesmerising. (I love foreign films but can't abide dubbed versions. I much prefer to hear the original actors' voices, even if I can't understand everything they're saying.) The actors gave moving performances of the true story of a fisherman who was paralysed from the neck down in a diving accident and who, after spending years dependent on others to take care of him, decided to fight for the right to die. His legal challenge failed but he ended his life by taking cyanide. I went back to bed when the film finished at 3.20.

  • Up itchy again at 6.30, determined to tell my doctor I wanted to come off Prozac because of the side effects. He kindly but firmly advised me against it, explaining that such a course of action could take me right back and possibly to worse than I had been in the past. He was certain that my itchiness and skin problems were not indicative of a drug-related rash but the discoid eczema flaring up again (linked to stress/depression) and has given me another short course of steroid tablets and some heavy duty steroid cream. He has booked me in for a fasting blood test on Friday to check whether there's anything else going on that could cause my tiredness, eg underactive thyroid or anaemia. I rather hope the tests find something that can be treated and cured.

Called in at work on my way home this morning and relayed above to my lovely sympathetic boss who saw beyond my I'm-ok-just-a-bit-flat facade - I had to admit I did feel quite low. I have decided to take the rest of the week off as I'm too dull-brained and tired to cope with work. LSB has offered to arrange independent counselling for me, I'm tempted.... what do you think? I'm nervous of sharing intimate secrets with a stranger.

Lol, I've just re-read the last bit and realised that's exactly what I've been doing in this blog! Of course, there are some some sensitive issues I don't write about and I suppose those are the things I'm wary of bringing to a counsellor; I've never been keen on worms, in or out of the can.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Putting the training into practice ;-)

Well, on my own cycle of change I guess I've motivated myself to move from the contemplative stage (I'm feeling physically worse as time goes on and it seems to be linked to the medication), to the decision making stage (can't allow this to go on any longer, must do something about it), to the action stage (made an appointment to see the doctor tomorrow). The galvanising factor was how exhausted I felt today. I'm walking at a snail's pace everywhere, could fall asleep at the drop of a hat (where does that expression come from?) and felt quite light-headed this morning. I waited until after the free lunch to make my apologies (I may be poorly but I'm not daft!) and went home to bed, dropping in on mum on the way to take her a loaf of bread and some milk.

Mum seems very concerned by my wilting flower impression. The cynic in me says it's due to self-interest - a while back when I had a breast cancer scare that turned out to be something completely different, she said "I'm glad you're ok .... I don't know what I'd do if anything happened to you" and today has been listing the tasks she has lined up for me. However, I have to say she does seem genuinely caring and has twice offered to come and look after me, ahh bless. (I used to quite like being ill as a child, confined to bed with lucozade, dad's home-made jigsaws and plenty of books and comics to read.) I haven't told her about the depression - she wouldn't understand and she would probably find it hurtful, that I believed looking after her is probably the major causal factor.

Right then, having had a good sleep this afternoon, I'm going to have a relaxing evening and hopefully a good night's sleep. Lovely daughter has bought me a magazine and licorice and I plan on finally watching Ladies in Lavender. Fingers crossed the doctor can sort me out tomorrow.

Prozac - unlucky 13 weeks?

Things are definitely getting worse on the tiredness, eczema and itching front, it's really getting me down. At least my distressed skin was hidden under clothing before, but now the rough patches are spreading, including onto the back of my hands. I can't bear the thought that it might spread to my face - I know, I'm vain. I've checked the extensive side-effects list for Prozac and it includes lethargy, rash, itching and dry mouth (frequent thirstiness is also something new for me that I've noticed recently). I have to go to the surgery this morning to collect my repeat prescription so I'm going to try to book an appointment with a doctor asap to discuss changing to a different anti-depressant.

Monday, 13 October 2008


Today and tomorrow I have to attend mandatory training in Motivational Interviewing. MOTIVATIONAL interviewing. The more I think about it, the dafter it becomes. As if without this training, I would employ UNmotivational interviewing techniques, despite the fact that a major part of my job is all about encouraging people to make positive changes in their lives. I've been doing just that for fifteen years but because I've somehow managed to miss attending previous MI training, I have to do it now. Ticks on lists. Ridiculous. I have loads of work I could be getting on with, including that report for my boss. I just know I'll be like a sulky schoolgirl in detention for the next two days. The lunches had better be good :-(

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Tempus fugit...

...when you're trying to sort out a lifetime's photo collection. I started around midday and have just stopped, realising I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast. And I'm still not finished!

Here we go again

Woke up itchy in the early hours so got up, applied cream, put washing in the machine, made a cup of tea and let the dog out. She's now busy taking her biscuit for a walk round the house which entails my opening and closing doors and her tap dancing up and down the uncarpeted stairs (still haven't got the hall etc decorated). Currently debating whether to mess around on the computer for a while or watch Ladies in Lavender. What do you think, both?

Well, it's 5 am and the washing machine finished its cycle a few minutes ago, just as I completed work on creating a new ID photograph for work. Never got to watch the film, lol. Think I'll go back to bed now!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

In memoriam

My dad died on 11 October 1999. I was at mum's today for the usual Saturday shopping challenge; she was oblivious to the significance of the date. I didn't remind her, I couldn't face the inevitable conspiracy theories directed against the doctors/hospital - she's convinced that if he hadn't had his triple bypass operation, he would be alive today. He wouldn't, he had a heart attack the day before he was hospitalised and another the morning of his operation. It was heart disease and arterial sclerosis that killed him but mum's convinced it was the kidney infection that saw him off or that the bypass operation was botched. I miss him. Hope he thinks I'm being a good (enough) daughter.

Still weary 50% of the time, to the extent that I sent my boss an e-mail on Friday, apologising for not having got round to writing a report she needed for next week. Must mention it to my GP as I think it may be a side-effect of the Prozac. Alternatively, maybe the medication has just taken me back to how I was generally before things became really difficult, like the time a phone call from mum after I'd just returned home from her place tipped me over the edge and had me on my knees, screaming and pounding the wall. (I had a sexy, husky voice for 3 days afterwards!) Lovely daughter to the rescue - she went off to mum's, leaving strict instructions that I soak in the perfumed bath she'd run me. It must have been scary for her, seeing me in such a state.

Thursday, 9 October 2008


The 'bargain' tablecloth has a hole in it, off centre. Which means I can't camouflage it by putting the fruit bowl in the middle of the table.

On the bright side, my boobs look amazing in my new wonderbra.

You lose some, you win some :-)

Irony #2

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh! (just got back from mum's)

And today I have bought, courtesy of Help the Aged........
1. A DVD of the film Ladies in Lavender, which I missed when it was on at the cinema.
2. A jacquard tablecloth, white with apple green bands and patterns, that will go perfectly with my kitchen walls.
3. A fully lined, never been worn, below-the-knee, black pencil skirt that looks like wool but isn't.
4. A fabulous, mint condition, chocolate coloured imitation sheepskin duffle coat that will keep me cosy on the coldest day.
All four cost me less than £12 and because I spent more than ten, I was eligible for the special offer - a £3 voucher to be spent in the charity shop between November and Christmas! Noooooooooooooooooooo problemo!

Sunday, 5 October 2008


Is this me? - 'In dysthymic disorder, depressive symptoms typically begin insidiously in childhood or adolescence and pursue an intermittent or low-grade course over many years or decades; major depressive episodes may complicate it (double depression).' I certainly remember feeling an almost constant melancholy from childhood onward and am wondering whether, despite a promising start with Prozac which seemed to banish the blues, dysthymia was the reason why this weekend I felt detached and unable to fully enjoy life, often retreating to my bed with bouts of weariness. And I'm still bargain hunting! Today I found a lovely touch table lamp in palest green etched glass in a charity shop for £5 that goes beautifully in my back room.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Prozac- 11 weeks - not quite there yet

I know this because:
a) I silently panicked in a recent team meeting when a new system was mooted that will require good self organisation and extra work. Although intellectually I know I'll get on top of it, psychologically it feels like a huge mountain to climb in slippery shoes.
b) I have been bargain hunting for England, mostly successfully, but there's no denying that I tend to turn to retail therapy when I'm feeling down or stressed. In the last couple of weeks, my haul has included...
from charity shops: a lovely mint green linen shirt, a smart midnight blue waterproof coat with an opalescent shimmer and a book - 'Remind me who I am, again' by Linda Grant. This has turned out to be a fascinating read, written by a woman my age about her relationship with her mother (very similar to mine - both relationship and mother!) who develops multi-infarct dementia. I'm starting to wonder whether my mum is showing signs of MID, she seems to have some of the symptoms.
from eBay: a vintage brass photo frame, a pink lace wonderbra, a red wonderbra, a red velvet photo frame with red satin roses, 6 pairs of black lace top hold-ups that I didn't notice were a size too big but are perfect for my daughter and, less successfully, a grey wool trouser suit that doesn't really suit me and is too tight so will be donated to a charity shop.

It was mum's shower and hair washing night tonight. Around 8.45pm I was looking for a window of opportunity to make my exit when out of the blue mum said "you've put on a lot of weight ..... (pause) You used to be so slim!" Job done. See you Saturday Mum!