Monthly Archives: February 2016

Out of my head

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This has been a long, long week of lectures and driving. We are packing all the academic stuff in before placement starts, theatres, followed by an elective surgery ward…

In this long week I have struggled to sleep and have been in a state of high anxiety for most of the time.

My artist sister and my lovely hairdresser/friend both extolled the words of Eckhart Tolle, especially his book, The Power of Now….I had a wee look and listen to him on a YouTube clip and did not warm to his slightly wombat like countenance. (Not that I don’t like wombats, I think they are gorgeous, and think me cruel, judgemental, whatever, but if I want to open my mind, I need to feel it is in the right place and time and with the right person)…BUT, after picking up a Deepak Chopra book for 57p, which was simple and similar to a lot of such writing, I put it aside and gave old Eckhart another listen while knitting my socks. (Yes, thank you, they are coming on nicely, progress picture soon..).

Some of it struck a nerve and reminded me of sessions with the counsellor about not living in my head, which is full of what ifs, fear, anxiety and other unhealthy emotions. The trick is to ‘step out of it’, out of the thoughts and leave them behind. I did some stepping out and in some ways it is no different to the old school ‘pull yourself together’ process, only the imagery is nicer and it feels like a CHOICE.

So I am working hard on choosing to be less worried and fretful and to work down my lists, to be gentle and kinder to myself and allow the blips.

 

 

 

 

Sock it to me

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For so long I have supressed my love of making things so that I can focus on nursing.Youngest daughter still has an unfinished crochet blanket (that she was meant to take to uni with her…) and this week I sewed in all the ends and started the border. I hope she can take it back after Easter.

I also fell in love with this  blog  and have stared on my first pair. I could not, could not, could not match the yarn. The kitchen was literally festooned with sock yarn last night while trying to find two bits that match….I know my socks will be wonky, but this is the first attempt and they will be hidden in shoes much of the time.

Making things is therapeutic, rhythmic, soothing and crochet, especially for me ,is zen like. I just do it and don’t worry about anything while going through the motions.

Socks require deep thought, but that is healthy too, it challenges the brain.

So, with a little outlet for my creative side and a very long walk under our belts this morning, the day is feeling good.

The dam bursts

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An email was waiting when I got home from my lovely hairdresser’s with a smart new – no longer silver at the roots – cut.

Nasty and mean about me and the girls. It was like a slap. Out of the blue. I cried after reading it. Then, wrote back. The long and the short of it was a furious exchange in which he demanded clarification, explanations and justifications. I laid it all out and gave him the option to take it or leave it.

Then the dam burst I think, on his side. He has been really suffering, tormenting himself with questions and what ifs. The last few emails were gentler, kinder, more introspective and accepting. I hope he now realises that anger and resentment do not allow us time to grieve and that by actually admitting how he feels to himself, it will help him.

He says he is looking forward to moving on and having a better relationship with me now. I am hoping too that this will be possible.

We all come to terms with things at different rates and in different ways. It is easy (as any reader of this will know) to be one sided and forget about how others may feel.

Although I write about my side all the time, I do know there is his side. I have always hoped that at some point some acceptance of his role in the end of our marriage would be forthcoming. There is no great sense of glory, now that it has. It has just lifted a great cloud and cleared the way for both of us to get on with our own lives and, that part of our lives that still overlap.

 

 

 

 

 

Learning from life

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A young Nepalese classmate came up to me after the last lecture yesterday and whispered in my ear that she wanted me to know that I am her inspiration. She is beautiful, intelligent and has an elegant sense of peace. It was moving and flattering.

Then I came home, drank too many glasses of wine, watched too much rubbish on the iPlayer and looked at pictures of the ex on the ‘net…..sad indeed. Bet my little Nepalese friend would not be so impressed with that version of me! I am certainly not.

As a result, I have spent a large part of today thinking hard about who and what sort of person I am at this stage in life. I am not happy with myself, although not unhappy with life per se. The future is exciting, I am fortunate with all I have both material and opportunity wise. Thanks to bloggers all over, I am learning how to live a more streamlined, frugal life, BUT, I could still be more caring, thoughtful, reflective and respectful.

It is important to learn from life’s slip ups. That young woman sees a version of me that I would like to be more often. Without being false.  She has helped me reflect and face a few rude truths and I am grateful.

 

 

 

A sense of order

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With all that is going on and the way my mind works (a bit like a spinning top) it is very easy to get sucked into a state where it all just seems TOO MUCH.

Living alone, I recognise that it is always going to be up to me to get on with things, no-one to nag or remind me and no one to help or to share the load. It isn’t bad though. I get to do things how and when I like…but I am very, very easily distracted.

I also recognise that by focusing on things, one at a time, there is a higher chance that tasks will be completed, done well and in time (if there are deadlines).

My lovely friend LE gave me a ‘Things to do Today’ pad and it is so cool it took over a week for me to write in it!!! Grand were my plans for it…..

It has its first list in it now. Stuff on paper that no longer has to jostle for space in my head. A MANAGEABLE list.

The relentless 9-6 (or 7) days are coming to an end soon and there will be time to do the things that I worry about. It is liberating to see them written down and I feel a bit more relaxed.

The charity shop has a new driver too and they will be coming to get the furniture in a day or two….woohoo.

 

 

 

Distance

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Very sad and worrying news from Australia. The treatment is not doing what was hoped for Dad’s bladder cancer and there is talk of more surgery. On top of that, they have finally put the house on the market and have an offer. They do not however have a place to go to, and to them the choice all hinges on the outcome of the next few consultations.

I want to be at home. I want to help them pack up that house. It is a huge wrench for them, but they have realised that they can no longer manage. I just want to SEE them.

But, we are talking regularly as are all siblings and the two in Oz are planning imminent visits.

As my parents aged, I knew the geographical distance would really be hard to cope with. Have decided to get home as soon as possible.

 

History repeats…..embarrassingly

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While trawling the ‘net for bits that I have written over the years, to stick in a portfolio of sorts, this article appeared. Awkward!! . That was 10 years ago….The photo is really dodgy, that bouffant hair was the creation of a ‘stylist’ that the magazine sent me to. It bobbed up and down when I walked!

Interesting that in those days it was all about getting back out there and if I were to write the story now? Completely different, I can tell you.

 

 

 

What it’s worth

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The Grim Challenge was a big success for the four young things who ran today. Bitter cold winds but gorgeous sunshine made it ok for the few spectators as well. They were soaking and shivering and covered in mud when they got back to the car. The turnout was great and loads of charities were represented.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Grim Challenge, Aldershot, 7/2/2016

There was talk on the way home of getting the mothers to run as well next year….

While waiting for the runners to finish, the smell of coffee and hotdogs was tempting, but at £4.00 for a sausage in a bun and £3.00 for a coffee, there was no way I could afford to or would want to pay that amount….

Of late, my long term financial situation has been playing on my mind. At 55 with only about 7 years of work under my belt in the UK, my State pension pot is paltry. It will be about 18 months before I can hope to work full time again and despite efforts to find a Saturday job, it has not happened (yet).

I am a good saver and big believer in putting pennies away. The problem is that it is hard to save when there is no income! Yes, I do live off the joint account at present, but as He in Paradise is always checking the ins and outs of it, I am careful about purchases.

I mentioned my student loan recently. I invested part of that in a crowd-funding property deal, buying a small share in a rental property in Manchester. The returns (not guaranteed of course) look good. I also have been a long term investor in a peer to peer lending scheme. It returns an average of 4% per annum, which in this market is great.  This type of passive income is good but in order for it to have any significant financial reward, one needs a lot of money invested. At present only the odd tenner can be popped in, now and then.

Without a load of money one needs to be frugal, and I notice that of late, more thought goes into purchases. Where cash back or discounts (or both) can be used they are. £2 coins go in a tin that cannot be opened (need a can opener) and £5 notes are saved. A friend taught me this one. Any £5 s that end up in my wallet at the end of the day are removed and banked at the end of the week.

I have been experimenting with a capsule wardrobe too and after a week of wearing the same ‘uniform’ (washed in between), not a person has commented, which goes to show how much anyone notices, and that we all worry too much about what we wear!

So, all this has inspired me, for what it’s worth, to persist with the collection of pennies, the making of packed lunches and wearing a capsule wardrobe….it all adds up to savings for my dotage.

 

 

 

 

 

Plodding on

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Still struggling a bit with the black dog, or its shadow at least, which has made routine tasks challenging this week. Things are being done in tiny increments, rather than in energetic blitzes.

He in Paradise has let me know that his company has now been dissolved and that the money will be available soon…but the flat is not selling and the agents are about as useful as a chocolate teapot! The tenant tells me that 7 flats have sold in the street in the last half year…..and they are all with other agents….but, we are almost half way to me getting out of here.

Oldest daughter went back, somewhat better than she arrived, and now youngest is here to run in the GRIM challenge in Aldershot tomorrow with some friends. (Can’t post a link for some reason, but it is a muddy race over army training grounds…). I am driver and photographer and am looking forward to it. They will be filthy, wet and cold at the end…..

Uni started this week with a gruelling month of lectures planned before the next placement starts in March. The exam results were fair to middling. Whether I resit will be determined on the results of the essay. Two low scores means a definite yes. I have a personal target for my grade average…

Today 7 DVDs went to the charity shop.  7 less things.

Little steps….the day will come when I can put up photos of an empty house.