October 2017


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Monday, October 16th, 2017 21:50
Monday night is yoga night. As the Spouse has unexpectedly been put on back-shift for the next few weeks, this is the first time I've gone out and left the dogs at home on their own in the evening. I put the radio on, a rock station so they're used to the sound (the Spouse has Planet Rock on when he's home, it's good for the tinnitus), and then gave them a treat and left. I wondered if I'd worry about them too much to get the full benefit of the yoga but no, I was pretty much ok very quickly. It helped we were doing things that I'm confident in. I left feeling a bit taller, much more relaxed and breathing from the bottom of my lungs again. Came home and found the dogs occupying one sofa a-piece and happy I came home. It's a lovely feeling, both the welcome and the feeling of fitness. Not one I've had for many of the decades so far.

The Spouse, of course, is ahead of me in gym work. He started losing weight in the Spring, when he went for a medical for the new job. Last month he joined a gym and last week I went down and had a look around, a bit of a try on various things I recognised from the physiotherapy gym at UHND. Then I hit the sauna and the showers. I must admit, I felt pretty good about it. So - I joined up too. The induction session was at the weekend and I'll be off for my first proper session tomorrow. I reckon short sessions on each of the useful machines to start with, gradually becoming long if possible, over time (lots of time).

As and added incentive, Youngest Daughter (she who is on course to be Queen of the World) has just got engaged, so I've a wedding to get fit for. And hats. Lots of looking at hats.
I like hats.

* I just went to post this and was thoroughly startled to read an option for 'Composting Settings'.
Ahem. I did have my eyes checked, yes I did. Crossposting is way less interesting, though.
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Tuesday, September 5th, 2017 14:13
We went to a funeral this morning. The mother of one of our best, and oldest friends. I calculated that I had known her for around 38 years, the Spouse knew her for much longer. A Humanist officiant made sure the emphasis was on her life, the Margaret who had been born with the war - as a baby she had been buried in rubble when a bomb hit her street. Her husband was a political refugee, fleeing Hungary after the failed uprising. Marrying a foreigner in the NE of England in the fifties was a brave thing to do.
It occurred to me that all too soon we will lose all those people who experienced WWII and its aftermath. Not only those who fought, but those who endured; or who were brought into a world where war was their 'normal' and peace a sudden and confusing change to their reality. Margaret was hit with a double whammy of cancer, and died suddenly, before her husband who - with dementia his new reality - didn't fully understand his loss. Possibly that's a comfort, I don't know. We haven't experienced that yet.
It was a beautiful send-off, warm and emotional. As it should be.
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Wednesday, August 30th, 2017 20:49
Lots happening at the moment : got new laptop, hereinafter named Plato, so that's nice. Been to the South to see daughters 1 and 3, their partners, and my wonderful grand-daughters. Took Jack, his second such trip, and he's been as good as he was last year. So we're rewarding him with a little sister*. If all goes well - hoops to go through yet - we should be joined by a nine-month-old little lady. Spouse had the naming privileges this time and he came up with Ginger. Jack and Ginger. They have met up twice now, another tomorrow, and they like to play. When they're walking along, side-by-side, ahead of the slow humans, she nudges Jack with her shoulder as if sharing a joke. He loves it.

*this will not be an annual event.
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Monday, June 5th, 2017 17:31
A few years ago I purchased a set of beads, unpolished carved jade was, I think, the description of them. As it's now my Jade Anniversary, I finally got around to making them up into a necklace. So I now have two new necklaces for my anniversary. Go me. (Well Go Spouse, he done good!)

I saw the One Love Manchester concert, or most of it, broadcast on the BBC last night. Not my kind of music, mostly, but it was brilliant all the same. The young lady, Ariana Grande, revealed herself to be a lovely human being. I was watching her interactions with the little girl in the school choir. She loves her fans.

Tonight is my first yoga class for three weeks so I imagine there'll be difficulties in the days ahead. It's worth it though. Think I'll go and do a bit of pre-emptive stretching to be on the safe side ...:)
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Monday, May 8th, 2017 00:27
Every so often I get these delusions of competence. As the Spouse was trying to fix something on his car, I thought I'd not wait for him but go and do the shopping by myself. Am I not fitter than I ever was? (Sort of) Don't I do yoga and walk kilometres a day? (I do). Haven't I forgotten why there's a walking stick handy in the porch? Yup.
So having sharp pains jagging down my leg from my hip whilst driving home, I remembered why pushing a trolley with heavy shopping and lifting said shopping into car was beyond me. Sigh.

On the plus side - er - nope. Can't think of anything positive just there.
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Thursday, April 13th, 2017 17:44
Can one schedule posts at DW for publishing on another day?
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Thursday, April 13th, 2017 17:20
A conversation on twitter caught my eye today. In an exchange about how differently one person's brain works from another (in respect of reading whatever is in front of you, a subject I have things to say about but not here and now) [personal profile] julesjones (waves) mentioned being told "not everyone's brain works like yours". It's a subject I've thought about recently, after being told how my brain works, and how it's not like others'.
According to experts in these things, a childhood lived in fear affects how the brain develops. Your mind -arising from that configuation - is therefore not 'normal'. Now, 'normal' is not any one thing, it is a range, and anyone can be even an extreme outlier on that range and still be 'normal'. So it is hard to talk about this to other people, I've been struggling as I've tried to discuss it with friends, as the common response seems to be 'oh we all do that' or 'everyone does that'. And it is true. Everyone forgets things. Everyone has events within their experience that they have no memory of. To say - I forget things, or - more accurately - to say 'I don't remember' means more than 'I am forgetful' or even that I'm getting older. It was explained to me that so much of my experience has simply never been written into my memory. Not long-term. As a coping mechanism, a way to deal in the moment. It means - what does it mean? I've lived a life in a version of 'fight or flight'. It's been called 'fear mode' or 'danger mode' where every event is analysed in the same way and reacted to accordingly. My reactions to events are over-reactions, or under-reactions. The only difference I can see these days is now that I know it I can consider each event or ask, a daughter or two, for instance, 'am I over-reacting' or 'am I over-thinking' something. Or, of course, 'should I be getting angry about this?'.
It's really a strange new world for us, my brain and me. Perhaps everyone else felt like this sometime in their teens or early twenties, learning how to cope with the world, understanding themselves and experiencing their lives in different ways, learning how to react. I'm in my fifties, and learning like a teen. No, - not entirely - there must be some plasticity there, or I could not find it in me to make changes at all - but my brain is largely set now, as developed as it will be. But is that the same as saying my mind is set to the same degree? I don't think so. I'm not sure why I think that. But I do.
I probably need to think more on this.
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Wednesday, April 5th, 2017 19:28
So the thing that I'm writing is developing into a chihuahua-killer and the shortish-possibly-novella-size other thing is sprouting in different directions. This is going to be interesting (possibly only to me).

In other news: Spouse has new job, still no sign of any money from redundancy (or even pay in lieu of notice) so things are tighter than they have been. New job pays less - is totally ok but all the flexibility, such as we had, in our finances has been lost. The government will eventually pay, or cause to be paid, some of the money owed - but it's capped and he's owed so much more, more than money too, after 33 years.

However, new job is not stressful (so far) which is good because last week the neurologist for my Ma-in-Law instructed she be put on the palliative care list. There is nothing further that can be done. Expecting it though we were (gosh - sounds like yoda, may have been overdosing on SW), it's still a bit of a gut-punch.

With the Spouse back at work I'm back to the usual (last year's usual) daily walking of the dog: two long walks a day to keep him, and me, healthy. As healthy as possible. Fitter. Alive. That's it. It may take a few weeks to embed itself again. At the moment, I'm sleeping a lot between walks. I messed up my medication today so it's been a bit of a washout productivity-wise. Tomorrow I shall manage better.

I've just discovered there's a downloadable Lord of the Rings add-on to Civ VI. I may be some time ...
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Wednesday, April 5th, 2017 19:00
I've had this account for a long while (longer than I thought) but it was a backup; most of the people I follow or who followed me were on Livejournal so I stayed there mostly. Now, the balance has tipped and most have come to dreamwidth. So here I am.
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Wednesday, January 9th, 2013 14:06
Did a quick drive-by checkup of Ma in Law. Since she came out of hospital last time the flat has acquired a different air. A person comes in morning and night to help get her up and put her to bed as her arm is still too painful to use. The carer who comes in to do the housework does a lot more now than before and we feel a lot easier about the prospect of food-poisoning etc. The furniture has all been moved around and she was advised to use the chair rather than sit on the sofa. The chair has cups on the legs to raise it and it is an improvement, but she still struggles to get out of it and she does tend still to throw herself back into the chair instead of slowly sitting.

We looked at the price of getting a chair that will rise and fall with her in it. Wow. That's a lot of money. Have started looking for second-hand ones.

She has a bath lift in now and also has a rollator. The hospital originally gave her a three-wheeled one but as a means to stop her falling over it failed. She fell over the thing itself and bruised herself quite badly. Now she has a four-wheeled one which has two trays, brakes, and is more stable. Though she finds the brake a little difficult, she rather likes it, I think. And the proof of the pudding is that she actually uses it, and hasn't fallen since xmas. Though that fall was very worrying, was a Fall with a capital (mini-stroke fall).

Today she was happily sitting in her cupped chair, watching Alibi on the telly. The flat is clean and tidy, she seemed quite happy. She had a bit of trouble following me when I talked to her, but I tend to speak quickly and it could have just been my fault.

The thing is - it bothered me. Not entirely sure why. Certainly, she was fine and happy. But - I realise that she's not a terribly social person, never has been, so being on her own every day isn't as much of a problem as it might be for someone else. But she's not a hermit. She was disappointed to not see her sister this week as her sister and brother in law have this horrible cold that's going round. I just keep thinking of her sitting there, all day, every day, watching and re-watching Alibi or the news and just - what? Being separate from the world. I know that she comes to us at the weekend. And to Baby Bro's one night during the week. And her sister comes up from Shields regularly. And we take her shopping on Fridays, and the Lovely Grandson to play with her when he's here. But still, that's a lot of hours sitting in a chair, watching telly, in too much pain - or just plain scared - to get up and take part in life.
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Thursday, November 22nd, 2012 19:32
For some reason I was looking back over my blog entries for this time last year. We were full of hope for the new baby (wonderfully fulfilled by the arrival of Lovely Grandson)and relief at getting MiL into flat with no stairs and various aids to living in place. A year later and it's almost painful to read how happy we were to be 'getting it sorted'. It isn't sorted at all of course.

I'm waiting at home while the Spouse and the Baby Bro visit MiL in hospital. We all know now that the flat was a good move, for a short time, but is now inadequate. She has someone to come in and help with housework twice a week but she usually says 'not much needs doing' or does it vefore they arrive. Mostly, she forgets about hygiene in the kitchen and we live in terror of her giving herself food-poisoning. Whenever I'm there I try to do a surreptitious clean and I find that Sis in Law does the same. Her sons tend not to notice, or think it matters, until it's pointed out to them. Forcefully.

We think the next stage may have to be assisted living, if not straight-out care in a home. I hate the idea of doing that; especially with the reports of abuses and neglect we've seen recently. but I don't want her falling and killing herself all on her own either.
None of us have a house without stairs, which she can't manage, and we don't have the money to move. BB has small children and he and Sis in Law work. Spouse works and I'm at home but physically I'm next to useless. I can drive her places - as long as my arthritis doesn't make it impossible. I can check up on her - as long as the asthma is under control. I'm pretty good at forms and letters and official documents, but if she falls over, or even is just having a bad day and can't get off the sofa, I can't lift her, raise her at all.And more than once she's fallen on me, so that I ended up more damaged than she did.

The scary thing is how easily she forgets things. She forgets that the reason she forgets is the series of mini-strokes. She forgets who spoke to her on the phone, and what they wanted. She can't remember what she's agreed to, and will happily allow herself to be persuaded of anything by someone with enough confidence - or fraudulent intent. There are days when she is bright and happy and can chat away nicely. She's still a lot slower and often loses track of her thoughts but she's generally ok. And then there are days when she cannot make the connection from the words the woman at the checkout say, to the purse in her hand, to the notes she pulls out. she, who was always so on-the-ball with money, sometimes can't identify a ten pound note. We have found her v. upset by a demand for money from, say, the gas company, but when we look it's not a demand, it's a refund and it's dated a year ago. I could go on but it's clear, I think, that she needs help. We can pop in and out as often as we can, and that is quite often all things considered, but she can fall in the blink of an eye, from a safe standing po9ition, and still hit her head or break her neck, or her arm. She has now fallen so badly, and so often on her right arm that it doesn't work any more. She cannot lift it at all, it's painful, and dreadfully difficult to dress/undress or get up and down out of beds and chairs.

I know there are thousands of families going through this at any one time. Hundreds of thousands probably, yet no one really talks about it when it happens. You don't get details and have no idea what to expect. So I'm trying to put down as much as I can here, in the hope that someone else will find it useful. Even if it's only to say - oh that happens to other people too.
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Sunday, June 24th, 2012 22:35
Spouse is on night shift again tonight. I'm on my own with all the doors locked - though now I come to think about it, did I put the milk bottles out? shall check later - and wondering if I should go to bed early because I'm on my own, or go to bed late so I can sleep later still and get up nearer to when Spouse gets up. It's odd this night shift lark. It does Spouse a world of good. He eats better, sleeps properly, doesn't work all sorts of extra hours, gets to see people during the day (like an awake grandson) and could have enjoyed the sunshine if we had had any.
Me, I don't like it. I end up with indigestion, insomnia, and probable insanity if I try to adjust my schedule to nocturnal timings. It's all very odd. I think I'll compromise. I'll go to bed soon - but with a book. Same solution to most problems in life, I find. :)
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Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 00:18
Today I thought I was fine so when the Ma in Law asked to make a trip to the bank, I was agreeable. She stumbled coming out of the flat and almost went her length. She tends to set her eyes on her destination and set off straight for it, this would be fine if everything was in straight lines. The path to her gate is not, so she falls off the edge. Practically every time. So a bit of concreting to do, I reckon.

We got into town and parked, then I negotiated the way to the bank. I swear there isn't a decent stretch of flat, even, well-maintained path in the whole of Chester le Street. I was a nervous wreck. Luckily we got through it with no damage, to MiL.

Me, my nerves were shot and I'm not sure if the driving, or that she was on my arm for the walking, or just the tension, but tonight is pain night, it appears. Oh joy. I'm off to bed to read a John Ringo book. If that doesn't take my mind of my hurts, nothing will.

Am saving my just-arrived copy of Mary Robinette Kowal's Glamour in Glass as a treat to enjoy when I'm better. And I've downloaded the missing first sentence as a bookmark.
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Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 13:34
Dyson 2 - Sucker of Socks.

After Spouse blitzed the house last week with his new toy, I had no need to do much in the way of housework so I had my first go with the new Dyson at the weekend. Spouse was remaking my desk (which involved pulling apart and reassembling my desk and exposing all the accumulation of dust behind it) and I hoovered up the Giant Dust Lagomorpha before going on to try it in other rooms.

It can eat your socks, a Dyson can. Easily and quickly and before you have time to see a stray foot-warmer and react. The final reaction was probably extreme (Eeeek I've broken the Dyson!!!) but it turns out Dysons are proof against socks. Easily pulled out. Much impressed.
Got That Look from Spouse as he went back to his sawing and screwing and shoving.

I feel very tall next to my desk now. Not something I've ever been able to say before.
I feel small next to the Dyson. It is very well designed and worth the money. Unlike me. Sniff.
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Thursday, March 29th, 2012 14:47
I have just driven down to Chester le Street (petrol cost), parked (parking cost) to pick something from the Post Office that was apparently sent with insufficient postage. Fine, I understand that people should put the correct postage on. It was short 12p + £1 'handling fee' (which appears to be a fine on the innocent recipient). All this is very irritating. But I happen to know that item was sent on 15th March. I was notified on 28th. I can see that it can take an extra couple of days to process - but 13 days! No wonder people are switching to ecards. I'm betting next Mothers' Day my daughter doesn't put it in the post.
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Friday, March 23rd, 2012 12:12
I have a desk. Spouse made it. Many years ago the bro-in-law was given a table top (just the top) which he gave to us. Spouse made it into a table and for some years it was the family dining table. Then we turned one of the bedrooms into a study and Spouse used the top again to make a desk for me. Unfortunately, over the last couple of years, I've found sitting up at a desk to be too uncomfortable, at best. Mostly it's just too painful. Given the history of this bit of wood (which I love very much) I don't want to lose the desk but I need another solution.

I've pulled up the Spouse's leather recliner to my desk. It's a bit like an exec desk-chair. It's far more comfortable** than the chairs I usually use - proper office chairs- and I can put the keyboard on my lap and type. I have a mouse on the arm of the chair, as it doesn't need space to move, it's a pretty good solution.

However, I'm a lot further from the screen now and I've increased the size of everything but it's not quite enough. I need to move the monitor closer but I don't want to end up with loads of unusable desk space. (which would happen if I jsut pulled it monitor forward. So I'm hoping to persuade Spouse to move computer and monitor and other stuff all around to see what would work.

He's reluctant, mainly because (I think) what I want seems to go against all he's learned about ergonomics (and he learned a lot, for the stuff he has designed at work). But I don't think they were expected to take deterioration due to arthritis into account in their designs.

I've already typed more words in this new position than I have in weeks (not just because I now have a Smartpen)

I think I'm starting to ramble so it's definitely coffee time.

**This does not mean it is entirely comfortable, just the best I can manage at the moment. It isn't designed for someone of my height and the extra padding for the headrest actually irritates my neck. But it's an improvement still. Maybe it'll encourage me to get up every half an hour or so and go and do something else for a bit.
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Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 21:05
Two things. One: Why is LJ suddenly not working? I get basic page content, no header or menubar. Other pages are ok.

Two: In old-fashioned dancing - or country-dancing for that matter - where men and women line up facing each other and then a couple from the top of the line dance together down to the bottom, what is this called. For some reason the phrase 'en passage' is in my head and I don't think that's it. I know nothing about dancing terms. I suppose I should really do a bit of research. But then, you know, there's the grandson. He smiles at me.
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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 12:38
Spouse's Xmas present showed up today and got me out of bed at eleven. This wouldn't be a problem if I hadn't only got to sleep around four, and only drowsed and coughed until the doorbell rang. Stupid system. (Not that I have a better one in mind, I'm just whinging).

Have given up trying to be energy-saving and eco-conscious and whatnot and put the washing in the dryer. Having wet washing around the house, trying to dry it on radiators and airing racks is just annoying my lungs more.

Remembered to order drugs in plenty of time, I think. They should come before I run out this time. See, I get better at things. Yay, me.

Have gone back to making my bed-throw larger just in case the forecasters get it right this year and I'm going to need the extra warmth in middle of winter. I don't really believe the forecasters, they've never seemed accurate at long forecasts. (Not brilliant at short ones, either).

Have decided not to make the change in the book that may be just cross-contamination of reading material. I can always bear it in mind for the second draft - if such a thing ever comes round.
I found a boxfile of notes and previous versions (original story was set a couple of decades later so there's lots of material there that I've forgotten about) and found some changes I've made to the world-building. I have no idea why I changed the set up in one way, it's a great puzzle as the original setting was more reasonable, I think. Will have to ponder that.

Have just looked round and realised the place is full of amazon boxes. I really must get round to filling up what I need to send xmas and birthday presents in, and then recycle the rest. I'd get an armchair back if nothing else.

Must go and clean the spare room. Baby Grandson is coming for a visit at the weekend. Must have cot ready. Yay, baby.
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Monday, November 21st, 2011 12:58
Weather crap. Foggy and chilly. Worst possible state of affairs. Lungs reacting in their usual way, so I'm coughing and wheezing. Not happy. Got woken at godawful oclock by delivery man, thought it was spouse's xmas present but just opened it and it's for the Sister in Law, her prep for xmas as she is in America atm. She's coming over middle Dec. and having all xmas stuff sent here first. Running out of storage places, may have to put them in the loft.

Got Spouse to go up in loft yesterday and bring down all the baby stuff we had from the grand-daughters' early years. Shall sort out later what I need for the newest one. May not get much else done over next few months, cannot resist a baby, after all. May as well admit it and get on with it.

This weekend we put the garden and greenhouse to bed for the winter. It's too cold and damp for me to continue any gardening projects throughout the winter. I realize this makes me a wimp and Not A Proper Gardener but stuff it, I like breathing. When I can.

Shall make fish pie for tea. There, a decision made. Go, me!
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Monday, November 21st, 2011 12:28
Spouse and I went to pick up the Mother in Law on Friday afternoon for the usual shopping trip. We were earlier than usual because Spouse had a little work-related side-trip to make, and besides we wanted to go and spend ages with the baby later.
"I fell again!" MiL brightly remarked as she looked for her shoes. "I was just getting ready this morning, had my bath, had my breakfast and went in to get ready." So she had been 'up' for some time, this wasn't a case of sudden movement after lying in bed. "I was standing in front of the mirror and I just went. I couldn't stop myself and I hit my face on the cabinet." I think she meant the wardrobe. So she was standing still, it wasn't a trip. Couldn't help herself, means unable to reach out, all of which means it sounds like a TIA or mini-stroke. She said she sat for a while 'to calm down' and then was fine. Which also sounds like the mini-strokes. Worrying again.

New grandson is still lovely, and beautiful, and clever, and bright, and cuddly, and loveable and smells nice. Both amazing and good. (Besotted? I?)

Writing. Am wondering if a character I killed off should be allowed to survive. sometimes think she might come in handy later. Is this my hindbrain prompting me or is it my current reading matter contaminating my process? Normally, writing isn't infected by reading but what I'm reading is not really very good imo. I know loads of people love the Wheel of Time series and this is all my own personal opinion. I like Brandon Sanderson's books and because he's finishing off the WoT series, I thought I'd read it and so be able to read the BS finale. Unfortunately, the early books (perhaps they improve) are full of typos, cliches, boring internalised teenager angst and stubborness. Weird descriptions (how can something be both flat and conical?) pull one out of the story, and there are a lot of coincidences 'explained' by the mythology of the Wheel. Apparently the Wheel weaves. As it wills. Haven't worked out how you can weave wit a wheel, or how it can be so deterministic. A lot of fatalism and prophecy-fulfillment which is tiring and yet oddly boring. And so far, all the viewpoint characters have survived everything thrown at them when a few of them really should have been dead by now. (Am three books in).