Friday, December 09, 2011
It's been a varied and busy week or ten days. We have had some upset (Tara's laptop dying and her consequent illness, plus a neighbour issue), some exercise (gardening) and some excitement (tea at the Ritz).
So, first the upset...
It was very late on Thursday evening (1st Dec) when Tara's laptop screen suddenly went black, and the power stopped. She switched it back on, but although it whined away, the screen stubbornly refused to show anything but a black cat at midnight. When Tara then tried to switch the laptop off it refused to, which rather freaked her out. Fortunately, she had the presence of mind to remove the battery, which worked!
Even possessed laptops need a battery to power it. LOL
Naturally, the whole incident upset her, and she didn't want to get out of bed on Friday morning. Eventually, though she was persuaded that she needed to try the laptop once more to see if it was now ok, or actually deceased.
She came downstairs, approached the laptop v...e...r...y... s...l...o...w...l...y... lifted its lid, and pressed the start button.
There was a second of whirring, the button's little light switched on, and then it just sighed and stopped. Tara looked at me, shrugged and tried again. But again it stopped after a second or so.
I looked at her and said, "I think your laptop has shuffled off sweetie."
She came over to me, and we had a few tears and a long hug, and I told her she was welcome to share my pc until such time as we can replace her laptop. Of course there are things she can't do with my pc. I don't have photoshop for a start, and she doesn't like my keyboard, but at least she can keep in touch with her mates and do most of what she was doing before, plus I pointed out that she'd get used to the keyboard eventually.
Well, we had breakfast while I checked my inbox, and we discussed a timetable for using the pc....
The Time Table:
I get it until 1pm (which sounds great until you realise that for the bulk of that time I'm supposed to be exercising, shopping and stuff *grin*).
Then she gets it from 1pm-3pm ( a little longer if her friend has a late start at college).
I then have it from 3pm-6pm (if I'm not putting in work hours).
Then Tara has it until 11pm while I'm putting in work hours, cooking our evening meals, and watching my TV shows.
And finally, I have it from 11pm till midnight, in case of any last minute emails that need answering or whatever.
So, we have been (loosely) following this timetable for a week.
I say loosely, because I haven't had a lot of time to be on the computer anyway. :-)
I am racing to complete a double bed blanket so that I can start on another project. I'm just finishing the last two of twenty five 20-round granny squares, and then it's just the crocheting them together bit, and sewing all the ends in. I want to finish it before Christmas. By the end of next week if possible.
But I'm getting ahead of myself...
So, having made the timetable decision, I carried on with the computer while Tara went and grabbed her DS. She tried to log on to her internet Pokemon game but couldn't get on the internet.
Then I tried to open a page on the pc, and nothing.
I looked down, and realised the modem lights were flashing! Oh joy! The internet was out! As you can imagine, this didn't help Tara's mood any. It was almost her turn to have the computer, and there was no computer to have!
Then we realised that the light was flashing on the TV as well. Good old Virgin Media playing up again! (makes you wonder what you pay your bills for sometimes!)
Luckily, it only took an hour or so for the problem to be fixed at their end, and Tara got onto the computer for a while.
I nabbed it back at 4pm (only an hour late, but as we'd lost an hour of Tara's time, it seemed fair) and played on Jigidi because by now I was feeling a little stressed and I wanted to relax a bit.
Just after 5pm, Tara complained she had a headache. She looked flushed so I took her temperature. It was just under 100. I gave her a couple of painkillers and she sat in the corner comfy chair, all huddled up and started to watch Pointless. The problem with things going wrong is that it can make Tara physically ill. It is the autism. Changes freak her out. She tries to cope but feeling sick is usually the result, usually at bedtime for some reason.
By 6pm, Tara was still in pain and squinting at the light. I told her to go and lie down upstairs for a bit and see if that helped, while praying that she wasn't going to become prone to migraines. They are rotten things to deal with.
Ten minutes later she came bouncing down the stairs, pain gone and looking brighter, (no migraine, thank the gods) so I handed the computer over to her and sat and crocheted for a while.
At 8pm, I headed for the kitchen to wash dished and prepare a meal.
All was going well.
Tara was chatting online with friends and playing Keyquest. I was sorting things out in the kitchen, and Friends was just coming to an end on the TV.
I called out to tell her that I was just dishing up the dinner, and whammo! There was a loud pop and everything went dark! Powercut!
The dark was REALLY dark! I told Tara to stay right where she was, and groped my way to the cupboard by the back door where I keep the torch. Once I found it and switched it on, I went to the window and looked outside. Sure enough, the whole street was dark.
I was heading towards the kitchen drawer to find some candles, when there was a click and a shuddering noise, and the electricity came back on.
We'd only lost power for a couple of minutes, but it was the finish for Tara. Too freaked out to go near the computer now, she grabbed her food and huddled back in the corner chair again. She picked at her plate for ages and could barely eat a bite. She looked really flushed and by bedtime she had a temperature of 101.8.
Which inevitably led to a disturbed night of her feeling sick and not being able to sleep.
This illness lasted all weekend, but by Sunday evening her temperature was dropping down nicely, and she was looking better, even though she still wasn't really eating.
And this is where I tell you about the other little irritant....
The whole of the previous week had been fraught with noise. My neighbour's dog to be exact. She had started a job as a home care worker (my neighbour, not her dog *grin*). On the Monday things were fine, but the rest of the week I got woken every day by Chucky howling his head off! I knew what this meant. He only howls like that when he's been shut in his cage.
Well, we put up with it all week. He howled at ten minute intervals for hours at a time for four days! Saturday was quiet, but there was another short howling session on Sunday.
On Sunday night I set my alarm for 8am Monday morning, intending to go the The Big Garden for my second volunteering session, as long as Tara was ok. To be honest, all the issues with Tara's health wasn't making me feel too good either. My sinuses were playing up and I was pretty tired from all the interrupted sleep over the Friday and Saturday.
The alarm went off Monday morning, and I lay there for a minute or two, trying to decide how I felt. Coming to the conclusion I didn't feel all that good I turned over thinking I'd get a bit more sleep and make a dash for the garden if I felt more like myself after the snooze.
But I didn't get it. Right on cue Chucky started to howl, and he was in full throttle mode! Putting me into throttle the neighbour mode!!! grin
Swearing under my breath, I hauled myself out of bed and, taking a stick, I hammered on the wall. All that happened was Chucky stopped howling for all of two seconds, and I chipped some paint off the woodchip!
So, I went downstairs, grabbed some water, and sat at the computer for a while to calm down and wake up.
Around 9am I heard my neighbour come back, so I went out to see her. I was as nice as I could be, and worried about the dog, to be honest, (I dislike those cages being used) more than my sanity, but my neighbour is a tricky person to deal with at the best of times, and she didn't take the news of his howling fit to wake the dead well at all.
Apparently, she had left Chucky in the kitchen loose on the Monday, but he got into the sitting room and wrecked it, so she had shut him in the cage every time she was out for the rest of the week. It didn't help that the new job hadn't panned out either. Apparently she only lasted a day (so gods only knows where she was the rest of the time) because she discovered that the amount of petrol she would get through was astronomical, making the job unviable financially.
She was NOT a happy bunny! But she had to be told, or both Chucky and I would have gone insane.
By this time I was feeling a bit more with it, despite the nasty taste in my mouth from the neighbour issue, so I grabbed a bite of breakfast, put on my gardening clothes, and headed out to The Big Garden. Just as well really, because apart from walking into town, I'd done no exercise since the Big Garden last week!! I know! It shocked me too. :-) My Wii has been sat there gathering dust, due to the upsets, and some aches and pains and other things like trying to change my routine. Now that it is so cold in the morning I can't just leap out of bed and get into my workout clothes. I am a wimp when it comes to the cold. :-)
Instead, I planned to put the heating on, have breakfast, and then get into workout mode, but it is proving harder to do than I thought it would.
Hopefully I'll adjust before the layer of dust on the wii becomes too obvious! :-)
Anyway, I had a lovely time at the Big Garden. I put a couple of beds to bed all by myself. That was particularly good fun as we had a lazy wind to contend with that day. For those of you who aren't Cornish, let me explain. A lazy wind is a wind that can't be bothered to go round you, so it goes right through you instead! *grin* It is also a sneaky wind. It waits until you start to scatter the leaves on top of the bed, and then lets rip, sending half of them flying over the garden! LOLOL It was fun though. :-)
I also planted the equivalent of 6 bulbs-worth of garlic cloves. You can never have too much garlic. :-)
I finished up by helping to harvest some winter greens, and one of the regulars Wayne offered to let me help out on his allotment if I wanted. It is only a few minutes walk from my house, so nice and handy. :-) I'm looking forward to that. I'm really enjoying the work so far, and learning something new every time I do it.
I got a phonecall from Tara just after I started planting the garlic. She wanted me to know that her temperature was back to normal (for her) and that her stomach was rumbling. :-) Good to know! :-)
On Thursday, I was back at Highwoods again, but only passing through on my way to Tea at the Ritz!
This was a joke between myself and ANNEMAC5. You see, a week earlier, she contacted me on my Sparkpage and asked if I'd like to meet up. She was passing by Colchester's door, so to speak, on her way to Ipswich for a Christmas Lunch, and if I was close to the A12 she'd like to say hello.
Well, I was thrilled! It was my first chance to meet a fellow sparker in the flesh, and I was definitely up for it. Deciding that my home didn't quite count as 'close' to the A12, I thought that we could meet at Tesco Extra and have a cuppa and a chat there. I mentioned that it was not exactly the Ritz, but at least it was close to the A12.
So that immediately became a joke between us. We were going to have Tea at the Ritz!
And we did! We arranged to meet at the front door of Tesco Extra at 10.30am. Fortunately the A12 was kind to Anne, and she was there within minutes of the planned time. You can never tell with the A12. More than once Bry has been caught out and been stuck for hours! :-)
Judging by the instant smile from Anne as she appeared around the corner, she recognised me as immediately as I recognised her. :-)
(I can't tell you how relieved I was to find out she wasn't a six foot tall navvy with a foot fetish! LOL)
We hugged each other, and went into the cafe. Anne treated us to the teas (both of us declining food as I'd had a big breakfast and she was saving her appetite for Christmas Lunch), and we parked ourselves in the comfy armchairs and sofas lining one side of the cafe for a chat.
(Mental Note: Next time ask for ordinary tea instead of decaf, as Tesco seem to remove the flavour along with the caffeine! LOL) Never mind, it was hot and wet, and it was the company that was the important thing. :-)
We had a lovely chat. We already knew a lot about each other from our blogging on Sparkpeople, and she is such an easy person to relax with. The time flew by way too quickly, but Anne is determined to come over again, and next time I'll take her on a tour of Highwoods Country Park. :-)
When we parted, I popped into Tesco proper and bought a few bits and pieces, then walked back home across Highwoods, to find Tara still in bed, and Sophie sniffing my trainers and giving me the evil eye. You've been to Highwoods without me again! Growl!
Wow! This is a ...l...o...n...g... blog! Well done, if you've hung in to the end of it. I really must try and blog more frequently. These long ones playing catch-up are turning into marathon runners! LOL
Enjoy the upcoming weekend. Don't let Christmas preparations freak you out, and think of me buried under a very large crocheted blanket! Well, under the pile of squares that will become a very large crocheted blanket anyway.
Hey, at least it keeps me warm! LOL
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Oh, this is SOOO me! *grin* I've been there, done it, and bought the planner!
I can find a 100 things to do that are less important than the one thing I NEED to do. :-)
Do you know how you can tell when my procrastination is at its worst? You'll find me cleaning the house! This generally signals that I've run out of more pleasant forms of procrastination, and am resorting to last ditch distractions.
What is the reason for this brief interlude in my blog?
Well, I managed to delay my work hours to such an extent that I had a pile of work to do over the weekend, hence my disappearance from SP. :-) Usually I either spread my hours out through the week, or get them done as early in the week as possible, to free up the rest of the days to do other things. Last week, however, I found myself playing catch-up drastically, and for the life of me, looking back, I can't see why! :-)
So, this week, I'm trying to do better.
On Monday I did my first three hours of volunteering at The Big Garden.
I know - not work! LOL
But not procrastination either! :-)
Look what I did!
I put a bed to bed!
We covered the bed with a mix of compost and leaf mulch, then piled about 4 binbags full of leaves on top. Then I was asked to switch jobs and two other guys covered the leaves with netting and pegged it down.
Meanwhile, I was directed to the leaf mulch bins, and was asked to dig out the old bin, transfering the leaves to one of the compost bins, so that we could refill it with freshly raked leaves.
As fast as I filled a wheelbarrow, clambered out of the bin, and trundled the leaves to the compost bin, someone would come along and snag them for the beds they were tucking in for the winter. :-)
I was so busy that Wayne (one of the other volunteers) had to come and alert me to the fact that we were due a tea break. I scrambled out of the bin and followed him up to the shelter, where we early birds sat and chatted and got to know each other over a brew.
Then I clambered back into the leaf mulch bin again. LOL
Two more barrowfuls and my back was starting to moan, plus I had to call a halt because there seemed to be a lot of roots at the bottom, indicating a rip in the plastic sheeting, so Jo decided to save the rest of the job for Thursday and asked me to come and help her fix some plastic onto the poly-tunnel doors for the winter. Once we'd done that, I was asked to harvest a bucketful of greens while Jo repaired holes in the poly-tunnel where some determined little crittur has been scratching and nibbling to get inside.
At around 10 to 1 we started packing up, and the spoils of the day were shared out. This is what I came home with:
I really enjoyed my time in the garden, and I'm looking forward to going back next Monday. :-)
I'm considering doing Thursdays as well, but judging by the aches and pains when I woke up this morning, I may be sensible to settle for once a week until my back and arms get used to it. :-) I deliberately avoided any strength training yesterday and today because I didn't want to push my luck. My back has eased as today went on, but my arms are still a bit achy.
Then today, Tara suddenly annouced she wanted to go into town. Seeing as I had nothing better to do (apart from work, LOL) I agreed, and in we went. She wanted to check out Ace Comics first, and she found a nice lot of goodies for her wishlist, then we went to the Library where she handed in her 4 Manga books, and borrowed 8 more!
Then it was off to Waitrose, via Castle Park.
The Road To Nowhere:
Spot the Wildlife:
I love the contrast between those little topiary forms, still with their autumn shading on, and the bare avenue of trees stretching into the distance:
So, I did a little work this evening, and plan to get a good few hours in tomorrow. National strike tomorrow, so I figured it was best to stay home and not make plans to go anywhere or do anything, just in case the disruption is as widespread as the unions hope. :-)
Hope you all had a good Tuesday.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I have a couple of exercise DVDs that are free to a good home.
One is a Tai Chi DVD, which I just didn't manage to get into. It is called Tai Chi For Relaxation and Good Health, and is the Hun Yuan Tai Chi 24 Form (if that means anything to you). It works in Region 2.
The other is for use with a Mini Trampoline. It is called PT Bouncer Complete Body Workout and is by Karl Frew. It doesn't have a region number, which may mean it is universal. But don't quote me on that. :-) It certainly works in Europe. This DVD I love, but unfortunately my bladder loses all control when I jump on Tigger (my mini trampoline). I can jog on him no problem, but jumping is a total disaster, and a lot of the DVD has you jumping fit to bust. I'm sick of peeing myself. LOLOL
So, rather than have these DVDs sitting in my home gathering dust, I thought I'd ask if anyone would like them.
If I get no takers I'll pop them down to the charity shop, but I wanted you guys to have first refusal.
If you are interested, sparkmail me and let me know. :-)
In other news...
Is it an age thing, I wonder? I don't recall having this issue some years ago when I last ate pesto. But now I burp for hours after eating it, and I have no idea why. At least they are cute little burps, not blasters! LOLOL
So, today has been a rest day. Timing is everything, and as it was the first rest day of the 30 day challenge, and TOM's full on day, I decided to take it really easy. TOM is being a literal pain this month. *sigh*
So, I've spent most of that day on Jigidi - the jigsaw website I love but haven't had so much time to play on recently. :-)
Mind you, I also did dishes, cooked a meal, and did some laundry, so it hasn't been a totally lazy day. :-)
But it has been lovely to just sit back and chill.
I hope you are having a good day. :-)
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
On Saturday morning I had the distinct delight of watching a Green Woodpecker spend half an hour in my back garden, rooting away in the grass for his breakfast, while I was preparing and cooking mine. :-)
I have never seen a woodpecker that close to me in my life. In fact, I've only seen them once before - at Highwoods a few months ago - for the very first time. So this seemed like a very significant sighting to me, and I wondered about the meaning.
Its arrival in my life coincided with a real change of direction for me, as my post that morning yielded conclusions to the main stress issues, as well as a lovely pressie from a friend, and I also plucked up the courage to attend an event at the Art Gallery that afternoon on my own. Going to events alone has never been something I felt comfortable doing, but somehow on Saturday I managed to change that and I'm so glad I did. :-)
I'm glad, because it seems to have also acted as a catalyst for other things to happen. I feel happier than I have in ages. More awake, eager, willing to make some changes in my life, because for some time now I have been in quite a rut in a lot of ways. Much as I love to do it, the combination of working from home and home-schooling has by its very nature made us a little isolated. At first it was by choice because of all the bullying Tara suffered. We both needed to retreat to lick our wounds. More recently though, I have wanted to spread my wings a little, and now opportunities to do so are turning up. Thank you Universe! :-)
They built The Golden Banana just for me. *grin*
Yesterday (Monday), I walked Sophie at Highwoods again, and as we walked around the third field, she went through a gap in the hedge that took us into a field we hadn't walked through before. Deciding to let Sophie choose the route I followed her, thinking the path through the field would wind to our right, and head us back to the track I'd been aiming for anyway.
But I was wrong.
Instead, it veered left, taking us to a path that necessitated us walking past The Big Garden, which is a project funded by The National Lottery, the local council and various other bodies such as the North East Essex Primary Care Trust.
Every time I've walked by there has been no one about. The garden is only funded to be open for a few hours a week, and never when I've been passing. My timing has never been all that good. *grin*
But this time there were people there, and although I walked on by for a moment, something compelled me to backtrack and attract someone's attention. A young man near the gate said hello, and directed me to Jo, the lady in charge, and she came over to the gate. She said Sophie could come in if she was on a lead, so in we went, and we were given a little tour of the garden. Within a few minutes I found myself opening my mouth and asking if I could volunteer there!
Now, this seems a weird thing for me to do. Both my girls' jaws dropped when I told them. Tara's was easy to watch as it hit her laptop with a thud, and I heard Bry's hit her kitchen floor with an audible slap when I told her over the phone! LOL
You see, I'm not much of a gardener, as the state of mine will attest. It is probably why the birds love it so much. My garden looks as wild as Highwoods most of the time. The first year we were here I did try growing some herbs and veg, and it went very well. I had courgettes and beetroot, carrots and peas all growing like crazy. Everything I planted grew.
The second year, though, the slugs and snails moved in and ate everything I tried to grow.
I was put off after that, and although the herb garden kept going, I gave up on the veg, and my health also took a bit of a nosedive, which didn't help.
Then the bramble took over and that was that!
So, you see, me asking to work in a garden, digging, and making compost and all that kind of thing, is a very strange thing for me to do. I don't like what I term 'icky-stickys' either. LOL
AND there's a wasp nest right at the entrance with a big warning sign, and I REALLY don't like them!
But I knew I had felt the need to ask for a reason, and so I told Jo I'd start next Monday. They are open on Mondays and Thursdays from 10am-1pm, and every other Saturday from 11am-3pm. I plan to make Monday my regular day, and do Thursdays as well when time permits.
There are obvious benefits to this of course. :-)
I'll be out in the fresh air. I'll be getting exercise. I'll be learning about organic gardening through hands-on experience instead of trial and error through reading a book. They'll have all the tools and things I need to use. And I'll be in the company of people who will be interesting to get to know.
Also, all the volunteers get a share of the produce that is grown there. A definite bonus, that is! :-)
All the way home I thought about what I'd done, and the more I thought about it, the more I wondered whether the Woodpecker had something to do with it. So when I got home I pulled out my copy of Ted Andrew's book Animal Speak and looked up the Woodpecker.
Oh my! So much of what he says about the Woodpecker made so much sense to my situation. The very last line though, was what captured my total attention. It quite simply said:
"It is now safe to follow your own rhythms."
And that is the truth of the matter. I need 'safe'!
Fear is my issue. Fear is what always holds me back. Fear stops me from doing so many things. But now I seem to be gradually conquering that fear, bit by bit, step by step, and I'm allowing myself to try things I wouldn't normally be willing to do because of my fear.
First the talk at the Art Gallery, and now volunteering in the Big Garden.
I wonder what opportunity might present itself next? :-)
Changing the subject...
My exercise plans had a week or so off during and after Bry's visit. I just really needed a bit of a break from the usual routine to recharge my batteries and try and cope with the stress.
But I started back on Sunday, using my new Cyberbike, and doing a few dances with Just Dance.
Monday saw me starting a second 30-day challenge on my EA Sports Active Personal Trainer. I've set it to medium intensity this time, because, apart from a couple of things like squat holds, I was finding it wasn't pushing me on the easy setting.
Not so easy now! :-) Yesterday's session was around 20 minutes, and had me doing more and lower squats than I would normally do. It was hard, but I did them. I'm pleased about that, but was more pleased to find that today's workout was squat-free, thank the gods! LOL
Today's workout was 26 minutes long, with lots of lunges of various types and lots of upper body work. I enjoyed it more than yesterday's workout, but I was really sweating from the exertion by about halfway through, which is great, and on both days my limbs were a little shaky by the end of the workout.
This is what I need - to be more challenged by strength training. If I lift weights I don't feel pushed and I don't push myself much at all, but for some reason this game pushes me and I don't want to admit defeat so I go past my comfort zone! :-)
Tomorrow is a rest day. As before, there are 20 workouts and 10 rest days. I'm looking forward to seeing how well I get on this time. :-)
With all that, plus well over an hour walking with Sophie on Monday, and a 30 minute aerobic workout today (Tue), I'm finding my enthusiasm is back. I haven't quite made my step counts daily, but I'm less concerned about that now.
Technically I'm on a target of 7400 steps a day (which I did make today actually) but I'm letting Active Health say how many steps it thinks I should be able to manage for a change. :-) The game thought I could do 8100, and I've not managed that yet this week. Also, TOM kicked in today - four days early - which doesn't bode well for the rest of the week's step count either. :-) I am very very achy today.
Wow! I got a bit serious today, didn't I! :-) But you can probably gather that I've been doing a lot of thinking over the last few days. I guess this blog is part of that process. Writing out your thoughts can be quite helpful I find. It tends to help me get my thought processes organised.
For now though, it is time to give that process a break and get myself off to bed. :-) The Woodpecker may be opening up my mental faculties, but mental faculties also need sleep. LOL
Hope you are all well.
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