Saturday, August 29, 2015

And So It Begins - Day One

List 10 Things That Make You Really Happy

Now for a regular Eeyore type like myself this is not as easy as it probably should be but let's persevere, especially as this is the first challenge and all:

In no particular order:

These two boys - it may sound infuriating to others to admit this but if all I accomplish in my life is raising my sons then I will be satisfied.  In a two-finger salute to the Establishment this "single parent on a low income" has, so far, plenty to be proud of and there is no sign of that stopping.

Oh yes, parenting alone can be the epitome of frustration but whenever they get an award at school or are happy with what they've done then my heart sings.  For all my failings I am at least doing this a little bit right and that has to be good.

Art - see previous post as to why this is increasingly important to me. Whether it is via painting, pastel, drawing or some other medium - no matter the outcome I feel an enormous sense of contentment and a sense of self.  I have still, annoyingly, to find a style I am happy with.  I'm working on being freer with what I do, trying new genres whether I like them or not and it is liberating.  It's probably twenty plus years too late but I'm finally doing what makes me happy.

Writing - I don't do enough of it.  Again, this ties in with the last point.  I need to write for me more; I have ideas that have done nothing but swirl around, changing shape and forming into stories for the past few years.

This place (Millport) - the fact it hasn't changed much in all the time I've been coming here is part of the charm.  I've often thought about moving there permanently after the boys leave school and it's just me but that would probably spoil it.

And this place too (Lanzarote) - I don't know what it is. Until a few years ago I hadn't even thought of going there on holiday.  Again with the holiday places but when I go there I feel calm, maybe not to live there but I'd always had an itch to live in Spain.  Not in a "Brit abroad" way (especially as I don't have and never will consider myself "British") but actually enjoy the Spanish culture, speak the language until I forget the word in English.  Now Scotland isn't going to be independent any time soon I feel further and further away from wanting to remain here, it feels strange and unwelcoming so who knows what the future will bring.

In fact let's continue the theme as what makes me really happy is the possibilities of where to go next.  The only thing holding us back is the fact we have no money!  I have a Pinterest board full of wish list destinations that may just come true.

My other boy.  There's one of those internet memes that says "I want to be the person my dog thinks I am". If only we all were then the world would be a much better place.  I should also give an honorary mention to the cats who don't get on the list as I feel they only tolerate me!

Days out.  Again another thing we're not doing enough of lately.  The boys are busy with their lives so our Sunday train ride into Edinburgh for a wander around the museums and galleries don't happen as much.  Whether it's by train or by car just heading out somewhere, (add castles and parks or beaches to the list of things that make a good day out) is the best of fun.

Time.  Just time to do the things I want; time to sit and enjoy a sunny afternoon or finish reading that book or painting or sewing. Having some spare time makes me ridiculously happy.

Books. Not a hand held machine but real, honest, books.  It might make my bag heavy but it's a welcome weight.  Just to get lost for a few hours in the pages of a story, that feeling of reaching the end of a book and wishing there were more, that the tale could continue.  I have bookshelves full and I know I should pare them down but I can't.  Whenever there is a book sale, forget the clothes shopping, that is true happiness and bliss.  A good rummage and bonus if there are a few gems amongst them.

Oh look, there's ten things. It wasn't that hard after all or is the fact that three of my choices are to do with travel a cheat?  Ach, who cares, it's my list and I'll do as I like!  See, changing from a people-pleaser already - braw!

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Learning Process

This I need to do...

And why would this be difficult? Because, according to the same motivational speaker I am an "Obliger".

I don't usually have time for such people, they tend to talk in the air; grand ideas that don't really make sense or have much substance.  Then I came across this idea of knowing yourself from the artist Anna Mason  and suddenly it clicked.  I am a people-pleaser and I resent it so much it is harming all parts of my life.

It needs to stop.

For future reference, as the artist's blog I mentioned is about to change, here is a longer talk discussing all types and the test to take which is scarily accurate:

I subscribed to Rubin's YouTube channel as she talks about organising and decluttering and I really need to pay attention to that.  I may be 43 years old but it's time to find out if you really can teach an old dog new tricks - case in point the previous post about the challenge.  Finger out, girlie!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

30 Day Challenge...erm...Challenge

The muscle not used becomes flabby and wasted.

With that in mind, for my own entertainment I'll be doing this soon -

30 Day Writing Challenge. Can do this for the first 30 days for journaling. And if the students do all 30 then it can be extra credit!
Bet you can't wait.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Hiroshima Nagasaki - 70 Years On

I'm beginning to realise that most of my politics and beliefs stem from time spent in my Modern Studies class during high school.  One of the textbooks I distinctly remember, to the point where I could probably quite accurately reproduce some of the graphics, was about the nuclear holocaust and described what happened on those fateful days at the end of WWII.

Growing up the Cold War was an ever present threat; nuclear arsenals reaching ridiculously catastrophic proportions with weapons so powerful they made Little Boy just that.  Yet twenty years since the supposed end of the posturing and Scotland still has obscene amounts of these monsters buried deep into the Clydeside hills.

We need them as a deterrent the Establishment and their supporters cry.  The thing is with a deterrent, it only works if you have the capacity to actually use it if needed.  There's a thought to chew on for a while for those who think there is still a place in civilisation for nuclear weapons.

That textbook, the stories and images within, chilled me to the bone.  It still has that power thinking back on it now.  I had hoped that my own children would never know the horror of how depraved humanity can be against the world and all within.

Seventy years on and those in charge still think this an acceptable, we will all be reduced to shadows on the pavement.
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Sunday, June 21, 2015

On Father's Day

Again with the memories, those lifebelts to cling to when you want to ignore the present. On this day however, acknowledging that all those times I want to tell him something; from silly news articles and stories to the boys' achievements. Knowing that they won't go away but imagining how he'd react, quiet pride in his beloved grandsons, wanting to read up on what is happening, is some comfort after all these passing years.

Funny that when I was looking through old photos I found this - unlike most of my friends dads he would have one drink then stop.  It was taken when on holiday to Italy when I was 12.  He'd been stationed there for a time during WWII.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

For No Other Reason...

...than I read an article on olive oil (yes, really) and remembered a joke that, as far as I'm aware, is still in play.

Once I told my (now thankfully) ex-husband that tradition had meant olives were to be picked only by virgins from the local villages.  When they had a bumper crop then they would need to hire these "extra virgins" from towns and therefore it was more expensive as the oil was purer.

Yes that makes no economic sense but it went down as yet another thing I knew about and I know he told at least one other person this amazing fact.

Unlike the Corrs* prank I never did come clean, that is to say I forgot to do so. Simple things for simple minds, eh?

*On remarking how alike the Corrs were (they're siblings) and wondering if they were from the same family, I told him that they'd just had plastic surgery so they would resemble each other. Again, completely forgot about it until a few years later when he mentioned something about it and I had to admit to having him on about the whole thing. Back when we could joke around and didn't want each other to disappear in a puff of smoke.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


This is ME/CFS/SEID/Whatever-new-name-they-want-to-call-it Awareness Day.
All this and more could be yours!

Something I didn't know is that this particular date was chosen as it is Florence Nightingale's birthday and there is a theory that the illness blighting her life after the Crimea was very possibly, maybe, could well have been the very same one I have.  So, tenuous link with a famous person established.

It does show how desperate those of us who suffer this are, that we look to history for examples of this most definitely not being of our imagination.  Despite what fancy pants name they think of that is what most people believe - we've made it up.

In the four years since I've had this (and that includes the two years it took to whittle it down to actually being this) I've heard the following at least once:

- But you look well

- Oh I get really tired too

- You should just get on with things and not dwell on it

- Oh is *that* what is wrong, uhuh

- Isn't that the thing they can't *prove* you have (knowing glance)

- You're just feeling a little blue, you should ask the doctor for some pills and snap out of it

- You'd feel better if you just (enter exercise/diet regime of the month here)

I could make an ME bingo card to play every time someone finds out, because of the above I rarely tell people why I'm not out working my socks off as once I did.  There is almost a determination in people to deliberately downplay any illness that doesn't have a "proper" test and cure.  I can't think of many, if any, who would gladly swap everything they do and everything they enjoy to spend every day feeling as though they've just run a marathon.

For those who scoff how happy they'd be if they could stay in bed for a day I wonder if they really mean it, do they honestly want to write off days at a time just because they dared use up what little energy they have left?

There are so many sides to this disease.  So many ways it can ebb away at life until you end up like a husk just hoping that maybe tomorrow is the day you wake up and feel as though you've slept.  Oh yes, that is a choice many would want if it meant they didn't have to work full-time - and note that is dripping with sarcasm there.

I try to look on the positive, I don't wallow in what I can't do, instead I enjoy what I can.

What did I want to achieve with this post?  It's just another of my ramblings really.  Maybe I'll mention it again, maybe you'll see me dancing down the street when a cure is found or if I'm one of the lucky ones who really does wake up one morning to find it gone, maybe I'll do as in real life and pretend it isn't happening.  In the meantime it is very real, very annoying and very there, I don't expect sympathy, empathy or acknowledgement but I do expect people to remember that it can happen to anyone at any point and for that to be respected.