Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Having old woman arms

Driving to Mumbles this morning I was in awe - as I frequently am - at the beauty of the bay. I am so thankful for the beauty of this place.

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Lovely curry last night with Janet and Mike at Mumtaz. A classy place with very nice food, a bit different from your average curry house. They even had a Health Conscious section. I had my starter - chicken tikka salad - from there but not my main course. It was all very nice.

I had decided to wear my pale pink jumper and I was just getting it out of the wardrobe when I stopped. 'Pale pink? Curry? Hmm, maybe not.' Instead I wore a tunic that wouldn't be ruined should I drop a smidgin of curry on it. (I didn't.)
The hair has gone today. With my cousin's funeral on Friday I made a spur of the moment appointment at the hairdresser's this afternoon. It doesn't look too bad in this picture but that's because you can't see all the grey roots.

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When I put on weight it goes straight to my hips; when I lose weight it comes off my arms leaving me with 'old woman' limbs. They weren't fat to begin with. And you can bet that if I tried to put on a bit to fill out my arms it would go straight to my hips again. Oh, life can be cruel. Cue the sad dramatic music.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Friends like these

This evening we're going out for a curry with old friends. We've been planning this for years. I mean that several times we've arranged it and then something has cropped up and made it impossible but tonight might be the night. One hour before we leave and it's still on so here's hoping. 
Here are Mike and Janet at Younger Son's wedding in Italy in 2012. They've been very good friends to us over the years, Janet especially. I haven't always appreciated her - mainly when I was working for her because I'm not good with bosses - but she, well, they are a special couple who have helped many people.

So I'm very grateful for their friendship.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The closest we get to snow

Great excitement lunchtime when snow started to fall almost nearly really properly! But not for long. Once again Swansea is omitted from the List of Places Snow Must Visit

Last night, hearing that heavy snow showers were predicted for south Wales, I suggested to my children that we go on a Snow Hunt today. My suggestion was met with less enthusiasm than I might have liked. Daughter already had plans; Younger Son said he and GrandSon4 would come but as GS4 is only eighteen months I wasn't sure how keen he would be to go sledging or throw snowballs. Although judging by the look of amazement on his face when he saw the snow flakes falling he would probably have enjoyed it.

But instead we stayed in and Granny and GrandSon4 had a jolly time in the warm.

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I've missed a number of gratitude posts. I think my last one was the Springsteen post so from there, in order, I was grateful for;
a sunny day and a walk on the tip, which is getting dressed for Spring;

exercise class - even though I dread it all day I always feel pleased with myself afterwards and I know it's doing me good;
finally making a decision about something that's been hanging over me;
the end of this year's rugby Six Nations Championship, which has been up and down and stressful for both English Husband and Welsh me.

Today I'm grateful for the flurry of snow, which is pretty, and, I suppose, actually thankful that we don't get the sort of snow that makes life very difficult and harsh.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Artificial intelligence and me

Elder Son spoke at a conference a while ago about artificial intelligence (AI) and he just sent me the video link. Husband watched it and tried to explain it to me.

'It's about teaching machines to make links between words and to ... blah blah blah.' (I got a bit lost or I may have stopped listening.)
'For example,' Husband continued, 'tell the machine to link quill and ink and what do you get?'
'No. Pen.'
'It could be writing.'
'No, you'd have to add action to the instructions as well. Try this one instead. Link banana and vegetable.'
'Fruit salad.'
Husband stared at me. 'No. Yam.'
'It could be fruit salad.'
'Because banana is a fruit and salad is a vegetable.'
Husband stared at me again and shook his head. My logic is faultless.

I think it will be a long time before they make a machine capable of thinking like me.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Grey and Dismal Green

Steve Spicer, a friend of mine - I hope I can call him that although we've never met - has written, illustrated and published a book called Grey and Dismal Green.

I'll quote from the cover: What it means to be a person who is depressed, anxious, or self-harming, and how you can care for them.

The title comes from the colours they paint institutions.

It tells a personal story of how depression and anxiety can take hold and dominate a life. I say personal; it's incredibly personal and must have been so hard to retell and relive. Indeed the story continues today. As I said in my previous post I only suffer mildly; this sort of suffering must be almost unbearable and proved to be on occasions when suicide was attempted.

And it must be horrendous to care for a person you love and see that person in mental agony and torment.

The majority of the book tells the sufferer's story in her own words and in amazing pictures but it also offers help, suggestions based on experience, on what to do if someone has a panic attack, is suicidal or self-harming.

I am so moved by it and am convinced it could be really helpful to people either suffering or caring for a sufferer.

It will be available from Amazon soon; in the meantime if you're interested and would like to buy a copy contact me.

Your own worst enemy

I was listening to Bruce Sprinsteen's cd, Magic, while scrubbing the sink this morning and one song in particular struck me.

'Your own worst enemy has come to town,' Bruce sings. I don't know what he means by this - and researching it nobody seems very sure if it's political or personal - but that's the great thing about Springsteen's songs: they speak to you and find you where you are. (Actually I think today I'll be grateful for the music of Springsteen.)

One commentator said, 'Self-loathing never sounded so gorgeous as in this.' I think I'd describe my own worst enemy in the way that Churchilll described him: the black dog. 

Let me stress that I suffer only very mildly from anxiety and depression. My condition is kept under control by just one pill and normally I'm fine. But every now and again I find myself feeling down for no especial reason and then my own worst enemy, self-loathing, comes to the fore. And then it passes.

But it's horrible while it visits and very difficult to resist. Which is a good introduction to my next post. I don't want to put it in with this as it deserves a post all of its own.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Is this what a cowbird looks like?


Mother's Day gratitude

Many years ago I saw a car sticker that read: If abortion had been legal then would you be here today?

I like to think I would but it must have been incredibly hard for my mother to have - and keep - me as an unmarried mother in the 50s. She must have been very brave.

But I'm thankful that she did.
I visited her grave yesterday. It's the first time I've been for over a year. Last time I went there I said that I must arrange for it to be spruced up. As you can see that's still on my to-do list. But I left some freesias, her favourite flowers.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Romance for the middle-aged

Today I'm thankful for the humour of Victoria Wood. I recently bought the cd version of her live show, Victoria at the Albert, to replace my old cassette version. I am weak with laughter every time I listen to it.