If we were having coffee…

zirconicusso via freedigitalphotos.net

zirconicusso via freedigitalphotos.net

I always think this is a great way to do a quick update and progress report so, if we were having coffee, I would tell you…

  • It is nearly three weeks since I eliminated virtually ALL chocolate from my diet…. agh….! And yes, I am still smiling.
  • My cat loves my new meditation time. It would seem to be a perfect opportunity for her to lick me from head to toe. I am not sure if that is because she thinks I am dead, but I am going to take it as affection.
  • I am going on holiday on Sunday for a week – yay! Back to the Isle of Man which some of you may remember I fell completely and utterly in love with last time we went. I have had to promise my eldest that I will not mention moving there at all… sigh…Isle of Man 1
  • I have found a great new app/game on the iPad. It’s called Farmville 2 (I think it is somehow connected with Facebook). Anyway, according to my eldest, it is seriously uncool. Needless to say, I play it at full volume whenever he is in the vicinity.
  • Despite two whole weeks of ‘healthy eating’, I have yet to lose 1lb! I am thinking that this is because I am currently building muscle…. I am deluded, aren’t I?
  • I have successfully switched to non fat milk. The rest of the family are turning their noses up at what they call ‘white coloured water’, but hey, I don’t mind it and they don’t have to drink it.

    I know it's because she loves me....

    I know it’s because she loves me….

  • I am still on schedule with the book editing which is great. I think this is probably the first time that the schedule has stayed in place for longer than a couple of weeks so we are definitely moving in the right direction.
  • My new treadmill is wonderful. Compared to the old one that had frankly, had enough, it is smooth and quiet and beautiful. Can a treadmill be beautiful?
  • I have managed to stick to my stretching exercises for my back and neck and am coping with the pain better than I was before. I won’t be seeing my osteopath until I get back from holiday so I will find out then whether or not the work that I am doing is paying off.

    Courtesy of opi.com

    Courtesy of opi.com

  • And finally, I will admit that I am going to the cinema to see Fifty Shades of Grey. Yup. My friend and I are going in a couple of weeks time. Sorry folks, but it has to be done!

I hope you enjoyed this little slice of my life and I will be back in a week – providing that I haven’t upped sticks and moved…

Have a great week WordPress,

Jade x

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I am a lucky girl!

Following our recent move, the office is now completed. I have my own, wonderful room in which to work and this week, I took delivery of a new orthopaedic chair which will help with my posture whilst sitting.

It feels wonderful to have this dedicated space and so I thought I would share a couple of pictures with you all. I am a very lucky girl!

The beautiful view from my office window.

The beautiful view from my office window.

My lovely, comfy new chair.

My lovely, comfy new chair.

The wintry view from my son's bedroom.

The wintry view from my son’s bedroom.

My workspace - spot the green mug!

My workspace – spot the green mug!

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How I am (finally) learning to relax

khunaspix via freedigitalphotos.net

khunaspix via freedigitalphotos.net

Have you ever thought about meditating? Or even just been fascinated by those who appear to have the ability to completely switch off?

On some level, I have always envied these people, yet I never stopped to work out why I wasn’t able to do the same. In my naivety I assumed that they had some hidden power that I didn’t, or, even more misguided, that they had less going on in their lives.

For as long as I can remember my brain has been in a never ending whirl, refusing to stay still and rarely allowing me time off. Time, which I have recently realised, I badly need.

Whenever people suggested that I relax, I would sit down and do just that but the point was, because my mind was still churning, the relaxation was near on pointless. In my world, I believed that if I kept picking at an issue for long enough, it would be solved or go away.

In the same way, I thought that if I worked through a plot line in my head for long enough, it would magically improve and indeed, if I considered parenting techniques for long enough, I would end up with the best behaved child in the world. Of course, we have to use our brains to think through and solve problems, but I have also learned – only recently – that by allowing mine to churn as much as it was, I was actually being totally unproductive. And not only that, I was using up the precious energy that I had.

Foto 3D

Several factors have caused me to rethink, not least of which is my current back and neck situation. Despite treatment, it has yet to improve greatly and I am finding the pain and reduced mobility, really difficult to get my head around. On my most recent visit to the osteopath, he identified that when I experience pain, I actually tense my muscles, thereby making the pain worse. In addition, due to the nature of my condition, there is no way that I am going to get a quick fix, so I have to do what I can, when I can.

One of his suggestions is a form of meditation, a very simple breathing exercise. The idea is that you breathe in for seven counts and then out for eleven counts, and you do that repeatedly for as long as and as often as you like. The theory behind this is that because you breathe out more carbon dioxide (because you are breathing out for longer) it allows more oxygen to your muscles, thus causing you to relax and easing the pain. It takes a while and it is not easy because I have to keep bringing my mind back from its inevitable wanderings, but I am starting to find that when the pain is acute, it is actually helping.

Doctor standing with stethoscope on white background

I have also started to adopt this ‘stepping back’ kind of approach in other areas of my life and in particular, my writing. The benefits here are even more noticeable. Instead of spending ages trying to work out how to write the perfect sentence or paragraph and getting it mashed up with everything else in my head, I am taking a breather. I am allowing the creative side of my brain to do what it needs to do and letting the words come freely, even if they are not what I end up with as a final draft. This has proved so much more productive than my old method and I have realised that even I, have the ability to truly relax.

I have a long way to go, but I am certain that if I can continue to work through my life this way, every area will eventually become so much richer.

How does anyone else take time out?

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Ouch! And I am paying for this…

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap via freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap via freedigitalphotos.net

I would be lost without my osteopath right now and yet I can’t lie – it flamin’ hurts!

A decline in my ongoing back issues has necessitated treatment and having received the second round a week ago, I have arrived at that conclusion.

At the time, when you are laying prone on the table it feels great – someone pummelling the life out of all of the bits that seriously need pummelling – but later on or even the day after, wow, it really hurts. And the rub with this round of treatment (apart from the fact that I am paying handsomely for it) is that we have now come to the agreement that I will never get better. Indeed, he is of the opinion that I have a degenerative condition in my neck which in essence, means that things will only get worse. There is however a plus side. We  already have a stairlift installed for my son so hey, I get to have a legitimate reason to ride it!

I am of course joking about the stairlift however the word ‘degenerative’ has been playing on my mind. My original injuries were caused by a car accident around 16 years ago and I never considered that I would still be suffering now. And not only that, to be told that I am in a situation where I will never get better, only worse. In truth, I can’t make up my mind how I feel about that.

Image courtesy of Ambro via freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro via freedigitalphotos.net

Part of me is absolutely fine with it – relieved even to understand that there is a cause for all of this pain, but the other part of me feels a bit weird. I am young (ish), reasonably fit and healthy and yet here I am, being told that I potentially have a ‘degenerative’ condition. If my osteopath is right, there would appear to be no cure for this condition although there may well be some extensive surgery further down the line. I will tell you right here and now that the thought of surgery absolutely terrifies me. I am one of the lucky ones – I have never had surgery for anything to date. The worst that I have experienced was having gas (in the old days) to have some teeth taken out as a child which was all good, until I woke up and was horrendously sick. In my Mum’s car. Not so good for my Mum.

So I am sort of floundering a bit here, wondering how I really do feel. I suppose mainly I am worried about how it is going to play out in years to come, especially with the care of my son to consider, but I can’t really think about that. Worrying about what may or may not happen in an unknown future is totally unproductive and maybe that’s why I just feel a bit numb. It’s as if I am talking about it and telling everyone about it, yet it’s not quite real. Like it won’t get worse, like I won’t ever need surgery, like I will just keep taking the pills and everything will be alright. Which of course it may be. But it’s a strange feeling, knowing that this pain is here to stay and that the best hope is for it to be managed.

smiley vektor set

As ever, when I think about my health I know that I am so lucky. I read blogs on here from people who are suffering so much more than I ever will with my condition but as I said above, it’s just an odd kind of feeling. So I thought I’d share as I begin to process this next chapter in the rich tapestry of life.

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Not your average birds…

Not your average birds

I took this photo with the iPad Air 2. This is a pair of grey squirrels, masquerading as birds.

I am not great at photography (although I would like to be) so I just put it on auto, zoomed, pointed and shot. I had a little fiddle around in iPiccy to make it a bit better but I really have no idea what I am doing. If anyone would like to offer me any tips on the iPad and its camera and features, then please feel free!

Thanks!

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Gosh, it really is like getting back on a bike!

BookI am not going to lie.

I was concerned that my ‘absence’ from writing would have an adverse effect on my ability to write and that when I returned to it, I would struggle. That maybe my mojo, my inspiration would have fled.

Cole

Cole

Today, I finally got to sit down and tap away again and I was thrilled when I realised that it all fell back into place. Just the same as riding a bike. My characters were exactly where I had left them, sitting patiently, waiting for me to tell them what to do next and some of them even opened up to me. Cole, it seemed, had been doing some thinking whilst I was away and he allowed me to see a side of him today that I never knew existed. And what’s more, I let them lead me. I wasn’t the puppet master, not at all. They told me what they wanted to say and how they wanted to react and where they wanted to go. It was truly magical and I suspect that only those of us lucky enough to experience that feeling, ever totally understand it.

It was a momentous day for me in more ways than one and I cannot stop smiling.

It feels so good to be back.

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Do traditions die out, or do they just change?

Generic image

Generic image – not my grandparents.

My Grandparents had a ‘front’ and ‘back’ room in their house. Both were essentially living rooms except one was at the front and one at the back. Whenever we visited we would always sit in the one at the back. This was the room where everyone congregated, usually around the single bar gas heater that was the only source of warmth. We also used to dine in this room courtesy of a large, oak table with wings on either end that pulled out. To me, visiting their home as a child, this was just the way that it was.

The ‘front’ room was always cold. It also had a gas fire but because no one ever used the room, the fire was never on. As I got older, I remember puzzling about why this room was never used. To me, it seemed strange because we used all of the rooms in my childhood home. Their front room was larger than the back, had a full three piece sofa in it and provided much greater comfort. It also had display cabinets full of glasses, trophies and trinkets.

I remember asking once why this room was never used and it was explained to me that it was because it was the ‘posh’ room. The room for entertaining. And that was true. It only ever got used on really big family occasions or if someone who didn’t usually visit called over. Then the fire would be lit a good while before, so that the room would be warm and cosy.

The distinction of rooms in this way is something that is rather quaint and has I expect, died out with my Grandparents’ generation. It could be argued that in many ways it made little sense to have a room that was barely used, however it was part of their way of life and is something that remains a very fond memory.

Image from mapichai via freedigitalphotos.net The more modern kitchen diner arrangement.

Image from mapichai via freedigitalphotos.net
The more modern kitchen diner arrangement.

You may wonder what prompted me to tell you this, apart from to share some of my family history with you. Well, in our new house we have changed from a traditional layout where rooms have individual uses, to more of an open plan layout which is currently favoured by house builders. We now have a kitchen dining room which is really the hub of the house and although we still have a lounge, we use it far less than we ever used the lounge in our previous house. Yesterday, when I opened the door to go into the lounge, the memory of my Grandparents front room suddenly hit me and I smiled.

Whilst I can never see us going back to such a formal arrangement, the way that we are choosing to live now is not dissimilar to how they lived. Open plan living means that families are increasingly spending much of their time in one multi-functional room, so perhaps some of our traditions have not died out after all? Perhaps they have just changed a little.

Does anyone else have similar memories? I would love to hear them.

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