The weirdest thing happened yesterday…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net

…and I am really hoping that someone can explain it to me.

In my (never ending) quest for fitness, I have now progressed from a steady walk to a more ‘adventurous’ pace on the treadmill – back and neck and everything else willing. My plan each time is to start steadily and then, when my muscles feel a bit warmer, slowly increase the pace until I get to what would probably be classed as a ‘brisk’ walk.

Yesterday, I spent 35 minutes on the treadmill and did exactly what I have just described. It started out as every other workout does and by about 15 minutes in, I had increased to my usual walking pace. I continued to plod on listening to my iPod and slowly watching the numbers counting down when, with about 10 minutes to go, I had a sudden urge to go a little bit faster.

Knowing that I didn’t want to run, I pushed the speed up by only 0.2 Kmh  – and this is when the weird thing happened. As I continued to walk at this pace, my legs began to feel like they were detached from the rest of my body. All of a sudden there was no pain, anywhere, and I could barely feel my legs moving. It felt like I could just walk and walk and walk and walk.

Female legs jogging on a trail

When the time was up I gradually slowed down the machine and suddenly, everything started to ache again. It truly was the most strange thing I have ever experienced and it left me with two rather worrying thoughts…

1. Had a magician somehow managed to cut my body in half during my workout? and

2. Does it mean that in order to be pain free I have to spend my entire life briskly walking?

But, joking aside, if anyone can advise me as to what this is and why it happened, as well as if it is a good thing or not, then I really would appreciate it!

Thanks!

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My love affair with Scrivener

Scrivener-LogoAs with most love affairs, this one has had its ups and downs and I am almost ashamed to admit that my trusty writing companion Scrivener, has lately been replaced by its much more generic counterpart, Word. There are various reasons as to why this happened but it had got to the point when I hardly ever opened Scrivener, let alone used it to work with.

A few days ago, it became apparent that a major hole in Twelve Days – The Beginning, needed some re-working and extensive outlining. Scrivener – for anyone who uses it will know – has a very good outlining feature along with all sorts of other gizmos which are designed purely to make our lives as writers, a heck of a lot easier.

My editor gently reminded me that, whilst in this outlining stage, it would be a good idea to get back into using Scrivener and so I opened it up again, only to panic. Scrivener, is not like any other programme that I have ever used before and being absent from it for a while, I couldn’t begin to work out which way was up. I tinkered here and there but even when I selected the ‘outliner’ mode, it made little or no sense to me. Cue Scrivener tutorial videos.

stockimages via freedigitalphotos.net

stockimages via freedigitalphotos.net

If you search YouTube or Literature and Latte’s website (the developer), there are hundreds of tutorials for Scrivener in many different languages and they vary in length depending on what you want to learn. Having cleared some time this morning in order to watch a tutorial, the video below is the one that I ultimately decided on – primarily because it is handily called ‘Scrivener Bootcamp’ which sounded like just what I needed. And I wasn’t disappointed – it turned out to be the answer to my prayers.

For any of you that use Scrivener or are contemplating using it, then I could not recommend this video more. It is lengthy, well over an hour, but a must for anyone wishing to write a book using this software. At the end I felt rejuvenated and more than a little in love with Scrivener again. The features of this software are truly outstanding and if you can take just a little time out to get yourself acquainted, then I am certain that you won’t be disappointed.

For anyone who doesn’t have Scrivener but wants to try it out, then Literature and Latte allow a 30 day free trial on all platforms – Windows and Mac. The thing that I especially like about this trial is that it runs for 30 days of usage rather than a 30 day period, which means that you can use as you need without fear of running out of time. If you then choose to download it, for me, it is a snip for the benefits that it can give.

It is definitely safe to say that Scrivener and I are very much back in the honeymoon period.

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Help! THIS is a whole new ball game…

Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net

Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net

I am currently in the process of negotiating the rather challenging world of the pre-teen. I must admit to some naivety here on the basis that I have a male of the species. I always had this (totally incorrect) theory, that male pre-teens were somewhat easier to work around than those of the female variety. Uh huh – how wrong was I?

As you can probably imagine, I am grappling with many ‘interesting’ issues however the latest is one of privacy and my question to all you worldly people out there is – how much privacy do you give a nearly 12 year old?

Privacy, can of course relate to any number of things but I am talking in particular, about technology. Over the last month or so, said pre-teen has had much increased activity on his mobile phone via text messages from friends. No problem, it is great that he has friends and I would encourage that as much as the next parent. However, the issue comes for me, when he starts getting cagey about leaving his phone anywhere that I can see it. Having told him in no uncertain terms that I am (a) his parent and (b) the bill payer and thus I can have access to his phone whenever I choose, it has left me floundering a bit as to how much access – if indeed any – I should have.

I can see that this is largely an issue of trust and I do trust him. I know that if there were anything untoward he would tell me and I guess that is all that I can hope for, but should I be checking in on his ‘activity’ every now and again? I just don’t know. I want him to grow up knowing that I trust him, yet he is still only 11 years old and thus, not mature enough to deal with certain things. Does that make sense?

Mister GC via freedigitalphotos.net

Mister GC via freedigitalphotos.net

I was thinking about this this morning and remembering back to when I was that age – wow, was the world different then. Of course we had friends but we didn’t have mobile technology and on the rare occasions that we did talk to friends on the phone, it was fixed to the wall so you had nowhere to go other than the main room in full view of everyone. There might have been the odd note passed in class, but there was nothing like this freedom that our children now have.

So, I am asking fellow WordPress parents, carers, bloggers, experts – for your thoughts. Any help in picking my way through this pre-teen world would be much appreciated! Thank you :-)

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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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