Friday, 28 February 2014

My waddling career could be a thing of the past!

After seeing the new orthopedic consultant today who is a proper foot specialist, I came away full of cautious optimism.  Not to mention a few tears of relief.

One good thing to occur was I didn't have to get cross with this new guy!  He listened very carefully, understood everything I explained to him, and assured me he could do something to help.  I felt tears welling at this point; tears of relief in that I possibly have a pain free future.  Like I say, I am cautiously optimistic as before any action can be taken I need to have an MRI scan of BOTH my feet.  My last one was in 2009 with the previous consultant, which is way too long ago.  This should have been repeated twice since to determine the level of deterioration..

It's my view the previous chap had no vested interest in helping me.  Repeated clinic visits must have been nothing but a box ticking exercise not to mention the amount of funding for each patient.  If that's happening to me, there has to be hundreds of others.

I am considering a complaint but need to seek advice on that.  I'm a polite and structured complainer even though I said in the previous post I'd be all guns blazing!  Make me cross enough and that CAN happen but not very often.  Normally I'm the one in the restaurant who has a nice quiet word with the staff.  I find it gets me much more than if I was shouting the place down.  I hate that, don't you?

Here I am digressing yet again.  You need to stop me when I get going, or I'll bore for England!  So where was I?  Oh yes....I know.  So, the point I'm at now is waiting for a date for my MRI scan, then 10 days after that see the consultant again to discuss options.

He hinted it may end up being a tendon repair in which case I'll be off work for anywhere between 8-12 weeks.  And it won't be pain free either.  I need to work out if I want to go ahead with this but my gut instinct is saying 'yes I do'.  If I don't, my long term prognosis is my foot continually deteriorating.  I'll end up being chair-bound at home and using a walking aid when I'm out.  Waddling for the rest of my life? Who wants that, for goodness sake?  Anyway, I'm not at that stage yet.  Let's get this MRI thing out of the way, and then we can make decisions.

I need chocolate.  Or red wine.  Both would be good.  Maybe not at the same time.  Mind you,  It's Friday evening - the red wine wins!

Have a great weekend xxxxxxx

Red wine can increase the amount of testosterone in the body, researchers found. Pic: John Kasawa

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Followers and Lurkers #2

Would you look at this!  It's how many people have looked at the blog since I began.  Isn't that great??

Current Country Totals
From 23 Jan 2014 to 26 Feb 2014

 United States (US)101
California (CA)43
New Jersey (NJ)34
Missouri (MO)13
Wyoming (WY)4
Texas (TX)3
Ohio (OH)1
Georgia (GA)1
Mississippi (MS)1
New York (NY)1
 United Kingdom (GB)65
 Ireland (IE)18
 India (IN)1

Considering I only have 3 followers, a lot of you out there must be 'lurkers' - readers who have done a search and come across my musings and ruminations.

I hope one day you'll be interested enough to be a follower.  I'd be really pleased if you'd leave a comment.  Even if it's just a quick 'Hi there'.

Have a great day xxxxx

Inspired by Guilty Pleasures

I blame Sarah over at for blogging about guilty pleasures.  No, she didn't write about sex, she wrote about chocolate!  Not just any old chocolate, but Green and Blacks Maya Gold.  My absolute all time, mouth drooling favourite. She gave a passing mention to Cadbury's, and she COULD have mentioned Lindt, or even Thornton's but no, it had to be Maya Gold.

Only minutes earlier prior to reading Sarah's posting, I'd been in the college Costa outlet queuing with other staff for our lunchtime coffee.  Because its Costa, it takes FOREVER to get served so there's far too much time to browse the muffins and cakes, not to mention the chocolate bars.  Maya Gold chocolate bars.  Maya  flippin GOLD!

I could feel that that familiar watering of the mouth starting, so before I began drooling I quickly looked away from the luscious orange and brown wrapper. Engaged in conversation with a colleague by way of a distraction, when it was my turn to order I opted for a black coffee and a Biscotti.  Damage limitation.  I'm all for that!
The fact is I shouldn't be having chocolate at all, unless its just a couple of squares of the 70%+ cocoa.  And the Maya Gold doesn't come close to that due to it being 55%.  I don't know where I got the will-power from but my mind was telling me to leave it alone.  I had a little box of mixed nuts in my locker; cashews, almonds and some macadamia's. Nice to tuck into when that peckish feeling hits.  I have to say they do take the edge off my appetite which can only be a good thing.  Just now its 3.15pm and the fact of writing about chocolate isn't making me crave it.  However, if there was a bar in front of me that would be a whole different ball-game!

Weight Loss?
So, after all this chocolate talk you're maybe wondering how the weight loss is going.  I was despairing a few days ago.  Nothing seemed to have budged.  I'd plateaued.  Before my appointment yesterday with Vlad The Impaler sorry, I mean Andrew at Spirit Acupuncture I decided to jump on the new scales and see what the reading was.  There had been a 5 day break since I weighed previously so I figured it was time to take another look.  Joy of joys, 1 kilo had gone!  Now that gave me a happy start to my day and I tootled off to be pinned feeling very positive.

We had a good session with the pinning, and in my back is a new area of pathways that we are investigating in relation to my hip.  I didn't swear much either.  So far so good, I feel a little less stiff today.   I have just one more session booked and then I'll call it a day for the time being.  I can always go back for a few more sessions if I need to.

Foot Consultation
Last weeks' appointment with the consultant was postponed to this Friday.  The consultant can get ready because I'm gunning for him.  Nothing to do with the postponement, more to do with my foot getting worse as each week passes.  It's almost 6 years since the problem began and nothing has been done to help.  Sometimes the pain is so bad that I want to scream, but at other times its just a dull ache.  Why is that, I shall be asking him.  As I've explained before, the only comfort I get is to wear lace up shoes which stop my foot rocking about. 

 I can wear velcro ones like these......

when all I really want to wear are THESE!!!!

A girl can dream.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Happy Tuesday......Boo Radleys Wake Up Boo!

Couldn't resist posting this to give you a nice start to your Tuesday. I haven't heard it in years until it got played on the radio yesterday. It's an all time favourite from when my daughters were in their teens. Happy days!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Making lists

Let me introduce you to my daughter Katherine at Malvern Wells Yoga.  She's a young yoga teacher with several classes a week, holds down a full time job and is married to the love of her life, Chris.

Kat's a very busy girl, making her way in life and hoping to make yoga her career.  She never ceases to inspire and amaze me with her positivity, and I'd like to share with you her latest blog posting.  I was feeling a bit off colour today but when I read her lovely list it put me in a much better frame of mind.  I hope it helps you too.

OK I'm biased!

Things I like

When I was a kid I used to write lists of things I liked.  Even though I’m an adult, I still think writing lists of stuff (as opposed to your work tasks or what you need from the supermarket) can be very cathartic.  A list like this can remind you to practice a little gratitude and it can conjure up happy memories of people or places.  When you’ve got the grumps, you can whip out your list and smile… so why not try it?  Make yourself a cup of tea, maybe get some chocolate, find a nice notebook and a pencil (no, the back of an envelope will not suffice) and write your list of things you like.  I have a few rules though:
1)  Don’t include individual people on your list.  So don’t name all 17 of your cats!
2) Don’t put music tracks you like.  This is a whole separate list!  Same goes for films.
3) Do put things you like doing, places you like, situations you like, foods you like, stuff you like reading about…
Here’s mine (in no particular order) and I’ve added in some helpful links!
  • Yoga
  • Birds of prey
  • Pizza (gluten free of course) – I have these babies on repeat order!
  • Cats (and all the cuddling opportunities therein!)
  • Big cats
  • Garden birds
  • Sunsets
  • Kissing in the rain
  • Wearing my pyjamas all day
  • Taking a bath
  • Washing my hair
  • Getting my nails done
  • Beautiful shoes
  • Beautiful views
  • Great conversation
  • Dinner with friends
  • Cooking
  • Cake (making and eating)
  • Watching the entire BBC version of Pride & Prejudice in one go
  • Reading yoga books
  • Reading trashy novels
  • Waking up late (not lounging around in bed, just waking up late)
  • Real genuine belly laughs (mine or anyone else)
  • Knitting
  • Little boxes
  • That smell when you walk into a hippy-type shop like Aquarius in Malvern, or Huckleberry Willow in Chesterfield (is that even still there?  Yup, apparently so!)
  • Hugs
  • Americano – black
  • Peppermint tea (it’s an obsession)
  • Flowers in my garden (the more colour, the better – honeysuckle, hydrangea and roses)
  • Trees (big ones, small ones – it doesn’t matter)
  • Midwinter Stonehenge Strawberry pottery (again, it’s an obsession)
  • Baking bread
  • Geocaching
  • Feeling the warmth of the sun on my face
  • Swimming in the sea
  • Riding my mountain bike
  • Walking on the Malvern Hills
  • The Peak District
  • The Lake District
  • Lyon
  • Playing in Newent Orchestra and feeling just a tiny part of that huge, powerful sound and almost being reduced to tears by it… thinking particularly of the time we played in Gloucester Cathedral
  • The Bran Tub in Malvern.  It’s like Mecca.
  • Coming home
  • Cuddling up in bed when it’s absolutely freezing outside
  • Proper traditional quilts
  • Autumn leaves
  • Beer
  • Growing our own vegetables
  • Bees
  • Getting ready to go out
  • Dancing like a demon
  • Cranking up the music in my car… or house
  • Speaking French
  • Hats
Now I’ve started, I could go on for hours.  I guess it’s a way for my readers to get to know me a bit more… but at the same time I urge you to write a list like this.  It’s fun!  Feel free to share yours.

You can catch up with Kat on Twitter HERE 

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

I got published!!

I'm so excited!!!   I learned today that I got a short feature published.  I've included a link to the source Boomer Cafe and my story.  

Boomer Cafe is an online magazine for baby boomers and mid-lifers that covers lots of stuff that's of interest to people like me.  It hits on topical matters like retirement, health and fitness, money together with travel and leisure.  It's based in the US and I came across it quite by accident.  They were looking for people to share stories in an essay of 300-500 words, to include photographs.  I was completely floored when they wrote back to say they liked my piece and that it would be published.  So today's the day!

It made the folks at Boomer Cafe smile apparently.  Perhaps you'd like to take a look.  It might make YOU smile too.

Monday, 17 February 2014

As promised - Slimming World Syn Free Pancakes

Here ya go!  If you give them a try, let me know what you think.

There's some sweetener involved which I'm none to keen on and would definitely use a little sugar.  Alternatively, leave out the sweetener altogether and drizzle some honey on after the pancake is cooked.

I'm off work this week.  Not sure if I ever told you but I work in education, therefore I'm one of those infuriating people 'who never seem to be at work'.  Note the commas!  I work 20 hours over 4 days so I guess you could say I'm on countdown to retirement.

Despite working shorter hours now, I never seem to catch up on my home admin, or the ruddy housework. There'll be time aplenty after retirement for that!  Or maybe not ....... freedom beckons; it would be a crime to waste it!

Monday smile - Rita Hayworth is Stayin' Alive!

This made me smile so much.  I love Rita Hayworth and I love this Bee Gees song.  A great combination to lift the spirits on a dismal Monday here in the UK.


Sunday, 16 February 2014

I had such a good day!

I think another couple more pounds may have gone since I last posted.  The reason I think this is because I went to an exhibition today.  You know the kind, slow walking looking at stands, being in crowds etc.  Shuffling along in crowds normally puts such a strain on my hip making me stop frequently to allow the pain to subside.

Well that didn't happen today.  It ached a bit but there was none of the stinging pain.  That's lifted my spirits such a lot, so much so that husband and I went for a walk when we got home and I was quite comfortable!

I don't want to speak too soon because that's like tempting providence, but it's certainly spurred me on to keep trying with the new eating plan.  I did have a little slip up or two today though.  Our friends who came to the exhibition with us paid for lunch and I ended up having some chips!  Not too many but even so, naughty.  Also husband had some toffees in his pocket and was offering them round.  Damn, I am so WEAK, but they tasted blooming lovely.

Hey ho, tomorrow's a new day.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Cat and Budgie

I just had to share this lovely clip from You Tube.  It's actually an ad for Freeview but it made me smile, so I couldn't keep it to myself, could I?

Weight loss progress

After the initial glee of losing those few pounds, I seem to have stopped for the moment.  I'm still trying with the Paleo at the back of my mind though; I just need to get it right in my head.

Portion control might be an issue.  Last evening I had a gammon steak with lots of vegetables. Perhaps too many, who knows.  Can you have TOO many vegetables?

One good think to come out of not eating bread and cereal is that my eye area has calmed down.  I always seemed to have pink puffy eyelids and the pinkness extended up towards my brows.  I felt it was quiet noticeable as I was told I look tired all the time.  Wearing concealer over my lids and seemed to work well to disguise the pinkness, as did using a little eye shadow too.

Since I cut out the gluten based foods, I no longer seem to have the problem.  My eyes are less sore too.  However, as an experiment, I had a porridge breakfast earlier this week, then a few days later a small sandwich for lunch.  Sure enough, on both occasions within 15 minutes my eyes were feeling droopy and the pinkness had returned. I'm really glad to have this awareness now and I will avoid gluten based foods from now on.  I doubt if this is a gluten allergy, more an intolerance.

Not to be outdone though, I'll try not to let it stuff up Shrove Tuesday which is 4th March this year.  I'm having pancakes come hell or high water!  I just need to find a recipe using an alternate flour, or even no flour at all.   I think good old Slimming World have a recipe that should fit the bill.  I'll dig it out and share it on here, and also on my my Facebook Page 

I hope you're having a great Saturday!

Did you notice.........?

...........that I deliberately ignored Valentine's Day here on the blog?

I think it's a bittersweet experience in many ways; great for those all loved up.  Miserable for those who aren't.

As I'm a day late, and just when you thought nothing was coming your way, here's a hug from me.
I hope you smile!

Friday, 14 February 2014

Friday Giggle

Hi everyone, my friend sent this to me on Facebook and it lifted my spirits so much I just had to share it with you.

I defy anyone NOT to laugh at these lovely ladies.  I'd be on the front row with them!!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Good news :-D

Me and the scales are making friends now.  I collected them yesterday afternoon and opened the box to find this wafer thin gadget, with a non slip soft black coating on it.  It looks and feels gorgeous!   This is the little beauty......I hasten to add that the 62.35 isn't my weight!

I popped in the batteries and jumped on.  My eyes popped out of my head at the readout.  Looks like I'd put a lot of poundage on since I left Slimming World!  Then I realised in my enthusiasm, I still had on my heavy jeans and trainer shoes, not to mention a thick hoodie.

I resolved to check again when I undressed for bed in lightweight pyjamas.  I cautiously stood on again to be met with a nice surprise..... Lo! and behold, I was back to my Slimming World weight.  By my calculations (yeah ok, in my head with a lot of wishful thinking) I've dropped about 4 lbs since I began this regime 9 days ago.  The new scales confirmed what I thought.

That's good news, isn't it?

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

And I just found this one. Electric Avenue anyone?

Just when I fancied a 'trip out' !!

.....and Holy Crap!

For your amusement and delectation......

I couldn't resist this.  It's so me!  I nicked it from Carol E Wyer's Facebook page.  I'm sure she won't mind.  It definitely raised snigger from Sir Grumpytrousers!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Goodbye to the scales......................

..........well, the old ones anyway.

I jumped on them this morning and they wavered up to 7lbs.  If I stand up straight as a ramrod I can't read where the needle is through the lower half of my glasses.  I can hazard a guess where it is if I squint!  If I hunch over and look through the middle of my glasses I can see better but that's when the needle wavers.

So, tomorrow I'm off to Argos for THIS digital scale with an extra large readout for old biddies with dodgy eyesight so I can see it without hunching over.

I'm such a wimp when it comes to weighing myself.  I recoil and go into denial!  I used to grit my teeth when I was weighed at Slimming World, but it was rarely as bad as I imagined it would be.  If I thought I'd gained 3 pounds, it turned out to be just 1.

Anyway, my courage is up because I'm making a proper effort to get myself in order.  I've played at it for too long; and because the courage is there I'm getting the new scales.

I'm thinking these will make Grumpytrousers even more smug, but wish me luck.  I'll be posting again on my progress.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

A few pounds gone already!

I promised to keep you updated about what's happening with the new eating plan, so here goes.

Last Monday, I made a start cutting down on bread, potatoes, cereal and dairy.  I phased a bit more out each day and gradually upped my intake of fruit and vegetables.  I have the Paleo eating plan at the back of my mind all the time, but I'm not being too strict with myself just yet.  I have stuff in my kitchen that will get wasted if I convert right now.

I don't THINK it's my imagination, but a few pounds seem to have gone already!  However, My bathroom scales are rubbish and never give the same reading twice.  (Note to self to invest in new scales). Anyway, here's an outline of what I did.

The Easy Ones
Some things were easy to substitute such as cow's milk.  It often made me feel a little nauseous in coffee later into the day so the switch to Almond or Hazelnut milk was really easy.

Potatoes are easy for me to leave out.  They are something I can take or leave, so in their place I'm using Sweet Potato to keep up the fibre intake.  Sweet Potato is counted as one of the world's healthiest foods, packed with vitamins and other health boosting properties.  Good for diabetics too. You can read about it here.  Oh, and they don't half make good chips (fries)!!

Normally I'm a person who likes to sweeten my hot drinks, but I phased out sugar in my coffee a while ago.  Again, something to link to the nausea.  Tea is more of a problem, particularly the 'builder's bum' tea, like Tetley.  If I have it at all now, I just dip a damp teaspoon into the sugar and pop it straight into the tea.  A bit pointless you might think but it does actually take away the tannin taste.   After all that, I can go for days without a cuppa so no great loss there.  I've rather taken to Green Tea but I haven't QUITE acquired the unsweetened taste for it yet. So I invested in a jar of Manuka Active 10+ honey (£13.99 in Morrisons) and am using that now for my little sweetness fixes.  I think any kind of honey will do but I have another use for the Manuka hence the investment.  It works well on an itchy patch that I have on my arm.  A little massage with the honey soothes it very quickly.

The Harder Ones
Dressings on salads wasn't quite so easy.  I have a penchant for mayonnaise so giving that up had me scratching my head for a substitute.  As I write, I still can't think of one so for the time being I'm putting extra tomatoes in my lunchbox together with the salad.

I haven't found a tolerable substitute for cheese either.  Suggestions welcome on that one!

The most difficult of all was my breakfast.  I'm a porridge lover, which naughtily I had every day, but with a different topping, such as raspberries or bananas.  So the porridge has had to go for the time being.  The fruit is staying though.  I'm combining that in a fruit salad with a couple of strawberries, a little bit of mango, and blueberries.  I drizzled a teaspoon of the Manuka over it, and added a tiny bit of cinnamon.  I have to say, it was blooming lovely!  My last note on the fruit only breakfast is that it cures constipation.  My system has adjusted to it very quickly and I'm not making any mad dashes now!

So, folks, that's the effect it's having on me.  Husband (Grumpy trousers) on the other hand, who annoyingly doesn't need to lose weight, is also adapting quite well to the regime.  It's more a need for general health benefits for him.  He's going his own way at breakfast, religiously having his two Weetabix absolutely covered in bloody sugar but I can't wean him off it so it's his choice.  Before long, any change in MY eating regime which he tries out will see his 32" waist jeans dropping off his already slim hips and he'll be fetching his braces out to hold them up.  Then he'll be on the scales every day smugly declaring he's below 11 stone.

Don't men get on your t*ts at times????

Friday, 7 February 2014

Hang out with me and you might gain something!

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.
I really like this proverb.  I wonder with whom it originated?  Anyway, who cares, its a good one.
So.....feeling short of a good laugh and a long sleep?  OK, hang out with me and I'll either make you snort with laughter ..............

or bore you to sleep.........

Just saying..........
Have a great weekend!

Getting Unstuck: Work Through Fear and Change Your Life

Good day followers and lurkers! 

You know sometimes, when we feel ourselves stuck in that rut of repeated behaviour, it's easy to just keep doing the same old, same old, isn't it?  For example, eating the same breakfast every single day without giving consideration to its nutritional value, or whether your system might be so used to it so the food isn't providing you enough nourishment.  Not good, eh?

For the same reason, I truly believe the mind needs nourishment too. Instead of sitting comfortably in an unhealthy rut, we could try something a bit different such as reading a book that we wouldn't normally consider. Likewise, a new experience to challenge ourselves with, see new places.  Learn a new skill perhaps.  No matter what age you are, giving yourself a little push every so often works in your favour, and hey, it gives us something different to talk about and share.  It's investing in yourself.

I know not everyone has the confidence or inner resources to go and chuck themselves into something new. They may consider it to be a terrifying step and do nothing. Some others make take time to 'buy in' to a new idea.  Either way, perhaps it takes just one small grain of courage to grow into a tree of nourishment for your mind and body.


To highlight my point, I thought I'd share this inspirational feature below from a website named Tiny Buddha .   The writer has a story behind the feature, a lot of which is quite sad due to her illness.  She's overcome such a lot though and I found this whole feature not only sensible and sound, but uplifting too.  Have a read and see if it inspires you too.

Getting Unstuck: Work Through Fear and Change Your Life
Im Free
“When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life.” ~Eckhart Tolle
We’ve all been there. Feeling stuck is very distressing, and it can often make a situation feel even more difficult than it already appears to be.
Many of us may have felt trapped in job, a relationship, a place; any unfavourable situation, really, that we see little way out of can leave us feeling deeply discouraged.
The uncertainty of it all becomes overwhelming and, over time, paralyzing.
I have felt the frustration, the sadness, and the hopelessness that accompany this predicament many times.
In fact, I’ve lived most of my life feeling stuck in one thing or another—a volatile family situation, unhealthy relationships, various jobs. For a long time, I rarely made proactive decisions about anything.
I had a number of distractions I used to try to avoid thinking about it. I drank heavily, took drugs, took trips, took on other people’s problems, overworked, over-exercised, over-sexed, under-slept, worried constantly, and generally avoided thinking about the specifics of what I needed out of life, a job, or a relationship.
Opportunities and endings did flow through my life, as they inevitably will, but they were seldom based on what I wanted.
After a while, negativity and worry used up much of my energy. I was diagnosed with cancer at twenty-six, and started to have other major physical ailments, not to mention regular nightmares. I knew I had to make changes.
I started with my diet, something that I felt was within my control. I gained a lot of knowledge about food, health, and lifestyle very quickly and just soaked it all up.
I also learned a lot more about our inner emotional lives and about taking responsibility for my feelings, my actions, and my words.
I started practicing meditation and continued to deepen my yoga practice with a new awareness of my mental and emotional environment. I’m now able to observe my thoughts and am quick to see how my thought patterns change when I feel stuck.
Those negative, self-defeating, fearful thoughts come creeping back into my mind, whispering to me that I don’t have any other choice.
The depressed feelings and anxiousness come quickly too, and I often start to wonder, if I’d done something differently in the past, would I be here now? I tell myself that only if a certain event happens in the future will I be able to make a change.
Dwelling on the past and obsessing about the future is a surefire way to stay stuck.
I now know that I need to be careful not to qualify decisions based on imagined future events happening or not happening, and not to make decisions out of fear. Sometimes doing what is best for you means facing those fears head on.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, I told myself I’d only take time off work if I started to feel really physically ill. I was afraid I’d face financial difficulties if I took a leave. I didn’t give myself nearly enough space to process the emotional effects, and I didn’t give my physical body the time to rest that it was clearly telling me it needed.
I got very ill with a string of severe infections in the two years following my recovery because I never proactively made a decision to take care of myself.
When I start bargaining with myself, I know I’ve given away my power. I’m no longer listening to my intuition or connecting with what’s really best for my well-being.
I’ve realized that the only way to get unstuck is to detach from the outcome of our decisions and the fears about things not working out, and instead focus solely on what exactly we want and need. In this way, the uncertainty can lead to opportunity.
There are a few things I did make proactive decisions about over the last ten years—like pursuing a degree in Environmental Studies, moving to Australia, and committing to building a more healthy lifestyle—that have turned out better than I could’ve imagined.
It has become more and more clear that the decisions I make from now on need to be based on my true desires, not my fears.
I now recognize that I’ve kept myself in unhealthy situations mainly because I didn’t have the tools to help myself.
When I’m having trouble getting unstuck, I use some of these small actions that can be helpful in creating space to move through and out of the undesirable situation:

Take time.

One of the most difficult things about feeling stuck is that you want to fix it right away. This urge to control the situation really doesn’t help solve the problem.
If you’re having trouble moving out of a bad situation naturally, you’ll need time to process all the feelings that will come up as you move toward a new phase of your life. Let it happen and enjoy it as much as you can. The best approach you can take in this situation is to trust that things will improve over time.

Don’t wait for this-or-that to happen.

This is a big one. If you’re always waiting for something else to happen before you act, you won’t make proactive decisions in a way that’s in line with what you want. 

Stop thinking about it.

I like to practice meditation and yoga, read a good book, or take a nap. The trick is to not think about the issue actively, but just take some time to enjoy where you are now.
Obsessive thinking can do far more harm than good and never actually causes any change. Once you start feeling more present, you’ll take less joy in feeding the mental drama around the situation and naturally be less willing to put up with negativity it brings.

Get some perspective.

Taking a short (or longer) time away can break emotional ties in a big way and allow you to see things in a different way. You may also be motivated to make change as you recognize how much better you feel when you’re out of the environment where you feel stuck.

Get healthy.

Focus on yourself. Make your physical, mental, and emotional health your biggest priority. Once I started letting go of all the stress I’d been holding onto for so long, I was truly shocked by how great I could feel. I knew I wanted to pursue that amazing feeling.
The key here is really to figure out what works for you to help you get unstuck. That may be chatting with one of your friends, taking a weekend out of town, or walking by the water. Then do it as much as you need to until you feel better.
Don’t lose sight of what’s important to you. And if you’re not sure what’s important to you, make finding out a priority.
I am still stuck, as I write this, in an unsatisfactory situation. I’m far from being able to completely avoid feeling trapped by certain situations I’ve gotten myself into, but I am committed to the personal values I’ve uncovered within myself, and I’m working hard to build the life I want. I also don’t let depressive and self-defeating thoughts take over at these times.
Over time, you will learn to move past jobs, people, and places that don’t work for you more quickly and with ease.
In the meantime, it always helps to remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can, as fast as you can. When you’re finally able to let go of your fears and be proactive about your decisions, you will find that life is yours again, to be shaped and lived in any way you like.
Photo by Rob Lee

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Poked, prodded and pinned

The fine chap I visit for my acupuncture sessions has been treating me for the pain in my hip.  He's succeeded in taking the edge off the pain and I can certainly walk better without careering into shop displays and members of unsuspecting public.

No kidding, when I am in pain I walk like I'm drunk!  It's not so bad if I can stride out a bit, but if I'm walking slowly such as in the supermarket, or a really busy street the pressure builds in that hip and the pain feels like a severe stinging sensation.

Andrew at Spirit Acupuncture near Chesterfield moves heaven and earth to render me pain free and have me leave his clinic walking a straight line.  However, this is likely to be a lengthy process which is mainly due to the complexities of my issues.  After a few weeks I decided to ask him to take a different path with my sessions; one with which I could incorporate further benefits.  You see, I struggle with my weight, and I can easily change from size 14/16 to 18/20 in a short space of time.  Naturally this isn't helping the cause for my foot and hip.  I'm given to understand from other acupuncture converts that a weight loss solution combined with healthier eating is highly achievable.  So buoyed up with anticipation I consulted Andrew during which I told him about my lifelong negative relationship with food; the comfort eating, the digestive problems and my general lack of well-being.  I like my consultations with Andrew; he takes his work very seriously and is certainly a person who goes the extra mile.  And he's up for a laugh.

During the weight issue chat this week, we suddenly found ourselves chuckling at the thought of Peter Kay in his Slimming Consultant guise.  I told him about my time with Slimming World, about how much I'd lost before the despondency set in.  It's not the same for everyone.  Some people do incredibly well and manage to maintain their success.  While I had my own successes there, there were things about the group sessions that held no inspiration for me, and as a result I lapsed.

In the following clip from You Tube, Peter Kay will have you in stitches, and how he presents is of course, an exaggerated version.  But true.  Don't let that put you off if you're thinking of going though!

So after we'd stopped snorting about the loss of a pound here and there (yes it's to be celebrated!) we got on with the poking, prodding and pinning session.

While Andrew has been treating my hip, he's been concentrating on pinning my left upper arm.  He first feels for the pathway and applies a little pressure (poke!).  In most spots I don't feel anything but the pressure.  When he hits a blockage in the pathway it feels sore and that's the area he will pin.  Some places are so sore that any pressure (poke and prod!) he applies will elicit a loud expletive from me.  I apologised at first, but he assures me he's heard worse, so I just carry on swearing life a fishwife!  The feeling of soreness under pressure lasts less than a second and I never feel the pins going in.

For the weight loss, he pinned inside my outer ears, areas in my foot and I lost track of where else.  After the session I felt absolutely fine and will be going again tomorrow for 'round 2'.  We discussed a different eating regime.  No diet as such, but given some of my symptoms we both agree that cutting out dairy, bread, cereal and potatoes might be worth a try.  To take things a step further I am considering trying the Paleo eating plan.  I've already cut out the bread, cereal and spuds, and have been careful about everything else.  I've substituted cow's milk for Almond milk, but I confess to having a preference for Hazelnut milk as it's nicer in coffee.

 I thought I'd succeeded in keeping it fairly gluten free. That is until I read a small amount of dark chocolate such as 70% cocoa solids is OK to have.  At work we have a Costa coffee outlet and there I found a bar of Divine dark chocolate  labelled at 70%.

Feeling a choc feast coming on I took it to my office and checked the label.  Along with the good stuff, it contained (note past tense!) milk and gluten.  Not good news but I got stuck in anyway.  I have to say, it's no substitute for Cadbury's chocolate but a couple of squares of Divine satisfied the choc craving.  Truly, I really didn't want any more.

So watch this space and I'll be letting you know my ups and downs in all this.  If there are any gory details I'll spare you those!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Attention Deficit Cleaning Disorder

Yep this just about sums me up.  However, I end up 'doing' a lot of work.  Interesting word, dong.
Did you spot it?

Monday, 3 February 2014

Early menopause and Electric Shocks!

In effect, at 63 I've outgrown the menopause.  Mine began at the age of 39 with some mild symptoms such as a fuzzy head, grumpiness and a change in my flows together with different levels of pain.  I had no idea what was happening and neither had the GP.  "You're far too young to be starting the menopause" he tried to reassure me.  "But tell me about your mother.  What age did she begin hers?  It may have some bearing".

I cried then, with grief and frustration.  This was just another question about my genetics that I couldn't answer.  You see my mum died at the age of 58 when I was 28 with a young baby.  As neither of us had foreseen her premature death, we hadn't talked about menopausal stuff like that.   There should have been plenty of time for a natural progression into such conversations, and at that time she was just thrilled to be a grandmother.

I'll talk about mum in a separate post.  She deserves one of her own.

So, no knowledge of the female family history of the menopause meant I was out on a limb.  The doctor was so convinced nothing was happening with my hormones he didn't see it necessary to send me for a blood test.  Despite my tears, he sent me off and suggested I come back if I noticed further changes in my periods.

Not to be outdone, I left it a few weeks, went back and saw a different GP.  A lady this time.  She too, was sure it wasn't menopause but did agree to a blood test.  It came back showing I was in the early stages.  She called it perimenopause.

We talked through a general list of symptoms and I confirmed I had at least 10 of those including bloating, weight gain, rather disturbing memory lapses and irregular periods.  The positive thing that came out of it was at the ripe young age of 48 it was all done and dusted!

Carol E Wyer has published a great book titled Grumpy Old Menopause.  Here's a synopsis from the Safket, the publisher's website -

Grumpy Old Menopause
To be administered in one large dose for maximum effect

Have you started to write post-it notes with your kids' names on them? Do you need to change your underwear after every sneeze? Guess it's time to read this book then. It'll help you get through "that" time in your life with a spring in your step and a smile on your face.
With numerous suggestions, sensible advice and amusing anecdotes, Grumpy Old Menopause will help you sail through that tricky part of a woman's life with ease and humour. It should prevent you from turning into Mrs Crabby or worse still, a demonic monster.

"An excellent mix of humour and sound advice. This book is a must-read for all women ... I highly recommend Grumpy Old Menopause. It is the perfect blend of humour and excellent advice to help all women sail through the menopause." - Nicky Snazell, Fi STOP Consultant Physiotherapist in Spinal Pain, Fellow of Institute for the Study and Treatment of Pain. International Lecturer in Pain and Health.

I enjoyed reading Carol's book for not only it's humour, but her empathy together with hints and tips about how to cope. 

Electric Shocks
Carol touched on an area of the menopause that doesn't often get recognised or spoken about.  Electric shocks, folks.  Not the kind that you get when you touch bare wires - well come on, you just wouldn't.  Would you??  No?  Good lass!  The electric shocks she refers to are of the hormonal kind.

I have very vivid memories of my own personal experience with them and they seem to baffle everyone including the GP.  (Do I have duff GP's at my practice?  Seems like it upon reflection!) 
Anyway, I'm digressing again - let's get back on track.  About 5 years into the menopause, I found myself one day getting jabbing pains on the top of my head, just to one side.  They lasted a matter of seconds but were so intense they upset my vision a little.  A short while later on the same day, I had a massive stabbing sensation in my upper left arm, quickly followed by a similar feeling in my abdomen.  I was worried enough to chuck a sickie from work that day and hurtled straight round to the GP's thinking I was having a stroke or something!  He told me I was suffering from stress and wrote me a sick note for 2 weeks off work.  I don't recall that I was particularly stressed, at least no more than usual, but hey, who was I to argue about having a fortnight off? 

However, the pains continued sporadically, always with some intensity and I found that I was also getting them at my cervix, in the roof of my mouth and in my tongue as well!  A further visit to the GP to get the new pains checked out resulted in him telling me to change my job as it was obviously stressing me out.  I'm glad I ignored that piece of advice as I liked my job.  My colleagues were wonderful, if a little baffled themselves about my bizarre symptoms.   One lady in particular said to me that daft as it seems, this could be hormonal.  I thanked her and followed up her suggestion.  Sure enough, a little research unearthed a website that indicated all my symptoms as hormonal electric shocks! 

It was such a relief that someone, somewhere had written about it and I felt reassured that the pains would eventually  run their course, along with most of the other menopause symptoms.  I apologise here as I have lost sight of that website, but here's one for you to consult if you wish to read in more detail.

For anyone out there who is suffering from these shocks, I hope the writing of my own experience helps to reassure you.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Music - a great painkiller. Slash and Beth Hart "Whole Lotta Love"

This will not be to everyone's taste of course,  even with my love of gentler music, there's this need for the heavy and gritty stuff.  When I stopped smoking 12 years ago, it was listening to heavy rock that helped me to succeed.  For example, in the car, playing at full thrutch Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin deadened my senses to the point where I forgot I wanted a fag!

I discovered Beth Hart when she did collaborations with another of my favourite rock and blues guys, Joe Bonamassa. Such is the power of her voice and indeed the power of her appearance too, she can soon make me forget the old aches and pains.

This team up with Slash for the great Led Zep song had the purists pouring out of the woodwork screeching their criticisms.  I know nothing compares to Robert Plant and Jimmy Page getting off on it, but I like the Beth and Slash version a lot.

Music is a great therapy!

Hello Sunday!

I really need to get off me bum and get some stuff done. BUT, Mr Grumpytrousers is out for an hour or two and the peace is rather pleasant I have to say.

How shall I use that time? Clean the bathroom (it really does need doing). Nah, stuff that. Hoover the bedroom? Well, that means disturbing the cat so maybe not. Candy Crush then! Nope, gone off that...been stuck on Level 94 for a week and now officially bored.

OK, I think I'll download some music into my 'Feelgood' folder on the laptop. That's always a nice thing to do while no-one's in. I can't get moaned at then.

This is what's going in my folder....


I wrote the above around 10.30am and its now 2.30pm.  While the music was downloading I decided to go for a walk to the newsagents at the other end of the village.  My lovely follower, author Carole E Wyer hinted that 'someone we know' was on page 27 of this weeks Take a Break. I enjoy reading anything that Carol writes, and can highly recommend her as a good read.  So, incentive enough to get bundled up in my winter jacket, strap up my foot and get my trainers on.  It's still sunny as I write and I have to say my waddle up to the shop was lovely.  Being out in the fresh air, feeling the wind ruffling my hair and whipping hell out of my skin, but all was good.  For a while.

As I set off I almost skipped down my road as the strapping on my foot was holding it nicely in place.  The pain was minimal and I figured I'd make the 1 mile round walk with no bother.  Hmm, how wrong could I be?  I made it to the crossing when I felt my hip starting to hurt.  "It'll go off" I thought as I trundled along past the playing fields.  The sun was behind me at this point and I noticed my shadow.  If I didn't know differently, I'd have said that shadow belonged to someone else.  Some decrepit old biddy who walked like she'd got one leg shorter than the other!  I monitored my walk all the way.  If I stopped for a moment 'to take in the view' (a rest stop if you must know), the pain subsided a little and I could set off pain free and walking almost normally.  However, it took less than 30 seconds for the little fecker to kick in which meant my stops became more frequent as I neared the shop.  I wished for someone to come along who I knew so I could stop (and rest) for a minute or two to say hello and have a quick catch up.  That didn't happen today, so I had to rely on loitering on the edge of the pavement waiting for traffic to pass. 

Strangely in all of this, my foot didn't give me any grief.  It was all hip related.  I shall be explaining all of this to the consultant when I see him on the 21st of this month.  I had an assessment with a sports massage lady at work who suggested that my hip problem may not be in the joint.  She feels it might well be something divinely named Tensor Fasciia Latae (nothing to do with Fascias and Soffits.  And definitely not Starbucks related either).  It's something that runs from the hip down the outside of the thigh and stops by the knee.  It's been impacted by the way I walk which directly stems from my foot.  My gait is so uneven that I feel unable to stride out with my right leg.

Right I've done moaning now.  The grumps are gone.  Husband still not back so a bit more free time for the moment.  Maybe I ought to show the bathroom a cloth and some spray bleach.  Or shall I go wave a duster round the bedroom?  Oh, the cat's still in there though.  I won't disturb her.

 Happy Sunday!!!!!