Mixed feelings.

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The LSO and I are in a strange place at the moment and I am dealing with a raft of mixed feelings and emotions. The new puppy arrived on Friday to much excited barking from Barney and much squeaking from Lucie but that didn’t last long as her feisty little character popped out and she barked back. I don’t know who was more surprised, us or Barney.

In the meanwhile the arrival of Lucie has put the AP’s nose firmly out of joint as she really is an adorable little scene stealer. The AP’s way of dealing with it all is to make a point of not listening to anything that is said to her and to talk over us when we reply to her questions so she doesn’t hear the answers. It’s a real catch 22 as we have to ask her to stop talking and listen which makes her instantly bad tempered and unpleasant. The thin veneer of niceness disappears in a blink and anything or anyone is responsible for her own failings but never her.

It also looks as if the third grandchild due in August will not happen but that is another situation which has deeply saddened us all. Not of course the AP, she has lost the ability to understand the depth of the problem and can only relate to those things that directly impact on her.

Our daughter arrived for a flying overnight visit yesterday despite the appalling weather conditions and I cooked Sechuan beef but that meant creating a separate meal for the AP who cannot cope with the chilli heat. Not too difficult to do, I just had to make a separate sauce and use the same vegetables and fillet of beef. But because we were all chatting and a great fuss was made of both the dogs it meant the AP was not the centre of attention so she didn’t eat and just pushed her food around the plate. I felt a real sense of irritation, why did I bother, in fact why do I bother at all? It is such a thankless task and meanwhile the LSO and I just see our lives slipping away in a sea of monotony.

She did manage to have a glass of wine with the meal and a very small glass of Vermouth with lemonade beforehand but then decided to go to her room. This morning she was particularly demanding and probably not feeling one hundred percent but it is never a good plan to drink any alcohol and not eat. I don’t deal at all well with the AP’s mood swings in the mornings so I just let her get on with it all.

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However Lucie continues to be a real joy and a breath of fresh air in the claustrophobic and frustrating environment that has become our world.

 

Is it a change in the weather?

 

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I have no idea why I feel so uncomfortable with myself. Yes, there are worries in the background but not things that should cause this sense of discomfort. I can only put it down to the fasting day and the fact I have a sore throat or could it just be a change in the weather affecting me. From feeling quite Spring-like it is once again heading towards freezing with the chance of snow looming.

The diet so far, is going well and in only nine days I have lost three and a half pounds and hopefully, tomorrow I should be lighter still. I have a long road to travel but I am finding this new 5:2 diet surprisingly easy and it has a real feel-good factor about it.

Even the AP’s continued refusal to remember she is away for a month from the 5th April is not irritating me. Nor is the ridiculous situation that arises whenever a perm is in the offing, causing me any grief. Perhaps I am just becoming more accepting of the situation and more immune to her carping. In fairness the AP has been a great deal pleasanter to have around but that could be because she is shut in her room much of the time ardently watching the snooker which fortunately for us is continuous now until she goes away.

Tomorrow is also Puppy Day when we collect little Lucie and it will be interesting to see Barney’s reaction to his new partner in crime; hopefully it will be a positive one. The puppy will be feeling a little lost to begin with but I am sure she will settle down pretty quickly.

Perhaps it’s all this change taking place that is affecting me, I have become unused to being so pro-active and busy planning things, not just doing the boring same old, same old. I have even been out and about in my car and ventured into a supermarket but that doesn’t mean I have given up on home deliveries I was merely helping out a friend who needed the pharmacy section!

But it’s all steps in the right direction.

Is a sea change taking place?

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Is this truly the start of a real transformation? I completed the first fast day and will do the second one tomorrow but today and yesterday I didn’t feel the urge to snack during the day. Is a miracle taking place?

I even find myself contemplating with enthusiasm salads, high protein meals plus vegetables, fruit and only a few carbs. I haven’t approached the knitting box yet but that will happen. We are getting a new puppy at the end of next week and the preparation is taking up a surprising amount of time. Perhaps all this is the reason for this apparent sea change.

There is no doubt that as the time to collect this sweet little Jack Russell approaches we are all smiling more, even the AP is looking forward to the new arrival but the organisation is a bit like the homecoming of a new baby, well that’s a bit of an exaggeration perhaps. It’s certainly not as expensive.

Bad enough though from organising a gate for the bottom of the stairs to new car boxes, a playpen, toys, pee-mats, heat pad for bed, tiny harness, collar and lead, Adaptil plug to keep us all calm to sundry other soft cuddly items; the list seems endless. The LSO is busy sorting the dog cupboard out which is groaning under the weight of adult dog food and now puppy food and a variety of sugar and fat free treats.  The LSO may need colour coded bags for the different training treats when out walking although the new addition will not be trekking as far as the resident JR for a little while. It will certainly be interesting to see how our lovely even tempered ten year old Jack copes with this new arrival.

Anyway, all in all its an interesting time and just to make things better the sun shone today and what a difference it makes to everything. It has been a good time to start the diet.

The first day of the beginning.

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Well, I have started the first fast day of the 5.2 diet today. It’s 9.44 am and so far so good except that I am full of liquid and no food! It feels like a long haul to lunchtime but I am writing this to keep occupied. Methinks I may be getting out my knitting to occupy my hands during the months to come.

Doing a Szechwan chicken tonight courtesy of the Hairy Dieters but lunch is still to be decided. Just realised it’s Shrove Tuesday so lunch will be waffles with warmed fresh berries, creme fraiche with yogurt and a smidge of maple syrup.

In between planning menus I am trying not to stress out as the AP’s one hundredth birthday approaches. Well approach may not be the right word as we still have twelve weeks to go but the AP keeps asking the same questions over and over again despite the fact that we have covered the same ground many times. She seems to think that all these intelligent, well travelled and well informed people who are coming to her birthday bash are incapable of making their own arrangements even though I have given them all information on places to stay.

Then at lunchtime today she announced that my cousin George and his wife who look after the AP twice a year are doing us a favour and getting her out of our hair. This ‘us’ is the equivalent of the royal ‘we’ but I did find it necessary to say that they are very generously giving the LSO and myself a break and for a short time, our personal space back.  They also choose to do this.

These sudden statements are most revealing and an insight into how the AP thinks, it makes me realise once again that the she is totally self consumed and really doesn’t care about us but also resents the fact that there are those who do and like us enough to want to help; she did not learn anything from the straight talking last October. It is a sad situation to be in, looking after someone you thought loved you to only find out that you have been thoroughly used and abused. Oh well, as the LSO and I keep saying to each other, it is what it is and we will carry on.

Now for more water then a root through my knitting and wool box.

 

It’s another beginning.

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Well here goes on another attempt to lose weight. Dieting is a bit like giving up an addiction such as smoking, you must never give up trying.

The 5:2 Diet book has arrived and filled with much enthusiasm I started reading as much of the information as possible. Can this last? I see no reason why not but to begin with I am going to try out recipes before ordering in a shop. There is sound reasoning behind this decision, I cannot afford to just jettison food at a whim so I must first use up what is already in the fridge and fortunately most of it is pretty usable as far as the diet goes. Apart from that is, the full fat yogurt, the puff pastry packs, the crisps tucked in the cupboard and not forgetting the newly made cake filled and topped with marscapone and white chocolate or the sugar free but I guess, not fat free oat biscuits that nestle beside the all butter shortbread and the crunchy ginger snaps that dunk so well in the morning coffee. I shall not continue but oh dear, when an inventory is started on the contents of my cupboards and fridge it becomes apparent why I have a problem with my weight.

Three days have now passed and I have read and absorbed the information on this diet and I am ready to start. I was struggling to sort out the breakfasts as well as lunches and the evening meals whilst cooking for three very different appetites as well as food preferences. Then our daughter suggested I miss my breakfast altogether on fasting days and no-one need know and then I can have two 400 calorie meals or a 300 calorie lunch and a 500 calorie dinner.  I then not only manage a good length of fasting time drinking only liquids in the morning but the AP will not know I am dieting. As I have said in previous blogs she is an absolute pain about my weight and once allowed any information worries it like terrier, unable to mind her own business. My life becomes a misery. But this bit of subterfuge should solve the problem.

Tomorrow will be the first fasting day.

 

To be objective.

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Yesterday, during a telephone call, a friend asked me how things were going for the LSO and myself. Although I refer to this person as a friend she actually knew the AP before me, meeting her about 16 years ago. The AP would have been about 84 years old then, still driving, active both physically and mentally and generally doing pretty well for her age. In retrospect I think my response was too honest. There is no way anyone can have any idea what we live with or what this person who lives with us has become unless, of course they have been down the same road or have stayed long enough to witness her manipulative ways and self interest.

The response I got was interesting and when looked at afterwards I realised that some things would have been best left unsaid, not strangely enough for them but for me and for the LSO. It was obvious that they think we exaggerate when in fact we tend to understate the problems. The AP can keep bluffing in the short term and appear to be what she always was but once they have gone the real person emerges. They only hear what they want to and because they all see so little of her or only communicate on the telephone, talk is of the past and any information given on present circumstances comes out very muddled later on. The AP can deal with the past, anything now or recent is forgotten, confused and mostly wrong and that is just a problem of old age. The LSO and I can cope with all that.

I guess in future I will limit my responses not that is, to pretend things are hunky-dory and going swimmingly but I do believe that for some they suffer an element of guilt that perhaps they didn’t do enough, or didn’t see what was coming. They don’t want to believe that the person they thought was sweet, intelligent and kind can also be devious, difficult and cruel especially to those closest to her.

They ask the questions but don’t really want to hear the answers. I have no doubt we are all guilty at one time or another of hiding behind a glass wall but for the LSO and myself the truth is not just out there but living with us.

It can make a world of difference.

 

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It is an interesting fact that it just takes a small gesture to alter your perspective on life. I was feeling particularly down about everything yesterday when a good friend rang with a suggestion. Nothing drastic just ‘had I tried the 5:2 diet’? Indeed I had and yes, it worked while I kept to it but unfortunately I found 500 calories on fast days an absolute no-no for me. Well it turns out that the author has changed it to 800 calories a day and that sounds very doable. Because I am unlikely to be going anywhere near a bookseller my lovely friend is sending me a copy of the book.

This one gesture made me feel one hundred percent better about life in general and a great deal more positive too.  Then the LSO went to buy compost and bought me some gorgeous amethyst coloured tulips. It may be cold and grey today but instead I do feel a hint of Spring may be in the air. A good frame of mind does make a difference when coping with the AP who muddles her way along causing chaos in her wake. It helps to bolsters me against the AP’s inevitable mood swings that can go from amenable one minute to a streak of vinegar the next.

She is being surprisingly reasonable at the moment and the only thing I can put it down to are the sheets left on the printer listing care homes in the area. Looking through things that are nothing to do with you is a dangerous occupation and with results very similar to the old adage of ‘eavesdroppers never hear any good of themselves’.

It makes a change to write in a more constructive way rather than having a carp although I do try to be as pragmatic as possible. Still, long may the present situation last although as I have said before, I won’t be holding my breath.