Tempus Fugit.

To say time flies is an understatement. As I get older it is speeding up and the more I pack into my day the faster it goes. Just to throw in a useful bit of information; the expression comes from book 3 of Virgil’s Georgics, (a ‘georgic’ for those interested, is a book dealing with agriculture or rural topics) where it appears as ‘fugit inreparabile tempus’ which translated as: ‘it escapes, irretrievable time’.

How immensely true that is, we cannot have back what has gone!

It’s a while since I posted and that is partly due to the disastrous meeting with the AP at the Care Home. It was a gloriously sunny day so we were able to meet outside which we felt was a bonus but we were wrong. She had just eaten her lunch and started moaning from the moment the care assistant wheeled her out. The meal was not good, although she couldn’t remember what it was, the sun was too bright although she was in the shade and there was no proper greeting or interest in anything other than herself and what the AP felt she needed. I was referred to as ‘she’ throughout the 30 minutes and the LSO was greeted with enthusiasm and told it was lovely to see him. The conversation moved swiftly on to how she needed money and why was I handling her affairs anyway when she could do them herself. The LSO gently told her that she was incapable of handling her own affairs and had been for many years. It was all very uncomfortable because she continued to be rude and unpleasant and I felt the old angst rising as a knot inside and knew we needed to depart before something was said that could never be taken back.

So it is a return to the weekly phone call when the AP is positive, almost friendly and reasonably pleasant to talk to, in fact it would appear she herself prefers things this way which is fine by me and far less upsetting.

But back to the speed at which time is passing. I have almost completed my first sunset painting and have decided to do some much smaller images of skies as a project but have sidetracked myself with the complexities of sourdough. Some years ago I attempted to make this wondrous bread but failed miserably producing a large number of doorstops; not for me I decided and went back to normal bread making with yeast. The LSO started making it and had much more success, producing beautiful, well risen and airy boules with the required holes but that all stopped when the AP who was living with us then complained that the bread was too chewy and tough.

Recently I bought Vanessa Kimbell’s ‘Ten Minute Sourdough’ and started from scratch making my own starter and what a joy it has been; success at last. There is something hugely satisfying and zen-like about bread making in general which calms and nurtures the soul.

On the subject of success, my weight loss has continued with a few blips along the way but is much slower than I had hoped. Could that have something to do with the sourdough bread? Indeed I had thought I would have achieved my goal at least by Christmas but I am having to accept that it will be a much longer journey than originally anticipated. I am not letting this get me down but I do need to plan better. I have a tendency to wing it with food; looking in the freezer and fridge in the morning, asking the LSO what he fancies and making snap decisions using what is available. Not perhaps the best way to do things, so now I need to think ahead to get to my first target which will be three stone off and I am a tantalising 5 pounds away from that, then a mere 14 pounds to go afterwards.

It was inevitable.

Indeed it was inevitable. My visit to the Diabetic Nurse this week revealed what I had already guessed; I am back to having Type 2 Diabetes although not as high a blood glucose count as last time.

A mixed blessing in some ways as it makes it even more important that I lose the excess weight again and the fear of the consequences that can occur because of it certainly focusses the mind.

Last time the LCHF diet worked well for me in the beginning but as I have said before, no diets are sustainable in the long term. No matter how often you say to yourself that you don’t miss the things you can’t have the inevitable happens and you do. So this time I will do some mixing and matching; a couple of months on this one then have a rest and continue dieting using the 800 5:2 diet. It’s not hugely different but allows a bit more flexibility.

I am trying not to be stressed as the years of being in a continual state of fight or flight mode because of the AP have taken a massive toll on my health never mind happiness. But I do feel much calmer as long as I don’t dwell too much on the past and the lost years. Visiting her still tends to be stressful but at least she is not living with us anymore.

An added bonus is that my love of cooking has returned and I am experimenting with a variety of vegetable, meat and fish dishes. The LSO is definitely still the long suffering one because to a greater extent he is having to eat the same meals as me but so far he seems to be enjoying them. So that’s a bonus.

I just need to get moving again once Storm Ciara passes and what a storm it is. I am writing this with the rain lashing the windows and the wind singing in the guttering and whistling in the chimney.

The number four.

Today is our daughter’s forty-fourth birthday. It is a stark reminder that time is slipping rapidly by and where have those years gone? We both remember the great joy we felt when she arrived and that feeling has remained constant to this very day.

Four is the number of stability and it just happens to be my life number. Pythagoras called the number four the Tetrad and believed it created perfect harmony so our lovely daughter has a double dose of stability and harmony this year.

It set me thinking about what we have to be grateful for in our lives and I would say our two children, their partners and our three grandchildren are pretty well top of the list but there are also other things that have made our lives good together. The LSO and I are lucky to be in this lovely home, we have good friends and although life has not always been a bed of roses we have survived almost fifty years of marriage and fifty-five years of friendship, in fact it will be our Golden Wedding next year.

I found myself breathing in slowly and deeply whilst contemplating all this, letting go of the stress and finding that we have much to be positive about and somehow, instead of moaning about how stressful everything is I need to find a way to harness these current emotions and to stop being a reflection of the depression that can sweep over us both. It would be going too far to suddenly become hugely compassionate because the five years of criticism and manipulation have left an indelible mark but I do not want our situation with the AP to define who I am or in fact who we are. Life is just too short for that.

Now back to the diet and hopefully my determination to succeed will not be ambushed the minute the sun sets over the yard arm.

A new way of life, not a penance.

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For those of us who remember Jesse in The Fast Show, he would emerge from his shed which looked very much like an outside khazi to tell the world about his latest dieting fad; then he would depart back to the shed. So in this blog I shall be mostly writing about my weight loss programme.

Well my new regime is not a fad and it is definitely having the desired effect. In 5 weeks I have lost 10 and a half pounds in weight and feel so much better than I did before. My blood pressure is slowly reducing as is the terrible angst I had been feeling and to improve matters further the AP cannot wind me up anymore. I thought cutting down so much on carbs would be really difficult but it hasn’t been and I no longer feel the need to snack in between meals. I generally don’t cook different meals for myself but just add the desired carbs to his and the AP’s plates. For example tonight is Beef Stroganoff, I will have buttered cabbage with mine and they will have rice and with the handy microwave patna rice available now it’s a doddle. The RMR has some excellent recipes on the site and really help if I get a bit stuck on what to cook. The meal plans also provide me with some excellent guidelines and I am becoming better at planning in advance instead of that morning.

I have battled a little with the protein balance but suddenly realised that if I am a bit excessive one day I can reduce the proportion the next day. Eating out no longer fills me with horror because I have discovered that restaurants will substitute the carbs in their dishes with extra vegetables or salad. The down side of eating out is the fact that in pub restaurants in particular an awful lot of the menu is dedicated to breads, batters, mash and the ubiquitous chip so I can be a little limited in what to choose. The wine is a bit of a problem because I do enjoy a glass or two in the evenings so although at the moment I seem to have found a balance I can see it becoming more difficult in the future.

I have also discovered some really quality gins that can be poured over lots of ice and I have found that a tot of good single malt whisky in a large glass with ice and soda makes a great summer aperitif. No carbs in sight but I guess too much alcohol would not be a good plan.

At the end of the day the regime cannot become a penance, life needs to be enjoyed, even if we still have the trials and tribulations of caring for the AP. So if I slip back slightly at any time I will not beat myself up about it but will just revert to being sensible the next day.

 

Crossing the line.

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Always in life there is are imaginary lines that are there in everything we do. The lines have a  number of functions, some are warnings but sometimes they can encourage development. So which line am I standing in front of today?

Yesterday evening was a fine example of the AP dominating the conversation all evening with endless stories of the past. the LSO and I have heard them many times and tend to turn off to them. Each time they get a bit more muddled and embellished becoming a stream of endless drivel. The AP managed to have an inevitable dig at me but only succeeded in making herself look silly and causing me to mentally back off even further.

At the moment she is pretending to our visitor that she can see but because I attend all her sight tests I know exactly what the AP can and cannot see. I had to finally leave the room especially when a comment was made about wonderful teachers who make a difference to their students. She then went into a long diatribe about a teacher ninety years ago who apparently also taught my cousin and remembered my mother as this hugely clever girl. I suppose we all feel the need to blow our own trumpets occasionally. The AP seems to have chosen to forget that I had been a teacher for thirty five years and I was good at my job. It’s difficult to know whether she means to demean me or is just becoming plain daft. I would prefer to think the latter but sadly when I hear her conversing with people I realise that she still possesses some native cunning that manifests itself in a sly nastiness. It is hard to understand my mother’s desire for superiority, why is it that she cannot accept her own short comings? Why can she not appreciate what she has instead of making our lives a misery?

I guess the line I am crossing at the moment is one of disinterest and detachment and sadly I am heading towards thoroughly disliking the AP. I am finding it hugely difficult to make an effort with her and am instead retreating into my shell which I know is not the right solution to the problem. I can but hope that crossing this particular line will help me to survive, I feel I am drowning in a never-ending sea of greyness. I am mentally struggling to find a positive approach when every bit of my being is crying out for a release from this state of imprisonment.

I am told there is a light at the end of the tunnel but at the moment it feels like it is the train coming towards me and if it isn’t that, it is a very, very long tunnel.

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.

You reap what you sow?

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I woke up this rather grey Sunday morning feeling pretty positive about life in general for a change. I got up, washed, dressed and came down to prepare breakfast. Our nephew is staying and for him it was bacon, egg, and fried bread. For the AP it was cereal, fruit, yogurt and a sprinkling of flaxseed. The LSO had already sorted his own breakfast earlier. For me it was grilled tomatoes on toast and they were delicious, straight out of the greenhouse. All in all a good beginning to the day then the AP started a conversation with her grandson and I felt an immediate sense of irritation wash over me as she bluffed her way to stardom making appropriate noises but having really no idea about anything. Why this feeling? It isn’t rational and is making me feel very unhappy. I need to have some empathy for the AP otherwise I am allowing her lack of it to affect my attitude to her.

So how do I turn all this around. I decided to refresh my memory about the Law of Resistance and it definitely rang some bells of recognition. I am becoming a victim, there is a definite sense of ‘poor me’ creeping in to my thoughts which I really must resist. I was reading that there is a Buddhist saying that says if we point a finger at someone there will be three pointing back at us. Interesting thought and it made me stop and think.

Our health is our karma, in which case I am affecting my own health and vitality with these feelings. Time to change, time to not resist the negatives but to embrace the positives. I feel like I am jumping into a void but I must find the person I was before the AP came to live with us. We, the LSO and I, need to discuss how we change things for the better for all of us. Not necessarily huge changes because I do believe that it is the small things that count.

Do we really reap what we sow? I guess so but if we study the Law of Grace everything can be put right but we have to make the necessary effort to do so.

Seventeen days to go to some clear thinking, to freedom, to spontaneity and to having some personal space back even if it is just for a little while.

 

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