Back on track again…….

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Well hopefully I’m back on track with the dieting. It certainly feels like an uphill struggle at the moment but I am sure that is all down to my attitude and weaknesses when it comes to food and drink. I am not overly fond of sweet potatoes for instance unless they are fried which is a bit of a drawback and so many recipes include these rather tasteless vegetables. I can of course leave them out or substitute something else but I often look at a recipe, see them in it and move on and end up doing something utterly unsuitable because I am cooking for three very different tastes.

But I am not giving up and am back to the swimming and hope to manage to fit in walking the dogs with the LSO at least once in the day this weekend.

The AP is keeping a low profile at the moment which is good in one way but rather worrying because from past performances we know she cannot sustain a pleasant exterior for too long. Her short term memory continues to fade but not where money is concerned which is quite amusing, she is obviously hanging onto that faculty as long as possible but everything else is out of the window and we are definitely living in echo valley. She continues though to irritate me with her assumptions that when something needs replacing in her rented property it cannot be the fact that the item in question is just old and worn out but it is always that the tenant has damaged it in some way. We have also witnessed the return of the ‘I know’ attitude but we are just ignoring that at the moment.

As I have said before, it is just a matter of time before the vinegary spleen rises up and we will be forced to say something. She continues to try to bully and dominate us every now and then but we cannot allow that to happen again. I am hugely weary of the whole situation but also have to accept that we can only do what we are doing and try to keep everything on an even keel. It is now over four years since we made the fateful decision to have the AP living with us, it is a decision we both regret. I try to not be bitter or dwell on the lost years but the LSO finds it much harder to deal with it all. Friends do find it difficult to understand but in most cases they lost their parents when they were much younger and before their mothers or fathers changed and change they do. There seems to be some kind of watershed that takes place after about 94 years. I do not recognise the person my mother is now; all refinements have been stripped away as she has aged and the brain begins to die leaving behind the more unpleasant sides to her personality.

All very sad.

 

Moving forward.

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Well, perhaps the title is a little misleading. I am attempting to move forward be it in small steps but I do believe that is better than not moving at all or even slipping backwards.

Looking philosophically at everything I am always interested in how there is a balance in everything. It equates I suppose to the fact there are always opposites at work in our lives. Good and evil, Yin and Yan, hot and cold, happiness and sadness, up and down, in and out and many more. I can remember years ago saying to our children that the world has to have these opposites, otherwise we can never experience the good things in life without the bad. But it does seem to be at times extreme and sadly we had the news today that our son and his partner have lost the much wanted baby they were expecting at the end of August. We are all upset at the news and my heart physically hurts for them and it is difficult to see any reason for all this. There are few words that express all our feelings, all we can do at times like this is keep the love alive and believe in the future.

I need to adopt the same attitude to the AP as she is being more and more irritating as April approaches. I do feel this is probably a sub-conscious reaction to the fact that she is going away for a whole month and will not be able to try to manipulate or dominate us for that time. I have been particularly careful to only do things that I want to do and I am avoiding issues that are contentious as well as ignoring the bullying tactics the AP employs to attempt to try to rule the household. I guess this could be contributing to her attitude at the moment.

The arrival of little Lucie in our lives has been a great experience, she is a remarkably bright puppy and is a delight to have around and even the benign Barney is beginning to settle to the fact that she is here to stay. Puppies are hard work but her presence has taken the focus off the AP and this has really helped the LSO and myself to cope and put strategies in place to keep the AP firmly in her place. She is having to take a back seat which is where she should have been in the beginning and although manoeuvring around the AP’s needs and the puppies needs can be difficult and at times demanding, it is definitely possible.

On another positive note I can report a weight loss of six and three-quarter pounds in two weeks whilst following the 5:2 diet. There is no noticeable change in shape, well I can’t see it but the weight has definitely reduced and I am delighted. I don’t find the regime difficult and in some ways actually enjoy the fast days knowing that I can eat well but reasonably for the other five days. Long may the reduction continue.

I must tackle the wool box, it is time to start knitting again.

 

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.

 

The need to be positive.

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I woke up this morning to another grey day and realised how much we need sunlight in our lives. The great greyness seems to seep into our very bones, our hearts and our minds and if, like us, you are experiencing a low point in life it is hard to fight off this enveloping yet invisible shroud. But fight it we must.

My lovely Goddaughter sent us a video of our little Minnow that she had taken almost 12 years ago and although watching it brought tears to our eyes it also made us smile. It also made me think of the importance of humour and light in our lives.

I remember all those corny old songs from decades ago such as ‘You are the sunshine of my life’, sung by Stevie Wonder,’I’ll follow the sun’ from the Beatles, ‘Follow the sun from Keep Searching’ by Del Shannon, (my age is showing here), ‘The warmth of the sun’ by the Beach Boys and how could I almost forget the Walker Brothers ‘The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore’. I am sure there are hundreds more and they all illustrate the importance of a ray of sunshine in life and how it can lift the spirits. It is all too easy to sink into a well of sadness and self pity which becomes all encompassing.

Humour is a form of sunshine and we certainly need to get that back in our lives. We have no control over the weather but we can do something positive about how we deal with our situation. The AP continues to sail onwards getting dottier by the day but at least this is a more acceptable side of her nature than the alter ego that pops out every now and then like a grey monster and snarls at us for no apparent reason. Mind you I won’t hold my breath, the nasty side of her nature is never far from the surface.

 

Obituary to a very special small terrier.

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Twelve years ago almost to the day we took on a small, boney and awkward but adorable Jack Russell Terrier who had not had the best start in life having been rejected by her mother. The LSO called her Minnow. I can remember being quite horrified as I had only just retired three months earlier, the LSO was still at work and our daughter was getting married the following month. We also had a Jack Russell Border Terrier cross called Rufus who loved people and children but hated ALL animals.

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I had been rejoicing in my new found freedom after thirty five years of work.¬†Well that state of euphoria certainly came to an abrupt end as we tried to find a way to make these two dogs accepting of each other. The house was like a battleground but after many months of special training for dysfunctional dogs for Rufus with The Walkabout Group we succeeded. From that point on the two dogs became inseparable until Rufus died at the ripe old age of seventeen and a half. Almost six years ago we re-homed a five year old Jack Russell called Barney whom Minnow wasn’t hugely keen on to begin with but in a short time our sweet little angular Minnow and the rather stocky but benign Barney became partners in crime.

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Sadly, today, that partnership came to an end. Dear little Minnow had developed several invasive cancers, the quality of her life was utterly compromised, nothing could be done and we had to make the unbearable decision to let her gently slip away.

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Minnow had filled a huge space in our lives, the lives of our children and also the AP’s, she too is upset at the loss. Minnow had been our constant companion for twelve years and the LSO worked out that he had covered more than seventeen thousand miles walking her every day. She had never been ill until the very end.

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The LSO and I are feeling a bit lost without her and the tears keep flowing. She was a lovely, special little dog and will be remembered with love and affection. Yet, I know we will have another dog despite knowing the pain of losing them. The upside is the unconditional love, the fierce loyalty and the companionship they give you during their short lives.