Tuesday, June 22, 2010

pain isn't interesting

This is partially a moan, but also just an observation.

The world of blogs reflects real life, the most read blogs are either on popular topics or very well written. When you narrow it down to health related topics, it's very revealing.

If you get cancer, or your kid gets cancer, you are carrying a baby with a fatal diagnosis - bad stuff, horrible stuff that I wouldn't wish on anyone - and you blog about it, whether you already had a blog or not, then people read it and people comment on it and if you are blessed with the skill of writing then you may have more followers than you ever imagined. I don't begrudge anyone any of those followers, but it reveals a truth that dicing with death is something that interests a lot of people.

I've followed blogs of unborn babies with fatal diagnoses, but once that baby has died, after a few weeks it undeniably drops lower down my list of things to read if I have time, but the grief isn't gone for the blogger, it's only just beginning. The statistics reveal that I'm not the only one.

Joints that need surgery are a lot more interesting than joints that don't, pain that comes from a dramatic accident is more interesting than pain from other sources.

My hip pain is boring, so boring that I'm bored of it, I rarely talk about it and I've got so used to it that as long as it remains within some boundaries I forget about the adaptations I've made and the things I don't do, but now I realise the consequences of that aren't great, I've not been thankful for the many things I have been able to do recently, but I've also been neglectful, it's not news to me that my body needs more than just time to recover from pregnancy and a c-section, I knew I needed to do physical therapy and I can't just blame the fact that I didn't on depression.

If I bother to listen, I know my body an awful lot better than I've been acting recently. To have a flare up of pain in my hip that other than immediately post surgery is the worst I've had since surgery or even in the year before it is not something I could have predicted, but I could have and should have predicted that something would happen, that the relative well being of my joints, muscles and ligaments was not because I was managing my body well.

Getting to a point where I needed crutches to get to the bathroom has presented me with a much bigger task to get to a manageable place because now I don't just have to deal with muscle weakness and imbalance with a moderate amount of pain thrown in, I know have to do it with severe pain and I also have to find someone who can help me do that, there are a lot of physical therapists around, but they all have areas they are more experienced in and hypermobility, hips and postpartum isn't something I currently have a good contact for, the best I did work with has relocated!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

speech recognition

This is typed using Microsoft speech recognition. I am trying to teach myself have to use it. I also have to teach my computer hard to understand me. Which is why there are a you must eight and there's. That was supposed to say mistakes. I am not correcting anything other than what I can correct using the voice commands I already know and I'm very impressed with this sentence. You to the use speech recognition to navigate not just dictate but I can practice better by dictating.

Unfortunately there are some commands and that I made accidentally then don't know how to stop them and have done some random things. I think I will use the mouse to publish this post rather than risk losing it.

Today we went to discovery and the tide was and there were some naturalists helping children find animals in the tide pools. We saw crabs, snail eggs, an anemone, starfish and lots of other things. We got all wet and sandy but despite not really planning and we seem to have survived without too much mass. That should say mess not mass.

Tonight sausage boy and I plan to go to a dancing show, I'm feeling tired but hopefully I will be able to keep my eyes open. At the moment dictation is slower than typing I think it will be worth practicing.

Friday, May 14, 2010

summer?

After a mild winter, we seemed to have a wet and cold spring, never being quite sure if we really were going to have a winter without snow, or if that frost was the last one, but finally, I think we can be confident of no more frost, plants will survive! This week has given us a brief hint of summer, but the forecast seems to be rain rain rain, other than tomorrow, which is supposed to be nice and we plan to join a walk around some tide pools.

Birthday season is about to hit us with great force, it begins on Monday with Banana Girl's "summer" birthday, her preschool class make sure each child gets to celebrate, so her June birthday is actually going to be celebrated on Monday, meaning we have to take a special snack, almost inevitably cupcakes.

Surprisingly no one has pronounced a desire to receive any specific present, other than Grace quite obviously desiring balls that are hers and can't be grabbed from her by big sister (well, they could still be grabbed, but at least not proclaimed as "mine").

Grace is walking all over the place, she's such a tiny thing, it looks really odd, Sausage Boy was similar, but he was at least a month older when he walked. She seems to be having a harder time with teething than we've experienced before and she's done the odd thing of having her top lateral incisors appear before her top central incisors, though she did follow the classic bottom central incisors first thing.

I've been baby proofing and have discovered there are some horrible things out there, but also a few rather nifty and relatively ok looking gadgets, which are of course rather more pricey! I also finally bought a mirror to put on the headrest of the seat her car seat is strapped to, she must have been more predictable, or just screamed to tell me she was awake or something, but I was finding I was asking Sausage Boy quite often whether she was asleep or awake, or having to get out of the car in the rain to check. She doesn't transfer at all, or nap reliably at home, so if she's asleep and I have flexibility, I'll use it, which sometimes means parking the car and reading or knitting whilst she sleeps!

Monday, May 10, 2010

"The Book Group"

I just stumbled across this TV show on hulu.com, it's a British comedy, originally aired on Channel 4 eight years ago. I'm glad I missed it then, so many bits of it just wouldn't have made sense.

I only even clicked on it because the thumbnail had a picture of an actress from "Green Wing", also available on hulu, an utterly bizarre comedy set in a hospital, which originally aired in 2004 and 2006.

The setup is an American in Glasgow who starts a book group, the American is played by Anne Dudek, who played a doctor applying to join the team in "House MD". Eight years ago neither actress was familiar to me, a show full of completely new faces is harder to get into (for me, at least), nor had I much experience of the US and had barely visited Scotland.

Eight years is more than a quarter of my life, it's two thirds of my adult life, but it's not long enough ago to make the show seem dated, it just makes me a different viewer.

It wasn't exactly a major plot element, but an ongoing thread about the drinking of tea tickled me no end, I could see if the other way around, Anne Dudek's character simply didn't know how to respond to putting the kettle on and drinking tea and I know that feeling, it's striking how different a social event is, or even a professional contact is when it doesn't begin with making tea of coffee together, it's not just the drinking of it, but the making of it, there's something about standing in the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil, it changes the whole dynamic.

It also gives a purpose to a social interaction, it's much less threatening to invite someone over for a cup of tea than over for a chat.

There appear to be two series of 6 episodes each, presumably twelve books, the first being "On the Road", by Jack Kerouac, which I haven't read, I've heard of it, but barely, it seems to make top 100 lists, whether they be of the twentieth century, or the English language in general. Whenever I see one of these lists, I seem to have read more than average, but started and not completed about as many as I actually have read and most of those before I ever saw such a list - so I didn't start them to "score points", though I'm not sure why I did, though why I failed to complete them is potentially an equally significant aspect of my personality. Apparently if you bear with the nonsense language of "A Clockwork Orange", it makes sense in the end, but after chapter one I gave up! So I suspect I could be a 0/12 on if I've read any of the books they are discussing.

Maybe it will inspire me to read more, to try one of the books they discuss, or then again, maybe not, I prefer to laugh than to read "seminal works", I even had to look up what seminal actually means, then laugh at myself for having spent 15+ years knowing what a seminal vesicle does, but not noticed that seminal and semen are derived from the same root - which explains why I'm not particularly hot when it comes to languages!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Postcards and blessings project

Sausage Boy and I have come up with a rather ambitious plan, we're going to try and send a postcard to someone in every state in the USA and hopefully receive one from each state too.

The idea is that we want to bring a smile to someone's face, or rather to lots of peoples' faces, we don't want to do a simple exchange, you send me one, I'll send you one, though if we link up with children who do want to do that, it would be great, but instead learn the blessing that an unexpected postcard or note can bring and practice that ourselves.

I chose the states of the USA as our target as an opportunity to learn some geography too! So now we need to get started, but we don't know many people in the USA, so if you have a friend or family member the could do with a smile right now, then please let me know and we'll send something to them very soon!

Monday, May 3, 2010

-ish

Banana Girl has discovered the suffix "ish" and it's rather fun to hear what words and concepts she is applying it to. Playish is a common feeling around here recently, it seems to specifically apply to board games, so "I'm feeling playish" means "Will you play snakes and ladders with me?". Being in the US, it's actually chutes and ladders, with appropriate pictures, which she calls slides and ladders, which sounds most peculiar.

Another one is crawlish, I've only heard it once, but it seemed very appropriate, Grace was sitting looking at an open door and we both sensed she was about to make a crawl for it and she announced "Grace is feeling crawlish", which seemed to sum up the situation fairly well.

Friday, April 23, 2010

eggplant - flop

I had nursed some eggplant seeds into germinating, they require warmth above room temperature, so I had to rig up a source of heat, eventually up they came, but when I checked on them today, they had all gone flop. My best guess is that I didn't give them light soon enough.

However, if I sow some more seeds again this weekend, I think they have a chance of being mature enough for planting out when the weather is warm enough, I'd planned on a 2nd and possibly 3rd sowing anyway, as it's hard to predict exactly when the weather is going to be warm and when the first frost will come.

If it doesn't work out, maybe I'll hit a local nursery or garden centre and see if they have any varieties that might work in our garden.

I'm also debating whether to chance a first sowing of beans soon, it may be too cool, but you get so many in a packet, that if it fails, it's no big deal. Carrots are also high on my mental to do list for getting in the ground.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Captain of the friendship

That phrase sounds ungrammatical to me, but it's what Sausage Boy's teacher calls a child when it's their week to tell the class about themselves, have their parents come in etc.

Today was parent presentation day and it's a hard act to follow when recently they had a brain surgeon in! We decided to talk about ballroom dancing and I decided my tactic would be to not plan it and cross my fingers that the students got involved and had questions.

Thankfully that approach worked great, I asked them if any of them had seen "Dancing with the Stars", which a lot of them had and then had them tell me any types of dances they could remember, which seemed to go fairly well for 6 and 7 year olds, even if some of the answers were the songs or themes.

We showed a video clip of Sausage Boy dancing and of a fairly good couple who were 9ish when the video was taken, then Sausage Boy demonstrated a cha cha, with Banana Girl, who has never taken a dance class, so though it was bad as Sausage Boy hasn't been doing classes recently and I was counting rather than using music and also trying to name the steps.

Then we clapped the rhythm together which I was impressed with and one of the girls asked a good question about types of music and the beat of the music in her ballet class.

Sausage Boy also showed some medals and ribbons, so all in all, it went extremely well and there were still hands up to ask questions when it was time for them to go to lunch, which is how it should be, rather than ending in an awkward silence!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Reorganising the house

I've beem musing for a while if a certain piece of furniture would fit in a different space and if it would work well there. I'd measured up and determined it would fit, but was undecided on whether or not it would work.

It's going to have to work as I've now moved it and I'm not moving it back! Unfortunately this means that currently about half of what it previously contained is on the dining room table, it needs sorting through and allocating a new home.

I also think I've returned most of the Duplo (big lego) collection to it's home, taped up some damaged boxes and done a few other bits and bobs that has made a big change to one corner of the back room.

Whether it was the exertion or just where my body is on the coughing thing right now, the result was lots of coughing, which seemed to cause pain beyond my chest, which hasn't gone away now I'm no longer coughing. I can't figure out if I feel worse because of how long this has been going on, or if it actually is worse, but the one thing it isn't is any better and it's 5 days out of the 7 of trying the current treatment before we move to trying a scheduled rather than just as needed inhaler - I didn't think 30 year old non smokers could develop asthma, but if the nurse practioner is right, then apparently they can!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I wish this were an April fool

I just read the first chapter of a book (online, you have to buy it to read the rest) about training a child.

I do think you have to train a child, at least in some areas, but I'm strongly against pain in very young children and deliberately creating tempting situations where you get a slap on the hand if you don't resist.

One training method was for what to do if a nursing baby bites - you should pull their hair! There are many training and preventing methods for this, that acheive the same result without being mean. I put Grace on the floor and say the milk bar is closed.

The first chaper is here

Saturday, April 3, 2010

green fingers

I really don't know how the previous owner of our house managed to grow as much as she did in the front garden, it is so overgrown, yet amongst it, there are things that are green, happy, with beautiful flowers, yet every time we dig, all there seems to be is sand, wood chips and leaves, I haven't really come across anything I would call soil!

Right now it looks like we've let wild animals loose as there are holes from a couple of things we pulled up completely, as well as the area uncovered because I broke a pipe!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

cough cough

I've finally made an appointment to see someone about this cough, I really have no concerns that it's anything but a leftover cough, but it's got so exhausting, I think it's time to try presciption rather than OTC cough suppresants, which means seeing a doctor.

Now I just need to figure out what to do with the rest of today!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How to inspire confidence...

...or not - seriously, if you're a doctor, don't tell your patient they know more about their condition than you do because you learnt about it in medical school and have since forgotten!

Unless of course I happen also to be a doctor, which I'm not, I know where the neck of the femur is and the acetabular labrum, I also know where the trochantric bursa is (but I probably can't spell it). I know I have a rare condition, but I work best with a doctor who knows that, admits that and tries to at least refresh their memory.

When Grace was born, I had a phone consult with the anaethetist beforehand, he apologised for being slow in returning my call because he had taken the time to do his research and talk to other anaethetists who had worked with someone with EDS.

Rare, but not life threatening makes for a condition that very little is known about, particularly when the disabilities it causes are that something is painful to do rather than impossible. It could be life threatening in certain circumstances, mostly if unrelated bad stuff happens, my risk on the operating table, or in recovery are greater than other people my age, my risk of falls is higher and thus complications from them.

One particular problem that I have is poor control of blood pressure and all that the medical community seems to know is there is a statistical link between EDS and orthostatic hypotension - something most people seem to get sometimes, feeling dizzy if you stand up to quickly, but I'm becoming suspicious that there may be more that hasn't been noticed, particularly as I suspect that ultimately what is currently hypermobility type EDS may well be split into subgroups, for example, I have worse skin than many in this group, but joint instability in the most commonly tested joints and directions of movements is not as bad, but some movements, particularly rotations seem worse - and it's these ones that seem to lead to bone and cartilidge deterioration.

I'm available for medical research should anyone want me! My obstetric history in particular seems to be almost unique, that I also have narcolepsy makes me particularly unique, working with 1 in 2000 for narcolepsy and 1 in 5000 for EDS, that makes me 1 in 10 million, making the expected overlap for two independent conditions be about 30 people in the USA, 6 in the UK, i.e. still a very small number even if underdiagnosis of both conditions make them more common than the current numbers suggest.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

...flop...

I definitely have more energy these days, tired, but more energetic. The longer days and the clock change work very well for me! I've been enjoying getting out in the garden after dinner.

Unforunately, last night, in an attempt to pull up some roots, I managed to snap the pipe to one of the sprinklers, it looks like we should just be able to get a new section of pipe, a small job, not a big job we hope!

I stood and stared at the front garden for a while, it is overplanted like crazy, all we've done since we moved here has been to remove things and more things and discover new things under the tall things etc. we got to being past caring what things got removed and if it's a thing that spreads, then we said good bye! Unfortunately these things have grown rather a lot of roots, I put in a handful of winter pansies in October or November to fill in some of the spaces and the poor plants didn't really have a chance.

I'm still not convinced if the remaining things deserve the title of plants, there are some nice ones, but in odd places, but I think we have to remove them rather than try and make things work around them because the "soil" is like trying to grow things in an extremely large pot that is severely root bound.

On a more positive note, I've transplanted some leeks, which was fun, if a little awkward with four people surrounding a pot only a foot wide and balancing Grace in my other arm.

There is still a lot of work to do, unfortunately more of the back breaking kind than the fun stuff. However I've discovered that Banana Girl is a good helper when it comes to washing the sides of older pots. Grace is a bit of a problem though, she gets cross if I close the door with her on the other side, even though she can see through it, I tried putting a line of toys to distract her, which worked, for about 5 minutes, until she crawled top speed across the deck and covered herself with soil! I'm wondering about trying a play pen in the middle of the deck, but it's evil to put up and take down and with the heavy work, I prefer to do it in short bursts!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Quilt Show

I finally made it to the Quilter's Anonymous show today, though the drive there freaked me out somewhat, the last few miles are a single lane in each direction road with no separation between the carriageways. The speed limit is mostly 55mph, which people don't really stick to and there are quite a lot of trucks and I ended up with a truck following me who clearly thought I was driving too slowly. Looking back, I probably should have just pulled off, but I found it pretty stressful, not leaving enough distance is a common driving mistake, but knowing that the most likely cause of a collision would be a head on and having a huge truck right on my tail didn't make it a pleasant drive.

This kind of show, where basically, members can show whatever they want, is quite revealing of current trends, there was one pattern, which annoyingly, I can't even visualise, which I saw three times and I'm not just talking the same general pattern, but identical dimensions, borders, fabric tones etc. the only difference being the exact choice of fabric. I wasn't on the look out for anything in particular, sometimes I'm looking for ideas on how to use a particular fabric, or quilt a particular design, but this time, I was just looking, but it's interesting to reflect on what attracted me, for some reason I was particularly drawn to hand quilting, which is a bit of a surprise. I've been musing for a while on a small whole cloth quilt and I'm now wondering if I should instead try a small hand quilted whole cloth.

Unless a quilt is designed to hang on a wall, then hanging them up isn't really the best way to display them, just as putting paintings on beds doesn't show them off! When I sat down to have a coffee and feed Grace, I could see quite a few quilts from different angles and I realised how much I'd missed on the first viewing, when I'd looked quite closely, so I wandered around again trying to look from different view points!

There was a good selection of minatures this year, I've done one minature and I was pleased with it, actually, it's the only thing I have hand quilted! The nice thing about minatures is that even though making the blocks takes no less time than making them larger, putting it together, quilting and binding it is way faster, you get a finished quilt very quickly!

After debating over joining the group for 3 years, I finally did, joining at the show costs 20 dollars and lasts until mid September, if I never go to a meeting, or do anything with it, then it's not the end of the world, but I do intend to try and get involved with a satellite group, hopefully I'll find one which has some under fifties in it! No offense to my many wonderful friends who are that age, but it would be nice to meet some younger quilters too!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Reading levels

Today was report card day, I'm not entirely convinced of the benefit of assessing kids quite so frequently, but it's interesting to see if the child we know and love is demonstrating the same things at school as he is at home. In particular, it's obvious to us that since the last report that he's made huge strides in reading, would the testing agree? Thankfully it did, which then raised the question what on earth do these random letters and numbers mean, I managed to for a chart that compares several different systems and they seem to be using two of them, one numerical and one alphabetical, I think they must have been labelling books according to "Reading Recovery Levels" which is a number, the first book I saw labelled with a number not a letter was K, so that fits, apparently he's now level M.

We've noticed that he's singing more and my assumption was that this was because he could now read the words on the overhead projector at church, I don't even know what they do in music at school, but I doubt it's singing words from a screen, apparently he's above grade level in that class. I've been wondering for a while if we should try and get him started on an instrument, one of our neighbours is an organist, I've been thinking of asking her if she teaches and if she'd consider trying it out with him.

The problem with counting rubbish

I've not been idle on the decluttering/organising project, but I've realised that unless I'm working on an area with a significant number of things destined for the bin, then counting them takes more time than it's worth! I've made some good progress on the bookshelf I use for sewing and quilting storage, but I've not thrown much out, at one point I began collecting things to be binned in a pile on the floor, but that turned out to be troublesome and potentially self defeating, I'm making a lot of temporary piles on the floor, which need to be moved at frequent intervals before they get attacked by a child (aka Grace).

I made a decision to box up my serger (overlocker in English), I got it free, I've used it, I intend to use it again in future, but it isn't something I'm likely to use fo just a few minutes here and there, so away seems like a good place! Unfortunately the box I found was about an inch too shallow, I think I'll just have to put it somewhere such that nothing could go on top of it.

My idea in that corner of the room is to have things organised such that I can sit down and sew for a few minutes here and there, mess and junk was accumulating such that that wasn't possible, but a major transformation is occuring, I really am getting there in this area.

Clutter is a big deal for me, I'm not a neat person, I usually rely on my good memory rather than rigid organisation. But the mess and clutter bother me, I'm not a hoarder in the sense that I don't throw anything away that I might potentially need, but I do err on the side of keeping things, or not processing them straight away. Paper is the biggest problem, it comes home in school bags, in the mail, and seems to multiply and every empty surface seems to attract it. We have a desk that we created to fit our house in the UK, amazingly it fitted perfectly here too, but it's now downstairs, it's a paper magnet, I don't think I've used "my" side of it since we moved here. I get frustrated that every time I put some effort into purging some of the paper and make a little space, it rapidly fills up again. Sometimes I wonder if I should find a very large box and just plonk everything into it and if we don't use it, then we don't need it!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I still don't like this title thing!

I'm full up of cold, my brain is working really slowly! Somehow, I managed to sort out some of the plants from yesterday, with some assistance from Banana Girl, we chose a pot for the ginger scented geranium, apparently it doesn't mind getting dry, or does it need deep roots, but it's ended up in a bigger pot than necessary as the one that looked perfect had a very happy lavender plant in it that I thought it best not to disturb.

I stared at a small pot of leeks for a while before eventually deciding they could survive a while longer in the pot they came in. Some swiss chard found a home in the middle of a large pot, I chose this plant because it comes up with multicoloured stems which apparently look fantastic in sunlight. I plan to put something around the edge of the container, but I haven't figured out what!

Whilst brewing a cup of tea I got brave and took the aerator to the old compost pile, it's quite liquidy down below, but the bubbles indicate it's doing something, I may need to mix some dry material into it, but we don't have a shortage of dry material, so that's ok.

The expensive garden centre

We have cleaners come every other week on a Wednesday morning, it's easier all round if I make myself scarce. So I took a trip to the garden centre.

Unfortunately, if you put lots of plants together, there is a good chance I'm going to be allergic to one of them and even though I avoided the ones I know about, wandering around the undercover section got quite uncomfortable.

I know large pots are expensive, but looking at those prices is not something I want to do again in a hurry. I did discover a type I've not noticed before, they look fairly authentic and are some kind of rubbery material in a double layer, so they would probably be good insulators, they are also lighter weight than the ceramic equivalent. As it happened, none of the shapes they had particularly appealed, so it wasn't difficult to say no!

I did find a tall metal pot in the reduced section, looking like it would look in a year or so if we'd bought it full price, so at 70% off, I've given it a new home. I'm thinking of putting leeks in it, unless I think of something else that needs a particularly deep root before I actually put the leeks in it (I'd already chosen one small transplant).

I was happy to find a few plants that it's hard to start from seed, but aren't ones I could pick up for less in Fred Meyer or The Home Depot, I might not have been 100% accurate, but I don't want to have to make another trip up there in a hurry.

My big find was a compost aerator, we have two compost bins, I have a vague idea to use the older one of the two for potatoes, but I'm not quite sure what it's like at the bottom. I also saw pop up potato bags, which I plan to investigate more online. I love small new potatoes, particularly in salad and they are so much better fresh than from the supermarket, but the idea of growing them is also to spend less, not just enjoy them!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

cough cough here, cough cough there, here a cough there a cough everywhere a cough cough

hmm, that's probably too long a title, but it's definitely what our house sounds like at the moment!

I just discovered Banana Girl's preschool has a teacher training day on Friday, I'm not thrilled, somehow I'd managed to miss out on the info until an email today, I think I even signed her up for lunch, rather than the sign up sheet being available but crossed out, which is usually what they do for random days off.

I'd been thinking of heading to a quilt show, but now I'm unsure what to do, a stubborn 4.5yr old could really wear me out, but I do want to go, it's a guild show, non juried, so it shows everything anyone wants to show, which means that rather than looking at quilts as works of art and craftsmanship that I could never aspire to, I actually pick up ideas that are potentially acheivable, whilst at the same time getting to drool over a few outstanding quilts, I didn't make it in 2008, but the 2008 best in show was on display in 2009 and I could have stared at it for hours, though rather irritatingly they'd hung it behind a table of people selling tickets, but I got bold and asked to look closer, it's the first quilt on thispage, which does it absolutely no justice, it has tiny stuffed berries, details sketched in and beautiful quilting. The five dollar entry fee and the drive up to Monroe was worth it just for that!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Does she like red jeans?

That may not have been the exact phrase, but it's the sentiment of an example of how not to treat a disabled teenager that I remember from sometime in my childhood. It was in a book, whether that was a school book, library book or something else, I do not recall, but or some reason it stuck in my head.

I'm feeling like that girl must have felt, I have thoughts, feelings, opinions etc. if you want to know what they are, then ask me, don't play chinese whispers, I can speak!

ouch!

I fell over Wednesday morning, I didn't slip or trip, nor did I feel pain before I went down, my left leg just vanished from under me. My ankle felt slightly sore afterwards, but it wasn't until Thursday morning that other pains started to appear. The whole hip area has the same kind of thing that you feel the day after unusual exertion, or the day after a car crash, perhaps a bit worse.

We'd already arranged some back up childcare for this afternoon, which I'm immensely greatful for, but I'm at a loss as to what to do with myself. I've got plenty of ideas as to what to do, but I'm not in the mood, maybe that is painkillers speaking.

I need to think of something to cook with beef that's already cut for stir fry, I got it out of the freezer yesterday, but decided I wasn't going to survive cooking before I'd made a plan other than what meat to use. I can't remember whether I bought it frozen, or put it straight in the freezer, so I really need to use it today.

I also seem to have chicken drumsticks multiplying in the freezer, so I need to find a recipe other than sticky ginger chicken to use them, yummy though that way of cooking them is.

I've done some more garden planning and I definitely want to plant some spinach ASAP, we eat loads of it and apparently they are good plants for growing in the shade. I've also come across some varities that aren't actually true spinach but can be used in the same way that are red or purple vines that can be grown in hanging baskets, which sounds rather fun. Banana Girl wants to grow pumpkins and having cleared a lot of material from our small south facing front garden last year, it seems like something worth trying, so we chose a couple of packets of seeds whilst we were picking up prescriptions yesterday. Since we are having a mild winter, it may be worth starting some of the seeds inside soon and taking a chance of putting them out earlier than normal, there should be enough in the packet that we can do some on the normal schedule too.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tidying, or not?

This project to chuck things out has just turned into a mega tidy, needed, but harder. I've opened out my quilting table to I have plenty of space to lay everything out so I can see what needs to be stored together and what doesn't. I decided I'm remove my serger from the corner of the sewing machine table, it's not currently threaded, so there doesn't seem to be much sense in it being there. I think now I've started working on my bedroom, I've got to finish, or at least have it as my primary goal and in other rooms only collect rubbish, not do anything else. At least that's the theory!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Container gardens

I'm not exactly green fingered, but I will try my hand with a few seeds and stick a few plants in the ground. One of my regrets when leaving Cambridge was the blueberry bushes I had to leave behind. I'd put a fair bit of research into what to buy and what to plant it in, I'd had to learn about soil types and figure out what ours was. I'd even worked out the likely return to know that it wasn't a waste of money, it was a sad day when I hauled them into the boot of the car to gift them to a friend.

Now, we have a north facing sheltered deck, it's really not all that amenable to much growing, but the previous owner managed it and I've continued to dabble, with mixed sucess, but bad weather last winter, being pregnant, then having a newborn made last season a wash out, I didn't plant any annuals, but it looks like most perennials did actually make it and are now doing very confused after such a mild winter!

Pretty much everything I know about gardening comes from the back of a seed packet, which equates to not very much! So last week, I bought a gardening book, all about growing food in containers, so I'm trying to approach this season with a bit more strategy. I now know our hardiness zone, heat zone and the average dates of the last frost of spring and the first frost of autumn, so now I've just got to figure out what I want to grow and when and where to plant it.

My previous approach has been one type of plant per container, but I'm discovering that mixing it up is more visually pleasing, makes better use of space and certain things help each other along.

I've read the basics and vegetables are the next section, it's time to start making some decisions, it's too late for things that should be planted before the winter, but there are plenty of things that can cope with a possible late frost.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

This crazy body

I really don't get this, conventional wisdom is that you stiffen up after being still, but the past few days have gone in reverse, my low back (I think it's the SI joints) stiffens up and this afternoon, it wasn't just an "I feel stiff" moment, but a "the broccoli is on the bottom shelf of the fridge how on earth am I going to get it" kind of moment.

Last week I finally picked up the phone to schedule an appointment to consider a cortisone shot in my hip, only to find that the doctor I've seen before has left, but it's been a long gap, so that's not such a big deal. I've never had a cortisone shot, I've got close, but me and needles in joints does not have a good history, the needle has only won once whilst I'm awake and it's a good job no one was monitoring my vital signs if the amount of sweat was anything to go by! I figure I've got to try it once otherwise I'll never know if it can help, at least if I know how it helps I can weigh that up with the risks, because from what I know it seems like the risks are from doing it repeatedly rather than just once.

Monday, March 8, 2010

2010 in 2010

I came across a challenge to declutter 2010 items from your home in 2010, the idea was by any method, bin, recycle, donate, sell etc. I had the realisation that I could easily get rid of 2010 items to trash or easy recycling, so I'm doing it and I'm not just going for doing it in the year, I'm going for doing it as fast as possible!

However, I don't want to make it too easy, I'm not counting every single sheet of paper, every single receipt, I found a back of small reels of thread that I had no idea what they were made of and haven't used in 10+ years, they were tangled with the odd thing that seemed worth keeping, so every handful that I separated off I counted as one.

I'm trying to attack areas where I know there is significant proportions of things that need to go, otherwise I get distracted organising, which is no bad thing. The idea of getting rid of 2010 things seems to freeing, I want to focus on that. The only problem is, I don't want to misjudge something that is precious to a child that I didn't know about, so I think I may have to create a half way house in the garage and keep things there for a couple of weeks. I may have to create a separate box that isn't rubbish, but is the keep for a year type of box, even if it becomes a keep for three years box, I think I can cope with that.

Which reminds me I cleared some clothes away before I was even pregnant, they weren't fashionable then I'd be loony to think they've come back in, so that's a few boxes I should go through. I figure any tidying, sorting, purging is good whatever the next few years bring. We've just created a space for Nathanael where he can shut the door and do men things, it's like an indoor shed, without the power tools. I've told him he can come to me with a list of things he wants and I'll either find them in the house, or depending on what is is to buy it

Friday, February 26, 2010

what sport?

Grace demonstrated a great trick recently, she appeared to be practicing starts for the luge (crazy sport where you slide down ice feet first), which had me wondering what olympic sports my other kids might be suited to.

I think Sausage Boy would be best in the coxes seat of a rowing eight, he seems headed to be the kind of height, weight and build that being 55kg on race day would be a non issue, he seems to have the right kind of personality and would have no fear of handling 8 men twice his size. He also has a very healthy sense of fear, he can spot hazards and isn't afraid to override others if necessary - the cox is in charge of the crew on the water, like the captain of a ship, I have no doubt that if he felt the conditions were unsafe, that he would override a coach. He only gets anxious about a hazard if it's not his job to do something about it and even then he does as much as his role allows. One example is when Grace was playing with something he deemed unsafe, but Andrew and I were ok with, he didn't take it from her, but watched her like a hawk, ready to jump up and take action if his fears looked like coming true. Realising his fear, we did then take it from her.

An acquaintence of mine died when their boat was swamped during training, it was reported in the press, but outside of the rowing world there is minimal knowledge of the risks, few other sports put athletes on water without a flotation device in vessels that are often flawed like Titanic or worse and being low in the water, conditions can make it come over the side, getting a hole isn't the only risk. So far he seems to demonstrate a personality that would fit the role of a cox, the ability to remain in charge of a vessel even if it's not what the coach wants you to do!

He likes to win, for him, completing a puzzle is winning a game, the pleasure of completing it comes from having beaten a piece of paper, so I could see him in sports where you compete one on one, but because of his size, it would have to be one with weight divisions, like boxing or judo, I can see him being good at them, but it may well not be something we'd even let him try, he went to a karate party once and knocked the instructor to the ground as he wasn't prepared for the mix of strength and coordination that came from one of the smallest kids there. It will take discernment in future to determine if such an activity might channel aggression to a safe time and place, or multiply it.

As for Banana Girl, she's independent, any team sport would have to be one where she could still be individual, like the leg of a relay, or an individual score in gymnastics, but not group rhythmic gymnastics or synchronised swimming. At heart, she's a dancer, so looking at olympic sports, that would be figure skating or rhythmic gymnastics, but already I see her not wanting to try things she knows she can't do, but also a perfectionist streak that perhaps as she grows she might be one who practices a move over and over again.

Grace is far to young to really have any idea, but given the recent tragedy of the death of an olympic luger during training, it's not exactly something I'll be encouraging! Physically, she seems to be our only child that demonstrates any sign of the height genes that we know are lurking on both sides of the family, but I doubt she's heading to be like my aunt, just my height or a bit more. The glimmers we see of her personality suggests the opposite to the individuality Banana Girl shows. She'll be influenced by being a third child, but with the gap, she'll also get plenty of time as an only child. For now I'll settle with lightweight rower, or middle distance runner (more scope for group training than long distance).

The great thing about blogs is that this is now recorded, it's not a diary entry that I might lose, or not keep up, because there is no point, or a thought that I had and will forget about in a few weeks, it has no short term impact in what activities they do and it's not an indication of any direction we would push them, just an awareness of doors I might want to knock on for them, the main action point for now is going to be keeping an eye open for dance opportunities for Banana Girl, she's desparate to do it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Rough day

My body isn't functioning today, ok, maybe that is an exageration, though as far as my right hand and forearm were concerned for an hour or so this morning it was true, quite literally, I've no idea what happened, no specific pain, but it's range of motion and strength reduced to about 10% of normal. I could hook the handle of my insulating mug over my hand, but not grip it with my thumb, I could lift my hand to my mouth, but not angle it so the spout was in the right place.

There is obviously something not right, I started typing this pain free and it's ramping up, though just at this moment in time function is actually pretty good, though I notice more errors are appearing and surprise surprise, they are coming from the right side of the keyboard.

I've had a gentle twinge in my forearm for months, it didn't get worse, it didn't get better, so I ignored it, not conciously, it just hasn't been a big deal, looking back, I realise there has been low grade pain from about September and on occasion, when I've gripped something hard, there has been a short sharp spike of extreme pain, but it's never even repeated once the dropped item has been caught and I try again.

The only hand/arm specialists I know of are all in the group that got dropped from our insurance, one of them got to the bottom of my 10 year wrist problem in about 10 minutes, so I'd like go back to him - if I can remember his name! It's probably worth paying the out of network rates if there isn't anyone local who's in network, going into Seattle is such a big job paying our percentage for a consult is pretty reasonable.

But it's not just this, which is just an added bonus struggle, my body just isn't coping with the physical demands of 3 children, particularly when one is a crawling baby. I really need to put some time in to physical therapy, or at least private pilates, a weekly session of hydrotherapy would probably be helpful too, along with a massage to nurse my body through it.

However, the logistics of that are overwhelming, I could get a reasonable attempt at all that at our gym, which has daycare facilities, I'd have to see a PT there to get the sessions in the pool, but right now there isn't a PT there who I feel confident working with. There is a fantastic pilates instructor, but he's difficult to get in with and definitely not at a convenient time and we'd have to pay for that. The massage therapist that seems to help me most also isn't there, so up pops the childcare issue, again.

Even if I did do everything there, going there 3-4 times a week and having to physially deal with getting each child in the right place is just not realistic right now. Twelve weeks doing that would probably make a huge difference to my physical condition, which for the past three months or so seems to be what has been the biggest factor in life management, it wouldn't fix me, but hopefully it could at least get me to a place where physically managing life is a possibility.

It feels wrong to be complaining about this, when comparing now to four years ago, when I could barely walk and couldn't even use crutches to help because my hands and shoulders wouldn't cooperate. Pain and function now are so much better than then. Back then, the children didn't make much difference, my difficulties were so significant that removing the children from the scenario would have still left me unable to care for myself, not being able to carry your baby is almost an irrelevant details if you can't actually walk to start off with!

Now, it feels like if you were to take the children away, then physically I could cope and I'd be free to take the time to improve and hopefully maintain, I'd be miserable without them, but there is no way anyone would consider my physical condition to be a disability, whereas 4 years ago, I was disabled, trying to care for two children made it harder, but remove them and I'd have still needed a wheelchair, adaptations in the house, etc.

I don't think I'm expressing myself well, I suppose it's like a sports person, you can have an injury that stops your career and takes time to rehab to live a relatively normal life, or you can have an injury that not only ends your career, but makes normal life challenging too. I'm in the first category, but instead of stopping my career, I'm muddling my way through it, doing very badly because my career is my children and thankfully they don't go away but because my body isn't keeping up with what's required of it I'm placing demands on others to fill in the gap, yet also it looks like (and feels like) I'm neglecting them. If I push myself harder, I don't just suffer more, which hard though that is, it is possible (anything is possible with God!), but it isn't just pain or exhaustion, it becomes muscle failure and being unsafe. Sometimes I can't get up off the floor, not because it's painful, I just can't, I can usually trying something else, or grab on to something, I don't worry about it, I don't have fear, but it happens, same with many other things. Plus, pain is distracting, what I have right now is nothing like childbirth, but even someone who copes very well with childbirth can't do that and drive a car at the same time.

I don't want to get into a mentality of trying to fix my body and thinking life will be hunky dory, but right now my body is teetering on the edge of making life unsafe or putting demands upon my husband that there aren't enough hours in the day for him to meet.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Rearrangements

I've suddenly found myself with a cot next to my bed, not really what I expected. We tried moving Grace into the spare room at Christmas time as she was making noises that were keeping me awake. Andrew was bed hopping in the aim of someone waking up before she really had to scream, she was still in her cosleeper and the last couple of weeks we've been really pushing the limit as to whether that was safe, so last night, out came the cot - which meant we had to decide where to put it.

Long term, it will probably go in with the other kids, our house layout works best with their bedroom being only for sleeping (we don't even store current clothes in there), so we can stack a few more kids in there, but she's waking too much to risk that just yet. There isn't space for it in the spare room whilst also preserving access to other things, plus Andrew views the spare room experiment as a failure, so it's back to our bedroom.

Last night was fine, it's oddly positioned, but by keeping the drop side down I can sit up and lift her in and out without injurying bits of me. Daytime naps might not work so well, our windows are south facing and on a sunny day a lot of light gets around the shutters, which are also annoyingly difficult to close, so we've long since adapted to sleeping with them open. Not that daytime naps were working fantastically well anyway!

It seems close to impossible to truly baby proof any section of the house, but that doesn't really seem to matter - if she won't let you go out of her sight, then she's never out of ours! Which buys us a little more time, it's mostly the other kids' toys that are the issue, but bins also seem to be a fascination.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The spoon theory

I read The Spoon Theory a few years ago, it makes sense, but I also didn't want to accept that my life at that time was an exercise in spoon theory and not one where I was making good decisions about what to use my spoons on.

Does anyone really live life with an infinite supply of spoons? Maybe they do, but the last time I felt like that must have been as a teenager. There have been periods of time since then where I've had a lot of spoons. The past couple of months it seems like I've deteriorated pretty quickly into very few spoons, so few that I've not really had any spare until the past week or so to actually think about where and when they went missing, it seems to me that swine flu was a major contributer, exhaustion and fatigue seem to have been out of control since then, particularly as sleep no longer seems to refresh.

Pain is up and down, my hip had a very unhappy January, but other than the 1st, February seems to be better and right now fatigue is massively more restricting than pain or stiffness, which I think just indicates quite how big a problem fatigue has become, considering that even very basic things like holding a cup of tea are painful.

I loved this comment from the spoon theory page, not just that some people have tablespoons and others have ladles, but that those of us that have tablespoons get grief for our best not being good enough. The whole thing is so hard to explain that I feel like few if any people understand my life in a world of smaller or reduced spoons and it doesn't help that I feel embarassed to say it. My depression will heal and I hope and pray that there will be times when the spoons are less limited. Narcolepsy is like Parkinson's, it gets worse, most sources say there are about 40 years of deterioration before some kind of stability. EDS just is, but there will probably be more unusual injuries and rehabs along with joint replacements, but what won't change is how many basic tasks take many times the usual amount of energy because my muscles don't just have to do the task, but also have to guard all the joints potentially displaced by the process. I just picked Grace up, not a big deal on the major muscle groups, she's only 15lb, but that was 15lb that also needed to be prevented from bending my fingers and wrists back to the point of pain or dropping her. Anyway, here's that quote...

When I saw the title Spoon Theory, I thought of an exercise from when I was training to be a volunteer counselor for survivors of sexual violence. The group of trainees was divided into two teams. Each team got a utensil and as many beans as they wanted. The idea was a relay to see who could get the most beans into a bucket at the other side of the room. The other team got a ladle, I got a tablespoon. Then as I'm trying to balance as many dried beans as possible on a tablespoon the trainer starts telling me what a bad job I'm doing compared to the woman with the ladle. But she does not acknowledge that I've got a spoon and the other team has a ladle.

This was an important moment for me because it felt exactly how many people treated me after I developed severe migraines and eventually an unrelated mental illness. When I spoke about this after the exercise the trainer told me this is what oppression feels like.

I love your spoon theory because it gets to the heart of what a disability requires, and I love my spoon story because it shows what it feels like to live in a world that often does not acknowledge our effort.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

wow, more inside than out

I saw a post about a 9mth old saying how they had now enjoyed their baby for longer than mum had been pregnant, so I ran the numbers for Grace, from the earliest possible date of conception, she was 8mths and 2 days from then at birth, she's 8mths and 4 days old, so whatever way you look at it she's been longer outside than in, not that this really signifies anything, but with my numerical mind, it feels significant.

Tesco bans shoppers in nightwear and bare feet

See article here.

I can see there problem with bare feet, but wouldn't a notice stating it was at your own risk cover that one?

Are they going to start defining what nightwear is? If I wear it in bed at night does it become nightwear? So those old sports trousers that I wore in bed during pregnancy are forever banned from seeing the light of day?

I don't know if this Tesco is 24hrs, but if you have to do an emergency middle of the night shop, getting dressed isn't high on my list of priorities.

But then you are talking to the woman who deliberately has outside shoes for slippers, so that if I forget to change them, no one notices.

Friday, January 15, 2010

more on breastfeeding in public

Wikipedia have a page on this subject, which of course will change, but that doesn't stop me from commenting on what it says right now!

What it says about China (public breastfeeding is embarassing), doesn't surprise me at all, I noticed similar in Korea, I saw mothers trying to feed bottles of what was clearly breastmilk, not suceeding, or running out and reluctantly offering the breast.

That women in Saudi Arabia breastfeed in public, even when veiled, doesn't surprise me in the least, it fits other reports I've seen of breastfeeding in other muslim countries as well as our personal experience with an Egyptian muslim we met in antenatal class, she kept her head covered and carefully scheduled her baby swim class to avoid a man seeing her (and would graciously skip class if a dad wanted to join in or take photos), but had no problem breastfeeding in front of those same men.

I'm very happy to read the 84% figure of Brits who feel comfortable with breastfeeding in public, if done discreetly, it's interesting that mothers are less confident. I dislike the qualification of discreetness, but having never seen a nursing cover in the UK and very limited availability of nursing clothes, breastfeeding discreetly probably has quite a different meaning in the UK to in the US.

So we move on to the United States, source of very many controversies, Bill Maher's comments wind me up, though to some extent lactivists have brought this on us by hammering that it's ok because it's natural, because like he says, so are plenty of things that we really don't want to see! It's more about a baby's need to eat frequently, there are plenty of places where you don't expect an adult to eat, but you might feed a toddler a non messy snack, babies need to eat and the bathroom isn't the place to do that, I don't particularly like breastfeeding in a restaurant, booths and spaces between tables can make it quite awkward, but practicality means it happens.

I don't know who Barbara Walters is, nor have ever seen "The View", so I'm not aware of the context of her remark about being uncomfortable sitting next to a breastfeeding mother on a flight. Flights are one of those situations where you really do lack choices, even a mother who never breastfeeds in public will likely have to do so on all but the shortest flight, so what to you expect the woman to do? Particularly if you consider that breastfeeding in an airline seat is probably unfamiliar for both mother and baby and she's probably trying to avoid flailing limbs from giving someone a whack as well as dealing with a baby who might not find it as easy to latch on as usual.

I had the sweetest most sympthetic people around me when attempting to deal with a non breastfeeding 20mth old who was not at all impressed that she had to sit on my knee and not try and climb over to dad and was avoiding all attempts to distract or calm her down, which she eventually did once the seatbelt signs were switched off, but at that moment, I really wished that she was still nursing.

I wasn't a breastfeeding mother when the facebook controversy began, though having seen some of the pictures, their excuse of exposed breast violating their decency policy was bizarre some of the time, though not always and they certainly haven't demonstrated that they enforce that policy at other times, so it really does look like they were considered obscene because of what they were doing, not what was on display and that facebook reacted without much thought to whatever complaints were received.

fade out, fade in

I'm been noticing that some things that are consequences of being depressed, rather than actual symptoms fade out a lot more easily than they fade back in.

Take meals, dinner in particular, I'm not going to claim that I had some amazing system and produced beautiful, nutritional dinners on a daily basis, but things chugged along ok. I had my system and was improving it, getting used to products and sizes available in the US etc. then along comes depression and gaps start to appear, take outs and convenience food increases, fresh ingredients decrease and eventually reduces to zero and I don't really even notice.

Thanks to scheduled delivery with Amazon Fresh, groceries appear, but given they haven't yet got it all wired into our fridges and freezers, sandwich fillings multiple, but we have no bread to put them on, or vice versa.

We survive, people bring meals around (thank you!), but often I don't remember who brought what, or what they brought it in, resulting in random containers multiplying and I've no idea who to return them to (shout if you think we have something of yours!).

We continue to survive, I try to buy things for the cupboards and freezer, so we always have something on hand, but I forget where I put them, or even that I ever bought them and I forget to check the labels (who knew that tomato paste wasn't necessarily wheat free).

So whilst I feel like in terms of depression I'm better today than I was in March, dinner landing on the table is worse than various points even after then, when there was still some underlying organisation.

It would seem like as my symptoms get better then so also should dinner, but it seems that there is definitely a significant time lag and that I'm going to really have to take some steps to try and pull things together.

My freezer keeps throwing chicken thighs at me, obviously I went through a phase of buying them in bulk if they were on sale as they are in packages from different stores.

Having plenty of things on hand actually makes menu planning harder, I used to plan 5 or 6 meals each week and I'd have a pretty good idea without looking what I needed to buy and what I should have on hand, so it was a pretty quick process and I could cope with any inaccuracies. Now, planning a week of meals seems like a huge task, I would have to check almost every single item, which even then might not be very reliable, given how many different places I've discovered pineapple in recently. So I don't plan, which may save me a big task on one day, but instead presents a daily challenge.

I feel like to get things going again I need to take an inventory of my cupboards and freezer, but when am I going to do that? I do have a plan for tonight though, coconut pork with peaches.

I use dinner as my example, but it seems like the same applies across all areas of life.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Depression and Spirituality

I've read a couple of books, talked with various people, but perhaps I was just so depressed at the time I couldn't even extract a summary.

Bullying in the Church of England hit the news this week, which led me to a support site and a page on there really struck a chord with me.

For me there hasn't been bullying in my recent past (oddly enough I received a letter of apology for bullying that happened 20+ years ago, I never responded, I didn't know what to say, I didn't perceive that I had been bullied, so what do you say?), but the possibility of post traumatic stress disorder has come up, so as I read through, the ideas of illness and injury both applied.

I have particularly noticed difficulty in praying, it's always something I felt bad at and undisciplined at, but knowing that it was usually something I put effort into scheduling with other people. In September 2008, I began meeting with a small group to pray for the church that would become The Downtown Church, I went because God very clearly commanded me to be there, not because I wanted to be there! As time went on I found it harder and harder and many times someone would find me in floods of tears in the foyer. As I look back and see the early signs of depression, difficulty in prayer and bible study started to occur around the same time, but not before.

I realise how far I've come as a believer since my last battle with depression, during that, even getting me to church was fairly hit and miss and if I made it, listening to the sermon was not high on my list of priorities. But I have grown, I've missed a few Sundays in 2009, but only a couple were not physical illness and it's not just habit, it's because it's grown in importance as something I should do as a believer, such that however bad I felt I usually made it.

I find it hard to worship, often I don't join in with the singing, listening to it encourages me, but to truely worship is hard.

I'm still finding it very hard to pray, I want to pray before I read the bible and I do, but it's hard. It would be surprising if it were otherwise because depression effects how your mind works. I love to cook, but it's not just lack of motivation and low energy that makes it hard, actually functioning in the kitchen can be a struggle, there are things I do now to make it easier that I wouldn't have needed to do before, and hopefully won't need in future, such as having to get every ingredient out and lined up rather like they do on the TV. Following a recipe became very hard work, but having the imagination to go without was missing too (I'm the kind of cook that does both), but slowly it's improving, I was rather pleased with a chicken and cashew nut stir fry I produced earlier in the week.

However, I don't believe that depression cannot have a spiritual element, I can't go into the theology of demonic activity here, but if they are there, then medical treatment may not help until they are dealt with. However if I'm having a bad day, to quickly label it as satan discouraging me ignores the physiology, if I had a bad night of sleep and then random bad stuff happen in the day, it's hardly likely to be a good day!

Guilt, I'm not sure I even want to go there, feelings of guilt are a normal symptom of depression and I do feel I got into a cycle of depression, guilt, trying, failing, more depression.

I'm getting better, but I'm still depressed, we've found a treatment that seems to work, slowly I'm pulling bits of life back together. I'm abiding in the word each day, praying is much harder. Our church has a women's prayer meeting at 6.45am on Tuesdays, I'm being cautious and saying that for now, until I can get the get up at 7 habit down, it will have to wait, but it's on my radar, February maybe.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

word barriers

In order to communicate we need words, sometimes words describe a concept, otherwise we'd always have to talk with long descriptions of the concept and communication would be rather long winded, same with definitions.

The problem is, or at least it is for me, that I have a hard time remembering the name that applies to a concept or definition. When introduced to group theory, I understood the words applied to the 4 defining rules, so I knew that associative meant you could put brackets anywhere and it didn't make a difference, so when the word was used, I knew what we were referring to, even if it took me time to apply it.

I also understood the meaning of commutative, you can do things in any order, but the stumbling block was my inability to remember that an abelian group was a commutative group. Abelian is apparently in honour of someone called Neils Abel, but the capital letter is not used. Calling abelian groups commutative groups would have definitely helped me overcome that stumbling block, but not when the new words weren't (to my knowledge) derived from a name.

Monotonic was a word it took me rather too long to get my head around and a question beginning "If f is a monotonically increasing function..." left me stumped, I could look up the definition, but couldn't remember it and thus when something was explained as "because f is a monotonically increasing function", what they did with the symbols was meaningless.

These days, I think I have my head around that definition and many others, and it's often down to google or wikipedia, which didn't exist when I was a student. I had books and they usually had indexes, which I did use, but it's clear in retrospect that I do struggle to connect words and meanings and I with a new word I need many and varied examples to hammer it home. Unfortunately the speed of university teaching, at least at the university I attended doesn't allow for that and it did seem to be the biggest barrier for me in some areas.

I still have trouble now, but it tends to come up more with words in bible studies and sermons, or general theological discussions. I've come across Calvinism and
Arminism, I've looked them up, I've discussed the concepts of both of them and if you have a conversation with me about those concepts I'll be able to respond, use the words and I'll try hard to disguise that I've lost the plot, but in my mind probably all I'll be able to recall is that Methodists are one and Anglicans the other! Go any further with theological words and you'll lose me completely, but the irritating thing from my perspective is I've looked them up, I've read about them, I may have an opinion, or have decided it's something that doesn't effect my core beliefs or how I lead my life, so I'll leave it to the experts.

Maybe this is how everyone is, we just don't talk about it and most of us are clueless when they come up, or maybe not! With theology the words blow my mind so much, that I struggle to get past the hurdle of is the word a definition, one that has a widely accepted meaning, but as all Christians are not in agreement may hold the agreed upon meaning with different levels of importance or simply not believe at all, or is the word or phrase in common use, but has different meanings to different people! It's complicated!

It's almost as if words that never entered my head in childhood can no longer be assigned a meaning in my internal dictionary. I'm sure I heard words that I didn't understand and the meaning of them has changed in my mind, but if the word isn't there then it takes hearing it many times for a space to open up and a definition to be assigned.

I am seriously rambling now! I've been thinking of this for two reasons, one has been recalling mathematical jokes, the other that we are beginning a sermon series on doctrine at church next week and I'm wondering if I'll end up completely lost, or only a little bit!

Monday, January 4, 2010

looking forward...

The new year and reading others reviews of the last year, or even the last decade and also making new year's resolutions make me oscillate between wanting to do something similar and wanting to find some sand to bury my head in!

I haven't made any new year's resolutions, I rarely do, though there are a few things that I've decided to do over the last few weeks.

One decision I made was to read the bible chronologically, I've only done this in a very rough interpretation, the bible as a novel, I don't recall the author and I think that there are more than just the one such text around, but this time I want to do it from the version we use at church. I found a nifty website that will produce you a schedule, including links to the text available at biblegateway.com, I didn't look for this until the 1st January, having decided to wait to start until then, but you can choose to start on the 1st or 15th of any month (the programmer in me wonders why if you're going to give choice why can it not be any choice). I've set the page as my homepage, I plan to read from my bible rather than online, but have already found the online link useful to cross reference something.

Another plan was to exercise more, which resulted in us buying a low end stationary recumbent bike, then me feeling guilty I wasn't using it much because I was still feeling grotty after swine flu, but I have now managed to do reasonable chunks of time though at fairly low resistance and moderate rpms. I don't know if what I've been doing will continue to work with our schedule, but at the moment I'm working out in my pajamas, before I shower, which saves excessive changing of clothes and extra showers!

So whilst these aren't new year's resolutions in the traditional sense, they are resolutions in some way, but hopefully ones that as the came out of desire and thought that aren't ones so easily thrown aside!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Arphaxad

Unborn babies often get "womb names", I think I was Jemima (or maybe I dreamt that!), when I became pregnant with Sausage Boy, a few people we knew were calling their unborn babies names from the bible that were unlikely to be used for real.

As DH and I share an initial and my parents share an initial, we were not going to go the route of having the whole family share an initial, so it seemed to me like giving the bump a name beginning with A made sense, so I started at the beginning of the bible and read until I found an A name that I liked, I didn't have to get far before we settled on Arphaxad, it's in Genesis 10!

I was reminded of all this because I read that chapter today, but in the ESV I bought because our church here uses that version (I used to use the NIV), but it is spelled Arpachshad, rightly or wrongly, that grates on me, I can be pretty confident if that is the first spelling I'd seen I'd have skipped over it to the next A name!

My knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet and pronunciation is pretty hazy, I may have been making the sound of "Arphaxad" in my head wrong all the time and I'm almost certainly mispronouncing the intended pronunciation of "Arpachshad", but it's not a transliteration system I'm familiar with and at this moment in time, not one I like! Though that is just due to the emotional attachment, not any linguistic knowledge.

I remember exchanging emails with my Gran and she sent me as graphic of Arphaxad in Egyptian hieroglyphs, which, for want of a better word, I found exceedingly cool!

Whilst I'm on this topic, Banana Girl was Zadok, which relates to Sausage Boy's real life name, though we ended up having her share our initial and our attempts to avoid that were a frequent topic of conversation on bus rides and a point of unspoken dispute resulting from me asking to call her that at a time and place DH felt unable to refuse. Grace's in utero name was much more gradually reached upon and not much used, but officially, she was Runner Bean!

breastfeeding, whenever and wherever

I stumbled across this article today

http://www.mothering.com/bashful-brazen-indiscreet-breastfeeders-manifesto

Whilst I don't agree with her 100%, it does pretty much sum up how I feel, including being close to tears when asked to cover up, though the one time that happened to me, there wasn't even anything on display! The other bad experience that I had implied that the act of breastfeeding was disgusting and that me covering up wouldn't have made a difference, no tears there, just anger.

I quite like to wear dresses, so the idea of not wearing dresses, particularly in summer, has been a slight frustration for me. Maybe button up dresses were "in" back when this article was written, in 2001, I had a button up maternity dress bought on clearance in 2002, so that would make sense.

However, whilst a button up dress never occured to me as appropriate attire for breastfeeding, I did quickly find that a shirt of blouse was much easier to lift than to unbutton whilst juggling a baby, regardless of your desire for discreetness!

I have a picture of me and Sausage Boy 3 days after his birth, where I am wearing a shirt unbuttoned from the top, he's not even latched on, I'm not sure whether he was pre or post feed, but I'm holding him with one hand and a glass of champagne in the other!

I don't know whether it was my dad or mum who took the picture, but I was definitely in male company beyond my husband! (Events since then have revealed that I have a smaller comfort zone than my dad when it comes to my breasts)! I don't care that that moment got caught on camera, but nor would I breastfeed like that other than in my own home amongst fairly restricted company. These days I wouldn't even do that in my own living room, if my neigbours can wave to me in there, it's not exactly a private place!

I have pulled down a swimsuit when I've felt there is no other option, but any negative feelings are still more about my comfort than anyone elses, there are plenty of bikinis out there that reveal more and you won't find me wearing one of them!

So my breastfeeding manifesto wouldn't be quite as brazen as the author's - I'll breastfeed in whatever I'm wearing, because if I'm with my baby I'll be wearing something convenient to feed in and given I usually have trouble doing up a nursing bra one handed it isn't going to involve undoing buttons.

The second statement is something I aspire to, but inside myself, I'm not there right now.

It's her final statement that really sums up why I feel this way, because though I prefer to breastfeed discreetly, reality doesn't always allow this, early on it can be due to the duo learning what to do and many other reasons.

Until recently, I hadn't given much consideration to the "desexualise the breast" aspect though I think it subconciously influenced my thoughts, I've thought about this quite a lot recently and would now consider it part of my reasoning behind how I choose to breastfeed.

You may notice I use the word breastfeed, not nurse - primarily it's a language issue, we use the word breastfeeding in the UK. Living in the US for 3 years has made me slip into many american linguistic twists, including at times referring to breastfeeding as nursing, I'll probably still slip into that at times, but I'm now making a concious choice to call it breastfeeding, because that is what it is, you can nurse a baby using a bottle because nursing describes the emotional relationship, even if a modern american dictionary would give one of the definitions as breastfeeding.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A wierd dream

I had an odd dream this morning.

Someone died - which though not for me a common occurance in dreams isn't particularly remarkable.

The quirk arose as I didn't know the person had died and was seeing her in all the places I'd expect to see her and thus other things that were happening didn't make sense.

So the next time I saw this person, I tried to talk to them and the response was finger to lips "shh....", with a look that said, I'm with my family, don't let them in on our secret.

I suppose it's kind of logical that if you are seeing visions of a dead person, it might not be a good idea to announce that to the bereaved family, but then logic doesn't usually apply to dreams.

So I woke with a mixture of feeling, including that I was going crazy and that I should have noticed as everytime I'd seen her in the dream she was wearing the same clothes and had her hair exactly the same way - but of course it was a dream, so I was only dreaming that I was having visions and not recognising that I was having them. I was still left with a nagging feeling that I needed to check this person was still alive. Thankfully as I became fully awake, I could rationally put the dream into perspective as just a dream, but there is still a bit of me that will be anxious to see this person the next time I'm present where she usually would be and hoping that she isn't wearing the same clothes as in the dream.