ellenscult: (glima)
I had my assessment today for PIP (Personal Independence Payment, replaces Disability Living Allowance). A very nice psychiatric nurse came out to my house and went through a long questionnaire. So, fingers crossed. I'd really like to be accepted for PIP - it's not a huge sum of money, but it'd mean that maybe every once in a while I could afford to go for a massage to sort out my neck and shoulders, or pay someone to cut the hedge or come and hoover for me. I could take the car to a car wash. Little things that'd make a huge difference. Mind you, I'd like more to be able to do all of those things myself - I very much resent ME for stealing away my brain and my stamina bit by bit. Gah! I miss rock climbing. I miss swimming. And yes, I could go swimming here - there are swimming pools in Antrim and in Ballymena. But what I can't do is drive to the swimming pool, get changed, go swimming, get showered and changed, then drive home.

Anyway, enough of that! As I mentioned in my last post (honestly, I had to check, I have slow brain today, I couldn't remember if I'd mentioned it or not, duh), [livejournal.com profile] palmersperry came to visit and stayed a week (the fool! You'd think he'd know better by now!) and it was lovely to see him and catch up. I have a few photos, so I'll pop them under a cut in case anyone's interested. We went round HMS Caroline, and Saturday we all went to Glenarriff and then to the Giant's Causeway. I sat in the back with the dogs and now have a lovely collection of bruises on my thighs from being kicked by Newton. Lovely! We went round Antrim Castle Grounds and Clotworthy House (Antrim Castle burned down in mysterious circumstances in the '20s. Hmmm) - they've done it up a lot in the last few years and you can go up the 12th Century motte, which is very cool.

Photos )

So there you go, a good week filled with going places and doing stuff. Today I am exhausted and my brain is slow and there's a really annoying bluebottle buzzing around the living room, which will freak Planck out when he comes back inside. I have a form to fill out. I gave up as a bad job yesterday when I made 3 stupid errors in the first 2 pages. Somehow I suspect today will be worse. Never mind, eh? Have a great week, all, and enjoy the sunshine if you've got it.
ellenscult: (funky)
New things come up and I retreat back into silence and a few bottles of wine, curling up like a curly thing. DH needs rather urgent eye surgery - stressful and scary stuff. He'll be having it done on the 8th of September iirc, and we don't know if this will be covered by Optical Express or if we'll have to pay for it. Erm.... So anyway, that reaction isn't helpful at all. I've ditched the wine and am trying meditation instead (better for my liver, waistline, head and bank account, duh). I've started up my ME diary again, keeping track of what I do and what I eat, my mood and energy levels, etc, which keeps me more aware of how I'm doing, too.

[livejournal.com profile] palmersperry is visiting for a few days; we've been round IKEA and have taken the dogs out to Tardree Forest for a (slow) walk. Later today we're off to see HMS Caroline in Belfast, and weather permitting, we'll be off to the Giants Causeway, the Glens of Antrim and Slemish over the next few days. Today I'm a bit tired and slow, though - trying to get my brain into gear and it's just not quite happening, eh. *shrug*

Hmm... Let's see, DH is at the end of week 9 of his 3-month probationary period in his new job; the dogs are doing fine; I caught up on my laundry the couple of sunny days we had, and I've cleaned out the parlour some (always more to do). I'm making time for meditation, writing and Duolinguo (Italian). I'm working on uncurling and staying out from under that rock. Oh, and I have a sneaky ninja slug in my kitchen (I think it's migrated out into the living room overnight) - I keep following the trail and then the trail vanishes and there's still no sign of the bloody thing. Gah!

Right, time for a cuppa, then a pootle down to Belfast.
ellenscult: (perky)
Yesterday I had my first counselling session with a wonderful lady; I think it's going to help immensely. For a start, it's helping me clarify what issues I have, where I want to be, and what will help me get there. I've been a carer for the last six and a half years, full-time for the last four; it was a very traumatic adjustment into being a carer, and now I need to learn how not to be one, how to reframe my sense of self, my perspective. I'm still depressed, but nowhere near as much as, say, last year. I still have anxiety, but it tends to be specific rather than general, which is something I've had most of my life. Within the constraints of my ME, I need to get some exercise - my physical condition is poor, worse than it's been since I had glandular fever (which, btw, will be 14 years ago this September) and subsequently spent 6 months pretty much asleep. And I need to make up my mind whether or not babies will be a part of my life, our lives. DH and I were talking about that back when I was 35, and now I'm 41. Clock's ticking! There's health, mental health, finances and inclinations to take into consideration. Also, genetically speaking, my totally amazing nephew, Dan, is mine. *heh* Benefits of being an identical twin! Is that enough? Should it be? I really wish I could ask my 50 year old self which way to go on this one!

Anyway, my homework this week is to take some time every day and do something just for me. So today I've watched a couple of episodes of the Great British Sewing Bee and done my nails (badly, but I don't care). I've had a cuppa and a slice of Ethel's fab cake. I've come out from under my rock and said hi. And once I've finished nattering on here I'm going to check the Wimbledon scores and sew the ears on the Failynn Fox Cowl I knitted yesterday for Ethel's grandson. Yay, barter! Better get used to it if the Pound keeps on tanking... Anyone fancy coming and doing some housework or gardening in exchange for knitted things? No? Oh, well, never mind.

So, yeah, today I'm feeling a little more upbeat, a little more as though I can actually do things, want things just for me, have the possibility of a wider life. We'll see. 
ellenscult: (balls)
Not much to say these days, but our oldest pup, Planck, goes for his first hip replacement operation next week in Belfast. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for his recovery, but I've also got some dog food designed to help with joint problems, and this evening I'm watching the film about the Bielski brothers. Thanks to ME I have some facial myalgia at the mo, which is rather painful, but we got to see friends this week and next week Mr Marcks is visiting, yay.
ellenscult: (norns)
My sleep patterns are messed up; I've had some more fallout from my ME flare-up, so when I think about posting to say what I've been up to, or start composing a post in my head (usually in the middle of the night), I end up getting sidetracked or forgetting because concentration and short term memory problems are par for the course with (my) ME. Bah, humbug! Hence the silence.

What have I been up to? *deep breath* Some cooking and cleaning, a bit of knitting, some more playing around in that Paper app, a meeting, lots of Secret Passages and Fairway Solitaire, watching old episodes of The Great British Sewing Bee, some nattering on chat and by phone with family, and probably other things as well, but they escape me because it's the middle of the night.

Photos and suchlike )
ellenscult: (serenity)
I did too much yesterday, and yes, I was aware of that at the time, but there are times when things have to be done and if I don't do them, well... yeah... So today I got up with my alarm (hurrah!) and had an ecstatic good morning greeting from the dogs, especially Dante who snuggles and wriggles and nibbles fingers and toes and my hair and ears and just wants love and affection. Best way to wake up ever! That's the highlight of the day, though. I'm at the stage now, hours later, where I can talk properly and lift my feet up rather than dragging them when I walk, but I haven't showered yet and I probably won't today. Eh, the dogs don't complain that I'm smelly (although they sometimes come and sniff my bellybutton just because, go figure). And that leads my distractible ME brain to a Daily Mail (shock, horror!) article on fat deposits based on hormones - flabby belly is apparently too much cortisol. Yeah, there's a shocker - I was a stressed baby and have remained stressed ever since, and the events of the last 4 and a half years haven't helped, though I admit the many bottles of red wine haven't helped. Still, I'm losing weight slowly and am down to drinking a bottle of wine every fortnight or so, which is all good.

I was going to pass along the raincoat I made to Jerry's Aunt Yvonne because I think she'd like it even though it's shocking pink with a blue chinese-pattern silky lining, and she's, like, a size 10 (UK; 8 US, I think, or 4 Hollywood, it seems, bizzarely) and it's a medium 12 and I'm... most definitely not! lol Anyway, Jerry said to hang onto it as something to aim for. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not. I even made a matching handbag, btw. Must take a photo and post it! Yeah, this is from my 3 years of dressmaking evening classes at York College, back when I was doing lots and lots and wasn't totally craptastic thanks to the ME, bah humbug.

So, yeah, brain fade, mobility problems, body temperature regulation problems - doing very little today in the hopes that tomorrow I'll be fine. I'm a wee bit worried because J's taken the dogs out to Tardree Forest by himself; he still has problems with anxiety and temper control, and there's a fair chance that when he gets back he'll be upset and angry and want a hand with the dogs - they'll need hosing off and drying, probably, before they come back into the house - and I've retreated upstairs to the bedroom where I can pile up my duvets and stay warm and comfy and going outside to hose down the dogs and dry them off will wipe out the progress I've made through the day, but I can't say no because the cold water makes his hands excruciatingly painful and leaves him in a terrible mood.

Eh, can't win. And my brain's struggling, so I'm giving up on today's post. I'll catch you tomorrow, which will be a much better day. Because I say so.
ellenscult: (not)
Today definitely falls more on the 'fail' side of things. My To Do list remains undone. Yup, it's another day of tiredness. Bah, humbug! I was asleep before 4am, though, and got up when my alarm went off; I even had a shower, washed my hair and scrubbed down the tub. These count as a win, go me! I do get fed up of living in a world where my ME makes these goals to aim for rather than a normal part of my everyday routine... *sigh* Other wins are: feeding the dogs, feeding my husband and stacking the dishwasher. That's pretty much it. Meh.

I have retreated upstairs to the darkness and solitude of the bedroom. I may attempt my language practise. Otherwise that's it for today, nothing to do now but sleep.
ellenscult: (perky)
Right, the second day of posting in a row! I wish I had something exciting to post about, but largely my day has consisted of getting to sleep at some time past 4am (my sleep pattern's a bit messed up at the moment), waking up at 11:30 and discussing my current phone tariff with the guy from TalkTalk.

("We can give you a TV package!" "I don't watch live TV, don't have a TV license, so no, ta muchly." "You can buy a year's worth of telephone line rental for a saving of 65 quid over paying line rental monthly!" "Actually, that'd be great, but I've just paid out my car insurance and I have the last of a vet's bill to pay, so it'll have to wait until the dogs and I have done that bank job." "You have free weekend and evening calls to 01, 02, 03 landlines, 0800 and 0845 numbers. Ah, you don't make many calls, do you?" "Nope, we have the landline pretty much entirely for the broadband." "Ooh, I can check to see if you can get fibre! ... Ah, no." "Alllll righty, then.")

The rest of my day's been divided between occasional playing of Secret Passages (a bizarre globe-trotting game in which you visit distant and sometimes fictional lands, collect random stuff, upgrade buildings, rescue famous landmarks, create jewels and ignore typos), reading fanfic, sleeping again (14:00 to gone 18:00, despite setting an alarm for around 15:00-ish), then actually getting up and having a shower, stripping the bed, doing laundry, putting away clean laundry, and eating toast since I really needed to go shopping today and, well, haven't.

Exciting, eh? I'm holding out for actually getting to sleep at a reasonable hour tonight (and given it's almost midnight now, that doesn't leave too much longer before I have to go make the bed up again and collapse back into it) so tomorrow I can parcel up the picture book I've made for my nephew, Dan, who is 2 and happy and precocious and the most amazing baby in the whole wide world, and get it posted off to him. Oh, and so I can go and get some food shopping done before the dogs have to steal my purse and the car keys and go themselves. (It'd be fine, only they don't have their driving license and can't read the shopping list.)

They could do it, no, really... )

Time I went and did my 5 minutes of Italian on DuoLinguo (a rather nifty free language-learning app) and then away to bed. Good night, all! I'll likely have to kill you post in the morning.
ellenscult: (perky)
Well, it's been a long time since I've updated my journal. If I find I've become so used to keeping my thoughts to myself that it's hard to get them out. I stopped writing, even mostly stopped telling myself bedtime stories, which is something I've only done once before, and that made me very unhappy. I'm locked inside my head. I'm not sure if it's the depression, or the antidepressants, or if it's just habit from when I couldn't talk about anything that was happening in case it made things worse. In any case, it's actually painful for me to get words out, let alone put them down on the page.

Not an excuse, I know, but an explanation.

Anyway, this is me trying to get words out again. if I can update this journal every day, it should get easier, right? Like exercising every day. Not that I do that either, since my ME is worse, but it's the thought that counts!

What's new? I guess that depends on when I last updated. I'm unemployed, since I'm a full-time carer for my husband. I doubt I could hold down even a part-time job at the moment, anyway. So I spend my time looking after Jerry, the dogs, the house, knitting, and reading an awful lot of fanfic. It's very quiet, but that's for the best. I say quiet, but a tractor has just pulled into the field next door and is spraying slurry. Mm!

We have three dogs now; in addition to Planck and Newton, we adopted Dante from the animal sanctuary at the end of last August. He is a Belgian Shepherd, around eighteen months old, and the three dogs get along very well. Hurrah!

Today I'm tired. I made paper logs last night from all the cardboard packaging and junk mail. It's quite a physical process, and there was a lot of waste paper to get through. So, twenty logs later, today I'm tired and I don't think I'll be going shopping. Enough updating! Dragon Dictate is annoying me and I haven't the brain or the patience to deal with it. I'll try again tomorrow.
ellenscult: (decisions)
Thinking once there was a sea here But there never was a door )

The state of my inbox: nearly 90 e-mails.

Today's reading:
  • A Study in Doubles chapter 10 by Jupiter_Ash
  • Reflections by KSL
  • To Be a Man chapter 9 by closer
ellenscult: (fist of doom)
Rolling the bottom of my trousers... )
ellenscult: (bunk)
Well, not quite - I've finally uploaded a few photos, though, so I'm putting them under a cut to save bandwidth for those who aren't interested in suchlike.

This way to the photos! )

In other news (not under a cut so people don't run into the photos if they don't want to, sorry...): my bike is in the bike shop! I took it down Sheffield with me last Wednesday and dropped it off at Decathlon for its free 3-month service, expecting them to adjust the cable tension and leave it at that. Instead, it appears to have some kind of gear problem, which I'm hoping they've either fixed or replaced the gear arm (under warranty) by tomorrow so I can pick it up again. I'm starting to feel as though I have finger-of-death for bikes... Or it could be that they use cheap derailleurs...

I went to my ME course on Friday and learned about Graded Exercise Therapy. Which is how to, when my energy scores are consistent and I'm feeling as though I'm ready to start increasing the amount of, well, anything I'm doing, increase my activity level without causing an increase in my ME symptoms. Of course, since my bike's been in the shop since Wednesday, that's meant I walked home from the train station on Wednesday evening, then back in on Thursday morning and out again, then to my course at Bootham Park Hospital on Friday morning and from there into town and home again, and into town on Saturday. I got the bus home on Saturday afternoon. (I also walked into town and back on Tuesday night to the writing group, but that was because I didn't get [livejournal.com profile] ravenlas to get me a lift because he has an ear infection, which is now clearing up nicely.) So today has been spent largely on the sofa doing little more strenuous than knitting and occasionally hanging out another load of washing on the washing line, and I am tired, and my legs are a little wobbly and I'm running just a touch of a temperature. Ho hum, so it goes. I shall go to bed shortly and should be fine in the morning.

Anyway, thanks to the ME course, I have a letter, which I took to the council offices on Friday, and I filled in a form and had my photo taken and as of in a few days time, I should have a free bus pass, enabling me to travel on the local buses and not have to pay the extortionate fares. Awesome! It'll mean I can try walking into town to the station one or two mornings a week and be able to catch the bus back, thus getting a bit more exercise but not tiring myself out. Hurrah!

So, I have handouts. I'll type them up soon and post them here for anyone who's interested. Have a great week, y'all! I'm going to duck back below the parapet again.
ellenscult: (too pretty)
Five things make a post...

1. The guy who tried to attack [livejournal.com profile] ravenlas was found guilty, ordered to pay compensation and court costs. I can't help but hear Margie (Fargo) tutting and saying 'All for a little bit o' money!' - well, all for a little bit o' impatience. That garage visit has cost the guy a criminal record and £360 quid. *sigh* Not his finest Sunday afternoon, I'm betting...

2. The holiday was lovely; I got a lot of knitting done and not a lot of skiing, but enjoyed myself anyway. I managed not to be too frustrated at not having the oomph to get out skiing until the Thursday. It's a waste of good ski hire, but equally, I got out eventually. I highly recommend staying in a Le Ski chalet - we were looked after brilliantly by Ben, Elise and Poppy, even to the extent of baking gluten and dairy free shortbread and flapjacks so that I had something to have for afternoon tea. Awesome! I'm going to try baking some shortbread as that was so tasty.

3. The Xbox 360 Elite wot I got for my dearly beloved for our quarter anniversary should as of today be winging its way back to Play.com (intermittent graphics fault) and we should have the replacement by the end of the week. I hope.

4. I'm still tired, still lacking in stamina, so I'm cutting right down on 'doing things'. I'm attempting to stick to a 10pm bedtime (gah!) and take a 5 minute break in every hour to sit or lie down without distraction, etc, which is harder to manage than I'd have thought, especially since I don't particularly want to. I need to conserve more energy to my HPA-axis will fix itself, but I don't want to not do *anything* at all - I need to exercise! I don't want my weight to go up any further! I'm not entirely sure how to reconcile all this, but I'm working on it.

5. Hard Times isn't as difficult as people made out. The 1951 recording of Aida with Maria Callas, Del Monaco, Taddei, Dominguez, conducted by De Fabritis, is absolutely incredible. Recorded live in Mexico City. Wow! Watchmen is visually stunning, quite slow (thus allowing for appreciation of the stunning visuals), very well done and has animated giant blue wang. So what's not to like?

I meant to put up some links to fantastic things, I really did. Maybe I'll post a five links post later...
ellenscult: (bunk)
Handouts from session 3: Relaxation & Energy Conservation )
ellenscult: (car at my head)
!!!! )


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