Abbeys and Anxiety

Hello sun! You are really making my joints hurt like hell but since you are here we may as well try to enjoy you. And today that means getting out in the fresh air and seeing something old (other than my parents of course).

We went to Easby Abbey near Richmond which is beautiful and peaceful, filled with birds nesting in its nooks and crannies and mosses and flowers growing on its ancient stones. Dad managed to cross another abbey off his list that he wants to visit this year and me and mum came away with a lovely sense of calm and happiness from wandering amongst the ruins while he snapped his photos.

Lunch was had at the ruin of another abbey in Richmond – friary tower and gardens. The gardens are absolutely stunning but by that point I could do little more than sit and stare from a shady spot as my legs were letting me know It was medication time. I hate that – the high flying enjoyment of a nice place being suddenly brought back to earth by pain and the limits of my spoonie body. It is what it is though and today, at least, the depression of reality didn’t swallow me whole.

Depression and anxiety, especially anxiety, have been constantly at the forefront of my feelings in the past week. As more things open I want to go places; some part of me is longing for a Nando’s, a trip to the cinema, to go play warhammer with Michael at Battle Bunker. But I’m stopped by a massive wall, indeed a gigantic battlement, of anxiety over the outside world. Take today – I knew not many people would be around but I was still anxious and looking around me, when people got close on a pavement I freaked out and froze stiff, and relaxing takes longer in a new environment like today than it used to no matter how peaceful the place is.

Lindsay is much the same and we decided enough was enough and we needed to start the process of battling against this battlement. And so the siege begins – we went to Starbucks! Armed with iPads, bullet journals and lanyard/mask we set off to get there early when we hoped the place would be empty. We chose the one at Thinford which we thought got little foot traffic inside and turns out we were right about the quiet nature. I was so nervous I was shaking but slowly we relaxed and started to enjoy ourselves, getting engrossed in our journals and paying not as much mind to the people around us. Every time someone came on I got a bit of a flutter of anxiety, new troops for the fight, but I managed to stay calm and in my seat. We actually got carried away and spent longer there than planned, poor michael. The key thing is that we did it. We won the battle and we can win the war, it will just take time to get back to where I was before. Probably a long time but I’ve got plenty of support around me to help. Next step is that game of 40k. I’m hoping getting distracted by the game will greatly help. Hopefully.

Let’s face it, you read this for the cat updates – Lord Barrington esquire jumped up on the sofa next to me and purred very very loudly! He joined me for my daily meditation and I knew it was him from the way he landed but then the purr! So I opened my eyes and just sat there staring at him, blinking slowly to show I loved him, spending a lovely moment with him. Douggie has been a bit skittish the past few days and he’s shedding fur like crazy. We really need a reusable lint roller haha. He’s also been playing more, I’m going to get the worm on a stick out later and see what he thinks. The latest cat proofing is proving successful and Bonnie hates it, and Jenny is just, well, Jennying. She’s always the same just happy to be around and getting love when she wants, sleeping a lot and maybe batting a toy once a week. Then there’s Gandalf. He luckily hasn’t chewed anything new and has been rather sweet this week. I can tell he’s really hot because he keeps pancaking himself out to get cool bless him. Must get a piece of tile for his cage.

Well, here’s mum and dad now. I should probably put the kettle on to revive them. Why is it hot drinks are meant to make you cooler? I’ve always found that just plain weird…

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Well I’m clever. I just realised I didn’t post this yesterday. Sometimes I swear I’ve got as many brain cells as Bonnie, which is approximately one. I’ll post now.

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Mood – optimistic for once, in pain as usual

Beverage Last Consumed – peach and raspberry squash

Food Last Eaten – picnic of a cheese and pickle sandwich and an orange.

Show Last Watched – dad has some car program on. They buy and sell cars or something. Anyway the car they bought is naff and needs a bunch of work and that’s the point of the program I think.

Song Last Played – rainbow by Kesha is playing on my head today

Game Last Played – apples to apples

Hobby Last Done – historying lol

Place Last Visited – easby abbey

Current Reading – the book of tomorrow by cecelia ahern (I’m really getting through it. Good going for me for once)

#PaintSlam’21 – riff and faff and the hugglers from stuffed fables are complete. Currently in the table is a part built ork Mek gun (model count 36/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

Tea of the moment – cherry bakewell from B&b

Recipe of the week – Greek chicken wings. So herby and great with pitta, humous and a salad.

Painting and Pain

Hi, it’s been a while I know. But first of the month and I thought I’d try to get back to blogging regularly. Again lol.

It’s pride month!!! Don the rainbow flags (no, we aren’t celebrating the nhs, Karen) and bring out the pda to make the bigots uncomfortable. My anxiety has taken over me like weeds tangling over disused gardening tools, tying me more and more to the house and safe places and away from people, so I won’t be attending any pride events this year even if they are taking place. It’s damn annoying how I was battling so well against anxiety, getting out and handling quite crowded places, and now a quiet day in Newcastle gets my heart racing and a bus just passing me almost brings on a panic attack let alone thinking of actually getting on one.

My world feels very small lately. The anxiety is one aspect of that but the health of those I live with limiting where, when and how far we can go for walks, not just being able to go for a walk on my own, the restrictions still in place in the country, my own physical limitations – these things all have a hand in making it feel like the walls of my life are folded in around me limiting my possibilities. None of it is anyone’s fault, much of it is unavoidable and we try to work around obstacles as much as we can in this house but it’s just generally hard right now. I try my best to keep my head above the waves of depression, the warm weather and sunshine helps a lot, but I find myself wishing things could be different sometimes.

Anyway, the weekend was taken up with helping michael do a 24 hour painting challenge reasoning money for the marine conservation society (we can thank his fellow Edge of Empire podcast hosts’ obsession with manatees for that one). We didn’t quite make the challenge we set for ourselves in terms of melded painted – we were trying to get a table of scenery painted but didn’t manage to complete 19 pieces of the 83. Not bad going though because they were half way there. My hands hurt a lot yesterday even after taking breaks during the 2 x 12 hour shifts. They still aren’t great today but I do want to help complete the buildings we didn’t get finished.

I also gave myself a side challenge and that was to drink as many different teas as I could during painting time. I managed 12 on the first day – Morning kick, Easter egg nests, One in a melon, Hot buttered Rum, Vicky sponge cake, Nearly nirvana, Tea and toast, Panettone, Birthday cake, Jelly and icecream cold brew in milk, Simnel cake and Peppermint. Day two I drank less tea and repeated a nearly nirvana which I didn’t count but I did get to 7 cups; Strawberry and Nutella pancakes, Winter is coming, Breakfasts ready honey, Jelly and ice cream cold brew in soya milk, Pear cider, Carrot cake and a Lady lavender. I was told by Michael’s co-host Chris that these weren’t teas but desserts disguised as drinks (I had jelly and ice cream at the time) which I found hilarious but they contain black, green and white teas so definitely tea. Me and lindsay decided we liked the cold brewed jelly and icecream so much we bought a 300g bag – it tastes like a sophisticated strawberry milkshake and with a lot less sugar. So, painting challenge, and tea challenge, complete for another year.

Cat update – Lord Barrington is doing well. He’s settled down again with Douggie here, they are making good friends and touching noses a lot which is very cute and Barrington likes to lie near Douggie. Barrington is enjoying strokes on the sofa more often and being just as playful. He loves it now it’s warmer outside. Bonnie once again was making holes in the cat proofing – we’ve resorted to a strip of wire mesh that I dare her to get through haha. Jenny is possibly losing a tooth but she’s eating fine so I don’t think it’s bothering her too badly. And Sir Douglas is shedding like crazy, his favourite place to lie is either right in my chest next to my face or right behind Michael’s chair, and he’s learning to get to more places in the house like the dry food bowls in the den. I often call him everybody’s Cookie because he acts just like my Cookie used to but with every one and not just me.

Right, must get on. There’s so many jobs to do lately, or it feels like it anyway. The dishes are never ending, there’s always litter trays in desperate need, food to cook, washing to do. The warmer weather is nice but it has brought with it the aching and slight swelling in my muscles that comes from them being warm. Pacing is definitely my friend and I’m finding many jobs are left until the next day if Michael and lindsay can’t do them either. That’s fine, there’s always tomorrow. As long as it doesn’t rain if the washing gets left out overnight.

Mood – chilled, aching and exhausted

Beverage Last Consumed – Honey and lemon balm tea

Food Last Eaten – a delicious Weardale Brie and red pepper humous salad.

Show Last Watched – DS9

Song Last Played – listening to Lady A in the background

Game Last Played – Gretchinz!

Hobby Last Done – bullet journaling

Place Last Visited – cragside. I spent a couple days with mum and dad then we met lindsay and Paul there.

Current Reading – the book of tomorrow by cecelia ahern

#PaintSlam’21 – I’m 75% of the way there with the puppets and hugglers from stuffed fables (model count 29/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

Tea of the moment – birthday cake

Recipe of the week – Thai green curry from Slow Cooker Heaven by Lorna Brash

Cats and Cuddles

So… we did a thing

Meet Sir Douglas T Cat, also known as Douggie, who came to us yesterday evening. We weren’t looking for a 4th cat, we weren’t meant to get a 4th cat, but being a member of the Yarm Cat Rescue Facebook group is dangerous and he had no interest for adoption because he needed a specific type of home and, well, look at him he’s gorgeous and loving and perfect. His pelvis and tail were broken suspected by evil people (men) kicking him and his pelvis healed wrong so when he went to the rescue he couldn’t walk and still walks strangely. He’s unsteady in his feet and we were told he didn’t do stairs but cats love to prove people wrong and he was up and down ours no problem last night lol. He’s settled in perfectly, no sign of fear for any of us or the other cats. Bonnie is unsure but not as bad as with Barrington. Jenny gave him several good sniffs and is fine with him. Barrington gave him a good sniff and was getting pretty close curled up near him so good signs there, although he us more skittish than usual and not eating quite as much. Time will sort that out. Barrington update while I’m here – he’s lazy and now if he’s in my way I have to step over him he won’t move! great progress but difficult for me lol. He’s jumped up on the sofa for a stroke a lot but no lap action yet. Getting there slowly.

Monday we can cuddle people!!!! Trying to persuade mum to come over for a visit on Wednesday to meet Douggie and see the other cats and have hugs. She’s tired from work a lot at the moment though so we will see. But we have a few days planned together when she has a few days off work – I’m going to stay over (which I can now yay) and have some proper time together. It’s much needed. I miss my family.

Speaking of family, we had the nephews over last weekend being as we are their childcare bubble. It was wonderful spending time with them but gods was I exhausted afterwards. Being 3 and 5 they are so full on! We played with play dough, outside in the garden, with the magnetic scrabble tiles on the fridge, taking photos and videos with my phone, and played with the bunny out for a while as well as completely investigating the entire contents of the toy box. They are good boys though and tidy up after themselves. We had a movie night too with popcorn and sweets and fruit shoots. They loved it and the eldest wanted to know when he was coming back and if there would be popcorn haha!

Michael had a chair fail on Sunday night and hurt his leg so has been confined to upstairs for the week. As a result I’ve been spending time spread between up with him and downstairs and not really touched my desk. I want to crack on with some stuffed fables minis from the oh brother expansion next week – they are all primed and I’ve painted up the bed bugs but the others have sat on my desk for weeks. I also want to start an ork project, get back on track for my goals.

I’ve kept up with my exercise challenge for 40 days now! That’s 40 days of intentional movement. Some days had been stretching, some full on high energy exercise, but every day I’ve done something. I’m so proud of myself for managing this far and I’m even considering lengthening the challenge to 90 days at the end of the 60. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy. As a spoonie it hurts like hell to push my body to move when it would much rather curl up in some odd position (thanks hyper mobility) but doing it makes me feel good in other ways even if I do feel like a pile of painful crap afterwards. It makes me feel accomplished, like I’m achieving something. Even a 1/2 mile walk with stops outside us some fresh air and a change of scenery, some stretching exercises loosen up the constant tight muscles and offer some relief, and pushing myself makes me realise that I can be capable sometimes… just not reliably or consistently lol. I’m not going to be entering any marathons, but hey I’m moving which is what’s important.

As this pandemic continues and enters its diminishing phases in this country at least if not unfortunately elsewhere in the world, I realise that this whole year and a bit I’ve been in some kind of extended fight or flight response. It seems I’m always full of energy but it’s nervous and on edge and not quite sitting right. I am never really relaxed, never properly dealing with my emotions either because if I start then it will all come unravelling and I just don’t know how to deal with that. Even when we are allowed to hug again, to spend time with each other again, eventually go back to how things were even, how do you deal with the fact you’ve missed over a year of people’s lives, the fact that things never will be the same as before because we are all very different people now, the fact that the whole world has lost a portion of its population and this new fear has entered our psyche that takes more than some scientists saying it’s safe to get past. Yes, I can’t wait to hug my loved ones. But I’m also scared of leaving the safety of lockdown and being around people, not just because my general anxiety has gotten worse with no regular exposure to people. I don’t know, the wounds may heal but the scars will remain for years to come I reckon.

Mood – cat happy world weary

Beverage Last Consumed – innocenct recharge smoothie

Food Last Eaten – yogurt with oats, seeds and strawberries

Show Last Watched – DS9

Song Last Played – when the sun goes gown – arctic monkeys

Game Last Played – Kodama duo. Beautiful game. Lindsay trounced me lol

Hobby Last Done – reading

Place Last Visited – Riverside park

Current Reading – Birdwatching with Your Eyes Closed by Simon Barnes

#PaintSlam’21 – painted the bed bigs from stuffed fables (model count 28/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

On the hook –

On the needle –

Tea of the moment – morning kick. One of my new faves

Recipe of the week – cheesy chipotle bean quesadillas, a recipe from Hello Fresh that we repeated

Respite and Restlessness

I put too much on myself. I know I do. I take the weight of the world and stack it on my shoulders because if I don’t then who will. If I don’t step up then who is going to keep things going and going and going.

The house is rife with depression right now. It’s affecting all three of us in different ways – lindsay’s motivation is non existent, michael is throwing up anything that’s not familiar, and I’m.. well it’s hard to see from the inside just how it’s affecting me but I know I’m not stable, I’m not ok, I’m not doing well. But this time, through this whole pandemic, I’ve been the one to cope best with getting things done. So I’ve put that weight on myself. I’ve taken responsibility for so many tasks, always telling myself when I feel the strain (which is often) that it’s temporary, just while things are bad.

But over a year on things are still bad. And I’m starting to crack. I try to help Michael and lindsay with their depression but there’s no one to help with mine so it goes unchecked. I try to help with everyone’s tasks but that leaves me exhausted for my own. I’m so focused on getting my partners to the next thing that I hardly stop to think about what I’m doing.

This isn’t even me complaining. I’m doing this to myself. I’m taking this on myself. And I want, I need, to stop. But how do you give up control of everything when you are so scared that things won’t keep turning, that if you let go for even a second everything will come to a grinding halt and depression will consume all of us?

Sod covid rules, I’ve come to mum and dads for a few days. In a short space of time I’ve become a carer to two and a disabled carer at that, and I needed the respite and time with my mum to heal myself. We are socially distanced so I can’t get what my heart is screaming for (a hug) but just being around her light and warmth helps. Home just feels cold and empty and like a never ending cycle of jobs I’ve got to do. Here is peaceful, slow, calming. Healing.

I hoped that giving everyone a shared goal of the exercise/intentional movement challenge would bolster moods, promote drive. It did not work. Nor has the idea of losing weight together as I think it’s added to problems. I sort of feel like everything I do to try to make things better turns bad, like I don’t get anything right any more. So all I can do right is the housework and cooking and I throw myself into that regardless of how it’s exhausting me because maybe if I’m doing that then it’s one less thing for everyone to feel depressed about.

I feel like my relationships with Michael and with lindsay are strained, distant. We exist in spaces together but I’m not really myself around them much lately. I don’t know if you two have noticed, I’m wearing masks wherever I go and they stay with me in the house, guarding my secret that most of the time I’m inwardly screaming. On a superficial level everything is ok, but I don’t feel I’ve shared anything on a deeper level with either of you for a while now. It makes me sad.

I don’t even know if I should add this to my blog. A rather self indulgent entry for all to see. But it’s an important reflection of my life with depression, anxiety, BPD too. I don’t want to put out into the world the idea that everything is good all the time. This is my dark moment. Share it with me.

Mood – running to my safe space

Beverage Last Consumed – non alcoholic cider

Food Last Eaten – enchiladas

Show Last Watched – Shadow and Bone

Song Last Played – the Revolutionary Love album by Ani DiFranco

Game Last Played – ticket to ride London

Hobby Last Done – bullet journaling

Place Last Visited – Gibside on Sunday. It was lovely walking there and I’m so glad national trust have opened their doors so to speak.

Current Reading – Birdwatching with Your Eyes Closed by Simon Barnes

#PaintSlam’21 – I’ve primed the minis for the stuffed fables expansion ready to start painting (model count 23/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

On the hook –

On the needle –

Tea of the moment – chocolate digestive from bird and blend with a dash of milk

Recipe of the week – pan haggerty cooked by my dad last night. A truly north eastern dish of deliciousness. Meat, potatoes, onions, yum.

Sunny Days and Simple Pleasures

Yesterday was a pretty good day. That’s saying something since Sunday I struggled to get out of bed and everything seemed like one disaster after another. Nothing major – but when forgetting to defrost cherries to make pancakes for breakfast causes a catatonic sit down for 45 minutes you know you aren’t having the best of days.

Yesterday on the other hand I had a lie in (unheard of usually for my anxiety which makes me jump out of bed in a panic the moment I wake up) and managed to push off the inevitable feeling that really there wasn’t much point to trying to accomplish anything because what’s the point in it all really. I spent a relaxed morning looking at what I could do with my day and the week ahead then Got On With Some Jobs, part of which consisted of trying to finish up some painting on my desk.

I’ve had a blood angels tactical squad sat on my desk for a few weeks now. This is not out of the ordinary but I promised myself I’d paint them quickly… I don’t think over 2 weeks is very quick do you? I’ve been finishing up some detail in them today, just need to do transfers and bases to call them done which I should get done tomorrow. I would have continued whilst michael streamed last night but a certain middle aged man needed some attention.

So, time for a check in on my 60 days of intentional movement/exercise/crazy moving of my body in some way through the day. I’m happy to report that I haven’t missed a day, I have done a few stretching type exercise days but every day there has been something. I’ve been outside doing Pilates in the garden which I love doing, doing functional strength training which is a killer on my muscles but probably very good for me, I’ve challenged myself by following a 1500 step YouTube video (I felt like both poo and a million pounds afterwards), and done stretching exercises too. I’ve even had a day of dancing crazily to music at random points and whilst putting away laundry. Walking to the shop now consists of going the long way too when I can manage it which is great because a) it’s more exercise and b) it avoids the steep hill which sets off my asthma and hurts my muscles like crazy. I still feel very enthusiastic two weeks in to my challenge, although it’s become a bit less of a household challenge as Michael is no longer following it with me and lindsay. I’m very proud of lindsay though who has stuck with it despite still adjusting to spoonie life.

As for the fat loss side if things, well, I’ve got into a routine of recording calories and other than questioning myself over whether I need snacks or I’m just bored/sad/anxious not much has altered other than checking on portions. I’m not going hungry, I’m not eating fad foods or subsisting on celery and tofu. I am eating cocoa pops for breakfast. And the scales tell me it’s working. I’m not banging on about how much I’ve lost on this journey here simply because I feel like that can often put people in competition with one another and it’s not about that. But there is a downward curve and I’m happy with that. In a couple of weeks I will check how steep it is and adjust what I eat accordingly but I don’t think I’ll be eating less.

One new thing this week is michael built me a PC and now I can happily play Sims and other games alongside him. My laptop is so slow and just couldn’t hack gaming so I’m glad I have a PC. A good chunk of time over the weekend a was lost to Rollercoaster Tycoon and I’m not complaining.

One thing I do need to work on personally is getting back to certain hobbies. I haven’t picked up a book all month, I’ve barely even read a web comic, and I’ve done no crochet or cross stitch. I’ve painted, but slowly. I don’t know how to find my mojo again that I had before Christmas. I feel like lockdown stole it in a way, it certainly added to my feelings of numbness and despair. But I really feel like enough is enough and I want to get back to doing things I love. Michael is trying to improve his mood through scheduling his streaming so maybe I need to do similar and schedule in which days I do different hobbies perhaps…

My fatigue lately certainly isn’t helping me feel motivated to do much. I can push myself with housework because others rely on me, I can push myself with exercise even because of the challenge I set myself, but between times I’d rather just doss on Facebook than engage with the world. Part of it is mental but it’s also physical – getting out less in lockdown has made me stiffer and more sore, even with moving more in the house. that leads to fatigue a lot. And added to that moving my right arm at the moment is extremely painful thanks to HS scaring flaring up. Sigh. Being a spoonie just isn’t as fun as it used to be. Oh wait, it was never fun. I’m hoping since things are opening, we can go more places and do more, I’ll feel less stiff and wake up a bit more.

Well, Tuesday calls full of potential. It’s sunny once more and there is laundry to put on the line. Perhaps my scheduled activity today other than finishing these damned tactical marines could be to read and I can sit out in the garden and enjoy the weather while it lasts. That’s not too high impact an ask. I’m all for the simple pleasures today – a nice cup of tea, a lovely cool breeze, birdsong and a good book for me I think.

Mood – someone put a chart of moods in a blender, pushed purée and gave it to me

Beverage Last Consumed – orange and pineapple squash

Food Last Eaten – cocoa pops

Show Last Watched – good omens

Song Last Played – short skirt/long jacket by CAKE

Game Last Played – Carcassonne with mum on the iPad on Sunday

Hobby Last Done – painting

Place Last Visited – WWT Washington with mum and dad

Current Reading – Birdwatching with Your Eyes Closed by Simon Barnes still. And I read a bit of the web comic Gunnerkrigg Court

#PaintSlam’21 –the tactical squad are just awaiting transfers and basing (model count 13/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

Tea of the moment – morning kick tea from bird and blend. I got a sample tea bag with our last order and I’m hooked. Must. Order. More. Tea (lindsay what did you do to me?!)

Recipe of the week – falafel burgers from bbc good food. These are a firm favourite and are super healthy and fresh, plus easy tans quick to prepare. We had them with wholemeal pittas, lightly pickled cucumber and lettuce along with salt and pepper wedges. Perfection.

Exercise and Enthusiasm

CW – talk of exercise and dieting.

Yesterday marked the first day or a household challenge to move more. 60 days of movement – that means exercising in some form every day even if it’s just 5 minutes. After all, 5 minutes of intentional movement is better than not doing any at all.

This comes after numerous attempts to reshape the way we eat and exercise have failed in the past. One or other of the three of us will get enthusiastic about losing weight or eating less sugar/fat or more vegetables. But we always seem to fall at the first hurdle. Then I read a shared post from a friend that talked about how it’s like the carrot and stick approach. We often neglect the carrot and threaten ourselves with the stick, or negative consequences. So you start a new exercise plan but worry about failing, say one day you lack all motivation to do that 30 minute workout, and here comes the stick. Now you worry more and more about the stick and you end up no longer following the plan. But if you stop threatening the stick for under accomplishment then maybe you managed 10 minutes workout or even a stroll around the block. That’s still exercise, it still counts. You can feel good for managing something, anything, on that low motivation day and feel enthused the next day, instead of worried about failing again.

So, no worries of high expectations, no subscribing to expensive plans that put pressure on to be perfect, no massive demands of our spoonie bodies to push the limits of our abilities either. Just 60 days, exercise every day. I am going into this not wanting to personally miss a day, but only because I know any amount of exercise will do. I will aim for a good amount regularly but right now I’ve been doing very little and anything that gets me moving is a good thing. I’m aware that my body dislikes me being too active – no 3 mile walks for me – but I’m hoping that I can build up some stamina and core strength through a little bit on a regular basis.

Here’s where the other side of this double edged sword comes in – eating. Now I’m not one for subscribing to fad diets, weird and not-so-wonderful get slim quick regimes or the like. I’ve always believed that losing any weight would probably come from a slog through calorie counting in some way. But I lacked the conviction to push it with michael and lindsay and we have floundered for a long time in the ‘we’d like to be fitter which for each of us would involve a bit of weight loss’ area. After all, the usual approach leaves you with very few calories, lots of weird foods to compensate, and it’s hard to stick to anything that’s leaving you always hungry. Lindsay recently came across Jared Hamilton and subscribed to his emails about fat loss. We listened to his videos together and they just make sense. Basically, it’s not about denying yourself anything, having a strict 1200 calorie limit to lose 5 pounds a week, limiting your fats or sugars or carbs. It’s about finding how much you do eat and reducing the calories enough to lose 1 pound per week. That’s all, 1 pound a week. That’s the most you should lose to sustainably lose fat and keep from putting it all on when you eat ‘normally’. It’s a slow, boring process of chipping away at what you would like to lose. But most importantly it’s doable. So earlier in the week me and lindsay started the process by counting what we currently eat. I’ve found that personally if it weren’t for my love of chocolate I would be eating a lot less calories over the week and maybe that’s a good thing because it means that when it comes to reducing that number next week I can do a lot by moderating my snack intake. Not getting rid of, Jared is clear that if you crave something you should have it regularly, but reduce the quantity of what you have.

Anyway, I feel like this time we have hit on right with our plans, like we can be continue to make good meal choices and make better food choices and move more to be healthier. I do have to say, I don’t want to not be fat. I’ll always have that descriptor, losing enough to fall under ‘average build’ would take a lifetime. There is nothing wrong with having fat, being fat, being plus size, however you want to put it. All bodies are good, all bodies are worthy of love. Personally my body is under strain because of my physical disabilities and having less fat will hopefully improve my quality of life a little. Exercising more certainly will when I find a good spoonie friendly level to keep myself mobile enough not to stiffen up day to day. If you don’t want to lose fat then you don’t have to, end of discussion. But if you do, 1 pound a week to keep it off.

Enough of that. Let’s talk about Easter weekend. Friday we painted the stairs and passageway. It was exhausting but they look great now, no more nasty scuff marks from 7 years of life. Saturday was wonderful because my parents came over for a walk to Birkenhead Secret Gardens and then lunch in the garden. I’ve missed spending time with them so much so this was wonderful. The gardens were beautiful, full of new life springing up and daffodils everywhere. And mum got to give Barrington and Bonnie all the love (and ham lol)

Yesterday was a game day. I ended an unusual run of good feelings with a day of pure anxiety so we stuck to the familiar and played pandemic hit zone North America, which we managed to finally win, and ticket to ride London in which I trounced michael and lindsay with superior tickets and good choices

Today I decided to kick the anxiety in the bum with a bit of self care. A pyjama morning where I sat around watching tv, a deep conditioning of my hair with coconut oil, and a lovely shower before choosing a nice outfit. I can’t say it’s worked perfectly but I’m feeling alright for the most part. Ready for day two of exercise! Only 58 more to go.

Mood – Pretty anxious still. That’s what happens when you miss some anxiety medication you dummy!

Beverage Last Consumed – orange and pineapple squash

Food Last Eaten – oxtail soup

Show Last Watched – The pioneer woman (in a bit addicted to cooking shows and hers is great especially the quarantine ones)

Song Last Played – Africa cover by wheezer

Game Last Played – ticket to ride London

Hobby Last Done – miniatures painting

Place Last Visited – Birkenhead secret gardens

Current Reading – Birdwatching with Your Eyes Closed by Simon Barnes. I’ve not read a lot recently, my mind has been too all over the place to concentrate

#PaintSlam’21 – theres a tactical squad for the blood angels sat on my desk right now, the red is done and I’m moving onto metals (model count 13/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

On the hook – I’m thinking of finding a pattern for something warhammer related…

On the needle – still the Aquila and bunny

Tea of the moment – jasmine poached pears from the bird and blend tea subscription. Pear flavoured, delicate green tea. Beautiful and refreshing.

Recipe of the week – chorizo pilaf which we added a chargrilled courgette to. This was a great meal and delicious as left overs for lunch the next day too.

Calm Vibes and Sunny Skies

I don’t want to curse it, it’s a strange occurrence and gods forbid I frighten it into hiding, but I’m feeling… good. The anxiety that usually rages madly is a little calmer these past few days, my mood is a bit brighter so much so I caught myself smiling just for the sake of it the other day (I know right, who am I?!). My motivation is up too but rather than my usual anxious dash around to do every single job while I feel good I’m able to sit back, relax, enjoy the little things in between the essential jobs. Take today – I got up, put my pills into their weekly boxes, meditated and took time to explore how I felt. I then came down and the shopping arrived so I put that away with michael before having a rest, accepting the help of michael making me cereal, worked on my bullet journal. Only after I felt recovered did I attempt to put laundry on the line and now I’ve done that I’m resting again. I’m listening to some bangin’ tunes with lindsay working and michael painting, hearing birdsong coming in on the cool breeze and watching the cats wander in and out of the open door. I feel peaceful, calm, or at least as calm as I get living with constant anxiety.

This current feeling of calm is also making me feel quite philosophical towards my current pain level. I move parts of my body and they ache and sometimes send shooting pains along my nerves, but surely to hurt is to live for me. I feel my body, I’m aware of what it wants to do and what it doesn’t. A stretch brings both pain and also relief from stiffness and aching. When I move to do a task, I can feel that I’m accomplishing something, that I’m doing something worthwhile. I spend so long berating my body and all it’s pain, hating it for it’s sluggishness and stiffness, but I need to remember that I must love it, and love it all. It’s the only body I have and although I can do some things to alter it, it’s pretty much not going to change a lot so I should get used to it, accept it for what it is pain, abscesses and all.

Enough waffling. Has anyone listened to my podcast? The hobby studio will be airing its third episode in which me and michael discuss a game of aeronautica imperialis, which I greatly enjoyed and want to play again, and we have interviews about the warhammer underworlds story so far and carnevale. I listened to michael edit the carnevale interview and I’ve gotta say for the first time it’s me asking michael when we are getting a new game. I love the sound of it – skirmishes in the streets of Venice between ghastly creatures and various factions of the guild. The models look gorgeous and there is a gondola. I want to paint a gondola! The podcast is turning out to be a lot of fun, a big challenge to my anxiety talking to new people and basically public speaking (I hate my voice! I sound like I’m 5 years old!) and michael has yet to produce a set of show notes for me and him to work from which honestly would not fly for Edge of Empire I’m sure, but it’s rewarding and I feel like I’m doing something productive with my time and also getting a non male voice out there in the hobby.

About that ‘non male’ voice. It’s trans visibility day. So maybe it’s time to be more visible. Over 2020 I did a lot of soul searching. It’s not like I felt talked in the wrong body but I didn’t feel quite right, like I was out of phase with myself. I didn’t understand what being a woman meant to me, what it felt like for me, why I was one. I wondered a lot about the non binary gender identity but that didn’t feel right either. Well it took me a while but I finally asked a non binary friend some questions. One thing they said made my heart soar – Demigirl. Not non binary, but not quite a woman either. Basically a Demigirl only partially identifies as a woman and for me that for so perfectly. That more I read the more it made sense. I don’t feel like a man, I don’t feel like a woman, but I know I’m not straight up neither. I’m a Demigirl. The pronouns that make me happiest are they/them but she/her doesn’t insult me I just don’t feel as comfortable with that. If you are family reading this and I haven’t told you , well, I’ve told about 5 people and found it inexplicably hard to bring it up with people for some reason. So this is me… coming out?

Right, off to do another job. I’m all excite because Paul will be over for tea in the garden tonight and I think that qualifies as the most excitement this house has seen since painting the kitchen a few weeks ago. Going to put the parasol up and enjoy the nice weather for the rest of today before it betrays us and gets cold again. It’s burgers for tea so I’m thinking BBQ!

Mood – calm. Ish.

Beverage Last Consumed – Blackcurrant squash

Food Last Eaten – hot cross bun. Mmm

Show Last Watched – i finished legend of Korra. I’m sad it’s over.

Song Last Played – feel it still, Portugal the man.

Game Last Played – aeronautica imperialis

Hobby Last Done – bullet journaling

Place Last Visited – hardwick park with the family!

Current Reading – Birdwatching with Your Eyes Closed by Simon Barnes

#PaintSlam’21 – the gorkanaut is finished, I haven’t begun anything new as I’m waiting for michael to spray a tactical squad for me (model count 13/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

On the hook – not crochet but I’m making a cute stuffed squirrel Paul and Mary got me for my birthday

On the needle – the bunny is in the drawer, I started a quick Aquila cross stitch for the review michael wanted from me

Tea of the moment – Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster followed by cold brew cherry cola bottles in lemonade both from bird and blend

Recipe of the week – pancake tray bake from Nadia’s Time to Eat made with Nutella

Car Trouble and Kitty Cats

The car is non functioning again. With a 2 week wait to get it into the garage thanks to our garage being busy with MOTs. Urgh! It’s related to the alternator and the battery went flat as a pancake, leaving us without a starting car in the Iceland carpark on Sunday. Luckily, the security guard passing by is a mechanic by trade so he was able to jump start us and we limped home just hoping lindsay didn’t stall. Ok, it’s a pandemic and lockdown still but my wonderful dad brought a battery charger and Paul came to look under the hood to check out the battery and see what he could do. He couldn’t fix it himself with what equipment he has hence the garage appointment but the fact he came and made sure it wasn’t just the battery was great.

Anyway, we are back to being carless and somewhat trapped in the village. Luckily we are getting groceries delivered right now and with masks where possible Emma is giving us a lift to walk with the family when we are allowed to. The car battery is now fully charged and should give us a few starts if we have an emergency we need the car for or just to get it to the garage. Roll on the opening of showrooms and the time when we can order a motability car for me. We can’t afford anything flash but there are options and we will not have to worry about anything breaking! We are also looking at an electric vehicle being an option which is exciting.

I’ve had a lot of cat company this week. Maybe they know I need extra love. I’ve been feeling worn out, spread thin and unable to focus on much. Today in particular I’ve been exhausted despite a decent nights sleep and I’ve spent a large amount of time just staring into space. Bonnie has responded by meowing at me, walking all over me and generally being a nuisance in her usual lovable way. And Barrington has spent time sitting on the mat by my feet.

I reckon the fatigue is caused by my feeling so depressed lately. I’ve been getting caught in negative thought spirals, my BPD has been acting up and I’ve been really irrationally emotional about some things. The past few weeks I feel very much trapped by my emotional reactions, full of highs and lows that change on a whim. As a result I’ve started scratching at my arms again, never a good sign. Michael wants me to ring the gp but honestly, I can’t face talking over the phone to services they can provide. My anxiety just won’t accept that. Even thinking about it has made my breathing irregular and heart rate rise and I feel myself typing faster and starting to panic. Such is the world right now that everything is on the phone or internet. It actually makes the urge to scratch worse thinking of getting help that way. So no, I’m not doing that. I will have to help myself.

Have a cat update – Lord Barrington likes chicken. A lot. He now sits beside the table while we eat hoping to get titbits and he often does because we are weak and michael reminds everyone that he probably does it because on the streets he never knew when his next meal would be. Thanks michael, just what we need. It’s now customary for Jenny and Barrington to hang around when we eat our tea so they can pester us for food once we’ve eaten. Bonnie couldn’t care less about food, she would rather play outside most of the time.

Barrington sleeps on my bed a lot and last night I had to sprawl across the bed weirdly so I didn’t disturb him. Did I mention we are all big softies when it comes to the little Lord 😆

I finally finished painting the gorkanaut after a month of building and painting! It’s been a labour but looks pretty decent, especially since I weathered it a bit. I’m now onto basing a bunch of ork boyz that were on too small bases.

Tomorrow is shaping up to be a better day. After a walk in the morning (socially distanced with mum who is dropping off some stuff) me and michael are playing a game of aeronautica imperialis for our podcast. It should be fun. I’m really enjoying doing the podcast, although I do hope we can get more female voices on there. For now I guess I have to stand up and represent, and hope that if some girls out there hear me waffling about wargaming and miniatures hobbies they will think of giving them a try too.

Mood – is tired a mood? Because it’s all encompassing.

Beverage Last Consumed – cream egg tea (thank you bird and blend)

Food Last Eaten – chocolate cake

Show Last Watched – Legend of Korra season 4

Song Last Played – hope it gives you hell – all American rejects

Game Last Played – Carcassonne on the iPad with mum

Hobby Last Done – miniature painting

Place Last Visited – Waldridge Fell

Current Reading – Birdwatching with Your Eyes Closed by Simon Barnes

#PaintSlam’21 – quietly ignoring the half finished gorkanaut staring at me from the desk (model count 13/52, ork pointz 555/1000)

On the hook – yarn inventory. That’s what I need. Although michael wants me to do a small amount of crochet so I can test the new daylight lamp from the daylight company on crochet projects.

On the needle – still the beginnings of a bunny cross stitch. Need to dig it out.

Recipe of the week – spicy sausage and bean one pot from bbc good food. Simple to make and delicious with mustard mash.

Decorating and Determination

It’s decorating day! Lindsay has the week off and after a false start to the week where we all needed to recover from our covid vaccinations (yes, all, I got the text from my gp saying to book in with them and I got in the same day. Done. Dusted. I got myself all upset for nothing) we set to with paint, brushes and rollers this morning. I’m currently having a break and decided to write between bursts of energy to stop myself overdoing it.

Anyway, decorating. The house has been looking well lived in for a while now, needing touch ups to the magnolia paint where it’s been scuffed and marked. So we bought the paint and decided now was the time. It’s not like we can go anywhere with this free time is it? So that’s magnolia for the walls, white for the patches of ceiling and…

We may have cracked after 7 years of magnolia and bought a jade paint. The kitchen is getting a jade wall and so far it’s looking incredible. I forgot how physical painting was though. I cut in around the lower parts of the walls and along the skirting board and radiator and was shaking afterwards. Hence sitting down. Being a spoonie can be soul destroying. Time was I would crack on with painting an entire room with my mum and not bat an eyelid but now cutting in a wall has pushed me. Still, lindsay and michael rollered the colour on. It’s like a too-true-to-be-funny one liner – how many spoonies does it take to paint a wall? Three in a weird relay.

At least this form of painting keeps me from having to look at my latest miniatures painting project – a very frustrating gorkanaut. Michael’s way of painting ork gargants that he started with his stompa is to randomly throw purple and pink colours at different panels on the thing. It looks great but it’s a pain to paint. I mean at first it was fun but after a third colour and still seeing lots of unpainted areas you get to thinking how much simpler it would have been to airbrush the entire thing one colour. I’m at that stage where I completely hate it and think I need to force myself to just plod on and get the base coats done so I can try to make it into something I like. I’m hoping once the main bulk of the job is done I can get stuck into the detail which is where I really find enjoyment, not that I possess the best skills for detailed work mind you. Or any work if my appalling cutting in around the door in the kitchen is anything to go by.but it’s the enjoyment that counts more than the end product, to me anyway.

After many promises to myself that I would pick up other hobbies this month so far I just haven’t. I’m really struggling with any drive and I think it’s lockdown related. This pandemic has taken an entire year from us now, taken lives and health and chances for memories. I think as a collective we are having to deal with that as restrictions are soon to be lifted bit by bit. It feels like it will never be safe and I never want to go back to normal but at the same time I’m internally racing towards the time when I can go for a walk with my family, sit in a garden with friends, hug my nephews and be a regular part of their lives again. This reluctance to move forward and racing feeling have my anxiety and depression yoyoing like crazy so I’m constantly on edge the past few weeks, always distracted and my mind regularly wanders off. It’s been hard to focus on much except how to make it through the day so that the next day will come sooner. Not a healthy way to live and I need to stop. I’m determined, therefore, to do more with my time. At the start of the first lockdown a year ago I had a plan of how to spend my time. I didn’t always stick to it but I like to think I was active and kept myself busy. So I just need to find that drive again for one last push. Soon I will have my wider support network back but until then I just need to make it through, set small goals of hobbies to achieve as well as housework, try to enjoy myself.

Time for a kitty update! Barrington purred for me briefly yesterday! He was winding around my legs and rubbing my hand and enjoying a good scratch and he purred for me. It made me so happy that he’s so comfortable now in his home. He knows how to ask to be outside and in and out of the den when the gate is closed when Gandalf is out. He and Bonnie and Jenny are settling together; there’s lots of sniffing each other but still scrapping occasionally. We think Barrington is going for top cat position because he is quite often the aggressor nowadays. Bonnie has taken to sleeping on lindsay’s bed after Barrington spends a lot of nights on my bed when michael isn’t in it. He’s still not a part of the michael fan club – we are certain that a man has hurt him and it’s taking a lot longer for Barrington to feel comfortable around michael but he’s getting there slowly. Ham helps.

Well, it’s time for a second coat. Once more into the colourful breach dear friends. I’ll add on a picture once it dries. It better look nice after all this, I’m already exhausted and the job isn’t over yet.

Mood – cautiously optimistic with a side serving of nerves

Beverage Last Consumed – pink lemonade

Food Last Eaten – chips

Show Last Watched – Star Trek DS9

Song Last Played – lasers and feelings album by the double clicks

Game Last Played – Stuffed Fables

Hobby Last Done – Bullet Journalling

Current Reading – Birdwatching with Your Eyes Closed by Simon Barnes

#PaintSlam’21 – quietly ignoring the half finished gorkanaut staring at me from the desk (model count 12/52, ork pointz 215/1000)

On the hook – yarn inventory. That’s what I need

On the needle – still the beginnings of a bunny cross stitch. Need to dig it out.

Recipe of the week – salt and pepper chicken

Vaccines and Vehicles

WE HAVE THE CAR BACK! I want to shout it from the rooftops, it’s finally fixed and back with us after a week in the garage and the whole month needing work. Yesterday morning me and Lindsay threw on a coat and went for a walk in the park and gods was it amazing to be out walking with her; fresh air, trees, grass and bird song around us as we plodded our way along the river and back.

I was so inspired by the first signs of spring in the park that I came home and got stuck into housework and, well, that was a bad idea all round. By the time dinner was made in evening despite pacing myself throughout the day I had Done Too Much and ended up crawling up the stairs and spending the evening feeling like a large, rather immovable pincushion. Why is it that no matter how often you hear, and tell yourself, as a spoonie that you must only do what your body can handle, as soon as you feel a push of optimistic enthusiasm for doing things you suddenly think ‘I’ll be fine, my body won’t complain I’m sure’. And your body always does complain, loudly and often in colourful language, at your stupidity.

That’s where I’m at today. The point that your body says ‘yeah… nope!’ And refuses to do much of anything. I felt like death just for taking a shower. Clean death, but I could barely move for an hour or two afterwards. So I was told to Rest. This for me means anxiously trying to amuse myself whilst thinking of all the things I should be doing, could be doing, and will have to remind someone else to do. So far I’ve had to watch michael do everything and that’s never going to work out well. But I’ve got to rest. Because tomorrow is my birthday. And yes it’s a lockdown birthday, I can’t go anywhere or do anything or see anyone, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it. But to enjoy it I need to rest my body. Such is a spoonie’s life. So I’ve had tea, sat outside in the sun, read my book, downloaded a new set of stickers for my bullet journal, worked on my bullet journal, and spent a good chunk of my morning on the switch playing animal crossing. And now I’m bored. So I’m blogging so I can share around the boredom.

Enjoying the sun even if it is cold

Today would have been a good day to paint if a) my hands didn’t hurt so much and b) my desk wasn’t a tip. A combination of my mess and michael’s, it needs a tidy and I have no motivation to sort it out today. Ironic seeing as I’ve been waiting since Tuesday for michael to airbrush prime the gorkanaut I built over the weekend which he did last night only for me to not paint it at all today. The model is a good chunk towards my 1,000 point goal for orks this year and, although it’s only one of the 52 models, I’m giving myself all of March to paint it because it’s super detailed and I’m ahead in my number of models painted so if it’s all I get done I will still be on track. Hopefully I can get some painting time in over the weekend and get some base colours on the model.

After my last blog entry I’m still feeling pretty annoyed at the government for the way asthmatics are being treated in regards vulnerability and the line up for the vaccine but I’m not letting it make me so crappy any more. It’s taken a lot to get over, mostly because I know how affected I was by getting covid last year and how my asthma has worsened since then. I’m still worrying what would happen to me if I caught it again, worrying about my asthmatic family members particularly my mum who is working with young children day in day out with no Ppe or distancing, and worrying in general about my fellow asthmatics out there, but I’m more angry and exasperated than down about it. Anyway, michael and lindsay have their vaccines booked which I’m happy about, particularly michael since catching it again would almost certainly hospitalise him, and according to calculators out there I should receive mine before the end of March. The country is moving swiftly with these to get everyone safe. And by the time I’m allowed to walk with my parents we should all have had the vaccine so extra layer of protection to add to the 2m.

Lastly a Barrington update. The little Lord is now happily exploring outside and occasionally following me around the house even. He loves getting attention and is warming to michael although he’s still very skittish. Him and Bonnie are settling down, mostly because he stands up for himself now and she doesn’t know how to reply to that lol. He’s very vocal with us now too and is getting ever closer to wanting a cuddle on the sofa.

Mood – an out of body experience would be great about now

Beverage Last Consumed – hot buttered rum tea

Food Last Eaten – A ham salad baguette

Show Last Watched – flight of the concords

Song Last Played – make damn sure by taking back Sunday

Game Last Played – Thunderbirds the cooperative boardgame (we won!)

Hobby Last Done – reading

Current Reading – wife in the North by Judith O’Reilly

#PaintSlam’21 – I finished the burnaboyz and built a gorkanaut which is now primed (model count 12/52, ork pointz 215/1000)

On the hook – next month I want to get on this

On the needle – same here, next month

Recipe of the week – quickie red beans and rice from last night. Budget meal, fairly simple and very tasty creole flavours. Plus it’s packed with the good stuff.