Monday, 27 April 2009
I went to the boot market yesterday for the first time since last autumn and boy was I surprised. Ok, so it was a nice, sunny day and that always draws the crowds but it was BIG. Twice it’s usual size and there were more people than I’ve ever seen there before. Far more. Like more than double the number. That’s a lot of people. The car park had been extended but even that wasn’t enough - cars were parked along verges for a good few hundred yards or so on either side of the road too.
Another thing I noticed was that a lot of the stall holders were asking more for their stuff than they previously had. Not huge amounts, but a pound rather than 50p, that sort of thing. Some were taking the p**s though… £2 for a chiffon scarf? I don’t think so.
I managed to get myself a few bits that I’m really happy with. A lamp for the guest room when it’s eventually decorated (this summer some time), a little white cotton summer blouse, a belt, a scarf (not the one to two quid, I hasten to add), a spider plant and four necklaces. All in all I spent £6. Can’t grumble at that. LM got herself a really pretty dress for £3.50 too. One of those handy ones that you can just chuck in a weekend bag and it comes out uncreased. And that dries in no time, too. She was pleased :)
There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that the recession is sending more people in the direction of car boot sales. People wanting to make a few bob by getting rid of their unwanted stuff and others hoping to bag a bargain rather than pay full whack in the shops. Reusing… wonderful :)
And the fact that my fashion conscious daughter (albeit, not a strict follower of high street fashion) can find stuff she likes there is proof that it’s not all tat at the boot market. Far from it. Half of my home and wardrobe has come from car boot sales and I’m not ashamed to admit it, either.
Cross fingers it’s nice weather next Sunday and I’ll be off bargain hunting again. No doubt a good few of you will be doing the same :)
Sharon J xx
Saturday, 18 April 2009
Well hello there!
First of all, my apologies for ignoring the blog and you lovely bloggy people for so long but life has been getting in the way and… well, to be honest, I haven’t really had much I’ve felt like writing about. It’s not that there hasn’t been anything to write about, I just haven’t felt like writing it.
I’m starting to feel as though I’m getting on top of things again now though and life is getting back to some kind of normality. Well, MY normality, anyway. But then I guess everybody’s normality is different.
Now that spring’s here I’ve a host of jobs to do around the house. The garden looks the pits and will definitely need sorting out. I’ve written before that I’d ideally like somebody to come in and give it a complete overhaul that would make it easy maintenance but the funeral associated outgoings sucked up a huge chunk of my savings and then a few others things have needed paying for so that idea is a long way off in the future again. Even my new kitchen, which I finally thought I was going to get this summer after 3 years of saving has had to be put on hold. The money just isn’t there anymore. Oh well… back to the drawing board. Worse things have happened at sea, as they say. The least I can do is tidy the bloody garden though, so it looks….hmmm…. I was going to say presentable but it’ll never be quite that - I can get it looking as if somebody care a bit about it though. At the moment it’s full of broken pots, old barbeques, bits of tree net and other odd bits of rubbish. The table and chairs are covered in a rather unattractive green mould and the plants are all overgrown. As for the weeds… I know no matter what I do I’m never going to keep them down; the garden chock-a-block with them.
Then there’s the bedrooms. Paul will be moving back this summer but before that can happen I need to do a bedroom reshuffle. I’m moving into LM’s old bedroom (she moved out while I was in London… yes, it was all happening at once), Paul is going in mine and the little room will become a guest room. The thing is, they all desperately need decorating first. LM’s old room is black and cream and as nice as it looked when she did it, I’m not sleeping in a black room. The room that’ll be Paul’s hasn’t been decorated in yonks and has a carpet that I’m utterly ashamed of, and the little room….well, I actually think that can stay as it is at a push but I’d like to have it painted before I make it into a guest room. All this costs money and as I can’t do the work myself, I have to pay somebody to come in and do it. It has to be done though, like it or not.
I’ll keep you updated on the progress (and maybe even post some before and after photos, assuming I remember to take them) but until my daughter actually gets the rest of her ‘crap’ out of her old bedroom, I can’t do a darned thing.
In the meantime I’ll enjoy the sunshine we’re having and hope that it lasts.
Sharon J xx
Monday, 30 March 2009
I went clothes shopping yesterday. It was only a trip to Matalan and I didn’t spend a fortune but as I’ve increased a size since last summer (this is a good thing) I really wouldn’t have very much to wear at all without adding considerably to my wardrobe. I had one pair of jeans that fit, I’d stained the last pair of trackie bottoms (I love the soft, baggy ones for slouching about in), one pair of cords, a pair of black trousers and a handful of tops that aren’t even all suitable for wearing on a casual day-to-day basis. With spring here and the, hopefully, warmer weather approaching, the situation was becoming dire. This was also the first time I'd bought brand new clothes for so long that I can't even remember the last time.
Originally LM was going to come with me but it was such a lovely day for a trip out today so, as she was working, I asked Richard if he’d come with me. Most men would balk at a clothes shopping trip with a female and that’s without being laden with the job of pushing the wheelchair around and carrying the basket that was getting heavier and heavier. And without the female in question getting herself just a tad stressed up (ok… a bit more than just a tad) because her arms hurt every time she tried to hold something up or reach for something that was just beyond how far she could comfortably stretch, but Richard didn’t complain. I did wheel myself for a while - I didn’t leave it all to him - but my arms aren’t strong enough yet for me to whiz round the way I once used to. I’m sure in many ways it was a frustrating experience for us both but I got a few things I liked and that would work with what I already have so was pleased.
I was even more pleased when Linn Marie had a look at what I’d bought though. Not only did my 20 year old daughter approve of everything I’d bought but two of the items - both summer jumpers - were met with “awww… you should have got me one of those”.
And there was me thinking I was a right old frump. Maybe there’s life in the old bird yet ;-)
Friday, 27 March 2009
Another person who’s pushing herself to her limits is Amy, a young lady who’s probably out there right now, covering the next leg of her long journey from Leeds to Cardiff. Every day for 10 days she’s walking an average of 20 miles a day in order to raise money for Link Community Development, a charity that builds schools for children in Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa and Malawi.
Amy came to stay with us on Wednesday night as a ‘couch surfer’. She found us through couchsurfing.com, a website designed to help travellers find free accommodation for a night or two. I originally signed up when LM was thinking of going travelling, basically just to find out what it was all about, but as being a member means I can probably help a few people by offering them a bed for the night, then so be it. Amy was my first ‘couch surfer’ to come stay and a very nice girl she is too. Very grounded, takes things as they are and asks for very little. In fact, she spent the evening in my bedroom with me, LM and Sam (a friend), perched on the end of my bed. We all shared some stories and had a good laugh though and it was 11pm before she finally dropped into the spare bed. I guess that means she enjoyed herself :)
Now 20 miles a day might not sound like an awful lot to some people but when you consider that a marathon is 26 miles, you suddenly realise that 20 miles a day for 10 consecutive days is actually quite a mammoth task. And Amy hadn’t even trained for this. In fact, she told us that the furthest she’d ever walked before was just 4 miles. Brave girl!
Amy will be going to Uganda in the summer to help build schools. A laudable thing to do, as I’m sure you’ll agree. The world could do with more people like her who are willing to actually put themselves out in order to do something to help those who are less privileged than us.
If you’d like to sponsor Amy, she has a JustGiving page at www.justgiving.com/amyleedsuganda. The minimum amount is £2 I think, but I doubt that’ll break the bank for any of us. And she really does deserve our support. After all, what’s a couple of quid compared to the blood, sweat and tears that she’ll be enduring over the next week?
Go Amy! You’re a star!
Sharon J xx
Saturday, 7 March 2009
After a long illness my dad finally found peace this morning.
I have to get to London somehow.
I don't know when I'll be back. Sorry.
Sharon J xx
UPDATE: Richard is taking the trouble to drive me down on Monday and then take the train back up (I need my car there in order to get around but can't drive such a long distance alone) and Carol has kindly offered me a bed for the duration as well as any extra help that my mum and I might need. I'll probably be gone a couple of weeks.
Thank you everybody for your kind wishes, both in the comments here, through emails, and on Facebook.
Friday, 6 March 2009
Lemons are said to be nature’s own cleansers - they deodorize whatever they come in contact with, cut through grease and leave their beautiful, sharp fragrance behind to add a real whiff of freshness.
Use those sunny yellow fruits to clean worktops, chopping boards, the microwave, the inside of your fridge and just about any other place that needs cleaning and deodorizing.
Just cut a lemon in half and gently wipe it over the surface of whatever needs cleaning then wipe dry with a clean cloth. Throw the rind in the waste bin to help kill off any nasty smells there.
To clean a microwave, just pop a slice or two of lemon in a glass of water, zap in the micro for 30 seconds on the highest setting then clean off any loose residue with a barely damp cloth.
To dust and polish wooden furniture, just add a little olive oil to some lemon juice (just enough oil to give it a better polishing consistency) then use as you would any other wood furniture polish. It not only smells better than those spray polishes, it’s far better for the environment too.
Even ink stains can be removed with lemon juice so next time that pen in your top pocket leaks, just dip the effected area in lemon juice for about 15 minutes then wash as you normally would (using environmentally friendly washing detergent, of course).
And then, when you’ve finished your housework for the day, pop a slice of lemon in a glass of Cinzano and lemonade and just chill. Well it works for me.
Sharon J xx
Image Credit: alasam
Thursday, 5 March 2009
Are there daffodils blooming in your garden now? Or along country lanes, in parks, or maybe in your neighbour's front garden?
There are a good few beautiful golden blooms smiling at me from the garden these days and the miniature daffodils in the front are budded and ready to go any day now.
I don't think there's anything that lifts my spirits quite as much as seeing the daffodils bloom in spring. To me, it's the first major sign that the rebirth of nature has started and soon everything else will start to follow. The birds will be singing their crazy love songs, the trees will be budding and the insects will start to crawl out from their winter hideaways. Badgers, hedgehogs and other hibernating creatures will emerge from their long period of winter sleep and the sun will just keep getting stronger.
What a difference a daff can make.
Sharon J xx
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
I had a lovely day yesterday, which is quite strange considering I had to take an urgent trip up to Manchester, to the specialist unit at Salford Royal.
I have to admit that I woke up dreading the day ahead of me. I hauled myself off the sofa, where I’ve been sleeping for the past two months, knowing that the clinic I’d been called to on Monday would undoubtedly leave me feeling exhausted and sat myself at my set-up trolley (the place where I lay out my aseptic medical equipment in order to deal with my IV feeding line) and proceeded to get myself ‘unhooked’. All was going well until I had to flush the line through with saline, at which point the darned thing burst. Yes, it burst. Saline sprayed all over me and for a moment I sat there wondering what on earth had happened. Just as well I already had to go the hospital as that would definitely need dealing with pronto.
By this time I wasn’t feeling too upbeat about the day ahead. On the contrary, my mind was full of negative thoughts and the dread started to really build up in me. But I ‘pulled myself together’ and decided that thinking negatively wouldn’t help anything and would almost certainly make the day worse and that some positive thought was needed instead. I thought about how blessed I am to still be in a position to enjoy the things I’m still able to do - just 25 years ago they wouldn’t even have been able to save my life let alone keep me alive through artificial nutrition pumped directly into my blood.
Anyway, I got myself dressed for the first time since Boxing Day and although just doing that sapped my energy considerably (I’ve been suffering from lack of potassium, something that REALLY depletes your energy and can be life threatening) it felt good to be looking more or less normal again. I couldn’t have a bath or wash my hair though - the former because I can’t actually get in and out of the bath and the latter because I can’t get up the stairs to the bathroom anyway - so still felt I looked a bit bag ladyish but I’d just have to hope the neighbours didn’t see me and deal with it. In fact, when I checked in the mirror, my hair didn’t look tooooo bad considering, but it does need a bloody good cut.
Richard, with whom I’m now on talking terms but not in a sense where we’ll ever be a couple again, drove me to the hospital and just being out, seeing the world again, had me feeling as though I’d just escaped prison. It had been so long since I’d been out that I was actually starting to forget what ‘outside’ looked like. And although it was a rainy day that didn’t matter - even the rain looked and felt good.
Clinic went ok - there was a lot of waiting around as usual but we got chatting to a few other patients who suffer from the same condition as I do and although it’s sad that so many people have had their lives changed in this way, it does help to know that others are up against the same kind of problems and hear how they deal with things, or not, whatever the case may be.
I also had my line fixed. That was a fiddly job but the nurse was lovely and everything went as it should. My line’s a little longer now and will therefore be bulkier beneath my clothes but what the heck, it keeps me alive! That line is as important to me as my heart is.
Three hours after arriving we left the hospital again and headed back to Crewe and a pub where we knew we could grab a cheap but decent meal. Unfortunately, halfway through the meal my energy deserted me and I just wanted to go home. I started getting cold and I was shivering badly - always a sign that I need sleep - so we headed back to my house, Richard saw me in and picked up a few bits he’d left behind when we split, and I crawled back on to the sofa, pulled the duvet over me and slept soundly for three hours. I don’t even remember my daughter talking to me, I was out for the count within minutes.
When I woke again it was dark and I was alone. My daughter came down for a chat, then I read for a while, had a quick look on eBay and then settled myself down for the night. Again, I slept soundly until eight this morning.
Going out yesterday restored my faith in that I will get over this blip - I just need to keep exercising (I have a pedlar and dumbbells that I use daily to help build up my muscle mass again) and keep thinking positively.
My next goal is to visit the hairdresser and get a bit more self-esteem back. I’m hoping I’ll have done that by the end of the month.
Positive thought is powerful. Like attracts like so by thinking good thoughts we're more likely to attract good things into our lives making even the days we dread the most just that bit more bearable.
Sharon J xx
Friday, 27 February 2009
I just had a phone call. Nothing unusual about that really, except that this one was. Unusual, that is.
Here’s how it went:
Ring…ring… [I check number, it’s unavailable. I answer anyway, there‘s a few seconds pause and I clearly hear the caller put the phone down.]
Ring…ring… [I check number again...still unavailable. I answer.]
Him: Is that Mrs Sharon?
Me [thinking it’s strange he didn’t use my surname]: Who’s asking?
Him: I’m calling about your loft and cavity wall insulation for [tells me my house number and street]
Me: Sorry, I know nothing about any insulation. Goodbye.
I was rather abrupt in my manner when I put the phone down but the whole thing felt very dodgy to me and I wasn’t about to stay on the line with him.
1. Why an unavailable number?
2. Why put the phone down the first time he called?
3. Why not use my surname?
4. Why, even though I asked, did he not introduce himself?
I’m sure that whatever he was up to, it wasn’t kosher. He even sounded nervous, like he knew he didn’t really ought to be doing what he was doing; the pause between me asking who wanted to speak to me and him responding was just a bit too long, if you get what I mean.
It really is worth being aware of dodgy phone calls. I mean, I can’t say for sure that he was up to no good, but the signs are definitely there. I should really have asked him for the name of the company he worked for and his name, but I wasn’t in the best of moods and I do remember reading something a while back that said you shouldn’t keep anonymous callers on the line for longer than you need to but it would have been interesting to have heard what he’d said if I had asked.
I guess I won’t be getting any loft or cavity wall insulation.
Sharon J x
Image Credit: Deman
Thursday, 26 February 2009
Now I know language doesn’t remain static. Every language evolves whether we like it or not - if that weren’t the case we’d still all be speaking in the same way Shakespeare did, or even Anglo-Saxon, but I really don’t like what’s happening to it these days.
This is copied from something a 15 year old friend of the family wrote recently:
“I had da best tym todaii it woz wiked. Just gt in nd am 2 tyred 2 fink. C ya 2mrw.”
I’m really not sure whether that’s txt spk or just a case of bad spelling, grammar and everything else rolled together.
This isn’t an isolated incident either. Go on any social networking site and take a look at how young people write these days. Not all of them - some youngsters write beautifully - but far too many.
Is it because they’re not being taught proper language skills in school? Is it because of txt spk influences? Is it just sheer laziness (can’t be bothered to learn)?
I really hope this isn’t a sign of how people will be speaking/writing in the future because that, to me, just isn’t beautiful.
Sharon J xx
Wednesday, 25 February 2009
My daughter’s out tonight. Just recently she’s been spending more time than usual at home and definitely more time sitting in the living room actually wanting to talk to me. Every night this week so far and all but one last week. And the one night she was out last week was because it was her birthday so was taken out for a meal by some friends. She did make me a lasagne before she went though (my favourite - she hates it) and apart from an hour or two spent shopping in the morning, spent the day with me.
This is most unusual behaviour for her but I know what’s happening. She’s moving out in a few weeks and knows that this is the last of her time left being part of this place… being here whenever…. In the future it’ll be visits and that’s never the same. For the same reason I’ve been really enjoying her company.
We’re both heading off into the unknown now. I’ve just realised that I’ve never actually lived alone before. I went straight from my parents’ home to my married home and when that went tits up I had my children living with me. After 48 years I’m finally going it alone.
How we’ll cope remains to be seen but I’m optimistic.
Sharon J xx
Tuesday, 24 February 2009
Monday, 23 February 2009
Saturday, 21 February 2009
A few weeks ago I bought myself a new bracelet. I wasn’t being indulgent or anything, it’s a simple bracelet of stones on elastic. It’s nicely made and looks nice and at £5.95 it won’t exactly break the bank.
But I didn’t buy it because it’s pretty or cheap, I bought it because my shoulder has been giving me gyp for about a year now. I have no lateral movement in my left arm and can’t lift it over my head as well as my right and sometimes - about 2-3 times a week on average - it’ll ache like nobodies business. Since Christmas the aching had increased in intensity and was starting to happen more frequently so I decided it was time to see if I could do anything about it.
I’d heard that hematite’s said to have electromagnetic properties so I grabbed a few books that I thought would give me the information I needed and low and behold, they were said to be useful for easing joint pain.
As I tend to prefer to try the natural remedy first, I took myself off to eBay and searched for a hematite bracelet. There were a few different choices available but the one shown above was by far the one that suited my taste best.
That was about a fortnight ago. I’ve worn it every day since it arrived and apart from the first day, not once… yes, that’s right, NOT ONCE, has my shoulder given me anywhere near the kind of pain it used to. I still don’t have any more dexterity in it but I’m no longer kept awake because I don’t know where to put my arm, and believe me, that really was driving me potty. Most of the time I don’t notice any pain at all, and when I do it’s really not too bothersome.
Now it could just be coincidence so I’m in no way saying that my lack of pain IS down to the hematite, but it seems probable to me. All stones and crystals are said to have their own energies that draw or repel other energies and, apparently, hematite works by attracting the iron in the blood (or rather, the energy of the iron) thus increasing the blood's flow.
I know some people would argue that it’s just a placebo effect but if that is the case, as long as it works for me that’s ultimately what matters.
Sharon J xx
PS: If you're interested in looking at some hematite bracelets, I bought mine from this seller.
Friday, 20 February 2009
Living on the earth is easy, we all do it without giving much thought to it. But how about living with the earth?
We’ve been blessed with a beautiful planet that, if treated properly in order to give nature a chance to do things the way they were intended, would provide for all of our basic needs; there would be enough nutritious food, clean water and shelter for everybody.
But we don’t.
Most of us choose to just live on the planet instead of living in harmony with it. We no longer follow the natural cycles of life, whether that’s our own lives or those found in everything natural that surrounds us. We’ve built a society where living in peace and harmony with the earth is actually the more difficult option, but surely it should be the easiest and most natural thing to do? Shouldn’t understanding nature’s cycles, including the natural cycles of our own bodies, be instinctive or at least learned through the generations so that we ‘just know’ rather than something we have to teach ourselves and strive to achieve? Shouldn’t respect for the environment be an established standard rather than something we need to reminded of? Shouldn’t we naturally prefer food that’s free from chemicals and toxins and from livestock that’s treated humanely rather than weighing up what’s best for the earth and everything that’s a natural part of it against what’s cheapest for us?
Many hundreds of years ago people lived in closer harmony with the earth but eventually man became materialistic. Once that happened, there was no stopping us and these days, those of us who still try to live as natural a life as we can, and who truly care about the environment and want to preserve this beautiful planet are still all too often seen as ‘a bit weird’. I’ve been called a new age hippie, a tree hugger, an old witch, an eco-warrior, and a green trendy and while I suppose I’m all of those things in differing degrees (except green trendy - there’s nothing trendy about me), they’ve been said in a derogatory manner as if caring about our environment is wrong!
We can’t hide behind ignorance. We all KNOW how important it is to care for this planet and yet so many still do far less than they‘re able, if they actually do anything at all.
Sharon J xx
Thursday, 19 February 2009
My daughter and I were chatting last night and the subject eventually came round to the way people are always wanting more - something bigger, better, flashier, more impressive and always more expensive.
She said that she’d much rather look back on a life filled with memories of adventures and experiences that had made an impact on her life, even if only on a spiritual level, because buying stuff doesn’t create lasting memories, not unless there’s been some real blood, sweat and tears put into actually getting it, and those who continuously buy new stuff don’t generally do that.
Do you remember the nights you spent just watching the TV and look back with pleasure? Do you look back on all those days your kids spent in front of the TV playing computer games and smile, laugh or even cry at the wonderful memories? Do you look at your sofa and feel warmed by the memory of buying it?
Do you remember the nights you spent with family and friends and look back with pleasure? Do you look back on all those days your kids spent playing in the woods with you, or learning how to ride a bike, or watching a bird bathe in a puddle and smile, laugh or even cry at the wonderful memories? Do you look at that old sofa and remember cuddles with the kids on it when they were younger?
Things are just things but love, laughter, friendship and experiences are what makes our lives special.
Sharon J xx
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Yesterday was Paul’s birthday. Most of you probably know who he is by now but for the benefit of those who don’t, he’s my special needs son who’s currently staying with my parents in order to help Mum look after Dad, who’s very, very ill at the moment. He was 31 yesterday but to all intents and purposes, he’s still very much a child. An incredibly loving, helpful and honest child.
I phoned him yesterday to wish him happy birthday - like you do - and after a quick ‘conversation’ (Paul can’t actually speak and as he obviously can’t use sign language or gestures via the phone, conversation is difficult) I spoke to my mum.
She told me he’d received a card from my ex husband. This is a man who I haven’t lived with for about 18 years and who isn’t Paul’s natural father. Paul was a year old when we met, two when we married. Since going our separate ways, he’s had relatively little to do with Paul (long story but there is a reason) but never once has he forgotten him. And there’s always some money in the card too, even though he’s far from ‘flush’ himself.
Paul gets ever so excited about birthday cards - small things mean a hell of a lot to him. Far more so than they ever have to me or my daughters. Paul sees and appreciates things that most of take for granted. Sadly though, he only received two cards. The second one was from my mum. Today he should get two more, one from me and one from his sister (ours obviously didn’t arrive on the day) but unless there are some more late-comers, nobody else bothered.
Now I understand that we usually stop sending cards when children grow up, and that some people won’t send cards at all for ethical reasons, but I would have expected a few more people to understand that Paul isn’t ‘grown up’, especially those who have been close to him, and that he doesn’t have a great many of the pleasures in life that we all take for granted, and at least taken the time to send a card to brighten his day with - to help make him feel special and appreciated. Because he IS special, in so many ways.
I just feel that fewer people seem to take the time to think about what would make somebody else happy and actually do it - sending a card isn’t that difficult. Even a phone call would have been something. Or a letter. Anything!
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I shouldn’t expect anything. Maybe it’s just me being selfish, expecting others to give a damn about my son.
Sharon J xx
Tuesday, 17 February 2009
I’ve blogged about toxic people before so most of you probably know already that I’ve been doing as much as I can to remove them from my life and clean up any negative emotional debris that they’ve left behind, but somebody recently asked me WHY I see certain people as being toxic, a question that led to quite a lengthy and interesting conversation.
All relationships are based on a trading system - give and take.
When we meet new people, whether or not we become friends with them depends entirely on whether they have something to offer that we need/want in our lives and whether there’s anything we can offer back that’s of value to them. It could be the ability to make you laugh, being a good listening, shared values, helping out with odd jobs, being a travel companion or one the myriad other reasons why we enjoy being with certain people. Usually though, for a close relationship to develop there needs to be several matches from both sides and for things to balance and create a harmonious relationship, there has to be an even amount of give and take from both sides.
When I realised I needed to remove certain people from my life it was because the relationships I had with them were far too unbalanced - I felt I was doing far too much giving in comparison with what I was receiving back. That sounds selfish, and some would say that we should always give without expecting anything in return, but I just can’t see how any long term relationship could survive like that. We may not consciously expect anything back, but our spirits become unhappy when our kindness is being abused.
Obviously all relationships become unbalanced at times - sometimes a friend’s need can become so all consuming that they’re simply not able to give anything back at that time, but when there’s a continuous unequal measure of give and take, a relationship becomes toxic to the person doing the giving. We can become tired, frustrated, lose our confidence and even become depressed, depending on the level of giving that’s expected of us and how many people are abusing their relationships with us.
But not all toxic relationships are based on ‘selfishness’. Some become toxic simply because the original ‘things’ we needed or could give are no longer valid. Perhaps one or both is still loving and kind but just doesn’t have enough to bring to the table anymore to keep the relationship as strong as it once was. This, I believe, is what most often happens when partners come to a point where the only answer is to walk away but don‘t. They keep going back, keep trying, even though they know deep down that the relationship can‘t survive, whether that be a partner, an awkward boss, a friendship or any other kind of relationship. It’s nobody’s fault - people change and so do their needs or ability to give what‘s needed.
Unfortunately, because there were so many people in my life who I felt were doing far too much taking, either on a spiritual, emotional or practical level compared to what they gave (in some cases, nothing at all), I was running myself dry. That was no good to anybody. If I’m run down I’m of not use to those who do deserve my time while the ‘leeches’ will just move on and look for a new ‘victim’.
Since removing certain people from my life, or at least minimising the time I spend with them, I’ve felt I could once again breathe out and take stock of my life; regain the control that I felt I was losing. I’ve worked on clearing the negative energy they’d left behind in me and I’m gradually ridding the house of their residual energy too. The longer time that passes and the more people who have a positive effect on me I have visit, the better the atmosphere becomes. The law of attraction is once again working in the way I need it to and those I spend time with nowadays are giving me what I need and giving back feels so much easier.
Sharon J xx
Image Credit: Sarah Azavezza
Is it just me that’s a lazy mare or do other people drag out going to loo for as long as they can because they can’t be bothered to get up?
Admittedly, when my energy’s low or I’m ill, getting up to visit the privy can be a huge effort, but this happens on good days too. Not all the time - I’m not that lazy - but it happens. And sometimes I leave it so long that I'm bursting by the time I get there.
Please tell me you do it too.
Sharon J x
Sunday, 15 February 2009
As much of a cliché as it’s become, I do believe that what goes round come round. That what you send out of good or bad energy/actions will come back to you again. That we all get our comeuppence; that God - whether that be Allah, God as depicted in the Bible, the Cosmos or any other form of deity - does repay all debts.
Everything we do on this planet (or elsewhere, if we happen to be astronauts!) has an effect on other people, creatures or nature otherwise. Our actions create a reaction - cause and effect- which is sometimes immediate, other times not so, but a reaction will happen regardless. It may not always be a serious reaction that has any noticeable effect, but sometimes the reaction can be devastating.
I don’t care who you are or how you’ve lived, some of your actions WILL have created a negative reaction. And while most of those actions will have been unintentional, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that there are times when I’ve been a damn right nasty cow. There’s not a shadow of doubt in my mind that some of my past actions have had a profound negative effect on others.
No doubt I've created some bad karma for myself but I'd like to think I've created some of the decent stuff too, although I would have liked to have done more good. But we can’t change the past, can we? Or can we?
Is it possible to go back and settle our karmic debts?
I believe it is.
After a good session of theorising and generally putting the world to rights with a couple of people last night, we concluded that if karma really does exist in our lives then there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be to create some better karma for ourselves by righting our wrongs and that there are two ways that this could be done.
One is to simply stop and actually think before you act. What might the consequences of my action be? Would buying a new car put too much of strain on the environment for it to be acceptable for me to have something that I want rather than need? Would it hurt this person if I tell them they look tired when they’re on their way to a hot date? I’m not saying we’ll never make mistakes but by stopping and thinking a bit more we can at least minimise the amount of damage we cause by our actions.
The second way is by repaying our debts by helping those we‘ve wronged. If you know you once did something that that had a profoundly negative effect on a person’s life, whether intentional or not, then you should do something that will have equally as great an effect on them, but in a good way in order to balance the karma again.
Personally I’d start with the things I’ve consciously done - those time I’ve just been down right horrible. Selfish acts that I did regardless of the consequences even though I knew what I was doing was wrong. Then would come the times I’ve hurt somebody because I had PMT and couldn’t control my tongue, and the times when I’ve been stressed or worried or for some other reason took my problems out on others and hurt them more than is excusable. Because I haven’t been an angel, and although I don’t consider myself a horrible person, I’ve have been
a right bitch unjustifiably horrible at times.
It doesn’t matter whether the other person knows we’ve paid off the debt or not - this isn’t about getting thanks, it’s about balancing your karma which is a private thing between you and your creator, whoever/whatever that may be; as long as the debt’s paid, the karma’s rebalanced and that’s what matters here.
And what’s more, even if this is just a load of old poppycock, we’ll have still touched a few lives and some people will feel a little bit happier along the way. Knowing we've made others happy ultimately makes us happier too so everybody wins. And that can't be bad, can it?
Sharon J xx
Saturday, 14 February 2009
Right. Well… here I am again. I just couldn’t keep away.
The thing is, I love writing and as something of a jaw-me-dead, I have lots to say so blogging kills two birds. Then there’s the fact that I missed this place, sharing my thoughts with people who clearly appreciate them and when several of you sent me messages on Facebook or through emails, asking whether I planned to start blogging again and telling me how much it was missed, well I just knew I had to come back.
I even stopped reading blogs regularly for a while because I found so much inspiration in what my favourite bloggers were writing about that it was becoming a bit frustrating. It didn’t help though, because life in itself does exactly the same thing. Inspiration is everywhere around us, every day of our lives.
Since deciding to lay the blog to rest, a good few of you have added me as a friend on Facebook but it isn’t the same. Not even close. Facebook has its place but it’ll never take the place of blogging. Thanks for adding me though, it was really nice to know that so many of you wanted to stay in touch.
Anyway, I can’t promise that I’ll be posting every day at the moment but as I said, I’m a jaw-me-dead so no doubt I’ll be posting regularly. There’s just so much to say, only this time I won’t be sticking to subjects that are related to simple living, although I'm sure simple living with still feature heavily. I’ll be ‘chatting’ about anything that happens to interest me at the time. And you’ll probably discover sides of me that I haven’t written about before so watch out for a few surprises - this is me, warts and all. And what’s more, it doesn’t matter anymore that ‘somebody’ could be reading this because by stopping doing something I enjoy, I’m letting somebody else control what I do, even though they’re not actually trying to. How daft is that?
I’ll be back tomorrow with a proper post.
Take care, everybody. And happy Valentine's Day.
Sharon J xx
Sunday, 11 January 2009
This is possibly the most difficult blog post I’ve ever written because I’ve truly enjoyed the eleven months I’ve been writing here and, more so, the friends I’ve made along the way. But because I need to sever some ties now I won’t be posting any more.
While certain people still have access to my life through these ramblings, I’ll never truly feel disengaged from them. Despite promises to the contrary, they’re still here, injecting their toxicity into my life and unless I cut all contact, I’ll never be able to move on.
I’ll be changing my email address - those of you who’d like to stay in touch can still contact me on the old one (dioritt (@) yahoo (dot) co (dot) uk) for the next few days or so but I’ll eventually stop checking that account. You can have the new one, though. If you have a Facebook account, please feel free to add me there too. You’ll find me under Sharon Jacobsen.
Thanks to you all for the wonderful comments you’ve left and the inspiration you’ve given me. It’s been a lot of fun, you’ve given me food for thought, and I’m gonna to miss this part of life. But I'll still be visiting your blogs, so I won't disappear entirely. You don't get rid of me that easily.
I may be blogging again some time in the future. I’m just not sure yet.
Sharon J xx
Saturday, 10 January 2009
I was a bit pi**ed off yesterday because my house was a mess. “Bloody pig sty”, was my first thought. But then I thought again…. “hold on, Sharon, pigs don’t live in messy houses”.
Now I’m no authority on pigs - I’ve never kept them, never lived close to them, or had any other dealings with them other than that parts of them sometimes appear on my plate. But I do remember being on a weekend break in Wales a few years ago, and watching the pigs on the neighbouring farm go about their business. The male pig especially fascinated me.
He had a field to himself with one of those tin hut type things that pigs often live in. Nothing unusual there and had it not been for the fact that he was dashing back and forth between the road, his hut and a corner of their field, I probably wouldn’t have taken much notice of him. But I did. And he was tidying.
The end of his field ran parallel with a relatively busy road and it was clear that some of the passengers in the cars using the road had had no qualms about throwing their unwanted rubbish out of the window, much of which had landed in the pig’s field. Said pig clearly wasn’t impressed and was diligently sorting through it, taking useful stuff into his hut to improve the comfort of his bedding and the not so useful stuff to one corner where it was, if not gone, at least tidier.
Richard and I watched Mr Pig go about his business for ages, completely transfixed by his behaviour. He clearly knew what would add extra comfort or warmth to his bed and what wouldn’t and at one point even dragged the remains of a rather large cardboard box half way up the field and into his hut, moved his bedding, placed the cardboard where the bedding had been then piled the bedding back on top. How clever was that?
No, my house didn’t look like a pig sty. It looked like a human inhabitance full of the kind of mess that only we can make.
It’s a bit better now, though.
Sharon J xx
Image Credit: The Pug Father
Friday, 9 January 2009
A friend died recently. Not a close friend by any means but none the less a person who I probably knew better than many of those who saw her regularly. We were in hospital together five years ago, both having suffered a blood clot that had led to our bowels decaying inside us. It’s a condition experience by very few (thankfully) and thus rather unusual that we were both admitted at more or less the same time. Over the course of several months as in-patients, with our beds next to each other, we were taught how to deal with the major changes that would be necessary to continue to lead anything close to a normal life. We were very different personalities but even so, we developed a bond that was different to what I’ve had with anybody else. We shared something that, unless you have to live with this, you simply can’t truly understand. We shared our innermost thoughts and feelings, sometimes things we just wouldn’t normally talk about. Nothing was taboo.
One of the problems with being an IV feeder is that our immune systems are seriously compromised. A simple bug that most people can shake off in a matter or days - weeks at the most - can kill us. If that bug gets into the feeding line it can then get a foothold in the heart (the line goes into the subclavian artery) and from that point on there isn’t too much hope of survival. This is what happened to my friend.
She had the bug that was going around before Christmas. The same bug as I came back from Malta with. She was given anti-biotics and all seemed to be well but after a four or five days she started to feel poorly again. Her husband took her to their local hospital where she deteriorated quickly. She was then sent to the specialist unit in Manchester (where we first met) where her feeding line was removed but unfortunately it was too late for her. The virus had gone to her heart and although she was put on a heart machine, it didn’t help as other organs then started to shut down. First her kidneys, then her lungs. She died during the night. It all happened very quickly.
Her death has really brought it home to me just how lucky I’ve been. I’ve had two infections in my feeding line but both times they’ve caught it quick enough and I’ve pulled through. My heart hasn’t been damaged.
I’m still struggling with the aftermath of ‘the bug’ myself. It's left me feeling very weak and it’s taking a long time for me to regain any decent amount of stamina. But I’m alive. And for that I’m grateful.
One thing I’ve learned from this - and this is something that her husband said to me - was that avoiding doing what you want to do and never pushing yourself further than you should is no guarantee that you’ll last any longer. It’s better to go being glad that you did the things you did than regretting the things that you didn’t.
Sharon J xx
Image Credt: knowhimonline
Thursday, 8 January 2009
The streets are quiet here during winter. The children are at school during the day and in the evening they’re all inside, most of them playing on their games consoles or watching TV. It’s such a reversal of what it’s like here during summer, when our street is alive with children riding their bikes and generally messing around, having fun.
But it’s dark, and parents don’t let their kids out in the dark. Or in the cold.
Ok, I can understand that to a degree - they’re worried about their children’s safety in public areas after dark, but the dark and cold themselves won’t hurt them, not as long as they’re dressed properly. But they don’t even play in their gardens. Everything’s quiet.
Children need fresh air and to use their bodies. They need to go outside to do that. They need to kick a ball about, skip, run and jump. They need to climb and they need to discover all the mysteries that lurk under stones and rocks, in the earth, on leaves and in trees. They need to learn about the natural cycle of life and they aren’t doing that through computer games.
All that’s needed is a decent back yard light and some good, warm clothing. Kids are generally pretty resilient and their fear of darkness isn’t something they’re born with, but something we adults teach them.
When I lived in Norway, the children were always out playing in the dark. It was either that or stay inside the whole time because darkness was something that was there when they left for school, was there when they came home and wasn’t going to go away for many months during winter. They wrapped up well, and played for hours.
Is it any wonder that children here in the UK are increasingly suffering from obesity, allergies and other health problems when they’re bodies aren’t getting the exercise needed?
Sharon J x
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Tuesday, 6 January 2009
One by one the earth’s creatures are disappearing thanks to man’s selfishness.
Apparently, wild seahorses were once found in every ocean from 20 - 100 feet below the surface but over the past 10 years their numbers have dropped by around 70 percent. Nowadays they’re so rare that they’re hardly ever seen.
Why? Because over 20 million of them have been harvested year in and year out for use in ‘natural medicine’, primarily as a natural form of Viagra.
Now I’m all for natural medicines as long as they do the job but not when innocent creatures are threatened with extinction and certainly not when it’s for nothing more than us humans being able to get our legs over more often!
When we will learn that we can’t just keep on taking from nature? Sooner or later the balance will be so off kilter that nothing, humans included, will be able to survive.
Sunday, 4 January 2009
I’d like to hibernate from 1st November until 31st March. If I had a huge freezer full of food, the cupboards well stocked and the milk delivered, I’m sure I could do it. I’d have to save a to be able to afford all that shopping in October though! I'd also need lots of books, bundles of yarn (although my stash may well keep me going through a few winters), and a full craft drawer to keep me occupied.
Seriously, I hate the cold. Really and truly despise it. It makes my bones and muscles hurt so much that sometimes I feel like crying. If I could avoid ever leaving the house during winter then I would. Really. No joke!
Not sure how I’d put my rubbish out though. Or feed the birds.
Sharon J xx
Saturday, 3 January 2009
I’ve decided to join the 101 Things in 1001 Days thing that so many seem to be doing.
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).
From: Thursday, 1st January, 2009
To: Thursday, 29th September, 2011
Yes, I actually started this on New Year’s Day but I forgot to post it. Doh! Never mind, I haven’t achieved anything yet anyway.
As I move through the list, items that are in progress will be shown in Red Italics
If an item has a strikethrough it’ll mean that’s it’s been completed.
Hopefully there will be lots of strikethroughs by the time 29th September 2011 arrives.
- Visit at least 3 countries outside the UK (0/3)
- Visit Lise in Norway twice (not included in above) (0/2)
- Spend at least three consecutive nights in a remote place by the coast somewhere in the UK
- Go camping for at least one night
- Visit Mum & Paul at least four times even though I hate London (unless she moves up here) (0/4)
- Go to the cinema alone
- Take Poppy to Joey The Swan (a local park) at least once a month from May - September
- Go fishing
- Go crabbing
- Visit the theatre at least three times (0/3)
- Take part in a pub quiz night
- See an opera performed live
- Tidy all the 'rubbish' in the garden (broken pots, bags of gravel etc)
- Write a letter to at least three friends who I rarely see (0/3)
- Send thoughtful gifts to three friends “just because” (0/3)
- Give a thoughtful gift to each my closest family members “just because” (1/4)
- Write a letter to Paul every month while he’s away (0/?)
- Befriend an old person (this means more than just say hello to them - the word FRIEND is key)
- Quit Smoking
- Get back to pre-smoking strength
- Go to bed before midnight for a week
- Dance my way through an entire song
- Get new glasses
- Get contact lenses
- Put on 20 kilos (1/20)
- Stay out of hospital
- Take a walk around the neighbourhood 3 times a week for four consecutive weeks
- Knit a Norwegian sweater
- Knit or crochet a blanket for the living room
- Knit or crochet a blanket for the bed
- Knit a cardigan for Mum
- Knit myself a jumper
- Crochet an item of clothing
- Knit 30 hats for the local preemie unit (0/30)
- Only buy yarn for specific projects rather than stashing it
- Use yarn from stash for at least half of my knitting projects
- Read 100 ‘new to me’ books (1/100)
- Buy a camera of my own (unless I receive one as a gift)
- Make curtains for kitchen
- Make chair cushion covers to match curtains
- Make a tote bag
- Hold a pot-luck buffet
- Eat only made from scratch meals for two consecutive weeks (some can be from the freezer)
- Try at least one local dish in any country I visit
- Teach LM to cook well enough to be able to follow a recipe and make up her own
- Compile a recipe book for both of my daughters
- Cook at least one meal I’ve never made before, once a week for four consecutive weeks
- Sort post as it arrives instead of letting it pile up for at least four consecutive weeks (hopefully this will create a habit)
- Switch to only pictures and ornaments that have a special meaning to me in the living room (most already do so should be pretty easy)
- Only decorate kitchen (when redesigned) with pictures and ornaments that mean something to me
- Have shelves put in bin cupboard to use for recycling
- Spend a whole day naked at home (remember to lock door and keep curtains closed!)
- Stay in a caravan
- Find an environmentally friendly hand/bath soap that I’m satisfied with
- Improve storage in bedroom to get rid of clutter in the black hole next to the bed
- Hang at least six more family photos on wall (0/6)
- Find and hang curtains for what’s now Paul’s room but will eventually be the guest room (get rid of roller blind)
- De-clutter entire house
- Get rid of rockery in front garden
- Have my kitchen completely redesigned and decorated
- Have the downstairs loo and back porch decorated
- Have a shower installed, bathroom decorated & new floor laid
- Have electricity installed in garden
- Switch bed for normal sized double bed (or maybe even a single!)
- Grow at least two types of vegetables (0/2)
- Have at least six pots of herbs growing simultaneously (and keep them alive for a whole season) (0/6)
- Acquire a gate-leg table and four folding chairs for the kitchen
- Finish painting two kitchen chairs (these will stand permanently next to above table) (0/2)
- Save at least £500 in an emergency fund
- Pay off credit card 1
- Pay off credit card 2
- Pay off loan
- Pay off all small debts
- Save 20p, 50p, £1 and £2 coins in my jar until it’s full
- Spend at least one Internet free day a week for six consecutive weeks
- Get at least half of the old photos digitalized
- Put photos in albums
- Get three quotes for landscaping the garden (0/3)
- Plant a blueberry bush
- Grow strawberries
- Get at least 20 minutes of sunshine on my skin whenever the sun shines during the warmer months (this is for my vitamin D deficiency)
- Find some kind of volunteer work that I can do (there must be something!!)
- Sponsor a child
Start a “Special Needs” awareness group on Facebook(done: 04/01/09)
- Write a thank you letter to an author whose book I’ve particularly enjoyed
- Put all digital photos on discs
- Paint a garden ashtray
- Start using a calendar PROPERLY
- Find a wooden chest that can double as storage and seat for porch - get rid of shoe rack and replace with a console table
- Get a hair cut I’m happy with (haven’t found a hairdresser I’m happy with in my 7 years here so far)
- Keep a charity shop box and deliver every time it's full
- Buy/make all Christmas presents so that I have them ready to wrap by November 15th
- Build up a wardrobe I’m happy with using only second-hand clothes (apart from underwear & possibly footwear)
- Swim in the sea
- Build a sand castle
- Host a games night
- Take a trip in a hot air balloon
- Start a memory box
- Buy and attach a bird feeder to the kitchen window
- Watch at least one foreign film with sub-titles (Norwegian not included)
- And one that I know what is but that I’m not willing to share with the world
I’m also going to award myself £5 for every item on the list that I achieve. Should I achieve them all (well, you never know) that’ll be £505 for me to spend on whatever I want!
I’m actually glad I’ve done this. It kind of gives a bit more structure to what I want to do. Mind you, life, abilities and priorities change so if anything changes I’ll amend the list to fit. It will be noted though.
Anybody else have a 101 list that I haven’t seen?
Sharon J xx
Image Credit: Keylosa
Apparently daffodils are now blooming on Guernsey and have been since just before Christmas. Daffodils blooming at Christmas isn’t good news but yet another sign of climate change.
Let’s all do whatever we can in 2009 to try slow this down. It may or may not work but if we don’t try, we’ll never know.
Friday, 2 January 2009
Because of my inability to work on any kind of regular basis my income comprises solely of what the state choose to pay me. It’s not a lot but still a whole lot more than what some people in this world have and I’m grateful to the taxpayers whose earnings my income is dependant on.
There have been other times in my life where I’ve been dependent on benefits too. When Paul was little he was very difficult to handle (profound learning difficulties led to irregular and sometimes dangerous behaviour) and when several child-minders had given up and pretty much left me in the lurch, I realised that paid employment just wasn’t going to work out. I had to be at home with him and as a single mum that meant going on benefits.
I’ve never liked just taking and not giving anything back though so I did voluntary work instead. That way I could take Paul with me when I needed to and have time off when he was ill (which he often was back then). I enjoyed the work I did and felt I was doing something useful as a way of saying thanks for the support I was getting.
At the moment I feel kind of stuck though. I’ve looked into all sorts of voluntary work but they all want people who they can depend on to work regularly, something I can’t promise. When my stamina’s good I can work, but when it isn’t I can’t even get out of bed and downstairs let alone out of the house and actually do something. So that’s no good.
I’ve been doing the odd bit of charity knitting and am planning to do more but that doesn’t feel like enough somehow. And I give to charity shops of course, but who doesn’t?
Ideally I’d like something I could do from home like typing for example, but nobody seems to want that.
Do I really have to go on just taking without returning anything? Surely there’s more I can do?
Any ideas would be gratefully received.
Sharon J xx
Thursday, 1 January 2009
Today I’ve been tidying my bedroom and chucking out stuff that’s just cluttering the place up. By chucking out I obviously don’t mean that I’ve put it all in the bin for the landfill, but generally banishing it from my life. Some of the stuff will be going to the charity shop, some of it will be going to the Salvation Army collection point at the recycling centre and some will be going on Freecycle. It took a while because I had to keep resting but it didn't half feel good to be getting on with it :)
My immediate problem now is my wardrobe. I don’t have a lot of clothes because I got rid of all my size 16 and 18s a while back when, as a size 10, I realised that there was no way I was ever going to use them again. I’m now a size 12 but my goal is a size 16 (20 kilos away I reckon so it’s gonna take some time) and while I do have some clothes that I’ve bought from charity shops and boot fairs, I’ve realised that I’ve just been buying any old thing just so’s I have something to wear and nothing really goes together. There’s no style over anything… what I wear these days says nothing about who I am. And let’s face it, our clothes are a kind of uniform that give signals to the rest of the world about who we are and where we stand. A woman in a power suit says something completely different to a woman in long flowing skirt, gypsy blouse and hair tied back with a velvet ribbon.
I couldn’t chuck out everything I don’t really feel is me because that’d just leave me with too little to wear but I am going to start switching things. Even though I’m going through temporary wardrobes at the moment I still need to feel at home in my clothes so I need to be more mindful when I visit charity shops and the likes. Hence, I’ve decided that I shall build up a wardrobe I’M HAPPY WITH using only second-hand clothes for each step towards my size 16 goal. Then, and only then, will I treat myself to something new.
Ok, so there will be new undies and probably some vest tops bought new along the way but nothing expensive or “this season”. I prefer clothes that will keep on going for years - in fact I still wear a jumper that a friend bought for me twenty odd years ago (remember the pink one with the dog on the front, Carol?).
I also love brooches so will be looking for more of those and I need to start wearing necklaces again. I’ve neglected my wardrobe for too long and when you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, you feel happier. Well I do, anyway.
Sharon J xx