{22/11/2012}   Body temperature

I have hyperhidrosis, which basically means I overheat and sweat more than most people.  I have a few friends with Raynaud’s, pretty much the opposite syndrome.  I am currently struggling with the temperature outside versus the temperature on public transport.  Every day this week, I have spent the morning in a sweaty mess.  Looking around, I do not see others sweating.  I have also been in an office that is either icy cold or hot, the latter which seems to suit everyone else, the former which I can just about tolerate and which is better than the hot option.  I don’t know how people cope in offices or sharing a house with people whose body temperatures are so different.

I have the heating on quite low at home, but a few friends in particular come round and end up looking really cold.  A conversation may then ensue about our differing body temperatures and each other’s hands will be felt and their varying temperatures exclaimed over.  If I then turn the heating up, I overheat and feel sorry for myself.  It’s really hard and really frustrating to find a temperature that suits everyone.  One friend who does have Raynaud’s always comes round with a bag full of warm things.  She brings extra jumpers, indoor Ugg boots and thick socks.  I go round to hers wearing layers, ending with a thin t-shirt.

As for the trains, for example, why do they have to have heating puffing away.  Everyone is dressed in wintery attire anyway and sardine-packed bodies make for a hot and steamy carriage (oo er!)  so the addition of heating confounds me and renders me uncomfortably hot and sweaty.  It’s a vicious circle because when I then take off my jacket or another layer, by the time I get outside and it’s a bit cooler, my sweat gets cold and I am that horrible mix of cold on the outside, hot on the inside.

I fear there are a lot of people who don’t get all this and think I am exaggerating but it really isn’t remotely pleasant to spend most time in buildings and on public transport wiping away the sweat and feeling ludicrously hot.

How on earth do people survive in offices.  I have attended disciplinaries over issues relating to temperature issues (eg a workplace harassment claim based on someone turning the heating down and making them cold – it was more complicated than that but it got very out of hand).  Of course I hate working in icy cold environments (don’t start me off on air conditioning!) but it feels like a lot of shops, offices and public transport blast out the heating.  I hate walking into a shop from outside, where you’re dressed suitably for the temperature, and are subjected to temperatures far greater than you’d ever have at home.  I’m not surprised everyone has seemingly had or has a cold – hot germy air seems to be the accepted standard.

I suppose really I should just be grateful I don’t live somewhere like Russia where apartment blocks have a centralised heating system that is on super hot from X date to Y date irrespective of the temperature outside.  I stayed in such a place in Lithuania in April and we couldn’t open the windows.  I could have cried, it was like being captive in a tropical plant house.  Now to see how long I can get away with having my breakfast with the door open to the lovely cool outside air …


It’s been a very long time since I’ve felt as tired for the duration of a day as I felt yesterday.  I was aware I was blinking slower than normal, could barely conduct a conversation and was fairly rubbish at my job.  I don’t have young children, don’t have jet lag and hadn’t even had a late night or, as my mum might suggest, I hadn’t even been burning the midnight oil!  It’s a cruel fate to be that wretched in your tiredness.

I am in awe and respect of parents, particularly breast feeding mums, who manage to survive potentially years of merely snatched sleep.  Similarly, people who work long hours and fly a lot, you too have my respect and sympathy.

But for random days of bleugh, it is a shock and a horror. I slept very little, for no obvious reason, the night before, so I at least know that was the main cause.  However, I often sleep badly but feel nowhere near that dreadful.

I wrote “Mr Yuck” instead of “My Young”, randomly wrote “murder” in an inappropriate place (fortunately none of this was live but caused amusement to the editor who read it!) And managed to delete “strop” and “blob”, which were also very random. It wasn’t my finest steno day, to put it mildly. But at least it wasn’t particularly fast. It didn’t help that I was optimistic for a 1pm finish, which would have allowed me a mid afternoon snooze before going out (don’t even think of suggesting “midnight oil”, it is not that often I go out after work). They kept rattling on until about 4pm in a basement court that was stuffy and with no natural light.  Plus, it was incredibly dull.

What on earth can you do to stay alert? I had tried two coffees and two teas and was poised to resort to a third source of caffeine, a cola, but realised I was already a little giddy … just not wide awake in the productive sense, ie the body was buzzing but the head was not!

However things took a turn for the better after I downed a can of fizzy lemon drink, San Pellegrino. That was at about 5.30pm, before I met a friend shortly before 6. I was horrendously “Eh? You wha’?” When we first met up.  Then, it being a fancy champagne and oysters kinda’ night (this is how I wish I hung more often but, sadly, it’s only occasionally … actually, rarely, how I roll, hang and rock), I perked up a treat and before I knew it I was back to my humorous (or so I think, but isn’t that the point?!) self, wide awake, bushy tailed and alert like a meerkat!

So then we got a teensy bit pissed and I was alert the whole way home. So, my recommendations for a pick-me-up when you feel extraordinarily tired range from fizzy lemon drinks to champagne and oysters. Then, a bag of sweet and salty popcorn seemed to be the source of my alertness for the duration of my one-hour journey home.

I am so full of well researched advice and guidance!  But, seriously, the fizzy lemon, bubbly, oysters and salt and sweet popcorn made me into a far nicer, more lively, witty *snigger* person. I’m all for testing these “ingredients” again!  On the flip side, this morning, an earlier morning than normal, 6am alarm call, awake some time before, how do I feel?  Yeah, bloody knackered again and I didn’t even sleep that well!  Suggestions?  Champagne breakfast … if only to easy the possible hangover headache that’s lurking!  Should’ve stuck with the fizzy lemon pop, eh?!

Last night, feeling virtuous for having eaten and enjoyed a salady lunch, I allowed myself to eat two chocolate éclairs for my evening dessert.  I didn’t feel guilty at all until I remembered that I hadn’t had a particularly healthy breakfast (toast and peanut butter) or dinner (crème fraiche and smoked duck pasta sauce).  According to the somewhat inappropriately labelled “Nutrition” information on the éclair box, it would appear that in my dessert alone I over-consumed my daily fat “of which saturates” GDA and had 30% of my calorie intake.  What point is there in healthy eating if you can’t then have a guilt-free treat/binge?!

My friend who stayed from Monday to Wednesday is both vegetarian and pregnant.  With ease I had two days of healthy food, with emphasis on the vegetables.  I didn’t drink alcohol, I didn’t snack and I even heroically let her have the last ginger biscuit and the last bit of fruit and nut chocolate.  She left and I turned to éclairs.  My unscientific and unresearched conclusion is that it’s all in the mind.

A year ago a friend of mine did a fortnight of detox as a holiday.  I thought this a most ludicrous proposition, until I discovered how easily she lost weight and enthused about her vegetable-water based diet and then the (I perceived) novelty and aesthetically pleasing food she was gradually introduced to after the virtual fasting phase.  She had vegetables made to look like noodles and dishes of many colours and somehow nuts mixed with that seemed truly decadent.  I was thus introduced to the spiralizer, a contraption that I have as yet deemed too expensive and potentially faddy to buy.  However, making healthy food look exciting appears to be a recurrence in the progression of my mindset of food being largely cheesey/buttery/meaty to a less fatty, more virtuous diet.  I always used to scoff at vegetarians who ate, for example, quorn shaped to look like chicken chunks or mince, but I can now see that that paves the way to following recipes for meat dishes, of which there are trillions, instead of just opting for the far fewer recipes for vegetarian food.  It’s all about the psychology of eating.  Probably.

I have decided to call it the Cocktail Effect based on the fact that pretty and unconventional things to consume are far more appealing than familiar and bland things.  I once went a night out without drinking a drop of alcohol but working on the basis I was on a binge drinking session, thus enjoying myself thoroughly and feeling I could get away with being a bit of a mouthy prat, as can occur when I have a drop too much alcohol.  While not as expensive as I’d expected, I ordered my way partly through a cocktail menu.  I vaguely recall the odd comment about it not seeming like there was much alcohol in my cocktails, but I think I got enough of a buzz from the syrups and E numbers (this was a while ago when people weren’t as fixated with freshly squeezed juices and somewhere abroad where syrupy things were poured into my cocktails with a flourish – probably liquid sugar in a lot of cases!) to keep me contentedly “drunk”.  It was only towards the end of my evening that, on being passed a cocktail list by the person buying the round, I realised it was different … and there were various spirits listed.  On inspecting my cocktail list, sure enough I had the virgin cocktail list and I hadn’t even noticed there weren’t spirits listed!  But I had enjoyed my evening, had kept up with everyone else on the cocktail front and felt ludicrously sober-smug!

So my next attempt at a healthier diet is going to involve trying to trick myself into thinking my food is really exciting and risqué!  But how on earth do I find a chocolate éclair equivalent?  I have a particular soft spot/sweet tooth for Marks & Spencer chocolate éclairs.

On 1st July 2007, just over five years ago, smoking was banned in enclosed public spaces in the UK.  Every now and then I visit a country where smoking isn’t banned and it’s far more awful than I ever remember it being.  I read this morning that the Japanese coffee chain, Doutor, unlike Starbuck’s for example, allows smoking inside.  This seems a huge novelty but there is no way I would go into such a café now that I have become pretty much smoking-intolerant.

I used to smoke but gave up long before the ban, but even as a smoker I never liked the smoky hair and clothes that were inevitable after a night out.  Having had five years of smoke free socialising, I really can’t imagine it was ever ok to smoke inside.  The air would be thick with stale and “fresh” smoke, ashtrays and cigarette butts would be on the floor and on table tops, smoke would be puffed towards you wherever you walked.  And in restaurants.  While eating food.  I can feel myself getting indignant, I can’t believe it was considered acceptable for so long.

I had an unexpected flash back to life with smoky clothes a few weeks ago; I can’t remember what triggered it but I was looking at a pile of worn clothes that needed putting in the laundry basket.  I suddenly recalled a pile of post-pub clothes in a pile on a bed and picking them up, releasing the pungent, foul smell of stale smoke.  Just the thought of it made me recoil.  But to go out – to a restaurant, pub, club – you would return home stinking of smoke, and it’s a horrible smell.

I also remember being on a few flights either in the smoking section or, pretty much just as bad, being in the non-smoking section.  Being trapped in a plane with increasingly stale air and more cigarette smoke the longer the flight was just horrendous.

I have spoken to a few Tube drivers who recalled days when drivers could smoke as they drove the Tubes and passengers could smoke on the platforms (could you smoke inside the carriages?  I’m not sure but it appears that smoking was banned in 1984 so maybe you could smoke inside the carriages up until then).

It amazes me how quickly attitudes change.  There was a huge uproar about the smoking ban being introduced.  People were convinced smokers would be less inclined to while away the day or night drinking and smoking at the bar.  Pubs are struggling but did the smoking ban contribute to that or is it that alcohol has got more expensive and/or that we are in a recession?  I guess we can’t really know for sure.

It’s a weird thing to be out with smokers, and it appears that hardly any of my friends are smokers these days, who disappear for chunks of time to go outside for a smoke.  But I almost envy them the sociable nature of being a smoker now.  There seems to be a great sense of smoker camaraderie outside pubs and the al fresco seating areas in cafes and bars seem to be the domain of the smoker.  Best seats in the house or leper colony?

{06/07/2012}   Oh how my body changes

I ate Indian food last night and, as usual, it gave me a stomach ache (garlic and/or chili related).  I used to have a cast iron stomach and could eat anything.  My food intolerances and general body slump started about eight or nine years ago in my late 20s.  I might be rose-tinting slightly but I could eat pretty much anything without repercussions and I was quite slim and more fresh-faced than I ever appreciated.  I am not going to lament and whine about the cruelty of ageing … though as I write that I do wonder what positives I will be highlighting!

If I eat too much of the following, things happen that aren’t enjoyable or desirable: garlic, onions, bread, cucumbers, cabbage, peas, apple juice, strawberries … the list goes on.  I still eat all of the above but with a degree of trepidation.

As for the rest of my ageing body, being unfit doesn’t help.  But I find it cruel that weight is easier to gain but harder to shift, that gravity can be cruel, that most people in the pages of fashion magazines are younger and airbrushed, thus emphasising my perceived imperfections.  Despite my diminished memory functions, I at least am happier with my mind and how that works.  Why is it that as you get older, things generally get bigger, but when you get a fair few decades ahead of me now, while your ears and chubby bits increase in size, your height and hair decrease.  It’s cruel.

I very much believe in growing old gracefully and being fully accepting of your changing body, but it’s hard when it stops functioning as well, from illnesses to food intolerances.  Sometimes though I see women in their 60s and 70s and think how amazing they look (even including my neighbour in her 80s who looks distressingly good in her skinny jeans and knee-high boots – I believe she was blessed with a skinny gene).  Sometimes I look at myself and see someone a bit frumpy who doesn’t care about their appearance enough.

I guess it’s easy to feel a bit sorry for yourself because your body isn’t how it was or how you feel it should be, but I don’t think it’s that difficult to dress your age, dress to suit your body and behave however you want (!).  I think I get too hung up on appearances and on labels, in particular your age.  I sometimes dress like a chubby 24 year old, sometimes like a 50 year old.  I have possibly become a little bogged down with what I perceive to be the cruelty of getting older, but one day I will look back at, say, photos of me now and think how young I looked.  But then I will look at some of the clothes I wear or how I do my hair or whatever and think, “Oh, what a waste”.

So while my food intolerances sometimes cause me a bit of embarrassment or discomfort and I moan about being somewhat too rotund and wobbly, I really should just get on with appreciating that I largely function and I do have enough money to make a bit more effort to buy clothes that suit me rather than that sort of fit me.  There is a lot to be said for confidence and positive thinking.  And would I have been happier without a bit of a tummy ache and no fantastic food last night? No.  Instead of feeling fretful about being 37 and my graduation being 15 years ago (agh, that still shocks me, I need to get over that!), I need to just get on and enjoy things that are happening to me now, because really life is much better as I get older, it’s just the packaging that’s a bit crumpled.

This started off with no point, I am now feeling unexpectedly positive and perky!  Long may that last!

{27/06/2012}   Memory

My memory’s not what it used to be.  Or maybe I’ve forgotten how it used to be?  Or maybe I don’t challenge it.  From birth until you get to the end of your academic life, your memory is probably your biggest asset in terms of your development, most of the rest comes from how you use this incredible resource.

Since leaving university at 22, the only studies I have done are to learn stenography, a year of, essentially, learning a new language.  I know that if I did a further degree now, I would struggle, but I can see this would largely be as a result of being out of the habit of studying.  I would also blame my, as I perceive it, poor memory on probably more than would be justified.

I think the decline of my memory started when I was about 24/25 and teaching English in Japan.  Actually, it wasn’t so much my memory, more my use of “big words”, which was a bit of a slippery slope.  When you live abroad, and particularly when your language skills appropriate to that country are lacking, you learn to *new word alert* thesaurusise your vocabulary to make it both less colloquial and easier to understand.  I then feel I kind of forgot how to use some words correctly and I’m sure my vocabulary has narrowed, though I do have some niche vocabulary as a result of my job!

I very often hear myself saying, “Oh, what’s that word”; is that because because my memory is on the slide or that I’m not challenging my vocabulary on a day to day basis?  Likewise spellings, there are words I can no longer spell.  But it’s ok, I don’t have to use a dictionary, because most writing I do is using a keyboard and all things keyboard have a spell checker!

So is technology to blame?  Mobile phones and computers can do the remembering for you, and we let them.  Technological advances are wonderful but they are, in my mind, taking over jobs our brains used to do, indeed are designed to do.  Phones and computers are one thing but now there are more automatic cars around and more functions in cars, things we used to be able to do ourselves, like engaging in the process of parking rather than having bippers and even video cameras to assist.  Technology is helping us to allow ourselves to become brain and body lazy.

Years ago, I read a story about a teacher in a US school who, on the day, or perhaps day after, JFK was shot asked everyone in his class (all pre-teen) what they were doing when they found out.  The memory was fresh and lengthy descriptions were given.  He asked them to write down their memory, saying he would return their descriptions when they graduated high school.  Everyone was adamant they would remember.  Correct, they did all remember, because the teacher, maybe ten years later, asked them what they were doing when JFK died.  But all of their recollections deviated from what they had written, the smaller details had changed with time.

I worry that a lot of my memories are enhanced, altered perhaps, by photographs.  Sometimes I think I recall an event because I have recently seen a photo and have merely embellished that.  Some of my friends can remember amazing detail of our primary school years.  I think they are probably largely correct.  I struggle to think what my first memory is and I’m pretty sure my first big memories are from my school years between seven and eleven, though I can remember snippets.  For example, I can sort of picture the dining hall of my primary school and the tables and benches.  I also have a feeling of repulsion at having to drink milk.  But I don’t remember if I forced it down or got excused from drinking it.  I can also picture a water fountain and my friend punching me in the stomach and winding me.  I also remember the toilets were portacabins and that the roll towels were dirty and I hated drying my hands.  Ha, funny, I don’t dry my hands after washing them as a general rule!

Perhaps what annoys me most about my “failing” memory is that I can’t remember things I’ve read or seen.  I know if I’ve seen a film or read a book and I can tell you whether I liked it and how it made me feel.  But I can’t tell you what happened.  People can “spoil” a story by telling me the ending, I will then read or see it and won’t know the spoiler until I see if for myself.  What’s that about?  Maybe that’s a lack of concentration when it comes to reading or watching things.  I can watch, say, the news and be staring at the TV and hearing what’s going on, then someone watching with me can comment on it and I won’t know that they’re talking about something I’ve just heard.  I think my problem with reading or watching a film/TV is that I am usually thinking about other things I should be doing or that are on my mind.  All the above, infuriatingly, also applies to things people tell me.  I’m great at keeping secrets, because I don’t chuffing remember them, other than bits.

I find the brain and its memory function absolutely incredible and utterly fascinating.  Maybe writing and thinking about this will set me on a path to learning in an attempt to re-engage my memory.  It would be wonderful to remember the interesting things people tell me!

                There are a lot of things I associate with being middle-aged (precise age range unknown, maybe 40s as that is mid way to 80-98- but in my 40s it will be 50s!).  At 37 I feel I am in the transitory age between being “young” and “middle-aged”.  I don’t think it’s too bad a place to be as I feel I can get away with both.  But while I snigger at a friend “doing something middle-aged”, in reality the odds are it’s something I too do or quietly aspire to!

                Recently, a lot of friends have moved out of London, me included.  Ignoring marriage and children, there seem to be a lot of “middle-aged” things that go with leaving London, for example.  For the past few years, I have collected elderflowers and made cordial and/or alcoholic lemonade.  This is not something my much younger self would have considered acceptable.  But boo hoo to my younger self, you were missing out!

Along with baking, cooking and foraging (sloes, elderflowers, blackberries … actually I think that’s as far reaching as my foraging has gone), I have also discovered gardening.  This to me, showing my age here, was all a bit Percy Thrower, something parents and “oldies” did.  But now, not that I have a garden (though I have had a terrace with lots of pots and an allotment), I really enjoy gardening, particularly vegetables and herbs.  It is enormously satisfying to go from seed to plant to plate.

I now also have a pet, a cat called Izzy.  It took me years to decide to get a cat.  I’d really wanted a cat for years but the thought of not being able to go away for impromptu weekends, etc, and the general responsibility were huge issues.  I got her about four years ago, can’t imagine not having her, but do feel a tie.  But the reality is that I am more responsible and I enjoy being at home more than I ever used to.  But maybe the latter is also because I’m more settled than I ever used to be and I have furniture and other proper grown up stuff.  I even have a car, though for some reason I still think of that as being a luxury, something I’m far too young to have.  I don’t know where that thought came from because, on and off, I’ve had a car since I was 17, I just feel incredibly grown up to have a car, especially now I have a vaguely sporty BMW!

I earn more, eat out more, have more clothes, shoes, bags, accessories – materialistic, I know – but I also have more friends, more importantly more good, long-term friends, and my social life is much more about spending time with them than in pursuit of meeting new people.  For quite some years I felt boring for not really wanting to go out to clubs or even clubby pubs.  Now I feel happy about preferring a quieter pub or going to friends’ houses or a nice restaurant.

I have also joined the National Trust and, a few years back, English Heritage.  And, do you know what, I’ve had some really cool days out as a result!  I definitely day trip and picnic a lot more, and those are things I would no longer turn my nose up at.  I am much more open to suggestions and willing to do new things now.  Well, not in the more reckless, carefree sense but in a more open minded and less obviously mind broadening way, ie traveling and living abroad without much planning, packing or sorting out defined my younger interpretation of broadening the mind!

The biggest downside other than the steady decline in my memory and physique (but that’s a whole different issue, worthy of its own misery post!), in some respects, is that I am a lot less tolerant of other people and poor service.  Maybe this is a good thing but I do rant and moan about such things with a little more enthusiasm and repetition than is perhaps necessary.  I put that down to being more confident about my sense of self, more appreciative of money, ie that I worked for every penny of the money I spend, and to having had time, years of adulthood now, to gain experience.

So in conclusion, my “youth” was fun and experimental but my years of being between young and middle-aged are all about getting to know myself and abandoning hang ups about what I should and shouldn’t do, enjoy and behave like.  It is also about accepting that in your 20s, for example, you knew sweet F A about pretty much everything, but probably had a great time not caring about that!

{20/06/2012}   Repetitive Strain Injury

                I appear to have increasingly bad RSI.  A doctor has suggested I change jobs, indeed I will in the not-too-distant future, but what’s become of us all?  So many of us work at computers, operate machinery or vehicles and generally lift/carry things far heavier than we are designed for.  I’ve spoken to quite a lot of friends recently about RSI and it seems that most people have at the very least twinges.

                So when do you listen to your body and make changes in the hope of easing your aches and pains, when you know they’re caused by RSI?  I spoke to someone who said that when she failed to pick up a frying pan, she realised her RSI was a lot worse than she’d acknowledged so made big changes to her lifestyle.  As for me, my hands ache when I drive for more than about 30 minutes.  Maybe when they ache as soon as my hands clasp the wheel I’ll stop?  I should stop my work now really, shouldn’t I?  But I have friends with no jobs at the moment and they are all struggling to get work.  Being “out there” right now doesn’t seem like a good idea.  But neither does restricting the use of my hands.

For the past ten years I have usually worked in courts or in meeting rooms.  Neither workplace, about 95% of the time, is suitably equipped for seating comfort.  This is an ongoing issue.  I guess if you work in an office you can make a plea to have a proper supportive chair, a desktop PC (or iMac if you must!) and any wrist supports/pads that help.  But when you essentially work in hot desk type environments, there’s nothing you can do about chair choice.  I know there are a lot of stenographers and editors out there who would have a thing or two to say about seating in courts; generally, a good day is one where you’re not cramped in a corner with a defective chair.

I have always had bad posture, even worse since doing steno and using laptops, but my concern is more about my hands and wrists.  I have pains in specific places in my hands, eg my left index finger and right baby finger.  I fear I have ruined my chances of being a surgeon!  As is often the case with my blogs, there isn’t really a point.  Maybe writing this is my way of beginning to address the potential impact of continuing with work that gives me RSI, in fact has given me RSI, for I fear it will not just go away if I stop stenoing.  But typing, texting, writing, driving, in fact most hobbies I dabble in, all require use of your hands.  So, any job suggestions where hand usage is kept to a minimum?  But isn’t it stupid that we tend to persist in doing things that we know are giving us RSI?  I wonder if, let’s say 20 years from now, I will wish I had paid more attention to getting a comfortable work space, to changing sooner to a job that didn’t knacker my hands (and shoulder and back) and generally looking after myself better.  Maybe I’ll update this blog every ten years on the matter!

{04/06/2012}   Being clumsy

A friend and I have recently been discussing the concept of having spells of clumsiness.  We both go through phases of being clumsy and I am convinced this is normal, though I have no idea why.

I had a distressing bout of breaking wine glasses some months ago.  I broke four on separate occasions in the space of just over a week.  I now have a set of very sturdy wine glasses which will be a little more challenging to break (eek, touch wood!).  It’s weird how you seem to get clumsiness clusters.

Maybe not quite under the umbrella of clumsiness but I am going through a fairly significant spill and dribble phase.  And not just over myself!  I served a piece of BBQed halloumi to a friend the other day and in my enthusiasm to serve it on her plate, I jabbed the spatula a little too vigorously in my attempt to just jiggle if onto her plate; it flew straight across her plate and onto her lap, an oily, hot piece of charred cheese!  Onto a new dress.  I was then really careful and all was ok, except that while clearing up I forgot that my hands were blackened from all things BBQ and wiped them (gross habit, I know) down my previously clean jeans.  Then a few days later, foolishly pouring coffee from a flask into a cup that I was holding above a white shirt, yes, it dribbled.  Actually, it looked like a little floral dot feature at the bottom of my shirt!

I was just thinking that the above series of clumsies might need one more to complete a run, but I just remembered that prior to the halloumi incident I was poised to empty the contents of my cat’s dirty litter tray into the bin.  As it consisted largely of wee-soaked wood pellets so was clumped together, I gave the whole litter box a bang on the side of the large metal bin into which it was destined.  I banged it too vigourously and more than half of the wee-infused litter ended up on my carpet.  Most unsavoury.  Oh, I broke one of my two favourite mugs and an expensive whisky glass (I knew it was stupid to use it for every day purposes) two days ago, a double whammy act of carelessness.  Surely that’s enough?!

Annoying though it is to break or damage things, mild clumsiness is a source of amusement to me, especially hearing about or witnessing other people’s incidents and embarrassment!  One of my favourites recently was somebody (Louise P) resting their open handbag in a wash basin.  Under a motion sensor tap!  Clumsiness or a common sense fail?!  It’s also worth asking someone else (Fiona M) about her rather distressing rice pudding incident!

As for me, while clumsiness does seem to come in phases, I would estimate that there is a 90% chance I will dribble baked beans down my front when trying to eat them.  As for red wine, I had so many bottle pouring drips that I can now only pour from red wine bottles if I’ve made a collar of kitchen paper to put around the neck.  The only other thing I can think of which is a regularly cause of clumsiness is my beloved cowgirl boots.  They have long almost pointed toes and I am not used to such long extremities.  There have been far more issues with them than you can probably imagine.

{24/05/2012}   Looking after yourself

     Last night, in the queue of an over-heated Tesco Express, I shared “it’s too hot” sentiments with a woman next to me.  She looked hotter than me, very red, despite wearing a sleeveless dress.  She had massive scarring on one arm.  She told me that she had got out of hospital the day before after skin cancer treatment and had been told not to go in the sun, but being as hot as it was she couldn’t face covering up.  I wasn’t sure what to say, but it reminded me of so many people I have worried about who haven’t heeded advice about their health.

     I am guilty of this too.  I did a motorbike driving test (the CBT, one-day test) a few days after a general anaesthetic for the removal of four wisdom teeth.  Wearing a helmet wasn’t fun and general anaesthetics take a good few days to leave your system.   If a friend had told me they were going to do this, I would have been really worried and not wanted them to do it.  What is it?  Arrogance that we know our own body?  Stubbornness about not changing plans?  Worry about losing face and losing money?

The same applies to smokers or drinkers who are warned about the damage they are doing to themselves, but a lot of people don’t give up because of that advice or warning.  It’s horrible for those around them, it’s really difficult being around someone you perceive as being on a mission to self-destruct, because that’s kind of what it is.

What does it take to make people change their lifestyle or habits when they receive advice that what they are doing them is either killing them or making them more ill?  I knew a 40-year old man who was a smoker, beer drinker and long distance runner.  He had had a few heart scares and been told to give up all three.  He carried on, then one day died.  As I recall, the cause of death was unknown in that there were four heart issues that could have caused his death but it wasn’t certain which of the four got to him.  Is it about wanting to live your life as you love it, not wanting to change, or perhaps not wanting to ALLOW your ill health to make you change?

There is nothing more frustrating and upsetting than seeing people you love flaunt their unhealthy habits, not go to the doctor when there’s clearly something wrong or say they’re ok when they’re blatantly not.  Likewise, it is hard to change habits and address health problems.  But how ill do you have to be before you do make that choice to look after yourself?  How much worse does my RSI have to get before I accept that I am in the wrong job; when limited movement in my hands renders me unable to cook or type or write and basically do all the things I enjoy doing?  What will make the lady I met with skin cancer not go out in the sun unprotected, when already she has painful-looking scars from her treatment?  Prevention is better than suffering, right?

et cetera