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Swimming

Text on black background saying Pool Swim 101% complete

Yup. Swimming.

So back at the beginning of 2020 I decided I really needed to stop thinking about swimming and actually swim. So I signed up for a swim membership at the Better Centre (Better now runs all of NI’s leisure centres, more or less) and started going after work.

I also signed Adam up for swimming lessons. He hadn’t wanted to do them for ages and then swimming was part of PE at his school and he realised how much fun swimming is! I think he asked me in the beginning of 2019 if he could take lessons and I tried to sign him up but things kept happening and it didn’t happen.

But when I signed me up for swim membership, I signed him up for swim lessons. On Sundays at 0915. UGH!

And then, of course, PANDEMIC!!! So I didn’t get to swim any more and neither did Adam.

And then, the pools opened! For about a month!

And then, the pools closed. For about three months.

Now they are back open and Adam is back to lessons and we both love it.

I am not fast. I have no real technique. But I managed to go back and forth for about 45 minutes 1 – 2 days a week and Adam and I go to the Family Swim on Sunday afternoons and play.

Now, part of the reason that I have no technique is because various things hurt at various times on my body. This includes a brand new hurt in my left knee (yay?) and the inability most of the time to move my left shoulder in a circular motion for backstroke/crawl.

So I do some breast stroke. And I do swim on my back, but use a frog kick like breast stroke but upside down.

So I plod along, in the slow lane, and I enjoy it.

And then I heard laughter the other day. I was just coming to the end of a lap at the shallow end so I stood up and looked toward the laughter.

And two girls there immediately looked away from staring at me.

If they weren’t laughing at me? They sure the hell didn’t act like it.

And here I am, 52 years old, mostly not caring what other people think, but that laugh, from two twenty-somethings hurt.

Dory and Nemo Just Keep Swimming

See, I’ve been laughed at for my athletic ability all my life. Last picked for teams when I was a kid. People laughing at the way I ran during the track and field module in PE. Even the things I was sort of good at, like doing floor exercises for gymnastics, people would still snicker at the fat girl trying to tumble.

Source.

Fuck them, I thought to myself, I am here, in this pool, doing these laps despite being fat, disabled, mentally ill, and tired all the fucking time.

I am not swimming for those petty little girls.

I’m swimming for me. Because it makes my joints feel better. Because I enjoy it.

So if you are a twenty something girl who swims at the Olympia Leisure Centre and enjoy laughing at fat women swimming the next lane over? Fuck off to fuck off and then fuck off again.

If you’re lucky, you’ll never have any health issues.

And if you’re not and wind up with some? I hope the twenty somethings who are swimming the next lane over don’t laugh at you. Because it’s mean.

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I’m losing my dad – one memory at a time

I don’t talk about my dad much here or anywhere else online. We have a bit of a complicated relationship.

I last saw him just over a year ago when I flew to Ohio to visit. I went for two reasons:

He was diagnosed with dementia and he was turning 80.

Me and my dad Sept 2017

My dad and me September 2017

It was a good, if short, visit. It was just me as it was in September and Simon and Adam both had school.

So I’ve been watching him forget things via Skype.

Things like how a computer works (he taught me about computers), what a DVD is, and people. Not his immediate family, but my extended family, who used to be his family.

And it’s not that he forgets for a minute. It’s like he never knew it at all.

And now he’s fallen in his garage and broken an arm and a hip. My step mom called 911 and got him to the hospital.

And yesterday he had three pins put in the hip. The surgery went really well.

And his three grown children, me, my sister (who lives near them in Ohio) and my brother suddenly realised we all had iPhones and could talk for free on iMessenger!

So my sister has been sending updates. And my brother and I have been sending love and verbal support.

Because the three of us haven’t been close, physically or emotionally, for years.

But we are all losing our dad.

One memory at a time…

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So It’s Been About Six Months

A capital T in a tea cup creating the pun A Cup of Tea

Since I’ve posted anything.

Lots has, of course, happened. We bought a house. I have a job. I fought for PIP and lost on appeal. By one point.

We have two cats who are just over a year old.

Black and white cat lying on her side in a bed.
Princess Ella

Face of a black and white cat
Jack the Clown

Adam is only about 10 inches shorter than me and will be 10 in June.

Simon is still a foot taller than me and will be 45 in March.

I am still as short as ever and will be 50 on 5th February.

Simon and I will be married 15 years in September and together 18 in December.

As always seems to happen with me, the busier I get, the more things I think to do.

Of course, my fibro and arthritis and other joint issues means I can’t do things as much as I’d like to. In fact I had the worst flare ever a week or two ago when I, literally, couldn’t move without moaning in pain. Luckily it was on a Saturday and I was find by Monday morning for work. But, I have to admit, it scared me. It still scares me.

But I’ve had lots of blog posts floating in my head. And about five stuck in my drafts folder.

One about relationships that last. And one about coming out nearly 30 years ago. One about my new job and how much I love it.

And one about the hell that was the fuck up with my Indefinite Leave To Remain visa that postponed my job by two months.

I guess I just feel like writing, is all.

So I hope some people are still around to read this thing. Perhaps the email notification will pop up and you’ll be all ‘who?’.

But maybe, just maybe, the notification will pop up and you’ll be all ‘Whaoo! I missed her!’

Finally, I am still knitting and crocheting (sort of) and quilling and doing tapestry and weaving and all that other fibre I do. And I am hoping to open a shop right here on this site.

The plug in is active. I just have to figure out how it works!

So keep an eye out. Some interesting things should be coming!

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Good Bye 2016!

Well, that was a year, yeah? Good, bad, and ugly, all together.

Personally, it was a good year. I met my two main goals (more on that in a minute), Adam is thriving and only 10 inches shorter than me (eep!), Simon is working hard and enjoying it and I just keep keeping on.

My two goals were buying a house and earning my Driver’s License. Check and check.

The license took longer than expected, but I did it! In my case 6th (I think it was 6th) time was the charm. And passed with flying colours at that point. I had something like 4 minor faults. So yeah. I know how to drive!

The house also took longer than expected that but that was because all solicitors are evil. Weeeel, all solicitors working for other people are evil. Our solicitor was great. The vendor’s solicitor was a dick and a half. But we got there, in the end, moving in on 24th October. And two months later I still get a fission of ‘Oh yeah! This is *our* house!’ at the most random moments.

The other really good thing that happened was the letter from my former California employer informing me that I had a pension I could cash out. A pension I barely remember having. A pension that was now worth a fuckton of money. So I cashed it out. And the cheque cleared a few days before Christmas. And we now have the money to redo our bathroom (which is livable but needs work to be perfect), buy some new appliances for the kitchen and do some other bits and bobs we thought we’d have to wait to do.

And I think most people agree about the bad. A never ending list of celebrities left us this year. Some were just old, 80+. Others were taken way before their time. And the younger ones hit hard. Really hard in some cases.

The personally hard ones were George Michael and Carrie Fisher. No, I didn’t know them. But I admired them. And both of them were with me through my childhood and/or teenage years.  And their deaths were so unexpected. And the last 2 seconds of Rogue One didn’t help me deal with Carrie Fisher’s death. At all.

And of course, the ugly. Brexit. President-Elect DT (I will never use his name. He deserves to be nameless. He gets no respect.).

So 2017 has a lot of stuff coming up. I imagine it will also be a hard year. Maybe not quite so many major celebrities dying. But a total world change with the UK pulling out of the EU, or at least starting to, and President-Elect DT living up to his campaign promises, even though he’s already gone back on several.

A line from the voice-over from Torchwood keeps going through my mind. “The 21st Century is when it all changes.” And maybe we’re already a decade and a half into it, but it is still true. I just wish that what voiceover meant (aliens) was what we were actually dealing with.

Instead, there are shades of The Nazi Party and WWII. Borders slamming shut to the those who need help. The definite ‘smell’ of WWIII in the air, if not actually in progress.

So what are my goals for 2017?

  • Write more
  • Knit more
  • Exercise more
  • Get our house to the state we want it to be
  • Crochet more
  • Sell more
  • Survive

So nothing exactly quantifiable. Or with a completion date.

But definitely achievable.

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Anxiety and Adulting

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you just might be aware that Simon and I are looking for a house to buy. We have a deposit saved through various means and are now just waiting for the best house for us to show up.

Hey! It's only £1.4m above our budget!!!
Hey! It’s only £1.4m above our budget!!! credit: http://www.propertynews.com/

Part of this, of course, was also talking to the bank about a mortgage. Which is terrifying in general and even more terrifying for someone with anxiety.

You see, a large part of my anxiety hinges on the fact that I almost never feel like a grown up. I feel like I’m about 20 most of the time and who on earth is going to give a 20-year-old a mortgage? Certainly no one would have given 20-year-old me a mortgage.

But, you know, I’m not 20. So I wasn’t laughed out of the bank or off the phone. And the estate agent up the road also took me seriously when I came in to look at brochures for houses.

But it was exhausting, all that adulting. And, of course, it’s not done yet. Still more adulting and then the anxiety of offer acceptance and blah blah de blah that surrounds buying a house.

So we are taking it slow and not overtaxing my poor brain and body.

But at the same time a house! That we own! That I can decorate! And redo things in!!!

Fuck. There’s all that adulting again…

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No Explanation No Defence

The other day I posted this on my Facebook:

Now here’s Tee, with your weekly Lunch Making Report: Tee?
Thank you, Tee.
On Monday and Tuesday there were no issues. On Wednesday, sandwiches were put into the wrong lunch bags and Daddy mourned his lack of cheese but enjoyed the white bread while Adam had a tear or two for brown bread, but ate the filling and an orange provided by Mrs L.
On Thursday, Adam had pasta so he was safe but Daddy’s sandwich was without mayonnaise. Mummy realised this around 930a and text Daddy to warn him. His reply was frown emoticon.
And now today, Friday, all lunches are within parameters and the family gave Mummy a big cheer!

Quite a lot of people liked it or smiled at it.

And then came the judges. Saying they could make their own lunches. And how in their house it was every man for himself.

And I started to get defensive. There are reasons, good ones, as to whyI make Simon and Adam’s lunches every day. Also, I shared this to poke fun at myself and lament my badly functioning brain, affected by a combination of fibro and perimenopause.

The original maker seems be lost, but I got it here: http://questinggirl.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/menopause-mothers-10-ways-to-feed-your.html
The original maker seems to be lost, but I got it here: http://questinggirl.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/menopause-mothers-10-ways-to-feed-your.html

And I started to defend myself.

And stopped.

Because why should I? The reasons Simon and I have for the way we run our family are just that; our reasons. I don’t worry about what happens in your house, so why are you so concerned about mine?

Yes. I shared the above. As I said, as a way to blow off frustration and to write it what I thought was a funny way. Not because I was looking for advice or opinion. It was just one of the many ways my poor brain is these days.

So I’m going to still post things like this.

So feel free to judge me, offer advice or do whatever you need to do to get through the day.

But I’m going to stop explaining and/or defending myself, my choices and my family.

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So I Guess It’s Time for Goals Again…

Um…Hi.

It’s been awhile, yeah?

To say I’ve had a hard year, mentally and physically, is a bit of an understatement. Getting anything done has been a struggle and the blog and the business have taken a back burner.

But my GP and I are working on it, tweaking my meds, and I am starting to feel better again, so let’s review, shall we?

So last year I had five goals; one personal and four business.

Business

  1. Blog at least once a week – Nope
  2. Redesign the website – Sort of, still working on it. Maybe.
  3. Launch Etsy Shop – Yup
  4. Work on novel – Nope

Personal

  1. Earn Driving license – Nope. Failed practical three times.

So yeah. Not a great year for achieving goals.

My number one, unwritten goal, was to just survive each day, sometimes each hour, or even minute. And I did that!

So what about this year?

Business

  1. Do social media posts about Etsy listings once a week
  2. Blog at least once a fortnight
  3. Continue to redesign the website

Personal

  1. Pass practical driving exam
  2. Do the weekly save challenge*
  3. Learn to crochet
  4. Buy a house

That last one? Definitely happening. But it doesn’t really have a finish date as we need to find the right house first!

So it’s another year. With some new goals.

Wonder how I’ll do?

*The weekly save challenge is one I’ve just heard about. Once a week you put aside the amount for that week, starting with £1 on the first week of the year and ending with £52 on the last week. By the end of the year, you’ll have £1,378. Might be easy. Might be hard. Just have to wait and see.
Also?

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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ARGH!

For the last time; being an introvert is not the same as being anti-social.

Introvert
I like it in here. It’s quiet and I can still drink my tea.

I am an introvert.

I am very social.

But when I’m done being social I need to lie down in a dark room for awhile.

Or at least sit on the sofa with Simon on the other side of the room while I type furiously and he plays XBox.

Introvert: Someone who needs quiet to recharge their batteries.

Extrovert: Someone who needs to be social to recharge their batteries.

So stop saying ‘I can’t be an introvert, I love being social. But then I do need to have some quiet time.’

That is an introvert you big doily!

 

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So Much For A Blog A Week!

I have spent much of this past winter hibernating and feeling crap. I may write about it later, but that’s not what has brought me back.

What has brought me back is MacMillan’s Brave The Shave campaign and their horrible response to objections to the campaign.

It is a campaign asking people to donate money to other people who shave their heads in supposed solidarity with people losing their hair to chemo.

Let me state, for the record, that one of my oldest friends in the U.S. does this every year for St Baldrick’s. The issue I have is not the shaving.

The issue I have is the encouraging of happy smiling pictures of people shaving their heads shared all over social media. Have a think for a minute; imagine you have lost your hair to chemo or love someone who did. Maybe that person also lost their life to cancer.

Do you want to see picture after picture of happy smiling shaven head people on your Facebook feed? When you or your loved one cried their eyes out as they lost their hair? And when you cried yours out again when cancer took them from you?

Shaving your head in supposed solidarity to those who have lost it due to illness should not be entertaining.

I posted on their Facebook page telling them why I think this is a terrible idea. Their response? Pretty much pat me on the head and send me on my way.

And if you read down the page? You’ll see the same sort of response to people with and without cancer who feel as I do.

Macmillan claim to be about making lives easier when you have cancer.

Well, they aren’t. They are making it so very much harder.

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I’m trying to figure out

When I stopped reading books.

I have never stopped reading, I read all the time. But I read websites or fanfiction or glance through magazines. Until about a month ago I don’t think I had read a book for more than a year.

Why did I stop? I love books. I love reading. I always have. In elementary school I read a book a day. And got teased for it. A lot. But that was one tease I never minded. Because I knew books were cool.

I guess I stopped reading them when I got my first iPhone, when Adam was about one, so four and a half years ago.  It was easier, while dealing with the great unsleeping child, to read something on my phone. Oh, I had eBooks, but I didn’t even really read those.

I suppose exhaustion made it easier to read short things, little bits of information and entertainment.

And I’m not sure what brought me back. A lack of other things to read, I guess. I logged onto OverDrive and into my library account with Libraries NI and looked around. And stumbled on Tess Gerritsen, who I’ve read before, and grabbed book one of Rizzoli and Isles and started reading. I am in the middle of Book 7 now.

I also bought a book by Mark Billingham from Amazon over the past week because I had a voucher and he was recommended on GoodReads and had Simon pick me up the first book in a new series (well new to me) by Laurie R King, in actual book form, from the library today.

And I’m having trouble getting anything else done.

Because all I want to do is read.