Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Eighth Deadly Sin

Procrastination is my sin
It causes grief and sorrow.
I'll give it up i swear i will
                  In fact i'll start tomorrow !!!                

Old one ? yep..........corny ? yep...........cliched ? yep..........hackneyed ? yep...........true though isn't it?    or are you one of those incredibly annoying people who are self disciplined and structured?   it's not normal you know?   you can get therapy and hypnosis and medication and learn to be like the rest of us, full on, dedicated, committed, passive aggressive procrastinators.

You see, i need to 

1/    change broadband provider
2/    contact man about mending my broken bendy bed
3/    contact different man about picking up the thingy that didn't fix my          broken  bendy  bed       
4/    make dentist appointment........oooooh yes that one matters....ouch
5/    order cat food.......oooooh yes that WILL matter quite soon

Five little tasks , all they need is a phone call each.    simples !!!!!

So why don't i just get on and do it?    one item at a time, in no particular order.........oh........maybe particular order.......cat first? dentist second?..........dentist first?  cat second?........which will be the most painful soonest?.......hmmmm hard to tell.........tooth hurts most but cat will make the most fuss.........hungry cat would hurt if he decided to assuage his hunger on human flesh..........dentist will definitely cost more than cat food.........unless, of course, i have to feed him the salmon that's in the freezer.........ohhhhh i don't know......can't decide..........make coffee.......check Facebook status.....You understand the difficulty now, yes ???

It's not that i'm lazy or unorganised.   i used to draw up a rota for all the lovely people that worked for me...........everything gets written on a month per view wall planner,.......and, yes, it's read daily, before some wise-arse out there suggests otherwise.  vital stuff gets a reminder note on my breakfast tray......right where the toast goes so i can't apply butter without reading........though buttered note isn't to be recommended.   

My mother, to whom the ditty above can be attributed, used to say "the road to hell is paved with good intentions",  "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak", "leave not until tomorrow what can be done today"......and you thought i was the fount of thoughtless triteness?   now you know where i get it from........and i know she was right, that's the crazy thing, i K N O W  she was right and yet.........and yet.........and yet !!

So.....if you want a theme for today's post it's this...........

IN THE TIME IT'S TAKEN TO WRITE THIS POST I COULD HAVE MADE FIVE PHONE CALLS.................maybe i'll do it tomorrow........


Friday, 26 June 2015


Why is it so much easier to know the right way to react to a situation or person than to actually live it out in practice?    after ummpphhhh... years of existence you would think i had this civilisation thing sussed, surely?     but...........nooo...........still the amygdala battles with reason, and  reaction overrides calm response.     useful to survive a mutant bus attack but oh, so destructive when it involves other humans.

One of my favourite nonagenarians, who until very recently was as sharp as a businessman's trouser crease, is sliding into dementia so subtly and gradually that i hadn't noticed until i found myself trying to convince her  that microwave meals are made in a factory not her mother's farmhouse kitchen.    i mean.......is it important ? .......no........will it alter the trajectory of the earth around the sun ? .......noo.......will it ensure world peace ?......nooo........will it add one atomic second to her life ?............noooo.........well, maybe if i'd continued to push the point she might have LOST several seconds as she was on the verge of apoplexy.......so why did i argue?

This ugly power play between parents and children, adult children and parents, partners, work colleagues, politicians, friends can be seen wherever the balance of power is held by one human over another, one party over another, one nation over another, and it is VERY ugly and it inevitably leads to conflict and broken relationships.

I know a family where the daughter is a spiky personality, picture cactus farm,  the mother has clearly been the dominant force and less than maternal.   mum's grip on reality is tenuous on a good day.......and there aren't many good days any more.    sometimes she thinks the daughter is her sister or doesn't recognise her at all.    the kind response, and what is now recommended by dementia practitioners, would be to  play along, and be whoever is perceived that day.  have a happy visit as sister, auntie, cousin, E.T. .......it doesn't matter, it isn't personal, it isn't a rejection..........it's the brain dying.   instead they spend the time shouting at each other, daughter trying to vocally batter mum into rationality, mum becoming more and more distressed as she fails to understand why her version of fact is being so violently misunderstood.   what a tragic waste of a family's last days together.

So.......when i next visit my lovely lady and the conversation shifts into the realm of fairy tale i promise you, i will enter the enchanted forest, kick off my shoes, twist wild flowers into my hair, sprinkle magic dust all around and enjoy being a welcomed part of her illusion.....in fact i will consider it an honour and, hopefully without patronising, will be who and what she needs me to be in the way i hope family and friends will for me when the time comes.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

A Healing Word


This converted to the dark side, deal with the devil, Facebook groupie was pulled up short yesterday and forced to do a reality check.    the very  sweet piccie  that  heads  this  post  is  from  a  lovely  site recommended by one of my beloved F.B.  young people.    i love it......the site not the piccie........though i love the piccie too.......in fact the site has me so excited that  i've  downloaded  a year's  worth of inspirationals........sit up in the back row and stop groaning........or i'll download  A  SECOND  YEAR'S  WORTH !!!!!.........and just to prove i'm not making an empty threat.............

Anyway........there were some nice comments about this graphic.....and the sentiment.   lots of agreement and those empty on-line promises that are easy to make since nobody is going to know if you break them, as you can only be seen by a  chosen username.........."dragonlady",  in case you are interested, or boring old jeni.........must get more imaginative.   but, alongside all the affirmations was a heartbreakingly honest and valid complaint..........."that's easy to say when life is good but what about when it all falls apart and you've lost everything and everyone?"   unsurprisingly an uncomfortable slience ensued  in cyberspace.   even She Who Is Never Silent was without words.

That heart's cry kept me company  through the night,  and woke me instead of the usual feline demand for breakfast.   it goaded me as i tried to read the Guardian over breakfast and impinged on my lunch.   maybe........perhaps........the answer isn't as easy as i would like, but perhaps there is an answer.

Is that too simplistic?    i'd like to think not.    it's what i held on to during seemingly impossible times in my life.    the dogged belief that this CAN'T last forever, even though it FELT like forever, and it felt like forever would never end.     at times trite platitudes would make me angry.......but that very anger was,  perhaps,  a sign of hope.....it was response.....and response equates to looking ahead to the outcome of your anger......and that equals life......and life equals hope.
The clumsiness of my attempt to voice what i feel.....felt...... is why we fall back on inspirational sayings.    we lack the vocabulary to express ourselves,  not wanting to  hurt those struggling, yet  desperately wanting to reach out,  help ease the pain, as others did for me.    the alternative, to stay silent, is even worse as it implies lack of concern, lack of empathy.   

So..........please don't think i publish happy thought pictures or encouraging quotes flippantly, blithely.    quite the opposite.    they are an integral part of this blog because i do believe they hold truth, even if sometimes their truth is hard to see let alone incorporate into our lives. 

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Survey All You See

                                    The retiring violet above is a star !!!

He is the proud recipient of a prize from Purina Pet Foods.    as you can see he's quite overcome by all the attention.    actually,  i put in all the hard work all he needed to do was be cute and eat.... what a taxing task for a cat.    let me start at the beginning.

As i haven't been able to  get far from my front door for quite a few years, or to earn an income, it's been imperative to find as full a life as possible within my cosy walls, whilst earning a little to supplement my extravagant lifestyle, ergo  feeding selfsame  cat !!! ta..da..... in comes the internet.

                                   Don't you just love technology?    

The memory of how it  all started is lost somewhere back when Newcastle was home, the hair had natural colour, and i shared the universe with two cats.   someone, somewhere, somehow must have suggested online surveys and product testing as a way of fulfilling  the above requirements.    for those who have time to spare, and an internet connection, there are myriad survey sites to choose from.     some are a total scam, they  take your details and data and disappear into the mists of cyberspace to regurgitate them, via infuriating cold calls from the far east, at a later date.  BUT.... oooohhh the good ones are VERY, VERY good.  

Nobody makes a fortune from online surveying,  but it's a very real way of topping up a low income via Amazon, PayPal and actual goodies to test run in exchange for feedback and a commitment of a couple of hours daily.    that's how the furry beastie won his prize.    two  months worth of cat food in exchange for photos and chatting on the Purina blog.    i would like to think it's my impeccable penmanship that gained kudos but..............ach i know, who could resist photos like this?

I haven't bought clothes wash for about four years, as soon as one is used  up another  trial  deposits a  giant bottle on my doorstep.    shower gel,  shampoo,  fabric softener,  perfume,  an abundance of crisps and crackers,  aforementioned cat food duplicated many times over,  four HUGE  tubs of  Flora spread,  THREE  MONTHS  WORTH of very  posh facial moisturiser,  cleansing lotion, hand cream, three full bottles of Febreze Sleep Serenity (see, it works i'm advertising) the list is endless.   on top of that there's a payment of between 50p and £3  for each survey filled in.

Unsurprisingly to those of you who know me well, the surveys i enjoy most aren't product based but political and social and, surprisingly, they are the ones that pay most generously.    perhaps there's a belief that  people wouldn't take the time to fill anything in without the possibility of consumables at the end ?   but, believe me,  there's a limit to how many times you want to rate toilet roll.... oh  i forgot to mention the loo roll in the roll call.... when there's a world of fear and famine on our doorstep or just over the ocean that needs us to speak out loud.   it feels fulfilling  to have the opportunity of having an opinion heard on the larger issues of life.    posting inspirationals on Facebook is good, but having your voice counted is better.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Foul Fiend Facebook

Sometimes,  in  the  interests of sanity and wellbeing, we have to concede defeat and do a deal with the devil.    in this case the  devil  was Facebook. and  i  did deal i  did,  oh yes i  did.......and  i did regret deal  i  did,  oh  yeees i did !!!   in the immortal words of  frankie howard  "woe, woe and thrice woe !!! "    No........not totally, maybe i  should explain from the beginning.

Much as i love my flat and,  overall,  don't regret moving to Hexham,  there are things i left behind on island that  i miss desperately with a whole hunk of  my  broken being.       no not things.......people.    specifically,  young people.......thinking people........techie people.........movie loving people.........book reading people.......fun people.........laughter loving people. .....upbeat people........interesting people........the sort of people i chose to live and work with when i felt a little  more in control of my destiny.   

So........i signed up with Facebook thinking i could join a forum or two and chat online to young peeps and, maybe,  find some  disabled folk  and pick up hints and tips from others who live with pain and limitations on the basis that the best way to learn is to listen to the experiences, successes  and failures of those who tread  the path  ahead  of  you  and,  hopefully,  add  a  little to  their  wisdom too.   well.........that's where the woe, woe and thrice woe comes into the story.    wotta  lotta miseries i found out there!!    

The youngsters are brilliant and have linked me to some really positive and challenging pages, political, social,  fun.  Have a look at collective-evolution.com  wonderful.     it all fell apart when i went looking for disability sites.    oh...........despair, despondency, desolation........every post day after day after day starting  "i don't feel well today"  "i've got a lot of pain today"   "i had a really bad night last night"   "wish i could chop my leg off"    "my rubbish/inept/cruel/useless    doc/gp/consultant/physio/OT/radiographer/sugar plum fairy on top of the chistmas tree/birthday cake/garbage tip "..........ok not the last one.......... ( delete as appropriate)   AND THAT'S JUST ONE PERSON ON TWO DAYS WORTH OF POSTS !!!!!!!!!!!!!    
After a week or two of playing Facebook Kangaroo............you know that game surely?............hopping from one forum to another looking for the right place to settle?............Mick Jaggerified?..........i can't get no satisf........etc etc?...........anyway,  i found FBook forums to be an exercise in self flagellation worthy of the most hardened martyr.    NOT  MY  SCENE  BABY.   i have un-invited myself from them all and un-friended all the un-friendlies and  shaken the dust off my sandals and walked away from formidable forums..........there...........that feels better !!!

But...........it wasn't all gloom and doom.    a pile of younglies from the distant and not so distant,  past have found me and i've found them and they are as wonderful as i remember them to be.   they send me the most beautiful, soul enriching links.    they make me think about life, death and everything in between.    they get excited by environmental  issues and angry over social injustice.    they laugh, they live, they love all to the extreme.    and they face life with courage and humour and activism..........what's not to like?     thank you children, for letting me share in a little corner of your virtual world.    keep me young, keep me thinking, keep me vital wont you...........PLEASE  ???

Friday, 5 June 2015

Fly Away Home

                           Y A Y  THE   SWALLOWS   ARE   BACK

In the summer, when i  lived on my  beloved Holy  Island,  swallows  would sit on the telephone wires and  washing line outside my bedroom window and wibble, warble  their amazing song.   the first serenade of the morning and  the last lullaby of the night.  i could lie back on my pillows and watch them weaving and swerving,  flying like jet fighters and singing like angels.   a pair would nest in my  outhouse swooping in and out with beaks full of bugs for their babes,  totally oblivious of the cats,  aware that when on the wing nothing with fur had a chance.   

One year i just happened to lean in, to see how much gas was left in the calor gas tanks, as the littlies fledged.    four of them leaped from the nest and  launched  themselves upwards, grazing my left ear with their wings.   three caught an updraft and, shepherded by parents, made a safe, soft landing in a tree.    the fourth lost the plot, and all confidence, and skidded, tumbling over and over feathers and feet flailing coming to a hard halt on the concrete path.   

Aware of two furry beasties pricking up ears, extending whiskers  showing a healthy interest in swallow casserole i scooped the tiny bundle up in cupped hands and hurled him, down wind, as high into the air as i could manage.    for a heart stopping moment he stuttered and started to fall.   the cats followed him with eyes fully dilated, muscles stretching into pounce mode.    i held my breath and willed him to swoop,  "swipe wings,  buddy, do SOMETHING."    just as it seemed he was doomed to be feline flambe an updraft caught him and,  mummy and daddy on either side, he made a valiant effort and  landed beside his siblings on a branch.     whiskers drooped, dribble dried, pupils closed, cats decided meals on wings were a no go so might as well go back to slumber land.

This morning i half woke at dawn to a familiar sound in an unfamiliar setting.   a loooooooong burbling followed by an inward gulp.......and........burble wibble warble on and on and on...........ah yes..........the swallows are back and they've found the telephone wires outside my Hexham bedroom window..........some things never change............nice isn't it.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Mr & Mrs Public

Isn't it brilliant when one of your oft  voiced negative opinions, or ideas,  gets totally shot out of the water?    when you unexpectedly encounter the complete opposite of your previous peeve and scuttle home with the proverbial tail between the  un-proverbial  legs?    sometimes it's nice to be wrong.    

After my last post the universe decided it was "Let's Bait Jeni Week, and  set her up for a fall".     it's  that tumble that has sent me running to the arms of Blogger to seek forgiveness for overlooking the unknowing Heroes in my tale of woeful shopping experiences.    they are of course Mr  Joe and Mrs Jane Public.

My lovely Caroline car/care lady and i went off with Bassett The Wheelchair to fill my freezer from our local M & S........ and before you start on about disability benefits being too high if i can afford to shop there,  consider this............. when a person can't cook, they need good quality ready meals and soups for health............it would be much  nicer  be able to cook,  and eat,  REAL  food !!!   

Now,  this  isn't one of the little Simply Food M & S shops but the  B I G    mother-ship store.  you know........the one with all the knickers and not enough checkouts.    as i only have transport twice a month i use this time to stockpile the essentials of life.    that's a lotta soup and a lotta ready meals and a lotta aisle blocking with my pink chariot.    

Up to the plate steps............TA DA......... MR JOE PUBLIC !!!   Mr 6 foot  Joe  Public  no less.........Mr  dishy 6 foot Joe Public.     the  lovely Caroline is not quite 5 foot.    as she struggled on tippie toes to reach the last mulligatawny soup  right at the back of top shelf,  this Adonis smiles down to my 3 foot level and without breaking a sweat or crooking an elbow passes said soup over with a flourish.    first thought ? how i wish i were 30 years younger!   second thought ? how kind.

Next up ?  Mrs Jane Public.   when you are down low in a wheelchair, taking up twice as much space as everybody else, and taking twice as long to manage even simple tasks, it's very easy to start apologising for existing, and wishing it were possible to do that Honey I Shrunk The Kids thing.   so..........there i was, blocking  access to the cheeses, looking round frantically for a  disappeared Caroline with trolley, lap full of cheddar and parmesan,  desperately trying to back away without crushing people's toes,  when a  lovely  lady  smiled and quietly said  "take your time there's no rush........your boas  look  lovely, by the way".  from there a conversation grew about her disabled daughter who would love my pinkly, feathered accoutrements and the difficulties of life with wheels.   we parted feeling like life long friends and i totally forgot that moments before there had been a desire to be minimised.

So.........Mr Joe.........Mrs Jane........thank you for restoring my faith in mankind  +  ladykind  +  shopperkind.   if ever you read this, know that your small actions  had huge ramifications.  you made a jaded muppet's trip out a pleasure where it could have been a trial.     thank you   xxx