I Wake Up in Enraged…

February 19th, 2012

Every bloody day. And if I don’t wake up enraged I wake up prepared to be enraged. There’s a downside to this social interaction. For the majority of my life social interaction meant deciding whether or not to go to the pub, which club I should join and who of my work colleagues I could interact with without breaking out in hives, or which newspaper I could read without feeling herded.

I remember when bricks came in to fashion. I despised the way people stopped having real conversations, actually interrupted them ‘oh, sorry…sorry…it’s the phone…’ to have another conversation which was somehow far more important because it was on a mobile phone.  I remember the first time I used one, I borrowed it and hid in a corner under a stairwell so that no one could see me doing this very embarrassing thing.

I was among the first ordinary people to use the internet for socialising. I had AOL on floppy disk. The one before Aol 3.1 whatever that was, I sat listening to the dial up tones and knew that in the next five minutes I could be chatting to someone in Sunderland, avoiding a creep from Leeds ‘a/s/l?’ or teasing a twit from Norwich, or even a  sheltered nerd from California who thought that Wales was in England and England WAS the United Kingdom. All good clean fun, well all fun anyway. There were times in the day when if I joined a chatroom or a forum I could actually be the only person in there for a while.  Given how few chatrooms there were this was quite a feat and soon ceased with the dawn of fixed price net access (we’d previously forked out by the minute…oh yes, one deeply addicted month my internet bill reached well into three figures).

In the early days I learned about trolls and snerts and the downsides of the next. I had my first stalker on the net, which carried through to real life, scarily. Someone who spied on my conversations and then contacted my family with twisted details of them. All very bizarre considering I wasn’t really that exciting.  However, on the upside I also met my best friend, and even got introduced to my husband on the internet.

These are the ups and downs of socialising on the net. The extra joys and facets to a social life that would never have happened before the dawn of this technology, I no longer needed to join a club, I was a member of the human race. Something I hadn’t quite banked on, besides getting to know a wider ranger of people, was the access to the news in a way I’d never encountered before. News on my terms. News that was passed to me by one source and the freedom to check it and research it and look further into it to my heart’s content. And with this ability to learn more about the world came the awakening of my social conscience, to begin really questioning motives and decisions and policies. I’m not saying I was completely passive before. If you ask Beardie he’ll tell you I’m quite passionate about the things I believe in.

One day, in the history of my internet use, I  joined twitter. I didn’t have a clue, I was twitter jerk and didn’t get it at all. I hashtagged like an idiot and bored myself silly and left it alone for a while. When I did come back to it something clicked and I realised I could use Twitter to meet people who interest me, people who like the things I like and who believe in the things that I have a passion for. I primarily thought about music and my new home in Birmingham and how I didn’t want to be isolated in these things.

What happened next has been quite interesting, to say the least. We had a recession and then an election and from that day on social networking has assisted me to understand more, feel more and take part. I feel I have some point to my passion, some grip on my anger. I can write to MPs, Lords, I can have a pop at Tesco, Cameron, hooligans, who ever it is that makes me angry and I can do these things feeling bolstered by the knowledge that so many others feel the same way. Previously I had an idea that people were angry but thought (wrongly) that they were apathetic. They were not, they just needed some way in which they felt they could make a difference. It is not in all of us to march, wave banners or publicly protest in a very visual way. I am thankful that some people are, very thankful. But so many more people now feel they have a way of expressing themselves and feel part of something very important.

Social media is there for us to utilise in whatever way works for us. It might very well be that Justin Beiber is your new god of choice but it could also be that you are frothing with anger at the treatment of Romany Gypsies, disabled people, single parents, the poor, the unemployed, the NHS, the homeless, the soon-to-be-homeless, the uneducated and broke, the about to be educated and broke, the…oh look you get me. There is an awful lot to be angry about at the moment and I suggest that you get angry or passionate, that you do something about how you feel. Buy the CD, write the email, post the blog, make a difference.

My next blog is supposed to be about how to make chicken, sausage & seafood gumbo.  Hey…food…it’s important.

And Finally…

February 1st, 2012

Yes, so I’ve been away for a bit. I had to make some hard decisions about what I can do with my energies and blogging sort of came bottom. I’m not promising to do better.

I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough and I thought I’d share. After years of dreadful, mysterious and downright annoying symptoms the doctors finally decided to look at the whole instead of each individual symptom. Novel. I’ve been sent to this specialist and that specialist only to be told ‘no it’s not X’ or ‘definitely not Y’ but never being told what was actually wrong. Symptoms ranging from stomach and bowel problems, hair loss, painful joints, exhausted and sore muscles, feet that can’t cope with shoes or duvet covers, hands that need to soak in warm water because they’re too painful to touch, a feeling of being poisoned, a feeling of being windswept/overexposed, dry skin, headaches, nausea, well….the list goes on and on. It doesn’t always come at once, i get waves of feeling dreadful and get slight improvements, never back to my carefree days and then the dread feeling of the wave of greater illness coming on.

‘What’s wrong with you?’

Well, there are things i know that are wrong. A facet joint damage caused by a nasty car accident which took a couple of years to get over at the time but has never given me a day off work but does give me continuous pain. I also have a leg length differential which went on undiagnosed for long enough to start me on a path of osteoarthritis in my hip. I now have a cyst on that hip bone and am waiting for a replacement. But the other stuff, what could I say? ‘I feel ill’ ‘I’m exhausted’ ‘It hurts when you touch me’, it doesn’t really cut it for me and it doesn’t satisfy other people. I’ve often felt that people think I must be a bit of a hypochondriac, complaining of problems but never being able to say more than ‘joint pain’. I’ve recently found out that there is a recognised phenomenon of feelings associated with Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS) directly related to other people’s perceptions of those symptoms. How can they be real if they don’t have a name?  I can assure you that those symptoms for me, and many others, are very real and have a huge impact on daily life.

Finally though I went to see a Rheumatologist who listed, looked, read my notes, asked questions, and then delivered not only a diagnosis but also a plan of action. The diagnosis was dependant on other diseases/syndromes being  ruled out by blood test. I went home and waited. Last week I came home from a busy busy day and sat completely wasted on the sofa, I carelessly opened my letters and glanced at a letter, another appointment for another Doctor I thought but no, it was THE letter. The specialist had gone to the trouble of not only giving me that diagnosis but listing all my other problems. I have multiple issues requiring an holistic approach to help me.  I have Fibroymalgia Syndrome, Chronic Facet Joint Syndrome, Leg Length Discrepancy, Right Hip Osteoarthritis requiring full Hip Replacement. I’m using capital letters, these are my enemies and they now have names and I respect them.

Fibromyalgia has been mentioned to me before but the list of symptoms seemed so horrendous I didn’t want it to be me. When I found it it was me I smiled, I cried a bit and felt completely relieved and finally felt recognised. The plan is to go to a Pain Clinic to assess my drug regime and see if anything further or different might help. I’ll also be given a physio plan designed to get me as fit as possible before my hip replacement after the summer holidays. My difficulties now are that I feel shattered walking to the bus stop, having to stop and assess my pain even on this short route and I pay for that walk all day. I fell very badly last christmas thanks to the hip and damaged my shoulder’s rotator cuff and a/c joint, this makes it very painful to use my walking stick and I’m worried about how I’ll cope taking all my weight off my hip. I’m hoping this physio will help with that.

Someone said to me, not long ago, when I was feeling extremely unwell, that I should give up my music and concentrate on work.  Why should I? You aren’t forced to chose a life of no fun/creativity and work yourself into an early grave, and I won’t take that path either. Money is important, work is vital for the family and for my wellbeing and while I can work I’m going to carry on,  but it’s not the be all and end all. At the moment I can only stay working full time by basically doing little or no house work and very little cooking. My amazing family supports me so that I can stay in work. I’d love to work part time and maybe improve my quality of life, reduce my pain etc but there’s no chance of getting higher DLA in the current climate which means I’ve got to continue grinding myself into the ground. Doing something pleasurable like music enables me to feel that it’s worth it.  Even so, one 25 minute gig leaves me feeling like I’ve squashed in an extra day’s work and I’m not sure I can keep up the balance, because it isn’t really balancing out. I hope the pain clinic can help that.

The current debate and plans for welfare reform horrify me. Not just for myself but for all people who are in unfortunate, vulnerable, weak or disabled circumstances. No one chooses to be made redundant, disabled, the parent of a disabled child, a vulnerable person, etc. No one wishes to be in a position where they’re unable to move out of house that’s too big due to housing shortages but unable to rent the spare room out due to threats of being criminalised. People don’t chose to give up work due to increasing illness as ‘lifestyle choice’ they do so because it’s Hobson’s Choice.  I feel very lucky that I can still drag myself in on my bad days, because I cling on to the knowledge that I can spend 48hrs in bed at the weekend if I need to. When the cost of my week in work exceeds the compensation of 48 hours in bed at the weekend then I will have to take stock again. I’m not asking for anyone to feel sorry for me but I have paid into the system that’s supposed to protect me and others in these circumstances. I need to know that if I can’t continue to work full time I’ll be supported to continue to work for as long as I can, as much as I can by a welfare system that is there to help me.

The Man in the Park

May 29th, 2011

Mads sat at the table tonight and described a man, whom she saw one day, in the park.

“He had Gangster clothes on and had a dog”

Me: ‘oh he sounds mean’

Mads: ‘Yes, he was reaaaallly mean’

Me: ‘he had Gangster clothes on? Tell me about that…’

Mads: ‘He had a biker jacket on’

Me: ‘oh yes, very menacing…’

Mads: ‘But he cut the arms off, it was sleeveless’

Beardie: ‘So he was wearing Summertime Gangster clothes?’

Mads: ‘Yes, and he was covered in tattoos, all over his body, on his face he had a snake around his face!’

Me: ‘wow, he sounds interesting’

Mads: ‘Yes, and he had dark blue trousers on and they were short and you could see the bottom of his leg and he had the word ‘England’ on it’

Me: ‘oh, that’s quite a look’

Mads: ‘He had sandals on too’

Me: ‘A gangster in sandals?’

Mads: ‘He has tattoos on his feet as well, but one didn’t say ‘Wales’ on it’

Me: ‘Did he have painted toe nails?’

Mads: ‘no they were tattooed with um, A, B, C *thinks to self* up to um, J on his toes’

Me: ‘Oh and what does it say on his hands?’

Mads: *holds out hands, pointing to one finger at a time’* ‘look.at.my.feet.if.you.want.to.know.the’ *turns hands over to show palms* ‘and then on this side it said – Alphabet’

Me: ‘but he only has the letters up to J on his toes, what about the rest of it?’

Mads: ‘he doesn’t use the rest of the alphabet. He had a dog too, as well’

Me: ‘oh right, yes, that’s quite a look, all that and a dog’

Mads: ‘and he had words written in the snake on his face as well, perhaps it was the other letters of the alphabet’

Me: ‘perhaps it was, and tell me about the dog’

Mads: ‘it was a Chiuahaha’.

I wish I could draw this man, but I never want to meet him.

Faint Praise (shhh)

February 27th, 2011

I regularly roll my eyes at Beardieboy for his lack of insight, inability to understand women and self confessed disconnection when he’s preoccupied. He leaves me curling my toes with his tendency to sleep in his day clothes; distresses me incredibly with his lack of ability to have a meaningful conversation. We have the most challenging relationship I’ve ever had in my life, in both good and bad ways. He drives me to total distraction, hurts my feelings and makes me feel isolated at times. At other times he is so caring, loving, and thoughtful I feel mean for ever having had a negative feeling about him. We work brilliantly as a pair of musicians, and wonder now why we waited so long to ‘get it on’.  He’s also pretty hot, for my money anyways.

The last few weeks I’ve been ill and had an operation on Monday. In all that time he’s been obscenely hard working. Up to 60 hrs a week at work, rehearsing, practicing his German (he’s now better than me – crapsticks) and on top of that he’s done ALL the cooking, virtually all of the cleaning and entertained the troupes. Even preparing the house for viewings, which means folding towels neatly and actually closing drawers.  He’s stepped up to the plate and he’s been the best husband a woman could hope for (apart from his infernal snoring). I’m not normally a sappy chick but when, in the past,  I’ve thrown my wedding ring at him for his utterly shittastic behaviour I’m now rather glad that he didn’t pawn it for guitar strings.

Don’t you dare tell him I said nice things about him. His head is frigging enormous.

in the next photo he sticks his tongue in my ear...this is sexy stuff girls

Silent Sunday – Glad that Week is Over

February 27th, 2011

chocolates? flowers? Pah!

Silent Sunday

 

You Don’t Get Away From Me That Easily

February 21st, 2011

I’m back! It’s been a while eh. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been lost for words, I haven’t got bored of blogging and I certainly having ‘dried up’. No, it’s quite simple. I discovered this weird science shit, the time thing, y’know, the thingie about there being only 24 hours in a day and only seven days in a week. Who bloody knew? I was really pissed off when I found out.

There I was, working full time, husband, kids, au pair, dogs and goldfish, doing an NVQ at work and in my second year of studying towards accreditation as a Counsellor. At the same time as all of that I’m rehearsing, writing and performing music and attempting to be better than average at it. All of that and I realised that I quite like sitting on my arse doing nothing. It’s a bit gutting when you realise you’re really a lazy bint when you’ve signed up to be superwoman. It doesn’t really leave a girl with much room to manoeuvre. I decided to cut out all the bits I couldn’t manage to do. I stopped baking, I stopped making home improvement plans and I stopped writing my blog, for a bit, anyway.

I’ve got at least a couple of weeks off work now, possibly more.  This won’t be the last you hear from me.

technorati: B6FPEQBRHBUX

Finally

December 19th, 2010

Silent Sunday

Christmas Tequila Cake Recipe

December 17th, 2010

(with special thanks to Val Shakespeare for sharing her secret recipe)

Once again this year I’ve had requests for my Tequila Christmas Cake Recipe so here goes:

TEQUILA CHRISTMAS CAKE

1 cup sugar
1 tsp. Baking powder
1 cup water
1 tsp. Salt
1 Cup brown sugar
Lemon Juice
4 Large Eggs
Nuts
1 bottle tequila
2 cups dried fruit

Sample the tequila to check quality
Take a large bowl; check the tequila again to be sure it is of the highest quality.
Repeat.

Turn on the electric mixer. Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.

At this point, it is best to make sure the tequila is still OK. Try another cup just in case.
Turn off the mixerer thingy.

Break 2 eegs and add to the bowl and chuck iin the cup of dried fruit.
Pick the fruit up off the floor.

Mix on the turner.

If the fried druit getsh shtuck in the beaterersh, just pry it looshe with a drewscriver.

Shaple the tequila to test for tonsisticity.

Next, sift 2 cups of salt, or something.

Check the tequila. Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.

Greash the oven.

Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.

Don’t forget to beat off the turner.

Finally, throw the bowl through the window.
Finish the tequila and wipe the counter with the cat.

Cherry Christmas!!

Dying on Your Arse

December 6th, 2010

Did you hear about the comedian who couldn’t tell jokes because he was too busy dying on his arse?

We are in a comedy zone at home. Beardieboy thinks he’s fucking hilarious. Every moment of my home life is a pallet for his art, every intercourse is an opportunity to build a story, try out a story, check his comic timing. Sod. I mean, when you’re on the loo and someone’s standing outside saying ‘are we nearly there yet?’ you’d like to hope it’s not a 38 year old man shouting through the lock.

The man drives me, quite literally, bonkers. Having said that he is really funny and when he does his ‘thing’ he really does make me belly laugh. He’s not run of the mill, not lazy and he’s studiously hard working (I know because I am there for every bloody joke that he practices and perfects – ‘should I say it or the?’. He did his first gig and was lauded by the regular crowd who see all manner of drivel and shit, as well as all the good guys. I felt like I’d earned that for him, putting up with the constant experimentation at my expense.

We have a friend who decided to become a comedian at the same time as Beardieboy. Given that they started at the same time you’d think they’d be in roughly the same place. Hm, well you’d be wrong. This person got up at their first gig and they were devastatingly bad, having clearly done no work to prepare at all. Tumbleweed rolled through the pub as they struggled to remember even one  line of their routine. Yikes. I felt more uncomfortable than I did watching Bruno, and that’s some embarrassment we’re talking about. At this point most people would pull the wool over their own eyes and make straight for the door. My hat goes off to this person because they didn’t do that, they dusted themselves off and booked another gig. Kudos.

Beardie got on and wrote another routine, to try out some new stuff, to torture me with. The man is relentless. Our friend promised they were also working hard on their routine. It wasn’t true, and before Beardie could do his second gig our friend was up again. We sat there wondering what would happen. Let’s just say that even the tumbleweed were too embarrassed to make an appearance. I sat through the car crash and could barely breathe for ten minutes. Yet again this person came off stage and bold as brass stayed exactly where they were. They did not rush for cover, they did not give up. Knowing they hadn’t done the work they just determined to do it better, differently, more. Well done them.

Beardie did well for his second gig and eagerly anticipated his third. A few days before that gig he started to feel unwell, lavatorially speaking it wasn’t much fun, not much to joke about. I watched him sleeplessly over a few days becoming more and more unwell. On the day the gig was due he was literally dying on his arse. He started bleeding and we went straight to hospital, straight to isolation. He couldn’t speak, he couldn’t cope. They wondered if he had some disease, with long term, life changing implications, or if it was a serious infection, with the potential to ruin organs and ultimately reach the same conclusion as if it were some disease.

It turns out that he did have a serious infection. After over 48 hrs of bleeding thing have started to improve, though I think he has a long way to go. I knew things were improving when he picked up his phone and tweeted about having his ‘needs’ met by a nurse who looked like she was straight out of a bollywood film.  He’s still in hospital and needs some tests to check that the damage isn’t permanent, making sure his kidneys are ok etc but I think he might have been a very lucky man.

I’m in a state of shock still, I’ve never seen so much blood come out of a person who I needed to believe was not mortally ill. I don’t ever want to go through that again. I desperately need to see him home and eating well. He spent today doing his best to piss me off with his extreme views so I doubt it’ll be too long before he is back to business.

What I need now is to get to two third gigs. The third gig that will mark the return of my lovely funny man and the third gig of a friend who will either allow us all to breathe again or who we will be counselling to find a new hobby.

Silent Sunday – Excelling

December 5th, 2010

Silent Sunday