What three words?

Recently I bit the bullet and joined twitter. I’ve found a few people to follow. I don’t really interact on there. I’ve left a couple of comments. My posts on here are automatically posted on there. I currently have zero followers but that’s no surprise. I doubt anyone even knows I’m there.

Browsing earlier I saw a tweet from someone I knew a few years ago.

What three words are you looking forward to saying when the pandemic is over.

For me it will be when I see my family and can say…

Let us hug

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Mr Blue Sky

The sun has been out today and the sky has been oh so blue. Apparently many have rushed to the beaches and parks to make the most of this lovely day. Out on my rounds delivering to my Avon customers I saw many people working on their gardens.

Every time I think about how blue the sky has been. (Not now the light is fading and it will soon be dark.) I consider bursting out into song. One particular song, yes you guessed it Mr Blue Sky by ELO. There was a time when my youngest son was but a boy this was one of his favourite songs.

I have refrained from singing. I don’t sing very often these days. Sometimes when I am listening to music through my earphones I just can’t resist singing along, much to my mother’s amusement. She wouldn’t be so amused if I burst into full song. I used to love singing at the top of my voice when driving along the motor way, windows open radio turned up high. I don’t do this anymore mainly because I no longer have a daily drive along the motorway to and from work.

I used to sing a lot in my car. I kind of but not really feel sorry for the lads who I would take to football training and matches along with my own sons. The rule was if you are in my car, you have no choice but to put up with my singing. Singing made me happy. Singing helped me to get over headaches. My second husband played guitar and was in a band in his younger days. He was passionate about music but I never ever heard him sing. He found it amusing that I sang. He even said that now and again I was even in tune!

On the one hand I would say that I am tone deaf so singing wasn’t one of my talents. On the other hand I have often said that I am very good at singing the only problem is that other people don’t have the ability to hear it properly.

Who has a talent that others don’t appreciate and what is it?

Is it hot in here?

Women of a certain age suffer from hot flushes. In theory this shouldn’t be a problem for me. I kind of went through an early menopause when I was a mere 39. I had hormone therapy at the time so I think all in all I got away lightly. For many years after this I was always warmer than everyone else. Prior to my cancer treatment I always felt the cold. Then suddenly I was in shorts and a t-shirt when everyone else was in jeans and jumpers. My palms were sweaty. I would say that I had an internal heating system after my radiotherapy. Over the years I came across other cancer survivors who also experienced this feeling of being hotter than everyone else.

I couldn’t stand to have hot feet so rarely wore socks even in winter. I would get into a panic if my feet or even my hands became overheated. My work colleagues would ask me weren’t my feet cold when I was wandering around in sandals and bare feet. Then gradually over the last few years that over heating wore off. I started to feel the cold again. Get this I have even started wearing socks everyday unless the weather is hot.

In the last few months I have found myself taking my jumper/cardigan off at various times through out the day. By mid evening I am beside myself tearing off my outer layer if clothing. Then comes bed time. I am so so glad that I sleep alone these days. Who would want to share a bed with me right now. Only a mad man! One minute I’m under the duvet, then I have to stick one leg out (something I have done for years). That doesn’t work my body is in panic mode so I have to completely remove the duvet. My shoulders get cold so I pull the duvet back but my legs are still hot. My head is sweating. Even though its winter I am putting on my desk fan to cool me down. I have a cool pad for my head. Boy that thing is cold but after a while even that becomes warm. All night I am duvet on duvet off, fan on fan off. Cool pad under my head, cool pad removed.

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A few weeks ago it occurred to me that this situation has been worse in the last six months. In the middle of the night when I was having a difficult time I posed the question to the appropriate facebook group I belong to for other ladies in my situation. The answers came flooding back, yes this is a side effect of the surgery I had back in the summer. From what I can gather, this goes on and on and on for years. The surgery has caused a hormone imbalance. As if I didn’t have enough to contend with.

Girls are doing it for themselves

This is a topic that I am passionate about but I am really in two minds about this item that was on the news this morning.

Researchers at Queen Mary University of London have developed a home smear DIY kit for cervical cancer tests. The kit allows women to take a vaginal swab or urine sample at home and send it into a lab, where it will be tested for chemical changes. The NHS aims to get around 80% of women tested, but last year only 70% of people attended their cervical cancer smear tests last year.

If successful the kits will be available in three years time.

I have been very passionate over the years

You may or may not be aware that in early 2001 I was diagnosed with stage III cervical cancer. I was very conscientious about always having a smear/pap test whenever I was called for it. In those days in UK that would be every 5 years. It was also routine to have a smear test during a 6 week post natal check up. My youngest son was born in December 1995. I had my post natal examination in January 1996. I was then due for my next test in January 2001. In April 2000 I began to have bladder leakage. I was reluctant to go to the doctor about this. After several months of this (I blame Tena Lady adverts for the idea that it is normal for women to develope leakage). Finally in late 2000 I had an appointment with our doctor who referred me to see a Urologist at our local hospital.

I had my appointment but was told that he couldn’t examine me properly as there was a blockage. A week later I saw a Gynaecologist who also attempted to examine me. He attempted to perform a smear test. This didn’t work as I was bleeding to much. Next I attended day surgery for a biopsy. Weeks later (9th March 2001) I never forget that date. I was given the news that I had a tumour the size of an orange. I later discovered that it was 7cm x 8cm x7cm. I was too large to be removed by surgery.

The next few weeks were take up with a variety of tests and measurements and 3 tattoo dots on my back ( for radiotherapy purposes). The treatment I received over the following months did the trick. The tumour dissolved and in September 2001 I was given the all clear. The treatment I received saved my life. I am very grateful that I went through it but it is not something I would want anyone to go through if it could be avoided. I know without a doubt that if I didn’t have treatment when I did I wouldn’t have made it to the end of 2001. For me now every day, month and year are a bonus.

If at that time smear tests had been performed more frequently, it’s probable that my cancer would have been picked up sooner and treatment less invasive.

Over the years I have come across or heard of women who don’t go for their smear test. It’s free! It takes a couple of minutes. It’s a life saver. It’s a no brainer. I get very cross when women say they don’t go, it might be a question of dignity or vanity. It might be because they are scared. It could be the thought that it was uncomfortable or even hurt. Let me tell you that whichever the reason, its a darn sight worse to go through the treatment for cancer.

Back to the news segment this morning. It is being proposed that it in a few years time if trials are successful women will be able to do the tests themselves. On the one hand if this will encourage more women to go through the process that has to be a good thing. On the other hand are these kits going to be fool proof. I know that nurses and doctors are not always 100% able to get the right samples. Yes I do understand that these kits are to be more about getting a swab rather than gathering cells but is it going to be accurate enough and not give a false sense of security.

What day is it?

I was thinking that it feels like Saturday but its only Tuesday. I tend to lose track of the days now. (yes I know I am not alone). I think I would be losing track even if we were not in lockdown. For most of my life especially my adult life I have had to keep track. Either for work or when my children were growing up for their school days. I remember years ago that I came to a realisation that all week I was looking forward to the weekend to arrive, then all weekend wishing for the week to start.

After I left my job in a Sales Office almost four years ago, I longed for the freedom of not having to live by the alarm clock. I am not and never have been good at mornings. Having to get up early enough to get my children ready for school/college and myself to work some 12 miles away by 8am was pure torture.

Working for myself to build our Network Marketing Business I was still setting the alarm but much later. I could choose my own timetable of when and where to work. Illness soon put paid to that for several months. 6 months later when my health was getting back to where it should be I found myself working as a parcel courier. 6 gruelling days a week. I definitely kept track of the days then. I always knew how many days there were until my day off on Sunday.

When my health issues put a stop to that work after 2 1/2 years I kept up my Avon business but on a part time basis to fit around my health and caring for my mother. Now that I never have to be anywhere at a certain time on certain days it is so easy for each day to be the same. In these days of lockdown I am limiting my forays out of the house to twice a week. I do everything I need to on those two days (usually Monday and Friday). This week is different because I am having my first Covid vacination shot on Thursday. The majority of people I know of have had a sore arm and slept a lot the following day. For that reason I am not going out on Friday I shall go on Saturday instead.

I saw something the other day about circular time. It was on the cover of a book I saw online. I don’t know about anyone else but I see time in circles. Each day is like a clock face that goes around twice. I think really I see time as more of a spring than actual circles. Each circuit leads onto the next one. My weeks are also like a spring. I guess like a slinky with each coil being a day and the coils wrapping around from left to right, five coils for the week days then two longer coils for the weekend wrapping back around to start the next week. Months are odd as each month is a straight line from left to right. My years though are going back to the clock face. This time January starting from the six position and going anti clockwise with June at the top then back down to the bottom with December at Seven position.

Yes I know I’m not normal.

I’m not like them

I have often been told that I come from a long line of strong women. I am told that I am a strong woman too. I have memories of my Great Grandmother Alice but only as a very old woman. I have memories of my paternal Great Gran (mostly of having to stay with her and being fed undercooked eggs for breakfast). I understand that both these women were strong willed women in their day.

I obviously have memories of both my Granny and my Grandmother. My Granny was one of my favourite people in the world. I can’t in all honesty say that I knew a great deal about her life but I loved her dearly. She was taken away from us far too soon, She had a massive heart attack in the night when she was just 67. My Grandmother was a lady who I wasn’t so close to when I was growing up. I grew closer to her in her later years. How many women in their 90s complete a degree with the Open University.

My own mother has always been strong. My father wasn’t inclined/able to support us properly so my mother trained (whilst bringing up 3 teenagers) to become a Lawyer. Life wasn’t easy for my mother when we were small. She did what she could to make a better life for all of us.

During my adult life I have been reminded by my mother that we are strong women. I have been told by others that I am so strong. I struggled to bring up 4 boys whilst being married to an alcoholic. I survived stage 3 cancer in my late 30s. I fought to get through a nasty divorce. I managed to keep myself and 4 boys going through financial struggles following my divorce. Then I remarried and found myself hitched to another alcoholic who was also a narcissist. I managed to get out of that situation.

All my life I have been reminded that I am strong and come from a line of strong women. I’m not though. I have never felt strong. I have done what I had to do for my boys. I have always felt that I have to get through everything because I come from a line of strong women. I can’t let the side down and be the first non strong woman.

I want to be allowed not to be strong. I want to not have the responsibility of keeping up with my strong women.

WHY do I have to always be strong?

Relationships

A few days ago I went to have a look at a blog written by someone who had liked one of my posts. I started reading a post about relationships and letting God into your relationship. So many people give up on their marriage at the first sign of problems but if you let God into your relationship you can get over any problems you have.

This might upset some people but although I consider myself to be a Christian and try to live in a way that is kind to others. I do not actually believe in God. I kind of believe that there is something greater than us mortals but I’m not sure what. I digress. What I really want to say is that I think this philosophy that God will make your marriage work is a dangerous one.

It doesn’t take into account the many relationships that include abuse, either physical or emotional or both. It doesn’t take into account the marriages/relationships based on lies.

My first marriage was to a man who was what is now referred to as coercive controlling. I didn’t realise for a long time what was happening. It started with the dictates over what I wore. He didn’t like me dressing up to look nice. I ended up spending my time (outside of work) wearing baggy T-shirts, sweatshirts and baggy tracksuit trousers. Then there were the constant phone calls which, I now know, were not concern over how I was doing each day (multiple times) but checking up on me. If I was late home from the school run I had to explain where I had been and who with.

I was gradually pulled away from my friends. “They are using you”. When I eventually got a mobile phone the checking up increased. Even if I was with my mother the calls would be constant. In the end she would ask me to turn it off. If I had plans to go out, he would only arrive home at the very last minute to look after the children. Even having a part time job was difficult, I felt I was becoming unemployable because he often didn’t come home in time for me to go to work. That’s just a sample of what life was like in that relationship. I fail to see how this would have been helped by having God in my life.

My second marriage was not better, it was different. Again I don’t believe God would have made life better. When I met my second husband he knew that my first husband was an alcoholic and I didn’t want to travel that road again. It wasn’t until 6 months after we were married that I found out that he was a secret drinker. Our marriage was based on lies. I never would have married him or even gone out with him, if I had known he was an alcoholic. With my first husband his drinking was public. 18 pints of beer at the pub, any excuse for a drink. My second husband was home alone all day while I was out working. Now I know why nothing ever got done. He was sitting in his home office drinking bottles of vodka. No wonder he got through so much cash. No wonder he didn’t need to drink much when we were out.

My second husband is a narcissist, everything was about him, his needs, his wishes. His dislike of my children (he had promised to treat them like his own). He could never refer to them by name, to him they were ‘pond life’ or worse. I know this was a reflection on him not them. How would God have made life better when one partner is a narcissitic alcoholic?

These are just simple examples of the relationships I had with my husbands. There are many many people, not just women but men too who live in worse situations than I did. For them they need to get out of their situation not invite God to help them stay in it.

I’m not saying that there is not a place for God in marriages, just not all marriages. Some people would also find God helpful in their lives whilst they get out of their situation. God also has a place in helping people recover from those situations. I don’t think it’s right to say he can make every relationship work.

Avon and me

I am live-in carer to my mother who has MS. I have had many occupations during my life but at the moment I am combining being a carer with being a Rep/Sales Leader with Avon.

I first became an Avon rep way back in the mid 1990s when my family were young. After a break of 20 or so years I rejoined Avon with one of my best friends as my Team leader. I am very lucky to be in one of the fastest growing and successful groups in Avon within the UK.

When my Friend Lorna first told me that she had joined Avon and invited me to join her I initially said no. It was a few months before I decided to join her. I am so glad that I did. Not only have I given myself the opportunity to gain some financial independence, I have gained some great friends. Before lockdown came and made life interesting I was going places and meeting people that I would never have had the chance to do without Avon. Not to mention the amazing products at amazing prices.

If you would like to see my digital brochure go here

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Do you ?

Do you?

Looking into your pale eyes
As they sparkle with your smile,
Our faces just inches apart as we laugh and chat.
Do you read what is written in my eyes
Do you see the hidden desire

The need to reach out
To touch your face
To taste your breath
As together we allow
Our lips to meet

The light touch of your hand
About my waist
So brief yet indelibly
Burnt into my memory
To cherish until next time

Do you have any idea
Of the calm turmoil
You create within
Your touch, your smile
These things I crave so much

Do you want it too
A time and a place
Where we can share
Much more than
A simple kiss

Squirrels

Since long before I moved here my mother has been watching the squirrels. They are very naughty, I have tried putting out a variety of bird feeders (for the birds not the squirrels). A great many feeders have been destroyed or completely vanished. I know this is the squirrels not the birds. We have a squirrel baffle on our bird feeder but since we had new decking and a banister rail put up the baffle is redundant. The squirrels can leap across from the railing.

We have got used to these little bundles of mischief making use of the bird feeder. It is very amusing watching them contort in different positions to get to the various hanging things like coconuts etc. I have long known that there were three squirrels that pass through our garden. we can see them travelling from tree to tree along the edge of ours and the neighbouring gardens. I can see them chasing each other around.

Recently I have been putting some peanuts on the decking for them. It is interesting to see that they are not the only creatures making use of this new habit of mine. The wood pigeons, and collared doves eat the nuts whole. The blue tits will grab one and fly off with it.

Anyway I have decided to try an experiment. I have put a few peanuts out as usual but I also placed the peanut bucket on the decking with a few peanuts on the top but the whole thing is covered by a wire cage from one of the squirrel proof feeders. We are now waiting to see how long it takes the squirrels to figure this out.

Our regular visitors we have named Roger (mostly grey), Ginger who has a mostly ginger head, back and tail. Then we have Biscuit who has less ginger than Ginger but more than Roger. Only yesterday was a little confusing because we seemed to have two Gingers. I thought I was getting muddled over which was which until for a few minutes we had not three but four squirrels running around at the same time. We now have to think of a name for Ginger #2.

So far today Roger and Biscuit have been around snaffling up the stray nuts. Both have had a good look at the nuts inside the cage but not attempted to get in there.

Here is Biscuit