Saturday, 25 March 2017

Playing To Strengths

Louis is happy and doing well at his new school.   He has settled in, made friends and developed a surprisingly keen interest in 3D design.  His headmaster suggested to me at parents evening last week that he might have been a square peg in a round hole at the grammar school.

The same metaphor might apply to my recent experience of formal education.  I was struggling along with a masters degree until a few months back.  It was such a relief when I stopped and decided to pursue learning under  my own steam in a much more informal and flexible way.

I have a friend who is still studying at that advanced level and loves what she is doing. She's considering going on to do a doctorate in her spare time.  She's found her niche, gets distinctions for her assignments and presents her ideas at conferences.  In contrast I hated my studies, couldn't fathom out what was expected of me and had writer's block every time it came to producing an essay. I'd sit for hours and only manage to commit a few words to print.  Additional support from the university, as a neurology assessment for dyspraxia indicated, might have helped the penny to drop.  Yet I didn't have the time or motivation to make this happen.

I'm a skilled clinician and am good at teaching and supporting others professionally.  Outside work I'm a reasonable cook and homemaker.   There's a half decent head for business that could be explored.  I'm comfortable with writing in a more relaxed style.  I make things that please myself and others.  But I'm NOT an natural academic.  I'll leave that to those who have a bent for organising data and critical analysis.  Why struggle?  It's dawned on me it would be much better embracing and develop the talents that come naturally to me.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Smiley Music

Often the tunes that I share are on the doleful, navel gazing side.  So I thought I'd show you this, my warm up music in the car on the way to my 10K  '80s run last weekend.  I love the B52s for their joyous energy.  Their songs just make me want to dance And the subject matter of this one makes me laugh out loud. 

Thursday, 23 March 2017

New Phone

Aside from the naughty wardrobe updates from the charity shops I don't buy a lot for myself these days. Retail therapy doesn't really cut the mustard.    I pretty much have all that I need.  It's a good place to be,

But yesterday, after dropping my mobile phone and shattering the screen I decided to get a new one rather than opting for a rather expensive repair.  It's probably a purchase that's long overdue.  For yonks now people, especially those who are harder of hearing, have been complaining about the call quality on my existing phone.  I took it to a repair shop and the guy couldn't find a fault.  And let's justify myself further by saying that there was already an existing crack.   I've also been having camera envy for some time.  I ditched a proper SLR years ago and take all my pictures on my phone.   I love the convenience and the portability.  Many of my friends' shots lately have been of much higher quality than my own.

So my special treat to myself is a reconditioned Samsung S6 and saved at least £150 on the price it would have been new.  It has a camera that reviewers rave over.   I purchased it outright and didn't go for an upgrade.  My existing mobile package is just too good a deal so I'll transfer the existing SIM card.  

My new shiny toy is arriving today.  To my surprise I'm really rather excited.  It supports my theory that occasional treats bring far more pleasure than if you're spoiling yourself all the time.   I've bought something else too.  Ms Butterfingers has decided that this time around a super protective case might be a rather good idea!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Eating In The Street

I don't know if it was all that running that I did at the weekend but I'm really hungry at the moment.  So even though I'd had breakfast I found myself yesterday, during team meeting, tucking into my self assembled lunch, a grazing box of cheese cubes, cherry tomatoes, grapes and nuts,  before 10am.  It's a scenario that many office workers will find familiar I'm sure.

At around the time that could be officially classed as lunchtime I nipped into the local Coop and bought a  supplementary cheese and onion sandwich and a bag of crisps to pacify that rumbling tummy.   I was off to Exeter for a ward meeting and on the way to the car I started to tuck into to the bag of salt and vinegar sticks.  It brought back a memory.

When I was  a child in the seventies eating in the streets was a no-no, a social faux-pas.  I remember my Mama Lovelygrey buying a bakery snack when we were out shopping  once and we had to cower in an alleyway to eat. I thought that it was all a bit silly myself but my mum was insistent.  Etiquette had to be preserved.   Now that street food is an established part of British culture is it now completely acceptable to be seen snaffling a sausage roll in public?

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Black Dog

Here's a very clever cartoon from the World Health Organisation.   It will resonate with many of us and contains metaphors that might help explain what depression really entails to those who haven't got a clue.  My own black dog walks to heel  now, to remind me of all the valuable lessons that he taught me, most importantly about being kind to myself and others.  Every so often he needs the Barbara Woodhouse treatment so he doesn't dominate my life again.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Just Like Flashdance - With Medals!

I've gone so super quiet on the running front lately that I bet some of you thought that I'd changed my  exercise regime from 'Couch to 5K' back to '5K to Couch Potato'!  But no.  Quietly in the background my fitness plan has been ticking away.  I'm normally out pounding the pavements for 45 minutes twice a week on weekdays.  Then at weekends I've been doing longer and longer runs.  After all I promised my sister that I'd run a half marathon in her memory and the Great Bristol Half Marathon beckons in September.

As an interim step Disco Queen Vikki and I signed up for the  Exerer Age UK's '80s run, a respectable 10K.  It was held yesterday.  'Can I come round and raid your wardrobe?'  I asked my lovely running companion.  'It's all in hand chick.'  she texted back.  And so it was.  Here we are doled up in custom made tutus, sparkly headbands, lurid baggy Ts, fishnet gloves and pink hairspray It was just like Flashdance!
How we did get on?  Well slowly and surely was our mantra. We are novice runners in our '50s after all.  The winner got round the course in an impressive 32 minutes.  Vikki jogged the whole route and came in with a time of 1:18-ish.  The insole in my trainer started to rub at about the 8th kilometre mark so I took it easy and walked a little bit at the end of the course.  After all I'm used to including my five minute warm up and warm down strolls in with my time.   I came in about five minutes after my sparkly friend. Something needs sorting out on the footwear front before I tackle another long run.

Again this is a measure of how far I've come in the three years since the operation on my knee to repair a snapped cruciate ligament.  It was great that, in spite of being disguised in a curly afro wig I recognised Mark, the physiotherapist who treated me at that time.  He  was doing the run as well.  I was happy that he could see that I was one of his success stories.

This is us just after we finished.  Are you surprised at just how perky we look?

We are super happy with our funky medals and the fact that we've raised money for Age UK's work in Exeter.  Some of the funds donated includes money from my sister's estate.  She overpaid her rent before she died so that the repayment is going in the kitty.  I hope that she was watching us from her cloud above yesterday and is pleased that yet another good thing has been done in her memory.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

A Big Zucchini and Other Freebies

Congratulations to my friend and fellow blogger  Meanqueen at Life After Money who's just published her 3,000th post!  As a tribute I'm taking inspiration from her today.  At the bottom of her blog roll she has a fascinating list of the free stuff that she's been given, found or asked for.   In homage I thought I'd do one myself. When I started I thought that my own tally would be tiny. But I've been thinking about it over the last few days and it has grown and grown. I've included gifts where these are things that friends and family are clearing out.   It turns out that I haven't done at all badly!

Super cool retro swivel seat named affectionately as the 'white pussy chair' by Mr Metrosexual, rocking chair with my name on it coming soon from Red Mel, aran and purple knitted cardies, foraged blackberries, crab apples, sloes, wild garlic and,elderflowers, Eye test lamp, pound coins left in lockers, teddy bear stuffing, an angel feather, a postcard of a Stanley Lench picture, Old Faithful optical illusion bookmarks from Yellowstone National Park, a rubber duck, a tennis ball for my dog friend Lola and a three legged table base I'm keeping for a Meanqueen recycling project all found during one beach clean up, shells and sea glass, my favourite little going out bag, an embroidered purse from a kind shopkeeper in Grenada, a replacement laptop just at the right time, my desk, a big courgette left on my doorstep (that's a zucchini to you American readers), entry to the Eden Project, a huge ugly Sports Direct mug that got broken really quickly, a bit of the old pier at Brighton, a dress , Yellowstone blankets, free stationery and tape measures from medical reps, a stove that burns twigs, four hats, a fake water drop tattoo, books again from Red Mel, a shelf unit for my hall.