Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie

We Read – We Write – We Review


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The Mind of a Killer!

 

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I am in the middle of a technophobic meltdown at the moment, and barely keeping my head from exploding with frustration. I want to take an axe to every piece of equipment in my office and take up knitting again. (not really an option!)

Everything computer connected has been driving me nuts for a while now. Crashing, buffering or just plain ignoring me. So I decided to change browsers. Don’t ask me why, but I thought it was a good idea at the time. Well, you have to blame something, don’t you?

I switched from Firefox to Internet Explorer, only to discover I was no better off, and in some cases, worse than before. And in the process, I have lost all my bookmarks, and several programmes that I use a lot, like Buffer and Grammerly.

It has been suggested that I upgrade to Windows 10, and/or get a faster hub, all of which sounds like madness to me, but might be the way forward one of these days.

So I have spent two whole days and most of my evenings, trying to sort myself out again. Nothing else has been achieved in the mean time and I am not happy about that at all. Right when I was getting everything uncluttered and streamlined to help my appalling eyesight and failing brain cells!

But as they say, this too shall pass, and the sooner the bloody better!

What passes for normal service around here will, no doubt resume sometime over this weekend, and I am truly looking forward to it!


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Muddy Waters…

 

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Getting an appointment with my doctor is becoming impossible these days, as he must be the most popular person in Petersfield, that’s all I can say. For several days I tried, finally giving up and making do with another doctor.

I wasn’t expecting much, to be honest, for me and doctors don’t normally get on. I swear they think I am a malingerer or something.

To be fair, she did check me over quite thoroughly I thought and did her best to assure me that there was nothing in my head that shouldn’t be there. The earache and four-week-old headache were dismissed, as it didn’t keep me awake at night so couldn’t possibly be that bad.  I don’t think she believed a word about my constant giddiness and nausea.  When I tried to describe the way my brain seems to ‘slide’ sometimes, I could tell she thought I was barking. A typical hypochondriac with possible dementia thrown in for good measure.

I left the surgery with a prescription for something to help with nausea, and when I got back home, I checked this drug out on the internet. Turned out to be a strong antipsychotic, not be given to the elderly or anyone with dubious brain activity. Taking it under these conditions, they said, “could result in death.”

Needless to say, that prescription found its way into the bin a bit sharpish. Whatever is wrong with my brain will just have to get on with it, or go away. I know which I would prefer!

In an endeavour to ease my symptoms, I decide to cut back my workload and time spent on the blessed computer. The optician had offered to darken my reading glasses to help with the glare, so I thought the future could be doable.

Once I took a good look at the situation, I realised I was on my own, regarding my future.  Assuming of course, that I had one. It was up to me to find a system that would work, as the alternative didn’t bear thinking about. War had been declared between me and everything I wanted to do.

My eyes would grudgingly allow me a little time at the PC/laptop/kindle before throwing in the towel, so I had to come up with a decent routine.

The problem with my knees was more easily solved, a comfortable pair of kneepads and I was good to go. Something I was pleased about, for I tend to do a lot of work on the floor. (don’t ask!)

The constant tiredness, headaches, and arthritis would be harder to manage, but not impossible with the help of copious amounts of soluble paracetamol.

After a cold hard look at my workload, I realised I had far too many balls in the air, or irons in the fire, whichever you prefer. I had to get out the pruning shears and cut back some of the things that really weren’t getting us anywhere.

All that searching for the magic answer/angle had to stop too. My life had to be simplified if I wanted to come out of this mess in one happy piece!

A further post about how I chopped and pruned may well follow, once I get past the pain of deleting and unsubscribing all the dead or dying wood in my forest!


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Happy New Year!

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Like last year, this year didn’t start too well for me, but I think I can finally see the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. I deliberately didn’t make any resolutions. Well, I tried not to, but they were all there in my head anyway, driving me crazy with all the possibilities.

It has been a year since they discovered a lump in my breast, a lump that turned out to be the worst kind. One year on and I wait for the results of my recent mammogram. Then two weeks ago, I tore a ligament in my knee, restricting my movements and doing little to improve the state of my mind. I am beginning to hate the sight of my local hospital!

The knee is feeling better now, after one of the most terrifying procedures I have ever been subjected to. The swelling had to be reduced they said, and out came one of the largest hypodermic needles I have ever seen. I waited for them to numb my knee first, but to my horror, this did not happen. The doctor swabbed my knee with antiseptic and plunged the 3-inch needle straight into my knee. I waited for the pain to blow my head off, but to my surprise, I couldn’t feel anything. What was this magic? Everyone had delighted in telling me just how painful it was going to be, but I honestly couldn’t feel anything.

After removing two full tubes of fluid, he injected something into the knee, saying that it would make the pain go away immediately. I was ordered to stand up, and then walk about, and he was right, the pain had gone. I could walk! I glanced at the crutches leaning against the wall, knowing I wouldn’t need them anymore.

Then it was the day of my oncology check-up. I was just two hours away from knowing if the rest of this year would be worth having. It had better be, for I’m in the middle of two books, and a ton of promoting needs to be done. Besides, I’m not ready to hang up my boots or anything else for that matter.  If I can just make these worn out old eyes go on for a bit longer, everything will be fine. (I won’t be escaping the hospital for long, as I have a cataract in progress, and it will have to come out eventually.)

Turns out that I am fine… I have a pain free knee and a clean bill of health from the breast clinic. 2017 was a bit late starting for me, but the sun has finally come out, and I feel the enthusiasm flowing through my veins once again…

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To celebrate, we have created a trailer for Anita’s book, Secrets. We argued long and hard over this one, but Anita knew what she wanted, so that’s what we did.

She would love to hear what you think!


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Giving Up!

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It’s not often that I give up on anything. Being one of the most stubborn people on this planet, means that I usually persevere or (drive myself and the rest of my family insane) until I master whatever it is I want to do.

But giving up doesn’t happen often, and I am ridiculously happy to be able to say that. I gave up on a job once. It was well paid but strenuous, and after two weeks, I was forced to admit that it was slowly killing me. I gave up on my marriage for roughly the same reason.

What this usually means, is I regard it as a personal failure, rather than the acceptance that it was a mistake and not for me. It has to be my fault, you see, that I had to run away/or give up.

And yesterday, I gave up on my first mobile phone.

Sounds silly I know, when you consider that I have tackled the world of computers, the internet, self publishing and the vagaries of Twitter, to mention but a few.

I had wanted a mobile phone for a while. Everyone I knew had one, so they couldn’t be that difficult to use, I thought. What I didn’t realise, was you are essentially looking at a computer system in a very small box.

“Just charge it up and switch it on…” the attractive young man in Carphone Warehouse told me. Adding, with a smirk, that I could return it inside two weeks, if I changed my mind. And that should have alerted me. For if it was that easy to use, why would I need to change my mind?

I chose a Samsung, nothing too fancy, assuming it would be easier for me. It had a nice big touch screen, and I remember looking at it in the shop and wondering how on earth it could be operated with just the one button.

The first day, I opened the box and stared at the phone for most of the morning before switching it on. I was immediately assaulted by several messages – all requiring me to do various tasks. I tried to understand what they wanted, but after just one hour of insanity –I switched it off in disgust and not a little frustration.

I had been assured it had an instruction manual, but a small leaflet explaining how to change the battery did not cut the mustard!

On the second day, I tried again. After several attempts to enter the required information, I gave up again. Mainly because it logged me out after two attempts. I moved on to more interesting subjects, installed a few apps and explored a bit. But even with my stubborn streak operating at full throttle, I ended up switching it off again.

Undesirable traits.

The damned thing goes into stand-by mode every time you stop to think.

It also makes countless annoying bleeps, for as yet unknown reasons.

None of the menus appear to work, switching you to other screens as and when it feels like it.

I eventually found the help screen, but even following the advice to the letter, nothing helped. The instructions were concise but didn’t seem to be referring to my phone. And even when I found something to actually try, it didn’t work.

I was beginning to feel increasingly more stupid than usual, so I decided to quit. I didn’t really need some crazy, non functioning nightmare accessory to highlight my faults, so I put it back in the box and went back to my regular means of frustration. Most of which has already learned who was boss…

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PS:  Just a little mention that Books 1& 2 of Jaye’s crime thriller series ‘Lives’ are now on #Instafreebie !   FREE copies for everyone !

Click on the links:  bit.ly/2ifRwBU      bit.ly/2i930ah


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A Good Sign…

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Christmas day was almost perfect. The cooking schedule went like clockwork, and for once the roast potatoes turned out just right.

The family arrived on time, and the exchange of gifts had us all laughing. Nothing too expensive, seeing as though we were all as p0oor as church mice this year, but everyone appreciated the care and thoughtfulness that went into every gift.

2016 has been a pretty dismal year, one way or another, so I was hoping we could end it on a high note.

The Christmas dinner turned out to be one of the best I have cooked over the years, something I was a little worried about, what with my failing eyesight and forgetfulness. There was one sticky moment when I was dishing up, I suddenly couldn’t remember who had what, but luckily I wasn’t alone in the kitchen and together we sorted it out.

We usually stay at the table long after the food has gone, to talk. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits, no sign of any trouble, but this was to be short lived. A new party game was brought out, and I could tell by the complicated instructions that it was a mistake. Far too many rules and things to remember, and it didn’t take long for the trouble to start.

Two of the younger members started picking at each other, each insisting we were doing it all wrong and challenging who would lead us to victory, so to speak. I tactfully suggested that it was too hard, that we should return to the old faithful game, one we played every year, but they were far too busy scoring points off each other.

They were sisters, long used to the long battle for supremacy. Something we all dreaded witnessing at any family gathering. That was when I insisted we play the other game and gradually the pot came off the boil.

We normally have another get together on New Year’s Eve, but some of us were busy and wouldn’t be coming.

Maybe this was a good sign too?

 

News Flash!

I heard a strange sound this morning.

It was nearly dawn and  faint feathery fingers of light streaked the sky… and I thought I could hear a blackbird singing.

I opened the back door to hear better, and there he was, singing his little head off, possibly for the first time this year?

Does this mean that he knows something we don’t?

But the mere fact he wanted to sing,  was a very good sign, and the sound filled me with joy…


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New Year’s Eve

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Usually, as we approach this day, my head will be full of good intentions and plans for the coming year, but this time it was different. For some inexplicable reason, I had been sadly lacking on the enthusiasm front.

Maybe it was all the shocking news of the celebrity deaths, linked to my own advancing years, or the state of the world in general. Hardly conducive to positive thinking.

But some things had managed to creep in, despite my misgivings. Several new ideas were on the table, and Anita and I were starting to build new strategies. I had also begun the arduous job of sorting out my photograph storage, something that had been getting progressively out of hand for a while. Computers are clever things, but the space on them isn’t finite.

I had also decided it was time I bought a mobile phone. Never thought I would ever want one, but I keep running into things I could handle better with one, the additional opportunity to publicise and promote our books being the main one. So, after a slow start, my enthusiasm was picking up.

And then it happened.

I was cooking the evening meal on New Year’s Eve when I began to feel dizzy. I tried to ignore it, but it got worse and I began to worry, for this was exactly how my heart attack started nearly four years ago. Intense dizziness, nausea and sweating – it seemed to be all happening again.

I spent the rest of the evening tucked up on the couch, too sick and giddy to move, keeping my eyes shut in an effort to stop the room from spinning. I had a headache but no fever, so it was probably a virus as it had come on so fast.

I had nightmare visions of being blind, unable to read or write. The dream of a mobile phone began to seem like a stupid idea.

It was a miserable being that listened to the chimes of Big Ben that night. Normally such a happy occasion, but was turning out to be anything but.

The following morning wasn’t much better. Not quite so nauseous, but my eyes were having a battle of their own. They simply didn’t want to work together. If I used one at a time, the room stayed still, use them together and I was back in the washing machine again. I ended up wearing an eye patch, which did allow me to check my emails.

I began to wonder about my eyesight, for I had previously been diagnosed with a cataract. Had it been on the Weetabix and grown big  enough to cause problems? I would have to see my optician as soon as possible to find out.

This was not how I envisioned beginning the New Year, and to say I wasn’t happy about it would be an understatement. Last year was a nightmare, what with the cancer and family problems, but the year had closed with the all clear after my first annual check-up.

But it would seem the fates are not finished with me yet, which is a shame, for I’m not ready to give in and go quietly just yet.


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Waiting …

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At this time of year, I am usually beginning to think about next year and all the things I plan to do. But it can be a bit depressing, reminding you of all the things you meant to do this year.

So I resolved not to do it again.

I am at the ripe old age now when all forward thinking starts to slow down, and mine seems to be at a standstill.

Since my encounter with cancer this time last year, dread has been having a running battle with my optimism. Some days are more positive and dread retreats into a corner, where it sits and glowers at me. It feels a bit like waiting for a train, only to hear the message “We apologise for the delay, but the next train has been cancelled…”

Waiting has never been something I have excelled at, but I have learned to be patient over the years, but this year has  really stretched it to the limit. You see, no one has actually said that the cancer has gone. The lump has been removed, so I should be fine, but until I hear those magic words, I will remain  ‘worried, from Hampshire…’

Gradually all through the summer months, I thought I had learned to ignore the lurking shadow of doubt. The fact that I had a book to finish writing helped a lot. But other parts of my life were suffering instead and most of the time I lived like a hermit, hardly ever leaving my office. Gardening was done out of desperation, when the grass and the weeds threatened to advance on the house. I stopped caring about how I looked or what I ate.

Consequently, I ended up looking like a well-fed tramp. My hair was too long and I looked like a witch. Luckily, the day I noticed all of this was one of the good days, and I resolved to pull up my socks.

I was surprised when the letter arrived, as it wasn’t quite the Christmas present I liked getting and I wasn’t expecting anything until the new year when my check-up was due. It was an appointment to be “imaged” again by the radiography team at my local hospital.

On Monday, they will do extensive imaging to check the site of the surgery and the results of the radiotherapy, and assess the healing process. The letter also warned me that I would not be told anything at this time; presumably, I will have to wait until February and the check-up appointment.

Have they any idea what my brain will do to me in the coming weeks?