#Jaye’s Journal ~Week 46

Jaye's Journal x12

 

The day of my hospital check-up had arrived, and I felt oddly apprehensive. I had been worrying (just a little bit) that this might be the year that the mammogram would not be clear. Whether I thought four years clear might be pushing it a bit, I don’t know, or maybe it was because they had called me early?

For four years, I have been summoned the week before Christmas, so today’s appointment felt strange, even before I got there.

It was cold and wet as we travelled to Portsmouth, and I forced myself to think about everything else, determined to ignore the feeling of dread that had been following me around like a stray dog for days.

Turns out my summons was just for a check-up chat, and that the mammogram will be next month, like always.

The doctor gave the boobs the once over, checking the lymph nodes lumps and for lumps, and found nothing untoward, whatever that means these days.

All in all, this pointless visit (to me, anyway) made a four-hour hole in my working day, and I was already playing catch up.

But that’s life, isn’t it?

 

I read something the other day, something that made a lot of sense when I thought about it. These days, having a good think almost needs an appointment, but I digress.

Apparently, if you concentrate too much on all the small details, you will never get anywhere and end up going around in circles. A bit like I have been doing all week!

We must keep our eyes on the horizon… the one major goal that shines brighter than anything else, for if we allow our concentration to wander, even a little, we will end up getting nowhere, or worse, in the wrong place entirely.

I have a lot of plans in my head now, but my major goal isn’t at the top of the list. I had thought it would get there all by itself if I got all my ducks in a row!

 

My muse is clearly frustrated and wants to be writing. If I am honest, so do I.

I miss the daily discipline!

 

So, I don’t seem to be progressing much lately, most of the things I plan to do are proving both difficult and downright impossible. Maybe I am getting too old, at least I hope that’s all it is. Everything is either too complicated or takes too long, and my patience is wearing a bit thin.

My enthusiasm has given up and taken a walk, and I sincerely hope it won’t stay away for too long!

Tomorrow I will pull up my socks and get organised…

And that is a promise to myself that I intend to keep!

©jayemarie

 

To Be or not to Be?

 

This morning, as I was reading the news on my PC, there was an article about recognising the signs of Alzheimers or dementia, and as I am constantly being told that I am well on my way to having one or the other, I gave it a read.

I suppose it was inevitable at my age, 75, for the remarks to start,  because I must admit I am nothing like I used to be. (Sssh, don’t tell anyone I said that!)

 For instance:

… How many times do I forget what I am doing, or what I was going to do?

… How many times do I ask the same question or misunderstand the answer?

… How many attempts to find the right words to express myself.

… Are my mood swings more pronounced? Although personally, despite public opinion, I think I am having more good moods lately.

… Am I have trouble learning new skills? (This is not exactly new, I have always been a bit dense, but I get there in the end!)

But on the good side:  (That I managed to find a few of these pleased me no end!)

I haven’t yet got lost in the street. (Although I did recently forget my dentist appointment)

I haven’t yet staggered down the road, waving my knickers in the air. (And I hope I never do, but it could happen apparently!)

I haven’t lost interest in any of my projects or hobbies. Just the time I need to do them!

I can still do sums in my head and follow a plot. (More or less!)

I have begun to worry less about our progress, but do wonder if this is down to losing the plot!

One of my main accusers is also displaying some of these telltale signs, so it is probably only a matter of time for either one of us falls foul to the disease of the aged…  This isn’t a competition I intend to win, however…

All joking aside, I am becoming a little concerned about the state of my brain. At first, it was amusing and on a good day, it can be hilarious, watching myself do the most stupid of things. Like going out for a walk without any shoes on, or forgetting to switch on the washing machine/computer/iron/oven and wonder why nothing happens. One of the best was wondering why the kettle didn’t quite fit in the fridge. Even I had to laugh at that one.

All of this is beginning to affect my writing too, despite all the notes I make, and the frantic checking to find what I actually wrote yesterday.

I still get a satisfying buzz when I achieve something or reach my daily total, but the extent of my elation is in itself alarming. I am having to work in short bursts, and this is playing havoc with my productivity!

The Book Tour for Silent PayBack is nearly over, and we have been overwhelmed by the amount of support and good wishes we have been receiving! So huge thanks to everyone involved!

The price will rise on Thursday, so if you don’t have your copy yet, you don’t have long!

 

 

 

#Wordle 420 #Poetry

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Justice, no more than a roll of the dice

An acid tongued judge, passing judgement

On other people’s lives

Often without knowing the true story

As to how this poor soul stood in the dock

I leave the jury room, outside, the hail hits me

On the back of my neck

I act instinctively, run for cover

Safe, I scratch the back of my neck

It feels sore. Acid rain maybe.

I know where I would rather be

I need to burrow under my duvet

Forget the world, for me it often runs too fast

I hate the feeling of being the one

To tamper with someone’s problems

I judged him guilty on the evidence given

Too fast, his life now behind bars

Maybe I will bake a cake with a file hidden inside

So, he can hack his way to freedom

No one knew I had been living with this man

For the past ten years, on ill-gotten gains…

©Anita Dawes

#Jaye’s Journal ~ week 33

Jaye's Journal x12

 

“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen…”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

I have a pretty big bone to pick with Mr Emerson, for in my experience, he had it backwards. Just try to make a decision and see what happens.

The minute you do, unseen forces start to work to make bloody sure it won’t happen, and it seems to have all the resources in the world at its disposal.

This year, it has been one thing after another to slow down our working progress and my current WIP, PayBack has taken several ages to finish.

Most of it was to be expected to be fair, what with various age-related ailments and the eyesight falling to record levels. Then the extended period of surgery, first one eye and then the other. Throw in a cartload of family problems and the result isn’t pretty. If I could see where I was going, I might start running!

I have been blessed cursed with more than my share of patience, so I have weathered each obstacle and handled it to the best of my ability, but it has left its mark. I am so tired of never getting where I want to be. Of constantly fighting that small voice in my head that tells me to give up and forget about everything, to go and sit in the garden.

Well, that idea is very tempting and if it stopped raining for a while, I probably would. I have been known to sit out there, rain and all, but I can’t get my freshly hacked eye wet, so not this time.

Speaking of the latest eye surgery. After the first time. I thought I was prepared for the ordeal. It isn’t a pleasant procedure and left me giddy and feeling very sick last time, but it didn’t hurt at all and the improvement in that eye was almost immediate.

This time it hurt. It felt as though he was gouging my eye out with a spoon and several times, I nearly signalled him to stop as I feared it would get worse, but he managed to finish without me screaming the place down. Like last time, I was giddy and nauseous, but also very upset. He never apologised for hurting me, or asked if I was all right, just disappeared, leaving the nurses to take care of me. They were wonderful, and after a lovely cup of coffee and ginger biscuits, I felt better. The eye was aching, and this would continue for several days.

Two days on, and the ache is fading. I am a little disappointed with the result so far, compared to the first eye. The sepia effect has gone but the lens glare is worse this time. The first eye manages without glasses now, but the vision in the second eye is still blurred.

(They don’t tell you about the lens glare, and it was disturbing until I discovered what it was. My first thought was that the new lens was loose and/or trying to come out, but I was seeing the edge of the lens catching the light. This fades as the lens beds itself in its new home and the edge of the scar heals over…)

I am not allowed to do much for a while, bending, lifting, wash my hair etc… so I thought I could get cracking on the preparation for the book launch. A golden opportunity to sit at my computer all day, or so I thought. But the eyes get very tired, so not getting as much done as I thought.

Hopefully, all of this will pass and the sooner the better…

 

(Thank you for all your kind thoughts and for listening!)

 

 

 

Are Your Decisions Based on What you Eat?

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I read something strange the other day, something that really made me stop and think. It has been discovered that being hungry actually impairs your judgement.

Here are the articles that prompted this post.

“New research is discovering how metabolic state and the nutritional quality of food influence risk-taking and decision-making behaviours in animals and humans. The metabolic state can have a serious impact on risk-taking and decision-making in humans and animals…”

When Hunger Leads to Anger: Noticing External Influences on Mood

By Nate Kornell Ph.D

Internal states, like hunger, affect us more than we imagine.

The decision to grant a prisoner parole is not something to be taken lightly. It should be considered as seriously and objectively as possible. As a new study of Israeli judges shows, however, these decisions are influenced by a lot more than the lofty ideals of justice. They’re also influenced by snacks.

The researchers investigated the percentage of parole cases that were given favorable rulings. They found that as mornings wore on, the judges became less favorable. But after a meal break, they became more favorable again–followed by the same downward trajectory. The Economist has a figure that says it all: Hungry judges give less favorable rulings.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that people get grumpy when they are hungry. (There’s even a term for it: hangry.) But two things are interesting here. First, hunger had huge effects on a decision that should be, and presumably was, taken very seriously. The scale of the finding itself is pretty amazing. Second, like the judges in the study, most of us underestimate the effect hunger has on behavior.


Could this be why I have been having trouble concentrating lately? Ever since I reinstated the diet in order to take some of the weight from my ever-complaining hip, I have been unable to string any decent thoughts together. The more I try, the harder it seems to get.

The current WIP has suffered, and even the everyday stuff has been difficult to assimilate. Maybe we shouldn’t deprive ourselves of anything, in order to think and feel our absolute best?

I mean, we all know that a good meal usually leads to a good mood?

Anita has just reminded me that years ago many artists ended up starving in a garret somewhere. Makes you wonder which came first, poverty or starvation?

I can believe that depriving ourselves of anything will have a detrimental effect on our performance, as everything is more difficult if you are tired or hungry. I can still remember the torture when I tried to give up smoking. Luckily, a mild heart attack solved that problem and I stopped immediately!

Personally, I don’t want to revert to my previous gluttony for my arthritis demands there must be less of me. So, is there a solution to this quandary?

There has to be a way to convince my subconscious self that I am perfectly happy with the odd hunger pang, and that it needs to ignore the mountain of stress that erupts every now and then like Vesuvius.

Maybe then I can get back to writing 1000+ words a day!

 

 

 

The Blessing of the Throats… @JacqBiggar

 

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Image from Wikipedia

 

Anita asked for this image to be shown for those of you who haven’t heard of the throat blessing.

(Mentioned in yesterdays post HERE)

Anita was eleven years old when this event took place at St Mary’s Church, Clapham Common. The nuns really were flapping about, as for them, it really was a big day. His Eminence the Bishop was treated as though he just flown down from a cloud in heaven.

One of Anita’s brothers didn’t have this blessing and suffered a great deal with sore throats until he had to have his tonsils removed.

This was a trip down memory lane for Anita…

 

This article is from Wikipedia too…

The Blessing of the Throats is a sacramental of the Roman Catholic Church, celebrated on February 3, the feast day of Saint Blaise of Sebaste. It also celebrated in some of the Eastern Catholic Churches, and in parishes of the Anglican Communion on the same day as a commemoration.

The Order of the Blessing of Throats on the Feast of Saint Blaise is in the Book of Blessings (de Benedictionibus).

Article 1625 from The Book of Blessings contains a brief historical background of the blessing of throats:

Saint Blase was the bishop of Sebaste in Armenia during the fourth century. Very little is known about his life. According to various accounts he was a physician before becoming a bishop. His religion spread throughout the entire Church in the Middle Ages because he was reputed to have miraculously cured a little boy who nearly died because of a fishbone in his throat. From the eighth century he has been invoked on behalf of the sick, especially those afflicted with illnesses of the throat.

Details regarding the miraculous healing of the boy vary. One account relates that the miracle occurred during the journey to take Blaise to prison when he placed his hand on the boy’s head and prayed; another that the miracle happened while Blaise was in prison when he picked up two candles provided to him and formed a cross around the boy’s throat.

The use of candles for the blessing of throats stems from the candles that Blaise used while in prison. When an old woman’s pig had been miraculously rescued from a wolf by Saint Blaise, she would visit him in prison, bringing him food and candles to bring him light in his dark cell.

Ritual

Articles 1626 and 1627 explains when and how the blessing takes place:

1626 The blessing of throats may be given by a priest, deacon, or a lay minister who follows the rites and prayers designated for a lay minister. If the blessing is conferred during Mass, the blessing follows the homily and general intercessions, or, for pastoral reasons, the prayer of blessing may take the place of the final blessing of the Mass. When the blessing is given outside Mass, it is preceded by a brief celebration of the word of God. If the blessing is to be celebrated at Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer, it is given after the reading and responsory (and homily) and before the gospel canticle.

1627 The blessing may be given by touching the throat of each person with two candles blessed on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord (February 2) and which have been joined together in the form of a cross.

The candles may be joined together by a red ribbon, the color of martyrdom. Although it is the general custom to touch the throat with the candles, it is not required, especially if the candles are lit. The candles may be held over the person.

If all cannot be blessed individually, the celebrant, without candles, extends his hands over the assembly and says the prayer of blessing.

The following blessing is said:

“Through the intercession of Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

 

 

 

#Jaye’s Journal: January Week Two

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The New Year and the new month were slipping past me at an alarming rate, as I suffered the throes of one of the worst colds flu I can remember having and I was becoming more and more depressed.

I wasn’t doing anything, couldn’t think straight and I suddenly realised just how close to despair I was getting.

I was having small moments of pull yourself together girl and quite a few just have a look at the WIP… but nothing was working. Two weeks of solid inactivity, but it felt like an eternity.

Every now and then, I would have a day when I seemed better and the head would clear, only to be extinguished when the paracetamol wore off, leaving me a pathetic sniveling heap again. It wasn’t just the aching joints, headache and streaming nose, it had affected my eyesight too and I really didn’t need that to deteriorate too. The cataracts were doing a grand job of that!

I have been trying to keep on top of the emails and other small jobs, but anything else didn’t bear thinking about.

But that was the thing, I had been doing a lot of thinking. Not enough, obviously, to get me doing anything creative but at least the grey matter was trying to function. My WIP was beginning to haunt me. I knew it was a mess, with different piles of pages depending on what I was researching at the time and somehow never tidied up. Before I could move in any direction, I would have to sort through the entire 60.000 words and put them in working order.

And this morning, that was what I did. The germs have retreated enough to allow a little get up and go to creep back into my life, and I now have a working copy of my manuscript.

Yay!

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Muddy Waters, Revisited…

History does repeat itself, and to prove it, this is what happened early last year…

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!

Fast forward 18 months and this all happened again this week.

I have often thought I was going around in circles, now I know I do…

All My Balls in the air…

 

This year is nearly over and has been one of the slowest ever.  The jobs are piling up, and my to-do list has never been this long before.

Under normal circumstances, this would not be a problem, but certain conditions are conspiring to slow me down. Whether it is due to a slowly growing cataract or not, my brain is beginning to tire easily, requiring me to break up the amount of time I spend at my PC.

I have been trying to arrange my working day to minimise the tiredness and still manage to be productive, but another aspect has decided to rear its ugly head. My memory always had its share of holes, but nowadays it has more holes than a colander. I can forget things faster than you can blink. So despite all my safeguards, it is beginning to look as though my days are numbered. But what does this really mean? Just how many computing days do I have left?

I am now 74, (although I swear certain parts of me are older), and have no intention of hanging up my mouse or my pencil, but it seems fate might have other ideas. All I am hoping for is the ability to take my foot off the gas pedal now and then. So I might not be posting as often, even though it really hurts me to say it. I have a feeling there might not be any new adventures in my marketing attempts either as I find it hard enough keeping what balls I have already in the air.

I started this post last week, and that was pretty much how I was feeling then…

Fast forward to today… Gallons of determination have arrived from somewhere, making everything look so much better than they did before.

All the routine stuff, e-mails, marketing, and social networking, is being done quickly and efficiently, well I think it is, and that’s what matters, isn’t it? My brain is happy, and if I could just get my muscles, bones, and eyesight to buck their ideas up, I’ll be good to go and laughing my socks off!