Monday, 29 December 2014

The Obligatory New Year Resolutions

Here we go again making the obligatory New Year resolutions, of which there is little to no chance that I am going to keep.

For years it was the quitting smoking. Which I might add never did happen with a New Year resolution, but rather under the threat of a second heart attack, and possibly death back in 2012.  That was when the cigarettes were finally consigned to the bin overnight, never to rear their ugly head again.

With the quitting smoking dealt with, I had to drum up some new, "New Year" self promises for the following years. It wasn't too hard to figure out what they should be.

Getting rid of the ciggies, and having to take a handful of daily pills, piled on the weight. An extra 35lbs of it, which is a heck of a lot for someone that should only weigh 112lbs. It's been like carrying a toddler permanently strapped to my back.

So for the last couple of years it's been, "I must exercise more, eat better, and lose weight. None of which I have managed to conquer.

Although I shouldn't be too hard on myself. I did actually manage to lose a whole 7lbs through all of the last 12 months. If I keep that up it will only take another four years to lose the remaining 30lbs I need to shed. Whoopy Doo! 

I could of course spend the next four years wishing I could get into my smaller sized clothes or I could, instead, simply get my finger out and lose the extra weight over the next four months. Putting all three resolutions through their paces at once. After all one has to exercise and eat properly to become ones ideal weight.

Unfortunately to lose weight one has to devote virtually the whole of ones waking hours to the venture.

Planning the coming meals, shopping for the coming meals, exercise, exercise and more exercise.

The process of losing weight is time consuming, along with being soul destroying if the lbs don't shed easily. There is of course also the anti-social aspect due to having to refuse to leave ones home for fear of being tempted to consume anything that might not be on the carefully planned menu.

The scales can one moment be your friend giving you hope and encouragement and in the next, viciously turn against you and push you into the pits of despair.

So as I sit here scoffing the last of the Christmas chocolates I wonder, is it all worth putting oneself through such misery and hard work when one could simply just go out and buy a new wardrobe of clothes that actually fit?

Monday, 1 September 2014

The Mayans and the Skull & Crossbones

Did you know that the Skull & Crossbones didn't originate from pirates or as we know it for now, to represent "poison"?

It was/is actually a very old symbol of power and spirituality.

The great unknown secret behind the Skull & Crossbones is not a symbol of death but of life.  It was used by ancient priests and priestesses world wide, from Mayans in Mesoamerica to the Etruscans in Europe:

3,000 years ago the ancient Etruscans and ancient Mayans (twin civilizations that developed separately) both created Skull and Bones images.

It's a reminder of the temporary nature of human life, and the inevitability of death. Thoughts of death remind us of the transient nature of earthly pleasures, which are fleeting, this contemplation opens the door to the soul within, which is the eternal life within each of us

The pirates of old found a safe haven along the old trade routes of Africa and the New World where they could make themselves at home along the coast, protected by the reef, which unless one knew like the back of their hand one couldn't enter safely.  There they were safe from the naval authorities.

Many pirates became familiar with the native Mayans and even adopted some of their customs.  One of which was the Skull & Crossbones.  Later in the modern world to become our symbol for poison.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Using a Pocket Apex Filofax for August

Yesterday my mate Martha mentioned that she was possibly going to buy a new organiser in the pocket size.  This forced me to think how I should get my finger out and make a new Filofax video to put on Youtube that my followers on there have been asking for me to create.

I finally made the new one last night and uploaded it directly.

Unfortunately the quality of it isn't very good as Youtube at the moment is having problems with it's uploading.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Burn Extra Calories By Chewing Gum

University of Rhode Island researchers have found that chewing sugar-free gum reduces the amount you eat and speeds up your metabolism.

A separate study published in the journal Appetite found that gum-chewers ate 36% fewer calories each time they snacked because their appetite had been sated. Chewing gum burns eleven extra calories per hour. That’s 19% more calories than just sitting in front of your computer screen.

While that doesn’t sound like a lot, if you chew for four hours daily it adds up to 4.5lbs per year. And that’s without counting the calorie savings from the snacks you're not eating.

Monday, 14 July 2014

My Floral Burst Personal Size Filofax

14b25c14bc67c6c683f455530ca705d9997eddb.As you can see by this first image, I own a small collection of Filofaxes ranging from the Mini up to the A5 (click on image for larger view).  I find it really hard to resist buying them, but I do.  If I didn't, my collection would be at least twice the amount.

For the last couple of years or so, each year, Filofax have invited art students to submit a design for the cover of one of the planners - which have the collective name of "Cover Story".  This year, 2014, the design chosen is the Floral Burst and the moment I saw it I knew I had to have it.

Although my favourite size of all the Filofaxes is the pocket I knew that if I bought the Floral Burst in the pocket size I would never use it, as the style for me is not conducive for using as a purse/wallet which is what I use my pocket sizes for.  Along with the fact that I already own a pocket size "Cover Story" but in the "Eden" (now discontinued) - Same style but different design.  I chose instead the personal size.

Because I already own the Eden, I knew I would love the Floral Burst.  It's at the cheaper end of Filofax organisers being £35 for the personal.  The outer covering is a cotton twill canvas with the inside a colour coordinating combination of polyester lining and smooth leather look pu.

I did what I normally do when wanting to buy a new Filofax, I looked elsewhere for it on the web first to see if I could find it cheaper.  I found it on Amazon for £28.  I also knew that another shop - Websters Books - also sold via Amazon, so I searched for Websters personally selling the Floral Burst.  I found their page and they were selling it for £26 with free p+p.  I ordered it late Wednesday night and receive it Friday morning.

I love it.  It's absolutely beautiful.  But.....  What do I use it for?  At the moment I use my mini for a purse to carry cash and notes, along with using it for shopping list and a neat little appointments diary if I don't have my handbag with me.  I am also using my purple Malden pocket size for my main organiser, which most people would use a personal size for, and I haven't actually had a reason for a while to actually use one of my personal sizes.  As I said, the pocket size is my absolute favourite size.

While fondling and admiring my newly arrived Floral Burst it suddenly hit me how I can use it on a daily basis.  I really will use it as a personal.  Meaning everything in it will be totally and absolutely personal to me and my emotions, body, health, etc., etc.

First of all I have called her Florence.  Most of us nuts about Filofaxes will give their favourites a name.  I think Florence suits her well.

It comes with 6 tabs/dividers numbered, not surprisingly, 1 - 6.  Of course one can have less tabs or add more tabs, but I thought I'd see if I could work out using the 6 tabs first and take it from there.  After all as all of us that uses organisers know, they grow as one uses them.

Tab 1)  About:  This is for my fun things and will be a bit like the medicine pouches that used to, and still are by some, worn around the neck.  Meaning I will collect things that are unique to my memories and life,  my star sign - western and eastern,  good luck charms,  photos, and so on.

Tab 2) Tweeting:  By using a week to a view (a week to 2 pages) I will use the small daily space provided to manually tweet 140 characters a day.  The tweets could be about my emotions and feelings of that day, if something special or funny happened or simply a quote that might have caught my eye that day.

Tab 3) Thoughts:  This will be an "In Memory of" and "Healing Prayers" area. 

Tab 4)  Go 4 Fit:  A month to a view diary to mark down and keep track of my weight and another week to a view diary only this one will be used to mark down manually everything I eat and drink and any exercise I do on any particular day.

Tab 5)  Health:  By using a top loading transparent envelope (Filofax) and "To Do" lists this will be used to keep track of my hospital, blood tests, doctors and dentists appointments.  The envelope will hold any present hospital letter, x-ray card, appointments cards and so on.  Once the appointment is done and dusted those can be filed away as normal.

Tab 6)  Money:  This one holds a transparent Filofax zipped envelope, a top loading transparent envelope, and some paper.  The zipped envelope I am using to put £10 a week in.  Once there is £100 I will then transfer it and start again with saving the next £100.  This money is for spending on me.  Clothes, Dental treatment, Hairdressing, Make Up, a new bike? - Who knows? - Whatever!  It will be my "Me" money.  The top opening envelope will be for receipts.  The paper will be for my wish list and to remind me what I am saving all the money for.

I may be adding more dividers if I think of anything else I might want to add, but at the moment the 6 sections seem to be just right.  I will also be making my own pretty dividers/tabs over the next few days to make it more personal.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Overcoming Dentophobia

I can't believe that I am able to write a blog post regarding this aspect of my life.  Even two days ago it would have been impossible.

I have suffered all my life with Dentophobia.  It's not just a regular anxiety, or nerves, it's a bona fide,  no holds barred, shear terror, immobilisation of visiting, talking about, reading about, watching, walking passed, or anything to do with a dentist.

Sometimes I can't avoid someone around me mentioning their visit to a dentist or the treatment they have just have and it's agony for me to listen to.  My family I can tell to stop talking about it in front of me, or I can walk out of the room.  If I see anything about a dentist on television I can turn over or mute it, fast forward passed it and so on.  But the problem has always been when a friend or stranger mentions it.  With those I have developed a way to shut them out, make the right faces and right sounds while at the same time stopping myself from doubling up with stomach pains, or running in the loo to empty my bowels quickly and even concentrating on not throwing up, all the while praying for the time when I can politely change the subject.

Most people will just say, "no one likes the dentist" or "most people are scared of the dentist" - but to have a phobia goes way beyond being scared or frightened.  A phobia totally immobilises the senses.  One can't think straight, it's hard to control the breathing, the sweating, and all the other physical responses mentioned above.   Of course depending on the situation the physical responses are different each time one has to face the object of their phobia.

Walking in a dental surgery would be a number 10 on the 1 - 10 scale.  Walking passed a surgery on ones ordinary route would be a number 6 ( I personally will cross the road and look in the opposite direction when I know I am about to pass a surgery).  Having a conversation about a visit to a dentist or being told by someone they have a dental appointment coming up, for me, as long as I am able to cut the conversation short, is about a 4, and so on.

Due to this phobia I have only been able so far to have very spasmodic dental treatment as and when it's been totally vital.   And on top of that I have had to be intravenously sedated each time any treatment has been needed so that it all gets done on one visit.

So what has changed?

We are lucky enough to have here, not only in Dorset, but just 2 miles away from me, one of the 70 clinics in the whole country that deal with Dentophobia.  It's taken me many months to work up the courage to book an appointment and even as I did so I was fighting back tears of fear.  As I was talking on the phone, I was feeling sick, and I could feel my bowels loosening up already.

The treatment it seems actually starts while making the telephone appointment, although they don't tell you that.  I can just see that now with hindsight.  They chat away just generally chatting about anything and everything and then throw in the odd question which I presume they are making notes of.  At the end of the chat which probably lasted about 20 minutes, my terror on simply picking up the phone had evaporated and an appointment was made.

My appointment was for 9:30 yesterday morning.   I hadn't told any of the family where I was going because I simply can't talk about the dentist in any way and I didn't want them remarking on the fact I was going.

I had ask Jess to babysit Louie while I nipped out for a couple of hours, and on arrangement Sarah dropped Jess off to me as she passed through to work at 8:30am and she pick me up and dropped me off just before she reached her place of work.  The clinic happens to be a 6 or 7 minute walk from there.

Of course I was really early, so I dawdled along, sat for a few minutes in a park that I had to cross on the way and all the time being terrified of walking into the clinic and not knowing whether to bolt now or be brave and take it one step at a time and at least just turn up and book in.

The only way I could do it was to be certain in my own mind, that if at anytime I became painfully uncomfortable during the next hour or two, I could just get up and walk out.

The atmosphere in the clinic was not nearly as intimidating as a usual dental practice.  It still had the log in desk and the coffee table with magazines etc, and the chairs for waiting. but it was more plush, and the staff, were chatting away to each other and including the patients in their banter, yet at the same time it seemed so much more relaxed.

The moment I told the desk my name she jumped up and went to get the practice manager, who came out and introduced himself to me, asked me if I'd like a tea or coffee then ran off to make it himself.  He came back with my tea and I was taken into a side room with comfy chairs.  Our chat was very similar to the telephone chat in as much as we seemed to chat as if it was just a social call with him occasionally asking questions that gave him an indication of why I might have developed this phobia. 

He then asked if I would be prepared to be introduced to one of the dentists, which I felt ready to agree to.  After all it didn't hurt just to say hello did it?  He left to get me a 2nd cup of tea and go into the dentist to give her the low down on me while I filled out a basic medical form.

On coming back with my tea I followed him along the corridor to one of the surgeries.  I stood on the threshold and now my fear was building up again to about a number 8.  The dentist and her nurse said hello and I know I answered them, but was desperately thinking, do I turn around and run or do I just step over the threshold.  I was actually voicing this all out loud because the dentist (Caroline) said, oh don't worry we can chat standing up.  Just having her saying that dropped me instantly down to a number 3 or 4.   So I stepped in the room and she said would you like to sit down as a definite question.  I could see her hand was open toward the dental chair but I said I will sit here if you don't mind.  This was on an ordinary upright chair.  She was fine with that so I sat sipping my tea while we talked.

I was in a bit of a panic still so I can't for the life of me remember what was said between us, but it ended up with me actually voluntarily getting up and sitting on "The Chair" and saying that I was determined not to leave the clinic without at least having an ordinary check up.  Being in that surgery felt more like being in a lounge.  You felt like a person and not just "the next patient".  You felt as if your feelings mattered.  It was important to make sure you were comfortable above all else.

Not only did I have the check up but I also had the x-rays and a big discussion on what treatment I would need.  Which I am stunned to see that it only turns out to be replacement of two black metal fillings with new white fillings - a scale and polish - and then here comes the reason why I suddenly plucked up the courage for the first time again after 16 years to go for treatment. 

I had known for at least the last year that my bottom gum of my four front teeth was receding - The teeth are becoming loose and it's hard to keep them clean which of course is making a bad situation worse.  The dentist said that my jaw bone has shrunk a lot which is quite normal as one gets older.   I had the choice of her taking the two outside ones out of the four and then holding on to the other two for a while, but quite honestly I would be losing the other two shortly after anyway.  So I've opted to have all four removed.

Now it comes to discussing me having sedation.  She said that I could of course have intravenous sedation, but then I wouldn't be learning to overcome my phobia.  Now I'm back up to about a 6, thinking oh bugger, she is right, but will I be able to go for several appointments, instead of the one it would be with sedation.

They do it so that you have to keep going back but only have little bits done at a time.  I presume that's so that you not only start to feel comfortable visiting them but are also only in "The Chair" for short periods at a time.

But now here comes the sugar to swallow with the pill.  They don't expect you to do it cold turkey so to speak.  She gave me a 5mg Diazepam to take away and then take that an hour before my next appointment.

For my next appointment I will be having a scale and polish to remove any bacteria below the gum line where I haven't had treatment for a long time.  I also think that I am going to be acclimatized with the imp trays, as I really, really, go into a panic when having an impression taken.  I hate those trays in my mouth with a passion.

When I came home, over the course of the rest of the day my girls discovered where I had been that morning.  They were really surprised that I had managed to do it.  Aimee said that I should have asked her to go with me.  But I needed to do this alone.  I had no idea how I would behave on going into the clinic.  When one is suffering pure terror logical thought and behavior goes out of the window.  If I was going to show myself up then I didn't want any of my girls witnessing it.

This treatment doesn't come cheap unfortunately.  But after only ever having NHS treatment during the course of my life, I can tell you, paying privately for care is a whole new ball game.  I'm not going to begrudge a penny if this all cures me of my phobia.

I now have to force myself through the next step and turn up next Friday for my next appointment.  With the care I have had this week and armed with the diazepam I should be able to do it.

I have a long way to go, and many appointments to come before hopefully I will be cured.  But with just one telephone call and one visit I am able to write this blog discussing and actually mentioning "Dentist" which is a massive step.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

I Wish I Had a Safe

Do you ever think about what would happen to important papers or cash that you might have in the home if a fire swept through your house and you had to get out quickly or you were away at the time?

We don't all have the luxury of a fire resistant safe, but we do all have a fire proof safe area that we can use to store passports, insurance policies, birth certificates, etc, and of course cash.

With very rare exceptions we all own a fridge, freezer, or both.  Both of those will always survive a fire.  It doesn't take much area in one of those to store a small amount of that which would make life hard to have to replace.

Over here in England we also have a scheme whereby in case of accident, fire or suddenly finding oneself rushed unconscious into hospital, all of our emergency services look in our fridge for an information pack that we have placed in there.  This information pack holds the contact details of our nearest and dearest and any information pertaining to medication, alergies or information such as being diabetic.

This information is called A Vial for Life.  One then places a sticker on the outside of the fridge to alert the services that a Vial is inside.  It's worth finding out if your country does the same.

Whilst we are on the subject of emergency information, the other thing that we can do is place contact details in our mobile phone under the title of ICE (in case of emergency).  The first place anyone looks for contact details is in our mobile phone, and once again the emergency service will first look under ICE.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Mystery of the Crystal Skulls by Chris Morton and Ceri Louise Thomas

Just finished reading this amazing book.  One has to read it with an open mind.   Funnily enough much of what it seems the Native Americans believe, is already, and has been for many years, my own beliefs.  Including my belief of how the first real humans were created on the earth.

As you read it, you will become truly regretful at how ancient civilisations, such as the Maya, Aztecs, and Native Americans, were wiped out by Catholicism/Christianity.  How vast knowledge has been destroyed.   How they too believed in the one vast Spirit that links us all.  The one spirit that most call God.

An old Native American legend tells of 13 crystal skulls the size of a human skulls that were said to contain information about the origins and destiny of humankind.

The legend said that one day, at a time of great need, all the crystal skulls would be rediscovered and brought together to reveal their information vital to the future of humanity.

Earlier this century, a real crystal skull was discovered by the British explorer deep in the jungles of Central America.  Since then, several other crystal skulls have also come to light.

Why do Native American elders claim the crystal skulls are stories of great knowledge, programmed with an important message for humankind?

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Love Thy Neighbour

Living opposite me is an elderly lady.  She isn't so much elderly in years, being only 78, but very elderly in her mental attitude, along with not being exceptionally intelligent.  To top it all she is also stone deaf without both her hearing aids, which she constantly doesn't bother to wear even when seeking you out for conversation.  This all makes interaction with her very difficult.  As with all the rest of my neighbours,  I don't really have much to do with her except the quick chats if we meet in the garden or on the stairs, along with when she asks me to go into her home to do something for her.

She has 3 children and at least one Grandson that I know of.  The Grandson and the Daughter I have seen a handful of times in the nearly 5 years that I have lived here.  The 2 Sons, I have never set eyes on and only know they exist because Dorothy occasionally mentions them.  Basically Dorothy is totally neglected by her family.

Just after I moved in here her children bought her a laptop so that she could keep in touch with email.  One of the Sons came over and set it up for her, which basically consisted of plugging it in and running through it with her as to how it works.  Since then I have been in several times to help set up and explain to her how her email works, along with explaining how the web works, how to get on it, and how to make use of it.  In other words I have done the job her rotten kids should be doing.

Yesterday morning, unusually, she asked me in for a cup of tea.  This happens rarely and it always means she wants something.  The something was, that she wanted to borrow my dining table on the 16th for a little get together of friends from the church which she is intending to have on the large landing we have on our floor.

I had to refuse.  One, because my table is solid oak, very heavy, and has to be taken apart to get out of the flat, and two, I didn't want to start something that might turn into a once a month regular occurrence.  I did however say she could borrow my chairs if she just used her own table.  I have no idea why she wanted my table when she has her own.

During my time there she mentioned how she would love to be able to move her laptop somewhere else in the room but that the lead wont stretch.  Of course I explained that she didn't need the lead but that she had wifi.  I have no idea when she started using the lead because I had set her up in the beginning with her wifi.  I personally think she probably had a problem at some point and one of her kids, instead of sorting out the wifi problem just bunged the lead from laptop to wifi box in.

Whilst I was trying to sort out getting her on wifi alone, I couldn't believe how slow her computer was.  It took a good 4 or 5 minutes to just turn the machine on.  On clicking to get Internet Explorer up, I had to sit back down and drink half of my tea before it loaded.  It turns out that it had never been cleaned out in all the years she has had it.  On her telling her Son about the computer running so very slow, it seems he had simply said "you will have to buy a new one".

The upshot has been that she dropped her laptop into me last night about 6pm, as I said she could, and I cleaned out what I could during the evening and then left it defragging overnight.  It was so clogged up that as I write this it's now been defragging for 15 hours and still going.

I don't care what anyone says.  Many of the younger generations are selfish and self centred.  In this country and when I was younger, we all looked after generations that came after us and those that were before us.  There is no bloody excuse for neglecting family.  I worked hard all my life and I had a husband and child to look after.  Yet I found time to help my Sisters with their kids, I found time for my Mum and for my Dad, and Dad wasn't even my own Father.  They found time for me and mine.  And they found time for each other.   When I was very young and my Grans were old, they both had their children and grandchildren looking after them.

I am totally disgusted with Dorothy's children.  It shouldn't have been my job to help Dorothy out.  It's a bloody shame but none of them are worth their salt.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Oh No! Not Another filofax

Some of you know how much I love my Filofaxes, and how many I have collected over the years.  I know one can only use one Filofax at a time, but it is a sort of obsession with me.  Many times, not every time,when I see a new one just released I simply have to own it in one size or the other.

Just recently Filofax has bought up Letts Diaries.  Letts is a very old company that made Diaries, notebooks, pens and all sorts of other stationery.  And using the idea of both a notebook and a Filofax organiser, Filofax have come up with a totally new look, and cheap, A5 size notebook.

I only own one A5 Filofax organiser because I actually find that size too big and clunky, and I only own the one I do because W.H.Smiths had it for sale at a give away price, and one never knows when one might need an A5 size Filofax.

fb715943696e874c7196c0545cc84b207ac8f23.I do however always have on the go and carry around with me, a cheap oldexercise book.  I know it's virtually A5 size, but it's light and easy to shove in my bag.  I use this for anything and everything that I need to jot down, from when a new television series is about to come on tele,to marking down my weight for that day, to quickly writing any reminders down.  Basically there is no order in the exercise book.  It'ssimple me using up page after page of notes that need never be thrown away, but the important ones are transferred to where they belong on a weekly basis.

Such as telephone numbers I might have collected throughout the week, goin my phone.  Just before I go shopping I look through the exercise book and transfer any bits to a proper list to take to the shops with me.  Appointments or reminders are added to my active Filofax organiser,and so on. 

Now!  Getting back to this new A5 size notebook Filofax have just released.

b4325b84196a76d480349dbae2d5439248524ad.They call it a clip book and this translucent one comes in pink or purple.

They also do it in a leather look, in blue, black, and white.  The white would make a great notebook to plan a wedding.

At £15 - £18 (UK) they are virtually giving it away.

It comes chocker block full of paper and also 3 types of diary.  Personally the diaries are so cheap that I wouldn't use them, but what can one expect for that price and as with all Filofax covers one can always chop and change and add paper, diaries, finance sheets, etc., etc., as one wants.

What it doesn't come with is dividers.  But as with the paper, one can always buy dividers separately, also one has to remember that this has been designed for a notebook, not a Filofax organiser.

But me being me.  I fished out the dividers that have been laying doing nothing for years in my A5 Filofax organiser, and stuck them in my clip book.

This looks so much nicer than carrying around a tatty exercise book and yet is the same size (virtually) and barely weighs any more.  I really do love it.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

About Me

I live in a small flat for the over 60s on the seafront in a village in the UK, with a pain in the rear of a Chihuahua for company.

I was absolutely determined to retire down here in Dorset, it being one of the most attractive of counties in the south of England.  I had no intention of moving alone and so I dragged my Daughter and 2 Granddaughters down here with me.  They are now settled within a 20 minute bike ride from me.