Snail Mail and a Serious Laxative

For this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday Linda has asked us to write about the subject of the last piece of mail we received.

Hmmm… well, I suppose I don’t actually get much hard copy mail sent through the post any more, so much comes in electronically these days, either via email or easily accessed through my online digital accounts. Bank statements are easily downloadable as necessary, and faraway friends tend to keep in touch via mobile instant phone messaging or email rather than by snail mail. Birthday cards and Christmas cards still generally come by post, but of course that’s only once a year.

However the other day I actually received a proper paper parcel in the post, sent out from our local hospital including a letter informing me of the date and time of my forthcoming appointment for a colonoscopy and gastroscopy in the next couple of weeks. Also enclosed was a lot of printed information and instructions as to what to eat for the few days leading up to my appointment and what to expect on the day – oh, and a package of very powerful laxative to start taking the night before to clear out my digestive system… oh joy!

I can’t exactly say I’m looking forward to the actual procedure, but I have to admit I’m really looking forward to finding out what’s wrong with my errrant digestive system – it’s so hard not to worry that it might be something serious. I tell myself I’m sure I’ll be fine, it’ll be nothing concerning, and try to talk myself down from all this fretting. But I also know that sometimes people do get sick out of nowhere – I have a family history of bowel cancer, so I’ve seen at first hand how people can seem to be fine one minute, and then sadly they’re not…

Hopefully all will turn out to be well and it’s just my age, or an occupational hazard of menopause, or something equally routine and ordinary that I can fix simply enough by eating differently – well, eating better, to be honest – but I suppose it’s human nature that until we know different, our health worries are inevitably just that – an unavoidable worry… πŸ™‚

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Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Critical

Sometimes seriously stressful stuff builds up in peoples’ lives, simmering away ignored in the background and slowly getting more and more urgent to be dealt with until a critical mass is reached and suddenly BAM – one little tip too far and the whole thing just goes into a freefall meltdown… That’s kind of what happened to my parents lives recently.

My 82-year-old Dad has had several strokes and also has Vascular Dementia. My 76-year-old mum is his sole carer, and both had previously refused to discuss any realistic emergency backup plans. So when inevitably she took ill and was rushed into hospital by ambulance with suspected pneumonia at the end of last month my dad was unceremoniously whisked off to a local nursing home for emergency crisis care.

Dad absolutely hated it, not really understanding why he was there and apparently thinking he had been abandoned to his fate forever. Not that anything was necessarily wrong with the place, but it wasn’t his home or his family and he simply didn’t want to be there away from the people and places he knew. So I took some time off work at short notice, booked myself an overnight train to Scotland, and went up to stay in my parents’ home for the duration so both could come home to be looked after…

And three weeks on, now that Mum is much better here I am back home in London again. I’ve basically spent all that time with my brother and I effectively being parents to our ageing parents, sorting out all the major formal stuff with the Social Work team to be sure we have a suitable care package in place and all appropriate health and safety concerns relating to the house are dealt with, and serious discussions are begun about any long-term plans…

The thing is, both Mum and Dad want to stay put where they are in the large rambling rural house we grew up in, perfect for a fit young growing family but a potential death-trap for an infirm elderly couple, in denial and determined to maintain their independence at all costs. Because unfortunately what they really need in order to facilitate that continuing independence into the future is a smaller, infinitely more accessible home in a far less rural location.

Dad no longer drives at all, Mum is beginning to struggle with driving herself, and without their car they would effectively find themselves housebound, miles away from the help and support they need. But after 45 years in situ they are both too set in their ways, too stuck in the past, and however much we try to find short-term solutions for the problem of their location for the time being, one way or another it seems moving will eventually be inevitable.

So all my bother and I can do right now is remain ever-vigilant on high alert, potentially prepared for the next critical emergency to arise, frustrated at the futility of all our well-intentioned efforts ultimately to make life easier for them in the long-term, and simply continue to pick up the shattered pieces for them the next time their precarious coping strategy disintegrates into dust again…

Stream of Consciouness Saturday: Critical

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Ad/Add/AD

My brain’s feeling a bit addled today so I’m sticking to something simple for my Stream of Consciousness post.

It was really fun to add a couple of new doodles to my mini art journal this morning…

I’m finding it’s actually really good to have my little doodles all kept in one place, my journal feels colourful and comfortably creative without any pressure of perfection in my performance.

I know I’m clearly an adult in 2019 AD but I still like to doodle like I did as a kid, then colour it in with coloured pencils, and I feel playfully adventurous in a very small but surprisingly satisfactory way… πŸ™‚

The Art of Patience

If we were sitting having coffee right now, I’d be animated and excited at the prospect of starting a new adventure in art…

Every now and again things in life conspire to bring you towards one particular creative decision in one place and time – like some kind of magical ‘hint, hint’ that screams at you from the rooftops… Today the combination of several different blog prompts on top of a regular post written by someone else have brought me to the realisation that it might be a good idea for me to start an art journal of some sort.

Instrumental in my decision was a blog post by Elizabeth at Tea & Paper, but much as I love what she’s doing with her art journal I worry that I simply don’t have the patience to commit to an all-bells-and-whistles big-time project with several layers of first water-colour-washing pages then sticking on collage stuff and all sorts afterwards. The kind of engrossing multi-faceted project that you leave out long-term while you complete it – fun, but not really what I need right now, particularly as our current living arrangements don’t allow for that level of otherwise unused space.

The thing is, I love the art of simple colouring-in, and have several adult-designed colouring books I dip in and out of whenever the mood takes me, and occasionally I have thought fleetingly about maybe drawing out my own outlines for colouring in but to date have done nothing about it. For some reason I just love the versatility and mobility of plain old-fashined traditional coloured pencils; no mess, no fuss, minimal space required, and instant gratification guaranteed in no time at all (nothing to tax my lack of patience too much).

So I think I might choose a small book to begin my experimental art journal, and intentionally start with simple ideas. I already have a really small Moleskine notebook given to me as a gift long ago, but sadly never used – I was never sure what to use it for, and its pristine pages lie as yet unmarked? I could stick to creating my own doodle-style outlines to colour in with my favourite coloured pencils – or perhaps use different coloured ball-point pens, or maybe even multi-coloured Sharpies? Just whatever takes my fancy at the time, unplanned – not quite a stream of consciousness creation but a time-limited tiny confection of colour, created just for me.

I have such a long history of starting relatively ambitious creative projects from time to time and inevitably giving up way too soon, which upsets me because I really don’t want to be like that but I do seem to have an issue with aiming for perfection, and knowing I won’t ever be able to reach it I somehow lose heart and give up. So hopefully by starting small and keeping things simple, I’ll manage to maintain some level of continuity for long enough for the habit (and the mindful pleasure it brings) to grow on me.

I read somewhere online that with an art journal, there are no rules – and for me, that’s the real challenge on offer. No right way or wrong way to do it, just your way, whatever that turns out to be… and as I find myself sitting here with a huge smile on my face as my untouched coffee grows cold, I take that as a sure sign that this little germ of an idea is indeed the best way for me to move forward in my latest attempt at an adventure in art πŸ™‚

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Art

Weekly Word Prompt: Patience

Weekly Smile: 7 Jan 2019

Weekend Coffee Share: 11 Jan 2019

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Instrumental

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Sustain

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday from Linda asks us to ask someone else for a prompt word – so I asked my husband and he said ‘sustain’… um… ok then…

So, what sustains me in life? Well, on a basic physical level, having a job to earn money to keep a roof over my head, clothes on my back and food in my belly certainly sustains me. And on an emotional level, spending time in nature, photography, reading, and music sustain me – and blogging, of course. But most of all, love sustains me – family and friends, the people around me who make my life complete ❀

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Tin

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The humble tin plate has played such a big part in my life…

I was a Girl Guide for years, and absolutely loved camping across the Highlands of Scotland (where I grew up), sleeping in giggling groups in the old heavy green cotton canvas bell tents, cooking hearty meals on an open camp fire, eating on old-fashioned tin plates not unlike the one above (although my well-used original was much plainer – just white enamel with a dark blue rim) all sitting on the ground circled around the flickering embers.

This more modern version of my old tin plate gives a proud nod to those wonderful memories, with the cute overall pattern of black-face sheep a fun addition to my little blast-from-the-past treasured memory πŸ™‚

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Tin

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Mean

I don’t mean to be so erratic with my blog posting. I always start out intending to post regularly, but somewhere along the line life gets in the way and sometimes my motivation drops, or I find myself with nothing to say or even worse – so much to say I’m rendered speechless and don’t even know where to begin!

Especially after a week like this week – USA mid-term elections and yet another mass shooting (California this time) and here in the UK we’re another step closer to our Government still NOT sorting out the Brex-shit situation. I feel mean and small and bitter that all I seem to do is moan and complain but it all feels so negative, negative, negative…

What does it all mean? The world feels a really scary place right now, I don’t trust the Trump administration’s twisting of the truth and deliberate loading of a dictatorship-style dice in their favour. And I don’t trust Theresa May anti-democratically riding rough-shod over parliamentary process in trying to force a dodgy deal through at all costs.

There are mean streets out there these days for all of us on both sides of the ocean, and it’s just so hard to feel poltically safe anywhere any more. There’s far too much hate and far too little love and way too much ‘othering’ of anyone not fitting a particular narrow elite view of what being ‘American’ or ‘British’ means.

OK, sending peace and love to everybody (admittedly it may be given to some more grudgingly than to others) because we all need to focus on what it means to be a part of humanity, looking for whatever shared hopes and desires make us similar instead of highlighting whatever hateful differences are perceived and believed as threatening…

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: MeanΒ