Circles and Squares and Good Timing!

Luckily, I’d just finished colouring in a circular ocean design on a square page when Nancy thoughtfully posted her Photo A Week Challenge with the topic of Circles and Squares – woo-hoo, immediately sorted for that one! And amazingly, just as I was busily preparing my post Linda helpfully posted her Friday Prompt for our Stream of Consciousness Saturday post on the topic of adverbs – so I quickly decided I could easily adapt my post to sneakily accommodate a few adverbs within the body of my text, and hey presto, here we are! Impressively for me, I’m even posting early – but I guess surely it’s already got to be Saturday somewhere in the world? 🙂

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Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Strain

As well as my undergraduate degree (BA Hons in Psychosocial Studies – a deliberately cross-disciplined blend of psycholgy and sociology) I have also achieved a post-graduate certificate in Applied Positive Psychology. It was actually supposed to be a Masters Degree, but for varying reasons at that time I found studying a real strain so decided to knock it on the head only a third of the way through. The parts of the course I had already passed gave me enough credits to be to be awarded the PG Cert, so here we are.

The thing is, I was both working full time and studying part time (working Monday to Friday with weekend lectures), and after my 92-year-old grandmother died followed a couple of months later by my best friend’s husband (early 50s, cancer), my head was so full of new and unresolved stuff I just couldn’t concentrate properly, so initially took a break for a semester, and simply never went back to my studies. To be honest, I think had the course truly fulfilled the need I had for finding answers in my own life, I would probably have found a way to keep going, but as it was, I gave up.

In diametrical opposition to the intention of me studying Applied Positive Psychology, the whole experience left me feeling completely out of step with most of my classmates. Where they readily embraced many of the ideas fully and with a genuine enthusiasm, I felt resistant to many of the assumptions that were made as they simply didn’t resonate with my own life experience. I felt like the Eeyore of the group, an unintentional grey misery of negativity. The realities of my own disfunctions become glaringly obvious to me and I could see I was becoming depressed again, so withdrawing from the course seemed the best option for me at that time.

And I have no regrets – neither in relation to beginning the course nor ending it when I did. It did for me what I needed it to do, but not quite in the way I’d intended. I learned that I still had a long way to go to heal the psychological hurts of the past, and that Applied Positive Psychology was not going to be the way forward for me in this aim after all. But I still keep on looking for answers, and keep on keeping on – and I’m still here, plugging away at life, so I must be doing something right, mustn’t I? 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Strain

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Orient Express

I used to have this particular poster up on my wall – oh, it all seemed so glamourous to me, the luxury of travelling across Europe on the Orient Express. How I loved the whole idea, dressing up for a posh dinner and eating in the extravagantly decorated restaurant car and sleeping soundly in a traditional wagon-lit cabin on the train and silently crossing borders in the night – going to sleep in one country and waking up comfortably in another, how romantic it all seemed!

I understand some of the original Orient Express carriages have now been renovated to give modern-day passengers a real taste of luxury 1920s travel, although without the romance of a steam engine – but at a shuddering £3500 for a single ticket from Venice to London I don’t see me booking a trip for myself anytime soon. Especially with still only one toilet to share with everyone else in the carriage, a small private sink to wash in and no showers available at all – it may well have been the height of luxury in the 1920s but doesn’t necessarily translate too well to our daily hygiene needs in the 21st Century.

Instead I make do with regular trips up and down the country on the Caledonian Sleeper, travelling between London and Inverness – I do the eating (courtesy of the buffet car) and sleeping (in a tiny bunk-bed cabin) on the train, crossing the border between England and Scotland silently in the night. Nothing romantic or extravagant about the purely functional 1970s rolling stock here – similarities to the Orient Express include one toilet shared with everyone else in the carriage, practical hand sinks in each room and no showers. However the Caledonian Sleeper service is due for a long-awaited upgrade this summer, but for now the old trains remain in use.

I’m not complaining about travelling on the Caledonian Sleeper though – it really is quite fun sleeping on the train, it reminds me a bit of camping, or caravaning, or youth hostelling. And anyway who needs a fancy posh restaurant and fancy formal clothes on a train – to be honest eating a tasty sandwich in my comfortable jeans and sweatshirt then snuggling down for the night under a warm duvet on my narrow bunk bed does me just fine 🙂

My cosy little bunk bed in my tiny little cabin on the Caledonian Sleeper

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Lipids and Lipoproteins and Lips

Oh, the scientifically complicated things I have to learn about now I’m getting older…! I’ve learned that cholesterol is a fatty substance known as a lipid, and when it combines with proteins in your blood it creates lipoproteins – High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) which is known as ‘good’ cholesterol and Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) which is known as ‘bad’ cholesterol.

Hmmm… and apparently my ‘bad’ cholesterol level is too high, so not only do I have a ‘fatty liver’ (potentially bad) but also gallstones (created by too much unprocessed cholesterol in my gallbladder). The upshot of this excess of fatty cholesterol is that I’m going to have to drastically alter my diet to try to unfatty my liver again and stop my gallstones playing up too much. Oh joy!

I guess I’ll just have to learn to take much more care in paying close attention to which foods I let pass my lips from now on. But why oh why does the list of things I have to NOT eat and drink match so closely the list of things I love best… including alcohol and chocolate… Boooo…! 😦

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

D’oh!

We’ve had such a lot of politics on TV in our house lately – news channel, parliamentary channel, documentaries – so today I decided enough was enough. No politics today, I told my husband – let’s give the poor TV a rest from being shouted at. So we’re watching club rugby instead. Edinburgh is playing Munster at Murrayfield, Munster are winning and my husband is yet again shouting scornfully at the poor TV… D’oh! 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Fandango’s One Word Challenge

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… 🙂