You know you’ve got CP when…

…half an hour before an appointment in your house finds you tidying up.

Not to make the house look better (although that is a bonus). But because it occurs to you that they might need somewhere to sit. And you basically never sit on the sofa. Meaning it’s buried

I use the sofa. I balance drinks, snacks and other stuff like my phone on the arm when I sit next to it in my wheelchair. And usually there will be a mix of books, knitting or crochet stuff, a fleece or two, an empty coke bottle or 4, sweet wrappers and maybe a wheatie on the sofa itself.

I use it. I just don’t sit on it.

The only person who is here with any regularity in need of a place to sit and not bringing their own chair is my Dad. And he sits on my big bean bag. Can’t ask someone you don’t know to sit on that. Or at least not as their only choice.

So once again I find myself half an hour before someone is due. Looking at the sofa. I’m thinking about the fact I have my manual, my powerchair and a very old manual in the house. And for about a minute I wonder about giving him one of those to sit on.

But then I decide that’s stupid.

So then I briefly entertain the thought that maybe he’s a wheelchair user as well and won’t need somewhere to sit.

But that’s a stupid idea as well.

So I do clear off the sofa thinking all the while about how ridiculously my needing to is. And thinking how this is such a CP moment. One only another CPer could get (or maybe a wheelie).

He came a few minutes early and interrupted me writing this. He’s not a wheelchair user and so I did need to clear off the sofa. Now he’s gone my clutter will probably make its way back there until the sofa is hidden again.

Until the next time I find myself with a few minutes before someone is due trying to unearth it once again.

Self-Care Sunday: Something New and a Surprise

I’m continuing in my quest to spend less time online. I didn’t come on at all yesterday. Which is now two weeks running I’ve had a day off. And I suspect I’ll have one next week too if the weather doesn’t put paid to certain plans. I quite like it.

Mum and I went to a two hour craft workshop yesterday. It was on Mono Printing. I’d never done it before and to be honest I didn’t really know what it was. To start with I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it. It was a bit late starting because the majority of people doing it were late. And it was a bit slow getting going.

Mono printing, basically is where you get a sheet of plastic or similar and cover it in ink using a roller. You then put a piece of paper on top and draw or trace or even just press with your fingers a design. This then shows up as a print on the other side. It was very messy! We both had gloves on but Mum ended up with ink up her arms and on her elbow. And I’d meant to put my hair up but forgot. Meaning when I went to push it out of my eyes I got a nice blue streak on my forehead. Plus a red blob on my powerchair control. It took a scrub or two but it all came off.

Neither of us liked the first exercise he had us do but once he said go do your own thing and got us going with tracing stuff from magazines and making up our own designs we got quite into it. I ended up being a bit disappointed it wasn’t longer because I’d like to play more. Mum was talking about buying some of the stuff for another go so maybe we will…

I think my best piece was accidental however! I might take pictures tomorrow, I don’t really want to touch them in case the ink is still dry (I doubt it by now but last time I looked I got ink all over me again).

I read for an hour or so while having lunch when I got home. Then I took a two hour nap. I’d not intended to sleep that long but it was lovely.

My sister in law’s 30th birthday was this week and my brother surprised her with a trip away. They got home yesterday and he told her they were going out for dinner but that Mum and Dad wanted them to pop round first to give her their present.

She didn’t seem surprised to see a table with cake and presents and me, Sophie and James (Sophie’s partner) there as well. What she didn’t know but soon found out was that we were all in the kitchen but down in the bar/conservatory were 9 of their friends hiding. Mum lit the candles and we all started singing. At the same time Soph snuck down and got the others who walked up and joined in the singing.

Geri seriously had no idea. The look on her face said it all. She went from person to person hugging them while we finished singing and I thought at one point she was going to cry.

We had pizza and drinks (pink fizzy wine!) and hung out for a couple of hours. It was nice to see people and chat although I don’t know many of them that well. Everyone apart from my parents and me went into Oxford for cocktails then.

I stayed with my parents for another couple of hours chatting, watching tv and drinking some Smirnoff ice which mum had got for me for a treat (because I’d mentioned not having had any for years and sort of fancying some earlier in the week). I got home abut quarter past 10.

Yesterday was lots and lots of fun.

A book that blew my mind #fridayreads #amreading

I have a copy of a book called 1001 books you must read before you die. There have been several editions of this book so at various times different books have been put on the list and taken off again (and in the case of Memoirs of a Geisha I believe returned to the most recent edition of the list).

I have the 2010 edition but I also have an app on my iPad and a spreadsheet both of which list every single book that have ever appeared on an edition of the 1001 books you must read before you die list. I believe the total number of books is 1300 some odd. I’ve read about 133 of those.

I have no intention of reading every single book on the list (although the app tells me I could with time to spare based on my age and the average UK lifespan for a female). I do use it for inspiration for reading material and a way of finding new things to read. Because of the list I’ve discovered some authors I love – Haruki Murakami is one of those and I think Muriel Spark is shaping up to be another but I probably need to read another of hers (I’ve read two) to be definite.

Earlier this week I requested a bunch of titles from the library. All ones that are on the list. One of the ones I requested was The Wonderful O by James Thurber. I knew very little about the book. Mostly just it was one of the shortest books on the list (it’s 80 pages). I’d looked it up in the library catalogue before but every time I did it said it was in the store. But on Monday I figured it was worth requesting.

Thursday it was at my local library for me to collect along with some of my other requests. I’d assumed it was in the store because it wasn’t popular or because it’d been released so long ago (1958).

I enjoyed the story. It’s the perfect length for sitting and reading in one go on a lazy Friday afternoon after a busy week. It’s a really sweet kids one with gorgeous illustrations. The basic premise is an evil man takes over a town and bans the letter O because he doesn’t like it.

What really blew me away was the book itself. Oxfordshire library service doesn’t stamp the date books are due back in books anymore. That’s a no-no in this age of Internet and self service. And I think in a way that’s a shame.

But this still had its ticket of date stamps in it. I could tell looking at it, it was an old book.

But I didn’t expect was to see the first time it was issued was in 1958. It’s not a first edition but it is from the year of publication.

It’s got the old book feel. It’s got the old book smell that’s so nice. New books smell good but not like this. And it’s got pages so thick and sturdy I kept stopping to check page numbers because turning them I thought I must have turned more than one by accident. They don’t make books like that any more.

Being that the reservations are kept right by the desk, I got them to check them out for me. I thought they would say there was a problem and I couldn’t take it. When I was all checked out and she was handing them to me I expected her to tell me to be careful with it. She didn’t.

Part of me wanted to go “this is so old and so nice. It’s practically a piece of history and a work of art. I’m clearly not to be trusted with something like that. It’s too precious, what are you doing letting me take it?!”

Because never mind the fact that books been part of the library service since before I was born. It was actually first issued the year before my Mum was born.

That really blows me mind.

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The cover and spine of the book. It’s an old fashioned, faded red hardback with a plain cover and no dust jacket
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The inside title page of the book
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The very first page inside with the ticket showing the stamped return by dates ranging between 1958, 1990 which appears to be the last time it was out and 1996 when it went to the store.
20131025-212203.jpgtwo inside pages with text and illustration (not every page has illustrations)

I’ve been wondering…

A Thursday Thirteen list of things I’ve been pondering lately:

…who invented chips?
…does anyone ever use just one piece of loo roll?
…why does one of my powerchair tires have zero tread left but the one on the other side still has a little?
…why are knickers called knickers?
…when will John Green bring another book out?
…how long is too long to wear a bra before washing?
…will I ever get sent another appointment to see my neurologist if I don’t chase him?
…what shall I read next?
…what does mono printing involve exactly?
…do I need my antidepressant dose increasing?
…how long my soon to start second course of iron supplements will be?
…why does it always rain on me?
…should I do NaNoWriMo again this year?

Answers on a postcard please!

Thank You

I’m quite well known for not noticing people waving to me when I’m out and about. Or not knowing who people are when they know me.

Part of that has to do with the fact I meet so many people through things like CAB. I’m usually the only person they deal with but depending on if I’m doing appointments of gateway (10 minute triage like interviews) I might see up to 4 people in one session.

The big thing in training for CAB is confidentiality. One of the points made about it is that due to that you shouldn’t acknowledge clients outside the bureau. That’s easier than it sounds because more than likely I don’t remember them or I think “hmm I know them from somewhere…” There are obviously the odd memorable person. Regulars and such like. But the number of people I’ve met and introduced myself to who’ve then gone “I know you helped me at CAB” and I’ve not known them is huge.

One day recently I was doing some jobs in town popping from place to place.

And in one of them someone saw me and said “oh! Good Morning.” As they walked past.

I replied “Morning” and continued what I was doing.

30 seconds later they reappeared in front of me to say

“You really helped me a long time ago but I don’t think I thanked you properly.”

All of a sudden the stuff in front of me didn’t have my attention any more. I’d been only half listening expecting the usual “bizarre and probably inappropriate comment to a wheelchair user” I so often get. Not that.

I said they were welcome and asked “at CAB?” They said yes and that it’d been “years and years ago”

I’m wracking my brain but I’m getting no where on who this might be so I asked how long “years and years ago” was

It turns out years and years ago was so long ago they had to think for a minute before they could answer. And so long ago I really can’t have been advising for long when I saw them.

We talked for a few more minutes. I had to admit I didn’t remember them. They said how much of a difference I’d made, how often I’d seen them and how grateful they were. They thanked me again and left.

I thanked them and left as well.

Because that made my day.

I can’t write any more about this. Because of confidentiality. But also because even with several days of thinking later I can’t remember them.

Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley

As a part of my self care this week I’ve been trying to spend less time online (hence no self care Sunday blog yesterday because I didn’t come online at all.) and I’ve been trying to rediscover my love of reading. That’s felt like its been losing its appeal lately but I’m thankful to say I seem to have found my mojo again. I spent most of yesterday morning finishing reading Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley. I’m participating in her blog tour for this and received a free copy to review.

Sophie dreams of building her own grand design, she just hasn’t got round to it yet…
Meet Sophie Stone, a thirty-something serial procrastinator. Tesco knickers, Take That and tea with two sugars is about as exciting as it gets. Sophie’s life is safe and predictable, which is just the way she likes it, thank you very much.
But when her boyfriend dumps her on Valentine’s Day and a mysterious benefactor leaves her an inheritance, even Sophie has to accept that change is afoot. There is a catch: in order to inherit, Sophie must agree to meet the father she has never seen.
Not a fan of surprises, Sophie would rather not; why not let sleeping dads lie? Besides, her mother would kill her.
With interference from an evil boss, bickering flat mates, warring parents and a sexy ex-boyfriend, Sophie has plenty to contend with without an architect who puts his foot in it every time he opens his mouth.
But it soon becomes clear that she will have to face the past and learn some uncomfortable home truths before she can finally build a future on her own terms.

The main character, Sophie, is very naive. And at least to start with I found that a bit off putting. It didn’t appeal and I wanted to scream at her to get a grip and see what was really happening. I didn’t think anyone could really be that naive. I was thinking maybe I’d give it a miss. But at that point I was reading it in the dr’s waiting room and pretty much at that point I got called in for my blood test ONLY FIVE MINUTES LATE (I know, I was shocked too) so I had to put it away. By the time I’d finished with the vampire phlebotomist, done all my errands and got home it’d occurred to me that I used to be pretty naive and if anyone had written my story then they’d have probably been doing the same. Plus, I’d remembered another book where I’d felt a bit like that about the MC and gone on to love it so I figured it was worth another go.

And I don’t know why but when I started reading again I started liking it. So I ended up being glad I persevered. The moral of that story might be not to make decisions on book suitability when at the back of your mind you’re wondering how many needle sticks this is gonna take (one. Can’t remember that happening before!). Or perhaps it should be about giving books a proper chance but I think I prefer my blood test moral.

Sophie is very naive but she also is very believable. She makes mistakes. She accidentally shows off her knickers in public. She has great friends but sometimes that’s not enough. And frequently her antics made me laugh. Sophie grows as a character throughout the book but in a realistic way. And even then there are the usual misunderstandings and hiccups that everyone experiences in life. Her two flat mates are sisters. The I love you but… Squabbling of their sibling relationship was probably one of the most realistic I’ve read in ages.

I found this a relatively quick and easy read. It was perfect for a very lazy day when I wanted a fun read I didn’t have to think too much about. This is Cathy Bramley’s first novel and she took what’s something of a clichéd plot idea of unknown relative leaving money and made it work. I did guess one of the major twists early on but in places it still surprised me. On the whole I liked it.

Star Trek FAQ Volume 2 by Mark Clark

I received a free copy of Star Trek FAQ Volume 2 by Mark Clark for review.. I’ve not read volume 1 which is about the original series of Star Trek and the animated series. This volume is about the films and also The Next Generation.

(FAQ). This book is not endorsed, sponsored, or affiliated with CBS Studios Inc., Paramount Pictures, or the “Star Trek” franchise. In the 1980s and ’90s, Star Trek rose from the ash heap of network cancellation and soared to the peak of its popularity with a series of blockbuster feature films and the smash sequel series Star Trek: The Next Generation . Star Trek FAQ 2.0 picks up where the original Star Trek FAQ left off, chronicling the historic comeback of the “failed” series and its emergence as a pop culture touchstone. The book provides accounts of the production of every Star Trek movie (including creator Gene Roddenberry’s struggle to retain control of the franchise) and every episode of The Next Generation (and the conflicts that roiled its writing staff). It also offers profiles of the actors, directors, writers, producers, and technicians whose excellence fueled the franchise’s success, and explores often overlooked aspects of the Star Trek phenomenon, including unofficial, fan-made productions. Star Trek FAQ 2.0 represents the final frontier of Trek scholarship.

I found this an interesting read. I didn’t read it continuously but dipped in and out over several weeks – I see it as that sort of coffee table book. Only I 1) don’t have a coffee table and 2) have an ecopy. But if not for those two things that’s where I could see leaving this. I’d like to read the bit about each film before watching them again for example.

It’s not a true FAQ, that title is some what misleading. It contains a chapter for each movie and one for each series of TNG. In addition there are others on guest stars, awards, the actors and other key areas. It also starts with an introduction from Peter David which I found particularly exciting because he is my favourite Star Trek author. The behind the scenes wrangling and almost at times fighting surprised me but I’m not sure why. The other thing that really came across was that Gene Roddenberry may well have been a bit of a nasty piece of work. I’d always had this idea of him as a really brilliant, nice person but not anymore.

I’m glad I read this. I felt like I learnt a lot about a fandom that’s been a huge part of my life. But I think there are probably better books about Star Trek out there. The formatting isn’t great in several places (although I’d hope that would be corrected in the finished version) and I’ve heard there are some factual errors. I spotted at least one which took me 30 seconds on google to find a Wikipedia article which confirmed the error. That’s poor in my opinion and coloured my enjoyment of the rest of the book.

Self-Care Sunday: Self-Care Is…

…staying up till one AM finishing a good book.
…cocktails and a catch up with a good friend
…going to the theatre with Mum
…not waking up until 10 and then going back to bed for a nap two hours later
…one last, long, sail of the year. Staying on the water till the light goes away.
…lying in bed listening to an audiobook.
…finding some willpower

A Weekend of (mostly) Reading

That’s what I’m planning.

I am disappearing in the direction of Oxford for a while later but other than that this weekend is for reading. In part because this weekend is Dewey’s Readathon and when it got to last night I realised my decision not to sign up was the wrong one. Yes I am busy but I figured that reading is reading and I could at least take part for a few hours. And I figure actually I’ll just read regardless of official Readathon times etc. The main part of dedicating this weekend to reading is obviously just that I really enjoy it, it’s a nice break and might help me do something with my crazy TBR (and catch up with my now very behind goodreads challenge but that’s very much something I’m ignoring).

10 am (in the living room at home). I listened to two chapters of the audiobook of The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Murakami while lying in bed earlier. I really love Murakami I think he’s rapidly becoming one of my favourites. The two chapters totalled about 40 minutes but I think I need to listen to the second one again because I dozed off for a bit then woke up and listened a but more and was lost. But for now I’m going to eat a bit of chocolate and read Looking for Alaska by John Green. I’m about 100 pages in so I should finish it by lunchtime hopefully.

Update 12:10pm I finished Looking for Alaska a few minutes ago. 164 pages read. I really enjoyed it. It was powerful and made me think but not in the same way The Fault In Our Stars did (I think I preferred that one but in a very different way)

Not sure what’s next. I’m torn between two or three books. Gonna take a break and chuck some washing in, start some lunch etc. while I figure it out.

1:56pm I re listened to that chapter of The Wind Up Bird Chronicles and I obviously slept through more of it than I realised this morning. And then I listened to a third chapter. I was eating lunch, doing a puzzle on my ipad and then briefly stretching whilst listening to that. The ability to listen while doing other stuff is a big part of why I like audiobooks.

Now I’m reading An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. I’d not planned to make today John Green reading day but that’s the way it’s turning out. I’m only a very few pages in. It’s very different to Looking for Alaska but it’s making me laugh and I think I’ll like it.

2:40pm made it to page 68 of An Abundance of Katherines and it’s still very good. It’s getting pretty interesting in fact but now it’s time I disappeared for a while.

5:04 read more on the train and whilst waiting for it. On page 110 now. Did some quick shopping (bought two more books). Now waiting for my friend in the bar. Think I’ll read a bit more. Once I get a cocktail that is!

11:47pm home now. Cocktails and a catch up with a friend and then the theatre with Mum. We went to see The Mousetrap. That was really good. It was a different thing for me – I’m usually a musicals sort of girl. I’ve never read or seen any Agatha Christie before but I think I’d like to read on of her books.

I’m up to page 123 of Katherines. I was planning to finish it before bed but given how tired and a bit headachy I am I’m abandoning that plan. I will read a bit more however because I need to wind down a bit.

01:01 am So, apparently, I lied.

I just finished reading An Abundance of Katherines. Pain meds finally dealt with my headache and so I read a bit more than I meant to. And then I realised there were only 30 pages of actual story left (turns out there’s not only an appendix explaining the maths but there’s an interview with John Green and an extract from TFIOS at the end of my book. I skipped those). So I figured it’d be rude not too and finished it. I did guess the twist in the end but I also liked how it ended.

I think TFIOS is the one I like best out of the three John Green books I’ve read to date. I can’t decide if I prefer Alaska or Katherines better. Katherines was the one that called to me most when I read the back of them both but I think Alaska may have been marginally better. But only just.

And now, it really is bed time.

More in the morning.

Sunday, 10:48 am I’m up, still sleepy, but I’m up. I listened to another chapter of The Wind Up Bird Chronicle as I was falling asleep last night and two more when I first woke up this morning. There’s just something inherently restful about lying in a dark room being told a story so I do it often.

I’m going to get stuck into a long book today. I’ve not decided quite what yet but something classic I think. Not a Victor Hugo though! It’ll be a long time until I do that again after reading Les Mis in nine days in late August/early Sept.

But first to eat a big bowl of cereal and drink Orange juice.

Self-Care Sunday: Thinking It Over

I’m not sure what to write about today. There have been lots of little things going on like continuing to take my meds everyday (I have approx 8 days left on iron tablets for the anaemia. That will get easier after that because those are my only three times a day med) and taking a break from my wheelchair in the middle of most days. And working on picking my battles and when to let things go and move on. But I don’t have a lot to say on the little things – in part because it feels too soon. The picking my battles thing is something I probably should blog about. Just not today. Mostly because that would defeat the object of letting things go.

I killed my wheelchair batteries off last Monday and ended up walking home incredibly slowly to ensure they didn’t die completely. The good thing about that was it meant I bumped into an acquaintance. I really, really don’t know them well and hadn’t seen them for years. It was nice to chat and they shared a piece of information with me that’s been making me think more on a subject I’d vaguely wondered about then dismissed. That could be good for me. Maybe.

Truly I’ve been thinking about a lot of different things this week. One of which is this occasional address by the awesome Tim Minchin. I should probably act on some of his points. In fact, not probably, definitely. But I must also admit to being a little disappointed it wasn’t a beat poem like Storm or a song. That would have been epic but probably would have diluted its message.