Thursday, 23 February 2017

That's better!

I give thanks for soft Lush bathwater soothing my body and smoothing my skin. For losing my landlocked troubles in the last few hudred miles of the round the world voyage. I've enjoyed a few sailing books which might seem strange as I don't, but they always have lots of wind and weather and sea and sky in them and that's always fine by me. And there's something about the narrowing of focus that brings to the writer an awareness of detail in what they see and feel which I find most absorbing.

I give thanks for short sleeps in a long night of pain. For a kindly dream of nothing hurting in any way at all. It was Christmas and my sister had brought a series of specially shaped and decorated cakes she'd made for us to eat on different days. The 'us' was unspecified but there was definitely a sense that they'd be shared. I give thanks for sending some metta to my siblings where ever they may be. I hope they were happier after I was gone, though it seems to me now I've seen more of life that blame and censure are produced by the person feeling them not the behaviour or attributes of the person they feel it towards. And folk do kind of enjoy thinking they're better than others don't they? Well, there's certainly a lot of ways in which a lot of people might think they're better than me so I give thanks I'm probably still providing lots of satisfaction!


I give thanks for the howl and whistle of the wind today, watching it whip up the little wavetops. I wanted so much to feel it buffet my body and tug at my hair but I give thanks I don't have to shimmy up any masts to deal with sheets and sails...

I give thanks to Ann for very thoughtfully offering to send me a couple of novels by an author she likes. I wouldn't say I'd read anything at the moment, but I'd give almost anything a try whilst there's so few other favourite wastes of time a possibility.

Cue music (and some nice pictures of sunsets, seas and trees)...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4u2pSQulDE

I give thanks for everyone who read the title of my post and had a moment of thinking there'd been something seeming better for me! I wish...oh, how I wish...I wish in a way I wish you never will know! I give thanks Mima is taking me for my MRI tomorrow. Plan A for an outing this week had been to go for a swim in a pool not far from here that's indoors but with lots of glass in the roof and walls so there's a fresh air sort of air about it. Oh the best laid plans of mice and men and women eh?

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Flopping 'eck

I give thanks for my busy mind and buzzy body...if only my body could be busy too! There's only so much twiddling of fingers round knitting wool and turning over a new leaf a person can do before they mind very much indeed! I give thanks for the pain being bad and good yesterday evening, as in too bad to do anything but the essential assembly and demolishment of food, which is good because I couldn't attempt anything I couldn't do if you see what I mean...

It kept me awake well into the early morning so I give thanks for finding a gripping French drama on All4 so I could lose my discomfort with the discomfort a little in that. I give thanks for all the times I think I just can't stand it any longer, because every time somehow I do...

Today I give thanks for feeling well again and full of get up and go, even if going more than a few paces at a time has been profoundly unwise as indeed was getting up more than a few times too. For lots of leftovers so not too much groaning over a chopping board and hot stove...

I give thanks the French thing is a 6 parter...so more distraction from dissatisfaction. For being able to succumb to one of the afternoon's infuriatingly persistent desires and eat flapjacks...by getting up and making some! They're something I've never made well and haven't attempted for years so didn't hold out much hope for these but they're quick and cheap, and I reckoned it wouldn't be too much waste of effort or ingredients if they turned out flopjacks instead.  I was missing a tin to cook them in, but vaguely adapted a recipe I found on line to fit something I had, and though too sweet for my taste they turned out an excellent texture so will have to try again soon while I remember what I did wrong and do it better next time! I give thanks sometimes a spoonful of sugar makes up for no medicine a bit anyway...

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Unheard university

Well...after feeling as if things were, if not positive, at least promising for a lot of yesterday, and then as the afternoon turned into evening ending up so defeated, I found something to be grateful for in that I stopped wishing I could do stuff, stopped trying to do stuff, stopped trying to turn things better and thus finding I'd only turned them worse. I give thanks for burying foam plugs into my ears (resisting the temptation to take them out and identify the relentless sounds from upstairs that filtered through the barrier - knowing learning exactly what it was they were doing wouldn't have made it any less annoying) and burying my nose in two quite different books. I give thanks for books! I'll give even more if the ones I've ordered turn up soon...things are getting a little desperate in that department!

I give thanks for remembering to feel compassion - people may seem to be thoughtless, or heartless or unkind but may have disappointments and difficulties of their own on their mind. And also how fortunate it is I don't have anyone to tell my truth of things to, not the whole truth anyway...though maybe a word or two slips out here and there. Some things are probably better left unsaid. And some things are definitely better unheard. And what's the whole truth anyway...

I give thanks for a bit more sleeping last night and for waking up a bit less hurting...so that I could go out and deal with some of the logistics of existence before being immobilised again. I give thanks I've learnt the emotional pain caused by the physical sort is actually less than the emotional pain of feeling OK for a while and being aware it's a fleeting false reprieve and none of the things I'd like to do are going to be actually possible. It's the perkiness that's hardest to deal with now, not the pole-axedness!

I give thanks for the sound of lawnmowers and the smell of new cut grass. For a cup of tea beside the sea, though my goodness sand is a challenge to walk on when walking itself is hard! I give thanks I can take my sore body and head back to bed and give up on this day...

Monday, 20 February 2017

Wind up merchant

Mmm...I give thanks for a cracking crumple last night with toffee tasting light muscavado, toasted almonds and cream. I give thanks I can make puddings any time and any way I want and call them whatever I choose!

I give thanks for a courier following instructions, and with good humour too. For tales of woe from a dialysis hating neighbour increasing my determination to get my back fixed and learn to run fast again - another thing not a lot of people know I used to be able to do.

Struggling to think of something to do with my pent up energy this afternoon I give thanks for starting on the untangling and winding of a big bag of odds and ends of yarn. It's not really an outlet for my frustrations but in its own way it is rather satisfying and makes me feel a little bit nearer getting ready to move. It also does work the arms a bit so not all of me is falling into disuse...

I give thanks for trying and retrying to get that crossword software to do something it says it does on the none-too-cheap tin (with a few cross words in the process!)...before trying and retrying to get a useful response from support without my messages coming back 'undeliverable' Why do I give thanks for this? Well it demonstrated my perseverance and enduring faith that not everything always is pointless... need to be reminded of that a lot just now.

No treatment ot treat of my tea cooked tonight so I give thanks for a can of Cullen Skink seasoned with tears of accumulated exasperation, some toast to gnash my teeth on. I'm grateful I know this too will pass...one day I'll be a tree and the wind will bend me or it will break me and I'll have nothing to say either way. In the meantime I give thanks I'll probably soothe my body in a bath and numb my brain with some TV and eventually it will be another day...

Sunday, 19 February 2017

ITWA

Woohoo...I got both parts of Hot Fuzz recorded! Oh, what joy...to have a dose of that delicious medicine called laughter. Most of the things I'm suffering from can seem better with this treatment but the suffering has been too extensive for even my famously dark humour to find the chinks of light so I was very grateful indeed. Having checked part deux was safely in place I've saved it for more therapy tonight if it's quiet enough, and to give the neighbours who were quiet last night a rest from my cockles and guffaws. The first half ended with Sergeant Angel discovering films were a very good way to turn off minds so an appropriate place to pause...or should I say Point to Break? Probably only to those who've seen it!

I give thanks my body was so delighted with feeling tickled I was completely free of pain in bed afterwards...for a good five minutes! Groan...grumble...grouch... I really am grateful I've been feeling so well and strong physically lately but it seems such a waste when there's so little I can can actually do.

I give thanks for keeping feeding the hungry giant that lives in my tummy these days, and clearing up the mess I make in the process, even doing some vacuuming though this is an activity guaranteed to bring me to (not being able to use my) knees. For having fresh air indoors...before the neighbours got a bit fresh with their volume levels and I had to batten down the hatches and block up my ears again. 

I give thanks for the golden twinkling of streetlights coming on in the murkiness of the evening when the bare trees stand out dark still against the grey on the hillside behind. For spotting the windows glowing in houses too and wondering if mine from a distance look as if something warm and inviting is within as well. It's hard to imagine somehow...



I've had snippets of The Woman with no Fire of her Own coming into my mind recently and dug out a copy today to read again. Thought if I'd like to you might like to too so here it is if you would!


The Woman with no Fire of her Own

Once, in a time and place not far from here, there lived a woman who did not fit. Her skin was the same colour as everyone else's and she had the correct number of senses and limbs. But when she opened her mouth the strangest sounds came out, for she was a seeker and speaker of truth, a kind not often found in her land. She asked questions that couldn't or shouldn't be answered, was honest when she should have lied.

Her own closest relations found this particularly disquieting for every evening while other families sat together encircling their campfires, they grouped themselves around a cold stone. No warm glow lit their faces or hearts and they did not share the stories of progress and prowess the rest of their tribe enjoyed, but only told tales of spite. They were embarrassed enough by their difficult daughter and to prevent her revealing this, their dark secret, they told her she came from a distant race and could not mix with her neighbours and peers.

Already shunned for her curious ways this isolated the girl even more. But the little child grew as children will do in spite of life's efforts to stunt them. She found joy in the sun and the moon and the stars of the sky and quickly learnt such lessons as girls of her culture were taught. Soon she could sing and she could sew, make sweet bread and sweeter still music, though she danced to a different tune.

When the time came for those of her generation to leave their homes and have adventures before adulthood claimed them, the young woman went wandering too. As was tradition the others were given a glowing ember from the family hearth so they could start fires of their own, but her parents, in keeping with the cold way they'd raised her, gave her only a small grey stone. She took her lute and her breadpan with her, her finest needles and threads. And most precious of all she took a hopeful heart that she would find the fire she belonged by, the people from whom she had come.

The road was long and the journey eventful. Sometimes she walked for a while with travellers going the same way, but they spoke the companionable language of being together that the young woman had yet to learn.

At last she came to a town on the coast to the south of the land and decided to rest for a time. By day she let the rays of the sun warm her body while the waves of the sea soothed her mind. But when night fell a chill crept into the air, so she took out her lute and carefully tuned it and then began to play.

So enthralled she was with making her music, that at first she didn't notice the beach filling up with other young girls and boys until the sounds of their revelry reached her ears and she ventured over to watch them. They were singing and dancing together around a huge fire, intoxicated by magical herbs from far off lands, wild rhythms and moonlight on water.

“If only I could join them,” the young woman sighed as she stood in the shadows, her lute in her hand. “If only I knew their tune.”

But then the circle widened and they beckoned her in and she stayed and played with them all summer long. She learnt the words that they spoke and the music that moved them and sampled the herbs that they lived by. Some made her light-headed, some light-hearted and some so light on her calloused feet that she danced beyond the dawn. And the most sacred of all brought a light to her mind's eye that burned brighter than any mere star could do and warmed her through to her soul.

“These are my people. At last I am home!” the young woman thought as she drifted into dreams.

But then the seasons changed and the mist rolled in, her lute buckled and would not play. The herb takers packed up their possessions and stamped out their fire and left her with no farewell. She sat on the beach alone again and pondered upon her fate.

“Why did this happen?” she questioned, “How am I here?”

“I was mistaken”, she reasoned, “They were not my people. ”

And she picked up her breadpan, her stone, her needles and threads and walked away to the hills of the west to search for her home once more.

She was much colder now that she had experienced fire, and much lonelier on her own. One evening she sat by her cold grey stone in the mouth of a cave hanging her head down and weeping. A young man passing heard her sorrow and saw her plight and built a fire for them both from his own glowing ember. The young woman took out her breadpan and made him sweet bread and they ate together side by side as the hills grew dark around them. Gazing up at the night sky she spotted a shower of brilliant shooting stars.

“Look, ”she whispered, turning to her companion. “What joy they bring to my heart!”

But he saw only a lithe body and an eager face and drew her down beside him. That night she discovered the warmth of physical love.

“This is my partner. At last I am home!” the young woman thought as she drifted into dreams.

Winter passed and they sheltered together through the storms and the rain and the snow. But as spring came the boy grew restless and bored, he didn't tend the fire as well as he should do and many times it was almost extinguished. One night as she slept he crept from the cave and made off to the valley below. The young girl awoke to a pile of cold ashes, her breadpan broken beside it. Alone again she sat by her stone and pondered upon her fate.

“Why did this happen?” she questioned, “How am I here?”
“I was mistaken,” she reasoned, “He was not my partner.”

Her heart was heavy without his beating beside it, but in her belly there grew a child. She picked up her stone and her needles and threads and wearily she journeyed down from the hills to the city that stood on the plains.

The first thing the young woman did when she got there was to take out her needles and embroider a shawl to wrap her baby in. When people saw the beautiful work she was doing they begged her to stitch and sew for them. Soon she could afford a comfortable tent of her own and rich customers brought her braziers of fire so she could embroider her fine coloured flowers for them by night as well as by day.

But when her baby was born she found she could no longer sew, for her hands were busy with him. Her patrons took their braziers and business away, her needles rusted and were spoiled.

“Never mind, my son,” she said, wrapping warm him in the silken shawl, “We have riches enough for now. “

“This is the one to whom I truly belong,” she thought, “At last I am home!”

And she laid him down beside her next to the cold grey stone as he drifted into dreams.

While he slept she sang to him, for songs were all she had left to share. And the sound of her voice and her words were so true that people came from all over the city and paid money to her to listen. Thus she was able to feed and clothe her child and pay others in time to teach him such lessons as boys of his culture were taught. Soon he could read and he could ride, make fine gardens and weapons of war, and he grew into a man.

When the time came for those of his generation to leave their homes and have adventures before adulthood claimed them she handed him a piece of grey stone.

“Son,” she said, “You know I am a woman with no fire of my own. This is all I have to give you.”

But the young man said, “Keep it, I have no need of your stone. I am the fruit of your womb but only half your child. I am going to find my father's tribe and the fires that I belong by.”
After he had gone the woman wept and pondered upon her fate.

“Why did this happen?” she questioned, “How am I here?”

“I was mistaken,” she reasoned, “He could not be like me.”

She was too old now for the sound of her sorrow to bring lovers to warm her. Her once true voice was cracked with tears, all her talents and treasures were gone. She sat alone by the cold grey stone outside her tent as the darkness grew around her.

“I have known the joy of the dance and the pleasure of passion,” she thought, “the fierce love of mother for child. But all these have been fleeting and their loss has been hard, what else can I seek that will bring me warmth and will stay with me forever?”

Gazing up at the night sky, she spotted a shower of brilliant shooting stars.

“Look,” she whispered to herself, “What joy they bring to my heart!”

But shooting stars shine only briefly and after a while she remembered the visions she'd seen on the sands of her youth with the herbs that had opened her mind. She yearned for the blazing white light that had burned so brightly it had warmed her through to her soul.

“Perhaps that is the one warmth that I can call mine,” she decided, “but its fire is the brightest of all. I must seek it now so the rest of my days can be lived within its glow.”

And she set off for the mountain that stood in the north to ask the wise man who lived there, and knew of such things, the path she should take to the light.

The road was steep and the journey was tiring, her aging limbs ached as she climbed. But her heart was as hopeful as when she'd been a young girl and first set out to find the fire she belonged by, the people from whom she had come.

“At last,” she thought, “I am almost home!”

It was cold on the mountain top and she shivered in the shawl she'd made for her baby as she described to the wise man her quest. He had no fire to sit beside, no companions, no partner, nor sons, and yet he seemed warm and lit from within by a glow she recognised.

“Teach me the secret of seeing the light,” she asked, “so I can live without fire like you.”

“Alas,” said the sage with the greatest compassion, “what I have takes years of disciplined training. It's too late for you to start learning now. But the light is inside you and you will see it again once before you die - for everybody does so.”

The woman was devastated, she aged many years, all her youthful hope was gone.

“My life has been wasted,” she thought, “my dreams all in vain. May death come soon to release me!”

And she struggled painfully back down the mountain and made her way to the slow flowing river that wound through the east of the land.

The woman sat on its banks with her stone beside her and awaited her time to die. By day she watched the sunshine play on the water and when night fell she watched the moon and the stars as they moved across the sky. But none of these had brilliant enough a light to bring her the joy she was seeking.

One evening as a golden sunset filled the heavens, the chill of disappointment crept into her heart and she wrapped the shawl around her shoulders as she pondered on her fate.

“Why did this happen?” she questioned, “How am I here?”

“I have been mistaken many times,” she reasoned, “The people I thought were mine were not. The partner I thought was mine was not. The fruit of my womb that once shared my heart was only half my child. And all the time I yearned for their companionship was time I lost finding the light.”

“I shall never know warmth!” the woman cried in despair, “What use is a cold grey stone?”

And she picked it up and raised her arm to hurl it into the river and be rid of its curse for good. But her old fingers fumbled and lost their grip and it dropped down to the rock beneath her. As flint struck flint two sparks ignited and leapt to the fringe of her shawl. They glowed brightly then burst into flame. Soon the fine worked flowers began to smoulder and smoke but still the old woman didn't shrug off her shawl or shrink from the blaze that embraced her.

“This is my fire, “ she thought, “At last I am home!”

And she opened her mind to the inner light that warmed her through to her very soul............as she drifted into dreams.




*



Saturday, 18 February 2017

You don't know what you got

Oh the beautiful soft air and light this morning - I give thanks for that! The sea witch was flashing her diamonds today to be sure...

I shook my head in the exasperation of hindsight at all the times my former self has pined for perfect company on days like this...now I'm pining for all the times I remembered it was better to do something on your own than miss out on the company and the experience. At this time, when even going into the kitchen to make a cup of tea is excruciating, the challenge is as ever to recognise to be grateful for the gifts of the now. I give thanks I could lie in bed with the covers off and the window wide open letting the springiness land on my skin. A town centre ground floor abode might be much more practical right now but perhaps not for the naturist in me...

Yesterday, after becoming incapable of the standing and walking necessary to choose a book or two in Smiths I gave thanks for discovering better deals for the ones I thought I might look at...on Smiths on line! Needing the partial escape of reading now, a variety of routes is required and I wanted to support our little local store...but I've clicked to collect from there and it's right by the cab rank so yep lots to be grateful for there.

Um...what's that sound? Oh yes, a barrel being scraped! Must find my gratitude goggles forthwith... I give thanks for the treat of a potassium laden (small, I promise!) jacket potato, for a long hot bath, and a perfectly brewed mug of Earl Grey tea sipped at the perfect temperature, For the neighbours being relatively quiet so far, for Jan taking the time to chat online a while and send me photos - bless her! I give thanks for the times the pain has eased off a little, when I've felt a sliver of a step up from rock bottom, for when I've remembered I might seem to be weak but actually I'm amazingly strong...

Friday, 17 February 2017

Finding a plot

Yay, I give thanks for finding something to watch on TV last night - a film on iplayer that was so entertaining I didn't even mind Tom Hanks being in it! The plot was quite preposterously far fetched but also true, and though it had some poignancy (as all true tales must do)  it made also me laugh - always a treasure in troubled times.

I give thanks for snatched snoozes in another pain pummelled night, and thus lots of strange brief dreams including leaving my shoes outside the Post Office as it was raining and I didn't want to bring the wet indoors - and then them being stolen.. ..and recognising someone in disguise by the way their hair curled at the nape of their neck.


I give thanks for one of those short spells of moving freely which came upon me after I emerged from having my bloods done, so that I could get a cuppa from the kiosk opposite and sit and enjoy the tea and the sea and feeling me, before I realised the me I could feel was feeling fearsomely chilly! For grabbing some essentials as the soreness grabbed me again, and a ride home with one of my favourite cabbies so I could laugh some more...

I give thanks for finishing opening my pretty birthday cards, finding some very thoughtful messages including a particularly touching one from my death row penfriend, plus three bars of well chosen chocolate from folks at home. For persuading my spring bulbs to nestle more tightly than they'd probably prefer into a vacant pot. Not a lot of people know this but I used to be good at growing things...apart from just broken and old!
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