Friday, 25 January 2013

52 Weeks of Happy - week 4

This week has felt like a long, hard week.  First there was the snow, which kept me in the house for days because fibromyalgia and snow do not mix, and made the days seem endless, although the rest helped a bit.  Then my mother was ill, as referred to yesterday, which has left me feeling rather shaken and a bit emotional.  All the more reason to look for my four happy things this week.

1. Goldfinches - there were eight in the garden today, males and females, this is the largest number we've seen before.  They are such pretty birds and it is thrilling to have them in the garden.  A few years' ago I started catching glimpses of goldfinches them in a garden around the corner and so they have slowly moved up the gardens.  So far the other birds seem tolerant of their presence, even the robin, who still has occasional attempts to prove that the feeder is his and his alone.  For some reason the robin seems to go for the dunnocks a lot, I suspect because they look similar to him.  My sister took this photo this morning of one of the goldfinches on the bird feeder.

Goldfinch on feeder

2. A good book - I have been reading Slipstream, Elizabeth Jane Howard's autobiography and it is a thoroughly enjoyable read, not only because she has known some remarkable people and done remarkable things, but also because it is so well written, quite the best autobiography I can remember reading.  She has an incredible memory, wins your sympathies and is humbly honest about her mistakes.  Yet more than this, she shares the wisdom she has learnt through her life, although not in a didactic or condescending manner.  For all these reasons and more I have been finding this compelling and having the Kindle version has made it far easier to read as it is a long book (around 500 pages), but somehow manages not to feel long.  I am looking forward to getting onto her novels.

3. The perfect green - Rico Merino Essentials DK in shade 42, bought at Deramores, a shop I've never used before but who seem very efficient.

4. Miranda - whoever put this show on Monday evenings in January was a genius, it is the perfect antidote to January.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Doing enough

Last night I was having another of my guilt-filled panics with God about "the future" and whether or not I should be doing and achieving more.  This is a frequent thought, which derives from a vague sense that I should be doing something, regardless of how I am and it seems to be a deep seated idea as I have struggled with it for a long time now.  I see all my friends and contemporaries getting PhDs or married or having children or careers or travelling, or a mixture of the above, and feel like a failure, an idea further engendered from my family, where to have a BA degree is to be somewhat under-educated.  What am I doing?  What have I done with the last six years of my life?

Then something like this morning happens, a sudden crisis in my mother's health and all these thoughts fall away as the central business of existing suddenly takes over and consumes all my energy and thought.  Thankfully my mother is recovering and I am gradually recovering from the shock, although things are not entirely back to normal.

In the midst of this I read Ruth's post on her excellent blog One Little Drop this morning and then read the blog posts she had linked to and they gave me back some sense of perspective on myself, the first article in particular.  All this time that I have been ill I have felt under a pressure from others to be doing something, or that it was time to move on from being ill and do something, as though it were that simple, when so many days are spent simply managing to get through the day, when being consumes all energy.

And yet, and yet... I still lack the confidence to say that I am doing enough, that just being and getting through the day with grace and the minimum of self pity and bitterness is enough.  Jesus help me, give me your perspective.

Friday, 18 January 2013

52 Weeks of Happy - week 3

This has been a slightly strange week, during which the admonition to "Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn" (Romans 12.15) has never seemed more apt.  For my friends there has been great sorrow and also some joys and I have had the joy of my birthday, it has been quite emotional at times.

Nonetheless there have been joys this week, life at its essence is a sharp mixture of joy and sadness.  The biggest joy has been my birthday so we shall make that number one.

1. My birthday, which I managed to approach with the minimum of trepidation and soul searching about "achievements" and which my family and friends combined to make special.  I had a great many cards and generous presents and messages and feel thoroughly spoiled and humbled that so many people value me.

Birthday banana cake

2. Wonderful new yarn that my sister gave me for my birthday, hand-dyed in stripes, in the colours of the London underground lines, from Trailing Clouds.  I am most excited about knitting this, I still find self-striping yarns exciting, knitting away, wondering which colour will come next and when.  Additionally I am in awe at the hard work that has gone into dyeing this yarn to create approximately six round stripes in so many colours, by hand.


3. Coffee with a new friend and her little boy who is about a year and a half.  A delightful and refreshing combination of a good chat and some play with her little boy, who is very sweet and well behaved.  To be repeated soon I hope.

4. Beautiful snow, which has been falling steadily for most of the day, giving us more light than we have had for a while and muffling noise, creating a quiet, bright, cold world, although I feel terribly sorry for the birds.

A goldfinch on its way to the bird feeders

And so on we go through the year, hopefully I will be able to shake off the threatened depression and accompanying lethargy and "what's the point" feeling more this week.  I think the weekly discipline of looking at the good things that have happened is helping though.

A cyclamen flowers on

Friday, 11 January 2013

52 Weeks of Happy - week 2

I thought Fridays would be a good day to do these posts in future, so here goes.  Positive thinking here we come!

1. The sun breaking through the clouds, it has been such a relief to see some blue sky and even sunshine today after so long of day after day of grey clouds and a feeling of never having enough light.
I grabbed a shot of this dramatic sky earlier in the week, sorry for the quality, I was using my phone.

2. The scent of hyacinths, no photograph I am afraid, but they smell heavenly.  My aunt sends us a pot of them every year, growing, so hopefully next year we shall be able to enjoy them in the garden.

3. Having a laugh with friends.  I managed to go to my church small group this week and it was lovely to be able to talk and relax and share a joke and realise how blessed I am by this group of people.

4. Knitting socks.  The sparkly socks are finally finished and I even managed to find some sun in which to photograph them.  Before I had finished them I had started the next pair - I hate not having a pair on the go and I needed some easy knitting to take out with me.  The new pair are a fairly ambitious pair of knee highs but in sport weight yarn for speed and cosiness.

I leave you with another photograph of the sparkly socks, they photograph so well and look so special.  I have not yet brought myself to wear them yet!


Monday, 7 January 2013

52 Weeks of happy - an attempt - week 1

This morning I came across Little Tin Bird's post about Little Birdie's idea of having a weekly post through this year called 52 Weeks of Happy.  The idea is that once a week you post four things that have made you happy that week.  As someone who can be somewhat happiness challenged this seems like an excellent idea and should serve the twin purpose of making me blog more regularly and more importantly examine the things that make me happy and hopefully see the happy things in my life and not let them get drowned out.

Both the bloggers previously mentioned seem to be posting a photograph for each happy thing, I can't be sure I can keep that up, so I will endeavour to have some photographs at least.

So here goes, Week 1, in by a whisker:

1. Sparkly socks - sparkly Monkey socks, edging towards completion, glittering with every stitch!

2. A stack of reading material - thanks to the Oxfam online shop's sale.  I have started with The Vicarage Children by Lorna Hill and it is an utter delight.
(Sorry for the rubbish phone photo)

3. A plethora of brilliant radio, over the past couple of days I have enjoyed The Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope, The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico and on a slightly different note My MS and Me by Jim Sweeney.  The latter I have just discovered is available from his website, which is brilliant because there are so many people I want to tell about it.  If you have any kind of disability or want to understand what life can be like having a disability or you are just a human being, have a listen.

4. Various bulbs in the garden starting to show shoots already, mainly due to the mild weather I suspect, but giving promise of spring and good things to come.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

A little start to the new year

I've started the new year with some small, cute knitting.  Someone at knitting group had made a knitted bear for the charity Refuge and he needed some clothes, so here we are... hopefully they'll fit ok, on Saturday we will find out at knitting group.