Hey everyone. I’ve been wanting to write something for a while but I just couldn’t. The last couple of months have felt pretty tough again. I think it’s something to do with the end of the year and the start of the new one (not to mention the significant dates that happen around this time). I thought about posting a reflection on the past year but for some reason last year just seemed to merge with the previous couple of years and I couldn’t figure out what to say. I don’t want it to sound like I’m miserable all the time, I’m generally a positive person. It’s just that there are layers of me (do I sound like Shrek? – maybe I’m really an ogre? 😆) and if you peel a few back there’s still a lot of pain underneath that sometimes seeps out whether I want it to or not. I wanted to write about Christmas but it’s just not the same any more. I used to love Christmas; but now, while I still love bits of it, other things – like Christmas songs – are just painful. Christmas songs are a bit like fairy tales – and I don’t think I believe in fairy tales any more – maybe it’s a bit naive that I ever did? I wanted to write about the New Year but I’m struggling a bit to dream about possibilities. Having said that I do have some nice plans for camping and things with friends this year.
That all sounds a bit dramatic, right? So let me lighten it up a bit for you. This year started with the delightful news that I had Covid! I’m fine – I didn’t struggle with the severe symptoms some people have had. For me it was pretty much like any other cold or flu virus. I had a couple of rough days but other than that I was fine. The worst thing was being stuck in for 10 days. It gave me a bit of time to contemplate my word for the year though. Last year’s word was a total flop! I think I chose the word ‘articulate’ in the end but I can’t even remember. The idea was to be authentic and vocalise my own thoughts, needs and opinions. Well that didn’t happen! 😝 – So here’s hoping I have more success this year. I’ve chosen a couple of words for the year 2022 – ‘clarity’ and ‘confidence’. I feel a real need for clarity just now and I’m hoping my therapist can help me a bit with getting that. I also need confidence – in God, in myself and to be able to follow through with whatever becomes clear.
I’ve also decided to keep track of any books I read this year. I do read quite a bit but a lot of it is for work or study right now which means I’m dipping in and out of books rather than just reading them for interest or enjoyment. I was so impressed when LA posted that she had read 113 Books last year. Initially I thought I’d be doing well to set myself a target of 10 but after thinking about it for a while I realised that I probably already manage that in a year by the time I read a couple of books with friends so we can chat about them and a few on holiday (vacation). I usually have 2 or 3 on the go most of the time; it’s just that I don’t have much time to read just for fun. Anyway I’m going to stretch my target to 15 and see how I get on. It would be cool if I can really surprise myself and do more but I’ll be happy if I can achieve that.
After having to quarantine with Covid I was glad to be able to get back to the gym and the pool and out walking again. I’m not the fittest person by any stretch but I like to be active and you always get some random chat at the local sports centre. Church is back in person again – I’m not sure what I’m going to do about church going forward (maybe I’ll write about that sometime) but for now I’m back and it’s good to be around people and worship together. Work and study always keeps me busy but I think my capacity is not what it used to be so I’m really glad that somehow it always seems to work out to just the right amount to keep me busy but not overwhelm me. It must be a God thing because I don’t plan it that way.
Well I think that’s all I have to say for now. I hope you’re all well and I’ll check in again sometime. x
Hey lovely WordPress friends! It’s been a while. When I said I was taking a break back in February I really didn’t expect it to be for this long. At this moment I’m not actually sure I’m done having a break – I just wanted to say ‘Hi!’
So far 2021 has been pretty much as weird as 2020 was. Some things seem to be “going back to normal” but the reality is that everything is still different. In my house almost everyone is still working from home at least 4 days per week. Church is still different, and my course which I started during the pandemic is still online; although I have met a few of my classmates in person now. From September we get to go in to the college for one day of the course weekend. I’ll probably get a train in to the city those days – that’s still different too as masks are required on public transport.
Anyway, boring, boring! Is anything interesting actually happening to tell you about? Apart from the fact that two of my family currently have Covid? – Don’t worry they’re okay. Fortunately just a mild dose by the look of it.
Probably the most fun thing that’s happened this year is that my friend K and I have been getting into car camping. We made wee window covers for our cars and we’ve been collecting camping kit (mostly for feeding ourselves) in boxes. We pack up our cars and drive for an hour or two to our meeting point and then we’ll maybe go for a swim in a Loch, make ourselves dinner over a camping stove and share some wine or cider, sleep in our cars and go for a hike up a hill the next day. Or perhaps do the hike at sunset and the swim in the morning? Anyway, that’s kept me going through this year of ‘no events to go to’.
I’ve joined up with a team doing street work with the homeless once a month. That’s been interesting too – not in the same way obviously. It’s good to meet people and hear their stories though and hopefully be an encouragement and a help to them too.
I’ve managed to get myself off the antidepressants this year too. The CBT training and therapy helped a lot with strategies and stuff. Some days I still struggle a bit but on the whole I can manage my mental health and my emotions a lot better. I’ve got back into exercise again too which really helps. I joined the local gym and I’ve been swimming twice a week, going to the gym a couple of times and doing my Piyo class too, now that it’s started up again.
Other than that I think life has ticked over with work, walks with friends and hanging out with family and my wee friend B. My highlight (apart from car camping) was getting to go to the Eden Project in Cornwall in the summer.
So that’s you all caught up with the excitement that is my life! 😆 I may or may not drop by again. Depends if I can decide what to say. The problem is probably not that I have nothing to say – just that I don’t know where to start! 🤷🏼♀️
Take care my friends. I hope you’re all well, healthy and happy. X
I’m just a little bit excited so I wanted to share this with you. I got a new (to me) car today! 😆
We sold one of the family cars a couple of years ago when my hubby was out of work and we’ve been managing fine with one since – mostly on account of one or other young person living abroad – and then lockdown. Since my son has gone back to work though, and I am now going back out to work next week too it seemed like time to get another one.
We decided that for now the priority is that I can get to work, though hubby would love a car that’s got a bit more street cred. Et voila! I have wheels! The plan is that hubby will get his swanky car when the ‘kids’ are more self sufficient.
What do you think? I love the colour – AND it has heated seats and steering wheel. Perfect for me since I don’t like being cold. I can’t wait to go on some mini adventures in it. 😊
I have been following Melody from Caramel (Learners at Love) for quite some time now. Recently she started a series called The Caramel Crunch and although I like to participate I usually leave a short comment on her post. This week I felt that I had a little more to say on the subject so here is my response to The Caramel Crunch #8.
Mel’s question was:
You have a horrible cold and you realize you are infectious. However, there is a culture in your workplace of still attending work when you are ill. You realize that if you phone in sick, your manager will then have to spend time ringing other staff and may not be able to find someone else who can cover your shift. You realize that the other staff will be under a lot of pressure to keep up with the work. They always turn up for work even when they are ill.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
My answer to Mel’s question is probably not going to be very definative. I realised that I have made different decisions on this very matter depending on the workplace that I have been in.
Many years ago (before my children came along) I worked in a personnel office for the Roads Department of the local authority. I don’t remember having a cold while I worked there (although I was signed off work with anxiety for 6 weeks) but if I had I probably would have taken time off. It was a large open plan office. There were around 8 of us on the team I worked in and most of the staff were fairly young and healthy. I think in that situation my colleagues would have been more upset if I had gone to work and infected them than if they had to pick up some of my workload.
When my kids were very young I did some waitressing and bar work in the evenings when their dad was home to look after them. I guess working with food is a different ‘kettle of fish’ than working in an office anyway but I would have taken time off if I’d had a heavy cold in that situation. I don’t think the customers would have been too impressed if I was breathing my germs all over their food. It definitely would have created more hassle for the managers in the restaurant though. I know they often had difficulty getting shifts covered so they probably would have been cursing me for being ill but equally they probably wouldn’t want me in looking like death warmed up and sneezing all over the place either.
When I was teaching it would have been a very different story. For a start schools are rife with germs. There are always children there with heavy colds in the winter time so this would almost definitely be where I’d picked up the infection from in the first place. There is very much a culture of going to work when you’re ill among teachers. There are several reasons for this:
If you stayed off every time you were ill you’d never be at work because there are so many germs floating around in schools. Obviously if we were talking anything more serious than a heavy cold that would be a different story.
It can be more stressful to communicate the plans you had for your class for the day to someone else than it would be just to go in to school and do the best you could. I remember times when I really was too ill to attend having to email lots of instructions and resources (PowerPoint presentations, worksheets and the like) in to the school before I could relax and begin to recover.
In my area if you were absent from work on more than two occasions you were put on a disciplinary plan. As no one knows when they might be unwell staff didn’t want to take time off for something as straightforward as a cold in case they ended up being unwell again and had to go on to a disciplinary plan. I don’t know the ins and outs of what one of these plans involved as I never needed to go on one but the name in itself was enough to scare people into being at work if they possibly could.
Often the effect of your absence on the pupils would play a big part in the decision too. You realise that (no matter how good they are) the children’s education will be affected by having a supply teacher in while you are off. Having the consistency of a teacher that knows the pupils and their capabilities, knows what they have already covered and what they need to work on next and what their abilities are and what support they need is hard to replace. Many teachers attend work when they are ill simply because they feel the knock on effect on the children’s education would be too significant.
As a self-employed sole trader, I now have a different set of issues to work through if I am unwell. I’d be letting my clients down if I didn’t go to work as there is no one to replace me. I wouldn’t get paid if I didn’t turn up as sick pay and holiday pay are not available – I get paid for the hours I am actually there to do the job. I do have the flexibility to be off in the sense that no one would be having to worry about covering me and there are no disciplinary plans to worry about. I am still largely working in germ infested schools though so I guess I would decide on a case by case basis depending on how ill I really felt.
So to go back to Mel’s question I probably would go to work under the circumstances she described since it seems to be what everyone else does anyway. It sounds like I may well have picked up the infection in that workplace and also like it would have more of a negative impact if I did not attend work than if I did. I think I do tend to weigh up the options in this kind of situation though so it might also depend on the importance of what I was working on at the time.
Well if you’ve made it this far thanks for reading. I realise this was a bit of a long winded answer but it let me chatter on for a bit which will save my hubby listening to me go on about it later 😂. Thanks to Melody for the question too. Do let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts on what I’ve said.
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with routines. We all have them, even if they’re as simple as going to sleep at night or brushing our teeth in the morning. I love them because I feel more productive if I follow a routine but I hate being tied down to them and feeling like I can’t do what I want to do because of BORING routines! There have been times I’ve got so bogged down in them I’ve felt like I HAD to follow them and that just made me feel caged.
One of my good routines has been exercise. Exercise is not something I’ve always found easy (See this post for more) but I got into a good habit with it. Then when I was at my lowest point with depression I wasn’t doing as well with that routine although I’ve mostly managed at least a couple of times a week. I’m getting myself into a new routine with exercise now just to change things up a bit. The last couple of weeks I’ve gone to a class with my friend A on Tuesday mornings and gone swimming on Thursday mornings and I’m still trying to do some weights in the house too on other days. I’m not as consistent with that as I was though.
I used to be pretty good with my housework routines too. When my kids were little I discovered the Flylady (www.flylady.net). She has great suggestions about how to work short routines into your life to keep on top of everything. I never did follow all of her routines but I did try to do an evening and a morning one and did certain housework tasks on certain days of the week (like cleaning toilets on Thursdays 😂). I did struggle a bit with resentment at times when I felt like I was doing everything in the house and the rest of the family weren’t pulling their weight. In reality I put it on myself though. No one asked me to do it or expected me to do everything. Anyway my housework routines have gone to pot. I still try to keep the house tidy when I have the energy and the motivation but the routines are out the window on the whole. Maybe I need to try to work up to doing better with those again? While I’m on this subject I’d love to know your thoughts on this. What works best for you – cleaning a whole room at once or doing one job, like dusting for example, in all the rooms and then vacuuming all the rooms at another time?
My work routine used to be pretty easy. Mondays, Tuesdays and alternate Wednesdays I was in school. On Thursday afternoons and Friday mornings I took relaxation classes. Now that I’m totally self employed that routine is less defined at the moment too. I do have some classes booked in on regular days but quite a few are still up in the air. I think routine is helpful in my work life so that I feel like I’m being useful and productive. I’m getting there with this one though. My latest decision is that Fridays will probably be my day off. 😁
The other really helpful routine I had was my devotional time. I used to be so good at getting up early and spending time reading the Bible and praying and listening to God. I’m not so good at getting up early now. I’m still reading every day and praying but it’s not like it was before. I miss those times. I know I benefited from spending that time alone with Papa God. I need to get back to this routine. This was highlighted for me at church today too. The pastor said ‘sometimes we get frustrated and disappointed rather than hungry.’ I think I’ve done that. I need to get hungry for God again. I know He satisfies.
Anyway enough of my random patter for now. I’d love to know what routines you find helpful? Maybe I could incorporate some of them into my week? Do you struggle with routines sometimes? What helps? I could use some assistance with this. 🙂
So I haven’t updated you on life since getting back from Tenerife. We were very quickly back into the routine as I had work the day after we got home. As soon as I’m back at work it pretty much feels like I was never away – I imagine most jobs are the same? As well as work and running three classes last week I also did some babysitting for a couple of different friends. I met up with my previous pastor’s wife and with a woman who wanted to find out more about the business I run. We went to a worship night at a friend’s house, I got my hair done and I went to see my counsellor. I had a new experience last Saturday too. I joined a march organised by the teachers’ unions in Scotland. I’m not particularly political and I’ve never done any sort of demonstrations before but it seemed right to take a stand on this and of course we arranged to go for a few gins after the event 😉. It was a great atmosphere as there were somewhere between twenty and thirty thousand people there (depending which report you read). We went to see a couple of friends in their AmDram production of The Sound of Music – there were some pretty talented people in the cast and we reckon that one of our friends really suits being a nun! 😂 I also finally got round to picking up our finished pots from the Craft Pottery – here are some pics for those of you who are following that experience. Now we just have to decide what to do with the finished products. Our options so far are: have some fun smashing them up, stick them directly in the bin or give them to some of our poor unsuspecting friends and family for Christmas 😂 – they might never forgive us! Cast your votes or make a suggestion in the comments 😝.
This past week was much the same as the last with work, classes, counsellor and babysitting. We also went to visit a friend in hospital and went to the cinema to see A Star is Born with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. I really enjoyed the movie and the music was great although my hubby thought the storyline was a bit slow moving. Last night I had a work night out for my boss leaving – it was a bit of a strange one as most people are not that upset that she’s gone. There was a good turn out though so there were plenty of people to talk to. I had planned to leave early and go on to another friend’s house for drinks but I ended up spending half the night waiting for friends who said they were just leaving and didn’t even order another drink because of that!! What a disaster! 😆
In between all the ‘calendar events’ and the more mundane aspects of living (like housework) I’ve watched some TV shows, read some books, listened to some music and played some guitar. Here are some of the details of what I’ve watched, read and listened to recently if you’re interested:
TV Shows I’ve Enjoyed
The Great British Bake Off
The Good Place (new episodes still to come)
Suits (went back to this after a break to finish it off – still got a few to watch)
Books I’ve Read
I already told you about Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning
When Heaven Invades Earth by Bill Johnson (still working through the devotional at the back of this one – it’s really challenging)
Anatomy of an Affair by Dave Carder (if you’re married or thinking about getting married this is an interesting read)
Life with No Breaks by Nick Spalding (this one’s just for a laugh and I’m not finished it yet – don’t read it if you’re easily offended though)
Some of the Songs I Like Right Now
Overcomer by Mandisa
Write your Story by Francesca Battistelli
Bulletproof by Citizen Way
Prodical by Sidewalk Prophets
Shallow by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (from the movie)
Lost Without You by Freya Ridings (love her voice)
Promises by Calvin Harris & Sam Smith
All I Am by Jess Glynne
Songs I’m Learning to Play
Do It Again by Elevation Worship
Abba (Arms of a Father) by Jonathan David Helser
Thy Will by Hilary Scott and the Scott Family
Who Can Compare to You by Matt Stinton (Bethel)
Your Love Defends Me by Matt Maher
So that’s about it for now. Have a great weekend and I’ll write again soon. x