Friday, 22 January 2021

Friday

Well I had a go at the tai chi yesterday but had to give up - it was impossible to follow what the instructor was doing as the screen kept freezing. I tried logging out and logging back in but it didn't make any difference so there's still a question mark over tai chi as a potential new form of exercise. I'll try again next week.

The rest of the day was taken up with phone calls. As well as the ones I'd arranged I also heard from several other friends with plans for various online meetups and I now have plenty in the diary to look forward to.  I know I sound like an ungrateful brat, but I do hope today is much quieter!

I signed up for a language learning site in the hope that I can link up with someone who is fluent in Italian and is learning English. The aim is to have a weekly Zoom meeting so we can both reinforce what we've learned so far and have to opportunity to practice speaking with someone who can correct pronunciation and provide guidance. I contacted a couple of people so am waiting on their responses.

There's nothing I have to do today so I can please myself. So, some reading definitely and also some work on the family tree, and possibly choose some new music to start working on. 

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Thursday

Yesterday turned out to be a very interesting day filled with pleasant activities, some planned, some unplanned. I'll start with the cooking demonstration. 

This was a free online Zoom session organised by Care Visions Healthy Ageing. The demo was advertised as cooking with Italian where the demonstrator would introduce the Italian words and phrases for the ingredients used in the recipes, which was my main reason for signing up for it. As it turned out, although she was very chatty, there was very little emphasis on the Italian language side of things so that was a little disappointing. To start with I wasn't impressed as the camera set up meant that you could only see her but none of the actual preparation of ingredients or the cooking was visible but it seems that one of her cameras wasn't working properly and when that was resolved, about 15 minutes before the end, it was much better and the preparation and cooking area could be seen. The recipes were emailed when I signed up for the session but her approach was very much along the lines of the recipe being a guideline and to substitute and add/omit ingredients to suit your own tastes. She mentioned weights occasionally but her own approach was cooking by eye (the way my Mum taught me) and I liked her style. I will try her next session next week and from that, decide whether I want to continue with the live sessions - the benefit of the live session is that you have the opportunity to ask questions. It looks like it is recorded and the videos are then made available on their YouTube channel. 

Their YouTube channel has some interesting videos of their weekly sessions - quiz, singing, book club, dance, tai chi + many others. So far I have signed up for another cooking with Italian one and will attempt tai chi tomorrow morning!

I got myself mixed up with the starting time of the cookery demo and originally thought I'd watch that that and then watch the US Presidential Inauguration but they both started at the same time so I missed the first hour of the  programme. I switched over just in time to watch Lady Gaga sing the National Anthem and so saw them take their oaths and heard Biden's speech and watched until the end of the UK coverage.

The morning post brought a letter from the Office of National Statistics advising that my address was one of the half a million selected for inclusion in a study. I'm so excited about this because I never get chosen for this sort of thing, so this is a first. Anyway, I've followed their instructions and registered on their website so now have to wait for them to contact me. The study will be carried out via a phone call rather than the face-to-face meeting that would usually happen and for my troubles a £10 gift voucher was included in the envelope, which was a lovely surprise.

I had a phone call from friend E in the evening arranging for our usual group to link up and solve an online escape room mystery. We solved it with about two , remaining on the clock and it was good fun, although we've all agreed that we need to be better organised as a group for the next one. This was a spur of the moment thing organised by E because she was bored (!) but we've agreed that we'll schedule the next one - I should get an email about it later this week. It's obviously not as good as a real life in person escape room but it was a good alternative and it's something else to look forward to.

On to today ... we're promised a sunny day so, if that's correct, I want to get out for some fresh air, but before that can happen I have booked myself on to one of the Tai Chi sessions. It starts at 9:30am and as I type this, I'm not sure that I have the energy to do it ... in good hobbit style, the thought of a second breakfast is more appealing! Joking aside, I'm not sure how safe I will be as my knee is more painful than it has been for months so weight bearing is dodgy and my balance is compromised. I need to see the doctor about it but want to wait until I have received at least the first dose of the vaccine.

I have video calls arranged with friend J (this afternoon) and L (this evening), and I also want to catch up with my sister if she has the time - her focus is on unpacking and settling in their new home, so it depends on what she has planned. In between all that I think I'll carry on with the family tree research ... that should keep me out of mischief!

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Wednesday

I don't really have much to say for myself today so this will be a very short post. I'm looking forward to another quiet day, spent indoors as the weather is dire. I think it'll be a pottering, doing whatever grabs my attention sort of morning and this afternoon I'm 'going' to a Zoom Italian cookery demo which, as well as the cooking will also focus on useful Italian words and phrases to do with foods. I'll also watch the US Presidential Inauguration though I may miss the start if the cooking demo runs over.

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

Tuesday

Yesterday was almost entirely taken up with sorting out my will. In the end, it wasn't quite as straightforward as I thought it would be but the solicitor provided clear and easy to understand advice on the revised tax implications/probate and helped me future proof my wishes as much as is possible. The Zoom meeting lasted for almost three hours instead of the one hour I was expecting but I'm pleased with how the consultation went and am confident that the document will reflect my wishes. I'll receive it for signature within 28 days, so that'll be one less thing to worry about.

I had already set up a power of attorney but it isn't easy to cover all the bases and I discussed this briefly with him as it's a service they also offer. I know it's something I can do for myself online using the government website to keep the costs down but I think it'll be worth paying for it to be done properly as the instructions in the document have the potential to impact on my quality of life in the future. Just this brief chat made me realise that mine needs updating to clarify some of my wishes so he's sending me the details of their charges and I can decide what I want to do.

I now have brain ache and have decided that I've done enough grown up stuff to last the week so I'm reverting to my child brain, i.e. my normal brain, and am looking forward to a leisurely week of pottering and fun things. Today's fun things include flute or clarinet, reading, sudoku online, and some more family tree research.

Monday, 18 January 2021

Me on Monday

Me on Monday is ... 

... feeling relaxed after a quiet weekend. I didn't do much, just a couple of odd jobs around the house, chats with friends, and some reading but mostly sleeping! 

... ready and waiting for today's Zoom meeting with a solicitor to update my will. I put everything I need in a pile yesterday so I don't have a last minute panic - it did cross my mind that it was a bit like the old days of getting my bags ready for the next day at school! 

... enjoying some of the latest offerings on TV. I watched the new series of Dancing on Ice, Would I Lie To You, and The Great Pottery Throw Down over the weekend but I need to watch The Landscape Artist of the Year on catch up before the second episode on Wednesday.

... wondering whether I need to replace my printer. Yesterday I printed out all the music for tonight's choir session and that was all fine, but when I printed out the draft of my will there were huge chunks of the text missing. I don't think it's to do with cleaning the heads as the missing text is the start of most of the paragraphs; it's completely missing, not fuzzy or smudged, and where it has printed the text is crisp and easy to read. I've checked the document and I haven't accidently marked some of the text as hidden so I will need to do some investigating later on.

... aiming for a fairly quiet week. I have other projects on my 2021 to-do list but don't feel the need to rush to get them done. Before the end of the month I want to take a look at the meal planning for February but I have plenty of time before I need to place my next food order.

... excited to have a few things in the diary now I've signed up for some free online courses. The first is on Wednesday and is a combination of cooking and learning the Italian language, where you watch a couple of recipes being cooked and at the same time learn Italian phrases to do with food and ordering in a cafe or restaurant. It wasn't clear on the level of Italian required so am hoping it is suitable for beginners! The recipes for this first session are Mediterranean Lentil Salad and Mediterranean Chicken Kebabs with Garlic Yoghurt Sauce.

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Weekly Reflections

 Reasons to be cheerful ...

  • a long chat with T and S, my friendly neighbours
  • a delivery of parcels from Argos, to replace the broken bathroom scales and a non-stick frying pan that had forgotten how to be non-stick
  • a walk to the marina to take some photos for my monthly photo challenge
  • completing the admin reorganisation and the first big task to be ticked off the 2021 to-do list
  • enjoying the new series of The Great Pottery Throw Down, and Would I Lie To You, and ...
  • looking forward to the new series of Dancing on Ice which starts this evening
  • phone calls and Zoom meets with friends
  • even more bulbs peeping through the soil 😁

I am grateful ...
  • that my blood pressure and blood tests have been done, only eight weeks later than originally due. 
  • for the support of family and friends
  • for a well maintained car (all thanks to T and D) so I can avoid using public transport

Lifestyle Changes
  • Knee Strengthening (every day): achieved
  • Exercise: {coughs} I'm trying! I've attempted some form of exercise most days but it's a struggle
  • Practicing self-compassion: achieved

Saturday, 16 January 2021

Changing Things Round

Yesterday turned out of be a lovely day. I only did my usual daily activities but I changed the order I did them in and it made all the difference. I like to have a structure to my day. It suits me and has played a big part in helping me cope with the isolation of lockdown but instead of being a loose framework to enhance the rhythm of the day, lately I've been aware that this seems to have evolved into a rigid timetable which isn't what I want at all. So yesterday I decided to ring the changes and see how I felt about it. I was pleased with how I responded to the changes, feeling more relaxed and generally enjoying each chosen activity ... being more 'in the moment' definitely has its plusses!

I usually start the day with knee strengthening followed by whatever exercise I decide on for the day, followed by breakfast but yesterday I started with breakfast ... soft boiled egg with toast soldiers and an apple to finish. I'm trying to focus and enjoy each activity I choose to do, so breakfast was a much more relaxed affair than it has been lately and I even made the time to lay the table, something I haven't bothered with for ages. 

It was cold but dry, so I opened up the windows and French doors to give the house a good airing while I prepared the vegetables for my main meal and cleared the table. As I closed each window I wiped the windowsill to save having to do it next week. Doing it this way didn't seem to take any time at all but it always feels like a big job when it's on the to-do list for some reason! I'd normally do my Italian and piano practices next but instead took advantage of the lack of rain and went for a walk around the marina. I took a load of phone photos for my monthly challenge and one for the WPSH so won't include them here. This is the only one that wasn't for one of the challenges so, although it's not a particularly good photo, I do like the light and will attempt some better ones with my DSLR.


I should have wrapped up warmer but despite feeling chilled I did enjoy the walk. I was out for about 40 minutes so in the end I exercised for longer than I would have done at home. I was expecting it to be busy as it's the first dry day for a while but it was surprisingly quiet ... I only saw three other people, all walking on their own and all too far away to be of concern about maintaining social distancing.

I had a mug of steaming hot coffee to warm me through when I got home and enjoyed that while I checked my emails, and then tackled the last bit of filing and shredding, started a load of washing, and cooked my main meal ... roast chicken, roast potatoes and carrots, with sprouts, runner beans and the last bit of cauliflower. I didn't think the veg was going to last until Sunday hence a roast dinner on a Friday. While that was cooking I did my knee exercises, Italian practice, and booked myself on some more freebie online activities ... more about those another day.

By the time I'd eaten and cleared away it was still only mid afternoon so I made camp in the living room and whiled away the rest of the day reading and playing online puzzle games. I didn't tackle the piano practice until the evening which was a bit of a mistake on my part ... it didn't go too well so it's something I need to do earlier in the day while I still have one or two brain cells capable of functioning properly and before my hands get too painful.

I watched some TV - A Question of Sport and Would I Lie To You - then a soak in the bath, a bit more reading, an an early-ish night. Sleep is proving to be rather elusive again and I'm often still wide awake into the early hours but I am sticking to my bedtime routine. I'm thinking of it in terms of 'going to bed' rather than 'going to sleep' and count the lying in bed part as a form of relaxation.

Today I want to tackle various odd jobs around the house and, if the promised rain holds off, take some photos in the garden. There'll be a flying visit from R and a Zoom meeting with friends to look forward to and I also have the pleasant task of choosing my next book to read. 

Friday, 15 January 2021

Friday

The medical tests were over and done with really quickly yesterday. I was a little anxious about people maintaining the correct distancing in the waiting room but there was no need to worry at all as the public area has has a complete overhaul. As well as the screens on the reception desk, the fitted seating in the waiting room, which previously could seat about 60 people, has been removed and there were 15 chairs spread out in the room. The entrance door is locked and you now have to use an intercom to gain access, appointment only, and if you arrive too early there are seats outside to wait ... very strict! When you're allowed in, they take your temperature, log your attendance for track and trace, and provide sanitiser to use before you can go into the waiting room. They provide masks for anyone who arrives without one. I only had to wait for a few minutes before being called to the treatment room, so it all felt a lot safer than I was expecting. 

From the time I left home to the time I arrived back it poured down so there was no chance of a walk. I haven't been too lucky with the weather this week. I took the long route home just to give the car a run out so I had the change of scene I wanted. It cheered me up anyway. The rain stopped not long after I got home!

I made a start on the paperwork once I'd had a coffee and sorted through the last lot. I still have to do the shredding and filing, and make up a parcel of the documents and items I want to return to his family, but I'm almost at the finishing line. 

The talk on poisons in Victorian medicines was just under an hour long and gave an amusing overview of the ingredients used back in the day when health and safety legislation was non existent - so cocaine, heroin, opium, you name it and it was in some form of medication easily available to anyone who wanted it! 

On to today and my diary is empty. I have no firm plans for what I'll do with myself once I've filed the last bits of paperwork and finished off the shredding, which will take about 30 minutes max. I have the rest of the day to fill so Italian practice and exercise, then maybe some reading, piano playing, watch a film, phone calls with friends ... a pottering sort of day!

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Thursday

I have to brave the outside world this morning. I have an appointment for blood tests and blood pressure check, so can't avoid going to the surgery.  I've been lucky enough to have had telephone/online consultations with my GP since the first lockdown so at least once these test results are back, and assuming they are okay, this should be the only time I have to visit the surgery for another year. 

I don't need any food so will resist the temptation to visit any shops while I'm in town but, weather permitting, will take the opportunity to walk around the town park for a change of scene ... and maybe take some photos if it's reasonably quiet.

This afternoon I plan to finish sorting through the paperwork. I want to get it out of the way today; I've looked through everything so nothing will come as a shock. It was the documents with photo ID which threw me yesterday as I'd completely forgotten they were there.

The rest of my time will be filled with my nose in a book - still The Binding as I got a little sidetracked yesterday and listened to the audiobook of The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I found it for free on BBC Sounds, only available for another four days so I took the opportunity to listen to it while I had the time. There are plenty of other audiobooks on this site, all free, so will go back to have a good look at some stage.

This evening I have a ticket to an online talk on the poisons that were found in Victorian medicines. It's another freebie!

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

A Day Off!

I'm giving myself a day off from the paperwork reorganisation. I've nearly finished but looking through what remains of my late partner's documents was rather more emotionally draining than I was expecting and I want a break before I carry on. 

I'm keen to carry on with my book, The Binding by Bridget Collins. I'm loving it and it's the first page turner I've read for ages, so that'll be my day ... read, eat, drink coffee, repeat!