Poetry in motion

Every week we have a family ‘zoom’ task master challenge. My brother set it up at the start of lockdown. His partner and her family join us, my parents and my cousin and family from over in North Carolina. In the week we are sent two tasks to complete by 5pm Saturday. We tune in and all vote on the best.

The tasks have been completely different and I must admit the boys and I face them with slight panic and trepidation. Creativity is not our strong point. It’s been fun though and the boys have pretty much taken control of it over the weeks, producing home made videos, self portraits made of garden materials and pictures out of bread. One of today’s tasks was a poem. The instruction was as follows:

Write a poem entitled LOCKDOWN with each line starting with the letter of that title.

The boys did not want to do this one. They refused to even try. I think poetry is so tough but I gave it a go. I decided to just write it and after 15 mins produced a submission. I decided to share it with you here. If anyone else wants to join in the fun then please do create your own version. Post it on your blog or in the comments on mine. Good luck 😉


LOCKDOWN

Lower those expectations, I’m not a poet

Oh my God, this is so hard to do

Can’t think of any words that rhyme or sound good

Keeping it clean the whole way through

Desperately trying to appear creative

Only my thoughts are in lockdown today

Why does my brother put me through hell?

Need calm, need peace, I’m done, Namaste!


Love Claire xx

Waxing lyrical

Goodness it’s been a little while since I caught up with my blog. I find it easier to write about things that have been happening in my life rather than selecting a ‘topic’ so that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I think I won’t have any particular order to my ramblings today. I’ll just write as things pop into my head.

On Monday evening this week I was taken aback by seeing photos of many English residents heading out in droves to the seaside and country locations. Pictures or large groups of people sat together and close to other groups. My husband said it was rammed in our local park where he had ridden with the boys. Gangs of lads and girls, groups of adults clearly from mixed families. I honestly thought I had missed a vital government announcement thar lockdown was cancelled. Turns out this virus is so fragile it’s fading out all by itself. Maybe there was a nugget of info I’d glossed over whilst trying to wade through the reports of disgusting and incongruous behaviour of Mr Cummings. But no! I hadn’t missed anything new. We were still in lockdown with strict guidelines that we should only meet one other person, in a public outside area and remain 2 metres away. What is wrong with people? Stop being so bloody self centred!

I’m struggling with a friend of mine who considers herself to have a more ‘relaxed’ attitude than some, proudly announcing that she’s non-conformist but not judging anyone else. I think it totally passed her by that referring to her approach as relaxed immediately places a judgement on the behaviour of others as uptight and OTT. But then she was never one to have much self awareness or consideration for others. Probably why she’s able to feel so relaxed when she risks the health and well-being of others to meet her own immediate needs. Before sobriety I would’ve responded to messages from her with little thought for the consequences of speaking my mind. Now I make a considered decision whether it’s worth putting across my point of view. I decided in this case not. I did make it clear that I take different actions, whilst acknowledging that it’s her own choice. Not drinking has allowed me to let these things go and not create further tension when it’s unhelpful and not needed.

I took a few days annual leave over our bank holiday weekend. Loads of decluttering, moving my youngest son into a larger room and all his consoles upstairs into a ‘gaming’ room. This leaves the back room downstairs for me and the guinea pigs. It’s bright and sunny. I have my office space in the corner, I can lie my yoga mat out easily and I have my boy’s keyboard in there ready to learn piano on my new app. Biscuit, Toffee and I are all set in our new space. It felt good to declutter. We carried on with the garage too. On Monday I took the day to relax. No housework. No food shopping. Yoga, a walk and the new task I had to accomplish… leg waxing. Don’t worry, I am used to having my legs waxed. I’m not totally nuts. I have never attempted it myself though. I must admit, after a few false starts, where I’d clearly not followed the direction of hair growth (tricky to work that one out) and when one piece of waxing strip managed to get stuck to my coffee mug, the table and my finger, I did ok. Fairly smooth and shiny. Unfortunately I’d carried out this activity outside on a sunny day and by the evening I was smooth, shiny, bright red and sore.

I have discovered some lovely walking routes close by our house. All these years and I never knew they were there. My mum and I finally met up for a walk for the first time since March. It was a glorious day and we managed around 5 miles. My mum is 76 – pretty bloody amazing too. My running has slipped. I can’t find my running mojo. As I said to one of my lovely bloggers the other day, I keep looking for it in the biscuit tin and chocolate drawer of the fridge but it’s never there, or if it is, I’m far too distracted by the bar of wholenut or the chocolate covered almonds to notice it. I’ve stuck with yoga every day. Only 20 to 40 minutes. I’m not losing any weight but I find it very soothing and relaxing. I must be the only person who gave up alcohol and gained weight!

Today, when I left for work I received a huge bouquet of flowers. It was a thank you from a lady who lives in the street next to ours. I didn’t know her before the lockdown but she contacted me via my leaflets offering support. I’ve been doing her food shop for her as her son became ill and then went rapidly downhill with COVID-19. Happily, after a stint in hospital on a ventilator, he recovered and is now much better. I was totally taken aback by the flowers and sent the lady a text to thank her. She said I’d been the light in an extremely dark time. I honestly don’t think anyone has ever said anything nicer to me.

My beautiful flowers

I will stop now. I have some other things I planned to touch on but I’ll leave those for another day. Right now I’d like to go play some scrabble with a good friend. Sending you all love and hugs 🤗

Love Claire xx

Finding Zen

I’m just going to start writing and maybe add things as the day progresses. If I don’t start somewhere, it’ll never happen and I’ll basically be a very lazy blogger. One who just reads and comments but never creates anything of their own. That will never do. Though I do love to keep up with people’s blogs and give my four penneth worth, busy body that I am!

Life has not changed very much since the ‘easing’ of some restrictions. Not for me anyway. Clearly for many others it meant no more social distancing, hanging out with friends and throwing any caution to the wind. Not helped by the total confusion caused by the government’s mixed messages. As far as I could make out it was chaos and bedlam. So I stayed home. Worked from my bedroom (which I’ve come to hate doing) and ate shed loads of chocolate. Think I’ll let the others who appear to have either no fear or sense be the guinea pigs in this little trial.

I’m trying hard to find ways to relax and de-stress when I’m not working. It’s difficult sometimes and on Saturday morning I completely lost my cool. Shame really as I’d just completed my very first ever yoga session and the lovely relaxed and positive feeling lasted a grand total of 5 minutes. It all started when I noticed chunks taken out of the sideboard, a smashed Xbox controller, random mess and crap everywhere and …. wait for it …. no milk left for my mid morning coffee!! Yup, that’s right. I saw red, blew my top, the proverbial hit the fan, I went bat shit crazy. When that happens in our house the boys tend to know it’s a very bad situation. I yelled, shouted, stomped around and there were even tears and a few words the children should not have heard. In the end I had a new office space set up in a warm corner of the back room overlooking the garden. Said room and kitchen were cleaned and hoovered. My bedroom was reestablished as a bedroom. Milk was purchased and coffee drank. Calmness ensued and Mum was chilled once again.

I have persevered with the yoga app and actually do enjoy it. It’s very basic and short but it’s what I need right now. I’ve managed a few runs too, still not kicking it’s ass yet but I get out. That’s enoogh. Anxiety, and particularly depression, is always lurking, never far away. It takes hard work to keep them both at bay. I have a much better understanding of myself and my triggers but some days I just want to hide away. That’s ok though. Just as long as I don’t hide for too long I guess.

Sadly it would appear I am better at demolishing and destroying the garden than nurturing or growing it. Two plants are already looking decidedly dodgy yet the weeds respond well to my green fingered attempts. We have become quite friendly with two sets of neighbours as we can now practically walk into their garden. They thought they had an intruder the other day, but it was my eldest son picking up his football. There are plans for fencing very soon so I will be safe to hang the washing out dressed only in pjs once again.

The most amazing thing about all of the above, the quiet calm, the loss of temper, the anxiety and low moods and the gardening, is this. I am doing it 100% sober. I reached my 6 month sober milestone yesterday and it felt like a regular, everyday thing. No booze for 6 months. So what? Easy peasy. Except those of you on this journey of sobriety know it’s not. It wasn’t for me anyway. It involved a lot of change. It meant becoming a different person to the one I had been for many years. I had to challenge my identity and adjust my view. I’m still changing now, 6 months on. For the better I hope. No, scrap that last comment. For the better I’m sure. I am the happiest I have been in a long time. Not with the global situation as it is, not necessarily with some aspects of my life but with myself and who I am. That might sound intense and dramatic but it is also true.

Right, time for session 3 of yoga, lunch and swotting up on some new vocabulary for my word feud scrabble challenge.

Just a pose I learnt yesterday

Love Claire xx

Bubble

I’m sitting out in my garden, in the beautiful weather, taking a teeny break from work and my laptop. I’m tapping this out on my lovely new iPad and feeling very much at peace with the world today. Not a cloud in the sky. The birds are tweeting and singing in the background and the boys have (reluctantly) embarked on a bike ride with their dad.

Firstly, thank you to the nominated bloggers who answered the questions in my last post. I know these things aren’t everyone’s cup of tea so please don’t feel any pressure to respond if you were nominated and don’t want to take part. It was, however, great to read more about those of you that did follow up with a post.

Secondly, I’m making the most of this week as I have a feeling that, once again, life is about to be turned upside down. Certainly for the UK anyway. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to work from home. The lockdown rules look set to be relaxed or altered, with schools possibly returning etc etc. I have no idea what it will all look like and the idea does worry and concern me. I have become used to less people and isolation. My birthday was probably one of my favourites for a good few years. No pressure to organise anything and no need to try and meet up with various family and friends. It was simply a day to do exactly what I wanted with no side order of guilt. Maybe that’s selfish but I really enjoyed myself.

I have become anxious around groups of people. Those ‘space invaders’ are increasing in numbers daily and I find myself feeling like an alien in their world. I think I’ve even made an art out of social distancing … I’m an antisocial distancer! I think about crowded bars and restaurants and have absolutely no desire to go back into them once they reopen. The thought of my train commute to work and the walk through the city centre fills me with horror. Am I becoming agoraphobic? I don’t think so. I still love to be outside and I want to see and spend time with certain people. Just not lots of people, in one place, all at once. Is that the definition of agoraphobia? Maybe.

I’m sure I’ll become used to hustle and bustle again. Busy places and crowds. It’s likely to be gradual I guess. A few more people here and there each day. I’ll have to get used to it in order to carry on doing my job. No choice. I suspect many people will decide to be ‘homebodies’ even when lockdown is eased. Slowly dipping their toe in the social pool. Holding onto the side and keeping a float to hand as opposed to jumping in with a dive bomb straight off. It will be strange to watch and experience society re-engaging with each other. Testing out human contact outside their home bubbles once again.

Yet again we are about to face many changes and new rules for living. More challenges and the unknown and uncontrollable. Which is why, for now, I am going to remain in the moment, in my bubble, in the sun. At peace.

Love Claire xx

Liebster Award

Well, how exciting! The lovely Collette nominated me for the Liebster Award and although I hadn’t come across it before, her description of the meaning of the German word ‘Liebster’ is lovely. Look it up. Whilst you’re at it, take a look at Collette’s blog Wine to Water. It’s one of my favourite reads and she writes beautifully. It’s honest, thought provoking and true to life and I just know you’ll love it. Thanks so much Collette, I am very flattered to be nominated. I really enjoyed finding out about you in your Liebster Award post. I hope I do the nomination justice.

Rules

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions given to you.
  • Share 11 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5-11 other bloggers.
  • Ask your nominees 11 questions.
  • Notify your nominees one you have uploaded your post.

My answers to Collette’s questions …

  1. If you had the ability to turn back time, what time period would you return to? My answer to this is a little dull really. I’d like to go back to the naughties. 2004 to 2014 specifically. I’d love to just experience my little babies once more and also the toddler and early school years. I love them dearly now but if I had a chance to experience it again …
  2. If you could return anything you own and get a refund, what would it be and why? My food processor. It was on my wedding gift list and it’s huge and literally never been used. It has 101 attachments and a billion different functions. It scares me! It’s sat in a cupboard for almost 17 years and I can’t bring myself to bin it. Oh the guilt!!
  3. If you could get rid of one vegetable or fruit in the entire world, what would it be and why? Raisins. I don’t think I even need to give an explanation. Devil’s food.
  4. Is there an item you find completely useless and it shouldn’t even exist in the first place? Eyelash curlers.
  5. If you could live anywhere, where would it be? This is a really tricky one as I’m not really very well travelled. From the things I’ve heard, read and seen I’d like to try New Zealand. The outdoor living with beautiful scenery. The ‘Swiss Sundayposts of Bereaved Single Dad have definitely put Switzerland up there in my top three. In all honesty though, I love the UK. I don’t like how it’s run and there’s a great deal I’d change if I could but it’s a beautiful place. I’d perhaps move nearer the sea or into the countryside though.
  6. What is your biggest fear? I’m frightened of losing those I love and cherish.
  7. What is your favourite family vacation? We have had some fab family holidays but I have to say, my favourite is probably our trip to the US a couple of years back. We saw so much, visited amazing places mountains, beaches, New York, Washington plus we spent real quality time in North Carolina with my cousin and his gorgeous family. All four of us had a phenomenal experience. It was the perfect family holiday.
  8. What would you change about yourself if you could? Hmmm 🤔 how shallow should I be here? My wrinkles, my pot belly, my inability to do anything musical? Actually my first thought was my depression. It is something I really wish I didn’t struggle with but I am much better now and it happens less and is short lived. I just wish it didn’t happen at all, mainly because of the impact it has on those I love.
  9. What makes you really angry? Injustice and unfairness. In anything. I’ve had to learn to let those things go a little more as it only leads to bitterness and resentment. They are not a good look!
  10. What is your proudest accomplishment? Can I cheat and have two? The first is my boys. I’m so proud of them both and the young adults they are developing into. The second, without doubt, is becoming sober over 5 months ago. I had a very dependent relationship with alcohol and it was a hugely important part of my life. Giving it up has literally changed my life, for the better. I am a different person and I take all the credit for getting to this place. I don’t mind boasting about it!
  11. What was the last movie you went to? What did you think? The Rise of Skywalker. This is the final film in the Star Wars trilogy. It was generally quite boring and all a bit far fetched and fairytale. I don’t often get to go and watch films at the cinema of my own choosing. It’s often star wars, marvel or similar. That’s the joy of being a mum of boys I guess.

11 facts about me

  • My birthday is on Sunday
  • I have ‘twin toes’ on my right foot
  • I love to sing but I’m awful at singing
  • I cross stitch 😡 🧵
  • I am a Speech and Language Therapist and I work with children and adults with cleft lip and palate or speech issues related to palate function.
  • I have two boys. They are 15 and 12 years old. They are polar opposites of each other in every way.
  • I love to play scrabble. My new favourite obsession is Word Feud online.
  • I can balance on my right leg for 149 seconds and on my left for 147 seconds. That’s my best effort to date!
  • I love all things ‘theatre’ … one of my favourite activities is a trip to the theatre. Musicals, plays, classical performances, concerts … anything. I’d love to have acted on the stage but never had the guts (or the talent!)
  • I have a fiery temper.
  • I am sober and delighted about it.

My nominees are:

  • Anne at Nomorebeer2019. This lady is sparky, bright, funny and honest. She can vary her style of writing and is always fantastic to read. Her support on mine and others blogs has been invaluable. She is one of my ‘Wordpress tribe’ and has a great way of saying it as it is.
  • Paige, Beyond Hedonism, is new to this … blogging and giving up the booze. She is doing brilliantly at sticking with something that is incredibly difficult to do. She is following a path many of us have walked down. Go check her out and support her.
  • Bereaved Single Dad has most likely been nominated for this award before but hey ho, he now has to answer my questions! His blog is a delight to read and he touches on many different subjects, with an unassuming and self deprecating style of writing that draws you in.
  • My final nominee is Anna, Storm in a Wine Glass. A lovely lady who has shared some really honest experiences about her life and who is forever encouraging of others. She too is open and honest and a huge support to many. Plus a great writer to boot.

I’m excited to find out more about my fellow blogging nominees so here are your 11 questions ….

  1. If you could have had any job/career what would it have been?
  2. If you were stranded on a desert island what three items would you choose to have with you?
  3. What the thing you like most about yourself?
  4. If you could relive one day again, exactly as it was before, what day would it be and why?
  5. If you could only see one more band/singer live, who would it be?
  6. What is your biggest achievement in your life so far?
  7. What’s your favourite way to relax (keep it clean please!)?
  8. You can have a superpower for a year. Which one would you choose?
  9. What’s your favourite time of day and why?
  10. What are you most afraid of?
  11. What are your ‘words to live by?’ Name the three most important for you.

Thanks again Collette for nominating me. I look forward to reading the responses to my questions and a few little facts about some of my favourite bloggers.

Love Claire xx

Lists, lists, lists …

I can’t sleep. I’m just lying here staring into the dark and wondering what I should do. I’ve decided I will post on my blog. Just fill the time waiting to drift off and put my private thoughts down for all to read. I like to share! I read somewhere that you should write down what goes through your mind when you can’t sleep. I think I’ll do it as a list, spurred on by the recent post by blogger bereavedandbeingasingleparent. Here is my list of ‘keeping me awake’ thoughts …

  1. Why can’t I sleep? All I’ve wanted to do today is sleep and now I’m wide awake!
  2. Why has running become so difficult? It feels as if each leg is filled with lead and every step is a huge effort.
  3. I have successfully managed three days on my significant reduction in sugar diet. It’s bloody torture.
  4. I realised that 5.1g of sugar per 100ml in alcohol free wine is A LOT of sugar!! Now I have to kick that addiction too. Am I psychologically attached to AF wine now?
  5. My 15 year old son looks like a huge adult now. He takes up so much space.
  6. I actually don’t understand what my 15 year old says some of the time. For a speech and language therapist, that’s poor!
  7. I’m still a bundle of pins and needles with stiff wrists, arms and hands. No feedback from MRI over 3 weeks ago. Do I chase it? I suspect I’m just getting old.
  8. I reached 5 months sober last Friday. I celebrated by ordering an early birthday present for myself. An ipad Air. Never having owned an iPad I am ridiculously excited for it to arrive.
  9. I bet my iPad doesn’t come for ages.
  10. My birthday is less that two weeks away. I’m going to celebrate the day by heading to los Lounges, les Gardenia, Santa Bedroomed and Playa de Kitchena. I’ll also take a super exciting trip to ‘Worlde de Outside’ for up to an hour. I’m looking forward to it already.
  11. I don’t really miss drinking at the moment. For someone who loved to drink at home that’s pretty good going.
  12. I don’t miss social outings with lots of people either, particularly centred around drinking
  13. I keep forgetting to face time or Skype people for a social catch up
  14. I’ve realised I’m actually quite an antisocial person.
  15. What if a test for antibodies is developed? Will there be two distinct groups of communities? Those with an ID card that proves they are immune to Covid-19 and those without. The cans and the cannots?
  16. Are my children actually learning anything via homeschooling at the moment? When will they have to submit anything to be checked? How do you learn if you don’t ever have any feedback?
  17. Will I ever know what to do about my relationship with my husband? Why can’t I put my finger on what is wrong? What is it I want?
  18. I’m quite enjoying not having to think about what I’m wearing or what I look like.
  19. For some reason I’m not getting notifications that people have replied to my comments. Am I on a ‘word press’ naughty list?
  20. Will I ever get to sleep?

There we have it. 20 thoughts, listed in no sensible order. Lots of unanswered questions. To be honest I’m not sure it’s helped writing them down. It’s passed the time though. I now have around 6 hrs before a video meeting which I am supposed to be leading. Joy.

I’m going to stay positive and be grateful though. A quick grateful list …

  • I’m grateful my family is currently healthy and well
  • I’m grateful I have a job and I am able to contact and support my patients and their families
  • Thankfully I am working from home tomorrow so I can always move from my office to my bed in two (maybe three) steps and have a little midday lunchtime snooze if needed
  • I’m bloody ecstatic that I have an iPad on its way (that’s terribly shallow and materialistic I know, but I’m being truthful here)
  • I am so so grateful I won’t wake up in a few hours feeling hung over and shitty. Tired yes, but miserable from too much wine, no.
  • Finally I thank goodness for my blog. I can spew it all out here and get it off my chest. Unfortunately you lot had to read it all! 😁

Stay safe, sleep well

Claire xx

Easter kindness

I have to say, I don’t always find writing on my own blog very easy. I love reading other people’s and commenting but I just can’t seem to find the right words for my own post. Having said that, I’ve sat myself down in front of the lap top and I think I’m just going to chat about my Easter weekend. Just roll that dice, take a chance and have a ramble!

On Friday (Good Friday) it was a luxury to wake up late and not have to switch on my work laptop or check my phone for work emails. I have been grateful for work in recent weeks, its kept me occupied and stopped me descending into the Claire world of over thinking life, the universe and everything. I was so exhausted by Friday though and I made a purposeful decision to not ‘work’ at all for the Easter break. I lounged about in the morning, drinking tea, reading blogs and catching up with friends via what’s app. Then I went into the garden. Boy did I go wild in the wilds of our little oasis. The bushes and trees that run the length of the left hand side have not been touched since we moved in … 16 years ago!!! Once I start, I’m unstoppable. I pulled out weeds, that then suddenly became whole shrubs. There were trees with stumps as big as a bowling ball that came out in my hand when I pulled … because they were dead! I left huge gaping holes in the bushes. The neighbours are going to be delighted we can watch them sunbathe and also see what they are up to in the kitchen. Literally 3 days of cutting, pulling and bashing and its still no where near finished. You can imagine the pile of garden waste that now sits under, behind and in front of the trampoline. Oh and no garden waste collection (I forgot to renew it) and no refuge centres open. Oooooops. My husband is still not really speaking to me!

The gaping hole where the holy bush once stood.
Look what I did!!!

On Friday night we had a family quiz with my ‘in laws’ using Zoom. It was great fun. My parents joined in but I think I’m going to ban them from any similar activities until they agree to have their hearing tested. Multiple repetitions of each question becomes rather …. repetitive. By the end of the game people were clearly drunk, falling around and shouting at their respective devices. I sipped my alcohol free wine and was thankful that I gave it all up nearly 5 months ago. Sobriety has enabled me to cope with this lockdown and Covid-19 situation with a positivity and calmness than would not have been possible had I been still addicted to wine. Sure, I have bad days, but as Anna (Storm In A Wine Glass) said in her recent post ” I realise how my worst day sober is still a million times better than my best day drunk.”

Saturday and Sunday followed much the same pattern. Lots of gardening (well, destruction and demolition), chilled out lazy mornings and a trip to the supermarket for our food shop and one the for lady down the road. I arrived home from delivering her groceries to a little ‘care package’ left on my door step by my brother and his partner. He lives about a 40 minute drive away and had made the journey over to bring me some gorgeous goodies and treats. Their kindness overwhelmed me and I already knew I had a wonderful brother, but he really is the bee’s knees. I started thinking about ‘kindness’ after I’d checked out all the little gifts. It’s a quality I value greatly and true kindness is really a beautiful thing when it happens. I’ve had a lot of criticism throughout my life. Self-criticism, overt criticism, ‘subtle’ criticism and criticism meant to be constructive but really not. It has led to me being a little too judgemental and often having mean and unkind thoughts about others. In the past I have slipped into, not particularly nice, conversations about certain people and not really given it much thought. Since ditching the booze I have made a conscious effort to not do any of this, practicing kindness in how I act, behave and think. It’s actually an easier way of being. I still can find people irritating as hell and that’s ok. I’m not super human and people piss me off. I am, however, more able to understand a situation. I’m less bitter and resentful of what other’s have and do and I’m more at peace with my own world. In a selfish way, being kinder towards others has improved my ability to be kinder to myself. It’s a quality I want to instil in my boys. Plus you get really cute little gifts every now and then too!! Its a win win.

My little treats in the ‘care package’

Today, Monday, I have stayed out of the garden and left my husband to try and salvage something from the wreckage. I ran 5 miles and cleaned the house. I’ve made a tandoori chicken and rice tea for the boys and now I am sat typing this blog. My life is so different than it was 6 months ago. I am living under government restrictions but I am the most free I have been in a very long time. That’s a lovely feeling and I am going to savour the moment as my first sober Easter weekend draws to a close.

Love Claire xx

Cows spotted on my run, not following social distancing rules.

Getting myself sober; the ups and downs

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