Monthly Archives: September 2010

Autumn Leaves – a poem

Please enjoy this autumn themed poem by Victor Christman

Silhouettes of miniature fingers
Gently floating from their
Arms of strength
Like the butterflies of spring
Released from their lairs
Creating sensations
In the chilled evening air
They touch our souls
Soothing us
Calming us
Filling our senses
With a fragrance
That brings freshness
To the earth
In which we live.

As the fingers whisk away so free
I will always remember
What it was that you said to me
Hold me please
Let me feel your warmth
Against my face
Whisper in my ear
Like the autumn leaves whisper
Their goodbyes to the tree
Soothing it
Assuring it
For they will begin anew
Like flowers that grow
And our hearts
We sow.

Great Expectations

I have recently come to realise something that I have known, in a vague kind of way, for a while.

I have incredibly high standards.

(I guess that those who know me at all are saying something along the lines of “No s**t Sherlock!” at this point :))

The main target of my great (i.e. unrealistic) expectations is myself.  However, having high standards for oneself has more than just the effect of being regularly disappointed with ones own performance.  Much as I would not like it to be the case, those expectations also extend to those close to me.  I think (hope) I am more reasonable with others than myself, but I get the impression that living up to my standards is still hard for people around me.  Ultimately, it is a matter of self-esteem.  I think it goes something like this:

a)  I would never/always try to do x/y/z because I care about this person.  (Brain will happily omit the fact that I often fail to live up to this standard at this point)

b)  As this person is not doing/doing x/y/z they evidently do not care about me.

Cue crashing of ego and anger/hurt of Dith (rarely expressed and,  if ever expressed, even more rarely in a positive manner!)

So, there it is.

The solution to the problem, and its flip side, is the same thing.

Grace. Grace. Grace.

I think I am only just beginning to grasp the hem of how this actually looks/feels/works.  One of the marvellous things about grace is that it deals with the kind of ‘sins’ and ‘guilt’ that are really the result of a fragile person expecting too much, as well as dealing with the stuff that really is morally ‘wrong’ in the eyes of God.

Now, to me, that comes pretty close to the definition of Good News.

The Elephant in the Room

  • I enter the room, past the elephant
  • of which I am very aware.
  • I speak with my friend, a good honest friend
  • a person about whom I care.
  • The elephant makes it awkward,
  • affecting the things that I say,
  • I try to speak uplifting words
  • But the pachyderm gets in the way.
  • I pause on occasion to ask of myself
  • the best of my options to take
  • Shall I point at the beast and speak of it?
  • I feel there’s a great deal at stake.
  • To explain to my dear friend my actions,
  • why at times I can speak out of turn,
  • If they themselves don’t see the elephant
  • It could be a good thing to learn.
  • But then, it could be a disaster
  • to unleash the beast with each word
  • And continued avoidance of mention
  • Is the choice of plan to be preferred.
  • So these are my options
  • To say, not to say,
  • Or just leave the room
  • To turn, walk away…
  • …but I’m not sure I could leave now, even though it may be best
  • to turn my back on this friend, and no more be their guest,
  • but this blasted elephant, it will not let me rest
  • it
  • will
  • not
  • let
  • me
  • rest.

Invisible Illness Week

I came across the fact that it is Invisible Illness week whilst following up a Love Bomb task.  I  thought I would share a meme from the site. If you relate to the experience of invisible illness, please feel free to copy it and make it your own.


1. The illness I live with is:   Fibromyalgia and IBS
2. I was diagnosed with it in the year:  approx one year ago for the fibro, a couple of years ago for the IBS
3. But I had symptoms since:  Probably since I turned 30, off and on (am almost 39 now)
4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is:  accepting that I have physical limitations that I used not to have.
5. Most people assume:  I’m not sure what they assume.  I guess most people would not even know I have a condition.
6. The hardest part about mornings are:  motivation to face the day.
7. My favorite medical TV show is: House
8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: the laptop I am writing this on!
9. The hardest part about nights are: thankfully nights are not too bad.
10. Each day I take 9  pills & vitamins.
11. Regarding alternative treatments I: am open to the idea
12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: think I would stick with invisible.
13. Regarding working and career:  I work part-time as full-time work would finish me off!
14. People would be surprised to know: that I used to be very intolerant of nebulous illnesses like IBS – karmic justice methinks!
15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been:  not being prepared to admit that it really IS a new reality.
16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: I’m not sure I have really considered what I cannot do, therefore I have not chosen anything to challenge.  Perhaps I should?
17. The commercials about my illness: are non-existent!
18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: walking for long distances without feeling pain, fatigue or breathlessness.
19. It was really hard to have to give up: the idea that there is no stuff that I should really give up (still battling bad habits that would help if I quit – i.e. eating a better diet)
20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: having responded to this meme, it looks very much like my new hobby is denial!
21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: spend a day walking along the Gower coast in South Wales
22. My illness has taught me: to be more tolerant of people with illness.
23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: when they suggest that I am weak or pathetic for the few times I choose to take time off work cos I feel so flipping rough.
24. But I love it when people: understand!
25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is: “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever”  It helps to stay grateful and focus on all that I DO have, not the few things that I don’t.
26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: come here, let me give you a hug.
27. Something that has surprised me about living with an illness is: the amount of other people I’ve met who just get on with life whilst being faced with the same thing, and much worse.
28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: not expecting me to function ‘normally’.
29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because:  I found a link to the site and I think it is worth letting others know the reality, and those who have an invisible illness to perhaps not feel so alone, if only for a moment.
30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: grateful and humble.  If you have bothered to read this far it means that you care enough about me to read a lengthy blog post about my experience of illness.  Thank you, very much indeed. 🙂

Sorry, was I boring you?

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that I could be a bit of a garden bore.  Had friends stay over the weekend (waves at Min and Fabrice) and gave Min a tour of our front garden as well as a tour of the allotment.   I became aware that I could have quite easily have given a detailed account of nearly every plant in our garden, and managed to only just stop myself from doing so!  The garden is not that big, but all the same….  When visiting the allotment, it became necessary for Jeff and Fabrice to drag me back to the present and stop boring poor Min with minutiae.  I was also ridiculously pleased that Min paused to admire some of the features of our garden when entering the house.

Do I need to get out more (and not just in the garden) or just find some more garden-loving friends?!?

Lurgy on the retreat

Just to say thanks to you lovely people for your comments.  I am feeling much better today, thanks.  Have worn myself out at the allotment this morning and am now chilling out in front of Location Location Location (wishful thinking – why did those people not buy the gorgeous barn conversion with the fabulous beams in Monmouthshire – I would have!!!) 😉  Now there are some very posh people (think broader, older Boris Johnson married to shorter, plainer Jennifer Saunders!), with ponies, dogs and camels(!), looking to move.  Should be interesting.

P.S.  Hello to my frequent visitor from Cwmbran.  You have popped by my virtual home here a number of times now, I see.  Come in, sit down, I can make you nice milky coffee if you’d like.  Now, do you take sugar…?

In sickness and in guilt

Here’s the thing.  Today I am off work with a cold/ the lurgy/’woman flu’  (delete as applicable).  I am unwell and I know that taking another day off (I was off yesterday too) will help me kick it into touch.  It will also mean that I won’t inflict germs on people at work and expect them to cover for my sub-standard work (due to snot-on-the-brain).  So, in light of all that:

Why do I feel guilty?

I feel like I should be in work, that I am not that unwell and that I am being selfish and lazy by staying home.  It has always been thus.  If I am at death’s door, then the decision to take a sick day is a no brainer.  On days like this, however, when I could drag my reluctant carcass into work but know, in many ways, it would be better not to, then let internal battle commence.

I cannot for the life of me comprehend how anyone could throw a sickie to watch the football or whatever, my conscience would be yelling louder than the crowd!