Friday, February 27, 2015

I bought a car!
In an almost unprecedented act of decisiveness (which was actually more like the ultimate in indecisiveness - I just wanted the decision making to be over) I bought a car yesterday.  It's getting its MOT done today and, all being well, I collect it tomorrow.  I have to drive it back to Glasgow from Perth, which I'm TERRIFIED about (first time on a motorway - talk about a baptism of fire...) but I'm also really excited.  A car!  Yippee!  It's a life on the open roads for me!  Freeeeee-dom!  
My car (MY car!) doesn't really look like the car above, but it IS red, which makes me very happy. It's a car that is both pretty and practical, plus it already has a few wee scratches so I don't have to stress about adding any scratches of my own.  I think I've already fallen in love with it and, may I say, I am on fire in terms of making things happen this year.  Changes are afoot and all for the better :)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

car trouble

 Today I'm going to Perth to test drive a couple of cars.  Given how little I've driven since passing my test 15 years ago, this would always be scary, but today I'm test driving automatic cars, despite NEVER HAVING DRIVEN ONE BEFORE.  I'm taking my dad with me so he can tell me how to start the thing.  Ha!  I'm scared.  Wish me luck!

I'm hoping a car will be pretty much life-changing for us (no more lugging heavy shopping home by hand or being restricted to holiday destinations serviced by good public transport) but I've never been comfortable with driving, so it's a big and scary step for me.  I took a few refresher lessons at the end of 2014, but any confidence I built up then has kind of dwindled away.  Graham doesn't drive, so it's all down to me.  I'm a bit sad about the decision in environmental terms, but I'm not planning to become a major gas guzzler and (did I mention this?!) I have heart failure, a busy life and a small child.  Yes, a car should be good for us.  I just hope I'm not too scared to drive it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

let normal service resume

Grumpy cloud ceramic brooch by LittleRabbitsShop available here.
Oh well, the happiness of 2015 made it as far as February, but it was fun while it lasted.  I had been feeling so much better, heart-wise, having not had a really ill-feeling day since new year, an unprecedented length of time.  I hoped I was feeling better because of all the hard work I was doing with my lifestyle and that all the hard work I'd done to sort my head out was actually helping with my physical symptoms.  Now I've been feeling ill since Saturday and am off work today and it's made me realise that I was being over-optimistic (Me? Over-optimistic?  I know!) and had it all back-to-front.  Actually, I was feeling happier because I wasn't feeling constantly ill and I wasn't feeling constantly ill because of some random blip, not because of anything I have control of.  And this realisation is making me lose determination in my goal to lose weight and improve my fitness.  I still know, deep down, that making an effort with all that stuff can only be positive, it just seems like I'm still right at the bottom of the massive mountain and that I'll never get more than a few metres up it, which seems like a pretty meagre reward for so much hard work.  And all the hard work I do on sorting my head out also seems fruitless.  It's really hard to feel happy when you don't have enough oxygen in your system to allow you to stand up without ill effect, no matter how much CBT and positive thinking you employ.
It was just such a relief to feel some hope that I could make things better.  I don't want to feel like this for ever.  And I'm not proposing giving up, I know trying to stick to my mental and physical health goals could still make some difference and that some difference, no matter how small, is better than no difference, but it's hard to be excited about that really.  It's a slog, a slog that I'm attempting with a pillow over my face.

Monday, February 23, 2015

recent highs and lows of reading

I've had to accept I'm not going to finish the Semi-Charmed Book Challenge, but I'm still trying to amass as many points as I can, which is why I've decided I can count Campari For Breakfast as a bookish book rather than my freebie, in order to gain more points.  That said, I feel like I shouldn't be allowed to take any points for reading something that was so much fun!  I loved this book, an easy read that made me chuckle, but sweet and sad and certainly not shallow, all at the same time.  My pleasure in reading this book is yet more evidence that I like books about precocious girls in crumbling mansions these days...if you can call Sue Bowl precocious?!  I Capture The Castle is hovering very near the top of my to-read pile now :)
This book, however?  Urgh!  It was terrible!  I can't believe I've had it on my shelf for so long and every time I saw it, I thought, "That's guaranteed to be a great read, I'm glad I've got that to look forward to."  Well, it wasn't.  It's so badly written, like the worst kind of trash journalism.  And this comes from someone who can be quite partial to a bit of Take A Break or Pick Me Up now and again, but there's a reason why those magazines are not 500+ pages long!  For a while, I was trying to give the author the benefit of the doubt and blame the poor translator, but the story itself turned out to be really weak too and the structure was horrendous and the characters... Bleurgh!  The female characters, in particular, made me cringe, as did the sex scenes, which all seemed to end in the man's hands cupping the woman's breasts (which were usually positioned in a shaft of moonlight so as to be shining in the darkness) while resting his post-orgasmic head on her belly.  Yuck, yuck, yuck.  I kept getting this horrible glimpse into the author's mind and I did not like it, although it wasn't just because it was really badly written sex, I felt equally uncomfortable with how obvious his likes and dislikes for his characters were, all conveniently divided into heroes and villains.  I know he probably tried to make his heroes more than two-dimensional, but he failed.  I had no admiration for Carax or for Daniel or even the ridiculous "comedy" character of Fermin (with his colourful past, colourful language and heart of gold - you know the type) so really couldn't care less what happened to them, a feeling intensified by the plot's incredible predictability.  Who could the man with the burnt face be?  Yawn!  I can't remember the last time I disliked a book so much, although The Conjuror's Bird springs to mind, which was another Richard and Judy recommendation!  Ha!  (But then they also recommended the brilliant Testament Of Gideon Mack, so go figure.)  I like to keep all the books I read, but this book was dropped off at the charity shop within hours of finishing it.  I really couldn't wait to get it out of my house.  I did not like this book.

I'm now reading Freedom by Jonathan Franzen and I'm really enjoying it so far, but I can't see me getting to the end of it before the month is out, so I reckon my points will stall at 160/200.  But you never know... Watch this space!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

swim sunday #7
Target total this week: 381
Lengths swum this week: 56
Total lengths swum: 384 (3 ahead of target)

I'd need to swim 51 lengths this week to meet next week's target.

I did this in one big swim again and it was the first time in this challenge that I've felt unfit rather than unwell.  This is a good thing!  I definitely spent much more time swimming then resting and I got tired towards the end, but kind of normal tired rather than absolutely-nothing-left-in-the-tank, lungs-on-fire tired.  This was great, just what I needed.  I'm not sure whether I was just having a good day or whether the previous swims are starting to have an effect, but hopefully this challenge will start getting a little bit easier and making me feel a whole lot better.  Yay!

I don't think I ever got my swimming badge while I was a Brownie, but I'm awarding it to myself now.  Ha!  I found the photo of the Brownie badge at the top of this post here.  You should click on the link to see more, including this BEAUTIFUL thrift badge, apparently from the 1930s.

1930s Brownie Interest Badge (Thrift)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2015 = happy

Card by minifanfan on Etsy.

Over the past few weeks I've realised that I am happy, really properly happy, for the first time in years.  Everything feels good and settled and balanced and hopeful and the bad bits of life are being outweighed by all the good bits and I'm looking forward to the future and making plans and not expecting the worst.  It's been a lot of hard work to get here (and I know it will take work to stay here, too) but I'm here!  2015 is shaping up to be a good, good year.  Happy really is a great thing :)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

swim sunday # 6

Target total this week: 326
Lengths swum this week: 48
Total lengths swum: 328 (2 ahead of target)

I'd need to swim 53 lengths this week to meet next week's target.

Just one swim this week.  I'm excited to be almost a quarter of the way across the Channel!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

thank you, mysterious benefactor!

Thank you very much to whoever sent me this print by Anni Betts in the post this morning.  I absolutely love it, one of those images that makes you smile every time you look at it!  I have a few suspects in mind.  Was it you?  Know that I will seek you out and, I mean THANK you :)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

swim sunday #5

Prepare to be impressed, people!

Target total this week: 272
Lengths swum this week: 86
Total lengths swum: 280 (8 ahead of target)

I'd need to swim 46 lengths this week to meet next week's target.

86 motherfreakin' lengths!  I can't believe I've caught up again already.  Two swims a week is obviously the way to go.  I'm doing this!  Oh, yeah!  I even really enjoyed the longer of my two swims this week.  Evenings seem to be a better time for me, energy wise.  I'm going to follow the same tactic this week.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

elephant(astic) beanbags

I like to browse my activity feed in Etsy at high speed.  Sometimes it feels kind of disrespectful to the makers and I'm sure I miss lots of things that I might love.  But it's fun when something amazing pops out at you and, really, how could I not notice this amazing elephant beanbag by ilSaccotto?!  I love it so much!  Sadly, I don't have the budget to justify spending nearly £140 on a beanbag, but I wish I did.  I'd like to have these in a rainbow of colours for our living room instead of a sofa!  Who am I kidding?  It would probably take me about an hour to get out of a beanbag these days.  But one for Dulcie would be awesome.
Yellow Elephant bean bag
There's even a bronzy special glam edition for the bling lover in your life!  I love the styling of this photo.  Plus it has a bronze elephant beanbag in it, of course.  Oh, yes.  I love the crazy things people create :)
Bronzy, Special Glam Edition beanbag

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

me, you and the old guitar

 I honestly can't get enough of this picture of Dulcie that I took at the weekend.  I have it as the wallpaper on my phone and grin like a loony every time I look at it.  My friend Lorna said these pictures made her feel like she was inside Inside Llewyn Davis.  I know what she means!  Dulcie and I found this dress on the super-cheap sale rail of Vintage Guru on Friday and Dulcie INSISTED that she wear it when we met friends for coffee on Saturday morning, despite it still rocking THAT vintage smell and being about three sizes too big.  The miniature pink guitar we found going cheap in a charity shop.  Dulcie loves guitars... you can see! :)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

swim sunday #4

Photo from here.

Target total this week: 218
Lengths swum this week: 64
Total lengths swum: 194 (24 behind target)

I'd need to swim 78 lengths this week to meet next week's target.

I'm very pleased with my 64 lengths this week.  That's a whole mile of progress!  I found them hard but took them really slowly, had a mini rest at the end of each length and reminded myself that it wouldn't be doing any good if it didn't at least feel a bit difficult. I'm going to aim for two (shorter!) swims a week over the next few weeks.