Monday, 31 May 2010

Have other lapbanders experienced this? Not for the squeamish...

I’m a squeamish person, so it must be a gentle joke by the Almighty that the only tool I can use to help me overcome a lifelong eating disorder is one that only seems to work when it causes me to throw up regularly.  It’s probably typical of people like me that I see this horrible process as richly deserved, a penance for being unable to control excess.  The self-disgust is necessary to cleanse my spirit, like the hermit who seeks solitude and self-denial to feel worthy for the next life.

Honestly, it’s a ridiculous way to live, isn’t it?

My squeamishness extends to writing about it too, but I have double standards:  I’m very grateful to other bandits who are quite happy to call a spade a bloody shovel.  Their no holds barred descriptions of the idiosyncrasies of their lapbands and how it affects their bodies are invaluable, essential, and greatly appreciated by us all.  (Who for example could forget Nola’s experiences with a lime spider?)

I am grateful beyond words that thanks to them I’ve usually known what to expect, and been able to discuss better the details of my case with the nurses in Taunton when I needed help.  At other times it’s just plain reassuring to think as I’m reading a blog – “Ooh, does that happen to her too???”

But now it’s my turn to speak about the unspeakable, because I haven’t read this anywhere.  It may be very common – but nobody’s mentioned it, and if it’s useful, I leave it to bandit readers to copy and paste it on to their blogs, or link it, or whatever they choose.

Bear with me on the chronology, there is a point to it. 

On Sunday 9th May after a swim at the leisure centre with friends we had dinner in a pub and I had scampi plus what was laughingly called a Mediterranean salad.  This consisted of the usual, plus some kind of beans slightly bigger than the size of baked beans, i.e. smallish, and pine nuts, in a salad dressing.  I munched my way through it as carefully as I could – it was uninspiring, but fine.

The following Wednesday 12th I went down to Taunton, and had a chat with them about not having lost anything in the past weeks, and perhaps not being restricted enough, and we agreed that a fill of a quarter of a cc was probably called for, taking me up to 10.25cc.  I was pleased to notice the extra restriction, and also that it wasn’t excessive.  Just in case, I had (mushy) polenta for dinner when we got back, and the following day survived on Optifast while at work (and give or take a few biscuits…), and soup in the evening, and all was fine.

On Saturday morning 15th May I had cornflakes and noticed afterwards that it felt a bit stuck, but only slightly.  Between then and Sunday evening I ate lightly, still feeling very slightly stuck – I thought this was probably the increased restriction.  On Sunday afternoon we swam at the leisure centre again with the same friends, and this time went to a Spanish style café for dinner where the meal consists of a series of tapas.  But by this time I was feeling even more uncomfortable, and only managed a couple of breaded whitebait, which are tiny.  More worryingly, I really didn’t feel like drinking anything, and only managed a few sips of juice.  I had to disappear to the loo three times (only the one loo, and for both men and women… lovely), and began to feel quite miserable.  It seemed possible that I would need an unfill.  It had been a very hot weekend - I wondered if that had anything to do with it.

The following day at work (Monday) I found it very difficult to concentrate all day, and I admit I was most unhappy.  I had soup for dinner and went to bed but kept waking up drowning on saliva, and at 5 o’clock in the morning (Tuesday) I had a coughing fit which produced not what you would normally expect, but something so odd that I did what I would never do – I jumped out of bed and put the light on in the bathroom to look at it. 

It felt at the time as though I was giving birth to the spawn of Satan, or at least that I had coughed up a piece of lung or a bit of the band.  But no, I looked upon “it” in horror as it lay on the white enamel of the wash basin, and recognised what it was straight away - two DRIED OUT beans, sliced half way through, i.e., they had had one chew, but otherwise intact, and, I repeat, completely dry.   I sat there for a long time trying to remember when on earth I had consumed them, going through meal after meal in my head, and with increasing disbelief worked out that it had been 8 days previously (I’m not much of a bean eater).  I returned to bed, and after the alarm clock went off at 7 I coughed up another little beauty.

Suffice to say I had no more feeling of being stuck after that, and the slightly increased restriction continues satisfactorily enough – though as I said at the start of this post, it involves PB’ing and not sweet spots. 

So, to recap (can you tell I try to be methodical?!!) 

1.  Those wretched beans had been stuck to the sides of my pouch for 8 days, despite the natural flushing through caused by PB's, not near enough to the band to either go through or block me altogether until the 0.25cc fill caused a "crisis"; 

2.  Stomach juices (which surely get through to the pouch?) had had no effect on the evidently tough skin of the beans, because they were in perfect nick, except for being half sliced through; 

3.  Yes, you can chew all you like, but if you eat food that comes in units this size – and I would include sweetcorn within this range - by the law of averages some of these units will slip through before they’re “ready”, so this means that these are foods which can only be eaten when liquidised.

4.  Here’s the (probably rhetorical) question to which I'd like an answer: is it possible therefore when bandits comment – as they do frequently - that they can’t understand why they’re restricted one day and not the next (“go figure….” etc), it could be because there is some food stuck there, not doing any real harm, just minding its own business, but effectively acting as an extra lining, taking up space and filling you up sooner than you would have expected?  And then something makes them go through, so you feel less restricted and return to "normal" - and you were totally unaware that this was happening?

OK folks, I feel grossed out by all this, but knew as soon as it happened that I was going to have to write about it, as it taught me something completely new.

One last point:  the people at Taunton, plus comments on specialist websites come to that, tell us that the LapBand is a relatively recent invention – no more than 10 or 15 years old I believe, and that everybody, clinicians and patients alike, are still learning.  Therefore never forget, bandits, that WE’RE PIONEERS!!!!!!!!!!!!  Respect please.


Photo Finish
From Lonicera’s non-digital archives

A day out in the city of Bath - landmarks

The Royal Crescent

The weir

(some doorways for Zanna!)

Meadows along the river Avon

Expectant crowds before a rubgy match against Bristol at the Rec, where yours truly would be running up and down, hoping to catch the definitive shot for the programme printers.  This was in the days when Bath were top of the league.  (Overheard as we were leaving:  "Other supporters don't like coming to the Rec, cos they always go away disappointed".  Oh how have the mighty fallen... but then so have Bristol this season...)


Sunday, 30 May 2010

That's it for another fifty years!

The bicentenary celebrations in Argentina passed off peacefully; the reported millions who availed themselves of the free bus rides congregated in the capital to enjoy the stunning displays laid on for them.  Every city, town and village seems to have done all they could to show that they weren’t being left behind.  

Now it’s over, the lights and bunting have been put away for another day, and the usual discussions have started over whether too much money was spent on it all... 

Instead of putting one representative picture on my blog, (not mine of course) with so many to choose from, I’ve opted instead to refer you to this link.  If you like pictures, do please take a look at this couple of dozen, taken in Buenos Aires during the festivities, I found them very moving.

I'll be back to band news next time (as soon as I can write it, will try not to leave it a whole week before the next post).


Photo Finish -
From Lonicera's non-digital archive

A day out in the city of Bath - buskers and characters

In the quadrangle outside the Roman Baths, buskers and entertainers congregate every day to entertain the visitors.  This young man was playing the violin - on a tightrope...

... yes, really.

These two opt for the more conventional pose...

My camera club friends with me were braver than I was, and asked this young man to pose...

This for me is the classic British bobby.

Bath door knocker.... and following the idea shamelessly pinched from other bandit blogs, this one has been included to show that as at this morning I've lost a total of 23kg since I was banded 18 months ago. 


Monday, 24 May 2010

Reflections about Argentina on an important national day/ Reflecciones sobre la Argentina en una importante fecha patria

This coming Tuesday 25th May 2010 marks the bicentenary of Argentina’s de facto declaration of independence from Spain, when in Buenos Aires the viceroy was ousted from office and a local government established.  It was the starting point of the Argentine War of Independence which concluded on 9th July 1816 with the formal Declaration of Independence.

This is a country very conscious of its past and keen to analyse and find within it the problems of its present, and it is therefore natural that it should be fond of commemorating those who played a part in the process.  Streets, parks, stations, buildings and organisations are named after them or the battles they fought in, as are the significant dates when the events took place; dates of birth and death, battles and revolutions are national holidays.  Many anthems have been composed, some of them genuinely poetic and with very good tunes.

This has had two considerable benefits.  On the one hand the state is being seen to honour its history, and on the other the new generations grow up observing these names of people, battles and dates all around them.  At some point they will ask why, for example, a park is called “3rd February” (commemorating the day in 1852 when dictator Rosas was deposed), and many a history teacher has made local landmarks the starting point for a history lesson.  This refreshes everybody’s memory, and helps to keep the national history alive.

May 25th and July 9th have always been big dates in the Argentine calendar, along with of course October 12th when Columbus (was supposed to have) discovered America. 

In 1960 when the 150th anniversary of the May Revolution was commemorated I was a 7 year old boarder at a school in Saladillo, Argentina.  I don’t remember the occasion - all I have is this photo taken on the day, just before we were involved in the ceremony, and the recollection that those little dresses we were wearing were made of pale blue flimsy crepe paper with the posy in white, and that it was late autumn and the grass under our bare feet was thorny – just look at the expressions on our faces.  (I’m second from left.)

I was a 13 year old schoolgirl when the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence was commemorated in July 1966 and learned for the first time what the word sesquicentenario meant.  I remember the processions and the length of the speeches at the ceremonies, and the number of light blue and white flags around. 

In 1970 I was in secondary school when the 160th anniversary of the May Revolution was celebrated, and having achieved the highest average marks in the senior class (for only an extremely brief period, I might add) I was the standard bearer, very proudly carrying the national flag during the ceremony.  All I remember of it was the effort invested in keeping the flagpole steady. 

In 1992, after I had left, my mother as headmistress of the school marked the 500th anniversary of Columbus setting foot on the island of San Salvador, now part of the modern day Bahamas in the Caribbean.  As a history teacher at heart, she told me of the series of lessons given by her and colleagues, and the ceremonies with which she strove to remind the students of the effect of his voyages on South America as a whole.

This isn’t a history lesson though – it is to explain why 25th May 2010 is going to be such a very big day for Argentina as a republic.  No doubt there will be processions, ceremonies, and street parties with massive barbeques.  No doubt the media will be there to remind everyone what they will remember well from the constant repetition during their school years.  No doubt the president will split herself 10 ways to be at many different commemorative ceremonies.  And no doubt there will be tons of ticker tape and a forest of sky blue and white silk – and how I wish I was there celebrating with them. 

Because I also have no doubt that Argentines all over the world will be remembering in their own way, perhaps sad that they must settle for doing it remotely.  They will gather and wallow in nostalgia, with food, football and the Falklands probably at the top of the agenda.  I hope they’ll spare a thought for the meaning behind the date.


El martes que viene es el 25 de mayo de 2010, el bicentenario argentino de la de facto declaración de independencia de España, cuando el virrey fue depuesto en Buenos Aires y reemplazado por el primer gobierno argentino, la Primera Junta.  Fue el punto de partida de la Guerra de la Independencia que culminó el 9 de julio de 1816 cuando se firmó formalmente la Declaración de Independencia.

La Argentina es un país muy consciente de su historia y siempre deseosa de analizar y encontrar dentro de ella las razones por los problemas de su presente, por lo tanto es natural que tenga mucho interés en conmemorar a las personas que formaron parte de este proceso.  Calles, parques, estaciones, edificios y organizaciones han sido nombrados en honor a estas personas o las batallas donde participaron, así como las fechas de estos acontecimientos; además, las fechas de nacimiento y defunción, batallas y revoluciones son días feriados.  Se han compuesto muchos himnos y marchas, algunos muy poéticos y con lindas melodías.

Esto ha resultado de beneficio en dos sentidos.  Por un lado, es evidencia que el estado rinde homenaje a su historia, y por otro, las nuevas generaciones crecen observando los nombres y las fechas históricas a su alrededor.  En algún momento se les ocurrirá preguntar, por ejemplo, por qué se le llama “Tres de Febrero” a un parque porteño (conmemora el día en 1852 cuando fue depuesto el dictador Rosas); numerosas profesores de historia han basado su lección sobre la interpretación de estos nombres urbanos.  Todo esto refresca la memoria y ayuda a mantener presente la historia argentina.

El 25 de mayo y el 9 de julio son importantísimas fechas en el calendario argentino, como también el Día de la Raza, el 12 de octubre, cuando (supuestamente) Colón descubrió América. 

En 1960 eran 150 años desde la Revolución de Mayo – con mis siete años cumplidos asistía a un colegio de pupila cerca de Saladillo, provincia de Buenos Aires.  No recuerdo la ocasión, lo único que tengo es esta foto (ver arriba) sacada aquel día, antes de comenzar el acto, y sé que los vestidos eran de papel crepé celeste, y el ramillete de blanco.  Me viene también a la memoria que estábamos en otoño y que el pasto bajo nuestros pies desnudos tenía espinas – sólo hace falta fijarse en las expresiones de nuestras caras.  (Yo soy la segunda a la izquierda).

Ya para julio de 1966 cuando se celebraba el sesquicentenario de la Declaración de la Independencia, era una colegiala de 13 años, y aprendí por primera vez el significado de esta larga palabra.  Recuerdo los desfiles, los discursos de nunca acabar durante los actos, y el sinfín de banderas blancas y celestes en todos lados.

En 1970 cursaba mis estudios secundarios cuando conmemoramos el 160 aniversario de la Revolución de Mayo, y por mis buenas notas (cosa rara que no duró mucho tiempo) se me concedió el privilegio de ser abanderada durante el acto.  Lo único que recuerdo es el esfuerzo en no dejar caer el pesado asta.

En 1992, el quincentenario de la fecha en que Colón pisó por primera vez territorio americano – la isla de San Salvador, hoy parte de las Islas Bahamas en el Caribe, había terminado mis años escolares, pero mi madre, la directora del colegio, me relató que a instancias de ella, se había hecho gran hincapié en la importancia de este suceso para Latinoamérica.  Ella era fundamentalmente una profesora de historia; en el acto y en una serie de clases especiales tanto ella como sus colegas lo recalcó.

Pero no pretendo yo dar clases de historia – esta entrada en mi blog es para explicar la razón por la cual el 25 de mayo de 2010 será un día tan importante para la Argentina como república.

Sin duda habrá desfiles, actos y fiestas públicas con asados descomunales.  Sin duda los medios de comunicación repetirán los hechos que todo el mundo recuerda porque fueron machacados hasta el hartazgo durante los años escolares.  Sin duda la presidenta asistirá a un sinnúmero de actos y conmemoraciones.  Sin duda caerán toneladas de papel picado y flamearán bosques de seda blanca y celeste… y ay cuánto desearía estar allí para celebrar con ellos.

Tampoco hay duda de que los argentinos en todo el mundo recordarán su patria a su manera, quizás tristes al tener que hacerlo remotamente.  Se juntarán y se sumirán en la nostalgia del exiliado y el desterrado.  Los temas de conversación por excelencia serán la comida argentina, el fútbol y las Malvinas.  Espero que dediquen por lo menos un minuto para recordar el significado de la fecha.


Por si hubiera algún argentino o hispano-parlante leyendo esta entrada, recomiendo una nota excelente escrita hoy por un chileno, Matías Vieira, y cuyo blog es Patagonia, Chile, el Mundo titulada “Argentina y Yo”.  El enlace lleva directamente a esta entrada.


Photo Finish –
From Lonicera’s non-digital archive

There should of course be photos here of Argentina, but previous posts have my best ones, and I haven’t scanned old negatives yet.  So with apologies, I am including here the next best thing – more scanned slides of the island of Fuerteventura, part of the Canary Islands and a dominion of Spain.  (Very sea orientated I'm afraid... I adore taking pictures of waves...)


Monday, 17 May 2010

Banjo and (maybe) the fox

I had a terrible fright with my cat Banjo a few nights ago.  Some time before midnight I was sitting at my computer at the back of the house when I heard the shriek of an animal, followed by other cries of distress, coming from the back of the house opposite, in other words some 50 yards away. 

Banjo hadn’t yet come back in for the night, so we ran into the street and heard it again – it was bloodcurdling.  Our neighbours were obviously asleep and at that point I didn’t feel I could knock on their door to ask them to look in their garden.  We were further upset by the fact that he didn’t answer our call, and he usually does. 
John got into his car (midnight by now) and drove around the block in case he could see anything, but no luck.  We called for a long time, and I was getting more and more distraught, as all was now quiet.  I was sure I had lost him to a fox and I just couldn’t bear it. 

We kept going out every few minutes and calling for him, but he was nowhere to be found.  He has a white chest and paws, which we’re very proud of, but they stand out like a beacon at night time, almost as if you were shining an ultra violet light on him, and I imagine this could be his worst enemy.
Meanwhile my other cat Rusty was very perturbed by the way I was behaving, and he was trying hard to comfort me by repeatedly rubbing his head against my face and purring very loudly. 

At 1.15 a.m. John went out once more and called, and would you believe it, Banjo appeared trotting along the top of the high wall by our neighbour’s house, and ran indoors.
The stupid thing was that I still couldn’t stop weeping.  Banjo was quite subdued, didn’t purr, and settled in a corner in a small ball (he’s a big cat), and there he stayed for most of the following day, and ever since, only venturing outside for short bursts, and never after dark. 

We’re now fairly confident that the dreadful noise came from foxes mating, being that time of year, and that Banjo must have been located very nearby when they were in full flight, as it were.  The volume of their screaming must have seemed deafening to him and scared him half to death, and perhaps he froze where he was, not daring to emerge until the foxes disappeared an hour and a half later.
John was very upset by the whole thing too, though he shows it less.  I felt drained all the following day, and my face was still puffy.  As I don’t have children, I suppose my cats are some sort of substitute, although most of the time I love and enjoy them for themselves and respect their personalities.  I love the way they ‘speak’ to me and show me what they want, and also what they don’t like. 
The fact is that the other night for the space of nearly two hours I believed that Banjo had been torn apart by a fox, perhaps protecting her young, and I kept insisting to John that he had to go and find his body – like any mother I was obsessed for that brief period with getting him home, even dead.  It was totally preposterous that it wasn’t possible because ‘I couldn’t disturb the neighbours’.  I refused to be reasoned with.  Goodness knows how I would have reacted if he had disappeared for longer, as cats do sometimes, or if he had indeed been killed.  I found the whole thing, and my reaction, frightening. 
Banjo has clearly had a sobering experience; I’m so grateful that he has been returned to me, and also that he may well be more cautious in future.


Photo Finish -
from Lonicera's non-digital archive

Around the house and garden

Clematis does quite well in my garden -
this is Niobe, a darker and richer red than you see here.

In the foreground the dwarf eucalyptus that hated the windy spot where I put it and eventually blew over.  In the field the cows belonging to the local farmer, then the motorway behind that row of green, and the red cranes of Porbury dock behind.  It looks very pastoral but if you were standing there you'd notice the hum from the motorway. 

This rose is much darker, and wonderfully fragrant.

Another clematis

This is a robin, my favourite bird, because it's so friendly, aside from being cute.  I live in fear that my cats will get them, and I try to shoo them away.  This one is resting on a branch of my mimosa (wattle) a beautiful tree which may or may not have been finished off by the severe frosts we had this winter.  It's been pruned, leaving the canopy so high up that I can't see if it's green or not...


Friday, 14 May 2010

PB versus Sweet Point: help please?

I have a 10cc band and 10cc worth of saline in it – though there’s room for a little more, so I’m told. I feel quite restricted at times, in that my lunchtime sandwich takes the best part of an hour to eat, and often doesn’t get finished.   Today our stationer brought doughnuts - the non-ring variety with jam in the middle - my faves in the past; I was pleased to note that as a previously '3-doughnuts-down-without-drawing-breath' sort of person, I struggled through one and didn’t feel life was cruel when looking at the ones still in the packet.  In addition, scrambled egg is only possible in moderation, so are sardines on toast (the cats benefit richly from this).  These days I rarely have PB issues.
“Sounds OK to me” you say.  Well, not really.  I’m losing weight, but really slowly – sometimes it takes about two weeks to lose a pound, and I think that’s too slow by anyone’s standard. 
I don’t want to live on bread, buns and egg.  The real acid test of the band, surely, is how it helps you when you have a normal meal – as in a selection of proteins, carbohydrates, vegetables, etc, served hot on a plate.  I long to experience what most of you talk about, the full feeling after a few mouthfuls. 
But if the food goes down fairly easily – such as (for me) minced beef, rice, mashed potatoes, sausages without their skins, chicken breast, prawns, spaghetti, lasagne - then a normal plateful is easily finished in about 20 minutes or so.  My willpower is weak here, so using a small plate just brings out the old me (“Wot’s that when it’s at home?  Take it away and bring me a normal helping please...”) and that’s exactly why I have a band.  Take scrambled egg for example:  I give John and myself half each, then have to stop shortly afterwards and give the rest to John – much easier than giving myself very little in the first place...
But when I cook normal meals of the ‘meat and two veg’ variety, the band doesn’t help me at all (or barely).  I can cope during the first half of the day (during the working week anyway) where bread is the food, but evenings and weekends are often a problem.
So why haven’t I yet
experienced the sweet point?
My next visit to Taunton is next Wednesday (NOT with Numty, see last but one post), and I wonder if I should ask for another 0.25 cc, but then - will I PB every two minutes?  Because if I do, I get so fed up with feeling hungry and uncomfortable that I snack unwisely and don't lose any weight anyway.
I continue to swim once or twice a week and I’m pleased that I manage 20 lengths each time.  It makes me feel fitter, no doubt about it, but I’m not surprised that it has no other visible effect.  The gym continues to be my preferred charity:  I ‘donate’ money to it every month by direct debit but rarely go.  So I’m a bit of a numty myself.
Have any of you read the extremely popular blog Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit?  He’s got 1210 followers, probably because he’s very good at motivation, and funny to boot.  Last week he asked readers to submit to him photos of index cards where we had printed why we wanted to be slim/do more exercise, etc.  I sent him mine the other day, which I hope he’ll publish some time (it sounds as though he’s been deluged by entries).  This is what mine said:

It’s that simple.

Photo Finish:
From Lonicera's non-digital archive
Visit of Chinese circus to Bristol

I queued for a couple of hours beforehand to ensure I was able to sit in the front row so I could take pictures.  They were happy for me to do this, as long as I didn't use flash - which suited me because I'm no good with flash...  To compensate for this I used very high speed film.  And that, M'ludd, is the case for the defence as to why the pictures are so grainy!

I remember winning a competition with one from this series, but I just can't find it - it'll have to follow one fine day when I come across it as I work my way through the slides I'm scanning...


Monday, 3 May 2010

Reward and Deserve

Some thoughts on a Sunday.  Please forgive the fact that inevitably they are generalisations – I have to start somewhere to make sense of it.

As dieters we’re forever saying “when I get to ‘X’ goal, I shall treat myself to ‘Y’ “.  I’m no psychologist, not even an amateur dabbler, but common sense tells me this came from childhood, when good behaviour was rewarded by adults.  Bad behaviour was punished by withholding said treats, or something else that gave pleasure.  Carrot and stick. 

So when we grow up, there aren’t ‘adults’ around to tell us what to do, and at first it’s wonderful.  With chins jutting out defiantly we do what we want, because there’s nobody around to tell us not to.  Don’t make your bed if you don’t feel like it, don’t bath for a week, have iffy relationships, eat what you want.  Maybe not all these things, but some of them.  A mini-anarchy reigns, for a while. 

Some people always know when to stop, so they don’t need the carrot and stick.  We on the other hand sail on through the red lights, continuing to do that which our parents had tried to keep under control, and which is now – well – out of control.  How do we deal with it?  Where weightgain is concerned, by giving ourselves a good talking to, and promising ourselves rewards if we succeed in pulling back – in other words by acting as child and parent at the same time.  Outlaw and policeman.  Hunter and gamekeeper.   This incompatibility sets us up to fail, and we feel wretched as a result.    The infamous cycle has begun.

Take another scenario.  Not all of us are lucky enough to have had happy childhoods, to live happy ever after in a good relationship, doing fulfilling things, free from significant financial penury, enjoying reasonably good health.  Some have sad things happen to us when we were little, or as adults – perhaps over which we had no control.  We may not say it out loud, but to ourselves, or the mirror, we’re saying “this isn’t fair, I deserve better – I deserve to be happy/be slim/live longer”. 

I’ve thought long and hard about this one, because it’s painful to me, but like a gerbil on a wheel I keep coming back to the same conclusion:  our unhappiness is often caused by our genes or by other people, it’s true, but it’s still random that it should have happened to us specifically.  No shining light appeared in the sky and an accusing finger pointed down at us saying ‘you shall suffer’.  The cruelty of our downs is random, a combination of circumstances.  So it’s not that we deserve or don’t deserve anything.  On the other hand, we can make our own "ups".

Again, it doesn’t take a sleuth to figure out why we think this way:  society can’t tolerate unhappiness in children.  I find the sight of a depressed child (as opposed to a cross one) unbearable, and my first thought is “what’s being done about this?”  There are organisations and institutions set up to help – plenty of adults trying to banish young misery. 

And then comes the adult variety.  We grow up, we’re unhappy and …somehow… we’re waiting for someone to come and enfold us in their arms and say “this isn’t fair, you shouldn’t be unhappy – come here and I’ll make it better”.  Maybe if we’re lucky somebody did – but I would guess that for most of us it didn’t.   We’re on our own, we have to think of the solutions ourselves.  Sometimes we do, sometimes we complain to anyone that will listen that life is unfair and we deserve better.

What I’m therefore suggesting is that we tend to react like children to these two situations –
I’m being good therefore I will give myself a reward,
I don’t deserve all that is happening to me.

Amanda has written an inspiring post today on making the best of things - here’s a flavour of it:  “Enjoy what you have.  Appreciate your blessings.  Recognize your progress.”   I think this creates the right frame of mind to make our own luck.   So why not look at ourselves squarely in the mirror and take adult responsibility for our actions?  Say instead –

I don’t need rewards for achieving my goals,
Bad luck is cruel, but random.
I can make my own good luck, and it won’t matter
whether I deserve it or not.


A very special thank you to Sandy Lee for her Lollipop Award post of the week.  It’s very special for me to have this sort of recognition.  Thanks so much Sandy!

Photo Finish –
From Lonicera’s non-digital archive

A Sunday afternoon in Portishead

John tries out "El Churro", his radio-controlled boat,
on Portishead boating lake

"El Churro" in all its glory...

Cricket on the green...

face painting...

...wearing a new outfit...

The view across the Severn estuary
to the steelworks at Llanwern, in Wales

Portishead is known for its wonderful sunsets

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