Aaaargh! No wonder people are stressed.
(Marie Kondo the world needs you.)
I wish I'd known when I was first diagnosed with macular degeneration that -
Blind does not mean total blackness with this condition.
AMD often develops very slowly. (Something else might get you first!)
Not everyone who has dry AMD goes on to develop advanced AMD or wet AMD. It is possible that some people may be living with early AMD over decades without serious effect. We can't know because as the opthalmologist pointed out, these would be the ones who don't attend clinics...
Some of the best minds are working on a cure as I write. Just in the few years since I was diagnosed there have been developments in stem cell therapy and implants.
Big Pharma is spending Big Money to find a cure.
Meanwhile the best hope appears to be good nutrition....and supplements such as Macushield.
I wanted to know what a 10000 steps day felt like..
I gardened and walked all day yesterday and did 9854.
Boy was I tired.
This morning I am aching - just a bit.
So, my aim now is to keep moving more until a 10000 steps day feels fine, BUT I shall work up to it slowly over say 6 months and see how much fitter I feel (and how good the garden looks) by the end of the summer.
Are you trying to get fitter?
And what motivates you? Results motivate me. It feels so good to be aware that I am moving easily and to know that i am stronger and more supple.
I am liking Louise Parker's approach in this book (except for the suggestion that you do it all in 6 weeks!).
I am taking it SLOWLY from now....
I've been given a Fitbit and it has motivated me already to move more.
Instead of loading myself up with everything that needed taken downstairs I found myself thinking 'I'll just make two trips it will be more steps'.
Without really trying.
Wonder if I can make the recommended 10,000....
Getting up earlier is one of my new habits since I went to the wonderful health retreat in January (see this post).
That was such a good decision! At the time I booked it I felt as though I was running on empty and I can truly say I haven't looked back. More good decisions and good habits followed. By making a few simple changes I eat better, sleep better and move more.
I mention it today because I have been talking to Katrina and she tells me there is now one place due to a cancellation, on her next retreat..see here. Perhaps it is for you? :-)
I love this card which says 'Make It Happen'.
Have you acquired any new good habits?
..with rosy light..
I choose to get up earlier so that I can start my day with ginger tea and some writing.
I love looking out on the forest and opening the window to feel the morning air and hear the birds.
How do you start your day?
Can you create a little morning corner? If you don't (yet) have the view you want you might put a picture of one beside you as you enjoy a quiet cuppa and read or write for ten minutes before the family stirs or the alarm goes off and the demands of the day begin.
Happy Easter Sunday!
....and 23 degrees in beautiful Yorkshire!
Relaxing time with friends, gardens, cottages and castles, coffee and cakes and time in nature with clouds of blackthorn blossom and star spangled woodland - I've never seen as many wild anemones as around the lovely town of Richmond.
A perfect short break. (Please click on photos to enlarge.)
I hope you have had sunshine too!
There is a lovely buzz of good energy in the comments lately! Keep up all the fun changes till I come back to the blog next week...
I am still working through my list of needs and wants in the garden (see here).
I'm not a fan of ornaments and sculptures in my own garden. Two of the garden designers I most admire let the plants and planting structure do that job. (Beth Chatto and Piet Oudolf)
This post still says it all for me on this subject.
But I fear the birdbaths must go - too many cats. :-(
I knew I had a lot of seats in this small garden, but 19? I never thought to actually count them till now as I carry out an honest survey of my outdoor space.
Sitting thinking and looking is my favourite occupation, but even so..
The above is built in to the porch. Also in need of attention. We liked to sit on the porch in early evening and on hot days had dinner there. This little folding chair is maybe the only piece that does not need any attention! I began to paint it yellow and decided I liked some of the blue showing through. That 'shabby-chic' look? Too bad the rest look plain shabby without the chic. Hmm..
If I count my all-time favourite - the hammock - that makes 20! Ridiculous. Except that they all have their purpose.
I am so glad to have photographs to look back on. I'm encouraged to see that I did manage the garden last year and it had its lovely moments, and will do again no doubt (if I do less sitting and more moving - good for the garden and good for me).
Is this the time of year you also take a long hard look at things? Home, wardrobe, garden whatever?,
I thought you might enjoy a look at Peter Sparrey's work here. I adore the yellow bowls. The markings on ours are like an intricately hand drawn map, the lid a perfect fit, the handle lively.
After a week's rain it's back to the garden redesign and I find that there too I am daring to be simpler and simpler....
But I am continuing first with my honest look at the current condition of things. Some of the garden furniture is in a parlous state...(I wonder what parlous means exactly?) Anyway it is not good. The bargain sets of coloured table and chairs are wearing out and/or fading.
We have three sets of these. They were fun and cost about £20 ten or more years ago and have been used constantly, so no shame to them! I will look in autumn for another (one!) bargain set and offer these to an artist friend who makes metal sculptures.
.One of the found-on-the-shore planks is rotten, the other is beginning to rot but will do another year if I give it a scrub and position myself on it carefully..
In the wetter west of Scotland wood furniture doesn't always weather to a lovely silver..
Before you get depressed too, here's a photo from July last year..
Oh OK, I'll save it for tomorrow.
..I was a minimalist at heart, I now know I am. I had the two bedrooms which had been damaged by a leak in the roof decorated this week (didn't do it myself this time - bliss!).
I just loved them bare and almost empty.
I am thinking very carefully about what goes back in..
Tables (I may paint them), lamps and plain white bedlinen - definitely.
White cotton curtains? I swithered for a bit as there is a blind, but I like the softness. I don't even mind that they are so old they have a few little holes - call it wabi sabi..
Rug, mirror and clock.
Birds and writing lamp too.
Beautiful raku pot by Peter Sparrey
flowers by the bedside. Always.
Barry's side too.
I keep finding more!
The thing is I feel I have to read everything before I throw it away. Why? In case I miss something I suppose...I am enjoying finding notes on some things I had forgotten, and there are some gems among the diary type notes I seem to have made over many years....
Andrew aged 3, to his father John I'm Ronnie's son
John No you're not, you're my son. And who is Ronnie?
The nursery bus driver
And what makes you think you're his son?
He says 'Good morning, son' when I get on the bus
This lead to discussions about relationships and sitting beside his Mum in the car Andrew said I'm Daddy's son.
Yes, said Laura, and what are you to me?
A star! he said.
Do you read through all the old stuff before you part with it? Since reading Fly Lady I try to go through paperwork every October now, but I could be more ruthless, and the current pile is years old. I am inspired by Madeleine who lost lots of archived papers in a fire and calls it a blessing!
It's April and I plan to eat outside as often as possible - one of my favourite simple pleasures.
If you are interested in the AMD thread (5 previous posts under Simply Seeing Or Not) you may like to take a look at the RNIB page, and scroll right down to this video Staying Independent with AMD.
The RNIB is the Royal National Institute for the Blind here in UK.
Unlike the Macular Society video which I complained about in the previous post with cartoon character Gloria, this video features Shirley, a real person with AMD who lives independently, enjoys audio books, teaches a cookery class for people with a visual impairment (because she didn't want to eat processed food from the microwave). She uses a folding white stick called a 'thimble stick' I think, but not all the time. Mainly when she travels on the London Underground. (Yay! She travels on the London Underground!)
Shirley says the news of AMD was 'horrible'. I'd agree with that. But the choice of language - and I quote here from the Macular Society video - 'fear and devastation' 'terrible plight' and 'little hope' is very different in the RNIB video. Neither is Shirley surrounded by sad little figures in attitudes of despair.
It is worth remembering I think that the condition is not life threatening, though it is clearly life-style threatening
I want to support the Macular Society. They fund much of the research which I hope will find a cure for macular degeneration and other eye diseases.
My last blog post on the topic Seeing Red was forwarded by the local organiser of a Macular Society group to the Society and elicited a response from Graham Newham of the Society which you can read in the comments on that post. It is good to know my voice is being heard, and I do know mine is not the only dissenting one!
Next post on the topic - Things I wish I had known....
There must be an end to this Kondoing lark, surely! After all the amount of stuff I have is finite, and I am being very careful about not accumulating more.
Has anyone out there actually got to the end of it?
This wet day it is some old files of garden designs. Yesterday it was hundreds of slides. The miscellaneous and sentimental categories seem to have combined....
I watched a very moving programme about grief on iPlayer. Rio Ferdinand is a brave man.
Someone described grief as 'love with nowhere to go'.
Later - I sought more wisdom from Marie Kondo's Spark Joy. She asks Are you enjoying your tidying festival? And yes, I am really. I'd just forgotten to notice I was actually enjoying it! She also adds Even if you fail, don't worry. Your house won't blow up.
How could I forget it?
I have written more than once about the tip I discovered to protect your plants from deer. You put bits of the cheapest most scented supermarket soap around the perimeter of the fence or close by the favourite plants (yours and/or the deer's). I have done it every year since we first moved here, but this year, probably because I have not seen deer in the garden for years now, I completely forgot.
I was going to photograph the stumps of the tulips, the tell-tale hoof prints and the denuded branches of my three special young trees...but decided to post this instead...
NB I do appreciate all the comments on the last post, but Weebly will not let me reply to them! Still working on it. Sometimes life is full of glitches.
..or my perceived lack of it.
I am reminded in Karen Ruimy's recent posts about energy that if I am open to it, I can tap into the resurgence of energy that is spring.
Imagine, she says, an energy of stillness coming into your body reducing the pressure from the world. This energy is coming to you and going into each part and cell of your physical body. Let that fresh new energy come in.
You are made of sunshine says Thich Naht Hahn.
Maybe that is true..
Did I call this lawn? Those 'weeds' are cat's ears (second photo) and I don't mind them, in fact I want them for the meadowy look, but that moss! I thought I could leave it for a year but there will be hardly any grass there by next year. I will scarify it in April (good exercise!).
The mini meadow usually gets cut late July or August but I never did find the energy for it last year. Strimming it is first on the list and I will pay the man who put up the greenhouse to do it. The proceeds from the last big painting I sold are earmarked for garden help. :-)
The patio/seating area is really important to me. 15 minutes with a bicarbonate of soda and vinegar mix, a cloth and the hose got rid of the algae... ....though it was too cold to sit down to drink the coffee.
The sitting area is on gravel. I let lots of things self-seed there (that 'relaxed look' you will be hearing a lot about!) It's not difficult after rain to take out the surplus. It is full of quaking grass and after they got soaked with the hose as I rinsed off the table I potted a few up and put them in the greenhouse along with the sweet peas in their root trainers.
Snow all around, blue tits checking out the bird boxes and the first seeds- night scented stock - sown on Saturday and up on Wednesday!
If you too are a gardener, what are the first couple of items on your list of wants and needs, and have you decided what is needed to get them ready for the new season?
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)