Refreshing, and good for the garden.
Not so good for my visitors.
Two crows in the tree....
And a wasp nest in the bird box.
..where Love means nothing is on the tennis court.
One of the commentators after the brilliant win by Anderson over Federer said of his (Anderson's) composure and psychological strength He turned his brain off and got the job done.
I will remember that! There are times when my brain just gets in the way.
Another part of my start to the day.
It keeps me mindful, sometimes with just a sentence or two, sometimes more.
I like this am/pm format (from Paperchase). It simplifies my day by stopping those thoughts which sometimes rattle around all day long - by putting them on paper I clear my mind. At the end of the day I have sometimes, without realising it, resolved them. It's a process.
I keep the notebooks for a while, but not forever.
This one has occasional prompts, soft focus photographs and gentle humour...
My word for the year is gently and it is working very well for me.
Is your word helpful to you?
If not, remember you can change it.
I love breakfasts so much I sometimes have two.
Especially when I get up really early which I have been doing since the heatwave began.
I eat something good for me. I set a nice tray or table and sit down to it. I take my time and I eat it outside whenever possible. Perhaps if your weekday mornings are too busy to do this you might enjoy it at weekends.
The first post on this blog was under Simply Eat and I am happy to say I am less stressed about the whole subject and actually quite enjoy shopping for food. (See this post.) I am much clearer about what I want and am able to pretty much ignore the 70 - 80% of the store which has nothing for me.
Focus was the answer for me.
In fact that has been the value of the blog. I have focussed on each category in turn to clarify what I need and want.
Would you make any changes to your breakfast routine?
Ah yes, getting dressed. I was reviewing how my life is simpler on a daily basis since I started writing Live Simply Simply Live... From when I open my eyes in the morning, listening to the first sounds and getting washed and dressed..
Isn't life easier in good weather? Cotton underwear, loose chinos and a linen shirt with sandshoes have been my 'uniform' for six or seven weeks now. So easy. So simple. Old comfy ones for gardening, newer crisp ones for going out for meals with friends - all in great colours with perhaps an added string of beads. I am treating this heatwave as a holiday at home and as we now have a village restaurant within walking distance I am taking full advantage of it.
I've loved having worked out what I like and what suits me and have pretty much stayed with that look since this post.
Have you figured out your style? And thus simplified your wardrobe? And your life?
There are quite a lot of posts to browse under Simply Stylish (clothes are my fun!)
My vision varies.
It's hard to know why - there are so many variables. Light levels make a difference and I need a good light to read by. When I go from a light place into a darker place my eyes can be very slow to adjust. Screens can be difficult, and pale or coloured print. Oh, and I have cataracts. Thankfully most of the time I can see very well. (You can't drive when you can only see well some of the time, sadly, and I do miss my car a lot.) But yesterday I watched Wimbledon on my laptop. I could see the ball! So exciting!
I take a supplement called Macushield, drink freshly made juices every day - mainly carrot, apple and spinach adding cucumber, ginger, broccoli, kale, celery and other things for variety. I also check my vision on an Amsler Grid. Sometimes straight lines can look wavy and this can be, but is not always, a sign that dry AMD is changing to wet AMD which requires quite urgent treatment (and is pretty scary).
I do quite a bit of research online.
But I don't think about it all the time and no longer make notes every morning - only when I notice a change. I can't monitor everything in my life when I am busy living it, and looking at and rejoicing in sights like this -
Thank you for reading.
As I have recorded before, having been told there was no treatment and no cure for dry AMD but that eating brightly coloured fruits and vegetables might help, I decided to get as much brightly coloured fruits and vegetables into me as I could. To this end I went on a health retreat where I had freshly made juices three times a day and a vegetable soup once a day. After five days of this (which was really enjoyable and I was never hungry!) my pattern changed to this -
As you might imagine I could see more. Still patchy, but more.
I bought a juicer and made fresh juices every day.
After a time I realised that I was crossing the road more confidently, and noticed that I could make out what coins were in my purse, and was very surprised to find myself reading the tiny print on a tube of cream. I was even more surprised when I realised I did not have my glasses on.
This was the shape of my 'blind spot' the area on my macula which blocked my central vision. (See the video in Saturday's post.) Perhaps because I am an artist I could see it so clearly that I could draw it. It was especially clear when I opened my eyes first thing in the morning - it was as if it was projected onto whatever I looked at and If I looked at the white wall of the bedroom I could see it this clearly, and also see that it changed sometimes. I began to record what I could see.
I developed my own sort of code...
which makes perfect sense - but only to me!
I plan to stay on this topic for a few posts. Writing them helps me think clearly and if what I have learned gives even one person out there some help (the blog had over 10,000 page views for the first time last week) I will be delighted.
..all ye who enter here!
I do appreciate your thoughtful responses to yesterday's post
I do not object to being sent the video - I signed up for emails from the Macular Society. I expect to be upset - it's a most upsetting condition. What I object to is the total negativity of the message, the hopelessness and helplessness it seems to me to convey.
I need just a glimmer of hope! Any faint glimmer would do...like a mention of the existing treatments for wer AMD, or the research projects, or the encouraging results of stem cell therapy, or the good results from nutritional supplements and diet - I could go on, and to be fair these do all feature on the Society's website but I wonder if this 'stark' and 'scary' film makes many people go to the website. (You can find it here.)
At the end of the video, where it says 'How to protect your sight today' I would like to see a link direct to information on how to do that. Did watching the film make any of you look up the website and send for the information pack about protecting your sight? I have sent for it to see what they send out. I am very pleased to see the site now has a nutrition and diet page to download. They say 'there is currently no cure' for the condition - but there are treatments which are thought to slow down the deterioration.
I can understand that the Society does not want to create false hope, but neither should they create false hopelessness.
I remain hopeful.
EXTRA EXTRA How's this for a message of hope and positivity?
Thank you so much for all the energy reviving suggestions! I was tired after the gardening marathon (I won't ever let it get as neglected again) and I am melting in this heatwave, but on reflection I have realised that it was this video that brought me low.
I got it in an email from the Macular Society who ask that you share it with family and friends.
I wonder what your impression of it is? Did it make you want to know more about how to 'protect your sight today'?
This week is Macular Week. Some of you know that I have this eye condition. Ten years on from the optician first mentioning it, my eyes are not nearly as bad as those of the woman in this film. I am luckier than some. Most of the time I can see very well.
I've written several posts about it (under Simply Seeing..Or Not on the sidebar).
I was once tall in Venice too..
PS Don't miss Lucille's latest post.
I'm going over there now to view it again..
I'm taking a little blog break as I seem to have run out of steam! Lots of ideas but little energy to carry them out. Maybe it's the heat. We are not used to it here..
Maybe I should just gaze at the patterns on the water for a day or two.
Maybe I should eat less cake. (We had two cakes at the party! There were leftovers.)
Maybe I should just eat less altogether. I had lunch today with a friend who is a wonderful cook.
maybe it's because I still haven't caught up with my emails.
Any tips on restoring energy levels most welcome.
...and family care. (Women do make most of these choices after all).
I've opened my eyes and looked on something that makes me smile. I've listened to something that gives me a good feeling, now I must wash and dress.
Since starting writing Live Simply Simply Live I've changed a lot things I use. Soap, toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant - you do know that anything you put on or in your body can be into your bloodstream within moments, don't you? So I wised up on what is toxic or undesirable. Parabens, phthalates - the list is overwhelming and confusing - a minefield.
I found the simple way through the minefield without getting obsessed or depressed was to find one or two brands I like and stick with them. I visited a health food shop and asked for a shampoo without parabens and the assistant waved her arm over the whole department and said 'All of them'. By shopping at a health store you simplify straight away.
I simply use fewer products and less of them. I forego almost all lotions/potions/cleansers/ moisturisers/toners/anti-ageing miracle creams/serums/conditioners/sprays/tinctures/foams/gels/scrubs/aerosols/whiteners/body butters/lip balms/dyes/bleaches/sunscreens/waxes/mousse/...oops this is beginning to sound like a rant! But all those unknown ingredients in my blood? No thank you. I'm also very aware that the residue of all these things goes into the beautiful loch.
I enjoy the occasional bubble bath, use a nice hand lotion on my gardening hands now and then but most days it's soap (a gift from Marseilles), toothpaste (Sarakan), shampoo (Faith In Nature).
Can you make a change today? You know, the one you've been thinking about for ages but haven't quite got around to doing? Do it for your partner's health, your children's health, your health...
The small changes add up.
There's a lovely new sound here today - the baby swallows have hatched. I can't see how many yet but can hear them when the parent comes in with food.
What do you hear when you first waken?
I am lucky to hear silence and a little birdsong, the early bus trundles by and the odd car.
That is a choice too - it wasn't always so!
What choice do you make? Do you switch on to the world's bad news? It's more than a bit crazy when I think about it. There is a tendency to forget that things are news because they are not the norm and we can get a wildly skewed view of the world....
I had a eureka moment once when I lived in a house on three floors. I was rushing downstairs to get out of the door in time for work when I realised the words Vodaphone Roadwatch were repeating themselves over and over in my head. What am I doing to my precious mind I asked myself! (I stopped listening to Classic FM forever when the presenter, after playing a divine piece of Mozart asked listeners to contact him and tell him their favourite pizza topping! True.)
You may waken to the thunder of traffic, a jackhammer or noisy neighbours, or children demanding breakfast or an extremely shrill alarm clock. Perhaps you sleep with earplugs?
You might like to give some thought to those few moments when you first open your ears. With modern technology we have almost infinite choices - some ambient sound, your own playlist, a different radio station. (I like BBC Radio 3 after the on-the-hour news summary) Something of your own choosing before you set off into your day.
Listen to the sweet sound of your very own breath. Celebrate the fact that you are alive - you are being breathed!
Its the choices we make.
(The only way to actually guarantee more happiness in the world today is for me to be happy.)
It's a choice i make.
When I first open my eyes in the morning I have arranged that I see something beautiful which makes me feel good. Flowers, always. A card from a friend, a photograph, a piece of paper with something written on it - for a while I had 'This is the day I have been given, let me rejoice and be glad in it'. The little baby food jar painted with spots is one of a collection given to me one Christmas filled with sweets by Laura who couldn't afford to buy presents that year - I have always treasured it.
What will you see when you first open your eyes tomorrow? If you have lots of clutter on your bedside table get one with a drawer in it, or put a basket underneath it and tonight put something there which will make you feel happy!
It's the simple things.
The morning of the longest day finds me on my hands and knees in the back garden sniffing the exquisite scent of a newly discovered orchid!
I'm pretty certain it is platanthera bifolia or the lesser butterfly orchid. Who knows how long it has been there waiting for it's chance to flower? I leave different patches of grass to grow each year just to see what comes up.
Everyone loves the mini-meadow in the front garden and a lot of visitors say they will try leaving a patch of lawn to grow in their own garden - even a metre square as an experiment might be fun to do.
If your soil is rich you may just get the coarser grasses but if you rake off the cuttings thoroughly each year you will gradually reduce the fertility and then are more likely to get the kind of flowery meadow we all dream of!
We're having a family party on Sunday.
Do you celebrate midsummer where you are?
My most memorable midsummer was in Sweden where they really know how to celebrate it!
How come your hostas are not eaten by slugs?
I do use pellets, sparingly, from when the first snouts show till the shoots are about 4 inches high and especially in wet weather.
What is the name of the one with the dark purple flower?
The hosta is Devon Green (lovely glossy leaves) but the flower is an orchid -dactyllorhiza elata - which seeded itself from another pot!
What is the name of this plant?
It is euphorbia 'Silver Mist'. Quite tender and it's leaves droop when it gets too cold or wet - it looked better during the hot spell recently. Very dainty.
What's in the bag?
Perfumed soap. The deer rubbed some of the lovely white bark from this betula 'Jaquemontii'. The smell deters them (and I painted over the damaged part with Dulux Brilliant White emulsion!)
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)