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Weekly roundup

My life has hit an all time low this week.  I’ve had to buy hemorrhoid cream.  Fifty years of straining to give birth to ginormous poo courtesy of my overly stretchy bowel has finally taken its toll and I now have a slimy, ridiculously itchy grape hanging out of my bum.  Somebody shoot me 😉

The entire week has been taken up with photography-related gubbins, so apologies if this post bores you all rigid.  Tuesday night saw the return of our monthly beginner’s workshops and I teach the opening class.  It was full and I think it went well despite the fact my voice was still struggling a bit from doing the Scottish talk the week before.

Wednesday night was our first league competition of the new season at Camera Club and I’m delighted to say I won joint first place with myself for my Raven Tower picture and the selfie I called ‘Behind the Veil’.  I was chatting to the judge afterwards and she said:
“the lady in the scarf is beautiful, who is it?”
“Me!” I replied.
So she looks at me with my glasses on, my grey roots showing, my wrinkles and turkey neck and the fact I hadn’t even brushed my hair that night and replied, shocked “really?!  Are you sure?”
Er, what was she trying to say exactly? PMSL 😀
“Yeah, thank God for Photoshop and the fact it takes 30 years off me!”
To be fair I don’t look anything like I do in my selfies in real life – I’m 51 not 21 😉

I think I may have mentioned the fact that I’ve decided to go for my next photographic distinction and the deadline for submissions is 22nd of this month.  It’s taken the entire summer to decide which fifteen photos to use, get outside opinions on how to improve them, get them perfect, print them off and then I’ve spent three days this week mounting them onto 50 x 40cm board.  I’m finally done and it feels like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders!

Of course, all this activity lately has sucked every ounce of energy I possess from every cell in my body and I now feel like road kill.  My histamine levels are really high and I need some down time over the next couple of months to stabilize my health.  Not only that, but I’ve been neglecting my parents a fair bit and poor Bertie has had to come and plonk his bum on the keyboard in order to get himself noticed.

I have now gone 50 days without a period, hurrahhhhhh!!!!!  I still have daily, low level period pain though, backache and I’m seriously not sleeping but for the first time in 40 years this month I’ve been spared excruciating endo-related period pain and for that I am truly thankful 🙂

 

 

 

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Weekly roundup

I’m kinda glad this week is over.  Although I really enjoyed doing my photography talk up in Scotland it was months of preparation and worry about how my health would hold out which has felt like a lot of pressure and my mast cells don’t do pressure – I’ve had hives on my bum for weeks.  My Mum & Dad (well, my Mum……..my Dad wouldn’t think to!) bought me a card and a bunch of flowers to say “well done” and I was really touched.  Due to Mum’s alcoholism she hasn’t done anything like that in years because she hasn’t cared less about my life.  Now she’s massively cut down on her drinking she does seem to be much more engaged.

I am on day 43 of my menstrual cycle.  Dare I hope that this is the beginning of the end and I’ll finally be saying goodbye to The Curse which has tortured me for 40 years?!  Every day for the past fortnight I’ve felt like my period is going to start as I’ve had bloating, migraines, period pain, backache and exhaustion but as yet there is no sign and my boobs aren’t sore – they’re always sore leading up to my period so that’s weird considering I’m having all the other symptoms.  My back pain is terrible, though, the worst it’s been in years and I have had horrible shooting nerve pains in my legs and feet – I’ll be lying there in bed and all of a sudden it’s like I’ve been stung by a cattle prod :-/  A couple of years ago I had the same pains in my boobs and was sent for an early mammogram but all was fine and they eventually disappeared, so I’m sure it’s ‘just’ my hormones.

My Dad was due to have an echocardiogram of his heart on Thursday, which is basically an ultrasound to check the structure.  I offered to go with him but as he wasn’t seeing the consultant or anything he said he’d be fine and my Mum went instead – he’s had an ultrasound on his gallbladder & kidneys so knew what to expect.  Afterwards I rang to see how it had gone and he said “Grand.  She put the sticky pads on my chest and I was in and out in 10 minutes” which I knew wasn’t right.  The sticky pads are used to do an ECG (ie heart rhythm trace) and as he’d already had a 4 day ECG done he didn’t need another.  I quizzed him a bit more and he was adamant that he’d had the sticky pads and no scan, so I phoned the hospital to find out what was going on.  Sure enough, he’d had a scan and they had the results on the screen.
So I asked him again.  “Did the lady use a wand or anything on your chest Dad?  Was there a screen next to you?”
“Oh yes, she pressed into my ribs, then I had to lay on my side and she pressed again.”
“And you didn’t think to tell me this when I asked the first time?”
“Should I have?”
Bless him, you can’t trust a word that comes out of his mouth.

Today I really must do some housework because the place looks like a bomb has hit it.  I haven’t touched housey-type jobs in 3 weeks as I was conserving energy for my talk but I can’t put it off any longer.  There’s one huge obstacle though…………….I fucking hate housework.  And paperwork.  And having to put away my garden furniture for winter.  And clipping the dog.  And scrubbing poop off the bird feeders.  And changing halogen bulbs in recessed ceiling lights (why in God’s name has that been made so complicated?!).  And ringing the electrician to come and look at my faulty outside light.  In fact, anything which doesn’t involve taking photos 😉  I hope the Universe knows that I need a lotto jackpot win so that I can employ a servant to do all this boring shit for me and sorts that out tout de suite if not sooner!

Weekly roundup

Apologies for the fact there was no blog post this week.  I sat down to write one on a couple of occasions and found I just didn’t have much to say.  After 5 years of blogging twice a week sometimes I don’t have anything new to add that hasn’t already been said and this week felt like one of those times.  I’m sure I’ll be back to my chatty self soon.

I’m feeling very emotional this morning.  I had a lovely day yesterday, but it was a big day and whenever I’ve done too much and am over-tired my emotions take on a life of their own (called emotional lability).  I woke up obsessing over something I said to a family member nearly 3 years ago and it’s making me feel sick to the pit of my stomach.  My rational brain tells me to stop being bloody ridiculous, it’s done and over with and there’s nothing I can do about it now but my overly emotional emotions won’t give it up and I know I’m going to spend the day wanting to crawl out of my skin.

The reason I’m so tired is that I went through to the city yesterday and not only is the 60 mile round drive tiring I find all the hustle and bustle exhausting.  I thought I’d do a bit of shopping for an hour but I wandered around like a lost puppy gazing at all the bright shiny things and felt totally overwhelmed.  As a 51 year old with a saggy arse and ever-expanding waistline who lives in the middle of nowhere and has been largely housebound for a quarter of a century fashion means nothing to me.  I gazed at all the boots with heels on like they were alien spacecraft (my back barely allows me to wear flat shoes let alone 2″ platforms :-/ ) and the clothes looked either uncomfortable or cold (why do men get to wear thick, fishermen rib, roll neck sweaters down to their butts and women have to wear see-through jumpers with 3/4 sleeves and scooped necklines which barely reach their waist-band in the middle of winter?!).  The price of everything also made my eyes water and I just know I’m going to be one of those women who spend the rest of their natural days in leggings and fleeces from Matalan 😉 .  At 5.30pm I’d arranged to meet my bestie for dinner and really enjoyed it.  She was on great form and we had a lovely meal, followed by a show featuring Robin Ince from Radio 4.

I have a photo competition coming up with the theme of ‘town or city-scapes’.  I am not a landscape photographer and despite the looming deadline had not got one picture to enter, so I took my camera with me and got some shots of the city at night on the way back to the car – they’re absolutely rubbish but I least I have something to enter.

Wednesday was also a big day for me as I’d agreed to judge my first ever competition at my Camera Club.  I’d been given the images before-hand so I could award them all marks but it was still daunting to have to stand in front of 40 people and critique each image, trying not to be negative but still giving feedback on how each picture could be improved.  I think I did OK though and got some nice comments afterwards 🙂  This Wednesday is an even bigger day, as I am guest speaker at a Scottish Camera club and have to talk for nearly 2 hours in front of a room full of complete strangers – gulp!

I don’t think my emotions or energy are being helped by my schizophrenic hormones.  Last month I had a period on day 12 of my cycle and this month, despite feeling like it’s going to start any second, I am currently on day 36 of my cycle with no show from Aunt Flo.  I am waking every sodding night at 4.30am and not getting back to sleep.  Even last night, when I didn’t get to bed til nearly midnight, I was still wide awake at 4am.  FFS.  I have also had another 2 brutal migraines this week which weren’t helped by the fact the road outside my house is being resurfaced and men with drills spent 8 hours one day taking up the old tarmac.  I can’t tell you how ready I am for this menopause bollocks to be over.

A couple of weeks ago my friends kids came to model for me and I’ve ummed and ahhhd over what to do with the resulting images.  I still haven’t decided how to edit the older girls’ picture but finally came up with an idea for the younger one’s which I’m happy with – I’m calling it Evacuee.

I’ve had an incredibly busy summer and have been preparing for my talk this week for months (I’m showcasing nearly 90 pictures!), so even though I’m excited to do it I’ll also be glad when it’s over and I can have a well earned rest.  I feel I’ve been neglecting myself recently and am in imminent danger of a relapse so I’m planning on having a quiet run up to Christmas to try and claw back some energy – famous last words!

 

 

Weekly roundup

This week has been a bit dull and hard going if I’m honest.  My hormones are still making themselves heard, my back, hips and legs are painful and I’m fed up of not getting a decent night’s sleep and consequently spending every day knackered.

The highlight of the week was Tuesday.  As you know, I’d judged my first international photography Salon recently and on Tuesday night the judges gathered together to choose the medal winners.  I enjoyed looking through all the top ranked pictures and being amongst people for a natter, even if it did take 3½ hours by which time I was almost comatose.

Camera Club was cancelled on Wednesday due to “adverse weather conditions”.  I’ve never heard such tosh in all my life.  I received the message at 2.30pm while I was out walking Bertie.  It was bone dry and so warm I didn’t even have a jacket on!  Yes it was a bit breezy as we caught the tail end of some storm or other, but this is Cumbria in Autumn – if we cancelled stuff every time it was a bit windy nothing would ever get done.  If southerners can’t hack living up north they should go back down south is my conclusion.  I was supposed to be teaching software that night and had spent 4 hours preparing, so I was well pissed.  My time and energy are so precious to me I can’t afford to waste them.  The evening wasn’t totally ruined, however, as I received an SOS off a fellow Club member who was so fed up of staying in his house alone he asked if I’d meet him in the local pub for supper, and as I was also fed up of staying in the house alone I said yes (before you get the wrong idea he’s in his seventies so there is nothing romantic going on!).

Thursday I left one of the hob rings on full for over two hours and singed the wall behind.  It’s the third time in as many weeks I’ve left the cooker on and could have potentially burned the bloody house down.  As it is I’m going to have to repaint one entire wall of my kitchen because the paint has been on for several years and if I try to patch it it will look crap 😦  I swear my memory is so bad these days I’m worried I have dementia.

I was woken at 4am Friday morning with a brutal migraine.  They have been baaaad recently and I’ve had to resort to taking Ibuprofen, even though I have a mild reaction to it.  I know that one of these days the reaction will turn more severe and I’ll have to stop taking it but for now I’m putting up with the palpitations, nausea, muscle cramps and feeling weird in order to get rid of the god awful head pain which two days on still hasn’t totally gone.

I’ve been bored this weekend but not up to doing much.  In the end I decided that I wanted to try taking a fine art portrait, so I got into my wedding dress in the spare bedroom and this was the result.  It needs more work because I’ve put too much texture over parts of the skin but it’s turned out OK I guess for a first attempt.

So, that’s been my week.  Apologies this post is as dull as dishwater but then not much has happened.  I’ll try harder for a bit more excitement next week, like a Euromillions jackpot win or bumping into Hugh Jackman in Sainsburys but don’t hold your breath 😉

Weekly roundup

How is it possible for time to both drag and fly by?!  That’s how I feel the last several days have gone – the evenings have often seemed interminable while the days have zipped by at an alarming rate of knots.

I had my 51st birthday this week, which passed pleasantly enough even if most of the day was spent on my tod as usual.  I did, however, go out for lunch with my parents but I paid for my little jaunt by way of a migraine which started at about 9pm and by 2am was at warp ten.  FFS it was my birthday – you’d think my body would take just that one goddamn day off.

I wasn’t particularly looking forward to Camera Club on Weds night because my lovely friend Linda is no longer there to sit with and one of the members was spending the evening showing us photos of his holiday to Asia (not that I’m jealous in any way, having not left Cumbria since 1996), but to be fair I did actually have a slightly better time than anticipated and if nothing else it was nice to get out of the house even if my back did scream at me all night that it would rather be in bed.

Friday I was kept awake most of the night with yet another humdinger of a migraine which nearly drove me demented.  Needless to say the rest of the day was a right off.  My hormones are clearly playing silly buggers which is why I’ve been so headachy and, for the most part, I’ve also been grumpy and exhausted plus I have hives on my arse which shows my histamine levels are up.  Yay.

Saturday, despite still feeling a bit rubbish, I decided to try a photo out I’d had in my mind for a while so I palmed Bertie off onto my friend in the village, made my way through a field full of scary Bullocks, changed into my ballgown, wig and wellies hoping no-one saw me and called the Police, then spent half an hour inside a tree (being bendy has to have some advantages).  I’m quite chuffed with the result, which I’m calling From Little Acorns Great Oaks Grow, and have decided to use it as the last picture for my Distinction in November 🙂

Speaking of Distinctions, I thought my images had been accepted into enough international Salons for me to apply for my first FIAP (international) award but I discovered this morning that I’d read the rules wrong and still have another 2 Salons to go *sigh*.  I know I’ll do it, but it’s all so fucking expensive I’ll be eating baked beans from now until Christmas (at least I would if my mast cells would let me 😉 ).

This morning I decided to tackle an overgrown ivy on the wall of my little front garden with some shears.  I sometimes forget I have hEDS and my wrists are fucked.  Remind me to never do this again!

 

Weekly roundup

I’ve had to deal with stress and disappointment this week but my health, and hormones, have been in a good patch so I’m delighted to say I’ve coped with everything really well 🙂

As many of you may remember, I’ve decided to go for my next photographic distinction and need to submit 15 mounted A3 prints by mid October which seems a long way off but is actually only 5 weeks away.  I’ve recently been gathering feedback on my choices from experienced photographers and last Sunday decided I needed to get cracking and make a start on my submission, so I printed off my first image………and it looked nothing like it did on my screen!  Printing professionally from home is incredibly complicated and when I first got my printer I spent 3 months getting the prints to exactly match my computer and have had no problems whatsoever since – why, now of all times, has it decided to go belly up?!  I spent the whole of Sunday and Monday stressed to the eyeballs trying to figure out what the issue was and, having Googled til my fingers bled and tried every single suggestion, gave up because I was doing everything right.   Thank God, though, I’ve eventually managed to find a work-around so I’ve had to go with that, even though it’s more faff and I shouldn’t have to!

Tuesday my friend Linda had invited me out for lunch and it was great to get away from the house and to take my mind off my printing nightmare.  At the same time it was bitter-sweet because Linda is moving away so it was our final get together.  She was my closest girl friend at Camera Club and we regularly went out for lunch or on photography days – I have so few friends, particularly ones as nice as Linda, that I’m really going to miss her 😦

Wednesday was a big day.  My lovely friend John from Camera Club offered to drive me the 150 mile round journey to the Sunderland Eye Infirmary about my floaters, the outcome of which I discussed in this post.  To say I’m gutted about the decision not to do surgery is an understatement but I’m trying to just be accepting and carry on…………let’s face it, I don’t have much choice.  I went armed in the car with 2 cushions, my acupressure travel sick bands (I’ve had wicked travel sickness my whole life, probably mast cell related) and my TENS machine with 4 pads on full pelt to try and minimize my back pain, and had as good a journey as was possible.  In fact, I quite enjoyed my little trip out and we stopped at a farm shop, complete with camels, on the way back for a brew and a cake.  John is the kindest person I think I’ve ever met and I feel incredibly relaxed in his company – he feels more like family than most of my family do.

I got back home at 5.15pm, had a quick hour in bed and some tea then had to head off back to town because it was opening night of the new Camera Club season.  I’ve really missed Club over the four month summer break and, despite my back by this stage being at screaming pitch and my head buzzing and disorientated from over-stimulation, I had a fun night.

Thursday I spent the whole day in bed editing my pictures and managed to get 7 of them printed off.  Then I ran out of photo black ink, which wasn’t a problem because I’d made sure I had a whole set of inks in the wings.  Only I’d been sent matt black, not photo black, so had to then pay £7 next day delivery from Amazon for the replacement.  Bugger it.

I couldn’t do any more prints on Friday because I was pole-axed.  When it comes to the post-exertional malaise from M.E. mine hits 48 hours after I’ve done something so I knew that Friday, and possibly Saturday, would be right offs.

Sure enough I had a migraine on Saturday and all the energy of a corpse.  However, I feel a bit perkier this morning so am hoping to get a few more prints done today – it feels like a weight on my shoulders and I’ll feel huge relief when my submission is ready.

It’s a fine line when you’re chronically ill to set yourself goals but not take on too much.  It just so happens that my distinction has come in the same month as my birthday (always knackering, albeit in a nice way), the fact I’d agreed to judge a photo competition, I’m doing opening night at our beginner’s class and I’m doing a 2 hour talk at another Camera Club!  I’ve way over-stretched myself, particularly as my health usually nosedives at the start of Autumn, and can only pray I’m still standing come the end of October!

Weekly roundup

The first half of my week was dominated by a surprise visit from Aunt Flo, which I wrote about in this post.  I didn’t think it was possible to have a period only 9 days after the last period finished so it came as a total shock.  It wasn’t just some skimpy thing either and brought with it 3 days of migraines and some wicked back pain, neither of which have settled down now it’s all over :-/  I’ve also eaten my own body weight in sweets and biscuits and have kicked the weighing scales under the bed so I’m not tempted to stand on them – I know they’d say things to me I don’t want to hear.

It’s typical I felt so crap because this week I judged my first International Photography Salon and had 2,500 images to wade through.  Usually the 3 to 5 judges on the panel have to meet up at a large venue, the images are presented to them and they have just a few seconds to press a button with their score.  With thousands of photos to look at it often takes hours and the mental effort alone, let alone sitting upright for ages, would have been all too much for me.  However, this time we used online scoring software so I was able to do the judging from the comfort of my bed over the course of a week and I really enjoyed it 🙂

Something brilliant happened this week which, considering I count myself as one of the world’s unluckiest women, made a pleasant change.  As you might remember, my 2½ year old camera broke earlier on this month and I sent it away to Olympus for repair.  It’s been like having a limb missing and I’ve waited anxiously for its return only for Olympus to contact me to say they don’t have any spares and couldn’t fix it.  I was on the verge of slashing my wrists when they offered me an upgrade to the next model for the price of the repair, so I’ve ended up with a brand new £1,800 camera for £132!!  I happy danced round the lounge until my hips asked me what the fuck I thought I was doing and sat my arse back on the couch 😉

There was a headline online this week that Australian researchers have found a diagnostic test for ME which involves a malfunction in calcium ion channels.  I flicked right on by.  Researchers, initially at Glasgow, have been looking at ion channelopathy for two decades and we’re no further forward.   I’ve lost count of the number of times it’s been declared that the answer to ME has been found only for it to fizzle out and come to nothing.  It takes a lot for me to get excited and I’m so unexcited by this news I’m in a coma.

We have rats!  My neighbour pulled me aside the other day to say he’d been stood in the kitchen looking out of the window one afternoon and two rats the size of kittens ran across his lawn.  Sure enough, the next day I was walking up my drive and saw one darting in and out of the plant pots *shudder*.   I live next door to a farm and all farms have vermin but they’re usually nocturnal and as long as I don’t see them I don’t think about them – that they’re out and about doing their ratty thing in broad daylight is just brazen.  My neighbour has put some poison down but my other neighbour puts shed loads of bird food on feeders attached to a small wall and unless he stops we’re never going to get rid of them – the rats must think every night is party night with free food and drink.

Today I’ve invited my bestie out for lunch cos I’m desperate for a conversation with someone who doesn’t have fur and lick their own willy.   Not that Bertie isn’t great company, but he only has three things to say: “rub my tummy”, “feed me” and “are we going walkies?” and if none of those things are happening he spends his days impersonating a rug.

We’re back at Camera Club this week after our four month summer break, hurrahhhh!  But first I have an appointment at the Eye Hospital with my floaters – I’ll let you know how I get on.