Photos on or around 27th April

IMG_0464

On 25th April 2010 I took a photo of some spring flowers – no idea where! They are rather lovely though. One of the lovely things about this area is the spring flowers that we get – although we do miss out on bluebells.

IMG_0920

On 27th April 2011 I took a photo of the singing group I used to go to. They were a lovely group of people & I enjoyed singing with them – but work used to get in the way. I’d arrive home at 7.00 and have to rush out again at 7.30. I ended up not enjoying it for that reason. Now the group has closed down as Gerda, the leader, retired. And instead of singing I now go dancing!!

IMG_1195

On 28th April 2012 I went for a walk where I stopped every ten minutes to take a photo. This one was about 20 or 30 minutes into the walk, showing two young calves and their mum. It’s one of my favourite walks – about 1 hour long – taking me through the village, through some woods, along an old railway track, and then home. Very lovely.

IMG_1433

On 27th April 2013 I showed off a card that I had made “A faithful friend is a true/real treasure” I think I was playing with a new paper punch – to be honest I never really got the hang of it, and wasted quite a bit of paper trying!! I don’t make so many cards now, having changed my fidelity to Zentangling, but I do like this sweet little bird that I drew. I tend to only make cards when I’m asked for them – unfortunately quite a lot of condolence cards recently!

IMG_1863

And on 27th April 2014 I was showing three more cards made for a Blog Swap. These used some card shapes I’d been given as a gift, and were destined for a blogger who made the most delicious-looking cakes and biscuits. These seemed appropriate!

And on April 27th 2015 I didn’t take any photos as my camera is playing up! But I have had a phone lesson today, and the Man from the Insurance came round to inspect our small trickle of water that is flowing through our cellar. He is 99% sure it’s not us, and thinks it is the fault of our next door neighbour. Unfortunately it could mean Big Works to find out, as it’s coming through a rather ancient stone wall. Or it’s coming from the Hotel next door’s kitchen – won’t we be popular if they have to take up the Hotel kitchen floor in the height of the summer season! Bruno (hotel owner) isn’t the most avuncular of people at the best of times: this will put him right off us!

This afternoon I’m planning on trying to sort out the spare room – it’s a complete mess and we have people coming to stay in a few weeks, so it might be an idea to tidy it up now while I have no work, instead of trying to do it nearer the time when I might be busy. I am also going to apply to another Language School for work. Someone from church works there and he says they are often asking him to do more hours, so maybe they would like another teacher! It is in Clermont, which is some distance away, but there’s not much I can do about that! I my also remind the CCI in Roanne that I worked for them in the past and could work for them again!

Just a reminder: if you want more news about my not-very-exciting life there is also Fat Dormouse Getting Thinner. Usually about food, but often other bits of gossip and information sneak into my posts!!

Advertisements

Possibly Life Saving Information!

One of my friends sent this to me…I guess it is quite useful to pass it on.

Nurse has a heart attack and describes what women feel when having one…..

NURSE’S HEART ATTACK EXPERIENCE

I am an ER nurse, and this is the best description of this event that I have ever heard. Please read, pay attention, and send it on!

FEMALE HEART ATTACKS 

I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is the best description I’ve ever read.
Women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have … you know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest and dropping to the floor that we see in movies.
Here is the story of one woman’s experience with a heart attack.

I had a heart attack at about 10:30 PM with NO prior exertion, NO prior emotional trauma that one would suspect might have brought it on. I was sitting all snug & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking, ‘Aah, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with my feet propped up.’

A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you’ve been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you’ve swallowed a golf ball going down the oesophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn’t have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial sensation–the only trouble was that I hadn’t taken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.

After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (in hindsight, it was probably my aorta spasms), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my sternum (the breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering CPR).

This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws. ‘AHA!’ NOW I stopped puzzling about what was happening — we all have read or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven’t we? I said aloud to myself and the cat, ‘Dear God, I think I’m having a heart attack!’

I lowered the foot rest, dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought, If this is a heart attack, I shouldn’t be walking into the next room where the phone is or anywhere else… but, on the other hand, if I don’t, nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in a moment.

I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialled the Paramedics .. I told her I thought I was having a heart attack, due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn’t feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near me, and if so, to unbolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they came in.

I unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness; I don’t remember the medics coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the radiologist was already there in his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was bending over me asking questions (probably something like ‘Have you taken any medications?’), but I couldn’t make my mind interpret what he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side-by-side stents to hold open my right coronary artery.

I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at least 20-30 minutes before calling the paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St Jude are only minutes away from my home, and my cardiologist was all ready to go to the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stents.
Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned first-hand.

1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your body, not the usual men’s symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws got into the act). It is said that many more women than men die of their first (and last) MI because they didn’t know they were having one and commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn preparation and go to bed, hoping they’ll feel better in the morning when they wake up… which doesn’t happen. My female friends, your symptoms might not be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is unpleasantly happening that you’ve not felt before. It is better to have a false-alarm visit than to risk your life guessing what it might be!

2. Note that I said ‘Call the Paramedics.’ And if you can, take an aspirin. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER — you are a hazard to others on the road.

Do NOT have your panicky husband, who will be speeding and looking anxiously at what’s happening with you instead of the road, drive.

Do NOT call your doctor he doesn’t know where you live and if it’s at night you won’t reach him anyway, and if it’s daytime, his assistants (or answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn’t carry the equipment in his car that you need to be saved. The Paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your doctor will be notified later.

3. Don’t assume it couldn’t be a heart attack because you have a normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that an elevated cholesterol reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it’s unbelievably high and/or accompanied by high blood pressure). MIs are usually caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormones into your system to sludge things up in there. Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let’s be careful and be aware. The more we know the better chance we could survive.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10 people, you can be sure that we’ll save at least one life.

 

One thing less to worry about!

A couple of days ago I wrote about an unpaid bill, for work done between September and December, and how I was gearing myself up to do something about it. Like debt collectors etc.

Yesterday I received an email from the company that said:

Nous avons dû faire face ces derniers temps à des perturbations qui relèvent de la trésorerie et de la réorganisation des tâches administratives. Cela a pris plus de temps que prévu. Nous en sommes les premiers à le déplorer. D’autant plus, que nous sommes ravis de travailler avec vous. Nous vous prions de bien vouloir nous excuser pour tous les désagréments que nous aurions pu vous faire subir. (Google translate: We have had to face in recent times to disturbances which are the treasury and the reorganization of administrative tasks. It took more time than expected. We are the first to deplore it. Especially , we are delighted to work with you. We ask you to excuse us for the inconvenience that we could make you suffer .)

They have offered me a payment plan which – while it doesn’t take into account all the 40€ late payment penalties that I am entitled to ask for – means that I will be fully paid by the end of June. I have accepted this but told them that I won’t be working for them until the debt is paid ( nor, though they don’t know this, will I be working for them AFTER the debt is paid!) and that if a payment is late I’ll be following it up with the Greffe de Tribunal de Commerce (small claims court)

There are other things to worry about, not least a small waterfall that seems to have decided to seep into our cellar from who knows where (but Mr FD suspects next door’s dishwasher feed) and not-a-lot of work at the moment, but at least I won’t have to worry about sorting out debt collectors and so on.

I feel relieved.

Birds writing music.

I’m not a musician, nor a composer. I can read music well eough to help me sing unknown hymn tunes, although I couldn’t sight read them. This has never bothered me much. The one time I would like to be able to write music is when I see a sight like this:

source

and Mr FD and I joke “The birds are writing music again!” I would love to be able to transcribe what I see into music.

Well, somebody has! In fact they did it in 2009, but it’s only just come to my attention!

Jarbas Agnelli from Brazil saw a photo of birds on telephone wires in a newspaper and it struck him how they looked like musical notes.”I cut out the photo and decided to make a song, using the exact location of the birds as notes,”he said. “I knew it wasn’t the most original idea in the universe. I was just curious to hear what melody the birds were creating.”

He arranged his score using a xylophone, bassoon, oboe and clarinet. However, he was reluctant to take credit for the beautiful piece. “The pleasing melody is not my invention. It was the birds’ idea,” he said. “The notes are the exact position of the birds (in between the lines). The rhythm is a interpretation of their position, since there are no bar lines.”

I think it’s a beautiful, delicate little piece and I think it’s wonderful that someone has had the talent and vision to do this. Of course, it is purely random where the birds were perched, but it took the skill of Agnelli to translate it into music.

I wonder what he’d make of this!

Procrastination

I am terrible at doing things I don’t want to do. I generally work better if the deadline for doing things is tomorrow…but I also find myself worrying about it beforehand!!

I work for myself (“auto entrepreneur” in French) and generally the companies/individuals I work for are great at paying me on time. There is a law that one should be paid 30 days after the receipt of the bill, and I’ve had very few problems. A couple of individuals are late payers, and one person I used to teach stored up the bills for 3 or 4 months and then paid me. But it was okay as I knew she was dependant on various payments from the state, and she was a friend. I knew Where She Lived!  Otherwise everything is fine…

…EXCEPT…

One company, EAL Formation, has always been very laissez faire with their payment of my bills – you never know when the money will arrive. But I now have not been paid by them since September and (with penalties for late payment of bills) they owe me just under 1,300€ (£938/1,371 US$) I have written two letters demanding payment, and sent bills every month. I also have replied to their requests for my availibilities to teach for them with terse little messages saying “As I have not been paid for 6 months I do not wish to work for the company”

BUT I have been lying awake at night worrying about what I should do…is all my paperwork okay…do I have contracts with them… Maybe it’s my fault…

I finally got all the paperwork together, bills printed out, letters + dates of receipt (I sent them recorded delivery), contracts, paperwork. Now all I need to do (put off until tomorrow…) is finding a debt recovery agency. Something else to worry about!

40Acts2015: Drawing to a close

WARNING: This post contains many, many LOLcats!!! (Possibly too many!)

This last week I seem to have been too busy to post about the final 7 or 8 Acts, and I have also found them much more difficult to personally relate to. The first Acts were very practical – handing out chocolate, writing post-its and encouraging notes – which were relatively easy to do. The last ones have been less straightforward, requiring more thought and reflection, and some soul searching too.

I haven’t found them so easy, either to find a way “into ” them, or to actually complete. I think that, in a way, they are things to be pondered on. Just as a dog is for life, not just for Christmas, so 40 Acts isn’t just for Lent. It is designed to change our attitudes, our mindset, so that we see opportunities for generosity, for forgiving, for letting-things-go where we would not have perceived them before. And so I hope it has.

I won’t post all the details of the Challenges for each day I’ve missed, but here’s a summary, with a link for each to the full reflection:

DAY 33: Scrap the Schedule: “Busy” is nearly overtaking “Fine” as the standard response to “How are you?” There aren’t enough hours in the day; you’re rushed off your feet; you simply haven’t got time. We’re all a little guilty of making ourselves too busy. It’s probably high time we slowed down and refocused our energies on the people & things that matter. Spend today doing what someone else wants.

I haven’t done this…I do sometimes feel I’m too busy to give time to others when actually the things I’m “busy” with are either things just for me, or things which can wait. This is definitely one to be stored away, so that I remember it in future. One of my “victims” is Mr FD – I need to be open to listen to him more.

DAY 34: Carbonate: Be honest, how lightly do you tread on the earth? Our lifestyle choices make up our carbon footprint and there’s merit in knowing whether we’re wearing dainty slippers or clod-hopping boots. This act is about taking the first steps in being generous to God’s creation.

This Act is about considering our impact on the earth. As a two-car family, we need to consider how this can be off-set. I have started to try to use less plastic, but I need to commit to this more I think. Further reflection needed.

DAY 35: Bite Your Tongue: It’s so easy to let cutting words slip out. The problem is that the effect of our verbal stings can resonate with other people for a lot longer than we expect. The good news is twofold. First, we can learn to hold back when it’s tempting to deliver a put-down. Second, our words can also be generously kind, and these words also resonate – sometimes for entire lifetimes.

Oh, yes. This one is one to really work on after Lent too. This is certainly NOT a one-day-only event. I don’t think I am too bad wth the verbal put downs and spreading of rumours (although I am rather too fond of listening to gossip.) but I am not very good at the encouraging words – except with my students, of course. Encouragement can be as uplifting as put-downs can be devastating: I need to cultivate one.

DAY 36: Do the Dirty Work: Heads up: you might want some rubber gloves for this one. Unblocking the sink, cleaning the toilet, scrubbing the oven. Plenty of domestic chores we routinely avoid or pass off to someone else. So today, sign yourself up for the job nobody else wants to do in your household. And if you happen to be the only member of your household, see if you can do the dirty work for a neighbour instead.

Our household is not very keen on housework. We’re reasonably hygenic, but certainly not tidy! I swear that  Mr FD is to blame, he reckons that when I’m away the house is much tidier – I guess that means that it’s both our faults! I do have a tendency to think “I did  that (whatever “that” is) last time” or “It’s his mess, he can clean it up!” so my reaction to this must be to stop with the totting up of who did what and when, but just do it.

DAY 37: Heavy Lifting:The guy who created the Knock Knock jokes deserves a ‘no bell’ prize (Ba-dum-tsch! You’re welcome, we’re here all week, etc. …) Today is April Fool’s Day, so feel free to steal that dreadful joke if you’ve got no others up your sleeve. For some people, though, today won’t be particularly bright and breezy. Some people are carrying heavy burdens. Could you try to lift someone’s load today, and make life a little lighter?

Part of this Act was to consider mental health issues, but also about having time to let others unburden themselves. I like to think I’m a good listener, but that’s not really for me to say. However, this again is another store-it-up-for-reflection Action, I think. Mental health issues are a reality for all of us, and knowing what to do and how to be with someone with such problems is really important.

DAY 38: Open Up: Armour off, folks. Today is about vulnerability. Sometimes we need to let our guard down to allow others to do the same. Everyone has their own struggle, and sharing those stories can often open up a generous way for others to talk about theirs.

This is a tricky one to get my head round. I can see where it’s heading, but I’m not totally sure of the logic behind it. But, again, I will try to take it on board for the future… Being open to admitting one’s own failures can make a difference to others.

DAY 39: Write Off: Good Friday is good because we get something undeserved. Freedom; a clean slate; a fresh beginning. Maybe today is a good day to extend the favour? Cancel an IOU and write off a debt that’s owed to you today. It might be a tenner you loaned someone, a promise as yet unfulfilled or something more significant that caused a rift in the past. In the words of Frozen’s Elsa, ‘Let it go.’

Hmmm…The only debt that I can think of that is owed to me is over 1,000€ owed by a company who has not paid me for work I did for them. I am about to start legal action to recover this debt, and I’m sorry, 40 Acts but I am not letting this debt go. And I don’t think that’s what it’s about anyway.

What it is about is not holding grudges, about not remembering what someone did in the past that hurt you so badly…Generally I can let stuff like this go, although there was one event that took me a l-o-n-g time to forget. In fact, it’s not forgotten even now, but I think I can say it’s forgiven.

Considering what Christ did for us and how this (should) affect how we react to others is something that we need to reflect on every day of our lives.

DAY 40: Undercover: We’re here! Today is Holy Saturday, and tomorrow Christians celebrate the most generous act in the world. So, with that in mind, the culmination of our 40 day journey ends with this: do something today that’s more generous than anything you’ve done in the last seven weeks, and do it anonymously.

I have no idea. None whatsoever. I can’t just “magic” an Act like this out of nowhere – I appreciate that this is linked to what 40 Acts has been about, and more specifically to God’s unimaginably generous gift to the world, but my mind has gone a complete blank. Whatever this Act needs to be – and there’s the rub, it’s not just a Think-of-something-and-do-it but something that needs doing! – I can’t think of anything to do that doesn’t seem trite and false and “manufactured”.

So, maybe this will be another Action where I wait for God’s push-in-the-back, meanwhile thinking and being open to His promptings.

 

And at the end of 40 Acts I think that I have started to open the door a little more to God’s promptings to be more generous than I have been…although it doesn’t always work, as an incident on Thursday proved to me. I don’t need to share it here,except to say that I now need to forgive myself for not doing something.

It has been an interesting journey, which has also taught me a bit about myself. It has introduced me to some new blogging friends (Yes, Helen, that’s you!) and it has given me a mission to continue through the year: Ninja note leaving has started to become really important to me & I feel a bit naked if I go out without a few ready prepared postcards in my handbag. So that is my 40 Acts 2015 legacy to the Roanne area of France: encouraging postcards left in unexpected places!