A scheduled post – today is the day after my last chemo!!!
A scheduled post – today is the day after my last chemo!!!
How true! My Friend Jane sent me this lovely card. It made me smile, and go to cuddle a cat.
How we (still) miss our lovely George boy, who was great for cuddling, even though we have…
Mad, starey-eyes Bib
Millie, here seen lounging behind the shutters!
Lovely, senior Pomme (getting on to 14 or 15 years old)
and into-everything Jasper
In fact, for me, that baby foods taste of nothing…
It’s an odd sensation,eating food that looks delicious, has a faint (but tempting) aroma, and yet tastes of zilch. Nada. Nuttin’ at all.
For the first couple of days after this happened I went off the idea of eating. I existed on porridge and bread (not so good for the bowels!) but Mr FD and I decided that this was no good. Different sites gave different advice, but many said to try strong flavours, such as curry, chilli and so on. However, although I couldn’t really taste these flavours, they still burned my mouth, which is quite sensitive. I’m lucky enough not to have developed ulcers (yet!) but strong flavours hurt – including mint. I find that toothpaste is too strong a mintiness, so I only have a tiny smear. And extra-strong mints have me whimpering “the pain…the pain…”
Working on the fact that I was enjoying a warm hard-boiled-egg sandwich for lunch, with iceberg lettuce and a few crisps, we thought that a way I might – at least partially – enjoy food was if we worked on a variety of textures and sensations. The sandwich was giving me warm/cold, plus crisp/soft/crunchy. A chocolate chip cookie gave an interesting mix of crunchy plus melty (and a tiny hint of chocolate at the very end).
Mr FD’s chilli was a success on Saturday, with the softness which didn’t hurt, a tiny edge of chilli (just enough!), the different textures of beans, mince, rice and so on. Yesterday he made this salmon-and-asparagus-pastafrom my newest “go to” site for recipes
Oh, it looked lovely! It smelt delicious! It tasted of – nothing! BUT at least it had an interesting mix of textures and mouth-feel: soft salmon, slippery pasta, crunchy asparagus. Happily, it also includes 2 of my 5-a-day (which I’m not keeping to, by any means!)
We’ve planned a vegetable/chicken stir fry tonight – carrot, beansprouts, mushrooms, cabbage, noodles – these will all help make it a bit more interesting to eat. And, if it’s a particularly “umami” sauce, I may get a slight taste of that too.
I thought I’d try a different breakfast, and was really looking forward to this Bircher Meusli, that I made yesterday evening, from the same site:
I thought that there would be a variety of textures in this. When I looked at it, I couldn’t help but imagine the deliciousness of the berries, and honey, and creamy yoghurt…digging my spoon in, I took a big mouthful…and nearly gagged! The creaminess combined with the tastelessness just didn’t work! I’m determined to try it again, when I get my taste back, because I think it is probably very nice, but sans taste? – no, thank you! Back to banana sandwich, or honey-on-bread!
What is very bizarre though is the fact that I can still taste drinks – fainter than before, but I can still taste them. So I enjoy my apple juice/ orange & cranberry juice drinks – but I am right off coffee. Very bitter!! I am watering the juice down though, 75% water, 25% juice, which is better for me, but drinking about 2 litres a day. I know 500 ml of juice isn’t great, but I’m letting myself off that for the duration.
I’m slowly losing weight at the moment, mostly because snacks and alcohol hold little, or no, appeal! There’s no point having a biscuit with your mid-morning drink, if you can’t taste it! There’s no sense of “I like something sweet in the evening” if you can’t distinguish sweet from anything else! There’s no “Oh, I really enjoyed that, so even if I’m full I’ll have a bit more!” There’s no “Let’s have an apèro, and a few snacks and nibbles” when the drinks taste bitter, and the nibbles are crisp enough to hurt my mouth and taste of nothing! I’m down about 2 or 3 kg from my last weigh in, but I’m still way too heavy. So, I’m aware that when things are back to as normal as possible, things need to change…
Knowing that we need to up our vegetable intake, and reduce our red meat intake, I think this site will be useful. These are some of the recipes we’ll be trying:
There are lots, and lots, and LOTS of recipes. I also like the way you can see (on some ) how many portions of fruit/veg they provide. I’m also going to be going back to my copy of “River Cottage Veg Every Day”, which I used a lot when I first got it. Here is a link to my old blog pages, with the tag “River Cottage” should you be ionterested in finding out more. I’m enjoying Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s series on BBC1 at the moment “Britain’s Fat Fight”…
I also really, seriously, need to think about exercise. But that’s for another day…
But, over to you, dear ones: do you have any suggestions for meals which would tempt me on the texture front, and Mr FD on the taste front?
Recently I’ve been nominated for three blogging awards, but due to chemo, and Other Stuff, I’ve never quite got round to posting about them. I may not get all three done today – having re-started walking a mile in 15 minutes today, I find myself absolutely knackered! I managed it, but now I feel really tired. Perhaps I was being a tad ambitious, but I really thought that I needed to do some exercise. Plus Mr FD has been nagging me: apparently I “should” be doing about 150 minutes of exertion each week in order to aid recovery. When I told him, in no uncertain terms, that in the first week I’m lucky if I can stagger round the house, he responded that it “helps with the fatigue”. I nodded, said “Yes, dear,” and planned to continue doing what I feel I can do.
Just on a side note: the sinus infection is sorting itself out, the medication is (just about) bearable, and hasn’t had the threatened results. Huzzah. Thank you for your messages of sympathy and support.
So, on with the Awards Ceremony!!
First: from ThenewMrsM comes the nomination for
The Liebster Award 2018 is an award that exists only on the internet and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011. Liebster in German means ‘sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome’.
I can’t remember how I came across Mrs M’s blog, but from the beginning I enjoyed reading about her family life. She has an enthusiastic and engaging way of writing, and even when documenting the less-welcome sides of her life, she always seems to be positive. I have become quite fond of her daughter, T, and her husband, Scott!! T recently wrote me a lovely note, which I intend to reply to shortly. Mrs M and T have been taking part in 40 Random Acts of Kindness over Lent, and it’s been great reading how T has embraced this spirit of generosity.
The “rules” of this award are as follows:
Rules of the Liebster Award 2018~
1) Thank the person who nominated you, and put a link to their blog on your blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you. (check)
2) Display the award on your blog. (check)
3) Write a small post about what makes you passionate about blog posting. (see below)
4) Provide 10 random facts about yourself (optional in 2018) – the question answers can be my random facts)
5) Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel would enjoy blogging about this award. (see below)
6) List these rules in your post. (check)
7) Inform the people/blogs that you nominated (see below)
So why do I like blogging?
I am a slightly frustrated writer: I have written a novel, but then was too lazy to do anything about publishing it (whether self-published or “proper” published) so I suppose blogging gives me an outlet for that. I enjoy recording various outings, and love reading back over old posts. I started in August 2011 over on wiblog.com, which no longer exists, but you can read some of my “rescued” posts if you follow the links at the top of my Home Page, including my very first post. After that I started another blog to record my “weight loss journey” (which frankly didn’t go very far – the journey, not the blog!) It was supposed to be more “foodie” than this one, but gradually the two blogs looked more and more similar, so I finally stopped writing on Fat Dormouse Getting Thinner.I have kept it “live” though, and occasionally post a link to The View… because some people seem to find it easier to access Fat Dormouse…
I love reading people’s blogs too. I don’t tend to follow blogs, but I do have a lot bookmarked, and I visit regularly. I don’t always comment, but I enjoy reading. I like reading about how other people live in France, so read, for example, Chomeuse with a Chou, and Adventures of an Anglaise…I also enjoy reading about food adventures, so Chez le Reve Francais fits both categories – some delicious recipes there! Cat blogs always appeal so I often pop over to Daily Feline Wisdom to find out what advice is being given out by the Meeowies and Woofies. Je Suis Le Roi Soleil is another charmingly written cat blog. Both have lovely photos of their animals too. And then there are those I read because the people who write them have different lifestyles to me (family life, living in a different country, etc) or just write in a really engaging way – these include Kezzie, PomPom, Ange and lots more that I linked to in this post back in February. Oh, and Bev! How could I forget Bev, who lives in Switzerland and reads loads of books. She too has a lovely engaging way of writing, that always keeps me checking to see if she has written another post.
Mrs M posed some questions:
just missing the hash browns and the brown sauce…and it needs a bigger plate!
Extravagant. Overblown. A bit much. We’re going extravagant today. If someone mentions that they’d like something a little over the top, why not just go for it? (And go all-in, too – if you need the excuse to go big, consider this it!)
Green:Give something small but thoughtful – like adding a biscuit when youbring someone tea.
Amber:Give something big and thoughtful – like a three-course, all-paid-for meal, or a year’s subscription to cinema tickets, not just a gift card.
Red:Give something absurdly, radically thoughtful – like Philip’s unexpected car donor, what can you do to step into truly sacrificial generosity?
I know that I have an idea how, eventually, I might complete this Act, but on the 40 Acts FB page I wrote: There’s also the other side to this: being able to “generously accept” an extravagant gift. A dear friend has offered to pay for a holiday for us after my cancer treatment. That’s a huge thing, and our first reaction was ” thank you, but we couldn’t possibly…” But it felt wrong to do so. Her generosity is God’s generosity, and this time I am on the receiving end of a 40 act and it’s my job to graciously accept.
Sometimes it is hard to be the one to accept an Act of Generosity… But thank you, dear friend!
So there you are!
I’ve completed everything, except the links and award to other blogs. I know lots of people don’t actually “accept” these awards, but I would certainly recommend reading those linked to above, and on my earlier post in February.
I have also been nominated for
But I don’t think I can respond to those on this post too, so this will have to be Part One of the Award Ceremonies. Part 2 will follow at a later date!
For those who have just started following, or reading my blog, 40 Acts is a Lenten challenge – 40 Acts of generosity over the 40 days of Lent. Not giving something up, but taking something on. You can read more about it over here.
I really did mean to follow 40 Acts as well as I could this year, but what with the chemotherapy wiping me out for days at a time I really haven’t felt “up for it” this year.
I have also found the challenges a little more challenging – but that could be my state of mind. I remember reading one challenge, Act 12, which read: Hospitality, the real thing, can be a blast: joyful, freeing, and hilarious. But it can also be a sometimes-painful sacrifice: of private space, of our priorities, of our food budget and schedules. Today we’re embracing both sides. The joy of hosting guests, and the pain of some stranger’s socks in the washing machine. Open your hands, open your doors, open your home.
As I had just woken from a long night’s chemo-induced sleep I just thought “Piss off”, turned over and went back to sleep!
But, as I have told a friend who has struggled with 40 Acts this year, it might be that the Act of generosity is to be generous to oneself, and not worry if there has been an #Epic Fail in completing them.
I am doing what I’m able to do – sometimes!
So, I engaged, a little, with today’s Act: ACT 20: Right now, send a quick encouraging text, out of the blue. And I sent a WhatsApp to a dear friend in Milton Keynes, and to my Godson
ACT 19: Yesterday was “Whinge Tin” – Complaint attracts complaint. Put a moaner in a workplace and by the end of the week they’ll have befriended every gossip in the office (and the lunch room will know about it…). So how do we do the opposite, and spread infectiously generous language? Try a simple first step: the swear jar model… I’m not sure about this, but I am certainly trying to show gratitude and thank God for what I have at the end of each day, although I do sometimes fall asleep before I’ve finished!
ACT 18: PERSIST: You’ve been praying. Hard. But you’re tempted to give up. Instead, push in. Rally yourself to pray gutsy prayers. What if today’s the day when your sixth lap of Jericho turns into a seventh, and the walls come down? This one is a personal reminder for me.
Although this is what I posted on the 40 Acts FB page:
“As Emma writes: “God helped the Israelites, but not in their time and not as they had expected. ” Oh boy, don’t I know it! I have been aware for a while that I haven’t been trusting God, or feeling as close to him as I should be. And so I prayed that I would be able to find a way to feel closer to God, to learn to trust him more, to rely on him. And look!! I find myself with cancer!! But actually, it has been a good thing because yes, I have learned a little more to trust him, I do feel closer to him. But I can’t help thinking I’d’ve preferred another way of learning!!! Our God is good, but I wonder about his sense of humour sometimes…😏 “
ACT 17: STICKS & STONES. Ever caught yourself saying something that sounded nothing like you? Then stood shocked as you thought, ‘Did I really say that?’ We get over-familiar with our words, and sometimes miss the impact they have on people. So, we’re doing a review. What words do you find yourself using more than you realise? How can you flip the vocabulary table over to generosity? The GREEN challenge was Write some sincere, kind Post-its to put around the workplace or at home. Or, write one to someone specific, with words and compliments that mean something and show them they matter. I think my constant Ninja note leaving might fall into this category. While I was at Lyon airport I scattered these around the departure lounge and washroom areas. The campaign continues…
ACT 16: INDIFFERENT DIFFERENCES: Awkward small talk. Just not your kind of person. Today we’re making an effort to challenge our perceptions. Most of us imagine we’re not the sort of people to make snap judgements or assumptions, just that, you know, we’d get round to talking to them tomorrow… or the next day. Well, today’s that day. No, I think you’ll find it isn’t. This just didn’t float my boat in any way. So I’m afraid I ignored it!
ACT 15: IMPACT: Is there a verse or passage that’s transformed you? Got you through a rough patch? A song that gives you a bit of hope every day? Share that with someone. Even at our low points, we always have something to give away. Jesus takes that as a given: in fact, he said he’s already ‘blessed us… with every spiritual blessing in Christ.’
Oh, yes, if you’re a regular reader you’ll already know this, but for my newer readers let me repeat it:
I shared this on FB.
ACT 14: HOME GROWN: It’s far easier than you’d expect to find a great local cause, and so worth it – this day has some amazing opportunities for you to connect in to your community in a way that sticks. Find out how generosity is already breaking out in your neighbourhood and get involved. You’re already where you need to be.
Sorry, 40 ACTS, not now. I can’t commit to anything at the moment…but maybe in the future. I make no promises!
ACT 13: INSIDE: Jesus is the original chain breaker. Freedom’s high on his agenda. So, that changes how we look at those stuck in physical captivity. How can you help those in a local prison? These are people who are often given up on. Can you extend hope to them – those furthest from most people’s kindness list?
Again, this felt like an enormous commitment, which I couldn’t face, but in fact, that day, I had an Amnesty International alert for a petition to release Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe ping into my inbox. When we moved here, I was unable to continue supporting Amnesty: however with online petitions gaining weight, I can be involved again. So I signed this petition, and will be exploring the other Amnesty “Take Action” petitions. Here is a link to the Amnesty International page should you be interested
ACT 12: FLING THE DOORS: I’ve already written about how this one really did seem just “too” beyond me. I couldn’t contemplate how I could possibly face this challenge. It’s one to be put aside for another day.
ACT 11: FAIR TRADE: Generosity doesn’t always feel dramatic and hopeful, particularly when we can’t see the effects, and we aren’t at the centre. But the generosity that shifts the course of history isn’t just spontaneous – it’s strategic, and structural. It’s the first day of Fairtrade Fortnight. Jump in, buy fair, and help bend the arc of history towards justice. There’s always a Fair Trade challenge, reminding me to try to buy FT whenever possible. But not now, thank you.
Yes, you can haz coffee – As long as it’s Fair Trade…
ACT 10: PROMPT: Faith is everything. In fact, if you look in the Bible, the only two things that amaze Jesus are people’s faith – or people’s lack of faith. So today, act in faith. Ask God how you could be generous, and listen for his prompt. But be ready: faith like this might mean a bit of waiting, and a bit of risk-taking.
Choose how you’ll complete today’s act: One option today: Purposefully walk slowly and prayerfully today. Ask God to show you what he sees and ask him to lead you into an act of generosity – ‘Lord, what do you want me to share today? How do you want me to share it, and who with?’
Sorry, I wasn’t walking anywhere today! But, in amidst the sleeping, dozing and zizzing, there were some garbled and jumbled prayers. Who or what for, I have no idea, but I trust God was able to sort the wheat from the chaff!!
ACT 9: STREETS: How much do you notice when you’re out and about? The walk to work, to school, to the shops can become an adventure in generosity. Step out of your ‘bubble’ and pay attention to the people and places you pass. Spot those opportunities to offer a helping hand, be a friendly face or offer a listening ear.
This is a “put on the back burner for later” challenge. I was in bed. Asleep.
ACT 8: I CAN: Don’t think your side hobby/ability is a gift? Take another look. It comes easily to you. There’s not much pressure or effort around it. When you step out with it, things happen faster than you expect. Sound like it might be a gift from God? And if it’s something that God’s put in your hands, then it’s something for you to give away.
This one is something I have been doing – sharing my zentangling. The most recent one went off yesterday to someone, but that’s a surprise, so I won’t mention it now. I sent this one to Floating Gold a few weeks back
and the offer is always there: if you’d like me to do a zentangle for you (almost any subject, not just wildlife!) then just let me know.
ACT 7:BRAND NEW: When was the last time you stepped into something new? Wasn’t it a little terrifying – make you feel inexperienced and maybe a little insecure? Well, we’d bet that right now you know a few new parents. Or someone in a new job, new to church, moving into a new house. Think back to what would have helped you, and offer it to them.
This strikes me as a slightly strange challenge, which may, for many 40 Activists, have been difficult to complete…but it’s certainly worth bearing in mind for the future. We went to our new neighbour’s restaurant on Monday – does that count?!
So, there you are: a catch up on how 40 Acts is/isn’t going with me!! And I will be generous to myself and say that All things considered, I’m not doing too badly!
Hello, Dear Ones! I hope all is well with you.
Yesterday I had a bit of a lazy day and a bit of a rushing about day.
I had two blood tests to have done: one at home, Friend Claire, who is our local nurse, came to do the first. We knew that she was arriving quite early, so I was up at 7.00. Then, almost as soon as she had done that, it was off to Roanne, to the hospital, for the second. I was going to go by myself, but as we’d had lots of snow, and the roads hadn’t been cleared (unusually), and I haven’t driven for over a month, Mr FD decided he would come with me and drive. I’m glad he did. The drive was okay, but he’s better than I in the snow.
We got back just before 11.00, and I got a phone call to say that my “front door” (as we’ve taken to calling the box for the Hickman line that’s going to feed the chemo into my body) won’t be fitted until 21st Feb. This is cutting it fine for having chemo before the Elbow concert (leaving here on 2nd March) – we shall see what appointment they give me for the first chemo session, but if it’s the week of the concert we may ask for it to be deferred.
This was the rushing about part of the day.
We then lazed around for an hour-and-a-half, until our friends arrived and we went next door to the Hotel de Londres
(that’s our house, to the left)
We haven’t been here for many a long year, as the previous owner was a bit of a plonker. (That’s the polite word) I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say none of the English in the surrounding area go there, and lots of the locals eschew the place too. He has sold it now, and yesterday was the opening “under new management”. The new management are a reasonably young couple who had been struggling in a restaurant some kilometres from here, where our friends used to go from time to time. As the couple had moved here, our friends wanted to come and support them, so we joined them. Any excuse to go out for a meal!
Gratifyingly, the restaurant was quite full of people, many locals (including the owner of the restaurant round the corner – sussing out the opposition, I imagine!), and the 13,50€ Menu du Jour was good value.
ENTREE: choice between a huge Salade Niçoise or 2 slices of paté en croute + salad
MAIN: choice between langue du boeuf ( beef tongue – shudders theatrically) or marinaded pork, plus pasta & sauce
CHEESE: fromage blanc, or fromage sec. The cheese course (fromage sec) was three smallish pieces of cheese, but Mr FD said they were all nice. I had fromage blanc.
PUDDING: choice between pannacotta, tiramisu speculoos, chocolate pot, crème brulée.
The portions were enormous – perhaps they could cut down on the sizes a little – and I was able to take quite a few leftovers from our party for the Poor Cats.
After that meal, you can imagine that we spent the rest of the afternoon quietly dozing on the sofa. I was joined by a couple of cats, and I browsed some magazines Mij had brought me, and slept.
Today has been a bit (bit ) more energetic. A later get-up time, but then I did my 15 minute mile walking indoors. I then entered a few more competitions (all these holidays I’m going to win!!) and read a few blogs. A tad of admin left over from before Christmas…then help Mr FD unload the shopping. Thanks for doing it, Mr FD.
Then, I finally made myself get round to sorting out the top drawer of my filing cabinet – I’d done the bottom two with teaching resources, but the top one, for other paperwork, had just had stuff dumped in it. I needed to find some information, so I knew I had to tackle it…I’d been putting it off for weeks
So, I put 2 hours on my phone, & told myself I’d keep going until the timer went off…actually I finished (mostly) before the timer went off, which was very pleasing. I feel extremely virtuous now. I am going to try not to use my computer (except for inspiration/instruction) during the afternoon, but rather do craft/ reading etc. Says she, happily using her computer!! I will finish this, and then turn it off! Except I have to make a birthday card for my MiL, so it will be on for inspiration!!!
I’d better go and get on with it!
I like a nice wedding, me – as long as I know people there, of course.
I went to my God-daughter’s wedding three years ago – it was a lovely occasion, but I was a bit nervous of knowing just the bride, her mother & father. I’m not great at meeting people for the first time and making small talk. Happily, there were two very old friends who I’d lost touch with, and we had a great time, catching up, talking and soon. But that had been mly first wedding for donkey’s years.
My niece, Rose, got married two summers ago, but that really was a quiet “do”. The whole family met for a meal the night before, then Rose, and David, my mum, my brother, and David’s parents went to the registry office, and we joined them for a cup of coffee afterwards. And that was it.
That was it for weddings – we’d not expected them really – young people very often don’t get married. My other niece, Ruth, has two children and has been living with Dave for several years, my nephew Kieran has two children and has been with his girlfriend for several years…So Mr FD and I were delighted to be invited to the wedding of my Godson’s brother and his girlfriend.
We are very close to Alison and Kit, my Godson’s parents, and it is always a pleasure to see them when we’re in the UK. The date of the wedding is 7th April, and I’m keeping my fingers very firmly crossed that treatment will be finished, and I’ll be allowed to travel.
Then, last week, I get a text from Ruth “Hey, guess what! We’re getting married! You’re invited! 7th April!”
WHAT?! The same date! When you’ve had all those years to decide to get married, and you choose the same bloody date as the wedding we’re already going to !?! Oh, for goodness’ sake!
We’re going to the wedding we accepted the invitation to first – of course – but we hope to be able to get up to see Ruth & David either before or after their wedding – but it is quite a long way from Abergevenny to Newcastle-on-Tyne!!
Zav, Isa’s wife-to-be, wanted to have 1,000 paper cranes at the wedding venue. There’s a link to one article about the significance; here’s a quotation from another, which says:
Traditionally in Japan, the bride’s father made the cranes and presented them to the bride on her wedding day. Today, the cranes can be made by the bride’s parents as a gift and well wish for the newlyweds. The bride alone or the couple together can also take on the task, learning patience, commitment and communication in the face of a long challenging task. Or, folding the cranes can be divided among many friends and family, and turned into social events and fun times spent together ahead of the wedding
I asked Alison recently how many they’d made “About 65” she said, despâiringly… I’m not sure they’re going to manage the desired 1,000, if I’m honest! So guess what I’ve zentangled as a wedding present!
So, for us, weddings seem to be like buses: none for ages then two come along together!! Let’s hope I’m able to go to either (or both!)