Age, not just a number…

Milestones, done differently…

I have a pretty good idea of which milestone I reached at which age, from talking to my parents over the years, from photographs or from my own memories. I was late to start walking and talking for example, though I’ve not stopped talking since. I was 5 or 6 when I put my crutches in the back of the wardrobe, and didn’t look back until I need a mobility scooter aged 18 at university.

I was 12 or 13 when I started worrying about boys, though wondered if anyone would ever be interested in me. I remember well the love letters from a boy called Danny when I was 14, who moved away shortly after, but I don’t think of him as my first proper boyfriend. However, by ‘proper boyfriend’ I mean someone that I really, really loved. That only happened last year, just before my 30th birthday. Things like that make me feel old, especially when I consider that by 25, my Mum had two children, effectively two babies, because of my level of need. I wonder now if I’ll ever meet someone, or even if I need to.

Babies everywhere, but not mine!

I don’t know whether I ever thought I would be married with children by this stage or not. I think my mum would say the former. I am more and more aware of my age as more friends get married and/or have children. Even the friends who like me were waiting to meet someone are now married. I’ve got to the stage where I can be genuinely happy for them, meeting up with a close friend and her baby regularly, who I adore. Also, Sunday school will have exploded in numbers in a few years. I love that I’ll still have contact with lots of children because of church. It’s funny, no way would I have said that before I got my electric wheelchair, but it somehow makes me more approachable to most children, and has helped me be much more comfortable talking to them. I am more at their height I guess, and some kids are fascinated by what the chair can do, or the golf ball controller.

Am I always defined by the number I am?

Recently, someone told me I ‘look good for 30’! A backwards compliment, for sure! I definitely don’t feel 30. Some days I feel old, when the routine of care and the sameness of every day gets me down. Other times, I feel young and insecure as though I were a school kid again… usually when something goes wrong in the house and I don’t know what to do.

I might like to do Uni over again, with carers to do personal care, and PA’s to help with library access and so on, as I didn’t have care until a couple of years ago, and no PA till third year. I wish I had been strong enough to ask for these helps though and been able to concentrate my limited energy wholly on my studies. I don’t think I realised I was entitled, or thought my disability was ‘bad enough’ even though tiny things sapped my energy. It’s so easy to say ‘what if’ and ‘if only’ though… almost everyone must have some regret about something. I was so intimidated by everything too, fearful, and never feeling like I was ‘good enough’ to be there… I guess that is where some mature students have the edge. Do I wish I were a different age though? Probably not, unless I had more confidence to with it.

My Grandparents, examples of how to age!

On a slightly different tack, thinking about age makes me think of my three grandparents, who are 78, 76, and 88. Generally they all keep in fairly good health and all have active lives. They are amazing, and definitely defy stereotypes of ‘elderly people’. I hope I am like them when I am older. All of them look young for their age. My Gran recently came to visit, and someone asked how only she was. When I told them, their jaw dropped in shock, and they said how strong and healthy she seemed for her age.

In some ways it is easy to tell they’ve got much older (for example, my granddad has two hearing aids, but he is 83) I don’t remember him having any health problems at all until a few years ago. Trouble is, aside from Gran’s diabetes, I have more health problems than them all put together!! Maybe I am the aged one?!

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I used the ‘Weekly Writing Challenge‘ prompt from March 10th, as inspiration to get me writing again. The prompt asked what age meant to each blogger. Above is what it means to me… but what does it mean to you? Why not have a go at your own post on ‘Golden Years’ and aging in general? (Click on the link in the sentence above to see the prompt) I’d love to read it!

The one with the wedding (2)

the picture shows two intertwined gold wedding bands
the picture shows two intertwined gold 
wedding bands
http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1326034

A year on from the last wedding I attended, this past weekend, I went to another. This time, not of family, but of dear friends. I once looked into carers accompanying me to these things, but between their costs, my costs, and agency fees, it’s far too expensive. My Mum kindly steps in to assist me, and to do the driving, the easiest way of travelling, with all the stuff I need, even for one night. Arrangement was, I would pack my own bag the day before, so it was ready for Mum to put in the car. In my wisdom, I didn’t write a list of what I might need. I need so much, even for one night, the thought of writing a list was exhausting in itself, so I decided to ‘wing it’. This was largely successful, except I did leave one thing at home – my box of medications fondly known as ‘the UFO’. I was 30 minutes into the car journey before I realised this, meaning that we would be late for the wedding if we went back to collect it. I chose to soldier on.

My friends’ wedding was wonderful. The Church of England ‘civil’ part of the ceremony was conducted by a friendly, jovial vicar, who seemed genuinely fond of my friend. This wedding was different. The friend I now know better is a Christian, but my other friend, the one I knew originally, is a Messianic Jew. This meant that there was a wonderful mix of official ceremony, favourite hymns, combined with Jewish elements including a huppah, a canopy under which the ceremony was conducted; a glass being smashed underfoot by the groom, a chorus with a jewish tune, (sorry for the generalisation, unsure how else to describe it). At the end, the Aaronic Blessing (in Numbers 6) was read in both Hebrew and English. I’ve been to many weddings, and this one really stood out. Not just because of the elements recorded above, but also because this was a wedding which focused on their Saviour too; from hymn and reading choices, to the post ceremony message or sermon.

The teatime reception was fantastic too. Mum and I were seated next to a wonderful couple with whom we could easily converse, as we quickly discovered we had things in common, and both people were full of mischief and stories. The meal was one of Yorkshire portions – double helpings of meat, massive Yorkshire puddings, (made of batter, for anyone unfamiliar of them) at least three vegetables done different ways, and two lots of potatoes. The speeches were interesting and witty, at times sick-makingly romantic (from the groom, obviously) who had written parts of his speech in Hebrew (with translations into English) for his bride.

The evening disco had a great mix of songs, (great at the time, but now none of them spring to mind!!) Other friends arrived at the beginning of the evening too, which was lovely, though by this time it had already been a long day, and a massive effort to last that long. We left about 10 pm, which meant I was asleep from 11 pm. I was so exhausted I slept for 5 and a half hours continuously before my body woke me – my back having seized completely (which it does at home for less sleep) meaning without my electronically controlled hospital bed I needed a lot of help simply to sit up, shuffle to the edge of the bed, stand up, and get to the bathroom. Normally I would use the remote controls on the bed to sit, then effort-fully and painfully swing my legs and shuffle, transferring to my electric wheelchair which I use to get to the bathroom. It was during some of this that I prayed God would help me cope with the remainder of the weekend without medication, and with chronic pain, plus the emotional toll of being without ‘special someone’.   A picture came to mind, of sitting in Abba’s lap, with his strong arms continuing to hold me tight. I kept this in mind all night.

(N.B. Scroll to almost the bottom of the webpage for a clickable link to page 2 of the post)

coffee, stink bombs and aftershave…

Today’s prompt reminds me of situations I have sometimes been in. (Girls, I am sure some of you can identify with this!!) You are so completely focused on the other person that some of your senses are heightened and others dulled… how the person smells, how it feels when they hug you or you hug them… If the other person suddenly speaks it’s a jolt back to reality and I may not realise what they said or even that they spoke!!

English: Uploaded by Moon Costumes, http://www...
English: Uploaded by Moon Costumes, http://www.mooncostumes.com/zoom/8092, Photograph of a widely distributed gag stink bomb, package and example of breakable enclosure. The picture is of a brandless generic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve always found smell particularly evocative. Aftershave, deodorant  perfume, baking, coffee, the smell of a meal being prepared, or conversely  the smell of stink bomb in a lift recently transported me back to my school days in an instant!

All of that said, I don’t think I smelled anything in particular this morning when I first woke up. First sound I heard was the shrill monotone of the intercom indicating my carer was outside needing  let into my flat. This was what I first touched as well, this morning, First sight would have been either the picture on the far wall of my room, or the photograph on the same wall as the intercom. First taste was the yogurt my carer brought me when I stirred my tablets into to make them much easier to take.

I don’t know that I would want to have one of these senses dulled temporarily or permanently. The very idea of  taking a potion stirs up memories of Disney films, though annoying, I am unsure which I am thinking of in particular  I have met enough people who have to permanently live with much less than full sight, or none in some cases, not to want my sight to be dulled. Being a wheelchair user, especially if I am sitting in my ‘little’ chair, I often cannot hear what others are saying, and they cannot usually hear me, despite how much of an attempt I make at projecting my voice, or the other person has to stoop in order to hear me. Alternatively  my hearing is often heightened if there is a sudden loud noise such as two plates banging together or a balloon pops it can make me jump clean into the air. This is often highly embarrassing  Touch too, can either make me jump or spasm, or I may do this without even being touched!

Perhaps if i could not taste properly though, there would not be the same temptation to comfort eat!! Imagine if this could be manufactured and marketed; I might make my fortune! It is an interesting question. Over to you: if you were offered a potion which would dull one of your senses to heighten others, which would you chose?

Great Songs no fillers!

Today’s daily prompt: Write about what you did last weekend as though you’re a music critic reviewing a new album.
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This was one of those that only come along once in a while. So good you replay it over and over, every detail, every nuance. The First have was The One with The Wedding. Great music for a party, the sort of music everyone loves and can join in with. That everyone loves, with few exceptions. So good you want to dance. It makes your body move and your spirit sore, and wish you could write music like that. But hey, let’s leave it to the experts, the ones who meet The One, and can show it as such, appreciate it and grow it, and protect it, and mature it for years. This is their gift, just as others have the gift of making music. Some of the songs on this album are traditional, but the music does not suffer, rather it is all the richer for it. This album could be the sound track to the kind of party that goes long on long into the night, but it is so good nobody cares.

Part two. Another day, a plan for another party

The second half of the album sparkled, full of excitement and promise. The final couple of tracks sang of a future full of love, fun and good times. They are as much a part of a good party as great food and good wine. This is one that will stick in the memory for a long time to come, a success that will not be easily repeated.

not your average memories…

Wherever I write about food it’s never that well read. I don’t know whether I lack the skills to adequately describe it, or people don’t expect me to write about it, but this time this post is to do with food. For me though, the important bit is the people I am sharing my favourite meals with. I generally love something I have not had to make myself!

My favourite meal about 4 months ago was fairly simple. I was at my favourite pub, at a table at the back of the restraunt, in the corner. Someone I thought I was in love with was holding one of my hands, and chatting away, leaving me free to eat with the other hand. To save myself some embarrassment  I had picked finger food I thought I could eat with one hand. Perish the thought that I might have to spoil the first date/meal out/pub date by asking my date to cut my food for me! I had taken a risk and chosen messy food. Risky strategy for someone with cerebral palsy. Dare I take a risk and say there is something a bit sexy about messy food?! (TMI??!!) cheese, nachos, salsa, sour cream, guacamole. A huge plateful meant there was no need for chips, a starter or a desert.

I do not remember what we talked about. I just remember the general things. How it felt to finally hold hands, to see the face the voice belonged to, to have the opportunity to do such a human thing and feel ‘normal’. The food sounds remarkably plain, even if you add in a half of draught cider. In my opinion, good company can make the plainest of food taste amazing, especially if it’s something I make for others and it turns out well, no matter how simple it is. It is often such a delight to do something for other people for once, instead of me being served.

I have no idea how long we stayed in the pub. I remember the minutes we waited for the taxi. I will spare you the details, save to say I was glad I hadn’t eaten a massive meal when my date decided it might be fun to lift me. We are no longer in touch, because things came to a natural end. I hope one day I get to have a first date with a gentleman who may be ‘the one’ as this person did not prove to be. For now though, I remember it with fondness and satisfaction, and somehow separate from the rest of it.

The next time I went to this pub, I went with friends, and had what was my favourite meal from my childhood. SCAMPI, (shrimp?) and chips. Homemade scampi no less, and the obligatory half pint of cider. It more than just satisfied my hunger, as it proved to live up to the memories too, of countless childhood fish-shop suppers. Hot, salty and delicious. I wonder who I will visit my favourite pub with next time?

Ice cream yummiest food ever oh and. The memories

Either of those. Love unusual flavours like lemon sorbet or pistachio. I always have a tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream in the freezer. I used to love the ‘Baskin Robins’ shops with all those flavours to choose from. No ice cream for me though, as I’m trying to keep my new years resolution…!