Being unwell… and some other random stuff

In the last couple of weeks I’ve had a cold, conjunctivitis, an ear infection, and some bizarre unidentified rash all over my neck and shoulders. It’s all cleared up now except for the ear, which is irritating me no end! I’m pretty sure the infection is gone; I was on antibiotics for a week and the pain has gone. But I’m left with the feeling that somebody’s stuffed cotton wool into my ear and won’t let me take it out. It feels blocked, and sound is muffled. Sometimes I’m nearly sure the blockage is about to come out, and I shake my head around like a lunatic to dislodge it, but to no avail. I think I’ll have to go back to the doctor for this one.  

If I were feeling particularly cruel, I could post a picture of my eye. Apparently rubbing at your eye too much – which one does when one has pinkeye – can burst blood vessels and you end up looking rather demonic. But it’s not pleasant to look upon, and so I shall not post it here. If you’re a sucker for punishment, you can click here to see it! (It got worse than that, but I didn’t take any more photos.)

In a quick aside, I should note that today I finally bought some “food rings” to use for making crumpets, muffins, and so on. Egg rings are tolerable only for so long; I needed something taller! Most of my creations rise up above the egg rings and spill out. Oh, and the lady who sold them to me, coincidentally, also can’t eat gluten! I’m finding us all over the place. I shouldn’t be surprised anymore, but I still half-expect a “What?” response when I say I can’t eat gluten. Instead I get, “Oh, me too!” or, “My sister/friend/mother/neighbour can’t either!” It is becoming more and more common, which is great because increased demand increases supply! It’s simultaneously becoming easier and cheaper to eat gluten free foods. 

I’m going to try a new bread recipe either this afternoon or tomorrow. I’m pretty sure I bought everything I need for it today – I’ve never needed citric acid before, I wasn’t even sure where to get it, but it was easily found in the baking section of the supermarket. Anyway, if it turns out well, I’ll blog it. 

Fitting up

A couple of weeks ago, I did something I never really thought I’d do.

I joined a gym.

I’d been slowly but steadily gaining weight, mostly flab around the tummy, and thought it was time to get serious about getting rid of it, as well as improving my general fitness and strength.

So far, over the two weeks, I’ve been every second day. A trainer has mapped out a workout for me, including cardio and weights. It’s a good mix, and I’ve been really enjoying it.

I’ve already noticed an increase in what I’m able to do; I ride longer and run faster, I can handle more weights on most of the machines.

What hasn’t happened yet is a tummy flab reduction. Maybe it’s too soon, or maybe I need to tweak my diet. By ‘tweak’, I mean ‘stop eating crap’. My diet is a funny thing; all of my actual meals are quite healthy and balanced, and I don’t eat a lot during the day. But after dinner, in the evening, I just compulsively snack. Pick at whatever I can find. I’m not even hungry, I don’t know why I do it. But I think it has to stop. So I’ll work on that and see how I go, I guess!

Gorgeous weather – hat weather!

The sun is shining, the air is warm, a slight breeze stirs the trees. It’s definitely an outside day. There’s just one problem: Elspeth doesn’t have a hat anymore! For some reason Evelyn has two. But the only hat that would fit Elspeth’s head was stolen by the wind about a week ago. And as for me, I never wear hats. It’s very naughty of me, and a terrible example to my daughters, but I am simply not a hat person. We’re a pale-skinned family, and we burn easily. My next shopping mission, I think, will include new hats for Elspeth and myself. Although now I come to think of it, I don’t even know what’s fashionable in hats or where I’d buy one to suit me. Any tips?

Cause and effect and a lack of consideration

Everything we do has consequences. I think most people grasp that, and generally try to take later possibilities into account when decision-making. But sometimes an ill-considered or spur-of-the-moment action has consequences far beyond what we might consider at the time, more serious and far-reaching.

Mike Tyson & Evander Holyfield
image from

Yesterday at work, in the course of his duties, my husband was bitten by a woman. Ow, you might think, or, How weird. Ow indeed. Here is something you might not know: when a person is bitten by another person, the victim is immediately assumed at risk of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, Tetanus, and a range of other diseases transmitted by bodily fluids or close contact.

Here’s something else you might not know: the incubation period for some of these diseases is as long as sixty days.

That means that the victim – my husband – can’t be certain if he’s contracted a disease until a test is conducted at least sixty days from the date of the bite.

It follows that, for that sixty day period, he has to be exceedingly cautious around people if he should happen to get so much as a minor graze; any blood could potentially carry infection to somebody else. It also follows that we have to be cautious in our personal relations; a cut in his mouth would mean we couldn’t kiss, and obviously other precautions need to be taken too.

Fortunately in my husband’s case, as the bite did not actually break his skin, the risk is extremely minimal, and we are not overly worried about the long term. But the risk is still there, and we are still taking all possible precautions, preferring to be more careful than necessary rather than risk anything being transmitted to either myself or our daughters.

I very much doubt the biting woman considered the effects she might have on our family when she clamped her jaws around my husband’s wrist. She acted in passion, without consideration, and all of our family and friends now pay for her thoughtlessness with sixty days of pain-in-the-arse precautions, and the fortunately remote possibility of much more serious consequences. I can only be glad that her teeth weren’t sharper, or her jaw stronger. If she’d succeeded in her aim, we’d be in a right pickle and no mistake.

Skin care and customer care

Me a few years ago

Over the years, I have had a few issues with my skin. I’ve had eczema on and off for years, on my hands and my face, although in more recent years my face has been pretty much fine.

I also have two young children: one in nappies, and one in the process of toilet training. This means that I wash my hands a lot: after each nappy change for Evelyn, and after each time I assist Elspeth on the toilet, and that’s on top of other usual reasons for myself. I might easily wash my hands twenty or thirty times a day. Contrary to what might seem common sense, washing and drying your hands often actually dries them out and can cause redness, rashes, and irritation.

Needless to say, with all these things to think about, I have established what you might call a skincare regime. There are a couple of products that I know are effective for my skin, and which I don’t react badly to, and one or two that I know will work very well when my eczema does flare up in reaction to something else.

Freebies from La Prairie

However, when La Prairie had a giveaway for their first followers on Twitter, I thought it was worth giving them a try. You never know how something will go unless you try it, and a freebie is always welcome, right? So they sent me a free sample of their intensive moisturiser.

Unfortunately the cream set off the eczema on my hands, although it was lovely on my face. I informed them of this misfortune on Twitter, assuming that perhaps they might suggest one of their products I might purchase; they are a business, after all, in the business of selling things and making money.

But instead of suggesting that I buy something, they actually sent me another free sample, this time of their cellular nurturing complex. I got it today, and tried it on my hands immediately. After just one application, a large patch of red irritation on my left hand is looking smoother and closer to its usual colour. There is also a spot on my right wrist which is looking better already.

And so I wanted to record how pleased I am with La Prairie’s customer service, and their care for me as an individual. It would have been easy for them to either ignore me, or just refer me to another product. Taking the time to consider what might work the best for me, and to send me a free sample of it, was above and beyond my expectations. I’m also really impressed with how quickly I’ve noticed a difference after using the cellular nurturing complex; I’ve never seen results so quickly before!

Excellent customer service is not dead!

(I was not asked or paid to write this  blog post.)

Eye don’t like it!

Early this morning, around 7.30, I was holding Evelyn. In her random flailings, she hit me in the eye. I’m now quite sure that she has scratched my eyeball. It’s nearly 1pm now, and it still hurts. Mostly it’s bearable, but every few minutes – perhaps when I’ve blinked too much, or something – it becomes excrutiating. It waters, which makes my nose run, which means I now feel like I’ve been weeping all day.

I had intended to brave the cold and go shopping today, but I don’t fancy battling the shopping centre with blurred vision and intermittent weeping. So I’m a homebody, and I just have to hope this gets better quickly. It is very annoying!

“Do not feed doughnuts to your obese children”

(Quote from Tim Minchin’s Fat Children)

This is what I wanted to say to a mother the other day

What the hell are you doing? Look at the size of your son, he’s about eight and he weighs, what, nearly sixty kilograms? That’s about my weight, and I’m an adult. Why are you feeding him KFC? Do you have any idea what you’re doing to him?

He’s going to have difficulty with movement, getting in and out of cars, walking up stairs, getting through check-outs at supermarkets. Everyday things that everybody needs to do, he will struggle with for his whole life.

He will have an increased risk of a variety of health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. Those are very serious problems which will require life-long monitoring and care. He’s also likely to have problems with joints like his ankles and knees; they weren’t meant to carry that much weight around long-term.

And then there’s the bullying and teasing he’s going to suffer because of his weight. He may be psychologically scarred by some of the things done to him by cruel schoolchildren.

So basically what I’m saying is: you’re causing illnesses and injuries to your son, you’re lessening his lifespan, and what life he will have will be miserable. Now go buy him a fucking salad.