Thursday, January 5, 2017

Why I'm not Putting my Phone Down Any Time Soon

Over at my blog at the Huffington Post, I'm possibly over-sharing as to why I don't resolve to put down my phone in 2017.
You may want to have a read. It could save your life some day!

Monday, December 26, 2016

My 2016 - Not a Bowl of Cherries

Yes, everyone's commenting on how awful 2016 has been - Brexit (if you were a Remainer), Trump (3/4 of the US didn't vote for him and the world stands horrified), the appalling refugee crisis  and all the artists we've lost. Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, Leonard Cohen, - a long list - and now George Michael. Whether you liked him or not, those Wham ditties conjure up some pretty great summer memories for people now of a certain age.

And my 2016 wasn't that great either. We're up in the mountains for Christmas, as usual, only this time I'm not skiing. It was this time last year that I took to my bed for three days with the world's worst sinus infection and got up with sciatica! If you haven't had sciatica, you're lucky. It almost makes childbirth palatable. Mine was a shooting pain from my lower back, round the buttock and straight down the back of my right leg. Walking, sitting, standing, lying - all painful. The speed at which this thing progressed was pretty astonishing, and despite various meds prescribed by a Pain Management specialist, (which either made me throw up or unable to function), nothing really alleviated the pain. We even tried an epidural steroid injection which was almost as painful as the sciatica itself, and did bugger all. I bored the pants off everyone blogged about it at the time here.

Apparently the sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body.

The sciatica was caused by a herniated disc, which is when the gunk that's supposed to be inside your disc, oozes out. In my case it had oozed out and was sitting on my sciatic nerve so I had surgery in April to clean it all up. Post surgery, I was horrified to realize that the pain, although lessened, never really went away. "Give it time", said my doctor. "The nerve is aggravated by the surgery and it needs time to settle down.". I was never really "better" and had to postpone my annual trip to the UK till the end of the summer so that sitting for 8 hours could even be contemplated.

After the summer I went whining back to my doctor, who suggested an MRI. Another nightmare for me but I managed to remain calm and not make a fool of myself by hyper-ventilating and panicking. When they tell you it's an "Open MRI" its not much better than the tube thing if you're claustrophobic. You're basically lying under a huge sheet of metal that is so close to your face you have to turn to the side. Anyway, to my utter dismay, the MRI showed that the very same disc had herniated on the other side . Are you kidding me? To say I was disappointed it putting it very mildly.

Fortunately, it hasn't progressed quite as quickly as the right side, but we're getting pretty close. I am back to having to sit down to put socks and shoes on, not because I can't touch my toes, but because my back can't take the strain of standing on one foot and bending over at the same time. How's that for making you feel like an octogenarian? As can be seen from the paucity of blog posts recently, my writing has suffered as I can't sit for more than thirty minutes at a time, and I haven't looked into anything like voice recognition typing. (Actually I lie, I managed to send an e-mail from my I-phone by dictation, although my British accent led to a few weird typos.)

So yeah, 2016 was a bit crap not quite up to par, so I'm hoping for better things in 2017. Although with the Orange One in charge of the nuclear arsenal lord alone knows what will happen.

Cheers, m'dears!



Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Getting crafty at Xmas

A few years ago I was wondering what to do with the large collection of wine corks my son had amassed from years of his parents' consumption. Here's the post with some of the ideas.

Like many of my research projects, I never end up doing them. I didn't make the wreath, not did I make the cork necklace. (In that case, it wasn't for want of trying. It just looked rubbish).

A few weeks ago, I did actually start a Christmas project, made up by my very own self. No Pinterest influence as far as I'm aware. And here it is -

Ta - daaaaa. 

It looks more sparkly in real life and the next one I make is going to be even more fabulous.

Here's what you do. (It's easy but slightly labour intensive).

1. Make square outlines out of corks. 
2. Make each square slightly smaller than the last, so that you get the angle of the tree. (You will have to cut the end corks down to achieve this.)
3. When you have your squares made, glue them on top of each other, at angles.

Here's what it looks like from the bottom, to give you an idea. The first square I made with three corks on each side of the square. For the second layer, I cut the third cork of each side in half, so the entire square was smaller, You can eyeball how much you want to cut off, but don't make the size difference too small or you won't get the Xmas tree effect. It'll look like a bulky bush (as they say!).

4. After you have glued a layer, I would advise you to wrap some glittery thread around it and the neighboring layer. This is so that if the glue snaps (as it sometimes does when using a glue gun), the layers are still held together by the thread. 
5. Add a champagne cork for the top, or anything you like really. 
6. Wrap more glittery stuff and glue. 
7. Glue small baubles into the gaps between the layers. 

Rinse and repeat. 

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