Friday, 30 April 2010

Your Aura is Red

"You have a high level of emotion. This can mean passion, but it can also mean rage. Usually, you don't take these emotions out on others. You just use them as motivation - and it works!"

The purpose of your life: embracing all the wonders of life, lots of travels, and tons of adventures.

Famous reds include: Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Jennifer Lopez"

Hummmm ... sounds about right to me and I always wondered what the purpose of my life was. Who knew it could be that simple, huh? Sarcastic

What Color Is Your Aura?

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Humidity is my enemy, Volcanoes are my friends

imageRecent events seem to confirm this and, what's more, have given me a few ideas on which to ruminate ...

Now I can remember back to the one and only properly hot British summer of 1976, when I worked for North Thames Gas in Staines, Middlesex, and women were given a special dispensation to wear shorts in the office.

It was unheard of to do such things in Britain otherwise at that time and I still howl as I remember some of the ex-army khaki jobs some of them wore! Smile

What I also remember is not being able to stand the heat and constantly feeling nauseous and drained of energy by it in the humidity of the UK. Yes, I know there was a drought and a hosepipe ban, but there were also periods then and in other years, where it was just humid, uncomfortable and unbearable.

The only time I suffered worse was on a trip to Florida in 1980, because even though I was "relatively" healthy back then, I could bearly walk 50 yards in the extreme humidity there - which was given out on TV as being 97 - 100%.

With fibromyalgia that's how humidity affects me all of the time now.

This morning, the humidity here on the Costa del Geriatrico (southern UK) was also once again up at 100% and the pain in my hip was back up to screaming pitch. It's really bad when I can't even lie on it. I certainly can't sit on it nor stand on it and the pain it generated - from my waist to my toes - when all I did was walk to the kitchen, was way, way, way off the usual pain Richter scale.

And, in addition, my neck hurts so badly I can't even get that comfortable lying down with my special neck pillows, my shoulders ache, there's a pain running down the back of my arms, my knees ache, my joints feel stiff and swollen, the pain in my lower back was so bad it was making me involuntarily moan ...

It's so bad, I'm having real difficulty concentrating, but if you'd run over me in a truck, I truly could not feel more battered and beaten than I do now.

This is an enormous contrast to last week, when I managed to walk to town on Friday to collect a prescription - the humidity then had been an ideal 51% - and, on Saturday (it was 59%), I'd gone for a long stroll to the fair and back.

Normally I just would not be able to go out twice in one week - one outing would be enough to exhaust me and raise my pain levels severely for another 5 or 6 days - and I certainly wouldn't usually make it both ways.

Saturday's walk hurt - walking at all hurts because of my hip and I'd begun to get overheated as the humidity rose toward the end of the day - but it only made me pleasantly tired the way you want to feel after a nice long walk.

In fact, I felt so relatively pain and symptom free after those outings that I wondered if my enormous super-mega fibromyalgia flare - that I've been suffering pretty much ever since I set foot back on UK soil in 2008 - might have finally abated, but this turned out to be merely wishful thinking.

On Tuesday this week, when weather was getting back to normal British humidity levels, I only went as far as the local corner store and that was utterly exhausting, as though I'd struggled through a vat of molasses, dragging a 1 ton weight. When I got home, I had to lie down and was asleep very early.

Last week, there were three things helping me; my walking stick, which helps my balance as well as making me slow down, a new pair of comfortable shoes, but I'm certain that the main influencing factor was the humidity levels.

How many times have we had humidity as low as 51% here?

Just that once. Which reiterates, once more, what I've been saying, over and over, for years - that the only possible way for me to keep my symptoms under some control is to live in a relatively warmer and drier climate.

In all my 16 years in Tenerife, I was never exhausted by a heat and humidity combination. In the UK, I can be overwhelmed by it and the temperature has bearly reached 15 degrees centigrade. In Tenerife, my brain wouldn't start melting until 35C and I wasn't even comfortably warm until 25 degrees.

And pain like I have today, I would only have on days when it was incredibly humid, i.e. when there were severe, monsoon quantity, storms and rain.

image This has also got me to wondering - since Tenerife is home to the world's third largest volcano and, since the warmer, drier weather here last week did coincide with the presence of the ash cloud from from the Icelandic volcano - whether the presence of sulphur in the atmosphere (which we know is drying: it's effective against mildew) might have been the reason for the drop in humidity that lead to my temporary improvement.

Maybe I should also be specifically looking for another volcanic landscape in which to make my future retirement home? (If I live that long.)

There may be more to it than the fact that sulphur / ash would dry out the air. I shan't pretend for a moment to understand the science, but consider:

  • Volcanoes spew out a lot of dust and gases like sulphur.
  • Sulphur is an essential element for life and is found in two amino acids: cysteine and methionine.
  • Cysteine's antioxidant properties are typically expressed in the tripeptide glutathione.
  • Glutathione is the food for the immune. As an antioxidant, glutathione is essential for allowing the lymphocyte (immune cell) to express its full potential. (without being hampered by oxiradical accumulation.)”

Whilst I absolutely wouldn't use the word "cure" in relation to it or fibromyalgia, I'm sure there could be something in the connection.

"Additionally, the correlation between glutathione level and morning stiffness was found to be significant.", says the results of this small study.

In the meantime, since moving back to a suitable climate is but a dream, I've added to my wishlist this Pro Wireless Weather Station with PC interface.

Heck, I need a hobby! Well, no I don't really want one, but I was thinking maybe I could plot the relationship between temperature, humidity, barometric pressure and my pain levels. Whilst I know there are other factors like stress and pollution levels, which also have a major bearing, this may help shed light on what affects me ... and help me find what mitigates my symptoms.

Antioxidant Glutathione (Glutathione) And Fibromyalgia (Fibromyalgia) FM

By Dr Vic Kalman

Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by diffuse pain in your muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as fatigue. Multiple tender points or "trigger points" are present throughout the body. These are sensitive areas on your body where slight pressure causes pain to the individual.

Fibromyalgia occurs in approximately 2 percent of the population in the United States. It is more common in women versus men, and the risk of fibromyalgia increases with age. Fibromyalgia symptoms frequently begin after a physical or emotional trauma, but in many cases there is no triggering event.

Patients with fibromyalgia often describe pain as a constant dull ache, typically arising from multiple muscles. To be considered widespread, the pain must occur on both sides of your body and above and below your waist.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by additional pain when firm pressure is applied to specific areas of your body, called tender points or trigger points. The American College of Rheumatology has established two criteria for the diagnosis of fibromyalgia:

1. Widespread pain lasting at least three months

2. At least 11 positive tender points - out of a total possible of 18

Tender point locations include:

  • Back of the head
  • Between shoulder blades
  • Top of shoulders
  • Front sides of neck
  • Upper chest
  • Outer elbows
  • Upper hips
  • Sides of hips
  • Inner knees

People with fibromyalgia are often fatigued, even though they may get enough sleep. Some experts believe that these people rarely reach the deep stages of sleep. Sleep disorders linked to fibromyalgia include restless legs syndrome and sleep apnea.

Some patients with fibromyalgia have other associated conditions such as: chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, lupus, osteoarthritis, post traumatic stress disorder and rheumatoid arthritis.

The diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be difficult to make initially especially in view of the multiple presenting symptoms. See your physician for a complete physical examination, lab work to rule out other disease conditions and imaging studies as your clinical situation dictates. This process is necessary but can be very frustrating for the patient. Rest assured this is a real condition; do not worry about negative test results. If you are not happy with the process it is OK to seek a second opinion, usually with a rheumatologist.

Strategies to manage your fibromyalgia:

1. Reduce stress. Develop a strategy to avoid/limit overexertion and emotional stress. Schedule times to relax each day. That may mean learning how to say "no," Try to maintain a daily active schedule. Try stress management techniques, such as deep-breathing exercises or meditation. Massage therapy may be beneficial.

2. Get enough sleep. Getting sufficient sleep is essential. In addition to allotting enough time for sleep, practice good sleep habits, such as going to bed and getting up at the same time each day.

3. Exercise regularly. At first, exercise may increase your pain, but exercising regularly often decreases symptoms. Appropriate exercises may include walking, swimming, biking and water aerobics. A physical therapist can help you develop a home exercise program. Stretching, good posture and relaxation exercises are helpful.

4. Pace yourself. Maintain a steady pace that allows you to follow a daily routine with the understanding that you will have good and bad days. The right attitude will keep you more on the positive side.

5. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy foods. Limit your caffeine intake. Do something that you find enjoyable and fulfilling every day.

6. Analgesic medications are frequently used in the management of pain with fibromyalgia patients. While this may be necessary at times it is my opinion that more natural treatments may be just as beneficial without the side effects that accompany prescription medications. I am not saying that prescription medications are unnecessary. I do believe however that it is better to use the body's own healing response if possible.

7. Scientific Articles:

a. Sendur and colleagues in the Rheumatology International Journal (2008 Oct 14) showed us that Serum glutathione and catalase levels were significantly lower in fibromyalgia patients than controls. They concluded, "These findings support other studies, we assume that these two antioxidants might have impact on the pathogenesis of fibromyalgia disease.

b. Bagis and colleagues in the Rheumatology International Journal (Volume 25, April, 2005) reported that oxidant/antioxidant balances were changed in fibromyalgia. Increased free radical levels may be responsible for the development of fibromyalgia "These findings may support the hypothesis of fibromyalgia as an oxidative disorder."

c. Parcell in Alternative Medicine Review (2002 Feb;7(1):22-44) discussed the role of sulfur-containing amino acids including cysteine that can help increase the level of glutathione which may be effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia and other disorders.


Glutathione is an essential antioxidant necessary to fight free radicals. Free radicals may indeed play a role in the pathogenesis of fibromyalgia. Glutathione and catalase levels were significantly lower in fibromyalgia patients. This information has led me to conclude that daily use of Max GXL, a glutathione accelerator and Max N-fuze should be considered in patients with fibromyalgia providing there is no contraindication.

image Dr. Vic Kalman

Miracle Shoes


There is something to be said for this Haul Blogging craze and it's not just for bored teens with too much money. Smile

So here is my latest haul. Maybe miracle is a strong word, but these are certainly the first pair of comfortable shoes I've been able to find in years and they're trendy, which normally, we do not have the luxury of enjoying.

And if you have fibromyalgia, you already know how hard it is to find a decent pair of comfortable shoes you can wear. Normally style has to be sacrificed.

These go with sports clothes or jeans, look great with leggings and, would still look good enough with a skirt (if I happened to own one, which I don't.)

For me, footwear must:

  • Have a cushioned sole of reasonable thickness, or I'll walk 25 yards and my feet will feel like they've been hammered from underneath.
  • Not be leather as, unless it's really, really expensive, will be too stiff and will rub my feet into blisters within a few yards (and isn't environmentally / animal friendly enough for me either.)
  • Not have laces, 'coz I can't get down to fiddle with them.
  • Not have buckles, 'coz they'd dig in, rub, blister.
  • Not be sandals as they'll cut and rub everywhere.
  • Provide decent support to the foot.
  • Preferably have Velcro fixings.
  • Be black.

Normally, even after they've passed all of those tests, shoes will either not be comfortable and supportive enough around my ankles, yet will usually rub on and blister my abnormally low ankle bones. These Skechers Women's Shape-Ups Sleek Fit Trainer are shaped low like trainers at the ankle, so don't have the latter problem, as well as passing all my other pedantic tests.

So far I've walked over 3 miles in them and as well as being comfortable enough to do that at the time, along with other factors, they've helped reduce the amount of pain in my ankles, feet, knees and legs after walking.

Your results may vary, of course, but these shoes do not seem too heavy - which can be another serious problem for the energy starved. And although I certainly could feel my bum muscles working when I first wore them, this did not develop into a problem which hurt nor felt as if I'd overworked something.

The blurb (this is the first pair of shoes I've ever bought that comes with their own DVD!), says they:

  • Promote weight loss (I can be hopeful)
  • Strengthen the back
  • Firm calf and buttock muscles
  • Reduce cellulite and tone your thighs
  • Increase cardiovascular health (blood circulation)
  • Improve posture
  • Reduce stress on knee and ankle joints

All of those are important to those of us with fibromyalgia / chronic fatigue, but probably what appeals to me most is the blood flow benefits, since it seems that the pain from blood pooling in my lower extremities due to orthostatic intolerance seems to be one of the worst symptoms I suffer currently.

As I say, there may have been other factors coming into play, but so far, it's with that, that I have felt the greatest improvement or relief.

Skechers Women's Shape-Ups Sleek Fit Trainer

You Need Some Black in Your Life

image"Black will make you feel powerful, in control, and not bound to what other people think of you. And with a little black, you will project a aura of mystery, rebellion, and dominance. If you want people to respect you, you've got to get a little black in your life! For extra punch: Combine black with orange or red. The downside of black: People won't be able to "read" you - and may perceive you as more aggressive than you actually are. The consequences of more black in your life: You'll become a figure of intrigue and speculation. You'll be better prepared for life's unknown path. You'll rest better and free yourself of expectations."

ROFLMAO! It's hard to imagine where I could introduce any more black, since almost all of my wardrobe, accessories & gadgets are entirely black already.

I've stuck to it because it's less draining to my skintone than neutrals such as grey and beige - which I appear match when I wear them - less ageing than navy blue, more sophisticated than browns and, having everything all one colour means I don't even have to think about what goes with what.

Mystery and rebellion maybe. I wish it made me feel in control!

What Color Do You Need?

Paws in the Proceedings

Paws in the ProceedingsRegular visitors may have noticed a link to this book, Paws in the Proceedings, in the sidebar.

It's by my absolute favorite "cat author", Deric Longden. He's a favorite, maybe because he's as daft as I am. :) He has a wonderful way of describing the mundane and ordinary and making it interesting and, a typical dry English wit and a subtle turn of phrase that makes absolutely anything funny.

Amazon say that this "is the second book of Deric's gentle tales of life in Huddersfield with his wife Aileen and their menagerie of playful cats with big personalities," but I would beg to differ, as I've certainly read more.

The cats' tales all started when Derek took in - or was taken in, in typical cat style - by a small white cat who he called Thermal in "The Cat Who Came in from the Cold." I still have my original copy of that book because it's become one of my "prized possessions", but I noticed that book has been reissued too.

If you haven't read that one yet either, I strongly suggest you do.

Next came "I'm a Stranger Here Myself", which is described as "a travel book of a kind," but which also continues the tale of the household, including cats and, I feel, is one of Longden's strongest and most humorous books.

There are also A Play on Words and Enough to Make a Cat Laugh.

But one cannot mention Longden without reference to "Lost for Words", which was made into a TV film starring Pete Postlethwaite (as Longden) and Dame Thora Hird as his mother and, was the bittersweet exploration of what familial love is, and the pain there is for all concerned in losing someone - in Longden's case, his mother - to this most alienating of diseases (alzheimers).

And then there's Diana's Story, which I also re-read recently, about his first wife Diana's illness with ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) and her subsequent death. This too was made into a film entitled, Wide-Eyed and Legless (and re-titled as The Wedding Gift for the US market), starring Julie Walters.

Both of those Longden manages to make funny, while still remaining sensitive, which is, I feel a huge testament to how great a writer he is really.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

A recipe for a miracle

image You will need, in equal parts:

M - Momentum
I - Incentive
R - Revelation
A - Action
C - Commitment
L - Love
E - Energy

Now mix together and ...

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

You Are 100% Burned Out

 You are extremely burned out. You work too hard, and you're not getting the results you deserve. It's time for a life change, as soon as you can manage it. You're giving away most of your energy to something you don't even enjoy.

Tell me something I didn't know! Whilst I'm acutely aware that there are billions worse off than me, I do think I have as much right to happiness and my needs fulfilling as anyone else. But this has been the story of my life: my needs have been disregarded while I've had to put up with situations that were not of my choosing. And yes, I know we always have a choice, but always the lesser of the evils presented was either misrepresented or still totally unsuitable.

Clearly, I need to make drastic changes, but what and how?

Are You Burned Out?

Monday, 26 April 2010

Know your onions

136_5031021239136_IDShot_225x225One of the only ways I can continue to prepare a meal every day is to take advantage of labour saving "tricks", such as buying my onions ready diced, which saves a lot of pain in my hands and wrists if I'd had to chop them.

Well, to be honest, if I had to chop onions for every recipe, I really wouldn't be able to manage at all any longer.

On the other hand, I dare not eat prepared and processed meals full of mystery ingredients and chemicals to which I would undoubtedly have a reaction.

At 79 pence for the kilo bag, this actually works out cheaper than buying fresh onions too. (There does not appear to be anything in them except onions.)

This is but one example. Another is sliced mixed peppers, which are really handy too, as a handful can be thrown into all sorts of dishes.

So what do you think happened when I went to make the list for next month's shopping? Yep, both products are marked, Sorry, this product is currently unavailable. In the basket it suggested permanently. I do hope not.

You Are 100% Psychic

You are so very psychic. But you already predicted that, didn't you? You have "the gift" - and you use it daily to connect with others.

You're very tapped into the world around you ...

Just make sure to use your powers for good!

Are You Psychic?

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Apples and Pears

As I posted recently, I've analysed my eating habits, made some tweaks and ended up with a 1,500 calorie per day regime.

And in 3 weeks, I have managed to lose a whole kilo (approx. 2.2 lbs).

Oh well at least I lost rather than gained them, but it's slow going and about 1/3 of what would be the ideal; to lose 2 lbs a week. For that, obviously, I'd need to exercise regularly too, but I don't yet see how I can possibly achieve it.

My BMI did work out at 30 and my diet plan (coincidentally) worked out at around 1,500 calories per day, about which the now perhaps not so Innocent drinks note on their blog, "So if you want to lose weight and your BMI is over 25, then you should try and reduce the calories you eat to 1500 kcals per day  (for a woman) and do some sort of physical activity at the same time."

Mind you, it had taken me 166 days to lose the previous 2 kilos (4.4 lbs), so I think this represents an improvement and gives hope that the plan will work.

Currently, I weigh 77 kilos (12 stone 2 lbs) or 170 lbs, which is better than the 80 kilos (12 1/2 stone), or 176 lbs at the start of this exercise last year.

This still leaves me in the obese bracket, however. Of course I'd like to get back to the 120 lbs (or thereabouts) that I was in my 20's, but I am a realist. For much of the time I was in Tenerife, in my 30's and 40's, I hovered around 65 kilos (just over 10 stone), 143 lbs, so I'll make that my optimum goal.

(128 lbs would be ideal for my height: 148 lbs would be high.)

So I haven't qualified as slim for years, but I didn't trip over into the "you too would be disgusted if you saw me naked" category until I was prescribed Amitriptyline (Elavil) for my fibromyalgia when I got back to the UK.

Doctors readily prescribe this abomination (probably because they're told to), because it's cheap, I'm informed. It's also known that one of its side effects is excessive weight gain. Then the same doctor takes one look at you and tells you (when you already walk several miles a week - because there is no alternative transport - causing horrendous ME crashes) that you need to exercise.

This whole scenario should be against the law on the grounds of cruelty.

Anyway, if I could merely lose another 7 kilos (15.4 lbs) it would be a start.

But even if it's slow, I now think it's doable, which gives me a light at the end of the tunnel. Apart from the fact that I really would like to look less like a sack of potatoes in a bin bag, I do hope that reducing some of the strain, particularly on my back, hips and knees, will reduce some of the pain I suffer.

But pure weight is not the only problem. If I'm honest, just looking at myself, I can tell that I'm now leaning towards the Apple shape. A waist size of 34 inches, against a height of 5' 3" (63") puts me in the 'pear-apple', Take Care area.

It could be worse, of course, I could have gotten all the way over to the red area, but I'd rather attempt to reverse the process now before it's too late.

As they say, "Someone with an apple shape will face greater health risks than someone who has a pear shape, even if they are both overweight."

I was interested to read also that, "According to Nancy Snyderman, M.D., high levels of testosterone in the body lead to body fat being stored in and around the abdominal area." And yes, I do know that women can also have high levels of testosterone too, because I was shocked when I was tested and did.

At least I now know why this is, though I fear people with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue probably have all sorts of hormone irregularities.

"A low-glycemic diet is the most beneficial in helping apple-shaped people lose weight. An example of a low-glycemic diet is the Mediterranean diet."

That's the sort of diet I eat naturally, (just wish it was in the Med!)

Handy tool here: Weight Conversions Calculator

Prize Every Time

imageThey always say that, don't they? But, I won one fairly and squarely yesterday.

There's a fair in town (that's a carnival for the colonial viewers and, for my viewers in the Canary Islands, it means carnival (fair) without the carnaval, which seems like a alien concept to me now.)

Nevertheless, in this area where nothing exciting ever happens and, even if anything does, the weather seldom makes it possible to go (even if there was any public transport), I decided to take advantage of a rare sunny day (knowing it would rain today) and took a long slow walk to the fair and back.

With only around 4 rides (Los Cristianos has a much bigger fair for carnaval), plus the kiddy roundabout, 2 shooting galleries, 2 hot dog stands, a stall selling sweets and the hook a whatever stall, one was really spoilt for choice! (She says sarcastically.) Even hobbling round it took me all of a minute to see the lot.

Truthfully, I don't know why I bothered. I looked at the Twister and the Waltzer - both of which I'd enjoyed once - or even the dodgems and realised that even if my already sore and aching, battered body could survive the assault, my neck, brain and poor balance due to neurological problems, would not.

It's always harder to deal with fibromyalgia and ME/CFS, I think, when you are so pointedly reminded of things in which you are no longer able to partake.

So I chose a tabby cat with a pink lead for my prize on the "prize every time stall" - I was amazed that I actually managed to hook something: I don't usually and my hand to eye coordination seems to get worse every year - bought a big bag of candy floss (that I certainly shouldn't eat) and walked home again.

The excitement around here is enough to kill someone - from boredom!

You Are 90% Creative

You are an incredibly creative person. For you, there are no bounds or limits to your creativity. Your next creation could be something very great ... Or at least very cool!

How Creative Are You?

Saturday, 24 April 2010

You Are 96% Tortured Genius

You totally fit the profile of a tortured genius. You're uniquely brilliant - and completely misunderstood.

Not like you really want anyone to understand you anyway. You're pretty happy being an island.

Are You a Tortured Genius?

Friday, 23 April 2010

Your Inner Gender is Male

You are rational, matter of fact, and quite dominant.

You like to get things done, without any emotional messiness.

You truly don't understand most women. And you definitely feel more comfortable around men.

No doubt about it. You're a guy - at least on the inside.

Quite seriously, I agree with those statements and have even said to someone before that I felt I had a man's brain. That said, I've no idea whose it is.

What's Your Inner Gender?

Thursday, 22 April 2010

You are a Hippie

"You are a total hippie. While you may not wear birks or smell of incense, you have the soul of a hippie. You don't trust authority, and you do as you please. You're willing to take a stand, even when what you believe isn't popular. You like to experiment with ideas, lifestyles, and different subcultures. You always gravitate toward what's radical and subversive. Normal, mainstream culture doesn't really resonate with you."

No Really? LOL! I think they got that lot completely right!

Are You a Hippie?

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

A change is as good as a rest

Hangman-6"The definition of insanity is continuing to do the same thing over and over, and then expecting different results." - usually attributed to Albert Einstein.

On the basis of which, whether we end up with a hung parliament or a Liberal one next month, this may represent the very change we need that allows the country break away from the insanity that is continuing to swing back and forth between two parties, both of which (in my view) have done a great deal to harm the country.

Just thinking out loud, though I have a feeling many are doing likewise.

You Are a Banana

"You are mellow, easy going, and a total softie on the inside. People find it really easy to get along with you. You suit most tastes.

And while you're very sweet, you're not boring or ordinary. You have an attraction to the exotic, and you could show up anywhere ... doing almost anything!

You are spirited, energetic, and a total kick to be around. You're also quite funny. Your sense of humor is on the goofy side, and it fits you well."

(... I think this is just a polite way of telling me I am bananas :-)

What Type of Fruit Are You?

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

What Should You Be When You Grow Up?

"Finding out is as simple as choosing the image that appeals to you most," they say. Oh, if only life were so simple, because I did that and this is the result:

You Should Be a Manager You're very organized, motivated, and methodical. Fair and objective, you can see all sides of a conflict. You are a good mediator. You are task oriented. You do well with deadlines and schedules. And while you can be a task master at times, you're good at managing people and listening to their input. You do best when you: - Must have attention to detail - Are in charge of people. You would also be a good accountant or personal assistant.

What Should You Be When You Grow Up?

OK, I agree most of it can be true, when I try. There's just one itty-bitty flaw in this theory (apart from the fact that I don't particularly want to grow up in the first place): In a past life I was a manager and an accountant - probably a good one too - and that's exactly what I deliberately stopped doing because I absolutely hated it and I really really do not want to do, ever again.

So, I still have no clue what to do when (if) I grow up! :)

Typical Fibromyalgia Sleep Pattern


Or, at least, this is my typical, erratic, sleep pattern, tracked by Yawnlog.

As you can see from the image above, which covers the month of March 2010, I might sleep for anything between just 4 and over 12 hours in any 24.

What the graph doesn't show, however, is that my sleep is often broken and those daily totals may be made up from several smaller naps. I do try to stay awake all day and not take afternoon naps, but there are times when I just can't keep awake in the day and many others when I just can't stay asleep at night, so I'll sit up and do something for a while until I'm able to get another nap.

Naps might work for other people, but I'm acutely aware of this having a noticeable negative effect, meaning, I wake up tired and get tireder (sic).

This is despite trying to follow the usual "sleep hygiene" rules as best I can, which isn't perfectly, but then I'm stuck with conditions in someone else's house that don't suit these needs and, have to manage living in one room, so I couldn't banish my computer from my bedroom, as that's where I spend all day too.

I do try to wake up at the same time each day - well, the cats see to that by demanding their breakfast - and, consequently aim for more or less the same going to bed time. The only coffee I drink is at breakfast. I don't eat late at night. I bought a new bed, natural latex mattress and ergonomic pillow.

Those help keep morning pain and stiffness down to a tolerable level.

But I cannot make my bedroom dark enough, even with blackout curtains and miss having small windows with proper wooden shutters, as in Tenerife.

When I do sleep, it's often restless and frequently punctuated by bad dreams.

Thinking back to my childhood, when I was little, my sleep was often disturbed by a recurring nightmare (in colour) about a fat man in dungarees chasing someone up a ladder at the side of a weather-boarded barn.

No idea where that came from or what it might supposedly signify, but I can still see those images in my mind clearly.

And I always had trouble getting up. My mother would call me and I wouldn't stir because I simply didn't hear her, probably because I'd have finally got off to some proper deep sleep that my system didn't want to come out of.

When I did finally wake, it would be a slow process and I'd feel as dog tired as if I'd never been to sleep at all. What I didn't know until 9 years ago, is that during my sleep, I tend to kicking and flailing - Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD) - exactly as my father had always done.

Which are precisely the patterns of sleep disorders often associated with fibromyalgia.

It was my mother who told me about this, because she had to sleep with me the first time she came to stay with me in Tenerife after my father died.

So she was the one who initially confirmed that I display symptoms known to be associated with fibromyalgia - which I've explained to her on more occasions than I could count - yet she remained adamant and was telling people she didn't think there was anything wrong with me. Don't try to understand her logic!

Way back when I was a kid, my mother would just call me again and again every morning - or at least she would tell me she had called me lots of times - and she'd just get angrier every time, which made getting up even nastier.

Looking back now, it's incredible to believe that anyone would leave this unquestioned and not think to at least mention it to the doctor.

Recently, I've been taking Valerian root, which has helped a little with both quality and quantity of sleep, but as things are becoming erratic again (not helped by the mornings getting lighter), I think I'm getting resistant to it, so it would be a good idea to give it a rest. I'm going to try Melatonin instead, in the hope that it may help restore normal sleep patterns (whatever those are!)

Monday, 19 April 2010

What spice are you?

Apparently, I'm Cayenne Pepper About which they say,

"You are very over the top and a bit overwhelming. You have a fiery personality, and you can give anyone a good jolt. You can easily take things up a couple notches, no matter what crowd you're running with."

Oh damn, they got me nailed again. It's a good job the quiz wasn't "Which Spice Girl are you?" tho, because we all know the answer: Old Spice! :)

What Spice Are You? Via: Island Wench

Fibromyalgia: Restore Balance To Your Body And Feel Better

image Most people with fibromyalgia realize that it seems like your whole system is unbalanced and it is. Studies have shown that most people with fibro have IBS, many have hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia or both, and most are generally deficient in one or more vitamins and minerals. Combine that with insomnia, not getting enough exercise, the inability to digest properly and failure to remove toxins and it is no wonder the imbalance seems impossible to correct.

Any fibromyalgia treatment has to start with a program of helping the body overcome this imbalance and it must start with your diet. Changing lifestyle and diet habits seems to be the most difficult obstacle for fibro patients to overcome.

It is easy to understand when it seems like your body is starving for energy and is screaming for you to feed it what it needs most for energy, carbs or sugar but that is exactly what is keeping this imbalance in place.

Refined carbs and sugar are damaging your liver, pancreas, brain and adrenals. They are also acidic, forcing your body to regulate ph levels however it can, even if it means leaching calcium from your bones to combat acidity. They also contribute to and cause overgrowths of yeast and mold.


Normally the liver controls blood sugar levels. It makes sugar from stores inside the liver and releases it as needed in a carefully regulated way. Eating excessive sugar or refined carbs can overwhelm this control system and then the liver must dump the excess into the systemic circulation. This results in high blood sugar which damages blood vessels.

Then the pancreas comes in to play by releasing insulin to control these overwhelming blood sugar levels. It does this by shunting the sugar into fat, you will actually create more fat to store sugar which is your body's way of protecting itself. Then a rebound effect can happen when your pancreas releases too much insulin to control excess sugar and your blood sugar drops too low. This is also damaging because then the energy supply to all tissues is impaired. This is hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia often leads to diabetes.

Subconsciously you may eat to alleviate these symptoms of low blood sugar which is your body's natural way of protecting itself but this just leads to a roller coaster effect of rising and falling blood sugars which soon spirals out of control.
Another effective way the liver may react to low blood sugar is to convert short chain fatty acids into glucose.

When the liver and pancreas can't regulate blood sugar properly and sugar levels drop too low the brain begins to panic so to speak because the brain survives on blood sugar, this causes an adrenalin reaction to bring the sugar back up and if it happens at night it wakes you up preventing deep sleep which you need to heal.

This can wreak havoc with the adrenals as your blood sugar dips throughout the day and night. Fibro patients often have low cortisol levels and adrenal fatigue. Simply put your adrenal glands become exhausted.

Next the damaged or fatigued liver or pancreas can not create the needed enzymes for digestion. This leads to or worsens IBS and an inability to digest foods properly.

The inability to digest can cause diarrhea, constipation, IBS.

Also the inability to digest proteins leads to problems which create more of an inability to digest because you need protein and the proper digestion of protein to create enzymes needed for digestion. So this becomes yet another imbalance in fibromyalgia that creates another endless loop of malfunction.

The important role played by amino acids is also reduced. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Proteins when digested properly break down into amino acids. These amino acids are involved in creating enzymes, the growth, repair and maintenance of body tissues, balancing blood sugar, digesting food, the proper functioning of the immune system and the production of hormones.
Your body will actually begin to break down your intestines if it isn't getting the amino acids it needs to function.

Proteins are needed to heal and for a functioning immune system. With the breakdown of the immune system due to an inability to digest proteins you can not fight off yeast, molds, viruses and bacteria. Yeast and mold, bacteria and viruses often afflict fibromyalgia patients more than the general population and this burdens an already overworked immune system even more.

With an inability to digest foods you are not going to properly absorb vitamins and minerals and this along with the diarrhea leads to malnutrition. You also need the proteins and amino acids to carry the vitamins and minerals to your cells.

You need a healthy liver and blood vessels to clear your body of toxins and deliver oxygen to your cells.

Fluid and electrolyte imbalances are also created due to diarrhea.

In addition there may also be hormonal imbalances.

The body will do whatever it takes to control blood sugar, fluid imbalances and ph levels, if it didn't, you would die.

This in the simplest terms describes the overwhelming job that is placed on your body due to the many imbalances involved in fibromyalgia.

What can you do to stop this cascade of imbalances?

• Lower carb higher protein diet

Most doctors recommend this for fibro. There is a known endocrine disorder with fibro and while doctors don't exactly know how this correlation works, they know it exists.

Make it easy on yourself. Don't even try complicated diet plans that seem like an extra job. Incorporate lower carb higher protein into YOUR lifestyle.

Don't bother counting carbs, just eliminate sugar and white flour and if you can't do it seven days a week do it six days a week, if you can't do it six days a week start with five days a week.

If you still can't eliminate them this way, then try this, divide your plate into fourths, one half is covered with non starchy vegetables, one fourth with meat or fish and one fourth with carbs. If you are making pasta for dinner start with a salad with lemon and olive oil. This will help activate digestive juices in your stomach. Have four meatballs instead of two and less pasta and no bread.

If you must have bread look for the smallest rolls possible or just half a slice. Some doctors recommend whole grain instead of white but others say no to any grains for hypoglycemia and IBS. I believe if you take digestive enzymes whole grains shouldn't be a problem for either but they are still carbs so limit them.

If you still must have an occasional dessert then make it cheesecake (a sliver) or get a diabetic cookbook and learn how to make lower sugar/carb desserts and meals.

Watch the rice and potatoes also. And some fruits also have too much sugar like bananas, limit fruit when you are starting, stick to low glycemic fruits.
Eat whole fruits, the fiber is good for you. No fruit juice whatsoever, it is too high in sugar.

No sugar but if you must, Stevia or Agave Nectar in your coffee or tea and limit this to one cup a day. There is also a new stevia out called Truvia. This might be worth checking into. Absolutely no aspartame or Splenda or any sugar substitutes other than stevia. Herbal teas are also good because they don't need much sweetening to be flavorful.

Learn the glycemic indexes of foods. Learn what complex carbs (the ones you should be eating) are.

Little or no processed food. Refined food may very well be the culprit in many of your ills. By the time refined food is cooked and gets to your plate there are practically no enzymes left in it for digestion.

Eat raw foods as much as possible.

Drink plenty of water, add a little lemon to it. Lemon water with distilled or spring water is good for your liver. It will also help you create stomach acids needed for digestion.

Eat only good oils. Cold pressed olive oil is best. Good fats slow the release of glucose.

Eat breakfast (a must), it will help to stabilize your blood sugars throughout the whole day.

Learn what your daily intake of protein should be based on your weight.

Try adding whey protein to your daily meal plans. The kind that weightbuilders use is the best. It is easily digested and gives you extra protein that you may not be getting. Add to milk and drink one glass in the morning and it will give you stable protein for energy. It is also low in sugars. Drink another in the afternoon if you have a mid afternoon slump and drink one before bed, it will create tryptophan which will help you sleep and the proteins can also work to give extra healing while you are sleeping.

If you don't like the whey protein then eat an egg for breakfast and drink extra milk. If you can't tolerate milk then use lactose digestion aids/enzymes.

Eat smaller and more meals throughout the day. Three meals and two snacks daily. Make the snacks higher in protein. A good one is peanut butter on whole wheat crackers.

In short you must do whatever it takes to stabilize your blood sugars. This will give you energy, help your depression, stop your insomnia and help you sleep better. It will also help greatly with your pain.

I have heard people with fibro say that they have tried diet and it doesn't work. Or they are reluctant to even try. It isn't going to work overnight or even in a few days. It will take anywhere from two to six weeks just to get your blood sugar stabilized and then it will take months for the healing to occur. You didn't reach this state overnight, you are not going to get over it in a couple of days but I can guarantee you will absolutely feel better and you will notice improvements in a short time that will make you want to stick to it. And if you fall off the wagon occasionally don't use it as an excuse to give up, just get back on and try again.

Also note that the diet is lower carb higher protein, don't go overboard and severely restrict carb intake or signifcantly increase protein intake if you feel you are meeting the daily requirements for protein for your weight, gender and age.

If you have access to a glucose meter and know how to use it, check your blood sugar levels yourself throughout the day.

See an endocrinolgist to get a complete blood sugar work up. Get checked for hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, diabetes, all of it. If your blood sugars are not normal they will probably recommend a dietitian to help create a diet plan for you, in addition to insulin or other medications if needed.

See your doctor and ask to have your adrenal and liver function tested.

• Use digestive and systemic enzymes. Look for a good formula with Betaine and Pepsin in the digestive, take before meals to help digest food, especially proteins which are the hardest to digest. Papaya Enzymes are also good for digesting proteins.
• Use probiotics. A good formula with at least five beneficial bacteria.
• Use EFA's Essential Fatty Acids. They will help regulate glucose. Take before a meal.
• If IBS does not improve with digestive enzymes try peppermint gels in addition. Drink peppermint tea. If this doesn't help get tested for SIBO (small intestinal bacteria overgrowth). You may need antibiotics.
• Try a blood sugar formula but be careful to read ingredients, you don't want to lower insulin just help stabilize it.
• Milk Thistle is good for the liver.
• Licorice is good for the adrenals but check side effects and drug interactions. Some people should not take licorice. Look for other supplements that are good for adrenal fatigue.
• A good multi-vitamin is a must. Look for high quality, higher concentrations at first since you are not absorbing well until your digestion improves.
• Amino Acids supplements may also help you to heal.
• Research all vitamins and supplements before taking. Some cause dangerous side effects and interactions if you are not meant to take them.
• Keep a food diary. Learn what foods cause diarrhea or fatigue or any of the symptoms of hypoglycemia or blood sugar problems for you. Everyone is different.
• Exercise. Go for a walk after meals. This will greatly help to stabilize and normalize blood sugars. It will also help stimulate normal bowel functions.

Remember you must change your lifestyle and diet. You really have no choice if you want to heal.

Supplements are needed and help a great deal to support your overwhelmed body on its way to healthful balance, they help with many functions that your body is just unable to do on it's own for the time being but there aren't enough supplements in the world to replace the millions of functions that a healthy body does naturally and brilliantly.

Note: While not every fibromyalgia patient has all of the above symptoms there has been some research to suggest a link between IBS and varying degrees of hypoglycemia or reactive hypoglycemia. Studies indicate that up to 80% of fibromyalgia patients suffer from IBS. There have also been conclusive studies demonstrating abnormal adrenal function in fibromyalgia patients.

Some studies indicate that fibromyalgia patients have higher degrees of blood sugar problems such as hypoglycemia, diabetes, insulin resistance and pre diabetes than the general population. Many fibromyalgia patients experience fibroglycemia, both high and low blood sugars.

You are the best judge of your fibro symptoms and what treatments might be of benefit to you, as always discuss all of your treatments with your doctor and inform them of all alternative treatments and products that you use.

Mary Ferrari is webmaster of an alternative health site featuring articles, newsletters, products and more related to successful alternative treatments for fibromyalgia. "I have been pain/symptom free from fibromyalgia since 2008 and have helped many people who wish to overcome their symptoms using non pharmaceutical supplements and treatments."

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Your own view of Paradise

image "A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread--and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness--
Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!"

from The Rubaiyat By Omar Khayyam

Looking for something interesting to watch on a Sunday afternoon, I came across The Genius of Omar Khayyam (BBC4), presented by Iranian journalist, Sadeq Saba.

It's a fascinating history of this 11th Century Persian astronomer, mathematician and poet and, probably most fascinating about it is how these verses still seem to have a relevant message in the modern world.

Although, I guess, like most poetry, quotes, lyrics, etc., each of us will have our own personal interpretation of their meaning. For me, the verse above, not only speaks of enjoying the moment, but brings calm, tranquility and simplicity, above all, conjuring up an image (and hope) for a place I want to be at.

The program is only available on iPlayer until tomorrow, Monday 19th April 2010, otherwise, you'll have to look out for repeats or other sources.

(For readers in the colonies and elsewhere in the world, How to Access the BBC iPlayer from Outside the U.K.)

Chaos in a T-shirt


More haul blogging (said tongue in cheek, since I really hate pointless rampant consumerism), but I just couldn't resist buying this ...

Chaos in a T-shirt from Sumosam

Sadly, Chaos is just so true!

You Are Disturbingly Profound

You're contemplative, thoughtful, and very intense. Taking time to figure out the meaning of life is a priority for you. Because you're so introspective, you often react in ways that surprise people. No one can really understand how you are on the inside ... and that disturbs them.

It disturbs me too, but I discovered long ago that nailing jell-o to a wall is much easier than tying my personality down! :)

Are You Disturbingly Profound or Profoundly Disturbing?

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Buses: conspicuous by their absence

imageHere in the UK I'm in far too much pain to be able to use the bus comfortably.

The constant jolting of their stop-start nature rattles my very bones.

Where it hurts most varies, but I never get off a bus without my neck has "cricked", my back has "gone" or in some other additional pain.

Then the lack of seats or shelters here that mean I can't wait for them.

And then there's the astronomical cost, which is probably why the only people you do see using them are the OAPs with their free bus passes. 

Now there's another reason to not catch them: there's even less of them.

From this week, our local bus service has been cut so that - wait for this - the LAST BUS back from town leaves at 12 minutes past 2 in the afternoon.

Previously it had been 10 minutes to 5pm and that got howls of laughter!

I mean, whoever heard of a LAST BUS at those times?

Now, don't say go out earlier (with fibromyalgia, one can't anyway), because the first bus of the morning isn't until 4 minutes to 10 anyway.

So, folks in this retirement village have a window of just 4 hours (Monday to Friday only) in which to travel to wherever and do whatever they need.

Frankly, I think you'd find better facilities in the third-world.

You Are 98% Non Conformist

"You're incredibly strange. And a weirdness like yours takes skill to cultivate! No one really understands you. And you're cool with that. Just hope you never have to understand them!"

Only 98% strange? Hell I must be slipping in my old age!

Are You a Nonconformist?

Friday, 16 April 2010

The week I became a proper cripple


Some time ago I bought a folding walking stick to keep in my bag, because I knew my balance was so crap that I needed it.

Nevertheless, having some vain tendencies still (OK, plenty), I've resisted using it - that is until I went to the hardware store last weekend.

With the pain in my hip still worsening every time I walk, my other thought had been to hopefully take some of the weight off that hip. That probably isn't feasible, because, I found that if I repeatedly put my weight on the stick, it rebounds up my arm and causes massive pain in my shoulder instead.

The third and final reason, which is why I did get the stick out eventually last week was because there's no way that I can manage to walk the long way round, by road, to the hardware store, but I felt I could manage if I took the short cut down the scary, narrow, overgrown track over the railway bridge ...

OK, I'm sure it wouldn't have been much use, but I felt a little safer there with the stick in one hand and a 130 decibel personal attack alarm in the other!

(All this because the kitchen had been invaded by ants, BTW.)

imageHaving the stick helped me going up hill, which would normally be exhausting and make me breathless, but the major benefit of it I felt when walking down hill, which, because of my balance problems, means I usually dare not look beyond my feet in front of me and need to take little baby steps, gingerly, because I feel that the ground is going away from me and that I will overbalance.

With the stick, on that slope, I was able to walk normally.

That's the first time in my life that I've negotiated a slope without feeling like I'm going to fall arse over tit. I'm just as bad on stairs and I avoid escalators completely, because they scare the living shit out of me - which can be bleeding awkward in shopping malls and means I just don't do the London underground.

My balance has never been good. At infant / junior school, I could never manage simple things like forward rolls in the gym like all the others could do. I'd try it, fall sideways and go giddy. It was probably never seen as a potential medical problem - just that I was shit at gym - and, consequently, wasn't checked out and, at that age, I failed to put two and two together.

In fact, I've pretty much just accepted my "abnormality" as normal, until now.

Well, I just felt my balance wasn't great, but I had no benchmark to measure it against, until, by chance, I came across mention of Romberg's test today:

Romberg's test or the Romberg manoeuvre is a test used by doctors in a neurological examination, and also as a test for drunken driving. The patient stands with feet together, and maintains balance with eyes open. The eyes are then closed. A loss of balance with the eyes closed is a positive, abnormal response.

Pretty simple to try at home, so I did. I couldn't even count a second between closing my eyes and swaying backward so severely that I had to "save" myself.

So, me thinks that my balance disorder is actually quite severe and, once more (in conjunction with pain, cognitive and eyesight problems, et al), I'm certain I made the right decision to voluntarily stop driving some years ago.

The subject has been brought into focus in recent years, because of the known association between poor balance and fibromyalgia. The fact that this has been getting worse since I got back to the UK, I'm speculating here, but I associate with the worsening of my symptoms overall, but as this is most certainly neurological in origin, I'd wonder if increased pollution is driving it.

I'm now also frequently teetering on the brink of falling over, or actually doing so, as a result of the symptoms of orthostatic intolerance or dysautonomia. My GP agrees with my theories on this and blood flow, but says it is something that often just goes away by itself. Of course, with my foggy head, it didn't occur to me to mention to her then that I've had the problem since my teens.

Whilst I guess there's still a chance it might improve once I get the other side of the menopause, I think realistically, the chance of the orthostatic intolerance or dysautonomia problem completely going away is slim.

Anyway, I made it to the hardware store, got ant killer and 3 kilos of sand and cement to stuff up the massive entrance they were using in the brickwork.

Carrying that home, even in a backpack, was a HUGE mistake!

Truthfully, if I hadn't had the stick to lean on, I think I would have had to give up and call a taxi. As it was, I only got home by walking very, very slowly indeed, but I was so exhausted, wobbly, dizzy, nauseous, etc., that I just threw my bag down and myself on the kitchen floor in the recovery position until the nausea abated and my head stopped spinning with the blood restored.

On Tuesday, I had to go out again for a medical appointment, which also meant another long walk there and back. I took the stick again and, once more, found it immensely helpful with balance, especially when I got tired and started started swaying and stumbling all over the place, as I tend to do.

Another advantage is that walking with the stick encourages me to walk more slowly. This is not in my nature and my normal pace is far too fast for my state of health and, of course, adds to the exhaustion, exercise intolerance and probably to the length and severity of the resultant flare-ups.

That's still a bit of a double-edged sword, because if I was to walk slowly enough to stay within my energy envelope in winter, I'd be going so slow I'd freeze to death - well at least my muscles would spasm and cease.

The other problem, moving slowly, is that one becomes an easier target.

But at least now I'll have my stick to hit people with! Winking

What Your Taste in Music Says About You

Well, this is what mine said about me, apparently:

"Your musical tastes are energetic and rhythmic. You are full of energy and can be quite talkative. You are forward thinking and open minded. You despise conservatism of any sort. You are intense, detail oriented, and motivated. You are an ambitious person, though your ambition is anything but conventional."

Yeah, they certainly got that right. 'Specially that use of a strong word like despise to describe my opinion of conservatism!

What Does Your Taste in Music Say About You?

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Are You Prejudiced?

"You Are Not Prejudiced: "Not only are you color blind, but you're also ethnicity blind, gender blind, and sexual orientation blind. You don't judge someone until you truly know them. And even then, you're probably reluctant to judge. You try to treat everyone equally. Everyone has a fair chance with you. Good job - there's not a prejudiced bone in your body."

To treat everyone equally, is certainly something I aspire to, but actually I don't try to be colour and ethnicity blind, 'coz I'm not. Neither am I sexual orientation blind either, because I have highly developed "gaydar".

And one thing that really creeps me out is the idea of celebrating differences in some sort of awkward, self-conscious way. Everybody knows it's some white person's idea of what they think is right that ends up being offensive.

As I was explaining to some friends recently, my feelings can best be expressed by two lines from the Bob Marley song, "War", the lyrics, of which are derived from a speech made by Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.

"Until the colour of a man's skin Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes ..." - Bob Marley - War

My personal interpretation of those two lines is not that we should be ignoring the colour of a person's skin and pretending that there are no differences, but that we need to be open, comfortable and natural in noticing.

That will be when a pink / white person, can compliment a black, red, yellow, or whatever person - and vice versa - on their skin tone, in the same way as we might remark upon their brown / blue / green / gray / bloodshot eyes.

(Aside: It quite amused me really, that a black person - who clearly thought my lil' white arse had no right to be there - hassled me on my way into the Bob Marley and The Wailers Live at the Lyceum concert in London in 1975.)

Are You Prejudiced?

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

UK debt now in line with UK ego?

imageOMG, look at the relative size of the UK's debt, in comparison with it's usual relative size in the world, especially when compared to the relative size of debt in the US, which I think most of us would have judged as horrendous.

Interestingly too, Spain's debt, which is generally perceived to be pretty awful - like the country's bankrupt - appears only correctly relative to it's physical size.

This map reminds me of something we did in class when I studied psychology at Birmingham University back in the 80s.

We were asked to draw a map of the world, from memory. The point of this being to show us how we British tend to draw most of the world at more or less correct relative dimensions, until we get to the British Isles, which we tend to draw hugely oversized - in line with our opinions of it's importance.

You know how we can be about that Empire we no longer have. Tongue out

(No, I've no idea if other nationalities also overestimate theirs.)

Strangely - well, OK, not strange at all if you know me well - I was the only person in class to draw the British Isles also at a correct relative size, which certainly does reflect my opinion about this insignificant little island.

(Via: Global recovery? The real dimension of external debt)

Humor - I Don't Do Mornings

I Don't Do MorningsBy Duncan Kelly

Some people are morning people. They get up before the sun rises and they go for a run around the local golf course, scaring the bird trying to get the first worm. They get back home for breakfast and have a shower. Then they catch up on all their letter writing and birthday cards. After making a few calls and concluding a few deals, they toddle off to work, arriving 20 minutes early.

I don't do mornings. The alarm clock is like the sword of Damocles hanging over my slumber. It's strident clamour heralds the death of my dreams and the destruction of the land of Nod. I hit the sleep button and scrape another few minutes of sleep from the desolation of another workday. The inevitable moment arrives: if I delay one more minute I will be seriously, noticeably, late for work. After chucking on some mismatching clothes, (because my eyes are still stuck shut with sleep) I stumble off to work, eventually waking up about an hour after getting there.

Morning people don't believe in the existence of non-morning people. They think we are either mad or lazy liars. But go and pick up a morning person for a call out at 7pm and then the boot is on the other foot. They yawn expansively as they get in the car, they mutter incoherent sentences, and only your terrible driving keeps them from sleeping for the remainder of the 3 hour trip. They look at you in awe as you drive on through the night, and cannot believe that your are still wide awake and alert at 2 in the morning. they think you are some kind of freak, but they are impressed none the less.

Yup, we night people can keep going as long as we have to. We don't do mornings, but we do do nights. Morning people doodoo nights! When the world is sleeping, we go on working, quietly achieving and prevailing where others would fall down and sleep. We are the epitome of the long life battery, as we keep on keeping on through long nights.

Night people are often unseen, like the long haul train driver, the night flight airline pilot, the technician on a call out, the night watchman. But don't ask us to get up early. That is being cruel. Our bodies are not designed for early morning activity. A morning run would kill us, and doing anything financial before 9am would be a fast road to bankruptcy. Writing a birthday card would lose a friend and create an enemy!

So if you're a morning person, spare a thought for your yawning colleague. He's not lazy. He's not crazy. He's just not in the right time zone.

More humor and a free SQUEAKY CLEAN JOKES page at:
The WrinklyO Web Node at

What Your Fridge Says About You

Mine had this to say about me:

"You don't need a lot of stuff to be happy. There isn't a greedy bone in your body. You tend to be a fairly thrifty person. You splurge occasionally, but you're mostly a saver. You are a very adventurous person. You love to try new things, and you get bored very easily. You are responsible, together, and mature. You act like an adult, even when you don't feel like it. You are likely married, possibly with kids."

They were doing so well too, until they got to the last line. Nobody could be less married than me, having divorced in 1982 and not had any sort of relationship (by choice) in over a decade. The fur people count as kids, I guess, but overall, if I appear to be acting like an adult, that's an error I must correct! :) What Do the Contents of Your Refrigerator Say About You?

Monday, 12 April 2010

Your Ideas Are Blue

"When you think, you tend to have very detailed, well thought out ideas. You take your time with your thoughts. You are a deep thinker who likes to explore every possibility. Your ideas tend to be very innovative and perceptive. It's amazing what your mind can come up with. Your mind is energetic and alert. You are "always on" and thinking of new things. It's hard for you to relax."

Yeah, ain't it just that last one that's the kicker?

What Color Ideas Do You Have?

Sunday, 11 April 2010

None of Your Needs Are Being Met

Click to enlarge"Needs not being met: Physiological, love, safety, esteem, and self-actualisation needs. While it may seem surprising to you, none of your core needs are being met. You are not getting enough fuel to keep you going, and it's hindering every aspect of your life. Go back to square one. Work on getting enough rest, eating right, and even exercising. To be happy and fulfilled, your physical needs like food and sleep need to be taken care of."

The only point at which I don't agree with this is where it says it might seem surprising to me. It isn't: I know my needs have never been met. (And I've known this and been familiar with Maslow's hierarchy of needs ever since I studied psychology at Birmingham University back in the 1980s.)

Fibromyalgia robs some basic ones from me, like sleep, while it makes it difficult to undertake any employment or maintain social contacts.

And it is very hard to reach self-esteem, let alone self-actualisation, when basic needs are not fully met and, on top of this one's emotional needs have been continually disregarded and disrespected by family members.

I now know what I need to be able to provide those things for myself - and accept that no other bugger is going to do it - I just have no idea how.

How Many of Your Needs Are Being Met?

Saturday, 10 April 2010

You Think Creatively

image "Your brain works best when you let your intuition be your guide. You like to imagine, speculate, and fantasize. You have fun playing with ideas. You are interested in theories. You enjoy studying and developing them. You are drawn toward art, philosophy, and even math. Almost every subject is interesting to you."

How Do You Think?

Friday, 9 April 2010

Cruelty to Children

imageAs this spoof NewsBiscuit story infers, in Britain, one can become snowed under by a deluge of charity collection bags. Far too many for even the most wasteful, compulsive consumer to fill.

So, I know these bags can seem like a bit of a nuisance, but I was frankly shocked and appalled by my mother's reaction to one. The collection bag was from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), whom I feel are a perfectly worthy cause.

It's always saddened me that such an organization is needed in a supposedly civilised world, which probably indicates that we're not civilized at all.

Anyway, as she read who it was from, she spelled "N, S, P, C" out loud to herself, missing off the final C, but there was no doubt who it was from.

Then she declared, gruffly, "Oh, I can't stand them", hastily screwed it up and threw it away. There was really notable venom and anger in the way she did it too.

The fact that my upbringing can be described by the NSPCC's definition of emotional abuse couldn't possibly have anything to do with it? Of course, I could be reading something into this that wasn't there, but I am more inclined to see deliberate malice in what I had, so far, been willing to excuse as being a result of mere ignorance.
"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity." - Hanlon's Razor
This time, I am certain that the converse is true. I once accused her of malice and she retorted that she wouldn't know what that means. Oh, I think she does.

You Are 84% Intuitive

"Your intuition is so spot on it's scary! You can learn a lot about people and situations, simply by listening to your gut. And you've even wondered if you can predict the future at times. Just be sure not to always listen to your intuition ... someday it could be wrong!"

Yes, I know it, but I don't completely trust it, which, as we can see, is probably a healthy way to deal with it, even if my mistrust does stem from self-doubt.

How Intuitive Are You?

Thursday, 8 April 2010

You Persuade People Through Logic

"You feel like facts should be enough to persuade people, and you always focus on making a reasonable argument. You never appeal to emotion - you feel like it's beneath you. You are much more concerned with evidence. Once someone is convinced of the facts, you show them the logical steps to reach your conclusion. You rather have someone totally convinced and persuaded than not, even if it is a lot of work."

This is so true and yet, is clearly where I'm going wrong. I'm not sure my ethics would allow me to learn more weaselling ways now, but I can accept that failure is down to the fact that while my skills in logic are merely "above average", I regularly have to deal with people who have no grasp of it at all.

How Do You Persuade People?

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

You're a Part Time Brainiac

"No doubt about it, you have the potential for big brain power. But potential doesn't get you to genius. It's going to take some work. Like most smart people, you enjoy a good intellectual challenge every now and then. But you tend to shy away from anything difficult, frustrating, or complex. Push yourself to think, learn, and explore more ... even when it feels bad. You have the capacity to solve amazingly difficult problems. You just need to let yourself do it."

But like I was explaining the other day, it isn't that I shy away from anything difficult, frustrating, or complex because I can't be bothered (well, I do as I have issues with mental and physical energy), it's that with fibromyalgia, even if I do try to push myself - no matter how bad it feels - my brain simply overloads and fuses. It's most frustrating that I become incapable of coherent thought.

Otherwise, I'm sure I'd be a full-time brainiac or even a genius.

And probably incredibly dull and boring, so I'll settle for my lot.

Are You a Brainiac?

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Haul Blogging: Thinking Person's T-Shirt

Think - It's Not Illegal Yet

At least I do think, although I reckon it probably will be outlawed in the UK fairly soon, so I just couldn't resist buying this T-shirt, while it's still legal! The bloke in my bank liked it and commented on it when I wore it one day.

Think - It's Not Illegal Yet T-Shirt

Legal Lows


Monday, 5 April 2010

You Are Outgoing

"During your downtime, you like to share time talking with and catching up with friends. You secretly wish that you could be a more knowledgeable person. There are a dozen things you'd like to get your PhD in. You are realistic about the world. You may have challenges that come your way, but you can overcome them. You are inspired by a mismatch of things. You never know what is going to get you thinking, and your mind tends to be racing."

The Cafe Test


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