Saturday, 5 January 2013

Happy New Year!!

Hello and Happy New Year!!

I've really missed blogging over the past few months. There have been lots of things I've wanted to write about, but I just never seemed to have the time, or I wasn't in the right frame of mind, I'm sure you know how it is. Now I can hardly remember what those things were, so I might as well just start afresh.

First though, I'm just going to have a little recap on my last couple of posts (going back to September). So far, I haven't managed to go back to the Craft Club, and I'm not sure that I will. I did enjoy it, but it's a bit of a trek to get there and when it's only once a month, I don't know if it's worth it. I was going to go in October but I was full of cold, then I think Chris was borrowing my car in November (because he 'broke' his whilst tinkering under the bonnet) and then in December, I had something very important happening at work the next day (more on that in a minute), so I didn't go to the craft club because it means getting home quite late and I wanted an early night. So by the time I'd missed those three months, I decided that maybe my heart's not in it. I just wish there was something similar a lot closer to home...

The other thing I'd started back in September was a low-carb diet. I stuck to it really well at first, and lost almost a stone. Then I kind of fell off the wagon for a couple of weeks, although I didn't put all the weight back on. Chris had been doing something called 'intermittent fasting' for a few weeks, and he was steadily losing weight on that, so I decided to try it too, along with still trying to reduce my carbs. Basically, for two days a week (we do Mondays and Thursdays) we don't eat anything all day, but we can have unlimited drinks (and I still have sugar in my tea). The rest of the time you just eat normally, so it's not really a diet where anything is banned. (Obviously I'm trying to avoid carbs, but that's a seperate thing just for me). The last time I got weighed was about a week before Christmas and overall I'd lost about a stone and a half. Obviously Christmas is not a good time of year to be trying to lose weight, and I wasn't going to deprive myself of all the lovely food and chocolates, so I haven't stuck to it too well, and I had a break from the fasting, although I've started that again now. I still haven't been weighed yet, but I'm hoping that I managed to avoid putting much weight back on over the holidays. The trick with the fasting is to not use it as an excuse to 'pig out' on the days in between. I went through a phase of 'treating myself' to two or three bars of chocolate a day, because I'd 'been good' and not eaten anything the day before. That isn't really the way to do it though. You can eat whatever you want on your in between days, but it's like with anything else, just keep it in moderation and still try and eat healthy meals. As well as helping you lose weight, there are apparently lots of other health benefits to intermittent fasting, but I'll let you google them if you're interested in finding out!

The biggest thing that happened towards the end of last year was of course my mum moving house. I'm pleased to say that she's settled in really well, and seems very happy there. She's been a woman on a mission and has had the whole place redecorated, new carpets, fitted wardrobes, new gas fire, garden tidied up etc. It looks really lovely and cosy now. Possibly one of the reasons I've been quite busy over the last few months is because I've spent a lot of time there, helping her get things sorted, or going shopping to DIY stores and carpet shops. But I'm glad that she's settled in so well.

So! January 2013! Last year I wrote out some resolutions, but I haven't done any this year - not yet anyway. I'm not going to go over them all here, but I'd say it was about 50/50. I seem to stick to them for the first half of the year, and then gradually forget about them! I've been thinking about this year though, and what I want to do/achieve. Obviously I want to get back into blogging, and taking photos too. I've decided to get a compact digital camera - Chris has said he'll buy me one for my birthday, which is later this month. I love my SLR, but it's too big and bulky to carry around in my handbag, for instance. I got a new phone a couple of months ago (a Samsung Galaxy S3) which has got a good camera on it, but it's still not the same as using a neat little compact. So if you have any recommendations for a camera, I'd love to hear them! At the moment I think I'm leaning towards a Canon IXUS, but I really need to read some reviews and make a decision so that I can let Chris know.

My mum got me a little pocket diary for Christmas. I used to write a diary when I was younger, but I haven't done for several years, and when people have bought me pocket diaries in the past, they tend to remain unused. However, I've decided to try and start as I mean to go on, and I'm going to make use of this one. I want to try and take a photo every day - either of something that makes me smile, something funny, something cute (there will probably be lots of photos of the cats!), anything really. I'm going to write in the diary each day what the photo is, because if I don't I'll forget when I took it, and maybe even why! I also thought it might be nice to try and write about something that I'm grateful for each day, or as often as possible. I know there are similar things like this going around on other blogs, such as the Project365 and 52 Weeks Of Happy. I don't think I want to commit to one of those, but, inspired by them, I thought I'd try and do my own version.

So I've only got four days to show for it so far, and a couple of them have two photos, rather than just one, but here goes:

1st Jan
The sun was reflecting on something, the edge of a mirror I think, and made a lovely little rainbow appear on the bathroom door

1st Jan
 My mum came to us for dinner on New Year's Day (we went to her on Xmas Day). Mischief loves having visitors because he gets lots of attention (while Millie hides under the duvet upstairs). My mum picked him up for a cuddle, but she hates having her photo taken, so I intentionally focussed on him instead.

2nd Jan

Millie was just sitting on the bed, looking very prim and proper, and I couldn't resist taking a photo! Also, todays 'gratitude' moment was that, as I walked through town this morning on my way to work, a blackbird was singing it's little heart out somewhere! It was still dark, so I couldn't see it, but it's song was so cheerful and it made me smile.

3rd Jan

3rd Jan
I still haven't finished my ripple blanket, and I needed to buy some more yarn to be able to do so (to be fair, I probably didn't need to buy that much!), and this bag of gorgeousness arrived on the 3rd! (I may have bought a few 'new' colours too).

4th Jan
The home straight! That second row of turquoise that I've nearly finished is the last row of the ripple! I've finished on the same colour I started with, and my next task is the border. I will be using the advice of Heather and Lucy on how to make my ripple edges straight, and then deciding which colours to use, and how many times I'm going to go around before it's completely finished! I've really enjoyed making this blanket, especially after I started it all again at a more manageable size, but it'll be nice to finish it and get on with something else. I've made one or two small projects over the past few months, as a break from the ripple. I made myself a pair of fingerless gloves to wear at work because our office was so cold! I attempted to crochet a poppy for Remembrance Day, and the other night I crocheted a dishcloth whilst watching The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King!

So that's as far as I've got so far. I need to find something to take a photo of today. Like I said, if I can't think of anything else, there's always the cats!

Just a couple of 'admin' messages before I go. Firstly, I've added a 'Books I've Read' page at the top there. I kept a record of the books I read last year, and I'm going to try and do it again this year. I might have a go at reviewing them, but I'm not very good at that, so I'll see. I've got a mountain of books to read, so I really need to try and get through more this year. I just wish I could read and crochet at the same time!

Secondly, I had a slight 'senior moment' a few days ago. I received some email notifications that people had commented on my previous post, but I couldn't understand why the comments weren't showing up on the blog. I assumed it was a fault with Blogger. I've also been getting loads of spam comments, and when one of those also arrived in my inbox, it suddenly dawned on me that I'd set up comment moderation a while ago. So the nice comments that I'd received weren't appearing because I hadn't clicked 'publish'!! Doh! Silly me! Oh well, I think I'll remember that in future now!

Oh, I've just remembered, I said I was going to tell you about the important thing that happened at the beginning of December at work. Briefly, I work in a hospital and my job involves working closely with clinicians. Our manager is very keen for us to build on this, and she managed to arrange for us to actually go into the operating theatre to watch a procedure. It isn't compulsory, just for those who are interested. I jumped at the chance, and I was lucky enough to be able to watch a patient undergo a coronary artery bypass and an aortic valve replacement. I had to wear the theatre blues, cover my hair and wear a mask, and I stood at the 'head' end of the bed, with the anaesthetists, while the surgery was performed right in front of me. I watched them open the patient's chest, and I could see the heart beating - I could've reached over and touched it, although I think I might've got into a bit of trouble for that! They put the patient on bypass and stopped the heart, and the surgeon then anastamosed the artery, and implanted the artificial heart valve. Slowly they took the patient off the bypass machine and restarted the heart, and then closed the chest. It lasted about 5 hours, but it seemed to go really quickly - there was a clock on the wall behind me but I never looked at it once, I was completely engrossed in the operation. I had my aortic valve replaced 6 years ago, so to be able to see the same procedure taking place on someone else was so interesting to me, on a personal as well as a professional level, and such a privilege. Ever since I started working in my current job, myself and my colleagues have always said we'd love to watch an operation, but we never thought it would happen, so I was so excited to finally get a chance to do it. I'm due to go into the labs in a couple of months to watch a non-invasive procedure, so I'm looking forwards to that too. Oh and happily, the above patient made an excellent recovery and went home a few days later.

Anyway, I think that's all for now. I'm going to have a bite to eat, and then I've got a ripple to straighten!!

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