Monday, September 04, 2017

New Beginnings and a Revived Interest

In June this year I found myself for the first time in my life facing redundancy which although was a shock to deal with emotionally I was not altogether surprised since my role had become quieter and it had become obvious there was less work to go around.  It has been an adjustment dealing with this new world of job hunting and especially the daunting prospect of attending interviews since the last one I had was 27 years ago!  I have been using outplacement consultants provided as part of my redundancy package and have joined a few employment agencies to help me navigate my way.  As a result of my new found status I have found myself far too distracted to concentrate on reading so have picked up my cross stitch needle to help.  The last time I did a cross stitch update was in April 2015 far too long ago so it does feel good to be stitching again.

I have made some progress with my Humphrey Bogart project his face is finally complete as you can see.  I am pleased to say I am nearing the end than the beginning I have two small sections at the bottom to stitch and have begun the first already though I took the photo before.  My Dad is pleased too.

I also decided after having been given several tapestry cushions many years ago as gifts and been saying to myself on many occasions I will learn to do tapestry one of these days so I can make them.  Finally got off my butt and bought a small basic learners tapestry kit and am over half way through.  I have found it pretty easy to pick up after following a very helpful You Tube video:

Link to Video - Beginner's Guide To Tapestry

The design is by Orchidea and is called "My First Embroidery" it is quite a small piece only 6.5" x 8" - I found it slightly difficult to see the difference between the white and very light grey stitches in the colour guide I far prefer working with black and white symbols as you quite often do in cross stitch patterns.  But it does stitch very quickly and I'm already over halfway and it looks quite effective.  It is nice to have a break every now and then from the tiny stitches I have to do for the Humphrey Bogart piece.

Hopefully I'll have some good news on the job front soon.

Monday, January 16, 2017

My 2016 Year In Books

Thought that I would share my year in books through 2016 from GoodReads to my Blog:

My favourite book was Slaughter On A Snowy Morn: A Tale of Murder, Corruption and the Death Penalty Case That Revolutionised The American Courtroom by Colin Evans which was a fascinating true story of injustice and corruption of those who are suppose to uphold the law but broke it due to laziness and personal ambition.  It was a real page turner Colin Evans detailed the characters in such a vivid style and I really enjoyed learning the backstory of each.

Highly recommended.

My least favourite book was A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James - sadly it was the first book I read for the book club I joined this year but it was so hard going it was brutal, violent, deeply unpleasant reading and very hard to follow due to the Jamaican dialect it was largely written in.  Why is it so often that books which win the literary prizes are so inaccessible.

Not recommended.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Remember, No Matter What You're Gonna Be Okay

Anyone who suffers from anxiety will know it is immensely frustrating.  You get frustrated at yourself because it has such a debilitating effect on your life and because others people who don't suffer from it just don't understand.  There are lots of resources out there to help including therapy and self-help books.  But I wanted to recommend Paul Dooley's podcasts (The Anxiety Guru Show) which are available on iTunes and via his website:

Paul is a qualified therapist and runs his own practice in San Diego.  However, he far more importantly knows exactly what anxiety is like as he suffers from it himself so has first hand knowledge of the effects and the different therapies/tools that assist in controlling anxiety.

Paul's podcasts vary in length and cover all aspects of anxiety including how to cope at work, in relationships, socially etc using straightforward language not psychobabble.  Paul's podcasts are about practical solutions and advice.  Paul does occasionally talk about his therapy practice and he does have ebooks for sale on his website but he doesn't force these on you.  Paul's podcasts are about helping others.

He often makes humorous comments and little asides off the mic which have me chuckling.  It helps alleviate the seriousness of the subject but does not in anyway undermine the information he is conveying.  He helps boost your confidence and gives you hope that recovery is possible if you are willing to put the work in.

"Remember no matter what you're gonna be okay."

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Example of How Anxiety Affects Me

So this is me - my tentative Friday afternoon/evening arrangements - having to leave work early to catch a train then a bus to the dentist.  Then as I want to go and see Star Trek: Beyond afterwards locally I have to get a bus back into town, have a bite to eat beforehand and then get a bus home afterwards.  

So a little bit complicated but I am not planning a trip to Mongolia for goodness sake so why am I getting anxious and have butterflies.  I feel ridiculous but I find writing things down - the order of events focuses me a little.  And yes I'm anxious but like Paul Dooley (* says:

"The better you tolerate the unknown the better you deal with anxiety - manage not knowing - roll with it".

"Stay in the moment.  Day by day.  It won't feel so overwhelming.  Eventually it will subside."


UPDATE (9/8/2016 - 07:30)

I realise I get worried about pressure of deadlines so being on time for appointments stresses me out.  Paul Dooley is right it's about control - I don't have control over the train so I worry I will be late (hey this is Southeastern we are talking about!).  But be organised leave yourself plenty of time.

Also I hate telling people in advance what I'm doing in case I either change my mind and bottle or something goes wrong.  But this time I made a point of telling people what I was doing and everything went fine I made the appointments with plenty of time to spare and went to see the movie which was great by the way.

I also went to a march at the weekend through Hythe never done that before it was for a collective protest to Save Princes Parade (see photo), against the lorry park and Otterpool.  I'm really pleased I went in fact very proud of myself.

*Note: Paul Dooley runs a website and a podcast - I will do a separate posting about him.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

New Star Trek Series

I was very excited to hear at the beginning of the year that CBS were to broadcast a new Star Trek series on TV.  Finally Star Trek back where it belongs.  The films are okay but I'm not a fan of the timeline they have chosen to use including the destruction of Vulcan nor recasting the iconic characters from the original series though I have seen them.

However, this news inspired me to watch Star Trek in chronological order so I have started with the Enterprise series and am currently in mid Season 2.  I realise there are whole sections of Star Trek I have missed as I started watching in the Deep Space Nine era which my Dad got me into and then I continued with Voyager which was my favourite.  But I missed the Next Generation series altogether so I have only seen odd clips and it has been many years since I've watched the Original series.

It has been fun watching Enterprise it is far better than I remember it, what I enjoy is seeing the crew using and inventing for the first time many of the iconic elements that make Star Trek what it is today. I also love Porthos, Capt Archer's sweet beagle, and I must also be one of the few people who like the theme song by Russell Watson.

I heard today that the new series will be broadcast here in the UK via Netflix I've put off subscribing to an on demand service before as I have so many shows on DVD and terrestrial TV that I watch already.  But it seems I will have to cave in and sign up.  What a dilemma!

Monday, June 27, 2016

EU Referendum Result

Posting this today* waking up to the result of the EU Referendum the UK having voted to leave the EU. I'm in shock am shaking and have butterflies I just didn't expect it, was so convinced that the Remain would win but thought it would be a close run thing.

Initial reaction by the markets has been inevitably volatile but hope they settle down soon.  It is certainly going to be as a friend put it "an interesting year".

*Note wrote this on Friday, 24 June 2016 day after EU Referendum


Been a few days since the shock out vote, and although expected people's disappointment what is upsetting is the vitriol from so many.  And the calls for a second referendum are puzzling that is not how democracy works you don't keep voting until you get the result you want.

I can say this whole process has ignited my interest in politics so will be keeping a close eye on what happens in the coming months. Already Jeremy Corbyn's leadership is under threat with mass resignations from his cabinet. I know for sure I will NEVER vote Labour while he is leader.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Post CBT Therapy

I did 4 sessions of CBT Therapy before I felt that we were now chewing the cabbages in a sense of going over the same ground in the sessions and that now it was up to me to move forward.  One important point I took with me and i know to be true the more you do something the easier it is each time.

It is like learning any new skill it takes practice.

I have taken some small steps, I joined a book club which takes place at lunchtime at a library near my workplace, I love to read and have been posting my book reviews on GoodReads for the last couple of years.  It is a small group everyone's very friendly and it is fun to hear other people's opinions and if they share the same as your's and if their perspective is different to see the book from varying angles. Generally the group meets for around 40 mins once a month.  If you want to read my book reviews there is a link on the right hand side to my GoodReads page.

I have also been encouraged by a friend and colleague at work to take out a membership to the Culture Seerkers website 

Robert who runs the Group arranges meet ups for various events throughout the year, every month there are coffee mornings, evening meals, days out to cultural events, art galleries, historical houses, walks, etc.  You can go along to a couple of events just to see whether you like it and then the membership is £12 a year and for that you get discounts etc.  

I have been along to two events so far once to visit Charles Dickens House and the second for a treasure hunt around Clerkenwell which was good fun.  Everyone was very friendly many people are regulars afterwards you can congregate at a designated pub.

I'm still a work in progress!