Monday, 28 December 2020

I didn't say no

 Go for a walk

Take deep breaths


Well meaning words from family when I talk of my anxiety  levels.  For someone who hasn't experienced an anxiety attack, words come easy, but it's far from easy.

I have been suffering from anxiety attacks, hopelessness, thoughts of suicide for sometime now, and took the step to seek help more than a year ago, all pre covid.

I was told I was depressed... no shit!  Medication helped numb me, I was comfortably numb for a year and a bit which frightened me even more.  With no money to spare, I had to seek help within our subsidised healthcare system which while adequate isn't up to par where mental health is concerned. It's always a different doctor you speak with, they keep banging on about mindfulness and pushing pills.  Their only concern is that you don't try to kill yourself on their watch. I weaned myself off the anti depressants by March 2020 and then we went into lockdown.

The lockdown was actually the best thing that happened to me.  It meant that we all worked from home and I could avoid the office and the manager that thought shouting, screaming and slamming files on the tables was an effective way to communicate. His bullying tactics of throwing tantrums when he didn't get his way took its toll.  I started losing faith in my own abilities and felt like control of my own life was slipping through my fingers. the constant reminder of getting older and that I was not worth paying what I thought I was worth or to be able to take control of the job that I was hired to do, made me feel really worthless. It didnt help that my last job made me feel just as worthless.

Going back to the office now has been hard, the bullying has escalated.  Instead of being able to relax at home, which has always been my sanctuary, I allowed myself to say yes when an Uncle and Aunt asked to stay for a bit with me ( as I have a spare bedroom)

I wasn't told how long they intended to stay, so when they said 3 - 4 months on the day they arrived, I was a bit shell shocked.

I am not a social person, the constant talking, the invasion of my space has kept me up at night and its only day 4.  The disruption of my set routine has sent me down a spiral.  They want me to cook for them, easier they it isn't!  I have said no but they aren't listening.  or maybe I have not clearly communicated my NO

I wanted to do the right thing for them, to let them share my space but I have been alone too long and the constant pressure to be present with them is slowly and surely giving me anxiety attacks. The noise in my head has increased two fold.

So I have to come clean which is making me even more anxious and ask them to find alternative accommodation, it will put a strain on relationships but I have to do this, for my own mental health.

I wonder how in hell did I end up here, descending into this abyss of fear and anxiety.... Oh wait, it's because  I didn't say no.

packing up a life

 There comes a time in life when you have to make a decision.

I find myself at a junction, turn one way and change my life forever

Turn the other way and things remain the same.

Son no 1 has asked if I would like to go live with them in Canada… for a few months and to see if I like it there and maybe move there permanently.  I am torn. I have one son here and one far away from me.  But I have spent the last 10 years looking after son no 2 and pushing him from the sidelines.  Son no 1 has been away, first in Hawaii, then in Canada since 2007.  Its time  for me to go spend some time with him, but I will miss son no 2.. Just like I miss son no 1 when I am here...

The next question is what to do with the accumulated possessions one acquires living in a home for the last 23 years. This is the first home I built for my children after the divorce. The first home I have paid for with literally blood, sweat and tears.
But with Singapore being so transient, the home I bought will devalue in a few years.. yes the expensive high rise buildings we produced en masse, for the low and middle income to be able to afford to own their own homes will eventually be worth nothing. The Housing Development Board started with the best of intentions, the powers that be lost the plot a bit when they let the prices soar and become unaffordable to the lower income.  
Anyway I digress

Whether I leave for Canada or stay here, I will have to sell my current home and downsize to something manageable.  The thing is whether to rent out my flat for now and get a bit of income or just sell and invest some of the money to give me an income.  
I have 23 years worth of stuff… bowls, candles, telephones ( I have 3 antique dial phones) books, photos, glassware, WTF do I do with the glassware I have collected… some are antiques, like the glassware from SIA of the 1970’s.   My dad’s old beer mugs… sentimental shit I want to keep..
I think I should stop listing the things down, I feel an anxiety attack coming on.

But you get the drift.. I have done it before, starting from scratch after the divorce, this time its happier circumstances, but its still about packing up my life.

Thursday, 8 October 2020

being grateful

Its hard to be grateful when you think the world is conspiring against you. 2020 has been shit for lots I am sure.

But I have things to be grateful for.  I am still employed and with work coming back gradually, I am  back at work with no cuts to my salary in October.

I have a roof over my head, I have savings which  I managed to add to, even with pay cuts and tightening of the belt.

Yes I have had a shit September with having my 4 wisdom teeth out and complications with one side and managed to get the dreaded dry socket and gum infection which I still have and am on the same steroids as Trump is on, Dexamethasone, which does make one a bit crazy.. 

But I also had insurance to cover 80% of the dental costs so that's a silver lining.

I recently connected with an old school friend which drove home how lucky I am. I haven't met up with her for over 40 years, just said a few words on FB as one does these days.  It was time for a meet up.  J married late and had 2 sons.  her second son was born with complications, cerebral palsy, blind in one eye being just 2 of the main things and he required constant care.  She quit her good paying job in the bank and looked after him for 16 years.  He passed away 8 years ago.  Caregiving is a tough job, you lose yourself, you lose relationships with your nearest and dearest like her husband who felt neglected and instead of taking up some of the duties, left her to it.  2 years ago her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, and she is back to being the primary caregiver again.

She has spent the better half of her years caring for everyone else yet she is  bubbly, caring, sweet, still has her faith in God and ready to face the world and her lot.  She is such an inspiration to me.  Telling her about my shit marriage was peanuts compared to what she has been through. We all have options, she could have walked away from her husband years ago but she knew her sons needed him around.  She chose to stay and take on the caregiving again.

So I will try to stop moaning about my life because I have got it good, I will be grateful for small and big.  Because looking at my life, I am grateful.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

review of kitchen gadgets we didn't know we needed

I really like window shopping, especially in the home section of department stores.
I can spend all day there, looking at all the cookware, bakeware, accessories everything they have in that Aladdin's cave of kitchen treasures.

I have missed my wandering around a store, so I got online to get my fix of staring and lusting after Kitchen ware.  It gave me an idea for a blog piece...this head of mine needed a release as well..
Why not do a review of all the gadgets and accessories we never thought we needed!

Not one but two! egg boiling tongs! If you cant read the description - you use these tongs and leave them in the water when boiling eggs, and you can use the same tongs to take the eggs out.  How brilliant.. one wonders if $31 is a decent price to pay and would I miss this lovely gadget... or I could use a spoon to take the eggs out, and let them boil away on their own... hmmm

A Yolk Catcher... $28 for something to catch a yolk.  I guess if you had no cooking experience and didnt know how to break eggs, this would be useful.. No really I can see the use...... well not really..
A tool to cut avocados.... i know who the tool really is

A parmesan grater.... seriously one grater just for the hard cheese.. really.. REALLY.. cant just use the other grater you have.. have to get one grater just for the parmesan cheese... REALLY

Everyone has a an empty jam jar at home, everyone.  but I guess there will be people out there who would pay for a glorified jar to shake your dressing in...and no the measurements on the jar do not make a bloody  difference

a chopper for fruit and vegetables... what ever happened to a knife and and a chopping board. whisk insert whisks cream and salad dressings... No you still dont need this. Just no.

Vegetable ricer... my head hurts..
another little bit of fluff to put in the back of the cupboard after using it once.
Use your damn food processor like everyone else..

shopping reviews done....
I wonder if the store will find these reviews helpful for their customers.....

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

its all going to pot

I like routines

I like having things planned out and having a schedule for the day

We started the work from home thing on the 20th of March.... one would think that it would be easy for me, this work from home thing as I only work a 3 day week.  what I did on the 4 days of the week varied from errands, doing stuff for mum, visiting mum, movies, sometimes drinks with friends (although drinks with friends seemed to have slowed down alot), but you get the drift, I was out and about.

I also hurt my back around the same time I started working from home, which hampered my movements quite drastically.  I stopped doing things, I stopped going for my 5k walks.  and I started eating all the wrong things again.

Before all this happened I had put myself on a low fodmap diet, eating foods that would not give me bloating and gas and It was working!  Then I hurt my back and everything went to pot.

I made cookies with butter and I KNOW dairy fucks me up... I made a cheese bake, I ate and ate...

I am now a very pale and round version of me.. the picture in the last post of me was taken in december 2019.  my face now is more round and pink! 

I have stopped showering in the morning, I sit in my pyjamas all day until the late evening when I shower and change into another set of pyjamas. I sit on the sofa and get through what little work there is to do, the rest of the time its watching TV or scrolling through social media to find out the latest on Covid-19.  I still get up to do laundry and cook simple meals for myself but that isnt enough to keep me occupied.

I need projects to keep me occupied.  I know there are things to do around the house but my back is limiting my actions and I dont want to hurt my back again as my chiropractor is considered non essential and has had to shut down for the month.

sigh.. its all going to pot!  Enjoy Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard saying it - Its all gone to pot

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

the mystery of the disappearing woman

One morning on the way to work, I actually got a seat on the train.. this was way before any social distancing became the norm

Getting a seat on a crowded train at peak hour is like finding the pot of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow.
As I moved to the seat, usually the end one which is the seat for the old, pregnant or people with kids, a youngish looking man also headed to the seat but when he saw me he backed off and let me have the seat.
I don’t know how I feel about that… on one hand I am delighted that the youngish man let a woman have the seat but then I also questioned if I was looking my age? Vanity hit me like a ton of bricks!

thats me.. with my silver streaks
I stopped colouring my hair after my older son got married in Aug 2016, while the grey is not so pronounced, it’s there, I have flecks of silver hair running through my mane.

I struggle with knowing I am getting old.  The men I used to look at and ogle are now older, like me,  and there are a lot of men my age that have not aged well… so I look at the younger men for my fix of a visual feast, an older woman looking and appreciating young virile men might be construed as distasteful.
Older men tend to date much younger women, and older women are still unsure about dating younger men as sexism and ageism is more pronounced towards the older women.  While I want to look my age and be proud of the life I have lived, 
I fear I will be pushed aside and made to feel that my life experiences are not worth the time or trouble… 
it’s not just in the dating world, it’s at work, in public, and yes even with family.  
The odds of me getting paid for my experience and worth or getting a date with a decent man my own age is pretty limited. I still will not bow to pressure and colour my hair though.

With the odds stacked against us, no wonder so many of us are diagnosed with anxiety, depression and suicide rates are up amongst the older generation. (see here for an article in 2018)

I already am a minority in my own country, and a minority within a minority (north Indian Sikh within the Indian diaspora in Singapore), now with ageism and sexism thrown into the equation, I guess my odds just got a whole lot worse.  Am I  disappearing and becoming invisible....

circuit breaker mode

Yep Circuit breaker... thats what the powers that be have called this.. this lockdown, this order to stay home

from today only essential services are allowed to be open.  markets, supermarkets, hairdressers, barbers, banks, petrol stations, restaurants and food centres for delivery only.

and in Singapore we also have the Qing Ming festival, which is a chinese festival  -one I am not too sure about so I wont comment on that but this is what Wiki says - The Qing Ming Festival

I do know that this festival has joss paper burning as one part of it and even with this 'shutdown' Singapore is experiencing, this festival is still ongoing and people are doing their burning in designated areas in housing estates.

This morning i heard a commotion outside my kitchen window, i live 13 floors up in the air but I still heard this man shouting.  He didnt seem very happy, he seemed to be with his family, burning Joss paper.  He also was tossing paper boxes into the fire. 

My chiropractor is considered non essential just like physiotherapists  and due to the close contact a chiropractor has with the patient, i can understand why this would be considered a little dangerous, but non essential?

the Qing Ming festival is considered essential, fine to go ahead  and set up areas where people will come together to burn joss paper but people like me who depend on chiropractors to be able to function normally cant access that service. 

so yes I am a little bitter about a festival about praying to dead ancestors is deemed essential

Friday, 13 March 2020

fuck this covid 19 virus

So this Covid 19 thing is affecting us in more ways than thought possible,
with the cancellation of events and work in the office grinding to a halt, the boss will be implementing pay cuts and less days in the office.

I already work a 3 day week and am on a very small wage compared to 4 years ago...i am stressed beyond words 
I have options though
I could rent out a room in my flat as I have 2 spare bedrooms, and I did put up some ads on the free sites.  I also got a nice young man come see the flat and when he was looking at the space i could feel myself start to panic.

Today the panic is really setting in
I dont know if I can share my space with a stranger.  My home is my haven from the big bad world, I only have shared my home with the people I love.  I did let one of the sons friends have a room for about 5 months and I was fine with that as my son was around and i knew there was an end date to him being there. The thought of having someone around scares me, not because I am afraid, it feels like an invasion of my privacy and personal space.  I am not good with strangers, I tend to hide when confronted with someone I am unsure about, that would mean  the one place I feel secure (my home) would not be secure anymore.

The other option is to cut things down to a bare minimum, cut cable TV, I still have netflix (which the son is paying for) and amazon Prime and I have 5 books I havent read..
stop unnecessary shopping for clothes. shop at the wet market for food. there are ways to cut costs.

third option - rent out my flat and go live with son in Canada...

so I have options, I just have to make a decision 

Sunday, 9 February 2020

When shit hits the fan

Its getting a bit scary with this coronavirus infections in Singapore.

Recently the powers that be moved up the response to the outbreak to Orange - which means that we have to be more alert, there are local infections and we need to be more vigilant (see here for the article from our main papers)

We have had this alert before in 2009 when the H1N1 virus was all over the place.

This time though there was mass panic in Singapore.  We had 4.98 million people in 2009, we now have 5.7 close to 6 million.  thats a million or more people crowded on this tiny red dot, which I feel has been a factor that has brought the ugly Singaporean to the surface. People went to supermarkets and started clearing shelves of toilet paper, rice, noodles and whatever else they thought necessary to hoard in times of emergency.  thing is, its not an emergency.

I was at my local supermarket to do my usual Saturday weekly shop, and was gobsmacked at the way people were buying things.  the lines for the checkout stretched to the back of the supermarket, so trying to manoeuvre around the place was difficult with people not moving out of the way, blocking shelves, and generally being a pain in the ass.  The single basked self checkout lane had people with 2 or more baskets which pissed me off even more. They have been shamed on social media as well but they justify their actions as looking after their families in times of troubles......

I have always been in favour of immigrants, I feel that its fine if you want to move here and make a better life for your family but I understand also that when immigrants move to a new country they should learn about the local way of life.  I have seen it in the UK and Australia and can understand the frustration of locals when they see their way of life changing.  No one likes change and no one likes their lives being disrupted.  Why am I talking about immigrants?

Yesterday in the supermarket amid the chaos of people buying and hoarding stuff it became apparent that the ones doing half of the hoarding and buying were the immigrants from China. and to my horror, I felt resentment, anger and wished they would just bloody learn to integrate or go home.
The other half were local Singaporeans who were mainly Chinese.  the Kiasu amongst us (Kiasu explained) were at it again.  Singaporean Kiasuness is legendary, and those that follow the kiasu way of life make things difficult for the rest of us.
Does this make me racist...  I think it does.  am I ashamed?  Yes I am.  How do I change that feeling in me of racism...  I don't know,  as all my life I have had to deal with people look at me and treat me differently, treat me like the odd one out, which should not make me a racist as I have had racism directed at me..

Even in my office, which is majority Chinese,  in a meeting with me there, they will speak in mandarin, totally ignoring the fact that  I dont speak the language
I should have learnt the language you say....maybe, but the stubborn person I am, I think, its not China, speak English! But thats for another post, lets deal with this feeling I have first about when the going gets tough...

People will panic in situations, the ugly side will surface.  Singaporeans have shown that ugly side of their nature.  I want to believe that when the shit hits the fan I can be one of those that does not let racism, intolerance and kiasuism get the better of me.
So far I have let racism seep into my being, I can find a dozen reasons why to justify my feelings, but I wont.. as that will just make my anger and resentment worse.

Stay calm and carry on you say?  I say, learn to live and learn and learn to be tolerant of the chaos and breathe.....because the shit has NOT hit the fan yet...

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

a Flexitarian life

I grew up in a household where meat was not on the table at every meal.
I thought that was how everyone ate
I thought that everyone sometimes just ate a vegetarian meal

Obviously I was wrong.... as they actually came up with a word for it in the nineties... Flexitarian , although Flexitarian seems to be eating mostly vegetarian with occasionally having meat.  Seems to be a mix of the words flexible and vegetarian?  

I am Punjabi, my forefathers came from the north of India and we were mostly landowners and we tilled the farm and ate what the farm gave us.

That has translated down the generations, probably till me and my sisters... that we ate mostly dhal, veg and chapatis.  My younger sister didnt quite like meat, she was happy with curry and rice and my brother well he didnt quite embrace the vegetarian lifestyle.

We would go to  India most school holidays, to visit family, on the fam and enjoy the fresh vegetables that my aunt grew in their backyard.  No pesticides, no crap just fresh veg.  Meal times were lots of Veg, paneer, Dhal cooked on an open fire, and chapatis.  It was delicious.

I am 57 (I keep saying that to remember that I am THAT old) and I have eaten a flexitarian diet all my bloody life... its not a new fad people its been a way of life for many of us.

So its like, stop putting labels on what we do and how we eat.  stop being so rigid with ourselves.  yes a full meat diet isnt good, eating too much meat is bad for us and i think going totally Vegan isnt that good either.  
Be a flexitarian .... and not just with food, the key word is flexible and should be our motto in life too.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

and the results are....

Years ago when I spoke to our family doctor on getting tested for celiac or gluten intolerance, he advised me to not take the test as they usually come up inconclusive.
He advised me to follow what suited me, if i found I bloated after eating certain foods, just eliminate them from my diet.

I followed his advice and it worked until recently.  the last few months I have had bloating, gas, bad tummy after eating everything, I could not tell if it was the gluten , starch or even my lactose free milk, and I was getting fed up paying for expensive gluten free alternatives.

image by Demystifying Medicine
Which is why I ended up in the hospital to get tested for gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

Well I have my results, its inconclusive....
they dont want to rule out celiac, they dont want to rule out gluten intolerance yet.  I have to do my scope in April before we know more.
the doctor did say I need to see what my triggers are, I can eat a bit of gluten to see what triggers my reactions.  So I am starting today with bread..

From tomorrow (I already had cereal for breakfast, GF of course) I will stop with all dairy and have bread for one meal, whether its breakfast or a sandwich for lunch.  Each week I will add or eliminate a certain type of gluten and stay away from dairy as much as i can.

I have a couple of months before I do my scope and perhaps by then I will have a better idea of what is wrong and hopefully with learning what my triggers are, I wont have to wander around looking like a very pregnant old(er) woman.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

the labyrinth of medical appointments and lab results

As one ages, one has to commence the endless joys of medical appointments to suss out the issues relating to cholesterol, diabetes, stomach issues... the list is endless

Warning to all you youngsters out there
eat right from the beginning and don't think it gets better as you age.. it's downhill  after 45


I have always thought that I was intolerant to gluten so I finally went to get tested as my stomach issues were just getting worse.
I had my blood test done on the 17th of December and to date I had not heard back from the hospital where I did my tests. I do have access to the tests as we have an app where all your medical records are and I can see them I just don't understand them.

So I called the clinic where I had my tests done today to find out what was going on..

Me:  Good Morning is this Clinic A (it really is called Clinic A)

Clinic A:  Yes Good Morning, How can I help

Me:  I went in to see Dr .... on the 17th of Dec and I was supposed to get a call back from your clinic on my date for a scope, can I check if a scope has been scheduled?

further along in the conversation

Clinic A:  We only did the blood test, you have to call The Endopace clinic to get your scope date, and someone is supposed to call you from there to council you on your blood test results.

Council me on my blood test results.... that was scary!

so I called the Endoscopy clinic
repeating what i said to clinic A -  I went in to see Dr .... on the 17th of Dec and I was supposed to get a call back from your clinic on my date for a scope, can I check if a scope has been scheduled?

She confirms my name etc and then says

Endoscopy C:  Oh yah, its scheduled for April 6th

Me:  So why hasn't someone called me or sent me a text to inform me of this

Endoscopy C: we would be sending a text 1 week before the scope

Me:  really?  I was told I was going to be informed 2 weeks after my visit to the doctor, do you not think we need to plan our lives a little?

Endoscopy C: oh er sorry anyway ( and she launches into what I must do before the scope)

Me:  what about my blood test results

Endoscopy C: Oh that you have to call Clinic A...

So I call Clinic A again

Me, quite irritated now: Can I know if I will have someone talk to me about my blood test results?

Clinic A:  Sorry ma'am, that the Dr will discuss with you after your scope

(no mention of the counselling call i was supposed to receive and I was too irritated to ask)

Me, wanting to hit someone by now:  So you expect me to wait till April to find out what is wrong with me?

Clinic A: err I can expedite your request

Me wondering who   I can strangle by now:  Really, yes please expedite this like I need a call back by today or tomorrow!

Clinic A : yes ma'am like I said I will expedite this

No I didn't say that to him... I had already hung up by then

so I still don't know whats wrong with me, I still don't know if I am indeed celiac or whether there is something worse happening to me..

I will wait till end of tomorrow and if I haven't heard from the hospital I will be calling them back.....

Sunday, 3 November 2019

joys of living alone part 1

I am afraid of living alone.....

Not for the obvious reasons but because when I am alone i have no one watching what  I eat..
or rather I feel ashamed enough not to be a pig when I know someone else lives with me and knows what  I am eating.

Now that I am alone, I can eat what ever I want and no one can call me out on it.. which sort of is like if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around does it make a sound... 
If I eat 3 bowls of ice cream for dinner and no one sees me, did i really eat it??

But my tummy knows what I did.  When I sit on the toilet groaning, I know what I did

I am a stress eater.  I eat when I am sad and stressed and crave  the warmth and comfort that food gives me and I am a person of extremes, black or white never grey and that is exactly how I eat.. either I am so good and disciplined and on the opposite end I eat like there is no tomorrow.

at my age ( I turned 57 recently... What!! 57! bloody hell) I need to be more aware of what I put in my mouth as eating like a teenager just doesn't quite cut it when one is a rapidly aging hippie wannabe...

so while my adventure of living alone commences, I must remember that I now have to take care of myself

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

I am a slow learner

I  finally am rid of A.  That was a long time coming. 

I have written about A for so long, always saying finally its done, then going back to him. My last post on ending it was September 2018... and yes I went back to him...
But I think I need to kick myself a few times in the head just to make sure I dont go back to the sorry situation I was in.

It has been a vicious cycle of anger, pain, joy, euphoria and then pain and tears all over again.  I made compromises because he ticked boxes in me I liked, I hid behind his not wanting a relationship so I didn’t have to go out and make an effort to find someone who actually did. 
Its been 10 years of on and off (mostly off he says) and I chased a few good men away because A would tell me he maybe one day would want a relationship, usually when he realized I was serious about letting him go to find someone more emotionally available.  

So I ended up just hanging around A,  hoping and wishing and as Jack Johnson says in his song Sitting, waiting, wishing… loving somebody don’t make them love you…..
No I cant always be waiting, waiting on you

I cant always be playing, playing your fool

I am tired and fed up and  I am sure anyone who has read my blog is also tired and fed up of listening to me go on about A.  They must be thinking what is wrong with this woman, is she really that clueless....

I need to move on, its time for me to learn to be open, let someone in, go back on Tinder, be more social.. sitting at home isn’t going to let me meet anyone..

I need to learn to flirt again.  Learn to love again.

The future is me

Son no 2 finally moved out.

He got married at the end of August and him and the lovely wife bought a flat, which needed some work done before they could move in.
He officially moved out (when his bed moved out) 2 weeks ago but his room is still half full of his things.  I am reluctant to nag him about getting all the stuff out as he is working full time, and most weekends too and is trying to his new place together so I don’t want to add extra pressure… but its driving me crazy.

My place is now full of black bags of old clothes, bags of old CD’s, books and that’s just what my living room looks like.  His old room is still full of more of his old clothes, furniture and I don’t know what else.
My home is in a bit of turmoil and so is my head and heart.

I miss him, even with his mess but I am also feeling free…. Like its all my time (lets ignore my mother for now).  I have my space, my time and I can actually walk around in my underwear and no one is going to pop out of a room and get scared silly at that sight!
I can even cook for myself all of my favourite vegetables and all the things he didn’t like. 

It is a bit lonely though and I am sad but its been ages since I did anything for me first and I am slowly relaxing into making me a priority.  I think I like that.
The future is about me now.