Tag Archives: dog

Baby days and doggy welcomes



The dog has definitely missed us the most on our brief overnight away. With three ‘boys’ at home of almost 23, 18 and 16, I guess that is inevitable.
I find myself running through the usual mum stuff before we go, who will be where and when, who to ring if there are any problems, instructions about feeding the dog. Watching six eyes glazing over simultaneously is a little off putting but I’m a ninja mum and I just carry on.
Arriving home tonight, just a little over 24 hours on the house is still standing. Everyone. Seems a little grumpy, I’m not sure if this is normal or if I’m missing something. The dog is extra enthusiastic and licky and will now follow me even more closely tomorrow in case I have another sneaky escape plan.
Having been to welcome a new baby to the missus’ family this weekend its a reminder of baby days. As nephew/uncle (13) said today, “I can’t believe someting so small comes from someone like us and then we grow up to have something as small as him”. Yep, dude. You said it.

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Talking to me


Talking to me is something I do quite a lot. Mostly I try to do it in my head but sometimes, like tonight after work when I was walking the dog, I forget and have those conversations out loud. So there is this middle-aged round woman in a green T-shirt with a beetroot stain on it from lunchtime, wandering around the field and talking to herself. The dog meanwhile is off investigating interesting sniffing material and getting a sneaky chew of the long grass. Still, it means people leave me alone to my meanderings which is just what I need.

I have had an odd sort of day today. I was feeling quite anxious this morning, which is something I have had much less of the last few months,. It’s always a bit of a shock when it resurfaces. Before I experienced being really ill with anxiety I never understood quite how horrible and gut wrenching it is. For me that’s where I feel it first, in my stomach. other people experience it as headaches or a tight feeling in the chest but for me its a low gnawing sensation. I couldn’t really put my finger on what it was about except I’d got a pretty busy work day with one thing after another and all of them being quite intense. I had to have a talk with me about that. It went something like this” It’s ok you can do it”, and “take it one bit at a time, if it gets too bad we can take another look at it”. I know how much progress I’ve made because I didn’t end up crying, panicking and not being able to function and I did get through the day and enjoy my job which is how I like it.

It’s days like this when I’m glad of routines. I had a great breakfast – my green shake from yesterday plus some porridge. I made my lunch and took a fork with me so I could eat it in the car between meetings. I took a bottle of water and my fish oil caps that I’m trying to remember to take every day. Just those little self-care things that make me feel anchored and stop me lurching for a diet coke and a chocolate bar.

When I got home, after a successful day, I felt a bit teary and emotional. What was that all about? I think it was a mixture of relief and a letting go of the tension. So I had a plan. Firstly take the dog for a walk. We have a routine walk that he knows as well as I do, so its a no brainer, change my shoes, get doggy bags and lead and get out in the evening sunshine. Whilst we were out I was thinking and talking to myself about what to eat when I got back. There is just me for an hour or two. Missus has gone out for tea with friends, two sons are away for the week with their dad and one son is permanently attached to his girlfriend at the moment. So my conversation was a lot about what I could be bothered to cook and what was good for me! I’ve settled on vegetarian spicy  bean burgers with salad from the garden, tomatoes and beetroot and wholemeal pittas. The great thing with the bean burgers is that they sort of mush nicely with a fork when they are cooked and squeeze into a pitta with lots of sald to make a yummy spicy fresh mouthful

This is a lesson in why planning what you are eating before you are starving is important! I’m pretty sure ive made too much and will get stuffed half way through. but I can talk to myself about it and I know I’ll make sense.

PS: In case you wondered,  I had one and a half burgers and the same of pitta, but I ate all the salad and got another nice purple blob on my T-shirt form the beetroot.     


Wanted: One big fat creamcake


Generally speaking there are only two things that make me want to have a big fat cream cake, one is that I haven’t had enough of the right sort of food over the last day or so, and the other is emotional satisfaction/comfort eating. I am pretty good at knowing when the first is true and keeping a journal can really help there. Hmm what went wrong? Oh yeah, skipped lunch or had it late, didn’t eat enough protein/brown things/veggies. It all stacks up nicely.

But the emotional stuff. Woo. That’s a doozy.

So today I had some bad news. Well not really bad, but sort of disappointing/sad/leaves me with a whole lot of other questions to ask/things to sort out/ sort of news. And pretty much straight away I started thinking I could really eat a great big fat cake with cream and strawberries on the top.

Now the really good thing about today is that I can’t use the car so that stopped me from heading straight into self destruct/unconscious/I am having it now behaviour.

But I don’t think I would’ve gone there anyway. I really like the fact that as long as I’m sticking to this way of eating that works ie. no sugar, enough protein, complex carbs and plenty of veggies my ability to resist those cravings is pretty good. So a solid lunch of leftover chicken, new potatoes and salad and a snack this afternoon of walnuts and an apple and I’m ok.

But it interests me. A lot. I have spent a lot of my life doing emotional eating. It seemed like a good mechanism for dealing with uncomfortable feelings. Feel=eat=feel less then Feel fat=low self esteem=low mood=feel bad=eat=feel less. You know the cycle maybe. Not doing sugar lightens things up. I got clearer. Sometimes that is uncomfortable but mostly its ok. Feelings don’t kill you. They pass. And guess what? Feelings feel a lot worse when they are stuffed and numbed and distorted by sugar.

Even better for a walk with the dog. We saw swallows swooping up and down around us, their bluey-purple backs catching the sunlight. Too fast to catch with the camera but I took one or two of them where you can just make out their swooping shape if you look closely ( take your specs off/put them on).   

Writing for life


Dear Blog,

I have no idea what makes people like what I write some days and not so much others. I suppose, like everything, there are multiple reasons but it certainly makes me curious. I find my best writing is usually those days when I have an idea and it ends up being quite ‘stream of consciousness’ stuff. Maybe that vibe comes through. Having “site stats” from WordPress means that I can see how many people visited my blog each day and today was my best day so far. And that was before i posted.

Of course being in the UK means that we are on a different timescale to a lot of bloggers/potential readers out there so sometimes that means people catch up on me the next day.

The things I like writing about most are: the journey with my mum through old age and towards what will come, the process and feelings around getting fit and losing weight and the recovery from depression and illness and the sort of daily ‘in my head’ meanderings that reflect on life and living it. Writing about mum is therapeutic for me, allows me to share some of the joy, sorrow and laughter in this part of our lifetime contract with each other. I hope to write about her always with respect. But the events and experiences we are living may shine a little light somewhere for someone else going through or thinking about dementia and care and these changes. That matters.

I don’t write too much about the other most important people in my life, my 4 nearly all grown up kids and my missus. I reckon everyone deserves their privacy and apart from the occasional reference or moment of pride that I just have to shout about I don’t think any of then would thank me for blogging about them. Or putting their photos up. The dog is a different matter, I reckon he’s fair game. And everyone likes a dog story, right?

I started this daily blogging in March, so I am now nearly 4 months in. From being a little girl I have loved words. I loved to read and remember writing stories as soon as I could write. Through primary and high schools I wrote. Teenage poetry, wordy and angst-ridden Im sure. I always imagined I would go on and study English and then maybe have a career in writing or journalism. And then I got sidetracked into Sociology. I loved it. It transformed me and filled me with another sort of passion. And I don’t regret for a moment where it has taken me. But along the way, apart from brief periods of conscious creativity the writing got lost along the way. And I forgot. Writing became about reports and essays. Emails and Facebook. Until now. This year is about recovery. I have a journal that I started last October. I wrote on the inside cover “The Journey Back”. I meant back to health, back to sugar-free living, back to life. And writing has become a part of that. Making a daily committment to be here, to just show up and get those words on paper. To share what I think and who I am. And I love it.

The thinking, the processing, the way the words race and tumble over each other to come out on the screen.Googling, researching and taking photos to fit. The weekly photo challenge adds another dimension of fun and spark of creativity with the visual image. I rediscover why I love playing with colour and seeing the world through a lens can be illuminating.

Showing up every day isn’t easy but I can’t bear to miss a day. I have a dream to write every day for a year. I am honing my muscles here. I want to do more. I want to write. I want to write a book, see those words on paper. Whew! I am sticking my neck out and stating my claim on the Universe. I am going to put in the work. Watch this space.

Love Julia

Thank you



Thank you for the world so sweet

Thank you for the food we eat

Thank you for the birds that sing

Thank you God for everything.


Remember when everything was that simple?

Yesterday I read something a friend had written in a newsletter and it made me sit up and think: Radiant Recovery newsletter – Jenny’s story ( Kathleen’s article)

Talking about the ‘joy dots’ is just another way of re-framing. Noticing the ‘sparkling moments’ in our everyday lives, those tha get crowded out in the busyness, grunge and irritations of domesticity, work, relationships. Forgetting to say thank you, to each other, to Spirit or God, to ourselves.

Here is one of my favourite blogs by Leah whose mother always made her write thank you notes: Thanks

So for today here is my list:


Doggie devotion

A friendly plumber to mend the shower and stop that dripping!

Roses on the fireplace, pale pink with subtle green paper petals

For the arguments we have over silly petty things, that teach us more every day about each other

For the long-haul of a relationship through good times and bad, for knowing someone so well and being known. For sometimes wondering if we know each other at all and realsing we have lots of opportunities to get to know each other better

For kindness and compassion

For great residential care, you keep mum safe and happy and make my life a helluva lot easier and with much better sleep

For our extended, blended, complicated, wonderful family

For 4 boys who are pretty much men, you taught me unconditional love, both ways

blackcurrant tea

Red post vans – always hopeful you’ll have something for me

Kindle- I love getting free books, and you are making me read ones Id never have thought of if they weren’t

The gym – I can’t use you right now, but I like it that you’re there just waiting for me to burst back through those doors and get fit

Facebook – for happy hours spent looking at other peoples photos, making me laugh out loud with my oh so witty fb friends and giving me the impression I am funny and popular in my virtual world

Meditation – every day you remind me of how much I need you, how often I forget you and how calming and centering you can be.

Affirmation – You sit by my bedside, lurk in my notebooks and journal, whisper in my head. Sometimes I remember to use you. Thank you for giving me a nudge.

Exercise – oh how I love you, let me count the ways. Erm I am working on my couch potato existence, thank you for making it possible for this curvy, unfit, 50+ gymophhobe to have a vision of a curvier, fitter,60+++

Holidays – thinking of them, dreaming of them, imagining them, planning them. Wishing we could have one, counting the pennies, hours spent on brochures, travel sections, websites and talking to friends about them. Looking at photos of them, remembering weekends from Wales to Barcelona, retreats in Salisbury and Albuquerque, summers camping in Norfolk to villa in Croatia, roughing it at Glastonbury and birthday weekends in posh hotels in Manchester.




Who rescued who?

Who rescued who?

The dog is Geordie, currently in his ‘winter’ coat and looking cute but shaggy! He has been part of our family since 2004 when we found him at the RSPCA rescue centre. He was about 4 years old according to them, although the vet reckons he was probably a couple of years older. Still, we go for the younger age sticking with the belief that ‘you are how you feel’! He has been quite neglected, but we don’t think abused, most likely someone who had got too old or ill to care for him properly. But someone has loved him and looked after him as a puppy because he is well socialized, loyal, friendly to everyone and house trained 🙂

Originally Geordie went to live with my parents who had been wanting to have another dog for many years. As they were both elderly we were always the extended family, taking G for walks, visiting and with the promise that if ever it got to much he would come to live with us. After my Dad died in 2006, G was the perfect companion to Mum. She spent all her time with him and loved him just a little too much with treats and nibbles. Being the people dog he is G followed mum around everywhere she went, on her heels, her lap and sleeping by her in his basket every night. 

Last year G’s arthritis led to a problem with his knee-joint and he had to have an operation so that he would be able to walk again on 4 paws. The vet also advised that he needed to lose weight and his new special diet ( no treats!) caused a bit of a rocky road with mum in the early stages of dementia. Feeding became something she could do, over and over again. At one point she threatened to call the police because Id removed his treats! Oy     

As you can imagine the saga of mum and dog became complicated. Sadly mum ended up in hospital after several nasty falls and it became clear to all of us that she could no longer manage at home. So from last July both G and mum are in new homes. Mum has moved into a wonderful residential care facility nearby and G came to live with us. G visits at least weekly, in fact on difficult days he has been the comfort she needed and provided us with a talking point, there is always a doggie story to tell. 

G has settled into his ‘new’ family and we have adjusted to being full-time dog owners with joy. He has been one of the best parts of the last year. He knows how to be company, loves to cuddle and is never happier than when everyone is in the same place. His favourite thing in the world is sock. They have to be slightly smelly socks, good clean washed ones just wont do. And in a household of 3 boy/men there are always socks to be found . At Christmas he had to buy them all socks to make up for his behaviour. What he has given us is priceless. Time for his two mummies to take him for walks, always there for a cuddle and comfort, that excited happy bouncing greeting every time you come home or get up in the morning, responsibility for caring for another creature to son 22 who is eligible for dog sitting, laughter, companionship, adoration. An easy way to visit Nana with dog in tow for the boys. Who knew?