Moving To Free Hosting

Hi all!

I don’t know if anyone still reads this, but I have decided not to renew my domain name here this year. I will be moving everything here back to the free WordPress version of this site at:

https://stfrancisfolly.wordpress.com

It will expire at the end of September (the site above is currently empty but I’ll be migrating everything in the next couple of weeks).

I blog (with more devotion!) at https://simpledays.co.uk, and you can also catch up with me on Facebook.

xxx

Coaching and A Hiatus

I’m just popping in to write a short update and say that I’m taking some time out. I’ve been working through some business coaching material (woo!), and it has really impacted how I think about how I manage my time.

As you probably know I am the biggest project person ever. I love to start new things (like business coaching!). But I also spend most of my time in a state of complete overwhelm, which makes me miserable and also impacts how successful I am (or not) at everything I do.

So. For a while, at least, I’m taking some time out. No blogging. No writing. No learning Japanese. No crazy health and fitness plans. No more business ideas.

Instead I am going to take care of the important things first (family, the washing, dinners, etc. – you know how it is when you run a home), and then I am going to focus on only one thing TO COMPLETION.

I have tried this before with personal projects, and failed. But that doesn’t mean it’s a hopeless case. I can really see how my constant swapping around is hurting my plans to be financially more liberated than I currently am, and I know my personality is jumpy, but I’m going to keep practising.

I’ll be glad of the release of the mental load. I always think of posts I should write and I never get around to it, plus I also think of all the other things I should be doing and feel bad about not doing them/finishing them/starting them.

So we’ll give this a try and see where we go.

I will still be reading, just not posting. Pressure off!

xxx

Invisalign Update: Half Way!

I am on tray 9 of my Invisalign braces already! Time has flown. The first few weeks seemed to take forever to pass, but now that Invisalign is part of my routine the weeks are whizzing by.

I thought I’d share a photo update of how we’re doing because it took ages for me to notice any real movement in my teeth, but when I look at the difference now I can see they really have changed a lot.

Here’s my teeth, in braces, when I first got them:

And here are my teeth today:

Invisalign half way

Looking at them like this I can see just how much they have improved. I love it!

You can see a slight gap on both of these trays around my teeth. The first tray was really painful and it took a while before I could fit it close to my teeth. This tray (number 9 of 17), has been almost as bad as the first one. I find when I change trays – every two weeks – that there is a bit of tenderness and soreness for the first 48 hours or so.

Tray 9 must be doing something big though because I woke up after changing into it before bed and my whole face seemed to hurt. I’m on day 2 now, but I still can’t push it down onto my teeth fully because they are so sore. They were actually a bit loose yesterday when I tentatively prodded them after dinner, which freaked me out slightly. It’ll ease in over the next couple of days and they should stop wobbling then (I hope!).

I have been in braces for just over three months now, and overall it has been fine. I do worry a lot about oral hygiene and brushing and flossing multiple times a day is now totally normal for me. I still feel them there, especially when I smile, and I don’t think I’ll ever not notice them. But they aren’t too obtrusive and so far I have been pleased with the results.

I’ll update again nearer the end, which should be around the end of October.

Tiny Habits Update

It’s been over a month since I started my tiny habits experiment. Mum’s death has kind of thrown everything out a bit and life has been unsettled of late. However, I did keep up my tiny habit, and I’m ready to add a new one in.

First tiny habit

My first tiny habit was to stay awake after the alarm went off (note – I didn’t even make this about getting out of bed as that was too ambitious).

My previous routine was basically to wake up when one of the three kids woke me up. It’s very rare for all of us to sleep in, so this has been how I’ve managed since Steve moved out in January. Most mornings I felt pushed for time, and there were a few mornings where we woke up later than ideal and it was a mad rush to get lunches done and everyone dressed and out of the house. I hated the chaos of the start of the day, so that’s where I started my tiny habit.

How did it go?

Surprisingly well.

I don’t like the sound of alarms, so the first thing I did was decide what I wanted to wake up to. I thought birdsong would be great and found an app  (Dawn Chorus) that did exactly that. Next I decided on a time – 6:45am seemed reasonable, as 7am (which we were often getting up at), was not quite early enough to get everything done. Finally I decided on the rules for what counted as success. As long as I didn’t go back to sleep and didn’t lounge in bed for ages, I would deem it a success.

I started my first tiny habit on 17th April 2018 and checked off each successful day in coach.me.

My longest streak was 26 days, and in total out of 36 days since I started I have completed my tiny habit 34 times. Yay!

What has changed?

My mornings are definitely better. I do think an extra 15 minutes on my work days (we have to leave a bit earlier then) would help, but at the moment it’s working and I don’t want to mess with it. I MUCH prefer waking up first than having one of the children wake me up which seems to put me on the back foot before I’ve even started.

I do the same at weekends, even though technically I don’t have to get up for any particular time. It seems to have reset my body clock into a regular routine and I get very tired at about the same time most nights (obviously there are some nights where I haven’t slept well at all recently, but generally I can sense that I need to be getting into bed soon after 9pm). It has swayed me away from late nights alone at home, when I might have just sat and watched half a movie, so my energy levels have been pretty consistent.

All in all, it’s been a great success.

What next?

Exercise was always the goal I wanted to work into my day, but I didn’t want to start with it as it seemed too difficult. However, I think it’s time to try it out and see if I can get it to work. I’m going to go with something like 1 push-up, because what I want to build first is the habit, and then I’ll work on the effort.

I need a trigger (something that reminds you to do the habit, and part of creating successful new habits). This is a struggle as my days do not all run the same. I toyed with the idea of doing it in the morning after waking, but I suffer from stiff joints first thing, so I wasn’t sure if it would put me off doing it. I’ve decided that my trigger/anchor point will be arriving home after the school run (as that’s the same 5/7 days). On the weekends I will do it as soon as I can after waking – we’ll have to see how it goes.

I can’t actually even do a single push-up, but I’m sure that will change soon enough.

Another update in a month’s time 🙂

After Death

It’s been 10 days since I found my Mum. I am feeling a lot better than I was in the first week. I spoke to my brother today and he echoed my own feelings when I asked how he was doing.

“Yeah… better,” he said, and he sounded like it.

He was a lot brighter than last time we spoke. He’s lost his mobile phone (this happens often), so at the moment I can only speak to him on a Thursday when he visits my Dad. He is more resilient than I thought – I have worried about him every day since Mum died.

As for me, I am still restless at night, although I am very firm about not thinking about what happened. I simply put it out of my mind and focus on anything else. I know well that mulling over things in the dark is the absolute worst thing to do, as I spent so many hours of my life doing it over my miscarriages, hospital treatment, and the births of my children. There is nothing you can do to make anything better at night, so the best thing is not to give the thoughts any leeway. Thinking of what I saw and the last conversations we had could turn into something that would haunt me forever.

The nights aside, I am doing okay. My Mum was so dreadfully sad and so unwell that I think there probably wasn’t much that could have altered the course of events in the long run. I am still going to make an official complaint to the NHS as I do believe that her treatment in the last couple of months shortened the time she had left, and that her symptoms were sidelined when they should have been investigated. However, all they can do is maybe apologise (if that), so I don’t care for the outcome, only that I register my voice.

I’m in the midst of all of the practical things that you have to do after death. Funeral arrangements, notifying distant friends and relatives, sorting through possessions. I have removed four car loads of stuff from Mum’s flat in my seven-seater. Every bag and box packed by me and brought down in the lift. Two car loads I recycled. Two car loads I brought back to our house and distributed the contents in piles upstairs, in the loft, and under my desk. There are at least two car loads still to come, plus all her furniture which will have to be taken away as I cannot store or use it.

This is the third death that I have personally cleared up after in the last few years and I can tell you that sorting out what is left of someone’s existence takes hours and hours and hours of your time, most likely spread over months. The older I get, the less I like stuff. Having too much of it in the house makes me feel chaotic and overburdened. I have inherited a huge collection of things from Mum, who was a bit of a collector. It has reinforced my already solid commitment to minimalism. We can’t take anything with us when we go. All we do is leave it to someone else. Every piece of paper, every letter, every document, every diary, photograph and trinket – it all gets seen by someone when we die. Our life is laid bare, our secrets (if there is physical evidence of them) outed.

As long as we have the basics – utensils to eat, somewhere to sleep, something to keep us clean, access to good food, the luxury of an interest or hobby – what else do we really need? Life is better lived than collected.

I will most likely set a date for the funeral tomorrow as I am seeing the funeral director that managed my Uncle’s funeral last year. I liked him a lot, so I’m glad he will be looking after Mum.

I feel like I cannot grieve in peace, or sort my own thoughts out, until everything is dealt with. The stuff, the endless stuff, the funeral, the ashes, the paperwork. It will be months before I can put this behind me, just as it was with Eric and my Nan. I feel resentful of the administrative burden of death.

Getting our lives in good order, and ridding our homes of unused and unnecessary possessions will make for an easier time for our loved ones when we go, whenever that time may be. I certainly hope that when my time comes, my affairs and belongings are simple enough that my children can deal with them without excessive pain and aggravation.

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