Chesty Stressy Misfit

So, I have a condition called costochondritis. It sounds scary, but in actual fact all it is is inflammation in the cartilage that connects the ribs to the breast bone.

 

I had no idea that inflammation in cartilage was an actual thing, but after having spent a small fortune, I’ve discovered it is. What’s more, the medication the doctor prescribed apparently has a “drowsiness” side effect. In my case it’s more like exhausted. I sleep at least ten hours after taking the evening dose, but during the day I am praying for my half-hour lunch break, so I can nap in the car. I am on day three of the minimal five-day regime (it may be extended with another five days if the pain isn’t alleviated soon).

I did a bit of reading up on the condition – it stems from either heavy lifting, or a blow to the chest, or a coughy-sneezy-condition, or stress. Yes, I rejoined the gym in June, but quite frankly I haven’t been there as often as I’d like and I’m not remotely close to the strength level I was when I left, so heavy lifting isn’t the cause, unless you count my handbag, which rivals that of Mary Poppins some days. I haven’t had a blow to the chest, because I don’t have the skills required to even shadow-box and I haven’t been a snot-factory for a long time, so that leaves stress.

I’ll concede, the last few months have been stressful due to certain things happening at work, and while I almost always appear unfazed, I was taking strain. The issues are still there and as time marches on, they will become a reality, but the stress is less as there is a clearer picture of what lies ahead.
Then of course, I add to the stress-shovel by deciding to have some kind of shindig for my birthday (which is still two months away). There are plans that need to be set into motion, a cake to be planned (I’m leaving the task to someone else way more capable than I am), canapés to be made (although Carmen says I should have everyone bring a plate and have a prize for the best one), bubbly to be bought, a costume to be sourced and whatever else goes into a fun night with good friends. The creative gods fortunately grabbed me earlier this week, so the ‘save the date’ and e-invitations are finalized.

Harriet and I were talking last night, and she made a very valid point – that I am constantly busy with people around me – if it’s not my bi-weekly nail appointment, it’s a catch-up with someone, weekends with my parents, quiz night (which was last night). Her exact words were, “You’re always around people.” Her observation is valid, I don’t deny it; I am a social person, but my circle is small, having shrunk exponentially in the last three years or so.

As I’ve got older I’ve realized that there are people who thrive on drama, others who are around when the weather’s fair (and I’m not talking about the sun shining outdoors), and those who judge. Others have just fallen by the wayside because their (or my-) priorities have changed and we don’t fit into each other’s moulds anymore, or merely because I got tired of putting in the effort all the time.

What she didn’t say, but what I heard was “you need some me-time” and she’s right. This condition is one of the ways that my body is telling me to take a time out and rest. Alone. Whether it’s a relaxing walk on the beach, or taking a drive to the point to feed the pigeons and the gulls, or a movie night complete with popcorn, chocolates and ginger beer, it needs doing and it needs doing with me, myself and I.

So, I’m heeding her advice – and going home tomorrow afternoon (the first time in ages I won’t be with my folks the entire weekend) and I’m going to have some special Misfit-time, and even possibly a few analogue hours on Sunday, I’ll see. One thing’s certain though, this Misfit wants to get back to normal because as benign as costochondritis is, the chest pain that goes with it is dreadful. I’m trusting that the R&R will aid a speedy recovery.

Have a good weekend y’all!

Advertisements

Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup

I like to cook.  And bake.  BUT, I must really be in the mood to do so.  Like yesterday – when I finally tried out a recipe I received in one of the daily newsletters to which I subscribe.  The recipe was originally published on Cupcakes & Couscous – a food blog by Teresa Ulyate

I’ve shared the final image with a few friends who’ve asked for the recipe, so here it is, in full, with the photos being my own.  I halved it as it was only for The Toppie, The Bean and I.

Vegan recipe for Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

Ingredients
16 large tomatoes
4 red peppers
olive oil for drizzling
3 tbsp dried mixed herbs
salt and pepper
1 punnet (20g) fresh basil
1 x 400g tin cannellini beans, drained
4 tbsp tomato purée
1.2 litres vegetable stock (or water)
2 tbsp tamari

How to
Preheat your oven to 190ºC and lightly grease two baking trays.

Quarter the tomatoes and cut the red peppers into thick strips (discard the seeds).

20180624_12333520180624_124035

Arrange the tomatoes and peppers on the trays. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle the mixed herbs on top and season with salt and pepper.

20180624_124324

Bake for 30 minutes.

20180624_124833

Allow the tomatoes and peppers to cool slightly. Place in a blender with the basil, beans, tomato purée, veggie stock and tamari.

20180624_130213

20180624_13100420180624_131355

Blend until smooth.

20180624_131627

Transfer the soup to a pot and heat. Check the seasoning, then serve with toasted bread.

20180624_133425

It may have been a simple meal, but it left me feeling like an absolute Masterchef!  Honestly, I’m not sure when the urge to cook or bake will strike again, but when it does, I sincerely hope I can replicate the feeling I got from making this soup.

Subconcious Manifestations of Conscious Truths? Indeed…

Tickey, Patch Adams, Tobo, Bozo, Laffy … Cathy even had her own one according to the Everly Brothers… If you’re still not sure what I’m talking about, maybe Pennywise will ring a bell with you, although It isn’t a happy one.  If you haven’t got the at least one of the references as yet, I’d like to know what planet you’re from.

One of my fondest childhood memories was visiting the circus.  Yes, now that I’m older, I do understand that in some instances the animals are ill-treated, but when I was a starry-eyed innocent, knee-high to a grasshopper, the circus was nothing more than a big magical tent of happiness, awe and laughter.

I seldom remember my dreams, but when I do, they haunt me.  Last night I had not one, but two, vivid HD dreams, both of which I remember.  The first one was about the letter I wrote to my sixteen-year-old-self and the other about me being a clown of all things.  The most vivid part of the vision was how I meticulously applied the make-up, creating the perfect alter-ego.

My first thought upon waking up this morning, with salty residue on my cheeks was Robin Williams, one of the most versatile, legendary actors that the world has ever seen.  I have seen almost every movie in which he appeared, with Mrs Doubtfire, Dead Poets’ Society and Patch Adams ranking as my top three.

540df624a3657There is an exponential amount of ways to interpret dreams, and just a quick Google search gave a few examples.

According to Dream Moods dot Com:

“To see a clown in your dream symbolizes absurdity, light-heartedness, and a childish side to your own character. … Alternatively, a clown is an indication of your thoughtless or insincere actions. If you have a fear or phobia of clowns, the clown may represent a mysterious person in your life who mean you harm.”

According to Dream Meaning dot Net

Dream About Clown Makeup
“Dreams of putting own clown makeup, suggests that you are putting up temporary façade or smiling faces towards situations that you may not particularly like. You are trying to make people believe that everything is okay and you are enjoying your life, however deep down you may feel depressed and sad.”

According to the media, it was no secret that Robin Williams was depressed when he died in 2014.  It’s also no secret, although I’m not sure if there is any medical research to back this up, that the saddest people are generally the biggest clowns; the ones that are able to get the largest laughs out of their peers are the ones that are in the darkest pits of their own minds.  It’s tragic irony.

robin-williams_loneliest-saddest-damaged

I’m not going to deny that I’m sad at the moment – there is a lot happening that is causing unease within me.  I’m not going to spill my guts here as to what, because the nature of the situations is sensitive, and in some instances, quite personal.

Suffice to say though, despite everything that is going on right now, these gloomy trances that disrupt my rest, will be a thing of the past.

In the meantime, I will keep my eye on good things I know are coming and spend time with the people I love, laughing with them.  After all, that is the best medicine.

laughter-is-the-best-medicine-2-638

The Bleeding Heart of Rejection

I have the most awesome friends, and blog followers! I’ve received a few topics after my request for assistance, and I’ll get to all of them, even if it means writing every day for the next decade.  Okay, that’s a hyperbole, but still, I have stuff I have to write about. Yippee!

My friend of a quarter of a century, Kerry, gave me four topics to write about:

  1. The Meaning of Friendship
  2. The Bleeding Heart of Rejection
  3. One Wish, and;
  4. Simple Little Things

Number 2 is what caught my eye first, because honestly, we’ve all been there. If you haven’t, then you’re either still a child and shouldn’t be reading my blog, or you’re a Cyberman.  If you don’t get the reference, you need to brush up on your British Sci-fi, otherwise we can’t be friends…LOL

Jokes aside, rejection comes in many forms, but none so sore as the loss of someone who owns your heart, because you decided to give it to them, trusted them to keep it safe, not to rip it to pieces and stab you continuously with its shards. After every heartbreak, there is healing, but the scars remain.

Before you all stop reading here, thinking God help us, this is going to be a morbid post, it’s not – because after every rejection (regardless of the shape it takes), something better comes along.  I’ll admit it sometimes takes ages, but it does happen.

The very first sting of rejection I can remember was in 1986, my first year of school. I always finished everything last – because I wanted it to be absolutely-, faultlessly perfect. Virgo trait, which today, thankfully, I have learned is not the be-all and end-all of everything. Organize chaos is a thing, and it works; for me at least, anyway. Every month there would be an election of Class Captain, and every month I’d be passed over. I couldn’t understand why. I was also the kid that always got chosen last for a team. I couldn’t understand why trying my best, wasn’t good enough. It confused me, but more than that, it hurt. At the end of the year though, during prizegiving, I received a book prize for First in Class: Grade 1.

My first heartbreak happened the year I was to turn twenty-one. A lot happened during the time Peter and I were together, and many things were said (and we all know that the tongue is a two-edged sword) that left me feeling not only rejected, but utterly worthless. I wanted to die. I lost almost 2 stone in a matter of a week, and I didn’t even want to shower, nor bath (and if you know me, you’ll know I cannot go a day without washing my hair).

Years have passed, and there’ve been some other disastrous relationships in between – all of which have ended because they chose not to be with me. Each time has been hard (I’d be lying if I said it gets easier), but looking back, I learned valuable lessons from every single one of those guys.  Their behavior towards me, I came to realize quite late in life, is not a reflection of who I am, but who they are. I have come out stronger, more confident, and for the most part, happy – albeit it sometimes lonely. I’ve learned to love me and bask in the uniqueness of the person I am.  Some people see it, others don’t, but as I said here I’m over what people think. I’m loved by the people in my life now – because they value me and appreciate my individuality, even when I sometimes doubt myself.

In closing, I want you to look at these two images:

Both hearts are clearly wounded – the choice lies with us whether we pull out the knife and continue to let the wound bleed indefinitely, or whether we bleed for a while (which is natural) and patch the wound and try again.

 

 

 

 

 

I Need YOUR Help! Yes, You!

I should write more. That’s the consensus among the close friends I have that read my blog.  It’s not that I don’t want to write, it’s more a case of The Muse being a bigger hibernator than I am.  But, they’re right *sssshhhh don’t tell them I said that*; I’m not doing what I love on a daily basis.

25-waystofindyourpassion-19-728

In an attempt to write more, an in so doing, pursue my passion – whether poetry, prose or anecdotes – I’m going to need help. Please would every one of you that reads this particular entry, leave a comment of what you’d like me to write about – it can be anything – I will do my utmost best to do right by you.

So, who’s first?

It’s Cold, but it’s Good…

I think my spirit animal is a bear. Not a polar one, one that hibernates. Oh, and eats when it is only necessary. Yip, a bear, definitely a bear.

882709431831

I’ve always said that if I could have a single season all year round, it would be Autumn- the days are still long and relatively warm and there is a golden hue to everything around me, like an angel’s halo, glowing in the light. The trees dance a gentle waltz to the song of the breeze as their leaves change colour from green to red, red to yellow, yellow to brown, and eventually fall to the ground, their naked branches a stark fortune-teller that reminds us for rebirth to happen, death must occur.

Winter is not my season. At all. The days are short: it’s dark when I get up for work and in the height of the season, it’s dark when I get home in the afternoons, just shy of 17:30. For the most part, I’ve learnt to appreciate the darkness. Many a winter night I will get into bed early, with a hot beverage and just listen to the stillness that only a winter’s night can bring. It’s during these times that many of my troubles come to the fore, but also because of the clear blackness not only around me, but in my mind, I am able to think of systematic solutions. It is also a time when my Creative Muse seems to surface from her den, inspiring me to create something, anything, beautiful.

Just this past Saturday, while under a blanket on the couch at a friend’s place, I got the urge to cook – I’ve laid my hands on quite a few recipes, and am excited about the smells and warmth that will be emanating from my oven, or from the bubbling pots atop. I also unpacked all my cake decorating tools not too long ago too.  More importantly, I’ve indulged my true passion a bit more: I’ve been writing!

Looks like winter may be my season after all… hearty soups, hot chocolate, Port, stunning sunrises (because I’m awake to see them), time for self, time to create and above all, knowing that when it’s over, Spring springs and a cycle of new hope and new life begins.

Winter-Warmer3-960x360

Virtues: Chivalry

Continuing with virtues – today’s topic: Chivalry.

chivalry-definition-word-nerd-via-lawhimsy1

Could it be that we, as modern-day women believe that chivalry is indeed dead? Or is it that we’ve become so jaded (or as we often prefer to label it ‘independent’), that we don’t notice that some gentlemen still exist? Or do you not associate the adage of Manners maketh the man to be chivalry? I’m going to use practical examples from my life, but I’m curious to hear your views, so please leave a comment, if you’d like.

Me? I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, and a giver. A believer of idealistic fairy tales, with their proverbial knights in shining armour.

ffcc3d31c02dddd5c518b61f3a76c1c4

As a result, I’ve been burned, more times than I care to admit and honestly, cynicism and bitterness had crept into my heart, but I had two choices – allow it to poison me and become hateful or continue to hope and believe that not every man is a bad egg. So, when my friend, Frank replied to my Facebook poll that chivalry is an underrated virtue, it struck a chord the starry-eyed dreamer within me, because I actively started looking for chivalry in my day-to-day dealings with the men in my life – whether family members, colleagues or friends.

I’m ashamed to admit, that I experience chivalry every day but that I hadn’t noticed it because of my own unrealistic idea of what it should be. I’m not going to lie and say I’m not a hearts and flowers girl, because I am. I want those tokens of romance, but I’d much rather have a man walk on the outside of the sidewalk when I’m with him to ensure my safety (because if you know me, you’ll know that I trip over thin air and am likely to get hit by a real car!), or help me carry my parcels when I’ve been grocery shopping.

the-10-smoothest-gestures-a-man-can-make_481390

Most of the senior management at the company I work for, is well, senior, and male. Whenever any of the female staff walk out of a room, one of the men will open the door and they will all wait until the ladies have exited the room, or if one of the ladies has been asked to make coffee for guests, and is carrying the tray, our management will stand up and one will take the tray from us. That’s a chivalrous gesture, not so? Also, in the seven years I’ve been here, I’ve not heard any of the men talk to the women in a disrespecting tone of voice.

For a short season in my life I had a friend, William – eleven years my junior, the eldest of three brothers, from good stock. Whenever he would come to visit, or we’d go out, he would make a point of pouring my alcoholic beverages for me, because, as he’s been raised, a woman doesn’t pour her own booze, and she doesn’t ever pour booze for a man – her husband or not.  Even his youngest brother, a high school junior abides by this rule. It was something tough for me to deal with, because I am after all, capable of unscrewing a bottle cap, finding ice in the fridge and pouring my own drink, but in their book of chivalry, that’s not the way it is supposed to be. One thing that he never fails to do (which some of my guy friends also do) is open the car door for a woman.  Even when I’d visit at his parents and everyone would walk out to the car to bid me goodnight, he would take my car key, unlock the driver’s door, and open the door for me. Again, a small gesture, but chivalrous nonetheless, and one that gets noticed when it no longer is done, as if often the case when the guy has got the girl, and feels there is no longer a need to impress her.

1411179118000_wps_21_Beverly_Hills_CA_Emmy_Ros

One of the sweetest, most chivalrous gestures in my book is a man helping a lady into her jacket, or if she doesn’t have one at hand, offering her his when she is cold. I personally almost never have anything warm with me, because I don’t get cold, but when offered a jacket, I will graciously accept, because it shows that the man I’m out with is more than just well-mannered; it shows that he is willing to sacrifice his own comfort for mine.

Almost every year, a friend of mine from Cape Town, Jack, comes to visit for my birthday if he’s in the country.  He’ll pick me up, open the car door for me, take me out for a meal at a restaurant of my choice, where he’ll pull my chair out, and we’ll have a good catch-up.  At the end of the evening, he will walk me to my door and see to it that I’m safely inside. Again, no ostentatious gestures, but small things that are kind and gentlemanly.

A-Gentleman-Pulling-Out-a-Ladys-Chair

I will also concede to the gallant gents out there, that women (and I know I’m generalizing here, ladies – don’t get your panties in a twist) don’t always make it easy for you either. To give a practical example: Who pays the dinner bill when you’re out, whether as friends, or more? The reason I pose this question is because I have been in relationships where I’ve pretty much fit the bill every time, and as a result, I’m super-mindful of not wanting to be that kind of person. I’m also aware that some of the guy-friends I go out with, earn more than I do, and are happy to pay for a meal, or drinks, but on some level I want to reciprocate. Maybe it’s misguided pride from my side, I don’t know, but it is who I am.  I’ve had this discussion with my mate, Charlie and he gets it; he appreciates that I’m willing to put my hand in my pocket, but to some men, it may be perceived as an insult.

In closing, I think a great deal of the ‘problem’ with us as women, is that we often expect huge, grand gestures, instead of seeing the little things, which are the ones that in fact matter the most.

IMG-20170925-WA0023

A man offering you his jacket every time you’re out, and it’s cold, is worth way more than a bunch of flowers once in a blue moon.