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Pitter Patter, pitter pat,
rain is landing on my hat.
Pitter Patter, pitter pat,
lightning strikes to scare the cat.
Pitter Patter, pitter pat,
in little brook there swims a rat.
Pitter Patter, pitter pat,
through the soft mud, splat, splat, splat.
Pitter Patter, pitter pat,
make a splash in puddle flat.

Drip by drip and drop by drop,
from hat falling, plop, plop, plop.
Drip by drip and drop by drop,
in sheltered doorway, little stop.
Drip by drip and drop by drop,
floats on past a bottle top.
Drip by drip and drop by drop,
soaks the litter by the shop.
Drip by drip and drop by drop,
back to home – with a hoppity hop.


A § M


Reflections 2018 w06

The importance of a journal when your mind refuses to work.

One sits at the keyboard not being able to recall what it is that one has done over the week. Turn to my diary/journal, it was suggested that I keep one but never explained why, and it seems that there is a couple of days it has not been filled in. Honestly it is a habit that has yet to fully take hold, perhaps if an explanation as to why it is beneficial beyond appointment times (the diary aspect of it), I may be more enthusiastic about keeping it in order. Rarely is a theme for the week taken from the diary/journal, it is usually from my notebook that is always carried around with me, absolutely anything is written in that.

To me the notebook has an important role to play for me, it holds the spark of an idea for a painting, a poem, a story or even the reflection for the week, as well as appointments, if it is out when they are made. It is the physical manifestation of thought.

This week is however was a  blank on what to reflect upon and it was in desperation that the past weeks journal entries were looked upon for a glimmer of inspiration. I cannot recall for certain what has been done or where I have been this week. This is not uncommon in a depressive anxious brain, it’s so busy trying to out manoeuvre all the dangers it has invented, there is no processing power left for the non threats to be remembered. At the same time the brain does not like blanks and will fill it with vague memories of weeks gone past. Heck my brain even fills blank areas of places with shops/buildings from another area. It is really confusing on a day out shopping when it has done that.

In the end my blank memory has been matched by my blank journal entries, and in the blankness comes a reflection – keep the diary/journal in a place where I can see it.

Make it a routine to place it, along with the notebook, in one designated place.

I can see a sticky note being placed somewhere as a reminder when that place has been selected.

Reflections 2018 w05

Well another month has been and gone, not all the things I wanted to put into place have materialised and some were just late. Outside forces have played their role, and my unenthusiastic approach has been reflected by the weather conditions.

However one has managed to start on a website design, with Wix, for a friend from group, when it is completed a piece will be written on it as a kind of launch. It is a worthy cause I am glad I can help with it.

So January was not a complete bust, February it seems is wanting to start with the dentist as I sit here typing this with a quarter tooth missing. I so hope it has had a root filling in the past. There is a point of no return for teeth when the dental care has been lacking in years gone by, something I hope my son will not follow.

I finished the painting that was commissioned by the B-WELL group and when it is placed on the wall it will be placed on my website. Although I did not get paid for this commission, it is non the less my first commission, and it is my own design, heavily influenced by the Blobby Tree theoretics but far enough away from the actual picture that it has/will have its own identity, complete with my sense of humour. There may even be a cartoon on the trees growth and story of the little people and the well around it. I have seen the animated story in my head, it would not stop once it started.

The prize for the writing competition was a £10 voucher for The Works, the story will be published in Brighter Futures February newsletter along with the other entrant/winners story. Hopefully there will be enough feedback from the piece to get a more popular writing competition next time. my-first-writing-competition-entry

My goal of mapping the local parks/woods and blogging about each one did not start last month partially due to the weather and partially due to the struggle to get out doors. I know that even warmer weather will not change that struggle to get out of the doorway.

Thats the rundown for the last month.

Where has the time gone?

Why are the weeks flying by so fast?


Reflections 2018 w04

“I am Lucky Because…” has been the last entry in my diary for the last three weeks, a trial on changing my mindset. It has been, on average, like trying to get the last drops of ketchup from the bend of a bottle neck – with a knife.

One is pretty certain the mindset change was not supposed to be forget the diary entries altogether so as to avoid the statement, alas that has been the outcome.

I don’t feel lucky.

That is what the above statement is supposed to be about changing, my perspective to one of viewing life with actual positivity.  It became a chore very quickly a depressives trait for sure. I have been told that it takes more time and energy to view things negatively than to view them positively, but I did’t believe him. Ta dum. The theory actually makes sense in all seriousness.

For some reason we take all positive things as though they are common place, like breathing, but in actual fact they are few and far between, we live in a wide area of neutrality for most of our time. Sub-consiously we know this, so our brain tries to narrow the neutral area down by taking quite neutral things as being positive at times when we need a boost. But our brains like balance in its ‘normal’ state so it makes quite neutral things negative as well, thus making the positive seem more ‘rewarding’ because there is a lot of negative that ‘could’ happen.

Eventually the lie we are telling ourselves is broken and the line for the positive actions is returned to its rightful place. The line for the negative does not however move so easily back, and may even move up with the top line to keep the same area of the neutrality range intact and thereby increasing the amount of things to worry about even more. Plus the worrying then overshadows the positive due to the fact positivity is never fully enjoyed in the worrying moment. The whole thing sounds like a joke but for millions of people this is an area of our minds that we cannot see the way out of.

So focusing on the positive of our daily lives is supposed to take away from the focussing of the worry. Taking control of the focus is supposed to be the key lesson I think here.

One still has a ways to go yet.

Reflections 2018 w03

I know now what it was that I jointly won in December for the writing competition. We will be getting book vouchers. I wonder if this was the original prize as its identity was kept secret for so long. The announcement, officially, has been held back by sick leave(s) but will be in the customer created newsletter next month, along with the printing of the winning stories.

There is supposed to be another taking place later in the year, and by those I have spoken to, it aught be for a larger word count. 500 it seems is not that popular. Ironically this number was selected as to not put off people writing a story as it was not that many, 250 word stories are an art in themselves, easily passing the count if not careful and cutting the story out in the editing to get down to the count. I think they aught try 750 next.

Can it still be called a win if both the entrants win because of the lack of turnout? There is certainly no sense of victory, I recognise the achievement – I entered, entering another will be easier now, but victory? The worst thing is that others may be inspired to enter the next one because they perceive it as being one, which is good, but we are looking at a totally different side of a box and if my attitude does not match their perceived competition success then I could come off looking aloof or ungrateful. Or even have them giving up on the idea of entering at all if I come off dismissive. For some in the clubhouses entering could be a big self esteem boost, as well as a major talking point for weeks.

Why should ‘I‘ care?

It has been noted that I am ‘popular’ within the framework of the mental health groups/clubhouses, and that is not by chance. It has been hard work. Interacting with others outside of the groups, even passing through a room, especially when I don’t want to, has been an uphill struggle. But I read a psychological study somewhere that stated we as a race seek positive social interactions, so much so that we receive a chemical reward when we have them, I admit I was very sceptical, it’s not like we liked World Peace 1 and World Peace 2 that much we are now eagerly awaiting for the start of World Peace 3. But what had I to loose? If coupled with the smile theories also read, it had heaps of potential reward for only the cost of time.

And this is why I should care.

The work that I have done to try and improve my condition, if only in these settings, is by choice. My interactions with these people is by choice and in the same setting their interactions with me is by choice, whether they know it or not. Sometimes one choice is easier than than another, sometimes we do it automatically, not really knowing why. But for whatever reason we all have chosen to spend time in those environments and should we not be looking to make those environments the best that we can? Finding a different viewpoint for the perception, to make it more positive, improves the environment that I share.

Is it manipulation?

If giving someone time, a smile, an ear when needed or even encouragement for no advancement or direct gain is manipulation then yes. If having your positivity towards someone reflected back to you is manipulation then yes. Yes I gain from it, but only as much as what I have put in to each person, it balances out, like the pendulum of a clock.

Who knows, maybe one day I will really need that positive greeting just to get me through it.

Reflections 2018 w02

The b-well group started this week with some of the usual suspects, one was not expecting anyone that had not heard through the mental health groups as the advertising has yet to start properly. They also are at the moment using the Blobby tree, anyone that does not know of this series of pictures can easily google it, but in short it is a series of non sexed blobby people that are in differing ‘scenarios’ that can lead to a person opening up and talking. I have been led to believe that it works quite well.
I however have for some time been drawing my own scenarios, in my own sense of humour, mostly never including the tree at all. This week was no different, and the drawing done was voted to be turned into a poster and I was commissioned by the group to do my own version of the tree with my drawings on it, or off it.
My brain at times is like a tearaway pup, it gets hold of something and just runs away with it. This simple picture became a painting, which then became a series of drawings as I perfected the original sketch, which then became the tree wanting me to tell its story – in the old school cartoon way to create an animation. I don’t animate, but I have this story in my head and it wants to get out. It’s doing my head in; I know I will be doing the animation in the end just to shut it up.
Not knowing if the ‘blobby people’ are copyrighted or not I thought I would go a little more realistic in shape but still as simple as the blobby’s. This led me to ones looking like the change4life, so a no go there. Eventually I found my little people’s shape, next was their face or lack of it. Several faces later I had the one I liked, front on. But what for the side view? Nose or no nose? What size/shape if there is one? More sketches, a slight alteration to the frontal picture to match and I have my little people’s face.
Now the picture for the poster/painting is entering its final stage of putting it all together and it has definitely progressed from the original. And part of that progression is all down to the future animation attempt. This picture is a close up of the final tree picture, because it has yet to grow to fill the space. A bit like how the seed was planted in my mind for the image idea, and the way mine shot off it must be well fertilised.
I have spent 2/3’s of a day on the sketching alone, a part of the process that many do not even see nor understand. To be fair many that paint do not do the processing of the pictures the way I do, they would have just used the original sketch and painted. I do not want to be seen as copying someone else ideas. Influenced by someone – yes – everyone is in some form or other, but I do not want to just copy. So I go through this process to make it my own.
One may even start to paint tomorrow.

The Korean Kimchi Experiment

I have been watching a channel on Youtube called Future Neighbor, a homemade Korean cooking show. One has to say every meal watched so far is tempting, but I was intrigued by Kimchi. What it was was explained in one episode, and how to make it, but that did not put me off – one was intrigued.

It seemed like the Korean equivalent of sauerkraut, something else I have yet to try. On the plus side it is supposed to be filled with goodness. A jar was bought, and a couple of weeks went past before it was opened, it was almost a dare to open, even though tI had  no preconceived ideas towards it.

The lid came off…

By christ I was not expecting the pungent odour assault to my nasal passages, in a word it stinks. Not in a negative way, but rather in the way that the smell of grilled sardines stink out the house, I will not be cooking them indoors again, they positively make mackerel seem odour free. One cannot even describe the smell of kimchi, it is – unique, but somehow appetising *. Nothing like the western food I usually eat.

Not put off by the smell I took my first bite, my gag reflex kicked in slightly, the same happens when I start drinking Kefir after a break from it, must be similar probiotics, however I liked the taste – not so much the texture, it was too soft. The next day I took some with my sandwich and salad, it juice ran all over my celery, spring onion and purple carrots. The people around the table kept pulling their face at an unusual smell, eventually, I owned up that it was my dinner. Note to self…not to eat in public…Still put off by the texture but loving the taste of the juices and the kick of the chillies I decided to try it one of the other ways I saw it served – with rice.

The next day one placed a large dollop of kimchi in a cup of hot rice, stirred it in, and let it sit as I ate through my salad. Once I thought that the kimchi would be sufficiently warmed I tucked in. What a difference it made to the sensation of the texture, when it was mixed with the hot rice and had warmed a little, my mind registered it as being cooked soft. It worked wonderfully with my salad and will be my go to way of eating it as a side dish.

So if you fancy something new and spicy, cook some rice and crack open a jar of Kimchi, ignore the smell and dive right in, you may be pleasantly surprised by this little pot of Korean goodness.

I was.

* The smell becomes less overpowering by the time the third jar is opened, at least for me it is 🙂