Monday, 4 November 2013

Structure in My Life

Since I cut back my work days to 3 a week I have been drifting through my days and after being hit by this latest sciatica attack, and attack is just what it feels like, I have drifted even more.

I do have days when I just plough through everything that needs doing and then some more, but there are too many days when I seem to lose track of the time and fritter it away on nothing. Okay some of that is when the pain is bad enough that I take the strong meds, I am sure that half is just because I lack the structure that a full time job gives to your life.

If you have all day to do a job then it generally takes all day to do it. I admit to enjoying surfing through the blogs that I follow, clicking here and there and finding lots of fascinating things to read about. Enough is enough and too much leisure time is making me feel dull and droopy. I need that structure, I really have to get a grip as at the end of this year I will be giving up my job. This is on the advice of my GP and on my own recognition that it is too heavy for me now.

Francesca moves to London in 3 weeks, I have drawn up a plan to work my way through the cottage, starting in her room, decorating and sprucing up. Her room will house my sewing paraphernalia and finally it will all be in one place. She will still be able to use the room when she comes back for a few days. I predict that after Christmas the trips back will become further apart and for increasingly shorter periods, this is natural as she will be building a new social life and growing a new circle of friends.

This opens a big window of opportunity for me and I want to be ready to embrace it. I still hope to move to Wales, I love it there, and want to be in a good place in my self. The house needs to go on the market in March, hopefully we will have reasonable weather, and I would like to be moved by the end of May.

I have just realised how I have rambled away from my header title. Without getting the structure in place I will not achieve any of this. I am worried that I will allow myself to drift along until I wake up one morning to find that the boat has left and I am still standing on the Quay.

I hope that I am explaining myself, I have worked just about all my adult life and in a way I have become institutionalised, as I think most of us have.

To make a start on this I am drawing up a rough timetable, if you like, a list of what I want to achieve each day and how long to allow for it. That looks so silly in print but I am willing to try it and if it works, great, if it does not then I will try something else.

I remember my Aunt Joan retiring and after about 3 months of drifting along ( it runs in the family) she would have her breakfast, put her coat on and go out for a walk. When she returned she "pretended" that she was now at work and got all the things done that she had to and then reversed the walk until she arrived home from "work". I can do that, Ben will get an earlier walk, I am sure that he will not object.

Reasons to be grateful.

1. No laundry, done and dusted yesterday.

2. A bright sunny morning to enjoy.

3. Ben is leaping around, he senses a change.

4. A new recipe for dinner last night was superb.

5. My latest sewing project is looking good.

Yesterday I cooked a piece of Brisket in the slow cooker, nothing new there I hear someone say. Well I saw this on a blog, no idea which one I was surfing, I mixed roasted garlic puree with paprika, cumin, cinnamon, dried Italian herb mix and some allspice and rubbed this over the joint, leaving a thick layer on the top. I put it into the slow cooker, cut 2 red chillies in half and put cut side down on top and then cut a third of a pack of butter and placed on top. Lid on and cook on low for 6 hours.

Here it is, there is quite a lot of room as my cooker is the biggest that  I could find, I have plans to use that space.

Four hours in to the cooking time I added potatoes, rolling them in the melted butter and meat juices., I turned the potatoes once more after another hour.
It was a resounding success, the meat was moist and fell to bits, the potatoes were just on the verge of breaking down and the juices were thick with spices and all were flavoured with a subtle hit of chilli.
I served carrot and swede mash, cauliflower and cabbage with it. We have leftovers for a repeat during the week and a tub of the buttery spicy juices in the freezer. Brisket is not a joint to eat cold, it tends to have a dry somewhat stringy texture on cooling but the butter has solved that and you could slice this for sandwiches quite easily.
I should have taken a photo of it cooked but we had washed up and everything was in fridge or freezer before I thought of it. The meat was so soft that I sliced down across the grain into chunks.

Now I can not put Ben off any longer.
                            TTFN                Pam


  1. I could have written your blog entry today, it all sounds so familiar even down to the sciatica; which is in my case at the moment is behaving its self thank goodness!! Drifting is a problem, making the task fit the time you have available means I only seem to do one or two main jobs a day. I must admit to being a bit of a lazy so and so when it comes to house hold chores; guests can look at the dust, but not write in it. The brisket sounds delicious, will give it a go, might cut back on the chillies as the "best beloved" is not a fan of anything too spicy

  2. I am fine once I make a start but it is making that start. The brisket is good, next time I am going to add more smoked paprika and use half and half garlic puree and tomato paste. I am hoping that the tomato will flavour the meat so that it is a bit like Goulash.I am also contemplating using a pork shoulder with garlic, ginger and maple syrup.

  3. I thought I might drift after retiring, but to be honest we have never been busier. Granted, mum needs a lot more attention these days, but aside from housework -related activity, there is music, stitching, visiting ...... really, we do find ourselves saying that thing I always swore I never would ...."I don't know how I found time to go to work!".
    I hope you are managing to keep your pain under control, it is plain misery- making to be under par all the time. I do take your point about structure - I really was worried as I have always known I needed it in my life, but honestly, you just find a gentler, less urgent structure, and it is GOOD!

    1. I know that I have only been at home for 10 days and I think that part of the problem is that I am restricted as to what and how much I can do. I like to be very active, today I have not been able to do much after walking Ben this morning. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

  4. I think you need a period of drifting to readjust your body clock. When you recognise that you are drifting then is the time to give yourself structure.I work from home and it is so easy to drift as my deadlines are self imposed. (I am a freelance illustrator). I need to make timetables. Whats works best for me is treating certain parts of the day as work etc. It varies with the seasons. At the moment I am on early morning (1hr) internet and housework, rest of morning garden (its spring here so busy time). Middle of day, illustration, late afternoon hobbies , evening crochet, internet and tv. You will find your routine, it just takes time to adjust from the rush rush of a full time job. Good luck for all the changes in your life.

    1. I am gritting my teeth and have gathered some hand sewing to keep me busy, I hope that tomorrow I will be able to sit at the sewing table.

  5. I live next door to where I work, and after two weeks of lazing, in the Summer holidays, I set my chores out, and work to the bells that still go at school!

    1. Once this blasted sciatica calms down I intend to work out a routine and follow it. I have blitzed the cottage in the last couple of weeks and look forward to setting to in the garden.


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