Phoenix Fights

Fighting the FEAR, depression and BDP on a daily basis AND making my own bread. Bring it on 2016….


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SOURDOUGH TIMES

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Do you know one of the best things you can do when your mind is racing like a rat on a wheel, or worse still, grinding down slowly to a halt, like treacle sliding off a spoon?

Have a go at making Sourdough Bread.

Am I saying it cheer you up?

In a twisted kind of way, it works for me.

Because your average sourdough culture is at best, a contrary little miss, and at worst, a right surly old bastard.

And just to be entirely clear, your sourdough doesn’t give a dog’s bollock whether you’re depressed or not.

It doesn’t give a toss that nothing is going right for you.

It’s indifferent to your loneliness.

It cares not a jot that you are going downhill fast and on a bobsleigh with no brakes.

On the plus side, it won’t patronise you, look at you like you’re about to run riot with a knife, tiptoe around you like you’re an unexploded bomb or ask you tentatively if you remembered to take your meds today.

Regardless of your woes, it will do what the fuck it wants, so at least you know the way things are before you reach into the fridge, and you don’t kid yourself it’s going to be an easy ride.

But that’s half the fun.

Taking a deep breath, I retrieve the Kraken from it’s lair, remove the lid and regard the contents.

Urk.  It all looks rather grey and grim and to add insult to injury, it has about half a centimetre of grubby dark liquid floating on top of it.  To stir or not to stir? Some say pour it off, others say mix it in.

‘Looks filthy, don’t it?’ hisses the little git in it’s best Albert Steptoe whine, ‘I wouldn’t be too quick to eat that if I were you….’

Good point.  But as I head for the sink it then cries ‘That stuff is part of me!  You can’t do that, I’ll dehydrate!’

Also a good point.  Everything is down to the exact gram when it comes to this stuff.  If you add 100g of flour, you must also add 100g of water.  Not 99, not 101. So if I chuck that dirty water away, what will that do to the dough?

In the end, I stir it in, along with enough floor and water to make enough culture for my baking needs tomorrow and leave it in the warmest part of the flat.

“Lovely!’ leers the stuff as I stir, making me feel more than a little queasy.

The next morning I go to fetch it, expecting a big, blown up, airy mass of bubbles.

Instead, it doesn’t seem to have grown anything like as much as it should have.

‘I don’t feel very well!’ it gasps weakly, ‘You should never have left that stuff in!’

Cursing under my breath, I add 20g more of flour and water to give the bacteria something more to eat, and put on the windowsill in a patch of sunlight.

An hour later, it’s perked up a bit, and managed to fart out a few bubbles, so I decide to go for it.  I add the flour, water, salt to the culture, mix it all up with a scraper then upend the lot onto the worktop.

My extremely well scrubbed, scrupulously clean worktop.

Your worktop needs to be immaculate, because if it isn’t, it soon will be after you’ve been kneading this bad boy for 20 minutes or so, because at this stage the dough is very, very wet and sticky (you can’t add any more flour), and it will suck up and assimilate anything that happens to be hanging around, such as the odd bit of porridge, a stray patch of toast crumbs or even your car keys if you give it half a chance.

Like I say.

Sticky.

It’s very therapeutic though; you can pound it, stretch it, you can even yank it up by the fistful and stretch it out, and it still fights you every inch of the way.

You will concede, you little fucker I think, getting more energised with every thump.

‘Knead until smooth and plaint‘.

That’s what the instructions say, but 20 minutes later, my arms are pumped like Arnie’s, sweat is beading on my brow, and whilst it’s not as gloopy as it was, it’s still pretty sticky.

A further 10 minutes later?  Pretty much the same.

To keep kneading or not to keep kneading?  That, my friends, is the question.

‘Well there’s no use asking me’, sniffs the dough, ‘I though you were meant to be the baker?’

Shut up, you.

I gather it up the loose, undulating mass as best I can and plonk it in the bowl to prove.

An hour later, nothing.  Merely a centimetre of growth.  I heat up the oven on the lowest setting for a minute, then put it in there in the hope that it will kick start the process.

‘Aieee!’ yells the beast, ‘I’m burning!  You’re killing my bacteria!  I’ll never rise now!’

I pause momentarily, then think ‘Shit’, pull it back out again, stick it back on the windowsill and hope.

You get the picture, yes?

Anything can happen when you dance with the Sourdough in the pale sunlight.

You can end up with a leaden lump of floury paste, you can end up with something you have to prise out of the tin with a knife, you can end up with something that won’t rise all day, but when you get it in the oven, it decides to surprise you and come to life.

Don’t ever, ever think it’s making allowances for you though.  You’ve got as much chance as it asking you how you’re feeling today and offering you a Werthers Original.

But if and when it works?

The results are glorious.

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Salty, chewy, tangy, carbo bliss. Especially fresh out of the oven slathered with butter.

So, how might today’s efforts turn out?

I’ve honestly no idea.

But I’m hoping that the outcome is a nice big, crusty one.

And when I bite into the first slice, I’ll say to it with great reverence ‘Nobody loves me, it’s true, not like you do.’

Oh those sour times…. 🙂

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OPTIMISTIC MIX TRACK 8 – CARLEEN ANDERSON – Don’t Look Back In Anger

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https://sistasertraline.wordpress.com/2013/08/08/ear-worm-no-13-carleen-anderson-stories/

Look what I found, exactly what I needed when I didn’t even know it existed!

Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous…..

Enjoy all x

EAR WORM No. 13 CARLEEN ANDERSON – Stories

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This song has been going around in my head for the last 24 hours despite my being at rock bottom yesterday, so I decided to drop it off here so you could enjoy it too.

You know how sometimes you start off looking for one thing and find something equally wonderful too?

My search for ‘Stories’ ended up with my also finding Carleen’s version of Oasis’ Don’t Look Back In Anger’ which is absolutely spellbinding, so I’m uploading that as one of my Optimistic Mix as it has totally lifted my heart.

Two for the price of one, just because I’m feeling generous 😉


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REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL PART 4

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Because I’ve been a miserable cow of late, and inspired by one of my favourite songs/artists http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIMNXogXnvE (and the latest Vauxhall Astra ad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hh0Jq680aZM ) I decided to do my own version of ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’ and entitle it ‘Part 4’.

It’s also to thank you lot for being so supportive and chatting, commenting and bantering with me on here, it really means a lot 🙂

To the memory, family and fans of Ian Dury I can only apologise in advance; obviously this is not my copyright, as for my lyrics, suffice to say I am not fit to kiss his leg brace…

Ian, hope you’re not too offended by this geeze, and that you are still shaking things up in heaven x

REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL PART 4

Autumn, Buddy Holly, a full tea trolley 

Having loadsa lolly and quotes

Lily of the Valley, French Sole ballet (flats)

Time to dilly dally and any goats

 

OPI nail enamel, a ride on a camel

Every other mammal plus a brand new coat

A bit of Motown Philly, a nice thick willy

Being very silly, and toasted oats

 

The days that I can bear, the times I want to share

Having not a care – cashmere socks

Not being dismissed as haughty, being a little naughty

Being well over 40 – Belgian chocs

 

To sleep; purchance to dream, Pralines and Cream

Not wanting to scream – cream cheese and lox

No more psychobabble, beating mates at Scrabble

Days without a squabble  – an urban fox

 

Health service drugs

Kitty cat hugs

A not-too-saggy bottom

 

The Aurora Borealis

Saving your own aris

Songs by Major Harris

 

Finding what you seek-o, then things don’t feel so bleak-o

Embracing being unique-o

 

Making your own pickle, watching Travis Bickle

Slap and tickle

Fresh baked bread, no voices in my head

Not being dead

 

Writing in your study, phoning up that buddy

Who makes you feel less cruddy

Chunks of hokey pokey, wine that’s not too oaky

Drunken karaoke

 

Watching the Sopranos, Pizza at Romanos

Shopping in Milano

 

For once I don’t feel fearful

YOU make me less tearful

Reasons to be cheerful

Part 4  😉

xxxx


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A STROKE OF INSIGHT

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I did a good three hours of yoga this morning.

When it’s like this, I wonder why I deprive myself of this gift, especially when it’s so accessible.  All I need is a bit of space, a willing heart and my mat.

As always I had a creaky start, everything felt a bit stiff and then as my body started to free and loosen, all I can hear is Libby’s dulcet tones talking me through the movements, all I can feel is my body broadening, stretching and grounding, and something very close to peace fills my entire being.

Even the cats chill out, and crouch purring on the couch, watching me flow through my routine as if I was a performing seal or something.

Then, halfway through my session, as I came up from a forward bend to standing, something in my head went weird.  Surprised, I staggered a little, as my vision suddenly swam and my hearing kind of, well, cut off.

You know when you are watching a movie or TV show online and it freezes, and the circle thing appears whirling endlessly whilst it buffers?

Well, you will if you’re with BT 😦 .

Anyway it felt like that was happening in my head.

Could this be one of those disembodied entities try to communicate with the Empath me?  If so, it’s timing was shit.  Make an appointment, fella!

‘Oh no, a stroke!’, shrieked the Chicken Licken side of me, careering around wildly, shedding feathers and plopping big splats of guano all over the place, ‘that’s what you get when you neglect your body all this time!  Flee, flee!’

Whereas the chilled (a.k.a. drugged), trusting, trainee Yogi said Relax. This is a good thing.  Let it happen.’

I must have been stood stock still for a good five minutes.  Had the cats been paying customers, they’d have probably started booing and pelting me with rotten fruit.

But instead of shaking my head like a dog with a bee in its ear, or hurtling into the bathroom to see if my face was on fire (that ad about the warning signs for strokes gives me nightmares), I stayed where I was for what seemed like an eternity, then all of a sudden, I swear I heard something click like the cog in a wheel, and then low and behold, normal service had resumed.

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Then and only then did I carefully and gingerly rotate my head and shake my limbs, just to check that they were all still in working order.  And they were, once again, good to go.

I dropped back into child’s pose for a spell, rewound my CD and restarted my session from where I last remember leaving off, and when I had finished around 90 minutes later, I felt amazing.

I still have no idea what happened.  My friend said it might be something to do with awakening chakras.  I thought I might have come up too fast from my forward bend and dazed myself, or maybe I pinched a cranial nerve or something.  This kind of thing happens to us old folk y’know.

Whatever it was, I’m glad that I’m starting to be more trusting, less pessimistic and that I went with the flow for once.  Because even if the sky is about to fall, there is precious little I’d be able to do about it.

A good friend once said to me ‘Brood over something and it will grow’ which I thought was a great bit of advice, especially if concerned about a problem, a zit or the size of your arse, so I am going to try very hard not to brood, worry, fret or indeed wallow anymore.

I also have a mantra that I used to use when late for work or a meeting.  It went:

Everything’s good, everything is fine, everything’s good, everything is fine, good, fine, good etc.

OK, so it’s not exactly Hare Krishna and it can get a little frantic at the end, but I swear to you, it did actually work.  The train would turn up on time, the bus wouldn’t be full and if I was late, I’d somehow manage to sneak in unscathed, so you can probably make up one of your own.

Did you think the same person who was practically suicidal Easter weekend could be spouting off such positivity today?

Such is the power of yoga my friends.  And if I don’t do at least an hour every single day, you have my permission to come round armed with some out of date bagged salad and your best pitching mitt and join my cats on the sofa.

Peace, love and namaste x


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EMPATHY V EMPATH, ME?

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Made a discovery the other day via http://xeraphax.wordpress.com that made me think so much, I tipped over into a skull cracking, earth shaking migraine, which only served to give the theory more validity!

God, can the next wake up call be a little less painful?!

I have always known that by nature I am empathic, but I have never heard the term ‘Empath’ before.

But when I read the Empath Guidebook http://www.psi-zone.net/guidebook.html everything seemed to fall into place and I’m a bit gobsmacked really.

We all know stuff about ourselves, don’t we?

I know that I’m sensitive, depressive, creative, paranoid, a ‘rescuer’, a bit psychic, highly defensive etc. but this condition unlike depression alone seems to incorporate so many of my applicable characteristics.

Let me break it down:

LOSING SENSE OF SELF

Yup. Frequently. Sometimes after a panic attack I’d look in the mirror and not recognise my own face, so this fits 100%.

PICKING UP AND ABSORBING THE MOODS OF OTHERS

This is what clicked the most as, whilst I’ve always tried to help others in distress, recently I can find it totally overwhelming and seem to ‘catch’ the mood like a disease or sickness, either brought on by my breakdown, current vulnerability/instability or I’ve lost the skill of keeping my boundaries in place. This explains so much and is reassuring as I’ve felt like I’ve let down some of my more vulnerable/damaged acquaintances/friends of late as I can’t cope with being around them.

ATTRACTING NEGATIVE ENTITIES

As some of you might know, I see dead people. To be serious, I seem to attract entities (ghosts, disembodied spirits or whatever you want to call them) and am subject to their attention seeking tricks. They don’t tend to materialise when I’m happy and I have never been sure that they want to help, hurt or just mess with me. Apparently they can feed off people like me and whilst they’ve rarely worried or scared me that much, maybe I should learn more about this and how to protect myself from the dodgy ones.

SENSITIVITY TO LIGHT AND NOISE

I am actually photosensitive and pretty much wear sunglasses intermittently the whole year round. I am also very intolerant to unnecessary/excessive noise! If you chatter, fidget and rattle your popcorn during the entire movie when going to the cinema, seriously, do not sit near me!

SENSITIVITY TO CROWDS/PARTIES

I am not good in crowds, hence avoid them like the plague. I cannot get onto a crammed tube train or go to crowded festivals as I cannot bear others leaning on me, touching me and being unable to get away and it makes me feel really hostile if people invade my space. If I want someone to touch me, they’ll know about it!

ANXIETY

HOLLA!

CLINICAL DEPRESSION

Yup.

FEELING GUILTY

This dogged my life for decades, but have pushed against of late out of sheer defiance. People who try and lay guilt trips on me really piss me off, so clearly I have issues.

PSYCHIC POWERS

I am not ‘Medium’ level, but I do have some, and my instincts when followed, have never let me down. I can also read the Tarot.

OVER SENSITIVITY

Abso-fucking- lutely.

BEING UNGROUNDED

For years and years I have felt like a tent carried away by the wind, and have been unable to get down and nail a peg into the ground. I have rarely ever felt grounded or like I belong anywhere in my entire life.

WON’T STAY IF NOT WANTED

Yup. I reject before I’m rejected and leave if I get that vibe from anyone or in any situation/scenario.

BUILT IN LIE DETECTOR

Totally. Aunty C (my counsellor) used to tell me off for making decisions/assumptions off the back of this, but the problem is, I’m rarely wrong 🙂 .

GIVE ABUSERS THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT

Used to. Don’t any more. Much prefer physical violence ;-).

STRONG CONNECTION TO NATURE AND ANIMALS

Love both, and feel as close as I can feel to being at peace around them. Most animals are drawn to me. Especially mosquitos.

HATE SEEING OTHERS SUFFER

Check.

DESIRE TO HELP OTHERS

Check. I think it’s what I’m here for. Not sure how though.

CAN HEAL OTHERS

I used to be able to when I did massage, people used to tell me that my hands would heat up. Not sure if I still can, should be able to though if this is true.

NOT FEELING LIKE YOU BELONG

I don’t!!

FEELING OVERWHELMED

Yes.

HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON (HSP)

I do feel energies changing, used to be very useful in business meetings/negotiations.

BUZZING IN EARS

This apparently can happen if a spirit is trying to communicate with you. I don’t have this. Mine just knock things over, wake me up at night and hide my credit card/nail file/travel card. Bastards.

CAN CHANGE ENERGY

When I am in a very dark place or angry/upset, I can affect the people around me. It is palpable, so that’s when I turn hermit as I don’t want to upset anyone. I don’t use it to attack, it’s never occurred to me to do so. I’m also told that I ‘glow’ when I’m on a high.

ENERGISING FOOD

I do subconsciously put love into my food and used to push energy and healing out of my fingers when massaging people. For that reason I would never take on a client I disliked and I rarely cook for anyone I don’t care for.

SHYNESS

Yes a lot of the time. Probably down to lack of confidence.

DRUGS AND ALCOHOL

Empaths can take refuge in these. Whilst I would never classify myself as a alcoholic and have never really used recreational drugs much, wine and prescription pills do dull the pain. I know they’re not good for me though.

PRONE TO MIGRAINES

YES!

These are just some of the characteristics listed in this 191 page document, plus there are suggestions and help re how to deal with the condition too, so if any of these symptoms correlate with you, you might want to check this out. Bach Flower remedies seem to be the main source, and there is stuff about using spirit guides that I have yet to get my head around, but there is too much that makes sense here for me to dismiss it.

I’d better start reading up, who knows, this may be a turning point for me and my health.

Look out pesky disembodied souls, your annoying hide-the-thing-I-need-most games may soon be coming to an end!

All together now ‘I ain’t afraid of no ghosts…’

PITY PARTY TRACK 9 – I’LL LET YOU SLIDE Luther Vandross

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Now this is a Pity Party track you can DANCE to!

Reason for choosing it? I cannot, cannot let ANYTHING fucking slide, if something is in my head I just have to say it, no matter what the consequences, and whilst I am a lot more gentle about it these days, I do know how to push peoples buttons….

I listened incessantly to Luther in my 20’s and not only related to his heartfelt, lonely love songs, but danced the night away many a time so his superb contributions to funk and soul.

Beautiful man inside and out, gone but not forgotten ❤ .

Now I’m going to dance around kitchen, or maybe I’ll just slam my head a few times in the fridge door….