Tag Archives: Christmas

MS Christmas Survival Guide

santa asleepChristmas is the one time in the year us peeps with MS can really blend in.

Over the next two weeks, it will be perfectly socially acceptable for me to nod off at odd times of the day, stumble and talk gibberish. Last Christmas, I fell up the stairs, followed by a round of applause.

However, a little forward- planning is still essential, so here is my quick guide to surviving the festive frolics:

  • Internet shopping – it’s still not too late! I have not had to brave any crowds, queue for hours or fight over the last Christmas pudding. Plus, I have a rather handsome postman I have seen so often I’m sure the neighbours think I’m having a clandestine affair (I wish).
  • Sleep – make the most of this time. No need to explain why you’ve dozed off in front of the telly for the third time that day, or fallen asleep face-down in your turkey dinner. People will laugh rather than gasp. They may even take a photo and put it on Twitter. Instant fame guaranteed.
  • Stumbling/tripping – let’s face it, everyone will be doing a lot of this. It’s practically mandatory. Why not have a festive quiz? If you trip, turn to your assembled family and say, ‘aha! Now was that MS or the extra-strong mulled wine?’ Winner gets the last purple Quality Street.
  • Cog fog – this is especially handy during Christmas. When (not if) a family argument starts and you’re asked if Auntie Doreen really did say that terrible thing about Auntie Doris thirty years ago, just put on your most tragic expression and tell Auntie Dot that you’re a hopeless case, you can’t even remember what you had for dinner yesterday.
  • Extra help – if you’re having a bad MS day, waylay a passing small(ish) child and tell them you want to play a game. Little kids love dressing up and pretending, so why not pop an apron on them and tell them you’ll give them two quid if they play at being a maid, like in Downton Abbey. That way you can have a steady stream of Twiglets, refills, magazines and chocolates delivered straight to your sofa. Plus you get extra Brownie points for entertaining a child for seven hours.

So, I wish you all a very merry (hic) Christmas. Hold your heads up high (with a sneaky peek at your feet), go forth and celebrate.

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And Here’s One I Made Earlier….

starsWho knew crafternoons could be so stressful?

I had a couple of days off work recently, and inspired by countless articles in picture-perfect Christmas magazines, I had amassed a whole pile of crafty bits just perfect for creating a home-made Christmas.

Getting into an arty festive mood, I put some Christmas carols on, brewed some cranberry herbal tea, tied my hair up in a scarf, and set to.

After an exhausting afternoon spent weeping into my glitter, here’s what I learned:

  • Invisible thread is called invisible thread for a reason.
  • Air-drying clay does not dry in 24 hours.
  • The cat likes licking air-drying clay (ew).
  • Metal star-shaped cookie cutters are painful.
  • Potato stamping isn’t half as much fun at 40 as it was at 4.
  • Paper folding is not relaxing.
  • Cutting card with a craft knife is deadly.
  • Too much herbal tea was a mistake.
  • The magazines lied.

I don’t give up that easily, so the next afternoon, I put some hard rock music on, made some mulled wine and wrapped my hair tightly with an elastic band (glue guns and hair don’t mix).

First up, the easy one. Slice some oranges, put in oven at a low heat for four hours (‘a delightful aroma will infuse¬†your home with a wondrous Christmas spirit’).

Next, glue-gun some baubles to a distressed wooden frame, in the shape of a Christmas tree ( a simple, yet charming idea).

Finally, make your own candles (‘a bee-yoootiful gift for friends and family’).

My oranges curled up and died, sending out plumes of evil-smelling, acrid smoke, I became more distressed than my baubles and frame and after boiling up wax pellets for the candles, I realised too late that the wicks I had ordered were too short.

All I have to show for my efforts is a string of clay stars. After all the pummeling, rolling out, cutting out, three days of air-drying and chasing the cat away from them, I was determined not to be beaten.

The next day, I went to Poundland (three fold-out stars for a quid), chucked out all my magazine articles, cursed Kirstie Allsopp and Pinterest and flopped on the sofa to watch ‘Elf’ for the eighth time (with some re-heated mulled wine)….

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A Sense of Disconnection

life without the internetOh my days. Who knew that being with a much-reduced internet connection over the last week could be quite so traumatic?

The Teenager has gone through a whole range of emotions, from full-blown panic (‘how will I survive? I am utterly, totally disconnected’) to deep depression (‘wake me up when it’s over’).

I helpfully suggested he read a book or I don’t know, make something.

I was smartly told that whilst that may be acceptable for old people like me who went through their teenage years *gasp* without the internet, he’d rather sit in McDonalds like a saddo all day where they at least have free wifi, thank you very much.

Anyway, we’re back on track and a sense of normality has returned to our little cottage (it won’t last). In other news over this quiet week:

  • I had a letter inviting me to my graduation ceremony next May and did I want to hire a cap and gown? Which means my degree results must be on their way, eek.
  • The Teenager gave up his paper round. Enough said. You really don’t want to hear about it. Or the specially-extended lecture I gave him.
  • My smartphone (so badly-named) decided to get in on the internet act and freeze at inopportune moments, leading to a telling-off at work. Boss – ‘oi, get off your phone’. Me -‘ I’m not on it, I’m waiting for it to unfreeze’. Boss – ‘right, no more coffee or chocolate at break times’. Me ‘be right with you, boss.’ To show how sorry I was, when the phone worked I sent him pictures of cats doing funny things as that always cheers him up.
  • All the crafty bits I ordered for Christmas have arrived – candle wicks, wax pellets, craft knife, cutting mat, white card, Christmas essential oil, modelling clay and star-shaped cookie cutters. Much hilarity will ensue.
  • The cat kindly left a birds head outside my back door. Which I stepped on.

While we have been surviving without much internet, my mum (62 years old and a great-grandmother) whizzed ahead of us.

In between Skyping her sister in Scotland, she upgraded her phone from a brick-like Nokia to a Samsung all-singing, all-dancing model. The Teenager is quietly impressed, if a little jealous….

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S’Magical…

Christmas CtI am one present away from completing my Christmas shopping.

Before you start pelting me with mince pies (or Terry’s Chocolate Oranges – yes please), I can explain, honestly.

Organising Christmas for the last couple of years has been a bit of a nightmare, so this year I was determined to be calm, cool and collected.

I drew up lists, scoured the internet then decided it’d be far easier just to give everyone a onesie. Present list – big tick. The Teenager could have a Superman one, The Boss could have a Homer Simpson one and I’m guessing they make them for cats now too.

After running the idea past The Teenager (who looked at me in horror, told me he wouldn’t be seen dead in an oversized babygro and turned his music up even louder) it was back to the drawing board.

So now I have a whole stack of carefully-chosen presents, reams of wrapping paper, ribbon and gift tags. All waiting for that advert-inspired magical evening where I will settle myself down with a glass of mulled wine, Christmas carols playing in the soft-focus background and fight with the sticky tape and try to catch the cat when she runs off with the ribbon.

The internet has been a blessing, although I’m not sure my postman sees it that way, as he struggles up the path day after day. I’ve ordered everything from it – right down to a reel of invisible thread to hang my home-made stars with. Yup, getting the shopping out the way has given me time to pick up my glue gun. I’m going to get crafty this year. My Christmas wreath was a bit of a disaster (Pinterest made it look so easy, bah), but you can’t go wrong with stars. Can you?

So this year I won’t be barging my way through crowds. I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I’d slip unnoticed to the ground, trampled by hordes of eager shoppers poking each other in the eye with jumbo rolls of wrapping paper.

For people with MS, Christmas is a society-endorsed period of doing what I am an expert at – dozing off on the sofa in front of rubbish telly – and I intend to make the most of it.

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Back to life, back to reality

Christmas and New Year are well and truly over and it’s back to work today. I am torn. Part of me is excited and full of plans for the year ahead, yet ¬†part of me will miss the lovely unreality of the last few weeks. After a truly terrible year, it was a chance to kick back, relax and recover.

Aside from celebrating Christmas, catching up with friends and family and all the usual over-indulgence, Christmas is an excellent excuse for suspending real life. Normal routine is put on hold and I could say, ‘oh, I’ll do that next year’. Well, now it is next year and reality is breathing down my neck. Even though I worked between Christmas and New Year, it felt different, as there were still ongoing celebrations to look forward to.

Christmas time cushioned me in magical possibilities. Dreams can come true and weird and wonderful plans were discussed late into the night, the Christmas lights twinkling softly in the background. I will be taking them down in the next day or so and will miss them and all my lovely decorations. Oh, and the chocolate coins and Christmas cake. I will miss the sense of expectation in the air. Stripped of the Christmas trappings, life comes back into sharp focus once more.

Anyway, I guess it’s time to concentrate on the here and now. The Teenager comes back from London on Saturday and normal routine will definitely be back with a rude bang – the schoolwork, the laundry, the rugby matches, the grunts, the mysteriously vanishing food. My final year at University starts in February and I will be knee-deep in study notes, essays and books.

Does anyone else find January a dreary and grey month? The only thing to look forward to is Valentines Day. If you have a partner. Which I don’t. I was joking with a friend the other day about how hard it would be to find a new man in my situation. If it was tricky enough before being diagnosed with MS – 30-something, divorced, single mother – imagine my lonely hearts advert now: 30-something, divorced, single mother and oh, by the way I have MS. I mean, what are the chances?

 

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