The week in view

Yesterday, I had a nice comment from and she liked a bunch of my posts.Thank you Kelly.

Now I’d like to say I am a deep thinker and just their mere mention of previous post titles, reminds me of what I have written. Not so. I was prompted to go back to read some of them and one was a reminder to count your blessings, which was itself prompted by a wee bairn asking “What was your favourite thing about today?”.

So here we go for another week:

  • Last weekend was just after a pay day, always a good time, especially as I can figure out how much I have saved from not smoking and transfer it into my savings account
  • Mum invited us up for Sunday lunch. Normally it’s the other way around, either we take her out, invite her down, or plate some up and take it up to her
  • Mum had a scan on Monday because she has a lump about the size of a pea in her throat. They said it was because she has lost a lot of weight, mostly from worrying about my sister, and something she needs to work on, but very good news that it wasn’t anything major.
  • I had a great day in the office on Tuesday and we launched our new brand and network. And the ride to work was exhilarating and I encountered no artics with swinging rear doors (that isn’t a euphenism by the way)
  • My application is now published internally for beta testing, which means my colleagues have an opportunity to play with it and feed back any bugs and feature requests
  • My bike passed it’s MOT with a little help and now feels even better to ride
  • My youngest passed his 3 month probationary period at work, he is now a full time employee and has made me very proud in how he has handled some challenging situations.

What have been your favourite things this week?


Hiatus…changes….and I slipped

When I started this blog, I intended to blog about the process of donating a kidney to my sister. As time went on, I found myself blogging about different things that life presented me with. I started to record my thoughts and feelings which isn’t something I would normally publicly air, though this medium provides a degree of anonymity. And as part of the living donor process, I blogged about my research on giving up smoking, along with the daily happenings as I gave up after nearly 30 years of smoking every day. This latter part had to happen really. I was up to between 30 and 40 a day and had began to feel short of breath when climbing stairs and other similar activities.

Over the last four or five days, I’ve took a hiatus from blogging. After finding out that I could not donate and sharing the news with my family, I had something of a downward spiral. But life goes on. Chin up as my Dad used to say when we were kids. Her preparation for dialisys will continue and there are a few possible donors.

I had a few cigarettes too. Perhaps this was a little dumb, but I found myself craving a smoke even more that when I initially gave up. That caught me unawares, after nearly five weeks I hadn’t anticipated that. So over the course of a day I smoked three. Less than half of three actually. Part way through each one, I asked myself what was I doing. They werent particularly nice, or foul, and certainly werent making me feel any better. That was a few days ago now, so I am back on the wagon so to speak.

I did some research for my sis. She doesn’t use the internet and had a question about whether someone close to her would be in a position to donate. So I read alot of things about being a living donor. Stuff I had purposefully avoided in the past. Which included the risk and chances of different illnesses happening to the donor. I hadn’t been completely blind to them. At my initial session at the donor clinic the nurse went through all the different risks, some of them were surprisingly high, but it was information overload and frankly, I didnt want to know the percentages. I’d made the decision and had to trust that they new what they were doing, that they wouldn’t be proceeding if the risks became untenable. During my research the night before last, the thing that stood out for me was the chance of a stroke or heart related problem. The NHS page states 1.8%. That seems pretty high. And it makes sense of why they are not willing to proceed with my donation.

This blog will continue. As my sister begins dialysis and searches for another donor, I will record what I can here, along with other thoughts. I do want to thank everyone for their kind wishes, it is been heartwarming and uplifting to receive them.

Chin up.

Cigarettes and alcohol

Friday I went to the docs. I’d been earlier in the week for the nurse to take even more blood. I was surprised, as I had expected to see the doctor then and I thought the medical profession had ceased the practice of leaching patients some years ago. The nurse told me there where some concerns over my liver function, so I had to make a fresh appointment for Friday to see the doc. She didn’t know why she was taking blood, thought there might have been some kind of mix up, but took some anyway.

Fast forward to Friday. The doc is new to the surgery, a pretty young asian woman, who tells me I have enzymes in my liver which are causing it to work way too hard. She asks me what medication I am on. Strange, I thought she would know that. We go through the list of tablets and the doc starts leafing through a medical book, presumably looking for any mentions of side effects that might cause this liver issue. I guess it was inconclusive, as she asks me how much alcohol I drink. One to two bottles of red wine over a weekend, I reply. So she asks me to abstain for a fortnight.

I wasn’t particularly happy, first cigarettes, now alcohol. I may have to find myself some new vices! Did I mention that giving up smoking can be hazardous to your health.

Friday and Saturday evenings have been drink free. I’d like to say I feel better each morning for it, I don’t.

No worries though, I took the bike out a couple of times yesterday. The first outing was a short trip around my local town. The second, 60 mile round trip to see a relative. Hence my Oil and Petrol post. I’m feeling a combination of my age and some wanderlust I guess.

I read this on Four Corners Bike Ride blog this morning and it is one of the things I love about riding – a lot of cars will ease over to let a motorbike past. I do it myself when in my tin can. Whether it is motivated by people being polite or just not wanting to have a bike sat behind them, it’s a nice feeling as a rider. Though it does encourage you to zip along a little faster.

Speaking of the Four Corner Bike Ride blog. I’m watching this fella’s endeavours closely. It’s something I’d like to do next year. Perhaps camping with the occasional hotel or B&B when I need a little luxury. The wife is up for it. I can’t see me doing it on the kwaka though. It has no fairing, only the flyscreen that I’ve added. It does help, but not enough for long distances at speed (not that I ever go over 70 officer, honest!).

So I am continuing to put my cigarette money to one side towards a newer bike, preferably a Suzuki V-Strom. It seems like my weekend wine money ought to go into that fund too.

Sometimes SharePoint smokes….

or sometimes I wish it would, in a nice little funeral pyre, dowsed in petrol! That I can light a cigarette from! Ok, I will forgo the cig.

Today has been just a tad frustrating. There are some requirements for my app to integrate with Microsoft SharePoint (also known as MOSS). I knew this would be needed when I started on the application, though I expected it to be necessary after version 1.0 was rolled out. Requirements change though and it looks like we need our own backup strategy to supplement the company one.

The challenge with SharePoint is there are many different ways of doing this, depending on what version you are working with, which development environment you have installed, and which SDK tools you have. Most appear mutually exclusive and the documentation is pretty awful, which is unusual for Microsoft. It reminds me of MS Site Server which I have programmed applications for before and I suspect that’s part of the problem here. It feels like an evolution of MSSS, something that has grown in an organic way, rather than designed from the ground up with a clean application interface.

With all the different versions of tools and SDKs, even the forums provide little help.

Still, I have the skeleton code working now, it didnt take a few hours, it took all day and isn’t quite as far along as I had hoped. But we persevere. I made progress and got it doing what it needs to do.

Take that SharePoint. And I know, that a month ago, I would have burnt through a full pack of smokes today. Easily. Staring intently at the screen, not even acknowledging how many I lit up. This is pretty impressive actually. I got my head around the interface. And I haven’t really had the burning yearning for a cigarette. Despite the headache it has been, today has been another good day.

Me and SharePoint will have a rematch one day soon I am sure.

A good week

Earlier this morning I read a post where someone’s daughter asked them “What was your favourite thing about today?” It was an insightful post about how, as adults, we get so wrapped up in all the stuff we need to do, that we don’t often look back and think about the good stuff.

Last week was pretty good. Before I start a new one, I am going to spend a few moments looking back….

  • My youngest lad got his bike fixed, two exhaust studs retapped and all sorted for a reasonable price after we trailed all over trying to find someone to do it.  Excellent. And he is doing really well in his new job. Superb.
  • My wife and I signed up for a trial NetFlix account and whiled away the late evening hours watching “Weeds”, a bit odd but very funny.
  • I didn’t smoke any cigarettes – not one – and am almost at the four week mark.
  • I didn’t have to be readmitted to hospital, despite my doc initially saying that’s what we needed to do, I was so pleased when he changed his mind.
  • I took my motorbike out for the first proper ride since the burst blood vessel thing. Awesome. Riding gets into your blood.
  • My wife and went out for a nice meal
  • I spent an afternoon watching the classic hill climb and admiring the machinery. It made me think of the song – Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines – with several Biggles type characters
  • A colleague and I put together a great presentation for a meeting this week. It needs updating following input and ideas from manager, but overall, it was a positive experience.
  • I have a clear set of bugs to fix with my app and am feeling reasonably confident about it.

Here’s looking forward to another good week.

Quickie at the clinic

In and out. Quickly. This is exactly how it ought to be.

Arrived at the cessation clinic at (high?) noon. Quick chat, carbon monoxide levels at 2ppm (for which I blame the bus belching out diesel fumes that I passed on the walk down), new prescription for another week of Nicorette patches. Left at 5 past the hour. Job done.

Life as a non smoker. What do I do, now that I have all this extra free time? I am so much healthier for it too. I feel a cooked breakfast coming on to compensate.

Happy Friday

Thank crunchie it’s Friday.

What does Friday mean to you?

The weekend approaches. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, mostly, when I am not having to work so hard to convince people that certain things are good things – people really do get precious about what “belongs” to them. Yesterday was a good day catching up with a number of people who I enjoy spending time with at the office. It was great seeing them. I had a couple of very productive meetings and although there are some challenges ahead, I have some clear definition of how we plan to overcome them.

My two week stint of staying off my motorbike for medical reasons are almost over. I admit, I took it for a quick spin last week, but it was just that, a quick spin and for the majority of it, on a private road.

And I’m almost through my fourth box of Nicorette patches – the cravings come and go, but still smoke free. Mental note to self – need to go to the cessation clinic in the morning and get a repeat prescription.

These things make me happy. Though I keep it well hidden.