Recently I received a slew of positive comments about this blog. One in particular highlighted the dilemma I face with each blog I create. Google is blind to creative minds and diverse lives! I know this, not only because I’ve been told this by many SEO experts: “Be one thing. Set one strong keyword. Decide what your blog is about”, but also because I’ve just spent an age editing this piece to make it fit into Google’s search engine recognition algorithms. My problem is that I’m a polymath of eclectic tastes (take that Google!). I’m interested in many subjects and don’t want to draw attention to just one aspect of my passions. By imposing SEO algorithms on me, they are asking me to decide what my Life is about. This is not my problem, it’s Google’s problem but Google is trying to make me adjust to it, rather than it adjusting to me.
In the first instance, I have been a Buddhist for 20 years now, so that’s a given in the title bar of my site. It’s who I am. To separate me from my Buddhist practice (Nam Myoho Renge Kyo) would be to deny the source of all my strength in adversity, my passion in creativity and my innovation when facing obstacles.
As the only child of my parents, one of whom died in 1994, I’m a carer. My Mum is now 87 years young and I’m happy to say, still has her mobility. However, she does need reassurance, help with unravelling the complexities of a modern world (she’s about to get connected to the internet for the first time) and transport to activities and the shops. I’m a member of the Society of Authors, courtesy of my book about living with infertility and the feature articles associated with that publication.
When I became a carer and simultaneously began my long dark journey into arthritis treatment, I found that I could no longer write to a deadline. However, support came in the form of James Green, who began the blog “Writers as Carers” in conjunction with the SoA. This closed group comprises writers all struggling with health problems and/or caring responsibilities, has been a lifeline to me. I want to blog about that as well.
I’m passionate about my two sprocker spaniel dogs. I have bred two litters of puppies, raised them at home and created a whole new network of friends and a joyful Facebook page where all the owners chat to each other. We’ve had two “birthday parties” (no dressing up allowed) to celebrate and I have met a diverse group of warm and wonderful people and even rekindled old friendships which had become disconnected over time and geography. If you read the archive blog ‘Friends for a Reason, a Season or a Lifetime‘ you’ll see what I mean.
Before I began “raising” spaniels, I had two rescue dogs, so I’m interested in rescue charities and the incredible work they do on a shoestring. I’m going to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home Fun Day in Old Windsor on Saturday 2nd July, so I’ll probably blog about that in due course.
One of the first litter of Sprocker puppies is a professional truffle dog, working in Somerset. Who knew that we grew truffles in the UK? Marion Dean’s interview about her change of lifestyle and her truffle dog training school is also in my archive blogs. This time, I donated one of the second litter puppies to a medical alert dog charity. He had some special qualities: he is quietly confident, he stayed out of puppy play fights but loves people – all potential qualities of a medical assistance dog. I wanted to donate him to Hearing Dogs for the Deaf, but their training programme was full, but they suggested Medical Detection Dogs who are also relatively local to me, so I made the connection with them and want to highlight their work.
Medical Detection Dogs are pioneers in early cancer detection. I’m sure that all you guys out there would rather have a sample of your urine sniffed by a medical detection dog, than have a biopsy painfully removed from your dangly bits? The puppy I gave to them is going to be a medical assistance dog, alerting a type 1 diabetic to falling blood sugar levels, before they sink into a coma. My husband and I were recently invited to their graduation and celebration day at Stowe School. An account of that day, including an interview with a puppy socialiser and a couple of stories about the life saving partnerships formed as result of the work that Medical Detection Dogs do, is fascinating to me and I want to raise awareness of this small, but burgeoning area of the charitable sector.
Before beginning this blog, I was a successful event and stage manager. My career took me into world famous venues where I facilitated and sometime produced shows and events alongside creative people from all genres of music and entertainment. I worked on the first production of Madam Butterfly at the Royal Albert Hall (the one that flooded the arena in the first act matinee, drained it for the second and re-filled for the evening performance). I facilitated the finale of Spice Girls – The Movie. I was the Production Manager for the first performance of Romeo and Juliette, starring Roberto Alagna and Angela Georghiu in the newly refurbished Royal Opera House.
My live events career was interrupted by the desire to start a family. You might have clicked through to see my book “Making Babies the Hard Way” about my journey through fertility treatment, which in our case, was unsuccessful. I would never discourage anyone from exploring the accomplished and technically advancing techniques available to help create a family, but for 75% of couples, the treatment is still unsuccessful. My book was written to give some support, in whatever small way my experience can be of support, to those couple left bereft and grieving when they run out of money, physical strength or emotional resilience to carry on. They, like us, will have to adjust a lifetime of family orientated dreams and reinvent themselves, often without a template to work from.
As a result of flat feet (those are not my feet in the photograph above, I hasten to add), I had an accident in my early twenties, smashing my ankle joint. I recovered, thanks to fast treatment in Spain and great orthopaedic work in the UK. I went on to lead an active life for twenty years, before developing end stage arthritis in my early fifties. I’ve had multiple ankle surgeries (ongoing), leading to constant pain. “Serious” writing or commission writing to a deadline isn’t possible, so I’ve had to adjust my career again. The onset of fibromyalgia, most likely triggered by multiple surgery and my hyper mobility means that my joints swell and give me pain. At its worst I have to spend the day my bed. After googling fibromyalgia, I discovered that occupational therapy is very important to distract the brain and reduce pain. Arts and Crafts work has been found to be very helpful. This is how I began to explore glass work and to re-skill and revive my knowledge of silver and goldsmithing learned at school as part of my Art and Design A-level.
I force myself to walk nearly every day, but I’m unable to give my spaniels the length of walk they ideally need and deserve. After running out of funds to pay a dog walker after my health problems became measured in years instead of months, I’ve been helped by a set of altruistic volunteers whom I found through a website called “Borrow My Doggy“. This site featured on BBC Radio 4 the other day, as part of a segment on the Sharing Society. Yes, you guessed it, this is another subject I want to link to, highlight and bring to a wider audience.
In the About Me section of this site, I make the point that Life will always throw you curved balls and I think it’s fair to say that I’ve been thrown a fair share. But I’m also eternally optimistic about Life, hence the Dog Days (high days of Summer). I know my SEO will not be easy due to the number and range of subjects I want to blog about but, in my experience, nothing in Life worth having is easily gained. I live a rich and varied existence. My Life is full of surprises, not all of them pleasant, but I wouldn’t have it any other way and Google needs to catch up with me, rather than forcing me to narrow this page for Google. If you manage to find this blog, and like it, please share, comment and let’s beat the search engines into submission!