Day 17 – 20 More Random Questions

I spent most of the day asleep and my brain is mushy so answering more questions today. As I’m on my laptop it’s doing the list differently from yesterday.

  1. Are you a dog person or cat person? – Cat. I really like dogs but I love cats more. If Johan wasn’t severely allergic to them I’d be asking the council for special permission to have a cat (as we have a communal entrance we’re not usually allowed cats or dogs here).
  2. Are you a fan of any sports team? – I like watching football and cricket. For football, I support England, Iceland, Liverpool FC, AFC Wimbledon and Gateshead FC (both men’s and women’s). For cricket, I support England, Iceland, Durham and Lancashire. I’m s member of the Dons Trust (owners of AFC Wimbledon) and I donated towards the Iceland cricket team.
  3. Are you a good cook? – Before I got ill, I was pretty scared of cooking, because it tended to involve hot and sharp things that could hurt (and frequently did because I’m clumsy). I did make an okay chicken and mushroom risotto and roast dinner though, and I miss my orange soup (carrot, butternut squash and sweet potato).
  4. Are you an early adopter or late adopter? – I used to be an early adopter, getting the first Android phone (T-Mobile G1 in the UK) and often running beta or even alpha versions of software. More recently I’ve been content waiting a little bit before getting things. I only got WhatsApp a few days ago.
  5. What is good about how you are living your life right now? – I’m mostly happy. Having lived for over a decade with severe depression, I didn’t think it would ever be possible for me to be happy again. I also have some amazing family and friends that make life awesome.
  6. If you could eliminate one weakness or limitation in your life, what would it be? – Not having Severe ME would be good. Either that or my anxiety/panic attacks. They suck.
  7. Who is the best teacher you’ve ever had? – At school, Mrs Gregory, my year head and French teacher at my second secondary school. She believed in me when I couldn’t believe in myself. In college, my tutor Louise, who basically saved my life at one point.
  8. Who is the first person you message when something exciting happens? – This is the purpose of the group chat with Johan and Sammie. For most things, I want them to know at the same time.
  9. Can you close your eyes and raise your eyebrows? – Yes.
  10. Can you touch your nose with your tongue? – Yes. So can Sammie. Johan can’t, so he calls me a show off when I do so πŸ˜›
  11. Can you whistle? – Sometimes. I used to be able to be able to reliably but not so much since I got really ill. I can no longer whistle with my fingers.
  12. Do you remember your dreams? – As I wake up multiple times during sleep, I usually end up remembering a couple of them. I’d rather not when they’re nightmares.
  13. Do you save old greeting cards and letters? Throw them away? – I save special ones in my memory box. I have a couple of cards that I put on the wall as they’re so pretty.
  14. Do you sleep with the lights on or off? – Off. I also wear an eye mask so the light from elsewhere doesn’t bother me. I press a button on my tablet and it starts my sleep tracking and turns the lights off at the same time, which is awesome.
  15. Do you have a garden? – Technically yes. We share one with the other flats in the block. Unfortunately there are steps to it, so I’ve only seen it once (from the doorway) and never been in it.
  16. Do you have any allergies? – Yup. Hay fever was the first I noticed as a teen. Then I became allergic to amoxicillin, citalopram (an antidepressant) and plasters. I also have random reactions to various other things like going outside, many perfumes, and at least one type of food (possibly green bell peppers but I’m not 100% sure). I have intolerances to some medication (not allergic but side effects are unbearable) including paracetamol, codeine and oramorph. I suspect there’s something fishy going on with my immune system.
  17. Do you carry a donor card? – I don’t have a physical card any longer, but I have signed up to the donor register and made it clear to Johan that I want anything that’s usable to be donated. I used to carry one as a child.
  18. Do you have a best friend, if so, then who? – Johan. I’m very happy to be married to my best friend πŸ™‚ I also have a small group of very good friends who I know I can turn to if needed. I’m very lucky.
  19. What is something that amazes you? – Many things. The universe. New discoveries. People’s capacity to love and help others. That we exist.
  20. What is at the top of your bucket list? – This is a hard question, as there are so many things I want to do. Going on holiday with Johan and Sammie would be pretty high. On the more extravagant side I want to go on a plane and see penguins in the wild. If I could be healthy or even reliably able to get out of bed, that would be amazing.

Day 16 – 20 Random Questions

Back when blogs were bigger (mostly before everyone was on Facebook), there used to be these blog surveys that would go around the various blog communities. I always enjoyed them, so I’m taking some I found by randomly googling (from and answering them here. As it’s my blog, I’m just picking some I want to answer.

1. What is your full name? – Danni Dominie Brennand.

2. What does your name mean? – Danni comes from Daniel, meaning God is my judge. Dominie comes from dominus, meaning lord or master, but this particular spelling can also mean a schoolmaster in Scots or a minister. Brennand comes from old English meaning burnt hand. I didn’t know that when I got married.

3. Are you named after anyone? – Not that I can remember. I think my mum just liked the name, but I could be wrong.

4. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? – I already did πŸ™‚ My mum always wanted to call me Danni, but was told it wasn’t a proper name so I was baptised Danielle. I changed it via deed poll to Danni a few years ago. If I had to change it to something completely different, maybe Alex. I’d have gone with Sammie but I already used that for my daughter.

5. Where did you grow up? – I grew up in Liverpool. Despite years of trying, I never did manage a Scouse accent. Mine is best described as generic northern English. Interestingly, Sammie still sounds quite like me despite us not living together since she was three.

6. What would your parents have named you if you were assigned male at birth? – Bartholomew. I was born before the Simpsons came out so I think I had a lucky escape there.

7. What is your biggest accomplishment? – Surviving severe depression. I still have significant mental health issues with anxiety, panic attacks and flashbacks, but I now want to be alive. It took a lot of help from many awesome people and a decent amount of luck to be able to recover from it. I still sometimes wonder how I managed to survive and am now mostly happy.

8. What is your biggest fear? – Personal? Pain. To a ridiculous degree. I have many phobias all of which come down to being afraid of pain. I’m scared of needles, fire, boiling liquids, knives, ovens, falling, traffic and wasps among other things. The silly part is I live with constant severe pain and deal with it relatively okay, but I’m still scared of things that would be much less painful. I’m also scared of something bad happening to my loved ones, especially Sammie and Johan, but I think that’s more understandable.

9. What inspires you? – People, especially those I know, overcoming major obstacles to achieve their goals. I’m lucky to see examples of this frequently.

10. What is the most important thing in your life? – Silly answer? Penguins 🐧. Serious answer? Sammie and Johan.

11. What has required the most courage of you in your life so far? – Admitting that I was too ill to look after Sammie. I love her so much and wish that we could live together, but it’s better for her to be living with her grandparents. I’m really happy that I’m able to be a part of her life still via the internet and visits.

12. What is your favourite drink? – Hot chocolate with whipped cream, sprinkles and marshmallows.

13. What are your favourite foods? – Chocolate, bananas, chicken and sweet potato. I’ve had various combinations but not all in one dish before. When I’m able to cook again I’ll have to do some experimenting.

14. What is your favourite holiday destination? Of the places I’ve been, Talhenbont Hall in North Wales. It’s beautiful and I have some great memories from there. I’d love to go back some day.

15. What is your favourite type of clothing? – Comfortable, preferably purple and with penguins on. When I could stand I loved spinny skirts. I also like a shirt and tie. I mostly wear t-shirts or pyjamas now, being in bed nearly all the time.

16. What is your favourite way to pass time? Playing a game in the company of my favourite people. We don’t need to be talking or even interacting (though that’s still great), just being comfortable together in the same space.

17. What was your favourite subject in school? IT. I was good at it, I loved using computers and there was very little handwriting involved.

18. What was your least favourite subject in school? For most of it, art. I was terrible at it and could never get it how I wanted. I had an awesome teacher for it in year 9 though so it was fun that year.

19. What was your favourite TV show when you were a child? – This changed depending on age. Some I remember include Rainbow, Wacaday, The Queen’s Nose, The Demon Headmaster, The Worst Witch, Clarissa Explains it All and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. When I was 13 I got really into Star Trek and that’s still one of my favourite shows.

20. Are you scared of heights? – Nope. I’m afraid of falling, because it’ll hurt, but so long as I’m strapped in or safe then I really like them. It used to surprise people when I was younger that I had no problems with tall rollercoasters or climbing as I was so scared and anxious otherwise.

2016 in Review

Every year since I started this blog, I’ve done an end of year survey. This year, I finally realised that it’s my blog, so I can change the questions to ones more suited to me. I’m a bit of a silly sausage for only just realising that πŸ˜› 2016 was definitely an eventful year.

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
Saw Snowdogs! More in several years than ever, I went to an event with Sammie (the event wasn’t great, being out with Sammie was amazing).

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I ended up not making any. I’ve decided to swap to New Year Goals instead, but I’m still working on them πŸ™‚

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
There were a couple of new babies on my Facebook timeline in the last year πŸ™‚

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No-one I was very close to, but a couple of acquaintances πŸ™

5. Where did you visit?
I went into Gateshead and Newcastle, to Saltwell Park twice (once with Sammie) and to South Tyneside Hospital twice for the same appointment πŸ˜›

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Better neighbours. I’m getting more anxiety and panic attacks and flashbacks now, and Johan isn’t always in to help πŸ™

7. What will you most remember from 2016 and why?
Getting my shower chair and better hoist slings. Going out with Sammie πŸ˜€

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Going to Enchanted Parks with Sammie was amazing. I hope to do something similar again this year (but maybe less boring and wet).

9. What was your biggest failure?
Having to admit that I’d lost the cognitive ability to manage my own finances and benefits without help. Johan became my appointee.

10. Did you suffer any new illness or injury?
Though overall I wasn’t too bad physically, my cognitive functioning declined quite a bit. I overdid it in December so ended the year feeling rather rotten.

11. What was the best thing someone gave you?
Though I love all my presents, the homemade photo frame with photo that Sammie gave me was awesome. Special mention goes to the loom band penguin and unicorn I got for my birthday πŸ™‚

12. Who impressed you this year?
Other than Johan and Sammie, @IamMrJ’s report into ESA in poor areas was very impressive. He’s awesome. (The report:

13. What made you appalled and/or depressed?
Our upstairs neighbours. The care agency (it’s got a terrible CQC report so I know I’m not the only one having issues). The Tory Government (again). Brexit (the campaigns from both sides, the result, the murder of Jo Cox). The US Presidential Election. Bigots. Racists. It’s not been a great year in that way.

14. Other than food, bills and disability stuff, where did most of your money go?
New hobby: loom knitting πŸ˜€ Also managed to go out to eat a few times which was awesome.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I went to the Fireworks display! I went out with Sammie! Getting clean! Penguins!

16. What big events will you remember most from 2016?
Probably Brexit. I’ve got a feeling Trump’s presidency will be more 2017.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
Happier πŸ˜€
b)Β healthier orΒ more ill?
Overall I’m a bit better physically. Cognitively I’ve got worse.
c) richer or poorer?
About the same right now. Will have to see what decision I get for my PIP assessment.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Having showers. I managed 2 in 5 months.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Having anxiety and panic attacks. Having meltdowns. Most were triggered by the neighbours, some by care workers.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Opened presents when I woke up. Ate some goodies. Fell asleep. Spoke to Sammie and had the Christmas dinner our neighbour made when I woke up again. Stayed awake until the next morning then crashed hard. Our Christmas tree had lights and a penguin on the top this year. Maybe next year we’ll manage tree, lights and decorations?

21.Β What did you love in 2016?
Johan and Sammie (obviously). Penguins (also obvious). My Twitter friends. Awesome family. Those who initiated conversation with me when I became unable to initiate it myself.

22. How manyΒ trips out?
Several! Maybe not as many as I’d have liked, but I’m now definitely only mostly bedbound, not completely bedbound πŸ˜€

23. What was your favourite TV programme?
The Great British Bake Off πŸ™‚Β I think it’s the only TV show I managed to watch every episode of (excluding Christmas specials as I’ve not been well enough to see them yet).

24. Do you dislikeΒ anyone or anything now that you didn’t dislike this time last year?
I really dislike how the country has become less accepting of difference. The rise of the far right is really scary to me.

25. What was the best book you read?
Until the end of December, I thought it would be The Girl With All the Gifts. Then I was recommended Shades of Grey and that won. They’re both excellent though.

26. What was your greatest media discovery?
Probably the film Oddball, which I saw on (UK) Netflix. It’s about fairy penguins, which are my favourite real life penguins! And their doggy protector!

27. What did you want and get?
Other than talking and seeing Sammie, I managed going out (and not just for appointments), and I finally got my shower chair! I had two showers! I also got hoist slings with head support which makes hoisting much less painful. I also had two baths while in the care home while Johan was in Sweden at the end of July/beginning of August.

28. What did you want and not get?
I wanted to have more showers (silly body not letting me have more than two). I also wanted my health to improve overall, but though I’m doing better physically, I’m worse cognitively.

29. What was your favourite film of this year?
Oddball! Star Trek: Into Darkness was also good πŸ™‚

30. What did you do on your birthday?
Sammie came over and visited! Best birthday present πŸ˜€

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Being able to do more. I’m happy I managed to do some stuff though πŸ™‚

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Purple. Sometimes I wore stuff that wasn’t pyjamas, like a purple shirt and tie πŸ˜€

33. What kept you sane?
Other than the obvious (penguins, Johan, Sammie, friends), good memories helped a lot, such as memories of seeing Sammie.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I should probably change this question but I don’t know what to πŸ˜› I didn’t fancy anyone new, but finding out more about Carrie Fisher and George Michael meant I admired them more than I already did.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Probably Brexit. The whole thing was a mess and it’s not looking to get any better.

36. Who do you miss?
Sammie when I can’t talk to her. Johan when he’s out. My friends when I’m not able to communicate with them.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
I think meeting IamMrJ in person was in 2016? I’m not sure. He’s even more awesome in real life than on Twitter though, and I already thought he was amazingly awesome πŸ™‚

38. What was the best thing you ate?
Johan’s potatoes are again unbeaten. I also really enjoyed the fudge we got from Fancy a Fudge?

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016?
Too many people are willing to lie to get others to do what they want. Sometimes even evidence won’t work against it.

40. A quote that sums up your year:
β€œIf my life wasn’t funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable.”
― Carrie Fisher, Wishful Drinking

2014 In Review

A bit later than usual, but I enjoy doing this each year πŸ™‚

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
I was hoisted into bath for the first time while in a care home πŸ™‚ Less never done before and more not done for a while, I managed to stand up and take three steps with my zimmer frame one day I had a lot less dizziness than normal πŸ™‚

2. Did you keep your New Year’s Resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I managed 3 and a bit. That’s not too bad going. I’ve got some new ones for this year I’ll be blogging about πŸ™

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! A few friends gave birth during 2014 πŸ™‚

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No-one I was very close to died, but two friends from twitter did unexpectedly πŸ™

5. What countries did you visit?
I went all way across the river Tyne to Newcastle for a hospital appointment! It was a massive adventure πŸ˜›

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
Still want that hoist and shower chair πŸ˜› The ability to go out without needing a stretcher would be nice.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I saw Sammie three times! I can’t remember the exact date of the first two visits (silly memory) but the second was on Christmas Eve so I think I’ll be able to remember that. Speaking to her on Christmas Day and her birthday was awesome too πŸ™‚

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Standing up and walking three steps on the one good day I had all year πŸ˜›

9. What was your biggest failure?
My health again.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
On top normal bedbound ME stuff, I had a pressure sore on my ear that took three months to disappear. That wasn’t fun.

11. What was the best thing someone bought you?
Everything that people bought me was amazing πŸ™‚ My favourite present (after seeing Sammie) was a purple penguin ornament she made me for Christmas πŸ˜€

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Johan was amazing as always. Sammie dealt with a difficult issue in a very mature way and I’m so proud of her for it.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and/or depressed?
The government trying to screw the lives of sick, disabled and poor people even more than they already have.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food, bills, disability stuff. Being an adult sucks in some ways.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Sammie :) Talking to Sammie was amazing. Seeing Sammie was amazing. She is an amazing person. (Yes, this is a repeat from last year. Still true.) I also got excited about penguins πŸ˜€

16. What songs will always remind of 2014?
Spread the Hope. You can listen to it or buy it:Β It’s for four good charities to help sick children πŸ™‚

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
Happier. Spoke to Sammie loads!
b) fatter or skinnier?
A bit skinnier. This gaining weight business isn’t going so well.
c) richer or poorer?
Hard to tell. Johan got PIP but that’s his income rather than mine.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Having good days πŸ˜›

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Relapsing. Getting pressure sores.

20. How do you plan to spend Christmas?
I spent most of Christmas talking to Sammie. Johan was the one sleeping all day πŸ˜› I had a lovely dinner made by Esther and opened presents and it was good πŸ˜€

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?
I got more penguins I loved πŸ˜› I still very much love Johan and Sammie πŸ™‚

22. How many one night stands?
None. I had a 10 second stand πŸ˜›

23. What was your favourite TV programme?
Doctor Who and Great British Bake Off πŸ™‚

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Still don’t hate anyone. I try to dislike actions rather than people. Like the actions of the government.

25. What was the best book you read?
Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh πŸ™‚

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Why so many questions on music? I need to get well enough to listen to some.

27. What did you want and get?
Lots of contact with Sammie πŸ™‚ I saw her three times and spoke to her loads on Skype (whenever I was well enough to go on the computer during the day, pretty much). I also got a new, bigger telly so I can see things on it properly πŸ™‚

28. What did you want and not get?
My health to improve, and a hoist so I could get out of bed. (Same as last year then. That hoist would be really helpful…)

29. What was your favourite film of this year?
Despicable Me! Frozen was also good, and I liked Divergent (I think they’re the only films I actually watched, at least all the way through).

30. What did you do on your birthday?
Mostly slept. I got a McDonalds for tea, some awesome presents and Sammie sang to me on Skype, so it was a good day even though I was ill πŸ™‚

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Being able to get out of bed and my health improving. I was still very happy though.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Penguins and pyjamas. Sometimes even penguin pyjamas πŸ˜›

33. What kept you sane?
Penguins, Johan, Sammie and friends πŸ™‚

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I didn’t get any new crushes.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Welfare reform stuff again. All the different ways the government is screwing over poor and/or disabled people.

36. Who do you miss?
Sammie (though the extra contact makes it easier) and my friends and family.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
I met Sue, a friend from Twitter!

38. What was the best thing you ate?
Hard one. The pork pie from French Oven, the festive dinner at Christmas and the birthday McDonalds are all up there (I’m not a sophisticated eater at all πŸ˜› ).

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014?
Don’t get near a horny seal if you’re a penguin.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
If you’re happy and you know it, flap your hands πŸ˜€

Stolen Meme Goodness – Old Schooling

I’ve got lots of things I want to blog about, so of course I can’t seem to manage any of them. Instead, here’s a meme I stole from Stimey.

What is the last thing you watched on TV?
Part of a My Little Pony episode. I realised I had no idea what was going on halfway through and haven’t finished it yet. I’ve still got stuff to watch from Christmas.

When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
Last time I stepped outside was one step while held up by two ambulance men to get from the front door of my old flat onto a stretcher, in December 2011 (I couldn’t really walk but it counts). I was going to hospital to get some teeth removed. Last time I went outside was in January. I went to the bottom of the ramp in my wheelchair to see outside and it was amazing.

What is on the walls of the room you are in?
A penguin that Sammie painted when she was in nursery. She gave me it a few years ago. I’ve yet to get my other pictures and posters up, but it’ll happen at some point.

If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?
A bungalow with lots of adaptations to make it accessible to Danni’s. A special hospice for those who are severely ill and need extra quiet and care. An awesome computer πŸ˜€ I’d also employ some awesome people to help me and Johan out.

Tell me something about you that most people don’t know.
In year 7 I won an award for RE presented by the Archdeacon of Liverpool. In year 9 I failed my RE exam by falling asleep during it.

Who made the last incoming call on your phone?
An unknown number on my mobile. We suspect it was the GP surgery as they phoned our landline a couple of minutes later. I don’t use the phone.

If you could change something about your home, without worry about expense or mess, what would you do?
Get that hoist I need installed. Figure out a way of installing a bath. As it’s a flat we’re limited in what we could do building wise, so moving would probably work better for bigger stuff.

What was the last thing you bought?
A phone charger for a friend. Before that, Windows 8.1 Pro and Object Desktop for my computer (yay discounts!).

Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving?
When I’m a bit better, definitely. Not sure my body could tolerate either right now πŸ˜‰

If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be?
How do I work out what famous means? There are a lot of people I’d like to have dinner with who are pretty well known, at least in the communities I’m in. I think having dinner with Maureen Johnson would be interesting.

Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
First I need to get a credit card, then it depends if I have to pay it back again πŸ˜‰ I love geeky shops, book shops, and small shops with awesome things. If I have to pay it back, I’m most likely going to spend it on something we need.

Is the glass half empty or half full?
I don’t know as I can’t see it. My hydrant is empty as I just finished the juice in it. The glass might just be twice as large as it needs to be. In the metaphorical sense, it’s kinda both. There’s good and bad in the world, and though I try and concentrate on the positives that doesn’t mean the negatives aren’t there.

What’s the farthest-away place you’ve been?
Either Calais, France or Balmedie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. France is more foreign but at the time Balmedie was further from Liverpool. I need to see which is now I’ve moved north east πŸ™‚

What’s under your bed?
I’m not meant to have anything under my bed as it’s a hospital one. In reality I have a storage bag of clothes, and whatever I’ve knocked off the bed or tables (there’s probably a few penguins, milkshake bottle tops, empty blister packs, small sweets that insist on escaping like smarties).

What is your favourite time of the day?
Probably nighttime. I’m naturally nocturnal and it tends to be quieter. Also, any time of day where my painkillers have kicked in and my symptoms aren’t too bad.

What Inspires you?
People who are able to keep going, especially when life is being crappy. Also those who are strong enough to ask for help when they need it, or know when to stop (it’s often harder than trying to push through). Also penguins.

If you want to do this meme, I’d like to read your responses, whether on your blog or in the comments. Also, Stimey’s responses cheered me up πŸ™‚ Proper blog post coming when able.