Friday, November 27

Laugh? I nearly wet myself

Just had to share this...

Hubby phones:

Hubby: Is there any money in the bank?
Me: a bit... why?
Hubby: I need some money
Me: Oh.. what for?
Hubby: a brazillian
Me: THUD (falling off my chair laughing) cough, erm.. a what?
Hubby: We're going to the Brazillian restaurant for our Christmas meal and I need to pay the deposit.
Me: (crying with laughter) oh.. ok then


Bah humbug!

I really am not against Christmas.. I don't bah humbug about it, in fact I love Christmas. I'm really looking forward to it this year as Eve is coming to stay from Christmas Eve until Boxing day. (for those that don't know, Eve is my 24 yr old daughter). It will be about 15 years since she's been at home for Christmas for a variety of reasons (not my choice btw). So we are all really looking forward to it, and I will have all three of my babies (even if they are 24, 19 and 4 - they're all my babies still) in my house on Christmas morning after Father Christmas has paid his visit. I'm so excited about it, I really can't wait....

what is giving me the bah humbug is the flippin' adverts on the telly. They are driving me insane!! A couple of weeks ago it was the 'go compare' advert that was driving me bonkers. It has to be the most annoying advert in the world.. (although there have been some pretty annoying ones in the past)... it makes me cringe every time I see or hear it. But for the past couple of weeks, almost every advert has been a Christmas advert. The biggest culprits are Asda, Tesco and Morrisions (and we don't even have a Morrisons near where I live!) They are ramming the food ads down our throats.. one after the other, they're all claiming they're the cheapest and Morrisons have even got buy one get two free offers on! (typical because what I'd use in petrol to get the nearest Morrisons would cost more than anything I'd save on their offers).

What makes it worse for me is that it's not even December yet!! For heavens sake, give me a break. It's bad enough Isabelle counting the days down (every 5 minutes) without the Christmas food adverts on during the 5 minutes Isabelle isn't telling me how many days to go.

And when did Christmas turn into Foodmas? Chrismas is no longer about Christmas (although I feel a bit of a hypocrite as I'm not religious) but for me it's about family, but the media have turned it around and made it all about food. How much food you can get down your necks, and how much you can drink, which is also a bit of a difficult one in our house seeing as I don't drink and my other half not having had a drink for 4 years due to alcoholism.

Maybe I should start wishing everyone a Merry FoodDrinkMas instead.

Do I sound bitter? LOL

Thursday, November 26

Why men don't listen and..

Why men don't listen and why women can't read maps!

The simple answer is that they are both not programmed to do so.

I was wandering around Asda doing the shopping, as you do, and I walked past the books. This one leaped off the shelf into my shopping trolley before I could do anything about it. Well, ok, maybe I did reach it down off the shelf, but you get my drift. I saw the title and it piqued my curiosity. I CAN read a map, I thought. Well, ok, not brilliantly, but I can get us from A to B.. sort of, unless we're heading south, then I have to turn the map upside down, then round a full 360 degrees again, and well.. we end up at our destination having had a few cross words and u turns.

This book is enlightening! I thoroughly recommend everyone buys it.. nay.. not recommend.. you HAVE to buy it. Male or Female.. it will give you an insight into how the other sex is and why they don't do what you think they should do.

Since the dawn of time (the start of evolution as man) the male has been the hunter gatherer (lunch chaser) and the woman has been the nest defender. Our brains are programmed that way and there's nothing we can do to change it (apart from evolve further and that will take millions of years). Male and female brains are structured differently and men don't have the same amount of area dedicated to listening and talking that women do. Women don't have the same amount of brain area dedicated to spacial awareness that men do (that's why a lot of women struggle to reverse park a car - although in our house, I'm the reverse parker and Mark isn't). Men have the ability to convert a 2D image into a 3D image in their head. They have a large area in their brain to perform this task. Women don't. That's why we struggle to read maps and convert them into a real time image so that we can work out the directions, we're just not programmed to do it. Man had to get back from the hunt/kill so they had to develop these skills. Women only had to navigate small distances and so the skill didn't develop the way it did with man.

Man had to sit, sometimes for hours, waiting to spot and kill lunch. They didn't need to talk (it would scare the beast away) and so they're happy to sit and say nothing for hours. Women had to be the social person, talking to the children and to the other women all day.

One of the things that really annoys women is the apparent lack of ability for a man to find his socks/butter in the fridge/item right under his nose. (my hubby did it last night when I said, can you put 'that' on the plate please. He said, what plate? The plate was on the work top right next to his left hand!!) I'd read about this bit in the book and calmly said, the plate next to your hand.. whereas before I'd have said.. are you blind? it's right in front of you!!. Men developed a tunnel vision. They had to home in on the animal they were going to kill and didn't need the periferal vision as it would distract from where their target was. Women on the other hand had to watch the kids and keep an eye open for any threat to the dwelling and often watch other peoples kids too. Women developed a larger periferal vision. It's scientifically proven that women see an extra 45 degrees left and right and up and down to what men see.

The other thing that has been quite enlightening, is that men can perform one task at a time. That is the way their brains are wired. They are programmed to perform that task, and so they shut out anything else that's going on around them. This is why, when they're watching TV they don't hear us when we speak to them. It's not that they're ignoring us (most of the time) their brain is concentrating on watching the TV and filters out everything around it. They just can't watch TV and listen at the same time. They can't understand why women talk so much. We can't help it, we're programmed that way. We think aloud (how many times have you found yourself talking to the washing machine? shopping list? or other inanimate objects?) Men offer us a solution... we didn't want a solution.. we were 'just saying'. He gets the hump because he's been rejected, we get the hump because he always wants to 'fix' things and never actually listens.

Why on earth do men and women live together? LOL

Anyway.... I've rambled on enough about this.. but you really should read this book (Julie, you can have my copy when I've read it if you want). It really is an eye opener and will help you understand the man/woman you live with. It is all based on scientific facts and tests (MRI's and the like) and has facts and figures to back up what's being said.

So, my husband (apparently) isn't an ignorant git who will fob me off with a quick solution to shut me up.. he's programmed that way. Not that it's going to make him stop doing what he does and me getting upset at his apparent shallowness... at least I understand why he's the way he is.

The book by the way, is called Why Men don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps and is by Allan and Barbara Pease.

Wednesday, November 25

The recipe stewed...

Well the recipe stewed for a while (other half thought about it at work the next day) and when he came home from work was overly jovial. Bleugh! (can you tell I was still annoyed?)

So I'm cooking dinner and he props himself up in the kitchen. Now this is most out of the ordinary and his coming home from work routine is:
  • come in, walk around the living room (checking his territory hasn't been ambushed or changed during the day while he has been out hunting wooly mammoth). 
  • Deposit motorbike jacket, bike boots and skid lid in various parts of the living room.
  • Sit at the computer and log on to ebay. (I'm really, seriously thinking about starting up an ebay Anonymous!)
  • Collect plate of dinner when he's been told it's ready a minimum of 3 times.
  • Eat dinner
  • Watch The Simpsons
  • Perhaps now talk to wife, or maybe not.
So, back to me cooking dinner and him propped up in the kitchen, joking and being very jovial. (my thoughts are, what has he done? what does he want? or, what is he going to do?)

He says: "I've had a bit of time to think, and I do actually understand what you were saying".

THUD (that is the sound of my chin hitting the floor, but in actuallity, I quietly say "oh?").

He carried on and it did actually seem like he did understand what I'd said. I even wondered if he'd been for an injection of oestrogen during the day so he could understand women. The major thing for me, that came out of this discussion, is that after 10 and a bit years of being together and me saying on numerous occasions, he all of a sudden understands that he goes to work from 9 to 5 and then clocks off. He has the evenings and weekend to do whatever he wants to do whenever he wants to do it (and he does - he doesn't lift a finger housework wise), whereas I don't have a clock on and off time and never get evenings/nights/weekends off. And he also (says) that he now realises that I wanted to get these decorations alone because if I took Isabelle it then turns into an outing for her and I become involved in her oohing and ahhing at all the pretty decorations and I don't actually get the time to do what I'd planned.

So why didn't he listen to me when I was trying to explain this? Why did it turn into a huge argument because he took it personally and went all defensive and then threw all the 'you do this that and the other' shite at me. It turned into a bitchfest on his part and I turned into a blubbering wreck that sported golfball eyes for the next 24 hours. It's so hard to talk to someone when the defensive barriers automatically go up and he automatically assumes I'm calling him and pitching his downfalls so he turns the tables and hurls all the crap at me he can think of. I'm not that kind of person, I don't slag someone off just to defend myself. I don't point out people's downfalls and be spiteful just for the hell of it. In fact, I don't do it at all. People are people (grrrr now got Depeched Mode in my head), but everyone's different and I accept that, I really do wish he would realise that I'm not actually out to get him and make his life a misery, especially when I'm feeling a bit bogged down with life and could use a bit of support and a shoulder to lean on to hold me up.

Tuesday, November 24

Sums it up....

I hear this so often!! My photography friends will completely understand this cartoon from What The Duck

Monday, November 23

Recipe for meltdown...

Take the following:

1 very large helping of emotional 41 yr old female who feels very bogged down with life.
1 very large helping of arrogant, up himself husband
1 statement from female of 'just popping to the garden centre to find some Christmas Ornaments to photograph'
1 large helping of 'don't be so selfish, we'll come with you'.
1 massive argument that evolved from wanting half an hour to myself, not forgetting to add in belittling remarks.
1 very large helping of extremely low self esteem.

Mix it all together very vigorously. Bake it at a very high tempertature, but whilst it's baking get husband to throw in very large helpings of emotional blackmail and extra large helpings of guilt.

After half an hour you will find that you have the biggest meltdown for a long time. Don't forget to let afore mentioned husband keep poking meltdown for the rest of the day just to make sure you keep it fresh!

Friday, November 20

I have a naughty brain...

...declared my 4 year old.

I've been having awful problems with her going to the toilet by herself since we went camping at the end of August. She is convinced that our bathroom is now a bug and moth infested area the same as the campsite toilets were. (they were particularly bad I have to admit!).

Nothing I can say or do will convince her otherwise. She always needs someone to go with her. I refuse to pander to her and go with her, especially in daylight. But she ends up saying her wee has gone away and no longer needs to go. She's always been great at going for a wee, been dry since she was just over 2 years old and has very few accidents, but recently, add the dark into the bug fear and she just won't go to the loo alone at night.

It's driving me demented!

So, on trying to discuss the issue with her the conversation went:

Me: What bothers you so you won't go for a wee on your own?
Isabelle: I don't know, I'm just not sure.
Me: Not sure about what?
Isabelle: I'm just not sure
Me: What frightens you about the bathroom?
Isabelle: bugs. There might be bugs in there
Me: There aren't any bugs in there,  but bugs don't hurt you anyway. Don't think about bugs being in there because there aren't any.
Isabelle: I have a naughty brain and it tells me bugs are there.

Is there an answer to that? LOL

Thursday, November 19

OK, I'm done


I have wasted a whole day messing around with the look of this blog. Grrrrrr. I started to make changes, deleted some code, couldn't remember which bit it was, replaced a bit of code somewhere else and lost content and... well.. it just goes on.

I uploaded a different theme and it was almost there, but not quite, so I've finally opted for this one. I am happy with this one, it's simple, serene, it doesn't shout at you, it's not garish, it's not too dark and well, I think it basically sits there as a holding place for text.

Kim, thank you for your advice. It did work, and I would never have thought of that, but in the end I opted to stick with the simplicity of this one, after uploading headers and images etc.

ah well... c'est la vie.

On to cooking dinner (I'm being nagged by a 4 yr old to get off the computer because she wants to play Nick Jr website) and then I'm off to photograph my 19 yr old son in his first gig of the re-formed band, as two of the original members have now gone to Uni.

No peace for the wicked eh?

Wednesday, November 18

Nosey Parker?

I may have been accused in my time of being a nosey parker.

I'm not a nosey parker in the 'gossip' sense of the word. I don't think nosey is the right word. Interested in people? Yep, that's more suitable.

I've always read auto-biographies of famous people. Their lives interest me. They live a completely different life to me and I am interested in that. I know that they eat, sleep and (to be polite) use the loo, the same way we all do, but it's the intreague in where they were at before they got famous, what they went through to get famous and what life was like during (and sometimes after) they were famous. (This is leading somewhere, honest).

Some of the best auto-biographies I've read are

Boy George; a fascinating insite to a very gregarious lifestyle before and during the height of his reign in Culture Club, the fallings out with the band members and his changed outlook on life when he got into buddism and a 'clean' lifestyle.

David Lee Roth; The lead singer with Van Halen - typical rock and roll lifestyle, drink, drugs and women, but in reality, a very lonely man. Excellent Book.

George Micheal; Yet another mixed up star. An emotional but very enjoyable book.

There have been loads more but these were the ones I particularly enjoyed. The most recent book I read was by Slash of Guns n Roses. What a complete headcase! drink and drugs to the max. Everyone thought it was Axl Rose who was the alco-druggie... nope, it was Slash and what a book!

But these days, it has become so easy to stalk celebrities, erm, I mean get an insight into celebrity lifestyles, in the form of Twitter. If you're not familiar with Twitter, what's wrong with you???? it is a status update website where you have 140 characters to write what you are thinking or how you feel, or leave a message in reply to someone you are stalking following. Now this only really works if you follow famous people and celebs. These include rich and famous iconic celebs and also celebs of the TV. I follow too many to mention, but I decided that I was going to get as many famous people as I could to reply to my 'tweet'. OK, so I started off quite low down the ranks of celebdome... but you've got to start somewhere eh?

I have now had personal tweet's or direct messages from:

Robert Llewellyn, better known as Kryten from Red Dwarf. (regularly tweet to each other now LOL)
Danny John-Jules, aka The Cat from Red Dwarf. Had an afternoon of conversation, plus other tweets since
Bill Bailey - excellent comedian
Suzi Perry (MotoGP comentator and Gadget Show presenter). She even answered my question about the MotoGP riders, who is the nicest, sexiest, funniest and her fave.
Jason Bradbury - also the gadget show
John Bentley - again, the gadget show.

methinks it might be time to start aiming a bit higher on the celeb ladder LOL

Pet Hate...

I have just been involved in my own pet hate.

People who keep changing the look of their blogs, gets my goat, and here I am guilty as charged.

I recently changed the look of my blog and I was apprehensive about it because it was flowery. Not REALLY flowery, but it was still flowery non-the-less. I am so NOT  flowery person, although I love flowers, I love to photograph flowers, I'm just not flowery myself. So the flowery blog look had to go. I know this one is a bit flowery, but it's not FLOWERY. Well, not as flowery as the last one way... or is it? eek.. I don't know.

There are so many blog templates out there now but they're all so similar. I have a penchant for the dark themes, but personally I don't feel that they're very easy to read. I find myself being sucked into the computer screen when it's a basically black theme.

So, here we go with this one. Hopefully I won't become obsessed with the look of it and have to change it again, afterall, it's the blog content, not the look which matters.. if only I could convince myself of that fact.

Tuesday, November 17

It is perfectly acceptable...

(supposedly) in this house to.....

  • fill the kitchen swing bin so full that the swing lid no longer swings, it gets trapped amongst the rubbish, and then put any further rubbish onto the kitchen worktop rather than empty the bin.
  • bring a set of motorbike carbs into the house and then clean them on the dining table (albeit with newspaper underneath) then leave them sitting on the computer desk stinking of petrol.
  • bring a leaking (although empty) motorbike tank into the house, sit it on the computer desk stinking the house out with petrol, because the petrol needs to evaporate so the tank can be sealed again in a 'few days'
  • stay up until 4am at the computer then get up on Sunday and be like a bear with a sore head until 4pm, then go to bed un-announced and stay there till 8pm, come back down and complain when there's no dinner left, and go back to bed at 10pm
  • ignore your wife whenever she speaks because she has absolutely nothing of interest to say
  • glare daggers when afore mentioned wife on her way out the door to camera club  says, when you've put Isabelle to bed, can you please wash the dishes? anyone would have thought that from the look given, I had said, please sacrifice our 4 year old to the Gods.
  • leave a swimming pool on the floor seeping through the wooden flooring when doing a water change on the fish tank and not mop it up afterwards. Also having an accompanying swimming pool in the kitchen by the sink from getting water to re-fill the tank.
ok, that's all off my chest, I feel much better now!

Thursday, November 12

My little star...

I've not written anything here for a while, basically because I've had nothing to say. Yes my life has been THAT boring.

However, last night was parents evening for Isabelle. This is her first school parents evening and I was more than ready to find out how she's doing in school. One of my concerns was how she interacts with other children her own age as she's growing up in a very adult world with no young siblings to squabble over toys with etc.

Her teacher said that Isabelle is a very very caring and giving person, sometimes to a fault. I was worried that her 'giving' was put down to her thinking she had to buy friendship with kindness, but this isn't the case. It is just her nature. Her teacher, Miss F, said she has been working with Isabelle to get her to realise that Isabelle is important and she can do things for Isabelle sometimes rather than for someone else, because Isabelle does matter too. She is very helpful in class and because she is so eloquent and can step up to any level of conversation and understand it, it is sometimes too easy for the teachers to go straight to Isabelle when they need help because they know the job will be done correctly.

On an academic level, she is very intelligent and is actually top of the class on her ability to do the tasks set including her word learning and her maths. She grabs concepts very quickly and off she goes. This also gave me concern as to how far they would be able to go with her. The way the school system is run now (not like when I was at school) is that they cater for the child in question. If they are capable of doing a higher level work, the school will provide it. They won't hold her back because 'that work is for older kids'. Now I'm not saying for a minute she's a genius, but she is very capable of doing simple maths such as; if we have 6 items how many more do we need to make 10? She finds these very easy, so that goes without saying that she can count continuous to 100, she can add numbers together and take numbers away. She is only 4! Not only is she only 4, she's the youngest in her class by quite a long way. Because her birthday is at the end of the school year, she is in a class with children who are already 5.

At the moment the class are working with the letters s, a, t, p, i and n. This is giving them the basics for phonetic reading. Isabelle has known these letters for quite a while, but her teacher is now getting her to make words with them. She got out some magnetic letters and asked Isabelle which ones she would need to make the word 'sat'. Isabelle found them. She then said, she'd now like the word to say 'sit' so which one would Isabelle need to change? without hesitation she changed the a for i. The then said, now I'd like it to say 'at' so which one do we need to take away? Isabelle removed the s. Miss F said that this is excellent for a child of her age and that not many children in the class can do this yet. I told Miss F that Isabelle is constantly writing and drawing at home and very often asks for a word to be spelt out so that she can write it. She knows her letters and can write it down from my spelling without having to copy it. I've even started giving her three letters of a word at a time to see if she can remember them, and she does. She's now started writing her own words down from sounding them out to herself. She doesn't get them all correct but she has a damned good attempt. Vowels are usually the cause of the incorrect spelling. So we were told, don't hold her back (not that we would), if she wants to do it, go with it and the school will do the same. That was very re-assuring to know.

And for her pearl of wisdom today - she reminded me that it's 'no clothes day' at school tomorrow. She actually meant that it's non-uniform day LOL

Tuesday, November 3

A bit bored...

As the title says really...

I have a stack of things I 'could' be doing and a stack of things that I 'should' be doing, I just really can't be arsed today to be honest. So I decided to do some photo editing instead.

There has been a distinct lack of photography on my behalf just lately. A lack of inspiration, enthusiasm, subject matter and lenses have all paid part in this matter. (Turns out that two lenses were included in the road kill along with my camera). I have now replaced the 28-70 lens and am awaiting the arrival of a 28-200mm lens (to replace the roadkill 75-300 - although I think I might miss that last 100mm - but we'll see).

So anyway.. last night at our camera club meeting we had a lighting and inspiration night. We got to use our cameras at last. I wasn't overly enthused about going after last week's disasterous (for me) meeting where we had to endure 8 slide shows of one guy's trip to China. Whilst some of the shots were very nice, the majority were snaps that included his wife, and he wasn't the most enthralling narrator in the world. but c'est la vie.

So, camera at the ready and off I go. I'm still at the 'newbie' stage in our camera club as this was only my 5th week, but because it was a practical night there was a lot of interaction with other members. They obviously know my face now and it ended up being a really good laugh.

I also had an inpromtu ego stroking session when one of the long term members (30 year member) came over to me for a chat, saying he'd been meaning to do so for a while now. He told me how impressed he was with my photography and that I really shouldn't be in the beginners competitions, I should definately be in the experienced category.. woohoo.. thanks for that.. huge smiles. Oh, and I won the raffle too.. added bonus of a nice bottle of red wine.. except that I don't drink LOL. Ah well, I'm sure it will make someone smile when they open it at Christmas.

So I decided this morning to edit a few of the shots I took last night. I wasn't really impressed with any of them. It's just not in me at the moment to get good shots.. grrrr. Although one of the photographs did sort of call to me but it wasn't going to be a basic edit. The guy (don't laugh) had a 'good' face. And I knew exactly what treatment I wanted to give it. I've been wanting to try this process for a while now but never had the right shot, but this one really did seem suitable. Having seen some excellent Draganism work like this one done by Kim Ayres I thought I'd try it on this shot.

So here is my first attempt. I think he looks a little bit dirty, like he could do with a wash LOL, but it is my first attempt and I really could do with practicing some more, but I'm quite happy with the results for a first time.

Monday, November 2

Oh my sweet baby...

Ok, so she's not technically a baby anymore, but she's still my baby.

Isabelle does make me laugh so hard sometimes, and it's usually at times when I really need to contain it so I don't make her feel bad.

The conversations goes....

Isabelle: Name a vegetable beginning with B
Me: erm, broccoli?
Isabelle: No
Me: Beans?
Isabelle: No
Me: erm... Brussel Sprouts?
Isabelle: No
Me: erm... oh.. erm, I really don't know, you'll have to tell me.
Isabelle: B-tato
Me: [trying to stifle my laughter] well, that's really good but it's not b-tato, it starts with a P, it's P-otato
Isabelle: Oh, I didn't know that [giggles]

and then...

Each morning on TV there is a quick TV clip really and it's Alphabet Animals. Isabelle likes this as it shows a letter and then animals that begin with that letter, such as T and it will show tigers, and a tiger type of song in the background. This morning the letter was W. She said to me, hmmm, it's W but something isn't right. There were wallabies on the TV but she thought they were Kangaroo's. I said, oh, it's W because they are wallabies. Oh she said, not Wangaroo's then? I'm still laughing out loud now.. bless her.

Sunday, November 1

Domestic Goddess?

Well, not quite....

Since trying to stop smoking I have had to find something to do with myself to occupy my time. I ordered a tapestry to sit and do to keep my hands and mind busy, but due to postal strikes (grrrr) it's still not arrived a week later. So I have been doing something I have always loved doing.. baking.

Everyone is going to end up the the size of a house because I'm stopping smoking!!

In the past three days I have baked a fruit cake for Mark, which never lasts more than one day. It is Mark's most favourite food in the whole world (apparently) and he can't just have once slice at a time despite his best intentions. The funny thing is, he doesn't even like fruit cake, until I made this one.. now I have to make at least one a week.

I also made two apple crumbles, as I went to visit a friend on Friday and she has a huge tree full of cooking apples. I came home with a bag full of them, so I stewed them, made two crumbles, jarred some for apple sauce and froze the rest for a later date. The crumbles didn't last long!!

Then yesterday Isabelle and I made some shortbread biscuits. Isabelle insisted that we had some heart shaped ones, despite my intentions of making round ones to put orange icing and sprinkles on for halloween'esque pumpkin looking biscuits. We made some of each.

And today I've just made some flapjack. It smells absolutely gorgeous! And there is a ginger parkin cake in the oven at the moment. The smell wafting from my kitchen as I sit here at the computer is almost too much to bear. It smells like heaven.

One thing I must remember... getting on the scales!!