Wednesday, April 28

The Gallery - Portrait

Yay it's Gallery day again, as set by Tara at Sticky Fingers. This week's subject is portraits. Not my strongest photographic subject by a long way. So I thought I'd give you a very rare moment, and post a self portrait. So this is me (notice the inches of slap on my face? LOL. I rarely wear this much makeup) I'm always at the other side of the camera, so I'm never in any photographs. This is from last year, and my hair is quite a bit longer now.

I also wanted to show this photograph of my youngest. She was sitting in the dog's bed by the patio doors. The light was lovely and she was away with the fairies LOL, but she just looked so cute at the time.

Monday, April 26


I wasn't sure what to blog about today. Nothing overly exciting has happened. I'm still mid fibro-flare and have very little energy for anything that involves strength. I really want to move my daughter's bedroom around as we're having going to bed problems, but there is no way I can lug wardrobes and drawers around, so that will have to wait. The weather is a bit dubious, with nice big billowing grey clouds which look like they may empty at any moment, so I'm staying in. I do have to decide which three printed photographs and three digital images I need to submit for the camera club competition (final round) tonight, which is Print of the Year and Digtitally Projected Image of the year, and I just can't decide which ones to go with. For the prints, this is my shortlist, but I need to elimnate one of them (click any of the images to view them full size): L-R - Gloomy Mill, Wooly Coo, Gizza Kiss, Trio of Tulips

Then for the digitally projected images (projected onto a large screen) this is my shortlist. (the bald eagle is definately going in, this is one of my most successful shots to date), but I need to eliminate two.

arghhhhh! I'm so indecisive (and competetive). Whatever I enter in each category will be up against everyone elses best shots, and despite me telling myself I'm not competetive.. I am. I have been quite successfull in the camera club competitions so far and points from these images entered will also count towards the Photographer of the Year competition. I don't know where I stand at the moment, but it is towards the top in the overall standings, and there's trophy's to be won!!

I'm not a natural born winner, and I'm don't particularly excell in anything, but I do have a passion for photography and results are proving that I'm not bad at it really, so to win a trophy for something I absolutely love and is purely me and my camera, no one else helps to get the results, it's all me... would be a bit achievement in my mind.

So, decisions decisions! I have until about 6.30pm tonight to decide which to go with. Help??

Sunday, April 25

The Fibro Demon...

Another morning, eyes open
What will it bring today
I haven't got out of bed yet
Acutally, I'm ok

Feet on the floor, I'm upright
C'mon body get on your merry way
my legs don't want to work again
Actually, I'm half ok

Get down the stairs, get a drink
the old woman hobble in full force today
shuffle, stop, shuffle, stop
Actually, I'm not ok

I try to be cheerful, smiling 
Goodmorning, another lovely day
but you can't see pain inside me
Actually, I'm not ok

I try not to moan and grumble
But this is my life day to day
wrapped in pain and things that don't work
Actually, I'm not ok

And so eventually to bed again
I've got through another day, hooray
Are you ok you ask me?
My polite, well trained answer, yes,
But actually, I'm not ok.

The invisible disease with no cure, and is very hard to explain to someone who can't see anything wrong with you. What is Fibromyalgia? Take a read HERE I've been suffering what is known as a 'fibro flare' for the past month. This is when symptoms flare up and are amplified for  no specific reason. 'Fibromites' as we're often called, rarely let on what's really happening. People get bored with how you are really feeling and we adapt the 'yes I'm ok thanks' attitude and put on a brave face. But just because we look ok, doensn't mean we are pain free. Pain free is a thing of the past and has been for 12 years since I was diagnosed at 29 years old.

Friday, April 23

You don't what?

I thought I'd follow up yesterday's post on a similar note. The follow on.

Edit: Now I've posted it, it's really long.. so grab a cuppa first LOL

But first I'd really like to say a huge thank you to everyone who read and left a comment yesterday. I am so grateful for your kind words, you really have no idea.

So my hubby made the decision to stop drinking, and he stopped there and then. He didn't go on one last bender, that was it. He was done. Just because he only drank at the weekend, didn't make him any less an alcoholic (by his own admission), because an alcoholic is someone who can't control their alcohol intake. He lived for the weekends, and that was the only way he'd get through the week, knowing he could drink at the weekend. He has quite a high powered job and decisions made, if made wrongly, could cause huge problems, so he needed a clear head for that. But if he was on holiday from work, he'd drink every night. But as I said, he made the decision to stop.

The first 'clean' weekend was the worst. It was awful for him. He was antsy and couldn't settle. We talked and I think he ended up going to bed at about 9.30pm because he just had to escape the drink demons yelling at him. I felt guilty, really guilty, because I was putting him through this. I'd made him choose, drink and oblivion, or his family. I know he'd made the decision, but it was me that forced him to do so.  He decided to do something constructive and started to work out with the weights at home that had been sat dormant for months and months. He also decided to stop smoking, and that included the hash smoking (which brought on a whole new set of problems when he smoked dope.. especially alongside alcohol), so he was going totally clean. The one thing I envy about my hubby is his will power and determination. He's a very strong willed and opinionated person, but I don't have that strength, I'm quite weak and will avoid situations if I can. But once he'd made his decisions, that was it. He stuck to them. I was his support system. (that I CAN do). He decided to start running. He'd never done any exercise before in his life.. and he half killed himself running for the first time, but it gave him something to channel into. 4 years on, he has completed the Manchester 10K (his first proper run), a half marathon, The Hellrun (it was hell btw) and on the 31st of May this year he is doing his first organised marathon and is running 20 miles regularly each weekend in preparation as well as the weekday evening (shorter) runs. 

But I've drifted away from my orignial point for this post.

It seems that it is so hard for anyone to understand 'I don't drink'. You can't go to a BBQ without having a drink. You can go to a work's night out without having a drink. People look at you as if you're crazy.. what do you mean you don't drink? It appears to be socially unacceptable. Not so much for me, because when I stopped drinking due to hubby's increased drinking, I find it hard to have a drink now. It scares me. It brings back too many nightmares and emotions that I can't deal with. I never really liked drinking THAT much to start with, so it was no great loss to me. Although I do have the option to have a drink if I really feel like it, but that's a very rare occasion. It seems acceptable to other people when I order a diet coke and say, no I don't drink thanks. Oh, ok, comes the reply, it may come with a shrug of the shoulders, but it's accepted. But when a man orders a diet coke he gets bizarre looks as if his head has fallen off, and if he says no thanks, I don't drink, the whole world stops around him, and everyone looks and says "WHAT??" The time that hubby's not drinking seemed to be the end of the world (not for him though) was at New Year when we went to visit his parents. He'd not had a drink for just over 9 months and was completely over thinking about drinking. But his parents are hard drinkers. I have never known anyone drink so many tins of beer like his mum does.. not even hubby. She is a tiny woman and can't weigh more than 8stone and a bit (seriously!) yet she can drink like a navvy. 

On our loooong drive up to Scotland for Hogmanay we talked about how drink being around the house so freely would affect him. He wasn't bothered in the slightest. I asked about what if his mum pressured him. (I know what she's like) and he said he'd deal with it, even if he had to sit with a glass of beer at the side of him, just to appease her. I was very nervous! I was right though, she didn't understand. She just couldn't get her head around it. What do you mean you don't drink anymore? Why? He told her it was causing too many problems, he was loosing days on end, and he didn't like the loss of control in his life. But sadly, she just didn't get it. She brought him a tin of beer anyway, telling him, you can't not drink, that's stupid. I just looked at him. He shook his head in a 'I'm not going to drink it' way to me and he didn't. I am so proud of him for getting through that 5 day visit, including New Year's Eve when his mum poured him a Jack Daniels to see the bells in, which he didn't drink either. 

It just amazes me that people can react the way they do about someone saying they don't drink alcohol. Why are we seen as freaks? They look at you as if you have three heads or something and they just don't seem to be able to comprehend that you've made this decision. I mean, why on earth would we not want to drink? Why would we not want to drink so much that we are no longer in control of what we do and say. Why would we not want to get up in the morning (or afternoon come to that) feeling like utter and complete shite? and then spend the rest of the day recovering.

I don't have a problem with anyone drinking alcohol (except my hubby of course), it's their decision and I'm fine with that. In fact, they're pretty damn entertaining to watch as they drink more and more LOL and this is one of the things my hubby commented on when he had a works night out.. he couldn't believe how stupid people get when they drink. He'd obviously never seen it before. He asked if he was like that... I just answered, yes, and didn't elaborate LOL, I just had a twinkle in my eye and he laughed.

So if you are a drinker... cheers ... and enjoy it. But I'll have a diet coke please, and so will my other half.

Thursday, April 22

Writing Workshop

For this week's writing workshop from Josie at Sleep is for the Weak I've chosen the prompt:

A moment of realisation and knew that something HAD to change

Why do you put up with it? Why do you love this 'monster' How can you go through the same thing every weekend, week after week after week? These are all questions I asked myself. I always made excuses. He's not a monster, not really. The monster lives in the beer glass, or the wine bottle. It's not really him. The alcohol monster takes over. It spoils our weekends. Causes fights on a Friday night.. and then on a Saturday night too. It spoils our Saturdays because it makes him sleep until 3pm sometimes.. and then it started to happen on Sundays. Weekends became a lonely time for me...and he was oblivious. He'd get up in time to have something to eat and then start drinking again. This was our life. We'd both work all week, and because he thought he'd worked so hard all week, he deserved a 'treat'. Except his treat was my nightmare. 

To start with, weekends were fun. We'd have a drink and a good laugh, but it got so that 4 beers or 6 beers wasn't enough for him, so we'd have a bottle of Jack Daniels to go along with it. I don't mean a small bottle, I mean a litre bottle. There was none left in the morning. It didn't take long before it was a 12 pack of beer plus JD on a Friday then wine for him on a Saturday because "it wasn't good to drink so much beer two nights running". Then the fights started. I tried to avoid them, I hate arguing at the best of times, even more so when he was irrational due to alcohol. I stopped drinking altogether. He carried on. The fights became physical. I spent the weekend with huge puffy eyes from crying, he'd get up on Saturday wondering what the hell happened and why I wouldn't talk to him. He had no idea what was going on. 
It then started that I'd get to Wednesday and think, oh no, it's nearly Friday. On Friday, I was quiet all day. When he opened the first tin of beer, I'd want to hide. I made plans in my head to escape, but it never happened. The evening would start off pleasant enough, then it would slide into my weekend nightmare. 

And then Isabelle was born, but the weekends carried on the same, but I had someone else to look after. I had to be in a fit state to care for my baby in the morning. I couldn't do that if I was an emotional wreck. I packed out bags on Thursday afternoon in preparation for Friday night. Plenty of clothes for me and my baby. I could take no more. If he starts on Friday night, I will get my baby, put her in the car and I will leave. I had no idea where I was going, probably to my mum's, but I had to get out. I couldn't take anymore. It was destroying me and any feelings I had for him. He was such a strong person during the week, he was fun to be with, clever and entertaining and funny, but the weekends.. the alcohol monster took over
Friday night arrived and 9 tins of beer were gone. He told me (not asked) to go to the supermarket and buy some more. 12 tins wasn't going to be enough. I told him I wouldn't go. This is when the explosion happened. He erupted like a volcano. His language was shocking, his insults to me were the worst thing I've ever heard anyone say about someone else, especially someone you are supposed to love. He grabbed the car keys and his parting gesture was to headbutt me in the face on his way out, breaking my nose. Blood everywhere.. and he was gone. I didn't know how long he would be gone for. He'd had 9 tins of beer, yet he was driving the car. He didn't come back that night. I had a mixture of emotions. Thank god he'd gone, was he lying in a ditch somewhere after crashing the car? Had be been pulled over by the police? Was he parked up in a car park sleeping? No. I had a text message from my Father in Law. He'd driven for 5 hours up to his mums in Scotland.

So this was it. What next? Was it life as a single mother again for me? I certainly couldn't live with an alcholic any longer. I spent a lot of that weekend thinking. The Sunday was Mother's Day.. a long and lonely Mother's Day, spent thinking. The conclusion was that although I loved the sober man, I hated the drunken one. I wasn't prepared to live (or drag myself) through the weekends to spend time with the sober man I was married to during the week.
The phone rang, it was him. He had no recollection of what had happened. He can't even remember driving to Scotland. He wanted to come home to talk. I didn't know if I wanted to see him. I'm not a very strong person when it comes to facing things, I'd rather hide, but this is one thing I had to face up to, be strong and speak my mind no matter what he thought, this was mine and my kids future and he wasn't going to wreck it.

He did come back, we did talk, for three days. He slept on the sofa as I asked and we did some serious talking. I told him I wasn't prepared to live with this anymore. I told him all the things he had done when he was drunk. He could obviously see my nose was broken this time and he cried when I told him how it happened. I told him all the things he called me, he cried again. He didn't want to hear anymore, but I made him listen to the catalogue of events that had happened over the last 5 years. He wanted to curl up and die. I gave him my ultimatum. If you want this marriage to work, you can only come back if you stop drinking. If you need time to think about it, fine, but you need to make a decision. I am sticking by my descion, make yours and stick by that. (This is so not like me, I'm a whimp really). 
This was just over 4 years ago. He hasn't had a drink since. We spend time as a family at the weekends and he's rarely in bed past 9am.

The only regret I have, is that it got to breaking point before I realise that something HAD to change.

Wednesday, April 21

The Gallery - 7 Deadly Sins

The promt for this weeks' gallery from Tara at Sticky Fingers was the 7 deadly sins. Pick one from the list. I picked Gluttony.

Feel free to lick the screen on any of these photographs, they're calorie free if you do it that way rather than actually eat them.

The reason I opted for gluttony, is that when I'm taking these photographs, my hubby is always stood behind me shouting hurry up and take the photo.. he then devours whatever it is I'm taking pictures of.

Tuesday, April 20

Dear so and so...

I have seen several Dear so and so blog posts and really didn't want to copy the idea, but I really do need to tell several people what I think... so, I joined the Dear so and so ranks.

Dear Isabelle

Yes I realise you're still only 4 and that school days are long and make you tired, especially when you have a swimming lesson at 4.15 on a Monday. I know you love getting a lollipop out of the big lollipop shaped vending machine on your way back to the car. But this is now becoming a nightmare and it has to stop. Just because the lollipop dispenser didn't realise it was you and threw out a green lollipop does not make it necessary to throw yourself onto the floor in full view of everyone and scream "I hate the green ones, why does it always give me a green one?" and continue to scream and cry. It is not a personal vendetta against you, it is a game of chance. I do realise that you seem to get more green lollipops than any other colour, but that is not my fault. In future this won't happen because I will no longer have any 20p's to put in the machine. This does not however mean that you can scream and throw yourself onto the floor because you can't have a lollipop. If this happens I will continue walking without trying to console, pacify or co-erce you out to the car. I no longer care how many other mums are watching, I will go to the car without you.


Your pissed off lollipop hating mum xx

Dear surely you can't be old enough to drive, you're only 12, impatient idiot.

The world won't end if you don't get your car out of that side junction onto the main road immediately as you get to the end of the junction. It's not absolutely necessary for you to carry on driving, making me brake hard to stop my car in time to let you out. And absolutely do not wave to thank me with that stupid big grin on your face, you know you were wrong and it scared my daughter.


Hoping your wheels fall off.

Dear Mr been at work all day and have to get home right now,

It's no good driving right up the arse of my car, I won't go any faster. We are driving in a very built up area and the speed limit is 30mph, which I am doing. There are speed cameras along this road and I do not need a ticket for speeding, so please stop pushing me to go faster. And get off the arse of my car. In fact, I am more liable to slow down to 10mph if you don't get away from my back end. Repeated taps on my breaks still didn't discourage you. I realise you've probably been stuck in an office all day and are in a rush to get home, but you still can't go any faster even if you are in front of me. Hang on for 5 minutes and we get to a stretch of national speed limit road, where I will speed up, as in fact you noticed once we got there. And yes I did pull into the fast lane to stay in front of you on purpose, but again, I was doing the national speed limit and made you stay behind me. I enjoyed that.


Please get off the arse of my car.

Dear checkout assistant,

It really isn't necessary to scrutinise my shopping as you scan it all and then declare, that's a rather random selection of shopping. I do my main shopping online and have to pick up a 'few bits' from time to time, so the 'random' shopping comprising of a ream of paper, cellotape (both pacify my daughter's creative addiction) some batteries (for the smoke alarm!) milk, birthday card, chilli chocolate (I like to 'treat' my hubby to wierd food), ibuprophen and cat meat were essentials I needed. I don't see anything random about that?  It's not even as if I had anything embarassing in that lot. So commenting on how random my shopping was, isn't really necessary and I'd appreciate you sticking to your normal checkout assistant modes of grumpy and not talking or too damned cheerful talking about the weather rather than discuss the contents of my shopping trolley.


please keep your nose out and keep beeping.

Dear Body

Give me a break please. It's bad enough that I had a cough and cold for 10 days and just when I thought it was done with me, it came back for round two. The same cold, the same wipeout after only two days really wasn't fair. Add to that the lovely monthly cycle (insert sarcasm) which for some reason you decided that hmmmm, lets go for 10 days this month at least. Quit already, I've had enough. And then just as I have the remnants of the cold, and the monthlys, you decide lets go for three in a row.. yes a full wipeout, we'll throw in a fibro flare while we're at it. C'mon now, this is just too much for anyone to take. I can't stand for more than 5 minutes, my back feels like someone is scraping a knife down my spine all the time and laying down doesn't even make it feel better, in fact it feels worse and my shoulders are so painful. I now feel like a total wipeout cripple and it really is getting me down. Are you doing this to test me? If so, I failed, you win, now let the competition be over and let me get back to some sort of normality please.


very sore and convinced my body is out to get me.

Ahhh, I feel better for that. I do love a good rant.

Monday, April 19

Things that must be...

I suppose this is a bit of a Monday Moan. 

My hubby says I have OCD. I don't think I do, I just like certain things to be a certain way. Although after I re-read this, I may think myself a bit batty, slightly mad or indeed suffering with OCD.

There are certain things that have to be a certain way in my house otherwise I have to go and correct it. Things like:

1. The curtains. My curtains are tied back each morning, but they have to be symmetrical. If they're not, I'll adjust them until they are.
2. Cerial boxes. You know the plastic bag that holds the cerial, it has to be opened all the way across. Don't half open it, because I always pick the box up, open it and the closed end of the packet is where I need to pour from, every time! So, it has to be open all the way. And if anyone tears the box when they open it so that I can't tuck the little flap back in, it makes me grrrrr.
3. A similar thing with tissue boxes. You know that little oval perforated bit you tear out to get the tissues out, let me open the box, because if anyone else opens it and tears the box when taking out the oval perforated bit, that also makes me grrrrr.
4. Pictures on the wall. If you knock it skew wiff, please straighten it again, it saves me time adjusting it again later.
5. Don't move my ornaments (of which there aren't very many) on the mantle piece, you know I have to have them symmetrical and balanced.. the same height at each end etc. And don't go and move them just to piss me off.
6. The loo roll. It has to be 'over' the roll to tear it off not under. Don't ask me why, it's just one of those things. And I really do have to restrain the compulsion to alter a loo roll at anyone elses house if it's hanging behind the roll.
7. Towels. This is a sad one... They have to be folded exactly in half before being put over the side of the bath. I often find myself re-folding a towel to make it right whilst I'm sat on the loo LOL

These are not overwhelming compulsions that I go mental over if they're not the way I want them, but they do annoy me until they're right. I don't march around issuing orders to everyone to make sure they're done. These are little things that I find myself correcting because it's annoying me.

And while I'm at it, a few things that I do tend to rant about a bit, because these really do get my goat (poor goat).

1. Please don't put your finished dinner plate with food left on it into the bowl of water I've run and got glasses and mugs soaking in before I wash them.
2. Please don't shove stuff in the bin when it's full and leave it hanging out the top of the bin, or spilling on to the floor, empty the bloody thing! (I think I've groaned about this one before, probably several times).
3. Please don't leave the bread bag open when taking a slice out. It makes the rest of it dry. And also, please don't open a fresh loaf when there's a third of a loaf left in the other bag because you think it's softer.
4. Don't moan at me and tell me to 'clear this bloody car out woman' when it's full of your rubbish. Just because it's my car doesn't mean I have to clear up after you. Please remove your own banana skins, empty coke cans, crisp packets etc, because they are what is making my car look like a rubbish tip.
5. One that is really annoying me at the moment!! When you've finished eating your grapes, please put the little empty grape tree's in the bin. I'm getting very tired of picking the little branches out from between the cushions of the sofa and from around the floor where you kicked it when you walked. (dear hubby!!)

OK, I'm done for now. I feel better for that.

Sunday, April 18

Never one to miss an opportunity

Tara at Sticky Fingers had tagged me in a photography meme.. and me being one who likes to post photographs at any given opportunity, am more than happy to oblige.

My first photograph.

I was never really into photography at all until 2004, when I got a little point and shoot camera. I loved the fact that I could walk around, take photographs, go indoors and upload them onto the computer. I could see them straight away! Amazing! This little camera opened up a creative side to me that had been missing. It meant that I could show others what I could see through my eyes and how I saw the world around me.

As I said, this was my very first photo that I thought "oh wow, look what I can do". It's taken over my garden fence early morning on January 1st 2004. It was actually printed in a photography magazine (my claim to fame) and caused me to get hooked over the next two years and then spend a helluva lot of money on a DSLR and camera kit. Although comparative to what can be spent on camera gear, I've been very low budget.

I am very lucky in that I do get some spectacular sunrises over the garden fence and I can often be seen during the early hours of a winter morning, wandering around in my dressing gown, freezing my bits off, camera in hand, to get a sunrise shot LOL If you want to see some of them CLICK HERE.

So now I get to pass this on to 5 other people. Hmmm, it might be difficult because I don't know many people in the blogging world, but here's what you have to do:

1. Open the first/oldest photo folder in your computer library
2. Scroll to the 10th photo
3. Post the photo and the story behind it. Tag 5 or more people to continue the thread.

The Compulsive Worrier I KNOW she has some wonderful photographs
Clinically Fed Up who I've only just discovered but she loves her photography too.
Kellogsville again, only just discovered this blog, but she likes her piccies too
Mum's gone to... I'm sure with all her travels, she must have some lovely photos

In fact, if you want to join in, feel free. You don't need to be nominated specifically, if you fancy it.. get posting.

Friday, April 16

How do I deal with.....

.... a very inquisitive 4 year old?

Heather from Notes from Lapland got me thinking this morning when she wrote about her little one asking what is heaven? I've had the same discussion with Isabelle and she seemed  sort of satisfied with the answer I gave her.

Isabelle spends her life asking questions and I don't mean general run of the mill 4 year old questions, I mean really difficult questions that I'm finding I can't answer, or not at a level a 4 year old would understand. However, I'm finding more and more that if I forget she's 4 and give an answer, she will go along with it, asking relevant questions until she gets an answer that satisfies her.

She does have an above average (for her age) comprehension of things, and google is becoming my best friend. I have to tell her, I don't know, but shall we check on the computer to find out? I dare say, that we've done it so many times now, she could google it for herself and read the answers these days.

My other two kids were curious and inquisitive but nowhere near this level. My hubby is academically very intelligent. I'm intelligent(ish) and I know more than my hubby in a world wide sence. I know a robin from a blue tit and a daffodil from a rose. I can tell her breeds of birds and animals, and species of flowers and plants etc. But I really have no idea what pluto is made of and how many rings saturn has, and why does saturn have ice and rocks floating in the rings, and will they be able to build a rocket that will get through the rings of saturn so that she can go to visit, although she'd have to 'wrap up very warm, because it is so cold there. (saturn is her favourite planet apparently) or which order the planets are from the sun. She has a fascination with the solar system and I know bugger all about it. But it doesn't end there.

The latest question which has been asked repeatedly is where did she come from? Now I know we all get asked this by our kids, but she's still only 4. The fairies brought you didn't work, and neither did I got you off the shelf in Asda, although she did like the thought of being bought from Asda and she asked how I decided to choose her from all the rows of babies.. but she kept asking, how did I get in your tummy? how did I get out again? Why did you put me in your tummy to grow, that was a bit silly. Why did I grow last? (she's a third child). Why did I choose Eve to grow first and not her, she wanted to be born first. Did she like being in my tummy with Eve and Russ all cosy together? it went on.. I answered as jovially as I could, but she was serious. She's 4!! eek. So I explained about seeds growing into babies, to which she laughed and asked did I have to water her and give her some sunshine (awww bless) but then she wanted to know how she got out. And she wouldn't be fobbed off with I went to the hospital and the nurses gave you to me.. she needed to know where from. So I ended up telling her from a special place ... (where?) down here (points) ewwww that's disgusting (well yes actually it was but that's beside the point).. and then she says.. 'can I see where?' Mark runs into his garage at this point (we were in the garden) and dies laughing to himself, I can almost hear him rolling around the floor.. and I'm afraid to say I lied.. I told her it's only there when you're having a baby. Oh, she said, ok. Now I'm worried. One of her teachers is having a baby... what if she goes and asks her to have a look where the baby comes out? Hmmm, I think I better warn her.

I think it's time to get out the How My Body Works book. I'm sure my other two kids were about 7 when they read it, but this little miss inquisitive just can't stop asking questions. And I think I need to go back to school and get better educated to be able to deal with the barrage of questions that I don't know the answers to.

Thursday, April 15

writing worshop - my first one.

This is a new one for me. I've seen so many posts from the Writing Workshop set by sleep is for the weak

This week's prompt is Clear out a cupboard you’ve not visited in years.

You might start reading this and think I'm completely barking mad. You're probably right. I have cupboards in my head. (no, please don't look at me like that with such wide eyes). The are obviously metaphorical cupboards. It's the way I visualise my brain to be. I have a nice cosy semi-circular row of cupbards, and they're a nice bright yellow colour. This is where I store everything so that I can open the cupboard doors as and when I need whatever is inside. There is one cupboard that doesn't match the rest. It's a black cupboard right at the back. It sits right in the middle of all the cupboards. This one has chains around it and a huge padlock. This is where everything that I don't want, or can't, deal with stays. This cupboard doesn't get opened. Nasty things live in there. Well, they might not be actually nasty, but the things that upset me are in there.
The thing that takes the most space up in there are the thoughts of my Dad. He certainly wasn't nasty, in fact he was completely the opposite end of the scale, but he died nearly 6 years ago. What does live in this cupboard are my emotions about my dad. The ones I can't control about how much I miss him, about how he's no longer with me to help and adivse me, to guide the way. See, right now, I'm heading towards that cupboard and it's shouting to be opened, the chains are rattling.. open me, open me. But I can't. It's too painful.

Also in this cupboard are my feelings about myself. My lack of self esteem, my low confidence, my dislike of myself. I have to keep that all locked in this cupboard too, because if I open the cupboard all these emotions spill out and then take over and plunge me into a downward spiral of self loathing and depression. The emotions about my dad also tumble out and I start to think about how he's not here anymore, which then adds to the depression, which makes me want to go and hide in my cave and self destruct. So you can see why I can't open this cupboard door. The chains have to stay locked, otherwise I disolve.

I will go and clean the front of the cupboard occasionaly and sometimes some of it's contents spill out, but I have to pick them up and push them back into the cupboard and make sure the chains are tightened so that nothing else spills out. 

Occasionally, I think, right.. I'm feeling quite strong right now, I'll go and clean this cupboard out... in fact, I had a counsellor try and help me spring clean the cupboard one time, and that was a disaster. She didn't understand what was in there and she told me to get everything off the shelves of this cupboard and put them all in the bin, clean the cupboard out and paint it yellow to match the others. It didn't work, because everything that was in this cupboard spilled out all over the floor, into the corners of my brain and climbed up the front of the yellow cupboards so that I couldn't see anything but the contents of the black cupboard. So I gathered them all up again, shoved them back in the black cupboard and chained it up tightly. 

I haven't opened this cupboard lately, but I know the chains will start rattling and shouting open me.. open me.. once more and they well shout louder and louder the nearer I get to the 6th anniversary of my dad passing away in June. Until then, I'll clean around the cupboard, but keep it firmly locked.

Wednesday, April 14

Sometimes I worry myself

I have always been an avid reader, but I'm beginning to worry myself about the kind of books I'm enjoying reading at the moment.

I've always loved fantasy novels, starting when I was young with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Over time, it moved on and I read more and more fantasy novels, escaping within the books of witches, dragons, wizards and other wierd and wonderful folk.  I've also always enjoyed history, I mean, ancient history, medieval and further back in time than that.

But what is starting to worry me is the morbid fascination I seem to be aquiring with the evil races or notoriously evil characters in history.

I read a book by Gary Jennings called Aztec. it is still the best book I've ever read.  It's a bit gruesome, but that's how the Aztecs were. They made sacrifices to their Gods, they had to, that's what they believed in. And who are we to say they are wrong for doing this? But anyway, this book was so good and was very close to what's known of the history of the Aztecs.

Then I read a trilogy of books by Tim Severin about the Vikings. A damned good trilogy, factually as close to the truth as is known. Again, a bit gorey, but that's the way the Vikings were. My statement at the end of the trilogy was, they meant well.

Then I read a another trilogy. This time it was about Genghis Khan. Now he was a babaric, blood thirsty man (but he meant well) who killed thousands to gain land and rule. This trilogy had me nose in book for several weeks. I was absolutely fascinated. Again, these books were as factually true as possible... again, this man didn't kill for the sake of it, he had reasons.. he meant well.

There have been other books too, but the titles escape me at the moment, but I have just finished my latest book, which has once again had my nose glued to the pages. This book is called Vlad. It's about Vlad the Impaler, the real Dracula, the one that Bram Stoker based his vampiric Dracula on, only Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Dracul-a (his real name) wasn't a vampire.  Oh boy, this one was gruesome, factually as truthful as possible and a bit graphic in places.. but my thoughts at the end of this book which told m about this one man who only wanted to protect his kingdom, who had been beaten and tortured as a young man, wanted revenge. He did impale people, in their thousands, but only to protect what was rightly his. He meant well.

These people I have been reading about, I seem to defend. I can see their point of view, and why they did the things they did. I'm not going to say they were right for doing what they did, but I understand why they did it.. if that makes sence?

But why do I get so gripped by these books? I hate horror movies, I'm such a pacifist, I hate anything gruesome or gorey, I can't bare to think of people suffering and being hurt, yet I seem to get to know and understand these horrific murdering characters in these books telling tales of their history. 

Maybe I should try some Mills and Boon... erm.. over my dead body LOL

The Gallery - Joy

The subject for the gallery from Tara @ Sticky Fingers is 'Joy'

As ever, I've tried to stay away from the obvious. My family, my photography (except that i have to post a photograph), my garden that is popping into bloom all over. It was a difficult decision this week to be honest.

I opted to post a shot of my little robin. Well, technically I don't own him, but he's been a constant visitor to my garden all winter.

I don't know what it is about seeing a robin that makes me smile. I mean, there are so many birds that visit my garden, but this little robin always makes me smile. I know his perches when he's on his way to the bird table. He stops at each spot, making sure the next spot is clear to land on before eating cheese and seeds from the bird table.

For the last 4 or 5 days though, he's getting a bit brave. This normally very timid bird is obviously nexting. He's getting so close to the house looking for bits for his nest, that I can stand at the patio doors watching him and he still doesn't fly away. He's just a busy little bird on a mission.

I feel cheated if I don't see him busying in the garden that day.

It might be a strange choice to depict joy, but that's what I feel when I've seen him. Oh and the fact that this photograph was the first decent photograph I got of him after trying for 2 years!

Tuesday, April 13

As much as I love her....

...the flags are out this morning!

Isabelle has gone back to school. My rambling, incessantly talking, continuously making things, temper tantrum throwing 4 year old gets to spend the day talking to and making things with someone else... her teachers.

Her teachers are absoultely wonderful and they love Isabelle. They wish for a classroom full of kids like her, she is heaven to have around apparently. Well she is.. to a point.. but two and a bit weeks off school has driven her and me demented. Despite us making things together, baking, creating stuff etc, she gets bored. I can't entertain her for the full 12 hours she's awake, I have other things to do sometimes, but try explaining that to her and she lands on the floor and 'humphs' quite a lot. I don't know where these tantrums have come from. She never really had them before, but having a tantrum and sulking because the cat happened to be sitting where she wanted to sit was one tantrum too far. Threats of her going to entertain herself in her room quietened her, but she still humphed to herself banging her legs on the floor.

My hubby decided that it would be a good idea to take 3 days off, so I still don't quite have the house to myself, although he's gone off on his motorbike this morning to ride into the wilderness to see what he can see. So right now, I have peace and quiet and it's wonderful. 

I really do need to get my butt upstairs and clean the bathroom. Having the worlds untidiest husband and daughter home for days on end means that I'm constantly picking up toilet roll that 'missed' the loo, ewwww (luckily it's only wee), picking up towels and clothes off the bathroom floor etc. But there is the black hole in the corner of the living room that has entrails spilling out into the room itself. This is where everything that Isabelle has had out to play with and things she's made over the last 17 days are now residing. Including a puppet theatre box with sock puppets we made, and I have absolutely no idea where it can actually live. There are also her princess dresses that have crept downstairs and didn't get hung back up in the wardrobe. There is practically a full ream of A4 paper drawings that she has done, cards she's made, paper dolls she designed and made (rolled up balls of paper, tissue for hair and a roll of cellotape holding each one together.. she has an extreme cellotape addiction!). Also in this corner are her easter egg box space ships that the chicks we made before easter are now living in. It's a bit cramped for these 8 little chicks, but hey, that's the price they have to pay if they want to go to outerspace. There are also various other 'things' living and creeping out of this corner (not living as alive, living as in residing) and I really don't know where to start. I may get sucked into the vortex and never come out again alive. But what do I do with it all? She remembers everything she's made and this house is so bad for storage space. I think it might have to go and live in the suitcase under the bed for a while, and if she asks for something specific, I can still go and get it.

One of the problems is that I feel guilty throwing her creations away. She puts so much time and effort into her work and it's very important to her. I do keep things that i think she's done especially well, in my memory box, but she gets through a ream of paper a month at least.. that's 500 drawings or 'things' she's made!

But anyway, bathroom or blackhole? Where to start? Kitchen I think, to put the kettle on for coffee. My Adsa shopping should be delivered sometime between 10 and 12, I might just read blogs till it arrives. The queen of procrastination :)

Sunday, April 11

Ahhh, at last...

Ahhh at long last... I've had to wait since October last year. 

Yesterday, the sun was out, and so were the motorbikes at Oulton Park. It was the first day of the bike racing calendar... whoop!  So off we went in the glorious sunshine to feed two of my passions, photography and motorbike racing.. all in one fell swoop! It was the Wirral 100 Motorcycle Club race day. Some old bikes, some new bikes, some fast bikes and some loud bikes. I used this as a pre-British Superbikes day (2nd of May!!) to 'get my eye in' so to speak. 

And of course, how can I write a blog post about photographing the bike racing without sharing some photographs. If you don't like motorbikes.. I'll apologise in advance.. if you definately don't like photographs of motorbikes.. best stop reading now LOL.

The Classic/Forgotten Era bikes were up first and I've been waiting quite some time to get to photograph from this spot with the old lodge in the background. I was stood down quite a steep hill, hence the road being so high up, and it's at a camber.. but once I managed to get the ambulance out of shot in the background, it made for a few nice shots. (my opinion of course LOL) and if you look closely enough at the track, you'll see heat haze (every motorsports photographer's dream (sad bunch aren't we?) lol)

and then we get some faaaaaaast bikes! oh yes!!! These two shots are being used on the blog belonging to the guy racing the bike (with full name credit and website link on his blog too) He won the race by a full 6 seconds.

and just a few shots that I like :) 

The person on on the white bike (110) is Jenny Tinmouth, the UK's fastest female bike racer.

Ahhhh, that's my leather and rubber fetish satisfied until the British Superbikes in a couple of weeks time.

Friday, April 9

Secret Post Club - belated

Firstly, I really must apologise to both Pamela and Heather for not posting this sooner. I'm really sorry - life got in the way, then I couldn't find the photograph I took and... well... this post is a lot later than I originally intended.

I had the most beautifully wrapped packages inside my parcel, it was gift heaven and when I opened it, I couldn't stop smiling.

I am a listaholic! I drive my hubby bonkers! I write lists of lists! As you can see, inside the box are notepads, sticky tabs, a meal planner (which is on my fridge and I use all the time). The pencils are lovely and I have to keep reminding Isabelle that they're mine LOL. Isabelle was also delighted to see a parcel for her. She made up the little Easter necklace straight away and loves wearing it. Oh and the chocolate went down a treat too :)

Thanks so much Pamela, I loved everything in it. And I now also visit your beautiful blog. You seem such a lovely person.

Thursday, April 8

A baking day

So we're getting towards the end of the Easter school holidays and I'm so looking forward to getting my sanity back.. well, what little I have left. Isabelle goes back to school on Tuesday but hubby took a few days off work (he only just had 4 days off over Easter!! grrr!!) and he will be back to work on Thursday next week, so it looks like I get Friday to myself, right before we head into another weekend.

But I digress. Today's entertain Isabelle idea was to have a baking day. So yesterday I came up with several recipes (all sweet I might add LOL) and this morning Isabelle decided she wanted to make 'normal' cakes. She meant butterfly buns. So we couldn't do anything further until she had 'stabbed the eggs' (beaten) for her normal cakes. Once these cakes were in the oven cooking we moved on to our next recipe... Viennese Fingers, except I decided to do whirls too and Isabelle insisted that we also have some stars.

Here's Isabelle guarding her stars till they went into the oven. 

And here's the final result of one of my Viennese Whirls (feel free to lick the screen, it's calorie free that way)

I thought I'd put the recipe in too for anyone who fancies making them. Apparently the ones in our fridge keep jumping out each time my hubby walks past. It's a good job he's good at catching or they'd be all over the floor. He never puts them back in the fridge though. Viennese Whirls don't last long in our house.

Viennese Fingers/Whirls

• 125g unsalted butter, softened
• 25g icing sugar
• 2 large pinches of baking powder
• 125g plain flour
• 1/2tsp vanilla essence
• about 50g dark or milk chocolate (I used a bit more, I'm generous LOL)

buttercream for the filling


1) Beat the butter until really soft, then add the sugar and beat again until light and fluffy.

2) Add the baking powder, flour and vanilla essence and beat to make a fairly firm dough, then spoon the mixture into a piping bag.

3) Cover a couple of baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment and pipe 10cm-long fingers, (I made whirls aswell) spaced well apart.

4) Bake at gas mark 3/170ºC/325ºF for about 10 minutes until pale golden brown, then set aside to cool.

5) Break the chocolate into small pieces, tip into a bowl, then stand the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until melted. (I nuked mine in the microwave)

6) Make up the buttercream and spread onto one whirl (finger) and place a second on top to make a sandwich. Sprinkle with a bit of icing sugar - a dusting.

7) Dip both ends of the biscuits in chocolate, or one side of the whirld and lay on non-stick paper and  put in the fridge to set (if you can keep your hands off them for long enough LOL)

You may be lucky enough to make some that aren't Kamakazi or have a deathwish that jump out of the fridge.

Wednesday, April 7

The Gallery - Ugly

So Tara at Sticky Fingers gave us a real challenge this week for the Gallery. The subject is Ugly. I don't generally go out of my way to photograph ugly things. Unusual maybe, but not generally ugly. Then I got to thinking about what I could post.... Ugly.. BUGS. aha.. the lightbulb went off. So here we have an ugly bug for my choice for the Ugly Gallery this week.

I took this with my trusty (but very much falling to pieces, held together with glue because I can't afford another) macro lens which allows me to get in really close (providing the fly doesn't clear off if I scare it).

Sunday, April 4

Commercialism strikes again

The bah humbug in me has risen once again.

I have to say, I'm not a religious person and neither is my husband, and I do feel like a big hypocrite buying Easter eggs for my kids to celebrate such a religious time. But there's no way I can tell a 4 year old that she can't have chocolate eggs because I'm not religious. And she certainly wouldn't understand atheism. So I buy chocolate eggs.

But what really does get my goat, is the way some major supermarkets jump on the 'lets give them a bargain and rake in the extra cash' bandwagon.

I have seen adverts saying 'give your kids a big treat and make their Easter special' offering up to 25% of various toys. For eggsample (see what I did there? LOL) lego sets reduced from £57 to £46 and various other offers along the same lines. Since when did Easter turn into Christmas? When did people start buying kids hugely priced toys like that? I'm disgusted that I've had to pay around a fiver for a bit of chocolate, never mind spending 50ish quid on toys. B&Q have gone mental with their adverts offering 15-25% off certain items. And of course, M&S are trying to make everyone go into orgasm overdrive to buy their food for Easter... not a mention of the meaning behind Easter anywhere on the telly during any of these adverts. (I'd probably scoff at the religious messages anyway, but that's beside the point).

I know that Easter is a very special time for some people and it is their absolute right to celebrate it in their own way. I'm not that judgemental. I live by 'each to their own'.. but that said, I do think that the likes of Sainsbury's and Tesco are taking it a bit too far!

Happy Easter Egg Day :)

Oh, and could whoever has stolen my husband, please keep him. The man who I slept with last night presented me with a Thorntons Easter egg this morning. He did look and sound remarkably like my husband, but I didn't think the man I married knew how to give Easter eggs LOL (Not that I'm complaining in the slightest!)

Saturday, April 3

Fancy a giggle?

I was hunting through my photographs today when I came across some videos I took of Isabelle (now 4) when she was tiny.

The first video, she was 1 year old and the second one she's about 16-18 months and hysterical.

Have a giggle on me - oh and ignore my ghastly accent! LOL

Say Cheese

My poor cat...

Please note, I did restrain myself from any Mrs Slocombesque remarks about my pussy ;)

This is where my aged cat has taken to living. I don't mean it's a new sleeping place, I mean she lives in this spot. The only time she moves is for food or drink or to use the litter tray. 

My poor kitty is nearly 19 years old and I'm putting off the inevitable. She's always been an outside cat but rarely ventures over the threshold these days. If she does go outside, she takes a quick look and then comes back in again. All she does is eat, sleep and shed fluff all over her new living space on the arm of the sofa.

She did take to sleeping under our bed a couple of months ago, but her hips no longer work properly and each time she went upstairs I could hear her meowing in pain. So she moved to the sofa arm. Now she just sleeps there all day. 

She is a source of amusement but we shouldn't really laugh, although Isabelle laughs like a drain. The cat keeps falling off things (the arm of the sofa or her own back legs). Isabelle says the cat is broke and we need to get a new one because this one doesn't work properly any more. 

I know in reality it's probably time I took her to the vets for one last visit. I just can't bring myself to do it yet. She's not in constant pain and she looks normal occasionally, especially when it's food time, but she does fall off her back legs a lot, and I keep checking her when she's sleeping to make sure she's still breathing. I just can't bring myself to take her to the vets and say kill my cat please. She's been with me for almost 19 years! 

I know that it's going to be soon though. Poor cat

Friday, April 2

The MAD Awards

I follow the blog of TheMadhouse and MummyMad always has something interesting to say.

The Mads are holding a Mummy and Daddy (MAD) Blog Awards, celebrating the utter brilliance of British parent blogs. So if you know someone worthy of a MAD award (and there are prizes) please click the picture award link to the left there and nominate the blog you think deserves to be shortlisted for the awards. There are several categories (the list is below). You might notice in this list is a photography category. [wink] so if anyone feels like nominating my blog in this category, I'd be humbly grateful. Although I've been blogging for a while, I'm still fairly new to the blogging community and I don't really know that many people (yet) but my list of blogs to read regularly is growing very fast. I can't believe how many people blog and share their lives. So I'm going to go and make my nominations for the awards, and I hope you will do the same :) Happy voting. 

The Award Categories are:

Most Innovative MAD Blog

Best MAD Family Fun Blog

Funniest MAD Blog

Best-Looking MAD Blog

Best MAD Baby Blogger

Best New MAD Blog

Most Inspirational MAD Blog

Best MAD Blog Photography

Best MAD Blog Writer

Thursday, April 1

Cracked Pots

wow - 2 blog posts in one day from me... LOL

For all the differences between me and my mum, and how she drives me insane with the fact that anything I ever do is never good enough or I should have done it differently, for all my lack of self esteem and self doubt, Mum sent me the following in an email. I thought it was worth sharing. Make sure you share it with at least one person today.

I want to dedicate this to Julie. If there were ever a person who needs to take the message from this, (other than me) it's her. The world would be a much sadder place without everything she is and everything she brings to those around her. 

So, for my very special friend Julie...

Cracked Pots

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck.

One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments.

But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream.

'I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.'

The old woman smiled, 'Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side?'

'That's because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.'

For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table.

Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.'

Each of us has our own unique flaw. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding.

You've just got to take each person for what they are and look for the good in them.

So, to all of my cracked pot friends, have a great day and remember to smell the flowers on your side of the path!

Please go outside... sneeze.... were the words that came from my hubby. Oh yeah, like I have a lot of time to prepare to get outside in time.

I have a womans worst nightmare. A cold. Just a cold... nothing major, just a cold (according to hubby). Yet when my hubby has it, it's influenza.. malaria... bubonic plague... (you get the picture). Women are expected to carry on as normal. Add a cold onto the top of Fibromyalgia and it's wipeout time. But alas, I cannot lay down and die quietly to myself to get on with it and recover. No. It's half term at school and my 4 year old is running around like a looney and needs entertaining. Her constant chatter and questions are tiring and my poor snot filled brain doesn't want to function. I still need to get up and down, running around after her, getting drinks and providing food when necessary as she's not old enough to get it herself yet, and she's not one for sitting down to watch TV or a film for moe than 10 minutes at a time. Dinner is still expected by hubby at the end of the day when he gets home from work. 

Yesterday morning I got 'that look' from him when he asked me if I would pick him up from football at 7pm as he'd had the works company car the day before and was driving to work in it, but would have no way of getting home after football. I looked at him and asked 'can't you get the bus home? I've got this cold and feel crap.' to the reply of 'the footy pitch is about 3 miles away from the bus stop.' I asked, 'can't one of your 'mates' bring you home, or take you to the bus stop?' he replied 'I can't expect one of them to run me about.' 'Oh but you can expect me to drive 12 miles to pick you up, 12 miles home, have dinner done all on top of feeling really shite?' [insert 'the' look]. He didn't phone for me to collect him and he somehow managed to get home without me. I didn't enquire as to his method of getting home. I was met with 'god you look shite' (thanks darling!). I said, it's a good job I feel shite otherwise that comment might have had a different result. 

So this morning I got up feeling worse than yesterday, and it's day 3 of this cold. I have no energy to entertain Isabelle so we will do sitting down things today. As I type this, she is stood at the side of me telling me about snakes. (!) Did I know that snakes have cold blood not hot? And a type of snake is a viper. And that it's windier outside than it is on Uranus. (Is Uranus windy? Hmmm, I'll have to google that one). These are the things my poor snot filled brain has to deal with daily when my 4 year old goes into information overload talk.

So the reason for hubby telling me to go outside to sneeze is that we watched Richard Hammond's Invisible Worlds on Tuesday night and he told us (my cold had started that afternoon) that humans sneeze at a speed of about 120 miles per hour, although adults between the age of 40 and 50 (I'm 41) can sneeze at 800mph. I am always very conscious about sneezing and when I have a cold I have the tissue box glued to my hand to catch the sneeze, but if you don't cover your mouth when sneezing, it can travel between 5 and 10 feet (although airbourne particles can stay in the air for up to 10 hours). Science on telly has a lot to answer for, and I'm certainly not going to stand outside in hail/sleet/snow to sneeze.

I think a Chinese meal is in order for tonight's dinner seeing as it was payday yesterday and I'm going to try and convince Isabelle that she can actually play and make things by herself for a change.