Saturday, July 31

with fangs and boots on...

Anyone that knows me personally will know that I have a completely irrational and ridiculous fear of butterflies. Yes I know that if I were going to have a phobia it should be of something that can actually hurt or maim me.. but no.. my phobia is of things that fly randomly towards me. Birds... butterflies and in particular moths! I will run screaming like a girl (I know I am a girl) in the opposite direction as quickly as possible to get away from said furry flappy thing. It has been an in joke that I have said that moths and butterflies are so scary because they have fangs and wear big boots. A very sorry and pitiful attempt to explain when I'm afraid of them.  My excuse of 'they bite with their feet' (which is true.. butterflies do taste with their feet) is deemed hogwash.. butterflies don't have fangs in their feet.

But check out how brave I was today. Look how close I got to our resident bitey, killer Red Admiral. This was taken before it landed on my head and made me run to the safety of our house! Click to view large and take a look at the killer menace instilled in it's eyes!

Wednesday, July 28

White lillies...

I've always loved white lillies. Death flowers, declared my mum. They stink and make me think of funerals.

I think they're beautiful. So simple and delicate yet so intreaguing to look at. My hubby bought me  a white lily plant and potted it in a beautiful stone pot to go in our garden. He bought it for my birthday about 6 years ago. The three stems with a few flowers on has now blossomed into a gorgeous plant with about 20 stems and too many flowers to count.  It always blooms about a week after my birthday. The anticipation of how close to my birthday the first flower will burst open is silly really, yet I check daily from the 17th of July onwards.

White lillies also make me think of my dad. He loved them too. I placed a single white lily on his coffin, no big fussy wreath or gaudy tribute in flowers, a simple white lily was enough from me to him.

I took this photograph todayl Lillies are difficult to photograph. they have such big flower heads and frilly petals and then you've got the stamens and anthers in the middle. So I went in close. I don't think I've done this beautiful flower the justice it deserves.

You can click the image for a full size shot.

The Gallery - Nature

The theme for this week's Gallery from Tara at Sticky Fingers is Nature

Nature is everywhere.

Stop for a while and smell the roses.

Take a closer look

And then get a little bit closer

See what you miss when you walk around the garden without looking and seeing. All these photographs were taken in my back garden, nature is never very far away, but if you don't stop for a moment to look, to actually stop and see, you won't even know it exists.

One of the most beautiful sights is from mother nature herself. During the winter, this is the early morning view over my back garden fence. 

So open your eyes and take a look, spend time to actually see what's around you no matter how big or small. it's all there free of charge waiting to be explored and etched in your memory for ever.

Friday, July 23

There are two ways...

to make a packet pasta n' sauce. My way, and hubby's way.

My way..

measure milk as specified on the packet into a jug. Pour on top of pasta n' sauce in a microwaveable bowl. add knob of butter, put in microwave and cook as per instructions on the packet. eat...

Hubby's way...

Open packet, spill some on the floor. shout and ask where the microwaveable bowl lives. empty the rest of the packet into the bowl that was in the cupboard in front of his eyeballs. put empty packet in the bin.

Shout and ask where the measuring jug lives and where is the milk. Shout and ask about the jug again because he didn't listen to the original reply. Shout and ask how much milk he needs. Replies 'but the packet is in the bin'. Fishes the packet out of the bin and measures milk. slops milk on top of the dry stuff in microwaveable bowl and and slops some milk all over the work top. puts it in the microwave, takes it out as he'd forgotten the butter. Puts it back in and shouts how long do I cook it for. Takes packet back out of the bin and checks timings. Takes out of the microwave half way through to stir and looks in horror at the explosion in the microwave. Decides that 'cover the bowl' actually means cover the bowl and arm wrestles the cling film then brings it to me to take a piece off. covers bowl and puts back in exploded mess in the microwave for remaining time. Meanwhile, decides to have bread and butter with it, butters bread ok but leaves bread bag open so the rest of the loaf is now drying. Serves up remaining unexploded pasta n sauce all over the microwave, shuts microwave leaving exploded gloop to grow mould.  Eats. Completely ignores bombsite of a kitchen, leaving it for slave/maid wife to clean up.

Wednesday, July 21

23 years ago today...

....My all time favourite album was released. It changed my musical taste forever.

21st of July 1987. I had just turned 19, I had a 2 year old daughter. I'd been a devout Durannie up until then. Then I heard Guns n' Roses, Appetite for Destruction. wow! I'd never heard anything like it before. Axl Rose couldn't sing, Slash looked rather odd in his leather trousers and top hat but could play the guitar like I'd never heard before. Welcome to the Jungle rocked my socks off (well it would have had I been wearing any).  The whiny high pitched vocals were ingrained in my brain and I still know all the words 23 years later, and I still play the album several times a week. It is a classic album that is still selling copies to this day. I've personally owned 3 cassette tapes (remember them? LOL) and 4 CD's of the album before moving on to mp3's of it. That's how much I've played it.

Without Guns n' Roses, we wouldn't have had the likes of Nirvana. Guns n' Roses stretched the boundaries of music and created something that wasn't music, but certainly got played. I never got to see them play live, although my hubby did when Monsters of Rock played at Donnington every year. 

Having read autobiographies of the band, their rock and roll life was a mess. Ego's clashed, drink and drugs were taken to excess. After Appetite, they released Use your Illusion I and II together. They couldn't decide which tracks to use for the album so they made two albums. After that, the rock and roll ego's were too much and Guns n' Roses as we all knew them went their separate ways. Axl has created several 'new' Guns n' Roses as he claims he had rights to the band name, but Axl wasn't in the original lineup. Izzy Stradlin and Slash created Guns n' Roses. We called out daughter Isabelle so we could call her Izzy (which we don't actually call her LOL). Slash is still touring now, and my hubby went to see him in Manchester a couple of weeks ago and was in awe at his guitar playing. He can still rock.

So I'd just like to say  happy birthday Appetite for Destruction, it's been a pleasure knowing you. 

The Gallery - A Novel Idea

This weeks theem for the Gallery from Tara is : A novel idea.  A photograph which you think represents a favourite book or novel or even children's tale.

I spent some time thinking about my favourite books. There are so many books to choose from as I'm a bit of a bookworm. I loved reading about Genghis Khan, but without a trip Mongolia, I'm lacking in photographic matter. One of my all time favourite books is called Aztec by Gary Jennings, but as the Aztecs no longer exist, I was stumped again.

I decided to go for this photograph. Some of you may have seen it before, but as it's the title of the book, I'm going to post it again.

The story of a search for the ideal utopia and personal fulfilment, only to find that life's problems don't all go away and in fact bring forth a multitude of new problems.

Guessed yet? It's The Beach by Alex Garland. It's such a shame they turned it into a film with Leonardo Di Caprio.

Monday, July 19

I'm glad that's done

Oh wow last week was tough! Tough on me phsycally. I am now paying the price. But it was worth it (I think).

It's so hard having to do running around, getting essential items and doing essential things before a deadline. Normal life had to take a back seat. I had to pick things up from one place and then drive 10 miles in the opposite direction to get something else, be some place else or spend time on the phone arranging things. It seemed for everything I tried to arrange, an obstacle or hurdle was in the way first. From Wednesday onwards it was just manic and constant. 

On Friday (Isabelle's birthday) I had to get all her party stuff done in the morning, because I was helping out in school during the afternoon, and her party was at 4pm.  I was so pysically and emotionally tired and on Friday afternoon I had a meltdown. It was so stupid too.. 

On Friday afternoon all the children had to go into the hall for the school leavers assembly, and the head mistress (akin to Vlad the Impaler!) was giving her stay safe speech. Fair enough. She told a child to move to the end of the row for chatting. The child said sorry and the head mistress said I'm sure you are, now MOVE. She shouted it so loud all the teachers jumped, never mind the kids. A little girl stood up and disolved into floods and floods of tears. It was my little girl. My little newly 5 year old, all excited because it was her birthday and her party was only half an hour away. She moved to the end of the row and was practically hysterical but she knew she had to be quiet and tried so hard to stop crying, but when she's upset she can't get a grip of herself.

Isabelle is not a naughty child by nature, if she's told off she's mortified, even if I tell her off. She's heartbroken, so to be shouted at so loudly by the head mistress just sent her to pieces. One of the teachers tried to console Isabelle and stroked her arm telling her it would be alright. I was over the other side of the hall and couldn't get to my baby sobbing her heart out. I realise that she deserved to be pulled up for chatting, but my no means was she the only one, and she absolutely did not deserve to be shouted at like that. I've never shouted at her that loud. 

After the headmistress did her speech she leant to one of the teachers next to me and I heard her say, did I frighten her or is she always in floods of tears like that? The teacher replied, no she's not a tearful child, we've never had to tell her off, she's one of the nicest children we have in school, and by the way, that's her mum sitting next to me. The head mistress said.. oh. Isabelle was still in tears, and the head mistress told her to move back to her space. I left the hall. I couldn't sit there watching her cry any longer.

Isabelle's teacher followed me out and I just dissolved in tears myself. I couldn't help it. It was just everything that had happened during the week, emotional overload. Isabelle's teacher was so apologetic and kept saying 'I'm so sorry, she didn't deserve being spoken to like that. Of all the children in school, Isabelle is the least deserving of being shouted at in that manner'. I said that if she was chatting, she needed to be told to stop, even though she's so excited etc.... but it was the manner in which it was done, and my mummy instinct kicked in. When your child is sobbing it's heart out, you just want to get to it and comfort it. 

I managed to calm down and the children came back into class. I went to get a glass of water and several of the other teachers came to me and apologised on the headmistress' behalf and said it wasn't fair and Isabelle didn't deserve that, she's such a lovely girl and is never any bother. They were all so sorry. I kept trying to say that if she was chatting, she needed telling, but they all said.. not like that.

A short while later the headmistress came to me and apologised. I didn't want to accept it. I'm a stubborn cow. If I hadn't been in the hall to see it, nothing would have been said to me, it would have happened and I'd have been non the wiser. Isabelle wouldn't have said anything to me because she would have been ashamed. The headmistress said she over-reacted in the heat of the moment because she was doing a serious speech about staying safe. I told her I realised that. She said she'd spoken to Isabelle after and made friends and chatted about her new baby rabbit, and Isabelle is fine now. I still wasn't. 

I told Mark about it later and ended up in tears again. I don't know why I got so emotional about it. Isabelle isn't a naughty child, she will do anything to stay out of trouble, she rarely needs telling off for anything, and definately behaves at school. The daftest thing about it is that even when I went to bed, you know how your mind goes over the days events.. I lay there with tears rolling down my face thinking back to how mortified and upset she was in the hall. She was fine and never mentioned it again, it's me that can't get over it.

Oh to be a parent.

Saturday, July 17

A nice day....

My first 4 birthdays were mine. They were special, I enjoyed them and I had fun. My fifth birthday was different. My baby brother was born the day before my fifth birthday. That's when it all changed. My birthday was no longer special. It seemed to vanish. I still had birthday parties, but as we lived in a small community our parties were a joint party in the local community centre and all the kids attended. Space for cards and presents was already taken up, but I lived with it. It was the norm. At least we didn't have Christmas birthdays when (like my hubby) birthday and christmas presents were rolled into one.

then I left home and my birthday was my own again until 5 years ago, when my beautiful baby girl was born hours before my birthday. Once again my birthday was the day after... shelves were filled with cards, presents were strewn about the house... and this is going to last many many years. The year Isabelle was born, I didn't even get  a birthday. I was kept in hospital overnight, not getting home until 3pm, my birthday vanished that year.

Isabelle had a lovely birthday yesterday. She turned 5. My baby is growing up fast! Her party was a big success and 18 children turned up to celebrate with her. She felt like a princess and loved every minute of it.

And my birthday today has been lovely too. It didn't disappear into insignificance. It may have had something to do with my rant earlier in the week about me not seeming to be important.. it might not have. I haven't had to wash a single dish today. I've only had to make 2 cups of coffee all day. Isabelle insisted I had a birthday cake and my son put candles on it and they all sang happy birthday to me. I've had to wear a number 1 mum badge all day, and I've loved it.

So here I sit, blogging on the sofa on my new netbook! I love it.

Today I feel happy, and I am important and I do matter to those around me.

Tuesday, July 13

We talked, I cried...

... I hate getting so emotional that I break down, but I was at the end of my tether. It all came to a head on Saturday morning.

Mark took Isabelle out to buy me a birthday present ready for this Saturday. It was a little bit of something I'd seen and liked while Isabelle and I were out browsing the shops. It was only a fiver, but Isabelle told daddy so off they went to get it. He asked where was a good place to get a card, so I suggested somewhere. Although Isabelle will make me a card anyway, it's also important to her that she gets to choose one from a shop. She's like that. She has to do things the right way, it matters to her and she gets upset when things aren't done right, like giving special cards to special people. 

They got back and she scurried past with a bag in her hand to stash in her bedroom, and I asked Mark if he'd found the card shop. He said.. very matter of fact, I can't be arsed driving through all that traffic just for a card. That was it, the straw that broke the camel's back so to speak. I cried. My head had translated his words into 'see, that's how important you are and how much you matter, he can't be arsed because it's for you. Any other time, if it was oil for his bike etc he'd have driven through it, but oh no, it's you, so it doesn't matter.' So out it all tumbled. 

Over the years I've learned not to be accusing when I'm talking about how I feel or when somethings wrong, because he's automatically on the defensive and turns it all around to being my fault. I talked about how small I felt and how little I mattered until it came to clean clothes and a meal. I talked about everything on my mind and how we don't talk to each other. He said I had nothing interesting to say. (talk about shove the knife in and twist it!) but I asked how he knew that, when he doesn't even listen to me. One of his worst habits is he'll ask a question and not listen for the answer only to ask again. We've had huge arguments over it, because I can be a stubborn pig when I get going and I'd tell him if you can't be bothered to listen to the answer, I'm not repeating it, he should listen the first time!

But anyway, I'd said my piece, he defended himself even though I felt he had no need to, but he obviously felt I'd threatened his 'maleness'.  He did say he understood my point and he would try to do something about it. 

On Sunday I was still feeling a bit rough and bitter about everything and we ended up having, not an argument, but a heated discussion about money. Mark is very materialistic, whereas I'm not, so we normally manage ok, but he's very money oriented and always wants more. I look after our finances as he is terrible at it, and it normally works ok, but this month we have Isabelle's birthday and party to pay for, and Mark forgets what he's already had. Once he's had it, it's been and gone and is on to the next thing. So we had this discussion and it didn't end up very well, so I retreated back into my crabby shell (I'm cancerian and climbing into my shell for protection is one of my (bad?) habits) and I buried myself in a really good book I was reading and almost at the end of. I was talked out and really couldn't be bothered. He tried to talk to me, just general talk, but I was hurt and in my shell. I only spoke when I had to. 

Mum phoned Monday morning and asked if I was feeling any better (I'd phoned her on Sunday when he'd gone for a ride on his motorbike, so she knew(ish) what was going on) and for once I didn't put my happy mask on. I told her no, I wasn't really feeling any better. That's not like me at all. I normally just cover up and lie.

So Mark came home from work on Monday night, a different person. Do men talk to other men and get things off their chest? Do they discuss things at work? Or maybe he'd had a chat with one of the women he works with? Maybe it was just time away from the house and he'd had time to think. I don't know.. but he really did come home a different person. He chatted, asked me questions and actually listened to the answers first time! He didn't go onto the computer until well after dinner and said he wasn't ignoring me but he had some items on ebay ending within the hour, but even then, he chatted to me while he was doing it. It's like he's had an injection of human being again. So why does it have to come to me loosing the plot and blubbing all over the place to get something like this sorted out? It's been going on for weeks to the point where I felt I didn't exist or matter. Why does it have to come to that?

I don't know how long it will last, but I do think he realised just how emotional and lost I was once I'd told him and he'd had time to digest the information.

I'm making the effort and so is he. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, July 9

Little Ray of Sunshine...

I can always count on my little ray of sunshine to lift my spirits. My little ray of sunshine is so excited that she's going to be 5 in one week. She can't wait.

My little ray of sunshine brought her school report home today. Her first year in full time school, even though she's still only 4. She's the youngest in her year, yet she's at the top of the class. 

Her report started off with the words... Where do I begin? Isabelle never ceases to amaze me. 

I have to show you what her class teacher said about Isabelle in her final summary on Isabelle's school report. It brought a lump to my throat.

Looking back over the past year, Isabelle has made so much progress. She is a real star with a natural talent for language and drama and creativity. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to have Isabelle in my class. She is a very special individual. Her cheery smile and wonderful lust for learning will carry her through life. Isabelle has strong ideas and a love of books and their characters. Isabelle is proud of her family and enjoys sharing their triumphs.

Isabelle displays excellent communication skills and this, along with her gentle nature and warm smile makes her an excellent role model. The hard work you put into Isabelle's education has already paid off in dividends. I hope always to be a part of Isabelle's life. We will all miss her so much. She is one of my very best friends. Isabelle you must keep up your design work and your acting. When Isabelle decides where she is going in life, the many skills and qualities she possesses along with your support will allow her to achieve her dreams.

How can I not be proud of her after reading that? The whole school report is in the same vein... I am so proud of my nearly 5 year old little ray of sunshine, she's brightened quite a dark week for me.

Thursday, July 8

I'm tired....

Life just seems so overwhelming at the moment, and I'm so tired.

There are no major problems or hurdles to get over, just general day to day existence is tiring. My get up and go, got up and left. My mojo got lost and I just feel like that big black cloud is pressing down heavier and heavier. I am going through the motions, but my heart isn't in anything.

I feel like my marriage is a bit stagnent and hubby, despite me trying to talk about it, is oblivious. He's fine, his life is fine, he's happy, so of course, there can't be any problems.

I think the biggest thing that bothers me at the moment is that I have to do everything. All the organising, the arranging, the maintaining... etc. It's Isabelle's birthday next week, so it's down to me to arrange her party, invitations, her presents and one of the more annoying things is having to think of things for everyone else to buy her. Why can't people just buy her something. She's a 5 year old little girl for heavens sake.. or she will be 5 a week on Friday. Go look in the shops.. online.. wherever.. just don't make me do all the thinking. My general answer of, no there's nothing she really wants doesn't suffice. I am supposed to come up with an idea and then they can go and buy it, or just send her the money. (this is family I'm referring to!).

I bought her a load of playmobil stuff from ebay. I camper van and a horse stables with all the horses and jumps etc. I know she'll love it. She has a huge thing for horses and she loves the little roll play games. I showed it to hubby and his reaction was.. we're getting her something else aswell aren't we? Well actually, no I wasn't planning to, she will love it. He pulled a face and said we should get something else too. How about a TV and DVD player for her bedroom? She's going to be 5!! Why does she need a TV and DVD player in her room? I'd rather she wasn't watching stuff in her room when she goes to bed. She's not even that interested in TV to be honest. She'd rather be making something. So no, I'm not going to spend all that money on something I don't want her to have. I'm not shoving her out of the way up in her room to watch TV. I want to know what she does watch and when she watches it. It's not because I'm a controlling parent, I just don't think that at 5 years old, she needs it. Let her play rather than become a vegetable with square eyes who is grumpy due to lack of sleep. (I guess you can say I feel quite strongly about that).

We did agree however that it was about time we put her incessant begging to an end that we've had to suffer for the last year. She's been asking and asking for a rabbit. Isabelle loves, and adores animals, and although we have a cat, the cat is 19 and is a very old lady, is a bit cantankerous and will only let you stroke her when she wants it. So I've ordered a rabbit hutch and on Tuesday visited the rabbit man (not his real name obviously LOL). I've picked out a little female rabbit who will be old enough to leave her mummy rabbit next Thursday night ready to be brought home and put in her new hutch to surprise Isabelle on Friday morning. I need to get bedding, food, dish, water bottle etc.. but again, all this has been left for me.  We decided to get her one anyway, but it made hubby feel better when I suggested she have it as part of her birthday present. He obviously really didn't like the playmobil stuff.

It's also left to me to tax/sorn cars/bikes, banking, bills etc etc, and it gets me from time to time, especially when snide comments are made about something that didn't get done, or I forgot to do. When I say, if it's that important you do it, I get the reply of.. I'm at work all day, I don't have time. He has evenings and weekends.. but that's taken up with him either sitting at the computer or him taking a motorbike or pushbike apart or putting it to pieces again in the garage. If he's on the computer and I speak to him, he doesn't hear me. If he's watching football, he doesn't hear me. If he's in the garage, he obviously doesn't hear me. I feel like I'm living in a silent world at the moment. We don't seem to have any 'us' time. I feel very lonely at times. If I try to arrange some us time it has to be on his terms or something he wants to do that I struggle to do ie, walking up mountains or some physical activity which my fibro body can't cope with.

I realise the simple solution is talk to each other, but it just doesn't happen no matter how much I try.  He's fine, his life is fine.. no problem needs solving.

There's one other thing that's getting to me at the moment to.. and I think that this is probably the root of the problem now that I'm actually writing it down. I don't feel special or important. I'm surplus to requirements, I'm only necessary for clean clothes, food provider and caretaker. It's my birthday the day after Isabelle's.. a week on Saturday. Since having Isabelle, my birthday is no longer valid. When she was born, I had to stay in overnight because my waters had been leaking for 4 days but they wouldn't induce me till the 4th day even though I was over my dates. So I was in hospital for my birthday and I didn't even get a birthday card or present from my other half.. a baby was present enough apparently. And of course, ever since then, it's been about Isabelle's birthday. My 40th birthday, party that I'd arranged to have at my mum's with my brothers 2 years ago (and no laughing Julie, that I'm still sulking about this) was turned into a 60th birthday party for my aunt, and I didn't even get a balloon, cake, banner .. nothing. It was always bad enough that it was my baby brother's birthday the day before mine (the same day as Isabelle) and my aunt the same day as me.. I always had to share a birthday until I left home. and now my birthday, once more, pales into insignificance. The day I should be made to feel special seems to be a pain in the arse for everyone. Hubby constantly moans on the run up to my birthday about how he doesn't know what to buy me. I'm not that difficult to buy for. The past two years there have been things I wanted so he got an easy run on that and I ordered, bought and paid for the stuff myself. This year, there's nothing in particular, so he's stuck. Can't he walk around Chester during his lunch break and see what's in the shops? It doesn't even have to be much, but the fact that he would have taken the effort to go and choose something himself would mean so much to me.

Oh dear, I sound like I'm having such a pity party here. But I do feel down and I do feel lost and lonely, I feel put on, taken for granted and that no one takes an extra bit of time to see if I'm ok. Hubby is always too busy doing something to see how I am, or how my day has been.  I'll be alright. I always am. I'll feel better for just getting it all off my chest.