30 June 2013

in which madam gets surgery!

*warning: this post has some gruesome pictures in it*
Well, the last couple of days have been a lot more hectic than anyone could have anticipated. I went off to guides on Friday night with my shiny new leadership pack and a whole load of shoe boxes (you know, for the guides who don't like crafts).
The guides had more fun than anticipated sticking bits of tissue paper onto boxes and decorating them with various stickers and things. But they don't like crafts. In fact they got so involved we were over-running given we had 3 promise ceremonies to get through.
Now madam was with me as I can't leave her on her own and she was sticking things on her own box and generally joining in really well, but promise ceremonies are boring if you're 4 and you don't get to be in them. She did start off trying to help me give out the new neckers, but it didn't go too well...
So she went out of the hall to play in the foyer whilst we finished off and packed up. She found the tombola that the school had been using for their summer fair earlier in the afternoon and was happily spinning it and being out the way and quiet.
And then suddenly she wasn't.
She came racing back into the hall saying she'd hurt her finger and I could see it was bleeding and she was obviously in pain. I took her into the toilets to rinse it under the tap and wrap it up a bit. I brought her back in the hall and had a look at what she'd done and had that instant realisation that we would need to take her to A&E because if nothing else it looked like she'd need stitches.
The caretaker went to get her some ice to try and numb it a bit for her and then we had to get a lift from my guide leader because I'm still car-less at the moment. This is complicated by the fact that she is in a wheelchair so she has all her stuff on the back seat so she can get the chair in and out the boot easily. So after some re-jigging of stuff we set off for the local MIU/Out-of-Hours service.
Sadly, the Doctor who was there said there was nothing he could really do and it would definitely need an x-ray and as there wouldn't be x-ray services there until Monday we'd have to take her through to Hull Royal. On a Friday night. This did not fill us with warm fuzzies, I can tell you. However, I was wrong. We got there to find that we were in the new improved children's A&E section. There were toys everywhere, Shrek 2 on the TV and it was open and bright and completely non-scary.
And after a good long wait we were called through and the Doctor sent us for an x-ray. Now this bit, for some reason, was really frightening madam and she was not keen. But she was brilliant, sat really still and did exactly what the Radiographer asked her to (why, why does she not behave like that for me!) and got a sticker at the end of it. They asked us to wait outside for her pictures to come through and then came and gave me the reference form we needed to take back to the Doctor. At which point madam demanded to be allowed to see her special pictures! The Radiographer decided that as it was really late and she'd been so good that that would be ok! So we got a sneak peek and madam was thoroughly fascinated to see inside her hand...
The Doctor said that he didn't see a break but that the plastic surgery consultant wanted to have a quick look and would schedule us an appointment. Now I, foolishly, presumed this appointment would be on Monday. I was wrong, she had a look and then asked us to come back tomorrow morning at 9am and could we just wait here to be bandaged and thank you very much. I'm afraid I had a bit of an ungrateful reaction at this news.
I have no car at the moment! You want me to come back first thing tomorrow, we're not even from Hull... Consultant said it didn't have to be exactly 9 and did I really have another choice. Obviously, I hadn't meant that we wouldn't come, it was more that it was already gone midnight and I was going to have to spend a fortune getting a taxi home, then pay out for the bus in the morning, and I didn't even know if there would be one to get us there on time.
I kind of said no, of course we would be there and that as long as no-one expected us bang on time, we'd be there. We then had another half an hours wait before someone had time to do bandaging and we got a lovely student Nurse who chatted away with madam about nursery and guessed which big school she was going to.
This was good as madam was suddenly very afraid that being bandaged would hurt her poor, mangled, bruised finger. But it obviously was ok as she didn't even flinch. And then it was finally home time. Managed to get some cash out and rang a taxi, got home at just after 1am and put madam and myself to bed. She fell asleep straight away but I was wide awake. Until at least 2.30, and then the alarm went off. Ugh.
I hit snooze until we absolutely had to get up or miss the bus that I'd managed to look up for us. So we got dressed and came straight out. Having no breakfast as I thought we'd be quite quick and then get something (McDonalds is what I'd promised). I was very glad of that when the Plastic Surgeon said she'd need an op and when did she last eat or drink. The fact we hadn't had anything since the night before meant they would schedule us for as soon as possible that day.

a close up of the poor, poorly finger
a smiley face to show the surgeon which finger!
They found her a bed, got her changed into a gown and then we just had to wait. And wait. And then wait a bit more. The hardest thing was how often madam asked for a drink. It felt so mean not letting her have one, but I didn't need us to be rescheduled if I could help it! At about 2 o'clock it was finally time and she went downstairs for her op. They took her into the theatre and I helped to distract her whilst they inserted what they called her butterfly.
As soon as she saw it in the back of her hand, she freaked. She was really afraid of what was about to happen and this thing in her hand was just too much. I have to say the Nurses and the Anaesthetician were, again, incredibly good with her and did manage to distract her enough to get her to start breathing the gas whilst they put things in her "butterfly". They made her try and blow up the balloon and obviously that meant she took some good deep breaths and went under in no time. All I could do was give her a kiss on the cheek and leave her in the very capable hands of the Surgeon and his team.
I teared up as the Nurse led me to the waiting area because although I knew she'd be fine, it's awful to be so out of control of what's happening to her. I'm actually tearing up again just thinking about how it felt. She was so distressed and suddenly so, so small and I had to leave her. Ugh, horrible. Heartbreaking. I am so glad that it was only a finger and nothing too serious.
I sat waiting for about an hour. I really wish I could have sat somewhere completely on my own as having to listen to other people chatting away without a care in the world, including the woman who was discussing her night out in an almost blow-by-blow account even though she didn't want to be indiscreet, was really annoying me. Too many emotions going on to be having to listen to other people...
And at about 3 they called me back to come and see her in recovery. She was not a happy bunny and was wailing and asking to go home. But obviously, that wasn't going to happen immediately. She also kept asking to have the "butterfly" taken away.
I was a bit surprised at the size of the bandage she was now sporting. She had damaged the tip of her right index finger, I was thinking possibly that they'd strap the middle finger up as well, but her whole hand was swathed in bandages and strapping, except for her thumb.
enormous bandage, picture was taken after we'd got home as my phone died whilst we were at the hospital!
So after returning to the ward and finally getting something to drink and eat, she perked up a bit. And then she perked up enough to start running around like a lunatic again. But she still wanted her "butterfly" out. They took it out just before they brought her some tea. At which point I started to worry that we would be here overnight, but the Nurse assured me that they were arranging her discharge. Then madam decided she didn't want to go home! So, having dragged her over to her bed and forced her to put her proper clothes back on we finally got to leave at 6pm.
But I had promised McDonalds after the hospital, and she was desperate for the toy from the happy meal. So we went into town and I got something to eat at last (I'd had nothing all day!). But madam was disappointed as they didn't give her the current toy, it was an old one. They told her to bring it back unopened to get the proper toy. But we hardly ever go to McDonalds as you need a car to get there...
Madam also decided to just play with her toy anyway...
Kids are so much easier to please than adults sometimes. We have to go back to the hospital on Friday to get the bandages off, but my parents are back tomorrow, so that won't be a problem.
I've really missed them this weekend. I've had loads of great support from all my friends and family, but having my mum and dad around for back-up and support would have been lovely. But that's life, and you just have to deal with what's in front of you. Whether you feel like you're heart is breaking or not.  

28 June 2013

A design for life

Oh, before I start, this is how the brownies looked once I'd cut them up :) Oh, yes...
Last night I fiddled with the blog (you might have noticed the rather radical redesign). But I'm still not happy with it. Be prepared for me to do more fiddling in the near future. The reason for this faffing about is simple. I'd like my blog to have an identity that matches me. I want it to be completely unique and instantly recognisable.
Similar to some of the blogs I most enjoy reading myself. Not similar design wise, distinctive-wise I mean.
There's the lovely Tilly and the Buttons, great design. Lets you know instantly what the blog is about. Also, essbeevee who uses her own illustrations to highlight her great fashion blogs. And my personal favourite blog ever Hyperbole and a half who uses her own drawings (again) to personalise her posts.
I could go on for hours about unique and distinctive blog ideas. But mostly I'd like some input. What would you think sums me up? I hope you're all drawing parallels with my search for self going along with a blog identity crisis! And I think this is where my issue lies. I am so unsure of who I am and how I fit in the world it reflects on everything else I do.
So who am I? I know that this blog doesn't cover anything specific, it's not a fashion blog or a crafting blog. I talk about everything and anything that comes to mind. At the moment I know that I'm going to have to change how dark the background is because although some of my writing probably does come from that dark place within me, it's not what I want to project.
I feel like the blog is about growth, discovery, new awakenings, that kind of stuff. But how do I represent that to anyone who might stumble across it one day on their search for something to read. I would like it to really jump out at the reader, though without resorting to the bright citrus colour I've got going on my current set-up! ;)
So what can I think of that represents growth and change? What can you think of? I need some serious help! Maybe I should be a bit more open, I'm not sure I've ever shown my face on here, although madam is plastered all over. This is a recurring feature of my life, pushing madam forward and myself back. My college tutor asked if she was more important than me as that's how I seem to act. I didn't have an answer. The logical one is "no", no-one is more important than anyone else, and a child should have respect for their parent (this may be why she doesn't bother to listen to me).
But I don't want being a mother to be the thing that defines me. I am so many other things too. Sadly, the first one that pops in my head is "fat" but that's my own insecurities lurching to the fore... I have a nice smile, and beautiful eyes, and a great personality. Nothing else is actually really important.
I've mentioned that I used to sketch and this is a collage of some of my old pictures. So could I do some of my own artwork? Design a logo or something...
yeah, there might have been a theme to my old past-time...
I am a crafty type and love creating things in various different ways. I am a Guide leader and enjoy working with that age group of young people. I find them fascinating and so changeable, excited about their lives and what they will be. At that age you can also have meaningful conversations with them! Though I've not managed to persuade any of them just how rubbish One Direction really are!
And that's another part of it. They let me in, I'm not their parent, but I am someone who they can ask about things. I have (finally) been given my leadership training pack and can now work towards my taking over my unit (the current leader has been doing it since I was tiny). I'm quite excited to finally have it as I've been waiting for nearly 3 years! Yes, really...
I just need to do my first aid training now...

Update: If you're reading this and thinking, the background isn't dark, she's gone nuts. I changed it again as there were problems with the links!

27 June 2013

A recipe for you

It's proving extraordinarily difficult to concentrate on writing this as the smells emanating from the kitchen are immensely distracting! This is because madam and I are having an experiment and cooking Nutella brownies.
The recipe was posted on Facebook by a friend of mine the other day. And it was so simple I had to give it a go. It was originally posted on Pamela G Cook's page and I saved it to mine for the recipe...
The recipe is:
280g Nutella
2 eggs
62g flour (she says that's 10tbsp, but not in my experience!)
Put it in the bowl. (I'd have been better with a slightly bigger one!)
Mix. (Probably not as close to your laptop, especially if your littlies are helping...)
Pour in prepared tin. (Would also make good buns, reduce cooking time)
Cook for 30mins at 180 Celsius. Et voila!
The smell is incredible and it has managed to keep madam and I occupied for a bit whilst it pours with rain outside. It's always miserable when madam isn't at nursery!
So now I am going to eat a sample whilst I cook our actual dinner. I also have to make a fresh cream and strawberry flan for dessert!

26 June 2013

Ah, so that's what filibuster means!

Strange morning. I woke up to lots of social media excitement about a Texan senator and the magnificent, marathon filibuster she had pulled off. I have to admit to 1) knowing nothing about it beforehand and 2) not being very sure of what a filibuster meant (I am not very politically aware).
So, I read the newspaper article and found myself crying about the achievement and the sheer amount of effort and determination Wendy Davis had put in. I am in awe of anyone who has the guts to stand up and be counted that way. I linked the article to my Facebook page to show my support.
But it made me think about my feelings on abortion. Which happen to be a bit complex. I absolutely believe a woman has the right to choose what happens to her body. I don't think, in a civilised society, we can justify a woman not being allowed to make the decision on whether she continues a pregnancy or not. However, I would never have one.
This is because I believe life starts at conception and that all life is sacred. Whilst pregnant with madam I was offered the standard testing for Down's Syndrome. It took me mere seconds to refuse it point blank. I know that, even if I had been given a positive result, I would have continued the pregnancy. It didn't even guarantee a 100% definitive answer and carried a risk of miscarriage. No thanks.

Madam's first photo :)

if you look at this one carefully, you'll see she's waving!

I should be grateful to the midwife for not even batting an eyelid at my decision and just moving on to the next thing we had to talk about. 
I then tried to explain it to K. Then realised I should have just left him in the dark, it only confused him. Learning disabilities are not something he had any awareness of.
I am not sure what I would have done if the 20 week scan had revealed serious, life limiting disability. I guess I would have dealt with it at the time. I read this amazing blog from Down Side Up earlier this month and was so moved by some of the frightening statistics it contained. It did make me wonder what options mother's are actually being given. Talk of eugenics will always be terrifying to me.

Again, I do not think that any woman should have their choice taken away though. I believe unnecessary distress to the mother should be avoided as much as possible during pregnancy! Part of the reason I chose not to know was so that I could enjoy my pregnancy in blissful ignorance.

Sadly, I think abortion has almost become another form of contraception to some areas of society but it still isn't a reason to remove the privilege.

My mother tells me that her nana could remember doctors would perform "little operations" on the Victorian ladies in their care who couldn't cope with yet another mouth to feed. This was highly illegal at the time, and obviously only open to the people who could pay for this treatment. But it probably saved some women their lives, childbirth was incredibly dangerous.

And then there are those ladies who are dying because of their unborn child. The case of Savita Halappanavars who died because of strict Irish anti-abortion laws was terrifyingly needless. There are so many more women like her around the world who live in countries where they don't even have the option that the idea of somewhere like Texas trying to take it away from the women of their state is horrifying.

Now, I know they weren't trying to criminalise it, but they were restricting access to it in a dramatic fashion by making it very difficult for women to access abortion services and limiting the ways in which it could be performed. And this is where Wendy Davis came in. She stood up for all the women of her state. She had massive public support (which was obviously being ignored by the Texas House) including that of Barak Obama. And she did it. She talked for almost 11 hours and ended up earning a 15 minute round of applause that disrupted the House the vote couldn't pass before it's deadline.

She is my new hero. Well done Wendy Davis.  

25 June 2013

Ice cream can cure anything

I gave myself a couple of days away from the blog as I had been starting to get a bit stressy about it. The need to blog is still there but I was thinking that I didn't really have anything to say and was possibly boring everyone.
And then I remembered the blog isn't really for anyone but myself. Yes, it's great that other people read it (and I wish more did), but I started it to help me process my thoughts. And I still need to do that. So the days when what I write is mainly just a diary are just as important as when I find something important to mull over.
As I've said before, the act of blogging on an almost daily basis is actually something I didn't believe I would keep up for a month let alone the near enough five that I've been active.
I do find some days harder than others, but I guess that's to be expected and I shouldn't worry so much if I do miss a day.
The reason it makes me worry is because of my tendency to avoid things. Once I've let it build up to two or three posts missed then it's far easier to keep not writing than to force myself to start again. A vicious circle of my own making.
And with that I shall start this post properly. I've been counting my blessings this afternoon and feeling very grateful for small things. This is because madam hurt herself yesterday and gave herself a good battering down her right hand side. I didn't really have anything that worked as a good kiddie curative other than good old fashioned hugs and kisses. And she was very brave, it must have been really sore.
So today as we walked the long walk to school from my parents house I promised her that, if she continued to be good at school too, she and I would go for an ice cream after school. And she was a good girl all day and it was really warm, so ice cream it was.
We went to Rolando's which is just behind madam's nursery and has just started selling gelato... And oh my goodness was it good! They had a good selection of flavours including one made from their famous almond biscuits. Think friend V may need to try that one...
Madam went for the blueberry (because it was purple) and I had salted caramel and liquorice! Those are two separate flavours, because otherwise, ewww! They were all very tasty and I was quite glad we'd remembered to give it a go. We will also need to go back and check out more of their flavours over the course of the summer... I think I'll go for the pistachio and the chocolate next :)

Madam wants to try the hazelnut (or the banana, or the vanilla, or the maple pecan, etc, etc!). It's a shame they don't sell the gelato out of a van on the westwood like Burgess of Beverley used to do. Be really good to stop off and buy one whilst on a yomp with madam.
Yesterday, before the dramatic injury, we had gone to what will be madam's school in September to try on some of the sample jumpers they have in the office. It was also a bit of a ploy to help madam acclimatise as she is still not entirely sure about going up to big school. And she was scared by the sheer amount of children who were running and screaming and jumping all over the place... But she got over her timidity soon enough (as usual) and found one of her friends to play with.
She was thrilled to find out that that friend is also in the same class as her. They were making mischief just in the playground so I'm hoping their teacher is as good as people keep telling me she is and can control them. Apparently there are 25 children joining the school from madams nursery alone (out of an intake of 60) so she's going to know almost half the yeargroup!
She seemed to quite enjoy the quick visit and is now really excited about her visit next weds. I was a little annoyed the school were trying to persuade me into buying a school cardi for her ("Almost all the girls wear them, you wouldn't want her to feel left out") given that they're more expensive than the jumpers. And knowing madam, she'll want to be different from all the other girls if she gets the chance!
Madam is definitely not someone who likes to blend in...  

23 June 2013

how a book can consume me

Saturday was mainly taken up with me having my nose stuck in a book. Well, reading a Kindle, but it doesn't have quite the same ring to it somehow. The outcome is the same though. I ended up doing very little else and just becoming absorbed in the other world I was reading about.
Now, fortunately, madam was out most of the afternoon with the kids that live down the street from my mum and dad. Which absolved me from parenting duties, which was lovely given how little time off I've had since M&D went on holiday.
So, whilst madam was out I watched Superman 2 and read my book. I was right, I do remember that one being a favourite from childhood. I still wish I was Lois Lane, though perhaps without getting into quite so many ridiculous situations... I mean who hasn't ended up trapped under the Eiffel tower lift whilst psychotic terrorists plot death and destruction?
Amusingly, whilst watching that scene, all I could think about was the fact she was lying on her boobs and just how much that would have hurt if it were me... There's always something that brings you back to reality!
Having finished watching Superman 2 I was just debating what I might do next when madam burst back in the front door sobbing her eyes out. Tragedy! Her friends were going to the park but there was no room in the car for her. So, being a good mummy, I told her we could walk round to the local park for a bit and play.
I shoved my Kindle in my pocket and we headed for the park. I parked myself on a bench and shoved my face back in my book. Madam, being madam, had joined in with a group of kids within moments and she was fair away with herself. She did fall off the zip wire at one point which provoked a few tears, but a hug and promise of an ice lolly solved that pretty quickly.
She's made of tough stuff, that one! She then found a group of older kids to hang out with. It was quite funny watching the pre-teens play with her. They were obviously thinking what to do with her, and then she just ran circles around them (quite literally at some points)!
I eventually managed to persuade her to leave the big boys and girls alone and come home for her tea (and the ice lolly I promised her). We got home to find Coraline was on and so watched that until it was finished and I read some more of my book.
After I managed to force madam into her bed I came back downstairs and completely reabsorbed myself. So much so the film I'd put on completely passed me by! I switched it off when it was finished and read to the end of the book before bed.
I'm not exactly a speed reader, but I find reading from the Kindle surprisingly easy. The one thing I don't like is the fact that I don't have a backlit screen, that would make it so much better in poor lighting and if I wanted to read in bed etc...
Now, I'm going to guess that some of you might be wondering what this book that absorbed all my attention was. It's called Return to Eden and it's by G.P. Ching. It's actually book 3 in the Soulkeepers series. And there is one more to read. Well, after I download it.
The books centre round a character called Jacob and how he learns of his powers and then how he uses them to fight off evil. There is really a central group of six core characters, but it all starts from Jacob. He discovers he has the power to manipulate water and can form it into shapes to use as weapons against evil. He also can call water to him to help heal his girlfriend whose skin burns as she uses her powers.
I'm really not selling this book very well, I might write a proper review for you all another day. Suffice to say I would recommend the series to anyone who was interested in fantasy books.
But right now I have to go and deal with the cat who seems to have taken up residency in my parents house!  

21 June 2013

Fish are friends, not food

it's Miffy's birthday today!
Superman was just as good as I remembered! I do love that film. I had forgotten some of the slightly cheesier moments (blocked them out?) though. I think the height of cheese is Lois's voiceover whilst Superman takes her flying.
I mentioned I had a crush on Christopher Reeve as a child, and apparently this is still ongoing! Phwoar! I have to say when he gave his statistics to Lois it meant more to me than as a 5yr old...
Madam was leaping about doing not sleeping (ostensibly because she was worried about the fishes) and ended up watching the first half before she finally gave in to exhaustion and went to sleep on the sofa. I did debate going straight onto number 2 but thought that might be a very late night for me!
I seem to vaguely remember preferring Superman 2 as a child, but again, it's so long since I watched them...
So, fishtank update now. It's still not a happy tank. The pump is still working but we seem to have lost more fish overnight. And the water is still murky. It's a relief not to have found them all dead though.
I have no idea how long the pump would need to have been off for the situation to get so bad.
And tonight is Friday, which means it's a Guide night. With madam in tow... I am hoping we might have a better number of them than last week. I'm debating taking some photos of our activities to post on our twitter feed. But I would have to get parental permissions etc... Stress.
On the plus side, we sort of have a ready made activity this week as after much consultation Girlguiding UK have decided to change the promise. So we get to introduce it to them. I shall make attempts at ways to do so...
I'm guessing crafts will be out though, whatever we do! I'm also hoping that the weather will improve so we can do a bit of outside stuff. I like getting them to go outside, makes for more fun usually.
I shall also remember to buy a return on the bus this week!   

20 June 2013

Superman and tropical fish

I got myself a treat today :) I found the boxset of Superman films in Morrison's for a tenner... So that's £2 a film, genius... The main reason I got these, other than my childhood crush on Christopher Reeve, is because of a twitter discussion about them.
I remember loving the films as a kid, I remember that we always watched them when they were on TV. But I don't remember all of them. And I haven't seen the reboot they did a few years ago at all.
I'm excited to have a movie marathon with them and also know that madam will be able to watch it to. I think I might have to just watch them by myself first though. Bit like with Harry Potter when I watched all of those last week. I knew madam was ok with the first two but on re-watching them I know that she still would be afraid of all of the others...
I started writing this post much earlier today and then, whilst typing I happened to look up and noticed that the fish in my dad's tropical tank were acting strangely. They were all at the top of the tank and looked to be struggling to breathe.
Also the water looked sort of green-ish. Panic set in. I have spent most of the time that I've been looking after these fish I've been panicking about the marine tank. Which is fine. But the tropical suddenly drastically not so.
I took to twitter in the vain hope there would be someone there that might help. And I was in luck. Lovely friend talked me down and gave me tips as to what I could do. I also rang my brother as although he was too far away to come around he did at least keep his own fish up until his move.
I had noticed that the water in the tank didn't seem to be moving, and had no idea how to fix it as everything seemed to be switched on. Bro suggested that the pump had gone if the water wasn't moving and remembered where my dad kept a spare (see, that's what siblings are for). I managed to remove the old one and replace it so that the water started flowing again.
Sadly, some of the fish haven't survived this experience. Including my dad's beloved gold nugget plecostomus. But having managed to prevent the entire tank from dying off I think he'll be okay with it. On a plus point, one of the fish my dad has been waiting to keel over now has! 
I'm not sure what it's called, but it's big and stripy and kept eating some of his smaller fish. I think it was supposed to be in  there to eat snails...
Anyway, if I'm going to get the first Superman under my belt this evening I better get on with it!

19 June 2013

on sewing machines and dating sites

I mentioned yesterday that I've been given a new sewing machine. I am really excited about it and plan on giving it a very quick go to see how it works as soon as possible.

Now, my old machine was tiny so this one feels huge in comparison, but I quite like that. It's reassuring somehow. I shall spend this evening having a good peruse of the instructions and hopefully that'll be enough to get me started.
As I have discovered, the online sewing community is really friendly and helpful and my friend Tabatha Tweedie has already offered to give me some help if I need it. That link will take you to her write up of the Birmingham sewing meet up which sounded like it was a great fun day. I am very jealous of most of the fabric she brought home with her!
Madam has already put in an order for something for me to make for her. Project t-shirt did include me finding a pattern to turn a t-shirt into a dress by just adding on a gathered skirt. I quite like this idea as it was very simple (like my skills) and I have the perfect material to use for it.
The book I saw it in also gave good, clear precise instructions with lots of pictures. I debated doing it by hand, but after how long it took me to sew on a pocket, I went off the idea! So the navy t-shirt will have a purple butterfly print skirt added to it soon, I hope.
I would really like to start making madam some pretty dresses and me some simple tops (I'm a big tunic fan and I absolutely love the Matilda blouse by Tilly) But I am too big for her pattern :( I need to 1, learn how to make the pattern bigger and 2, make me a smaller so that might not be necessary!
I am feeling quite horrid about my general fatness at the moment and keep telling myself I know what to do about it. Yet I don't do it and then I feel bad and then I comfort eat (who invented that? I *hate* them!).
Yesterday, in a slightly rush of blood to the head moment, I signed myself up to Match.com! It was a bit of a laugh really, just wanted to feel like I was making an effort to pick myself up out of the doldrums. I realised it's been over a year since I officially separated from himself and although I am not entirely ready for the whole dating scene, I am tired of living like a nun.
A girl has needs, you know...
I just want to meet a nice chap and have a few dates and see where things might go. You know, someone actually nice. Not that just says what I want to hear... But then I hit on a stumbling block. It is really quite expensive to subscribe and you can do almost nothing if you don't.
Now, I knew I put one of my best photos on (because, hello, who puts the bad ones on). But it seems I am on to a winner. I just can't see the now 27 people who've looked at my profile since yesterday evening! It was 8 by the time I'd gone to bed... I have no idea whether any of them even float my boat.
So, are there any truly free dating sites out there?

18 June 2013

how lipstick can save the day

I had a very strange kind of a day yesterday. It started off badly and improved slowly. But mostly it was about my emotions and how the newspaper story I mentioned in my post on Sunday was still affecting me (effecting? I never know which one to use).
It started with my being incapable of listening to some of my favourite songs without crying. Even ones that wouldn't normally make me cry did. I accidentally heard Everybody Hurts by R.E.M. and that just made it so much worse. I'd forgotten it was in the playlist I was listening to. Now, don't get me wrong, I love that song. And I find it usually to be uplifting and reassuring. There are times when some lyrics stand out to me whilst sometimes others do.
I latched on to the ones about loneliness yesterday though, and what had started as a mixed up sort of a thing found a focus. And then I ended up talking to the lovely Dolly Clackett (great blog, btw) and she helped me pull myself up a bit.
I moved on to a rather fantastic playlist I have which combines shouty, loud, metalish music with happy, upbeat Beach Boys stuff. Made me feel much better. But then we spoke a bit about homesickness (her) and feelings of not being good enough to deserve the fabulous parents we have (both of us). And somehow knowing I'm not alone helps.
The desire to be better than I am shapes me. But not in good ways. I don't feel it as a motivator, more as an oppressive dictator. It makes me question all that I do and compare myself mercilessly to others. It's exhausting feeling that way. But it's lovely to have someone to talk to about it. And I hope the more I learn to talk the less it will eat me up.
After having my lovely cheering up chat I went to find some lunch (sushi, ftw) and found myself staring down a new lipstick in boots. It reminded me of my favourite colour from my youth. Black Cherry by Rimmel. I used to wear it loads, along with one called Heatherberry.
New lipstick is Barry M Lip Paint in 160 (fashion blogging now, who'd a thought it!). I found a mirror and did my face and remembered how much I like doing my make-up. I do it so rarely now. No time, nowhere to go etc. It made me feel empowered to allow myself to have a better day. Such a strange thing to say just about shoving some lippy on, but it gives you a face to show the world when you don't feel like showing it your own.
ridiculously serious expression optional
And I knew my day was going to get better as I was going to get to see lovely V! Ah, how she has a healing effect on me :) Her lovely smiling face and reassuring presence work wonders on me. We managed to pull off a surprise for madam as she had no idea she was going to see her fairy godmother. Fun! 
We went to a lovely cafĂ© for a drink and madam was mainly well behaved. And we had the nice chat type things. And then, sadly, it was time to head off :( But, I got a nice surprise as V had sourced a new (to me) sewing machine! Wonderful. Many thanks also to the lovely R as I believe it came from his mother :)
Somehow, in all this, I failed at giving V her pressie from us... Hopefully, I'll see her again before the end of her hols though.   
P.S. My mother has just phoned to see if I'm ok! How does she know when I need to hear her voice? How!?  

16 June 2013

domestic abuse in the public eye

Today is a bit odd for me... There is a big story in one of the national papers about celebrity chef Nigella Lawson being abused by her husband Charles Saatchi in public. No-one did anything about this woman being abused in front of them. It breaks my heart.
Now there are many people asking questions about why she would stay with someone who was obviously abusive and today I found a blog with a wonderful list of things victims are thinking. There are 20 things on this list but sadly I don't think that's all of them.
I started reading the comments underneath the article and it was all I could do not to weep about all the horrid things people had been through. My own experiences of DV are here and reading them back to myself still makes me feel silly for staying as long as I did.
But I realised I fell into some of the categories listed on the aforementioned blog and it makes me feel better to know how common it is for people to stay. I hope that I will find a relationship where I am genuinely treated the way I'd like to be, but I'm still not ready to even look.
There are so many people who suffer in silence and don't know where to turn. So this is the link to the refuge website and here is the phone number: 0808 2000 247. They are available 24 hours a day and won't force you to do anything you're not ready for. But if you have no-one to talk to, they're there.
I wish I'd had the number and spoken to them about my problems. Instead I hid and it got worse before I left (well, made him leave). I am lucky that I have a very supportive group of family and friends who have been helping me find myself again. Again, just wish I'd let them in a little sooner.
But the point is that I found that strength and I left. I got myself and my daughter out of harms way as much as I could. I protected her from the worst things and she's never had to suffer at the hands of her father. Although I know that the emotional trauma of having watched her mother being hit will probably never leave her, the positive message I am sending by trying to be strong will also stay with her.
I wasn't planning on talking about this today, I was mainly going to have a chat about it being Father's day today.
Obviously, I feel bad that I picked such a rubbish one for madam and I wish that he could try harder. But I can't change that and instead I am glad that she is surrounded by other positive male role models. The most important one is my dad.
Now, I will admit to being terrified of him when I was younger, he had a quick temper and was very shouty. But as I've grown I have seen all the things that he has done for me. I know that, realistically, I can always rely on him. Even if I feel sure he'll be cross. And he continues to be supportive and reassuring in all my endeavours. 
Basically, I wouldn't swap him for the world! And he's so good with my daughter, she feels completely safe with him and I know that he will be there for her in the same ways he has always been there for me. If it weren't for the fact he hates Fathers day (and lets not forget grandparents day!) I would be making as much fuss of him as he'd let me! Madam made him a Father's day card at school. She didn't want to give it to K. 
Sadly, he's still on holiday so, even if we were allowed to fuss him, we couldn't this year! But madam will leave him the card with her very best handwriting in for when he comes home.

Happy Father's Day to you all. I hope that there is someone in your life who is/was the father that you needed. Even if he wasn't your own... 

14 June 2013

organising is not my forte

I am trying to have a chilled afternoon before the onslaught of guides this evening. But as there are only going to be a few (of our already small numbers) there tonight it could make it really hard. If I have trouble arranging fun activities for two patrols then doing it for just one will be worse.

I was actually speaking to one of the other guide company leaders at a playgroup with madam the other day and she was saying their unit is very small as well. She suggested an amalgamation of our two units until numbers pick up a bit. But they meet on a different night to us and my leader wouldn't go with it...

However, I think that it could be worth considering doing some activities with them. It would make it more feasible for us both as companies to have a bigger group to do things with. For example, neither of us could fill a 16 seater mini-bus, but together we could. And allow for the couple of guides who won't want to come!

It doesn't solve my problems for tonight very much though. I need to do something fun and easy with a small number of guides. I'd quite like to get them to do a bit of running around as I think we're mainly going to have our youngest members tonight.

At least if we have the young ones we can do some crafting as they are much more into it than the older lot... Perhaps not Father's Day cards though, they're a bit old for that now, surely... 

I have been doing some online research and there are some interesting games for smaller groups, but you need about 10 to really play most of them. Though  this sounds kind of fun...

Grab the finger

Get everyone to stand in a circle, with their arms out either side.  Tell people to put their left palm up, and right finger pointing down (touching the person next to them's outstretched palm). 
When you say the word "GO", people need to do two things:

  1. Grab the person's finger in your left hand
  2. Prevent your right finger from being grabbed
If your finger is grabbed, you are out, and you sit on the sidelines.  The game continues until there is a winner.  
The key to this game is adding a bit of drama and suspense around when you say "Go". eg count down, add a big delay, etc.  You can do it a few times before it gets old :)
But again, sounds like the more people you have the funner this would be! Oh, that game comes from this website by the way.
There are a lot of those kind of websites around, who'd have thought it! I'm still a bit stuck for ideas though!

13 June 2013

in which madam does making

I am so tired today! I have now dropped off about five times whilst sitting here trying to write. I could really do with a proper nap, but having madam bouncing about is not conducive to that... Currently she is sticking a whole load of glow-in-the-dark stars on to a piece of dark paper.
Its something she's been wanting to do for ages and yet somehow we never have got round to doing it. So now she's finally getting to do it. But apparently it involves an awful lot more supervision than I had thought. I mean, it's just putting stickers on to a big bit of paper, but you'd think it was much more complex than that...
Oh, and I'm not allowed to help. I am supervising whilst typing. Except I'm mainly shouting at her in frustration. She keeps jumping from one side of the paper to the other. She's already slipped and hurt herself so next she's going to rip the paper and ruin the whole thing.
She also keeps wandering off and then complaining when I threaten to put all the stuff away! I am slightly liking the new technique though. She's peeling off the stickers and then dropping them onto the paper to make a more random pattern.
I'm not appreciating the rain today. We went out earlier and opened the door to a torrential downpour. Had to get madams pack-a-mac out of my bag and put her in it. It has rained on and off ever since. She still wanted to sit outside and eat her lunch though! I refused and made us come up to my parents so that we could avoid being soaked and utilise their tv/internet facilities.
I had half thought about going for a walk later but, as the rain is currently flying sideways past the window, I'm going to wimp out. We have at least been into town and had a bit of fresh air.
We  also went to try and sort the meter out after the slight fail I had on Monday. And the key still wouldn't work, but I had taken the new one and that worked with no problems whatsoever. Bit of a relief given that the emergency credit has nearly run out.
Yesterday on our way home to put madam to bed we passed the most beautiful pink hawthorn tree and it struck me how late some of the blossom is this year. We'd noticed the pink horse chestnut was out on the walk to nursery the other day. I am sure they've usually all finished before now.
But we did have a late spring, I guess. It'll be interesting to see whether autumn is late getting going as well. There are some beautiful flowers coming out in the gardens locally now, my dad has some rather lovely roses beginning to bloom.
Madam has finished her picture off, and it's looking really cool. She is refusing to do smiling in photos again at the moment! So don't think she's not been having fun. She has now moved on to throwing a paper aeroplane around the room.
I guess I could make one of my own and join in... :)  

12 June 2013

on summer holidays and memories

Looking at yesterday's post I have realise I might have a jellyfish obsession. It could be worse I guess! Had a chat with friend L about what else I might go on to do to stop my brain shrivelling and she was suggesting I look at doing a MOOC qualification (click the link, it's quicker than me explaining).
I've been having a browse through the available courses this morning and it surprised me just how much free learning there is out there. The next question will be whether I trust myself to actually do something on my own.
Distance learning is not necessarily my friend...
In regards to what I spoke about yesterday, I did get a response... a vote for discussion of psychological theory... Perhaps not today though! However, I may well come back to that one day when I can't think of anything else to write about ;) Not that I actually really do much planning of what I'm going to write about.
You'd never guess, would you!
So, erm, what am I going to write about today?
I have started to dread the summer holidays already. Six weeks is such a long time to spend entertaining a small child. I remember it being so different when I was younger. I couldn't wait for those massive holidays. The days that seemed to never end and the constant sunshine (funny how you never remember the days when it rained non-stop).
I remember my mum taking us on picnics with friends and exploring new places. Digging on the beach and splashing in the sea. We baked biscuits. We made cakes and scones and played with salt dough.
My mum must have been tearing her hair out! I only remember how much I loved it. How my brothers and I would be allowed to go places as long as we were together. Mum's theory being one of us would be able to run back for help if needed (can you even imagine that attitude now!).
She must have loved those days when we played out. We would take our bikes/ball/imaginations and go off for a morning and come back at the allotted time for lunch. Then out again until tea, and sometimes afterwards as well. I don't think kids have those freedoms any more and I think it's so sad for them.
I remember being bored. Now that isn't a fun memory, but I remember my mum would make suggestions and we would make all sorts of things to do instead! Imagination and problem solving seem to be disappearing from our children.
Madam is quite good at it as she's always been left to her own devices. She tends to use her time doing destructive things and it drives me insane, but I guess a child developmentalist (that is *not* a word!) would see it differently. She, in her way, is being creative. Exploring her environment and changing it to suit herself. She is playing games that she controls. Using that impressive inner voice to tell her what to do.
She just seems to be incapable of remembering how cross some things might make mummy. But she's four. What happens when your pour some flour out? Hmm, does that happen if you pour more? Oh. There's none left. Now what? I know, lets see what happens if you get it wet!
Yes, she has done that. She also once wondered whether the toilet rim block tasted as nice as it smelled (it doesn't, and you get to go to hospital). The morning she wondered if pooh made a good painting medium also sticks rigidly in my memory!
Oh, and she's squeezed out toothpaste and discovered it won't go back in when you've done that (she did try). She also plays with sticks. Her sticks are wands and swords and lightsabers (hehehe). They are spades and brooms and giants.
She questions things and she has to know how they work. This is exactly the same as her uncle D! She asks pertinent questions that adults can't answer. Mummy, what are people for? being her finest example... Why does the moon shine was also a favourite, but I answered that.
And I do answer her. Not make up some rubbish to keep her quiet. On the bus yesterday she'd rolled up the ticket and told me she could use it as a piggy tale in her making. And I asked what else might it be, she couldn't really think of anything so I asked her about a book she'd had with a butterfly in. And she said, oh, it could be the proboscis (that's the proper name for a butterfly's tongue!).
I honestly thought she'd say tongue. I taught her the proper word in September. She has not used it since... I was just hoping she'd remember the stupid book in the first place...
Mind. Blown!