Friday, 31 August 2012

Junk emails

I wish that people would be just a little more careful when putting down emails.  I have had some very nice flyers from Portland USA about their museums and art galleries.  I don't know how many thousands of miles away I am from them, but I got quite concerned when I got information on their children's kindergarten classes.  They do sound like nice people, I have to say, but I wish that I didn't end up cluttered with their life. 

And now someone ought to be clicking on a linky for Nokia. I have no problem with someone else signing up for Nokia.  I am getting a bit fed up of the linky showing up in my inbox.  And of course if Nokia sell on the email address for marketing purposes then once again my mail box will be filling up. 

Great Mysteries of the Universe

For me, it's the central heating timer.  I have watched the central heating engineers re-set this for me several times.  They effortlessly push buttons, I have usually had little bear hanging off me, they smile, leave, and I can't adjust it again.  If I want it changed I need to pay the call out fee plus vat. 

I would also like to say that when I asked them how to change the batteries in the timer they said to just slide the cover off.  The cover doesn't slide.  Darling father prised it off with a screwdriver.  I think they were confusing the timer I should have had with the one I actually got. 

So I will be having one more go, then ringing up and paying up through gritted teeth.  I will probably save more than the call out fee if I get it changed to what I want (one degree cooler and about two hours less) but I wish I could just understand the timer.

(I've checked the manual (shows different timer) and I've checked online.  It hasn't helped.  It's just one of those mysteries of life.)

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Nearly School

It's nearly the start of the new school term.  I have just ironed a swathe of little bear's shirts, the jumpers are all ready, the trousers pressed.  All I need to do now is find the name tapes...

I feel a failure this summer.  We hardly managed to go anywhere, although little bear was quite happy with this.  However with weather, illness, martial arts camp, days at the school club and general playing with darling father, the summer has filled up. 

And little bear is going into proper school with desks and reading books and real homework.  I wonder how much I shall shell out this year on stuff?  I think it came to around £150 in just asks last year, not including things like school dinners, uniform etc. 

I am currently on here in a lull in the battle to get little bear out and getting his school shoes.  Then I think it is hot chocolate weather, with a dvd and some cuddles back home.  We may as well enjoy this time while we can. 

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Something to aim for

OH needs a new bin in his study.  I have purchased another bin from my friend ebay, like this one.  We have decided to redecorate the house to match it.

Well, we have to start somewhere.

Actually, starting anywhere would be a good move as apart from little bear's room we haven't decorated for nearly twenty years.  This may be an inspiration.  I'm not sure exactly how I am going to match things like wallpaper to a wastepaper bin, but it has to be worth a go - right?  At least, it's an impetus to change, right? 

First things first - find the exactly perfect material for the new cushions that I have decided to make.  Also find jumble sale locations for purchase of woollens to unravel.  That is a start of sorts. 

Can you tell I am not expecting much from this.  However, if anything at all happens, it has to be an improvement. 

Time management

When I actually worked in an office I was quite good at time management - I had to be!  I was often working in legal places, and time and tide wait for no listing clerk. 

Today I am being particularly rubbish about getting things done.  This is not really a post, it is actually an excuse not to be ironing.  And I have committed to making some cushions for OH and myself (and possibly darling father).  This is not necessarily going to end well.  You see, it takes not only time but actually sitting down, starting and finishing the job. 

OH and I both prefer my home made cushions.  I get two largish pieces of sturdy material, sew them more or less together and then stuff them with unravelled jumpers.  Factory made jumpers work best, as there is spring in the wool and because it is finer than hand knit there is lots of space for air to plump up the cushion.  However it still makes a substantial and firm cushion that you just can't get in the shops.  They really are just right for propping up in the corner of the sofa and curling into, though they are absolute murder to wash and it costs less to make again than to get them dry cleaned. 

So to actually achieve the cushions I need to buy some material, as I actually got rid of a lot of the sturdy material needed for the best result.  I need to find some sweaters to unravel (I got rid of all the old sweaters as well).  I need to sew the dratted material together, which takes less time than you think by hand.  By hand is usually the quicker option for me as I am scared of my sewing machine and it takes me forever to set it up.  Then I have the task of unravelling the sweaters.  I actually quite enjoy this bit, but there is always dust and fluff everywhere.  Then finally finishing off by sewing up the gap.  And it isn't actually the doing of the stuff that takes time, but the actual setting aside of the time to do it. 

I suppose I could do stuff like piping and cords and tassels.  I'm not going to though.  Nor am I going to do fancy applique or embroidery.  These cushions will be seeing some serious use, and need to be substantial and durable.  We won't be looking at them, we will be sitting blissfully against them.  Eventually.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Little bear is generous

Darling father has a huge, sweet-shop sized tub of haribo in his room, which he distributes to little bear, a few bits at a time.  Little bear is missing darling father.  He misses the attention, but he also misses the haribo.  He has been asking about the haribo all morning. 

He has now proposed that we all go to Makro to get a big tub of haribo for us all to share, 'and we can all share, me and you and daddy, and grandad if he gets back in time'.  I don't know how quickly he thinks it would go down, but even a soft mother like me would be limiting access to a kilo of gummy sugar. 

At the moment I am proposing a trip to the corner shop for a ten pence mix.  Little bear thinks this sadly inadequate, but I am sure he can live with the disappointment. 

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Little bear got bored

Darling father presented little bear with one of those plaster bricks where you painstakingly scrape off the plaster to find plastic dinosaur bones inside.  He then went on holiday for a week.  Little bear is five and one half years old.  He got bored very quickly indeed and delegated it to me.  I don't have the energy.

So, there we are with this plaster brick with bits of plastic sticking out, sitting in the middle of one of my nicer dishes (thanks, darling father) and a complete lack of interest.  OH decides then to cut to the chase.  He picks it up and throws it hard repeatedly at my front steps.  However he doesn't realise that it isn't a complete skeleton in there, just some bones that have to be put together.  Poor OH was suddenly faced with a lot of plaster rubble and some parts that needed assembly - and some parts missing!  So then he and little bear were scratching at all the bigger lumps and squashing them and rubbing them against the concrete to see if any more small plastic pieces would show up.

Sigh.  My front steps look like they have been donkey stoned, I have almost a full glow-in-the dark tyrannosaur skeleton adorning the side table and I fully expect the ginger gentleman to turn up with the missing piece of the jaw claiming it as a legitimate trophy.  And darling father escaped all the tension.  Lucky him. 

I am getting a lot less tolerant of random toys for little bear, and remarkably less tolerant of random toys with lots of small pieces.  When little bear goes back to school I think it will be remarkable how many of these bits get 'eaten by mice'. 

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Must stop shopping!

I suspect I have used this post title before...

Little bear, OH and I popped into town to do a few bits and for little bear to buy something nice for OH.  OH promised to introduce me to a cafe they had found which was really nice.  It was also tucked away, just opposite the Leeds City Varieties.

It was lovely - a really nice, clean place which serves veggie and vegan food.  It had purple walls (which is not always a good sign) but lovely clean tables, tasty food, and an indulgent attitude to little bear, which always endears places to me.  It also had chocolate cake.  Chocolate cake is surprisingly low calorie when eaten next to little bear - he ate most of it!

Then after a not inexpensive snack little bear and I went shopping.  We were taking a short cut past Charbonnel et Walker and there was a note on their door for inexpensive chocolates, short dated.  So, nostalgic for the memory of the rose creams my grandmother used to get at Christmas, I got a half price bo that was very small for the cost.  As little bear was there, I also asked for two strawberry creams, as I didn't like to ask for just one.

TWO POUNDS AND TWENTY ONE PENCE FOR TWO CHOCOLATES!  I nearly told them to put them back!  Little bear has had one, and said it was very nice.  He will have the other later and then he will have a loooooong wait until the next one - possibly until he can buy his own.  Over one pound for a chocolate that is the size of a votive candle, though to be fair it probably tastes nice than a votive candle. 

Then we wandered into the market.  I bought a new sink drainer as I was fretting about getting my current wire one clean enough and a large bag of fresh peas for china chilo.  Those purchases, while I could have managed without, were unexceptional.  The trilby I accidentally bought for little bear (actually intended for darling father, but fitted little bear so well that I just accepted the inevitable) was less excusable.  Then another drink in the lovely cafe and little bear is now at soft play with his Dad.

I have seen a wastepaper bin I would love for the study.  The old one could perhaps do with replacing.  However I think I will try and hold off until after Christmas.  Actually, I need to hold off on practically everything until after Christmas. 

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Evil cat and the vet

The regular home check up on evil cat rolled around again.  Every three months they check and see what she is up to and how she is doing.

The first two vets that saw evil cat at home now have pressing reasons not to attend (one actually left the country!) so the third vet saw evil cat for the first time.  Apparently the notes are very clear.  This is a cat that is not nice.  This is a cat that uses bad language.  This is a cat that will draw blood even though she is a scraggy old girl that weighs less than a bag of sugar.  Do not be fooled by size, or age, or apparently calm.  The apparent calm is just evil cat waiting for any thought at all to turn up.  The vet turned up with a veterinary nurse in attendance, just in case.  Our lovely neighbour weighed in with his welding gloves.

Poor old girl (the cat, not the vet), even though she used the sort of language that bleaches hair, she couldn't put up much of a fight.  She is just too old and frail.  However, the vet didn't press the examination, so I suspect if the new vet had made more of an exploration then the battlescars may have been more extensive. 

The verdict is that evil cat is physically stable.  I suppose she could be considered mentally stable as well as she has been the same psychopath since she was a kitten, but physically she is getting a little bit older, getting a little bit creakier, but still battling (definitely the fighting spirit there!).  She still has quality of life, still manages to sit in front of the sensor switch for the tv, sleep on clean washing, push me off the bed, steal shamelessly, enjoy tormenting next door's dogs by sauntering past them every time she is let out and she can still sleep in the sun. 

Long may this continue. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Little bear is Wonderful

Little bear saw me feeling poorly and a bit low.  So he gave me his ratatouille to cuddle.  It is a soft stuffed rat that is little bear's bestest friend in the world and he is very protective of it.  The only other person ever to be allowed to cuddle it is his girlfriend. 

I felt like I was covered in cuddles, and little bear got a lot of leeway from it.  This included him bringing down all of his stuffed toys and telling me that they were his kids.  They overflowed the sofa, and desperately need thinning out..  But how can I take his kids away from him - especially after I've had a cuddle from his rat?

Food intolerance

I spent last night throwing up.  It wasn't pleasant.  Especially as I had managed to split a bag of bath salts and generously distribute the dratted, smelly stuff in every nook and cranny of the bathroom.  It didn't help.

I have been having a bad reaction regularly over the last few months and I think it may be cheese.  I have always had a vicious reaction to Low Fat Horlicks (imagine telling that to the doctors) and I suspect that it is getting worse. 

Last night we got a takeaway.  I thought that I would go for pasta, which was described as being in a pizza sauce.  It wasn't in the tomato sauce I expected, however, but a cream sauce, which I had anyway as there was no evidence of cheese.  It was an error of judgment.

So now I am going to try and persuade my GP to test for food intolerances (not enthusiastic) and I am bidding a very sad farewell to cheese.  I actually quite like cheese, it is a cheap food, great for stretching a budget and also it fills you up so that you don't eat so much and thus great for dieters.  I haven't had that much but with darling father around and little bear having cheese stuff for his lunches, I have been gradually upping my intake. I am devastated. 

And I now have to be so much more responsible about food.  I have to check packaging.  I did anyway as OH is intolerant to cheese, but now so many of my favourite things are being ruled out. I used to love a dish of pasta with just a wallop of ketchup and a large handful of grated cheese.  Never mind, I can still have the pasta and ketchup. 

Little bear is being lovely, however, and I am getting far more than my ration of cuddles.  This is great!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Knock Knock

Darling father has bought little bear a joke book full of knock knock jokes.

I may sue

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Blues versus Reds

Or, if you are not from the UK, Interesting Soccer

Darling father loves his football.  He played semi pro back in the 1950s, played his last competitive match at the age of 50, coached, directed, helped out, was on committees and in many ways lived football for years.  So he watches a lot of football on tv.  I don't have a problem with that.  I was about six months old when I went to my first football match.

Little bear did not enjoy his brush with attempting to play football, but tolerates darling father watching football.  Darling father supports Liverpool FC passionately and deeply and is still recovering from their defeat yesterday.  Little bear also has been supporting Liverpool FC as his favourite colour is red, and Liverpool play in red, which is as logical as anything to do with supporting a football team.  Today they watching Manchester City against Southampton.  Apparently it was an exciting match, I was cooking at the time.

Little bear was thoughtful as I put down his tea in front of him.  Then he announced, 'I supporting Mansity now.  They are a great team."
"I thought you liked the colour red?" OH asked.  "Manchester City play in blue."
"Blue is my second favourite colour." LIttle bear said airily.  "And I like Mansity."

I can't fault his choice of a team that show a wonderful battling spirit, a determination to keep fighting no matter what, and often really elegant football.  All I can do is brace against the inevitable discussions between little bear and darling father about exactly who should have won the match.  Little bear is not known for being moderate when he likes something.  And Liverpool play Manchester City on 26 August. 

I may hide in the kitchen again.

Creaky evil cat

For the last week evil cat has been creakier than normal.  She is still jumping up to quite decent heights, still stealing and still trying to push me out of bed.  However I think she is having trouble with her hip.  There are times when she is definitely limping, and times when it looks like her hip is stuck.  Today she looked at a place she normally claims as hers and seemed to think better of jumping up.

I'll try and get a vet's appointment soon.  I don't think it is serious, and I do think that evil cat is still managing quite a good quality of life, but I do think she is finding things a bit of a challenge.  I'd like an opinion on that. 

Friday, 17 August 2012

Reality check

I took a free online typing test last night, just to see.  I currently (after six years out of the workforce) average around 55 wpm at 97% accuracy.  Which is okay.  It would get me a job in a lot of offices. 

Except I can't seem to go a month without some sort of bug.  I am sick, or I have a bad cold (definitely not flu but definitely disgustingly gruesome), or I have some sort of ear infection or throat infection or chest infection. 

I got some test results from the Doctors today.  They tested liver/thyroid/kidney/diabetes/cholesterol/blood pressure etc.  I am grossly overweight but apart from that, all is normal.  Absolutely no clinical problem whatsoever. 

My feet are still so swollen I can't get on socks.

So I am going back for further tests for protein in my urine and heart failure.  I suspect that the Doctor is stalling as he is a bit baffled.  I can understand this.  However I do feel low, and I haven't even had the water tablets so I still can't get socks on.

And the thought of a job keeps nagging at me.  It makes absolutely no financial or logistical sense for me to go out to work, and lots of sense for me to try and get an ordered home and use my writing skills to up my income.  It means I am home when little bear is poorly, or it is raining, or he is fed up.  He gets tired if he has a full 8-6 day with the school plus school club, which is what he would need if I went back full time, and if I went part time I couldn't afford the holiday school club.  It makes no sense for me to get a job until I at least have a handle on my health.  I still would like one.  Sigh. 

I am going to have a self indulgent day, then pick myself up, dust myself down and keep on keeping on. Things could be a lot worse. 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

My typing speed is becoming important

In the giddyness of actually getting some pennies in royalties I took a quick overview of what I wanted to write.

I have decent, fleshed out plot lines for twelve novels.  That is twelve actual, full length novels and in each of these cases I have a good idea of the beginning, middle and end (though in my experience that is subject to change.  Plus at least half a dozen other ideas. 

I need to type quicker.  Also more often!

Nervous curtain twitching

The kids from two doors down have ripped some branches from the budliea. 

Now I could do a full hissy fit about how dare they, what do they think they are doing, don't they care that things cost money, you try and keep things nice...  However what I am really worried about is their safety.  It has been preying on my mind all day. 

Budliea branches snap, or at least ours does, and they snap really easily.  So when a five year old or eight year old are standing on a wall hanging off the branches, there is a good chance the branch would go and the kids fall with a bang.  The budliea is grown against a concrete wall.  There is a tarmac path on one side with a solid kerb and an unmade road full of stones on one side and a longer drop onto flags and kerb stones on another.  Either side is a reasonable drop.  The best outcome is bruises.  Given the way the kerbs are arranged, it could be really bad. 

I am getting rid of one rose as the thorns are vicious and I can't stop the kids climbing on the wall next to it.  But I can't change the concrete or the kerbs.  Even if we get rid of the budliea, they will still climb on the walls.  One is the same age as little bear. 

I must be the only mum in the country praying for rain so that they don't go out but stay a little safer. 

School holidays

Little bear is being little bear.  This means that I should be ever vigilant and I feel too poorly.  Also he ambushes me. 

This morning as I was desperately trying to get 'five more minutes' he decided he needed my full attention to put on a video.  I am struggling so much to sleep with this cold, and I have found that the best sleep I can get is after 6am - that is when I get the most healing sleep.  Today I got to sleep in until 7am.  And little bear presented me with a video and in my fuzzy state I just put it on...

Only when I had surfaced a little more did I realise that little bear had been down the side of the tv where he has explicitly been forbidden from going.  OH had told him directly that he was forbidden from going there.  I have just now repeated that he is forbidden from going there, dragged out the crate of videos to remove temptation and now feel a bit fed up. 

I think I will try and get him out of the house.  This may mean dynamite.  Still, at least we will be doing something.  At the moment little bear is very keen on the healthy eating, so it may mean a trip to the market to get some fruit and veg. 

Little bear is currently annoying darling father.  I am letting him.  How many days until school?  I have just worked it out - seventeen more days.  It is stretching out like a dessert.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Writing rewards

First, before I say anything else, thank you, thank you, thank you, to everyone that has bought 'The Forgotten Village'.  I really am grateful that you thought my work was worth purchasing.  It is hugely flattering and a real boost.

And I would have known about my royalties being paid about ten days ago if I hadn't set my email account up for all stuff from Amazon to go into a folder called 'not quite junk' which was for the 'we have dispatched your order....' type emails.  I was only having a rummage to declutter the junk.  My deleted folder is stuffed!

I haven't made enough to buy champagne, but we have some in that we have been failing to drink for some time, so I will probably have a glass tonight, or perhaps tomorrow when I am off the anti histamines.  And I will now go and dip into my friend ebay and buy a Willow Tree ornament to celebrate my first royalties. And 10% will go to some charity.  That is something I really believe in.   

Thank you again for all the support and encouragement on here - it is beyond price.

What a way to wake up!

I was trying to get little bear into the school holiday club as a break for him - hopefully to see his friends and enjoy himself.  Mind you, everyone is a friend to little bear, he really charmed the gas fitter yesterday.

This week I could only get him into the club on Friday.  I was a bit disappointed as on one hand I wanted him to have fun and on the other hand the minor cold I am suffering from is making me very miserable.  I tried to contact by email, and they confirmed by email that there were no spaces.

This morning, head pounding and joints aching, I sort of surfaced when little bear came downstairs to announce he had dressed himself.  I managed to cheerfully praise him.  Dragged myself into some clothes, made little bear something to eat, and sort of slumped in front of the bbc website, trying to wake up. 

Then I had a phone call.  Why isn't little bear at the van ready for the out of school club?  What?  I grabbed a coat for little bear and belted out of the house with him, still wearing my slippers.  Little bear was dressed but had a mucky face and hadn't brushed his teeth.  Sigh. 

I went back and checked the email.  They definitely said he wasn't attending.  I didn't hallucinate it.  I am quite relieved about that, as I am not very sure about my sanity and any evidence of it is really welcome. 

So little bear is off.  I am going to make the most of this and relax. 

Friday, 3 August 2012

Little bear has a busy night

Last night was not one of the best night's sleep I have ever had.  Little bear was a really good sleeper as a baby, but he is making up for it now. 

I had a bit of a rumbly tummy last night, so around 12.30am I was up to the bathroom again and checked in on little bear on my way back.  He wasn't there.  The bit of bed with pillow and duvet was empty of little bear, and his ratatouille was missing as well.  I started to panic.  He hadn't sneaked downstairs to sleep on the sofa, he hadn't gone upstairs, I was getting frantic.  Actually little bear had crawled under the pile of soft toys at the foot of the bed and gone to sleep there, but he just wasn't visible. 

Then 4am little bear had a nightmare, something to do with Daleks pretending to be Weeping Angels. So he ended up on the sofa after all.  Then he was up and out of the house, because it was school holiday club, and he really wanted to go. 

I am now a bit sleepy.  However I told the doctor at my appointment about self publishing (I am telling everyone) and she wrote the name and title down, so I think I had better get on and write the sequel, just in case.  That should keep me out of mischief today.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Mysterious Puddles

This morning there strange puddles in the kitchen.  One was near the sink, but not next to it, the other was against the cupboards near the back wall. 

They didn't smell, so evil cat was not in the frame, and they weren't there last night when I was the last one in the kitchen.  So they are officially mysterious.  I am going to have to clear under the kitchen table, clear out the cupboards and see where any traces of damp may linger.

I really do not need this.  We have had problem after problem with damp in the kitchen and I have no idea where to start.  And little bear is sure to 'help' me while I am doing all the investigations. 

If it is the spirit of the poached slug sending dampness, I am not happy!  Mind you, I don't suppose the poached slug was happy either.