Monday, 28 June 2010

Food for thought

( Picture- Seattle 2009)

Maya Angelou

'I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.'

'I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.'

'I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life.'

'I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as 'making a life.'

'I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.'

'I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back...'

'I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.'

'I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one.'

'I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back...'

'I've learned that I still have a lot to learn...'

'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'

Saturday, 26 June 2010

a tag from Expat mum's page

I found this meme on Expat Mum's Page. Hope you fancy joining in.

1. Which do you prefer city or country?

Countryside but near nice stuff to do like shopping and restaurants. I crave quiet especially at night.

2. Do you feel old?

I feel as old as I am -no older, no younger!

3. What was your most embarrassing moment and can you share it?

Meeting Pele the footballer, not recognising him and not knowing who he was when I was told.

4. What was the best thing you ever did at school?

Enjoy it. I really did. I had some really good friends. Also I won a drama prize. I am still proud of that.

5. Who do you most aspire to be like?

Not a particular person. I admire traits in many people. I like to notice what people do well and try to model it if I admire the gift.

6. Do you think you are ambitious?

No. Not anymore. I was once. I don't value the same things as I used to.

7. If you didn’t do what you are doing now what would you like to have done?

I think I definitely ended up in the right line of work. No regrets. Politics perhaps if I had a tougher skin!

8. What would be your most perfect meal?

Not so much what to eat but where. Paris or Nice with other half, and lovely wine.

9. Have you ever broken the law?

It's impossible not to break the law in Britain these days-there are so many laws to break!! Hopefully that will change now. I have had the usual run of parking tickets and speeding fines. Nothing else springs to mind.

I went on a speed awareness course a few months ago. I was very sceptical about going and went instead of getting points. In fact, I learnt a lot and haven't done any speeding since. I am especially careful in built up areas.

10. What songs would be in your Top 3?

She's Gone. Daryl Hall and John Oates

Every Little Thing She Does in Magic- The Police

World in Motion- New Order

Thursday, 24 June 2010


Anyone who knows me well will understand that my favourite tipple is wine. I love red wine, I love white wine, I enjoy the odd glass of bubbly. I used to be in the industrial quantities league (in my thirties) but for the last few years I have been able to say that I stay well within my healthy number of units quota ( boring health stuff that the GP always nags about) without my tongue going black. Not because I care a fig for the government's need to scrutinize and nag about my intake, but because I just can't get through the stuff these days. One large glass and I am usually done.
However, looking forward to a glass of wine is still one of my true great pleasures. It is therefore pretty miserable that the chemo schedule has put me off the grapey stuff for the large part. Sometimes the thought of it makes we wince, other times I just feel ambivalent to the point of putting the kettle on instead.
So.... imagine my surprise yesterday when I was overwhelmed by a desperate urge for Guinness. I am not a beer drinker by any stretch of the imagine but all I could think about was...... It hadn't gone off by yesterday evening. I could not think of anything else! Eventually husband and teen set off to the supermarket in the village, returning with some tins. I had a half. It was nectar. It was heaven.I enjoyed every drop.
I am going to have another one tonight. I can't wait.
Apparently is is good for iron levels and is seen to be a tonic by some. Whatever works- bring it on

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Feel sorry for myself- me?

An innocent picture of the teen at the school's Midsummer Ball last night.

But if you are eagle eyed ( or not as the case maybe) you will spot he is on crutches.

On Friday, as I was settling down to my post chemotherapy sleep the phone went. Teen had sprained his ankle badly. Could I take him to urgent care to get an xray? The school nurse was concerned- it was badly swollen. Perhaps broken?

Ever had a moment when you wanted to scream and yell and shout NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

This is the second bad sprain in three weeks.
Ever feel like it's raining, it's pouring. I fancied having a tantrum. Instead, it was off to the urgent care centre and an xray. They are hoping it isn't broken but can't tell til Wednesday this week because of the swelling. He seems happy enough and isn't in pain. He is missing work experience but is getting to revise for exams next week instead ( every cloud?)....
He still got to the Midsummer Ball. He danced on crutches. As you do. It's just a question of getting on with it isn't it? Looking for the best in a challenging situation.
Onwards and upwards. It is scan and results week for me- please send prayers for a good outcome. I will post at the weekend.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

A new post but showing up in the wrong place

I have put another post up. Please look at the one before the FBI job post. I can't work out how to change the date on a post that has been started on earlier. Help on this please. Thanks. Enjoy the meme.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Job at the FBI

Job at the FBI

The FBI had an opening for an assassin.

After all the background checks, interviews
and testing were done, there were 3 finalists;
two men and a woman.

For the final test, the FBI agents took one of
the men to a large metal door and handed
him a gun.

'We must know that you will follow your
instructions no matter what the circumstances.

Inside the room you will find your wife sitting
in a chair .. . . Kill her!!'

The man said, 'You can't be serious. I could
never shoot my wife.'

The agent said, 'Then you're not the right man
for this job. Take your wife and go home.'

The second man was given the same instructions.
He took the gun and went into the room. All was
quiet for about 5 minutes.

The man came out with tears in his eyes, 'I tried,
but I can't kill my wife.' The agent said, 'You don't
have what it takes. Take your wife and go home.'

Finally, it was the woman's turn. She was given the
same instructions, to kill her husband. She took the
gun and went into the room. Shots were heard, one
after another. They heard screaming, crashing,
banging on the walls. After a few minutes, all was
quiet. The door opened slowly and there stood the
woman, wiping the sweat from her brow.

'This gun is loaded with blanks' she said. 'I had to
Beat him to death with the chair.'


Women are creative problem solvers. Don't mess with them

Saturday, 12 June 2010

a meme- thanks to French Leave

( Picture- Mount Rainier- Seattle from our holidays last year- fabulous eh?)

I got this from a blog called French Leave and thought it was rather interesting. Anyone else fancy a go?

What music/tribe defined you as a teenager?
I loved ( loved!) the Police and Sting, and punk.

Urban or rural?
Rural mostly but not too much. I wouldn't like to live anywhere too remote. What I like about where we live is it is a great combination of scenery, but there are lots of shops, restaurants and things to do. We can be in fabulous remote countryside in five minutes, or busy madness by the lake in the same amount of time.

Worst relative story?
What? On a public page? Hardly!
Seriously - I have a very small family and they are all lovely. Very lucky

What are you reading at the moment?
Load of books on the go. Even more than usual! Here's a few:

Shattering the cancer myth - Katrina Ellis - lots of good information

Northanger Abbey- Jane Austen

The White Witch- Phillipa Gregory

Who pushed/inspired you to start blogging?

Expat Mum

You have her to blame- heh heh ( and it was inspired)

Are you a learner or a teacher?
I don't think you can be a teacher if you are not a learner. I would like to think I am both. I have 'taught' for a long time, and have always been committed to my development.

What is your pet hate?
At the moment it's the horns on the World Cup matches- sounds like a hive of bees. So annoying.
Millionare socialists get on my nerves as well. Spouting about social conscience and fairness with thirty million in the bank.

Swanky bars, and sawdust on the floor affairs?
Former always. Dislike latter immensely.

What will you be doing while the football world cup is on?
Watch it mostly- but those horns are putting me off!

What picks you up when you're down?

My mum. Spending time with my other half and lovely teenager. Coffee with my friends. Going to lovely shops. Wine! Talking to resourceful positive and optimistic people

Indian or China...we're talking tea here, not economics...

I like both and drink both

What do you value most about blogging?

It is like a diary for me. I love it when I find out family and friends are reading ( even if not commenting). I love my longstanding blog buddies. It is a really supportive community.

What can't you bring yourself to throw out of your wardrobe?

I love leggings. Too old for them for sure- but they are sooooooooooo comfortable! And handy

Would you rather someone didn't ask your views on controversial issues?

I don't mind a bit. As long as they don't mind a controversial answers!

Do you recommend people..and then wish you hadn't? A couple of times I have recommended colleagues who I trusted to clients and it turned out to be a disaster. But usually it works really well. I have learnt from it.

Do you own up to reading light novels, or hide them under the cushions if visitors arrive?

I don't read them. Not snobbery but I just don't. I like mags like Hello and OK though

Content with your own company or gregarious?

I am very gregarious but increasingly happy with my own company.

One thing which would noticeably improve your life.

Better health. But really I am very blessed indeed. I have people to love and people who love me. It doesn't get any better than that.

My questions are:

  1. If you could only visit one foreign country which one would it be?

  2. Ironing or hoovering?

  3. Football or rugby?

  4. Have you kept any soft toys from childhood?

  5. What is your favourite film and why?

  6. What is your idea of an entertaining evening?

  7. Do you have a favourite place?

  8. Extravagant or thrifty?

  9. What is your favourite shop?

  10. School day memories. Happy or sad?

There's more than a grain of truth in this...........

This is funny & obviously written by a former Soldier ....

I am over 60 and the Armed Forces thinks I'm too old to track down terrorists.
You can't be older than 42 to join the military.
They've got the whole thing backwards.
Instead of sending 18-year olds off to fight, they ought to take us old guys.
You shouldn't be able to join a military unit until you're at least 35.

For starters:- Researchers say 18-year-olds think about sex every 10 seconds.
Old guys only think about sex a couple of times a day, leaving us more than 28,000 additional seconds per day to concentrate on the enemy.

Young guys haven't lived long enough to be cranky, and a cranky soldier is a dangerous soldier. 'My back hurts! I can't sleep, I'm tired and hungry'
We are impatient and maybe letting us kill some ratbag that desperately deserves it will make us feel better and shut us up for a while.

An 18-year-old doesn't even like to get up before 10 a..m.
Old guys always get up early to pee so what the hell.
Besides, like I said, 'I'm tired and can't sleep and since I'm already up, I may as well be up killing some fanatical son-of-a-bitch.

If captured we couldn't spill the beans because we'd forget where we put them.
In fact, name, rank, and serial number would be a real brainteaser.

Boot camp would be easier for old guys..
We're used to getting screamed and yelled at and we're used to soft food.
We've also developed an appreciation for guns.
We've been using them for years as an excuse to get out of the house, away from the screaming and yelling.

They could lighten up on the obstacle course however.
I've been in combat and didn't see a single 20-foot wall with rope hanging over the side, nor did I ever do any pushups after completing basic training.

Actually, the running part is kind of a waste of energy, too.
I've never seen anyone outrun a bullet.

An 18-year-old has the whole world ahead of him.
He's still learning to shave, to start up a conversation with a pretty girl.
He still hasn't figured out that a baseball cap has a brim to shade his eyes, not the back of his head.

These are all great reasons to keep our kids at home to learn a little more about life before sending them off into harm's way..

Let us old guys track down those dirty rotten coward terrorists.
The last thing an enemy would want to see is a couple of million pissed off old farts with attitudes and automatic weapons who know that their best years are already behind them.

How about recruiting Women over 50 menopause!
You think Men have attitudes! Ohhhhhh my God!
If nothing else, put them on border patrol....
They'll have it secured the first night!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Looking for trouble or looking for blessings?

Another fab photo taken by our very good friend Martin- thanks for letting me use it.

My mum and I often laugh about the fact that we don't have to look for trouble in our family because it always finds us easily. Anyone else know that feeling?

What we have learnt over the years is that it is easy to look through the prism of life and experience one problem and challenge after another. It is very daunting. But we have always learnt that if you look for blessings these are there too. Every day and even in the most trying of circumstances. It is a much better frame through which to see life. No doubt about it.

Some examples. Yesterday evening I found out that my chemotherapy has been delayed another week at least because of my blood count. This happened last time. I should be going in today as an inpatient for chemo cycle number three. So teddy and toothbrush are unpacked again. I told quite a few folk straight away as they were involved in the inevitable logistics of the week, and I received lots of texts and messages saying how sorry people are for me about it. I appreciate their kindness and concern. They think I will be keen to get on with my treatment,and to some extent they are right... but....

There is an element of disappointment and frustration in there, but it is just an element. It is is what it is, and what will be, will be. I decided at the beginning of this stage of the journey that I would just go with the flow, just float along in the river of life and not cling to the sides too much. It is a strategy that is working well for me. It is less tiring and frustrating than fighting every inch of the way.

My wonderful friend B is here to see me from Seattle ( yes- Seattle USA- she came over for a week to see me and her son). The postponement means I get to spend another day with her. She was our matron of honour and is teenager's Godmother and one of my oldest friends. It is a great support for me to have her here. We can spend more time catching up and drinking coffee. Excellent. She leaves on Thursday.

The delay is much better for other half. He is around much more next week and will be here while I get my treatment which takes pressure off the system all round. Much more relaxing for me while I am recovering from the impact of the treatment. Much less strain on him.

I get the chance to look after teenager while the rest of this exam week works its way through. I will be here to pick up, drop off and cook lovely healthy brain boosting food.

I can spend time with mum going to drink coffee at Blackwell House or Marks and Spencers. I can drive about and feel vaguely normal for a while longer. My brain is sharp, and my energy is great. I will still have hair for at least another ten days or so. I can go to Church on Sunday. I can have coffee after school drop off with my school mum friends tomorrow, Friday and next Monday.

And next week, I will probably get my treatment. It is waiting for me, and next week I will even more prepared, and stronger.

Sometimes it takes a magnifying glass to spot the privileges and benefits in a diffcult situation. I know this very well, but I getting to be a master at it, and it is definitely the best way and the only way to live in my opinion. Call it silver lining spotting, call it frustatingly optimistic, call it deluded. It maybe all of those things, but it really works.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

High and Low Pressure

For those of you who have visited the English Lakes, it doesn't take me to tell you that we are rather blessed with amazing scenery. Walk around the corner, or drive around the next bend and your senses are assaulted by something fabulous and inspiring. It is no surprise that folk travel from far and wide just to soak in all the marvellous sights.
However, there are disadvantages to living in such a great place. The first one is tourists, but it goes with the territory of course. I am pretty sanguine about it at the moment, but ask me again in's not the people ( mostly), it's the cars and parking. Sigh.
The other disadvantage and 1000x worse than the tourists is the low pressure weather systems which come in and hang around. We have had a lot of low pressure here recently. Grey cloudy skies that feel if they are touching the top of your head, and a heavy soporific atmosphere which seems to encourage pro-crastination and irritability. It was a pretty rare situation when I lived on the North East coast- the sky always seems higher and more expansive, and the winds kept everything very fresh. But here sometimes..............inertia. It is unpleasant. It is a 'being surrounded by lakes and mountains' issue.... but....
It was very much like it yesterday............very wet. very dark, unpleasantly sticky and heavy. Everyone seemed to be moping about. AND THEN SUDDENLY- it lifted. At about eight pm. The sun came out, the skies lightened, the rain stopped and energy lifted.
So much so that other half and I decided to go out for a walk by the lake. We met some friends who have a cafe down there and they had suddenly decided ' to do some late evening jobs'. There they were with tool kits and drills happily doing bits and bobs. Families were milling around feeding ducks, tourists were out with cameras. It was busy. It was buzzing. On the way back we saw two more friends in their car with two cups of tea. They had put cling film over the top of the cups and had driven down to the lake to enjoy the view, rather than sit in front of the tv. We had such a laugh.
We got back in at half nine. It was spontaneous and fun. Unexpected after a draining energyless day.
And it looks like the high pressure is back again today. Better get going...........