Archive for the 'Other things on my mind' Category

21
Dec
09

Recent news

OK, enough from me in the whining “but this time I really am going to post more often” tone that you’ve all come to loathe, and that I hate myself for later when I break it. Let’s just take it slow and see what happens, ‘kay? 😀

The last number of weeks have been incredibly busy, I’ve hardly had a second to think about anything except for work and family.

Work, by the way, is now officially my ebay business. I left my job as engineering controller for a telecoms company about three weeks ago. It has felt a little like taking a running jump off a cliff and not really knowing if there’s water or solid ground below you for you to land on. I’m absolutely terrified by the fact that it’s not a hobby or an evening’s pastime now- I have to make it work. Signs so far are encouraging though. I’ve just achieved Powerseller status and also gained a Top Rated Seller badge- this was an amazing amount of hard work on my part, and maintaining that badge will be even harder. The standards required are incredibly high and it only takes a couple of assholes for you to lose it. We shall see…however, all is going (touching a whole great chuffin’ FOREST) pretty well on that front.

Me and Robbie have been home alone in the mornings since I left work and it’s been fairly harmonious. I have targetted myself on getting ten listings done per day. He’s quite happy to play in the background while I photograph the clothes and take measurements, and there’s lots of time left for snuggles in between. He is the most gorgeous child (not that I am biased at all) and very easy to live with.

So, that’s my mornings at the moment. Me and Robbie go and collect Ricky at 1.30pm and then we do something fun in the afternoon. It doesn’t have to cost any money- in fact 9 times out of 10 it doesn’t- we go to the park, for a walk or to the museum. I’ve had some really memorable afternoons with them already.

One afternoon in particular (I will curse myself for the rest of my life for forgetting my camera) it was an incredibly still and perfect, clear winter afternoon. I had made a chicken pie the day before and left my Dad in some of the spoils, before taking them to one of the many beaches near his house, at Kilclief Bay on this beach. We spotted seals on the rocks and in the water, examined the rock pools, and, despite the cold temperatures (though it was pretty mild), the kids waddled in the completely flat calm sea in their wellies. Of course, they both ended up totally drenched. It was truly one of those Calvin Klein-ad, perfect, afternoons, and it made me realise that there is NO comparison and that everything I am doing is for the right reasons at the moment. I will never get this chance again, and I don’t ever want to be able to look back at my life and think “what was I doing?” when I think of their childhoods, and my lack of involvement in it.

As you know, Robbie is now 2 1/2, so I’ve already missed years of that time. I’m not taking anything away from mothers who work- I did it myself and never thought anything would change that- I was very settled in my job (until June this year) and had no plans to leave. A variety of circumstances changed that. I think maybe dealing with cancer HAS changed me, and HAS changed my outlook on life and my priorities therein. So whilst all of this has and continues to scare the living shit out of me, the cancer has taught me- in no uncertain terms- to feckin’ well grow a set and live out my life as if every day was my last. I don’t spend nearly so much time these days worrying about what other people think, that’s for sure. Though I do still spend some time worrying about that. Old habits die hard.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’ve become a domestic Goddess since leaving work- that’s not going to happen, I don’t have it in me. However, I am definitely making slow inroads in terms of the house, and the kids have been helping me cook every day, which is both fun and frustrating at the same time. I’m fairly competent in the kitchen and a bit of a Prima Donna, so I am having to learn new levels of patience with them. Their enthusiasm is wonderful, though, and Robbie loves to clean too, so his job is hoovering the living room every day, ha ha! He actually manages to do a fairly good job, mainly because I let him have at it the whole time I am cleaning the kitchen… 😛 Maybe Robbie will be a domestic God. There are too few of those in the world.

I never saw myself as being much good at the stay-at-home and keep house and kids kind of thing, but it’s just “right” for now. Maybe I won’t be good at it. Certainly, doing this is MUCH harder work than my job was. I feel good that I am still bringing some money in whilst I do this.

The whole thing is a massive life change, and while it’s really, really scary, it’s also exhilarating. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. That said, I’m grabbing it with both hands.

02
Nov
09

Where to start, where to start?

Hello, friends. It’s been more than two months since my last confessions… 😀

I actually do **really think** that this time, my blog is back for good.

A lot has happened recently. It’s hard for me to even begin to put it all in a sequence, or to try and make sense of it all. Suffice to say, it’s been nigh on impossible for me to think straight enough to actually blog.

I handed in my notice in work today. I’m not going to go in to detail here, at least for the forseeable future, so if you want to know, email me privately. The company I work for have been wonderful to me, very supportive through my illness, but various circumstances recently have made it impossible for me to continue working there. The decision to leave was very painful for me, but I think essential.

So, this evening, I’m feeling a bit ambivalent, to be honest. My wee ebay business is going from strength to strength- long may it last. It’s going to be paying the bills from now on, and that both excites and terrifies me!

I’m really looking forward to spending more time with my kids. Ricky is absolutely DISGUSTED that he still has to go to primary school while me and Robbie will be at home. I have tried to explain to him why it’s necessary, but I think, although he really enjoys school, he sees it as some kind of punishment!

I’ve just got back from an absolutely wonderful three day trip to London with my Aunt- definitely a post about that coming up in the next few days!

I do have a lot- an awful lot- to write about at the minute. I leave work at the end of November- the whole “blog therapy” thing will no doubt be invaluable to me around then!

Blogging might be a little bit intermittent over the next week or two, and I will have to work hard to get back to speed with those of you whose blogs I read. I cannot begin to tell you how much I have missed all of my blog friends- I hope you might still have a place for me.

Before I go, there are a few people I want to send shouts out to.

Firstly, regular reader Emma C has just had her first baby, a gorgeous wee girl called Kitty! Congratulations Emma!

Secondly, equally regular reader Emma G has announced her second pregnancy! Woohoo! Emma G has been massively supportive to me, and gives the best advice ever. She should seriously consider charging for her services. 😛

Thirdly, can I publicly thank my friend The Taoist Biker for sending me some truly fantabulous CD’s for my car. They are as long and varied as they are enjoyable, and have been on constant play ever since!!

Finally, you might remember that a while ago, my friend Kristi found out that her beautiful daughter Gabriella needed a new heart. Very sadly, Gabriella recently suffered a stroke. She’s making absolutely incredible progress, but the whole family is constantly in my thoughts. If you have a few minutes, head over to Kristi’s website to read the whole story and marvel at this incredible little girl and her strong will to fight back.

More to come in a few days!

30
Jun
09

Tuesday randomness

I hate that my blog seems to have taken such a complete back seat at the moment! Some of you know that I suddenly find myself with extremely limited net access, which is the most spectacularly large pain in my arse…but that story is for another day.

I’ve had a lot of lovely emails recently from people who wanted to know how I am doing. I really appreciate these, thank you so much! J

I’m doing fine. I have been really trying hard not to think about the cancer at all, and now that I am feeling so much better, it’s been quite easy to do so! However, I got a letter telling me to come for some scans, and went for those yesterday. I felt very nervous about going. Every time I am forced to think about it all, I get that numb feeling in my arms and legs again…isn’t it funny how you can mostly feel fine, but blind terror apparently still lurks behind every corner!

If the tests show anything that looks dodgy, they’ll call me in very quickly. The next few days are going to be rather nerve wracking as I wait to see if the phone rings. They’ve said if all looks well, I’ll just see my consultant in September as planned.

In answer to a few recent questions- I still do not have “the all clear”, I am not in remission or anything like that. I still feel a bit in limbo as I wait to see if they can find any more of it. I’m not really sure how long you have to go with no evidence of disease before they will say you’re in the clear, I think it may be several years. In the meantime, I’m getting on with it! Time waits for no girl!

My business empire is, in the meantime, going really well! I’ve bought three bundles of clothes so far and all of them have sold for a good profit. I have my toe in the water! I have to say that this has been the steepest learning curve of my life- but a really good one. I’ve learned a lot in the past few weeks and continue to learn every day. It’s been a while since I felt challenged like this, and it’s very exciting! So far I have made almost £400 which is not bad for a week or so’s part time work! It will hopefully let me spoil the kids rotten when we go on holiday at the end of next week.

My pony Morning seems to be responding fairly well to the treatment they’ve given her for the sore muscles. We’ll have to wait a couple of days now that the treatment is finished to see how she does without painkillers. I am going down there tomorrow night to see how she’s coping.

Robbie has suddenly developed an obsession with the horses! Carly (my other mare) is retired but still fine for the kids to bounce around on, and she has recently displayed patience which normally results in Canonisation…Robbie will charge down the field yelling “Hello, Ladies!!” at the horses (which is what he hears me say to them) before insisting on riding Carly. She’s very big compared to him, but he’s totally fearless! He just sits on her back with me holding him by the back and leg, and she potters around the field eating grass while he yells “Hurry up, horsie!” at her- he is the cutest thing! When we’re away, I will definitely pay for him to have a ride at the riding school across the way from our holiday house. They have small ponies there which will be much more fun for him.

Ricky is also doing well. He’s now finished at nursery school and can’t wait to go into P1 this September. Leigh’s daughter, and Ricky’s great amigo, Sophie, is going to be in the same class as him, to both their great excitement! Ricky tells me that he will sit beside Sophie in class. He’s also planning on learning to drive as soon as he’s old enough so he can take her out!!! Is it any wonder that Leigh and I practically have our hats bought already!

Actually, Ricky’s daycare had to have a “word” with me, which those of you who are parents will know is never a good thing. Apparently, there was an incident involving Ricky, “Little Ricky”, and a bunch of six year old girls. I have now appraised Ricky of the fact that “Little Ricky” should remain in Knicker Land at all times unless for scheduled appearances…either way, two small girls practically threw themselves at him on his way out of the daycare last night, so clearly they haven’t been left mentally scarred by this incident. If anything, it seems to have increased his popularity! 😀

I am heading out for dinner with my great friends Heather and Jacinta tonight. I think this will let me blow off some much needed steam! The diet has taken something of a bashing this week. I don’t think I’ve gained any weight, but I’m just lucky about that! Still, I am about 15lbs down on where I was six weeks ago, which can’t be bad.

Oh, BTW there is a password protected post in the pipeline in the next few days. I will be using the same password as last time- if you need it, please don’t feel weird about asking!!! 😀

I had a lot of dreams last night about Donegal- we’re planning a holiday there for three weeks next month (YEE-HAAAAAA!!). You probably won’t remember THIS post, but I can’t wait to get to that beach, go in to the water and do exactly what I described in that post. You’ll think I’m insane, but one of the rocks has a smiley face on it- it’s clear as day- and every time I’m in the water there, I look at that rock and can’t help but smile too. That’s my main focus at the moment. Smile, and the world smiles with you. Stick your grumpy frown on, and that’s all you’re ever gonna get back!!

01
Jun
09

Race for Life 2009

Well, it’s done, and we had a great time!

Leigh and I completed the Race for Life at Stormont Estate yesterday. It was a very warm day without a cloud in the sky, which was great in one sense but I think we could actually have done with a bit of drizzle by the end! Next year we should bring water pistols!! 😀

When I got to the site and realised the sheer scale of the event, it was a bit of a surprise. I knew it would be well attended but there was just a sea of pink everywhere you looked. You have to pin a sign on your back saying who you are running for. I have to say, this aspect of it was very moving- the people standing next to me as I waited to meet up with Leigh were running for a little girl with leukemia, and nearly everyone’s shirts mentioned someone close to them. The scale of the effect cancer has on society is really impressed on you and it would be a stony heart indeed not to be moved by seeing those shirts.

Leigh and I met up about an hour before kickoff. An Australian lady was giving a bit of an irksome pep talk over the loudspeaker. I kind of wished they’d gone for someone Northern Irish, she seemed rather out of place, but she seemed to be enjoying herself!!

Next, a Scottish lady who was one of the main organisers came on to the stage and she really was inspirational. She reminded us all of why we were there, but in a fun way.

Just before we set off, we had a warm up in the shape of an aerobics instructor who reinforced my belief that I can never take part in an aerobics class due to my slow wittedness and inability to follow basic instructions. My lack of coordination will probably appear sometime soon on YouTube, courtesy of another participant! 😛

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The route itself went all round the Stormont Estate. Regular readers will know that Leigh and I have struggled a bit with the dreaded Stormont hill- which is bloody steep! You find yourself fixated on the sight of the Carson Statue at the top, because he’s right at the top of the hill! 😀

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I have to say, I think we kicked that hill’s ass yesterday. We veritably strode up it and I was only a little bit puce in the face by the top. In the past we’ve both practically needed a lie down when we got to Lord Carson!

My Dad and regular commenter Bernadette had walked up the hill to try and see us on our way past, but somehow in the crowd we didn’t spot each other, which was a shame. Next year we should plan things better!

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I think everyone felt a real sense of achievement at the end. This is such a good cause- to date I have raised almost £800 for Cancer Research UK and hope to get close to £1000 by the time I am finished. You can still sponsor me online if you have a few pennies to spare.

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I feel very privileged to have taken part. I am also very lucky to have been well enough. The past year has been rough, but I am still here, fighting fit and taking no prisoners! Next month marks the anniversary of my diagnosis, and it seems amazing that it’s been so long.

And Leigh, we WILL run it next year!!!! 😀

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25
May
09

Life’s out of control

When my life gets busy, the blog is unfortunately the first thing that gets pushed aside. I’m hoping to be back on top of it soon!

Where to start? Well, my little guy Robbie turned two last Friday! We took a few days off work to try and get the house into some kind of order before his party on Saturday, but despite much cleaning and sorting, the place still looks like a bomb’s hit it. As soon as I don’t have vast daycare bills to pay every month, I am going to employ the services of a cleaner. This should have the desired effect of making me clean the house before he or she comes to clean. We really are the biggest pigs.

Anyhow, the weather sucked and Ian ended up cooking all the food on the barbeque in the garden whilst everyone crammed into our tiny house. Leigh’s daughter Sophie and my son Ricky disappeared to his room for an absolute AGE, but they are only four and the only evidence of any misdemeanour in there was the discovery of an empty family sized pack of dolly mixture later on. Apparently Ricky picked out all the pink and orange ones for Sophie. I can only assume that he ate all the rest of them himself.

It cheered up later on and the kids were able to play outside. My Dad had bought Robbie a swing set for his birthday, Ian’s Mum bought a sand pit which can double as a paddling pool, and we bought a slide. The garden is WELL kitted out now and the kids are ecstatic! It has the added bonus of not being inside our stuffed-to-bursting house too!

Robbie really enjoyed his party and I think he had a good birthday. I will post some pics soon but I’m in work and the pics are on Ian’s laptop. I’m only going to post pics of my own family here, but for anyone who’s interested and knows me, there’s lots more on facebook.

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My weight has got to the stage where Something Had To Be Done. My neighbour Lynn and her sister Jean have been doing Slimming World’s plan for the past year and have lost eleven stone (that’s 154lb) between them in that time!!!

I felt a bit weird about signing up but I have clearly proved in the past that I can’t do this on my own. I can generally lose about 2-2 1/2 stone (28-35lb or so) working alone, but then I have this awful tendency to start thinking “hey, I don’t look as bad any more!” after which I put it all back on again.

SO- I went Thursday two weeks ago for my first meeting. And it’s going very well!

I had my first repeat weigh in on Thursday last and had already lost 6 1/2lb, but I have to confess that I cheated a bit. On my weigh in on the first night, I wore heavy trousers and left my shoes on. This time, I wore lightweight linen trousers and took my shoes off. Shoot me now. 😛

I make it a loss of 4 1/2 lb or so- but for ten day’s work, bearing in mind I went for dinner with Heather and Jacinta one of the nights and had Robbie’s party in between- I am still pleased with that and will keep going.

There’s an element of competition in it that is good for me too. Those of you who kn0w me in real life know that I have a competitive streak a mile wide. Each week everyone brings a healthy food item with them (I brought a pack of wild rice) and it all goes in a big bag. Whoever has lost the most weight that week gets the bag and all the goodies in it. It’s a good incentive!

So I have a massive amount of weight to lose, but feel good that I have made a proper start now, after months of procrastination. I’m not telling you my weight now, but maybe I will if (WHEN!! 😀 ) I ever get down to where I want to be. 🙂

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Leigh and I are completing the Race for Life  this weekend. So, here’s another shameless plug for sponsorship! You can sponsor me at THIS page securely. Thanks to everyone who has already done so- it’s a fabulous cause.

We haven’t been as good with the training as we planned, so it’s going to be more of a fast walk than a run for me and Leigh, I suspect! That bloody hill at Stormont kills us every time we walk up it- running is out of the question, well, maybe DOWN the hill but I can’t see me running up it. Leigh is a nurse, so she can resuscitate me if necessary. I hope. 😛

Looking forward to it anyway! 🙂

ANYHOW- I hope to be back in the blogoshpere properly now as the hecticness in work seems to be calming slightly. I guess it’s pretty bad to be putting my lack of blogging down to being busy in work- I really should be working now!! It’s a bank holiday here but my company is still in. Ian and the kids are away to the open farm, and I wish I was with them!!

Hope my Stateside friends are all enjoying their Memorial Day weekend! 🙂

That’s all for now- this was a long post! If you read it all, you get the prize! 😛

16
May
09

Early starts and other things

On the up side, Robbie seems to be sleeping through the night a lot more, all of a sudden! Yay! On the down side, this means he now wants to get up at 6am every day! You win some, you lose. So, this morning he got me up early (Ian and I normally take a lie in each at the weekends. We agree in advance who gets Saturday and who gets Sunday- it saves swearing and arguments on the two mornings in question!) so he’s still in bed.

Ricky got up at about 7am and I then realised there was nothing for their breakfast- d’oh! So, I’ve already made a batch of fruit scones this morning! Before I even had a cup of tea! I am so industrious! 😀

The kids are now trashing the house while I try to ignore the mess and play on the puter… 😛

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WordPress bloggers- since they brought in the new stats dashboard, has anyone else noticed a drop in total stats? I’ve lost almost ten thousand hits since they did it. The stats are still correct if you go to “view summary tables”, but isn’t right on my actual site. It doesn’t really matter, but I’m a bit confused about it! I really don’t like the new stats thing but I guess like everything else I will get used to it! I’m not good with change! 😀

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Years ago, we bred from my Connemara pony, Morning, but we sold her daughter when she was three. I’ve been back in touch with her via her new owners this week and it’s been so lovely to hear how she’s been doing all these years, and see some pictures of her too! She’s in England now and has had a long and successful career in showjumping.

Her mother is still very beautiful and a shining light in my life. I should take some pics of her for the blog, as she, even in old age, looks gorgeous.

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Weather here is absolutely atrocious. Normally, May in Northern Ireland is pretty much as good as it gets here, and it tends to be sunny and warm. NOT this year, apparently. Robbie’s birthday party is next Saturday, and I had been planning to have his party in our garden, which would supply significantly more square footage than our titchy little house. I am getting increasingly twitchy as the day gets closer and it’s STILL raining!!!! I’m taking Thursday and Friday off to try and do some stuff to make our house even vaguely presentable, which believe me is going to be a massive uphill struggle. 🙂

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I had a weird night of dreams last night! Weirdest of all was a dream where I was a student again, living in scummy digs in Stranmillis, and (really bizarre) Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol called round (I don’t really know what he even looks like in real life!!!) and although it wasn’t in any way a naughty dream, somehow I had no clothes on and he wanted to look at my scars?! Fair enough, Snow Patrol are from Northern Ireland, but I don’t have any particular interest in them and have no idea what THAT dream meant…my subconscious is up to strange things again!!!!! 😀

Actually I think I’m going to have to make an appointment to see the breast care nurse because the right boob, where I had most of the surgery, is hurting quite a lot and doesn’t seem “right”- I hope it’s nothing to worry about and I can’t find any lumps or anything, and it’s probably just fluid from my lymph nodes having been removed, but better safe than sorry. 🙂

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Right, I just looked up, and my living room looks like it’s been hit by a tornado. There are bits of scone all over the floor and both boys have removed their jammie bottoms for reasons that aren’t yet clear.

Have a great weekend everyone!

23
Apr
09

When do memories start?

Memory is a funny thing.

It was occuring to me in the car this morning that Ricky (who is four) is probably now getting to the age where he’ll have concrete memories about his day to day life. I mean the kind of memories that he’ll still have when he’s my age.

My earliest memory dates back to the first house I lived in, so I must have been under two, as we moved around then. I remember being on the driveway, and falling over and hurting myself. My Mum was watching out of the window, and she came running. That’s all I remember!

I fell into the pond at that house when I was very little as well and nearly drowned. My Mum was putting up some washing on the line and didn’t hear a splash. This was, of course, back in the days when child safety wasn’t something everyone obsessed over like we do now (not that my Mum didn’t take great care of us- she did- it was an unfortunate accident)! Who had safety locks on everything back then?! Anyhow, I have a memory of that- but I am very unsure that it’s a real memory, it’s more of an image. I wonder if it’s genuine or something that my imagination has created because it has been mentioned over the years and my brain kind of thinks I ought to remember?

I think my first solid memories date to when I was around four. I have a memory of coming down the stairs in the house I grew up in, and seeing myself in a mirror which was on the turn of the stairs. I remember (with the lack of vanity that a child possesses) thinking how cool I looked, and then I thought, “In six years time, I’ll be TEN!!!”

Back then, being ten was a very big deal. It seemed like some kind of long term goal, to be worked towards and yearned for. I recall that, when we were children, we painstakingly worked out that we’d be in our twenties when the Millenium came, and that seemed impossibly old! 😀

Dropping Ricky to nursery school, I thought back to my own memories of nursery, which I attended in Stranmillis. It actually surprised me how much I was able to remember.

I clearly remember an argument between me and my then best friend, Alexandra (Kingsbury, for old Methodonians!! 😀 ) involving some playdough. I remember making butter in a churn by all of us skimming the cream off the tops of our milk bottles every day- we took it in turns to shake the churn until after what seemed like 100 years, one day there was butter. I remember us all lying down on mats for our naps. I remember that they served up savoury mince on a Tuesday- and in my memory it tastes just like the innards of a Linda McCartney vegetarian mince pie!! 😀 I remember that they had three tricycles in the playground, and you had to queue up behind an egg timer to ride one of them. One of them was called The Bunny Bike, and the queue for it was always the longest. I remember the class going for a walk by the River Lagan which was nearby, and there being a poor drowned Golden Retriever on the shore, the image of which is still crystal clear in my mind. I remember learning to tie my shoelaces.

The reason I find this so remarkable is that, when I pick Ricky up in the evening, I always ask him how his day was (he always answers “fine”) and then I ask him what he did.

He never has the faintest idea. 🙂




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