Friday 31 January 2020

Tomorrow is Going to be Better

Tomorrow is the first day of February. I shall be glad to see a new month.

Bear is doing okay, and is getting a little better. He has a day out planned with my sister in law, who will indulge him. I hope she is braced, though, as he has been watching History documentaries on YouTube and is asking questions about Communism.

Bear is also getting some appetite back. He requested a casserole for dinner, which was something of a surprise as it is many years since I made a casserole. I seared some chicken and chorizo, added a bag of frozen casserole veggies (won't do that again, they were very disappointing) and used some chicken cuppa soups as stock. Bear and DH devoured the result, but I think that it lacked a certain something. I may look at some recipes.

Hugs to all.

Wednesday 29 January 2020

Frame Yourself

When I first moved to Yorkshire, I came across the phrase 'Frame Yourself' or 'Frame yersel'. It means, generally, to pull yourself together and move with purpose. This is what I need to do.

I have been posting about the electrics for literally years on here, I can't ignore them any longer. The house must be cleared. At the same time I have editing I need to do (and I'm legally obliged to do in a timely manner) and writing that needs to be sorted. Meanwhile bear was off school today and will be off tomorrow as he is not doing well.

Bear is a big worry. I've talked to him, and we are waiting for the medication to hopefully clear out of his system and then we can look again at pain management. Poor kid is off his food as well, and while he could currently stand to lose a little (after spending most of his life like a skinned rabbit), I would rather it wasn't like this.

We also have his Options evening coming up, to inform his choice of options. Options choice is where he decides which subjects he would like to take at GCSE level, and the school decides if they will let him. Bear is stressed to the eyebrows over this as well.

I have decided that tonight, my option is brandy.

Hugs to all.

Tuesday 28 January 2020

Not Impressed with January

I know it's always a little grim after Christmas, and it's always a good idea to look at finances and tighten the belt, but this January has been silly. It has three days left and I sincerely hope that January has a long think and bucks its ideas up.

Bear is reacting badly to the new medicine. It's not life threatening, but the poor lad is suffering, and he has enough on his plate with all the exams (which he did in something of a daze), and a heap of homework.

There was another flicker in the lights and my laptop had a moment of black screen which, while probably less than three seconds, felt like a lifetime. I saw roadworks a few hundred yards away, which is likely to affect the electrics, and I really don't need it.

Between the laptop, and buying bear's music lessons in bulk and various other bits and bobs, I swear we must have spent nearly four times the normal spends for a month. Next month I'm starting to seriously track our spending. It's getting out of hand.

Also, I have major heartburn.

Writing stuff - I have managed to write a reply to the writing challenge here. That is something, amidst the mounting deadlines.

Hugs to all.

Monday 27 January 2020

Monday Happened Again

Monday has a habit of happening and I wish it wouldn't. This morning bear couldn't find his school trousers. Between us we ripped every room in the house apart, most of which still needs putting back together, before finally finding them in the clean washing. By the time we found them and got the new tablets into bear and then rushed out the house, I was already frazzled.

I had promised to meet up with a friend, the one who lives in the middle of nowhere. By the time I had bought spare trousers for bear and caught my breath it wasn't worth going home, so I drove over there, picked her up and drove down all the narrow country lanes to Hebden Bridge. I took a very poor pic, but at least it shows I was there.

We had a nice browse and a wander, then drove all the way back, this time down the main roads which I found a lot more stressful. In total, according to Google Maps, I drove 53.5 miles and some of them were a challenge.

I picked up bear and got back to the house moments before the music teacher. I failed at dinner, but DH was happy because the artisan black rye bread I got at Hebden Bridge was just what he wanted with lots of beans and cheese.

Now I am flagging but need to crack on with some writing stuff. Speaking of which...

Writing stuff - this week's writing challenge is here. All welcome.

Hugs to all.

Sunday 26 January 2020

I Have No Idea - Yet!

I have no idea what I'm doing at the moment. I am less coherent than normal, and I'm not that coherent at the best of times. On the other hand, I'm finding a good place to start, which has to be something.

At the time of typing, I have a working laptop, a promise that all my saved files will be coming my way soon and a chance to go through all the stuff on my laptop, work out what is important and organise it properly.

Bear is feeling much better, and while grumbles about school are ongoing, at least his appetite is returning.

The house is still an awful warning and cautionary tale, but I feel like I have a chance of getting somewhere over the next few weeks.

And I have started bullet journalling in a hope to get all the jumble of thoughts out of my head and onto paper where I can do logical things with them. I can try and drag together all the appointments for bear and all the notes for the house and the bits I need to remember. Mind you, my journal doesn't look anything like the journals on the YouTube videos. They have days where they have one or two things in neat little boxes. My daily to-do so far sprawls over a page with lots of shopping lists and side notes and is still missing half the outlying bits. It's a work in progress.

It's three weeks into the New Year, and it's been something of a fail, but I feel that I can get there.

Writing stuff - finally got something for this week's writing challenge here. Next week's should be up tomorrow and all are welcome.

Hugs to all.

Saturday 25 January 2020

Bear Doing Okay

Thank you for the hugs, Hazel. They were very much needed and appreciated.

Bear has a new set of tablets to take after a visit to the Saturday GP. I just need to sort out timings with the school.

He did well in his maths tests, and got, I think, around 75%. Percentages may come and go as it all sounded very complicated and I suspect he was blagging somewhat, as he doesn't like not being top. I think he is working the PR and keeping his fingers crossed. He did badly in English, which is infuriating. He knows the subject texts, has great expression (trust me - he can express himself extremely clearly), and understands the way that stories and language can fit together. DH has an English degree, and I tell stories as my main passion, and we both talk about stories and words to bear so he can't complain that he isn't aware of the basics of English. The teacher had a word and apparently (again, this is via bear) it was his exam technique that let him down. We can work on that.

Speaking of passions, I have just found out that I drive past a place that sells inexpensive knitting yarn. I usually end up waiting at the lights next to it one way or another, and out of curiosity I had a look on the website that was plastered over the front of the building. The yarn looks okay and most of the time I would be better going to Marriners for price, but there was one yarn that really caught my attention. I really don't need another project, in fact, I really shouldn't, but it looks so tempting - it's called Pebble yarn, and the shade is called Scottie. I got this pic from an ended eBay listing.

I haven't been inside yet, so the promise of the website may be just an illusion, and, to be honest, I daren't go in. I mustn't buy more yarn. Unfortunately they also have some car mats that would fit my car, and I could do with properly fitting car mats. I'll share if I do go in, and whether the yarn lives up to its promise.

Hugs to all.

Friday 24 January 2020

Having a Moment

I just burst into tears while on the phone to Scottish Power (again). Apparently someone is trying to reach me from the firm that does annual services, last seen around six months ago. I think that I need to take a breath and pull myself together.

Bear is looking a lot better, so that is something, and has said that he will be happy with a sandwich for dinner tonight, so I don't have to worry about cooking for him. He has said that he wants to eat healthier. This is great. Unfortunately he only eats about four things at the moment, and none of them are brilliantly healthy. He used to eat anything and everything. Now there are issues. DH has dinner sorted out as well, so that is something.

There are so many people worse off than me, and I feel quite ashamed. Back tomorrow with hopefully a more positive attitude.

Hugs to all.

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Keeping On

Bear is doing slightly better. The reaction to the medicine has been building over Christmas, so it will no doubt take a while to get out of his system. For those who understand these things, it was naproxen, prescribed by a consultant. Poor kid is now back to ibuprofen for pain management. It's not helping as much as I would like. I've managed to get an appointment for the GP on Saturday, and I hope it will work out.

We are three quarters through the first month of the year, and it has been something of a challenge. I've had some poorly moments, bear has been getting worse with the side effects, my laptop failed and it's been generally challenging. I hope things pick up soon.

Thank you for the good wishes.

Hugs to all.

Tuesday 21 January 2020

Bear Is Fed Up

Bear is suffering with some nasty and rare side effects from prescribed medicine. I'm waiting call backs, although the NHS 111 has been wonderful.

As far as I can tell, bear will be fine, particularly when the medicine has left his system, but extra fuss is definitely required.

I'll update tomorrow, when I am sure he will be feeling much better. Until then, hugs to all.

Sunday 19 January 2020

Almost Catching Up

I still have so much I need to keep up with, but I'm getting in a better position.

Kate - I have learned to keep an eye out for big supermarkets, because there isn't much else in the way of facilities. Yesterday, on the edge of Brighouse, I spotted a large Lidl, where I got stuck in the car park. When I dived in, I couldn't see a loo anywhere, and I couldn't see a member of staff either. I was absolutely frantic - when nature calls, she shouts, and I needed the facilities. In desperation I asked an old lady near the entrance, who thought they were near the back. They weren't. And I couldn't see any staff. Then I asked another lady with a kind face, and she thought they may be at the far corner. By this time I'm absolutely frantic, but they weren't there either. Finally I approached the tills and shouted across a queue. The baffled staff member pointed at the door right behind me. I can't tell you how grateful I was. And I am able bodied, so what your partner must struggle through is not acceptable. It makes life so much harder than it needs to be.

Today has been wonderful and uneventful. Long may it so continue. 

Hugs to all.

Saturday 18 January 2020

Things I Learned Today

1. I am still getting the hang of Brighouse's road system and I am still admitting to nothing.

2. If I make a complete spectacle of myself and wriggle and writhe, I can get in the passenger door and over to the driver's seat and be able to drive away, despite the best efforts of the huge SUV parked indecently close to the driver's door. To be fair, I had parked quite close to the line on that side as I was trying to leave space for the driver's door on the car on the other side of me.

3. Going for a thirty mile drive is not advisable with an upset stomach. Public toilets are harder to find than you think.

4. There are some awesome laybys to park in and knit.

Hugs to all.

Friday 17 January 2020

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

I'm glad to be back. Thank you for the kind messages.

Driving continues as expected. A few days ago I visited a friend who lives quite deep in the countryside, somewhere at the foot of the Pennines. The road that led to the road she lives on has grass growing down the centre and is around a car and a half wide, with a steep bank on one side and a very steep drop the other, fenced off by a small drystone wall. I was a little on guard, and should have been nervous, and I wasn't looking forward to the trip back, but I was fine. I had a wonderful visit, along with some serious cat cuddles, then started back.

The trip there had been uneventful, but I'd only gone a little way when I realised that a lorry was following me down this narrow road. That wasn't a problem, except for the large van coming around the corner at me. There was absolutely nowhere for me to go, and no passing places. I couldn't even reverse because of the lorry behind me. Thankfully the van reversed back around the corner, and I was able to squeeze through.

(I should add, I'm very adventurous when facing a gap - I see a space between parked car and oncoming traffic and tend to go for it. I don't know how I have kept all my car's paint. On Tuesday, on the way home, I shot through a gap and then said to bear that perhaps it would have been safer to hang back. Bear said that he didn't know about that, but no-one was following me through. I don't think this is a positive driving thing, but it's a thing.)

The other issue I had was that while I had used satnav on my way there, I forgot to set it on the way back. I think I missed a turn, went wildly off track and ended up in Brighouse. I admit to nothing that may have happened there except to say that mistakes were made and the one way system should be marked more clearly. Once I found myself there, though, I could get home. 

Off now to carry on sorting out the new machine. I'm somewhere in heaven.

Hugs to all.

Thursday 16 January 2020

I'm Back!!!

DH, after reviewing all the information, thought that I should get a new laptop. I now have an awesome laptop, which I can type on at a ridiculous speed and which I can start loading up with my favourite bits and pieces. My lovely brother is trying to resurrect the old laptop, which currently won't stop starting, then restarting, then restarting, then restarting etc, so that I can get all my docs off there, including some half written novels.

This has been a lesson to me to save all my passwords in a safe place, and to find a good way to save my documents.

I have a couple of pictures to share. The first is a pic of a pic, and which I now realise was a pretty poor pic, but I've already gifted it so can't take another.

It's by KJ Sutcliffe, who is awesome and I have a few of her other works as well, which I will share when I have a chance. I'm not sure of all the wonderful places she publishes her work, but her facebook page is here, and worth keeping an eye on. 

And here is a pic from when I went for a drive. It looks like mountains behind the trees, but it's just cloud formations.

There are some hills, but less than you would think.

I'll catch up with all the news as we go, but at the moment I am elbow deep in catching up with all the writing I should have done.

Writing stuff - speaking of writing, I tested out the new keyboard with this week's writing challenge and you can find the result here.

It's good to be back. Hugs to all.

Sunday 12 January 2020

Tuesday 7 January 2020

Another Day Tomorrow

Today I managed to finish my taxes. Everything else fades into the background. Don't get me wrong, I don't think I made enough to buy a coffee and cake at Starbucks, but it's all done. Next tax return is unlikely to be more impressive, but I have hopes for next year. Actually doing the taxes was fine. Getting all the steps together to get onto the online page so that I could fill things in was an utter nightmare. I've made a note about all the hoops I had to jump through, so hopefully I have a head start next time.

I didn't like the weather when I dropped some rubbish off at the tip and went to pick up bear. I found the wind scarily strong on the bypass, but at least the bare trees weren't too affected along the lanes. I was glad to get home.

I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing tonight. I have so much that I ought to be doing, I feel almost paralysed. I think I will just bumble around and see what happens.

Writing stuff - response to writing challeng here.

Hugs to all

Monday 6 January 2020

Monday Has Happened

All things considered, it could have been worse. It started when bear took his blazer out of the dry cleaning bag and found that he was missing a button. I didn't have time to sort it, having spent most of the time on the traditional 'first day back at school' pursuit of 'find bear's other shoe'. Then I dropped bear off at school and immediately ran into trouble. The drop off at his school is on a one way street. I normally turn right at the end of the street but the road was closed. I had an interesting tour of some small housing estates before I found my way back to somewhere I knew. I recieved the email warning me about the road closure from school just as I pulled up my satnav. I may have used harsh language.

I called in at a park on the way home. I'm determined to get a walk most days. It's not a New Year's Resolution, because if it is a resolution then if you miss one day then you have failed. If it is just an ongoing project, I can keep trying no matter how many days I miss. Today I just had a short walk around the small pond. Apparently, walking by water is supposed to have a calming effect. Unfortunately no-one explained that to the Canada geese who were getting very intense about something. I kept a safe distance and took a poor photo

Then I finally sat down to do my online taxes. I should have done them last April, as there is barely anything to tax. Of course, all the info is on my laptop (which DH shipped away to tech genius, and I am very grateful to him). I needed to jump through hoops to confirm who I was (rightly so - I'm not really complaining about that) and needed my passport. I knew where it was in April, but I didn't know this morning. This means that I've turned a load of papers upside down, shredded a lot of stuff I didn't need, and found my passport. I'll have another go at my taxes tomorrow. Honestly, doing the taxes isn't too bad, as my situation is pretty straightforward. Getting logged on to do those taxes brings me close to a breakdown every time.

Now I am off to sew the button on bear's blazer. I ought to teach him as this is a great opportunity, but I don't have the energy and I really need to get back to the editing.

Writing stuff - this week's writing challenge here.

Hugs to all.

Sunday 5 January 2020

Fried Laptop - I'm Feeling Battered

Thank you for all the kind words. They are very much appreciated!

I'm using DH's laptop. He saw what happened and said it looked a little like a powersurge. The screen went a lot of funny colours. Fortunately, nothing else was affected, but I'm now a little stressed. I was working on editing, and I'm not sure I've got back up copies of everything. That includes my older stuff, which is worrying.

On the bright side, DH knows a genius computer repair man through work, so if it can be saved, it will be saved.

Bear had an equally disappointing experience making cookies this afternoon. To my mind, there was too much sugar in the recipe and they spread way more than they should and stuck to the (extremely well greased) sheet. Bear got the recipe online. I am encouraging him to seek out different recipes, but in this case, bear wanted to make a double sized batch, then changed his mind, so I think he may have got confused with the measurements. He may have inherited the 'I can just...' attitude from me. We will have another go midweek but we have lots going on tomorrow.

I have got soooo much I ought to do tomorrow, and I may actually manage some of it.

Hugs to all.

Saturday 4 January 2020

Testing Times

Sharon - I really miss cheese.

Mindo - all I can do is listen and try and support.

I'm so irritated by the tests and the pressure bear is feeling. I've encouraged him to talk about it where necessary, but not dwell on it. Bear doesn't think he does as well as he should at tests, so he gets even more stressed, and all his classmates are stressed and it becomes all about the dratted stress.  It's hard because neither DH nor I were particularly stressed by tests going in. I was a wreck coming out. I would be convinced I was an utter failure, even when I wasn't. I used to do really well in tests. I don't tell bear this.

DH and I have spent a lot of time sitting with bear and reassuring him that the tests are not the end of the world. There are always other chances or ways or paths to take. It would be easier if he could sail through these, but it doesn't matter if it goes wrong. We will manage something together.

Mind you, I'm trying to balance it with encouraging him to study and to work. I've always tried to reward effort, and he needs to learn how to put the time in. It just feels so hard at his age. And the things I would suggest, like going for a brisk walk, have to be put aside because of issues with his joints.

Today I had a run to the shops to pick up bear's blazer, then I popped into Tesco. I remembered bear had requested cereal, but went the long way around and fortunately passed an end cap with lots of reduced items. I had a quick look to see if there was anything we would use (a bargain you never use is not a bargain) and I scored big! There were a lot of spices on offer, such as celery salt and whole mustard seed. They are ideal for the sort of cookery bear is interested in, and don't go off, so I picked up an armful. Bear did the sums and, on around a dozen small jars, I saved something like £20. They were being sold off at 40p instead of £1.60. I didn't clear the shelf, but if there are any left on Monday, I may pick up some more. I left things like whole fenugreek seeds, but I know that they are in some curry recipes, so it may be worth a try. The wrapping paper was a bust, though, with no bargains worth it for me, so it was a very odd shopping basket of potatoes, carrots, parsnips, cereal and an armful of small spice jars. I also picked up a half price shirt for bear, which he approved, and I saved an extra 60p because of the Clubcard Plus. That was a good result.

Bear had his pal around, so I was able to leave them to it. I made soup for dinner (which was a success) and now we are going to watch Season 3 of the Great British Bake off.

Hugs to all.

Friday 3 January 2020

I Survived Cheese

I haven't done much. I've hung out with bear, I've done a little washing and now I am settling down for the evening. Bear will be going back to school on Monday, so spending a little down time with him isn't a bad idea. DH is already back at work.

Poor bear is worrying about his exams. I am so frustrated. He has just turned 13 and he feels like the world is on his shoulders. The tests he has, starting almost immediately the day he goes back, affect which subjects he can do for his exams. Which subjects he chooses now affect how he can go forward, his further education and his career. It's a big ask of a young lad. So we are going to spend Sunday baking, which I hope will cheer him up.

Dinner tonight was sausages with peas and pototoes with onions done in the microwave. DH and bear are keen to eat healthier. I'm not sure about healthier, but I'm up for easier and less expensive. One decision that I hope we stick to is eating less meat and more legumes and grains. I'm investigating here, a site all about lentils, sponsored by lentil growers, and full of ideas. Mind you, I get a lot of mileage from throwing in root veggies, onions, stock and lentils into a pan with plenty of warm spices, simmering until soft and then blending. Bear, his pals and DH all enjoy as much of this as I care to dish up.

Writing stuff - blog post here.

Hugs to all.

Thursday 2 January 2020

Mistakes Have Been Made


Bear had his pals around. Apparently a good time was had by the teenagers, and I ordered pizza. Bear did the numbers and got a good deal and I included a gluten free pizza.

That pizza was amazing. To be fair, the box would probably be as good as the gluten free base, but I had a topping heavy on the meat - and cheese.

I the past, when I've had cheese, I've thrown up with gusto. This is not good. I love cheese, and after all, I grew up in Cheshire, where the best cheese comes from (I'll admit some arguments, but the Romans knew about Cheshire cheese). When I was a kid, we got our cheese from the market, where the local farmers sold their local cheese.

I was so taken up with the idea of gluten free pizza that I forgot about the whole cheese issue. I remembered it around nine tenths in, so I decided to finish it off, and to heck with it.

Now, I've heard that sometimes a dairy intolerance comes with gluten intolerance, and if you avoid the gluten then various bits in your gut heal and you don't have dairy intolerance anymore. I don't know if that applies to me.

I'll be back when I've found out.

Hugs to all.

Wednesday 1 January 2020

Happy New Year

Hetty - thank you!

Wherevertheroadtakesme - I can imagine me writing a book about driving. I'd call it, 'Adventures in the Wrong Lane.' I feel like I ought to be more nervous, but actually, I feel okay driving. I'm considering trying motorways when I next get a good, dry Sunday. I'll head somewhere on the motorway and come back on country lanes. It will be awesome! I'll put out a warning first. Though, to be honest, there have been some amazing drivers that have been very kind when I've got myself into trouble, and I hope to pay it forward.

I am feeling incredibly calm and chilled. It won't last, as tomorrow I have a fair amount of havoc coming, well, a few of bear's pals and I need to make sure that the place is fit tomorrow. Or, at least, not so unfit.

I still haven't got the pan I burnt last night clean. I forgot to put water in the potatoes and didn't notice because of the steamer on top. It got quite bad before I noticed. I've tried boiling water in the pan with washing up liquid in, but that hasn't got anywhere, so I'll put some cola in overnight - DO NOT DO THIS WITH ALUMINIUM PANS! I learned that the hard way when I turned the base of a pressure cooker black. It works really well with stainless steel, though.

That's another thing I could write about - my adventures with housework. My house is, to be honest, a pit, but I know loads of theory and could probably come up with a few stories of my misadventures. For example, I know that you should never put Stergene in a washing machine. I have never seen so many bubbles in my life, they just kept coming out! It took a few cycles to get all the suds out of the machine and make it fit to use again. It may say, 'wool wash' on the bottle but it neveAr mentioned handwash only. I've picked up some good advice on here as well.

And I've deleted around a thousand emails (mainly old newsletters, thank you Bless), and unsubscribed from a few newsletters that I never read. So now I feel like the year is off to a good start.

Hugs to all! And HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!