Monday, May 28, 2012

Photo frames!

Bought all these frames at charity shops, for a total of £5.00. Got some Rustoleum paint to give them a new lease of life. I did some of the prep work, but got to be honest Jeff helped me out quite a bit with this project. Not only did he not trust me to slice open a vein or two whilst removing the glass, but also he's had like 30 plus years using spray cans.

The end result are the attached photographs - aren't they fab? The frames, the photos and the subjects! The huge frame was one of the best bargains ever. It was on ebay, starting price of £2.20 (local pick up again) and no-else bid at all! Result. To be honest the picture in it was pretty dire - I think if he'd taken the picture out himself he could have got a lot more for it, oh well, winners and losers, nice to be in the winners half for a change!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Happy birthday to me!

Pity party over ..... well, put in a box for today, it's still there, but absolutely refuse to let it spoil my last forty-something birthday. Oh okay, might as well come out and say it, 49 today!

Weather is beautiful and I'm feeling the love all around :)

So photos.........
 Complete surprise to get a bouquet of flowers from Jeff :)
  Mum gave me a tenner for my birthday so took it with me to a car boot. Found some absolute bargains - think because it's the first one for weeks with the cr*p weather we've been having. So I can say all of these are from Mum! The 2 family history books are for Jeff, he's getting into that. I love, simply love the test tubes. Not sure what they were for originally, but thinking single stems, 2 different heights, and they would look fab. Have been looking for 7 glasses for ages (rainbow) but really hard to find. So when the woman was selling 8 small and 4 large for a pound, well seemed rude not to!
 So the set of 4 candles aren't in perfect nick - but honestly, they're going to be hanging in the garden on the decking come rain or shine, so I thought £2.00 for all 4 was a bargain. Then the set of 6 small ones. They were also £2.00 for 6. The colours are a bit faded, but the frames and glasses are in perfect condition, so I'm thinking some Tattered Angels spray could bring them back to life. Watch this space! And the box?
 So this was what was in the box. I loved the turquoise necklace and earrings. Then I saw the necklace with all the stones. Anyhow long story short, the woman admitted not all the jewellery is complete so if I wanted I could have the whole box for a fiver!!! If I wanted? Oh I suppose I could to do her a favour Mwahahah! I'm not fussed about the necklaces with the big beads. The blue necklace at the front is broken. The one with all the shapes is completely knotted, that'll take hours to unknot. And the black daisies have only got one earring. But with my make do head on, I'm pretty sure all the jewellery will be used one way or another :)
Friday, May 25, 2012

Damned if I do ........

and damned if I don't.

Sometimes being a parent can be easy.
Child "Can I go play with knives?"
Parent "No".

Easy. No brainer. Kids life versus stupidity.

Sometimes can be tricky.
Child "Mum, can I go play at X's?"
Parent "Okay, but......."

And you lay out the rules. You want to meet the family. You're going to take them. Pick them up. Protect them.

Sometimes can be tough.
Child "Mum, can I go camping with my friends tonight?"
Parent "Okay, but ...."

And again you lay down the rules. He's growing up, but he's still your baby.

Sometimes can be scarey.
Child "Going out for the night - will make my own way home, don't wait up."
Parent "Stay safe."

And of course you wait up, even if you pretend to be asleep when they get home. They're irreplacable. Precious. Nearly an adult, but still your baby.

But sometimes can be impossible. Sometimes choices to make have no 'right' choice. Truly damned if you do, damned if you don't. Not trivial:

Child "Mum, can I go to X's party."
Parent "No."
Child "You're the worst parent in the world. I hate you."

But you know they don't - well, maybe at that minute - but you're doing it because it's the right thing to do.

But what do you do when there is no right or wrong? Just a choice that means possibly damaging that relationship forever. Deep down you know you can't win. Deep down you know your decision will hurt someone profoundly.

Sometimes life just sucks.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Isle of Wight

Jeff always said that one day he would take me to the Isle of Wight. Can't say he doesn't keep his promises, even if it does take 22 years! So here's a few photos of the day trip.Lovely island, can't wait to go again ....... in another 22 years!
Carisbroke Castle entrance
St George's Church (12th Century) Arreton Old Village
Carp Pond (mentioned in the Domesday book) Arreton Old Village
Totland beach
Eight Bells Pub Garden
Friday, May 18, 2012

Indian Head Massage

Today I completed my Indian Head Massage  :) I was so lucky, I was the only student today so 1:1 tuition can't be bad. My lovely, lovely friend Jeanette came and was a willing guinea pig model for me. So now I am able to do Reiki, Angel Card Readings, Ear Candling and Indian Head Massage. Later on in the year I am hoping to do Massage and Hot Stone Massage. Avoiding Reflexology!

The chair was an ebay bargain - you know me and my bargains! Some lady had bought it for a hobby and lost interest. Her loss, my gain :) Loving the colour too!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New Life

I have been working at the kitchen table for the last few days and have been entranced with this mummy bird feeding her babies. On the first day there was only 2, they wouldn't leave her alone screaming at her for food. No exaggeration, she was out there for over 7 hours permanently feeding them. The first photo just about catches the chick with her mouth wide open, behaving like that well known signing orphan Oliver "More!"

The following day she reappeared with four chicks in tow! I suppose 2 must have cracked their shells later - well human babies come late, so why not hey?

Simple pleasures :)
Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Legacy

Well lookie at that - I have made another page and tabs! I still get a thrill out of doing things like that. When I was at school it was typewriters - yeah, that long ago LOL Then nannying and working on a childrens ward computer knowledge wasn't needed. Fast forward to my first office job. "Can you use computers?" "Oh yes, no problem!" ...... Immediate reaction when I was offered the job was "Yeah!!!!" A second later it was "Sh*ttttttt!" So I would go into the office early every morning and read the manual learning how to turn the bloody thing on and off - thought that would be a good start ;) Can I just say I am a kinaesthetic learner (see and do) so self teaching myself by reading a book was bloody hard work but I got there :) But it was an office of about 12-15 twenty-something males who all had an ego the size of America and thought women were second rate citizens, so anytime anything went wrong - i.e. I hadn't yet read the chapter that would enable me to complete the requested task, I would just smile and look like a dumb blond (yes used to be blond, a lot!) Worked every time!

Fast forward to now. I am determined not to fail, but you should see the hours I spend working something out. I could have asked the boys, and I probably would have had the new page in 5 minutes. So it took a 'little' longer than 5 minutes *blush* but I got there. So please, click on the tab and have a read - leave an honest comment - but not too cruel - you know I'm a menopausal wreck - of what you think!

And don't forget the follow this page - thank you Beth :) - I know you're reading this Joy - Laura - Jeanette - Sandra - etc!!!!
Monday, May 14, 2012

Merly Impressions

challenge top acts April 2012I got a badge! For being a Top Act. So that's nice :) And all kudos to the aforementioned Miss Katie for winning the challenge :)

In other news, has been a weekend of mixed emotions for Ella - and therefore for me, Jeff, Josh, Ben .....

Really, really busy atm. Need a few extra hours in the day. Anybody?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Renovated Table

BEFORE  - ebay bargain £1.00 :)
AFTER - same undercoat and cream as unit. And one blue tester pot.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Coffee with Friends

Two of my dearest friends, Sandra and Jeanette

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Revamped Telephone Table

Telephone table off ebay for £3.00
After - Matt not shiny, stencilled words. For Hopi Ear Candling :)

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Who I am in May 2012

Well this layout took me completely by surprise. The lovely and talented Miss KT Shenanigans ;) had posted a layout on facebook about herself, and explained it was for a challenge on Merly Impressions. Then the urge struck - a scrapbooking urge *rolls eyes* at the rood minded amongst you - to have a go. Initially I was going to go with a photo on it, but the journalling sort of grew and grew and grew. Me, writing too much, who'd have thought it? The challenge was all about scrapping yourself, so I thought I'd just talk about where I am right now. Which despite all the difficulties is still a good place, as the layout explains.

Oh, and I've added one of those 'follow me' lists on the sidebar. Please add your name if you do read this, I sometimes think I talk to myself - well, yes, I do talk to myself quite often, but that's a whole other story! Would be nice to know that someone is listening LOL

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Do you think I read too much?

Went to the library last week. Did you know you can borrow up to 6 magazines for a week? Why is it though I insist on borrowing up to the maximum LOL Okay, so some of them are old, but honestly, does it matter? The cost of mag's is pretty much prohibitive for us atm and this way I get to enjoy them!

So on the go at the moment - as well as those listed below relating to the photo - is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We were given the final DVD at Christmas, so I decided to read the entire series from scratch ..... again! That one's by my bed as it's perfect for helping me sleep. I have been known to sit up till 5 in the morning to finish a book that's gripped me. But a familiar book means it can help me sleep as I'm not desperate to stay up and find out what happens next!

In the living room  is The Angels Game by Carlos Ruis Zafon, really enjoying it.

Was going to start the second in the Dragon Girl trilogy, but realised what I have is the final instalment. D'oh!

So the photo of the books are 2 more novels, a web business start-up book, and Eat, Pray, Love. I saw the film last year, but apart from the scenery, was disappointed with it. I was told though that the book is a lot better. Will find out in the next few weeks.

The magazines are a glimpse of where I am right now - crafting and caring for the home; writing; a mag purely for an article on hot flushes, cos I am getting seriously peeved with them; and the history mag just cos I have always enjoyed reading about some parts of history.

Yesterday I had a book blitz. Jeff and I buy them from car boots and charity shops, so every now and again I have to shift some out - right back to the charity shop so they can resell! Rearranging the bookshelves I ended up with al my religious studies/bibles on the same shelf as the Twilight and House of Night series'. Questioning whether that was really appropriate, but Jeff reckoned it showed good balance LOL
Thursday, May 03, 2012

Good Times

Some handmade cards I made at the weekend. I wanted to produce some cards that beginners could manage so I concentrated on
  • types of glues
  • matting
  • stamping
  • rule of 3
  • using ruler and knife or cutters
I like all of them, but I prefer some more than others.

I love the little girl with with the 'after the rain ....the sun always shines again'.If you click on the photos you can see a bit more detail, including the gel pen and the sequins. I love the circles stamp and the Martha Stewart circle punch. Could see me using them a lot!

The car is a stamp I borrowed from Anna. I'm not a great lover of mens cards, either bought, or hand made, but must admit I think this is okay. As you can see from the second photograph I liked it so much I made a second card with it. Always interesting how different colours can completely change the appearance of something. I've intentionally left the tab blank at the bottom to personalise.
       Another stamp I love is the tree with the sequins, brads and bits and bobs attached.

In other news.........
  • Went to MJ's all day crop Saturday which was fab and got lots made
  • Caught up with Heather for a cuppa. Took a cake homemade cake round, which I then shrinkwrapped and popped into a Tesco box .....ahem ;)
  •  Had a lovely afternoon with the lovely Lydia. Was treated to lunch at Henry Street Garden Centre in Aborfield, very nice. And then we went for a stroll around the fish shop. I have decided I love fish! It was so soothing just watching all the different types, I could have stayed there for hours!
  • Positive governor meeting
  • Assessing
  • And have taken out some Ella stress on kitchen cupboards and cupboard under the stairs. Tonight she has been a diamond, last night she was truly awful to her carer, to such an extreme that I would totally understand if Vicky never came back :( Anyhow, that's for another day, this is a positive post!
  • Now watching Four Weddings and A Funeral - haven't seen it for a few years, forgot just how funny the script was!
  • So a very mixed bag so far this week, that's far more a 'normal' week in our home!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Respite? Don't make me laugh .....

Ella's photograph in Be My Parent 10 years ago :)
Did I say in the last post I was struggling for something to write? Me and my big mouth. This time I could write a tome - been using that word a lot this week! - allllllll about Ella. I was chatting to a friend this morning whose little girl also has SN and I think if we had to use only one word to describe how it feels it would be,,, stressful. Okay, there is no one word to describe how it feels. I wouldn't change her for the world, but she really is like that poem "When she is good, she is very, very good, and when she is bad she is horrid." And 'when she is horrid' we are talking kicking, punching, hitting, screaming - like you have never heard anyone scream before - foul language etc. etc. etc. I think, because her needs aren't obvious, one assumes that she's not 'as bad' as a child with obvious needs - e.g. feeding tubes etc. I absolutely get that Mums with kids that have serious medical/physical needs need respite to recharge their batteries. But dealing with Ella is emotionally as well as physically just as exhausting, and yet the local council feel that her needs aren't severe enough to warrant respite. Maybe next time she is postal I should video it (cos that wouldn't get me in any trouble with social services, filming it instead of dealing with it!). I'm not 30, or even 40 any more, and I am tired, so bloody tired. Social Services last suggestion? ...... I go on a Behaviour Management Course ......excuse me, but are they f**king joing? I managed to get a child with ADHD through the entire education system without a permanent exclusion. And I teach BM workshops. What could I possibly learn that will make our life so much easier?

Ella came to live with us 10 years ago today - and I love her more every day - I hurt when she hurts - I laugh when she laughs - and she has given us tenfold the pleasure as the pain. But it is physically and mentally hard work. I was thinking about other 'normal' (not as I've ever considered our family remotely normal!) families with kids in their teens and twenties. Now should be the time when Jeff and I start having weekends away on our own, letting the kids look after each other. I can't even begin to imagine the carnage we'd come home to if we did that! I don't reckon we've had even so much as a night away together since Ella came to live with us. We go away she comes with us. I don't mind that - we joke about us touring the world when we retire - all 3 of us! And that's fine. But am I being selfish wanting the odd break with Jeff? I don't think so. I do thank God Jeff is the man he is. Once a year I get to go to Center Parcs for a weekend with some of my closest friends and be something other than Ella's carer. He'll book holiday days if he should be working because he knows how important those few days are to me.

Should I describe myself as Ella's carer?  Yes I am her Mum first, but let's not underestimate what I do. Most 13 year olds are self-sufficient. You could go to the cinema for the evening. Hell, they can go to the cinema for the evening. Nip to the shops. They can make themselves a drink. A sandwich. They are becoming young adults and learning life skills.

Ella at 13. Well, there's the nappies at night-time and the odd wet clothes. Oh, except when she's having a tantrum and will purposely wet her clothes for attention. The epilepsy. The tantrums. She still bumps down the stairs and needs someone behind her when she walks up them. The tantrums. Sleep will not happen, no matter how tired she is, unless either Jeff or I are upstairs with her. I suppose we have moved from her bedroom floor, to our own bed, so that's progress right? The tantrums. If she doesn't want to do something then she will lay on the floor and not move - no matter where we are. When she was 3 we'd just pick her up. She's 13 now and it's not so easy. The humiliation. At a recent wedding she completely lost the plot and you just know people are judging. And you shouldn't care. But you do. She can't walk far. She has the attention span of Joseph (see even in darkest despair I can smile). The autism means extreme tears and stress if something changes unexpectedly. We are still working on writing her name - Ella, we know Gabriella is never going to happen. She has no concept of time. So 5 minutes means now or we risk another tantrum. She can't walk far so we have a wheelchair now (which we had to pay for ourselves - the fact it was a bargain is just a bonus), but we still get 'the look' when we park in a disabled bay. She needs support with all her personal care. Because she is vocal (but does not have the communication skills of a 5 year old) and can move around the house there is no rest. There is no thinking let's do nothing for the evening because I will be on the go from the minute she gets in from school till when she finally goes to sleep - and praying she doesn't wake up. And that's just what I can think of in the 10 minutes it's taken to write this paragraph. Oh, and did I mention the tantrums?

I must mention Social Services one saving grace - Vicky, Ella's carer. When we were refused overnight respite, the SS (?freudian slip?) offered us instead ......... six whole hours a month. Well I can't begin to tell you how excited we were. Nope, really can't. Anyhow, Vicky is a wonderful, gentle, lovely girl that Ella adores. She takes her out twice a month for 3 hours, and that is the sum total of our respite. So, assuming that if we want to go anywhere, we can't leave till they've gone, and we have to be back before the 3 hours is up. You can't even get to the cinema and watch a film in that limited time window.

This is just a glimpse of Ella's life. For that I get a Careers Allowance of £55.00 week. Ella's residential unit charged over £300 a night per child. Am I the only one that would question the two extremes? I'm certainly not suggesting that the allowance should be £2,100 a week! Interestingly if I put my hands up and said I couldn't cope, she'd end up in the foster system where a foster carer would receive around £500 (extremes 300-700) for doing the same job I do. And..... they would be offered respite! That's not a knock against the fostering system, it's still something I would like to do when the time is right. But it's the figures that I don't get. How can a stranger receive ten times I do as her carer? Break that £55.00 down and it's about 35 pence an hour for all that I do. I do it, and I would even if we received nothing, but is it unrealistic to want support? It's not even about the money in your hand. It's the acknowledgement. 'You do a hell of a job Mum, but would you like a break once a month/half term?'. Oh I did forget to mention that the Carers Allowance reduces as soon as I earn £100 a week. So if I decide to try and kill myself by getting a job as well as doing everything I do for Ella for some extra cash, what I receive in one hand I lose in the other.

Do I really live in a developed country in the 21st century?