I've been tagged

by Little Cotton Rabbits (who makes the most adorable knitted toys so do drop on by her blog and have a drool!)

What was I doing 10 years ago
A whole decade ago! My life has changed so much since then!

I was working full-time and running myself into the ground. Dh was working ‘down south’ whilst we were living in the Midlands, so he stayed away alot and my oldest two were only 2 and 3 at that point, so I was dropping them off at nursery at an awful time in the morning, before taking an hour bus ride to work. It was horrible and I ended up becoming ill and the children clearly hated it. Dh then lost his job and struggled to find anything of the equivalent skills (or money) closer to home. Not a good time really 😦

5 things on my to do list for today

  1. Make some bread
  2. Post orders at the Post Office
  3. Sew some eyes and mouth on the prototype mini mermaid I’ve just knitted (I was going to leave her face blank, but Moo wants her to have eyes and a mouth)
  4. Finish the Buttercup Faery (improving on the basic design of the Prototype Mermaid)
  5. Make some more Playdough (because Moo keeps asking me as she’s used up the last lot).

Snacks I enjoy

I love grapes, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries (well, most berries really).  Given the choice between these and chocolate I would go for the berries every time.  I shouldn’t let myself anywhere near pistachio or cashew nuts because I’ll eat a whole bag of them without noticing (until I reach the end).

Things I would do if I was a billionaire

Hmmmm, it sounds really cliched but I’d have to give a chunk away to my family and there’s a few charities I support that I’d want to donate to.  Then I’d build my own house (something ‘earthshippy’ or strawbale), it would have wind and solar power, a composting loo and various other bits like that.  It would be on land with space to keep some goats and ducks (I’ve wanted these since I was a teenager and have never shaken this desire).  Actually, I’d like to build a little ‘eco-village’ thing, with a village hall to hold workshops and space for those of my friends that I know want to, to build their own houses.  They’d be orchards and a natural swimming pool (well, a girl can dream).

Places I have lived:

Birmingham
A little village just outside of Diss (the name is escaping me right now)
Terveuren (Belguim)
Rhode St Genaise (Belguim)
Coventry

I’m just generally nosey about people, so if you’d like to have a go, consider yourself tagged (but let me know in the comments so I can come and have a look at your answers!)

He y'ar!

Ted said, pottering towards me.

“Ooooh, what have you got?”

He dropped it into my hand.

“A dead spider. Thank you *so* much.”

(Yuck! Yuck! Yuck!)

How to eat toast (when you're 2)

  1. Demand “Toast!” very loudly. There’s no need to say please.
  2. Continue to shout “Toast!” whilst jumping up and down throughout the time the toast is actually toasting.
  3. Then demand “Ham!” Of course you don’t actually want ‘ham’, you want ‘jam’, but switching constanants in a word keeps things interesting.
  4. Take the toast and whilst your mother’s back is turned, grab the whisk attachment to the mixer (with sharp pointy end that should be in the drawer, but handily is in the pot on the side) and repeatedly stab your toast.
  5. Once your mother has hastily removed the implement, grab the full box pencil sharpener and wait just long enough for your mother to have a fraction of a second to divert the contents away from your toast.
  6. Enjoy eating your toast whilst watching your mother cleaning up the pencil shavings whilst trying to stop you feeding any crusts to the dog (who is also having an attempt at eating the pencil shavings too).

It wasn’t even quite 10am…

Scissors, paper and spades

It’s been a fairly eventful week.

Monday morning I took Mrs Moo to playgroup and sat in the ‘parents room’ with a few other mums. One mum commented that X had passed away, what a shame, etc. etc. So, thinking out aloud I said, “That reminds me, I really must send a card to my aunt.” (My great aunt, her husband passed away very recently).

“Still,” I continued, “It seems a bit strange to send a card, because no amount of cards in the world change the fact that your husband has died.”

(A little voice in my head: “We’ve got a jumper! Lady, put the spade down.”)

“And when you get to a certain age, to have everyone around you start to die.”

(“Put the spade down and back away from the hole.”)

“But well, statistically women live longer then men, so I suppose we all have to face the fact that we will outlive our partners.”

(Bang! “She’s jumped! She’s in the hole, I repeat, she’s in the hole!”)

The silence was deafening. Tumbleweed may well have blown across the coffee table.

In my head I’m thinking, “I’ll just get my coat then…”

After what seemed like quite a while, my friend managed to muster, “Thanks Nikki, I’ve been signed off work with depression for two weeks, you’ve really helped…”

Ho hum. (Sorry N – I know she sometimes reads this).

I didn’t mean any of the above in a ‘depressive’ way, I was merely making a rather ill-timed observation. I really am not the person to invite to funerals (or anything else that potentially requires delicate tact), it’s not that I don’t care, I do, but that I’m a bit blunt, which isn’t necessarily whats needed at particular times in people’s lives.

FYI, I am sorry that my great-uncle has died. I remember him as being very kind to my brother and I when we saw him (he’s my gran’s sister’s husband), oh and that he played cards, alot. In fact, every time we ever saw him (at family get-togethers) he sat in the kitchen with assorted other male members of the family and played cards, sometimes with matchsticks, sometimes with coppers (occasionally my brother and I were also invited to play – although really we had no chance playing cards against a group of men with a few centuries worth of card-playing experience between them). He told stories in conjunction with my Grandfather and one of my other great uncles (which were probably quite far-fetched). The only times I saw him when he wasn’t playing cards, was at family get-togethers outside of the house in hired halls (etc.), these get-togethers involved drinking, eating, talking and dancing – and invariably a shaky rendition of Danny Boy (or similar) towards the end. More than anything though, I remember that he was always kind to us, so it is strange to think that, although I haven’t seen him for some years now, that I won’t do so again.

Anyway.

So, a great start to the day, capped only by Mrs Moo deciding, shortly before I was to leave for a meeting with Early Years re. childminders working in partnership with the local Children’s Centre, that she would practise being a hairdresser.

“I’m just going to the toilet.” She announces.

After a while, just as I’m starting to wonder why she’s taking so long, she returns and sits next to me. Something doesn’t look quite right, but I dismiss it and carry on knitting. Then look again. There are suspicious straight lines in the side of her hair.

“Nin, have you cut your hair?”

“No.”

Hmmmmm. I investigate further, to find that she has indeed trimmed parts of the side of her hair. It’s only when I turn her around that I realise the full scale of her ‘being a hairdresser’.

In true small child style, does she choose to trim a part of her hair that can be evened up (like the fringe for instance, whilst not ideal, a fringe can be cut back so it is atleast even)? Oh no, that would be far too simple. Moo managed to lop off a chunk of hair to within 5mm of her scalp at the centre back of her hair.

We can pull around some of the longer bits into a ponytail which pretty much covers it, but it still looks a bit shaggy. Looks like there will be a lot of hat-wearing this summer.

Dh pointed out that she was likely just wanting to ‘be like mummy’ as I recently had all my hair chopped off and that really I should be flattered…

So, I went on to the evening meeting, feeling a tad flustered and a bit hungry (as I didn’t get around to having dinner).

Tuesday, I had a meeting with the Local Authority to discuss home-education in the local area. This wasn’t with the local advisor, but with someone in another dept. responsible for formulating the Plan for Children & Young People in the area. I went with the neighbouring LC and member of the GPG (etc.) for EO, because it helps to go as a double-act and well, it doesn’t hurt to get some experienced support. The meeting was positive and has possibly opened up some potentially very useful doors. She appeared to be interested in what we had to say, asked pertinent questions and appeared to be willing to discuss how the LA might improve their relationship with HE-ers. So, rather pleased with that and hopeful that we can continue to move forward, so that future HE-ing families can avoid some of the difficulties that I have experienced with the LA since moving here.

By about 4pm (at home) I was falling asleep. By 2.30 the next morning, I still hadn’t got to sleep. Of course, being absolutely shattered means that my youngest children chose that evening to be as manic as it possible. They actively resisted any attempt to go to sleep and played tag-team wake-up (where one, past the point of being able to resist, falls asleep and is then awoken by the other).

We split them up and I took Ted upstairs in an attempt to lie down, assuming that he would feed and go to sleep. Oh no, he bounced around the bedroom and only as he was finally (almost 2 hours later) dropping off, his sister crashed into the room. I stormed downstairs and dh took Moo to bed.

A couple of hours later I came up to find dh asleep and Moo wide awake. Moo then woke up Ted and it began again. Eventually (sometime past midnight) they were both asleep and then I had to deal with dh snoring. Cue getting to lie there getting steadily more and more irritated until everything that has happened to minutely annoy me for the past 15years is now back in the forefront of my mind. So I go downstairs to seethe and fume and have a warm drink, before trying to go back to bed again.

Around 2am cats started howling and fighting outside the front of the house. I stormed downstairs, threw open the front door and screamed at them (I dread to think what the neighbours thought) – cats scattering in every direction. I then stomped off back to bed and finally fell asleep, to wake up a few hours later to find that Moo had already got up and was downstairs cheerfully thumping on the computer (I think I’ve traced and sorted out everything that she moved around).

So Wednesday was a bit of a non-starter really.

During the course of the day I decided that I would in all likelihood fail the Cert. Early Years Ed. I’m currently studying. I then find out (by accident) that someone I sit with on DCMA committee is also doing the same course and had she known that I was also studying it, I could have got a lift with her to the tutorials in Sheffield (which I haven’t been able to attend) and that in addition, they have an informal study group that I would be very welcome to come along to. Although very kind, all information that would’ve been useful months ago, rather than a few days before the next TMA is due. As the course is work-based, my lack of work atm has been rather a hindrance to completing the tasks set – until I had the suggestion, on Monday (at the meeting) that I could do observations, etc., at the local Children’s Centre (again, info. that would’ve been very useful months ago). So I sort of crumpled inside and decided to spend the rest of the day eating chocolate and avoiding doing anything particularly productive.Â

I did, however, have a rather surreal phone conversation. I’ve been discussing, with a few other mums, the possibility of setting up a local Pagan parents and children group (as most moots appear to happen either in pubs, or accompanying children aren’t an option). I made a few phone calls to try and find a possible location for a group to meet.

In the spirit of openess I did point out that it would be for Pagan families, although the group wouldn’t be ‘religious’, in that there would be no ‘preaching’ etc. (not least because of the variations in path of the possible families attending), rather it was an opportunity for a group of people who have some shared interests to meet up and have a chat and the children an opportunity to play together etc. I foresee some crafts and maybe some singing. Still, the group would be for Pagans and I think that it is important to say as much.

However, I was rather perplexed by the following:

Lady: “Will you be coming in costume?”

Me: “Pardon?”

“Costume? Will you be dressed up?”

“In what way?”

“Well, you dress up don’t you?”

“Erm, do I?”

It took a few seconds for the penny to drop and then it occured that chances are the only visual experience of paganism she might have had is that of seeing Druids on ‘telly at a Solstice.

Cue me explaining that Pagan is a bit of a ‘catch all’ term for a number of different belief systems and that yes, some of paths will have ceremonial garb reserved for just that, ceremonies, but very many don’t and my preference is for jeans and a t-shirt because that’s what’s practical when you’ve got 4 children. That I’d been into the building a few times, both as a visitor to the cafe and also on training courses and chances are she’d met me before and it just wouldn’t have been obvious. That the group was to put on activities for children etc. that it would be like any other children’s group, but we might sing a little more about trees (rolls eyes).

“Oh, that’s ok then.” She said, audibly reassured.

It just hadn’t occured to me that that might be a question I’d be asked, so I was momentarily thrown by it.

Anyhoo, it looks like we’ve found a (different) location, who’ve offered us a great rate and suggested some lovely walks around the building to take the children on when the weather is suitable. So I now need to find out when would be the best time to book the space.

Dh tentatively phoned to ask if I was ok, not that I shouldn’t be and he doesn’t want to offend me by asking and btw, if I want a takeaway tonight that would be very nice, but he’s not suggesting that we should, it’s entirely up to me (etc.)

When he came home he asked if I was ok and I (as politely as I could muster) suggested that it would be a good idea if he didn’t ask and perhaps playing on the XBox might be a good way of spending his evening (in another room, very quietly).

We had an Indian Takeaway. I spent the evening chatting on MSN and then sewing some piping on the armhole of a tunic I’m making for Moo.

What a difference a good night of sleep makes.

Today I’ve phoned my tutor and explained that my OU studies had gone boink (there are a few other issues atm) and also that I had had various offers that would make all the difference. I’ve been given an extension which will give me time to organise what I need to do at the Children’s Centre which will enable me to actually have the evidence I require for the TMA I need to complete. So, it looks like that’s back on track and I’m actually back in with a chance of gaining the Certificate by the end of the year.

I had a phonecall from Social Services asking if I was available to do a days respite care (I joined their list a few weeks ago to be available for daytime care when needed, as I haven’t had any minding work since July, so really they got back in touch rather quickly by SS standards). So I actually have some work booked for a change. Only a day, but still, it’s a start 🙂

So feeling much more positive again (doesn’t take me long to bounce back).