Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Once in every four years.....

The countryside on the other side of the village
Happy Leap Day!

This is an extra day for us - 24 extra hours. So what are you doing today? Something different? I wish I had given it more thought and planned something special to do.
My mind is all over the place, so I thought I would take the easy option and let it all leak out here in point form.

  • My blogging friend, LoraLynn Has written a wonderful post after her trip to Blissdom (with her 38 week bump!) and I urge you to go and read it. She talks about how she has realised the importance of being a legacy maker, in addition to other really interesting things.
  • I cannot tell you how much I would love to go to a blogging conference and meet up with the friends I have made blogging, in real life. And to learn. Heaven knows I need to keep learning all the new stuff. One day. I also hope that one day we will have them here in Europe.
  • I need to think about my own Mission Statement. Do you have one? 
  • Jean came to help me move mountains of Winter stuff up onto the deck in the sewing room. It was a real challenge, made do-able with a friend's help. 
  • I tossed out bedding which has to be old. Very old. 
  • Effort was expended at the gym, and calories were burned.
  • I have no idea what I am cooking for supper because I forgot to defrost the food I had listed for today. Memo to self: check menu and do what is necessary in the morning, not at 4.30pm.
  • James Murdoch has resigned.
  • The daffodils are blooming around the house.
  • Missy and her Mum are not coming up this weekend after all.
  • I need to do some weeding in the garden.
  • I would love each of my children to have homes of their own so I could give them most of the stuff in this house. Right now. This instant. Large homes. With lots of storage. 
  • I am about to start making 24+24+8+8 metres of bunting for a young friend's wedding. I have plenty of time, which is excellent. In 4 metre lengths. I may be seeing triangles in my sleep.
  • A peacock type of bird (I am a world authority on bird types - black, brown or white, small, medium or large) just breezed past my head in the garden and I did not have the camera with me. 
  • The sun has just popped out, as it is about to set. I may go and take photos.......

I did go and take photos......
Enjoy the rest of your Leap Day - I am off to sing again......

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

More cleaning and hidden treasures..........

Evening, all...............

You may have noticed that the template for winter is gone. That was the easy part, because we all know how I hate messing with templates, but then the  hot bliggity blogs website was down too, so I tried a few others, got into a frightful mess, and gave up. So we are "simple" for now until I can gather the strength to play again. But winter had to go, really, and the blue reminds me of the colour I want the sky to be right now. It has not been blue. It has been grey. 

The cleaning continues. This has to be a Spring thing, doesn't it??? I managed to do the linen change/wash today and tackle one and a half bedrooms and one bathroom. But the phone rang and then I needed coffee and then the phone rang, and then it was dark, and I do not clean in the dark so that was a perfect excuse to cease and desist immediately. And once i got downstairs, I refused to go up again. 

There was a wonderful surprise yesterday when I did the tidying, sorting and cleaning of the lounge. I knew there were a couple of Christmas presents under the table, but I assumed that they were ones I had wrapped for emergencies. So I was packing them away when I noticed that the label didn't look familiar. And I turned it over, and the gifts were for MEEEEEEEEEE! They were both from Jean (who also gave me a wonderful box full of things I love which I opened ages ago) and I was SO thrilled to unwrap them and find a gorgeous book on quilting and some crafty tools to play with. I highly recommend opening Christmas presents at the end of February. 

See - I should have done the sorting cleaning thing much earlier, shouldn't I. In my own defence, though, we used similar paper, so it was a natural assumption that I had wrapped them. I can't wait to start playing! However, the cleaning needs to be conquered first, and the 40 bags need to be gathered and evicted. The house will breathe a sigh of relief, and you never know, I may even get the new study sorted. A year after it was started. There is the slight problem of an old rosewood piano, weighing 5499372625278tons, which no-one wants any more, to sort. You can't even give them away, because modern homes are too small, and everyone has those electronic keyboards now. They are light and easy to move. Diana played the piano, and so does David. Ann plays beautifully, and my neighbours love it when she is here in the summer, and the doors are open, and they sit in their gardens and listen to her playing.

I keep thinking that maybe David would like the piano one day, but realistically speaking, it will be a nightmare to move anywhere, until he has a home of his own, and that is not going to happen in the next couple of years, if he carries on studying. It is approaching 100 years old now, and it still sounds wonderful. Well, it would if it had been tuned recently, but even though it hasn't it still sounds fine.

So Day Three of the cleaning saga happens tomorrow. I am quite sure you are on the edge of your seats waiting with bated breath for the next instalment............ (only the US spells instalment with 2 x ls)(the Oxford English dictionary says we spell it with one!)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday turned out to be cleaning day......

It could not be postponed any longer. And the elusive cleaning fairy is nowhere to be seen, so this morning, I hauled out the duster and polish and cloth and pile of assorted cleaning stuff, not to mention the vacuum cleaner which is now sitting in the middle of the lounge.

And then I had a rest.

 It was an ordeal. What can I say.....

And before any of you start telling me what a wonderful thing it is to make your home clean and beautiful for your family, let me point out that there are very few members of the family here to impress at any one time. They have flown the nest. There are, of course, the guests who happen to darken my door at odd times, though.

But the time comes when it has to be done. Like now.

I can do the make it beautiful part and I LOVE that bit. It is the cleaning which is a nightmare. For me. The actual doing part. You girls may be able to crouch and kneel without thinking about it as you polish the legs of YOUR multitudes of coffee tables and cabinets, which need polish because they are yellowwood, stinkwood or blackwood or oak, and heating plays havoc with them if they are not polished regularly. Not to mention the dust. But I can't. It involves getting onto the floor and wriggling on my backside across the room. Then it involves needing a crane to get me up off the floor again. Which is why I always have the phone in my pocket.

And why my house needs cleaning.


So, 3 hours later and the lounge furniture has been thoroughly polished. But I have yet to vacuum. Half of this sudden urge to clean is because the sun has been shining for the past few days, though not today, and oh good grief, does it show all the dust...... I have hot air central heating, so it just blows more dust around daily. Such a delight.

I have also polished the wooden furniture in the kitchen/family room. Add that to the list. And the table in the entrance. But that is it so far. We will not discuss the kitchen floor, or under the long table. It needs to be scrubbed, and tiles and knees and crawling are off the agenda permanently, so a wipe with a mop is all it gets.

Ironically, I actually don't dislike cleaning at all. It is part of what I do, so it is second nature. I do dislike ironing, I admit. But cleaning was never an issue, until I found it impossible to kneel. Aiyaiyai. The frustration levels soar, because it is a reminder of what I used to do and can't do now. Not the way I want to do it. At the speed I used to do it all. And we will not mention the tops of the kitchen cupboards, because getting up, as I used to, onto the counters and walking around scrubbing the tops of cupboards with hot soapy water is Out Of The Question.

No, you can rest assured, it is not a hovel, because I am exaggerating slightly. It is simply me moaning a little because I want it to be done NOW and I can't do it. But it does look pretty. Bright. Springlike. Yes, as you can see from the photos, the red is gone and the Spring stuff is out. Well. Some of the Spring stuff is out because I gave up after I found 3 boxes of it, and 2.5 of them have Easter things in, so we are going for a simplified Spring look, which will become a very complicated Easter look this year. And that will do perfectly. The boxes came out on Saturday and that took care of my weekend. The sewing room is piled high with winter things and I am pretending the room does not exist.

It is now later, and the vacuuming is finally done and said vacuum cleaner is now parked at the top of the stairs because I have not touched a thing up there, but I ran out of steam. And I had to listen to Jean talking on our local radio about her upcoming trip to Nepal, where she taught in 1975. In fact, I may get her to do a guest post or two  when she gets back, because she will have some great stories to tell. I watched an episode of The World's Most Dangerous Roads a few weeks ago about the road from Kathmandu to the Chinese border, and my hair stood on end. Oh, she said happily, yes, we will be going along that road. Right. I will expect a text message every 5 minutes so we know she is not at the bottom of a canyon.

Where was I.... oh, having a valid reason to stop cleaning. That and the fact that I could not actually straighten up. So, here I am, with coffee. And because I am a blogger, and like to keep things real, here is what I was careful not to get in my photos of the lounge.
That was after I sprayed the antique desk with Flash cleaner instead of polish and had to dry it immediately before it left water stains everywhere. Sigh.
 But LOOK! All the ripples are finished and ends are all sewn in. That took all of last night, but they are done. Missy's one and the one for the dolly, and the red one for next winter.

 I am really happy with the way they turned out, I must say - I love the waves in the red one. The pink one has 2 shades of pink and white in it, but it is hard to see the difference.

See, I can finish things. Sometimes.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday and phones (such an exciting title)........

So, today.......

New phones after all 3 died a sudden death. That involved finding Jean pottering around her garden, and kidnapping her (well, at the thought of coffee out, she leapt into my car). I did try calling her (from my mobile) but she was in the garden, as I said. I tried texting her, but for some reason her phone refused to receive messages, as we later discovered. It was not a good phone day for anyone actually.

So, coffee out. That was great. Pondering the merits of phones. That we sorted.

And home to charge them. Seven hours minimum. Then, hallelujah, these phones came with an instruction book, which, nowadays, is rarer than hen's teeth, so I was busy programming phone #1 when there was a power failure in the village, and I was plunged into darkness. Perfect. Clatter crashing my way around the room to light candles, and rescue the dolly's blanket I was crocheting, and sitting in the candlelight was actually quite soothing. And very quiet. I don't know when last I simply sat quietly alone in the light of some candles. I should do it more often. It was good. Time to let the brain rest. And the hands, because I couldn't see to do anything. I think I need enforced quiet.

Once the power came back on, I finished programming the other phones and then discovered that the clock on my microwave had blown a fuse. Or something. I can't set the clock. However, it still goes on, so it will be fine. I will just have to remember to look at real clocks instead, when I want to know the time. Oh well. It could have been worse.

Phones were not in the budget in MOT week. And microwaves are not in the budget for 2012 at all. So we will go back to stone age cooking if necessary and it will just be my recession heater warming which will be missed should the wretched thing roll over and really expire. But I am being positive here, and it will survive nicely, I am sure.

My sister has started changing her house from winter to spring. I KNEW she would do this, even though the end of the month is next week. So I went and looked at the mountain of boxes behind and under which my spring things are. I looked. And groaned. And looked. And sighed.

Then I came back to the couch and ate some chocolate so the blood pressure could return to normal and the hyperventilating could cease. .

Anemones are red. Maybe I can make spring red. And yellow. Tulips can be red. And green. And red. Did I mention red??

Tomorrow. Maybe.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pampering ourselves......

 Well, people, I could have bought a fancy laptop or iPad with the money which haemorrhaged out of my wallet when the car came back. Ball thingys, 2 new tyres, velocity gaiter (what??) Lambda thingy (Huh?)..... and here I was thinking the old chariot was perfect. Sigh. BUT it goes and passed in the end, and I am delighted to show off the new ball thingy and velocity gaiter. Well, I would be if I could a) see it and b) knew what they were.

I did ask for a detailed explanation, but the words sort of flew through one ear and out of the other.

Missy's pink ripple. There are 2 pinks in it, but one is pale, and the ends still have to be darned in. Thanks for the excellent idea, Needled Mom - I will be making one for the dolly too!
Sally Clarkson talks today of how everyone needs pampering now and then, how it is the small things which can make a world of difference to our lives, and yes. She is right. And it does not take money or arrangements or planning. It is all about the words or deed on the spur of the moment. I remember once, seeing a frazzled looking woman marching out of the supermarket, and I caught her arm, and she stopped and I grinned and said "I just wanted to tell you how beautiful you look in that colour!" and she transformed before my eyes. She did look beautiful. So why not tell her? Mind you, she may have flattened me, but she didn't. And maybe it changed her day. Surviving supermarket shopping is an ordeal at the best of times. Just a few words, and a moment of my time.

And if I want to have those little moments myself, why not start spreading it around, so people get the idea? Hmmm. I may, of course, become known as that crazy old woman, but who cares. If people smile more, then it is just fine. Doing something nice for someone.

And being pampered also means doing something nice for ourselves. Heaven knows if we wait for someone else to do something, we may wait for ever. This is much harder than I thought it would be. I am supposed to pamper myself, according to my consultants at Bath. At least one day a week, I am supposed to be self-indulgent. And do something special for myself. The "self-indulgent" part is not what they said. It is my interpretation, and therein lies the problem. We are trained to think of and put others first and ourselves last to the extent that anything we do which is simply for our own benefit, creeps or sidles into the "self-indulgent" area of the guilt corner of the brain. You know what I mean? If any of you know how to get rid of that corner, then please pass on any tips.

If I think of having my nails done, for instance, I immediately do the Maths and work out how many meals it could provide, which is why I never have my nails done. If I think of buying a book in a shop which I like, I resist, and come home and see if Amazon is cheaper and then I put it on the wish list where it languishes for a couple of years and then I delete it. If I think of going to a movie or show, I think, hmmmm, I will wait for the DVD or something. Something rarely appears.

I am an idiot.

Actually, making someone smile or happy has an amazing side effect. It changes my day too. I walk away smiling, and the attitude adjustment can change my day. So the best thing we can do is make other people happy, which in turn will make us happy, which has to be part of the pampering thing. As Sally said, it can be a note, an email, flowers, a meal,. help with cleaning, anything. When I went away, I came home to fresh flowers in my lounge, and bread and milk in the kitchen, not to mention a meal ready for me to heat and eat. I have wonderful friends.

So how do you pamper yourselves then?

It is vital that we take care of ourselves, and learn how to do things for ourselves without feeling guilt.

It is the end of February and there are ladybirds in my garden, and a bumble bee is buzzing around the washing.....
Well, the sun is shining and the temperature is nearly 16C, so it is the hottest day of the year so far, which is wonderful. I have washing drying outside, and I have inspected the garden, and the bulbs are on the rise, and the daffodils are about to join the snowdrops blooming. The soil is stirring, and life is coming back.

I love it.

It makes me smile.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Techy stuff, cars and comfort food.......

Hello, all....

I am taking a little break from trawling through thousands of websites. I need to get quotes for all things from gardening to memorial benches etc etc for the lawyers, and it is a slooooooooooooooow process. And one I would rather not be doing at all.

And then, to make life really peachy, I am having Issues with the latest Window update. It downloads, and then the next day, the computer closely resembles a snail (with arthritis) and the NEXT day, I get the blue screen of death yet again. So I narrowed it down to the update. I asked if anyone on Facebook was having similar problems and got an answer.....thank you, social media. Many are having the same problem. Apparently it is the Explorer part of the update and it needs some techy intervention. AKA jiggling some of the code.

Apparently it is simple.


Disabling updates sounds like a simpler option.

While we are discussing techy stuff, let me just tell you that I have had a sudden surge of spam comments in the last 24 hours after lifting the word verification, which, thankfully, blogger is catching. The robots, people. They are out there.

I am trying not to think about the car having its fitness test. The dreaded annual MOT for cars over 3 years old. Mine is considerably older than 3. Last year I nearly needed smelling salts when it sailed into the drive with Bob, The Car Man. With new brakes, tyres the lot.  I am hoping for a good cheap result this time. It is all safety orientated, the MOT. Seat-belts, exhaust, brakes, lights, tyres, wipers, etc etc etc£££££££££s. But I need to be safe and I need it to be reliable and to go. But a good pass would be stellar, believe me. (Lots of buts there!)

So I have the crockpot bubbling away, and a blueberry cake in the oven, and I am here, because it is raining, and I am not walking anywhere in the rain when a cold wind is blowing as well. Coffee? Tick. Slippers? Tick. (Why isn't there a tick symbol on the keyboard?)

This evening, I will finish off the pink ripple I have done for Missy's bed, when she comes to visit. And the darning in of ends on the red one is still only half done. The end of the month is approaching and the red one has to be ready to pack away. But I will enjoy it next year.

Jean popped in this morning for coffee and a catch up and brought me some mushrooms, so I made mushrooms on toast for lunch. It is years, if not decades, since I have had mushrooms on toast, and I used to love it so much. It tasted wonderful - comfort food of the best kind. What is your favourite comfort food? I would love to know!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pancakes and word verification........

Later - I had to add this. Cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on top then rolled up and consumed with gusto. Delicious!
Pancakes. I am going to be making a pancake or 2 for supper today. It is, of course, Shrove Tuesday, and tomorrow it is Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. And the 40 bags in 40 days challenge. Not that I am trying to minimise Lent in any way shape or form, but the thought of re-homing 40 bags of Stuff and simplifying things around here is a heady one. So are the pancakes. With lemon and cinnamon. Who needs meat and vegetables.........

I popped in to visit a few blogs last night, and so help me, has Blogger completely lost its mind? TWO words for word verification??????????????? I see your point, Vee. This is beyond crazy. Or is there some huge problem that they have yet to divulge? I can't read one of them at all, and gave up trying to comment after 3 attempts at proving I was not a robot. I also find that a ridiculous addition to the comment box. "Prove you are not a robot". So, I am going to lift the verification for a few days and see how it goes. This could also explain the sudden drop in comments. It drove me crackers last night, so I am assuming the rest of you are also pulling your hair out by the roots. What are they thinking of?


20 minutes later and after googling the problem and discovering that the last remnants of the world who had not yet removed word verification had now been tipped over the edge and that there is a mad scramble to drop it immediately as I speak........

It is gone.

There is no more word verification on this old blog.

You may now leave your comments freely.

Word veri-fiasco.

And a very useful tip I read is to keep your old blogger dashboard on your bookmark bar as well as the new one if you have switched. That means easy access should  we need to trot back and twiddle something else vital, which will no doubt be tomorrow's exciting discovery.

I am sorry it took me so long.

And now I have completely forgotten what I was going to chat about, so I am off to gather the ingredients for the pancakes.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Another letter to my granddaughter.........

Dear little Missy.......

You have just turned three, and your Moregranny cannot imagine what life would be like without you in it. How can one small beautiful girl have such an amazing influence on so many people? You make me smile, sweetie. No - everyone smiles around you. Even when they are secret grins as you try to exert some independence and stomp the feet and refuse to co-operate, just like all 3 year olds do. Your Daddy was an expert in his time. So were your Auntie and Uncle.

I wondered, back then, the day you were born, if you would have red hair or blonde..... you have such lovely long blonde hair, with a golden tint to it in the sunlight. I could not have begun, back then, to visualise the little girl you have become, or yet, the woman you will one day be.

You sing, you dance, you have perfected some astonishing dance moves, and now I know that you are indeed a little girlie girl, who loves all things pink and pretty. Who climbs up when I am doing my make-up and asks me to put some on your beautiful little cheeks too. Your wrinkles have been dealt with now that I have smoothed a tiny blob of Oil of Olay anti wrinkle moisturiser on them, you will be happy to know. 7 effects of aging stuff. And your "lickstick" is perfect. As is the faint dusting of blusher on those little cheeks.

Nails? You love nail varnish. And jewellery. Bling. And bags. One can never have too many bags, it seems, and one can never carry too many at the same time, stuffed with all one's many treasures either. And your (imaginary) friends, Jessica and Baby (and a whole host of other ones too, whose names I forget, silly Moregranny) have a great deal of fun with you as you play in your princess tent with them. It can get a little crowded when Moregranny gets in the tent too, wearing a fairy costume around her neck. It is so sad that it doesn't fit properly. Moregranny is a little large for it.

You love cooking in your little kitchen, and oh my word, you are an excellent baker of wonderful cakes and muffins with your Mummy. You cook and clean and wash up and chatter all the time. Moregranny loves listening to the chatter. And you love to try to knit with me, by poking long sticks into the ball of wool. And pulling it out. From the middle. And winding it around those sticks. Moregranny really doesn't mind spending an hour or two unravelling the mess wool. I wonder if you will love knitting or crocheting when you are a little older. ....Maybe I can teach you how. Or your Granny can take care of the knitting part, and I will do the other things.

And yet you are also an outdoor girl, who loves climbing and sliding, and running and riding in your little red car. You "help" your Mummy garden and I am sure that one day soon you will learn which are weeds and which are plants. Remember how you loved eating the chives in my garden? You knew which plants were potatoes too, and the lettuce was an easy one to remember.

In just three short years, you have captured everyone's hearts, you see, and you have turned your Mummy and Daddy into parents. Their lives have been turned upside down, and they are so happy with the change it has brought. Gone are the days of organised and tidy homes. You have Things To Do and Games To Play, and Dollies To Dress ..... and drawing, and painting and gluing, and cutting, and building and jumping, and "verk" to do on the computer. And the walls echo with your laughter and squeals, and shrieks when you need to get changed. And the prams for those dollies, the scooter, the bike, the trolley and the other Stuff you love, vie for space, but no-one would trade it for a second, you see.

Why? Because you are loved.

Because we all know you need room to grow and flourish.

I have watched you learn to crawl, to walk, to run like the wind. Those beautiful eyes sparkle as you learn new things. You love your friends. You love your family. You love going to the Alps on a big aeroplane. What you don't know yet is just is just how much I have come to value things like skype, even if it meant that you thought Moregranny lived in the TV set. It has allowed me to see you - to watch you growing up when I can't be there in person. And we have little chats, don't we,  and you show me your new comic, or toy, or show me how your Dolly is eating her dinner.

Ah, little one, how I love you so.

What will the years to come bring? I sometimes think I see the essence of who you may be one day, and it makes me smile. You are my granddaughter. Just always know that to me you are perfect, just as you are. You are part of this family, and very very special.

With love

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Homemaker it is then. I have no idea why I didn't think of that one. I still think a little large card with all the other things on would be appropriate too. I am proud of who I am. I have no need to make excuses or to feel slightly inadequate or moronic. I just wish the world at large would acknowledge just how much work and how many talents you need to create a home for a family.

Not a house you live in, but a home. A real home. A refuge from the winds which toss us all around outside the door.You just have to look at one of the Compassion photo of homes our friends have visited to know how hard those women have worked with almost zero resources and a great deal of ingenuity, to create homes.

It can't be bought, and it doesn't happen over night. My sister is a world-class home maker. Everyone who has visited her home knows just how warm and welcoming it is and oh, the ideas she has come up with to create little areas of delight. Just amazing. Beautiful. And she works full time and has a massive garden too.

It is the fact that the work is done with love, for those you love, which makes the hugest of differences.


I have been trying to rest and recharge my soul for a while now. And body. I have also discovered that when something else, apart from my leg, aches in this old body of mine, my neural network goes crackers, and the prickling of the skin spreads all over the body, like pins and needles. Constantly.  Actually, it feels like ants running rampant over my skin. I am not very partial to the ants and skin combination. I can visualise those neurons being confused, and running about like headless chickens not knowing what to do next, and it would help enormously if they would listen to me tell them to calm down and relax. They are not listening. So we are moving slowly.

I don't like talking too much about pain and associated bits here. But then, this is my life, and pain features prominently, to my regret. But life still trots on and there is still a great deal of laughter. What would I do without family and friends? And you lot?

I have been sitting here, watching the soft golden light of the setting sun touch the walls of the room around me, and it is so beautiful. Gentle. It bathes the world in golden rays and I want to reach out and capture it. But it is illusive.

Time for a nap, I think. Tomorrow is a Big Day. Someone I love very much will be 3!!!!!!

3?? How is that possible?

Maybe I need to write another letter to my granddaughter.......................

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Who am I?

Ok, so here is a question for you....... who am I? Or, more specifically, what am I?

I ask this for a reason. I had to fill in a form, you see, and the word "occupation" popped up. And I didn't actually know what to write. Housewife? Invalid? ( I hate that word. It makes you sound in - not quite - valid) Former cover supervisor/teacher? Blogger? Empty nester? Textile artist? Creative director of Linds Inc? Quilter? Crochet-er? (I just invented that word, I think. It looks weird.) Writer? Former SAHM? Or now a SAHG (stay at home granny) ? I am not old enough to be retired. Or a pensioner, although I do get a small pension so maybe I could be a pensioner after all.

One suggestion was to pop a little note in place saying that the block was too small to write everything I do/am in it. But how do you define yourselves? What do you pop in the occupation block?

I looked at what I have written in the about section over on the sidebar. So how do I condense that into one word? Person? Member of the community? Citizen?

It is a dilemma.

I really don't know what to write. I am not a wife, but I do have a house. Maybe a SAHG, pronounced sarg (not sarge) gggggg as it gate - maybe we can be SAHGS. It sounds quite posh. There are quite a few of us around now. We could be a new exclusive club. And look at any bewildered customs official with just a touch of benign grandmotherliness, and say "Why, dear boy, haven't you heard of the SAGHS? We are the new elite" or something like that.

Mind you, they may lock us up.


So, what other options are there for me, and those of you looking for a defining single word to describe what we do, which defines who we are?

We could, of course print cards listing all our many roles. Excellent idea. Big cards, so we can read the print easily.

You know, dishwasher, laundress, ironer, waitress, chef, chauffeur, stylist, hairdresser, maid, trouble shooter aka mender of messes, gardener, artistic director , fixer, plumber, telephonist, seamstress, dog walker, painter, singer, reader, computer whizz, comedian, hospital visitor, photographer, florist, beautician, nurse, encourager, interior decorator, musician, inventor, carpenter......

That would be Section 1a.

Section 1b would have the personal stuff....Mum, daughter, sister, granny, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, friend, (wife), cousin, 2nd cousin, 3rd cousin etc etc etc.

Section 2 could be the ethereal section....... Dreamer, thinker, planner, capturer of memories and baby teeth ....

Section 3 could be the section of choice. You know. The things we love to do. Like the writer, blogger, quilter, artist, crochet-er, baker, craftswoman, scrapbooker, card maker, knitter, dancer (I am not speaking of myself, you understand - the dancing part), candlestick maker, potter........


Maybe Grumpy Old Woman - GOW will cover it all perfectly adequately.........

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day........

is not quite the same when you are alone. Sure, there are hearts hanging around the house, but there is no-one there, so it is purely for my own delight. And they make me smile. Actually, it is only in recent years that Valentine's Day has become a relatively big thing here. We are certainly nowhere near as good at it as the US is, I have to say. It has never been a major event on our calendar. A card maybe. But now it all looks a lot different, especially in the stores. I just think especially of those who are alone, and as each year the hearts and flowers and associated paraphernalia come out earlier and earlier, I worry about their loneliness. Their alone-ness. The world seems to be made for couples today.

It has been a lovely day, nonetheless. A little unexpected retail therapy at a cheapy shop or two, and a cupcake of joy for dessert. Not to mention a beautiful sunset. The sky was aglow with golden light, tinged with scarlet and cerise, and it was just breathtaking. The promise of a fine morning yet to come. According to old tradition, of course.

We will see what morning brings.

I may or may not have walked a little more than is wise today. I may or may not be creaking. I may or may not be observing the morning from the couch. But, to have some fun and to enjoy time out with friends having mini "adventures", it is worth paying the price. Now and then.

It is all about choices, isn't it? Every day is made up of so many choices, and yet with every one of them comes consequences too, of course. We choose, and our choices set a train of events in motion. And then we deal with what comes next. Further choices. Crossroads. Decisions.

Wouldn't it be lovely to just drift with the wind now and then and be carried to wherever the wind blew? Just float. No decisions. No nothing.

I am putting myself to sleep here. Floating. Wafting. Drifting.

I need coffee. And chocolate!

Have a very happy rest of Valentine's Day, people!!

Monday, February 13, 2012


I am beginning to dream of Spring, and the garden. It is all those green shoots popping up bravely out of the snow and ice which fuel the dream. The sight of life in what was a barren wasteland is always amazing. How do they survive? An annual miracle. And a reminder of circles and also of hope and faith.

I know what I am talking about.

Today is my daughter's birthday. It seems just yesterday that I wrote about her last birthday here. A whole year ago? How did that happen?  I am happy to report that I skyped with a girl with a happy smiling face (complete with new bag and scarf) (from her friends) (because I am a dreadful mother and her present is yet to be posted) (bought) and she was all set to have a lovely day. And now her birthday is over in NZ but here it is still in full swing.

Funny how that makes a difference to me. It is her birthday while it is the 13th. Last night, the entire family was queued up to skype with her, and that was fun, trying to get us all in line in different places. And the delight was listening to her phone and computer constantly beeping with messages throughout the skype chat too. And seeing her grin.

She is loved. She knows she is loved.

So she bounced out the door on a lovely summer's day to celebrate another year of her life. Make that LIFE. Diana lives life to the full and at a hectic pace too. All that mattered to me, though was that smiling face and the happy girl. In the last year she has acquired another qualification, logged thousands of miles on flights around the country for Soul Survivor, explored the South Island and juggled a multitude of jobs and friends and church and kayaks and goddaughters and creativity and ........ this is my daughter.

Happy Birthday, sweetie - I love you loads and loads.
MDS xxx

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Sisters, stage props and sundry other things......

Well, that was fun, wasn't it. Age and expressions and THEN I was skyping with my sister and she said, get this...."that horrible first photo is EXACTLY what I see, and in fact you look worse, because you frown at the same time." Great. Who said sisters were a good idea. I am off mine at the moment (till tomorrow). Sulking is good at times. Like now. In reality, I had hysterics. And spent the rest of the skype call with a cheesy grin. I don't do sulking - it is a complete waste of time.

Especially when I suspected she was right and that is dreadful. DREADFUL. So I have spent the day grinning. I am practicing, people. Practice makes perfect, as my mother used to say. The world at large will think I have lost my mind. Actually, only the sewing machine saw me this morning because a friend of mine is in a play soon, and needed a prop made. Bandaged hands. No problem. I can do bandaged hands, I said.

I had lost my mind yet again.

So there I was with chopped off gloves on MY hands, winding bandages around one hand at a time, pinning and hand sewing it in place until I had giant cream paws which held their shape. It got a little interesting when I had to wind the bandage round my right hand, and pin it with the left hand, and then remove the glove and put it on the left hand and sew it with the right hand. These paws cannot be allowed to unravel at a crucial moment on stage, you see. So they are very well stitched down. Thankfully, the actor is pleased. Frankly, I have no idea what else I could have done. They do look realistic, and now he is going to splatter them with gore, I gather. I will take a photo when they are suitably red. (They already contain traces of my DNA after sewing them in place while wearing them.)

And I will add bandaged hands to my CV.

So do you want to know that the linen is clean? The clothes are washed? The dishes are clean? The beds are made? The daffodils are open in the vases in the lounge? Yep. I am feeling virtuous.  It is a good feeling. The snow and ice remains on the ground, and last night was apparently the coldest of the year -12C, I think. It was cold. I find it very difficult to leap out of bed with any enthusiasm on cold, cold days. I use the word leap but you will know I mean crawl. Leap sounds better. Inching one's way out from under the covers makes me sound even older than I looked in yesterday's post. In my mind, I leap and bound, and pirouette through life.


The mind is a wonderful thing. I can do and be anything I feel like in my mind. Just picture me in a tutu.

Maybe not.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

In which we discuss the ravages of time.......

This will also be called The Reason Why It Is Imperative That We Smile All The Time. 

Do you all have the same rules for documents that we do? You may not smile at all. Serious expression is required for all passport and driver's licence photos. Just peachy. So I look 25 years older in my passport photo. Why are we not allowed to have even a faint grin? I have a theory about it making us all insecure at border posts, you see, so the intimidating border control officer scrutinises the photo over and over and the more you try to smile faintly (or grin cheesily) the less you look like the dreadful photo he is looking at. 

And have you recently met a border contol officer who smiles in any way at all?? I say recently, because there was a time when they were not all 12, and they had learned that it is much easier to disarm with charm (and catch any illegal alien or smuggler off guard) and also, be welcoming to the country you were entering. It would be so nice to be grinned at and have someone say "Welcome home!" now and then. Or have someone smile and tell me to enjoy my stay in their country. 


Things are not what they used to be. 

And speaking of not what they used to be, I have been discussing the ravages of time with my friends. There have been a series of unposed photos of me in recent months. (Yes, David, I am talking about you!) I look too dreadful for words when I am not grinning like a Cheshire cat for the camera, with the head tilted at the right angle to avoid jowls, the camera far away enough to lose any lines, and so help me, the camera has to ALWAYS be higher, and NEVER lower than me. That means never ever let anyone take a photo of you while you are sitting in a chair and they are on the floor. Disaster. 

If I am concentrating on something, reading, thinking, whatever, and not grinning, my cheeks are heavy, my mouth is smaller and the lines around my mouth are deeper and arrow downward, making me look like a miserable old woman who it would be best to avoid. At all costs. There are lines everywhere as I try to focus through the specs and that makes things even worse, if that were remotely possible. Trying to see properly makes me frown as I screw up the eyes and they get even smaller and we DO NOT WANT TO THINK ABOUT WORSE. Intimidating? Probably. Definitely. Mind you, this face should be ok for court perhaps. 
 Maybe not. 

I don't think I would want to get to know this person. 

Serious and unsmiling
 There are lines around the eyes, but you can't see them here. I just hope I don't look like this all the time. It horrifies me and makes me want to call the 10 Years Younger team to arrange immediate plastic surgery. Or I could arrange for someone to gather up all the skin on the face and yank it up a bit and tie it on top of the head with a bow. Then I could develop a new line in Marge Simpson hair styles to hide the excess skin. 

Anyway. Just look what a faint smile does to the image. (And admit, people that I am amazingly brave to put these photos here today.) Yes, the cheeks get wider. And the eyes get a little smaller....did I mention that the eyelids seem to be heading south like the rest of me???? But I think I may want to talk to this person. This is how I think our passport photos should be. Sort of. 
Faint grin
 And then, this, you see is how I think of myself. Only, I suspect that the first photo is more like the way the world sees me. If I grin at the passport officer, this is what I would look like. No wonder the man stands and stares at the photo so long. We all look so totally miserable. 

There was a time when the skin was taut(er) and far more elastic, and the lines were never there, and the eyes were wider and brighter and not hidden by the drooping eyelids. The bags under the eyes (which I have just seen in this photo below, to my utter horror) did not exist. And can you believe that I never realised eyes were probably different sizes until just recently? Mind you, I have never spent hours peering into the mirror, or I may have noticed it before. Apparently this is absolutely normal. Yes, you may now rush to the mirror and check. Smile and see what happens to the size of the eyes, and then do NOT come back and tell me yours are identical sizes or I may wail, and then my bags under the eyes will get bigger and the eyes more puffy and......... 

And the cheeks were not so baggy either....I could go on and on, but I am depressing myself. Groan. Time???? It marches on. 

Smiling exercises the cheek muscles. I - WE - need to smile more. All the time. I can just see the cheesy grins right now. Baring the teeth like Missy does when told to smile for the camera. Yes, go on, practice right now. I am, as I speak. 

It is quite obvious that we should have read the small print about aging. You want to know what you look like when you are concentrating on something? That could be on a book, sewing, working, reading, anything. Well, get a random child, husband, friend to snap a few unposed photos. And for heaven's sake, do not peer upward through the specs to see  anything. You will look like an elderly cockerel. Or maybe that is just me. Poke those glasses back to the proper place on your nose. Mine slip down. Yes, I know I need new ones too, but that can wait. I do not need to discover that the situation of the aging Linds is actually far worse through new-proper-prescription-glasses. It is bad enough as it is. 

Let me be clear here, I am not in pursuit of my youth. I am just in pursuit of something to stop the sagging. The lines come from living. So do the grey hairs. 57 years of life leave their mark, as do all the things we experience along the way and they are badges of honour. The medals, if you like. I used to think about that of stretch marks. If I got to 57 with no visible altering of appearance, I might start to believe I was a doll. Time cannot be halted. 

But then, if you had a driver's licence photo which made you look like a warder from Belsen, you may also despair. 
Oh help
 Thank heaven my photo for my Swiss rail card can be used for 10 years. It makes me grin every time I haul it out. 
This will do nicely thankyouverymuch
The moral of the story is simple. 
Smile through everything. No matter what life throws at you, smile. It will draw people to you, it will lift your spirits. It will make a huge difference in your attitude. It may make other people happy too. It will start the process of recognising joy. 

It will also exercise those cheeks and hopefully stop the sagging process.
Trying to reverse the process at my age will require a major miracle.  

Monday, February 06, 2012

Snow, ice and good intentions .......

I can't find my spade, and did I buy one of the fancy but cheap snow shovels at Costco when I was there?? No. Of course not.  Unlike every other person in the building. So, this morning, as there is thick fog and the snow has iced over totally because the temps are still below 0C, I was out there with my dustpan.

Yes, you read that right.

My dustpan.

My plastic dustpan.

Scooping snow and ice off the driveway where I want to walk without landing flat on my back. Bent double. My life is exciting, if nothing else. And I am demonstrating a streak of invention. Like the fact that people ask why I have a fish-slice in my car. That would be because I have mislaid my ice-scraper (along with the spade), and it works very well when trying to remove frost and ice from the car windows. Everyone should carry kitchen equipment in their car.

Necessity is the mother ......and all that.......

On to good news then. I think the ripple will be finished today. I have looked at it, and if I don't stop now, or within a few more rows, it will turn into an excessively long but excessively wide scarf. Or something like that, and that is not what I set out to create. I am at the stage where I want to get on with something else. Not sure what yet, but something. You know that feeling?? I have been working on it for what seems like forEVER. And I am past the red/cream/brown colours. I want to move on to spring colours. Or bright ones. (Yes, I am being indecisive again, Marge.) I will have to go and peruse Mum's Tower of Yarn for inspiration. I refuse to bring any more wool into this house until I have used up what I have (with some help from Mum's stash too, of course). But first I will have to darn in the million or 2 ends on the red ripple. Next time I make one, I think I will darn them in as I change colour, because I hate this part. HATE it.

I am going to do the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge again this year over Lent. Last year it was wonderful to feel that I was getting a grip on something in this house, and somehow, I think I have filled up the space I created. So I will do it again. I have to get the new study sorted now, because having things in 2 rooms is really not at all practical. Someone - on a blog somewhere - may be you? suggested that for every thing you bring into the house, you get rid of something. So if you buy an item of clothing, you get rid of something in your wardrobe. That sounds very do-able. In addition to the 40 Day challenge.

I am looking forward to it. It must be a Spring thing - this feeling that I need to fling open the doors and windows and let out the old, and bring in everything fresh and new. Paint walls. De-clutter. And there will soon be bulbs to plant and seeds to sew, and I LOVE the anticipation of all things bright and beautiful and tasty in the garden. The seed potatoes are ready and waiting already.

Ok then. I am going to make some coffee finish the ripple, and then it can at least be used for 3 weeks and packed away at the end of the month when the house changes to its Spring garb. Not long now!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The snow came......

 The snow did indeed fall most of the night, and I woke to a white world. You know what I love about the snow here? Two things really. First, it is the silence. The way the snow seems to absorb sound and all you hear are voices. The fact that it is a Sunday helps, of course, and the traffic is nowhere near as busy along the residential roads here.

The second thing I absolutely love is the fact that people talk to each other when there is snow on the ground. It seems to bring out every aspect of social awareness, and fun. I was chatting to a couple of my neighbours as they shovelled snow, and as people passed, they called out greetings. A family wandered down the centre of the road pulling their toddler along on a sled, with their shopping, and everyone smiled. Everyone. Kids raced around with sleds, so excited to be heading for the hill.
 I walked along the road and up to check on the main road early today because I had vague ideas of attempting to drive to church. Those ideas were nixed. But I took a couple of photos, chatted to every-one  out for an early morning walk, and there were so many of them - and then slipped and landed on my rear in the snow.

I then had an attack of the giggles, levered myself up with my trusty stick, told the two lovely ladies who offered help that I was fine, and dusted myself off, thanking heaven that no-one with a camera was around to record my rear in the snow.
 The horses in the field were very excited to see their owner arrive, and they followed him around as he hauled out a bale of hay for their breakfast. They seem to have tossed off their blankets all over the field for some reason, but they were all full of energy in the snow.
 This is the point where I decided to plonk the rear in the snow. Not down the lane out of sight. No. Right on the edge of the main road out of the village.

And I have just checked Flickr to se if my granddaughter had had fun in the snow too. Oh yes she had. This is Missy, jumping in the air with excitement, as her Dad built a beautiful snowman for her. She had a ball. Complete with her Peppa Pig wellies. I think her Mum and Dad had a ball in the snow too. 
Some people hate the snow. Me? I love it. I love the way barriers fall and people call to check on each other. I love the way everyone seems to be so happy and having fun. I  love the silence, and the brightness. I love the way the rooms in the house seem to glow. I love the way the miniature flakes gather to form snowbanks. I also love the fact that here in the UK, no-one goes anywhere because there are no winter tyres on cars. Snow - it makes the world clean and pure, doesn't it?

What a pity we so seldom have any here.

Europe has been caught in a long period of freezing temps. You can go here to see some amazing photos.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Did I mention the COLD?????

The frozen water in my garden potting tray
Are you sick of me saying it is cold yet?? Well, it is COLD. But nothing like as cold as in Engelberg where the temps have been down there around -30C at times. -40C in Siberia. My sister would laugh at me saying this is cold, but our homes are not as well heated or built as theirs, so that is why I am a trifle chilly. If you could just see me now - sitting here in coat and boots and gloves, and yes, the heating is on. But I am still cold.

Jean and I ventured out to Costco this morning, and the sun was shining and the skies were bright. By the time we came home things were very different. And we are due to have snow this afternoon and tonight. So the country will be grinding to a halt tomorrow. (I just looked. It is falling as I speak.)



I have been thinking. (Usually a dangerous thing to do.)

I was at a course last night, and the challenge was to see life in technicolour. Not in greys. There was a basket of possibilities handed around at the end of the evening and everyone pulled out a piece of paper, with something written on it. Things which may sound simple, but which can be actually quite a challenge. We can dream. And dream big too. We can do things, which suddenly we realise we may have stopped doing. I grinned at some of the other ladies' slips of paper - I have started doing some of them already. Go swimming - check. Book a holiday - yep, done that. Write a book - hmmm. Go on a hot air balloon ride - check. Sing in a choir - check. Cook a meal for friends - check. Go on a bus journey (aka have an adventure!) - I can do the adventure bit, but the bus? Maybe not right now. I will wait for my bus pass which will come when I am in my dotage. And mine? Go abroad on holiday.

Well, of course I want to fly off into the wild blue yonder. It will soon be 2 years since I saw my daughter. But to some of those lovely ladies, the thought of doing something new was terrifying. So hard. I understand that so well. It has taken me a while to restore the confidence levels here.

There are days when I wake up - and I am sure this happens to everyone at times, and the world is seems grey. And there are times when I would be hard pressed to be able to understand that what I am SEEING through the filters of the mood I am in, is not the reality of what is there in front of my eyes. If I am not feeling chirpy and Linds-like, this is what I see, for example.

 Is this what the world looked like that day? No. But when I am not full of hope and joy and faith then yes, this is what I would see. And believe it to be. Feel. It happens. The emotions, the mental strength or lack of it, the attitude, the pain - they all combine to colour the world. Or bleed the world of colour, to be more precise.

 See, a little bit of light creeps in as soon as I pull myself together and start believing that I am blessed and thankful to be so in so many ways. That it is okay to dream. That every day brings new opportunities. Hope.
And when I start grinning, and trying to twirl around my leki pole in an ungainly fashion, I blink and the colours start to brighten.
THIS is the reality. This is what the world sees. 

But sometimes, I don't. I certainly try to. I want to live in a technicolour world. I want to soak up the beauty around me, the colours, the vibrancy which disappears so suddenly into the gloom of greyness,  Sometimes, it is very hard to keep focused on the good, you know. Sometimes, I get so weary, and then the pain wins and the world goes grey. 


I am one of the lucky ones. I am surrounded by the people who love me. And I win more than the pain does. Or the weariness. I am learning to recognise limits. I am not thrilled to acknowledge that they even exist, but they do. My super-heroine cape has been retired for now. 

And I am just Linds. That will do nicely. I am more than enough for me to cope with. 

Have a great weekend!

(And if the above made no sense to you whatsoever, that is ok - pop back tomorrow for more discussion of the COLD and maybe the SNOW. And what I may or may not be cooking for lunch!!)

Friday, February 03, 2012

Blue screens.......

I wish I could tell you that today was a roaring success. Well, it is, in a sense because I am here, of course. If I tell you that the day started with the Blue Screen of Death on the computer, repeatedly, you will see why being here at all is a major miracle.

I will take miracles of any sort right now. Thanks to my 2 sons helping via phone, I managed to make sure everything was backed up and safe, and then also managed to restore things. This was a major improvement on the last computer disaster. I think it was the automatic Windows update yesterday which caused the whole thing to roll over and expire. Updates are not meant to do these sort of things, are they? I ran a full system scan and there were no problems, and then I downloaded the Trend Micro free scanner and that showed no problems either. So hopefully, we are good to go.

I hate the blue screen of doom. With a passion. I start hyperventilating.

Jean popped in for coffee earlier, which was lovely. I think I managed to talk nonstop, which must mean I need to get out more and do stuff. You asked re the cold, Vee - well, this is the wrong sort of cold! In the Alps, it was -12C and lower, and that is the cold frosty chill which shrinks the trousers around your legs and numbs you. This cold is English cold, with a touch of dampness and much too warm. Well. I know what I mean. It was apparently -7 or so last night here, but I was in bed asleep, snug as a bug.

And, the crockpot is bubbling, I am warm, Glynis is popping over soon, and all is well with the world. See? Plenty to be happy about!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

I need to work on the adventure bit.......

It is just as well I abandoned my attempt to record a photographic day in my life when I did yesterday. Believe me, I would not have wanted my grandchildren to think this was the way I lived. Beyond boring. And on top of that, I managed a row and a half of the ripple before I nodded off on the couch early in the evening and woke after midnight. At this rate it (the ripple) may be finished by December. 

 This morning, with blue skies and freezing cold to spur me on, I decided to go to the local supermarket. That required my car. My car refused to start. The battery was very dead. Deader than dead. I was not a happy bunny at all. So I phoned the Man Who Looks After My Car, and left a message that I needed help asap. He didn't call me back, so I started checking the prices of batteries on line, and then cleaned the inside of the car, and then came in because you have NO IDEA how awful my leg has been this week. Beyond foul. And I wanted to see which part exactly was so painful.

So there I was, inspecting the leg, when the doorbell rang. All I can say is thank heavens he didn't look through the windows. Bob, the superhero, had arrived. And one phone call and 15 minutes later, the new battery and new windscreen wipers arrived. He discovered that I needed new ones while ordering the battery.

I made coffee. He made my car go. And I impressed him no end by remembering the code for my radio/cd thingy. And then, after parting with more money than I want to think about right now (but very cheap in comparison to other places) I got into my car and headed for that supermarket. Where I promptly forgot what I needed to buy, forgot which special offers I thought worth getting, and so I bought a loaf of giraffe bread.

There is a story behind the giraffe bread, you see - you can go here to read all about it. Clever child. Everyone loves tiger giraffe bread. And it was definitely worth the outing to get some.
So, my adventure of the day was a visit to the supermarket. I would give that a 1 out of 100 on the adventure rating scale,. Sigh. Needs more work.

Let me see what tomorrow brings then........

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The sun is shining......

Hello, February - a month I used to remember as being the hottest of the year. Not any more. It is perishingly cold today, and a friend has just been around to prune the apple tree. Which spurred me on to start hacking wildly at the roses too. 
Friend checking out the tree before pruning it
 The skies, as you can see, are beautifully blue and the sun is shining too. Which makes one think it is warm. It is not remotely warm.
After pruning
 And the sun is streaming into the house, showing up every particle of dust and every smear on the windows. And every cobweb. There are many cobwebs.
February is the month my daughter was born. And it is also the month my granddaughter was born.  February is a bright and cheerful month in my mind. A happy month. A month of the colours pink and red and hearts and joy and love and ..... I have always loved February.

My mind therefore battles with what the eyes see when they look out of the windows - the ones with the smears on them. The vista is usually greyish and cold here in the frozen north. Sigh. I don't spend a great deal of time looking back at things. I look at today. The dust and cobwebs, remember - I looked. I know that living fully every day is the important thing I need to focus on. Of course it is. But when the month heralds the celebration of special events, then of COURSE I look back. And the images flash by today, kaleidoscoping 31 amalgamated years into a blur of colour and sound only I can see. I can even feel that soft baby skin. (This will be repeated in April and May too, by the way.) (And March is also heavy on memories.) (In fact Feb, March, April, May are just family months, so be prepared for sentiment at times.)

Anyway. Today. I decided that I would document a day in my life, taking a photo every hour from waking to sleep. I could not have chosen a more boring day. I woke at 7. Photo one = my duvet cover on the bed with a lump underneath it. That was me. Photo 2= the unmade bed. Photo 3 = a cup of coffee. Photo 4 =the computer screen. Photo 5 = iced up water butts in the garden. Photo 6 = apple tree being pruned. Photo 7 = coffee cup. Photo 8 will probably be of me on the couch crocheting, and heaven knows what else I will be able to come up with.


Maybe I need to choose a better, more exciting day. Any other day may be more interesting. It could not possibly be more boring. Oooh look, time to take another photo. I am blogging. Snap. Actually, the camera's battery is about to expire, so I think I am off the hook for today. Ridiculous idea.

And you get a gold star for sticking around, if you are still here. This is not a stellar post.

I will be back tomorrow. I will have an adventure of sorts, come what may.