Monday, February 24, 2014

Third time lucky..........

I was scrolling through my drafts and found a post which I never published in December, and while most of it was time-appropriate, some wasn't, but the photos were good, so here we go then........

Back in December, as I was writing about the death of Madiba, I glanced at the pot of rulers here on my desk. And  there, amongst the old ancient ones and the new pristine ones, I saw this one. 


I love it. LOVE it. It was given to the children at school when the new President Mandela was inaugurated. Only, I think, in South Africa, would this be celebrated for what it is. Pure genius. There was a new anthem to learn, and, get this, what you see here is only HALF of it. The rest continues on the back of the ruler. "Our new ruler." Pure genius, as I said a moment ago. 

I have taken to repetition. It must be age related. 


On one fine Sunday afternoon, back in early winter, my two resident offspring and I ventured out on an adventure to the treetop walk in a forest nearby.


 Thankfully, it was all ramped, and no stairs were involved, but we took as many rests as I required. It was on The List, you see, and the end of the year was approaching, and I needed to have some things crossed off that List. Maybe going on a Sunday afternoon was unwise. A quiet weekday, perhaps. But the list now has a couple more ticks against it. Being determined pays off in those little ticks.


Isn't this a beautiful photo? David striding on ahead of us. 

During my long silence - and I wish I had a mysterious excuse, full of exciting details, but I don't - I did make a little blanket. It is very sweet and destined for a little girl, but for heaven's sake remind me that I hate joining squares with the ridge. Never again. It is a one sided blanket, because any poor child lying on top of it will end up with squares on its back, and will wail, because it will be uncomfortable. This is for covering the child. 


I also made an infinity scarf for myself, out of very thin grey merino yarn, which was a triumph for all of a day until I realised that I had made a catastrophic mistake at least 36 rows back. That was when I discovered that very fine merino, which is like thread, does not unravel. Even with uncharacteristic patience. So in the end, I used the scissors and hacked about 30 rows of it out. It was a disaster. However, the one ball I was committed to using because I was a) not going back to the town half an hour away for a ball of wool, and b) the wool was not cheap - had to do. It worked brilliantly and it is so very warm.

The picture is terrible, but to get it here it has been sent from the phone to Facebook, to Flickr to here and it was not a happy transfer.


24 February 2014

Hello again. This post is doomed never to see the light of day. Unless I publish it right this very minute. I wrote the updated version on the 8th Feb. And here we are weeks later. 


I need to speed up.....

Life seems to be flying past me at speed. I need to get moving fast, or invest in roller skates or something flashy. Seriously, people, this has to change. 

In the past week, Missy has turned 5. I cannot believe the child is 5, at big school and just so tall and skinny, and gorgeous. She and her aunt had a great time painting when we were there for a visit. Diana has been in Copenhagen for a week  and she spent a few days catching up with her niece (and her brother and sister-in-law). I gather Frozen is the hot favourite at the moment. So is painting. And craft. And bikes. And dancing.

Five. I am sitting here shaking my head in total disbelief. My granddaughter will be a teenager before I know what I am doing. 

I do know I will be 60 this year, and that is enough to make the hair stand on end. Not the age. but the number, if you see what I mean. How can I have seen 60 new years? 


The rain stopped finally, and David and I went to a nearby park recently, to inspect the flooded path ways.

The lakes seemed larger than usual. 


Seriously, we are so lucky around here, because there are hills, and valleys, and the water doesn't flood many homes. 


And the sun shining was better than any medical tonic. Blue skies for a while and real sun. The swans seemed to love it too. 


This is normally a path. Some brave cyclists went through it and informed us that it got really deep further on. The path was closed anyway, so we had no intention of wading through lakes. 

Quite law-abiding, you see. 

On the home front, the crocheting of the mood blanket continues, and oh, how I loved the Winter Olympics. I am particularly partial to the bobsleigh. My heart nearly stopped when Canada 1 crashed. I cannot believe those men did not get hurt. And then the commentator casually announces that they will have crashed hundreds of times before. Hello? Are they insane? Someone was saying that they would love to see the ride from a camera mounted on the sled. I think they have simulators for that. But such fun to watch. And that mad race on snowboards with 4 at a time. Love it. 

From the rocking chair, of course. 

I used to absolutely love skating. Ice dance and all that. But honestly, the scoring system totally escapes me now. I want the old way - you know, where it was all out of 6 and you saw each judge's marks under their flag of origin. I like to see if there is biased marking for myself.  I understood that. Now we get 158.2 and it is supposed to mean something? Really? 

You will be relieved to know we now have a 4 year wait before I can justifiably argue about the scoring at ice skating competitions. 

Happy Monday to you all!

Friday, February 07, 2014

Saving the memories and needing to see things clearly............

There was a moment of total panic around here this morning when I thought Ye Olde Computer had quietly breathed its last. However, it has limped into life, and I have spent the rest of the morning saving everything onto the overflowing external hard drive. I need a new one. This one is full. 

Or rather, I need to spend endless hours going through and deleting all The Stuff I have saved 55 times. Just in case. Please tell me I am not alone. 

What am I keeping all The Stuff for? Well, apart from the photos, of course, and even then, I am beginning to think that I should go through them all and delete what I don't want. How many photos of a rose can one really need, I ask you. 

Or rather, how many would anyone want to look at in the next 25 lifetimes? 

Enough of wonky computers and hard drives stuffed full of things. Let's just call them memories. Sounds better. 

So, I was thinking, as I sat in the chair with no bottom (another story) this morning (there is now a toy box under it)(just in case you had weird visions in your minds). I was thinking, as I said, that I have become a lazy blogger. I can pinpoint the exact moment that happened without resorting to my past posts to check the date. My entire family clubbed together last year and bought me an iPad mini. I love my iPad mini. I love it very much. However, I cannot write blog posts on it. I can do emails, now that I have discovered the joys of a stylus - who knew they could make such a difference. Actually, my friend in NZ sent me one. Very possibly, she was tired of trying to decipher my emails. So I am a convert to the stylus, people. I can send emails.

It is also very simple to do everything else on a tablet. Surf around, pop in to dreamy yarn and craft shops, read articles, papers, blogs, do your food shopping, make appointments and find recipes. Music, games, sudoku, books, Twitter, Facebook, Skype. All there. 

But I cannot write on it. 

Even with a keyboard, I think I would still find reason not to write on it. 

So, because I can sit in the chair-with-no-bottom and check emails, watch TV, crochet a square and generally survive, I don't get up and walk to the study, settle into the chair-that-sinks-as-I-type, and hammer away on the keys. 

Hello, my name is Linds. I am lazy. 

I can't be the only one, can I? Tablets. Facebook. The explosion of the Internet. It keeps changing our lives. Not always for the better, as in the laziness. See above. I need to make another plan. Maybe I should have invested more time making resolutions this year. Or rather, setting goals. 

Goals are good. 

Yesterday, I made another appointment to have my new glasses checked. I got new ones last December, but they had to be changed because, hello, I couldn't see out of them. So, we discovered that the varifocal strip was in the wrong place, so I was squinting to see anything. Not a good look. So they changed the prescription and the positioning of the varifocal whatsit. I went in, all excited, to get the new version, took one look at the computer screen in the shop and announced that I could not see the screen at all. 

They suggested I try them for a while and see if they sort of worked, and I became a little annoyed, but off I went, muttering. Then came the op and the immobility, and many moans which drove my kids crazy, and the final straw was when I picked up a Topblerone Chocolate in a shop and wondered aloud to Jean, why is was bent. It wasn't. And my mind is not decaying. The world is round people. All the time. We see life with a sort of rainbow arch which is not pretty colours, so VERY CLEARLY there is something wrong with the glasses. Come Monday, and we will be off to find out exactly what that may be. Hopefully. Finally. At last. 

Anyway, the rain has stopped here for now, the sun is out and I need to rotate the washing. 

Happy Friday to you all!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Mood blankets and sunshine days..........

Wow, people - you are still there! I am amazed, and it is a miracle. Thank you all for sticking around.

The sun shines here once again - this has been a strange winter here in the UK. There has been no snow where I live, and a great deal of rain, but down south the rain has been of biblical proportions, and the storm surges have been devastating too. Areas of Somerset have been under water since the start of the year. I am ever so thankful that I live on a hill, and that the water flows down hills. Instead, I can report that the snowdrops are all emerging from the soil. Spring is just a month or two away.


The computer and I got re-acquainted yesterday. It has been a LOOOONG time since I sat down at it, and I had to migrate my Flickr account, and create new email addresses and it was all head sort of stuff. Concentrate, Linds. My broadband supplier gave me Flickr Pro free back when you had to pay for uploading more than a few photos, and it is now leaving Yahoo, so I had to rescue my account or lose the photos. It took a while to dare to press the button. However, it was dead easy in the end. I just complicate things for myself sometimes.


I have also decided that this is the year I am going to move all my digital things away from said broadband provider, so I cannot be held hostage every year as it raises its prices, and complicates my life by necessitating calls to places east of here. A long way east. It will take a year, believe me. (Although I do acknowledge that it would take my daughter or sons about 10 minutes. But I am different.) 

While I was attempting to see how many email addresses I could have from one server with the same password and other exciting stuff, like how does snapchat work and I really need to get to grips with Instagram, Diana was making the most DELICIOUS pie for supper. She called it "Left over Pie" - everything left in the fridge from the weekend went into it and it was sensational. There was not a crumb left. I know this, because I made sure I ate every last crumb.  I also made her hold it as it came out of the oven while I tried to find the camera and take the photo. It was very hot. But I loved the smiley face. 

About Instagram. I have had an account since it arrived on the scene, but have never done much with it. Like take a photo. I must improve. Once I work out how to do it all properly. I want to see the Crochet Mood Blanket stuff. 

Talking about the mood blankets......
Well, you see, a lady named Stacey suggested a group on Instagram who could crochet a Mood Blanket this year. One stripe or square or hexagon per day or week, depicting the mood of the person making it. And by the end of the year, we could have huge beautiful blankets. And she expected a few to join in. 

It exploded. 

And on Facebook, there is now a group of nearly 4,000 people as well. The community which has grown from it is delightful. Ladies are arranging real life meetings, and the response to new people joining, to questions, to suggestions, has been fantastic. Links abound, and those just learning are getting so much encouragement. It is such fun. Someone mentioned that she was a day or so behind because she had some little blankets to make for the local NICU babies, and I thought that was a fabulous idea. I want to try and make a few this year. They are so very tiny and quick to make. Maybe a lot more babies around the globe will be getting little blankets too. 

I have just been thinking about the mood blanket idea. It is also, perhaps, a monitor of our lives. Too many grey or dark days could be a reminder that we have the power to change what happens in our daily lives. Little bits at a time. You see, I have no desire to see gloom spread across my lap as I make my squares. I get to choose what colour defines my days. And, as we all know, there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. Being thankful makes me smile. If I smile, the mood lightens. 

My blanket is going to be bright. 

Because I am not supposed to do a lot of tight gripping, I have acquired a soft handled crochet hook, and it is a delight. It sort of swivels in my hand and I can hold it lightly. The hand therapist lady does raise her eyebrows and talk of slowing down and pacing and all that familiar stuff. I do try to listen. And while I am sitting here, I am doing her exercises. 

There was a small pause as I did another one. Elbows on desk, arms straight up and hands straight together in prayer position. Slide arms out, keeping hands together till on wrists are almost flat, and hold it there.Tick that box.

I am also back in the water at last. I had to wait until the wrist was healed before I got back in again. I really missed it, and am delighted to be back. I creak a great deal more, of course. It just goes to prove exactly why constant exercise is so important, especially for me. Without it, I know exactly where I would be, and that is never going to be an option. Never.  Having a determined streak (aka stubborn, and all the more derogatory terms) is a real blessing at times. So are naps. 

And I need to go and get some more rodent stuff....................

Monday, February 03, 2014

Creak, groan, and the door eases open.................

Hello there, world. 

I could come up with a million reasons why I have been away from this little corner, but that is for another post. Or 500. We will see. Right now it is a sunny, cold winter morning in Middle England, and the hand therapy is over for the day and the car is about to go for its annual health check - the MOT, and so I have to stay in and therefore I have to actually reopen this blog. If I want to keep it alive.

And guess what?

I do.

Oh, about the car? It is old. Multiple prayers would be very welcome right now.

So, a month into the new year and life has settled down after the Christmas break. We have a rodent in residence somewhere in this house, and it needs to depart. So far, it has managed to trick the Kill and Seal traps, and simply eat the peanut butter bait. This is a disaster of the highest order. I do not do rodents, if you remember my past rants about small furry creatures with long tails. Especially not when they could be under my chair.

I am thinking of inviting friends to bring their cats to visit. Or mouser kind of dogs. Anything.



My wrist is slowly returning to normal. I am just so very thankful that the large lump they removed was not nasty, but a GTTS (giant tumour of the tendon sheath). A giant cell tumour. Sounds revolting. But the word "benign" is one of the most beautiful in the English language. I have great praise for the speed with which I was whisked through the diagnostic process by the NHS. One doesn't necessarily think of speed in relation to the NHS, but when there is concern, oh yes. Speed. Speed is also terrifying for the same reason as above. Because it is unexpected, it is a trigger for worry. Fear. 

But that time is over, and remember, benign is a beautiful word.

The resultant large lump in my wrist - the scar tissue will shrink, I hope, is exactly where my wrist rests on the desk. Reason #387653 why posts have been sporadic  totally absent.

I have discovered it is 4 days early for the MOT of the car. This is a problem. Sigh. I thought I was being so completely ahead of myself. Oh well. The man is going to see what can be sorted. I have messed up his whole working week.

So where was I.....


It was wonderful to have all my children home between Christmas and New Year. Missy is really into crafts of all kinds, so her Auntie Diana, with her wonderful collection of tapes, spent a great deal of time on the floor creating in the new craft corner under the Christmas tree. Missy adores tape. Sticky tape, washi tape, the brighter the better.


She is loving school, and is growing up so fast. Soon the 5th birthday will roll around - how can she already be 5? 

During my long silence here, I have been thinking. In fact, there is nothing like a wait for medical news to focus the brain. Not on worry. Ironically, there was no worry, just sitting. Being. Thinking. One of the things I have taken out, examined in my mind, rolled over, and found totally lacking, is the old saying - "Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you." 


Absolute junk.

Unmitigated *!$%!*

Words can tear into your heart. They can become festering wounds. They can leave scars no-one can eradicate. They can destroy. And the worst thing is that they have echoes, which resound through the hours. The days. The years. Decades. Life.

One of the most destructive of things on earth. The words people say. To you. About you. Around you. 

I have a great deal to say about all that thinking time, you see. The power of the word is a good starting point. They can simply pour out of mouths without filter, and the hurt they can cause is untold. 

The advent and rise of social media lends voice to words which should never be uttered. You see, it is so simple to hide behind a sort of anonymity and feel free to say anything, without thought, without any reading or research, just to type in the words and click send. 

Twitter is the worst place for that. Then there are the news stories, which seem to bring out every revolting specimen of humanity in the comment sections. The blog posts which awake the trolls. And the Facebook pages where personal things are shared which should never be put into words on any sort of screen, apart from the old kind. You know. The screen which is put around a bed to give privacy. Think old style 50s hospitals. Bring back the screen, I say. In fact, just think seriously about the alternative meanings for "screen". 

a) Something on a monitor which displays stuff..
b) Something to provide privacy.
c) a filter.

I saw a really good thing on Facebook yesterday - It said something along the lines of "Do not assume that my status updates reflect my real life. They are for the purpose of providing amusement only." And I thought - yes. I see that. In so many places. 

Tell a child, a teen, a young person that words don't hurt, and they could tell you stories which would appal you. Just look at the suicide rates for young people. But that sort of hurt is not exclusive to the young. As we get older, our skin does toughen a little, but nowhere near enough to protect any of us from little barbs. There is always a way through for those sharp little tools of the devil. 

Words have the power to destroy things. Families. Friendships. Lives. People with power use words to incite, to denigrate, to give hope. And to destroy hope. 

There is so much I want to talk about. I will be playing with the words, my friends. I am sorry for the absence. It has been a while and everything is creaking, but thank you for your emails and messages. I have missed your words. I have missed all of you too.