Sunday, August 12, 2018

I Want It The Way It Was.

I want things the way they were back in Mid-2004.

I say 2004 because everything seemed like it was so perfect back then.  We had a few problems in our family, yes, but Daddy's cancer was in remission, my husband and son were still friends, and my youngest son was still alive. Our family seemed Charmed. Nothing really irreversibly bad had ever happened to us- other than losing our grandparents. Yes, we had had a couple of divorces but we all thought the worst life had to throw at us was over and done with.

How wrong we were. Late 2004 we realized that Daddy's cancer was back. That man fought like a demon to stay with us as long as he could- he tried every treatment- every drug they thought might help him beat that horrid disease but to no avail. Daddy lost the battle on September 24th, 2005.

That's when our family fell apart. Without our anchor we all began to drift. There wasnt a single member of our family that was spared. There was  so many things that started going wrong. So many things. We were all lost in our grief. Then slowly it seemed like we were slowly regaining a bit of our footing-  recognizing the path again- learning the signs Daddy would have looked for and pointed out to us. It seemed to be getting a bit easier going thru each day.

And then, on a hot August 26th 2007 early morning around 4am, there was a car in my driveway. It was my daughter in law and her mama. I opened the door and my daughter in law was holding onto a pillow. My original thought was oh dear their a/c went out. That was bad but we had a/c and they were more than welcome to camp out with us in the A/c'd living room. Which made no sense whatsoever now I think back on it because her mama had a big two-story 3 bedroom house a half mile from them, but at the time it did.
And then I kept looking out the door because Clay didn't show up but I thought he was listening to a song in the car which is sooo like me- I cant stop a song midway thru because it gets stuck n my head and he was like that too.
But then Mama J said "They was in an accident earlier tonight." Well, that's what I HEARD. It wasn't what she said tho. As Clay and that sweet girl had just found out a few weeks before that they were expecting their first baby, I immediately looked at my daughter in law and asked if she was okay. She just looked at me. I knew Clay had to be in the hospital and was thinking about how to be at the hospital with him and keep working to keep the bills paid- but never mind- I would figure it out and make it work no matter how long it took, so I started to grab my coat (yes- coat- hospitals are notorious for keeping the temps down in the Suitable For Penguins zone) and I asked  "What hospital is he in?".
Mama J said something and I must have misheard her. I stopped and turned around and asked again- "Sorry, what hospital again? I didnt catch it."
My daughter in law started crying and her mama said, "I'm so sorry Vada, He didnt make it."
I know I cried out for my husband but I dont remember much after that except thinking Not my baby- Not My Clay.
Later on, I convinced Mama J to take Kathy home to rest and take care of herself and I told them I would tell his brother and sister. I didnt think she could take much more from the look of exhaustion and grief on her face and their baby must be protected at all costs.
So they did, and we did. Other than actually  saying goodbye to him, that was the hardest thing I have ever done -telling them.

Things have gone downhill from there. Bickering in the family, unkind acts,  stealing, drug abuse, suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts, unemployment, homelessness, going hungry, inability to be in a normal stable relationship, being afraid to let anyone you love out of your sight, constant worry, constant stress- always so afraid it's going to happen again. You snatch bits of happiness when you can, but always afraid to be too happy lest it attract the attention of bad luck ad someone else you love is taken from you.

We are trying to get on with our lives, but we mostly are making such a pigs ear of it.....

I need my Daddy to come back and fix all this. Like he always did.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Gone Fishin'......

I wish.

No, this week has been a solo holiday for me. I havent went anywhere- I've stayed home and basically focused on me and whatever I want to do for ME.

I did a bit of house organization, I practiced a bit on my banjo hubby got me for our anniversary, and I did workouts and got my eating plan back in order. I haven't even mentioned or thought about the office(til now and this will be the last time til Monday).

Stress free- except for yesterday when I went into the back room and tried some organizing in there. That venture ended in tears. So, I did what any sane woman would do in that situation- I walked out of the room and shut the door behind me. Out of sight- out of mind. Hubby says he will try  to sort out his part this weekend.... if I'm very very nice to him. I'm not sure what that involves, but if it gets that catastrophe of a room cleaned up and organized- I'm allll for it.

I feel refreshed and rejuvenated.  My mind has been free to wander where it will. I've talked to family members without having to worry about cooking while I do it or what time it is or about having to go to bed because the alarm clock goes off very early in the morning. I sleep in (if I want to which has been about 50% of the time) if I want- I go to bed when I want and I take a nap 1n hour after I wake up if I want.
The only way it could have been better is if hubby was with me (He couldn't get off work because he's an I.T. guy and  deeply involved in the run up to the office move next month)and we were booked into a cabin in the mountains beside a body of water- be it a river, a stream, a lake or pond- or even a pool or hot tub.
Of course, you cant fish in a pool or hot tub.

Ahhhh... well, Maybe next time.

Friday, April 27, 2018

I Think Not.

This afternoon we sit here in my humble abode- it's chilly and just a bit uncomfortable.
As he was reaching for the fleece throw, I asked the hubby why he didn't turn the heat on. He said because it's "expensive" and the only reason he was cold was because he had just "walked home in the cold rain from the dentist appointment." I thought about that answer- and asked him then why was I cold because I certainly did not walk home from work in the cold rain. He said that I was always cold and as an "American" I had no tolerance for mild discomfort.

I beg to differ.

It has nothing whatsoever to do with the fact I may or may not be an "American".
It has to do with the fact that I have lived my entire life in some sort of discomfort. Getting up before the break of dawn to build a fire in the heater or fireplace to wash and dry my hair before going out in the cold to stand and wait on the school bus to spirit me away to a school that was almost equally as cold first thing in the morning..... And so my little brothers and sisters could get up into a decently warm house(or at least a warm kitchen and family room)  instead of shaking and shivering the 30 minutes while waiting for the fire to be built and the room to get warm.
It comes from not having A/C most of my life- of sweating and being miserable in the heat and humidity of the Southern Summers. Of having to rely on a fan in the window to pull in a bit of whatever air was outside to at least get a breeze until we got ceiling fans for each room and of lying in the bed at night with our faces in the window because it was so hot at night in the summertime you couldn't breathe if you didn't.
It comes from the early adult lean years when every spare penny of my cash went to feeding and clothing my babies when we had next to nothing because of- circumstances. Of going door to door asking the neighbors if they needed any yard-work done and then working til dusk on my own while the babies played in the yard while I did it, because I needed to buy formula or diapers or clothes for my little ones because of-circumstances. Of buying pre-loved toys and making then like new for them for Christmas because I'd rather stay home with them and enjoy those precious moments making memories growing up than go to work and miss out of those moments and be able to buy a load of crap they wont remember when they grow up. Ask my kids what they remember about Christmas at our house- I've rarely heard them mention what they got except for just a couple of really special gifts- but they can tell you all about how things looked and smelled and sounded and how those things now remind them of their Christmases at home.

So no- it's most certainly not because I have no tolerance for  discomfort- it comes from deprivation and hardships and struggle- and now that I am older and able to pay for those simple creature comforts- I fully intend to have them and never deprive myself of them again.
I've earned it- and refuse to have it any other way.

End Of.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Tribe

Have you ever thought about your "Tribe"?
The women who support you?Well, I say women- but guys included sometimes.

Think about it.....

I have my Tribe. A core group that is larger than I thought it was... women who lift me up and support me and I know should I EVER need them for anything- they would BE there. No Questions asked- if I asked- they would come.

My list started out with a core few.
My Mom
My Sisters: Tee M & Valina M & my SIL Doris.
My Daughter and Daughter in laws: Julie H, Kathy R, & Marie H.(Even tho Marie isn't with my son anymore- I know I could count on her.) My Grand daughters- I have 4. Alyssa, Audriana, Bella and Katelynn.
My Best Friends: Rhonda B & Lisa B.
Then the Circle widens........
My Sister Friends... The chosen ones who are like a sister to me: Cece, Kimmy, Terry Topcat, Lois, Suzie Q, Stephi, Karen M, Sarah J, Kiki, Terry B, and Jennifer K.H, Mary, Ann, Martha, Joan, Pauline, Kath, Sarah, Yvonne
And the circle widens again: Lynn x 2, Linzi, Kerry, Stacey, Hope, Dessa, Mary Ann, Tina, And RIP HellKat.
The Guys...... Hubby, Frank, Thomas, Charlie, Edward, David, Anthony, Michael, James, Chris K,  Chris B, TJ, Devon, CJ, Richard, Glenn, Bob x2, Dooley, Harry, RIP Clayton & Daddy 

Okay, so that is my Core Tribe. the people I KNOW I can count on to be there when I need then.
61+ Strong-(since Daddy, Clay & Kat isn't here to participate but they are always in our hearts looking out for us.)
62+ if I count myself.
Now- That seems like a lot of Tribe, doesn't it?
Yet, that's not even close to my whole tribe.(& I know I left a few out- on purpose because they are more private than the rest of us.....)
Think of it. Each one of those people I named has their own core tribe- and each of those has their own core tribe.
How many tribe members do I have now? Thousands.

Its the ripple effect. The Circle widens with each person added.
You dont realize how very blessed you are til you think about it!!! You cant let those people down- and you have to be there to back them up when the call comes too.
 That's a Lot of Love, people.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Gadgets... and More Gadgets.

This morning I got up and turned the TV on while I tidied the living room- yes- it's the first thing I do in the mornings on weekends as hubby goes to bed AFTER I do and there is ALWAYS a bit of tidying to be done when I get up.
Do men even KNOW what a rubbish bin IS????

Anyway, I digress..... when the TV came on it was on a channel with an infomercial showing and as I wasn't watching I didn't bother to turn it off or change it over. Now, the infomercial for today was a newfangled gadget called a "pressure cooker".

I know- I know- those things have been around for many many MANY years, right?
Well, this one is even better. The Pressure King Pro 3L can cook a meal in under 30 minutes instead of an hour or two. It has a time delay on it(convenient for those of us who both work all day-and it has different settings for different foods.
AND it comes with a recipe book- AND  it has three different sizes that you can choose from. (I'd go for the smallest size, personally, for me and hubby). And I do actually want one now. Not ANY pressure cooker- defo not a stove top one- THIS one. in silver.

My problem is- I have a postage stamp size kitchen. Anyone who has ever been to my house has thought I was joking when I said that- but when they see it- they see I most certainly am NOT. two people cannot be in my kitchen at the same time. Unless one stands in the doorway and even then it's kind of iffy.

Okay so anyway- I was playing MineCraft yesterday (I promise this is going to make sense in a very short time) and designing my kitchen in it- and I found myself designing it around what I have on my wish list for my real life kitchen.

I put in loads and loads of cabinetry in the top  and bottom. Top ones had glass fronts to show off all my beautiful dishes- both old and new,  and my glassware and stemware along with my brew mug sets. And let's not forget my baking sets and mixing bowls!
 Yes- My fav place to relax is my kitchen baking.
I put in a pantry for all the foodstuffs and installed a MASSIVE fridge/freezer for cold foods. And I added a lovely DOUBLE sink.
Now the bottom cabinets were closed in-  for saucepans and  baking pans and casserole dishes and holiday serving pieces, and last but certainly not least- to house my growing set of cooking gadgets such as the one described in the infomercial.
I have  the basics- a Kettle, toaster, hand mixer.
I also have a stand mixer, a more deluxe food/bread mixer with a dough arm, whisk and mixer attachments. I have a George Formby Grill(Thank you #PeterKay!!), a Bullet(type) Smoothie blender(it doubles as a food processor when I need something chopped), plus a slow cooker, and as an added bonus- an Air Fryer and I THINK we have a Panini maker too- I cant remember. And lets not forget that all important Microwave Oven!!!!
And all but the most basics are packed away because we have a kitchen the size of a POSTAGE STAMP!
The only thing I absolutely keep out that isnt basic is my smoothie blender because I use it EVERY SINGLE DAY.
 And now to add insult to injury-I want the pressure cooker gadget now- and a WAFFLE iron!!!

Okay so-
Why do we even HAVE cookers/stoves anymore? And why are THEY still the standard in a kitchen when we have so many convenience appliances?
If you absolutely had to choose- would you  choose to keep all the convenience gadgets or would you take a bog standard cooker/stove?

Decisions- Decisions.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A Look Back at 2017....

As the new year approaches, I find myself looking back over the past year and seeing what has come about.

I discovered the actual name of my heart condition after many, many tests and hospital visits.
It also explains a lot about my other conditions and ailments.  I know now what needs to be done to help. It wont be a cure.... it's apparently hereditary. They are talking a pacemaker in the future if the condition gets any worse, but I'm praying we dont have to go least not for quite a few years.
In the meantime, I will continue to take my medications, I will do everything I can to get this excess weight off so my heart isn't strained any more than it already is, and I will do my very best to de-stress at every opportunity.

My mom's healthy has not improved- after several hospital visits it doesn't seem there are  any more answers than there was this time last year....or the year before. I look at everything and realize that her condition isn't likely to improve and given her advanced age, it is highly likely it will only continue to deteriorate.
I know there were reasons for moving to the UK when we did, but sometimes, when I think about it all, I wonder if we made the right decision. I know in my heart we did, I honestly dont think I would be alive had we not made that decision, but there is always the small bit of doubt that comes now and again.

My daughters health is worse, but she did meet and marry a lovely man, Charles, and for that I am over the moon. Julie is studying and in a few months can be qualified for a new job. One she doesn't have to be on her feet for hours at a time and gets paid a decent wage for the work she does.Things are looking up for them as well.

My son, Frank, is doing well. He has a lovely lady love who encourages him and works as a team with him to achieve what they want and need rather than dragging him down. Yet at the same time makes him accountable for the occasional slip up. They look forward to things, and make plans for things, and are moving forward. I pray this continues on into the future.

My youngest (late)son's wife, Kathy, got married this year as well to one of the sweetest men I've ever met. He is gentle, and kind, and adores her and the kids. He has stepped up and become the man I'm sure Clay would have approved of and if he were still with us- I'm pretty sure he and Thomas would have been very good friends if they had met.

Hubby and I are doing well. We both have good, steady, decent paying jobs. Our office is moving soon and then we can start looking for a house to purchase for our own. I'd rather not live in Manchester Proper, but I doubt that we can find anything in the same area we are renting in now. It's like Rodeo Drive here with the local celebs that live round us- and they are building upscale  retirement villages around us too..(I imagine it has to do with the close proximity of two gold courses to our front and back of the properties).
I honestly dont care as long as it's a decent quiet neighborhood and a house we can call our OWN. One where I can hang pictures and art and paint things the colors I want and have the carpeting I want or be able to sit out in my own garden in the summers evenings.

It's been a heck of a ride in 2017..... and I want to improve on everything in 2018.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Thanksgiving... The Manchester Christmas Market & Decorating For Christmas...

A few Photos......

Thanksgiving Dinner.....
Roast Potatoes

Spiced Apple Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Pecan Frosting

Baked Beans- Roast Turkey steamed Broccoli(with AND without cheese

Dinner Rolls, Gravy, Roast peppers/celery/onions/mushrooms and Sage and Onion Dressing

Table Set for 6-Me & Hubby, His parents. His Aunty P and my chosen sister, Li.

Manchester Christmas Market-
The next day me and Li were off to see the decorations in Manchester City Centre- and do a little Christmas shopping as well..... it would be rude not to!!!

All lit up just after dark.

 Mark & Spenser's Storefront Window Display.

Just as it was going dark.....

The first stall- The Chocolatier!!!!

Li said my eyes lit up like a Christmas Tree when we rounded the corner.... if she only knew!!!

Sneaky Cheeky pic of Li..... she actually photo bombed the shot so she cant get mad at me.

This was a statue spire- I think.

Big Old Fat Lit Santa .... FINALLY I got to see proper Christmas Decorations that I am used to!!!

Double Decker Bus in front of the Market.... I finally got to ride on top on the way home- didnt much care for it. 

Another pic of the stalls- and Li looking at a shop window. I think that one was L V.

Pottery stall.... Lovely merchandise!

And more stalls.....

And Dark with lights again.

Decorating the house for the Holiday-

Wear A Cap - originally a drinking game- but if we arent having a party- we dont drink much so we just shout out SANTA!!!!!! every time someone wears it!!

It hels to have places to put things when the holidays roll round.

Loved the red & green reversible ribbon sho much I decided to decorate my tree with it instead- I actually ordered 4 more lengths of it wrapped it round the tree and used the bow on this lamp as the tree topper!

My main Christmas Cards I sent out this year- had a spare- it fit into this Hurricane Candle lamp my daughter gave me- and added a bit of snow to the bottom. I LOVE IT!!! Probably my fav piece this year!!

This is a painted Rock... Either my sister, Nina, or my Niece Tiffi, made it for me!!!

And this is my kitchen window... you know I even have to have the Kitchen dressed for the Holidays!!

Trying out the new piece.....

Art for the Holidays.... My snowglobe my mom bought for me.... and my Mouse I bought for my dad's fav book when he was a little boy- Walter the Lazy Mouse. Yes- I have it too.

AChristmas Cards- and my I Believe bell from the Polar Express!!! I will ALWAYS Believe!!

My beside table and shelves.... My bowl of antique ornaments from my parents AND my grandparents 1st Christmas Trees!!

I had to have a wreath for my front door this year- so I bought a £3 one off Amazon- and decorated it myself with some red velvet ribbon, a Christmas card left over from last year- and my Elf on the Shelf- Spanky McSparklePants. He must love it there with the view of all the rooms - he hasn't moved an inch since he found that spot!!!

I think the tinsel draped on the Frames on the wall is a staple in the UK.... I havent see a single house that doesn't do this.

My Red and Green tree this year.

My inspiration for it- I need bigger, brighter ornaments for it next year- and more ribbon too. It shall be done!!!

The final styling for the Lamp & Card... complete with all my Grandbabies names ornaments

Hmmm..... the bed before it was dressed- but all the elements are still there...almost

Cant forget the Sleighbells on the front door!! We dont have a fireplace, so now when Santa come in the door, the bells will wake me up!!!! At least- in theory that's how it will work.
Yup- same tree as the Autumn leaves one- now with snowman ribbon wrapped round instead of the autumn leaves garland!