Monday, 20 October 2014

Can a lack of employment lead to a loss of "life"?

Those of you who have known me for a while now, know that my life has never followed a "normal" or "traditional" path.

For the most part, the oddities of my life's paths have left me bemused, amused, even shrugging as it's something I have accepted and often embraced. (My personal theme song is Back in Black by ACDC, for example.) I can normally rise above anything.

(For example, there was a time in my past when I was alone, in a foreign country, no friends or family. I was living in a shelter with a small child, unemployed... fighting with British Immigration for the right to remain in the UK to be near my child... not entitled to public funds... literally living off of charity and when an acquaintance, who was studying for her Doctorate in Psychology, asked me how I managed to remain so upbeat and my immediate and completely honest answer was "I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel; because I keep the tunnel too well lit!")

I don't see the point in wallowing. I don't enjoy letting the world get the better of me. I won't lie down and allow life to pass me by.

(Please note: I am not, by any means, comparing any of this to clinical/chemical depression. They are very different things.)

Now, though I still feel the same way about how I have come to be in this situation as I have with all of the others... though I adore what my life is for the most part... though I understand that the employment environment is tough for everyone, not just me... though I appreciate that it's easier to get work if you're already employed...

It's starting to get me down. It's becoming quite difficult not to take it personally.

This may be due to the fact that I had (only) two interviews in the past month and I got neither of them. That's never happened to me before. I have always been offered every job for which I interviewed.

How do I not take the fact that I have now been turned down twice for roles, after I have interviewed, personally?

I try. I've attempted to treat job-hunting like a full-time job and, for the most part, I manage to do just that. I trawl job boards and recruitment websites and, of course, as time drags on; my requirements for positions become less and less rigid.

There are times, I admit, when I'm at home and I'm *not* looking for work, updating profiles, contacting recruiters, but by and large, it's "after hours", it's because I have Life Admin things to do, I'm completing a task/favour that Mr Wookie has asked of me.

I'm no slacker. I'm no shirker. Any former employer could attest to that. So, this endeavour is no different. I give it as much devotion as I ever have a job role.

But it's not working. I'm impatient. I want to be real. I want to live.

At the moment, I have a decent amount of credit card debt. Something I have for the first time in my entire life. And it scares the carp out of me.

With no income, I can't justify any outgoings. Yet, they're expected.

I make the minimum payment on my credit card, of course.

But there's Christmas, and Birthdays, and events, and... There's a lot of (self-imposed) pressure to be a certain kind of person and that involves being a Giver. That involves finding that perfect gift for someone, something they didn't even know they wanted or needed until they've unwrapped the gift.

How can I suddenly stop that? How can I suddenly say 'no'?

On top of this, I don't write lately. I had been writing for two hours a day.

A routine, a promise to myself, a reward, a respect.

For the past two weeks, however, I feel too guilty.

How can I justify taking two hours of job-hunting time to write when it brings nothing tangible?

I don't write.
I don't socialise.
I feel guilty all the time.
I stress.
I worry.

Is this a "life"?

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Helpful list of YA reads? (must add to this later)

This time two years ago, I fell in love with a little boy named Harry Potter. I (finally) read every single book, in order and in about a fortnight.

Last year at this time, we were busy building our home, so I was suitably distracted.

This year, however, I am desperate to re-capture the magic I felt as I got to know Harry and his world.

Do any of you have any suggestions for a book series that might come close?

  • terry goodkinds sword of truth series is great
  • Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. I still love those. And have done since I was little.
  • Eragon
  • Philip Pullman, Northern Lights /subtle Knife/Amber Spyglass
  • Susan Cooper The Dark is Rising
  • Different read but the best character development of any series is the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordon....
  • If you want to relive the Potter Magic, listen to the audiobooks. Jim Dale narrates and does such a fantastic job. He won tony awards for the job he did. He does the character voices so well.
  • I actually like the Percy Jackson books quite a bit (they're for 4th graders roughly )
  • Dark Materials is closest.
  • I also recommend the Dresden Files but that is a very different series!
  • Andrew, have you read the Iron Druid series? (Kevin Hearne.) If you like Dresden, you'll very possibly feel similarly to Iron Druid. I feel like they could both exist in the same world and would squeal with glee if Butcher and Hearne collaborated!
  • The discovery of witches series is wonderful!!
  • I did read the first two in the Witching Savannah series, those are pretty neat.
  • Wildwood series. There are three, they are pretty neat.
  • Game of Thrones?
  • Temeraire series - starts with His Majesty' Dragon By Naomi Novik
  • Alex Verus, Rivers of London, and Laundry Files. And I've just started Felix Castor.
  • I'm being a girl and reading the Outlander series now.
  • Necroscope series by Brian Lumley but not if you scare easily!
  • Percy Jackson is pretty goodLook into "the secrets of the immortal Nicholas flamel" by Michael Scott 
  • Mortal Instrument and Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare.
  • Percy jackson is probably closest to harry, but wheel of time would keep you busy for a while (13 big books). Let us know what you pick
  • And if you want more adult, but still magical and other-worldly you can try Kim Harrison's "the Hallows" series
Maybe Acer: 
All Creatures Great and Small (Herriot)
Hatchet (Gary Paulsen)
Encyclopedia Brown series
How to Eat Fried Worms (Thomas Rockwell)
Misty of Chincoteague (Marguerite Henry)
The Indian in the Cupboard (Banks)
The Castle in the Attic (Elizabeth Winthrop)
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (Blume)
The Egypt Game (Snyder)

Maybe West:
Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry (Mildred Taylor)
The Westing Game (or did he already read this?)
The White Stag (Seredy)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Berry Smith)
A Wrinkle in Time (L’Engle)
The Time Traveler’s Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (Boyne)
The Neverending Story (Ende)

  • hhorn Have you read the Spirit animals books yet?
    By Shannon Hale
    3 mins · Edited · Like
  • Kathy White We just read Peter and the Shadowtheives, a really fun book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. It's the 2nd in a series that is a Peter Pan prequel. They are fun to read at night, lots of adventure, good writing, excellent pacing. We also really liked reading Kate DiCamillo's books - Tale of Despereaux, Flora and Ulysses, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I think of these books as new classics. Wonderful stories. Atticus also liked reading Pipi Longstocking. He thought it was really funny. Kid humor. 

    He's also read a bunch of chapter books series, some better than others. They aren't as fun to read together at night, but are good for them to read on their own - Secrets of Droon, Beast Quest, Magic Treehouse, Encyclopedia Brown, A to Z Mysteries.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Frustration and sadness re sexism, assault, harassment...

Updated (at 16:27 2014.10.04): There were several miscommunications in "the resulting discussions" which led me to make presumptions I now know are incorrect. I am sorry for any and all hurt or misunderstandings caused by my presumptions. I and all parties involved are committed to continually improving our communication. 

These are (please pardon the word choice) touchy *cringe* subjects for me.

These are topics that are important to me and topics that regularly see me becoming annoyed and biting my tongue.

For example, we recently had visitors around and while I don't even remember how the subject came up, I remember our guests stating, essentially, that some women get what they deserve/they shouldn't be surprised at what they get because of how they have spoken/acted/dressed.

(Even writing this, I can feel my blood pressure creeping up.)

The resulting conversations I have had regarding the subject of feminism, sexism, harassment, assault... (a whole gambit of issues relating to gender and sexuality) have been tense, at best.

I find it very difficult to convey my ideas and emotions clearly when speaking of these issues, largely due to my incredulity at the beliefs of those around me, and I've even been accused of overreacting.

When discussing the idea that a person (normally the hypothetical person is a woman in these discussions) shouldn't be surprised if they are assaulted or raped if they have dressed a certain way or spoken or acted in a certain manner as to have led the offending party on, I have been simply astonished by the amount of people that I know and love who believe this to be true.

They believe that if a person is in a nightclub and they dress in a manner to provoke, if they dance with or kiss or get into some "heavy petting" with someone and then decide they don't want to have sex, that they want what's happening to stop... they shouldn't be surprised when it doesn't. They're supposed to accept their fate for being a "tease". 

I've tried explaining that for *anyone* to not stop when being asked to, told to, begged to in such a situation is just plain *wrong* and it doesn't then matter how the victim was dressed, what they said or how they acted up until that point. 

At the point that one party indicates or states that they do not want to proceed, that they want things to stop... they. should. stop.

I was then countered with the argument that men/testosterone-filled boys in a nightclub who have been drinking and/or taking drugs, who have been looking at scantily-clad bodies, who have been kissed, who have maybe been involved in some "heavy petting" aren't necessarily responsible for their actions in those circumstances.

Excuse me?!

If a person *chooses* to harass (or molest... or rape... or in any other way violate) another person and blames that *choice* on alcohol- or drug-impaired judgement, a state in which they *chose* to put themselves... their responsibility is negated/excused/not required?? 

That's like saying drunk drivers shouldn't be held responsible if people die as a result of them driving drunk because they were *drunk* when they *drove*!

How can that make sense?!

It doesn't. Not to me. And while I haven't explained it *quite* like this to a couple of people who mean the world to me, I have become increasingly more frustrated and angry that they hold these beliefs. 

Because of the intensity of my astonishment and my refusal to think that these behaviours should be excused in any way, I have been asked if there has been anything that's happened to me in my past that could evoke such a reaction.

I don't yell. I don't even raise my voice. I don't become violent (though, I do gesticulate a bit more, who doesn't when they're worked up?), but it's obvious that this is a subject about which I feel strongly. And because I feel strongly and it's obvious in discussing these matters with me, people have presumed I *must* have been hurt in some way to lead me to these reactions.

I'm a bit hurt, to be honest, that people so close to me have come to ask those kinds of questions... That people I love are so convinced that these behaviours should be accepted they presume *I* am the one who is overreacting, that *I* must be the one with issues.

Is it not OK to be upset about the injustice of it all?? Is it not OK to become even more upset when I can see the people I adore hold those kinds of mindsets, the kinds of mindsets that foster a victim-blaming/shaming culture??

Even though these issues are all over the news and the internet these days (with stories about Sam Pepper, for example) I have had to bite my tongue in my own home.

I don't feel comfortable enough to say "Oh my god! Have you heard what's going on over in YouTubeLand?!" 

I fear that even discussing current events relating to these issues would lead loved ones to either pat me on the head, thinking "There, there... calm down, it's nothing to get upset over" or immediately be convinced something *must* have happened to me to make me keep bringing things up relating to these issues, as though I'm seeking them out.*

Either way, it's pretty sad.

Either way, there's nothing to seek. These issues are valid. All the time. Everywhere. There's no seeking involved. The issues are ubiquitous.

And I feel I can't talk about them. And I'm hurt and frustrated that people I know, people I *love*, who are intelligent, savvy, aware of themselves and the world around them... feel that sometimes, people who have been assaulted or raped were just getting "what they deserved" - that "they asked for it".

Do you have any ideas or know of any sources that can help me with this dilemma, that could help me explain myself properly?

Or am I fighting a lost cause?

*In fact, while writing this post, I was asked why/when this issue raised its head again. An implication, in my mind, that it's an annoyance and why am I rehashing it?

I genuinely don't know what to say at this point.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

A new era of bully

Very rarely will you find me ranting in writing.

My thoughts, my opinions, are fleeting. I am a reasonably intelligent, sentient being whose mind is often changed with the influx of new information, new discoveries, even through being corrected.

Because of that, I don't gush negativity (in ways other than verbally) very often as there's a permanency in writing things down that doesn't mesh with my own view of the knowledge and opinions I hold.

Now, however, I feel compelled to *write* somethings I've never even *said*, I feel so very strongly about the subject matter.

Here goes!


Right, disabilities aside ('cause that's a whole other can of worms) Kanye West's actions of late are "not OK" to quote a set up from the TV show The Last Leg.

I, personally, don't see me attending a Kanye show (and couldn't even before this, to be honest) but if I were at *any* show and the featured artist(s) demanded everyone stand, I may or may not join in depending on my mood.


Would I then be singled out, embarrassed, *bullied* because I simply didn't *want* to stand?

What if, though not "disabled", my arthritis is acting up?

What if, though not "disabled", I have an inner-ear or blood pressure issue that makes it difficult to stand?

What if, though not "disabled", I'm a paediatric oncology nurse who just finished a twelve hour shift where three patients passed away?

What if, though not "disabled", I'm heavily pregnant, sprained my ankle, have a really bad case of flatulence and would really rather just not move. At all. For the time being.

Are these things not OK?

Of course, I understand the atmosphere of a large arena concert can promote camaraderie, a feeling of "belonging", even mild to moderate euphoria.

I've been there. I've experienced it.

And when asked to stand, to this day, I can't think of a time when I haven't.


But I never wondered what would happen if I just didn't stand.

And now I might have to?

I could attend an event and wonder during the evening if my having:

  • purchased a ticket
  • made the journey
  • stood outside in the queue
  • supported the concessions (and probably merchandising, too)
  • and am present at the event
... is going to be enough for the performer(s)...

Or, if their egos will be so large that I'll be called upon to go above and beyond to placate someone whose worth I've already validated, in a sense, with my actions listed above.

Will I have to wonder if the artist(s) will be so self-involved that thousands of screaming fans isn't enough? Thousands of screaming fans on their feet isn't enough?

What's next? Berating and bullying the general public for not having purchased a ticket in the first place??

Thursday, 11 September 2014

All in a day's work...

Here's a speedy round-up of my day yesterday... It didn't seem like so much until I looked through all the photos!

This little devil cost about the price of a small coffee at your large, international coffee house.

The absence of which, however, cost £230 in damage that had to be repaired because one of the rear brakes on Wookie's car ("Scooby") locked up, causing the discs and pads to require replacement.

We recently helped Wookie's Grandpa with his audio visual woes when the DVD portion of their expensive amplifier system decided to die. We installed their recording device, got them a new DVD player and desperately tried to understand the complicated (and unnecessary) way the system was wired when it was installed.

And, since Grandpa is 92 years old, I set about drafting explicit instructions on how to perform the variety of tasks that is required of the new system. The system that includes four different remotes. The system that, depending on which stage of the operation you are trying to perform, requires the remote in question to be pointed at one of two very different places in the room.

And then I laminated them, because, well... I wanted a laminator. It was on my wishlist. And besides, they'll last longer this way, no?

This was the drive over there last night (to miss rush-hour traffic - in the van because the car is broken) for laminate delivery and discover/rectify why the stupid recording device kept switching itself off (and the signal to the televisions in both the living room, where the box is, and the bedroom, which makes no sense at all. Hence my earlier comment about the wiring system being unnecessary).

Shout out to PC World/Dixons/Currys/Whatever they're called these days, though. 

You're idiots.

I tried to help Grandpa over the phone when this issue arose the other night (very shortly after we'd left from setting everything up, thankyouverymuch) but the owner's manual for this specific product isn't. available. online.

And the next day when I emailed the company (because, well, there are no phone numbers to use if you need assistance. Heavenforbid!), they couldn't be bothered to respond. YAY. (/sarcasm)

Decaff coffee... I have a love/hate relationship with this substance that started when I gave up all caffeine. I feel like I shouldn't want it, but I do and then when I make it, most of the time I don't drink it all.

Yesterday, however, I added some of this little beauty's bounty and ... wow ... Yum!

(I still didn't drink all of it, though. Sigh.)

And I'm almost through organising and listing all of the books (about 50 in total) that I will send to Amazon for them to sell.

This is quite a bittersweet process, I must confess. I love the idea of starting over (hell, how many times have I done it already??) but I don't like the idea of never having used most of these things.

I don't like the idea that in these boxes are traces of a once promising future in medical science. A dream that, while wonderful, was with me all too briefly.

Don't get me wrong, I adore my life as it stands. I just can't help lament the loss of something that never was but that could have been. Something that tried to be.

My To Do list:

Which isn't my entire To Do List. It's just the things that I need to do before I work on any of the others.

There's a reason I haven't allowed myself to actually draft my *entire* To Do List. *shudder*

Please allow me to suggest you:

Simmer coconut milk, medium curry powder, garlic granules, herb salt (I use "Herbamare" UK link / US link) in a pan...

Add chopped spinach and protein of choice (to date I've used pork, chicken and tofu - all delicious) and viola! You're on your way to sharing my crown as "Undisputed Queen/King of Flavour".

Cooking meats in the coconut milk not only reduces the overall fat content of the finished dish, it makes the meat really tender. I advise cooking the tofu separately, however, and adding it just before serving the dish as otherwise, it will just become mush.

Simmer to reduce (I used two tins of coconut milk and reduced by more than half) and serve with rice or noodles. What I serve it with depends on my mood, I've even served this with fried gnocchi.

The leftovers will be devoured at lunchtime today by a more-than-happy-to-oblige Wookie (who gave me a high-five when he tasted the dish last night).

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

A quick catch-up...

1. I've joined Twitter!

No, seriously. I have.

You can find my ramblings here.

I've even gone so far as to follow BBC News (BBC News Twitter account) in an effort to become more informed. As you likely know, I don't watch the news or read newspapers or look at news websites.

They're too depressing. As a side effect, I am often ill-informed of current events.

Now, I can see little snippets of headlines and decide what I want to learn more about (or not) and it flows with my feed as does everything else. If I miss it, I miss it.

2. I made cinnamon rolls!

No, seriously. I did.

3. I've written more of my book!

No, seriously. I have. (Aren't you getting tired of questioning everything I say?!)

I currently have 5979 words typed and a fair bit more than that written, waiting to be typed up.

4. I've eaten *delicious* vegan pancakes!

Wookie made them for me. His first foray into "American Style" (fluffy) pancakes and they were *perfect*.

Unfortunately for him, he has created a very hungry and eager Pancake Monster that will require regular feeding in order to maintain some semblance of peace in this house!

Poor fellow.

5. I became angry at the English language!

(Seriously. This is a word?!)

6. I started a starter!

A *sourdough* starter to be more precise. Using this method here.

So far, it's looking quite promising. (At least I *think* it is... My little colony isn't yet self-aware. Unless they are and are so far advanced that they've even discovered how to hide the fact from the humans in the house...)

What have *you* been up to?

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Flash Fiction Challenge - The Merciful Chasm

1500 words

Flash Fiction Challenge

"The Merciful Chasm" began from what you see above but I was too tight to the deadline and decided to give it a miss in order to avoid the pressure of writing to a deadline.

I've never written to a deadline before.

I had a go, however, (better late than never, right?!) and this is what an hour left me with... What do you think?

The Merciful Chasm

She grew up. She had to have. She was bigger, larger now than she was before, her legs longer, her hips wider.

But when did it happen, she often wondered, for she was certain it hadn't happened while she was looking, while she was awake.

She didn’t sleep much so that confused her even more.

She woke each morning, in her strange bed, in her strange room and checked her body. She counted each finger and each toe, flexing them each in turn. The same pattern every morning, even before she opened her eyes.

She felt blessed she had all of her digits and that they all worked and though the feeling was overwhelming, she had no idea of the source of the emotion.

After her ritual counting, she rose, took a sip of cool water from the pitcher beside her strange bed, undressed and walked across the sparsely furnished room to the large mirror on the opposite wall.

Here she watched her reflection for a moment, struggling to remember how she’d come to be here, struggled to remember what her story was.

She whispered to herself “Your name is Kay. You are 37 years old.”

She then stretched, turned and manipulated her body into every shape she could imagine. It had been a few weeks since she’d discovered any new ones so, lately, this had become as ritual as her counting.

Once she was satisfied that everything moved the way it was supposed to and felt as it should, she would examine the scar that traversed her midsection. The scar started beside her right breast, under her arm and ended over the small crest of her left hipbone. It was almost exactly three times the length of her hand, from the base of her palm to the tip of her middle finger. She had no official measuring device available in the room but felt that this was sufficient for her mental checklist.

The scar, now a delicate pink and significantly less puffy than she’d ever remembered it being, tingled when she stroked down its length. She felt an odd aching whenever she did this but couldn’t pinpoint a specific location on her body that suffered. She would closer her eyes and stroke the scar, her mind sensing the ache more than her body.

Sometimes stroking the scar would make her cry.

Her days were filled with routine and ritual. Wake. Count. Undress. Stretch. Stroke. Shower. Dress. Wait. Eat. Chat…

Breakfast was never anything exciting. It arrived with no conversation (but oh, how she’d tried to engage!) and the delivery person would take away her dirty clothes after setting the tray of food onto the table in the centre of the room.

Today she had the choice of two boiled eggs with some brown toast or some unnamed sweet oats the temperature of a tepid bath. She didn’t enjoy this part of her routine but had come to understand that only once she’d finished eating (“And politely, thank you!”) would she be allowed her first companionship of the day.

She finished the eggs and toast, having replaced the lid on the oats as quickly as she’d lifted it to check its contents, and wiped the corners of her mouth with the rough paper napkin that arrived with the tray. She remained seated at her small table, her hands folded in her lap.

On schedule (45 seconds after she’d placed her hands in her lap) the door to the room opened again and the same person entered, took the tray from the table and left with it but left the door open behind them.

Her hands fidgeted slightly, a little restless in her lap, as she waited, her eyes fixed on the open doorway. She reminded herself not to move, to remain as still as possible lest the door be closed once more with her visitor on the outside of the room rather than within.

Mercifully, she waited less and less for her guest each day though there were still some occasions when the door would be closed immediately after her tray was taken or she’d have to wait a long time, only for the door to be closed anyway.

She hated those days but wasn’t sure why.

Today, however, the wait wasn’t long and the door was closed only after her guest had entered the room. They looked at each other and a small, timid smile played at both of their mouths, the child approximately the age Kay last remembered being.

She stood slowly and the child walked to her side where they held hands. Elle looked down at the child, “Good morning, Elle.”

Elle looked up and whispered back, the child always whispered, “Good morning, Kay. Shall we go outside?”

The child tried to smile but Kay knew it was an act. She could see something wasn’t quite right behind Elle’s deep brown eyes but she could never put her finger on it.

The two made their way outside onto the little lawn outside Kay’s room. Also sparsely furnished and surrounded on all sides by impossibly-high fences lined with shrubs, they were exiled from the outside world. It seemed to be the way Elle preferred it, though Kay wondered why she missed the “real” outside when she had no idea what it could be. She had no memory of what could be “out there” but felt certain she had known once.

Sometimes, like today, her legs ached when she thought about “out there”, almost as if they remembered and desired nothing more than to run, as fast as they could in whatever direction, it didn’t matter.
Elle seemed to be able to sense those days and always behaved differently on those days. This behaviour was the only unpredictable part of Kay’s days.

“Will you brush my hair, please, Kay?”

Kay looked down at Elle and forced herself to focus on the child. She stared into her brown eyes and smiled softly, replying “Of course, Elle. Will you please go get my brush?”

Kay watched as Elle walked back inside, knowing that although she hadn’t told Elle where to find the brush, the child would know.

She shivered at the thought and looked to the sky. She closed her eyes and allowed the sun to warm her and her mind to wander… though it never seemed to wander far.

Elle came back and took Kay’s hand, leading her to the lounge chairs to the left of the space. Once they were seated and Kay began brushing, Elle began asking questions.

Kay was used to these questions. Elle didn’t ask them often, in any discernible pattern or even worded the same way each time, but the questions themselves were always the same.

Once more Kay closed her eyes, using both hands to brush Elle’s hair, as she tried to search her mind for the answers.

First was the question of her name. “My name is Kay.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because Doctor told me so,” Kay always replied.

“How old are you?”

“I am 37 years old.”

“How did you get the scar on your stomach?”

“I don’t remember,” Not entirely the truth, Kay saw flashes behind her closed eyes and her face changed as though she was hurting. She saw the flash of a large blade in her periphery and her brain screamed at an imagined pain in her stomach.

She heard a voice inside her head telling her to be still, that it would be over soon, that she had to be awake during the procedure. The voice seemed familiar but Kay didn’t know why. She squeezed her eyes shut tighter and tried to focus on the images and sounds.

There was an audible gasp in the room of Kay’s mind as a baby suddenly appeared, slimy and new.
Aren’t new babies supposed to cry?” Kay thought to herself.

“Are you sure you can’t remember, Kay? Not even a tiny little bit?” Elle whispered.

Kay squeezed her eyes tighter still and forced herself to continue brushing the child’s hair as she searched her mind. “Move quickly! The child needs to be tested at once!” That oddly familiar voice again and Kay shivered so violently she dropped the hairbrush, her skin erupting in chill bumps.

Elle stood, holding the dropped brush in her hand. She whispered “OK, I think we’re done for today.”

They held hands as Kay stood and they walked together through the room and to the door. Elle turned in the doorway and looked up at Kay’s face, an unfamiliar look on her face and she tugged Kay’s hand, motioning her downward.

Kay squatted before the child, again confused by her own reaction to the deep brown eyes before her.

Elle leaned in, placing her hands on Kay’s shoulders. Not breaking eye contact with Kay, she whispered into her ear, “If I were you, I wouldn’t remember. Pray you don’t.”

Elle stepped back, gave a little wave and skipped off down the hallway, humming to herself.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Water water everywhere...


Wookie and I take two bank holiday breaks away each year. They began as traditions long before me, but I have embraced them as firmly as I have the man himself for I find them relaxing, grounding, renewing. 

One of the places we visit is on the west coast of Wales on the Gower Peninsula and the other is in the east of England along a stretch of coast that seems to be neither the English Channel nor the North Sea, but both at the same time. 

The ocean... One of my dearest and abiding loves.

Wookie proposed by the sea during our most recent trip to Wales. These two photos were taken just before and just after the event, respectfully...

This most recent bank holiday weekend was our annual family (Wookie's family) holiday and while this was only my second year, I looked forward to it for *months* and already can't wait for next year...

On our first full day there, the sea was gorgeous, peaceful... the weather was sunny, calm...

I actually made a mountain out of a molehill. I'm still surprised that Wookie was so surprised that I went to such lengths to get this photo. He's a weirdo.

On our last day, the sea was somewhat temperamental... Just as gorgeous, in my opinion.

I fully understand why adventurers and poets alike are drawn to her...

More water...

The other day, Wookie was presented with the Ice Bucket Challenge. He's just recently had back surgery and can't get his dressing wet, however, so after some careful planning, I took one for the team...

I took a photo of his face, enlarged it and printed it out to wear as a mask. Wookie did the voiceover work on the video and the nominating. (I was his "stunt double".)

Here are a couple of screenshots from the video...

I kind of freaked out immediately after this as I could tell the flimsy paper mask had come away and it felt like it was in pieces, a large part clinging to my fringe/bangs so I was frantically trying to remove it only to find out that it was merely the weight of my own, wet hair that was so heavy. Sigh.

Well, *that's* novel!...

Some of you may know... I've started writing a novel (of sorts) and I have approximately the first chapter so far. 

It's "Young Adult Fiction" (ugh. I don't like that genre name, it's so... vague) and my protagonist is a young boy named Ryles.

I've tried to work out his story and while I know basic plot plans and setting ideas, the little guy won't tell me any more than that and insists that the story come out chronologically, as I sit ready to listen.

There's no cooperation from the little guy during my attempts to plan ahead, to form an outline, to brainstorm. As much as I beg, plead, bargain, all I am told is to sit with my notebook and pen and it will come.

And it does. Every time.

How odd.

But yes, I'm writing it by hand. Old fashioned paper and ink, in fact(!) and I'm trying to figure out how/where/when/why to share it.

So far I have allowed specific people to read the hard copy I have printed for my own, editorial purposes and while the reviews have been very positive overall, there have been some issues with following the formatting (page flow) of how I have it printed.

Clearly I need to print it in a more... digestible format if I want others to be able to consume it because at this stage, I can't let it out of my proverbial sight. I cringe at the idea of emailing it to anyone lest it fall into the wrong hands become something I created but which is available for all and sundry to take/change/claim as their own. 

That would break my heart.

I thought about sharing the first bits here, perhaps, with a view to possibly self-publishing the work in the future and I know there is a way to format webpages in such a manner that copy/paste isn't possible... But I don't know how and am honestly presuming it's not something that this website would allow. I presume I would have to use my own domain for.

Perhaps I need to look into that, actually.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

This week...

This week, I started making home-stuffs that will help, not only save the environment, but also money in the long run, too!

The first item I made is a "Swifty" (Ravelry link) for our Vileda mop. It's not the same as the mop of the original pattern but the dimensions are (thankfully) very similar.

The pattern is from Mason Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines (Amazon UK link) and I should have paid attention to the errata (available on Ravelry under the pattern details) because I messed it up. I'm not frogging it, though, as there's no reason to. I'll just know better for next time. (Mental note: I also need to add the errata to the book to prevent this next time.)

I've begun knitting the second one already, even though I still need to weave the ends in on this one and add the buttons, but I'm modding the pattern so that it's knitted in one piece as I'm using only one yarn (colour) and it's so much easier (I think, anyway!).

I also plan on making some Mitered Hanging Towels (Ravelry link, pattern is available for free) and several things from their first book, Mason Dixon Knitting (Amazon UK link).

On Sunday I got to sit outside and enjoy some gorgeous Autumn weather...

On Monday, I had a wonderful friend over for lunch, gossip, movies.... generally just hanging out and it turned into some impromptu cooking lessons.

Fakin'. (Vegan bacon) Recipes all over the internet (though, I don't use any "nutritional yeast" when I make mine).

Served with noodles in a home-made (oat-based) creamy sauce...

Dessert wasn't *quite* so successful. I haven't really baked since we moved in March (Gasp!) and I didn't know that some of my ingredients hadn't survived...

Those were supposed to have been cupcakes. Sigh. (Notice the wonky one? I decided to make that "a design choice" because when the paper flipped as I was filling it, I couldn't be bothered to mess around with righting it. Poor thing.)

They turned out OK, though... Even though the frosting messed up, too. (I *really* need to re-stock my baking cupboard!)

Later that day, I made myself some yummy (Vegan!) dinner based on this recipe here (I rarely follow a recipe by rote so I modded this quite a bit. If you want details, just ask!) and it was *really* scrummy!

Yesterday, I sat with a pile of felt...

And began masterminding this year's entries for "Bad Bow Tie" night at the annual family holiday... This will be Wookie's entry...

Mine needs a few more ingredients, the likes of which I plan to procure this weekend.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

A(nother) restart

It's been about, let's see... Wow! More than two years since I last *wrote* anything here.

So very much has happened in that time that I'm unsure of where to begin... Perhaps I should catch you all up simply by using photos.

(Please note: these photos are not in chronological order. If you have any comments or questions about where/when they were taken, please share.)

A bit for charity...

A quick snap captured at my brother's wedding...

A very fun evening...

London, my London...

Christmastime in Belfast...

A Boxing Day paddle...

A fairy in a tree...

A beautiful day for reflection and love...

Our "LivingLoo"...


Curious neighbour...

Mount Legomore...

Contemplations while in a church...

Very special cakes made with love...



A slight (but hilarious) misunderstanding...

"No I don't! What do you mean I have a black eye?!"...



Gorgeous view, interesting circumstances...

Taste testing...

When is a wall not a wall?...

Custom shoes?? Yes please!...

One of my favourite life-moments, encapsulated...

The reason I now celebrate my birthday again...

And that's a bit about what I've been up to since I last posted.

Let's hope I can keep it from being so long before I post again next time!