Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year!

So, another year nearly over and who knows what the next one will bring.

While we all know more or less what we do year in and year out, every now and then life throws us a few surprises!

It is this that gives me the anticpation for New Years Eve...what will next year bring, what will I do, will everything remain the same, will I change, will I grow?

Just the fact that I simply do not know is very exciting, and yet, everything remains the same and no doubt will be the same next New Years Eve and there is some comfort in that I think.

And with that I say "Happy New Year!" See you all next year!!

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Summer

Well, seeing as it is time for Show and Tell over at Lollipop Goldstein's,  I thought that I would show a couple of photographs in honour of summer!  OK, I know that it is summer down under and I have seen a couple of great photographs of my cousin and her new daughter in Adelaide.

But here in the UK, it is cold and wintry, while we are not getting the heavy snows that can be seen in North America, it still feels cold and summer feels far far away!  So, here are two photographs of a childhood summer, probably about thirty (!) years ago.





Doesn't that make you long for summer again, to be on the beach basking in the sun and dabbling a few toes in the water?  That's not to say that I don't like winter, but sometimes only warm sunshine will do!  And these photographs will just have to remind me of summer while we wait for spring to come round so that we can see the flowers blooming again!

Friday, 26 December 2008

Boxing Day!

Well, that's it for another year - Christmas is over! Although not really because the other half of the family will be arriving soon for the New Year part of the holiday and that means more presents and crackers and good food, so although Christmas is technically over, we still have lots more fun and games on the way - particularly as my nephew (4) and niece (2) are joining us!!

I hope that you all had a good time and had some lovely presents along with good food! I was lucky enough to get some craft stuff (things called Nestabilities) and some table runners from India as Matt was there for three months in the Autumn. I also had a book about the early Australian settlers from Mrs Claus - this was rather funny actually as I had decided to buy some books for the four of us actually here on Christmas Day and label them all as being from Mrs Claus, so I had to include myself in the gifts as otherwise everyone would know that I had bought them.

Of course, I couldn't keep a straight face once Mum started asking who had bought them and Matt, cheeky as ever, was saying that they were from him and then Mum asked me and - oh I tried..., I tried to keep a straight face, but it just isn't possible for me!! As I love books so much I like to give them too, but never quite know if I am giving what people would like to read. This year I appear to have been particularly successful - Mum got a book that she'd asked for about finding happiness, Matt got a Star Trek novel (AND he hasn't got this one!!), and Dad got Obama's Audacity of Hope.

By the way, I am having difficulties with my laptop at the moment, so please do not be alarmed if I appear to have vanished off the face of bloggy-world for a while!! I am in contact with Dell and am trying to sort out the problems. (erk!)

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas

I am currently watching the first ever film of the Christmas Carol, it was made in 1951 and Scrooge is played by Alistair Sims. It is meant to be black and white, but it has since been coloured and looks quite good. Of course, the special effects are not as good as they are today, but nevertheless there is a lovely charm to this favourite of Christmas stories!

Anyway, I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of wishes that are echoing around blogland and say "Merry Christmas", I hope that you have a lovely day tomorrow.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Christmas Carols

Firstly, I should apologise to all those Show and Tellers that visited my blog yesterday (and today!) because I haven't yet had time to visit all your blogs, but I do plan to before Christmas Day actually rolls around!

And why didn't I visit? Because I was spending the day in London with friends of mine and in the evening we ended up here...

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At the Royal Albert Hall to listen to a selection of carols and join in on a lot of them too!

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This is one impressive building, it never fails to make me feel good.

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The musicians wore olde-worlde costumes and looked great in them too. Yes, we were indeed that close to the stage...it was fabulous. We sang all the old favourites and listened to some of the more challenging ones like the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah.

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Well worth a visit!! Before we got to the carols though, we spent the day in the new shopping centre in London - Westfield - it is massive, truly massive. We got lost a few times, but thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the shops, and I know that we didn't even get to see all of them! (we even popped into Tiffanys to see what it was like - of course there were no prices on any of the jewellery, but it did look nice and expensive!! ha ha!)

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Show and Tell Memories

These six photographs contain the memories of Christmas 1996, and they make me smile even now, twelve years later! Mum has given me permission to post this photos, and I apologise for the poor quality as I used my camera to get electronic copies - I should have remembered to scan them at work! (Also - you should be able to click on the photos themselves if you want to see larger pictures)

Anyway....

Nana and Grandad were spending some time over Christmas with us, it may have been Christmas Day itself or a day soon after, I cannot actually remember.

The first picture shows my oldest brother (he must have been 19 and he definitely doesn't have that long hair now!) demonstrating a party trick that requires two people to be joined together by rope at their wrists and the point is to work out how get free. (Grandad's helping in the corner!) He got Mum and Nana to play this game....

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In the second picture you can see Mum and Nana concentrating very hard and thinking about how to release themselves from their predicament....

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The first signs of laughter appear in the third picture, although Mum is still concentrating....

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Mum's cracked up now and they still can't get free....

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Both Nana and Mum are now in fits of laughter....

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And Mum ends up wiping away tears of laughter.....

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I don't actually remember this moment, but the photos show what happened so clearly that is all comes back to me and leaves me smiling for a long time, even as I wipe away a little tear cos I miss my Nana. (What surprises me is that the mantle behind Mum and Nana is so bare of ornaments, you should see it now!!!)

Don't forget...more Show and Tell is going on over at Lollipop Goldstein's!!

Friday, 19 December 2008

You know...

...it's definitely closer to Christmas when you are sitting in a restaurant with your colleagues enjoying your annual Christmas meal!

Last night the six of us went to The Old Bank in town and had a thoroughly good meal in a classy yet comfortable restaurant with very attentive staff.  The only thing was that the live music was rather loud and we had to shout across the table somewhat!

Anyway, I don't often have a three course meal as I can't eat that much for one meal, but I did my best!  I started off with carrot and coriander soup with very tasty croutons (they were big, but there were only three!!!), then I had the traditional turkey - the sausage stuffing was delicious, pudding was a bread and butter pudding with almonds and Baileys - the top was lovely and crunchy and it was hot enough to  melt the icecream in the most delicious manner!

As we did the year previous, we decided to do a Secret Santa gift exchange so that the whole gift giving thing doesn't get too expensive.  However, I managed to mess it up!! I don't quite know what happened, but one woman got two gifts and one didn't get anything!!! Whoops!!! Fortunately we managed to sort it out by giving the extra gift to the woman without anything.

I felt so very bad about it, but I think that I have worked out how it happened - basically I had written names on a piece of paper and asked those of us (four out of the six) at work to choose a name and then I decided to make labels for the gifts so that we couldn't work out our Secret Santa by the handwriting. 

What I think I did was typed out the same name twice and didn't spot it, the I compounded the error by throwing away the last two slips of handwritten paper  because I assumed that the two labels I had left would match.  Whoops - oh well, a lesson learnt there!!

I should also point out that I got EXACTLY what I wanted for the Secret Santa gift. Do you know how I managed that? I picked by own name!! The thing is that not only did I pick my own name, but I somehow managed to pick it three times (when I picked first, when I then picked again after three were chosen, then again when the second to last got picked), so it was clearly meant to be!! (No cheating involved at all I promise!!)  And what did I get?  A Cuttlebug embossing folder and a die as well a star stamp for my cardmaking hobby - perfect!!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Mustard!

I found this video on Telling Secrets and at the risk of offending anyone who actually understands the lyrics and knows what the song is really about, I found it very very funny!



In addition to which, I think that it gives quite an insight into what it is sometimes like to be deaf as there are frequently times when what I hear coming out of your mouths makes absolutely no sense at all, especially if there is no context to the conversation. Most times I can work it out but sometimes I have not got a chance in hades!!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Adventures in Book Signings

Today is a first for my little blog! I have my first ever guest post as a result of a few bloggy conversations, and it's from the author of Janeology - Karen Harrington, who also blogs at Scobberlotch. Now, I must admit that I have never read this book, so I can't comment on the book itself. But this guest post is great, and so without further ado....Adventures in Book Signings......

You are standing there, pushing a hair back in place, checking your sweater to make sure it looks right. You just ate a mint to make sure your breath was fresh. You look at your hands and nails once more to make sure they look neat. You remember that you should be smiling and so you instantly paint on a fake smile you hope conceals your nervousness. And then, you wonder if your deodorant is going to fail you. It seems imminent.

You continue to stand behind the small table, trying to keep the smile up, hoping you might catch the eye of someone friendly. You hope you don’t look too awkward standing there alone. The florescent light isn’t too flattering, you realize. Maybe it makes your make-up look greenish and this is the reason no one has stopped to say hello. You adjust the collar on your turtleneck, glad that it is covering the red heat on your neck. And then you pray you will at least find one soul to talk too. Maybe it’s time to move items around on the table again to busy your hands. Maybe putting the bowl of mints on the opposite side is best. You check your watch. You’ve only just been standing there for five minutes. Only two and half more hours to go.

If this situation sounds somewhat like someone waiting to get picked for a dance or in line at a speed-dating session, well, it’s probably not far from that kind of nervous experience. This is what it felt like at my first book-signing – a mix of excitement and angst about standing behind a table and making the best possible pitch about my debut book. It’s challenging for any writer to perform this role. Writers are naturally more comfortable at home in front of the keyboard in comfy pants with a giant cup of coffee nearby. It’s a solitary job and most of us like it that way. So when my publisher said I should line up a dozen book signings over the summer, perhaps even READ from my book in public, I approached the idea with more than a little bit of trepidation. Initially, I found it intimidating to get the attention of book shoppers who had never heard of me. Would they be interested in my book? Would they care what I had to say? Would they pause at my table and at least take a free mint? And what about describing my book? Of course, it took me five years to write so I know what it’s about? But how do I describe it in one coherent paragraph? Do I pitch it as a legal thriller the way my publisher did? Do I talk about the ideas of nature vs. nurture? Do I emphasize that it’s about one man’s quest to understand the wife he only thought he knew after she commits a murder?

All my fears were resolved after I survived my first signing without having to hide in shame beneath the signing table – mostly due to the support of my family and friends, who gave me the chance to practice my pitch. After this first signing, I could at least picture what it was like to stand there and chat with strangers. The next signing didn’t have a big turnout, but there were several teens who just wanted to talk about writing. And at the next one, the bookstore manager made enthusiastic announcements about my book that generated an actual line at my table. Each subsequent signing got a little easier and more relaxed. I even survived one where my ex-husband showed up – though that could be a blog of another subject.

I’ve come away from these experiences with a greater appreciation for ANY person in the sales realm, but especially for authors like myself who might feel as I did last summer. So if you are ever in a bookstore and an author is doing a signing, just remember that they are more nervous than you. Just having a friendly person to talk to for two minutes might be just what they need to survive the day – and it will also give them a chance to practice their talk.


Here are a few scraps of conversation I’ve collected from my various signings.

Of my books on the signing table.

“Are these complimentary?”

Of my pitch that it’s about a man trying to understand his wife by way of understanding the family secrets and ancestors in her family.

“Oh, we all have black sheep in our family. My brother’s wife just left him and he’s now realizing it had something to do with her mother.”

Of my description of the book to a kind old man.

“Sounds good. Let me go ask my wife.”

Of my offer to sign a book for a woman.

“Oh, are you the author?”

Of my introduction to the next person who approached my table, “Hi, I’m the author Karen Harrington.”

“Hello the author Karen Harrington.”

Of the mints on my signing table.

“What are these for?”

Of the puzzle on my signing table.

“Why did you cut up your cover like that?”

Of the woman who ran over to my table with her hubby and told me her name was Jane.

Hubby: “If I read this, will I understand my wife better?”

Me: Huh Huh. Maybe. Here’s a bookmark.” (She leaves. Returns 10 mintues later.)

“OMG! My husband’s name is Tom!” (See, the couple in my book are Jane and Tom.)

Of my accidental penning “Very best pictures” (Doh! Should have written WISHES)

Me: “Oh, I’m so sorry. We were talking about pictures, and, well, ha ha…well, if I become famous, one day this will be very valuable.”

--

Karen Harrington is the author of the psychological suspense debut Janeology. Visit her website to read an excerpt.

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So, there you have it, my very first guest post, which I think has set the standard for any future guest posters that might like to write something for me and save my weary fingers!!

Monday, 15 December 2008

A new ornament for the Tree!

My Christmas ornament via the secret ornament swap finally arrived!! We were getting a bit worried about it, especially when my swappee said that she'd posted it around Thanksgiving, which was ages ago!!

This evening I got home to find that the postman had left a note on my doormat, it said that they tried to deliver a parcel that morning but it was too big to fit through my letterbox so, as usual, he took it back to the depot. This is where people can go and get their parcels and things, but....the thing is that you can usually only collect mail between something like 5am and 12noon. However, and it's a good however, from the 15th December to the 23rd, the depot is having longer opening hours, closing at 5:30pm. Which was just perfect because it was 5pm, so I dashed back to the car and went down to the mail sorting centre to get my parcel. I couldn't wait any longer, particularly as I didn't know whether it would be my ornament or a parcel full of craft stamps that I've ordered.

So, I was really really pleased when I saw on the parcel that it had come from Leslee - this is my secret ornament!! Woohoo!!! I opened the parcel and in it there was a lovely little note from Leslee, along with that there was a LOT of bubblewrap, keeping my ornament safe. My ornament came in the sweetest little Christmas bag.....

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And it came with a peppermint lollipop- it's a rather big lollipop!!

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And the ornament itself? It's a pile of snowmen!!

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With a close up of the middle snowman!

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Sent all the way from Tennessee from Leslee who blogs at Phillips 101 - thank you so much, this lovely ornament goes very nicely on my tree!!

Sunday, 14 December 2008

O Tanenbaum!

How difficult is it to take a photograph of a Christmas tree!!? It never quite seems to come out looking the way it does it does with the naked eye. Anyway, here are a couple of photographs of the tree and it's ornaments - all of which were put up on Friday as I decided that it really was getting close enough to Christmas to put the tree up.

It was quite an interesting exercise actually as I was getting fed up of putting the tree behind my armchair and so only seeing it when I walk in and out of the room. So this year.....I moved the furniture around, swapped the sofa for the armchair, turned the shelves around and put them against the opposite wall and..... made some room for the tree in between the armchair and the door to the lounge. I think that it works very well, I may even leave the lounge like this and put something else, like a table or cupboard, where the tree currently stands.

Anyway - on to the pictures of said tree, which are also being used to take part in Show Me Your Tree as hosted by Uncomplicate me!

The tree from two different angles....

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A couple of ornaments on the tree.....

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And finally - an attempt to get the tree in the dark - I took several photos and none of them came out quite right so here is what I think is the best of the bunch! (This one seemed to work best because it was backlit by all the candles that I had lit in the room!)

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And don't forget that if you want see what else is going on at Show and Tell just go and visit the Teacher and listen to the other Show-and-Tellers!!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Tagged!!

I got tagged by Wishing4One today!  It's been a while since I got tagged other than opting to do a meme because I liked the look of it!

The rules are:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about you.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end, and include links to their blogs.

Before I start, I should say that I have done something similar before, so I may well end up repeating myself, but I hope I don't - surely I can of think of seven more random/weird facts about myself!!

One.  There are very few photos where I am not pulling strange faces or poses!! I just can't seem to help myself and it's not something that I set out to do!! (and I am not about to show you a photograph either!!)

Two.  I don't like shopping all that much as I find it very frustrating.  But today I had a good day and see how it can be addicting for some - I even think that I have done most of my Christmas shopping.

Three.  I have waaaay too many candles!!!  It is a serious habit with me, I simply cannot pass up a candle shop or candle party! Or at least that is what I used to be like - I still have a hefty bunch of candles, but am trying to whittle them down a bit.

Four.  I may fall into the minority here, but I do not like reality television shows.  I suppose I don't so much mind things like the dancing ones or the ice-skating ones, but simply cannot bear those like Big Brother or I'm a celebrity....  Urgh.  I have better things to do with my time, but hey, whatever floats your boat!! ;-)

Five.  I don't really know what to do with make up!! I think that my make-up gene is dramatically flawed!!  I can handle very simple make up for a party, but other than that, I think that I would get thrown out of the women's club for admitting that I don't do make up!!

Six.  I can whistle with my ears!! Of course, this is just a consequence of causing feedback in my hearing aids by covering them up or wiggling them about, but is still sounds good - I can whistle with my ears!

Seven.  I like to put a touch of marmite on my  breakfast potatoes!!  This is a family thing...when we do the occasional cooked breakfast, we fry slices of boiled potato and they taste extra nice with a smidgen of marmite on them - try it!!

And that's my seven, now I need to find seven bloggers to tag...I am off to browse my google feedreader, have found a few and I tag...

Random Rants and Rambles
Scribbit
Hello, my name is Alice
Abbilyeverafter
The Goat
Yes, I know Sam is a boy's name
View from the Hill

Sorry if you have already done this one, but it's always fun to learn something new!!

Friday, 12 December 2008

The Mom Song

This is one fabulous song!! I saw it a few days ago but didn't stop to listen because it didn't have subtitles and I could not make any sense of it! This one does have subtitles though and so, with thanks to A Deaf Mom Shares Her World - she posted the subtitled version, please listen to the Mom Song!!!



Who amongst you doesn't recognise this, either in themselves or in their own mothers!!!?

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Telepathy

How many of you are telepathic?

I only ask because somebody clearly thought I was earlier today! I was driving home after work today, and as it was nearly 5 o'clock, it was dark with lots of red lights in front of me as I follow the cars down the road towards my village.

It's a dark road with no street lights and so when the cars in front of me appeared to be driving down the road as normal with no indicating signals or anything, I was very surprised to come up hard behind a cyclist! I had to brake a bit hard and pull out around the cyclist - signaling for three reasons - to pull out, to let oncoming drivers know what I was doing and to let the drivers BEHIND me know that there was something going on. For goodness sake, it was that dark that when the cars in front of me went round him, I thought that they were just following the bend because I could not see the lights of the cyclist. (like I said, I am not telepathic and do not know that there is a cyclist in front of you!!)

This is why we have indicators!! To let people know what is going on!!! Ooooh, I was cross.

Having said that, if the person in front of me had seen me at work this afternoon they may well have thought that I was indeed telepathic!! I was just leaving the office to go home (had my coat on, bag over shoulder and keys in hand) when I happened to look back at Ann and she was on the phone and she had this look on her face that I can only describe as saying "the person on the phone wants to speak to Sam, but she's on her way home, what do I do, do I say something or ask them to leave a message, what do I do?!"

It was that clear!! So clear that I went back and sorted out the problem, which was only a small thing. It was funny because Ann said "I didn't say anything" and yet it was so clear that I was needed back in the office!! It's actually quite amazing how much can be said without saying anything.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Tagged for Christmas!

I found this today on a Magnolia's Heart Beats and it looks rather fun. Mostly because I am so addicted to all things Christmassy!! I did some similar questions last December, but these are slightly different if I recall correctly!

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot Chocolate - always!! Mind you, I have never had eggnog, but even so I am pretty certain that hot chocolate will always win this one!
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Oh, they're most definitely wrapped and then stacked under the tree!!
3. Coloured light on house/tree or white?
I don't have lights outside the house (unless you count the candles that you can see through the window - they're white), but the lights inside the house are a mix of both as they are mostly coloured with a few white ones!
4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No.
5. When do you put your decorations up?
Not too soon, as I have already seen so many trees belonging to other bloggers, it feels as though I have left it a bit late!! I may well put the tree up this weekend.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Erm, sausage rolls!!!
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?
Don't think that I have one as all the Christmasses were good!
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Don't really know, I think that one day I just understood that he had a lot of helpers, but because I had younger brothers I had to maintain my belief for a bit longer!!
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Oooooh never, how could you even consider such a thing!!
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
By throwing everything I have on it - it usually turns out quite well!
11. Snow. Love it or dread it?
Love it. Unless it gets in the way, but generally I like the whiteness of it all.
12. Can you ice skate?
Yes, although I haven't done so for a few years.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
No, there isn't one that really stands out.
14. What is the most important thing about the holidays for you?All the family that I see as it is one of the few times during the year that we are all together - it is going to be a full house this year.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Anything except Christmas pudding will do!!
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Making my own Christmas crackers.
17. What tops your Christmas tree?
An angel
18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
If I am honest, I like to receive, but then the look on other people's face is good too!!
19. What is your favourite Christmas song?
It varies, but at the moment I think that it is The Holly and the Ivy
20. Candy Canes. Yum or Yuck?
Yum!
21. What do you want for Christmas?
I would really like some copic pens, but they are a bit expensive, I will have to wait for the sales for those.
22. Do you attend an annual Christmas party.
Not really, but I do have an annual Christmas meal with the girls from work.
23. Do you dress up for Christmas Eve or wear PJ's?
Just casual until I go to bed and THEN I wear PJs! ;-)
24. Do you own a Santa hat?
I don't, but I think that my parents do. I have various Christmas earrings though.
25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with?
Family.
Tag 5 people - Tag, you're it! And please leave me a comment so that I can be my usual nosy self!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Dasher

I have a new friend.....

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Isn't he smart? His name is Dasher and he was fortunate enough to win me on Saturday!!  I should explain...Mum and I went on a coach trip to Oostende in Belgium.

This trip was organised by some people where Mum works and this is their fifth trip I think, but their first time to Oostende.  Anyway, not only do they organise a trip to Belgium, but they also organise quizzes and raffles and all things fun.

During the coach trip out we were all given a raffle ticket and told to hang on to it.  Once we all had tickets, wrapped presents were dispersed from bags at either end of the coach.  These presents all had numbers on them and we all simply had to pass the presents back and forth until we ended up with the one that had our individual numbers on them.

Last year I won a bunch of ribbons for wrapping presents, but this year I think that Dasher makes a very good addition to the family!!

I am a bit tardy with this weekend's show and tell, but if you want to see what all the other kids have to say, just go and visit Mel's Show and Tell!!

Friday, 5 December 2008

Christmas Ornament Swap

Sometime ago I joined a Secret Ornament Swap - you can read about that in an earlier post.

I should point out that it is only secret up to a point because we are all asked to identify ourselves when we do send the ornament to wherever it is going - this is simply so that we can see whether or not the ornament got there (and whether it was liked of course!!).

Anyway, I sent my ornament across the seas roughly two weeks ago and it arrived when the recipient was actually on holiday!! She got back from her holiday yesterday and opened her parcel!! She has written a lovely post about the ornament - go and read what she has to say on The Goat - I'd love to know why her blog is called The Goat!!!

My ornament - from whomever - has yet to arrive, but when it does, you can be sure that I will be telling you all about it!!

Sod's law!!

Can anyone explain to me why it is that on the day when I have the least time to spare, the curtains decide to jump off their railings!! I couldn't just leave it so I had to fix it and then get on with all the bits and pieces that I have to do this morning....and I have to get back to them now!!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

card making stuff

You'd think that I'd be sick of all things related to card making by now, but when I discover that there are are a few blogs hosting craft related giveaways throughout the month of December then I get all excited again and wonder whether I could win anything!!

Stamping with a whiff of joy are giving away stamps every day and The Artistic Stamper is also giving away stuff up until Christmas as is Elzybells, so do head over and see if you can win something to add to your card making stash. Scrap Bitz also has a giveaway - ending on the 5th December so hurry!! And you have until the 7th December to see if you can win a stamp from Bootiful Stampz, or if you fancy a pack of lovely bits and pieces then go and visit Crafty Emma - her closing date is the 8th December. CraftyC's Crafting Library has a bunch of stuff to give away and her deadline is the 14th December, Lil Deb's Happy Place also has the same deadline. And finally All the Things I Love is also giving away craft stuff, but her closing date is today, so run run run - go and enter!!

Who knew that there were so many generous people around? Even if I don't win I am glad that someone will get to enjoy the fun crafty bits and pieces that are being given away!! Of course this is all with apologies to those that have nothing to do with card making or scrap booking at all, but like I said, I get too excited to keep it quiet! (perhaps I should even start a separate card making blog, but it's enough to try and keep with this blog!!)

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

NaBloPoMo

I've been meaning to post something about NaBloPoMo ever since the end of November, but other posts have gotten in the way! And before even more inspiration gets in the way, I thought that I had better say something about how I thought it went for me.

As an experiment it was interesting, particularly as I never used to be good about blogging every day. Perhaps you could still say that I am not good about posting every day because not every post in November is worthy of the title of Post. Nevertheless I did indeed manage to post something every day and it did force me to think about what I could say rather that just saying to myself "nothing to say today, not worth even thinking about posting", which was good for me to have to do.

Sometimes there are days when nothing comes to mind or when you're too busy/tired/lazy to write anything, but as the little button on the left my blog says - I blog without obligation and I think that that is an important point to make because if I had to blog every day then it would very quickly become a chore and most likely reduce my inspiration further!

I enjoy blogging, so while I may not write something every day, I will continue to write while I enjoy it. Still, at least I can say that I "won" NaBloPoMo!!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Craft Fair

As I mentioned on Sunday, today was the day of the craft fair at work. As this is the first time that this has been done at work I had no idea what to expect and so I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived to find all the tables covered in red and white tablecloths and trimmed with tinsel. (not knowing what to expect, I brought my own red tablecloth just in case, but didn't need it!)

I quickly found my table and saw that I was sandwiched between a woman selling Christmas Cakes and another woman selling cards and pictures with pictures of pets on them and I thought that I would be ok there! There were quite a few card selling stalls though so I didn't know if I would be helped or hindered by that.

Anyway, after spreading my cards out on the table I sat back and waited. The doors opened at 12noon and people started trickling in, it was slow at first, but it soon built up and then for the next two hours until the doors closed it was quite busy with people popping in and out all the time. I saw many friends, colleagues, and strangers and so I wasn't the least bit bored as I love people watching!

I didn't sell as many cards as I thought I might but then I think that fairs like this can be a bit hit and miss, but I did sell some and whatever is left can be used for my own Christmas card stash which saves me from having to make any more!! And in fact, I don't think that I could even face making any more just yet, I need a break from making so many Christmas cards.

What was interesting though was being on the other side of the stall as I have never been in that position before (not since being 'volunteered' to look after jumble stalls for a while as a child!) and it was quite an eye opener. The people that come to visit the fair don't make eye contact with the sellers, instead they just wander around looking firmly at the tables eyes always downcast with the body slightly turned away. It was quite fascinating actually and really made me realise how lonely it can be sometimes sat behind the stall all day; as it was the fair was only open for two hours and I don't think that I could have sat there all day. In fact, one or two acquaintances looked at my stall and I don't think that they even realised that it was me behind the table; naturally I didn't want to call out and engage them in conversation because then that might have made them feel obliged to buy something.

As a seller it was also interesting in that I had to lay out the table as best as I could in order to catch people's eyes, smile at those that did look up and chat to those that were interested in having a bit of a conversation. I think that I also learnt a bit more about sales techniques, for instance, I had a sign on my table that said "buy five, get the sixth free" when in fact if I had put "buy three get the fourth free" then I may well have sold more as people don't really want six handmade cards for special people, but may consider buying three instead of just two - it's all psychology really!! It was also quite interesting seeing the different ways in which people consider the products on display, some people just peer about, others like to pick up stuff or talk to the seller before buying.

There was even one woman who made me laugh because she picked up three cards and was considering others so I pointed out that she could buy five and get the sixth free. She then proceeded to pick up others, discard some, look at some more, put some more down, rummaged about a bit more and then....only bought two!!! It really was a fascinating process to watch! (but again, highlights that I should perhaps have said buy three get four!!)

Given that it was a first time experience I was quite pleased with how it turned out and I would do it again next year if they ran it again. Although I most certainly wont be turning it into a regular thing by doing it every weekend as some people seem to do. Particularly as I want to keep this as a hobby that I enjoy doing rather than something that becomes work that needs to be done if I want to recover my costs and make a bit of profit.

Monday, 1 December 2008

the best laid schemes o' mice and men...

...gang oft agley! If that made no sense to you whatsoever, it was written by Robert Burns and basically says that the best laid plans of mice and men often go wrong!

I didn't actually have any plans to do anything specific at work today, nothing but the usual day to day stuff that needs to be done in any library. Which was a good thing too as when we got to work this morning there was an email in all of our inboxes that stated that our hospital Trust is now a Foundation Trust.

Which will probably mean little to you if you don't live in the UK, and may not even mean much to you even then!! But the government is encouraging hospital organisations to apply for Foundation Status which means that we have far better control over our own budget and can do far better forward planning (apparently!) amongst other things.

Now, clearly this is good news for the hospital, but, and it is rather a big but, it means that the name of organisation has changed from blah-de-blah NHS Trust to gobble-de-gook NHS Foundation Trust. You will note that it is not even blah-de-blah NHS Foundation Trust - the entire name has changed. Of course the very senior staff can just celebrate in the new name and status....it is the other staff that have to change all the paperwork, check all the websites, update all the email signatures, and generally hunt down all the old names and change them to the new one.

And guess what? That's not all that changes as our email address changes too!!! With immediate effect!! Any mail addressed to us using our old address will continue to be forwarded to us until the end of January 2009, but again it means a heck of a lot of work to the majority of as we tell everyone that our email address has changed as well checking all the library leaflets and paperwork to see what email addresses they have.

I am really pleased that we now have Foundation Status, but please....a bit of warning in future (I mean, we knew that we were applying for it, not that it would happen that quickly) as I printed off about 100 (or more) book labels just last week with the old organisation name on it!!! I would imagine that there were a few people with mixed feelings today - good that it's happened cos it should be good for the hospital, but annoyed that we weren't given a bit more warning!

Sunday, 30 November 2008

More Christmas Cards

If you read my last post about Christmas Cards, you may know that I am taking part in a craft fair on Tuesday and so I have made what feels like hundreds of cards. Definitely a hundred cos I have made just over a hundred!! As much as I love card making it does get a bit wearying if you're trying to meet a deadline, but I am pleased with what I have done so far.

Here are the two boxes full of cards....

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And, with apologies for the very poor photographs as I have yet to work out how to take card photos properly, particularly when they have been sealed in plastic bags, here is a selection of the cards that I have made.

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With a close up...!

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I hope to be able to tell you all on Tuesday evening how the craft fair went - I do hope to sell at least ONE card!! Anyway, a real make-and-take show and and tell that one I think!! If you want to see more Show and Tells then go and ask the teacher and she may be kind enough to let you see what other people have brought to the classroom!

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Smiles

What does it take to make you smile?

I was in my car and on the way to the shops this morning when the cockles of my heart were thoroughly warmed!  I drove past what looked like a father and daughter and they were obviously out walking their dog. 

Just as I drove by, they had pulled up to the pavement opposite the road from me and were teaching the dog how to sit and stay rather than dashing across the pavement, and as I looked I could see that the dog was a puppy - it looked like a King Charles spaniel and it was just so gorgeous that I just melted into a puddle of goo!!

I think that I smiled for about the next five miles and giggling every time I thought of that puppy so eager to please and yet so excited too.  Even now, practically the whole day later, it still  makes me give a little smile!

Friday, 28 November 2008

Errrrr....

It's half past ten in the evening and I still can't think of anything to say! Except that I've been having fun rummaging around the blogs that have signed up for ICLW - International Comment Leaving Week - a monthly blogfest that means commenting on at least six of the blogs that are participating.

It's a good way of getting to see what other people are doing and spreading a bit of bloggy love!! This time around I have been aiming for Iron Commentator status, i.e. leaving a comment on each and every one of the blogs listed - with the exception of those that need passwords that you don't have and there was one of those this month, which is a shame because I did want to leave a comment only I had sign up/in in order to comment. It is also a shame because I am sure that blogs that require you to sign in will get fewer comments because people can't be bothered to go to quite that much hassle - never mind the comment verification that drives people up the wall (but not me, cos I have this on my blog so I don't mind it so much!! ;-) )

Anyway, without further ado, here is my final list for November's ICLW....

Sticky Feet
Mrs Spock
Portraits in Sepia
Just Me
To Baby and Beyond
Vintage Mommy
The Unfair Struggle
Dancing with Gaia
Elana's Musings
Building Heavenly Bridges
Who shot my stork-
Musings of a Teacher
Not The Path I Chose
Stirrup Queens

Woohoo!! I made Iron Commentator Status!!! I don't think that I'll be doing that again!! ;-)

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Thanksgiving

This seemed like a good way to do a post - as seen on Chocolate on my Cranium.

And so in honour of the American Thanksgiving (and those hundreds, nay, thousands of bloggers that are writing something thankful today!), I say that I am thankful.....

Thankful that my brother is coming home from India on Sunday week, I haven't seen him for ages!

Happy and thankful for all those memories of family holidays, I don't think that there was a bad one in the batch at all!

And I am thankful that I was able to adopt Phoebe cat from the Cat Protection Society almost three years ago (doesn't time fly!), especially when she curls up on the bit of my tummy or chest that is not covered up by a laptop!!

Naturally I am thankful for all those things that mean I can live well, a job, a house, a car, and the education that got me there!

Kindness is always something to be thankful for, so thank you for those that think to help others, those that always smile and say hello in passing, those that do not expect anything in return for what they do.

Freedom is definitely something to be thankful for, particularly as it is not really something that I think about, but truly, I am free to work, free to wear trousers, free to live the way I want to, free to complain if I need to (!), and free to be me!!

Unlimited thanks are definitely required for my parents who manage to put up with me and my ways! ;-)

Last but not least, I am thankful that I can listen to Christmas music!! I finally gave in and decided to put a Celine Dion CD on in the car - "poppy" enough that it is not quite like listening to carols too early!!

And on the penultimate day of ICLW I left comments on the following....

The Fertile Infertile
Noemi
Woman Anyone
Between the Lines
Bella And Her Fella
emilythehopeless
Kicking You From the Inside
Meepit On Parade
Get Pregnant
Unquestionable Love
Birds and Squirrell
Our Own Creation
The Binky Diaries
Communique
Conceive This!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Really make sure you save it!

After yesterday's post on saving your work, I didn't expect to be writing about another potential catastrophe today! Fortunately all ended up well, but you'll never guess what happened!?

The library was being hoovered by the cleaner and was looking all nice and clean when she unplugged the hoover and caused screams to ring out in the library! It seems that she was just a little too careless in switching off the plug at the wall and managed to switch off both plugs.

Which, actually seems rather a risky design fault - wouldn't it be better to design a socket that has the two switches on opposite sides of the plate from each other - surely that would stop us from switching off the freezer, computer, whatever vital piece of equipment we have, by mistake.

Anyway, we all jumped when that poor girl on the computer screamed (luckily it wasn't the same girl I was talking about yesterday, I think that she'd have committed murder if it was!) and as I saw the cleaner walking away from that area, I knew exactly what had happened and dashed over to see if anything could be done.

Fortunately this girl had been saving her stuff on her memory stick and so when we turned the computer back on, she merely had to do a little bit again rather than the whole thing. (The cleaner wasn't even sorry as I don't think that she realised what she had done because I don't think that she uses computers much, if at all!)

But good grief....whatever next!!!

And today's ICLW comments were left on....

Heeeeere Storkey, Storkey!
Mom of 2 Dancers
The Daily Doings of Mr Silly and Little Miss Trouble
Ronda's Rants
Broken Bits
Our Surrogacy Adventure
Elusive BFP
Helping Make Sense
Hello Jello
Rachel's Scrambled Eggs
Life In A Holding Pattern
Our Box of Rain
The Saga of Becoming Fruitful
Baby Smiling In Back Seat
The New Life of Nancy
The Maniacal Mommy

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Save it!!!

If you have an essay to do, please please don't just hit save and think that it has been saved!!

I had someone in tears today in the library because they didn't specifically save their work to their memory stick, they just hit "save as" and kept pressing return and simply assumed that they'd be able to find it again.

Not so. We had great fun trying to find this document again, we even had one of the IT guys down in the library trying to find this document, all without success. It's one of those things like keeping duplicate copies on a different file, we all know we are supposed to do it, but how many of us actually go to the bother of making another file?

I did feel sorry for this student and did my best to help her out, but there really was no denying that her work was gone. I have actually been in that position myself - years and years ago at university when I managed to lose some work right before I had to hand in the essay. Of course, it's a valuable (if unnecessary) lesson to learn as I never did anything so silly again!

So please! Make sure you save it where you know you can find it!

Anyway. My recent ICLW comments are...

Monday, 24 November 2008

Christmas Cards

Today I am taking part in a Christmas homemade-handmade bloggie carnival as hosted by Antique Mommy. I've never taken part in a carnival before, but it's a good idea as it gets a lot of people blogging on the same topic and all the posts can be found in one place. (of course, that only works if everyone joins in!!)

Anyway, I have been making what feels like hundreds of Christmas cards for an upcoming craft fair where I work and here is a selection of the range that I shall be selling!

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As I couldn't possibly describe how to make each and every one as I'd be here all day, there is one that I want to focus on though as I rather liked this one. Oh, I like them all, but this one is relatively simple yet very effective.

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1) Grab yourself a card blank

2) Lightly draw a circle in the top two thirds of the card

3) Stamp a greeting in the middle

4) Punch out several shapes from different coloured paper. I've gone for a variety of green paper and have used my star punch, but you could use a simple round punch, or perhaps jazz it up at bit with a snowflake punch?

5) Using glue and foam pads simply layer the punched out shapes around the circle so that some lie flat against the paper and some stand out from the circle.

6) Finally, tie yourself a ribbon, red works well with green! But it will depend on your tastes and what colours you have already chosen.

And there you have it, a little card that is quite easy to make and you could sit down of an evening and make a few of these!! Nothing too time consuming or requiring lots of colouring in or embossing, and yet, don't you think that it looks pretty?!

And by the way, some crazy woman is giving away a craft stamp every day for the rest of November!! So, go and check out Bootiful Stampz if you want to be in with a chance of winning a stamp for your cards!

Incidentally, my latest ICLW comments are....

Life with the Georgia Reiniches
An Equation of Hope
It is Tuesday, Right?
Dreams come True Sometimes
That's My Answer
Bloorb
Loving Thee....and More
Along Life's Little Journey
Ordinary Exultations
Breeder Beware
Inconceivable
Blogfight
Off my Mind, but from my Heart
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Pampers

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Cats....

....know how to make themselves comfortable despite whatever you may be doing, and so for Show and Tell I am going to show you just what Phoebe did!

It is fortunate that my laptop has a built in camera cos I was able to take these few photos!!

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I was in the middle of writing an email to my middle brother when Phoebe wanted a cuddle, and she clearly saw that my lap was full of laptop so she decided to climb on my chest. I was actually somewhat slumped down on the armchair as I don't think that she would have tried this otherwise!

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She is still here as I type this up the night before Show and Tell and this is probably an indication of how accommodating I am and how much I don't mind if the cat sits on me!! Fortunately I can still see the screen and can touch-type so I don't mind in the least; we are keeping each other warm on this cold night when all the weather forecasters are giving weather warnings of snow and ice and all things cold!

She finally got comfortable and settled down in a suitable position (i.e. her posterior wasn't in my face!!)

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And if you want to take part in Show and Tell or see what other people have got to tell us, then do go and visit Show and Tell!!

Finally - today's ICLW comments were....

Vickie Press
Nervous Breakdowns are Highly Underrated
Fighting Infertility
The Idle Mind of Beth
One Small Wish
Preheated Oven - where is my bun?
Junebug's Musings
Infertility Podcast and Blog
In Pursuit of Parenthood
Mommy Confessions
The Great Big If
From Such Great Heights

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Mystery Tour

Did you know that it was possible to take a mystery tour in your own home town!?

I did one today when I wanted to drive across town from one craft shop to another and due to various reasons I don't normally visit them both on the same day and so I didn't know how to drive directly from one to the other.

I could have beetled down the motorway or driven up and around town, but why do that when there must be an easier way across town ? Well, needless to say I saw parts of town I had never seen before and I am quite positive that I still managed to take the longer route rather than the short! I kind of aimed the car in more or less the right direction and hoped that I got there.

I had no idea quite where I would pop out but I hoped that it would be close to the craft shop. As it was I ended up coming out on the bypass exit just above the one needed for the shop, so it was just a matter of driving down the road and turning off again.

It was certainly all very interesting and I was never worried about getting totally lost! How could you possibly get utterly lost in your own town anyway?!?

P.S. My laptop is behaving itself beautifully today, so yesterday must have been a momentary aberration or at least I hope it was!!

Today's ICLW comments are...

Be Still and Know
Tales of the Phoenix
The Long Journey
Blissful Body Yoga Blog
Sippy Cups are Not for Starbucks
Letting It Out
Our Journey to Baby
Getting There
BarrenAlbion
White Picket Fences
Infertile Myrtle

Friday, 21 November 2008

Uh-oh

My laptop keeps messing me about this evening, I may have to call Dell tomorrow and see what they can do for me....this may well cut short my NaBloPoMo efforts.

Still, as this is a relatively new laptop I should be able to get the problem sorted out, whatever it is. I shall certainly be making a mega fuss if Dell wont sort it out.

Fingers crossed everybody!! But at the moment, after several efforts to restart my laptop, it seems to be working.

P.S. Nearly forgot allll about ICLW - I joined again for November to poke around some other blogs and get a few comments!! I commented on these ones today.....


As you can see, I am attempting to go for Iron Commentator Status!!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

I remember when....

...my brother and sister-in-law told me I was going to be an Auntie.

They were very very sneaky and kept it all very quiet and didn't tell anyone until they had the first scan done. If I remember rightly, I visited them the week that they had the scan done, so they didn't have to wait long to tell me.

Arriving at their house after the usual wearying journey across the motorways on a Friday evening, never the best of times for driving cross country, I was given a cup of tea and we all sat down to chat when my brother suddenly jumped up and said "I've got something to show you" and he dashed off for a few seconds.

He returned with a little rolled up piece of paper and gave it to me without saying anything at all. He and my sister-in-law must have been on tenterhooks waiting for me to unravel the paper and look at it.

I unrolled it and saw the baby pictures. My first thought was "why are they showing me E's baby pictures" (E being my sister-in-law's sister) and I was quite puzzled for a couple of seconds when all of a sudden I twigged the reason that they had hold of these scan photographs and that I was looking at my first niece or nephew!! (nephew as it turns out!!).

It was just over four years ago, but I still remember that moments confusion and realisation and the hugs that followed. It was a good weekend. I even remembered going out for a meal with them some weeks prior to this weekend and my sister-in-law not having any wine and whispering to my brother behind her hand - clearly she was already pregnant but didn't want to say anything then - it must have been agony for them not to say anything at that point in time!!

As with my story last Thursday, this has been prompted by Mama Kat's writer's workshop!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

another whoops!

But this time, it's a lesson learned!

For all you card makers out there, or indeed, all you craft hobbyists....do not stamp and emboss and then cut out said images unless you know for absolutely certain what's on the other side!! Unfortunately I cut up a perfectly lovely yellow patterned piece of paper and then couldn't use the stamped images because the yellow showed through on the cut edges of the paper. (and can't now use the yellow paper because the embossed images show through!)

Like I said - a lesson learned (or should that be learnt - Mrs Spit, I need your help there as the acknowledged grammarian!!) and this is the perfect example of needing to look before I leap. Luckily I am not usually an impulsive character so I can be assured that I don't normally need to check things before I do them.

Still, when the card-making desk is all cluttered and piled high with bits of paper, stamps, ink, pens, scissors and the like, it is actually rather lucky I didn't cut out something that I really did need and would be have been utterly cross with myself about. As it is, it is just a whoops and and "oh poo, I didn't mean to do that", but no biggie.

Just pay attention next time!!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Whoops

Nearly forgot to post today, which would totally ruin my NaBloPoMo efforts!!

Ummm, I did a random thoughts blurb yesterday so can't do another one today.

Some days I just have to admit that I have nothing to say, nothing to comment on, nothing to make you laugh with, nothing to make you cry with either, so that's a good thing too!

Monday, 17 November 2008

erk

We're just over half way through NaBloPoMo and I am a bit stumped for what to write about today, so I think that I will go with one of my random thought bubbles!

  • The Christmas decorations in the shops this year seem to be totally rubbish, and as I am taking part in the Ornament Swap this year, I was getting a bit worried about what I was going to buy to send to my recipient. Fortunately I remembered that there is a Christmas Shop in a village about fifteen miles away from me, so I went and had a look and found something!!

  • I have decided to join in with the new craft fair at work this year, which is going to be hosted on the 2nd December and so I have a bunch of greeting cards to make, although I expect that most of them will be Christmas cards. I am just having trouble deciding how much to charge! I don't want to overcharge and not sell any, but neither do I want to undervalue them and make a loss - how the heck do craftspeople decide how much to charge?

  • Tomorrow I am attending a regional library meeting and I really don't want to go!! There are about 20-30 people that usually attend and I avoid going to the meetings that happen quarterly because I don't always follow what's going on and I don't actually think that the meetings achieve anything. But if I don't want to get known as the librarian that never attends meeting, then I should go and show my face!!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

puppies!!

This Show and Tell doesn't actually belong to me, but I simply could not resist alerting more of you to this live feed of six gorgeous, rambunctious, sleepy, fiesty, and funny puppies!! (It's not on air all the time, but when it is, it is rather addictive!! Although I should point out that the pups are not always in the bed!)



If you want to Show and Tell something to the world, go and join the rest of the class at Stirrup Queens

Saturday, 15 November 2008

More giveaways!

There seems to be rather a profusion of giveaways at the moment and they all have specific entry requirements, some ask for nothing more than a comment, some ask you put a badge on your blog, some ask you to make a funky video and some, like this one, ask you to blog about it.

So, apologies for inflicting this one on you when you probably have no interest in eyelets (Christmassy or otherwise!), but I do! I love making cards and these eyelets would go very well with my Christmas stash.

If, like me, you make cards and fancy some more bits and pieces for that neverending pile that sits around the house, go and visit the Retro Cafe Art Gallery and see what you have to do to be in with a chance of winning this great set of eyelets and associated kit!!

I did try to win a very similar set a few weeks ago, but didn't win, so clearly I am trying again!!

Friday, 14 November 2008

The first time I....

...could hear my own voice was when I must have been about 18 months old, although I am sure that Mum will correct me if I am wrong as I don't exactly have a memory of this! (Mum says that I was actually just under a year old)

The first thing is you have to know is that we lived about seventy miles from London at the time, which meant a rather long journey by car if we ever wanted to visit London, particularly as taking the car was always going to be easier with all the paraphernalia that toddlers seem to need.

But let's go back a bit further than that. It all started when Mum caught Rubella (German Measles) whilst pregnant with me and as a nurse she knew that there was a good chance that I would be disabled, so when I was born Mum and Dad were on the look out for anything like spina bifida, blindness, brain damage, and deafness.

When I was born, there was nothing obviously wrong, no obvious disability and then Mum didn't think that I was deaf because when I was no more than a few days old and still in hospital someone dropped a metal tray and I startled, which Mum felt as she was holding me at the time.

What Mum didn't know at the time is that apparently Rubella babies have a great deal of hearing at birth and it diminishes rapidly after birth ending up with the final level of deafness round about one year old.

So, at first Mum didn't think anything of it, especially not when I would push my ear against her mouth if she was humming, as mothers do to all babies! However, I eventually stopped responding to sound and despite several visits to the general practice where they insisted that I had a cold and to come back next week, I eventually had an appointment with the specialist in London.

It wasn't long after that that I was fitted with a body worn hearing aid (as you can see on my birthday post from last Friday!) and the doctor warned Mum and Dad that I would try to take my hearing aids out like most children do (as I expect that they are quite uncomfortable). Well, the story goes that it was pretty much impossible to get them off me!!

Anyway, the point of this story is that after I was fitted with this hearing aid in London I could hear myself for the first time in my life, and so I sang to myself something like "woah teddy" all the way home. All seventy miles from hospital to home, which may well have driven my parents crazy if this was any other situation but my joy of hearing that I had a voice!

(By the way, this story came about because I responded to a writer's prompt as blogged by Mama's Losin' it - if you are ever short of inspiration - this is the place to go!! Go and visit and read what other people have written!)