Friday, 24 September 2010

Another Week of Learning - LSNED 18th - 24th September

Having "caught up" with my pages, up to 17th, I've had a week of non-scrapping.  I have managed to keep notes of my little "Lessons", so I will be able to make my pages soon.  This is my summary of the past week's Learning:

* * *

Saturday 18th September

After all the problems of the previous 3 weeks, our little guinea pig had to be put to sleep. I posted on the Friday, about how sad I was.  Once again I was touched and amazed by the many, many kind comments and supportive messages left on my blog, by some of my many blog friends. It brought home to me how very lucky I am to have this network of friends, that has built up over the past 11 months and who give me so much support and encouragement, especially if things are not going well - or indeed, if they're going extra-well!

Today's Lesson:
I am so lucky to have all my blogging friends.

* * *
Sunday 19th September

J. and I spent the morning busily tidying and cleaning, ready for a small invasion in the afternoon.  He had 3 friends round, from 3-7pm, to play games, eat pizza and generally celebrate his forthcoming birthday. 

The boys headed out into the garden, where they stayed for about an hour and a half, playing various games and jumping on the trampoline.  Then they came inside and played some silly games, ate their pizza and cake and had fun playing Mario Karts races on the Wii. 

In past years, we've spent time and money organising "events" for J's birthday - a trip to the local indoor playground, with food laid on; cinema and a meal out; bowling plus burgers; sledging at the nearby indoor ski-slope etc etc.  It can get very expensive and it was a relief this year, when J. said he'd rather invite friends to celebrate at home.  From the enjoyment they obviously had, it was an excellent idea - and it saved us lots of money, as we only had to pay for the pizza delivery and the cake!

Today's Lesson:
Fun can be (nearly) Free!

* * *

Monday 20th September

Monday was a "normal Monday" - I went to my mother's, with her shopping that was delivered first thing. I collected her pension and prescriptions, also the eggs from the "egg lady" in the village. I sorted out her laundry (a neighbour hung it out, so I brought it in, folded it and put it in the airing cupboard), did a few jobs for her, helped her organise her money for bills etc.  This is what I do every Monday morning, unless I'm away on holiday. 

In the afternoon, I was feeling very tired, so I did almost nothing.  There were jobs to do, but I didn't do them really - I ate my lunch, read a book and rested. 

A friend of J's was due in the afternoon, to visit and have tea with us, but they didn't show up - again. His mother has, over the years, proved herself very unreliable - he was due last Thursday, but when I called to see what had happened, as they were 45 minutes late, she said they couldn't come! Dinner was on the stove - I froze the extra portion for another day; on Monday I didn't even call to see what had happened - and she didn't call to apologise. She doesn't seem to realise it's really rude.

I am so used to it now that I've given up worrying and just shrugged my shoulders; but I feel sorry for her boy.  We will probably not see them again now, as they move to New Brunswick, Canada on 1st October. This weekend we are so busy, so I don't think there will be time to drop by and say hello/good bye, but I will try to make time for it. In spite of everything, they're a really nice family and we'll miss them.

Today's Lesson:
Hmmm.... one was that an unreliable person will probably always be unreliable - even if it may be their last chance.

Also, I learned a new idea from Alexa of Trimming the Sails, for a "Catching Up Page" method.

* * *

Tuesday 21st September

It was a really lovely day on Tuesday; so lovely that I ventured out into the garden, took the cover off the bench and sat there to eat my lunch. 

Sherlock was very pleased about this.

I really enjoyed sitting in the sunshine, reading for a little while and soaking up the warm rays.  The weather forecast for later in the week is wind and rain again, so I'm glad I made the most of this little opportunity. 

Today's Lesson: 
Make the most of the sunshine - it may not last long!

* * *

Wednesday 22nd September

I had an appointment with the osteopath, for a routine "adjustment" treatment.  I've still got some problems relating the the fall I had, including a little stiffness and soreness in my upper back (not all the time though), pins and needles, with weakness in my hands - especially the left one, which is clumsy and has little grip, also a regular feeling in my ears, that they are full of water. 

The osteopath explained the cause of this problem.  I now understand how the bones of the skull are constructed, how they make very small movements and how these movements (or lack of) can interfere with the body's normal processes - including the draining of fluids from in and around the ear canals.  It seems that the tightness of my back and kneck muscles are causing problems with the "occiptal" bone and stopping my ears from draining properly, so that they feel clogged.

She loosened things up a bit for me, but ultimately I think that I need to concentrate on my kneck exercises and my posture, to minimise the muscle tightness that is causing the problems in the first place.

Today's Lesson: 
The bones of the skull are delicately balanced and easily impeded by muscle problems.

* * *

Thursday 23rd September

It wasn't sunny this morning, but it was dry and fairly warm.  I was supposed to go into town, to do a number of jobs that have been collecting over the past month or so.  Instead, I pottered about the house, doing "indoor jobs", like cleaning and laundry, putting off the trip into town...

Of course, it rained - in fact it poured with rain!  So I didn't go into town, as I didn't want to be soaked to the skin - and after all, it will wait til next week... Hmmm...
I did have an odd sort of day really. One of those where I had no motivation to do anything.  I made myself do some jobs, including making a start on a "birthday card" for J. - which is in fact a 12" scrap page, as it'll go in an album and be kept for ever. I've all but given up on cards for J. and D. now - they like having a scrap page and the pages look great on the mantlepiece too!
Of course, it being a non-motivated, fuzzy kind of day, I didn't do very well with the scrap layout and had to put it aside to try again on Friday, as it just wouldn't go any further and I was stuck.

Today's Lesson:
Well, I suppose this sums up the general procrastination - "Go out Early and avoid the Rain!"
(a bit like "The Early Bird catches the Worm", isn't it?)

* * *

Friday 24th September

Amazingly I made it to the end of the week... such a weird and woolly kind of week, where nothing quite got finished as expected and motivation was a bit scarce!

This morning, J's school held their annual Coffee Morning, in aid of Macmillan.  I went to this for an hour and a half. It was amazingly crowded this time - they had moved the cakes table and halved its size, from the last few years' arrangements.  They'd also let people into the hall, to sell things on stalls (presumably they charged for the stall, then the people kept their sales/profits).  This all meant there were less tables and chairs available for people drinking coffee to sit at and chat. It was hot, stuffy and noisy, with everyone milling about and having to shout at each other to be heard.  The children were taking it in turns to play us music, on various instruments, but to be honest, unless you were right next to them, it was too noisy to hear them - they just added to the general bedlam!  It was a shame, because the event is usually very well organised and enjoyable. I did not enjoy this one - it was an hour and a half of torture really.  Luckily, just as I got to the point where I was beginning to feel a bit odd, they opened a couple of the outside doors and got some air flowing - phew... it was nice to be able to breathe again! 
I hope they still raised plenty of money for Macmillan, but it would have been nice to be able to sit and relax, to chat with the other parents and to actually find our children and speak to them!

I did manage to look at the stalls, towards the end, when the crowds cleared.  I bought these, to get me started on Christmas books:

I have to plan ahead by at least one Season!

So, after a bit of lunch to recover (I didn't have cake - the stall was too crowded to get near it!), I had another bash at J's birthday page.  Today the ideas came along with almost no effort and it has ended up looking great (finished version to follow after the Birthday!).

Work in Progress. Inspiration just struck!

Today's Lesson:
Apart from "Don't go to the Coffee Morning next year!"...

I suppose the lesson was that you sometimes need to give a project a break; which can make a big difference to your ideas!

So there we are - a week of Little Lessons.  Once this manic weekend is over, I'll try to get time to make the pages to match.  It's going to be a great little album, once it's finished... that is giving me the incentive to try and make all those pages and "keep up"!

* * *

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Up to Date - LSNED Pages and Thank You

First of all, I want to say Thank You. 

I am so grateful to my blog friends for the support and encouragement that you all give me, especially when I post about the difficult things in my life.  I had some lovely messages on yesterday's post about Coffee the guinea pig.  Also there were kind messages on the posts about my mum being ill and stuff related to that  - and when I looked back at any other posts about difficulties and problems, it was just the same - lots of kind, supportive and helpful messages. 

I just want you all to know that it really, honestly does make me feel better.  We may only be friends through this strange cyber-world of blog posts, but I really do feel that I am lucky to have you all there, all over the world, yet only a few button-clicks away.

Thank You.

* * *

I know Shimelle says that "Up to Date" or "Keeping Up" is a self-imposed rule, but it is nice to have all my mini-book pages completed, up to yesterday!

I posted about 1st-7th September pages Here

These are the pages, from 8th to 17th September. The stories behind them are Here.

It's wonderful to have a friend to listen and understand.

Check the FUSE!

I can't resist lovely fabrics (or papers!)

Nothing is better than a quiet day at home with my Boys.

It's amazing how much I can do when there are no distractions!

I really can scrap One 4"x6" photo!

A good Nap can fix a lot of problems!

I am grateful for the gardening team.

I really can not work in this MESS!

Sometimes it's hard to accept that even your Best isn't enough

* * *

I took up Shimelle's challenge to use transparencies for the 15th/16th mid-way pages.  The pages for those two days are made with two printed acetate sheets (from Papermania), fixed back-to-back.  I sandwiched two strips of patterned paper between them (also Papermania - Secret Garden).

The patterned paper strips were just a bit wider than the photos and I placed the little journalling envelopes back-to-back, to keep everything lined up on each page.  This means that, although the next page will show through, there are less things to destract you when you are looking at the pages.  I like the effect - it's fun.

I fixed the pages together at the top with hand-stitching, using a brown linen thread that I have for bookbinding.  The bottom is fixed with glue under those ribbons!  As the binding-side will also be fixed together, I didn't think I needed to apply any adhesive to the sides.  The acetate is very stiff and will keep its shape without needing any more sticky stuff.

I also have been making my own embellishments:

As Shimelle said in her prompt on 15th, when you put the pages together, they really do look like a book already!

Friday, 17 September 2010


Died Friday 17th September
Aged 4 years

* * *

I had to take Coffee to the vet.  She hasn't been well for some time - kept losing weight and wasn't her usual self.  We thought it was because her teeth were growing too fast and preventing her from eating.  These were trimmed, but she then got a cough and infection, which needed anti-biotics.  She seemed better, but only put on a little weight.  Recently she's had her teeth trimmed again, as they were getting long and she wasn't chewing properly.  But even after this, she continued to lose weight. 

Over the last few days I have been hand-feeding her with her favourite grapes, tomatoes and other nice things. She gradually got sadder and sadder and lost her enthusiasm for even her favourite foods.  Today she refused to eat at all.  I syringe-fed her with fruit juice and some baby food (banana and pear puree), but she just sat in a corner and shivered.  It was clear she was really sick and wouldn't recover without urgent help.
So we went to the vet.  Who said she had a tumour in her intestine, which was preventing her from eating.

She was beyond help - nothing I could do would save her. 
The vet gave her some gas to make her sleepy and comfortable, then gave her an injection to humanely put her to sleep.

* * *

Even after all these years of keeping guinea-pigs, I am still heartbroken whenever we lose one.  These little creatures have such personality and are so sweet and friendly.  It's not possible to keep them and not love them.  Each small piggie has its own personality.  Some have been cheeky, some funny, some made amusing noises - one of our piggies would squeak every time her foot touched the floor, like a little commentary on every step she took.  Some are clever and some are not.  I've had a piggie with an amazing sense of humour (!) and a real interest in humans as fellow beings. She loved to talk! 

Coffee was cute, super-fuzzy, a bit cheeky. If you put a hand on top of her head, she'd butt your hand; she would shout for breakfast and chatter her teeth at you in appreciation.  She came to you if you put your hand in her house and called her.  She liked to be stroked and cuddled - she lay in your arms like a baby, on her back! She purred at you and nuzzled your hand.  She was sociable with other guinea pigs too and stood up for her piggie-rights when it came to squabbles over the food dish. She had curly, fuzzy fur and her toe nails grew curly too.  She was soft and so cuddly. 

We loved her.

* * *

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

A Week of Little Lessons - LSNED, 8th-15th September

The second week of September has gone by - so the second week of LSNED has passed also.  It's been a quieter week than the first, with a number of interesting small lessons. 

I haven't finished all my pages yet - a task for this evening, then I will photograph them and blog them. However, here's a quick summary of my LSNED Week 2.

I've decided to blog about this here, as the Blog Page Diary idea isn't really working out.

* * *

Wednesday 8th September

My mum was on the mend by Wednesday. She was eating meals, managing her own breakfast and able to cope with getting her tea, if I set things up for her.  I spent the middle part of the day with her, doing jobs and making her mid-day meal. 

However, I was not in such great shape myself! After seven solid days of caring for my mother, I was reaching the point of exhaustion.  I couldn't sleep properly and felt immensely stressed. 

On Wednesday morning, my friend called for me and we went for our regular walk round the village.  Bless her, she listened to me letting off steam for the whole walk! I got home and said "I have just moaned my way round the whole village!".  She just said it didn't matter, she thought it had done me good and came in for a cup of coffee and a (relaxed!) chat.  Amazingly, that bit of a release made me feel so much better.  I was really grateful to her for listening and just being there when I needed a friend.  It made the rest of the day so much easier to cope with.

The  lesson: It's Wonderful to have a Friend to listen and understand.

* * *

Thursday 9th September

Another day looking after my mum. By Thursday she was a lot better and managing very well, so I didn't have much to do, other than make her some lunch and tidy up a few things. 

That morning I had woken at 6:30am, from a weird dream about electrical goods (bear with me here...).  A week before the toaster had suddenly refused to work.  We had a week with no toast and I was going to return the toaster to the shop, as it was only a few months old.  I had tried plugging it into a different socket and checked inside to see if any of the wires seemed to be damaged, but all looked okay.  Well, I woke up with the realisation that I had not checked the fuse inside the plug. 

Of course, when I changed the fuse, the toaster worked fine! Duh!
The Lesson: Check the Fuse!

* * *

Friday 10th September

My mum was really much better and I took her to the dr. for a check-up and consultation about her DEXA scan (bone density).  The Dr. says she has "moderate osteoporosis" in her spine, which explains the pain she has been having in her back.  She has some tablets now, which will take about 3 months to show any results, but should hopefully help her a bit.

After I had made her some lunch I was sent home, with instructions to have a rest (!).  On the way, I popped into some local shops, to ask if they would display a postcard-sized advert for our Scrapbooking Club.  We're only a little group and are trying to get some new members on board.  The last shop I went to was the local quilting, fabrics, knitting etc shop in my village.  They were happy to put up our card. 

Of course, I couldn't leave empty-handed, especially when they had some new rolls of fabric on the counter:
The Lesson: I Can't Resist Beautiful Fabric (or paper)!

* * *

Saturday 11th September

I was told by my mum that I wasn't to go over at the weekend - she would manage herself.  It was nice to be able to stay at home, although I was still up early, as DH wanted to go into town (to buy DS's birthday present  - shhh!).  There was so much to do at home anyway, as I hadn't managed housework for over a week.  Spent the majority of the morning cleaning, tidying and doing laundry. 

In the afternoon, we all just chilled out at home.  No particular things were done (in fact the "job list" was pretty well ignored!), but we all enjoyed relaxing after our various hectic weeks at work, school and my mum's. Tried to persuade the boys to go out for tea (I didn't feel like cooking - wonder why), but we ended up with a really nice Chinese takeaway instead - yum!

Hence the seriously slouchy photo:
The Lesson: There's Nothing Better than a quiet day at home with my Boys!

* * *

Sunday 12th September

Sunday was the day of our monthly Scrap Club meeting.  On Saturday evening I was sure I didn't want to go, but decided I would get up at a decent time and prepare my things then, as I might change my mind. Besides, it's my job to go and open up the hall, as I'm the keyholder and I always help to set up the tables etc. 

The boys had planned another Epic Battle, so they didn't mind me going out.  I got up at 8am, did my jobs, ate breakfast, packed up some projects to work on, put a load of washing out and went out at 9:50, to walk round to the village hall. Of course, once we were set up and I sat down to work, I soon found I was enjoying myself! I took a break and went home for a quick lunch, but was happy to be back there for the afternoon.  I got a surprising amount done, for someone who was exhausted!

The Lesson: It's amazing how much I can do when there are no distractions!

* * *

Monday 13th September

So back to Monday... normal jobs for my mum. I also took her little cat to the vet, as she had runny eyes.  She came home with eye drops and also ear drops to treat mites - good thing we went!

In the afternoon, I was sooo tired, so I just had a rest and did a bit of work on a scrap page I started on Sunday. I am so pleased with the result. I haven't done many layouts with just one 4"x6" photo - it's nice to realise that I can make it work.

The Lesson: I really Can scrap with only one 4"x6" photo!

* * *

Tuesday 14th September

After a very early start on Monday (DH woke at 2:30 and went out at 3:15 - I woke up when he came out of the bathroom and couldn't get back to sleep), then a rather disturbed nighton Monday also, I was a bit of a zombie on Tuesday morning.  I seem to get to the stage where I'm so tired out that I can't sleep properly - a bit of a contradiction, but there it is!

After J. went out to school, I crawled back into my bed (having just slunk around in my dressing gown until then!) and slept for 3 hours.  I felt sooooo much better when I woke up.  It definitely got me through the day and meant that I could sleep on Tuesday night.  I still felt dull and stupid on Tuesday, but at least I could stay awake!

The Lesson: A good long nap can fix a lot of problems!

* * *

Wednesday 15th September

Well, I finally get to today.  Not a remarkable day either, but at least I had a good sleep last night. I woke before 7am (for the first time in 2 weeks!) and was wide awake. In the shower, hair washed, bright eyed and almost bushy-tailed too! 

Went for my morning walk with my friend, which was lovely as it was a really nice morning.  Then I managed some housework (sorry Mel!) and cleaned the guinea pigs' house.  I now have a shiny kitchen and happy piggies.

The gardening team came today as well.  They did some tidying in the garden and cut the grass.  It makes such a huge difference - the garden looks so much bigger and tidier when the grass is neat!
The Lesson: I am Grateful for the Gardening Team!

* * *

So now I'm up to date with my "Lessons" and photos.  I have a couple of pages to complete so my mini-album is up to date as well.  I think that I have given up the special blog diary - nice idea, but a bit much to keep going, with life as it is!

* * * 

We're busy preparing for a Party on Sunday.  J's birthday is next week, so he has invited a few friends over on Sunday afternoon, to play silly games, do races on the Wii, watch a film and eat pizza and cake.  Should be good - I'm thinking up as many silly games as I can.  So far, we have possibly got "Racing Grannies", then "What Am I?" which involves me writing down lots of objects, people, animals etc on separate bits of paper. Someone is "it" and they have a baseball cap, with a paper stuck to it.  They can ask questions and people say "Yes" or "no" - they have to guess who/what they are! It is very popular, especially when we have clues like "smelly sock" or "toilet"! I think we'll have a little quiz too.  Not sure what else - perhaps "Twister" would be fun - it usually goes down well.  I think it will be muddy in the garden, so I don't think we'll do Space Hopper races... anyway, I'm not sure if the space hoppers are still ok. They're rather old and I haven't seen them for a while...
Sounds as if I'll come up with enough to keep them all happy and hilarious. I can mostly let them get on with it, except for being quiz master, or dishing out the paper clues etc.  I think they will have fun. Once they're bored/tired, they can play Mario Karts on the Wii and we'll order pizza for them to eat.  I must get J. to sort out the film they will watch. 
Busy, busy... but fun! 

I hope all my blog-land friends are well. I haven't been able to keep up very well, although I've dropped in on a few blogs as and when I can (and tried to leave comments).  Please forgive me if I have neglected you - September always seems to be chaos for some reason!

Off to my bed now... Goodnight all Friends!

Friday, 10 September 2010

LSNED Pages, 1st - 7th September

Hello everyone, I'm back in Blog-land for a bit, trying to catch up.

First of all, thanks to everyone who has dropped by in the last couple of weeks and left nice comments - especially those who have wished me & my mum well.  Mum is much better now.  She's told me she can cope on her own again (we'll see!) and managed a trip to the Dr. today, for her check-up and some other stuff. She was tired when we got back, but wasn't feeling ill, which is good news.  I hope she will soon be much stronger and fully recovered (or as close as she will get anyway!).

And next...

I have made the pages for my mini-book, up to 7th September. I'll put them on my LSNED Page, but thought it would be nice to show them all in one post here.

A reprise - the Front Cover

Wednesday 1st September - "Your confidence has grown. You can take care of yourself"

Thursday 2nd September - "It's so Quiet when you're at school"

Friday 3rd September - "Why walk? When you can Bounce!"

Saturday 4th September - "Good communication requires both phones to be ON!"

Sunday 5th September - "A relaxing walk really does clear away the cobwebs!"

Monday 6th September - "When you're ill, cooking is the hardest job of all."

Tuesday 7th September - "They should call it Tricky-backed plastic!"

I'll update my LSNED Page with a daily diary and photos, but I wanted to show all the pages together.  Two more ready to be made - the photos are there, so I just have to do the "cutting and sticking"!

I still haven't worked out what today's "Lesson" might be though.

I did learn, when at the Dr. with my mum, that her Osteoporosis treatment will take about 3 months to start having a noticeable effect. She had a bone density scan last month, which shows that she has "moderate" osteoporosis, which is affecting her back.  That helps explain her constant back pain anyway... She has to take calcium and some other medicine (forget the name), which helps encourage the uptake of the calcium into her bones.  The bone density should be improving by the end of 3 months. 

I also learned that I'm a sucker for a bit of lovely fabric, just as I am for gorgeous papers! I went to various local shops today, to ask if I could display a postcard advertising our scrapbooking club.  The local sewing, quilting and wool shop were happy to oblige - and didn't charge me!  They had some new Halloween themed fabrics on the counter.  I couldn't leave without buying a fat quarter of each!

Isn't is cute? I can feel a set of notebooks coming on !

I am a bit terrible... I can't walk into a craft or fabric shop without buying something.  Perhaps next time, I should leave my purse at home!  Well, having confessed to my naughty purchase, I'd better make use of it and show you some new books very soon.

Of course, I have re-learned lots of stuff today - as every day.  For instance, I re-learned how grumpy I get when I'm tired and haven't slept well.  I've re-learned this fact every day for the last week... It would be nice to have a good night's sleep tonight and a relaxing "day off" tomorrow.  My mother says she can cope by herself, but after seeing her so exhausted and ill, I must admit I will find it hard not to go over tomorrow to check she's okay.  Another lesson re-learned - I hate the responsiblilty at times, but I still feel responsible!

Well, if nothing amazingly earth-shattering happens to teach me an unforgettable lesson, I might go with the fabric, just for a bit of fun! It's been to serious round here recently and I need to smile.

Hope all my blog friends are well.  I'm slowly working my way round the Blog-houses, to check what's been happening in Blog-land while I've been "away".  I'll get to yours soon, if I haven't been there already.

If you missed yesterday's post, I blogged about a nice evening walk on Wednesday.


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