Thursday, 29 August 2013

Here's a thought

Just a random thought spoken out loud to my brother and sister-in-law out this weekend....

Just to set the background:  I have been reading a series of novels about vampires (and we all know each is slightly different so just go with what I say below, and know that I have had some old tooth roots taken out of my mouth).

Me:  So here's a question: we all know that vampires heal unless you stake them but did you know that it's possible that when they are injured, as in cut with a knife, if you pour salt on the wound it doesn't heal?  Therefore, if you were to have your wife's name calved into your back at your wedding ceremony and salt poured onto it her name it is there forever. (Told you, just go with it)

My brother: A, I am not marrying you if sharp knifes are involved. 

Me:  (Ignoring his comment as my brain is on a roll) A dentist tells us to rinse our mouth with salt water following tooth or, in my case, root extraction. Assuming they want us to return for further treatment rather than turn us into haters salt must have healing properties right?  

My brother:  Where are you going with this? 

Me: As a hole left in a gum heals over we can assume that salt does not have the same effect on humans so that's evidence that we aren't close relations to vampires.

My brother:  Did you know that too much salt kills you? (His dad was a chef)

Me: Yes i studied more biology just for fun after school remember. Returning to our vampire discussion, not healing and death are linked so maybe that is why humans can mate with vampires!  

My brother:  (Hugs me and turns to his wife to be and says to her). I love you and am going to marry you but this one i will always love as she is just so cute and my favourite nutter. 

I should state here that he is my brother by marriage; he and my sister are divorced. 

A few days later having found out that my tooth isn't healing properly I received a text from him simply saying:

Have your eyes become sensitive to daylight yet? 

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

IT - the bane of my life

I used to laugh at my mum when I was younger - you may know what I mean; video players were new, cable and satellite TV were years away and VHS had just started replacing BETA Max players.

It's not that they scared your mum but more that they were electronic and that tended to be the husbands domain.  Unless it meant putting a video on to just to play a film mum was stuck as she needed my dad to put the timer on to record anything.  No matter how many times he showed her how to set the timer she couldn't or didn't care to remember.  Looking back on it now maybe she preferred to leave it to my dad as it reinforced how much he cared for her.

Now I look back and think I should never have laughed at my mum. Although I can set a planner quite happily that is about it. In today's world of sky and cable planners there is no need to set the TV timer to record programmes. I'm not much use if something goes wrong with them though which explains why I make a monthly payment to have the satellite company come out and fix it if it isn't easily fixable over the telephone line and some simple instructions!

However, when it comes to computers they are the bane of my life!  Both at work and home so that doesn't make for a lot of stress.......

I have the added problems of having to use voice activated equipment of which I need to spend some serious time getting familiar with the majority of its added features yet the word 'macros' sends fear through my bones. 

I can find my way around MS products quite well though should be able to utilise Excel formulas much better than I do seen as I am an accountant but that is unlikely now that medical advice is that I can't use a keyboard and mouse most of the time if I don't want the pain from RSI and the bulging disc to march on at a pace quicker than a greyhound chases a pretend rabbit!

The worst of it is when PC's and laptops go wrong or the Internet drops.  Having a PC, 2 laptops, an iPad and 2 iPhones in the house everyone looks to me when something goes wrong which is laughable because the first thing I want to do is drop to my knees, pull my hair out and force cocktail sticks under my fingernails!

If the Internet drops Hubby has got used to calling the broadband supplier for me as it is the only thing that will take me from peace and tranquility to tears and desperation in a matter of minutes.  Luckily Hubby knows this and my guess is that he would avoid my tears like his life depended on it. So he sorts it out for me and I am eternally grateful for his patience and understanding. 

When it comes to PC's no such luck.  I am the one to try and get them running faster or decide when it's time to find the money to buy a new one - or should I say wish for a new one.  Luckily Beautiful B now being of working age, and having the majority of her wage available because I was daft enough not to charge her the going rate for board, bought herself a new Apple laptop and is a gift from the gods if she is to be believed.

Hubby's laptop is annoying for him in that the battery no longer holds its charge but he never has it unplugged and only uses it to keep on top of sports results or to play online golf so....meh.  

I use the home PC to do accounts for 2 clubs as well as play the computer games that take my attention away from those accounts. It has been running slow for ages; Beautiful B moaned to me when Zoo Tycoon 2 wouldn't play. Since she installed that the PC has all but gone on strike. Having got to the stage that it takes 10 minutes to wake up, decide intermittently if it wants to shut down the Excel spreadsheet I'm working on, and insist on only allowing me to one one application at a time I decided it needed a vacation to the PC hospital before I lost my last nerve. 

All good you think. No.  Although I have it back cleaned up the hospital could not locate the MS Office key that I should know as Dell installed it for me when I bought it. Problem is I am going to have to locate the receipt and other documents to see if it is listed on there as I certainly wasn't provided with a disc. 

Now is the time to be grateful that my dad always told me to keep documents for 7 years. I knew there was a reason I have 3 or 4 box files of paper in the storage space under my bed.  Matter of haste required as I have accounts to do. If it is lost I can see where some of Beautiful B's board is going to this month!

What I need is one of these: 

To top it all for the past week I have been at my brothers who left me a brand new laptop to play with while he was on holiday. Awful, awful, awful.  Fast I admit but whether it is windows 7 or 8 I hate it. The sidebars are so annoying, popping up whenever they feel like it. When using blogger the zoom decides it wants to move up or down at will. I did wonder whether my belly was getting in the way of something  on the keyboard or maybe messing about with the mouse. Luckily not because I may have booked myself in for gastric band surgery at a rate of knots.  

So I'm glad that I didn't take up the PC shops offer to install Windows 7 on my PC for £99.  

If only I could get the iPad version of blogger to allow me to change the font, colour of the text and justify I wouldn't need to tidy my posts up on a laptop or PC. Maybe I should suggest it in the hope that a) lots of people are telling Blogger its needed, b) they are actually taking note of suggestions and c) they care.  

Of course I could move to a blogger site that allows me to do all of this on an iPad but the idea of moving my archives without losing them and working out how to get the dates of the post correct is terrifying.  Any chance you bloggers out there use such a site and can provide instructions on moving archives?

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

What I learned this week

As you know I have been house and fluffer sitting at my brothers this week.  His house is huge and I have just cleaned it from top to bottom and am now resting my tired feet - here is a question: Why are my feet tired?

Here are my top lessons for this week:
  • As my brother has a small dyson hoover, and the fluff collector is smaller than a standard hoover, you only just manage to hoover every room in this house once before you need to empty said fluff collector.
  • As long as I stay focussed it doesn't take much longer to clean such a big house than mine; impressive when there are 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a downstairs loo, 2 reception rooms, a huge conservatory, large kitchen and utility room to clean - compared to my 2 bedroom, 1 small bathroom, 2 reception rooms and a kitchen just about big enough to swing a cat in. 
  • The last week on leave before you go back to work goes by very quickly.
  • Despite trying my getting in a normal sleep routine in preparation for work it hasn't worked very well.
  • I can dream about Hubby waking me up out of a horrendous nightmare - so I have a bad dream about me having a bad dream!  I just haven't worked out why....
  • I can take all the accounts to my brothers to do during the week and they would get done if I didn't also pack a cross-stitch, 3 books and 5 films and lets not forget setting the Sky planner so I can still watch all my favourite TV shows.
  • It is much easier to give fluffers tablets if you hide them in ham. I already knew that but I did learn that it is an amazingly short time before I decide it isn't fair to force tablets down a fluffers neck twice a day times 2 fluffers.
  • In a house that is newly built the insulation in the walls and loft will result in the hottest house in the world!  
  • As expected, my Beautiful B told me there was 'no food' to eat in our house within the week. Not a lesson for me but she learnt something when I started instructing Beautiful B how to cook some meals by looking in the cupboard she forgot about for ingredients as that usually helps.
  • I really should get someone else to return the clothes I bought that don't suit me because if I go to the shop to do it I will walk out with two new handbags.
  • I discovered Ry does not even know how to use a tumble dryer - oh dear, Beautiful B has a lot of lessons to teach him before they buy a new house together.
  • There are days that I should just stay in bed - an initial request to buy two things, with a text reminder doesn't mean I will remember to do it when I go to town to do some banking and have have a fabulous two hour catch up with Beautiful B. Nor does it mean that when I go to the supermarket to pick the two things up later that day I will remember to come out of the supermarket with both items, thereby having to avoid getting back out of the car to go and buy that one item.
  • I should go into a Supermarket firmly focussed on what I need so I don't get distracted by the bottles of pop that would be handy for the cinema later that day.
  • Spending the day with Angel and keeping her company while she waits at the hospital is great fun.  Watching 6 1/2 hours of house related programmes may result in you never wanting to watch another house related programme again.
  • In 1837 Charles Goodyear discovered that if you removed the sulfur from rubber and then heated it would retain it's elasticity. This process, called Vulcanisation, made rubber water proof and winter proof to make things such as tyres.  I did not know that the company making Goodyear tyres originated because he discovered this!
  • Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II (husband and wife) are third cousins because Philip is descented from Victoria's daughter Alice and Elizabeth II from Victoria's son Edward VII.  Erm okay.....not sure I agree with that....
  • I would like to send my warmest wishes and love to the family and co-stars of Lee Thompson Young (stars in Rizzoli and Isles as Detective Barry Frost) who tragically took his own life at age 29.  
So what have you learned this week.  Join in the fun by following the instructions below.  Have a great week everyone!

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps:

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and comment on my blog hyper linking to your blog.

2. Then go and visit Julie’s blog at From Inmates to Playdates, find her latest “What I learned this week” and link up with the Mr. Linky form at the bottom of the post. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

You're killing my son: mum on the run

An emotive title isn't it? It caught my attention precisely for that reason when mooching through 4od on the iPad.  I enjoy documentaries but I guessed I wasn't going to enjoy this one as much as some and that I may well spend some time 'talking loudly' to the TV when watching it.  Yet, the title intrigued me; after all what mother would risk the health of her child?

The documentary was about a British woman called Sally Roberts who ran away with her son Neon, to prevent him from receiving life-saving treatment for a brain tumour.

Neon, 7 years old, told his mother that his 'his neck went funny.'  He was not able to hold his neck in the forward position and a scan at the hospital revealed a large round brain tumour which appeared to cover a 1/3 of his brain.  It was so aggressive and large the consultants explained it would kill him in weeks without immediate action to remove the brain tumour.  In a 9 hour operation the tumour was removed and it took Neon over 2 weeks just to be able to stand upright.

The hospital consultants recommended immediate radiotherapy and later chemotherapy to kill the remaining cancer cells to prevent it from returning. You would think that the automatic response would be 'How soon can you start treatment?' Instead it appears that the side effects of the first operation scared Sally so much that she did not want to watch her son suffer worse side effects as a result of the radiotherapy and chemotherapy. These included hair loss, deafness and mental impairment.

Sally wanted to look at alternative therapies to avoid the need for radio and chemotherapy and although Ben, her husband, was happy for Sally to do this she became hostile to using conventional medicine and refusing the conventional treatment while she researched alternatives.  Both parents had to consent to the radio and chemotherapy so in the meantime Nein could not have surgery. 

Sally discussed with producers her thoughts on conventional medicine: doctors being heavily brainwashed by a corrupt system where doctors do the best by the pharmaceutical companies rather than by patients. Instead by using the internet she, as a lot of others, have educated themselves to many other alternative options.  

This was the first time that I wondered whether these were the words of a desperate woman or someone brainwashed by alternative therapists. While I think it is more a case of a mother desperate to save her son further suffering I couldn't understand why she didn't agree to try the radiotherapy alongside alternative therapy.  I think I would be throwing whatever I could at my child to save them but, of course, everyone is different.  

Sally's next step was to take Neon to an alternative therapy clinic and ignore all contact from the family.  At this point she hadn't signed consent for radiotherapy so she could have been at home safe in the knowledge that the operation could not take place. Instead she removed Neon from the rest of his family, essentially kidnapping her own son. The police took all decisions out of Ben's hands due to the seriousness of Neon's situation and started a nationwide search for Sally and Neon.

Sally had taken Neon to an alternative therapist called Linda who has hyperbaric chambers (oxygen chambers). Linda believes a number of conditions can be treated completely by using oxygen chambers; Neon used one for 90 minutes a day.  The chambers force oxygen into the blood stream and Linda explained this helps the body to repair itself and improve circulation as well as providing the capacity to help withstand stress thereby improving immune systems.  

I state here that I have not investigated her claims as I can only do that on the internet on which many different claims are made. I would think that conventional medicine would argue that alternative medicine has no effect or at best should be used in conjunction with treatments such as radiotherapy etc. Personally I did not understand what Linda was basing her claims on as official qualifications were not discussed - she could have been using the same websites Sally had been studying on the internet.

I was concerned when Linda stated that using her treatment would prevent a mother, in the future, asking whether she could live with herself when her son who has long term damage as a result of chemotherapy asks "Mummy, why did you do this to me?'  Is it just me or does this sound like emotional blackmail?  What mother, when already in the middle of such a crisis would not feel guilty about that potential future scenario or start to worry once Linda had said that to them?

Linda makes claims as to what she thinks are the causes of cancer in children; the constant use of mobile phones and computers.  She states that in previous years they had a 'children's hour' after which the TV was switched off - she feels there is a correlation in the increase of IT and the number of cancer cases in recent years. She further claimed that sex and violence on TV cause stress, which affects the respiratory system and in turn the immune system, leaving the doors open for cancer to attack. Furthermore, Linda and Sally explained that they did not believe that Neon was sick as he was full of the joys of life and that his strength and happiness improved after leaving hospital.  Well of course!   Clearly he was no longer recovering from such major surgery and pending further treatment he was healthy and feeling much stronger.  

At this point I could not believe that Sally had managed to find someone who sounded completely delusional at worst and at best felt that she could cure cancer by removing what she felt was the cause of the problem.  To say that Sally was willing to clutch at any straw to save her sons life is obvious and whilst this is what I would do it wouldn't be at the detriment of conventional medicine which did have a level of success. 

After 4 days he was found by the police and a further scan showed that in less than 4 weeks the tumour had grown again.  At this point the NHS took the case to court to force agreement of a second operation to remove the tumour. The police put Neon in the care of the father and during visits Sally spent her time arguing with the family about what food he should eat.  She thought nothing of doing this in front of Neon when clearly family arguing is the last thing he needed. 

When asked about a surgery date for the second operation Sally said that it could be 'next week or after Christmas', but doctors were stressing that he needed it within the week. As time marches on the tumour continues to grow.  The NHS took the case to the High Court to remove Sally's right of consent and it was clear that she was now refusing all conventional medicine rather than delaying it.  The judge ruled that the operation was to go ahead immediately. After the decision was passed Sally said that she felt it was a human rights issue as it should be her decision as his mother.  I couldn't help but wondered what happened to Neon's human rights; clearly the High Court were the ones thinking about his rights on her behalf.

Neon was taken into hospital later that night and the second tumour was removed.  As it was smaller he recovered much quicker and had 3 weeks before radiotherapy was due to start.  

Sally returned to court to try and stop the radiotherapy treatment but could not provide evidence to show a suitable alternative to radio and chemotherapy. The High Court ruled in favour of the NHS, the judge telling her that he thought her judgement had gone awry and that while he understood her worry over Neon's quality of life; 'there is no quality of life if one is not alive.' Concerned that Sally would not comply with the decision the judge also ruled that Neon must stay in Ben's care for the foreseeable future.  

Sally responded to negative public comments by attending many media interviews - one comment stood out to me - in a list of her objections and concerns about treatment one was that he could be infertile following treatment and leave her without grandchildren. I sat watching the documentary in disbelief at this point - surely grandchildren would be the last thing on a parent's mind.  

Of course the radiotherapy took its toll; Neon lost weight as his appetite disappeared and his hair fell out. Perhaps one of the worst things for Neon was that his sister went to live with Sally during treatment as he needed so much attention. His father, Ben, did not want his daughter, Electra to miss out on as normal a childhood as possible. 

Following radiation Neon had a short while before chemotherapy was to start and his appetite returned and in turn his weight and energy increased.  A scan showed that he appeared to be cancer free.  The chemotherapy would be aggressive and difficult to get through but would, hopefully, secure his future. At this stage the documentary finished as Neon is still undergoing chemotherapy.  

I enjoy documentaries as I expand my knowledge but some documentaries, such as this, are centred around ethics where many questions are raised. While I enjoy them it causes a lot of emotion which is different in each and every one of us. 

Of course, as Neon's mother Sally is as concerned as her husband and wants her son to live a long and happy life. Her only issue is that she doesn't want to see her son suffer though invasive treatment and recovery again, which would be a given during radiotherapy and chemotherapy. There was also a risk of long term damage. Sally was merely trying to find an alternative to all those issues. She obviously believed alternative medicine was the best option as no mother would willingly but her family through what they have list let alone endure the amount of media and public outcry waged her way. 

Opinions differ and, I am sure, mine will differ from other peoples but personally I would rely on the conventional treatment as I have no proof that alternative medicine has the same success rate of the conventional methods. I may try alternative  therapies at the same time in an attempt to throw everything at the disease.  Either way I, personally, would feel guilty if my child was left with long term damage following conventional treatments but I would rather have that than my child die.

I am of course expressing my opinion from the comfort of my home and my opinion may well be completely different if I had to watch my own child go through such invasive treatments.  

I found the most shocking part of the documentary to be how solidly Sally's beliefs in alternative therapies were ingrained.  Although the programme could only show a small part of Linda's opinions I couldn't help but think that it all sounded very much like brainwashing and when you are at your most vulnerable you are much more likely to believe what you are being told.

This I have some personal knowledge of. I studied with Jehovah's Witnesses before I married my second husband. Being on my own and wanting the best for my daughter, Beautiful B, I was taught and believed a lot of the religions cornerstones of the faith. I also wanted my child to grow up in a community where everyone was loved and where you treated others the way you would wish to be treated yourself. Of course, I started studying when I was very vulnerable and found it easy to accept what I was being told. After 2 years I was baptised and at that point it meant that I would not accept any blood products no matter how serious medical conditions may be. Furthermore, as Beautiful B's mother it was my responsibility to take the same decision for my daughter. That is akin to what Sally is doing - defying conventional medicine.

My decision was religious, Sally's is to ease her son's discomfort, make him well and to secure his future. Without going into detail my decision was to assure Beautiful B's long term future.  Over time though, I began to see the cracks in the beliefs and felt some were in contradiction of what I understood a loving God to be. I also realised that if the worst case scenario had happened I had always known that Beautiful B's dad would consent to conventional medicine so she would get it ultimately. As time went on I realised that I would never have hesitated to sign on the dotted line to agree to medical treatment to keep my child alive. At that point I left the religion.

So what does that have to do with the documentary? In some ways I felt an affinity with Sally as I could relate her story with my time as a Jehovah's Witness. I had defied conventional beliefs and treatment  despite proven results instead trusting in the bible. In the same way Sally was doing the same - she was trusting alternative medicine and turning her back on conventional medicine for the sake of her son's long term future.

I do think that my opinions after watching the documentary are clouded by my time as a Jehovah's Witness because I realised that decisions I make for my mind and body are for me alone. If I want to defy conventional medicine for the sake of a long term future of eternal life then that is all well and good but should I really make such a decision for my child and essentially take her rights away?  Now I don't think so. Having said that Johavahs Witnesses firmly believe that they are helping to secure eternal life for their children. I am not saying that is right or wrong; after all who am I to judge, merely that it is not a decision I could live with. 

Of course, as parents we all make decisions based on our own beliefs, we believe we are not infringing on a child's human rights and if we are then we are doing it for their own good in the long term. Nobody knows whether your child is going to thank you for it in the future. In Sally's case I personally felt that some of her beliefs about alternative medicine were cemented so quickly because she was repeatedly taking in this information during a very vulnerable and stressful part of her life. Of course, I am basing that on an hour long documentary which can only show a very small part of what has occurred. In addition, it is also as a result of my personal feelings some years after leaving the Jehovah's Witnesses. I willingly accepted many things during my studies in the faith that I would never accept today because my life is now completely different.

Decisions affecting children always raise differing and strong opinions. Sally took a lot of criticism for her stance and while it is not a decision I would have made I couldnt help but feel so sorry for the family. There were only one or two moments during the documentary where I felt very strongly and they were mainly aimed at the alternative therapist.  

Ultimately Everyone lost so much; Ben and Sally each lost a spouse, decisions split the family down the middle, both children are experiencing a life with divorced parents at such a stressful time and whichever side (if there is a need to take a side) you fall on all of the family were suffering. After all, severe and life-threatening illnesses are such a strain on a family that is united in the decisions they make, let alone during a situation such as Ben and Sally's.  

I wish this family well and hope that Neon makes a full recovery without long term problems.  

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Toddlers & Tiaras - Is it just me....?

It's 7am in the morning and there is nothing on the TV.  Toddlers & Tiaras jumped out as something that I may have an opinion or two about.  

The first episode is about a Honolulu beauty contest.  One 5 year old says she practices all the time to make sure she looks 'sassy'.   I am guessing this is an English thing but I don't get the need to have such a young child to even know what sassy means let alone teach her how to walk like a 20 year old model! 

The poor child is being taught by a 12 year old (!) on how to walk as sexily as possible.  As the child puts it - she has to work really hard to get the walk right.  Her mum says that her daughter is hard on herself and if she can't get the steps right she gets 'very stressed'.  Should we be letting a child get stressed at 5 years old?  After all, they have plenty of time to do that when they are old enough to be worrying about passing exams well enough to get into college.

Another girl called Lindsay has a mother I really don't understand.  First of all, she dare not work out how much it costs for her daughter to take part in the contests and if her husband knew how much he would blow his top. Really, neither of them knows where they are with their finances? 

Another mother says her husband works 7 days a week and she has 2 jobs so her daughter can take part - is that taking putting all of your efforts into your children instead of your marriage a little far?

Lindsay's mum has her daughter spray tanned as it 'looks better than being white' and she is sure she won't get ill off it because 'if she can get through having lead paint on her then a spray tan is fine'- really?!  Lead paint - that is taking beauty over health too far.

Lindsay's choker is getting a little small - her mothers response?  'The choker really is a before comfort!'  I have no words....

The girls move from walking gracefully in dresses to shaking everything in the swimwear contest.  Lindsay is not happy as she cannot have her hair crimped in time for the swimwear contest but she knows how to turn it on when she goes on stage, even putting her finger to her mouth as a woman four times her age may do.

A lot of talent in the Talent part of the contest, a lot doing the native dancing of Honolulu.  One young girl hula hoops even though she didn't like learning it.  After all, it was her mothers idea not hers.  Luckily it goes well and she is so happy coming off stage.

Waiting for the results I have to wonder during the commercial break how well these children take it if they do not win.  Do they accept that the judges decisions are subjective or does it affect their confidence. Can you teach a child not to take it personally when they are 5 years old?

The swimwear vote goes to the 5 year old so I guess all that learning how to walk 'sassily' paid off.

In Lindsay's age group - 6 and 7 year olds she wins the crown and her mother is 'pretty happy' with the win.  Lindsay didn't want to win queen as she wanted to ultimate supreme crown and is very upset, though I do not understand what the difference is. 

For the talent award the 5 year old won with her hula hooping act and the little one says that 'she guesses her mum was right' when it came to insisting she did the hula hoop routine.

Lindsay sulks as she didn't win in the talent contest but is so glad when it is over.  

After watching the episode I have to wonder if a lot of the families are very wealthy having listened to the costs involved in taking part in a contest.  The work required by the children may set them up for the amount of work required later in life to get through school and college with good grades.  

I have to say that the show has left a nasty taste in my mouth.  I am sure that there are children that take part and love it but there seems to be a lot of the mum's dreams involved.  The amount of stress the younger children go through in preparation of a contest worries me and personally I think a child of 5 should be allowed to play without experiencing stress. 

I understand that it is a big business in the US and I guess that many young girls in US would want to take part as a result.  I suspect that is why I am more uncomfortable with it than mothers from the US would be.

I don't think I can watch another episode.  The beginning of the second episode has a young girl being chased around the room and screaming as her eyebrows are waxed!  

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

What I learned this week

This week we are house sitting for my brother and so I have a last week of relaxation before I return to work.  I intend to enjoy it as I can relax much easier when not at home and finding jobs. Though I may have to do more than A first thought as her cleaner is having a week off and my OCDishness will not allow me to let them come home to a dirty house - I have washed all the clothes in their hamper already. 

So what have I learned this week?

I cannot go away from home for a week without filling the car to the hilt, even if some of that was Hubby's beer!

My brother instructed me to eat what we wanted from his cupboards - after half of the car was full of our food and drink for the week.

It is a good idea to take at least 3 bottles of hand wash when staying in a house that has 3 bathrooms. 

It is a good idea to get the Sky passwords from your brother before he sets off on his holiday as you won't be able to watch half of the programmes you record until after 8pm at night.

Taking 2 boxes of Capri Sun to your brothers will mean you lose a box of it during the night after you tell your 15 year old nephew he and his friend can help themselves to it. 

My brothers dogs are as immovable as mine during the night. Unlike mine, one of them will need lifting on the bed during the night. I am thinking the living room footrest will come in handy during the night from now on.

Having a tooth root out may not be as painful or yucky as a previous one. Don't mention it though as it will hurt the day after when the bruising starts to come out.

When Beautiful B sends a photo of the evening meal she made I will realise she would be a better cook than me if she put her mind to it. Mind you, that wouldn't be hard....

Stating out loud that you intend to get yourself into a better sleeping pattern this week in preparation for work doesn't mean that you head will listen to you.  I watched TV until 2.30am and read until just after 4am before getting 3 hours sleep.  

Even though I am not one to enjoy soaking in a bath (feels like wallowing in my own dirt) the very deep bath at C & A's looks like it may be enjoyable to lie in there reading a novel. After all, a quick shower after the bath will solve the dirt obsession. 

Trying to work out how to switch off the TV and stereo sound system at my brother is hard work, let alone trying to work out how to change the stereo system from satellite to DVD sound. I can see myself resembling my mum later this week when I ask Hubby to set it up to play a DVD for me before he goes to work.

When packing toiletries it is a good idea to check that you have picked up Hubby's shaving gel and not his deodorant especially if the can decoration is similar because then he has to use your berry fragranced shaving gel. 

Hubby and I have been together for 8 years today and my love for my man doubles each and every day. I am so very lucky to have a man that looks at me with so much love in his eyes.  

So what have you learned this week? 

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps:

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and comment on my blog hyper linking to your blog.

2. Then go and visit Julie’s blog at From Inmates to Playdates, find her latest “What I learned this week” and link up with the Mr. Linky form at the bottom of the post. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.

Monday, 19 August 2013

All Change

This week my computer decided that it was going to be as ill as I have been these last few weeks - it doesn't like feeling left out and is clearly a copy cat. At the same time I got to the end of my tether with it acting like a 100 year old person and running (more like hobbling along) far too slowly. After sitting in front of it waiting not so patiently for it to open an application I gave up, after all who wants to spend an afternoon doing accounts that should take 2 hours? 

The PC is in the PC hospital to have an overhaul and Clean up.  And by clean up I mean blowing out all off Fredster's hair remnants as well as ridding it of sny viruses.  So I did think you guys woud have to put up with the untidiness of my posts as the blogger iPad application doesn't let me do half as much as it should. However, my A came to my rescue and has a new laptop that she wasn't taking on holiday.  My OCDishness when it comes to the font, colour and format of the blog is intact.  

Beautiful B will be happy when the PC returns healthy and raring to go.  After all, she wants to use up much more memory and RAM than i would like her playing Zoo Tycoon 2. 

So posting on the iPad is a change as is where I am posting from. Hubby and I are house sitting for my brother C and his fiancĂ© A.  In reality we are doggie rather than house sitting as I decided it was silly to put them in kennels.  I wouldn't want to spend a week in a metal cage and sleeping on concrete. So that's the second change. 

It is Saturday and I'm sat on the couch while Hubby is sat on the other one playing on-line golf and watching cricket.  There is the third change as I do not like cricket and i normally spend the afternoon cleaning or accounts or playing computer games. In cricket they do a lot of nothing between runs and it bores me. 

I'm not sure I can cope any more with cricket so I'm going to snuggle down on the settee and lose myself in a world of vampires. After all, I am sure football will be on later too and that is one sport I really don't like watching.  

It is great to spend time with Hubby even if we are doing two different things. It is not often we get to just sit and enjoy our hobbies together. I like asking him if he wants another beer or a snack every 20 minutes or so.  I like looking after him although anything requiring preparation as a snack he would have to do as my fingers still don't play ball with knives and vegetables or cheese graters.

Have a great day everyone. On Monday when you read this Hubby and I will be celebrating 9 years together. 

Friday, 16 August 2013

It all started with the best of intentions

Now, that one person who reads this blog regularly probably has an idea what I am going to say and not just because she is one of the cleverest people I know.
Yesterday was my first day back on anti-inflammatories...which reminds me I haven't taken them yet today; hold on.
Okay, done now followed with a shot of tramadol.  Anyhoo, I was going to take them but then A rang up and I am trying to make the house semi-presentable for her non-planned arrival this afternoon and bearing in mind that most of my time is spent updating this blog because I am going to do that pain or not as I can do little else and I need something to stop me going mental.....
Where was I?  Oh yes, semi-presentable because I cannot do a whole lot so having already decided to put some washing on because surely Hubby cannot complain that is too much for my hands (and lets not tell him about me updating this blog as he will despair...) I tidied the dogs toys away and dusted the TV - why oh why do flatscreen TVs collect so much dust and whose idea was it to make the surround and stand a shiny black colour!?  Obviously not a woman obsessed with cleaning.
This mornings intention was to get up early (which actually happened, 7am is my usual late but currently my early thanks to a lack of iron) and it was a good job I did get up early or Beautiful B would have been late for work (thank you for the thank you text my darling honey bunch, it was very much appreciated) and do a few hours of accounting.

As it turns out I play computer games, as some of you know, and being a little bit OCDish.  Therefore, I like to finish a game and it annoys me if I am near the end of the game.  So, I thought I would spend an hour clearing one game which I did but it took me 2 hours. 
On top of that....if you are slightly OCDish do not download games called Virtual Families or Virtual Families 2, both of which I downloaded at the same time and I now have 2 generations of families, both of which are based around my family and in one Beautiful B and her hubby Ry have sent their son off to college and she is about to pass away as she is 61 years old.
They do not like doing what I tell them and as they earn little money to start off with I have to get them to be workaholics but then the wife needs to have babies otherwise how do you continue to generations?  Of course, you cannot buy all the upgrades without lots of money and in Virtual Families 2 it is worse as you can only get house renovations and purchases certain goods for the house as you move along generations.  Unlike the Facebook games you don't have to spend any money other than what you use to buy the game but being a bit OCDish I am a bit addicted to clearing it.
So as you can tell, accounts haven't been started yet....Oops

If you are interested, I use a website called Big Fish Games and you join up and instead of a game costing you £19.99 or similar you pay just under £6 a month for PC games (not sure what it is US currency) and you get a game credit each month.  A game can be bought with one game credit and if you want to buy more during the month they all cost that reduced amount of money.  A bargain in my opinion.  What's more, if you buy 6 games in a month you get a game free.
Of course, this works out a cheap way of buying games if you play a lot of games, not so much if you wouldn't buy one a month.  However, the website has different genre of games, action, arcade, hidden object, time management, etc.   Definitely worth a look.
The website caters for PC, MAC, iPhone/Pad, instant, community and online games so if you play on any of those platforms you may want to take a quick peek.
I just want to state here that I have not been asked to plug this company in any way, nor am I receiving anything for mentioning it on my site.  I just think it is an excellent site for people that want to find a way of getting out of doing accounts or housework......

Thursday, 15 August 2013

A lesson in iPhone management

No, I am not giving you a lesson because lets face it, when it comes to anything techy I have little to no idea.  When I changed my mobile contract 2 years ago Hubby insisted I buy an iPhone; not because he liked them but because for the 2 contracts before that I had coverted an iPhone and ended up with another mobile only to moan about what it did or didn't do.  This time he told me just to get one and I have never looked back!
My whole life is on that phone, the "to do" list gets more work to do on it than anything else on the phone and it now reliably tells me when everyone's birthday is and what shifts Beautiful B is on at work. 
For nearly 2 years that iPhone has been responsible for all the music played in the car, even more so since Chris Moyles left Radio 1.  The only issue is that my iPhone has on 16gb and that is not enough for all the photos and music I have on the phone.
This week I wanted to download an album of 80's dance tunes - don't laugh!  My teenage years were in the 80's and so were Hubby's.  Therefore, it is something I can play in the car, dance about to and not have Hubby moan that I am playing P!nk yet again.
The only problem is that my iPhone didn't have enough room and that is because when I put music on it from my home collection I just download the whole album.  Is there anyone who listens and loves every song on every album they have?  Well not in this house.
So I find myself sat here playing whole albums and deleting individual songs.  And herein lies my lesson for today: when downloading music, either pick the songs you want off the album to start with or delete them from the phone after downloading - do not leave it until the phone is full.
And the second lesson?  Buy a 32gb iPhone next month for the new contract!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

No angina means anti-inflammatories.....

On Monday I had the stress test to check if I had angina - to be honest if I did have it I would have been surprised.  After all, I don't get the chest pain all the time and the last time I had it was as I arrived at the GP when all hell broke loose over the DVT in my right leg.
I guess it helped when I spoke to the doctor and told him I had done two 5 mile bike rides, granted on the flat (what no hills? yeah right...) without any chest pain. 
They took my blood pressure before I started; it was 140/90 so I guess I was a little worked up at the idea of having a stress test.  Why I have no idea - the only difference between a stress test and the gym's treadmill is that you don't need to take your top off and be wired up to a machine at the gym.
The treadmill started on the flat and a normal speed, easy I thought.  The first time they took my blood pressure again it had gone down - maybe I was dying already....
After 3 minutes the treadmill speeds up and the incline rises - okay, still not too bad considering it was the most exercise I have done in months if you discount the two bike rides.
The next time it rises I begin to wonder how old people manage on these inclines; you know people with actual heart conditions and angina!
I'm sneaking a look at the monitor and although the heart rate is climbing the little up and down lines are nice and regular. See, I'm happy as that means no angina surely?
It rises for the fifth time and bearing in mind I am a short arse my legs are struggling to catch up and I am using the rail to stay upright as the incline is more than I have ever had on a treadmill even when I was thin and fit! 
Luckily my heart rate had happily managed to get to the expected rate for my age so they stopped the machine before I fell flat on my face and the hospital gown they had put on in place of my T-shirt rides up and I get friction burns in places that I will have to explain away to my hubby when I get home.
Never have I been so glad to be given a cup of plain water!  I sat there grateful that for aerobic exercise my heart rate is only supposed to be 80% of where they got me today.  If I had to exercise at that pace at the gym constantly I would lose about a stone in sweat each time I went.
Back to the consultant for him to confirm I don't have angina.  Knowing that junior doctors rotate at the beginning of August each year and having overheard that this was the guys first day in Cardiology at this hospital I was still willing to accept his decision and wasn't surprised when he said he didn't know what had caused the pain I was experiencing.  I did, that would be the back end of pleurisy recovery!
I took off back to my car to ring Hubby and celebrate the decision to stop the tablet they gave me for my heart as a precaution seen as my side effect was itching.  Next call was to the GP surgery to ask them if I could go back on my anti-inflammatories. 
The GP response that afternoon in the affirmative had me upstairs and taking 2 of those babies immediately.  Hopefully my hands and arms will be back in the normal world of intermittent pain and ability to chop vegetables within two weeks.
My line manager has been in touch with my potential future line manager to let him know I have been on sick leave just in case it made him change his mind about wanting me on his team.  To be fair I would do the same thing in her position.  Having had this potential manager as my personal mentor for 5 years and therefore a more personal relationship than usual I texted him last night and asked if I could call him on Tuesday afternoon.  He asked how I was, I told him the good news on the medication front and asked if he still wanted me on his team.  His response: "For crying out loud; of course." was music to my eyes.
As I will be moving from a purely finance role to a procurement/finance role I am thinking that at some stage over the next month or so I should pull out all 75 novels from the cupboard and check behind them.  I could very well have thrown away all my study books for my procurement qualification during a previous spring cleaning session.  Seen as it is over 5 years since I worked in procurement I am thinking I may need to rebuy those books if I did throw them away.  Clever of me?  not!
This new role, if my current team can find a replacement for me, will require quite a bit of travel - 2-3 full weeks at first and then once a week thereafter.  I am beginning to wonder if it was a good idea to get Hubby his own debit card for the bank account......I suspect that money will be spent on takeaways instead of at the supermarket.
Anyhoo, I am off to take some more anti-inflammatories.  Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

What I learned this week

Another week off work on sick leave due to inflammation from Repetitive Strain Injury and around the bulging disc in my neck.  The longer I have off work the more I wonder how we working women get anything substantial done at home.  Granted that is because I can't do an awful lot and have to do it at the pace of a 90 year old woman - painfully slow and with lots of rest.

So what did I learn this week?
  •  A thunderstorm doesn't always clear the muggy and humid air.
  • If you drink cordial regularly without drinking Pepsi Max your first can of said caffeine drink will not taste as tasty as the juice you were drinking but you soon start to enjoy the Pepsi Max as much as you used too.
  • Plantar facilitis is the medical term for heel pain.  It is wear and tear of the muscles that run from the heel bone to the bones in your foot and can result in severe pain when weight bearing on one or both feet.  
  • It would appear that said condition was masked by the anti-inflammatories I was taking until my GP stopped them pending angina tests.
  • If you walk too far or stand for too long the pain from plantar facilitis can begin straight away or take you unawares the day after leaving you unable to walk without excruciating pain.  Luckily, codeine and/or Tramadol or maybe just recovery time help it subside.  
  • Being restricted to the top level of your house as the only bathroom is on that floor only confirms the fact, yet again, that my Hubby is outstandingly amazing and will insist on waiting on me hand and foot.
  • Going on a small bike ride with Hubby is fun though he may not have enjoyed it so much as he rode behind me thinking I needed to improve my balance slightly and ride closer to the side of the road.  
  • When you buy some new lingerie it is a good idea to make sure that some of your existing lingerie is not in the shopping bag before you put it in the bin especially when you didn't intend to dispose of it.  Hubby sent me out to buy some more only to find what I thought I threw away in the bottom of the ironing basket.

  • If you have a dog that enjoys nudging things with her nose it is not a good idea to leave a full water filter jug on the floor of your bedroom.

  • The same dog can snore louder than Hubby and that is an awesome feat.

  • If it is suddenly possible for you to have a lie-in on a morning when it has been almost impossible previously instead of just enjoying it, one might want to question whether they may be a little low in iron.

  • 1 in 1,000 people experience a side effect of itching when taking Bisoprolol Fumarate tablets; typical for me to be that 1 person in a 1,000!

  • If the gas candle lighter thingy doesn't light don't put it under your nose and flick the switch to see if you can smell gas as you risk burning your nose slightly.
  • And a couple of random facts for you:
  • You will die from sleep deprivation before food deprivation.  It takes two weeks to starve to death but only 10 days of sleep deprivation will kill you.
  • A giraffe's tongue can be up to 21 inches in length.
  • So what did you learn this week?

    To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps:

    1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and comment on my blog hyper linking to your blog.

    2. Then go and visit Julie’s blog at From Inmates to Playdates, find her latest “What I learned this week” and link up with the Mr. Linky form at the bottom of the post. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

    3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Vampire Blood Brothers

I am an avid book reader.  Stupid things keep getting in the way like studying, housework, work, sleep....that kind of thing.  As a result of 4 years accountancy study I built up a backlog of approximately 1 million 75 books which still haven't been read for a number of reasons:
  • The supermarkets sell books and as they are nice enough to sell hardback books at half the price of a normal book store and paperback books at 2 for £7 one just cannot resist ensuring that the book aisle is the first one must wander down. 
  • I have an affinity for Amazon and and they are rude enough to sell books.
  • I have an iPhone and an iPad that decided to join in the fun and provide access to iBooks.
  • Being fussy and deciding that iPhones and iPads are difficult to read in the sun and sunbathing is boring enough to be in danger of falling asleep and burning oneself it was an absolute necessity that I went out and bought a Kindle.
  • Amazon's Kindle Store sells much better free books (or maybe they are just easier to find) than iBooks; and finally
  • A's mum reads more books that I do and sent A home from a weekend visit with a Kindle full of 250+ books and 8 books about vampires that she thought I would love.
As you can see, I am stuck in a never ending cycle of buying books.  As I do not have sufficient storage space for the large amount of clothes that are too small to fit me at the moment but will in the future it is important that I read the 75 books stored throughout my house.  However, the 8 vampire books that A's mum sent to me are absolutely fantastic.
I may or may not be a little obsessed with vampires but not in the creepy way despite the fact that I dream about vampire zombie babies!  I know exactly when it started; Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series.  I enjoyed them as they were easy to read, not much thought was required though I belive the books do not transcribe well to the film; lets fact it would a vampire really look like Robin Pattinson and would a male vampire be as sappy as he is?  I think not.
Wandering through the book aisle in Tesco not long after reading them I stumbled on a book with the following, amongst other things, on the cover "Anita Blake Vampire Hunter".  Of course, I had to do my usual somewhat rude but necessary practice of reading the first two or three pages while standing in the aisle to decide if I liked the way the writer, Laurell K. Hamilton wrote.  I did but when sitting down comfortably with the usual can or 6 of Pepsi Max I didn't understand the story too well - that would be because the book I bought was the 16th in a series.  Of course, I had to start at the beginning and read them all back to back.  So far Laurell is on book 21.
A's mum sent 8 books to me by author J. R. Ward; a series about the Vampire Blood Brotherhood.  I am currently on book 7 and cannot do anything but read them back to back.  Not being serioiusly involved in the books at all I have already downloaded books 9-11 onto the Kindle.  I am recommending that you buy these books and read them as well as the Anita Blake series!
The Blood Brotherhood series is based in a world where vampires exist in society but are unknown to humans (naturally).  They are protected by the blood brotherhood from 'lessers' - dead people who are controlled by The Omega (naughty naughty entity).  The Blood Brotherhood are bred to be bigger and stronger than normal vampires and fight to protect the vampires, the Chosen and The Scribe Virgin (good entity and The Omega's sister).  Each brother has a unique story, all with different issues and the stories are based around how they live together, bond with their female mates and fight for the vampire society.  Each story is interlinked and each book continues the story from the previous book.
The good vs. evil books are extremely well written and the story in-depth.  If you enjoy this kind of book you will find yourself immersed in a fantasy world where lives, friendships and honour are intrinctly woven over several books.    
I hope you give the first a look at; if you have a Kindle or iPhone/Pad you can download a sample of the first book to try before you buy.  Let's see if you are hooked as quickly as I was.