Thursday, December 31, 2009

Microsoft takes over the world! (Again…)

I just installed Windows 7 on hubby’s laptop and overlooked the fact that (unlike me) he was using Windows mail with Vista. Now for those of you in the know, Windows 7 does not have an e-mail package built in and so at first glance the upgrade appears to have eaten all your addresses and all your email too. If I wasn’t such a level headed person I would have gone into a blind panic, but I decided not to do this because:

a) I am a level headed person who rarely panics and

b) its not my laptop or email…

Anyway, initially, since I was in the middle of Dirt2 on the Xbox and did not wish to be disturbed under any circumstances…I ignored hubby’s whimpers for a whole afternoon. This morning though I decided (before the Xbox is turned on again!) that I ought to help.

Repeated Google searches have led to much on-line whimpering by many others in a similar situation and we just stumbled across Windows Live Mail and are settling down to download and install it (yawn…why do these things take so long?). I noticed a little package called Live Writer for blogging and so, to pass the time thought I might download that too and install it on my desktop. To be fair I am also downloading Lesbian Vampire Killers, which was free from iTunes today, so that might account for the laptop’s reluctance to go at more than a slow grind but there you are…patience was never my strong point!

Anyway, in my very roundabout way, that’s why my last post said testing testing…I’m testing Live Writer….

…I’ll keep you updated on the mail situation too but in the meantime, please all think of hubby and say all together…”Ah, bless..!”

Testing testing

Just that….

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas …without the grumbles?


Last night I turned on the TV and there was some programme on about people being decidedly grumpy at Christmas. There were many famous (and quite a few not so famous) folks, who were grumbling about how it all starts too early, how its too commercial and how they really can't be ar*ed to take part …but will…albeit rather grudgingly. It reminded me of a recent visit to my in-laws where my FIL was moaning about Christmas - how 'it's only for kids' (who are all spoiled nowadays) and how when he was a boy they had nothing and used to make their own decorations*1. In response, hubby pointed out that you can still make your own paper chains if that's what you want to do and that I actually make my own cards*2 every year,and I tried to explain how Christmas makes me feel.

I think in that little snip, hubby managed to alight on what makes Christmas so special for me. I'm not hugely religious ( I'm not a regular church goer) and so my main focus is not on the birth of Christ (in common with much of the population I guess) but for me its on my family and the people I care about. To me Christmas is a special time which gives us all one day of the year that is set aside for spending time together. It is the ideal excuse, this one day of the year, to give presents to people to tell them how much they mean to you. Every other day of the year seems to slip by in a blur of 'other stuff' - this is one day in which families have their own traditions like leaving stockings from Santa for grown up kids, the carrot by the hearth for the reindeer, presents before lunch (or after), silly hats over lunch (or tea) and playing board games that you wouldn't at any other time. These traditions are all individual to the families and as the generations go by they are adopted and altered by children and grandchildren and added to by the addition of new partners with their own traditions. Our family is no different from anyone else's but the one common theme to most people is that they all get together and just for once they think about each other rather than themselves. What we do, when we choose to start to decorate our house (early or late), how commercial we let it be to us (make your own paper chains or buy a new tinsel tree every year) or how spoiled the children are (spend a fortune or not a lot) - all these choices are ours to make. No one makes us spend too much or reserves our traditions simply for children - these are our choices and my choice is to spend time with my family and try just for once a year to let them know just how much they mean to me….

…well, after trying to explain this, I still don't know if the FIL understood what I was trying to get at but I hope you do!


Happy Christmas to you all!
:merry christmas: MERRY CHRISTMAS Christmas Carol Two

*1 I'm not certain if this is before or after they "licked road clean wit' tongue"
*2I do this for 2 reasons, one, because I like to do so and two, because if I want to I can make something special for someone special.

An emoticon Christmas

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Not the MOB!

So, I was away last week and we had a really funny time and it was mostly due to this guy that I know. I wanted to call him MOB (mad old bugger) in my blog, but he put his foot down (with his hand since his legs don't work!) and insisted that I call him daft pensioner - so DP it is….

Now its kind of odd that DP is part of our group at all, as being of pensionable age, he's quite a bit older than the rest of us. It's not even that he looks like a spry young thing, as he's a wheelchair user and if he only grew his beard a bit more he'd look just like Santa - in a tracksuit!

Anyway, there we were, having come out of dinner and faced with the usual trial of going down 3 steps to get to the door. It's true (to be fair) that there is a lift to get wheelchair users down the stairs, but it is the most grindingly slow piece of apparatus in the world. I wonder sometimes about that, I mean with slow wheelchair lifts and stair lifts - do they think the eyes of the disabled and the old will pop out if they move too fast? Don't laugh….it's a valid question you know! Anyway, more often than not people drop out their chairs, bum down the steps and drag their chairs after them since it is about 20 times faster than using the lift and we are all a supremely impatient bunch. More to the point, if we had to wait for everyone to use the lift we'd either:
  • never get anything done
or
  • we'd all get really fat because we just wouldn't bother leaving the dining hall
or
  • we'd die of boredom
So there we were, coming out of the dining hall. I'd gone down first and was outside when SIAM comes past me looking extremely smug having gone down the steps backwards in his chair - speedy and required no grubby backside to his trousers! Now, DP took one look at this and decided it looked like a pretty neat thing to do and decided to follow suit. He turned around so his back was to the steps, edged his back wheels to the edge, grabbed the handrail on his right hand side and started to lower himself down. It was at this point that he forgot to move his hand down the handrail and his right side stayed at the top of the slope while his left side attempted to descend. Several things happened then in quick succession, but you so knew what was bound to happen next that it all seemed to take place in slow motion…

…first, his left wheel dropped down one step so he ended up diagonally across the slope, facing away from the handrail. He still maintained a death grip on the handrail but couldn't twist his body to keep it up so he raised his arms above his head - still hanging on. This had the effect of lifting his front casters up in the air and rolling him backwards.

So, there he was, feet in the air, hanging on to the handrail (which by this time was in front of his face) with one big wheel on one step and one on the step below and guffawing (there really is no other word for it) with laughter. I guess to start with we were all useless too, as we were all so convulsed with laughter ourselves we had no chance to help him - the only person who wasn't was some new guy (waiting for the lift) who I think was so horrified at our callous natures that we will never see him again!

To be fair…within a few seconds, we had all pitched in and everybody grabbing a bit managed to get him both upright and down the bottom. Now, I bet you're all asking if he's likely to try this again…well, I suspect not, but I wouldn't put anything past him!


:santa: rvmp

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Sometimes you can only wish...

I do like to take a trip on the train - I've always loved it, even when I was a child. I don't attribute this at all to the fact that my grandfather was a train driver, as he was retired for as long as I could remember, so I think it's just one of those things about trains. I mean, who doesn't love a train trip, all that clackety clack as the scenery rushes by outside; all that peering into people's back gardens as you slow down at the next station and the general excitement that you are doing something special and out of the ordinary. Of course, I am sure that the country is full of commuters and glass half empty people who wouldn't agree with me in the slightest, but for me, it fills me full of the excitement that I used to get, when as a child I read about the Famous Five heading away on their holidays...

Of course, these days, the other thing I like about the train is that since they are so hideously expensive, if you travel at a quiet time of day, they can be like an oasis of calm in the hustle and bustle of the world and when I knew I was going up to London, I was rather looking forward to the opportunity of just watching the world go by for a bit. I even packed a book and planned just to kick back and enjoy it. Of course, this didn't all quite go to plan - as to start with it was dark which I hadn't really counted on at 4pm (yes I know its winter and I shouldn't have been so stupid but I was...). Also, me being me, I didn't chill at all, because I decided to sort out my hotel details and then answer a text from a friend and then the train rushed so quickly towards it's destination that I was there before I knew it. It just turned out that I was busy all the way because the way didn't actually take that long!

Right at the moment I seem to feel busy all the time and I know that these feelings are always influenced by those 'late starts' that I seem to get. In reality life is quite normal for me, good days, bad days, quiet days and not so quiet days but I think right now that what makes all the difference is that there are a few things in my life I am worrying about at the moment and that these are things that are way out of my control. Now anyone who knows me will know that I don't really like anything being out of my control - not that I am a control freak or anything (!) but I do find it unsettling when I want to help and can't.

Talking to friends, we all seem to say the same thing at the moment, that there are people we care about going through stressful situations and because we care for them we care what happens to them. I find this hard (not the caring bit, but the being unable to help bit), because I am one of those people who in my own life, feels a need to meet problems head on, finding out all the facts and taking control of the situation as far as I can. Its how I handled my scoliosis surgery - I joined forums, read everything I could on the subject, asked every question I could of my surgeon and comprehensively planned for my recovery. In short, I did everything I felt I could to get a successful outcome from what I knew would be a pretty tough operation. I then find myself wanting to do something similar for all those people I care about. I find myself wanting to dive in and talk to their spouse, boss or doctor or any other person who I think might be able to help, even though I know in my heart of hearts that even if I could, it wouldn't help.

I guess in short, I feel rather like a fretful mother who wants to go down the school and make things right for their child when they find them going through a hard time with bullies or something similar. The big problem with this is that all too often, it doesn't help at all. I'm not saying that parents can't give children the support they need or that if their child comes home saying that they've been bullied that they should ignore them, but just that these situations need to be carefully handled. More to the point, this blog entry is not about bullies and how (or how not) to handle them but it's about how you can handle things badly by doing nothing more than being really well meaning and trying to be helpful. I guess we've all heard of kids who have ended up being picked on even more than before, because their mother went down the school trying to make things right. Sometimes, just like those times when you need to make your own mistakes*1 you need to be left to try to stand up for yourself too.

So, in my extreme rambling way, what I am trying to say is that I know exactly what I have to do. I know that I have to let all these people make their own choices and where they need to , just stand up for themselves - all the same, it won't stop me worrying for them and wishing I could help...
:train: for choo choo express

*1 This was the story of my teenage years when in answer to my question of "why?" (to anything my mother said) - she would respond "because I say so!". This didn't really work as a response to a typically moody teenager and would often result in one of those 'conversations' that teenage daughters and mothers have....one of those 'conversations' which almost always ended up in my mother getting exasperated with my lack of following orders - and ultimately resulted in her telling me that I would have to 'make my own mistakes...!'

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Yes, it's all fine..

I know, I know..smack my wrist - I am a bad blog mama...

I will get back to writing soon, I've just been getting on with stuff, life and more things (mostly outside my control) and so the blog has taken a back seat. Heck, some of my friends have had to take a back seat too and I don't like to do that as my many of my friends are like family...

Anyhoo, I am looking forward to settling down to do some more writing - I find it interesting to find all those smilies and previously undiscovered websites that help me make a point. More to the point, sometimes I just like to write and always have. My diary entries as a teenager were sporadic, but really wordy once I got going, which, I guess is rather like how I am in myself. I love my own company and own space away from everyone but then whenever I catch up with people I turn into Mrs Motormouth (making up for the time I'm alone hubby reckons!). So, I write in just the same way I guess...

...more soon - don't worry, I haven't forgotten you all..


:pc: rvmp
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