Friday, December 14, 2012

Economy 10:45?

This is by more a way of a question than a blog post...when does economy 7 start? Is it at 7 or somewhat later? Oh yes, and just how does it start? Is it by just an entry on your bill? Is it necessary to have ugly heaters to run it? Or does it just magically happen?

The thing is, hubby and I have lived here now for over ten years and very often, at around 10:45 (ish, I think, I don't actually check my watch) the light in the lounge seems to just change brightness momentarily. How much it changes varies, but over the years I have come to the conclusion that since its an 8 arm fitting (yes, I know that's posh!)* that has some impact on it depending on 3 things:

  1. How many bulbs have blown
  2. How far the dimmer switch is turned up (may be related!)
  3. How much attention I am paying anyway!

So, the other night hubby turned to me and said "Did you notice the light just then?". I replied rather breezily that I had, and I had in fact noticed it many times over the years.... He looked at me in that way that suggests I may finally be losing it and then said..."I wonder if they switch voltage or substations or something this time of night"....which made me think of Economy 7...hence the questions... 

* ....but necessary as our ceilings are over 10ft away....and before you say anything, that's not posh either, it's just chilly in the winter!

Friday, November 02, 2012

Hayley and Barbara (the lovely H & B on the accident repair desk)

My blue car has now been moved and either H or B phones me up...
"...about this accident"
They put me on to Mike in the body shop. He is the first person who listens to exactly what happened.
"Hmmm", he said, "I did wonder about Lookers (with the rotten customer service), as they said the axle was bent and I thought that was a bit odd since the steering wheel was 90° out and the axle is at the back, not really anywhere near the steering. Let me have a proper look and get back to you...and you're sure you didn't hit a speed bump?"
I sigh pathetically and repeat the story again, using slightly different words...."no, no accident, no speed bump, no pothole....."
Some time later he calls me back. He tells me that my front suspension is bent along with the track rod and steering rack. The steering knuckle is also broken. He's coming up with inventive theories to the 'no accident' scenario and I'm starting to wonder if they are running a sweepstake at the dealers. They have, if nothing else, decided that it is a mystery. It's being fixed on insurance but still they don't know if its a manufacturing defect or if I hit a balloon and its just flimsy. In the end, Mike came up with a theory that sort of, here it is....make up your own mind:
The car is parked on the side of the road. Because I live on a hill, the wheels are turned backed against the kerb. This means the tyre sticks out past the bodywork. Someone careers down the hill on the wrong side of the road and runs into the tread of the tyre, braking sharply and stopping at the impact. Miraculously they miss the wing mirror and the rest of the bodywork. They cleverly manage to avoid marking the tyre or wheel in the process. They then drive away. Some time later, I get in my car and drive away. I drive 15 miles and everything sort of hangs in together OK apart from a warning light on the dashboard. I park for a couple of hours then leave the car park. I take 3 right turns in a row. The already damaged steering decides it prefers turning left to turning right and twists the wheel the wrong way. The car still drives in a straight line with no wheel judder, even at speed...I take it to the garage who refuse to fix it because of all the accident damage....none of which is visible.
Well, what do you think? Feasible? Heck, I don't know either....but you have to give Mike a prize for inventive thinking!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

So where exactly is the axle?

My lovely new blue car was in the garage. I was at home and then the man from Lookers (with the rotten customer service) phoned me up.
"When did you have the accident?', he demanded.
"I haven't had an accident", I squeaked, "I told you, the light came on....then the steering wheel thing happened as I was driving along"
"Well", he said, "Your axle is bent! You must have had an accident, or hit a pothole or a speed bump!"
"I haven't had an accident", I repeated, "I told you, the light came on....then the steering wheel thing happened as I was driving along - besides which, if I've bent the axle, then I'd have probably bent the metal in my back too, if I'd hit something that hard!"
"I'm not accusing you of lying", he said, in exactly that tone of voice that said he was accusing me of lying..."you must have hit something. We won't fix it. You need to claim on your insurance!"
I phone the insurance company and they ask me about my accident.
"I haven't had an accident", I say, "the light came on....then the steering wheel thing happened as I was driving along"
"Ah", they say (somewhat suspiciously) "what other damage is there to the vehicle?"
"Um...none?"....after all, I haven't had an accident!
The insurance company man sighs heavily...he is bamboozled. I am bamboozled. The axle is apparently bent. He sorts me out with a hire car and after discussion arranges to get the car taken to an independent repairers for assessment to see if they can find any evidence to back up the imaginary elephant I must have hit.
Lookers service still sucks...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It went in a straight

Last week I had physio - in itself a completely unremarkable act, apart from the unspeakable pain that physio-terrorists seem to delight in putting you through! Anyway, I went out to the car, climbed in and drove up the hill....just like any other day (as they say in the movies). At the top of the hill, I did a u-turn* and as I did so, the traction control (ESP) light came on (or as I like to think of it, the little skiddy car symbol!) and then went off again. I know, I know, this is really boring, isn't it! Drove back down the hill (waved at the cat sitting in the window - unremarkably, she did not wave back!) and headed for the junction at the bottom. As I did so, the light came back on, which was odd, because I was not red-lining the car or waggling the steering wheel or driving on oil, ice or wet leaves. Aha! I thought, its a French car, it must be an electrical fault! Actually I don't know why I'm maligning French cars here, I just felt the need...

Anyway, long story short (it is 15 miles to the physio office after all), I got to my appointment and figured I'd worry about the light later. OK, got tortured, came back out to car. Started engine, light was out. Drove 200m to edge of car park, light came back on. The car's only done 2400 miles (it was new in August - how posh is that!) so I figured I'd take it to the main dealers....and it was at that time, that things started to get odd.

I turned right out of the car park. Up to the top of the hill, and right again. Up as far as the college and another right. (And FYI, I wasn't going round in a circle, that's just the way home!) Turned right into Tesco to get fuel and noticed that the steering wheel wasn't returning to centre. Got fuel. Out of Tesco (yep, you've guessed it), right turn again. By now the steering wheel was at 45° and as I drove down the road, it gradually got worse. The car was driving almost perfectly, but by the time I got to the dealers, the steering wheel was out by 90° - it was very, very odd.

In the dealers (their name is Lookers in case you are looking for rotten customer service), I told them about the light being on...and said, "oh yes, and by the way, the steering is out by 90°". Fair play, they said they couldn't look at it that day and so drove me home promising to look at it in the morning...Life was strange, but good.... Further instalments of this exciting tale will appear on this blog in the near future...!

*also unremarkable- the car was facing in the wrong direction for the physio's office

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Visit to the dentist

I woke up the other day and sleepily rolled over and got out of bed. I was almost dressed when an alarm went off on my phone - I glanced at the screen and saw I had a dentist appointment in 8 minutes time. 8 minutes!! 8 minutes?! Oh good grief! There I was, one sock off and one sock on and it can take me 8 minutes sometimes to get my socks on, let alone my shoes! I grabbed my trouser leg and stuffed my uncooperative feet into shoes, picked up my bag and my horrible mean phone (fancy only giving me 8 minutes!) and rushed (using the term loosely) outside. The car was on the opposite side of the street about 4 doors down (typical!), so I ran over to it (well, its not what most people would exactly call running, but I stumbled as fast as I could and thankfully didn't fall over) got inside and got going. Down to the bottom of the road, nothing coming, luck on my side here...and drove up to the traffic lights . Now its not far to the dentist. Way too far for me to walk, but literally 2 minutes in the car....I looked at the clock and I had exactly 2 minutes to get there. The lights went green, I started to make the turn, then a lady with a pushchair stepped into the road and I swerved to avoid her, forcing me down the second exit from the lights! Grrrr....turned the car...had to wait for the lights again...tap tap tap on the steering wheel, lights green, clock ticks over to exact appointment time, just as I get to the dentist car park. Phew! Argh! Not phew! The car park is full. I am forced to leave the car on the side of the road in a residents zone. I cross my fingers - which is no mean feat while you are walking with sticks, and rush (stagger) in to the surgery. Its full to bursting and the calm collected receptionist tells me they are running 20 minutes late. I find a seat and have a stern word with Siri ....8 minutes indeed! If that's how he's going to behave, I may be looking for a new phone! What a way to start a day! Oh yes, I didn't need anything doing teeth-wise and got away with the parking ....but I'm not sure just how I managed any of it!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Warning - danger! Danger!

I recently bought a fridge magnet - it was nearly 3" square and came with detailed instructions for use and a warning label. I felt a need to share this warning with you all , as it seems very important. Comments are my own thoughts...and are in brackets & italics...

WARNING: This item is not a toy.
This item contains magnets or magnetic components. (This was somewhat of a shock to me - I didn't think a fridge magnet would contain magnets)
Magnets sticking together or becoming attached to a metallic object inside the human body can cause serious or fatal injury. (A little concern here...I could die?!? I'm stuffed full of metal...and they're telling me that my latest £2.99 purchase could kill me?)
Seek immediate medical help if magnets are swallowed or inhaled. (I'm wondering quite how I am going to swallow something that large - let alone inhale it....just how big would your nose have to be?!?)
Please retain packaging for future use. (I've decided not to do that...I shall just refer to this entry...)

I hope this blog post has been helpful and informative.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

How to buy a swimming costume....

I have to own up to not writing this, but it made me laugh so much, that I had to post it. I'm not sure who the original author was, but whoever you are, thank you...and I hope you don't mind me taking the liberty of re-posting...

In the 1950s, the bathing suit for the mature figure was-boned, trussed and reinforced, not so much sewn as engineered. They were built to hold back and uplift, and they did a good job.

Today's stretch fabrics are designed for the prepubescent girl with a figure carved from a potato chip.

The mature woman has a choice, she can either go up front to the maternity department and try on a floral suit with a skirt, coming away looking like a hippopotamus that escaped from Disney's Fantasia, or she can wander around every run-of-the-mill department store trying to make a sensible choice from what amounts to a designer range of fluorescent rubber bands.

What choice did I have? I wandered around, made my sensible choice and entered the chamber of horrors known as the fitting room. The first thing I noticed was the extraordinary tensile strength of the stretch material. The lycra used in bathing costumes was developed, I believe, by NASA to launch small rockets from a slingshot, which gives the added bonus that if you manage to actually lever yourself into one, you would be protected from shark attacks. Any shark taking a swipe at your passing midriff would immediately suffer whiplash.

I fought my way into the bathing suit, but as I twanged the shoulder strap in place I gasped in horror, my boobs had disappeared!

Eventually, I found one boob cowering under my left armpit. It took a while to find the other. At last I located it flattened beside my seventh rib.

The problem is that modern bathing suits have no bra cups. The mature woman is now meant to wear her boobs spread across her chest like a speed bump. I realigned my speed bump and lurched toward the mirror to take a full view assessment.

The bathing suit fit all right, but unfortunately it only fitted those bits of me willing to stay inside it. The rest of me oozed out rebelliously from top, bottom and sides. I looked like a lump of Playdoh wearing undersized cling wrap.

As I tried to work out where all those extra bits had come from, the prepubescent sales girl popped her head through the curtain, "Oh, there you are," she said, admiring the bathing suit.

I replied that I wasn't so sure and asked what else she had to show me.

I tried on a cream crinkled one that made me look like a lump of masking tape, and a floral two-piece that gave the appearance of an oversized napkin in a serving ring.

I struggled into a pair of leopard-skin bathers with ragged frills and came out looking like Tarzan's Jane, pregnant with triplets and having a rough day.

I tried on a black number with a midriff fringe and looked like a jellyfish in mourning.

I tried on a bright pink pair with such a high cut leg I thought I would have to wax my eyebrows to wear them.

Finally, I found a suit that fit, it was a two-piece affair with a shorts-style bottom and a loose blouse-type top. It was cheap, comfortable, and bulge-friendly, so I bought it. My ridiculous search had a successful outcome, I figured.

When I got it home, I found a label that read, "Material might become transparent in water."

So, if you happen to be on the beach or near any other body of water this year and I'm there too, I'll be the one in cut-off jeans and a T-shirt!!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Resisting temptation...

I've been wanting to blog now for a week or so, to comment on my guest blogger's entry. My poor hubby, who danced his way to an uneven surface, leapt upwards (I am reliably informed that there were women nearby he wished to impress!) and then came down on the edge of a step, breaking his ankle in the process. Now, in some ways of course, it's his own fault - being a happily married man, he shouldn't be trying to impress other women ...and also everyone knows how dangerous Morris dancing is! Seriously, yes, morris dancing is very dangerous - have you ever seen how they bash those sticks together (hubby's fingers were once saved by a ring getting squashed almost flat in an especially vigorous swipe with a lump of wood) and as for rapper sword dancing - well, wow! To date though, excluding this recent ankle thing, his worse injury was caused in a hankie dance (yes really!), when someone's shoe flew off and hit him between the eyes - there was blood everywhere and he has the scar to prove it!

Anyway, enough of Morris dancing, I'm getting sidetracked, I'm supposed to be commenting on his entry!

The first thing that struck me was the comment that he felt guilty. Personally I seem to spend my life apologising, for getting in the way, or being too slow, or just not being able to do stuff - guilt is dreadful. It's not even like I (or he) should be feeling guilty for things that aren't possible, but somehow we feel that we need to be able to overcome anything to the extent that we ignore little things that get in the way - like a pair of sticks of crutches.

It was also really interesting to see and read about how inventive he's been to get round things. Again, for me, I've had a lifetime of adapting and finding another way and I'm not really sure how much of that has rubbed off. Is hubby being so inventive because he is used to seeing (and helping) me to get round obstacles? If he didn't, would he just have sat in a chair going 'woe is me' and expecting to be waited on hand and foot? I can't answer that one of course - I'm just chucking it out there for you to think about...

His leg is now starting to improve - he's walking about with a brace and managing to get around without the crutches. His ankle is stiff and sometimes sore and he's not liking it at all. I can't imagine how frustrating it all must be for him when he is used to such ease of movement normally. I am trying to be really good - I'm stiff and sore every day one way or another but I mostly am resisting the temptation to tell him how lucky he is - to have something wrong that will get better, given a bit of time. I know that he has gained a new appreciation of just how hard some things can be - he always knew it, but now he knows what it feels like. I hope his entry will help some other people have a bit of insight too, into what it's like to live inside a restricted body (with an unrestricted mind!). This is my world he's living in just for a bit...and yes, I have day by day by day had loads of self control and have resisted the temptation to say...*

...welcome to my world...

* may have actually said it once or twice....


Monday, July 23, 2012

Guest blogging...

This is just a quick post to explain my guest blogger...

Hubby had a little fall a few weeks ago and broke his ankle. He's been on crutches ever since and is finding life as a (albeit temporarily) disabled person quite enlightening!

I like what hes written and intend doiing a little reply soon. In the meantime, I will tell you all that despite being very, very tempted, I haven't said 'Welcome to my World' yet!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Temporarily exciting new guest blog entry...

It has been an interesting 10 months: I have gained a whole new insight into 'disability'. As a child I was asthmatic - I still am, but it is thoroughly controlled by medication and I don't even notice unless for some strange reason I try to run somewhere. Aside from that, I have been generally healthy and able-bodied. Until last September...

Last September, I injured my left leg. Not permanently, but it still isn't quite 100%. Then a couple of weeks ago, I had a little mishap while Morris dancing (yes, I am one of those strange guys who wears bells!) and I fractured my right ankle. So, for some time last autumn I was walking with a stick, in some pain and at the moment I am using two crutches to get around, although without pain - I just have one totally useless leg. What have I learned?

Even the things you can still can do can be limited, and that is enough of a loss in itself. Last year we had a holiday, but spent the whole week beside the pool - Wifey could have explored Kos town extensively in her wheelchair (and she did want to) but I couldn't walk very far at all - it was much too painful. This was a bit of role-reversal from her pre-wheelchair days, when she was the limiting one.

This gave the first interesting insight into a psychological aspect of disability which is not often considered - guilt: I felt really guilty about holding her back.

When using a stick, you only have one free hand for carrying. Ironically, I realised, this can mean more walking, since you may need to make more than one trip to move things! Which is hard on the bad leg.

With the broken ankle, walking with two crutches, carrying is almost impossible. Currently, a messenger bag is my constant companion: it means I can carry a lot of things around, although food and drink is a bit of a problem! This leads to another insight - disability forces you to become a real problem-solver. I can just about carry a sealed drink container with a handle, using one finger, whilst still gripping the crutch, but a normal mug of coffee, or a plate of sandwiches, is hopeless. Leave one crutch behind, and you're reduced to hopping - one free hand, but certainly not the way to carry a cuppa!

So - you put the mug down on a flat surface, move to a position between that and the next flat surface within reach, stand still and move the mug from one to the other; repeat as necessary, but a corridor is a real barrier. Where's Wifey's old wheelchair?

Some jobs don't require moving about, so they? Like washing up. But standing in one place on one leg for any length of time is a strain on the remaining good leg. How long does it take a single-leg amputee to adjust to that? Or to develop the strength to stand it? So - easy answer - sit down to do it. Simples! But it's surprising just how awkward that is. You are not standing over the sink at your usual height, so your view is different, and the angles are odd, making the movements awkward and clumsy. Conclusion - everything is harder.

And also, everything takes more time. Emptying the dishwasher normally is easy: bend, take out plates, stand up, put plates in cupboard, etc. But with two crutches, you just have to sit down, take the plates out and put them on the work top, take the bowls out and put them on the work top, etc., then stand and transfer stuff from the work top to the cupboards. This simple job becomes a two- stage process, and that's without the pots that go away on the opposite side of the kitchen...

Reduced mobility can affect almost everything you do. I hate rain. I've never understood those scenes in films where the lovers embrace in the middle of a downpour, oblivious of getting soaked - I would sprint for cover every time. Oh, wait...

This is as close to disabled as most healthy people will ever get, if they are lucky. But everyone should try it for a few weeks, and see how it opens their eyes.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hello 02:52 -I'm late!

I was woken the other night in a minor amount of distress. This was distressing for a couple (or three) of reasons

  1. I don't like waking with pain and
  2. My hands had gone to sleep and
  3. It was the third time in four days, and while in itself that's not exactly distressing, it is rather annoying.
Now, it was only a minor amount of distress, since, although I woke with pain, I wasn't in spasm, screaming or moaning or groaning. I was just uncomfortable and on laying there for a bit, I realised that I was sore enough that I wasn't going to get back to sleep without at least a small top up of pain relief. As I got up (slowly) I saw the time was 3:18 and decided that that was quite an odd time. The thing is, I so often wake at 02:52 (yes really!) that I have come to believe there must be a train or something that goes by and that just nips into my unconscious mind and accounts for the precise time. Of course, it has only just occurred to me that the possibly imaginary train might be late, but talking like that and including drugs in the same sentence somehow doesn't seem right at all!

My hands were of some concern. They've been getting more of a nuisance recently and I haven't been able to imagine the cause. The cure for waking with dead hands is to thrust each arm into the air in turn (sound is not necessary) and to jiggle them vigorously - actually I'm not really sure it's a cure at all, but it makes me feel I'm doing something and they do come back to life. My cat, Clumsy also thinks he has a cure for my dead hands - he leaps on the bed the second he thinks I am awake and repeatedly head butts my hands until I repeat the soothing action of stroking him. In this way the numbness passes and they come back to life - although I'm not sure quite who's benefit that is for!

My physio thinks there may be a link to something (she isn't sure what) that makes them 'die' and so she's asked me to keep some sort of a diary to see if we can track down the cause. It is for this reason, and no other that I found myself writing an email at 03:18 which said the following:

Dear phyzo

Typoping thus nia at 3am. Wiki agains with ded haends . Don

't think I dud any thigh different toady but was sleerping on my left sodde when I wike . Am cheeszed off with this nw so really wany to get it fized. Any new iddea s.

Sorry for bad spollong but fingers done work & cat head butting me.

Soo seen


The fact that I then hit the send button instead of the draft button and that it actually left my out-box should be a mark of shame on spell checkers everywhere....


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

3 Doors Down Are Doing a World Tour!

I'm quite a fan of Nickelback and via the wonders of modern technology I went to buy a track on iTunes. ITunes said 'if you like Nickelback then you might like Theory of a Deadman' so I had a listen and they were right. The Theory of a Deadman page said 'if you like Theory of a Deadman, you may like 3 Doors Down' and I had a listen and I liked them too - in fact, I became quite a fan! It was then with some delight that I heard they were doing a tour and were coming to a town near me.

Hubby came home from work recently and I said to him that 3 Doors Down were doing a world tour. The conversation went something like this:

  • Me: 3 doors down are doing a world tour.
  • Hubby: Are they?
  • Me: Yes, isn't that exciting
  • Hubby: I suppose so. How did you find out?
  • Me: On the Internet.
  • Hubby: Oh - how? Do they have a blog or something? I guess you might do if you're doing a world tour.
  • Me: Um, no, IMF told me...
  • Hubby: IMF? How did he know?
  • Me: Well, I'm not sure, but he told me...
  • Hubby: I did wonder what they were doing with that big van...
  • Me: Big van? What big van?
  • Hubby: You must have seen it, huge thing...but I guess you need a big van if you're doing a world tour.
I look at him blankly - things are not registering in quite the way they should...and I plough on regardless.

  • Me: Yes, shame though, in the US, they are doubling up with Theory of a Deadman - that would have been really exciting!
  • Hubby: Um...rewind a bit here...I thought you were talking about the people in number 51? The ones 3 doors down with the great big Winnebago that they've just bought?

I think then when I told him I wanted tickets, he didn't have the heart to refuse!!....

....oh yes, and they were great 😃



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

On painkillers and perseverance....

Just recently I've been doing too much...

Actually, I don't know if that's strictly true, after all, just what does 'too much' mean? Too much for whom? I guess in my life you'll just have to accept that that's too much for me - which might not be too much for you, but there you go!

The big question is, just how do I do this, this too much? Well, I take painkillers - of varying quantities and strengths depending on how good a day I'm having. Sometimes they work really well and sometimes they don't work so well at all, but they allow me to keep going for longer than I should - hence the 'too much'. Over and above how well they work, we have a secret ingredient in my life and that secret ingredient is called perseverance.

So, just recently I have started mentally cataloging my days into 2 types:

1. Those where I get out of bed and take painkillers - which I am calling 'perseverance over painkillers', and

2. Those where I take painkillers to get out of bed - which I'm calling 'painkillers over perseverance'.

When I put it down on paper like that, it doesn't look so hot, does it? And when I think about it, I am sure there must be some kind of solution to this problem...Don't you think?...

...Aha! I've got it! Of course! Stop doing so much!.....surely that would do it..... .


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

25,000 Hits!

I have now been keeping a blog for just over 6 years. What started out as a way to inform other scoliotic people that it was ok and normal to be confused and upset and painful to live in a twisted body has turned into so much more. It is a window to the world and mostly I keep the curtains only open a crack, as I'm actually quite a private person - believe it or not!
Anyway, I know I now have 21 followers - special "Hi!" to you all and thanks for following...but I was astonished when I last checked my hit counter and released that I have now had over 25,000 hits on my blog. I can't believe it - 25,000 times someone has opened the page and read something I've written. Well, maybe they haven't all read something come to think of it. There must be a proportion who open it up looking for warped personalities and realise its not what they're looking for and equally another set of people who suddenly realise that warped woman is not related to Star Trek and warp factor*1 anything. There will be others too who open it up and go "Eek! Purple!" before swiftly clicking onwards. Some more are probably from Outer Mongolia and have probably clicked the 'next blog' button and are wondering what all this stuff in a foreign language with no pictures is all about... The rest though, well, that's you! I hope I can entertain you to the 50,000 mark sometime in the next few years...
*1 Ha ha - bet you Trekkies didn't expect me when you started looking for Captain Picard on Google!



Gosh, blogger how much do I love you....

I've been with Blogger quite a long time now, in fact I think it's a very long time, when I come to think of it, in computer lifetimes anyway. You all know what computer lifetimes are - they are those short snips of time where the hardware you bought 3 weeks ago, whether it's a computer, camera, phone or fridge, is suddenly way out of date and you just must have the latest thing now!*1 

I own up to it, I'm actually a bit of a shocker when it comes to all the new stuff too - I'm not exactly what you'd call a geek, and I'm not rich enough to be an early adopter, but I love all that technology stuff. I do admit to having bought an iPad (on which I am typing at right this moment) on the day that they were released, but to be fair, I had been saving for months to do so. It took me a massive Ebay offload - selling clothes, old equipment and various other stuff (I was restrained from actually putting up a post to sell my mother!) to raise the funds but I love it. I guess I use it every day - and not just as a tea tray...and buying it on release day, was just luck that the shop I went in to had it in stock. 

 Getting back to Blogger, as someone who's used it for years, I rarely even look at my design page any longer. I have a design, I like it, why would I change it? It was a bit of a shock to me then recently when I was digging around thinking I needed to do something complicated and found that Blogger had made it easy. I'm not even sure what it was any more - it was that easy; I didn't have to scrape the bottom of the Internet for a solution - not like the olden days... Back in the (good?) old days, changing something on the design of your page involved 3 weeks head scratching and lots of lateral thinking in your choice of words for Google searches. No wonder that almost everyone used one of 3 or 4 basic templates which were fixed in style and colour. I was a renegade, using a template I had snaffled from somewhere and then had monkeyed around with, by learning teeny tiny bits of HTML (mostly from PTV) and then uploading them just to see what the effect would be. Sometimes I'd end up with the background in front of the text (not very readable) and other times with borders so wide that they'd cover the whole page - sometimes it just crashed and I couldn't figure out why. Easy it wasn't, but I certainly learnt a lot. 

 I like to write too, I use writing to get my thoughts in order and I love to tell stories. Blogger is just great for that - and even though many of my posts are quite long, it's not really like trying to get a book (or series of books - M!) out there - hats off to those who do, but blogging is just a bit more bite sized for me. Over the years as well, knowing I have some regular readers, I feel a connection to those people - in some cases, even though I've never met them. I have shared my surgery and struggles and my hysterical moments too (both good and bad). Blogger does all that for me...So, in a nutshell, I love blogger - not just because I have an outlet for my writing, have met new friends (hi WCD!) and can relay all my friends' funny stories to a wider audience for them, but because it made me learn stuff. It forced me (by being so awkward) to learn enough HTML that I'm writing this with HTML tags (because it's quicker in the package I'm using) and enough that I'm happy getting my hands dirty with website design. 

Now, back to all that stuff being easier...had it been so when I started, I wouldn't know as much as I do....I shall leave it up to you to decide whether that's a good thing or not - cos I can't decide! 

*1Well, maybe not the fridge, but you get my drift!

Monday, January 02, 2012

2012 ....already???

I just realised that I didn't send you all a happy Christmas message for 2011 yet and it's 2012 already! How remiss is that? In fact, there's not been a huge amount of blogging at all going on lately, but that's partly due to a bit of winding down at the end of the year and partly the fact that the year really was a difficult one for us.

They say that things happen in threes (I'm not sure who 'they' are!) and thinking back, that was the story of our 2011. Early in the year we lost my MIL. It was a real shock at the time, as even though she had breast cancer, it wasn't aggressive and she actually succumbed to pneumonia which caught hold within a couple of days. We then had another shock in April, when my BIL found my FIL collapsed from a stroke. He was severely affected and was in hospital from April all the way through to the end of September, never really managing to improve too much and often not knowing where he was, or who we were. In the end, he was transferred to a nursing home and passed away from a chest infection in November. In the middle of the year, hubby injured his leg. He had an infection, a haematoma, a pair of crutches and a pair of walking sticks (stolen from me and lengthened somewhat) and this resulted in twice weekly hospital visits for dressings right the way through the autumn and up to Christmas. This morning, finally, the last scab came off and for the first time in months, he is dressing free and looking forward to a bath. I'm not suggesting he hasn't at least had a shower in the intervening time, (seriously, he doesn't pong!) but he hasn't been able to have a good soak for months. The year was fraught with other small things too, I had a shoulder problem and my brother was trying to sell his house in a rotten housing market....all in all, sounds like a rough year, doesn't it?

But, to be perfectly honest with you all, the year had its high points too and mostly the people that I love were happy and healthy. There are always tough things in our lives and then there are the high points that go along with them. We had a great trip away with PTV & HLW and I went away with a bunch of really successful friends in the summer which was memorable. I made new friends and rediscovered old ones and my brother moved into his new house in the street behind mine, so I can see him often.*1 I even managed to get Christmas organised - albeit right at the last minute!

So, now we are looking forward to 2012. It's going to be a great year, I can just feel it. I can see some amazing stuff heading our way. In Britain this year, we have the Olympic and Paralympic Games being held in London and all in a year when the Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee. Big things like that will touch us all in some way and I am looking forward to it all. I hope that you too are also looking forward to 2012 with hope, optimism and desire and that all your dreams come true this year. 

Here's to a happy, healthy and successful year to you all!

*1 - He didn't buy the house just because I lived nearby ;-)