Category Archives: Success

The moment when you realize…

… that your little boy is truly grown up!

My elder son is 9, & has never worn is correct size. He wasn’t a large baby – 7lb 8oz – so not small either. He’s always eaten well & eats pretty much anything. He’s sporty & very active, this year he begun road biking with my husband, he swims, plays field hockey & several other sports & activities at school, & in June he will compete in his first triathlon. He is the youngest in his year, but one of the tallest, & will definitely be taller than me one day. He is solid & athletic, & if you were to look at his statistics on a percentile chart, without seeing him, you might declare him overweight!

It’s a constant joke at mealtimes that all the calories stated on the side of the food packaging are little critters that go straight upstairs, into his closet, & sew his clothes together! I rarely buy him anything that fits because he would only where it for about 2 weeks. I can’t stress enough though that this kid might have a big appetite, but eats incredibly healthy, especially for his age. Ask him what he would prefer to order for takeaway & sushi would win hands down over pizza.

Today, like most days, I did laundry. I was empting the dryer when I pulled out a new t-shirt that was enjoying its first experience of being laundered. I hate ironing, so I adopted my BFF’s trick of legging it to the dryer the moment it’s finished, then smooooothing the clothes out while they are still warm – it’s AWESOME (if you’ve never tried, you totally have to!). Anyway, I gave the new t-shirt a shake, and then held it at arms length to eyeball it for creases. That was the moment I realized that he was grown up – the t-shirt would have been big on me. Then out came a pair of jeans, again, I would have fitted into them easily. The fact I’m a 0-2 is beside the point, since he entered grade 4 & he started wearing a blazer as part of his uniform, making him instantly look older, he seemed to gradually mature with it. He works harder at subjects he used to struggle with, & achieves the reward of good results. Other parents have also told us that he has shown kindness to his peers when they were having a difficult time. But, most importantly, he’s growing into the well grounded young man that once upon a time kept us awake at night when we had to reassure each other that it wouldn’t be like this for long.

No truer words have ever been spoken.

Mission accomplished!

When my husband is on call all weekend it is tempting to use that as an excuse to not get very much done. This weekend I was on a mission to finish the painting in my ‘she shack’ before the contractor arrives back tomorrow armed with wood trims & false beams. We did have a lazy morning, at least until swimming lessons at 11.30, it is a Sunday after all. Then it was on with the scrubs & some music to apply the last coat of green.

My body was still complaining after yesterday’s decorating, but after it was recharged with red wine & good company last night at dinner, there was no stopping me today. My mission was accomplished later this afternoon, and then my eldest & I finished the final coats in the main bathroom – which had been put on hold to finish my room. So now, not only do I have a smart new craft room, but also our main bathroom is also significantly more enjoyable to bathe in.

Which is exactly what I’m going to do now!

The relay…

This year my elder son joined the school swim team. He’s like me, not built for land & loves swimming. So, I think it might be time to look for a club, I was about his age when I joined, then swan competitively until I was about 16. As you can imagine having been coached, & continued to swim 2-3 times a week until ‘it’ made it difficult, I can still get in the water & do a few comfortable lengths.

Last week was the last swim meet, so this week the school coach organized a pool party. He brought both seniors & juniors together & they competed against each in fun relays. Then there was a proper relay, seniors, juniors, & a team of parents too! Thanks to my son I was entered into the team without my knowledge at first, because bless him, he was proud of the fact that mum was pretty tidy in the water. My knee is really flaring up again, but how could I let him down?

Thanks to a few other parents being roped in we had a decent team in the end, & I was first off the starting block. It felt good to be in the water & a part of a sport again, & because it felt good, even though my knee was screaming at me, I just went for it. Not a single breath in 25m. I think in the end we had done ourselves proud, most of us haven’t swan like that in a long time, but we were right there with the best of them, we weren’t going to have a bunch of kids get the better of us. I think the kids were impressed & for once quite proud of their parents.

We definitely earned our slice of pizza & a juice box!!

DIY music…

Until ‘it’ began to rule most of my life, & the kids took over the rest, hubby & I used to enjoy the challenges that decorating our home presented us with. We’ve always owned old properties, & therefore always had something we needed to update/repair/renovate as a result. I used to love helping my mum decorate when I was young, & fortunately for me I enjoyed it enough that I haven’t forgotten what she taught me. Essentially it’s all in the preparation, just like many things I do daily like following a recipe or making a card or scrapbook page. If you take the time to prepare the job in hand it will make the actual task itself a lot easier & probably be more successful. It’s now been nearly 2 months since I began stripping the wallpaper off two of our bathrooms & now one is almost finished & the other is in the final stages, about to be painted.

As you can imagine it is not only physically challenging for me to be doing this type of DIY, it also has brutal consequences that can last days, even weeks, after just a few hours of painting. That’s one of the reasons it’s taken me so long. Part of me just wants to get on with it & then I can recover, but then sometimes I find I just can’t bare the thought of inflicting more pain upon myself. Today was a rebellious day for me I decided to just crack on with it, the result being that I’ve now maxed out on the number of painkillers I can take. However, the satisfaction of now seeing that all the hard work & pain was worth it is a feeling I haven’t felt in years. It brought back fond memories of hubby & I embarking on some very time consuming projects that would take months to complete. We always had music playing while we worked, the songs now remind us of those individual projects, for example, we were stripping wood & decorating our bedroom in the Victorian terraced house we owned in Liverpool when Nickleback first became big in the UK. Right now I’m into Ed Sheeran so ‘X’ will always remind me of decorating the bathrooms & the renovation of our dining room & my ‘she shack’.

So much of our lives can be associated with certain songs, or pieces of music, it is a very powerful tool that I always try to use in my writing. You can usually tell  who or what I was into at the time I wrote a particular novel because somehow I will have incorporated it in the story; this was very evident in my first novel ‘Bruises’, which was named after one of my favourite Train songs. It was actually listening to music while walking my dog that inspired me to write.

From pain comes productivity…

I shoehorned myself out of bed this morning, having not slept well, partly because hubby was in work until 3am, & partly because of yesterday’s torture. So, the day didn’t get off to a good start, even after a hot shower to help ease the aches & pains, & Thursday’s are always busy. For the first time ever my body was not keen on having an hour of pilates, but my fantastic instructor managed to motivate both my mind & body so I at least got something positive out of it – & I did. Then it’s my guitar lesson, I have practiced & practiced the chords to Photograph, but I couldn’t get the palming muting rhythm right. However, my teacher had something else on the agenda…

After only 10 minutes into the lesson he had me playing the introduction to the song, which can also be played along side the palm muted chords. I was so excited that I could now just pick up my guitar & play something you might actually recognize. THEN we sorted out the rhythm. I think it’s time for a change of artist or band & a new song – as much as I love you Ed, sorry!

I’ve now had 3 doses of my super dooper painkillers with very little pain relief, I have now resorted to wine, & I can confirm that at some point in the evening there will be chocolate consumed. All things considered I’ve had a productive & positive day when I thought it was going to be brutal. I’ve made two Valentines cards (sadly I make a matching pair & give hubby one so that I get a decent card from him!), & made 3 cakes. I find that when I have things to distract me, & those things go according to plan, ‘it’ is just grumbling in the background, unable to beat & bring me down. Not today anyway.

Then of course it’s Friday tomorrow, the weekend always makes things feel better!


Just when I was getting the hang of playing it one-way, my teacher changed to bar chords & palm muting. So I’ve spent all week listening to the song over & over & over again. Playing along with the slowed down version he sent me, determined that I would go to today’s lesson & be able to play something vaguely resembling the tune. Yes I had my fingers in the right place for the chords, but the palm muting was a disaster, & I was strumming the wrong strings in the wrong rhythm. Darn it! I thought I’d done pretty well, my mind is not focusing on very much more than breathing right now, playing the guitar is a little escapism.

We sort out the rhythm & the right strings, only for him then to say that there was a much easier way for me to play the chords, but, he wanted my to learn the hard way first. I was not amused, but I could see why he did it that way, so I tuned into the correct sound & understood why the cheat chord works. Five minutes of the lesson left & pops on the song again, forcing me to put it all together. Chords were fine, but thankfully he had the song on loud enough to drown out the dreadful palm muting. However, he was impressed that I’d got it, promising me that with practice, just like everything else I’ve found hard, it will come…

Yeah, & so is Christmas mate!!

A new day…

Today I am beaten.

Playing mind games with the bottle of pills that sits on the shelf, pretending that if I can see them they will take the pain away. I hate taking them, they screw up my system & make me feel slow. I’m not even sure they will take the pain away today, that’s why I’m pretending. The person that is staring back at me in the mirror is not me; I have been replaced by a similar version that looks tired & old, sad & withdrawn, pale & lifeless. You see that’s what it does to you, it takes the real you & hides them away until you have the strength to find yourself again. Each time it happens, a tiny piece of you is lost forever until eventually the last piece will disappear & you finally give up trying.

Every time this happens I wonder why, & more questions arise that will always remain an unanswered. Longer periods of time pass between events, but I never get a break from it, it’s always there, torturing me and probably laughing at me. Testing my strength to see just how far I will go before I snap. It’s wearing when your reserve runs on empty most of the time. I just want it to go away and leave me alone, instead of flaunting itself in front of me & celebrating its success, when my greatest success today had been to just get through.

Then tomorrow is a new day…