Sunday, 27 December 2009

That’s Christmas done...

... New Year here we come!

I hope you all enjoyed the Christmas season, whatever your way of celebrating. You won't be surprised to hear that I woke up ridiculously early and sat all alone for a couple of hours, channel hopping until I came across that teen phenomenon 'Twilight' which I started to watch – I think I can see what gets those teenage girls excited! I just now need to find time to watch the other half on Sky+!

Traditionally Christmas Day is the one day each year when we all sit down for breakfast together which we normally eat around 10am, I gently woke the boys about 9.30 to give them the early warning they needed and proceeded to cook breakfast. Nothing to fancy – sausages, bacon, eggs & toast. John took over after he'd noticed that I was banging around trying to prepare the veggies for dinner at the same time – apologies to any men who read this but why did he have to wait until I was getting grumpy about it? Anyway, row averted but we had very crispy fried eggs – pan was far too hot but I mustn't interfere!!

After breakfast we progressed to our exchange of gifts – not so many this year, although I seemed to have more because I brought all of my work things home unopened. My present from John was a ring. An eternity ring, with rubies and diamonds to match my engagement ring. I knew I was getting it because I had pointed it out in the jewellers – I'd even had my finger measured in anticipation. You know what's coming don't you – it didn't fit! My ever gallant husband said "You must have put more weight on" note the use of the word 'More'. Son 2 immediately chipped in with 'It must have been labelled wrong in the shop'. I know I've put weight on. My wedding ring no longer fits and needs enlarging. I'm sure though that my finger has not grown a whole ring size in two months. It must have been labelled wrong.

Moving on we opened the rest of our gifts. I bought John one of those massage things that you attach to a chair. Purely for selfish reasons. Son2 and I had sat in the department store for over half-an-hour 'testing the merchandise'. I needed one. No doubt in my mind. I couldn't justify buying myself one. So I bought it for John. He loved it. Result.

FDIL arrived shortly afterwards and we gave our gifts to her. I love having girls to buy for, I can buy silly things like stripy socks, cuddly toys, smellies, PJs – so much more fun than buying for young men! Sadly Son2's GF wasn't with us – they're 'having a break' to sort things out, but she still had her gifts a few days earlier and sent a lovely text in thanks – we do miss her, I hope things get sorted between them. Son2 is sad and I don't like to see him like that.

If I say so myself, Christmas dinner was probably the best I've ever cooked. We had a turkey crown as nobody is really keen on eating turkey for a week after Christmas, served with home-roasted potatoes (I normally cheat and use frozen!), peas, carrots, parsnips, butter nut squash (which I grew myself from seed!!), mini sausages wrapped in bacon and the most delicious stuffing mix I have ever had. Followed by Christmas pudding and mince pies.

The rest of the day seems to have passed in a blur – Son1 disappeared to FDIL's parents, Son2 retreated to his bedroom with his TV and laptop, I dozed (no change there!) and John watched TV.

I decided to do something different for Boxing Day as the football was an away game and I bought tickets for the Cinema – we went to see Nine which you can read about here I'm not sure I was getting the plot but as we left and started to talk about, I think both John and I got the same idea – an interesting film.

Amongst all of this seasonal frivolity, my friend Grethic thought it would be a good idea to host a seasonal brain teaser and other challenges – take a look and scroll down to see what gems she has come up with! The first challenge was to elicit gifts from Santa, the next to work out how many legs she would have in her house after delivery of the 12 Days of Christmas gifts – let me tell you the fun that was had chez Sparkle with that one! And latterly the challenge to draw a 'miximal'. She suggested a cross between an ostrich and a tortoise. I am no artist. Below is my result. Please be gentle with your comments. I know it looks more like a penguin. Or an emu. Like I say – I'm no artist.

Sunday Stealing - The Final Week of 2009 Meme

Original title this week – check out the others over at Sunday Stealing!

  1. What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?

Sorry to be boring but I CRUISED – oh yeah!

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Don't make them so don't have to worry about keeping them!

3. How will you be spending New Year's Eve?

At home, possibly not even being able to stay awake!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Not very close but my aunt, the last of that generation on that side of my family

5. What countries did you visit?

USA, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Mexico, Denmark, Germany, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Egypt & Jordan – when I CRUISED!

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

Stupid answer probably but more sleep, but then I could probably say that every year!

7. What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Cheating again – 14 April (25th Wedding Anniversary) and 15 December (50th birthday)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

That's a tough one, might have to get back to you....

9. What was your biggest failure?

What does that word mean? (lol)

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Thankfully not.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I'm going to cheat and choose the best thing I was bought which would be my laptop.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Cruising J

13. What song will always remind you of 2009?

Nothing springing to mind – I'm not a great one for listening to music really.

14. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Cruising J

15. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Working L

16. What was your favourite TV program?

TV tends to be on in the background but I don't pay an awful lot of attention to these days.

17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

Nooooo – hate is a strong word (de ja vu here)

18. What was the best book you read?

Going to cheat again, and choose the first two books of the Millennium Trilogy – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl who Played with Fire.

19. What was your greatest musical discovery?

See 13

20. What was your favorite film of this year?

I'm going to have to say Nine (it's the only one I've seen at the cinema!)

21. What did you do on your birthday?

Went out for a meal with the family.

22. What kept you sane?

Blogging! And the new friendships I've made through it!

23. Who did you miss?

Anybody that I don't see that often for whatever reason.

24. Who was the best new person you met?

That just has to be Janet!!!

25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:

Have faith in yourself and others will have faith in you (do you like that, I think I just made it up – if not apologies to whoever I stole it from)

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

An Inbox special...

120 degrees in Australia, it was so hot for a week that Koalas were asking people for water. It's never been seen before

One went to a house to try to hide from the heat and to get some shade and here's what happened when the owner gave it something to drink

Sunday, 20 December 2009

My answers to my meme!

I thought I ought to answer my own questions!

Choose three words to describe yourself

    Middle aged Mum!

What was your first job?

    First proper job was working in admin for the electricity board

If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?

    I'd really love to learn to play the piano

What is your favourite ever film?

    I'm not a great film lover but probably Four Weddings and a Funeral – it's one I've seen more than once!

What one wish would you like to be granted?

    Tough one, not original but I think for people to live alongside one another in peace

What would you choose as your last meal?

    A nice piece of steak!

What are you most passionate about?

    Mmmm, my family I think

Who are your heroes?

    I don't think I really have any (you can see I didn't pick these questions 'cos I'd find them easy!)

When are you happiest?

    After several good nights sleep!

What really irritates you?

    Where shall I begin...drivers using mobiles, drivers not indicating...I could go on...and on...

What's your biggest indulgence?

    I love handbags ( I think I've mentioned that before J)

What keeps you awake at night?

    Oh, I wish I knew the answer to that one!

Be honest, if you live somewhere that has snow – do you really like it?

If I didn't need to go anywhere and had the luxury of just sitting and watching, it would be fine, sadly I do need to go places and it's horrible.

And finally, just to make a contribution to the festive season, how do you expect to spend Christmas day?

The four if us will spend most of the day together, Son1 will be home overnight and FDIL will arrive some time during the morning. After we've opened presents and had dinner the day will be just like any other non-working day – except that we'll be at home!

The current scene

Being cowardly and wanting to keep warm, I stood on various door steps around the house to bring you the various views of our snowy environment. Take a look over at Just Jotting Along to see some really gorgeous scenes.

I took these yesterday morning when the sky looked full enough to burst, but thankfully it contained itself!

Not your usual Sunday Stealing

Apologies to Judd over Sunday Stealing but I really couldn't identify with any of the questions this week so instead I've 'stolen' a few questions from various sources that wouldn't actually ever identify themselves as memes – play along if you're inclined to and leave me a message so that I can check out your answers (I haven't got one of those linky things as I am creating this but may have later!)

I know that other memes will have used some of these lines but I can't always be original!

Choose three words to describe yourself

What was your first job?

If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?

What is your favourite ever film?

What one wish would you like to be granted?

What would you choose as your last meal?

What are you most passionate about?

Who are your heroes?

When are you happiest?

What really irritates you?

What's your biggest indulgence?

What keeps you awake at night?

Be honest, if you live somewhere that has snow – do you really like it?

And finally, just to make a contribution to the festive season, how do you expect to spend Christmas day?

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Big Chill

What a week – where shall I start? That's a good idea, I'll start at the beginning...(sorry – it's turned out to be a long one...)

You probably don't care that might have noticed that I didn't even do the Sunday Stealing meme last week – you know what? I took one look and thought, emphatically – no, I have too many other important things to do. My resolve held tight and I resisted.

On Sunday morning our good friends from Colchester were coming up for coffee and of course I had to provide nibbles to go with it so I ended up making my mince pies – for my transatlantic readers (apart from Kathy!) I don't know if you have pies made with sweet mince meat (a misnomer – no meat is used!), it's made of dried fruit and sugars and lots of other sweet things that don't readily spring to mind! We don't usually entertain on a Sunday morning – generally I sit around in my PJs for far too long so I had to make an effort!

I cannot even remember what I did on Sunday afternoon! Probably dozed and crocheted and mentally prepared myself for Monday, which saw the start of the first full week of my interim role – clearly nothing special happened because I can't remember (anybody spotting a theme here?)

That takes me nicely on to Tuesday – which was my birthday, a big birthday. I'm generally quite shy about birthdays and tend to keep them quiet at work but this year a few people had found out, thankfully nothing embarrassing happened and the day passed quite discreetly. We went out as a family on Tuesday night – just the four of us. Son 1 volunteered to drive which was great and we were really grown up and went to a bar for drinks before dinner! We had dinner in one of our favourite restaurants which serves mainly pasta and pizza dishes but has recently started serving more chicken and steak, which I think personally is a shame. We really enjoyed ourselves (I think I speak for all of us) and had a lovely evening. Oh I almost forgot my dear friend Janet wrote this for me I was so touched, it made my day!

Wednesday – nothing special, but Thursday brought the first snow of the winter. I left work to go home not having looked out of the window for a while, to find snow in the car park! John and Son 2 were both going out for the evening with their respective work colleagues, before he left John asked if I would pick him up – as this was early evening and the snow was already falling thick and fast and laying on the roads I was a little bit reluctant to say the least! Son 1 came to the rescue and offered, as long as it was before 10pm he would pick him up. Fortunately for us, he got a lift. Which took over an hour and half to do a ten minute journey. John said the town was gridlocked, police were stopping drivers going to the town centre and all of the side roads were virtually impassable – which then led to the question 'Where was Son 2?' Attempts to speak to him on his mobile phone were fruitless he either hung up or couldn't hear so John decided to go look for him in the hope they would meet fairly close to home. He was closer than any of us realised. He was actually laying, in the snow, in the road – in our street – making a snow angel! You know – children usually do this by laying down and moving their arms and legs from side to side and leaving an impression of an angel behind. He's 19 and to my knowledge never done this in his life before! But then alcohol played its part.

We woke up on Friday morning to the heaviest snow I can remember for a long time (I think I read somewhere that it was 18 years ago that it was this bad which I remember quite clearly – John and a neighbour went to the supermarket with a sledge to get the shopping!) I can walk to work so set off at my normal time and John gallantly walked with me – it was not an easy journey by any means but a lot easier than some of the team who couldn't get their cars off of their drives. Team spirit won through and those that had got to work covered their missing colleagues without any fuss.

When we woke this morning there was more snow which had fallen on top of the slush which had frozen – as a result of yesterday's snowfall my grocery shopping couldn't be delivered so I had to brave the elements and shop myself – I'm still trying to work out how I spent twice as much in person as I would have done on line – ahh, temptation!

Sadly we were unable to go down to Colchester today to see our lovely God daughter in her latest production, we've been planning it for months but today the roads were still not good and the sky were full of more of the white stuff – John, who is normally more than happy to drive in bad weather was very reluctant to venture away from home so reluctantly we decided not to travel. The inevitable happened this afternoon – the sun came out and no more snow fell. I slept, John wrapped and the afternoon passed.

As I write this we have just finished Son 1's birthday dinner – he and FDIL are now upstairs packing up his bedroom in preparation for the big move out. How do I feel? Strange. I don't know when the ultimate move will take place – probably not until after Christmas, although they will spend some time in their new home whilst they wait for delivery of furniture and installation of the satellite TV and internet access. He'll be home for Christmas!

If you've managed to get to the end of this, thank you for bearing with me! May even do the Sunday Stealing this week!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Long time no blog

It's been a mad week! Preparations for the boss leaving and actually saying goodbye on Wednesday took up the first half of the week and getting down to work took up the second half!

Although it's been mad it's also been good – I know that the next couple of months are probably going to be the most intense work-wise that I have ever encountered because it's budget setting and business planning time (bad timing, huh?) but saying that if I can get through that I can probably get through anything. I have been hampered because the plans I put in place to take my old job have fallen to pieces due to sad unforeseen circumstances, the mother of one of my right hand people has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and understandably, V needs to be with her Mum at this difficult time. The best laid plans and all that...

On the home front son 1 and FDIL are close to finalising their move – completion takes place this coming Friday so it's a hive of activity at the moment. Trouble is he can't have any time off work between now and Christmas and is working nights the week leading up to Christmas so we're not sure when they will be able to move in. I think it will probably be piecemeal – one box at a time!

Another busy week ahead as well for all sorts of reasons, work diary is bursting, I haven't even started writing Christmas cards or wrapping presents, I need to make my mince pies (one tradition I can't swap for shop bought) and ice the Christmas cakes (minimal effort required for this one – ready rolled marzipan and fondant icing just need popping in place and trimming!!) – I'm already exhausted just thinking about it!

Before I forget, some of you know that I was feeling a bit under the weather and had blood tests last week – good news is that they all came back well within normal range, bad news is I guess I have to resign myself to the fact that I'm just getting old!

I'll leave you with a picture of our Christmas tree – we went very minimal this year and haven't put anything from the ceiling but I think the tree looks good! I even managed to get some peppermint candy canes!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Sunday Stealing The Can’t Sleep Meme

Sleepless in Seattle Pictures, Images and Photos

It's that time again, I know I often say this but I was going to give this one a miss but changed my mind! So here's this weeks Sunday Stealing – with my tongue planted, well and truly, in my cheek for a lot of them!

Would it be hard to kiss the last person you kissed?

- No – strange question, is it deeper than I'm thinking?

When is it hard to kiss someone?

- When they're not there, doh!

You're trapped in a room with your most recent ex for three days, what do you do?

- No idea – such a long time ago. Perhaps compare notes on the past 27 years???

Does it matter to you if your significant other smokes?

- Yes – disgusting smelly habit

Have you ever regretted letting someone go?

- No

Where would you go if you were butt naked and locked out of your house?

- To pieces! I would have to have been sleep walking or something for that to happen!

Do you want to please everyone?

- No, sadly I can't.

Have you ever been called heartless?

- Not to my face

Someone calls you at 3:00 AM, who do you expect it to be?

- I hate phone calls at that time, it's generally bad news..

Does it matter if your significant other drinks?

- I hope he does, otherwise he'll dehydrate! Oh – I think you mean alcohol, that's OK in moderation!

Could you go the rest of your life without doing drugs?

- What is it with the drugs obsession? Never have done, never will do – stop asking!

Which is better, amazing eyes or an amazing smile?

- Oh, both equal I think

Do you want to get married and have children one day?

- Been there, done that thank you!

Are you easy to get along with?

- I like to think so

Do you ever want to go to sleep and not wake up?

- I'll amend that to 'not wake up until morning' and the answer is yes – every night!

Are you shorter than your Mom?

- I wasn't no.

Describe your life currently in one word:

- Good

Are you on medication for anything?
- Yep – High blood pressure

Who would you allow to read your thoughts for one day?

- Too weird!

Are there things in your life that you will never be able to get over?

- Probably – not sure I'd want to share them here though!

If you woke up naked next to the last person you kissed, what would your reaction be?

- Good morning!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

I am warm and social - oooh errr

You Are Warm and Social

You are thoughtful and contemplative. You enjoy spending time alone with your thoughts.

You are very outgoing and friendly. You feel very comfortable in a crowd, and you can get to know anyone.

Money is important to you in as far as you'd like to have enough to survive.

You tend to seek comfort, coziness, and stability in your life. For you, feeling at home is the best feeling ever.

Friday, 4 December 2009

A Fun Christmas Meme

I've picked this meme up from Kathy over at Emptynester I swore I would only do the Sunday memes but I've given in this week – have a go and share your answers as well! Check Kathy's blog for some fantastic photography from Texas!

1) What is your favourite Christmas movie?

I'm not a great movie person but I think I will plump for Home Alone – the original version. My youngest son (now 19) loved this so much the video tape wore out.

(2) What is your LEAST favourite Christmas movie?

I can't think of one in particular but if you trawl through the movie channels over the festive season there are some real turkeys (pun intended)!

(3) What is your favourite Christmas Song?

I love 'White Christmas' makes me teary just thinking about it now ;)

(4) What Christmas song(s) drives you crazy?

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (I left this the same as Kathy's answer because I agree!!)

(5) What is your favorite Christmas drink?

Nice glass of sherry before Christmas lunch – really warming oh – and bucks fizz for breakfast (how decadent)

(6) What is your favorite Christmas memory?

Ahhhh – coming home from hospital on Christmas Eve with my first son (22 years ago – where's the time gone?)

(7) What is the best toy/gift you've received on Christmas?

For our first Christmas together my husband bought me a food processor – I still have it although I don't use it as often as I used to.

(8) What is the worst toy/gift you've received on Christmas?

That would be the cosmetic bags that I was given every year by somebody who should have made more of an effort!

(9) What do you LOVE about the holidays?

Coming home from work on Christmas Eve, everybody else is usually home when I get there (strange that!) the house is warm and the atmosphere is just different from usual nights. Although the boys are older now we still do the whole sit around and share the gifts round thing!

(10) What annoys you about the holidays?

The festivities start too early – shops start decorating and pushing sales in October – far too early in my opinion. Also I really hate the fact that the stores are so busy when I need to shop! Oh – and food shopping, do people think that there will never be anything else in the shops again and that they have to buy the biggest pack/jar/box of everything on display?

(11) Do you prefer star or angel on top of a Christmas tree? Or something else?

We have an angel purchased from a craft fair many years ago, she's seen better times but she'll still hop up there this year!

(12) What is your family favorite recipe at Christmas?

That'll be my rich fruit Christmas cake I think!

(13) Are you a Grinch or a Who at Christmastime?

Had to look this one up – never seen the Grinch - OK I'm back, I think I'm a Who!

(14) Christmas light displays - Love them or Hate them?

Here in the UK people have only decorated the outside of their homes in the last 10 years or so and it's a novelty still for most people. I love to see the lights and like Kathy I prefer white lights.

(15) Santas at the mall - Fun times or Creepy?

I think fun overall – there's always going to be odd Santa who could be more suitably employed!

(16) Christmas cards - do you send them, yes or no?

Yes – but no longer in huge numbers, for work I make a donation to charity, I see these people all the time, they know I'm thinking about them!!

(17) What is the best thing about Christmas, in your opinion?

Spending time with loved ones – friends and family. It's probably the one remaining day that most people still make an effort for no matter what else they do through the year.

(18) What is the worst thing about Christmas?

I hate it when the decorations come down – the house is so bare

(19) When do you put the tree up and take it down?

Second weekend in December and down for 6 January which is twelfth night.

(20) Out of the 12 days of Christmas, which day and item would you want your truelove to give to you?

Five gold rings (lol)

(21) Why do you think that Grandma got run over by a reindeer?

Sorry – that one has thrown me completely – anyone care to explain?

(22) Who is your favourite reindeer?


(23) Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Are you suggesting something here??

(24) What is your favorite smell at Christmastime?

Pine needles. We don't have a real tree but I love it when we go to friends who do!

(25) What would make you happy at Christmas this year?

For son 1 and FDIL to have been able to spend Christmas Eve in their new home together – equally it will make me sad because he won't be here on Christmas morning for the first time. Baby steps though because he's said they'll both go to their respective parents for Christmas dinner!

A little redesign

snowflakes Pictures, Images and Photos

Well – what do you think of the new background? Let me explain that Julie (remember her?), noticed snow effects on another blog and thought I should follow suit – problem was, the old background was too pale for the snow to show up. I spent the whole of yesterday evening fiddling around to find something that looked a little bit seasonal and would show the snow. Trouble was, you know who over at Just Jotting Along had picked the nicest (in my opinion) background from where I normally pick up my backgrounds which left me searching the multitude of other sites for something else. There are some cracking backgrounds out there but a lot of them have very pale centre panels – no good for snow!

When I settled on the current choice (blue and spotty in case I've changed it when you read this) her over at Just Jotting Along couldn't read the text so I had to change the colours because the new design hadn't changed any text colours with it. So there I am reading through the HTML in the template looking for something that resembled text colour, when up she pops on Twitter telling me to go to the Fonts and Colours tab on the layout page, wouldn't you think that, after all the hours I waste spend investigating the possibilities of blogger, I'd have spotted this before – I've never liked the paler colours on the previous templates either – I feel right stupid!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Ta Dah...

...and welcome to post number 200! I couldn’t believe when I scrolled down the posts the posts this morning that I’d reached 199, when I looked further I found that I’d posted 50 of those in the first month which was only May of this year.

As the boys were both off doing their own thing today I thought I’d treat John to Sunday lunch. Wanting to go somewhere different I decided to ask my friends on Twitter for their suggestions and @farctum came up with The Brewery Tap which, as it is a mere 10 minutes from home in the car, seemed like a good idea.

A small-ish pub, with several nooks and crannies and not very busy when we first arrived, the menu was slightly different to that advertised on the website and we both ordered the roast lamb dinner – it was absolutely delicious. Plenty of meat served on a bed of mashed swede and cauliflower cheese. The other vegetables served were carrots, kale, broccoli, roast parsnips and roast potatoes along with freshly made gravy and a small pot of mint sauce. John followed his with hot chocolate pudding with clotted cream and I went for the poached pear with homemade ginger ice cream.

All of this in a very pleasant atmosphere, subtle music playing in the background, (almost) roaring open fires and, sadly, a fairly grotty view across the river with all the building work helped to brighten up a horrible day weather-wise here in the East. The two young ladies behind the bar were lovely very efficient and gave us first class service – as we left they told us to come back soon, we certainly will!

It was as delicious as it looks - yummmmm!

The Tell Me About Yourself Meme

Advent Pictures, Images and Photos

(Just a reminder Advent starts today if memory serves me well)

...aren't they all? (Telling you about myself, that is) that rebel over at Just Jotting Along has decided to create her own meme this week, take a look and have a go. Not too many questions and more interesting than a lot of what we've had lately!

I've done both (scroll down to see my answers) so here goes this week's Sunday Stealing a lot of which I'm sure I've answered in some form or another already and some of which I've answered this week with tongue planted firmly in cheek!!J

1. When is your birthday? Very soon – a milestone one this year.

2. Where were you born? In a hospital bed.

3. Where do you live now? What is this – shall I just give you all my bank details as well?? LOL – I've told you that before haven't I? OK – Suffolk UK, check my profile ;)

4. What is your heritage? Very much British – probably a combination of all the home nations.

5. Tell us about a weakness. Memes

6. What's a goal that you'd like to achieve? Oh I hate these types of question – health and happiness for all of us and world peace!

7. What is the most overused internet phrase? LOL? OMG? Woop-Woop? I don't know – there's so many!

8. What was your first thought this morning? Ouch – my back still hurts!

9. When do you usually go to bed? At night!

10. Do you smoke? If not, did you ever? No and yes but stopped when I was about 18.

11. Do you like your current relationship status? Of course.

12. Do you (or did you) get along with your parents? Too complicated to answer, not a usual relationship with either of them.

13. How often do you drink alcohol? Not very but I can be a devil sometimes and have several drinks over the course of an evening!

14. Have you ever tried drugs (that weren't prescribed)? I've told you before – No!

15. Have you ever gone skinny dipping? If yes, do tell. Errr no – and I've told you that before as well!

16. If given the choice, how would you like to die? Without pain, as peacefully as possible (what a strange question!)

17. What did you want to be when you grew up? Lots of things but I think somewhere in the memories I wanted to be a hospital administrator...

18. Have you ever been dumped? Oh yes – and my heart was well and truly broken at the time, let me tell you but time heals and we're still friends now ;)

19. What's on your pizza? Ham & Pineapple preferably please!

20. Have you ever shoplifted? I thought you knew me better than to ask that question! I'll tell you a secret though, just between the two of us, when son 2 was about three years old he picked up a sweet in our local post office and put it straight into his mouth. I didn't know until we got outside, poor boy was mortified as he heard the police siren and I told him that it was for him for stealing the sweet! Was I a bad mother for that?????

Those Darn Loose Ends - Solved

Me and my simple brain - I don't know why I didn't remember before @jaydubblah reminded me that I could weave the ends in as I started the next colour :(

So thanks for the thousands (I jest) of offers for help but I have had to withdraw the above job offer!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Foster’s Folly

My dear friend over at Just Jotting Along took one look at this week's Sunday Stealing and decided that it wasn't for her so she's come up with her own meme, I must say I think she's done a good job – just the right number of questions, quality over quantity! Has she started something she might regret – what's coming next week??

1. Tell me about something you still own from your childhood, or something you remember and wish you still had.

I still have a wooden jewellery box which is decorated with sea shells collected on Clacton beach. I lived near London at the time so a trip to the seaside was an adventure.

2. Name one piece of music that means something to you and why.

Not so much a piece of music but I have to choose 'You are the sunshine of my life' by Stevie Wonder, it was the first dance at my wedding, ahhh.

3. Do you ever read a book a second time? What book/s

I'm thinking about this one, there was one I remember reading twice but I can't remember without Googling (just pops off to Google) oh yes – I remember now it was Harnessing Peacocks by Mary Wesley. I generally only read a book once because I know what happens at the end!!

4. If you could pass a law what would it be?

I'd like for normal individuals to be able to report and influence the outcome for idiots who drive while talking on their mobile phones – there's never a policeman around when you want one!

5. What did you have for dinner?

Lazy dinner tonight – Pizza and oven chips, I don't do much on a Saturday (those that know might say I don't do much any night!)

6. Do you have a recurring dream? What is it and what does it tell you about yourself?

Do you know, I really don't remember many of my dreams so I can't answer that one!

7. What's the first record you ever bought?

Sad Old Kind of Movie by Picketywitch!! And I didn't have to think to remember that one!

8. Town or Country?

I've lived in a town for most of my life apart from when I first married and I lived in a small village in the middle of nowhere. I think I like where I am now which is on the edge of a town, convenient for the coast and country – sorry, I know that's not a clear cut answer!

Those Darn Loose Ends

I have just spent I don't know how long sewing in the ends of yarn to some of my squares that I have been crocheting - when I say some I mean that I managed the grand total of ...FIVE. I'm bored with that game now...on with the making of more squares now, that's much more satisfying!

Had a good week I have

(Apologies this is quite a long post but a lot has happened – I should have written during the week but didn't feel up to it!)

OK, OK all you grammar experts out there I know the post title isn't grammatically correct but it came into my mind from somewhere (don't even bother asking from where because I haven't got a clue!)

Don't worry I'm not planning to bore you to death with a one sided conversation but I'd like to share bits of the week with you if you have time to read.

I started by being a domestic goddess on Sunday and making my Christmas cakes – I made two just in case son 1 and FDIL need one for themselves this year. I used a different recipe and thought I'd be very clever by doubling up the ingredients to make both cakes at the same time – good time management skills there I think you'd agree! I divided the mix between the two tins which looked OK before they were cooked but I was a little disappointed in that they were both quite shallow when they came out of the oven – never mind I'm sure they will taste delicious. I don't do the whole fancy, shmancy icing thing – thank heavens for ready tolled marzipan (almond paste) and fondant icing! Last year we found a lovely fine sprinkly sugar with a rainbow effect which makes a plain cake look a little different. I'll show you the end results!

Monday was my day off which I spent with son 1 and should perhaps be referred to as 'The day that I spent a lot of money'. I offered to buy them furniture so we trundled off to that famous UK store when you don't pay a deposit, pay nothing for a year and then pay the balance over four years. I couldn't believe it when the salesman asked if I wanted to pay a deposit and the balance on delivery – I gave him one of my looks, you know – over the top of my glasses (the fact that I can't see a thing when I do that is neither here nor there!) I resisted telling him not to be stupid and went for the best credit option – who wouldn't? We chose a lovely suite – 2 seater sofas, one as a sofa bed and one normal and a foot stool with a little storage box. All in a lovely shade of mink with a cream trim – close your eyes and imagine it! We then went on to buy towels –FDIL had decreed that she wanted a 'bluey green but not too green' so from the rainbow of colours available to us we opted for a lovely shade which was appropriately named 'Lagoon' ( I should say here, for those of you that don't know, FDIL is currently away from home Monday – Friday on her training placement for her degree, hence son 1 doing all the shopping).

Tuesday did not start well. I stupidly took my cereal out of the cupboard (at eye level, no stretching or bending) in a slightly different way than usual and 'ping' my back went – such a simple mis-movement has left me in agony all week and hobbling round like an old granny (apologies to those grannies out there who are quite sprightly), I am pleased though to have provided so much entertainment to my staff and colleagues over this last week!

I work in a very target and performance driven environment and as such this is used to measure our Unit's performance month on month. We had a system introduced earlier in the year which provides a monthly 'scorecard' with a score of 1-5. The overall score for each subsection is an aggregated score of further subsections and the final overall score is aggregated from each subsection – are you still with me? Until this month we had been bobbing along happily with a score of three, not quite reaching that elusive four (five is something we can only dream of) we were really optimistic of achieving four this month and were very disappointed to find that a freak lower score elsewhere left us on a three. We toodled along to the monthly performance meeting on Thursday, resigned but disappointed with our score and discussed it with the man who can make changes (oh to be so powerful) – and, you've probably guessed it, he changed the lower score which automatically changed the overall score to a four. I am so pleased for everybody who has worked so hard to get us there – we are the only Unit out of seven to have achieved this heady height and I think we have every right to hold our heads high. Obviously we need to keep up the good work – hey, no pressure!

The week was rounded off on Friday with a phone call from son 2 mid afternoon. I always worry when he calls on my mobile – usually means he needs money! However when I spoke to him I could feel the excitement in his voice. "I think I've just been promoted" he said "well anyway I've got a pay rise" He went on to say that the regional manager had called him in to his office for an impromptu meeting and told him how well he was doing (you may recall he started a new job in July training to be an Estate Agent which caused me a little worry) he said that his name was being mentioned in 'high places' and that the company was very impressed with his record so far. And as a result of that they want him to change his job slightly and instead of working out of the Ipswich office he is to work across three offices, Woodbridge, Kesgrave and Ipswich, spreading his time across all three – focusing on sales rather than just the junior work he has been doing. I.Am.One.Proud.Mum. He came home last night grinning from ear to ear – his face hurting from grinning so much, well done son!

Not much more to go, honestly, but I need to mention that I went out with the girls from work last night. We met in a wine bar and progressed to an Indian restaurant, now I'm not one for spicy Indian food but I love the creamy dishes. I can't remember what I had but it wasn't a Korma although it was similar and very tasty. We are quite an eclectic group when we go out – people seeing us out wouldn't expect us to be together but it works. We range in age from Karyn in her mid-thirties (there's your mention Scotty!!) to Judy who recently retired, we talk about a huge range of things and as none of us actually work together anymore there is inevitably the need to catch up on the gossip about work. Sitting in the middle of a long table meant that I was switching back and forth between conversations – and catching some interesting snippets from them all! Unusually for me I didn't get home until gone 11 o'clock (!) and I was dropped off by the lovely Sue hoping that somebody was still up because I'd changed bags and didn't have a key! Luckily Son 2 was up and eventually heard me knocking on the door.

That's it – I'm done. I've had a fab week this week apart from the stupid back problem which is still niggling – bring on the next one!

Thanks for reading if you got this far!

Heather xx

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Just part of my obsession...

...with who's visiting! Whenever I have a comment left by a new visitor, I think it's only polite to track back and find out who the visitor is and where they've come from. On Monday I had a message left by Jess who I tracked back to this amazing site based here in Suffolk, I just had to have a good rummage around and find something to buy.

It's an easy site to navigate and full of many tempting delicious sounding toiletries. I chose bits and bobs to make up the girls Christmas presents plus a couple of bits for myself – well I have to try them don't I? When I had filled my basket, I headed off to choose a delivery day and, as it said allow 14 days for delivery, I opted for Saturday next week.

I was absolutely amazed when I got home yesterday to find an email saying that my order would be delivered today (Wednesday) – how's that for service? Number 1 son was home this morning when it was delivered (in person I believe) and I must say I am very impressed with what I have. A lovely slice of Satsuma Burst soap, Walnut & Honey Scrubber herbal soap, Tomato and Red Pepper foot mask, Candy Floss shower gel (complete with pink sparkly bits), Orange Flower Jelly & 10 Essential Oils hand cream – first impressions are very good. The smell is gorgeous and a little dab of the hand cream revealed a very rich mixture which smelt scrummy and went into my skin very easily.

I'm glad Jess dropped by on Monday – could be the beginnings of a beautiful friendship....Oh and you can follow them on Twitter - @TheSoapCauldron!

Monday, 23 November 2009


sudoku 1 Pictures, Images and Photos

I often wonder how visitors arrive on the Ramblings and, as you can see from the bottom of the sidebar, I use Feedjit to track where people are dropping by from.

A few weeks ago I posted this post, Feeling the Squeeze, just a little humour (I can't believe it's a true story!) and I've noticed in the last few days that I have had some visitors from an unlikely source – Curiosity got the better of me, because I thought what a totally bizarre connection, and I popped across to have a look how people were being directed to me – nothing, no indication whatsoever from the front page, I couldn't see a search box or anything that would give me the answer.

Any of you who use Feedjit will know that you can see more information on a second page, I normally resist randomly clicking, just in case – but I decided to take a chance and I was led to this page – pleeeeease click and take a look – how the hell did I end up getting linked via this page – and what does this page have to do with Sudoku??????

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Sunday Stealing - The Party Mummy Meme

Mummy Pictures, Images and Photos

Strange title for this one – not quite sure where the party or the mummy comes into the equation – I'm sure I must have answered virtually every question ever asked in some form or another by now! Excuse the image – try searching photo bucket for 'Party Mummy' – some very interesting suggestions....

Here we go – this week's Sunday Stealing:

1. Name someone with the same birthday as you. My friends mum and a colleagues daughter!

2. Where was your first kiss? On my front door step – not a great success!

3. Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex? If yes, why? Probably – can't really remember.

4. Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people? When? Way back in primary school days!

5. What's the first thing you notice about your preferred sex? Strange question – I guess it's aimed at people who are on the lookout for a new significant other of the preferred sex!

6. What really turns you off? Smelly feet!

7. What is your biggest mistake? Not a mistake, but a regret at not going on to higher education when I was younger.

8. Have you ever hurt yourself on purpose? No.

9. Say something totally random about yourself. Errrr – such as?

10. Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity? No.

11. Do you still watch kiddie movies or TV shows? No.

12. Are you comfortable with your height? Yes – I'm stuck with so what else can I do?

13. What is the most romantic thing someone of the preferred sex has done for you? Proposed to me!

14. When do you know it's love? When you can't sleep after a date and they never leave your thoughts

15. What's something that really annoys you? My addiction to trying to answer stupid questions in memes!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Acting up

tantrum Pictures, Images and Photos

I've started the build up to my 'acting up' period at work – no, silly, I don't mean a period of having mad tantrums and generally misbehaving (although it may well come to that!)

As I'm writing this I am not sure whether or not I will hit the publish button, but I'm going to continue anyway.

As I've mentioned before, my boss is leaving and that momentous day is now only 10 working days away and for five of those days she is on annual leave. So it's up to me to now start assuming the mantle, we're making joint decisions and sharing the responsibilities for day to day stuff. She has a wealth of experience within our service having worked professionally in health all of her working life, which, compared to my mere eight years, is quite a feat. She always seems to know the right answer, to make the right decision, to use the right words – she has a real presence. I on the other hand feel technically competent – by that I mean I can manage the targets, manage the budgets, think on my feet to get things done now, I think can motivate the team, I can empower others – but I still have this little niggle of doubt that I am competent enough to deliver the whole package.

This is by far the highest level that I have ever worked at in my whole life. I have a milestone birthday coming up (which doesn't take a genius to calculate given the ages of my offspring) and that alone scares me. I could hopefully retire in 10 years time if my occupational pension will pay sufficient and I am starting to doubt my sanity in even agreeing to act up.

Regardless of all of the above I have agreed to do the job so I need to make a go of it. The interviews for a replacement were held yesterday and from what I've heard, boy, I'm so glad I didn't apply. There were some really tough questions and presentation requirements as befits the level of job.

I don't know how often I'll blog for the next few months (although it may only be a matter of weeks if they appointed yesterday, information that I am not privy to) but I might, at times, need to pour my soul into cyberspace just to get things off of my chest – remember my theory, I only write this for myself and the friend that I call Julie, so if you're reading this and you're not Julie please bear with me!

So, as I sit on Saturday morning, 21 November 2009, all snug in my pink pyjamas (albeit with icy cold feet – still no slippers) I'm ready for it. I have a feeling of anticipation, expectation and dread. I have an incredibly full diary for the next two months thanks to the lovely V (it's that time of year when all of the fixed meeting dates are issued!) who has agreed to take on half of my role for the period – the other half will be covered by the equally lovely I.

Thanks for reading – if you have – I really appreciate everybody's visits.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The books that I read...

While I was on holiday I had the time to catch up on some reading – this is not a book review! I hated writing reviews at school and don't intend to start now!

I mentioned months ago that I was reading The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. I finished reading it while on holiday and am pleased to say it was very good! Not your usual run of the mill love story and at times some of the language may be a little risqué for some but overall it is an excellent read.
Time Travellers Wife Pictures, Images and Photos

Book number two was Sushi for Beginners by Marion Keyes. This is one of her earlier books and I was led to it for the most bizarre of reasons. On our last holiday I tried Sushi for the first time and, for some very obscure reason, this book came into my mind – I just had to read it. It was really not about sushi, for beginners or anybody else. A nice easy trashy read – just what I needed.

Book number three (!) The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson – on the surface not my sort of book at all. It was absolutely brilliant, a crime novel set in Stockholm and the first of a trilogy in the Millenium series.
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Pictures, Images and Photos

Book number four – yes number four – The Girl Who Played With Fire also by Stieg Larsson, number two in the trilogy – totally compelling. I sat and read it in one day. I had to text number 1 son from the airport and ask him to order the third book, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, because I just had to have it to read when I got home. It's sitting beside me on the sofa right now, beautiful hardback version just waiting to be read – just need to tear myself away from cyberspace now!

Moving On...

cartoon house Pictures, Images and Photos

When we came back from our holiday, we were greeted by our very excited number 1 son with the news that he wanted to 'borrow some money' from us. Further conversation revealed that he and FDIL had decided to take the plunge a buy an apartment (they were called flats in my day) on a new development about a mile or so away. Gulp. Wasn't really expecting that. When they got engaged earlier in the year we all thought it would be years before we moved to the next step, although I do remember saying, several times 'You need somewhere to live before you get married – you can't live here' (not in an unkind way you understand – just mother's practicality). I have despaired of either son ever being able to buy their own home but now – well, I'm blown away with the suddenness of it all.

I should explain here that we are not made of money – the 'loan' we made them has to be repaid ASAP – or sooner. Since Friday our life has been a whirlwind of activity – I hadn't even seen the place they wanted to buy although John had been along a few weeks ago. By Saturday evening the builder had reduced the price by an absolutely amazing amount (something about not taking them up on their extortionate '25% loan' repayable at the market price when settlement is due – this is written in very small print), they had been offered a mortgage (which was nowhere near as hefty as I thought it would be – although it's payable over 35 years). By Sunday lunchtime they had signed all the paperwork for the builders and paid their deposit and had a bound document naming them as the owners of their first home. Now the fun begins with all the legal stuff – welcome to the real world son, dealing with solicitors and the like, my how he's grown up this week.

I have mixed emotions at the moment. Excitement for them and a sense of, I don't know, empty nest syndrome perhaps. Of course son 2 will still be at home (he's already eying up his brother's bedroom) but I felt very emotional on Friday when he showed me around what will be his first home away from home – all you other empty nesters out there, please tell me it's not unusual..........

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Sunday Stealing – The Over The Top Meme

ott Pictures, Images and Photos

Back to reality! This week's Sunday Stealing is an interesting one. I'm starting to have de ja vue with some of these questions as they appear in other forms quite regularly, anyway here goes with this week's meme:

Part One - Describe:

Your hair? Naturally mousey brown with a very slight sprinkle of grey – enhanced with a touch of red!

Your mother? Died about 19 years ago

Your father? Died about 2 years ago

Your favorite food? Depends on my mood! I love anything cooked by somebody else – even if it's just a takeaway!

Your dream last night? Weird – but can't remember the content

Your favorite drink? Cup of Earl Grey tea – easily pleased!

Your dream/goal? Health, wealth and happiness!

The room are you in? Living room.

Your hobby? Errr – blogging! Anything to do with the internet, reading when I have the time to devote to it and crochet when I can keep my eyes open for long enough!

Your fear? Failure – professionally in the coming months!

Your TV? Does this mean what you watch – if so anything that isn't too taxing!

Your Pets? None at the moment although we have had cats in the past.

Friends? Several, all important

Your life? Pretty good, thank you!

Your mood? Also pretty good! Full of optimism at the moment as my son prepares to buy his first home.

If you're missing someone? No one springing to mind.

Your best friend? I could echo the previous BFF answer but instead will say as new friends are made daily, all are equally important.

Part Two - The Where's?

Where do you want to be in 6 years? Can't think that far ahead!

Where were you last night? At home

Where did you grow up? Borehamwood, Hertfordshire in the UK

One place that I go to over and over? Work!!!

Your favorite place to eat out? Have several but probably anything pasta and Arlingtons.

Wish list items? Nothing really – oh apart from a new boss as good as the one that's leaving!

Last time you laughed? Probably yesterday but nothing obvious is coming to mind!

Last time you cried? I really can't remember.

Part Three - The What's?

Something that you aren't? Warm – my feet are freezing!

Last thing you did? Made a cup of tea and took it upstairs to John.

What are you wearing? Night shirt and dressing gown!

Something you're not wearing? Slippers or socks – hence the cold feet!!

Your favorite store
? Don't really have one – if you asked my bank account it would probably be Sainsburys (supermarket) as that's where most of my money goes!!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Red Sea Magic

We left Gatwick on time in a very cramped plane – I'm no expert but I think it was a 757 – two sets of three seats across and a narrow aisle! Things didn't start too well when John felt water dripping on his shoulder from a panel above his head. The crew were fantastic and promptly placed tissues in the offending area and explained that it was due to condensation from the air conditioning unit.

We landed in Sharm El Shaikh about 5pm local time and were amazed at how quickly the sun went down – no twilight, straight to night. The Egyptian authorities were very hot on paperwork in preparation for entry to the country – we had to fill in about three forms before we even entered the airport – only for the security guys to throw them all into a big box without looking at them!

The ship wasn't a patch on the other two that we have been on this year but it was OK – we made the wrong choice of cabin by choosing deck three which was incredibly noisy – very close to the engines plus a tortuous noise coming from the fittings in the cabin caused by the vibration. It was like Chinese water torture! Just as you thought the noise had stopped another one started! Never mind – got used to it by Tuesday!

Our intention was for this holiday to be a total chill in readiness for the Great British winter so with that in mind on Saturday we took a coach trip to Petra in Jordan (please click the link – I can't do it justice with my description) what an absolutely amazing place – it needs to be added to everybody's list of places to visit before you die along with the Grand Canyon. To think that the ground we walked on had been walked on in biblical times was absolutely incredible. The coach stopped a few miles before we reached Petra and I took this photo – you see the white speck on top of the mountain? That is the tomb of Moses' brother, Aaron!

I took loads of photo's in Petra and these are a few of them – I can't remember the details of them all but hopefully you'll get an idea of the magnitude and history of the place.

After a day at sea we arrived at Port Sokhna for our transfer to Cairo and Nile River trip followed by a 'Sound and Light' show at the pyramids of Giza (again, please click on the link). The abject poverty of the people living along the banks of the Nile was something that I hadn't expected, the photos below show the shacks that people were living in along with a beautiful sunset and the feluccas ferrying people (and an Ox which I wasn't quick enough to capture on camera!) across the river.

So much for our relaxing time! Next day was a trip described as 'Shopping and Show' in the resort of Hurghada - not my idea of shopping! Constantly pestered by young Egyptians who were desperate for you to go into their shops and buy their tacky souvenirs, it was the equivalent of walking round a Spanish market back in the eighties! When they realised we were English they have to practice 'How Now Brown Cow', 'Loverly Jubbly' and bizarrely 'Asda Price'!!!

On to the show which was, erm, interesting to say the least. Started with a belly dancer, followed by some bloke twirling for ever (apparently telling a folk story but nobody knew!), a snake charmer and some bloke who ate fire, laid on a bed of nails and walked on broken glass! Not the best value for money trip we chose.

Sadly the next day we were unable to go on our planned trip because John had succumbed to a stomach bug and had to see the ship's doctor – he was quarantined in the cabin for 24 hours, which gave me the perfect excuse for a day on deck on my own with a book (more to come re books separately!!) The ship sent in a special cleaning team to deep clean the cabin – the poor guys arrived with overalls and masks looking very embarrassed, they removed the curtains, bed trims and proceeded to fumigate the cabin while poor John sat there watching – actually a very impressive effort!

That takes us to Thursday and departure day. We were very impressed that we were able, for a small fee, to keep our cabin right up until we left the ship at 3pm, that's the best disembarkation we've experienced so far – very relaxed no need to rush and we got the benefit of almost a whole day that we hadn't expected.

Sharm airport for departure was an experience – we queued outside to even get into the terminal building and had to put our cases through the x-ray machine before we even reached the check in desk! Better to be safe than sorry. On to the plane and I bet you can't guess what happened? Well, if I tell you we had the same seats on the plane as on the way out...yep, got it in one! This time, however, the cabin crew were not so considerate and I thought at one stage I thought I was going to have to restrain John especially when the 'Customer Experience Manager' told him to 'lay off the crew' – I feel another letter of complaint coming on – wonder if Thomson will read this, I have noticed that they have visited since the last little problem!

I'll post more pictures via Facebook soon – these are just a few to be getting on with – thanks for looking!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

The Strange Question Meme - Part 2

Prepared in advance 'cos I'm on holiday!! (Hope the timing thing has worked on Blogger!!) Sunday Stealing here we go... (just hope that they've gone with part two of last week's meme!!!)

26. What color is your watch? Love watches have several – black & silver, gold (coloured!), silver with sparkly crystal bits!
27. What do you think of when you hear "Australia"? Large expanse of land far away!
28. Would you strip for money? No – not for anything.
29. Do you go in a fast food place or just hit the drive thru? Don't often go to fast food places these days – unless I'm travelling
30. What is your favorite number? 28 – pay day each month!
31. Who's the last person you talked to on the phone? Number 1 son
32. Any plans today? (Pretending to write this while on the Red Sea) A bit of sightseeing, sunbathing and eating glorious food!
33. In how many states have you lived? I'm going to substitute that for Counties as I'm in the UK – four!
34. Biggest annoyance right now? I have a cold! Been brewing for weeks, I just knew it would come out when I finished work!
35. Last song listened to? I'll have heard many different songs by the time this is posted but on Wednesday morning Sex on Fire by Kings of Leon!
36. Can you say the alphabet backwards? Not without saying it forward first.
37. Do you have a maid service clean your house? Yes! I have a lady who does on a Tuesday afternoon, it's lovely to come home to a clean house once a week!
38. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time? Given a choice it would be flip-flops, I hate winter when you have to wrap your feet in tight shoes!
39. Are you jealous of anyone? No, I don't think so.
40. Is anyone jealous of you? I wouldn't think so – they'd be mad if they were!
41. Do you love anyone? Yes, lots of people.
42. Do any of your friends have children? Yes
43. What do you usually do during the day? Monday to Friday work, Saturday and Sunday housey things, football if we're at home, generally chilling where possible though.
44. Do you hate anyone that you know right now? This one came up a few memes ago – no, hate is a very strong word.
45. Do you use the word hello daily? Yes – along with a lot of other forms of greeting!
46. What color is your car? Silver.
47. What size wedding ring do you wear? I discovered last week that my wedding ring was dangerously tight (UK sizes are alpha) when I got it off discovered it was N but need a P now. L
48. Are you thinking about someone right now? Not someone but lots of people. If this delayed posting has worked I'll be missing the folks back home!
49. Have you ever been to Six Flags? No but have seen them in the distance as we travel the interstates on our trips to the US
50. How did you get your worst scar? I had surgery on my jaw a few years ago – lovely scar from the top of my ear to my chin, barely noticeable really but I know it's there!

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Here we go again!

The count down is over and we're off on holiday today! I'm so pleased that the day has arrived. For the last four weeks I have been anticipating the arival of a cold and, yep, you guessed it, yesterday it arrived. I just have to hope that I don't have a temperature because I understand that the Egyptian authorities are stopping people with a raised temperature from entering the country for fear of swine flu, I really do not want to spend a week in an Egyptian hospital! I honestly only have cold.

This holiday has to set me up for a challenging few months ahead at work - I've agreed to act up while the recruitment process is in place to replace the boss, am I mad or what?

I've posted a map of the region below, I'll let you imagine where we'll be! I've even posted the Sunday Stealing meme as scheduled to test if it works - sad or what??

Red Sea Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Another Gender Battle

Computer Cartoon Pictures, Images and Photos

An Inbox gem from Tracey....

A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

'House' for instance, is feminine: 'la Casa.'
'Pencil,' however, is masculine: 'el lapiz.'

A student asked, 'What gender is 'computer'?'

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether computer' should be a masculine or a feminine noun. Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men's group decided that 'computer' should definitely be of the feminine gender ('la computadora'), because:

No one but their creator understands their internal logic;

2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;

3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and

4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

The women's group, however, concluded that computers should beMasculine ('el computador'), because:

1. In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;

2. They have a lot of data but still can't think for themselves;

3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and

4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have
gotten a better model.

The women won.

Feeling the squeeze...

Dollar Signs Pictures, Images and Photos

Regular visitors will know that I credit contributors to the Ramblings and this one is from the dark horse that is Janet over at Just Jotting Along...

An elderly woman walked into the Bank of Canada one morning with a purse full of money. She wanted to open a savings account and insisted on talking to the president of the Bank because, she said, she had a lot of money.

After many lengthy discussions (after all, the client is always right) an employee took the elderly woman to the president'soffice.

The president of the Bank asked her how much she wanted to deposit. She placed her purse on his desk and replied, "$165,000". The president was curious and asked her how she had been able to save so much money. The elderly woman replied that she made bets.

The president was surprised and asked, "What kind of bets?"

The elderly woman replied, "Well, I bet you $25,000 that your testicles are square."

The president started to laugh and told the woman that it was impossible to win a bet like that.

The woman never batted an eye. She just looked at the president and said, "Would you like to take my bet?"

"Certainly", replied the president. "I bet you $25,000 that my testicles are not square."

"Done", the elderly woman answered. "But given the amount of money involved, if you don't mind I would like to come back at 10 o' clock tomorrow morning with my lawyer as a witness."

"No problem", said the president of the Bank confidently.

That night, the president became very nervous about the bet and spent a long time in front of the mirror examining his testicles, turning them this way and that, checking them over again and again until he was positive that no one could consider his testicles as square and reassuring himself that there was no way he could lose the bet.

The next morning at exactly 10 o'clock the elderly woman arrived at the president's office with her lawyer and acknowledged the $25,000 bet made the day before that the president's testicles were square.

The president confirmed that the bet was the same as the one made the day before. Then the elderly woman asked him to drop his pants etc. so that she and her lawyer could see clearly.

The president was happy to oblige.

The elderly woman came closer so she could see better and asked the president if she could touch them. "Of course", said the president. "Given the amount of money involved, you should be 100% sure."

The elderly woman did so with a little smile. Suddenly the president noticed that the lawyer was banging his head against the wall. He asked the elderly woman why he was doing that and she replied,

"Oh, it's probably because I bet him $100,000 that around 10 o'clock in the morning I would be holding the balls of the President of the Bank of Canada!"

Monday, 2 November 2009

Thank you Thomson!

Oh the power of social networking! Following this post on Friday and my subsequent mention of it on Twitter, Thomson Holidays have responded. All we wanted was to collect our tickets on Wednesday afternoon instead of Thursday morning and the result is...we can do just that! So in my time honoured (well OK, only twice but on consecutive weekends) tradition, thank you Thomson Holidays! Just a shame we had to get to that stage in the first place – keeping everything crossed that it all works out for Wednesday!