Reasons to be Cheerful 30.9.16

R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

Another week of ups and downs, but I guess that’s to be expected… So this week I’ve tried to collect lots of random reasons to be cheerful and I think I’ve done pretty well…

My eldest held a small birthday party at the house on Saturday night, but I wasn’t worried. I sat like an old dear in the nook in the kitchen and all her friends stopped to chat when they popped in. It was lovely to catch up with them and their busy lives. The cleaning up was a doddle too.

A friend unexpectedly turning up at the Arch Club to help me after I announced on Facebook that I would be in charge.

My daughter B and I watched the X factor together – it sent her to sleep 😂😂, so we’ll be doing it again regularly, I think.

Sunday morning when B gives me the biggest sunniest smile ever when I put her breakfast on the table, and it wasn’t even on time.

After feeling very ill on Sunday afternoon, pushing on through and going to bed early, I had a really positive start to Monday morning and by 7 am I was caffeinated, showered and dressed, as was my daughter (with help), the floors were washed and clean clothes put away. I felt very productive. And by 9am, I had an empty house.

B trying some rice salad and actually eating a forkful (perhaps she thought there was something sweet in my bowl). She refused a second one though…

Getting the worn tyres and brake pads replaced on the car (another thing ticked off the list) and starting to research what I should buy next. I’d love something that would give B and I more options for outings, especially as we have two weddings to attend next year.

Going to the cinema with a friend to see the new Brigid Jones film – the last female in the family to do so: Even B has seen it with her adult service and apparently she loved it. And so did we!

I bought some new plates from Tesco so that I can hopefully put out matching sets when we have visitors now. And enjoy eating off them myself too..

new-plates

The gorgeous light at this time of year has meant that I’ve snapped a few photos that I really like, such as this one – and the sky was grey a few minutes later.

dublin-sunset

Head over to Mummy From The Heart for more reasons to be cheerful.

The further confessions of a coffee junkie

Reprinted with permission from a guest post I wrote for the award-winning and wonderful SAHM And Loving It blog back in 2012. The blog’s author, Heather, is now involved in a new health initiative for women, Know Your Normal, so that’s vaguely relevant to a post about coffee and healthy living (or not), don’t you think?

All those New Year’s Resolutions so quickly discarded.  Plans for healthy living and healthy diets give way to the comfort of coffee and cakes.  Because, let’s face it, most of us find that we cannot stick to resolutions that seem to involve giving up everything that we like. But I did successfully give up smoking in 2004 after waking up one morning with a horrible cough and sometimes I wonder about what else  I could give up and what I absolutely couldn’t.  And the answer is always the same:  I could give up anything before I give up coffee.

My love affair with the little brown bean began when I was a child.  I can remember looking longingly at the percolator bubbling away in the quiet room where we all ate breakfast – and read at the same time.  Finally,  one day when I was 11 or 12, a cup of milky coffee was passed down to my end of the table.

It was love at first sip.

When I was young I drank coffee with sugar, but I was able to give that up in my mid teens.  Once I hit the exam years, it was coffee that got me through.  And my four mugs of coffee a day still mark the hours as they pass by.  I’m not that fussy either: almost any coffee is better than no coffee.  Well apart from Camp Coffee, but perhaps I’m the only person who remembers that.

So why can’t I give it up?

Well coffee…

…wakes me in the morning

…warms me when I’m cold

…breaks up the day

…gets rid of stress headaches

…calms me down

…helps me prepare the dinner

…is shared with friends

…is an excuse to meet up and eat cake

…helps me to concentrate

…is a reward for doing something unpleasant

…helps me to cope with difficult phone calls

And another 100 things too.  What on earth would I do without it?

So is it just me? Is coffee important to you? Or is it tea? 

me-2012-with-coffee

 

My annual pilgrimage to Rush

Let’s just say I have not been as happy as I was in recent weeks. Once again I needed to escape my home life for a few hours and there was just one place that called to me, as it has for the past few years since I left Wexford behind. Rush is a small town in North County Dublin with the sea on one side and market gardens on the other. Just half an hour from Dublin, its sleepy sandy streets and quiet harbour are a world away from the bustling city.

rush-harbour

market-garden-rush

Jumping in the car and leaving for Rush as soon as the children have gone to school has become an annual pilgrimage every September. Usually undertaken the day that school begins, but I had been too busy until this week when a trip to the physiotherapist for another back problem resulted in advice to pause the running and gym and do a bit of walking instead.

As I drove north the dark clouds began to lift. In the sky and in my mind. Nor am I ashamed to say I felt a surge of excitement as I saw my first glimpse of the sea between the hedges of the narrowing country roads. Then the feeling of relief and content as I shut the car door and headed onto the North Beach, enjoying the fresh air and solitude, kicking up the salt water and scattering the gulls.

rush-2

Sometimes I think of moving to Rush as I love the sea so much. But then it would no longer be my place of escape.

Just one small thing. Why are the public toilets never open any more??? Note to self, just go to Tesco next time… And maybe next time, I can stay longer than an hour.

public-toilet

But what an hour! Definitely enough of a reason to be cheerful for this week. Head on over to Mummy from the Heart for more.

Ten signs of stress

1. You forget to wash your hair until you realise you have kiss curls instead of a fringe. 😯

2. You find yourself eating chocolate before breakfast. 😛

3. You put the wrong bins out. 😢

4. You nearly crash the car. Twice. 🚘🚘

5. You chew your fingers till they bleed. But luckily you have magic plasters. 🍀

6. You get cross and shouty on Facebook instead of scrolling past 👿👿

7. The house looks a tip, but you can’t seem to care, but you have to, fuelled by more chocolate. 🍫🍫

8. You don’t want to go to bed, but you don’t want to get up in the morning either. 😪😴

9. Exterminating dandelions with the magical power of boiling water becomes a satisfying way to spend a spare 20 minutes. 🌻🌻

10. You start buying random things to cheer yourself up, when you know you’ll just feel guilty about it later 😶

stress buying.png
I did actually resist buying this in the end …

What are your signs?

 

 

Reasons to be cheerful 16.9.16

The trick this week is finding some reasons to be cheerful that don’t involve my eldest and youngest; both of whom I vowed not to mention on here. Anyway you may as well know that they both have reasons to be cheerful of their own this week…

As for me and my daughter, well we celebrated along with them by watching them eat pizza (more significant than I can tell you!) and we’re enjoying adjusting to home life with a student lodger, especially as it’s given me the excuse I needed to organise a bit more help around the house. And there’s more too:

The bean bag

One of the things that causes sadness and difficulty in many special needs families is presents. Sometimes it’s because the presents are for a much younger child, sometimes because it’s so easy to get it wrong (so everyone buys them pyjamas and teddies just to be on the safe side) and sometimes you just can’t think of anything.

Last Christmas I went to town for B and she got lots of presents. But some she didn’t like, some broke straight away (damn you amazon) and one got left in the box for 6 months…

That was the bean bag. I was advised to make an internal bag for the filling so I could wash the cover (that was before I got the sewing machine!) And I also needed another person to help me fill it with the beads, and of course whenever I wanted to do this, no-one could be found…

It was done eventually over the summer. And then she didn’t seem to take to it! But finally this week, I found a use for it, hopefully the first of many. (This is not torture, it’s called working on her head control! And I let her off when she tells me she’s had enough. And she has a favourite DVD to watch.)

b-smiley-and-the-bean-bag

Stress

A stressful morning waiting for results became a reason to be cheerful when it made me appreciate the thoughtfulness, kindness and support from so many friends. Then they joined in the celebrations later on-line ☺Don’t ever say that Facebook and Twitter friends can’t become friends in real life too!

And because I couldn’t settle at all for those few hours, I ended up with a very clean kitchen…

Magic plasters

A friend of mine had been singing the praises of a particular brand of plaster that apparently never come off, no matter how many times you wash your hands. In this house that’s hundreds of times a day. These plasters are only available from one shop in Dublin seemingly, and on her weekly visit to help with B’s exercises, she gave me a packet. The very next day my hand slipped while sharpening a knife and the plasters have been properly road tested, and I can confirm that they really are magic!

Linking up with Michelle at Mummy from the Heart for Reasons to be Cheerful once again.

Making changes

It’s time to make some changes around here. I’m starting to emerge from the cloud of the past five years and hoping that the future will indeed need shades. I am feeling happier. My life isn’t that different, but I seem to be coping better. No miracles, no meds and no CBT: I suspect my hormones may be finally getting a bit more balanced…

It’s time to be brave, to overcome fears, to take on new challenges, and to live up to my principles, especially as I display them so publicly on social media! I want to be more than a keyboard warrior, but I have to be realistic about how much I can manage. It has to be on my own terms and in my own time.

I also need to plan for the future. Will I stay, or will I go? This house has been adapted for my daughter but it will be too big and too unmanageable for the two of us eventually. Could I take in lodgers? How would I get over my fear of having strangers in the house? I’ve even been feeling guilty about having a barely used spare room when there are so many students in the city without accommodation..

But then what student would want to live in this crazy special needs home?

Well I got my answer from one post on Facebook.

A special needs mum and friend was looking for Monday to Friday accommodation for her son. That sounded perfect. He wouldn’t be a stranger, not really, he would understand how things are here, and I wouldn’t have to be explaining and apologising every few minutes.

He arrived last night and so far all is well.

Having someone else in the house will hopefully change the dynamic and be a positive thing for all of us.

In return I hope I can be a good landlady. It’s a whole new challenge…

S€xy Narcos

sexy-narcos

The Columbian drug smuggling series, Narcos, is basically nostalgia porn for baby boomers (like me). It has all the ingredients that we think we remember from the far off 1970s. Beautiful people, brooding men and flirty women, stunning scenery, risk taking, drinking too much, wearing too little, ciggies everywhere, a deep languid voiced narrator, young people who were wild and loose and devil may care, ‘cos they didn’t. Many of us didn’t either.

The heroes are like the bad boys of my youth. The ones my friends and I all lusted after. Except they grew older and are now mostly respectable and middle aged, not lying in a cold grave in the hills of Columbia.

Like them, we thought we were smart. We worked hard, and played even harder. We made bad choices, maybe married unsuitable people.

In Narcos you see good guys doing bad things. Sometimes they don’t seem good at all, but ruthless and callous. You see the bad guys being good, giving money to the poor. As viewers, we know that’s a calculated act, but I’m sure those who got the money, swallowed any misgivings they had. We see Escobar himself playing with his kids, enjoying himself, while horrific acts are being carried out at his command. I also know that these are classic cinema tricks to play with your emotions.

But sometimes you’re left wondering which was the ‘right’ side in the dirty drug war? Perhaps there was none. No wonder the ordinary people of Columbia were confused…

So there’s darkness, desperation and determination in every scene, but also the enthusiasm and exuberance of young people whose lives shine brightly even when they are snuffed out far too soon.

Of course, it’s also a VERY BAD SHOW. It could put lots of very bad ideas into the heads of innocent young people…

It makes smoking look cool.

Casual s€x looks desirable, and no one ever gets STIs.

Killing people brutally is okay if you’re on the right side.

If something bad happens in your life you can get away with drinking yourself stupid and smashing in the face of someone who annoys you.

Or it looks that way.

Would I go back there now? No. There were consequences to that lifestyle, even if you weren’t shot dead on a street corner (unlikely to happen in a small town in rural Wales). And social norms have completely changed now. Smoking is almost verboten, and drinking is heading the same way. Violence is still accepted by many though, and I don’t understand the rules of s€xual relationships at all any more!

Perhaps it looks like a historical drama to today’s under 25s? Living that way must seem completely alien to them, especially all those moustaches…

But it’s part of the memories of my generation. So Narcos, don’t you go a-changing. Give those of us who were alive when the events of this series took place, the chance to wallow in the 1970s for a little longer. Please?

Disclosures

1. I was a member of the Netflix stream team on my previous blog. Membership gave me free Netflix and other nice stuff.
2. I really really love Narcos.