Thought for the Week

"A hug is a perfect gift - one size fits all and nobody minds if you give it back."

Letter to a young girl

Laney chanllenged me, assuming it was possible to send letters back in time, to write a letter to myself - aged 13, so here goes.

Dear Stupid,

No scratch that, I haven't been stupid yet, that is still to come.

Maybe I should warn myself about my first BIG mistake I was to make in my life 3 years later.

As I sit here, debating how the hell to tell a strong headed teenager what she shouldn't do at the age of sixteen, I am wondering if I would even listen. What teenager likes to be told what to do?

Dear Ali,

I have to warn you what a waste of space the guy you are going to get mixed up with is. He is one of the biggest a**holes anyone could have the misfortune to meet. Sure, he'll sweet talk you, til he's got you hooked, then he'll show his true, selfish colours. He has no clue as to the meaning of love, despite what he will tell you, and ......

Now see, here's my problem. This was the first guy that I had a physical relationship with. After only a short period of time I was pregnant and he was gone. He came back, which was never great and lasted for about a year, but he mistreated me and was physically violent to my baby in that short time.

You might be asking where my problem is in warning myself to steer clear of him. Without him, I wouldn't have my son, and I wouldn't change him for all the tea in China, and believe me, I have a real tea addiction!

So, I can't write to myself and warn me off him can I? So what would I write to myself.

Dear Ali,

The world is a huge place. It is filled with people from all walks of life. Some you will not care to be around and some will pretend to care and stab you in the back. Some will touch your life for a short period but leave a lasting memory. Others, although few and far between, will be true friends. These are the people you should treasure.

Take time. Don't be in a hurry to greet the next day, you may not like what it has to offer. Instead, make the most of today, of every minute. Be sure to tell those you love how you feel, and do it often. They won't all be around for as long as you might think they will.

Always look forward, it is the only road to be travelled. The past is just that, and no amount of pondering and regret can change it, but you can shape the future by your actions and deeds.

Learn quickly to forgive those closest to you and remember their actions, although painful sometimes, will not have been done to hurt you.

I'll leave you with the only advice you need and wish you Good Luck.

Live. Love. Laugh.


My eyes opened, it was 07:45. For the first time in I can't remember how long, I slept right through the night. Not once did I get up to use the bathroom. Not once did I awake and wander in the half light down the stairs to the kitchen in search of a drink of some description to quell the humungous thirst I had.

As I lay there, eyes wide open, I listened intently. Trying to force myself to summons the will to get out of my warm, cosy, safe bed, I continued to listen. I heard nothing. I wondered if anyone else was up, but guessed as it was Bank Holiday they would still be asleep, G certainly was, his body moving rhythmically to the tune of restful sleep.

I listened some more.

I coaxed myself into a sitting position. Legs dangling over the edge of the bed, not wanting to put them on the floor in case I made a noise, I listened. Eventually I stood up and made my way ever so quietly to the door. I paused. I listened. I looked at G fast asleep. Slowly, quietly, I pushed down on the handle of the bedroom door and gently, silently, opened it. Still listening I stepped onto the landing. Floor boards creaking, frozen in that moment of time, I held my breath so I could hear better. I don't know how many seconds I stood frozen to that spot, it seemed like such a long time.

When I finally exhaled, I crossed the landing into the bathroom to answer mornings call of nature, as quietly as I could. If only I had the pelvic floor muscles of a 20 year old I might have been even more successful!! Knowing my next task once I had left the bathroom was to go downstairs and put the kettle on, I paused once more, ears straining, but detecting nothing.

Deep breath. There was nothing for it, I had to go down there, so I stood up, flushed the toilet and dropped the lid very loudly. Having washed my hands, with the hot tap having caused the boiler in the kitchen to kick in, I noisely opened the bathroom door, stomped heavily across the landing and stopped at the top of the stairs. I listened.

Looking back down the landing, I realised my younger daughters door was slightly open, and daylight was visible inside, meaning the curtains were open. Then I remembered she was at work, even on a Bank Holiday, she had gone in for 7am. I breathed. I relaxed. I stopped listening and went downstairs.

Pausing momentarily at the bottom, I stopped outside the kitchens closed door. I didn't want to open it. I was afraid of what was on the other side. I changed my mind and went into the dining room first, making my way to the patio doors and peering very gingerly between the join in the curtains. Everything looked normal. The day seemed unperturbed by the night which had preceeded it.

Satisfied with this, I returned to the kitchen door, passing the dining room table which was strewn with piles of paperwork on my way. I took a deep breath and opened it. Normality.

I have never in my life been so friggin pleased to see normality. You see, this is Monday morning, and it's normal. Yesterday morning however was another story.

I had awoken several times during Saturday night and at 03:30 I had sleepily wandered downstairs, with nothing but the streetlights and my bare feet to guide the way, in need of liquid refreshment. I had done this again at 05:30. My sleep patterns are pretty much like this nowadays, but a drink and back to bed usually sees me off to sleep again. A 05:30 I wandered down the stairs, although it was daylight by now, I was still half asleep. As I had passed the dining room I noticed a small pile of paperwork sitting on my chair which had been in front of the computer. Wondering what G had been searching for when he came in at 01:30 that morning, I dismissed it. As I turned back towards the kitchen, I also noticed that the filiing trays in my desk were empty. Completely bare. One tray held the last 2-3 years worth of family history, one held all my bank statements, direct debit info, and other financial information and the third tray had various paperwork which I couldn't begin to remember.

Still confused, and slightly puzzled as to why he would move it all, I decided after a lads night out there is no telling. As I walked to the kitchen door, there was a lovely fresh breeze blowing through. Temporarily I was again confused. I knew I had locked up last thing before going to bed and I couldn't begin to imagine who was up so early and needing to go outside. As I walked to the back door to have a look I noticed through the walk in cupboards slightly ajar door that the window was open. We never, ever open this window. It's old, wired glass and crittle framed and wasn't replaced when we did the double glazing due to the extension plans.

Suddenly the penny dropped. We'd had a break in. I went stone cold and froze to the spot. What the???? Shit???? I went back to the dining room and the only possession that had been taken was my handbag. Everything else appeared to be paperwork. That felt very personal. Like we had been specifically targeted.

From then on the day was hectic. Police crime reports and SOCO dusting for fingerprints. Banks to call to cancel credit cards and debit cards. Store cards to cancel. Other numbers to cancel the cheque book. Yet another department to attempt to get our online log-in details altered for the banks. A visit to friends to beg a cash loan, as we now had no means of purchasing a thing and no means of drawing cash until our cards are replaced. It was just non-stop. By the time I allowed myself to rest in the late afternoon, the days effects had already taken a serious toll on my ME, and I still had the night to face.

Husband Meme

I stole this from Laney, who in turned took it from Akelamalu

How long did you date? We dated for 16 months and had a baby before we moved in together, and we married 6 months later.
How old is he? He's 46, 5 years older than me, which I always thought would have been great as we would retire in the same month of the same year... then the government said women had to work til 65 and that put paid to that! Bloody politics.
Who eats more? err... if I had to pick one it would be him, but I would be a very close second
Who said “I love you” first? I really can't remember, but I think it was him
Who is taller? He is, by about 5", which is just right.
Who sings better? He does. My singing is best reserved for the car when I'm on my own, and even then the radio has to be loud enough to drown me out!
Who is smarter? He is, without a doubt
Whose temper is worse? Mine. Neither of us are particularly short tempered, but he is far more easy going than I am.
Who does the laundry? I used to, but since becoming ill, he does ours and the girls do their own.
Who does the dishes? He does, always has. I used to cook and he would clear away.
Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? Now see, I'm not sure if this is the right side as you stand at the foot looking at the bed or the right side from a laying in bed position, if it's the latter, then I do.
Who pays the bills? Everything concerned with money in our house is paid from the only account we have, we've never gone in for 'his' and 'hers' when it comes to the finances.
Who cooks dinner? As before, I used to, but now he does that too.
Who drives when you are together? This one's easy. Not only have we always shared finances, we have ALWAYS shared the driving 50/50. He drives there, and I drive home!!!
Who is more stubborn? Me, definitely.
Who asked who out first? He asked me, but we had known each other for some time, and those of you who have visited for a long time will have read about us getting together in two of my Memory Monday posts. If you missed them you can see them here and here
Who kissed who first? He kissed me.
Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? I am. My stubborness doesn't stretch to not admitting when I'm wrong.
Whose parents do you see the most? We have only mothers living, and we each see our own the most.
Who proposed? He did
Who is more sensitive? I am. I always go out of my way to make sure everyone around me is happy.
Who has more friends? He does.
Who has more siblings? He was an only child, I have a brother and 2 sisters.
Who wears the pants in the family? He does, but only cos I let him!!!! lol

College Exam

Well, we have reached the last stage of the AS Photography course, the exam question.

I have decided to do the question on portrait, god only knows why, it is probably my weakest area in photography. Actually, I do know why. Prior to seeing the exam question, I had booked the studio and arranged with my neice to shoot her in several of her dance outfits as a 'padding' to the first unit of work we completed.

Having discussed ideas with her, and worked out a time scale for costume changes etc, I knew there would be enough to enter as a whole unit, so when the portrait question came up on the exam paper I was chuffed.

At college, the tutor will always help you set up the studio, lights, backdrop etc and make sure you take the light meter reading correctly and accurately transfer it to your camera.

On the night in question my tutor put on one softbox, and took a light reading.

"Do I not need a second softbox on a lower setting on the other side of the model"? I asked.

"No, one will be fine, we've taken the light reading and the aperture will control how much light enters the camera" he said.

Me, thinking this was strange, but heck, he's the tutor asked,

"Should I use a reflector on the other side to bounce some light back in then"?

"You can do if you like" was his reply.

My brain is working overtime, how the hell will light from one side only be enough? Sure, you can do it with a model who sits and poses, but for a dancer, moving, jumping, twirling???

I decided not to go with my instincts and trust the tutor. I shot for almost 3 hours, with my neice doing costume changes quicker than superman in his telephone box, and we managed to use 6 different ones. The poses, leaps, twirls and smiles were awesome, and on the back of the camera they looked great. 284 photos later, I set off home. It was nearly 10pm by the time I got in, and the nights shoot had taken it's toll, but I was desperate to see the images on screen so I shoved my card in the slot and downloaded them all.


Should have gone with my own instincts.

The shots were all really dark on one side, well when I say dark, I mean just about black. The only shots that really worked were the last costume she wore, which goes by the name of 'zombie'. For this outfit, I had decided that I would turn the modelling light down low and use a really bright torch stood on the floor to illuminate her face in a ghostly glow. The ones I took without the torch and with the studio light turned up worked quite well too because the lighting was what I had planned.

Downhearted, but not yet beaten, I booked the studio for two days later and we went back on the Thursday afternoon and did it all again. Because this was not my tutorage time, I had to set the studio up on my own, but for that I was actually grateful. One softbox on full power to the left, one softbox on half power to the right and another light with barn doors to illuminate the background. Perfect.

200 shots, and almost everyone totally adorable.

This is one of the zombie photos from the first shoot.

It is so hard to pick a favourite from the second shoot as there are so many really lovely shots, but I think this is right up there. It captures the movement I was striving for beautifully and I took it at exactly the right moment to catch her arms and her leg in the perfect position. The fact that she is so photogenic helps of course.

OK, so if you all club together, you could buy me a studio for christmas, and I could do this for a living!! What do you reckon?


Another part of my environment unit. I wanted to do some woodland photography and decided to visit a large wood quite near me.

As a child, I lived opposite this wood and spent hour after hour roaming, romping, playing and generally hanging out in this wood. I always loved to be there. Carpets of bluebells in the spring, with nearly as many primrose. Hills and hollows to explore and a myriad of interconnecting, winding mud paths, not that we always stuck to those, not even the smaller ones. There were a few areas that weren't open to the public, retained for MoD training, but on the whole, we were free to wander. Many a weekend and holiday Mum would pack us up a lunch and me and my sister would go on an adventure, usually ending up in our favourite picnic spot, a large open hollow, with real grass to sit on, and trees and wildlife encircling all around.

There were a scattering of old buildings amongst the trees too. When I say buildings, they were mostly about the size of a small caravan, but brick built, and they were used by the MoD in the last war I believe. One of these was a little larger, but all were damp, and pitch black past the first foot or so inside the entrance. The larger one was well known to most of the younger generation as 'The Old Iron'. Not sure where it got its name, but it was in this very unromantic, dark, dank, cold space that I had my very first kiss ... at the tender age of 9!

Back to the present, I grabbed my camera and tripod and off I went, really looking forward to traversing the paths I used as a child. Parking in the entrance, it was immediately obvious how much it had changed. A very informative board gave you a little of the history of the woodland and pointed out that you were not permitted to leave the set paths.

OK, I thought, I can handle that. I'm not a teenager any more, I don't need to be hacking my way through tough undergrowth, I'm not looking for adventure, just some photographs.

Reading the rest of the sentence, it appeared that there was only ONE path. It started and finished here, and provided a convenient circular walk.

ONE path! What's that all about? Still, fired up to produce some photos here, I set off. What they didn't mention on the board was that this ONE circular path led you around the edge of the woodland. Most of the walk had woodland on one side and open fields on the other. Fine if you're walking the dog I guess, and every single person I passed had one, but not what I really had in mind! Still, I had my camera, tripod, walking boots and enthusiasm, so here are a couple of the photo's I took.

This is a shot I took across the fields. The single tree, outlined against the sky and the red growth underneath caught my eye.

Another shot, facing into the wood. The sunlight was streaming through the sparse winter canopy and I liked the way it lit the tree trunk.

Another London Shot

This shot, inspired by one of my friends who had seen a similar photograph during his research, worked perfectly. We had taken some during daylight to get the feel for the right angle, but by the time dusk arrived it was raining so there weren't many people around. I think it works well as it is though.

St Paul's Cathedral, via the Millennium Bridge

Catch Up

In an effort to put some posts up on my blog, which have been sadly lacking of late, I thought I'd share some of my photographs with you that I have taken for my AS Course.

For the environment unit, we had to research and then photograph different aspects of the environment. My final images are all of the shoreline, but working through the unit, I also photographed other environments.

This is one that I took in London on a trip I made with 3 of my college friends. Being a Sunday, I expected it to be busy and had to wait patiently for quite a while to get this shot, still it gave me time to set my camera up to capture the movement just the way I wanted it.


About 4 month too late for a white Christmas! This is my back garden today.

It's been a while ...

I know I have been away for ages, and this will probably be the only post for ages to come, but I thought I would just jot down a little of what life has thrown at me lately.

As regular readers know, I was diagnosed with ME at the beginning of September last year, and following meetings at work with every sick note I took in, things turned, shall we say, less than hospitable in December. Basically I was told if I didn't return in the New Year, or say when I would be returning I would be replaced.

As I couldn't say when I would be fit to return, I did return on 14th January. Big mistake. 2 hours a day first week, 3 hours a day second week... you get the picture. I'm still on 4 hours a day as it is the most I can cope with. Well, when I say cope, I mean it's the most I can do without keeling over completely. Continued meetings at work piled on the pressure to commit to more, or be paid sick pay for hours I had actually worked!!! I won't tell you what I said to my boss at that point, even in print it's not very pretty, but suffice to say, after 2 VERY strong letters from me, the pressure was removed by the owner of the business, and since then I have been in Coventry.

Going back to work has caused a lot of physical pain, which I suffer with every single day, but the tiredness I have come to terms with, and work around quite well. I have just learnt that I cannot make any plans, at all, cos I never know what I'm gonna be capable of from one day to the next. Shit, if I were a dog, I'd have been put down by now .... come to think of it ... lol

Seriously though, I don't want sympathy, I just wanted to let you all know that I haven't been put down yet!

On another note, I am worried about my eldest daughter. I know Laney knows about her past medical history, but I have never blogged it. At 14, following a visit to her GP, she was admitted to hospital as an emergency, with suspected gall stones/ovarian cyst with a request for a scan. The young, very young, houseman that dealt with her decided her description of the torturous pain she was in was related to her hip and ordered an x-ray of it. When that showed no abnormalities, and the IV painkillers had done their job, he sent her home.

One month later, she was rushed back in again, with the same symptoms. Reeling in pain and screaming at me to help her, she was given morphine and sent for a scan. Result - a large cyst the size of a small melon. It was so large that they couldn't tell if it was attached to her ovary or to some other structure, and so she was prepared for theatre with both the surgical and gynae teams scrubbed up. After opening her up, and finding it was ovarian, the gynae team took over and removed it. Unfortunately, it strangulated the ovary by this time and they had to remove that too.

6 years later, she had more similar symptoms. Visits to consultants, and more than one visit to A&E later, she underwent another operation. They tried keyhole, to drain the cyst, but there was too much scar tissue and so they opened her up again, and cut a hole in it to drain and deflate it. That was two years ago. At her follow up appointment she was told that the damage already done to the cyst, and the scarring, may mean she would find it difficult to fall pregnant by herself.

They continued to monitor her, with a scan every 4-6 months and followup appointments. The second scan she had showed yet another cyst developing. They watched it, hoping it would burst on its own. When it didn't, and was still growing, to protect what was left of her ovary, she was scheduled for a procedure to aspirate it. (Using a very long, fine needle, up the watsit, and drain the fluid off). After she had booked in, the top radiographer scanned her, and decided she thought it wasn't a simple cyst (liquid filled), but that at least part of it was dermoid (solid matter), and as such wouldn't be able to preceed. She sent her for an MRI scan, the results of which we received from the consultant a couple of weeks ago.

It is a dermoid, and she will have to have another full operation. He warned her that although they would leave as much ovary as possible, to avoid the menapause, there was a very high risk that it wouldn't be sufficient to get pregnant and that she would need donor eggs.

The bottom fell out of our world.

I explained to him that she was currently at college on an Access course, and in September would be starting University and asked if it were feasable to schedule the op so that the 6-8 weeks recovery time would be over the summer holidays. He said it was, which was a relief. Is bad enough she has to go through this, but to ruin her chances of getting her degree and following the path she has set herself too would be hard for her to cope with.

I also asked him if there were any chance they could harvest eggs from her before they do the operation. He is speaking to the fertility specialist about it and we have to wait to hear, although he did say that even if they agreed to treat her, the cyst and the scar tissue may make it impossible to carry out the necessary procedure. A double edged sword. If they can't harvest eggs, she carries little chance of conception, if they can, I guess the time schedule goes out of the window and she won't be able to go to Uni.

Life's a bitch.

The Rules

We've all heard 'The Rules', as seen from the woman's point of view, you know, Women are always right, Women can change the rules when the please, PMT makes all the rules nul and void...etc.

Well, my cousin gave me this list of 'The Rules' from the man's point of view. I hate to admit it, but they may have a point!!! (shhh, don't tell 'em)

The Man Rules

These are our rules! Please note.. these are all numbered '1 ' ON PURPOSE!

1. Men are NOT mind readers.

1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.

1. Sunday sports; it's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.

1. Crying is blackmail.

1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!

1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.

1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.

1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become null and void after 7 Days.

1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.

1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one

1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.

1. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during commercials..

1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.

1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not A color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.

1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.

1. If we ask what is wrong and you say 'nothing,' We will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.

1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, EEpect an answer you don't want to hear.

1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine... Really

1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as footballor golf.

1. You have enough clothes.

1. You have too many shoes.

1. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!

1. Thank you for reading this. Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; But did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.


Another little gem I found in my inbox.

Apparently, a self-important college freshman attending a recent football game took it upon himself to explain to a senior citizen sitting next to him why it was impossible for the older generation to understand his generation.

"You grew up in a different world, actually an almost primitive one" the student said, loud enough for many of those nearby to hear.

"The Young people of today grew up with television, jet planes, space travel and man walking on the moon. Our space probes have visited Mars. We have nuclear energy, ships, electric and hydrogen cars and cell phones. We have computers with light-speed processing…. And more."

After a brief silence the senior citizen responded as follows:

"You're right, son.

We didn't have those things when we were young ... so we invented them.

Now, you arrogant little shit, what are you doing for the next generation?"

The applause was amazing ...........

2007 Overview

I did this last year, looking back at 2006, hell, that seems like such a long time ago! Anyway, I thought it would be good to do it this year too and see how my life and my outlook on it has changed.

What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
I met a blog friend that I had known online for about 2 years. Began an AS Course. Obtained an A* grade for a GCSE. Dedicated a lot of time and energy to an incredible voluntary organisation.

Did you keep your New Years' resolutions and have you made more for this year?
Last year I promised not to be so hard on myself, and looking back, I think I did pretty well at keeping it. I have found acceptance this year in an event in my life that scarred me terribly and have successfully moved a long way forward. This year I was too knackered to make

Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yet another nephew became a father making me a great aunt for the second time. The first time was last year and both babies were born on the very same day of the year... spooky!

Did anyone close to you die?
No, finally a year without loss.

What countries did you visit?
Spain. Had a lovely weeks break in sunny Spain with my sister and both my daughters.

What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
Better health I guess has to be at the top of my list, it's not that I mind being ill, but it sure doesn't pay the bills. On second thoughts, I do mind being ill, it has become VERY boring!

What date from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The three days I spent in London during the first week of October meeting Laney. We had become good friends online and those first few minutes of actually meeting in the flesh seemed like the most natural thing in the world. We talked, and then talked some more. We went into the city, still talking like there was no tomorrow, even when we climbed into bed at night we didn't shut up and chatted away contentedly til 2:30 in the morning. It was fantastic. Laney is fantastic, and I cant wait to meet up with her again soon.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting my A* was a pretty big deal for me, but the part I'm most proud of is the time I gave freely to training and attending call outs to search for missing people in my voluntary work, most often at obscene times of the night. I have missed being able to be a part of this whilst I have been off work.

What was your biggest failure?
You know, I don't consider I had any failures last year. A few minor mishaps perhaps but not failures. For those few of you that know about the last 12 years of my life, you will know that is a huge advance for me.

Did you suffer illness or injury?
Oh God, the dreaded question again. I would list them all but I would sound like a hypocondriac!!!! No seriously, the only one that had a lasting effect was the ME which I am still fighting.

What was the best thing you bought?
A new car. Well it was 3 years old, but that's NEW to me. It had no rust, all the doors closed without creaking, it starts every time you turn the key even when its frosty and I can crank the CD player up to full volume without taking my hand off the steering wheel. What more could a girl want?

Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My sons, for dealing with a split from his long term girlfriend with so much dignity, and as always, my husbands just for being himself and completing the other half of me.

Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
My boss for the inexcusable pressure he put on me at our meeting in December to return to work in the new year.

Where did most of your money go?
Money?? What money?

What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Meeting Laney, see above. Getting my results for the GCSE and gaining my first 20/20 mark for a competition at the camera club.

What song will always remind you of 2007?
Damn, if only I had a memory, I would be able to tell you.

Compared to this time last year, are you: Happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?
A lot happier with life in general and with the inner me definitely. A lot fatter due to having to give up ALL my hobbies, pass times and exercise, but am already working at getting rid of that. Much poorer, again because I have been unable to work since the beginning of September.

What do you wish you'd done more of?
Everything. Life is too short

What do you wish you'd done less of?
Sitting on my arse wasting time watching TV and sleeping the days away

How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas was pretty much cancelled in my house this year. No energy. No money. No organisational ability. We did however have a lovely dinner with all the kids and my mother-in-law

Did you fall in love in 2006?
Not with anything/anyone new, but continue to be grateful for all the love I share with my nearest and dearest.

How many one-night stands?

What was your favourite TV program?
I don't watch a lot of TV really. As always, I do get drawn into the reality shows like I'm a celebrity and Dancing on Ice

Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I try not to waste precious time and energy hating, it's very destructive.

What was the best book you read?
Didn't devote much time to reading books last year, most of my reading material involved photography. I did finally read Dave Pelzer's trilogy beginning with 'A Boy Called It'. Very moving.

What was your greatest musical discovery?
I heard of lot of things I liked, mostly through the ceiling courtesy of one or the other of my daughters, but I couldn't tell you the name of the bands!!

What did you want and get?
A wide angle lens for my camera.

What did you want and not get?
A home studio to set my business up with! One day, one day.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 41, and again, I was too knackered to do anything. Being 2 days before Christmas I was dreading Christmas too much to care. Health willing, I'll make up for it this year!

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Better Health.

What kept you sane?
My family and the few really good, close friends I have. I have to say that my sanity level increased 100 fold from 2006, so it's not all bad.

Who was the best new person you met in 2007?
Last year I said it was Miss U, even though I had not met her in the flesh. This year it has to be Miss U, now that I have met her in the flesh.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007?
That sometimes a 'good friend' is actually the most selfish, uncaring, power hungry ********** on the planet, and I really shouldn't take people at face value ALL the time.

Who Would Be A Woman?

All hair removal methods have tricked women with their promises of easy, painless removal; the epilady, scissors, razors, "Nair" and now...the wax.

My night began as any other normal weeknight. Come home, fix dinner, play with the kids. I then had the thought that would ring painfully in my mind for the next few hours:

"Maybe I should pull the waxing kit out of the medicine cabinet."

So I headed to the site of my demise; the bathroom. It was one of those "cold wax" kits. No melting a clump of hot wax, you just rub the strips together in your hand, they get warm and you peel them apart and press them to your leg (or wherever else) and you pull the hair right off. No mess, no fuss. How hard can it be? I mean, I'm not a genius, but I am mechanically inclined enough to figure this out.

So I pull one of the thin strips out. Its two strips facing each other stuck together. Instead of rubbing them together, my genius kicks in so I get out the hair dryer and heat it to 1000 degrees. ("Cold wax," yeah...right!) I lay the strip cross my thigh. Hold the skin around it tight and pull. It works! OK, so it wasn't the best feeling, but it wasn't too bad. I can do this! Hair removal no longer eludes me! I am She-rah, fighter of all wayward body hair and maker of smooth skin extraordinaire.

With my next wax strip I move north. After checking on the kids, I sneak back into the bathroom, for the ultimate hair fighting championship. I drop my panties and place one foot on the toilet. Using the same procedure, I apply the wax strip across the right side of my bikini line, covering the right half of my vagina and stretching down to the inside of my butt cheek (Yes, it was a long strip). I inhale deeply and brace myself....RRRRIIIPPP!!!!

I'm blind!!! Blinded from pain!!!!...OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!! Vision returning, I notice that I've only managed to pull off half the Strip. CRAP!!! Another deep breath and RRIIPP!! Everything is swirly and spotted. I think I may pass out...must stay conscious...Do I hear crashing drums??? Breathe, breathe...OK, back to normal.

I want to see my trophy - a wax covered strip, the one that has caused me so much pain, with my hairy pelt sticking to it. I want to revel in the glory that is my triumph over body hair. I hold up the strip! There's no hair on it. Where is the hair??? WHERE IS THE WAX??? Slowly I ease my head down, foot still perched on the toilet. I see the hair. The hair that should be on the strip I touch. I am touching wax. CRAP! I run my fingers over the most sensitive part of my body, which is now covered in cold wax and matted hair. Then I make the next BIG mistake...remember my foot is still propped up on the toilet? I know I need to do something. So I put my foot down.

DAMN!!!!!!!! I hear the slamming of a cell door. Vagina? Sealed shut! Butt?? Sealed shut! I penguin walk around the bathroom trying to figure out what to do and think to myself "Please don't let me get the urge to poop. My head may pop off!"

What can I do to melt the wax? Hot water!! Hot water melts wax!! I'll run the hottest water I can stand into the bathtub, get in, immerse the wax-covered bits and the wax should melt and I can gently wipe it off, right???

I get in the tub - the water is slightly hotter than that used to torture prisoners of war or sterilize surgical equipment - I sit. Now, the only thing worse than having your nether regions glued together, is having them glued together and then glued to the bottom of the scalding hot water. Which, by the way, doesn't melt cold wax. So, now I'm stuck to the bottom of the tub as though I had cement-epoxied myself to the porcelain!! God bless the man who had convinced me a few months ago to have a phone put in the bathroom!!!!!

I call my friend, thinking surely she has waxed before and has some secret of how to get me undone. It's a very good conversation starter:
"So, my butt and who-ha are glued together to the bottom of the tub!"

There is a slight pause. She doesn't know any secret tricks for removal but she does try to hide her laughter from me. She wants to know exactly where the wax is located,

"Are we talking cheeks or hole or who-ha?"
She's laughing out loud by now...I can hear her. I give her the rundown and she suggests I call the number on the side of the box. YEAH!!!!! Right!! I should be the joke of someone else's night. While we go through various solutions. I resort to scraping the wax off with a razor. Nothing feels better then to have your girlie goodies covered in hot wax, glued shut, stuck to the tub in super hot water and then dry-shaving the sticky wax off!!

By now the brain is not working, dignity has taken a major hike and I'm pretty sure I'm going to need Post-Traumatic Stress counselling for this event. My friend is still talking with me when I finally see my saving grace....the lotion they give you to remove the excess wax. What do I really have to lose at this point? I rub some on and … OH MY GOD!!!!!!! The scream probably woke the kids and scared the dickens out of my friend. It's sooo painful, l but I really don't care.

"IT WORKS!! It works!!"
I get a hearty congratulation from my friend and she hangs up. I successfully remove the remainder of the wax and then notice to my grief and despair.... THE HAIR IS STILL THERE...ALL OF IT!!!!

On an ending note, this is not my story, but I hope it gave you a laugh. If nothing else it reminds me why I have never been brave enough to try it for myself!!


I had an email from a friend this morning with the link below. It explained that it was a simple game involving flying a helicopter and it was so simple because it only involved holding the left mouse key down to fly up and releasing it to come down again. Easy or what?

It did however say that if you were in a busy office you should NOT forward the email to co-workers as it was very addictive.

With a little time to please myself I thought I would give it a go and I hope that you will too, let's see who can rack up the fastest distance without crashing... I challenge you to have a go!


Before you click the link....

Clear your diary....

It really is SERIOUSLY addictive...


Click here and have a go and then leave a comeent to let everyone know how far you got. So far, I have travelled 1102, but that said, the window is still open and I guess I am gonna beat it at some point today!!!

Hmm... I wonder if the family will notice if I don't get the dinner cooked??

It's all in the Title

Now that Christmas and the New Year breaks are out of the way, I am again concentrating on college work.

I saw an image which inspired the beginnings of my current work, but I evolved it considerably to end up with the image below, which I think will be the last image I need for my current unit of work.

My idea was to create an image of a woman, something fairly strong but very simple and to portray the woman's character without photographing a whole person. Two parts of the image are self portraits and one is my daughter.

This is what I came up with, but I need your help. I think I managed to get the character into the image; a bit of fun, sexyness and maybe a little bit risque. Or can you see something else in the image? My problem is that I need an appropriate title. It needs to be something that defines the woman and/or the image but at the same time adds something to it... does that make sense?

Anyway, I thought I would turn it into a little caption competition for you all.....


What's the title???