Rose to the Rescue!!!!

Some news can not wait until timetabled publishing dates. When a life depended on me I faced my fears and rose to the challenge. Only minutes ago a small frog was in a desperate situation. She was crouched on my hallway floor, frozen in an ‘I might be dead’ position. The cat who’d brought her there was lying nonchalantly beside her. Both frog and I knew that the slightest movement by frog would cause cat to pounce and frog’s jumping ability would be no match for her lightening speed swipes. This same situation has arisen twice before recently and my reaction has been to scream wildly and run into the living room, shutting the door behind me. D1’s reaction is much the same as mine but with less screaming. Frodo then deals with the situation. 

However on this occasion I was home alone. Well not exactly alone – son was upstairs but it was 1.30pm on a Saturday afternoon so I assume he was sleeping and would not take kindly to being woken up to deal with a frog situation. More importantly, I was not alone emotionally as I was having a Skype with D2 and a 6 year old. I showed them the scene via Skype and the unanimous decision was that I had to ‘do something’. With the aid of an empty plum container and a small Boyes bag I got the frog from the hallway to the garden!! How brave am I?? There were a few squeaky screams but I managed to keep these to a minimum so as not to transfer my fear to an impressionable six year old. What she actually witnessed was a cool, calm, collected woman carefully scooping up a frog. Then because the laptop was positioned on the hallway floor D2 and six year old had to wait anxciously for a  couple of minutes watching the shoes, bag and gas canister in the hallway until I returned with the good news that frog had (as I’d suspected) been playing dead and was now jumping in our wildlife area.

Mastering a new technological skill (Skyping) and controlling my screaming on seeing a wild animal in my house has left me feeling very pleased with myself. I’m going to have a fresh coffee to celebrate.

btw the gas canister was left in the hallway about a week ago by ‘none of its my mess’ Frodo. I wonder how long that will stay there for? 

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are you awake?

I did consider not blogging tonight due to tiredness but I feared that my dwindling UK readership may dwindle further and my precarious US and Irish readership could slip away completely.

One reason for my tiredness is that I had a restless night. Thoughts about an upcoming interview were preventing me from falling back to sleep after I woke in the early hours. I resisted playing the “are you awake” game for at least half an hour but gave in through feeling too alone with my thoughts. Boredom is the usual trigger. I’m sure most people are familiar with the game but just in case anyone isn’t, here is a brief synopsis. The basic game consists of two parts.

The first part involves trying to determine whether the other person/people in the bedroom are asleep or awake and the second, optional but potentially more fulfilling, part is proving that they are awake. As the title suggests, the game begins with the most wide awake player asking ‘are you awake?’ If this produces no response the question is asked again and can be accompanied by a small nudge. This part can be repeated indefinitely until the wide awake player feels satisfied that they have worked out the status of the other player/s (asleep or awake) or they lose interest in playing. The game can be ended at this point, however a longer version is often more satisfying.

It may appear that the other person is asleep but they could be faking it or the mmm noise they make suggests they are awake but they could be asleep. This is another reason for continuing to the second part. Half-awake/half asleep is not a ‘win’ for the wide awake player. In order to win the second part of the game the wide awake player must illicit a brief conversation with the other player/s. There is a huge variety of tactics that can be brought into play. Changes in voice volume and tone; small kicks, big nudges, pulling of duvet and coughing are all possibilities. Perseverance is essential. Giving up leaves wide awake person feeling cheated and this can lead to them being convinced that the ‘sleeping’ player is in fact awake and feelings of resentment build up. This is very unfortunate for the sleeping player if they are actually asleep because they will have no idea why they are being ignored the next morning.

The game ends when the ‘is he, isn’t he asleep person’ says something along the lines of “Yes I’m awake” or “What do you want?”. Regardless as to whether this is said in a pleasant way or an annoyed way, the wide awake player has proved that the other player is awake and therefore wins the game. It is protocol for the wide awake player to respond to all questions regarding motives with “Oh I thought you were awake”. Players can then both stay awake and have a conversation. Alternatively the contentment of knowing you aren’t the only person awake is often enough to send you off to asleep and if you’re lucky the other person won’t start the game again.

“Are you asleep yet?” is a similar game and was a regular feature of my childhood. In this game players take turns to ask the question at intervals of 2 to 5 minutes. My sister was champion at falling asleep first and I was often left asking the question and being greeted by silence. When my children were young they too were champions but this time it was because I let them win so I could sneak out of bed and leave them sleeping happily.

Last night it took several minutes for Frodo to confirm he was awake and then he promptly fell back asleep. The chance of him offering any constructive comments on my interview preparations was virtually nil so I didn’t initiate another round of ‘Are you awake?’

For those readers who are camping this week take advantage of any extra room mates to play the games with. “Can you hear that?” is another game that is ideally suited to filling in wakeful hours in a tent. Sweet dreams.

Zumba Diary, better late than never and hanging on

I’m feeling very positive this evening after yet another envigorating Zumba session. The ‘j’ word was hardly used and I think some j’s were replaced by the less shocking ‘down and up’ which is a milder version of a full on jump. There were a couple of minutes which were a little disturbing though. Wonderful Woman put on a very fast song and was transformed into Crazy Lady, shouting out instructions at double the normal speed “left, back, right, front, again, arms, jump, in, out, arms, one of each, left, back, right, front.” The whole class (except one) was moving in fast forward mode. It was manic. Then the song ended and Wonderful Woman was immediately returned to her usual bouncy but controlled self. There has definitely been progress in my Zumba journey. I will attempt to summarise my current attainment. The report will include technical Zumba terms but hopefully all readers will get a feel of my success even if they are unfamiliar with the language.

Zumba Summary

Strengths (the things I can do, not necessarily in time with most of the class nor in the right direction but I can do them)                                                                                                                                travel to the right, travel to the left, shimmy, twist, add a shimmy to the twist, wax on wax off, dip, dig, big arms, add the arms, tap, back on the right, back on the left, grapevine, 2 back, 2 forward, shake everything (my speciality), hips, make it bigger, four, merengue, reach, sit ups, squat, up and over, add the chop, single single double, clap, march, wiggle (another speciality), kick, heel, step, step on the diagonal, 1 2 3, etc.

Areas for Development (things I don’t bother attempting – yet)                                                                                                                                          jump, add inbetween feet, tighten those tummies, synchronizing with rest of group.

Today is my sister’s birthday. Her card will be spending the night travelling in some form of transport chosen by the Royal Mail across Yorkshire and should arrive at her home in the morning. I tried to end my run of ‘belated’ cards by buying the card two days before her birthday but I didn’t figure Sunday into the equation so she won’t be the person saying “I can’t believe it. Its a card from Rose on my actual birthday”.   I do feel particularly inadequate in relation to my sister’s family’s birthdays. I intended to take my eldest niece somewhere special for her 21st present but time slipped by and so I decided to wait til her sister  was 21 and do a joint trip somewhere. That didn’t happen either. Soon after this her youngest sister was 18. Perfect, I could do a triple treat but how time flies. Maybe this will be the summer I take my nieces aged 19, 22 and 24 away. If my sister puts her one day late card into this context she’ll feel she is very fortunate having received it one day late while those close to her are still waiting after hundreds of days.

Yesterday’s proverb relating to my life was Jumping from the frying pan into the fire. For some time, three of our household’s washing baskets have had cracks in the base. The pink one has the largest cracks and  I have been enjoying the mini amazement I experience each time I use it and it successfully functions as a carrier of washing. This all came to end yesterday when the base gave way and washing tumbled out onto the gravel area of our garden. Apart from two T shirts falling into a puddle the rest of the washing was saved from a rewash. I could have left the washing on the gravel frying pan and pegged it directly onto the line from there but the risk taker in me took over. Wishful thinking and my disinclination to bend down several times prompted me to lift up the whole pile of wet washing and balance it over the line. It was evident from the start that one hand was needed to hold it in the ‘online’ position. This left one hand to ease out a piece of clothing and manipulate a peg to secure it to the line. Tricky but do-able. The next item of clothing was even trickier but with arms at full stretch I achieved ‘pegged on line’. At this point there were still about eight items in the balancing online pile. A moment later there was nothing in this pile but a new pile of about eight items had formed in a large puddle on the ground. My faith in the online pile’s ability to balance without my steadying hand had led me to leave it alone while I moved down the line to peg the next item. Without my support it didn’t really stand a chance against the slight breeze and gravity.      If it was a film it would be Final Destination 30 degrees. Those eight items cheated rewash but their destiny dictated the washing machine would get them in the end.

Now I have to make a decision about the pink washing basket. Maybe Duck tape can restore it to its former glory or maybe it could remain in its current state and become an indoor basket and carry small dry loads.

blog goes global – not

Evidence suggests that my blog doesn’t appeal to the international audience. The US (ooo, see my comment below)  and German visitors have not returned for a second view and the lone Spaniard from a few weeks ago was also a one night stand. I do feel a little disappointed and would have liked a slightly longer lasting relationship. I’m reminded of the proverb Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched.  My game of the week is going to be linking something in my life to a proverb everyday. Interestingly, one of the Americans arrived at the blog by using the search term ‘side effects of ironing’. Perhaps they were new to ironing and were feeling some uneasiness about engaging in an activity that could have undesirable consequences. Or maybe they were already suffering and experiencing feelings of guilt due to an ironing addiction which was causing them to spend hours each day ironing and their huge electricity bills were the cause of domestic unrest. Although its not a path I have ever been down, I can imagine how excessive ironing could lead to many problems including making people late for appointments, insufficient sleep due to either late night ironing or worrying about the ‘ironing pile’, repetitive strain injury………and, most significant to me, a lack of time to read ‘amazinglifeofrose’.

On Monday I chose Zumba as the focus of my blog even though another event had a greater impact on me. At the time my emotions were far too raw to try and put into words the extent of my exasperation. The txt mesage was simple ‘the shower’s leaked again’. again was in normal type but in my head and heart it was in capitals and bold and followed by five exclamation marks. A lot of swear words flew around in my head too. I still don’t know the details of what happened as the anger in my voice stopped Frodo carrying on with his recount of how he’s ‘fixed it this time’. (He doesn’t read my blog anymore and this unsupportive lack of interest has removed any reservations I had about exposing the full extent of his diy disasters). One of the bits I do know is that he accused our children of causing the leak by letting the water touch the shower door. Despite being told many times, he still hasn’t accepted that it is normal for water to touch the sides and walls of the shower cubicle. Another of his attempts to divert any suggestion that his previous 4, 5 or is it 6 previous ‘fixes’ are in any way connected to the most recent leak, was to keep repeating that it was dripping into the hall this time not the living room. All it did was draw attention to the fact that now two rooms have been affected. Four days on and there have been no further leaks. A temporary cessation of hostilities in ‘showerland’ reigns. There has been a long period of tension around the shower, leaks are just one of several issues which divide our family. One example that illustrates the enormity of the situation is that years of heated debate has not produced a compromise between those who want to leave their shampoo bottle in the shower and those who want every toiletry to be removed from the cubicle when its not in use. The positive slant to all of this is that my children have had ample opportunities to experience dealing with conflict. 

Tuesday was an eventful afternoon. Son had invited friends round to watch the football so it was tidy time in the house. Living room, hallway and bathroom all reached a 7. To balance this out the front room and D2’s bedroom tipped into a 3 as stuff from the newly tidy rooms was shifted into them. Through facebook I am aware that two of my friends are experiencing the highs of  ‘clearing out’. Maybe I’ll give it a try at the weekend. Booking form has now been sent so my to do list has a space.

Zumba diaries continued

My blog has gone global!!!! In the past 2 days it has been viewed from Germany and 2 different areas of North America. This is very exciting for me.

Having missed both Zumba sessions last week I have been looking forward to getting back into the swing of things. There were a few changes this week. Firstly, one of the front row zumba women decided to move to the back row next to me. She was obviously unaware of what to expect. The regular back rowers ensure there is a few metres distance between themselves and me but she only left a couple of metres. This resulted in several ‘near misses’ when one of us followed the left/right instructions and the other one didn’t. There was also a discrepency in our travelling to the right/left. One of us managed two steps, the other four steps. She seemed surprised each time I was in the ‘wrong’ place. I wasn’t.

Secondly, some new zumba-ites were present. Their arrival stirred up thoughts I’d put to the back of mind. I do have some questions about Zumba but am too afraid to ask them. One is the question of dress code. Tonight I was sporting an unironed T shirt that belongs to Frodo (it was another quick turnaround night) and a pair of casual bottoms. My Zumba attire changes weekly and depends on what is easily available ten minutes before I leave the house. I have noticed that some people dress in a similar way, both in relation to others in the group and week to week. The overall effect could be summed up as ‘sporty and stylish’. When I first noticed this I put it down to coincidence but I am beginning to think it might be a social norm of Zumba society and I am unintentionally being a deviant. The two new women have added to my confusion by wearing shorts, the short tight variety. I know I should talk to someone about this to put my mind at rest but it never seems the right time to broach the subject. Its ironic that I can blog about it to an international audience but not talk to my Zumba leader or any of the group. It brings to mind the TV programme ‘Embarassing Bodies’ that features people who are too embarassed to go their GP but are prepared to reveal all to the nation. A hazard of flicking through channels is that you may, as I was last week, be caught unawares and be faced with the sight of genitalia whilst eating a late supper. All because someone feels more comfortable sharing with thousands of unseen viewers rather than with a doctor face to face.

Thirdly, Zumba leader, aka ‘wonderful woman’, used the four letter word rather too frequently for my liking tonight. She slipped it in a couple of times early on and then later it was almost every other word. I was quite shocked and eventually put up a mental block each time I heard it. I’m sure it won’t have the same effect on the reader as it did on me so I will put it into context. We were introduced to a new routine and I was enjoying the taps and dips when the first jump was uttered. This was accompanied by a demonstration of a two feet to two feet jump. This is incredibly difficult to do, although wonderful woman makes it look easy. During this routine there were a few more jumps but this was nothing when compared to the stream of jumps scattered amongst the grapevines and marches of a later routine. Is there really any need for such language at Zumba?

btw I was expecting some comments/queries about an abbreviation I used a few blogs ago. I expect a few of you asked a younger person what the letters stood for. Well they wouldn’t know because I made it up for fun to see what reaction it would get. It got none. Perhaps no-one wanted to admit they didn’t know what it meant or more likely no-one cared. It was quite high on my fun chart when I made it up but is now at zero. WDTM – what does that mean? This just goes to show that jokes are never funny when you have to explain them.

It is getting late so I’m going to bed. I may not sleep well though. The forecast for sunny weather has raised the dilemma of which sandals to wear tomorrow.

A possible new career!

This morning started out much the same as any other weekday morning for me. I got up, went to the bathroom, changed the empty toilet roll for the newly started one on the floor (it appears no-one else in my house can figure out how the toilet roll holder works), got dressed, had breakfast (no left over pudding today) and headed for the front door, carrying my lunchtime yogurt in my hand due to my bag being very full. Squashing a yogurt in would have run the risk of leakage. On a previous occassion this led to a messy work folder and much self reproach and I certainly didn’t want a repeat of this. It was then that a combination of circumstances led to an exciting, possibly life changing, discovery. Firstly it was raining heavily and my car was parked at the top of the street, several houses away from mine. This meant the contents of my open topped bag would get wet on the way if I didn’t take remedial action. An umbrella would have been an obvious choice but then I would have encountered another problem when I reached the car. Coordinating opening the car door with an umbrella in one hand, yogurt in the other and a heavy bag on my shoulder would have been very tricky. Another option was to carry the bag under my coat but my quick thinking discounted this before I went through with it. Again it would have caused problems at the car stage when I would have had to remove my coat to get the bag off my shoulder. I was dallying with the idea of using my elbow pressed against my body to hold the top of the bag closed and trying to assess whether this would make a water-tight seal when a carrier bag caught my eye. It had fortuitously fallen from the bag of carriers that is hanging by our front door. Some of the tesco carrier bags in there have been there so long that they have begun to disintegrate. Better for the environment I know but a cause of irritation when a carrier is pulled out and a shower of plastic snow sprinkles all over the hallway and the multitude of shoes in it. However, the carrier on the floor was relatively new and totally intact. Suddenly it all fell into place – the rain, the distance to the car, the heavy bag, the yogurt in hand, the carrier, the invention!

Within seconds I’d torn the bottom of the carrier open and slipped it over the handles of my bag and pulled it snuggly down the bag. This left a gap where the carrier was torn but another carrier tucked over the top of my work folders and voila! a waterproof bag. What a wonderfully simple but incredible invention. Even I was amazed by my inventiveness. I now have a prototype and an array of ideas. The ‘amazing bag cover’ could be produced in a variety of sizes, styles and designs. Recycling carrier bags may be a possibility but perhaps another material would be more saleable. The design would have to incorporate a flap to do away with the need for a ‘gap filler’. It wouldn’t have to be confined to the wet weather niche market. It could expand into a cost effective way of coordinating outfits – one quality bag with a wide choice of covers. Daytime, evening, work, casual, quirky your imagination is the limit. The marketing gargon is flowing effortlessly from my brain. My own 99p Wilkinsons black fabric bag was transformed by a mass produced Sainsbury’s carrier. Imagine transforming the ordinary to the extraordinary with personalised designs made to order.

My next move is to apply for a patent when I find time in my busy schedule. If my Dragons’ Den recollection is correct then I own the intellectual property rights already because I thought of the idea. This could be the start of a very profitable enterprise. It may well take some time to develop into a business so in the meantime I am very happy for anyone reading this to use the carrier bag cover. Don’t worry about not having the necessary teachnical skills to make your own. It really is quite easy, just read my description and you should be fine. I will try and upload a photo. All I ask is that you acknowledge me as the inventor. I know some of you will be so grateful for such a useful device that you will want to pay me in some way. An uploaded photo of it in use would be appropriate (though perhaps not possible on wordpress.com, maybe facebook?) as would a glass of wine if you see me in real life.

Addendum : The ‘bag cover’ kept 100% of the contents of my bag dry en route to the car and when I arrived in the car park at work I met a colleague, who was struggling with bags and an umbrella. I pointed out my ‘bag cover’ and the response was ‘Oh I noticed’. She noticed.Nothing more was said but what looked to be a forced smile suggested she was a little jealous.

designed and created by rose

The highs and lows of a brief encounter with Banoffe Cheesecake

Monday night is not only Zumba night, it is also staff meeting night. Week after week whoever is leading the meeting over-runs and I sit there thinking ‘have you no home to go to?’ I can’t remember the last time one finished at 4.30pm. The most common end time is between 4.45 and 4.55pm. Well it was my turn to lead this week and I took the opportunity to get my revenge on all those who have made me late home. I kept the meeting going and ha, they all had to sit there until ten past five! I wonder how they liked it. The side effect of my action was that I was home even later than usual and the turnaround time between arrival home and departure for Zumba was so short I decided that the exertion it would take to get to Zumba on time was more than I could muster so I had to give it a miss tonight. Revenge is not so sweet after all.

Banoffee Cheesecake on the other hand is very sweet. I don’t often buy puddings but every now and again a dessert in the end of aisle, bargain freezer, in a major supermarket catches my eye. It’s usually between some variety of Birds Eye chicken and Goodfellas Pizza, both of which seem to be on continuous special offer. When I buy desserts they stay in the freezer for weeks until a suitable occassion for a treat comes up. One such occassion came up on Saturday. My mother had been staying for a few days and was returning home that afternoon. Frodo was given instructions to take the Banoffee Cheesecake out of the freezer but I foolishly did not give precise instructions regarding defrosting and so when I went to serve it two hours later it was still in the box and foil container, semi-frozen. We were due to leave within the hour but Frodo took no responsibility for the unfortunate situation we were in. Any guesses as to what he said? “You said take it out of the freezer. You never said anything about taking it out of the box.” I didn’t waste my breath telling him that if he’d read the defrost instructions he’d have found out it takes 2 and a half hours to defrost when taken OUT of packaging. An hour later we ate it and it was OK but still a little frozen which masked some of the taste. This was the first low. The high came on Sunday morning. I’d gone to the fridge for a low fat prune yogurt (which actually tastes better than it sounds) and was pleasantly surprised to see a slice of Banoffee Cheesecake still there. Cheesecake for breakfast. I was smiling even before I’d taken it out of the fridge. Things got even better when I took my first mouthful. It was delicious, so smooth and soft. It almost melted in my mouth and the banana flavour was exquisite. Who would have thought being fully defrosted could have made such a difference. My blissful state was rudely interupted by the arrival of a fly. I couldn’t ignore it because the cats’ food was out and worst case scenario was running through my head – fly poos on cat food, cats eat it, cats get very poorly. The fly started doing the typical fly thing of buzzing in the window, intermittently banging into the glass. I reached up over the worktop to open the window. This movement involved a long stretch with one arm while the plate with the cheesecake on was held in the other. The fly didn’t take immediate advantage of the open window to make its escape. In fact it’s first response was to fly back into the centre of the kitchen but it soon made it’s way back to the window and began buzzing against the glass. Apparantly oblivious to being only centimetres from freedom. To help it on its way I performed an even greater stretch to push the window open wider. Then came the second low. The cheesecake slid off the plate, hit the edge of the worktop, caught the corner of the washing machine and continued its desent by slidding down the cupboard until it landed in a blob on the floor. I didn’t see this series of events but the trail of evidence made it clear what had happened. My emotion could be summed up with the lyric from one of my all time favourite songs ‘a taste of honey is worse than none at all’. (substitute Banoffee Cheesecake for honey). The only consolation came when I was wiping up the mess. It stuck to the floor like Tesco Value glue ie. it seemed like it was stuck but wasn’t really. The thought of such a sticky substance in my tummy did take the edge off the pain. The fly left via the window and promptly re-entered through the door!

You learn something new everyday, well every Zumba class at least

I’ve had a revelation! It was quite fitting that it happened in a Church. It was the church where Zumba class is held on Wednesdays. For some time now I have been conscious that my fellow zumba-ites do something I don’t. I tend to vaguely listen to the coach, aka ‘wonderful woman’, vaguely watch what she does and then vaguely do some moves which bear a little resemblence to what she does. El Amor, El Amor and the other songs (sample here http://www.amazon.co.uk/El-Amor/dp/B0081N9O14) trigger my disco instinct and my desire to do set moves shifts to very low priority. Others at the class seem to have had access to some knowledge that I haven’t and as a result their moves are all very similar. Well now I have seen the light! It has come to pass that I, by some chance, listened carefully to wonderful woman at the same time as watching her closely. It was a Hallelujah moment. After weeks of ignoring certain instructions because I felt they didn’t include me, I can now do them! Middle feet, inbetween legs and big arms are not body parts!!! They are moves!! and I can do them. I can’t be sure as I was in shock when the lightening bolt struck but I think middle feet and inbetween legs might be the same thing. Big arms are great, so expressive. I am not a full convert though. Fast jumps are verging on extremism in my opinion and I’m not ready to take that step, perhaps my body never will be. For the time being I am happy to revel in my new found knowledge and closeness to the Zumba community. I observed a very touching moment on Wednesday. One of the women who always tries extremely hard to do the set moves (and in all fairness I have to say she usually does very well) had a little slip up this week. At the instruction ‘touch those toes’ she touched the floor. Immediately the women nearest to her made positive comments and actually made this error seem like something she should be proud of. How thoughtful. This woman does have  one slightly annoying habit. When wonderful woman asks ‘shall we squeeze in one more before cool down?’ she responds enthusiastically with ‘yes, go on’. It appears she hasn’t linked my sighs to her response because she often smiles across at me after she’s said it as though she thinks she’s done me a favour by speaking up. To avoid any confusion amongst readers – she hasn’t.

Another major happening for me this week was accompanying Son to an apprenticeship event. He took it all in his stride but there were a few challenges for me. The first one occured as soon as we stepped into the venue. Just inside the door was a refreshment table. If I’d been given a few moments to orientate myself I would have been fine but the drinks lady jumped in with “do you want a drink?” My reflex reaction was a jolly “No thank you” but unfortunately this set off a chain of social exchanges which left me feeling slightly panicked. The doorman got involved “go on, treat youself” and the drinks lady greeted my continued rejections with suggestions of coffee, tea, cold drinks. I was actually wishing I’d said “yes” in the first place because I did quite fancy a coffee but to change my mind might make me look a woman who didn’t know her own mind or a woman who had in fact been lying. The doorman must have sensed that he could influence my decision and he began backing up the suggestions drinks lady was making and saying “go on have one, that’s what it’s there for”. I did want a drink and the conversation was quite frankly becoming a little awkward and so I took control and brought it to a swift conclusion “Go on then, I’ll have a coffee.” The doorman/drinks woman team appeared satisfied with this outcome and moved on to the next parent.

The coffee situation didn’t end there. After the presentation I was faced with the dilemma of what to do with the empty cup. Luckily my role as a mother dictated that I didn’t deliberate too long and so I quickly deposited on a nearby table and joined Son at the first employer stand. Basically the event involved prospective apprentices and their parent moving round the stands in a specific group, listening to information for 5 minutes and moving on to the next stand when the 5 minute whistle blew. Having not armed myself with a pen and notebook to make notes I improvised and found an old train ticket in my bag and wrote my notes on this, in very small writing and abbreviated. I know this sounds a great idea but the plan to use this as a means to decide which stands to return to during ‘free time’ did have a flaw – namely I couldn’t decifer some of my notes. WDTM. lol. I met up with the woman with the 10 house (a previous blog) and we exchanged views on the whirlwind nature of the event. She hadn’t taken a notebook either, she didn’t even have a train ticket but she was cheerful. We had both noticed a mum who DID have a notebook with lots of notes in it. I also noticed she seemed quite grumpy and when her son returned from a stand she sighed and tutted as she flicked through her notebook. He didn’t seem bothered by her reaction but I couldn’t help but feel that, despite a lack of notes and forethought, 10 house Son and Son did have the more supportive mums on the day and we were definitely more smiley.

Must finish now. Sister is on the phone, held at bay by my mother. Last time she phoned I was watching a film and so asked her to ring back later. She put the phone down on me! I will endeavour to build some bridges.

productive or destructive? Two sides to every story.

I’m writing this rather late in the day, having been engaged for most of the evening in getting D2’s bedroom ready for my mother coming to stay. It was the usual mix of freshly laundered clothes and those worn clothes waiting to be washed, cleverly placed across the floor and bed so as to make it impossible to tell which is which. This invariably leads to clothes being needlessly washed. I did successfully reunite several socks with their partners, in some cases long lost partners, but some seem destined to spend the rest of their lives single. D2 has inherited my method of sorting out cupboards and drawers, which is essentially ‘tip everything out’ followed by ‘go and do something else’ with the plan to return and finish the sorting at some undetermined time in the future. The imminent arrival of my mother has triggered the default option ‘push everything back where it came from’. Job done.

Now to the title question. The fine weather on Saturday spurred me into taking action in the garden. Initially I felt I was having a productive afternoon clearing rubbish away and cutting the grass. (By the way, if anyone is wondering if a cheap rotary mower from Argos would be able to handle foot high grass and assorted weeds I can confirm that it can. In fact my trusty mower has performed this feat every year for the past four years.) I soon began to question the ‘progress’ I was making as hundreds of little creatures ran for cover as I ripped up pieces of floorboards that had once provided a makeshift roof for the guinea pig run but have for some time been laying on the ‘lawn’. I’ve no doubt I killed many animals in my pursuit of a tidy garden not to mention the thousands of plants that were destroyed. The wildlife sanctuary has gone and with it my enjoyment of making a tidier a garden.

A bit of advice that supports the proverb ‘more haste less speed’. Don’t grab your son’s deoderent off the bathroom shelf when you are in too much of a hurry to go to your bedroom and get your own. In your haste you may pick up his shaving foam instead! This actually happened to me on Friday morning and I’d shaken it ready to spray when just in time I realised it was the wrong can – the nozzle gave it away. I was tempted to go through with the act of spraying, knowing my misfortune would cause great hilarity amongst my blog readers but the thought of the resulting mess and time it would take to sort out stopped me. As compensation for not going through with it I will share the story of a Frodo mishap. It happened over ten years ago on the ferry to Holland. How funny is it when someone uses deepheat muscle rub instead of toothpaste? Very, very, very funny. Funny enough to leave a whole family helpless with laughter in fact.

compromise

There are many many reasons why I have made the decision I have made. It is not a decision I have made lightly and I assessed a variety of options before settling on this one. I have taken into account my aim of spreading smiles through the medium of blogging, my loyalty to the readers of theamazinglifeofrose and the increasing chaos in my life which is accumulating in direct correlation with my blogging.**(see below).

It is NOT my intention to create a wave of despair (though I am aware that some disappointment is inevitable) but I have come to the conclusion that my daily blogging is unsustainable unless I neglect other areas of my life. As previously documented I am a fluctuating five and the house is curently at level 4 and at high risk of falling further. Ignoring the washing up, cooking and hanging out washing has given Frodo the opportunity to take sole responsibilty for getting them done and I’m pleased to report that he has stepped up the challenge. However no-one in the house has been proactive in tidying and hoovering. My own usual contribution could be likened to putting one log on a campfire – it doesn’t make a huge difference but keeps it going until the time and energy are available to pile on more logs and raise it to glorious heights, or at least level 7 heights. The metaphorical campfire is at the present time merely smouldering and without immediate action it will need an enormous effort to get it back to the steady, albeit low, level.

Another factor which has been key to my decision is the conflicting pressures of maintaining a daily blog and being a good employee/prospective good employee which have been building. You may have noticed that occassionally a day has passed without a blog. This has been due to either work related activities or job application deadlines looming. All in all this is a very unsatifactory situation which leaves me feeling guilty and regular readers feeling cheated (I assume this is the case – no one has directly berated me over this).

In an attempt to establish a workable balance I have come to the decision that my blog will become a twice weekly publication. Friday and Monday are the optimum days. Fridays because the weekend lies ahead for doing ‘real life’ things and Mondays because they are Zumba nights and I will be feeling invigorated. For those of you who are not familiar with wordpress, there is a feature called Stats. This allows me check how many people have viewed my blog posts and where in the world they are. It was very exciting when I had a US reader and a Spain reader. This excitement was short lived though. They have not returned for a second viewing. UK readership is unpredictable with highs and lows but so far the numbers have been sufficient to keep me blogging : )  Remember use or lose it!

  ** By direct correlation I mean the more I blog the more chaotic every other aspect of my life becomes. I wasn’t sure if I was using the term in the correct sense so I attempted to clarify this. Through a quick google I came across this webpage http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_and_dependence . It didn’t help with my original query but it does answer a question that I have asked myself before. Namely ‘Should I have followed a career is statistics?’