Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Lego Challenge

Youngest son has for a long while been telling me that

“Life seems easier when you are building Lego!”

Oh such a wise head on young shoulders, but I wondered how true the statement really was?

Lego is his passion and time always passes wonderfully if you are engaged in something you enjoy. 

Meanwhile oldest son rarely sits still and probably wouldn’t agree with the above statement at all, he’d rather be out playing sport – now that would reduce me to tears.  I can vividly remember the stinging cold legs from being out in shorts in November on the school hockey pitch.  I fail to see the excitement to be had.

I get enthusiastic when I have a new idea to write about.  My eyes start to twinkle as I can feel the words bubbling up inside.

We are all different.

I decided to test the theory when youngest son threw down a challenge.

“I bet I can tidy my Lego faster than you can build Anakin’s Starfighter.”

Well any trick to get the Lego tidy will do for me, plus I am the competitive sort and really wanted to show what I could do.  As they say on Top Gear – “how hard can it be?”

Half an hour later I casually walked up the stairs humming the Star Wars music, Anakin’s Starfighter completed in my hand.

Youngest son was amazed at my brilliance.  I have certainly scored a few points in the “best mum” stakes today.

So does “life seem easier when you are building Lego”?

Absolutely.  The pieces fit together with precision engineering and the instructions are all in colour.

And is the Lego tidy? – hmmm the flaw in my plan was my competitive streak.  I wanted so much to impress my son with my skills that I finished before him and there is still Lego all over his bedroom floor.  The chaalenge is over and he has wandered off.

Next time I must remember that life IS easier when you are building Lego and will therefore take my time and make the experience last.

Go on raid the Lego box today – you know you want to…

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Days Off

As I have been feeling under the weather I have taken a couple of days off.  However as I do not have a full time paid job I always struggle with what the term actually means for me.

My full-time profession is as a mother and I long for a career as a writer.  These two strands of my life have continued despite the hiatus. 

I haven’t stopped writing because it brings me so much joy.  Although I must admit I have spent too much time recently blogging, networking and talking about writing.   I really must set aside time to work on turning “unravelling-edges” into a book or at least a proposal to send out to agents.

Being a parent is a full time necessity.  The only way to take time off is to make complex contingency plans for someone else to step into your shoes temporarily.  Single parenthood is particularly difficult or as a fellow widow said to me this year,

“We are not single parents but double parents
 – having to be both mother and father.”

There is no “other” parent waiting in the wings to share the duties with.

With the planned strikes tomorrow there are going to be more people than usual juggling work and family commitments.  There are no easy answers.

So what did I do on my days off?  Apart from blogging and catching up with emails not a lot but I did lie on the sofa and watch a film, trying NOT to feel guilty for doing so.  It took me both days to get it finished!

I could justify anything writing related but just sitting on the sofa in the middle of the day was a different matter even if I did feel ill.  It was just a bit too decadent.

Maybe what I really need is a break from the “guilt”. 

Why not give yourself the day off from it too?

Monday, 28 November 2011

Two Silver Threads

Thoughts of Andrew are never far away and this has been especially true during November.   

It’s been a challenging month, I’ve often worn his baggy jumper for both warmth and comfort and I have once more taken to wearing his wedding ring on a chain around my neck.  Months ago I took it off in favour of my other less expensive but more colour co-ordinated “jewels”.

I’m glad we have almost reached the end of November; I’m hoping turning the calendar over will be the start of a more hopeful season.

Youngest son is also looking forward to the start of December as it heralds the arrival of the advent calendar – this year one made by Lego, maybe better on your teeth than chocolate for breakfast but not so good on your bank balance.

The truth is advent is already here.  The first candle lit in churches yesterday.  We have entered a time of expectant waiting for the new born King.

It’s less than 4 weeks ‘til Christmas!  Or put another way and to quote my dad who used this expression every year.

“Four weeks’ time and it will all be over!”

Dad was a butcher and this was without doubt the busiest time of the year, all that fuss made for just one day!

I haven’t written much about my faith on “re-ravelling”.  It’s difficult to know sometimes how to strike that balance between writing about an important part of my life and yet not alienating readers with different viewpoints.  I do hope to be thought provoking in my approach and I would love to hear your views.

The best analogy for my faith I can come up with that fits my “unravelling” and “re-ravelling” theme is that God is like a silver thread running through my life. 

At times the thread catches the light and shines more than others.  Then there are occasions where the glittery thread by itself is hardly noticed but it adds a particular opulence to the fabric that cannot be pinpointed.

Thoughts of Andrew and thoughts of God, two silver threads that weave through my life adding a richness and texture that is sometimes awkward to put into words.

Silver threads that add a certain sparkle to my life and will continue to shine on my blog like added Christmas glitter throughout the years to come.

Happy Advent!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Happy Birthday Andrew!

Happy Birthday Husband
I wish you were still here
You'd be here beside me 
And I'd whisper in your ear
I'd bring you tea in bed
A crispie cake or maybe two
A token of just how much
I totally love you
The boys would jump up on the bed
Youngest one so wriggly
You'd be tickling him of course 
And making him all giggly
Oldest son now grown so tall
He'd see you eye to eye
I miss you every day my friend
Once more you've made me cry
But on this your special day
When you would have reached the big five-oh
You're in my heart
I love you
And I want the world to know!


(youngest son has just wandered in and is lying beside me as I type "it's a good poem, half of it rhymes!"  Praise indeed.  His dad would be so proud of us all!)

Friday, 25 November 2011

Best Friend: Position Vacant

“Did you read my blog from yesterday?”   I asked my friend this morning.

“No I haven’t had time.”  She’s a busy girl and was up working late last night.

“Well I’ve elevated you to being my BEST FRIEND.”  I told her with glee.   She was the friend of the giggly phone conversation I was thankful for yesterday.

“Best Friend for this week.”  She added ruefully.  “You don’t have girls; they change their best friends weekly.”
Yes boys are far less fickle in the friendship department but I can vividly remember the days when my best friends did change on a weekly or even daily basis.

Andrew always said I was his BEST FRIEND but I was reticent to return the compliment conscious of the fact I need a variety of people to bounce idea off of.  All of my friends have unique qualities I appreciate in different ways.  Each one is special and vital to making me a more rounded person.

Also I couldn’t call Andrew my BEST FRIEND, he was a BOY!  I am and always have been a very girlie girl so I needed a like-minded female to share my confidences with.

But I was coming round to the fact that Andrew did know more secrets about me than anyone and realised in the last year we had together just what a BEST FRIEND he really was.

Now I miss him greatly and decided to refill the BEST FRIEND position with the person who I am most likely to ring first with a juicy piece of gossip.  The person who is always been there with a shoulder to cry on and wise and comforting words.  Someone who knows most of my secrets, although she called me intriguing the other day so she hasn’t completely figured me out!

Only I’ve already "fallen out" with her because she neglected to…

…well never mind what she “neglected” to do - that’s still our secret! 

At the end of the day she will always be a good friend because she knows too much about me, I love her to bits and a girl can never have too many BEST FRIENDS!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Choose Thanks!

Can’t think of much to write today.  There are no funny anecdotes as I have been home all day feeling a bit sorry for myself as I have a cold and can’t stray far from a box of tissues.

I was supposed to be going out with friends to the Knit and Stitch Show but as I had loads to do, as I was feeling off colour and didn’t want to share my germs I decided to give it a miss.  Also I reasoned I would only buy more craft paraphernalia that I haven’t got time to use.   There are too many half-finished knitting and sewing projects in the house already.  There is a cupboard I daren’t open for fear of the avalanche of wool that will topple out.  I have an abundance of card, beads, sequins, buttons and fabric too yet still I crave more.

Why do we complain when we have so much?  We have too much really and it’s easy to take things for granted. 
Today is Thanksgiving in the U.S.A. so maybe I should just write a list of all there is to be thankful for today, my unplanned and unspectacular day at home

  • Driving back from dropping the boys off at school there was a fantastic silver lining edging the cloud straight ahead of me

  • The decorator came round and finished painting the last doorstep

  • Then builder turned up and re-pointed the crack in the back wall

  • Got the lawnmower/tractor started and together with older son we swept the leaves – YET AGAIN

  • I had a sneaky hour off from doing nothing much in particular and managed to catch up watching the Military Wives Choir – superb

  • I got to the bottom of the ironing pile before breakfast – trying to put waking up early to good use

  • Had an email reminding me about the “getting your work published day”  I am attending on Saturday, networking lunch provided - can’t wait to get out there and mingle

  • Printed slips with blog and contact details to hand out to important people on Saturday

  • Literally just put the phone down after a fabulously giggly phone conversation with my best friend

  • A friend of my mother-in-law’s in his eighties died in the early hours of this morning, he’d been ill for some time and now I am thankful he doesn’t have to suffer

Being thankful isn’t always simple.  It’s a choice we have to make.  There is a negative side to most things on the list above and I have plenty to be sad about.  I am wrapped in Andrew’s jumper today and I had a little weep today because he is no longer by my side.

Some days are very tough but choosing to count your blessings can help make some steps just that bit easier.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Girl Seeks Jedi

It’s Wednesday again and the day my cleaner comes.  After last week’s strenuous gravel shovelling I decided we should do something less demanding.  We tackled the playroom.  Rearranging furniture and chucking out the ever increasing clutter together before she did the hoovering.

It is my grand plan that WHEN I sell the house and finally move the only thing left in my house will be the stuff we actually NEED – yes I can hear you all laughing, especially those of you who know me and my family’s hoarding habits.

My cleaner is great at getting me to throw things out.  I’m even getting the hang of it now and make a lot of my own decisions on what’s going for good!

However as with tidying anything belonging to the boys it is imperative you don’t disturb the vitally important stuff.  With this in mind I carefully picked up the most recent Lego creation of a temple complete with trap door, very Indiana Jones, and placed it on a chair.  I thought I had retrieved all the Lego Star Wars characters that went with it but alas I was mistaken.

There was uproar when youngest son got home.

“Where’s Shaak Ti?”

“What’s that?”

“Not what!  She’s a Jedi!”

“She must be in the Lego box.” 

There was a time when ALL the Lego was sorted into neatly labelled boxes.  Now there is a box, or maybe three or four with Lego waiting to be correctly identified and put away.

“It’s OK I’ll find it!”  I declared, I couldn’t cope with full scale mutiny, it was the easy option.  “What does it look like?”

“SHE looks like this.”  He produced the box with an unlikely looking character with blue and white stripy hair.

Not an original character.  I can easily identify Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.

Youngest son knows most things about Star Wars and enlightened me by saying she was a character who only appeared in a deleted scene of episode 3.  He thinks it’s pretty shocking that someone had to get dressed up and made up for the part only to end up removed altogether.

I found her in the box of assorted Lego and youngest son was delighted at the reunion.  She is a rare and therefore special Jedi, if not to the whole world at least to one happy eleven year old.

Lots of people I know are down at the moment, feeling left out, unimportant, almost deleted.  I blame the change in the weather and the dark nights.

Just remember sometimes it isn’t the popular characters who are most cherished but the unique and quirky ones.  And it’s shocking when they get overlooked!