Thursday, 8 December 2011

Hello & Goodbye

So yes, I am still alive :-)

I've been putting this 'final post' off for ages, as it feels a bit sad, but I think the time has come.

I did think I would carry on blogging here as EE had become so much a part of life for me, I thought it would just evolve along with the changes in our lifestyle. But its not really working like that.

Our lives have changed so completely over the last 6 months or so, and things are going really, really well for both of us. I've mentioned before about how A isn't so comfortable with me writing so much about her now, and I would always respect that. Something I hadn't foreseen is the way I feel less comfortable about writing about the more personal stuff going on in my world now too. There's some very exciting prospects ahead, but this doesn't feel like the right arena to share it in. Sorry to be so obscure!

So this is just a last 'ta ta' to anyone still checking in here - I'm going to leave the blog open as the old HE stuff may be of interest to someone who comes across it via the blogrings etc - but I wont be posting any more.

So cheers m'dears - its been lovely ;-)

Monday, 24 October 2011

Self indulgent insomniac ramblings

I went to bed before 11. Its now ten to 1, and as I'm no closer to sleep than I was an hour ago, in fact I feel more awake if anything, I thought I'd scribble some notes for a blog post.

So what's going on in my head at this hour? I have to admit that just now its mostly work-related. Not surprising I suppose, as its all still fairly new, but this new (part-time!!) job does seem to have taken over my entire life. I'm assuming the work-life balance bit will level out soon?

These past 4 weeks have been extremely stressful. Not necessarily in a bad way - I'm sure its the same for most people going into a new work environment. I just want so much for the newbie stage to be over. I still feel slightly nervous every time I go in, and I'm a bit sick of that.

Its true - I do 'worry too much', as I've often been told throughout my life. According to some I also 'think too much' (?) So what, exactly, am I worrying about:
Am I up to the job?
Am I going to get something spectacularly and ridiculously wrong?
Do my colleagues like me?
And seemingly the biggest one:
Do they think I'm stupid?

This last one is a concern that plagues me in most situations. I know I'm not stupid, but I'm acutely aware that I'm really not very articulate, verbally anyway. And I think that I can easily come across as a bit thick because of my lack of repartee.
I wish this didn't bother me so much, and that I could say "I don't care what people think of me!" and mean it - but it does matter to me, especially when its people I'm dealing with on a daily basis.

I have literally no idea what other people make of me, I find it very difficult to read people in that way. All I have to go on is my own self image, which is not very healthy or kind, so thats a bit depressing.
At work I've been making a huge effort to be more friendly and smile more, but then I wonder if I just look like a big grinning idiot!?
Sometimes I long to know how others see me, but what if its even worse than I imagine? maybe I'm better off in ignorance.
I could drive myself mad with all this stuff.

So. I have developed a plan of action (of sorts). I have made the decision to go ahead and join the local gym. I think I can just about afford that luxury for myself. And I will seriously throw myself back into a proper training regime. I would love to get back to some running too, but will see how it goes on the treadmill for a while, taking it very slowly. I still don't trust these shins.
I know I feel better about myself when I feel fitter and stronger. Also, I'll be better equipped to beat up anyone who says I'm stupid.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Postman Lady

I was delivering a parcel the other day - a small child answered the door then shouted: "Mum, its the postman lady!"

I quite like that title :-)

The job is still going very well. I finally had the driving assessment (the first one was cancelled) - very nerve-wracking! But the assessor said I was safe to drive, which is just as well because thats the main part of the job. I have to say, hearing the list of all the things I did wrong did knock my confidence a bit, and I was feeling quite nervous about driving the van the next day. But its probably good to be aware of things I need to address.
I'm definitely liking working in a male dominated environment ;-) There's quite a good-natured vibe about the place, with a fair bit of piss-taking and wind ups. I'm sure it will take me a while to suss it all out and navigate the workplace politics, but for the moment I'm just enjoying the uncomplicated blokeyness of it all.

I'm still struggling a little with getting into the new work routine, especially with A being on school holiday. She's been off here, there and everywhere with various friends. She has been very good about keeping in touch, being home on time and doing bits of housework I've asked her to do. She's really showing how mature she's become, and has been very supportive to her working Mum.

I feel I'm going to be writing less and less about A. There's plenty going on with her (mostly good, some slightly worrying - from a protective Mum point of view!) but it just doesn't seem right to be writing about her so much any more. I've always checked with her that she's ok with what I'm writing, but even that seems like a bit of an intrusion these days.
I've had to really consciously 'let go' in lots of ways over the last few months. One of the hard things about being a single parent is not being able to discuss and debate changes - how much more freedom do I give her? I suppose none of us really know if we're getting it right. I'm thankful for the fact that we still get on well, still laugh together, and she still tells me stuff. I am hugely proud of her, did I ever mention that?

So, with A more than ever off doing her own thing, its made me think about all the new freedom I now have. What could I get up to? Climb more mountains...write a novel...get a boyfriend...learn to surf...
More suggestions anyone??

Monday, 3 October 2011

Back on the (health) wagon

I was lying on the sofa yesterday feeling a bit like a whale, and decided "enough of this nonsense". I haven't actually put on any weight, but my body just feels different: lazy and sluggish. I've got into that cycle of eating junk - craving junk - eating more junk. Its ridiculous because I know a fair bit about nutrition and health, I have no excuses.

So - a new start!
I have been meal planning :-) I had intended to start doing this a while back and never got around to it. The hours of my new job have forced the issue somewhat - getting home at 6.30pm means I don't have a lot of time to cook, so I need to prepare meals in advance. Planning the week's dinners on a Sunday, including when to cook them, makes it all feel much more organised and less stressful. I'm hoping it will work out more economical too as I'll just do one shop for the week.
I made a huge pan of lentil hotpot today - one evening meal for both of us (with rice), plus 3 lunches for me, and possibly a couple of portions for the freezer. I'm also going to make a big veggie lasagne for later in the week, most of which I can freeze in portions. There's one night a week when A goes out to Guides at 7pm, so she'll have to do her own dinner, it will be good to have some nutritious meals in the freezer that she can just bung in the oven. She is capable of cooking herself something reasonable, but what with homework and her social life, she might not manage it every week!

I've also been looking for local fitness classes, as getting to the gym and classes I used to do just doesn't work with my new schedule. So far I've found a kettlercise class one morning a week (I'm not entirely sure what kettlercise is - apparently it doesn't involve making cups of tea, which is a shame). And I'm thinking about joining the local sports club. I always thought it was too expensive, but it probably works out just as much to do what I was previously doing - travelling to a 'pay as you use' gym. It just felt cheaper as it was a little at a time.

The new job is going very well, I think I'm going to like being a postie :-)
There are two parts to the job - delivering parcels, then collection from the post boxes. The guys have all been very helpful (I am the only girl postie) although I haven't met that many of them as most have finished by the time I start. I have the driving assessment tomorrow, which I'm slightly nervous about as I'm not used to driving a van, but hopefully I'll do ok.

In other news - I made some chutney!!

It needs to mature for about a month, so I've no idea if its any good - I'll let you know.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Pink Drink

I finally got round to starting my blackcurrant vodka - pretty eh? I just need to remember to shake it every day. It will be a little Christmas treat, eventually :-)

There have been sleepovers here the last two weekends - two of A's mates from school stayed last weekend and a different one this weekend. There was also an ice-skating disco on Friday. So the social whirl that is A's life continues. I wont pretend I can keep up with it all. She's off out again today, but she was very good about fitting in her homework once her friend left yesterday :-)

So where are we with my exercise regime??? I have to admit that for the last couple of weeks I have been utterly slothful. Also, fairly gluttonous. And probably guilty of all the other deadly sins somewhere along the way.
I really don't know where my motivation has gone. I know that I felt better when I was exercising, and I enjoyed it, but somehow all I want to do at the moment is lie around eating crisps. And the longer this goes on the harder it is to start again. It would be so much easier if I could afford a big scary personal trainer to come round and shout at me every morning. But I cant, so I'll have to find another way of getting back on track.

I had a meeting with my new manager on Friday, along with another new starter (this is good - I will know someone at the induction on Tuesday!). All seems very positive, and I'm cautiously looking forward to starting work next Wednesday. Actually, I'm feeling really excited about it, as well as slightly terrified. Meeting new workmates is always scary (I'm assuming thats not just me?) but I'll be spending a fair amount of time out and about on my own - once I've done enough training - so not too much time trapped with colleagues! The fact that its a mainly male work environment makes it easier too, not sure why that should be? I suppose I have this notion that blokes don't expect you to share quite as much about yourself as women do, I may be wrong.
Anyway, I will post again once I've started and tell all!!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Non-Holiday

This is not a happy post.

The trip to Italy, it appears, was doomed. First we had to suddenly cancel the second week we had planned. Then - the day before we left - I injured my back, so the 3 and a half hours on a coach down to Edinburgh were not too much fun. Then, just as we'd checked in at the Travel Lodge for a good nights rest before the early morning flight to Pisa, Nonno received a text telling us our flight had been cancelled and we should look at the website. A general strike had been announced in Italy, and this included baggage handlers at Pisa airport.
After much confusion and a trip to the airport to try and speak to someone from Ryanair (HA!) we discovered (from the website) that all flights to Pisa for the next few days were fully booked, so the option we were given to 're-book on the next available flight' was pretty useless.
So the next day, feeling a bit shell-shocked, we got back on the Inverness bus and came home :-(

A was keen to get straight back to school, so she ended up only missing 2 days. She's been kept busy with school-life and friends, which is good. I, however, have been alternately moping about feeling sorry for myself, and trying to force myself to do 'fun things' to take my mind off the fact that I SHOULD BE IN ITALY!!! I wont even go into the stress I've experienced dealing with airlines and insurance companies - trying to claim a little back of the huge amount of money I've lost on this non-holiday. And breathe...

I did receive this through the post though:

a wonderfully thoughtful gift of commiseration from a lovely friend. It certainly made me smile :-)

Friday, 2 September 2011

Postwoman K

This will be me in a few weeks time:

Minus the cat, I hope (I'm allergic).

Yes - I got the job!!!! Just got to wait for all the police checks etc to go through, then I will get my starting date :D
I'm so happy and relieved about this, I cant believe I've managed to get a job (and one that I want!) so quickly. I'm also really pleased I didn't get the supermarket job now - the postie one is much better money, and a definite shift pattern (I've heard that the supermarket are pressuring people to take on lots of extra hours). And with A settling in to school life so well, the pessimist that I am keeps questioning - surely it cant be this easy?? 3 months ago we were quite happily plodding along with our HE life, I had an awareness that I needed to get more money coming in and was struggling to work out how to do that with A at home all the time, but things were ok. Now things are soooooo different. Its all a bit mad really.

There are some strange and puzzling things about school. Like the coat thing. Apparently "nobody wears a coat to school". Apparently, this would be the height of uncoolness. Even when its pissing with rain. I've had to bite my tongue a bit on this, after all - if she wants to sit in damp clothes all day I suppose thats her business. My, those classrooms must smell nice on rainy days!
I'm just picturing her in the depths of winter, trudging through the snow, shivering and turning blue, because: WEARING A COAT IS JUST NOT COOL MUM!!!!!!
She's off to a writing workshop today - part of our town's book and arts festival, she won her place by writing a cinquain. Only one pupil from each class got a place, so she did really well. She gets the morning off school and will spend the time with professional writer Kenneth Steven. Cant wait to hear how she got on.
And then tonight, in another part of the festival, she will be reading out some of her own pieces, along with others from her writing group. The group she's in is only small, but it grew out of a much larger adults writing group, so they are all giving an evening of readings for the festival.

This weekend will be spent packing and organising for our holiday, then on Monday we are off to Italy!! I'm so excited :-) I will bore you to death with photos when we get back ;-)

Friday, 26 August 2011

Car boot finds, Spooky Men, interviews....

Hey, look what I found at a car boot sale last Sunday:

yes - this is the type of find that excites me :D

And I know they are only piddly little ones, but they are enough for me, for now. A much better way to incorporate weights into my circuits than tins of beans/bottles of water. Although it has to be said this week has been a bit lax in terms of exercise, for various reasons. Such is life - I will be back on it next week!

Monday night was a very good night - we went to see The Spooky Men's Chorale, haven't laughed so much in ages. Lots of big men, some with big beards, singing Georgian choral inspired songs with titles such as "Don't stand between a man and his tool". Fantastic voices, and so, so funny. If you ever get the chance - GO AND SEE THEM!!!

Laughter was just what I needed as I had the interview looming on Tuesday morning. I get very nervous about interviews, and had been carrying around this feeling of dread all week before it. It actually went very well, as far as I could tell. I'm hopeful, but trying not to bank on getting it - there were 3 other candidates. I've learnt from my experience with the supermarket, where they were taking on loads of staff and I was sure I would get something...nope.

It would suit me quite well though, its afternoons so I would be at home in the mornings for A (although not when she gets home from school), and it would mostly be driving around in a little red van delivering parcels. Its just a matter of waiting to hear now, the interviewer did say it can take a while for the decision to be made.

After the interview I had some news about our holiday - unfortunately we will have to cut it short :-( Due to circumstances beyond my control we cant have our second week over near Venice. I'm gutted, and considerably out of pocket with having to change flights etc, but its not something any of us could have foreseen, so I'm just trying to focus on us having a brilliant time with A's Nonno and Nonna in La Spezia and Pisa for the first week.

As for school, all is well :-) A is managing the early mornings remarkably well, and seems to be enjoying all aspects of school life. She did have to have a maths test, which she was quite worried about. Maths is the only subject that is streamed straight away, and A had been put into the bottom group to start with as they had no primary school record to judge her on - hence the test. She came home after the test saying that she didn't think she had answered anything right, and was resigned (and actually fairly content) to staying in the bottom group. I wasn't sure what to think, I know she has far more ability than she realises, but I also know how panicky she gets about tests, and thought she might have done really badly through sheer terror! The following day she announced she'd been moved up to the middle group. I hope this gives her a bit of a boost and makes her realise that she's not "rubbish" (her words, not mine!) at maths.

Thursday, 18 August 2011


So here is the 'child in school uniform' photo, along with her very cool Boosh school bag. I couldn't persuade her to stand to attention, so lounging on the couch will have to do.

And we now have a drawer marked 'school stuff'
how bizarre.

A seems to have taken to school extremely well, and is clearly enjoying the social side of it! I suppose its a bit early to say too much, but it really feels right for her. I've had a few pangs of sadness here at home thinking about the sort of things we'd be doing if we were still HEing, but mostly I've just felt happy at her obvious happiness. I'm so glad she was able to make that decision so clearly and confidently.

A's week in Edinburgh at the drama course was a fantastic success, she got so much out of it. The end of week performance for parents was just incredible, I was seriously impressed (and I've seen a fair few performances over the years with A's love of drama), and very very proud :-)

She was totally exhausted afterwards, as their working days had been 9am to 9pm, but she soon recovered and is adamant she's going back next year. I've told her we'll need to start saving now!

I had some good news yesterday - I have an interview next week for the postwoman job. Thats my cue to go into panic mode of course, but its good to know that there's at least a possibility of work ahead.

I went out for a little run yesterday. Yay! First time in weeks. I just took things very gently, didn't time myself, didn't even make a decision on how far I'd go. I went with the attitude 'I'll see how it goes'. It actually went very well, not in terms of speed and distance, but I felt pretty good, shins feel ok - double yay!! I'd better not get too excited, we'll see how it goes next time...

Thursday, 11 August 2011


Thats kind of where my head is at currently.

Took A down to Edinburgh on Monday and left her there. Thats all going swimmingly - apparently she is "havin a blast!" (according to her last text message). She was very nervous, and I felt quite emotional leaving her, but sort of knew she'd be fine.

I'm a bit all over the place really, enjoying having some space, but struggling with applying for jobs. Not having had a 'proper' job (ie the sort of job you formally apply for) for years, my sense of what I'm capable of and general self worth is very low. When it comes to selling yourself via a CV this is quite a bad thing. My initial reaction to any job description, even the really menial jobs, is 'I couldn't do that' or 'I wouldn't cope with that'. Clearly this needs to change.

My Mum has been encouraging me to go for a local job that I really don't believe I have the ability for. The hours and location are perfect, but I have no experience of the role and it would involve managing a team of voluteers. Hmmm, not exactly well known for my 'people skills'! Its not that I don't get on with people, but a lot of the time I just don't 'get' people - they puzzle me, and I think that might be a disadvantage.

My ideal job would be working completely alone. I remember in my first job when I was 19 - as a junior research technician - I used to get to do some photographic work for medical journals, so sometimes had whole days alone in the dark room. I loved that. My boss used to worry and say 'we can get someone else to do some of it to give you a break', but I was happy in there.
This is why I love my self employed work, its all done from home. Just a shame I don't make enough money from it!!!

Oh well, just have to keep on looking. I'm not sure whether I'll apply for the local job, but will get a CV and covering letter together today, and talk it over with my friend who I'm seeing later. I'm torn between throwing myself in and seeing what happens, or holding back and trusting my instinct that it wouldn't suit me. Mind you I have that instinctive feeling about most things, so wouldn't do anything at all if I trusted that all the time!

So after all that bleeuuurgh, here is a nice picture:

I should point out it is not of me. I have no idea how or why it got on to my computer, must have been something the girl was doing, but it gave me a happy feeling :-)

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


I'm in the process of changing a few things on this blog, to reflect the changes going on around here. Hence the new profile description and blog header pic. Hope you like the new look :-)

I think I'm over my little strop about running now. Still haven't been back out, but I will, and it will be sloooow and frustrating building back up, but I will deal with it.
I have managed to get back to the gym a couple of times, and have been slowly increasing the repeats with my circuits (which I do at home most mornings). And looking in the mirror a few days ago I noticed something - my body is definitely changing. I've lost over half a stone in the last couple of months, and I now have - gasp! - a tiny bit of muscular definition on my midriff. I'm liking this. Who cares if I'm the only one likely to see it - these are real results.

What I want to focus on now is upper body strength. I'm still doing girly, poncey box press-ups and that pisses me off. And my arms could do with being a bit more toned. I'd like to get myself some weights to use at home, so am on the lookout for some cheap second hand ones.

On the job front: I got a 'no' from the supermarket. I could have got quite down about this, as I really thought I had a good chance, but after a few minutes of thinking "Waaah!! Why don't they want me??" I decided that was pointless and it has to be a positive thing. Maybe I would have hated it, maybe something better lies ahead, who knows. At least I'm not still waiting for an answer.

My brother and his family are up here on holiday just now, so we're spending lots of time with them: bowling; skating; barbequeing; and generally hanging out :-)

Next Monday we'll be heading for Edinburgh, where I will be leaving A for her week-long drama course. I think we're both a bit nervous about this, but I have a feeling it will be - as A would say - 'epic'.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Lazy Summer

We waved off E last Friday, and had a nice time catching up with some other friends, but have been having a very lazy time generally.
I still feel a bit caught in that static state where I'm waiting for something to happen. I'm finding it very hard to motivate myself to do anything apart from the basic stuff: exercise; cooking; cleaning. Its all pretty mindless though, and I've been unable to focus on any writing. I did, however, apply for another job - postwoman - so we'll see if anything comes of that.

I've been here before and I know I just need to force myself out of it. Once I make myself get into a new, healthier rhythm I'll feel much better. A will be going down to Edinburgh for a week soon, for her drama skills course, and I think having that week on my own will push me into changing things.

I do find cooking nutritious food really therapeutic, even if its not always appreciated by my daughter, who would rather eat chips :-/

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Disappearing girls, and the sorry shin saga continues...

A's friend 'E' arrived on Friday :-)
We met her at the train station, then I took the two girls, along with another of A's friends to see the new Harry Potter film, which we all enjoyed.

This is the cake A made as a welcome for E

The girls seem to be having a great time, and as the week goes on I'm seeing less and less of them. The weather was good for a couple of days, so off they went on the bikes down to the beach, or the park. Its not so nice now, but they still seem keen to get out of the house. They reappear every so often for an outfit change (!) then they're off again. I'm really pleased, particularly that they're not spending much time on the computer. I do feel a bit redundant though!

These two have known each other since they were 4, but haven't seen much of each other since E moved away a few years back - its so lovely to see that their friendship has remained strong despite the time and distance apart. Its also interesting to see them together as almost-teens, all my memories of them together (and they used to spend LOTS of time together, as E's Mum is a great friend of mine) are of little girls playing. They don't 'play' any more. They both seem much older than they are, although there is the odd hint of the little girls they used to be :-)

This is the state of the bedroom at the moment

I have been trying to use the time and space they have given me to do something constructive, ie some clearing out. Yesterday I decided to start on the HE 'stuff' - all the 'evidence' I've kept of A's education, waiting for the day when someone wants to check up on us. Tempting as it was to chuck the lot, there are far too many wonderful memories amongst it all, so I went through it all and filed a lot of it away to keep. Quite an emotional afternoon!

Some of the treasures I found:

  • lots of amazing art work - I have a whole box of sketches and paintings

  • sheets and sheets of maths work - many with "I hate maths" scrawled somewhere on the page!

  • a flow chart entitled 'Why its not my fault' - I want to frame this, such a brilliant example of A's creative logic

  • the script of a comedy sketch we wrote together - brought back memories of trying to record it, we had to do loads of takes as we were laughing so much

  • many poems and stories - some about herself and her early childhood which were quite sad, amazing insight into very complicated adult situations

  • A's hilarious approach to writing up science experiments

  • several home-made magazines, focusing on popular culture/fashion/make-up (or rather "mack-up")

I'm so aware that a lot of the child-like aspects of A's character are disappearing now, or transforming, and I feel going to school will just push her that bit further down that road. They are all struggling so hard to be more grown up. Its inevitable, and in some ways very positive as she's becoming a lovely young woman rather than a lovely child (not biased at all ;-)) but for a parent it does evoke mournful feelings too.

So, shins.
Went for my second excruciating session with the sports physio today. She thinks I might benefit from special insoles for my trainers, apparently I may have a slight pronation that wasn't picked up when I went for my shoe fitting. I'm feeling more and more despondent about the whole thing. Its costing me money and causing me pain. I went for a very gentle, very short run this morning, and while my shins weren't too bad I feel like I'm back to square one with my fitness level and stamina. I just ran round a field a couple of times (alternate run-walking) and I felt like I was going to die. Is it worth it I am asking myself?! Somewhere in my memory is that great feeling I got from a good run when I felt I was progressing, I need to find that.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Still waiting...

No news yet about the job, and its doing my head in slightly. I'm finding it very hard to focus on other things and am trying not to plan too much in case I get called in for the induction days.

So, what have I managed to get done?

The dreaded tax return

Harvesting of blackcurrants

(they are now waiting in the freezer to be transformed into blackcurrant vodka!)

Creation of 'chubby bunny'

(a present for a nearly due baby)

I also managed an outing to the pub (hooray!) while A was on a sleepover on Friday night.

Other than that we seem to have been meandering along doing very little, a bit of maths to keep on top of things for A, but lots of late nights and late mornings. A is loving it and keeps reminding me that this is her summer holiday because she is now a 'school kid'. I'm feeling a bit weird about it. I don't like the feeling of not achieving anything, that constant feeling of 'I should be doing something...' I don't seem able to move ahead until I know about the job.

At the end of this week we have a visitor arriving - A's friend from Glespin is coming to stay for a week - unbelievable excitedness from both girls :-) I think they have been planning and scheming on facebook - I wonder what I'm in for!!

Friday, 1 July 2011

More drama, sore shins, and zombie cupcakes!

Thats drama as in performances - not real life ;-)

Tuesday was end of term for A's Inverness drama class, with a 15 min show for parents. I really enjoyed this one - the humour was quite dark, with some quirky little touches. But A has decided not to go back after the summer. She's enjoyed the class in some ways, but I think she feels a bit old for it - its for 9 -12 yr olds, and is mostly 9 and 10 yr olds. The other drama group she's in is for 12 - 16 yr olds and she fits in much more easily and happily there. She did ask if she could go up to the older group but was told she'd have to wait until she's 13, so that means 2 more terms in the younger group.
On Wednesday we went to see one of our HE friends perform with her musical theatre group, which was lots of fun. I was amazed at how tight the performances were, the kids must have worked really hard.
And on Thursday A went to see a drama show at the school she'll be going to, which some of her friends were in. She said she enjoyed it and may join that group (which would make up for leaving the Inverness group!)

I didn't go to the show at the school, as it was my first night at the running club. There was a woman I know in the beginners group, which made it easier as we ran together. I really enjoyed running with a group, more than I thought I would. It was great having someone else to time keep, and I felt it was just the right level for me. BUT - my shins started hurting again after the run, and are feeling really sore today - AAAARRGGH!!! This is SO frustrating! This is what happened before - just when I started getting somewhere and increasing my running times the shins flared up. I'm feeling very despondent about it, as all I want to do is get out there and RUN! But all the advice about shin splints says "stop running" :-( I'm thinking about going to see a sports physio I know, maybe she will be able to help.

I've not heard about the job yet. I phoned to check and apparently there is a backlog, so I just have to be patient...

Thought I should put some photos in to brighten up this post, so here you go:

I'm very pleased with how my fruit is coming on, although I did chase a blackbird away from my blackcurrants earlier, so will have to pick them soon I think!

We had a shopping trip today, and along with all the school-related items I bought (this school malarky is proving expensive!!) we found this wonderful book - combining my love of cake and horror - perfect :D It contains such marvels as:

Shattered Glass

Blood-stained Brains

And my personal favourite -

Bleeding Hearts


Sunday, 26 June 2011

Glad that week's over

Not that anything went badly, just quite stressful.

A had her induction days on Tuesday and Wednesday, with a disco (and parents meeting) on the Tuesday night. She was really nervous, but there were quite a few friendly faces around - kids she knows who are already in the school. I think the size of the place, and amount of people, was a bit intimidating for her, but she seems to have enjoyed the lessons she had - apart from maths, why am I not surprised?? She particularly liked science, it sounds like the science teacher is going to be a favourite.
She had a great time at the disco, and appears to have made quite a few new friends amongst her soon-to-be classmates :-)
So now we just need to buy her uniform - sorry, I mean 'dress code', they don't call it uniform. And a school bag. And probably lots of things to put in the school bag!

I still feel like things are moving far too quickly, but I have the summer to try and adjust to it all. Its a weird state of mind I'm in, I'm not upset or sad about it, A's clarity about going to school makes me feel that this is what is meant to be. I think I feel a bit lost in it - life is taking its own course without consulting me. On one hand I'm pretty confident that things will work out well for A, but on the other - we've been HEing for 3 years now, and suddenly I've got to put all that aside.

Hopefully I'll get the job I went for and that will keep me busy! I had the interview on Wednesday, and although I knew it wasn't going to be an intimidating 'panel' job (I was told there would be a maths test, DVD test, then a one-to-one 'chat') I couldn't help getting horrendously nervous about it. Anyway, it all went very well, and I should hear at the beginning of the week whether I've got a position or not.

On Thursday night there was the performance of A's drama group, where she played the part of a high school emo. It was a fantastic show, the kids all worked really hard - co-writing and developing the play. They all did really well and have obviously formed a strong little team, there were surprise outstanding performances from some, and the play gave me a much-needed good laugh :D

I've been keeping up with my fitness training - have discovered that I was running too fast!! I was trying to work out why I can run for 15 mins on the treadmill no problem, but struggle after about 1 min outside!? Even allowing for the environmental differences (wind, temperature, bumpy path) thats quite a discrepancy. I suppose its obvious really, but its taken me this long to realise the other difference is pace - of course on the treadmill its totally regulated. When I'm out running I always feel like I'm running really slowly, but its difficult to judge, and by consciously slowing my pace just a little everything becomes so much easier.
The other change I've made is going out later in the morning. I used get up early and get out by about 7am. Now, I'm not particularly a 'morning person', so this was a great struggle, but I did it because nobody is around at that time to see me all red and sweaty and out of breath. But it did bother me a bit that I was going out before breakfast, and I'm not sure that was good for me - pushing myself energetically with no fuel in me. So I decided - to hell with the vanity - I'll get up and have breakfast by about 8, and get out running by about 9.30. That way at least I wont frighten small children as they'll be in school by then!
The result - running feels much more pleasant :-)
I'm going to the running group on Thursday for the first time, will let you know how it goes.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Guess What?

A wants to go to school.

She came to this decision one week ago, and I am still getting my head around it.

It all came out of the news that one of her HE friends is going into S1 after the summer. This made me think about the fact that this is the last chance for A to go in to secondary school as a first year, so we discussed this. As we talked it became clear that she was quite excited about the idea, and she immediately said she wanted to go back to school 'at some point'. I had to say that if that was the case then now was probably the time to do it, as going in with a new intake (rather than being the new kid going in to an established group) would be easier.

It amazes me how quickly she became enthusiastic about going to school, she's been on facebook talking to friends who are at school, and one girl in particular has been very supportive, she's a few years older so wont be in her year but will walk in with her and keep an eye out for her.

So, its been a bit of a mad week! I've enrolled her and she has two induction days (with all the P7s) next week. Its all happened so quickly that I don't feel I've had time to catch my breath. Our lives are going to change so drastically, it is slightly scary, but I have a real sense of this being 'right'. Even though there are lots of things about school I have difficulty with, and I have loved our 3 years of HE, no one way is perfect. I can completely see why she wants to go to school - I have always worried about the social side of things, and I think this is the main issue for A. She has lots of friends, and she's very sociable, but she has a real need to spend more time with her peers.

She is very nervous, but I can see the excitement too, and its really important that this is her decision, its something she has to do. She's most worried about maths, and they get streamed immediately for maths, so she may have to do some kind of assessment, which she wont be happy about, but its one of the things she'll have to get used to I suppose.

I'm aware that A going to school will make this blog kind of redundant :-( but I think I'll leave it up, even just for myself as a record of what we did.

Other news - I have a job interview! Its just for a part time supermarket job, but would bring in a regular income, which would be very useful! I plan to carry on writing as well, seeing as I'll apparently have lots of time on my hands by the middle of August.

Sunday, 12 June 2011


That totally deserves capitals!

So, we did it - A, me, my Mum, and A's Nonno set off yesterday morning at 8am from Inverness, and started the climb at 10am. We were passed by loads of army guys running (yes - running!) the mountain, but there were also lots of other walkers.
We couldn't have been luckier with the weather: very little wind; cloud above the summit all day; and although thundery showers were forecast, only a few spots of rain. There was snow in the air at the summit, but just a few little flakes, and we didn't care, in fact it was quite pleasant :-)

A says it is the hardest thing she has ever done, but she coped with the sore feet and aching legs and kept on going. I am immensely proud of her.
I found it really hard going, as I expected, but it was a great experience. I definitely want to do it again (A doesn't!).
The grandparents were amazing - Nonno just sped off ahead of us all, I don't think he would have stopped for breaks at all if we hadn't made him! My Mum struggled a bit, particularly on the way down (which is murder on the knees), but what an achievement!

The best thing for me was the absolute beauty surrounding us (no, I don't mean the running guys, although they looked pretty good too). I took about 70 photos, and it was very difficult to decide which ones to put on here, but I didn't want to bore you too much! So here are 10 of them.

Water break

A resting in a patch of snow

A at the summit!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Beach Hike

Prepare yourself for some beauuuuutiful pictures :-)

We set off this morning and did a few miles westwards along the beach. Had a really good laugh along the way, discussions ranging from designing our ideal house, surviving a zombie attack, general self defence, strategies for our Ben Nevis climb, how weird our accents are (apparently when I say 'house' it sounds like 'arse', which caused a great deal of hilarity, and although A was born and has always lived in Scotland she has no trace of a Scottish accent). We also played various word games, and generally monkeyed about.

Blue skies when we set off

Sky getting greyer

View across the Moray Firth


Tree corpse

Dramatic sky on the way back

We stopped at a little cafe by the harbour for lunch, where I had the most delicious lentil soup.

Later on we had writing group at our house, I always get really nervous about leading the group, but all went well (I think!) And this evening A cooked tea for us (veggie sausage sandwiches and salad - pretty good) and (after a small amount of prompting) she has done the washing up! What a star :-)

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Best pizzas ever

We had a Saturday night pizza-making session - very tasty indeed :-)

Pre oven

Post oven

And we scoffed the lot while watching Dr Who. Happiness.

I forgot to mention last time - our Ben Nevis climb had to be rescheduled (due to a forecast of gales and blizzards!!!!) so we now plan to do it next Saturday (11th June). Will let you know how we get on.

The insomnia continued into the earlier part of last week, so its all a bit of a blur. A got on with bits and pieces, and all the usual clubs/classes, I was in the background trying not to fall asleep! I'm feeling a bit better about things now, but job hunting has to become a priority I think.

With the prospect of employment, and less time around for A, I'm trying to prepare her and encourage her to do more self-directed work. I've just signed her up for a K3 science course, I'm thinking it will give her a taste of science as an academic discipline (we've done quite a lot of 'sciencey' stuff, but nothing structured) so she can see how she gets on and decide whether she wants to take it further. So with that, and her essay-writing course, and the new maths website we're signing up to, as well as all the unstructured stuff she's doing, I feel we have quite a lot covered! And - most importantly - she seems to be quite up for it all.

I got out running a couple of times this week. A bit disappointing this morning - I thought I could increase my running time a bit, but soon discovered this was not going to happen (really thought I was going to collapse in a sweaty heap). After a few minutes walking I went back to 1min run/1min walk, which was fine, seems to be my level at the moment. Really hate this newbie stage, although of course its necessary to achieve anything. I feel the same in the body pump class, because as much as I love it, I have the tiniest weights while everyone else has got big heavy weights. And I still struggle with some of the exercises. The instructor keeps saying to us "if its getting too much just take some of your weights off", but if I did that I'd just be lifting the pole! I suppose I have to swallow my pride and focus on a future where I am running marathons (or my more realistic short term goal of getting round my 2 mile loop without stopping).

We're off for a hike tomorrow, along the beach, not sure if A's legs know what they're in for next Saturday ;-)

Monday, 30 May 2011

Fitness Freak

I feel the need to do a post about my fitness regime and how its been progressing. This is not related to HE, but its what is going on just now for me, and after Lucy over at Skedaddle! linked to me I feel I should write something about my new obsession with becoming a super-toned, zombie-fighting action babe.

This is all Lucy's fault. Well, actually I came across her blog just after I'd started going to the gym and eating healthily again, and she inspired me to take things a step further and really go for it, which is when I added running, circuits and resistance training to the plan.

I was really enjoying the running (surprisingly!) and had got up to alternate 4 mins running/1 min walking on my 2 mile river route (probably sounds a bit pathetic, but I was slowly increasing my running time) then I was hit with shin splints so had to slow things right down :-(
However, I am determined to get back to running, and am planning on joining a local runners group once I feel a bit more confident.

I'm also enjoying the regular (2-3 times a week) gym visits, especially as A now comes with me sometimes. And on Friday I discovered something truly wonderful - a body pump class. An hour of lifting weights to very loud music, while a lovely (and slightly camp) instructor shouts at us, and occasionally bursts into song along with whatever track is playing. I don't know how he manages it, but he rolls the barbell up and down his body so suggestively its almost obscene. I love this class soooo much.
I paid for this the following day though - I was ill all last week (nasty cold) and an hour in the gym and then the class was a bit too much, as on Saturday I was wrecked. I got so miserable and grumpy that A sent me back to bed.

I'm really glad I have this to focus on as other aspects of my life seem to be imploding. Had an extremely stressful day yesterday (cant go into detail, but nothing to do with A) and got about 3 hours sleep last night. My confidence has taken a real knock recently, the self employment is feeling overwhelming and impossible. Basically I have just lost my bottle where that is concerned, so am now seriously looking for a crappy job to keep us going, one with hours that wont affect HE too much. I guess that means early morning cleaning then - oh joy!

On a brighter note - I have booked our flights for our holiday to Italy in September - cant wait! If I keep with Lucy's project (which I WILL - of course!) I may even pack a bikini ;-)

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Power cut

Due to the ferocious weather yesterday we had a power cut (luckily enough it happened just after I had cooked the dinner and switched the oven off). After a brief panic about not being able to get on facebook or watch Glee, A suggested we spend the evening sewing by candlelight (envisaging a long night with no electronic entertainment). So we gathered and lit a load of candles, and of course as soon as we'd done that the power came back on. We decided to keep the candles and do the sewing anyway :-)

A new 'baby monster' - the local craft shop sold a couple so I need to create a few more for them.

A made a bag out of my old jeans, just needs a strap now.

We haven't done much crafting lately, even my knitting has been neglected in the hecticness of life, so it was really good to get back to needles and thread. The evening also had the effect of renewing A's interest in making her own clothes, she found some nice, big pieces of material and is now trying to source patterns for a dress.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Hiking, Ben Nevis, and camping

That sounds all healthy and outdoorsy doesn't it?

You'll notice that I have a new camera :D A Canon PowerShot A 3100 - and very nice it is too.

So, on Sunday me, A, and Granny went off on a hike. Starting off at Rosemarkie beach:

we then cut back along the path, through the bluebells:

then off up into the Fairy Glen:

One of the waterfalls:

Beautiful views from the top:

We've been doing a fair bit of walking just lately, to prepare ourselves for our Ben Nevis Climb, which (if the weather is ok) will be happening next Sunday (29th).

We'd been thinking about it for a while, then A came up with the idea of getting people to sponsor her to get to the top - to raise money towards the Summer skills course she has a place on down in Edinburgh this August (a week-long residential drama workshop with YMT).

So it will be me, A, Granny, and Nonno - a bit of a family outing. Should be fun!

Ben Nevis - the highest moutain in the UK!

On Thursday we had a lovely home ed group outing - a tour of the theatre in Inverness (Eden Court). Got to catch up a wee bit with some friends, and the tour was really interesting, especially for A, who loves all things drama-related.

This evening I dropped A off for her weekend Guides camp. I don't do camping, so it will be a bit of a novelty for her I think. I'm sure she'll have a great time - they have lots of activities going on, and a campfire disco tomorrow night. She'll probably come home completely wrecked on Sunday (in a good way!)

I was planning on getting lots of work done, and having a night out tomorrow, but have come down with a cold and am feeling all achy and lethargic. Will have to see if the copious amount of vitamin C I'm taking kicks in - if the brain fog clears I might manage some work, if I'm not too snotty I might make it out for a couple of hours. There's always hope!!