Les Mis Trailer

Monday, 31 January 2011

February calling

So the first month of 2011 is behind us this evening, and the shortest month is coming after it. Always a busy one, lots of birthdays in it, including mine - yay! - and this time I will be spreading it out more than usual. I am thinking curry........wonder why I always think about a Balti whenever it is my birthday?? Does it have to do with birthdays past I wonder, when I used to have all my friends round for dinner.......probably, but I also just lurve Chicken Balti!!

Did you watch Countryfile last night? I wish I had a euro for every time they said "Penistone"!!! It was filmed in South Yorkshire, and featured Sheffield, Wentworth, Barnsley and good old Penistone which is where I used to live! It was great seeing the railway and the imposing viaduct which spans the valley and the park where me and the children used to have our picnics etc. I lived in Bridge Street so the railway bridge was just a short walk from our front door. I think I caught a glimpse of the street when they were moving up from the viaduct but it was great to see Silkstone Common and all those places I used to go.
So beautiful around that part of England, so hilly!!! And they said that Penistone was the coldest station in the whole of the UK - I can believe it!!! Brr! Brought back many happy memories anyway.

So today is another ordinary working day - housework that is. Tim has a nasty cold so is not going to college today, the cats are already ensconced in their daytime bed cuddling up to the radiator. I am getting geared up to do what I have got planned in my head. Really I want to do something more creative so perhaps I will listen more to my essential self over my social self, and that will win! Tim has asked for a valentine's card to be made, and I am thinking about what to do...............so I am being tempted towards that over ironing - well, the order of doing more than choosing one over the other............hmm.

Only 7 days til the Geldof Album gets released!!! I am so looking forward to that, getting lots of plays in England but NONE here!!!
Ok, time to move. Have a good day,
Sue xx

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Where do the days go?

It's now Saturday evening and the past few days have raced by. I even slept this morning until 9.30am which is unknown, really, but I just felt like staying in the warm. Tim has a terrible cold poor lad, so he is sneezing and coughing and blowing hot and cold, which is not nice for him. We hardly ever get sick so I am only hoping he doesn't pass it on................
Today I felt I needed to do something to cheer me up so I decided to buy some paint and make a start on the small walls. It is so good actually seeing what it is going to look like eventually, and although we are a long way off from finishing, I just had to start. I needed to keep my mind busy today, and thinking happy thoughts, otherwise I think I would have just ended up terribly down and I didn't want that. I am practicing what I am preaching to others, mainly because I know it works if you do it, but also because I need to stay strong and concentrated, and fight my demons to the bitter end!!
Isn't it awful what hormones can do to a gal?!! Me, I get clumsy and emotional, and seem this time to lose things - including the purse off my keychain! That is a real nuisance as I had things in it which I cannot afford to lose, but somehow in the last couple of days it has dropped off somewhere, and I cannot find it at all. I was hoping it might be in the car but no luck. Neither is it in my coat or anywhere else at home so it is definitely gone. So if you find a small black purse...................
Time for bed.
Sue xx

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Study day

The majority of today has been absorbed with my study. Writing up essays and reading and preparing and generally working hard to stay up to date with my workload. It has been productive and I have made progress which is good. I am at a stage where I have said enough for one day, and want to stop, and leave it to settle before I go back for more. Sometimes the time we take to reflect is just as valuable as when we are being active in our learning. I have come to the end of my thought processes for now, and need refreshment!! Finka is awake and urging me downstairs as it is her time to move and eat, so I guess there
is no bigger hint than her meowing and sitting on my knee and staring me in the face to get me to switch the computer off and go do something else!!
Sue xx

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Tim's Rainbow Cake

This is what Tim made at college today!! It tasted wonderful!!!
Sue xx

Already Wednesday???

The whole day yesterday was taken up with wallpapering. But, it all got done in one day which is amazing! Of course what the end result will look like, I have no idea, because that involves me doing a lot of painting first, but it is a vast improvement on what was there before. Everything is back in its place while it all dries out properly, and we have still to make the final decision on which colours - shades - we are going to chose. I have got 4 that it goes between, depending on my mood, and the light in the room at the time, and how I know they react when over a large surface.....and so forth. We want to keep it looking light and bright, and large; that's about it!
Today Tim went off to the bakery to help them out before school. So we were awake at 2.50am -yikes! - and he has not returned as yet, so only another hour before his train will leave for school. I'm sure it is fine.
My eyes are pricking rather, so I am not rested enough really, but I have got my student 'client' coming this morning so lots to do first!
Have a good day.
Sue xx

Monday, 24 January 2011

sometimes things don't go to plan -

and in our life that happens a lot! But I was obviously up and about so early because I was going to get asked to go into work, and I was able to do that immediately, and 'save the day' as my colleagues put it! Luckily I had already determined that no wallpapering was going to take place as our neighbour was gone before seven o'clock, and I now know that he is coming at 7.30am tomorrow morning to get a good start. Ok.......means I get up early, do the essential ironing for Tim, move the rest of the furniture, settle the cats, and be prepared all before seven am. I can do that!!! But what a strange day it was actually. A day for things to turn out to be not what we expected. I had several 'shocks' today whilst at work, one in particular that I don't really understand, and that makes me very sad and disappointed in others, and another that saw us having to make an emergency call and aid a client. That all ended well, so no worries, but that other? I am trying hard to decide what I want to do about that. Instinctively, I know what to do, and I will find a way to do what I believe is right, but it is hard not to have questions and want to hear the truth of the matter at the same time. Call it being left out of the loop because I am not regular staff, but I find that no excuse either. I'll talk to you about it tomorrow. You always know the right thing to say to me. How great is that, to know someone is going to be able to hear and understand and reply, and it will be all the things I really want to hear.
Right now I am catching up on the things I was unable to get done that  I had planned to do today, and thinking about what I need to shift to tomorrow so that by Wednesday I will be back on track!! I always loved time management!!! Part of that is my homework, preparation work for Wednesday, helping with the wallpapering, the housework etc......I need a 36 hour day probably.
Anyway, if that all happened today, tomorrow can only be better!
Sue xx

Early doors

Awake with the lark this morning!! Sitting at the computer at 06.15 which is absurd but I had things I needed to do before school. And I am not sure whether the wallpapering is happening today, and since he is my neighbour, he usually starts work at 7am! Don't want to be in my jimjams!!!
Yesterday we had our study group and it all went really well; back to normal. It has given me some work to do this week, so that is useful, and I enjoyed our discussions etc.
In the middle of the night I woke up to find myself singing The Phantom in my dreams, and lo and behold, when I opened my mailbox, there was the sheet music for Music of the Night - and in English!! In my dream I was singing it with the choir, in Dutch, and I was crying!! Our conductor had said we were going to sing it in Dutch and  I really didn't want to, so what a relief when I read those beautiful, familiar words this morning! I didn't realise it was bothering me quite so much.....oh, and later on I was with our Queen on a royal tour, and we were looking at fantastic pictures that were painted but also encrusted with embroidered jewels..............I suspect that is my subconscious playing with me for watching Antiques roadshow and the design on our cushion and my current obsession with decorating and BALANCE!!!!
Before I forget, Countryfile at 8pm next Sunday is coming from South Yorkshire so must watch that! I am sure they will show places we know well, such as the pass and the moors, and the Strines.......
Today is Monday which is generally housework day -( remember the old rhyme "todays Monday, todays Monday, Monday is washing day, is everybody happy? You bet your life we are")!!!! So better get on, and start the day on the right foot. You too.
Sue xx

Sunday, 23 January 2011

What am I loving right now?

The Union by Elton John & Leon Russell. Great mood-setting CD which is one you either love or hate I think. I choose to love it!

How to compose popular songs which will sell by Bob Geldof. Reminiscent of his Vegetarians of Love CD but the single Silly Pretty little Things is superb. Wonder how long before it gets played over here????

Swedish Interior books that are inspiring my choice of decor in this home.

Coco Mademoiselle perfume - keep nipping into the store for a test!!! Am missing having my own bottle so much right now...

That the bulbs are starting to show through!

That I managed to achieve sanding and filling the walls yesterday AND even painted the coving whilst at it! Was completely shattered afterwards and slept 9.5 hours last night!!!

Off to my study group now...

have a super Sunday.
Sue xx

Friday, 21 January 2011

Good news.

I heard this morning that our choir has got a good sized subsidy from the council this year, so we are hoping this means we can at least buy some more time before we have to make the difficult decisions about our future. It is a huge relief anyway, and I think we will try to soldier on alone.........at least now we have this information we can discuss it properly and allow everyone to have their say. So, good news.
I am also happy because so many people have complimented me on wearing blue!! It is my favourite colour without a doubt, but now having grey hair to top it, I think it goes even better with my complexion. Anyway, I am really thankful for all the encouraging comments, cos it certainly helps me stay focussed on my diet etc.
Am whiling away some time right now, hoping for the best!!!
Sue xx

Thursday, 20 January 2011

new meeting place!

I went to do some shopping in Enkhuizen this morning and whilst in the supermarket several of my fellow choir members came in, so there we were, hogging the aisle, as we talked about the current  developments etc. It was nice actually, talking to someone else about last night, and it helped clarify a few things for me which is good. Then I went out into the car park and a member of the other choir recognised me from last night, and came across to talk about it from their perspective!! All very interesting and informative which I found positive all round. So who knows, maybe it will happen???        
I'm thinking I need a little catnap this afternoon or else I will be shattered later on this evening. I am already thinking today is Friday so have lost a day this week somewhere along the line!! And my ability to think is diminishing rapidly...............
Sue xx

eyes not focussing yet!

Aah.....I ought to be a dormouse! I cannot function on lack of sleep - my tolerance being between 8 and 10 hours per night ( a lot, I know), and last night was round about 4 hours before the first getting up, another 2.5 before I needed to think, speak and listen, and another 2.5 before I even dared attempt to get out of bed!! Now I know that adds up to 9, but take away from that the fact that it takes me ages to get back into deep sleep, and we have only around 6, tops. It's now 10.30am and I feel so sluggish and tired and only half awake still, so. Concentrate Suzanne! I am drinking coffee in an attempt to trick my body into believing it has had a good shot of caffeine ( I drink de-caf) so that I can make a start on the chores of the day. Beginning with some fresh air I believe!!!!
The reason for my late night is our committee visit to another choir to see whether we might be willing to join forces with them and save  us all from having to stop. I have mixed feelings about it to be truthful, but it was wonderful to spend an evening singing my favourite songs from the musicals - amongst others, being part of a mixed voice choir, and just flying by the seat of my pants as it was all about sight-reading as we went along. A sort of scratch night out Ineke!!!!  Tonight it is our choir meeting so we have to share our feedback with the rest of the committee and conductor etc and see where that takes us. I feel the other choir is very keen and they have certainly got great voices and a good quality sound..............it is one of those things when on the surface it all seems easy and problems are to overcome, parties are willing to co-operate.....and then it goes to a deeper level and the real issues surface and the stumbling blocks appear. The ultimate question is:- what is everyone willing to sacrifice in order to survive? And that applies in every single situation in this life from being castaway on a desert island to denying you know someone if you are put on the spot and it suits you to turn Judas ( to give extreme examples). Human nature is complex after all, but we always want to survive. Oh I am getting maudlin - time to hit the road!!!
Sue x

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Cold hands..

 - warm heart, right?
It has been a sunny and rainy day here, with a temperature lower than the past few days, so my hands are looking rather white and wrinkly as I sit here and type! Roll on summer when they will be plump and brown again!
I would rather be staying home this evening but "t'committee" is going to the choir practice ( anyone remember the Wheel Tappers and Shunters Club?...just a thought) of the other choir we might be going to merger with. Some of their committee came to ours last week, so we are returning the favour and going to see what they sing, do, conductor etc before any further 'talks' take place. I have mixed feelings about whether this is the right way to go or not but I suspect that if we want to survive, and they do too, both parties might have to be willing to make the necessary compromises.

You know how one thing leads to another? I am enjoying that right now. That reading about something or someone in one place can take me to a completely different but great place and person, and how that is opening up my mind to new ideas and ways of being. So many interesting blogs and books to read and discover, some with the most delightful headers and designs that I just want to gaze upon them and wonder why I can't create that sort of magic? If you click on the Brene Brown badges you will see what I mean.
As spring approaches I find I am more alive and buzzing with ideas and schemes and that makes me happy. Being authentic to myself makes me a planner - perhaps you wish I wasn't, but it is who I am. I am choosing to let it be, to daydream away here while I can, and float a little whilst doing it. I know there are the harsh realities of daily living to be faced up to soon, but hey, Tim is making Tompouses at school today!! (millefeuille slices with cream and icing). Which is the happier prospect?! Am I just like Scarlett or do I have some grumpy old woman gene in me somewhere - I don't know. I do know that today is a good day in my world, and even though we are not sharing it the way we would really want to, we have still connected and that makes me glad.
Sue xx

here one moment, gone the next!

I made some chocolate cupcakes yesterday with the very last baking ingredients that I could find in the cupboard....so there were only 8. I came down this morning and there were 4 left. ?????
I have a suspect...I spotted the trail of chocolate crumbs leading out of the kitchen and up the stairs.....
and you know it wasn't me!!! Have to say they are delicious and could become a new craze of easy baking for us. I particularly want to try the ones with the cheesecake middles and black bottoms!!!
Tim wants to bake my birthday cake this year, so we are considering a trip to the baking shop at half term. He needs more equipment apparently, a whole cupboard's worth it seems....but I am glad he is wanting to do more and more as it is so important for him to build up his own specialties.  And I enjoy sharing this with him since we both love baking so much.
Well, getting some butterflies in my tummy now as I know my student is on the train heading in this direction and there is no getting out of doing this today!! Excited and nervous at the same time I guess.
Sue xx

ps great timing Gary!! Elbow's song we love just playing now, cheers me up every time!

Gifts of imperfection

I am reading this interesting, sit up and take notice sort of book,  by Brene Brown: "The gifts of Imperfection". It is absorbing, challenging, and hits the spot when she talks about what it means to live a life of wholeheartedness. Her TED talk is amazing, and so far I have been enjoying it again in the first chapters. I find it comforting to be one of the imperfect people, because it means there is room for improvement! She talks a great deal about the issue of Shame, from her extensive research into it, but her focus in this book is on what it means to be wholehearted. I'll tell you more when I have digested it and understand what my take on it all is.
Our neighbour came round yesterday to talk about the wallpapering. I think he felt I could have done more to the walls, like sanding them, but I won't do that until I know he is coming to paper. I hate all that dust because of my asthma, so not good for me at all, but also for the mess it is going to make! He is obviously a perfectionist, being a professional, but like I explained to him, I am making the house nice but don't have a fortune to spend on wallpaper etc since it is only a rented house and we prefer to invest in things we can take with us in the future. Ah, he said; of course, he said; maybe you'll fall in love again and not be here very long, he said.......................then he looked at the hall and asked who had papered that. Me and a friend from England, I said; ah, he said; are you going to paint the room yourself, he said; yes, I said...
( you get the drift?!) :-)
Ah, Chris is starting off, with Gary Barlow as guest to celebrate his 40th birthday - but I have to tear myself away and take a shower. The first hour of the morning is over, and it feels like only 10 minutes.
Have a great day, keep warm and safe.
Sue xx

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Job done!!

Ok, I think I have tamed the wandering door-strip at last. I decided to think outside the box about getting more glue along the inside of the strip..............so got my little paint brush out and an old yoghurt pot (which I always save and use for my scrapping as storage etc), and loaded it to the hilt with glue!!! Then I stood there for ages, pressing it down in several places, hard, determined, forceful..........and it might have worked!!!
At least at the moment it is holding so there is hope.
Having mastered that, I went on to finish scraping the paper off from behind the tops of the radiators, and made a huge cup of coffee. It looks fattening right? The reality is decaf and long life 0% milk frothed up to give a lovely topping. Make way Starbucks - this is the low fat, non caffeine, hot and warming, won't make you fat, tastes ok, treat of the day, huge Whittards cuppa!!! Tim gave me this when he came back from his sister's last year, and I love it!
And now I need to focus on my study for a couple of hours. Tomorrow morning I have got my client coming so I need to read up on the model, what I have to say, how to be professional etc and it is nerve-wracking.
Sue xx

did you know....

...scientists have proved that we actually look for friends who share similar DNA to ourselves as that is what makes us compatible?....
...a baby bottom cream is better than all other face creams?....
...chris evans brightens up my mornings....
...terry wogan is starting a programme about Ireland this weekend....
...becci & ric have named their kitten Indiana to make her braver!!....
...cool song this one; 'silly pretty thing' by bob geldof....
...I really, really fancy a CURRY!....
Sue xx


When I went downstairs this morning what did I see? That all my hard work yesterday was for nothing, as that bloomin' strip is wafting about again, and I simply don't know what to do next!! I was given some super duper extra strong glue to use, and nope, hasn't worked. So its back to the drawing board and another attempt to get it stuck in place today. Sometimes even the smallest things don't go right, and then I start thinking about all the larger things that don't go right, and then I allow all the negative thoughts and feelings in and I feel ultra emotional for a while. It can be a turbulent ride when I feel so vulnerable, but it will pass soon, and then  I will feel back to normal. Have to!! :-)
First though, I am going to raid my piggy bank.................without coffee today I have nothing!!!
Sue xx

Monday, 17 January 2011

So many to read and enjoy!

I have been so busy today, getting all the chores done - so my treat to me is to sit and listen to the radio whilst blog lurking, and what fantastic blogs I have discovered!! I was specifically looking for UK based bloggers and I have been amazed at the amount of original and beautiful blogs there are!! My bookmarks are FULL now - and I need to clear out my current top 10 and make space for some new up and coming favourites. I used to fill my page with many scrapping blogs but not any more. I've grown tired of seeing the same old, same old, and need fresh inspiration this year. Perhaps it has to do with having a new home, and wanting to decorate and make it feel like us, so a shift in focus and creativity, or that I've more time for reading and knitting and my other hobbies....dunno. Does it matter? My wish list on Amazon is growing like Topsy - I am envisaging a whole wall of bookshelves in the bedroom............a sort of literary muffler between us and Tim, as the walls are so thin in this house and we can hear a pin drop ( so to speak! ). Last night I was listening to him chatting away on the internet to someone, somewhere, whilst I tried my best to lull myself into dreamland, but it was hard to block out all those words.....

My hands look like a million years old. All peeling and rough despite rubbing in copious amounts of nutrition intense for very dry hands. They feel like paper and glue - oh, and that is another thing, getting glue all over them again today 'cos the strips alongside the front door are de-gluing themselves and floating about which I am NOT happy about! I have to stand by the front door, with my legs akimbo, straddling the lower parts of the strip with a knee, the middle with an elbow and the higher bit with my head!! It is not gracious or comfortable or what I want to be doing. But I hate something not being perfect even more, so there we have it; straddling. I had a go at filling the wall. The stuff smells revolting. I need to sand it I realise, but at the moment I have hidden my attempt behind the bookcase again so I can pretend it is not there this evening. I got confused over the newspaper advice - don't see it working without glue ( hate glue right now) but like the cheap undercoat idea much better!

On a completely different note: Finka is turning into a human. She has seen us eating our dinner on the settee whilst watching TV (well, I have to see Kevin) and has taken to bringing her cat biscuits onto the settee and chobbling them up next to me!! Or a Sheepdog: I went upstairs last night to check my email and she sprinted up after me, meowing ferociously until I went back downstairs where she curled up next to me and the Geng and went back to sleep. Intelligent little bat isn't she?
Time for tea methinks,
Sue xx

Winnie the Pooh Day

Tomorrow!! It is to celebrate the birthday of A.A. Milne. My favourite character is actually Eyore  but I just love the bear. I have the complete compendium of Pooh stories and often use quotes from them in my work. And playing Pooh Sticks; who hasn't done that?!!! We certainly have.

Anyway...........I took a look at the filler I have and it seems to be the wrong one for the walls so I cannot do much today to fill those unsightly cracks. I will have to be patient again. It is so dull and damp and uninspiring outside, I was hoping for a little walk this morning but this is the sort of wet rain that seeps into your bones so not a good thing to do. Nothing else for it but to do the ironing then!!
Sue xx

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Makes a change!!

The sun is shining this morning, which makes a lovely change from all the rain we've had this week. I know that more frost is forecast for the coming week, but today, the sun is out.
I have decided to give my aching bones a rest today, and leave the DIY alone. The room is all back to normal and I have no wish to disrupt it again; tomorrow is another day! So instead I am doing all the other chores like the wash etc and I have made my first Journal Tag. Something I have been thinking about doing for ages now, but not been sure what I could do. Having a few manila tags left over from Christmas I decided to use them up. I was also wanting to make one for my first client this week, to give to her when she leaves as a thank you. I know she is just one of my fellow students, but trusting me with her stuff is big, and I feel honoured that she is willing to do it. This is mine:
I collect quotations - because I love them! - so these are ones that mean something to me personally. My mantra's if you like. Not sure where  I am going to place it as yet, but it needs to have a place in our house.
Time for a coffee before I take a look in the garden and see what I can do there to tidy it up a bit. There is always something!!!
Sue xx

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Hard work

I have finally finished the wallpaper stripping and I am exhausted! The last small part took the longest as it was the most difficult to remove, and I ache all over. Wish we had a bath here!! Now all I have to do is work out how to fill the holes and the sides...............not sure I know what I am doing but I have to try. My hands are all sore and feel terrible, broken nails, rough skin.........ach, I wasn't born for hard labour!!! ;-)
But I persevered and I am glad I did because it had to be done before the end of this weekend. I wonder when it will get re-papered? And painted?...................guess I am going to be busy for some time to come!
I'm thinking that it will take the whole of this year before the house will really be looking as we want it to. Already I can feel my thoughts turning to the garden, and what to do outside to make it more cosy and green. I am making notes!! Lots of lists and ideas and thoughts and sketches - maybe none of it will come to fruition but at least I am getting the enjoyment out of thinking through my ideas.
Well, I am very, very tired this evening so am going to make a hot coffee and watch some television and make it an early night.
Sue xx

Friday, 14 January 2011

some very sad news

Sadly I have just heard that a very good friend from years ago has died. I feel shocked and numbed and very, very sad.
Sue xx

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Grand Designs

Phew, I am shattered after today's early start and then the wallpaper stripping etc. Time for a cup of tea and a sit down. Everything aches again, so I know not to push on too long as tomorrow I won't be able to move. I have reached the TV so the last quarter along the longest wall, which is what I was aiming for today. Tomorrow I want to get to the end, and maybe under the radiator...........then there will be the final part to do and that's it! Oh, apart from filling all the holes.............

I am loving watching this series of Grand Designs. My man Kevin is reveling in the enormity of the tasks each person commits themselves to undertaking and they are indeed at the very edge of ingenuity, engineering and imagination. Each afternoon another surprise which is great. Yesterday they were in  the Lake District at Windermere where a family were building a huge ( 'teletubby' house according to the guys son) futuristic house that actually in the end looked rather impressive. But not finished. They had so totally over-committed themselves and then the crisis hit and things all went rather pear-shaped for them. Did they give up? No, and what we saw at the end of the programme had a lot to commend itself. If I were to build my own house it would be far more modest and more conventional I suppose but I too have an idea in my head of what it would look like, and what I would like to include both in and out of doors. At the moment the only design question mark in my head is what colour to paint the walls!!! Hardly on a grand design scale but nether the less important to get right. I went to look at more paint charts this morning and they are now all laid out on the coffee table for perusal and discussion. I have my favourites but I can be swayed.....
thinking about the end result is motivating me to continue. I am more about the finishing touches than the hard work!!

So, sluggish and tired now, but glad that Steve Wright is back on the radio! Cheers me up no end. And my last books arrived which means I have lots to take in and read again. Some are for my study and some are for pleasure, but ALL were in the sale!!!
Sue xx

Thursday already?!

The rain remains. It is a dark and dull day and at the moment too dark in the living room to start on the walls. I am all prepared though - the cupboard is moved and space is made so that I can move further along the wall. I ought to be over the half way mark by the end of today. That's the plan! All the other jobs that I had for this week are done..........just this one outstanding.
I am likely to be in England for my birthday this year which is very exciting!! Although the final details haven't been made I am sure it will work out, so great. Something to look forward to and stay on target with my diet for. I agree that making the decision to lose extra weight is personal and not something that one does for someone else; I do believe that the motivation has to be there and that sometimes that has to do with other people in your life. As well as the health issue - which we ignore at our peril really. As soon as one hits 50 there is talk about diabetes, heart problems, joint problems etc and it is all very worrying. Finding the right balance between being able to eat and drink what we want and feeling healthy is so difficult. So I am not aiming for Slender Me; I am aiming for a realistic weight that allows me to indulge when I want but to wear what I want, shop where I want, look how I want, and feel that I am at the best I can be right now. Approaching 52 is scary......... my friend Clare even mentioned the number six yesterday...................with numbers after it!!!! I want to enjoy this decade first please!! Watching the news yesterday about the woman journalist sacked for being too old for TV, listening to the radio now about designing clothes to camouflage flabby underarms, that 13 january is the day most people give up their new year resolution to diet, what can we learn from all this? BE OURSELVES. A happy, contented, healthy US, please.
Tim came home from college yesterday with the most fantastic gateau he had made. Wow, Tim, it was delicious and looked amazing! So proud of you darling. Tasted too good........I snook a second slice; so good. I am expecting to get an invite to parents evening shortly so I suppose that will tell me about how he is doing, though it seems so many of his class are leaving at the end of this year, and he estimates that only 5 or 6 will be there for the second year.
This evening we have an open practice in order to allow prospective new members to come along and join us. It is sink or swim time I fear. We have so few members now that the money side is getting critical...we have to stay longer to discuss it this evening. I do hope people come along if they are interested in joining a choir because we really need them!!
And my final thing this morning: I am wearing my NEXT jeans that have languished in my wardrobe for the past 12 years!!!!! Yes! I feel ok in them - can breathe too - so things are still going well.
Have a good day, be warm and dry.
Sue xx

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Life's ups and downs

These past few days have been quite a roller coaster ride for me, which is not unusual but something that I take time to recover from, shall we say? I am unable to share the detail here on my blog  but let me say that there was at least one good turn in there that perhaps makes up for all the rest. I have been able to help someone else. I have been able to use my experience and knowledge to good effect and I am grateful for having the opportunity to do this for someone I care about. Life bites you on the bottom when you least expect it and forces actions and decisions to be made that are so left-field you are left reeling. But I hope that what happened will be a turning point for everyone concerned, and I will leave it there.

More wallpaper stripping ahead. Yesterday I fell off my ladder and split red wine all over the floor.....what a waste!!! My shoulders and arms ache so much now, and I am struggling to get into the swing of it again today. I have spent the entire morning writing up my essays from the study days, and dealing with issues arising from them. It is a dull, uninspiring day, and that is how I feel really. Better try to shake it off!!!!
Sue xx

Monday, 10 January 2011

Weekend over, new week begun

Already 10th January!!! The days are flying by in what is traditionally the 'longest month' after the buzz of Christmas has passed. This weekend was full of learning for me, some good  and some not so good. I have got a student to be counsellor to for the 'real' practice sessions which is great, and I have learned more about using the client-centered approach in my work. What do I think of the model? I am not jumping up and down with joy about it but that is because I still need to discover how to match my style of talking with the bones of the model, to make it mine. ( if you know what I mean?!) There were several people missing on Saturday so it was a much smaller group, but nevertheless, instructive. We have two workshops to sign up for now as well, which is exciting, and our study group is meeting again so all in all, today is going to be about writing.......................and hacking off more wallpaper!!!

My knitting is progressing! I found it very therapeutic yesterday and as I was sitting there with my cup of tea, knitting furiously, I couldn't help but allow a random thought into my consciousness from "A Tale of Two Cities" by Dickens. Y'know, the one where the woman is coding all the names of the people for the guillotine into her knitting.................

There has been a heavy frost overnight, which surprised me this morning. I had not felt so cold lately and was thinking maybe the worst of the winter was behind us, but I doubt it. I am looking forward to spring!
Well, it is time I took a shower and faced the day. Let it be a good one for you too.
Sue xx

Friday, 7 January 2011

How did I relax today?

.............knitting!!! Haven't done it in ages, years in fact, but I happened upon some lovely wool and an easy design for a fast knit, so I decided to start. If it turns out well, there is another beautiful cardie that I would love to tackle, but that is way more complicated and I felt too much to begin with. Finka insists on grabbing the ends of the needles however, or trying to bat the ball of wool with her paws whilst I knit....Genghis ignores it totally. Aah, the difference between youth and wisdom!!
Tired still, and not that energetic all day so hoping for a wonderful nights sleep now. In the immortal words of Zebedee " Time for bed! "
Sue xx

Congratulations to England


Thank you

...........just wanted to say thank you to the universe for granting me yesterday. :-)
Sue xx


You really feel your age when you have done something unfamiliar and moved and stretched muscles that normally just reside in your body comfortably doing as little as possible!! Yesterday I started on stripping the old wallpaper off in the living room downstairs, and boy do I know that today! My hands have got tiny paper cuts all over them - which hurt when I took my shower this morning! - and my shoulders and back really need a good massage to get them feeling supple again. I am tired and lethargic at the moment, and thinking of a million reasons why I may take it easy today. The thing is, I can do that, no problem, but it will only move the task to Monday and every day next week if I am to achieve my deadline: ok, that's a deal!! I really don't have the energy it requires today. Tim is back at the bakery two days a week so we wake up at 3.15am and I find it so hard to get a good sleep on these nights. He was tired this morning as well, but off he went at four am so I know he must enjoy his time there.
Today is a day for getting the weekend organised as I have two days of study ahead. I am looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow in Amsterdam and hearing how their Christmas/New Years all went. We are focussing on the Client-Centered Approach by Egan tomorrow, and practicing using it in our interactions with one another, so I want to get a better grasp of that before the end of the afternoon. I have a fair idea and understanding of it, but then again, using it properly and well is another matter!!! I also need to get the things we need for the study group which is being held here on Sunday; I'm thinking Salad Nicoise for lunch as that is on my diet and I have most things in the house already!!! So today I need to sort the music out for our meditation moment and things like that...............I am putting all my positive energy into it as you can see!!! I take your advice on board, as ever, so I am sure it will be a good session.
There must be a teeny tiny hint of spring in the air as Genghis ventured outside the front door this morning for like a milli-second!!! His first step towards going out again after the winter indoors. I think he only sat on the front doorstep but he definitely wanted to go! I think there has been a frost as the cars are white and will need defrosting before I can use mine, so it is chillier than expected. We had a lot of rain last night here.
I went to choir as well - probably why I am so tired this morning as I didn't get to bed early enough - and it was encouraging to see that all but two members were present. And that is all for now!
Sue xx

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Feeding frenzy

These gulls were photographed on top of our neighbour's shed about 2 minutes ago. They were squabbling over huge chunks of bread that had been thrown up there for the birds. I am actually quite pleased with these pictures. I am still not happy with my camera as I have not worked out how to use it correctly and to get the best photos out of it, but I am practicing which is the good part. It is colder outside than I had anticipated. Too cold for me to venture out right now! I have started pulling off the wallpaper but need to wait now for the paper to cover the floor which Ann is bringing this evening. Good excuse? I also sat and made some bookmarks for my study group to go with the small presents I made them for Christmas. My inky fingers are proof of my creativity today!
Sue xx

Such a sucker for orchestration!!

What makes a good song for me is orchestration behind the lead vocals; the swell of a power ballad; the piano intros; the lyrics...............yep, fell for this one yesterday!!!
Sue xx

Frothy Coffee

It's rather becoming a daily habit since I got the milk frother!! It is skimmed milk and decaf though........so allowed on my diet. What I try to do is only eat what I am permitted and sometimes when I feel 'hungry' instead of eating more I make a drink of coffee, tea or water. It seems to be working anyway. Where ever you look right now people are showing off their slimmed down bods or talking about diets or advertising weight watchers etc. It is the January obsession each year I suppose. But ok, whilst we are full of our resolutions and booking  summer holidays and thinking of warmer weather, this is probably the best chance we have to 'be good.'

On the news here yesterday there was a mention of the Swine Flu of last year, and how it was not expected to be a problem this year..............what they didn't talk about was the huge problem it is in the UK with the  Health Service crippled by thousands of staff being off with flu and several tragedies already happening. My daughter was very ill last year with it so I hope she is better prepared this time around. There is a lot of flu around so hoping that it stays away from our doors this winter.

My books are in transit!!! Makes me happy just saying those words...........amazon............free delivery......sale.............

Well, my procrastination has to stop, there is work to be done!! Tim is heading out of the door to college so I can start hacking off wallpaper outside the bedrooms on the landing any time now!!!!! The coffee was my 'you can have another one of these when done' motivational treats! I find that saying something out loud actually makes me do it; just thinking is not enough!! And I need to cycle again later this morning; I was perished when I came home but it did wake my system up for the day.

Missing Chris Evans too Becs!!!
Sue xx

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

My favourite shop.

www.dehoedendoos.nl  Take a look at their website - I peeked in the windows this morning, and boy, was I glad it was shut til Thursday!!! My idea of heaven in a store......(oh, well, if Anthropologie opened in Amsterdam as well as London, that would also make me happy)!
The whole house can be decorated with items from this wonderful little slice of  deliciousness....drool....
Sue xx

Thinking ahead....

I am a planner by nature. Not one of those happy people who can just leave things to chance or the last minute. But it is not out of a sense of stress or worry, no, I enjoy the thinking about it all part just too darn much!!! For myself, being spontaneous is fine, and I can be that in a flash if something takes my fancy or I just want to do it at that moment, but for events, like birthdays, I need some good planning time. So here it is: the book I need ready for Tim's 18th birthday in April. What does our son want for his party? CAKES and DESSERTS!!!! Since we have not one single cookery book in the house devoted to such delights ( well, got to find the excuse to buy another one m'dears) I am going for this one.


 It contains everything I could possibly want to bake for him, and now that  I know about the English Shop in Amstelveen, and with going to the UK shortly, I need to make my second favourite thing: LISTS. 

I have always loved - and  collected - pens, paper, felt tips, crayons, blank books, stationary items, books, all the accouterments of a literary minded gal. I keep at least 5 in my handbag, using the right one for the right writing moment.............how the slant of my hand will work, what style fits the mood and message; I simply enjoy playing around with letters. My daughter is precisely the same and considering that we are both Dyslexic I wonder what that says about us?......friends that know me best give me pens and paper as presents on a regular basis. I still hanker after that elusive beautiful nibbed fountain pen though - the one with the long and ever so slim nib..... I remember having an old fountain pen when I was at school, ( it was a burgundy colour) and I loved writing with it because of its nib. Never had another such again, but this one has remained in my memory just waiting to be re-found and bought. I am left-handed so once I have used a pen it is not right for anyone else to use because the nib slants to my way very quickly and then it is all wrong for those right-handed others. I am as precious about my pens as I am about my books. I also remember writing lots and lots of lengthy letters on airmail paper years ago. I was totally obsessed with only using the Toile Suisse paper which came in A4 size sheets and was just perfect. Can you buy that any more? No. People send emails or twitter or text, and the simple pleasure of writing on that filmy paper is gone. I miss it if truth be told. I am not a good telephone person, I use it for necessity only. But I do love letters. Probably why I write a blog - probably why I yearn to have an old-fashioned typewriter..................but I digress. This is a post about cakes after all!!
Sue xx

Book lover

There are just so many that I have got my sights set on right now!! Can one ever have enough I wonder...I was looking into the kindle books on Amazon yesterday but although it offers free downloads, because I am not in the UK, this doesn't apply to me! How wrong is that?!! I can download the kindle onto the computer but that is as far as I get.  I fancy the idea of the digital book thingys that I see people taking with them on holiday etc. I am not really a gadget fan but the thought of having so many books in one simple device that can easily fit into the rucksack does appeal to me............maybe I will be slowly converted, who knows? I have never got into the library book lending, being someone who has to own her books. Having them around me is important to my happiness apparently.

I read about a therapy yesterday that I plan to try; never heard of it before, have you?
"Thought-field Therapy". It seems to involve tapping your body in a certain order which in turn taps into the sensitive areas of the body as in reflexology etc. In the Daily Mail online Paul Mckenna talks about how he can make anyone more happy..............and he talks about this technique in his book extract. It sounds plausible, so I think it is something I might try this week and if it works for me, share with my study group. They will either have heard of it already or think I have finally cracked!!! ;-) Maybe it is the name that attracts me..................

On a sad note, the actor Pete Postlethwaite died yesterday. He was such a superb actor, a genuinely nice, unassuming man, and he was too young to die. He was suffering from cancer and he died in the hospital in Shropshire, where he lived. RIP Pete.

It is snowing again in England AND there was an earthquake in Yorkshire yesterday!!! Talking about the weird and wonderful freak weather that is around the globe at the moment, this is getting a little bit too close to home! Looking outside it seems ok here this morning though the cars are frosted over again. I am off to the hairdressers this morning and planning to cycle there and back. Diet went well yesterday so got to keep up the good work. I think my current goal is my birthday at the end of next month. What would I like to be before then?..............I think 5 kilos less than I am right now ought to be possible. More if I can. Deal?

Just listening to Radio 2 and a fabulous new song............wonder who sings it?...
Sue xx

Monday, 3 January 2011

Funny creatures...........

Genghis on the blanket.

Finka dragging the blanket into their bed!

Snuggled up beside me in their nightly positions.

Finka was totally put out when her 'bed' up in our bedroom was taken away for the day last week, because her blanket was unavailable apparently. Despite being under the influence of her sedatives, she suddenly appeared downstairs, dragging her blanket behind her!!! Going without it for a day was obviously not an option!!! First of all she got it on the stool next to their hangmat, and Genghis sat in it. Then she wanted it in their bed so it was dragged in there so they both could sleep on it. Eventually I re-aranged it so that it was nicely in the bed and they could sleep on top of it.......smart girl! The final photo is of them snuggled up to me on the settee for the evening which is where they are to be found every night. What would I do without their company, eh?

This morning there was a hard frost and the car was totally white again when I went outside this morning. Luckily I was forewarned so I knew to be a little earlier going out of the house. Although the roads were white with the frost most of the journey to Schagen, there were no problems with ice or the traffic thankfully. It was really nice seeing everyone altogether for the New Years Breakfast. I shook so many hands and was kissed and hugged til I was all hugged out! It was quieter than previous years, that was my first impression, but nice all the same. Since I have no work this month I always feel it is good to just 'touch base' with one and all so that I have seen them at the start of  another year. Tim went off to college again this morning so we are all back in familiar routines once more.

Once home it was definitely the day for cleaning downstairs!! Oh yes, I do do it sometimes!!! Even the windows out the back got my attention! When I arrived home I saw one of our neighbours outside cleaning her windows so I stopped for a chat with her which was nice. She told me it is going to snow like billy-o after this week, worse than ever.............so we were both making the most of the brief respite in the wintry weather. I got as far as up the stairs and determined that it was sufficient for today. Tomorrow I can do upstairs and then it is paper-stripping time! Got to be done now, as we are on a schedule. And it will be good, cheap exercise for me too. Settling back into my diet regime is difficult, but I am determined not to slide any further or else it will all be in vain. So, the attack phase is well and truly underway after the breakfast this morning............you too?.......

Not much else happening which I suppose is a good thing. One bright thing to look forward to is the new series of "Lark Rise" which starts again this coming Sunday; I do love it!! So Ineke, if you have missed the previous series, this one is definitely not to be missed!!! It is right up our street! :-) I can fill you in if you want to know what happened in the previous series? 
Sue xx

Sunday, 2 January 2011

What do you do when..........

you are feeling down? Or your mind is racing and throwing up topics you'd rather leave buried? Me, I read and I write. They are my comfort blankets. So yesterday I sat and read a book called 'The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. She takes a year in her life to study and work out what happiness is, what it means to her and how she can get more of it! Interesting, right? She writes down 12 personal commandments for herself to remind her what her authentic self is, and she chooses 12 topics to focus on, one per month, and then writes about how she gets on with all that. I am over-simplifying it here, obviously, but it is a good book to read when you are wondering what happiness there is for you.
Yesterday I sat and wrote about my dream, I read my own book and made corrections and thought about what to write next. And just this morning I listened to a 20 minute talk by Brene Brown, about Vulnerability. Someone had sent it to me in an email. Turns out it was timely and wise and something I needed to listen to and understand right now.
Brown's research spans 8 years, and is fascinating. Well to me, anyway, since I am such a complex person when it comes to my emotions. These last few days I have found myself wishing I was simpler; less; more accepting, less demanding; braver, less scared; more open, less controlling.  Worrying about 'not being enough' - that was the clincher!!! (ouch!) Hurt and miserable and about to run away - that is where I was in my mind on Friday. I'd written down all my insecurities and thoughts about the past year - my annual review as it were, and then tried to ignore it. Tried to push it aside and pretend that it was not important or of value or worthy of sharing. I was afraid of being judged for it. For my own truths from my perspective, not being good enough.
So what does Brown conclude?
She says that what we as humans all have is the power to Connect. The ability to feel connected, but that underpinning this is a need to be Vulnerable. She tried to unravel connection, what it means, and discovered that at the base of connection is Shame, or a fear of connection, the excruciating vulnerability of feeling ' I am not good enough.' In all different manner of ways: at work, in relationships, family, friends, size, shape, looks etc. What her research showed her was that the people who felt most connected all shared a sense of worthiness, of love and belonging, a belief that they were worthy of it. She called them the 'whole-hearted people.' The ones with true courage, meaning the courage to be imperfect; kind to ourselves first and then to others. Being who you are, nothing more and nothing less. By fully embracing vulnerability we can be beautiful and honest and authentic, and it is so necessary at the end of the day. Being vulnerable does mean having to let go of controlling and predicting and all those other comforting actions that we tend to do when we are doubting ourselves, our worthiness. It means loving because that is what you feel and how you are and what you want to do. It means having no expectations or boundaries or conditions attached to it:- 'to love with our whole hearts even when there is no guarantee.' How hard it that?!!!!
What have I learnt from all this  you may be wondering?
That I need to try harder. That I am who I am, and that that is good enough. That you love me the way I am, and that all my wishing for a simpler mind has to stop! That the one I have is uniquely mine and that it is precious to me. That I ought to be happy to be me. ( Mmm, might take some more work!) That sharing my thoughts is not as scary as I think, because you will not judge me, only listen and accept. That there is no need to run away, only to run to. That my vulnerability is going to help me be more lovable. That I can admit it when I am scared or worried or need help. That I don't know everything!!! That letting you in my head is what I want more than anything. That I will find peace if I am willing to do that without the angst that I attach to it every time.
I have a long way to go still, but this is a start, this is me REGAINING myself in 2011.
Sue xx

Saturday, 1 January 2011


Phew, my head is still spinning at 10.am this morning but not from too much to drink last night, but rather a most amazing dream. All I can think of is that I need to write it down before I do anything else this morning, especially as it has brought me so much peace in my head that just wasn't there when I went to bed last night. So with a splitting headache, a cup of tea, my pj's still on, I wish you all a very happy 2011, but I am off to follow my dream!!!
Sue xx