Sunday, 30 November 2014

At Christmas We...

AJ age two and a bit putting on her new slippers 4.35am Christmas Day
Never used to put up the Christmas tree until Christmas Eve. It was the duty of the youngest generation of the family to decorate the tree so this fell to me every year as I am an only child. I continued this tradition with my own children throughout my first marriage.
They would spend all day bickering and playing as well as decorating the tree and by bedtime they were usually exhausted and went to sleep almost immediately only to be awake at 5aam.
Mr M was brought up differently and his tree was always up and decorated by the middle of December. My children thought this was a much better idea so for the last 33 years we have been tinselled and beribboned by the 14th.
I am grudgingly coming to believe that this is a good thing, although I do sometimes think that giving the small children the task on Christmas Eve made the time go a little faster for them and kept them occupied.
Perhaps I can reinstate it for the great grandchildren eh?

Perhaps not.

My thanks to Sian over at FromHighintheSky for giving me the focus I needed to tell this Christmas Club Story

Monday, 24 November 2014

Me on Monday - Cardamoms?

It was a recipe seeking, bed changing, sheet washing, card writing, present knitting, watching the Roosevelts kind of a weekend.
I was looking for a recipe for mushroom curry because we had some at Mark and Jo's and it was delicious but they still haven't given me the recipe. I know, I know I should wait but I am like Inego Montoya in The Princess Bride, I hate waiting. So I did an online search and peered at lots of pictures looking for something that looked like what we had. I found a recipe and then I had to look up cardamoms because I have never seen them and I didn't know anything about them. What do I find? you can buy them at Amazon! for goodness sake! a book store that sells spices.
Our lovely guest has gone home to Atlanta now so I stripped off the bed and prepared it for the next guests and then put the bedding into the machine. While it was chuntering away I wrote my Christmas cards. Then I realised that I hadn't written the letter-for-friends that goes into some of the cards so I sat down and did that. Washing still not done so I elevated my legs and knitted for an hour and then it was time to cook dinner.
Sunday evenings for the last few weeks have been devoted to The Roosevelts on PBS America. Absolutely fascinating. Final two and a half hours next Sunday.

And that's me on Monday, sleazing and not doing much until I cook the Ostrich steaks for dinner and then watching TV and knitting afterwards.
Sian over at FromHighintheSky made me do this - I lied she does it and I join in

Monday, 17 November 2014

Me on Monday - aching

It was a guest arriving, catching up on 15 years, child minding, Costco visiting, present buying, dining with the Bluefunnels sort of a weekend.

Steve arrived on Friday. His parents had collected him from the coach and at last he was here, all the way from Atlanta. His wonderful wife, Robin - who just happens to be my soul sister - had sent me some exquisite presents. Steve had brought the Milk Duds requested my Miss Boo so we talked the evening away until Mr M arrived home from work. He brought pasty and chips for Steve and fish and chips for me and him. As soon as Steve was full the tiredness and jetlag grabbed him by the eyelids and took him off to bed. Miss Boo was with us because Mummy and Daddy were going to see Big Mac's Wholly Soul Band. They were disappointed because at the time the show should have started the drummers kit was still in the flight cases and the PA system was not even visible. They left and went to the pub instead

Saturday we went to Costco, where they always have stuff I desperately need - even if I don't know it until I get there. Presents for the great grandchildren, loads of things that would be great presents but are too heavy to post. Steve went to visit some friends and I did some serious crochet.

Sunday and Steve went to lunch at his parents house while we dropped Miss Boo off at her Gang Show rehearsals and then went shopping. We took Steve up to the Bluefunnels for dinner. It has been longer than 15 years since they last met - it was a Dungeons and Dragons campaign and Lady Bluefunnel was playing a magic user - she had a spell that could kill us all and kept wanting to use it but that's a whole other story. We caught up on the adventures of the past few weeks - they have been to Cornwall and London we have had a funeral with all the attendant familial harmony. We laughed, we talked, we ate, we discussed one upmanship and name dropping and gave Steve lots of amunition based on the "When my friend went to Highgrove for cocktails" story. Then we came home and fell into bed by about 10pm.

That's me on Monday, preparing to sit and crochet squares of leftover yarn and do not very much until I collect Miss Boo from school, feed her and get her to Brownies.Joining in with Sian at Fromhighinthesky why not join in too

Monday, 10 November 2014

Me on Monday - to the Rescue!

It was a scaey FB status, sigh of relief, now how do we get his car to Bristol? sort of a weekend.

My youngest son, seen above second from the right in the "team photograph", had an accident in work on Thursday. We first got the news through Farcebook when his status revealed that he was at the local hospital. We had to wait until he was sent home for the phone call to explain what had happened. He works as a truck driver - those huge Wilkinson articulated things you see on the motorways are what he drives - and the depot is here in Newport, but he now lives in Bristol. His work colleagues got him home but his car was still in the car park at work. He can't drive because he damaged his ankle when the trailer he was standing on collapsed under him so it was up to us to get his car back to his home.
We have not been to his home. We are totally unfamiliar with Bristol. Getting directions from whatever program Mr M used is PANTS. Thank goodness for mobile phones.
My daughter drove his car and followed us because we had the instructions. She has driven that car once before and off we went! Can you imagine what I would have been like six months ago, when I was on the other medication? Well!
I read out the instructions and Mr M tried to put them into what he was seeing. Follow the Portway for 8.1 miles. At the roundabout do whatever.... there was no roundabout, just a very strange junction with lights. I noticed the swingbridge briefly as we passed and then we were also keeping an eye on whether the others - Miss Boo and her Mum - had managed to get through the lights and so on.
We paused and rang Youngest Son. I perused the instructions and realised that we might just have done several of the things without knowing. Youngest son confirmed that we were in the right place. We continued on and eventually pulled into the right place.
Then we had a bit of a surprise when my sweet daughter-in-law cooked for us. Amongst the things we had was the most delicious mushroom curry. I can't wait to have the recipe because it was just perfect and I would love to make it for us. A lovely afternoon getting to know my new granddaughters and to hold my new great grandson. and a chance for them to get to know us. Miss Boo is delighted that she has new cousins and now she can't wait for Christmas when they will be coming over to us to stay.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Left over icing? no problemo

What do you do when you have completed the Halloween gingerbread house - yes we were a bit late but the weekend was full - and there is still icing in the tube?

Well, when you are nine and two thirds you squeeze it into your mouth. We have such fun after school.  I was lucky to get her attention on the gingerbread house because I have just introduced her to Calvin and Hobbes. I figured that as she can now read the words and she has a good working vocabulary it was time to open up the world and there is nothing better than Calvin and Hobbes

I asked her to think about her relationship with Harry bear and how we adults see him as a stuffed toy but when they are alone he can talk and do all sorts of things - She is pretty good at keeping a straight face but there was that single moment when she looked at me and wondered just how I knew. Now she has read a quarter of a book of C&H cartoons and she believes that this is how I know about Harry....................... 

Grandmas are wonderful - In fact Miss Boo said exactly that yesterday as she was sticking bats on the gingerbread house "It's lovely having a grandma that can knit and crochet and scrapbook and do crafts" pause for one, two, three beats "You can sew too can't you Grandma?"
"yes, I can"
"Oh that makes you nearly perfect."
"only nearly?"
She grinned
I grinned and added " I can't tap dance though."
She grinned again.

When Miss Boo was born my daughter expressed a wish for her to have the same relationship with me as my daughter had with my mother.
I think our relationship is as different as it could be and is still one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done after bringing up my own tribe.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Me on Monday -Christmas plans?

For goodness sake! I am still in shock from actually having someone knock the door to trick or treat and Miss Boo is talking about Christmas Dinner. It seems that Christmas isn't "proper" unless dinner is eaten at Grandma's table. Having had more to do with the growing up of this grandchild than any of the others I think it is the need to make sure that her memories of childhood are special.

My father always said that you have to make memories for small children so that when they get older their brains have been trained to remember and to tell the stories. Well, it worked with me didn't it? so I just have to pass it on to more generations.

Christmas Dinner at ours it is then... 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

"It's been a quiet week in Lake Woebegone"

Does anyone else like Garrison Keillor? I 'discovered' him way back in 1992 when one of his poems was included in the English GCSE exam paper. I know, I was over 40 before I took any GCSE exams. I was too busy when I was 16. I was going to Agricultural college and running a riding stables. I didn't have time for exams. I am wandering from my title now, so I'll just regroup my thoughts and carry on... Garrison Keillor.............right.

I was intrigued by the poem because it was about a woman who........... well I'll use the words that one of my fellow students used shall I? We were doing a course called the Preliminary Certificate in Social Care. It was a qualification that care workers were encouraged to obtain as it was supposed to mean more money. What it actually gave you was more responsibility for the same money. Part of the course was GCSE English, to help us write reports and client notes in real English.

After the exam was over our English tutor, who was and is a wonderful man and I am still in contact with him now, gave two of us a lift home, the others had their own transport. He asked about the paper and Lorraine, who is badly dyslexic, told him that "There was this poem about a woman with several children. The question asked what did we think of her. I wanted to say that she was a prostitute and a whore but I couldn't spell them so I said she was a slag and a slut and shouldn't be allowed to keep the kids."

There was a brief stunned silence in the car and then Mike pulled over and roared laughing.

The thing is that I began seeking out work by this new author and soon after this there was a TV programme about him and his Lake Wobegone stories. He had a weekly Radio programme where he would tell these stories. I have gradually collected his books over the years and I find I can re-read them time and time again. Feeling a little in need of familiarity the other night I opened Lake Wobegone Stories and there it was...

It's been a quiet week in Lake Woebegone.................... and I was wrapped in the gentle humour of the writing.