Archive for December, 2008


morning purr alarm.

December 31, 2008

morning purr alarm.

Originally uploaded by jiva

Just for those of you who don’t live with cats, or have never understood what it is like to have very friendly pets who want to spend their time with you, here is a brief overview of the start of a morning at chez Otis and Jasper. Please turn up the volume so that you can hear our morning purr chorus.

The boys had some lovely toys for christmas, I was intending on getting video of them both playing with their new squeaky mice. They have learned how to squeak them too. Except now both already appear to be lost in to the secret stash place they have hidden anything useful that they have been able to remove. One thing this little holiday has taught me is that I love my family.


like a kid again.

December 31, 2008

This break has meant one thing to me. I’ve felt like a child again. Days on end getting up late, doing the things I want to do. Main activities have been movie watching, especially KIDS movies, this is why I’ve felt a return to child hood. I’ve knitted LOTS, I’ve cooked a little, played with the cats and their new toys and played computer games like little big planet. Oh and taken a little bit of video of our cats.

Scotty and I popped out on boxing day to PC world and stocked up sale tech items. He needed a new hard disk for the play station and bought a new 16Gb memory stick. I got a new memory card for my little camera so that I could store more than 3 photos on it!

Saturday Ewan and Bethan came over to watch wall-e, Dad brought them over and also stayed for the movie. My sister came by a bit later after going shopping in the city. I said she was crazy, she confirmed as much when she turned up. Her instructions were to avoid marks and spencers. I’m not going shopping any time soon at all, definitely not city shopping anyway. I am needing of nothing that it can provide at the moment. Anyway, the film was good and the kids enjoyed it. Dad and I nipped out and went to get fish and chips for everyone for lunch because the kids could not agree on anything else they liked.

Sunday watched films including the very unsurprising surprise I got for Scotty batman the dark knight in HD. I bought it last thing on 23rd when going late night shopping. Except I forgot it was in the bag when Scotty put everything away for me. He exclaimed “oh wow!” when he found it, I followed that exclamation with”Oh crap” that’s another surprise blown. He was good about it.

I made pies with new pots, some quorn chicken and creamy veg pies with mashed potato and turnip on top. I used my new potato ricer to make perfect mash. Except turnips get a little wet and spray all over the place when put under pressure with the ricer. Entertaining, squishy and splattery. Photos of most of my lovely cooking items are available by clicking above. I got some more silicone cake trays, non stick cooking rings and Scotty got a new elephant tea tin.

On Monday I painted pig. It was a woolies special. I asked for one when I saw my niece get one in woolies in Sheringham. I was happy to get it and spent a good couple of hours painting. Its not perfect but I’m very happy with how it turned out.



I think he’s a multi-coloured giraffe style. I could have done a little better but I love him just as he is.

Tuesday went shopping and cooked and knitted. Yet again I want to save the knitting for a whole new post of its own. I’m starting to think I want to be a house wife so I can do more crafty things, spend more time being thrifty and creative. Althoug I do need the wages to pay the bills, so for now it just is not going to happen so I wont get my hopes up. I’m unlikely to win the lottery because I don’t play it.


time out, just what was needed.

December 31, 2008

I’ve been off work since Christmas eve. I’m loving it, I’m getting stuff done and lazing about like no other. Just today I got up and had a cup of tea and now I’ve come back to bed. Its complete decadence and laziness but I have no need to be bouncing off the walls cleaning and tidying and trying to fit everything in.

On Christmas eve I nipped around to Sue and took some Christmas cards. I realized after I left I probably moaned far too much about work but made her feel like it was nice for her not to be there so she did not have to get all involved in the bla bla of it all. It was nice to see her again and good to hear she is healing well.

I made a nut roast. I actually thought I completely fluffed it by making it way too wet. I cooked it for over an hour. I used cashews, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and bread crumbs. I made a vegetable layer with parsnips, butternut squash, garlic, shallots and pine nuts and herbs. I spread over a layer of cranberry and redcurrant sauce and dropped in some cooked chestnuts. I also made the cranberry and redcurrant sauce myself. I made it a few weeks back but it did not fully set. I bought another bag of cranberries and re-cooked the sauce and added a bit of cinnamon. It was divine, thick and gloopy too just how it should be.

Christmas day was lovely. Scotty and I headed over early to my brothers house. Early for us is getting there for 10am. The usual present swaps and hanging about playing with things occurred. Everyone loved every present from each person. We all made a great effort this year to get each other what we wanted and it all went down well. Dad was very very happy with his scarf and I am sad to say I did not get a photo with him wearing it. I will do at some point. He left it draped over his shoulders nearly all day. We scored lots of wonderful things, some of which have been photographed… If you take that link you’ll also find some of my current knitting progress 🙂

Scotty bought me a new camera YAY! I loved my little canon ixus. I needed one to replace it because I kept it on me at all times in my handbag and used it until it nearly died. I bought Scotty little big planet and forbidden lego. We came back with a metric tonne of chocolate and booze and a lovely box of very fattening biscuits. I got a paintable pig, Scotty got a “let the wookie win”lego t-shirt. I think its the first time in a few years where I’ve given so much but received so much too. I think we all paid less this year too. It was more the fact that the items we got were plentiful but large-ish so that it made our bags look fuller.

Lunch was wonderful. I was amazed how well the nut roast went down, it was cooked for another hour wrapped in foil. Everyone had some and my little niece Izzy had 3rd helpings of the cranberry and redcurrant sauce. I left the two jars there for everyone to fight out who would have them.

We played with the kids and their toys. Tommy getting a hot wheels auto ramp looping toy thing and Izzy with her baby anabelle. Ewan got lots of goodies as did Bethan. I tried on Bethan’s Koodie and she proclaimed that she adored it and wanted it finished. I was unsure of the shape but it went down so well even though it was an ad-hoc creation. I seem to be doing something right.

All in all we may have missed mum and there were a few lip wobbles, we all enjoyed it for her and we are proud to be together as a family.

I’m trying to break this up in to manageable chunks so the rest of our break will be covered in another post. Merry Christmas all, although belated I have thought of each of my lovely friends and readers (those of you I know come regularly). I do mean to keep in touch more but I have enjoyed this break not just from blogging but from bothering to send cards and keeping to any appointments at all. I’ve had nothing planned and it has worked out to be wise, relaxing and well worth doing. I hope nobody is offended by this and understands that sometimes, tuning out, switching off and detachment from the world is a really nice way to get mind body and spirit back on track ready for the new challenges of a new year.

more updates soon. I may even get around to some stories from our honeymoon next year!


wind up central

December 22, 2008

so, its all a bit, whats the word, saddening.

One of the saddest things happened this week to a friend of mine at work. Her sister of only 25 years old passed away due to a freak accident at a party. My heart goes out to her because she does not deserve to loose her sister. The same week she found out she was pregnant. This is one of a few things that have left a cloud over work like a brooding storm. Also there seems to be far too much bitching going on. Something I try not to get involved in. Except I’m in a position in my office that I hear almost everything and several people consider me a good friend and use me as a confidant. Come the new year this will change. I’m calling a time out on all people telling me what they think of someone else. Within my company and team its fine. Its my local office and staff that seem to have it in for each other. I’m sure it will all iron out but it has made for a pretty uncomfortable situation. No more I say. PLEASE just no more.

On Tuesday night our dishwasher broke. GARGH! how very unfair. It started leaking over the floor. We tidied up and washed up and made a very fast dinner late after cleaning up the mess.

On the good news front I have tied in the ends on Dad’s scarf and it looks frabulous. I’m mighty happy with it and I stuck at what I would consider a difficult pattern for someone I love, which is why it got finished.

Thursday night I went to knitting night. It was great. We all hung out at the knitting shop instead of the forum and I invested in a new set of interchangable circular needles. I tried one last night and the smoothness on these needles are to die for. They make knitting more of a joy than it was before.

I also went to visit my cube mate Sue. She sits next to me in the office but has been off for the best part of two weeks due to a foot operation. I miss her a whole lot. She is a vicars wife but I have never met someone quite as lovely and respectful of everyone. It was good to see her and take her a puzzle book to keep her entertained whilst she’s stuck at home.

Friday was the office Christmas lunch which passed without any major hitches. Food was ok but it was free so no complaints. I won the raffle and got a box of chocolates, my secret Santa was some pasta which was lovely. I bought a vibrating massager for the receptionist I was buying for. It went down very very well indeed. She has a bad neck and shoulders so hopefully it will help her. Also because of her neck and shoulder problem reception has been moved. I came in to work over the weekend and everything was working fine. It looks posh and a vast improvement on what it was.

I went to the veggie shop too and stocked up on all the things we need for Christmas. Even better news, amid housework on Saturday Scotty and I decided to try and fix the dish washer. We struggled to get it out of its position in the fitted kitchen because it had been tiled around instead of underneath it. Once out we tried some caustic soda and slowly pumped that through the exit pipe. It took the best part of two hours to fix but we did it, got it back in place and it all looks just like before! This is a very big achievement for us because we both really do not like DIY. The smugness was abound in our house on Saturday night when we ran the dishwasher back in place and it worked fine.

With all the housework I was wondering around in my slippers because I seem to have pulled something in my foot which hurts most when walking on cold floors. Most of the house is carpeted including the stairs… Can you see whats coming? I slipped down the stairs in my slippers. bounced on my rear down 3 steps and wrenched my shoulder on my right side because I reached out to grab the railing but forgot I had rubber gloves on still so they stuck firm to the rail leaving me hanging by my arm. I got up and got on with things, not even shedding a tear. BUT instead I woke up on Sunday with a bruised backside and a very sore shoulder, and thoroughly shaken up. Sunday was spent on the sofa knitting and doing little bits about the house because I really did not want to beat myself up again!

Only two days left of work to go and I cant wait for this year to be over. I don’t ever remember feeling this way about a year and even though some of the best things have happened this year some of the worst have too. Over christmas lunch some said, oh its going to be worse next year though. I reminded them there are some things they just cant do to you twice. Thank goodness that is the case.

Oh and one final thing, Otis and Jasper LOVED having the dishwasher out of place and had a good wonder around under all the cupboards picking up all the dust and wood shavings that were left there from the builders. Now Jasper has taken to scratching the boards to try and get his access back now we’ve taken it away. He’s also recently taken to scratching to bury Otis’s wet food that he wont eat. I though Otis was the naughty cat but it appears the tables have turned.


are we nearly there yet?

December 15, 2008

Had the yearly, thanks for working with us call and you have….. no extra pay. Fair enough, tough times. I’m just glad I have a job.

Found some cool new puzzles at Strimko. I like them, think like sudoku.

I had a dentist on Friday, I need a new filling. BOO!

I then had my legs waxed and my nails done. Lovely.

ALL of the Christmas presents have arrived. WOO! achievement.

Scotty and I were meant to go out on Saturday to his works party but it was a 50 minute drive each way. Meh we gave it the heave ho and stayed home in the warm.

Which gave me time to finish dad’s scarf. Need to tie in the ends. I’m happy with it now but I did have to completely re-do the cast on edge. It took most of Saturday and Sunday just to knit 6 rows and undo 3. Good thing I know he’s going to like it.

I cant wait for Christmas, I’ve had enough of this year already. It just feels like some things are a bit of an uphill struggle and they don’t look like its going to get any easier. Not all things, just a few niggles.  Work…time…. although It feels like I’ve had the best of 3 weeks of great moods, so hey not all bad.

Roll on the holiday I have 9 days off including weekends and cant wait to have some time.

Our boys kept me super hot last night, they have taken to lying as close as possible at nigt which can get a bit stifling. At least they are not up in our face. They’ve had a go at some carpet too recently. Little terrors! Still, the cuteness, its soooooooo lovely I can put up with all of it.






could not have gone better…

December 8, 2008

except for one point. A stinky rotten cold. It did not stop me, although my weekend has been a little more sedate than I expected.

Saturday I woke up feeling very wrong. Sneezing and dizzy. I spent the entire day mooching around trying to catch up on sleep and resting. I did get a couple of rounds of knitting done and Dad’s scarf is now at the point that I can decrease, cast off and sew up the sides. A rather daunting task on a style of cast off I’ve not done before.

What I did achieve whilst feeling coldy was quite good. One, I managed to bake some lovely biscuits. Scotty baked a loaf of bread and I also cooked a whole large spaghetti squash which we had with griddled salmon coated in miso paste. Very yummy and good for us. Plus I realised I’d done absolutely no Christmas shopping at all. Wrapped up on the sofa I opened up Amazon and started on my “list” for Christmas. 1 hour later and I had EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING on my list. The only item I could not get via amazon and its resellers was cash for my brother and his wife. I was amazed. I still am. I’d not got a single present and then all at once they are all being posted to me in time for Christmas at a more reasonable price than heading out to brave the cold and the miserable shoppers. This has made me very very happy.

Sunday we headed out a bit earlier than usual to see Dad and the family. We all met at his house and had a cuppa and then headed out to lunch at the pub. The air was crisp, sky clear and although cold it was a beautiful day. After we all waited for our meals and stuffed ourselves until bursting I was starting to feel a little more normal and I thought the cold was subsiding. We went from lunch to Sheringham park. We took mums ashes and scattered them just as we should. The spot she is in is sheltered, has a good view and the bushes are protected by chicken wire so that animals cant dig at them. I could not think of anywhere more perfect for her, or a better day to do it. It was a little sad but there is nothing more I could want or wish for, mum will never be built on, never be moved or never have to move. We may even be able to get a bench so we can go and sit next to her. As some of the family were not wanting to deal with ashes (kids with Scotty and their father) we met back up with them and as we walked down the park to greet them sun shone on the coast line and the poppy line steam train appeared in our view. A beautiful moment and one I will never forget that I shared with a family I love. Dad looked happy even though he worried so much about getting it all done. It was a small signal to him that Mum was happy because we could have never planned to time a walk around a corner like it.

Once we got back to the cars we all parted. Dad gave us a lift back to his to pick up our car. I drove back starting to feel ill again, although it did not worry me because I saw the best sunset I think I have ever seen. The sky turned all shades of yellow orange and pink over the best part of an hour and the whole drive home. It was just turning completely dark as we pulled up at home. I was shocked and in awe at the beauty of the sunset and the fact it felt like it followed us all the way home. I don’t think I’ll ever see such a long and wide and beautiful sunset in my entire life again. Although I was driving I spent most of the way home just saying “wow”.

Maybe this is what I should look for, maybe its not but I am feeling lots better now about it all. We’ve done everything she ever asked for. Dad can settle and get used to being him now even though it has been a wrench from his life partner. The sunshine, clear skies, appearing trains and clear air have helped us all and the company helped too.

all in all a very successful weekend even if I spent the rest of last night hauled up on the sofa again with a loo roll attached to my face.

Love you mum.


I saw mum yesterday!

December 5, 2008

Ok I know that sounds a bit strange, being that she’s not really here any more. I had the afternoon of work and Dad came over to do some Christmas shopping. We had a lovely lunch at Figaros and walked all around town getting things for us and everyone else in the family. I failed to buy any presents at all but it was still lovely to spend some quality time with Dad.

Once we got home and put the bits in his car boot he showed me mum. He picked up her ashes earlier that day from the funeral directors. She was a very large tin. Bigger than we both expected. Think the size of a shop sweety jar. Then he giggled and said she was always a sweetie. It went so much better than I expected and I have a feeling he’s getting there, and learning to get on, on his own. We’re going scattering this Sunday at the place she said she wanted to be. I made a point of asking her what she wanted to do with her ashes when we made my wedding bolero together. Dad is still a bit worried about scattering such a large pile of ashes under a few bushes, and having a bit of privacy in a national trust park whilst we do it. We’ll just have to see how it goes.

I almost expected to dream about mum or have some form of epiphany or thought that may release me from the feeling that I never said goodbye properly. This has not happened at all. IF I have dreamed of mum at all it has been her in the background and not being able to talk to her at all. I doubt I’ll ever get that sort of mental closure via dream or spiritual visitation. I think she’s truly moved on and is happy to do so, not looking back because she did what she wanted and needed to do before she went.

Still I’m feeling better about scattering mum than I thought I would. It seems just right for what mum wanted and done on their wedding anniversary. I’m all for it and hopefully it will help us all move on a little and come to terms with not having her around to talk to. At least I have my sewing machines so I can spend some quality time with her watching me sew, guiding me from my memories, cos this is the way I feel closest to her. I know she’s not really there but as close as I’m going to get. You have to find ways to still include them in your life.


hello you! long time no see.

December 5, 2008

Time flies when you’re busy.

I did not make knit club but I am working hard on Dad’s scarf. It is taking an age but it will look stunning when finished.

life is good, work, well I cant go in to it. Its a lovely job most of the time and I do like working hard when I need to. There is a small issue of “process” and “procedure” and finally “policy” which of course I cannot discuss. Lets just at least say its become a trying situation where even following the rules makes life difficult. It will all blow over but not without much in team grumbling and lots of email writing and feedback to all concerned. Let the typing commence, I will make sure I’m always honest and true and supportive of my colleagues and the companies I work for and are contracted to. Here’s hoping that it is enough to keep things as they should be, positive and achieving the right results for all concerned.

So on to good things. I’ve got the sewing machines going. Its been lovely, lots of fun. I started off making a skirt and I think I failed at that and accidentally cut it too short. Ah well. It was scraps in the first place and I don’t feel like I’ve wasted anything. It was a great learning curve to do it all on my own with no support. I even fitted a zip. It gave me lots of practice at using the sewing machine and over locker. I even took some photos of progress. When I gave up on the skirt I started on making a handbag from mum’s old waterproof coat. This way I could use all the pockets and save seating zips and making all my own which would take hours. I ripped up the coat down the seams and cut out the peices around the zips.

A friend of mine has spent some time recently describing a visualization issue he suffers with. A very strange issue that causes him to be unable to see things correctly in his minds eye. Sewing requires you to be able to see ahead and be able to understand construction and how it all goes together before its together. This is part of the reason I love crafting because the things that I dream of come out in my hands, almost how I want them. Knitting is the same, and felting. I think it would be a good study of how to increase internal visualization of items if a craft is picked up.

Anyway, the bag is half done. I love it. It needs straps and catches and all that, most of which can still be harvested from the bits of the coat I have not used yet. I want to finish it but I’m already using the bag to carry my knitting around and protect it. It is no where near perfect, but I’m still learning and practicing basic techniques. I’m surprised how well this item sits together considering most bits are not quite the right size and they are fudged together. I still love it though.