28 May 2010

Never, ever break the Rules of the Teen Handbook..CHECK!

It's 5.30pm and I've just returned from an emergency dash to TDs college.
We got a phone call at 4.45 from TDs AS level photography tutor asking for TD, who wasn't in, so I asked if I could help.
'I'm marking her AS work and I don't have her coursework book here'.

'Unfortunately if I don't have both books she'll get 0 marks, a U grading. I have her final exam book, but not the other one, and I know she's done it because I've seen it before'.

...and what was sitting in the kitchen in a bag on the floor, below the wall phone? 

Yep, the other book. The very book I suggested she might need to take in Wednesday morning, last week, when she had her final 2 hour (out of 8 hrs) exam.
The book she argued 'I won't need, it's the exam we're doing, so I only need the exam book' with only a grudging attempt to keep the sarcasm from her voice, and looking at me like I was insane, stupid or both. Because of course, what do I know, huh?
Deep breath...I tried again 'But surely they'll need to mark the whole course, not just the final exam?'
...'Oh god, Muuuuummmm! If I need the other book then I'll take it in tomorrow!'
Okaaay...enough said.

Mistake? Yes, I know not mine...
But my mistake??
The Big 'Teen' no no? I didn't check...I didn't check she'd checked.
Rule #1 of the 'How to drag up a Teenager' Handbook? Always, always check. Even when you have to suffer the exasperated sighs and inevitable eye rolling. Suck it up and CHECK!
Lucky for TD she obviously has a good tutor. Who I'm sure, would have been quite within her rights to mark and send off only what she had there and then. But, no, she phoned home. And got me. Who raced to the college, only just in time, with the fricking book TD said she didn't need.

Why don't they ever bloody listen..*Wanders off mumbling*

25 May 2010

The Gallery - Friendship

This week the theme at Sticky Fingers is 'Friendship'.

It's extremely lucky that I know my longstanding friend really well. I know she would scream every swear word she knows (oh, she taught me well) for putting this photo up here, and then cry with laughter, giving herself hiccups in the process.

But I don't feel too bad about sharing it on my blog, as I had already posted it on Facebook, ages ago. Hence the reason I know exactly what her reaction would be.

We go back a very long way, 32 years. We met when I was just 16, she was 19 or 20 (? I've actually forgotten exactly how old she is) and she was a young mum of 2 little girls. We have both moved around alot in the intervening years. Had children (me), more children (her), divorced (both) and we don't always manage to connect and go years without talking. But when we do talk it's as though one of us has just come back into the room after making a cuppa! 
Strangely, we don't have many photos of us together.

Last October, late one evening, I got a very drunken phone call from her, telling me her and her latest man were in Brighton for a dirty weekend, and did I want to meet for lunch the next day? We hadn't spoken in nearly 3 years...but that didn't stop her from launching into a blow by blow description of his attributes (I assumed he'd popped to the loo, or I hoped so anyway, it was fairly graphic!).
We met up for lunch, and talked, caught up and giggled non-stop for 3 hours. We probably won't meet up again for another 3 years. And that's fine, that's the way it is between us. It works.
My friend...
Okay it was the 80s', but even so there was absolutely no excuse for those curlers!

21 May 2010

Secret Post Club - How lovely!

I received my first ever Secret Post Club parcel on Wednesday. YAY! If you want to know all about it, please click on either link which will take you to Heather, who came up with the brilliant idea, at Notes from Lapland.

It felt a little like christmas, t'was very exciting (I obviously live a very dull life!).

So just like a little child at christmas, I very, very gently shook it. Nope..no noise. I sniffed it..No, no smells I could identify. I opened one end of the box very carefully and pulled out this..

Oooh...even more exciting, I still can't guess what it is! But look the wrapping paper is just so sweet...I love it. I'm keeping it to use for one of my bits of artwork, the colours are gorgeous.

Then of course I really couldn't contain myself any longer...


A beautifully, colourful felt hot-water bottle cover and a very sweet and pretty bone china Tea cup (which also had some cleverly hidden T-bags inside) a Saucer and Tea plate...for CAKE!!
I love them. Thank you so, so much. I have already had my tea and cake in/on them!
Unfortunately, lovely Blogger, you didn't tell me who you are. But whoever you are (please, please let me know? Otherwise it will forever remain a truly 'Secret Post'. Then I can put the link to you on this post) you certainly hit the spot. THANK YOU..and big hugs with knobs on!

19 May 2010

WHOO-HOO!!... *Dancing on the spot!*

Today is a brilliant day! Wonderfully lovely in every single way!!! Why? 
Because now there is HOPE! More than we ever dared to dream for. And I now honestly feel like I just breathed out, after 6 months, even though I didn't realise I was even holding it..till now...

In Dec 09 my OH was diagnosed with cancer. A particularly nasty type, a Malignant Melanoma tumor wrapped around his Illiac vessels, near his hip (the main artery to his right leg). After being told that surgery was the way forward, and being sent to the best surgeon at The Royal Marsden, it was devastating to be told, that due to its size and location it was inoperable and that Radiotherepy was the best way forward. The hope was to stop it growing any bigger, they weren't expecting it to shrink, just to stop it. They even used those sick-to-the-stomach-feeling terms you never want to hear, about how radiotherapy would make him feel more 'comfortable' and about it's use for 'the management of the pain'. You can read that exactly the way I did.
OH had his radiotherapy, and had a scan last week. Today he met with his Oncologist, who told him that they had stopped it growing.
...and in fact, the treatment had reduced it to 1/16th its original size. Even with just this news I was smiling, then, the one that caught me off guard completely? He can now be considered for surgery.... OMFG!!! We never thought it was even an option anymore..OMG.

That's it for now, I just needed to share because I was in serious danger of bursting with glee!! And my face is starting to ache cos I can't get rid of the stupid grin! And I think I may go for a dance round the kitchen now!

The Gallery - Self Portrait..Slowly does it.

 This week on The gallery at Sticky Fingers the theme is Self Portrait.....Eeeekkk!!! And I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking that. Ta very much Tara! We're all guilty of hiding behind the camera, and I've found this to be the case even more so the older I've got. Basically I don't like what I see in the, very few, photos of me...that can't be me surely? When did I get so old? Maybe in my head I'm still that fresh faced 18 year old, so to be confronted with a much older version is a bit daunting. So I'm going to do this quickly, a bit like ripping a plaster off...

Okay...maybe not that fast....

...Just a little at a time might be less painful...

There, done. Ouch!

12 May 2010

The Gallery - The man in my life...

The theme for The Gallery at Sticky Fingers this week is Men. 
I could post about the distant relationship, and not geographically, I have with my Dad who left us when I was 15 and my younger sister was only 5 months old, with 7 and 9 yr olds in between. Or I could post about my ex-husband, father to my 4 children and since remarried with 2 step-daughters. I could choose my 3 boys, now 18, 20 and 22 years old, as they have all been, and still are, a huge part of my life. 
But no, I'm going to post photos of my OH. 
We've been together for 12 years. We moved from Essex to Brighton in 2001, as a family of 6. And although my children still all see their Dad, and until they were all 16 or so and made their own decisions that their social life was far more important than spending 2 whole days with their Dad when all their friends are here in Brighton, saw him every other weekend. A natural progression I think, as does their dad. As who, at that age, chooses to spend a whole weekend with one of their parents, whether together or not?
From Brighton to Essex (140 or so miles, round trip) on a Friday after school, then there and back again to pick them up on a Sunday, every 2 weeks. Yes, we clocked up the miles, we wore grooves in the M23/M25 motorways.  And my OH did a fair chunk of some of those miles with them, as my ex doesn't drive. But that was our choice, made as a couple, for living in Brighton.
But I think the main reason I'm posting photos of my OH is that he's had a hugely tough job in those 12 years.
A father figure, but not the father. He's dealt with all the good, the bad and the bits in between. All the downright hard, tough work that goes into being a dad. But without actually reaping all of the benefits, some yes, but not all. It's a very tricky line to walk, as a step-dad. He's had the immortal lines "You can't tell me what to do, you're not my dad!" thrown at him on more than one occassion. He's done the hands on, day to day 'dad' stuff from cooking, cleaning, picking up after, taxi service, constant reminders about revision/laundry and that uniquely teenage ailment (ongoing), which causes a complete lack of any crockery or glasses to be found in the kitchen...
....Plus GCSE exams, times 4!
And then there have been the many, many fun things he's shared with them, or things he's taught them. Bike riding, sailing on our Catamaran, canoeing, above, OH is in the middle, last year in Greece. Diving, well most of them anyway, TD still can't quite grasp an elegant dive, but what she lacks in style she more than makes up for with enthusiasm. Skateboarding, roller blading..and my personal favourite beach jumping! (Sadly I can't find a digital photo of the beach jumping). Plus so, so many others.
The children love their dad, dearly, and he them. That has never, ever been an issue. And he has handed down some great qualities to them. But if I am to be completely honest, and it's my blog so I can say what I think, my OH has had a larger influence on them, day to day, in shaping the adults they have become and are becoming. So in that respect, my children have been extremely lucky, they have had the best of two Dads.
It's been an extremely tough, emotional, life changing six months for all of us, but mainly for OH, with much more still to come, but I'm not going into it in this post. You can read an earlier post here or on OHs own blog, here if you want to know more.
I wanted to share with everyone in the wonderful blogging world what a brilliant 'Step-Dad' looks like. 
Also, because I just happen to think he looks pretty damn sexy in the last photo, the twinkle in his eyes and the hint of a grin? Very, very..Mmm...yes, well.. ahem.....*cough*

So I'm giving him a standing ovation...for a job well done. 

You do know the standing ovation isn't just for the looking 'sexy' part, don't you??...

5 May 2010

The Gallery - A picture of the world I live in...

The theme for The Gallery at Sticky Fingers this week is 'Paint a picture of the world we live in'. The hidden parts, places other people wouldn't see. The problem I have is that most people recognise Brighton, it has a distinctive style and a fair few instantly recognisable landmarks.
So I thought I would take you on a virtual 'open-top bus trip'. Just to give you a slightly different perspective. These photos are about 4 years old and not of the greatest quality as they were taken on my phone when I took TD on a long promised trip round her home town.

The first two shots are along the seafront, and what was left of the burnt out, collapsing old West Pier...

The next you may not recognise, but it's very pretty...
It's the Victorian built train station. If you look you can see Brightonians are all fairly good at cycling...
 The next is down toward the Old Steine, and The Pavillion...
  ...passing the Clock tower...

This is an image most people will recognise, but maybe not from this angle, The Pavillion, and yes, 'I'm on the bus'.
I LOVE this street. It's only round the corner from our house, but it's on the bus route. Although it's called Blaker St, a lot of people call it Rainbow Rd. Every house is painted a different colour. Very cheerful...

Next on the trip is the marina. Which could possibly end up a little boring with just a load of boats. Not that I have anything against boats, it's just that's exactly what you'd expect, isn't it? Instead I took a shot of the roundabout. This was during The Brighton Festival. It  caused many a giggle on the way to Asda, which is just to the left of the roundabout, and possibly a few collisions!

And finally, I'm going to share our family's closely guarded secret (so it fits Tara's theme) 'eating place' in Brighton. This isn't on the bus route, I just love the photo!.  A pub in a narrow little 'hidden' street, just off the seafront. It serves the most mouth watering pub food, all organic, all locally sourced and the menu takes half an hour to read...so much scrumptious choice. We've had many lovely, various family lunches there. And a local artist makes 'sculptures' from car trims; hub caps and so on. This is hanging on a wall in the patio area...

3 May 2010

What? No Teenagers?! Really??

I had to post these photos of our cute little cat Hendrix. He seemed to be revelling in the fact there were no Teens in the house and he could stretch out, in the seat of his choosing, undisturbed.

At least he was undisturbed, until I accidently woke him by photographing him....Ooops....

It appears it isn't only the Teens he needs to try and avoid!