Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Times, Sad Times

First I'd like to give a sincere thank you to everyone for your lovely comments and good wishes in my last post.

I've been missing in action because Auntie Gladwyn has died. It doesn't matter how much you are expecting death, it is still a shock. So I am having a little bloggy break while the family gathers in mourning.

I will leave you with some of my recent happy times though, (as you know our youngest daughter gets married next year and things are hotting up) Andy and I accompanied Steph and Alastair to not one, not two, but THREE! wedding Fayre's in York last Sunday.

The wedding reception will be at The Merchant Adventurers Hall in York...

It's fantastic inside...a real medieval treat...except for the loos which I am delighted to say are totally modern!

York is renowned for its quaint alley ways and short cuts...its just that Alastair is too tall for some of them! I had to take a snap here because he was carrying Steph's bag too and there was no mistaking it for a man bag!

Bye for now, I shall be back when I'm ready.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Reflection is good for the Soul

Yesterday I woke at 5:45 am. The sun was casting its light onto the landing as it was streaming in through the window of the spare bedroom. I got up and went to lay on the bed in there, thinking that at exactly this time 11 years ago, Andy was putting his wedding ring onto my finger and saying "I want you to put this back on my finger when I come round"
Some who read my blog know our story, but for those who don't....this thought is significant in our lives because 11 years ago, (April 17 1999) after a frightening year of medical tests (and errors) Andy had a liver transplant at the age of 36. He almost died.
We always spend the day together, never letting anything get in the way of it, we are thankful that he is alive and that he has had the chance to see our children grow up, we remember Sarah's family who bravely donated her organs to save the lives of others...and best of all, we are now planning a future. When he had the transplant, they told us it could prolong his life for 5 - 7 years...thats scary, its not long enough (we thought at the time) but we chose life. And we have lived our lives with that always hanging over, 11 years in and with excellent results at his last 6 monthly checkup, we are beginning to build a future and to believe that he will be around for many years to come.
So the day dawned bright and sunny and we were going to Whitby for our transplant anniversary this year (the ritual we have made for this day is that we go into the North Yorkshire Moors or the Dales as they hold the happiest family memories for us and because our children - who are all grown and left home - are wrapped in those memories, its almost like they are with us on this day too.

We had a quiet journey up, talking about where we are now compared to where we were then.... its a good exercise to perform on an annual basis, because you get to see where you've come from, life isn't passing you by in a blur.
When we got to Whitby, it was of course crowded - the sun brings everyone out - and rightly so - life is too short not to enjoy as we are very keenly aware of! We browsed in one or two shops as we made our way up to the Abbey.

(Stopped on the way for a photo shoot - this ones for you Dave and Jayne)

Climbed the 199 steps to the Abbey

The ruins are spectacular on the cliff top and we strolled around marvelling at the architecture as we do on every visit - is it just me or does anyone else think that some buildings these days leave a lot to be'd think that with all the tools and machinery we have to hand in our modern world, we (I say we but I mean they!!) could design great buildings to uplift the soul - like this must have been in its day.

This celtic cross is actually in the graveyard of St Marys Church, which is at the top of the 199 steps - can you imagine how healthy I would be If I worshipped at that Church? Or I could just drive the car around the road system!

but see what I mean about the detail..

and this.... now I was thinking this would make a lovely stamp....

I had a few happy thoughts as we stopped at this tomb...our three children used to lay in this when they were young. (I remember groaning at the time because their clothes invariably got dirty!

And they played hide and seek, Steph once hid in this niche and it took ages for Martin and Laura-Beth to find her. Of course, being the child she was, she tried it on subsequent visits and couldn't understand why they always KNEW where she was!

And so onto the photo I take every year... the one where Andy holds up his fingers to say how old he is (in transplant years) BUT this year (and I'm happy crying here!) he doesn't have enough fingers...the toes have to come out!

And so, back to St Mary's Church, we lit a candle and prayed to thank 'The Ancient of Days' who knew this day would dawn for us at the beginning of time.
We will all die one day, I know that, but its how we spend our days that count.

We'll spend the rest of ours being thankful for the precious time we got to have with each other.

And a big PS...I bought myself a new journal while we were there... its dinky, yummily leatherbound and the pages are handmade paper....

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Arting around feels good!

Here are a few art journal pages I've been working on during the night when I can't sleep...its really helped me to wind down from the pressures of the day. Once I've done that, I go to bed and listen to my ipod - usually Andrea Bocelli - last years birthday gift from a friend - yes Gill I DO listen to it and I like it very muchly thank you, in fact I'm listening to it now as I write this!

Andy loved this one - he's my honest critic and I value his opinion of my work.
*note to my daughters - I luurve you...hope this makes you laugh!!

I was feeling pretty poopy this day, I think the murky background colour shows it!

This was done after the one above but I thought I'd brighten it up a little more... don't want to feel morose when I look back at these pages! I used pastels to make the border.

And this image was from a Sunday supplement. I liked....well, more like I was drawn to the pink hair! I did this last night and haven't journal ed yet as the thoughts are still chunkling around inside my head.

I can see these pages have a theme in that Ive 'framed' them all, i.e. given them all a border which I quite like.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Feet eating fish!!!!

Well, not exactly FEET EATING fish....but ugggh! I don't like my feet being touched so when Laura-Beth said she wanted to try a 'Appy Feet' experience at Meadowhall for her birthday, it was always going to be a NO-NO for me!

Our eldest daughter is now 25! She lives in Leicester, so she and Jim arrived the night before her birthday as we had arranged the Meadowhall trip for her actual birthday (23 March) Her Dad and I took her a champagne breakfast in bed...."well" she said, "I am a quarter of a century old, so it should be celebrated in style"

After breakfast (and a whole bottle of champagne between LB and I!) we visited my parents. Traditionally, Mum and Dad always 'phone up their four daughters (my sisters and I!) and their seven grandchildren at every birthday and sing "Happy Birthday to you!" well Laura-Beth turned up on the doorstep for a special in person rendition! (Of course the doting Grandparents were delighted!)

So, onto Meadowhall.... when we actually arrived and saw the fish swimming around in the tanks, Laura-Beth tried to wriggle out of it! "I'll do it if you do it Mum" she said.... Er, NO darling - you know I don't like my feet being touched!
Jim spoke masterfully - "We are doing this" he said "We haven't come all the way from Leicester for nothing!"

While they filled in their forms, I was peering into the tanks and couldn't shake the thought of piranhas from my mind! BTW - the fish are carp not piranha’s and if you want to try it - please don't let my bias put you off!

Andy, Jim and Laura-Beth gingerly lowered their feet into the tanks and let out ... well sort of sighing, aaahhhing sounds as the fish swarmed all over their feet!

At first, all of them were unsure about what they felt...but as people were passing by the shop window, they came in to talk to them all, asking what it felt like. I think it helped them to calm down and actually, describing their experience, helped them to decide (almost on the spot!) that they DID like it...they said it felt kind of 'feathery' (if that makes sense!)

The fish come from Turkey and are said to be good for people with psoriasis...they eat dry skin.
I suppose it IS a good thing if you could bear to be immersed in a tank with those little fish swarming all over you!
Personally, I'll pass thank you, I'm a bit too squeamish!

The champagne breakfast was lovely, but it took it's toll - champagne + trundling around vast shopping mall = headache!
Fortunately, a couple of paracetamol came to the rescue. For both of us!

Now, what shall we do for my birthday later this year - I shall be half a century old!