Sorry It’s NOT Sausages for Tea!

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I don’t even have to look at you to know that you can take ‘that’ face off…. The sigh was all I needed to hear.  I could listen to your protests until you’re blue in the face and I could retaliate.  Shouting and screaming don’t serve us well, though, do they, and, whilst I’ll be sure to set you straight on a few things when I find the time and the energy, just know this for now….

I spent a sleepless night, not only writhing about in pain, but with my mind full to brim of worries.  I worried whether or not you would want to go on the special dance course today, the one that we organised for you to attend during the holidays, but that you were reluctant to do – because none of your friends were doing it.  I know you worry about friendship – a lot.  I worried and hoped that you would be confident to take a chance, just to give yourself that chance.  Unbeknown to you – I worry about lots of things that I know that you so desperately worry about.  I worried that we had sufficient snacks and delicacies in the fridge for your packed lunch and that we had some white bread, the only bread you’ll eat – I know what a fussy thing you can be!!  I worried that that period of absence with your brother yesterday wasn’t the onset of another seizure and I beat myself up further that I didn’t have the energy to drag myself from my pit to check on him right that moment.  I worried about how your other brother would cope today, adult-sitting for Papa.  We know that Papa is struggling at the moment and that he isn’t coping and that I just can’t spread myself thinly enough to be there for all of you all of the time.  I often worry about that.  I worried about getting you to your session, getting your brother to Papa’s and getting myself to my appointment in quick succession in double-quick time.  That was before even worrying about what the MRI scan might show.  I also worried about that pain in my leg, and the bruise.  The very one that you pointed out yesterday whilst I was changing.  You made such an almighty shriek that I thought something was seriously wrong.  I fear that one of my veins has ruptured in my leg again.  Maybe that worry is founded.

I worried all the more that I slept through my first alarm and that when I woke and realised the time I didn’t have the time to worry about what the day had in store for me.  I was far more concerned that your brother’s meds were prepared, that everyone was up and dressed, that Papa had been called to be reminded … that your packed lunch was made, that you were wearing comfy clothing, appropriate footwear and that you had a warm hoodie … I even remembered to remind you to wear a hair band – in case your hair annoyed you and you wanted it off your face.  I told your brother to take his mobile phone, to wear sensible boots and a warm coat and hat and suggested he take a jigsaw.  It wasn’t my fault that he’d left the jigsaw and his hat behind the front door, but when I realised he was without them… I worried about that too!  I made your packed lunch made sure you had a large juice container – full enough to last you the day and made with just enough cordial so that you’d drink it!

I didn’t have breakfast as I was too busy running around – but I ensured that you and your brother had yours, before relaying plans to your Dad and leaving the house in just sufficient time to get you to your class.

I worried when I got to the car and found it covered in a thick layer of ice – that really thick watery ice (bear with me here) – not the powdery stuff you can just scrape off but the sort like black ice that doesn’t scrape easily and you have to sit in the car for 10 minute with the heaters on full blast just to get it to even ease up a little!  (Yes, De-icer would have been a grand plan, but your father doesn’t believe in it … until he needs some – then he chooses to borrow mine, but fails to replace it)!

I put your favourite radio station on in the car and urged your brother to speak kindly to you, whilst I buggered about de-icing the car – I knew that you were nervous… I was too. I got you there in plenty of time, in fact we were one of the first there and I waited with you anxiously until everyone arrived.  I left your brother in the car, so he couldn’t distract you and I worried about that too, despite the fact I could see him from the window.  I talked to you calmly about anything and everything and tried to ease your grasp around my waist a little.  I was desperate to tell you that all your worries were unfounded that you’d have a fabulous day and that we’d look back on this and laugh.  I on the other hand worried just because you were – which was pretty silly really!

I skidded most of the way down the hill back onto the main road – through no fault of my own … despite my urgency I was crawling slower that a particularly precautionary learner driver!  The ice made the roads treacherous and it was too much to expect that the gritters would have been out in a Yorkshire village in winter!

I managed to drive as fast as I could … despite nearly colliding with the gritting lorry three villages along (you couldn’t write this irony could you) and your brother reached Papa’s in fine fettle.  More importantly Papa seemed happy and pleased to see him …. I worried just how long that would last!

I too made my appointment in ample time, I even had time to complete the necessary paperwork, to have a plastic cup of water and to read a swift chapter of my book – although if you asked me to relay the chapter back to you, even then just seconds afterwards, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you any of it.

I spent just shy of an hour in a head brace in the MRI scanner and after managing to dislodge the earplug (a slightly hair moment) I wobbled my way to the door to collect my belongings.  After a moment I had drawn enough breath to steady myself and composed myself enough to drive home.  Sadly, not enough time for that brew with the old school friend that I was so looking forward to having … I needed to get back to take the reins from Dad in looking after your brother, to check for important emails and to respond to any urgent issues.

On the way home, I called at the shops to get your brother that pair of wellies he so desperately needed (and fell lucky at the third shop!) … and I managed to get you a new T-shirt and dance leggings that you didn’t desperately need, but that would be a treat for you joining in today and for taking the plunge.  I’m really proud of you, you know.

I got back, not much later than intended, spent some time with your brother, flushed his feeding tubes and got him to drink a little orally.  I checked a few emails and completed the seizure forms that I should have done last week.  I took some much-needed pain relief.  I had the quickest lunch in history (albeit 2 hours later than intended) and sent a few quick emails and updated my To Do List, before shooting off to collect you.

In the car on the way I realised that I’d forgotten to take the sausages out of the freezer, your favourite tea and one that I knew Papa would enjoy when he dropped Jem back (even though your Dad and I are on a strict diet).  Still, I quickly factored in a stop at the shops on the way back to get some more and some more bread and ham for your sandwiches tomorrow.

When I arrived to collect you, you were happy.  In fact you were bursting and the lady who supervises the classes and does the admin couldn’t wait to tell me just how well you’d done today.  I was seriously proud.  I knew you’d be happy with the new dance gear I had waiting for you at home.

…. Whilst you push your plate angrily to one side and roll your eyes high into your head, before pushing out your bottom lip, even further than your cute button nose, young lady, inside I am taking a deep contemplative sigh of my own.   I’d like to tell you this ….

You most definitely would have had those sausages for tea if, right at that last moment I’d have not been so distracted in Tesco – trying to ensure that you chose something slightly more healthy than that silly novelty toy sweet thing with more E numbers and sugar than I could shake a stick at … so that I hadn’t forgotten to buy your favourite sausages at the shop, remedying the situation … whether I’d have remembered to take them out of the freezer or not!

So, I’m sorry, my love, it’s not sausages for tea!

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TRYING to put some Bejazzle into January!

IMG_4715 (2) It’s not pretty is it!

This is my 4 am face.  As I dream of being shot in the jaw or something equally brutal! The time I awake in raging jaw pain in the need of more drugs, nip to the loo to lessen my weak bladder (3 kids can do that to you!)  AND all the while tiptoeing as slowly and as carefully as I can, so as not to disturb anyone – although oft times I’m not stealth enough for Archie!)!, Sometimes there’s a nosebleed thrown into the mix (weird but early morning nosebleeds are my new ‘thing!’) and I’m so stressed that it normally takes me so long to try to get back to sleep after taking my tablets, that at this point there really is no point!  Still first week in February and I’m able to start writing my blog …. being an early -rising stress monkey has it’s perks! No, my start to the year really hasn’t been pretty.  The loss of my Mum is still ever evident and I’ve a culmination of things nagging on my mind.  I’m worried about so much right now, which leads to stress and as I’ve recently discovered a whole load of nastiness that I could well do without!.  I’ve had pain in my neck (literally), jaw and back teeth for a few months now and it hasn’t really abated.  I saw my handsome dentist (Anthony at Advance Dental Care) who took X-rays and concluded that my teeth were absolutely fine and definitely no sign of any abscesses or anything sinister.  He wondered if I might be clenching my teeth or grinding during the night when I’m sleeping.  I was relieved that it wasn’t teeth-related and thought that maybe things would settle down in time.  It didn’t!   I wouldn’t recommend it, but I took a whole host of pain relief, (including stiff drinks), just to get me through Christmas and New Year and I did get through it, albeit by the skin of my teeth (no pun intended) and if I’m perfectly honest,  in a bit of a blur!  (Make that a lot). Like I said, I absolutely wouldn’t recommend it.  I went to the doctors in the New Year and she concluded that I might need some more pain relief, but that the cause was probably was just stress and that things would settle. (At this point I’d had pain pretty much constantly for 3 months!).  On a second visit I dug my heels in and the doc agreed to refer me to an ENT specialist as she was concerned that the pain might be connected to my sinuses.  I’ve had tumours and polyps removed from my sinus tract twice in the past, behind my eyes and very close to my brain (fortunately for me, although they were dangerous in themselves; due to the mass and pressure caused, they weren’t cancerous and were born through hormone changes and infection).  So, I managed to get a specialist appointment at The Spire.  Due to private medical insurance (thank The Lord) the appointment came around quite quickly and I saw a really affable consultant, Mr Gerard Kelly, who I can’t recommend highly enough.  He was incredibly friendly and personable, albeit painfully thorough (having a camera shoved up your nose into your sinuses and down your throat is never going to be pleasant), and he assured me that my sinuses are remarkably clear at the moment (phew)… However, he did get ever so slightly giddy (and me far less so) when he discovered what the actual problem is!  I can’t even tell you verbatim, as it’s such a complicated thing that he had to write it down for me.  I have … wait for it … acute Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction and Myofascial Syndrome!  Basically (along with many other things)  my jaw joint and muscle structure are buggered!  I’m hoping (and praying) that when I see the next ‘super specialist’ – that Mr Kelly knows personally, and by fantastic reputation – for just this specific jaw complaint, that there will in fact be some less scary news and more homeopathic and less intrusive solutions than a new jaw!!?*  I kid you not.  I’m starting to think an abscess would have been far preferable!?* So, it’s probably of no surprise that I’ve been a bit ‘away with the fairies’ this month to put it mildly…

On one occasion I nipped to the local Tesco Express and when I came out I opened the door of what I thought was my car and pretty much sat on the knee of the unsuspecting male driver of the black car parked ‘next to’ mine!??*  Fortunately he was a nice bloke and laughed both at me and with me and wasn’t in the least bit upset or offended !  If you happen to be reading this(Mr Black Car Driver), or indeed you know the guy in the car, (I’m pretty certain I’ll have been the topic of a few pub conversations), and, if a message might get to the bloke – might I relay my apologies and thanks for understanding! …. Blimey, If this carries on I’ll end up getting locked up!

It’s been a chaotic month in more ways than one (there’s a surprise)! However, I’m pleased to report that there’s been plenty of fun and frolics thrown in with the madness and the mayhem ….

IMG_3754 IMG_3758 We had a family trip to London (minus an Archie who was in respite and wouldn’t have managed ‘accessibility-wise’ with the places that we visited. I don’t know why,  but, I always feel the need to explain our respite time as being important and incredibly precious.  As much as we adore Archie, and he’s a key family member and we always include him in every way we can, but, there are, and always will be, exceptions.  Some theatres and restaurants just aren’t accessible … So on occasion, we do things when he’s in respite that we know he wouldn’t manage.  Besides, it’s important for us to nip off with the imps and have some ‘us time’ and a little ‘normality’ where we can rush around taking in the things that we unfortunately can’t do so easily when Archie is with us.  It doesn’t mean we love him any the less and his presence is very much missed, but we do enjoy our respite time too.  It’s good that the imps can have our complete and undivided attention – and boy do they make the most of it!)!

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SO, we headed to London on a very early train (exciting in itself)!  We took in a matinee performance of The Tiger That Came To Tea at The Lyric Theatre (which I’d won tickets for!).  It was a really good performance.  Simply set, with just one scene, but with lots of surprises along the way.  It was cleverly done and endearing, with a minimal cast (just 3 or 4 actors) and we all enjoyed the show…. It was as good, if not better than, the book – and that’s been one of our favourites!

Afterwards we had a late lunch at The Rainforest Cafe, just up the road,  which was absolutely brilliant fun.  The kids had a fantastic time – as did we! I can’t rate it enough.  The food was pretty good but the atmosphere was awesome!  The imps were made up with their MOCKtails and are still using the rather fabulous palm tree drink holders!!

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We really were in the heart of the rainforest, with frogs and elephants and butterflies and birds and a whole host of other plant and animal life that you’d find there.  It was obviously a novelty and I’ve certainly not seen anything like it before … the restaurant was full to bursting attracting locals and visitors alike.  It was all about the gorillas for Scarlett … who not only met one in the Rainforest Cafe … IMG_3866 but she was grabbed by one in Hamley’s toy store too!! IMG_3881

Scarlett had her nails painted with these novelty nail art pens, (she chose strawberry and panda designs) and both her and Jem thoroughly enjoyed watching the various demonstrations of the toys and the making and doing sections that are always in store. IMG_3876 

Jem, as ever, spent a good 10 minutes at the Nerf station competing with a number of other Nerf fanatics/customers … until we dragged him off under protest! 

It’s like a kids paradise in there! The kids just LOVE Hamley’s (I do too) and they managed to spend all of  their Christmas money (an ample amount) ‘we’re talking kids in a sweet shop’ (or in this case a toy shop) and a little more besides … Pete came out with a sore head and a sore wallet!  I think the kids could have happily stayed there forever.

I simply had to scoot into Selfridges (despite having less than an hour left before catching the train)… it wouldn’t be a trip to London otherwise.  The rest of the family tagged along under duress … although the kids enjoyed wowing at the various displays and lounging on the luxury sofas whilst I shopped manically!   I managed to find myself a rather lovely pair of gorgeous summer wedges in the sale at Kurt Geiger! (I just love a designer bargain).  When I was in Selfridges a couple of years ago I bought a fabulous pair of knee high, brown leather boots from Kenneth Cole (Reaction) which cost me an arm and a leg, but they were worth every penny…  They are still my favourite autumnal pair!

Scarlett and I were momentarily stunned when we passed the MAC concession to see a gorgeous model made up as the  fairy heading up their current marketing campaign ..

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I’m a huge ambassador of the MAC make up range, as I was trained by a MAC artist from New York, many moons ago, when I worked at Harvey Nichols in Leeds, and I still swear by their products.

… Speaking of make up and being made up … I’ve actually had not one, but two photo shoots in January … The first was a present from a friend; A Boudoir Shoot at Mark Swinford’s, Horsforth.  My friend had a Boudoir Shoot there last year and was raving about it.  I can remember her coming home looking all dolled up and fabulous and us making all sorts of excuses to her husband (as the prints were a saucy gift for him). Moreover, the shots that she selected are really stunning, not that that will have been difficult to achieve with her as their subject.  For me, at a low ebb, I was just trying to find myself and my confidence again … I’ve been bottom of the pecking order for so long.  I have to be honest, both before and during the shoot, I was terrified and so far outside of my comfort zone it wasn’t even funny …

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I was lucky that the expert Make Up Artist, Emma, and very patient and skilled Photographer, Lucy, both put me at ease and worked their magic (thought they had to dig very deep with the fairy dust) … and I’m awaiting the results with bated breath.  If there’s just one shot where I look and feel fabulous – I’ll be happy!

The second shoot was a family one at Venture Photography in Leeds and it was far less daunting (for me personally) and far more relaxed, despite my preference in being behind the camera rather than in front of it!  For me this session was all about relaxing and being human and to be honest it was mainly ALL about the kids – they grow and change so very quickly.

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The kids were sold when they were offered cups of hot chocolate to warm them up on arrival, it was an early start and an icy day, and biscuits too!

 IMG_4438The Photographer, Craig, was really great with the kids, especially Archie, and I’m thinking the results will be great too.

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So two photo shoots in two weeks … who’d have thought it!  Can’t wait to get the shots back.

 Speaking of boots (ok, so I digressed a bit), but I found these beaut’s at the back of my wardrobe the other day and IMG_4500

I’d forgotten how much I loved them – so, I wore them with my pink leather jacket to my friend’s Baby Shower at Just Grand! Vintage tea rooms, Victoria Arcade, Leeds.  I know I should have worn a ‘tea dress’ but I’m afraid days of ‘Legs’ (my old nickname) showing any leg are well and truly over.

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I’m not entirely sure I agree with all these Americanisms that Great Britain are taking on … but it was an excuse to make a fuss of Claire, the gorgeous Mum-to-be, and a lovely afternoon was enjoyed catching up with girlfriends and token male (Tom, my honorary spare husband).  We took afternoon tea (I have to say the Gluten Free selection of sandwiches and cakes was delectable) and a bottle or three of pink fizz!  I might not agree with all these Americanisms – but this one certainly seemed to agree with me … which is more than I can say about running to the station, in the snow, in my bright pink stripy heeled boots!!?*

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Whilst I’m mentioning ‘Boots’ (do you like what I did there – again!?) – I have to give a shout out to Maria, the Chemist at Boots in Baildon. – For doing her job well and for being ever so lovely!  After what has been a challenging few months, trying to set up some support for my Dad, I have to say, that where other organisations have failed to deliver, Boots The Chemist and indeed Maria at the Baildon store, couldn’t have been more helpful.  Despite numerous phone calls, (Dad’s instance on checking and double-checking on his behalf), Maria organised a dosset box for my Dad’s medication which in a few short weeks has already made a massive difference to him and to me.  People seem to be quick to complain, but I like to think I can help redress the balance.  Thank you, Maria, your friendly assistance and efficiency has not gone unnoticed.

WP_20160123_009 When I come to the best things I’ve read this month, this year in fact, it’s not difficult.  I have to admit I have totally and wholeheartedly fallen in love the author JoJo Moyes for the most wonderfully written  literary rollercoaster that she’s taken me on the past couple of weeks.

 JoJo Moyes Me Before You and After You

Her novel Me Before You http://bit.ly/1KxzOlo and it’s sequel After You http://bit.ly/1SqzhZ3 are beyond exceptional.  There were far too many ‘moments’ for me to recollect the best bits, but it was an incredibly emotional and hairy ride.  Even now, a month later, I find myself thinking really deeply, contemplating it. Smiling when I see the cover on the shelf.  Instinctive for a mother with a son in a wheelchair, maybe … even though our situation and the one of the central character are very, very different.  Touched nonetheless.  I don’t want to give too much away, and by all means read my reviews (next to the titles above) … but these are’ those books’ that people will always remember and will always talk about – so I urge you to just read them!  AND I’ve just discovered that they’re currently working on making them into films …. I think I just leaked a little!

Via radio and CD (I’m so old skool) I’ve been listening to Adele’s Hello  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQHsXMglC9A

so much so recently and it’s just so strong and so moving for me – every time I hear it I am reduced to tears as it reminds me of my Mum.  My Mum was a lousy singer (one of the only things she wasn’t any good at!) but blimey she knew how to belt out a lousy tune in the car when something she liked … like Adele, came on the radio!

I’ve decided I need to live a little more upbeat as I stagger into next month and I’m even starting (albeit very slowly and against all odds) to try to love and take care of myself … and with that I’ll admit I’ve finally succumbed and am now a ‘Belieber!’  Jem and I both really like ‘Love Myself’ – how fitting!

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We were belting it out  on the way to his B-Boy session in the car the other day.  I have to say Jem’s vocals aren’t too shabby – but I fear I take after my mother on that one!  Still, it’s all about letting loose and … starting to LOVE MYSELF … What is it they say…….

‘Smile and Swag?’ I’ll take that ………

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…. Oh, and I’m wearing my daughter’s diamante hairband so I can channel my inner ‘princess!’  Clearly I need to get myself a tiara!

Ciao for now … S-Jx