Daybook Entry – New Year’s Eve 2016


021114_2314_DaybookEntr1.jpgFor Today… the last day of 2016

Outside my window… I can hear some isolated bursts of fireworks going off locally. The weather is mild to cold but not frosty yet.

I am thinking… about some changes I need to make in myself, my outlook, my worldview and my expectations.

I am thankful… for so, so much! Where to start? Well, first and foremost I am thankful for the ever present grace and love of God in my life. My faith in him (and his in me) has got me through so much this year and I am thankful to have reached this point still in one piece.

I am praying for… Charlotte and Kieran who are dealing with the most heartbreaking loss anyone can imagine; my brother who is going to be having an operation in a couple of weeks and is facing a long recovery time afterwards; Roy, Margaret, Iain and Megan who will be taking a big step next week; Emma who is starting a new job on Tuesday; Ethan who has got a high-pressure time ahead this term.

I am wearing… a happy smile this evening as I look back at what has happened this year.

I am creating… a new way of thinking. I have come to realise that my thought patterns and behaviour patterns need an overhaul if I am to ever make progress with my life. For example, I am desperate to write a full length novel but fear of failure is holding me back. I know I have the skills (talent is as yet still untested), but I keep talking myself out of doing anything about it because I think my story is not good enough, or that people won’t want to read it and so on. I am trying to create a new way of thinking about myself where I concentrate on the positives of what I’m doing rather than worrying about the (unknown) negatives.

I am going… to put my new thinking into action over the coming weeks and let’s see where we are by half term.

I am wondering… whether I ought to do something about my physical health as well as my mental health this year…

I am reading… “Speaking in Bones” by Kathy Reichs. I was fortunate enough to receive an Amazon gift card for Christmas which I have already bitten into and bought this latest one in the Temperance Brennan series. I have had my eye on it for a little while and I was really chuffed to be able to buy it on Boxing Day. I’m nearly at the end of it and to be honest, I can’t wait for bedtime tonight so I can go and finish it!

I am hoping… that our financial difficulties will be eased this year, if not resolved somehow. I have faith that we will be ok.

I am learning… to ease up on myself, to lower my expectations, and to celebrate the small things.

In my garden… we have a gazebo erected over our deck area at the back of the house. We put it up there for Christmas Day so we had somewhere dry to put the settee out while we had the long tables set up for dinner. We haven’t got round to putting it down yet but I rather like it and might persuade Kevin to keep it for a while.

In my kitchen… we have some snacks and treats waiting to eat while we watch the final Harry Potter film later on tonight.

A favourite quote for today…

new_year_meme

A peek into one of my days… I’m going to cheat here and show you a few photos from December as there’s too many to choose from!

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A bonus little video for you: filmed outside our house on Christmas morning as we played for our neighbours before church. Hope you enjoy it!

One of my favourite things… is planning and researching things for writing about. One of my least favourite things is spotting when “research” becomes “procrastinating” and getting a move on and to get writing.

Post Script: This year has been a year of spectacular highs and devastating lows, and this is my chance to acknowledge those difficulties and joys and to say a public thank you to everyone who has got me through it all.

Those of you who have followed my blog over the months and years will know that from time to time my mental health takes a hit, and that my family’s financial situation is not particularly secure or hopeful. This year has been the worst we have endured and we have come close a few times to crossing the line. However, we have been blessed on so many occasions by the kindness and support of family and friends who have seen us through. With gifts of food and other necessities, and on more than one occasion the gift of money, our family and friends have literally saved the day. Ethan would not have been able to go on the trip of a lifetime with the music centre had it not been for an anonymous gift of a substantial amount of money which was put through our front door the day before the deadline for payment. More recently, we were facing a very lean Christmas with no spare cash to be able to buy any presents for anyone but again, from anonymous gifts, we not only were able to get some gifts for our children but we have enough now for both Kevin and I to be able to replace our glasses in a couple of weeks. We are both desperate for an eye test and new glasses but until this money came in, we were getting very anxious about how we were going to pay for them. As I said, we have been extremely blessed and we are so grateful for everyone who has helped us in 2016. The grace of God has been in abundance in our family this year!

Some high spots have punctuated the seemingly endless struggle to “get by”, such as our family camping holiday in Wales this summer (again, paid for as a gift to us – and boy are we glad for that gift!). We were joined by my brother and his family for a few days, which was a great experience, and I got to enjoy some spiritual time in a very special part of the world. I finally finished my studies and I got my degree this summer which is an achievement I never in a million years thought I would ever do. Kevin and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary this year too, which, as with my degree, is an achievement and milestone I never thought I would ever see. But we did and I am proud to have made it with my best friend and partner in life.

Thanksgiving


In the spirit of Thanksgiving in the US today, I thought I would share with you a list of things I am thankful for in my life just now:

  1. homeThe roof over my head. Yes, we owe more on the mortgage now than when we took it out 18 years ago, and yes there are some fairly hefty repairs that need doing on it, but these four walls and the roof on top are my safe haven. Homelessness and the possibility of losing the family home have been brought home to me recently, which makes me all the more thankful that I have this place to call my home.
  2. The food in our freezer. It was only a few short weeks ago that we were in a position to pool a couple of weeks worth of groceries and do a big batch cookout so that we would be seen through the “silly season” ahead, yet already we have had to turn to those supplies because of an unexpected bill (and therefore massive bank charges for failed payments) and we have very little cash to see us through the next 6 weeks or so. We also have an unexpected lodger too, so the food in the freezer was well timed, and continues to be a life-saver for us. I am thankful that I was prompted to fill the freezer just before the money ran out.
  3. Spiritual support from church friends. Linked to point #2 above, this one is another big one in my life. My faith in God is as strong as ever, but sometimes, the spiritual support of other people is what keeps my grip strong. I am thankful that my faith in God has brought me to such a place that I can be part of a group of supportive and understanding friends.
  4. dsc_0949.jpgMy family. Especially my husband. We are like a tag team at the moment, and we seesaw between being strong and weak. When one is weak the other lifts them up, and vice versa. Sometimes we are on an even keel in the middle, but as anyone dealing with a financial (or other) crisis knows, emotions and ability to cope can swing quite violently from one extreme to the other and it takes a particular type of relationship to hold it together. My kids have been fantastic too, both in emotional support and simply bringing laughter and sunshine into an otherwise bleak and austere existence. My parents too – where would I be without them?!! From my mum “accidentally” making an extra Shepherd’s Pie, to my Dad transferring an emergency lump sum into my bank account over the summer to bail us out (yet again), my parents have been instrumental in me holding things together in the last few months. I am thankful for the loving and supportive family I am surrounded by.
  5. crochet-hookCrochet. A life-saver a couple of years ago when my illness first took hold and everything seemed pointless and without direction, crochet has been an activity that I turn to again and again to help with anxiety and depression. I have started some Christmas projects and I am thankful that I have been able to find a cute snowman which I am working on for our house this Christmas.
  6. Music. Like crochet, music has been a life-saver in so many ways over the years for me. Whether it is listening to it, playing it, writing it, arranging it, planning it, organising it or whatever, I am thankful for the presence of music in my life.
  7. My Kindle. I was bought a Kindle as a gift for Mothering Sunday a couple of years ago and at first, I was a bit sceptical about using it. A lifelong lover of books and reading (notice the differentiation I made there), I didn’t really want to engage in technology like a Kindle but having been given one as a gift I thought I didn’t have much to lose. I haven’t actually looked back since being given it and I have engaged in so many more books and articles than I would have done in hard-print books in the meantime, largely because of all the free books available online. I am thankful that I have got access to such a large, free, library of books to read and the mechanism to carry them all round with me all the time.
  8. bedMy big comfy bed. Might sound a bit trite, but I honestly say a prayer of thanks every time I get into my bed each night. Linked to the point about the roof over my head above, I am so grateful that first of all that I have a place to put my head each night, and second of all that it is so comfy and warm once I get in. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to rest properly each night.

This is not in any way an exhaustive list, and it isn’t in any particular order, but these things are on my mind most of the time and they are the things see me through when times are bad as they are now. I am sure that when the climate changes for me I would come up with a slightly different (and longer) list.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

happy-thanksgiving

Daybook Entry – 9th February 2015


021114_2314_DaybookEntr1.jpgFOR TODAY

Outside my window… spring flowers are dozing quietly beneath their earthy blankets. Morning will bring more sunshine to wake them from their winter slumbering and I can’t wait to see the welcome return of the daffodils in my garden. Apart from that, it’s dark, misty, moist and cold.

I am thinking… that this poetry module is working its way into my brain at last!

I am thankful… for my husband doing some shopping earlier this evening. We have food in the house now yay! (I think it is also fair to say that I am extremely thankful for him earning the money to go and buy some food in the first place. He certainly takes his “for richer for poorer” vow very seriously and I am thankful for that too).

In the kitchen… ah, this is a tricky one today. I have eaten 2 slices of toast at playgroup this morning, a cheese and beetroot sandwich made for me by my mum at about noon and two slices of toast for my tea at about 6 o’clock today. I also had a slice of cake with a cup of tea at a meeting tonight which was delish. Yes, I’m very grateful for the food shopping my husband was able to do today.

I am wearing… jim jams – it’s time for bed shortly.

I am creating… a blanket for the house which is shaping up nicely and providing some welcome stress relief for me in the process and I am designing another one for a friend at church who has asked for one in a specific colour scheme. I’m glad it’s coming up to Spring because I don’t think I could crochet a blanket in lemon, yellow and white if it was Autumn somehow.

I am going… to spend the day studying tomorrow.

I am praying… for my mother in law. We had a multi-agency meeting this afternoon to discuss her medical and nursing care needs and to decide what is going to be the best care for her next. She is a very poorly lady and is surviving despite complex life-threatening conditions, which are now more serious for her than the Parkinson’s Disease that she has been suffering with for more than 20 years.

I am wondering… how much she understands of what is happening to her just now. She is mostly asleep but even when she is “awake” it is difficult to communicate with her so it’s difficult to know what she knows of things around her.

I am hoping… there will be a place for her at the Alexian Brothers nursing home nearby. They have a fantastic reputation for nursing care and I personally feel it will be a lovely place for her to spend her last months or weeks.

I am reading… “Stolen” by Rebecca Muddiman

I am looking forward to… getting my Inside Music assignment mark tomorrow. I really enjoyed doing it and I just hope I get a good mark for it. I’ll let you know.

I am learning… lots about how to put together a melody and harmonisation effectively, and I am building my confidence in composition skills.

Around the house… I have a teenager draped over a computer keyboard, a husband draped over another computer keyboard and various items of clothing draped over radiators drying for morning. You could say it’s a drapey house tonight.

I am pondering… how to lead the services on Sunday morning at my churches. We are down to do a Morning Service at both of them, and I would like to do something a bit different but I’m not sure what or how yet. I’ll give it some more thought tomorrow and will ask advice from someone before I decide.

A favourite quote for today… “If people made it, people can undo it” in relation to poverty.

One of my favourite things… is hugging my children. Even at the ages of 21 and 16 giving them a hug (and in the case of my son being hugged by them) is one of the best things in the world.

A few plans for the rest of the week: studying tomorrow, prayer meeting on Wednesday evening, study group on Thursday evening, band practice on Friday evening. I’ll be throwing in a bit of crocheting and lots of reading in there too no doubt.

A peek into my day…

This was Stay and Play this morning just after we opened the doors. It was a hugely successful morning today with over 30 toddlers enjoying their time together - even though it did include me doing some singing with them at the end!

This was Stay and Play this morning just after we opened the doors. It was a hugely successful morning today with over 30 toddlers enjoying their time together – even though it did include me doing some singing with them at the end!

 

If you would like to participate in this meme, please hop over to The Simple Woman’s Daybook for instructions on how to join in.

 

 

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 26th November


 
1. Besides U.S. Thanksgiving it’s also National Game and Puzzle week…what game have you played most recently, and who were you with? Have you worked a puzzle of any kind in the past week?

I love puzzles and games, and word games are my favourite. I have recently discovered Scrabble on Facebook…watch out world!

2. What is one place you were thankful for this year?

I am so thankful for the holiday time we spent as a family in the Northeast this year. My favourite time and place during that holiday was when Kevin and I got up before sunrise one morning and spent about three hours taking photos and watching the sun come up from Bamburgh beach. A few days later we went back to the same spot on the beach with the kids and while they played with the kite and went paddling in the rock pools I sat on a big rock and sketched Bamburgh Castle. It is a magical place and it was a wonderful time spent there.

3. Take a nap, watch football, go for an after dinner walk, or hit the stores…which ONE is on your must-do list for Thanksgiving day? If you aren’t in the US answer as it relates to any big holiday meal.

Napping!!

4. Besides Thanksgiving, what’s your favourite home cooked meal?

A proper Sunday roast – which here in the UK is a traditional meal of roast meat (pork, beef, lamb or chicken – my favourite is beef) with roast potatoes, peas, carrots, Yorkshire puddings, boiled potatoes, stuffing, gravy…. Delish!

5. What product from an infomercial would you most like to own?

I would have a steam mop. We have lots of uncarpeted floors in my house (laminate flooring and lino mainly) and I love the idea that I can just steam everywhere clean without the use of chemicals.

6. Christmas shopping? Have you begun? Finished? Will you shop on Black Friday? How do you feel about stores opening on Thanksgiving Day? What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done online?

ARGH!!!!!! The whole “Christmas shopping” thing drives me mad. To my mind, Christmas is far too overblown and it has become obscene just how much money people are expected to spend on it. For some reason, this year we seem to be celebrating Black Friday here in the UK. Why? WHY??? As if we need any more invitations to spend money that we don’t have! As for the question of have I started yet, no, I haven’t. Most of my gift shopping will be done online this year as we are on a very tight budget…VERY tight…and it is easier to control spending when it’s clickable and not pickable.

7. What are you most grateful for that adds beauty to your everyday life?

My garden. It isn’t very big, but it is lovely and green and we are visited by birds and squirrels most of the day. I love the colours of the sunshine on it, and I love it when it rains. I love looking at it and I love sitting in it. It is a lovely place and really does add beauty to my everyday life.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I found this video yesterday and thought it was absolutely beautiful. I haven’t heard of the group before, but I am familiar with the song as we used it in our Experience Christmas at church last year. We used the Ceelo Green version, and this is very different. Still just as moving though. It tears at my heartstrings. Let me know what you think.

 

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 12th November


1. We celebrate Veteran’s Day in the US of A on November 11th. When did you last interact with a member of the armed forces (either currently serving or retired)? Have you ever written a letter to a soldier, bought a meal or coffee for a soldier, said an unprompted thank you to a soldier you encountered out and about somewhere? If you’re not in the US, comment on a similar holiday in your own country.

The last time I interacted with a member of the armed forces was my daughter this afternoon! She is in the University Royal Naval Unit (URNU for short) while she is studying for her degree, and we were chatting about all sorts of stuff. I have quite a few friends in the forces too, and we are in contact quite regularly on Facebook etc, and the last time I interacted with retired service personnel was on Sunday, which was our Remembrance Sunday here in the UK.

I haven’t ever written a letter to a soldier or bought a meal or anything like that (apart from my daughter), mainly because our service personnel don’t go around in uniform because of security concerns so it’s difficult to spot them in public. To be honest it’s not something I would do anyway.

2. You can have fifty pounds of anything at all (except money)…what would you choose?

I would love 50lbs of wool to crochet with. I’d make hats and blankets for the special care baby unit at the local hospital, and hats and scarves for a homeless charity. I can’t think of anything I’d like 50lbs of for myself.

3. When did you last receive an invitation in the ‘real’ mail? What was it for and did you attend? When it comes to RSVP-ing, are you an ‘early responder’ or a ‘last minute, barely-under-the-wire’ kind of guest?

I received an invitation a few weeks ago for my cousin Stephen’s wedding at the end of this month. I haven’t responded yet…I’m kind of a “last minute meets almost forget to reply” guest.

4. What’s something you really don’t like to waste?

Time.

5. Cheers, Friends, MASH, Seinfeld…of the ones listed, your favourite long-running sitcom?
Of the ones listed I only watched MASH, so I would go with that. However, my favourite long term sitcom is Frasier.

6. What decision are you glad you made?

Oh so many to choose from!! There are a couple of personal decisions that I made that would be top of the list but as I don’t particularly want to discuss them here, I am going to say the most recent decision that I am glad I made was the decision to continue with my degree. It has been difficult and stressful at times, but I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and I feel a different person because of it.

7. In this month of ‘Thanksgiving’ what is one thing that’s different today than it was a year ago that you’re grateful for?

This is quite a difficult thing to answer because the past twelve months have been particularly rough and lots of aspects of my life are worse now than they were this time last year. However, I am grateful that I have a study space now even though it means that Emma doesn’t quite have a bedroom she can instantly move back to if ever she needs to. We can convert it back again quite quickly, but for now I am enjoying the space where I can organise myself and study in peace.

8. Random thought:

I got my first assignment mark back this week for my music course and I scored 95%. I am totally gobsmacked!! A lot to live up to for the rest of the course, but it’s a cracking start and I am so pleased. I haven’t received my mark for my creative writing assignment yet and I can’t publish the piece I submitted for it until I do. Watch this space! 95% is a high benchmark but it will be interesting to see how my words match my music ability. #doingthehappydance

 

 

Sunday Stealing – Autumn Meme


I linked up with the Sunday Stealing meme today. Why not give it a go yourself?

 

Fall/Autumn Meme  

 

park benchFirst of all, is autumn your favourite season? Why or why not? 

Autumn absolutely IS my favourite season. I love the colours as nature changes, the smells – bonfires, leaves, fireworks in November – I love the food, the early morning mists and the stunning sunsets. 

Is it ‘autumn’ or ‘fall’, to you?

It’s Autumn.

What kind of weather does your area get during this season? 

We’re currently experiencing an “Indian Summer” but usually we get cool, dry, misty weather here. Later in the season it will get wet and windy.

Were you born in an autumn month? 

Nope, I was born in July. But my daughter was born in September. 

Do you pay attention to any ‘fall fashions’?

I don’t usually pay any attention to fashions at all!

Which leaf colour is your favourite? 

Eek – that’s hard to choose! I love golden colours, but what I really love is the way that all the reds, golds, oranges, greens and browns all meld together to give us such an awesome palette.

Is it still fun to rake the leaves and jump in piles of them? 

Haha YES! My favourite thing is to sweep my feet through piles of leaves in the park. The crunchier the better.

When can you really tell that it’s autumn?

When the early morning mists start appearing.

Do you enjoy carving pumpkins? 

No especially. We used to carve swedes when we were kids as pumpkins were unheard of here until quite recently. I’ve done a few with my own kids but I wouldn’t say it was a favourite autumnal activity.

Do you eat the pumpkin seeds? If so, do you put any kind of flavouring on it?

No. And…gimme that again??

Are you planning to go to a pumpkin patch this year? 

No. We’ll probably pick up a pumpkin from the supermarket if we’re going to get one at all.

Which was your favourite Halloween costume to wear? 

I used to like dressing up as a witch. My hair never needed much doing with it.

Are you planning to go trick-or-treating? Why or why not?

No. It’s not something that’s done very much here and I don’t really like the idea of it.

Are there any county fairs or festivals held nearby during this time?

There are a couple of agricultural shows in this country round this time of the  year and we have had some flower shows too.

What is your favourite dessert for this time of year? 

Apple crumble.

Is your Thanksgiving Day in October or November, if you even celebrate it? 

We don’t do Thanksgiving Day.

If you do celebrate it, where do you usually have Thanksgiving dinner? 

If we had it I think I’d like to have all my family round here at my house.

Do you remember any crafts you used to do that were autumn-themed? 

I used to like leaf printing when I was a kid, and I loved the way the local bakers made wheat-sheaf shaped loaves of bread for our harvest festival at church.

Are any of your favourite bands doing a fall tour this year? 

Not that I now of.

Which new TV show are you looking forward to this season?  

Really excited about “Atlantis” which is due soon. They’ve been trailering it for a couple of weeks now and it looks really good. I’m also REALLY looking forward to Castle coming back – will she say yes and marry him??!?!

How does autumn typically make you feel? 

Excited, fulfilled, rested, sleepy, cosy.

What colour do you always associate with autumn? 

Golden brown.

Is there a song that always reminds you of this season? 

“We Plough The Fields And Scatter” which was one of the harvest hymns we used to sing at school.

Do you have any seasonal traditions?

We usually have a party or some sort of get together for Bonfire Night (5th November in case you’re not from England) and we will have a fire, fireworks, food, and games and we generally have a good time.

Do you spend a lot of time outside during this time of the year? 

Not really. I do enjoy watching the weather though. I love watching rain being lashed against the windows while I’m tucked up warm inside.

How can you tell that fall is over?  

When frosts take over from mists in the mornings.

What is a typical autumn outfit that you wear?

Same as ever! Jeans, t-shirt or polo shirt, hoodie and trainers. If it’s wet I might add a raincoat but other than that, I’m the same all year round really.

Describe a perfect autumn day: 

Wake up at daybreak, see the sun colour the clouds in pinks, golds, reds and oranges and slowly burn up the mist. Go out for an early morning walk in the park kicking up the leaves as I go. Home for a bowl of thick vegetable soup and home-made bread then out again. A nice roast dinner for tea with apple crumble to follow and then sat out in the garden in the evening round a fire with mugs of hot apple cider or hot chocolate and marshmallows.

Do you hate it when stores start promoting Christmas early? 

Yes. It drives me crackers! There’s a time and a season for everything and everything should wait its turn. We’ve already seen adverts for furniture shops saying that they’ll “deliver before Christmas!!!” as if that’s a selling point in SEPTEMBER. We’ve also seen adverts for holidays for 2014. They don’t usually appear on our screens until Boxing Day. Sheesh. They’ve even leapfrogged Christmas there!

What is your favourite thing about this season?

I love the food, the sense of family, the drawing together of the year, the shortening days and the overall sense that it’s time to slow down and take stock of things. Nature has a rhythm to it and this is the time of year when many animals begin making preparations to hibernate and sit out the winter huddled up in their nests and dens. We humans should take a leaf out of their book and learn to listen to the rhythm of things going on around us and slow down a bit. As the evenings draw in it’s a time for companionship, story telling, entertaining each other, celebrating food and fellowship and we shouldn’t be ashamed to use the longer nights for sleep, rest and restoration.

 

 

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 21st November 2012


Wishing all Hodgepodgers around the world the gift of a thankful heart today and everyday!

Before I begin I’d just like to say THANK YOU to Joyce for another brilliant Hodgepodge this week. Best wishes to you and your family for a peaceful and enjoyable Thanksgiving tomorrow.


1. Turkey-love it or leave it? White meat or dark?  What’s your favourite thing to make using leftover turkey?

I love turkey and am happy to eat any part of it. I didn’t used to enjoy the dark meat when I was younger but I’ve grown to love it since I started cooking my own.

The absolute best way to have turkey leftovers is to have lots of cold cuts of meat, a selection of cheeses, salad and lots of chutney and pickles. To use up turkey after a day or so I’ve been known to turn it into a soup, a stew, a curry and even a turnkey risotto once!

2. Gotta burn off all those carbs the day after a holiday feast so which would you rather do-run a 10K or climb a mountain?

If I could do either activity I would choose to climb a mountain. There’s nothing quite like the sense of achievement you feel when you reach the top.

3. Do you feel like social networking has made your relationships better or worse?  Explain.

On the whole I feel that social networking has enriched my life and has made my friendships better. The way I see it, if it wasn’t for my blog I wouldn’t have had an outlet for my frustrations and my thoughts about a whole range of things. It has been especially important to me since I got ill and spend 90% of my time in my own company. Without it I would have climbed the walls years before now! Also, my connection to people on Facebook – both those I know in “real” life and those who I play Pioneer Trail with – has been strengthened since I got ill. Being in contact with people and sharing the minutiae of their lives is a blessing to me. It might sound really superficial but to know that people are stuck in traffic, or bemoaning the speedy weekend they’ve just had, or that they’re stuck what to cook for dinner is great fodder to keep my life ticking over. There have been big issues aired and discussed as well, and there has been the kinds of things we would have chatted over at work during the day (I’m thinking X-Factor etc here!) and I love having that contact with people.

4. How do you find and express gratitude for the hard things in your life?

I think it comes down to whether you are a pessimist or an optimist. I tend to be more optimistic and therefore it’s easier for me to see the benefits and lessons in things that are perhaps a bit harder to take. I always thank God for the good things in my life – my family, my home, food in my cupboards etc – but I always thank him for the difficult things too. Pain, illness, financial difficulties are horrible to manage but I’m thankful that I have the personal skills and tools to hand to deal with them and I’m grateful for the people around me that help me cope.

5. In the US the day after Thanksgiving has been dubbed ‘Black Friday’.  Is most of your holiday shopping done live and in person or is done more through the magic of the Internet? How do you feel about stores opening at midnight on Thanksgiving?  Will you be out amongst the masses on Friday?

I like to a mixture of shopping for Christmas. I like the facility to shop at my leisure online for “main” presents and gifts, but I also like to be able to go and browse for the smaller things that go in stockings or as joke gifts. I’m not a natural shopper to be honest I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than go to a shopping mall to weigh up the pros and cons of this and that in different shops, and I hate the pressure of finding something “just right” that the shop doesn’t have in stock.

To answer the second part of the question, here in the UK we have a similar situation with shops starting their sales at the crack of dawn on Boxing Day. We have laws that prevent shops opening at midnight at Christmas, but that doesn’t stop them opening early on Boxing Day. I think it’s disgusting that shops – and shoppers – feel the need to spend spend spend so close after a religious holiday. Actually, I can’t see the need to spend spend spend at ANY time, but that’s just me I guess.

6. Speaking of the colour black-which black item in your wardrobe would you say is your favourite?

I have a black top that has got a lot of embroidered detail on it which is made out of a slinky material and hangs beautifully on me.

7. What do you appreciate about your life today? 

The network of friends and family that surround me and support me physically, spiritually and emotionally.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.  

I made a little “squeeee!” sound out loud the other day, quite involuntarily, when I switched my Kindle on. You see, I’ve been reading a trilogy set on the Isle of Lewis and am eagerly waiting for the third book to be published. I found out that the hardback edition is due to be published at the end of January next year and the Kindle edition was due on the 21st December. I was absolutely thrilled to bits when I turned on my machine and the notification “download pending” appeared….followed by “The Chess Men….downloading now”. I was that excited, I actually made a little noise. It is every bit as good as I was expecting it to be and no doubt I’ll be reviewing it for you early next week haha!!!