Monday, 25 January 2010

Tossed on a Stormy Sea

It's been a bit of an eventful few days - not quite the traditional Tower (hence my selection from the Victorian Romantic Tarot). DD has been suffering with intermittent stomach-aches for a while; after the stomach bug of the New Year. I thought it was all over. But no, the stomach-aches continued. Always before school (the alarm did actually go off in my head eventually). So after a trip to the doctor just to check and rule out any physical causes, we had a chat with DD's teacher.

We worked out that DD is suffering from 'school refusal', which is the early stages of 'school phobia', and that for DD the causes are mainly social - worrying about being left out of games, friends not playing with her etc.etc. There are only 8 other girls in her class of 30 or so, so that means that if there are any ripples in the circle, the pool of other girls to play with is very limited. We have spent quite a lot of time talking with her and reassuring her - particularly over her fears that I will die before school finishes for the day - and bought a dreamcatcher, which is working very well in filtering out the bad dreams; I also scanned her favorite cards from her own Hanson-Roberts deck, framed them and hung them in her room where she can see them to cheer herself up when she's going to sleep, if necessary.

A visit from the Tooth Fairy certainly seemed to help, and completion of her latest sweater made her happy through breakfast. So hopefully, we have tackled what we can, and just have to wait and see if she needs further help. I'm not known for my sensitivity, but I am trying to understand my DD's imaginative and emotional outlook.

MIL's lacy scarf
in Sirdar Snuggly
4ply;DD's cowl sweater
in Stylecraft

detail of lace

And I managed to complete the lacy scarf for my MIL's birthday next month; I'm very pleased with it. It's only a 4 row repeat, so you can knit easily once you've got the hang of it, and all I did else was to add 5 rows of garter stitch at top and bottom, and a fringe. However, knitting scarves is boring, I found out from this; so for my next project I'll be doing a lacy cardigan for DD's best friend's birthday.

The other main event was the unpleasant discovery of huges patches of wet and mold behind one of our bookcases; everything has been pulled out, and I am waiting the contractor's visit as I write. I have a 'thing'about mold, and can't wait til I can wash it all off with bleach. Fortunately, although the mold had come through the back of the bookcase, it had not yet affected any of the books.

All I can tell you is ...........YUK !

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Reading for Another Reader

One of the readings I have done recently was in aid of the Haitian earthquake survivors via the Just Giving button on my blog, and it was from a fellow TABI member and professional tarot reader, my friend Chanel.

This is always an interesting situation to be in, when you know that your querent is also a tarot reader. It definitely puts you on your mettle, as you know your reading is going to be read and analyzed in a way that it wouldn't usually be by a 'lay' person. I've been reading tarot professionally (off and on) for around 18 years or so, and I don't suffer at all from self-esteem or confidence issues, as those who know me will attest. But even so, there is an extra frisson when doing such a reading.

I prefer to know as little as possible about the reader-querent, and also not to have a specific question: this I feel tests my abilities far more, as I rely solely on the cards for information, and my intuition to aid with the interpretations. It is quite exciting to fire a shot or two in the dark, so to speak, and then wait to hear if any have hit the target.

Happily, Chanel was well satisfied with her reading, and it made my day to have such glowing feedback from her for it. And my thanks go to her also for her donation to the Red Cross.

If you too would like a 5 card tarot reading, just donate £10 via the button below, and put my name in the comments box .....

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Haiti Disaster Relief

It so often happens that the natural disasters hit countries that have serious issues anyway - no infrastructure, organized governmental aid etc. so as my 'bit' to help, I am offering a 5 card reading per a £10 donation towards the relief efforts for the Haitian earthquake. Please put Vivianne in the comment box so I know it's you ...

Monday, 11 January 2010

Back to the Grind

Well, things are getting back to normal this week - between the stomach bug and the snow, DD was off school all last week. She was eager for school this morning even though it was snowing and icy. DS' nursery school doesn't start again until tomorrow. I have really enjoyed having them home for that extra time. Plus, of course, it saved me all that walking. This was Friday:

I have run out of one fabrics I need to make SIL's Bump's cot quilt - DH offered to take me to the lovely quilt shop on Saturday to find a suitable substitute/equivalent, but having heard the traffic report, I politely declined, as the idea of becoming stuck for hours in sub-zero temperatures really didn't appeal, for some odd reason. And as I told him, I have a little time in hand as the Bump isn't due til February, plus, I have loads else I can be getting on with; I am never bored, or short of things to do. Here is a pic of how it's going so far; I think it is bright, but not quite the eye-bleeder I feared it might be:

So while I am waiting, I have started a scarf for MIL's birthday next month, a very lacy stitch pattern that I can't find the name for, out of this; it's really soft, but machine-washable and so will be no hassle for her to care for; DD told me MIL has a brown coat, so it ought to 'go' as well.

I'm taking part in a UK/EU soap swap via the main soap forum I'm a member of; it has to be ready to ship at the end of February/beginning of March, and the theme is 'Fruitalicious Spring Swap'. Having no coconut oil left, and no fruity fragrance oils on hand, it's lucky I made surplus spice/orange/honey soap before Christmas, as that will be well and truly cured. I've been in swaps before with nearly all the other people who have signed up, and I am really looking forward to OPS (Other People's Soaps) - it's always a fun learning experience. I've been using my Three Kings soap recently in the shower - not only is the smell fabulous, but the shea butter I added to the recipe really makes a difference to the feel and the lather of it; there's an extra .... solidity .... both to the bar, the slip, and the bubbles. Definitely a recipe for repeating.

And as my hands are freezing and I need to thaw them I leave you with a GKP (Gratuitous Kittie Pic), of Inky and Jewel on the sofa, as proof Jewel does come out into the open when no-one is around:

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Silver Linings

I thought we were over the stomach bug, but today DS copied DD's weekend performance almost exactly; he's asleep on the sofa behind me now, poor sausage. DD is fully recovered and cleared to go back to school but is desperately hoping for the heavy snow that has been promised, so that she can stay home and make a snowman. Operation Stack is running at the Port of Felixstowe, but DH's night heater is working fine, so I have no worries about him freezing to death tonight at least.

I had a serious panic the other day - I couldn't access the data stored on my memory stick, on which are all my backup files, including every single one of DS' baby pictures. From all my Googling, and technical friends, I gather it is totally kaput. I almost cried - until I remembered that I still have the original hard drive. Somewhere. My friend Ruth has offered to drive up from Colchester at the weekend to sort the whole mess out for me, bless her and her DH's cotton socks. Of course, that may not happen because of the weather, and actually there is no urgency to retrieve the data, at least now that I know I still have it.

In further technical news, I revamped my website to make it much prettier, and solicited feedback; I had some fabulous constructive criticism from my friend and fellow Raveller CandyBill, and so now not only does it look prettier, it is much more streamlined, and navigates in a far more logical way. Well worth the superficial wound to my ego and hours spent twiddling and tweaking .

And on top of that, I borrowed one of DH's coats today to go out when it was snowing - using his means that I can fit the 6 or so necessary layers of clothing on under it, plus it comes down to my knees - and in the pocket I found a lost and lonely £10 note. So, never one to instantly squander free money, I hotfooted it down to the camera shop and bought a rechargeable battery set. So now, TA-DA i.e. a fanfare, what you have all been waiting with bated breath for of my Xmas present kitties !

Inky & Jewel Inky Binky


The photos don't do them justice, but I was kind of handicapped, firstly by my non-existent photographic skills, and secondly
because Inky won't keep still, and Jewel still rarely comes out into the open - here you see her under our dining table/chair ......

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Bereavement/Grief Spread

A few of my friends have lost loved ones recently, so I thought I would post the spread I designed some years ago, which was created with the aim of helping the grieving process. I designed it sometime during 2001, and it was published in the September 2003 edition of the TABI Ezine.

Please feel free to use it, or link to it, for personal or professional use, but the courtesy of a credit is required if you post it elsewhere on the internet.

I have found that this spread can help the bereaved person to honestly acknowledge negative aspects of the deceased person without showing disrespect or disloyalty, as it also shows their good points. I have found it can be important but difficult for the grieving person to accept that they were as needed, loved or wanted by the deceased as the bereaved person needed, loves or wanted the deceased, hence card 3. Clarifying cards can be laid as desired for more detail. This spread may be used as soon as the querent feels it is appropriate after the death of their loved one, and I also use it for annual memorial readings.

I welcome any feedback or experiences you have when using this spread.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Surviving the Holidays

Old Year's Night didn't go quite as planned; it started well enough - kids showered and in bed at a decent time, DH and I on the sofa with bubbly, nibbles and some trash TV. I called my father just after midnight, managed to make myself understood enough to leave a message, and then got hold of him anyway to wish him a Happy New Year. Sounds lovely and peaceful, if a little boring and middle-aged, no ?

But no sooner had we switched from watching the London celebrations on BBC1, than DD appeared, on the run to the bathroom. She almost made it, doing her impression of the girl from 'The Exorcist' all over the bathroom floor. Cue the winter stomach bug hitting the family - DD took 3 or so days to get back to sort of normal, DS was over it in 24 hours, and DH came down with it last night, just before he headed out back to work, poor old love. So far, I am unafflicted. DD seems OK now, but I will wait and see til tomorrow, maybe run her to the doctor for a quick checkup. Everything in the house that stayed still has been hoovered and/or bleached - lucky that the kids and kitties are pretty fast-moving when they see the ominous portents of Mum on a mission .....

So, the house now having been de-cluttered over the last few days, and really thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, frees me up to get on with the patchwork cot quilt for my SIL's bump, due in February. I started last night - got the sewing machine out (unused since making DD's nativity play costume last year) and have so far completed two strips of blocks, which gives me a really good idea of how it will look in the end.

Jewel the rescue cat no longer dashes instantly out of a room if someone enters, rather she now slinks away round the edges; sometimes she is even brave enough to stay where she is, as long as no-one comes too close. Inky just creates mayhem in his wake - it's been a long time since we had the nocturnal delights of a scat cat half hour round the foot of the bed, up the walls, down the corridor, down the stairs, round the living room and back up again. No pics of either of them yet, as my camera needs new batteries, which I can't afford.

It was -5C (23F for you furriners out there) last night, and likely to be worse tonight; my mop, stored outside, was frozen this morning; there was ice inside the car at 4 a.m. this morning when DH left. The forecast says heavy snow for us at the end of the week. I refuse to worry about the energy bill - it'll be what it'll be. I run the thermostat for the central heating at 18C (64F) during the day, down to 15C (59F) at night, so I'm hardly being excessive; and although I am totally and completely miserable in the cold, and will complain to anyone at all who will listen, I have found some positive things about winter this year. I don't wish to give too many details, as it's way too much information; suffice it to say, the benefits are to do with becoming a personal slob ....