Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Thursday, 29 November 2007

What am I? Where am I?

You Are a Yellow Crayon

Your world is colored with happy, warm, fun colors.
You have a thoughtful and wise way about you. Some people might even consider you a genius.
Charming and eloquent, you are able to get people to do things your way.
While you seem spontaneous and free wheeling, you are calculating to the extreme.

Your color wheel opposite is purple. You both are charismatic leaders, but purple people act like you have no depth.

Calculating?????? Cheek!!!!!

This next one is based on Dante's Inferno. Your answers place you in one of
his 9 levels of Hell (his ten levels overall, if you count purgatory). I'm in the first level, folks. Not too bad! But whoa... look at this list!!!
VIOLENCE??? MALICIOUSNESS????? LOL! I can only think this is because I ticked yes to occasional suicidal thoughts, and even an attempt way back when.

Hey ho!

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to the First Level of Hell - Limbo!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:

Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Very High
Level 2 (Lustful)Low
Level 3 (Gluttonous)Moderate
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)Very Low
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very High
Level 7 (Violent)Very High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

This next bit is how this level is described. Not too bad, really. Bit like life here, but without the religious fanatics. Looked at like that, it's a possible improvement!

First Level of Hell - Limbo

Charon ushers you across the river Acheron, and you find yourself upon the brink of grief's abysmal valley. You are in Limbo, a place of sorrow without torment. You encounter a seven-walled castle, and within those walls you find rolling fresh meadows illuminated by the light of reason, whereabout many shades dwell. These are the virtuous pagans, the great philosophers and authors, unbaptised children, and others unfit to enter the kingdom of heaven. You share company with Caesar, Homer, Virgil, Socrates, and Aristotle. There is no punishment here, and the atmosphere is peaceful, yet sad.

Take the Dante's Inferno Test

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Polish workers, cats, trees and one Polish word.

An old polish gentleman came to our door last night. He showed us a hand-written card to explain that he was a deaf-mute and was selling his drawings door-to-door. We don't need pictures- we have several, framed and unframed, still unhung from when we moved in 4 years ago. Still, me and my partner exchanged glances, perhaps a wink, and decided to help if we could. Any reluctance on my part disappeared when the pictures came out of his bag...

They are A4 size, too big to scan completely, but here are some details:

He had a few dozen. My partner prompted me to choose. I chose ones I could see were hard to draw! Not that the others looked easy, I don't mean that. But I've tried these two subjects!

I can't draw trees at all. I think I get bored. The first few twigs look OK, then it turns into a hairy doodle.

As for the cat picture, OK, it might be a bit too twee to actually hang on a wall (?) but I've found that kittens and ALL tabbies are the hardest ones to draw. With all those lines, it's easy for them to look 'flat'. I get confused, whilst drawing, between line, detail, shade. I lose track. Is this bit I'm doing a bit of shading, or is it some of the tabby pattern? Sound odd? Give it a go and you'll see what I mean. Maybe. Or maybe this is just me. Ha!

So I was impressed, that's the basis of my choice.

Look at the textures- that blanket in front of the kittens. OK, maybe he put it there because, like me, he can't do paws (if you ever see a picture of an animal standing in long grass, you know you've found someone else with this problem.) But the blanket looks real!

My partner knows British Sign Language. I guess some of it is universal, as they were able to make themselves understood.

I worked in Poland for a little while, back in 1991, and was excited about saying some Polish. When his attention was turned to me, however, I was ashamed and horrified to discover that I couldn't remember any of it. Except the word for "thankyou". But perhaps that's all that was needed.

Isn't it awful that people with skill and talent like this have to go door-to-door? And in the same week, a silly man lost his job as manager of the England football team and was paid 2.5 million sterling to leave his job? The world's mad.

We have lots of people from Poland here in Colchester. Since the EU expanded the other year, lots have come to the UK to work, and quite a few hundred to this town. I hear the language every time I go into town. Last night's experience has shown me AGAIN that it is never too late to learn. Why didn't I keep up the language in the 1990s? Hey ho. I wonder if any of the new Colcestrians has thought of giving Polish Language classes. I think I might enquire at the college when I'm in town this afternoon..............


The Polish for "thankyou" is pronounced "D'yen-koo-yah".

Monday, 19 November 2007

World Toilet Day

It's true! November 19th is World Toilet Day! The serious thought behind it is to draw attention to the billions who don't have good sanitation, something that we usually just take for granted. There's a website, here.

As well as the serious stuff, there are cartoons and quizzes. E.g., What kind of toilet paper are you? I am, apparently, a dried leaf. I don't care. It will make a certain Bear very proud, I'm sure.

what kind of TOILET PAPER are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

You scored as dead leaves

That's right. When it comes to toilet paper, you're a pile of dead leaves. You're curious, ethereal, and spiritual. You love to challenge traditional philosophies. And because you're so environmentally conscious, you never take from Mother Earth what you can't give back.

dead leaves


under-dispensing toilet paper


over-dispensing toilet paper


quilted toilet paper


public restroom toilet paper


paper napkins


empty roll


Sunday, 18 November 2007

A Certain Bear

I adopted Bob The Bear (or Bob T Bear esq., as he prefers to be known) in 2002, packing him off in a box to Ecuador. Also in the box was a supply of Chocolate Biscuits for the journey, a Christmas Pudding, some tea, and a few other things that my partner, at that time working in Quito, would be missing. He had mentioned to me that he had never had a Bear when he was a boy, so I decided that I had to correct this dreadful remiss. I hugged Bob and told him to pass on the hug when he got there, which I'm assured he did.

My partner was just a good friend back then, but after he returned to the UK in August 2003, we realised that no Bear deserved to have estranged parents and so we all moved in together. The rest is history, much of which Bob took to documenting in his personal diaries, which he moved into blogland last year.

Friday, 16 November 2007


I took this pic' last summer, in Suffolk. We came across the sunflowers unexpectedly. We'd had no idea they were there! If you look closely, you can see a bumble bee at the bottom of the inner circle.

Today I read the following, which has helped me feel much better about turning 40:

"Start to learn the piano NOW? Are you MAD? Have you any idea how old I would be by the time I had learnt to play?!"

"Yes. The same age you'll be if you don't."


(Good, isn't it?)

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

She's ok!

Hoorray! Fluffy got the all-clear! The lumps were just 'fatty lumps'. We have to keep an eye on whether they come back bigger or strangely shaped, but otherwise, it's all OK!! We're sooooooooo relieved and happy.

The poor thing had all these staples in her wound: No surprise then, that once they were removed she was singing and running about all over!

She is also getting very cheeky- this is her brother's bed, made from an old computer packing box and lined with an old quilt. We made it for him because he is so enormous we couldn't find a good one in the shops for him..... Fluffu decided that a visit to the vet gave her squatter's rights:
Never mind. Another old cover on a bench in the garden, and Scooter found a nice alternative in the sun:
I'm very happy that my little rogues have survived to purr another day!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Off for a few days..

Fluffy has a strange liking for leather shoes. With her sister it was bags. I still have a black leather handbag that has scratch marks all down one side. I'll never part with it. It says, "Figs was here". But Fluffy's fetish is definitely of the shoe kind. Here she is, a few weeks ago, sitting on my shoes. She later slept on them for hours. I have to take spare footwear with me. The alternative is a visit to mum's spent indoors.

Ah well. I'm off later today to see her, and to take her back to the vet tomorrow. We might find out what the lumps were....

The other day I dreamt that she had got the all-clear. I woke up smiling and relieved. Then I remembered it was just a dream. I can't say how much I hope that one will come true. My brain is telling me not to worry. My gut is saying "Prepare."

Should be blogging again by the end of the week..... please keep good thoughts for Fluffy.

thanks for the birthday messages!
Scroll down for a post about the day....!

Saturday, 10 November 2007

How to survive your 40th birthday

Birthday cards: they make me smile whenever I look at them.

Being a supply teacher, my partner didn't know whether he would be home or not for my birthday. Sure enough, he got a call the evening before. Never mind. Once you get past your 21st, you get used to being on your own on your birthday. Once you get past your 30th, you start preferring it that way. Once you get past your 39th, you sort of hope that it won't happen at all...

So off he went to work, leaving me to have a lie-in, one ear on the radio, one ear on the letterbox. Despite both, I slept for another few hours.

Then I did the girly bath thing- run the water deep and just warm enough, pour in the remnants of ALL the bottles of bubbles and oils that you've accumulated over the last three Christmasses and birthdays, fix a huge cup of tea and set a pile of chocolate biscuits at arm's length, and bring in the radio on a mile-long extension lead. It takes some setting up, but it's worth it.

A long, long soak with several hot top ups later..... soft pink slippered and dressing gowned thing floats downstairs stinking of lavender/rose/nutmeg/strange green oil of Ulay mixture.

Alas. No cards or letters on doormat. Sigh. Check outside... oooo! Two parcels! -Cards and presents from my partner's parents (suprise) and one of my brothers (miracle).

I've a total of £30 tucked inside cards, so I spend the afternoon in town. I keep looking at things that would suit other people. What so-and-so would just LOVE for Christmas... oooh I should get this for.... No! I have to reel myself in and tell me NO! Today it's for ME! I'm buying something special for ME!

I often come home from shopping with 'nearly gots'. My partner asks me how I got on and the list starts; I saw a nice skirt and I nearly got it, but (insert excuse), or I nearly got a new jumper, it was only £5. "Why didn't you get it then?" he says. Oh, didn't really need it. I've got a jumper. And so on. I'm good on nearly-gots, I am.

But this time I'm determined. I buy a watch that I saw and admired last year. I've liked it for a year, so it's safe to buy it. A certain bear has put a photo of it on his blog.

In the evening, a minor headache: make-up. Don't normally wear it. I have large, open pores on some of my face and make-up just sits in them. From a distance it all looks perfectly flawless, as they say on the adverts. But up close it looks like the surface of the moon. I go through the usual process of putting it on, taking it off, putting it on, oh, maybe if I just take SOME of it off, no, take it all off, put some back on again.... and so on, till my cheeks are so red I don't need any colour on them anyway.

Off we go, for a meal in town. We've been there before and it was good..... and it is again. I get the wrong starter, my partner's salad doesn't turn up, but the deserts are magnificent, just like last time, and that's what counts!!! Then I decide to have some alcohol. I'm not really allowed, not with my medication. But hey, just one yummy drink, just for today.

"Irish Coffee? Oh, we would, but we're out of cream, sorry. Would you like something different?"
I think, "That WAS my different. I normally have tea!" But think better of ordering anthing else. Maybe it's a sign I shouldn't drink after all. Hey ho. Off we go home.

Change into baggy jumper and jogging bottoms.
Chocolates. Tea. Telly. Both fall asleep on the sofa.
Trip upstairs. Snuggle into bed, on our new 'memory foam' mattress topper. Ahhhhhhh..... a few pages of PD James and away I go, asleep....

It might not sound like much, but I had a very, very happy birthday.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Keeping busy after the shock of the vet's bill!

Chicken pie out, wholemeal fruit scones ready to go in...

I've had the bill from the vet. For a dental clean, a few teeth taken out, one blood test, the removal of two suspicious lumps for sending to the lab.... guess how much? £954.82.

The nurse told us not to worry as "You can get it all back from the insurance." Not so!

I have an email friend, Donna, in Missourri. Her husband is a vet, and had never heard of Pet Insurance. Is it a UK thing?

Anyway, I pay just under £15 a month for Fluffy's insurance. But there are catches: NOTHING to do with the mouth is covered at all. Of everything else, there is an excess of £60 PLUS I have to pay 25% of what's left.

This means I will get back £539.98. Hardly getting it all back! I hope that nurse isn't saying that to everyone. I'm used to it, but others might have a bad shock coming.

I wonder if this attitude is behind the high fees, and even the strange fees. For example, I have been charged £225.25 for "surgery" and then £47.00" for "surgery theatre fee".

What the??? Where else was he going to operate? In the street?

Off course, Fluffy is worth it. And it's what my credit card lives for- I only have one for vet fees! But I do wonder if vets take the p**s.

She has 25 staples AND stitches, none of them being removed till next Monday. Poor thing. I don't think I can get down to my mum's (where she lives) to see her till Saturday. I may have to forego partner and blogs for a few days, and stay there well into next week. I feel I owe her lots of hugs and attention...

Friday, 2 November 2007

It was nice to feel good for a week!

Move along, there's nothing to see.... move along there....

If you want a happy post, that is!

........bad asthma attack, first one in many years....

.....Fluffy the cat has an operation today: two lumps found (her sister had some, and died of cancer)....

and.... why do people have to let you down?