Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lost my Mojo....

I seem to be struggling to find the time to blog at the moment, or maybe I am just feeling less inspired to blog. I'm not sure which.

I started a new job yesterday. It's only a temp job, but it will give me 4 weeks work and 4 weeks pay and that is a wonderful thing. On the down side it a terrible waste of all of my skills. It is at a Children's Centre, but I am on reception rather than working with children, which of course is what I did all my training for and what I should be doing. The reception is very quiet, although I am told that once the schools go back next week, it will suddenly become more hectic - I hope so!

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with working reception and I am more than capable of answering the phone and getting people to sign in and out etc, and it is lovely to be meeting new people. The other staff there seem great. There are Health Visitors, Support Workers, Play workers, Midwives and Speech and Language Therapists. There is also a Creche, a Kindergarten and a Nursery. It is wonderful place proving a fantastic support service to the local community, but I have to say I am very bored.

It could be contributing to my blogging lethargy.

Hopefully I will find my mojo again soon.

Until then, I apologise for the scarcity of my posts.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cactus Girl....

My beautiful A has lost her boyfriend today...No they haven't finished or anything like that....he has simply had to move away - about an hour away from here, so maybe 2 hours away when she goes back to Uni.

She decided to buy him a present for his new house - meet Clyde the cactus....lol

Clyde was first picked

Clyde Close Up
Clyde enjoying a drive in the car

Don't worry folks I haven't completely lost the plot - not just yet anyway!



Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

First attempt at Stop Motion....

video
Not very exciting I know - I took lots of photos as George and I went on our daily walk, so the stop motion is actually the route we walked today, set to music...

It was fun doing it


Thankful Thursday.....S

Today more so than other days I am thankful that I have the wonderful S in my life....

The last couple of days have thrown some unexpected spanners in our works with regard to the visa, and having got myself so excited by the petition approval, it seems we are far from out of the woods....

So why does this mean that I am grateful to my wonderful S?

Quite simply because even though he is 6,000 miles away from me, he knows and understands that I am troubled and upset and is there for me. He had a really busy day yesterday, but he made sure he called me and had time to actually talk to me. While I was feeling OMG this is terrible, we might not get the visa, he was talking to people and putting plans into action!

He has this ability to just know what needs to be said - I mean really know, not just that kind of 'there there' rubbish that people do when they feel they should say something.
He talked to me properly and in detail about what had been said to me and really listened to what I said, so when he asked me questions they were valuable ones and not ones that had me pulling my hair out and screaming "didn't you listen to what I said"
He pointed out that the extra stuff we need to do isn't something that is beyond us - OK it's a real pain to have to do, but we will do it, and it will all be good - and if it isn't, so what we'll make new plans!

So today I have woken feeling far more positive than I did last night when I went to bed, and I am feeling even more thankful than usual that I have a man in my life who loves me so completely that it is almost overpowering, and who I love so completely that I could just about burst! I never in a million years thought that I would be part of something quite so wonderful, and I am thankful every day not just today....





Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Photo Gallery: Moving...?

my son and I went for our usual daily walk son on Friday (World Photography Day) and saw this...Somehow it gave a whole new meaning to the word 'Moving', which is very apt for me of course, seeing as I hope to be moving myself in about 8 weeks time - hopefully without the need for a skip as well as the suitcases!


Monday, August 22, 2011

A Parents Right....

My daughter tells me that I am wrong to post what she calls hideous photographs of her on the internet....
Whether she likes it or not, it is a photograph, dear daughter, that epitomises our weekend, so I really had no choice but to use it as a Silent Sunday pic....

AND ANYWAY....it is my right as a parent to embarrass my children as much as possible? I have always believed that this right was one of the real plus points to parenthood once your children get to an age where you find yourself becoming more of a guide and friend, than a divine authority. My children are 20, 13 and 12 (a daughter and 2 younger sons), and they are rapidly learning that Mum is this weird glitch in the matrix that they call life.

So what is it I do to embarrass my children?

I play very dodgy cd's in car with music ranging from Bob Seger, through The Jacksons and onto Nine Inch Nails, with a  little Talking Heads, Genesis, Michael Buble and Eva Cassidy thrown in for good measure! I also play my music very loudly, sing along and car dance! - Sorry I stand corrected, the gorgeous G has just said to me "NO - you make the car dance!". I do dance in the car as well though-  maybe he doesn't find that bit embarrassing.

I dance and sing in the supermarket and I talk to the other shoppers as I go around. If I see someone looking very undecidedly at a product that I buy, I tell them which brand I prefer and why. I always have a natter to the checkout girl or boy because they are just sitting there for hours on end bored like crazy, so a little conversation is a good thing I reckon!

The beautiful A says she finds it embarrassing that I 'text her when she is in the next room and then come in to check that she got the text'. Is that embarrassing though or just plain silly? Is there a difference?

I don't think that I am THAT bad. I must be doing something right because my children's friends seem to think that I am a pretty cool Mum, and they add me on FB and actually talk to me! The children I work with all seem to like me, but that could be because I am the looney who loves to crawl around on the floor with them, and lets them jump on her, and pretends to be a big dinosaur and chases them around the playground.

As well as embarrassing my children though, I am also the Mum who is always available for a cuddle, who listens to their problems and tries to help them find solutions, and who always, without fail, tells them every day that I love them.

Oh now before I forget - you need to go here because my Silent Sunday photo was actually taken by the gorgeous G, who has suddenly come into his own with his photography (my camera of course!) and although he didn't mind me using the pic of his sister, he was disappointed that I didn't give him a link to his flickr.

Have a wonderful Monday everyone....I'm off to see how I can embarrass my children on our walk to the local farm to buy eggs!



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Amazing day....

After finding out in the early hours this morning that our visa petition had finally been approved, I emailed the company that we have employed to handle the whole visa thing for us, and received a call from them mid morning.

Apparently now things could move quite quickly, and the only sticking point will be waiting for the interview day to come around. In the meantime I have a multitude of forms that need to be completed, a police check certificate to apply for, and weirdly sized photo's to get of myself and both the boys. All the forms need to be completed for myself and each of the boys separately and in duplicate, and I also discovered that the boys will have to have a full medical as well as me, even though they are only 12 and 13.

I have had a look at all the forms, thinking that I would get them completed really quickly, and have them ready to post once I get the new visa number posted to me - apparently the forms cannot be accepted by the embassy without this number, and they will not send me a date for interview without having received the forms.

It's still a minefield, but at least now I know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we should hopefully be able to fly out just after the beautiful A has her 21st at the end of October.

******

Also to day, I had my hospital appointment for my gastroscopy, because of my never-ending battle with heartburn. I had originally opted to have this done with sedation, because my Dad has had a couple in the past and he said it really was unpleasant without the sedation because it felt almost like you were drowning and couldn't get your breath. Of course having a sedation meant that I would be kept in recovery for a period of time after the procedure, and wouldn't be able to drive or be left alone for 12hrs afterward I was discharged from the ward. Mum and Dad drove over to take me to the appointment, and Mum stayed with me in the waiting room while we waited for me to be called and while I had the procedure.

When I was finally called through by the nurses, they took me into a small room with the gastroscopy equipment and a bed in it. There were 2 nurses and the doctor who would do the procedure. They asked again if I wanted the sedation or just the throat spray to numb the back of my throat. I said sedation and the nurse in charge of the anesthetic asked if I was sure to which I explained what my Dad had said. She laughed and said "well a man would say that, you know what men are like - us women are made of sterner stuff. It's up to you but it will be over much quicker if you go with the throat spray". I changed my mind and opted for the throat spray instead, so I could be out quicker and thought to myself that even if it was really really bad and uncomfortable it would be over in just a few minutes.

The nurse squirted max amount of analgesic throat spray into the back of my mouth and then asked me to swallow. It tasted like bitter bananas, and very quickly I could feel the back of my tongue thickening as it went numb. Then I had to lie on my left side, and they put a small plastic mouth guard in which I had to bite on, this had a hole in the middle which meant that although I was biting down the doctor had open access to my mouth and throat. The camera was about the circumference of my little finger with a really bright light on the end. The doctor put it into my mouth and asked me to take a deep breath in when I felt it hit the back of my throat. That was a little weird, but the camera slipped straight down my throat when I breathed in. I could feel is going down inside me but it didn't feel unpleasant it was just weird. Within seconds he had reached my stomach, and inflated it with air. The nurse told me to relax as much as possible and to just breath as evenly as I could. She also said that I would probably start to burp as the air moved around in my stomach and escaped. She wasn't kidding - it is really weird when you start to really belch hard with a tube stuck down your throat, but again in seconds the doctor said that he was through my stomach and entering the top of my intestines. And then the next thing I knew he was removing the camera and it was all over.

I have to say that not having the sedation was a really good move. I was in and out quite literally in just under 10 minutes, and what made it even better was the fact that the doctor said that he had found no signs of any inflammation, infection or anything else. He said my insides were perfectly healthy and my heartburn was more than likely as a result of reflux. He also paid me a huge compliment and said that I was by far the best and most relaxed patient he had seen all day, which was a bit of a coo.

So all in all today has been a pretty wonderful day. My health is good and it has been confirmed that my wonderful S and I will be reunited again by Thanksgiving....

What more can a girl ask for....



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday.....VISA

This Thursday I am more thankful than I could ever be....
The USCIS has approved our visa petition....

Words cannot possibly describe how excited, relieved, thankful and everything else I feel at this moment in time.


Wordless Wednesday - If I could fly....

Someday's it would be wonderful to be able to fly up above the world where it is peaceful and calm

Monday, August 15, 2011

Quirky things you read in the news....

I have this nifty little thing on my new phone that tells me the quirky news headlines. I thought I would share some of today's strange stuff with you...

1: Bat on a plane sparks panic
A bat on a plane caused panic among passengers on board a flight in the US.The animal was filmed flying through the cabin during a Delta Airways flight from Madison, Wisconsin to Atlanta, Georgia. It caused so much distress that the pilot was forced to return to the departure airport.The animal was finally contained when it flew into the on board toilet and a passenger shut the door!

2: Shop worker bitten by Scorpion
Billy Clark, 48, of Stonehaven, felt a sharp sting in his right little finger after opening a box of bananas which had been imported from Columbia. He said "At first I thought it was a centipede because I just saw a long thing going under the cardboard and when I moved it there was a scorpion. When I saw it I thought 'Oh My God, is it a deadly one?'. It was quite sore - like a bee sting but more intense".
Mr Clarke captured the 3 inch arachnid before being taken by ambulance to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. He said "I took it to hospital with me. I used a pair of grippers and put it in an empty coffee jar. I thought if I went to hospital and said I'd been stung by a scorpion they'd think 'he's on something!'"


3: Kung-Fu commuters let off steam
Stressed our train commuters are being urged to work off their frustrations on giant punch bags. The bags - which appeared at stations in the Chinese capital Beijing's Tube network this week - are designed to reduce the number of travellers taking out rush hour stress on staff.

4: Sparrows are 'like Gangster rappers'
Chirping Sparrows are actually trading insults like gangster rappers, a new study has shown. What sounds like harmonious song is really the noise of males trying to appear macho, say researchers. And, just like humans, most of the boasting and trading insults is done to impress girls.
5: Shooting the rapids on sex dolls
More than 800 Russians have been taking part in the world's weirdest water race - in which they float down rapids on inflatable dolls. The annual Bubble Baba challenge, on the Vuoksa Rapids, 50 miles from St. Petersburg, takes just 3 minutes to complete.

6: Gran, 83, splashes out on boob job
A grandmother has made the headlines in the US - by getting breast implants at the age of 83. Marie Kolstad, of Santa Ana, California, said she opted for the £5,000 boob job because nature had taken its course on her natural assets. "Your breasts go in one direction and your brain goes in  another" she told the New York Times.

7:  One 'L' of a manoeuvre
A learner driver took a wrong turn during her driving lesson in Austria - straight into a fast flowing river. Christina Ritter, 17, from Schladming, had just crossed a bridge over the River Enns with her firefighter dad Ralph in the passenger seat, when she suddenly swerved straight back to the bank. Her fathers colleagues rescued the pair after they realised they were trapped in the river and dialled 999.

What can I say....hopefully at least one of these will bring a smile to your face and maybe even a little chuckle to you lips....



Sunday, August 14, 2011

Walk of Hope....

Some of you may have seen that I have added a couple of new button thingies to the right hand column of my blog for the 'Walk of Hope'

So what is the Walk of Hope?
Simply put it is a 10km walk, that will take place on the 3rd September at Tatton Park in Knutsford, Cheshire to help raise funds for The Christie Hospital in Manchester.
The Christie Hospital

The Christie Hospital delivers top quality Cancer Care as well as being a centre for Education and Cancer Research - they saved my Dad's life!

Dad was diagnosed with Bowel cancer in February 2008, after completing the routine bowel screening programme that came through the post because he was over 60. He started treatment in early March and was looking at surgery in late March/early April 2008. Then he found out that he also had Prostrate Cancer. Dad was convinced that his life was coming to an end. His treatment was transferred to the Christie Hospital, as this is the foremost centre for Cancer treatment, certainly in the North West of England, if not the whole of the UK. He started a treatment of Radiotherapy under the Christie's team of Malcolm Wilson (surgeon) and Catherine McBain (Oncologist), as part of a plan to shrink the tumours and the necessary surgery possible for the bowel cancer and keep the prostate cancer under control as this was quite advanced (PSA 276). By the end of October 2008, Dad was ready for surgery and this took place on the 12th November 2008 at the Christie Hospital. My youngest sister came down from Scotland and was at the hospital with my Mum, and my other sister was waiting by the phone with everything crossed, on the other side of the pond in Massachusetts, as was I. The surgery to remove the tumour in my Dad's bowel was 100% successful, but there had been a huge question mark over whether he would have to have a colostomy bag for the rest of his life, because of where the tumour was placed. Thankfully, he came out of surgery with an Ileostomy, and in July 2009 he was again under the knife at Christie's to have the Ileostomy removed and his bowel restored back to normal working order. Following the surgeries Dad had to have regular 3 monthly check-ups, but thankfully no further treatment on his bowel has been necessary and his check-ups have now been extended to every 6 months. Dad still has the prostate cancer, but this is being kept under control by hormone treatment and his prognosis is good in this respect.

The treatment my Dad received from Christie's hospital is second to none. Every member of staff there is 100% dedicated to the job they do and to providing the best possible care for their patients and also for the families of patients, Not once during my Dad's treatment, either in the past or now, has any member of the Christie's staff been anything other than positive, from the surgeon's down to the tea-ladies, and even the security guard who took great pleasure in teasing my Dad relentlessly over the 'brick' of a mobile phone that he had left in the car, when a Christie's driver had to bring him home after one visit. They are completely fantastic and there is no doubt that without them, and a positive mental attitude from us as a family, my Dad wouldn't be with us today, and this is why we 'The Staniforths' are taking part in the Walk of Hope on the 3rd of September 2011.
Walk of Hope 2010

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday....

This week I am grateful for several things....
  • I am grateful that my caffeine withdrawal headache has now lifted and I am feeling so much better than I was a few days ago - and of course I am now caffeine free which has got to be a good thing.
  • I am grateful to the powers that be who brought my wonderful S a whole 3 hrs closer to me. Not much to most people, but to me, soppy sod that I am, it has been wonderful knowing that he is 3hrs and nearly 3,000 miles closer. of course when he returns to SM on Sunday I will feel resentful instead of grateful, but for now I am just going to enjoy the moment while it lasts.
  • I am so grateful to my beautiful A, gorgeous G and handsome H - who have been quiet and supportive during these last few days while I have been feeling so completely dreadful.
Who knows exactly what the next 7 days will bring, Hopefully there will be positive news regarding the visa. I know I have a nasty day on Thursday, a gastroscopy - what joy! That will not be fun but it is necessary because I am fed up to the back teeth of suffering from heartburn, and if a reason can be found for it, it stands to reason that it can be fixed and that will be fantastic! Also next week I may actually get some good news on the job front, which would be a relief and take some of the pressure off.

I do my best to be a glass half full kind of girl, but I have to admit that it has been kind of hard since my return from SM. However I am now feeling much more positive, it's as if the negativity left me with the caffeine, and I feel so much brighter and ready to take on the world again....


Monday, August 08, 2011

Monday....

Is it really Monday again already? The days certainly seem to be flying by which surprises me. I always thought that when you spent so much time at home with relatively little to do that time seemed to drag....

I am spending a lot of time at home with relatively little to do, although it is not for lack of looking for a job. Finding a job is no easy feat....Finding a job when you only need it for a short period of time is even harder....most companies are looking for someone who will commit and stay with them, and at the moment that just isn't me. Committing to the job isn't a problem for me, just not long term....

I could pretend that I am here for the long haul, but that would mean lying and that then makes life complicated.....I don't want to have to lie about my life, why should I - it's bad enough having to cope on a daily basis with the knowledge that my wonderful S is over there and I am over here, I don't want to have to pretend that I have no plans to move over there, and that his being away from me is just how we live our lives.....What a crock that would be....

Maybe this week will be the week I find something wonderful and temporary to do with myself for the next couple of months. It would be wonderful to be able to just spend some quality time with the children, but with 2 homes to support at the moment and only my wonderful S working it just isn't practical - and besides my children aren't babies any more, they are 12, 13 and 20, and they don't particularly want to spend hours of quality time with Mum, although gorgeous G does come for a daily walk with me. For the most part, unless there is a problem they need solving, I am just here to cook and clean and moan at them. I can sit and natter with the my beautiful A, and we do quite often do so, but she has her own life and a boyfriend and so needs her space to do her own thing. I can hardly come down hard on her and tell she is going to do something, when she has been living away at Uni for the last 2 years and only comes home in the holidays - she has for all intent and purpose flown the nest and is only being held onto it by the thinnest of strings, which in itself will be broken when the boys and I move to SM because she is still adamant that she will never live in the US, although I am still secretly holding out for a change of heart, particularly since she now knows that one of her closest friends is planning on moving to NY and working for the UN there. Having the beautiful A in NY would be fab - OK it isn't the West End but Broadway would be wonderful for her (she is studying Theatre & Performance and plans to be a Theatre Director), and she would be 3,000 miles closer to me than if she were to stay in the UK. I'm saying nothing about it though, we will just wait and see what happens - I need for her to follow her own dreams.

Oh well, Monday is definitely here - the boys want me to make porridge for us all....and the start of another week, is  bringing us all another week closer to our goal and that can only be a good thing....

Friday, August 05, 2011

Good Food....Bad

We live in a society where everyone is saying that we need to eat healthily and stay fit. My own baby sis, Ms E, is a personal trainer and knows all there is to know about fitness and diet, and she is my font of all knowledge when it comes to anything to do with this stuff....

My wonderful S is Hypoglycaemic which means he uses up sugar too fast and just recently has had some days when his sugar levels have been up and down despite there being no real change in his diet. Anyway after some investigation into possible causes we have found that the best way to ensure that his diet is supplying him with the sugar he needs at the speed he needs is to follow a low to medium GI diet as food with a low to medium GI value are low carb and therefore release sugars into the body at a slower more sustained rate....


OK I think, lets find a listing of GI values for food - we all need to follow this plan, because...well just because...we're a family, that's what families do, and I don't particularly care whether my wonderful S is over there and we are over here - we are all doing it! And besides, it's healthy - isn't it?

That's the big question - how healthy is it in reality? Apparently we should all eat  a low to medium GI diet. You can use a low to medium GI diet to lose weight - but guess what? not all the low to medium GI foods are necessarily healthy. Some of them are packed with saturated fats which are not good for you. Some of them are packed with more additives than you can shake a stick at, so that's no good either. Some of them have a veritable Molotov cocktail of nasty things in them that we definitely wouldn't want the children or ourselves to eat! This coupled wit the fact that lots of them are quite calorific was quite a shock....

I think my wonderful S summed it up quite nicely in an email he sent me last night, after I emailed him the GI listing I had found. He said: 
Need the corresponding list which highlights only fruits and veg as all other fun food although low in GI is terrible.
Looking at it, I think he is probably right. We need to eat nothing but fruit and veg that  we grow ourselves, and possibly small amounts of chicken and lots of rabbit, that way we can ensure that the food we are eating is additive free and that the nutritional value we get from it is good, as well as it releasing sugars at a speed that will suit hypoglycaemia quite well and hopefully stop my wonderful S from feeling so out of sorts and inevitably crashing with such resounding force that he ends up eating stuff he shouldn't just to get a sugar high that he then has to spend the rest of the day trying to adjust for so he doesn't just crash again....

The whole thing has certainly opened my eyes - perhaps I was being a little naive in believing that low GI food is healthy food - it is simply, low carb and therefore slow at releasing sugar into the body....

I think I'm going to just make the whole family vegetarian, although I suspect they may well revolt against me as we all love meat so much....

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Will it ever happen....

Some days are just better than others I guess....
Seems that since my return from SM there have been lots of other days that have been better, and even though I am keeping a smile on my face and an upbeat attitude, I seem to worrying about lots of silly little things that I would have just taken in my stride previously, and I am constantly having to tell myself off for being a 'silly cow'....

There isn't anything specific, just teeny stuff and nothing stuff - I am hoping that it is just a phase of this craziness that we seem to be living in at the moment - but nothing seems to be happening. My wonderful S says that he believes that we will hear something this month, and I have found myself checking the USCIS website even more often in the hope of finding something. I never do of course, although I have discovered that I can put in different receipt numbers and see what if any stage other peoples petitions are at. It doesn't give out personal info of course, just says stuff like 'we wrote to you on.........to confirm that your I131 has been successful. Please follow instructions as included in that letter'; but it does let me know that something is happening somewhere. Also I had thought that perhaps certain receipt numbers related to certain visa applications, so all the K1/K2/K3 and K4 petitions would be together because they take the same sort of processing time being for pretty much the same thing, but it would appear from what I am seeing that there is no allocation system involved - you send in your petition you get given the next receipt number and then your petition gets sent to the relevant department. To me this is good news because when you see all the receipt numbers ahead of yours, and you are assuming that they will all take months to process, it can be very dis-heartening. When you find out that a lot of the numbers ahead of yours could just be for green card issue that doesn't take so long, and weigh that up with the fact that they don't work through the receipt numbers in numerical order because this number is purely for logging not processing, it does make you feel a whole lot better and more hopeful of hearing something this month....

Of course hearing something, only means that the USCIS have verified that the wonderful S and I do in fact have a relationship. They then hand over to the State Dept. who will then send me out a date to attend an interview at the Embassy, which for me means a trip down to London, which in itself is quite horrifying, as I do not know anyone in London. My wonderful S used to have a brother living there but he has now also moved back to the US, so I can't use him as a stop or guidance point. The interview appointment could be another 3 months down the line, and I will need to have a full medical before I attend it. The good news is, that once I have attended this interview, as long as they as happy and satisfied with the answers to my questions about S, they will grant me the visa, and the boys and I will finally be able to book flights and get moving. I am hopeful that we will be moved in time for Christmas. The wonderful S says he thinks we will be there for Thanksgiving which would be fantastic. I would be there tomorrow if I could, but I have to be sensible and realistic about this. My beautiful A has her 21st at the end of October, and we cannot and will not miss that - it's far too important....

So keeping my practical head on, being there in time for Thanksgiving which is the 24th November this year would be perfect and I am just keeping everything crossed for then....