Saturday, September 29, 2007

Owwwww! Bye Bye Toenail!

About an hour ago, Emily was cleaning in the kitchen. Her choice - she's been trying to be very helpful all around the house today becuase I'm extremely busy with writing and Jon's been out at his second level Reiki course all day. There was an enormous crash and a horrible scream. Emily had somehow dropped one of the huge half-table size marble slabs we have on the kitchen table onto her foot :-(((

There was quite a lot of blood, which for anyone who knows how squeamish Emily is, was probably even worse for her than the pain. Fortunately she managed to jump back just in time to avoid the slab landing on her whole foot and it just caught her toes. None are broken, just bruised and battered, especially the big toe :-/ She's managed to rip a big chunk of the toenail of her big toe off! The poor love was physically sick with shock and was shaking all over. She's feeling a lot better now after an hour on the settee watching Tom and Jerry, once first aid had duly been administered by a very shaken Mummy.

I was actually very impressed with how Emily dealt with this little crisis. After the initial hysterical crying and being sick, sitting on the floor of the bathroom while I tried to clean it up and work out precisely how bad it was (knowing the size of the slab, I was thinking broken foot, never mind broken toe), she's recovered really quickly. Later this evening, when Jon got back and she'd told him all about it, next thing I know she's taken off her own dressing and is sitting there examining the wound and cleaning the dried blood off it!! For Emily, this is incredible - not so long ago she would have been absolutey hysterical for days about the thought of the dressing coming off and wouldn't have wanted to look at her foot for anything.

Anyway. Before the toe drama, Emily had been busy doing secret things in the kitchen; I wasn't allowed in. It turns out that she'd made a little meal for me and Daddy to have when she had her tea, once he came home. Bless her heart. She'd made a lovely salad for me with chopped tomato, grated carrot, lettuce and pumpkin seeds; for Jon she'd opened a tin of tomatoes and herbed/peppered it how he likes it. She'd made us two puddings - oats soaked in milk with sugar and coconut, plus her special recipe "Emily's Banana Whipscrum" - which is mushed up bananas, milk, grapes, yoghurt and chocolate chips. And a big jug of milkshake to drink. :-)))

As to the rest of the week: Tuesday we cracked on with history and Ancient China, looking at the Shang dynasty. Emily created an illustrated venn diagram to show the differences and similarities between Chinese and European dragon mythology, and she also did an illustrated chart comparing the tombs of Tutankhamun and Lady Hao. The History Odyssey course is supposed to take a year per level, and I think we started it very early this year; I'm not sure we're going to be anywhere near ready to move on to the next level after Emily's birthday - we're barely half way through!

On Wednesday we did some science about sound, finding out about wavelengths and frequencies and pitch and the like, and building some simple instruments. Jon took Grandad to the dentist; he came home complaining that the dentist won't take all his teeth out. Rolls eyes. I rang the hospital (see? I lasted a whole two days before giving in to the demands to ring!) to confirm his admission next week. Reported back to him that I'd rung, and what they'd said about taking his insulin before he went in. He wasn't happy, and was convinced they didn't know what they were talking about and that they didn't realise he was coming in for kidney stuff the day before the angioplasty. Well, there's a surprise. So I rang again. They told me, without me even having to ask, that they know he's coming in for a day's renal treatment prior to the angioplasty, and again reiterated about his insulin. Duly reported back to Grandad, who still thinks they haven't a clue. Figures.

On Wednesday afternoon, Emily and I went swimming again. She did fantastically! Having point blank refused to even attempt to float on her back, all this time, even with me holding her shoulders, after about ten minutes in the pool she suddenly decided to float on her back, then kick her legs, then learn the sculling hand movements - she's now shooting across the pool on her back :-)) She's not tried the proper back crawl movements yet, but she will next time, apparently. I love back crawl, I much prefer swimming on my back to my front. Emily's also got even more confident on her front, is starting to attempt the proper front crawl type arm movements, and is trying to teach herself to swim underwater. It's been a long, long time coming and we've reached give up point several times along the journey, but we've finally made it into an emergent swimmer :-))

Thursday was taken up with tai chi for Emily and Daddy in the morning, then in the afternoon Emily and I went for a wander at Normanby Hall to collect some autumnal nature stuff. Then on Friday Jackie, Mei Lin and Jasmine came round for the day; Jackie taught the girls some more German and later on we got the drills and hot glue guns out to make some autumn sculpture thingies. Emily made some lovely wind chimes out of twigs with bells and beads attached.

Work-wise, I've had an enquiry from CBBC about astrology content for kids on their interactive red button digital thingy. Emily's very chuffed about that ;-) Apparently, I'd been recommended to CBBC by the BBC Teens/Slink people, which was very nice to know. I'm not entirely sure that what they want is actually feasible, but we'll see. And it's nice to be asked. And that's that for this week. Busy week next week with more swimming, yoga, Romy, Tansy and Hazel coming to play, Grandad going into hospital on Thursday and Friday, plus vets appointments to make for Romeo and Juliet's booster vaccinations, plus very probably yet another kitty vet appointment. Voldemort's had diarrhea (again) for the last week. He's perfectly well and happy otherwise, playing like crazy, eating like mad and purring for England, but nothing we're doing seems to be clearing up the problem and even though it doesn't seem to be bothering him, we can't just let it run and run - if you'll excuse the pun.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Swimming! And More Family Woes

Went swimming today with Hazel, Romy and Tansy, which was fun, if cold. Emily had a bit of a major breakthrough and is now swimming. I think I've said that before, but it must have been a false alarm back then. Today she swam several "widths" of the baby pool, though, so I think she's finally cracked it :-))

**Considering this is supposed to be a home education blog, there seems to be rather a lot of me moaning about family situations on here. However, I have to let off steam somewhere...and there isn't anywhere else. Readers only interested in anything vaguely home ed have permission to skip the rest of this post ;-) **

Haven't achieved much else today, other than taking Grandad to his podiatrist appointment. One which he asked to have made, but then duly pronounded the traditional "waste of time" (whose??? not his...) having had it. Tomorrow one of his grown up grandchildren is coming for a rare visit, so I daresay that will cheer him up - for as long as it lasts and not one second longer. Then on Wednesday we get to take him to the dentist, which is another of the nagged-for but then pronounced waste of time efforts, usually. And I'm in trouble for not having already rung the hospital in Hull to confirm his next admission a week on Thursday. Silly me, thought I had plenty of time to do it, but no, it's on the "want it done now" list.

I'm really not sure where we're going with the problems with Jon's dad. To be honest, things just can't continue like this for much longer. The stress is making Jon physically ill. He's been on anti-depressants for a couple of years now, directly because of the effect his father has on him and on his self-esteem, but it's getting worse. Poor Jon now actively avoids even bumping into his dad around the house, because when he accidentally does all he gets is a mouthful of abuse. I am so itching to speak my mind, but it's really not my place to rock the boat and I know Jon's caught between a rock and a hard place - carry on putting up with the atrocious way he's treated, or speak out and risk even worse plus all the guilt he'd be made to feel for upsetting dear Grandad.

I don't know what to do, but the seething resentment I'm feeling isn't going to go away and frankly it's ruining whatever kind of relationship I did once have with my father in law. I know it must be very hard for him being so dependent on others - but all we're asking for is a thank you here, a kind word there, a bit of emotional and moral give and take from him as you might expect from a supposedly loving family member; instead he goes out of his way to destroy Jonathan emotionally and has become demanding beyond all reasonable thought. It's just the little things that mount up. The tantrum he throws if Jon hasn't been out and got his newspaper for him by 9am - any later than that and he has a paddy - he won't have it delivered, of course. The way he behaves every Friday without fail when Jon gets back from having done his shopping - it's never early enough, he's never got the right things (without a list), he's always got something wrong, not got this, shouldn't have got that, put it in the wrong place, bought something too expensive, something too cheap, something the wrong brand. And thank you just isn't in his vocabulary.

Worse of all, though, is the effect I suspect all this is beginning to have on Emily. At the back of our minds, I guess we'd kind of thought, well, at least we're setting a reasonable example for Emily, in trying to love and take care of a family member no matter how difficult they become. Someone pointed out to me the other day, though, affectionately in a trying-to-help way, that things have now become so extreme that we're actually giving Emily a very different model to follow: the example that it's OK for someone to treat you like this, that it's OK for Jon to suffer the abuse he does, that her and our needs and wants aren't worth enough to be top of the list, that being a doormat is good, that being remotely assertive is bad, that Mummy, and Daddy in particular, must be lazy and useless because we're constantly told so, and so she probably is too. I was totally shocked when she said this, as I really hadn't thought of it that way, but it touched such a nerve that I started crying on the spot.

The thing is, my friend may have a point. Very recently we've noticed and been concerned that Emily's self-esteem has taken a real plunge. She's started constantly berating herself for being "rubbish" at everything. Even today at swimming she wasn't delighted with herself - she just kept pointing out that she's not swimming "properly" because she's doing it in the baby pool. She's not remotely proud of what she's achieved, she just thinks it's not good enough. Now I can't blame Grandad entirely for that, but I am beginning to wonder. Jon's self-esteem is so low that it must be having an effect on Emily, however - and I can and most certainly do blame his father directly for that. I don't see where else Emily's worrying attitude can have come from since we do nothing but praise, build her up and encourage her throughout. We'd never dream of telling her she's not good enough at anything. Ever. So where's she getting that idea from?

Emily's relationship with Grandad is deteriorating too. He talks over her most of the time, even when we're sitting down for a family meal. Bless her heart, she tries to be polite and stops what she's saying when he starts speaking. I, however, having had more than enough of that, now usually ask Grandad to hold on a moment and pointedly ask Emily what it was that she had been trying to say. He doesn't get the message, but I wonder if she *is* getting a message - and not a good one - from being talked over. When Grandad does vaguely pay attention to what she says to him, he then complains he can't hear and has to ask us to repeat it. He can hear just fine when he wants to. So now what, my daughter doesn't speak clearly enough? Or what she has to say just isn't interesting enough to hold his attention?

Anyway, ranting on here doesn't change anything, obviously, although it does make me feel slightly better to get my thoughts down "on paper" every so often. We're getting to the point where we may have to try to involve social services with Grandad somehow. I don't know how, exactly, since I suspect they're not interested because they assume he has all the care and help he requires. I don't know that they could do for us, but we can't carry on like this. I imagine they'd just suggest sheltered accommodation, though - which is out of the question a) because Grandad would never agree to it (although at least the suggestion might make him wake up and realise how flippin' lucky he actually is) and b) because Jon could never live with the guilt that would induce. I don't know. Do they have a department in social services for the care and feeding of unreasonably difficult family members? Time to find out.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Few Days in Photos

Jon's Dad is evidently feeling lonely at the moment; he insisted that Jon, Emily and I eat a Chinese meal with him last night. Which would have been OK if it weren't for the fact that a) we had no choice in the matter and b) Jon's confidence and positivity following his recent course has yet again now been destroyed, largely by the atmosphere created by his father and direct put-down comments. So I wasn't all that enthusiastic, shall we say. But I'm good at acting.

Moving on, before I depress myself even futher, let's the change the subject. We've taken quite a few photos over the last two or three days, so here are some for posterity.

Lots of Romeo with the kitty babies. Romeo has now adopted the babies well and truly and is absolutely lovely with them, washing them head to tail whenever he gets the chance and playing with them. It's so funny to watch; he holds them down to wash them with a huge great big paw on their heads or tummies, and the force of his licks almost knocks them over, but they're purring loudly the whole time, it's so sweet. He does swipe them gently occasionally to remind them who's boss, but never with his claws out. I think they absolutely look up to him in awe and always come scampering up to him mewing when they see him. :-)))

Meanwhile, JuJu is still being rather snotty with the babies, but has at least mostly stopped hissing at them. So I don't have any pictures of her with Severus and Voldemort, but she did consent to this regal looking pose on Emily's bed:
Cassie-Cat is largely indifferent to the small black things, being a very large black thing herself. She declined to join in the photo shoot ;-)

In between running around after people and trying to catch up with business work, Emily and I have a brief early Mabon celebration yesterday. We read the Mabon, Son of Modron myths and talked about the symbolism of the festival, as well as getting to grips with the science behind the seasons and the equinoxes or whatever the plural of equinox is (!). Emily decorated the festival tree with apples, autumn leaves, owls and black and white flames of light and darkness in balance:

...and she decorated two little wooden figures in clothing of the God and Goddess - light and dark in balance for the God, with sequin fish scales and feathers to represent salmon and eagles/owls; autumn goodness cloak for the harvest Goddess. These two little figures are ones I bought recently, thinking they'd be a lot bigger than they turned out to be. However, my Dad has now made us some much larger ones, so we'll be using those in future, as Emily wants to make a new festival tradition of dressing wooden figures to be God/Goddess each time. Finally, we made five lovely catnip pillows for the cats, out of autumn leaf material, and Emily attached an initial to each one so we could see who they were for. Not wanting to leave our beloved Merlin out, we also spent some time out in the pouring rain sprinkling cat nip on his grave.

There was a lot more we wanted to do, but we didn't have much time before we had to start getting Grandad's Chinese meal ready. Yes, I know, I'm so negative. I'm trying not to be, but it's very hard not to be just now. You should see me when I don't bother trying to hide it; it's not a pretty sight.

And finally for today, this lovely photo of an orb over one of our vegetable patches late last night, taken by Jon who was out there in search of solace. There's something spiritual going on here underneath all the mess; we just have to cling onto it harder, I think, to stop it being swallowed up.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More Health Woes

Is is something in the air?

Despite having been, so far, the healthier by far of the two baby kitties, Severus is very poorly today, complete with blood stained diarrhea, refusal to eat, shaking/shivering and excessive sleepiness :-( Rang the vet and explained that he had exactly the same symptoms that Voldemort had last week, so could I come and collect some more of the same rehydration water and probiotic tummy stuff. Told no, they wouldn't allow that unless they'd actually seen the kitten. Because clearly I'm an irresponsible owner who can't be trusted to recognise the same symptoms from one kitten to another. Sigh. So off we trotted to the vets, although Jon did the honours this time as I'm frankly rather tired of being there. Guess what? He and Emily sat in the waiting room for over an hour for the sake of a five minute audience with the vet who did the briefest of examinations and sent them home....with the same medicine that I'd asked for on the phone and been denied.

Meanwhile, first thing this morning I took Grandad for his doctor's appointment. Doctor tried to advise him re his diabetes and gradual increasing of his insulin *yet again*. Grandad lied through his teeth about his food intake, yet again. Grandad wants his insulin type changed. Doctor disagrees, but in any case says that he would need to talk to the diabetic clinic at the hospital about that (which is what I'd already told Grandad the doctor would say).

So, we get home and Grandad vows to ignore the doctor's instructions regarding his insulin and wants me to ring the diabetic clinic, which naturally I immediately drop everything to do. Rolls eyes. Diabetic clinic eventually ring back and tell him pretty much what the doctor told him, and that no, they won't change his type of insulin yet as he has a long way to go increasing the dosage of this one before they'd consider that. So needless to say, he's not happy. He was told at the last clinic to increase his insulin dosage morning and night by two units for three consequetive days, to monitor the results, and based on those results to make intelligent decisions regarding increasing one or both of them by another two for 3 days, monitor, repeat, monitor, repeat, until his blood sugar readings stabilised. Well, he only did that for a week, then got fed up with it. He's now been told again that this is what he needs to do. If he'd damn well followed the instructions the first time, it would probably all have been sorted by now, but no. He wants his type of insulin changed and believe me, he won't rest (or rather I won't rest running about after his wishes) until that happens.

Grandad's "tea" this evening was four rashers of bacon, two fried eggs, a whole tin of tomatoes and four slices of bread, plus a pudding - and he'll probably be back later for a snack. Yet he told both the doctor and the diabetic nurse, yet again, that he barely eats anything at all and couldn't possibly cut down any further. Sometimes I just feel like screaming. I'm sick of being expected to take responsibility for his health and wellbeing whilst at the same time not being given the "authority" to do so, since nobody actually bloody well listens to me apart from Jon, who feels equally trapped and frustrated.

And our health? Oh, well. Jon's most recent diabetic blood test and doctor's appointment are now months overdue, yet again. Emily's dentist appointment should have been made months ago too and her optician appointment is being shunted from month to month as other people take precedence. One of these days I'll get the hang of making *us* my first priority.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Kitties in the Garden!

Big day for Voldemort and Severus today. First day out in the garden on harnesses! Sev loved it, Voldy was somewhat less impressed and spent most of the time slithering along on his belly like a snake! We were chaperoned the entire time by a very indignant looking Ju-Ju, who looked exceedingly miffed that her garden was no longer a kitty-free zone. First pic is Ju-Ju getting up close and personal with Voldemort's bottom!!And a slightly more dignified approach to Severus:Voldemort (on his belly, natch) gets to know some flowers:while Severus has a good look round:Meanwhile, Juliet looked on in horror at kitties in HER vegetable patch!

Also today, Emily finished painting and labelling her relief map of ancient China, which has turned out very well indeed.

Yesterday was extremely chaotic and involved two trips by Jon to the dentist for a crown that had fallen off, plus two trips by me and Emily to the vet, plus a swimming trip, plus Jon's psychic circle night. Emily and I ended up at the vets twice within two hours, lol - first we took Voldy and Sev Sev for their second vaccinations, but immediately we got back through the door, Jon told us he'd seen Romeo limping badly, holding his front right paw curled right up to his shoulder. Exit again almost immediately, with a hugely disgruntled Mr Pome in tow, to the vet's emergency clinic. Romeo had puncture wounds all the way up his leg, presumably from fighting. He's fine now after some painkillers and antiobiotics, and has spent all day asleep on our bed, much as he used to pre-kitties, so that's a very good thing!

The swimming trip yesterday was a great success; we went with Hazel, Romy and baby Tansy. Emily and Romy had a lovely long play in the pool, and Emily seems to have gained a little bit more confidence than last time we went. She can now "swim" a little bit in the baby pool, for about 3-4 strokes, but she won't carry that forward into the big pool. I guess she'll get there in time. She's adamant she doesn't want to be taught to swim by anybody but me, bless her, despite the clearly atrocious job I'm doing of it! Meanwhile Baby Tansy stayed in the pool for half an hour and was unbelievably adorable :-))

The news with Jon's Dad continues to be by turn frustrating and infuriating. I have to take him to the doctor again tomorrow as he's back to wanting "something done" about his diabetes. Fine - but this evening, just before Emily and I left for yoga, he had his tea, which consisted of two whole trout plus a mountain of potatoes and vegetables...and then ten minutes later he was back in the kitchen making himself toast and jam. The ideal snack for an elderly man whose diabetes is seriously out of control. Yet tomorrow, he'll lie through his teeth to the doctor and say he barely eats anything and has perfect dietary control :-((

I'm a bit at a loss as to what to do about that. I always go into the doctor's room with him, but I'm not prepared to outright call him a liar in front of the doctor as a) I don't think humiliating him will have much effect, b) it's not in my nature to do that and c) I'd pay for it later. I think I've dropped dozens of hints to medical professionals over the last year, but of course if Grandad himself continues to lie and misrepresent how much he eats and how little he exercises, they can't advise him properly.

I think part of the problem is that he's deeply depressed at the moment, which I guess isn't helping with the diabetes either. It's not surprising, I imagine, given the whole angioplasty/heart attacks scenario. Plus a holiday he was looking forward to has been cancelled (although he apparently told the family member concerned that he was relieved not to be going) and I think we're now beginning to see the backlash. Unfortunately, although I firmly believe that Jon and I know far better than anyone else what goes on his head these days, he lies to other family members, both about what happens at this end and about how he feels, which all just adds to the general difficulty of the situation. He'll tell one person one thing but then his behaviour or what he might tell me shows completely the opposite. It's bizarre and infuriating, especially considering Jon's very, very much only second best as a son, as far as he's concerned, so little that ever originates from us pleases him despite how hard we try. I guess we'll keep on trying to do our best, obviously. It's what we do, and would do anyway, even if we had a choice not to. Surely it must get easier at some point, though - ?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Feng Shui, Whitby Abbey & Missing Daddy

Some photos from the rather lovely Whitby Abbey, where we spent the day on Friday having gone to pick Jon up from his course in Scarborough. Very atmospheric, especially as it was blowing a gale at the time. Very good audio tour handset thingies, too.

Prior to that, the last ten days are a bit of a blur. We had a lovely day out at Normanby Hall with Hazel, Romy and Tansy on Friday the 7th before heading back home to prepare for Jon going away on the Sunday. While Jon was away, Emily and I were rushed off our feet trying to keep up with things. We marked out a timetable for each day, lol, so we could fit everything in. Emily was incredibly grown up, responsible and helpful, pulling out from our stock all the orders to be packed, cleaning the bathroom and the cat's bowls, tidying up everywhere, putting laundry away, photographing hundreds (literally) of items for ebay and all sorts. Somewhere in all that she also found time to tile her dollshouse :-)

Baby Kitty Voldemort was poorly again during the week - found him with diarrhea when we got back from dropping Jon off in Scarborough on Sunday, and then he stopped eating altogether, wouldn't play, lost a huge amount of weight and was generally pretty ill. Brought him back from the vets midweek with rehydration powder to go in his water plus probiotic syringes for his tummy, and we spent a great deal of time nursing him back to health. He's fine now and seems to have put back on all the weight he lost. Severus is fine too, although he was rather miserable when Voldy wouldn't play with him :-(

Emily went to ballet on Monday evening. It was the first lesson of term, but it was also her last lesson. I peeked in during the lesson and saw her looking absolutely miserable and being told off yet again. The next lot of exams are coming up in November, and we were due to pay over £100 in fees, extra fees plus exam fees. Enough was enough - it stopped being fun a long time ago, and Emily agreed that it was time now to call a halt to it. So she won't be going back. The only thing she's worried about is not seeing her friend Kayleigh, although we've promised that we'll keep in touch with her and she's due to come to play soon.

On a happier note, last week was also the first week back at yoga, which Emily is still loving. There were half a dozen new children there too, which was a relief. Some of the older girls left at the end of the summer term and I had been worried there wouldn't be enough to keep the class going, but it seems pretty full now.

In between being very grown up and talking to Daddy on the phone several times a day, Emily and I completed our week long feng shui project. First thing on Monday, Emily paced out all the rooms so we could make a roughly to scale floor plan, and then we used a compass and bagua to mark out the main guas of the home. During the rest of the week we took each individual room in turn, marked the individual guas within it and made extensive notes and floor plans about where we'd like things to go, future colour schemes and the judicious addition of things like mirrors and windchimes. It was a lot of fun and we both learnt loads doing that. Now if only we could clear enough clutter to actually put the re-decorations into progress sometime soon! Patience and lots of chipping away at it are required.

On Wednesday, Grandad had a letter from the hospital helpfully informing him that he was to be admitted on Friday (yes, less than 48 hours notice) for his angioplasty. And of course on Friday, we had to pick Jon up from Scarborough. Fortunately my parents volunteered to take Grandad to Hull. Once again, despite being admitted, he didn't have the angioplasty done, to cut a very, very long story short. However, he has to go back again for another attempt at the beginning of October.

Anyway, despite being constantly busy, we didn't get done half of what we wanted to get done while Daddy was away, but hey, we tried. And we played tons of games too, including endless rounds of a game that Jackie taught Emily, and the name of which completely escapes me now. The one where you have 16 cards to begin with, and you have to be able to put down 40 before you can do anything else and at the end of the game the loser counts up how many points they still have in their hand. Anyway. We like that one.

Jon had a fantastic week on the course and came back having learnt loads and full of interesting ideas for his future development. While he was away, he had two readings with two of the tutors, one with Donna Stewart and one with psychic artist Lyndsey Tyson who painted a fantastic auragraph for him which my Dad has now framed. The reading he had with Donna was very emotional as she had Jon's Mum there with her; his Mum had a great deal to say about the current situation with Jon's Dad and brother, and a lot to say about Emily too, all of which was completely accurate and very moving. Jon's own mediumship impressed the tutors and they told him in front of everyone else what a wonderful spirit he had and how he had lit up the whole conference with his light and his contributions :-)) Very, very proud of him :-))

While Jon was away he took some photos in the hotel grounds late at night, after specifically asking for spirit energies to appear. He captured a lot of orbs and other lights. It obviously wasn't anything on the camera as the marks don't appear in any of the other photos he took at night without asking; it wasn't reflection off anything as a) there was nothing there and b) between one photo and the next in the same place, seconds apart, the lights appear and then disperse or move; they weren't moths (there were some moths in some of the photos which can clearly be seen as such); they weren't visible at the time to the eye; the lights are all of differing sizes and intensities, which wouldn't be the case if it were dust or something like that (and besides which, that wouldn't explain why some photos show nothing at all). So we were quite impressed with some of these. There are quite a lot of them although I've only put three on here because I don't think they show up as well when they're resized. The second and third photo were taken from the same place with just seconds between them, so you can see that most of the orbs/lights/whatever have moved/dispersed in that time.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Productive Doings & Plans for the Home

Went to see Jackie and her girls for the day; lots of maths, lots of kitten playing, lots of poetry, lots of "socialisation", lots of card game playing, lots of ooohing and aaahing over the various menagerie of cats, fifteen birds, chickens and other assorted creatures. And lots of apples from their orchard, lol.

Saturday and Sunday
Lots of feverish typing and "creative thinking" from me to meet deadlines. Lots and lots of ebaying and de-cluttering from Jon. Lots of arts and crafts from Emily, and PC skills too as she went through our entire collection of digital photos finding shots she wanted of the cats, which she then resized and trimmed into ovals to fit into a multi-photo frame she has.

Went to the doctors', or rather the nurse, to have my ears syringed as I had gone practically deaf again. Waited for over an hour to be seen, which didn't exactly put me in a sparkling frame of mind. However, got back to find that Emily had been cleaning and clearing out our bedroom and had done an absolutely fantastic job. This was her idea and voluntary, I hasten to add, not child slavery! She wanted to carry on with that all day, so we spent a long time going through the contents of the bottom of wardrobes, old ottomans, piles in the corner, etc. And not one spider. Result.

Maths in the morning, together with physics, for which we studied electrical energy and charge, with the experiment involving making an electroscope. We've tried making one at least twice before at various time and it's never worked. This one worked. Happy child, happy mother. In the afternoon we made a start, finally, on The Story of Ancient China, Chapter 1. Read it all through, discussed it loads and Emily wrote the answers to all the summary questions and looked through the projects to choose two she wanted to do.

Emily chose "make a relief map of ancient China" for one of the chapter one projects. Eeek. Much frantic digging finally unearthed the paper pulp instant papier mache type fluff we had somewhere, which was a big help. Emily drew an outline of China on a big piece of cardboard, and taped egg box bits in place where the Himalayas and other mountains were. Then she mixed up the pulp and started plastering it on, building up layers over the egg boxes and smaller mountainous and hilly parts for the other ranges and river valleys, as well as adding sand for the deserts.

Relief map making was actually a lot less stressful and much more fun for me as a parent/facilitator than I thought it was going to be. When she said this was what she'd chosen, I was inwardly cursing myself for giving her a free choice, thinking it was going to be hard, frustrating and unsuccessful. So. That taught me. Must learn to say "yes" to things more often. Anyway, we like relief maps in this household now :-)) so we'll be doing some more as we study different countries in geography or whatever, including a nice big one of the UK. The China one will look fantastic when it's dried and painted. Emily's going to make little cocktail stick flags to stick in to label the important areas.

This afternoon, we set up a mushroom growing kit, much to Emily's disgust as she hates mushrooms, lol. We also started on a huge Oxford University Crystal Growing Kit that my Mum and Dad bought for Emily a while ago. I can't find it online anywhere, maybe they don't make it any more. It's got absolutely tons of the chemicals in it and lots of great ideas. Last time we tried growing crystals it was a disaster, but this time....drumroll looks like it's actually going to work, so Emily's deeply chuffed about that.

Still to Come
Tomorrow is going to be another whirl of deadlines for me since we won't be around this Sunday when I'd normally see to them. Jon and Emily are back at tai chi after a short break, so they're pleased about that. On Friday we're looking forward to a picnic in the park with Hazel, Romy and Tansy. On Sunday we're off to Scarborough to drop Jon off for his week's course. While he's away next week, to keep our minds off missing him :-( Emily and I are going to make feng shui plans for the whole house. Which hopefully will not only improve our living areas, but also fits very neatly into our study of ancient China. We have a two and a half year plan, ho ho, to finally get to grips with our living environment. Our bedrooom is first on the list, since it's the most neglected area, and we're well on the way to clearing that so it can be completely redecorated and revamped.

Next up, but not until next year some time, we're going to empty out the stock room/junk hole/random place that is the big landing area at the front of the house, and partition it off into a proper, private room for Emily, in addition to her bedroom since her bedroom's so minute. There's quite a lot of space there, it's at least as big as our bedroom, so she's very excited about being able to decorate the room from scratch and turn it into a proper living and playing area. We've got big plans for the garden too; very shortly a horrible hedge is being ripped out and replaced with a line of flowering trees instead, "spider alley" is going to be gravelled over and made into somehwere nice for a Chinese style garden area and one of the most overgrown bits of the garden is destined to become a wildlife pond. All big projects, and a hell of a lot of work, but we're feeling much more positive now we've got definite plans to work towards :-))