Friday, February 29, 2008

Earthquakes, Crafts, Friends & Classical Education Ponderings

Ooops - got a bit behind on the blog updating again! It's been a busy nine or ten days since I last posted here. Let's see.

Last Thursday I went with Jon to the GP; it was a very reassuring appointment, actually, with the doc confirming that his diabetic control is overall excellent and it's just the new tablets that needed their dose adjusting. He also said soothing things about the changes at the back of Jon's eyes, which was a big relief. A positive visit indeed.

On Friday last week Jackie and her girls came round for the day. She did some more vedic maths with them (they love that - maths is suddenly fun!!!!) and I did some fresco painting in Ancient Greek style with them all, using wet plaster of paris. The weekend was spent in the usual blur of deadlines, although Emily had a great time making secret Mothers Days things and learning new katas at karate.

On Monday morning we got up really early (for us) at around 7am and we were downstairs ready to roll by 8.30. Emily did a brilliant day's work including maths, English, spelling, geography (learning about the geography of North America) and history (Alexander the Great). We also did about an hour's yoga together too. Have started doing some yoga every day with Emily, which we're both enjoying. It's not helping me lose any weight, but I do feel more awake and flexible.

Soon it was time to go out to the psychic circle, which I'm now attending as well as Jon - and which Emily is totally thrilled about as it means she gets a really long night's play with Mei Lin and Jasmine every week, lol. Jon and the rest of the group did some more Reiki work on Monday night while I and another girl who haven't been Reiki initiated practiced tarot and oracle card readings. It was good fun and well past midnight before we dragged Emily away from her game (don't those girls ever get tired???) and started off home.
Was extremely tired on Tuesday morning but we were up early again to pick up Hazel, Romy and Tansy for a couple of hours at a wacky warehouse soft play centre. Emily and Romy seemed to have fun, while Tansy showed off her ever so nearly walking skills. On Tuesday afternoon, after much deliberation over whether she really wanted to go or not, I took Emily to yoga - only to discover that the group had been told last week that this is the last half term the teacher's going to be running it. So the decision has been made for Emily, effectively. She's going to carry on for the next few weeks until it ends, but then there won't be a class any more. I'm not quite sure whether she's sad or relieved about that - probably both.

Another very late night for Emily on Tuesday night.....yes folks, that was Earthquake Night. Emily and I were lying in bed talking when it struck, and Jon was in the study working. One of the weirdest experiences of my life, I think. We're only about ten miles or so from the epicentre, as the crow flies. It was extremely unnerving, to say the least. Poor Emily was really frightened while it was happening; it's funny how time slows down, isn't it? It couldn't have lasted more than ten seconds but it felt like an absolute age. Still, once it was over it was quite exciting in an odd way. Emy and I got up to join Jon and we looked to see if it was on the news (it wasn't, yet), opened the door and listened to all the alarms going off, joined the rest of the street gawping out of windows, checked the house for damage (none, thankfully), checked various websites about earthquakes and played hunt the kittens for quite some time. They'd both hidden and it took us ages to find them and coax them out. Oddly enough, both Jon and I had been talking about how weirdly they'd been acting around midnight that night - they were going completely nuts running up curtains and so on. Maybe they sensed something was about to happen. The older cats weren't really bothered.

Wednesday was a decidedly odd and not very nice day. I was really upset about something and spent much of the day in tears, which also set Emily off into tears too. Felt utterly horrible for making her cry, which developed into a horrible vicious circle of wails and upset from both of us. Things looked up considerably in the evening, though. Jon gave me another Reiki session, specifically aimed at healing me emotionally, and it felt incredible. He also charged a plaster and I've been wearing that since; it's really helping.

Speaking of Reiki, Jon has also been giving my Mum some treatments for the problems she's having with her hand; apparently it's had a remarkable effect and she's really, really pleased :-)) Jon's being looking after his own health too and has lost eight pounds since his hospital appointment on the 18th! I haven't lost any weight at all (*cough* put some on, actually *cough*) but I do feel better for doing some yoga and eating more sensibly.

Yesterday Jon and Emily went out to tai chi and I spent most of the day writing an astrological synastry report as a gift for friends who are celebrating their ruby wedding anniversary. On and off we also spent a lot of time on ebay; we've been clearing out lots of "junk" recently which has largely been selling very well, strangely!

And so to today: Emily and I spent the morning trying out some craft ideas from this fantastic book: Felt Wee Folk - it's full of beautiful ideas and the figures are really easy to do. We hope to build a little collection of them for each season, but today we started out with a simple boy and girl, followed by a wizard from Emily and a red-head Queen from me.

This afternoon, Emily's been doing some more work on her North America geography section, which is proving very educational for me too, since neither of us could initially find Mt McKinley and I had no idea it was in Alaska....

There have been two not very nice bits to today, though, one concerning our bank and the other concerning a psycho American woman. A phone call from Royal Bank of Scotland: they wanted to know if we had used our RBS business credit card yesterday to pay £840 (????) to Travelodge. Um. No. But someone had. Somehow, our credit card details have been stolen. This is very, very alarming since the actual credit card has never been out of the house - in fact, it's never been out of the desk drawer. So whoever it is must have been able to get the credit card information from one of our online usages of it. Not a good thought. Anyway, the bank is dealing with it and has cancelled that card to send us a new one - but it wasn't pleasant.

As for the psycho American woman: she emailed me yesterday, very rudely and aggressively, wanting to know why a CD she'd ordered a couple of days ago hadn't yet arrived. Um. We're in the UK. She's in America. Slightly unreasonable expectations of delivery date she had there. Anyway, I gave her the "royal mail international signed for" tracking number and the date of despatch. I also told her that I didn't appreciate her tone. I no longer tolerate being "spoken to" like that by customers; I just can't stand the arrogance of some people and I refuse to be treated like that. Boll*cks to "the customer is always right" - no, often they're not. So this afternoon she emailed back. My goodness. Talk about hysterical and unhinged. She claims to have sent a message to 67,000 (yes folks, that's 67 *thousand) "new age groups" telling them not to deal with us, and she's also threatening to come round here when she allegedly visits the UK in a fortnight's time. This woman clearly has "issues", shall we say. And I didn't even know there were 67,000 new age groups, so good luck to her with that one. Too much time on her hands, perhaps?

Anyway; the whole tone of the email, apart from quite clearly coming from someone unstable, was aggressive and threatening. I've set it to delete her future emails from the server, after having sent her what I hope was a very condescending and patronising but still polite reply (I do a mean line in "icy" when I feel like it), but it does wind me up. What do we do to deserve this kind of rubbish? Naturally she'll put in a paypal claim in due course claiming not to have received the item, which will take up yet more of my time. Some people really, really need to find a hobby.

On a nicer note, Voldemort has been a cutie today. He found a feathered peacock figure in the dining room, climbed up high to get it, brought it down and carried it out into the garden, through the catflap (quite some feat, the size of it), and deposited it in his hiding place under the hedge. We eventually got it back (and Emily put is somewhere safe) but then Voldy came in miaowing and systematically searched the whole house, room to room, so obvioulsy looking for "something"..... it was very funny. Both kibbies have also been playing with bubbles, as has Romeo. All very adorable and the perfect antidote to obnoxious Americans.

I've spent a lot of time over the last week or so pondering our home ed situation, yet again. I'm still extremely fed up with people who home educate telling me that Emily does too much "work" and people who don't home educate telling me that she's getting no education at all.....but I'm slowly learning that it's not my problem. We're happy, Emily's happy and anyone who isn't simply doesn't count. However, I do worry about our lack of time. By the time we've seen friends, taken Grandad all over the show and Emily's been to things like tai chi, we only have two and half full days a week in which to "do" stuff. I've been reading back through Well Trained Mind and looking at the website and trying to get my head around how to fit all the things both I and Emiy want to do into our tiny time schedule. Following the classical education model, I think Emily must be finishing up the "Grammar Stage" now and entering the "Logic Stage". History Odyssey, which we've been following for about a year now is Logic Stage, but we're struggling with finding something science-wise that we like and that fits the principles of classical education, which I do feel is a very good fit for Emily's likes, dislikes and learning style.

Emily and I have looked through various ready made curricula such as Noeo Science, but have decided to do it ourselves via the How Nature Works book, as recommended in TWTM. She wants to do biology this year, rather than chemistry, so that's what we'll do. I'm also struggling to fit Latin back into our limited time, although we both really want to get back to it. Emily's been suggesting that it would be better if we had a proper timetable (not down to the half hour, but along the lines of Monday morning: Latin and Science, Monday afternoon: Maths, English, Logic...and so on). I've found loads of wonderful sounding classical education timetable suggestions online - but they all assume you have a full five day educational week at your disposal. We don't have. If we started out with a timetable like that, even for those 2.5 days, I'd give it less than a week before Grandad demands to be taken somewhere unexpectedly and NOW (as happened on Monday afternoon this week) and throws the whole thing into chaos again. Will have to ponder a great deal more, but it looks as if getting up early is going to have to figure into the equation somewhere! Alas!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


We've been abstract painting this afternoon on the theme of "Time". Mine is meant to be a spiral, showing our happy memories going back in time, gradually getting darker until you reach the all too often dark and foreboding present, funneling into the prospect of a bright future. Emily's shows the myth of time. She's been thinking a lot recently about what time is, whether it's real and how it can be explained. Her painting symbolises the strange progress of time, fast, then slow, then fast again, via the wiggly line. The hourglass shapes contain the mystery of time, and then one breaks and the dual blessing and curse of time floats down the rainbow to mankind. We had fun painting these. Very therapeutic.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Chinese Festivities Plus Lights, Camera, Action!

Emily had an amazing time at Gainsborough Old Hall on Sunday afternoon with Mei Lin, Jasmine and Natalie. They all made chinese tissue paper lanterns using willow reeds, practised some Chinese writing, made twizzlers, listened to live Chinese music, ate some scrummy Chinese food and received lucky red money envelopes and fortune cookies. Best of all, they took part in a lantern parade through Gainsborough town. Emily was thrilled to be holding up part of the tail of the huge dragon! Everyone who made a lantern has also been invited back to take part in another parade during the Gainsborough Riverside festival in the summer, which is themed around China to coincide with the Olympics.

Here's a photo fest :-)) Starting with Emily practising her Chinese writing:
Putting together the lantern frames from willow:

Yummy food!
Decorating the lanterns with tissue paper shapes:
Getting ready to go out on the parade:

Preparing to set off with the dragon: Across the shopping centre into Gainsborough itself:

Back at the Old Hall after walking their feet off, lol!

Yesterday morning Emily and I got started on some basic algebra, or pre-algebra or whatever it's supposed to be called these days. She's taken to that really well; we've only got as far as solving things like:

x+7 = 20
Take the seven away from both sides of the balance:
x = 20-7
so x=13

(Well, obviously she can work that out in her head, but we've been learning about the logical steps to keep both sides of the balance equal and how to logically write it all out...)

Plus the slightly more complicated ones were x is a minus number, like:

20-x = 14
Make the minus x a plus x by moving it to the other side of the balance:
20 = 14+x
Then solve as above, so take 14 away from both sides:
20-14 = x so x = 6

Anyway. She likes algebra, what with that and the enthusiasm for the vedic maths methods, she's finally finding something maths-wise to smile about. Hopefully she'll still like it when it gets much more difficult and she can't do it in her head to begin with...

Yesterday afternoon, I went with Jon to his hospital appointment. He has to go back in a few weeks time for a colonic endoscopy, which doesn't sound like much fun. While we were out, Emily had a fabby surprise. Gramps and Nana gave her their old digital camcorder! Gramps showed her how to use it, and how to use Microsoft Movie Maker with it. She was well away almost immediately and by the time we got home she'd filmed a short "catalogue of cats" piece, uploaded it, edited it to include some posh transitions and things and added titles and credits! Since then we've rounded up all of her old clips from our digital camera and she's now working on those too. This morning first thing, before breakfast, she was outside in all the frost filming the kittens playing, lol. Every time I click the icon to add video to this blog, the whole thing freezes up, but I guess eventually I'll be able to upload some of Emily's masterpieces onto here :-)

Today we've had a good day "working" again, even though we didn't wake up until really late. Rolls eyes. Absolutely MUST start getting up earlier. We've done some more algebra and Emily's spent the rest of the day on Ancient Greece. Specifically, she's been adding dates to her timeline, doing some mapping and finding out all about sports in Ancient Greece and the olympics, including researching the locations where the modern olympics have been held and looking into olympic symbols like the flame and the flag. Emily has also written a newspaper report of the javelin competition as if she were back in Ancient Greece.

Finally today, Emily's been working in The Aspiring Writer's Journal and its companion The Aspiring Artist's Journal, both of which she had for her birthday but which we've only just unearthed (yes, we do live in *that* kind of house!) and which have turned out to be very, very good.

Just now we got half way to yoga before Emily decided she didn't want to go. Fine by me, especially since I've got yet another last minute piece of work to finish, so home we've come again. It's still beautifully frosty outside, even at half past five. Driving through the wooded bit on the outskirts of the village was stunning :-)
Some frosty pictures from this morning of the crystals we have hanging from Emily's and Merlin's little willow tree, plus the slightly insane child outside filming still in her nightie (!) and Severus getting himself covered in frost off the pampas grass.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Maths Magic

This week has been fun :) Could do with more like this one.

Emily's done lots of history, looking still at the Classical Greek age and finding out about daily life in Ancient Greece. Her summary writing (as taught by the History Odyssey course) has exploded in ability recently. She now writes fabulously clear and concise summaries of pages she's read from the history encyclopedia (or wherever), and what's more she loves doing it and always wants to do more. I'm really pleased about that, as I think the ability to summarise what you've read and to make sensible notes about it is a hugely important skill to have for more detailed study when you're older.

There's been more chemistry too, this time discovering why distilled water doesn't conduct electricity but tap water does. I've noticed a leap in understanding here too with Emily recently. She suddenly seems to have moved to a new level of "getting it" in lots of things. She's also been spending a lot of time making very funny video "documentaries" about all sorts of things on our digital camera. Unfortunately, we don't have (and can't currently afford) a proper camcorder, but it's fast making its way up the list of future priorities, since Emily seems to be showing a flair for movie direction, lol!

On Monday afternoon we had a terrific afternoon out at Normanby Hall with Hazel, Romy and Tansy. The big girls had a lovely play. Not long now until Tansy will be toddling off after them! Mind you, it was *freezing*. I'd looked out of the window at the blazing sunshine, decided "it won't be that cold" and taken us off out without either me or Emily having a coat; we both just had cardigans on. Bad Mummy. Still, we survived :-)

On Wednesday we had a lovely surprise when Jacki, Mei Lin and Jasmine turned up just before lunchtime - they were on their way to Scunthorpe museum and wondered if we'd like to go too. Of course we would! So we did :-) Emily and I hadn't been to the museum for about eighteen months or so. Unfortunately, the main section was closed as they were preparing a new exhibition, but the girls had fun looking at all the fixed exhibitions and doing all the new hands on activities and microscope work they now have laid out. We also had a picnic lunch, before coming back here for half and hour's play before tea time.

Friday was our day to go over to Jacki's. Emily spent the day with the girls in some hugely complicated made up game that they all had to invent and draw magical characters for, which seemed like a lot of fun. As far as education goes, Jacki had bought a little book from the Works on Vedic Maths - quite controversial, as I gather from that article - so she taught us all, me included, some of the "magic" strategies for long multiplication. Emily got it immediately and was soooo chuffed with herself now she can do really difficult sounding sums like 87 x 83 in her head extremely quickly :-)) A lot of the rest of the book goes on to some much more complicated maths that would probably be beyond our girls at the moment, but we shall see how we go. Meanwhile, I took along one of my favourite home ed finds of all time, the English from the Roots Up book. The girls made some flashcards of about a dozen of the Latin/Greek roots and some of their derivative words, and had fun mixing and matching to invent new words.

Not having seen more than enough of us during the week, Jacki, George and girls have also invited Emily to go with them to the Chinese New Year (bit late!!) celebrations at Gainsborough Old Hall tomorrow afternoon, so Jon will drop her off there straight after karate. She'll apparently be making lanterns, dragons and puppets and taking part in a lantern parade, so she's looking forward to that!

Meanwhile, in the rather more upsetting scheme of things, Jon had a letter from the diabetic eye screening service today. It noted that following his recent eye screening, they have noted some changes at the back of his eyes caused by his diabetes. Given his father's diabetic eyesight history (he's registered partially sighted, getting worse by the month), that was a very nasty shock :-( It made me cry and I know it's affected Jon deeply :-( Still, we're renewing our efforts to take care of his health. He has a (not eye related) hospital appointment on Monday and another GP appointment to discuss his new diabetic medication and antidepressants this week too. Sometimes a nasty dig in the ribs is necessary to stop you becoming complacent.

On a lighter note, some more news about our five moggies. Cassie-cat, despite her age, is being a darling, extremely purry and affectionate. She's not stiff at all moving around, so although she is awfully thin she seems to be bearing up well. Juliet is (finally) starting to settle down a bit more. She's sleeping upstairs in our sitting room a lot now just like she used to pre-kittens, and she's being very purry and affectionate too. Romeo is over the nasty bug he had a week or so ago and continues to be an absolute star with the babies. He spent ages playing chase with them in the garden this afternoon. Voldemort and Severus are growing. Very fast - they're almost grown out of their kitten collars now, will have to get some new ones. They're loving their freedom and spend hours playing outside every day. I think all five cats are appreciating the brighter days, as all of them, even Cassie-cat are spending more time enjoying the garden. Some recent piccies :-) Note Romeo flattened down and ready to pounce in a game of chase!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Anniversaries & Theatre Doings

It was our eleventh wedding anniversary on Wednesday 6th February. Emily had made us some beautiful presents and cards. I got hand made bubble bath, and Jon got a heart shaped lavender meditation pillow. She's such a sweetheart. Emily also vanished on the morning and made us a secret chocolate and orange anniversary cake. All by herself - the only thing an adult did was put it in the oven and take it back out again. She's getting so independent :-)) She iced the cake with chocolate orange icing and put eleven candles on it, plus a red and purple flower decoration (our wedding colour scheme was red and purple). We had a super day :-))

On Thursday, we had another anniversary too, but a sad one; it was the first anniversary of Merlin's death, so we thought about him lots. Well, we always think about him lots, but even more than usual. Jackie came round for the day with Mei Lin and Jasmine; we were going to do some Chinese New Year things, but didn't get round to it in the end. The girls spent nearly all day playing while me, Jackie and Jon nattered. We did get the girls to do learn some breathing techniques, though, for calming down in stressful moments. And they made lots and lots of lovely fimo clay figures. Oh, and Jackie made us laugh by telling us all about how much she loves Emily because Emily's "odd", rofl! She means it very fondly, as in quirky ;-) And she's right, Emily is very different, in a lovely, unique way. Who wants to be ordinary anyway?!

Yesterday was a very busy day; Emily and I had to be in Grimsby by 10.30 for the Hamlet play, which was absolutely fantastic. This is the third year in a row we've seen an S4K production and I really do think they do them so well. When I first heard about them, before we went to see Romeo and Juliet in 2006, I had reservations; I thought it was going to be some awful happy clappy dumbed down rubbish, but they strike a brilliant balance between introducing some fun elements but at the same time keeping much of the original text plus maintaining the tragic atmosphere when necessary. I cried at the end of Romeo and Juliet and I cried at parts of Hamlet yesterday too, lol. Mind you, I almost yelled too - at the teacher "supervising" the little brats sat behind us. They spent the entire performance talking, kicking our seats and trying to hand clap through entirely inappropriate for hand-clapping music. They were clearly bored out of their minds. *Shrugs* I don't know what they do in these schools any more. How children could be bored watching such a great performance, I don't know.

We got back from Grimsby just in time to have something to eat and a quick break before it was time for me and Jon to head off back to Grimsby again, to see Derek Acorah. That was, well, very interesting. Not particularly impressive, I have to say, in terms of mediumship skills. But fascinating. I'd really *wanted* to be bowled over, but it just didn't happen. To be fair, the audience was incredibly unresponsive, which didn't help. There needs to be a certain amount of energy and atmosphere for large scale mediumship to work well, but I think half the audience was only there because they'd vaguely heard he was someone famous and weren't really interested in what he was trying to do. Oh well. It was a very nice evening out. Emily had fun too back at home with Nana and Gramps; I gather she completely thrashed them at Catopoly :-)) They're all looking forward to the return match when Jon and I got back to Grimsby to see Derren Brown (can't wait!) early in March.

Today is Saturday so of course it's writing deadlines day :-( I've been stuck at the PC all day. On the bright side (financially) I got two more assignments from household name magazines this week. On the downside, I really don't like what I'm doing any more. Understatement. I really, really don't like having to spend my weekends writing this stuff. I want to be writing what *I* want to write. I've got plans to change all that this year, but for now I'm stuck doing it because we need the money. Hrrrmpphhh.

Jon's made brilliant progress clearing all of the clutter out of our bedroom over this last few weeks. We've now put on the calendar w/c 25th Feb to redecorate it completely, top to toe. It has to go on the calendar, lol, otherwise it will never happen and will be shunted off to the bottom of the list beneath "fetch my prescription", "take me shopping", "make my appointments", "take me to the doctors", "take me for a blood test", "fix my television" and other such daily demands. Rolls eyes so far back I can barely see any more. We're going to dig out the detailed feng shui plan Emily did last autumn while Jon was away on a mediumship course and use that to decide on a colour scheme and new furniture for the bedroom. Hopefully, it will really make a difference to the way we all feel. Plus, having finally achieved that small milestone, we'll be all set to plough on with the next redecoration project (really big one) turning the huge landing/junk room at the top of the stairs into a new room for Emily. Got June pencilled in for that one, but given the amount of junk that needs to come out of it and be binned/given away/sold, that could be slightly amibitious.

We've been looking into some more residential psychic and mediumship courses for Jon and have got quite a few all we need is the money to fund them, lol. He's already booked on one for October and one in November, but ideally he needs to go in the summer too, otherwise it's too long a gap. Oh, and I'm going to be going to the psychic circle too, starting not this Monday but the following one. See how much more confident I am? I'd have curled up in horror at the thought of that a fortnight ago, but now I'm quite looking forward to it! Emily certainly is - as both of us will now be out she gets to come with us every week and play with Jackie's girls all night, lol.

Just wanted to finish with the lovely arty pictures Emily took of Juliet looking through her Barbie house today :-)

Monday, February 04, 2008


Had in interesting Imbolc today. Well, a short one, anyway. Had to take Jon's father to a podiatry appointment this morning. Which - wait for it - was deemed by him a "waste of time". And indeed, **Emily's** time WAS wasted, as she only got half a day's festival. Still, she enjoyed what time we did have.

We decorated the tree with salt dough snakes, wiggly snakes and kidney bean and bead chains. Snakes are sacred to Imbolc as a sign of rebirth. We talked about how the seeds are beginning to grow now and about how the days are lengthening and the promise of spring is everywhere. We gathered lots of different twigs from the garden to put in water to sprout. We did that last year too, with great results. Emily also decorated her god and goddess figures; the goddess in fire colours to represent the growing strength of the sun, the god in green to represent the new life all around us, both with a crown of candles. Finally, Emily wrote down some of her goals for the year ahead and we planted the pieces of paper, together with lots of seeds, in little pots to go on the altar. Each one has a candle in it too, so as we watch the candles burning we can be reminded of the light coming back into the world and the fire energy bringing initiative and enthusiasm to our goals for the year.

We would have done more, had we had time. Rolls eyes. Emily's old enough now to get rather narked at being constantly last on the list when it comes to Grandad and his priorities. I can't say I blame her.

**Changed my mind about making the rest of this post public**

Saturday, February 02, 2008

New Confidence

I'm feeling much, much better now. In fact, I'm feeling more confident than I've felt in years :-)) Last Tuesday Jon gave me a very long Reiki treatment, specifically aimed at countering my social anxieties and lack of self-confidence. I felt amazing afterwards and ready to take on the world, lol. It hasn't worn off yet and the new, improved and more assertive me is having rather a nice time.

Let's see, what have wee been up to over the last week or so. On Monday we went swimming with Hazel, Tansy and Romy. I think the girls had a nice time, although Emily ended up a little bit tearful after swallowing lots of water. I was feeling like absolute poo (pre Reiki, lol) and I think my negativity was rubbing off on her a little bit :-(

Education-wise, Emily's been busy again. Continuing her Ancient Greeks project, she has been learning about the Mycenaeans and reading lots more myths. There was lots of research about Socrates, and we had a go at answering some very deep and meaningful philosophical questions, which was very interesting. Emily also learnt about Greek theatre, made a tragedy and comedy mask and investigated the Ancient Greek structure of government. She's also been writing her own ancient Greek myth, which is now incredibly long and I'm not allowed to know what it's about until it's done. I love the way she bubbles over with ideas and paints pictures with words. I'm also delighted to report that "author" has been added to Emily's list of "what I want to be when I grow up". That's my girl :-) Oooh, and we've been watching lots of documentaries and dramas too, including old favourite films like Clash of the Titans, lol.

We've also been (again) to The Collection in Lincoln, where of course the dressing up outfits had to been worn :-) Here's my beautiful Roman Lady, and Emily concentrating hard on the latin!

In chemistry, Emily learnt about flocculation and tried out an experiment adding an iron sulphate solution (I think) to muddy water. Lots of other bits and bobs of experiments too. Emily's still enjoying reading tons when she goes to bed. She's now half way through the Pure Dead Magic series by Debbie Gliori, and also loved The Mirror Image Ghost by Catherine Storr, which prompted much discussion about the holocaust.

We've started doing lots of craft type things in the evenings now, so recently Emily's been trying out macrame (she's made some super beaded hemp bracelets), rug making/latch-hooking and felting, making a lovely mermaid out of merino wool.There have been a lot of secret craft things going on too - Emily's making us some annivesary presents ;-)

On Friday we went to Jackie's for the day; Emily had a ball playing with Mei Lin and Jasmine, as normal, while the new confident me had some really interesting discussions with the grown ups of the household :-)) Jackie did some fraction work with the girls, and I did some chemistry theory with them, looking at the periodic table, the make up of an atom and so on. When we left here on Friday morning, the weather forecast was still promising snow, so we were hopeful for a day of making snowmen. Alas not. But maybe sometime soon!

Voldemort and Severus are getting much bigger now and are now allowed out pretty much all day with their collars on. We won't let them out once it gets dark, but they're always back before then by their own accord anyway, snuggled up asleep inside. They don't go very far :-)) Here's Voldy with his hero, Romeo :-) And Severus "helping" with the chemistry. Should be right up his street, being a Potions Master and all that ;)

After helping me so much with the Reiki (and generally being a superstar husband without whose emotional support I'd have lost the plot a long time ago), Jon's also trying to sort out his own health. A recent doctor's visit resulted in a switch of both his diabetic medicine (apparently the one he was on has had some scares attached to it) plus a switch of his antidepressant medication. Grandad has done his best to render even the most fully medicated soul into a nervous wreck *cue bitter scowl here*, so Jon's been put on some stronger pills. Unfortunately, they take time to kick in, so he's not feeling particularly great at the moment, since the daily put-downs and spiteful remarks from his father are still going strong. We're thinking positive, and hoping that things will settle soon. Jon has a hospital appointment coming up later in February too. If it doesn't have to be cancelled so his father can do something that simply can't wait, that is.

Next week is shaping up to be interesting; we're celebrating Imbolc tomorrow, our wedding anniversary on Wednesday and Chinese New Year on Thursday. It's also the first annivesary of our beloved Merlin's death on Thursday so we'll be thinking of him even more than we normally do :-((( On Friday, we've got two performances to go to at the Grimsby auditorium - Shakespeare For Kids Hamelt early on Friday morning plus Derek Acorah on Friday evening; guess we'll be spending Friday in Grimsby then! Plus Grandad appointments during the week, of course. Can't have a week without some of those.