Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Easter!!

Hello! I hope you're well, and enjoying the Easter weekend (unless you've had to work, in which case, Booo, thumbs down!)

I'm not religious (but I respect your right to celebrate this time of year in any way you wish), so Easter to me is really just about a couple of extra days off work, and Easter eggs... or the lack, thereof! CJ and I had discussed previously whether or not we were going to buy eggs this year, particularly due to the fact that I'm trying to lose weight. I kind of wasn't bothered, but I think he wanted to, so we said that we would, but we'd choose our own together. However, we never went shopping beforehand, and no more was said about it, so I kind of assumed that we weren't going to bother after all. I was talking to my mum the other day and she said if we wait until after Easter there'll be loads going cheap (or should that be 'going cheep!'?) in the supermarkets, so I was going to mention that but I forgot. Then this morning (Easter Sunday) we got up for breakfast and CJ went straight out to the garage. I wondered what he was doing, but didn't really think much of it, and then he came back in with this:

Admittedly, it'd been a bit of a last minute purchase - he was worried that I might have one stashed somewhere so he thought he'd better surprise me with one too. The trouble is, I really hadn't bought him one, so I felt awful then!! I've offered to buy him one tomorrow or when I can get to the shops, but he says he's not bothered, we're just going to share this one. It's already been broken into pieces on a plate, and we'll both just keep dipping in every time we walk past, and I'm sure the box of chocolates will be opened this evening.

I must admit, I don't feel too guilty about eating chocolate, because we have been quite good and been for two walks this weekend. Yesterday we did the same walk that I did with my mum a few weeks back, from Lemonroyd Marina down the side of the Aire and Calder Navigation and back up the other side. It was really hot though, possibly a bit much for going for a walk in. This morning we went to East Ardsley Reservoir, which I've also blogged about before. Not as sunny, and quite a bit cooler, which was probably just right for walking. There were loads of little flies and midges in clouds around our heads, which I guess is one of the perils of walking near water. If we wanted to talk we had to hold a hand in front of our mouths. We saw a jogger stop for a second to have a cough and a spit, and as we passed him he said "I'm surprised there's any of these things left, I've eaten most of them!" Oh well, it's all extra protein I suppose! I didn't take any photos on the two walks, as I've taken some before, and as much as I want to take some pics, I just don't think I'm very good at it! My photos never seem to do justice to what I'm snapping, and sometimes I find I carry my camera around and never even use it (and it's not exactly the lightest camera!). I've seen quite a few blogs taking part in a monthly photo challenge and I'm thinking of having a go myself next month, just to try and get me using my camera and thinking about things a bit more. I'll see.

I digressed a little bit from the walks to photography then. The other thing I was going to mention with regards to the walks, well, it's more exercise in general really, is that I've actually joined a gym. In fact, we (my mum and I) joined back in March. I've been in two minds whether to mention it really, which is why I haven't said anything until now. The whole 'exercise/lose weight' thing is kind of a sore topic with me. I know there are a lot of women who want to lose weight and get fit, and everyone has their own reasons, and mine are no more or less important than anyone else's. My main reason is my health. I think I've mentioned before that I have a heart condition, and I've had open-heart surgery twice. When I was 10 years old, I was told to stop doing all forms of exercise, PE at school etc, as it was making my condition worse. So that was that. In fairness, it wasn't until my second op in Dec 2006 that I was told that it was pretty much ok for me to start exercising again. The only things I still shouldn't do are really strenuous weightlifting, or any kind of contact sports.
But that was nearly 4 and a half years ago. So on the one hand, I'm quite ashamed that a) it's taken me this long to even make a start on doing some form of exercise, and b) that I've put weight on in the meantime. As well as the weight, I'm carrying around an enormous amount of guilt that those surgeons saved my life (and it was touch and go, I very nearly didn't make it through the op) and how did I repay them? By just gaining more and more weight, and not even trying to stop.
On the other hand, I guess it's a case of 'better late than never'. When I think that for the last four years I've been saying "I need to lose weight, I need to exercise" over and over like a broken record but nothing has ever changed, and then all of a sudden this year, I joined a gym, which is something I thought I'd never do - I guess I'm allowed to feel a little bit proud of myself for that.
Having said that, I don't think I've lost any weight yet, although it's still early days. I don't really want to get too obsessed with that, like weighing myself every day, I'd rather wait for the 8 week reviews at the gym where we get weighed and measured, and find out if I've lost anything there. Hopefully I'm at least getting a bit fitter though, which can't be a bad thing.
I don't want to go on and on about exercising and losing weight though, I'll try not to mention it again, although it does partly explain why I'm not getting much crochet done, 'cause the gym is now taking up some of my evenings and weekends!

Speaking of which, there is no news on the crochet front. I've got about a dozen granny squares ready to be posted to the Japan/Australia appeals when I get my act together - if the people running the appeals happen to read this, I am sooooo sorry that it's taking me so long to send them, I am definitely not the fastest when it comes to crochet! Other than the squares, I haven't really got anything planned, although I can't stop imagining the round blanket I did (in the post before last) as a big stash bag, as suggested by Cuckoo. I keep looking at it and thinking 'if that was the base of a bag, it'd be huuge!!' So I'm really really tempted to buy some yarn to carry on with the sides. But then I wonder how practical it would be; at the moment, my stash is in one of those big plastic tubs with a lid, which at least keeps it fairly tidy and clean. So I don't know. Hmm, I wish I was one of those people who's really good at making decisions!!

Anyway, I think that's all for now. It was only supposed to be a short post to wish you a Happy Easter!

I'll leave you with a picture of my little Millie - aren't they adorable when they tuck their nose under their paw?

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Long Time, No Write!

Hello! How are you? I hope you're well!

Crikey, it's been ages since my last post, I just don't know where the time goes! I've been wanting to blog for the past couple of weeks, but every time I've tried it seems like something else has got in the way. I try to prioritise my list of 'things to do' - I'm sure you do the same - and as much as I love blogging, it can't come top of the list unfortunately. There's always something else which is more important or urgent. I've still found time to read other blogs though, and I've seen a couple lately which have been a kind of 'day in the life'. One was a 'stay at home mum', if that's the right expression, describing the (unpaid) work that she does (ie. everything involved with looking after family and home), and the other was a mum who went out to work, but still tried to fit in all the family/home jobs aswell. They're both happy with their lives, and very fortunate in their own ways, and I'm in awe of them both! I don't have a family to look after and don't have half of the things to do that they have, and yet I still can't seem to find time to do all the things that I want to do! If a time and motion person came to observe me I'm sure they'd have plenty to say about how I use my time. They'd probably come to the conclusion that I spend too much time daydreaming, and that I'm just a 'slow' person, not one of these people who's always rushing about doing several things at once. I like slow though, and I definitely like daydreaming, so I guess I'll just plod on the same way and get things done at my own pace, and not worry that I don't have time to bake cakes or crochet every day!

Anyhoo, I'm a bit late with my First of the Month photos, but better late than never. They were actually taken a few days into April, making the most of the gorgeous weather that we've had recently.

There's a bit more happening in the garden, but I think CJ has still to decide what's going where, and whether some of it is going to the allotment.

The trees are getting their buds and leaves, and the one on the right has some lovely blossom on it.

And we have a visitor in the pond. I love frogs, I've had a bit of an obsession with them ever since I was little. I collect 'froggy' things - ornaments, pictures, soft toys etc - I have well over 100 but most of them are in storage as we just don't have room for them all.

I think I've mentioned before that our 'pond' is actually just a half barrel. It's ok, but I'm not overly keen on it, and I've mentioned to CJ a few times just lately about the possibility of creating a proper pond, in the same place as the barrel so that it's not taking any extra space. He hasn't said no... but it wasn't really a yes either! I'll have to keep working on him! Since I'm not into gardening though (as I'm sure you can tell) I don't really have much say what happens, and as he's the one doing all the work, it's only fair that he gets his own way with it. He likes his veg and fruit trees, he's not really into flowers, so I've resigned myself to the fact that we'll never have anything like this:

These are a couple of flower beds in Leeds, which looked so stunning as I walked to work one morning (about 6.50am) that I got my phone out of my bag to take a pic. It doesn't do them justice, they really are a huge burst of colour.

On Saturday just gone we had another of those 'more-like-summer-than-spring' days, so my mum and I went for a walk. We drove to Lemonroyd Marina, and then walked along the bank of the River Aire as far as Shan House Bridge (if I've got that name correct), where we stopped and fed some ducks and a swan.

Over the bridge, we walked back up the other side, with St Aidan's Nature Reserve on our right.

According to Wikipedia, in March 1988 the bank near Lemonroyd Lock collapsed into nearby St Aiden's opencast mine, which then flooded. The water was eventually pumped out and mining resumed, but the coal reserves are now exhausted and it is once again filled with water, reedbeds and grassland and forms the nature reserve. The stretch of River Aire in the first two photos was newly constructed following the breach.

We crossed the weir and arrived back on the towpath of the Aire and Calder Navigation.

This was the other side of the weir - what a contrast!

Lemonroyd Marina through the arch

Lemonroyd Lock

We couldn't have asked for better weather, just right for a nice steady stroll. I've done this walk before with CJ but my mum had never been here before, and I think she really enjoyed herself. She's still getting over the after-effects of a bad cold, so a bit of fresh air and exercise was just what she needed. I need to get my thinking cap on and find some more places that we could go for a walk - any suggestions? Nothing too strenuous, and preferably flat, or as few hills and steps as possible.

Saturday was quite a busy day, because later in the evening CJ and I went to the Grand Opera House in York to see the very funny Dave Spikey.

Photo from

If you're a fan of Phoenix Nights, you'll recognise him as Jerry St.Clair. We've seen him once before, on his last tour, at the Grand Theatre in Leeds. He's appearing in Wakefield later this year, but I couldn't get two seats together, so I tried Leeds City Varieties and Doncaster, and possibly Halifax aswell, which were all booked up, before I finally got two tickets for the GOHY. It was a really good laugh - my only criticism is that he did repeat some of his material from the last tour, which was a bit of a shame. Still funny though! His humour can be a bit rude, and have the odd swearword, but he's one of those comedians who kind of 'apologises' for it and he does it in such a way that it's not really offensive at all. Like I say, I think he's on tour throughout the year so if you get a chance to go and see him, I fully recommend it. (Just a word of warning though - when I googled him just now his website appears first in the results, but there was a warning that the site may have been compromised. I think it's been hacked before, so if you visit it be very careful as it may contain malicious software).
On the crochet front, I've been making granny squares recently, but I've only done about a dozen. I've decided to send them to the Crochet A Rainbow appeal for the Australian flood victims, and also to Hawthorn at 11am for the victims of the Japanese earthquake/tsunami. It's a while since I offered to do this, so I hope the appeals are still running. I definitely am making the squares... just a bit slowly, like everything else in my life!! In fact, I'll probably post what I've got so far in the next few days, rather than waiting till I've done more, then at least they can hopefully be making use of them. I'll try and take a photo of them before I send them, although they're nothing special really as I'm just using up some of my stash yarn.
I've very nearly finished the fourth and final book in the Twilight saga, which I'm still reading on my Kindle. I'm surprised how much I've got into it actually. I'm not going to give anything away obviously, but I can't wait for the film (which it seems has been split into two parts, like the last Harry Potter).
Anyway, I probably had loads more I wanted to talk about, but it's been so long I've forgotten it! So I'm going to call it a night - my bed is calling to me!
Bye for now!!

P.S. You may have noticed, I've just figured out how to put captions under my photos! Expect more of that in future!

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