Saturday, January 31, 2009

I don't know if it's age, or the increasingly complex nature of my life, but I find I'm constantly making lists of things to do - and then I lose the list! I'm the sort of sad person who actually enjoys making "to do" lists and I must confess i have been known to write something on my list that I've actually just done - so i can have the satisfaction of crossing something of it! I'm also a bit of a procrastinator and tend to put off doing things and having them written down encourages me to tackle them without further delay.

In an idle moment last week I googled "to do" lists and found this (to me) wonderful notebook by Pukka Pads. I'm already a fan of Pukka Pads but have never seen these books in the shops. I ordered two and they came this week. I was sooooo excited (I think I need to get out more!)

Do you like cooking? I do, and what got me bouncing out of bed this morning was the discovery of a recipe for banana cake in my latest cookbook read - the interestingly titled "How to Feed Your Whole Family a Healthy Balanced Diet, with Very Little Money and Hardly Any Time, Even If You Have a Tiny Kitchen, Only Three Saucepans ... - Unless You Count the Garlic Crusher..." by Gill Holcombe. I also started making her lentil and tomoato soup recipe last night before I'd even got my coat off! I tend to get in a bit of a rut with cooking ; serving the same meals up on a regular basis,it's good to get a few new ideas occasionally.

Off to have some soup...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

(photo by Phil)

Thanks for the comments on love and soulmates (previous post)! It's wonderful to hear from people who have found their soulmate :) Long & happy relationships are an inspiration to us all, aren't they? I'm not saying I don't believe in soulmates - more that over the years I've adjusted my ideas on love somewhat. I suppose I'm less romantic than when I was younger and my ideas of what constituted true love then are very different from those I hold now. Two things that have never changed, though, are the facts that Phil & I can talk endlessly about everything and nothing (now that's a good title for a blog LOL) and we never seem to run out of things to say or get bored with each other (ok, maybe I DO Get a bit bored when he starts talking about football!) and he makes me laugh even when I'm at my most grumpy/depressed/miserable! I'm a very lucky girl!

Just some final thoughts/questions...

Can you have more than one soulmate in a lifetime?
What happens if your soulmate doesn't believe in soulmates?

Pond death...

Enough frivolity, I have a serious and sad matter to report. The cold snap caused my pond to freeze and also killed my froggies. The bodies are slowly filling with gas and rising to the surface. I have to fish them out and dispose of them. I'm devastated. I actually recognise some of them. It's tragic and I feel so guilty - I thought they would be safe at the bottom of the pond :(

I'm hoping some new frogs colonise the pond in the spring. RIP my froggy friends - I'm sorry and I miss you!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Do you believe in soulmates? I was out walking with a friend today and we touched on the subject of soulmates. Soulmates...what an emotive word! Here's Wikipedia on the subject...

Some people believe that souls are literally made and/or fated to be the mates of each other, or to play certain other important roles in each other's lives.

According to theories popularized by Theosophy and in a modified form by Edgar Cayce, God created androgynous souls, equally male and female. The souls split into separate genders later, perhaps because they incurred karma while playing around on the Earth, or "separation from God". Over countless reincarnations, each half seeks the other. When all karmic debt is purged, the two will fuse back together and return to the ultimate. Soulmate is a term sometimes used to designate someone with whom one has a feeling of deep and natural affinity, love, intimacy, sexuality, spirituality, and/or compatibility. A related concept is that of the twin flame or twin soul – which is thought to be the ultimate soulmate, the one and only other half of one's soul, for which all souls are driven to find and join. However, not everyone who uses these terms intends them to carry such mystical connotations.

I used to be believe very strongly in the soulmate concept. Well, it is pretty wonderful to think of finding the other half of yourself - surely the recipe for endless bliss?

I'm not sure now that I don't think the soulmate idea grossly over-rated and in certain circumstances downright dangerous, indeed destructive.

Have I ever met my soulmate? Well, for a start I'll say Phil doesn't believe in soulmates so that probably disqualifies him from the get-go! The closest I've felt to another human being apart from Phil was my friendship with Karen. In terms of a connection that at times seemed almost spooky I'd say she was my soulmate - in friendship terms, of course. We had a great rapport from the start.

When I was young, I believed very much in love at first sight, soulmates, the one "right" person for everyone - I felt anything else was second best, a compromise. I thought that love wasn't love without the soulmate element.

Today I find it much harder to define love - it's fuzzier around the edges. i think I've got a grip on it and it slips away from me. People my age will remember those little "Love is..." cartoons you used to see in newspapers. And the film "Love Story" - where they say love means never having to say you're sorry (never could get my head around that!)

So today I'll say that today, for me, "Love is..." thinking that Phil had gone to work and then finding out (via text!) that he was working from home and hadn't actually left the house - and getting a little thrill out of knowing I'd see him when I went downstairs!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I've been a slack blogger the past week. I have been mentally writing blog posts in my head most days but never got around to actually putting any of them into words.

There is so much going round in my brain - important stuff mixed with complete trivia! It's like one of those snowglobes that's been well and truly shaken. Lots of whirling flotsam around a fixed centre. Phil is my fixed centre - bless him. And my lovely friend J is always so kind and supportive when I'm worrying.

On Saturday we all went into Liverpool to do some shopping for the girls and to see two photography exhibitions. We also had a long chat about our summer holiday - when to go, where to go. We eventually decided on Kent. There's a load of National Trust properties there to visit and the area is completely new to us. We can also get easily into London; the girls have never visited the capital so are quite excited about seeing the sights! It was fun finding a cottage to stay in and checking the National Trust handbook for places to go. I should very much like to see Hever Castle - I've wanted to go there for years.

In some respects it seems wrong to be booking holidays when the financial crisis is getting worse every day and the news is full of the deepest gloom and doom. I'm conscious though that Kate is nearly 16 now and probably won't be coming on many more family holidays with us. And it has really cheered us up!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I had such a lovely email yesterday, from M, whose wedding Phil and I photographed back in November. I had heard via her new husband, who works with Phil, that they were happy with our efforts but I was still worrying in case M wasn't REALLY happy - Phil refused to badger for details however!

Anyway, she wrote asking me about printing costs etc and also told me that she was really pleased with the photos, that we didn't miss a minute and that she was glad we were their photographers - I was so relieved I nearly cried! She has made me feel more confident about the wedding we're doing in March.

This is another photo from the last wedding I did with Andy. It's a candid shot - she just turned her head and smiled and I pressed the shutter - and the focus isn't as pin-sharp as I'd have liked on the eyes. I have just learned how to do a sepia tint and so I'm experimenting with the technique - this look seems quite popular right now.

A mad busy week at work, and the news that the proposed decimation of the Wirral library service will go ahead more or less as proposed. Not happy news ...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Windermere dawn

Phil is away in London overnight and I'm missing him! However I think my Christmas bracelet has arrived and is awaiting collection at the post office!!

The post brought a deposit cheque and a confirmation letter from the couple I spoke to last week about the wedding in March. They've booked without even meeting us!

Last night was competition night at the photographic society. They judge the prints (colour and mono) first, then after the tea break it's digital images and slides. As soon as the judge started I got nervous. He was not the most consistent judge I've come across and some of his comments were very critical! However, he liked Phil's picture of Chicago at night and he got first prize in the Advanced Colour Print section.

When he judged my (entry level) section, he seemed to be in a grumpier mood. Maybe no-one sugared his tea? I was quite shocked by some of his dismissive comments. My first two photos got off fairly lightly but were obviously not going to place. I was cringing by the end as my last photo was one I didn't have any confidence in. I was imagining his criticisms before they came.

To my astonishment he made one or two nice comments and then gave me 20 points and the winning position. I was gobsmacked. I do think he could have been more encouraging in his comments to others though. I know how easily you can be put off by an ill-judged remark or non-constructive criticism.

My winning photo is above; taken on the shores of Windermere a few years ago - before my DSLR days! i've always liked it and am glad it wasn't mauled by Mr Nasty!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The knitted bride and groom...

I have been doing lots of knitting lately as I find it very relaxing and found this sweet little pair while I was looking through files from a recent wedding shoot - aren't they lovely? I am just about able to knit teacosies - that's my limit!

My head is full of other people's words at the moment. I have been watching the BBC dramatisation of "The Diary of Anne Frank" and also a long documentary called "Anne Frank remembered". I have also been reading the diaries of Nella Last - "housewife, 49" which covers the second world war and some time afterwards.

Like so many girls I read Anne Frank's diary when I was about 13. I was amazed at how her words expressed my own feelings better than I could myself - about growing up, parents, boys and the future. I always felt if we'd known each other, Anne and I would have been "best friends". I wonder how many other girls felt that - still feel it - on reading Anne's words for the first time?

Sian watched some of the BBC programme with me and expressed her own surprise at how "stroppy" and "moody" and "argumentative" Anne was! Just your typical teenage girl growing up and trying to make sense of life - albeit in extraordinary circumstances!

Now I'm middle-aged and reading Nella Last's diaries, I feel as if I've found another "best friend!". Looking at the photos of Nella, you would never guess that under her placid and conventional exterior there was a passionate individual with so many hopes and dreams and ideals all fighting for dominance. What she has in common with Anne I think is the feeling that no-one really knows the real person beyond the facade she shows to the world. I think both writers felt a great sense of isolation and that writing was a way to somehow try to make sense of everything whirling around in their heads so much of the time.

I've just read on another blog "is there any place where I can truly be me?" I know that thought goes through MY mind often - although I'm lucky in that I have a husband who knows me as well as another human can know someone else! Sometimes I'm not sure how I can be "me" if I'm not really sure yet who "me" really is!

Friday, January 09, 2009

I've been absent a few days from Blogworld as now I'm back at work, real life has sort of overtaken me. I hope to get round to everyone's blogs soon.

I was very excited on Wednesday as we had an enquiry about wedding photography. I hope it turns into a booking but even if it doesn't, it's nice to know someone liked our work enough to make that enquiry!

Something happened on the website I help moderate on New Year's Day that gave my confidence a huge knock and I'm trying to work my way back from that.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The focal point isn't where I wanted it on this cabbage but I'm posting it anyway because it's pretty!

Pretty much all the Christmas chocolate and assorted nibbles are eaten(temptation gone!) so I can start my annual attempts to lose some weight! I don't actually seem to gain much weight these days but neither can I lose it either. I'm planning on doing a lot more walking too. I would just like to lose around 20 lbs if possible. We'll see...

I've been scurrying around the house like a maniac on a mass tidy-up operation (wish I'd thought to put on my pedometer as I'm sure I've walked MILES!). When the family have been around continually for two weeks plus we've had a major holiday NOTHING seems to be where it should be. I haven't done any cleaning tho' as I have to get things in order first. Oh, and do some ironing...

I've got my knitting needles out again and have decided to knit some tea cosies as therapy. I find it hard to just sit and watch TV and instead tend to fiddle around on the laptop which isn't very sociable and also tends to be not good for me just prior to bed.I'm a really bad knitter so I need something fairly easy.

Big thrill today as my new A5 filofax for work arrived today. I just adore new diaries, notebooks etc - is that sad?? My deputy at work is the same - we get all excited over filling in our new diaries at the start of the year. We're all a bit like that in our house - we get very enthused over a trip to somewhere like Staples. all that paper - the evnvelopes - the pens and markers - the notebooks....calm down Julie.

Akelamalu gave me this lovely award

This is the Van Gogh's Ear Award as created by Roger of Idaho Photo This is what he wrote about the Van Gogh's Ear Award:

"Every year I like to make up a award and hand it out to people that make a difference in the blogsphere. I like to make it a award for all to enjoy and pass out if one so wants to, I just ask if your going to give it out to link back to me as the creator of the Van Gogh's Ear Award."

Thank you very much!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

We've had an interesting weekend! Yesterday morning I was NOT at my best. Thankfully Phil was very kind and loving to me and I cheered up eventually! I am so lucky in my marriage.

In the evening we went round to some friends for a curry - yum.

This morning we went for a long walk in Delamere Forest; weather was grey and trying to snow but it was good to stretch our legs and talk. We passed a frozen lake and I asked Phil if he was tempted to just charge out across it and see how far we would get before it collapsed - funnily enough, he wasn't!

Speaking of frozen things, I noticed a frog trapped below the ice in our pond. I broke the ice but poor froggie was well dead - bloated - ugh. Very sad.

Decorations are coming down today. Christmas is well and truly over!

Friday, January 02, 2009

Well, although the decorations aren't down yet, it feels like the holidays are over. I was back at work today. We were busy and I loved it. At our morning reading group we read Dylan Thomas's "A child's Christmas in Wales". If you've never read this, give it a go...we all loved it. It was great to be reading together again, it really is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.

Tonight Phil, Sian and I went out for Thai food - Kate being at a sleepover! Absolutely delicious it was too.

New Year's eve was lovely; friends came round and we ate, drank and played games :) Last night Phil's parents came for supper. In the afternoon there was a spectacular hoar frost on Helsby Hill so we walked up there. Phil forgot to put a memory card in his camera so I very unselfishly let him use mine. Aren't I good?