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12/01 Direct Link
So here we are in December already and Christmas is rapidly approaching. Moving house and decorating and writing and everything else that has been happening in my life has meant that Iím feeling quite disorganised this year and havenít even started the Christmas shopping yet. Still, there are a few shopping days left so Iím not going to panic yet. The approach to Christmas brings back a lot of sad memories for me as it has been almost a year since I lost my wonderful dad and even the snow canít overcome that to get me in a festive mood.
12/02 Direct Link
The snowfall here has not been particularly heavy Ė most people I know living elsewhere in the country have had quite a lot of snow whereas here there is just a thin layer covering the ground. It still makes me feel less inclined to go out Ė Saturdayís accident has made me quite nervous about the prospect of having to drive anywhere Ė sitting inside, snug and warm and looking at how pretty the snow is outside seems to be the best way to enjoy it at the moment! Fortunately I had a day off today so didnít need to go anywhere anyway.
12/03 Direct Link
Having moved house as well as office recently means that Iíve spent quite a lot of time and energy just trying to emerge from the chaos of it all. Fortunately things are beginning to settle down at both locations. The boxes are slowly being unpacked (still quite a lot left though!) and itís now reached the stage where there is space to move around and I can generally find most things that I need and so start being a bit more productive again. I think it may be some time before things have completely returned to some kind of normality!
12/04 Direct Link
With Christmas approaching (and Christmas shopping still not started) Iím beginning to feel a little overwhelmed by everything. The house is still full of boxes Ė Michael has to keep reminding me that it has improved since doing a charity shop/tip run Ė and Iím having moments of wondering whether we will be surrounded by them forever. Which of course, we wonít, but the frustration of not quite knowing where some things are is getting to me at times. As well as all of this, I need to start looking for a new car as mine is about to be written off.
12/05 Direct Link
Iíve been rehearsing a play with my Junior Church group over the past few weeks which will be shown at the carol service. Unfortunately, none of my group are sure if they can be at the carol service so weíve videoed todayís performance and will show the video instead. Itís probably just as well as they were ad-libbing a lot (including one rather rude word which slipped out and will have to be edited out so as not to offend certain members of our congregation!) Itís been a fun experience directing the play Ė now just need to edit the video.
12/06 Direct Link
Itís now been confirmed that my car will be written off as the damage is too extensive to be worth attempting to repair. Michael has been busy researching cars to help decide what car I should be getting next (not that thereís a great deal of choice when youíre after a small, five-door automatic, not too old and not too expensive) and fortunately we have already managed to find a suitable replacement Ė a little Renault Clio which weíll hopefully be getting on Saturday. In the meantime, Iíve been driving a Toyota Prius hire car which feels enormous after my Corsa!
12/07 Direct Link
The Christmas party season has now officially started Ė we were out for our church Christmas meal this evening (Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet which is my favourite Ė I can eat a lot of Chinese if Iím given the opportunity!) and have a couple more Christmas meals coming up over the next week or so. I love the round of parties and meals that happen at this time of year Ė itís nice to have a fairly full social calendar (although not too full Ė also nice to have time out to prepare for the festive season) and spend time with lots of different people.
12/08 Direct Link
It was a year ago today that my lovely dad sadly passed away. A year has gone by, but I still miss him every day and wish that I could see him again, give him a big hug and tell him how much I love him. What would I give to be able to spend another Christmas with him, listening to his stories about his childhood and days in the Navy? I was so blessed to have had such a wonderful person to be my dad for 30 years Ė love and miss you this much twice around, Dad.
12/09 Direct Link
This yearís work Christmas party was at a salsa bar which seemed like a great idea Ė Mexican food (turkey and bacon fajitas made a nice change from the usual roast turkey) and a dance class thrown in. Iíd done a little bit of salsa before so Michael and I opted for the improvers class which was a little bit too difficult but we just about managed. Overall, it was a fairly nice evening although I could have done without a couple of sweaty, over-sexed and quite frankly unattractive men trying to force their attentions on me on the dance floor.
12/10 Direct Link
Having finally settled down from the office move and worked through the overflowing pile of stuff in my in-tray I thought I could spend the day leisurely working through all the little things that arenít quite so urgent but need to be done at some point. It doesnít seem to matter how small the pile of work in my in-tray is though, somehow it seems to magically multiply to take longer than the time Iíd planned to spend at the office. Even when I plan to work late. Looks like the little things will have to wait a bit longer...
12/11 Direct Link
Itís been another busy year for weddings Ėweíve now been to six in total this year. Todayís wedding was the final one for 2010 (unless we get a very last minute invite to another one between now and New Year!) Ė Michaelís university friends Emma and James finally got married Ė theyíve been together even longer than we have! It was a lovely day Ė both Emma and James were clearly very happy to be finally tying the knot and Michael and I thoroughly enjoyed the ceilidh in the evening Ė it was a new dance experience for us and we had great fun.
12/12 Direct Link
Another new experience Ė my first ever Christingle service. I remember doing a Nativity play at church when I was in infant school but I think it was just part of a normal carol service rather than a Christingle service. Michael went to several as a child but our church hasnít had one for some years and whilst Iíve seen photos of my nieces at their Christingle services, the whole significance of the lighted candle stuck in an orange was completely lost on me. It was a lovely service Ė so nice to see the little ones at church being really involved.
12/13 Direct Link
Christmas preparations have started at last! Iíve been busy making lots of Christmas cards already (thanks to a couple of craft afternoons at church) but have at last made a start on the Christmas shopping (although remembered why I prefer to do my shopping online rather than on the high street Ė it was exhausting and slightly stressful!) Half of the Christmas presents have now been bought (some have now even been wrapped which makes me feel like Iím being vaguely organised) Plus the Christmas tree is up and decorated so Iím feeling a bit more ready for the festive season.
12/14 Direct Link
It seems that this yearís theme is Ďchangeí. New house, new car, moving offices, changes at work Ė things certainly havenít been predictable this year. Still, I thought by this stage in the year that I was possibly done with change for this year at least and was quite looking forward to having a period of adjusting and settling in. Life, as is so often the case, seems to have other ideas. Change appears to be in the air yet again. What form it will take is as yet unclear but life may be a little topsy-turvy again for a bit.
12/15 Direct Link
And so change has pounced and this time it takes the form of redundancy. As of the end of this month, I will be unemployed. Iíll also be unpaid Ė at least for a while. After having a fabulous job for five years, the lovely company I work for has gone into liquidation and I have become another entry in the unemployment statistics, as have my colleagues. Iím not sure what exactly Iím going to do now Ė this is one of those times when I have to trust God and pray that something will turn up Ė hopefully sooner rather than later.
12/16 Direct Link
24 hours after being told my job has come to an end, Iíve taken the first steps towards becoming self-employed and working as an independent midwife. Itís scary and exciting all at the same time but there are a few of us that are going to go down this route and several women that we have looked after so far seem interested in having us continue to look after them so itís a good starting point. Iím planning on registering with the staff bank at my local hospital as well so Iíve got something else as a back-up if needed.
12/17 Direct Link
The events of the last couple of days have resulted in me rushing around like a headless chicken trying to do a million and one things, preparing myself for being self-employed, finding out what I need to do. And then it suddenly dawns on me that Christmas is just a week away and I start rushing around trying to get things ready for Christmas. Too many things in my head, too many tasks on my to-do list, too many balls trying to be juggled all at once. Need to slow down and find some time to relax for a bit...
12/18 Direct Link
The unpacking process has been rather leisurely and as a result most of the rooms in the house have had piles of boxes in the corner since the day we moved in. Planning an open house/housewarming party definitely provides a much needed incentive to either unpack the boxes or limit the number of areas where unpacked boxes are being stored. The house looks so much better as a result Ė most of the rooms are now free of boxes and we can shut the door on the areas where the boxes are still waiting and forget about them for a while!
12/19 Direct Link
Another flurry of snow over the weekend meant that quite a few friends were unable to make it to our open house/housewarming party but a few people did manage to venture out and spend time with us. It was good to be able to catch up with friends that we hadnít seen for a while and get to know our next-door neighbours a little better. Itís been so long since weíve been able to have an evening of inviting friends over and catching up, and so nice to finally be back in a position where we can do that again.
12/20 Direct Link
The last few days have been so busy with work-related things Ė getting together with the other midwives who want to carry on working in a similar way to how weíve all been working for the last few years and contacting clients who are still interested in being cared for by us. Iím so glad that several of my colleagues are still going to be working with me Ė we can support each other whilst weíre finding our feet (one of my colleagues has been independent for a while so is very good at advising us on what we need to do).
12/21 Direct Link
One of the best things about the run-up to Christmas is that everyone is a little more focused on trying to spend time with friends and family and whilst everyone is a little bit busier on the social front, it seems slightly easier to try and arrange time for meeting up with friends than the rest of the year when the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life seems to be more of a distraction. We have had a fabulous evening catching up with friends whom we hadnít seen for a while (despite good intentions Ė life just got in the way!)
12/22 Direct Link
The festive season has felt very busy this year. Iíve been running around trying to get the house in order so that we could finally start inviting friends over, making Christmas cards (seemed like a good idea before I realised I needed to make 160 of them Ė although am glad I did it now that theyíre done!), making Christmas presents. Most of these are things I do every year, but on top of it Iíve also been trying to sort out work for the new year which has made things a little more stressful than they would have been otherwise.
12/23 Direct Link
The decision about whose family to spend Christmas with has always been fairly straightforward. As I was on-call two Christmases out of three, I couldnít travel too far away (particularly as I always had babies due) so those Christmases were always spent with Michaelís family who live near to us. If I was on holiday, we spent Christmas with my family Ė which is what weíre doing this year. Of course, now that Iím about to become self-employed, I can choose whether Iím on-call at Christmas and where to spend it. Maybe next year weíll just stay in our own house.
12/24 Direct Link
I have quite a large family and I always try to make the effort to see as much of my family as possible in the run-up to Christmas. Fortunately all my siblings live within about 40 minutes drive of my mumís house which means that it is usually possible to go and visit them all on the same day. What makes life much easier though is when half of them decide to descend on my mumís house on Christmas Eve Ė which means less time spent travelling about to see people and more time actually being able to see them Ė perfect!
12/25 Direct Link
I love spending Christmas with my family. Even though there is a bit of an empty space now that Dad is no longer here to spend Christmas with us (although we did take a trip to the churchyard to spend a few moments thinking of him there). Dad always loved Christmas so much Ė family was very important to him and he loved watching the children opening their presents and getting excited about everything. Being able to see Christmas through a childís eyes again is just one of the many reasons why I love being with my family at this time.
12/26 Direct Link
After all the excitement and busyness of Christmas Day itself, Boxing Day tends to provide a chance to completely relax and veg out in front of the TV. Thereís no pressure on Boxing Day, no expectation that everything is going to be perfect. Just a chance to switch off for the day and wind down. Thereís an unwritten rule in my family that the TV stays switched off for the whole of Christmas Day as it about focusing on people not on whatís on the TV. To be honest, Iíve never really wanted to watch TV on Christmas Day though.
12/27 Direct Link
Back home again after visiting family for Christmas. Lovely as it is to spend lots of time with the family, it is also nice to be back in our own home again. Now that weíve got a house, both our families have decided that it is high time we remove all our belongings from various lofts. Which means that weíve not just travelling back with Christmas presents, weíre taking a lot more stuff home. I think most of it is going to end up going to the charity shop but in the meantime, its back to being surrounded by boxes!
12/28 Direct Link
Michael and I were both involved in the backstage society when we were at university together and over the last few years, it has become a bit of a tradition to have an annual post-Christmas catch-up at a local Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet. Whilst we see some of our friends from the backstage society regularly, there are a few that we only ever seem to catch up with at this time, so we really look forward to going along and catching up with everyone there. Not to mention all the yummy food which we end up eating far too much of!
12/29 Direct Link
One of our Christmas presents this year was tickets to see Billy Eliot. I have to admit it wasnít quite as good as I was expecting given the quality of the film. There were some memorable songs but it lacked depth (maybe I was expecting too much from a musical?) and Mrs Wilkinsonís accent was a bizarre combination of Australian and Geordie and something that wasnít really either. The dancing was superb though Ė my favourite moment was when Billy and his older self danced together which was amazingly good. Overall Iíd give it eight out of ten Ė definitely worth seeing.
12/30 Direct Link
Having our own house means that it is now time for Michael and I to clear out the stuff we still have stored elsewhere. We've been spending a morning filling a van with all the stuff I had stored in my sister's loft. I'm quite shocked that there is enough there to require a van to remove it. A quick glance at the contents leaves me wondering just why I wanted to keep some of it in the first place. Old A level textbooks, notes from schooldays right through to university, empty boxes for old computer equipment - so much junk!
12/31 Direct Link
And so 2010 is drawing to a close. It has been a year of change for me - some changes expected and anticipated (buying a new house and redecorating it) and others a bit more unexpected (needing to buy a new car, having to move in a new direction career-wise after unexpectedly being made redundant just before Christmas). It has also been the first year without my dad and so there have been some tough moments when I have missed him so much. With all the change from this past year, I suspect the beginning of 2011 may be challenging!