Saturday, December 31, 2011

Making pasta

Sorry, this will again be a photo heavy post.  I need to find out how to make one of those mosaic thingys that so many really talented and creative people use.

My Other Half, the lovely J, bought me a pasta machine for Christmas.  I've always wanted one, and now I have one.  Indeed I do.
A cup of flour.
2 eggs, beaten, and deposited into a well in the middle of the flour.

A mess.  There is some delicate way of doing things that doesn't involve this much mess.  I think it comes with practice.

After 2 minutes kneading.  This now felt solid, and like I could have baked it and used it as dwarf throwing bread.

5 minutes more.  It's coming.  My friend Andy put on FB that it would take more kneading than bread.  I'm glad he did, because I was slightly despairing by this point!

Around 10-15 minutes in, and it is a smooth ball of elasticky dough.  Lovely.  Into the fridge, wrapped in clingfilm, for about as long as it took to make biscuits and clear up a bit. and get the machine out. Umm.  45 minutes?

The machine.

The first dough.  Apparently every time I use it, I will be putting a small piece of dough through to clean it out from the last time it was used.  It must never be washed.  OR fed after midnight.

Wide spaghetti.  Tagliatelli.  I think that's the spelling.

Looks good! So I squished it back together again and put it through the rollers again until it was thin  and......

....put it through the spaghetti cutters.

It is good!

Finished product after 2 minutes in boiling water.
I ate it an enjoyed it, J ate it and enjoyed it, T-Boy was impressed by the machine but didn't eat it.  It took him 2 hours to eat his lunch yesterday, although it was all foods that he likes.  Last night when he started the "I'm full" routine, his dad told him to put it in the kitchen.

We're taking him back today.  I do miss him when he isn't here, and I love having him around, but the tantrums and the food choices (which I firmly believe are deliberate) and the constant defiance are wearing me out.  I'm going to avoid having both boys at the same time for long holidays as much as possible.  They both need individual needs meeting and both struggle with the other one sometimes.  I know all families do.

They are both such strong characters, both with such different flash points, both with such different outlooks on life, and the gap is going to keep growing as they develop so differently.  I have faith in the AC that he will develop more patience and calm with T-Boy, that he will learn to ignore, or forgive T-Boy's behaviours and outbursts.  I can have that faith because I know that J and I, and He-Ex have the same direction for his upbringing.  We want the best for him and from him.  T-Boy is being brought up by his mother, and she is content for him to be a baby for the rest of his life.

It's in all the little things.  He's 10.  He's never wrapped a present, or dried up the dishes, or washed his own hair, until he got to here, where we all help, and where the AC has been in charge of his own hygiene since he was about 6. (Under supervision til he was about 7, but he's more than capable now!)  T-Boy has no responsibilities, and doesn't know how to be responsible.  He's never gone anywhere without his mother, or other significant grown up - not even run on ahead to school and they live 3 minutes walk away from their school!  He's never helped make a cake or a cup of tea.  He's never run his own bath.  He's never brought the milk in, or wiped a kitchen side.

He's done all these things now, and most of them in the last year. But it all gets undone as soon as he goes back to his mother, and gets a virtual nappy put on.

Ah well.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Normal yesterday, work today...

Photos from yesterday.....

I made bread. I nearly always make bread. I have a lovely breadmaker which does all the hard work. I was hoping to investigate recipes for bread this holidays, but no such luck!

Dishwasher of loveliness, which saves me so much time and effort, and whirrs away happily in my kitchen!

New shoes and odd socks.  Always odd socks.  Life is too short to match socks.

New shoes.  I have size 3 feet, (US5) and so it can be tricky to get shoes in the sale.  But these ones I did!  £15! Yay!

My duck feet.  they have to go inside my shoes to try and correct my hip displacement and so that should mean that my cartilage doesn't just tear again.  But I think it's on it's way. 

Last night Sher came round, and I made fajitas and for the first time, I made my own salsa! Hurrah!

This is what I want to play with today, thanks to the lovely J.

However, I'm having several of these.....

And facing this.  I hate being a responsible professional sometimes........

I don't know how the caption thing will work lol!

The Aloha Friday question is "Any blogging goals for 2012?"

The short answer is yes!
The long answer is that I need to blog, I need to get the words out of myself and onto paper.  I'm going to have the camera on me or near me as much as possible, because photo blogging could help me to focus.  I'm going to do meme's like Aloha Friday so that I carry on writing when I'm stuck, because I need the release that writing brings. (Ok, now I sound like a hippy!)  I might every try vlogging!

I just need to find some more meme's (one for each day, and suggestions would be cheerfully recieved) and the button for Aloha Friday.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Photo post!

I just felt like sharing normal life.  I'm going to take pictures of normal life over the next year - I'm kind of looking for a meme if anyone knows of one - but I thought I'd start with today.

Well.  Not today, as obviously today hasn't happened yet.

These are pictures from the last few days.

J's Christmas presents - Mork and Mindy.  He's a salmon boa, she's a pastel boa, and both are adorable!

John Doe, a dot dash California King Python.  He's a bit grumpy, but calms quickly for me.  Doesn't like anyone else though, and this was the first time he'd properly locked on.

The AC getting his Scotty's Little Soldiers present.  It is an amazing charity set up for the children of the fallen by a military widow.  There's a whole back story there as well, but suffice it to say the boy-child was amazed by his present.

This photo shows two things.  One is the traditional (in England) Christmas cake, with nativity.  The other is the gap between the t-shirt of the child and the trousers of the child as yet again he has grown out of clothes.  Currently I keep 3 t-shirts and 3 pairs of trousers (aside from school things) as he is growing so fast that to by more is simply a waste.  And you can see his waist in this picture!  He's also proudly wearing a Royal British Legion wristband.  He has spoken to his teacher, and he puts it on her desk at the start of the day, and gets it at the end.  This enables her to still restrict the use of "shag bands" which are currently all the rage amongst the more sheep-like of the school population.

And the cake.  Oh the cake.  The cake!  It was gorgeous (though I says it as shouldn't) and was dark and moist and dense and much enjoyed.  Admittedly I used ready made marzipan this year, and ready to roll white icing, and I shall never use that ready to roll stuff again.  Bleugh to handle! 

Flyboy.  He's now on helicopters and an indoor plane called a Vapour.  It is a joy to see him learning and focusing.  He looks bulky in this picture.  That may have something to do with the 3 t-shirts and a long sleeved top that he is wearing.  I'm only guessing......

He goes to his fathers today for about a week.  He's back to me on Tuesday night, ready for school to start on Wednesday morning.  I am proud of the fact that his father and I can manage a reasonable relationship, and that I can honestly say I have never stopped his father seeing him.  The AC will come to his own decisions about both of us as he grows, and I would hate to influence that for good or ill when it comes to his father.

So that's a quick trip through the last few days.

More tomorrow - the meme search begins!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Peace and quiet

The boys are downstairs, on the computer games that they bought with their money.  I am up here, on this.

There are several things that come to mind from recent days, but mostly it's something that T-Boy said last night.  We were watching a film, (one where there is a plane crash and it's a prison plane and Tommy Lee Jones is in it, and it might be called U.S. Marshalls, but it might not lol!) and the plane crashes into a river and flips over.  Some of the prisoners cannot escape because they are shackled in to the plane.  There is a shot, where there are drowned prisoners hanging upside down in the water.  T-Boy said something, then added "And all those ones are asleep and not even aware that the plane has crashed!" and laughed at the surprise that those people would get.  We have known for a time that he has no concept of time and how it passes, but now to see and hear that he has no death concept, at 10, is a revelation.

It explains how he can be so unaffected by the films he has seen in the past - Final Destination and all those types.  It explains why he doesn't understand when the AC cries for Rich, as he does every now and again.  It explains why he doesn't worry about people - in his world, nothing bad happens.  There is no future to consider.

Part of me despairs of him ever growing up enough to be a big boy.  Already the AC is his match for height almost, and certainly above him academically and emotionally, for all that he is 21 months the younger. The AC has resigned himself to the fact that life is different when T-Boy is here, less free, less independent, because whereas the AC thought he would be getting a bigger brother to lean on a bit, he has what is effectively a younger one, who needs protecting.

On the other hand, part of me envies the T-Boy for the innocence that he has in this regard because I would give the world for the AC not to understand death in the way that he does.  Yes, it's made him stronger, and independent and his own person, but at the same time, I would almost wish for the unsullied eyes of my child on his 6th birthday, before it all went so badly wrong. 

His eyes are deeper now, are clouded at times with remembered despair.  One of my favourite photos of him shows this so perfectly.  Although even this photo is 2 summers old now.

No time for maudling thoughts now though.  I have things to do, places to go, people to see - and a kitchen to clean lol!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas was lovely.
The children loved their presents (3DS each) and the AC was especially made up by his Scotty's Little Soldiers present, which turned out to be a TV/DVD combo for his room.  He knows he's so lucky, and is so grateful.

We came back last night, and T-Boy was sick on the way back in the car, all chocolate from the amount of rubbish he'd eaten at his mothers.  I don't know what to do about his eating this week, whether just to leave it, or not.  I might.  He might just have sausages all week lol, and we'll eat properly.  But then that is just reinforcing that if he makes a stupid massive fuss then he can have what he likes.  On the other hand, why should I bust my backside to help him when his own mother isn't bothered and doesn anything for a quiet life?

I'm hoping that we hear from the pension people this week as well, about what is happening and whether the AC is entitled to anything or not.  It's not about the money, it's about him being accepted as part of Rich's life.  The She-Ex has got everything else financial - except the bills lol!  I-t-B took the ashes and I don't know where they went to.  We have the memories, and Thetford, and the joy of being properly loved by him.  As accounts are levelled, we have the best bits lol!

Anyway, I'd better start the daily battle that is breakfast.  AC can't stop eating at the moment - growing boy!  T-Boy won't eat - and isn't growing.  AC is almost taller than him.  I want to help him so badly, but I just can't.  Maybe I shouldn't.  Maybe I just need to let him carry on and get ill from malnutrition.

Could you though?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The AC is playing World of Warcraft. It's something he and Rich used to do together. I'm icing the cake. We haven't decorated this year because we're going to be away and the world was a busy place and we just never did lol, but we will next year. Yesterday Joe dropped his Scotty's present down to the house, and the AC's Scotty's hoodie. He had to have the 9-11yrs one, at 8, lol, but it looks fine and suits him. As he said he's proud to be a member of SLS, although, like all the others, he wishes he wasn't. SLS is amazing, and has been such a support for the AC. And now to the cake! Millions of things to do lol!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Today is the solstice.

Or yesterday.

I think it depends what you think.  Anyway, it was today for us.

Carefully, I did nothing, except write on his FB wall. 

Nothing except suddenly hear J telling people at his work how careful and thrifty and fabulous I am in the kitchen.  About how the custard and cake I had taken to his work woul dbe the first thing he's had out of a tin in months.  About how good my cooking is.

It was so.... affirming, I suppose.  I love that he respects what I do, and loves me.

I'm so lucky I can be in this place again in my life, differently, but with a wonderful man who cherishes me.

I still cry, randomly, for the life I should have had, for the children I should have had, for the relationship with BG that I should have had.  I know I won't hear anything about the advent calendar I sent this year.  (If I knew it was getting there then I'd put something in it for her to buy herself a present, I have no idea what a 9 year old girl wants lol!)

The AC is checking the curtains every 5 minutes to see if J is home.  This is a really random post.  I can't get my feelings onto paper at the moment.  It's like a physical blockage in my arms or something, like I'm choking in my nerves.

Well, now I sound like a fruit loop.

More sleep is probably in order, and maybe some relaxing!  I'll try again later.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When will I learn?

There are several things that I need to learn.

1) Just because it has been 9 months since knee surgery does not mean that I can run on this leg, nor yet walk quickly for the nearly-2-miles that is is from town to here.  Do not try it.

2) Just because it has been 2 years and 5 months since Rich died, does not mean that the computers in the world have caught up yet.  Do not be surprised by random letters demanding payment. Do not be surprised when it hurts to see his name in print.  Still.

3) Just because you know the house always looks worse before it looks better does not mean that you should allow it to look worse, on the grounds that eventually it will look better.  Do not expect improvements unless you get off your bottom and do something about it.

4) Do not think that you can eat a Burger King meal as well as chilli cheese bites and get away with it.  You will feel nauseous.  You cannot eat that amount.  That is why the AC always eats your chips.  And most of your burger.  He has hollow legs.

So now I'm sitting here, feeling a little sick, with a sore knee, but with almost all of the Christmas shopping done.  HURRAH!

Flying tonight, then bed, then Thursday will bring Rachel, and Friday will bring the AC's Scottys Little Soldiers present! Woooooooooo!  He is very excited (but Evil Mummy says he cannot open it until Christmas Day).  He will, however, be getting his Scotty jumper tomorrow. 

He's also playing WoW again.  This is a big step.....  I'll write more about the AC's progress through grief another time.  It needs writing.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Knock, knock

So I'm walking back into my blog, listening to how my footsteps sound on the dusty floor.  I've always thought my blog had a wooden floor, and then a big rug in front of a fireplace, with some squishy comfy chairs.  The chairs have been dustsheeted in my absence, by the blog fairies, so that I can just walk back in, pull off the sheeting, and sit down.  I kneel in front of the fireplace and methodically arrange the newspaper, then the sticks, then the coals, in the same way that my granfather taught me so long ago.

So long ago.

It feels strange to be back here, and to know that I'm having to make an effort to be here.  I've retreated so far into my own self in the last few weeks that reaching out seems like an anathema to all that I am.  But I cannot shrink any further - without imploding into some kind of white dwarf star and having more mass than size.  So instead I have to reach out, spread outwards again.

What have I done since October 10th?

Stuff.  Nothing major.  There's still stuff coming for Rich.  I've dealt with DVLA again, with the Child Tax people, with a few more debt collector notices.  I've dealt with it, because I'm tired of it, and clearly no one else is dealing with it, so I'd better.

School is school.  I'm going on a course every Tuesday for 6 weeks.  It'll be good.  If it's not good, then I'll drag the good bits out of it. Choir have been fantastic, and it's been noticed that they have improved drastically since I've been involved.  It's quite soul-nourishing in many ways.

Home is lovely.  We're doing really well with lots of things.  J and I are in the front bedroom now, and although it needs wallpaper and so on, lets not be picky lol!  I'll be moving the AC's room into the middle room, and his room will become the reptile room.

Oh yes.  We've now got 6 snakes, from the original 3, and they are all gorgeous.  I bought J a pair for Christmas, baby boa's all of of 8 inches long, one salmon, one pastel, and they are stunning and friendly.  Both are now properly eating, which is good.

Now though, now I'm tired, and so it is time for me to sit in the warm leather chair, gaze into the wood fire, and drink tea, whilst thinking my own thoughts.