Saturday, December 30, 2006

End of Year Review 2006

If you had asked me this time last year what I’d be doing this time this year, I’d not have said updating my blog before heading out geocaching for the afternoon, after a morning at the spa having a relaxing body treatment.

Two of those words didn’t even exist in my vocabulary (blog, geocaching), and the third (spa) was known but unheard of, if that makes sense!

So what happened to make it all so different?

The funny thing is, although this blog was borne out of the frustration of the circumstances I unwittingly found myself in, I have never actually said how I came to find myself there in the first place! Suffice to say that at the start of the year a number of difficult situations at work (that had been on-going for quite some time) finally boiled over and the resultant effect was that my brain literally went into ‘meltdown’! I was unable to function on any level initially, and the frustrations of this eventually lead to depression.

To cut a very long story short, in May of 2006, after 4 months off work and much soul searching, it resulted in me resigning from my job of 17 years and taking a leap of faith into the unknown.

So now the scene has been set, what about 2006?

Things I have learnt in 2006:


If you ever need to sort out who is a real friend, then have a major life incident! I have been blessed with many very good and faithful friends.


When you hit rock bottom, and you need someone to take control because you can’t anymore, ask God. I don’t often wear my spiritual heart on my sleeve, but I would gladly preach a sermon on the ‘Parable of the Stolen Mini Convertible’, a time when God worked in my life in the most amazing, extraordinary and totally downright unbelievable way!

Thermal underwear

It might not be pretty, but it does its job :-)

Things to take into 2007:


My sport of choice ;-) Current total of caches found stands at 48, including several International caches (the South of Ireland counts as International in this regard!) with our furthest away cache being in Dubai, even though we didn’t actually manage to put our hands on it.

We also have four travel bugs circulating the globe, two currently in the South of England, and one recently arrived in New Zealand’s North Island! More info on the bugs here


You can’t buy this kind of therapy :-)

Trips to the library

But could Val McDermid please write some more books as I have currently read all that are available


Every list has a surprise entry, and this is mine. I am particularly looking forward to walking now that Tesco have built a new hypermarket complete with café serving full Irish breakfasts at virtually the end of my street ;-)

Spa treatments

So long as someone else is paying. It doesn’t seem so indulgent that way, which is far more relaxing!

Things to leave behind in 2006:


It was a good distraction when one was needed, but I’m afraid the old adage ‘Bugger the Garden, I’m watching the Rugby’ comes back into play now that my brain can make it’s own decisions again


I’ve had a few, but then again – too few to mention. Suffice to say, giving up my job of 17 years has not been one of them!

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and sane 2007!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Feeding of the Five Thousand

But 4988 didn't turn up.

Their share is currently in the freezer - my freezer, my mum's freezer, the new freezer my mum took delivery off on Christmas Eve ...

For someone who prides themself on never having turkey left over on Boxing Day, this Christmas I have enough to keep me going until New Year ... 2008

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Christmas!

Turkey stuffed; vegetables washed, peeled chopped, sliced and diced; pies minced and prawns cocktailed!

Table set; house hoovered; presents wrapped; trees twinkling; carols playing; wine mulling.

Milk poured; cookies left; reindeer food sprinkled; rudolf carroted; sacks displayed in a prominent position.

Kids bathed; pyjamas on; Santa expected; dressing gowns ready; trying hard to sleep ;-)

Merry Christmas!

Jesus is THE reason for the season

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Cutting Cake

I've just cut up my third rich fruit cake in a week!

The first was a christmas cake for parents after the schools performance of Aladdin. That one had to be cut into 40 pieces.

The joys of teaching in a small school where appreciative parents send in Christmas Cake for the staff meant I had to cut cake number two into 30 pieces.

The third was a tier of a wedding cake to be used as a Christmas cake.

Husband's getting a bit concerned with all this cake-cutting going on. I think he thinks I'm in training for a big event ... ;-)

Monday, December 18, 2006

It's Official!

My six year old now owns more make-up than me, thanks to the generosity of her friends, four of whom brought her complete make-up sets for her birthday.

I guess thats what happens when mummy pays for the Party Pixies to come and give you and your mates a makeover party for your sixth birthday.

Gone are the days of pass the parcel and musical bumps!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Christmas Preparations

It's been very quite in Chemical Land recently, at least the online version. Real life has been a little more hectic with birthday parties, Christmas preparations, important rugby matches and such like all happening at once!

I went to M&S today to buy some 'Christmas Provisions', after all this time next week we'll be in the thick of it. I know, I know - I shouldn't have sinned my soul to buy groceries on a Sunday, and yes, we deserve to choke on them. Now that we've cleared that up ... on with the story.

I got the turkey today. We always get a turkey crown - thats a turkey without legs. I'm not too sure if it's born that way or the legs are removed after its slaughtered, but that's a whole new blog! Anyway, there are so many of us for Christmas dinner (13), we need a really big turkey, so when I see a monster bird in the shop, I buy it and if necessary stick it in the freezer. That's what has happened this year. It's what happened last year too, but hopefully thats where the similarity starts and ends.

Last year I bought 'the bird' early and stuck it in the freezer as described. I got on with the normal pre-Christmas preparations and was so well organised was able to invite my bro and sister-in-law (then to be) and niece-in-waiting round on Christmas Eve for lunch before we all headed out to see the 3D film Santa and the Snowman.

On the way home after the event we stopped off (with half of Belfast it seemed) to get the car washed. And it's as we are sitting in the queue at 4.15pm on Christmas Eve that I suddenly remember that 'the bird' was still in the freezer.

Well, there was no point rushing - an extra 5 minutes wasn't going to make a button of difference at that stage - so we sat on, got the car washed and then headed home.

Of course 'the bird' is solid as a bl%dy rock. The first defrosting technique was to wrap it in filled hot water bottles. Marginally successful, but not good enough. Then we decided to wrap it and the hot water bottles in towels, which wasn't much better so eventually we resorted to the other half sitting hugging the bird (which was still surrounded by hot water bottles and wrapped in towels) whilst watching midnight mass from Kings.

At one stage there was genuine, major concern that he might have to turn on the electric blanket and take the bird to bed with him, but thankfully for all parties concerned that was avoided.

So, today I have added a reminder to my Outlook for Saturday 23rd to 'take turkey out of freezer'. And just in case I forget to turn on the computer, I have asked mum to phone me and remind me about the turkey. And with her memory the way it is, I've also left a post-it on my desk, one on my bedside table and one in the kitchen that all say

'TURKEY (eat, not holiday)'

Failing all of that (and believe me, it could all fail!!) the kids are practicing their turkey waddles and gobbling at each other, and the other half has set a reminder on his PDA, mobile phone and even on NTL.

There's times when I think being vegetarian would be a good thing :-)