Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The Gallery - Emotions

This weeks Gallery prompt is Emotions. They have also joined forces with the Writing workshop at Sleep is for the weak something which as yet I've not been brave enough to attempt!

For years I've wanted to swim with dolphins, I can't remember when I first realised it was something you could do, it was certainly before going to the Caribbean for a holiday rather than the "Med" seemed like an option open to "normal" people  

We went to Mexico for our honeymoon in 2004 and one of the organised trips you could go on was so swim with the dolphins. It was an amazing experience. The part I was most looking forward to was the bit where the dolphins pull you through the water whilst you are holding onto their fins, everyone lines up on the floating platform and one by one you enter the water so the dolphins can take you the middle of the water. 

Once everyone is in the centre they have a play, the trainers get them to jump and swim amongst everyone, it's amazing to see and they really are such beautiful creatures. To end they let everyone have a go at the "foot push" - this bit I was not looking forward to. You have to float in the water on your front in a kind of star shape, then two dolphins swim up to you and push you up onto your feet and throw you in the air.
You only had once chance at doing it and many people didn't do it very well, it's quite hard as you have basically stand on them and then straighten yourself out as you come out of the water. I was quite a bit heavier back then and imagined I'd just end up falling back into the water in an undignified heap with everyone watching me.

However, this is what happened......

I did it! It worked and I came right out of the water on the dolphins and back down with no problems. AJ brought the photos and when I saw this one I asked him why he brought it as initially I didn't like it. He loved the picture as it said it was pure emotion on my face and now I am inclined to agree.... I'm not sure which emotion exactly, I think it's a combination of joy, and terror.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Dear so and so

Dear Weather,
I know I've given you a hard time for years, you've been too cold, too wet, too windy and generally rubbish and unpredictable to me for years in the UK. I don't mean to complain now but I'm really trying to get used to this hot sunny stuff which I've found out means it's summer. I'm really hot, but it's all good honest and I'd rather it this way, just maybe could you share it about a bit and send some to England, there's more than enough here and perhaps we could share?

from a slightly sweaty Emma

Dear Leo, Well done little man for learning to say "ta" it's adorable and very polite, especially as you are doing it unprompted when given things now. I think you are going to be walking soon too as you are really starting to get the hang of "cruising" along the sofa!

From your loving Mummy.

Dear AJ,
Thank you, for working so hard to look after us and for wanting to move to Cyprus. I admire you for being the main catalyst for us being here, making it all happen and now working your arse off to keep us here. I would be really struggling in your situation with the unknown of working in a new country and with a 3 way language barrier. I'm very proud of you.

love wifey.

Dear Friends in England,
Remember me?  We have a phone line and internet here so please feel free to keep in contact. I gave you all our details, skype is free and with the cheap number to call it's much cheaper for you to ring me rather then vice-versa, not that I mind ringing you but I'm not doing all the running, did enough of that before I left.
Miss you all, well most of you!

Your organiser friend.

Dear Internet,
What would I do without you, thank you for being my saviour in life. We've been friends for many years now but never so much as now, you have kept me sane since being here, and upset me with your occasional sudden departures but I forgiven you for those and apologise for the things I may have said at the time.

Your biggest fan.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The Gallery - Creatures

This weeks Gallery prompt from Tara is Creatures. 

This is Ellie our dog that we had to sadly find a new home for last October just before we moved, being mainly black she did not do well in the heat, especially as she always insisted on sunbathing until you could hardly touch her coat!
Ellie came to us from a dog disliking  friend of mine who had been persuaded to re-home her by her kids in a moment of weakness, it turned out that the kids were also non-fussed about her and eventually they all decided she had to go.

I have grown up with dogs and AJ had always wanted one so she was a welcome addition to our family in 2003. She is a lovely friendly mad thing, always nicknamed "The Puppy" despite being about 10 years old due to her excitement and energy for everything.

I've been asked since if I know how she is doing in her new home, she has gone to a friend of a friend up in Cambridge, apart from hearing that she settled in well I have heard no more....actually that's just how I would like it to be, I would hate to hear if anything bad happened now - rather remember her being happy and settled in her new life too.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Our Divided Village.

We live on the east coast of Cyprus, in Derynia almost on the Green line which divides the Republic of Cyprus (South) from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. I don't wish to enter into the politics of the island, the invasion in 1974 is still very recent to most Cypriots and I don't know enough about it to be able to get involved in any kind of debate. (You can read more about it here, should you wish to know more)

Our apartment overlooks Varosha, the 'Ghost town' of Cyprus,

I've had many a walk with the little dude around the village since arriving here, not so much now - it's just too hot to go out walking with him strapped into his buggy now.
Here are some photos from my springtime walks - note the lovely greenery, long gone now with the arrival of the hot summer.

One of the UN checkpoints, as far as you can go in Derynia. 75% of the village is in the buffer zone. 

Looking into the buffer zone, note the barbed wire.

All Saints Church, built in 1992, work was started in January 1974 but stopped due to the invasion.


Monday, 21 June 2010

What I miss the most

The thing I miss the most I didn't even use in the UK. For years I had planned and pictured life with a baby and a big part of that picture was Mother and baby groups and various activities. Don't get me wrong I am not the "pushy mother" type - I'm just the organised mother type who likes a but of structure to my week!

When Leo was born I looked up all that was available, most things at the time he was too young for, and then at 6 months we moved. I could have gone to "Baby bounce and Rhyme time", Music groups, baby sing and sign, Mother and baby meets, baby sensory....the list is endless.

After hours of trawling the internet I eventually found one, yep just one baby group here.Jingle Jangles - a music group for 6months to 3 years. I joined in March and loved it, problem is at 35 euro a month for an hour a week now we have more month than money (more musing about that later!) it's an activity I cannot justify doing. It is a great group and I met several Mums who I got on well with and had similar age children, I kept saying it was the best money I had spent whilst being here for that reason alone.

I need to get over it but I'm so sad we have had to stop, Leo was just starting to join in with the actions and learning how to use the instruments. I realise this is going to make my week seem a bit lame but it really was a highlight - something I had been planning in some ways for years.

I've been searching again for some cheaper alternatives......NOTHING! On our side of the island there is just one solitary organised thing to do, either that or the promotion for them is worse than rubbish if I managed to miss itin my endless searching . Heading to Limassol or Paphos there is more but they are not a sensible distance to travel for a couple of hours on a regular basis.

I'm not sure what the answer is, I would love to arrange something but don't know where to start.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Happy Father's Day

Happy father's day Dadad! (in case you are wondering that's how Leo says it, I haven't got a typing problem!)

This year is AJ's second father's day, last year Leo was only a few weeks old. My present to him was a "Daddy Cool" t-shirt and a phot keyring with this picture in it. 

This year I was brave (well, I was talked into it by a friend) and let Leo loose with some paints and we created a card and a desk sign for him.

It was very successful actually, no paint was eaten, and we ended up not that covered in it, well apart from a couple of purple highlights in Leo's hair. 

Here is the finished result....

Friday, 18 June 2010

A Tribute

Today would have been my brother Scott's 34th birthday, I never met him as he was born on 18th June 1976 too early and only lived for 3 hours.

As a young child I moaned at my mother for the fact I was an only child and was the only one of my friends not to have a brother or sister, I can't imagine that must have been easy for her to hear. I was still young when she told me about Scott and some years later she had his birth certificate framed and displayed alongside our family photos so he is still a part of our family.

I told my Mum that everything happens for a reason (very philosophical of me at a young age!) and that had he survived I wouldn't be here. There would only be 16 months between us and as she didn't fall pregnant easily with me I think that she would have left a longer gap before really trying for number 2 (especially having one myself now!) I don't doubt that given the choice she would have had more than one child but the second child would have been born at a different time, therefore meeting different people throughout life and having different experiences and therefore not being me.

Several years ago I wrote this poem, which I had framed on my bedroom wall....

Scott, I thank you for giving me life,
I will be all that I can be, a good mother and wife.

I will have my career and be a success, 
I owe that to you, and I'll give you the best.

I will be happy for you in all that I do, 
And when I am sad you will carry me through.

I will be the success that you would have been, 
I will fight, I'll be strong, I will reach that dream.

I can do anything, I can be the best, 
I'll do that for you, you deserve nothing less.

Linking up to Wednesday Words

Thursday, 17 June 2010

The Gallery - Motherhood

This week's prompt from The Gallery is Motherhood. It's taken me a couple of days to think about this one and even still I don't feel there are the right words to describe what motherhood means to me, I could come up with many different words but I don't feel I would have done it justice.

Looking through my pictures, (and that takes a couple of days!) I was having a hard time deciding, until that is I came across this one.

During my pregnancy I had planned to breastfeed, I had a couple of bottles which I planned to use after a while with expressed milk, and had NO formula (hence the midnight dash to buy formula) but breast feeding didn't happen. I decided before Leo's birth that I wouldn't beat myself up about it if it wasn't working for us and apart from a slight hormonal wobble I didn't.

Obviously breast milk is the "ideal" as it's designed for the purpose but I have a healthy happy little boy who doesn't seem to be disadvantaged in any way and I don't feel bad about it. I loved feeding him as any much as anyone, and so did AJ.

I love this picture as it reminds me of all the time I spent like that, at the time I didn't show many people as it felt like everyone was breast feeding but it captures a happy moment.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Hanging my head in shame.

Ok, I'm going public... I have a love of really bad music, not just a bit rubbish but really bad. I even know the songs are bad and in the rare event someone agrees with me and says it's good I have to disagree with them an point out that it is actually terrible but for some reason I  still like it. AJ says I have a bad music gene in me!

So imagine my delight on seeing this post by Emily O over at Babyrambles I like three of her five, and I'd never heard of one! (to see her five click here Five songs I shouldn't like but do) So I thought I'd share with the world some of the songs I hate to love, what's quite depressing is the fact that I've been thinking about this for a couple of days - there's a lot of terrible music to choose from don'tcha know.

In no particular order

Buck Fizz, Making your Mind Up

I remember dancing around my front room to this at the time, I was only four though so it was cute rather than worrying, whenever I hear it it makes me smile which in theory wouldn't be very often if it wasn't on my ipod.

Chas and Dave, Ain't No Pleasing You

I like several Chas & Dave songs, but this is my favourite. It reminds me of New Year Eve parties as a child, and my Dad singing this in a slightly drunken manner to my Mum who would be trying to fend him off and get him to stop messing around. I was unexpectedly impressed at a party for my Mum's 60th when this was played as AJ did almost the same.

Sister Sledge, Frankie

This was always played at my first school discos, I forgot about it until I found it on an 80's compilation just after I had met AJ. It was his first realisation how much I loved random songs as not having heard it for over 10 years I got  ridiculously excited and brought the compilation just to hear it. He was depressed to learn that I hadn't even known it was by Sister Sledge - something that would happen a lot over the next few years as I  also realised lots of the songs I liked in the late 80's were in fact covers, and usually bad ones at that

Tight Fit, The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

I never really had an opinion on this song until drunken adults weekend away at Butlins, there were about 10 of us, all dressed as school kids and we danced to this song in a line and by the end we had gathered a crowd  who were joining in. It was one of those moments that really stick in your mind, no mean feat considering the alcohol I'd drank that night.

Dannii Minogue, This is it.

I don't even have a really good reason for this, just another one that always makes me smile. This isn't even on my ipod (might be after this though!) I just found it whilst arsing around on youtube and reacquainted myself with it, much to AJ's disgust.

There are more, and they will probably come to me over the next few days but I'll spare you, and there's always the possibility they could get worse, I know, it's hard to believe but you never know! Also as I'm sitting on my balcony there are neighbours who can hear, although thankfully next door are Cypriot and don't seem to speak much English.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The Gallery - Still life

Some weeks ago Tara at Sticky Fingers started a weekly photo showcase and with my love of pictures I though it would suit me down to the ground. 

Here in her words is what it's all about.....

The Gallery
If you're new to The Gallery, here's the brief: I will give you a prompt, an idea, a notion and you go out and take a photograph using that prompt. Or just use a photo you already have.
The prompt could be one word, an object, an idea, a phrase, anything, and you have to post a picture which you feel represents that prompt.
Post it on your blog and write about it.
That's it.

This week's theme is Still life and I thought with my weather obsession this would be perfect.

This was taken this afternoon, it's been about this temperature for a while and I love it! It's great to know that it's summer, and it will be summer for months. I know in England we all moan about the weather but I hated it, really hated it. I'd be so confused on a hot sunny day going to work - happy that it was nice out but so depressed feeling like I could miss possibly the only properly hot day for weeks.

I could go into a weather rant, which I will undoubtedly do very soon on here, but for now I'm blogging on the balcony with a peach schnapps  (an unusual drink for me but we're fairly low on choice at home at the moment!) and life is good!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

The week that was...

It's been a long week this week, one which started off by my discovery that there was more month than money left in the bank, not great two days before a party! Fortunately we were saved by a good friend of ours and cake ingredients, jelly and beer (well, if you're going to be outnumbered by toddlers you may as well have a drink or three!) were purchased and all was well.

The party went very well, the birthday boy seemed to enjoy himself and in fact all the kids seemed to play very nicely.

He ate loads of food, and ended up wearing lots too! Then happily crawled around playing with his friends and lots of new toys.

It was Sunday that it all went downhill, after a nice family afternoon round the pool Leo woke from a nap feeling very hot and was not  a happy bunny. I ended up being up most of Sunday night with him. He woke about every 10 - 20 minutes, despite being "calpol'ed up to his eyeballs and with a combination of air con and fan near his cot. Monday morning I took him to the hospital to see the doctor, this is a fairly painful process to me with the combination of a very long wait and my inability to understand what they say (they speak English, but I'm rubbish still at understanding through the accent - my fault I know so not complaining and MUST learn Greek!)

I left 3 hours after arriving not being much better off, advice was to give him calpol and come back in two days if no change or earlier if he got worse. Tuesday and Wednesday were much the same, Tuesday night AJ was up till 4am with him as he would only sleep whilst being held, Thursday night was a little better but on Friday morning he woke with a big red rash all over his body.

So off we went, this time to A&E, he was not at all happy - crying and moaning and throwing himself about. It was quite scary being at the hospital on my own although some of that was just due to me being a bit rubbish at stuff like this, the rest was down to the fact that there were two doctors talking about the problem in Greek and mentioning "Lefkosia" a lot which I know is where the children's hospital is.
He was examined, and promptly threw up all over the place - he hates people fussing with him and got himself so worked up that when they tried to look in his mouth the inevitable happened! An amusing point for me was when the doctor said "Oh dear, he wants to make vomit"

The final conclusion was a viral infection, 3 day fever followed by a rash along with laryngitis. they put him on a nebulizer and gave him some medicine. I was given a prescription to collect and we were done. I brought him home, all sleepy and traumatised from the examining and being pinned down with a mask on his face, I gave him his "raff" (favourite toy) and he laid straight on the floor.....bless him!

Last night he slept well and I was so pleased when woke this morning all smiley and chatting, even though it was only 5am! Today he has had some big sleeps but in between is much more like the happy chap we know and love.

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