Thursday, December 31, 2015

True This

Meryl Streep, telling it like it is - should realise this truth earlier and save lots of time.

Maybe this should be my mantra for 2016 because, with just over an hour to go, I'm feeling distinctly meh about the whole New Year thing.  I'm thinking Hogmanay is for the young (who can go out on the randan with friends) or for those with big family or friendly neighbours who can fill the house with the party spirit.  It doesn't happen much now but there isn't much point sitting by yourself waiting on the bells when nothing really changes, it's just another day tomorrow.

Like I said, feeling meh.

I'm waiting for a good year, I've been waiting an awfully long time and no matter how hard I work at it I never quite seem to have a satisfactory sigh in my heart at this point of the year.  

The end of this year has been plagued with illnesses and I simply can't concentrate for more than five minutes on anything.  I shall remedy it, there is only me who can do this. 

2016 can be the year of acceptance...


Friday, December 25, 2015

The Day We Should All Switch Off

And here's me on the computer - larks.  I watched a tv programme that was literally two hours of a pair of Sami women walking in the snow, with reindeer and sleighs, travelling through the forest and I could think of nothing better than living that life.  I know, I think my brain has finally given up the ghost completely.

After the chaos over the past few months with illnesses, my pattern of being slightly (ahem) disorganised on the run up to the event that happens on the same day every single year, I mean it's not like Easter, tied to the pagan full moon.  Except this year it is.  Hold on, I've lost my train of thought (full speed, out of control and running out of tracks).

All in all I pared back, and it worked. To a point.  I wish I could have afforded more but at the same time my sons didn't want more.  Blessed to have raised non avaricious boys, they're happy with what they want and at least I managed to provide that (and a birthday on Tuesday, again, it's not like it arrives as a surprise).  I feel bad they only have me, no extended family bustling around a full table - then again we could have an extended family that's like my mum's family and that would not bring feelings of peace and goodwill at all.

And I dressed up the dog because he's very patient.  Chew sticks were involved.

I'm feeling very addled at the moment, I think that is clear. As though I've come to accept how circumstances are, but I'd like them to be better so this acceptance thing is a non-starter. It's only a week left of 2015 but I'm trying my best to make and keep at least one promise, that we can afford a holiday this year because the lack of break is obviously sending me dolally.  That probably sounds poncy (poncey?) and in danger of being middle-class "first world probems" but with everything that is happening, everything that has happened and general lack of luck - surely I can try for a week in the sun not having to cook or clean?

Perhaps my next post will be less erratic. Who knows? Who cares?

(I'm going to use this space to crow about the face that I was *right* about the Christmas Doctor Who episode with River Song - I knew it would lead back to the library, does it matter, to me it does!)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

This Is 44

Strange that it feels like a milestone when it is not really a noted birthday.  It does feel like one part of my life is closing, that where I make a family, raise children - I have my family, not exactly as I imagined being that it's just my boys and me.  The best laid plans and all that.  This must be how it's meant to be and I have to accept (although it's hard) that there will be no more babies.  It's strange that would affect me so much but it does.

So for my birthday off we went to Edinburgh - the school term finished absurdly early, I was expecting them to still be there until at least Wednesday.  Who makes up these holiday schedules?

After a lovely wander around the Portrait Gallery I was really disappointed that all the 'modern' paintings - of Alan Cummings, Ian Rankin etc. were stuck in the cafe so inaccessible.  Unless you want to wander up to the posh mummies and well-to-do pensioners sipping their lattes and stand over them as you try and appreciate the work.  Hmmn, don't know who thought that out but perhaps they were once responsible for the school timetables.

There was a giant painting of Muriel Grey which, as far as I'm concerned, could remain there but I'd have liked to been able to see the other paintings.  The only one we did manage to get a proper look at was the portrait of Alex Salmond, I think I prefer the one of Nicola Sturgeon though - I think that must be in Bute House?  I know the painting of Salmond is second on that link and Sturgeon's is eighth but the other work is so good it's worth a browse to get there.  For the life of me I cannot do portraits at all, to the point I avoid all humans in my artwork! (Also I came across a TV news piece on Nicola Sturgeon's portrait, it was unveiled along with one of Elaine C. Smith - seventh on the link - and Denise Mina - second last - only Elaine and Nicola were interviewed. Having seen Mina interviewed before I can only imagine she was a nippy sweetie over sharing space with two pro-independence women!)

The Portrait Gallery is a beautiful building and I love the gallery of stars although I couldn't get a decent pic of it as it was low lighting and judging by their official photo it's something that needs to be admired in real life.  At the moment there are some really good displays - not only was the 'Women of Nineteenth Century Scotland' inspiring, it was amazing to see how many women were included in 'Remembering the Great War'. I had forgotten my notebook, frustrating as there were so many names I wanted to take note of for further research.

So out of the gallery and off to the Christmas market which gets progressively more expensive every year, £7.50 for a quick birl on the rides is extortionate for most families, the food is over-priced for what it is which makes for a disappointing time if you've not a lot of spare money.

I dragged the boys all the way down to Holyrood looking for a jewellery shop that ended up being right at the top of the street where we began but it was a lovely walk, spending time with my sons, talking about everything.  None of us minded the trek at all and it meant Youngest could go to his favourite shop - Forbidden Planet. I desperately need some stocking fillers, they were ordered to find some things they'd like but couldn't.  Argh!  I'm running out of time!

Home to a Chinese take-away and hired Jurassic World to watch. I actually managed to pace myself so well that today hasn't been too bad on the pain scale and it seems to be mostly in the feet and ankles which is not as awful as the neck pain when it comes. I've not done much at all, a lazy Saturday letting my battery limp back to red (one day it will get to green) and doodling Zentangles. If this is 44 it's off to a mild yet pleasant start!

Edinburgh from the North Bridge
I know many say Sir Walter Scott would have been a unionist but reading this on the side of the Holyrood building yesterday makes me wonder...A quick translation is that while we can hold those in charge accountable when they are here but when they're down in London it's impossible. That's my main reason for supporting independence!

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Art Class Literally

This just perfectly encapsulates everything I feel about the system, especially as an outsider. Of all things, the arts should be open to all, accessible to all and yes I include all forms of writing although the piece mentions journalistic publishing, it's the same throughout. It's not what you know or how well you know it but who you know and how well off your parents are.

As it is so well written there is nothing more to add. Enjoy

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Etsy - Hoping It Doesn't Look Like I Made It With My Feet

Honestly, they were made by hand!

Took a deep breath and opened a little Etsy shop today for some of the decorations I made.  I decided on doing this rather than taking the usual Scout Christmas Fayre stall as it seemed less painful not knowing if people were looking at the items or dismissing them outright.  Oh yes, there are stats though...well there are stats on here too which is why I know no one is going to read this so I'll look on Etsy as another corner of the internet where I can face rejection.



I know I'm not particularly skilled, I enjoy making the items though and always sold a fair few at the stall.  This way I get to stay in bed this Saturday morning, hmmn, perhaps it wasn't such a good idea after all.

I called my shop "Crafty Auld Sew And Sew" which I thought amusing although the fact it reads as CraftyAuldSewAndSew without the spaces lessens the mild humour somewhat.  Plus people outside Scotland will neither know the meaning of auld or the play on words of "sew and sew".  Ahh, I give up!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Calling Bullshit On This

(It's taken me a while to decide whether or not to post this; I guess I will, there are far more eloquent blogs out there but I wrote this on the day this ridiculous study came out, feeling frustrated, confused and angry. It's still smarting now, even though the results have been somewhat dismissed, so here we are:)

I am not an Oxford academic and to be frank, I am glad I am not.

What I do have, unfortunately, is an intimate knowledge of life with ME/CFS. So it's completely disheartening when articles like this surface and reinforce the prejudice that this illness is all in the head and can easily be resolved if we'd all just pull our collective socks up and get on with it.

As it stands research into the actual causes of ME/CFS is underfunded, the symptoms are under such a large umbrella that they're regularly misunderstood and there seems an almost deliberate reluctance in wishing to resolve these facts.  Instead sufferers are dealt with by medical staff sometimes impatient at having to listen to the litany of ailments and then there are the friends, family, public who think we're all malingering.

Before I had this I didn't know anyone with it, hadn't paid much attention to it at all. In a way the disheartening attitude towards it startled me. I'd had thyroid issues before and it was a quick diagnosis then on to treatment and back to normal life - sorted.  No one thought it an imaginary friend, or rather foe, as here were the tests, here were the results and this is our plan of action. This time at each and every hospital visit I expectantly waited for them to say "this is what you've got and here's how we'll cure you."  At each and every hospital visit I gave up 'nearly an armful' of blood in the hope that this time it would definitely be something curable by a magic pill.  Meanwhile my life before ebbed away.

Who would choose that? In all seriousness who would choose to have this damn illness, disease, syndrome or, if these damned 'professors' are to be believed, fiction? I've gone through the CBT that's meant to be a cure.  Yes, it helped me cope, allowed me to forgive myself over not being able to do what I wanted and taught me to pace so I could fit things in (including such mundane tasks such as laundry), including inevitable crashes when life is too busy. I learned to say no (although it is still a massive struggle).

The GET taught me I had limits and when I tried to stretch those limits, in my usual gungho manner, I suffered the consequences and unless you've had ME/CFS you might not know how terribly those consequences play out.  So, not going to do that again in a hurry. To say this is beneficial is actually quite dangerous as sufferers want to be well and will push themselves over those limits time and time again. I have yet to hear of a single person with ME/CFS who has found GET to be anything but frustrating and painful.

So according to the exalted professors I should now be fine and dandy.  Let's shut up shop, stop the poor attempt at finding cause/defining symptoms/cure. We can all go home.

'Tis yet another kick in the teeth. Front page news has established ME/CFS as 'not a real illness' in the minds of people now. Whenever someone has to explain why they are not as they used to be it will be all side-glances, cat bum mouths and dismissals over just how fucking bad this really, truly is and haven't you tried just, you know, not being ill.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Never Ending Saga of the Cold

Another week another bloody illness.  This time youngest twin son has suffered through an excruciating sinus infection, enough to eke some antibiotics out of the doctor.  Not ideal, I'm wary of this whole idea of overusing antibiotics but this is his first time and considering he'd had a cold since mid-October it was necessary to step the treatment up a gear.

We can pretty much write off this autumn, see what happens when I'm unable to scrape enough together for a holiday in the sun.  It's a luxury bordering on the necessity for life quality and obviously a good healthy dose of Vitamin D is missing this year.

I've decided to take a big gulp of confidence juice and try to go properly self-employed.  To an introvert this is the equivalent of that going-to-work-and-realising-your-naked dream and I don't think I have the talent but I have to attempt something to make more money.  All I really want to do is hide in a box but that is not an option.

I need to steal myself, head up, shoulders back and don't let them see you quiver.  Strangely I was prepared for this earlier but for a knock-back from a really rude person that had me slide into a pathetic lack of faith in myself.  Not only that but I was doing him a favour.  Twat.

Need to channel my inner warrior; it would help if I looked like this,
but I don't, I'm more teddy bear shaped than sleek, fierce goddess.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

This Is Where I Wish I Was

Not location but creatively.

I know over the past couple of years I have come further in my art than I ever thought possible but I'm still not satisfied with what I do and I don't know when (if ever) I'll find my style.  This probably sounds trivial but the pure happiness I have while watercolour painting or getting messy with pastels is slightly dimmed when I see the finished product and then I don't want anyone else to see what I've done.

Practise, practise, practise then go to Pinterest for a good dose of inspiration! I don't want to copy, that's not what I look for, but seeing the results of artists with true talent is not off-putting but entices me to try and to persevere and maybe, just maybe, one day I'll get there.

No, I don't think in any way I'd ever be in the same stratosphere as accomplished artists such as James Guthrie. (See below, I love this painting, sure it's a fairly romanticised version of agricultural life in Scotland but considering Scottish culture has been stifled, especially recently, then any glimpse of our non-"British" history is a refreshing relief.)  Reality check; I paint as I write, to please myself and if it is appreciated by others then that is a bonus.  I will always be my harshest critic.

James Guthrie, A Hind's Daughter, 1883, Canvas, 91.5 x 76.2, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh.:
James Guthrie, A Hind's Daughter, 1883, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Trying To Pause

Close my eyes, chose a soothing playlist, pretend the world isn't twirling and whirling around me.

It doesn't always work.

Meanwhile I'll listen to this and songs that ease my soul while hoping for a pause, a breath, anything.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

The Comfort of Shared Moments

Son 2of2 and I have spent the better part of this week curled up on the sofa watching tv, playing Halo and coughing until our eyes water.  Apart from the obvious annoyance of sharing this moment with the unwelcome cold virus I can't help that little glow I get from spending all these hours with my son.

His brother is assiduously avoiding us lest he catches anything so I'm missing out there but the selfish part of me is enjoying this enforced quality time with at least one of my teenagers.  They'll be fourteen at the end of December, fourteen seems awfully grown-up so I'll snatch any precious seconds I have where I can be good old reliable mum, there with the soup and sympathy.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

This Is Me Since Yesterday...

Actually the old Scottish saying is not exactly apt as this is me since the beginning of October.  Caught in the ebb and flow of a monster cold that just won't give up.  Now son 2 of 2 has suffered the same fate to the point that he has been off school for a week, the longest absence he has ever had since...well, since he started nursery all those years ago.  Then today son 1 of 2 was allowed to stay at home due to having zero sleep last night with all the coughing.  You know it's bad when your eyeballs are hurting and we're resorting to the "Vicks in socks" tonight as a last resort.  Everyone swears by it and it's certainly more appealing than the "onion syrup" remedy offered by a Polish friend.

There is a pity party going on at our house.  No one is invited.

(On another note, while trying and failing to find a witty illustrative depiction of our current crisis I came across the image Niagara Falls is nice and all but was it a strategic target?  I have a feeling the booklet would be full of the useless advice given to us during the 80s; hide behind a door, paint your windows white, put your head between your knees and kiss your ass goodbye.  That last one may just be made up.)

Friday, October 23, 2015

It's A Pretty Messed Up Situation

I don't want to fill this place with the frustrations of politics so while I exasperate in real life, over the EVEL vote that has seen Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland MPs become second class in our supposedly united parliament, online I hide in Pinterest.

Thank the gods for pretty things to distract but I bloody love Pinterest.  As a visual person it just makes my dreary life that little bit brighter. It sounds as though I am overstating it but on dark days, an hour spent dithering around looking at things I would love to wear, places I'd love to go, art I love, projects I want to do, can extinguish a dark or sad mood. It's like flicking through the pages of a magazine but much, much, much better.

I'll be on there quite a lot considering that, since the General Election in May, it has been a relentless wave of sewage coming from Westminster and the stink is getting unbearable.

Time for some avoidance techniques as there is nothing that can be done and I haven't the strength or the income to emigrate.
Flick, flick, flick...and breathe...

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Perfect Level Of Spook

Not for me are the slasher horror films, stunningly predictable as the protagonists all go off alone to look for the source of the creepy noise.  In the dark.

Scary, I don't think so.

Instead I love this time of year when I'm introduced to spooky joys that sneak into the psyche and linger, playing malevolently with my mind.  Throughout my childhood I was terrified by Rabbie Burn's Tam O'Shanter as discussed previously.  You can listen to Brian Cox read it here, I won't be (fearty!)

Some may find this to be pretty mediocre in terms of shock horror value but it makes me wickedly gleeful.

And then there is also this.  I love being pointed in the direction of such gems at this time of the year.

Roll on the end of the month 'Weel done, Cutty Sark!'

The very scene that would have a young TIBS quavering.
(On a side note - some of my favourite lines of poetry are in there too
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,

Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

And there you go.)

Thursday, October 15, 2015


And sometimes you just have to let the ME win, even before the day has started.

Well played stupid illness, well played.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Running, Standing Still

That pretty much sums up my relationship with technology.  Just as I think I've caught up, that I am semi-competent I suddenly find out things have moved on several paces and I'm back to knowing nothing at all.

It's exhausting and my tired old brain is addled trying to stay on top of it all.

I've thought on making a website, using one of those free sites of course (free being in my budget at the moment).  It all looked fairly simply but after about five minutes I gave up.  I knew where I wanted to go but damn it if I could actually get there!

One point of satisfaction tonight came as I discovered the uses of the block button on certain social media.  There is someone who has caused a lot of grief amongst members of an organisation I am involved in.  While I am luckily not tied into their disagreement the sheer brass-neck of the person had annoyed me.  I can't help it.  This whole sense of injustice, over people standing up and taking ownership of their actions, whether they be dick actions or not, drives me to distraction.

I was once again in danger of blundering in, of having everyone side with this person against the bad person picking on her.  And she is the type to greatly enjoy that, indeed it is part of this whole grief manifesto she has going.

Block, block, blockity, block.

And now she is no more!

I can merrily go about my business without that thorn digging in every time I see another "look at me, I'm this organisations best thing ever" post.


I need to do this more often.  I get bogged down with people like that.  Now technology has offered me a way out, probably could have done with finding it out earlier but never mind.  I'm there and no doubt come tomorrow there will be another thousand things I could also do that I will find out about...someday...

Monday, October 12, 2015

Home or Away?

I have an addiction to programmes featuring people wanting to buy houses in Spain or France.  In fact it is becoming a source of amusement as I have a rant button that is pushed any time I hear the phrase "expat community" or "don't need to learn the language" or, one recent statement "I prefer egg and chips to Spanish food"! 'Sake!

Cue gasp of frustration and quick tweet of annoyance.  I can't help it.  My tolerance levels have completely bottomed out and in a way I'm jealous that these people are getting the opportunity to move abroad.  Although some of these retired expat stuffed estates would be a fate worse than death.

If I were in this situation when the boys were still in primary school, both parents gone, nothing and no one keeping me here, we'd already have made for somewhere else.  Am I using their proximity to important exams as an excuse - maybe?

It is scary, it is daunting, the fact there is only me now.  I have no one to discuss these matters with, no one to advise or help plan.  So it's all on my shoulders.  I just know the few times I have gone somewhere warm my ME/CFS hasn't been as nasty to me, or perhaps that is because I'm relaxed anyway.

Once the exams are done the mortgage will also have been paid.  Could I leave, the desire is strong.  After the referendum last year I gave up on seeing a progressive Scotland, one I'd be happy and proud of.  Instead it's wallowing in the misery brought by a selfish government we once again did not vote for but that is what people bizarrely chose.  I don't feel any wish to stay here for the rest of my life now. I love Lanzarote but could I live there permanently amongst the volcanoes, embarrassing the memory of Cesar Manrique with my dabblings?  I don't have the money to travel as extensively as I'd like, to see as many places as I could with the boys, so researching places is limited.

I watch these tv shows; I sigh at the lovely homes, cringe at the "made for expat" ones and the whole idea of owning a property rather than a home.  I dream of moving, learning to speak the language properly, perhaps for once fitting in somewhere.  I wonder if I will ever be brave enough.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Hands Off!

On a rather balmy October afternoon I joined a couple of thousand people on the Forth Road Bridge in protest against proposed fracking and UGE/UCG.

It felt good to be part of something, to fight against the profit hungry companies who pressure governments by dangling a few jobs and hang the environmental consequences.  While the companies mumble about "test" drilling, basically a foot in the door, the proof is in already fracked places - communities suffering in Australia and the US. So off I trotted, to hold hands with strangers, as we attempted to send a message.

On a day like today it was good to remind myself what it is we stand to lose.

They're building a new bridge across the Forth, the water is already polluted from nuclear submarines the UK government are allowing to rot in dock and various horrible things dumped by previous governments. What is left to protect, must be protected, cleaned and preserved or there will be nothing in future.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Pow! It's The Finish Line!

Your highs and lows for the month:

Well I could start with a low that I have a croaky throat and cough that could bring up a lung. I've been getting heavy hints all day to step in and take over a situation when all I want is a rest.  That is not what this challenge prompt means though, I don't think so at least.  The cough medicine I'm taking has one hell of a kick so I'm probably at the point where I don't really care!

So, start with the Eeyore moments -

The lows were the amount of times I felt I was looking back at things I cannot change.  It almost felt like a pity party.  There is no way to change the past and I have a bad habit sometimes of dwelling there and becoming all morose by over thinking all those mistakes and missed opportunities.

Perhaps it's a good thing to get it all out, to stop constant "whatiffery". A good bellyache and done.  Eh, yeah, we'll go with that.

As for the highs, well having written more through this than I have for a while it's beginning good habits I won't allow to lapse.  I've written other pieces, not online, which may lead somewhere or just serve as sketching for the bigger picture.

It's also made me think, reassess, look at where I am.  For the past few years it's been all about the ME/CFS, the coping, the understanding, the frustrations.  There isn't much I can do about it but I can't let it win, even the days where getting out of bed feels monumental I can't.

And now I'm waffling.

That's never going to stop.  The waffling.

But I feel like this...

...even if I couldn't possibly hold that pose for long!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Limping To The Finish Line - It's Day 29

What are your goals for the next 30 days -

This would be a "what lessons have we learned" post again but to be honest the last week hasn't been a great example of the fact that I want to continue regularly writing on here for the next 30 days and beyond.

I fell almost at the finish line, picked myself up... and I'm going to stop that analogy right there.

I do wish to start writing again, even if it is only for my own eyes.  I can entertain myself, might as well!  It's going to be a busy month, no break this year, so it will be interesting to see what state I am in 30 days from now, especially as the rushing around of the last week has brought out a sore throat and back ache, my ME/CFS alarm bells are ringing.

There are other '30 Days' prompts I might use, by the time I get around to thinking of what to post my brain has usually switched off so it's good to have a sort of cheat sheet.  If it starts good habits then it will be worth it.

I have this picture on my vision board (yes I have one, judge if you will).  It's where I would like to be, writing, sketching, watching the world go by from some little cafe.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Oops, Day 28 A Little Late

That commitment I made, which I've written about previously, kind of got in the way of the commitment I made to do this and not fall by the wayside.

As excuses go I'll stick with it. Did you miss me? No, didn't think so.

Post five things that make you laugh out loud:

With the power of YouTube...

I am never not going to find that funny. Some pranks are cruel, some go too far but this is genuis!

I do believe if he could talk, my eldest cat would have a similarly laconic drawl apart from the American accent that is.

I can't believe this must be about 20 years old, it's just as funny no matter how many times an episode is viewed.  I downloaded a box set of episodes and introduced my sons to the joy of Father Ted, each generation a new fan base is created.  I believe this is called 'timeless'.

Similarly, I just think The IT Crowd had spectacularly funny moments and seeing my sons get the humour renews my enjoyment in them. Peter File...fnar!

Finally, on my theme of things I've rediscovered on viewing it with my sons...Airplane!  Completely forgot how many daft little jokes there were in it - some very close to the bone, I doubt they'd be permitted now.  There's a scene, with people on the luggage carousel, that had my eldest boy laugh so hard he nearly injured himself.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

On The Final Run - Day Twenty-Seven

A little more optimistic this one...

Conversely, write about something that's kicking ass right now -

Ooh, despite my usual Eeyore exterior I do have some points in life I'm happy with.

One involves such adult concepts as marketing plans, business plans and networking.  The result of which will hopefully mean we can afford holidays again!  Yes, it does boil down to that basic desire because it means I'm doing well if I can have a break away from it all!

The other ties in with everything I experienced last year and a move towards allying myself with a political party, becoming an activist, organiser and general do-er rather than just letting things pass by.  It's all that 'stand for something...'

I've always been opinionated, might as well do something about it at last.

This last thing is why I've been so tired of late, there's a local by-election, we have a candidate and no clue as to what we're really doing. Cue lots of running around. It has been hard work, my ME/CFS monster is wondering what the f**k I think I'm doing but it's all part of the learning curve.

The guy who is likely to win is one of those politician types; all smarmy arrogance and disregarding anyone not important enough.  That would make every single councillor we have in the area a white, elderly male - they'd make a great identity parade in a police line-up but it's rubbish for diversity.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Day 26 - Let's Share With The Group Again

As though we haven't done enough of that, here, I'll open up another vein of private information.  If nothing else this will be somewhat entertaining to look back on, pity I don't drink any more as it'd probably be funny from under a fuzzy haze.

Write about an area in your life you'd like to improve -

Ooft, again, just the one?

Okay, there are more important ones, some which I obviously can't do anything about but would otherwise be top of the list.  In that light then there is an area that would give me a deep sense of happiness were I to have some level of competence.

Indeed, this is something that I am working towards although I don't get enough time to truly dedicate to my practice.

My art, or scribblings as would be more apt.  As yet I haven't developed a style of my own, I have a tendency to be a little too illustrative where I'd like to be more abstract.  I don't want to show, I want to hint at and have the eye do the remaining work.

Recently I've tried a couple of exercises to help my lack of tone - two medium, two colours, two hours.  I only ever really do sketches rather than work at a piece until I'm happy.  I actually quite like what I've produced recently.

This post needs examples, it's late, I'm tired, so will add them tomorrow morning.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Day 25 - And It's Google's Birthday Anyway...

...according to their daily illustration.  So apt that they play a part in this.

Think of any word. Search for it on Google images. Write something inspired by the 11th image.

First word that popped into my head was 'friend'. Which is quite lame really but I'm watching TV just now so I've probably heard it a minute beforehand.  As I'm watching Zoo it's not as weird as this could have been.
Image result for friend

As someone whose highlight of the year is a holiday somewhere sunny then this kind of image immediately warms me inside.  It doesn't make me think of friendship but of the sun on my face, the breeze from the ocean and that general atmosphere of calm relaxation.

I can conjure up that feeling now and, especially as there will sadly be no break for us this year, it is delicious.

There's a little beach near where we've gone on holiday the past few years, strangely we've never gone during the day but in the evening as we walk down to the town centre.  As the sun sets we take in the colours in the sky as they dip into the ocean, the water is still warm from the day and without the crowds of determined sun worshippers it is perfect.

Every now and then there are older, Spanish people swimming or fishing in the quiet twilight. It is usually after dinner for us and before dinner for the locals, we nod greetings, smile and continue on our way.

The Google image doesn't make me think of friends - it makes me think of family, my family, and the memories we will carry with us forever.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Day 24 - More Lessons To Be Learned

Write about a lesson you've learned the hard way -

Again, so many to choose from: not relying on people, or trusting them, or believing what they say, or that they care about me but enough about my failed marriage. Aha!

Here's a lesson; don't expect things to happen by chance or because you think they should.

I was brought up to trust that life would work out. You grew up, got a job, got married, had a family, home, a quiet contented existence.  That sounds so boring yet so comforting and at the moment that's the mood I'm in.  Needing comfort. It wasn't an entrenched middle-class sense of entitlement although it might be sounding very like just that, I could think of nothing worse than being thought of in that demographic; we're not talking house prices and having a better car than the neighbours. Rather this is the plain blueprint my parents set out for me but then hid the plans so I had no idea how to achieve any of it and lacked the confidence to reach out for it.

So naturally I screwed the whole thing up.

Learning a lesson the hard way kind of ties in with everything I hope my sons have learned from me (Day 21).  I hope they go for what they want rather than wait for permission because even now, on my own, it's as though I can't go ahead without that parental say so.

And that's f**ked up.

On a brighter note, a colleague is in the US just now for her friend's wedding.  She's visiting the same area I lived in and it brought back some lovely memories.  See, I've not been a complete loss but I wish I could have stayed there longer!  I'd love to go back, visit old haunts and show my sons around, alas the familiar tale that has held me back so often - lack of funds.  One day maybe, before the boys have flown the nest, time is running out.

Friday, September 25, 2015

I Wrote A Letter To Day Twenty-three

...and on the way I dropped it.

Write a letter to someone, anyone -

I used to write letters, back in the days where penpals were the only contact with the rest of the world. To me it is a deeply personal thing.

I'm not saying that as a cop out or because I'm deadly tired. 

The letter is written in my atrocious handwriting, what needed to be said has been. It can never be sent, it will never be read but as a writing exercise is was cathartic.

Perhaps I will destroy the letter or hide it away in a drawer where I'll find it some day and unlock those emotions again with each word.  In the age of over sharing allow me this indulgence. Although this blog is possibly for my eyes only so the contents would be perfectly safe, a letter is best written by hand.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Day 22 - A Musical Interlude

I'm at the point of feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment so tried my best to avoid the internet yesterday - to no avail.  Productivity is quite low too, waiting to hear back from someone and it feels eternal.

Considering how diverse my music collection is, this one should be interesting...

Put your music on shuffle and post the first ten songs -

Seal - Kiss from a Rose
Shy FX - Shake Your Body
Jona Lewie - Stop the Cavalry
Sugababes - Stronger
Garbage - My Lover's Box
Handel - Xerxes (Serse) Ombra Mai Fu
The Beautiful South - Pretenders to the Throne
The Big Dish - Miss America
The Smiths - Shakespeare's Sister
The Piano (soundtrack) - The Embrace

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Twenty-One To Day

See what I did there.  Boop.

This is a good one.

What three lessons do you want your children to learn from you?

Oh so many things but I do realise they have to make their own mistakes and not listen to my advice all the time.  It's how things work but I know there are (at least) three lessons they have appreciated.

If you have to judge a person do so on their character; not their background.  I guess this brings in everything from race to religion.  I did mistakenly introduce a touch of naivety in my sons with this lesson as they were once extremely puzzled why girl classmates shouldn't be able to do all things as they haven't ever gotten that "girls pink, boys blue" memo.  Well, their mum doesn't live by those rules.

You are masters of your own universe.  Yes there are many things in this world that could stop you doing what you want to but you have to take all the opportunities you can.  It might not quite lead where you want it to but make the best of it and things will work out just fine.  It's something I wish I had been told and yes, had I been things would have worked out more than just fine!

Travel, see as much as you can of this world.  I hopefully have given them a good start but I'd love them to travel, have adventures, experience this world and appreciate all it has to offer.  If Eldest does become the pilot he wishes to be then this should be fairly easy!

All in all I just want them to be happy in what they do, confident in who they are and content with the life they lead.  Maybe that should be three lessons in itself.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

It's A Silly Day Twenty

Because it's

Post about three celebrity crushes

And that's not as interesting as it would have been to discuss three weird crushes.

Having made the admission yesterday I do happily agree that celebrity crushes are easy to fall into, or at least crushes on the characters celebrities play.  Musicians, not really my thing although bizarrely I used to think what it would be like to be friends with some and I have actually kissed a fairly well known musician.

Celebrities who are celebrities and that's all...there's nothing to crush on, a shallow desire sure but no crush.  Maybe that's against the rules then, to crush on a character rather than a celeb but there you go. I am nothing if not swimming against the tide.  I'll chose folk I think are as close to celebrity as I think I'm going to get.

So, now to think...

Do I have to justify my reasons? Uft!

 Chris O'Dowd
Steve Carell - especially his voice
 John Cusack - because I grew up in the 80s and...of course.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Day Nineteen - Let's Be Brief

Discuss Your First Love -

I could choose all sorts of things, all sorts of people to express love for but I realised a few years ago what a fickle emotion it is.  The love I have for my sons, the love I had for my parents (difficult at times), the love I have for silly day to day things but when people say love they mean finding a soulmate. I thought I was but as it was based on a lie then it really wasn't so therefore...

That Scottish 80s band Wet, Wet, Wet said it best when they sang:

Been all around the edges but I've never been in love

Friday, September 18, 2015

Day 18 - Oh Look, A List!

Post 30 Facts About Yourself

  1. I like being born in December
  2. Love being a mum to twins, I'd have been very happy to have triplets too
  3. My bucket list is full of strange things
  4. I wish I could recapture the feeling of Christmas when I was young
  5. The smell of a sunny day in late autumn is the best thing
  6. I really don't like seeing other people's feet
  7. If I could afford to I'd go on holiday every chance I could
  8. The company of animals is my preferred choice these days
  9. I'm very opinionated
  10. And stubborn
  11. I like to perform random acts of kindness for no reason at all (hence the name random)
  12. I sometimes imagine what it would be like to live in another country, be from another country
  13. I have never been loved by a man (I wasn't related to that is, I mean lusty love not family!)
  14. I am rubbish at starting and maintaining a conversation nine times out of ten
  15. I don't own a Kindle (other electronic books are available for rejection) nor do I intend to
  16. I'd like to be a published author one day
  17. I'd like to sell some of my artwork too for that matter
  18. People don't get me
  19. Being a stay-at-home mum was (despite rubbish marriage) the best job I've done
  20. I'd like to be content
  21. I really don't like driving but I have to, if I could I'd bike and take the train everywhere
  22. Sometimes I like to stop and just take it all in
  23. I want to be better at speaking other languages
  24. I once thought of becoming a photographer
  25. My dad's family reportedly descend from Huguenot stock
  26. I own many books, don't ask me to give any of them up
  27. I like being European but have never thought of myself as British, am a republican too
  28. I hate it when people sing to each other, even worse if they sing at me *cringe*
  29. I can bend my fingers right back
  30. I'm quite a good painter and decorator but I can't wallpaper to save myself!
I'm fairly boring so as actual facts would have run out after about number ten then I've padded the list with various nonsense.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

It's Written In The Stars - Day Seventeen

(I make no apology for that heading.)

Post about your zodiac sign, and whether or not it fits you.

Look I'm a fire sign!
I know some people are horrified at the thought of astrology but really, I look on it with some humour and fun.  If the moon can control the waves perhaps the planets control our moods, who knows, certainly not me.  Horoscopes are a load of bunk though.

I'm a Sagittarian.  More fittingly I was born in the Chinese astrological Year of the Pig, that probably says more about me.

I do like being the sign of the archer (design wise at least) but we're meant to be sporty, the life and soul of the party and I'm anything but that.  It makes for nice jewellery though and there is something of human comfort in having a set jewel, colour, planet and all that kind of thing.

We are meant to love travel and I most certainly do, if money were no object I would be off several times a year (ignoring any physical restraints because lack of money is there to hold me back anyway!)

My ex was a Virgo, we're meant to be incompatible signs, well, should have taken that as a warning then.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Day 16 - Ye Dancin'?

Something that you miss -

As it is a thing rather than a person I'm going to go for something I do look forward to going back to when my health returns.


There is no way I would have gone to a dance class but with Zumba talent is not needed.  I absolutely loved my Zumba on Mondays and, if I had the time, Thursdays too.  My whole day had a bounce to it and even now hearing one of the songs has me doing a little jig in my seat.

I do have Just Dance, that Wii game, bought before the illness started.  Sons and I used to have competitions to see how many we could do and who would get the highest score, it was great fun.  I do occasionally pop it on and can sometimes get one song done before enough.

But Zumba was a way to excise my desire to dance without making a fool of myself in front of 'serious' dancers and there are always a few at classes who don't take it as a hobby!  It didn't matter if I got the steps wrong or didn't keep time because the music kept going and we were on to the next.  I always wanted to try flamenco dancing and these classes had a bit of everything.

Plus dancing for exercise makes you bum round and waist trim.  Ha.

When looking for videos for examples I note that each Zumba teacher must make up their own routines but this video was the closest I could find to one we actually did.

So I decided to also add my favourite Just Dance routine (meaning about the only one I could actually beat my sons at!)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Day 15 - A Difficult Decision So A Day Late

Yesterday I was still in mid-crash, the last part is always the kicker. Looking back at what I did, or rather all that I didn't do, was extremely painful.

Do I show what living with ME/CFS is like?  I know if anyone is reading this it would possibly be dismissed as laziness without understanding just why everything is such a monumental effort.  Can I get across the sheer frustration of not being able to do the simplest things one day yet the next I can push myself a little further?

It's hard to put myself up for judgement like this. I see how pathetic I look, I can hear the scorn and snide jokes about "wish I could rest all day".  No you don't, believe me you really don't.

Bullet point your whole day -

Shit, here goes...

• 7 am - Ugh, hate alarms and now the mornings are getting darker I hate them too.  Start "waking up" before I have to physically get up.

• 7:30 - Wake the boys up, prepare breakfast for them. Let the dog out to the garden to read last night's fox pee-mail. Feed the cats.

• 8 am - Despite the drama of the  weekend Eldest still wants to cycle to school so off they go. Shove wash on, taking advice from my fuggy head and achy limbs admit defeat so back to bed before the pain starts.

• 11 am - annoyed I've lost the morning, aware this is not a day to attempt work without making more mistakes than I'm trying to resolve.  Rest hasn't helped. 

• 11:30 - clean part of the bathroom, give up as arms leaden so shower.  It used to make me feel refreshed, now I just feel drowned.

• 12 - rest, yes, even though I've done nothing I'm whacked out. Take dog for run around the park behind our house. He runs, I shuffle along.  Oh look it's raining.

• 1pm - need some food for dinner. Off to the local shop where I promptly forget what I needed. Grab some of the usual suspects and home before anyone sees me.

• 2 pm - after another rest the sicky feeling has dissipated somewhat so make some cream cheese on toast for lunch. Get started on the dinner as I can see how this day is going.

• 3:30 - remember about the wash! Day has gone to rain since this morning so fold it up.

• 4pm - the boys are home, full of their day in school. I love this part of the day where I listen to their stories of who did what, things they learned. 

• 5:30 - dinner is boring, when I can't think clearly I fall back on the old faithful recipes I could make in my sleep but even then I feel the food is tinged with my lack of energy and enthusiasm. It feels like failure.

• 6:45 - auld peacenik here has both sons in the air cadets. Eldest has wanted to be a pilot since he was two and for people like us this is the only way he can achieve that. He wants to fly those big fat supply planes, as long as it's not fighters or drones!  I wonder if he'll get a space or be pushed out by the usual middle-class kids from private school, if it's on enthusiasm and hard work he'll be fine but we know how the UK works.  Youngest is considering engineering, he'd quite like to work for NASA or ESA so I can guess what he'd like to design.  Anyway, I drop them off as I want to feel I've done *something* today.

9:30 - time for pick up. I've been avoiding the computer all day yet my head is being crushed in the vice anyway.  On a plus point my limbs have gone that weird cold, numb way and my back and ribs no longer ache either.

10:30 - boys showered and off to bed.  Me too.  And now the big joke of ME/CFS - I can't sleep.

So that was yesterday.  I've not detailed the pain or unrelenting fatigue as it was in danger of turning into a pity party as it stands. Would someone with ME/CFS look at this as a cop out because I've not described just how frustrating it is not to be able to do normal things or hopefully understand not wanting to focus on every little failure?

The sun is shining today, hoping it will be a better day once this neck ache sorts itself out.

One day I will wake up and all this will be over.  I hope it's soon.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Day Fourteen - Reasons Not To Be Online

Post your favourite movies that you never get tired of watching:

There is no better way to spend a few hours than being lost in a film or in the pages of a book.  So once I've posted these I will no doubt start scouring the dvd collection (yes, I'm old fashioned enough not to just stream everything).

It's Sunday, it's autumn, it's made for film afternoons/evenings!

Note that these are probably (definitely) not high brow, I read trash novels too.  It's all escapism and sometimes you just want candy floss.  In order not to have the longest blog post in history I've limited myself to five and made the rule that if these were on TV I'd make a special point of turning over to watch.

Amelie - loved this film from first viewing. For obvious reasons to any only child out there.  And the music. See if you can spot what they did with the opening credits.

Dear Frankie - crying. Every. Single. Damn. Time.  Plus, Gerard Butler was good once.

In Bruges - it is just not what I expected, the black humour sparkles. Plus, Colin Farrell was good once.

Casino Royale - full of plot holes but for the Eva Green character and the fact I grew up watching James Bond films with my dad I'll gladly waste an evening in the company of this.  The "Bond song" and opening credits are amazing too.

Restless Natives - there were not many films where I could hear my accent as I was growing up.  Unless it was as drunks on English TV shows.  This is the kind of spirit I know exists in Scotland, that cheeky two-fingers up to the Establishment and you know what I'm going to say next - bet they would all be Yes voters!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Someone To Watch Over Him - Day 13

Perhaps it's strange that while I'm firmly in the agnostic camp when it comes to faith there is one thing I do believe in and that is guardian angels.  No, I don't mean feathery winged types but there have been a few times in my life where I've narrowly escaped something major that should have happened.  I won't explain it further just now as I'm thinking my sons have similar and if I were to assign it to anyone, I would think their grandpa was looking out for them.

Today, for several hours, I was in the A&E department of the local hospital with Eldest.  It was something that could have had serious consequences, on phoning the NHS helpline we were directed to go immediately there.  Luckily it sorted itself out but may occur again.  On the way home Eldest commented that this isn't the first time were a scary illness has been warded off him.

Meanwhile another few grey hairs for auld mum and another few months off my life.  I let some people down today, because I had to go to the hospital and I'll chew myself up about that for a while. Eldest is fine and that is all that matters.

What are you excited about?

Excited...well, as I'm not going on holiday this year then I have to scale it down a notch.  Usually at this time we're on the last few weeks before a week sponging up the sunshine and enjoying having someone else cook, clean and generally be responsible.  Come December I will feel it, the endless trudge of days.

So, what excites me just now - decent art supplies, a project to hand and an afternoon to spend indulging myself.
Never mind wish you were here, wish this was me!

Friday, September 11, 2015

It's Insomnia, It's Day Twelve Early Hours

Here's another alarm bell warning, when exhaustion should be sending me to bed to rest and recuperate but instead I am wide awake just awaiting the crash.  *sigh*

So it's probably a good thing that the next theme is this -

Write about five blessings in your life:

Now if you have been reading this blog, and god knows I'm most likely to be the only audience, then you'll know I'm a pessimist stuck in an optimist's body - or is it the other way round?

It is hard to think of the good things but still I can account for at least five blessings right now.

My Sons

Of course, of course, of course it would be top of the list for these two.  They've made a happy woman very old!  An old photo here, about 10 years ago, but I loved watching them build sandcastles - very serious, very industrious.  Hours of fun guaranteed.  They'll be on every list where I have to name good things so get used to it.

My health

Say what?  What am I on about?  Does the ME/CFS/whatever they want to bloody call it now not count?  Yes, yes it does and I'm up at nearly 2:00 am because of it but I can still walk, I am not house bound, I am not bed bound.  This may drag me down to the very depths of despair some days, I have forgotten what it feels like to awake refreshed, being able to walk a few metres without needing to find a resting place would be marvellous but I could be a lot worse.

It's a Pollyanna moment despite what has been described as the most debilitating of chronic illnesses, one that is constantly undermined and misunderstood but it's not going to win.  I fully believe that one day it will pass and I can go back to a normal life, that's what makes me consider my health a blessing.

My hobbies

Is this a weird choice?  I don't care.  If I didn't have my sewing, my art, my writing, I would have been conquered by the black moods long ago. They give me an outlet to forget about things for a while, to get some enjoyment no matter how ill I am on a day, even if it's just looking through art books with shaking hands then it lifts the spirits.  I am so glad I have things that define me to myself.

This Little House of Mine

It may be in desperate need of some TLC but I have managed to keep a roof over our heads and in this day and age that is surprisingly difficult.  You would think in 2015 we would have worked out a way for everyone to be safe, fed and sheltered but human nature means no.

So I feel it is a blessing that, while each month is a financial juggling act and we've not the money to truly enjoy ourselves, we are housed, we have food and are relatively safe.  Many, many people are not.

Little Things

The bees who love the lavender in the garden.  Beautiful paintings accessible in galleries. Libraries in old buildings.  Listening to waves wash up on a Scottish beach.  Waving to the International Space Station as it passes overhead.  Appreciating the stars in a crisp, autumn night sky.  The wind rustling through long grass.  Pine trees carpeting the forest in their needles and the gentle creak of the wood.  Seeing a wild animal (calm down, I mean a red squirrel or something, no lions in Scotland - yet).  Watching the flowers and plants change through the seasons.  Fresh snow.  A little cottage by the sea. Standing on a sleeping volcano. Hearing a piece of music that perfectly captures the mood.  Climbing into a bed of clean, fresh sheets.  Snuggling in on a cold day.

Lots of tiny, little things that can make a life worth living.  That is a blessing indeed.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Day Eleven and We're Going To Get All Wistful Again

Third evening in a trot I've been out and about, I do not recommend this for ME/CFS sufferers at all as I'm barely holding on and tomorrow I will need to be careful not to crash completely.  All the warning signs are blaring like mad but I can't listen to them.

Tonight was the school concert, my sons have an amazing ability, both play the guitar, the piano and anything else they set their sights to, I am in awe of anyone who can play a musical instrument.  Hearing them sit down and work out how to play a tune they've just heard on TV, or practise a new piece for the guitar ensemble.

Two instruments I'd love to be able to play so effortlessly - the cello and the piano.  I can barely sing without cats arriving at the doorstep to see where the fight is, the boys read music, I just see lots of interesting shapes and patterns on the page.

Something you always think "What if..." about:

Oh, hear we go again with the dragging up the past, by the end of these thirty days it's going to have been like a giant therapy session.  Saving the NHS money with every post.

Okay, sometimes I do wallow in "what-iffery", it can consume a person if not careful.  And I'm not careful.  If things hadn't have happened as they did would I still have my sons though?  I've always felt so, it was more destiny, it was meant to be and I just picked a rubbish wastrel of a father. Blah.

There's a game people play "if you could go back and tell your teenage self some advice..."

If I could then my advice would be to believe in myself and to do what I wanted to do with my life and not what others wanted me to do.  Life would have been much simpler and I would have had a much different path to follow.

I say that here because if I had that confidence to speak against the grain, to ignore my mother's line of "What do you want to do that for" every time I said what I'd like to do with my life then...what if...

What if I had gone to art school?

What if my love for art and story-telling had been encouraged?

What if I'd had the brass neck to say "Guess what, I don't want to be a nurse or a secretary Mr Careers Advisor so try again"?

What if my parents had been able to recognise that what Mr Careers Advisor said was wrong and discussed things properly?

What if I had the courage now to be able to stand up for myself?

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Day Ten is "Hump Day" in a Busy Busy Week

It's getting to the point of the week where I'm thinking I've missed days and I haven't.  This is the busiest week I've had in a long time and I'll be glad of a few hours with nothing to do.  I didn't really want to write about this in a tired frame of mind, that's when the ME/CFS brain fog is at it's worst so this will be a take it or leave it post that will probably need edited later.

Write about something for which you feel strongly:

The older I get, the more I prefer the company of animals and while there are a couple of topics that have me grasping for the correct words to show my feelings on the subject I'd have to say that nature is a top priority.

That sounds like a wide area, lots of meandering roads leading to one big issue and it is but when all is said and done I hate how we treat this world.

The animals, the land, it all has to bend to us.  I've recently started researching who owns Scotland via this man, having heard him speak on the subject and it is fascinating and horrifying in equal measures.  I had previously read about our beautiful highlands, far too much of which is owned by a handful of establishment figures for their own "pleasure" rather than for the good of the land and the people who no longer live on it.

The ecological destruction, the deforestation of native pine woods to the point where only 1% remain and raptors are continually poisoned is not how it should be.  Landowners would rather see thousands upon thousands of acres of the highlands scorched so they can go shoot a few pheasants (or a few peasants, they'd probably not be bothered).  There was a really good article I read which I now can't find but I will and link it here.

While it burns my soul to see Scotland like this I feel equally as passionate about the rest of the world too.  Who can possibly look at country size gaps in the Amazon rainforest and not understand how serious that is?  The lungs of the world and we've taken up smoking 100 a day.

While we fuck over the land we're equally as irresponsible with the wildlife so let's not even go near the disgraceful concept of 'canned hunts' and the inadequates who feel the need to participate in them.  Hunting for food is different, hunting for sport is moronic.  We've hunted many species to extinction, many others to the point of extinction.  We're really useless as guardians of this world.

I mean, we invented a weapon that can destroy all life, including ourselves and we supposedly intelligent monkeys have stockpiles of these weapons to threaten each other with.  If there are aliens visiting us they must wondered what the hell we're about.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

One Two Miss A Few - Day Nine

Yeah, yeah, sloppy Monday fell at the hurdle.  Just too much to do, it's going to be a busy week, yip, far too much to do.  Sometimes I want it to be over and done with, whatever it is.


Post some words of wisdom that speak to you:

This could be meme-tastic and the words depend entirely on mood, with that in mind I've decided on this from a favourite author, favourite book...if I could write like this I'd be a happy bunny.

“I let it go. It's like swimming against the current. It exhausts you. After a while, whoever you are, you just have to let go, and the river brings you home.” 

― Joanne HarrisFive Quarters of the Orange

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Day Eight Has It's Groove On

List 10 songs that you're loving right now:

Right now doesn't mean current songs hopefully because I have no idea what's in the charts they even have charts any more?

I don't really listen to music as much as I used to, growing old and fogeyish I guess but these, while not being my most favourite songs in the world, are high up on the iPod list (yes, I still have an iPod; yes it is old; no, I have no intention of changing it.)

Wonder what a psychologist would make of that mix?