Proud Mummy Time

I hope you’ll excuse me while I enjoy a proud mummy moment. Vivvy took her Kennel Club silver award recently and not only passed the exam, but scored top marks! One hundred out of one hundred! That’s my girl! Although *whisper* at one stage she did move when she was supposed not to move, but the examiner must have been looking the other way at the time😉20160726_175911

We’ve had her for just over a year now (wow, where did that go?) and during that time she’s gone from strength to strength. We got to adopt her after she was withdrawn from her guide dog training because she was a little anxious over certain things – like pet shops, sudden noises, open-backed lorries, and… the ironing board. I’m pleased to say she’s improved with all those things, except pet shops. She still shakes from head to paw if we even go near the door of one of those. Clings to AJ so close that she’d probably jump in his pocket if she could.

Lately, we’ve noticed that she gets a teensie bit anxious around very small children, so we’re working on that. I think it’s because of the quick movements, but she’ll no doubt get better the more she’s exposed to the situation. We have a small children’s play area in the park near us, so we’re letting her sit nearby and just watch and listen. So far, so good. 20160522_112831

We’re off on a trip for a few days and Vivvy is going to stay with friends who are also boarders for Guide Dogs. Vivvy loves going to them and doesn’t give us a backward glance when we leave. We’ve only left her overnight before so this will be the longest we’ve been away from her. I’m already suffering separation pangs. Stupid, isn’t it?

Ah well, I’ll just have to distract myself with some retail therapy while we’re away. No doubt with a gift (or several) for my little golden girl thrown in.

July Happenings

July has been hectic even manic at times! A Roller-coaster of a month so far and it’s not over yet!! A red letter day was 10th when my youngest grandaughter Alice aged 10 appeared on the West End Stage, in London, with her Stage School. The Shaftesbury Theatre is at the heart of Theatreland. A coach full of excited performers and their families left the West Country, where we live, and drove to London. Anxious parents (and grandparents) dropped the children, with their teachers, off outside the theatre then we had a whole afternoon to spend in London. We chose to go to Covent Garden which was a short walk away. We made straight for an Italian Restaurant, one of Evie’s favourite places (Alice’s older sister aged 12) where she chose her usual ham and mushroom thin based pizza. Oh and olives to start with mini ciabatta rolls sizzling in garlic butter. Peter (known as BapBap by the grandchildren) and I (NanNan) had a delicious, rich, beef stew with gnocchi and Kate (Mum, our daughter) had roasted vegetable calzone. Perfect to set us all up. The olds also had an excellent glass of red wine each. Feeling suitably revived we wandered the stalls. Street musicians, acrobats, and students from the Royal Opera House sang, danced and performed around the squares. Tourists from many different countries followed their tour guides or just sat absorbing the scene. Sun shone gloriously, we managed to eat various flavoured gelatos to round off the afternoon, oh and fitted in some retail therapy. BapBap carried the bags patiently! Then it was time for the show.

The theatre is beautifully decorated, three tiers soared into the roof but we were in the front of the stalls. 16 different Stage Coach Schools from around the country as well as London gathered to perform, the standard of each school was incredibly high. We cheered loudly when our school came on in the second half but they got a standing ovation at the end of their performance. The theme of their piece was Land Girls (and boys) in the Second World War. The hair was in 40s style, with a modern twist, and uniforms of dungarees and shorts. They looked great. I know I was a proud grandma! They sang a selection of popular songs from the time with back-shots of real people projected onto a screen. Ages ranged from 10 to 16, the polished performance was worthy of that great theatre. FB_IMG_1468739361811Freddie Underwood, the Principal and Director beamed with pride. What a night.

A trip to Wales to see my niece Rhiannon graduate on 14th with a Masters Degree in Education. You have seen photos of Rhiannon in a previous blog. We were pleased to be invited and again proud of her achievements, a single mum who teaches full time.  On 19th her daughter Kerys graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, we were unable to attend but what a pair of amazing women they are. 20160714_161836

The other big occasion was between these two events on 17th when we hosted a family reunion at our small house. Luckily the sun shone as a total of 35 of us gathered (all my immediate family plus some of my cousins) aged from 84 down to 3. It was the first time for 15 years since the majority of us last met, none of the 7 young children were born then. My 5 grandchildren were there aged 3-12, my 8 year old great-nephew, a 6 year old cousin, 3 other great-nephews aged 16 and 18 and Kerys 21. Plus of course their parents and grandparents. Lots of champagne flowed, everyone brought food ranging from vegetarian pies, home-cooked gammon and beef, chicken dishes, salads galore, desserts, cheese, cakes you name it. Not much was left by the time everyone had gone home! The photo gives a small flavour of the day. received_1042511749178271

Wednesday 20th was my big Choir Concert. We sang the song we wrote earlier this year, When Will I See The Sun, for only the second time in public plus a range of other music from old English folk songs to a moving song, Pura Mame, from Figi honouring our ancestors. Another wonderful night, a dear friend was there to cheer me on and might submit a comment!20160720_195234_Burst05[1]

My birthday is on 30th but my son Matthew is 45 on 27th and my grandson Pete is 7 on 1st August so more celebrations to follow! Pete will be in New York with 16 members of the American branch of his family.

August will settle down and we can recharge, maybe.

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Teddy

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As I write this, a week before it’s scheduled to be published, I’m going through withdrawals. Teddy went home this morning after a two-week stay with me and the house is too quiet. It’s helping that I have a full … Continue reading

It’s Ladies’ Night by Valerie J. Patterson

It’s ladies’ night!  Oh what a night!

Last month I invited the ladies from the office over for a little dinner and some poker.  I expected it to be a good night.  I expected us to have a couple hours of playing cards, eating, and talking.  I expected everyone to have a good time.

I was wrong…

It was a great night!  It was several hours of non-stop laughter and shenanigans!  And everyone had a fantastic time!

I can’t wait to do it again!

Oh my!  Put five ladies in a room together, add a deck of cards, some poker chips, food, snacks, wine, and dessert [and a charming male who makes intermittent appearances throughout the evening] and you have the recipe for an exceptional evening!

We ate.  We played poker.  We ate again.  We played poker.  We ate again.  We played more poker.  We talked about everything under the sun, laughed at ourselves, discussed work for perhaps 30 seconds, and then went straight into carrying on again.

Did I mention we played poker and ate?

It’s good to get together and get away from the stress of the job, the worries of the family, and just relax and laugh and share…and be with other women who understand that we all need to escape once in a while, let our hair down, and be completely at ease being who we are individually.

The time passed so quickly that evening, but oh my how fun it was to be there in the midst of it all as one of the gals!

Until next time, may you gather your friends together, laugh until the cows come home, and play a little poker!

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When did July Show Up?

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I can’t believe half the year is already gone.  I’m trying to figure out what happened. I hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th of July.  My great-nephew’s birthday was the 5th, so we had his party on the … Continue reading

I Have a Grand Dog! 

Jillian here. It’s been a month of stress around here with the day job and I apologize for not being around to comment but I’m going to be better, I promise.  

My son and DIL have been trying to adopt a dog for a while now and kept being turned done since they both work full time. It seems a number of places are super strict about someone being home with the animal most of the day. I get that in some ways but it does leave a lot of people out, doesn’t it? 

They finally got approved at an adoption day at Petco and brought their little girl named Primm home today. She was named Ginger but they changed it.  Here’s a photo. Isn’t she cute? We aren’t telling Hobbes. 😉

I also have a new book out as of yesterday.  It’s under my other name, Sherry Chancellor and is a humorous romance called “Rex, the Ex and the Hex.” I think it’s my best work. The editor said tears were streaming down her face in laughter. Made me happy. 😀

Happy July. 

Meditation and Willpower

Any who keeps an eye on this blog knows it’s been hard for me to lose weight. I climb on the ladder, off the ladder. I’ve struggled to stick to any significant lifestyle changes long-term, which means, I think, that I need to get inside my own head, either to figure out why I struggle or to shore up my sagging willpower.

So I’m about to try a new thing (for me) to try to focus myself more. Meditation. By the way, every time I type meditation, it comes out medication. Is that a Freudian slip? Lol. So, anyhow, I’ve been doing some reading about a couple of meditation (yep, had to correct the typing again!) techniques. One is called Five Good Minutes by Jeffrey Brantley, MD and Wendy Millstine. It’s a morning practice of attention (breathing mindfully), intention (decide on your needs/intent for this meditation), and acting wholeheartedly (embrace that intent completely).

The other one is a 4 part meditation technique I got from mindbodygreen.com where you spend five or so minutes on each of four different meditations.

  • Gratitude – focus on the blessings in your life.
  • Dedication – Pay it forward by focusing on someone you know who is struggling, visualizing good intentions for them.
  • Affirmation – Choose a quality you would like to strengthen in yourself and plug it into    this sentence:  “I am                               .” Like, I  am healthy, or I am filled with willpower. Recite the sentence over and over again.
  • Repetition – Repeat that one chosen quality from the last medication. Just one word.  Over and over again.

These are the two I’m thinking of trying, although the morning one probably won’t be very often. My mornings start out helping Mom. By the time I’m done with that, I’m so focused on my day, I dive right in. But doing the 20 minute one, say just before starting dinner, might be helpful, since it seems to be from about 4pm onward that I lose all willpower.

So here’s my question. Do you meditate? Do you have any particular meditations that are helpful to you? I’m looking for hints and tips to help sustain this practice and keep it going.

Thanks! I hope everyone who celebrates Independence Day July 4th had a safe and happy one, filled with family, friends, and laughter!