Tag Archives: bloggy buddies

on saving my sanity while shoe shopping

It’s an annual trauma. Back to school shoe shopping.

I’m super at internet shopping, or browsing in fancy shops, but I freak out in supermarkets. Too much noise, too many people, specific requirements and too much choice. Exhausting stuff. School shoe shopping has all of that, with the addition of style conscious girls. With strong opinions.

I hardly remember my own school shoes. My feet stopped growing when I was about 13, so it’s entirely possible I had the same pair of shoes for the next 3 or 4 years. Black. Regulation. Styled like a pair of boats. I didn’t mind. I had no interest in or opinion on my appearance. My enormous glasses, frizzy hair- attended to with an ‘afro’ comb- and general lack of concern drove my poor mother mad. Eventually I developed enough interest in clothes to gather a red ra-ra skirt  and white court shoes, but I’m not sure Herself regarded that as much of an improvement. She’d be delighted with her granddaughters caring what they look like.

We had to buy football boots, trainers and black shoes. It was maybe ambitious to try to do all at once, but Spurs Fan is a dedicated shopper and determined to get a bargain or five, so we went to the local outlet centre.

I was defeated straight away by the wall of brightly coloured football boots (what happened?) and moved to the many, many boxes of trainers. It took about 10 minutes to work out that they were labelled with US rather than UK sizes. The reading glasses had to come out. I was fit for the hills before anyone had even tied a lace. All the sizes, all the colours. Twice.

I went for a reviving coffee and wander about. I tried on some unflattering clothes and decided to return to WeightWatchers. I wasn’t just overwhelmed, bored and tired. I was fat too. I wasn’t having a great day.

A preliminary potter round the sensible shoe shop filled my heart with dread. There were loads of sensible flat black shoes to be worn by sensible little old ladies. I wouldn’t wear most of those shoes, never mind expecting the girls to. Being patient souls, they tried, but their faces got longer.

In the midst of it all, I cheered up enormously. It’s not just us. School shoe shopping plagues all the houses. Children the world over make their opinions known. We’d have another go.

The magic moment came courtesy of Tinman. His post about a teenage daughter and school shoes popped into my head just when I needed to smile. He tells tales that make me laugh, and pluck at my heart. This one saved my sanity that day.

there's more!
there’s more!

We still have to buy a pair of school shoes.

discovering writing, pictures and other bloggy goodness

Jake and I are back to normal. It’s almost a school day. It’s wet outside. The others are away exploring Spurs Fan’s new classroom, wondering where he’s going to put all the boxes, and the children.

I’ve been a while playing on the laptop, with that smelly, snorey bundle at my feet. It’s how we spend many of our days.

My mind is still in holiday mode. It’s not ready to read worthy articles about rare disease, charities, event organising or patient engagement. It’s certainly not ready to actually do any of those things.

But I did have a task for today, and I’ve done it. Get me.

I have had a good old nosey round the blogs on the longlist for the personal blog category in the 2014 Blog Awards Ireland.



There are 30 odd categories in the awards- I’ll never read all the nominated blogs and I’d have no opinion on the content of Irish language blogs, the tech blogs, business or political blogs. I’ve been a judge in the past and found it challenging to judge the politics ones- just how much were my personal political opinions influencing my opinions on whether a blog was engaging?

The personal category is a bit of a catch all, but this year the organisers have stated that blogs which are mostly craft/ photography and the like should be judged in those categories; a bug bear of mine in previous years had been that the personal category was won by beautiful food or knitting blogs.

There are many beautiful personal blogs- and not just from the creative young people- and for the first time I’ve chosen to follow a number of the bloggers on Pinterest rather than follow the blog directly. I’ve got another half dozen coming to my reader, and one or two by email. So many ways to keep updated with interesting writing.

Naturally, some of the blogs don’t appeal to me, but many do. if you’re looking for some new reading material, check out all the nominations- you never know what new bloggy buddies you may meet.

Dr Dawnriser

Our bloggy buddy, acclaimed poet and former teacher has done something rather remarkable. Years of field work, analysing, learning hard sums, applying theory, writing, thinking and arguing. Yesterday morning, she defended her thesis. In a few weeks, she’ll parade across a stage in red robes while her nearest and dearest try not to whoop and holler with delight.

Dawnriser and I go back to our school days. She’s been a researcher in London and Dublin, part of the Human Genome Project.  She taught for years. She wrote poetry and dealt with enormous personal challenges. She returned to university in her forties to study the science she loves. Fate has determined that I can now see her house from mine, about a minute’s walk. She is a perfectionist, a worrier and an all round star. She’s about to start making waves in science.

A virtual round of applause please for Dr Dawnriser, my mate.


homework (for Janie)

In a burst of Oh I feel awake and reasonably alert again, hurrah! I started two of the Future Learn courses this week*. Three hours per week of creative writing (8 weeks) and two hours per week (2 weeks only) of drug origins. There are many great things about these courses, but the key points are 1- they are free, 2- I can do them in pyjamas, unwashed and unseen.

I was delighted to see that our bloggy buddy, Tinman, is doing the same writing course. I haven’t figured out how to do proper discussion on the  course site, and there seem to be hundreds of people doing the course, but it’s nice to know that a buddy is in there somewhere. Tinman shared part of this week’s writing task- I was going to, then I wasn’t. Then Janie was encouraging, so here we are. I want a bit of a kick start, a reminder of why I blog at all, and to get back into the habit of it, so I may as well post some of the inane ramblings that actually count as me writing.

The task was to write 2 paragraphs, one a fact and three fictions, the other containing 3 facts and one fiction.

She was born in May 1965, to a houseful of boys. John, Jim and Bob were her elder brothers- there were two years between each of them and four years between Bob and her. They all had blond hair and twinkly blue eyes. She was a screaming red head. In time, the way these things do, her screaming settled and the boys’ hair darkened.

When she was 8, she spent weeks in hospital. The boys gathered up cards and gifts from her classmates. There was a late night operation, a blood transfusion, a visit from the priest. Bob was glad she was away.

These may turn into something eventually, they may not. Bob may be worth exploring. What interested me was how interested I got in  two short paragraphs. I didn’t know what I was going to write until I started, and then my brain started to buzz.

Don’t you love the buzz?



*Everyone I know is thinking that I’ve still got a lot to learn about managing my health, I need to pace myself more, I shouldn’t keep taking on too much and then crashing, and they’re right. I know that. I even agree. But then I get swept up in childish enthusiasm and think that all those sensible voices are BORING and that I have to still try and be myself somehow. A crash is always imminent so I want to make the most of the awake days. Yes, I am a nightmare to live with. But I’m ready for bed just after tea time most evenings.