Friday, 31 December 2010

Chu xi

That means Chinese New Years Eve.

Its when Chinese gather their family together for a meal at the beginning of their lunar year. But, as we always have a Chinese takeaway on New Years Eve, I thought it was an appropriate greeting from us.

I wish you all a happy and healthy 2011.

It only seems 5 minutes ago that I was sat waiting for my Chinese last year. Poor Hubby has to drive miles away for it. But its our fail safe favourite and we look forward to it every year.

Hopefully, a pain free future is on the horizon for me. I have borrowed a TENS machine for the next two weeks from physio. That's to get me through the next 14 days until I go in to hospital for an epidural and nerve root injection.

I was offered three choices yesterday by my consultant.

1.leave me in pain

2.epidural spine block and steroid nerve root injection

I took option no2 for now. It is known to work in lots of cases and usually has no ill effects, if it doesn’t work. Where as surgery has lots of risks and isn’t always successful. So it was a no brainer, no2 it was.

Take a butchers at one of my MRI scans. The Doctor said even an idiot could see the root of my problem.


You can clearly see the prolapsed disc and the fine nerves its pushing on= lots of pain.

Mind you as he was flicking through all the scans, all I could see was the amount of fat I had on my back and bottom.

I am soooooo looking forward to sitting down pain free again.I dream of sitting at my laptop, relaxing in bed/bath and watching TV with my feet up.

Ahhhh bliss.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas


I hope everyone has/had a lovely Christmas.

Its the most laid back one I’ve ever had. For once I am not hosting the Christmas meal. I am cooking it at my sisters!!!!!

But it has taken the pressure of me.

This has been my home for the last week.


but last night I’d had enough of being on my own. So we made my bed up on the floor next to the Christmas tree, so that I could watch a film (Atonement). I dosed up on every tablet and miracle of miracles my pain went. So much so, that I had a bath past midnight. The first pain free one for 8 months. Absolute HEAVEN. I even got to sleep in my old bed with my husband!!!.I slept a drugged sleep until nearly 11am.

So today I have been making the most of this slight respite from pain. I’ve finished all the cooking. The gammon ham is baked and carved. A batch of red velvet cupcakes made and of course it wouldn’t be Christmas without a chocolate Yule Log.


So Merry Christmas to everyone, I hope you have a great holiday.




Love from Karen XXXXXX


Sunday, 19 December 2010

Its been a long day……

It was pre-arranged that today my sister and I were going to do our food shop for Christmas Day. But as everyone knows here in the UK, heavy snow was being forecast for today.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to drive the distance to her house, so hubby drove me. As we would be so near to Brent Cross, in London, my son and him would drive on, get Ryan's Christmas present from Links of London and then pick me up on the return journey.

Maybe they wouldn’t have set out on their mammoth trek if they knew what was too come.

As soon as they left, the snow turned to a blizzard. My sister couldn’t get her BMW X5 of the drive. So her hubby had to drive us there. We ran in like mad women and threw everything in the trolley.

We set the table for Christmas Day and then settled down on the sofa stuffing chocolates waiting for Chris to pick me up.


Meanwhile after lots of skidding and pushing of cars (all BMWs+ Mercs) they made it to Brent Cross at 12.55pm. Only to be told the shopping mall was being shut at 1pm!!!!!!

They insisted on being let in and split up and ran to the two counters they needed and thankfully, got what they went for.

But this is where their real problems began. All the roads around Brent Cross went into massive gridlock. They decided to sit it out and wait.

They went back into Brent Cross and took this picture at just after 1pm on what should be the busiest day leading up to Christmas.


We rang them about every hour, only to find that they hadn’t moved more than 100meters each time.

So we set out in search of something to eat.


The Indian take away on the corner were a wee bit harassed to say the least, so the Tesco Metro was the next stop and an Indian ready meal it was. The roads were impassable to all the houses, but the main road looked OK.


We enjoyed our Indian, fudge cake and Ben & Jerry's and sat in front of the fire.Only to find out Chris still hadn’t got on the A1m motorway. It was now about 8pm.

Now at some point Hubby said I could get a train home, but it being England I knew the trains could be a no go. Yep, I was right. I live right next to a station, but its lights weren’t working, so no trains were stopping.

I had two doses of painkillers with me. But no heat pad or sleeping tablets. So although I was in the best position, I was concerned if I had to sleep over.

Finally, they got to what was the problem-a jack knifed lorry, blocking two lanes of one of the busiest roads in London. Once they got onto the A1M the roads were fine. But because Chris’ car being a Mercedes wasn’t coping with the slippery hills, he couldn’t get into Potter Bar. So in my sisters 4 wheel drive we got me to them at a petrol station. Past yet more jack knifed lorries.

I jumped in the back and laid down and we were home, warm and dry at 10pm. They are now tucked up in bed exhausted. I’m on night duty, waiting for daughter to finish her late shift at the local pub.

So I had a nice day, but I can’t say the same for them.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Deja vu

Its weird because this time last year.I was also backwards and forwards to the hospital. ( post here )

I was sent for loads of tests as I had been into my Doctor about the constant pain in my hip and back. I was having trouble sleeping so I was sent for loads of tests on my kidneys and bladder, only to get the all clear! Great but I had originally gone to him about my hip pain ???

So here I am, almost exactly a year later still suffering and backwards and forward to another private hospital for tests.

Same problem, just more acute now.

My new consultant, this time a back specialist is pretty sure I won’t need an operation.

He says he has only operated on two people with my type of slipped disc. Great.

But then I was like, shit ,what if mines one of the odd ones. He’s only done the op twice before!!!

So he doesn’t trust the hospital MRI, as they have used incorrect terms.(I thought they had, as I have a certificate in anatomy) So I am off for yet another one this week, and then because of Christmas I won’t get to see him until Dec 30th.

He’s hoping he will be able to use a spine block and some injectable to calm the nerve down. GREAT can’t wait.

I got  a lovely parcel today from Erin in Germany. We met on Karen Russell's photography workshop. I think we shall be having an alternative to manky Christmas pudding this year.


All the decorations are down from the loft.

2010 Dec Xmas decorations

and this lonely decoration from guess where ?

Has been joined by lots more.


I have half heartedly decorated the house as no one will be coming to see them this year. I just spend my days cleaning and standing in the kitchen . No scrapping or surfing the net. Just standing.

I’m looking forward to sitting down and sleeping on my side in 2011.


Saturday, 11 December 2010

off to bed

I have spoken to the duty Dr at the hospital and i just have to endure the pain.

Its eased a little from the back brace so I have just taken some other pain medication and some sleeping tablets.

I’ve had to get Teddy up as he was wondering what was going on.I was worried the kids would surface about 11am and he’d have been locked up until then.

So I am off to try sleeping again.Wish me luck….


sorry I am feeling a bit sorry for myself.

Its 5.30am on a Saturday morning and I am here stood up in my scrapbook room.

I just don’t know what to do with myself.I am in too much pain to sleep or lay down all I can do is stand.Its not to great when you are so tired and you have realised you have taken your codeine painkillers 2 hours too early.So now I feel very peculiar.

What can you do when you have laid down for just 3 hours,but the pain is too bad.So I am cocooned here in my room so that I don’t wake my children or the dog!

The only thing i can think of doing at this time is surfing the net,stood with a back brace shaking!

I was referred for physio yesterday only to be told I was too severe for her to touch me.She can’t believe I haven’t been referred to a consultant as she fears I need operating on.

So back to the Dr I went to tell him.But unfortunately I can’t get an appointment with him until next Friday and he wants to see me in person.So I have another week to endure before I am even at the next stage.

Does anyone have any advice of how I can get a bit of respite from the pain.I have surfed the net for weeks but I have tried everything with no results.

Ohh I am now feeling very unwell th tablets are making me feel very weird.Unfortunately my Husband is away.So I am just writing this to stay focused and not fall down…

Thursday, 9 December 2010

I tried–I promise

I don’t like the taste of alcohol, but I was determined to try some drinks this holiday.

And our first stop was Costa Maya, Mexico. There were bars everywhere. So we choose a good place to hang out???





I plumped for a pina colada.


I hated it.

Chris had to down mine and his margarita, whilst I had the only male masseur give me a relaxing massage on the beach.



2010 Nov Day 3 Costa Maya-1

Now this was all after Chris had decided to hire a boat to take him out to the reef for a spot of snorkelling. A family of Americans joined him and at some spot I agreed to go along for the ride.


What was I thinking. I was in real agony and I ended up having to stand on a rocking boat for an hour, alone. If I had known we were going to be right next to the reef ,with the full force of the waves hitting the boat. I would never had gone. It took all my strength to keep my breakfast down and to stand.

I must admit, I just wanted to cry. I even debated trying to jump in the water, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to climb back in the boat. It was the longest hour of my life.

Then after our adventures on land, we returned for a siesta and got dressed for the Captains Formal dinner. I was too tight to keep paying $20 for every photo they took of us.


So, I was very sneaky and took pictures of the pictures. The middle line of photos are of the 6 of us at our table. Poor Chris was the only male.

and then we returned to our cabin to be greeted by this spot of towel art.


Every night we’d go back to the cabin to see what creature was there to greet us.


All aboard

the largest cruise ship in the World.


Now these were my knickers for the first leg of the holiday……


and these were for the second leg………


I was hoping to do a lot of eating on the cruise.Unlimited food, 24 hours a day.I didn’t disappoint and headed straight for the buffet as soon as we boarded.

The only thing I found with the cruise was all the food looked lovely, there was masses to choose from. But all of it had little taste.

I found myself having three small platefuls at each meal.But I would only take a few mouthfuls of each. I am not a great lover of pre made food from supermarkets or shop bought cakes and that is what all the meals reminded me of.

And if I see mashed potato again, I will scream. It was with every meal.

I would have killed for a roast potato.




I told Chris it was casual for dinner on the first night, but to dress smart.

I couldn’t stop laughing when he came in the bathroom dressed like this.


IMG_4498The weather started off hot and continued for the rest of our time on the ship.

So I had to consume lots of sprinkles,unlimited ice creams.


day4-cruising at sea copy

Here goes

Some of these posts maybe a bit random and not in the sequence of our holiday, but I have a free day today, so I have dosed myself up with painkillers for a day of scrapping and blogging.

But to give my tablets a chance of working. I baked some soufflé Christmas puddings, from Delia Smiths Christmas recipe book. An Aga is very hit and miss when it comes to temperatures. So I made the mix, put it into ramekins and a Bain Marie and crossed my fingers. But even after the allotted time, they were cooked perfectly on the top and raw at the bottom. So I had to think fast, as they were sinking fast!

The microwave had to come to the rescue. So now my soufflés have gone from raw offerings to splurges on a plate. But they taste OK, so I will have to think of a different way of presenting them on Christmas Day.

I was cross about the amount of effort, time and money, I had wasted.I should have just done what normal people do, buy a shop bought pud.

Tasmins first full day back at home yesterday was spent unpacking, preparing a CV . Then she went to several places to enquire about temporary work, until she gets back on her feet and sorts out what she is going to do with her life.

I had made (forced ) both of my children to work in their teens.They never wanted to do it ,as they had plenty of pocket money/inheritance from my Dad. But I told them one day the experience would work in their favour. How glad is Tasmin now that I made her.In less than 24 hours, she has had her first phone call asking her to work. She starts tonight at a pub on the corner of our street!!

She also had lots of very favourable interest after talking to all the managers wherever we went. There seems there will be quite a few openings in January when the gap year students go off traveling.

So I have her, busy in the kitchen filling in forms and making phone calls to keep her options open.

Working in a pub, hopefully won’t turn out to be a career choice but it will keep her busy, give her some ready money and look good on a CV that she is at least employable.

Any way here goes on the digi layouts for my holiday blurb book.

Days 1+ 2 Miami

day2-Miami copy

Joining the cruise:

day3-join-cruise copy

That will do for now. I’m off  for some lunch.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Just a quickie before the sleeping tablets hopefully hit.


I was so chuffed to see my Journal Your Christmas album from last year got a mention on Shimelles blog.

I can’t believe it been a full year since I made it. It seems just like yesterday. I loved  putting it together and I would recommend anyone to take a class by Shimelle.

Here’s a link to my complete album on Flickr.

I have the album out with all the boxed Christmas decorations. At the moment the tree is looking a bit bare. It just has a bauble I bought In Disney World and four monogram decorations from Pottery Barn.

But I wanted to look at the new bits and bobs before they get lost among the hundreds of colourful stash I will start adding to the tree, tomorrow.

I am supposed to be flying to Glasgow tomorrow for a few days and a Christmas works party. But I am in too much pain to fly, so Hubby is going solo and I am going to cook up some Christmas pudding soufflés from Delia Smith instead. It will be a couple of days of cooking and hopefully finishing my digi holiday album. Then I can take advantage of a promotion and get it all printed.

I’m not even thinking about having to buy all our Christmas presents. Hubby will have to do it this year.

That will make a change.

I’ve not bought cards or anything.Very rare for someone as anal and organised as me.

It was also the first year in my children's life they didn’t get an advent calendar.

But not to worry.

I made sure Teddy's got one!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Home, Sweet, Home

Its so lovely to be home.

Especially, as I nearly wasn’t allowed on the plane and a Dr had to give approval that I was fit to fly. ( ssshhh, I wasn’t really)

I haven’t slept since Thursday. But I am trying to catch up with my emails, blogs and XFactors before I hopefully will get a few hours sleep tonight.

I hope you all missed me.

It was very frustrating being out at sea (and with the time difference), not being able to communicate by phone or email.


Our phone only periodically worked on the Cruise. So it was very distressing to pick up an urgent text from our daughter and have to wait hours to talk to her. Over the next week we had to have snatched calls about her future.

She has decided to leave University in her 2nd year. She was very unhappy last year but kept struggling on, but this year it has become too much and she has decided enough is enough. After not eating and sleeping for four days she thought it wasn’t worth it anymore.

So she has lots to settle. The worst part being that she has signed contracts for her accommodation next year, so we may have to pay for 2 years worth of extortionate accommodation for nothing.

So it was very hard for us to fully enjoy our holiday, add to the fact that my problems with my back got worse and worse. I was finding it increasingly hard to sit and sleep. Two things you do a lot of on a cruise and a trip around Florida.

Everyone got used to me on the ship having to get up mid meal for a walkabout and me sounding like I was having wild passionate sex every time I moved.


But I really tried to not let it spoil my holiday.


Add to the fact, I had to lay across the back seats of the car for two days for 5 hours at a time and I even had to pee in my special cruise commemoration cup in a traffic jam to the airport!!! Chris didn’t screw the lid on correctly, so the centre console got a nice dousing as we hit the speed bump as we turned into the car rental drop off. We made a hasty retreat.

Well, as hasty a girl can, dragging her leg, screaming and pulling two cases.


Oh, and did I mention about when we went to speak to a chemist at Target, about the fact I was running out of painkillers. I only had 5 tablets left for 2 whole days and nights. Apparently I am already on the strongest stuff that I can be given and a Dr has to prescribe them. So as we went to pay for the heat patches for the flight home. I was a bit taken aback when the man in front of us at the till was suddenly jumped on by at least ten men. Repeatedly punched and kicked and his arm dislocated. It was at this point I noticed one of them was pointing a machine gun at his head.

I promptly took my purchases to a different till, but Chris carried on standing there? It turned out they were the local police, obviously arresting him for something.

He was only getting a refund for some jeans? Mind you they pulled a gun out of his pocket.

Everyone apart from the poor girl who was serving him carried on as normal. Very bizarre. It would only happen in America. Can you imagine that in your local Tesco?


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