Sunday, 28 April 2013

Signing off

I have decided that from now on I will blog about my Fifty50 plan here on my other blog, the one that I have had for several years. I think I was being impractical to think that I could maintain 2 blogs but if you've stumbled across this by accident and would like to know how it is progressing/finished/whatever please fell free to pop over to The Pink Pen.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

A tick and an update

Okay so it appears that I am talking to myself but then it won't be the first time so hey ho. So I'll give myself a pat on the back for ticking something else off my list.
I started a regular savings account. How very grown up of me.
To update my progress on some of the others, the change in a bottle that I said had started hit a snag when I realised that the top of the bottle was too small to get any money through. Oh well there's a bottle of Bombay Sapphire that only has one more slug in and I think that will work. I've also done a bit more de-cluttering. That is going to be an on-going thing because honestly it is such a massive job so like eating an elephant, I'm doing it a bit at a time. I also started my diary. Well to be honest I started it on my birthday. I'm not writing in it every day because there's not always something to say but I am updating it regularly.
That's it for now I think.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Unlucky number 7

I had a go at the Sudoku puzzle in that newspaper I mentioned yesterday and I was getting along quite nicely thank you very much. I had a couple of lines completed and I allowed myself to think that this might be the one - that this might be the first "hard" Sudoku that I complete.
Sadly it all came crashing down around a misplaced number 7 in the middle box .
Aaaarrrggghhh!!!!! Frustration.com

Progress report

Things I have done this weekend towards my fifty50 plan.
1. Chosen a bottle to fill - I had to empty to of brandy first.
2. Learned how to say "Hello, how are you?" in Italian - we've all got to start somewhere and that seemed as good a place as any.
3. Thought about de-cluttering but that's as far as I got.

Okay so its not a lot but it is my first weekend.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Tick, tick and tick

 
Its no wonder I was at bursting point. Not only did my husband take me to Paris when I was 50, he took me there for my 50th birthday and this is where I spent the day itself.
 

I think this is tick number one. That is one impressive structure and there is no denying its size - plus its all there. I took dozens of pictures of the tower just to make sure one of them would fit the bill and this is one of my particular favourites.
 
Okay so I'm no David Bailey but I don't claim to be, I just like to take pictures. Some I like and some I don't and this one I do.
Anyone that knows me, knows that I hate having my photograph taken, mainly due to the fact that I'm not over-keen on the way that I look but giddy from the happiness of being in Paris and what was about to happen I did succumb and allow this to be taken.
 That's me perched on the wall trying not to slide backwards.
The Tower was everything that I wanted it to be and more. I'm not a fan of heights but I wasn't scared at all, not even at the top. I was just so excited. This is me drinking pink champagne at the summit.
 
 
 See those earrings? My darling husband gave me those when I woke up. The diamonds aren't real or at least they'd better not be or we are seriously bankrupt but cubic zirconia is the new diamond at least in the birth stone world. I was just so happy waking up in Paris on my birthday that I didn't need another gift but he said that I had to have something to open.
One last picture from the tower,
 

the steps that I had been sitting on in the third picture is somewhere down there.
Yikes that's high.
Now to my second tick.
I ate my favourite dessert on a daily basis, in fact I think I had it twice one day but this is the actual one that I ate at an outside table.
 
Note the sun/shade thing happening on the table. This particular beauty was enjoyed at brasserie in Montmatre, just round the corner from Le Sacre Coeur, which incidentally is one gorgeous cathedral.
 
 
We had climbed the 300 plus steps to the top of the bell tower so I think I'd earned my treat. That and the salade niscoise and the beer that made up the rest of the meal. Here is one of those smaller domes pictured from above and yes I had walked all that way, Phew!!!



And to my third tick.
We picnicked a lot in Paris. The weather was incredible (25/ 26 degrees) and the parks are just perfect for that sort of thing but the picnic that wins the prize for being the most special  was eaten here.

and this is what we were looking at.
 
 
We visited a boulangerie to buy sandwiches, savouries and sables and then we ate on the banks of The Seinne in the shadow of Notre Dame.
I'm sure you can guess from the first of those two pictures that we also climbed the tower there. We were up in Quasimodo's home and it was amazing. Like I said earlier I don't like heights but never before have I been so happy to climb hundreds of steps to get high up. Everything was such a thrill.
I was taught at a Notre Dame school and as I was walking around the words of the school song kept going through my head and I felt a bit like I was at home. It was really weird.
Paris as a whole was fantastic, not just because it gave me the chance to tick three things off my list but because it is a place that I have always wanted to visit and it was as magical as I expected it to be. The whole four days were full to the brim of wonderful experiences and I will never forget them.



Friday, 12 April 2013

Radio silence

There are just 2 days left after today until D Day and I am going off radar as it were until after the big day after which time I will return to tell how it was celebrated.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The list

So here it is, my Fifty50 list. As promised you won't find bungee jumping or anything equally exciting on it, just things that mean something to me and are achievable by me. I haven't included anything that I know I won't do in an attempt to make it more interesting because well to be honest that seemed a bit pointless.
I wrote these down as they came to me and are in no particular order.

1. Take a photograph of the Eiffel Tower, you know the type I mean. One that captures it's size - hopefully getting all of it in one shot.
2. Eat crème brulee in a Parisian café - hopefully at a street table - weather permitting.

I've only ever passed through Paris before and I am very excited that Himself has said for years that he wants to take me there when I am 50 and if I do nothing else I want to do these things. The tower will be amazing and crème brulee is pretty much one of my most favourite things to eat. I wanted to drink Chianti in Rome and I achieved that a few years ago and the crème brulee in Paris thing has been on my mind for a while.

3. Get involved with the Christmas shoe box appeal. It's one of those things that I have heard other people speak about and I have always thought it was a good idea but have never got around to doing anything about it. Well this is the year my friend.
4. Knit for Africa. Like number 3 this is something that I have heard people talk about but have never done myself and I think it is a really good idea. I know someone that does it and to hear her talk about the babies that are born with aids that have to be wrapped in paper because there is nothing else for them to wear is heart-breaking. My original thought was that I would knit myself a jumper but I think this would give me greater satisfaction.
5. Read "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee." I bought this book after going to a Steve Earle concert where he told the story of how he had locked himself away for two days and read it. If I'm honest I think a friend may have locked him away so that he could get sober but I might not be remembering that right. Anyway that concert was in 1997 so I think it's time I got round to reading it.
6. To grow something that I can eat - some actual food  and not mustard or cress because that doesn't count  - its a garnish at best.
7. Find a publisher for my book BTL even if it's me.
8. Learn enough of a foreign language to hold a basic conversation. I am favouring Italian because to be honest, if my numbers come up on the lottery I'll be living in a farmhouse set in the hillsides surrounding Rome so it'll come in very handy.
9 Wear a dress. The last time I wore a dress was December 1998 (might have been '99). I still have that dress as it no longer fits and is no longer age appropriate, I guess I'll be buying a dress too. I don't know where I'll wear the dress to but I'll figure that out later.
10. Have an Indian head massage. Not quite sure what's involved in it but when my friend Gwen was bought one as a birthday present a few years ago I liked the sound of it.
11. Fill in at least 2 more gaps in my family tree.
12. Create a piece of visual art. I'm more of a writer than an artist but I'd like to give it a go.
13. Watch "Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon" all the way through in one go. I must have tried to watch this at least 4 times and have fallen asleep every time. I have said in the past that I could start this at 9am and I'd still fall asleep so this will be a bit of a challenge.
14. Master the Baked Alaska. When I mentioned this to my family my youngest son cried "Good God no." I had a very bad experience with this dessert on the only other time I tried to make it. The insides ended up on the outside and all over the bottom of the oven.
15. Be vegetarian for a week. I don't eat a vast amount of meat but I do enjoy it but I also love vegetables so this should be interesting.
16. To tweet.
17. De-clutter - I am a terrible hoarder and I have so much junk. Maybe the first thing I'll get rid of is that dress I mentioned in number 9.
18. Have a "proper" picnic. I'm not just talking about a sandwich eaten on the run in the fresh air, I mean an actual meal, eaten outside in a special place.
19. Paddle in the sea.
20. Watch a live sporting event. I watch a lot of sport on TV but its been a long time since I saw anything in the flesh as it were.
21. Make (and eat obviously) bread and butter pudding. As a child I hated the thought of this because I thought it would just be soggy bread but now I'm a grown up (allegedly) it has more appeal. My friend David who is a very good cook has a recipe for it that involves pantone so maybe I'll ask him for that.
22. Make (and eat again) jelly and ice-cream. A road accident when I was a little girl caused almost total amnesia and I only have about half a dozen memories of my early days and one of them is making jelly with my mum in the kitchen of the house we lived in at the time. It is a very precious memory.
23. Paint a plate ... or two. I once had a boss who was divorced but got to see his little girl on Saturdays. He would usually ring up work to ask how things were and I used to ask him what he and his daughter were up to this week. At least half the time (when she was about 8) she was painting a plate.
24. Do some cross-stitching - or do you make it? Well whatever you do I'm going to have a go. My sister does it very well but I've always thought that I wouldn't have the patience for it. I guess we'll see.
25. Produce TRTR in book form. I wrote it at a particularly bad time in my life and that process help me get through it. It is a record of what happened and how it affected me. How it felt for me. This will not be anything mass produced and I won't be trying to get it published by anyone. I will use print on demand to produce one copy as a permanent reminder. I'm not sure why I want to do this because it was horrific but I think its something that I need to do.
26. To buy an ice cream complete with raspberry sauce from an ice cream van. I might even push the boat out and make it a 99. Haven't done this in years.
27. Do a jigsaw, a proper jigsaw, maybe 1000 pieces though I don't know how much room I would have to free up for that. The last time I did one I was on a maternity ward in the early stages of labour with my youngest son which makes it almost 28 years ago.
28. Drink a pint of beer as in from a pint glass. It will mortify my mother but hey, I'm a grown up.
29. Fill a bottle (brandy or similar) with small loose change (has to go through the top) and when it's full donate it to a charity.
30. Make a guy. I've never made one but I can remember my brother making one every year to be chucked on top of the bonfire on November 5th. I won't be having a bonfire but I thought that I could use the guy as a fundraising tool. Maybe I'll sit him in the window at work with a bucket in front of him and maybe he'll get a few pennies.
31. Set up a savings account with regular deposit. It seems like a grown up thing to do.
32. Keep a diary. It'll probably be a book rather than a diary given that I'll be unlikely to find a shop that's still selling diaries at this time of year and anyway I won't be keeping it from January to December so a book will work better. I guess a diary is just a book with date sin anyway so I'm sure it'll work fine.
33. There is an historical site (Roman Fort) within 2 miles of where I live and I have never visited it even though I have lived here for years and the Roman period fascinates me. That fort is going to get a visit.
34. Put a message in a bottle and drop it into the sea. I thought about attaching one to a balloon and letting it go but I don't think those balloons are environmentally friendly.
35. Do a blanket collection for the rescue centre that we got our two dogs from. They are always appealing for blankets in winter and it would be good to give something back.
36. Take next season's Fantasy Football seriously. My sons started a league years ago and invited me to join along with the rest of the family probably because they didn't want to leave me out. Living in a house full of men for the last 30 odd years I do take an interest in football and can explain the off side rule and pride myself in a bit of knowledge,e but I have to be honest I choose a team at the beginning of the season and pretty much forget about it. Everyone else is making transfers and adjusting their teams while I can't even tell you who is in mine. Needless to say I have come bottom of the league every season. Next season I'm going to do what the rest of them do - I'm going to do it for the girls.
37. Get behind a cause that I believe in. I have opinions and things that I believe in and its time to stand up and be counted.
38. Bake bread, from scratch, with my hands. No bread mixes no machines, just me the flour the yeast and whatever else goes in it.
39. Use the pink pen more.
40. Draw a self portrait. Given that I can't draw a straight line this could be tricky but then. I'm not made of straight lines so maybe not. I just thought it would be interesting to see how I see myself.
41. Complete a hard Sudoku puzzle in The Guardian newspaper. I sometimes try to do the one in the Saturday edition of that paper(which I don't read but apparently has a good sports section) and more than once I have looked at it for half an hour without even making a mark on the grid. Some time ago I was given a book of Sudoku puzzles and never progressed beyond the easy section.
42. Bring out the Italian in me (there's a bit of it in there somewhere) and make my own pasta from scratch. I've often fancied a pasta maker but I'm not sure how often I'd use it.
43. Buy some red shoes. I was wearing red shoes when I met my husband over 30 years ago and to this day if you ask him what he remembers about that moment it was that I was wearing red shoes. They are the only red shoes that I have ever owned.
44. Make pierogi. I think I've spelled it right but in case I haven't I mean the little Polish dumplings. We ate them in a milk bar in Krakow and they were delicious. Its something that I've been meaning to do but never got round to.
45. Make my hands soft again. At a family party 30 odd years ago, one of my (now long dead) uncles took hold of my hands and said they were beautiful. He remarked on how soft they were and said that he hoped that they would always stay that way. Sadly they have not stayed that way and recently seem to be worse than ever. My uncle would spin in his grave if he could feel them now.
46. Give flowers to someone for no reason at all. Someone did this to me a few months ago and I can't tell you how happy it made me.
47. Create a treasure chest containing the things that are special to me.
48. Find something old and shabby and return it to at least a sense of its former glory.
49. Take lots of photographs to remember the journey by and I might even be in a few.
50. The last thing that I plan to do during my 50th year is live for all 365 days.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Let the party begin.

My lovely volunteer team gave me a bit of a surprise party today. They decided to do it early because I'm off work on my actual birthday and today suited them best which was okay by me. When I got to work there were banners and balloons in the window announcing to all and sundry that it was my birthday and how old I was - or rather will be. I had presents and cards to open and around mid morning a man arrived with some flowers. Then about 12.30 the phone rang and when I answered it, it was the one volunteer who couldn't make it who told me that they had one last surprise for me. Right on cue a cake appeared complete with candles and a rendition of "Happy birthday to you." I was so touched. And right now, as I sit looking at my 8 balloons including the "Keep calm you're only 50" one I have a warm a fuzzy feeling inside. They are a remarkable bunch of people and I am lucky to have them. And so the party has officially started and it will carry on tomorrow with a couple of hours being pampered by my hairdresser and his daughter. After that, who knows?