The World Has Gone Bonkers Again …

That’s being over-dramatic I know.  At the moment though, that’s what it feels like.  You daren’t sleep, if you do, you’ll wake up to find out something dreadful has happened again.  That the world and its different countries are being ruled by mad men.  (My country back home in the Philippines is certainly being run by a jokester).  Men who have been … yes, voted to power by disgruntled, disillusioned people who think that their anointed saviour will redeem them.  While Pope Francis says that it’s too early to judge American President Trump, he warns about the rise of populism:

Crisis provoke fear, alarm.  In my opinion, the most obvious example of European populism is Germany in 1933.

Germany is broken, looking to get itself going, looking for its identity, a leader, someone capable of restoring its character, and there is a young man named Adolf Hitler who says “I can. I can”.

And all of Germany votes for Hitler.  Hitler didn’t steal power, he was elected by the people, and then he destroyed his own people.  This is the danger.

A week after that interview with the Pope, all hell breaks loose in American airports as many people are barred from entering the US, all because of their country of origin.  Trump signs a refugee ban on Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Has he forgotten that political slogan “Never Forget”?

Excuse me while I try to breathe …

Conversations with a Six-Year-Old

Of Building Walls and Twisters

On our way home from T’s ballet class last Saturday she announced “Let’s have a family talk!”  Okay” agreed my husband, switching the radio off.  “What do you want to talk about?”

I suggested that maybe we should talk about our summer holiday, since the husband and I previously talked about it, especially since looks like our plans of going home to the Phil isn’t going to happen this year.  We are weighing our options.

We love doing road-trips.  Our first road-trip as a family was done when T just turned one, we drove all the way from Cornwall, around England visiting friends and some places we’ve never been, all the way to a tiny village called Dalavich in Arglle and Brute in Scotland.  It was bliss.

Then a few years ago, we drove all the way from Cornwall to France and Belgium, but used a Eurocamp in France as our base, as we took T to Disneyland and Paris.

Going back to T, we’re thinking of doing another road-trip in Europe or maybe this time going by train since we’ve never done it before.  The other choice is visiting family and friends in America.

Is he going to kill us?

It took awhile for us to figure out who “he” is.  We explained that he may be a lot of things, but he isn’t a murderer.

But is he going to let us in?

The husband said “There’s no reason why he shouldn’t.

But he said he’s going to build a wall!

Again we explained that “he” was going to build a wall between America and Mexico.  Thank goodness she dropped the subject when she realised that Baby Alive dolls came from the States and that made her excited about a possible trip there.

Then over the weekend, she suddenly became interested in twisters.  My husband showed her videos online of twisters and of course, most of these videos happened in the States.  She was mesmerised by them.

Do we have twister here in England?

Nope, at least not the kind they get in America.

Maybe we shouldn’t go to America then, T said.

On Religion

T and I are Catholics, although admittedly, I’m the non-practicing kind (much to the disappointment of my mother).  My husband on the other hand, is a Baptist, between him and I, he’s more the church-going type.

A few days ago T announced …

I believe in God, mum, not the big-bang.

Oh but God made the big-bang.

What about God then?

Did he come out of nowhere?

He’s like magic isn’t he?

T said the last words looking really impressed, although I wasn’t sure whether the idea of God as magic impressed her or whether she was impressed with herself with the way she came up with her own conclusion.  Kids eh?

Little Hearts, Big Love

Help! I’m Turning into a Couch Potato

Before the start of the new year, my husband and I decided to treat ourselves and we bought a new smart TV.  We buy all of our appliances from Woolacotts in Bude.  This isn’t a sponsored post, by the way, we’re just really pleased with their customer service, so if you live in Cornwall or Devon and need to purchase any appliances, do head over, I’m sure they’ll be as good as our local one.

Ben, our ever-helpful salesman from Woolacotts helped us choose a Sony Bravia smart TV.  When I mentioned that we wanted to subscribe to Netflix, he shook his head and said “Oh you don’t need Netflix” and introduced us to an app called KODI.  Apparently this app will allow you to streamline all kinds of TV shows and movies, even new movies or ones that hasn’t even been shown in movie theatres yet.  Is it legal?  Yes, it is.  To quote entertainmentbox.com.

Kodi is a piece of streaming software designed to display on a range of devices, and that means it’s perfectly legal.

I know that it sounds too good to be true, but it isn’t.  There are times when the movie you want to watch won’t be available for streaming.  But we don’t have any problems with that, especially when it means not having to pay for subscription!

So yep, my #wotw is TV.  And yes, I’ve also officially been turned into a couch potato.  To be fair though, I do watch while doing chores, especially ironing and yes, gasp, I know, I’m probably the only one who still irons.  Posted this photo on my Instagram account a few days ago:

And all the comments I received was that apparently, ironing is an extinct chore.   I can’t do without ironing, one of my small-joys is having freshly laundered and ironed sheets.  Love it too much to want to give it up.

And meet my TV partner:  Doc.

Now excuse since I have to catch up with my Grey’s Anatomy viewing.  I want to watch that episode where Derek Shepherd – McDreamy dies.

The Reading Residence

A Little Accident

The weather has been really bad lately.  It’s been cold, grey and wet which means our little shit  I mean bundle of fur – Boots, has been refusing to go out to do her business.  I don’t really blame her really, the not-wanting-to-go out part, every time I open the door to let her out she gives me this “You’ve got to be kidding me” look that never fails to make me laugh.

I’m not laughing now.

A few days ago, we’ve just discovered that she’s been using the back of our TV as her very own en-suite.  At first, we though the culprit was Doc, since we’ve caught him several times snuggled behind the TV, but the poo was too small (sorry folks).  As of writing, she’s banned from the living room when no one is there.  At night, I let her sleep in a Bolga basket in the landing upstairs.  In the morning, I throw her out and she spends most of her time in the boot room with the fan-light open so she can come as she pleases.  When everyone is downstairs, only then is she allowed in with us.  Yes, I know, I’m cruel.

I need some advice.  While I’ve obviously cleaned behind the TV, sprayed a combination of white vinegar and water solution, dabbed some baking powder on it, the stench is still there.  Yesterday, I did the same.  Sprayed it again with my home-made solution, but this time after doing that, I also used carpet cleaner.  It’s better now, but the smell of cat pee still lingers.  I hate that smell!

I’ve read that as long as the stench is there, chances are they’ll do it again.  Hence, the ban from the living room when no one is there.

Thoughts anyone?

ANIMALTALES

Kids Say the Darnest Things

“I’m so fat mum!

“Silly one, you’re as thin as a reed” I reply getting worried about how at such an early age she’s worried about her weight already.  You know when you’re a mum or dad and your child suddenly blurts out something and your head suddenly goes haywire and think of the worse scenarios in your head?  Yes that one …

Is it something she heard from the playground?  What has she been watching on youtube?  Have I complained about my weight in front of her lately?  No, I haven’t done that in ages, at least I’m not aware of doing it.  Oh my God!  Does my daughter have a poor body image?  Does this mean she’ll end up bulimic or anorexic?

And then I shushed the crazy-woman in my head and calmly asked T why she thinks she’s fat. My six-year-old replies nonchalantly:  Well, as you know, I have two Baby Alive dolls – Holly and Ivy and mums get fat after having babies.

Crazy-woman in my head explodes again …. Are you saying I’m fat?!

Husband lying beside me starts to giggle and whispers “She walked right into that one, didn’t she?”

Daughter calibrates instantly and declares “No you’re not!”

But the little bugger is actually giggling.

Life with children is never boring, isn’t it?

Has your little one said anything funny lately?

Little Hearts, Big Love

Word of the Week: 2016

This is might be considered a belated post, since we’re well into 2017 now.  Strange, but usually when the start of a new year has begun, it takes me awhile to get used to writing whatever new year we’re in, but not this year.  I think I’m used to it already.

The beginning of 2016 was a difficult time for us as a family.  We were going through the process of selling our home and buying a house we’ve fallen in love with.  If you’ve been reading my blog for some time now, you might remember that all that fell apart late March. The whole experience traumatised us, not only because house-buying-selling in England as everyone knows (well at least the ones who’ve gone through it) is a pain in the neck.  But mostly it was because of the incompetence of our solicitor and the Cornwall council but I won’t get into the details, that’s all in the past now.  Good-bye 2016, I am so over you.

The year improved as we found a different house, moved in, licked our wounds clean and eventually settled in our new home.  This year our little family has also managed to form new-significant relationships with special people, that definitely was a bonus and almost made up for our harrowing experience earlier in 2016.

While we or I don’t have any grand plans this year, my only wish is that there would be continued good health in our little family, my family back home and my extended family here in England.

My word of the week, although it isn’t a word, but a number is 2016.

What is yours?

The Reading Residence

Did Christmas Really Happen?

I know it’s only the second week of the new year and already the Christmas season seems like a thing of the past already – that is so 2016!  Already I have tulips on my mantelpiece already which really makes me happy.  In spite the dreary days and cold weather, dare I say it? I think spring might just be on its way.

Of course, I see evidence that it did happen.  I still have a Christmas tapestry given to me by my in-laws which we put in the landing upstairs, still lying on the floor, waiting to be put away in the box.  I keep forgetting!  And since the weather has been really bad lately, I’ve kept a couple of fairy lights and strung them over our bookcase in the living room.  In the late-afternoon, when it’s really depressing and I’m sitting in our lounge glaring at our fire that won’t work again, I switch the fairy lights on and it cheers me up instantly.  It’s all about the small joys people 😉

And we actually still have what T calls a “chocolate” corner, which really should be a “sweets” corner since we also have candy cane left-overs which we used to decorate the tree with and the chocolate!  There are only  a  few left now, but I sometimes wonder if it’s somehow a “magic” corner, because no matter how little there are left, and no matter how much T and the Historian eats them (they both love sweets), there’s always some left over!

January here in England is not for the faint-hearted.  I think you have to be made of sterner stuff to let it not get to you.  But my skin is getting thicker now, calloused even.  I won’t lie and say it’s not affecting me or my mood, but I’m getting better at this dealing-with-awful-winter-days.  I get on with it, or as my dear mother-in-law once told me “You just plod on”.  So here I am plodding on… get on with January!

What about you?

Are you ready for spring too?

Of Mad Men and Talks of Home

How many times have we heard that?  Or read it?  It’s a lovely saying isn’t it, comforting even.  For the longest time though, every time I mention home, I always mean, my home-country, where I’m from.  When I say “I’m going home” or “I want to go home”, it usually means back to the Phil, when in truth, I haven’t lived there since 2007.

Ever since we’ve had T, my husband and I planned that once she finishes primary school, we’d head back to live there.  If my husband had his way, he’d stick to the plan, or even make it happen tomorrow if he could.

It just doesn’t work that way, does it?  We’re thinking of his parents, they are getting older and we wouldn’t want to leave them.  And then because of current events, we are having to re-think our plans.

A few nights ago, feeling disheartened with the way things are also turning out in England and work-wise, he turned to me and said “Fancy living in some other country in Europe, say France?”  I replied, “Can’t.  We don’t speak French.  I don’t think we can survive with the little French words we know”.

The truth is, ever since a mad man has been elected to the highest office in my country, the desire to go home is slowly being dampened.  That little flame is diminishing bit by bit as I read the latest news online, although my husband thinks he isn’t a mad man and calls him a “fraud”, a jokester.  Sadly, I think he is right.  And because of this clown, I don’t think of my birth-country as home anymore.

Why would I want to live in a place where I won’t feel safe, where I won’t feel my husband and daughter will be safe? And to quote my favourite actress, Meryl Streep who has been in the limelight lately because of her speech in the recent Golden Globe awards:

And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modelled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.

Meryl Streep

Sadly, this is the world we live in right now.  I don’t think there is a place safer in this world where we can move to, to ensure the safety of our daughter, digging the deepest hole in the ground won’t do to hide from the bullies in the world.

My home is my family.  At the moment, it is this cold detached 400-year-old house by the coast where I’m finding out its walls get mouldy in the winter and the fires won’t work all the time.  Indeed, home is where the heart is.  In my home, no bullies are allowed.  And I also like what TS Elliot wrote …

Home is where one starts from.

Indeed it is.

Where is home to you?

A Country Kid’s Post: Winter on The Beach

This is actually a late-post.  Like most people who live by the coast on Boxing day, we found ourselves blowing cobwebs at our go-to-beach, Widemouth Bay which is a mere ten-minute drive from where we live.

And of course, it being a holiday, there were a lot of people on the beach although they aren’t shown in the photos.  T also took her Baby Alive doll on the beach with her, a present she asked from Father Christmas.

Are you familiar with Baby Alive dolls?  They are a bit freaky.  I ought to write about them on a different post and you’ll know why.

T gives Holly, her doll, a piggyback ride all the way back to the car.

Yes, it was time to go home.

Have you visited the beach lately?

Country Kids

Hello January, Hello 2017

Lots of people go mad in January.  Not as many as in May, of course. Nor June. But January is your third most common month of madness.

Karen Joy Fowler, Sarah Kanary

And so Christmas and the New Year has come and gone.  I don’t know about you, but it always feels like it happens in a bit of a blur, like a photograph taken in motion, a fusion of colours and memories, over and done with, until the next Christmas.  Hope everyone has had a lovely time, albeit the madness.

Ah January, hello you, broody-grey-skies and cold, you.  It’s the time of the year where everything seems to happen in slow-motion, especially the days and all the noises, the ticking of the clock, a phone ringing in an empty house is amplified, as if the sound is in your head.  No, I haven’t gone bonkers, at least, I don’t think so.  But that’s how I feel at the moment.  The Historian has gone off and dropped my cousin at the University of Reading.  He also has a meeting tomorrow, so it’s just me, Doc and Boots bumbling along together in this cold-bleak January day.  T comes home later, only then will the house awaken.

Back to Basics

I’ve also decided to go back to basics with this whole blogging business.  Last year, I thought I’d give it a go and try to make it more “commercial”, whatever that means.  I fell in a rabbit hole of blogging groups and learning about DAs, and pumping up your stats and all that and the more I did it, the more I felt that every fibre in me was protesting, so I’m done with that now.  Don’t get me wrong though, while I loved the community and the bloggers behind them, in the end, it just became too much for me.

I guess it also comes down to personality.  I’ve always been a solo person.  I like doing my own thing and I’ve also been blogging on and off for more than a decade now.  Does anyone remember blogspot?  I guess that also shows my age…

I’m going back to writing the way I want, because I have this need to write.

I’m not going to be a hypocrite though and say that I’m going to stop accepting sponsored and collaborative posts.  If they come and it’s a good fit with Little Steps, I will say yes.  I’ve learned though to be choosy on what projects and fees to accept.  At the moment, admittedly most of the time, I decline the offers especially when it is too low.

Dear PRs, I do value my time and what I do and write in this little blog of mine.  No, I won’t just accept your offer, even though you all act as if I should be thrilled with the fact that you’ve gotten in touch.  Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way and no, I don’t accept follow-links.  Thank you for getting in touch with Little Steps.

I’m still going to join a few linkies like #countrykids, mostly because I’m friends with the blogger who runs it.  I have a couple of other favourites too like #animaltales and #wotw.  Linkies I’ve been joining in the past couple of years, I do enjoy linking-up with these lovely bloggers.

That’s what 2017 holds for me – going back to the basics, finding my voice again, being authentic.  I wish I could declare that I have big dreams or plans for 2017.  But I don’t.  Like most frustrated writers, I still have that unwritten novel in my head, countless short-stories to edit and write, poems screaming to be written.  I’m afraid I have forsaken my muse.  I’m ready to go down on my knees and plead with her/him – so mote it be.

Any big plans for 2017?