LET’S MAKE THIS ONE A GOOD ONE

So here it is. After a few really shitty years where the bad memories have seriously outweighed the good memories, I am determined to make 2019 different.

There’s a lot to look forward to this year.
Over the next couple of months I will know if I have qualified as a Nurse Associate. That means, no more essays, no more presentations, no more exams, no more travelling to Luton and no more placements!
I still haven’t officially been offered my Band 4 job, but it’s looking good.
Then the real work starts!!

In August, we will be celebrating 25 years of marriage. I still can’t believe it’s been that long.

In October, I will be reaching a personal milestone as I hit 50. Can’t say I’m looking forward to it as such. In my head I still feel like a teenager but my body certainly has other ideas.

The gigs will continue this year.
They have really become a thing over the last couple of years and I’ve really enjoyed them.
So far I have CC Smugglers lined up for March and Pink lined up for June.
CC Smugglers are a firm favourite and I will continue to go see them at every opportunity.
Pink is going to be a spectacle. I love a bit of Pink, and Murron absolutely idolises her, so a three day trip to London with a Pink concert in the middle is going to get a bit messy!
Whenever possible, and when funds allow, I will keep attending Esquires and local pubs to support our local musicians.

In October, I will be taking Marjorie to see Russell Howard.
I went to see him a couple of years ago with Ian when we applied for freebie tickets to watch him filming for his TV show. Really can’t wait to see him doing one of his actual stage shows.

Health wise, I really have to lose some serious weight this year.
I need to take the pressure off of my damned knee which is really feeling the strain just recently. I also, don’t want to be a fat frump when I hit 50!

I am aiming to reach between 8000 and 10000 steps each day.
When I’m at work, I usually crash through 10000, so my days off are going to have a to be a bit more active. I need to take time out to actually go for a walk instead of vegetating in front of this computer.
Although having said that, I haven’t even reached 2000 today. After two really tough 12.5 hour shifts on new years eve and new years day, I was just so sore and tired that all I could manage was a few chores and a trip to the cinema to see Aquaman (which turned out to be a real disappointment).
But that just goes to show how out of shape I am!! It’s got to change.

We are now, so close to some future financial plans that I daren’t breath in case something goes wrong.
All I want is to get through 2019 with no problems and then life will take a big turn in 2020.

So watch this space.
I will blog it all.
I will continue with my Dish of the Weeks, that I haven’t posted since May 18!
I will also start adding to my Dishette of the Weeks, or better yet… I’ll combine them.

Without Uni work to worry about, I can finally get back to some serious blogging.
I did try during awards season last year but my blogs just ended up all over the place. I have no concentration.
I have everything crossed for Adam again this year and early indications are that BlacKkKlansman could be making some waves but I don’t want to predict anything just yet.

The only thing potentially standing in the way of a relaxed year, is Ian’s current state of health. He finally has a follow up at Addenbrookes tomorrow after the joint injections he had a couple of months ago and that have clearly not worked. In fact the 4 hour wait he had in the waiting room prior to the procedure has probably done more damage to his back. It hasn’t been right ever since.

Anyway, time to call it a night as I have another long day to do tomorrow but then I have three days off. Unfortunately I will be going through the last of my Uni paperwork checking for missed signatures and generally getting ready for my final interview with my mentor on the 12th. The last of the Xmas goodies and drink will be called for and then the diet and exercise will have to kick in on Monday.

Lets get this year underway!!

ENDING THE YEAR ON A ‘SHIT’ NOTE…. LITERALLY

So, as we come to the close of the year, I thought I’d write my annual summary post now, as I won’t have time otherwise.
I’m working tomorrow, taking decorations down on Sunday and then working 2 long days on New Years Eve and New Years Day.

On the whole, it’s been a year of highs and lows.

Low – The year started on a low with Ian being sent to hospital to get checked.
He’s on loads of different meds, including Methotrexate and that means Drs being extra cautious occasionally and this was one such occasion.
I had also been fighting off flu like symptoms since Boxing Day and it all caught up with me at the beginning of the month with a couple of days off work.

High – I discovered ‘Call Me By Your Name’ in January.
What a beautiful film. Wonderful story, amazingly acted, set in Northern Italy during the 1980’s. Brought back memories of lots of lazy Italian afternoon feels from my holiday in 2017.

Low – February was a drudge. Thinking about getting back into Uni work, continuing with placements and the start of investigations for Marjorie for ‘possible’ Coeliac disease. MRI on my knee to wee what’s going on.

High – Cinema trip with two of my girls to see the ‘Sing a long’ version of ‘The Greatest Showman’.

High – The beginning of March sees a HUGE high as we ventured into London to see Imagine Dragons. 4 days in London with the only problem being ‘The Beast from the East’ that was set to hit full on that day. After 5 days of continuous -5 degree temps and lots of snow fall, we had to endure a snowstorm on the motorways to get into London that was on an Amber alert because of the weather.
NOTHING was going to stop us seeing this Gig!!! It was AMAZING!!!

Low – March saw the official start of my final year of Uni. Goodbye life for the next 12 months!

High – March 13th – the Cineworld secret screener was ‘Love Simon’! Brilliant. March 16th we saw Peter Rabbit!

Low – I got another cold towards the end of March.

High – April saw the Commonwealth Games in Australia and following my boys in the diving and the artistic gymnastics. The highlight was staying up until ‘stupid o’clock’ with Marjorie, to watch the Men’s artistic all-around competition and see Nile Wilson take home the gold!
Topping all of that however, was little Rhys McClenaghan, from Northern Ireland taking the ‘Pommel’ gold medal ahead of Olypic champion Max Whitlock.

High/Low – April saw the first trailer for one of Adam Driver’s films. ‘The Man Who Killed Don Quixote’. A film I am still waiting to see as it has been tied up in legal wranglings ever since!! It has had various film festival releases but no general release over here in the UK yet. Chances are my first viewing will be on DVD……. eventually.

High – April 25th – A day in London with my eldest to see CC Smugglers in Covent Garden. Brilliant day out.

Low – Bit of a melt down at work as life in general was getting a bit too much. Marji’s Coeliac, Ian’s pinched nerves and worrying about his job, car MOT’s, full on Uni work, a tenancy inspection that was due, my own health worries. All came crashing down during a chat with my manager.

Low – I nearly died in May…. literally!
Got caught up in a police chase. As I was driving down a local ONE WAY road in my teeny tiny Peugeot 206cc, I came face to face with a bloody great 4 x 4 being chased by police and heading right at me! To top it off, as I was trying to recover my senses when they miraculously missed me, I then had them come screaming back down the road and screaming past me again! Morons.

Low – Marjorie’s Coeliac is confirmed.

Low – My computer died. Literally died. Had to purchase a new one.

Low – Uncle Sid lost his long fought battle with Cancer.

High/Low – My baby girl, Dharma, turned 16 in June. Took her and some friends skating in MK. Decided to have a go myself after 25 years and ended up bruising my coccyx and could barely walk for three weeks.

Low – The fiasco with Ian’s pinched nerves begins to take off.

High – Dharma got her first job just two weeks after leaving school.

High – Got caught up with the rest of the country in the world cup. Even had a BBQ on semi-final day.

High – Lovely weekend spent at the Bedford River Festival.

High – August – Took Dharma into Coventry to meet up with a pen pal.

High – Hozier finally announces new material after 4 long years of waiting.

Low low, low – September, October and November were just stress from start to finish.
Over the last year, Ian, who has psoriatic arthritis,  has been dealing with impinged nerves in his neck meaning that his left arm and leg are painful, constantly has pins and needles and he can’t drive very far. He has been relying on a colleague to get him too and from work for at least the last 6 months because he can’t drive long distances anymore. We owe this colleague more than he will ever know because I really don’t think Ian would have a job at the moment without him!
Ian has had appointments and a big procedure at Addenbrookes, and I couldn’t attend any of it because of course commitments.
For the same reason, I have recently felt like a really ‘shitty’ Mother because, 2 of my girls have ongoing orthopaedic issues and I haven’t been able to attend all of their appointments due to course commitments. My 16 year old had a trip to A+E with a knee injury, on the bus with her 19 year old sister because ‘I’ was committed to something and Ian can’t sit for more than 5 minutes in the A+E chairs without being in excruciating agony.
To top all of this off, Addenbrooks fucked up AGAIN!!
Ian’s follow up appointment, that had already been moved 3 times, was cancelled because it was a nurse review and should have been a consultant review. He went back on the waiting list for a review and finally got an appointment for January 3rd. Watch this space.

High – There was one high in October when I got to see CC Smugglers for the second time this year.

High – December – FINALLY got to see Hozier in concert.

High – Had a wonderful Xmas.

Low, low, low – All three of the girls have had ongoing medical issues throughout the whole year.

Low – As I said in the title, we’re ending the year on a shit note… literally. Went into the back garden to put some nuts out for the squirrels and discovered a blocked drain which would explain a few things to do with the drainage in the house over the last few months!!
We are now waiting for Dyno Rod to come and do the dirty and get things running again and just to rub things in our face a little, after giving them the ‘house’ number and not a mobile number, we discover that Virgin has a fault on the line so our phone isn’t working!! Had to phone Dyno Rod back to leave a mobile number.

There are only three days left. Can anything else go wrong?
Work tomorrow.
Decorations down Sunday.
Work on Monday.
Not a lot of room for anything to go wrong…………..

IS THIS THE END FOR TUMBLR?

So the countdown has started.
Monday the 17th December, 2018, see’s the implementation of new rules and regulations by Tumblr.

As I briefly mentioned in a blog a few days ago, HERE, Tumblr announced that it will permanently ban adult content from it’s platform on December 17th. A blanket ban on ‘adult content’, regardless of what it is with just a few exceptions.

Like I said in that blog, “they seem to think that everyone who enjoys a bit of ‘adult content’ is automatically looking for ‘porn’ and this is simply not the case”.

The exceptions include nude classical statues and political protests that feature nudity. It’s interesting that Illustrations and art that feature nudity are still okay — so long as sex acts aren’t depicted — and so are breastfeeding and after-birth photos. If this is the case, why are artistic photos of the human form being  flagged? 

Several people I follow on Tumblr are photographic artists who specialise in the nude human form. Beautiful work that is now being flagged and will not be visible to the public from 17th and, in some cases, the blog itself will be deleted.
One of the photographers has written a wonderful little article about how he feels about this kind of censorship.

Michael Stokes starts the article with the following paragraph….
“Part of my morning routine is to wake up the computer, have coffee, and see if Instagram or Facebook have removed any of my photos or, worse yet, deleted my account. Social media sites are important because not only are they my main source of exposure to income, they are my calling card for the models who pose for me. As a photographer who specializes in the male form, I shoot still images of men in various state of undress, everything from shirtless to full frontal nudity. I’m also known for photographing wounded, amputee veterans in the nude, work that has been the subject of about a dozen doctoral theses and published in various academic journals, with themes from changing perceptions of the handicapped to an analysis of masculinity in America as it relates to war.”

You can read the full article HERE

Michael’s work is stunning! And in my eyes, is no different to the classical statues and paintings that Tumblr has made an exception for, and here we have a prime example of the problem.

The image on the left is a ‘classical statue’ and, can I just point out, is completely nude. This image, by Tumblr’s new rules, will still be allowed on the site.
However, the image on the right is a photo by Michael Stokes, a photo in which the model is wearing shorts and the model wouldn’t be out of place strolling on a beach. This photo is one that has already been flagged as inappropriate.

Again, classical statue on the left will be allowed, the stunning photo by Michael Stokes on the right will be flagged and banned. I don’t see the difference!!

Like I said in my previous blog, “Tumblr has always been a safe space for people and minorities to find like minded people to share content with regardless of what that content is”.

And as Michael says in his article “This is not exclusively a LGBTQ+ issue, it applies to all minority voices faced with further marginalization. Not everyone wants to live in a strictly homogonous society defined by a social media giant. Facebook is a monopoly and Verizon acquiring and sanitizing Tumblr is just another example of a large corporation manipulating social media to serve its own purposes”. 

So, I will continue to follow these people on Tumblr to see what happens.
I suspect the site will become extremely boring at best, or die completely at worst. How fast that will happen is anyone’s guess. So for now, I’ll continue to add wonderful images to my blogs, although my blogs also get automatically posted to my Tumblr site, so it will be interesting to see if I get any flags!

STUNNING

So it finally happened last night.
After nearly 4 years, I finally got to see Hozier, live at the Birmingham O2 Academy.

Gone are our days of driving for hours, seeing a show and then driving home again, so we pre-booked a hotel. We couldn’t have got much closer if we tried!!

We arrived around lunch time, got settled into our hotel room and went to check out the venue before heading into town for something to eat.
We haven’t been to Birmingham for years and were really surprised at the changes and the modernisation that’s going on.
Not far from the hotel, we found the ‘Mailbox’ area around the canals and it was absolutely wonderful.
Absolutely loads of restaurants and bars and entertainment, and because of the time of year, everything is decorated and sparkling for Xmas.
We are definitely going to be returning at some point to check it all out a little more thoroughly. Looks like there’s loads of places that will be heaving in the summer with lots of outdoor spaces to chill and relax.

Anyway, back to the main event.
What can I say?
I’ve waited almost four years to see this guy live and I wasn’t disappointed.

The venue was cosy, with 3000 standing capacity on the ground floor but as Ian is unable to stand comfortably for any length of time, I got Balcony unreserved seats. Finding seats was first come first served. We didn’t do too badly, it was a little snug but at least we were sitting and we had a great view.

The music was incredible. Not that I ever doubted it wouldn’t be!!
The man just oozes talent. I think I counted him playing at least 6 different guitars throughout the show, and then I was introduced to his dry humour side for the first time, as he introduced various songs and what inspired him to write them.

I’ll let the following videos speak for themselves. It’s not the full songs but they give you a feeling of just how good he really is. With apologies for the size on screen. WordPress has made some changes and I can’t figure out how to reduce the size…..yet!!

Take Me To Church. An audience favourite.
Movement. Stunning lighting.
Cherry Wine. Beautiful.
Work Song. Blissful end to a perfect night.

So that’s it. A wonderful end to my annual leave.
Christmas is just about sorted. I only have date sensitive foods to think about now before the big day.
It’s back to work with a big bump tomorrow. I’m on placement on the delivery suite!!
Absolutely terrified. My stomach is already in knots thinking about it.
Don’t think I’ll be getting much sleep tomorrow. 

GOOD WEEK!

It’s been a pretty good week so far and I’m in the mood for a big blog.
I’ve been on annual leave and preparing for Xmas, but with that said, I did still have to do a placement day, which was actually quite enjoyable!

Anyway, Tuesday evening we went to a secret screening at Cineworld.
I love these events because we have absolutely no idea what film is going to be shown until it starts. All we know is that it is a film due for release at some point over the next couple of months. Two cracking films in the past, and shown a good 8 weeks before their actual release dates were ‘Love Simon’ and ‘The Incredibles 2’. This time it was ‘Green Book’.

When it started, the whole audience did a collective ‘whaaaat???’
I’ll admit, I haven’t seen a thing advertised about this film and knew absolutely nothing about it.
It’s a bit of a slow starter……BUT…..stick with it. As you get more and more invested in the characters and the humour of the film, it’s actually really good. Viggo Mortensen is almost unrecognisable, and Mahershala Ali is wonderfully amusing.

Based on a true story, Green Book is a comedy-drama set in the 1960’s about the classical and jazz pianist Don shirley, played by Mahershala Ali and the Italian-American bouncer Tony Vallelonga, played by Viggo Mortensen. The pair take on a tour of the Deep South, not a safe thing to do for people of colour in the 1960’s! Tony is initially quite prejudiced but the two slowly form an amazing bond and end up as life-long friends.
The film itself is named after ‘The Negro Motorist Green Book’, a mid-20th century guidebook for African American travellers, written by Victor Hugo Green, to help them find motels and restaurants that would accept them.

Would I go and see it again?
Possibly, but I will, in all likelihood, add it to my DVD collection.  

Not so good this week, was the announcement by Tumblr to ban ‘ALL’ adult content from the 17th December.
This is a real shame and to be quite frank, I think it will kill Tumblr!

Banned content includes photos, videos, and GIFs of human genitalia, female-presenting nipples, and any media involving sex acts, including illustrations. The exceptions include nude classical statues and political protests that feature nudity. The new guidelines exclude text, so erotica remains permitted. Illustrations and art that feature nudity are still okay — so long as sex acts aren’t depicted — and so are breastfeeding and after-birth photos.

They have already started to flag posts and inform users that their content is not suitable, but something is very wrong if they think that this kind of photo is ‘explicit’!!

I have been on Tumblr for almost three years and it is a wonderful place to find any kind of weird and wonderful content you’re interested in.
I would never have fallen into the Kylux fandom and started writing fan-fiction if I hadn’t found this site!
It has always been a safe space for people to find like minded people to share content with regardless of what that content is. Artists have found it a great place to showcase artwork that would probably never get to see the light of day due to censorship restrictions elsewhere.
The failure of the site is their inability to control ‘bugs’ and ‘porn bots’ and their inability to ban sites that include pedophilia. Their answer to the problem is a blanket ban.

They seem to think that everyone who enjoys a bit of ‘adult content’ is automatically looking for ‘porn’ and this is simply not the case.

10 years ago, the same thing happened to ‘Livejournal’ and all that happened was that the users migrated to a different platform and Livejournal died.
I have already seen this happening on Tumblr. A lot of the people I follow are setting themselves up on Twitter and Instagram and getting ready to jump ship if they need to.
Michael Stokes, the photographic artist who I’ve discussed on my blog recently, has had to purge around 90% of the photos he has on Tumblr, including all of his wounded veterans photos because they have been deemed inappropriate! 

Classical statues are allowed but not this apparently!! What’s the difference?

Anyway, I wait for December 17th with baited breath. I have a feeling that Tumblr will become quite a desolate and boring place very quickly.

So now that I’ve had that rant what’s next?
I’ve made a start on my three reflective essays for my portfolio. That’s not exactly going well but at least I’ve made a start.
I have been really enjoying ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of here’ this year and last night had me and the kids in floods of tears as the five remaining contestants got visits from family. When John clapped eyes on his husband Scott, I just melted!
I really don’t know who’s going to win this year, after James left, the four remaining contestants are all fantastic for different reasons.
Personally I’d like to see John crowned King (or Queen!) of the jungle.
The annoying thing is, that I won’t be able to watch the final on Sunday because I’ll be in Birmingham at a Hozier concert.

WAIT…WHAT?!!!

Yep. Sunday evening, I’ll be at a Hozier concert!!!
I’ve only waited four years for this.
I AM SOOOO EXCITED!!!

This is the moment, almost four years ago, after falling asleep on the sofa, waking up in the early hours with the TV still on, showing a re-run of Graham Norton. I had been woken up by an angel singing and that is when I became mesmerised and totally fell in love with Hozier.

So, back to today, better bring this blog to an end.
I’ve got a few small chores to do, clean car windows, fill car with petrol, de-wookie the husband, pack for an overnight stay in Birmingham and then head to the cinema to see Mortal Engines!

I will ‘hopefully’ bombard my blog with photos and possibly some videos of the concert when I get back on Monday.

TTFN!

GIVE A LITTLE

I have taken up a challenge by AITAF.
Arts in the Armed Forces is a wonderful organisation set up in 2006 and going from strength to strength.

Please take a look.
I am aiming to raise around £200 ($250) by the end of December.
It’s a wonderful cause. Any donation, big or small, will be gratefully received!!
Click on the link and spread the love guys! 
Happy Holidays! 

https://www.facebook.com/donate/489665058210292/489665084876956/

ALMOST THERE!

So we’re coming to the end of another year and what a year it’s been.
My university course has been the driving force for the entire year, taking up all  my free time and my sanity with family life taking a bit of a back seat. Any chance of getting out and having some fun has been grabbed with both hands.

Anyway, the academic writing and exams has now finished and I’m relieved to say I’ve passed it all.
Now I just have to complete my placements and get all my skills documents and portfolio signed off before confirmation of an overall pass (hopefully) at the beginning of March.
I can now breath a little bit as the pressure has been taken off of home life and I can finally get back to the things I love to do.

Speaking of which…….

 Awards season is just about upon us and I am happy to announce that my man, Adam Driver, has already been nominated for one!!

The 2019 Golden Globes nominees have just been announced and BlacKkKlansman has received 4 nominations for Best Motion Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.

As a Best Movie nominee, it has some strong competition with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ and ‘A Star Is Born’ also having nominations.

Best Actor nominee, John David Washington, who is the lead in ‘BlacKkKlansman’ and was brilliant, is unfortunately being outshone this year by Rami Malek who has received the nomination for his stunning portrayal of Freddie Mercury in ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. 

I am torn between two actors for the Best Supporting Actor nominations.
Adam Driver has been nominated for his role in BlacKkKlansman and he totally deserves it (not biased in any way, but he was brilliant!)…..BUT…..
Timothee Chalamet has been nominated for his role in ‘Beautiful Boy’, which I haven’t seen yet but I have read the book and after seeing his breakthrough performance in ‘Call Me By Your Name’ last year, I suspect he is going to be tough competition this year, although both of them are up against Sam Rockwell, Richard E. Grant and Mahershala Ali.

Finally, Spike Lee is up for Best Director for his wonderfully dark humoured take on BlacKkKlansman.

This is just the start.
I hope to see this film get a lot more attention and acclaim over the next few months.
Watch this space.